There Are No Facts: Excerpt from Max Blumenthal’s ‘Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel’

Israel/Palestine
on 208 Comments

The following is an excerpt from the book “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” by Max Blumenthal. You can buy the book here.

There Are No Facts

On December 2, 2010, a burning tree trunk fell into a bus full of Israeli Prison Service cadets on their way to Damon Prison, a detention center described by female Palestinian inmates as “the worst jail ever.” Forty of the cadets were immediately killed by the felled tree, marking the opening chapter of a rapidly unfolding national tragedy that generated an outpouring of anti-government rage that had rarely been seen in Israel. Within four days, hundreds of thousands of trees planted along the Carmel Mountains had been turned to ash, while the outskirts of Haifa were engulfed in smoke. More than 12,300 acres were burned in the Mount Carmel area, a devastating swath of destruction in a country the size of New Jersey.

In characteristically apocalyptic language, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the fire as “a catastrophe the likes of which we have never known.” A prison guard who visited the site of the bus accident collapsed in his friend’s arms. “It’s worse than a terrorist attack in Gaza,” he cried. “They just laid there on the floor, dozens of people, and there was nothing to do.”

Blumenthal-GoliathBut once Israelis progressed beyond grief, they quickly turned their anger on their leaders. At a memorial for the prison guards, Netanyahu was heckled by dozens of infuriated mourners, who interrupted him with insults so many times he was unable to finish his eulogy. At one point, the prime minister’s bodyguards were forced to shield him when the mourners surged forward, threatening to attack him. The partner of Ahuva Tomer, the Haifa police chief who died in the fire, stood before the vigil and demanded that Interior Minister Eli Yishai immediately leave. As mourners stormed out in anger, the ceremony was only able to proceed once the crowd was informed that Yishai had left.

Netanyahu’s government had confronted the fire with complete passivity. The day after the conflagration began to spread, he informed the country, “We do not have what it takes to put out the fire, but help is on the way.” Having prioritized the procurement of advanced military gear and occupation maintenance over the country’s infrastructure, Netanyahu was powerless in the face of natural disaster.

Forced into a corner, Netanyahu begged for assistance from his counterpart in Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the man he had accused during the flotilla imbroglio of collaborating with al-Qaeda and Hamas in Israel’s destruction. Next, Netanyahu beseeched the Palestinian Authority, another entity he frequently demonized, for firefighting assistance. Having spent years carping about the whole world being against Israel, Netanyahu found that even those he had labeled as murderous terrorists were willing to help. And his government repaid them with humiliation and disrespect. After the PA sent its most able team to help snuff the blaze, most of its firefighters were refused entry to Israel to attend a ceremony organized to honor their contributions, forcing Israeli officials to cancel the ceremony altogether. In the words of Arab member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi, the incident was “not just a march of folly or a theater of the absurd but stupidity and the normative lordly attitude of the occupation regime.”

The bulk of Israeli public anger focused on Yishai, the Shas leader who headed the Interior Ministry. It was up to Yishai to ensure the viability and preparedness of Israel’s firefighting corps, however, he seemed far more interested in diverting public money into the settlements, especially those that were home to his religious Mizrahi constituents. As he declared in June 2009, “I promise to use my ministry, all the resources at my disposal, and the ministry’s impact on local authorities for the good of expanding settlements.” With his near-criminal negligence exposed and his cabinet post in grave danger, Yishai claimed he was the victim of anti-Mizrahi prejudice, moaning, “What is happening here is a lynching.” Adding insult to injury, the spiritual leader of Yishai’s Shas Party, former Chief Israeli Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, blamed the fire on the sins of its victims, proclaiming in his weekly sermon, “Fires only happen in a place where Shabbat is desecrated. Homes were ruined, entire neighborhoods wiped out, and it is not arbitrary. It is all divine providence.”

As the circular political firing squad unloaded in the wake of the disaster, with one minister blaming another for a failure that indicted the government as a whole, the Carmel fire inadvertently exposed an open wound at the heart of the country’s character and identity as a Jewish state. The pine trees that had burned so easily across the Carmel mountains were originally intended as instruments of concealment, strategically planted by the JNF atop the sites of the hundreds of Palestinian villages the Israeli military evacuated and destroyed in 1948 and ’67. With forests sprouting up where towns once stood, those who had been expelled would have nothing to come back to. And that was exactly what the JNF intended.

The Palestinian village of Imwas in 1958. (Photo: Palestine Remembered)

The Palestinian village of Imwas in 1958. (Photo: Palestine Remembered)

The JNF’s showcase forest, Canada Park, is built on the ruins of the Palestinian villages that once stood in Latrun—Imwas, Yalu, and Beit Nuba. Having failed to remove the villages in 1948, the 82nd Regiment of the Israeli army returned to Latrun in 1967 to finish the job. Besides the desire for revenge after the punishing loss at Latrun in ’48, the state considered the villages an obstruction to building a direct highway from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. At nine in the morning, the soldiers gathered the eight thousand residents in an open area and, with direct orders from General Yitzhak Rabin, ordered them at gunpoint to march to Ramallah. Hours later, bulldozers arrived to destroy the villagers’ homes.

“The chickens and the doves were buried under the ruins,” the regiment commander, Amos Kenan, later recalled. “The fields turned desolate before our very eyes, and children walked down the road sobbing. That was how we lost our victory that day.”

The remains of the Palestinian village of Imwas in 1968. (Photo: Pierre Medebielle via Palestine Remembered)

The remains of the Palestinian village of Imwas in 1968. (Photo: Pierre Medebielle via Palestine Remembered)

Though some of the enlisted soldiers cried as they witnessed the pathetic scene unfolding before them, none disobeyed their orders to guard the bulldozers. Moshe Dayan reassured Israeli skeptics that the expulsions were conducted “with Zionist intentions.”

During the 1970s, the JNF constructed Canada Park with generous donations from the Canadian government, planting thousands of non-indigenous pine trees on the rubble of Imwas, Yalu, and Beit Nuba. Today the park is an idyllic setting for cyclists, hikers, and families who spend Israel’s Independence Day picnicking in the sun. However, those who venture too deeply into the forest may risk stumbling over the still-intact spring and water wells belonging to the scattered refugees of Yalu, or the rubble of a church where the Christians of Imwas worshipped each Sunday until the Israeli bulldozers sent it crashing to the ground. Though few Israelis realize it, when they stroll in the shade of Canada Park’s pines, they are actually inside a section of the West Bank captured from the Palestinians—that the JNF trees mask the occupation.

Until 2006, the JNF omitted the history of the Palestinian villages from the explanatory signs it posted around the park, instead presenting details of life in the Second Temple, Hellenic, and Roman periods, adhering to a strictly Eurocentric narrative. When Zochrot, an Israeli non-profit dedicated to preserving the memory of the Nakba, petitioned the Supreme Court to amend the signs to include the history of Arab habitation, the JNF first attempted to deflect all responsibility onto the Israeli government before it finally conceded to the demand. But almost as soon as the revised signs were posted, one mysteriously disappeared, while vandals meticulously blacked out the section mentioning Palestinian villages on another.

The JNF was intimately involved in the Nakba, with its then-director Yosef Weitz establishing the Transfer Committee, where a pantheon of leaders orchestrated the final and most brutal stages of ethnic cleansing, which they called Plan Dalet. Described by the Israeli revisionist historian Ilan Pappe as “the quintessential colonialist,” Weitz personally guided the expulsions with a deliberate, calculated hand, dispatching his staff to identify Palestinian villages to destroy—a practice David Ben Gurion called, “cleaning up.” “It must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples,” Weitz declared at the time. “If the Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us. . . . The only solution is a Land of Israel . . . without Arabs. . . . There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Palestinian Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one tribe.”

In the ethnically pure Israel of Weitz and Ben Gurion’s dreams, a distinctly European, alpine landscape would be able to flourish atop the “wilderness” the Palestinians had supposedly failed to cultivate. Having fulfilled most of the goals of Plan Dalet, namely, expelling as many Arabs as possible and replacing them with new Jewish immigrants, the JNF planted hundreds of thousands of trees over the freshly destroyed Palestinian villages. In establishing the Carmel National Park in northern Israel, the JNF strategically concealed the ruins of al-Tira, a once-populous and picturesque town that joined the hundreds erased from the map. As the trees matured and developed into a full-fledged forest, an area on the south slope of Mount Carmel came to resemble the landscape of the Swiss Alps so closely that Israelis nicknamed it “Little Switzerland.”

But the nonindigenous trees of the JNF were poorly suited to the dry Mediterranean climate of Palestine. Most of the saplings the JNF plants at a site near Jerusalem die soon after taking root, requiring constant replanting. Elsewhere, needles from the pine trees have killed native plant species and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem. And when the wildfires swept through the Carmel Mountains, “Little Switzerland” quickly went up in smoke.

Among the towns evacuated during the Carmel fires was Ein Hod, a bohemian artists’ colony nestled in the hills to the north and east of Haifa. During the great conflagration, residents of the village came pouring out in search of escape, with some seeking shelter in nearby Arab villages. It was not the first time Ein Hod was evacuated. The first time was in 1948, when the town’s original Palestinian inhabitants were driven from their homes.

Before the establishment of Israel, Ein Hod was called Ayn Hawd. The town had been continuously populated since the twelfth century, after Arabs from Iraq settled the area. During the Nakba, Israeli troops expelled most of Ein Hod’s residents to refugee camps in Jordan, Syria, and Jenin in the West Bank. But a small and exceptionally resilient clan fled to the nearby hills, set up a makeshift camp, and watched as Jewish foreigners moved into their empty homes.

In 1953, when the army authorized plans to bulldoze the town, a Romanian Dadaist sculptor named Marcel Janco successfully lobbied them against it. Janco was not acting out of humanitarian concern but self-interest: in place of the Arab village, he proposed establishing an all-Jewish art commune to generate tourism and contribute to the culture of Zionism, which he claimed would benefit from the modernist traditions he had brought over from Europe.

Thanks to Janco, the rustic stone homes that once belonged to Palestinians contain quaint artist studios and a large museum dedicated to his paintings. Janco drew his scenes of Arab life in typically Orientalist fashion, depicting the indigenous residents of the Galilee as a faceless, agrarian mass or as cartoonish stereotypes. The mosque that once served Ayn Hawd’s Muslim population has been converted into an airy bar called Bonanza, where Goldstar beer flows from the tap and pizza bakes in a woodburning oven. Visitors to the town are greeted at the entrance by Benjamin Levy’s The Modest Couple in a Sardine Can, a sculpture depicting a nude woman and a suited gentleman in a sardine can, which was unveiled at a ceremony led by President Peres in 2001.

Having survived the catastrophe of 1948, the al-Hija clan of Ayn Hawd set up a new village three kilometers away from what is today known as Eid Hod. They thus joined the eighty thousand Palestinians classified by Israel as “present absentees,” or refugees who had been permanently driven from their homes but not outside the borders of the country. In the decades that followed, the villagers resisted state attempts at removal. Unable to dislodge the al-Hija clan, the state surrounded them with a fence to prevent them from expanding their unrecognized village. In 2005, after decades of deliberate official neglect and a sustained campaign to highlight their plight, the residents of Ayn Hawd won official recognition—a stunning rarity for an unrecognized Arab village. For the first time, they were able to receive public services like trash removal and electricity.

I visited Ein Hod in June 2010. The village was charmingly quaint, and if I had not arrived with the intention of investigating its history, I might have felt welcome enough to spend a night or two at the local bed and breakfast. But Ein Hod’s residents had apparently been conditioned to treat the overly curious outsider poking around for details about the ghosts that still haunt them with extreme wariness. When I pulled out my video camera and began to ask the local artists about their studios, I was met with a mixture of suspicion and outright hostility. “I know what you’re doing!” a silver-haired woman sneered at me, insisting that I not film her.

Inside the Bonanza bar, I asked patrons if the place was in fact a converted mosque. “Yeah, but that’s how all of Israel is,” a talkative young woman from a nearby kibbutz told me as she sipped on a beer. “This whole country is built on top of Arab villages. So maybe it’s best to let bygones be bygones.”

The mosque from the Palestinian village of Ayn Hawd, which is now a bar in the Israeli village of Eid Hod. (Photo: Australians for Palestine)

The mosque from the Palestinian village of Ayn Hawd, which is now a bar in the Israeli village of Eid Hod. (Photo:Australians for Palestine)

Near a cluster of stone homes, I joined a group of aging Israeli tourists with waistpacks and big, floppy hats as a professional guide led them around Ein Hod. Speaking in Hebrew, the guide took them through the studios, informing them that they were inside “third generation houses,” deceiving them into believing that Israeli Jews were the original owners. While browsing the studios, I noticed that much of the art being produced was Judaica kitsch for sale to foreign tourists—generic shtetl scenes from the long lost world immortalized in Yiddish scribe Sholom Aleichem’s Tevye and His Daughters, a play that concluded with a tragic scene of Russians expelling the Jews from their shtetl.

Later, before taking her group to the town’s Hurdy Gurdy museum, a rustic workshop dedicated to the restoration and preservation of medieval European instruments, the guide mentioned a “welcoming committee” that vetted potential residents. This was apparently one device the residents of Ein Hod used to keep the Arabs down the road from returning home. Then there was the Absentee Property Law of 1950, which placed all “abandoned” Arab property in the hands of the JNF and the ILA, consolidating the state-sanctioned theft committed during the Nakba through democratically approved legislation.

During a break in the tour, the guide pulled me aside and demanded to know who I was. Introducing herself as Shuli Linda Yarkon, a PhD candidate at Tel Aviv University, the tour guide told me with great modesty that she was the leading authority on Ein Hod. She insisted that I allow her to review all the footage I planned to shoot, claiming that this would ensure that I not mistranslate words she used like kibbush, a Hebrew term that means “conquest” but is commonly used to refer to the occupation of Palestine.

“So what about the conquest you mentioned?” I asked her. “Why didn’t you tell the tourists who lived in the houses before 1948?” Visibly irritated, Yarkon resorted to the dreary vocabulary of post-structuralism to justify her revisionism. “I’ve concluded after years of research that there are really no facts when you discuss this issue,” she stated coldly. “There are only narratives.”

She assured me that Ein Hod’s Jewish population maintained excellent relations with the expelled residents: “Go ask them. They will tell you how they feel.” So I did. After following a winding dirt road around a hillside for several kilometers, I was inside Ayn Hawd, the Arab village. There was no installation art here, just a collection of mostly ramshackle houses, dirt roads, a mosque with a tall minaret, and crowds of scruffy kids playing in the streets. Almost immediately some of the town’s residents appeared from their homes to greet me. Among them was Abu Moein al-Hija, a village council member and schoolteacher who invited me to spend the rest of the afternoon with his family on a patio beside his home, which appeared newer and more stately than those of his neighbors.

Al-Hija told me his ancestors arrived in the village more than seven hundred years ago from what is now Iraq. Those members of his family who were expelled to Jenin in 1948 never returned home, even to visit. They told him they would be too angry to even lay eyes their former homes with the new Israeli occupants inside. When I mentioned the bar built into the old mosque, al-Hija shook his head in disgust. “It’s very bad. It’s an insult,” he said.

Al-Hija took me inside his home for a tour, showing me the spacious, immaculately clean parlor and the picture window with a sweeping view of the valley below. He had built the whole place, he said with pride. Down a hall, his thirteen-year-old daughter, Ansam, was reclining on the floor of her room reading John Knowles’s novel of American prep school boys, A Separate Peace. She leapt to attention when I entered and spent the next ten minutes showing me her library.

With night setting in, Moein and his family took me back on the patio. There, he unfurled the map of Mandate-era Palestine that so many Palestinian families I have visited kept in their homes. It was maps like these, which highlighted the hundreds of towns disappeared by the State of Israel, that Uri Avnery called “more dangerous than any bomb.” Al-Hija ran his fingers over the names of scores of villages destroyed on the coast between Jaffa and Haifa by Zionist forces in 1948, pointing to Kafr Saba, Qaqun, al-Tira, and Tantura, the site of a massacre of unarmed Palestinian prisoners on the beach just one month after the Deir Yassin massacre. Moein was a history teacher, but the state had forbidden him from discussing these events in his classroom and was in the process of criminalizing their public observance.

As darkness blanketed the hills, I realized that I had lost track of time. I told al-Hija that I needed to get back to Tel Aviv. With that, his wife rushed into the house and gathered a bunch of grapes she had picked from a tree in the family’s garden, handing them over to me in a Tupperware bowl. On the drive down the coast, as I breezed by the dunes and sandy flats where the heart of Palestine once pulsed with life, I thought of a quote by the seventeenth-century Jewish mystic Baal Shem Tov inscribed on a wall at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial museum. “Forgetfulness leads to exile,” it read, “while remembrance is the secret of redemption.”

In his 1963 short fiction story “Facing the Forests,” the Israeli author A. B. Yehoshua portrayed a mute Palestinian forest watchman taking revenge by burning down a JNF forest to reveal the hidden ruins of his former village. Imagining that the fictional tale had come to life, right-wing Israelis began demanding a search for the Arab who must have sparked the blaze on the Carmel Mountains, which the Israeli police described as a deliberate act. While Yedioth Ahronoth blared without evidence, “Hezbollah Overjoyed by Fire,” Michael Ben-Ari, an extremist member of Knesset from the National Union Party, called for “the whole Shin Bet” to be mobilized to investigate what the settler media outlet Arutz Sheva said “may turn out to be the worst terror attack in Israel’s history.” After the damage was done, an official investigation determined the fire to be the result of simple negligence.

From the Book: GOLIATH: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal.  Excerpted by arrangement with Nation Books, a member of The Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2013.

About Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author.

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208 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    October 10, 2013, 9:45 am

    The fact that they planted trees to cover up their crimes is both a confession and a demonstration of their absolute depravity.

    “The mosque from the Palestinian village of Ayn Hawd, which is now a bar in the Israeli village of Eid Hod.”

    And some zio posters here wonder why the Palestinians are hesitant to “share” al Haram ash Sharif and to permit Jewish worship…

    • seafoid
      October 10, 2013, 11:26 am

      The trees are firebombs. Like the ashkenazim they are european and unsuited to the climate.

      • Obsidian
        October 10, 2013, 1:17 pm

        @Seafoid

        ” The East-Mediterranean pine forests on Mount Carmel, Israel, have been exposed to human disturbance including frequent fires for as long as 60,000-70,000 years.”

        link to fire.uni-freiburg.de

        Way to go Sea.
        Try scrubbing harder to get those Jews out of your brain.

      • Dutch
        October 10, 2013, 5:46 pm

        @ Seafoid on Ashkenazim

        Have you read this? Those Ashkenazim will be shocked: there is no Levantine engine underneath their Jewishness, but a prehistoric European one. We knew. Now we’re sure.
        link to the-scientist.com
        link to nytimes.com

        Here’s the whole report:
        link to nature.com

      • hophmi
        October 10, 2013, 5:51 pm

        Knew what? Did you read the article?

        “The new findings contradict previous assertions that Ashkenazi mitochondrial lineages originated in the Near East, or from mass conversions to Judaism in the Khazar kingdom…”

      • Donald
        October 10, 2013, 10:06 pm

        “The new findings contradict previous assertions that Ashkenazi mitochondrial lineages originated in the Near East, or from mass conversions to Judaism in the Khazar kingdom…”

        Personally, I never cared about the Khazar theory one way or the other, but the point of it was to dismiss claims that Jews of European extraction were descended from Jews living in Israel 2000 years ago. That in turn only matters because people claim that having ancestors in a land 2000 years ago, along with a long religious tradition connecting one to those ancestors, is supposed to give one a claim to that land.

        This paper supposedly casts doubt on both the Khazar and the Middle Eastern theories. I suppose by the ancestor theory of real estate claims, this eliminates European Jewish claims to both the Caucasus Mountains and Palestine. But if you read the links, not all geneticists seem to agree with the dismissal of the Khazar link. There may also be a paternal link to the Middle East, so maybe Palestinian Jews married European women.

        I think this should only matter to historians and population geneticists. It should have zero relevance to the I/P issue, but unfortunately it is relevant because some Zionists claim some sort of genetic justification for their land claims.

      • Dutch
        October 10, 2013, 11:31 pm

        @ Hophmi

        Your bold print doesn’t impress at all. The news is of course the other conclusion. Why that is important is clearly explained by Donald. Read it, I suggest.

      • Yitzgood
        October 11, 2013, 12:34 am

        but unfortunately it is relevant because some Zionists claim some sort of genetic justification for their land claims

        Zionism is the idea that Jews should pursue their ancient connection to the Land of Israel and it involves believing the that Jews have been in continuous existence since ancient times, which even Shlomo Sand admits. The mechanism by which each generation of Jews has been followed by the next one (which is where the controversy comes in) has always involved some converts (whatever the number) in addition to born Jews. Judaism allows conversion, and if some generational transitions involved large number of converts, it doesn’t change much–converts are as Jewish as anyone else. Some Zionists have gotten defensive about the Khazar theory since its proponents like to pretend the Zionist claim is genetic and that Khazar ancestry invalidates Zionist claims. (And then that defensiveness gets cited by anti-Zionists to prove that Zionist claims are “genetic.”) The Mondoweiss comments section seems to have some Khazar theory enthusiasts, and we will, no doubt, hear from some of them shortly.

      • Cliff
        October 11, 2013, 6:56 am

        @Yitz

        If that is what Zionism is, then Zionism is a lie.

        No Jew today is related to an ancient Jew 3000 years ago. Judaism 3000 years ago is not equal to Judaism today.

        Religions have no intrinsic ‘rights’ – certainly not the right to self-determination.

        If America were the ancient Jewish homeland would you support ethnically cleansing non-Jews in America to make way for Jewish colonies?

        After all, there’s no point if there is no Jewish majority, right? So you need to do something about all those non-Jews in your way.

        If Zionism is about ancient blah blah then it’s going to take a lot of blood and violence and oppression and propaganda to get rid of the non-Jews on ‘your ancient’ land.

        At this point, it would not matter whether Jews today are all inbreds and thus, related directly to some 3000 year old Jewish ‘people’ – the only practical way to realize Zionism is through war and oppression. To sustain Zionism will take war and oppression.

        So that alone is reason to fight back against your ‘liberation’ movement.

        There was no Jewish majority in Palestine for thousands of years. There were people living in Palestine before there were Jews and before THOSE people, there were probably dinosaurs in that land.

        So really, this all belongs to the Dinosaur people. Maybe you’re just a hateful anti-Dinosaurite?

      • Shingo
        October 11, 2013, 7:01 am

        Zionism is the idea that Jews should pursue their ancient connection to the Land of Israel and it involves believing the that Jews have been in continuous existence since ancient times, which even Shlomo Sand admits.

        No. The father of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, didn’t even mention Palestine in his thesis, but spoke of a Jewish state in a territory somewhere.

        Judaism allows conversion, and if some generational transitions involved large number of converts, it doesn’t change much–converts are as Jewish as anyone else.

        True, but it dispels the myth of blood and ancestral connections to a piece of land. Conversion doesn’t change your genetic make up.

        Zionists have gotten defensive about the Khazar theory since its proponents like to pretend the Zionist claim is genetic and that Khazar ancestry invalidates Zionist claims.

        It’s not a matter of pretending. There are countless Zionist Jews who have been brought up to believe that their family tree can be traced back to King David.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 11, 2013, 7:22 am

        oh come on yitzgood, this is not about some converts. this is about “the great majority of Ashkenazi maternal lineages“.

        imho, the reason this is so interesting, is the repetitive conversations we’ve had in these threads (not uncommon at all, here’s one that got heated on monday link to mondoweiss.net ) about who is a jew.

        “if someone self identifies as jewish, i consider them jewish.”
        You declare it as a Jew?
        You declare it as a Jewish Rabbi Judges?
        ……

        All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew either by birth or through conversion. According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother.

        so some converts is a little different than a migration of men, traders or whomever, marrying the local european girls jumpstarting a whole new jewish ethnicity and then hundreds of years later claiming maternal lineage back to jerusalem.

        furthermore “with the overall effective population size for these lineages increasing 13-fold by 275 years ago (Fig.1).”

        look at that population jump.

      • Hostage
        October 11, 2013, 8:47 am

        “The new findings contradict previous assertions that Ashkenazi mitochondrial lineages originated in the Near East, or from mass conversions to Judaism in the Khazar kingdom…”

        The authors were studying matrilineal evidence, MtDNA. But they acknowledged Y-chromosome studies actually do support the possibility of significant admixture from Khazar sources. They also stress that the origins of Ashkenazi Jews—the great majority of living Jews— still remains highly contested and enigmatic.

        Frankly, none of this evidence is based upon the examination of any ancient Khazar or other MtDNA sources. So these reconstructions of ancient DNA are based upon guesswork and the assumption of genetic continuity between the ancient inhabitants and the distribution of DNA among the modern-day inhabitants of these regions. In addition no scientific evidence was provided to support the conclusion that the anonymous ancient Gentile women were recruited as converts, rather than slaves.

        Here are some snippets about possible Khazar sources:

        This problem can be resolved by reconstructing the relationships genealogically, rather than relying on allele frequencies, using the non-recombining marker systems: the paternally inherited male-specific part of the Y chromosome (MSY) and the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). . . . This has indeed been attempted, with the MSY results interpreted plausibly to suggest an overwhelming majority of Near Eastern ancestry on the Ashkenazi male line of descent11, 18, 19, 20, 21, albeit with much higher levels (>50%) of European (potentially east European) lineages in Ashkenazi Levites22, suggesting a possible Khazar source in that particular case. . . . Overall, we estimate that most (>80%) Ashkenazi mtDNAs were assimilated within Europe. Few derive from a Near Eastern source, and despite the recent revival of the ‘Khazar hypothesis’16, virtually none are likely to have ancestry in the North Caucasus. Therefore, whereas on the male side there may have been a significant Near Eastern (and possibly east European/Caucasian) component in Ashkenazi ancestry, the maternal lineages mainly trace back to prehistoric Western Europe. These results emphasize the importance of recruitment of local women and conversion in the formation of Ashkenazi communities, and represent a significant step in the detailed reconstruction of Ashkenazi genealogical history.

        link to nature.com

      • hophmi
        October 11, 2013, 10:41 am

        “Few derive from a Near Eastern source, and despite the recent revival of the ‘Khazar hypothesis’…”

      • Hostage
        October 11, 2013, 10:57 am

        “Few derive from a Near Eastern source, and despite the recent revival of the ‘Khazar hypothesis’…”

        Yes Hoppy, but that should read “Few derive from a Near Eastern source [according to the circular reasoning we employed], and despite the recent revival of the ‘Khazar hypothesis’…”

      • Yitzgood
        October 11, 2013, 12:12 pm

        The father of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, didn’t even mention Palestine in his thesis

        Lots of “isms” are like that when you read the writings of their “fathers.” That’s a historical footnote, not a good description of what the people having this discussion mean by Zionism.

        True, but it dispels the myth of blood and ancestral connections to a piece of land. Conversion doesn’t change your genetic make up.

        “Ancestral connection” and “genetic make up” are not interchangeable concepts.

        There are countless Zionist Jews who have been brought up to believe that their family tree can be traced back to King David.

        That particular yichus, if that is what you are talking about, is important to Judaism for messianic reasons. I don’t think Zionism ultimately cares. If it turns out that I’m descended from King Bulan, I don’t think any Zionist is going to tell me, “Too bad you don’t have the same right to Israel that the rest of us have.” Halacha doesn’t care and the Law of Return doesn’t care.

      • Yitzgood
        October 11, 2013, 12:20 pm

        Cliff, as far as I can tell, you don’t seem to be addressing any point I actually made.

      • Yitzgood
        October 11, 2013, 12:31 pm

        some converts is a little different than a migration of men, traders or whomever, marrying the local european girls jumpstarting a whole new jewish ethnicity and then hundreds of years later claiming maternal lineage back to jerusalem.

        I contrasted “some converts” with “large numbers of converts” myself. Shingo seems to be following what I am saying so far.

      • jon s
        October 11, 2013, 1:05 pm

        In fact the first Zionist Congress, convened under the leadership of Herzl in 1897 , adopted the Basel Program, which does specifically set the goal of establishing a Jewish home in Palestine:

        “Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Eretz­Israel secured under public law. The Congress contemplates the following means to the attainment of this end:

        1. The promotion by appropriate means of the settlement in Eretz-Israel of Jewish farmers, artisans, and manufacturers.
        2. The organization and uniting of the whole of Jewry by means of appropriate institutions, both local and international, in accordance with the laws of each country.
        3. The strengthening and fostering of Jewish national sentiment and national consciousness.
        4. Preparatory steps toward obtaining the consent of governments, where necessary, in order to reach the goals of Zionism.”

        see here:
        link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

      • miriam6
        October 11, 2013, 1:34 pm

        Hostage@;

        Here are some snippets about possible Khazar sources

        Hostage whether you like it or not this new study does not support the idea of Khazar conversion and descent being largely responsible for the modern Ashkenazi genome.
        This blockquote is from the first link in username Dutch’s comment of Oct. 10 5.45pm on this thread ;

        The new findings contradict previous assertions that Ashkenazi mitochondrial lineages originated in the Near East, or from mass conversions to Judaism in the Khazar kingdom, an empire in the north Caucasus region between Europe and Asia lasting from the 7th century to the 11th century whose leaders adopted Judaism. “We found that most of the maternal lineages don’t trace to the north Caucasus, which would be a proxy for the Khazarians, or to the Near East, but most of them emanate from Europe,” said coauthor Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in the U.K.
        Richards and colleagues’ story “seems reasonable,” said Harry Ostrer, a human geneticist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York City who was not involved in the study. “It certainly fits with what we understand about Jewish history.”

        But some scientists question these conclusions.

        “While it is clear that Ashkenazi maternal ancestry includes both Levantine [Near Eastern] and European origins—the assignment of several of the major Ashkenazi lineages to pre-historic European origin in the current study is incorrect in our view,” physician-geneticists Doron Behar and Karl Skorecki of the Rambam Healthcare Campus in Israel, whose previous work indicated a Near Eastern origins to many Ashkenazi mitochondrial types, wrote in an e-mail to The Scientist.
        They argue that the mitochondrial DNA data used in the new study did not represent the full spectrum of mitochondrial diversity.

        link to the-scientist.com

        Also Hostage what’s with your notion that those female ancestors could have been slaves rather than converts?

        In addition no scientific evidence was provided to support the conclusion that the anonymous ancient Gentile women were recruited as converts, rather than slaves.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 11, 2013, 2:04 pm

        “In fact the first Zionist Congress, convened under the leadership of Herzl in 1897 , adopted the Basel Program, which does specifically set the goal of establishing a Jewish home in Palestine:”

        Huh. Interesting. Nowhere was there an action item: “5. Get permission from the people of Palestine to enter into their land and, if they refuse — as is their right — go find someplace else to live.” (No doubt there was another item: “Figure out how to wipe out the people living in Palestine and, if possible, blame them for their own demise” but it’s clear why this source wouldn’t include it…)

      • homingpigeon
        October 11, 2013, 4:59 pm

        There’s more to it than a few converts here and there. Forget about the Khazars. There is in Uganda a group of people who have converted to Judaism over the past century and they are organized into a tribe called the Abayudaya. They have been certified as kosher converts by Orthodox rabbis.

        Meanwhile in Palestine, there are Jewish Palestinian clans who converted to Islam as recently as two centuries ago. As Palestinian Muslims their property is subject to confiscation, if it hasn’t been taken already, and they are in danger of expulsion, if not in exile already. Meanwhile, Ugandan converts to Judaism are entitled to the houses and property of the Jews who converted to Islam and Christianity.

        I have heard the hasbara justifications for just about everything, but I have to hear what the rationalization for this phenomenon would be. Could you humor us?

      • miriam6
        October 11, 2013, 6:48 pm

        homingpigeon@;

        Meanwhile in Palestine, there are Jewish Palestinian clans who converted to Islam as recently as two centuries ago.

        Have you got a link for your claim please?

      • Hostage
        October 11, 2013, 11:39 pm

        Hostage whether you like it or not this new study does not support the idea of Khazar conversion and descent being largely responsible for the modern Ashkenazi genome.

        Miriam I already quoted the authors verbatim. They admit the possibility of a significant Khazar Y-chromosome contribution and point to evidence of a high degree of other admixture. They also admit that these are just hypotheses, not proofs, and that Ashkenazi Jewish origins remain controversial and obscure.

        Miriam: Also Hostage what’s with your notion that those female ancestors could have been slaves rather than converts? . . . Hostage: In addition no scientific evidence was provided to support the conclusion that the anonymous ancient Gentile women were recruited as converts, rather than slaves.

        For starters, because the Torah itself describes long migrations and sexual relations between the Patriarchs and their wive’s foreign-born slaves or servants to explain the origin of the Israelites. Mishnah Kiddushin 1:1 specifies that a woman is acquired in three ways: through money, a contract, and sexual intercourse. It even spells out the Italian exchange rate.

        Unlike, these modern DNA studies, the ancient texts and legends indicate that it was common practice for individuals to travel or migrate thousands of miles from their place of origin during their lifetimes. It was also common practice to take captives, make them slaves, and force them to travel to distant nations. There is a great deal of evidence that was a common experience for many other groups, not just the Jews.

        The ancient Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Khazars conquered and dominated others. They all practiced slavery. Why construct an unscientific narrative or conclusion about religious conversion? There is no scientific basis for determining a modern day person’s religious beliefs or geolocation during sex from studying their MtDNA. How do you rationalize someone doing that with the ancients that we know nothing about, based upon faulty or circular reasoning?

      • homingpigeon
        October 13, 2013, 3:06 pm

        link to jpost.com

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        link to israelnationalnews.com

        These are lengthy discussions of the phenomenon. The end of the third link makes specific reference to 200 years ago. This fellow Tsvi Misinai is an interesting character. I don’t agree with many of his conclusions but I think there is some common ground for people working on the one country concept. He wants to accept the Palestinians as part of Israel if they acknowledge their Hebrew ancestry but doesn’t think they should be required to re-convert to Judaism.

      • tokyobk
        October 10, 2013, 9:44 pm

        Sea, you always talk in these purities that don’t have any representation on planet earth, certainly not in wildlife and not in human populations either. Just inverse that regarding Arabs in Europe to see how silly your serious joke is.

        I guess according to you Helen Thomas’s family should have gone back to where they “belong” since Arab identity is mutually exclusive with European ancestry except when it is not as in the case a good percentage Arab people.

        You always fail to miss the beauty of diversity which is by they way a very strong argument for the inclusiveness of the Palestinian identity then , now and in an equitable future.

        Dutch, you did read the study right? Its the mother’s lineage not the father’s which is Near Eastern.

        But it actually does not matter at all because even if Ashkenazim descended 100% from Palestine there would not be justification for an ethnic or religious state which cleared out rightful inhabitants under the banner of Nationalism. And, the Jewish claim to descent to that region was never assumed to be exclusive.

      • just
        October 10, 2013, 9:50 pm

        Huh, tokyobk??

      • seafoid
        October 11, 2013, 6:06 am

        Tokyo

        I just find Zionism’s founding myths hilarious. They had around 5 years to define who they were back in the late 40s. They had 5 years to.blow up as many traces of Palestinian ownership. And Israel now is like a house with 60 year old IKEA furniture. With a termite infestation.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 11, 2013, 6:55 am

        Dutch, you did read the study right? Its the mother’s lineage not the father’s which is Near Eastern.

        i think you might be reading the wrong study bk. here:

        link to nature.com

        The origins of Ashkenazi Jews remain highly controversial. Like Judaism, mitochondrial DNA is passed along the maternal line. Its variation in the Ashkenazim is highly distinctive, with four major and numerous minor founders. However, due to their rarity in the general population, these founders have been difficult to trace to a source. Here we show that all four major founders, ~40% of Ashkenazi mtDNA variation, have ancestry in prehistoric Europe, rather than the Near East or Caucasus. Furthermore, most of the remaining minor founders share a similar deep European ancestry. Thus the great majority of Ashkenazi maternal lineages were not brought from the Levant, as commonly supposed, nor recruited in the Caucasus, as sometimes suggested, but assimilated within Europe. These results point to a significant role for the conversion of women in the formation of Ashkenazi communities, and provide the foundation for a detailed reconstruction of Ashkenazi genealogical history.

        and check out the charts:

        link to nature.com

      • Cliff
        October 11, 2013, 6:58 am

        The ‘Jewish claim was never assumed to be exclusive’? Really?

        That’s what Zionism is.

        There’s no Jewish State without a Jewish majority. There was no Jewish majority – hence the Arabs were driven out.

        Who cares about lineages and all that other kumbaya nonsense you keep writing.

        Do you think anyone but your gives a crap, Mr. Not-a-Zionist.

  2. Walid
    October 10, 2013, 10:31 am

    A super great story by Max that covers a whole lot of issues.

    The destroyed village of Imwas that was in the Latrun that Max talks about is the Emmaus mentioned in the Christian Bible where the resurrected Jesus met and had supper with 2 of his deciples.

    • Woody Tanaka
      October 10, 2013, 11:47 am

      That’s interesting. I would have thought that the world’s Christians would make a big deal about the destruction of a Christian holy place like this by the israelis.

      • lysias
        October 10, 2013, 3:29 pm

        Isn’t the Qana just inside Lebanon that the Israelis shelled twice thought to be the Cana where the Marriage at Cana was celebrated?

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 10, 2013, 3:48 pm

        I don’t think so. It’s now known as Kafr Kanna and it’s in the Galilee.

      • W.Jones
        October 14, 2013, 6:47 pm

        Lysias,

        There may be more than one place that lays claim to the title. Lebanon has various Holy sites for 1st century Christianity, as does the Holy Land.

      • NickJOCW
        October 10, 2013, 3:58 pm

        Christian monks resign themselves to the vicissitudes of this world.

        I visited the Trappist Monastery in Latrun in 1971. I had a meal with the monks who were under a vow of silence which gave the place an almost tangible sense of peace. The Abbot who was not constrained by his vow with visitors later showed me the winery, and the vineyards dotted here and there with bits of shells from the recent conflict. He talked about the history of the valley and how it had been contested for millennia because of its location and agricultural richness. Even at this distance I recall the note of resignation in his voice when he spoke of the recent events. In April last year mindless settlers desecrated the monastery. link to jpost.com

      • W.Jones
        October 10, 2013, 8:31 pm

        Woody,

        I know what you mean, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were occasional objections from some Christian quarters over it.

        There are several reasons why they don’t object more strongly, one being lack of public awareness due to the media, others being lack of control on the ground making the churches partly reliant on however much goodwill the State wishes to show, the fact that many of these churches are not Protestant, while America is chiefly Protestant, also there is the “Interfaith Deal” about Israel that inhibits any criticism.

        Read CMEP’s website sometime. They are probably the main lobby or voice for the mainstream Churches in the US, and they do acknowledge the abuses, but they are very guarded in their objections due to what they see as their overwhelming political impotence on this issue. They can make a strongly worded objection and the government won’t care, and their own members won’t hear of it due to the fact they spend far more time on the Tube than in the pews. Of course they should strongly object anyway, but I am saying why they don’t.

        I mentioned elsewhere how a mainstream pastor was asked to give a sermon at another Church recently on the condition that he not mention Palestine there, because one lady in the congregation with a mixed marriage had threatened to leave when the topic was discussed there openly once before. These kinds of incidents are typical on the ground level, which hamstrings mainstream Church leaders in a way it theoretically should not when major abuses occur.

      • Betsy
        October 12, 2013, 11:50 am

        @ W. Jones – your comments are not accurate descriptions of what’s happening in ‘mainline Christianity’ in US these days. Christians for Middle East Peace is *not* really the “main lobby or voice for the mainstream Churches in the US”. They were started in 1984 as an alliance of churches, but over the years have become less & less important for most of the churches.

        Above all, many churches felt that CMEP was not taking prophetic enough stands. After many years of internal debate, this came to a head last year, when 15 of the denominations who go to CMEP board meetings, felt that God was calling them to take much stronger action. There were about 6 denominations in CMEP who had kept vetoing proposals by those 15. Therefore, the 15 denominations formed an ad hoc group and issued a strong letter asking Congress to withhold military aid to Israel until it complies with US Law. This letter was extensively discussed on Mondoweiss last year: here’s Alex Kane on furious response from organized Jewish community link to mondoweiss.net and Marc Ellis saying that this letter represents a break in “the Ecumenical Deal” link to mondoweiss.net and Adam Horowitz on what this means for interfaith relationships link to mondoweiss.net

        It is true that these 15 denominations are still part of the CMEP, because they don’t want to break that conversation, but the CMEP is a shell of what it once was (in terms of money & importance & closeness to church policy & public witness). It is true that some Orthodox churches have to be careful not to irritate Israel powers-that-be – because they represent people and communities who are so vulnerable under the Occupation. But, that is not the whole story. There are old historic ties between many of the churches of the Middle East & North American churches – that are strong & dynamic now. (My uncle & aunt were the ambassadors from the Presbyterian Church to the churches of the Middle East & I have observed first hand, how deep & rich these connections are as I’ve traveled with them).

        It is true that the leadership & national staff of churches like mine (Presbyterian Church USA) are more knowledgeable & progressive on this issue, but there’s a ferment of self-education & volunteer social justice activism in my denomination on this issue, at the grassroots level. We are not at all as ignorant or discouraged or passive as you portray. Nor do we think that we lack power or influence. In any event, our faith teaches that we have to act, regardless of how powerful we are – and that the greatest truth often comes from the margins, from those outside the corridors of influence.

        For instance, I was at the “Big Tent” gathering of PC(USA) in Louisville in August – which is the national gathering that focuses on substantive programs (and takes place in the off years between our biannual General Assembly–where we pass resolutions & conduct the work of self-governance). At the “Big Tent” event the ‘official’ group re/ I/P in our church had a lively presence & was doing lots of great education of lay people from all over the country & is powered by volunteers. It is called the Israel/Palestine Mission Network & their website is the best place to get a view of what’s actually the position & activities of PC(USA) vis a vis I/P. link to israelpalestinemissionnetwork.org This group was founded from a resolution to form a network at the 2004 General Assembly. This is the General Assembly that started the divestment process rolling on Caterpillar. They are one of the 40 or so networks of World Mission, run by Rev. Hunter Farrell in the Presbyterian Mission Agency. There is another group that is pro-Zionist that calls itself Presbyterians For Middle East Peace but it is an independently formed advocacy group which is very much top down and barely has a grassroots presence. They include a few aggressive and influential leaders in the PCUSA and they would come together before every GA to protect Zionist causes – but they have virtually no grassroots presence, nor were they formed out of the GA or out of the usual Mission Agency programs (which is what it would take for them to be ‘official’—given the self-governing governance structures of the church).

        That is perhaps WAY more than anyone wanted to know about church structure! But, the point is that almost all the ‘mainline Christian churches’ in US have moved definitely away from the CMEP positions, which gave the most conservative groups on I/P a veto over others, because CMEP is run by consensus.

        I would say that my church was stalled several times in the past 15 years because many of us were totally shocked by the vicious & incredibly aggressive attacks that came from the organized Jewish community—attacks similar to what we’d experienced from the Christian Right in the prior two decades (in the refusal of reasoned debate based on facts & civility). After decades of working closely in communities with temples & Jewish organizations – on so many social justice issues – it was astonishing & disorienting to hear what we were hearing. Many of us went thro a period of soul-searching (*were* we anti-Semitic somehow?) & chilled our public witness for a while. But, I think most of us have come out of that bafflement, feeling stronger & clearer on the issues, feeling that our attackers were suffering from the all-to-human tendency to self-delusion & ethnocentric herd mentality that afflicts all collectivities periodically – we’ve had to grapple with our own historic & collective sins as Christians – so certainly can understand if our friends in the organized Jewish community have lost their prophetic clarity & wits for a period. We’ve done that also at times.

      • W.Jones
        October 14, 2013, 7:32 pm

        Dear Betsy,

        I like what you have to say, and sympathize with your optimism. However, if CMEP s not the main lobby group for mainstream churches on the issue, then what is? The 15 church leaders made a good letter, but they did not form an organization with continuing work like the lobbyist group CMEP did.

        HCEF and Sabeel are worthwhile groups, but neither seems primarily a lobbying group, and I am not sure Sabeel is really an organization with a formal representation by the mainstream churches in the way CMEP is.

        I would be very interested, Betsy to see what were the 15 groups versus the 6 groups in the breakdown of CMEP groups. (I can raise 1 point to doubt there was that kind of numerical breakdown).

        You wrote:

        CMEP is a shell of what it once was (in terms of money & importance & closeness to church policy & public witness).

        I can tell much of CMEP’s leading member churches have since taken a stronger stand and this affects how closely CMEP reflects church policy as you mentioned. But is CMEP really a shell compared to itself in money and importance in the past? Has its budget capsized from a large one? I doubt it. And my guess is that CMEP’s bland positions and extra-soft persuasion tactics have about as much impact on Congress as they did 20 years ago. Despite the fact that we are talking about America’s main churches, the senators’ aides often act like they do not actually care what they are told in the lobby meetings.

        You have touched on one of the main reasons Orthodox Churches, which the people of the Holy land belong to, do not strongly oppose the situation, namely their political powerlessness. American Protestants are in a much greater position to have an impact due to numbers and the fact their country is the main backer, if not control factor, over the situation. Numerically, Orthodox are about 3% of Americans, they are typically working class, and their churches try to be apolitical.

        As your writing reflects, it’s very important to include the Orthodox Churches though, one reason being that they are predominantly the group suffering the occupation. The powerful, albeit positive role of Protestants creates two other problems. First, leading up to the 20th century, one of the main goals of western efforts there was to convert Orthodox to Protestantism, which is not unexpected. However, since the western churches offered important services the native ones of the Holy Land could not provide and their societies were safer, many, such as perhaps Naim Ateek’s parents converted to Protestantism.

        Second, it is hard to avoid that Protestants play a major, leading role in the Ecumenical organizations- sometimes the sole role. As Braverman has pointed out, the ban on “Replacement Theology” has become the main rule of an interfaith dialogue that eastern churches have avoided. Then what happens is that western Ecumenical organizations working on the issue with practically no Orthodox representation issue statements denouncing traditional theology (not just attitudes) as anti-Semitic. The denunciations sound normal and respectable to Protestants involved in the Dialogue, but actually for Orthodox such “ecumenical” statements are in reality directed against their beliefs, because it is a Church that acts as a preserve for very old Christian beliefs. If you step into their churches it is like a marvelous time travel. These kinds of denunciations are an example of why Orthodox often avoid or occasionally criticize Ecumenism, and in my mind also separate them from closer ecumenical work. I am hesitant to be more specific in giving examples because I generally admire the work of Ecumenical organizations working on the IP issue. But maybe I should be more explicit, Betsy?

        If we read on Mondoweiss about the importance of including Palestinians themselves directly in our statements and discussions about Palestine, we should also pay special respect to the traditional beliefs of the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Christians themselves when making ecumenical statements, wouldn’t you say?

      • W.Jones
        October 14, 2013, 7:47 pm

        Betsy,

        You commented:

        Many of us went thro a period of soul-searching (*were* we anti-Semitic somehow?)

        Personally, one can simply dismiss that in one’s own mind. If the groups are dedicated first and foremost to progressive causes, then they are coming at the issue for that very reason and with that outlook. One of the main things persuading me on the topic were the humanitarian, socialist, and progressive organizations and leaders’ position on the issue. That has zero to do with anti-Semitism.

        You commented:

        we’ve had to grapple with our own historic & collective sins as Christians – so certainly can understand if our friends in the organized Jewish community have lost their prophetic clarity & wits for a period. We’ve done that also at times.

        The “ecumenical” statements I am talk about express reflect some kind of idea of “Christian guilt” but do so in talking about traditional Christian theology. One should oppose anti-Semitic attacks done by Christian-oriented communities, as you did above. But applying these negative descriptions to Christian doctrine however is what native Churches cannot accept. Protestants are much more open to revising theology, and that is a cause of this difference. In my opinion the issue becomes “real” when organizations that should be Ecumenical decide to introduce this kind of thinking that is in reality only reflecting one denomination. Perhaps that is an argument for consensus in statements in theology, but not necessarily requiring consensus when it comes to attitudes or social action.

        Peace.

    • Obsidian
      October 10, 2013, 1:32 pm

      @Walid

      Back in the day, Emmaus was a hedonistic ‘hot springs resort’ with annual fairs, paganism, orgies, etc.
      Makes you wonder why Jesus and the disciples met up there after his resurrection.

      BTW. Emmaus is now a popular Christian tourist site, with an active monastery, public religious services, and Byzantine church ruins.

      There are also Jewish tombs there from pre-Roman times.

      • RoHa
        October 10, 2013, 9:11 pm

        The story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus seems to be based on the story written on a stele at the temple of Asclepius the Saviour in Epidaurus. The story says that Sostrata of Pherae went to the temple, but received no curative dream. On her way home she meet a stranger who cut open her stomach and removed two washbasins full of worms. (Yeuch!) Then the stranger revealed himself to be Asclepius.

      • W.Jones
        October 11, 2013, 10:43 am

        Um, you are really joking, I think. Unfortunately this is not completely far from the imaginative stuff some people spout. I hope Asclepius stitched the person back up.

      • Walid
        October 11, 2013, 2:09 pm

        4 locations claim to be the authentic Emmaus in the Jesus and disciples story. Full explanation why the fourth one that happens to be the Imwas of the Latrun that Max discussed (Emmaus-Nicopolis; Amwas or Imwas is the Arabic name) is the authentic one and how Jesus met the disciples on the road to Emmaus and had supper in the village:

        link to agapebiblestudy.com

      • ritzl
        October 11, 2013, 3:06 pm

        Thanks Walid. I think you just suggested a great theme for my annual response to the Israel-supplied Christian-perspective holiday puff pieces on Israel-the-Holy-Land™ in our local, bible-belt media. Your link and Palestine Remembered’s documentation should make an interesting rebuttal.

      • RoHa
        October 12, 2013, 12:52 am

        “Um, you are really joking, I think.”

        Why do you suspect that? The stories have the following common features:

        Two people travel.
        They are unhappy.
        They meet a mystery person on the road.
        He inquires about their problem.
        He resolves the problem.
        He reveals his identity.

        Of course, the mysterious stranger who turns out to be the wizard/god/king is a pretty common theme in folk tales, but there is more than that in common between the two stories. This is a story about Asclepius, and there are interesting similarities between him and Jesus in Luke.

        Asclepius was alled “the Saviour”
        He had a divine father, human mother (This was pretty common in ancient times.)
        When he was a baby, he was found by a shepherd who saw a dazzling light.He performed healing miracles.
        He brought a dead person back to life. (Several other ancients did this as well.)
        He was raised to heaven after he died

        Luke is the only Gospel writer who calls Jesus “the Saviour”. He is the only Gospel writer who mentions the shepherds. Luke says Jesus was announced to the shepherds by an angel surrounded by dazzling light. And he is the only Gospel writer who tells the Emmaus story.

        Of course, this is a long way short of proof that the Asclepius story is the basis for the Emmaus story, but it certainly raises suspicion.

        And. of course, the Emmaus story makes no sense in the general post-crucifixion narrative. (Not that the narrative is particularly coherent otherwise.)

      • Walid
        October 12, 2013, 9:22 am

        Another that was called Saviour was the Indo-Persian diety, Mithra whose religion lasted from 1500 BC till about 300 AD. Mithra that died on the cross for mankind and was resurrected had the following in common with the Jesus character:

        Mithra was born on December 25th of the virgin Anahita.
        The babe was wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed in a manger and attended by shepherds.
        He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.
        He had 12 companions or “disciples.”
        He performed miracles.
        As the “great bull of the Sun,” Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace.
        He ascended to heaven.
        Mithra was viewed as the Good Shepherd, the “Way, the Truth and the Light,” the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah.
        Mithra is omniscient, as he “hears all, sees all, knows all: none can deceive him.”
        He was identified with both the Lion and the Lamb.
        His sacred day was Sunday, “the Lord’s Day,” hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
        His religion had a eucharist or “Lord’s Supper.”
        Mithra “sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers.”
        Mithraism emphasized baptism.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 12, 2013, 11:38 am

        Walid,
        These comparisons between Mithras and Jesus are nonsense. Most are made up of whole cloth and, of the similarities that do exist, they are either coincidental or the influence went the other way, as the element in Christianity was already set by the time the Mithric Mysteries arose in Rome. One of the key problems is the fact that these comparisons mix up the Persian figure of Mithras (which was not comparable to the Jesus), which pre-dated Christianity, and the Roman Mythriac Mysteries, which adopted the name of the Persian figure (by way of the Greeks) but appended it to new imagery and, essentially, a new religion. It is the latter which the Christians supposedly copied; but the problem is that the New Testament was mostly already set and codified before the Mythriac Mysteries came into being, somewhere in the first century AD.

      • James Canning
        October 12, 2013, 3:43 pm

        Fascinating post, Walid.

      • RoHa
        October 13, 2013, 3:56 am

        Not quite as clear cut as that, I’m afraid, Walid.

  3. MRW
    October 10, 2013, 10:45 am

    Superb.

    • ritzl
      October 11, 2013, 2:01 am

      MRW, Way OT but I just finished Andrew Bacevich’s book “The Limits of Power: The End to American Exceptionalism” on Audible. It directly addresses, at length, what we all were discussing a bit ago about the US general staff and the role it may or may not play in avoiding “small wars” (re: imperial wars), and why or why not. If you haven’t already read (or listened to) it, you may be interested. Very direct.

      Apologies for bringing it up here, but Blumenthal’s style and directness reminded me of it. The bluntness of both books gives me hope that some of this will filter out into some sort of collective understanding of the situation we’re in in the ME, with the associated [self-evident?] corrections in personal belief and public policy.

      Ditto, “superb.”

      • MRW
        October 11, 2013, 3:24 am

        You mean when we were discussing the possible efforts to stop the Syrian War?

        Thanks, I’ll go and get it now.

      • ritzl
        October 11, 2013, 12:23 pm

        Yes.

  4. hophmi
    October 10, 2013, 11:08 am

    Hey Max,

    Do you have any solutions? Or just insipid arguments about how the Israelis are the only ones in the history of humanity to live where other cultures lived before them and how Israelis are all awful people while every Arab is a fantastic person who gives you grapes and invites you into their homes?

    It’s exactly as your tour guide said – there are no facts in these places, only narratives. And you’ve adopted one of them wholesale.

    • eljay
      October 10, 2013, 11:38 am

      >> … there are no facts in these places, only narratives.

      Unless the narratives happen to Israeli Jews, in which case Zio-supremacists like hophmeee will quickly point out that they’re FACTS!!

    • Annie Robbins
      October 10, 2013, 11:38 am

      just insipid arguments about how the Israelis are the only ones in the history of humanity to live where other cultures lived before them and how Israelis are all awful people while every Arab is a fantastic person

      lol! strawman just a little! you crack me up hops. your blood must be boiling.

      It’s exactly as your tour guide said – there are no facts

      uh huh. now that’s a compelling argument/NOT!

      • hophmi
        October 10, 2013, 11:52 am

        “lol! strawman just a little! you crack me up hops. your blood must be boiling.”

        No, it’s just that I doubt Max is being honest. He’s “suspicious” to the tour guide. Why? He quotes controversial anti-Zionists like Ilan Pappe. He purposely upsets the Arab who was nice enough to let him in by telling him that a former mosque has been turned into a bar. The guy says it’s an insult.

        Does Max feel the same way about the Eliyahu HaNavi synagogue in Syria, which was destroyed altogether earlier this year?

        link to timesofisrael.com

        How about the widespread destruction of synagogues in Gaza after Disengagement?

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 10, 2013, 12:32 pm

        “He’s “suspicious” to the tour guide. Why?”

        Because he knows a bit about the history and she’s clearly lying by omission. THE STORY here is the fact that the real owners were ethnically cleansed, and she avoided it like the plague.

        “He purposely upsets the Arab who was nice enough to let him in by telling him that a former mosque has been turned into a bar. The guy says it’s an insult. ”

        LMAO. Wow, you really are a piece of work. Have you no shame at all? You have a choice of either complaining about (1) the zios ethnically cleansing a village and desecrating the mosque or (2) Max asking someone about it, and you choose (2).

        And regarding your “whattabouttery,” if israel has a government policy of desecrating Muslim mosques, on what basis do they have to object to it when it happens to them back?

      • talknic
        October 10, 2013, 1:48 pm

        hophmi He’s “suspicious” to the tour guide. Why?

        Justifiably “So what about the conquest you mentioned?” I asked her. “Why didn’t you tell the tourists who lived in the houses before 1948?”

        “He purposely upsets the Arab who was nice enough to let him in by telling him that a former mosque has been turned into a bar. The guy says it’s an insult. “

        You’ll say anything… The fact that it has been turned into a bar upset him “When I mentioned the bar built into the old mosque, al-Hija shook his head in disgust. “It’s very bad. It’s an insult,” he said.”

        ” the Eliyahu HaNavi synagogue in Syria, which was destroyed altogether”

        Was it? link to youtube.com

        “How about the widespread destruction of synagogues in Gaza after Disengagement?”

        No synagogues were destroyed in Gaza. Without a Torah scroll what was a synagogue is just a building.

      • hophmi
        October 10, 2013, 2:02 pm

        “No synagogues were destroyed in Gaza. Without a Torah scroll what was a synagogue is just a building.”

        LOL. Wow. So shitting on the floor and setting them on fire is how Palestinians generally treat their buildings?

        link to forward.com
        “” the Eliyahu HaNavi synagogue in Syria, which was destroyed altogether”

        Was it? link to youtube.com”

        Yes, it was. link to forward.com

      • Ecru
        October 10, 2013, 3:08 pm

        @ Hophmi

        Complaining about one synagogue when you’re happy entire villages and a culture is being destroyed? Oh yes, you definitely know how not to keep things in proportion.

        However I have to say, the partial destruction (you really should read your reference material),

        One of the oldest synagogues in the world was partially destroyed

        of the synagogue is very sad. Hopefully there’s enough left for reconstruction after the civil war is concluded. So it’s sad but not really comparable to the very deliberate destruction of whole communities by Israel. Which is a point no doubt lost on you.

      • hophmi
        October 10, 2013, 4:19 pm

        “Complaining about one synagogue when you’re happy entire villages and a culture is being destroyed?”

        That synagogue is just the latest to be destroyed. It is far from the only one. The Jordanians destroyed the Hurva when they occupied East Jerusalem.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 11, 2013, 7:43 am

        He purposely upsets the Arab who was nice enough to let him in

        lol! as if the residents of Ayn Hawd were completely unaware their mosque had been turned into a saloon until max showed up! the al hija family didn’t seem to be so upset they kicked him out in the cold, au contraire! they probably enjoyed their visitors company or the ms wouldn’t have sent him off with those tasty grapes.

      • hophmi
        October 11, 2013, 10:43 am

        Please put my responsive comments through. It’s deeply unfair to allow people to respond and attack what I say and then to withhold my responses.

      • Ecru
        October 11, 2013, 11:58 am

        @ Hoppy

        Please put my responsive comments through. It’s deeply unfair

        Or what, you’ll throw your rattle out of the crib? Stop being so pathetic. Lots of comments either take forever to get through or never do and it happens to all of us. Gods you Zionists are an entitled self-pitying lot.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 11, 2013, 12:37 pm

        “Please put my responsive comments through. It’s deeply unfair to allow people to respond and attack what I say and then to withhold my responses.”

        Try resubmitting it without the stuff that violates the site’s rules.

      • hophmi
        October 11, 2013, 12:38 pm

        It’s quite a thing when the moderators purposely publish things they know are not meant as public comments. It’s really underhanded.

        ” Lots of comments either take forever to get through or never do and it happens to all of us. ”

        Not when they’re in the same thread. The answer I usually get is that my comments just weren’t seen. That’s clearly nonsense when they’re in the same exact thread as comments that came later than mine.

        I don’t care normally. I care only when people publish responses to things I say, and then my responses are held up.

        It’s nothing short of incredible the way the moderators target me in this way. It says a lot about their integrity.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 11, 2013, 1:21 pm

        “It’s nothing short of incredible the way the moderators target me in this way. It says a lot about their integrity.”

        Oh, stop playing the martyr, you baby. You’re not being targeted. EVERYONE who posts with any regularity gets posts hung up on a regular basis. I had one post put up around noon (a response to a comment addressed to me by name) which was held up since 9 pm last night, until I edited the post and resubmitted it.

      • thankgodimatheist
        October 11, 2013, 10:29 pm

        “Does Max feel the same way about the Eliyahu HaNavi synagogue in Syria, which was destroyed altogether earlier this year? ”
        If it was a Syrian gov’t’s policy to destroy synagogues why did they wait until war broke out when this collection of thugs invaded the area from as far as Chechnya, Baluchistan, Pakistan and Libya and who have been documented to also destroy everything that doesn’t nicely fit with their fundamentalist convictions (statue of philosopher/poet Abul Alaa Al Ma’arri is on example) ? Could it be not a result of fire exchange between the two sides independently of who caused more damage to the building?

      • talknic
        October 12, 2013, 12:43 am

        @ hophmi
        “So shitting on the floor and setting them on fire is how Palestinians generally treat their buildings”

        You keep failing… This is the link you gave. link to forward.com says nothing about Palestinians defecating in buildings and;

        In link to forward.com there’s nothing support your claim that “the Eliyahu HaNavi synagogue in Syria, which was destroyed altogether” or their claim that it was “burned to the ground”. In fact an item on the same page leads here http://forward.com/articles/174099/damage-at–year-old-syrian-synaogogue-not-as-b/

      • Shingo
        October 12, 2013, 12:47 am

        So shitting on the floor and setting them on fire is how Palestinians generally treat their buildings

        You must be confusing them with IDF thugs who do that to Palestinians homes in the occupied territories.

        “The IDF soldiers who moved into West Bank cities left behind destruction and degradation, Amira Hass reports.”
        link to haaretz.com

        And there’s ever virtual defacating.
        link to mondoweiss.net

      • talknic
        October 12, 2013, 1:01 am

        @ hophmi LOL After being shown the synagogue was not destroyed You simply keep repeating crapolla “That synagogue is just the latest to be destroyed.”

        Brainwashing works I guess.

        “The Jordanians destroyed the Hurva when they occupied East Jerusalem”

        Hurva was damaged when Jewish militants used it for military purposes. It’s normal to demolish war damaged buildings if they’re unsafe.

      • Walid
        October 12, 2013, 1:30 am

        Talknic, if your man Hophmi wants to talk about the destruction of synagogues, there’s the Magen Avraham synagogue in Beirut that was shelled by the Israeli navy in 1982 to “entice” the remaining Lebanese Jews into changing their minds about insisting to stay in Lebanon despite a raging civil war. Most of the other Jews had left 7 years earlier (along with half a million other Lebanese) when the civil war broke out.

      • Ecru
        October 12, 2013, 2:28 am

        @ Hoppy

        That synagogue is just the latest to be destroyed. It is far from the only one. The Jordanians destroyed the Hurva when they occupied East Jerusalem.

        Well first off, as I’ve already pointed out to you, as the link you provided clearly states the synagogue in question wasn’t destroyed it was damaged. Can you not tell the difference? I bet you could if we were talking about a mosque.

        But anyway, the Haganah was inside the Hurva at the time and using it as a redoubt. Funny you fail to mention that. Considering your views on Cast Lead and the wanton destruction there it’s more than a tad hypocritical, even for you, to complain about the Hurva being shelled. Shall I remind you?

        Again, non-targets like schools and police stations can become targets if they are used for military purposes.

        That’s you Hoppy. 30th June, 2010 at 7:07 pm in a response to Shingo.
        link to mondoweiss.net

        But again, you’re still complaining about the odd synagogue (in this case one that may actually have been blown up by the Haganah not the Jordanians) whilst happy to justify the destruction of whole communities and their way of life. Entire villages not just their holy places. It would be a lot easier to think of you as less of a joke if you didn’t so obviously have a double standard – “it’s OK but only when Jews do it.”

      • lysias
        October 10, 2013, 3:31 pm

        The Christian societies of modern Western Europe do not exactly hide the remains of Roman rule on their territory.

    • Philip Munger
      October 10, 2013, 11:38 am

      Hey Max,

      Do you have any solutions? Or just insipid arguments about how the Israelis are the only ones in the history of humanity to live where other cultures lived before them ….

      Perhaps Blumenthal has “solutions,” but this book is more about you and people like you, and how your insipid arguments justifying your myth-based thefts are merely the latest iteration of the shortcomings of humanity.

    • Woody Tanaka
      October 10, 2013, 11:40 am

      “…the Israelis are the only ones in the history of humanity to live where other cultures lived before them…”

      LMAO. A guy breaks into a house, murders the family, shoots the dog and steals the property and then says, “Hey, I’m just living where someone lived before me. Nothing more.”

    • justicewillprevail
      October 10, 2013, 11:49 am

      Wow – insensitive, crass, ignorant and toweringly arrogant, hopper excels himself. I hope one day you are thrown out of your home without any warning or compensation. Then I will your describe your pain and sorrow as ‘insipid argumentation’ and dismiss your pathetic whining. How convenient to dismiss the history which you don’t like as having ‘no facts’. When it comes to fact-free arguments, zionist excel at fictional justifications for dispossessing an entire people and destroying their country. Don’t judge the rest of the world by such low, or non-existent, standards. Facts cannot be erased by wishing them away with the beliefs of a cult.

    • talknic
      October 10, 2013, 12:02 pm

      @hophmi

      ” Or just insipid arguments about how the Israelis are the only ones in the history of humanity to live where other cultures lived before them and how Israelis are all awful people while every Arab is a fantastic person who gives you grapes and invites you into their homes?”

      Your assertion is definitely insipid. Bearing false witness is against the basic tenets of Judaism. Why do you need do it?

      “… you’ve adopted one of them wholesale. “

      The narrative above is YOUR false accusation hophmi.

      • amigo
        October 11, 2013, 7:47 am

        @hophmi

        ” Or just insipid arguments about how the Israelis are the only ones in the history of humanity to live where other cultures lived before them and how Israelis are all awful people”

        No, hopknee, circa 80% of Israelis are awful people.

      • hophmi
        October 11, 2013, 12:39 pm

        “No, hopknee, circa 80% of Israelis are awful people.”

        The Jewish part. I get it, thanks Amigo. I respect your honesty.

    • seafoid
      October 10, 2013, 1:18 pm

      Did Norway and Namibia’s armies also murder 1300 children since 2000?

      • hophmi
        October 10, 2013, 1:22 pm

        “Did Norway and Namibia’s armies also murder 1300 children since 2000?”

        There were children killed since 2000 in the various wars Israel has fought.

        Are Norway and Namibia involved in land conflicts? No.

      • seafoid
        October 10, 2013, 3:29 pm

        No other oecd country runs apartheid 2.0
        Israel is in the cloud. All lonesome.

      • Mike_Konrad
        October 10, 2013, 4:32 pm

        No other oecd country runs apartheid 2.0
        Israel is in the cloud. All lonesome.

        Stop with the crap.

        Corny, but true!

        WORD UP!

      • justicewillprevail
        October 10, 2013, 6:13 pm

        You call a vicious occupation and ethnic cleansing a land conflict? lol Norway and Namibia have borders.

      • Bumblebye
        October 10, 2013, 7:16 pm

        hophead
        “There were children killed since 2000 in the various wars Israel has fought.”

        Do tell us which *armies* were in opposition to the vastly most superior army in the ME during these so called “various wars”. More bottle bombs fired from tiny militias against heavy ordnance.

      • xanadou
        October 10, 2013, 7:34 pm

        “Israel is in the cloud.”
        More like in a Circle, 10th(?), the one that even Dante couldn’t bring himself to describe.

      • Cliff
        October 11, 2013, 7:05 am

        hoppy said:

        There were children killed since 2000 in the various wars Israel has fought.

        Really? How many Israeli children are dead since 2000? Say the number.

        Who was Israel fighting? What Goliath was Israel fighting? Oh that’s right, the Palestinian people.

        Why oh why is poor Israel fighting? Oh that’s right, Israel is COLONIZING PALESTINIAN LAND.

        Get out of Palestine you thief. Then you won’t have to whiny about 83 Israeli minors dying in THIRTEEN YEARS. Israel killed more people in 2.5 weeks than ALL SUICIDE ATTACKS IN GENERAL did in nearly 30 years.

        This conflict is not complex. It is rife with your cult’s propaganda and fear-mongering.

        The Palestinian people are remarkable in their patience and passivity. You on the other hand are a band of murderers, rapists, thieves and liars and the statistics prove it.

        But everyone here should remember that our friendly neighborhood Jewish colonist, hophead, thinks HYPOTHETICAL Palestinian violence (where other Jewish colonists estimate the hypothetical casualties) is worse than ACTUAL ISRAELI violence.

        He also thinks Palestinians are Nazis, the Mufti was the leader of Palestinians, Arabs are genocidal, and blah blah antisemitism blah blah.

      • talknic
        October 12, 2013, 12:46 am

        hophmi “Are Norway and Namibia involved in land conflicts? No.

        Israel does have a conflict over land?

      • Mike_Konrad
        October 10, 2013, 4:30 pm

        Did Norway and Namibia’s armies also murder 1300 children since 2000?

        Was Norway the target of thousands of rockets?

      • Shingo
        October 11, 2013, 7:50 am

        Was Norway the target of thousands of rockets?

        Is Norway a brutal military occupier that commits crimes of ethnic cleansing, mass murder, land theft and did Norway fire 7,700 shells before being the target of rocket fire?

      • Cliff
        October 11, 2013, 11:17 am

        @Christian fundie

        Was Norway occupying and colonizing another people’s land for decades?

        Was Norway killing those people at a ratio of 5 to 1 and 10 to 1 for civilians and children respectively?

        Was Norway using those people as a science lab to test weaponry on before selling said weapons abroad?

        Was Norway caught harvesting ORGANS from the dead of those people w/o their consent – THEN tried to cover it up by using an antiquated religious label?

        Was Norway planning on expanding Norwegian colonies?

        The rockets will never compare to Israeli crimes – which are far more numerous and on a much larger scale.

        Israel has no moral ground. Israel is a Jewish fundamentalist colony.

    • Ecru
      October 10, 2013, 2:17 pm

      @ Hoppy

      “..there are no facts in these places, only narratives..”

      Narrative you odious little buffoon is how facts are put together within a context (something you have trouble with) to facilitate understanding. For goodness sake go do a basic history or social “science” course and learn something.

      • thankgodimatheist
        October 11, 2013, 10:55 pm

        “you odious little buffoon”
        Let’s give credit for having worked hard to earn it.

    • Shingo
      October 10, 2013, 5:33 pm

      It’s exactly as your tour guide said – there are no facts in these places, only narratives.

      You and the guide sound exactly like proponents of intelligent design, who insist that creationism is just as valid as evolution.

    • Dutch
      October 10, 2013, 6:11 pm

      @ Hophmi

      You are wrong. The tourguide said the former inhabitants are a happy lot. ‘Go ask them’, she said. Max did. She was wrong. She lied. That’s the essence. Call it a fact.

      And yeah, Arabs are very hospitable. Palestinians too.

    • Donald
      October 10, 2013, 6:38 pm

      “Or just insipid arguments about how the Israelis are the only ones in the history of humanity to live where other cultures lived before them ”

      Presumably then it is insipid when people write books about the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans or about any other act of ethnic cleansing, since it has happened so many times. Atrocities are so boring.

      “how Israelis are all awful people while every Arab is a fantastic person who gives you grapes and invites you into their homes?”

      I’ll probably read the book and will be looking to see if he does this–that is, if he always portrays Israelis as bad people individually and Palestinians as always good, but has it occurred to you that Israelis probably do have to say “insipid” things to justify what their country has done? They don’t have to be bad people to do this–in fact, I think it’s a weakness of the pro-Palestinian side here that we talk about the situation that way. There are several million Israeli Jews–I assume the majority were born there. They grow up in a country which exists as a Jewish state because of a massive act of injustice that was committed in 1948, and massive acts of injustice continue to be committed. They also are afraid of terrorism (though less so at the moment). They are presumably bombarded with propaganda both subtle and not so subtle about the grand nobility of their country–Israeli exceptionalism. (I haven’t been there, but I live in the US, so I know how it works here, plus we see Israelis post at this blog and the majority of them seem like people who’ve swallowed a lot of Kool Aid.) How will they respond to the fact that they live in a country whose very nature came about by way of ethnic cleansing? Well, most of them are probably going to respond the way most people have responded all through history to injustice that profited them in some way–some will feel bad and some won’t. Some may try to work for a just solution, but the majority won’t. Many will respond with defensive self-righteousness, persuading themselves that it’s all the fault of the Palestinians or the Arabs or of Arab culture or Islam or whatever. Most will wish the problem would go away, but won’t risk any sort of danger or discomfort or sacrifice to bring about justice unless it’s forced on them.

      Americans in the same situation would react the same way, I suspect. Hell, Tea Party Americans have managed to become irrational nutcases willing to risk another depression because they imagine that Obama is the next Hitler, so yeah, crazy narcissists are everywhere.

      What all this means is that outside pressure is probably necessary if anything resembling a just solution is to happen. White American Southerners didn’t end Jim Crow by themselves.

      • Elisabeth
        October 11, 2013, 5:01 am

        Your comments always stand out for me.

      • Donald
        October 11, 2013, 3:34 pm

        Thanks Elisabeth.

      • Citizen
        October 11, 2013, 5:16 am

        @ Donald
        The original grassroots Tea Party folks, the Ron Paul supporters, were and are more rational and moral than other American party members, including the PEP progressives, and have and do perform a desperately needed stance against America’s imperial wars, always cojoined with Israel’s. The Tea Party name was derived from the historic “No taxation without representation”–a direct counter to AIPAC’s agenda, which is against the best American interests. While it’s true that the GOP astroturf Tea Party has hijacked the original Tea Party agenda, it’s also true that real progressives need to partner with the anti-intervention school to form a Peace Party working against The bipartisan Establishment working for the 1% + Greater Israel.

      • Donald
        October 11, 2013, 3:38 pm

        “The original grassroots Tea Party folks, the Ron Paul supporters, were and are more rational and moral than other American party members, including the PEP progressives, and have and do perform a desperately needed stance against America’s imperial wars, always cojoined with Israel’s. ”

        I’m an outsider to that movement, but approve of conservatives who are anti-imperialist. I know some exist–I read “The American Conservative” sporadically, and there is also Andrew Bacevich, who is a self-described conservative Catholic and is anti-war. I think progressives should ally with them on this issue.

        But this debt ceiling blackmail and the government shutdown are insane.

    • Citizen
      October 10, 2013, 7:09 pm

      @ hophmi
      Interesting, so there’s no facts about the Holocaust, just narratives?

      • Ecru
        October 11, 2013, 4:37 am

        Ouch!

    • RoHa
      October 10, 2013, 9:13 pm

      “Or just insipid arguments about how the Israelis are the only ones in the history of humanity to live where other cultures lived before them”

      Has anyone here made such arguments? Or have they argued that the fact that others have done it does not make it right for the Israelis to do it?

  5. seafoid
    October 10, 2013, 11:25 am

    Yishai mobilised his base when he said that criticism of his ineptitude as minister (no firefighting helicopters as they only work with white phosphorous) was driven by hatred of the sephardim. Zionists never did responsibility.

  6. Philip Munger
    October 10, 2013, 11:32 am

    This may be one of the most vibrant chapters in Max’s monumental new book, but each short chapter is, like this one, an indelible portrait of one aspect or another of an increasingly racist, Eurocentric colonial population. I’m having to read some of the chapters – Chapter 53, “The Hunted,” being one of them – more than once, to digest the importance of what this young author has so astutely put together in such telling ways.

    • xanadou
      October 10, 2013, 8:24 pm

      “Eurocentric”?
      Uh, no. There’s no apartheid in any Euro countries that I can think of. Nor would any one tolerate it; their own internal petty, at times even nasty, quarrels notwithstanding. Also, no one dies. That’s one difference.

      We’ve been hearing for 65 years how bad Europe has been to the Jew. The corruption of the history of minorities that used to be scapegoated thru the ages, zio histrionics have reduced to a single one: that of the Jews, thus corrupting and confusing Israeli generations born and indoctrinated into this bizarre faux Euro/Jewish dichotomy.

      Israel, inexplicably, had elected to try and recreate the Europe imagined in self-closed off ghettos that is more like gauche Las Vegas: silly and dated ersatz. With so many great Jewish artists Israel could not come up with a unique, beautiful, fascinating and worthy of emulating style of its own? They have to appropriate and desecrate, e.g., a place of Arab worship for a… bar, because they couldn’t/wouldn’t design something that expresses the unique aspects of Israeli joie de vivre? It also makes for an unsettling national projection: of denying their own character. They are not European; they are Middle Eastern. How could the kaleidoscope that makes for their society have failed so badly?

  7. Annie Robbins
    October 10, 2013, 11:39 am

    you’re a great writer max blumenthal!

    • Woody Tanaka
      October 10, 2013, 11:43 am

      I’ll go a step further: You’re a great human being, Max Blumenthal!

      • bintbiba
        October 10, 2013, 8:04 pm

        Ditto annie,Woody Tanaka…. Just received my copy of Max’s book today via Amazon uk. Kudos Max. You are destined for great things, I hope and pray.

  8. Obsidian
    October 10, 2013, 11:49 am

    ” The pine trees that had burned so easily across the Carmel mountains were originally intended as instruments of concealment, strategically planted by the JNF atop the sites of the hundreds of Palestinian villages the Israeli military evacuated and destroyed in 1948 and ’67.”

    Bullshit.

    The Carmel region, especially the ‘Triangle’, is full of Arabs, who, by the way accidentally started the fire.

    This region where the fire occurred had many native trees growing. Max’s ‘pine trees’ were probably native Aleppo Pines, which grow wild in the Carmel region.

    Carmel Fire firefighting efforts were frustrated by arson incidents. Blame Bibi?

    link to ynetnews.com

    Lastly, the remains of the town of Imwas, are located in Canada Park, which must be 50 kilometers from the site of the Carmel Fire, so Max is playing fast and loose with the facts, and time traveling, all to his reader’s detriment.

    • Woody Tanaka
      October 10, 2013, 12:24 pm

      “The Carmel region, especially the ‘Triangle’, is full of Arabs”

      Yes, you genociders and ethnic cleansers didn’t get them all.

      “…who, by the way accidentally started the fire.”

      Oh, yes, after getting “advanced interrogation” by your israeli police, a student who was in school at the time “confessed” to starting a forest fire. Right.

      “This region where the fire occurred had many native trees growing.”

      Yes, and it also has a giant forest planted by the racist organization, the JNF.

      “Max’s ‘pine trees’ were probably native Aleppo Pines, which grow wild in the Carmel region”

      LMAO. Yeah, it must have been a magical “zionist fire” where only the native plants burned and not the tinder-box European pines that were planted right there.

      “Carmel Fire firefighting efforts were frustrated by arson incidents.”

      Palestinian lives are frustrated by zionist terror. You’ve only yourselves to blame.

      “Lastly, the remains of the town of Imwas, are located in Canada Park, which must be 50 kilometers from the site of the Carmel Fire, so Max is playing fast and loose with the facts, and time traveling, all to his reader’s detriment.”

      Nonsense. He’s merely laying out the crime against humanity that you committed there, as an example of the similar crimes that you committed all over Palestine, including at Mt. Carmel.

    • talknic
      October 10, 2013, 12:27 pm

      @Obsidian “This region where the fire occurred had many native trees growing.”

      So much for a barren desert eh… link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

      The colonist’s narrative always trips over itself

      “Lastly, the remains of the town of Imwas, are located in Canada Park, which must be 50 kilometers from the site of the Carmel Fire, so Max is playing fast and loose with the facts, and time traveling, all to his reader’s detriment.”

      FIRSTLY read the article !

      The JNF’s showcase forest, Canada Park, is built on the ruins of the Palestinian villages that once stood in Latrun—Imwas, Yalu, and Beit Nuba…..

      …. During the 1970s, the JNF constructed Canada Park with generous donations from the Canadian government, planting thousands of non-indigenous pine trees on the rubble of Imwas , Yalu, and Beit Nuba. Today the park is an idyllic setting for cyclists, hikers, and families who spend Israel’s Independence Day picnicking in the sun. However, those who venture too deeply into the forest may risk stumbling over the still-intact spring and water wells belonging to the scattered refugees of Yalu, or the rubble of a church where the Christians of Imwas worshipped each Sunday until the Israeli bulldozers sent it crashing to the ground. Though few Israelis realize it, when they stroll in the shade of Canada Park ’s pines, they are actually inside a section of the West Bank captured from the Palestinians—that the JNF trees mask the occupation.

      • Obsidian
        October 10, 2013, 1:43 pm

        ‘the park is an idyllic setting’

        The park is butt ugly and only serves trail bikers well.

      • justicewillprevail
        October 10, 2013, 6:16 pm

        Obsid, you can’t see the wood for the trees. Which is the point of them, beyond your limited purview.

      • Shingo
        October 10, 2013, 6:22 pm

        The park is butt ugly and only serves trail bikers well.

        No one ever said Israelis had taste. Look at how butt ugly the settlement blocks are.

      • amigo
        October 11, 2013, 5:37 am

        “The park is butt ugly and only serves trail bikers well.” obsidious

        “No one ever said Israelis had taste. Look at how butt ugly the settlement blocks are.” Shingo.

        You really ought to see a doctor about your “foot in mouth disease” obsidious.

      • Obsidian
        October 11, 2013, 2:44 pm

        @amigo

        You ought to see a doctor about your ugly, twisted soul.

      • amigo
        October 11, 2013, 3:21 pm

        “You ought to see a doctor about your ugly, twisted soul.” obsidious

        At least I have a soul .

        Bro.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 11, 2013, 3:31 pm

        “You ought to see a doctor about your ugly, twisted soul.”

        Don’t concern yourself with the mote in amigo’s eye. Attend to the beam in your own.

      • miriam6
        October 11, 2013, 4:03 pm

        Shingo@;

        No one ever said Israelis had taste.

        So says the commenter from Australia..

        Surely you are forgetting all about Australia’s very own Cultural Attaché to the world at large – and – Chairman of the Australian Cheese Board – Sir Les Patterson.

        Here is Sir Les at his most classily urbane and sophisticated best – representing Australia back in 1995 ..

        Dear god – you Ozzies must have worse dental work than us Brits..

      • Shingo
        October 12, 2013, 4:23 am

        Surely you are forgetting all about Australia’s very own Cultural Attaché to the world at large – and – Chairman of the Australian Cheese Board – Sir Les Patterson.

        OMG Miriam, you are seriously beyond help. I would have thought that as a Brit you had a clue that Sir Les Patterson is an alter ego of Australian comedian Barry Humphries:
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        He’s other alter ego, Dame Edna Everage, I believe was quite a hit with you Poms.
        link to telegraph.co.uk

        Please tell me that not even you are that clueless.

      • talknic
        October 12, 2013, 6:54 am

        @ miriam6 says:
        October 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

        Oh FFS

    • Shingo
      October 10, 2013, 6:21 pm

      The Carmel region, especially the ‘Triangle’, is full of Arabs, who, by the way accidentally started the fire.

      That doesn’t refute the fact that the pine trees that had burned so easily across the Carmel mountains were originally intended as instruments of concealment, strategically planted by the JNF atop the sites of the hundreds of Palestinian villages the Israeli military evacuated and destroyed in 1948 and ’67.”

      This region where the fire occurred had many native trees growing. Max’s ‘pine trees’ were probably native Aleppo Pines, which grow wild in the Carmel region.

      It’s hard to stop native trees growing, but your spin doesn’t refute the fact that the pine trees originated from Europe.

      Carmel Fire firefighting efforts were frustrated by arson incidents.

      That doesn’t address how the fires were started.

      Fail!

      • Obsidian
        October 11, 2013, 4:13 am

        Here’s Max’s original article with maps showing the fire’s location.
        Name the Arab villages that were destroyed near the fire’s site and that were covered over with pines forests. That should be easy but Max doesn’t do it.

        Not Ein Hawd, anyway. It’s still there.

      • Obsidian
        October 11, 2013, 10:08 am
  9. pabelmont
    October 10, 2013, 11:54 am

    Palestinians have their memories, but we (and others) outside The Land need narratives, which can become our memories, just as the stories in the Bible appear to have been adopted (as if “fact”, mind!) by many Israelis, some of whom say there are no facts!).

    People may and people do choose which narratives they will honor as being “facts” and, indeed, as important facts. Israel ran “roughshod” over Palestine in 1948 and still does it today, as the Caterpillar bulldozers that destroy houses and trees and people like Rachel corrie attest.

    Thanks Max.

    • seafoid
      October 10, 2013, 1:20 pm

      Most zionist narratives are bullshit. Fox has more credibility.

      • Mike_Konrad
        October 10, 2013, 4:28 pm

        Most zionist narratives are bullshit. Fox has more credibility.

        Nothing has less credibility than Fox.

      • seafoid
        October 11, 2013, 10:51 am

        Fox is good for sport. Zionism isn’t.

  10. hophmi
    October 10, 2013, 1:35 pm

    Max seems quite upset that Israeli Jews are “Eurocentric.”

    That’s a particularly troubling charge, to criticize the descendents of those who were murdered and ethnically cleansed from Europe, for Europe’s sins. But it’s a major trope of anti-Israel criticism, and an insight into why Israel is such a focus of people like Max, rather than much more serious problems around the world. Europeans will never be made to pay for the sins of colonialism, but rest assured, the Jews will.

    • Woody Tanaka
      October 10, 2013, 3:21 pm

      “That’s a particularly troubling charge, to criticize the descendents of those who were murdered and ethnically cleansed from Europe, for Europe’s sins.”

      Oh, so you’re blaming Europe for the terrorism and human rights violations committed by the Yishuv and the israeli state? Europe MADE the zionists commit ethnic cleansing and war crimes?

      “But it’s a major trope of anti-Israel criticism”

      No, it’s demonstrative of the fact that this state is a European colonial outpost that has no business in the Middle East.

      “rather than much more serious problems around the world.”

      Who the hell do you think you are to tell anyone that the destruction of their lives and the killing of their family members is less important than something else in the world (something not created and perpetrated by zionists, no doubt)?? What kind of sociopath are you?

      “Europeans will never be made to pay for the sins of colonialism, but rest assured, the Jews will.”

      Well, at least you’re admitting the truth that israel is a European colony and not an indiginous state. But don’t worry, hoppy, only those israelis responsible will pay for the sins of israeli colonialism.

    • seafoid
      October 10, 2013, 3:31 pm

      Jewish history is full of fuckups, hoph. It won’t be the first and it won’t be the last. Power is such a cruel business. Get real.

    • tree
      October 10, 2013, 6:02 pm

      Max seems quite upset that Israeli Jews are “Eurocentric.”
      That’s a particularly troubling charge, to criticize the descendents of those who were murdered and ethnically cleansed from Europe, for Europe’s sins.

      Most of the Zionist leaders who were responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and who set up a very Eurocentric and discriminatory system against non-Jewish Arabs, and to a lesser extent against Arab Jews, were NOT descendants of Holocaust survivors or victims. You are essentialising all Jews as eternal victims.

    • Shingo
      October 10, 2013, 6:22 pm

      Max seems quite upset that Israeli Jews are “Eurocentric.”

      Not at all, but it does kinda blow up the ludicrous narrative that they are indigenous or native to the region.

    • Donald
      October 10, 2013, 6:55 pm

      “That’s a particularly troubling charge, to criticize the descendents of those who were murdered and ethnically cleansed from Europe, for Europe’s sins.”

      What is surprising about the notion that victims or the descendants of victims could themselves become oppressors? It’s not exactly an uncommon phenomenon. Isn’t it true that many liberation movements in Europe’s former colonies, that after winning their independence from Europe, often repeated the crimes of the European colonialists? Are you some sort of romantic lefty who imagines that countries in Africa and Asia and the Middle East which obtained their freedom from European colonialists immediately became paragons of human rights?

      (This apart from tree’s point that the Zionist leaders weren’t necessarily Holocaust survivors anyway.)

    • Ecru
      October 11, 2013, 4:46 am

      Europeans will never be made to pay for the sins of colonialism, but rest assured, the Jews will.

      That’s mainly because Europeans have stopped colonising places and Zionists haven’t. Europeans rarely defend colonialism or the crimes inherent, Zionists ever cease their defence. Just look to your own postings.

      Note – Zionists Hoppy, not Jews. Although we all know how you love to conflate the two because otherwise your (oh good lord so very boring) charges of antisemitism wouldn’t even get off the ground. But you are right, if only by accident – the colonial enterprise of Israel and the inhuman philosophy of Zionism are without doubt the greatest danger to Jews today. As is the Zionist habit of claiming all Jews are equally guilty of crimes Zionists commit. You know, like you just did.

  11. Obsidian
    October 10, 2013, 1:41 pm

    Max’s photo contains an error.
    The ‘only surviving structure’, Abu Ubayda’s shrine, is no shrine at all. It is an ancient Roman bathhouse.

  12. Lars
    October 10, 2013, 1:41 pm

    ‘With night setting in, Moein and his family took me back on the patio. There, he unfurled the map of Mandate-era Palestine that so many Palestinian families I have visited kept in their homes. It was maps like these, which highlighted the hundreds of towns disappeared by the State of Israel, that Uri Avnery called “more dangerous than any bomb.”‘

    Does anyone know where one could get such a map? I’ve been looking but have been unable to find one.

  13. Mike_Konrad
    October 10, 2013, 2:08 pm

    The mosque from the Palestinian village of Ayn Hawd, which is now a bar in the Israeli village of Eid Hod.

    I am NO FAN of Islam, but for a more ridiculous case, look at this former Mosque in Jaffa.

    The Aladin Restaurant was built on a former mosque overlooking the coast

    Video:

    Their video says it was: “an ancient 600 year old building” (0:05)
    but they never mention it was a mosque.

    Why not admit it? Would add an exotic touch. I do not mind that they made a restaurant out of it, but why re-write history.

    Website:
    link to telavivisraelrestaurant.com

    The video says it overlooks Tel Aviv bay. Again, I am no fan of Islam, but rewriting history is not good It was a mosque and it overlooks Jaffa bay.

    There is no reason to deny it. It would add color to the restaurant’s brochure.

    To get the Arab version of the history of Aladin Restaurant:

    From Sleepless in Gaza
    link to youtube.com Go to (47:07)

    Go to (47:07) where Ashira Ramadan explains in 20 seconds that the restaurant had to have been a mosque.

    What amazes me is that the Aladin owners don’t admit it. It would make for a colorful history and would attract more curious people. They have already conceded that is 600 years old, and thereby admitted the land was not empty. Why not concede that it was a mosque?

    That to me is amazing. The other places admits it was a mosque. Aladin Restaurant denies it; even though it is obvious.

    • Obsidian
      October 10, 2013, 3:30 pm

      Okay. Now admit that there is an active mosque next door to the Aladin Restaurant.

      • Mike_Konrad
        October 10, 2013, 4:02 pm

        Obsidian
        Okay. Now admit that there is an active mosque next door to the Aladin Restaurant.

        There certainly is! but what has the second mosque to do with the editting of history?

        I do not even blame the Israeli for taking over the mosque to make the restaurant. I am no fan of Islam.

        But do not edit the mosque out of history. That is just creepy.

        If they can admit it was a 600 year old building, why not admit also that it was a mosque?

      • Obsidian
        October 11, 2013, 1:40 pm

        By ‘they’ you mean the restaurant owners?

      • Hostage
        October 11, 2013, 9:59 pm

        By ‘they’ you mean the restaurant owners?

        Why don’t you go first. What do you mean by “owners”?

        See Art. 56.

        The property of municipalities, that of institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences, even when State property, shall be treated as private property.

        All seizure of, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions of this character, historic monuments, works of art and science, is forbidden, and should be made the subject of legal proceedings.
        Hague IV 1907 Laws and Customs of Land warfare link to avalon.law.yale.edu

        See also the ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Practice Relating to Rule 104. Respect for Convictions and Religious Practices
        link to icrc.org

        Abba Eban testified that the rights stipulated in section C. Declaration, chapters 1 and 2 of UN resolution 181(II) had been constitutionally embodied as the fundamental law of the state of Israel as required by the resolution when the Declaration of Independence had been promulgated as law in the official gazette:

        UN General Assembly resolution 181 (II) Plan for the Future Government of Palestine: . . .
        B. STEPS PREPARATORY TO INDEPENDENCE
        The Constituent Assembly of each State shall draft a democratic constitution for its State and choose a provisional government to succeed the Provisional Council of Government appointed by the Commission. The Constitutions of the States shall embody Chapters 1 and 2 of the Declaration provided for in section C below, . . .

        C. DECLARATION

        A declaration shall be made to the United Nations by the Provisional Government of each proposed State before independence. It shall contain, inter alia, the following clauses:
        General Provision

        The stipulations contained in the Declaration are recognized as fundamental laws of the State and no law, regulation or official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law, regulation or official action prevail over them.
        Chapter 1: Holy Places, Religious Buildings and Sites

        Existing rights in respect of Holy Places and religious buildings or sites shall not be denied or impaired.

        In so far as Holy Places are concerned, the liberty of access, visit, and transit shall be guaranteed, in conformity with existing rights, to all residents and citizen of the other State and of the City of Jerusalem, as well as to aliens, without distinction as to nationality, subject to requirements of national security, public order and decorum.

        Similarly, freedom of worship shall be guaranteed in conformity with existing rights, subject to the maintenance of public order and decorum.

        Holy Places and religious buildings or sites shall be preserved.
        link to yale.edu
        — and the verbatim UN record, A/AC.24/SR.51

      • Annie Robbins
        October 11, 2013, 8:56 am

        it’s very popular hasbara tactic to use the term ‘admit,’ sets up your comment some dominating positioning that’s irrelevant. there’s no relation to the mosque next door and the restaurant hiding it’s historical origins.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 12, 2013, 1:13 am

        admit that there is an active mosque next door to the Aladin Restaurant.

        maybe not for long. link to electronicintifada.net

        In an 8 October posting on its official blog, the Tel Aviv Likud branch promises voters that it will “Silence the muezzin and stop the spread of Islamic movements in Jaffa.” The muezzin is the person who makes the call to prayer from a mosque.

        The subheading on the post quotes deputy mayor Arnon Giladi saying: “it is not possible that only a few kilometers from the center of town there will be a Palestinian nationalist autonomy that alienates itself from the values of the State of Israel.”

        The poster above, from the official Likud website, carries the caption: “Silence the Muezzin in Jaffa? Only the Likud can get it done.”

        The lower right-hand corner displays a municipal ballot, which bears the logo and the name of the party, and the words “led by Arnon Giladi.”

        Since Israel’s general election earlier this year, Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu have run joint candidates lists under the name “Likud Beiteinu.”

    • seafoid
      October 10, 2013, 4:34 pm

      Yeah. Mosques in the levant are so exotic .
      Another Konrad facepalm.

  14. hophmi
    October 10, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Hey Max,

    Did you ever visit the Charles Bridge in Prague? Great site. There’s a statue of Jesus with gold Hebrew writing (Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh) on it. The Jewish community was forced to pay for it and put it there when one of their leaders was accused of blasphemy. Next time you take a tour of it, do me a favor. First, see if the tour guide bothers to mention that tidbit of history and discusses the state of Jews in Europe during the late 17th and 18th centuries. Then, if the guide doesn’t mention it, all of it, ask her about why, and then see how she reacts.

    Do the same thing next time you go to Poland (particularly Poland) with every human being who lives in a house that used to belong to someone Jewish. Ask whether in tours of previously Jewish towns and neighborhood, the local Poles mention where Jews used to live, what they did with the buildings. Visit some of the old synagogues there, and see what they’re used for today. See how they’re treated. I have a whole photographic retrospective of previous Polish synagogues I can send you so you know where to go.

    See how the people there react.

    And then remember that no one challenges the right of a place like Poland to exist.

    • Woody Tanaka
      October 10, 2013, 3:36 pm

      “Next time you take a tour of it, do me a favor. First, see if the tour guide bothers to mention that tidbit of history and discusses the state of Jews in Europe during the late 17th and 18th centuries. Then, if the guide doesn’t mention it, all of it, ask her about why, and then see how she reacts.”

      Why would he need to ask??? There’s been a tablet there since 2000, in Czech, English and Hebrew, explaining the sordid and shameful history. It was placed there specifically in order to provide an explanation and due to Jewish concerns. See, they’re not running from their history; they’re facing it. They’re not saying, “Oh, well, better let bygones be bygones.”

      “Do the same thing next time you go to Poland (particularly Poland) ”

      Oh, now that comparison is just stupid. In israel, the people who were ethnically cleansed are living right down the street, while the ethnic cleansers are occupying the building. If the Germans were still occupying Poland, you might have a point. As it is, you don’t.

      • hophmi
        October 10, 2013, 4:14 pm

        “There’s been a tablet there since 2000, in Czech, English and Hebrew, explaining the sordid and shameful history. . . See, they’re not running from their history; they’re facing it”

        Well, that’s nice. The Hebrew was added in 1696, and in 2000 they finally put up a tablet about it. That’s 304 years in a country with no security threat in peaceful Europe. So, at that rate, perhaps around the year 2248, Israel can begin to mark where the Arab villages were, just as Americans do now with Native Americans. Oh wait, no they don’t.

        When I was there in 1998, I told my guide, who told me the story about the golden Hebrew letters with a smile on her face, like it was a meaningless anecdote, that I found the statue deeply offensive. She could not understand why. I remember so well what her answer was: “Why? It’s a nice statue.”

        Hey, I got another one. Maybe France can stick an explanatory tablet on Notre Dame and explain what the statue of Sinagoga is, why it’s there, what it means, after these hundreds of years.

        “Oh, now that comparison is just stupid. In israel, the people who were ethnically cleansed are living right down the street, while the ethnic cleansers are occupying the building. ”

        That’s right. The Jews aren’t there anymore. They’re dead. I guess we don’t need to worry about it.

      • hophmi
        October 11, 2013, 10:49 am

        Put through, please.

      • W.Jones
        October 10, 2013, 11:15 pm

        Woody,

        There are several reasons for the empty synagogues. 1. The German (not Polish) Nazis, 2. Communist Poland’s strong secularization of the population, 3. Emigration to the Israeli State.

        #1 should be compensated. But is Hophmi saying Russia and Poland should compensate the Israeli State for the immigration from Poland that had nothing to do with the Nazis?

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 11, 2013, 12:35 pm

        “There are several reasons for the empty synagogues.”

        Oh, I don’t disagree. But the point I was making is that there is a HUGE moral difference between the sitution in Max’s story and in hoppy’s silly hypothetical.

    • Mike_Konrad
      October 10, 2013, 3:59 pm

      Do the same thing next time you go to Poland (particularly Poland) with every human being who lives in a house that used to belong to someone Jewish. Ask whether in tours of previously Jewish towns and neighborhood, the local Poles mention where Jews used to live, what they did with the buildings. Visit some of the old synagogues there, and see what they’re used for today. See how they’re treated. I have a whole photographic retrospective of previous Polish synagogues I can send you so you know where to go.

      Yet, Israel wants reparations from Poland, as if Poland were a member of the Axis.
      (Click Here)

      I do not see how Israel can sue Poland, but at the same time enforce Absentee Property Laws. It makes NO sense.

    • justicewillprevail
      October 10, 2013, 6:21 pm

      It gets worse. So now you are comparing Palestinians to Jews in prewar Poland, and therefore Israel to the German army, and shrugging your shoulders saying ‘get over it, just another movement of people, leave off your insipid arguments about remembering them’. The more you try and downplay what happened to Palestine the more desperate and ridiculous your arguments become.

    • RoHa
      October 10, 2013, 10:14 pm

      “And then remember that no one challenges the right of a place like Poland to exist.”

      Not only do I challenge the alleged right to exist of places like Poland, I challenge the alleged right of Poland itself to exist. Places and states do not have a right to exist.

      • Hostage
        October 11, 2013, 9:50 am

        “And then remember that no one challenges the right of a place like Poland to exist.”

        Poor Hoppy is still trying to portray Poland as a state behind the Iron Curtain, while in fact it’s a democratic EU member state, where many Jews have chosen to work and live. The American and EU Jewish leadership adopted a “Third Pillar Plan” to revive the local communities there and elsewhere, shortly after the EU Expansion.

        There are museums devoted to Jewish culture and history – and the Jewish communities in the larger cities are growing again.
        * link to jta.org
        * link to dw.de

      • hophmi
        October 11, 2013, 10:53 am

        “Poor Hoppy is still trying to portray Poland as a state behind the Iron Curtain, ”

        Not at all. I’m trying to make a general comment about how populations handle difficult parts of their history to make the point that the Israeli tour guide’s reaction is normal, given the natural tendency of cultures not to want to talk about difficult parts of their past, particularly with people like Max who are there to give them a hard time. Max wants people to think that this is how Israelis are. It’s how people are, unless Max is expecting the Israelis to be superhuman.

        My point has nothing to do with whether there are Jewish museums in Poland to memorialize the 3 million Jews who were slaughtered there.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 11, 2013, 12:34 pm

        “how populations handle difficult parts of their history”

        The issue wans’t “history” — an Nakba is still on going. The victims who are still suffering live just up the road.

        “to make the point that the Israeli tour guide’s reaction is normal, given the natural tendency of cultures not to want to talk about difficult parts of their past”

        Nonsense. This wasn’t just some tour guide, this was a PhD student who is the self-described “expert” on the town who flat out lied to cover up not only the past, but the present, concerning the feelings of the rightful owners of this land.

      • Hostage
        October 11, 2013, 2:56 pm

        particularly when these snotty folks come from places like America, where the far-greater ethnic cleansing of Native Americans has completely faded into the background. . . . My point has nothing to do with whether there are Jewish museums in Poland to memorialize the 3 million Jews who were slaughtered there.

        Apparently you are trying to score points. Your “point” never seems to have anything to do with asking Israel to follow the good examples or lawful behavior of others. You never seem to miss an opportunity to take a license from any bad behavior you can identify.

        In Poland or the United States, tax-exempt charitable organizations or the government can legally fund museums about either of those historical events, e.g. American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston or the Trail of Tears section of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City, and the Mid-America All-Indian Center Museum in Wichita.

        In Israel, its against the law for the government to underwrite the costs of a Nakba Museum either directly or indirectly. It’s been more than a few generations since the US military stopped waging wars against the Native Americans. I’ve pointed out that the Zionist Colonization Societies were junior partners in homesteading of Indian lands in the US plains states. But those events have only faded into the background because we’ve accepted that Native Americans are entitled to equality and citizenship. We’ve established claims commissions, adopted laws prohibiting racial discrimination in public accommodations, education, employment, and housing. At the same time, we have laws that acknowledge the tribal right of self-determination. We’ve also accepted the oversight and jurisdiction of international human rights treaty monitoring bodies. Snotty people like you always fail to ask Israel to at least follow our example in those respects.

      • Obsidian
        October 11, 2013, 4:13 pm

        @Hostage

        “Snotty people like you always fail to ask Israel to at least follow our example in those respects.”

        Why is it that with the United Nations, the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC, the International Court of Justice and various international human rights treaty monitoring bodies in place, the world managed to overlook the Rwandan genocide of over 500,000 people?

        With that in mind, why should Israel submit to an international law that is capricious?

      • Shingo
        October 12, 2013, 4:18 am

        With that in mind, why should Israel submit to an international law that is capricious?

        Using that logic, thieves and rapists and those who only murder one person should be set free, coz you know , the Son of Sam killer was never caught.

        Of course, the next time Bibbi complains about Iran not observing UN resolutions , you might want to remind him how capricious they can be.

      • Hostage
        October 12, 2013, 5:43 am

        Why is it that with the United Nations, the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC, the International Court of Justice and various international human rights treaty monitoring bodies in place, the world managed to overlook the Rwandan genocide of over 500,000 people?

        None of those parties can prevent wrongdoing from happening, if that’s what you’re trying to suggest. The rest of your comment is a bald faced prevarication.

        The ICRC didn’t overlook the situation. Neither did the United Nations and its treaty monitoring bodies. Who do you think established the international criminal tribunal and ordered the UN member states and parties to the Genocide Convention to help bring those responsible to justice? In the last decade there have been dozens of arrests, trials, and convictions in the national courts in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium involving Rwandan genocide perpetrators.

        I only hope that one day those same countries and organizations will treat the people responsible for crimes committed against Palestinian and Israeli victims of aggression in exactly the same way.

      • talknic
        October 12, 2013, 7:17 am

        @ Obsidian

        “Why is it that with the United Nations, the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC, the International Court of Justice and various international human rights treaty monitoring bodies in place, the world managed to overlook the Rwandan genocide of over 500,000 people?”

        “overlook” link to google.com.au

        Rwanda genocide link to google.com.au
        About 3,880,000 results

        UN self analysis after the Rwanda incident link to daccess-dds-ny.un.org

        “With that in mind, why should Israel submit to an international law that is capricious?”

        A) People breaking the law doesn’t make the law capricious

        B) Israel said it would adhere to International Law and the UN Charter in order to be recognized as a state and be admitted to the UN. Israel has failed to meet its SELF IMPOSED obligations

        C) Humanity has adapted and adopted law over thousands of years as a way to a more civilized world. You appear to be suggesting Israel leave humanity and civilization.

    • eljay
      October 11, 2013, 9:25 am

      >> And then remember that no one challenges the right of a place like Poland to exist.

      Although it had no “right” to exist, Poland exists. Similarly, although it had no “right” to exist, Israel exists. So, now, both Poland and Israel exist. Okay, that’s how it is.

      The problem is that hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists like you – not content with the fact that Israel exists – insist on and/or justify Israel’s “right”:
      – to be an oppressive and supremacist “Jewish State”;
      – to steal, occupy and colonize land outside of its / Partition borders;
      – to wage a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder;
      – to refuse to honour its obligations under international law;
      – to refuse to be held accountable for its past and on-going (war) crimes; and
      – to refuse to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

  15. Sycamores
    October 10, 2013, 2:21 pm

    ‘Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel’

    is it just me, but this title sounds somewhat familar to Hunter S Thompson book ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.

    the similarities don’t stop there as Hunter discuss the failure of the countercultural movement during the 60’s, Blumenthal talks about the failure of the zionist movement.

    just wondering is there some connection, as vague as it may be.

    • OlegR
      October 10, 2013, 6:24 pm

      It’s a feeble attempt to sound like a really great journalist.

      • Shingo
        October 11, 2013, 12:31 am

        You’re is a feeble attempt to deny it.

      • amigo
        October 11, 2013, 5:27 am

        “It’s a feeble attempt to sound like a really great journalist.” olegr

        If it annoys you , then it is a success.

      • bintbiba
        October 11, 2013, 9:37 am

        ……….!!………..!!……….oh why do I even bother to dignify this petty comment. OlegR.

    • Citizen
      October 10, 2013, 7:17 pm

      @ Sycamores
      I assumed that vague connection upon reading the title.

    • Shingo
      October 11, 2013, 12:34 am

      is it just me, but this title sounds somewhat familar to Hunter S Thompson book ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.

      His editor insisted on the title. Goliath is obviously a play of the David myth.

      the similarities don’t stop there as Hunter discuss the failure of the countercultural movement during the 60′s, Blumenthal talks about the failure of the zionist movement.

      Indeed as he did with Republican Gemorah and he failure of the Republican party as it shifted from a big tent party to a very narrow base of right wing extremists.

  16. W.Jones
    October 10, 2013, 4:44 pm

    However, those who venture too deeply into the forest may risk stumbling over the still-intact spring and water wells belonging to the scattered refugees of Yalu, or the rubble of a church where the Christians of Imwas worshipped each Sunday until the Israeli bulldozers sent it crashing to the ground.
    It is somewhat mystical like going into a Fairy-Tale forest.

    As darkness blanketed the hills, I realized that I had lost track of time. I told al-Hija that I needed to get back to Tel Aviv. With that, his wife rushed into the house and gathered a bunch of grapes she had picked from a tree in the family’s garden, handing them over to me in a Tupperware bowl.

    Yes, that’s how it is. The beauty and familial warmth for kind strangers is timeless and encompassing. You lose track of time.

  17. Shingo
    October 10, 2013, 6:26 pm

    This is an amazing piece of writing Max and hard to put down. What really becomes clear is the paranoia and guilt that pervades Israeli society. The sins of the past simply won’t go away and their refusal to come to terms with their crimes and sins makes them hostile, paranoid and pretty neurotic.

    Not the behaviour one would expect from a population that truly believes it has a right to be there.

    • hophmi
      October 11, 2013, 10:58 am

      “The sins of the past simply won’t go away and their refusal to come to terms with their crimes and sins makes them hostile, paranoid and pretty neurotic.”

      What makes people hostile is when snotty privileged youngsters like Max bother them with hotshot questions about their history, particularly when these snotty folks come from places like America, where the far-greater ethnic cleansing of Native Americans has completely faded into the background.

      What makes Israeli neurotic is the thought of whether their kids are going to be killed by terrorists.

      • talknic
        October 12, 2013, 7:34 am

        hophmi “What makes people hostile is when snotty privileged youngsters like Max bother them with hotshot questions about their history, particularly when…” they don’t like to face their history

        “What makes Israeli neurotic is the thought of whether their kids are going to be killed by terrorists.”

        Statistics show they’re more likely to die of obesity

        “particularly when these snotty folks come from places like America, where the far-greater ethnic cleansing of Native Americans has completely faded into the background. “

        Maybe because it stopped?

        Say … isn’t APAIC ( The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) an American outfit?

        Say … doesn’t Israel get billions in military aid from the US?

        Say … doesn’t the US protect Israel from the consequences of its belligerence via the US UNSC veto vote?

      • Cliff
        October 12, 2013, 8:22 am

        hophead said:

        What makes people hostile is when snotty privileged youngsters like Max bother them with hotshot questions about their history, particularly when these snotty folks come from places like America, where the far-greater ethnic cleansing of Native Americans has completely faded into the background.

        What makes Israeli neurotic is the thought of whether their kids are going to be killed by terrorists.

        83 Israeli minors have died in 13 years. Israelis kill vastly more children.

        Max has written about American politics too. His last book was about American politics.

        He’s no hypocrite and I doubt he supports Manifest Destiny.

        But you do – you support Jewish terrorism.

        You say the Irgun were fighting British imperialism. You don’t say the same about Hamas in the same context and with the same appreciation and understanding.

        You downplay the Jewish terrorists assimilation into the wider pre-State Israeli/Israeli army.

        You downplay Palestinian suffering while playing up hypothetical Israeli casualties and hypothetical Palestinian violence.

        Here are the facts, troll:

        1. You have killed more innocent people.
        2. You have committed more crimes.
        3. Your lies are pervasive and endemic to American politics.

        You can’t contradict Max. You only affirm his thesis.

        Calling him ‘snotty-nosed’ is pathetic. He never comes across as such. He’s on the ground, reporting based on what Israeli Jewish colonists say themselves. He is known for getting into thick of it.

        What have you ever done? You spend your time trolling on-line, denying Palestinian suffering and making it seem as if there’s another Shoah around the corner.

        You are a racist and a bigot and have slandered all Palestinians as ‘Nazis’ and Arabs as ‘genocidal’ (and used the Mufti as your evidence).

      • Annie Robbins
        October 12, 2013, 9:56 am

        snotty privileged youngsters like Max

        lol. you crack me up hops. jealous much?

  18. just
    October 10, 2013, 8:00 pm

    Max– thank you. Yours is a most welcome and important voice. A voice that I believe the world is more than ready to hear. As sad, pitiful and cruel as the truth is to read– it is like warm sunshine on the cold face, water on the thirsty tongue, and nourishing sustenance to the hungry and starved soul.

    Many thanks. You have a tremendous gift that keeps giving. I hope that your work is richly rewarded in just knowing that you have done great work, and that you can sleep the sleep of the just every night.

  19. RoHa
    October 10, 2013, 9:20 pm

    “the modernist traditions he had brought over from Europe.”

    ? If they are traditional, they come from the past. Doesn’t seem appropriate to call them “modern”.

    “‘Visibly irritated, Yarkon resorted to the dreary vocabulary of post-structuralism to justify her revisionism. “I’ve concluded after years of research that there are really no facts when you discuss this issue,” she stated coldly. “There are only narratives.”’

    Great way to avoid facing reality and the moral implications thereof.

  20. Rizla
    October 11, 2013, 12:33 am

    I haven’t read the comments above, which is unusual for me.

    Mr. Blumenthal:
    Your prose is clear and descriptive and brilliant. This excerpt simply makes me want to buy the book, which I’m gonna do after I hit “post comment”. Thank you, Mondoweiss, for sharing this. I think a lot of people have been waiting for a book like this. The material in this piece reaches a point where the hasbara bots simply do not matter any more. Thank you again, Max and MW, this will be shared all over the net.

  21. Citizen
    October 11, 2013, 5:21 am

    Here’s Max B speaking about his motives, giving his background for writing GOLIATH: link to live.huffingtonpost.com

    Inter alia, for opener, he talks about his childhood in America, when he went to school with the Israeli flag given the place of honor in the class room, and, near it, a UN flag covered with a shroud in protest against the UN GA resolution Zionism was racism.

  22. OlegR
    October 11, 2013, 8:42 am

    /On December 2, 2010, a burning tree trunk fell into a bus full of Israeli Prison Service cadets on their way to Damon Prison, a detention center described by female Palestinian inmates as “the worst jail ever.”/

    A little fact you omitted,
    those cadets were on their way to help evacuating the prison
    so no prisoners would be harmed in the fire (indeed non were).

    /Forty of the cadets were immediately killed by the felled tree/
    Also factually incorrect the bus was overrun by rapidly advancing fire from all sides.Those guys and girls had no place to run.
    3/4 firemen (one 17 or 18 year old volunteer) died trying to save that bus.
    A horrible death.

    Regarding all that money to settlements instead of infrastructure line of argument.
    That’s Max regurgitating the opposition claims against Netanyahu government.
    He is not even try to be original.
    Wild fire are hard to stop events even when you are fully prepared to deal with them.
    Just look at Australia California and Canada .
    Israeli never experienced any kind of fires on this scale in it’s history.

    /“The chickens and the doves were buried under the ruins,” the regiment commander, Amos Kenan, later recalled. “The fields turned desolate before our very eyes, and children walked down the road sobbing. That was how we lost our victory that day.”/
    Max clearly has no idea who the guy was .
    That’s why he thinks Keinan was a regimental commander during 1967 when in fact.
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Boring and unprofessional Max.

    I didn’t even dug all that deep into this article that’s just what sprang to the eye.

    And rest of this article is just the usual evil bigoted Israelis noble kind hearten Arabs. Orientalism backwards.

    • Hostage
      October 11, 2013, 11:37 am

      Regarding all that money to settlements instead of infrastructure line of argument.

      That’s Max regurgitating the opposition claims against Netanyahu government.

      He is not even try to be original.

      You do realize that the first words in the book are:

      In pursuing this reporting project, I have relied on the same journalistic methods that I employed in writing my last book, . . .

      I remember the Ynet and Haaretz reports that quoted the same opposition sources and gave short shrift to the government’s excuses.

      Wild fire are hard to stop events even when you are fully prepared to deal with them.

      But they are even worse when you aren’t prepared or equipped at all. I’m just curious, what about all the stubborn peat fires in the Huleh Valley?, i.e.

      “In the late 1950s Lake Hula and its surrounding swamps, located in the northern part of Israel, were drained by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) giving over most of the area to agriculture. This was a Zionist action aimed at sanitizing the malaria-infestation in the Hula valley and turn the area over into suitable land for agriculture…. …The interference in the natural system of the Hula valley caused a series of physical and biogeochemical irreversible problems: the peat soils decomposed and settled leading to deterioration of the soil quality and narrowing by 10-20 % the land suitable for cultivation; peat fires accelerated causing dust storms; poisonous weeds spread out; field mice multiplied; indigenous fauna and flora disappeared; water bird population declined; and the quality of water in Lake Kinneret has been impaired. By the end of the 1980’s it became evident that a rapid action of restoration was essential. …Finally, in the early 1990s, with the topsoil gone, the decomposing peat began to leach nitrates into Lake Kinneret, threatening the country’s drinking water.

      link to proceedings.esri.com

      • OlegR
        October 11, 2013, 11:55 am

        I am not aware of any significant fire in the Hula valley in the last 20 years.Nor do i see how a government decision in the fifties has any relevance to what happened a few years ago.

        Look this fire in Carmel was completely a black swan event.
        Not something you expect or prepare for because of lack of any serious precedents and the short blanket that any government has to deal with.
        It would not have caused such an uproar if not for that tragedy with the cadets.Which was a really bad accident since nobody in the field had any experience with so rapidly expanding wild fires certainly not the prison authority that sent them up that road to help evacuate the prison.

        Hell just look here and these were serious dudes with experience and all.

        link to nydailynews.com

      • Hostage
        October 11, 2013, 1:38 pm

        I am not aware of any significant fire in the Hula valley in the last 20 years.Nor do i see how a government decision in the fifties has any relevance to what happened a few years ago.

        Apparently you are as clueless as the former Interior Minister then. I’m talking about the results of a pair of JNF-inspired environmental disasters that resulted in uncontrolled fires. Here in the US we have misguided and mismanaged forestry and land reclamation programs too, but we also know that accidents, arson, and lightning strikes cause forest fires. So we have a dedicated office in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that’s organized, funded, and equipped to deal with the problem of forest fires.

      • Hostage
        October 12, 2013, 10:22 am

        Look this fire in Carmel was completely a black swan event.
        Not something you expect or prepare for because of lack of any serious precedents and the short blanket that any government has to deal with.

        Haaretz and other Israeli reports addressed the fact that the State commission appointed in the aftermath was only the latest of many in the last 35 years and that the previous commission reports had warned about the lack of preparedness, funding, and central operational control of the JNF fire fighters. In the meantime, the JNF had plenty of money to fund the infrastructure for the Judaization of the Occupied Palestinian territories. Haaretz concluded that the Treasury had simply decided it was cheaper to live with the consequences of a disastrous fire than to prepare an adequate response to deal with one. See Call the Carmel fire murder link to haaretz.com

      • ritzl
        October 12, 2013, 10:34 am

        So Oleg, do you buy insurance? Just curious.

      • OlegR
        October 12, 2013, 4:49 pm

        Sure, but i don’t pay insurance company extra to cover me from unlikely events.

      • OlegR
        October 12, 2013, 5:04 pm

        /Haaretz concluded that the Treasury had simply decided it was cheaper to live with the consequences of a disastrous fire than to prepare an adequate response to deal with one./

        Well obviously they did because the cost of keeping a fully trained professional firefighting force capable of dealing with large scale forest fires that come once in a few decades (while that force needs funding all the time to be of any use) is not only too high but it’s also seems like a waste of funds that can be put to good use else were.

        For that matter the Treasure could be accused of not building a proper Tzunami response team and a 50 meter high wave breaker along the Israeli coast just in case.

      • Hostage
        October 14, 2013, 6:25 am

        For that matter the Treasure could be accused of not building a proper Tzunami response team and a 50 meter high wave breaker along the Israeli coast just in case.

        Bear in mind that you started out complaining here because Max Blumenthal had reported things that had already been said in the Israeli mainstream press and the reports of the State’s own blue ribbon commissions.

    • Shingo
      October 11, 2013, 6:37 pm

      A little fact you omitted,
      those cadets were on their way to help evacuating the prison
      so no prisoners would be harmed in the fire

      Because it’s irrelevant

      Also factually incorrect the bus was overrun by rapidly advancing fire from all sides.Those guys and girls had no place to run.

      Distinction without a difference

      That’s why he thinks Keinan was a regimental commander during 1967 when in fact

      Irrelevant to the story and his testimony.

      Boring and unprofessional Max.

      Yeah so boring that you have posted at least 5 comments in a row. Clearly Max has your attention and obsession fired up.

      • OlegR
        October 12, 2013, 4:52 pm

        /Irrelevant to the story and his testimony./
        Are you kidding me ?
        If you don’t even know who your source of information is how can you
        know he is telling the truth or that he is the one telling anything at all?

        This book is supposed to tell the truth about Israel right well
        he sure as hell should have some basic uncontroversial facts straight before he delves into the heart of the conflict.

  23. amigo
    October 11, 2013, 8:56 am

    Just ordered the book.Takes 2 weeks to get from the US but anything worth having is worth waiting for.

    Zionists , to their chagrin will learn that someday.

    Oh, I bought a couple of extra copies to pass around.

  24. amigo
    October 11, 2013, 9:55 am

    Here are some facts about zionist myths.

    Doctor David Landy.

    “One reason we are always told that we can never ever boycott Israel is because of its sterling academic reputation. Israel, we have heard on countless occasions, is a paragon of science, medicine and humanities. If we boycott Israel we’ll be boycotting the cutting-edgiest of high-tech, the most miraculous research in medicine, the inventors of… well, just about everything

    Well, it seems that such talk of Israeli academic excellence is pure propaganda”

    “The Times Higher Education Supplement which ranks universities has produced its 2013-14 ranking, and in it we find that Israel is virtually nowhere to be found. Two Israeli universities are in the top 200, and only barely. They are the Hebrew University at 191st, and Tel Aviv University at 199th.

    How bad is this? By way of comparison, the Republic of Ireland with a population of four and a half million to Israel’s eight million, has two universities in the top 200 – Trinity College Dublin at 129 and University College Dublin at 161. Ireland has three more universities in the top 400 – about what you would expect from a small developed country. As such, it is doing far better than Israel, which has only one other university (the Technion) in the top 400.”Irish Times

    The full article is available here,

    link to ipsc.ie

    Gee , I wonder where prof levit,s bastion of science came in.

    Any comment prof.

    • amigo
      October 11, 2013, 9:58 am

      Omitted this Link to original article,

      link to timeshighereducation.co.uk

    • hophmi
      October 11, 2013, 11:49 am

      Maybe if you didn’t rely on movement websites for your info, you’d be better informed, or at least more able to put information in perspective.

      Israel has the highest ranked universities in the Middle East. Only Turkey is even close, and that’s a country with about 75 million people. There isn’t an Arab school on the list until King Abdulaziz in the 351-400 category.

      The comparison to Ireland is particularly silly. A major reason why is that English-speaking universities will have an obvious advantage in a survey that grades things like “international outlook” and citations, and sure enough, that’s almost exclusively the reason why the Irish schools score as high as they do.

      In fact, it turns out that the research produced by Hebrew U and especially Tel Aviv U is significant better than both Irish schools; Hebrew U gets a research score of 37 and Tel Aviv U get a research score of 48.3. The Technion’s is 37.2. Trinity Dublin gets a research score of 25.2, and University College gets a research score of 29.

  25. NickJOCW
    October 11, 2013, 11:53 am

    Extensive efforts seem to be being made to harness Israeli youth in the service of Zionism, some explored in this piece from al Jazeera last week.

    link to aljazeera.com

    The piece implies these efforts are right-wing though they don’t seem to me to have anything to do with right-wing which I take to be an emphasis on individual over collective responsibility. However, real damage is surely being done to these young people who may well find themselves isolated from their peers in a world increasingly adopting broad humanitarian principles as a shared cultural aspiration, and viewing the whole I/P situation as wrong, regardless of who started it or what justifications are put forward.

    • amigo
      October 11, 2013, 3:16 pm

      “Maybe if you didn’t rely on movement websites for your info, you’d be better informed, or at least more able to put information in perspective. “hopknee

      “The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014 powered by Thomson Reuters are the only global university performance tables to judge world class universities across all of their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The top universities rankings employ 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.

      Since when is ThomasReuters a “Movement.

      Go back and look at the rankings.The percentages are in descending Order and based on overall score , Ireland,s two Universities are ahead of Israel.Can,t you read

      Your pathetic attempt to divert to ME comparisons is par for the course with idiots like you.

      Again, Even little ole Ireland scored better than the so called light unto the Nations (not) and that irritates you so much you have to resort to lies.

      • hophmi
        October 11, 2013, 4:43 pm

        “Since when is ThomasReuters a “Movement.”

        The site you cited for the interpretation is a pro-Palestinian website. Clearly, the person who wrote the piece didn’t bother to dig very deep either.

        “Go back and look at the rankings.The percentages are in descending Order and based on overall score , Ireland,s two Universities are ahead of Israel.Can,t you read ”

        Yes, I can read, and when I do read, I tend to read everything, including how the rankings are calculated. What puts the Irish universities higher on the list is the same thing that puts American and English universities high on the list – they teach in English, and therefore, they have more foreign students (international outlook) and are more frequently cited. Thus, their international outlook and citation scores are much higher than Israel’s. You can find the breakdown if you click on the school.

        However, both Israeli universities have much higher research scores, which is what is important.

        “Again, Even little ole Ireland scored better than the so called light unto the Nations (not) and that irritates you so much you have to resort to lies.”

        Even little old Ireland? I’m not surprised. Ireland is one of the richest countries in the world. Trinity College has been around since 1596. I should hope that it ranks higher than Hebrew U, which dates from the 20th century. As it turns out, neither one outranks it by much, and both trail far behind it in research.

        In terms of the quantity and quality of the research it produces (see the methodology, which defines the research element of the score as grading the volume, income and reputation of a university’s research), the Israeli universities far outpace the Irish ones.

        Try and understand the difference between a lie and things you simply have trouble understanding beyond a very basic level of comprehension.

      • amigo
        October 12, 2013, 8:17 am

        “What puts the Irish universities higher on the list is the same thing that puts American and English universities high on the list – they teach in English, and therefore, they have more foreign students (international outlook) and are more frequently cited. Thus, their international outlook and citation scores are much higher than Israel’s.” hopknee

        University of Zurich teaches in German and has the following scores.

        Overall 84.5
        Teaching 77.6
        Intl outlook 96.7
        Ind income 78.8
        Research 88.2
        Citations 85.0

        “I’m not surprised. Ireland is one of the richest countries in the world.”hopknee

        News to the 15% unemployed Irish people and all those paying back some 50 billion in debt.

        Maybe Israel would do much better if it did not waste so much of it,s resources on maintaining the occupation and dreaming on a Greater Israel.
        Your International Outlook score would be much higher and hell, you might even get more citations.

        Comprehension , you say??.

  26. James Canning
    October 11, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Great piece.

    No facts, only narratives.

  27. Kathleen
    October 12, 2013, 3:31 pm

    Max wondering if you or Alex Kane would consider coming out for the Colorado BDS groups protest of the Jewish National Funds conference in Denver October 24th-28th. This would be a great opportunity to do some of your amazing interviews with people who are attending this conference. Ask them about JNF’s discriminatory and racist practices. You can find details at the Colorado BDS campaign website. Would be great if you could come on out to Colorado for a few days. Know in your most recent book you have written a fair amount about the JNF.

    We would welcome your presence

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