Shlomo Sand on Zionism, post-Zionism, and the two-state solution

This month we are offering readers who contribute $60 to our fundraising drive a copy of Shlomo Sand’s new book, The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland. The book follows on the critical international success of his last book, The Invention of the Jewish People (2010). In order to give readers a better sense of the book’s aims, I interviewed Sand by telephone at his home in Tel Aviv on December 8.

What’s  the difference between the goal of the first book and the second book?

I wrote the second volume because part of what the critics said who criticized me on the first one was that I didn’t try and explain the relationship and the affinity between Jews and the holy land. And because people asked me about this, I decided to write about it, about the metaphysical relationship of the Jews to the holy land. I always stress that this kind of relationship is not marginal to the existence of Jews in history. I knew that it was very important. I also knew that it was not Zionism. To understand Judaism, you can’t understand it without the holy land. But Zionism has brought about a different, modern relationship of Jews to the land.

Didn’t some critics accuse you of presumption in daring to write religious history?

The first book is not about Jewish religion and history. The book was and is about the Zionist historiography that deals with Jewish history. I didn’t write a Jewish history. Of course I cannot write about Zionist history without pretending that I am not writing about Jewish history. I’m not stupid. I am dealing also indirectly with the history of the Jews.  For the second book I read a lot about Jewish religion– much more than the first one.

The first one also considered the bible. I read a lot about the bible. And for the second book I tried to read again a lot of pages in the Talmud, to really try to understand the relationship of Jews to the promised land, and the holy land, and to understand that that relationship is completely different to the modern attitude of land, and ownership of land. I criticize the Zionist historiography, when it makes the continuation of the metaphysical concept, that very important aspect of the land that God gave the Jews and then took away—when they put the human subject in the middle of the action and say that the Jew has a total right to this land. I don’t think the religious affinity to the land gives you historical right. And after 2000 years, to pretend that the land is your land, if we continue with this logic, we can’t accept the right of the whites, blacks and Latinos to live in New York. It’s something dangerous, this idea.

I justify the existence of Israel not because of historical right, but because of the fact that it exist today and any effort to destroy it will bring new tragedies. Besides, Zionism created a new Israeli nation that has a right to exist.

I don’t define myself as an anti-Zionist. I define myself as a post-Zionist and non-Zionist because the justification of this land is not historical right. I understand it happened because of the tragedy of Europe. The majority of the emigrants didn’t want to come to Palestine. But the Zionist historians didn’t want to put that inside the narrative of how Israel was built.

I didn’t discover anything new. I put the historical material in a new order, and this makes them crazy, I mean the Zionist historians. I am radical historically. I don’t accept any compromise at the historical level. On the contrary, the political world is a world of compromise. I try to convince the Israelis that Al Aqsa belongs to the Muslims… and that is not easy with the Israelis. And what I say is not easy with the Palestinians sometimes.

Yesterday I was in a conference in Germany, and there were many Palestinians, and I got questions about the right of return. It’s not so easy to me to confront the reaction of a lot of Israelis, and a lot of Palestinians.

You said when you came to New York to promote your last book, the child of a rape still deserves to live. Did I hear your right?

You understood me very well. I think we raped a population. And not only a population– we destroyed this society, in constituting the Israeli state…  Every child has a right to live as much as a child of rape…But as I insisted in my first book, I am against any ethnocracy in the world. Israel has to be the state of Israelis. That is the only way we can continue to live in the mididle east.

I also believe that because of the tragic history of the Jews in the 20th century, Israel can continue to be a refuge to Jews who suffer from anti-Semitism. Though I am against the law of return. As I am against the right of return.

But how can it be a refuge for Jews if you eliminate the law of return?

I can propose a new law, to define Israel as the Israeli state. Because a quarter of the population is not Jewish. Making Israel as the Jewish state is like defining the United States as the Anglo-Saxon Protestant state. But because I know that history is not so simple sometimes, I think Israel can stay as a state of refuge for the Jews who are suffering from anti-Semitism but not a state that belongs automatically to Woody Allen or to Sheldon Adelson.

In the book you make comments about American Jews’ supporting Israel but not wanting to move there. Do you think it’s fair for me to confront members of the Israel lobby in the US who speak about a need for a Jewish state, Well, why don’t you go move there?

They don’t move there because people living together [as in the U.S.] have some cultural practice, a secular practice in common. They want to live with the others…. The Jews don’t want to live with me here in Tel Aviv, and I respect that a lot. I think the affinity they have with the Israeli state is justified. But affinity cannot be translated into national consciousness, or to the sentiment of possession of, or ownership of the land. We cannot see ourselves as a part of an imagined nation that is living abroad if we want to continue to live in the Middle East. We have a common past but we don’t have a common present and a common future, I hope.… Because my present is Israeli culture, and my future– I don’t know the future.

Are you religious?

No. Unfortunately I don’t believe in god … To understand the cosmos, the limits of the cosmos, or really the unlimits—it is very difficult to accept the shortness of life. It is very hard with my little brain to understand the shortness of our life in the unlimited cosmos, and I continue to think that the human being has to be the center of our action and reflection, and not the god.

If you’re not religious, then why do you valorize the religious myths of others?

The holy land is very important to religious people. That is different from possession…. And the fact that I’m not religious—still, I think that religion will stay in history much longer than nationalism. It was and it maybe will be more important than nationalism. Unfortunately I am not religious because I do not believe in god but that doesn’t mean that I will run away from religion [as a historian].

What do you think of Marxist and materialist scholars who deny the importance of religion?

The clever Marxists will agree with me. The stupid Marxists will not agree. Marxists in some way cannot understand religion– I agree with you. It is one of the weaknesses of Marxism, the way they treated religion after Marx. Religion can be opium, but it will never be only an opium..But I knew people that came from Marxism originally [who came to understand the] need of the human being with all his tragedies and suffering, for god. And the problem with religion is it creates not only love but also hatred. There is a relationship between religion and nationalism. [Religious nationalism is] much less liberal, much less democratic than the secular states, and than secular nationalism.

What about Samuel Huntington’s thesis of a clash of civilizations?

I don’t take seriously the Huntington thesis about a clash with the Muslim and western world… I can ask Huntington, where is the Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Bahrain in this clash– all these possessions of the west in the Middle East? All the most religious countries, where are they in the clash? They exist because of the western world. If I try to apply the theory of clash–it can be a clash between China and the west, it cannot be between Islam and the west. That I can’t imagine. But with China, because of the difference in culture, in attitudes of economy and society, I can imagine. The clash between Islam and the western world is a joke if you see the power difference between the two. The Egyptian army is in the hand of the United States. Because they can’t fight five or six days without the need for munitions from the States. Because of what happened in Iran [in 1979 revolution], we are thinking of the clash—but Iran is much more a nationalist movement than an Islamist movement. Iran, if you see what the children are studying, you  understand that it is not a general Islamic movement, it’s much more a nationalist movement with a religious clothes, religious appearance.

Let’s go back to the core idea of the book, and your description of the strict adjurations to religious Jews not to live in the holy land.

See, at the end of the nineteenth century when Herzl appeared in 1897 he invited rabbis, and nobody came, and the ones who did come were a very, very little, tiny minority. He wanted to organize a Zionist conference, the first one to be in Munich. Because it was an important city, with a Jewish community. It wasn’t Basel in Switzerland [where the conference was ultimately held]. The rabbis of Germany signed a petition, not to let Zionists make a conference on the land of Germany…. Judaism was against Zionism till Hitler. The organized Judaism was against it. Not only the orthodox, but the conservative and reform. Really a majority was against Zionism. They were afraid of the idea that the land will replace god. But also because of the Talmud. It was in the Talmud…that you cannot emigrate to Palestine, to the holy land as a collective.  I am not talking about the super Orthodox. The grandfather of the last Lubavitch grand rabbi was a real leader, and he was an extreme anti-Zionist. The nationalization of most of this movement, the process of nationalization of this Jewish current, is a new sentiment in history. This conference by Herzl in Basel, there were very few rabbis there, from little communities.  And till the 1967 war, the Zionist religious were very very moderate in the face of the idea of possessing the land. Politically they were on the left. There were exceptions like Rabbi Kook, he was an exception, but till ‘67, the Zionist religious were much more on the left of the Labor Party than on the right. In which sense of the left? Not socially or politically—but  they were against the idea that it was God’s will to possess land. They knew deep in their consciousness, that God gives, God taketh away…See, the concept of Eretz Israel, the theological concept, is not a homeland. In Judaism, like in Islamism, in Christianity, there is not a concept of homeland. I wanted to bring that back to the center of our thinking. Religion doesn’t have a homeland. Jews are not different physically from the Christians and Muslims. Muslims, Jews and Christians don’t have homelands.

How successful was the first book?

Well it was translated into 21 languages.

As a political intervention, was it successful?

You know I will repeat Hobsbawn… No forget Hobsbawn…. Books cannot change the world. But when the world starts to change, it looks at other books.

Politically there is not any function for the book for the moment, in Israel. I publish in Hebrew… My hope is to change Israel, not to change the world. But I don’t have any illusions. Israeli political culture is not on good terms today. I am afraid, I am very afraid. But… if the world starts to change, young people are looking for new books. I hope that will be the case with my book.

How was the book received?

Only in the United States was it attacked on the genetic angle. That was specific to American critics. Not the German, French, or English. They wanted to deal with it.

[Sand describes an Israeli who is working on the genetic question of Ashkenazi Jewishness--yesterday, his article was accepted by an important journal. Sand was willing to put me in touch with him, to give a kind of answer, from a geneticist. I said I wasn’t interested in that angle. He said Fine.]

Do you know Ami Ayalon [former director of the Shin Bet]?

Yes I know him well. I even gave him one of my books when I met him.

Ayalon spoke at J Street three years ago and said in essence, We gave the settlers one kind of myth about building Israel to get them to move into the occupied territories,  now all we have to do is give them a different kind of myth to get them to leave, this time about saving Israel. For me Ayalon’s comment was about the fluidity of religious myth– whether or not he is right about the possibility of withdrawing the settlers.

I think the… collective belief has a mythical part. I don’t want to be a myth leader, but it’s related to the other question. Not about books changing the world. But myths changing the world. The Republican myth, the democratic myth, the myth of the constitution—the U.S. was built on that, and the aura around the myth. In the 20th century, after the second world war, the myth of the United States [was employed] to change the relationship between black and white– when the real fight began between the civic and the racist, the fact of that myth of the building of this society was very important. We don’t have that here.

My books, I don’t hide—though I am a historian I have a vision of the world– and a liberal ethnocracy is not a real democracy. Because the state doesn’t belong to the citizens. The notion of citizens… Israelis don’t understand that enough.

Yes Ami Ayalon is right, and that is an area of politics. I want to be honest; I want that the Arab in Tel Aviv, my student, will live like you are living in New York. This is my target, not more and not less. This is the only chance that Israel will [be able to] exist in the Middle East. I am not speaking of occupied territory, but that the Israeli Arab will live in Tel Aviv like you are living in New York. If we can arrive at this, I feel that we have done something very important in life.

What about Ayalon’s belief in changing the myth to end the settlements?

I don’t believe that the myth will bring the settlers back to Israel. I think the Jewish lobby, or the pro Zionist lobby, to be much more careful, will. The only hope is that the US and Europe will start to make pressure for Israel to go out of the occupied territories. There is a kind of apartheid [there], it’s not acceptable from a moral point of view, there are people living without any political or civil rights under our power. It is militaristic apartheid, and the Israeli society is a kind of segregation– in Israel it is segregation, and in the Occupied Territories it is a kind of apartheid. I want to repeat one thing, in [1954] the Supreme Court in the United States said, you cannot be equal and separated [in Brown v Board of Education].  I think in Israel, I am living with a society where a Jew cannot marry a non-Jew, so it is a separation and it cannot be equal. This is my position. And that republican spirit in the United States, the civic myth—even with all the racism in the US, we don’t have it here.

When you spoke with those Palestinians in Germany, you are dealing with a political community that has been radicalized by endless occupation and more and more regards you as the pieds noir were seen in Algeria, a colonialist settler society that needs to go away.

Yes. We are more and more in a position to unify the Israeli Palestinian with the Palestinian [elsewhere]. But for the moment, the Israeli Palestinian citizens are different from the occupied territories. Most of them want to be Israeli. The nation building in the Palestinian camp is not perfect, and of course they don’t have a state. But if you are looking deeper in the consciousness of the Palestinian Israelis, they continue to prefer to be Israelis and not a part of a Palestinian state. It could be different in the future, because the younger guard is changing their view of looking at this.

Models in history help us but they also miss everything. I think the South Africa model of thinking made a lot of harm about thinking about Israel and Palestine. As the Bolshevik Revolution made a lot of harm in Europe. The wider solution of South Africa– thinking of the one state solution, has become very very popular in leftist circles. I think it’s not serious. To build a one-state solution, to fight for a one state solution, is based on the idea that you can wait for the consensus of the Jewish Israelis to accept it. But I am living in one of the most racist societies in the western world.

How can you kick out Israel from the occupied territories? I can agree with Sari Nusseibeh [president of Al Quds University] and say, Go away or give us citizenship. Between the go away and give us citizenship, go away is more possible than give us the citizenship.

I am for two state solution on the borders of ’67, taking out most of the settlers. I don’t think it will be a big problem. If I am thinking of Algeria, a million went away; then I’m not afraid that 500,000 will have a problem. ..

If I have continued to be for a two state solution, it is because I am a realist and pragmatic, I don’t think the two states can live separately. Amos Oz wrote a book, we need a divorce, we are two different families. Not at all. The two state solution has to combine a kind of confederation of the two of us because we are living so inside one another. The vision has to come after the two state solution. We don’t have to divorce, we have to live in the same apartment but two different rooms. So as to give expression to Palestinian sovereignty.

How are your relations with others at Tel Aviv U?

I am a full professor, nobody can really touch me. I cannot say that most of the professors like my book. Most of them don’t like my book. But you have to understand, it’s not the political side of my position—it’s that I’ve touched something very deep in their consciousness, [questioning the idea of] the eternal Jewish people, the eternal Jewish nation. I think also the success of the book disturbed some of my colleagues. Being translated into 21 languages. I imagine they could also be a little bit jealous. I have friends but it’s not easy to be in Tel Aviv University. In some ways I am a little bit of a pariah, but I cannot complain. Because I touched something not easy to them.

I am not a very courageous person. I chose this subject after I got tenure. I could not make an academic career in Tel Aviv with this kind of book. After getting a full professorship, I decided to take a risk and make a different effort at the truth. I knew that I cannot find the truth, but I have to look for it. …

You speak about your roles in the book as both an ethical human being and an agent of memory…

Every historian is an agent of memory. We get a salary to build narratives of the past. … Because the narratives don’t fit what I think is true, it was my duty to write this book. I don’t dissociate between my professional and moral aspects.

You say the US abandoned the Jews; some people might say that is a myth.

Because in 1924, the US closed the gate with the  anti-immigrant laws. Without the closing of the gate, I don’t believe we could have a right to have an Israeli state. My parents– I was born in a refugee camp. A displacement camp. I lived there for 2 years. My parents didn’t have a choice. They chose in ‘48 to go to Israel because no one wanted them in the world. There was no possibility for them to go to the US. This is the reason that I am Israeli.

But there are Palestinians who have been refugees for 65 years without exciting the sympathy of the powerful, and meantime your refugee experience so worked on Truman that he recognized the Jewish state in a couple of years.

This is the reason that I am writing my book. As somebody, a descendant of Jews who are refugees, this is the deep reason that I insist to write this book. You touch here one of the most important things in my moral life. I wrote an article during the war of Gaza, against Hamas, not to forget that 80 percent of the people in Gaza are refugees and descendants of refugees. I cannot accept the right of return, politically. But without acknowledging the Nakba and ‘48, no solution will be made.

[Sand explains this is why the Afterword of his book is about the former village on which Tel Aviv University stands, al-Sheikh Muwannis. He speaks of the importance of recognizing the Nakba and educating people about its history. This was after all a friendly Palestinian village.  And in the book he states that acknowledgment, recognition and compensation must answer the question of the refugees.]

I agree with you on the importance of acknowledgement. And compensation too. But let’s say that of 5 million refugees’ descendants, every one  accepts your idea but one of them says, Guess what, I would prefer to return to my house in Baka in Jerusalem. Shouldn’t he be able to do that?

The year that the refugees started, in 48, was tragic in the world. There were a lot of refugees, a lot of Muslim refugees in Pakistan, and Hindu refugees in India, there were Germans expelled from Sudetenland. Not all the children of the Nazis can be blamed.  The Palestinian question is the most difficult, because a national state received them in all the other cases, but in the case of the Palestinians, no national state accepted them to integrate them, and this question has stayed open. The first responsible party, Israel, we did create the refugee problem. We are responsible for  it. But it doesn’t mean that this guy who wants to go back to Jaffa– politically it can’t solve the problem. You can’t go back in history, but you can correct history. You have to pay. It is very, very expensive. I know one thing. Giving back the West Bank, Al Aqsa, Arab Jerusalem, the West Bank has another meaning than giving 5 million descendants the right to return to Israel.

I conclude with one thing, democratic and Jewish at the same time cannot be. Because it is an oxymoron; it can’t be defined. I think also that recognizing the right of Israel to exist and recognizing the right of return is also an oxymoron. 5 million refugees will have their right; that is the destruction of the Jewish state. Israel has to pay, has to recognize, what happened in 48, and be the champion of help to change the life of this population– and also symbolically to accept a number of Palestinians that will not be a menace to Israeli culture of today. Israel has to symbolically show that as a nonracist state it must accept the right of refugees, but you can’t give the 5 million that right. I’m sorry, I cannot make everything possible. To change your life, to try to make your life equal to my life, yes.

But in the two-state solution with the confederation, as you develop a confederation, there are stages. You continue to live in the middle east as a confederation, and one day there will be a free circulation between the two states. In 50 years, the two states can live together, and maybe, maybe you can build a kind of relationship that France had with the Germans. The Germans can come and live in Paris, no problem. I ask a little more imagination for everyone in order to live in peace.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 267 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Les says:

    Nazism within fixed German borders would have died because it would have had no choice but to consume itself. An Israel with fixed borders would cause Zionism to die because it too would have no choice but to consume itself.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “Nazism within fixed German borders would have died because it would have had no choice but to consume itself”

      That is an intersting statement. I believe that such a thing as a “Nazism within fixed borders” is like “square circle”: gramatically correct but meaningless. A Nazism without an expansive foreign policy would not have been Nazism in a very real sense.

      • lysias says:

        Besides the ideology, Nazi Germany was compelled to expand by economic reality. By late 1937, the economic deficits resulting from heavy military expenditure had reached a point where a decision had to be reached: either cut back on the military expenditures, or pursue expansion, by war eventually. Deciding this question was the point of the November 1937 meeting whose summary was the Hossbach Memorandum.

        Hitler decided on war. Those who opposed this policy (Minister of Economics Schacht, heads of the military Blomberg and Fritzsch, Foreign Minister Neurath) were all dismissed from office in the next few months, and the expansion began with the Anschluss of Austria in March 1938.

        • yourstruly says:

          therefore cut heavy u.s. military expenditures and lessen the pursuit of expansion/war? the establishment realizes this too; ergo, its disdain for those advocating anything more than token cuts in military spending

      • Les says:

        Woody, that Nazism without an expansive foreign policy would not have been Nazism is pure hindsight. It was not a given that German Nazism would have expanded beyond Germany’s borders. My point is that Israeli Zionism will consume itself once Israel’s borders are fixed.

  2. Dan Crowther says:

    Thought Sand’s book was great, but I’m sort of surprised – albeit midly – at his thoughts about the right of return. He says he doesn’t want a jewish state, but uses israel’s jewishness to counter the right of return argument. It seems as though he’s saying, “fully equal citizenship for palestinians and other non-jews, as long as there’s not that many.” Not exactly a rallying cry. I undertand what he’s getting at, and I do respect the fact that the “Israeli People” exist and have a right to a country, but on this point and on the point of being a refuge from anti-semitism for world jewry he’s not consistent. I personally think a agreement on a limited RoR and a total ceasing of the “law of return” would be a good trade off, and I say that knowing in a certain amount of time Israel the political entity would go bye-bye. Sand is in a bad spot, he loves his family, his language and culture and wants to see it continue, I think he’s worried it won’t without the backing of a state.

    • eljay says:

      >> I personally think a agreement on a limited RoR and a total ceasing of the “law of return” would be a good trade off …

      Yup. I’d expand on that as follows:
      1. Refugees
      Limited RoR for refugees, with compensation in lieu for:
      - those who fall outside of the limit; and
      - those who fall within the limit, but who opt not to return.

      2. Immigration
      - Preferential immigration status for any person, originally from or up to ~3 generations removed from the region of Palestine that was assigned to Israel by the United Nations, who wishes to immigrate to Israel / obtain Israeli citizenship.
      - The preferential Israeli “Law of Return” for Jews only is rescinded.
      - Preferential immigration status for any person, originally from or up to ~3 generations removed from the region of Palestine that was assigned to the Palestinians by the United Nations, who wishes to immigrate to Israel / obtain Palestinian citizenship.

      3. A fostering of Jewish culture in Israel, and Palestinian culture in Palestine, with each state respecting the cultures of the minorities within them.

      • eljay says:

        >> – Preferential immigration status for any person, originally from or up to ~3 generations removed from the region of Palestine that was assigned to the Palestinians by the United Nations, who wishes to immigrate to Israel / obtain Palestinian citizenship.

        Correction: … immigrate to the new state of Palestine / obtain Palestinian citizenship.

      • lysias says:

        To get a moderate agreement along such lines, the Israeli Jews have to seek it soon. If they wait too long, they face the fate of the pieds noirs.

    • American says:

      ” Sand is in a bad spot, he loves his family, his language and culture and wants to see it continue, I think he’s worried it won’t without the backing of a state.”….Dan

      His thinking seems ‘confused’ to me….and I too think it’s because he’s worried about Israel being able t0 continue.
      I have noticed lately in liberal zios that they are increasingly falling even more into illogical ‘ justifications’ for their position ,while zio Israelis become more militant and other Israelis like Sand strain reality to try to come up with some way out that still leaves Israel in tact.
      I think it is because they are sensing Israel cannot go on much longer like it is.

    • Talkback says:

      Dan Crowther says: “He says he doesn’t want a jewish state, but uses israel’s jewishness to counter the right of return argument.”

      That’s his own “oxymoron”.

  3. Woody Tanaka says:

    This was a very interesting interview. I think that Sand has a very pragmatic but moral approach to things.

    • yourstruly says:

      what’s moral about putting conquest before human rights?

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        What is moral in his approach, in my opinion, is the insistence on human rights for all (which even the racist trash that makes up most of the israeli Jewish population deserve, although not at the expense of anyone else), the insistence on compensation for the Palestinians who were the victims of the zionists, and his belief that there should be real reconciliation. (Compare this to the filth his fellow countrymen propose as a “final solution to the Palestinian question.”)

        • yourstruly says:

          except without the right of return, no equality & without equality, whither justice?

        • Mooser says:

          Woody, there’s a big difference between “human rights” and getting away with crimes. Being racist trash is not a crime, but war crimes are crimes, and stealing is stealing, and murder is murder, civil crimes are crimes, and those who have lived by crime are likely to go on doing so if not stopped. Those people must be brought to justice, for the sake of the Jews as well as the Palestinians. After all, there is a human right, a pretty fundamental one, to live as free as possible of the depredations of criminals. Unless, of course, somebody can prove to me that it’s possible for a criminal to perpetrate his crimes against only one kind of person. Oh wait, that still doesn’t let them out.
          As Hostage has more than adequately shown, Zionists have no compunctions about committing crimes against Jews to further their cause, or using Zionism, or Judaism, as a cover for criminality.

          They have made a hell of a mess for themselves.

  4. seanmcbride says:

    There is a sense of unreality in Shlomo Sand’s take on the world: there is no reason to believe that Israelis won’t continue to migrate to the extreme racist and fascist right and to proceed with their grand project of building Eretz Yisrael. Then what? What is the most likely scenario that Sand sees unfolding?

    Sand is not addressing what is really going on. Certainly he can expect no help from “liberal Zionists” in the United States in achieving the reasonable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that he proposes.

    Perhaps Sand needs to come to the realization that his fate is completely at the mercy of Diaspora billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban and of religious Zionists, both Jewish and Christian.

  5. seanmcbride says:

    My prediction: Israel’s continuing drift to the hard ethno-religious nationalist right, with no meaningful opposition from “liberal Zionists,” will force Shlomo Sand to become either an ardent Zionist (like Benny Morris) or an ardent anti-Zionist (like Jeffrey Blankfort). He will not be able to sustain his moderate position as a lukewarm or “sort of” Zionist. Currently he is living in a dream world.

  6. seafoid says:

    “They were afraid of the idea that the land will replace god”

    They were so right

    link to tabletmag.com

    link to 972mag.com

    • Mooser says:

      “They were afraid of the idea that the land will replace god”

      I really hate to point this out, I mean it’s not like I’ve been all frum, frum, frum (’til Daddy takes the Torah away?) myself, but aren’t there some rather pointed anecdotes in the Old Testament about our propensity to be distracted (being nice) by false gods (They get no capital letter!) and stuff? And if I remember, the consequences for “whoring after false gods” (my wife taught me that wheeze) are quite dire. Golden Calves turn to varicose veins, something like that.

  7. MHughes976 says:

    I’m not sure about self-consumption. If the Nazis had conspicuously failed to ‘tear up the Treaty of Versailles clause by clause’ reserves of enthusiasm would have dwindled and eventually it would have become somewhat difficult to keep on renewing Hitler’s emergency powers. I think that the Nazi preference was not for a world war but for a leading role in an anti-commie economic and military alliance of western powers, negating Versailles, which was what they offered us after Dunkirk, when the war of western Euro had not yet gone worldwide.

    • lysias says:

      If the Western powers had been willing to go along with him, war in the West might have been avoided. But it was always Hitler’s intention to attack and conquer the Soviet Union, and in that he never wavered (despite temporary tactical deviations like the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact).

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “If the Nazis had conspicuously failed to ‘tear up the Treaty of Versailles clause by clause’ reserves of enthusiasm would have dwindled and eventually it would have become somewhat difficult to keep on renewing Hitler’s emergency powers.”

      At no point after Hindenberg died did Hitler have any fear about being able to direct the Reichstag to do whatever he wanted, regardless of what anyone else may have wanted.

      “I think that the Nazi preference was not for a world war but for a leading role in an anti-commie economic and military alliance of western powers, negating Versailles, which was what they offered us after Dunkirk, when the war of western Euro had not yet gone worldwide.”

      I think that’s a terribly false view of history. Hitler had contempt for those in the Weimar days who were only seeking to return to Germany the lands taken after the first War. His plan was a series of wars to make him and Germany, the leader of the world. It wasn’t just the communists which he opposed. Indeed, he began the planning for the weapons he would need to attack the US from Europe in 1938, even before Poland was attacked. (Now, if Hitler were to have been removed, the remaining Nazi–Goering in particular–might not have been more inclined to something of the type you suggest.)

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        That last line should have been:

        (Now, if Hitler were to have been removed, the remaining Nazi–Goering in particular–might have been more inclined to something of the type you suggest.)

        • lysias says:

          At the end of August 1939, when it became clear that Britain and France meant their guarantee to Poland seriously and that an attack on Poland meant a general war, Göring pleaded with Hitler not to attack. As a result, he lost a lot of credit in Hitler’s eyes.

          It was in this conversation that this famous exchange between Hitler and Göring occurred:

          Göring riet Hitler: „Wir wollen doch das Vabanque-Spiel lassen.“, worauf Hitler antwortete: „Ich habe in meinem Leben immer Vabanque gespielt.“

          [Loose translation: Göring to Hitler: "Let's stop this crazy gamble." Hitler to Göring: "I have been a gambler all my life."]

        • seafoid says:

          What happened to Poland after the war? Wasn’t the war supposed to be about saving Poland?

        • MHughes976 says:

          Thanks for interesting replies. I agree that the Nazis wanted new territories but being the vanguard of the western world against the commies would not have been a bad way of gaining them. And the claims could have been moderated or postponed as the price of western acquiescence. The western countries were not so virtuous that this acquiescence was inconceivable. The Nazi state would not necessarily have self-destructed had this role been conceded to them.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “What happened to Poland after the war? Wasn’t the war supposed to be about saving Poland?”

          Saving them from Hitler, not Stalin. (And by the end, the French and British had no ability to save them from Stalin, even if they wanted to.)

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “I agree that the Nazis wanted new territories but being the vanguard of the western world against the commies would not have been a bad way of gaining them. ”

          “not a bad way” to whom? Not to Hitler. He had no interest in being the “vanguard of the western world.” He wanted to the Germans to be the masters of the entire world, as he believed was their right, and which they must specifically fight to establish. If the British and French gave in to him, he would have accepted that, but he had no real interest in treating with them as allies against Russia, despite early thoughts about allying German and Britain.

          “And the claims could have been moderated or postponed as the price of western acquiescence.”

          But Hitler had no interest in having his claims moderated or postponed. As it was he expressed worry that he was too old to successfully conquer the entire world and was disappointed that the Munich conference in ’38 stripped him of his opportunity to war on the Czechoslovakians.

        • Mooser says:

          “What happened to Poland after the war? Wasn’t the war supposed to be about saving Poland?”

          Very true. As George Bush said “You forgot Poland”.

        • Mooser says:

          Woody, see how everything works out! In MHughes76′s little apologia all the people in the Eastern European States (buffer states for the German Vangaurd against the Eastern Bolshevik menace!) are like Palestinians. What perfect symetry!

  8. this interview is fantastic. there’s so much in it worth discussing. thought i would start here:

    In Judaism, like in Islamism, in Christianity, there is not a concept of homeland. I wanted to bring that back to the center of our thinking. Religion doesn’t have a homeland. Jews are not different physically from the Christians and Muslims. Muslims, Jews and Christians don’t have homelands.

    i am not a fan of the idea of ‘homelands’, there’s something very nationalist about them to me. he mentioned

    religion will stay in history much longer than nationalism

    i agree with him. but he also said

    It was and it maybe will be more important than nationalism.

    maybe will be more important than nationalism?

    this implies he thinks religion isn’t more important than nationalism now. he may be right. hmm. not sure tho. anyway, great interview.

    • Ellen says:

      Yes, a very good interview.

      And the word “Homeland” has so much ugly meaning as it is used really only in a nationalistic and militaristic context. It is not Home or Country, but HOMELAND.

      It feels as if it emerged from “Heimatschutz,” meaning homeland protection, coined by I-am-not-allowed-to-say. And after used by you-know-who, was in use by Zionists when referring to Israel. . And now a part of the American vernacular.

      A really disgusting word.

      • Citizen says:

        @ Ellen
        Ever see the German TV movie series Heimat? It’s a very long series, takes place over decades, and captures the meaning of the term “Homeland” in every sense you may imagine. And yes, so interesting that American now grow up with “Homeland Security” as part of the vernacular and reality; this thing is devouring our basic civil rights and costing a fortune. It’s borrowed genius, as in another example, Frum’s “Axis Of Evil.” Such cultural attributes were once foreign to American culture.

        • Ellen says:

          Yes, I did see it years ago. It was fascinating on many levels. It is also interesting that these foreign cultural attributes in Heimat, adopting the language “Homeland” to refer to the USA was pushed by Chertoff.

          I do not know if there is going back. And do not see that Americans understand this road.

          That our ignorant and bought off Congress allowed this to creep in says it all.

    • seanmcbride says:

      Annie,

      Regarding Sand’s statement:

      In Judaism, like in Islamism, in Christianity, there is not a concept of homeland. I wanted to bring that back to the center of our thinking. Religion doesn’t have a homeland. Jews are not different physically from the Christians and Muslims. Muslims, Jews and Christians don’t have homelands.

      The concept of an ethnic nationalist homeland, a Promised Land for a Chosen People, situated on a particular piece of real estate, is absolutely central to mainstream Judaism. How is it possible for Sand not to know this. I find his remarks on this subject to be baffling.

      One of the core ideological structures of Judaism is the dialectical (and often apocalyptic) tension between the Jewish nation (the Land of Israel, the Jewish People) and “the nations” — all the other homelands and peoples in the world. Contemporary Zionism, with its focus on constructing Greater Israel (Eretz Yisrael) in defiance of Europe, the United States and the rest of the world is the logical and inevitable product of this messianic, ethnocentric and nationalistic belief system.

      • Ellen says:

        sean, you say, “The concept of an ethnic nationalist homeland, a Promised Land for a Chosen People, situated on a particular piece of real estate, is absolutely central to mainstream Judaism.”

        That is not Judaism. That is Zionism. Over the last century, Zionism took hold of Jews and their religion.

        Sort of like when Manifest Destiny and the Crusades worked Christianity into those enterprises…..and then the masses get all confused.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Ellen.

          That is not Judaism. That is Zionism. Over the last century, Zionism took hold of Jews and their religion.

          Ancient Judaism is a messianic ethnic nationalist ideology organized around a particular people, a particular nation and a particular territory — and Zionism lifted most (all?) of its core ideas from it. Zionism isn’t a radical departure from Judaism — it is an organic development and expression of it.

          If this were not the case, the worldwide Jewish religious establishment wouldn’t be such passionate supporters of Israel and Zionism — they would instead be vigorously protesting the misuse and abuse of their beliefs by the Israeli government. A few religious Jews are in fact protesting, but not nearly enough to make any impact on Israeli or American politics. They have been safely marginalized by the Jewish establishment.

        • Sibiriak says:

          seanmcbride,

          I agree with you in part, but I think you push your argument too far.

          1) Yes, there is a deep ideological connection between Zionism and Judaism. It’s not an accident that Zionism was forced to selectively adopt Judaic religious themes, narratives, symbols etc. and that these themes etc. had a natural fit with Zionism. You are quite right to point out the religiously-sanctioned ethnic-nationalism in the heart of (ancient) Judaism, as clearly embodied in the central notions of a “Chosen People”, and a “Promised Land”.

          2) You are also perfectly right in pointing out that contemporary Judaism has become fused with Zionism, and that this fusion is fully backed by the “Jewish Establishment”, dissident voices notwithstanding.

          3)But the fact remains that:

          Judaism was against Zionism till Hitler.

          4) Therefore, Zionism wasn’t a development from Judaism alone. Judaism could have developed in any number of different directions. Zionism didn’t grow out of Judaism like a plant grows out of a seed. Zionism was the result of multiple social/ historical force vectors and has deep ideological connections with currents outside of Judaism, such as 19th century European nationalism, colonialism, socialism etc.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Sibiriak,

          I agree with you in part, but I think you push your argument too far.

          Actually, we seem to be in complete agreement on the main points.

          1. Judaism is not necessarily Zionist, and is subject to more universalist interpretations and developments (like that of Enlightenment Reform Judaism or Shlomo Sand).

          2. Nearly all leading Zionists, like Moses Hess, Max Nordau and David Ben-Gurion, even when they were secularists or atheists, placed Zionism squarely within the tradition of Judaism and relied heavily on biblical themes to advance their agenda.

          3. The contemporary worldwide Jewish religious establishment, including the most influential leaders of the four main branches of Judaism, has passionately embraced Zionism and has essentially merged Judaism with Zionism into a single ideology.

          So: this is rather an important issue in any discussion about contemporary Israel and Zionism, don’t you think? In fact, this may be the most important discussion of all in the war of ideas in the Middle East, in Israeli politics, in American politics and in Jewish civilization.

          Where do we disagree?

          Of course, Zionism was also influenced by 19th century European nationalism — that is not in dispute. But it also interesting that 19th century European nationalism (and especially American nationalism, including the Confederacy) was itself strongly influenced by the Old Testament and Judaism. Zionism was influenced both by ancient and classical Judaism directly and indirectly as mediated by some key strains of 19th century Western nationalism.

          My main point was that Shlomo Sand is in a decided minority within the contemporary Jewish world concerning his views on the connections between Judaism and Zionism. Religious Zionists have completely overwhelmed people like Sand within the Jewish and Israeli establishments.

          By the way, I wrote three detailed comments to Annie in this thread which still haven’t been approved. I hope they soon appear — they addressed some of your points.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Sibiriak,

          Zionism didn’t grow out of Judaism like a plant grows out of a seed.

          You may think that, but most leading Zionists themselves — those who created the ideology of Zionism — strongly disagree — and their work *preceded* Hitler and the Holocaust.

          Have you actually read the works of the founders of Zionism?

        • seanmcbride says:

          Sibiriak,

          Zionism didn’t grow out of Judaism like a plant grows out of a seed.

          Here is Max Nordau, one of the most important founders of Zionism, on this subject:

          Zionism is a new word for a very old and thing, so far as it merely expresses the longing of the Jewish people for Zion. Since the destruction of the Second Temple by Titus, since the dispersion of the Jews throughout the world, this ancient people has not ceased to long fervently for a return to the lost land of their fathers nor to entertain for it a determined hope. This longing of the Jews for Zion, this hope for Zion, was the concrete, I may say the geographical, aspect of their Messianic faith, which formed itself into an essential part of their religion. Messianism and Zionism were actually identical concepts for almost two thousand years, and it would be difficult, without subtlety and sophistry, to separate the prayers in the Jewish liturgy for the appearance of the promised Messiah from those for the not less promised return to the historic home. These prayers were meant literally by all Jews until a few generations ago, just as they are meant to-day by plain believing Jews. Jews had no other thought but that they were a people which had lost its hereditary land as a punishment for its own sin, condemned to live as strangers in foreign countries, and whose grievous sufferings, will cease only when the Nation will again be gathered together on the sanctified soil of the Holy Land.

          And here is David Flusser, a leading contemporary Israeli Jewish religious scholar on the subject of the connections between Judaism and Zionism:

          “The Zionism of God” seems to me a highly important work, in particular for the non-Jewish reader. It has repeatedly been said that there can be no free dialogue between Christians and Jews unless the Christians understand how the Jew himself experiences his Judaism.

          The author makes it very clear that the idea of the Jewish people’s return to the Holy Land has always been at the heart of authentic Jewish thought. It should be kept in mind that the majority of contemporary Jews, throughout the world, have linked their fate to that of Zion with stronger bonds than ever before since the destruction of the Temple. For the Return is no longer an eschatological dream, but historical reality.

          You know, it is easy to produce many hundreds of similar telling quotes in the vein from leading Zionist thinkers which support the argument that Zionism is a natural and organic offshoot of Judaism. Is it really necessary to go through that exercise?

        • Sibiriak says:

          seanmcbride:

          1. Judaism is not necessarily Zionist, and is subject to more universalist interpretations and developments (like that of Enlightenment Reform Judaism or Shlomo Sand).

          Sand argues that not just more universalist interpretations and more modern developments in Judaism have been anti-Zionist, but that practically the entire mainstream of Judaism was anti-Zionist for centuries.

          Nearly all leading Zionists, like Moses Hess, Max Nordau and David Ben-Gurion, even when they were secularists or atheists, placed Zionism squarely within the tradition of Judaism and relied heavily on biblical themes to advance their agenda.

          Yes, they *selectively* relied on biblical themes and interpretations to suit their purposes. They had to. Without that religious angle they wouldn’t have been able to get the British on board the Zionist project, not to mention a critical mass of Jews. Still, religious Jews rejected that Zionist (re)interpretation of the Bible for quite some time. It was a tough sell before the rise of the Nazis.

          Religious Zionists have completely overwhelmed people like Sand within the Jewish and Israeli establishments.

          I agree, and I’m not even sure you need the qualifier “religious” in that statement. In Sands book, which I’m about 3/4 through, he takes on hegemonic secular-nationalist-scientific scholars, educational and media organizations etc., not just religious arguments and texts. He is under no illusion about the overwhelming dominance of the ideology he is trying to *deconstruct*.

          The contemporary worldwide Jewish religious establishment, including the most influential leaders of the four main branches of Judaism, has passionately embraced Zionism and has essentially merged Judaism with Zionism into a single ideology.

          Agree. Although, I would say that are still significant ideological tensions between Judaism and Zionism; that the fusion is not one hundred percent and rock solid; and that the Judaism/Zionism admixture is a complex one yielding many ideological variations .

          But it also interesting that 19th century European nationalism (and especially American nationalism, including the Confederacy) was itself strongly influenced by the Old Testament and Judaism

          This is an important point. Sands traces it back to the 16th century– the invention of the printing press and Bible availability, the Protestant revolution, English nationalism:
          Sands writes:

          The forceful conquest of a land by the tribes of Israel, fortified by the encouragement of God; the stern judges of Judea, who led the war against their neighbors; the courageous Maccabees, who set out to defend their Temple— now these and other representatives of the biblical “people” came to be seen as exalted models, worthy of emulation and identification.

          For this reason, in England the Old Testament was given priority over the New Testament. True, it was less universal, but it revolved to a greater degree around a message meant for a chosen, distinct people. It also did not call for turning the other cheek: its God was jealous and brawny in his uncompromising struggle against his idolatrous enemies.

          Thus, the England that was defending its unique church of truth and the England that had designated itself as conquerer of vast areas merged on the eve of the modern era, in the shadow of the Hebrew Bible.

          [...]Some English scholars of the period searched for roots that would link them biologically to the land of Canaan. Others conjectured that the inhabitants of the British Isles were the authentic descendants of the ten lost tribes. Almost the entire elite subscribed to this trend, and the Bible was the only thing read in many homes. The Book of Books was also made the focus of the prestigious educational framework, and many children of the aristocracy were introduced to biblical heroes even before being taught the names of England’s ancient kings.

          [...] Among the Puritans, the rejection of all religious institutions and religious authority produced a boundless loyalty to the uninterpreted text. The persecuted sects preferred the original laws of Moses over the rulings of the established Church; they regarded the sword of Judah Maccabee as truer than the mission of the apostle Paul; and they embraced a moral severity that was more in line with the commandments of an angry God than with the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus.

          Therefore, after a few generations, we find among them more Hebrew names than traditional Christian names, and when they lost strength in England and immigrated to North America, they would compare themselves to the loyal soldiers of Joshua the conqueror, about to inherit the new land of Canaan.

          Oliver Cromwell, too, was known to regard himself as a biblical hero. His battalions sang psalms before going into battle and at times chose military strategies based on combat models recounted in the Bible. England became ancient Judea, and Scotland its neighbor Israel.

        • Sibiriak says:

          seanmcbride,

          You know, it is easy to produce many hundreds of similar telling quotes in the vein from leading Zionist thinkers which support the argument that Zionism is a natural and organic offshoot of Judaism

          True. Zionist thinkers have made that argument. That doesn’t mean their argument is valid, even if widely accepted today
          .
          I think it is important to stress that full-fledged Zionism is a recent historical development, although with historical antecedents, of course.

          Years ago, when I was first getting into I/P debates, I was confronted by the argument that “anti-Zionism=anti-Semitism. ” My Zionist opponents asserted, among other things, that “all Jews are and have always been Zionists”. I did a little research and found out that Zionism had been widely opposed, and was still opposed, by many Jews. My Jewish Zionist opponents, it turned out, didn’t even know many basic facts about the history of Judaism and Zionism, They were locked into an “ahistorical essentialism”.

          Sands states that the goal of his earlier book on the Jewish people was:

          …to use historical and historiographical sources to question the ethnocentric and ahistorical concept of essentialism and the role it has played in past and present definitions of Judaism and Jewish identity.

          In his recent book, he uses the same methods to question Jewish “ahistorical essentialism” regarding the notion of Jewish rights to an ancestral “homeland” in “the Land of Israel”.

          I think these are extremely valuable endeavors.

          And note, your metaphor–”a natural and organic offshoot”–was different than the one I questioned. An “offshoot” suggests a relatively minor *divergence* from a main trunk.

          I would prefer to avoid such organic metaphors entirely. Ideology is created by people in response to real social-historical situations. I don’t think Zionism “grew” out of Judaism (whether to be a whole new organism or just an “offshoot”); Zionists consciously and cleverly latched onto aspects of Judaism to suit Zionist goals, doing quite a bit of re-interpreting, re-inventing, and outright fabrication in the process and melding those reshaped religious notions with modern nationalist, colonialist, socialist, etc. themes. I don’t see anything “organic” in that process.

          Having said that, Judaism DID, as you point out, have all the ethno-religio-nationalist ingredients already in place, in one way or another, so it didn’t take a whole lot of re-mixing and additions to come up with the new –and eventually very delectable for most Jews– Zionist concoction (if I may use another metaphor).

          So, I guess we are not really disagreeing at all–just slight quibbling on metaphors and emphasis. In any case, it’s nice that we can discuss this in a friendly, collaborative fashion.

        • Sibiriak says:

          seanmcbride,

          You may think that, but most leading Zionists themselves — those who created the ideology of Zionism — strongly disagree —

          Of course they did. But the whole point of Sands’ and others deconstruction of Zionism is NOT to show that Zionists didn’t make such claims, but rather to show that those claims were wrong.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Ellen, it is very clearly Biblical Judaism. Haven’t you ever skimmed the Old Testament?

        • Mooser says:

          “You know, it is easy to produce many hundreds of similar telling quotes in the vein from leading Zionist thinkers which support the argument that Zionism is a natural and organic offshoot of Judaism. Is it really necessary to go through that exercise?”

          Holy Mackeral, is this world full of surprises, or what? I never, ever would have expected an “argument that Zionism is a natural and organic offshoot of Judaism”, from “leading Zionist thinkers”!! Why, for years I always thought they would say just the opposite, that Zionism isn’t Jewish, in fact, it’s tref. But instead, “leading Zionist thinkers “support the argument that Zionism is a natural and organic offshoot of Judaism”!!

          What a strange world this is, and I want to thank you Sean, for showing me these unlikely, but telling, bits of evidence!
          So Zionism was pitched as Jewish? Who’d a thunk it?

        • Mooser says:

          “I did a little research and found out that Zionism had been widely opposed, and was still opposed, by many Jews.”

          So you’re not-a-Zionist, but you didn’t know that basic fact until you looked it up yesterday? Sure, okay.

        • Sibiriak says:

          Mooser,

          So you’re not-a-Zionist, but you didn’t know that basic fact until you looked it up yesterday?

          No, I’m an anti-Zionist and came to that position about fourteen years ago. Do you have a problem with that?

        • Ellen says:

          Citizen, yes. The Old Testament/Torah was written in the late Bronze age.

          While civilization was still organized around tribal realities, expression was not literal, truths and beliefs were conveyed in stories, metaphors. To read the old testament as a literal account as we do in the modern world is a mis reading.

          The physical world, and worship of the physical such as land is the Golden Calf.

        • Ellen says:

          Sibiriak, thank you for your addition to this thread. I do not know if you intended, but your discussion gives explanation to much of the Christian Protestant acceptance of Zionist imagery, literal interpretation, etc.

          A great big subject.

      • john h says:

        “The concept of an ethnic nationalist homeland, a Promised Land for a Chosen People, situated on a particular piece of real estate, is absolutely central to mainstream Judaism. How is it possible for Sand not to know this. I find his remarks on this subject to be baffling”.

        Does not Sand clearly explain this in answer to, “Let’s go back to the core idea of the book, and your description of the strict adjurations to religious Jews not to live in the holy land”?

        • seanmcbride says:

          john h,

          Does not Sand clearly explain this in answer to, “Let’s go back to the core idea of the book, and your description of the strict adjurations to religious Jews not to live in the holy land”?

          I am not sure what that means exactly — is the reference here to the beliefs of some religious Jews that the coming of the Messiah and the restoration of Israel shouldn’t be forced by human agency?

          Well, clearly that belief hasn’t stopped the Zionist project and the support of the Jewish religious establishment for it.

          In any case, that belief is still consistent with the conviction held by most religious Jews that God will fulfill his promises concerning the sacred historical mission of a particular people in a particular nation and on a particular territory.

        • Sibiriak says:

          seanmcbride,

          Yes, but *most*, not just “some” religious Jews. (And term “the Holy Land”, he argues, is not the same as the territorial term “Israel” which you substituted for it.)

          Well, clearly that belief hasn’t stopped the Zionist project and the support of the Jewish religious establishment for it

          This is true. And this is probably what counts in the final analysis.

          Still, it’s important to point out that for many, many centuries, that belief and others, DID squash any Zionist or proto-Zionist agendas.

          This suggests at least that the fusion of Zionism and Judaism was a man-made event, not a timeless reality as held by Jewish “ahistorical essentialism”, and, as such, it can certainly be undone, should Jews choose to do so.

      • is absolutely central to mainstream Judaism. How is it possible for Sand not to know this.

        sean, just curious..did you read the interview? he actually discusses this very topic and addresses issue. i know it’s long but i recommend the interview.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          sean, just curious..did you read the interview? he actually discusses this very topic and addresses issue. i know it’s long but i recommend the interview.

          I read the entire interview carefully and am certain that I understood every word of it.

          Anyone who would try to claim that the concepts of sacred peoplehood (the Chosen People), sacred nationhood (the Chosen Nation) and sacred territory (the Promised Land — Israel, Jerusalem) don’t occupy the ideological center of Judaism doesn’t understand Judaism. Zionism and Judaism have easily merged during the last century because they share they same ethnocentric and territory-centric symbols and myths. This is what distinguishes Judaism (and Zionism) from univeralist religions and ideologies which are not ethnocentric or territory-centric.

          Under the influence of the Enlightenment, Reform Judaism (but not other branches of Judaism), attempted to transform these beliefs into spiritual metaphors — but that transformation hasn’t survived very well. Most contemporary Reform Jews are Zionists. Most religious Jews from most branches of Judaism associate contemporary Israel with biblical Israel — even secular Zionist leaders like David Ben-Gurion did so.

          Why do think it has been impossible to apply any brakes on Greater Israelists? The Jewish religious establishment overall feels a strong emotional resonance with the ideas that are driving messianic religious Zionists in Israel.

          Until this issue is addressed — the ideological entanglement of Judaism with Zionism — there is going to be no change in the current direction of Israeli policy or in the direction of American policy towards Israel. These beliefs need to be looked at, challenged and deconstructed.

          Now, before diving into an argument with Shlomo Sand over these issues, I need to know much more about his overall thinking. I was taking exception to this one quote that caught my eye. I can’t think of any leading scholars of world religions who would agree with it.

        • ok thanks sean, just wanted to make sure you’ld read the article before i answered your query.

          Anyone who would try to claim that the concepts of sacred peoplehood (the Chosen People), sacred nationhood (the Chosen Nation) and sacred territory (the Promised Land — Israel, Jerusalem) don’t occupy the ideological center of Judaism doesn’t understand Judaism.

          not to get too nitpicky here but (with acknowledging i know zilch about judaism) i would have to agree my impression is that a physical place/israel has occupied the ideological center of Judaism (at this time in history).

          that said let’s get back to your original comment.

          The concept of an ethnic nationalist homeland, a Promised Land for a Chosen People, situated on a particular piece of real estate, is absolutely central to mainstream Judaism.

          ok, let’s read what sand said again:

          I tried to read again a lot of pages in the Talmud, to really try to understand the relationship of Jews to the promised land, and the holy land, and to understand that that relationship is completely different to the modern attitude of land, and ownership of land. I criticize the Zionist historiography, when it makes the continuation of the metaphysical concept, that very important aspect of the land that God gave the Jews and then took away—when they put the human subject in the middle of the action and say that the Jew has a total right to this land. I don’t think the religious affinity to the land gives you historical right. And after 2000 years, to pretend that the land is your land, if we continue with this logic, we can’t accept the right of the whites, blacks and Latinos to live in New York. It’s something dangerous, this idea.

          I justify the existence of Israel not because of historical right, but because of the fact that it exist today and any effort to destroy it will bring new tragedies. Besides, Zionism created a new Israeli nation that has a right to exist.

          sand is not arguing (the Chosen People)(the Chosen Nation) (the Promised Land) are not at the center of Judaism and he’s not addressing “mainstream Judaism”. his comment about ‘homelands’ is about nationalistic physical homelands (NPH). his interpretation of judaism, this NPH isn’t applicable. he sees it as “the metaphysical concept” and goes on to support his rationale:

          The organized Judaism was against it. Not only the orthodox, but the conservative and reform. Really a majority was against Zionism. They were afraid of the idea that the land will replace god. But also because of the Talmud. It was in the Talmud…that you cannot emigrate to Palestine, to the holy land as a collective. …….The nationalization of most of this movement, the process of nationalization of this Jewish current, is a new sentiment in history. This conference by Herzl in Basel, there were very few rabbis there, from little communities. And till the 1967 war, the Zionist religious were very very moderate in the face of the idea of possessing the land. ……. they were against the idea that it was God’s will to possess land. They knew deep in their consciousness, that God gives, God taketh away

          iow, he interprets judaism differently than you do. but who are you to be the final authority on what judasim is? sand is secular, and from that place he studied all these things, perhaps as you did. and he came to a different conclusion. i am not a religious person but it would not occur to me to make the kind of defining statement about a religion the way you have, because it’s subjective. sands doesn’t think religions, per se, are nationalistic:

          The holy land is very important to religious people. That is different from possession…. And the fact that I’m not religious—still, I think that religion will stay in history much longer than nationalism. It was and it maybe will be more important than nationalism.

          anyway, it makes sense to me.

        • yourstruly says:

          “the jewish religious establishment feels a strong emotional resonance with the ideas that are driving messianic religious zionists in israel” -

          except said establishment, under seige now by resurgent pro-justice for palestine anti-zionism, is losing control of the palestine/israel narrative – controlling the narrative, as in s/he who controls the present controls the past & s/he who controls the past decides the future.

        • Sibiriak says:

          Well-argued, Annie.

          I need to read Sand’s book now, to see how he backs up his assertions, which you clarified nicely.

        • Sibiriak says:

          seanmcbride,

          Following the arguments from my previous post:

          Anyone who would try to claim that the concepts of sacred peoplehood (the Chosen People), sacred nationhood (the Chosen Nation) and sacred territory (the Promised Land — Israel, Jerusalem) don’t occupy the ideological center of Judaism doesn’t understand Judaism

          You are right: those concepts are central. On the other hand, they can be and *have been* interpreted in remarkably different ways. The fact that Zionism was initially opposed by many, if not most, religious Jews of all stripes backs Sand’s point that

          relationship [to the "Promised Land"] is completely different to the modern attitude of land, and ownership of land

          Zionists embraced that modern, nationalistic concept which wasn’t a *necessary* outgrowth of Judaism, although it turned out to fit quite well with Judaism. Judaic themes and concepts had to be freshly *reinterpreted* to fit Zionist goals.

          Zionism and Judaism have easily merged during the last century

          The “merger” wasn’t all that easy, actually. It took a maximally extreme event– the Holocaust –to tip the scales, imo.

          The Jewish religious establishment overall feels a strong emotional resonance with the ideas that are driving messianic religious Zionists in Israel.

          I agree with you there. This is a “post-merger” reality.

          Until this issue is addressed — the ideological entanglement of Judaism with Zionism —

          An “entanglement” is different than an organic development. What is entangled can be disentangled–which is what I think Sand’s book proposes to do. I need to read it though, of course, to be sure.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          Shlomo Sand is presenting a view on the relation between Judaism and Zionism that is consonant with Enlightenment Reform Judaism and some small sects within ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox Judaism, but which is not shared by the Israeli government or a critical majority of the contemporary worldwide Jewish religious establishment.

          Furthermore, contemporary Jewish religious Zionists are able to, and do, muster a huge mass of argumentation based on ancient and classical Judaism to support their beliefs and agenda. They are much more consequential in defining Zionism than Shlomo Sand, who is a basically a liberal Zionist — someone who is trying to prettify and make socially acceptable what is at the core not a very pretty ideology. He is fighting a losing battle in the Jewish world — at least at the moment.

          I highly recommend that everyone here, if they haven’t done so already, read the Old Testament carefully, word by word, from beginning to end, at least twice, to understand the basic mindset, temperament, values and beliefs of ancient Judaism and contemporary religious Zionism. This is the key document that is serving as the inspiration, blueprint and roadmap for today’s religious Zionists. If you don’t understand the Old Testament, you will never understand what terms like “Eretz Yisrael,” “Judea and Samaria” and “Amalek” really mean. If you understand the ideological script behind any cult, you can easily predict the future behavior of that cult’s members.

          When I say “understand” the Old Testament and religious Zionism, I mean not just intellectually and conceptually, but emotionally and intuitively. And try to connect what you are reading with events occurring in the real world around us as we speak.

          Anyone who has participated in the Great Mideast Debates has run into these messianic Zionist cult beliefs all the time — we have seen them expressed often in this very forum. Members of this cult cannot be reached through rational argument or factual evidence of any kind.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          A few books that I would recommend on the subject of Judaism (but which aren’t nearly as important as reading the Old Testament itself with an open mind and full concentration):

          1. Adin Steinsaltz; 2010; The Essential Talmud:
          An Introduction; Koren Publishers Jerusalem

          2. David Goodblatt; 2006; Elements of Ancient
          Jewish Nationalism; Cambridge University
          Press

          3. Dennis Prager; 2003; Why the Jews? The
          Reason for Antisemitism; Touchstone

          4. F.E. Peters; 2004; The Children of Abraham:
          Judaism, Christianity, Islam; Princeton
          University Press

          5. Gershom Scholem; 1995; The Messianic Idea
          in Judaism : And Other Essays on Jewish
          Spirituality; Schocken Books

          6. Herman J. Ruether, Rosemary Radford
          Ruether; 2002; The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis
          of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-
          Palestinian Conflict; Fortress Press

          7. Israel Shahak, Norton Mervinsky; 1999;
          Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel; Pluto Press

          8. Israel Shahak; 1994; Jewish History, Jewish
          Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years;
          Pluto Press

          9. Karen Armstrong; 2004; A History of God:
          The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity,
          and Islam; Gramercy

          10. Max I. Dimont; 2004; Jews, God and
          History; Signet Classics

          11. Norman F. Cantor; 1994; The Sacred Chain:
          The History of the Jews; HarperCollins

          12. Paul Johnson; 1987; A History of the Jews;
          Harper & Row

          13. Peter Schäfer; 1997; Judeophobia: Attitudes
          toward the Jews in the Ancient World; Harvard
          University Press

          14. Robert Eisen; 2011; The Peace and Violence
          of Judaism: From the Bible to Modern Zionism;
          Oxford University Press

          These books get into the deep ideological background behind contemporary Zionism.

          Also: Jewish and Israeli publications like Israel National News, the Jewish Press and the Jerusalem Post publish articles all the time by Jewish religious authorities on Israel and Zionism which carry much more weight in the Jewish world than the thoughts of Shlomo Sand. Many of these articles (there are thousands of them) can be easily retrieved on the Internet.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          A bit more: to grasp the full degree to which ancient and classical Judaism are steeped in ethnic nationalism at the core, simply visit the BibleGateway.com site and search on the term “nation”:

          link to biblegateway.com

          That will get you into the thick of it right quick.

          For instance:

          1. “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.” Exodus 19:5

          2. “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.” Exodus 23:27

          3. “I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the LORD your God.” Exodus 34:24

          4. “But I said to you, ‘You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.” Leviticus 20:24

          5. “I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.” Number 14:12

          6. “This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you.” Deuteronomy 2:25

          Most religions do not define themselves as nations — not to mention ethnic nationalist supremacist nations that are in innate conflict with all the other nations in the world. I would like to see Shlomo Sand address these issues.

          Contemporary religious Zionists — and even many secular Zionists — take these ideas very seriously indeed. These emotional beliefs account for much of their strange behavior.

        • john h says:

          Thanks annie, you reiterated that very well.

        • Castellio says:

          The struggle for Jewish acceptance of Zionism, and self-identity with Zionism, both in Eastern Europe and in America (and often about Eastern Europeans in America) was very much alive in the early decades of the twentieth century. It wasn’t as if Zabotinsky’s or Nordau’s writings came out of nowhere: they were even then understood as part of an earlier and on-going movement. What is needed is a good anthology of the small Yiddish newspapers and magazines both in America and Europe from about 1880 to 1930 to historically track the movement well before the Holocaust.

          Of course the Holocaust was a “tipping point’ for many, but the tipping point for those who led the Zionist movements (plural) in Europe, the US and Israel came well before. No?

        • Sibiriak says:

          seanmcbride,

          I highly recommend that everyone here, if they haven’t done so already, read the Old Testament carefully,

          I understand your sentiment completely. When I first read the Bible cover to cover some years ago I was truly shocked; the book was more evil than I ever could have imagined. Since then I have on repeated occasions quoted from the Old Testament to prove that the God of those Biblical stories was genocidal and “evil”. I have also repeatedly drawn attention to how these Biblical genocide stories have been fully embraced by Jewish messianic fundamentalists, especially militant religious settlers.

          If you don’t understand the Old Testament, you will never understand what terms like “Eretz Yisrael,” “Judea and Samaria” and “Amalek” really mean.

          If Sands is correct, you may be a bit surprised by what the Old Testament has to say about “Eretz Yisrael”:

          History can be ironic, particularly with regard to the invention of traditions in general and traditions of language in particular.

          Few people have noticed, or are willing to acknowledge, that the Land of Israel of biblical texts did not include Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, or their surrounding areas, but rather only Samaria and a number of adjacent areas— in other words, the land of the northern kingdom of Israel.

          Because a united kingdom encompassing both ancient Judea and Israel never existed, a unifying Hebrew name for such a territory never emerged. As a result, all biblical texts employed the same pharaonic name for the region: the land of Canaan.
          —————-
          Jerusalem[...] was always located within the land of Judea, and this geopolitical designation, which took root as a result of the establishment of the small kingdom of the House of David, appears on twenty-four occasions. None of the authors of the books of the Bible would have ever dreamed of calling the territory around God’s city the “Land of Israel.”
          —–
          Ultimately, the basic spatial conception articulated by the authors of the Bible is consistent with other sources from the ancient period. In no text or archaeological finding do we find the term “Land of Israel” used to refer to a defined geographic region.

          —-
          It is futile to search for the term in 1 or 2 Maccabees or the other noncanonical books, 28 in the philosophical essays of Philo of Alexandria, or in the historical writings of Flavius Josephus. During the many years when some form of Jewish kingdom existed— whether sovereign or under the protection of others— this appellation was never used to refer to the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

          Names of regions and countries change over time, and it is sometimes common to refer to ancient lands using names assigned to them later in history. However, this linguistic custom has typically been practiced only in the absence of other known and acceptable names for the places in question. For example, we all know that Hammurabi did not rule over the eternal land of Iraq but over Babylonia, and that Julius Caesar did not conquer the great land of France but rather Gaul.

          On the other hand, few Israelis are aware that David, son of Jesse, and King Josiah ruled in a place known as Canaan or Judea, and that the group suicide at Masada did not take place in the Land of Israel.

          This problematic semantic past, however, has not troubled Israeli scholars, who regularly reproduce this linguistic anachronism unhindered and unhesitatingly. With rare candor, their nationalist-scientific position was summed up by Yehuda Elitzur, a senior scholar of the Bible and historical geography from Bar-Ilan University Etc.

          The redefinition and propagation of the term “Eretz Ysrael” is just one of many examples Sands uses to demonstrate how Zionism has re-imagined and re-invented Judaism to serve its own nationalist purposes.

          (I’m not yet willing to say that Sands’ arguments are completely convincing, but he does make many strong and well-documented points.)

        • Sibiriak says:

          seanmcbride:

          Contemporary religious Zionists — and even many secular Zionists — take these ideas very seriously indeed. These emotional beliefs account for much of their strange behavior.

          Absolutely true, and very important.

          I quoted Ben-Gurion in another thread:

          May 24, 1948 :

          “We will establish a Christian state in Lebanon, the southern border of which will be the Litani River. We will break Transjordan, bomb Amman and destroy its army, and when Syria falls, and if Egypt will continue to fight, we will bomb port Said, Alexandria and Cairo.

          This will be in revenge for what they (the Egyptians, the Aramis, and Assyrians) did to our forefathers during biblical times.

          I find that to be a stunning–and absurd–statement: Taking revenge for events that happened (did they?) thousands of years ago, in circumstances and on people that have no real connection with those prior Biblical events–no connection unless you believe in utterly the irrational concepts of genetic transmission of sins, collective punishment of peoples through multiple generations, and so on.

        • Citizen says:

          So maybe there’s various forms of Jewish nationalism? When and where did the Star of David commence as identity symbol of Jews? We do know the Zionist Jews adopted it for their flag in the late 19th Century, and it’s the modern flag of the state of Israel. There’s no Menorah on that flag or on the side of Israel’s F-16s.

          The entanglement maybe began with Maimondes and factoring in the influence of Hegel’s dialects, synthesizing, combined with Vico’s theory of history’s circles? Reform Judaism. Judaism as a portable culture combining with wave toward the modern nation state?

        • Mooser says:

          “The organized Judaism was against it. Not only the orthodox, but the conservative and reform. Really a majority was against Zionism.”

          Naa, Annie, that’s just what they tell the Gentiles. But back in the back room where the intrinsics are instilled, where the vermilion matzoh holds sway, they were plotting to take over the US Congress!

          Annie, do you know how many times he’s been told that about Judaism, organized Judaism yet, and Zionism? For some reason, he refuses to allow what Jews actually said and did to influence in any way his view. Now, why would a person do that?

        • Mooser says:

          “What is entangled can be disentangled”

          Now that sure seems like the attitude a person who was taking a positive approach to anti-Zionism (or even just Israel critical) might very well adopt. It fits the facts, to start with, and offers hope (“can be disentangled”). Hard to go wrong there. Wish I’d said it myself.

          On the other hand, if Zionism is an organic outgrowth of Judaism (well, so are tumors, and we get rid of those if we can, but let it go) indicative of the four essential intrinsic caharacteristics of Judaism pace Seanmcbride:

          “The key components:
          1. ethnocentrism
          2. territorialism
          3. nationalism
          4. messianism”

          Well than, what are you going to do with a peculiar obstinate people like that? I know! Let’s send them all back where they came from! I mean we can’t kill them or anything, wouldn’t suggest that, but can we deal with these kinds of intrinsics among us?

          Yep, no doubt about it, Zionism is the soundest, most humane way of dealing with Sean’s worries about the intrinsics of it all! And anybody who’s dumb enough to swallow all that stuff about Judaism will be easy to fool with the old “landless people and peopless land” wheeze.
          Unless, of course, Sean has a more, well, final solution. If I was plagued with a people who adhered to those four ugly “key components” above, I’d do something about it.

          What do you suggest, Sean?

        • Sibiriak says:

          Citizen,

          If you haven’t already, I suggest you read Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People” and “The Invention of the Land of Israel”.

          From the latter:

          Most people who sing “Hatikvah,” the anthem of the Zionist movement that was adopted as the national anthem of the State of Israel, are unaware that its tune was borrowed from a symphonic poem by Smetana known as “Vltava” (My Homeland) or “Die Moldau.”

          The same is true of the Israeli flag; the Star of David is not an ancient Jewish symbol but rather a symbol originating from the Indian subcontinent, where various religious and military cultures made extensive use of it throughout history. National traditions are thus often more the product of imitation and reproduction than of originality and inspiration.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser:

          1. Your religion of upbringing (specific denomination)?

          2. Your current religion (specific denomination)?

          3. How do you define yourself as a Jew?

          4. Which Jewish values do you most care about?

          5. Do you agree or disagree that contemporary mainstream Judaism — the worldwide Jewish religious establishment — has passionately embraced Zionism and merged with it into a single ethno-religious nationalist ideology organized around the interests of Israel?

          6. Which leaders of the contemporary worldwide Jewish religious establishment have opposed Zionism or strongly dissented from the policies of the Israeli government?

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          What do you suggest, Sean?

          Jewish civilization needs to emphasize and focus on the Enlightenment and humanist aspects of its tradition — the elements and attitudes which have produced the best results for both Jews and non-Jews — excellence and creativity in the arts, sciences and commerce.

          And it needs to de-emphasize messianic ethnocentrism, messianic territorialism and messianic nationalism as key components of its identity.

          But the current trend in the Jewish world is to rev up messianic ethno-religious nationalism (religious Zionism), which is obviously going to drive the Jewish community into an apocalyptic confrontation with the entire world.

          You seem to be unable to admit that the worldwide Jewish religious establishment — the leaders of mainstream Judaism — bears a significant responsibility for helping to produce the current crisis in Jewish affairs. Odd that.

      • Castellio says:

        Sean, did you really mean to say “in defiance of Europe, the United States and the rest of the world”?

        The establishment and recognition of Israel was with both the overt and covert support of the United States and the major European nations (the UK, France and Germany). From the Balfour Declaration to the 1947 Declaration and international recognition through the numerous wars, to the acquisition of nuclear weapons and delivery systems (including subs); all has been accomplished with the active material and moral support of the US and Europe. And its on-going, this support, in spite of the fact that Israeli intentions are clearly to establish Eretz Israel.

        It may sometimes “appear” to be in defiance, but in historical actuality its with the support of the US and Europe.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Castellio,

          It may sometimes “appear” to be in defiance, but in historical actuality its with the support of the US and Europe.

          My reading of modern history leads me to believe that the United States and Europe have been relentlessly pushed by the Israel lobby into supporting Mideast policies — including Israel’s ever-expanding settlements — that many important American and European leaders strongly oppose.

        • Castellio says:

          I think what can be said, to be accurate, is that the founding, existence and growth of Israel were supported by the concerted actions of the governments of the US and major European countries, despite the personal disapproval of many important American and European leaders.

          It is evident that the governments were “pushed”, or “lobbied”, but they did enact the policies they were asked to support, and very often vigorously pursued them, both overtly and covertly.

        • john h says:

          Sean, “strongly oppose” but do nothing practical to back it up. That’s the story forever. Nobody has a spine because nobody will front up to their part in this disaster. What was the term China used to use? Paper tiger. More like purring pussycats.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Castiello,

          I think what can be said, to be accurate, is that the founding, existence and growth of Israel were supported by the concerted actions of the governments of the US and major European countries, despite the personal disapproval of many important American and European leaders.

          It is evident that the governments were “pushed”, or “lobbied”, but they did enact the policies they were asked to support, and very often vigorously pursued them, both overtly and covertly.

          Without the pressure of the Israel lobby (and the Jewish establishment) within the United States, there is no conceivable way that the Truman administration would have approved the creation of Israel. Truman’s own national security community opposed the creation of Israel.

          There has been enormous division within the American and European policy communities in their attitudes towards Israel. The Israel lobby so far has been the key factor in tipping American and European support towards Israel, but the situation is innately unstable and untenable and could easily flip at any time if Israeli policies too much damage American and European interests.

          Israel’s relations with “the West” are highly fragile. That is why Israel requires repeated conspicuous declarations of “love” and “eternal devotion” from Western nations — it lacks any real confidence that this relationship is solid.

        • Castellio says:

          I think you can safely assume I’m somewhat aware of the role of the Jewish pro-Israel Lobby on American politics; I’m simply saying that the historian has to acknowledge that the policies passed and accepted within the Congress, say, or as implemented by the White House, have been bullishly pro-Israel and consistently so. To date, that pro-Israeli support has not negatively affected either of the two major American parties: in fact, both parties believe pro-Israeli policies enhance their electoral standing.

          And covertly, both the US and Europe helped Israel become a nuclear power, and overtly they actively sustain and enhance that capability even today, knowingly creating an ever greater chance of a one-sided nuclear war in the Middle East.

          I think where you are now pointing is that this historical relationship might be changing, and you are expressly pointing to its fragility.

          I’m not sure how this will play out. Certainly the cost of Israel for America is huge and continues to grow, not simply in financial and military commitments, but in the realignment (or interpretation) of its own cultural values as parallel to Israeli cultural values: the resistance to which is the origin of this site.

          Are Israeli cultural values necessarily Jewish cultural values? The short answer is no; there is a reciprocal relationship, and many Zionists (both secular and religious) claim the identity, but the good historian, looking at the history of both Jews and Judaism, would have to say that being Jewish doesn’t predetermine one’s values as being either pro-Israeli or a Zionist, despite what the Zionists argue.

        • Citizen says:

          Yeah, and let’s hear it also for the tiny countries and micro island states, states totally under American (or UK member’s) economic dominance. They were the swing states at the UN on the big Israel issues, and mostly same now, re standing opposed along with USA/Israel e.g., on the recent overwhelming vote on upgrading Palestine status there.

    • lysias says:

      The proclaimed goal of the Crusades was to free the Holy Land. Whatever other objectives (like loot) the Crusaders may have had, that was always primary in their minds. And for them the Holy Land was a kind of Homeland.

      But the Crusades have very few defenders these days, even among Christians.

  9. Ellen says:

    There is a lot there to comment on and am troubled by Sand’s statement that Israel has a right to exist, but maybe he means it in the sence that it simply DOES exist, just as any other national construct. They exist and we accept that and recognize all that comes with it, but that is not a “right” to exist.

    It all really comes down to his statement:

    ” In Judaism, like in Islamism, in Christianity, there is not a concept of homeland.”

    Indeed, and ancient writings were written by men at a time when thought and words were put down with great abstracts and metaphors for larger meaning.

    Now that we live in the age or rationality maybe we are more stupid.

  10. talknic says:

    “giving 5 million descendants the right to return to Israel”

    The Palestinians base their claim for RoR on UNGA res 194, which was written almost 12 months before UNRWA even existed. This is the definition of UNGA res 194 – link to unispal.un.org Folk had to have been living in the place of return. It precludes lineal descendants who’d never lived in the area.

    The nonsense 5 million figure is based on the irrelevant UNRWA definition, which is only to ascertain who qualifies for assistance while they are refugees. Furthermore the UNRWA mandate does not extent to final status.

    (Q) “Is UNRWA involved in the Middle East peace negotiations and in the discussions on a solution to the refugee issue?”
    (A) “No. UNRWA is a humanitarian agency and its mandate defines its role as one of providing services to the refugees. However, UNRWA highlights the international community’s obligation to provide a just and durable solution for Palestine refugees.” link to unrwa.org

    Read Professor Ruth Lapidoth ‘s cleverly written but completely dishonest propaganda spiel for the Israeli Government to see how the 5 million myth is perpetuated. link to mfa.gov.il

    RoR threatens Jewish majority in territories Israel has never legally annexed, including those territories acquired by war by 1949/50 link to wp.me

    • pjdude says:

      um most Return laws allow for linear descendents almost always for the the same reason the palestinians should be given it. its the hieght of amorality to deny people what is for all intents and purposes their property simply because a group of thugs wishes to deny them said rights.

      • talknic says:

        Legislation in the country of return might allow for lineal descendants e.g., Germany. This is however beyond basic RoR . UNHRC statute link to unhcr.org …. it mentions nothing about descendant/s, lineal descendant/s, children, child. Quite simply, one must have lived in the country of return.

        In some countries a child born to a refugee (or anyone for that matter) is automatically a citizen of that state. They’re not a refugee, though their parents are.

        • Talkback says:

          talknic, please read “UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Note on Family Reunification”
          link to unhcr.org

        • talknic says:

          “talknic, please read “UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Note on Family Reunification”

          Oh my …

          Recommends Governments to take the necessary measures for the protection of the refugee’s family, especially with a view to:
          (1) Ensuring that the unity of the refugee’s family is maintained particularly in cases where the head of the family has fulfilled the necessary conditions for admission to a particular country

          (not about return)

          (iii) Reunification of unaccompanied minor children with their parents and siblings. An unaccompanied minor child should be reunited as promptly as possible with his or her parents or guardians as well as with siblings. If the minor has arrived first in a country of asylum, the principle of family unity requires that the minor’s next-of-kin be allowed to join the minor in that country unless it is reasonable under the circumstances for the minor to join them in another country

          (not about return)

          (ii) Other dependent relatives. Where persons such as single brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, etc. were living with the family unit as dependents in the country of origin, or where their situation has subsequently changed in such a way (e.g., by the death of a spouse, parent or bread-winner) as to make them dependent upon refugee family members in the country of asylum, they should also be considered eligible for family reunification.

          (not about return)

          What was it you wanted me to see? How utterly stupid you can be?

        • pjdude says:

          so do you think it is ok than for countries like Israel to run out the clock to invalidate the rights of their victims. for me and I’ll admit this isn’t part on international law is that so long as the victims are prevented from returning to their homes the right should pass to linear decendents. if for no other reason it force victimizers to grant the right.

  11. W.Jones says:

    Sand writes: “The majority of the emigrants didn’t want to come to Palestine.”
    OK, did they want to emigrate at all, and if so, where to?

    “I am against any ethnocracy in the world. Israel has to be the state of Israelis… I am against the law of return. As I am against the right of return.”
    Well, if serious population changes can’t occur, it can still indirectly be an ethnocracy. Lucky for group 1 they got across the finishing line before the gate came down.

    “But how can it be a refuge for Jews if you eliminate the law of return?”
    Sand didn’t answer the question directly, but it can be easily done: the liberal application of asylum laws in case of discrimination. This goes along with his disagreement with an “automatic” right.

  12. pjdude says:

    I never did like the term Eretz Yisrael. it always came across as anchronistic in the modern era as well as being supremely arrogant(which will note is something zionists tend to have in excess). the idea that a group of people who may or may not be decendents of a people who were a middling player in the region to declare all of the region and not just the bits the controlled the land of Israel when other terms were more broadly used and used a longer in history is a bit presumptious. It always did make me look unfavorable of the “Israeli” people when they act like they and they alone are the sole people able to determine what is right in regards to that spot of land.

    • pjdude- One Jew talking to another Jew in the year 1666, the Shabtai Zevi movement. Jew #1: “Why did you sell your house?” Jew #2. “Because the Messiah is here and we will all be moving to Eretz Israel!” Granted that Jew #2 was foolish to sell his house and for accepting the Messiahhood of Shabtai Zevi. But do you also object to his using the phrase “Eretz Israel”?

      • pjdude says:

        depends if using it in a strictly spirtual sense to refer a place where a ingathering of faithful is happening no if using it to refer to a specific piece of land yes for the reasons above.

      • Mooser says:

        Wow, Yonah, I knew you could go back and fine tune the past, but all the way back to 1666? With this kind of power, you have no one but yourself to blame if you don’t fix the Zionism-Palestine issues right away.
        Frankly, I’m a little shocked you haven’t done it yet. If I had time travel powers, I’d get the most important things done, and let the “fine tuning” take care of itself.

  13. amigo says:

    “The only way we can live together is if they are put on trucks and taken away,” said Corinne, carrying the dishes to the sink. “They have 22 other countries. Why do they want Israel?”
    From the mouths of Settler Babes.

  14. amigo says:

    Shortly after the evacuation of Gush Katif, the IDF got orders to evacuate a small settlement of nine houses called Amona. As special police galloped on horseback into packs of settlers kicking up clouds of dust that swirled around their bodies, Rav Gadi sent girls from Ma’ale Levona to defend the Amona families. Hundreds of people were injured and some of the girls were sexually mistreated by the police, the girls told me.

    Gosh, I thought it was the Palestinians who are the only ones using ther children as human shields.

  15. “I was born in a refugee camp. A displacement camp [in Austria]. I lived there for 2 years. My parents didn’t have a choice. They chose in ‘48 to go to Israel because no one wanted them in the world.”
    ————————————–
    His parents could have come to Germany. Many Polish Jews came to Germany after WWII. I personally know Jews like Sand who were born in a DP camp in Austria, came to Germany and got some compensation. – The Wikipedia article on Sand says:

    - “His parents … refused to receive compensations from Germany for their suffering during the Second World War.” – Why did they refuse?

    • Newclench says:

      1. If you really really can’t understand why Jewish victims of the Holocaust might have been uncomfortable living in Germany or taking German compensation…. then I guess you just have to give in to the mystery of it all. It makes perfect sense to me.
      2. Sand’s parents were communists. At the time they came to Israel, the socialist world welcomed the creation of Israel, there was a vibrant socialist movement and a Jewish-Arab communist party represented in the Knesset.
      3. Really? You don’t get why a Jewish Holocaust survivor might see the newly created state of Israel as a reasonable place to immigrate to?

      War does terrible things.

      • Mooser says:

        Newclench, you need to go and read Hostage’s comments on how Zionism was actually accomplished. Choice, as we think of it, an informed choice, had very little to do with it.
        And any discussion of how Zionism was accomplished among the Jews is not a story you want to bring up very much.

      • Newclench -
        You are obviously not aware of the fact that popular Polish anti-Semitism was much more intense than in Germany and that there were anti-Jewish pogroms with 2,000 victims in Poland after WWII.

        Also: In 1968 Poland kicked out about 100 000 remaining Jews.
        Most of them came to Germany. (I know some of them.)

        The Synagogue community of Frankfurt was overwhelmingly Polish-Jewish until 1990 when there was a large influx from Russian Jews.

        You got no idea about Polish Jews and Polish anti-Semitism and Germany.

        • Newclench says:

          If only the Jews of 1948 could have known about 1968!

        • klaus b.- what number of polish jews moved to Germany after the persecutions of 1968? Was it 5o,oo1? I doubt it. But if you have information, as in a link and not “I know some of them”, I’d be willing to change my mind.

        • pjdude says:

          sounds to me your trying to deflect criticism of germanies crimes onto poland. first off polish anti semitism was not in fact more intense than germany. if you notice all the pogroms and such happened AFTER the communist take over.

      • Newclench,
        The gist of what you say about Sand’s parents and Israel at the time of ’48 is that they deliberately chose Israel for ideological reasons and NOT just as a refuge because “no one wanted them in the world”.
        - I am of course aware that the suggestion, a Polish Holocaust survivor should have come to Germany after the war, sounds obscene.

        • pjdude says:

          the holocaust was german please don’t try pretend the poles participated in it.

        • Klaus B.- Goldhagen’s theory of the deep seated nature of annihilationist jew hatred in Germany did not convince me. If someone had died in 1914 and in heaven in 1945 was informed that some country had exterminated six million Jews, that person’s first guess (about which country) would not have been Germany. (If instead they had died in 1920, they might have guessed, because the Jew hatred in the aftermath of Germany’s defeat in WWI was so startling that Einstein asked, “Where will this lead?”)

          In the immediate aftermath of WWII Germany was occupied and therefore West Germany’s immigration decisions were made by the Allies and not by Germany.

          In 1968, Poland was behind the Iron Curtain, with the results that persecuting Jews was at times permitted. West Germany by 1968 had pretty solidly situated itself in the Western alliance and therefore moving from Communist Poland to Free Germany made some sense.

        • American says:

          ”The gist of what you say about Sand’s parents and Israel at the time of ’48 is that they deliberately chose Israel for ideological reasons and NOT just as a refuge because “no one wanted them in the world”.

          We’ve had this debate many times about countries refusing to take Jewish (and other) refugees……during and after the war.
          But Sand is sounding a bit personally put out…like why us?…. that his family didn’t get in on the immigration quotas that countries had.
          To put his complaint into perspective it would help to know that the US, between 1937 and 1945 admitted 250,000 Jews and 115,000 Jewish children on the children’s programs. (holocaust museum)
          250,000 Jews is equal to half of the total population of Jews in Germany in 1939 and 115,000 Jewish children is almost 3X’s the total population, 60,000, of Jews in Belgium.
          Those fleeing WWII were victims of a perfect storm—–the fact the US had taken in over a *million* immigrants in the previous decade—-that this huge prior influx then produced a serious immigration backlash among the public when the depression hit——that there was “war and rumors of war”, and ‘fears of war” that caused stricter requirements for immigrants to qualify —–among those was the fear of communist agents, espionage agents, fear that immigrants without money or relatives in the US to suport them would be become a drain on country and further exaberate the depression and unemployment problem.

          There were many, many things happening that it made it hard for the US and other countries to take more immigrants fleeing the war……. so I don’t like to see it put as, or think it’s correct to say ‘no one wanted them”…as I said it was more like all the existing conditions converged into a perfect storm against increasing immigration numbers and it affected all WWII immigrants.

        • yonah,
          that’s an impartial assessment.

          When one compares the level of animosity toward Jews in different countries (for instance Germany to Poland), one has to take into account the level of ‘strangeness’ of the respective Jewish population. A Jewish editor (Jakob Frommer) wrote in 1911:

          “Who wants to experience an ethnological senation needn’t go to far-flung parts of the world. A one day trip from Berlin suffices. Once you cross the Russian border you encounter a strange race that is nearly unknown to the zivilised world, it’s full of myteries and enigma.” – He means the Polish Jews. (He doesn’t use the word ‘race’, he uses a German word that I don’t know how to translate better.)
          ————————-
          Concerning the post-WWI 1920s, there is a strange phenomenon.
          Although anti-Semitism was on the rise, so was Jewish-German intermarriage.

          The intermarriage rate of Jews (Jews who married, …% married Germans):
          - 1919 to 1923: under 25% in these years
          - 1928 to 1933: 37% , average for all of Germany (in Hamburg 60%)

          This trend worried both the Nazis and the Zionists.

        • Yonah -

          Concerning the post-WWI 1920s, there is a strange phenomenon.
          Although anti-Semitism was on the rise, so was Jewish-German intermarriage.

          The intermarriage rate of Jews (Jews who married, …% married Germans):
          - 1919 to 1923: under 25% in these years
          - 1928 to 1933: 37% , average for all of Germany (in Hamburg 60%)
          —————————————————————————
          This intermarriage rate was much higher than that in the US in the 1950s.

          How to explain this in a Germany with a rising tide of anti-Semtism?
          The marriage statistics are not broken down by the political affiliation of the spouses. – But I assume these intermarriages were mainly by socialist Jews marrying socialist Germans. At the same time of nationalist anti-Semitism.

          It’s my conjecture. I have no real proof. – But anyway, if you had just done nothing about the Jews – the so-called ‘Jewish question’ in Germany would have faded away.

        • Citizen says:

          The Poles did participate in it, as victims, lots of them.

    • Klaus B.- How many Polish Jews came to Germany after WWII? You use the term “many” which might mean 100 or 1000 or 10,000. I know it wasn’t 100,000 or more. What was the number?

      • Yonah,

        I don’t know the exact number of Polish Jews who came to Germany and stayed after WWII. The Central Council of Jews in Germany says this about the matter:

        “After the first pogroms in Poland against the suvivors of the Shoa, about 150,000 left Poland and found a refuge in post-war Germany. Many of them went on to emigrate to Israel, the US, Britain or Latin America.”

        About 1968, I have actually no idea beside the ‘some of them’ I know.

      • yonah,
        the official census data for Jews in post-war West Germany are:
        ——————-
        1950 – 22 000
        1961 – 23 000
        1970 – 32 000

        I don’t know exactly how many German Jews were left after the war,
        but the majority of the above numbers were Polish Jews.

        As to your question about 1968: The rise in the number of Jews
        from 1961 to 1970 (9,000) must be Jews from Poland. So, that’s
        of course not(!) the majority of Jews who left Poland right after ’68.
        ————————–
        In 2011, the number of Jews in Germany was about 200,000.
        103,000 Jews were members of a Synagogue community.

        • lysias says:

          But in the years immediately after World War Two, weren’t there also a lot of Jews (as well as a lot of other people) in displaced persons camps in and around Germany? My understanding is that a lot of those Jews had made their way to Palestine/Israel by 1950.

      • Donald says:

        I’m posting this not to make any particular point, but to let people know of this newly published book about atrocities, ethnic cleansing and so forth in Europe right after WWII, since that topic comes up here a lot–

        Savage Continent

        I skimmed through chunks of it at the local library. Massive atrocities committed by almost everyone against almost everyone else, is the general impression given. For instance, Poles and Ukrainians murdered each other in large numbers, something I haven’t seen talked about much. (According to the author, Jews for the most part did not participate in all this, though a few did engage in revenge killings. Most, according to the author, just wanted to get out of Europe. I would say they committed their atrocities in 48, but in Palestine.) The writer also says, not surprisingly, that people play with the death toll estimates, exaggerating or minimizing them depending on their politics. For instance, though ethnic Germans were ethnically cleansed, the death toll of 2 million sometimes given is greatly exaggerated (again according to the author). OTOH, the number of German rape victims was stunning, though I’ve forgotten what figure he gave.

        • J. Otto Pohl says:

          The two million deaths for expelled Germans came from estimates on the missing number of Germans compiled by the West German government early in its existence. It has since been revised downward. The lowest figure I have seen is 500,000, but I have also seen a credible recent scholarly figure of about 1,000,000. At any rate the expulsion of 14 million ethnic Germans from eastern Germany, Central Europe, and the Balkans was certainly a massive act of ethnic cleansing which had at the very least hundreds of thousands of fatalities. Estimating the number of rapes by the Soviet army at the end of WWII is much harder to do since most were not reported. I have seen the figure 2 million floated around, but I think it is just a guess at a plausible minimal figure. The real figure could be much higher.

        • Citizen says:

          “I have seen the figure 2 million floated around”

          That’s not the number of ethnic Germans cleansed–it’s the minimal number for the number who died during the “transfer” of said Germans.

  16. HarryLaw says:

    Ellen, I agree no state has a right to exist, here in the UK, or should I say the United Kingdom of Gt Britain and Northern Ireland. All four historic nations who make up that state, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all free to leave the state if done by the will of the people through a plebiscite properly conducted. If only Scotland were to leave, as the presently governing Scottish Nationalist Party would like, then the present UK state would cease to exist.

  17. yourstruly says:

    the above conversation, so illuminating; especially re:

    “I’m sorry, I can’t make everything possible to change your life. to try to make your life equal to my life, yes.

    & …..there’s “symbollically accepting a number a number of palestinians”, the better to “symbolically show that as a nonracist state it must accept the right of refugees”

    up to a limit, that is

    never beyond

    always at least symbolically rewarded

    & the right of return?

    if real, that would be the end of israel*

    meanwhile, for the world?

    dawn

    *the enity, not its people

    • yourstruly says:

      why not?

      already its a fait acompli
      same as for the native american?
      except their chances for a turnabout today aren’t the same
      for the native american?
      zero chance
      for the palestinian?
      come the dawn
      a sure thing

  18. Newclench says:

    “I justify the existence of Israel not because of historical right, but because of the fact that it exist today and any effort to destroy it will bring new tragedies. Besides, Zionism created a new Israeli nation that has a right to exist.”

    It’s amazing how many people will champion Sand without understanding that this is the implication of all that he writes. Championing “Israeli-hood” is a very productive form of resistance to Zionist ideology.

    • Cliff says:

      whatever you say, not-a-zionist Zionist oldclench

      if you approve of the concept of Israeli-hood, then support a 1SS where Jews no longer have privilege over non-Jews

      • Cliff- can’t newclench support what Sand says. Why must he support what you say. Sand is not in favor of a one state solution. He is in favor of Israel, with full rights to its citizens, within the 67 boundaries. Sand wrote a book actually 2 and he is the subject of Phil’s interview. Why does newclench have to adjust to what you propose? Why can’t you react to what Sand proposes?

        • Cliff says:

          WJ, why are you asking me what Oldclench can and cannot support? He can support whatever the hell he wants. That’s not the issue.

          No Zionist Jew would ever accept full equality for Palestinians within the 67′ borders because Zionist Jews already claim that Arabs in Israel are treated equally. To undo the institutional discrimination would be to transform Israel entirely and that won’t be accomplished by anti-Zionist Jews and non-Jews from the United States or elsewhere.

          It has to come from Zionists themselves – but you have no conscience and see the world through your ethnocentric prism.

      • Newclench says:

        I’m with Sand here. I support an Israel where Jews no longer have a privilege over non-Jews. When we get that far, all the rest should be easy peasy.

        • easy peasy

          sounds nice!

        • Cliff says:

          You won’t get that far because it is up to Zionist Jews to change themselves.

          The Palestinians in Israel will never be able to compel the Jewish (whatever the political leaning) Establishment to change.

          That is why there is not even a need for ‘peace’ – because Israel has effectively achieved enough ‘quiet’ that they (fakes like you and WJ) can string the Palestinians along while building facts on the ground.

        • Mooser says:

          “I’m with Sand here. I support an Israel where Jews no longer have a privilege over non-Jews.”

          (As long as they can keep all the privileges they already have! Look, let’s get to the heart of not-a-Zionism: Not-a-Zionists will never ever admit the Israelis have anything already that they must give up before any “easy peasy”process can be hoped for. But not-a-Zionist will never admit that.
          “But Mooser, I say the Israelis should give things up all the time” Maybe you do, but you never say what they are (Except maybe being a little nicer to the helots.)

          What is so maddening is that Yoinah and the rest think anybody will fall for it. OOOh, maybe they could call it, now that “liberal Zionism” has been debunked, “Progressive Zionism!”
          Remember, I said it first!! I might be willing to license the term for an adequate emolument.

        • Newclench says:

          You put in parenths what you think I mean but don’t say. And in this we have the big reveal: you invent opinions to demolish and assign them to a real person who said no such thing.
          It’s not only dishonest – no shortage of that – but it’s the kind of ideological mudslinging you just love to make fun of when others do it. That makes you the worst kind of hypocrite – simultaneously inventing, denouncing, and misleading.
          Here’s a hint though, if ever you choose to escape the paper bag trap you put yourself in: just read what I wrote. No need to invent anything: not my opinions, not the Jewish people, not Eretz Yisrael.

        • Mooser says:

          Okay, Newclench, I guess I misjudged you. I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

          So, since I’m wrong, why don’t you tell me what the Jewish people should give up in Palestine? And please don’t say ‘their sense of superiority’ I don’t give a damn if they keep that. That and a couple of bucks will get you a mocha anywhere.

          So anytime you’re ready…..

        • Newclench says:

          Israel as a country should be based on Israeli citizenship with no discrimination of Palestinian citizens whatsoever. Jewish ethnocracy is a terrible evil – for the Jews, along with Palestinians.
          That is Sand’s position, is the position of Israel’s left (including the three mostly Arab political parties in Knesset), and my own.
          An Israeli identity makes Israel into something that is not ‘A Jewish State’, but merely a state with lots of Jews. This might be hard for you to understand but… Some Jewish Israelis consider the Palestinian minority in Israel to be brothers and sisters, comrades, allies, and of course fellow citizens deserving of full civil rights.

        • Mooser says:

          “Some Jewish Israelis consider the Palestinian minority in Israel to be brothers and sisters, comrades, allies, and of course fellow citizens deserving of full civil rights.”

          Why do I always smell the ocean when I read comments like that? And if I close my eyes, I see, what’s that, yes it is, it’s pillars of sodium chloride!… What a strange reaction to comments which tell us there are, as there are everyplace, even in the midst of Nazi Germany, or a Communist dictatorship, some nice people.

          And Newclench, you apparently don’t think their is anything the Israelis need to give up, they just need to be nicer to the Palestinians? Gosh, you can’t think of anything the Israelis took, and should give back? Not one little thing, besides more smiles and friendly greetings?

          How glad I am that the Zionists haven’t as yet, actually done anything in Palestine, and are taking all the time they need to evolve the right attitude before they embark on their project. That shows class!

        • Newclench says:

          Again with the presumptions and “apparently.” Mooser, you insist on a kind of Stalinist denunciation for what I don’t say, as though some code of morality has been violated for lack of my attention.
          Working together has nothing to do with being nice Mooser, a subject you are quite the specialist in. It’s about shared interests. What you are clearly not an expert in is the art of reading comprehension. You will not find anything I’ve ever put in writing suggesting that I support the Zionist project – or if I have, it is the same kind of Zionism that Shlomo Zand is guilty of. You know, the kind that no actual Zionist would recognize.
          What a strange way of showing solidarity – some folks decide they aren’t Zionists anymore, but there is Mooser, broom in hand, ready to neatly return them to the Zionist pile lest they mess up his neat little categories.

    • yourstruly says:

      championing “israeli-hood” in order to secure the zionist entity while at the same time claiming this represents resistance to zionist ideology? lots a luck peddling that one.

      • Mooser says:

        @yours truly,

        are you familiar with the not-a-Zionists? Not-a-Zionism is the new ideology which is sweeping the community! And they love it! You know why? Cause it has the power to stop the discussion right in its tracks, and send into vicious circles. After all, when you spend time discussing not-a-Zionism with a not-a-Zionist, it just that much more time that nobody is talking about (in any way which isn’t patently phony and insultingly ridiculous) what is Zionism.
        And, as you’ll notice, the first step in not-a-Zionismism is to pretend that Zionism hasn’t happened yet. That we don’t know what it is, and can be and is and was anything we want in our pleasantest philo-Semantic fantasies (like “cultural Zionism”). And of course, what not-a-Zionism has in common with Zionism is erasing the Palestinians as real people, or at least people with rights.

        • yourstruly says:

          isn’t not-a-zionism akin to the end time, whereby, in exchange for the promise of some pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking leads to the abandonment of the here & now?

  19. “In Judaism, like in Islamism, in Christianity, there is not a concept of homeland.”
    ——————
    Didn’t Sand read the Bible and what rabbis interpret as belonging to a Jewish state? The most far reaching Biblical borders of the Land of Israel are – I am quoting Israel Shahak’s “Jewish History, Jewish Religion”, page 9:

    “In the south, all of Sinai and a part of northern Egypt up to the environs of Cairo;
    in the east, all of Jordan and a large chunk of Saudi Arabia, all of Kuwait and a part
    of Iraq south of the Euphrates; in the north, all of Lebanon and all of Syria together
    with a huge part of Turkey (up to lake Van); and in the west, Cyprus.”
    —————-
    This puts the German-Nazi expansionist claims to shame.

    • Mooser says:

      “Didn’t Sand read the Bible and what rabbis interpret as belonging to a Jewish state?”

      Klaus, do you have any information on how much Jewish people listen to Rabbis? Do you know how much power Rabbis have to make people listen, let alone compel them to do anything?
      Saying that a Rabbi said anything (and they will) doesn’t mean squat, unless you can show….no, I’ll put it like this: Does a Rabbi who farts in the forest where there’s nobody to hear it make any noise?

    • Mooser says:

      “This puts the German-Nazi expansionist claims to shame.”

      This is the big advantage at Mondoweiss: international input. Now I know they were lying to me all those years at school, and the German-Nazis didn’t occupy France, Eastern Europe, parts of Russia, and make attempts on Britain during WW2. And I’m glad to hear it. I always thought they were too nice to do anything like that. I mean, look at Klaus.

      • Mooser -
        What you say is nonsense. Nazi-Germany never intended to turn occupied France or Eastern Europe or parts of Russia etc. into “German homeland”.

        • sardelapasti says:

          >Nazi-Germany never intended to turn occupied France or Eastern Europe or parts of Russia etc. into “German homeland”.<
          Doesn't sound very exact. Why was their prewar propaganda, official doctrine and the very air that they breathed so full of the mention of "Lebensraum im Osten"? Just asking. That the Zionists put them to shame, and how, is not in discussion.

        • Castellio says:

          You’re kidding, right Klaus?

          The Nazis very much intended to make Eastern Europe including parts of Russia into German Homeland. That was the very point of WW2. The attack on France was to forestall British and French attacks from the West while Germany dealt with and incorporated the Eastern lands it wanted.

        • sardelapasti, Castellio -

          Mooser equated the German occupation of Europe – from Norway down to Greece – with an expansion of the ‘German homeland’. – That was typical funny Mooser-nonsense. – It’s true that they intended and did enlarge the German ‘Lebensraum’ in Eastern Europe and settle Germans there. That was indeed the point of the agreement with Stalin and the German occupation of Poland (as was Stalin’s).

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “What you say is nonsense. Nazi-Germany never intended to turn occupied France or Eastern Europe or parts of Russia etc. into ‘German homeland’.”

          Baloney. Historical nonsense.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Mooser equated the German occupation of Europe – from Norway down to Greece – with an expansion of the ‘German homeland’. – That was typical funny Mooser-nonsense. – It’s true that they intended and did enlarge the German ‘Lebensraum’ in Eastern Europe and settle Germans there. That was indeed the point of the agreement with Stalin and the German occupation of Poland (as was Stalin’s).”

          Mooser didn’t mention either Norway nor Greece. And the Germans intended to do more than simply enlarge into Poland. They incorporated part of Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland) and France into the Reich (Alsace-Lorraine), and intended to take all of Poland, they also intended to take the Baltic states and all of Russia to the Urals as part of the German Homeland.

        • LeaNder says:

          Sardellapasti, Castillo:

          The deepest impression from a visit in Berlin, which apart from a friend’s birthday celebration had a main focus on the Berlin museum landscape, was that the peak of German political antisemitism and German Federation coincided in time, or culturally the acquisition of the most important cultural treasures, never mind that they were saved to a certain extend since marble can be burned to limestone, and limestone is more helpful in building things, the post revolution experience in France, facts that to a certain extend make me hesitant about revolutions. Anyway what is visible is the “late” strong nation followed the imperialist path in it’s cultural acquisition policy. Not that I did not know or suspect that before, but it was date-wise everywhere visually present much more than it seems to have been ever before.

          Castellio:

          The attack on France was to forestall British and French attacks from the West while Germany dealt with and incorporated the Eastern lands it wanted.

          Basically, I would advise you to ignore Klaus Blömker, lysias to me seems to be the far better informed German source. If he is German at all, but for whatever reason I think he is.

          Strictly in their best case scenario the Nazis thought they would be able to keep England out when they started their expansion eastward beyond integrating Austria, another more difficult story. … With the French they had a bone to pick considering the post WWI occupation of the Rhine-lands and some other supposedly German areas, but strictly the Brits for them seemed like some natural allies considering British imperialist expertise. Good “Germans” even the Norman French influence is “Germanic” after all.

          Anyway, Klaus Bloemker, is a specific type of German opportunist, the type that appreciated the US approved continuity and help to shift from Nazis reign to Cold War in its fight against communism doctrine. Didn’t after all Americans understand the core problem? The Cold War helped his brethren to simply adjust the ultimate enemy from the Judeo-Bolshevik threat to the Bolshevik treat. So the Nazis had only been wrong by one half of the equation after all. Which helped him to never talk with his father about what had really happened. Mind you that would have been slightly more difficult than to to tyrannize his leftist night school students. They may have had questions he wasn’t prepared to answer after all.

          It goes without question that Mooser without even knowing what my specific problems with people like Bloemker are, is absolute on point again, with his own incomparable way.

        • LeaNder says:

          I wonder about these things lately:

          not with his own incomparable way, but in his own, I guess.

          gone again

        • pjdude says:

          bullshit. I lost family to their expansionistic greed. no wonder you blaimed the holocaust on poland up their. your a nazi apoligist. the nazis were fond of germanization just as Israel is fond of judization. its the first step to erasing people from history.

        • LeaNder says:

          About “visual ‘cultural imperialist’ presence”, hard to correct something while keeping the checking of all links in mind. In other words, good that Mondoweiss allows many links, but the time frame in addition to the missing preview option surely is a challenge:

          Josef Strzygowski and the Berlin Museums

          Whilst he was a pioneer in many areas of Byzantine art history, he became increasingly absorbed in ethnic and racial notions in his later years. On exhibit will be biographical documents, contemporary sources on his work for the Berlin Museums and objects that were acquired on account of his efforts.

        • sardelapasti says:

          “Mooser equated the German occupation of Europe – from Norway down to Greece – with an expansion of the ‘German homeland’. ”

          Exactly! In that inimitable Mooserian style he also managed to make fun of the general ignorance that believes just that. You, however, did not have license to take that seriously, because his point is essentially the close relationship, I’d say practical identity, of Zionism and Nazism, born out of the very same plumb crazy Romantic German philosophy and the very same colonial practical politics of the 19th. Where one’s Lebensraum was im Osten, the other had Grossdeutschl… pardon, Grossisraelia from sea to shining Alborz mountains. No difference, and Mooser is right again.

        • Woody,
          you say: “Mooser didn’t mention either Norway nor Greece.”

          Here is what Mooser wrote:
          “Now I know they were lying to me all those years at school, and the German-Nazis didn’t occupy France, Eastern Europe, parts of Russia, and make attempts on Britain during WW2.”
          —————
          Mooser is indeed referring to the overall German occupation of Europe.
          This is different from Nazi Germany’s territorial claim for a ‘Großdeutschland’. – You seem to have misunderstood me also – but not for the hell of it (as Mooser does).

        • pjdude,
          You say (to me): “your a nazi apoligist.”
          ———————————————————
          I wonder why this comment of yours passed the moderators. But anyway,
          I’m sorry that you (and many others) lost family in the Nazi-German war.

          This German megalomanical war was a catastrophe under the cover
          of which the Holocaust was possible. It happened in occupied Poland.

          Now, Germany feels obliged to somehow ‘right this wrong’ to the Jews.
          But Mooser would agree with me that Israel is not “THE Jews”.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Mooser is indeed referring to the overall German occupation of Europe.
          This is different from Nazi Germany’s territorial claim for a ‘Großdeutschland’. – You seem to have misunderstood me also – but not for the hell of it (as Mooser does).”

          No, he didn’t. You might have a desire to read that into his words, but he simply did not do what you are suggesting. But either way, your protestations failed to discuss the real issue, which is your insanely unhistorical statement:

          “Nazi-Germany never intended to turn occupied France or Eastern Europe or parts of Russia etc. into ‘German homeland’.”

          Regarding France, you are partly wrong, and as to Eastern Europe adn parts of Russia, you are absolutely wrong. They were unquestionably inteded to be part of the new German homeland. To suggest otherwise is crazy.

        • MHughes976 says:

          I don’t know what documents can be cited to show what German war aims in WW2 were. Some historians emphasise Hitler’s secretiveness (John Lucacks in The Hitler of History). Just before WW1 Class, the leader of the Pan-German League, had published a notorious book called If I Were Kaiser, calling for massive annexations and population transfers. The degree of support shown in political circles for pan-Germanism in the heady days of early WW1 became a major embarrassment for the German war effort as things dragged on and British propaganda became more effective. I think that Hitler knew this and was determined to avoid giving the enemy the same propaganda advantage all over again.

        • Mooser says:

          “not with his own incomparable way, but in his own, I guess. “

          Oh, it’s hardly incomparable, but it is my own sweet way.

          And people try to say Brubeck wasn’t Jewish?

        • Woody,
          I don’t understand why you take Mooser-talk seriously.

          His “German Nazis attempts on Britain during WW2″ (real or imagined)
          shows clearly that he is referring to occupation and not incorporation into
          the ‘Großdeutsche Reich’.
          - There is no point in discussing country by country – from the Baltics to the Black see – Nazi Germany’s plans and territorial claims.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          Klaus,

          My issue isn’t Mooser’s comments, but yours, wherein you state:

          “Nazi-Germany never intended to turn occupied France or Eastern Europe or parts of Russia etc. into ‘German homeland’.”

          Do you deny that Germany’s leaders intended to incorporate part of France, all of Eastern Europe and part of Russia into the German homeland…

        • Mooser says:

          “I don’t know what documents can be cited to show what German war aims in WW2 were.”

          Oh, probably had a little too much beer, and wanted to stir up trouble, but really, they’re just fine upstanding, clean-limbed German boys at heart. It was just a prank that got out of hand.

        • Woody, you say:
          “My issue isn’t Mooser’s comments”
          - But that was my issue!
          ————————————-
          “Do you deny that Germany’s leaders intended to incorporate part of France, all of Eastern Europe and part of Russia into the German homeland…”

          - They not only intended to, they had already done so with parts.
          You may know better than I do as far as ALL of Eastern Europe and parts of Russia are concerned. I never looked into that in detail.
          My understanding was that their ideology was too racist to incorporate the Slavic peoples into the Greater German homeland. They would be assigned an inferior status. – But anyway, that’s more a technical matter.

      • Mooser -
        Sometimes I don’t know whether you are suffering from a cognitive deficiency or are deliberately misreading my comments because you think that’s funny.

        • Mooser says:

          You are right, Klaus, I loooked it up, and it was all a myth! Between 1938 and 1945 the Germans stayed quietly inside Germany, concentrating mostly on designing and building the first models of the excellent post WW2 German automobiles. They didn’t need war, they knew they could conquer the world with a Volkswagen. Sure, maybe somebody got a little overenthusiastic setting up the dealer network, but you know how that Teutonic thoroughness is. I mean, look at Wagner. He never stopped until he used every note, all at the same time.

        • Mooser says:

          “They didn’t need war, they knew they could conquer the world with a Volkswagen.”

          No disrespect towards MB, BMW, Audi or Porsche intended.

        • libra says:

          Mooser: They didn’t need war, they knew they could conquer the world with a Volkswagen.

          Maybe so but Professor Ellis isn’t buying it.

        • Mooser says:

          “Maybe so but Professor Ellis isn’t buying it.”

          Just wait til his Peugeot breaks down!

  20. Les says:

    London Review of Books
    Vol. 34 No. 24 · 20 December 2012
    Letters

    Why Israel Didn’t Win

    I would be grateful if Adam Shatz could supply the source for his contention that Hamas has ‘accepted’ the right of Israel to exist peacefully ‘on the basis of the 1967 borders’ (LRB, 6 December). I have not seen an official – or unofficial – statement of this welcome change elsewhere. It seems to contradict the plentiful calls for the total destruction of the state of Israel, and it is hard to reconcile with the 1988 Hamas Charter’s enthusiasm (in its Article 7) for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis.

    Ron Rosenbaum
    New York

    Adam Shatz writes: It is no secret among those who follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – as opposed to those who get their news from the Jerusalem Post and Aipac – that since the 2007 Mecca agreement with Fatah, Hamas has supported the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, on the basis of a long-term truce, or hudna, with Israel. As Khalid Mishal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, told the New York Times in a 2009 interview, Hamas ‘has accepted a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders including East Jerusalem, dismantling settlements, and the right of return based on a long-term truce’. This does not mean that Hamas accepts Israel’s ‘right to exist’ – Rosenbaum’s (and Israel’s) words, not mine. Why, Hamas asks, should the Palestinians recognise the ‘right to exist’ of a state that occupies their land and refuses to recognise their right to a state of their own? Recognition, it insists, cannot be a condition for negotiations. It can be granted only if Israel agrees to a full withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and declares its borders. As for the notorious charter, with its ugly anti-semitic passages and quotes from the Protocols, Mishal has insisted that (as he told the New York Times) ‘the most important thing is what Hamas is doing and the policies it is adopting today,’ and warned the international community not to ‘get stuck on sentences written twenty years ago’. ‘We are not fighting the Jews because they are Jews,’ he said in Doha just after the recent ceasefire was signed, ‘we are fighting the Zionists, the Jews that are colonists.’ Their quarrel is with the Jewish state.

    link to lrb.co.uk

  21. yourstruly says:

    although “after ww ii the myth of the u.s. was used to change the relationship between blacks & whites, the real fight was between the civics & the racists, with the fact of that myth of the building of america being of considerable importance”

    (why not an israeli myth about the building of democratic state based on equality?)

    “you can’t go back on history, you can only correct it?”

    (tell that to the serbians)

    “the one state solution is based on the ideas that in israel, one of the most racist societies in the western world, you can wait for the consent of israeli jews?”

    (not wait, force their consent!)

    BDS, BDS, BDS, that’s how!

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “(why not an israeli myth about the building of democratic state based on equality?)”

      Because the vast, overwhelming majority of israelis are judeo-supremacist racists. They don’t have that myth, because they don’t believe in equality. They believe the Jew is superior to the Arab in essentially the same way some others though the Aryan was superior to the Jew. Let’s hope the result of the bigotry of last century isn’t repeated in this century, but the incipient fascism exists among the israelis.

  22. talknic says:

    “for the moment, the Israeli Palestinian citizens are different from the occupied territories. Most of them want to be Israeli. The nation building in the Palestinian camp is not perfect, and of course they don’t have a state. But if you are looking deeper in the consciousness of the Palestinian Israelis, they continue to prefer to be Israelis and not a part of a Palestinian state”

    Wanting to live in their homeland is normal. Regardless of what State it’s in is a rather admirable world view.

  23. yourstruly says:

    jewish israeli attitude towards palestinians reminds me of a the treatment many years ago that a certain 9th grade class gave to a substitute teacher – mean-spirited & harmful – all that morning, such that, by noon the understandly distraught teacher collapsed & had to be taken away in an ambulance.

    a lynching?

    of a sort

    prevention?

    role playing

  24. Taxi says:

    Neither israel nor any other nation has the right to exist on the ruins and carcasses of another.

    Remember folks, the occupation is quintessentially about land theft, not religion or myths.

    • American says:

      Don’t worry be happy…..all of this is going to end in a gaint FUBAR unless some miracle occurs.
      I am listening to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC describe (lie) about how poor Israel was attacked by Syria and Egypt and the US went to DefCon 3, our highest alert, because Russia threatened to interfer in Egypt and Syria’s behalf.

      What she is doing is propagandizing the public on Syria, demonizing Russia, and then linking it to Iran and all the missiles Russia has supplied Iran. Russia is actually resigned to Assad losing this, but the I-firsters and those like Rachel dog who are in their pocket are trying to step the Syria mess to the next level with Iran.
      I personally think Putin is the smartest wolf in the world leader pack and wouldn’t take on any war unless it was critical to Russia……and he thought he coud win….but since Russia and China have a mutual defense pact that gives Russia more heft than the US wants to admit.
      Russia’s one land base in the ME was in Syria, they won’t take it lightly if they lose that. .
      I think it’s huge, huge mistake to under estimate Russia.

      • Taxi says:

        American,

        When the Russians withdraw their subs from Syrian water is when we start taking their lip-service seriously.

        It’s not possible to isolate Syria and attack it like with Libya. Syria, Iran and hizbollah have a military pact: you hit one of them and (if it suits them) all three players will respond to the attack – which will ignite a regional war – and if israel looks like losing, then it will escalate to WW3 with Russia and China involved directly. The mideast still remains as the most desirable well of resources for existing and emerging super-powers.

        China and Russia are basically saying to us Americans: You’re on the decline, share the mideast booty with us in peace or in war – but sharing there will be.

    • yourstruly says:

      with religion &/or myths as excuses for the land theft

    • Sand-”I justify the existence of Israel not because of historical right, but because of the fact that it exist today and any effort to destroy it will bring new tragedies. Besides, Zionism created a new Israeli nation that has a right to exist.”

      I think one can disagree with the second sentence, but the first sentence I think is quite valid.

      • eljay says:

        >> Sand: “I justify the existence of Israel not because of historical right, but because of the fact that it exist today and any effort to destroy it will bring new tragedies. Besides, Zionism created a new Israeli nation that has a right to exist.”
        >> y.f.: I think one can disagree with the second sentence, but the first sentence I think is quite valid.

        Yes, the first sentence is quite valid: Israel exists, and it should continue to exist – within its original borders – as a secular, egalitarian and democratic Israeli state of and for all its citizens, equally.

        It should not continue to exist as an oppressive, colonialist, expansionst and supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • Mooser says:

        “I justify the existence of Israel not because of historical right, but because of the fact that it exist today and any effort to destroy it will bring new tragedies”

        So a kill ratio of about ten-to-one isn’t good enough for you, yonah. And don’t give me that “human tragedy” BS. Cause all it says to me is that, as usual, the Zionist regime is willing to use Jewish people as bait, pawns, or human shields.
        Surely some shekels could be spared to make sure that not a single settler breaks so much as a fingernail or has to carry any of their own belongings.

        Yonah, are you too warped to see that Palestinian tragedy counts as much as Jewish tragedy, or do you think we are so stupid we will accept your fantasy based nonsense, or you just figure if you keep at it, you can tire us out?

        Don’t worry, the US, and probably Jews all over the world, will make sure all your precious settlers leave the territories on Palanquins, attended by fan-wavers and porters, with a kvetch break every half hour.

    • tokyobk says:

      On what pristine patch of land do you live?
      All nations exist on the ruins of a former. The question is what to do now.
      And no nation has an inherent right to exist. People have inherent rights to their property and livelihood.
      But again, the question is what to do now.

      • Cliff says:

        Tokoyobk and WJ

        you are both liars and latching on to one trite line by Sand that has been spewed by his political opponents since time immemorial

        The Zionist colonial project is not over. It’s not part of history wherein we roll our eyes and say ‘shit happened, move one’

        It’s happening right f-ing now and neither of you support these non-existent natural rights of the Palestinians

        You both just want to maintain what your favorite State has stolen thus far and to cordon off the country club from more Arabs.

        That to YOU is ‘moving on’ and accepting reality and giving people their natural rights. It’s of course Israeli-centric. Israelis get to keep their national character – built by war, theft, institutional racism, militarism…

        AND the Palestinians get shit. Also the product of the above Israeli expression of ‘self-determination.’

        So don’t muddy the waters. It’s not effective – that is, if your MO is to portray yourselves as anything other than what you are, Jewish colonists.

        • Cliff- Sand, as in the topic of Phil’s post, proposes that Israel remain as a corporate existing body with the major/minor change of becoming a state of all its citizens. He also asserted that aiming to do away with Israel will cause a lot of bloodshed.

          Which part of this do you disagree with?

          Which assertion of mine did you disagree with?

          Seems you wanted to call me a colonialist and if that is your sole purpose, you have succeeded. You called me a colonist, which I assume is the same thing.

      • Taxi says:

        tokybok,

        What frigging CENTURY do you live in?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        We DON’T do occupy-and-keep-the-loot-and-build-shopping-malls-over-indigenous-cemeteries no more since the middle of the last century.

        • Sibiriak says:

          Taxi,

          We DON’T do occupy-and-keep-the-loot-and-build-shopping-malls-over-indigenous-cemeteries no more…

          “We” SHOULDN’T be doing that–but indigenous cultures are being attacked and destroyed in many parts of the world right now.

        • Cliff says:

          @Sibriak the not-a-Zionist, Zionist

          What is the purpose of your post? Do you think Taxi (or any other anti-Zionist here or in existence) is unaware of other conflicts and other crimes?

          Looking for ‘balance’?

          Where were you from again? Siberia? (LOL)

        • Sibiriak says:

          @Cliff the not-a Zionist, Zionist

          Looking for ‘balance’?

          Sorry, one crime does not “balance” another.

        • Sibiriak says:

          @Cliff the not-a Zionist, Zionist

          And btw, why indeed do you bring up an issue of “balance”?

          This reminds me of the Zionist strategy of demanding “equal criticism” of all oppression of Arabs, not just Palestinians. You know, if you post information on Israel’s recent crimes in Gaza, you are asked, “look at all the Arabs dying in Sryia…why don’t you attack that regime there as much as you attack Israel?”

          It’s a ridiculous argument.

        • Taxi says:

          “What is the purpose of your post? Do you think Taxi (or any other anti-Zionist here or in existence) is unaware of other conflicts and other crimes?”

          I was gonna respond to Professor Obvious with your exact remark, Cliffy, but I found myself not giving a toss about his odd inconsequential nothingz.

          Namastay.

        • Cliff says:

          Hi Taxi,

          Yes, Sibriak the not-a-Zionist, Zionist is now attempting to imply that I was using rule number 4 of ‘how to make a case for israel and win’ via JSF.

        • Mooser says:

          “We” SHOULDN’T be doing that–but indigenous cultures are being attacked and destroyed in many parts of the world right now.”

          So that gives Israel the right to do it? That gives Israel the right to make it their preferred solution? Tell me I’m getting the implications of your statement wrong, please.

        • Sibiriak says:

          Mooser:

          So that gives Israel the right to do it?

          No.

          Tell me I’m getting the implications of your statement wrong, please.

          You are getting the implications wrong. Perhaps you have been reading to many Zionist apologetics.

      • Mooser says:

        “All nations exist on the ruins of a former. “

        So, you see, Jews have not only the right to commit their own thefts and atrocities, why, they have the obligation! I mean, why shouldn’t we engage fully in the human experience.
        And BTW Gentiles, I might add, in case you’re to dull to take the hint: it’s your obligation to let us.

        And when we get our birth-rate and retention rate up to, oh, something not too negative, watch out, world!

        • Mooser says:

          And I might add, you guys better be nice to tokyobk. You don’t want to provoke an empire-builder. They are rough men, and help not-so-rough men sleep better.

      • “the question is what to do now”
        —————–
        The answer to this question is:
        Kick the Israeli Jews back to where they (their parents or grandparents) came from. Most of them are still holding – or are entitled to – the citizenship of their countries of origin, their homelands. – Actually, you don’t have to kick them back out, they are already leaving on their own volition.

        The threat of Iran’s nuclear arsenal to Israel is not its physical destruction
        but emigration of Israeli Jews. – That’s what the Israeli government is most worried about.

        A reversal of Zionism – a new diasporism of Israeli Jews – is the answer.
        - Does Shlomo Sand address this question?

        • Newclench says:

          1. It is false that more than 50% of Israeli Jews hold dual citizenship. 60% of Israeli Jews come from Muslim countries that did not provide this option.
          2. Forcibly expelling native born Israeli Jews from Israel to another country…. sheesh. You’d think we’ve learned better than to engage in that behavior, no? For all the comparisons to South Africa, so few realize the centrality of the ANC ideology as expressed in the Freedom Charter.
          3. The percentage of Israeli citizens residing outside of Israel is comparable with countries like Mexico and Morocco. High compared to most OECD countries, but not by any order of magnitude, and well explained by the facts that Israelis have recent immigration experience, and often were immigrants themselves to Israel before leaving again.

          link to fmep.org

        • Newclench -

          Roger Cohen wrote (NYT, Aug. 2, 2009):
          - “Israeli officials have argued that they don’t believe Iran would ever be crazy enough to nuke them but do believe the change in the balance of power with a nuclear or near-nuclear Iran could be so decisive that JEWS WOULD BEGIN TO LEAVE ISRAEL”
          ————-
          Shlomo Sand and Phil and others keep talking about the two state vs one state alternative but don’t address what the Iran threat is all about:
          A new diasporism of Israeli Jews – that’s the third option not mentioned.

        • Newclench says:

          It sounds like you actually believe that the Israeli government is motivated by concern for the welfare of it’s citizenry, and this explains the saber rattling against Iran.
          I think Israeli ruling circles are ‘afraid’ about the loss of hegemonic power that enables them to dictate terms to others in the Middle East. Certain sectors of Israeli society have been leaving in greater and greater numbers for years, but it is not, and will never be a kind of ‘depopulation’ that changes the balance of power or results in some kind of new alignment in Israeli society.

          This is a case where the fake, overblown fears of some Israelis are matched wholeheartedly with the unrealistic hopes of Israel’s detractors.

      • MHughes976 says:

        The rights of individuals imply that people should not be killed or disfranchised or humiliated on grounds of nationality: in that sense all nations do have a right to exist. This right does not permit, but forbids, any claim by a national group that forces the members of another group to leave the country or accept degraded status. When any such claim has been violently enforced the resulting polity has no right to exist ‘on the ruins’ in Taxi’s appropriate words . It must be a basic principle that rights cannot be acquired by force: how could any morality without that principle exist? To some extent rights can be acquired by an agreement that ends a conflict. So what we need is an agreement that ends both the conflict and the unsustainable (never in all history sustainable) system of river-to-sea minority rule and does so on the basis of ending all discrimination on the basis of nationality. What we need and what we get might be different things.

      • Citizen says:

        @ tokyobk
        All nations exist on the ruins of a former ” but, after two world wars came the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials and their international law progeny. Unless you view those trials as Might-Makes-Right via kangaroo courts (as Goering did), war crimes, particularly crimes of aggression, and crimes against humanity exist today. It is under those legal principles that countries today are to be judged, including Israel. As far as “preemptive war” and “preventive war” are concerned, both the Nazi German and Imperial Japanese defendants made those arguments and lost.

        Your comment takes us all the way back to the cave men. And I don’t see any group of people arguing that since all humans originated in Africa we all have a right to move back there, and this, regardless of the impact on the natives who never left.

        You really want WW3? Are you an adherent of the Samson Option?

  25. yrn says:

    Taxi
    “Remember folks, the occupation is quintessentially about land theft, not religion or myths……..”
    Your way of thinking is a myth…… its about time you wake up, Israel is an existing fact and will always be there, so instead of pushing your ongoing dream you have been pushed into for the last 60 years, accept reality and deal with it.

    • talknic says:

      //Taxi “Remember folks, the occupation is quintessentially about land theft, not religion or myths……..” //

      The British occupation of Palestine as the administrative powrer under the LoN Mandate FOR Palestine was benevolent. Egypt’s military occupation of Gaza was benevolent. Jordan was asked to annex the West Bank by a delegation of Palestinians, thereby relieving them from living under military occupation.

    • talknic says:

      yrn “Your way of thinking is a myth……”

      Actually it’s not. Most occupations have been land grabs, especially where Israel is concerned.

      ” Israel is an existing fact and will always be there…”

      Fine. Israel, the independent state, belongs in Israel not in Palestine a non-self-governing territory. Accept reality and deal with it. Get out of Palestine.

      • yrn says:

        Talknic

        Just for you to understand TAXI definition of Occupation.
        For Taxi the occupation starts in 1947.
        Not 1967 ………
        For Taxi Israel the independent state, dose not have the right to exist.

        • states don’t have existence rights yrn

        • yrn says:

          So NO state in the world has “existence rights ” in your way of thinking…………….

        • talknic says:

          The State of Israel didn’t exist before 00:01 15th May 1948

          According to the Provisional Government of the State of Israel, occupation began 22nd May 1948 link to wp.me

          Remember Israel has never legally annexed any territory it has acquired by war.

        • Mooser says:

          “Remember Israel has never legally annexed any territory it has acquired by war.”

          That means a person can be a not-a-Zionist, no matter how harshly they criticise Zionism or Israel, by simply referring to Israel’s “borders”, instead of “the lines of….” (fill in date.)

          Being a not-a-Zionist is that simple, that easy, and that much fun! You’ll see lots of people doing it. And think about it, it’s the only stance which has a way of making everybody (who counts) happy!

        • Cliff says:

          No State has any rights whatsoever.

          People have rights though.

          States change their institutions and laws all the time. They have no inherent legitimacy.

          People have natural rights (unless you’re a religious fanatic that think Jews have an exclusive right to violence, self-defense, etc. and Palestinian Arabs or Iranians or whomever must sit idly by and be violated by said Jews).

    • Taxi says:

      yrn,

      You’re living in a stolen house on a stolen street in a stolen town in a stolen country AND on borrowed time.

      But I’ll indulge you here and encourage your delusions: I sincerely urge you NOT to jump the sinking ship.

      • john h says:

        So apt, but who’s going to foreclose, and how?

      • Taxi_ Yrn probably lives in a home built after 1948. maybe you meant, a house built on stolen land. or then again maybe the labor and parts were “stolen” and thus maybe his food is stolen as well by your accounts.

        • Taxi says:

          Yes yonah fredman, israel is a giant den of thieves.

        • Cliff says:

          Wondering Jew

          Yrn responding with a non-sequitur that demonstrates his insecurities.

          The statement he was responding to was about the nature of Israel’s occupation.

          That is to say – Israel is a colonial and imperial power that has dispossessed an stole from the indigenous Palestinian Arabs. Israel is colonizing Palestinian ancestral land and bringing in Jews to settle the land simply because they are Jews.

          There was no Jewish majority in Historic Palestine. It was artificially created through war crimes by Jewish terrorism.

          The Israeli’s original sin – a nod to your inane statement about how ‘all countries’ went through similar colonial transformations – is not history.

          It is ongoing, it is real-time. Jewish ‘self-determination’ does not exist in a vacuum and it is not benign and it is not innocent.

          You are a liar. So is hophmi. So is tokyobk. And so is anyone else who in responding to these statements instead chooses the non-sequitur :

          ‘Israel will be here forever so get used to it.’

          To racists and fascists like you or hoppy or Gulag-g or dimadok or Obsidian or yrn or tokyobk or marionL or any other Zionist on MW and the new class of not-a-Zionist Zionists like Sibriak – the main form of argumentation is diversion.

          You have no morals. You only have your ethno-religious community. Since you have community, you don’t need to change. You can only change by undergoing trauma or forming relationships that are meaningful with people who are nothing like your fellow cult members.

          Since you have no incentive or desire to do so, you will get old and die a Zionist Jew who sees the outside world as flat and antisemitic.

          Your continual inane verbiage here is worthless – as are you.

        • Cliff- And Mooser thinks I speak condescendingly when I call this place a basement. But basements can be hospitable. You must enjoy yelling at people. Do you get enough of a chance to do that in other contexts/forums other than here? People who get their jollies yelling at Zionists. Nonjewish people who get their jollies yelling at Zionists. Jewish people who never talk to other Jewish people other than in the context of yelling at Zionists. Let’s hold hands and sing Kumbaya, that will cure us all. After you stop yelling.

        • Cliff- 21 hours and my comment is still awaiting moderation.

          I think that your attitude is one of the results of BDS. BDS is a valid form of activism, a policy that does not give in to passivity which is one of my personal flaws. But BDS taken to extremes results in: I don’t need to talk to Zionists, I don’t want to listen to Zionists, they are on the other side of a chasm of morality and even talking to them gives them too much credit. In essence you wish to firebomb Tel Aviv like the allies firebombed Dresden and Zionists are comparable to Nazis. No sane person listens to Nazis, no need to talk to Zionists. Then you get- “your verbiage is worthless and so are you.”

          Oh my.

        • Cliff- but your opposition has prompted me to restate my priorities on Zionism and this is what I came up with.

          I have no kids.
          I have 23 nieces and nephews.
          22 of them live in Israel.
          Are they a high priority when I think about the matzav (situation)?
          You bet.

          I drove a cab for a while and almost 30 years ago I had a Palestinian partner on the cab, Ibrahim. (Partner in this context means: we both leased the same cab from an owner. Ibrahim was the night man. I was the day man.) Since that time I have not been blind to the suffering of Palestinians. Maybe silence is worse than blindness?

          But my personality is almost hermit-like. I am tangential to society. My relationship to issues is usually passive rather than head on. There are moments of passion. At times my anger is aroused because of Jewish identity and “pride”. At times my anger is aroused at Jewish stupidity and Jewish hard heartedness. But in any case, I cannot live on anger. I am tangential to society and you of the BDS camp wish me to destroy my point of contact with society. My best friend, my doctor, won’t tell me what it is that I’ve got (Dylan), but he will tell me this- Don’t destroy the point of contact.

          There are other ways to live besides “in your face” political purity.

          Shlomo Sand is not a purist. He is a realist. Realistically a showdown between the yehudim (Jews) who live “there” and the indigenous will lead to many deaths. If a modus vivendi rather than a mortal showdown can be found, that would be preferable. That’s how he sees it and that’s how I see it.

          The Zionist enterprise sensed the danger to the Jewish body and set its sights on a land WITH a people. They used British bayonets to accomplish this. If American immigration had not shut its doors (in the 20′s and 30′s) to allow barely a trickle rather than the flood of Jewish refugees that wanted to come to the US, the Zionist enterprise would have failed. It was circumstance that saved the Jews in Palestine from Rommel and it was circumstance that forced a critical mass of Jews to settle in Palestine in the 20′s and 30′s when they were seeking to escape Europe. Included among those Jews were great aunts and uncles of mine who would have most probably died in Europe if not for Zionism and British bayonets. “If Europe had not burnt”- the facts are too basic to my history to take that flight of fantasy in this context. But if the US had not closed its doors- this is easier to imagine. If the US had opened its doors to my aunts and uncles and they would have survived the war in the US that would have been fine with me. (No matter how much Jerusalem tickles my God chip.)

          But political machinations set them on soil that at the time was called Palestine.

          Ben Gurion and his heirs built that state. Ben Gurion refused to have Arabic on his i.d. (t.z.) card. They had to make a special one for him without Arabic.
          Despite his prescient comments in the aftermath of the ’67 war when he was already retired, his consciousness throughout his days of power was not one of coexistence.

          What will end the occupation of the west bank? What will change the mindset of Israelis so that they will turn Israel into what Shlomo Sands imagines for Israel? I don’t know.

          But I don’t have the luxury to treat Israel as “the other”. They are a part of me. They are not the whole of me, but they are a part of me.

          I should add, I am slow, but I am still in motion.

          Nationality is fluid. It is a matter of mind and associations- myths, flags, hopes and dreams. The movement to expel the Palestinians is not my hope and the constant war and arrogant leadership is not my dream fulfilled.

          But I worry about my nieces and nephews (and even the offspring of my aunts and uncles who would have never come to life if not for Zionism and British bayonets).

          I am nowhere near to purity. But my best friend the rabbi, says it’s okay for me to be impure if all I’m asking for is your ear.

        • Mooser says:

          “After you stop yelling.”

          Make him, tough guy! Go ahead. What’s stopping you?

          Cliff has been commenting here a long time, and seems to find a way to say what he has to say without offending anybody but you, Yonah.

          Do you think we have a right, an entitlement to not be yelled at? Yes sir, there’s that timidity and lack of self-assertiveness which is the result of generations of persecution. Oh, that our manly courage should have been depleted like this!

        • Mooser says:

          Sorry, Yonah, I read the shorter comment, replied, and then read your longer comment time- stamped 4:25.
          Better start saving Yonah, you are gonna get the bill for that truss.

        • Mooser says:

          “I am tangential to society and you of the BDS camp wish me to destroy my point of contact with society. My best friend, my doctor, won’t tell me what it is that I’ve got (Dylan), but he will tell me this- Don’t destroy the point of contact.”

          If you are so, so obviously suffering from depression, don’t blame Judaism, and go to the Mayo Clinic website. They can do a tremendous amount for it these days.
          Of course, if you want to blame Zionism or Israel, well, I must admit I’ve have fewer objections.

          But at any rate, thanks for telling us how “tangential” you are to society, so we can know how to value your observations. I’m always a bit short on compassion myself, but I’ll try to give them the kind of sympathy they deserve. And keep in mind where they come from. So sad, so much depression among us.

        • Mooser says:

          “But my best friend the rabbi, says”…

          “My best friend, my doctor, won’t tell me…”

          Now you know why they pay Doctors more than Rabbis!

        • sardelapasti says:

          “If a modus vivendi rather than a mortal showdown can be found, that would be preferable. That’s how he sees it…”

          He has no such option to give away what is not his. The right to compromise for the sake of peace is on the side of the aggressed party, not of anyone of the aggressor Meisterrasse population. And they already are doing a lot of compromising.

        • Mooser says:

          “After you stop yelling.’

          Yonah, there’s probably a volume control on your text-to-speech program. Find it, turn it down, and things won’t be so loud. If that doesn’t work, try lieing down in a darkened room with a hot, moist towel against your forehead. And have a nice glass tea, it couldn’t hurt.

        • Mooser says:

          “Cliff- but your opposition has prompted me to restate my priorities on Zionism “

          “restate my priorities on Zionism?” Did you hire a guy named Mr. Mustela to write that? Means zilch.

        • sardelapasti- My understanding of Sand is as follows: that the Israeli society will defend itself against those that wish to overthrow it and replace it is acceptable to him as a historical phenomenon of valid “nationalism” if the society that they propose is sufficiently respectful of those that currently live in the nation-state called Israel. As long as Israel is not a state of its citizens but rather a state of the Jews, then he considers it essentially “wrong” and therefore those that would defend its right to exist are defending something wrong. But if Israel could turn itself into a state of all its citizens, then essentially it is right, in that those who then defend it are defending something natural. Its right to exist is more a question for those who defend it as it is against those who wish to replace it. Viewing this as the ultimate need of Israeli self definition, he views those who would defend that future Israel as within their right minds regarding self defense and then the bloodbath that the attempt to overthrow them would result in is a result of Israel’s right of self defense, rather than the defense of something indefensible. (Maybe I am reading too much into his view.)

    • Mooser says:

      “Israel is an existing fact and will always be there”

      Ha, ha, ha! I’ve seen through your pseudonym, “yrn”! Your last name is either “Hapsburg” or “Bourbon” right?

      Of course, you could be the “new Soviet man” or a member of the “thousand year Reich” (surprisingly modest those Germans were, huh, compared to “always”)

    • Shingo says:

      Israel is an existing fact and will always be there…

      It seems you are the one suffering from wishful thinking.

    • Israel is an existing fact and will always be there,

      because god said so? you can read the tea leaves no doubt.

    • eljay says:

      >> … Israel is an existing fact …

      Yes, it is. The other existing fact is that Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state.

      >> … and will always be there …

      Always is an awfully long time.

    • Sibiriak says:

      yrn says:

      Israel is an existing fact and will always be there

      Well, I don’t know about “aways”–nothing lasts forever– but I agree with Sands on this point. I don’t see any realistic short term program to either militarily destroy or politically dismantle the State of Israel.

      Militarily, Israel has overwhelming superiority, is nuclear-armed, and is backed by the U.S. & co.

      Politically, the possibilities for non-violent pressure are also limited by Israel’s “Western” backing. The U.S. & co. will for the foreseeable future undermine and impede any measures (BDS) aimed (explicitly or implicitly) at the political dismantling of the Israeli state (aka a 1SS).

      Enormous external (and internal) pressure, however , can and will be increasingly put on Israel to *force* acquiescence to the creation of a separate Palestinian state (on 1967 boundaries w/ land swaps etc.). If this ever comes about, it will be a very unjust settlement.

      Israel will never officially annex territories with large numbers of Palestinians. They will avoid being put in a position where they must openly deny all basic civil rights –eg. voting rights etc.– to legal residents of the Israeli state.

      With Palestine having gained UN statehood recognition, the focus will be on making that de jure state a de facto reality. It will be harder now to argue that there is a single state in Israel/Palestine and to frame a struggle in terms of legal rights within that single state.

      • Mooser says:

        Well, Sib, when I buy a Ford car, I expect about the same life, and pretty much sometimes the same weaknesses (cooling system, mostly), as my last Ford car.
        And I expect Israel will last about as long as most projects of its kind do, and with about as much lasting success.

        Would you like to point us at similar projects which will prove me wrong? I mean, we can’t see into the future, so we must, perforce, look at the past, mankind’s actions, for a clue to outcomes.

        And if that isn’t the right place to put a “perforce” I apologise. I’m trying it out for the first time.

    • Citizen says:

      @ yrn
      You’re confused. It’s a fact the land exists, and will always be there as far as any one can see. As to who lives on it and in what form of government? Nothing forever factual about that. Or don’t you read world history, or even the history of Palestine?

  26. Stogumber says:

    I think that Mr. Sand’s ranting against “ethnocracy” is basically flawed. Ethnic communities will survive as a mode of human association, for a long time. Marxists should get used to that idea in the same way Sand has got used to religion.

    And ethnic communities will normally try to govern themselves. If(!) government is only possible on an own territory, it will be more wise to grant different ethnies different “autonomous territories” in the way the Soviet Union did it (leaving room for non-ethnic public space, too). To rule out “ethnocracies” confronting them with “democracies” is somewhat unfair and definitely unwise.

    • Mooser says:

      ” it will be more wise to grant different ethnies different “autonomous territories” in the way the Soviet Union did it (leaving room for non-ethnic public space, too).”

      ROTFLMSJAO!!! Yup, the “autonomous regions” of the Soviet Union! That worked out well, or maybe you’re funnier than I give you credit for.

      • Citizen says:

        @ Mooser
        Maybe he never saw West Side Story? OTOH, aren’t American “gated communities” substantially “autonomous regions”? Gotta slice and dice Marx versus ethnic power? In USA today ethnic/racial covenants running with the land are officially verboten.

    • Mooser says:

      “And ethnic communities will normally try to govern themselves.”

      Look, I don’t mean to be fussy, but when you say “govern themselves” do you mean pick the days for holidays and festivals, and get a permit for a parade, or have the authority to stone adulterers to death, and ignore the age of consent laws and age of majority laws?

    • Shingo says:

      Sorry, but ethnic communities that survive by denying self determination of others never last very long.

    • Sibiriak says:

      Stogumber:

      I think that Mr. Sand’s ranting against “ethnocracy” is basically flawed. Ethnic communities will survive as a mode of human association.

      Sand wasn’t “ranting”; more importantly, an “ethnocracy” is not the same thing as an “ethnic community”.

      • Mooser says:

        “I think that Mr. Sand’s ranting against “ethnocracy” is basically flawed. Ethnic communities will survive as a mode of human association.”

        Gee, I hate to be fussy, but by “association” do you mean getting together every Saturday morning for prayers and a nosh, or forming an armed terrorist cell to prey on other “associations”?

  27. talknic says:

    The use of ‘other words’, is not very exacting and one of the major problems in understanding the I/P issue

    Philip Weiss“He also favors a two-state solution along the ’67 lines

    Shlomo Sand “I am for two state solution on the borders of ’67″

    Obama ” ’67 lines

    Bibi ” ’67 borders

    Abbas” 4 June 1967 borders link to haaretz.com Definition of 1967 line: The 1967 line is defined as the 1949 Armistice Line along with all mutually agreed and legal changes to the Armistice Agreement made by June 4th 1967. “ link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

    Territories “outside the State of Israel” under Israeli military control under the Armistice Agreement(s) Demarcation Lines of 1949 have never been legally annexed to Israel. The ‘borders’ Israel was recognized by have never been legally changed.

    • Mooser says:

      Thanks very much for this comment, talknic. It is, I think, a crucial point. So many think they are severely sanctioning the Zionist regime by wishing it relegated back to the ’67 “borders”, when in reality they are granting it much more than it was ever supposed to have, even under the tenuous colonial legality which allowed it in the first place..

      • Citizen says:

        I think there is a good argument Israel’s borders should be at the original UN-recomended partition line. Why should Israel have a different border? What overides that partition line?

  28. ebertus says:

    Thanks for this, philosophical spoken, widespread interview. Sand seems close to Peter Beinart in his hopefull pointing out the future of an two-staate solution. Other secular liberals, critical intellectuals are not so optimistic.

  29. chinese box says:

    Is “post zionism” the same as liberal zionism?

  30. marc b. says:

    [Sand describes an Israeli who is working on the genetic question of Ashkenazi Jewishness--yesterday, his article was accepted by an important journal. Sand was willing to put me in touch with him, to give a kind of answer, from a geneticist. I said I wasn’t interested in that angle. He said Fine.]

    that’s just too funny for words. weiss isn’t interested in the israeli promotion of a biological basis for jewish supremacy in israel/palestine? well of course not, he’s interested in searching for the truth, just not that truth. that truth would expose exactly what zionism has evolved into, inevitably (i say) or otherwise. this ‘science’ is part of the ethnicity as ‘immutable biological characteristic’ meme as described by sand elsewhere.

    • Citizen says:

      @ marc b

      Dunno, but here’s an Israeli article on an American Jew’s DNA finding on Jews as a race from Spring of 2012: link to haaretz.com

      • Sibiriak says:

        Citizen,

        Regarding Jewish genetics, see also:

        link to arxiv.org

        Also keep in mind the that much of the genetic research on Jews and the media reporting on it has been ideologically driven. The data is often inconclusive and/or contradictory and yet people jump to the conclusion that a Jewish “race” or “ethnic group” has been scientifically proven to exist.

        Examples:

        Shlomo Sand, “The Invention of the Jewish People”

        In November 2000 the Israeli daily Haaretz published an illuminating report about the research of Professor Ariela Oppenheim and her colleagues at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The actual findings were published that month in Human Genetics, a scientific periodical published by Springer Verlag in Germany.39 The reason for the media interest was the discovery made by the team of a remarkable closeness between certain mutations in the Y-chromosome of Jews, both “Ashkenazi” and “Sephardic,” and those of the “Israeli Arabs” and the Palestinians. The conclusion reached was that two-thirds of the Palestinians and roughly the same proportion of Jews shared three male ancestors eight thousand years ago.

        In actual fact, the expanded scientific paper showed a somewhat more complex, and much more confusing, picture: those mutations in the Y-chromosome also indicated that the “Jews” resembled the “Lebanese Arabs” more than the Czechs, but the “Ashkenazis,” as opposed to the “Sephardics,” were relatively closer to the “Welsh” than to the “Arabs.”

        [...]The rigor of those investigating Jewish DNA in Israel was demonstrated by the sequel to the team’s biological adventure. A little over a year after the first important discovery, the inside pages of Haaretz carried a sensational new scoop. It transpired that the genetic resemblance between the Jews and the Palestinians, discovered by the previous research, did not exist.

        The scientists admitted that their earlier experiment had not been sufficiently grounded and detailed, and that its conclusions had been hasty. In fact, the Jews—or, at any rate, the male ones—were related not to the neighboring Palestinians but rather to the distant Kurds.

        The new paper, published first by the American Society of Human Genetics, showed that the sly Y-chromosome had fooled its inexperienced investigators.40 But never fear, the updated genetic picture still indicated that the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews were related, only now they did not resemble the local Arabs, but rather the Armenians, Turks, and chiefly, as noted, the Kurds.

        [...] The scientific correspondent of Haaretz, who was positive that the Jews were the descendants of the ancient Hebrews, at once approached historians of antiquity to explain this disturbing discovery of a strange origin. Several respected professors were unable to help—they had no information about anancient migration from the northern Fertile Crescent to the area of Canaan (the patriarch Abraham famously “made aliyah” from southern Iraq).

        Was it possible that the finding corroborated the thesis that the Jews descended from the Khazars, rather than from the seed of the venerable Abraham? Speaking by telephone from Stanford University in the United States, the respected scientist Professor Marc Feldman assured the correspondent that there was no need to reach such an extreme conclusion—the particular mutation in the Y chromosome of the Kurds, Armenians and Jews was also found in other peoples in the region of the Fertile Crescent, not necessarily in the Khazars, people forgotten by God and history.

        Barely a year later, Haaretz came up with a new report. It was now quite certain that the Jewish males originated in the Near East, but with respect to Jewish women the investigation had run into an awkward difficulty.41 A new scientific study that investigated the mitochondrial DNA (which is inherited only from the mother) in nine Jewish communities discovered that the origin of the supposedly kosher Jewish women did not lie in the Near East at all. This worrisome finding showed that “each community had a small number of founding mothers,” but they were not interconnected at all.

        The uncomfortable explanation was that Jewish men had come from the Near East unattached and were forced to take local wives, whom they undoubtedly converted to Judaism in the proper manner.

        This last dubious revelation worried those rooting for the Jewish gene, and a doctoral dissertation apparently began to be written at the Haifa Technion, concluding that in spite of the ancient mothers’ scandalous disrespect for Jewish uniqueness, some 40 percent of all the Ashkenazis in the world descend from four matriarchs (as in the Bible). Haaretz, as always, reported the discovery faithfully and extensively. Maariv, a more popular daily, added that those ancient grandmothers “were born about 1,500 years ago in Eretz Israel, from whence their families migrated to Italy, later to the Rhine and the Champagne regions.”42

        A summary of this reassuring dissertation by Doron Behar about “Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA” was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.43 Its supervisor was Karl Skorecki, a veteran researcher in Jewish genetics. This Orthodox professor, who came to the Technion’s medical school from the University of Toronto, had earlier attracted attention when he discovered the amazing “seal of priesthood.”

        Skorecki himself is of course also a cohen, and an incident at his synagogue in Canada in the 1990s prompted him to investigate his “aristocratic” origin. Fortunately, he was invited by Rabbi Yaacov Kleiman, who as well as being a cohen himself, was also the director of the Center of Cohanim in Jerusalem, to investigate the origin of all those named Cohen in our time.44 The Center of Cohanim is an institution that is preparing for the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. For this purpose, it trains the future priests who would serve in the temple when the Al-Aqsa mosque is demolished and the Jewish temple rises in its place.

        The center must have been well endowed financially to be able to fund the wished-for research. This story might seem esoteric and fantastic, but given the “ethnic” realities of the late twentieth century, it grew into a “solid” science that attracted unusual attention and created a large following in Israel and the Jewish world.

        The cohanim—the ancient blood-aristocracy descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses—became unexpectedly popular in the age of molecular genetics. Sections of the genome called haplotypes (defined as a group of alleles of different genes on a single chromosome that are linked closely enough to be inherited, usually as a unit) were supposedly found to be distinctive among more than 50 percent of the men surnamed Cohen.

        Scientists from Britain, Italy and Israel participated in Skorecki’s investigation, and its findings were published in the prestigious British journal Nature.45 It proved beyond question that the Jewish priesthood was indeed founded by a common ancestor thirty-three centuries ago. The Israeli press hastened to publish the discovery, to great genetic joy.

        The amusing aspect of this story is that the “priestly gene” could just as easily be a “non-Jewish gene.” Judaism is inherited from the mother, so it would not be far-fetched to assume that since the nineteenth century a good many non-believing cohanim have married “gentile” women, although the Halakhah forbids them to do so. These men may well have fathered “non-Jewish” offspring, who, according to Skorecki’s research, would bear the “genetic seal” of the cohanim. But Jewish scientists are not expected to consider minor details, especially as God is no longer involved—in this era of enlightened rationalism, pure Jewish science has replaced the ancient Jewish faith, with its burden of prejudices.

        While the media celebrated the discovery and overlooked the potential contradiction in the thesis of the Jewish priestly gene, nobody asked why a costly biological investigation was devoted to the search for a hereditary religious caste.

        Similarly, no newspaper bothered to publish the findings of Professor Uzi Ritte, of the Department of Genetics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who had examined those same priestly haplotypes on the Y-chromosome and found nothing distinctive about them.

        Karl Skorecki is an associate of Harry Ostrer–the geneticist mentioned in your link.

        See:

        link to theatlantic.com

      • Abdul-Rahman says:

        Professor Sand himself discusses the questionable nature of such claims and the political nature of the whole issue, and Sand even cites on the footnotes of his “The Invention of the Jewish People” page 279 the work of respected anthropologist Katya Gibel Azoulay, Ph.D. “Not An Innocent Pursuit” link to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

        And as user Sibiriak responded already, Professor Sand was actually speaking of this study/research paper, just recently accepted by a leading journal, by geneticist Dr. Eran Elhaik, Ph.D. of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine “McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine”.

        The paper in question is entitled “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses” by Dr. Eran Elhaik accepted by Oxford Journal’s leading “Genome Biology and Evolution” peer-reviewed journal
        link to gbe.oxfordjournals.org
        Genome Biol Evol (2012) doi: 10.1093/gbe/evs119 First published online: December 14, 2012

        Also I see haaretz was using a very dubious phrase like “race” to start, “races” are unscientific social constructs link to pnas.org

        “There is wide agreement among anthropologists and human geneticists that, from a biological standpoint, human races do not exist (2, 3). Yet, races do exist as social constructs that are mutable over time and across social contexts and are sustained by a racial ideology (4).”

        As for Jewish people, I think biological scientist Professor Robert Pollack of Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Science and Religion summed it up pretty well back in 2005 by stating something that still holds true today as well of course: “There are no DNA sequences common to all Jews and absent from all non-Jews; there is nothing in the human genome that makes or diagnoses a person as a Jew.”

        As for other genetic studies on Jewish people, they have shown that Jews (like all other people) are highly mixed and very diverse. Just some studies and links of value.

        link to biology-direct.com “The origin of Eastern European Jews revealed by autosomal, sex chromosomal and mtDNA polymorphisms” by geneticist Dr. Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin, Ph.D.

        link to informahealthcare.com “Protein electrophoretic markers in Israel” by Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin et al.

        link to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
        “Thrombophilic polymorphisms in Israel.” by Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin et al. again

        link to pnas.org study called Bray et al. 2010 “Signatures of founder effects, admixture, and selection in the Ashkenazi Jewish population” that states Ashkenazi Jews are closer to three European populations (“Tuscans, Italians, and French”) than to any Middle Easterners. And this study, Bray et al. 2010, also estimates the amount of “European admixture” in the Ashkenazi Jewish population to be between 35% and 55%. A paper on Bray et al. 2010 as well link to dienekes.blogspot.com

        link to dienekes.blogspot.com

        And another interesting read link to jogg.info by Ellen Levy-Coffman

        The website GenomeWeb News stated in an article dated June 3, 2010, while also seeking to minimize any mention of Khazar ancestry in Ashkenazi Jews: “Instead, Ashkenazi Jews seem to be more genetically similar to non-Jewish populations in Northern Italy, France, and Sardinia. Meanwhile, Jewish populations in Iran and Iraq tended to cluster closer to non-Jewish Palestinian, Druze, and Bedouin populations than to Europeans.”

        The bulk of the evidence seems to indicate Ashkenazi Jews appear to be closest to certain European populations (specifically Italians and French) and geneticist Dr. Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin states he believes most Ashkenazis appear to be descendants of Roman “gentile” converts to the religion of Judaism (with Zoossmann-Diskin citing the same historical research papers and theses like, Uriel Rapaport “Jewish Religious Propaganda and Proselytism in the Period of the Second Commonwealth” and Nurit Meroz “Proselytism in the Roman Empire in the First Centuries AD”, that Professor Sand himself cites in “The Invention of the Jewish People”).

        And again of course Dr. Eran Elhaik’s new study has supported the Khazar hypothesis as well.

        link to gbe.oxfordjournals.org

        Full paper link to gbe.oxfordjournals.org

        link to eelhaik.aravindachakravartilab.org Dr. Eran Elhaik’s personal academic website

        • Sibiriak says:

          Abdul-Rahman,

          Thanks for the links.

          Have you looked at “The Origin of Ashkenazi Jewry: The Controversy Unraveled” (2011) by Jits Van Straten ?

          link to books.google.ru

        • Abdul-Rahman says:

          Sibiriak,

          Thank you for your kind reply. I have indeed red through large parts of Jits Van Straten’s recent book “The Origin of Ashkenazi Jewry: The Controversy Unraveled” and I’d say it is a very well done and interesting read.

          Van Straten goes through all the different research and varying conclusions, and I’d recommend simply entering the name of “Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin” (for example) in the search bar of the Google Books link you provided to see the debate between geneticist Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin link to linkedin.com again and some of the other involved researchers.

          Dr. Eran Elhaik’s research isn’t mentioned in Van Straten’s book (from 2011) as Elhaik’s research is too recent (first published as a preprint in August of this year and now published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal “Genome Biology and Evolution” this month: December 14 online to be exact)

          First: link to arxiv.org

          And now: link to gbe.oxfordjournals.org

        • Abdul-Rahman says:

          Sibiriak,

          Thank you for your kind reply. I have indeed actually red through Jits Van Straten’s work that you mentioned and linked to. Van Straten does a good job I believe, and I would recommend simply searching Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin’s name in the search bar of the Google Books link you provided and one can see Van Straten discussing the issues at hand from the relevant sources.

          I hope Van Straten includes a new edition or new book that can discuss Dr. Eran Elhaik’s exciting new paper, that was obviously published too recently to be included in Van Straten’s 2011 book. As Dr. Eran Elhaik’s study “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses” was only published first as a preprint in August of this year (2012) link to arxiv.org and then now only this month (December 2012) in the leading PEER-REVIEWED scientific journal “Genome Biology and Evolution” link to gbe.oxfordjournals.org

          Abstract of Dr. Elhaik’s paper: link to gbe.oxfordjournals.org

          And again the full paper of the study of Dr. Elhaik: link to gbe.oxfordjournals.org

        • Sibiriak says:

          Abdul-Rahman,

          Thanks for the further tips on how to explore this issue. I was only able to read the portions of Van Straten’s book available via Google, but I would like to get a copy someday. Perhaps Van Straten will write something on Elhaik’s reasearch, which is quite informative, even if it isn’t the last word on the issue.

          I’ve been spending some time reading various anthropology/genetics blog discussions on the various theories. It gets a bit mind-boggling after a while!

  31. After all the irrelevant stuff about Jewish religious history, Sand and Weiss finally get to the point:

    “[The correct policy is] symbolically to accept a number of Palestinians that will not be a menace to Israeli culture of today. Israel has to symbolically show that as a nonracist state it must accept the right of refugees, but you can’t give the 5 million that right. I’m sorry, I cannot make everything possible.”

    Yikes, Palestinians are a “menace”.

    This view is very similar to Norman Finklestein’s and is a bright-line distinction that will inevitably push both of them into the Likud camp.

    Both Sand and Finkelstein essentially love the Jewish state and their criticisms are passionate because they believe its current policies endanger that state.

    First and foremost, they realize there is no Israel without a Jewish majority. An apartheid regime is unsustainable. That is why their main enemy is not Netanyahu; it is Ali Abunimah. The problem is not Zionism, it is the threat of a bi-national state in which a non-Jewish majority will eventually emerge and exert political rights attendant to majority status. (Sand’s anxiety is similar to David Dukes’ as we whites here in the U.S. face a similar demographic destiny.)

    So the Zionist project then becomes one of somehow channeling Palestinian demands for self-determination into a political shell that has the appearance of granting self-determination and human rights while maintaining Israeli hegemony. My argument would be that after June 4, 1967, that project was doomed. (Read this little gem to find out why Israel’s policy has not changed since ’67: link to haaretz.com

    Why is it doomed? Self-determination requires a contiguous territory and an independent economy. Niether is possible.

    1. Israel now has commenced a de facto annexation of Areas B and C, as they call the 60% of the West Bank they administer. There is scant reason to believe there will be any change in the Israeli policy because there is no internal opposition to it, and there will be no effective external opposition either.

    2. The Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza will always be reliant on access to the Israeli labor market. Once international subsidies go away (currently 30% of West Bank and 60-70% of Gaza GDP and over 60% of their government budjets), there is no independent “Palestinian economy” and unless they discover oil under Ramallah, there never will be.

    So in order keep the “menace” at bay, what’s left? Bantustans (which is the Likud policy) or bantustans plus (which is Sand’s proposal).

    The right of return is somewhat of a non-issue right now. Even without whatever number of returning refugees there might be, the demographic “menace” has already reached the tipping point. All Sand’s comments do is confirm the essence of the Zionist project: maintain a Jewish monopoly on power without a Jewish majority.

    Israel’s greatest ally right now is Abu Mazen, and, increasingly, Khaled Meshal. They both share the delusion that there can be a viable Palestinian state. Meshal believes it will be a launching pad for redeeming all of Palestine but that too is a delusion.

    That being said, two events would have to occur to make a two-state solution viable:

    1. the Messiah comes down and reverses the course of Israeli policy, and
    2. the Palestinians accept a truncated self-determination similar to the deal the IRA got in Northern Ireland.

    • Sibiriak says:

      Binyamin in Orangeburg

      Both Sand and Finkelstein essentially love the Jewish state and their criticisms are passionate because they believe its current policies endanger that state.

      I’m not sure “love” isn’t an exaggeration, but yes, they both want to see the Israeli state continue to exist.

      Sands:

      ”I justify the existence of Israel not because of historical right, but because of the fact that it exist today and any effort to destroy it will bring new tragedies.

      That sounds to me like accepting a reality, not necessarily loving that reality, certainly not all aspects of it. Sands and Finkelstein are opposed to Jewish supremacism/discrimination against non-Jews, militarism, religious fundamentalism and many other aspects of Israeli reality. But, they don’t see any feasible or morally acceptable way of dismantling the Israeli state *in the short term.*

      First and foremost, they realize there is no Israel without a Jewish majority.

      Exactly.

      An apartheid regime is unsustainable.

      True, but to be really meaningful, you must also answer the question –how much longer can it be sustained? Israeli ethnic cleansing, terror, war crimes, oppression etc. have been going on for a very long time. If the argument is that the Israeli state is going to collapse in the NEAR future, then you need to explain exactly how you think is going to happen. It’s certainly not self-evident.

      So the Zionist project then becomes one of somehow channeling Palestinian demands for self-determination into a political shell that has the appearance of granting self-determination and human rights while maintaining Israeli hegemony.

      Yes.

      Self-determination requires a contiguous territory and an independent economy.

      I don’t think territorial contiguity and economic independence are such absolute concepts as you suggest.

      1) Contiguity. How do you define it? Can sections of a territory be connected by highways or tunnels and thus constitute a political whole? Is territorial contiguity defined in international law with respect to statehood and/or self-determination?

      2) Economic independence. This is even harder to see as a necessary condition for self-determination/statehood. In today’s global economy, how do you define “independence”? Mexico is dependent on U.S. markets. Is it not an independent, sovereign state? Does neoliberal globalization undermine the whole concept of sovereignty? Many nations are absolutely dependent on exports. Japan has few natural resources. ETC. A state can be economically “viable” without being economically independent. It may be that a Palestinian state could not be economically viable, but that is far from having been proven, imo. Having access to Israeli markets actually increases the *viability* of a Palestinian state, rather than reducing it.

      They both share the delusion that there can be a viable Palestinian state.

      I would counter:

      1) You haven’t put forward any reason why there cannot be a viable Palestinian state other than the fact that Israel will not allow one.

      2) If Israel will not allow a viable Palestinian state, it will surely not allow a single state.

      3) Israel needs to be *forced* into accepting a Palestinian state.

      4) It will be very difficult–but possible– to force a Palestinian state into existence over Israel resistance.

      5) It would be next to impossible to militarily defeat Israel (and allies) and next to impossible to politically dismantle Israel by imposing a one-state arrangment.

      1. the Messiah comes down and reverses the course of Israeli policy, and

      Israeli policy will only be altered via massive external pressure: BDS, international public and governmental pressure, sustained legal action in international courts, massive Palestinian resistance (possibly a new non-violent Intifada), a resurgence of an Israeli peace movement (however small).

      the Palestinians accept a truncated self-determination

      Yes. That also would be necessary. History wouldn’t end there, though.

    • Mooser says:

      “I’m sorry, I cannot make everything possible.”

      But I thought Zioniusts did the impossible every day? Why if anybody had asked me, 50 years ago, if the fourth-largest Jewish community in the world would be the criminal Jewish settlers of the occupied territory, I would have said “Impossible”.

  32. talknic says:

    3. Israel finally adheres to the Law and the UN Charter

  33. seanmcbride says:

    Regarding this contentious discussion about the ideological connections between Judaism and Zionism, we need to take a look back in the Mondoweiss archives:

    Rabbi Brian Walt quote from “Affirming a Judaism and Jewish identity without Zionism”:

    Today 60 years later there is almost no distinction made between Zionism and Judaism. Zionism has become the religion of American Jews. Even the Reform movement, the most liberal of the movements with a proud commitment to social justice and which prior to 1948 was opposed to Zionism, has made Zionism a core tenet of Judaism.

    link to mondoweiss.net

    And more from that article:

    I was recently preparing a Shabbat morning service for Tikkun v’Or the Reform congregation in Ithaca. As I reviewed the service in Mishkan Tefila, the new Reform prayerbook, I came across the prayer for light that preceeds the recitation of the Shma.

    “Shine a new light upon Zion, that we may all swiftly be privileged to bask in its radiance.

    Blessed are You, God, Creator of the Light”

    My eyes were drawn to a commentary on the bottom of the page by my colleague, Rabbi David Ellenson, the President of Hebrew Union College, the Rabbinical School of Reform rabbis.

    He writes:

    “Classical Reform prayerbook authors in the Diaspora consistently omitted this line with its mention of Zion from the liturgy because of their opposition to Jewish nationalism (Zionism). With the restoration of this passage to our new prayerbook, the Reform movement consciously affirms its devotion to the modern State of Israel and signals its recognition of the religious significance of the reborn Jewish commonwealth”

    In his brief comment, Rabbi Ellenson describes the transformation in the Reform movement’s relationship to Zionism in the mid 20th century. In the first half of the 20th century only a minority of the world’s Jews were supporters of Zionism. The Reform movement actively opposed Zionism as antithetical to the core values of Reform Judaism dedicated to a form of Judaism that would allow Jews to uphold our tradition while fully participating in American society. Since the Holocaust there has been a complete reversal. with Reform Judaism not only affirms its devotion to Israel but ascribes to the State of Israel religious significance.

    What does it mean to ascribe to a political state that is predicated on privileging a particular ethnic group, religious significance? How can American Jews who firmly advocate separation of Church and State ascribe religious significance to a Jewish State? Do we believe in a separation of religion and state in America but not in Israel?

    The idea that the State of Israel has religious significance is shared by all the movements of Judaism except for some sectors of the ultra Orthodox. The formulation that is most widely accepted is that Israel is of the flowering of our redemption. of redemption, the beginning of the messianic age “Reishit tzmichat geulateynu”

    I didn’t see this article on Mondoweiss when it first appeared — it popped up in a Google search on [judaism zionism] I performed just now. It supports every point I’ve made on this subject.

    I would like to see a discussion on this topic between Shlomo Sand and Brian Walt. Perhaps Phil could arrange it.

  34. MHughes976 says:

    The argument that tragedies would ensue if the current system of minority rule were abolished is a form of the argument that ‘we have the wolf by the ears’ put forward by Jefferson to support the continuation, only for a time of course, of slavery. I think that tragedies for Palestinians are certain if the present system continues. A wolf held by its ears suffers and its cubs die.
    Which is not to say that I desire tragedies for anyone. They can be avoided. Liberation from the burden of moral guilt, so stridently denied and so keenly felt, is also possible.

  35. Castellio says:

    Sean, it does support the points you’ve made on the subject. It is clear proof, is more proof is needed, that many of those who are religious (even if broadly so) will support your argument that there is a strong correlation between Judaism and Zionism, both as to its historical nature (it has always been so) and its contemporary manifestation (it remains so).

    Can a good historian or sociologist, however, agree that it has always been so, and is currently so? I don’t think so. Too many contrary examples exist, both of Jewish individuals and of Jewish groups and communities, both historically and currently.

    Thus, your central point is thought correct among those of a certain ideological predisposition (of whom there are many), but only partially correct, and certainly not true as a generalization, among those who view the question from an historical or sociological point of view.

    So, for me at least, the question I would ask you is this: are you saying that Judaism and Jewish nationalism must be equated and can’t be separated; or rather that the identity of Jewish nationalism with Judaism is a belief among many Jews both historically and today?

    I would consider the first statement to be a fallacious and ideological generalization, while I would consider the second to be an historical and sociological statement difficult to dispute.

    • Sibiriak says:

      Castellio ,

      the identity of Jewish nationalism with Judaism is a belief among many Jews both historically and today?

      Just to be clear, Sands argues that for centuries Judaism by and large rejected Jewish nationalism. It wasn’t until the 19th century that today’s dominant, full-fledged Jewish ethno-nationalism began to be “invented” .

    • Mooser says:

      “It is clear proof, is more proof is needed, that many of those who are religious (even if broadly so) will support your argument that there is a strong correlation between Judaism and Zionism, both as to its historical nature (it has always been so) and its contemporary manifestation (it remains so).”

      Til it fails and they run around screaming ‘it wasn’t me, it wasn’t me, I was against it from the start!’ Ask them again after it goes TU and watch the change. Til then, everyone loves apparent success, even non-Jews.