Nakba in The New Yorker, BDS in Variety

Ruins of Lydda in 1948

Ruins of Lydda in 1948

A couple of mainstream breakthroughs. Neither is perfect, of course, but both break important ground (almost despite themselves).

The first and most striking is Ari Shavit’s piece in The New Yorker in which he tells the horrifying story of the conquest and ethnic cleansing of Lydda in 1948. The story is slightly schizophrenic, making the massacre and expulsion seem simultaneously premeditated and almost accidental, the commander seemingly acting alone and on impulse, yet knowing exactly what he needs to do.

This schizophrenia lies at the heart of the paradox of Zionism. As Shavit puts it (with the horror of Lydda standing in for all 500 or so Palestinian population centers ethnically cleansed and/or destroyed): “Lydda is the black box of Zionism. The truth is that Zionism could not bear the Arab city of Lydda. From the very beginning, there was a substantial contradiction between Zionism and Lydda. If Zionism was to exist, Lydda could not exist. If Lydda was to exist, Zionism could not exist.”

The military commander assigned to “deal with” Lydda later told Shavit, “War was inhuman, but it allowed one to do what one could not do in peace; it could solve problems that were unsolvable in peace.”

Mula Cohen, a brigade commander who participated in the destruction of Lydda, was clearly traumatized by what he had seen and done. He knew the war and expulsion were coming:

And yet you are in shock. In Lydda, the war is as cruel as it can be. The killing, the looting, the feelings of rage and revenge. Then the column [of newly created refugees] marching. And although you are strong and well trained and resilient, you experience some sort of mental collapse. You feel the humanist education you received collapsing. And you see the Jewish soldiers, and you see the marching Arabs, and you feel heavy, and deeply sad. You feel you’re facing something immense that you cannot deal with, that you cannot even grasp.

For decades Zionism has dealt with that chasm with near-absolute denial: absurd stories about how the Arabs expelled themselves. Miko Peled, in his book The General’s Son, talks of the first time that myth was punctured for him, when his mother told stories of elegant Palestinian homes offered to new immigrants with the owner’s soup still warm on the stove. Who would simply leave a home like that?

And yet, Shavit does not denounce what was done to the Palestinians, nor offer redress. He cannot. Because to do so would demolish an ideology he holds as axiomatic, beyond question or discussion:

I will not damn the brigade commander and the military governor and the 3rd Battalion soldiers. On the contrary, if need be, I’ll stand by the damned, because I know that if not for them the State of Israel would not have been born. If not for them, I would not have been born. They did the filthy work that enables my people, my nation, my daughter, my sons, and me to live… There is no other home for us, and there was no other way.

The last sentence is a claim the author doesn’t seem capable of examining: His survival depends on oppression and injustice. The next assumption is: Therefore, oppression and injustice are necessary and justified.

That’s a lot of leaps without looking very closely. It reads like an alcoholic realizing he has a problem, but not yet being able to imagine that the solution might be giving up the drink. Instead, he tries to rationalize his erratic and awful behavior by any means necessary, including emotional non sequiturs. (He tries to change the subject to Syria and Egypt toward the end, and the only “solution” he offers is imposing something unilaterally on the Palestinians until they forget about return.)

But it’s (sadly) a big step forward from the usual tired Nakba denial, and I haven’t seen its like in the mainstream US press.

A Jewish friend of mine, a mainstream journalist, sent me the piece and wrote that the more he thought about it after a restless night, the more he realized it gave the lie to “all us ‘lefties’ who have tried to convince ourselves that the tragic flaw began in 67.”

I wrote back:

I have dozens of friends who have never been allowed even to see their homeland. Other friends whose eyes sparkle when they speak of the beauty and scent and intellectual hum of a Jaffa that’s long gone. Or the village where their grandfather knew every tree like a child, every hill like their own skin. They do not forget, and neither will their children.

They have a capacity for forgiveness and big-heartedness that is beyond anything I could have previously understood. But it’s tough when the spike is still in their heart, and being constantly twisted with denials of their reality and yet more settlements (and humiliation, and violence) every day.

The Shavit piece goes a long way toward at least beginning to look that in the face. A reckoning will come, one way or another. The question is whether there will be a French-Algerian or a South African outcome. Or, of course, a nuclear war. I think some degree of honesty (difficult as it is) will make the reckoning softer. I hope. That’s the importance of the piece. A step toward a terrifying mirror.

The other breakthrough came in Variety, an entertainment magazine, in a piece called “Rihanna and Other Artists Who Play Israel Feel the Pressure.” It’s not the most flattering portrait of BDS, but (to paraphrase Gandhi):

First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they somewhat disdainfully publicize your movement in the mainstream entertainment press…

About Pamela Olson

Pamela Olson is the author of Fast Times in Palestine. She blogs here.
Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged

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  1. andrew r says:

    And although you are strong and well trained and resilient, you experience some sort of mental collapse. You feel the humanist education you received collapsing. And you see the Jewish soldiers, and you see the marching Arabs, and you feel heavy, and deeply sad. You feel you’re facing something immense that you cannot deal with, that you cannot even grasp.

    Articles like this are going to destroy nakba denial, only to replace it with the traumatized killer genre.

    • Ellen says:

      And to be followed up with “they made us do it” genre.

    • K Renner says:

      Progress, inch by inch, right?

      They don’t have enough time to build an entire new sympathetic image to hide behind, apart from with their staunchest supporters and miscellaneous Palestinian-haters. Most of the world sees them for what they are and through their lies.

  2. Dutch says:

    Shavit: ‘I will not damn the brigade commander and the military governor and the 3rd Battalion soldiers. On the contrary, if need be, I’ll stand by the damned, because I know that if not for them the State of Israel would not have been born. If not for them, I would not have been born. They did the filthy work that enables my people, my nation, my daughter, my sons, and me to live… There is no other home for us, and there was no other way.’

    This is truly disgusting. But at least we now know why the Palestinians were whiped off the map: to make way for criminal racists and their families.

    Thanks Pam, great post.

    • Walid says:

      “There is no other home for us, and there was no other way.”

      Were they born on a stateless raft floating aimlessly on the sea? What a load of baloney from a Zionist pretending to be the victim. Was it the Palestinians’ fault that Jews had been refused their rights in the countries in which they had been born?

      • ziusudra says:

        Greetings Walid,
        This is the route of Mankind.
        The great expulsions of the past:
        The Conquest & Transformation
        .of Europe & No. Afr. by the Romans,
        .of Constantinobel by the Ottomann,
        . of Canada, No. & So. America by the English
        Spanish, Portugese & French,
        . of Australia & New Zealand by the English,
        . of Africa by the West.
        None of us, the descendents have any guilt.
        So the Israelis & their descendents.
        Mankind doesn’t even have to receive forgiveness
        & absolution because none of our religions, having
        a dog in the fight, demand it of us.
        The People of Falesteena are in shackles & the Muslim
        Countries surrounding Zionistan are oppressed by
        the west.
        ziusudra

        • Walid says:

          Hi Ziusudra, a couple of items for which I probably missed what you were getting at: that Mankind doesn’t have to receive forgiveness and absolution because none of our religions demand it of us and that Muslim countries surrounding Zionistan are oppressed by the West. I’m thinking of the lots of penance that’s demanded of Europe and America for having initially turned their backs on the Jews in their hour of need in 1938, and that went on to get rid of their Jewish problem by dumping it on the helpless Palestinians after WW II. About Muslim countries, some of which are themselves doing the oppressing, whether in Bahrain where the only legitimate “Arab Spring” to have happened was crushed by the forces of 4 or 5 GCC Muslim countries or Palestine that’s under the siege by Muslim Egypt and Muslim Jordan in addition to Israel, of course. Would you please elaborate on these 2 points.

      • xanadou says:

        “Was it the Palestinians’ fault that Jews had been refused their rights in the countries in which they had been born?”

        That claim about being refused (etc.) is a massive lie invented to cover up the Zionists’ relentless pressure for all Euro (white/Ashkenazi) Jews to emigrate to Palestine, whatever the cost. Let’s not forget the immortal b/s uttered by Ben Gurion:
        “If I knew it was possible to save all [Jewish] children of Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz-Yisrael, I would choose the latter—because we are faced not only with the accounting of these [Jewish] children but also with the historical accounting of the Jewish People.” – Ben-Gurion (1938).
        (As quoted in Benny Morris’ Righteous Victims, p. 162)

        This idiocy about the persecutions was necessary to induce the sympathy of countries such as the US, and bamboozle them, also with the implied “you may be next on our list of Jewish persecutors” threat, to cough up the dough necessary to continue the Naqba, build settlements/kibutzes on the “pacified” lands, and fund the Israeli army.

        When the incoming numbers failed to match the expectations, non-white/Sephardim Jews from the ME became the next target. Prof. Chomsky, in “The Fateful Triangle” wrote about the Zio crap invented to terrorize indigenous Iraqi, Iranian, etc., Jews with “historic” persecution and/or imminent destruction of those Jewish communities.

        A (2004-5?) BBC documentary (don’t remember title) featured an elderly man who fell for this cruel hoax and showed a broken, lost man living among people he could not abide by, wishing he were back with his (also non-Jewish) friends in Damascus.

        Oh, and how do you explain the silent aspect of the Dreyfus affair: a French Jew who volunteered for, and was admitted into, the OFFICER corps of the French army. That affair smacks of our own Chelsea Manning scandal – our own modern day J’accuse?

        If you want to get an idea about life is Europe’s Jewish ghettos, and why many, like my great grandfather, had elected to escape it and assimilated into gentile cultures, read prof. Israel Shahak’s “Jewish History, Jewish Religion”. The tone of the book is reminiscent of another man made unhappy with his choice.

        Please pardon the rant, but I live for the day when the Truth: the good, the bad and the ugly, about BOTH sides of this insane divide will see the light of day. The zionist experiment has failed; time to move on.

        “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” (Carl Sagan)

        • When the incoming numbers failed to match the expectations, non-white/Sephardim Jews from the ME became the next target. Prof. Chomsky, in “The Fateful Triangle” wrote about the Zio crap invented to terrorize indigenous Iraqi, Iranian, etc., Jews with “historic” persecution and/or imminent destruction of those Jewish communities.

          that reminds me of something i read today by an iranian-israeli, it wasn’t all ‘terrorizing indigenous Iraqi, Iranian, etc’:

          link to 972mag.com

          But I wonder, did my tradition-keeping ancestors not bring with them the moderate God from abroad? Wasn’t it Calederon’s ancestors who dismissed my ancestors with one fell swoop and uprooted God from their hearts? It seems that the West is once again shown as a conqueror and destroyer, and then it picks up the pieces and rearranges them back into a mosaic that represents its views……

          As part of encouraging the many waves of immigration to Israel, the Jewish Agency came to Jews of the Muslim countries and argued that, “the time of salvation is upon us.” They took advantage of their longing for Zion, explained that Herzl and Ben-Gurion were the successors of Moses and Aaron, and therefore, Golda is the prophetess Miriam. Our naive grandmothers and grandfathers believed them and immigrated to Israel; they longed for Jerusalem and the holy land so much that they even named their children after the new prophets. After the Jewish Agency used God’s name in vein in order to get them to immigrate, they whispered in their ears that God is no longer relevant here and that those who believed in him are primitive. ‘Modernization’ is what they called the steamroller of secularization they bulldozed over the new immigrants. With their own hands they cut our forelocks, severed our forefathers heritage and eradicated every trace of God. Parties like Tami (The Movement for the Heritage of Israel), which tried to rebel and promote traditional communities, quickly faded away. The fracture Zionism brought about in Mizrahi Jewry was so profound that erected in front of it two barricades: secularization or orthodoxy, resembling European Judaism. This is how religious Mizrahim found themselves in Lithuanian clothing, studying in Ashkenazi institutions. It is not for nothing that Shas calls itself Sepharadi and not Mizrahi (Sepharadi is a more highly regarded adjective in the Israeli perception), and defines its religion as orthodox and not traditional Judaism.

          As a matter of fact, Tami’s failure as a movement that appealed to the basic components of the traditional Mizrahi public, and not the Sepharadi-Orthodox, proves the triumph of the melting pot policy, and the shedding of culture and authentic tradition by Jews from Muslim countries.

          sad

        • RoHa says:

          “This is how religious Mizrahim found themselves in Lithuanian clothing,”

          Jews and Judaism originated in Lithuania?

        • xanadou says:

          Sad indeed. (with thanks for adding the helpful, if heartbreaking, quote)

          Using the most tender and profound aspect of our humanity, i.e., personal and communal spirituality, and corrupting it into a manipulative and divisive tool that is religion, is an unforgivable source of pointless suffering.

          My role model and source of great wisdom, Carl Sagan, captured the essence of religious redundancy thusly:
          “The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard, who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by ‘God,’ one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying… it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.”
          “My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it. An agnostic is somebody who doesn’t believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I’m agnostic.”
          Amen to that.

      • Shingo says:

        Were they born on a stateless raft floating aimlessly on the sea? What a load of baloney from a Zionist pretending to be the victim.

        Of course not, but this is the spoiled inner child of the Zionist coming out. If you don’t give me everything I want, I will die.

  3. eljay says:

    >> “I will not damn the brigade commander and the military governor and the 3rd Battalion soldiers … They did the filthy work … ”

    Meanwhile, the less-hardy Zio-supremacists “held their noses” and offered support.

    And when all was said and done – when Palestinians had been killed or driven from their homes and lands so that an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” could be established in the homes and on the lands of the dead or dispossessed – they “primarily celebrated”.

    Over 60 years later, as the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” continues to steal and colonize, destroy and kill, Zio-supremacists continue to celebrate.

    Disgusting.

    • RoHa says:

      ‘it gave the lie to “all us ‘lefties’ who have tried to convince ourselves that the tragic flaw began in 67.”’

      Who are these lefties? I don’t know anyone who believes “the tragic flaw began in 67.”

      • Kathleen says:

        Most of the folks who would call themselves “lefties” have shut their eyes to the facts for decades. Most so called Jewish liberals go blind and deaf when it comes to this issue. Have made this choice for decades. Getting harder and harder for them to do so.

        • RoHa says:

          “Most of the folks who would call themselves “lefties” have shut their eyes to the facts for decades.”

          Who are these people? All but one of the real lefties I have met and whose views on the matter I knew either (a) knew and acknowledged the facts, or (b) did not know the facts. They didn’t shut their eyes to them. Ian Mikardo was the only exception – socialist and Zionist – I ever encountered. Of course, many of them may have just never revealed their views.

          “Most so called Jewish liberals go blind and deaf when it comes to this issue. ”

          I don’t think I know any of them, either personally or as media personalities.

  4. Taxi says:

    Worth mentioning:

    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

    THE SECOND COMING

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  5. GusCall says:

    Pam Olson gets this right, but stops short. Shavit is much worse than she indicates. She quotes several terrible Shavit statements, but misses one. After telling Lydda like it was, Shavit asks: “Do I wash my hands of Zionism? Do I turn my back on the Jewish national movement that carried out the destruction of Lydda? No.”
    Lest one think Shavit is less immoral than Benny Morris, here are the closing sentences, as the liberal, erudite Ha’aretz/New Yorker author stands in Palestine 2013: “In the heavy heat, through the haze, through the dry brown fields, I see the column marching east. So many years have passed, and yet the column is still marching east. For columns like the column of Lydda never stop marching.”
    Chilling stuff. Shavit believes it “had to” be done because the Jewish nation “has to” exist – in Palestine.
    Shavit’s self-centered, Palestinian-free, poetic-tragic tone means to make us feel sorry for Shavit. The executioner is the emotional victim, forced to kill, expel and dispossess.
    What is going on is an argument that Palestine is a lifeboat, and we are faced with lifeboat ethics. Poor Mr Shavit moans: “Like the brigade commander, I am faced with something too immense to deal with.” Here is both anguish and helplessness. This boils down to a banal, “It’s either us or them.”
    This is where the factual/ethical discussion should begin: Is Palestine a lifeboat, in which our hero, Shavit, must ‘shoot then cry’? Not really.

    • Kathleen says:

      Nailed it. The BS it had to be done

      • seafoid says:

        “It had to be done”

        It could have been done with so much more nuance. But Judaism wasn’t ready for it. Still isn’t. Still paranoid.

        “I see the column marching east. So many years have passed, and yet the column is still marching east”

        The column ate the Palestinian nation and now it will eat Israel.

        • Shingo says:

          It could have been done with so much more nuance. But Judaism wasn’t ready for it. Still isn’t. Still paranoid.

          Hence the need to outlaw Nakba remembrance.

        • seafoid says:

          If they taught Nakba in Jewish schools some kids in the top 20% would understand why Palestinians have legitimate reasons to hate them.

    • Donald says:

      I’m more “glass half-full” on this article. I read it and saw the aspects of shooting and crying , but in context (a liberal US magazine that printed this 11 years ago), it was a giant step forward. Also, without excusing the Nakba, I think it’s perfectly understandable that Jews a few years after the Holocaust would have believed that they needed a state at all costs–again, it doesn’t justify the Nakba, but it’s possible to understand why people in desperate situations do immoral things, just as one can understand why some Palestinians might be driven to support terrorism.

      Shavit is admitting that Zionism was incompatible with Palestinian human rights–in one article in a very influential liberal American magazine he upends the liberal Zionist mythology that it went wrong in 1967.

      • GusCall says:

        Donald, I take your points, thanks. Yes, looking at the New Yorker, the glass is half-full, not half-empty. (Looking at Shavit himself, the glass is broken.)
        It is good to advance from looking at 67 to looking at 48, which the Shavit article does. That clears away the smoke and mirrors the Zionist narrative has set up in restricting the term ‘occupation’ to WB & Gaza.
        It is also good that the nakba is acknowledged, even if Shavit can’t resist making it look like Palestinians threw the first stone, that 47/48 sort of fell from the sky: “In December, 1947, a seven-car convoy of Jewish soldiers [N.B. soldiers] from the Haganah… was attacked by Arab fighters. Thirteen soldiers were slain.” [The biblical 'slain' is a nice touch; it's the New Yorker we're reading, you know.]
        But aside from these 2 points, Shavit is given the platform, in the oh-so-progessive North Atlantic world of 2013, to argue for ethnic cleansing. And you will have to wait a long time until the New Yorker publishes an article of equivalent length from the anti-Zionist viewpoint, that of the victims.
        You say it’s “perfectly understandable” that many Jews saw themselves in a Lifeboat Palestine. But the term ‘understandable’ is ambiguous: it can mean just seeing the emotional logic of a position, but also condoning, morally approving of, such a position (in this case murderous, racist cleansing). Don’t take it personally, but I am sick and tired of being asked to ‘understand’ racists, who liquidate(d) Arabs.
        Also, you are setting up equivalence between Zionist violence, which is offensive and from strength, and Palestinian violence, which is defensive and from weakness. I’ve also had enough of that.

        • Donald says:

          ” Zionist violence, which is offensive and from strength, and Palestinian violence, which is defensive and from weakness. ”

          But that’s how the 1948 Zionists reasoned–Jews were the “weak” victims of the rest of the world, so it justified what they did in their own minds, while Palestinians who strike at civilians (some children) are the victims of Israelis… It’s a mode of reasoning that never stops. Standing outside of it one can see why people might think that way without justifying what they do. It’s why (IMO) it’s best just to take the position that atrocities are atrocities—it certainly won’t justify Zionism if one takes a completely consistent stand on human rights. In fact, it cuts the ground out from underneath everything they give as justification.

          ” But the term ‘understandable’ is ambiguous: it can mean just seeing the emotional logic of a position, but also condoning, morally approving of, such a position”

          But it’s always a good idea, IMO, to understand why people commit terrible crimes, whether we are talking about terrorism, imperialist wars, ethnic cleansing, genocide, or whatever. It shouldn’t lead to approval of the act. Ta Nehisi Coates writes a pretty interesting blog and as a black American he focuses mainly on the history of white racism, but I’m impressed at how he manages to combine both moral outrage and an understanding that we aren’t necessarily better than the people we condemn–in their shoes, we might have done the same things. The point is not that this makes the crime of racism all right. His point is that the seeds of evil are in all of us. But he makes this point better than I can.

          As for the article, I can’t imagine the liberal New Yorker publishing a piece by a Palestinian justifying violent attacks on Israeli civilians as terrible, but worth it, considering the circumstances. But I welcome the fact that they’ve gone as far as they have–I suspect this article will kick up a minor storm amongst some of their readers, while much of the rest of the liberal media will studiously ignore it, the way the NYT Sunday Magazine piece on nonviolent Palestinian resistance several months ago sank without a trace. I was happy to see this article, but it will probably get the silent treatment too. All the same, it might be an indicator of change.

        • Shingo says:

          it certainly won’t justify Zionism if one takes a completely consistent stand on human rights. In fact, it cuts the ground out from underneath everything they give as justification.

          That sounds all fine and dandy Donald, and it’s probably the wiser, more robust and more consistent platform, but it also runs the risk of framing the conflict as one between two equally guilty and equally matched sides and with the same moral position.

      • Shingo says:

        but it’s possible to understand why people in desperate situations do immoral things, just as one can understand why some Palestinians might be driven to support terrorism.

        That is true, but the problem again is that one side has been allowed to get away with setting the narrative.

    • Citizen says:

      ” Is Palestine a lifeboat, in which our hero, Shavit, must ‘shoot then cry’? Not really.”

      This is the big mote.

    • Shingo says:

      Shavit’s self-centered, Palestinian-free, poetic-tragic tone means to make us feel sorry for Shavit. The executioner is the emotional victim, forced to kill, expel and dispossess.

      Yes, it’s the crying while they are shooting metaphor.

  6. Jim Holstun says:

    For testimonies on the Massacre of Lod/Lydda, see the Israeli website Zochrot. Astonishingly enough, it includes testimony by the Palmach veteran Yerachmiel Kahanovich, who fired the PIAT grenade into the Lod mosque: “Let me tell you what it does – you make it like it was a beautiful painting by an artist. You think. He makes a hole about this big and inside everybody’s crushed on the walls from the pressure it makes inside.”

    Mr. Shavit might want to have a look.

    link to zochrot.org

  7. pabelmont says:

    As to Shavit’s schizophrenia: Of course, he cannot break out of his own (exclusionary) Zionism and therefore seems a bit at home with the idea that the crimes done by the army in 1948 could not — someone suggests — have been done in peace. Odd idea: there was peace in Israel from 1950-67 and the exclusion, the anti-democracy, the land-takings, the refusal to allow even internal ‘return” went right ahead. NO, it did not depend on war. It was done during peace.

    Shavit’s puzzle is how to call for help. How can people in his mind set get American Jews and other Americans to see that he is wrong, as he himself tells them, and act (outside pressure on Israel is clearly necessary and possibly called for explicitly) to free Israel of its mania and from Palestine of Israel.

    • pabelmont says:

      Shavit says, again and again, that what happened in Lydda (and by extension, all over Palestine) was a “tragedy”. His word. He describes the beginnings of the “Nakba”, over and over. And over. “Tragedy”. “Tragedy of 1948″. “Tragedy”.

      This is a statement of the necessity (as he sees it) of (his) Zionism, but it acknowledges, over-and-over-and-over that for the Palestinians (and perhaps by implication, for the Israeli Jews) it was a tragedy. This is not the usual Israeli Zionist party-line. This did not have to be said, over-and-over-and-over.

      But Shavit said it. Over-and-over-and-over.

      It is a cry for help. The alcoholic says, “I will not give up my bottle. Take away my bottle from me. Save me from myself.” But even if he fails, explicitly, to say, “take away my bottle from me”, he means something like that.

      Help me. Perhaps, God help me. And God help us all.

      (Or the nations, let them help us all, the nations, those most unfeeling of communal enterprises, always in the hands of people who profit from ignoring the cries of the people.)

  8. seafoid says:

    ‘”You feel the humanist education you received collapsing. ”

    The last generation of Sabras to get a humanistic education.
    The IDF doesn’t need compassion or historical awareness for its meme rats.

    Someone posted this Gurvitz interview last week. It is so interesting. Religious Zionists are so far away from humanism.

    link to youtube.com

    Reminded me of this

    link to tabletmag.com

    BTW what they did in 1948 meant there was never going to be a Jewish state based on the values of middle/upper class NY Judaism. You can’t build a secular democracy on a settler colonial ethic cleansing polity where the natives are hidden behind walls and slowly pauperized. You have to get blood on your hands and once you do the mentality is set. And we are now seeing the flowering.

    • pabelmont says:

      And the people who made up middle/upper-class NY Judaism have (mostly) changed. Some of the people who had humane values became catatonic (“Do not talk to me about I/P”) and some became vigorous Zionists.

      They are willing that Americans who default on wrongfully-issued mortgages will lose their property by foreclosure, but they are not willing that a nation of (so-called Jewish) people that took another people’s houses and lands should be treated as lessees (or licensees) whose leases and licenses were issued by a government that did not hold title to the lands and properties in question.

      “Nemo plus iuris ad alium transferre potest quam ipse habet” : no-one can transfer to another more rights than he himself has.

  9. Citizen says:

    Is anybody here aware there’s been a Palestinian comix super hero since 1993, and it’s a female?

    link to geekoutsider.com

    Not exactly a clone of Captain America like Captain Israel, eh? link to mondoweiss.net

  10. dms says:

    I wonder how many of the commenters here have actually read the article.
    My surmise is ‘very few’, judging from their overall tone.

    • Shingo says:

      Based on how little you have to say about the article, it would appear that neither have you.

    • i read it. there are many astonishing parts of the article. like the first time he mentions the massacre. this is from an email i sent to phil earlier, before publication when we were talking about it:

      here’s the trajectory:

      pg two..in december a 7 car convoy of jews were attacked by arabs en route to ben shemen.

      a few months later the boys were removed from the school and by april it was a jewish military base.

      in may “the armies of egypt, syria, transjordan, Iraq and lebanon invaded palestine [NOT ISRAEL THO], determined to crush the young jewish state”

      In early july ben gurion cleansed lydda and other towns.

      that’s it. this is still nakba denial. there’s a big gap where hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes between those jews being killed in december … and july. or may.

      literally, within a few sentences he set it up like that. completely disconnect.

      • Shingo says:

        It is indeed a complete disconnect. How does the invasion of Palestine – to protect the Arab territory from Jewish forces already there outside the borders of the Jewish state – amount to crushing the Jewish state?

      • Shingo says:

        One more thing Annie,

        How does his account manage to overlook Deir Yassin?

      • GusCall says:

        To Annie Robbins: You’re right, damn it. Shavit’s article goes only halfway in acknowledging the nakba because he acts as if the Arabs in December 47 threw the very first stone in the history of Zionism, and adds not a word on Plan Dalet or anything. Subtle.
        I fear one effect of this article on mainstream Usrael apologists will be to rehabilitate a bit the good name of the ‘liberal Zionists’: they are honest, they admit to murder, they suffer. The message is that this is a Tragedy, i.e. unavoidable, human, with no culprits.
        Editor-in-chief Remnick is also a hardcore Zionist. Remember his revolting interview with Naftali Bennett?
        But Shavit’s last paragraph. Read it again but dress warmly. The columns are still marching east, and they MUST. It is still necessary, Shavit is saying, in 2013 to ethnically cleanse Judea and Samaria. He’s moved from 48 to today, and Remnick approved that last paragraph.
        Shavit and Remnick are up to something here that I don’t yet understand.
        Thanks Annie and xanadu and Jim Holstun for the great Comments and Links.

  11. seafoid says:

    “If Zionism was to exist, Lydda could not exist. If Lydda was to exist, Zionism could not exist.”

    That is the essence of Zionism. It is either Jews or Palestinians. No in between. No shade, no nuance.
    Their own logic will destroy their state.

    • GusCall says:

      Hello seafoid. You’ve picked out some key words. I agree with your take on them. That is why in my previous post I spoke of Lifeboat Palestine. Lifeboat ethics are where it’s either you or me. It’s also an excuse for anything, because if it’s either/or, normal ethics no longer apply. It is morally equivalent whether I kill you or you kill me.
      The Z. tactic here seems to be exactly this: Re-cast the conflict as explicitly as possible as lifeboat ethics when talking to the World. When talking among themselves, of course, there’s no need for this. They can just stand behind their pure aggression and ‘wanting it all’. Seen thus, this is just very sophisticated, perhaps ultimate, hisbara.
      The debate then goes back to: Was it really a lifeboat situation in 48? Discuss.
      In 1917 it wasn’t. In 2013 it isn’t. That’s why imho Shavit & Z & Co will fall on their popos on this. It’s just too flimsy when claimed for, say, the period 1967-today.

      • seafoid says:

        They know their claim is so flimsy. Jews are not threatened anywhere. It’s not existential. It’s about resource control. And standards of living. But it has to be all or nothing. And their education system produces people who can’t think for themselves.