Abulhawa declines to ‘balance out’ several Israelis in ‘Al Jazeera’ forum on Nakba

Israel/Palestine
on 94 Comments

A lot of people have sent me a piece by novelist Susan Abulhawa at The Palestine Chronicle about refusing to participate in a forum on the Nakba on Al Jazeera’s social media show, the Stream, because it would feature three or four Israelis. Titled “Are Israelis Now Appropriating the Nakba?” the piece begins by quoting the email traffic between herself and the producer. After Abulhawa said she wasn’t interested, the unnamed producer persisted, saying he needed her “to balance things out.”

He continued, “As you noted, it would be 3-4 Israelis and just the one Palestinian – but as I said, the Israeli’s will include those very critical of Israeli society on this issue. We certainly wont have anyone in the discussion who flat out denies the Nakba.”

Here is an excerpt of Abulhawa’s piece, in which she describes why she finds the forum “appalling”:

After thoughtful consideration and rumination on my initial impulse to refuse, I responded as follows:

“I have considered your invitation and it frankly pains me that you would conceive of such a forum.  However, I suspect that others may consider going the same route in the future and I am willing to come on merely to repudiate and discourage such a conversation from taking place again.  As such, I would appear only under the following circumstances:

1. I do not agree to any form of “conversation” with Israelis about the Nakba, and that must be made clear.
2. Per the above, the show must be split somehow whereby I would follow whatever discussion you had with them. I do not agree to any exchange with them; but i will agree to a discussion with the interviewer afterward about whatever is said.”…

Since we must perpetually put our pain in the form of analogies in order to facilitate empathy, let me do that to start off.

Imagine Germany never acknowledged the Jewish holocaust.  Imagine, we are living in an era where Jews are still fighting for basic recognition of their pain.  Then imagine that on the day in which Jews engage in solemn remembrance of their greatest collective wound, television shows choose to feature German sons and daughters of Nazis in a discussion expressing differing views on whether or not and/or how Germany should deal with the memory of the genocide their country committed.  And imagine, of course, there is a token Jew “to balance out” such an ill-timed and inappropriate public conversation.

Here is the Al Jazeera show as it ran. Titled “Israel’s fractured memory: Are Israelis ready to include the Palestinian Nakba tragedy in their independence narrative?,” it featured four Israelis and one Palestinian: journalist Lia Tarachansky, filmmaker Amos Geva, Ran Bario Bar-Yoshafat of the Jewish Agency, Eitan Bronstein of  Zochrot, and Palestinian activist Adrieh Abou Shehadeh.

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94 Responses

  1. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    May 19, 2013, 1:04 pm

    As many readers will be aware by now, EI has reported that Al J English has pulled Joseph Massad’s article on Zionism. None of us who have followed Al J since its inception will be surprised by this, or by their having a programme on the Nakba which is told almost entirely from the Israeli point of view. It’s been clear for some time that Al J is no longer the channel which brought us such brave, on-the-spot coverage of the Egyptian uprising and the assault on Gaza. That channel has disappeared, and in its place a bland CNN-style outlet, ever on the look-out for not touching Zionist ‘sensitivities’ is here. And what, I ask you, is the point of that?

  2. Joe Catron
    May 19, 2013, 1:05 pm

    Al Jazeera is plumbing new depths all around this week.

    “In an unprecedented act of political censorship Al Jazeera English has deleted an article by noted Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad after coming under intense criticism from Zionists in recent days.”

    link to electronicintifada.net

    • Cliff
      May 19, 2013, 1:46 pm

      Wow!

      What the hell.

    • Cliff
      May 19, 2013, 1:51 pm

      So just read that article.

      It highlights the fact that AJ – Qatar based – has published articles by Massad that have been critical of Qatar.

      But with the launch of AJ America, the article says, AJ executives/higher-ups are trying to become more ‘American’ (“cozying up to elites”). Apparently AJ execs met with Rahm Emmanuel.

      Disgusting.

      • W.Jones
        May 19, 2013, 5:28 pm

        I remember what US mass media was portraying Al Jazeera as some kind of terrorist media network back in the early 2000′s.

  3. Cliff
    May 19, 2013, 1:09 pm

    Al Jazeera has changed a lot over the years. I remember reading awhile back that Haim Saban was investing in Al Jazeera.

    That might be why.

    Susan was right to decline the invitation to ‘balance’. And she is absolutely right about how the Nakba is ‘framed’ by press. It’s always ‘should Israelis feel a bit perturbed by that pesky Palestinian tragedy’?

    Always an afterthought and with a group of Israelis discussing things. And in America naturally, it’s similar to other ME issues and we only have Jews talking about it or other ‘White’ Americans.

    I was so surprised that HuffPo had a video discussion with some Palestinians (I think that’s what it was at least).

    Years ago Al Jazeera hosted a debate between Palestinian and Israeli teens. It was a good debate. One of the Israelis was an Israeli Arab (but Jewish I think? I dunno) and he was sympathetic to the Palestinian cause (or it felt that way).

    He would describe his experiences in Israel and one Israeli Jewish girl interjected and tried to speak for him. He was upset that she kept interrupting to speak for him.

    I think that’s a perfect example of how this discussion is hijacked constantly and reframed through the POV of the oppressor.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Zionists always refer to Palestinians in Israel proper, being treated so graciously and kindly (LOL). Even Zionists attempt to speak for Palestinians.

    Not to mention these same Zionists divert attention away from Zionist crimes to dead Arabs elsewhere, ie Syria, Libya, Iraq, blah blah.

    The one commonality is clearly the cynicism and depravity of these Zionists and their sociopathy towards Palestinian life. Whether it’s mocking Palestinian suffering or denying it’s existence by changing the subject nonsensically to Darfur or Sudan or BLAH BLAH BLAH.

    We think of Holocaust Deniers as a unique species of haters. But the same intellectual framework is seen EVERYWHERE in many different issues and conflicts and Zionists who mock/deny/divert the Nakba are no different than Holocaust deniers.

    6 million people do not need to die for someone to then come around and start denying that those people died or justifying their deaths or minimizing/trivializing or diverting attention away.

    And so often Zionists use the Holocaust to (reverse minimizing) to trivialize suffering elsewhere (these same type of Zionists also promote Israel as being an oasis for refugees because of the ‘lessons’ of the Holocaust).

  4. just
    May 19, 2013, 1:37 pm

    Susan has placed truth and justice first and foremost………….thank you.

  5. Citizen
    May 19, 2013, 1:43 pm

    Seems to me, the ultimate quest is to get down to historical facts, whether one is looking at the Shoah or the Nabka, or anything controversial. Whether there were actual ovens the Nazis burned Jews alive in, or whether some Palestinians were convinced to run out of their homes due to Arab broadcasts, it’s hard to put under either cover that the Nazis acted in view of their vision Jews were expendable, and so did the Jews with regard to the native Palestinians. You don’t need evidence of a group using another group’s skin as lampshades to know grave injustice was committed and needs to be rectified. Similarly, even if most native Americans died from simple lack of immunity to disease Europeans unknowingly brought to America, you have ample evidence the US government back in those days mounted a policy to take native American land, no matter what the cost to the natives. Since those days, we’ve had two world wars, Nuremberg, Geneva, etc. And, for starters, the whole world except Israel is on record as against Israeli settlements. So, what now?

  6. Dutch
    May 19, 2013, 2:38 pm

    Thank you Susan Abulhawa, thank you.

    May I suggest that these Israeli’s discuss their uncomfortable thoughts about the Nakba on their own networks, inviting 3-4 Palestinian victims and 1 Israeli?

  7. Ecru
    May 19, 2013, 2:40 pm

    Could you imagine how a Jewish person would respond to a similar program where several Germans debated the Holocaust and only one Jew was invited to attend?

    • German Lefty
      May 19, 2013, 4:34 pm

      Ecru, that happens all the time in Germany. Besides, that one Jew is usually a German, too. Therefore, it’s just Germans discussing the Holocaust.

      • Ecru
        May 20, 2013, 1:40 am

        OK – ETHNIC Germans.

        • tokyobk
          May 20, 2013, 6:36 am

          Ah yes “ethnic” Germans, since although Jews have lived in Germany of over 1,000 years they are still not fully German.

        • German Lefty
          May 20, 2013, 8:07 am

          Although Jews have lived in Germany of over 1,000 years they are still not fully German.

          Well, that’s their own choice. They just need to stop talking as if they were members of the Israeli government.

        • Ecru
          May 20, 2013, 11:13 am

          Excuse me tokyobk, I know you’re intent on policing the “politically correct” way of saying anything but might I remind you that for most of those 1000 years Jews for one reason or another kept themselves or were kept separate from the general population in day to day life, spoke a different language, and also practised endogamy – reducing chances of mixing still further. Therefore I think mentioning “ethnic” Germans is perfectly OK. And I suspect you know that but are intent on finding something to get upset about.

          Further where pray tell oh most socially conscious one did I either deny German Jews their nationality or state their rights were unequal in any way? Are we not allowed to talk of ethnic Irish in Britain, even though we’ve been there since forever? Ethnic Russians in Finland? Ethnic !Kung in South Africa?

          Oh and look up ethnicity some time, you might learn something. From wikipedia (just to save you some bother)

          “Ethnic identity is constantly reinforced through common characteristics which set the group apart from other groups.

  8. seafoid
    May 19, 2013, 3:03 pm

    Eitan Bronstein from Zochrot understands the imoortance of the nakba and is no bot.

  9. Taxi
    May 19, 2013, 3:24 pm

    Thank you, Susan. For understanding how the sick media game is played and for refusing to play along. Especially for refusing to have direct communication with your very-comfortable-in-their-studio-seat damn occupiers.

    … Just thinking: maybe Al Jazeera will one day merge with CNN and be called ‘Al CNN’. Might as well already.

    They’ve both kinda had parallel biogs: early-day heroism that soon deteriorated to genteel shmultz.

    • just
      May 19, 2013, 4:29 pm

      I totally agree, Taxi.

      CNN has done their own “purging” when a reporter dared to question the “narrative”.

  10. German Lefty
    May 19, 2013, 4:19 pm

    television shows choose to feature German sons and daughters of Nazis in a discussion expressing differing views on whether or not and/or how Germany should deal with the memory of the genocide their country committed.

    Actually, we do have such political talkshows here. However, we always only discuss the HOW, not the IF. Of course, that’s a good thing. Nevertheless, I really wish there would be more diversity of opinions on these shows. The opinions expressed on such shows do NOT represent the prevalent opinion of the German people. For example, there’s never a talkshow guest who states that redemption must NOT include solidarity with an apartheid state.
    Susan’s situation reminds me a bit of gay people’s fight for marriage equality in Germany. So far, in every German political talkshow about marriage equality there were one or two conservatives who deny same-sex couples equal rights. You know, for reasons of balance. I found these shows unbearable to watch. The gay guests had to sit there and to patiently listen to these people’s “reasons” for why gays don’t deserve to be treated equally, e.g. “Gay marriage destroys families.” It was so degrading that it brought tears to my eyes. At the end of one show, the host read some feedback by viewers: two comments in favour of marriage equality, two comments opposing marriage equality. For reasons of balance, of course. In reality, however, 75% of Germans support marriage equality. You would never know from watching that show. After several of such shows, one gay celebrity complained about this habit of inviting homophobes for reasons of supposed balance. He said that these people should be banned from future talkshows. He pointed out that nobody would think of inviting an anti-Semite when there’s a discussion about Jewish issues or a slavery supporter when discussing the acceptance of black people in society.

    Since we must perpetually put our pain in the form of analogies in order to facilitate empathy, let me do that to start off.

    Yes, gay people in Germany have the same problem. They need to compare homophobia to anti-Semitism in order to show how unjust their lack of equal rights is.

    I do not agree to any form of “conversation” with Israelis about the Nakba, and that must be made clear.

    I have a problem with this view. Apparently, Susan believes that the word “Israeli” is synonymous with “Jewish Zionist Nakba denier”. That’s not the case, of course. Not all Israelis are Jews. Not all Israelis are Zionists. Not all Israelis are Nakba deniers. Throwing all Israelis into the same pot is unfair, to say the least. The citizenship doesn’t say anything about a person. What about Ilan Pappé or Shir Hever? It’s not their fault that they were born in Israel.
    If Susan had said that she doesn’t want to have a conversation with Zionists, then that would have been totally fine by me.

    • German Lefty
      May 19, 2013, 6:08 pm

      Today, I watched a TV interview with Günter Grass. He complained about the very negative reactions by the German media to his poem. The German people, however, responded very positively. Grass said that he received many letters of support and that even today when people see him in the street, they keep thanking him for his poem and for saying the things that everybody thinks.
      In the interview, he also repeated his statements about Israel:
      1) He pointed out the double standard of Western politicians: On the one hand, they demonise Iran for “possibly being a future nuclear power”. On the other hand, they “withhold the fact that Israel is already a nuclear power” and they “make this topic a taboo”. The interviewer intervened and stated that these countries are treated differently because Iran is a dictatorship and Israel a “Western-style democracy”. Grass replied that the first and only country that has ever dropped atomic bombs was a democracy.
      2) Since 1967, Israel has been an “occupying power”, which “violates UN resolutions” and “commits land theft”. “From the start, Israel has wanted to prevent the founding of a Palestinian state.”
      3) Germany delivers “nuclear-capable submarines” to Israel because of “misunderstood redemption”. This must not be! “It contradicts our constitution, our self-image and it also contradicts the idea of redemption.”
      4) Jews moved to Palestine as a “consequence of the Holocaust”. “Palestinians had to suffer because of German crimes. During the founding of Israel, expulsions and persecutions of Palestinians have begun.” (He didn’t use the word “Nakba”. However, his phrasing suggests that he understands that the Nakba is still going on.)
      5) Sadly, Israel’s development boils down to the fact that “Palestinian citizens of Israel are treated as second-class citizens”. “This contradicts Israel’s founding principles.”

      Here’s the interview (in German):
      link to youtube.com
      Grass starts talking about the topic about 20 minutes into the interview.

      • Talkback
        May 20, 2013, 6:34 am

        Grass also said in the same interview that Mordechai Vanunu send him a post card to thank him for his poem. (20:22 – 20:27)

    • Dutch
      May 19, 2013, 7:01 pm

      @ German Lefty

      “I have a problem with this view. Apparently, Susan believes that the word “Israeli” is synonymous with “Jewish Zionist Nakba denier”. (…) Throwing all Israelis into the same pot is unfair, to say the least.”

      Well, I’m sure she knows better, so I guess that’s not the reason of her attitude. But can you imagine she has a problem discussing this with anyone who lives on her land? If that were the case I don’t think that’s unfair at all.

      • Dutch
        May 20, 2013, 12:11 am

        @ German Lefty

        After thinking this over a bit more I have to conclude that I respect Susan’s stand a lot. How can you ‘discuss’ the Nakba with the people that committed it (and/or whose government keeps on doing so)?

        Besides, what is there to ‘discuss’? There is only one version of the Nakba, and that’s the Palestinian version. You don’t ‘discuss’ that, unless you want to suggest there is a legitimate debate going on.

        I noted your mentioning of ‘innocent’ Israeli’s and of the likes of Pappé and Hiver, but from Susan’s POV this has no further meaning. ‘Not on this day’ also goes for them, and I can fully appreciate that.

        The first moment to (be able to) ‘discuss’ the Nakba honestly and successfully is when Palestinians and Israeli’s share the same fate and future within the 1SS. That will be the day the Israeli’s come to terms with their bloody past. Otherwise, there is nothing to discuss.

        • German Lefty
          May 20, 2013, 6:30 am

          Besides, what is there to ‘discuss’?
          Well, there’s a lot to discuss. Look at the topic of the show: “Israel’s fractured memory – Are Israelis ready to include the Palestinian Nakba tragedy in their independence narrative?” The phrasing clearly shows that the Nakba is an actual tragedy and that the Jewish independence is a narrative.
          Think about it: WHY is the Nakba still going on? Because the vast majority of (Jewish) Israelis refuse to acknowledge that the Nakba happened and keeps on happening. This refusal is a problem in itself and must be addressed.

        • German Lefty
          May 20, 2013, 11:25 am

          How can you ‘discuss’ the Nakba with the people that committed it (and/or whose government keeps on doing so)?
          Non-Zionist Israelis can’t be blamed for the actions of the Zionist regime. They are totally innocent. Also, many of them make important contributions to the Palestinian cause.

          I noted your mentioning of ‘innocent’ Israeli’s and of the likes of Pappé and Hever, but from Susan’s POV this has no further meaning.
          Israeli supporters of the Palestinian cause are just as valuable as non-Israeli supporters of the Palestinian cause. Palestinians shouldn’t ignore or reject them.

          ‘Not on this day’ also goes for them, and I can fully appreciate that.
          Which day is better to discuss Israel’s refusal to acknowledge the Nakba than Nakba Day? Palestinians want to return to their homeland, right? Then I think it would be good to use every opportunity to educate people about the Nakba.

      • German Lefty
        May 20, 2013, 6:04 am

        @ Dutch
        I’m sure she knows better.
        Yes, I am sure that she knows better, too. That’s precisely why she shouldn’t simply write “Israelis” as if all Israelis were the same. What about Palestinian Israelis? Why doesn’t she want to discuss the Nakba with Palestinian Israelis? They are as Palestinian as she is.

        But can you imagine she has a problem discussing this with anyone who lives on her land?
        Well, you have to make a distinction. First of all, a lot of Israelis are Palestinians. There’s no reason not to have a discussion with them. Second, there are Jewish Israelis, e.g. Ilan Pappé and Shir Hever, who strongly oppose Zionism and who also live outside of Israel. They don’t belong to the perpetrators. There’s no reason not to have a discussion with them. Third, there are Jewish Israelis who reject Zionism and who live in Israel. They work for human rights organisations, spread the word about Palestinian suffering and try to change the country from within. They can’t be considered perpetrators either. There’s no reason not to have a discussion with them.
        It’s necessary to distinguish between Israelis and Zionists, just like you need to differentiate between Germans and Nazis. You can’t blame people for a crime they didn’t commit and don’t even approve of. Collective punishment is unfair. You have to judge people based on their mindset, not based on their citizenship. Otherwise, you could alienate Israeli supporters of the Palestinian cause.
        By not making a proper distinction between the words “Israelis”, “Zionists”, and “Jews” Susan plays into the hands of Zionists, who have the habit of equating negative citicism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

    • Taxi
      May 19, 2013, 11:40 pm

      “If Susan had said that she doesn’t want to have a conversation with Zionists, then that would have been totally fine by me.”

      Not ‘civilized’ enough for you? Not up to your lofty ‘standard’?

      You wanna make her an ‘antisemite’ (though she more semite than you and me!) cuz she doesn’t wanna talk with “israelis” about the Nakba?

      You don’t think she’s already had probably hundreds of such conversations and just doesn’t the see the point of it no more?

      Get outta town German Lefty!

      • German Lefty
        May 20, 2013, 6:16 am

        Not ‘civilized’ enough for you? Not up to your lofty ‘standard’?
        You wanna make her an ‘antisemite’ cuz she doesn’t wanna talk with “israelis” about the Nakba?

        Taxi, what’s wrong with you? Why are you so aggressive whenever I disagree with you? Please don’t put words in my mouth! I didn’t write and I don’t think that Susan is uncivilised or an anti-Semite. Also, my standard is not lofty. I simply want fairness.

        • Inanna
          May 20, 2013, 8:57 am

          German Lefty, you don’t debate with the thief who has stolen your home from you. While German Jews might be willing to talk about the Holocaust with Germans today who are all anti-Nazi and with a legacy of Germany making reparations etc to Jews and Israel, that is not the case with Israel and Palestine since the Nakba is ongoing, the displacement is ongoing and the injustice is ongoing. The better analogy would be a German Jew being asked to discuss the Holocaust while the Holocaust was happening. Thinking of it that way, maybe now you could see why a Palestinian would not want to debate how Israel deals with the Nakba within its own narrative. Nothing about what Palestinians are currently going through is normal or over and there is no reason to pretend like it actually is normal.

          I must admit, I feel a bit depressed having to explain this to people who are my allies in this struggle.

        • Woody Tanaka
          May 20, 2013, 9:22 am

          “Taxi, what’s wrong with you? Why are you so aggressive whenever I disagree with you? ”

          That’s Taxi’s M.O. Whenever he gets anyone dare disagree with his opinion, he goes into attack mode, because, I guess, he can’t stomach an exchange of ideas and/or can’t keep up.

        • German Lefty
          May 20, 2013, 10:38 am

          @ Inanna

          you don’t debate with the thief who has stolen your home from you.
          I totally agree in that Palestinians shouldn’t have to put up with thiefs, Zionists or Nakba deniers. However, my point is that not all Israelis ARE thiefs, Zionists, or Nakba deniers. Therefore, a general refusal to talk to any Israeli is unfair.
          Also, I think that Palestinians need every help that they can get. That’s why they shouldn’t reject supportive non-Zionist Israelis. Refusing to talk to these supporters on TV appears arrogant and could possibly alienate them. And that’s counter-productive for the Palestinian cause.

          While German Jews might be willing to talk about the Holocaust with Germans today who are all anti-Nazi and with a legacy of Germany making reparations etc to Jews and Israel, that is not the case with Israel and Palestine since the Nakba is ongoing, the displacement is ongoing and the injustice is ongoing.
          I agree. The analogy is flawed, because the current situation is different for each victim group and perpetrator state.

          The better analogy would be a German Jew being asked to discuss the Holocaust while the Holocaust was happening.
          That analogy doesn’t work either. Nazi Germany was a dictatorship, where dissent meant death. Zionist Israel is a flawed democracy for Jews. Also, the Holocaust happened quickly, whereas the Nakba happens slowly and steadily. This changes the situation.

          Maybe now you could see why a Palestinian would not want to debate how Israel deals with the Nakba within its own narrative.
          I am sorry. I don’t see it. There are always two parties involved in a crime. One party is the perpetrator, the other is the victim. Therefore, the Nakba is an Israeli issue as much as it is a Palestinian issue. Jewish Israelis need to come to terms with how their “Jewish state” was founded and is preserved. The Palestinians are trapped and the Jewish Israelis have the power to free them. If we want to end the Nakba, we first need to discuss Israel’s refusal to even acknowledge the Nakba. Then we can move on and conclude that pressure from outside is necessary to end the Nakba. We already know this, but the viewers of that TV show probably don’t.

        • gamal
          May 20, 2013, 10:45 am

          no, no we will all be sitting together, all the varieties of Arabs and Israeli’s, on the corniche very soon, in Jazz cafes hopefully, and how we’ll laugh when we recall the troubles, and westerners, including Germans, whose nations are committing vicious depredations across the globe, right now, this minute, will watch from the terrace with tears of empathetic joy in their cold blue eyes.

          If you dont see that this is about autonomy and the right to speak, Ms Abulhawa is not willing to be an exhibit, this conversation has been had a million times, i recall Michael Ignatiev hosted a 3 to 3 discussion, as an opener, turning to the Palestinians Michael asked “If the Arabs were let in in the 7th century why not the Jews in the 20th century”.
          Not everyone acknowledges the rights of the dominant to dominate, whats to talk about they could just drive down to and film the Nakba, as it is happening, Rheinhart put it best when she described the Israeli provocation of and war against the second intifada as refighting the war of ’48.

          Ms Abulhawa is not preventing a dialogue but calling for an end to this interminable meandering pointless monologue amongst Israeli’s and their American friends directed at Palestinians, they do this because they believe that Palestinians are going crumble in to dust, are an abject crushed people, whose voice can be domesticated and silenced, I guess they could have asked her about the Nakba, and its ongoing iterations and effects.

        • German Lefty
          May 20, 2013, 11:54 am

          Whenever he gets anyone dare disagree with his opinion, he goes into attack mode
          Isn’t Taxi a woman?

        • Taxi
          May 20, 2013, 12:43 pm

          That’s rich coming from you Woody ‘father-has-spoken Tanaka’ – LOL!

          Still sore cuz I exposed your ‘god complex’ last week? Come on dude – you should know not to FORCE your non-religious beliefs on the non-religious :-)

          There’s tons of cr*p that gets thrown at me that I just ignore – mostly for boredom reasons, having argued the same point ooh at least two hundred times.

          If you or German Lefty or even miriam and jon s find me so mindlessly “aggressive” in the playground, perhaps you should complain to the headmasters. I’m sure you’ll all be seen as innocent, well-mannered bloggers who are always right in their ‘arguments’. And me, well I’m just an “aggressive” know-nothing nobody.

          Seriously guys, grow a pair of pear trees or something.

          Long live the “War of Ideas”!

        • Shingo
          May 21, 2013, 12:33 am

          However, my point is that not all Israelis ARE thiefs, Zionists, or Nakba deniers. Therefore, a general refusal to talk to any Israeli is unfair.

          That’s an absurd argument. The fact is that the victims of the Nakba and as such, it’s for them to decide if and on what terms they will discuss the issue with Israelis.

          You don’t find too many German’s invited to Holocaust commemorations do you?

          Refusing to talk to these supporters on TV appears arrogant and could possibly alienate them.

          Oh my, what an amazing observation. The Palestinians have so much to lose by not pandering to Israelis, so let’s not risk them appearing arrogant or alienating Israelis – seeing as so many of them are lining up to help.

          Nazi Germany was a dictatorship, where dissent meant death.

          Yea, let’s pretend tens of thousands of Palestinians have not been murdered for dissenting. Rachel Corrie wasn’t murdered, she just tripped over in front of a passing bulldozer right GL? And Faruk Dogan, he wasn’t executed by the IDF, he just died from an accident while fishing out at sea.

          Also, the Holocaust happened quickly, whereas the Nakba happens slowly and steadily.

          Yeah give the Israelis credit for dragging out the pain over 65 years. Great idea.

          There are always two parties involved in a crime.

          Yeah as there are in a murder and a rape. In those cases, the assailant is not usually given a platform to set the narrative of the debate. They get their day in court and after that, they are locked up and not heard from until they serve their sentence.

          If we want to end the Nakba, we first need to discuss Israel’s refusal to even acknowledge the Nakba.

          You’ve fallen victim to the delusion that Israelis will solve this mess once they figure out the truth. What you can;t get through your head is not that they are not aware of it, it’s that they don’t want to address it, or even worse, they insist it was justified.

          Your precription amounts to giving more alcohol to an alcoholic to help him overcome his addiction.

        • Taxi
          May 21, 2013, 1:59 am

          Shingo,
          “Oh my, what an amazing observation.”

          Man! There is nothing more annoying than a well-intentioned ignoramus! And as usual, Shingo, you are soooo patient with the brained-washed masses!

          How do you do it?!

          I’m in utter mystified admiration!

        • MRW
          May 21, 2013, 2:18 am

          Also, my standard is not lofty. I simply want fairness.

          For Israelis first. The rest take a ticket, hunh GL?

        • German Lefty
          May 21, 2013, 5:33 am

          Shingo, you totally twisted my words, either intentionally or unintentionally. Taxi and you would make a really great couple.

          The fact is that the victims of the Nakba and as such, it’s for them to decide if and on what terms they will discuss the issue with Israelis.
          Of course, it’s up to the victims of the Nakba to decide what they want to discuss with whom and when. I am merely saying that refusing to talk to any Israeli is a bad and unfair decision. Just because I support equal rights for Palestinians doesn’t mean that I agree with every decision that any Palestinian makes.

          You don’t find too many German’s invited to Holocaust commemorations do you?
          Obviously, you have never been to Germany.

          The Palestinians have so much to lose by not pandering to Israelis, so let’s not risk them appearing arrogant or alienating Israelis – seeing as so many of them are lining up to help.
          Don’t put words into my mouth. I didn’t say that Palestinians should pander to (Zionist) Israelis. I said that Palestinians shouldn’t treat their Israeli supporters unfairly, because this could alienate them and possibly also other supporters. Palestinians need every help they can get.

          Yea, let’s pretend tens of thousands of Palestinians have not been murdered for dissenting.
          If Israel were a dictatorship like Nazi Germany, then the 20% Palestinian Israelis wouldn’t be alive anymore. That’s a difference.

          Yeah give the Israelis credit for dragging out the pain over 65 years.
          I didn’t give them credit. I just said that the method of ethnic cleansing is different.

          Yeah as there are in a murder and a rape. In those cases, the assailant is not usually given a platform to set the narrative of the debate.
          You can’t compare the crime of an individual to the crime of an entire state. That’s a totally different situation. Also, I didn’t say and I don’t think that Zionist Israelis should be given a platform to deny or justify the Nakba.

          You’ve fallen victim to the delusion that Israelis will solve this mess once they figure out the truth.
          No, I didn’t. I wrote that “pressure from outside is necessary to end the Nakba.”

        • Taxi
          May 21, 2013, 6:21 am

          German Lefty,

          You’re repeating yourself ad nauseum and it’s not helping your case at all cuz you keeping demonstrating how you completely MISSED the point of Susan’s boycott.

          You keep coming back more rattled, more arrogant, more “aggressive”, insisting that you’re ABSOLUTELY right in your (opinionated) judgement and people (not just Shingo and me but several others too) are just “putting words” in your mouth.

          Poor poor misunderstood you.

          Well how’s about a little intellectual integrity here? How about taking this little thing we call RESPONSIBILITY for your own words? You think you can do that WITHOUT also crowning yourself as Mondoweiss’s conjugal matchmaker too?

          At this stage of the debate, German Lefty, I say take the palm or take the mirror – and for Pete’s sakes stop repeating yourself. We all ALREADY know about “equality”. That’s NOT what we’re discussing here. We’re discussing Susan’s RIGHT to boycott a debate that reeks of injustice in it’s very framework.

          Ponder that. Sleep on it. Don’t knee-jerk-rush to post more of the same today.

        • tree
          May 21, 2013, 6:34 am

          Of course, it’s up to the victims of the Nakba to decide what they want to discuss with whom and when. I am merely saying that refusing to talk to any Israeli is a bad and unfair decision

          You keep misstating her point. Susan ISN’T “refusing to talk to any Israeli”. She’s refusing to go on a program that she believes is putting the wrong emphasis on the problem. She doesn’t have to accept that, and she doesn’t have to be a party to a forum she disagrees with just to “be nice”. And clearly, part of the program was giving a voice to an A–hole who denied the Nakba, and blamed the Palestinians for their own misfortune. If you really believe that people will only believe Jewish Israelis and not Palestinians then it is pointless for her to go on anyway. Let the Jewish Israelis hash it out. She’s not being “”unfair”. She’s make a choice about where and when to spend her time and energy. Having seen the program it seems obvious to me that it would have been a complete waste of her time.

        • German Lefty
          May 21, 2013, 7:10 am

          You’re repeating yourself ad nauseum and it’s not helping your case at all cuz you keeping demonstrating how you completely MISSED the point of Susan’s boycott.
          I need to repeat myself, because you keep misunderstanding me. Susan wrote: “I do not agree to any form of ‘conversation’ with Israelis about the Nakba, and that must be made clear.” These are HER words, not mine. She’s clearly boycotting Israelis because of their citizenship.

        • German Lefty
          May 21, 2013, 7:27 am

          Here’s a German article about George Galloway walking out of a debate when he learnt that the other participant is an Israeli. He said, “I don’t debate with Israelis.” Such things make a really bad impression. He didn’t mind that his opponent was a Zionist. He objected to his Israeli citizenship.
          link to spiegel.de
          link to guardian.co.uk

        • Shingo
          May 21, 2013, 7:42 am

          He didn’t mind that his opponent was a Zionist. He objected to his Israeli citizenship.

          Try reading your own links.

          “When the Respect MP for Bradford West learned that Eylon Aslan-Levy, a student opposing it, was an Israeli citizen, he leaves, saying ‘I don’t debate with Israelis’.”

          Aslan-Levy wasn’t just an Israeli – he was an opponent of Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank.

          Seriously GL, you are simply digging yourself into a deeper and deeper hole.

        • Taxi
          May 21, 2013, 7:55 am

          German Lefty,
          “Such things make a really bad impression.”

          On YOU, lady! On YOU! Not others.

          YOU ARE NOT THE LEADER OR THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WORLD!!! You do NOT speak on EVERYONE’S behalf!! Not EVERYBODY lives by your personal standards of (dis)cognition!

          “She’s clearly boycotting Israelis because of their citizenship.”

          Oh for the love of Mary there you go again! You wanna also call the rape victim ‘prejudiced’ cuz they’re not interested in debating the trauma of rape with their rapist?!

          Do you actually understand the concept of ‘context’?!

          Apparently NOT!

        • Woody Tanaka
          May 21, 2013, 4:21 pm

          Galloway was absolutely in the right. Israelis, save those actively working for Palestinian freedom, and zionists, should treated like pariahs and all contact, of any kind, should be eliminated.

        • German Lefty
          May 22, 2013, 5:49 am

          Aslan-Levy wasn’t just an Israeli – he was an opponent of Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank.
          I know that! However, Galloway only left the debate because Aslan-Levy was an Israeli. (“I don’t debate with Israelis.”) That Aslan-Levy also was a Zionist, was totally irrelevant to Galloway’s leaving. The reason makes all the difference.
          Rejecting someone because of his political views is okay.
          Rejecting someone because of his citizenship is NOT okay.

        • German Lefty
          May 22, 2013, 5:52 am

          Israelis, save those actively working for Palestinian freedom, and zionists, should treated like pariahs and all contact, of any kind, should be eliminated.
          Woody, you use the qualifier “save those actively working for Palestinian freedom”. Susan didn’t.

        • German Lefty
          May 22, 2013, 5:57 am

          You wanna also call the rape victim ‘prejudiced’ cuz they’re not interested in debating the trauma of rape with their rapist?!
          Nope. You don’t get it. If the rape victim rejected people simply because they happen to have the same citizenship as the rapist, then that wouldn’t be fair.

        • Shingo
          May 22, 2013, 6:01 am

          Woody, you use the qualifier “save those actively working for Palestinian freedom”. Susan didn’t.

          Would have made no difference. The panel included a Nakba denier, so there were no Israelis actively working for Palestinian freedom

        • Shingo
          May 22, 2013, 7:27 am

          If the rape victim rejected people simply because they happen to have the same citizenship as the rapist, then that wouldn’t be fair.

          No, your analogy doesn’t apply. Israeli Jews are responsible for the Nakba. The benefited from it and they elected leaders that continue to perpetrate it every day.

        • eljay
          May 22, 2013, 8:10 am

          >> Rejecting someone because of his citizenship is NOT okay.

          German Lefty:
          - I agree.
          - IMO – and FW(little)IW – you’re making the better arguments.

          :-)

      • Taxi
        May 20, 2013, 7:13 am

        German Lefty,

        I think Susan knows better than you and I how to handle zionists/israelis/jews when it comes to the Nakba. She’s right to boycott the ‘discussion’ cuz the only thing that needs to be discussed with israelis/zionists/jews re the Nakba is the reparation that’s waaaaaaay overdue. The idea of ‘debating’ it is ridiculous when there’s a giant mountain of evidence already against the zionists/israelis/jews.

        Yeah sure it can get a little rough and tumble around here – you shoulda been around when the moderating rules were looser – oh how I miss them good ol’ days!! My advice is to grow thicker skin if you plan on being around the I/P conflict – you’re gonna need it. And I mean it when I say: I actually like you, despite our very small differences.

        • German Lefty
          May 20, 2013, 9:49 am

          I think Susan knows better than you and I how to handle zionists/israelis/jews when it comes to the Nakba.
          Throwing all Israelis (or all citizens of any other country) into the same pot is unfair. That’s a fact! Just because Susan is Palestinian doesn’t mean that she should be allowed to get away with such an unfair generalisation. That would be kind of like saying that “the Jewish state” should be allowed to get away with ethnic cleansing because Jews were victims. Unfair is unfair.

          My advice is to grow thicker skin if you plan on being around the I/P conflict.
          Well, I am sure that you would complain too if some other commenter simply put words into your mouth that you didn’t say.

          I actually like you, despite our very small differences.
          If you really like me, then please do me the favour and stop being so aggressive to me. Give me the benefit of the doubt when we have disagreements. My intentions are good. Save your aggressions for the Zionists.
          Although I don’t have an affinity for vehicles, I do like you too, Taxi.

        • Danaa
          May 20, 2013, 1:39 pm

          Taxi:

          oh how I miss them good ol’ days!!

          Me too….even with them old insufferable trolls. Some good fun was had, great stories were told (including yours, Taxi) and much could be learnt for those willing to plow through the wilderness, shovel at hand, pearl bag at the ready. But then, as a tangent afficionado and megilah spinner, I would say that, eh?

        • Taxi
          May 21, 2013, 1:34 am

          Danaa,

          Very few things are more thrilling than ‘pushing the envelope’!

          In the old days, I used to do some fun acrobatic blogging at night and wake up in the morning with the electrifying thrill of NOT KNOWING whether I’d been banned for my posts or not! Loved that feeling hahahaha – it was like extreme sports for the moral mind!

          ‘Pushing the envelope’ is necessary to widen the horizon of thought. You, Danna, being a unique insider israeli, and a fine literati to boot, yeah you were, and still most certainly are, a vital voice for the cause of justice, a muscular frontliner on the battlefield of “The War of Ideas”.

          Thank you for what you do, Danaa.

          p.s. wondering what will happen to the mondo blog gems in a hundred years? There sure is enough collective material there for a rigorous manifesto – LOL!

        • MRW
          May 21, 2013, 2:22 am

          Throwing all Israelis (or all citizens of any other country) into the same pot is unfair. That’s a fact! Just because Susan is Palestinian doesn’t mean that she should be allowed to get away with such an unfair generalisation.

          Unfairness is an applicable charge when you have a basis of justice to refer to. Newsflash There ain’t any here and that is what Abulhawa is reacting to.

        • MRW
          May 21, 2013, 2:43 am

          p.s. wondering what will happen to the mondo blog gems in a hundred years?

          Once a year the entire website/archives should be sent to some DVD creator place. It’s a no-brainer operation. Mondoweiss FTPs the site data, gives us the name of the vendor, and we take it from there. We order a copy for whatever the DVD maker wants to charge (provided it is only put on good reliable media: link to digitalfaq.com and the forums there). Then we could donate the previous year’s version to a local high school or public library branches. I, personally, would call it The History of Israel Blog on the disc sleeve. A few thousand deposited quietly around the country is a quiet subversive act.

        • German Lefty
          May 21, 2013, 5:42 am

          Unfairness is an applicable charge when you have a basis of justice to refer to. Newsflash There ain’t any here and that is what Abulhawa is reacting to.
          Palestinians demand fair treatment in form of equal rights. People who demand fairness from others should lead by example and not treat others unfairly. Otherwise, they are hypocrites and lose credibility.

        • Shingo
          May 21, 2013, 6:10 am

          Throwing all Israelis (or all citizens of any other country) into the same pot is unfair.

          No it’s not. Israel is a democracy, meaning that the leadership and Israel’s policies are the result of a majority mandate. That makes them all part of the pot.

        • German Lefty
          May 21, 2013, 6:54 am

          Israel is a democracy, meaning that the leadership and Israel’s policies are the result of a majority mandate. That makes them all part of the pot.
          Don’t you understand the difference between a MAJORITY of people and ALL people? Are Palestinian Israelis, for example, perpetrators of the Nakba, too? Because they are Israelis?

        • Shingo
          May 21, 2013, 7:04 am

          Are Palestinian Israelis, for example, perpetrators of the Nakba, too?

          Don’t be stupid. They live under an apartheid system.

        • German Lefty
          May 22, 2013, 6:01 am

          Don’t be stupid. They live under an apartheid system.

          You were the one who claimed that throwing all Israelis into the same pot is totally okay. You wrote: “Israel is a democracy, meaning that the leadership and Israel’s policies are the result of a majority mandate. That makes them all part of the pot.” That would include Palestinian Israelis, too.

        • Danaa
          May 23, 2013, 5:52 pm

          Good idea, MRW. I wish something like this would be followed up on. I do worry about what might happen to many sites’ archives once the PTBs get their plan going. OK, so I had a nightmare last night, in which the entire digital archives the world over went poof! overnight. Blogs, posts, comments, paul Krugman’s best works, everything. In the dream I was really upset that I didn’t get around to saving a couple of my own comments and didn’t PDF all of Greenwald’s works. That plus some book review i really wanted to get back to, now all gone and I can’t remember the name of the book. I am still trying to work out what the dream was all about.

        • MRW
          May 24, 2013, 3:15 am

          Danaa, the dream was telling you to backup your drives. ;-)

        • Citizen
          May 24, 2013, 3:23 am

          Or maybe, if you are rather remote or estranged from somebody you feel you should not be, so if either he/she or you died, or got really sick or hurt, you would have last dying regrets?

    • Shmuel
      May 20, 2013, 2:43 am

      Susan believes that the word “Israeli” is synonymous with “Jewish Zionist Nakba denier”… What about Ilan Pappé or Shir Hever?

      Asking Abulhawa to appear together with a representative of the Jewish Agency, on Nakba Day, is, in itself an obscenity. I’m not sure about Geva, but Tarachansky and Bronstein would certainly be in the Pappé-Hever category. That wasn’t Abulhawa’s point, however. Her problem with the show was that it sought to present the Nakba as an Israeli issue — with a Palestinian present “for balance”. As sympathetic as some of those Israelis may be, it is a twisted, offensive way of approaching the Nakba (anywhere but within Israeli society itself, where people like Tarachansky and Bronstein have their work cut out for them).

      As Abulhawa put it, in her closing paragraph:

      The only contribution that Israelis should make to the Nakba discourse is an unqualified, unmitigated apology, followed by a conversation about restitution, repatriation, and compensation. That’s it! Inviting a public conversation with Israelis to discuss whether their country should recognize our humanity is offensive and hurtful as we gather to remember and grieve; and Palestinians and Palestinian supporters should not stand for it.

      • Inanna
        May 20, 2013, 8:59 am

        Exactly.

      • German Lefty
        May 20, 2013, 10:55 am

        Her problem with the show was that it sought to present the Nakba as an Israeli issue — with a Palestinian present “for balance”. As sympathetic as some of those Israelis may be, it is a twisted, offensive way of approaching the Nakba
        There are two ways to approach the Nakba: from the perspective of the victims and from the perspective of the perpetrators. How do the perpetrators deal with their crime? How can we make the perpetrators acknowledge and amend their crime? These are important questions. Of course, the discussion must be about the HOW, not the IF. Therefore, Zionist Israelis should be excluded. Non-Zionist Israelis, however, should be welcome.

        • Shmuel
          May 20, 2013, 11:31 am

          GL,

          I think there are a few issues here, and the division into “victims” and “perpetrators” doesn’t quite do the trick.

          First of all, this particular discussion seems to have included an element of “if” (I think it’s safe to assume that the Jewish Agency rep. wasn’t there to propose ways of implementing ROR) – which you agree is not acceptable.

          But there is also a very serious question of agency here.

          As interesting as the struggle over the Nakba (including “if”) within Jewish Israeli society may be, it is also a distraction and an “appropriation” of Palestinian experience and suffering by the very privileged group that includes the perpetrators (my group, as it happens), which has not yet accepted (as a group) the facts of the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine and taken responsibility for them and which, infuriatingly, is given greater weight (or equal weight, in certain “balanced” forums). That is the “conversation” that Al-Jazeera wanted Susan Abulhawa to take part in.

          Why should a Palestinian play that game? It is disempowering and humiliating – particularly on or around Nakba Day. The focus of the programme was the “debate” within Israel, and a Palestinian – the victim, the protagonist of the struggle for justice – was invited as window dressing, to salve some journalist or producer’s conscience and give an appearance of “balance”!

          Lia Tarachansky and Eitan Bronstein are wonderful people who do great work, but the Nakba is not about them, and a Palestinian should never be asked to politely participate in an essentially Israeli discussion about Palestinian suffering.

        • Philip Weiss
          May 20, 2013, 11:44 am

          I should have echoed Shmuel’s point about Lia Tarachansky and Eitan Bronstein in the post. Lia is a dear friend of mine, and a wonderful journalist.
          (Myself I am more agnostic as to the larger question; in the US context, many fora are unbalanced, and yet I urge friends to accept some of those invitations to participate)

        • German Lefty
          May 20, 2013, 11:52 am

          As interesting as the struggle over the Nakba (including “if”) within Jewish Israeli society may be, it is also a distraction and an “appropriation” of Palestinian experience and suffering by the very privileged group that includes the perpetrators (my group, as it happens), which has not yet accepted (as a group) the facts of the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine and taken responsibility for them and which, infuriatingly, is given greater weight (or equal weight, in certain “balanced” forums). That is the “conversation” that Al-Jazeera wanted Susan Abulhawa to take part in.
          I agree with that.

          Lia Tarachansky and Eitan Bronstein are wonderful people who do great work, but the Nakba is not about them
          I don’t agree with that. Israelis are as much involved in the Nakba as Palestinians, just in a different way. Non-Zionist Jewish Israelis are victims of the Zionist regime, too. The Nakba is committed in their name against their will. It’s not their fault that they happen to belong to the privileged group. They want equality, just like Palestinians. However, non-Zionist Jewish Israelis can use their privileged position to help the Palestinians. You also have to consider that Jewish Israelis enjoy greater credibility here because they are viewed as westerners. When I started dealing with the conflict, I would not have believed a Palestinian who described the Nakba. I needed to hear it from a Jew, preferably an Israeli Jew.

        • Shmuel
          May 20, 2013, 12:35 pm

          You also have to consider that Jewish Israelis enjoy greater credibility here because they are viewed as westerners. When I started dealing with the conflict, I would not have believed a Palestinian who described the Nakba. I needed to hear it from a Jew, preferably an Israeli Jew.

          That’s the reality and it’s horribly wrong. I see no reason why Palestinians should just accept it.

          However, non-Zionist Jewish Israelis can use their privileged position to help the Palestinians.

          As long as they remember that it is a privilege and an undeserved one at that.

          Israelis are as much involved in the Nakba as Palestinians, just in a different way. Non-Zionist Jewish Israelis are victims of the Zionist regime, too. The Nakba is committed in their name against their will. It’s not their fault that they happen to belong to the privileged group. They want equality, just like Palestinians.

          The “different way” makes all the difference. I want equality, just like the Palestinians, but my privilege (whether I like it or not, reject it or not) is the privilege of the coloniser, and I am aware of the fact that whenever I speak on behalf of Palestinians – no matter what I say – I do so as a member of the group that has taken everything from them, including their voices.

        • German Lefty
          May 20, 2013, 2:16 pm

          That’s the reality and it’s horribly wrong. I see no reason why Palestinians should just accept it.
          I agree. I didn’t say that Palestinians should accept it. But they can’t do anything to change it. They need non-Zionist Jews to get their message across and to build trust. Also, refusing to participate in a TV discussion with any Israeli or Jew will just make them unlikeable. Besides, the Nakba discussion will then possibly take place without ANY Palestinian. That would be even worse.
          People who demand equality (i.e. Palestinians) shouldn’t discriminate against their supporters based on citizenship (i.e. Israeli) or ethnicity (i.e. Jew). This sends a totally wrong message.
          I agree with the rest of your post.

        • Annie Robbins
          May 21, 2013, 12:49 am

          You also have to consider that Jewish Israelis enjoy greater credibility here because they are viewed as westerners.

          they don’t ‘enjoy’ greater credibility with me. why should i look thru your demented glasses gl?

          have you even read The meaning of solidarity in the Palestine movement? get w/the program dude, you’re sounding very old school.

        • tree
          May 21, 2013, 2:35 am

          GL

          I agree. I didn’t say that Palestinians should accept it. But they can’t do anything to change it. They need non-Zionist Jews to get their message across and to build trust. Also, refusing to participate in a TV discussion with any Israeli or Jew will just make them unlikeable. Besides, the Nakba discussion will then possibly take place without ANY Palestinian. That would be even worse.

          Your paragraph above does say that they should accept it. Can’t you see that? And I think you are missing the point. Susan is obviously objecting to the form and content of the AJ discussion, and not, as you claim ,”discriminating against supporters based on citizenship and ethnicity”. You don’t seem to understand the concept behind “permission to narrate”.

          I watched the program and a couple of things stood out to me. First off, Bar-Yoshafat was identified only as a lawyer, with no mention of his connection to the Jewish Agency (whose policy of expelling Arab non-Jews from their land goes back 100 years), or his connection to the WJC. Second the show was too short, and too choppy, going from guest to guest, to really provide any useful information. And three, Bar-Yoshafat in his “one important point” managed to deny the Nakba, spout 5 or 6 other Israeli myths, connect the Palestinians with the Nazis ( and anti-semitism) profess that the Jews were of course the real victims here, and claim that his name, Bar-Yoshafat, proved he had a long connection with the “land of Israel” . My suspicion is that either he or his parents or grandparents changed their names, much as Netanyahu’s family did. According to his bio both sets of grandparents were Holocaust survivors.
          Bar-Yoshafat’s “one point” was the last substantial comment made in the program, with no chance for the well-deserved rebuttal to his heaping scoop of hasbara. I didn’t stick around for the “after-show”. It seemed pointless.

          I think Susan was correct to avoid the show. It shed no light, and I see no reason why she had to be subjected to Nakba denial from a Jewish Agency spokesperson, no less, for a program that went nowhere.

          Also, I found it “interesting” that it seemed to imply that “Israelis” is another word for “Jews”. They weren’t talking about how all Israelis view the Nakba, just how the Jewish ones view it.

        • German Lefty
          May 21, 2013, 5:50 am

          they don’t ‘enjoy’ greater credibility with me. why should i look thru your demented glasses gl?
          Annie, these are NOT my glasses anymore. These are the glasses of people who still need to learn about the Nakba.

        • German Lefty
          May 21, 2013, 6:36 am

          @ tree
          Your paragraph above does say that they should accept it. Can’t you see that?
          Well, I can see that this particular paragraph is a little ambiguous. Anyway, I think that Susan was right to avoid the show. However, that’s not because the other guests were Israelis, but because some of the other guests were Zionists (i.e. Nakba deniers or justifiers). That’s a difference.

          And I think you are missing the point. Susan is obviously objecting to the form and content of the AJ discussion, and not, as you claim ,”discriminating against supporters based on citizenship and ethnicity”. You don’t seem to understand the concept behind “permission to narrate”.
          I don’t think that I miss the point. There are two issues: I made clear that I agree with Susan in her refusal to talk to Zionist Israelis about if the Nakba is a crime at all. However, Susan also refuses to talk to non-Zionist Israelis about how the Nakba can be stopped. She wrote: “I do not agree to any form of ‘conversation’ with Israelis about the Nakba, and that must be made clear.” She clearly rejects a discussion with her Israeli supporters, too. Solely because of their citizenship. Also, she ignores the existence of Palestinian Israelis. She equates “Israelis” with “Jewish Israelis”.

          Second the show was too short, and too choppy, going from guest to guest, to really provide any useful information.
          I, too, watched the show and was disappointed. I prefer one-on-one interviews where each guest is given sufficient time to explain their point of view and reasoning. I also like the kind of debates in the Bundestag where every participant can speak for 5 minutes or so without being interrupted.

          Bar-Yoshafat in his “one important point” managed to deny the Nakba, spout 5 or 6 other Israeli myths, connect the Palestinians with the Nazis (and anti-semitism) profess that the Jews were of course the real victims here, and claim that his name, Bar-Yoshafat, proved he had a long connection with the “land of Israel”.
          Yes, that made me angry, too.

        • Donald
          May 22, 2013, 8:19 am

          German Lefty–I agree with many of your points, but given how crappy the show apparently was from both your account and tree’s you’ve picked a very poor example on which to argue for them. The show sounds like it was a complete waste of time. Besides, the choice of whether or not to participate in a given forum is a personal one. If a Palestinian had wanted to participate, that’s fine. If not, that’s fine too. I agree with you that for people who still naively believe the usual hasbara one needs to have anti-Zionist Israelis to give more (completely undeserved) credibility, but then why object if a Palestinian doesn’t want to play that game? Let the anti-Zionist Israelis carry the argument forward for people like that.

          A better example to illustrate your position would be this very blog or any blog not run by Palestinians and where Zionists are allowed to contribute in the comment section. Should this place even exist? You think so and I think so. Should Palestinians participate? It’s up to them. I also find it interesting that some want complete freedom of speech here, which means that the comment section could become flooded with Nakba deniers (and in fact probably would, given that the blog is now fairly prominent for people who follow this issue online). Then there would be even less reason for someone with Susan’s principles to participate.

        • tree
          May 22, 2013, 12:46 pm

          However, Susan also refuses to talk to non-Zionist Israelis about how the Nakba can be stopped. She wrote: “I do not agree to any form of ‘conversation’ with Israelis about the Nakba, and that must be made clear.” She clearly rejects a discussion with her Israeli supporters, too. Solely because of their citizenship.

          I’ll try one more time to make my point, and I think my point is Albuhawa’s point in this case, and then I’ll give up trying to get you to understand that you are making faulty assumptions. Albuhawa refused an invitation to go on this show, or participate in a similar forum to have a “conversation” about how Israelis view the Nakba. She hasn’t refused to ever talk to Israelis of any stripe, or even refused to ever be part of a forum in which Israelis are also present, as you are assuming. Here’s a forum from 2010 in which she participated with Miko Peled and Nurit Peled Elhanan, two well known Jewish Israelis:

          link to newsfeed.justworldbooks.com

          It was even billed as a conversation, which I’m sure it was.

          You still seem to be misunderstanding what she said in refusing to appear on what you now admit was a useless forum, where Nakba denial of various sorts was a part of the “conversation”. You are taking her refusal to appear on such a forum about Jewish Israeli acceptance or non-acceptance of a historical fact and claiming from it that she just flat out refuses to talk to any Israelis. That is not what she said, nor is it what she does.

          This is an Emily Litella moment for you. (In case you don’t know the reference, here’s a clip from an old US Saturday Night Live program.)

          link to bing.com

        • Citizen
          May 24, 2013, 3:31 am

          @ German Lefty
          When you first started dealing with the conflict, why was it you would not have believed any Palestinian describing the conflict? And, conversely, why was it, back at the time, you would have “needed to hear it from a Jew”? Have you thought about this difference in your former mindset? Where did that come from? Just curious.

        • German Lefty
          May 24, 2013, 7:35 am

          @ Citizen
          Why was it you would not have believed any Palestinian describing the conflict? And, conversely, why was it you would have “needed to hear it from a Jew”?
          Well, I have always wanted Palestinians to have equal rights, but nevertheless I didn’t quite trust them. German media always interpret anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism and often present Palestinians as rocket-firing terrorists. Israel, however, is portrayed as Germany’s ally and as a Western-style democracy that makes a few mistakes with the Palestinians. (The existence of Palestinian Israelis is ignored.) From the way the conflict is presented, one would have to conclude that both parties are equally guilty. So, German media grant Israeli Jews more credibility than they deserve and Palestinians less credibility than they deserve. Most negative criticism of Israel comes in form of an interview with an Israeli Jew. That’s what I was used to hearing. If a Palestinian had negatively criticised Israel, then I would have had the desire to verify the correctness of that information by asking an Israeli Jew. A Jew wouldn’t bash “the Jewish state” if it weren’t true.

        • Citizen
          May 24, 2013, 8:06 am

          @ German Lefty
          Danke schon
          It’s not very different here in USA.

  11. DICKERSON3870
    May 19, 2013, 4:34 pm

    RE: “Here is the Al Jazeera show as it ran. . . [I]t featured four Israelis and one Palestinian: journalist Lia Tarachansky, filmmaker Amos Geva, Ran Bario Bar-Yoshafat of the Jewish Agency. . .”

    SOME BACKGROUND ON THE JEWISH AGENCY AND WHAT IT’S UP TO (CERTAINLY NOT SUPPORTING “THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH”):
    “Houston Jewish Federation, Jewish Agency Fund Im Tirzu’s Assault on Israeli Universities” ~ by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/17/10

    [EXCERPTS] What do the Houston Jewish federation, the Jewish Agency, John Hagee, and Im Tirzu have in common? They’re all either directly or indirectly funding a major assault on academic freedom on Israeli campuses. . .
    . . . The Israeli finance website, Calcalist, reports that John Hagee donated $120,000 to Im Tirzu in 2009 through the Jewish Agency. The money had been transferred to the [Jewish] Agency by the Houston Jewish Federation as part of an overall $5-million gift. $3-million of that came from [John Hagee's] CUFI and went towards its largely pro-settler Israel philanthropy. Hagee passed the gift through the [Jewish] Agency in order to qualify for a U.S. tax deduction. . .
    . . . A second article in the Calcalist makes this important point:
    “The Jewish Agency supports organization’s from the Israeli lunatic right, which are attempting to destroy the values of academic freedom in Israeli higher education.”

    The [Jewish] Agency, a body whose mission it is to bring new immigrants to settle in the Holy Land, instead transfers very large sums to poisonous organizations which seek legitimacy in attacking academics who’ve actually done something in their lives, having not just written propaganda exposes divorced from any reality.
    The columnist concludes by noting the absolute insanity of the Jewish Agency providing funding to an organization that wishes to unleash the thought police on Israeli universities. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

  12. Daniel Rich
    May 19, 2013, 5:57 pm

    Sorry, didn’t know where to put this.

    “Two widely supported bills would expand sanctions beyond financial and energy sectors, and urge support for Israel in any confrontation with Tehran.” LINK

  13. Shingo
    May 19, 2013, 7:06 pm

    While I respect Susan Abulhawa and am 100% in agreement with her, I don’t think she’s a very good spokesperson on this issue. I saw her in a recent debate on RT, and she gets too easily rattled and irrational to argue her pints effectively. She comes unstuck too easily.

    To argue this topic effectively, one has to be able to remain cool headed, listen to the Hasbara from the other side, and nick the talking points off one at a time – the way Fink used to do with such skill.

    • Justpassingby
      May 20, 2013, 8:17 am

      I havent seen Susan in a debate but you are spot on Finkelstein, I guess thats a great reason why he’s popular.

    • Donald
      May 20, 2013, 10:10 am

      “I saw her in a recent debate on RT, and she gets too easily rattled and irrational to argue her pints effectively. She comes unstuck too easily.

      To argue this topic effectively, one has to be able to remain cool headed, listen to the Hasbara from the other side, and nick the talking points off one at a time – the way Fink used to do with such skill.”

      Sounds like me-I get unstuck pretty easily in real life. It’s very hard to listen to someone spouting utter BS and not lose it, for some of us anyway. In part that’s because I might have read material by Israeli authors no less that blow away all the usual hasbara, but I don’t have it on hand. So they just deny it. That’s also come up in arguments about US foreign policy.

      Chomsky has talked about the tyranny of concision or something like that–the idea is that if you repeat the conventional wisdom you can do it in a few lines, because everyone knows what you’re talking about and there’s a whole mass of assumptions and beliefs you can take for granted in your listeners, but if you say something that is true but shocking and out of the mainstream then you have to explain yourself in great detail, talking really fast to get in all the necessary information and then you come across as a crazy person. Or else you talk at normal speed, but then you don’t provide all the necessary background, so what you say just seems outlandish and again you sound like a crazy person. Some of us are acutely aware of how this works and so have trouble staying calm. Norman Finkelstein is a rare breed, and even so, in front of a hostile or even just innocently ignorant audience he is likely to sound crazy.

      • Shingo
        May 20, 2013, 10:28 am

        Sounds like me-I get unstuck pretty easily in real life. It’s very hard to listen to someone spouting utter BS and not lose it, for some of us anyway. In part that’s because I might have read material by Israeli authors no less that blow away all the usual hasbara, but I don’t have it on hand.

        We can all get unstuck when discussing these topics Donald, but if you’re appearing on live television, surely you would prepare for it. That includes having the notes on hand to slap down the talking points.

        I also recall Chomsky’s point about conventional wisdom being easily repeated in a few lines. That is a very powerful weapon and a very difficult one to combat.

        As they say, the lie makes it’s way half way around the world before the truth has put it’s boots on. And yes, debunking those lies takes a lot more time. We see that every day in the comment section where hasbara one liners are refuted by a paragraph or two.

        In the case of Abulhawa, she sometimes gets overly aggressive out of the injustice of it all. The one time she got it right was debating Desrshowitz on stage, where she was able to remain calm and poised and he utterly lost it.

        She should review how that worked so powerfully for her.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 21, 2013, 12:40 am

      omg, you’ve got to be kidding me. abulhawa is a dragonslayer.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      rattled? i don’t think so

      link to pulsemedia.org

      and excuse me but she’s cooler than a cucumber.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      i’ve heard he speak several times. maybe she was off on RT, but she’s an awesome presenter/speaker.

      • Shingo
        May 21, 2013, 1:19 am

        You have a point Annie,

        She is tough and combative, and she has had some great moments, but for someone who lives and sleeps this topic, during debates, I find that she comes across as unprepared and very reactive.

        She gives a great speech, she’s intelligent and telegenic.

        Yes, she whipped Dersh’s butt at the Boston Book Festival, but by an large, she comes across as simply the opposite number of the right wing Zionist nut cases. I think Palestinian advocates really have to up their game in these debates. Repeating the mantra about international law, without specifics is futile, because the Zios come back with the same claim.

        I think apart from Dersh and Abunima, the only really effective debater is Max Blumenthal.

        Maybe it’s just me Annie, but I personally find it hard to watch her in debates, because she undermines herself and squanders a lot of great opportunities. She has become a spokesperson for the Palestinians and I hope she learns with time how to become more effective and learn how to better reach the audience.

        Here’s an example. In just a few sentences of his opening remarks, Michael Omer-Man (Jerusalm Post) makes a stronger case (in her favor) than Abulhawa makes throughout the whole debate.
        link to blip.tv

        • Annie Robbins
          May 21, 2013, 2:22 am

          umm, sorry shingo, because i usually agree with you. but i just watched that video and i think abulhawa shows remarkable restraint. omer-man didn’t even enter the fray when that guy claimed there were less than 200,000 people there. omer man was reasonable and etc. but he didn’t step in any sh*t. he didn’t call anyone on any lies. susie did. and she didn’t go crazy or anything remotely like that.

        • Shingo
          May 21, 2013, 2:35 am

          I respect that Annie,

          We both know Abulhawa is right, but I personally think she needs to get more specific with her facts. When anyone makes a broad reference to international law, it simply falls flat – I find even myself rolling my eyes when I hear it.

          What I liked about Omer-Man was that he simply pointed out the fact that the Israeli Supeme Court recognized the occupation under the Geneva Accords. In one simple sentence he destroyed Marcus’s argument.

          Abulhawa could have been so much more effective had she just pointed out that all 15 justices of the ICJ rejected the arguments made by the Levy Report and that the claim that Israel has a right to remain in the West Bank until there is a peace agreement was rejected by the ACJ and Mitchell Report, as well as the fact that Israel withdrew from the Sinai before there was a peace treaty.

          She could have pointed out that Jordan did not attack Israel but responded under the defense pact with Egypt, much as the allies did in WWII and that no one agrees the blockade was a justification for war.

          Those are the kinds of specific arguments that cut through hasbara. Emotionalism simply doesn’t work in this forum.

  14. Justpassingby
    May 20, 2013, 1:38 am

    Sad but not surprising, Qatar and Israel are allied.
    Besides doesnt Haim Saban a pro-israel egyptian-jew, own a considerable part of Al Jazeera?

  15. pabelmont
    May 24, 2013, 7:54 am

    “Same basket?” I’m not sure in which regards anyone is putting all Israelis in the same basket. certainly, Israelis are not and never were all the same. In an extreme example, the Palestinians among them are not the same as the right-wing military leaders or the settler zealots. The Jewish doings of 1948 were carried out differently by different Israelis. And so on.

    HOWEVER, AND THAT SAID, as to BDS, the target of BDS should (in my view) be the entirety of Israel, all its people, businesses, and institutions, because the Israeli people alone (in its democratic governance) have the power to turn things around — the power to respond to BDS by turning things around. And BDS aimed at all Israel should be a teaching moment so that any Israelis (and their American friends) who really don’t know what their government and army and settlers are doing in their name will have a chance to learn and to reflect on it. So my motto is that in Israel, as in USA and elsewhere, “all are responsible even if only some are guilty.”