Anatomy of a Falsehood: Roger Cohen recycles pro-Israel attack against Omar Barghouti

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 38 Comments

Roger Cohen has an International Herald Tribune column today titled “Zero Dark Zero” that outlines the dire state of the two-state solution. In the process of making his case Cohen recycles an out-of-context quote from Omar Barghouti that has become popular among Israel supporters looking to smear the BDS movement. Although the Times has issued a semi-correction on the quote, it serves as a useful example of how pro-Israel advocacy enters the mainstream discourse.

In his article Cohen explains why the two-state solution is important to him as a liberal Zionist and the outlines forces standing in the way:

For any liberal Zionist — and I am one — convinced of the need for the two-state outcome envisaged in the United Nations resolution of 1947 establishing the modern state of Israel, both the religious-nationalist Israeli push to keep all the land and the Palestinian refusal to abandon the untenable, unacceptable “right of return” (there is no such right in history, just ask the Jews) are causes for deep despondency.

To prove his point regarding Palestinian obstinance he provides a quote from Omar Barghouti:

As Omar Barghouti, a leader of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, put it recently to Yale students: “If the refugees were to return, you would not have a two-state solution, you’d have a Palestine next to a Palestine.”

The quote immediately struck me as something Barghouti wouldn’t say. Luckily Barghouti’s talk at Yale is online:

No where is this video does Barghouti utter the line Cohen attributes to him, and it ends up he didn’t say it. Cohen’s article was posted online yesterday morning, and the following correction appeared in the early evening:

An earlier version of this column gave the wrong venue for a quote by Omar Barghouti. Mr Barghouti used these words at an appearance at the University of Ottawa. He says he was quoting a well-known position of Sari Nusseibeh, the president of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.

Interestingly enough, although the Times cut the claim that Barghouti said this at Yale there were pieces that reported it. Sara Greenberg quotes Barghtoui saying almost the same thing as Cohen in the Times of Israel, and she relies on this article from the Jewish Ledger which strangely doesn’t report the same exact quote:

Lauri Lowell, director of Community Relations at Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven (JCRC), was one of several Jewish community representatives who attended the event. . . .

“While he stated that the BDS movement does not take a position on a onestate vs. two-state option, he made it clear that if the three goals were met, Israel would become an Arab-majority state and, as he put it, you would have ‘Palestine next to Palestine,’” Lowell says. “It was obvious what would come next in that scenario.”

If Barghouti didn’t say this at Yale when did he say it (if he said it at all)? And how have all these writers ended up with a line that seems so difficult to pin down?

Following the correction, the Times have changed the Barghouti quote in Cohen’s article to (emphasis added):

As Omar Barghouti, a leader of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, once put it: “If the refugees were to return, you would not have a two-state solution, you’d have a Palestine next to a Palestine.”

Although the correction does add Barghouti’s claim “He says he was quoting a well-known position of Sari Nusseibeh,”the Times is clearly standing behind the quote.

I contacted Barghouti to ask for an explanation and he responded the quote was from a presentation at the University of Ottawa in 2009. He also offered more context for the correction that ran in the Times:

I was quoting Sari Nusseibeh who wrote that return of the refugees would make the two state solution a Palestine next to a Palestine. His solution was scrap the right of return. My solution, in rebuttal, was scrap two states!

Here is example of Nusseibeh using this same formulation in a 2001 New York Times article:

“The Palestinians have to realize that if we are to reach an agreement on two states, then those two states will have to be one for the Israelis and one for the Palestinians, not one for the Palestinians and the other also for the Palestinians,” he said.

And here’s video of the 2009 event showing the full context of the quote (at the 1:00 mark):

In the end Barghouti was simply quoting Nussibeh to explain an argument counter to his own position.

I googled the quote Cohen referenced to see if it has been reported elsewhere and found only one exact match — an August 2010 article titled “Palestinians Using Academics and Liberal Ideals to Promote an Extremist Agenda” by Juda Engelmayer. Engelmayer is an executive with the New York public relations agency 5W Public Relations which is known for right-wing pro-Israel advocacy including representing Hebron settlers.

Engelmayer writes:

Under the guidelines of a two-state solution, which has widespread support, both peoples can live together. Yet, Barghouti clearly states that “if the occupation ends” BDS will not end, because the right of return is its real cause. “I clearly do no buy into the two state solution,” Barghouti said. “This is something we cannot compromise on,” he said.

In his own words, Barghouti understands that “If the refugees were to return, you would not have a two state solution, you’d have a Palestine next to a Palestine.”

Engelmayer references “a video expose available on YouTube” as a source for the quote — here it is:

The video was produced by the Israel advocacy group StandWithUs and the Barghouti quote (at the 5:00 mark) is clearly used without context.

Barghouti’s quotation was twisted by an Israel advocacy group to supposedly prove the malevolent intent of the BDS movement and has taken on a life of its own among Israel supporters.  Although it should be clear that this quote does not represent Barghouti and the BDS movement’s true motives, Roger Cohen and the New York Times are standing by it. In the process, they are not impugning the BDS movement and advocates for Palestinian rights, they are only further discrediting the paper of record when it comes to honestly discerning fact from simple propaganda.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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38 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    March 1, 2013, 9:53 am

    I don’t understand this hoo-haw (other than as VERY bad reporting). It appears that both Nuseibeh and Barghouti believe (or do not challenge) that “PRoR” into Israel would, in time, result in a Palestinian-majority Israel.

    If they do not, let them say so.

    I don’t agree, but for a reason that will not make Zionists happy.

    You can have two states, one called “Israel”, the other called “Palestine”, the Jews of today’s Israel (and the settlers, too, of course) living in the “Israel”. The PRoR would be limited as follows: no Palesetinian coukld return to the new Israel who (or whose 1948 predecessor(s)) had not lived in the territory of the new “Israel”. (Nothing new here, I trust!)

    The kicker is that if Israelis agree to make the territory of the new “Israel” small enough, and located in a place which had fewest Palestinian Arabs in 1947-50 who became refugee/exiles, then the PRoR to THAT territory would be minimal, and the population would be overwhelmingly Jewish in the new “Israel”. Consider that 10 million people live in New York City, a place far smaller than present day Israel (i.e., pre-1967).

    A smaller Israel would be Jewish and could, if it chose, be democratic. But it would not be expansive and would not exist at the cost of a homeland and most water resources to most Palestinians. It could continue to have wonderful armed forces! (Such treasures!) and wonderful Mossad and Shin Bet (such treasures). And universities and arms industries and make-the-desert-bloom scientific enterprises. Sure! Why not? And it would be a good safe place for anxiety-ridden Jews — if any, if and when — to “return” to.

    But it would be decoupled from the relifious ladn-grabs and from most of the rest of the land-grabs. This would be an Israel that exists for the stated reason of offering a safe haven to Jews, but which avoids the unstated reason of expelling and/or lording over its neighbors, the Palestine Arabs.

    I recommend it. And let it not be said that 2SS is dead because it is “impossible”. If Israel will not give up the West Bank, 2SS will not happen. If Israel can and will give up the West Bank, where 10% of Israeli Jews now live, it can also give up some or even a great deal of pre-1967 Israel, a territory it has held for only a few years longer.

  2. a blah chick
    March 1, 2013, 9:56 am

    This tactic is as old as time, just keep repeating the same lies or talking points over and over and over again. After enough time uninformed or uninterested people will simply accept it.

  3. Donald
    March 1, 2013, 9:58 am

    While Cohen misquoted Barghouti, he got the underlying issue right. There are other reasons to criticize Cohen’s piece (I’ll get to that), but Barghouti doesn’t believe in a 2SS because he doesn’t think it is workable or fair. He refuted the notion of a Palestine next to a Palestine by saying he favored one state. That’s Cohen’s objection–Cohen doesn’t want an unlimited right of return because he thinks that it would lead to the end of Israel as a Jewish majority state. Barghouti wants one democratic state for all.

    I think it’s more important to examine the Cohen remark you also cited–

    “For any liberal Zionist — and I am one — convinced of the need for the two-state outcome envisaged in the United Nations resolution of 1947 establishing the modern state of Israel, both the religious-nationalist Israeli push to keep all the land and the Palestinian refusal to abandon the untenable, unacceptable “right of return” (there is no such right in history, just ask the Jews) are causes for deep despondency.”

    That’s self-contradictory. There’s no Jewish “right of return”, but apparently there was a Jewish right to move to Palestine and establish a majority Jewish state no matter what the inhabitants thought and if they objected, to expel them. It would be nice if people could think clearly about stuff before typing it out, but I guess that would cut into my own output too, so nevermind.

    • Hostage
      March 1, 2013, 1:16 pm

      both the religious-nationalist Israeli push to keep all the land and the Palestinian refusal to abandon the untenable, unacceptable “right of return” (there is no such right in history, just ask the Jews) are causes for deep despondency.”

      That’s self-contradictory.

      It’s also a complete falsehood, just ask the German Jews. Those who were stripped of their German citizenship by the Nazi Nuremberg laws only had to ask to have it restored in order to once again take up residence in Germany. It wasn’t really treated as immigration or a return, since under the Constitution they were deemed to have never legally lost or renounced their citizenship in the first place:

      Article 116 par. 2 of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) reads:

      “Former German citizens who between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945 were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds, and their descendants, shall on application have their citizenship restored. They shall be deemed never to have been deprived of their citizenship if they have established their domicile in Germany after May 8, 1945 and have not expressed a contrary intention.’

      The above mentioned group of people mainly includes German Jews and members of the Communist or Social Democratic Parties.

      link to germany.info

      Cohen is delusional if he thinks that he can establish a false equivalency between the untenable, unacceptable right the religious-nationalist Israeli camp to illegally colonize Palestine and keep all the land, versus the natural desire of the former lawful inhabitants to have their citizenship, homes, land, and property restored.

      It’s Cohen and his ilk who are trying to bring back and legitimize the law of conquest (and eternal war). Notice how he artlessly blames the Palestinians for the aggressive behavior of Zionists, like himself:

      One state equals the end of Israel as a Jewish national state. It is not going to happen. It cannot be allowed to happen. Palestinian pursuit of that goal equals acceptance of eternal conflict. Jews, after the experience of the 20th century, are not going to give up the homeland they have battled so hard to build.

      • jonrich111
        March 1, 2013, 5:21 pm

        Hostage wrote: “Cohen is delusional if he thinks that he can establish a false equivalency between the untenable, unacceptable right the religious-nationalist Israeli camp to illegally colonize Palestine and keep all the land, versus the natural desire of the former lawful inhabitants to have their citizenship, homes, land, and property restored.”

        Both Jews and Palestinians are the lawful inhabitants of the land. Jews never voluntarily left ancient Israel; we were exiled by Roman imperialists and driven into slavery. We endured persecution by the hands of the entire world for nearly 2,000 years and were FORCED to return to our ancient homeland to escape genocide when the rest of the world turned their backs on us. Palestinian displacement was a tragic side effect of Zionism. The Zionist project will not be complete until the Palestinians are also free. That is why two states for two peoples is essential. Both groups have legitimate claims to the land, both are indigenous, both are persecuted by colonial powers. Sharing the land side by side as neighboring states is the only solution that respects the rights of both peoples.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 2, 2013, 8:56 am

        We endured persecution by the hands of the entire world for nearly 2,000 years

        not entirely

      • eljay
        March 2, 2013, 9:16 am

        >> We endured persecution by the hands of the entire world for nearly 2,000 years …

        1. You are not all the Jews in history.
        2. Jews have not been persecuted “by the hands of the entire world for nearly 2,000 years”.
        3. The fact that Jews have been persecuted in the past does not permit Jews to engage in persecution.

        >> … and were FORCED to return to our ancient homeland to escape genocide when the rest of the world turned their backs on us.

        1. Palestine is not your ancient homeland.
        2. You were not FORCED to return to Palestine.
        3. You were not FORCED to use terrorism and ethnic cleansing to create an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state.

      • American
        March 2, 2013, 10:15 am

        ‘We endured persecution by the hands of the entire world for nearly 2,000 years and were FORCED to return to our ancient homeland to escape genocide when the rest of the world turned their backs on us. ‘..jonrich111

        Unless ‘you yourself’ are a survivor of a nazi camp or ‘you yourself’ suffered some other persecution —you are not a victim.
        Victimhood is Not Inheritable or Borrowable —even if you belong to a ‘class’ of people ‘once victimized’.
        That the world has allowed this self classification and identification of all suceeding generations Jews as victims” in perpetuity” when it no longer in reality applies to them, is one of the cores of your conflicts with others.

        People recongize this is what you are doing and it is why you get no sympathy or respect. It is the reason why people do ‘turn their backs’ to this game and to ultmate victim player Israel.

        ”Victim playing (also known as playing the victim or self-victimization) is the fabrication of victimhood for a variety of reasons such as to justify abuse of others, to manipulate others, a coping strategy or attention seeking.
        Victim playing by abusers is either:
        diverting attention away from acts of abuse by claiming that the abuse was justified based on another person’s bad behavior (typically the victim)
        soliciting sympathy from others in order to gain their assistance in supporting or enabling the abuse of a victim (known as proxy abuse).
        It is common for abusers to engage in victim playing. This serves two purposes:
        justification to themselves – as a way of dealing with the cognitive dissonance that results from inconsistencies between the way they treat others and what they believe about themselves.
        justification to others – as a way of escaping harsh judgment or condemnation they may fear from others.

        Manipulators often play the victim role (“poor me”) by portraying themselves as victims of circumstances or someone else’s behavior in order to gain pity or sympathy or to evoke compassion and thereby get something from another.’

        Petruska Clarkson, Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy (London 1997) p. 217

      • leenb
        March 3, 2013, 3:54 am

        See, I would buy it if I actually believed in the bible. I don’t, religion is not fact and should not be treated as such. I am skeptical that Jesus even existed and I reject religious texts as a basis of historical accuracy (sorry).

        Now I do not reject the claim that Hebrews and Israelites did exist (I just don’t believe there was a god that said, you are the chosen people and I vehemently reject the notion that if you convert into Judaism that makes you somehow ‘related’ to Hebrews and Israelites). But your logic doesn’t make sense, by that admission, Africa is the human race’s national homeland as it is the origin of human beings. Early homo sapiens have fled because of rivarly from other spiecies (who have died out), so it’s not entirely their fault (does that mean all humans are eligible to build a national homeland in Africa because, well that’s their country of origin?). By that admission, we can also argue that Greeks are eligible to return to palestine, Lebanon and Syria because it’s not their fault that their ancestors were exiled, wiped out or assimiliated.

        Moreoever, recently, a study in the genetic make up of English people have found that 25% of males carry genes related to the Syrians. Does that mean the English should set up an Anglo-Syrian homeland? Of course not, it is ridiculous to suggest as such.

      • Antidote
        March 2, 2013, 9:06 am

        Speaking of falsehoods: The Nuremberg race laws of 1935 did NOT strip Jews of German citizenship (a common but nevertheless false claim):

        “The centerpiece of the anti-Jewish legislation was enacted in September 1935 as the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, together known as the Nuremberg racial laws. [...] The Reich Citizenship Law … did not alter the status of Jews as citizens (Staatsangehörige), conceding citizenship (Staatsangehörigkeit) to all German nationals, including Jews, and thus retaining for Jews the rights and protections traditional citizenship conferred. Instead, the law stigmatized Jews as citizens of lesser worth by creating the elevated position of Reich citizen (Reichsbürger), which only those with German or related blood could hold. Reich citizens were to be the sole bearers of political rights, but those rights were not defined and, considering the centralization of dictatorial political power, were basically meaningless. In fact, the Reich citizenship warrants were never issued.”

        Henry Friedländer: The Origins of Nazi Genocide (1997), p24

        Artile 2 of the Reich citizenship law:

        1. A citizen of the Reich is that subject only who is of German or kindred blood and who, through his conduct, shows that he is both desirous and fit to serve the German people and Reich faithfully.
        2. The right to citizenship is acquired by the granting of Reich citizenship papers.
        3. Only the citizen of the Reich enjoys full political rights in accordance with the provision of the laws.

        So yes, Jews (as well as Roma, Sinti and African Germans, but not Danes, Poles, Greeks etc) were excluded from full citizenship and political rights (including voting rights). But so were all German citizens/subjects who did not exhibit the right “conduct”. This is why article 116 of the Basic Law of the FRG reads, as you quote:

        “The above mentioned group of people mainly includes German Jews and members of the Communist or Social Democratic Parties.”

        Obviously, most members of the German Communist or Social Democratic Parties weren’t Jews.

        As far as I can tell, Israel does not link full citizenship to “conduct”, or no more so than do other democracies, including the US

  4. seafoid
    March 1, 2013, 10:08 am

    This stuff belongs out in the open.
    Israel’s PR handlers have such flimsy arguments once you strip them down to their essence.
    When it all falls apart we’ll wonder how they managed to dupe everyone for so long.

    Something very interesting from a Ha’aretz article about Bethlehem

    link to haaretz.com

    “Every clash with soldiers is filmed from local rooftops and uploaded onto YouTube.”

    The eyes of the world. And a story worth following as well as the understanding that it isn’t the world that is out of sync- it is Zionism that is nuts.
    A system of ethnic persecution such as Zionism can only work in a defined space. Jews have no power over Palestinian civilians in London, for example. Or in my house. Because in essence Zionism is ludicrous.

    And when the internet is there and the Beit Lahmis can broadcast to the world, the spell the bots have over them is diluted.

  5. seafoid
    March 1, 2013, 10:19 am

    Another sign of the decline in American power- NATO ally Turkey compares Zionism to crimes against humanity such as fascism and antisemitism

    link to globalpost.com

    • pabelmont
      March 1, 2013, 1:09 pm

      The statement: “As with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it is inevitable that Islamophobia be considered a crime against humanity.”

      The USA and Israel don’t agree that Islampphobia is a crime against humanity. Or that antisemitism is. Of course not. Each of these is a gift (to Israel) than keeps on giving, not a crime at all. And Israel (and USA) are going fascist, as national security states, so there was sooooo much wrong with that statement. Oh, yes, and USA/Israel don’t like it to be said that Zionism is a c-a-h. Spoil sports!

      Wouldn’t it be fun to ask Mr. Israel and Mr. USA whetehr there are ANY acts that they can think of that are (or that would be) c-a-h, and then to ask for an explanation of what it is, exactly, about such acts which constitutes its opprobrious nature.

    • Keith
      March 1, 2013, 5:19 pm

      SEAFOID- I question the conclusions of the article you linked to. Below is a quote from the article:

      “But the tense relations between Turkey and Israel, which have steadily worsened ever since Israeli marines killed nine Turkish activists as they attempted to stop aid ships breaking the blockade on Gaza in May 2010.….”

      I have read several analysis which indicate that there are still strong ties between Israel and Turkey, and that things are not getting worse. Erdogan’s public statements are designed to placate the Turkish street, nothing more. He is a power seeker and liar like most politicians. Below are four paragraphs and a link to an article on this by Ramzy Baroud over at CounterPunch, well worth reading.

      “Israeli media referenced a report by Turkish newspaper Radikal with much interest, regarding secret talks between Turkey and Israel that could yield an Israeli apology for its army’s raid against the Turkish aid flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, which was on its way to Gaza in May 2010. The assault resulted in the death of 9 Turkish activists, including a US citizen.”

      “According to the Radikal report (published in Feb 20 and cited by Israeli Haaretz two days later), Israel is willing to meet two of Turkey’s conditions for the resumption of full ties: an apology, and compensation to the families of the victims. “Turkey has also demanded Israel lift the siege,” on Gaza, Haaretz reported, citing Radikal, “but is prepared to drop that demand.”

      “This is only the tip of the iceberg. If these reports are even partially credible, Turkish-Israeli relations are being carefully, but decidedly repaired. This stands in contrast with declared Turkish foreign policy and the many passionate statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other leading Turkish politicians.”

      “The Syrian war has placed Turkey back within a Western camp, although not with the same decisiveness of the past, when Turkey’s generals discounted all other alliances in favor of NATO’s. This is representing an opening for Israel, which with the support of US President Barack Obama’s new administration is likely to translate to some measures of normalization. The degree of that normalization will depend largely on which direction the Syrian civil war is heading and the degree of receptiveness on Turkish streets in seeing Israel once more paraded as Turkey’s strategic partner.”
      link to counterpunch.org

      • James Canning
        March 2, 2013, 1:57 pm

        The Turkish foreign minister reminded John Kerry that the illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank are a large factor in the dispute between Turkey and Isrel.

  6. lohdennis
    March 1, 2013, 11:44 am

    @Adam: Excellent investigative journalism. Congratulations!!!

  7. mondonut
    March 1, 2013, 11:59 am

    In the end Barghouti was simply quoting Nussibeh to explain an argument counter to his own position.

    Adding the context does indeed explain Barghouti’s actual position, and exposes its improper use by Israel advocates.

    But interestingly Barghouti never disputes Nussibeh’s contention. In fact it appears that not only does Barghouti agree with it, he proposes skipping the two Palestine step (which is obviously an interim condition) and going straight to a single Palestine. Same net effect, Israel is gone.

    • ToivoS
      March 1, 2013, 6:46 pm

      Same net effect, Israel is gone.

      Yep that is where Israel is headed if you guys insist on stealing more and more land from the Palestinians. In fact, if you want to escape that fate you will have to give everything back outside of the 1967 borders.

      • James Canning
        March 3, 2013, 1:53 pm

        ToivoS – – Have you seen today’s New York Times? Full page for article and maps on Israel/Palestine, with argument by Dennis Ross that illegal settlers should confine their illegal settlements to 8% of West Bank.

    • leenb
      March 3, 2013, 4:02 am

      Regimes and states change. They come and go. We had Prussia, Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Austro-Hungary, Imperial Japan, Korea,UAR, West Germany, East Germany, Ottoman Empire, etc. This is all in the last century (with the exception of Prussia), so the state of Israel going is not as disastrous as one thinks (hell Germany went through 3 different regime changes in 100 years).

      • James Canning
        March 3, 2013, 1:55 pm

        Catastrophes like First and Second World Wars obviously need to be avoided.

  8. MHughes976
    March 1, 2013, 12:45 pm

    I concur with Donald in that it does seem true that Barghouti thinks that if RoR prevails there would be no long term future for 2states. Also in that Cohen disparages all rights of return in one breath and endorses Zionism, which is built on a claim to a right of return, in the next. Maddening.
    The idea that a 2ss would be unsustainable doesnt preclude readiness to negotiate it in the short term on the understanding that future changes would be consensual, of course.

  9. Howard
    March 1, 2013, 3:31 pm

    Cohen: “For any liberal Zionist — and I am one — convinced of the need for the two-state outcome envisaged in the United Nations resolution of 1947 establishing the modern state of Israel…”

    Roger Cohen also another promotes the falsehood that the UN created Israel. On Nov 29, 1947 the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181 that only recommended the creation of a Jewish state in part of Palestine. That recommendation was non-binding and never implemented by the Security Council. It called for Palestine to be divided into three sections : Jewish, Palestinian and an internationally administered zone to include the city of Jerusalem as a Corpus Separatum administered by the United Nations. It also called for other conditions to be met prior to partition that never were realized.

    Although this resolution is frequently cited, it has had limited actual significance. It was legally dubious whether the General Assembly had the power to impose such a resolution or to convey title of a territory.

    On the afternoon of May 14, 1948 the Jewish state unilaterally declared itself into existence. President Truman, against the advice of many of his top advisors, such as Dean Rusk, Dean Acheson, Secretary of Defense James Forrestal and Secretary of State George Marshall, quickly recognized the new state.

    The great irony is that today the United States and Israel argue against the Palestine’s bid to be a non voting member of the UN stating that a Palestinian state, (as opposed to a Jewish state), cannot be unilaterally declared but must be achieved through negotiations.

    This topic is easily researchable and has been covered on this site.

    link to mondoweiss.net

    • James Canning
      March 1, 2013, 6:33 pm

      Great post, Howard. Truman’s military and foreign policy advisers thought recognising Israel when its borders were no defined, was a serious blunder.
      Clark Clifford was instrumental in talking Truman into recognition of Israel immediately.

      Emanuel Cellar of New York played a key role in this matter.

    • a blah chick
      March 1, 2013, 6:55 pm

      Please correct me if I have this wrong but wasn’t there suppose to be a process by which the two states were suppose to come into being which included elections? But instead of going along with this Mr. BG and his myrmidons unilaterally declared their independence so they could continue their ethnic cleansing.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    March 1, 2013, 3:40 pm

    RE: Barghouti’s quotation was twisted by an Israel advocacy group [i.e. used out of context] to supposedly prove the malevolent intent of the BDS movement and has taken on a life of its own among Israel supporters. ~ Adam Horowitz

    FROM THE HASBARA HANDBOOK: “Quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be old or out of context.”

    SEE THE HASBARA HANDBOOK (pages 24-25):

    Testimonial [one of the seven propaganda devices]
    Testimonial means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse an ideal or campaign. [As I see it, testimonials by people who are disliked or infamous can also be used to besmirch an opposing ideal or campaign. - J.L.D.] Testimonial can be used reasonably – it makes sense for a footballer to endorse football boots – or manipulated, such as when a footballer is used to support a political campaign they have only a limited understanding of. Whilst everybody is entitled to an opinion, testimonial can lend weight to an argument that it doesn’t deserve: if U2’s Bono

    condemned Israel for something that it didn’t do, thousands would believe him, even thoughhe was wrong.
    Enlisting celebrity support for Israel can help to persuade people that Israel is a great country. Obviously some celebrities are more useful than others. Students are probably a little too sophisticated to be affected by Britney’s opinion on Israel, but those associated with intelligence like professors, actors, radio hosts, sports managers and so on can be asked to offer testimonial. A celebrity doesn’t have to fully support Israel to be useful. Quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be old or out of context. [Similarly, a disliked/ infamous person (i.e. a boogeyman) doesn't have to fully threaten Israel to be useful (in besmirching Israel's adversaries). And according to the Hasbara Handbook, the quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be "old or out of context" (or perhaps even incorrectly translated) - J.L.D.] . . .

    SOURCE, “HASBARA HANDBOOK: Promoting Israel on Campus”, published by the World Union of Jewish Students, March 2002 – link to scribd.com

    P.S. Also note that when a hasbarist is confronted with a past statement/quotation of theirs that contradicts what they are saying later, they will frequently say that the quote is being taken out of context without explaining how it is being taken out of context. They just keep insistently repeating: “You are taking my words out of context!”

  11. James Canning
    March 1, 2013, 6:24 pm

    I recommend Philip Stephens’ comments in the Financial Times March 1st: “A too cautious president cannot shut out the world”.

    Quote: “William Hague is right: the already slight chance of a two-state solution will disappear entirely if Mr Obama is not prepared to take a risk.”

  12. James Canning
    March 1, 2013, 6:29 pm

    Fascinating piece.

    I think most advocates of the ‘one-state” solution would agree it likely would result ultimately in a country called Palestine.

  13. dbroncos
    March 1, 2013, 7:28 pm

    Great reporting, Adam. Cohen’s tired, old arguments are wheezing and gasping for breath.

  14. goldmarx
    March 1, 2013, 10:22 pm

    Roger Cohen is also maddening because he pretends to speak for all liberal Zionists. He does not.

    Some (like myself) support BDS, and not the warmed-over Peter Beinart version. Acceptance of the Right of Return as a principle is not necessarily a demographic threat to the Jewish majority of the pre-Six Day War Israel. The details of RofR’s implementation would be decided in committee as part of a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine.

    • James Canning
      March 2, 2013, 1:54 pm

      Perhaps a limited right of return, for symbolic reasons?

      • leenb
        March 3, 2013, 4:06 am

        A right of return does not mean that automatically all Palestinians are going to return, it means that they have a ‘right’, and it would be mean Israel officially recognizes that they are responsible for the Nakba. It would also facilitate Palestinians’ ability to visit their land and compensation. I doubt very mcuh that all 4 million will return RIGHT NOW. PLus there is a certain hypocrisy that Jews who have not previously lived in thsi land can automatically acquire Israeli citizenship. Either no one ‘returns’ or everyone does.

      • James Canning
        March 3, 2013, 1:58 pm

        leenb – – What is your view of the 120,000 Ethiopians imported into Israel, on grounds they were “Jews”? Tiny genetic connection with ancient Israel, apparently.

      • leenb
        March 4, 2013, 3:07 am

        To be honest, I think the number of Ethiopians pale in comparison with Russians for instance (whom many of the mothers and grandparents are converts to Judaism). But for me, I still think it is hypocritical that Ethiopians, even if they have a small genetic connection to the Israelites, can immigrate but Palestinian inhabitants cannot. I mean a study has found that up to 50% of Europe has Middle Eastern genes. Does that mean that they are eligible to migrate to the Middle East and displace its inhabitant population? Of course not. (more specifically, they have found 25% of the people in the British isles have some genetic connection with Syria, does that mean they are allowed to migrate to Syria and establish an Anglo-Syria state and displace the inhabitant population? Of course not). Moreoever, many of the countries that were subjected to the Crusade invasion have found that there is some genetic link to Europeans. Does that mean that they are eligible to migrate to Europe displace the inhabitant population? Of course not.

        Again the entire notion of migrating to the promised ‘land’ is embedded in religion, which I do not regard as fact and do not regard it as moral. I’m sorry but it has no basis in politics. That does not mean let’s ban them from entering the region all together, of course not, but the ‘3000 years ago my ancestors were these and these people, so I’m going back based on this and religious reasons even though the inhabitant population has been displaced’.

      • James Canning
        March 4, 2013, 1:50 pm

        Yes, of course. Far more Russians were brought into Israel, than Ethiopians.

        Strong element of fantasy in the so-called “return” of Jews to Palestine.

  15. Sycamores
    March 2, 2013, 6:08 am

    “…………..both the religious-nationalist israeli push to keep all the land and the Palestinian refusal to abandon the untenable, unacceptable “right of return” (there is no such right in history, just ask the Jews) are causes for deep despondency.”

    “unacceptable “right of return” (there is no such right in history, just ask the Jews)”

    hang on one sec

    nevermine that zionism was essentially created to bring foreginers to Palestine for the last century but what about the Law of Return that was enacted by the Knesset The Law declares the right of Jews to come to Israel (even non-jews who had a Jewish grandparent).

    what does cohen mean by “there is no such right in history, just ask the Jews”.

    besides this rhetoric from cohen the right of return is not untenable if you are of Jewish ancestry but should be abandon if you are Palestinian.

    the Palestinian right of return is a given if this means the end of israel as a Jewish state so be it. israel has already kill the two state solution an inadvertantly kill it dreams of a theocracy.

  16. Misterioso
    March 2, 2013, 11:33 pm

    Cohen states:
    “For any liberal Zionist — and I am one — convinced of the need for the two-state outcome envisaged in the United Nations resolution of 1947 [Res. 181, the Partition Plan] establishing the modern state of Israel….”

    For the record: When Polish born David Ben-Gurion (nee David Gruen) et al. declared the “Jewish state” of Israel effective 15 May 1948, the UNGA was in the process of shelving the Partition Plan (recommendatory only, contrary to the terms of the British Mandate, never endorsed by the UNSC, grossly unfair to the Palestinians who were the great majority – despite massive Jewish immigration – and also owned about 94% of the land) in favour of a United Nations Trusteeship for Palestine. (BTW, Israel’s declaration of statehood also violated the Partition Plan itself, which stipulated that its recommended creation of Jewish and Arab states in Palestine should not occur until two months after the end of the British Mandate).

    Israel’s first and second attempts to join the United Nations following the signing of the 1949 armistice agreements were unsuccessful because the General Assembly considered it to be in contravention of the UN Charter. This was due to the fact that in violation of the Partition Plan, Israel was occupying the international zone of West Jerusalem and more than half of the territory assigned to the proposed Palestinian state.

    Apart from its violation of the UN Charter and the Partition Plan, Israel’s first attempts to join the UN were rebuffed by the General Assembly because of deep concern regarding the plight of the 750,000 (800,000, according to Walter Eytan, then Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry) Palestinian refugees living in abject misery in over crowded camps in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and poor neighbouring Arab countries. Winter had set in and with only flimsy tents and little or heat, their situation was becoming increasingly desperate. With the Arab host countries only able to contribute the limited amount they could spare their own needy citizens, the refugees were dependent on rations provided by the UN.

    Israel again sought UN membership in 1949. This time, however, in order to be considered for admittance, Israel formally agreed at the United Nations to obey the UN Charter, comply with General Assembly Resolution 194 and to accept Resolution 181, the Partition Plan, as a basis for negotiations. Israel also signed the Lausanne Protocol at the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference and thereby reaffirmed its commitment to Resolutions 194 and 181.

    Israel’s pledge to abide by the terms of Resolution 194 (as well as the Partition Plan as a basis for negotiations) and the UN Charter was made legally binding by including it in General Assembly Resolution 273 (11 May 1949) granting Israel UN membership.

    Israel is the only state admitted to the UN on the condition that specific resolutions would be obeyed.

    Shortly after gaining UN membership Israel reneged on its commitment to abide by Resolution 194 along as well as the Partition Plan, which the Arab delegation, including Palestinian representatives, had accepted as a basis for peace negotiations at the Lausanne Peace Conference.

  17. James Canning
    March 3, 2013, 1:47 pm

    Great post! Bravo.

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