Finkelstein stands by ‘BDS cult’ accusation, says it’s ‘historically criminal’ to not support the two state solution

Israel/Palestine
on 244 Comments

Norman Finkelstein was on Democracy Now this morning to discuss his two new books and Amy Goodman asked him the BDS movement and support for the two-state solution. The video of this portion of the interview is above.

Ali Abunimah has a strong response at Electronic Intifada that ends:

After continuing his attacks on the Palestinian-led BDS movement, Finkelstein offered this thought on the consequences of Palestinians continuing to insist on their rights, and rejecting the so-called two-state solution which Finkelstein misleading asserts is “the law”:

“That’s the law. If you want to go past that law, or ignore the Israel part, you’ll never reach a broad public. And then it’s a cult. It’s pointless in my opinion. We’re wasting time. And it’s not only a wasting of time. It becomes – and I know it’s a strong word and I hope I won’t be faulted for it – it becomes historically criminal.”

There you have it, Palestinians. If you continue to insist on rights for all Palestinians, you are committing a crime.

It’s well worth reading the whole piece.

The only comment I have to add is something I considered injecting in the discussion after Finkelstein’s interview with Frank Barat, and it concerns main error in Finkelstein’s argument against the BDS movement. It’s clear that Finkelstein supports the two-state solution and that’s his prerogative, but he insists that the BDS movement supports one state and this is factually incorrect. The BDS movement has three demands:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

These demands can be met within a one-state solution, a two-state solution or any number of any proposals. In fact, when I attended the Third National BDS Conference in Hebron this past December one attendee asked Omar Barghouti why the movement doesn’t explicitly endorse one state? He responded by saying it’s because the overwhelming number of Palestinian organizations that endorsed the BDS call support two states. While it’s true that some notable figures in the movement, like Barghouti, support one state, it should be obvious that this doesn’t reflect the movement as a whole. Does Finkelstein know this? Has he attempted to find out?

There is a finer point here that Finkelstein avoids taking on explicitly and that’s the question of the Jewish state. Whenever there is a demand to support the two-state solution, it is usually a euphemism for supporting Israel as a Jewish state, and that seems to be what Finkelstein is insisting on here — “You can’t reach a broad public if you are agnostic on the question of Israel.” My guess is that if I ask Barghouti whether those same Palestinian organizations that support two states also support a Jewish state he would laugh. And why should they? But more importantly, who is Norman Finkelstein to demand that they do?

As Abunimah points out in his post above, Finkelstein seems to deny the agency of Palestinians to determine their own liberation movement, and instead wants to take the lead from human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International. I support the BDS movement because it represents the clearest consensus within Palestinian civil society of what it will take to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, I believe this is the Palestinian people’s greatest weapon in countering Israel – only the Palestinian people have to power to declare the conflict over. Finkelstein asks Palestinians to sacrifice this power for what is politically feasible at this time, regardless if it is even possible on the ground.

It’s unclear where Finkelstein is headed from here. Liberal Zionists won’t have him and at the same time he is alienating many in the Palestine solidarity movement. Finkelstein often mentions meeting at the “rendezvous of victory,” but at this point it’s uncertain who else will be there.

244 Responses

  1. Les
    June 4, 2012, 6:32 pm

    Thank you. I am puzzled where Finkelstein got the idea that BDS supporters require a one state solution. It seems out of nowhere.

    • tokyobk
      June 4, 2012, 7:00 pm

      One requirement of BDS is full right of return. That would mean a demographic shift, coupled with one person one vote, Israel would be voted out of existence. There would be a Palestrine next to Palestine and after a reunification of one Palestinian state. Supporters of this say if such justice means the end of Israel so be it. Those opposed say no state would allow such change of population and there is a right for a Jewish state. Norman moreover says that everybody supporting BDS knows this would be the logical outcome and in fact quietly supports it.

      • Newclench
        June 4, 2012, 8:04 pm

        The strategy of NOT supporting the mainstream Palestinian demand for a two state solution, the one that the PLO first approved in 1988, reflect a partisan struggle inside the Palestinian liberation movement.
        I remember in the late 80s, there were folks in the South African solidarity movement who supported the Pan African Congress and opposed the ANC. They were rightly marginalized and ignored by the vast majority of folks working to end apartheid.
        Strangely, the margins of the Palestinian liberation movement exert entirely disproportionate power within the solidarity movement, while folks like Hussein Ibish are somehow seen as outliers.
        Disagree with Finkel all you want, but recognize that he is supporting the leadership of the Palestinian people at this point in time.
        The PLO was and remains ‘the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.’

        In every North American gathering Palestinian solidarity folks, folks preaching BDS have nearly always preached a one state solution as well. This shock horror at Finkel pointing it out is ludicrous.

        Finally, you want two staters who are NOT demanding that Israel remain a state that enshrines racism? Look no further than Shlomo Sand. And he’s not alone. Near as I can tell, the Left in Israel (small as it is) includes quite a few who dream of Israel as a ‘state of all its citizens’, or a de-Zionised Israel alongside a Palestinian state.

      • Elliot
        June 4, 2012, 10:04 pm

        Tokyobk – following your reasoning, Netanyahu is right to require that Palestinians support a Jewish state. If only to maintain their own credibility in seeking a realistic solution. And then you’re back to an unreasonable demand, as laid out in the linked article by John Whitbeck.
        Perhaps a fair two-state solution can be worked, perhaps not. I think not. But am willing to defer that question to a later time. In the face of mounting injustices to the Palestinians, isn’t that a fair way forward? What you are asking for requires us to deny what’s right out of fear of what may or may not happen later.

      • George Smith
        June 4, 2012, 11:57 pm

        I believe tokyobk is correct that a full RoR, one of the three core principles underlying the BDS call, would indeed spell the end of the ethnically exclusivist Jewish state. To say this would be the “end of Israel” is rhetorical obfuscation, however. The BDS campaign emphatically does NOT call for replacing the ethnically exclusivist Jewish state with an ethnically exclusivist non-Jewish one. Jews would still be a major part of the citizenry in either a single Palestinian state or in a separate state within the Green Line.

        The essence of the BDS call, and the root of its appeal among an ever-growing community of supporters worldwide, is replacement of a struggle for Palestinian sovereignty over a much-diminished remnant of their homeland with a call for equal rights within whatever polity or polities emerge in that homeland.

        BDS might arguably recruit a few additional liberal Zionists–perhaps even members of the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby J Street–by backing off the RoR and explicitly endorsing the “right” of Israel to continue as a specifically Jewish state. But such a move would greatly weaken the movement overall, and not only among Palestinians themselves. As in the South African campaign of the 1980s, an uncompromising appeal for full democracy and human rights has the potential to rally justice-loving people the world over, whether Jewish or not. A deeply compromised appeal for a modified form of ethnic exclusiveness does not.

      • Keith
        June 5, 2012, 12:19 am

        TOKYOBK- “One requirement of BDS is full right of return. That would mean a demographic shift, coupled with one person one vote, Israel would be voted out of existence.”

        That’s bullshit and you know it, or at least you should. I had a nice quote for you, but I can’t locate it so I’ll speak from memory. The right of return is a right which means that those dispossessed have the right to a just resolution, which would include compensation for those unable or unwilling to return. The right of return is not an existential threat to the Jewish state. Pursuing this further, why such a big deal over a “Jewish” state? Jews can’t be Jews in the presence of Goyim? What happened in South Africa? A handful of white oligarchs and transnational corporations still run the place with corrupt black politicians as window dressing. In the US, Jews have disproportionate power with just two per cent of the population. With almost half the population, things will be different in a united one-state Israel? Get real. In the foreseeable future, I cannot imagine the Palestinians having any significant power in a one-state Israel. They are the victims, the Jews are not. If you are honest, you will acknowledge that. Face it, you take comfort in bogus victimhood. Eternal fat-cat victims, oy,oy!

      • tokyobk
        June 5, 2012, 2:06 am

        Keith, I was not actually offering my opinion just my opinion of what Norman is saying. But, I am not sure it is”bullshit” that full right of return means the end of Israel and/or that most BDS people know and desire this. I don’t think we can no for sure what the reult would be.

      • eljay
        June 5, 2012, 7:28 am

        >> … I am not sure it is”bullshit” that full right of return means the end of Israel … I don’t think we can no for sure what the re[s]ult would be.

        Full RoR – which I disagree with – might (or might not) spell the end of a secular, democractic and egalitarian Israel, but IMO it would definitely spell the end of a supremacist “Jewish state” of Israel. I have no issue with the latter demise.

      • Sumud
        June 5, 2012, 11:23 am

        eljay ~ I don’t really disagree or agree with full RoR.

        The best mechanism that I can think of is that legitimacy of UN194 is fully acknowledged by Israel, and Palestinians refugees then face a decision. They can either:
        1. return to Israel proper.
        2. receive financial compensation from Israel (who also makes a financial contribution to the new state of Palestine for investment in infrastructure), and return to Palestine instead.

        That way Israel has some input on how many Palestinians take up their RoR and Palestinians can choose what they would prefer rather than having their rights bargained away by the likes of the PA.

        If Israel doesn’t want many Palestinians to return to Israel, they will ‘bid high’ and offer a large amount of money for refugees to resettle in Palestine. If they don’t care they will offer a small amount and a larger number of Palestinians will return to Israel.

        That’s the only workable solution I can think of. It will cost Israel a lot of money – and so it should. They’ll scab the money from the US anyway – and as Israel’s chief enabler, there is justice in that also.

      • eljay
        June 5, 2012, 11:42 am

        FWIW, my earlier comment was based on my modest take on a possible solution.

        :-)

      • Skandall
        June 9, 2012, 7:16 pm

        Honesty would also require you to acknowledge that one-staters are no different than Israeli extremists who call for the expulsion of all Palestinians to Jordan or elsewhere. In either case, genocide, or at best ethnic cleansing, will occur on a massive scale. Obviously, you are too dishonest to acknowledge that is the only possible result. And, if Jews have so much disproportionate power then where is my god damn share. I am going to sue.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 9, 2012, 8:15 pm

        skandall,take a mental health break:

        or prehaps this is more to your liking:

      • Skandall
        June 9, 2012, 9:42 pm

        Annie Robbins, thanks. I admire your comments on here. I hope Grade 5 is proceeding well for you.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 9, 2012, 10:16 pm

        schools out for the summer

      • Blake
        June 5, 2012, 4:59 am

        tokyobg: That would mean the right and just thing to do. Seems like your land grabbing leaders lacked foresight.

      • tokyobk
        June 5, 2012, 7:24 am

        Blake,

        I am American, so yes the original and subsequent leaders of my country grabbed lots of land. Though, seriously, why do you assume I have dual loyalties?

        As I wrote, describing the BDS is one Palestinian State Position, those who support BDS like you see it as the only moral consequence and therefore a just solution. I guess I was right.

      • Blake
        June 5, 2012, 10:39 am

        Was Palestine yours to give away? No native Americans were ethnically cleansed out either by a racist supremacist ideology so a strawman argument.

      • Skandall
        June 9, 2012, 7:17 pm

        You’re right, Blake. Native Americans were merely butchered by the millions. No skin off your schnoz, of course.

    • Hostage
      June 4, 2012, 10:50 pm

      I am puzzled where Finkelstein got the idea that BDS supporters require a one state solution. It seems out of nowhere.

      Ali Abunimah and Omar Barghouti have been very up-front about their opposition to the two state solution and the on-going efforts to gain UN recognition of the State of Palestine. It would be refreshing if some other leader of the BDS movement could be cited, beside these two individuals, regarding the neutrality of the movement. They’ve engaged in non-stop ankle biting, sniping, and public opposition to the two state solution and have resorted to spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainly, and Doubt) e.g. Recognising Palestine? The efforts of the Palestinian Authority to push for statehood are nothing more than an elaborate farce
      link to aljazeera.com UN application for the State of Palestine and the future of the PLO
      link to mondoweiss.net

      The EI article is another example. It “hits em where they ain’t”. For example it suggests that Finkelstein is undermining the efforts of human rights groups, like Al Haq, or the refugees to obtain their rights. But Dr. Michael Kearney has written a number of position papers and articles for Al Haq which hold that Palestine is a State capable of accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC, and that it has already been recognized by international consensus, expressed in the UNESCO vote.

      In fact Palestinian citizens of Israel and their NGOs already participate in the official periodic review process of the Israeli government by the UN human rights treaty monitoring bodies. It’s the Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories that fall through the cracks of the current reporting and review system. The situation permits both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to violate human rights with a high degree of impunity. There are also UN subsidiary organs devoted to assisting the Palestinian refugees and facilitating the exercise of their right of return, right of self-determination, right to sovereignty over their natural resources, and right to compensation within a two state solution.

      Members of the Palestinian leadership, including President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, jailed leader Marwan Barghouti, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, and Israeli MK Hanan Zoabi have all endorsed the UN bid for recognition of the statehood of Palestine and the two state solution.

  2. radii
    June 4, 2012, 6:36 pm

    the tide of history sweeps past another apologist anchored to a dead ideology – like the dog in that YouTube video who stayed with his dead companion on the road for hours he just can’t move on

    • aiman
      June 4, 2012, 9:53 pm

      One is moral, the other is not. The dog wins.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 10:43 am

        One is moral, the other is not. The dog wins.

        What perplexes me are the fanatics who use analogies of rape or amputation of a limb to discuss the mere loss of territory, but fail to register the real cases of rape, torture, loss of limbs, and even murder that are reported everyday here in Kate’s aggregation of the news.

        So remember that while you are recommending yet another panel discussion about economic or academic sanctions at the PTA, the Y, or the synagogue, real flesh and blood victims of crime are perishing for lack of a remedy. If gangs were routinely raping, torturing, maiming, and murdering people in your neighborhood, a sane person would not put a premium on panel discussions about symbolic academic boycotts or efforts to discourage others from engaging in simple commerce with your persecutors home communities. Your top priority would be to restore law and order.

        Norman Finkelstein is saying that the international consensus requires that we enforce existing international law. It just so happens that current international law contains criminal sanctions that apply to apartheid and racial segregation that would address the concerns some here have expressed that a “Jewish State” might continue to violate the rights of its Palestinian population or persecute them.

      • aiman
        June 5, 2012, 11:59 am

        If that was the case, why not do both? There’s another thing you forgot: the law as enforced has never been on the side of the Palestinians. So even if this were an opportune time, this is no way of engaging the issue and this is not how you persuade people you’re trying to convince. Finkelstein has to be willing to exchange and explore ideas with humility and let Palestinians decide. It is incredibly elitist and patronising to sweep a whole movement away, and refer to it as a “cult” based on one’s bad hair days as a young Maoist. The reference of cult is employed by elitists. Who believe that policy is rational. Policy making is anything but rational. Neither are its explanations so simple as suggested, and that could be by “us”, too. There ought to be a serious discussion between the people and solidarity activists.

        It is also untenable for the BDS to just “stop”. That’s not how social movements work.

      • LeaNder
        June 6, 2012, 2:31 am

        Hostage: Norman Finkelstein is saying that the international consensus requires that we enforce existing international law.

        That’s obviously is his main point. I was really psyched for him. I have never seen him so relaxed. With Norman you have to accept curt and to the point remarks you may not like or that will even irritate you. He is impatient, that’s not really something I cannot understand. His point to Amy, the passage Ali Abunimah struggled with, shows precisely what he means. It’s about what is achievable. There are limits to what is achievable. There is also the important point you seem to allude to: What should be the top priority. I think that is pretty obvious, the top priority should be to change the living conditions of people in the WB and Gaza.

        I have seen him attacked before concerning his position in “the Lobby”. discourse. Admittedly even there I was on his side. What precisely mean Americans structure in this context? What allows the lobby to be so influential? It’s not a question of American purity and Israeli impurity and that is the end of the axis the lobby discourse tends to approach.

        Precise aims are always important and precise analysis is the only thing that gets you there.

      • American
        June 11, 2012, 3:58 pm

        “Your top priority would be to restore law and order”..Hostage

        Amen.
        Send in international peacekeepers.
        Better than nothing and can’t be any worse than it is now.

  3. Avi_G.
    June 4, 2012, 6:43 pm

    I am so alienated and disappointed by what Finkelstein has been saying lately about BDS that I think the time has come for him to stop wrapping his excuses in pseudo-academic and pseudo-legal nonsense and just come out and say what’s on his mind, however politically incorrect his opinion may be.

    If he believes in a Jewish-only state, then he needs to say so and then step down as an academic.

    Or, he could move to Israel and join Benny Morris who can certainly teach Finkelstein how to Lakhzor Betshuva.

    • Daniel Rich
      June 4, 2012, 7:08 pm

      @ Avi_G,

      First Noam Chomsky and now [lately] Norman Finkelstein. It’s kinda hard/tough to see/watch/witness people you admire for their intellectual accomplishments and stance, jump the shark [for no apparent reason] and become unrecognizable aliens of the sixth kind. However, the individual freedom of thought prevails over everything else [no matter how sad the outcome].

      • OlegR
        June 4, 2012, 7:28 pm

        Chmosky really , what did he do , say ?

      • Daniel Rich
        June 4, 2012, 8:15 pm

        @ OlegR,

      • Sandy M
        June 5, 2012, 12:51 am

        Noam Chomsky on BDS: link to youtube.com

      • giladg
        June 5, 2012, 3:05 am

        Chomsky highlights the fundamental flaw in western liberal and progressive thinking whereby they apply their own cultural way of thinking on others who usually have a different belief mechanism which then produces a way of thinking the Chomsky’s of the world arrogantly ignore and do not understand. They won’t admit it but the arrogance comes from a place deep down where they believe they are in a position to know better than those third world types.

      • MarkF
        June 5, 2012, 11:27 am

        “.. They won’t admit it but the arrogance comes from a place deep down where they believe they are in a position to know better than those third world types.”

        Wow, I couldn’t have said it better. Unfortunately, that’s the neoconservative position to assume they can “democratize” third-world countries and make them in their own image. True conservatism tends to “live and let live”. You know, keep your nose out of their business.

        How can we perform the needed exorcism and kick these “liberal and progressive thinking ” neocons out of the conservative movement?

      • aiman
        June 5, 2012, 1:57 pm

        “Liberal” is actually a better word. In this regard, no matter how distasteful otherwise, conservatives are better than liberals. Liberals have inherited the old Kiplingesque attitude which sees “third world types” (as giladg so graciously put it) as “half sullen, half child”. What giladg leaves out though is his own ideology that profits from naming liberals. He fails to tell us that “third world types” are not of a different cultural understanding. In fact all human beings share common themes of moral suffering and need of justice and happiness. This clashes with giladg’s ideology because it profits from portraying “third world types” in the blatant language of ignorance and prejudice that discomforts liberals in the open.

      • Skandall
        June 9, 2012, 7:21 pm

        All Chomsky said was that if any BDS movement was justified then it should be aimed at the U.S. since their crimes are far worse than Israel’s. What sane person could deny that fact?

      • Hostage
        June 10, 2012, 4:37 am

        All Chomsky said was that if any BDS movement was justified then it should be aimed at the U.S. since their crimes are far worse than Israel’s. What sane person could deny that fact?

        Any sane person who has listened to Chomsky. He endorses BDS sanctions that target Israeli organizations, state institutions, companies, & etc. that directly support or profit from the occupation. He thinks that in order for BDS to be done correctly it must also target US organizations, state institutions, companies, etc. that directly support or profit from the occupation.

      • aiman
        June 4, 2012, 10:00 pm

        “However, the individual freedom of thought prevails over everything else [no matter how sad the outcome].”

        As it should. No point hanging laurels on mortals. It’s morals that make us who we are. Part of that means distrusting the whole category of the intellectual and thinking for ourselves. I think BDS really challenges this top-down, preacher-congregation, liberal/conservative elite-audience framework, which is partly what is making some uneasy.

  4. OlegR
    June 4, 2012, 6:53 pm

    Poor Finkelstein.He is about to be ostracized by the very people
    he devoted his life to.

    And i once thought that he was as radical as you can get ,
    but that’s the thing , somebody is always trying to be a bit more radical than you are.
    I am guessing Abunimah is one of these Ramallah guru’s that Finkelstein mentioned , right ?
    Singing that same old Palestinian song about the destruction of Israel wrapped around in the western civil rights discourse this time.
    Israel has to promote RoR or else it’s the BDS.
    What a sad joke at the expense of the Palestinians.

    • Daniel Rich
      June 4, 2012, 7:29 pm

      @ OlegR,

      Whatever you said before this line might be your true thoughts, but that particular line doesn’t cut it based upon everything else you’ve said. The good thing about history is, it can’t be wiped out. Your proven record says so, thus ‘What a sad joke at the expense of the Palestinians.’ might be true, but you don’t give a f*** one way or the other about Palestinians [see track record @ link to mondoweiss.net.

      • OlegR
        June 4, 2012, 7:52 pm

        My personal feelings towards the Palestinians are mixed Daniel
        i don’t think that them living a shitty life benefits me in any way
        and if that situation would change i would be glad.
        I don’t think that they will achieve that goal by continuing their
        dream of rewinding history and undoing 1948.As long as they hold
        on to that dream they will make little progress with us and it is sad
        for everybody but mostly for them given the current balance of power.

        I also don’t view them as passive actors or just as a victims whose fates rests solely on my (my country ) decisions, this game has two sides and they have made plenty of blunders on their own just as we did.If they
        insist on pursuing their dream of undoing my country i can only sadly shake my head an get ready for the next cycle of violence.

        If you think that i am not being sincere here that is your right as well.

      • Daniel Rich
        June 4, 2012, 9:05 pm

        @ OlegR,

        If you’re a man of your word, I stand corrected.

      • aiman
        June 4, 2012, 10:43 pm

        I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means – except by getting off his back. — Lev Tolstoi

        I also don’t view them as passive actors or just as a victims whose fates rests solely on my (my country ) decisions, this game has two sides and they have made plenty of blunders on their own just as we did. — OlegR

        In other words: I sit on a man’s back and make him carry me for 62 years and going, and I agree that the wounds and misery he sustains, and the times he has fainted sending me tipping over into a thorn bush or the avoidable rages he has felt at times and expressed after I pricked him to soldier on, are of the wounds we both share.

        If they insist on pursuing their dream of undoing my country i can only sadly shake my head an get ready for the next cycle of violence. – OlegR

        In other words – If he insists on rising up to the height that all human beings have a right to, to till his land, to bake his bread, and to live in freedom, I am afraid this would hurt my privilege because I don’t want to share this space. His presence will grow larger, and that makes me very uncomfortable even as people grow closer in many other countries. I am afraid of his passions, his mind, his poverty. I boast of my own liberal institutions that we built because it was a miracle, whether or not God exists, and not because I had room to produce knowledge. To even grant him a different space is too much to ask, he must earn it. I have not set a price yet.

      • Sumud
        June 4, 2012, 10:57 pm

        My personal feelings towards the Palestinians are mixed Daniel
        i don’t think that them living a shitty life benefits me in any way
        and if that situation would change i would be glad.

        Of course it does. Your precious state is built on massive theft of land and property. Reparations will cost, a lot.

      • eljay
        June 5, 2012, 2:43 pm

        >> aiman @ June 4, 2012 at 10:43 pm

        Nice post! My only criticism of it is that it endows OlegR’s ugly words and sentiments with an eloquence they do not merit.

    • proudzionist777
      June 5, 2012, 10:47 am

      This isn’t the first time that Finkelstein has run afoul of the ‘radicals’.

      link to normanfinkelstein.com

      • OlegR
        June 5, 2012, 4:36 pm

        Yes i have read that one before and was puzzled over what did they
        fell out.

      • proudzionist777
        June 6, 2012, 8:26 am

        Norm said that Pal refugees from Lebanon wanted to add RoR to the movements list of demands. I think the radicals didn’t want a Western Jew (Norm) in the vanguard.

      • eGuard
        June 6, 2012, 9:26 am

        proudzionist777: I think …

        You are introducing a smear of anti-Semitism. Such a comment sould not pass.

  5. Fredblogs
    June 4, 2012, 6:54 pm

    I’m sorry, but your contention that the BDS movement can be met by a two-state solution falls apart on demand 3. The demand that Israel be turned over to the Palestinians is not what any serious person means when he says a “two-state solution”. A two state solution means one for the Palestinians and one for the Jews, not two for the Palestinians.

    • OlegR
      June 4, 2012, 7:32 pm

      It’s wondrous how the human mind enables people to credibly believe
      in their own bullshit.
      We want RoR but we are agnostic to the fate of the Jewish state.
      We just want rights but we are agnostic what fulfilling these rights would mean
      in the real world.Amazing.

      • Elliot
        June 4, 2012, 10:59 pm

        Oleg – You create an equivalence between RoR and a Jewish State.
        As a former Israeli and a Jew (among other identities), I see RoR as a correction to an historic and continuing injustice.
        What is the function of a “Jewish” state besides undermining democracy and demanding unfair sacrifices from the Palestinians?

      • OlegR
        June 5, 2012, 7:44 am

        /As a former Israeli and a Jew (among other identities), I see RoR as a correction to an historic and continuing injustice./
        You can view it anyway you like.

        /What is the function of a “Jewish” state/
        The function of Israel is to let Jews determine how they want to live
        their lives.
        /undermining democracy and demanding unfair sacrifices from the Palestinians?/
        Undermining democracy is your own fantasy so won’t comment on it
        as to the unfair sacrifices i would ask why should Israel sacrifice itself
        to indulge the Palestinians.How will wronging
        millions of Israelis will serve anything?

      • Elliot
        June 5, 2012, 8:05 am

        Oleg – I agree. Everybody has an equal right to an opinion on Israel/Palestine. So let’s stop making false distinctions on that score.
        The function of Israel is to let Jews determine how they want to live
        their lives.

        I wouldn’t have put it so starkly. If that is so, the Palestinians, in Israel and the OT, have every right to resist Israel in whatever means they choose.
        How will wronging
        millions of Israelis will serve anything?

        Israel is already wronging millions – those whom it is not charged with serving. See your own comment above.

      • RoHa
        June 5, 2012, 8:17 am

        “The function of Israel is to let Jews determine how they want to live
        their lives.”

        Australian Jews have as much freedom to determine how they want to live their lives as any other Australians. They don’t need Israel for that.

      • RoHa
        June 5, 2012, 8:23 am

        “why should Israel sacrifice itself to indulge the Palestinians.”

        Justice for the Palestinians is not indulging them. The alleged “sacrifice” would be that Israel became less of a Jewish-supremacist state and more egalitarian. Is that so terrible?

        “How will wronging millions of Israelis will serve anything?”

        How would they be wronged?

      • Shingo
        June 5, 2012, 8:30 am

        The function of Israel is to let Jews determine how they want to live their lives.

        What is to stop them doing that in the US or the diaspora?

        Undermining democracy is your own fantasy so won’t comment on it

        Too hard basket right?

        as to the unfair sacrifices i would ask why should Israel sacrifice itself
        to indulge the Palestinians.

        That’s what was demanded of the Palestinians to make room for your state, and you critixized them for being unreasonable for not obliging. If wronging
        a million Palestinians served something, then sure you can reciprocate.

      • OlegR
        June 5, 2012, 10:32 am

        /I wouldn’t have put it so starkly./
        I would, for some reason you conclude that this means
        oppression of minorities in Israeli which is rubbish it does not.
        The OT are outside the state of Israel therefore they are irrelevant to this
        discussion.

      • OlegR
        June 5, 2012, 10:35 am

        /Justice for the Palestinians is not indulging them. The alleged “sacrifice” would be that Israel became less of a Jewish-supremacist state and more egalitarian. Is that so terrible?/

        First i would like to see an egalitarian Arab majority state built along the lines
        of western liberal democracy with separation of church and state personal
        liberties respect for all minorities etc.
        Then we can talk a bit more on the subject.

      • OlegR
        June 5, 2012, 10:38 am

        /Australian Jews have as much freedom to determine how they want to live their lives as any other Australians. They don’t need Israel for that./
        Then they shouldn’t go live there now should they,
        It’s not mandatory it’s a matter of free will.
        The should also read some history
        while they are at it.

      • Elliot
        June 5, 2012, 12:00 pm

        I would, for some reason you conclude that this means
        oppression of minorities in Israeli which is rubbish it does not.

        How can a state officially favor one group without that costing the other groups?
        If that miracle can be achieved, why hasn’t it worked anywhere else?
        The burden of proof is on you to show how you reconcile having your country favor your ethnic group and deny those privileges from other ethnic groups.

        As an Israeli Jew I enjoyed massive perks which were denied Palestinians. I benefited directly from the dispossession of Palestinians. I am still able to visit Israel at will.
        That’s because I’m a Jew.

        OTOH, the guy I just rented a truck from was born in Jerusalem, and he’d love to go back to visit. But he can’t make it back there because of all the obstacles Israel has placed in his path.
        That’s because he’s a Palestinian.

        You directly benefit from being a Jew in Israel and those benefits come at Palestinians’ expense. You speak to us as an Israeli defending your country when the only reason you are an Israeli is because of the racist, Israeli RoR. And then you attack Palestinian RoR.

      • OlegR
        June 5, 2012, 4:53 pm

        /OTOH, the guy I just rented a truck from was born in Jerusalem/
        OTOH is not a citizen as you probably well aware
        citizens get equal rights in states not residents.
        /How can a state officially favor one group without that costing the other groups?
        If that miracle can be achieved, why hasn’t it worked anywhere else?/

        Favoring one group does not imply discriminating against another
        Israeli is a state of the Jewish people which is represented in it’s symbols
        culture official language etc.It’s also a state where Jews are an overwhelming majority which is important to the equation, should that change Israel will have a big dilemma in front of it but it’s not the case
        right now.
        The Arab citizens of Israel are unique among other ethnic
        minorities in nation states in the fact that citizenship in the state
        was forced upon them and that their kin is still continues a bitter
        struggle against the majority of their fellow citizens.
        The Israeli RoR as you called and i assume you meant Hok Hashvut
        is another repatriation law which is not unique among nations .

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Elliot
        June 5, 2012, 6:16 pm

        The Arab citizens of Israel are unique among other ethnic
        minorities in nation states in the fact that citizenship in the state
        was forced upon them and that their kin is still continues a bitter
        struggle against the majority of their fellow citizens.

        From the world “the only democracy” and “the most moral army” you now give us “the only minority”. If that’s the best you can do, good luck with the hasbara campaign.

        Hok Hashvut is bizarre in that it applies the principle of repatriation to a religious group that did not even share a language. Oleg, what do you share as a Russian Jew with a Jew from Morocco? Even Ben Gurion’ s Hok Hashvut does not dare use the word “repatriation” that you use.

        Can you give one example of an ethnic group that was repatriated after having been gone for 2,000 years (assuming for a moment that that myth is true)?

        link to mfa.gov.il

      • OlegR
        June 5, 2012, 6:44 pm

        / repatriation to a religious group that did not even share a language. /
        Jews are not just a religious group as you well know Elliot,

        /Can you give one example of an ethnic group that was repatriated after having been gone for 2,000 years (assuming for a moment that that myth is true)?/
        Should that be somehow an argument against such law ?
        Because i fail to see why, or is it something becomes legit only after there is some precedent to it.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 5, 2012, 6:49 pm

        oleg, iow no, you can’t. thnx

      • Elliot
        June 5, 2012, 8:40 pm

        Oleg –
        How many people in democratic countries do you think you will win over with your concoction of myth and wild assertions?
        If this is the best Zionism can offer, you’re not going to break out of your isolation.
        I’m sure you enjoyed falafel back in your native country and spoke fluent Hebrew. Good luck with your fabricated ethnicity.

      • RoHa
        June 5, 2012, 9:33 pm

        So you want an Egalitarian Arab state before you make Israel into an egalitarian state?

      • RoHa
        June 5, 2012, 9:44 pm

        “The should also read some history while they are at it.”

        If they do, they will find that there has ben hardly any antisemitism in Australia. Jews have been well represented in all the highest positions in Australia.

        Israel is not necessary.

      • OlegR
        June 6, 2012, 3:20 am

        I would like to see a single Arab egalitarian state (i would settle for an imperfect one like ours) succeed somewhere else before i consider making
        another large scale social experiment on millions of human beings.
        All of these great principles you all talk about have to meet reality sometimes
        and i would like to see how they hold up to it.

      • OlegR
        June 6, 2012, 3:24 am

        There isn’t a country quite like Israel Annie yes
        there also isn’t a country in the world quite like the US either or a nation
        with Jewish history so what’s the point of these questions?
        Since when total conformity is a requirement.

      • OlegR
        June 6, 2012, 3:26 am

        /Israel is not necessary./
        Fine don’t go live there i said it before that’s your opinion you hold on to it.
        Don’t try and enforce it on me though …

      • justicewillprevail
        June 6, 2012, 4:40 am

        Don’t try and enforce your ethnic nationalist apartheid ideas on the Palestinians then, and deprive them of their country and their lives.

      • justicewillprevail
        June 6, 2012, 4:45 am

        “The OT are outside the state of Israel therefore they are irrelevant to this
        discussion.”

        Ha ha, in your gerrymandered state they are in Israel, but not part of it. Such is the hypocrisy and stupidity of your attempt to have it every which way. If the OT are not in Israel then what is the noxious IDF and the settlers doing there?

      • OlegR
        June 6, 2012, 4:48 am

        /Good luck with your fabricated ethnicity/
        I there such a thing as authentic ethnicity Elliot, pray tell.

      • aiman
        June 6, 2012, 5:56 am

        Are you saying Israel is egalitarian?

        No doubt Israel has a number of liberal institutions. These are a byproduct of Zionism being a European colonialist ideology. Many European states in the heyday of colonialism had somewhat admirable civil societies within the framework of the modern nation-state but still practiced colonialism. Israel is historically very very behind that. And no I’m not an apologist for the great loss of knowledge and learning in the Arab world. The abundance of autocrats and the death of curiosity has left it very behind in the realm of knowledge and ideas, a very sad development. But let me remind you with another gem from Tolstoy: “There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.” So while Israel may have some admirable liberal institutions, these are subsumed by the colonialism it profits from every single hour and refuses to acknowledge it. It is a colonial power, not a great nation.

      • eljay
        June 6, 2012, 7:40 am

        >> So you want an Egalitarian Arab state before you make Israel into an egalitarian state?

        Zio-supremacists love to reach for the bottom.

        “Israel: We may not be as good as the best but, hey, at least we’re not as bad as the worst!” (TM)

      • OlegR
        June 6, 2012, 9:00 am

        Aiman
        /Are you saying Israel is egalitarian?/

        It strives to be that, at least inside Israel proper, yes.
        Not without faults obviously but still it strives to be no matter how much it fails sometimes.
        /. It is a colonial power, not a great nation./
        I don’t know what “a great nation” means.Don’s think there is one.
        We are flawed in a lot of ways and we strive to do the best we can
        as we see it in a complicated situation and a complicated neighborhood.
        Anybody who suggests that 1ss is the goal should be ready to answer
        a lot of hard questions that have to do with reality and not their ideas of justice and ethics (which are also debatable).
        And as we can see from the answers i got about /Arab egalitarian state/
        which either contained ridicule or diversion or both the proponents
        don’t have anything meaningful to say .Which makes me doubt
        their “noble” intentions.

      • Elliot
        June 6, 2012, 11:32 am

        Is there such a thing as authentic ethnicity Elliot, pray tell.

        Happy to. Ethnic Germans in other countries shared a language and culture with German.
        Arabs across the world share a language and other cultural markers.

        What did you share with Israelis before you left Russia?
        You still haven’t answered the question of what you shared with immigrants from Arab countries.

        You are a Russian who did not have any Israeli ethnicity until the racist Hok Hashvut (“Law of Return”) re-invented you as an Israeli.

        Good luck convincing the world that you have the right to displace Palestinians with this fabrication.

      • Elliot
        June 6, 2012, 11:39 am

        All your arguments of exceptionalism (Arab-Israelis are the world’s only minority…Israel has no precedent and that’s ok….etc) isolate you as an Israeli from the world.
        You are playing with fire. The world may have once been enamored of this wunderkind with its sexy girl soldiers and free love kibbutzim but folks quickly get tired of a self-centered rebel.
        If you say you don’t care about the world, why should the world care about you?

      • Hostage
        June 6, 2012, 7:10 pm

        I would like to see a single Arab egalitarian state (i would settle for an imperfect one like ours) succeed somewhere else before i consider making
        another large scale social experiment on millions of human beings.

        Egypt was an imperfect one like yours before Great Britain, France, and Israel decided to launch an invasion. Lebanon was another example of an imperfect one like yours before it became a synonym for foreign interventionism, Eisenhower, Begin, Regan, and Assad took turns invading and occupying it. For that matter, the non-Arab countries in the region, like the Mosaddegh government in Iran were more perfect than yours when the US decided they had to go. So I wouldn’t get too comfortable. You’ll meet the same fate if the powers that be decide you have some resource or functional utility that they covet for themselves.

      • RoHa
        June 6, 2012, 11:27 pm

        “Eisenhower, Begin, Regan, and Assad took turns invading and occupying it. ”

        Weren’t the Syrians invited in?

      • tree
        June 7, 2012, 1:32 am

        “Israel: We may not be as good as the best but, hey, at least we’re not as bad as the worst!”

        Actually, they insist on being the last of the worst. Everyone else in the world must meet standards before Israel should consider meeting the same standards.

      • OlegR
        June 7, 2012, 3:37 am

        So where the Israelis.(The phalanges and the shia population
        saw us as a tool against the Palestinian militants the PLO )

        Hostage kinda forgets that little sectarian civil war Lebanon started
        in 1975.A great example of a democratic (sort of, the Palestinians remain without rights there even today) one state solution
        in which the parties really couldn’t stand each other on the basis
        of religious and ethnic affiliation and age old rivalries.

        By Hostages comments i get that he is a proponent for 2ss .
        Lebanon of all the places is an example that shows clearly how 1ss can end up.

      • Hostage
        June 8, 2012, 5:07 am

        By Hostages comments i get that he is a proponent for 2ss .

        No, statehood is just a legal status that States confer on one another. There already are 130 States which have conferred that legal status on Palestine and a similar number that have conferred that status on Israel. So there already are two entities that have the legal status of States.

        I’m a proponent of equal human rights. While we’re all waiting around for hell to freeze over and for the Jews and Arabs to agree on some rather obvious permanent boundary lines to demarcate their respective land frontiers, there’s really no reason to let one of the twin entities go to the UN and get all of the rights, duties, and legal protections of “stateliness”, while trying to deny the rights, existence, and “stateliness” of the other entity.

        That’s especially true when one of the States, Israel, claims the privilege to perform acts in Palestine that would be serious war crimes if they were perpetrated against any State.

        Hostage kinda forgets that little sectarian civil war Lebanon started
        in 1975.

        No I seldom forget about Lebanon. In any event, Eisenhower’s and Israel’s interventions pre-date 1975 by a considerable number of years.

        If you check the archives here you’ll see that I’ve discussed the topic of French intervention in the affairs of Mt Lebanon beginning with the Reglement Organique Agreements of June 1861 and September 1864 on through the Sykes-Picot Agreements and the now-declassified negotiations between the British and French over the draft mandates and the establishment and role of the Permanent Mandates Commission.

        France became Israel’s principal western ally after the Suez Canal Crisis. Israel’s top leaders had been planning to destabilize and dismember Lebanon since the early 1950s. The details were spelled-out in Moshe Sharett’s Personal Diary. Livia Rokach explained that Dayan and Ben Gurion’s scheme to establish a Maronite State in Lebanon were put on hold, due to historical French interests in the stability of Lebanon. After the Six Day War, the new alliance with the US permitted Israel a free hand, so bombing of Southern Lebanon and sporadic terror attacks began in 1968 – long before the civil war or any problems with the local PLO. Major Sa’d Haddad proclaimed the secession of “Free Lebanon” in April 1979 with backing from Israel for a Zionist-Phalangist alliance. See Israel’s Sacred Terrorism:
        *Preface link to informationclearinghouse.info
        CHAPTER 5 Let Us Create A Maronite State in Lebanon
        link to informationclearinghouse.info

        FYI, I was at Tactical Air Command headquarters at Langley in 1983 and we were tasked to send special operators and combat communications teams from our subordinate units in Florida to assist the State Department in restoring their operations after the Embassy bombing. I made several trips there and was getting daily intelligence summaries that reported on systematic harassment of US peacekeepers by our IDF allies. I had a low opinion of the pre-state Jewish militias, based on stories I had heard from older family members while growing-up. But on the basis of first-hand observation, I have to agree with General R.H. Barrow’s opinion about IDF misconduct and the sentiments expressed by Under-Secretary of State George Ball in his book on the subject “Error and Betrayal in Lebanon”, Foundation for Middle East Peace, 1984.

      • Hostage
        June 8, 2012, 5:31 am

        Weren’t the Syrians invited in?

        No, the PLO and Leftist opposition forces, including the Druze led by Kamal Jumblatt, controlled about three-quarters of the country. That triggered the Syrian intervention. One of the Syrian’s stated goals was to drive the PLO back into their pre-war enclaves.

    • Sumud
      June 4, 2012, 10:59 pm

      I’m sorry, but your contention that the BDS movement can be met by a two-state solution falls apart on demand 3.

      Hasbara.

      And the man to explain it to you is none other than Norman Finkelstein himself:

      Palestinian Right of Return – Norman Finkelstein

  6. ToivoS
    June 4, 2012, 7:21 pm

    I defended Finklestein the first two times he popped off like this. Not this time. It sounds like he really really does not like Palestinians getting involved in the movement for their own civil rights. That is insupportable. Over the past decade I bought two of his books, paid to hear him talk, and picked up the tab for the pretalk luncheon. I really loved his subject and style. But this is the limit.

    I wonder if he has any idea who is buying his books.

    • Danaa
      June 5, 2012, 1:06 pm

      ToivoS _ I agree with you that this time Finkelstein seems to have dropped the mask of “caring” for what the palestinians may or may not want. I didn’t quite realize that it was a mask all along either. It is interesting that Finkelstein spent his entire time speaking about the changes on the Jewish side, embracing the move from blind pro-israelism, and committing himself to surf the wave of the “new Consensus”. If palestinians – and their views – were brought up at all, it was patronizing and consdescending.

      “This is a house argument among Jews” he seemed to be saying as he tosses – odoriferously – the mention of his “friend Phil Weiss” with whom he went to see a movie. We two, buddies that we are, will go check out the latest installment of the The Palestinian Passion Play, then pay our respects to history as tribal elders, as we walk out, chuckling in melancholic unisom. Can only wonder what Phil may or may not want to say on such displays of stupefied self-satisfaction as displayed by his friend.

      Anyways, I share your distastte. Something is way off with Finkelstein – too much Beinart recipe spicing his drink, perhaps?

  7. Keith
    June 4, 2012, 7:49 pm

    “After continuing his attacks on the Palestinian-led BDS movement….”

    Finkelstein is making a critique, not attacking BDS. Apparently, any critique of tactics is to be dealt with harshly, as was the case with Gilad Atzmon who Abunimah recently denounced. With us or against us?

    As for Finkelstein’s critique, while I disagree with him, I think it is a serious critique with many valid considerations. Surely the international consensus and UN resolutions concerning two states has relevance, Finkelstein’s opinion that this is the best you can get hardly a repudiation of Palestinian rights, although many seem overly eager to treat him as yesterday’s garbage.

    “…but he insists that the BDS movement supports one state and this is factually incorrect.”

    What Adam quotes Finkelstein as actually saying is “”You can’t reach a broad public if you are agnostic on the question of Israel.” One can agree or disagree about reaching a broad public without recognizing Israel’s borders as determined by international law and UN resolutions, however, the ongoing reference to Finkelstein SUPPORTING a Jewish state is a misrepresentation. Israel exists. Hopefully, one day it will become a state of all of its citizens.

    My one real criticism of what Finkelstein said is in regard to the prospects for a two state solution. I would be most interested from whence his optimism derives. Rather than bashing Finkelstein, I would be interested to know what he thinks has changed. My opinion is that there will likely be no just solution as long as Zionism holds sway in Israel and (primarily) in the US. Under these circumstances, I see little benefit in overly emphasizing legalistic approaches. Smart lawyers can bend the law while power decides. Ultimately, it is a moral issue requiring moral arguments. I think people can be made to see injustice and tell right from wrong.

    • Daniel Rich
      June 4, 2012, 9:10 pm

      @ Keith,

      Q: Finkelstein is making a critique, not attacking BDS.

      R: Finkelstein said the BDS movement is a cult. @ link to israelnationalnews.com

      I don’t see that as a critique.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 12:18 am

        Q: Finkelstein is making a critique, not attacking BDS.

        R: Finkelstein said the BDS movement is a cult. @ link to israelnationalnews.com

        I’ve got videos of what Finkelstein actually said. Why is everyone giving me links to editorials from Ali Abunimah and Arutz Sheva that are riddled with distortions?

      • Keith
        June 5, 2012, 12:44 am

        DANIEL RICH- “I don’t see that as a critique.”

        I do! He has said repeatedly that he supports the boycott. He has criticized the position of the more visible and vocal leadership as being unrealistic and ineffective. Although I disagree with him on tactics, I see his point and acknowledge that there is a lot of truth in what he says. I respect his opinion and don’t consider him some sort of enemy as many of the commenters, including you, seem to. Surely this ‘you’re with us or against us’ mindset reeks of cult ideology. In my opinion, the vitriolic insults against this scholar and human rights advocate have been reprehensible.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 5, 2012, 1:04 am

        i agree keith. the idea norm is an enemy is crazy! he’s doing the best he knows how. i completely believe he believes his ideas are the best fastest way to bring about a resolution. i just disagree with him and so much of what i have learned is from him. but i trust his integrity. he’s human and a wonderful person. he has flaws. i really believe he is doing the best he knows how. he’s putting himself out there. we are still evolving and we need to breathe life thru this movement. that will not happen by alienating people and that is a lesson norm could learn too. we must transform by example so lashing back angrily won’t do. this is an all around teachable moment. i still adore norm finkelstein even tho he thinks i am part of a cult. everyone needs to chill. imho.

        i cannot imagine ever abandoning norm. ever. i am a loyal friend and norm is my friend.

      • bintbiba
        June 5, 2012, 9:00 am

        Thank you “annie” . I agree with you. Norman is exceptional, and I WILL be loyal . We don’t always have to agree blindly with the ones we admire and love.

      • Sumud
        June 5, 2012, 11:38 am

        Annie I agree with you on all counts. His contribution to debate on I/P is immense, and I also learnt an awful lot from him. Definitely a hero, and it pains me to hear him refer to BDS as a cult.

        I’d love to see a DN special with Norman Finkelstein and Omar Barghouti interviewed together. It would be so interesting, and hopefully a step forward for all.

      • Daniel Rich
        June 5, 2012, 10:02 pm

        @ Keith,

        In essence it’s all about words and phrases. Don’t grab a big brush and start painting, otherwise you’ll never be a da Vinci, Michelangelo or Rembrandt.

  8. jamiesw
    June 4, 2012, 7:50 pm

    I don’t know why it’s necessary to get tangled in all these knots. The basic argument Finkelstein is making seems pretty straightforward: we should want to appeal to a mainstream public; the maximum a mainstream public can be brought around to supporting in the foreseeable future is the international consensus two-state settlement (2SS); we should therefore set that as our goal. We should call for the 2SS very explicitly and very clearly, because being fuzzy about it just makes us look suspicious. That means calling for the implementation of Palestinian legal rights – including, he says, the RoR – but it also means supporting/accepting the existence of Israel within the ’67 borders, without being fuzzy or evasive about it. That’s what the 2SS entails. You haven’t really challenged this argument at all here.

    The Abunimah piece is terrible:

    1) The idea that Finkelstein doesn’t give credit to or is unconcerned by the role of Palestinians in changing people’s consciousness is too absurd to comment on, for anyone who’s read his writings. In this particular interview he focused on B’Tselem, Amnesty and HRW to illustrate his point that there now exist sources credible to American liberals and American Jews in particular that can be cited to support criticism of Israel’s human rights record. Al-Haq does not, rightly or wrongly, have the same credibility as Amnesty International in those constituencies. Is this really controversial?

    2) Responding to a strategic argument by branding it an “attack” on “Palestinians” is, er, not a convincing response to accusations of cult-like behaviour.

    3) Finkelstein’s point about human rights organisations is that they reflect the outer limits of what Americans can be convinced to accept and mobilise around. And so if we want to convince and mobilise non-trivial numbers of Americans, the position of the mainstream human rights organisations is a good one to orient towards. Now maybe Ali Abunimah thinks it’s not important to mobilise non-trivial numbers of Americans, and so doesn’t think it matters if what activists in the US advocate alienates most Americans rather than convincing them. If that’s what he thinks then he should say so, and make a case for it. If it’s not, then he needs to address the argument instead of bloviating.

    4) The rest is just insults. Except for the end when Ali pretends to speak to and for “Palestinians” as a collective, which is just funny (and not at all cult-like).

    Finally, Finkelstein doesn’t ‘deny agency’ to anyone. (Though even if he did, who cares? That would, arguably, be a problem with Finkelstein. But is it useful to devote time to arguing about the political crimes and misdemeanours of Norman Finkelstein? Isn’t it more useful to argue about the main strategic argument he’s making?) He has explicitly said that ending the occupation will require Palestinian resistance combined with international solidarity. Obviously in his remarks on an American show, Democracy Now, he focused on the latter. What does that mean, though, to say that successfully resisting Israeli occupation (or beyond) requires international activism as well as Palestinian resistance? It means that whatever goal is chosen has to be able to both mobilise Palestinian resistance and mobilise sufficient numbers of people abroad. It is not ‘denying agency’ to recognise that.

    • Linda J
      June 4, 2012, 8:25 pm

      “…Ali pretends to speak to and for “Palestinians” as a collective…”

      Wasn’t Ali saying the BDS call put out by Palestinian civil society was doing the talking? Why can’t it speak as a collective?

      On the other hand, Norman wants Amnesty and Human Rights Watch to speak for 300 million Americans.

      • jamiesw
        June 4, 2012, 9:57 pm

        If that is what he was saying, then it’s pretty stupid don’t you think? The “Palestinian civil society” you refer to wasn’t voted on by Palestinians, and so doesn’t represent “Palestinians”. And even if it had been voted on by Palestinians, criticising a strategy isn’t the same as “attacking” a people. Obviously.

        “On the other hand, Norman wants Amnesty and Human Rights Watch to speak for 300 million Americans.”

        What does this even mean?

      • Linda J
        June 5, 2012, 1:46 am

        It means Norman doesn’t want Palestinians to appeal to a broader audience (like all Americans) on the issues of the boycott. He wants Palestinians to only appeal to up the limits set by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. In other words, they do not get to determine their own fate. Sorry to upset you so!

      • jamiesw
        June 5, 2012, 7:16 pm

        He is making an argument about the basis on which mainstream American liberals *can* and *can’t* be successfully reached.

        The question of the basis on which Palestinians and others might *want* to successfully reach American liberals is important for when we face a choice between different bases on which American liberals *can* be reached. That is, where we face a choice between two or more strategies all of which could successfully reach our target constituencies, then clearly we should go for the one that most approximates to the basis we prefer.

        But the question of *want* doesn’t arise in cases of *can’t*: if Americans *can’t* be reached on a particular basis (e.g. on the basis of a call for a 1SS), then whether one does or doesn’t *want* to reach them on that basis is irrelevant.

        So I think you’ve misunderstood Norman’s argument here.

    • aiman
      June 4, 2012, 10:10 pm

      I haven’t yet read Abuminah’s piece yet, but the major problem with Finkelstein’s reading is that the alternative he presents is itself unrealistic. Adam points out:

      “Finkelstein asks Palestinians to sacrifice this power for what is politically feasible at this time, regardless if it is even possible on the ground.”

      The BDS, irrespective of what it is capable of, is something I think Gandhi himself would have supported, Gandhi who Finkelstein admires. Tolstoy, one of the most critically reflective (a rarer virtue for a writer than any) and anti-ethnocentric of writers, who empathised with Jewish suffering at the hands of oppression and persecution, would have angrily summoned his pen in defence of Palestinian rights. The BDS is an experiment in truth, the agency of the oppressed. It is also partly responsible for shaking up Zionism’s hornet nest and spurring disoriented liberal Zionists to start thinking seriously.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 2:48 am

        “Finkelstein asks Palestinians to sacrifice this power for what is politically feasible at this time, regardless if it is even possible on the ground.”

        Israel butchered 1440 Palestinians in Operation Cast Lead and has gotten away with it so far. Whatever the Palestinians have, it doesn’t translate into power.

        In 2009 the majority of experts and government officials around the world agreed that, technically speaking, Palestine was still not a State. So when the US refused to discuss Security Council action on the war crimes and crimes against humanity outlined in the Goldstone report, the Palestinians were prevented from taking any action through their own government.

        The vote to admit Palestine as a full member state of UNESCO represented a sea change, even though nothing had changed on the ground. Now the majority of experts and officials around the world agree that, technically speaking, Palestine is a state with the capacity to pursue claims in connection with those war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel has committed on its territory. The consensus of opinion is that an upgrade in its observer status at the UN is not required, but that an upgrade would dispose of any remaining skeptics.

        For years Charles Taylor, the Liberian President, enjoyed almost complete impunity. After years of civil war, he agreed to go into exile in exchange for promises of immunity from prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity. However the concept of amnesty or any statutory limitations for the most serious international crimes is extremely controversial. Taylor was just convicted in connection with crimes committed against the people of the neighboring state of Sierra Leone. The 64 year-old Taylor was sentenced to 50 years. Finkelstein is asking Palestinians to accept the international consensus in exchange for the power to do something similar.

        When the officials of the government of Isreal can’t safely travel beyond their own borders and they face trials in absentia around the globe, that will provide a powerful catalyst to alter the status quo. However effective BDS and Apartheid week have become, they have not yet forced the US or Israel to abandon the status quo.

      • aiman
        June 5, 2012, 7:22 am

        You bring some important points. However, what has ever brought the US or Israel to abandon the status quo? One of the major errors of this analysis — and here I dissociate from any position one 1state or 2state on which I don’t have any opinion or the interest of an opinion — is that it positions BDS as an isolated movement rather than one of the active limbs, even be it as small as one of the fingers on Finkelstein’s hand with which he counted its successes, in the worldwide human rights movement that has been exposed to graphic media images and bad PR handling by Israel, human stories that have struck a chord with people. One can do a media analysis, but televisions have also failed to avoid these “human stories”, of war and destruction, since 9/11, and attacks on UN facilities. IMO the liberal establishment managed the PR of the Iraq war extremely well and largely blew out the human stories. Not so with Israel. A thesis can perhaps answer this question.

        BDS arises out of that exposure to world events. even though Abuminah and Barghouti were opposed to the UN vote, I disagreed and personally supported it as it recognised that Palestinians “existed”. The symbol, in my view, was very important, even as reality eluded us. So the voting at the UN to recognise Palestine was not unrelated to BDS in any far-fetched way. BDS is part of a larger movement and interest in social justice worldwide. It doesn’t start and end with Israel. BDS is no more cultist than an animal rights movement which have good, ethical young people in western democracies thinking about the world in critical terms, of their privilege and hoping for better. Chomsky may say they are being hypocritical for not boycotting sweatshops, too, and it is like breaking shop windows (a metaphor for breaking through the discourse set by Chomsky et al.), they should just wait till the state passes legislation that people decrease their meat intake so animals are not crammed into small spaces to meet the demand. But it goes much deeper than that. I know Indigenous activists who only rally for Indigenous rights. There are some things people do care about more, it is based on their sense of the world and justice. If you ask them, most will also condemn injustice everywhere, even though they may be limited by discourses on the left. This does not mean they want to destroy Israel and all the rest.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 9:14 am

        You bring some important points. However, what has ever brought the US or Israel to abandon the status quo?

        The minute the Rome Statute was adopted over US and Israeli objections, both countries started campaigning against the dangers posed by the new Court and began looking for ways to avoid its jurisdiction.

        Netanyahu and his cronies are used to doing whatever they like in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem. Both Jordan and Palestine have accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC, unlike the other neighboring Arab states. If Palestine becomes a member or its declaration is accepted by the Assembly of State Parties, then any crimes committed on its territory will automatically be within the jurisdiction of the international court.

        Netanyahu or other ministers will face the prospect of dodging arrest warrants and hefty jail terms if they continue to do outlandish things like building thousands of new units in illegal settlements, constructing walls the ICJ has declared illegal, condone settler violence, and using armed force, collective punishment, and persecution as formal parts of Israel’s government policies.

    • Daniel Rich
      June 4, 2012, 10:11 pm

      @ jamiesw,

      Q: we should want to appeal to a mainstream public

      R: That’s pretty condescending and who has elevated you to hover above the ‘mainstream public?’

      As far as I’m aware, I’m part of that as well. Aren’t you?

      • jamiesw
        June 5, 2012, 7:09 pm

        No, on this issue I’m not part of the mainstream public: I’m part of a political minority that is trying to get the mainstream public to adopt and act on my ideas. If I was already part of the mainstream public on this issue, we probably wouldn’t be having this debate, because the conflict would probably have been over by now.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 4, 2012, 11:40 pm

      it also means not being agnostic on the question of Israel. It means not being fuzzy or evasive about the final settlement we have in mind, but on the contrary, openly calling for people to mobilise around the two-state settlement as a goal.

      jamie, i think adam had a point when he cited barghouti about the overwhelming number of Palestinian organizations that endorsed the BDS call support two states. where i think finkelstein is mistaken is painting the bds movement with a broad brush. where i think he is unrealistic is thinking the international community can be unified around one or two states when it is not our call to make. plus, a lot of people really are agnostic. they want the occupation to end, they want everyone to have equal rights, and they either don’t care or don’t think it is their business to even have a say in what they consider a palestinian movement. if palestinians are not unified around one or two states, how can one expect ‘the international community’ to be? but he thinks we are (actually i think he realizes we are not, but that’s another story) and he thinks we are in a cult like way.

      the thing that works for me about bds is it applies pressure for israel to change in a way that brings a tangible outcome, that will spread and grow over time. also, i think it is incorrect to assume there will naturally be a revulsion that will turn people off. norm cites gandhi about ‘the maximum you can hope for in a given context’ and ‘public opinion’. here is where i begin to diverge with norm. i don’t think things have a chance of changing tomorrow, so i do not think the setting of the ‘given context’ is today. i think it is down the road when the pressure is built, so i think it is more a matter of predicting where public opinion will be in a few years. and i think it will move. international law may not move, congress may not move, institutions may not move, but public opinion is and it will continue to move in our direction away from zionism.

      plus, we do have extremists on the far right and they have a lot of airtime. they are public and published saying palestinians already have a state in jordan and ‘judea and samaria’ are jewish land and jerusalem should be an undivided jewish city. two states is not a compromise between the occupation and the extreme right position. it is not a ‘balanced’ compromise between one state of all jews between the river and the sea and one state with everyone of equal rights between the river and the sea. it is a compromise between one state of all jews between the river and the sea and one state of all palestinians between the river and the sea. so in this regard bds has no equivalence to the extreme rightwing opinion in this debate, because nowhere does bds advocate all jews move out of the region. that would be a cult positions in the same way ultra zionists are a cult.

      if we’re going to address international law, and he does, then we shouldn’t be pressuring palestinians to give up their rights or aspirations for the moderate position of equal rights. we should be assuming, when we predict where public opinion will be down the road, when change will occur, that there will be a large faction supporting the moderate position of equal rights for everyone from the river two the sea. only then will two states on 67 borders will be seen in it’s true context, which is, in itself, a much bigger compromise for palestinians than it is for israeli jews because it affords israelis the annexation of 67. i think norm is wrong about the maximum we can hope for in the given context of tomorrow. at the rate israel is imploding coupled with the growth of bds, the strength of the bds campaign for non palestinians is in the agnostic position. it is not our place to tell palestinians what to think and/or negotiate.

      being agnostic is not fuzzy or evasive, for me, it’s about being honest. i really am agnostic. calling for people to mobilize around the two-state settlement as a goal, if it is not ones goal, is dishonest and won’t work. the goal should be to mobilize people over what they agree on. i agree the most effective non violent resistance is a boycott against israel.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 1:34 am

        being agnostic is not fuzzy or evasive, for me, it’s about being honest. i really am agnostic. calling for people to mobilize around the two-state settlement as a goal, if it is not ones goal, is dishonest and won’t work. the goal should be to mobilize people over what they agree on.

        But if you’re an agnostic Palestinian, you’re actually maintaining a belligerent state and belligerent claim in violation of existing UN Security Council and General Assembly Emergency Special Session resolutions, e.g. A/RES/ES-10/15 of 2 August 2004 link to unispal.un.org

        The international community of states have dictated a two state solution with equal rights on the basis of existing international law and international agreements. Israel can’t be required to terminate its state of belligerency or belligerent claims until all of the parties to the conflict recognize its sovereignty and territorial integrity inside pre-67 armistice lines. That’s not an option, it’s been a Chapter VII legal mandate ever since Security Council resolution 338 was adopted in 1973. The two state solution was officially adopted in resolutions like SC resolution 1515 and 1860.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 5, 2012, 12:08 pm

        But if you’re an agnostic Palestinian, you’re actually maintaining a belligerent state and belligerent claim in violation of existing UN Security Council and General Assembly Emergency Special Session resolutions

        i did specifically say the strength of the bds campaign for non palestinians is in the agnostic position.

        wrt palestinians, i doubt many of them are agnostic. they are likely divided, which is why the campaign doesn’t take a position on one or two states. that doesn’t mean the individual supporters are agnostic.

        i explained in my article ‘the trap’ (which i have linked to repeatedly) that i would support two states. although at this point it’s hard to really get behind an idea i sense may be impossible at this juncture because i do not believe israel will allow it.

        you can place all your ducks in a row legally and politically but if there is no will to carry it out it will not matter how many laws you have. right now, israel won’t allow it and there is no political power willing to confront israel, therefore the laws are ineffective. however, someday someone will stop israel. but what may transpire between then and now will impact the outcome. there’s nothing morally wrong with accepting any just solution that brings about equal rights, imho. the point of bds is to pressure israel to the point of compliance with a just solution. that pressure may provoke them to even worse unspeakable crimes. those crimes may backfire in ways we cannot predict but i do believe there will be a leveling, a balance.

        i am not sure what damage a belligerent claim in violation of existing resolutions causes. if a palestinian wants one state that ‘claim’, today, will have no effect. either way i think the best way forward is to work thru existing structures at the UN (which i explained in the comment section of the article i referenced). i think once palestinians exhaust all legal remedy thru the UN and israel refuses to comply with any/everything..there will be a recourse and we cannot predict what that recourse will be.

      • ritzl
        June 5, 2012, 12:18 pm

        Well said, Annie. You’re outlining the operable distinctions and dynamics, imho.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 5, 2012, 1:03 pm

        thank you ritzl. i try. also, i am aware of my limitations wrt comprehending all the legal aspects. but i try to keep in mind the future works in magical surprising ways. things we never expect to happen happen. truth becomes exposed and change occurs, often unpredictably. the mind is a curious thing and nothing changes things the way mass consciousness does.

        i am an ordinary person and have a lot of faith in common sense and the common wo/man.

      • ritzl
        June 5, 2012, 1:16 pm

        @Annie Yeah well, you do OK. :) You and Hostage (and everyone…) are doing a great job here, again imho, merging seemingly competing “ends” into a more complete description of the problem/opportunity than NF (w/respect) has posed. I’m learning a lot from it.

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 12:57 am

      That’s what the 2SS entails. You haven’t really challenged this argument at all here.

      Because it can’t be challenged in line with existing UN SC resolutions, like 242, 338, 1515, and 1860. There are a plethora of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and binding international agreements, based upon those resolutions, that remain in full legal force and effect. Those resolutions and agreements unambiguously require all of the parties to the conflict to recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State of Israel as part of the final settlement. That’s not some sort of vaguely defined aim, its a non-negotiable legal obligation. You can’t seriously engage in talk about securing “rights in accordance with international law” and still reserve your position about the continuing existence of the State of Israel. That’s a complete non-sequitur.

      Nothing in those resolutions and agreements requires anyone to accept Israel or Palestine as Jewish-only or Palestinian-only states. In fact, the applicable resolutions and international law have required the exact opposite from the very outset. Chomsky and Finkelstein have both explicitly rejected the claim that Israel is the State of the Jewish people. It’s embarrassing to hear people compare them to Benny Morris. Both men have unequivocally stated that equal rights for everyone is the ultimate goal. Chomsky has stated that two states with equality of rights is a logical precursor that would make a single state solution possible.

      Ilan Pappé, Noam Chomsky, and Frank Barat are hardly at each other’s throats, they were co-authors of Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians.

      • jamiesw
        June 5, 2012, 7:24 pm

        Agreed, obviously – maybe it’d be worth you doing a post above the line on MW going through all the UN documents, ICJ ruling, etc. that support Palestinian claims vis-a-vis the occupation, and showing how in each case they are based explicitly on the 2SS paradigm.

    • Inanna
      June 5, 2012, 11:19 pm

      I have a lot of problems with the approach you and Finkelstein are taking – I prefer more materialist explanators of change for a start and I don’t believe that when you use words like ‘cult’ and ‘historically criminal’ to describe the positions of your allies that this is actually conducive to good relations with one’s allies. But the most basic really is that Palestine was given away by a foreign power to another group of people who pushed the Palestinians out and won’t let them go home. Finkelstein is telling them now that you can’t expect to go home because external opinion does not agree with you. Why on earth should Palestinians accept what he has to say? The kindest response I can come up with right now is ‘toz’. A non-obscene all-purpose Levantine Arabic response that I think sums up what the Arab response to Finkelstein’s views would be.

    • Inanna
      June 5, 2012, 11:56 pm

      What also bugs me about Finkelstein’s position is the lack of understanding either power relationships or how negotiations are conducted. Part of what the resistance movement and BDS is about is attempting to address the power imbalance such that in negotiations, the Palestinians will have a more powerful hand and thus able to make a better deal. Why is Finkelstein therefore encouraging them to lower their initial position? To one that would allow the Israelis, who already have the upper hand, to maintain the rights and privileges they have at the expense of Palestinians? I’m reminded of MLK Jr’s Letter from a Birmingham jail about white liberals.

      I personally don’t believe that public opinion in the US will do anything about the Palestinian question. The changes that will continue from the Arab Spring over the next few years and the impact of changes to existing peace treaties in the region as well as the waning of American economic and military power and the rise of China and other countries will be what brings about changes to western support of Israel and the oil dictators of the Middle East. I would add to that the corruption of Israeli society from maintaining the occupation and long-denied guilt of the price paid to create the Jewish state.

      My own prediction is that Israel is another crusader state that will not last. And one of the main reasons is that Israel won’t accommodate itself to the region. The strength of Levantine society is that it can absorb and has absorbed many conquerors and influences. But if they don’t become a part of us, they get spat back out.

  9. HarryLaw
    June 4, 2012, 7:59 pm

    I cannot see why people are getting hot under the collar about Professor Finkelstein, he has not changed his position, everything he advocates is to be based on International Law to which end he quotes HRW,UNGA and the ICJ and a settlement based on the 67 borders, then he said “who could not support BDS of course you should” he then said that Israel is a legal state, and that reality must be faced by Israels opponents. My only critisism is he does get too hung up with the minority view one staters in the BDS, some individuals in the leadership perhaps, but thats Norman, he is a one off, who like myself could never be a good member of a committee, and as his own political origins which were not exactly mainstream, some kind of Maoism or such like, it is frustrating for him to hear some people in BDS [ in his opinion] taking those same wrong steps that he took when he was young and naive

    • Daniel Rich
      June 4, 2012, 9:13 pm

      @ HarryLaw,

      Q: it is frustrating for him to hear some people in BDS [ in his opinion] taking those same wrong steps that he took when he was young and naive

      R: Where I come from that’s called a ‘learning curve.’ Do you really need any diktat from the elders to be right?

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 1:14 am

      I cannot see why people are getting hot under the collar about Professor Finkelstein

      I can”t either. Ali Abunimah’s father was a member of the Jordanian UN delegation. Do you really think he is unaware of the fact that the two state solution is enshrined in the current law of the United Nations through GA resolution 181 (II), and Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1515, and 1860? He talks as if all of that hard-won international consensus can be reversed or simply turned on a dime. Finkelstein is saying that it would be a crime if we miss the a historic opportunity to accept the public international consensus. I agree. Precious human lives are still being lost nearly everyday, while the armchair generals argue over the minutia of imaginary property settlements.

      • aiman
        June 5, 2012, 3:33 am

        Fair enough on the critique of Abuminah (nobody is above critique), but can you tell us more about this historic opportunity that we are about to miss? Not being sarcastic, just curious.

        Finkelstein says: “There you have it, Palestinians. If you continue to insist on rights for all Palestinians, you are committing a crime.” Perhaps what is largely at fault here is the method of engaging. Also why doesn’t Finkelstein provide us with the broader changes taking place other than the thesis also provided by Beinart. It has been noted here that it is essentially an American conversation and will not affect the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 8:46 am

        BDS is an appropriate response to political problems. It is not appropriate for bringing the officials responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice. The Palestinians and the international legal community have signaled a readiness to go around the Security Council and begin using the tools of the international criminal justice system, when and where it’s appropriate, in order to help protect the vulnerable civilian population of the occupied territories from further criminal abuses. I’ve commented about this in the past, but here is another one: link to mondoweiss.net

  10. Madrid
    June 4, 2012, 8:40 pm

    At the time of Finkelstein’s tenure battle– at the end of it (he had by this time already lost the battle), someone in the Depaul administration released an anonymous statement that Depaul had information that they could not be specific about (in terms of sources, etc) that Finkelstein was not in reality what he was presenting himself as, seeming to imply that Finkelstein had another agenda. At the time, I dismissed this anonymous statement as a last ditch attempt to turn around a PR disaster for the university, but is it possible that there was something to that statement? Is it possible that Finkelstein had some other agenda, and the university found out about it?

    Certain things about Finkelstein stand out as strange: 1. the batsh-t crazy way in which he has organized his blog– he regularly throws around Nazi holocaust analogies that he and he only seems to find funny, analogies that simply confuse the issues he is seemingly trying to highlight. 2. he went to Lebanon and actively endorsed Hezbollah’s violent cause at the same time that he was writing a book on Gandhi. 3. He has a habit of making provocative statements just for the sake of being provocative– like this one– that he seems to know will annoy and embarrass his allies. 4. His speaking-style is obnoxious and offputting, and he has done nothing to mitigate this style.

    Finally, I don’t agree with him that anyone important or people in large numbers in this country or pretty much any other western country are listening to the Pro-Palestinian movement. Where is he getting this, that there is an opportunity for Pro-Palestinians to be “listened” to? Phil and others (Finklestein included) who have valiently been pushing this movement are just as marginalized as ever.

    I think that Israel is in trouble not because of any sea-change in Western attitudes, but because of the Arab uprisings and because oil is an increasingly valuable and rare commodity that the West is going to need, thus giving Arab countries more leverage. Also, the threat of a nuclear Iran has caused lots of Israeli dual citizens to think really clearly about whether they and their familes want to live in a country where they might face nuclear annihilation at any moment. Such Israelis also don’t like the rise of Orthodox jewry and the growing Arab population either, so they move. There are also questions about whether the US and its allies are wealthy enough to continue to input the tremendous amounts of energy and resources necessary to continue supporting this boondoggle of a country. These are the things that threaten Israel as the zionist state, not Western main-stream opinion, which has hardly budged over the past 20 years.

    • Madrid
      June 4, 2012, 9:09 pm

      As if to encapsulate exactly what I am talking about, there is the following article in FP, discussing a necessary American pivot to Asia:

      link to foreignpolicy.com

      But the US can’t pivot to Asia if it needs to defend Israel’s backyard from every prospective threat (I’m saying this, not the article). Additionally, let’s say that the US pivots to the seas surround China. Who says that China may not “pivot” to the middle east in response? And the fact is, China may already be doing so…

      The professor of middle east studies that has his office near me goes to Saudi every summer and says that all of the construction and oil services tech that iare used there is Chinese now, where as only ten years ago it was American and French and British. In other words, the US faces real threats to its hegemony, which Israel threatens. This is what will stop Israel, not mainstream Jewish or larger Western opinion.

    • yourstruly
      June 5, 2012, 11:00 am

      since previous comments on mw have noted polls which indicate circa 70% of americans are indifferent on the i/p issue, isn’t it assuming a lot to expect the public to involve itself in the one state-two state question? advocates for one or the other, yes, as a few decades ago on the question of who represents the chinese people, mainland china or taiwan, an issue which dissipated as soon as the u.s. established diplomatic relations with the mainland government and, at the same time downgraded its connections to the taiwan government, such that today anyone calling for our government to reverse its decision vis-a-vis who represents mainland china would be considered a jokester. so since the public doesn’t give a damn however many states, israel-palestine, isn’t it an exercise in self-indulgence for us to belabor the issue? how then to get the public’s attention? that’s easy, we go after israel firster for the traitors they are, for the wars they’ve promoted that are the reason “they” (the arab/islamic world) hate us, that endanger our troops in afghanistan, not to mention an iran war which would put a nuclear winter on the calendar. and if at the same time we call for the cancellation of the odious u.s.-israel special relationship, now there’s something which is sure to get the attention of the american people……..

      • Madrid
        June 5, 2012, 1:48 pm

        Agreed– the “Israel firster” argument has been a much more effective …

  11. dbroncos
    June 4, 2012, 9:26 pm

    The 2ss is dead, not because some Palestinians or international activists said so, but because Israel has made it so. 20 years ago, when Bush Sr. kicked off what would become the 2ss peace process, there were 120,000 settlers in the OT’s. Now there are some 500,000 settlers (!) and more are moving in every day. Not since ’48, not even once, not EVER has Israel shown any signs that they are willing to recognize a Palestinian state that would be recognizable as such to any serious, sober person. Some say Rabin was up to doing what needed to be done, but we’ll never know will we? Finklestein may believe that a 2ss should be the goal because its easier to swallow, because so much rhetoric has been invested in the concept. The Israeli government thinks otherwise and thats where he’s pointing his critique in the wrong direction. Palestinian rights activists who make proposals about what should be or could be aren’t the people who are wrecking grief and destruction on an entire nation. They’re not cementing in place an infrasructure of fascism that priviledges Jews and Jews only in an exclusive Jewish state – a Jewish state in the “Lands of Israel” where Jews are fast approaching MINORITY STATUS.

    Israel is a labyrinth penal conlony that is too expensive, too complicated, too absurd (in a grotesque kind of way), and too immoral to survive as it is. The weight of it all is too heavy for Israelis, let alone the West, to support indefinately. 1ss, 2ss, some combination -who knows what Israelis and Palestinians will agree to when that day comes. For the time being, it would be more constructive for Finkelstien to focus on what is being done by Israel, rather than what is being said by BDS representatives. BDS is demonstrably committed to justice, not ethnic cleansing. The same can’t be said of Israel.

  12. Sherri Munnerlyn
    June 4, 2012, 10:06 pm

    I do not think a one state solution is inconsistent with international law. If one reads the historical documents on the UNISPAL website, you will find that the Mandates were set up to ultimately give the indigenous peoples a right of self determination to govern their lands that were the subject of the respective Mandates. There were promises made to do this, in agreements between nations at the end of World War I, that were the basis for the Mandates. The Balfour Declaration arguably was not even lawful, that is pointed out in these documents, and the problem with it is Britian/The United Kingdom never had sovereign rights in the lands inside the Mandate for Palestine, they were Administrators/Trustees. They had no authority to give the land to others, besides the indigenous peoples of Palestine. With this as the starting point, it becomes evident the people of the land have a right of self determination and both a one state and a two state solution potentially give effect to those rights.

    link to unispal.un.org

    link to unispal.un.org

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 3:31 am

      I do not think a one state solution is inconsistent with international law.

      The members of the United Nations have agreed to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council when it is acting on their behalf in its role of maintaining international peace and security. See Article 24 and 25 of the UN Charter. link to yale.edu

      So a one state solution would be inconsistent with the treaty obligations of the member states under the terms of UN Security Council resolutions 62, 73, 242, 338, 1515, and 1860. For that reason alone, it is also inconsistent with the Camp David framework agreement, the Oslo Accords, the Quartet Performance based Road map for a two state solution, and the terms of reference of the Annapolis Conference.

      In order to change the status quo (more apartheid), you’d need to get the P-5 to formally adopt the one state solution. I’m guessing that AIPAC would employ the full court press and lobby for a US veto to prevent that from happening.

    • MHughes976
      June 5, 2012, 9:31 am

      I’m in agreement with you, Sherilyn, or would go beyond you. To my mind compulsory partition was a breach of the duty of sovereigns, thus of moral law – the law of rational morality, the law (say some) of God – so serious that no international consensus in favour of living with its results could be valid.
      To say that we should all comply with international consensus (which when formulated becomes international law) and that only the 2ss could embody this compliance is to say that both the Israelis and the Palestinians have an overriding duty to accept some form of it. I couldn’t press this demand on the Palestinians, most especially not in the form of the ‘classic’ 2ss in which the division of territory and resources is so screamingly unfair, massively in favour of the dominant minority.
      The Palestinians have never (no surprise here) ever asked for my advice, perhaps not even for Finkelstein’s. It’s not as if I/he/we were negotiating for them. We’re giving them moral support. In that role, we might ask them to be flexible in negotiations, as perhaps everyone should be. But that is different from firm pressure to make certain huge and specific concessions, pressure we should not exert. We should confine ourselves to saying, in season and out of season, that they are in the right: a system based on discrimination by ancestry and on river to sea minority rule ought to end – and in taking such non-violent action as we think may help our cause in the West. Not that the dreadful situation will end or begin to end at any early moment.

  13. dbroncos
    June 4, 2012, 10:11 pm

    Another frusterating aspect to Finkelstien’s critique is that he shifts the focus away from the injustices committed by Israel and towards the “historically criminal” demands for justice on the part of Palestinians. This kind of textbook misdirection would make any hasbarista proud.

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 4:26 am

      Another frusterating aspect to Finkelstien’s critique is that he shifts the focus away from the injustices committed by Israel and towards the “historically criminal” demands for justice on the part of Palestinians.

      Ali Abunimah does exactly the same when he lectures others about international law. If there really is such a thing as international law, then why prevent it from being employed? There is a parallel here to the situation Luther described in the 95 Theses: Therefore I claim that the pope has no jurisdiction over Purgatory. … If the pope does have power to release anyone from Purgatory, why in the name of love does he not abolish Purgatory by letting everyone out?

      Last year the President and the Prosecutor of the ICC both publicly stated that if a simple majority of the General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to that of an observer state, then it could join the ICC and all crimes committed by Israel on its territory since 2002 could be investigated and the responsible officials brought to justice. A simple majority of UN member states present and voting in the General Assembly supposedly has the power to finally subject the officials of the State of Israel to the global criminal jurisdiction of the ICC or the individual Courts of its 121 member states.

      Under the customary rules of international law reflected in Article 81 and 83 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and its own standing rules of procedure, State members of any UN specialized agency (like UNESCO) are automatically placed into a category of States that the General Assembly must invite to participate in the business of its international diplomatic conferences of plenipotentiaries.

      For example, the General Assembly, in resolution 52/160 of 15 December 1997, decided to hold the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, open to all States Members of the United Nations or members of the UN specialized agencies, including UNESCO.

      Ali Abunimah, Israel, and the United States know perfectly well that the vote to admit Palestine as a full member state of UNESCO has made it inevitable for the General Assembly to eventually recognize Palestine as a State in the normal course of its business. Why waste so much time and energy shreying about the dangers of that happening if you are honestly neutral about the possibility of a 2SS?

  14. Sumud
    June 4, 2012, 10:30 pm

    5:25 Norman says:

    The victory is what the law says – when Israel packs up it’s bag and leaves from where it doesn’t belong.

    There is a contradiction in what Norman says and I’d be interested to hear his response.

    He says “international law” and to him that means 1967 borders, but another person says “international law” and that means full implementation of UN194 – Right of Return, for all Palestinian refugees from Israel, to Israel. That will likely result in a Palestinian majority in Israel, and in the long run unification of Israel and Palestine into a single state.

    Both are valid positions. And both positions can claim – as Norman does – that it’s not their personal position, merely they want to see international law implemented.

    I’ve seen Norman’s eloquent take on RoR, that it is an uncontroversial and undeniable right that can be settled by full RoR or by financial or other types of settlements, well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it:

    Palestinian Right of Return – Norman Finkelstein

    I agree, and have no ideological conviction for one- or two-states. I think a Palestinian state is now a practical impossibility however. But, precisely because of Norman’s clip above I see BDS’ goals can be achieved in either one- or two-states.

    The stumbling block I have is that Norman seems to have adopted the “no partner for peace” hasbara line when talking about the BDS Movement. It’s hardly as if Israel is just dying to empty the settlements and go back to Israel, but that is how it is framed; as if one-state BDS proponents are turning away from a golden opportunity.

    But there is no golden opportunity; Israel is as intransigent as ever, even more so during Obama’s presidency. The whole one-state/two-state argument is extremely messy, a mine-field I think is best avoided.

    BDS is designed by Palestinians as a unifying movement for all Palestinians, hence the three aims as Adam lists above for each Palestinian population group:
    1. those in the OPTs
    2. Palestinian Israelis
    3. Palestinian refugees
    If BDS Movement were to adopt a single or two-state solution, consensus about it among Palestinians would collapse. It’s not only how BDS presents to the outside world – Norman’s focus – but the empowering and unifying aspect of it for Palestinians. For example, I believe BDS has played a role in Palestinians deciding to move from militant to non-militant resistance.

    It also trancends factional politics, and as a non-violent grass-roots movement is impervious to geo-political manoeuvring. Think about the unsuccessful Fatah/Israel/US/Egypt coup attempt against Hamas after the elections in 2006/7, and the damage it inflicted on Palestinian unity. There’s no way those players can interfere with the BDS Movement similarly, but if BDS were to adopt a one- to two-state platform the disunity that would create is ripe for exploitation. Best avoided.

    Phil ~ you are suggestible, and that openness is admirable, but chew on this: Norman turns to you after watching 5 Broken Cameras and says:

    Phil, what do you think the appeal of the film would be if they said they wanted the West Bank, Gaza and Israel?

    I think that is a rather disingenuous way of framing those advocating a one-state solution. One state BDS’ers are not talking about “the suitcase or the coffin”, as per Algeria.

    How would you have responded if Norman has said:

    Phil, what do you think the appeal of the film would be if they said they wanted to live side-by-side as equal citizens with Israelis in a new state called the Republic of Jerusalem?

    One State is sinister – or not – depending on how you frame it. If the state is called neither “Israel” or “Palestine” but something neutral like “Jerusalem” it can become a desirable goal for both Israelis and Palestinians interested in harmonious co-existence. Neither side is victorious, neither side loses – except the extremists, who lose equally.

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 5:13 am

      There is a contradiction in what Norman says and I’d be interested to hear his response.

      There’s no real contradiction in what he said. Resolution194 contains an algorithm with conditional branches. The first sieve in the algorithm limits the RoR to non-belligerents willing to live in peace with their neighbors. It makes the final decision to either opt for return or payment of compensation a matter of private discretion that is not in the hands of the state parties.

      He said:

      The consensus is clear. It’s a two state settlement under June 1967 borders, and a just settlement of the refugee question, based upon the right of return and compensation. That’s the limit of opinion. Do my personal views go beyond that limit? Yes they do.

      –http://youtu.be/xC2bSOkSqYE#t=2m27s

      • Sumud
        June 5, 2012, 9:47 am

        Ok Hostage I’ll rephrase that: there are multiple outcomes possible if you say you are for resolving the issue on the basis of international law.

        Maybe I should have said there is a contradiction which Norman hasn’t addressed.

        NF has one interpretation – he is right of course that it is a consensus position – and it is based on 1967 lines. If I understand it correctly he thinks compensation is a more likely outcome rather than actual RoR. He even implies his own opinions differ from that. Fair enough. The point is NF has selected what he believes is the most achievable outcome, because there is consensus on multiple fronts.

        There are a growing number of people who, unlike NF, think the 2 state solution is practically impossible. Those people are probably more likely to support full right of return and eventually a single state with equal rights for all. Wanting full RoR is a valid position supported by UN194 – a minority of militants who won’t “live in peace” aside.

        Two lines of thought invoking international law, with different outcomes.

        Norman declares supporting anything outside consensus position os historically criminal. That’s a bit melodramatic. In 1975 there was no consensus for a 2 state solution. Times change.

        Practically, I don’t think it matters a whit the amount of consensus that exists for the two state solution – for 60+ years israel has been working to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian state, and they’re not about to roll over now. The only power that could possibly force that is the US by withdrawing the SC veto and how likely do you think that is? Not very likely.

        I’ve seen NF refer to viability of evacuating the settlements; and that if the IDF exited the West Bank the settlements would quickly empty of settlers. True, I’m sure – but who is going force the IDF to exit the West Bank? Nobody will and nobody can.

        So I just can’t agree with NF when he says we must support the two state solution. It’s a trap designed by zionists to buy more time so they can further tighten their grip on the OPTs.

        I’d like Norman to start exploring some practical alternatives to the two state solution. I’d also like to him to have a think about why he objects so strongly to the BDS Movement not adopting a 1 or 2 state platform. As I wrote above there are a lot of practical reasons to avoid that altogether.

        Personally, I don’t think BDS being a rights-based movement is limiting it’s success. I may be wrong, but people understand the concept of BDS because of South Africa. Civil rights for Palestinians if it comes to that, because of Jim Crow and 50s/60s America. They get it. Don’t underestimate average people. The consensus position has failed to produce results, hasn’t it?

        *And I think describing BDS as a cult is bizarre. I don’t know where that’s coming from. It disturbs me a bit. There is more going on here than I think NF is disclosing.

      • yourstruly
        June 5, 2012, 11:29 am

        cult (free online dictionary) – a religious or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.

        since no way does this fit the bds movement, how & why does n.f. use it to characterise said movement?

      • Sumud
        June 5, 2012, 12:09 pm

        The consensus position has failed to produce results, hasn’t it?

        I thought I’d quote myself then answer by own question :-)

        Having read over the rest of the comments Hostage, a few times you refer to the Palestinians needing to start pursing Israel in the ICC. I don’t think anybody involved in BDS would disagree with you on the urgency of that. So there is work to be done and the consensus position may yet yield results.

        But, isn’t it frustrating that Abbas doesn’t just get moving on the ICC? People are turning away from the two state solution because they can’t see any light at the end of that tunnel. Maybe you & NF can because you have a better grasp on the legal aspects.

      • ritzl
        June 5, 2012, 12:41 pm

        “get moving?” I wonder that myself. If it only takes 50%+1 in the UNGA to gain standing, it seems like that’s doable, tomorrow. Somehow the reality, though, seems to revolve around money, specifically US defunding both the PA and the UN (in whole or part).

        “light…” So right. It would be useful and maybe motivating to know whether the path from here (dead halt/going backwards) to there (ICC standing and prosecutions) is an achievable 3 step/1 year process or a 300 step/interminable process.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 1:42 pm

        Don’t underestimate average people. The consensus position has failed to produce results, hasn’t it?

        Consensus said that apartheid should be established as a general denomination of international crime without any geographical nexus. Consensus said that the existing paradigm, which only permitted prosecution of crimes against humanity in cases where a nexus could be established to an armed conflict was obsolete. It became generally recognized that a government could commit crimes against its own or neighboring populations outside the context of the battlefield. Consensus said that a permanent international criminal court should be established to put an end to impunity. All of those things were crystallized after the fall of apartheid in South Africa, when the Rome Statute entered into effect in 2002.

        The Baltic States, Namibia, and East Timor emerged as independent states decades after theywere written off and it had been declared “too late” to save them. They had either been annexed or converted into Bantustans by racists or ideological fanatics and despots.

  15. eGuard
    June 4, 2012, 11:35 pm

    Let’s ask Peter Beinart. He’d be surprised in which ear he hears Finkelstein talk.

    And after that, it is just a we-Jews talk. You know: “liberal” Jews so as to differ intellectually from “Apartheid” Jews. And sell books.

  16. David Samel
    June 5, 2012, 12:02 am

    There is a lot to criticize in Finkelstein’s position, but I tend to agree with him on one detail. It seems to me that the BDS movement, in demanding “the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” impliedly endorses the one-state solution. Is it possible for a Jewish State to provide such equality? I think the answer is obvious. However, the irreconcilable inconsistency between a Jewish State and a state of true equality for all citizens is one that Finkelstein himself steadfastly refuses to face, ironically, since he accuses BDS of refusing to face the implications of its own demands. Moreover, BDS’s insistence on equality can hardly be faulted — it seems an inviolable principle in the 21st century — and it puts opponents in an uncomfortable position. How does one accuse BDS of advocating the “destruction” or even the dissolution of the Jewish State by simply demanding equality? That just doesn’t sound good from a PR standpoint.

    Also, Ali A. makes a great point about NF being simply wrong about “the law” requiring the continued existence of the Jewish State, though my guess is that he is more mistaken than deliberately misleading.

    I must say it is sad to see these two moral giants publicly feuding like this, but Norman’s smug arrogance does invite this kind of response.

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 5:49 am

      However, the irreconcilable inconsistency between a Jewish State and a state of true equality for all citizens is one that Finkelstein himself steadfastly refuses to face.

      No he has always stated that the ultimate goal is freeing the Palestinian people from their bondage and obtaining legal equality (more below). Even in the article where he supposedly said goodbye to Israel bashing, he bashed Israel and put the blame for the conflict on Israel. Here is an extract from the Haaretz article:

      Leftist-turned-rightist historian Benny Morris, who gets a whole chapter in the book, said once that “for Finkelstein the only good Israeli is an evil Israeli.” Is he right?

      “I don’t claim to know Israel. I don’t speak Hebrew, my contacts are pretty limited. But I didn’t know Vietnam, I didn’t know Nicaragua, El Salvador or Honduras. It doesn’t mean you can’t reach your conclusions. I don’t study cafe life in Tel Aviv. I visited Israel every year for 16 years until I was denied entrance in 2008. I don’t feel particularly attached to Israel – nationalism, as Noam Chomsky said, is not my cup of tea – but I feel no particular need to demonize it. I do feel a certain amount of disgust, that’s for sure. If my focus was on any other country’s human rights violations, I would be as appalled and disgusted. It’s just unacceptable, and you can’t make excuses for that with ‘other people do it.’ You probably will find the comparison offensive – it’s like going to my parents in the Warsaw ghetto and asking, what do you think about the Volkswagen? Isn’t it great? Don’t ask people in Iraq or Afghanistan to praise Hollywood, or whether Whitney Houston did a beautiful rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

      Why does he put the blame solely on Israel?

      “Because I don’t think both sides are equally responsible. If I were a Palestinian I wouldn’t have accepted what was offered at Camp David. On the critical issues, the Palestinians have been willing to make far greater concessions than are required to by [international] law – 60 percent of settlers to remain in place, largest Jerusalem in Israel’s history. How can a rational person conclude that the Palestinians bear responsibility for the non-resolution of this conflict?”

      How about the violence against civilians they turned to after Camp David?

      “International law says people fighting for self-determination can use force in order to achieve their independence.”

      And targeting civilians?

      “They do not have the right to target the civilian population.

      link to haaretz.com

      Here is his position on right of return:

      A broad international consensus has also crystallized upholding the Palestinian “right of return.” We have already seen that the annual United Nations resolution, supported overwhelmingly by member States, calls for a settlement of the refugee question on the basis of resolution 194, which “resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for property of those choosing not to return.” In addition, respected human rights organizations “urge Israel to recognize the right to return for those Palestinians, and their descendants, who fled from
      territory that is now within the State of Israel, and who have maintained appropriate links with that territory” (Human Rights Watch), and “call for Palestinians who fled or were expelled from Israel, the West Bank or Gaza Strip, along with those of their descendants who have maintained genuine links with the area, to be able to exercise their right to return” (Amnesty International).

      Here is the real application of Gandhi’s beliefs:

      Gandhi translated satyagraha as “hold on to the truth.” Herewith is our challenge: to hold on to the truth that what Israel has done to the Palestinians is wrong; to hold on to the truth that Israel’s refusal, backed by the U.S., to respect international law and the considered opinion of humankind is the sole obstacle to putting an end, finally, to their suffering.
      We can win if we hold on to the truth, and if, as the Negro spiritual put it with cognate wisdom, we “keep our eyes on the prize, and hold on.” That is, if we keep remembering what the struggle—the prize—is all about: not theoretical fad or intellectual provocation, not holier-than-thou radical posturing, but—however humdrum, however prosaic, by comparison—freeing the Palestinian people from their bondage. And then to hold on, to be ready for sacrifice and
      for the long haul—do I dare mention the example of Hezbollah’s heroic resistance?—but also, and especially, to be humble in the knowledge that for those of us living in North America and Europe, the burdens pale next to those borne daily by the people of Palestine. Whenever I harbor doubts about holding on, whenever I contemplate moving on in life, I see in my mind’s eye a dear friend and comrade
      who lives in Hebron where he is the field representative for an Israeli-based human rights organization, and hear his words in my head. My friend Musa, who grew up in a refugee camp, told me once, “The past 38 years should have been the best in my life. But I honestly cannot remember a single happy day.” To forsake those trapped in abject distress would be yet more wrong. Where was the world during the Nazi holocaust?, we still ask. Where is the world now?
      Has the Palestinian struggle gone on too long? Has it become boring and passé? Has the time come to move on? But the Palestinian people continue to be ground under, the merciless Israeli juggernaut keeps pressing on, confiscating yet more land, demolishing yet more homes, destroying yet more lives. The time now is not to move on—but to hold on!

      link to normanfinkelstein.com

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 7:01 am

      Also, Ali A. makes a great point about NF being simply wrong about “the law” requiring the continued existence of the Jewish State

      I don’t see how Finkelstein is “effectively” asking the Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish State. International law is already raising and addressing the issue of apartheid in the State of Israel, through the human rights treaty monitoring bodies. There are several articles on EI about the CERD panel’s closing observations on the subject of racial discrimination and apartheid:
      UN body “appalled” by Israel’s racial segregation policies.
      link to electronicintifada.net
      The UN Anti-Racism Committee questions Israel’s policy of apartheid
      link to electronicintifada.net

      I think that the legal requirements of international law do guarantee the continued existence of the State of Israel. Starting with Security Council resolution 242:

      Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires . . .
      *Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
      *Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

      Judge Roslyn Higgins addressed that very point in her separate opinion in the 2004 Wall case. She summed-up the legal requirements under the terms of 242 and the Quartet Road map (resolution 1515):

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

      link to icj-cij.org

      Resolution 242 and 338 have been enshrined in customary and conventional international law as the legal framework for peace 1) through policy statements made by the parties; and 2) explicit references in the Camp David Accords, the Oslo Agreements, the Middle East Quartet’s Performance based Road map for the Two State solution, and the terms of reference for the Annapolis Conference.

  17. Joseph Glatzer
    June 5, 2012, 12:38 am

    As I mentioned months and months ago, Finkelstein is an enemy of the Palestinians and their movement for liberation (although many didn’t agree with me). Apparently some people still don’t see this. I assume Finkelstein’s criticisms of the BDS movement and Palestinians themselves will only get worse and more unhinged from here on out. Finkelstein is the epitome of the “white moderate” mentioned in MLK’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail.

    • Sherri Munnerlyn
      June 5, 2012, 11:15 am

      Those white moderates just could not get rid of their sense of superiority over the black man. It was taught to them, ingrained in them, bred into them, look at their family trees, you cannot find a branch that you do not see slave ownership in, see things like wills specifying which heir inherits which slave. You also cannot find a branch where war was not glorified, tombstones proclaiming the man’s accomplishments, as a soldier. The challenge for all of us is to break free of all of that, the sins of our ancestors. And this challenge is one we deal with each and every day of our lives. It seems to me Finkelstein has forgotten about matters he once seemed to understand, and has become enslaved by the legacy left to him by his ancestors.

      • Joseph Glatzer
        June 6, 2012, 10:33 am

        Exactly. Watch that interview. It becomes a Jewish conversation and Palestinians are erased. He mentions Western and Israeli human rights groups influencing American Jews. He does not mention Palestinian groups or Palestinian activists as having influenced anyone. Is what you can convince American Jews to accept the just solution to the situation? This is the same as MLK moderating his “extreme” demands to meet the approval of the “white moderate”. It is not justice, that’s for sure! Finkelstein needs to put his Western identity aside for a moment and take the lead from Palestinians, instead of expecting them to take the lead from him. Until that happens, he is an enemy of Palestinians because he is against the assertion of their rights.

  18. giladg
    June 5, 2012, 2:18 am

    Finkelstein again throws the 1967 hand grenade and avoids mention of the hot potato. What about The Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews? We know what he will say. He will say that as this is on the non Israeli side of the 67 line, then so be it. And this is where Obama and Finkelstein will continue to insure that peace never happens. Where they should be putting all their energy into is calling for the Palestinians to drop any thought of sovereignty over the Temple Mount and accept special access arrangements instead. Until the Temple Mount arrangement is resolved, every, and I mean every, other understanding and agreement between the sides is temporary, and therefor meaningless in the context of long term peace. Wake up Finkelstein! Wake up pseudo liberal Jews who think they are advancing world peace by supporting the Palestinians. You think you understand the conflict but you don’t and you are helping no one.

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 7:29 am

      And this is where Obama and Finkelstein will continue to insure that peace never happens.

      You Israelis have already claimed that spot for yourselves. I would be willing to bet that your officials would be more amenable to the idea of negotiations aimed at sharing Jerusalem if the International Criminal Court started issuing arrest warrants for officials responsible for annexing portions of the west Bank to Jerusalem and constructing thousands of illegal units in portions of the City that were captured in 1967. A few Interpol red notices might work wonders.

      • giladg
        June 5, 2012, 8:45 am

        Hostage, do you not have any demands on the Palestinians? Pass Go and collect $200.
        Do any Palestinian supports have significant demands from the Palestinians, where they need to show flexibility to Israel, of your own? Can you share them with us?

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 11:11 am

        Hostage, do you not have any demands on the Palestinians?

        They have already filed a declaration that accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC for all crimes committed on their territory since the Rome Statute entered into force in July of 2002. That declaration is not limited in scope to Israeli crimes only.

        Palestine is fully represented in the League of Arab States and its Secretariat. The League sent its own international fact finding mission, lead by Judge John Dugard, into Gaza after Operation Cast Lead. The report was turned over to the ICC Prosecutor. Like Dugard’s many UN reports, it found that members of the Palestinian militias that fired mortars and rockets into Israel should be investigated and prosecuted for serious war crimes.

        The Justice Minister in Gaza asked the UN Human Rights Commission to follow-up on the Palestinian responses to the Goldstone report. It contained similar findings regarding war crimes committed by the Palestinian militias. Goldstone had recommended that the UN follow-up, and in the event impartial inquires were not conducted, he advised that the matter be transferred to the International Criminal Court. link to israel-palestinenews.org

        I’m satisfied that an effort will be made to investigate and prosecute the responsible Palestinians if the Court takes-up the situation in Palestine.

    • seafoid
      June 5, 2012, 9:32 am

      “What about The Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews?”

      It should get the same treatment as Ararat, the holy mountain of the Armenians.
      It’s in a neighbouring country.

  19. FreddyV
    June 5, 2012, 4:41 am

    There’s a whole lot of talk on this thread and I think this illustrates Finklestein’s point.

    The facts in law are there. Expecting Israel to have an awakening and suddenly start behaving in a benevolent manner towards the Palestinians is nothing more than an act of faith, irrespective of how effective BDS becomes. They’d rather take Masada than do something they feel will destroy them.

    Law demands 2SS and ROR. That is what should be pressed for. The many nuances and demands people make is muddying any chance of resolution. Let’s be honest. Zionism is far from the most honest ideology and if you can’t pin it down it’ll keep dragging this thing out forever. It’s been doing it for 64 years.

    It’s a bit like watching a boxing match where one side is obeying the rules and the other constantly jumps out of the ring and hits below the belt.

    Simple facts and course of action:

    Go to court on 2SS
    Go to court on ROR.

    Once Zionism is made to play by the rules, then matters can be addressed. This could be resolved by 1SS on the basis of ROR.

    The problem with Norm is that he’s a polemicist and not a salesman. His method’s have served him well in debate, but he’s not going to convince anyone with his stance and criticism of the BDS movement. He needs a PR person.

    • Fredblogs
      June 5, 2012, 1:17 pm

      Don’t bother. Israel doesn’t agree that the law requires RoR and if they thought it did they’d tell the “law” to go hang. No one with the power to avoid it is going to commit suicide just because someone else’s interpretation of the law says they should. So proceed on the assumption that RoR to Israel is never going to happen and work from there. Anything else is a fantasy.

      • FreddyV
        June 6, 2012, 8:03 am

        UN Resolution 194 says otherwise and that’s the point.

        ROR doesn’t have to be recognised in it’s literal sense, but can be addressed in the form of reparations and the International Community should be forcing this and the 2SS within the boundaries of law. This is Finkelstein’s point.

      • Fredblogs
        June 6, 2012, 10:50 am

        U.N. resolutions are suggestions, not laws and it says nothing about nth generation descendants of refugees. Or refugees who _don’t_ want to live in peace with their neighbors.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 6, 2012, 11:34 am

        False, and false. Further, if an individual does not wish to live in peace and the state can establish that, then their right of return must be stayed until the time when they are ready to do so.

      • sardelapasti
        June 6, 2012, 11:53 am

        “U.N. resolutions are suggestions, not laws”
        Like the recognition of the shitty little Zionist entity

        “it says nothing about nth generation descendants of refugees”
        Like the Khazar zealots of the 99th generation?

        “Or refugees who _don’t_ want to live in peace with their neighbors.”
        Like being in an ininterrupted state of war against the owners of the land, having started at least six major agggressions against neighbors, maintaining a nuclear arsenal, trying to start another major war?

      • Talkback
        June 6, 2012, 11:59 am

        Fredblogs says:
        “U.N. resolutions are suggestions, not laws …”

        General Assembly resolutions can make recommendations based on law. In this case it was based on human right and international law.

        “… and it says nothing about nth generation descendants of refugees.”

        It doesn’t have to, it’s common refugee practice under UNRWA and UNHCR which you could know by now, if you weren’t suffering from hasbara autism.

      • Hostage
        June 7, 2012, 7:55 am

        U.N. resolutions are suggestions, not laws and it says nothing about nth generation descendants of refugees. Or refugees who _don’t_ want to live in peace with their neighbors.

        Judge Hersh Lauterpacht noted that each member had granted the Organization such legal capacity as may be necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfilment of its purposes in its own territory (Article 104) and that the requirement that it give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes (Article 2(5)) was a treaty obligation with legal effects and consequences (more below).

        The General Assembly has an annual ritual of reaffirming its important decisions and those of the Security Council regarding Palestine. The requirement for the parties to implement a just settlement for the refugees in accordance with resolution 194 (III) was affirmed, by both the General Assembly and the Security Council, on a yearly basis from 1949 to 1967, and periodically thereafter. The Security Council had cited it in several Chapter VII resolutions, e.g. See UN Security Council resolution 73 with regard to fulfilling the wishes of the General Assembly regarding the final settlement (para 1) and the work of the Palestine Conciliation Commission (para 7). link to un.org

        In the “Voting Procedure” case, Judge Lauterpacht noted that the General Assembly can adopt binding resolutions in accordance with the Charter. However he also addressed the difference between the “Cumulative Legal effect” of a succession of recommendations, on the same subject and with regard to the same State, solemnly reaffirmed by the General Assembly as opposed to a resolution of a binding character:

        ‘[A] … State may not be acting illegally by declining to act on a recommendation or series of recommendations on the same subject. But in so doing it acts at its peril when a point is reached when the cumulative effect of the persistent disregard of the articulate opinion of the Organization is such as to foster the conviction that the State in question has become guilty of disloyalty to the principles and purposes of the Charter. Thus [a] . . . State which consistently sets itself above the solemnly and repeatedly expressed judgment of the Organization in particular as that judgment approximates to unanimity, may find that it has overstepped the imperceptible line between impropriety and illegality, between discretion and arbitrariness, between the exercise of the legal right to disregard the recommendation and the abuse of that right, and that it has exposed itself to consequences legitimately following as a legal sanction.

        –See pdf file page 61 of 68 link to icj-cij.org

        It really makes no difference if these were originally binding decisions or mere recommendations at this point in time. The General Assembly placed minority property and civil rights in Palestine under its own protection in line with its Charter functions and powers regarding non-self-governing territories subject to an international trust. Israel accepted and acknowledged that legal situation in its own declarations and undertakings. The General Assembly created the PCC, the UNRWA, the UNHCR and convened the Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries that codified the 1951 Refugee Convention in line with its powers and functions under the UN Charter. Any State that constantly challenges the settled judgment of the General Assembly regarding the status of the refugees under the rules of its subsidiary organs, and the international laws that it has codified, is engaging in illegal behavior.

      • Blake
        June 8, 2012, 1:15 pm

        Amen. Who never consented to them being there in the 1st place.

  20. Shmuel
    June 5, 2012, 7:35 am

    It seems to me that Finkelstein is mixing apples and oranges. The precise political arrangement (including the number of states) is entirely a matter for negotiation – which, hopefully, will be based on international law. BDS, as a movement, does not demand a single state, because it is not its place to do so. Were BDS advocating a political solution, Finkelstein would be right in asking what it offers Israelis. But that is simply not what it is about. It is a Palestinian initiated and led-movement advocating Palestinian rights, which continue to be violated. A boycott of Israel to pressure that country to ensure respect of its own rights that may or may not be violated at a future date, if and when Palestinian negotiators decide to insist on a single-state solution is absurd.

    Where Finkelstein does have a point is that strategies that focus on the post-67 occupation are far clearer in international law and public opinion and thus, far more likely to have an impact and create momentum. But he doesn’t need to tell that to the BDS movement, which focuses almost exclusively on the post-67 occupation – on complicity with that occupation by Israeli academic and cultural institutions, and by companies such as Caterpillar, Veolia and Pizzarotti, for their involvement in that occupation. I have yet to come across a BDS initiative focusing on ROR – let alone the type of political solution it envisages and what will be in it for both sides. A political solution is another issue (one from which BDS has intentionally detached itself, due to the past failure and bleak prospects of the negotiation process), which can be approached from various perspectives. None of this has anything to do with BDS’s supposed “agnosticism”.

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 9:30 am

      The precise political arrangement (including the number of states) is entirely a matter for negotiation

      The minimum number of states required under the terms of reference contained in the Middle East Quartet’s Performance based Road Map for a Two State Solution is still the number two.

      UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/48/158D, 20 December 1993 stipulated:

      (c) Guaranteeing arrangements for peace and security of all States in
      the region, including those named in resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947,
      within secure and internationally recognized boundaries;

      (d) Resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees in conformity with
      General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, and subsequent
      relevant resolutions;

      (e) Resolving the problem of the Israeli settlements, which are
      illegal and an obstacle to peace, in conformity with relevant United Nations
      resolutions;

      link to un.org

      Resolution 181(II) partitioned Palestine into two states, one named the Jewish State and one named the Arab State. Equal rights for minorities, women, and religious groups were placed under UN guarantee.

      • Shmuel
        June 5, 2012, 9:42 am

        The minimum number of states required under the terms of reference contained in the Middle East Quartet’s Performance based Road Map for a Two State Solution is still the number two.

        Should the parties negotiate a solution that better meets the needs of both sides, the requirements of international law and reality on the ground, I’m sure the UNGA would not stand in their way.

        It goes without saying, that the “Road Map for a Two State Solution” proposes two states, just as a “Road Map for a One State Solution” would propose one state.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 1:04 pm

        Should the parties negotiate a solution that better meets the needs of both sides, the requirements of international law and reality on the ground, I’m sure the UNGA would not stand in their way.

        The deadlines for a negotiated settlement on Palestinian autonomy or self-determination contained in Carter’s Camp David Accords, the Oslo Accords, the Quartet Road Map, and the Annapolis Conference have all come and gone with no settlement in sight.

        Here is the latest deadline:

        It is easy to understand the deep frustration of the Palestinian leaders, who cannot continue to accept the unbearable status quo indefinitely. The international community must therefore take bold and urgent action to break the deadlock while the two-State solution can still be salvaged. In addition, the Quartet and its regional partners must remain firmly resolved to enforce the deadline set for the end of 2012 to reach the long-awaited agreement.

        link to unispal.un.org

        I’d put my money on a room full of chimps with typewriters. If the Quartet P-5 aren’t still actively blocking the UN statehood bid by the end of the year, it’ll be a bigger miracle than the proverbial loaves and the fishes.

        By that time the Palestinian leaders should have already taken action to break the status quo by obtaining a simple majority vote from the General Assembly upgrading the status of Palestine and using that status in-turn to join the ICC. If they don’t do that, it truly will be “historically criminal”. They’ll essentially asking more people to die waiting for a one state solution to materialize and somehow stop the violence.

      • Shmuel
        June 5, 2012, 1:23 pm

        The deadlines for a negotiated settlement on Palestinian autonomy or self-determination contained in Carter’s Camp David Accords, the Oslo Accords, the Quartet Road Map, and the Annapolis Conference have all come and gone with no settlement in sight.

        My point exactly.

    • Avi_G.
      June 5, 2012, 11:16 am

      It seems to me that Finkelstein is mixing apples and oranges.

      While one can’t speculate as to the reason behind this, it is quite possible that Finkelstein is so consumed by the end of a Jewish-only Israel that he is unconsciously associating the BDS movement and its goals with whatever worst-case-scenario he has worked out in his head, probably because he knows that BDS can be effective in bringing pressure to bear.

      Otherwise, I can’t think of any other explanation at the moment as to why Finkelstein has ‘misunderstood’ BDS to the extent that he has.

  21. Pat Carmeli
    June 5, 2012, 7:53 am

    I’m not new to activism for Palestinian Rights. What I find so disturbing is the internal attacks one sect of activists wages on another they don’t totally agree with. Norman Finkelstein has my respect, as does Ali Abunimah. Why can’t we remain focused on one main objective: ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian State? One State, two states? How long can the Palestinians continue to live in hell while we argue what would be best for THEM. There’s no one opinion on that issue even from the Palestinians. Why should activists on their behalves have to agree on every tactic? Even in my own local Israel/Palestine peace group, sides are forming. How can we expect to defeat the racism and hatred bred from the power that Israel lauds over the occupied, when we spend so much time tearing each other apart – like children fighting in the playground? Grow up and get back to the important business at hand: alerting our neighbors to the truth of the Occupation and imploring them to do everything possible to make it stop – whether that is BDS – or – adherence to the rule of law, as Finkelstein suggests.

    • yourstruly
      June 5, 2012, 11:49 am

      what will make it stop is public action here in the u.s. of a. that forces our government to stop its unconditional support of the apartheid entity israel. this + bds, that is.

      • MHughes976
        June 5, 2012, 12:44 pm

        Ending the occupation is not at all the same thing as ending ‘the apartheid entity’ (not that I think ‘apartheid’ quite the right word) and there is debate about the idea of ending the occupation while perpetuating its source. Given an important issue or question reformist movements, especially if it’s a way-out bunch like us, usually split and start scratching each other amid much mockery from the mainstream, which is held together so firmly by unquestioned ideology and by self-interest. One of those things. Being in a near (though not quite) hopeless minority is a pain.

      • yourstruly
        June 5, 2012, 1:53 pm

        you’re right but can the occupation can be ended without undoing the zionist entity?

      • MHughes976
        June 7, 2012, 6:05 pm

        For my part, I don’t think so – I don’t expect success in ending the occupation, which is not really an occupation at all. What we have on both sides of the Green Line is an attempt not to occupy but to conquer, an attempt which has reached different stages in different places.
        The opposite view is expressed in today’s Independent by Avraham Burg, whose name crops up on Mondoweiss sometimes. AB proclaims himself a Zionist, which some have doubted. But he says that he wants to end the occupation – and as a step towards that to support specific marking of trans-Green Line goods – in order to save Israel. Ho hum. How the cold blasts of despair blow over us when we read these expressions of controlled semi-humanist sentiments.

      • Hostage
        June 8, 2012, 4:55 pm

        Ending the occupation is not at all the same thing as ending ‘the apartheid entity’ (not that I think ‘apartheid’ quite the right word) and there is debate about the idea of ending the occupation while perpetuating its source.

        The Commentary on Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention, Article 85 of the 1st Additional Protocol, the UN Convention on Statutory Limitations, and studies conducted by experts, like Lemkin’s Axis Rule in Occupied Europe or SOAS/HSRC “Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?,” have one thing in common. They all recognize the interrelatedness in actual practice of a process of military occupation; forced eviction; colonization; and resulting apartheid, genocide, or both.

        The illusion that the definition of apartheid fits in the occupied territories, but not in Israel, only exists because the enormous numbers of refugees wishing to return to their homes were subjected to a policy of Grand Apartheid or martial law – lasting for decades – which literally removed them from the local landscape. The Israelis use a multi-tiered regime of ethnic domination against Palestinians in Israel proper, Palestinians in the West Bank, Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Palestinians in Gaza, and Palestinian refugees in the neighboring states. The desired result is to destroy them as a cohesive national group and remove them from the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life. That’s apartheid, and in a few cases, genocide.

      • RudyM
        June 5, 2012, 5:42 pm

        I’m coming around to the view that the best way to win the support of the U.S. public for the Palestinian cause is to expose Israeli/Zionist crime and negative influence in the U.S. Documenting or simply publicizing Zionist treachery, espionage, blackmail, the $3 billion+ a year, etc. might be the thing to push conservatives out of the pro-Israel fold.

        Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure the most devastating information is classified.

    • American
      June 5, 2012, 1:12 pm

      What I find so disturbing is the internal attacks one sect of activists wages on another they don’t totally agree with. Norman Finkelstein has my respect, as does Ali Abunimah. Why can’t we remain focused on one main objective: ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian State? One State, two states? How long can the Palestinians continue to live in hell while we argue what would be best for THEM.”…Pat

      EXACTLY.

  22. Talkback
    June 5, 2012, 8:18 am

    Finkelstein finally realized that he’s a typical Zionist to whom Jewishness (of a state) is more important than human rights.

    • Kathleen
      June 5, 2012, 2:59 pm

      “to whom Jewishness (of a state) is more important than human rights”Think you have something there.

      Although I think it may be some of us that are realizing that he may be a solid member of the Zionist “cult.” Not sure how typical.

  23. Kathleen
    June 5, 2012, 9:20 am

    I have always appreciated Finkelstein’s hammering to focus on the law in regard to the I/P issue. BUT when Israel has confiscated internationally recognized Palestinians land in the West Bank and built and expand illegal settlements and illegal housing in E Jerusalem what does he expect? Israel is moving the ball towards a one state solution. Which clearly Finkelstein does not want.

    What does Finkelstein say about the “right of return”? Law or that Palestinian should negotiate. Have you ever heard Finkelstein call Zionism a cult?

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 9:50 am

      when Israel has confiscated internationally recognized Palestinians land in the West Bank and built and expand illegal settlements and illegal housing in E Jerusalem what does he expect?

      You talk as if he were the one asking that we take an informal political approach. That’s what BDS is.

      He expects that we’ll enforce existing international law through treaty bodies that include a criminal court with formal jurisdiction over those crimes that you’ve mentioned.

      The written complaints of the Palestinian, Lebanese, and Syrian governments in the 2004 Wall case listed examples of nearly all of the constituent acts of the crime of apartheid. Those allegations were affirmed in the Court’s findings of fact. The UN treaty bodies have subsequent documented a number of state practices that violate the prohibition of apartheid. Palestinian society can sponsor Apartheid Week every year, or it can have its government introduce a General assembly resolution that grants it observer state status and pursue formal charges of apartheid against the responsible Israeli officials in the ICC.

      • Shingo
        June 5, 2012, 10:04 am

        Hostage,

        May I ask you why Fink seems to ignore UNGA194? If he’s such a stickler for international law, then why not this too?

      • Talkback
        June 5, 2012, 1:11 pm

        Shingo says: “May I ask you why Fink seems to ignore UNGA194? If he’s such a stickler for international law, then why not this too?”

        Because UNGAR 194 is not good for the Jews. And Finkelstein has to cherrypick international law like a typical Zionist: If his opinion is not in line with international law than international law is not “practical”.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 3:06 pm

        Hostage, . . . May I ask you why Fink seems to ignore UNGA194? If he’s such a stickler for international law, then why not this too?

        Okay. One of the commentators here said there was a contradiction in his position because it left out right of return or somehow interpreted it differently. I supplied a link to the exact minute and second in the video where he said:

        The consensus is clear. It’s a two state settlement under June 1967 borders, and a just settlement of the refugee question, based upon the right of return and compensation. That’s the limit of opinion. Do my personal views go beyond that limit? Yes they do.

        link to youtu.be

        Here is his verbatim position on resolution 194(III):

        A broad international consensus has also crystallized upholding the Palestinian “right of return.” We have already seen that the annual United Nations resolution, supported overwhelmingly by member States, calls for a settlement of the refugee question on the basis of resolution 194, which “resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for property of those choosing not to return.” In addition, respected human rights organizations “urge Israel to recognize the right to return for those Palestinians, and their descendants, who fled from territory that is now within the State of Israel, and who have maintained appropriate links with that territory” (Human Rights Watch), and “call for Palestinians who fled or were expelled from Israel, the West Bank or Gaza Strip, along with those of their descendants who have maintained genuine links with the area, to be able to exercise their right to return” (Amnesty International).

        The resolution used the term final “settlement” and did not establish a completely unqualified right of return. A good faith interpretation requires as a minimum a clear relinquishment of any belligerent rights on the part of the repatriated individuals as a condition of return.

        The General Assembly established a new subsidiary organ, the PCC, charged with facilitating 1) repatriation; 2) resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of refugees; and 3) the payment of compensation.

        People who are repatriated are no longer refugees. Any arrangement regarding compensation for citizens is a matter essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the State. People who are resettled elsewhere and provided with economic and social rehabilitation are still considered refugees. Any arrangement for compensation of refugees is essentially an international matter that has to be addressed in a settlement.

        Resolution 194 (III) does not address the subject of subsequent generations. While they remain refugees and are entitled to opt for resettlement and compensation, it isn’t clear if family unification remains a determining factor for purposes of right of return after displaced parents have passed away or in cases where no other close family members remain in Palestine. Finkelstein uses Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as examples of the “limit of opinion”. Both organizations are discussing return to the territory of Israel and stressing cases of refugees or descendants who have “maintained links with the territory”. In Demopoulos and Others v. Turkey et al, decision of 1 March 2010, — ECHR 2010 the EU Human rights Court rejected a petition based upon the right of return to occupied areas of northern Cyprus. The Court’s decision was based upon the passage of time, the arrival of new generations, and the lack of any remaining links to the territory. The Court instructed the victims to present their claims to the compensation commissions of the de facto government:
        *link to humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.com
        *link to korbelsecurity.wordpress.com

        So Finkelstein is not ignoring the terms of resolution or the consensus of opinion regarding its meaning in international law.

      • Kathleen
        June 5, 2012, 11:03 am

        “He expects that we’ll enforce existing international law through treaty bodies that include a criminal court with formal jurisdiction over those crimes that you’ve mentioned.”

        How do you get Israel into an international criminal court setting?

        I know he is all about international law and decisions made by international bodies but where have we seen any evidence or movement towards enforcement of those decisions?

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 3:32 pm

        How do you get Israel into an international criminal court setting?

        You don’t. The Nuremberg Principles hold that certain acts always give rise to individual criminal responsibility:

        “The very idea that states commit crimes is a fiction. Crimes are always committed by persons. Men who exercised great power cannot be allowed to shift their responsibilities on the fictional state which cannot be produced for trial”

        The jurisdiction of the ICC is strictly limited to “natural persons”, not states. The Court doesn’t have its own police force, so it relies on its members and other states to make arrests or employ their agreements on extradition. The Prosecutor would ask the Court to issue arrest warrants on the responsible government officials. If the Court agrees, the 121 member states are advised and the Court requests that Interpol issue a “Red Notice” to seek the arrest and surrender of the wanted person into the custody of the Court. So personal or business trips to the EU and most of the rest of the world would suddenly be impossible and the official would remain a wanted fugitive for the rest of their life.

      • American
        June 5, 2012, 1:27 pm

        “He expects that we’ll enforce existing international law through treaty bodies that include a criminal court with formal jurisdiction over those crimes that you’ve mentioned.”..Hostage

        A lot of us ‘expected’ that…but it’s not working is it?
        In Israel’s case the UN and law hasn’t worked in 65 years.
        Palestine has 88% vanished while giving the law time to work.

      • MHughes976
        June 5, 2012, 3:15 pm

        And a ‘solution’ based on keeping, in a rather remote sense of keeping, an ever-diminishing 12% of the territory where you have every right to live won’t in any sense at all work or be practical.

      • Hostage
        June 5, 2012, 4:02 pm

        In Israel’s case the UN and law hasn’t worked in 65 years.

        No, political pressure, terrorism, and grass roots efforts have failed to work for 65 years.

        There were no international criminal courts with general jurisdiction that could prosecute Israeli officials until July of 2002. The Court had to setup rules of evidence and procedure and conduct a preliminary analysis and investigation before it could take any action. It really only started prosecuting cases in 2005. In the case of Palestine, there was no basis for the exercise of jurisdiction until the PA stepped forward and provided a declaration in 2009. The Prosecutor was required to wait until after Israel had concluded its own investigation and the UN follow-up was complete. In the meantime, Israel and its allies conducted a behind the scenes legal challenge to the validity of Palestine’s declaration. The current Prosecutor refused to launch an investigation unless the General Assembly recognizes Palestine as an observer state. His term expires this month and his replacement hasn’t weighed-in on the subject.

  24. evets
    June 5, 2012, 10:10 am

    Adam –

    Can you sketch out a scenario in which full RoR leads to a meaningful two-state solution (i.e. two states with different demographics and orientations, stably co-existing). The idea seems disingenuous, and Finkelstein is right to denounce it as such.

    Those who support full RoR should simply admit that this approach entails one state. That admission would strengthen the other BDS arguments (remove the hint of naivete or disingenuousness). It would also help to describe how the one state takes shape without descending into civil war. I don’t ask for this facetiously. It’s necessary to show that there’s some feasible plan.

    • Shmuel
      June 5, 2012, 10:54 am

      evets,

      I know the question was addressed to Adam, but I’d like to add my two cents.

      Finkelstein (not unlike the Arab peace plan), refers to “a just solution to the refugee problem, based on Resolution 194 and compensation”. A “just solution to the refugee problem” that would not be inconsistent with a 2ss (or the goals of BDS) would entail Israeli recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to areas within Israel, with things such as rates, numbers, absorption programmes, funding, alternative options, etc. to be negotiated, taking the expected impact on Israeli society and economy into consideration. In other words, a “just solution to the refugee problem, based on Resolution 194″, does not necessarily imply a single state or two Palestinian states.

      Would implementation of return (even gradual and well-planned) be easier or harder in the context of a single state? Would a resolution to the problem of Israeli settlements be easier or harder in a single state? As you suggest, a lot would depend on the nature of the single state. Both Barghouti and Abunimah have outlined their visions of a single state, as have other Palestinians, such as Ahmed Moor, here at MW. BDS however, operates on a far more basic plane, trying to raise awareness of Palestinian rights and create widespread international pressure on Israel to stop violating them and to work toward a just resolution. When the international community (more specifically the rich and powerful nations) finally decides to hold Israel to account, there will be no shortage of proposals for equitable political solutions.

    • Fredblogs
      June 5, 2012, 1:21 pm

      Forget it evets. The Palestinian supporters break down into two groups. The ones that acknowledge that RoR means the end of Israel and think it is a good thing, and the ones who pretend that it wouldn’t mean the end of Israel. The ones who pretend it wouldn’t mean the end of Israel always dodge the question of how it would work without destroying Israel.

      • evets
        June 5, 2012, 1:56 pm

        Fred –

        I was once a fervent Zionist and lived in Israel. But time has passed and things have changed. I could now accept a one state solution over the status quo, provided I thought such a solution would not lead to a reprise of the Lebanon Civil War. Despite all the obstacles that have made a just 2ss (I mean truly just) seem nearly impossible, I still believe it’s more realistic. You just can’t overestimate the crookedness of the timber of humanity.

      • Fredblogs
        June 5, 2012, 2:20 pm

        I could now accept a cat, provided that it wasn’t a mammal. The one state solution has two possible outcomes. (1) Jews going meekly to the gas chambers or meekly being expelled from the country to who knows where, or (2) civil war resulting in something looking very much like the status quo, but probably worse for the Palestinians because the Jews will be less inclined to let them stay. We saw this movie in 1948. Didn’t like it then either.

      • evets
        June 5, 2012, 4:59 pm

        ‘ Jews going meekly to the gas chambers or meekly being expelled from the country to who knows where….’

        I’m not feeling the meekness. And the gas chambers reference is beneath you, or should be.

      • andrew r
        June 5, 2012, 5:55 pm

        The one state solution has two possible outcomes. (1) Jews going meekly to the gas chambers or meekly being expelled from the country to who knows where

        I know a good deal of what you learn in US public school is full of crap, or at least whitewashing, but can it really be true the death camps were operated by Palestinians? And it was all just an international conspiracy to make the Germans look bad? Must be that Arab Gulf oil money funding our textbooks.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 5, 2012, 6:12 pm

        “The one state solution has two possible outcomes. (1) Jews going meekly to the gas chambers or meekly being expelled from the country to who knows where, or (2) civil war resulting in something looking very much like the status quo,”

        Damn, you’re such a bigot. How about (3) the Jews share power with the Arabs just as has happen in South Africa and North Ireland. But no, to a bigot like you, you can’t conceive of Arabs being normal people. Fool.

      • seafoid
        June 8, 2012, 6:22 pm

        Fred

        Zionist Jews won’t go to the gas chambers. That is why the IDF is there. The last dregs are going to end up commiting hara kiri on Masada just like Bar Kochba!

      • Hostage
        June 9, 2012, 9:20 pm

        The last dregs are going to end up commiting hara kiri on Masada just like Bar Kochba!

        Bar Kochba was killed at Betar in 135 A.D. The myth of the 10 Martyrs includes a few rabbis who lived long before the conflict between Hadrian and Bar Kochba. So conflating the motives behind the various revolts and the events, from the Maccabees thru to Bar Kochba, is not without precedent in either Judaism or Zionism.

        The myth of mass suicide at Masada was probably invented to discredit the Zealots, that Josephus and other Jews blamed for the destruction of the Temple. Masada was supposedly the last remaining outpost of the Zealots during the revolt of 70 A.D. The Zionists attach great symbolism to the story.

      • eljay
        June 5, 2012, 2:01 pm

        >> The ones that acknowledge that RoR means the end of Israel and think it is a good thing …

        I don’t know that RoR would mean “the end of Israel”, but I’m pretty certain it would mean “the end of Israel as a supremacist state”. That’s a good thing…unless you’re a hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist.

      • justicewillprevail
        June 5, 2012, 5:57 pm

        Fredblag, your ignorance of Palestinians is astounding, your presumption absurd, and your defence of Jews is quite disdainful of them as normal human beings. You apparently know absolutely nothing, and keep demonstrating it with every word that you write. Unfortunately you brag about your crass, simplistic ideas and think that prejudice is something to boast about. How typical.

    • maggielorraine
      June 5, 2012, 4:46 pm

      Evets – when you say “different demographics” you mean Jewish supremacy, no? And what do you mean by “orientations?”

      • evets
        June 5, 2012, 5:41 pm

        I mean two nations whose demographic make-up differs, one primarily Jewish one primarily Palestinian, each with (generally) different cultural ‘orientations’. I’m speaking of both Jewish and Palestinian supremacy, each within its own state — each state treating minorities with full respect, affording them full civil rights. The Palestinian state would not be a harmless caboose; it would not be demilitarized for instance. This is what is generally envisioned as a just two state solution.

        Without the demographic distinction why even entertain such a solution?

      • maggielorraine
        June 8, 2012, 5:13 pm

        Oh I get it. You’re about ethnic supremacy in general, not just Jewish supremacy. Interesting.

        “Without the demographic distinction why even entertain such a solution?”
        Because it’s not about ethnic nationalism, it’s about homes. As in people were ethnically cleansed from their homes, and their homes were stolen by other people, and those homes happen to be in what is now called Israel, and they deserve to have them back.

        And on top of that, what about all those Palestinians living inside Israel already? What do we do with them under this “Jewish” state? What happens when, through natural means, the Jewish population begins to wane in Israel? What just solution could you come up for that scenario? More ethnic cleansing? Preferential legal treatment for Jews? Unfair allocation of state resources to encourage Jewish immigration and discourage non-Jewish population growth? Alienation and discrimination of the non-Jewish community? Oh wait, that’s what Israel already does to maintain its “Jewish” character.

        Nationalism is wrong in and of itself. But ethnic nationalism is even worse because it is inherently exclusivist, and by definition cannot provide for the needs of all of its citizens because it is primarily concerned with the needs and desires of only one class of people. Why the fuck am I still having to explain this to people in 2012?

  25. Polly
    June 5, 2012, 10:26 am

    It’s just flat out disingenuous of Finkelstein to even insinuate that BDS success would spell the end of Israel.
    He knows damn well that even if BDS gains SIGNIFICANT traction it will just usher in a long and drawn out arm wrestle over various degrees of relenting on both sides.
    So if its charter for full right of return is an overreach it won’t matter because it will never get that far. And I don’t think it intends to. And I think Finkelstein knows this too.

    • ritzl
      June 5, 2012, 11:49 am

      Well said on the last part. If one side (Israel) is already claiming it all, then the other side has every right and/or responsibility to also claim it all, and as you say, when BDS gains traction it will supply an element of leverage to settle somewhere in the proverbial, and currently legally-defined and internationally-accepted (as Hostage has laid out upthread), middle (2SS). If one side claims it all and the other side claims half, then the result is about 75/25 (which not so coincidentally is just about where the Israeli-authored version of the 2SS is today).

      BDS is only about shifting power dynamics and an ultimate, bare-knuckle, negotiated outcome, not about envisioned endstate or initial claims, by anybody. I don’t think NF is being disingenuous, because there are elements of practical truth in what he says, but he doesn’t seem to be embracing a particularly holistic view of the current state of affairs.

    • MHughes976
      June 5, 2012, 11:49 am

      Yes and no, I think, BDS is a tactic to bring pressure on Israel. The pressure may never amount to enough to achieve anything at all and even if it is enough to gain some concessions we cannot predict what these concessions may amount to; maybe not much. Still, it isn’t disingenuous to say that if this or any tactic were really to become effective enough to put the Palestinians into a powerful position they might not be content with the miserable 2ss.

    • Fredblogs
      June 5, 2012, 3:08 pm

      @Polly
      Funny how different perspectives work. I think it is disingenuous of BDSers to pretend that giving in on the RoR wouldn’t spell the end of Israel.

      • maggielorraine
        June 5, 2012, 4:53 pm

        The end of Israel? Say what you actually mean Fred. Is the weight of too many non-Jews going to force the ground of Israel to crumble into the sea? Will a marvelous earthquake destroy all the buildings, roads, and cars the second a Palestinian grandmother walks into her childhood home? I don’t think so. What RoR would mean, maybe, depending on how many Palestinians decide to come back rather than taking compensation, and may happen anyway if the non-Jewish birthrate in Israel outpaces the Jewish birth rate, is that Israel will lose its Jewish majority. Freeing the slaves didn’t spell the end of Israel. And rectifying the injustice of the Nakba isn’t going to end anything but ethnocracy.

      • maggielorraine
        June 5, 2012, 6:01 pm

        *didn’t spell the end of the United States

      • RoHa
        June 5, 2012, 10:06 pm

        “the end of Israel”

        You say that as if it were a bad thing. Why would it be bad?

  26. HHM
    June 5, 2012, 10:34 am

    Just what the Palestinians need, an an American Jew telling them how to advocate for their human rights.

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 4:49 pm

      Just what the Palestinians need, an an American Jew telling them how to advocate for their human rights.

      Who do you suppose prepares all of these draft resolutions on the two state solution and co-sponsors them, beside the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN?

      Once again, President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, jailed leader Marwan Barghouti, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Hanan Ashrawi, and Israeli MK Hanan Zoabi have all endorsed the UN bid for recognition of the statehood of Palestine and the two state solution. All of those people were elected to public office during the most recent elections, even if their mandates have now expired. I’ve never heard Ali Abunimah or Omar Barghouti claim to have any support at the ballot box for their political programs.

  27. Blake
    June 5, 2012, 10:40 am

    Ilan Pappé: the boycott will work, an Israeli perspective
    link to ceasefiremagazine.co.uk

    • Sherri Munnerlyn
      June 5, 2012, 1:12 pm

      Ilan Pappe’ has not abandoned the cause for equal rights for Palestinians. I was reading some recent posts by CPT in Hebron, a CPT member speaks about listening to him speak recently and how he is urging activists to keep using the terms Apartheid, Occupation, Ethnic Cleansing, relentlessly. And that is exactly what I think we need to be doing, never forget the truth about what is happening in the Occupation and Palestine, and never stop speaking about it. I am working on developing a habit of never speaking about Israel that I do not also mention the Apartheid and Occupation and Ethnic Cleansing, all of them, in every discussion I have about Israel. I think any discussion about Israel is not genuine that does not address what Israel today is, an Occupier, an Ethnic Cleanser, and an Apartheid State. I do not think it is ethical to buy anything made in Israel or in the Illegal Settlements, go to Israel, or in any way to support that Rogue Nation, who remains in violation of more UN Resolutions then any other Nation. BDS is the only ethical choice for people of conscience.

      CPT witnesses the Occupation, the Apartheid, the Ethnic Cleansing, and they write about witnessing all of this.

      Whether we end up with one state or two states is rather irrelevant, what is important is to keep working to end the human rights abuses of the Occupation, to end the Apartheid, to end the Ethnic Cleansing.

      CPTnet
      26 May 2012
      AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The Israeli Paradigm, Part II

      By an Anonymous CPTer

      In the first part of my reflection, I noted that historian Ilan Pappé challenged us to bring into the discourse of Israel and Palestine the words “Settler-colonialism,” “occupation” and “apartheid” and that the situation in Hebron supports the truth of these words:

      Our neighbor in the old city of Hebron—where her family has lived for hundreds of years— requires a permit to live on Shuhada Street in but cannot go out of her front door. When we walk through our neighborhood, I we see gun watchtowers and checkpoints. On one street running near the Ibrahimi mosque, a concrete barrier divides the street in two. The left half of the street is for Israelis and the right side is for Palestinians. Israelis can drive on their part of the street but the Palestinian side is too narrow for cars.

      When we walk down Shuhada Street, about 200 metres before the checkpoint leading into the Palestinian-controlled area, we come to a staircase on the left-hand side. The Israeli military does not allow Palestinians to walk on the Shuhada Street portion, forcing them, even the elderly, to take stairs to go up around to their houses and to reach the Qurtuba School, adding a lot of time and inconvenience to their journeys. Shuhada Street used to be busy and full of shops; after the massacre of twenty-nine Palestinians at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, the Israeli authorities closed the street to Palestinians.

      The Israeli military does not permit Palestinian vehicles on Shuhada Street, not even emergency vehicles. When one of our partner’s wives was in active labour, he had to carry his wife to the checkpoint to get her into an ambulance. CPTers have witnessed people carrying the dead on their shoulders, because soldiers do not permit hearses up to homes to fetch dead bodies. The Israeli military does not allow Palestinian cars to drive on many streets in Hebron where Israeli cars drive at breakneck speed. Many times, I have sat at the checkpoints during school patrol and my heart has jumped as the settler cars whizz by while Palestinian children are trying to cross the road to attend school

      During my first stint in Hebron, Israelis illegally occupied a house in a Palestinian area. The Israeli military protected the settlers in the house and did not allow Palestinians to walk past the house. Some days, the IDF would let children walk through the car park (parking lot) to reach their school near the house and on other days they had to go through a different checkpoint, taking the long way around another street to reach a school that was just a few metres away.

      In short, Hebron is a microcosm of everything Pappé described in his talk on the Israeli paradigm. It is a place where the lives of Palestinians are taken into consideration by the forces of Israeli Occupation only in the perceived threat they might represent to Israelis. They are objects to control, to separate, nothing more.

      link to cpt.org

    • Fredblogs
      June 5, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Pappe thinks that it will end the occupation. He didn’t say it would get them the right of return. I think as long as BDS includes a call for RoR, it won’t accomplish anything.

      • Blake
        June 8, 2012, 2:14 pm

        C’mon Fred we all know Ilan Pappé wants a one state solution (as do something like 23% of Israeli’s according to the Jerusalem Post)

  28. HarryLaw
    June 5, 2012, 11:07 am

    All the International Laws are in place, the venue at the ICC is up and running and waiting for a “State ” to make a complaint, the Prosecutor has rejected the first Palestinian request to address war crimes in OPT on the spurious grounds that Palestine is not a State insisting that they go to the UNGA and get the neccessary majority of one, ok what are they waiting for, Professor Finkelstein is forever saying just enforce the Law, quite right, but if the Palestinian leadership do not want it enforced [whether because of the political fight that would ensue with the US and the enevitable loss of aid or Israel witholding tax revenues etc] should in no way deter the Palestinians from taking them on, at the moment its all they have got, these threats are tantamount to a thief who has just robbed your house saying do not report me to the police or I will come back and rob you some more, to fold to such pressure would be to say, I have no self respect and I must do what my masters tell me or they will punish me, if thats the case they desearve to be punished, its possible nothing will come of going to the ICC or standing up to the bullies on the block, but not to at least try would be criminal.

  29. Ira Glunts
    June 5, 2012, 11:47 am

    I just think Norman Finkelstein is hurting the cause. Why insult many who are in the vanguard of the movement, especially when there is so much support for BDS among Palestinians? Because NF’s version of the 2-state solution is around the corner and all those crazy BDSers are going to ruin everything for everybody? Please!!!

    I hope that in the future, Dr. Finkelstein will refrain from implying that people like Ali Abunimah and Dr. Mustafa Barghouti are members of a cult that they are making a mistake of historic dimensions. These statements are harmful to the movement, and simply are not true.

    • Shmuel
      June 5, 2012, 12:04 pm

      Well said, Ira.

    • Danaa
      June 5, 2012, 3:25 pm

      I agree as well, Ira. The question in my mind is why does NF feel so compelled to spray paint a battle front only he (and a few, usually jewish, others) can see? what is the point of using incendiary language like “historically criminal”, and “cult”?

      I think there is more underneath this deliberate sword rattling than meets the eye. Maybe it’s just the book pitching which his publisher told him to do. Maybe the Beinart effect (which all the good jewish people on the left are surfing)? but that still doesn’t add up.

      BTW, did anyone else notice the change in Finkelstein’s demeanor in this interview? he smiled much more readily, even chuckling a few times, resorting here and there to those interview gestures meant to create “rapport”? it’s like he had tips from an image consultant, or something. Sure the old, stern NF was still there but with some kind of veneer pulled over it. To me it looked like Finkelstein was playing himself somehow. Am I imagining any of this?

    • Hostage
      June 5, 2012, 7:48 pm

      I hope that in the future, Dr. Finkelstein will refrain from implying that people like Ali Abunimah and Dr. Mustafa Barghouti are members of a cult

      If there is a right of return, then there has to be a corresponding right to a legal remedy when it’s violated. In the case of the Palestinians, The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Minorities, Mr. Eide, have cited the Minority Protection Plan contained in UN General Assembly resolution 181(II) and Mr Abba Eban’s unreserved acceptance of binding obligations to implement resolutions 181 and 194 during the hearings on Israel’s membership in the UN.

      A few years ago, The European Court of Human Rights considered a case that did not involve an agreement on minorities. It held that, despite the Geneva Conventions, and Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, there was no guaranteed right to return to a refugee’s home or the country where it was located:

      Some thirty-five years have elapsed since the applicants lost possession of their property in northern Cyprus in 1974. Generations have passed. The local population has not remained static. Turkish Cypriots who inhabited the north have migrated elsewhere; Turkish-Cypriot refugees from the south have settled in the north; Turkish settlers from Turkey have arrived in large numbers and established their homes. Much Greek-Cypriot property has changed hands at least once, whether by sale, donation or inheritance.

      Thus, the Court finds itself faced with cases burdened with a political, historical and factual complexity flowing from a problem that should have been resolved by all parties assuming full responsibility for finding a solution on a political level. This reality, as well as the passage of time and the continuing evolution of the broader political dispute must inform the Court’s interpretation and application of the Convention which cannot, if it is to be coherent and meaningful, be either static or blind to concrete factual circumstances.

      Shane Hensinger of the Josef Korbel School noted:

      The European Court of Human Rights only has jurisdiction within Europe, so this decision doesn’t apply outside the borders of states which have ratified the treaty establishing the court. But then again – it does. International law is heavily influenced by many sources – decisions like this included. Previous understanding on the “right of return” has been that refugees, no matter the length of time of the conflict, have a right to return to their homes. In the Cypriot case this is outlined in a number of United Nations Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions. But the court has said essentially, that when an alternative remedy is available which is judged to be fair and impartial then refugees must take it – they cannot avail themselves of the court to force ownership of property or physical return to the lands from where they fled. And the IPC is not an open-ended recourse – the court notes that it will no longer take cases after Dec 2011 (37 years after the Turkish invasion).

      The decision will have consequences outside Europe as well and will be closely studied in Israel, where the issue of the “right of return” for Palestinians is highly controversial.

      See European Court of Human Rights on “Right of Return” for Refugees
      March 16, 2010
      link to korbelsecurity.wordpress.com

      So Dr. Finkelstein cites resolution 194 in support of the right of return and compensation for refugees, but cites HRW and AI for the progressive “limit of opinion” on the rights of their descendants:

      A broad international consensus has also crystallized upholding the Palestinian “right of return.” We have already seen that the annual United Nations resolution, supported overwhelmingly by member States, calls for a settlement of the refugee question on the basis of resolution 194, which “resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for property of those choosing not to return.” In addition, respected human rights organizations “urge Israel to recognize the right to return for those Palestinians, and their descendants, who fled from territory that is now within the State of Israel, and who have maintained appropriate links with that territory” (Human Rights Watch), and “call for Palestinians who fled or were expelled from Israel, the West Bank or Gaza Strip, along with those of their descendants who have maintained genuine links with the area, to be able to exercise their right to return” (Amnesty International).

      Even the most moderate members of Netanyahu’s coalition refuse to accept any right of return. Kadima leader Mofaz said:

      The refugees are a clear red line for me. Not a single Palestinian refugee will go into Israel’s final borders. In negotiations, you start with terms of reference before stage one. That is when we will be clear that there is no compromise on refugees.

      So you can position yourself to the left of the European Court of Human Rights, like HRW and AI, or position yourself somewhere even further to the Left. But we shouldn’t deceive ourselves that it’s Dr. Finkelstein who is abandoning the right of return.

      BTW, Dr Barghouti has been chastised for telling an audience the RoR exercised en mass would be “the end of Israel” and for using semantics to justify negotiations on the implementation of the RoR, instead of the RoR:

      “We have to be realistic. We cannot just say all of them [the refugees] have to come back immediately tomorrow, because this will be the end of Israel . Let’s be frank about it.”

      “This Initiative calls for the implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions requiring the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the West Bank and Gaza and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.” Note the word : homeland, not homes.

      There is no ambiguity here, and so the manner in which some continue to question our position, is surprising.

      This does not contradict, but confirms what I said in my recent lecture in Zurich and in several other interviews, that the Right of Return itself cannot be negotiated, although its implementation can, because rights are rights, and are not subject to negotiation.

      link to umkahlil.blogspot.com

    • LeaNder
      June 6, 2012, 6:08 am

      I just think Norman Finkelstein is hurting the cause. Why insult many who are in the vanguard of the movement, especially when there is so much support for BDS among Palestinians? Because NF’s version of the 2-state solution is around the corner and all those crazy BDSers are going to ruin everything for everybody? Please!!!

      Ira, I respectfully disagree, I think NF serves the cause better than the larger camp does, since it partially ignores realities. Please don’t assume that I am not struggling with the issue.

      Reality: money and the right, media control, public opinion:

      The realities includes the financial power, media power, the think thanks, “the lobby” and it’s ability to influence the larger public, ignore them at your own peril. Don’t ignore either the wide “hawkish” support in the larger non-Jewish elite communities, they are deeply enmeshed with large parts of the Jewish US power centers.

      This scenario suggests that you have to be very, very careful not to serve them talking points on a plate. Cult: don’t overestimate your power. you have to close your open flanks, your weak point will be mirrored back to you in the attacks by the other side. The talking points and catchy slogans made in Israel bundling the message are served to the Jewish diaspora community and the rest of the world non-stop, to hammer in its message.

      Unfortunately the core weaknesses, if you have priorities like WB and Gaza, is indeed civil right discourse and the one state solution. It is a core weakness politically not ethically. Why? Ever thought it to its very end. How are you going to handle it short term? Should all refugees and their descendants get back every piece of land it didn’t possess before it’s first war?

      Mirror-image: BDS wants Israel’s destruction, is a very easy and catchy slogan that ultimately bundles all of this.

      The openness of BDS provides the advantage to connect to wider publics, the imprecision in formulating it’s ultimate aim is its weakness. What are the top priorities? What is achievable short term? Shouldn’t you bundle forces, close flanks, for one specific aim? That’s the way it is done on the right.

      I would like to listen to all the question and answer sessions Norman Finkelstein recently went through. Maybe he did think the core arguments on the other side to it’s very end? There is a big difference between an ethical and a political strategy. And I think that’s at the core of the whole brouhaha he triggered with his provocative: “cult”, which was nothing but the question: Have you considered your resources your minimal power against the other side of the issue? Have you thought the one state short term to it’s very end. Or do you think the people in the WB and Gaza can surely wait another couple of decades. To waste the chance is “criminal”, it may not be it’s aim but in it’s outcome it supports the suppression of these people for high ethical aims.

      The core weakness of Israel’s and it’s supporters position

      Obviously the other side ignores realities too, has wide open weak flanks too. Our specialist here on the topic is Hostage, fitting name. Their weak flank lies in the very obvious fact that the expansion of the settlements or the endpoint towards which it heads isn’t unsustainable. What to do with the Palestinians in ever narrowing little enclaves?

      It’s not about what he wants, he says, it’s about what is achievable, about the bundling of forces, about priorities. It’s not what we want, it’s about what we realistically can achieve.

      If we attack him as one that sells out the cause, that he supports the powers that are, or the idea that he is the outsider that wants to dictate to Palestinians what they have to do. What about us? Everybody of us can of course support the one state from his comfortable couch, and intellectually it surely is solidly ethical, but what about our own democracies, what about the peculiar political dance Obama confronts us with. The crackdown on medical marijuana, against the laws of the respective states to choose of minor example selectively.

      Do you honestly believe it’s all purely “good” of the American/Western home side and all “evil” in Israel?

    • Ira Glunts
      June 6, 2012, 12:19 pm

      @ LeaNder and Hostage — I know you both have given much thought to these issues and your comments above reflect this fact (as do your many contributions to this blog). I think many of your points, in response to my brief comment, are central to the discourse on the conflict and its solution.

      I just do not think that the most important points about what NF said are about the right of return, which I agree is a very complicated issue or the one-state/two state debate, about which I do not have a firm opinion. My feeling is that NF is doing a great disservice to the cause he has long championed by insulting and deriding the supporters of BDS. Like Danaa, I ask why?

      I think that the chances of “Finkelstein’s consensus” creating a two-state settlement are less, not more likely than it they were ten years ago. I think that the people Finkelstein is calling part of a cult are the very people that are doing the most for change in I/P. I think BDS is an effective tactic which can help educate about the realities of the conflict. Israel and its allies know this and have gone to great lengths to combat it by branding BDS and its advocates “unreasonable.” It is our task to refute this perception. BTW, I think that the most Palestinians and groups in the Palestinian solidarity movement have done a wonderful job of being “reasonable” when you consider the injustices that the victims have suffered and the actions that the pro-Israel camp has taken to silence its opposition.

      Finkelstein, of course, has a right to his opinion about the two-state solution and BDS. He could express those without delegitimizing the many activists who support BDS, by calling them part of a cult. They are not standing in the way of the two-state solution which he feels is possible.

  30. pipistro
    June 5, 2012, 1:26 pm

    As pure theory, I agree with Norman Finkelstein on the lapidary rightfulness of the two independent states. Moreover, it is generally felt as the preferable scenario. But I’m not so confident in international law, not as much as to get a glimpse of a viable two-state solution. It needed willingness, that never came to existence, or anyway does not subsist as of today. And politically feasible at this time, seems even a bit optimistic.
    In my humble opinion, the local situation, in the long run, is more and more leaning towards the one imagined by Prof. Mearsheimer (see, for instance, the conference of April, 29, 2010 at the Palestine Center in Washington D.C.), with the end, sooner or later, of the Zionist dream of a permanent Jewish State. In this respect, the lack of willingness on the part of Israeli politics (I talk of settlements) is a suicide.
    Finally, frankly I have not the slightest idea on why Norman combines the BDS Movement with the one-state solution.

    • Charon
      June 6, 2012, 2:15 am

      I also agree, in pure theory, with Finkelstein. In theory, when it comes to international law, the ball is in Palestine’s court as long as they adhere to the two-state solution.

      When it comes to fact, Israel, the West, and even the UN do not seem to care about the Palestinians. No matter how many resolutions are passed or how much time is wasted on debating about it. Nothing ever changes. Nobody seems to care. They could wind up sitting on an international stage or courtroom for all eternity arguing over the cards they’ve been dealt and what those cards are valued at under international law. The simple fact is that those who have power in that case do not care and side with Israel. Finkelstein needs to stop trying to play their game. For years he seemed to be alone in his message, but that’s no longer the case, many are aware of the truth of what has gone on. He is alone in thinking the Palestinians have a chance if they stick to the two-state script. The game is rigged in Israel’s favor. Always was

  31. HHM
    June 5, 2012, 1:41 pm

    The Israeli organization, Zochrot, works with Badil and has given presentations on how the right of return could be fairly implemented. link to tinyurl.com Here is a link to a Register Guard guest opinion written by Eitan Bronstein (Zochrot) and Mohammed Jaradat (Badil) link to imeu.net

  32. The Hasbara Buster
    June 5, 2012, 4:34 pm

    OK, here’s what I’ll do.

    I’ll crack a couple of eggs, I’ll pour them into a bowl and I’ll beat them with a fork. Then I’ll invite anyone who wishes to try and unscramble the mixture — to obtain two whites and two yolks from it.

    If someone can, I’ll join the two-state solution camp.

  33. BrianEsker
    June 6, 2012, 6:59 pm

    Finkelstein makes an interesting study for this issue, because few intellectual Jews have paid as high a price as he has for his views and activism against Israel. Years ago his “We are Hezbollah” nearly defined what being a self-hating Jew could be.
    So that’s what makes it a bit interesting to see that the Great Finkelstein has come around to realize that a one-state solution and an unlimited right of return are non-starters.

    Which is only practical. In a way, he’s doing the BDS cause a service by suggesting that the goals of eradicating Israel and killing all the Jews are just not going to be worth the attempt.

    No. What’s on the boards while the PA drags its feet and the Hamas takes Gaza back to the middle ages is going to be a complete re-definition of what a so-called Palestinian refugee really is. Effectively the appellation should only apply to direct survivors of the 1948 failed-war-of annihilation, and they number perhaps 30,000 or so today, nothing like the so-called 5,000,000 descendants waiting in the wings to overrun the Jewish state.

    • Hostage
      June 8, 2012, 2:30 am

      Finkelstein makes an interesting study for this issue

      Even if that were true, your post is predictable hasbara talking points that misrepresent what Finkelstein has actually had to say about the subject.

  34. Don Emmerich
    June 6, 2012, 9:03 pm

    “but he insists that the BDS movement supports one state and this is factually incorrect.”

    Is that right? I went back and read through the Democracy Now interview, and I don’t see where he ever said this. He said that the BDS movement should come out and state its position on the one-state-two-state issue, but I don’t think he said that the movement supports one-state.

  35. MB.
    June 7, 2012, 10:46 pm

    The Israelis are quite right to fear the one state solution — they know, very well, the ceaseless humiliations that they have heaped on the Arabs, and they fear that the Arabs will never, ever forgive them, and will never turn the other cheek. They are right — most Israelis, surely, must know what they have done. I am not suggesting Israelis feel guilty or sorry about it — they are racist supremacists — but they know very well Arabs will not forgive them.

    It is not at all the same case as when West and East Africa was handed back to its original African owners — in those cases, the white population, annoyed and peeved that they could no longer enjoy their manicured lawns, cucumber sandwich garden parties, cricket, evening cocktails and ‘England in the summer’ lifestyle, simply packed up their colonial bags and returned to the rolling fields of Southern England or France. Think about it — how many of the original white population of settlers stayed and worked with the new African governments? Very few — an eccentric white tea planter here or there, or a working class white electrician or engineer, with little to go back to in Europe remained — but not a great amount of white people remained in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and even fewer white people remained in Nigeria, Niger, Mozambique Algeria, Morocco, etc.

    In Southern Africa it was different — the white settlers had deeper roots going back to the late 1600’s, and had developed a rural white peasantry, a working class and an affluent middle class, who had long severed their European roots. And in these countries, the black populations usually lived in chronic under class slum poverty, servitude, and even lived quasi hunter gather rural lives, a state for the most part, worse than the serf status of Europe in the 1600’s, with no education and no real means of taking organised, directed revenge beyond numerous random gruesome stabbings and lynching of white people, etc, which did happen in South Africa.

    In Israel though, it is different — you have a literate, well educated, powerful Arab population, with a long and enlightened cultural memory, with a sense of identity and dignity that goes far further back than the middle ages, a sense of pride, supported by very powerful connections worldwide, and all of these Arabs know they have had their faces shoved in the dirt and trash for decades — and they will not live in peace with those who turned up from Poland and Russia, Paris and Brooklyn, stole their homes and then proceeded to intentionally hurt everything sacred to them.
    The Israelis know that, and thus will not accept one state — that is the truth.
    Also, as Shahak and other have shown, Israeli society, culture, and religion is riddled with racism, prejudice and exclusion – the Israelis would never accept being on equal footing with ‘the other’. Not only that, many of Israel’s immigrant population hail from Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Poland — ALL of these countries are deeply, deeply racist, macho, inward look, excluding societies, mired in ethno centric nationalism, and exclusion of the ‘other’, and the Jewish immigrants have carried that racism with them to Israel.

    Do you think Ukrainians and Poles and Moldovans would ever accept equal rights with Arabs — never. Israelis will not either.

    Two states is not going to happen — the Jews have contempt for the very idea of giving up, or sharing the land. One state isn’t going to happen either.

    Things do not look good — unless, that is, Israel becomes the leading world power, and can thumb its nose in contempt at everyone else — they seem to be doing a pretty good job of that so far.

  36. jrfinkel
    June 8, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I find it interesting that so many people ignore what Norman Finkelstein actually says and, instead, comment on what they think he said. This seems to be as true of those on the left (who claim, for instance, that Finkelstein is opposed to BDS) as it is of those on the right (who claim that Finkelstein is a Holocaust denier).

    It seems to me that Finkelstein is correct on two important points. First, when it comes to the national question, he answers that Israelis have a right to have a state. Secondly, he grounds his activism on what is possible given the current objective and subjective conditions. He rejects the utopian notions that are all too prevalent in this movement.

    The conflict between two national identities must be resolved, not by demanding that each side reject its national aspirations, but by accepting both. Yet those with the most power–Israeli and U.S. leaders–reject Palestinian nationalism (while many within the Palestinian solidarity movement reject Israeli nationalism).

    • eljay
      June 8, 2012, 5:49 pm

      >> … Israelis have a right to have a state. …

      If, by that, you mean that all Israelis have a right to a secular, democratic and egalitarian state of and for all Israelis, equally – I agree.

      >> ( … many within the Palestinian solidarity movement reject Israeli nationalism).

      I can understand why they might: Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and Jewish-supremacist state; born of Jewish terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands; and engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and OFFENSIVE (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.

      • jrfinkel
        June 9, 2012, 1:43 pm

        I can understand why they might: Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and Jewish-supremacist state…

        Yes, the rejection of Israeli nationalism is all quite understandable. That does not mean that it leads to a practical solution.

        In my view, just as Zionism was the (conscious) negation of 2000+ years of Jewish experience, Israeli nationalism can be the negation of Zionism. Indeed, this is the historic task of Israeli society: to supersede Jewish nationalism with Israeli nationalism. The former cannot be democratic; the latter can be.

        …born of Jewish terrorism…

        Israel was born of Zionist terrorism, not Jewish terrorism. Most Jews in the world had nothing to do with it and there was nothing uniquely Jewish about it.

  37. eljay
    June 9, 2012, 6:17 pm

    >> … that is the historic task of Israeli society: to supersede Jewish nationalism with Israeli nationalism.

    So…short answer is “yes”? That is, you were, in fact, saying that “all Israelis have a right to a secular, democratic and egalitarian state of and for all Israelis, equally”?

    >> Israel was born of Zionist terrorism, not Jewish terrorism.

    I wasn’t aware that the Zionists involved in the terrorism that was undertaken to bring about the existence of the Jewish state were anything other than Jewish.

    • jrfinkel
      June 9, 2012, 11:47 pm

      Saying that “[Israel] was born of Jewish terrorism” implies that there was something intrinsically Jewish about the terrorism and suggests that world Jewry was responsible for it. There are those who make this claim, of course (Shamir, Eisen, and Atzmon). But I consider it to be an anti-Semitic argument.

      • eljay
        June 10, 2012, 1:23 pm

        >> Saying that “[Israel] was born of Jewish terrorism” implies that there was something intrinsically Jewish about the terrorism and suggests that world Jewry was responsible for it.”

        I used the term “Jewish terrorism” to mean that the terrorism in question was carried out by Jews, just as I would use the term “police brutality” to mean that a specific act of brutality was carried out by police. I don’t hold world Jewry or world police-ry responsible.

        But feel free to infer and extrapolate whatever sort of anti-Semitism you like. I’m not mad.

        Well, not angry, anyway… ;-)

      • Hostage
        June 11, 2012, 9:35 am

        Saying that “[Israel] was born of Jewish terrorism” implies that there was something intrinsically Jewish about the terrorism and suggests that world Jewry was responsible for it.

        The Jewish Agency for Palestine (JAFP) was the internationally recognized public agent of world Jewry in all matters related to the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. By 1948 that meant the establishment of the State of Israel. JAFP was a partnership between the international Zionist Organization (ZO) and many non-Zionist, public Jewish groups according to the British Mandate and a “Memorandum on the Development of the Jewish National Home”, 1932, submitted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations for the information of the Permanent Mandates Commission. London, updated 1933, 1936, 1938, 1939.

        By the time that the State of Israel was established, the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry had long-since arrived at the conclusion that the Jewish Agency had become a Shadow Government that had ceased to cooperate in the maintenance of law and order and suppression of terror. The Inquiry noted that the Mandatory Government was not only condemned verbally, but attacked with bombs and firearms by organized bands of Jewish terrorists.

        During the British Operation Agatha, thousands of documents were seized from JAFP which clearly demonstrated its role in directing the activities and arming of those terror groups. The documents included the text of the agreement between the Haganah, Irgun, and Lehi, and JAFP cables approving Irgun and Lehi terror operations.

        The Haganah itself was a subordinate organ of the JAFP and the Histadrut. Contrary to popular myth, it was an illegal militia which carried out assassinations, indiscriminate terror bombings, and acts of sabotage in its own right – like the ones in which Israel Jacob De Haan, Viscount de Tapia, and hundreds of guests and passengers of the Semiramis Hotel and the SS Patria were killed.

        In an era when there were only 26 countries that had signed the United Nations Atlantic Charter, the New Zionist Organization (NZO) and its Irgun terror group had offices in 23 countries that raised millions and concluded their own major arms deals. If there was such a thing as “World Jewry”, the ZO (including the merged NZO) and JAFP were its official representatives so far as the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations were concerned. The UNSCOP consulted publicly, or in secret, with the Jewish Agency and Irgun while deliberating on the plan for the future government of Palestine.

        There has never been agreement, even on a conceptual level, for the meaning or scope of terms like “Jewish”, “World Jewry”, or “anti-Semitic”. The UNSCOP noted that even the term “Jewish National home” had no definite meaning or scope. Regardless, those terms were, and still are invariably employed to condemn “Jews” and “anti-Semites” without any further explanation.

        When Israeli Supreme Court President Shimon Agranat said: There is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish people. . . . The Jewish people is composed not only of those residing in Israel but also of Diaspora Jewries,” it was an imprecise and platitudinous ruling against the petitioner, that avoided the underlying Jewish question altogether.

        The government of Israel only recently announced its plans to begin paying Reform and Conservative Rabbis through the Culture and Sport Ministry, while withholding recognition of their halakhic authority or legal status with the Ministry of Religion. The Reform and Conservative Rabbis are still not an official part of Israeli “Judaism”, but they are finally (sort of) officially Jew-ish after a 7 year legal struggle.

        There is nonetheless a good enough definition of “Jewish-only” or “person of Jewish descendancy” for purposes of the JNF public charter. We also know for certain that “World Jewry” has contributed a significant portion of the hundred billion dollars that the State of Israel has spent to date on its illegal regime in the occupied Palestinian territories.

      • jrfinkel
        June 11, 2012, 1:28 pm

        The fact that the Zionist movement and the Jewish Agency and Israel claim to speak for, and act in the name of, all Jews is only that: a claim. You are perfectly free to accept their mythology. That is up to you. But it leads directly to blaming Jews, rather than blaming the Zionist movement and Israel. That is also your prerogative. But I suggest that this analysis is both inaccurate and anti-Semitic.

        You do not have to convince me that the Jewish Agency and the Irgun (etc) were party to terrorism. The historical record is clear on this point. Indeed, the Irgun were the original Middle East terrorists. But they and the Jewish Agency no more represented world Jewry as did the man in the moon. It matters not one whit who they claimed to represent.

        Words matter. The fact that some Jews were terrorist does not make their acts Jewish crimes for which all Jews are guilty. This is why I suggest that the term “Jewish terrorism” be replaced by the more accurate term, “Zionist terrorism.” It’s a small point but I think an important one.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 11, 2012, 1:51 pm

        “Saying that “[Israel] was born of Jewish terrorism” implies that there was something intrinsically Jewish about the terrorism ”

        you are wrong. it does not imply something is intrinsically Jewish unless you choose to read it that way. if someone said “Israel was born of terrorism” that would not necessarily indicate there was terrorism by jews involved, in fact it speaks to neither party. if the point one is making is that the terrorism was committed by jews it is perfectly normal to call it jewish terrorism in the same way if one was attempting to make the point terrorism in iraq is carried out by AQ or the US it would be completely appropriate to call it AQ terrorism or US terrorism.

        you are willfully interpreting this in a way that serves your argument. when someone says american terrorism that is not very hard to figure out what they are saying. right now it would include the WOT. and i think people have an understanding of what american terrorism in south america amounted to.

        are you also advancing the idea it is anti semitic to call israel the jewish state rather than the zionist state? what difference does it make. by your definition it would imply there is something intrinsically jewish about the state which would imply there is something intrinsically jewish about the occupation or intrinsically jewish about israel’s apartheid.

        this could go on forever. saying something is jewish is merely identifying ownership. if someone say a building is a jewish community center does it imply there is something intrinsically jewish about the building itself?

      • jrfinkel
        June 11, 2012, 3:34 pm

        are you also advancing the idea it is anti semitic to call israel the jewish state rather than the zionist state?

        Actually, yes I am. Israel is a Jewish state; and it is a Jewish state only because it is founded on the ideology of Jewish Supremacy, not because the majority population is Jewish or because its leaders make some bogus claims to represent those whom it does not.

        Israel is not The Jewish State. Most Jews do not live there, and, despite what Israel and its supporters claim, it neither acts for nor represents world Jewry. To claim otherwise is anti-Semitic.

        Why? Because if one insists on identifying all Jews with Israel (by calling it The Jewish State), then one necessarily makes all Jews guilty of Israel’s crimes. And these crimes then become Jewish crimes.

        This claim can only be made by accepting the Zionist myth that Israel represents all Jews: that is is The Jewish State.

        Does this make Zionism itself anti-Semitic? Yes. Zionism never challenged anti-Semitism. It embraced, promulgated, and benefited from anti-Semitism. It set out to negate 2000+ years of Jewish experience during which Jews invented ourselves and differentiated ourselves into many ethnicities.

        By the way, this is why we in Chicago called ourselves Not In My Name. We wanted to demonstrate that there is a clear difference between Jews and Israel. By doing this, we successfully (and rather quickly) changed some attitudes within the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities here and combated what Finkelstein has called “spillover” anti-Semitism, which results from incorrectly identifying all Jews with Israel.

      • Hostage
        June 11, 2012, 3:44 pm

        The fact that the Zionist movement and the Jewish Agency and Israel claim to speak for, and act in the name of, all Jews is only that: a claim. You are perfectly free to accept their mythology. That is up to you.

        I carefully avoided making any claim that JAFP spoke for all Jews. I pointed out that JAFP was comprised of Zionist and non-Zionist public organizations and that it was the internationally recognized public agent of world Jewry in all matters related to the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. The organization had no mandate to act on behalf of Jews in any other capacity.

        But I suggest that this analysis is both inaccurate and anti-Semitic.

        It’s very accurate and you’re simply playing semantical games with the term “Jewish” as if you own the patent on the word. The JAFP didn’t have to speak on behalf of all Jews everywhere in order to be implicitly or inherently “Jewish” in character. There’s an abundant body of third-party verifiable testimony and evidence that says the Agency exercised day-to-day operational control over subsidiary organs and allied Jewish militias engaged in terror campaigns.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 11, 2012, 3:44 pm

        i do not call it the jewish state either jrfinkel. i still think people understand or grasp the phraseology of the ownership aspect of the terminology as opposed to an implication of an intrinsic ethnic trait towards the specific terror being referred to.

      • jrfinkel
        June 11, 2012, 4:10 pm

        I am not playing “semanitcal games.” I am discussing the semantics of certain words and trying to explain why I think that it is important to use certain words to mean certain things. Incorrect usage either derives from, or can lead to, bad politics.

        I am specifically not arguing that you are incorrect in your remarks about the Jewish Agency and its involvement in terrorist activity. You need not convince me of facts I already know.

        That the JAFP was the “internationally recognized public agent of world Jewry” at a time when most Jews in the world rejected Zionism is certainly food for thought.

      • German Lefty
        June 11, 2012, 5:58 pm

        @ jrfinkel:

        Saying that “[Israel] was born of Jewish terrorism” implies that there was something intrinsically Jewish about the terrorism and suggests that world Jewry was responsible for it. [...] I consider it to be an anti-Semitic argument.

        I empathise with you to a certain extent, because I had a similar experience. A while ago, I read an article by Glenn Greenwald in which he referred to the Holocaust as “German crimes”. I took offense at this choice of words and thought to myself, “These were Nazi crimes, not German crimes. Not all Germans were/are Nazis.” To me, it felt as if Mr Greenwald blames me for something that I had nothing to do with. I had the urge to distance myself from the perpetrators by calling them something other than German. The only problem was that they were, in fact, German. However, just because all (or at least most) Nazis were Germans doesn’t mean that all Germans were Nazis. Therefore, Mr Greenwald’s choice of words was actually correct. Nevertheless, I still think that a qualifier would have been useful, e.g. “Nazi German crimes”, in order to prevent false inferences by readers.
        Now my question to you: If saying that “Israel was born of Jewish terrorism” is anti-Semitic in your opinion, then you must also think that it is anti-German to refer to “Nazi crimes” as “German crimes”, right?

        Because if one insists on identifying all Jews with Israel (by calling it The Jewish State), then one necessarily makes all Jews guilty of Israel’s crimes. And these crimes then become Jewish crimes.

        Two things: First of all, Zionist crimes are, in fact, Jewish crimes. However, they are also Christian crimes. More precisely, they are the crimes of Jewish Zionists as well as of Christian Zionists. Secondly, even if someone identifies all Jews with Israel, then this doesn’t mean that this person considers all Jews guilty of Israel’s crimes. Although a government is supposed to represent the people, this can never work entirely, because there is no uniform will of the people. In a democracy, the majority rules. In a dictatorship, a minority rules. Therefore, it is wrong to equate the people with their government. And that’s why I don’t believe in collective guilt.

      • German Lefty
        June 11, 2012, 6:00 pm

        i [...] think people understand or grasp the phraseology of the ownership aspect of the terminology as opposed to an implication of an intrinsic ethnic trait towards the specific terror being referred to.

        Annie, I agree.

      • RoHa
        June 11, 2012, 9:48 pm

        “Why? Because if one insists on identifying all Jews with Israel (by calling it The Jewish State), then one necessarily makes all Jews guilty of Israel’s crimes. And these crimes then become Jewish crimes.”

        I sympathise with your position.

        However, it seems to me that the vast majority of Jews support Israel, and very few (so few as to be barely noticeable outside MW) seem to criticise Israel, or even to say “Not In My Name”, that it is difficult to say anything other than “Israel’s crimes are Jewish crimes”.

        Unless and until it is made clear that there is a substantial number of Jews who reject the Zionist ideology and publicly denounce the crimes of Israel, this perception will persist.

      • Hostage
        June 12, 2012, 9:45 pm

        I sympathise with your position.

        I certainly disagree with people who claim that Israel is the Jewish State, but I don’t call them anti-Semites.

        If “Not in My Name” is going to go around pro-actively looking to take offense over discussions about the role of Jewish terrorism in the founding of the State of Israel, they are going to find exactly what they’re looking for.

        That doesn’t mean that there is any anti-Semitism involved when people discuss the philosophy of groups in Palestine and modern day Israel which consciously employ the tradition of violent Jewish revolts and religious terrorism, e.g. the Maccabees, the Zealots, the Sicarii, Bar Kochba, Irgun, Lehi, Gush Emunim Underground, et al
        link to en.wikipedia.org

Leave a Reply