‘Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force’ – Chomsky on his recent trip to Gaza

Israel/Palestine
on 54 Comments

Noam Chomsky has written about his recent trip to Gaza. From “Impressions of Gaza“:

Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade, and with the further goal of ensuring that Palestinian hopes for a decent future will be crushed and that the overwhelming global support for a diplomatic settlement that will grant these rights will be nullified.

The intensity of this commitment on the part of the Israeli political leadership has been dramatically illustrated just in the past few days, as they warn that they will “go crazy” if Palestinian rights are given limited recognition at the UN. That is not a new departure. The threat to “go crazy” (“nishtagea”) is deeply rooted, back to the Labor governments of the 1950s, along with the related “Samson Complex”: we will bring down the Temple walls if crossed. It was an idle threat then; not today.

The purposeful humiliation is also not new, though it constantly takes new forms. Thirty years ago political leaders, including some of the most noted hawks, submitted to Prime Minister Begin a shocking and detailed account of how settlers regularly abuse Palestinians in the most depraved manner and with total impunity. The prominent military-political analyst Yoram Peri wrote with disgust that the army’s task is not to defend the state, but “to demolish the rights of innocent people just because they are Araboushim (“niggers,” “kikes”) living in territories that God promised to us.”

Gazans have been selected for particularly cruel punishment. It is almost miraculous that people can sustain such an existence. How they do so was described thirty years ago in an eloquent memoir by Raja Shehadeh (The Third Way), based on his work as a lawyer engaged in the hopeless task of trying to protect elementary rights within a legal system designed to ensure failure, and his personal experience as a Samid, “a steadfast one,” who watches his home turned into a prison by brutal occupiers and can do nothing but somehow “endure.” . . .

My initial impression, after a visit of several days, was amazement, not only at the ability to go on with life, but also at the vibrancy and vitality among young people, particularly at the university, where I spent much of my time at an international conference. But there too one can detect signs that the pressure may become too hard to bear. Reports indicate that among young men there is simmering frustration, recognition that under the US-Israeli occupation the future holds nothing for them. There is only so much that caged animals can endure, and there may be an eruption, perhaps taking ugly forms — offering an opportunity for Israeli and western apologists to self-righteously condemn the people who are culturally backward, as Mitt Romney insightfully explained.

Gaza has the look of a typical third world society, with pockets of wealth surrounded by hideous poverty. It is not, however, “undeveloped.” Rather it is “de-developed,” and very systematically so, to borrow the terms of Sara Roy, the leading academic specialist on Gaza. The Gaza Strip could have become a prosperous Mediterranean region, with rich agriculture and a flourishing fishing industry, marvelous beaches and, as discovered a decade ago, good prospects for extensive natural gas supplies within its territorial waters.

By coincidence or not, that is when Israel intensified its naval blockade, driving fishing boats toward shore, by now to 3 miles or less.

The favorable prospects were aborted in 1948, when the Strip had to absorb a flood of Palestinian refugees who fled in terror or were forcefully expelled from what became Israel, in some cases expelled months after the formal cease-fire.

In fact, they were being expelled even four years later, as reported in Ha’aretz (25.12.2008), in a thoughtful study by Beni Tziper on the history of Israeli Ashkelon back to the Canaanites. In 1953, he reports, there was a “cool calculation that it was necessary to cleanse the region of Arabs.” The original name, Majdal, had already been “Judaized” to today’s Ashkelon, regular practice.

That was in 1953, when there was no hint of military necessity. Tziper himself was born in 1953, and while walking in the remnants of the old Arab sector, he reflects that “it is really difficult for me, really difficult, to realize that while my parents were celebrating my birth, other people were being loaded on trucks and expelled from their homes.”

Israel’s 1967 conquests and their aftermath administered further blows. Then came the terrible crimes already mentioned, continuing to the present day.

The signs are easy to see, even on a brief visit. Sitting in a hotel near the shore, one can hear the machine gun fire of Israeli gunboats driving fishermen out of Gaza’s territorial waters and towards shore, so they are compelled to fish in waters that are heavily polluted because of US-Israeli refusal to allow reconstruction of the sewage and power systems that they destroyed.

Read the entire piece here.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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54 Responses

  1. JohnAdamTurnbull
    November 5, 2012, 12:24 pm

    I was interested that were was little or no comment on reports, a few days ago, about the Israeli diplomatic threat that they (Israel) would “go crazy” if Palestine was successful in its upcoming UN attempt. (It was reported in Ha’aretz.) So, I’m happy that Chomsky has picked up on it.

    This seems to be the diplomatic version of they way a hostage-takers speak to the police. There is nothing in it except the desperate hope for a few more minutes of terror before someone, or someone else, is shot.

    It suggests the complete deterioration of conventional relations between a diplomatic service, its government, and the electorate. “We’re all nuts!” is a pretty impressive message. I wonder how it is received.

  2. Annie Robbins
    November 5, 2012, 12:24 pm

    thanks very much adam.

  3. CitizenC
    November 5, 2012, 12:38 pm

    Meanwhile, here is Chomsky in Gaza, lecturing the Gazans on the futility of academic boycott of Israel, which will only “strengthen support for Israel”, and on the “realism” of the 2-state solution, even as Israel prepares to annex Area C, 60% of the West Bank.

    link to electronicintifada.net

    These views are part of Chomsky’s life-long plea bargain for Zionism. He concedes the undeniable facts on the ground, but bargains for the lightest sentence, via “solutions” discourse, as if the question is technical, maps and treaties, instead of ideological and political, one of overcoming Zionism. And by opposing sanctions and boycott, except in narrowest, “anti-occupation” terms, inventing ridiculous claims about the damage they do, when they have had a salutary effect in Israel.

    • valency
      November 5, 2012, 2:32 pm

      Precisely. I think Chomsky has never got over his Kibbutz experience when he was 20 years old, where doubtless he was indoctrinated into the familiar kind of revolutionary Zionist-Socialist rhetoric that espouses universalist principles while conveniently eliding the fact that the Kibbutzim communities could only exist in the first place because of a program of ethnic cleansing instituted by the state of Israel, one which the Kibbutzniks took full advantage of.

      He still believes in a vaguely specified”one state solution” in which he imagines, by some miracle, Jewish Israelis overcoming their prejudice to welcome the entirety of the Palestinian diaspora into the country and form a shared Jewish-Arab national identity, organized under, perhaps anarcho-syndicalist principles (whatever the fuck /that/ means.)

      Hence, despite all his rhetoric, he opposes any measures to effective pressure Israel because ultimately he retains a vestigial Zionist prejudice, that this could all be resolved if the Palestinians acknowledges the righteousness of Jewish supremacy and the Zionist project, and, in turn, the Jews generously offer the Palestinians full civic participation.

      This was a stupid idea even in 1953, but Chomsky doesn’t seem to understand that a lot has changed since he was 20 years old and it’s now an unbelievably stupid idea.

      I’ve always found Chomsky to be a deeply confused thinker. His latest pronouncements are precisely like someone visiting a Bantustan or Soweto in 1981, acknowledging the appalling conditions, but insisting that the boycott activists are only shoring up support for the white ruling class. Tribal loyalty and early conditioning die hard, I guess.

      • Hostage
        November 5, 2012, 8:19 pm

        This was a stupid idea even in 1953, but Chomsky doesn’t seem to understand that a lot has changed since he was 20 years old and it’s now an unbelievably stupid idea.

        No, that was a “stupid” misrepresentation of Chomsky’s stated views on the subject. It’s worth noting that Chomsky was invited to speak at a conference on applied linguistics & literature hosted by the Islamic University of Gaza. So it was the Palestinians who put him on their agenda.

      • jack
        November 5, 2012, 9:22 pm

        I find your comment a bit confusing actually – so if you dislike Chomsky’s ‘vaguely specified one state solution’, does that mean you prefer a two-state settlement? Chomsky figures that the only way to get to his preferred binational state (followed by an Ottoman-style, sans Ottomans, no state solution) is through a two-state settlement!

        I don’t understand how your prognosis really differs from his, his BDS opposition is merely tactical as he figures more educational work needs to be done first (I disagree, but certainly educational work needed to precede the anti-South Africa boycott in order to ensure its success). I really can’t see any ‘vestigial Zionist prejudice’ in him, unless you refer to the kind of Zionism which died pre-1948, which emphasized Arab-Jewish cooperation on the basis of equality, which is precisely what Ali Abunimah and the rest argue for today. Chomsky has said that he recognised then, and still does now, that for all their merits the kibbutzim were ‘deeply and institutionally racist’.

      • valency
        November 5, 2012, 11:17 pm

        Unless you refer to the kind of Zionism which died pre-1948, which emphasized Arab-Jewish cooperation on the basis of equality

        I want to be clear that I view this pre-1948 “emphasis΅on Arab-Jewish cooperation as empty lip service that “liberal” zionists had no intention of delivering on, and indeed didn’t, as Chomsky himself acknowledges. I confesss I am very cynical of the intentions of all those zionist socialists who were comfortable with expropriating the land of others as they declaimed their utopian ideals.

        Chomsky in 2009:

        Chomsky: Nobody supports—I mean, you can talk about a one-state solution, if you want. I think a better solution is a no-state solution. But this is pie in the sky. If you’re really in favor of a one-state solution, which in fact I’ve been all my life—accept a bi-national state, not one state—you have to give a path to get from here to there. Otherwise, it’s just talk. Now, the only path anyone has ever proposed… is through two states as the first stage.

        I see this as deeply confused and constitutes a disingenous evasion of his standard formulation of a nebulous “no-state solution” which he has repeatedly used to evade the issue since the 1970s. I confess I view this as vague lip service and again, not a serious committment to two-state. For one thing, he never makes clear what he means by “two-state”, “one-state”, and “bi-national state” — I suspect he’s using strategic ambiguity to mask that by has in mind some kind of demarcation into two regions under one parliament, not a true “two-state” solution. Again, hopelessly confused on the issue.

        Chomsky in 2008:

        Noam Chomsky: Boycotts sometimes make sense. For example, such actions against South Africa were effective, even though the Reagan administration evaded congressional sanctions while declaring Mandela’s ANC to be one of the “more notorious terrorist groups” in the world (in 1988). The actions were effective because the groundwork had been laid in many years of education and activism. By the time they were implemented, they received substantial support in the US within the political system, the media, and even the corporate sector. Nothing remotely like that has been achieved in this case. As a result, calls for boycott almost invariably backfire, reinforcing the harshest and most brutal policies towards Palestinians.

        Again, Chomsky keeps on changing his tune: here, he’s saying that academic boycotts are ineffective because they “reinforce the harshest and most brutal policies”, an argument he’s largely dropped because it’s clear that it’s almost impossible for the occupation to get any more brutal than it currently is. Now his emphasis is that it harden the attitudes of American elites, again, a non-starter because both major parties are already falling over themselves to position themselves as the biggest friend of Israel. The elites back Israel 100 percent and always have. Again, Chomsky doesn’t seem to remember that the boycott South Africa movement started out as a derided far left movement and only slowly moved into the mainstream. For example, the UN general assembly motion 1761 calling for divestment in 1962 which was derided and ignored by all the western powers.

        I have no explanation for Chomsky’s blindness on these points except vestigial racism. I have no doubt he does not consciously realize his mental blocks, but they are there, nontheless, and they interfere with his moral clarity and committment at crucial points.

      • Hostage
        November 6, 2012, 1:22 pm

        I see this as deeply confused and constitutes a disingenous evasion of his standard formulation of a nebulous “no-state solution” which he has repeatedly used to evade the issue since the 1970s. I confess I view this as vague lip service and again, not a serious committment to two-state.

        Well let’s confuse the situation a bit more and point out that the Arab Land party in Israel and the residents of Um al Fahm object to the idea of being deprived of their Israeli citizenship or having the borders redrawn to incorporate them into a new Palestinian state. They demand that Israel become a state of all its citizens, while at one and the same time advocating a two state solution to accommodate the national aspirations of the Palestinian brethren.

        That sort of pragmatism is no more nebulous than the formula by which some independent American colonies became a multinational entity though a step wise or phased progression. The United States did that under the devices of a loose confederation of states that was eventually replaced by a federal union when the time was ripe. There was still no such thing as US citizenship ipso jure, until the 14th Amendment was ratified many years later.

        Alfred M. Lilienthal was neither a socialist nor a kibbutznik. He was ardently anti-Zionist. But he still realized that time works changes and expressed the same sort of pragmatic sentiments as Chomsky on this particular subject:

        Now, however, you may have to cross your Rubicon and advance with only some rather than all Palestinian patriots at your side. The maximalists, who can only envision a Palestinian state that includes what is now the state of Israel and who therefore reject a two-state solution embracing coexistence, side by side, are totally unrealistic. The intifadah, which television has brought into the homes of millions of Americans, has given birth to a new, deep sympathy for the Palestinian people and a readiness to accept Palestinian nationalism and statehood. This must not be lost.

        In the world of geopolitics, one can dream, but even dreams must have some basis of reality. As much as you, and I, too, as a Jewish American who has fought Zionism for more than 40 years, might prefer to push back the clock and opt for the solution of one secular bi-national Palestinian state, I believe this is no longer feasible and could endanger the achievement of any kind of Palestinian self-determination, inasmuch as it makes it ever so much easier for Zionists to win acceptance of the noxious label, “terrorists,” which they have affixed to your liberation movement.

        — See An Open Letter to Yasser Arafat link to mediamonitors.net

        I prefer to express it in these terms: The State of Israel has exploited the statelessness of the Palestinians in order to commit a series of crimes against them that would be illegal if they had only been committed against the citizens of another state. Israel went straight to the United Nations and obtained recognition of its own statehood, pending the outcome of a “final settlement” regarding its own frontiers, the status of Jerusalem, and the refugee’s right of return or compensation. Common sense and human decency demand that Palestinians should be allowed to enjoy the same legal rights, privileges, and protections of “statey-ness”, while they too await the arrival of this grand “final settlement”. I also happen to believe that both sides will eventually come around and form a regional economic union or confederation that could blossom into a more formal relationship, such as a federal union.

    • ToivoS
      November 5, 2012, 5:04 pm

      I have trouble understanding this antagonism towards Chomsky. He takes many commendable stands. On some issues his judgement is questionable. These statements Adam presents stand on their own. The fact that he also supports the existence of the state of Israel is another matter.

      • W.Jones
        November 6, 2012, 8:47 pm

        Dear ToivoS and Hostage,

        Chomsky is one of the most well-known American leftist figures, and in general his views are very radically egalitarian. He is also outspoken and well-known on his opposition to many policies that the Israeli system uses in harming the Palestinian population.

        Consequently, the strong assumption I had was that his views on this topic were just as radically egalitarian and that whatever approaches he advocated and pushed for would be the best ones for freeing the native population.

        I would have expected that Chomsky’s ideal system for the Holy Land would be to put religious and ethnic differences behind them when building idealistic political and economic organizations (eg communes and kibbutzes), but instead his ideal seems to divide the basic building blocks along religious and ethnic lines.

        Second, one would expect that Chomsky, as an astute observer of politics and global affairs, would understand the key importance of lobbies in how US politics function as well as the military prowess of other countries. But instead of appreciating the power of the lobby and the independent prowess involved in the IP conflict thoroughly documented on Mondoweiss, Chomsky’s perspective over-reduces by far the State system to the equivalent of a US outpost in South America that is making the policies that the US wants.

        Third, when it comes to the actions Human Rights activists should take to free the people living under the harsh conditions, Chomsky doesn’t appear to advocate the same approaches they have used in the other major struggles, like ending Segregation in South Africa. His explanation is that the outpost is just doing what the US wants, so it is unfair (he says “hypocritical”) to directly act against what he sees as the discriminatory outpost. Even if Chomsky was right that the Israeli State only acts as an outpost, this still doesn’t explain why human rights activists shouldn’t follow the strategies that they used to end discrimination in other outposts.

        In conclusion, Chomsky is a major figure in discussions and activism about the IP conflict and widely seen as radically egalitarian and pluralist, so he has a strong impact. In fact, one needs to ask why he is directed against such practical efforts that would free the people from the bad conditions. His explanations for opposing the efforts either don’t make sense politically (claiming it’s only a US outpost) or don’t make sense practically (claiming you must wait before US imperialism ends altogether).

        Overall, and especially at this point when there is such little knowledge of the situation, I think Chomsky is helpful for activists because he introduces people to the reality that actually what is going on in the Holy Land is oppression. But activists must understand the problems with Chomsky’s thinking on the subject as well.

      • Hostage
        November 7, 2012, 11:38 am

        W. Jones that is the usual type of critique that one reads about Chomsky’s position. It would be helpful if you could supply citations or blockquotes. I can think of several instances where Chomsky has presented a much more nuanced position that isn’t reflected in your statements about his views, e.g. The Israel Lobby? link to chomsky.info

        I’ve discussed the fact in the past that it’s a common misconception that Chomsky denies the existence or power of the Israel Lobby. He explicitly states that it is one of the main factors in determining US policy in the Middle East. It quite obviously is not the sole determining factor in every instance. If that were the case, bombs would have been raining down on Iranian power plants and nuclear research facilities more than a decade ago and our recent Presidential elections wouldn’t have wasted so much time in debates over red lines. I don’t agree with many of his views, but Chomsky’s theories on political science can and do explain or make accurate predictions about US behavior or responses to real world situations, like the Iranian one. That’s more than I can say for some other commentators.

        Chomsky supports BDS, but differs over strategy of a “good model”.

        He notes that it won’t ever be effective unless it targets US government and private institutions that support the Israeli occupation. He also opposes a non-selective or blanket academic boycott of all “Israeli scholars” and institutions. I can remember hearing the calls for an academic boycott and wondering why we would shun Ilan Pappe when he was serving on the faculty of an Israeli university. If you advocate non-cooperation and boycott of people like Prof Oren Yiftachel, be my guest. But I wouldn’t associate myself with any call to blindly discriminate against individuals on the basis of their nationality or ethnicity. It seems self-evident to me that the methods employed to end discrimination against Palestinians on that very basis can’t possibly be discrimination against others on the basis of their national origin or ethnicity. You really can’t fight fire with fire when it comes to bigotry and still claim to be a liberal or egalitarian. For that matter, I see nothing wrong with sending intellectuals “into the lions den” to debate Zionist ideologues on the issues. There were always individuals and groups doing that during the South African apartheid era and there were always ankle biters complaining about it back then. It’s simply not the case, that in the past, only one approach was pursued to the exclusion of all others or that all solidarity activists were in unanimous agreement regarding best practices.

      • Mooser
        November 7, 2012, 1:30 pm

        Hostage, when it comes to Mondoweiss comments, Rumpelstiltskin could take your correspondence course, and be much improved for it.

      • W.Jones
        November 7, 2012, 11:05 pm

        Hostage,

        My impression is that:
        (1) Chomsky’s ideal for Palestine would be anarchist Zionism, made up of a society of Jewish kibbutzes and trade unions, while allowing Palestinians to stay in Palestine too.
        (2) Chomsky sees the Israeli state as merely a US outpost doing what the US wants it to.
        (3) Chomsky opposes activists for Palestinian rights following the model of the boycotts used against South African Apartheid.

        Is my understanding incorrect on any of those three?

        As for quotes, Chomsky said in an interview that he was an anarchist Zionist leader in the 1940’s, but that Israel (not he) has changed alot since then.
        link to youtube.com
        Finkelstein has said in a taped interview while criticizing the sincerity of neoconservatives’ Zionism: “You know who is a Zionist? Chomsky is a Zionist.” (referring to Chomsky’s nonstate Zionism)

        You pointed to Chomsky’s article “The Israel Lobby?” about Mearsheimer’s book. The third paragraph says there is “nothing unusual” about denunciations of Mearsheimer’s book, and rates the force of opposition to this kind of literature as on par with opposition to anti-war books on NATO’s bombing of Serbia. Ironically, Chomsky adds his own voice to those denouncing Mearsheimer’s work. In any case, Islamophobic hysteria is greater than that over the Balkan wars, and academics like Ellis and Finkelstein have had problems as a result to their opposition- but how many academics in the US were strongly censured for opposing the Balkan wars?

      • W.Jones
        November 7, 2012, 11:16 pm

        Hostage,

        Regarding (3) Some of Chomsky’s harshest words against BDS are in his interview here:
        Noam Chomsky Interviewed by Frank Barat, on Israel/Palestine (4/4)

        Wikipedia’s article on BDS summarizes it as follows:

        [Chomsky] stated that its “hypocrisy rises to heaven”. He said that anything that targets Israel alone can be attacked as antisemitism and “unfortunately this is with justice”. He stated that the BDS campaign harms the “whole movement. It harms the Palestinians and it is a gift to the Israeli hardliners and their American supporters, because the BDS’s “hypocrisy is so transparent… why not boycott the United States?.. Israeli crimes [are] a fragment of US crimes, which are much worse”. He also argued that the Palestinian people don’t support boycotting Israel and that the BDS movement is run by people who falsely claim to represent the Palestinian people

        What do you think?

        Kind Regards.

      • Hostage
        November 8, 2012, 7:57 am

        My impression is that:
        (1) Chomsky’s ideal for Palestine would be anarchist Zionism, made up of a society of Jewish kibbutzes and trade unions, while allowing Palestinians to stay in Palestine too.

        No, in his critique of the kibbutz movement he has noted that the ideas they espoused in the 1950s sound strange today, because the world has changed. He notes that he and his wife wouldn’t have lasted if they had stayed-on in Israel. He has criticized the closed nature of the Hebrew society the kibbutz movement created and the level of racism and oppression, even among the bi-nationalist and Mapam groups that were involved in Arab outreach activities. He says that these internal conflicts or logical inconsistencies were never resolved. See Tablet Q&A: Noam Chomsky link to tabletmag.com

        (2) Chomsky sees the Israeli state as merely a US outpost doing what the US wants it to.

        No, in the same interview Chomsky recognized that Israel has its own independent existence and policies. He doesn’t describe Israel as a helpless pawn of US foreign policy. In fact, he attributes the relationship to a conscious decision by Israeli policy makers to actively pursue US patronage in support of their own expansionist aims. He blames US supporters of those Israeli goals for actually being supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.

        (3) Chomsky opposes activists for Palestinian rights following the model of the boycotts used against South African Apartheid.

        Please clarify which model you want to follow and name the activists involved. The American Association of University Professors have published a long explanation which explains that AAUP limited its protests against apartheid in South Africa to resolutions of condemnation and to divestment, and economic boycotts, while steadfastly rejecting calls for academic or cultural boycotts. It quite correctly notes that cultural and academic boycotts can affect the earning capacity of innocent artists, writers, and educators who are banned from international events and that:

        This issue divided opponents of apartheid within South Africa. There, in the 1980s, many liberal academics argued against the academic boycott on principled grounds (it could not be reconciled with principles of academic freedom and university autonomy) and also on practical ones (it was vital to maintain channels of international communication). Even more radical groups opposed a total boycott and urged instead a selective boycott, one that would target supporters of apartheid but not its challengers.

        Addressing the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela stressed the need to choose tactics carefully. “In some cases,” he wrote, “it might be correct to boycott, and in others it might be unwise and dangerous. In still other cases another weapon of political struggle might be preferred. A demonstration, a protest march, a strike, or civil disobedience might be resorted to, all depending on the actual conditions at the given time

        Chomsky adds his own voice to those denouncing Mearsheimer’s work.

        Yeah, this is really mean spirited stuff :

        M-W [Mearsheimer-Walt] deserve credit for taking a position that is sure to elicit tantrums and fanatical lies and denunciations, but it’s worth noting that there is nothing unusual about that. . . . any attempt even to bring up plain (undisputed, surely relevant) facts is either ignored (M-W can’t be ignored), or sets off most impressive tantrums, slanders, fabrications and deceit, and the other standard reactions. . . . But recognizing that M-W took a courageous stand, which merits praise, we still have to ask how convincing their thesis is. Not very, in my opinion. . . . M-W make as good a case as one can, I suppose, for the power of the Lobby, but I don’t think it provides any reason to modify what has always seemed to me a more plausible interpretation. Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.

        See Chomsky The Israel Lobby? link to chomsky.info

        So he actually says that the Lobby is one of the two main factors that everyone agrees interact to determine our foreign policy and that Mearsheimer and Walt deserve credit and praise for taking a courageous stand regarding its role and presenting undeniable facts. But he goes on to point-out that their theory tends to overlook one of the two elephants in the room. That’s really not a denunciation.

        It would be nice if Mearsheimer and Walt would write a sequel to explain why TIAA-CREF, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed, and other private entities are so obstinate about withdrawing their support or investments in Israel, if it really is against their bottom line business interests. FYI, Chomsky has never said that the Lobby has only been successful when it’s interests are in line with the military industrial sector. He said that the Lobby is most powerful when they are in agreement and that it has backed-off in the past when they met opposition from those other sectors. See Reflections on a Lifetime of Engagement with Zionism, the Palestine Question, and American Empire: “Are you saying the Lobby isn’t a factor?” link to zcommunications.org

        Is my understanding incorrect on any of those three?

        Yes, I think so.

      • Hostage
        November 8, 2012, 10:50 am

        When it comes to “harsh words”, the leaders of the BDS movement specialize in criticizing other people, but don’t like it when other people return the favor. Chomsky is correct when he points out that they’ve also been charged with asking others to do as the say, and not as they do.

        FYI, Wikipedia states that Omar “Barghouti argues that the Palestinians have inalienable rights, while those of the Jews were acquired, even if they received international recognition.” If that’s really true, then he needs to quit studying electrical engineering and philosophy and take a basic or refresher course in international law.

        Wikipedia’s article on BDS summarizes it as follows:

        [Chomsky] stated that its “hypocrisy rises to heaven”. He said that anything that targets Israel alone can be attacked as antisemitism and “unfortunately this is with justice”.

        That’s certainly the case with the cultural boycott of Israel and the public harassment of artists and writers for crossing the cultural boycott “picket line”. The BDS movement targets all of the fans, including members of B’Tselem and Yesh Din, on the basis of their nationality or ethnicity, not their political views. At one and the same time, nothing is said or done about boycotting the dozens of individual artists and media companies here in the US who openly participate in, or raise money for, the “Friends of the IDF”. The role played by those artists and companies isn’t any different from the role played by Caterpillar, Hewlitt-Packard, Motorola, & etc.

        Cancelling concerts doesn’t necessarily benefit the one in five Israelis who happen to be Palestinian. Its disingenuous to claim that Palestinians are not permitted to attend a concert in Tel Aviv or to pretend that all of them support the cultural boycott.

        It’s easier to just watch the video and let Chomsky speak for himself. He actually said:

        The hypocrisy rises to heaven. I mean yes, all of these are the right things to do. It’s a hundred times worse in the United States or in England or in any other country you talk about, why not call for that [boycott] in the United States [too]?

        The United States and the UK have invaded, occupied more territory, bombed, maimed, killed or exiled more Arabs in the last decade than Israel has by several orders of magnitude. So far as the rest of the world is concerned, we’ve even established a permanent penal colony on the illegally occupied territory of Cuba in order to avoid observing the constitutional and humanitarian norms against forced disappearance, wrongful imprisonment, and torture. The problem is hardly limited to the Arabs or Muslims. The British Supreme Court agreed that the forced removal of the Chagos Islanders and the on-going efforts of our two governments to prevent them from returning to their homes, in places like Diego Garcia, amounts to a serious crime against humanity. The governments of the US and Israel are engaged in a very similar joint criminal enterprise. Yet, many of us still treat the situation as one where America is essentially innocent (American exceptionalism) and our efforts to spread or support democracy are being thwarted, singlehandedly, by the Zionists or the Israel Lobby. It’s not a case of either / or.

        Chomsky noted that the BDS platform has been a gift to Israeli and US hardliners. He said that even after the Jenin massacre, the only subject of discussion around Harvard-MIT, for many months, was anti-Semitism – which he also pointed “does not exist”. He is correct that many of the people who claim to represent Palestinian civil society live elsewhere and do not hold any mandate from the Palestinians living in the occupied territory.

        In my opinion there are already way too many fascists in Israel trying to rid the media, e.g. Channel 10, and the university political science departments of their remaining liberals. They don’t need any help from me.

      • W.Jones
        November 8, 2012, 5:35 pm

        Dear Hostage,

        Perhaps we should take one thing at a time, starting with (1) “My impression that Chomsky’s ideal for Palestine would be anarchist Zionism, made up of a society of Jewish kibbutzes and trade unions.”

        Has Chomsky in fact disavowed his anarchist Zionism?

        You replied that Chomsky noted that anarchist Zionist ideas they espoused in the 1950s sound strange today, because the world has changed.

        But even if someone’s ideals, like anarchism, might sound strange (Chomsky says “exotic”) due to world events, the person could still see them as ideal.

        He notes that he wouldn’t have lasted in Israel, but this could be because it strayed from its ideal.

        He has criticized the closed nature of the Hebrew society the kibbutz movement created and the level of racism and oppression, even among the bi-nationalist and Mapam groups, but he could still believe they should have acted differently or taken different non-racist ideals. He may have even felt that the Zionist groups were mostly intolerant, that alot of the rest of the people in the groups were intolerant, and he thinks that the society became more racist, but he might not think that he was racist himself at that time.

        You are right that “He says that these internal conflicts or logical inconsistencies were never resolved.” But that does not mean he rejects it or wants to “throw the baby out with the bath water.” There was a huge contradiction in late 18th century America where the country was founded on strong democratic principles, but the founders and the laws had slavery and accepted it. This contradiction doesn’t mean that an American abolitionist who believed in democracy disavowed the United States.

        Rather, Chomsky’s view could be that it was contradictory because it had a good side and a bad side, and his ideal could be to create that kind of society without what he sees as its bad side. He may not see intolerance as inherent in Zionism either, just as the Zionists argue that a “French State” does not necessarily discriminate against non-French. Instead, he could just be rejecting certain ideologies within the umbrella of the Zionist movement. I doubt that Zionism is necessarily racist myself, if it just means an immigration movement of the Jewish people back to the land.

      • W.Jones
        November 8, 2012, 5:46 pm

        Dear Hostage,

        In any case, what do you think about Finkelstein’s words about his mentor being a Zionist?

        Thanks for pointing to Chomsky’s interview in Tablet. He says:

        I liked the kibbutz life and the kibbutz ideals. It has pretty much disappeared now, I should say. But that time was incredible in spirit. For one thing it was a poor country. The kibbutz I went to, and I picked it for this reason, was actually originally Buberite… There was plenty of racism, I should say. I lived with it. But mostly against Mizrahim.

        It sounds strange that he says there was less racism against Arabs than against Mizrahim. He continues:

        There were those who gravitated toward or who were involved in efforts of Arab-Jewish working-class cooperation and who were for socialist binationalist Palestine. Those ideas sound exotic today, but they didn’t at the time.

        Doesn’t Chomsky still see a binational state as ideal, although a very unlikely one? If so, he may be counting himself among those “who were for” this.

        On one hand he says in the Chomsky Reader:

        What I did not then face honestly was the fairly obvious fact that these are Jewish institutions and are so because of legal and administrative structures and practice. So, for example, I doubt if there’s an Arab in any kibbutz, and there hardly could be, because of the land laws and the role the institution plays in the Israeli system.

        On the other hand, a 2005 interview in Haaretz reported:

        Indeed, he has a warm spot, suffused with regret and criticism, for opportunities for a better future that Israel consistently missed…
        Would you like to live anywhere else other than the United States?

        “I came pretty close to living in Israel. I did live there for a while, in fact. If I went somewhere else, which I don’t expect to do, it’s possible [it could be Israel].”

        link to chomsky.info

        In an interview with Amy Goodman, Chomsky talks about his life on the kibbutz:

        I remember going out on guard duty with older friends some evenings, and some of them refused to take guns. We would talk, you know, ask them, why aren’t you taking guns. They were not then called terrorists. In fact, the word, Hebrew word for terrorist had not been made up yet. They were called the infiltrators, but they had to drive them out. I remember asking some of these guys, “Why don’t you take guns?” And they said, “Look, these are the people that used to live here. From their point of view, we’re harvesting their land. So I’m not going to shoot them. I mean, I don’t want them here. Terrorists. They gotta go away, but…”

        link to chomsky.info
        The story above continues and becomes more vivid, describing how the binational Buberite kibbutz had destroyed a friendly Palestinian village.

      • Hostage
        November 16, 2012, 10:31 am

        Has Chomsky in fact disavowed his anarchist Zionism?

        I’m not going to engage in speculation. He has been critical of the racism in the kibbutz movement and has already said that he and his wife wouldn’t have lasted if they had returned to Israel. So he admits that he would have parted ways despite any feelings of sentimentality.

        It sounds strange that he says there was less racism against Arabs than against Mizrahim.

        Well I would guess that most Arabs don’t claim to represent another, more authentic, Jewish tradition.

        In any case, what do you think about Finkelstein’s words about his mentor being a Zionist?

        It looks like he supports a form of Zionism that only consists of a revival of the Hebrew culture among the existing Jewish communities. It does not require a state; the establishment or recognition of a Jewish home in Israel; or condone unilateral Jewish immigration and colonization of Palestine. In short, it’s “Zionism” alright, but not Zionism as you or I have come to know it.

      • W.Jones
        November 18, 2012, 4:54 pm

        Hostage,

        I like Chomsky and he disagrees with persecution of Palestinians, but my impression is still that he is an anarcho-syndicalist Zionist, since he portrays kibbutzim favorably except for what he sees as their racism and because Finkelstein calls him a Zionist.

        When I asked: Has Chomsky in fact disavowed his anarchist Zionism?
        You wrote:
        “I’m not going to engage in speculation.
        So you and I are unaware of any open disavowal.

        It’s true when you write:
        “He has been critical of the racism in the kibbutz movement and has already said that he and his wife wouldn’t have lasted if they had returned to Israel.”
        However, he also told Haaretz that he could return to live there.

        I think you’re right that this means regarding the kibbutz
        “he admits that he would have parted ways despite any feelings of sentimentality.”
        However, just because he wouldn’t have lasted at the kibbutz or even in Israel doesn’t mean that he rejects all of anarchist Zionism, just the part that he perceived to be racist and would have caused him to leave.

        It’s true that
        “that most Arabs don’t claim to represent another, more authentic, Jewish tradition.”
        But still, doesn’t it seem strange that he says he saw less racism against “Arabs”? After all, Mizrahis weren’t driven off their land, unlike the Palestinians near his kibbutz. I admit I’m not expert, but the hostility I hear coming from Israeli nationalists (now and in older stories) is typically directed clearly against the “Arabs”.

        Thanks for addressing Finkelstein’s remark, however I think Chomsky’s Zionism goes beyond what you described when you said:
        “It looks like he supports a form of Zionism that only consists of a revival of the Hebrew culture among the existing Jewish communities.”
        First, I think his nonstate Zionism goes beyond more than just a revival of Hebrew culture, to the creation of nationalist organizations that were political and economic. He himself belonged to both and the nonstate kibbutz model he approves of was both political and economic.
        Second, I think it included a call for the nationality to “return” to the land. This return is one of the main non-state goals of pre-state Zionism, it was encouraged by the nationalist organizations, and he himself was in the process of emigrating: he said it was only his acceptance at MIT that changed his mind. After all, he could have stayed in America and joined an anarchist commune here if his Zionism was just about pre-existing communities in Palestine reviving their culture where they were.

        By the way, I found Chomsky’s story about the “infiltrators” who used to live on the Kibbutz’s land remarkable. It reminds me of the current expulsion of native villages by settlements in the West Bank. Don’t you feel a striking similarity, too?

        AMY GOODMAN: Did you understand they were Arab?

        NOAM CHOMSKY: Oh, yeah. Everyone knew they were. They were the Palestinians who lived there. I mean, once I was working in a field with, again, an older man from the kibbutz, and we were carrying irrigation pipes around or something like that, and I noticed a pile of rocks on a hill, and I asked him what that was. He sort of changed the subject and wouldn’t talk about it, but later he took me aside a couple of days later and said, “Look, that was an Arab village. It was a friendly village, but when the fighting came close, we felt we couldn’t accept their being there, so we drove them out and destroyed the village.” This is a kibbutz way at the left, dovish, bi-nationalist end. Actually they were Buberites, mostly came from Germany.

        link to chomsky.info

      • Hostage
        November 18, 2012, 8:01 pm

        I like Chomsky and he disagrees with persecution of Palestinians, but my impression is still that he is an anarcho-syndicalist Zionist

        I believe that Finkelstein merely characterized him as a Zionist, not a anarcho-syndicalist Zionist. I would describe the messianic theology of the members of Neturei Karta as “Zionist”. So the label is practically useless when used outside the normal context.

        So you and I are unaware of any open disavowal.

        On the contrary. You’ve never defined exactly what you think “Zionism” means, but Chomsky has disavowed the idea that Israel should be a “Jewish state” or that it should be considered “the Jewish national home”. He really doesn’t support the notion that Jews have an inherent right to emigrate from other countries and colonize Palestine, so the notion that he is a “Zionist” in the normal sense is a non-sequitur. The fact that he worked on a Communist party kibbutz makes me wonder if he is a die-hard anarchist. FWIW, unlike Finkelstein and Chomsky, I’ve never been attracted to Marxist teaching or thinking.

      • W.Jones
        November 19, 2012, 12:33 am

        Hostage,

        My understanding is that the “Zionist movement” was a movement for the people to their return to “Zion”, the Holy Land. Chomsky characterizes his nonstate ideal, which allowed sharing the land, as part of the Zionist movement:

        ….at that time these were not considered outlandish ideas. They were not at the center of the Zionist movement but they were an element of it.

        link to chomsky.info

        It’s true that “Chomsky has disavowed the idea that Israel should be a “Jewish state”. But Chomsky himself says that this is not the same as Zionism, although it seems he is characterizing the movement too broadly as against statehood:

        The Zionist movement for a long time stood against the establishment of a Jewish state because such a state would be discriminatory and racist.

        link to chomsky.info

        I am not sure I agree with you when you say “I would describe the messianic theology of the members of Neturei Karta as “Zionist”.” They, like traditional Judaism, disagreed with the Zionist movement, because they believed the return should only occur after the time of the Messiah. Thus, they are not typically considered “Zionist”.

        I am doubtful when you write: “the label is practically useless when used outside the normal context.”
        The “normal context” of calling someone a communist in the US means the person belongs to the communist party. But the term can still be useful in describing someone who is an “anarcho-communist”, ie a “nonstate communist.” Likewise, Chomsky perceives that his views were non-state, non-racist, and “Zionist”, even though the normal context of the term refers to a state.

        What makes you say that he “really doesn’t support the notion that Jews have an inherent right to emigrate from other countries and colonize Palestine”? He disagrees with what he perceives as racist mistreatment, but how is an immigration movement itself necessarily mistreatment? Even if it turned out he doesn’t support the right as “inherent”, he could still see it favorably as a nationalist call to return. After all, he doesn’t see his own initial choice about immigrating as bad.

        I don’t see it as a non-sequitor, since one group sees a call to return favorably, while another, like traditional Judaism, thinks this call should wait until the Messianic era. There’s different practical results in each viewpoint.

        A summary of a biography of Chomsky mentions the role of migration in the organization he joined:

        Robert Barsky’s superb bio of Chomsky fills the picture in somewhat. Barsky says that as a young man Chomsky was associated with Avukah and Hashomer Hatzair, leftwing Zionist movements that promoted Jewish emigration to Israel because of their concerns with anti-Semitism in the west.

        link to noamchomsky.tribe.net

        Putting aside the issue of returning to the land, it’s worth pointing out that the Kibbutz system, which he describes with admiration would take on a large scale, as Chomsky describes it:

        it’s well to remember that the entire Yishuv (Jewish settlement) was based rather widely on related concepts of social organization: producer and consumer cooperatives, worker run transportation and other enterprises, worker-based social services,… So the kibbutzim found their place in a larger network…

        In some respects, the Kibbutzim came closer to the anarchist ideal than any other attempt that lasted for more than a very brief moment before destruction, or that was on anything like a similar scale. In these respects, I think they were extremely attractive and successful

        link to zcommunications.org

        Like I said, I generally like Chomsky. But when you combine a national “cultural revival” with economic and social organizations that make up that nationality’s half of the society, at best you come out with an anarchist society that runs itself as “separate but equal.” Maybe he sees that?

        ——————————————-
        One more thing strikes me: Chomsky told Israeli Channel 2 News in August 2010:

        “I regard myself a supporter of Israel.”

        This seems like a red herring, because he would actually prefer a binational system, but could you see him saying “I support South Africa” or “I support Cambodia” in the 1980’s?

        Peace.

      • Hostage
        November 19, 2012, 11:40 am

        I am not sure I agree with you when you say “I would describe the messianic theology of the members of Neturei Karta as “Zionist”.” They, like traditional Judaism, disagreed with the Zionist movement, because they believed the return should only occur after the time of the Messiah. Thus, they are not typically considered “Zionist”.

        There are plenty of members of Neturei Karta living in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem today. If history is any indicator, they are only one false Messiah away from being fervent religious Zionists, just like some of their ultra-Orthodox brethren.

        Chomsky on the other hand has deliberately chosen to live in the USA and to combat political and national religious Zionism. Your first block quote above highlights the fact that Chomsky now considers some earlier Zionist views as outlandish.

        The heyday of the kibbutz movement is long gone. It’s impossible for me to read support for racial or ethnic separatism into Chomsky’s remarks, since that is a specific criticism that he levels against the Zionists and the Kibbutz movement.

      • W.Jones
        November 19, 2012, 10:50 pm

        Hostage,

        A person can plan on getting married, but if they are not married yet, they are still a bachelor. Likewise, Neturei Kartei could be just one step away from supporting the Zionist return of the Messianic era, but they still oppose the return in this era, and thus are “anti-Zionist” at this point.

        Likewise, a person can support the Draft, but choose to avoid it because of graduate school. Chomsky was basically going to emigrate there, and his wife did, but then they changed their mind for practical reasons when he got accepted at MIT.

        Besides binationalism, emigration was one of the ideals of the organization to which he belonged:

        According to Norman Epstein, “Hashomer Hatzair was a strong, well-organized Zionist-Socialist youth movement in Europe [and] North and South America which prepared young Jewish boys and girls for life on a kibbutz in Palestine (later, Israel), expedited their immigration and integration into a kibbutz (`making aliyah’)

        link to cognet.mit.edu

        Chomsky combats the state’s policies and opposes “religious Zionism” since he is secular. But he and the organization he belonged to opposed those things back in the 1950’s- although his opposition on those questions has increased, while typically those who remained eventually conformed.

        Chomsky says that his earlier view of a binational state is now “considered” outlandish, but he does not say he himself rejects those views as bad. For example, Chomsky now says he doesn’t support a democratic “One State Solution” because he considers it hasn’t been realistic since about 1975. But I think he still sees a binational state as “ideal.”

        To give an analogy, Chomsky says: “To talk about socialism wasn’t considered a joke at that time.” But that doesn’t mean he now considers Socialism a joke himself.
        link to iajv99.wordpress.com
        And in fact, Chomsky continues to see the Kibbutz as an anarchist economic model:

        There are small societies, small in number, that I think have done so quite well, and there are a few examples of large scale libertarian revolutions which were largely anarchist in their structure. As to the first, small societies extending over a long period, I myself think the most dramatic example is perhaps the Israeli kibbutzim, which for a long period really were constructed on anarchist principles, that is: self-management, direct worker control, integration of agriculture, industry, service, personal participation in self-management. And they were, I should think, extraordinarily successful by almost any measure that one can impose.

        Chomsky levels a criticism on the State and the JNF that they forced Separation onto the kibbutzes with statist laws that prevented Palestinians from joining major parts of the Kibbutz movement. He also criticized left-wing employers for insisting on never hiring Palestinians. But his opposition to separation imposed by discriminatory laws and employment policies doesn’t mean he opposes kibbutzes having a nationality-based orientation. After all, there are lots of nationalistic associations in America that oppose racist policies in the US, just like he does. As you pointed out, he supports the people undergoing a nationalistic “cultural revival”, which must mean more than just the community preserving and valuing its traditions as it already has for many centuries.

        In any case, his Zionism appears to have a strong affect on his outlook, as he says:

        I’ve been involved in this since childhood in the 1930s. I was part of the Zionist movement, in fact, a Zionist youth leader, but I was opposed to a Jewish state

        and

        I spent several very happy months working in a Kibbutz and for several years thought seriously about returning permanently. Some of my closest friends, including several who have had a significant influence on my own thinking over the years, now live in Kibbutzim or elsewhere in Israel and I retain close connections that are quite separate from any political judgments and attitudes. I mention all of this to make clear that I inevitably view the continuing conflict from a very specific point of view, colored by these personal relationships. Perhaps this personal history distorts my perspective.

        link to ziomania.com

      • Hostage
        November 20, 2012, 11:19 am

        but they still oppose the return in this era, and thus are “anti-Zionist” at this point.

        That’s a very convenient position to take on the issue of “return” for the many members who are already living in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem today.

        I think it would be much more accurate to label them as anarchists. One could always try driving a vehicle through their neighborhood on the Sabbath to see whether or not they are willing to impose Jewish laws on Gentiles or non-believers. There are reliable reports which indicate that they’re not waiting around for a decision from the Messiah about that sort of thing.

        Likewise, a person can support the Draft, but choose to avoid it because of graduate school. Chomsky was basically going to emigrate there, and his wife did, but then they changed their mind for practical reasons when he got accepted at MIT.

        In many Zionist circles, anyone who denies that there is a personal obligation to make Aliyah and take-up permanent residence in Eretz Israel is considered a non-Zionist – whether or not there are “practical reasons” for not doing so. That goes double for anyone who also denies the existence of Israel as “The State of the Jewish people” or “The national home of the Jewish people”. If by some miracle you nonetheless determine that such an individual is a Zionist, you need to be able to answer the question “How can you tell?”

        All the evidence I’ve seen indicates that Chomsky firmly believes in a multi-ethnic or multi-cultural polity (not necessarily a bi-national one) with equal rights for all of the citizens. But that doesn’t mean he accepts Israel’s “right to exist” on portions of Palestine acquired by aggression or through the dispossession of the Palestinian inhabitants, e.g. link to mondoweiss.net

        In short, he rejects all of the objectionable core ideals of political or national religious Zionism.

      • W.Jones
        November 20, 2012, 7:41 pm

        Hostage,

        I generally like Chomsky, and if he is an anarchist Zionist, that doesn’t mean he is “bad.” After all, Jeff Halper describes himself basically as a non-state Zionist who made aliyah from Minnesota and his group, ICAHD, rebuilds many demolished Palestinian homes.

        You make a good point about Mea Shearim. It would seem hypocritical for individuals who adhered to an anti-Zionist ideology like that of Neturei Kartei if they felt a calling to make aliyah. In fact, you could say that those individuals don’t really have the beliefs of the organization. However, just because they may impose strict religious observances in their territory doesn’t mean they are Zionist. After all, similar strict observances could have been imposed in their communities back in medieval times even before there was a Zionist movement.

        Just because in “many Zionist circles” today it’s expected that a Zionist must make aliyah or must support the state system doesn’t mean that someone has to in order to be a Zionist. First, there are important American Zionist donors to the settlements even though they have not made aliyah. Second, in the first 100 years of the Zionist movement, many Zionists opposed having a state system. Saying that an opponent of the state system is no longer a Zionist because their position is now a small minority is like saying someone who opposes Soviet Communism is no longer a communist, since many circles equate the two. In fact, there is a perspective called anarcho-communist that a person can have even if others do not typically include it in the term “Communist”.

        Sure, Chomsky must firmly believe in a multi-ethnic or multi-cultural polity with equal rights for all of the citizens. After all, that’s also part of the ideology of anarchist Zionism. In my understanding, anarchist Zionism means a community undergoing a cultural revival, as you call it, made up of nonstate voluntary organizations dedicated to the particular culture. In my opinion though, when the anarchist society is fully divided into two “cultural” categories of economic and political organizations, what you get is a society that is practically “separate but equal”, even if membership is open to anyone.

      • W.Jones
        November 20, 2012, 10:16 pm

        Also, I am doubtful that Chomsky “rejects all of the objectionable core ideals of political or national religious Zionism.” Certainly he rejects religious Zionism as an ideal, because he is not religious. And he rejects Zionism using political processes to institute its system. But I think he does have politics that are Zionist, in so far as anarchist Zionism and kibbutzes reflect political ideology.

        In any case, I personally find part of what appears to be his anarchist Zionism objectionable. In particular, I think that if a society’s economic and political organizations, like kibbutzes and political parties, are each dedicated to their own one culture, then it deeply segregates society in reality, although not in law.

        Chomsky joined a kibbutz dedicated to one culture, and said he rejected its exclusion of people from the other culture. But why join a commune dedicated to one culture in the first place, instead of a universalist commune dedicated to mulitple cultures? Why get involved in a political organization in the US dedicated to one culture when he could have joined a universalist anarchist organization? I think its good that people care about their own cultures, and should create cultural associations, theatres, newspapers etc. for this. But focusing on economic and political organizations and modeling an ideal anarchist society on them seems to me something that would deeply divide the new society.

        Finally, the Israeli journal “Azure” printed a letter by a reader who had written an essay denouncing Chomsky for “hatred of Israel”. The reader relates:

        Within hours of the essay’s publication an incensed professorial acolyte of Chomsky’s named Carlos Otero burst into my office. He insisted—among other absurdities—that Chomsky was really a lover of Israel. His proofs were that Chomsky had spent six weeks on a kibbutz in 1953, and that “a famous Israeli professor” had described him as “a great Zionist” in a letter that Otero offered to show me. But when he told me the name of Chomsky’s Israeli admirer, I did not insist on examining the document, for I had taught at Tel Aviv University for the previous four years and did not doubt its authenticity. The alleged signatory of Chomsky’s certificate of kashrut was, of course, Asa Kasher.

        link to azure.org.il

        Wikipedia’s article on Kasher says:

        He is noted for authorship of Israel Defense Forces’s Code of Conduct. He wrote an influential defense of Israel’s ‘law of return’… Uri Avnery criticised Kasher for arguing in favour of targeted killing by the IDF, in those cases in which it knowingly fires on targets where civilians are present or nearby if enemy forces are also known to be present

        Why might Mr. Otero and Mr. Kasher find it important to strongly affirm Chomsky is a Zionist?

      • Hostage
        November 21, 2012, 7:46 pm

        Also, I am doubtful that Chomsky “rejects all of the objectionable core ideals of political or national religious Zionism.”

        Well I’m not interested in idle speculation. Chomsky did publicly object to the racism of the kibbutz movement. He noted that he has parted ways with the movement and wouldn’t have remained in it even if he had stayed-on in Israel. If you still find fault with that, you’re imagining things to complain about. He has written and spoken at length about the subject and no one has pointed out any evidence in that body of work.

        You keep citing the fact that others have said Chomsky is a Zionist, but that doesn’t mean that he supports any of the objectionable aspects of political or national religious Zionism.

      • Hostage
        November 21, 2012, 8:12 pm

        Just because in “many Zionist circles” today it’s expected that a Zionist must make aliyah or must support the state system doesn’t mean that someone has to in order to be a Zionist.

        In fact that is exactly what distinguished the “Non-Zionists” from the “Zionists” working in the Jewish Agency for Palestine as a result of the initiatives introduced by Dr. Weizmann at the 13th Congress in 1923 and 16th Congress in 1929.
        *Carlsbad, 1923: The proposal to include non-Zionists in the Jewish Agency was a matter which aroused considerable opposition and was defeated at this time. (Weizmann however, succeeded in implementing this program some six years later).
        *Zurich, 1929 The Congress approved the enlargement of the Jewish Agency— much to the chagrin of a vocal minority dominated by the Revisionists. This decision ended a debate that had lasted seven years.
        link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

        One of my Great Uncles was one of those “Non-Zionists”. The WZO and Jewish Agency for Israel are still parastal public organs – and many so-called “Zionists” or “supporters of Israel” do not believe that Jews have a “right of return” or that a personal obligation exists to make Aliyah or colonize Palestine.

      • W.Jones
        November 22, 2012, 2:20 pm

        Dear Hostage,

        Jeff Halper, who has rebuilt many demolished Palestinian homes, explained his own nonstate Zionism by pointing to other leftist minority groups in the 1970’s US, like those of Native and African Americans. I think it is admirable when various nationalities in the US preserve their heritage with cultural associations. However, what I would object to is forming an entire society along those nationalist lines, including economic organizations and political parties. What do you think about that?

        So for me, the general principle of a nationality making a return to its homeland is OK, and perhaps even admirable. Whether one defines Zionism as absolutely requiring everyone to make aliyah might depend on which Zionist group one belongs to, just like the issue of whether one must demand a nationalist state. Herzl himself didn’t make aliyah, unlike pre-state pioneers, and if aliyah was required, then the term “World Zionist Organization” would be a contradiction in terms, although I don’t deny that the facts you gave about its history are true. It’s an interesting story about your relatives.

        On the other hand, I object to joining and becoming a youth leader in a political organization trying to create a society divided along those lines, particularly where there is more than one nationality. That is, the societal model even at first glance is a kind of separation.

        Chomsky objected to what he perceived as the racism of the kibbutz movement, but that does not mean he objected to all of it, which for me is the kibbutz movement itself- creating an entire economic and power structure on a nationalistic basis. Examples he gave of that racism which he realized were exclusionary membership and employment policies, but the criticism doesn’t challenge the cultural orientation itself.

        In a way, Chomsky has not parted ways with the Zionist movement. As he has elsewhere, Chomsky explained to a Hebrew TV station that his criticism of both US and Israeli policy arises from personal connections and because he wants the countries to pursue the right policy. Antiwar activists in the US often make the same claims about why they demonstrate- to improve their country’s policies.

        In the particular interview, he says:

        I don’t regard myself as a critic of Israel, I regard myself as a supporter of Israel… Since I am Jewish and since I have a special relationship with Israel since childhood and since I care about it, I think it should take positions that are moral, realistic, and appropriate for its own decent survival.

        “Don’t you feel that even if you are working for Israel, that the arguments will be misused?”
        It’s true that my statements will be misused, for example by Dershowitz, who is dangerous for Israel.

        “Is Israel as bad as other countries (eg. Lebanon and Syria)?”
        Did I ever say that? (He adds that he gave a talk for Amnesty International on Syria’s violations but not on Israel’s) … Let’s put aside the personal connection, to Israel, which is there… I don’t make arguments against Israel, I make arguments for Israel.

        He adds that five years ago if he left America and could go any place else he certainly would live in Israel, but that he wouldn’t any more (for practical reasons) because their government is irrational, shown by their rejection of his visa and mistreatment of the Turkish ambassador.

        Peace.

      • Hostage
        November 22, 2012, 4:54 pm

        People who advocate one democratic state still tend to talk as if it would somehow exclude the settlers. Chomsky is absolutely clear that he is not a racist and that he views a single state with equal human rights for all, including the settlers, to be the optimal solution. But in the short term it’s completely unrealistic.

        Israel, with US backing naturally supports the status quo of apartheid, and Chomsky is having none of that or the separatism that you suggest. link to chomsky.info

        People tend to go overboard and forget that Jews enjoy the same rights as any other group under the terms of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. That is one of the instruments that comprise the International Bill of Rights, together with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Any self-determination unit has the right to pursue its own economic, social, and cultural well being, so long as it doesn’t violate the human rights of others.

      • RoHa
        November 22, 2012, 8:00 pm

        “I think it is admirable when various nationalities in the US preserve their heritage with cultural associations.”

        Why?

        “However, what I would object to is forming an entire society along those nationalist lines, including economic organizations and political parties.”

        Agree.

      • RoHa
        November 22, 2012, 8:09 pm

        “Any self-determination unit …”

        What constitutes a “self-determination unit”?

      • Hostage
        November 22, 2012, 11:50 pm

        What constitutes a “self-determination unit”?

        Every non-self governing territory in Ottoman Asia that was subject to a League of Nations Mandate was comprised of one or more “communities” that were provisionally recognized as independent nations in accordance with Article 22 of the Treaty of Versailles. Article 434 of the same treaty granted the Allied powers the authority to lay down the boundaries of new states within those territories whenever and wherever they saw fit. link to net.lib.byu.edu

        In the Greco-Bulgarian Communities (Opinion No. 17) and Minority Schools in Albania (Opinion A/B 64), the World Court provided a legal definition of a community. It is:

        ” … a group of persons living in a given country or locality, having a race, religion, language and traditions of their own and united by this identity of race, religion, language and traditions in a sentiment of solidarity, with a view to preserving their traditions, maintaining their form of worship, ensuring the instruction and upbringing of their children in accordance with the spirit and traditions of their race and rendering mutual assistance to each other.”

        After the ICJ Kosovo decision, just about any territorial entity that issues a unilateral declaration of independence can be considered a self-determination unit. 167 state parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) have affirmed that fact, but the ICJ has declared that it is jus cogens or compelling law that applies to all the parties to the UN Charter:

        1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

        2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.

        3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

        The right of self-determination can exercised by establishing an independent state; through a union, annexation, or incorporation into another existing state; or any other status freely chosen by a community of people.

      • Hostage
        November 23, 2012, 12:06 am

        “However, what I would object to is forming an entire society along those nationalist lines, including economic organizations and political parties.”

        Agree.

        Nonetheless the ICCPR and ICESCR do allow peoples to exercise their right to self-determination through incorporation into another existing state; confederation with another state; or federal union with others states, while retaining their own unique economic, social, and cultural rights.

      • W.Jones
        November 23, 2012, 2:47 am

        Hostage,

        Chomsky objects to racist Israeli goals, like forcing Palestinians to live under conditions resembling perpetual occupation. He denounces Apartheid-style laws, and you’re right that “views a single state with equal human rights for all, including the settlers, to be the optimal solution.”

        But it seems to me that someone is ethnocentric if he finds it very important to build a society’s economic and political structures from the bottom up, so that the structures are dedicated to one or another ethnic identity. This could be OK if there is only one ethnicity in the society, but where there is more than one, I find it harmful.

        In the article you pointed to, Chomsky does not mention whether it is OK to have economic structures dedicated to a single culture, his strong attraction to the culture, or the Kibbutzes. So in the article at least he does not reject the kind of non-exclusionary Separation I refer to.

        Sure, Jews, Christians, and Muslims “enjoy the same rights as any other group”, and they can pursue their own economic, social, and cultural well being. However, I do disagree with having a society’s economic organizations dedicated to one culture or another, even if this division supposedly didn’t violate the other culture’s rights.

        Imagine if, according to the model, a binational society’s factories, schools, and farms were divided on whether they were dedicated to Culture A or Culture B. Culture A happens to have several times more money and political power than Culture B, and so will its businesses. Since there is no legal segregation, some people from culture B end up working for Culture A’s businesses because they get paid more. But still, “Separate but Equal” is inherently unequal as the US Supreme Court found in the famous “Brown” case, and that’s ultimately what this model is: separating the units of a society based on their cultural orientation.

        It does appear Chomsky’s ideal went beyond merely having a revival of the culture of the people already in Palestine, and included immigration, which he calls “settlement”:

        In the opening paragraphs of his 1969 essay, “Nationalism and Conflict in Palestine,” Chomsky begins by providing some personal background to his remarks on the subject: “I grew up with a deep interest in the revival of Hebrew culture associated with the settlement of Palestine…”

        link to chomsky-must-read.blogspot.com

        Plus, the impression I get is that Chomsky’s Zionism has not changed much:

        I was an organizer of what were then called Zionist youth groups, which I suppose would now be called anti-Zionist, because they were mostly opposed to a Jewish state. My own commitments early on, from when I was a teenager, would be socialist binationalism. __I can’t say my views have changed a lot in that respect.__

        link to 4thmedia.org

        You drew attention to the fact that he rejected the racist policies and actions of kibbutzes, like the state-imposed membership exclusion rules. But he also said that he was unaware of those rules at first. Thus, it was not his own ideals that changed, but rather he observed more and more how the real-life policies differed from his own ideals.

      • Hostage
        November 23, 2012, 11:11 am

        This could be OK if there is only one ethnicity in the society, but where there is more than one, I find it harmful.

        In the article you pointed to, Chomsky does not mention whether it is OK to have economic structures dedicated to a single culture

        You’ve never cited any writings by Chomsky that say he favors or supports such a thing as turning the old Jewish-only Kibbutz movement into an official or legally imposed structure. Are you insinuating that cultural Zionism is objectionable if it advocates innocuous things like revival and adoption of Hebrew as one of the official languages and cultures? Switzerland is a federation of twenty-six states called cantons (six are considered half cantons). There are four linguistic regions: German-speaking (in the north, center, and east), French-speaking (in the west), Italian-speaking (in the south), and Romansh-speaking (a small area in the southeast). All of that is inline with the ICCPR, ICESCR, and the right of those ethnic groups to self-determination. link to everyculture.com

      • W.Jones
        November 23, 2012, 8:22 pm

        Hostage

        I remember when I was starting in college I admired Chomsky alot because I saw him as having very strong egalitarian and nonauthoritarian ideals. I still like Chomsky and admire alot of his work, but am disillusioned that his ideal turned out to be nationalistic anarchism, and that his positions on the IP conflict don’t match what I would expect from his way of thinking in other conflicts (BDS, right of return, etc). I would not consider him a P.E.P, but he is not radical like I had expected.

        No, Chomsky doesn’t favor “turning the old Jewish-only Kibbutz movement into a legally imposed structure”, because 1) He disagrees that the Kibbutz movement should have been Jewish-only and should have allowed Palestinians and 2) he objects to the kibbutz system being imposed by the state, because he is an anarchist. Instead, he admired the kibbutz movement and aliyah as ideals, disagreed with their exclusionary policies, and his words suggest he retains his position. He has also stated that his Zionism hasn’t changed, but the common idea of Zionism in many people’s minds has changed.

        For me, however, idealistically joining an economic-political system dedicated to a single nationality in a binational land reflects an ideology that in practical terms means “separate but equal”. Sure, there is mixing of peoples within organizations, but the society’s organizations themselves are separated from eachother based on culture.

        I don’t find “cultural Zionism objectionable if it advocates revival and adoption of Hebrew as one of the official languages.” Personally, I like Hebrew. Just as a binational Canada can use two languages in schools and public organizations, the same makes sense for Hebrew and Arabic in the Holy Land. Just as government agencies and schools should have both languages, they should also be dedicated to both cultures. It would be very divisive in Canada, for example, if Canadian companies were divided between those officially dedicated to Anglo culture and those dedicated to French culture. And that’s especially true for Palestine, where there were vast disparities in wealth and power.

        That Chomsky sees the pre-State Zionist movement as a model is reflected in his description of his conversation with the Palestinian Prime Minister:

        we had a long discussion. He is pursuing policies, which, in my view, are quite sensible, policies of essentially developing facts on the ground. It’s almost – I think it’s probably a conscious imitation of the early Zionist policies, establishing facts on the ground and hoping that the political forms that follow will be determined by them. And the policies sound to me like sensible and sound ones.”

        link to desertpeace.wordpress.com
        Chomsky elsewhere mentioned his “deep interest” in the settlement movement. In establishing the “facts on the ground”, the pre-state settlers found ways to take over and control much land for their own community- a strategy the native people themselves disagreed with. I don’t see this as a positive model, because it meant one Culture strategically taking land from the second, to its dismay.

        Ultimately, the Israelis have continued this “early Zionist” “model” of unilaterally creating “facts on the ground” by building walls and settlements on others’ land. Chomsky disagrees with building settlements in the West Bank, but this “strategy” is a continuation of the unilateral “facts on the ground” settlement-style which Chomsky approved.

        Further, while I can rationalize Chomsky’s position that the native Palestinians’ right of return is “unrealistic” due to Israeli power, I do find it deeply ironic that he was open to taking advantage of that imposed power to immigrate himself in their place. And while he negatively portrays the destruction of the friendly village under his kibbutz, isn’t it strange to picture such a seemingly radical humanitarian doing guard duty against those dispossessed villagers and intending to move to the encroaching kibbutz regardless of the destruction? At least Jeff Halper made sure when he emigrated that his new house was not a confiscated Palestinian one.

        By the way, I understand that there were different opinions in the pre-state Zionist movement on statehood, but do you think Chomsky is correct when he says: “until 1942 there was no official commitment of Zionist organizations to a Jewish state.” Or would you say he is portraying the Zionist organizations in too sympathetic a light from his non-state perspective?

      • Hostage
        November 24, 2012, 9:45 am

        W.Jones you are making arguments from silence that fly in the face of Chomsky’s explicit statements, like:

        That appealing prospect would complement Israel’s ongoing criminal actions in the West Bank, carefully designed along the lines already outlined to ensure that there will be no viable future for Palestinians there. At the same time, Israel can turn to solving its internal “demographic problem,” the presence of non-Jews in a Jewish state.

        For Israel, this is no small matter. Despite heroic efforts by its apologists, it is not easy to conceal the fact that a “democratic Jewish state” is no more acceptable to liberal opinion than a “democratic Christian state” or a “democratic white state,” as long as the blot or mixture is not removed. Such notions could be tolerated if the religious/ethnic identification were mostly symbolic, like selecting an official day of rest. But in the case of Israel, it goes far beyond that. The most extreme departure from minimal democratic principles is the complex array of laws and bureaucratic arrangements designed to vest control of over 90 percent of the land in the hands of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an organization committed to using charitable funds in ways that are “directly or indirectly beneficial to persons of Jewish religion, race or origin,” so its documents explain: “a public institution recognized by the Government of Israel and the World Zionist Organization as the exclusive instrument for the development of Israel’s lands,” restricted to Jewish use, in perpetuity (with marginal exceptions), and barred to non-Jewish labor (though the principle is often ignored for imported cheap labor). This extreme violation of elementary civil rights, funded by all American citizens thanks to the tax-free status of the JNF, finally reached Israel’s High Court in 2000, in a case brought by an Arab couple who had been barred from the town of Katzir. The Court ruled in their favor, in a narrow decision, which seems to have been barely implemented. Seven years later, a young Arab couple was barred from the town of Rakefet, on state land, on grounds of “social incompatibility” (Scott Peterson, Washington Post, December 20, 2007), a very rare report. Again, none of this is unfamiliar in the U.S. After all, it took a century before the 14th Amendment was even formally recognized by the courts and it still is far from implemented.

        link to zcommunications.org

      • Mooser
        November 24, 2012, 11:24 am

        Ol’ Rump was the guy who spun straw into gold.

      • W.Jones
        November 24, 2012, 9:02 pm

        And now, like Rapunzel’s prince, the reader may climb up this “thread” of hair, where you first mentioned the fairy tail.

        On the way, please keep in mind that Chomsky’s criticisms are of exclusion, mistreatment, and state policies, but not the basic nationalist idea of having a society dedicated to a nationality. Reading today the partial massacre, rape, and destruction of Abu Zaqir by Hazorea Kibbutz was troubling, and I would ask why Chomsky wanted to go live on that kibbutz to achieve “Arab-Jewish cooperation”, even after he discovered this event.
        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Hostage
        November 25, 2012, 5:35 am

        I would ask why Chomsky wanted to go live on that kibbutz to achieve “Arab-Jewish cooperation”, even after he discovered this event.

        That’s like demanding that Netanyahu avoid negotiations with Hamas. It’s the perpetrators that need to begin to speak directly with each other and learn to cooperate, not the law abiding people.

  4. W.Jones
    November 5, 2012, 9:07 pm

    Valency,

    Chomsky’s past experience may remind him of a time when he was young, had times with friends working together on a common goal etc. Admittedly, I am sure there are lots of people who have had experiences where they did one thing in their youth and came to saw it in quite different terms later in life.

    Actually, I am doubtful that “that the Kibbutzim communities could only exist in the first place because of a program of ethnic cleansing”. In the nationalistic movie “Exodus” a misleading view of the kibbutz is presented to the audience: the movie portrays a kibbutz where well-dressed, sympathetic Palestinian natives and the kibbutz members toast eachother in a big public ceremony. This was not the typical reality in my view, because in fact the kibbutzes only allowed a certain group to interact with it, although ironically the strong right-wing kibbutzes exploited Palestinian labor, but at least still employed them. Nevertheless, I think this misleading image presented to the US public was onto something inclusive that could have happened.

    In other words, I think Kibbutzes could have existed without ethnic cleansing, had they preferred to work together with and integrate people from other religious backgrounds. I think people who believed in integration really could have set up multicultural kibbutzes and there is at least one example of an intentionally created multicultural community or village in the Israeli state today.

    In fact, I think it’s possible you could have single-religion kibbutzes set up (the make-up of the one Chomsky was on) that actually strongly wanted to cooperate with and live together with villages of other cultures. But you would have to have this kind of cooperation to be set as a major goal of that kibbutz for it to work, as well as strong beliefs in sharing territory with people from other religions.

    • W.Jones
      November 5, 2012, 9:22 pm

      Otherwise without strong belief in cooperation across groups, this “ideal” ends up modeling an entire society just on single-ethnic principles, from the local “kibbutz” level to the top level (eg. the union committee). I mean imagine if half the local co-ops, labor unions, and political parties in the US accepted membership of one culture only. It would create a huge canyon-sized division in the nation on exactly those lines, and you would need intense belief and love in multiculturalism to overcome the societal gash you had just created.

      So perhaps you are right after all.

      • Mooser
        November 7, 2012, 1:26 pm

        “It would create a huge canyon-sized division in the nation on exactly those lines, and you would need intense belief and love in multiculturalism to overcome the societal gash you had just created.”

        Oh, I’m sure if you could just persuade the Palestinians that God gave you title to the land, and you hadn’t in fact, just stolen it by violence and political minipulation under the banner of religion. But I guess a whole lotta “love” would take care of that, huh?

        Just admit it, W. Jones, your basic viewpoint is that the Bible promises to the Jews are true. I’m sure you’d rather see them accomplished without violence, which is darned nice of you. But be accomplished they will, huh, baby?

      • W.Jones
        November 7, 2012, 10:25 pm

        Mooser,

        I am not talking about creating a religious-based state made by violence, but rather the idea of Chomsky’s anarchist commune ideal. You bring up a good point that the native population would resist interference with their own society, but they may have tolerated at least a certain amount of immigration and setting up of Chomsky’s kibbutzes if those organizations hadn’t confiscated or manipulated to get their territory.

        However, I don’t think those kinds of kibbutzes are really very progressive or tolerant after all, since they create a huge, separate economic and political society based only on one religious community. What do you think of Chomsky’s ideal?

      • Mooser
        November 7, 2012, 1:33 pm

        “Actually, I am doubtful that “that the Kibbutzim communities could only exist in the first place because of a program of ethnic cleansing”. In the nationalistic movie “Exodus”

        Why are you trying so hard, and at such a great expense to your credibility, to derail or distract from the discussion? So basically, this whole discussion is about your perception of the film “Exodus”? What on earth?

    • sardelapasti
      November 6, 2012, 4:40 pm

      “In other words, I think Kibbutzes could have existed without ethnic cleansing, had they preferred to work together …”

      And so we continue to happily confuse two unmiscible issues.

      Of these two “communities/religions/nationalities/ethnies/ identities”/other such words,
      – one fully has the right to be there and is at home.
      – the other one still has no right at all to be anywhere on Palestinian soil and can only obtain such a right by sufferance, or at the pleasure, of the other one (which has no structure to express any such approvals.) Any objection to this latter statement (including those based on UN votes) is nothing but a de facto legitimation of the barbarian “right” of conquest.

      That is in fact the total absurdity of talking about either “two states” or “binational” states”: before having a structure, that is not under Israeli/American control, to represent the Palestinian people, there can be no one able to make even a minimal change in the totally illegitimate status of the Master-Race invaders.

    • Mooser
      November 7, 2012, 1:19 pm

      “as well as strong beliefs in sharing territory with people from other religions.”

      Excuse me W.Jones, but who do you think is doing the “sharing”. You think it would be just ducky if the Zionists were nice to the Palestinians on what is, in fact, Palestinians land.

      Another words, on some level, you believe all that God-gave-the-land-to-the-Jews crap, and you’ are just trying to figure out some way of incalcating that tenet into the discussion. Or maybe you just can’t help it. This being the “Holy Land” and all.

      • W.Jones
        November 7, 2012, 10:18 pm

        Mooser,

        As per your message on: November 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm- It seems to me possible that with the right ideology and attitudes large numbers of Jewish immigrants could have peacefully immigrated to Palestine and legally purchased land from Palestinians and shared the territory without forming a state dedicated to a single religious community. My impression is that this was happening in practice to some extent in the early 20th century, although it’s true the Zionists ultimately wanted to create a single-religion state, which they did.

        “on some level, you believe all that God-gave-the-land-to-the-Jews crap” I think so, but it’s not exclusively their possession. Christians all over the world are also sons of Abraham, since they follow the Abrahamic religion, so the promises to extend to them (1/3 of the world population). Plus, Palestinians are typically descended from Jews, so they are also Jews in an ethnic sense and the land would go to them too. And third, the instruction was that they had to live together with and respect the “strangers” (heathens) among them, which obviously doesn’t include driving them off their land.

        (Of course I could be wrong and there was no divine promise to the people to retain the land after all.)

    • Mooser
      November 7, 2012, 1:22 pm

      “kibbutzes exploited Palestinian labor, but at least still employed them.”

      Yes, because up until them all the Palestinians were just wandering around looking for a job. Didn’t have anything to do, and probably wouldn’t last through the next winter. How on earth did those nudniks survive without the Nakba? (Yes, yes, but I like the alliteration)

      W. Jones what the f–k are you up to? Is there some reason why you can’t come clean about it?

  5. gamal
    November 8, 2012, 8:46 am

    ok so its all Abrahams chillun, all the Christians, the Palestinians who are typically descended from Jews, Jews, all the Arabs, remember Ishmael, yes, (call me Ishmael, so anyone who has read Moby Dick as well, they will be the “minority”) and as Christians qualify well all the Muslims too, Palestine is going to be very densely populated, thats at least 3.5 billion, think of the traffic jams, i think we should do it, and people say its hard to have a rational discussion about Palestine, because religion clouds the issues. Can I ask why if Christians get in on the strength of Abrahamicness Muslims don’t in your proposed solution, it makes me think you havent really thought this through. Also quite a few Muslims are typically of Jewish descent, as are most people in the state of Utah, latter day and all that but still what about it , do they get an extra Palestine for that, how about the Samaritans, they are typically descended from Samaritans, its been proven by genetic science, what does that get them.

    W it puts me in mind of the Pidgin Lords Prayer, not out of any racist contempt, but because there really is something charming about your proposal, its just i dont how to put it, it just brings the effulgence of the vigour and directness of PNG christian worship to mind, even though it seems to be a square cultural item rammed in to a very round milieu. For some reason that Papa belong mipela (my fella =us =we) really moves me. and tru for amen, i mean, amin, i’d live next door to them in Emwas, there is a park there now, Canada park i think.

    Papa bilong mipela, yu stap long heven,
    Mekim nem bilong yu i kmap holi.
    Mekim Kingdom bilong yu i kam.
    Strongim mipela long bihainam laik bilong yu long graun olseam ol i bihainim long heven tu.
    Nau yu ken givim mipela kaikai inap long dispela de.
    Na yu lusim ol rong bilong mipela,
    olsem mipela i lusim ol rong ol man i mekim long mipela.
    Na yu no bringim mipela long traim,
    tasol tekewe mipela long samting nogut.
    Kingdom na strong na biknem i bilong yu tasol oltaim.
    Tru.

    mauler’s transliteration:

    Father of us, who stops in heaven.
    Make your name come up holy.
    Make your Kingdom come.
    Make us strong in following your likes on ground and also following all of them in heaven too.
    Now give us bread enough this day.
    Now lose them all wrongs of ours,
    And also we will lose them all wrongs that all men make on us.
    Don’t bring upon us trials,
    And take away from us something no good.
    Kingdom and strength and big name are yours all times.
    Amen.

    • W.Jones
      November 8, 2012, 10:51 am

      Gamal,

      Yes, the Bible’s prophecies actually says this. In it, the Lord promised Abraham he would become the father “of many nations.” And it repeatedly prophesies that all nations would worship the Lord of Israel, and it also describes everybody making pilgrimages to Jerusalem. So the promises made to Abraham and Israel about the Promised Land and about the spreading of Abraham’s patriarchy and faith around the world suggest all those promises overlap.

      One need not rely on the Biblical promise of the land to everyone however. The United Nations planned for Jerusalem to be an international city, not belonging to either group. Considering the strong importance of Jerusalem to the major religions of most of the world’s population, and that fact nations have fought over it in the past, it makes sense the city should be peacefully shared by the international community.

      Think of famous works of art and architecture treasured by an entire nation. Rather than giving it to a greedy private collector who hides it in his basement and takes advantage of people to make it his sole possession, is it not more beautiful that the artwork be displayed in a public museum where it can be enjoyed by everyone?

      Your objection is mainly practical: how can everyone fit into a small piece of land? Every year millions of pilgrims visit the Holy Land from around the world, which reflects that the place is indeed an international treasure to be housed in a “open-air museum” for everyone to share and enjoy.

      Peace.

      • RoHa
        November 8, 2012, 8:04 pm

        “is it not more beautiful that the artwork be displayed in a public museum where it can be enjoyed by everyone?”

        Off topic, but an interesting legal question arose when PM Ted Heath ordered the public museums and galleries to charge an entry fee. Critics pointed out that many of the items on display had been bequeathed to the galleries on condition that they be displayed free.

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