Preaching to the choir: reflections on Max Blumenthal’s ‘Goliath’

Israel/Palestine
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Blumenthal-GoliathThis review of Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath appeared in longer form at Jerome Slater’s site. He gave us permission to excerpt. –Ed.

In my own work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I start from two premises. The first is that in light of Israeli intransigence, there is no chance of attaining a two-state settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without strong and sustained pressures from the American government, very probably including making its military, economic, and diplomatic support of Israel conditional upon the end of the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians and the creation of a viable and genuinely independent Palestinian state.

The second premise, however, is that there is no chance of these essential changes in U.S. policies occurring unless a majority of American Jews become convinced that such actions are required by Israel’s own best interests—indeed, without exaggeration, required in order to save Israel from itself, and not only in its relations with the Palestinians but in its domestic political and societal health as well. Of course, it would be far better if Jewish support for American pressures on Israel were motivated at least as much by moral anger at Israel’s behavior and sympathy for the Palestinians; but, sadly, except for a small minority of the American Jewish community, that is not going to happen.

Given those two premises, I have mixed feelings about Max Blumenthal’s new work, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel–“the result of over four years of on-the-ground research and reporting,” as Blumenthal writes in his preface. On the one hand, it is a powerful and impressive work by one of America’s most astute and courageous young journalists, a highly detailed and vividly written compendium of Israel’s criminal—no other word will do—occupation and repression of the Palestinian people. In persuasive detail, Blumenthal reviews and exposes not only the criminal behavior of Israel towards the Palestinians, but also the variety of ways in which Israel is becoming increasingly rightwing, anti-democratic, and even “fascistic” (a term increasingly used by Israel’s own dissenters)—in its schools, in its courts, in its racism (against both the Palestinians and African refugees in Israel), in its police repression, and in its growing restrictions against free speech and protest by Jewish Israelis, let alone by its own Palestinian citizens.

Blumenthal quotes Akiva Eldar, one of Israel’s greatest journalists, who sums up the findings of Israeli public opinion surveys: “Israeli Jews’ consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians, and insensitivity to their suffering.” As even Eric Alterman’s blast at Goliath in Nation (one of the few reviews in the mainstream media) concedes, the book is “mostly technically accurate”—an absurdly backhanded way of admitting that he can’t challenge the detailed evidence laid out by Blumenthal. In a rational world, then, Goliath should convince the American Jewish community as well as non-Jewish “pro-Israelis” to support the necessary changes in US policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It won’t, however—primarily because so many Jewish and other American “pro-Israelis,” like Alterman, are impervious to the facts. But Blumenthal must also bear at least some share of the responsibility for the hostile reception that Goliath is receiving—even from “liberal Zionists,” let alone from the majority of Israelis and American Jews who are well to the right of that small and increasingly beleaguered group.

The first problem concerns the disjuncture between the audience that Blumenthal wants to reach and his strategy for doing so. It is clear that Blumenthal agrees with the two premises I describe above, for in his preface he writes: “it is Americans’ tax dollars and political support that are crucial in sustaining the present state of affairs. I want to show what they are paying for, the facts as they really are today, in unadorned and unsanitized form, without sentimentality or nostalgia….Readers may not agree with all of my conclusions, but I hope they will carefully consider the facts that appear on these pages. They are, after all, the facts on the ground.”

However, Goliath is not likely to succeed in terms of its own purpose. For those who already have some knowledge of, and are increasingly disturbed by, the realities of Israeli policies and the U.S. collaboration with them, Blumenthal’s detailed reporting, analyses, and conclusions will be entirely convincing. But since that is still a small minority of American Jewish community, the problem is that Goliath is likely to end up as merely preaching to the choir. To be sure, that is far from pinning most of the responsibility for such an outcome simply on problems within Blumenthal’s book: the right wing in Israel and the U.S., Jewish or not, can’t be convinced by any evidence, period. The only hope, then, are Israeli and American centrists, who are unaware of the full truth but who are open, in principle, to reconsidering their position when the facts—powerfully presented by Goliath—are overwhelming and irrefutable.

For several reasons, however, Goliath is not likely to have much of an impact on the mainstream centrists in America, the most importance audience for any work seeking changes in the status quo. Given Blumenthal’s overall argument, however justified by the facts and evidence he presents, reaching that mainstream would have been an uphill battle in any case. However, Blumenthal has made the hurdles even greater because of the general tone of his writing and the loaded language and even outright contempt that he occasionally indulges in—mostly not without good reason, I should add, but a serious mistake nonetheless.

The Chapter Headings

The problems begin with a number of Goliath’s sardonic chapter headings, which are designed to dramatize the vast gaps between how the Israelis see themselves–especially in their relations with the Palestinians as well as in their own highly flawed democracy– and the realities. Among other provocative titles are “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Riding the Ass,” “The Best Times of Their Lives,” and “A Wet Dream.” Far more unfortunate are those that are intended to compare Israeli behavior to that of Nazi Germany: “The Concentration Camp,” “The Night of the Broken Glass,” and probably even “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People.”

In response to critics put off by such in-your-face headings, Blumenthal has defended himself by arguing that the facts justify the title headings. In the chapters dealing with the gap between Israeli perceptions and the realities, he indeed has a very good case that they do; nonetheless, in my judgment they are still a tactical error. The implicit or explicit comparisons between Israeli and Nazi behavior are especially unwise. That is not to deny that there are indeed a number of Israeli actions that are likely to call to mind Nazi behavior, especially in its crushing of resistance in the occupied territories. Nonetheless, they are very likely to be counterproductive in their effects on the intended audience for the book—which, to repeat, is not, or at least shouldn’t be, the far left in the Jewish communities in the U.S. and Israel, which already has noticed the parallels.

Further, even on the merits, and even given some basis in actual Israeli behavior, a fair treatment would have to call attention to what are still vast differences—to put it mildly!–between that behavior and that of Nazi Germany. Better, then, to just set out the facts, and let the readers think of the implications on their own. Or, alternatively, follow the strategy that I have sometimes employed: note the comparisons with the Israeli responses to Palestinian uprisings and, say, the Soviet crushing of the Hungarian and Czech revolutions –anything, that is, but Nazi Germany.

Language and Tone.

In addition to a number of the chapter titles, in too many places Blumenthal allows himself to indulge in loaded language, in some cases unfair on the merits and in others not without reason but nonetheless unnecessarily inflammatory. Here are some examples:

*The Israeli state has “corralled” the Russian immigrants “into the Zionist project, using them as human fodder to fill the ranks of the army and the major settlement blocs.” (22; all page numbers are from the Kindle edition of Goliath)

*When the managing editor of Time Magazine went to Israel in May 2012 to interview Netanyahu, he is described as “eager to relay a heavy dose of Bibi-think to the American public.” (29).

* Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States during most of Netanyahu’s current term is described as Netanyahu’s “attack dog,” to be “sicced” on critics of Israel. (29) To be sure, Oren is dreadful, but the language is off-putting.

*Blumenthal observes that a former three-hundred-year-old Palestinian mosque in Jaffa has been turned into an S & M night club. Fair enough, and sufficiently devastating without further comment—but what purpose is served, other than sheer contempt, when Blumenthal adds that “male bondage enthusiasts enjoyed having the remainder of their circumcised foreskin sewn over the tip of their penis?” (46-7)

*In shops beneath Blumenthal’s flat, “Gun-toting Orthodox settlers” and soldiers are not merely eating, but are “gorging themselves.” (237)

*It is sufficient to describe the Israeli army repression in the occupied territories without calling it the “jackboot” of repression (378), a term which is widely associated with the German army in its repression of the resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe.

The Rejection of Zionism

Blumenthal’s attack on Zionism, even—or especially–liberal Zionism, is an even more important reason why Goliath is almost surely not going to cause the majority of American Jews and other “pro-Israeli” groups to change their minds and support serious U.S. pressures on Israel.

There is a strong case for distinguishing between Zionism’s argument for the continuation of Israel as a Jewish state today (as opposed to a state of all its citizens) from the earlier Zionist arguments for the creation of a Jewish state in the aftermath of the murderous Russian and East European anti-Semitism of the late 19th / early 20 centuries and, obviously, the Holocaust. However, Blumenthal strongly implies that Zionism has always been wrong.

Early Zionism. Throughout the book Blumenthal describes Israel, from its outset, in terms of colonialism. For example, he writes: “In the narrative of the new nostalgia, Israel’s crisis began in 1967 with its conquest of new Arab land, and not in 1948, when it defined its settler-colonial character.” (272) Elsewhere, Israel is described as a colonial power, or one that has a “colonial character.” Or, he argues, kibbutzim that were established—“planted” is his term–in the Galilee or along Israel’s borders with Gaza were part of the “colonial agenda” designed to “to hold back the restive natives” on the other side. (87)

It cannot be denied that there are some legitimate comparisons between Western colonialism and Israeli behavior–unquestionably of its ongoing occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem since 1967, but even in the pre- and early post-state period. The parallels are obvious, and Blumenthal is hardly the first Jewish or Israeli dissident to point to them—yet, there are also highly important differences, and it is incumbent upon critics of Israel to acknowledge them in a serious manner.

It is beyond the purview of this review essay to go into detail, but at least at the level of motivation (consequences are a different matter), anyone describing Israel in terms of colonialism must also acknowledge that the driving force behind early Zionism was the felt urgent necessity (I would say, objective urgent necessity) to create a haven from murderous anti-Semitism. That must be distinguished from the obvious motives and complete lack of objective necessity that drove Western colonialism– power for its own sake, economic gain or simple greed, or “the white man’s burden,” none of which had the slightest thing to do with early Zionism….

Zionism Today

In one of the most important—and revealing—passages in Goliath, Blumenthal further discusses his interview with David Grossman:

For Grossman and liberal Zionists like him, the transformation of Israel from an ethnically exclusive Jewish state into a multiethnic democracy was not an option. “‘For two thousand years,” Grossman told me when I asked why he believed the preservation of Zionism was necessary, “we have been kept out, we have been excluded. And so for our whole history we were outsiders. Because of Zionism, we finally have the chance to be insiders.” I told Grossman that my father had been a kind of insider. He had served as a senior aide to Bill Clinton, the president of the United States…working alongside other proud Jews like Rahm Emanuel and Sandy Berger. I told him that I was a kind of insider, and that my ambitions had never been obstructed by anti-Semitism. “Honestly, I have a hard time taking this kind of justification seriously,” I told him. “I mean, Jews are enjoying a golden age in the United States.”’(275)

Blumenthal then adds: “It was here that Grossman, the quintessential man of words, found himself at a loss,” the apparent implication being that his (Blumenthal’s) argument is unanswerable.

It isn’t. His argument is common among Jewish post- or even anti-Zionists: the core Zionist principle, the need for Jews to have a state of their own, is said to be now anachronistic because of the strength of Jewry and its “insider” status in the United States. For three reasons, it is not a persuasive argument. First, it is ahistorical, even in terms of the United States. In my own lifetime there was considerable anti-Semitism in the 1930s and early 1940s—not exactly ancient history. In this connection, three recent major works that include discussions of anti-Semitism in America before WWI–especially prominent in much of the isolationist movement– make instructive reading: Susan Dunn’s 1940; FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler (2013), Lynne Olson’s Those Angry Days (2013), and Philip Roth’s exercise in alternate history, The Plot Against America (2004), which persuasively imagines what might have happened in America if Charles Lindbergh had become president, an altogether realistic possibility in the late 1930s.

In any case, secondly, I am aware of no supporter of Zionism who focuses on the Jewish situation in the United States in support of the argument that Israel must continue as a largely-Jewish state as a potential refuge against the rise of anti-Semitism. It isn’t ancient and therefore irrelevant history that in late 19th and early 20th century European anti-Semitism was not only severe but murderous—in Czarist Russia, in eastern Europe and, of course, in Germany, where the Jews were increasingly assimilated and powerful– until, that is, the rise of Nazism. And even when contemporary anti-Semitism has fallen short of becoming murderous, it was sufficiently severe to convince over a million Russian Jews that it was wise to emigrate to Israel.

Third, and most importantly, there is no prospect that Israel will agree to a peace settlement that doesn’t preserve Israel as a Jewish state. That fact of life alone makes the post-Zionist argument irrelevant, even if it were a persuasive one. Even a two-state settlement that preserves Israel as a Jewish state is becoming increasingly remote, let alone the transformation of Israel into a single binational state in which the Jews would almost certainly become a minority in the next few decades.

Conclusion

What is the best strategy to try to persuade Americans, especially Jewish Americans, that their nearly unconditional support of Israel is contributing to the current disaster? My argument on this issue assumes that the American Jewish community and other pro-Israeli groups are divided into three groups. The first are ideologues who are uninterested in the facts and can’t be moved. The second is a probably smaller group who not only know but care deeply about the facts, and need no further convincing that the unconditional US support of Israel is both morally wrong and contrary to the true interests of both Israel and the United States. The third and probably largest sector are the “liberal Zionists”:  American Jews (and their supporters) who are proudly liberal in their general values and in the context of American politics, who are unhappy about the Israeli occupation, oppose the settlements, and support a two-state settlement—but who are not prepared to say either that Zionism was a mistake from the outset or even that it is no longer justified.

Because of problems in both tone and—less often—substance, Goliath will probably not have much of an impact on these liberal Zionists (sometimes more unkindly described as “PEPS,” Progressives Except for Palestine). Indeed, most of them will never even hear about Goliath, let alone read it, because Blumenthal’s frequently confrontational or sardonic rhetoric has apparently resulted in a decision by the mainstream media to ignore the book.

That is most unfortunate, for Blumenthal is right that Israel’s behavior towards the Palestinians is indefensible and antithetical to what we used to be pleased to call “Jewish values.” Thus, I fully understand why he has chosen to bluntly express his (mostly) justifiable rage and contempt–to let it all hang out. Indeed, I’ve sometimes succumbed to the same temptation—but almost always to my later regret. Better, in short, to just let the brute and irrefutable facts speak for themselves.

To be sure, as one of Goliath’s best chapter titles puts it, for many Israelis and their US supporters “There Are No Facts.” Even so, those of us who share Blumenthal’s values and his knowledge of the realities have little choice but to continue our work and hope that at some point the facts will actually come to matter.

About Jerome Slater

Jerome Slater is a professor (emeritus) of political science and now a University Research Scholar at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has taught and written about U.S. foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for nearly 50 years, both for professional journals (such as International Security, Security Studies, and Political Science Quarterly) and for many general periodicals. He writes foreign policy columns for the Sunday Viewpoints section of the Buffalo News. And his website it www.jeromeslater.com.

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  1. Steve C
    November 28, 2013, 9:27 am

    This 3-part defense of Zionism is poor.
    1. Blumenthal is right that Jews are no longer outsiders in western nations, but the need for protection from racist persecution cannot justify Zionism even if this were not the case. Jewish privilege in Israel can only cause more of this sort of injustice, it just targets Arabs (and others) instead of Jews. Only multiculturalism and equality can protect minorities and end ethnic strife.
    2. The ‘recent’ exodus of Jews from the former USSR does not demonstrate that there is a need for Zionism. All western democracies accept Jewish immigrants and refugees, and a multicultural Israel would also welcome them. There is no need to have a state that automatically extends citizenship to anyone based on ethnicity.
    3. That Israel doesn’t look willing to ever abandon Zionism is not in itself an argument for Zionism. It didn’t look possible for South Africa to choose to mend its ways long before it did. Injustice is inherently unstable, and Zionism WILL end. I just hope it will end peacefully.

    • Krauss
      November 28, 2013, 12:43 pm

      Points well made. I’d like to add a few.

      1. It is striking how much of the defence of Zionism, including from the “left”, these days originate around the argument of “tone”. The implicit message of that argument is this: you have the facts right, so I’m not even going to try to argue that point. Even Eric Alterman – of the K-KHamas Book Klub! – conceded that Blumenthal’s book is “mostly technically accuarate”

      2. The second defence, and this is the Norman Finkelstein defence, is tactics. Oh, but the system is so intact! Just give up on Apartheid! What this defence is saying is, essentially, I can’t defend a system but I don’t want it to end so therefore I will appeal to defeatism. Will Zionism as we know it end within 5 years? Highly unlikely. Maybe not even for 20 or 30 years. But corrupt anti-democratic regimes which are based on racial suppression do not end well and they do not last.

      As I wrote earlier; Ireland was occupied for over 750 years. Palestine has been occupied for about 46 years, but then of course the colonization of Palestine began earlier than that and I’m not even counting the ethnic cleansing campaign of ’48 (and the campaigns before that, which were smaller but more frequent).

      African-Americans were first enslaved physically and then legally through Jim Crow during over 200 years. Had MLK/W.E.B Dubois/Frederick Douglass listened to Finkelstein-style “the system is so intact/they will never give it up”, then blacks would have still have been enslaved to this day.

      America fought a civil war over slavery. Apartheid South Africa had a de Klerk who understood the corruptness of the system had to go, so it ended nonviolently.

      It’s still too early to tell which way Israel will go, but the notion that the victims of ongoing colonizaton should just “suck it up and accept the intrenchness of the system” is a morally corrupted argument no actual liberal should or could make. It’s actually the disguised Zionist pleading to preserve Apartheid under the disguise of false friendship.

      • MRW
        November 29, 2013, 2:12 am

        Another good one, Krauss.

      • hophmi
        November 29, 2013, 12:44 pm

        Another post that relies an inappropriate analogy.

        1. Alterman’s argument was that the Blumenthal was presenting only facts helpful to his argument, and omitting others that weren’t. That’s called being misleading.

        2. The I-P conflict is not like slavery, and the analogy that retaining Israel’s right to self-determination is the same as retaining slavery is ridiculous and offensive.

      • Woody Tanaka
        November 29, 2013, 3:44 pm

        “The I-P conflict is not like slavery, and the analogy that retaining Israel’s right to self-determination is the same as retaining slavery is ridiculous and offensive.’

        Nonsense What is offensive is the belief that it is okay for Jews to oppress Palestinians in exercising that supposed right.

      • Cliff
        November 29, 2013, 4:41 pm

        @hoppy

        The I-P conflict is not like slavery, and the analogy that retaining Israel’s right to self-determination is the same as retaining slavery is ridiculous and offensive.

        The I-P conflict is defined by Jewish colonialism, the occupation of Palestinian territories and the on-going apartheid inflicted by Israel.

        Israel’s ‘right to self-determination’ is not benign and does not exist in a vacuum. It is Jewish colonialism and has come at the cost of the rightful owners and indigenous population of the land – the Palestinian Arabs.

        Zionist Jews stole Palestine from the Palestinians.

        Zionist Jews control Palestinian life.

        The slavery comparison is not analogous because Palestinians aren’t slaves. Good job.

        But the apartheid practiced by Israel is worse than apartheid SA.

        So you and your cult are still quite horrible.

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2013, 2:43 am

        2. The I-P conflict is not like slavery, and the analogy that retaining Israel’s right to self-determination is the same as retaining slavery is ridiculous and offensive.

        The International Law Commission has concluded that the prohibitions of apartheid and slavery are both peremptory norms of international law. FYI, that means there aren’t any exceptions permitted for Jewish-only self-determination in Israel.

        The Zionist delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference were specifically asked if the establishment of the Jewish national home in Palestine meant an autonomous Jewish government? They answered in the negative and opted for its incorporation in the newly created or mandated state of Palestine. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        Incorporation in another state is one of the valid modes of exercising the right of self-determination mentioned in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

        I’ve pointed out in my other comments on this article that the principle involved actually guarantees the “equality and self-determination of peoples” (plural) and that the Jews of Palestine never had a right to deny full legal equality to any of the inhabitants of the country or to attempt to disrupt their territorial integrity by force or secession in order to grant superior rights to themselves.

      • Sibiriak
        November 30, 2013, 7:46 am

        Hostage:

        The Zionist delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference were specifically asked if the establishment of the Jewish national home in Palestine meant an autonomous Jewish government? They answered in the negative and opted for its incorporation in the newly created or mandated state of Palestine. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        Incorporation in another state is one of the valid modes of exercising the right of self-determination mentioned in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

        How could a Zionist delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference speak for the whole of a supposed Jewish People (nation) spread across the world, in regards to the exercise of this people’s collective right to “self-determination” or anything else? Just curious…

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2013, 10:59 am

        How could a Zionist delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference speak for the whole of a supposed Jewish People (nation) spread across the world, in regards to the exercise of this people’s collective right to “self-determination” or anything else? Just curious…

        That question has been asked and answered on several occasions. They were there representing various Zionist Federations interested in implementing the pledges contained in the Balfour Declaration. The right of self-determination of peoples involves rights to statehood, permanent sovereignty over natural resources, and territorial integrity. The exercise of those rights simply isn’t applicable to disembodied non-territorial entities or Diasporas – and they were never actually mentioned in the Balfour Declaration. It merely expressed sympathy for ” Jewish Zionist aspirations” and was addressed to the attention of the Zionist Federation.
        link to avalon.law.yale.edu

        At the time, official Zionist spokesmen, like Sokolow, emphatically denied that the Basel program aimed at the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. The Zionist Organization was only recognized there as an appropriate public body in connection with the establishment of a Jewish national home and “the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine”. But that was never intended to include all of the Jewish people within its scope of application.

        For example, the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate both included two safeguarding clauses, one of which insured the continuing rights and political status of Jews in other countries. The preservation of those rights, and the related political status, always included the application of the corollary principle of equality and self-determination of the peoples in those other states. That fact was affirmed by a number of League of Nations treaties that contained clauses protecting the rights of local national Jews to full political participation in the life of the countries and their governments.

      • pabelmont
        November 30, 2013, 4:15 pm

        Kraus: The defenders do, as you say, criticize of “tone” or “strategy” (almost as if they adopt your goals and are therefore sorry that you screwed up the “tone” or “strategy”). But, actually, they accept the facts (the better Zionists accept Goliath’s facts, others probably wouldn’t) but certainly are HAPPY that you screwed up — and, just to be safe, make the claim that you screwed up in order to dissuade queezy-Zionist readers from ever looking at the book. (Another strategy, widely adopted, is to ignore the book so as to do an end-run around the queezy-Zionist readers altogether).

        Goliath is really unfair, from a Zionist POV, because it makes no allowance for the needs (the need to be oppressive, etc.) that are implicit and inescapable in Zionism.

  2. Cliff
    November 28, 2013, 9:33 am

    I’m not sure if Prof. Slater will respond to the comments and questions here but if so, I have a few:

    1. You say:

    However, Blumenthal strongly implies that Zionism has always been wrong.

    Did early Zionism propose a binational State or a federation? Did early Zionism believe in coexistence with the indigenous Palestinian Arabs?

    How long did this early Zionism exist IF your answer is an affirmative for the questions I listed above?

    2. You take issue with several chapter titles and other cases of ‘loaded language’.

    Max is often referring to what Israeli politicians say themselves. Or what Israelis say themselves.

    For instance, “night of broken glass” probably refers to the price-tag violence and ‘pogroms’ against Palestinians:

    [...]igniting what Prime Minister Ehud Olmert likened to an anti-Palestinian “pogrom,” has touched off a public uproar over the state of law enforcement in the territories and the proper role of Israel’s security forces.

    Read more: link to forward.com

    You seem to think this ‘language’ will hurt the feelings of that oh-so-valuable ‘centrist’ demographic. Who are these centrists who are so incompetent they can’t do a quick Google search to SEE FOR THEMSELVES that Israeli politicians characterize these ‘pogroms’ as POGROMS?

    3. You conclude by saying

    Better, in short, to just let the brute and irrefutable facts speak for themselves.

    What difference does it make whether Max is sardonic or not?

    We have see the organized American Jewish community boycott Palestinian children’s ART exhibits.

    There are so many examples of a crazy UNHINGED response by the organized American Jewish community to criticism of Israel and promotion of Palestinian agency. Too many to list.

    I see no point in placating this audience.

    Aren’t there plenty of journalists and scholars who report on this conflict in an antiseptic manner?

    Chomsky!? And he gets called an antisemite as well.

    I think the problem isn’t Max’s language. It’s you Prof. Slater. Your selective memory as if Max Blumenthal is the first person to criticize Israel.

    You intentionally forget the track record and the many other criticisms of Israel. You think those other critics weren’t ignored or marginalized or slammed as antisemitic? You think Max is the first and only?

    Absurd. I think you just don’t like the feelings this book evokes. Why shouldn’t you? You are a ‘liberal’ Zionist.

    • pabelmont
      November 28, 2013, 10:52 am

      Cliff: So right! Most critics of Israel are marginalized or ignored. Into the “memory hole” they go, as Orwell might have said.

      One thing strikes me as funny (in a way): Recall the widespread favorable reception in USA-MSM for Peters’ “From time immemorial” — most of the factual assertions of which were wrong or lies — and compare it to the near universal ignoring of Goliath — most of the factual assertions of which are correct.

      We don’t need a Stalinist (governmental) censorship here in the USA — we have a censorship imposed (quasi voluntarily) by economic powers which though not agreed on all points seem overwhelmingly agreed to protect Israel from factual attack (death by 1000 facts?).

      • MRW
        November 29, 2013, 2:05 am

        Great reply, pabelmont.

    • RudyM
      November 28, 2013, 2:35 pm

      Chomsky is not always so anti-septic. This passage from Necessary Illusions (pp. 207-208) has stuck with me:

      There has always been an Elie Wiesel to assure the reader that there are only some “regrettable exceptions–immediately corrected by Israeli authorities,” while he fulminates about the real crime: the condemnation of Israeli atrocities by public opinion. He tells us of the “dreamlike eyes” of the Israel soldiers, perhaps those who had been described a few weeks earlier by reservists returning from service in the territories. . . . [P]erhaps Wiesel has in mind the soldiers who caught a ten-year-old boy, and, when he did not respond to their demand that he identify children who had thrown stones, proceeded “to mash his head in,” leaving him “looking like a steak,” as soldiers put it, also beating the boy’s mother when she tried to protect him, only then discovering that the child was dead, dumb, and mentally retarded. It “didn’t bother” the soldiers, one participant in the beating said, and the platoon commander ordered them to the next chore because “we don’t have time for games.”

      Chomsky’s rhetorical style has often suggested barely contained rage.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 4:03 pm

        In your view, he contains the rage. What was the worst word he used here? “Atrocities?” Hasn’t Chomsky objected to use of the word Apartheid.

        I don’t completely disagree with your analysis of this passage by Chomsky. He does show the anecdote very effectively, and he is sardonic about E.W.

        Just some observations, bro.

      • RudyM
        November 28, 2013, 5:37 pm

        I don’t remember what Chomsky has to say about the “apartheid” label. (I actually have come around to being pretty unsatisfied with his stance on Israel/Palestine in general. I don’t entirely trust Chomsky (not just on this particular issue, but also on the potential domestic activities of the CIA and other western intelligence agencies*), but his writing helped me get more serious about politics in general, since it made much more sense of a lot of things than what I was exposed to from more mainstream sources.) I am just pointing out–and it really is just a side note–that at least some of what Chomsky writes would probably be dismissed as too extreme in tone as well, even if the way he expresses his anger is possibly more subtle than Blumenthal’s. Even so, it’s not that subtle. It seems pretty loud and clear.

        *Although I just borrowed a copy of Daniele Ganser’s book on NATO’s Operation Gladio, which involved false flag terrorism stage in Europe itself, only to find a positive Chomsky blurb on the back.

      • Hostage
        November 28, 2013, 6:33 pm

        Hasn’t Chomsky objected to use of the word Apartheid.

        No, he simply said that apartheid in South Africa was somewhat different from the “real”, “formalized”, “apartheid” conditions inside Israel:

        Safundi: Do you think, then, that the term “apartheid” is an accurate term for this situation?

        Chomsky: Apartheid in South Africa meant something different. Apartheid wasn’t [only] Bantustans, apartheid was the arrangement inside South Africa. Bantustans were bad enough, but that was something else, that was caging the population into unviable territories. Like putting Indians in reservations. We don’t call that apartheid. We call it something else.

        Safundi: But the term has been invoked by people within Israel, as well as among scholars.

        Chomsky: It has been invoked, but for different reasons.

        Safundi: What are those reasons?

        Chomsky: Those reasons have to do with Israel itself. Uri Davis-[who] has been involved in civil disobedience since the 1960s, he was the first serious activist in civil disobedience in Israel-in the 1960s, he protested real apartheid, inside Israel. This had been going on for the whole history of the state, but it was particularly dramatic around 1967 or 1968.

        Israel has a technique for dispossessing Israeli citizens-non-Jewish citizens-that’s apartheid. One of the ways of doing it is to declare an area a military zone, so therefore for security reasons people have to get out, and it always turns out that it’s never a Jewish area, it’s Palestinian, and then after it’s declared a security zone, you build settlements afterwards. And that’s what’s been going on. Palestinian villages had their lands taken away.

        Safundi: So it’s similar to the forced removals that were happening in South Africa.

        Chomsky: Kind of, yes. And then, after people have forgotten about it, you go in and you build an all-Jewish city. And that’s what was happening. Palestinian villages were restricted and they started building an all-Jewish city, Karmiel. This was a closed area, and Uri Davis went in, breaking the law, to protest what was happening. And that was the first serious act of civil disobedience.

        Safundi: This was when?

        Chomsky: Some time in the Sixties, I forget exactly when. We’ve been friends for years. Then later, he started doing scholarly work on what he calls “Apartheid Israel.” And that’s the internal structure of the society-in fact, I’ve written about it, too-and Ian Lustick, whom you may know, a professor at Penn, has written about it. But internally within Israel itself, forgetting the Occupied Territories, there is an extremely discriminatory system. It’s subtle, you know. They don’t have a law saying “Only Jews,” but it’s there.

        Safundi: So it’s similar then to Jim Crow South.

        Chomsky: Even more than that. Jim Crow South was kind of informal apartheid, but here it’s formalized.

        link to chomsky.info

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 6:39 pm

        Hey Rudy,
        You are making good points. I am trying to think of a good analogy to the language in his subtitles that has been expressed elsewhere. And I think Max does distinguish himself in his writing style. He tries to be a provocative writer. Take for example the title of his book “Republican Gomorrah”. Well as you know, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for sins for their licentiousness. If he called it “Republican Sodom”, he would be more direct, but he is taking a stab at the Republicans along the cultural lines that Republicans see themselves as having a forte in. (ie. anti-licentiousness). You would have to agree that “Republican Sodom” is a provocative title.

        He tries to be a provocative writer on political and social issues that he sees as important, and he has an anecdotal, journalistic style that has an appeal to it. And I think Max brings a special combination of ability and provocation. It has its audience, and among them it is performing well.

        Chomsky likes being much more academic, and I agree with what you’ve said about that too. If it were not for his IP stance, I would not have thought that there was much to doubt, and that is the same for me for a few other radical left writers too. But we can’t expect perfection, and I like Chomsky from what I’ve heard him say on IP, even if his Anarcho-Zionism has led him to give insufficient support for desegregation and BDS. But having seen that side to him, it exists. He is one of the 25% or so of Americans who actually buy the lone bullet theory, and I am not sure if he really believes that.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 7:59 pm

        Hi Hostage. This goes to my discussion with Rudy about Chomsky’s language.

        In my post above I said Chomsky objected to use of the word Apartheid. Chomsky said: “I don’t use it myself, to tell you the truth. Just like I don’t [often] use the term ‘empire,’ because these are just inflammatory terms… Apartheid was one particular system… It’s just to wave a red flag, when it’s perfectly well to simply describe the situation…”
        link to leftcurve.org

        Regarding Chomsky’s idea of whether it is, hasn’t Chomsky given contrasting signals? In some places he has said the State is Apartheid. But elsewhere when an interviewer asked if the State could be compared to South Africa’s Apartheid, Chomsky discouraged [dwelling] “too long on comparing the Zionist and Apartheid systems. On the query, to repeat, there can be no clear answer as to whether the analogy is appropriate.”
        link to counterpunch.org

        Regards.

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2013, 12:47 am

        Regarding Chomsky’s idea of whether it is

        There is no doubt that Chomsky has stated that the system in Israel is real, formal, apartheid. But it is different than South African apartheid. It’s still an example of the crime against humanity.

        The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid contained a non-exhaustive list of inhuman acts in Article 2 and explained that “the crime of apartheid”, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa (note: this is not limited in scope to South Africa) , shall apply to the following inhuman acts:”

        That left the barn door open for the varieties of similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Southern Rhodesia, & etc. The fact that the regimes weren’t identical in every respect made no legal difference.

        P.S. I also think we waste a lot of time calling it the crime apartheid. The same inhuman acts are listed in Article 7 of the Rome Statute and can easily be categorized under the heading of the crime of persecution without resorting to references to analogous situations.

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 1:52 am

        Hi again Hostage.

        Did Chomsky object to use of the word Apartheid? Yes, as he said “Apartheid was one particular system… It’s just to wave a red flag”.

        Chomsky says he avoids using the term because it is inflammatory, while Blumenthal on the other hand is OK with holding up inflammatory terms used by his interview subjects in order to reveal their attitudes, get attention, make the book more interesting, etc.

        Second, wouldn’t you agree that there is a conflict when:
        (1) Chomsky discouraged [dwelling] “too long on comparing the Zionist and Apartheid systems. On the query, to repeat, there can be no clear answer as to whether the analogy is appropriate.”
        And yet (2) “There is no doubt that Chomsky has stated that the system in Israel is real, formal, apartheid.”

        How can there be “no clear answer” about the analogy if it is “formal Apartheid”? If the system is “formal Apartheid”, doesn’t that mean an analogy to South Africa’s Apartheid exists?

        Regards.

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2013, 3:39 am

        Second, wouldn’t you agree that there is a conflict

        No, I think Zionist propagandists have relied on the naiveness of the solidarity movement and laymen in order to waste a great deal of our time and effort arguing and dissembling about the accuracy of “the apartheid analogy”, when the phrase: “shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa” was always intended to broaden the scope of the definition, not to narrow it.

        FYI, the very same list of inhumane acts appear in Articles 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute and can be used to sentence someone to life in prison for:

        “Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;”

        link to web.archive.org

        That’s true whether or not the acts of persecution happen to be similar or identical in nature to any other historical examples. It goes without saying that the crime of apartheid can be an example of an act of persecution, because it is listed in paragraph 7 of the Rome Statute.

      • Sibiriak
        November 29, 2013, 5:00 am

        W. Jones:

        How can there be “no clear answer” about the analogy if it is “formal Apartheid”? If the system is “formal Apartheid”, doesn’t that mean an analogy to South Africa’s Apartheid exists?

        I see your point about the apparent contradiction between the two assertions you quote, but I think the issue disappears as soon as one distinguishes between “apartheid” = historically specific South African policies and “apartheid” as legally defined in international law.

        link to russelltribunalonpalestine.com

        (1) THE DEFINITION AND STATUS OF APARTHEID UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

        i – The definition of apartheid

        5.3 Apartheid is the Afrikaans word for ‗separateness‘ or ‗separate development‘ that was used to designate the official state policy of racial discrimination implemented in South Africa between 1948 and 1994. Indeed, apartheid‘ came to be prohibited by international law because of the experience of apartheid in southern Africa, which had its own unique attributes.

        However, the legal definition of apartheid applies to any situation anywhere in the world where the following three core elements exist: (i) that two distinct racial groups can be identified; (ii) that ‗inhuman acts‘ are committed against the subordinate group; and (iii) that such acts are committed systematically in the context of an institutionalised regime of domination by one group over the other.

        See the rest of the document for detailed explanations of those three core elements, especially the very broad legal definition of “racial groups”.

        So, exactly how analogous the I/P situation is to the South African experience is not clear, while the fact that legally-defined apartheid exists in I/P is perfectly clear.

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 11:24 am

        Hello Hostage.

        I made a mistake above. The words about dwelling “too long on comparing the Zionist and Apartheid systems” were Pappe’s from their joint interview, not Chomsky’s. However, the other words, like ‘no clear answer as to whether the analogy is appropriate.’ were Chomsky’s.

        Maybe I didn’t explain well enough why I believe there is a conflict in Chomsky’s statements. Webster’s dictionary says an analogy means “a comparison of two things based on their being alike in some way.”

        If Countries A and B have political system Y, I take it to mean I can draw an analogy between them because I could compare them. In an analogy, two things just have to be “alike in some way”. If those things have differences, that does not prevent two things from being “comparable”.

        In your words, Chomsky says “the system in Israel is real, formal, apartheid.” I take this to mean one can compare its system to the system of other countries that have formal Apartheid.

        Counterpunch asked Chomsky: “Is the situation in Palestine and Israel comparable to Apartheid South Africa?” Chomsky answered: “There can be no definite answer… On the query, to repeat, there can be no clear answer as to whether the analogy is appropriate.” I find that this goes against my idea that if two countries have political system Y, you can compare their systems.

        I don’t understand how your reply above reconciles Chomsky’s statement that it has Apartheid to his statement that it is unclear if one can compare them. I took your explanation to mean that the definition of Apartheid has been broadened to include “similar policies… as practised in southern Africa”. If two countries have “similar policies”, does that mean you can compare the two countries’ policies?

        On a sidenote, do you think the Chomsky.info website edits Chomsky’s thinking to mean the opposite of what he said in the quote you gave:

        Chomsky: Apartheid in South Africa meant something different. Apartheid wasn’t [only] Bantustans, apartheid was the arrangement inside South Africa. Bantustans were bad enough, but that was something else… We don’t call that apartheid. We call it something else.

        Chomsky did not say “Apartheid wasn’t only Bantustans” like his website put it.
        Chomsky said “Apartheid wasn’t Bantustans, Apartheid was the system inside South Africa”.

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 11:59 am

        Privet Sibiriak.

        You are right that Chomsky’s discussions talk about two different things: Apartheid as a principle/legal idea and South Africa’s Apartheid. However, the contradiction with his statement that the country has formal Apartheid remains for two reasons:

        First, Apartheid as a principle is based on its version in South Africa. And it means a system with the three elements you mentioned. Did South Africa have those major elements? Do the two States share them? Does that mean one is able to compare the systems? Does that mean an analogy exists whereby they are “alike in some way”?

        Second, in the discussion Hostage mentioned, Chomsky defined it as legal Apartheid and asserted the similarity to South Apartheid’s version.

        Chomsky: …a technique for dispossessing Israeli citizens-non-Jewish citizens-that’s apartheid.
        Safundi: So it’s similar to the forced removals that were happening in South Africa.
        Chomsky: Kind of, yes.

        You pointed out that “exactly how analogous” the real situations are is unclear.
        But that was not what Chomsky said. He was asked if the situations could be compared. He said there was “no definite answer” and repeated “there can be no clear answer as to whether the analogy is appropriate.”
        Moy drug Sibiriak, analogia est? My friend Siberian, is there an analogy?

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 1:05 pm

        Hostage,

        Chomsky’s denial that Bantustans were part of Apartheid is relevant because in the discussion you quoted, he said:

        Chomsky: They will allow something, but it will be Bantustans.

        Safundi: Do you think, then, that the term “apartheid” is an accurate term for this situation?

        Chomsky: Apartheid in South Africa meant something different. Apartheid wasn’t Bantustans, apartheid was the arrangement inside South Africa… that was something else, that was caging the population into unviable territories… We don’t call that apartheid. We call it something else.

        Perhaps you will agree with Chomsky that Bantustans were not part of Apartheid?

        There is another issue with this. Safundi asked him straight up if “the term apartheid” is accurate. And instead of talking about “formal Apartheid” like you did, Chomsky dodged the question. He started talking about South Africa’s version of it and said four times that Apartheid was “something different” than Bantustans, which is how people like Jeff Halper describe the Occupied territories.

        Yes, later on Chomsky admitted that there was Apartheid. After the journalist objected “But…” and asked three questions, Chomsky said “Kind of, Yes” the countries’ policy of removal was “similar.” After that, he answered there was “formalized” Apartheid, but he only specified “internally within Israel itself, forgetting the Occupied Territories”. So while he did admit the term applied “inside” as he says, it took objecting and four probing questions.

        By the way, the distinction between internal and external territories does not clear up the conflicting statements, because Chomsky told Counterpunch that it was unclear if they were comparable internally or externally.

      • RudyM
        November 29, 2013, 1:09 pm

        Chomsky has not only provided insufficient support for BDS, but he has actively stymied those efforts, at least at times:

        link to leftcurve.org

        Also, I sometimes wonder if all the emphasis he put on East Timor (not that it didn’t deserve independence) in the 90s didn’t, intentionally or otherwise, deflect attention from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That may seem like a ridiculous suggestion, considering the extent to which Chomsky has written about Israel/Palestine, but I remember reading transcripts of talks where he as much as told people to focus on E. Timor. I was briefly involved with ETAN at that time (in fact, mostly thanks to Chomsky’s work), a time when the Palestinian-Israeli conflict still seemed too complicated for me to form a firm opinion about.

        He is one of the 25% or so of Americans who actually buy the lone bullet theory, and I am not sure if he really believes that.

        And maybe it would valuable to the powers that be to have someone in place to try to “limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion” on explosive issues like the Kennedy assassination or 9/11. Regarding 9/11 he went from saying that the first thing we should ask when there is a crime of this sort is who did it and why (I can’t remember where I read or heard him say that–but my hazy memory says Democracy Now), to more recently saying “who cares” whether it was elements of the U.S. government that did it. I think most Americans, like it or not, would be more upset to find their own government complicit in the assassination of a U.S. president or a terrorist attack at home in the U.S. than they are about discovering that the CIA overthrew a democratically elected government somewhere else.

        But perhaps he’s just blinkered. He does seem to set the tone for a lot of other American leftists, which makes his weaknesses more important.

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 2:16 pm

        Hi Rudy.

        In this interview he says it is only OK to boycott arms sales and the settlements. Was BDS in South Africa limited to those areas?
        You may find the interview amusing:
        link to youtube.com
        As you pointed out, he influence on other American leftists, as he is quite famous among us.

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 2:30 pm

        Rudy,

        The interviewer points out that it is more pragmatic to boycott it than to boycott the US, and Chomsky’s answer is that it would be “unprincipled”, and throws out the fourth pillar of Hasbara (Everything sucks”).
        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

        I can see someone saying that it is premature to demand 100% BDS, in line with Slater’s attitude about toning things down to persuade liberals better, but I think you will the interview amusing nonetheless.

      • German Lefty
        November 29, 2013, 6:15 pm

        @ W.Jones
        I just watched the Chomsky interview that you linked to. OMG! He seriously claims that BDS is bad for Palestinians. At least he says it with a sexy voice.

      • American
        November 29, 2013, 7:46 pm

        Hostage says:
        November 29, 2013 at 3:39 am
        Second, wouldn’t you agree that there is a conflict

        No, I think Zionist propagandists have relied on the naiveness of the solidarity movement and laymen in order to waste a great deal of our time and effort arguing and dissembling about the accuracy of “the apartheid analogy”,>>>>>>

        Amen!
        Who gives a rats ass…Oppression, Occupation, Slo Mo genocide, War Crimes ..will do just fine.

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 7:54 pm

        He seriously claims that BDS… ~G.Lefty

        Chomsky reacted to BDS’s preceding statement, whose scope has been more limited since then (link to bdsmovement.net). However he demands even greater limits (ie. limiting it to settlements & arms only).

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2013, 10:23 pm

        How can there be “no clear answer” about the analogy if it is “formal Apartheid”? If the system is “formal Apartheid”, doesn’t that mean an analogy to South Africa’s Apartheid exists?

        Chomsky explained that for himself. He said: “There can be no definite answer to such questions. [Because] There are similarities and differences. link to counterpunch.org

        I’ve already pointed out that Chomsky has very clearly stated that real, formal apartheid exists in Israel, which is different in some respects from the form of apartheid practiced in South Africa.

        I’ve also pointed out that the actual legal standard under the terms of the Apartheid Convention itself has always been a similarity to the racial discrimination and segregation practiced in a number of different countries in “southern Africa”, not just the policies and practices of the former Union of South Africa. So the whole discussion about the South Africa analogy is totally irrelevant. The Apartheid Convention and definition are still in force among the state parties, and have not been formally replaced by the definition employed in the Rome Statute. Neither of those treaties has ever limited the scope or definition of the crime to only those inhumane acts committed in the Union of South Africa.

        So why would a good linguist, like Chomsky, go on using a term that Zionist propagandists employ to sidetrack discussions about real, formal, criminal persecution into dialogs about the accuracy of the analogy to the particular form of apartheid practiced in the Union of South Africa?

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2013, 11:07 pm

        Maybe I didn’t explain well enough why I believe there is a conflict in Chomsky’s statements. Webster’s dictionary says an analogy means “a comparison of two things based on their being alike in some way.” . . . I don’t understand how your reply above reconciles Chomsky’s statement that it has Apartheid to his statement that it is unclear if one can compare them.

        Because, by the same token a person could employ the Webster’s definition of the adjective “un·analogous” to describe a comparison of two things that are dissimilar in some way. link to merriam-webster.com

        Ilan Pappé said: There are similarities and dissimilarities.

        Noam Chomsky said: There can be no definite answer to such questions. There are similarities and differences. Within Israel itself, there is serious discrimination, but it’s very far from South African Apartheid. Within the occupied territories, it’s a different story. link to counterpunch.org

        Safundi: Do you think, then, that the term “apartheid” is an accurate term for this situation?

        Chomsky: Apartheid in South Africa meant something different. . . .

        Safundi: But the term has been invoked by people within Israel, as well as among scholars.

        Chomsky: It has been invoked, but for different reasons.

        Safundi: What are those reasons?

        Chomsky: Those reasons have to do with Israel itself. Uri Davis-[who] has been involved in civil disobedience since the 1960s, he was the first serious activist in civil disobedience in Israel-in the 1960s, he protested real apartheid, inside Israel. This had been going on for the whole history of the state, but it was particularly dramatic around 1967 or 1968.

        Israel has a technique for dispossessing Israeli citizens-non-Jewish citizens-that’s apartheid. . . . Then later, he started doing scholarly work on what he calls “Apartheid Israel.” And that’s the internal structure of the society-in fact, I’ve written about it, too-and Ian Lustick, whom you may know, a professor at Penn, has written about it.
        link to chomsky.info

        Chomsky did not say “Apartheid wasn’t only Bantustans” like his website put it.

        I think you’re overreaching when you try to claim that Chomsky hasn’t said something that he has actually published on his own website and cite an article published by Counterpunch, not Chomsky himself, to try and impeach what you think he meant to say. He has clearly called the situation inside Israel apartheid and has noted that there are similarities and dissimilarities to the situation in South Africa.

        I’m sure that Chomsky would point out that you are mistaken. He said that real, formal apartheid exists in Israel that is different in some respects from South African apartheid. – and that that means you could also use Webster’s dictionary to say the two things are unanalogous in some way. link to merriam-webster.com

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2013, 1:01 am

        Chomsky has not only provided insufficient support for BDS, but he has actively stymied those efforts, at least at times:

        link to leftcurve.org

        Chomsky employed BDS tactics against Israel, even before there was a national call or a political movement. In any event, he must doing something that causes the government of Israel enough distress for it to ban him outright from entering Israel or the West Bank, while the Mondoweiss staff, Max Blumenthal, and a host of BDS activists are still free to go there.

        In the past, I’ve pointed-out that Blankfort’s accusation that Chomsky is determined to keep Israel and Israelis from being punished by sanctions is not consistent with Chomsky’s published views on the subject. For example, the Chomsky Reader (1987) criticized the US government for blocking sanctions against Israel, despite the fact the Carter Administration had repeatedly declared the settlements to be illegal.

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2013, 2:07 am

        Hostage, Chomsky’s denial that Bantustans were part of Apartheid is relevant because in the discussion you quoted

        At this point I’m assuming bad faith and a lot of dissimulation on your part. This “denial” by Chomsky takes place in your imagination. On his own website, Chomsky clarified the matter adequately by amending the statement to indicate that he merely meant to say that South African Apartheid wasn’t “[only]” about the Bantustans. You are asking for a clarification that has already been provided.

        Perhaps you will agree with Chomsky that Bantustans were not part of Apartheid?

        It really doesn’t matter which article you read to answer that question. Chomsky never said that Bantustans were not part of Apartheid. That’s a straw man you’ve deliberately created for yourself.

        In any event I’ve commented several times here in the past that a “Bantustan policy,” consisting of the creation of reserved areas for certain ethnic groups has been considered prima facie evidence of the crime of apartheid since 1972. That means that it is sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction when unrebutted or not contradicted – although it isn’t an essential element of the offense. So, that means I agree with Chomsky on that particular point. — See the Human Rights Commission, Study Concerning the Question of Apartheid from the Point of View of International Penal Law, E/CN.4/1075, 15th February 1972, pp. 51 – 52.

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 3:48 am

        Hi Hostage. This is fun like a mind game.

        Chomsky said “there can be no clear answer as to whether the analogy is appropriate.” And an analogy means things are “alike in some way”. His statement that there are “similarities and differences” does not prove that the systems are not “alike in some way.” In fact, the statement that there are similarities suggests that there is a way they are alike.

        Further, his statement, as you put it, that “formal apartheid exists in Israel” means the societies are clearly alike in that way. This conflicts with his claim that it is not clear if an analogy is “appropriate.”

        You disagreed with the idea that an analogy clearly exists, saying: “by the same token a person could employ Webster’s definition of “un·analogous” to describe… two things that are dissimilar in some way.”
        I doubt that. Unanalogous in Webster’s means “not analogous”, and analogous means “alike in some way.” Are the things alike in a major way? Yes? Would one reject that they are alike in that way? No? Then are not “not analogous”, ie. “unanalogous.”

        You asked a good question: “why would… Chomsky [use] a term that propagandists employ to sidetrack discussions”? If the interviewer asks him directly “Do you think ‘apartheid’ is an accurate term for this situation?”, and he is a faithful anarchist thinker, he might tell his leftist audience “Yes” if that is what he believes. Or if he really believes it is a sensitive, useless question, he could reply with that.

        You wrote: “I think you’re overreaching when you claim that Chomsky hasn’t said something that he has published on his website”.
        Do you consider it “overreaching” because it would mean Chomsky or his associates approved a misportrayal of his statement? What if a statement was edited to mean the opposite of what a whole paragraph said?
        What is in brackets replaces either nothing or another phrase. What phrase could possibly go in the brackets here, such that you would put brackets around “only”: “Apartheid wasn’t [only] Bantustans”?

        This quote is helpful to see that the brackets were empty: “Bantustans were bad enough, but that was something else, that was caging the population into unviable territories… We don’t call that apartheid. We call it something else.”
        What do “that” and “it” refer to? “Bantustans” and “caging the population”.
        So we don’t call Bantustans and caging the population apartheid? Bantustans were “something else” than apartheid?
        If Bantustans aren’t Apartheid, then Apartheid is not Bantustans, Hostage.
        The conclusion is that “[only]” was inserted to try to “correct” this sentence:
        “Apartheid wasn’t [only] Bantustans, apartheid was the arrangement inside South Africa.”
        The article from Counterpunch is unnecessary to impeach his “corrected” statement about Bantustans [not] being Apartheid. The “correction” impeaches it.
        A critical mind sees that Chomsky meant we don’t call caging people in Bantustans “Apartheid”, and that the corrector believes Apartheid included caging them.

        Rather, his other statements that the State’s forced removals is apartheid, and that “it’s similar to the forced removals that were happening in South Africa” impeach his statements in Counterpunch that “there can be no clear answer as to whether the analogy is appropriate.” In fact, the analogy clearly exists, because the situations are similar “in some way” – forced removals.

        You mentioned:

        I’m sure that Chomsky would point out that you are mistaken.

        A more enlightening discussion with Chomsky would be on his understanding of nationality, after which we could move on to the consequences of Anarchist nationalist models.

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 4:49 am

        Hi again, Hostage.

        You made an interesting comment:

        I’ve commented several times here in the past that a “Bantustan policy,” consisting of the creation of reserved areas for certain ethnic groups has been considered prima facie evidence of the crime of apartheid since 1972. That means that it is sufficient evidence… So, that means I agree with Chomsky on that particular point.

        Your explanation of the law makes sense, Hostage. But regarding Chomsky’s agreement on the point, perhaps you can explain this quote to me:

        “that was caging the population into unviable territories. Like putting Indians in reservations. We don’t call that apartheid.”

        So what do we call “caging the population into unviable territories”?

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 5:29 am

        P.S. Regarding the interesting issue of “analogous” vs. “unanalogous”. I think you are taking “unanalogous” to mean different, as in “unalike in some way”, as opposed to meaning not “alike in some way”, as I took it. It’s a rare word, and you could be right. I mean, do “dissimilar” and “unsimilar” mean the same thing?

        In any case, Chomsky did not assert that it was unclear if the “unanalogy” existed, but if it was appropriate to speak of an analogy. And in fact, it is OK to do so, because they are “alike in some way”. The existence of a difference or unanalogy does not negate that fact.

        Regards.

      • Sibiriak
        November 30, 2013, 5:43 am

        My friend Siberian, is there an analogy?

        Yes. How exact it is is debatable, i.e. there are differences as well as similarities.

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2013, 6:19 am

        In this interview he says it is only OK to boycott arms sales and the settlements.

        Not really, he listens and nods as Frank Barat reads a long list and @ 1:08 says “I mean those are all the right thing to do” – and asks why not do them elsewhere too?

        I just watched the Chomsky interview that you linked to. OMG! He seriously claims that BDS is bad for Palestinians. At least he says it with a sexy voice.

        I tend to agree with what he had to say. A lot of the Palestinian civil society organizations are unelected and don’t have a presence in Palestine, beyond their PO boxes. Hardliners in the US and Israel have treated the issue of the right of descendants born elsewhere to return to Israel as if it were a gift. They’ve adopted legislation to remove descendants from the head counts used to calculate voluntary UNRWA funding – and that sort of thing will undoubtedly harm many refugees.

        Whether the claim comes from a Zionist or a Palestinian, the public tends to view aliens from somewhere else “returning” to a “homeland” in another country as a strange idea that isn’t one of the necessities of life we need to fund with our tax dollars. I think there are customary and legal grounds for a right of return for descendants, but it needs to be spelled-out in a completely different way than the movement has done to date.

        In any event, 972 Magazine ran an article which said that polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research indicated 90 percent of the refugees preferred compensation in lieu of returning to Israel and that Ali Abunimah had attacked the pollster for presenting data showing that the majority of Palestinian refugees accepted the compromises that were discussed during the Taba negotiations in 2000. Abunimah drew a sloppy inference from an interview Haaretz had conducted with (then) Prime Minister Fayyad and accused him of giving up the right of return. So it’s odd that Abunimah doesn’t mention the fact that his own father led the Jordanian delegation that normalized relations with Israel or that the treaty in question doesn’t even address any right of return for the largest community of Palestinian refugees, those living in Jordan. I don’t think that reaches to heaven, but it clearly reflects a double standard. The same can be said for the fact that Barghouti was “perfectly happy to attend Tel Aviv University”, while asking others to boycott it and claiming that a different standard applied to himself and Palestinian students.

        In the meantime, Chomsky does distinguish between the behavior of the leadership of the BDS Movement™ and BDS “tactics”. He has endorsed the later, including many sanctions against Israel proper. — See Chomsky backs tactics opposing Israeli policies link to theaustralian.com.au

        He is also credited with convincing Professor Stephen Hawking to boycott the festivities for President Shimon Peres. — See Noam Chomsky helped lobby Stephen Hawking to stage Israel boycott: US professor Noam Chomsky expressed regret at Hawking’s initial acceptance of invitation to speak at conference in Israel link to theguardian.com

      • LeaNder
        November 30, 2013, 9:56 am

        Great comment, Hostage. What I admittedly sometimes wonder in this context is, if there is a mental shortcut, some type of metathesis that as soon as someone, who also happens to be also Jewish, starts to differentiate, complicate or begs to differ, he automatically must be obfuscating.

        If I may return to Norman Finkelstein in this context, I wasn’t sure if I should enter the debate but it is still in the comment box. I was responding Krauss’ categories above:

        ****************************************

        The second defence, and this is the Norman Finkelstein defence, is tactics. Oh, but the system is so intact! Just give up on Apartheid!

        Krauss, I am aware that this is some type of consent or majority opinion here, but i am not sure that this is a fair portrayal of his position. Never mind his “cult” statements. What follows in your own statement:

        Will Zionism as we know it end within 5 years? Highly unlikely. Maybe not even for 20 or 30 years.

        may be much closer to what drives him. What is doable and realistic? Ask for too much at your own disadvantage. Make tools too broad and not shaped by carefully defined aims and accept that you will not reach your aim since you don’t have one to start with, but many.

        With the first section you turn him into just another “liberal Zionist stereotype”. The reality to me feels a little different. But maybe one should occasionally start to differentiate and not surrender to Pavlovian responses, quite possibly triggered by his cult statements.

        If I allow this nitwit to state his position as I see it. It is solidly based on the fact that an independent state inside the 1967 borders including East Jerusalem has international and legal support. He is a political scientist after all. Thus the 2SS is the only–Utopian enough at the moment–realistic chance to which one should apply one’s pressure. It would allow Palestinians to breath without constant occupation and the regulations of their lives, after decades of siege and further dispossession, even maybe allow him to visit his friend there. I ideal solution would also address the issue of Palestinians inside Israel, the so-called Arab Israelis.

        One of his points of critique, or arguments, I strictly found supported in Max report: Israel to a large extend succeeded in splitting up Palestinian civil society, or breaking down Palestinian cohesion. So what does a collective Palestinian demand in this context really mean? And why should expatriates be more important in this context than the people that have to live under occupation?

        But I never claimed to be an expert. And I will not go into the right of return here. But one little point:

        If you argue that the foundation of Israel was a huge crime against the Palestinians, what could a reversal of the return of all refugees and their kids in reality look like? And that apparently is an often articulated not specified demand. How could a return to their scarcely still existent homes be administered? To what extend would it matter how many still do?

        ****************************************

        I remember the poll you mention now, isn’t obvious? None of the Palestinians I know wants to return. But yes some are concerned about their families inside Israel. And somewhat would love to see acknowledgment of wrong done to them. Anecdotal evidence, I know. But how would a compromise be so different from the polled wishes of Palestinians abroad? If it also addresses the basic rights of “Arab Israelis”?

        After the hate on both sides was nourished, how could a one state solution work in the real world without any type of interim period.

        I can understand it is not so easy for Americans or Europeans to accept that every Jewish citizen in their respective countries can move to Israel anytime, even gets financial support, while Palestinians are constantly further dispossessed. But personally I see no other solution but to address the core ideologies upon which Israel’s “save haven” ideology rests. Thus there is no way around addressing the issue of antisemitism straightforwardly and a non politicized fashion. And restricting for instance a right of return to countries where there is a recognizable danger.

        I stop here otherwise I will drift off into one of my favorite subjects.

      • Sibiriak
        November 30, 2013, 10:50 am

        W.Jones says:

        So what do we call “caging the population into unviable territories”?

        Helluva good question, товарищ!

        Btw, could someone please define “viable/unviable” in precise terms regarding the Palestinian territories?

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 11:46 am

        Thanks, Siberian.

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2013, 12:17 pm

        Btw, could someone please define “viable/unviable” in precise terms regarding the Palestinian territories?

        The inability to exercise the customary right of defending the state’s territorial integrity and controlling access to its natural resources due to the lack of well defined frontiers and the inability to create territorial contiguity.

        The UNSCOP report specifically justified the establishment of a compulsory economic union between the two states with a common market, revenue sharing, right of transit, common currency, common transportation and communications networks, and joint management of ports on the basis of the total impracticality of partitioning Palestine into two “viable” states capable of funding all of their essential domestic public services without relying on foreign assistance or foreign capital.

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2013, 1:12 pm

        “that was caging the population into unviable territories. Like putting Indians in reservations. We don’t call that apartheid.”

        So what do we call “caging the population into unviable territories”?

        You are describing the results of “displacement” that occurs due to pillage of private and state property belonging to the group for illegal colonization, e.g. violations of:
        * Rule 52. Pillage link to icrc.org
        *Rule 129. The Act of Displacement link to icrc.org
        * Rule 130. Transfer of Own Civilian Population into Occupied Territory link to icrc.org

        If you look at the preamble of the Apartheid Convention and Article II you’ll see they stipulate that several acts, which are defined as genocide, can also be considered constituent acts of the crime of apartheid. Even the drafters of the Convention admitted those were hypothetical offenses that were never actually attributed to the policies or practices of the Union of South Africa or any other regime on the continent at the time.

        So, even South Africans could complain with some justification about the inappropriateness of the apartheid analogy to their case, because there are some similarities and some dissimilarities between the definition of the crime of apartheid and the actual policies and practices that were employed by the Union of South Africa.
        link to www1.umn.edu

        There are a number of other constituent acts of the crime of apartheid that are usually considered war crimes in their own right, or crimes against humanity consisting of inhuman acts and denial of fundamental rights to freedom of movement and residence.

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2013, 2:12 pm

        Hi Hostage. This is fun like a mind game.

        I commented earlier that this “denial” by Chomsky is only taking place in your imagination.

        Here is some more material for you to play with. The apartheid convention explicitly states that in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, certain acts which may also be qualified as acts of apartheid constitute a crime under international law. In both cases most of the acts described do not result in actual physical destruction and there has been considerable debate over the question of whether or not the analogy is appropriate. A conviction for the crime of genocide requires evidence of the perpetrator’s state of mind or mens rea, while international criminal responsibility applies in the case apartheid regardless of the motive.

        Although many argue that genocide is synonymous with mass murder, most of the examples of the crime cited in the convention are not, i.e. merely causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group; or deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part at some indeterminate point in the future are sufficient to secure a conviction – even when failing to establish that any mass extermination has occurred. The international criminal tribunals have added mass rape to the lists.

        So there are people who argue that there are similarities and dissimilarities between genocide and apartheid and many experts who point out that South Africans were never guilty of committing any of the genocide-related constituent acts. While on the other hand, the representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the government of Lebanon complained to the Security Council and ICJ that Israel had committed every genocide-related constituent act of the crime of apartheid. So there are always going to be people who argue that these analogies are inappropriate or that the evidence supporting key similarities is either missing or inconclusive.

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 4:19 pm

        Hi LeaNder,

        I would like to give you a better idea of my view on Chomsky and where I come from. I remember seeing him listed as one of the authors on the reading list of my favorite band, RATM, when I was a teenager. His talks and ideas were impressive, and I found him smart. His anarchism made him attractive, and I showed one of his movies on media bias at my college. What he was saying went along with my beliefs in equality and universalism.

        I like him and he plays a positive role overall in the IP issue because he does a good job raising awareness about people’s hardships there. Further, his ideas also change. About a decade ago he said he could move there. More recently he feels it has gotten so harsh that he would not. I think his visa denial was one factor. Plus, he said that anti-semitism does not exist at Harvard, and he has not signed those “left” petitions denouncing pro-Palestinian activists as racist.

        On the other hand, since I saw him as an anarchist radical, it has been surprising for me to find out that he is an anarcho-Zionist, avoided using the term Apartheid, a proponent of the official JFK story, and to see him denounce the BDS Statement™ as anti-Semitic and extremely hypocritical based on pillar #4(everything sucks). As an anarchist radical, I would not expect him to have much affinity for State borders or national separation, and so his strong rejection of millions of refugees’ right of return also feels surprising.

        That is my perception at the moment, and perhaps you will agree or disagree with some of my opinions. My views of those issues are also nuanced.

        In any case, since Chomsky is in fact a major figure on the left, it is natural that I will discuss his ideas, including both their positive and negative aspects. In fact, if one takes him seriously, one should do so. In a discussion about the language authors use, if someone claims that Chomsky uses strong language, it is OK for someone- in this case me- to say that he has avoided certain key terms, especially when he states that he does. Otherwise, one would be held to a strange set of conformism that certainly would not have much in common with anarchism- or free speech for that matter.

        Regards.

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 5:52 pm

        Hello Hostage.

        I think you are intelligent, are familiar with alot of laws and rules, and your disagreement with the system shows concern for subject peoples. I like your ability to persist in arguments, and hope you will put that to meaningful use to help them. I was especially impressed with your ability to reconcile Christian and Judaic ideas about the Messianic era and universalism. In my message to LeAnder I explained my main views about Chomsky and why in general I sympathize with him.

        Let me ask my last question another way.
        When Chomsky says:

        Bantustans were bad enough, but that was something else, that was caging the population into unviable territories. Like putting Indians in reservations.

        Does he mean Bantustans were caging the population like on reservations?

        You wrote:

        a “Bantustan policy,” consisting of the creation of reserved areas for certain ethnic groups has been considered prima facie evidence of the crime of apartheid… it is sufficient evidence

        Is “caging the population into unviable territories” like in “reservations” Apartheid?

        If so, why does Chomsky say “We don’t call that apartheid”?

        As Sibiriak showed, legal Apartheid includes the key elements of: inhuman acts against one racial group in a system of domination by another. You pointed out that this is recognized to take different forms, ranging from genocide to transfer. However, despite various forms, each instance of Apartheid has those key elements in common. They are alike in that way.
        So I am confused when you write:

        even South Africans could complain with some justification about the inappropriateness of the apartheid analogy to their case, because there are some similarities and some dissimilarities between the definition of the crime of apartheid and the actual policies

        I do not think black South Africans would complain about their history being analogized to Apartheid. Apartheid can appear in several forms, and since they lived under one of them, they would not reject a comparison to the concept of Apartheid.

        If a man lives in a rented house, he would not object to it being called a dwelling-place or analogized to one, even though dwelling places can take different forms. Not only that, but in his interview with Safundi, Chomsky matched both the broad legal concept and specific forms of it – eg. forced removal – to the two systems. Perhaps you would consider Bantustans to be another “common form.” Thus, the legal concept would be analogous, as are specific forms, meaning the systems are “alike in some way”.

        Regards.

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 7:27 pm

        Hostage,

        Unfortunately, Chomsky’s “denialism” is not limited to my imagination.
        While you correctly pointed out that Chomsky claimed that the “the internal structure of the society” was Apartheid, going as far as accepting Uri Davis’ title “Apartheid Israel”, he denied it this spring at Harvard’s ironically named Apartheid Week.

        There he said:

        Within Israel itself there is plenty of repression… but I do not think Apartheid is an appropriate term for it. Rather it’s the kind of thing that exists in much of the world… That’s really pretty awful… but I wouldn’t call it Apartheid. And I think the same is true of Europe… and also of Israel, so I don’t really think the analogy is quite appropriate there.

        What about within occupied Palestine? Well there you can make a better case. There’s a road from Hebron to the tomb of the Patriarchs. They just divide it into two parts… That’s Apartheid. Nevertheless I still think the analogy is inappropriate, and the reason is that in occupied Palestine it’s much worse. So calling it Apartheid is quite inaccurate.
        (Minute 24)

        link to radio4all.net

        This played a main role in the follow up questions, where the moderator basically asked about the internal structure:

        Moderator: I just think unrecognized villages, water restrictions (etc.etc)… It looks alot like Apartheid. What would you call it?

        Chomsky: I would call it alot like the United States. When I got here in 1950 there was no women. There were very few Jews. (Chomsky mentions difficulty finding an apartment, and the situation now of the black population in the US. He says 90% of the land there committed to one group.)

        The Moderator comments about that, saying it sounds like South Africa’s Land Act.

        Chomsky: The way to deal with it is in fact the way that _is_ being dealt with. (He mentions a Supreme Court case saying the restrictions are illegal) There are pressures to break it down…
        In Europe the racism is incredible. Everybody has to have blond hair and blue eyes… It’s really all over the world… Apartheid was a very specific system… I don’t think it’s a useful analogy for that reason. Inside or Outside, or in Occupied Palestine…

        Moderator: Does it make a difference if we are referencing the crime of Apartheid as defined under the Geneva Convention?

        Chomsky: Well, you know, the crime of Apartheid, like most laws… it depends on how it is interpreted. Laws don’t tell you anything…

        Moderator: What I understood you saying is that it is not Apartheid because the oppression is not for the sake of sustaining Palestinians… But the Apartheid Statute makes no reference to that.

        Chomsky: But in that sense there is Apartheid all over the world. It’s kind of lost its meaning. I think we want it to have a meaning. It’s a little bit like genocide… The question is how we are going to interpret this. That’s the way you deal with laws… That’s called the Law. We shouldn’t have illusions about it… In this case too. I mean the Principle of Apartheid in itself is words, kind of like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It sounds nice. But who believes it? Who accepts it?

        link to radio4all.net

        He then follows up by saying that the State cannot do anything unless the US allows it, that it’s “totally dependent” on the US, and that Bush put his foot down once, adding that the “lobby knows better than to confront real power… It ultimately comes down to whether the US is willing to give the orders”for a 2SS. (At this point one might ask how much influence lobbies have over politics. But I digress.)

      • Sibiriak
        November 30, 2013, 8:25 pm

        Hostage:

        [No, I think Zionist propagandists have relied on the naiveness of the solidarity movement and laymen in order to waste a great deal of our time and effort arguing and dissembling about the accuracy of “the apartheid analogy”,>>>>>>]

        Amen!
        Who gives a rats ass…Oppression, Occupation, Slo Mo genocide, War Crimes ..will do just fine.

        Well, if their is a roiling dabate on the accuracy of labeling Israel an Apartheid State, that’s great! Zionists are put squarely on the defensive.

        “Oppression”, “Occupation” etc. are fine, but “Apartheid” concentrates ahuge amount of opprobrium into a single value-supercharged word.

        It would be even better to get a debate going on whether Israel is a “terrorist state”–because “terrorist” is the ultimate demonization label today.

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 9:41 pm

        Regarding BDS

        Rudy, you mentioned “Chomsky has not only provided insufficient support for BDS, but he has actively stymied those efforts”.
        I suppose that by “actively” you mean his interviews where he denounces BDS. Once Chomsky signed a BDS petition and then removed his own signature. An opponent of BDS wrote that Chomsky gave a great gift

        to opponents of the divestment campaign against Israel. By signing the Harvard-MIT divestment petition several months ago—and then denouncing divestment on Nov. 25 at Harvard—Chomsky has completely undercut the petition…

        link to thecrimson.com

        Hostage, you mentioned to me that “Chomsky… endorsed [BDS tactics] including many sanctions against Israel proper. — See Chomsky backs tactics opposing Israeli policies”
        The article you pointed me to did not state that he supported tactics that included sanctions against the state proper per se. He did say that the BDS movement’s tactics are not aimed at destruction. In the interview you agreed with, Chomsky denounced the BDS Declaration™ as aimed at Destruction due to its scope. The only way I can think to resolve the contradiction is that he is OK with BDS “tactics”, but not the Declaration. And in that interview the examples he gave of acceptable BDS was as against settlements and arms.

      • Sibiriak
        December 1, 2013, 2:43 am

        W.Jones:

        since I saw [Chomsky] as an anarchist radical, it has been surprising for me to find out that he is an anarcho-Zionist, avoided using the term Apartheid…

        I’m confused. Hasn’t it been clearly established in this thread that Chomsky openly and unabashedly charges Israel with the crime of apartheid? As Hostage put it:

        He has clearly called the situation inside Israel apartheid and has noted that there are similarities and dissimilarities to the situation in South Africa.

        ————————–

        W.Jones:

        [Chomsky's] strong rejection of millions of refugees’ right of return also feels surprising.

        .

        1) See: link to vimeo.com

        Starting at 32:45

        Chomsky reaffirms his consistent support for the right of refugees to return, but argues that there is nothing in the law about their descendants; and even if one accepts the legal interpretation positing a right of return for descendants, he argues that that will never happen , therefore it is deeply immoral to give false hope to Palestinians suffering in camps and elsewhere.

        See also:
        link to chomsky.info

        [2004] Palestinian refugees should certainly not be willing to renounce the right of return, but in this world — not some imaginary world we can discuss in seminars — that right will not be exercised, in more than a limited way, within Israel.

        Again, there is no detectable international support for it, and under the (virtually unimaginable) circumstances that such support would develop, Israel would very likely resort to its ultimate weapon, defying even the boss-man, to prevent it. In that case there would be nothing to discuss. The facts are ugly, but facts do not go out of existence for that reason.

        In my opinion, it is improper to dangle hopes that will not be realized before the eyes of people suffering in misery and oppression. Rather, constructive efforts should be pursued to mitigate their suffering and deal with their problems in the real world.

        [...]there is virtually no possibility of organizing public opinion in the US, or anywhere else, in favor of a settlement that entails elimination of Israel in favor of a Palestinian state with a Jewish minority — quite a small and scattered minority if refugees return. This is entirely fanciful.

        2) I’ve always felt that Chomsky’s commitment to empiricism, logic and realism superseded any commitment to idealistic ideological prescriptions such as anarchism.

      • W.Jones
        December 1, 2013, 3:28 am

        Privet Sibiriak.

        You are right about the importance of “Apartheid”, because as you and Hostage explained, it carries a legal value. If you listen to Chomsky’s Q&A on the Apartheid principles with the Harvard students (above), he explains that good laws are just words until enough people push for the law to be recognized and applied. He gives examples from US court cases. Based on his logic about laws, if someone did want laws against Apartheid to be recognized and applied, they would push for the legal word to be used more often in discourse.

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 6:01 am

        I would like to give you a better idea of my view on Chomsky and where I come from.

        You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. The bottom line here is that Chomsky has to pay for his own website to publish the interview that plainly says there is real, formal apartheid inside Israel and that it has existed since the very beginning. He describes how it differs from South African apartheid and mentions sources of further reading, like Davis and Lustick, who have written about the subject since the 1960s.

        So why are you hijacking the thread here and using the bandwidth that I and others help pay for to publish plainly dishonest claims that Chomsky “denies” that apartheid exists there and play juvenile word games?

        The same thing applies to the trumped-up charges that he is opposed to sanctions against Israel or the application of BDS tactics that oppose Israeli policies, when he has always been a staunch advocate of both. See for example Chomsky’s efforts to convince Hawking to boycott the Peres Conference and his letters to the editors of the Australian explaining that BDS tactics are legitimate and that charges they are purely anti-Semitic should be dismissed with utter disdain.

        In the Youtube video you keep mentioning, Barat reads the third to the last paragraph from the 2005 BDS call to action, including, “We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel.” Chomsky is actually giving sound advice about double standards and the most effective tactics. He actually responds to Barat @ 1:08 saying “Yes, I mean all of those things [the 2005 Call to action] are “the right things to do.” The criticism that follows ought to be heeded.

        The movement here in the US pressures corporations, retirement funds, and Zionist organizations on campuses, but seldom if ever pressures the State. Chomsky has always championed that effort, even before there was a BDS movement. I pointed out that the Chomsky Reader was critical of the US government for blocking sanctions against Israel after the Carter administration had labeled the settlements illegal. That US government facilitation of Israel has truly been one of the key problems all along.

        Chomsky is correct to ask why the movement doesn’t take the same actions against other countries, like the US, where things are much worse? Many of us here at Mondoweiss agree with that. The carnage and destruction the USA has caused in the last decade have needlessly cost hundreds of thousands of lives and have made millions of innocent people homeless refugees. We do regularly speak out against the wars crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of drones and extra-judicial killings, the government spying on our communications, and denying fundamental human rights to others. We help support other solidarity and human rights organizations and encourage Palestinian solidarity activists to do likewise.

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 6:34 am

        Well, if their is a roiling dabate on the accuracy of labeling Israel an Apartheid State, that’s great! Zionists are put squarely on the defensive.

        Well it can result wasted time to discuss a topic where the dissimilarities between Israel and South Africa might lead some to conclude that Israel is guilty of poor government, but not guilty of any criminality.

        Judge Goldstone was probably aware of the similarities to South African apartheid, and the fact that the Palestinian written submission in the Wall case had contained an entire chapter that accused Israel of the crime of apartheid. The Goldstone mission report cited the ICJ advisory case repeatedly and outlined that Israel was discriminating against Palestinians in the West bank on the basis of their race or nationality and that there were groups of demonstrators there who had been killed by Israelis while complaining about “the apartheid wall of separation”. The report also noted that persons of Jewish descendancy were given superior legal rights in the West Bank, because the dual system of laws used in Israel had been applied there and it essentially treats non-Jews as aliens in their own land. It went on to describe similar concerns about conditions in Gaza and simply noted that any Court could reasonably conclude that the responsible officials were guilty of the crime of persecution – a crime against humanity just as serious as apartheid and punishable under the Rome Statute.

      • Sibiriak
        December 1, 2013, 6:53 am

        Hostage:

        Well it can result wasted time to discuss a topic where the dissimilarities between Israel and South Africa might lead some to conclude that Israel is guilty of poor government, but not guilty of any criminality.

        True. But I’m thinking more along the lines of rhetorical memes in the “popular imagination”–getting to the point where people think “Israel” and “apartheid” comes immediately to mind (or better yet “terrorist state”!), rather than “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

        … a crime against humanity just as serious as apartheid and punishable under the Rome Statute.

        Good point.

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 9:05 am

        if someone did want laws against Apartheid to be recognized and applied, they would push for the legal word to be used more often in discourse.

        I’d turn the tables and ask if the people who want endless debates about apartheid really want the laws enforced, since no one has ever been convicted of the offense, including the responsible South African officials.

        People have talked about it here in the USA for decades. But our government still refused to join treaties as a contracting state, recognize apartheid as a crime against humanity, or make it the basis of a private right of action. There really was no indication from the Supreme Court that they considered it a violation of the laws of nations, since they failed to bench a quorum during the hearings In the Re South African Apartheid case and simply had to let the case proceed in the lower courts by default. Their subsequent decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell Co. makes it doubtful that US courts can exercise jurisdiction over such cases.

        On the other hand, murder, torture (including extreme mental anguish), cruel or inhuman treatment, pillage, confiscation of private property, or excessive destruction and appropriation of state property are all offenses which can theoretically be prosecuted under the terms of the 1996 War Crimes Act. link to law.cornell.edu

      • Tuyzentfloot
        December 1, 2013, 11:25 am

        I didn’t know Chomksy had said this, but it’s significant. Note how he’s describing the situation as worse than Jim Crow inside Israel proper. As far as I recall (not much of an argument that) Phil Weiss uses Jim Crow comparisons for the occupied territories.

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 2:30 pm

        Hostage, you mentioned to me that “Chomsky… endorsed [BDS tactics] including many sanctions against Israel proper. — See Chomsky backs tactics opposing Israeli policies” The article you pointed me to did not state that he supported tactics that included sanctions against the state proper per se.

        The subject of the letter to the editor of The Australian from Chomsky was “BDS tactics targeting Israel” and he pointed out that they have been “used quite properly and effectively against state crimes”. I’ve also pointed out a passage from the Chomsky Reader, 1987, page 291 which criticized the US government for blocking UN and international sanctions against, wait for it: Israel.

        The only way I can think to resolve the contradiction

        You’ve already proven that you either can’t or won’t read what Chomsky actually has said and that you see conflicts where others don’t.

        —Chomsky has completely undercut the petition… link to thecrimson.com

        Let’s look at the issues and the tactics that Chomsky endorsed:

        We, the undersigned are appalled by the human rights abuses against Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government, the continual military occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory by Israeli armed forces and settlers, and the forcible eviction from and demolition of Palestinian homes, towns and cities. We find the recent attacks on Israeli citizens unacceptable and abhorrent. But these should not and do not negate the human rights of the Palestinians.

        As members of the MIT and Harvard University communities, we believe that our universities ought to use their influence – political and financial – to encourage the United States government and the government of Israel to respect the human rights of the Palestinians. We therefore call on the US government to make military aid and arms sales to Israel conditional on immediate initiation and rapid progress in implementing the conditions listed below. We also call on MIT and Harvard to divest from Israel, and from US companies that sell arms to Israel, until these conditions are met:

        Israel is in compliance with United Nations Resolution 242 which notes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, and which calls for withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from occupied territories.

        Israel is in compliance with the United Nations Committee Against Torture 2001 Report which recommends that Israel’s use of legal torture be ended.

        In compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention (“The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies”; Article 49, paragraph 6), Israel ceases building new settlements, and vacates existing settlements, in the Occupied Territories.

        Israel acknowledges in principle the applicability of United Nations Resolution 194 with respect to the rights of refugees, and accepts that refugees should either be allowed to return to their former lands or else be compensated for their losses, as agreed by the Palestinians and Israelis in bilateral negotiations.

        The author of The Crimson article notes that Chomsky objected to two words “from Israel” because inclusion of divestment against Israel creates a furor that distracts attention away from the main issues, like the Geneva Conventions, that actually matter. He also noted that most of the people that signed only did so because Chomsky had signed. So if you have his agreement to all of those other really important clauses, you should probably listen to his tactical suggestions or just STFU, when he walks away. He only did that when his predictions came true:

        Chomsky supports the first two tactics of the petition but strongly opposes the third. Chomsky had input on the creation of the petition and stated that the words “divest from Israel” were included “over [his] objections.”

        The result, to Chomsky, was “totally predictable.” He noted that divestment “is the only thing that’s talked about. Not the main thrust. Nobody talks about the Geneva Conventions, nobody talks about any of the issues that matter.”

        According to Chomsky—and I agree—divestment is a foolish idea. And Chomsky doesn’t just oppose divestment the same way some people oppose the designated hitter rule; he is the self-proclaimed “leading opponent” of divestment.

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 2:53 pm

        Hostage, Unfortunately, Chomsky’s “denialism” is not limited to my imagination. While you correctly pointed out that Chomsky claimed that the “the internal structure of the society” was Apartheid, going as far as accepting Uri Davis’ title “Apartheid Israel”, he denied it this spring at Harvard’s ironically named Apartheid Week.

        Look he has said it is real, formal apartheid on his website and told The Australian that BDS tactics have been properly used against Israeli state crimes. You keep finding examples where he says he just doesn’t think apartheid is a good description or analogy. I don’t either. I wish that the UN had just translated the term into English in the first place or done a much better job of explaining in article 3 of the ICERD and Article II of the ICSPCA that they meant all along that any form of racial segregation and discrimination are examples of this particular crime against humanity.

        The real reason the US has never called it a crime or refused to attend the Durbin conferences has nothing to do with Israel. It’s because it doesn’t want to be held accountable for reparations over its own Jim Crow, Native American, and Asia-Pacific colonial era wrongdoings.

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 3:21 pm

        Is “caging the population into unviable territories” like in “reservations” Apartheid? . . . If so, why does Chomsky say “We don’t call that apartheid”?

        When our government does it, we called it detention in internment camps or reservations. It’s an example of illegal internal displacement or forced population transfer.

        The UN has a Secretariat staff tasked with translating words into common English vernacular. It has always been something of a mystery to me that they didn’t translate apartheid into the relevant official languages. I’ve always assumed that the colonial powers were worried about their recent histories attracting unwanted attention.

        The South Africans understandably employed the term “apartheid” because “racial segregation” had taken such bad connotations here in the USA:

        apartheid (n.) 1947 (policy begun 1948), from Afrikaans apartheid (1929 in a South African socio-political context), literally “separateness,” from Dutch apart “separate” (from French àpart; see apart) + suffix -heid, cognate of English -hood. The official English synonym was separate development (1955).

        “Segregation” is such an active word that it suggests someone is trying to segregate someone else. So the word “apartheid” was introduced. Now it has such a stench in the nostrils of the world, they are referring to “autogenous development.” [Alan Paton, "New York Times," Oct. 24, 1960]

        link to etymonline.com

        So I am confused when you write: even South Africans could complain with some justification about the inappropriateness of the apartheid analogy to their case,

        Because the textbook definition includes the crime of genocide that did not actually apply in the case of South Africa. On the other hand the apartheid analogy, complete with genocide and Bantustans, accurately describes the experience of many Native Americans and other colonial peoples.

      • W.Jones
        December 1, 2013, 6:39 pm

        Товарищ Сибиряк,

        You asked me about my overall assessment of Chomsky in 3 ways:

        First, I wrote: “it has been surprising for me to find out that he… avoided using the term Apartheid…”

        You replied by saying you were confused because Chomsky has sometimes opposed Apartheid there. But when you think about it, those two facts (avoiding a term and sometimes affirming it) are not exclusive to eachother. Thus Chomsky said: “I don’t use it myself, to tell you the truth… these are just inflammatory terms… It’s just to wave a red flag, when it’s perfectly well to simply describe the situation”.
        So the answer is he sometimes he does use it, like when Safundi asks him about it, but it is something he says that he tries to avoid.

        Second, I understand what Chomsky is saying about the right of return for descendants to mean the end of the nationalist system and therefore “unrealistic” and therefore should be abandoned. It’s a rational view. Would you like my own opinion about it?

        But to get back to my feelings, it was one of the surprising things for me because it went against my idea that he was a radical and an anarchist egalitarian. Radical anarchists as a movement are very unconventional and do not really make their politics around the state, the system, etc. They are more like Occupy Wall street, where they do sit downs on government property because they want a stateless society. In Denmark they made a neighborhood into an anarchist collective. When it comes to Palestine, Anarchists are organizing villages and directly marching on the Apartheid Wall. Meanwhile, the farther left is in favor of the descendants being allowed to return.

        For me, Siberian, these are all reasons why opposing the descendants’ right of return, or saying there is no such right etc. is not radical. In fact, it is a position that recognizes and accepts a system based on nationalism. So on the issue of the right of return his position is not radical but accepting of the system, and that was surprising for me, because I saw him as radical.

        I foresee what your objection might be though:
        And this is the third issue. You said that for Chomsky logic and realism played a bigger role than his anarchism. I think you are right. In his talks his ideas focus alot on realism- talking about the real situation and what answers are “realistic”. He also uses logical styles of arguing. I am doubtful that he actually succeeds to go beyond the media story and see the real situation, as in going beyond the official JFK story. But anyway this style is more important than focusing on anarchism. I think in his talks he rarely openly asks for an anarchist model more than other leftists would. So your third idea is correct.

        But, for me there is still is still a surprise related to this, товарищ. On one hand, in my opinion, and those of many Anarchists besides Chomsky, logic and realism are need not exclude Anarchist radical ideas, even though for non-radicals they do. For most people that will not make sense and they will see it as ridiculous and unrealistic. This may also prove interesting to you, and I hope it will.

        If you go back to Chancellor Thomas More, you will find his book Utopia. Utopia means a kind of “No Place.” In other words, it is unrealistic. But in the book, remarkably he explained methodically how such a state was possible even for primitive people. Actually I believe that, while the world may laugh at me. A society can actually be built along anarchist lines, like the Amish do. People dedicated to this idea can accomplish it. There have in fact been anarchist communes, and above I gave the neighborhood in Denmark as an example. Rather than deflate this idea, I would add also, Sibiryak, that it is not illogical or irrational either. A person who is committed to anarchism is not forced by logic or science to reject their beliefs at any stage of social development.

        Bearing that in mind, one can look at the descendants’ right of return and decide that actually it is not illogical or impossible either, even if the status quo and nuclear superpowers reject it. One can explain with reasoning and logic a Binational State in the Holy Land where people do not care about racial differences or religious ones, whichever group there is more of- even much more of.

        A person may say this is just Lala land. But that is not the case. If you look at the history of the Holy Land, you see that it has changed hands many times. The Crusaders were a very strong army, and they were there for 200 years. In fact, it is more likely that the current system will not remain than remain for millenia. Societies are becoming more globalized and interconnected than ever before as well, with things like the European Union. What about the Palestinian refugees on the borders? Are they melting into Jordan and Syria’s populations? Are we to propose that Jews could keep an idea of Israel for centuries but Palestinians cannot do that?

        Perhaps you will disagree with my assessment above as what is likely, but as to what is realistic, in fact Yes the Right of Return of descendants is a real possibility.

        With this in mind, Chomsky’s idea that he is a proponent of a Binational State is actually something that goes along with the idea of the Right of Return of Descendants. If the two people are able to live in one state with both nationalities- and by the way even in that situation the Palestinians would be a majority, it is not really such an unthinkable idea for Palestinian refugees’ descendants to return.

        Also, the division between refugees and their descendants is not really such a chasm. The descendants are still living in camps along the border. In their life conditions, they are refugees. And even if they were compensated, would still be “Palestinian-Syrians”, “Palestinian-Lebanese”, etc, with a heritage of expulsion.

        When it comes to Palestinians returning to their homeland, BDS(TM), and outing Apartheid, I do not think his positions are really radical, are they?

        Turning now to your discussion with Hostage on the value of terminology, you were thinking along “the lines of rhetorical memes in the ‘popular imagination’”.

        This is correct. Many Leftists and human rights activists are already aware that something is wrong in Denmark. Words have value and meaning. When people begin referring to Golden Dawn as a “fascist” party, it has value. If people talk about bringing “Democracy,” “Liberty, Freedom, Equality” to Afghanistan then these vivid key words also put a serious connotation and meaning in their audience’s minds.

        Let’s look at the value of “vividness” another way: Outside some college dormitories, students made a mock checkpoint. It gave a real life picture. Naturally, supporters of the system felt it was inflammatory. But what it really did was show how bad the conditions are.

        Or a fourth example: supporters of teachers abusing students use words like “paddling” and spanking. Activists who strongly oppose this correctly say that it is “beating” students with boards. That is true. It is a cruel practice. Defenders of abuse will hem and haw and “beatings”, but that’s what it is.

        Should a strong, public activist who believes a serious abuse is occurring call a spade a spade, and not a black shape with edges that curve for certain distances at certain angles?

        Perhaps if one is scared to call the spade a spade, it would make sense. But simply because a correct word inflames passions is not enough reason to avoid it.

        In conclusion, an activist can use words like Apartheid if they are correct. They have their value, their use, and their audience. Thus Palestinian activists at Harvard made a valid decision to call their event “Apartheid Week”, and it carries a clear, powerful, effective message, even when this correct term offends the system’s supporters.

      • W.Jones
        December 1, 2013, 11:16 pm

        Dear Hostage,

        Slater’s article’s point is that we should avoid inflammatory language. Chomsky agrees, giving the example of the word “Apartheid”, which has legal value. He uses it in Triplespeak: Yes it is, The analogy is unclear, No it isn’t. Yet he also says the law is just words and for them to matter, the masses must push for it. All of this puts in question whether it is really a good idea to intentionally not accept or use words that that give a good, although strong meaning.

        Regarding “denial”, this has happened too, unfortunately, because although Chomsky did tell Safundi the “internal structure” was Apartheid, he also told students at Apartheid Week: “Within Israel itself there is plenty of repression… but I do not think Apartheid is an appropriate term for it… I wouldn’t call it Apartheid.” The Harvard moderator repeated that he said Apartheid was not an “accurate” term to describe inside Israel, and he said: “That’s right.”

        Regarding him always being a staunch advocate of sanctions, this is another misfortune. He told Safundi:

        Safundi: One of the important tactics against the apartheid government was the eventual use of sanctions. Do you see that as a possibility?

        Chomsky: No. In fact I’ve been strongly against it in the case of Israel.

        link to chomsky.info

        In the Chomsky Reader he noted the fact that the US “has never suggested sanctions against Israel” for the occupation. Unfortunately the preceding sentences are unavailable online, but perhaps you could mention what they say?

        Yes, the Australian article mentions: “Any tactics… can… be used quite properly and effectively against state crimes”. But he does not say exactly what tactics or their scope. (In the video he mentioned boycotting things like settlements and arms)

        Regarding the effectiveness of the word “Apartheid”, you mentioned how activists used it as a detailed charge to the Goldstone Commission, and while the commission did not specifically say Apartheid existed, it did say that there was persecution. This suggests that using the term Apartheid was useful. The report took note of the activists complaints of an “Apartheid Wall”, and made a decision favorable to the activists. The whole idea of Apartheid allowed the activists to think systematically about many key elements they were able to focus on in their complaint. It implicitly drew an analogy to a real world situation that, as you pointed out, the Judge knew firsthand. Even if Persecution is the only charge that is likely to succeed, the concept or analogy to Apartheid is useful to the extent it brings out key elements. It served as a vivid illustration to achieve a successful decision.

        Regarding the human rights petition he helped write, why would it go out of its way to say “Israel is in compliance with the United Nations Committee Against Torture 2001 Report which recommends… legal torture be ended”?

        Perhaps one may disagree that if you have his agreement to all of those really important clauses, you should probably listen to his tactical suggestions , when in 2009 the “Public Committee Against Torture in Israel” called “torture an institutionalized method of interrogation in Israel, enjoying the full backing of the legal system”?

        You returned to the Apartheid issue, adding: “Look he has said it is real, formal apartheid, he just doesn’t think apartheid is a good description or analogy”.
        In fact, he went beyond saying it is not a “good” description, he told Harvard students it is not “accurate”, ie. correct. He added “I wouldn’t call it Apartheid”, and spent 80% of his Apartheid Week Q&A, 20 minutes, rejecting that it was “accurate” or even “appropriate” to call the system Apartheid.

        But in his conversation with Safundi, he did accept that the term was correct and called it Apartheid repeatedly:

        “Israel has a technique for dispossessing-that’s apartheid…
        ‘Apartheid Israel … that’s the internal structure of the society -in fact, I’ve written about it…
        here it’s formalized… about ninety percent of the land inside Israel is reserved…
        [A]n apartheid structure [is] built into the system. It’s also built into the immigration laws and all sorts of other things.”

        Not only that, but he said it is able to be compared to South Africa’s system, and he compares them:

        Safundi: [With] the end of apartheid, you’ve drawn comparisons between both places…
        Chomsky: As many people have.

        Chomsky: …even the legal conditions would be very familiar in apartheid South Africa

        Forgive me, but I am still confused when you write:
        Even South Africans could complain with some justification about the inappropriateness of the apartheid analogy to their case. Because the textbook definition includes the crime of genocide that did not actually apply in the case of South Africa.
        A crime can take the form of different acts. The fact that the criminal does not commit every one of those possible acts does prevent an analogy between the crime and the act he committed.

        The Preamble you pointed me to says:
        2. Apartheid consists of any of the following acts
        c) conditions calculated to cause [a racial group's] physical destruction in whole or in part
        d) measures to divide the population along racial lines by separate reserves and ghettos

        If South Africa imposed (d) and not (c) on the people, it does not make an analogy to Apartheid inappropriate.

        That is why Chomsky was able to repeatedly and confidently compare or match the countries to Apartheid, despite telling Harvard students “I still think the analogy is inappropriate”.

        My Regards.

      • W.Jones
        December 1, 2013, 11:56 pm

        Siberian: Correction: I meant to say: “I am doubtful that he always actually succeeds to go beyond the media story, as in JFK”.

      • Sibiriak
        December 2, 2013, 5:02 am

        W.Jones:

        First, I wrote: “it has been surprising for me to find out that he… avoided using the term Apartheid…”

        I haven’t made the effort to thoroughly review Chomsky’s writings/speeches relating to the use-of-the -term-” apartheid” issue, so I can’t come to any definite conclusion at this point, however, I am inclined to believe that Chomsky HAS waffled or flip-flopped on the use of the term to some extent.

        My hunch is that he feels rather alienated from the young anti-Israel, 1SS crowd, and he wants to distance himself from them. He’s also a bit of a contrarian by nature, I think. (And he is 84 years old now.)

        In Denmark they made a neighborhood into an anarchist collective. When it comes to Palestine, Anarchists are organizing villages and directly marching on the Apartheid Wall. Meanwhile, the farther left is in favor of the descendants being allowed to return.

        For me, Siberian, these are all reasons why opposing the descendants’ right of return, or saying there is no such right etc. is not radical. In fact, it is a position that recognizes and accepts a system based on nationalism.

        Yes, I agree. Chomsky is not so “radical” (in your sense of the term) in the context of today’s anti-Zionist movement. Chomsky supports a 2SS (but as a possible to stage to a single state or some other arrangement more congenial to anarchism), and such a position is regularly ridiculed, denounced, spat upon by “radical” anti-Zionists.

        (Chomsky’s position on the 9-11 “conspiracy” question cost him a lot of good will as well.)

        And Chomsky does, as you say, recognize and accept the global inter-state system–not something as ideal or desirable, but as something that is entrenched and which must be dealt if one is serious about effecting change in the world.

        I already quoted Chomsky’s argument as to why the insistence on an effective right of return for millions of Palestinians refugees and their descendants is both unrealistic and immoral, so I see no need to comment again on that point.

        A society can actually be built along anarchist lines, like the Amish do. People dedicated to this idea can accomplish it. There have in fact been anarchist communes, and above I gave the neighborhood in Denmark as an example.

        That may all be true, but it doesn’t follow that a powerful state/society complex like Israel can be dissolved and replaced with a single Palestinian state, liberal-democratic, anarchist or whatever. I look at the array of social and political “force-vectors” and simply don’t see that as even a remote possibility -except in the very long term. So, yes, if you want to talk in terms of “centuries”–sure, anything is possible. But what do we do about the current daily suffering and oppression of the Palestinians?

        Turning now to your discussion with Hostage on the value of terminology, you were thinking along “the lines of rhetorical memes in the ‘popular imagination’”.

        Yes, I part ways with Hostage on that point. For better or worse, Hostage focuses –brilliantly and indefatigably–almost exclusively on the legal dimension. I do not so limit myself and see a very great political-rhetorical value in stigmatizing Israel with the “apartheid” label.

      • Hostage
        December 2, 2013, 7:14 am

        Regarding the human rights petition he helped write, why would it go out of its way to say “Israel is in compliance with the United Nations Committee Against Torture 2001 Report which recommends… legal torture be ended”?

        What the fuck are you smoking? The petition said that was a condition to end the call for the divestments. It didn’t say or imply that Israel was currently in compliance, it said quite the opposite:

        We also call on MIT and Harvard to divest from Israel, and from US companies that sell arms to Israel, until these conditions are met:
        Israel is in compliance with United Nations Resolution 242 which notes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, and which calls for withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from occupied territories.
        Israel is in compliance with the United Nations Committee Against Torture 2001 Report which recommends that Israel’s use of legal torture be ended.

        Slater’s article’s point is that we should avoid inflammatory language. Chomsky agrees, giving the example of the word “Apartheid”, which has legal value.

        I don’t think it has much value. Depending upon which convention you employ apartheid is just a catch-all term for otherwise “inhuman” criminal acts or “inhumane” criminal acts that target victims systematically on the basis of their race. The crime of persecution covers exactly the same offenses. FYI, the majority of UN member states never signed-on to the original apartheid convention and most of the former colonial powers claimed that it was NOT crime against humanity or any sort of punishable criminal offense. The members of the Security Council can still employ their veto in the UN or Article 16 of the Rome Statute to prevent referrals or to stop the Court from ever prosecuting individuals for the offense.

        In the Wall case, Palestine and a half dozen other concerned state parties pointed-out that Israel’s policies and practices included constituent acts of apartheid; satisfied all of the necessary elements of the offense; and satisfied the test used by the Court in the Namibia case. One of the UN Rapporteur’s reports included in the Secretary General’s dossier noted that parties concerned described it as an apartheid wall of separation. Unless you read the comment section at Mondoweiss, it’s extremely unlikely that you’d even know about all of that.

        Israel, unlike South Africa, never used the term apartheid to describe its domestic policies. It isn’t a state party to either the Apartheid Convention or the Rome Statute. So, the Court couldn’t find it in violation of any international obligations contained in either of those treaties. Apartheid is simply the systematic violation of fundamental human rights found in the ICCPR, ICESCR, CRC, & etc. on racial grounds. But none of those treaties use the “apartheid” terminology, and if they had, none of the former colonial powers would have ever agreed to sign them.

        So predictably enough, systematic violations of fundamental human rights effecting everyone but the Israeli settlers – not apartheid – featured prominently in the Court’s findings regarding the legal consequences of the [apartheid/hafrada] Wall of separation that was the subject of the case in the first place. In other words apartheid either had no legal consequences or was not deemed to be the appropriate term for what was going on. Go argue.

        Regarding the effectiveness of the word “Apartheid”, you mentioned how activists used it as a detailed charge to the Goldstone Commission, and while the commission did not specifically say Apartheid existed, it did say that there was persecution. This suggests that using the term Apartheid was useful. The report took note of the activists complaints of an “Apartheid Wall”, and made a decision favorable to the activists.

        That’s an inaccurate summary. The Goldstone mission report noted that restrictions on freedom of movement were a violation of the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of race or national origin. It also noted that 19 peaceful demonstrators, including 6 children had been killed by Israeli forces and cited “Repression Allowed, Resistance Denied: Israel’s suppression of the popular movement against the Apartheid
        Wall of Annexation”, Addameer and Stop the Wall report, July 2009 as a source.

        The Goldstine report does NOT mention it, but one of the constituent acts of the crime of apartheid listed in Article II of the Convention is:

        (f) Persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.

        And killing demonstrators during protests against an Apartheid Wall is an obvious example.

        A crime can take the form of different acts. The fact that the criminal does not commit every one of those possible acts does prevent an analogy between the crime and the act he committed.

        No, but that wouldn’t mean by default that there was a good or very accurate analogy either. You could adopt a policy and call it apartheid and it wouldn’t be a crime unless it satisfied the necessary elements of the offense.

        The South African government told the ICJ that apartheid or separate development was its official state policy, but they obviously weren’t confessing to “the crime of apartheid”, complete with acts of genocide. You keep taking Chomsky to task for pointing out these nuances without ever bothering to admit that apartheid has more than one defined meaning and that it sidetracks discussions about persecution into unnecessarily long debates about analogies just like this comment thread.

      • LeaNder
        December 2, 2013, 7:56 am

        WJones, I didn’t know Sibiriak was a comrade or Genosse. ;)

        Optically your long comment looks pretty structured, but may I tell you something that struck me? At one point you start out with feeling and then move on trying to show why a return of the refugees may be rational after all.

        Ok, the feeling seems to indicate a basic personal disappointment, that Chomsky wasn’t an anarchist according to your own definition after all:

        But to get back to my feelings, it was one of the surprising things for me because it went against my idea that he was a radical and an anarchist egalitarian. …

        here, in your rational argument, after supposedly leaving emotions and as I read them disappointment behind:

        But, for me there is still is still a surprise related to this, товарищ. On one hand, in my opinion, and those of many Anarchists besides Chomsky, logic and realism are need not exclude Anarchist radical ideas, even though for non-radicals they do. For most people that will not make sense and they will see it as ridiculous and unrealistic. This may also prove interesting to you, and I hope it will.

        you make a mental leap to Utopia. So Utopia is your on the other hand? Now what you do not seem to be aware of is that Morus, while yes he choose that term, belongs into a literary tradition that starts with Plato’s The State. Or the reflection about how an ideal state should work. Interestingly you care to mention that this type of community would even work for “primitive people” and add some religious communities as evidence.

        People with the best of their intentions in creating something good, or a Utopia, are not really beyond in reality creating the opposite a dystopian nightmare, or Dystopia.

        Have you read Morus’ Utopia, by the way?

      • W.Jones
        December 2, 2013, 11:02 am

        LeaNder,

        Thanks for writing. Actually, I am not sure Chomsky is not an anarchist. If you read his articles about the kibbutzes, he does a good job comparing them to anarchist or communal models, and he likes them.

        For me it is more like a person who is Progressive Except for Palestine. I am not sure I would that label for Chomsky, because he does support a binational state and talk about getting there. But perhaps “radical except for Palestine” would be a better term.

        Utopia was an interesting example for me. One can say that it is not realistic, it is about an ideal state, etc. And that is not an incorrect criticism based even on the title of the book. However, when I read it, it impressed me that the author described in a simple way how even a primitive society could achieve this. It suggested to me that something that might appear unrealistic may not necessarily be so. At least from the anarchist perspective, I would say that it reflects that what may appear unrealistic actually may not.

        I am not sure that trying to create an ideal that is taken out of a utopia need mean they actually create a dystopia. I say that because Democracy is also a kind of ideal. Why one might say that we do not have perfect democracy, I would say that this is true, but the attempt to implement an ideal in that case did not make it dystopian.

        In any case, I merely wish to show that a radical anarchist need not consider their ideas unrealistic per se, such that they need reject them.

        It’s nice writing with you.

        Regards.

      • W.Jones
        December 2, 2013, 11:43 am

        Privet Sibiryak,

        Your land is broad and the crispy tundra shines.

        After I mentioned that seemingly idealist societies can work, giving examples of the Amish, you added:

        That may all be true, but it doesn’t follow that a powerful state/society complex like Israel can be dissolved and replaced with a single Palestinian state, liberal-democratic, anarchist or whatever. I look at the array of social and political “force-vectors” and simply don’t see that as even a remote possibility -except in the very long term.

        What I mean by a single state as the “ideal” would be a state for both peoples, in that case a Palestinian-Israeli State, and with the right of return. The current force vectors as you correctly called them do not allow for even a 2SS as you would say. However, the very long term does count for something. If Palestinian refugees today were to forget about the concept of returning, as the victor demands, it makes it harder for it to be realized then, than if they kept their desire for their homeland in their hearts, which Mohammed Assaf sings about.

        Besides, things can change even in our lifetimes when we did not expect it.

        You asked:
        But what do we do about the current daily suffering and oppression of the Palestinians?
        This need not be an either/or. Even if they do not give up their yearning for their homeland, their rights should and could still be demanded. Giving up that right would not solve it either, since they would still not have an agreed-on 2SS even if they did. As M.Begin said when the Oslo Agreements were begun, there will not be 2 states. Even having two states does not guarantee rights in the State, as it would not solve the problems of the State’s internal structure.

        So the real answer is to push for people’s rights to be recognized. International organizations have the ability and authority to uphold those rights even if a separate State does not exist.

        You also made a good, helpful point in saying that one need not limit oneself to think in terms of a word’s legal dimension, but it political-rhetorical value when it comes to the term “apartheid”. Phrases like “Apartheid Week” and “Goliath” have their effect and give an analogy. In the case of “Goliath”, it gives a good image of the massive disparities, of epic Biblical proportions between the sides. “Apartheid Week” is more exact than “Goliath”, because it is more literally true.

        Regards.

      • W.Jones
        December 2, 2013, 1:02 pm

        Dear Hostage

        Thank you for correcting my mistake that the petition thought Israel had complied with the UN prohibition on torture. As your correction shows, Chomsky asserted that Israel was committing “legal torture” when he signed the petition, but then chose to oppose the petition because it divested from Israel for legalizing torture.

        Is this further evidence that his position on Israel/Palestine is not “radical”, when in his video he accepted the “pragmatism” of divestment? He claimed it was “unprincipled” because you would not divest from the United States. However if it is a pragmatic step to stop what you are convinced is official torture in at least one country, would a radical say it is worth it for the sake of those prisoners, even if you cannot do it everywhere?

        Regarding the legal value of “Apartheid,” you also succeeded in showing that the Goldstone report did not openly say that Israel committed the crime of Apartheid, and that the US does not use “Apartheid” as the title for a crime.

        However, this does not deprive it of the term’s value in the legal arena. As you correctly noted about the Goldstone case, in which the activists were successful:

        a half dozen other concerned state parties pointed-out that Israel’s policies and practices included constituent acts of apartheid; satisfied all of the necessary elements of the offense; and satisfied the test used by the Court in the Namibia case.

        The fact that the court did not openly label the abuses “Apartheid” does not mean that their assertions lacked legal value. To the contrary it was a major part of what they told the judges in their successful case.

        Further, as you know in law, it is important to draw analogies to real-life cases. If the activists point to cases like South Africa, show clear analogies to abuses that are recognized to have occurred there under Apartheid and opposed by international law, then it is more likely that the judges will recognize that would occurred is also considered an abuse under international law.

        I am still confused how you say black South Africans would deny their experience matched legal Apartheid.

        It looks like you actually agreed with me that the fact that a criminal does not commit every possible act does not prevent an analogy, when you answered “No, but…”
        You followed up by asserting:

        that wouldn’t mean by default that there was a good or very accurate analogy either. You could adopt a policy and call it apartheid and it wouldn’t be a crime unless it satisfied the necessary elements

        However, you believe that both countries did satisfy the necessary elements. In fact, South Africa both satisfied the elements and called itself Apartheid. So I am confused why you say South Africans could deny an analogy between South Africa and Apartheid.

        Or for that matter why it is not accurate or correct to say Palestinians are suffering from Apartheid if that is what they are suffering from.

        Chomsky was the keynote speaker at “Apartheid Week” and spent 80% of his moderator’s Q&A explaining that it is “not accurate” to say Palestinians suffer from Apartheid, that the analogy is “quite inappropriate”, and “I wouldn’t call it Apartheid.” That’s not nuanced.

        The discussion in fact is useful, Hostage. It brings supporters of the State system to compare all the real-life ways they are similar. I did an exercise in a human rights group where we are asked to compare and contrast the two systems, and the resemblances were surprising for me. I thought the absence of a peace treaty was a difference and could be used as a justification, but actually there were South African tribes that had not surrendered or made peace treaties. Yet the conditions imposed on them still were not justified. For me, the analogy was helpful to see that the absence of “peace” does not serve as an excuse for the very harsh conditions.

        Furthermore, it allows us to question some things progressive Zionists say. Chomsky opposes refugees returning to their homeland and the BDS Declaration™ because he considers them impossible, the latter being just a “gift” to its opponents because of its “anti-Semitism.” If Chomsky in some articles repeatedly says there is real, formal Apartheid and compares it to South Africa, and then intensely denies both when he comes as a keynote speaker, then it opens up questions about whether the BDS Declaration™ really is “anti-Semitic”, or whether refugees’ descendants really should stop wanting to return to their homeland.

      • Cliff
        November 28, 2013, 4:43 pm

        Chomsky is contained. So is Max but Max uses dark humor.

        Slater has a hissy fit about Nazi analogies when Max is simply quoting Israelis.

        Slater and Liberal Zionism are the problem.

        Don’t like Naziesque labels? Then stop acting like Nazis.

      • pabelmont
        November 30, 2013, 4:40 pm

        Cliff: Right on. In a nut-shell. The problem (often) is writers who are willing to be long-winded in criticizing Zionism but not willing to use the descriptive words whicdh have crept into normal vocabulary due to the horror with which reasonable people regard the originals for those words.

        Zionists do not want people to describe their crimes, sure, but they far prefer long-winded descriptions (that few people will read) to short descriptions which analogize Israel to Nazi Germany or Apartheid South Africa.

        Chomsky is a very great man and we should all be thankful for his (continuing) contributions to the description of American F/P over the years, ditto for Finkelstein and Israel. But they both have differences from many of us and it is easy to suppose that those differences come from some residual fondness either for (perhaps some rather old and purely philosophical version of) Zionism or for “The Jewish People” or the like.

        People (Chomsky and others) are only human, and we should cut them some slack.

        Blumenthal too is only human and his choice for aggressive-unforgiving description of Israel-today (Zionism-in-practice-2013) suits me to a “T” but may not be as productive of a tsunami of anti-Zionist feeling as we’d all like — if some of the criticism of “tone” and “tactics” are correct.

        However, even if the tone and tactics had been more forgiving, I cannot believe NYT would have reviewed a book containing THIS compilation of facts. Just saying.

      • Donald
        November 30, 2013, 7:44 pm

        “However, even if the tone and tactics had been more forgiving, I cannot believe NYT would have reviewed a book containing THIS compilation of facts. ”

        I think that’s probably true, though the NYT did carry a positive review of a book by Joe Sacco about a 1956 massacre committed by the Israelis in Gaza. So on rare occasions they surprise me. But chances are you’re right.

        That said, I still agree with Slater about tone–I was a little surprised to see people upthread who think Chomsky’s tone has been easy on Israel, when absolutely no one in the pro-Israel camp would say that. Chomsky and Finkelstein and presumably Blumenthal (I’ve only read a fraction of his book so far) all share this tendency towards harsh sarcasm–it’s entirely justified, as Slater himself says, yet it may not be the best way to reach the “center”. What I think of as the “center” are people I know in real life, a few Jewish, the majority not, who might be put off or made suspicious by a book which is full of sarcasm. On this I agree with lobewyper (sp?) and irishmoses elsewhere in this thread. Blumenthal and others are trying to overcome decades of pro-Israel bias and outright lies–if one just sticks to the facts it’s already so shocking people who are unfamiliar with the real story are going to find it difficult to take in. Don’t give them any reason to think that the author is engaged in some over-the-top exaggeration. They will tend to think “this person is some sort of nut.”

        But that’s just my opinion. As others have also said, what we really need on this subject is research. What’s the most effective way to reach the largest number of people with this sort of information? Probably all of us are tempted to think that the method we personally find most satisfying must be the most effective, but we might only be fooling ourselves. Or maybe one needs different styles for different audiences–”Goliath” might be just the ticket for some, but not for others who could be reached by a different approach.

        As for alternate histories, I think that the only just form of Zionism would have been the one urged by Judah Magnes–I understand why Jews in the first half of the 20th century thought they needed a Jewish state and maybe in their shoes I would have thought the same, but as others have also pointed out, it wouldn’t be the first time the oppressed became the oppressors. Americans should know this better than anyone (especially at Thanksgiving).

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 9:11 pm

        Hey Donald:

        First, supporters of the system are often harsh in tone, as in Altermann’s reviews of Max. But perhaps you would say everyone should tone down.
        Second, there are many actual UN reports with statistics, and they are important and helpful. There are also religiously/philanthropically spiritual themed books like those of Mark Braverman, who is a good writer and speaker, but perhaps at times he could use strong words to object to a very bad situation. One of the problems in what you appear to look for is describing a discriminatory reality which is traumatic and painful, to its mild supporters in a way that does not upset them.

        If a real situation is in fact very repressive and “red” in that sense, using less than “red” words could be “easier” than what it portrays. The other side of that coin could be self-censorship, if words like “atrocities” do convey the incidents’ meaning.

        Chomsky has used words like “atrocities”, but he also said he avoids words that are inflammatory “red flags” like “Apartheid”. Take that for what you will.

        In any case, you said something similar yourself: different writing styles can be good for different audiences. Certainly there are many effective writers with different styles who address this issue.

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 9:46 pm

        Donald,

        Regarding tone, see:

        Chomsky Speaks Softly on Israel, Palestine
        By Crimson Staff Writers

        Chomsky delivered a remarkably soft 45-minute chronology of Israeli-Palestinian history yesterday… About half of the event’s attendees had filtered out by the middle of the question-and-answer session that followed Chomsky’s remarks.

        link to thecrimson.com

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 8:02 am

        Donald, Regarding tone, see:

        Chomsky Speaks Softly on Israel, Palestine
        By Crimson Staff Writers

        That article tells me that, even when his tone is soft on Israel and its supporters, he still managed to walk the audience members through a careful timeline of Israeli actions against the Palestinians and called the perpetrators and supporters of those actions liars and criminals:

        “The deceit is normal and uninteresting,” Chomsky said, referencing a chapter in Dershowitz’s book “The Case for Israel” and moving on to elements of Dershowitz’s book that he believed supported his own claims of Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.

    • MRW
      November 29, 2013, 2:06 am

      What a winner post, Cliff.

      Cliff says:
      November 28, 2013 at 9:33 am

  3. Ron Edwards
    November 28, 2013, 9:33 am

    Enough. Putting aside for the moment the opening phrasing about two states – no, I won’t put that aside. Starting with this two states piffle is enough to walk this essay into its own demise. Can people stop blithering about “pre-1967 borders?” There weren’t pre-1967 borders because Israeli administration has never acknowledged *any* borders. It was a problem before 1967 and it’s been the same problem since. When Uri Avnery talks like this, it’s annoying but not blithering, because what he describes as a solution is within the zone of “one state” even if he doesn’t like the term. But the more familiar, all-too-nuanced falsity used by Dr. Slater was idiocy from the start.

    The more so when any, and I mean any at all, authority for solutions is granted either to the Israeli government or to Jewish Americans. Neither has any. Dr. Slater, consider that carefully. Drive it into your brain.

    1. “But the Israelis would never agree” is not the issue – I don’t care. Do you? Does anyone? This is not about leading privileged and vicious people to agree, it’s about exerting force effectively to achieve justice. Sound abstract to you? It’s not. Raw sewage flooding Gaza is not abstract, nor is stopping it. The Israeli establishment isn’t going to agree to stop it – so now you look mournful and helpless.

    2. “But Jewish Americans don’t unanimously agree” is not the issue. This is related to a long-standing toxic Cold War assumption, that people living in the U.S. who feel some affinity to Place X get to exert U.S. policy authority toward it. That policy dates back to British policy concerning expatriates, using them as agents for regime change, which always, always blew up in their faces, and yet which remains at the core of CIA and State Dept culture. It’s at the heart of our absurd policy toward Cuba, and no surprise, it tends to turn people in this position into rabid interventionists and militarists, which then feeds back into the policy as “see, see, if they hate the regime so much, they must be sincere and correct.” This already ridiculous notion goes bull-goose-loony absurd when applied to Jewish Americans, relying as it does on false nativism for the European emigrants to Palestine and later Israel, and on false identification of Judaism with Israel as a state.

    Again: arriving at justice in this part of the world has nothing to do with compliance on the part of those in power in Israel, not in the past, and not now. Nor does it have anything to do with Jewish Americans considered as a political unit, both in principle and also because no such unit exists. (The problem with Jewish opinion in America is not that there is a single one, but rather that powerful individuals and groups, Jewish and non-Jewish, act as if there is.) The only valid response to someone who appeals to either is, “I do not care.”

    Dr. Slater, you are trapped in motifs that are historically real, but were wrong historically and continue to be wrong now. Discrimination against Jewish Americans was real – transferring resistance to it into second-order patriotism for Israel was and is wrong. The U.S.-Soviet accord to get Israel into the UN as quickly as possible was real – overlooking the Israeli government’s arrant disregard for the conditions pending its acceptance by the United Nations – still disregarded! – was and is wrong.

    And then there are the ones which were historically ridiculous as well, such as confounding blatant bribes and promises of privileges for Russians with refuge for victims of oppression, or as I observe constantly, confounding establishing the Israeli state with anything to do with Holocaust survivors.

    Max Blumenthal quite rightly did not write his books to convince Israelis or pro-Israel Jewish Americans of anything. He wrote it for anyone and everyone who cares about justice. If some Israelis and some pro-Israeli Jewish Americans are affected positively by it, then so much the better – but that is neither sufficient nor necessary toward the ends.

    • German Lefty
      November 28, 2013, 3:30 pm

      Max Blumenthal quite rightly did not write his books to convince Israelis or pro-Israel Jewish Americans of anything. He wrote it for anyone and everyone who cares about justice.

      I agree!

      The problem with Jewish opinion in America is not that there is a single one, but rather that powerful individuals and groups, Jewish and non-Jewish, act as if there is.

      The same applies to Germany!

    • MRW
      November 29, 2013, 2:32 am

      Jesus, Ron Edwards, knock it out of the park already.

      Wow. What great commentary on this board today.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 30, 2013, 4:03 pm

        yeah mrw, i completely agree with you.

    • Citizen
      November 29, 2013, 9:14 am

      “Max Blumenthal quite rightly did not write his books to convince Israelis or pro-Israel Jewish Americans of anything. He wrote it for anyone and everyone who cares about justice.”

      I agree. And the array of facts and mentalities he exposes, presents, set up his style and Headings, indeed, “cry out so,” to speak figuratively. If the shoe fits, wear it. I expect Mr. Slater to follow his own suggestion and next write up the historical Nazi analogues Bibi Netanyahu constantly misuses to stir up support for what he sees as injustice, those so often copied by the Israel First crowd here in the USA. It should be easy since so few facts or similarities will be involved.

  4. pabelmont
    November 28, 2013, 9:40 am

    JS: “It is beyond the purview of this review essay to go into detail, but at least at the level of motivation (consequences are a different matter), anyone describing Israel in terms of colonialism must also acknowledge that the driving force behind early Zionism was the felt urgent necessity (I would say, objective urgent necessity) to create a haven from murderous anti-Semitism. That must be distinguished from the obvious motives and complete lack of objective necessity that drove Western colonialism– power for its own sake”.

    What Slater is saying is that we must consider “ends” rather than only considering “means”. Israel’s colonialism is not, he says, the same as other colonizers’. Perhaps so. But so what? Israelis who can are now moving tio Germany, to the USA, etc. This means that [1] they are free to go places, [2] they want to go places, [3] they do not regard the world as a dangerous place for Jews, [4] they prefer other places to Israel. Given this (admittedly small) exodus of Israeli-Jews from Israel, why are Israel’s “ends” and “means” still unchanged — or perhaps intensified?

    People often ask whether particular “ends” justify particular (illicit) “means”.

    There is much evidence that the Zionist surge (1930s, especially 1945-48) well understood that the Palestinian Jews would need to grab a lot of land not already owned by them and expel a lot of people (Palestinian Arabs). They knew these things and planned for them. The need to do this was not a surprise to the leadership. It was part of their plan. they desired to create “a land without people” to fill with Jewish immigrants.

    So, the Zionist surge — while it had “ends” in mind — had “means” also clearly in mind.

    And the fact that today’s Zionism continues to usurp land and to oppress (and even expatriate) Palestinian Arab people shows that the “means” were not EVER rejected, not EVER regarded as temporary. Israel has never said it is sorry. Israel has never offered to give any of the land seized back, to allow any of the expelled people back.

    Here’s an analogy: a fellow wants to found an orphanage for poor children. But this would cost a lot of money, which he doesn’t have. So his business plan — from the outset — is to rob the local bank, stealing the money and property of all the local people who deposited these things in the local bank.

    Is he to be regarded as a “philanthropist” (a lover of people) because he built an orphanage, or as a “criminal” because he stole the property of most of the people in the town and destroyed many of their lives thereby (enemy of people)?

    Slater’s demand that we look at Zionism’s “ends” (rather than only at its “means”) is particularly hard for me to credit given that in the USA Israel and Zionism are so THOROUGHLY KNOWN as philanthropic and so very, very LITTLE KNOWN as criminal. “Goliath” sets out to provide a fact-book for establishing some of the “criminal” part of the means/ends dichotomy.

    How, one wonders, are Americans to learn the “means” part of Israel’s “ends” and “means” if no-one publishes them?

    • Sibiriak
      November 28, 2013, 8:44 pm

      @Pabelmont: Excellent analysis in terms of “ends” and “means”.

    • Citizen
      November 29, 2013, 9:33 am

      @pabelmount

      “How, one wonders, are Americans to learn the “means” part of Israel’s “ends” and “means” if no-one publishes them?”

      I agree. The “means” discussed here are either not discussed in the media most Americans tune into, or they are discussed in a very antiseptic style. Why do we need more of that? Especially since the injustice just goes on and on, funded by Joe Blow and Jane, and covered up with diplomatic language and killed by US SC vetoes? Everybody’s ears prick up when they hear allusions to Nazi Germany, whether Jewish or not. It is the very preferred language of anything regarding Israel in the US even though Germany has never existed in the Middle East. When’s the last time you heard somebody called “Hitler”–everybody uses this analogue to avoid parsing facts before the audience.

      The facts, antiseptic treatment? Picture graphs? How many Palestinians have been dispossessed, abused since this excellent web site commenced and how many Americans have seen the light: http://www.ifamericansknew.org
      Not many. Max’s work and style is needed!

  5. George Smith
    November 28, 2013, 10:04 am

    As indispensable as Jerome Slater and other liberal Zionists have been for the freedom movement in Palestine, they undermine that movement when they frame it as a territorial dispute rather than a struggle for equal human rights in all of Palestine. The utmost of his ambition is to “cause the majority of American Jews and other ‘pro-Israeli’ groups to change their minds and support serious U.S. pressures on Israel.” He urges a more nuanced understanding of Zionism, but it’s an understanding that clashes with the unremitting reality on the ground–Goliath’s depiction of which, he agrees, is “mostly technically accurate.” Liberal Zionists’ kinder, gentler brand of Jewish ethnocracy has no hope of mobilizing a global movement comparable to the one against South African Apartheid. Equal rights for all the people of Palestine, Jew and non-Jew alike, does. And despite Slater’s assertion to the contrary, there is even hope that many “centrist” American Jews, increasingly divorced from Zionist Israel as a keystone of Jewish culture, will join the equal rights movement.

    • Jerry Slater
      November 28, 2013, 1:22 pm

      Smith writes: “As indispensable as Jerome Slater and other liberal Zionists have been for the freedom movement in Palestine, they undermine that movement when they frame it as a territorial dispute rather than a struggle for equal human rights in all of Palestine.”

      Three comments:
      First, the great majority (there are polls and surveys to prove it) of Palestinians are not struggling “for equal rights in all of Palestine” but for the equal right to have a state of their own in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

      Second, it is a false dichotomy to suggest that the I-P conflict is merely a “territorial dispute” rather than one for human rights. The right to end foreign oppression and win a nation-state is, in fact, a very important human right, both at the collective and individual level.

      Third, if I understand Smith correctly, he prefers a single binational state to two separate states, one (mainly) Jewish and the other Palestinian. However, even if I agreed with him (which I don’t) that a binational state would have the consequence of producing equal rights for all its inhabitants, it has no chance of coming into existence. That being the case, the real-world consequence of abandoning the two-state idea in favor of a binational single state would be that the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians will continue.

      Apropos that last comment, a number of other comments here argue (not Smith) that it is irrelevant that the Israelis are overwhelmingly opposed to binationalism. If by that one means MORALLY irrelevant, I entirely agree. But it is certainly not PRACTICALLY irrelevant, since the world is not going to force Israel even to end the occupation, let alone agree to a binational state in which they are likely soon to become a minority.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 4:13 pm

        the great majority (there are polls and surveys to prove it) of Palestinians are not struggling “for equal rights in all of Palestine” but for the equal right to have a state of their own in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.~JS

        Do Palestinian refugees who want their homes back count as Palestinians? How many refugees are there?

        Regarding 1 democratic state or 2 states: At this point, as you said, neither is realistic. We must work for human rights even recognizing this bad reality. It also gives us the luxury of asking:

        Which outcome is ideal? What is the reality? How do we get the ideal to become reality?

      • George Smith
        November 28, 2013, 4:43 pm

        Comments on comments:

        1. “The great majority of Palestinians…are not struggling “for equal rights in all of Palestine” but for the equal right to have a state of their own in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.”

        This is disputable, especially if the Palestinian diaspora and the Palestinian citizens of Israel are taken into consideration (as they should be).

        2. “The right to end foreign oppression and win a nation-state is, in fact, a very important human right, both at the collective and individual level.”

        I agree about foreign oppression, of course. But I don’t agree about winning a nation-state. The principle of “self-determination of peoples” (plural, “peoples” meaning nationalities) has been the pretext for oppression and violence for a century. It’s people, not peoples, who have rights. I would not regard relacing the single existing ethnocracy in Palestine with two to be great advance in human rights.

        3. “A binational state has no chance of coming into existence. That being the case, the real-world consequence of abandoning the two-state idea in favor of a binational single state would be that the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians will continue.”

        Two sovereign states have no chance of coming into existence. That being the case, the real-world consequence of pinning hopes for justice on the two-state idea would be that the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians will continue.

      • RoHa
        November 28, 2013, 10:56 pm

        “I agree about foreign oppression, of course. But I don’t agree about winning a nation-state. The principle of “self-determination of peoples” (plural, “peoples” meaning nationalities) has been the pretext for oppression and violence for a century. It’s people, not peoples, who have rights. I would not regard relacing the single existing ethnocracy in Palestine with two to be great advance in human rights.”

        I agree with the whole paragraph.

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2013, 12:23 am

        The principle of “self-determination of peoples” (plural, “peoples” meaning nationalities) has been the pretext for oppression and violence for a century. It’s people, not peoples, who have rights.

        You’re omitting half of the legal principle in question, so your formulation is simply incorrect. Since at least 1945, the customary principle of international law codified in Article 1 of the UN Charter requires members to respect a single principle of international law: “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” in any polity.

        None of the applicable UN Conventions or Declarations on the subject provide a right of secession or the right to condition participation in the political life of any country on the basis of race, creed, color, or ethnicity.

        UN General Assembly Resolution 181 dealt with the future government of all of Palestine. It contained a minority protection plan that absolutely prohibited any discrimination whatever on the basis of race, color, creed, or gender in any part of the country.

        In fact,
        1) the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples;
        2) the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations; and
        3) the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action rule out any attempt at the sort of interpretation that denies the equality of any of the inhabitants of a country or attempts to disrupt the territorial integrity of the country in order to grant superior rights to a particular racial or ethnic group.

        See especially Articles 5, 6, and 7 of The Declaration Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples:

        Declares that:
        1. The subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation.
        2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
        3. Inadequacy of political, economic, social or edu­cational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence.
        4. All armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependent peoples shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence, and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected.
        5. Immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Goveming Territories or all other terri­tories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, creed or colour, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and
        freedom.
        6. Any attempt aimed at the partial or total dis­ruption of the national unity and the territorial in­tegrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
        7. All States shall observe faithfully and strictly the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the present Declaration on the basis of equality, non­-interference in the internal affairs of all States, and respect for the sovereign rights of all peoples and their territorial integrity.

        See Article 2 of the Vienna Declaration:

        All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

        Taking into account the particular situation of peoples under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, the World Conference on Human Rights recognizes the right of peoples to take any legitimate action, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, to realize their inalienable right of self-determination. The World Conference on Human Rights considers the denial of the right of self-determination as a violation of human rights and underlines the importance of the effective realization of this right.

        In accordance with the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, this shall not be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and thus possessed of a Government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind.

      • Sibiriak
        November 29, 2013, 1:42 am

        RoHa:

        It’s people, not peoples, who have rights.

        Yes, that’s true in RoHa-world for sure– but not in the real world of actually-existent rights codified in international law.

      • Jerry Slater
        November 29, 2013, 9:30 am

        George Smith writes: “the real-world consequence of pinning hopes for justice on the two-state idea would be that the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians will continue.,” –paraphrasing my statement that abandoning the 2ss for a binational state would have that effect.

        I agree that the most likely outcome is that any proposed solution, two state or one state, is remote, so long as the U.S. refuses to pressure Israel. However, I can imagine circumstances in which the 2ss is revived, but none in which a binational state will occur. Moreover, a binational state, given 100 years of unresolved conflict, is a bad idea on the merits–take a look around the world and see how many bi or multinational states descend into binational conflict. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but there is no reason to believe that the circumstances that made them workable are present in the I-P context.

        Another general comment: my argument that there will be no change in US support of Israel unless the American Jewish community supports it is usually criticized on this cite on the grounds that I believe in “Jewish supremacy.” Not so–I didn’t say I approve of the key role of this (our) group on this issue, I said it was a reality that must be reckoned with, given the facts of life in the American political system concerning Israel and the I-P conflict.

        In sum, even though it is true that Judah Magnes, Martin Buber and others advocated a binational state before Israel was created, that course was rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Jews–and for perfectly understandable reasons. And even if it were a good idea then, it is completely unworkable now.

        That is the reasoning that leads to the argument that only a two-state settlement could work, that there’s no chance of that without serious US pressures on Israel, and there’s no chance of THAT without American Jewish agreement to it. If you want to counter this argument, please keep in mind that I am not arguing that this is a good thing, the way it should be–I claim that these are the facts of life.

        The same applies to the common response (on this cite) to my arguments that this or that solution won’t work because Israel would never accept it. Again, I’m claiming that such are the facts of life, which don’t go away if you disapprove of them–which I certainly do.

      • Sibiriak
        November 29, 2013, 10:19 am

        Jerry Slater :

        I agree that the most likely outcome is that any proposed solution, two state or one state, is remote, so long as the U.S. refuses to pressure Israel. However, I can imagine circumstances in which the 2ss is revived, but none in which a binational state will occur.

        Frankly, I can’t imagine circumstances in which a “two-state solution” could be revived. What would they be? Twenty years from now, U.S. policy toward Israel changes? Then the by-then-greatly-expanded-settlements, (no longer “settlements”, but Israeli communities post-annexation) are going to be uprooted and the land and vast infrastructure given back to Palestinians for a new try at a 2ss?

        No. Too many settlements/walls/land and water grabs etc.+ Too much Israeli power+ Too little opposing power + No hope for a radical change in U.S. policy any time soon= Palestinians relegated to shrunken, non-contiguous, demilitarized, Israeli -surrounded and supervised enclaves and no right of return–a de facto and de jure Palestinian “state”, but not a “solution”.

      • LeaNder
        November 29, 2013, 12:01 pm

        thanks Hostage, I once tried to get a grasp on matters, admittedly triggered by the question you refer to: self-determination versus secession:

        None of the applicable UN Conventions or Declarations on the subject provide a right of secession or the right to condition participation in the political life of any country on the basis of race, creed, color, or ethnicity.

        Admittedly I gave up since I realized I would need a basic framework in my head concerning International Law, which I do not have.

        But here comes my question:

        Charter of the United Nations, this shall not be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and thus possessed of a Government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind.

        To what extend could Israel exploit the fact that the US blocked Palestinian recognition as a state at the UN, or to what extend could its recognition of an observer status at the UN prevent some type of Jordanian option? I am an absolute nitwit and I have no idea what terms I should use. And since I do not have these basics, I also have a hard time putting new developments in historical context.

        In other words could it be somehow engineered based on some give and take or clauses. I am not sure I grasp the whole Land For Peace issue and the Israeli – Jordan history, apart from surfaces, much less it’s history, or the extend to which Israel could exploit other decisions or declarations by any Palestinian party in this context,

        In any case there must be a reason the US blocked the application of Palestine for statehood, or do I remember even that bit incorrectly?

      • LeaNder
        November 29, 2013, 12:46 pm

        Hostage, I have no idea how I got below Sibirak with my nitwit question to you.

        Just in case you won’t notice it, where it is now. ;)

      • Hostage
        November 29, 2013, 8:59 pm

        To what extend could Israel exploit the fact that the US blocked Palestinian recognition as a state at the UN, or to what extend could its recognition of an observer status at the UN prevent some type of Jordanian option?

        That’s no longer much of an option, if it ever was one:
        1) The US was one of the prime promoters of the declarative doctrine or theory of statehood codified in the Montevideo Convention and Chapter 4 of the Charter of the OAS. It holds that statehood exists independent from, and prior to recognition by other countries. It also stipulates that military occupation of the territory of another state is illegal and does not effect the existence or rights of the inhabitants or the state concerned. It explicitly provides that “Even before recognition the state has the right to defend its integrity and independence, to provide for its conservation and prosperity, and consequently to organize itself as it sees fit, to legislate upon its interests, administer its services, and to define the jurisdiction and competence of its courts. The exercise of these rights has no other limitation than the exercise of the rights of other states according to international law.” link to jus.uio.no

        2) All of the mandates, including Palestine were newly created states whose independence was provisionally recognized under the explicit terms of the post-war treaties. Great Britain and the United States were under multiple treaty obligations to respect that independent status in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles, Treaty of Lausanne, Anglo-Palestine Mandate Convention, the Treaty on Navigation and Commerce between the two countries (1813), and the UN Charter. There were a number of cases that I’ve cited here in the past, where the British and US Courts recognized the existence of the Mandated State of Palestine as a “third independent country”.

        3) The Council of the League of Nations agreed in 1932 that “the ability to stand alone” had nothing to do with repelling a foreign invasion or military occupation. The members agreed that the mandated states were under the protection of the League and that once emancipated they could also become members of the League in their own right, entitled to mutual defense under Article 10 of the Covenant. It is pretty obvious that Israel and the US are trying to deny the Palestinians the many legal protections available to every state under the terms of the UN Charter.

        4) The United States voted to terminate the mandate and establish an Arab state in a portion of Palestine. It subsequently recognized “Jordan” as a political union legally established between the emancipated Arab territories of the former Palestine mandate, i.e. Arab Palestine and Transjordan. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        5) The Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States § 201 Reporter’s Note 3 says: “The United States will treat States the territory of which is under foreign military occupation as continuing to exist.” That recognition of Jordan, and the provisions on non-renunciation in the Fourth Geneva Convention, prevent the US or any other contracting party from ruling-out Jordanian involvement in the conclusion of the final settlement of the international armed conflict that began in 1967. The boundary established by Article 3 of the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty was without prejudice to the status of any territory captured in 1967. link to kinghussein.gov.jo
        The recent treaty between Palestine and Jordan reaffirmed an on-going confederation between the two states and the qualified nature of the 1988 Jordanian disengagement from the West Bank. link to en.lpj.org

        6) The Phase II terms of the Quartet Road Map legally oblige the US to recognize Palestinian statehood and promote the possibility of full UN membership before any Phase III negotiations on final status issues, i.e. Palestinian statehood has never been an Oslo or Quartet final status issue. The UN and the majority of its members had already acknowledged or recognized the 1988 PLO declaration respecting the establishment of the government of the State Palestine.

        7) Israel and the United States are state parties to a host of international multinational treaties. They are obliged like any other contracting party to recognize new contracting states and to settle disputes according to the existing terms of those conventions, not through unilateral military occupations or arbitrary demands for private negotiations.

      • George Smith
        November 30, 2013, 9:27 am

        Jerry Slater writes “I can imagine circumstances in which the 2ss is revived, but none in which a binational state will occur.”

        Fair enough. There are certainly legitimate differences of opinion on the likely outcome of the conflict in Palestine.

        But the crucial choice here is not among different guesses about the future, but rather among different focuses of advocacy and activism. Many, probably most, people Jerry would classify as advocates of a binational state see themselves instead as advocates of equal rights and justice. That certainly would be my stance. We focus on people as individuals, not “peoples” collectively as nations, ethnicities, confessional communities, etc. It’s true that the equal rights movement threatens the continued existence of Israel as a specifically Jewish state. But how many takers will there be for an “equal rights EXCEPT…” movement?

      • LeaNder
        November 30, 2013, 10:51 am

        Thanks a lot, Hostage, I will need some time to digest this. ;)

      • MHughes976
        November 30, 2013, 12:28 pm

        The idea of group rights has been enunciated, I agree. But it has never made sense.
        Individuals can’t actually have rights, in the sense of something on which they are morally entitled to insist, if these ‘rights’ have to be limited by insistence by the part of some group on a right to have things go otherwise: the entitlement to insist on a demand and the obligation to accept a limit on the same demand being contradictory.
        Suppose that there are 1,ooo dollars to go round 100 people. Think how the principle that ‘everyone deserves ten dollars to dispose of as (s)he thinks fit’ and the principle that ‘every group of ten people deserves 100 dollars to dispose of as it thinks fit’ conflict. The second makes it possible for some individuals to have only one dollar. Furthermore, the definition of group membership may become a serious problem: what if some people pass the admission test for more than one group?
        International conferences have many powers but they can’t override logic.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 1, 2013, 3:27 am

        my argument that there will be no change in US support of Israel unless the American Jewish community supports it is usually criticized on this cite on the grounds that I believe in “Jewish supremacy.” Not so–I didn’t say I approve of the key role of this (our) group on this issue, I said it was a reality that must be reckoned with, given the facts of life in the American political system concerning Israel and the I-P conflict.

        citing an allegation of why your theory is usually criticized and denying you believe in the allegation is not in itself a refutation of the basic premise.

        your theory presupposes non jews have no voice or power over the outcome of this issue, which is nuts. you support your argument with ideas like ‘my thoughts are a “reality that must be reckoned with, given the facts of life” ‘

        iow, your premises are given supremacy based merely on the allegation by you, they are ‘reality’ or ‘fact’. that’s just a nutty way to argue.

        one way to ‘reckon’ a ‘reality’ the “American political system concerning Israel and the I-P conflict.” is heavily influenced by a segment of the american jewish community is to acknowledge the power of vast majority of the american public who are not emotionally wedded to this issue, know little about it, or think american should not take sides (the majority of US citizens think we shouldn’t take sides).

        it’s much easier to change the mind of a person not emotionally invested. it would be easier to influence the minds of a thousand people not emotionally invested as it would to un-pry one ardent nakba denying zionist. so why waste time on influencing the extremists?

        the idea that policies don’t stand alone or are interconnected with other policies is not a very controversial concept. there’s a lot of pushback from the pro i community connecting palestine to iran. but it’s something even netanyahu admits. link to mondoweiss.net

        look at the amazing amount of freakout and pushback accompanied petraeus address to congress how israel’s treatment of palestinians translated into danger to american troops (paraphrasing). that goes to show how much the lobby does not want americans connecting the conflict to american interests in the ME. but as my link demonstrates it very much is linked to american interests.

        and that’s something that a normal american might be concerned about (our FP in the ME), not just because they ‘care’ about palestinians as hops claims downthread.

        once a person realizes how much our FP and FP budget goes towards persuing israeli interests instead of american interests they may start to ‘care’ more (plus the justice/humanitarians care more the more they hear the truth). so from my perspective it comes down to how much we believe in the power of the masses. it’s not a matter of whether or not you believe in ‘jewish supremacy’ slater, it’s that in your premise you dismiss the rest of us right off the bat. it’s not logical just because you claim something is a ‘fact of life’ (“I am not arguing that this is a good thing, the way it should be–I claim that these are the facts of life.”)

        your argument boils down to ‘my beliefs are a fact of life, yours are not’ and your rhetorical lifeboat is then to claim you don’t necessarily agree with those stubborn facts, but must deal with them regardless because they are facts!

        well, i don’t think your allegations (basic premises) amount to fact. to fairly build a case for your pov, it’s definitely more persuasive if you can argue with all the cards on the table as opposed to setting up a structure whereby you dismiss your critics right off the bat in the preface (claim victory over certain key conceptual aspects).

        and i am going to cite something ron said one this thread:

        convincing one’s immediate interlocutor of anything cannot be one’s first priority.

        my priority is not that you agree with me. it actually makes my position stronger if you cling to your ‘my allegations are facts’ theory which i perceive as a sign of weakness/ineptitude.

        since my priority is moving the masses what’s critical is the belief we can all move this mountain if we’re united around concepts like truth, fairness, justice and what’s possible. in this regard, believing in the power of ourselves matters.

      • piotr
        December 1, 2013, 4:02 am

        Jordanian option does not exists for the simple reason that neither Palestinian people crave the rule of a de-facto absolute Hashemite monarch, nor they elite craves to become obedient subject, and finally the monarchy itself does not want 2-4 millions of unwilling subject when it barely keeps the current population under control.

        Finally, does Israel want that option? Perhaps some think tankers striving for originality. “Jordanian option” is simply an orphan of a solution: there is no problem that it would solve, and there are no willing takers of that idea.

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 6:52 am

        The idea of group rights has been enunciated, I agree. But it has never made sense.

        The bases or motives for tribal rights are outlined in the Hebrew scriptures in the example of the inheritance of Zelophehad’s daughters. Tribalism tends to accumulate wealth over generations and prevent it from passing into the hands of outsiders or colonizers. That’s why it gets such a bad reputation.

        If a loose confederation of desert families governed by chieftains and sharia law was adequate for centuries, why refuse to “recognize” it as the existing government of the state and insist that the sovereignty of the members is somehow inferior to our own system based upon the rights of the individual? The principle of equality and self-determination of peoples means that tribalism, if freely chosen, can be a viable mode of self-government. You just can’t create new states on the territory inhabited by others and exclude them from participating in the social life of the country or holding government office on the bases or race, creed, or color.

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 8:20 am

        “Jordanian option” is simply an orphan of a solution: there is no problem that it would solve, and there are no willing takers of that idea.

        I agree there probably won’t be a political union for the reasons you’ve outlined. But the monarchy is a factor that’s always subject to change from within.

        In any event, the Palestinians and Jordan have signed a treaty on shared Jordanian jurisdiction over the Holy sites (a confederation) that does solve some problems. The terms of the Rome Statute apply to any territory subject to a member state’s jurisdiction.

        The ICJ had cited the jurisdiction under the armistice agreements and the fact that Jordan was a high contracting party to the Geneva Conventions in 1967 to settle the problems Israel had interpreting those treaties. The Israeli Courts subsequently admitted that the West Bank and Gaza are occupied territories. The treaty mentioned above may eventually lead to prosecutions over acts committed in East Jerusalem and further acknowledgments from the Israeli Courts.

      • Ron Edwards
        November 29, 2013, 12:31 am

        Dr. Slater wrote, “… a number of other comments here argue (not Smith) that it is irrelevant that the Israelis are overwhelmingly opposed to binationalism. If by that one means MORALLY irrelevant, I entirely agree. But it is certainly not PRACTICALLY irrelevant, since the world is not going to force Israel even to end the occupation, let alone agree to a binational state in which they are likely soon to become a minority.”

        I infer that my previous comment is among that number, so I will respond to this. Dr. Slater, you speak of “the world,” but “the world” does not do anything. You are speaking of powerful political actors, those who implement policy and wield force, funds, and influence. The various components of the U.S. government, or at any given moment, its administrations across various branches of government, are such actors. Several times prior to the early 1980s, and almost consistently since then, these actors have exerted one of the primary imbalanced political forces of our world on behalf of Israeli excesses, including atrocities. I speak of the veto privilege at the U.N. Security Council.

        It is eminently practical and possible to cease to wield that privileged power on the behalf of Israeli excesses and atrocities. Nothing *makes* the relevant persons and groups who do this, do it. They have done and continue to do it on the basis of a number of historical factors and curious interplay among branches of U.S. government. One example is the recent and distorted notion that a president, party, and current legislators of that party are a united bloc; another is the simple role of bribery and blackmail; there are many others.
        Should any such actor cease to wield this privileged power in this way, then yes – I do consider Jewish American opinion (or as I specified, *appeal* or *claim* to such a thing as if it existed) and Israeli political opinion to be practically irrelevant. To adopt your phrasing, certainly so. Why? Because wielding this privilege in this way is not something they made happen, but rather has been adopted in stages – with a quantum leap in the first term of the Reagan administration – by those in the position to do it, for utterly contingent and rather petty reasons, at each point. For the next people in this position, they have the simple power not to do it.

        Despite all the astonishingly stupid rhetoric claiming so, Israel and the U.S. are not allies. Nor has any Israeli administration for one moment accorded by the agreements upon which its inclusion in the UN were pending. There is not one single constraint acting upon the next people to occupy the position I speak of, to prevent them from straightforwardly ceasing to use the Security Council veto on behalf of Israeli excesses and atrocities.

        Finally, you keep talking of agreeing. Again, this is no issue at all. It allows me as well to expand my topics to other instruments of policy. Israel’s administration and policies, past and present, is so far beyond the pale of modern expectations among nations that agreement by its current citizen-nationals (I trust you are aware of this phrasing) is flatly out of the realm of discourse or policy. Insofar as international law is involved, we are talking about criminals. Or less sweetly, insofar as American money is involved, we are talking about extortion, exploitation, and outright theft. No Israeli or Jewish American agreement is required to deal with either. For the former, engage the International Criminal Court; for the latter, stop providing this absurd amount of funding – even to begin to accord with our existing laws in the disbursement of international funds would reduce the current amount drastically.

        These are policy issues which can be addressed through the ordinary mechanisms of such, which of course include citizen activism and – to use the word precisely, without implications of falsehood – propaganda. I am speaking here most practically. The three classic prongs are forming before our eyes: citizen pushback against the bribe-addled and insulated political elites, as we have seen recently concerning Syria and Iran; BDS and related high-profile, well-articulated efforts; and forthright, even rude, yet above all *accurate* call-outs such as books like Goliath. These have the power to counter bribery-based interference, insular misconceptions, and self-aggrandizement in the political subculture.

        We are discussing U.S. policy subject to the actions, money, and participation of the collective citizens of the U.S. And that is all it is. Agreement from Israelis, citizenry or administration alike? Absurd and even monstrous to consider seeking; we’re not talking about what they want, but about what we as U.S. citizens are willing to do, or more accurately, willing to stop doing. Agreement from Jewish Americans as some kind of opinion-bloc? Bigotry to assign such agency to a religious/subcultural demographic in the first place; furthermore, such a demographic only has the power it is afforded, and the reasons why that happens never stand the light of exposure.

        Finally, I appreciate your willingness to enter into the Mondoweiss comments section. it’s not for the timid.

      • Sibiriak
        November 29, 2013, 1:35 am

        @Ron Edwards: I read through your lengthy post regarding Slater’s assertion that

        …the world is not going to force Israel even to end the occupation, let alone agree to a binational state in which they are likely soon to become a minority.”

        –and I accept your point that expression “the world” really stands for diverse concrete political “actors”, but I didn’t find any persuasive scenario demonstrating exactly how, why, when, and by whom Israel could be FORCED to accept a reasonably just 1SS or 2SS.

        So for me, Slater’s point still stands.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 29, 2013, 2:57 am

        ron, you addressed the point earlier about ‘jewish agreement’. mr slater’s prefaced his article w/2 premises, one being there is no chance of these essential changes in U.S. policies occurring unless a majority of American Jews become convinced that such actions are required by Israel’s own best interests.

        just thought i’d mention i’ve gone head to head with mr slater on this very issue before ( i’m of the illusion the other 98% of us could act/make changes regardless if the majority of american jews agree.) and it would be an understatement to characterize the results as not pretty. it’s a premise he starts out with, not really open to debate.

        i will say i have not been following the whole thread, or much of the discussion since then so perhaps his approach has changed somewhat, i cannot speak for him. but this is not an issue he’s likely to move on. just thought i’d mention.

        and my experience at this site leads me to believe a lot of MW readers agree with him and think changing the american jewish community is crucial to changing american foreign policy.

      • American
        November 29, 2013, 9:39 am

        “–and I accept your point that expression “the world” really stands for diverse concrete political “actors”, but I didn’t find any persuasive scenario demonstrating exactly how, why, when, and by whom Israel could be FORCED to accept a reasonably just 1SS or 2SS”…….Sibiriak

        Of course Israel could be ‘forced’ if the world ‘chose’ to do so. So far the world has taken baby steps on Israel, like the excluding Israel from EU research grants if any is used in the illegal settlements.
        Whether the world ever employs ‘real force’ on Israel depends on how far Israel goes in provoking the other world’s critical interest.
        There are several scenarios I can imagine which would push the world to force Israel.

      • Ron Edwards
        November 29, 2013, 9:56 am

        Sibiriak: ah, the requested “scenario”! While I’m at it, I’ll whip you up a nice dinner and provide a back massage.

        What follows isn’t a scenario, but it is the necessary platform for real policy to happen.

        Simultaneously: (1) abandon the long-standing oil concession between the U.S. government and the House of Sa’ud; (2) announce the dis-use of the UN Security Council veto relative to Israeli policies, and stick to it. I have a long list of other useful items including counter-intelligence background checks on all U.S. legislature staffing, applying standard U.S. policy for international funding to money provided to Israel, assessing AIPAC’s status regarding foreign representation, recognizing Iran and apologizing to its people profusely, reparations for Lebanon and Syria, and others, but those are the necessary start.

        Israel depends wholly on U.S. largesse to conduct its current excesses and atrocities. That largesse is based on multiple factors, none of them sufficient, all of them interdependent. My #1 and #2 above are the two primary “nodes” of interdependence among these factors.
        Do #1 and #2 and the world changes. I see no point to discussions of policy without them. To answer your question as specifically as I can, there will be no point to forcing the current Israel to do anything because its current status will be gone.

      • Ron Edwards
        November 29, 2013, 10:06 am

        Annie, thanks for the comment. In any discussion venue like Mondoweiss, convincing one’s immediate interlocutor of anything cannot be one’s first priority. Presenting the case fairly – intellectually, emotionally, socially – is the priority. The person in question, whether Dr. Slater or the vaguer “many people at Mondoweiss,” can deal with the points as they might, but there is a larger audience here. It’s important. Someone might see what I just replied to Sibiriak and say, “That is totally what I’ve been wanting to say,” or, “I never looked at it that way,” and that means my point will now exist in a circle around that person, unknown to me. Dr. Slater may or may agree with me, or he may or may not provide an enlightening rejoinder (I’m open to that!), but that larger audience is really where the action lies. You are yourself probably the single most influential poster at Mondoweiss at that level – in case you hadn’t thought of it.

        A related priority is to avoid playing to the gallery and disrespecting the person one’s talking to. I confess to a developed personal case of impudence – referring to a respected prof’s words as “piffle” comes to mind – but it’s always toward the ideas. And that impudence is a meaningful device itself, as the existing status levels about this issue have been toxic for some time.

        Bots, of course, are a different story entirely. Hey, has anyone noticed the usual suspects are avoiding this thread like the plague? I wonder why!

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 10:34 am

        @Ron Edwards
        Yes. And kudos to Mr. Slater to enter MW blog. It shows he’s either still truth-seeking, or has a giant ego. Maybe he has both. I hope so. As an average American, I wonder if he has the slightest clue how his writing looks to any American aware of what supporting Israel right or wrong has done, is doing, to both the blood, treasure and US image in the world?

      • hophmi
        November 29, 2013, 12:52 pm

        You’re right. It’s an illusion, Annie, because the vast, vast majority of those in that 98% who care agree with us American Jews, by a factor of 8 or 9-1.

      • Ron Edwards
        November 29, 2013, 3:01 pm

        And therrrre they are! Hoppy, goldmarx, and soon to be others I’m sure – lots of stinky little puppy piles all over. Looks like diversionary tactics this time, anything to distract from the central issue that Jewish American opinion is (i) not united and (ii) not relevant. “9 to 1″ indeed, an ass-pull extraordinaire. Hoppy, if Jewish American opinion is so united as to be characterized by “us American Jews” as you put it, then why all the grievous pearl-clutching about the younger generation who do not seem to agree, or (horrors) participate in SJP or write books like Goliath?

        The bot posts here make me miss the plural “you” found in many languages besides English, since they read more and more like committee efforts.

      • lobewyper
        November 30, 2013, 8:32 am

        hopmii wrote:

        “You’re right. It’s an illusion, Annie, because the vast, vast majority of those in that 98% who care agree with us American Jews, by a factor of 8 or 9-1.”

        Hophmi, suppose a survey of Americans (e.g., Gallup) asked the respondent the following:

        1) “Do you agree or disagree with the United Nations’ resolution No. 242 passed in 1967 after the Six Day War that it is illegal according to international law to acquire territory by war?”

        2) “Do you agree or disagree that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights are illegal in the view of international law?”

        3) “Do you agree or disagree that the international community (including the United States) should require Israel to withdraw from and return any and all territory it currently occupies as a result of the Six Day War as part of any final settlement with the Palestinians?”

        Hophmi, I’m going to ask some folks I consider to be “centrists” how they would respond to the above and report the results back on these boards. Any predictions as to the results?

      • Annie Robbins
        November 30, 2013, 3:22 pm

        thank you very much for your advice/response ron.

        that means my point will now exist in a circle around that person

        i love this visualization/reality. intense.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 30, 2013, 3:47 pm

        the vast, vast majority of those in that 98% who care agree with us American Jews, by a factor of 8 or 9-1.

        hops, did you mean to say ‘You’re right. It’s an illusion, Annie, because the vast, vast majority of that 98% agree with us American Jews, by a factor of 8 or 9-1. ‘?

        or did you mean ‘You’re right. It’s an illusion, Annie, because the vast, vast majority of those in the 98% who care, agree with us American Jews, by a factor of 8 or 9-1. ‘

        because then i would want to know what percentage of that 98% qualified in the ‘who cared’ category. are we talking about the vast majority of those who care? and what you meant by ‘cared’?

      • tree
        November 30, 2013, 4:16 pm

        Annie,

        Hophmi’s…agree with us American Jews, by a factor of 8 or 9-1.

        also “monolithed” American Jews there, something that he would call anti-semitic if he wasn’t the one saying it.

      • hophmi
        November 30, 2013, 7:08 pm

        Those who care are those willing to take a position on the conflict. Those are the ones who matter in terms of making their views known in Congress. And those people are overwhelmingly pro-Israel, not pro-Palestinian.

        The conventional knowledge is that to get something done, you either have to work with those who care, or create more people who care. The pro-Palestinian community must create more people who care about Palestinians, because right now, very few Americans do. They are doing a very poor job, as evidenced by the 9-1 ratio of pro-Israel Americans to pro-Palestinian Americans.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 1, 2013, 2:47 am

        The conventional knowledge is that to get something done, you either have to work with those who care, or create more people who care. The pro-Palestinian community must create more people who care about Palestinians, because right now, very few Americans do.

        hmm, that’s a rather limited perspective as far as i am concerned. “conventional wisdom” aside (i don’t buy yours), there are many reasons american citizens might become intertwined w/’caring’ about this issue other than ‘caring’ about palestinians. for example, they might see a connection between settlement expansion and iran or the WOT or americn FP in the middle east and ‘care’ about their tax dollars. .

        also, note the jerusalem vote and the dem convention. your 9-1 theory, as pointed out by ron….ass-pull extraordinaire.

      • Taxi
        December 1, 2013, 4:30 am

        Bravo, Ron Edwards, for your crisply served ideas.

        Zionists, including so-called liberal zionists, work off the premise that they are a superior minority in a sea of inferior majority. Their brains are pickled in bigoted narcissism: we all know that only a narcissist would believe that their minority opinion is “relevant” to the grand scheme of things.

        Jewish Americans, zionists and non-zionists, in my estimation, do NOT have the key to peace in the middle east. It is actually in the hands of the average Joe & Jane of the Heartlands. Aipac might be able to blackmail and coerce our powerful senators, congressmen and congresswomen, but they can never win a confrontation with the non-jewish American people – and more and more American Heartlanders are catching on – it’s slow but it’s happening: I subscribe to the ancient Swahili saying: Many Drops Fill Bucket.

        Hijacking American mideast policy is not the same as owning it, like the zionists delusionals think. And waiting for either ignorant or conscientious American jews to bring justice to the Palestinians/peace in the mideast is like endlessly waiting for Godot on an empty stomach.

        And speaking of “scenarios”, I see the current status quo as changeable in one of two ways:
        1- by (non-American) military force against isreal
        2- mass awakening of non-jewish Americans

        Both are earthquakes and one will cost less blood. Quite likely, war will come first – only because American jewish zionist are spending billions on propaganda that insures that Joe and Jane Heartland never get to find out the truth about their taxdollars being fleeced to support and enable israeli war crimes in the middle east.

      • irishmoses
        December 1, 2013, 11:11 am

        Taxi said:

        I see the current status quo as changeable in one of two ways:
        1- by (non-American) military force against isreal
        2- mass awakening of non-jewish Americans

        Both are earthquakes and one will cost less blood. Quite likely, war will come first – only because American jewish zionist are spending billions on propaganda that insures that Joe and Jane Heartland never get to find out the truth about their taxdollars being fleeced to support and enable israeli war crimes in the middle east.

        Great post Taxi. I now agree that the key to turning the I-P issue around in this country is the silent and sleeping 98 percent. I no longer agree that it is an impossible task due to the billions spent on sleep-inducing propaganda aimed at the 98 percent. Two recent events make me think that we may be approaching a tipping point: The huge reaction by everyday Americans to the idea of bombing Syria, and the failure of the AIPAC crowd to prevent the interim agreement with Iran. The first event was a totally unexpected visceral reaction and demand from the American public that no bombing take place. Politicians quickly got the message and even the Lobby folks ended up backing away. The second, the Iran agreement, was similar. Public opinion was clearly in favor of an agreement, and clearly opposed to any military solution. Our politicians got the message and despite all Lobby efforts, the agreement was made.

        These are two important victories that I would not have predicted six months ago. They are victories over Lobby influence that were gained only because our sleeping 98 percent giant awoke and said “No more of this military solution bullshit. We’ve had enough.”

        That this sleeping giant can awake on its own and demand change gives me great hope that someday soon it will awake again and say “Why the hell hasn’t Israel given the Palestinians their freedom? No more support for Israel. We’ve had enough.”

      • Sibiriak
        December 1, 2013, 12:18 pm

        irishmoses:

        … the key to turning the I-P issue around in this country is the silent and sleeping 98 percent.

        And after the slumbering 98% -giant awakes and turns around the I-P issue, we can surely hope that they coffee-up, march on and take down the U.S. global empire and the whole vast, entrenched system of transnational predatory capitalism-militarism –why not??

      • American
        December 1, 2013, 12:39 pm

        Taxi says:
        December 1, 2013 at 4:30 am>>>>>

        Totally agree.
        I would add ‘economic force’ on Israel as in international sanctions as a third force also.

      • irishmoses
        December 2, 2013, 2:03 am

        Now hold on just a minute there Sibiriak,

        Don’t be intruding on American autonomy and national aspirations. Keeping the world safe for American corporate democracy and our benevolent form of predatory militaristic capitalism is our birthright.

        Back off Sir lest you be visited by one of our friendly drones.

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 10:16 am

        @ Jerry Slater

        “…the world is not going to force Israel even to end the occupation, let alone agree to a binational state in which they are likely soon to become a minority.”

        Is this really such a certainty? How is it that you can so confidently assert this? Things change. I can imagine “the world ” forcing Israel to end the occupation. All it would take is more Americans knowing the truth, learning about and reading guys like Max. Like Snowden, Max will have a long term impact, even if progressive interests are at this point stymied–that’s mostly via media-imposed ignorance. We don’t live in a world dominated by print information any more.

    • Jerry Slater
      November 28, 2013, 1:37 pm

      Incidentally, George Smith implies that I think that Goliath is merely “technically accurate.” But I was quoting Eric Alterman’s fatuous words. My words were these:
      “On the one hand, it is a powerful and impressive work by one of America’s most astute and courageous young journalists”

      and these: “Given Blumenthal’s overall argument, however justified by the facts and evidence he presents…”

      and these: “Blumenthal is right that Israel’s behavior towards the Palestinians is indefensible….Thus, I fully understand why he has chosen to bluntly express his (mostly) justifiable rage and contempt”

      I don’t think this qualifies as faint or backhanded praise. My criticism of Goliath is that in some cases (e.g, comparisons with Nazi Germany) he overstates and, more importantly, that the tone and language is off-putting to those people who are the most important to convince of the need for US pressures against Israel.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 4:17 pm

        Some people need a wake up call when they are sleeping in their hotel room. Sometimes I am one of those people. 8)

      • George Smith
        November 28, 2013, 4:46 pm

        Sorry, Jerry. I withdraw my stupid aside. I was intending to mock Eric Alterman, not you! I have the highest respect for your long-standing, clear-eyed confrontation with the reality in Palestine.

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 10:37 am

        @Jerry Slater
        Does Bibi Netanyahu overstate his comparisons with Nazi Germany? How about all those Israel Firsters in the USA who parrot him? If so, can we look forward to Mr Slater’s next article criticizing same?

      • goldmarx
        November 29, 2013, 11:32 am

        OK, Jerry, so can you give us some examples of what YOUR chapter headings would have been, instead of the ones Max used?

        It does not speak well for ‘centrists’ that they are so thin-skinned and emotionally fragile that they need to be coddled like babies, but what the hell, let’s give it a shot!

      • lobewyper
        November 30, 2013, 8:07 am

        goldmarx wrote with respect to Jerry’s criticism of Goliath’s “tone”:

        “It does not speak well for ‘centrists’ that they are so thin-skinned and emotionally fragile that they need to be coddled like babies, but what the hell, let’s give it a shot!”

        A lot of comments center around this issue, which is actually an easily answerable empirical one. Ask someone to tone down (Seymour Hersh style) the first 50 pages of Goliath. Then, ask 30 people selected at random from those without strong opinions either way to read it and rate its persuasiveness. Another 30 read Blumenthal. Again, rate the persuasiveness. Settle this issue once and for all!

      • LeaNder
        December 1, 2013, 10:15 am

        Great idea, lobewyper. Reflecting on other statements about the subject, let me use a different quote by Slater:

        general tone of his writing and the loaded language and even outright contempt that he occasionally indulges in

        I would really appreciate if this general statement could be supported by specifics by people like you that sense he is correct, examples of loaded language, examples of contempt. Or is the issue really about not balancing via with more emphatic portrayals of how e.g. specific laws introduced by the lawmakers he interviewed could be better put into context, regarded differently or maybe even justified. In other words more empathy for the context which constantly pushes Israel to war, Lebanon, Gaza. Or to balance the radical Israeli fringe he moves in with the reasons why the Israeli society has to move constantly to the right, or fight these misguided forces in its society.

        In other words does Jerome Slater actually mean, or do you mean, he should have tried to meet people where they stand and carefully work to diminish their defensive shields?

        I could maybe even try to read Eric Alterman’s review as such a demand. Or as the not frankly admitted underlying notion that it may be dangerous to use such a “one sided” approach.

        I also admittedly wonder, if it is really about style and not much more about focus? Or did you and Jerome really notice contempt and loaded language, I should have noticed too?

  6. pabelmont
    November 28, 2013, 10:23 am

    JS: “Indeed, most of them [liberal Zionists in the USA] will never even hear about Goliath, let alone read it, because Blumenthal’s frequently confrontational or sardonic rhetoric has apparently resulted in a decision by the mainstream media to ignore the book.”

    I agree that Goliath does not give an inch of slack to any liberal Zionist opinion which teaches that all is OK in Zion. It is not, it is awful, and Goliath says so. Goliath is not “nice”. It is uncomfortable to read. Yes. Perhaps unnecessarily so, given its intended audience? Maybe.

    But I disagree strongly that Blumenthal’s “confrontational or sardonic rhetoric” prevents it from being reviewed in USA’s MSM. That is the same media that cannot bring itself to mention even one of the daily occurrences that Goliath reports. NPR is silent. NYT is silent.

    Goliath is not being reviewed for the wsame reason that the facts it reports are broadly unknown in the USA — there is a long-established and well-enforced socialization of silence on Israel’s blemishes operating in the USA, and not only among “liberal Jews”, whereby people who do not have “iron rice bowls” (that is, people who must earn a living or maintain social relationships) know to keep their mouths shut as to the “warts and all” aspect of Israel’s conquest and oppression of the Palestinian Arab people.

    NYT would no more review Goliath than give a lengthy description of the Nakba (1947-2013). According to Noam Chomsky, the NYT refused to mention Sadat’s first peace proposal to Israel — one which preceded the 1973 war and was better for Israel than the actual Camp David treaty — not only at the time it was offered but even in a huge 2-page obituary for Sadat after he was assassinated.

    In 1971, three years into the War of Attrition in the Suez Canal zone, Sadat endorsed in a letter the peace proposals of UN negotiator Gunnar Jarring which seemed to lead to a full peace with Israel on the basis of Israel’s withdrawal to its pre-war borders. This peace initiative failed as neither Israel nor the United States of America accepted the terms as discussed then.

    Neither did the NYT mention Sadat’s endorsemant. (wiki/Anwar_Sadat.

    I recall in the 1960s that physics books out of the USSR always began (so I was told by physics grad students at MIT) with a confession of fealty yo Stalin’s and Communism’s excellences and a declaration that all the physics theories published in the books fully upheld Stalin et al. They had to write this stuff to get published, to get past the Stalinist censors.

    There is no way Blementhal could get past the USA’s powerful Zionist censors.

  7. Sycamores
    November 28, 2013, 10:25 am

    Mr J Slater wishes that Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath was more Political Correct on an increasingly fascistic state.

    a David Bowie song comes to mind

    “Ground Control to Major Tom
    Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
    Can you hear me, Major Tom?”

  8. joemowrey
    November 28, 2013, 10:43 am

    This essay has the typical underlying flavor of liberal-Zionist apologism. Zionists’ racist colonialism is supposedly different than most forms of racist colonialism because the Jews suffered so much. Jews’ circumstances are unique, so the injustices inflicted on Palestinians (and the world) by Zionism have to be viewed through the prism of that underlying sense of exceptionalism. And when we tell the cold ugly truth about the horror that is the Israeli state, we need to say it carefully and gently so we don’t alienate those fragile Jewish liberals here in the U.S. who can’t bear to face reality.

    Codling the centrists (and the so-called Liberals and Progressives for that matter) in order to try and bring them around to a rational point of view has proven to be a failed strategy in relation to so many causes. It is a form of compromise which results in the capitulation of our core values; it diminishes the desperate reality we face. The fact is, there just isn’t time to “gently” persuade the self-absorbed and willfully ignorant masses around us to wake up and smell the coffee. By the time they rub the sleep out of their eyes and actually stand up and do something, it will be too late.

    If a rude slap in the face, which is essentially what Blumenthal’s book is, doesn’t do the trick, then we are doomed, not just as concerns the issue of Zionism, but as concerns all of the most pressing issues or our time. If the insistent shouting of a few committed (and necessarily impolite) individuals doesn’t become the catalyst for a true, non-violent social revolution, (and soon) we might as well pull up a lawn chair, fix ourselves a nice strong gin and tonic, and sit back and watch the coming apocalyptic show.

    • Citizen
      November 29, 2013, 11:28 am

      @ joemowrey
      Yes. Imagine that law is actual implementation of justice, rather than a crude stopgap against chaos. Imagine if every judge had to consider all the things that help create a criminal act, that is, the total environment the criminal grew up in, was impacted by–doing this, would such a judge judge, say, Charles Manson, so harshly?
      Look at Manson’s childhood, his rearing, etc. What do you see? Anybody here would say he’s not a criminal who should be locked up, considering all the circumstances surrounding, impacting him as a child young man, etc? Nobody, I bet.

      Time that Israel is called to account for what it has done, continues doing. Time to not fund this enterprise. Time not to give it immunity.

      Time to delete Israel’s get-out-of-jail free card. It has tarnished the innocence of those victimized so harshly by another one who did not have the best early life and young adulthood: Hitler himself.

    • lobewyper
      November 30, 2013, 9:03 am

      joemowrey wrote:

      “Coddling the centrists (and the so-called Liberals and Progressives for that matter) in order to try and bring them around to a rational point of view has proven to be a failed strategy in relation to so many causes. It is a form of compromise which results in the capitulation of our core values; it diminishes the desperate reality we face. The fact is, there just isn’t time to “gently” persuade the self-absorbed and willfully ignorant masses around us to wake up and smell the coffee.”

      “Rude slaps in the face” are off-putting and somewhat insulting to many readers, because they imply the reader is unable to see the point of what is written without assistance. Moreover, the use of sarcasm and other harsh language suggests weakness in the writer’s positions. I’m back to the suggestion that the Seymour Hersh approach is better.

      Jerry contends that American Jews must support pressure upon Israel to achieve genuine progress. I agree with him, in part. Here’s what I think. Some members of the israeli, Jewish diaspora, and gentile communities are contributing a great deal of money to “buying” pro-Israeli influence from the elected representatatives of the United States. Unless that slows down dramatically or stops, nothing is going to happen. It follows that it doesn’t matter if most Jews or their supporters are not converted to our cause. (Sure it’d be great if they were, but it’s by no means essential.) My $.02…

  9. tombishop
    November 28, 2013, 10:45 am

    There is nothing wrong with “preaching to the choir”. What Max Blumenthal has done is, in great detail and with historical perspective, bring together the reality of the situation for Palestinians in Israel. While his may be a minority perspective at the moment, the sheer detail of his work makes it impossible to ignore. Defenders of the Zionist enterprise, who cannot dispute the reality that Max has portrayed, must therefore resort to personal attacks, a sure sign that his work is not being “ignored”.

    That Max long ago dismissed the “preaching to the choir” argument for not writing the book is to his credit. It is actually an act of good faith that if people concerned with the fate of humanity are shown the facts on the ground (and the immersion of Max in Jewish and Palestinian culture, including interviews across all sides of the political spectrum, is the great power of the book), they will respond.

    Concerns about the ever present danger of anti-Semitism are legitimate, but this danger will not be mitigated by the oppression of the Palestinians.

    Did the Abolitionist’s of mid-19th century America concern themselves with the sensitivities of liberal defenders of slavery who wanted its gradual abolition over decades? The Abolitionists took a principled and courageous opposition to slavery even though they were a minority. Such a principled stand has been shown historically to be the only way for humanity to go forward and not descend into barbarism.

    Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath” is the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” of today’s Palestinians!

    • bintbiba
      November 28, 2013, 5:14 pm

      Well said , tombishop!! It may already be too late…

    • sydnestel
      November 28, 2013, 6:16 pm

      tombishop – Actually, Lincoln and most of the people who voted him into office “wanted [slavery's] gradual abolition over decades” They were the center-left you decry and whom Slater – rightly – claims are essential to win over if you are to actually win real influence on a progressive issue.

      If the southern states hadn’t been so foolish as to secede, we would have had slavery in the U.S for many decades after 1865 – maybe still !

      Maybe Israel will do something so foolish as to force America’s hand against its racists policies. But if not, persuasion is the only tool you have, and its the mushy middle you have to persuade.

      • tombishop
        November 28, 2013, 8:58 pm

        Didn’t southern fear of the growing support for the Abolitionists play a major role in leading them to secede? This analogy can only go so far, because the interests of northern industrialists coming into conflict with the slavocracy may have been a bigger factor, but I do not think the historical role of a principled fight against injustice can be ignored as irrelevant. For one thing, it conflicts with basic tenants of Jewish history about the fight against injustice.

      • American
        November 29, 2013, 9:47 am

        tombishop says:
        November 28, 2013 at 8:58 pm

        Didn’t southern fear of the growing support for the Abolitionists play a major role in leading them to secede? This analogy can only go so far, because the interests of northern industrialists coming into conflict with the slavocracy may have been a bigger factor,..>>>>>

        The South, specifically led by SC, did threaten to secede before slavery became an issue—because of tarrifs put on raw goods to Northern factories.

    • Citizen
      November 29, 2013, 11:32 am

      Who doesn’t remember John Brown? And next, the Battle Hymn Of The Republic?

    • hophmi
      November 29, 2013, 1:01 pm

      Jerry Slater gets the usual treatment here. Slater’s argument is that Max is preaching to the choir. The choir is eating it up. Meanwhile, Americans favor Israel over the Palestinians by a factor of about 9 to 1.

      • Hostage
        November 30, 2013, 2:13 am

        Meanwhile, Americans favor Israel over the Palestinians by a factor of about 9 to 1.

        Favor Israel over Palestinians on what? Certainly not on the issues of the illegal Jewish settlements or wars with Syria and Iran.

      • seafoid
        November 30, 2013, 4:43 am

        Where is that metric available and could Mondo track it over time ?
        American support for Israel is not as eternally solid as the bots think.

      • Sibiriak
        November 30, 2013, 9:24 am

        Compilations of various polls, 1967-2013.

        link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

        “In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with Israel or with the Arabs?”

        link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

        “Do you Support or Oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip?”

        ————
        link to gallup.com

        In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?

        [March 2013] Americans’ sympathies lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians, 64% vs. 12%. Americans’ partiality for Israel has consistently exceeded 60% since 2010; however, today’s 64% ties the highest Gallup has recorded in a quarter century, last seen in 1991 during the Gulf War. At that time, slightly fewer than today, 7%, sympathized more with the Palestinians. [...]

        One of the more notable aspects of the trend is the STEADY INCREASE IN THE RELATIVE SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL OVER THE PAST DECADE, at the same time that the percentage with no opinion or favoring neither side has declined. Preference for the Palestinians has been relatively flat, generally in the mid- to high teens, before this year. [emphasis added]

      • Sibiriak
        November 30, 2013, 9:57 am

        link to pewforum.org

        October 1, 2013
        A Portrait of Jewish Americans
        Polling and Analysis

        Overall, about seven-in-ten Jews surveyed say they feel either very attached (30%) or somewhat attached (39%) to Israel, essentially unchanged since 2000-2001. In addition, 43% of Jews have been to Israel, including 23% who have visited more than once.

        And 40% of Jews say they believe the land that is now Israel was given by God to the Jewish people.

        At the same time, many American Jews express reservations about Israel’s approach to the peace process. Just 38% say the Israeli government is making a sincere effort to establish peace with the Palestinians. (Fewer still – 12% – think Palestinian leaders are sincerely seeking peace with Israel.)

        And just 17% of American Jews think the continued building of settlements in the West Bank is helpful to Israel’s security; 44% say that settlement construction hurts Israel’s own security interests.

      • Citizen
        November 30, 2013, 11:20 am

        @ Sibiriak

        The poll of average Americans shows how little information they have of the I-P conflict, both historically and in the present. An uninformed citizenry is not a democracy. Thanks you, American campaign finance system and complicit mainstream media (owned /controlled,managed by, well go check it).

      • American
        November 30, 2013, 12:03 pm

        @ Citizen

        Here’s the real story when the right question is asked.

        link to worldpublicopinion.org

        Publics Support Even-Handed Approach to Conflict

        Asked how their country should approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 14 out of 18 publics preferred taking neither side. On average, 58 percent say that their country should not take either side, while 20 percent favor siding with the Palestinians and 7 percent say that their country should take Israel’s side.

        In eight of the countries this was a large majority–seven in 10 or more–including:

        Americans (71%)

        This tells the story of how Americans “want their government to act’ in I/P issue.
        What is startling is the 71% for not taking sides is ‘despite’ the decades of Israeli propaganda.
        Think what they public would say “if’ they knew the real facts.
        This US attitude to me is one the ‘hopeful” things for I/P and our Israel problem —if activist keep up their efforts to spread the true facts.

  10. Walker
    November 28, 2013, 11:15 am

    The weakest part of Mr Slater’s case is his view of the nature of Zionism. Not surprising it’s the shortest part of his post. First, Zionism was not the only colonial endeavor motivated by self-preservation. Second, Zionism’s biggest defect is that it isn’t simply the belief that Jews deserve a state of their own. It’s includes the presumption that Jews deserved the land more than the people who actually lived there. That is an indelible problem inherent in Israeli Zionism. It’s one that liberal Zionists refuse to confront.

    New England is an example of a colonial enterprise that shared both characteristics. Unfortunately for Israel, since 1620 the moral consensus has progressed the point that colonization, like slavery, is rightly no longer viewed as acceptable.

  11. Allison Deger
    Allison Deger
    November 28, 2013, 11:31 am

    Everyone, Jerome included, is missing the point on the chapter titles. Max is not making comparisons to Nazis, he’s quoting Israelis who make those comparisons. The only one who has understood this is Lustick who basically says he thinks Max pulled those quotes from candid speech and not official discourse. And so, Lusktick says they should be understood as underlying feelings of Israeli leaders, but not official political calls. However, even with great respect to Lustick, he is also wrong here. “Israel is for the white man,” and other racists rants Max quotes often came from speeches, not off-handed comments. And throughout the Max usually locates and describes where each quote came from. If that’s not enough, the book is footnoted.

    • German Lefty
      November 28, 2013, 3:43 pm

      Max is not making comparisons to Nazis, he’s quoting Israelis who make those comparisons.

      Right! Max mentioned this in interviews about the book.

      The Zionists are the ones who make the Nazi comparisons:
      link to inminds.com
      link to bethlehemblogger.files.wordpress.com

    • LeaNder
      November 28, 2013, 4:04 pm

      Allison, basically I agree mostly there is context to the chapter titles, as far as I remember, but the Kindle edition is not footnoted, really.

      I read the Kindle edition too and had the strange experience that at one point there suddenly was footnote number “234″ (close to that at least) and maybe two others, but not before that or after ever. In other words the Kindle edition of the book is badly produced. I remember I had a similar problem with whatever American university publisher Kindle edition. But in that case you simply could not click the footnotes, and thus access them, but at least you knew there were any. So you could at least print out the footnote via the Kindle desktop program, which in this case wouldn’t help. Since you wouldn’t even know where they belonged. But I have not taken a look at the footnotes separately yet. And I have no idea if it would help if all people that bought the Kindle version complained. In the above case I complained at the respective university press and never got an answer. ;)

    • sydnestel
      November 28, 2013, 6:19 pm

      Allison – If “everyone is missing the point”, then the point wasn’t made very effectively. That is what Slater is saying.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 6:52 pm

        Sydne,

        If people opened up his chapters they would see what the comparison is to. Otherwise they are judging a book by its cover. People who read the chapter are aware of Max’s point, however they are offended by the title.

        Sometimes advertisers use sensual ads to get people’s attention. I saw an ad for a bar with a picture of pretty uniformed girls. A person who knows about bars will understand that the girls are in the bar. That’s part of the point- to attract the reader’s attention to get interest. A person can say “What? You are selling girls? That’s how it looks.” No. Obviously the bar is not doing that.

        But there is a connection between the girls and the bar. And I think that Max is actually implying that there is a connection between the right wing slogans and the way the system is dedicated to one religious nationality only.

        But to see Max’s slogans in their plain meaning only really is missing the point as Allison says. Plain meaning vs. real meaning vs. prophetic meaning is also a level of Biblical interpretation, but I digress.

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 11:54 am

        @ sydnestal
        It’s not like Max raided Harper’s Ferry, is it? We are merely talking about mustering facts, trying to get them to the American people with a pithy narrative despite the main media blockage and hasbara, something not only in the Israeli interest, but also in the American interest. What’s at stake is not only a moral issue, but an American and World interest.

  12. Betsy
    November 28, 2013, 12:07 pm

    Jerome Slater’s comments sound so much like the comments of white “liberals” in Baltimore during the civil rights struggles of my youth– trying to talk my Presbyterian church out of marching with Rev Martin Luther King & trying to talk our ministers from getting arrested. Be gentle, don’t alienate the center, go slow…

    It’s amazing to me to hear the repeating patterns. I grieve to remember the importance of Jewish leaders in that struggle…and now how they are attacking their erstwhile comrades in struggle in other faith communities.

    A good time to reread Rev King’s letter from a Birmingham jail — which was written to religious MODERATES — whom King viewed as a big part of the problem at that stage in the struggle link to africa.upenn.edu Note the importance in King’s moral imagination of what Ellis calls the “Jewish prophetic” and also that the lesson of “never again” from the Nazi created Holocaust — was that one should resist calls to “moderation” of this sort…

    • W.Jones
      November 28, 2013, 12:45 pm

      Good comparison.

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 12:02 pm

        @ W. Jones
        Yes, yet another deep irony of this Nazi-Zionist atmosphere, the greasing of facts all centered on both pro and con Israel conduct and Zionist ideology…. Is “Never Again” universal, or not? Devolves in application pretty simple, eh?

    • joemowrey
      November 28, 2013, 2:31 pm

      Excellent, Betsy. When circumstances are dire, as they are in the case of Palestine (as well as for the fate of our planet and our species in general) moderation is just another form of capitulation. Dumbing down our strategy to appeal to the dumbest among us is a very bad idea and has been proven to be a bad idea time and time again in our history. Like you, I say, “It’s amazing to me to hear the repeating patterns.”

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 12:05 pm

        @ joemowrey
        Less a dumbing down, than a hypocrisy–I haven’t heard a single antiseptic remark or comment or discussion in print about Nazis in my 71 years of life on this earth.

  13. Stephen Shenfield
    November 28, 2013, 12:16 pm

    The best way to show people what you think is the right way to do something is simply to DO IT. Let Jerome Slater write a book of his own in which he presents the facts about the situation in Israel-Palestine or (if that is too big a task) about just one significant aspect of the situation in exactly the way he thinks the facts should be presented. Let him then try to get his book published and promoted to the “mainstream.” His success or failure in that endeavor will then prove to everyone (including himself) whether his argument against Blumenthal is correct or not.

    On the substance, it never ceases to astonish me that presumably educated people can argue that early Zionism was not colonial. (It can reasonably be argued that it was not colonial in quite the same way as other colonial movements, but that is hardly the same thing: colonialism took a wide variety of forms.) All early Zionists acknowledged that Zionism was a project of colonial settlement. It was on that basis that they sought the support of existing colonial powers. The idea of denying the colonial character of Zionism never entered their heads. Why should it? At that time almost everyone in the colonialist countries — with the exception of socialists and other mavericks like Mark Twain — thought colonialism was a good thing.

    • Jerry Slater
      November 28, 2013, 12:49 pm

      Stephen Shenfield writes:

      “The best way to show people what you think is the right way to do something is simply to DO IT. Let Jerome Slater write a book of his own in which he presents the facts about the situation in Israel-Palestine or (if that is too big a task) about just one significant aspect of the situation in exactly the way he thinks the facts should be presented. Let him then try to get his book published and promoted to the “mainstream.” His success or failure in that endeavor will then prove to everyone (including himself) whether his argument against Blumenthal is correct or not.”

      Comment: I intend to do exactly that. Meanwhile, however, dozens and probably hundreds of books have been published and widely reviewed–usually but not always negatively–that are highly critical of Israel. Even Mearsheimer/Walt were reviewed in almost all the mainstream media, and their book is highly critical not only of the Israel Lobby, but of Israel. The demonstrable fact that this is so is one of the reasons I surmised–I have no proof–that the tone of Max’s book put it into special category, so far as the mainstream media is concerned.

      Shenfield: “On the substance, it never ceases to astonish me that presumably educated people can argue that early Zionism was not colonial.”

      Comment: I assume that is directed at what I wrote. But here is what I actually wrote: “at least at the level of motivation (‘CONSEQUENCES ARE A DIFFERENT MATTER), anyone describing Israel in terms of colonialism must also acknowledge that the driving force behind early Zionism was the felt urgent necessity (I would say, objective urgent necessity) to create a haven from murderous anti-Semitism. That must be distinguished from the obvious motives and complete lack of objective necessity that drove Western colonialism– power for its own sake, economic gain or simple greed, or “the white man’s burden,” none of which had the slightest thing to do with early Zionism…”

      Sure, Shenfield adds: “(It can reasonably be argued that it was not colonial in quite the same way as other colonial movements, but that is hardly the same thing: colonialism took a wide variety of forms)”– but which of the other “wide variety of forms” of colonialism were not motivated by some combination of either power, greed, or the white man’s burden? Or are you claiming that one or all of those were also the driving force behind Zionism?

      • seafoid
        November 28, 2013, 1:18 pm

        Placing “murderous” before “anti-Semitism” is presumably intended to heighten the justification for Zionism. Zionism from day 1 on the ground was a murderous ideology. So why bother mentioning that the anti-Semitism was murderous? Did it have anything whatsoever to do with the Arabs ? Did it justify all the murdering that Zionism has done since the ideology was inaugurated? Is a Palestinian still worth less than a Jewish fingernail ?

      • MHughes976
        November 28, 2013, 3:39 pm

        Everyone has the right not to be victimised by murderous plots, and if one is victimised the right to have the guilty punished and to have due restitution and reasonable compensation. Reasonable compensation cannot include removal of the rights of other individuals, since it is impossible for the removal of rights to be reasonable. To exceed right is to do wrong. Thus no one can acquire more than normal rights of restitution and compensation, thus no one who belongs to a group whose members are often victimised can claim more than normal compensation (such as exclusive acquisition of sovereign territory) than members of other groups. To think otherwise is to deny the equality of human rights, which does indeed open the way to the idea that the heart of one is not worth the fingernail of another, as Seafoid notes. Which is wrong, though Zionism does it. Most Zionists would add that they have every intention of being generous to those of lesser intrinsic right, though that is not enough to justify them.
        An otherwise unjustified claim to rights does not become justified because the person who makes it fears for his or her life. Moral claims are not determined by our hopes, fears or desires. All sorts of paradoxes would follow if they were determined in this way, mainly because all sorts of people could claim the same thing with equal plausibility because all can point to hopes, fears and desires which draw them to that thing.
        The motivation that made people Zionists is not a central point, the central point is the reasons, valid or not, that they could give. The motivations for becoming a Zionist may have included a strong element of fear, but also a strong element of desire to have greater political influence and a better, more exploitable place to live. The same for Jewish people in rural poverty in 1900 Russia, the same for British people in rural poverty in 1600, thinking of colonising America. These are not particularly bad motives but they do not in either case found a claim of right.

      • seafoid
        November 28, 2013, 5:08 pm

        Zionism does not recognize the language of human rights. It’s all about Jewish exceptionalism and eternal Jewish victimhood. Desperately sad.

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 12:17 pm

        Yes. Otherwise, every criminal who ever lived would get justice, not merely law.

      • RudyM
        November 28, 2013, 2:58 pm

        As others have pointed out in these comments, many early settlers in America came here to escape religious persecution, and to establish an area in which they could live out their own religious ideals (which didn’t always include much in the way of tolerance for other sects, of course). Purtian New England, Quaker Pennsylvania. . . Granted, in the case of someone who had state backing, like Penn, I assume the sponsoring government had economic interests in mind.

      • MHughes976
        November 28, 2013, 3:43 pm

        People from Hampshire or Essex who feared religious persecution did not because of this fear, however justified, acquire the right to expropriate or kill Micmacs or Seminoles. Who could think such a thing?

      • seafoid
        November 28, 2013, 4:57 pm

        “Who could think such a thing?”

        Traders

        Another aspect of settler colonialism is the mission civilatrice. Bringing civilization to the barbarians. Guilt sin and blame.

      • German Lefty
        November 28, 2013, 3:26 pm

        the driving force behind early Zionism was the felt urgent necessity (I would say, objective urgent necessity) to create a haven from murderous anti-Semitism.

        Misusing the Holocaust to justify further injustice. Puke, puke, puke! Shame on you!
        Besides, Israel was founded when the Holocaust was already over. Hence no urgent necessity.

      • MHughes976
        November 28, 2013, 3:49 pm

        I’ve been expressing myself more wordily but ‘puke’ does seem to sum up the appropriate reaction to the use of one wrong to justify another.

      • Ecru
        November 28, 2013, 3:53 pm

        @ German Lefty

        It’s worse. Early Zionism formed before Nazism was even an idea, the Holocaust was far in the future and Jews were doing better than ever in Western Europe.

        Honestly I used to think it was a response to anti-semitism, but as I read more about it and the history of Jews in Europe at the time I came to realise that whilst that was part of it, Zionism was perhaps more a response of some Jews who were terrified of assimilation, the wider world and their place in it. An existential dread you might say (if you were Nutter-boy’s speech writer) It was basically a call back to the Ghetto. And really what is Israel but the world’s largest ever Ghetto. It even has walls.

      • seafoid
        November 28, 2013, 5:28 pm

        I think Zionism was and is about leverage.

        They also wanted a place where everyone was Jewish. The idea about Jewish policemen, Jewish criminals, Jewish street cleaners etc.

        And there was the religious romance of it all. As if real life would be relieved of dullness and everyone would have a purpose.

        But life doesn’t work like that.

      • OlegR
        November 28, 2013, 6:23 pm

        Short history lesson.
        Zionism began in the 19 century in the wake of murderous antisemitism in
        eastern Europe.

        /Besides, Israel was founded when the Holocaust was already over. Hence no urgent necessity./
        link to en.wikipedia.org
        More education for you.

      • German Lefty
        November 29, 2013, 11:37 am

        @ My Zionist Facebook Friend

        Zionism began in the 19 century.
        I know that Zionism predates Nazism. I already told you that in one of my messages to you. Anyway, fleeing from persecution doesn’t give you the right to oppress, dispossess, or kill the indigenous people of your refuge. There is absolutely nothing that would excuse or justify political Zionism.

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 12:25 pm

        @ Ecru
        It’s even more crass. The German Jews wanted to have something of their own to compete with Aryan myth. Sorta like how we here in the USA keep getting more and more messages to equate Santa with Hannakuh.

      • MHughes976
        November 30, 2013, 11:49 am

        I think that Christian Zionism can be traced much further back, seeming to be (at least in book-length form) a British invention by the Member of Parliament and Hebrew scholar Henry Finch, writing ‘The Great Restauration’ in 1621. Can anyone trace it further back still? And can anyone trace Finch’s influence, if any, on British colonists in America who founded ‘Salems’? Or indeed on the Sabatian movement in the Ottoman Empire?

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 7:16 am

        I think that Christian Zionism can be traced much further back, seeming to be (at least in book-length form) a British invention by the Member of Parliament and Hebrew scholar Henry Finch, writing ‘The Great Restauration’ in 1621.

        The first chapters of Nahum Sokolow’s History of Zionism 1600-1918 traces the origins of the political movement. The major headings are “England and the Bible” and “The Re-admission of the Jews Into England”. He cites Sir Henry Finch (beginning on page 48) and the suppression by King James of another book Finch had written, Apocryphal Apocalypse. link to books.google.com

      • Ecru
        December 3, 2013, 7:14 am

        @ Citizen

        People are trying to import Santa into Hannakuh? Are they not aware that Saint Nicholas was a Turkish saint (Patron saint of prostitutes and children which could I think be taken as a tad iffy) and in his present form pretty much an echo of a VERY ancient North European idea of a Winter deity – possibly even Odin/Wotan. I’m pretty sure old Yahweh wouldn’t be too happy having him imported into “his people’s” festivities.

      • Steve C
        November 28, 2013, 3:37 pm

        “which of the other “wide variety of forms” of colonialism were not motivated by some combination of either power, greed, or the white man’s burden? Or are you claiming that one or all of those were also the driving force behind Zionism?”

        Power, greed and a form of ‘the white man’s burden’ were all factors behind Zionism. To what degree they were part of ‘the’ driving force for Zionism is open to debate, but how creating a safe haven could be accomplished without seeking power is difficult to understand. It is power that provided protection.
        How can you suggest that escape from persecution as a colonial motive is unique when you must be aware of American history? Colonial migration largely revolved around groups seeking a safe haven from religion persecution. That there were many different groups seeking protection eventually helped establish the principle freedom of religion. This principle likely motivated the tiny amount of colonial Jews into support for the Revolution.

      • MHughes976
        November 29, 2013, 6:55 am

        I don’t think that the desire for some power, for material prosperity and even to develop underdeveloped territories are outrageous things. I don’t regret all colonial ventures in every respect. I think it true that in the early days of Zionism there was a prospect that Jewish immigration would be beneficial all round – the Altneuland idea, a version of ‘WM burden’. It’s true to this day that the same prospect exists – a continuing Jewish presence in the ME could be beneficial all round. What these prospects could never in any have logic justified is a claim to exclusive Jewish birthright in Palestine, ie could not justify Zionism. The only logical reason for Zionism is not Jewish suffering, or Jewish ability to help – any more than Jewish excesses (agreed by many, including Professor Slater) are conclusive reasons against Zionism. The one and only logical reason would be that ‘this land is ours’ by the principles of moral philosophy applied to history, which is what all Zionists of all times and all shades believe. Well, the centuries-old Christian Zionist version, ‘that land is theirs’, would also serve the purpose.

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 12:37 pm

        @Steve C
        Not enlightening. The test of virtue is power. I fail to see anything unique about the “white man’s burden,” except, like the Jewish history, it sought, seeks to justify taking over others for some abstract supreme goal or god. It’s all comical and absurd except it was, has been believed, to the harm of many over history.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 4:26 pm

        Max is writing for an audience of folks who want to hear it how it is, and are interested in the stories. Max did not right a book of statistics or field reports. His is a book of anecdotes and sayings. It is a book about attitudes too. It’s like his “Feeling the Hate” videoclip where his subjects were openly racist against Obama. (link to liveleak.com)

        He was not trying to slip facts into the backdoor with the mass media. He wrote Republican Gomorrah and was not trying to write to a liberal Republican audience to wean them off conservative ideas without offending them.

        That was the point of his titles actually. He wants a provocative title to make his book stick out, and then he shows the anecdotes and stories that go along with that title. Maybe someone would object to his title of his videoclip being “Feeling the Hate” where people say racist things against Obama, because they do not want to hear the word “Hate.”

        Probably it is because of the anecdotes and stories that it generates discussion and interest. He wants them to come to grips with reality without being able to paw it off with moral relativism and other platitudes.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 8:42 pm

        anyone describing Israel in terms of colonialism must also acknowledge that the driving force behind early Zionism was the felt urgent necessity to create a haven from murderous anti-Semitism. That must be distinguished from the obvious motives and complete lack of objective necessity that drove Western colonialism

        What about the French Hugonots who were bloodily persecuted as heretics in France and came as colonists to America? The persecution in that instance was ongoing and severe. How many French Protestants do you know?

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 12:40 pm

        @ W jones

        It’s all the same.

      • Citizen
        November 29, 2013, 12:12 pm

        @ Jerry Slater
        I suggest you ask Americans Mearsheimer and Walt what they think about the treatment they received, still receive, once they got their views published in England, not America first.

  14. W.Jones
    November 28, 2013, 12:20 pm

    I heard a similar claim to Slater’s about Blumenthal’s “language” in a discussion group on the topic, and another person said that it gives the book flavor.

    Slater is right, and he is wrong. He is right that using neutral language would give Blumenthal’s book a better reception. It would create less animosity and so Zionists would be more likely to read it and thereby learn its facts. That is true for Slater himself, since he took the time to write a whole article criticizing the book on this issue.

    So: Slater, a liberal Zionist, opposes the book’s language because he believes the system’s supporters will write articles etc. opposing the book and will be motivated to do so based on the book’s language.

    Let me say that back to you: Slater believes the book’s language will motivate the system’s supporters to be hostile to the book, give it hostile reviews, etc. So he, a liberal Zionist, writes a review whose main points are negative ones about the book. (“Chapter Headings”, “Language and Tone”, “Rejection of Zionism”)

    Actually I am a bit surprised that Slater would write this negative article. Atzmon wrote a positive review of Blumenthal’s book, even though he claims he disagrees with Blumenthal’s ideology. M. Ellis, despite opposing what he sees as the ideological “triumphalism” of the Church of Scotland document actually gave it a good review (and was quoted in it).

    Regarding language and tone, it depends on who your audience is. If you want to stir people on the fence or “in the choir” to motivate them, strong language can be a good idea when it is used correctly. If you are trying to reach a negotiation or compromise with someone, it makes sense you might not use strong language. But if a person is going to attack you, perhaps you do want to talk to them in strong words. In this case, Blumenthal does see the Palestinians as being attacked with bulldozers and prison walls.

    • American
      November 28, 2013, 12:56 pm

      ”He is right that using neutral language would give Blumenthal’s book a better reception. It would create less animosity and so Zionists would be more likely to read it and thereby learn its facts”…..Jones

      Dont think so. Zionist wont accept the ‘facts’…..maybe one in a thousand or 10 thousand would. From what I have seen on MW from Jews who turned, so to speak, it was just such injustice that Max’s showcases that caused them to revolt against the immorality of Israel.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 4:50 pm

        It happened when a situation forced them to confront reality. Like when the sax player was in the Lebanon War and saw prisoner cells he thought were badly kept dog pens.

  15. American
    November 28, 2013, 12:37 pm

    Ditto above comments.

    Jerry, Jerry, Jerry…you are still wandering around in la la land, hooked on the anti semitism drug, the necessity of Jewish separation, all the faulty justifications for Israel. Still trying to make 2 wrongs equal a right for the greater good of the Jews.

    It’s a failure. Confess the original sin, make reparations for it, ask, dont take, to stay in Palestine—and Israel might survive. Or do as you’ve been doing and wait for the ‘sheer’ contempt’ of others —not to mention the conflicting interest of the rest of the world—-to finally overwhelm it.

  16. W.Jones
    November 28, 2013, 12:38 pm

    Slater writes:
    * Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States during most of Netanyahu’s current term is described as Netanyahu’s “attack dog,” to be “sicced” on critics of Israel. To be sure, Oren is dreadful, but the language is off-putting.

    I am dumbfounded. Calling someone who is “dreadful” an “attack dog” is off-putting for Slater?

    • German Lefty
      November 28, 2013, 4:08 pm

      I am dumbfounded. Calling someone who is “dreadful” an “attack dog” is off-putting for Slater?

      Please, don’t be dumbfounded about Zionist “thinking”. If the Zionist can’t refute the book’s content, then he needs to distract people from that content by whining about the language… and invoking the Holocaust. Zionist Jews in Germany do that all the time, too.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 5:09 pm

        Can you write something for MW, say, on Blumenthal’s book or on Germans’ feelings re: anti-semitism and the State’s system? (I am not an editor, just making a suggestion).

      • German Lefty
        November 28, 2013, 5:59 pm

        @ W.Jones
        Well, I am not a particularly good writer. A school friend once remarked that my essays (for German class) read like instruction manuals. Besides, I already express my thoughts in the comments sections.
        Writing an article on Germans’ feelings about anti-Semitism is difficult because there are no surveys on this topic. (Only Jews are ever asked about anti-Semitism.) There are merely indications, such as reader comments or letters that get published. Recently, one of my comments on the Spiegel website did not pass moderation. In that comment, I blamed the “Central Council of Jews in Germany” for the bad reputation of Jews in Germany. I stated that the Council needs to distance itself from Israel and its crimes. I assume that my comment wasn’t published because blaming the Council is considered “anti-Semitic”.
        If Mondoweiss is interested in a German perspective, then I suggest contacting people like Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Shir Hever, or Ken Jebsen.

      • W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 7:03 pm

        I see what you are saying. German culture/society has a huge burden drawn around it because of the Holocaust. Perhaps you could write a short essay on how Germans could deal with this legacy without it making them complicit in the system. For example, you could point to examples of revival of Jewish culture in Germany while also pointing to the problem of giving nuclear subs.

        Max talks about how Berlin is the main foreign city for Israelis and they are rather liberal in their views. Perhaps that subject Max discusses would not be one with such an enormous weight around you, while allowing you to write positively about a large group Israelis, supporting their political freedom, choices, views, rights. etc. A friend could help with editing. Opposing anti-semitism, caring about Palestinians and Israelis, and promoting rights would not be some kind of “crutch”, but part of the thesis.

      • LeaNder
        November 28, 2013, 7:29 pm

        Writing an article on Germans’ feelings about anti-Semitism is difficult because there are no surveys on this topic. (Only Jews are ever asked about anti-Semitism.)

        I hope that ill-researched statements like this, which seems to mainly rely on a narrow anecdotal field of vision, will not make it into the upper realms of this blog on anything about Germany.

        You could start to take a look at some standard empirical studies that as far as I remember regularly include questions concerning antisemitism like e.g. the ALLBUS study. Thus, no not only “the Jews” are asked about antisemitism.

        Lately this is covered in these studies: Gruppenbezogene Menschenfeindlichkeit (GMF-Survey 2007) , in other words what is looked at is “group-focused enmity”, among other things antisemitism. Here a link to the institute that conducted these studies between 2002 to 2012 or more precisely in this case the fields covered. Antisemitism is one aspect looked at. In any case the Gesis Database is always a good tool to start with before talking about matters of which you clearly do not have even the most basic knowledge. If you had you would know that surfaces frequently in some basic empirical studies.

      • German Lefty
        November 29, 2013, 12:38 pm

        @ LeaNder
        Why don’t you change your user name into “I hate German Lefty”? That would save you a lot of typing work. In any case, you should read what I actually wrote before you start insulting me. The sources that you linked don’t include the information that I was talking about. Of course, there are studies about German anti-Semitism for which Germans are asked their opinion on Jews (and Israel). However, that’s not what I meant. I was talking about surveys that deal with the German people’s views on anti-Semitism. For example: How do Germans define anti-Semitism? How widespread do Germans believe anti-Semitism is? Have Germans ever witnessed anti-Semitism? To what extent do Germans distinguish between anti-Semitism and negative criticism of Israel? Which of the following statements do Germans consider anti-Semitic? [insert examples] I was thinking of a study like this: link to spiegel.de Just with non-Jewish respondents. Why are only Jews asked about what they consider anti-Semitic? Jews don’t have a monopoly on defining anti-Semitism and on determining what constitutes legitimate criticism of Israel. The views of non-Jews must matter, too.

      • German Lefty
        November 29, 2013, 5:04 pm

        @ W.Jones
        I wrote a reply to your post but it didn’t pass moderation. Why can’t the moderators simply delete the part(s) they find problematic and publish the rest? I honestly have no idea what I did wrong. I have made similar statements in previous posts that got published. The Slater guy is allowed to publish an article that tries to justify the denial of Palestinian rights but my post that doesn’t deny anyone’s rights is rejected!? Seriously?

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 7:29 pm

        Hi G.Lefty and Leander,
        I saw your little back and forth between what I meant. However I just meant it as a broad category, so neither of your responses was incorrect.

        Anyway, I think something positive about what Blumenthal mentioned- liberal Israelis who have made a home in Germany, their attitudes, their feeling about life, liberal views, sympathy for peace and equality, how they get along, the range of views among them, etc. could make a good article that would avoid other pitfalls.

      • Citizen
        November 30, 2013, 12:06 am

        @ German Lefty

        I’d like to see a study of perceptions such as you suggest, including a comparison of the responses by Jews and non-Jews. I’ve never seen one.

      • German Lefty
        November 30, 2013, 5:15 am

        @ Citizen
        Right! A comparison of the responses by Jews and non-Jews would be the most interesting thing that could be done with such an additional survey. And that’s why this survey is not conducted. The person who commissioned it would immediately be accused of anti-Semitism because the survey’s assumed purpose is to prove (Zionist) Jewish paranoia.

      • Citizen
        December 1, 2013, 3:53 am

        @ German Lefty
        Perhaps significant disparity in the results of said comparison would shatter a lot of assumptions for those participants willing to be introspective and critical of themselves. The questions themselves should avoid abstractions, code verbiage, rhetoric as much as possible to reasonably reveal the likely logic or lack of logic, i.e., the mentality of the respondents.

  17. Parity
    November 28, 2013, 12:47 pm

    If Jews are not willing to have a binational state where they would likely become a minority, then the solution is to have two states–one Jewish and the other Arab–with identical borders, forming a condominium or “parallel states.” The relationship between these two states would be equal, regardless of the size of each state’s population, thus giving each state enough power to protect its people and ensure their rights (to land, water, and other resources) without fear of being dominated by the other. Each state would have its own democratically elected legislature and government. The two legislatures would come together to make laws affecting the common territory, and a special condominium government that was equally staffed by both governments, and with positions of power rotated, would carry out and enforce these laws. Internal and external security would be the responsibility of the condominium government. See parityforpeace.org for details on how such a plan might work. This plan would allow the Palestinians to return to their homes while maintaining a Jewish state that would be a haven for Jews.

    • German Lefty
      November 28, 2013, 6:14 pm

      @ Parity

      The relationship between these two states would be equal, regardless of the size of each state’s population.
      Sounds very undemocratic. This would be a win for the Zionists. Although less than 50% of the people in historic Palestine are Jews (the percentage will shrink more and more), they get to keep 50% of the power.

      This plan would allow the Palestinians to return to their homes while maintaining a Jewish state that would be a haven for Jews.
      Why should there be a “Jewish state” on Palestinian land? Why should only Jews get a haven (on other people’s land) and not gays, bisexuals, gypsies, the disabled, transsexuals, intersexuals, atheists, or women?

      • Parity
        November 29, 2013, 10:07 pm

        There us precedent for states having equal power. That is how the United Nations General Assembly is set up. Equal power between the Israelis and the Palestinians would be a plus for the Palestinians, because the far richer Israelis could well dominate a single state, even if they are a minority; wealth buys power.

        Judaism is a nationalistic religion: according to Judaism, God has chosen to have a special relationship with the Jews and has given them the Land of Israel–indeed, commanded them to take that land. Many Jews therefore consider themselves not just a religious group but a nation. If you regard the Jews as a nation, then I think you could justify having a state for them, especially considering how they have been persecuted. They should not have been allowed to create a state where they were not wanted, but they have done so. Now we need to figure out a way for Palestinians and Jews to share the land as equals, and that is what Parity for Peace tries to do.

      • German Lefty
        November 30, 2013, 6:02 pm

        @ Parity

        There us precedent for states having equal power. That is how the United Nations General Assembly is set up.
        Of course, states should have equal power. Internationally, it’s “One state, one vote.” Nationally, it’s “One person, one vote.”
        There can’t be more than one state on the same land. And why should there be? Historic Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinians. Any non-Palestinian who wants to live there has to integrate into Palestinian society and the Palestinian state.
        Omar Barghouti wrote this:

        Bi-nationalism assumes that Jews around the world form a nation and is consequently premised on a Jewish national right in Palestine, on par and to be reconciled with the national right of the indigenous, predominantly Arab population. Bi-nationalism today, despite its variations, still upholds this ahistorical and morally untenable national right of the colonial-settlers.

        link to mondoweiss.net
        Although Barghouti’s words are about bi-nationalism, they apply to your proposal, too.
        I had a look at your website and it says among other things: “Both Jews and Palestinians have the right of return.” Your proposal is based on the false assumption that foreign Jews have the same right to Palestinian land as the indigenous Palestinians. Therefore, it’s unacceptable. It’s a Zionist proposal that hides behind a distorted definition of “equality”.

        Equal power between the Israelis and the Palestinians would be a plus for the Palestinians, because the far richer Israelis could well dominate a single state, even if they are a minority; wealth buys power.
        Nope. It’s totally undemocratic because the Jewish minority in historic Palestine would always have 50% of the power. Imagine this situation: There are 10 Jews and 10 million Palestinians in historic Palestine. According to your suggested system, these 10 Jews would have 50% of the power. Per capita, each Jew would have far more power than each Palestinian. It would be almost like the status quo: The Jewish minority rules over the Palestinian majority.
        In a democratic one-state solution, the Palestinian majority has the chance to make sure that wealth won’t buy power. It is up to the Palestinians to decide what kind of state (or states) they want to have on their land.

        Judaism is a nationalistic religion: according to Judaism, God has chosen to have a special relationship with the Jews and has given them the Land of Israel–indeed, commanded them to take that land. Many Jews therefore consider themselves not just a religious group but a nation.
        Are you seriously trying to argue that religion is a legitimate basis for founding a state … on other people’s land? The Bible is not a land register. Besides, what if MY imaginary friend commanded me to rule over the entire world? Why should other people feel compelled to give up their rights and bow to me and the crazy ideas of my imaginary friend?
        Jews are a religious group, just like Christians or Muslims. No more, no less. All religions are equally invalid. No religion is above the law.

        If you regard the Jews as a nation, then I think you could justify having a state for them, especially considering how they have been persecuted.
        Even if Jews actually were a nation, then this would NOT give them the right to found a Jewish state on Palestinian land. Palestine is NOT a land without a people. The people of Palestine are Palestinians, not Jews.
        Again: Being persecuted does NOT give you the right to found a state on other people’s land.

        Now we need to figure out a way for Palestinians and Jews to share the land as equals, and that is what Parity for Peace tries to do.
        Nope. Palestine belongs to the Palestinians. Only they have the right to decide how Palestine should be governed. Omar Barghouti offered Israeli Jews* equal citizenship in reunited Palestine. He said that this “is the most magnanimous — rational — offer any oppressed indigenous population can present to its oppressors.” Again, the principle is “One person, one vote.” Why should the Jewish-Israeli minority be given 50% of the power? Your proposal amounts to: “One Jewish person, more than one vote. One Palestinian person, less than one vote.”

        * Non-Israeli Jews are excluded from that offer!

      • Hostage
        December 1, 2013, 7:52 am

        Bi-nationalism assumes that Jews around the world form a nation

        Barghouti is either being disingenuous or talking nonsense. The Ottomans had a multinational government including an autonomous Jewish national community in Palestine before he was ever born.

        That fact really has nothing to do with other “Jews around the world”. Today there are millions of indigenous Israeli Jews with the same fundamental human right to leave and return to their country of origin, & exercise the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples.

        The Ottomans said the same sort of things about the need for others to assimilate to their culture. They called it “Turkification” and the inequality only led to an Arab Uprising.

        That policy violated religious privileges and rights which have been accorded to different “nationalities”, including both the Jews and Arabs of Palestine. Each of those national groups had exercised local autonomy through their own officials, courts, and councils for centuries.

        The Proclamation for the Ottoman Empire, 1908 described the situation:

        9. Every citizen will enjoy complete liberty and equality, regardless of nationality or religion, and be submitted to the same obligations. All Ottomans, being equal before the law as regards rights and duties relative to the State, are eligible for government posts, according to their individual capacity and their education. Non-Muslims will be equally liable to the military law.
        10. The free exercise of the religious privileges which have been accorded to different nationalities will remain intact.

        Like it or not, those “existing rights” were, and still are, protected by international law according to the ICJ. You are never going to convince the local Jewish superpower to accept fewer rights than they had under the Ottomans and call it progress or a just settlement.

  18. irishmoses
    November 28, 2013, 1:35 pm

    I think Slater’s point was well-taken regarding tone and gearing your presentation toward the audience you are trying to influence. The book was well-received on MW mainly because he reinforces the beliefs of this particular choir. But so what? We already agree with him. The target of the book and of the I-P debate in general, is the liberal-Zionist middle. Those are the folks that need to be changed, to be convinced that the old narratives are false and that the facts on the ground, from 1948 on, demonstrate a massive and ongoing war crime. Most importantly, those folks need to be convinced that the Israel project went in a profoundly immoral direction from 1948 on, that it is incompatible with any form of moral Judaism, and that it must be loudly rejected and those who blindly continue to support it, shamed and shunned.
    As Slater said, the only way the ship of revisionist Zionism is going to be turned around is if liberal Zionists become convinced that it is a moral necessity and vocally and actively insist that it change its course, change its captain and deck officers, and head in an entirely different direction. One of the great ironies is that liberal, American Jews who led the charge in our own civil rights struggle remain so clueless and uninvolved in the I-P struggle.

    The question is how to influence and change the I-P view of liberal American Jews so they do become involved. As factually devastating as Goliath is, its tone played into the hands of the Zionist hardliners and made their case that the book wasn’t worthy of reading far easier. That is a real shame.

    • seafoid
      November 28, 2013, 4:46 pm

      “The target of the book and of the I-P debate in general, is the liberal-Zionist middle. ”

      I think it’s their kids/ grandkids . Phil’s mom’s friends aren’t going to read it.
      The Dersh and his cohort will shuffle offstage shortly and so will a lot of the people who think of Israel as a miracle.
      The battle is for the minds of the people now in their 20s to 40s.

  19. Woody Tanaka
    November 28, 2013, 1:42 pm

    “The second premise, however, is that there is no chance of these essential changes in U.S. policies occurring unless a majority of American Jews become convinced that such actions are required by Israel’s own best interests”

    That may be one way to do it. But another may be to bypass American Jews and appeal to the other 98% of Americans. If they can be made to flex their political muscles to oppose the barbarity of the zionist system, then the opinion of American Jews would be irrelevant. I think appealing to the American ideals (which exposes like this book, M&W’s book, Carter’s book, etc. do) is a very good strategy.

    • MHughes976
      November 28, 2013, 4:35 pm

      To persuade people to whom the situation must, absolutely must, be determined by the best interests of one side to a dispute that they can second-guess and overrule the judgement of those actually involved in the dispute about where those interests lie seems like a very tall order. No amount of clever journalism could do it. Meanwhile there is something utterly horrible about the idea that Palestinian rights are in the gift of Western people many miles distant. They are privileges rather than rights on that showing. If we – American Jewish people, Westerners in general – withhold rights until we are good and ready to accord them, and think no worse of ourselves for doing that, we are all oppressors and I think that one day we might all be punished.

  20. RudyM
    November 28, 2013, 2:22 pm

    Goliath may not have the desired effect on the Jewish minority in the U.S., but once again, if enough of the gentile majority were to wake up to this sort of information, the Jewish minority might have no choice but to step aside when it comes to U.S. policy re: Israel.

  21. German Lefty
    November 28, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Why does Mondoweiss publish such Zionist crap?

    • Sibiriak
      November 29, 2013, 1:16 am

      German Lefty:

      Why does Mondoweiss publish such Zionist crap?

      Because a clash of well-articulated ideas is far more enlightening, interesting, and useful than a party-line echo chamber.

      • German Lefty
        November 29, 2013, 11:25 am

        Because a clash of well-articulated ideas is far more enlightening, interesting, and useful than a party-line echo chamber.

        Zionism is racism. Therefore, any article that defends Zionism is hate speech. Well-articulated racism is still racism.

      • Sibiriak
        November 30, 2013, 3:30 am

        German Lefty says:

        [Sibiriak:] Because a clash of well-articulated ideas is far more enlightening, interesting, and useful than a party-line echo chamber.

        Zionism is racism.

        That’s just an opinion; many don’t share it. Certainly not in the U.S. Support for Zionist Israel is sky high. (Besides, there are many variations of Zionism. Cultural Zionism need not be racist.).

        You have a right (thankfully) to express your minority opinion, and to try to persuade the majority to agree with you. Obviously, you can only persuade people if you engage with them and not isolate yourself in a party-line echo chamber.

        Therefore, any article that defends Zionism is hate speech.

        Well, many say anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and and any article that promotes anti-Zionism is hate speech.

        Why would you want to emulate such attacks on freedom of speech?

        Who decides what is and what is not hate speech? The majority? If that were so, you would be in trouble.

  22. lobewyper
    November 28, 2013, 3:36 pm

    Here’s my take for what it’s worth:

    1) I totally agree with Jerry that Max’s writing style is off-putting. When I read such writing, I automatically discount the author’s arguments, because I view him/her as having to use sarcasm and innuendo as compensation precisely because the facts of his/her argument are probably weak. Although I am part of the choir, I didn’t like this aspect of Max’s book.

    2) I congratulate those posters who disagree with Jerry as well as Jerry himself for mainly sticking to the arguments and not resorting to insults. This is the way adults exchange views with one another. And thanks to Jerry for his detailed responses to the major questions raised about his views.

    3) So far as the possible need for “strong words” is concerned, may I remind you of Seymour Hersh’s writing with respect to the My Lai war massacre? I don’t recall his use of anything but typical reportorial language, but the impact of his writing was nonetheless huge, and probably the more so because he avoided Blumenthal’s style.

    4) I think that Max’s righteous indignation contributes heavily to his writing style. I offer this not as a justification of his style, but as an explanation-in part-of it.

    5) Although it is a little bit off-topic, I’ve always wondered why the United Nations (as well as most member-states at the time Israel was created) did not insist and has not insisted that any Palestinian state should be a genuine state with its own military, airspace, etc. What we seem to have had until fairly recently is a two-states for two peoples approach in which only one of the states is real, while the other will be a pretend (quasi) state. Of course, this “little detail” has never to my knowledge been openly presented in the MSM.) Moreover, I wonder why I have so seldom heard anyone on these boards express unhappiness that the “two state solution” would actually be a “one and one-half state” (if that) resolution.

    As for Jerry’s forthcoming book, I can heardly wait!

  23. German Lefty
    November 28, 2013, 3:55 pm

    @ lobewyper
    I think that Max’s righteous indignation contributes heavily to his writing style.
    Of course! That’s the explanation AND justification!

    I can heardly wait!
    Please wait silently.

    • yrn
      November 29, 2013, 4:59 am

      LG
      I can heardly wait!
      Please wait silently.

      That’s the Stasi way to tell you SFU. OR…..

  24. irishmoses
    November 28, 2013, 4:30 pm

    lobewyper said:

    I totally agree with Jerry that Max’s writing style is off-putting. When I read such writing, I automatically discount the author’s arguments, because I view him/her as having to use sarcasm and innuendo as compensation precisely because the facts of his/her argument are probably weak. Although I am part of the choir, I didn’t like this aspect of Max’s book.

    Spot-on Lobewyper. And, if it’s off-putting to many of us who are in the choir, imagine how off-putting it is to those outside the choir that we all agree need to be convinced to change their views and actions. There is nothing more powerful than a simple, straightforward, factual argument. Once you start adding colorful adverbs, adjectives, and other polemic tools the power of the argument to persuade diminishes.

    Unfortunately, this thread is comprised largely of attacks on the messenger without confronting the more critical issue of whether Max’s book will actually influence the I-P debate, and, if not, why not.

    • lobewyper
      November 28, 2013, 5:21 pm

      @irishmoses: Well said and thanks for extending my argument nicely to the non-choir members!

    • LeaNder
      November 28, 2013, 8:52 pm

      I wouldn’t go as far as either of you. I like Max style, the tapestry he weaves and the attention he gives to voices that quite obviously are under heavy assault inside the Israeli society. I could imagine that if he does so, he may be partly aware that he cannot do what Jerome Slater feels he should do, address the mainstream. He comes across as absolutely honest, he realizes that for him as an American it is much more easy to feel like they do, than to feel like the vast majority that consider them radicals or extremist at best and traitors at worst.

      There were two points where I had slight troubles. At least they come to mind now.

      One was the passage about the Jerusalem (?) soccer club. Why did I have problems with it? Since that is something that happens in Europe too. A friend of mine once did a documentary on a Berlin soccer fan base. She was absolutely horrified about the experience. These guys are not kids from the lower layers of society she told me at the time, but some peculiar type of weekend racists. Over the week they work in banks, insurances or other type of offices, none from the blue collar section as far as she could see. Kids from the middle class, well off. Since that time I occasionally pay attention. It seems to be mainly about black players lately, I vaguely remember events in Eastern Germany, There no doubt is a pretty vicious and racist fan base in the larger soccer fans scene. Wasn’t there a French policeman that was almost beaten to death at one point by such guys, trying to stop them? That reminded me of the fears my friend experienced while spending time with the people in Berlin, I have never seen here that afraid, that paranoid before. She was close to stopping the whole project.

      The other passage that comes to mind was about the “progroms” against the black asylum seekers. We had black people beaten to death by a mob of racists in the East. In the 90′s there was a case of xenophobic arson in Rostock against a refugee center. What I wondered about was, can the police really stand by and only watch it when stores are vandalized and looted? But yes, I registered a slight disbelieve at that point.

      So yes, I occasionally had this don’t we have the same problem at least in Europe or Germany, but I guess that is not quite what you mean.

      Maybe I do not understand this:

      It won’t, however—primarily because so many Jewish and other American “pro-Israelis,” like Alterman, are impervious to the facts. But Blumenthal must also bear at least some share of the responsibility for the hostile reception that Goliath is receiving—even from “liberal Zionists,” let alone from the majority of Israelis and American Jews who are well to the right of that small and increasingly beleaguered group.

      And since American Jews are well to the right of the “increasingly beleaguered” liberal Zionists he should have changed his headers, changed his book, help to make them less “beleaguered”? As far as I am concerned I did not pay too much attention on the chapter titles. I paid more attention to the flow of the narrative.

      I do not think it’s about the chapter titles, I think they respond that way since he directly challenges them. The reminiscences of vocabulary that triggers Nazi imagery, are simply the most easiest route of attack.

      • Sibiriak
        November 28, 2013, 10:40 pm

        Blumenthal must also bear at least some share of the responsibility for the hostile reception that Goliath is receiving—even from “liberal Zionists

        “Liberal Zionists” hostile to an profoundly anti-Zionist message? Unavoidable.

    • American
      November 29, 2013, 10:53 am

      ”Spot-on Lobewyper. And, if it’s off-putting to many of us who are in the choir, imagine how off-putting it is to those outside the choir that we all agree need to be convinced to change their views and actions. There is nothing more powerful than a simple, straightforward, factual argument. Once you start adding colorful adverbs, adjectives, and other polemic tools the power of the argument to persuade diminishes.”…irishmoses>>>>

      You have absolutely no idea what ‘motivates’ the vast majority of people to take action. If the ‘Facts’ are presented without arousing “emotions” it does not inspire people to action.
      If the bare facts were all it took to motivate people to take some action then the entire world would all still be driving ‘black Fords”.

      • irishmoses
        November 29, 2013, 1:43 pm

        American said:

        You have absolutely no idea what ‘motivates’ the vast majority of people to take action. If the ‘Facts’ are presented without arousing “emotions” it does not inspire people to action.
        If the bare facts were all it took to motivate people to take some action then the entire world would all still be driving ‘black Fords”.

        Well, we are not talking about the vast majority of people; we are talking about a very specific subset and whether Max’s language/tone would or would not be off-putting to that subset. While the goal of argument is to gain the emotional attachment of the argument’s target audience, over-the-top language, sarcasm, etc. can make that target audience tune out which is Slater’s point.

        Unfortunately, you are attacking on the messenger without confronting the more critical issue of whether Max’s book will actually influence the I-P debate, and, if not, why not.

      • American
        November 29, 2013, 3:40 pm

        “Unfortunately, you are attacking on the messenger without confronting the more critical issue of whether Max’s book will actually influence the I-P debate, and, if not, why not.”….irishmoses

        No I’m not attacking any messenger…AND….we dont know WHO Max wrote the book for…..Slater tells us that he wrote it ‘for the liberal and
        centrist Jews……but Max hasnt said that.
        Now back to the real point…..no one knows YET what influence Max’s book will have.
        Both you and Slater are ‘presuming’ and predicting”..presuming it was written to appeal ‘only to Jews and predicting that it will not influence them. I agree it wont influence most zionist, they are hopeless cases…regardless of the language of the book.
        However it doesnt matter whether it influences the Jews about Israel or not—they wont be the deciders of what happens to Israel.
        What happens to Israel will be be determined in the end by how far the Zionist push the US (and the world) against it’s own interest and how much attention the US public is paying to Israel and the Lobby’s activities.
        That is the real world and political reality.
        But if Max’s book infuriates/shocks even a dozen or hundred people, whether it produces a real ‘turning point’ or not, it’s another hole in the Israeli wall.

  25. Jim Holstun
    November 28, 2013, 5:06 pm

    In his continuing effort to defend the ethnic cleansing of 1948 and its aftermath, Professor Slater ignores the elementary distinction between metropolitan colonial projects like King Leopold’s Congo, and settler colonial projects like the Scots Irish in Ulster, the European settlers in North America and Australia, and the European and North American Jews in Palestine. Of course, most settlers had suffered genuine economic hardship and political persecution; and of course, all of them commenced engaging in genuine economic exploitation and political persecution of the indigenes. Really, there’s no room for Jewish exceptionalism here.

    As to the special, non-ethnocentric motivation for Jewish settlement in Palestine: Professor Slater should reread Theodor Herzl, who presents a Jewish Palestine as “a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilisation as opposed to barbarism.” See also his discussions–however duplicitous–of how much Palestinian Arabs would benefit from Zionist settlement: sounds a little White Man’s Burdenish to me.

    Professor Slater’s argument that the key to resolving the problem lies in convincing American Jews to pull back to the lands stolen in 1948 is disturbing, since it derives either from ethnic supremacism (i.e., the tiny minority of US Jews has a special right to determine US foreign policy in this area), or an overestimation of the p0wer of “the Jewish Lobby” (i.e., ignoring Christian Zionists and the enormous stake of weapons manufacturers and petrocapitalists in maintaining the current turbulence in the Middle East). The latter argument is not substantively anti-Semitic, but it is all too open to appropriation by Jew haters.

  26. American
    November 28, 2013, 6:15 pm

    Can we get to the bottom line please?

    Have the decades of neutral language, of legal language, of Palestine pleading language, of human rights language, of in Israel’s own best interest language, of diplomatic language, of the world’s chastizing language, of the real politic language…..HAS ANY OF IT WORKED? HAS IT CHANGED ANYTHING ABOUT ISRAEL?

    NO. It hasnt. Do something different.

  27. Hostage
    November 28, 2013, 7:36 pm

    but what purpose is served, other than sheer contempt, when Blumenthal adds that “male bondage enthusiasts enjoyed having the remainder of their circumcised foreskin sewn over the tip of their penis?” (46-7)

    What should our reaction be, when Jews who deliberately make themselves uncircumcised exercise sovereignty over Muslim places of worship in Palestine, based solely upon their “historical” rights under the broken covenant?

    Rabbi Issac addressed their rights under the so-called historical connection when he explained that this particular act was one of the sins committed among Hellenistic or worldly Jews at the time of the destruction of the Temple, and that it had led to their exile. See Talmud – Mas. Menachoth 53b and esp. footnote 16. link to halakhah.com

    The Jewish historian Josephus mentioned it in his commentary on the similar, supposedly scornful or contemptible practices condemned in I Maccabees 1:11 and the Book of Jubilees 15: 26-27. See “The Jewish Antiquities”, Whiston Edition, Book XII, section 237, link to perseus.tufts.edu

    It should go without saying that Gentile believers were burned at the stake for translating the Hebrew scriptures into the common English vernacular and that some of them felt that sort of persecution was an on-going problem that led them to colonize the “New World”.

  28. Sibiriak
    November 28, 2013, 9:05 pm

    Slater writes:

    I start from two premises. The first is that in light of Israeli intransigence, there is no chance of attaining a two-state settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without strong and sustained pressures from the American government, very probably including making its military, economic, and diplomatic support of Israel conditional upon the end of the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians and the creation of a viable and genuinely independent Palestinian state.

    The second premise, however, is that there is no chance of these essential changes in U.S. policies occurring unless a majority of American Jews become convinced that such actions are required by Israel’s own best interests…

    [snip]

    It is clear that Blumenthal agrees with the two premises I describe above…

    But is that really true–does Blumenthal agree with the second premiss?

    Slater says the proof that he does is:

    in his preface he writes: “it is Americans’ tax dollars and political support that are crucial in sustaining the present state of affairs. I want to show what they are paying for, the facts as they really are today, in unadorned and unsanitized form, without sentimentality or nostalgia….Readers may not agree with all of my conclusions, but I hope they will carefully consider the facts that appear on these pages. They are, after all, the facts on the ground.”

    I don’t see how that statement shows that Blumenthal has adopted the second premiss. Maybe he has, but Slater doesn’t give evidence of it.

    This gist of Slater’s argument is that Blumenthal’s book is too radical in content and too off-putting in tone to reach his supposed chosen target audience, which is:

    the “liberal Zionists”: American Jews (and their supporters) who are proudly liberal in their general values and in the context of American politics, who are unhappy about the Israeli occupation, oppose the settlements, and support a two-state settlement—but who are not prepared to say either that Zionism was a mistake from the outset or even that it is no longer justified.

    But did Blumenthal really aim his work first and foremost at these “liberal Zionists” ?

    (I would also add: the more Americans in general turn against actually-existing Zionism, the more liberal Jewish Zionists will feel strong pressure to do the same.)

    • Jerry Slater
      November 28, 2013, 11:12 pm

      Those are very good questions, Sibiriak. Only Max Blumenthal can answer them. Maybe he will; I hope so.

    • Jerry Slater
      November 28, 2013, 11:36 pm

      RoHa writes: “It was still wrong to create a “haven” by taking over Palestine and driving out the Palestinians. The safety of Jews is not so important that it outweighs the rights of the Palestinians.”

      I agree that this is a crucial question, and I’ve tried to address it in a number of my writings–including, though in abbreviated form, in the parts of my review essay on jeromeslater.com that space prevented Phil from including. In brief, my argument is that in 1948 there was a tragic dilemma, namely that the Zionist argument that the Jews needed a state of their own was a very persuasive one, but their various arguments that such a state must be in Palestine and nowhere else were very weak. In particular, the argument that they had a right to displace the Palestinians because they had lived there 2000 years ago is an embarrassingly bad one.

      Therefore (in my view), there was only one acceptable argument, namely that by 1948 there was no other place to put a Jewish state except for Palestine. Other alternatives should have been considered, and in fact a handful of people did so: Israel should have been carved out of the defeated Germany. Under such circumstances, who would have argued that this was very unfair to the Germans? Tragically, no serious consideration was given to this solution–neither by the US and other Allies, nor by the Zionists.

      What then of the Nakba? My view is that if the Nakba had truly been the only way to create a Jewish state, then a Jewish state should not have been created, regardless of the need–and, to repeat, it was a real need–for a Jewish state. Then, the crucial question becomes: was the Nakba really the only way? I don’t think so. I think there might well have been alternatives, and I have discussed what those alternatives might have been–see my long article a year ago in the journal, “Zionism, the Jewish State Issue, and an Israeli-Palestinian Settlement.” For a shorter outline of my argument, go to my essay on Goliath in jeromeslater.com.

      Of course, I am under no illusions that this argument will persuade those who find no justification at all for Zionism, ever. So I suppose that argument is really aimed at liberal Zionists.

      • RoHa
        November 28, 2013, 11:57 pm

        “Therefore (in my view), there was only one acceptable argument, namely that by 1948 there was no other place to put a Jewish state except for Palestine.”

        Then there should not have been a Jewish state at all, even if one was necessary. A Jewish state, to be run by Jews for the benefit of Jews, on any populated piece of land would have been wrong, since it would have inevitably required either transfer of population (by bribery, you suggest) or subjugation of the non-Jews living there.

        No matter how politely the idea is phrased, it still comes down to the claim that Jews matter more than other people.

      • Walker
        November 29, 2013, 7:41 am

        No matter how politely the idea is phrased, it still comes down to the claim that Jews matter more than other people.

        Absolutely. Well said.

        At the same time, as others have noted, Mr Slater deserves great credit for honestly engaging here, and doing so in a civil manner.

      • Sibiriak
        November 29, 2013, 8:42 am

        No matter how politely the idea is phrased, it still comes down to the claim that Jews matter more than other people.

        Or–Zionists argued–the great plight of Jews–the impending death of millions– justified the imposition of some far lesser sacrifices on a small portion of the vast Arab nation (there was no “Palestinian nation”).

        These were the years of the royal commission and the partition plan. Jabotinsky was called to give evidence before the commission in February 1937 and he delivered a forceful statement of his policy.

        The position of east European Jewry, he said, was a disaster of historic magnitude. Millions, many millions of Jews had to be saved. They wanted a state because this was the normal condition for a people. Even the smallest and the humblest nations, who did not claim any merit, any role in humanity’s development, had states of their own. Yet when Zionism asked for the same on behalf of the most unfortunate of all peoples, it was said that it was claiming too much.

        The Arabs, it was said, would become a minority in the Jewish state. But why should this be regarded as a hardship? The Arabs already had several national states: One fraction, one branch of that race, and not a big one, will have to live in someone else’s state. Well, that is the case with all the mightiest nations of the world.

        I could hardly mention one of the big nations, having their states, mighty and powerful, who had not one branch in someone else’s state … it is quite understandable that the Arabs of Palestine would also prefer Palestine to be the Arab state No. 4, No. 5, or No. 6.

        … But when the Arab claim is confronted with our Jewish demand to be saved, IT IS LIKE THE CLAIMS OF APPETITE VERSUS THE CLAIM OF STARVATION. [emphasis added]

        Walter Laqueur, “A History of Zionism”

      • Woody Tanaka
        November 29, 2013, 11:11 am

        “Or–Zionists argued–the great plight of Jews–the impending death of millions– justified the imposition of some far lesser sacrifices on a small portion of the vast Arab nation (there was no “Palestinian nation”).”

        And in doing so, they justify the Holocaust. Because as soon as you say that the ends justify the means, you have lost any ground when the other guy says that imposing ANYTHING on you is unjust, so long as he can point to something which he values more — regardless of the truth value of the claims.

      • irishmoses
        November 29, 2013, 12:21 am

        Jerry Slater said:

        “…the crucial question becomes: was the Nakba really the only way? I don’t think so. I think there might well have been alternatives…”

        There were alternatives, Zionist alternatives, from moral Zionists like Ahad Ha’am, Yitzhak Epstein, Martin Buber, Judas Magnes, and several others including some important insiders. They felt that only a binational solution would work. Unfortunately, the revisionists outmaneuvered them.

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 1:24 am

        argument that the Jews needed a state of their own was a very persuasive one~J.Slater

        Perhaps. Does having a state limited to one nationality make it safer than if it belonged to a state dedicated to all nationality in its borders?

        Country X is dedicated to nationalities A and B.
        Country V is dedicated to no nationality.
        Country Y is dedicated to only A, but has 25% minority of nationality B.
        Without any other factors considered, is A more likely to be safe in Country Y? Or does having a state for one nationality only tend to encourage antagonism, thereby actually creating less safety?

        Israel should have been carved out of the defeated Germany.

        I am OK with loss of German territory, but perhaps you have not thought your location through? If a State is intensely needed because of European racism, should the location be the middle of Europe, where it occurred?

        You asked:

        was the Nakba really the only way? I don’t think so. I think there might well have been alternatives, and I have discussed what those alternatives might have been

        IIRC your alternative was to compensate the local population to leave. This raises the question of what to do if they did not agree to their transfer, which in fact they did not.
        I do agree though, there were theoretical alternatives without involving a Nakba. The state could have chosen a small enough space in the Holy Land so that it would have been a majority in that space without kicking people out.

        However, would this fine outcome be realistic, considering the correlation of forces and their goals? Both sides had opposite desires. The Pal.s and “the neighbors” probably would not have been happy with the new State, and the latter would have an urge to acquire what it saw as its ancestral/cultural/religious homeland, and had well-trained forces. Who would keep them from the land and Jerusalem? The British were certainly not interested in sticking around and keeping order.

        The British were unable to prevent migration to the Holy Land, to prevent the fighting in the first place, to prevent the “situation” in the West Bank, and they have not been very interested in rolling it back and achieving a 2SS. I understand the migration has an attractive and romantic side. The movie Exodus captured that in a positive way. A massive social/religious movement was unleashed at the end of WWII that would have been very difficult to limit. This is why even if we see a divided Holy Land, with limited boundaries that ran neatly along natural points of settlement, as ideal, it would have been very difficult even then to keep in that ideal form.

      • RoHa
        November 29, 2013, 9:25 pm

        “If a State is intensely needed because of European racism, should the location be the middle of Europe, where it occurred?”

        You mean the actual homeland of a lot of the Jews involved?

      • W.Jones
        November 30, 2013, 11:26 am

        Hi RoHa,

        I am sure that they, like many nationalities the world over, are a mix of others.

        I meant that if we were to base ourselves on the European racism and “safe haven” arguments, rather than basing it on historic claims, then neither Germany nor Palestine would be the best locations.

        Peace.

      • lysias
        November 30, 2013, 7:37 pm

        It would have made a lot of sense to establish the new Jewish state in East Prussia, from which the Germans were in any case being expelled in 1944-7. If you think the Jewish state there would have been insecure, remember that it would have been on the border of the expanded Soviet Union. In fact, it might have made sense to make the new Jewish state of East Prussia a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. The chief reason the USSR wanted Königsberg/Kaliningrad was that it could serve as a naval base on the Baltic (as it became and still is), and a Soviet naval base could just as well have been established within a Jewish constituent republic of the Soviet Union.

      • W.Jones
        December 1, 2013, 3:06 am

        Actually, I find Germany a preferable location for the reasons mentioned- demographic, avoiding conflict with the Middle East, etc. But even if it would be in the USSR, if the premise is that Europe is inherently, urgently, deadly racist then it seems one would not even want to put have the location under the USSR, or anywhere else in Europe except on the very edge, when the goal is safety.

        This is all based on the premise of the historical-social conditions outlined by Slater.

      • eljay
        November 29, 2013, 8:25 am

        >> … regardless of the need–and, to repeat, it was a real need–for a Jewish state.

        The solution to the injustice of anti-Semitism was and is justice, not the creation of a supremacist “Jewish State”.

        There has never been a “real need” for any form of supremacist state.

  29. RoHa
    November 28, 2013, 10:41 pm

    I am repeating some points made by other posters, but I think they bear repeating.

    “However, Blumenthal strongly implies that Zionism has always been wrong.”

    It has. The idea of creating an ethnically based state is wrong. Israel was conceived as an ethnic-supremacy state, to be run by Jews for the benefit of Jews. (According to Zionist writings.) This is an evil idea. It denies equal rights to people who are not of the selected ethnicity.

    “the driving force behind early Zionism was the felt urgent necessity (I would say, objective urgent necessity) to create a haven from murderous anti-Semitism.”

    It was still wrong to create a “haven” by taking over Palestine and driving out the Palestinians. The safety of Jews is not so important that it outweighs the rights of the Palestinians.

    ‘That must be distinguished from the obvious motives and complete lack of objective necessity that drove Western colonialism– power for its own sake, economic gain or simple greed, or “the white man’s burden,” ‘

    A great deal of Britain’s empire was gained in actions that were motivated by what the British saw as the objective necessity of protecting Britain from French hegemony. As an unreconstructed enthusiast for those glorious days when Britain (at Heaven’s command) ruled not only the waves but a fifth of the Earth and a quarter of the people, I thank you for this justification. I trust that, from now on, there will be no more nasty sniping at British imperialism here on MW.

    “we have been excluded.”

    It looks to me as though Jews excluded themselves. (I’ll get some stick for that, I expect.)

    ” And so for our whole history we were outsiders. Because of Zionism, we finally have the chance to be insiders.”

    At the expense of honesty, decency, and the Palestinian people.

    “there is no prospect that Israel will agree to a peace settlement that doesn’t preserve Israel as a Jewish state.”

    Then the Israelis are a bunch of arseholes.

  30. Sibiriak
    November 28, 2013, 10:50 pm

    @lobewyper: excellent post.

    3) So far as the possible need for “strong words” is concerned, may I remind you of Seymour Hersh’s writing with respect to the My Lai war massacre? I don’t recall his use of anything but typical reportorial language, but the impact of his writing was nonetheless huge, and probably the more so because he avoided Blumenthal’s style.

    I tend to agree with you on the style issue. (There might even be an age factor involved too–snark is so much more popular these days.)

    However, style and tone are only one half of Slater’s objections. The other half is content: “the rejection of Zionism”. Here I think Slater is completely off: liberal Jewish Zionists are not Blumenthal’s main or only target audience, and it’s ridiculous to suggest that he should have abandoned his principled viewpoint just to reach such an audience.

    • American
      November 29, 2013, 9:21 am

      3) So far as the possible need for “strong words” is concerned, may I remind you of Seymour Hersh’s writing with respect to the My Lai war massacre? I don’t recall his use of anything but typical reportorial language, but the impact of his writing was nonetheless huge, and probably the more so because he avoided Blumenthal’s style”>>>>>>>>>>>>

      Hersh didnt have 65 years of propaganda ‘to overcome’ on the Vietnam war or My Lai like Israel critics do with Israel. That makes a difference in what kind of ‘shock treatment’ you need to apply to get people’s attention.

      • lobewyper
        November 29, 2013, 6:00 pm

        @ American wrote:

        “Hersh didnt have 65 years of propaganda ‘to overcome’ on the Vietnam war or My Lai like Israel critics do with Israel. That makes a difference in what kind of ‘shock treatment’ you need to apply to get people’s attention.”

        Unlike many of the disagreements on this board, this one could easily settled empirically. We have someone re-write the first 30 pages of Max’s book in more moderate language (but making the same basic points) and ask 25 of 50 centrists to read and rate its persuasiveness. The second group of 25 would read Max’s own 30 pages and do the rating. I predict the former group will rate the writing as more persuasive. (Actually, studies like this have very probably already been done in different venues.)

        Allow me please to make a tangentially related point. If the average American (who believes in social justice and opposes gaining terrritory by force of arms) knew the that the treatment Palestinians receive from the Israelis was not a direct response to Palestinian terrrorism or the threat thereof, (s)he would be shocked at the massive violations of human rights and support for Israel would evaporate. Why else does the MSM so often fail to publish the truths of the situation?

      • W.Jones
        November 29, 2013, 7:14 pm

        Hi Lobe.
        I am not sure I would use such strong language when writing a book on the topic. However, it has its value. The purpose was to get attention among a certain audience and invite discussion. Blumenthal likes this.

        Your challenge was to ask two groups of people which style they found more persuasive. However your proposal skips the first step for Blumenthal- to get people’s attention and get them to want to read the book in the first place, before they are even “assigned” it.

        Second of all, Blumenthal picks out various shocking stories and anecdotes that include the language. You would have to use analogous stories that did not include that language. Would those stories have been as persuasive?

        Perhaps not. Blumenthal writes like a snazzy journalist, and stories with colorful quotes may get attention and make a more vivid portrayal.

      • American
        November 29, 2013, 7:14 pm

        @lobewyper

        Before you go to that trouble maybe you better define ‘centrist’ first. I consider myself a centrist or a moderate politically in that I tend to be fiscally conserative but still liberal on social issues. I tend to stick to the rule of law and it’s institutions but understand the law cant and doesnt always deliver on the morality. I also think some things are absolutely black and some absolutely white but most are gray and plaid. Centrist like everyone else can be ruled by their head or their heart. However if you ask me to describe my fellow centrist or moderates I’d say they mainly lean to
        “informed common sense’ and standard wisdom in ‘judging’ something
        ..how they “feel’ about it personally might be another matter.

        My life time experience as one of those average Americans says yes, 99% of them would be shocked to learn the truth about Israel and Palestine. And the more horrific the image and description the more repelled and inclined to do something about it they would be.
        I have a volunteer animal rescue group and we take animal abusers to court now and then—we learned that you can say someone abused an animal and how wrong it is and the laws against it, cut and dried…….but we get these abusers fined and jailed and on a list of people who cannot ever own an animal again by decribing the gory details and showing the judge the pitful pictures of the animal.
        I dont care what language Max uses to do that for Palestines——that is what works on people regardless of how centrist 0r cebral they are.
        You put them in the picture and hit them in the heart.
        The decent people will respond, the abusers and their enablers will stay in denial and try to rationalize or deny the abuse, they will say it wasn’t that bad. Hear it a million times from abusers.
        As far as I am concerned about Max’s book, whoever is going to object to the language and discount the book’s truth because of it doesnt count…they are what they are period. They wouldnt accept it no matter what the ‘language’

      • Citizen
        November 30, 2013, 6:24 am

        @ lobewyper

        Slater takes as a given that Israel won’t change unless the US government uses its economic and diplomatic leverage over Israel. The enabling sole superpower state must discipline the unruly, spoiled child state. I’ve seldom met Americans, especially parents, who like a spoiled brat and bully. But if the escapades of the brat in the neighborhood are pretty much kept secret (only mostly his/her direct victims know), the brat’s enmeshed parent(s) live in a fantasy world about the nature of their own child. If the main press does not cover the story, the neighborhood as a whole is not aware of this brat running around doing what brats do. The main press won’t cover the story as today, in America, journalism most often amounts to government stenography. I mean, how many Glen Greenwalds and Ed Snowden’s have we been producing?

        But if our elected representatives talked about that brat in public, then the press would do its stenography, at least. Thus, the whole neighborhood would become aware and demand a responsible reaction, a curb on the obnoxious brat, and on his or her parents, if needed. An intervention, maybe.

        Yet our elected representatives are the products of the current American campaign finance system. A very small handful of people are political campaign donors. The American people, (“the neighborhood,”) as a whole are not represented. Special interests have nearly all the clout. Reform of campaign finance is easily circumvented, especially as to donor transparency, or it is stymied in congress, as presently.
        link to opensecrets.org

      • lobewyper
        November 30, 2013, 12:13 pm

        Citizen,

        I agree with you about the people’s need for accurate and truthful information to guide their choices and support for their elected representatives. The I-P issue would have been settled justly years ago had the truth been available to the general public. To me, this country’s preoccupation with, for example, Miley Cyrus, while people are mistreating others in criminal ways is incomprehensible. Why the Seymour Hershes of the USA have not exposed the fact that in a real sense, this democracy is (and probably has always been) for sale should have been a wakeup call before now that something was badly wrong. As for finagling campaign finance reform, I hope you’re wrong, but know in my heart you are correct.

  31. Sibiriak
    November 28, 2013, 10:53 pm

    Giving ammunition to the choir has its positive points too, it should be said.

  32. irishmoses
    November 29, 2013, 12:03 am

    “The battle is for the minds of the people now in their 20s to 40s.”

    While you may be right Seafoid, that age group won’t have enough influence for at least another 10 years, in which case Max’s book is a wasted effort.

    I hope we are near some tipping point that might suddenly wake up liberal Jewish Americans to the looming Israel train wreck. That happened with the civil rights movement in the early 60s. Suddenly, middle class America woke up to what was happening in the South and started demanding that it be stopped. The tipping point there was the nightly news horror show of brutality against protesting Blacks.

  33. Cliff
    November 29, 2013, 4:03 am

    BTW everyone, I think another reason Max gave for the allusions to Nazi Germany was that THAT is our (American) frame of reference.

    That is what our reaction would be to witnessing Israel first-hand in the presence of the rampant racism and mob-mentality hate-mongering.

    • Kathleen
      November 29, 2013, 12:00 pm

      Thanks Cliff

    • yonah fredman
      November 30, 2013, 7:01 pm

      Misstatement by Blumenthal at 25:12, Azmi Bishara was not kicked out of Israel. He left Israel and did not return because he did not believe he would receive a fair trial. (He would have been tried for giving information to Hezbollah during the 2nd Lebanon War.)

    • Citizen
      December 1, 2013, 4:15 am

      @ Cliff

      It’s also Israel’s frame of reference.

  34. MRW
    November 29, 2013, 5:28 am

    Slater/G. ;-) LOL.

  35. yrn
    November 29, 2013, 7:15 am

    When critics of Klug published a dossier detailing their objections to his views, the Oxford professor immediately hinted that he might take legal action, because his “attorney…confirmed that the dossier is defamatory.”

    That will be fun.

  36. shachalnur
    November 29, 2013, 9:56 am

    The question if Blumenthal should have used another “tone” to reach or convince more people,especially “Liberal Zionists” is a past station.
    When political Zionism was created in 1897 European Jewry overwhelmingly rejected this disastrous plan,and called it a program to exterminate (European )Judaism.
    Fast forward 110 years and now Judaism is left with only three groups;Mainly Zionists and pro-Israel,Anti-Zionist Zionists(“Liberal Zionists”) and a smaller group of anti-Zionists for religious reasons(like Satmar and Neturei Karta).
    It’ will be very difficult to write a book that will be read by all of these groups,since the biggest group of Jews ,that will probably read this book,are “non-existent” and invisible.
    Assimilation is not a very popular issue in Judaism,neither is it for Jew-or Israel haters,still they are the majority of Jews world wide.
    Assimilation rates in 1940 were 4%,and now we are looking at 60% assimilation rates in the US and Europe.
    It seems to be very difficult to find any literature on explaining the huge amount of Jews “leaving” Judaism and especially why,since nobody is asking them.
    The numbers are clear; there were 13,5 million Jews after ww2,and there are 13,5 million Jews now.
    Based on Jewish birthrates since ww2 there should be around 30 million Jews today,based on a 4% assimilation rate.
    Could it be that Jews since ww2,especially non-religious Jews,decided that instead of critisizing Zionism and Israel ,at the risk of being called a traitor, concluded that being Jewish simply has no meaning to them ,and will just cause problems ,because they can’t identify with what Judaism has done and become(Zionism) and Israel is doing?
    Jews with a conscience have no other choice than to raise their voice and be ex-communicated,and cause many problems inside their family and community,or just shut up and take distance.
    How many Jews have left Judaism behind them because they refuse to underwrite what Zionism is doing in their name,and are sick and tired of defending the undefensible.
    What about 1 million jews that have left Israel,and Israel trying to make up the numbers with Russian “Jews” without a Jewish mother,”Jews” from India and South American indiginous tribes?
    I, for one,come from a Dutch family where 90 % assimilated,and I know of hundreds more,and their arguments are the same;”I can’t be part of this,I don’t feel I belong to this ,I prefer to leave it behind and live a “normal” life without having to defend behaviour I can’t and won’t defend.
    So Max Blumenthal’s book will be read by a mayority of Jews after all,since it’s a very good explanation for the fact so many Jews assimilate without making a sound.
    Convincing Israeli’s and their US’ Jewish and Evangelical supporters is impossible,and the 15 million + Jews that assimilated don’t need convincing.
    Arabs,Anti-Semites or aliens won’t destroy Israel or Judaism,political Zionism is doing it for them.

    • irishmoses
      November 29, 2013, 2:18 pm

      Shachalnur said:

      “…so many Jews assimilate without making a sound.
      Convincing Israeli’s and their US’ Jewish and Evangelical supporters is impossible and the 15 million + Jews that assimilated don’t need convincing.”

      Great post which has convinced me that there is little point in attempting to change some mythical Jewish center. That center has evaporated and moved on. They no more want to be part of the Zionism/Israel argument than I want to be part of Catholic arguments about birth control, gay marriage, or Papal infallibility. We’ve moved on and away from our past religious/tribal connections.

      So, as someone or some others said earlier in this thread, the real game changer is the silent 98 percent. Once that audience gets the word and decides Israel, in its current form of revisionist Zionism, shouldn’t be supported, then politicians, and everyone else will fall in line.

      The big question is how to get to that tipping point. I suspect it won’t come from books or blogs. It will take something akin to the nightly TV news casts of the early 1960s which showed the daily horror show from the south with peaceful black and white civil rights protestors being set on by police dogs, fire hoses, and red-faced Alabama police chiefs. Once the American people’s disgust reached that tipping point, opposition to integration and civil rights laws started to evaporate.

      • German Lefty
        November 29, 2013, 5:47 pm

        the real game changer is the silent 98 percent. Once that audience gets the word and decides Israel, in its current form of revisionist Zionism, shouldn’t be supported, then politicians, and everyone else will fall in line.

        Let me link to this talk by Shir Hever again: link to youtube.com
        From 20:25 to 28:55 and from 1:42:25 to 1:46:20, he explains why the USA gives military aid to Israel. According to him, AIPAC is not the main reason. Please watch!

      • Citizen
        November 30, 2013, 7:15 am

        @ German Lefty
        Hever says the $3B annual aid to Israel goes to Israel in the form of vouchers to buy products and services of the US Arms industry. If any US representative in congress should balk at this arrangement, the Israel Lobby pours tons of donations into that representive’s competitor running for office.
        Both the US Arms industry and Israel’s military establishment and industry benefit (he doesn’t say it but part of US aid, maybe a quarter of it, directly subsidizes the Israeli Arms/Security industry). And, as Hever, adds, the US congress folks “find it easier” not to say anything against this arrangement.

        I didn’t know the big EU countries’s regimes were also so heavily engaged with Israeli arms/security trade–seems the Palestinians are the guinea pigs and lab rats for testing the West’s cutting edge war, police, and security technology and methodology.

      • American
        November 29, 2013, 8:51 pm

        Ditto.
        Extremely revealing info by shachalnur…and he should know what he’s talking about.
        The vast ‘center’ of Jews have moved on or tuned out on Zionism.
        Makes sense to me. Explains a lot.

      • Citizen
        November 30, 2013, 6:42 am

        @ irishmoses
        Agreed. The 98% are fairly oblivious. See my comment above concerning the biggest road block in the way: Current American campaign finance system coupled with main media as governmental stenography.

      • Ellen
        November 30, 2013, 3:50 pm

        Irishmoses, I am afraid that the tipping point, the moment when all , including so-called liberal Zionist, open their eyes it will be much more horrible than images of protesters being brutally attacked by opposing force. Worst things are already going on. Heck, the carnage in Lebanon in 1982 was on US television and here we are now.

        I think the final tipping point for the comfortable liberal and supportive whites was the murder of four young African American girls in an Alabama church as they were preparing for a youth service.

        But how many children were murdered in Cast Lead? It is not in this country, so who cares? But in the end, the motivations of that are also trumped up ideas of race and dominance and entitlement over others for a “Jewish race.”

        Zionist have been fed a life with the idea that a Jewish state was needed. To use Professor Slater´s imprecise, provocative and loaded language, they are taught from small childhood, “that Zionism resulted from not only severe but <b<murderous—in Czarist Russia, in eastern Europe and, of course, in Germany, "…

        The irony of using language like that in an essay where he criticizes (with some justification, I believe) Blumenthal’s rhetoric is rich. Sure we can discuss Blimenthal’s tone, but what matters is the content. And the content is solid. But “Liberal Zionists” will concentrate on the tone and not the content, as Slater suggests.

        But the crimes against a people as in the crimes against Jews and many many others — to this day — simply does not translate into the “need for their own state.” If logic were so, as Zionism asserts, it would justify the usurping of one people over another people everywhere and always.

        Truth is Zionist was not motivated by fear or need, but by the same motivations of all colonial projects. To this, it also rode on abhorrent ideas of the times of race and blood and soil. There is a reason Zionism was rejected by most all Jews until only after the war and the terrible trauma of a people. And under trauma and need for security, people will accept almost anything and anyone — even evil ideas and lies.

        That Zionists continue to promote ideas of race, identity of fear and victimization with a need for a country just for Jews, they are complicit in the inevitable terrible tipping point that will open all eyes.

      • irishmoses
        December 1, 2013, 11:26 am

        Good points Ellen. The recent awakening of the Sleeping Giant that prevented any bombing of Syria gives me hope we could soon reach that tipping point. That was a unexpected visceral reaction by the American 98 percent that wasn’t generated by propaganda efforts.

    • seafoid
      November 29, 2013, 5:10 pm

      “The numbers are clear; there were 13,5 million Jews after ww2,and there are 13,5 million Jews now.
      Based on Jewish birthrates since ww2 there should be around 30 million Jews today,based on a 4% assimilation rate.”

      That would be worth a deeper analysis

      • shachalnur
        November 30, 2013, 7:28 am

        The analysis is not that complicated,there are at least 15 million Jews “missing”,and nobody looks for them and asked for their reasons to take distance.

        If you look around you can find many Jews that speak out,sometimes only as a warning ,only to be called “selfhating Jew”.

        Try Rich Segal;

        “It is so terribly and dramatically disturbing to have been raised Jewish and Zionist,and to see the death and destruction my people are bringing to the world.
        It’s so frustrating to say”Grow as I have grown,see what I see” and to hear the same broken record of Jewish victimization and accusations of “self hating Jew” in response.
        If I,as one born and raised in this death-crazed narcissistic cult,don’t know how to resolve this desperate situation,how will anyone else figure it out.
        Please-Jews- my people,you are desperately sick.
        The whole sees this and knows it,and yet so many are afraid to so for fear of being called “anti-Semite”,while you kill children and refuse to be embarressed by your blatantly evident tribal mental illness.
        But the world will stop being afraid of you,and cease to tolerate your murderous narcissism,and the result will be terrible for you.
        Please,please stop before this happens.
        Stop before you kill another child in Palestine!
        STOP THE KILLING IN GAZA.” -Rich Segal-

        And how many Jews have gone through the same in the last decades,but don’t speak up,don’t want to called “traitor” ,and just “disappear”?

        I don’t think they stopped being Jewish,they actually represent real Jewish values,but decided to step aside and not parttake;”Not in my name”.

        As long as these Jews(many millions of them) are not part of the discussion,Judaism is just a selfdestructing sect,getting smaller and more paranoid as time goes on.

        Without these “missing” Jews,finding a solution will be impossible.

      • seafoid
        November 30, 2013, 4:10 pm

        There must be a book in that analysis

    • German Lefty
      November 29, 2013, 5:22 pm

      @ shachalnur
      Great post!

    • yrn
      November 29, 2013, 5:49 pm

      shachalnur
      “I prefer to leave it behind and live a “normal” life”

      So are you still a Jew or did you leave, to have a “normal life” as I recall you are “Neturei karta” Ultra orthodox Jew.

      • shachalnur
        November 29, 2013, 6:22 pm

        @yrn

        Still a Jew,4 kids with Israeli wife.

        Not Neturei Karta but feel they have very valid religious reasons to oppose Zionism and the State of Israel.

        They are quite big outside Israel,and are being ridiculed in the MSM,mainly because their arguments are a problem for Religious Zionists in Israel.

      • Ellen
        November 29, 2013, 7:09 pm

        @shachalnur, this has been an interesting thread, with many thoughtful posts. Thank you, among others, for your pithy, insights.

      • bintbiba
        November 30, 2013, 7:57 pm

        You touch me, shachalnur…. profoundly.

      • Cliff
        November 29, 2013, 7:55 pm

        oh yrn, between citing Wikipedia as a scholarly source, lazily challenging intelligent bilingual Israelis like Shmuel to debates (by asking him to debate a Wikipedia article), you also seem to get all your shit wrong about people’s biographical information too.

        just quit while you’re ahead, troll

  37. Kathleen
    November 29, 2013, 10:53 am

    “It won’t, however—primarily because so many Jewish and other American “pro-Israelis,” like Alterman, are impervious to the facts. But Blumenthal must also bear at least some share of the responsibility for the hostile reception that Goliath is receiving—even from “liberal Zionists,” let alone from the majority of Israelis and American Jews who are well to the right of that small and increasingly beleaguered group.”

    As many of us have been pointing out for decades on MSM outlets like NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, Cspan’s Washington Journal “liberal” and “Zionism” are like oil and water they can not be mixed. Max shared a great metaphor about this contradiction at his talk in Bouder but do not have my notes with me. He was so succinct about this issue and about many facts on the ground in Israel.

    As far as educating the American public about the facts on the ground in this conflict Max’s incredible work is seeping through the cracks in the wall of silence in palpable ways. I heard people ask questions at his talk in Boulder who were clearly not well informed about the issue and who had obvious well entrenched biased attitudes about what has really been taking place. I watched a few of these folks faces as Max so clearly explained his stances based on the facts on the ground, in Israel’s founding documents, racist legislation from the past that had been newly spun to hold Israel’s apartheid governement in place. The uncomfortable looks on their faces let me know Max is shaking things up with folks who have staunchly refused to face the facts about institutional Israeli oppression and racism.
    One has to think about an allegedly progressive town like Boulder where the majority of the Jewish community has held Israeli myth’s in place for decades and kept these issues from getting in the front row with other human rights and social justice issues that one would assume are of concern in such a community by repeatedly referring to anyone who brings these issues up as “anti semites” This has been going in in Boulder for decades just like so many other cities and towns across the U.S.

    Max was on KGNU a Boulder/Denver radio station while he was there to talk about his book. While even so called progressive outlets like NPR’s Diane Rehm, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews etc are terrified or PEPI’s (progressive except for Palestine and Iran) and will not have Max on to address these facts his voice is seeping through to many who have avoided dealing with the fact that Israel is an apartheid state and the U.S. has been economically supporting Israel no matter what they do which has caused serious national security issues for both Israel and the U.S.

    • Citizen
      November 30, 2013, 7:25 am

      @Kathleen
      Thanks for sharing what’s been going on in Colorado. Pretty often a tweet of mine gets shown, read, responded to on CPSAN WJ. But my tweets regarding Israel and the “special relationship” always get ignored there.

  38. tidings
    November 29, 2013, 11:19 am

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned the glowing, naches-filled response to Ari Shavit’s “My Promised Land.” In contrast to Max’s book, Shavit provides liberal Jews (even PEPs!) comfort and shelter in that dodgy intersection between criticizing and cleaving to Israel–Zionism and all. I’m guessing that the more or less simultaneous appearance of both books has created its own weather system in which Max’s language inflames more than it might have done otherwise.

  39. Kathleen
    November 29, 2013, 12:03 pm

    NPR’s Fresh Air host Terri Gross who had Max on to talk about his other book has still not had max on . Terri’s strong biases are so apparent. Pathetic

    • Citizen
      November 30, 2013, 7:29 am

      @Kathleen
      As pathetic as Imus’s recent lame interview with Goldhagen, who was selling his latest book on “the rise of global anti-semitism.” Continual conflation of criticism of Israel with anti-semitism.

  40. American
    November 29, 2013, 1:14 pm

    humm….the professor believes it is not the ‘individual injustice’ that counts but the ‘numbers”…the lesser the numbers the lesser the crime evidently.

    ..”Many post-Zionist critics of Israel argue that ethnic cleansing was an inextricable and inevitable outcome of Zionism itself, and that it simply wasn’t possible to create a viable Jewish state without driving out large numbers of Palestinians. However, while there can be no doubt that the principle euphemistically called “transfer” was deeply embedded in Zionist ideology, it doesn’t follow that the brutal expulsion of the Palestinians was the only way to ensure a large Jewish majority in Israel–or at least an Israel that remained within the UN boundaries.

    Under the UN plan, the land allocated to a Jewish state contained about 500,000 Jews and 400,000 Arabs. Understandably, David Ben-Gurion told other Zionist leaders that “Such a composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish state….[It] does not even give us absolute assurance that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority.” Even strong critics of the entire Zionist enterprise, such as Ilan Pappe, agree: “The almost equal demographic balance within the allocated Jewish state was such that…Zionism would never have attained any of its principal goals.”

    What demographic balance would have worked? In fact, since the creation of Israel Jews have constituted about 80% of the population, evidently sufficient to provide a stable Jewish majority. Let us suppose, then, that in 1947 the Zionists had agreed to accept such an 80% majority within the UN boundaries: in that case, some 220,000 Palestinians would have had to be moved into the rest of Palestine or neighboring Arab states, rather than the approximately 750,000 that were expelled when Israel expanded its borders in 1948-49.

    More importantly, there might well have been other ways to achieve that goal without engaging in murderous ethnic cleansing. For example, there should have been serious efforts to buy out the Palestinians with very generous offers, or if one prefers, “bribing” them to leave, as in fact Franklin Roosevelt had briefly considered: surely the international community as well as wealthy Jewish supporters of Israel would have been willing to provide the funds.

    That is not to deny that no matter how well compensated, compulsory relocation would still constitute an injustice to Palestinians who refused to leave their homes and villages under any circumstance. Even so, differences in degrees of injustice matter a great deal. First of all, numbers matter: Of the 220,000 Palestinians who would have had to be relocated in order for the Jews to attain a large majority in Israel, surely some significant number of them would have done so if they had been offered very generous compensation and other forms of assistance in picking up their lives elsewhere.

    In short, some relatively small number of Palestinians (say, 50,000?) would had to have been involuntarily moved—“transferred”–to areas just a few miles away, with essentially the same geography, climate, history, religion, language, and culture. Yes, that would still be an injustice, but radically less so than the violent expulsion of 750,000 people, many of them who fled in justified fear that they were in imminent danger of being killed, and others who were rounded up in a matter of hours and marched across the border with little but the clothes on their backs.”>>>>

    So..how would the smaller number of the Palestines to be ‘involuntarily transferred’ have been chosen? Would they have been lined up and culled out like the Jews claim the Nazis did to Jews, according to the oldest or youngest or most fit for work or what property they owned that could snapped up by Israel after they were transferred out?

    • Hostage
      November 30, 2013, 12:33 am

      However, while there can be no doubt that the principle euphemistically called “transfer” was deeply embedded in Zionist ideology, it doesn’t follow that the brutal expulsion of the Palestinians was the only way to ensure a large Jewish majority in Israel–or at least an Israel that remained within the UN boundaries.

      That’s simply not the case. The survey for Palestine indicated that nearly a third of the Jewish population were not naturalized, and that most of that number had not even applied for citizenship. FYI, at times there were large numbers of foreign Jewish fighters, including American and Canadian volunteers. Many left, and only visited Israel after the fighting was over in 48.

      Under the UN plan, the land allocated to a Jewish state contained about 500,000 Jews and 400,000 Arabs.

      Correction: the British government revised the population estimate after surveying the Beersheba district and the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee report, A/AC.14/32, dated 11 November 1947 (days before the vote on partition) noted the updated population figures supplied by the British mandatory government indicated that, “from the outset, Arabs would constitute a majority of the population of the proposed “Jewish” state – 509,780 Arabs and 499,020 Jews. See pdf file page 42 of 69. link to un.org

      Even if all of the Jewish inhabitants had been citizens entitled to vote, the Arab majority would have still have been in immediate control of any Jewish immigration. So, it was imperative that the Arab majority be denied the right to vote and that any additional Arab territory beyond the partition lines be annexed without its population. Ben Gurion admitted as much in remarks he made on the subject to the Knesset. See “The Armistice Agreements with the Arab States”, in Netanel Lorch (ed), Major Knesset Debates 1948-1981, Vol. 2, JCPA/University of America Press, 1993, pages 514-515 (pdf file page 94 of 186) link to jcpa.org

  41. American
    November 29, 2013, 1:31 pm

    This is the core error imo of Slater and indeed all Zionist and who knows now many Jews this belief affects. The belief that they were the only or the most ‘discriminated’ against people thruout history. I’m not going into a long historical refutation of the only and the most fallacy, it’s been done already here numerous times. I’m just gonna say it again—If all you think about and all you look at is yourselves then you think thats all there is.

    …. ”His argument (Max’s) is common among Jewish post- or even anti-Zionists: the core Zionist principle, the need for Jews to have a state of their own, is said to be now anachronistic because of the strength of Jewry and its “insider” status in the United States. For three reasons, it is not a persuasive argument. First, it is ahistorical, even in terms of the United States. In my own lifetime there was considerable anti-Semitism in the 1930s and early 1940s—not exactly ancient history. In this connection, three recent major works that include discussions of anti-Semitism in America before WWI–especially prominent in much of the isolationist movement– make instructive reading: Susan Dunn’s 1940; FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler (2013), Lynne Olson’s Those Angry Days (2013), and Philip Roth’s exercise in alternate history, The Plot Against America (2004), which persuasively imagines what might have happened in America if Charles Lindbergh had become president, an altogether realistic possibility in the late 1930s.”>>>

    • Citizen
      November 30, 2013, 8:01 am

      @ American

      Apparently Philip Roth’s exercise in alternate history in his The Plot Against America didn’t persuade every reader of what it imagined, as it did you: link to theamericanconservative.com

      • American
        November 30, 2013, 12:48 pm

        @ Citizen

        Roth is a hopelessly sick freak.

      • Citizen
        December 1, 2013, 11:47 am

        @ American
        I know Roth is a sick freak. The problem is illustrated by my own experience as a collegiate student of literature–he’s long been bandied about and received awards as a “great American writer,” illustrative of the best we have to offer. End result, bigotry against gentiles and critics of Israel and the US enmeshment with it’s conduct, ideas, and policies has not only entered the mainstream, but the pointy head class. It’s a cancer, and Dick and Jane, not to mention, so many professors with tenure in the Arts of all places, are carrier cells.

      • Jerry Slater
        November 30, 2013, 3:00 pm

        I wrote about the real problem of anti-Semitism in America in the past, but not the remote past. Citizen evidently wishes to challenge my argument, for he cites a review of Philip Roth’s book, The Plot Against America, which imagines a severe worsening of the problem if Charles Lindbergh had been elected in the 1940 presidential elections.

        I went to the review, written in 2004. This is what it says: “Roth writes in sodden clichés… There is not a felicitous sentence in this book; nor is there a spark of wit…. Roth’s book is especially odious. ….The Plot Against America is the sort of novel a bootlicking author might write to curry favor with a totalitarian government….Suffice to say that Roth, in his dotage,…[has written] a repellent novel.”

        The review’s main purpose is to simply deny that there was a problem of anti-Semitism in the America First movement, or even with Lindbergh himself. “Preposterous” is almost insufficient to describe such an argument. Even Anne Morrow Lindbergh and the Lindbergh’s daughter Reeve were angered and embarrassed by Lindbergh’s undeniable and major role in promoting anti-Semitism. In her recent and much acclaimed book on this period, 1940, Susan Dunn writes: “Even Lindbergh’s wife, Anne, admitted to a ‘profound feeling of grief….It is very terrible for me to have him made the symbol of anti-Semitism in this country….there is no hatred in him, and yet he rouses it and spreads it.’” Years later, Dunn continues, daughter Reeve remarked on “the chilling distinction in his mind between Jews and other Americans.”

        Roth writes in sodden clichés… There is not a felicitous sentence in this book; nor is there a spark of wit…. Roth’s book is especially odious. ….The Plot Against America is the sort of novel a bootlicking author might write to curry favor with a totalitarian government. . Suffice to say that Roth, in his dotage,…[has written] is a repellent novel.
        The author’s main purpose or theme is to simply deny that there was a problem of anti-Semitism in the America First movement, or even with Lindbergh himself. “Preposterous” is almost insufficient to describe such an argument. Even Anne Morrow Lindbergh and the Lindbergh’s daughter Reeve were angered and embarrassed by Lindbergh’s role in promoting anti-Semitism. In her recent and much acclaimed book on this period, 1940, Susan Dunn writes: “Even Lindbergh’s wife, Anne, admitted to a ‘profound feeling of grief….It is very terrible for me to have made the symbol of anti-Semitism in this country….there is no hatred in him, and yet he rouses it and spreads it.’” Years later, Dunn continues, Reeve read one of Lindbergh’s speeches and remarked on “the chilling distinction in his mind between Jews and other Americans.”

      • tree
        November 30, 2013, 6:55 pm

        The review’s main purpose is to simply deny that there was a problem of anti-Semitism in the America First movement, or even with Lindbergh himself.

        I didn’t perceive that to be the “main purpose” of the review at all. Lindbergh is merely a small part of the review, and the review’s objection to the portrayal of Lindbergh is that Lindbergh was not a “crypto-Nazi”. Being an anti-semite is not synonymous with being a Nazi, despite attempts to imply that it is. My take from the review is that the reviewer finds Roth’s story highly bigoted against gentiles in general and the rural mid-west and Catholics in particular. To insist, in an alternate history, that with the mere election of an isolationist President, the US suddenly becomes a hotbed of murderous pogroms is in fact insulting to much of gentile America.

        Slater however thinks Roth’s alternate history is “persuasive”. And that is part of the problem of the liberal Zionist perception. His own bias and bigotry towards non-Jews goes un-examined in deference to a learned but ingrained sense of Jewish exceptionalism.

        Thus, despite the fact that settler colonialism in US was to a large extent motivated by quite deadly religious intolerance itself, and Slater should know this, he thinks that Zionism is different and more benign because it was motivated by deadly religious intolerance. (Of course, I would argue he had the main Zionist motivation wrong, but even given his reading of the motivation he should know enough European history to know that deadly religious intolerance was something all religious sects faced. )

        Another fallacy of liberal Zionism, rooted in a sense of Jewish exceptionalism is the idea that a state for Jews was a necessity. I’ve already discussed the fact that “having a State” does not guarantee anyone’s safety, whether from foreign forces, or from the State itself (see Poland in the 30s and 40s, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, etc., etc.). But more importantly, one would think that Jews, of all people, would have the group experience to understand that basing a State solely on the needs and desires of just one ethno-religious group never leads anywhere good. Zionism was not a good idea gone bad. It was a bad idea from the beginning. It is only a sense of Jewish exceptionalism that leads “liberal Zionists” to believe that Jews put in a position of power superiority over those of another religion or ethnicity would somehow be immune to the same evils that befell non-Jewish others in the same situation. The one thing that Israel proves in spades is that Jews are NOT immune from that evil. Israel was never going to blossom into some lovely state of “kumbaya”, because it was built on the idea that Jews were more important than non-Jews. It isn’t any prettier than the vice versa idea. That this is a hard concept to accept can only be explained by a false sense of ethnic moral superiority.

        And even the idea that Max wrote his book for “centrist Jews” seems quite pathetically exceptionalist. I’m sure Max wrote it for all Americans, not just a subset of a small subset of Americans. He made the best-seller’s list with his first book. I’m sure he was hoping for the same for this one.

      • yonah fredman
        November 30, 2013, 8:09 pm

        Tree defends Bill Kaufman’s review of Roth’s book: “Lindbergh is merely a small part of the review, and the review’s objection to the portrayal of Lindbergh is that Lindbergh was not a “crypto-Nazi”. Being an anti-semite is not synonymous with being a Nazi, despite attempts to imply that it is.”

        I think it disingenuous to claim that Kaufman merely objects to casting Lindbergh as a crypto Nazi. Kaufman quotes Gore Vidal’s assessment of Lindbergh glowingly: “Vidal regards Lindbergh as “the true white knight through and through,” and “the best that we are ever apt to produce in the hero line, American style.”

        Vidal is a proprietary patriot, utterly comfortable with our history because it is his history. Roth is ill at ease in the American past.”

        Although Kaufman continues at that point to to count the ways in which Roth’s knowledge or depiction of American history shows that he is not sure footed in his knowledge, but there is the implication that Vidal, a true American is utterly comfortable with Lindbergh as a hero, whereas Roth, because of his neo conservative boot licking propensity is ill at ease with Lindbergh as a hero. Kaufman also implies that objecting to the pacifist movement that would have seen Hitler and Hitlerism astride Europe (til today, Mister Kaufman?) is equal to all objections to pacifism before or since.

        There are many good Americans who see the light regarding Hitler and consider Lindbergh and his speech of September 1941 as blights on the American past. One can object to the reductionist categories that sees all American Firsters of 1941 as Jew haters, but one should not whitewash Kaufman and his adoration of Lindbergh and his rejection of America’s participation in World War II.

      • American
        November 30, 2013, 10:56 pm

        Let’s write a book.
        We can borrow Roths’s title—-’The Plot Against America.’
        We just interchange the villians.
        In our book the Jewish I-Firster, as opposed to a American Firster,
        Senator Schumer runs for President so he can ‘have a war like WWII” to rearrange the ME (and the world) for Israel.
        Catholics and hicks and dumb heartland non semites are sent to re education camps in Brooklyn to learn Hebrew and the art of pilpul so they can assimilate with the Chosen.
        All the anti war crowd and the American firsters against Schumer’s war are dennounced as anti semites for not supporting this war and for disloyalty to American cause if Israel doesnt exist neither will America..

        Yep, this would work. Same book, just change the villians and victims.

      • American
        November 30, 2013, 11:27 pm

        You left something out Slater…

        Lindbergh’s wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh had concerns about the reaction to the speech and how it would affect his reputation, wrongfully in her view. From her diary:

        “ … I have the greatest faith in [Lindbergh] as a person — in his integrity, his courage, and his essential goodness, fairness, and kindness — his nobility really … How then explain my profound feeling of grief about what he is doing? If what he said is the truth (and I am inclined to think it is), why was it wrong to state it? He was naming the groups that were pro-war. No one minds his naming the British or the Administration. But to name “Jew” is un-American — even if it is done without hate or even criticism. Why? ”’

      • tree
        December 1, 2013, 12:39 am

        I get it, yonah. Anti-semitism of any type or degree greatly offends you, so how dare anyone defend Lindbergh, even if its only to absolve him of the overwrought charge of Nazism. Unfortunately you and Jerry and Philip Roth have a huge blind spot when it comes to Jewish bigotry towards non-Jews. That is my point, and the fact that you couldn’t even comprehend my point because you were too busy beating long-dead “Nazi” horses doesn’t surprise me. Par for the course as they say.

        Again, another liberal Zionist manages to totally miss the bigotry within Roth’s book in your rush to denounce Lindbergh and Kaufman. I was not defending Kaufman’s portrayal of Lindbergh. I was pointing out that it was a small part of Kaufman’s critical review of Roth ‘s book and its bigoted portrayal of non-Jewish America.

        Roth’s so-called “persuasive” alternative history does indeed portray Lindbergh as a crypto-Nazi but more importantly, I think and I made this clear in my comment, he portrays non-Jewish Middle America as some sort of horrendous breeding ground for fascism, directed, of course, distinctly at Jews. As Kaufman said,

        This is a repellent novel, bigoted and libelous of the dead, dripping with hatred of rural America, of Catholics, of any Middle American who has ever dared stand against the war machine.

        One can object to the reductionist categories that sees all American Firsters of 1941 as Jew haters…

        Its more than “reductionist categories”, its plain and simply bigotry aimed not just at America Firsters, but at non-Jews in the American Midwest, Catholics, and anyone who opposed the US entrance into WWII prior to December 7, 1941. If that kind of hateful stereotyping of average non-Jewish Americans had been targeted at Jews, describing them as murderous fascists, you’d have been up on your white steed leading the charge against Roth’s book. But since its a Jew defaming non-Jews, well, you graciously allow that “one can object to reductionist categories”. Thanks so much for allowing my point to be made, as long, of course as you can reserve your right to ignore that point and digress on the subject of the “blight” of Lindberghian isolationism.

        You simply confirmed my point that you are severely under aware of your own acceptance of Jewish bigotry towards non-Jews.

      • RoHa
        December 1, 2013, 2:37 am

        ” basing a State solely on the needs and desires of just one ethno-religious group never leads anywhere good. Zionism was not a good idea gone bad. It was a bad idea from the beginning. ”

        Exactly. The idea that one group of people is worth more than other people is evil. How can it fail to lead to more evil?

      • Citizen
        December 1, 2013, 5:00 am

        @ tree

        ” My take from the review is that the reviewer finds Roth’s story highly bigoted against gentiles in general and the rural mid-west and Catholics in particular. To insist, in an alternate history, that with the mere election of an isolationist President, the US suddenly becomes a hotbed of murderous pogroms is in fact insulting to much of gentile America.

        Slater however thinks Roth’s alternate history is “persuasive”. And that is part of the problem of the liberal Zionist perception. His own bias and bigotry towards non-Jews goes un-examined in deference to a learned but ingrained sense of Jewish exceptionalism.”

        Yes. I very much agree. I urge others to read the review of Roth’s book I linked to, above in this thread. Judge for yourself. See if you find Roth’s alternate history “persuasive” or a giant insult.

      • Citizen
        December 1, 2013, 5:35 am

        @ yonah
        Most people alive, including most Americans,” see the light regarding Hitler” and many do not see Lindbergh as a clear blight on the American past. Some of the ambiguity and why is rendered by Wikipedia: link to en.wikipedia.org

        Once the US was attacked Lindbergh did not reject America’s participation in WW2. He sought to participate in uniform but FDR did not allow it.

      • Ellen
        December 1, 2013, 7:29 am

        American, your scenario is not too far fetched. There are many Christian Zionist that now deeply believe it would be the end of the US if the Zionist Israeli project were to fail. No Isreal = no USA.

        Wonder how they got that into their heads?

        In the scheme of things Isreal has no more relevance for the US than any other country.

      • Ellen
        December 1, 2013, 8:01 am

        Mr. Slater, did we read the same text?

        The reviewer nowhere denied any degree of what you call “anti-Semitism” or better said Jew hatred or Judeophobia. His review was not even about that.

        Rather, the crux of his review is that Roth wrote a loathsome fantasy based on his own bigoted understanding of his fellow citizes and world view.

      • Citizen
        December 1, 2013, 10:38 am

        @ yonah
        Further, Philip Roth, purportedly against bigotry, yet managed to bash anyone who’s not Jewish in his book. The author has been long heralded in literary circles as a great American author. I don’t see it, and I majored in US and World Literature. Portnoy’s comical thing with masturbation and blonde shiksas is his real claim to fame, but that’s not enough to put him in with great writers IMO. Besides, after watching countless Hollywood romantic comedies and teen flicks with the latter theme, not to mention a bevy of tv comic series, and cartoon series, the latter theme is boring. Seems the writers for screen and tv never get tired of it.

      • American
        December 1, 2013, 12:52 pm

        ‘Rather, the crux of his review is that Roth wrote a loathsome fantasy based on his own bigoted understanding of his fellow citizes and world view.”…Ellen

        Yes, that is exactly how to describe the book.

      • irishmoses
        December 1, 2013, 2:12 pm

        Citizen said:

        I urge others to read the review of Roth’s book I linked to, above in this thread. Judge for yourself. See if you find Roth’s alternate history “persuasive” or a giant insult.

        I find myself leaning toward the “giant insult” view. I am frankly dumbfounded by the suggestion that American Jews may have been threatened by a deadly domestic form of anti-Semitism in the 1930s, and that somehow the creation of a separate state only for Jews in Palestine in 1948 was necessary for the safety of even American Jews. The implication that flows from that suggestion, that American Jews were and/or are the most endangered and oppressed minority group in this country, strikes me as quite a stretch of logic and a tad insulting to the other 98 percent of Americans, not to mention Black, Hispanic, and Japanese Americans who certainly have stronger claims for the categories of most-oppressed and most-endangered.

        I grew up in the 1950s, mainly in Southern California, and I agree there was much more anti-Semitism back then, but prejudice and discrimination against various ethnic, religious and racial groups was commonplace even in a relatively liberal Southern California. I remember Jewish yacht and country clubs that were a reaction to being excluded from the WASP versions of same. There were quotas in some of the professions and universities as well, but by-in-large Jews appear to have been given a great deal of opportunity and treated pretty well compared to say Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans.

        American prejudice and discrimination was certainly not limited to Jews. I can recall commonly-used derogatory slang terms for every group, Spics, Portagees, Chinks, Dagos, Japs to name but a few. I was amazed, decades later, to learn that my wife’s WASPish New England grandfather was infuriated that she married an Irish-American, and apoplectic when we named our son Patrick. I had never thought of myself as Irish-American and knew nothing about prejudice against this group. With a little research I discovered it was widespread and included no small amount of anti-Irish violence including the hanging of the Molly Maguire clan that tried to organize the Irish-American coal miners. My point is that Americans, particularly white Americans, held a wide range of prejudices back in the early and mid-20th century and American Jews certainly didn’t receive the worst of it nor were they the most threatened.

        While my knowledge of prejudice against American Jews is limited, it seems to me that their mistreatment was relatively mild compared to several other minority groups. American Jews were never subjected to slavery nor to the decades-long terror reign of lynching and emasculation of American Blacks in the post-Civil War South. American Jews weren’t deported in mass as were unwanted Mexican “Wet Backs”, thousands of whom were American-born citizens. American Jews were never placed in concentration camps as were Japanese-Americans. American Jews never suffered the semi-slavery of Chinese immigrants and the horrible conditions they encountered during the building of our railroad system.

        American Jews, for all the prejudice they suffered, were given full citizenship, emancipation, and the full range of our civil rights from the very beginning of this country, and ours was the very first country to do that. While those rights were imperfectly enforced for American Jews and others, they weren’t extended to Black and female Americans until a century or more later. American Jews had a great deal of influence in this country, and we benefitted as a country from their many contributions in law, medicine, science, the arts and many other areas, including civil rights. Yet even while American Jews were rising and succeeding in these fields and professions American Blacks and American women were still excluded.

        While anti-Semitism and any other irrational minority group prejudice is abhorrent, if I were to list the groups of Americans that have suffered most from prejudice and oppressive treatment in this country, American Jews would seem to be several steps down from the top. Moreover, judging from American Jews’ incredible accomplishments or even dominance in so many fields and professions, the restrictions on their entry into those fields and professions appears to have been minimal particularly when compared to the barriers other minority groups have faced.

        This country was the destination of choice for millions of Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia from the 1880s to the beginning of World War II. They chose America and other western democracies at a ratio of about 50 to 1 over Palestine. Despite the later immigration restrictions, millions of American Jews, as well as their offspring, were saved from the scourge of the Holocaust by having been accepted into this country which, incidentally, also played a major part in defeating Hitler and his allies.

        Despite the prejudice and discrimination American Jews encountered, by any measure they have thrived. Yet now we are told that it may have been a very close thing for American Jews in the 1930s, and that even today, American Jews may someday need Israel as a safe Jewish homeland as the rest of us non-Jewish Americans really can’t be trusted to not resort to an American Jewish genocide at some point.

        I’m sorry, but that whole line of argument is a rhetorical leap far beyond the pale of reasonable discourse. It also shows an appalling insensitivity to the much greater sufferings of other minority groups in America compared to American Jews as well as a profound ingratitude for the opportunities this country provided American Jews despite the prejudices and discrimination they suffered. The suggestion that but for the election of FDR American Jews might have faced genocide, and therefore the creation of a Jewish State at the expense of the Palestinian people was justified, is an argument that needs some careful and thoughtful reexamination.

        A caveat or two: First, I am not denying the sufferings of American Jews which included even some acts of violent anti-Semitism such as the lynching of at least one American Jew. I am saying their sufferings were less, even far less than the sufferings of several other American minority groups. Perhaps others can broaden my knowledge of American Jewish suffering. Nor am I belittling the incredible accomplishments and contributions of American Jews to this country.

        Second, my response is not directed at Jerry Slater. His article has generated a great deal of valuable discussion and debate about a vital topic: whether Zionism as practiced since 1948 can be justified.

        Ari Shavit’s recent Lydda 1948 New Yorker article claimed that despite all the horrible actions by the Israeli army in 1948, it was all necessary for the survival of Zionism and the Jewish State. Shavit, however, avoided answering the “why was it necessary” question.

        Jerry Slater has bravely stepped into that breach and is attempting to provide that answer. I think it is an impossible task and that some of the arguments he and others offer demonstrates that impossibility. In my view, they are vainly trying to defend the indefensible. Nonetheless, Jerry has made a detailed and thoughtful effort and we should be grateful for the discussion and debate that has resulted from his effort, and for his willingness to participate in this debate.

      • yonah fredman
        December 1, 2013, 4:10 pm

        Citizen: Here is an excerpt from lindy’s speech in des moines september of 41. If it doesn’t blight your image of lindy, then maybe other readers can judge for themselves.

        “The second major group I mentioned is the Jewish.

        It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. The persecution they suffered in Germany would be sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race.

        No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany. But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy both for us and for them. Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.”

        the link to the speech: link to charleslindbergh.com

      • jon s
        December 1, 2013, 5:01 pm

        Here’s what comes next in Lindbergh’s speech:

        “Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastations. A few far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not.

        Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.

        I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.

        We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction.”

        Lindbergh makes an ominous-sounding threat towards the Jews in his reference to “tolerance”, brings up the Jewish “influence and ownership” theme and makes a clear distinction between Jews and Americans. All this in the context of 1941, when the Nazis were already busy exterminating the Jews and after having visited Nazi Germany in 1938, and receiving a medal from Göring, the Commander Cross of the Order of the German Eagle.
        In short, Lindbergh was an Anti-Semite, and under the right circumstances, could have been an American quisling.

      • Keith
        December 1, 2013, 5:05 pm

        TREE- “His own bias and bigotry towards non-Jews goes un-examined in deference to a learned but ingrained sense of Jewish exceptionalism.”

        Well put and spot on! Silver lining? At least it allows all of us non-Jewish whites to get a feel of what Black people must feel when they hear whites talk about a post-racial society and assail affirmative action as reverse discrimination!

      • tree
        December 1, 2013, 9:18 pm

        So, yonah, you honestly think this speech, in which Lindbergh stereotyped American Jews as synonymous with American Jewish groups pushing for war with Germany, justifies Roth portraying Lindbergh as a Nazi, eager to start pogroms against American Jews, and it furthermore justifies Roth’s bigotry towards non-Jews, describing them as murderous fascists? Do YOU think the Roth scenario was “persuasive”? Can you not distinguish between stereotyping and full-blown calls for genocide? Is every non-Jew a potential Hitler just for making an all too human slip into stereotyping? Does the same apply to Jews who stereotype non-Jews? Are they all little Hitlers too?

        Or are you just focusing solely on Lindbergh so as to desperately ignore the fact that Roth himself engaged in stereotypes, of a much more hateful kind than Lindbergh did.

      • yonah fredman
        December 1, 2013, 9:28 pm

        tree- I am not allowed to view things through my own eyes, I must view things through your eyes. And if I say a word attacking Gore Vidal or Lindy, it must be because I am a narrow minded tribalist. This is your concept of dialogue.

        That speech from Lindy not stereotyping, but warning them of the danger of their position was a speech by a powerful man warning the Jews that they better shut their mouths. It will go down in history as one of the low points of American history of the last century as far as Jews are concerned.

      • yonah fredman
        December 1, 2013, 9:45 pm

        tree- And if any American is open to the facts of September of 1941, they would consider Lindbergh a goat and not a hero. A work of literature by Roth is worse than a threat that “the Jews will be the first to feel the consequences”? You’re cracked. Stereotyping and threats are in two separate categories.

      • tree
        December 1, 2013, 10:18 pm

        tree- I am not allowed to view things through my own eyes, I must view things through your eyes.

        No, yonah, you started by objecting to my viewpoint, and you diverted onto a discussion of Lindbergh. You have no concept of dialogue other than people listening to your viewpoint and thinking it profound. You do not listen to others. You’ve consistently ignored my original point, which was not a defense of Vidal or Lindbergh, but a harsh criticism of Roth’s book, which engaged in hateful stereotyping. You refuse to answer my questions or even address Roth’s bigoted stereotypes. You can think whatever you want but you can’t dictate whether and how I criticize your comments, which seems to be your modus operandi, rather than really engaging in the dialogue you falsely claim to desire.

        That speech from Lindy not stereotyping, but warning them of the danger of their position was a speech by a powerful man warning the Jews that they better shut their mouths.

        Says you, as you demand that I must agree. But I don’t.

        Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.

        Lindbergh isn’t telling the Jews “they better shut their mouths”. He’s warning them that if the US enters a war with Hitler, Hitler would not treat Jewish American soldiers any better than he was treating European Jews. Thus he thinks it will be wiser for them to protect themselves from the violence of war, not from their fellow Americans, as you imply. Clearly, if you parse the sentence, the “consequences” Lindbergh thinks they will feel are the consequences of war, not the consequences of disagreeing with Lindbergh.

      • tree
        December 1, 2013, 10:30 pm

        And if any American is open to the facts of September of 1941, they would consider Lindbergh a goat and not a hero.

        You yourself are not “open” to any interpretation but your own. Is it impossible for you to see the possibility of any other interpretation? If so, then you are clearly not “open to the facts” yourself.

        You’re cracked. Stereotyping and threats are in two separate categories.

        I didn’t interpret the statement as a threat, so your statement has no point. I got it, I’m cracked and you’re not a narrow-minded tribalist. And you don’t demand that everyone view the world through your eyes. Check.

      • Sibiriak
        December 1, 2013, 10:36 pm

        Citizen:

        I urge others to read the review of Roth’s book I linked to, above in this thread. Judge for yourself. See if you find Roth’s alternate history “persuasive” or a giant insult.

        To judge Roth’s “alternate history”, one would have to read Roth’s book, not a review (s) of it.

      • tree
        December 1, 2013, 11:03 pm

        …after having visited Nazi Germany in 1938, and receiving a medal from Göring, the Commander Cross of the Order of the German Eagle.

        Lindbergh visited Germany 3 times in the late 1930′s, all at the urging of the US government in order to provide intelligence on the capabilities of the Luftwaffe. He became convinced that German military might was overwhelming and that any American entry into the war would end in disaster for the US.

      • jon s
        December 2, 2013, 7:12 am

        “Lindbergh visited Germany 3 times in the late 1930′s, all at the urging of the US government in order to provide intelligence on the capabilities of the Luftwaffe. He became convinced that German military might was overwhelming and that any American entry into the war would end in disaster for the US.”
        In other words Lindbergh willingly conveyed the message that best served the Nazi’s interests at the time.

      • tree
        December 2, 2013, 1:25 pm

        In other words Lindbergh willingly conveyed the message that best served the Nazi’s interests at the time.

        He told the truth about German capabilities. I see you feel a need to spin the truth. Its just as possible that lying and underestimating German capabilities would have served Nazi interests, since it would have made them less of a threat, perfectly within the capabilities of Britain to contain. And its also just as possible that the US and Great Britain would have been in a worse situation if the US had declared war on Germany prior to Germany declaring war on the Soviet Union in June of 1941. Germany might have postponed that declaration indefinitely had the US entered the war prior to then. Clearly the war on Germany’s Eastern front took considerable manpower and armament away from its Western deployment. and was largely responsible for Nazi Germany’s eventual defeat. All conjecture but no less plausible than your need to spin Lindbergh as a useful idiot and US traitor.

        Lindbergh was serving the US government and his assessments were accurate. They actually helped the US government and the US military prepare for war, and he was of valuable service to them, despite his anti-war stance. He also counselled Britain and France to upgrade their air forces. To imply that he was a quisling is completely counterfactual. After the war began he continued to be of tremendous help to the US war effort, having accepted that once we were in a war the best effort was to be put into winning it.

      • American
        December 2, 2013, 2:28 pm

        “”We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction.”
        >>>>>
        Lindbergh makes an ominous-sounding threat towards the Jews in his reference to “tolerance”, brings up the Jewish “influence and ownership” theme and makes a clear distinction between Jews and Americans. All this in the context of 1941, when the Nazis were already busy exterminating the Jews and after having visited Nazi Germany in 1938, and receiving a medal from Göring, the Commander Cross of the Order of the German Eagle.
        In short, Lindbergh was an Anti-Semite, and under the right circumstances, could have been an American quisling”..jon s

        I dont see it that way. Lindberg had his faults in his idea of racial superiorty but you cant liken him to a nazi without doing the same for zionist racial supremist. As far as I saw in his speeches ( I had not read all his speeches)
        he was addresing the Jews’ as a political group agitating for war for their own interest just as he accused the British of luring the US to war for their own British interest.

        As far as his referring to Jews having control of media and press and using it to urge that war—-then Phil and 90% of all us at MW would have to be classed as anti semites because pointing out and discussing the Jewish or what we refer to today as ‘the zionist org’ media is a regular topic.
        Another thing I notice is that in the 40′s till almost the present “Zionist’ wasnt used as a description for “Jewish organizations’….as it is today.
        The zionist groups were just labeled ‘jewish organizations”.

        But bottom line Lindeberg was defending what ‘he thought’ were American interest……against the interest of Jews and the Churchill and others who wanted the war for their own interest.

        You say he ….’ makes a clear distinction between Jews and Americans’ . No, he makes a distinction between the’ interest of the Jewish groups’ that were pushing for war and the interest of what he considered American.
        Now if you can find some speech where he agreed with Hitler that Jews needed to be wiped out for the good of any country then I’ll say he was a anti semite…..in the sense that he wanted to put Jews down or cast them as Un or anti American in order to have them persecuted or deported.
        Lindbergs race superitory at the time–his belief that certain races, anglo saxon, etc., had advanced the world was right in keeping with the European attitudes at that time, particulary the Brits—Lindberg couldnt actualy hold a candle to Churchill and his belief in the complete superitory of the Englishman and that the British Empire was good for the ‘lesser’ races and natives it ruled over because the British knew better than the inferior lessers what was good for them and where their place was.

      • Ellen
        December 2, 2013, 2:48 pm

        yonah, if you want to interpret his words in that light, he also said Churchill and Roosevelt should shut their mouths as he called their interest out in the same sentence. Thing is, he never said that that about Jews. You are the one.

        Otherwise, it is really impossible for most of us who have no living memory of the man or that period in history to judge the person.

      • yonah fredman
        December 2, 2013, 7:06 pm

        tree- You are being disingenuous, when you claim that lindy was warning that Jewish soldiers who fall into Hitler’s hands would be mistreated. You are not stupid, otherwise I might suspect you of that. Read the speech again. He is threatening the Jews in America that if there is a war, (which he believed that America would lose), then America will lose its spirit of tolerance and turn on the Jews. That’s what he said. You are lying by implying that he was saying what you said. Let’s forget dialogue. At least tell the truth.

      • yonah fredman
        December 2, 2013, 7:13 pm

        tree- There was a vibrant Yiddish language press in NYC in 1941 at the time of lindy’s speech. How do you think they understood his words? Are you willing to bet they took it as a threat? What did the NYTimes editorial say in reaction to Lindy’s words, do you think they took it as a threat? You are playing games with history.

        When I was a kid I was a fan of Bobby Hull, great hockey player. When I got older I found out that Bobby was a black hating bigot. I can still envision him scoring power play goals and get a thrill, but I know that I am not being an adult. Lindy accomplished something real, he flew the Atlantic. He was also a victim of a cruel kidnapping. He was also a hater who threatened the Jews in his speech in Des Moines.

      • Sibiriak
        December 2, 2013, 7:59 pm

        yonah fredman:

        You are being disingenuous, when you claim that lindy was warning that Jewish soldiers who fall into Hitler’s hands would be mistreated. You are not stupid, otherwise I might suspect you of that. Read the speech again. He is threatening the Jews in America that if there is a war, (which he believed that America would lose), then America will lose its spirit of tolerance and turn on the Jews.

        The notion that Lindbergh was referring to Jewish American soldiers who would face mistreatment in Europe by Hitler does seem a bit far-fetched. I think you are right on the point.

        This section:

        [Lindbergh] No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany.

        But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy both for us and for them.

        Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.

        is immediately followed by this:

        Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastations. A few far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not.

        That makes it fairly clear that the”consequences” mentioned in the first would come from the war-induced “intolerance” mentioned in the second section.

        On the other hand, I think you are spinning things by repeatedly hammering on the notion that Lindbergh was issuing a malicious *threat* rather than an honest warning of something which he thought could be real danger to Jews, and which they should take into consideration.

        There is nothing in that speech that suggests he would personally *advocate* intolerance toward Jewish Americans, is there? Lindbergh states clearly:

        No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in German.

        What evidence is there that Lindbergh would ever advocate or condone the persecution of Jews in America? If there is such evidence, it would certainly help your argument to adduce it.

        [yonah]There was a vibrant Jewish press in NYC in 1941 at the time of lindy’s speech. How do you think they understood his words? Are you willing to bet they took it as a threat? What did the NYTimes editorial say in reaction to Lindy’s words, do you think they took it as a threat?

        Yes, please tell us what the press interpretation of the speech was–including the non-Jewish press. Did they interpret Lindbergh’s references to “consequences” and “intolerance” as threats, or as realistic warnings of dangers ahead that he would in no way condone personally?

      • tree
        December 3, 2013, 5:03 am

        He is threatening the Jews in America that if there is a war, (which he believed that America would lose), then America will lose its spirit of tolerance and turn on the Jews. That’s what he said.

        Yonah, if that’s what you think he meant, then clearly he wasn’t “threatening” them, he was warning them of a possible backlash if the war went badly and conditions in the US deteriorated. If I tell you don’t go outside because there is a mountain lion prowling the neighborhood, I’m not threatening you with being mauled. I’m warning you of what I think are the immediate perils of stepping outside your door right now. He was not threatening to “turn on the Jews” in your interpretation, he’s warning Jews of what he thinks the consequences of a lost war would be for them. He thinks those Jews who are agitating for war are doing so for understandable reasons but he thinks it is a mistake and explains why he thinks so. He isn’t telling them that he would personally turn on them, or demanding that anyone else turn on them, which would be a threat. He’s issuing a warning of what he thinks might happen if the war he thinks they are agitating for actually happens. He’s warning of the mountain lion.

        Let’s forget dialogue. At least tell the truth.

        You don’t do dialogue so there’s nothing to forget. You simply demand that others think exactly the way you do, and then project that attribute on others.

      • tree
        December 3, 2013, 5:39 am

        There was a vibrant Yiddish language press in NYC in 1941 at the time of lindy’s speech. How do you think they understood his words? Etc, etc

        How they understood his words is not the same thing as how he meant his words. You should know that. Or do you think that everyone understands your words exactly how you mean them? And that you always understand others words exactly how they meant them?

        Look, I don’t look up to Lindbergh for flying the Atlantic or anything else. He was a human being with flaws. He was a bigot, believing Europeans to be a superior “race” over the “Asiatic hordes” as he called them, which included the Soviets as well as those we would call Asians today. He toyed with eugenic ideas, looking to “improve the races” with a naive ignorance of the extreme dark side of such ideas. (Eugenics was not just a popular topic in Nazi Germany; it had followers in the US and even in Zionist Palestine prior to the formation of the Third Reich.) He was also naive about how others could perceive what he said or did as opposed to what he actually meant or how he acted. He honestly believed that war would be a disaster for humanity, to a large extent because he understood the extreme destructive potential of air power. He overestimated Jewish control of the media at the time, and probably carried a few negative stereotypes of Jews, but he wasn’t a “hater” and he didn’t threaten Jews in his speech. Nor was he a Nazi or a quisling, nor did he deserve to be accused of organizing pogroms against American Jews in an “alternate history”.

        Everybody has flaws, some more than others. Again, there’s multiple layers of difference between harboring stereotypes, even negative ones, and being a Nazi. Some human flaws include seeing people as either good or evil. Nothing wrong with getting a thrill at a power play hockey goal as far as I see it. You don’t have to hate Bobby Hull because he was a bigot. Just understand that he was a flawed human being with great hockey skills.

      • Woody Tanaka
        December 3, 2013, 8:31 am

        “In other words Lindbergh willingly conveyed the message that best served the Nazi’s interests at the time.”

        Sounds like he was trying to figure out what was in the USA’s best interest, to me.

  42. Citizen
    November 30, 2013, 8:16 am

    Maybe the best recipe for getting the 98% on board with more awareness of this dangerous and vexing issue is to–join the movement to change the US Constitution, as suggested here: link to huffingtonpost.com

  43. American
    November 30, 2013, 1:09 pm

    “In my own work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I start from two premises. The first is that in light of Israeli intransigence, there is no chance of attaining a two-state settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without strong and sustained pressures from the American government, very probably including making its military, economic, and diplomatic support of Israel conditional upon the end of the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians ”…Slater

    Why should the US support Israel at all?
    Anyone want to take that question on?

  44. lyn117
    November 30, 2013, 3:33 pm

    I personally think way too much has been made of Blumenthal’s chapter titles. I think they’re fine, but they really aren’t the meat of what he has to say.

    I suggest everyone read his book, and come up with better titles. “How to kill goyim and influence people” seems particularly objectionable. And after all, the article isn’t really about how to kill goyim, but about very lenient rules saying it permissible to kill goyim who have done nothing you or I would think wrong other than to exist, rules espoused by certain prominent Israeli rabbis with the apparent assistance of the Israeli military.

    So, what’s a better title, “Israeli Rabbis are all peaceloving and never fanatic?” I don’t know.

    • Citizen
      November 30, 2013, 6:00 pm

      @ lyn117

      I think the titles are well thought out in light of the hasbara that serves for breaking news on Israel from both the US government and US mainstream media. They are antidotes for the cultural valentine that serves as reality for the unwashed masses who are dying and having their pockets picked for the foreign rogue state of Israel.

      The whole world supports the Palestinian cause except for Israel, of course, and the AIPAC lackey USA–& its lackey: Australia: link to almanar.com.lb

      Anybody want to tell me why Ireland and Australia take opposite stances on this issue? Bipolar celts?

      • talknic
        December 1, 2013, 6:59 am

        @ Citizen “Anybody want to tell me why Ireland and Australia take opposite stances on this issue?”

        Same as it ever was. The Zionist Federation and its supporters started out and have had over a century honing the skill of knowing, gathering and promoting persons to places of influence

        Not what you know, but who… e.g., Przecicki (Ryszard) et al

      • lyn117
        December 1, 2013, 4:02 pm

        Anybody want to tell me why Ireland and Australia take opposite stances on this issue? Bipolar celts?

        I’m going to guess: Australia is a settler-colonial society, like Israel, and fairly like the U.S. in it’s political makeup, it probably has a strong pro-Israel lobby and a great majority of people who are uninformed and really go along with what they see in the media – for example, Murdoch’s news empire. Ireland, on the other hand, was a colonized society.

  45. piotr
    December 1, 2013, 10:29 am

    Those that do not understand history are doomed. Easier said and done: knowing history does not convey understanding. My top recommendation is “1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates is a tongue-in-cheek reworking of the history of England. Written by W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman and illustrated by John Reynolds”.

    What is of particular value is the characterization of a number of events as “good” and “bad”. Ceasar’s conquest of England (simplifying unimportant details is the hallmark of the method of Sellar and Yeatman: why remember TWO Roman rulers?) is deemed “a good thing” because “England was still inhabited by the natives at that time”. That pithy remark explains a lot. As a rule, natives are backward and inferior in numerous ways, while the non-natives bring more modern technology, organization and even ideology. Israel was a conquest of non-natives, and so was Australia and Ireland. However, lamentably, the progress was reversed in Ireland and thus the Irish have now incorrect perspective.

  46. Citizen
    December 1, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Max has recently discussed his book, Goliath, and addressed criticism of it: link to youtube.com

    What he says most regulars here will be well aware of (but what usual American can digest what he says?), and he covers the gamut of the problem with Israel, and Israeli leadership, and, by implication, US leadership’s enabling of same although it flies in the face of everything most Americans recognize as American values. At around 35 minutes into the interview, Max addresses how the headings of his new book relate to the contents, and at about 39 minutes into the interview, he addresses what’s wrong with the negative critique of his book that is subject here. First, he tells you that the headings for his chapters, sometimes sub sections of his book were actually taken directly from Israeli leaders. He sees that these leaders do not see that “Never Again!” must be universally applied, not just to jewish victims. The allusions of Israeli justification for what it does clearly mirrors Nazi rhetorical justification. Note he adds that Chris Hedges is a supporter of his work here, as well as some Israeli cultural honchos. Unlike US liberal zionists, he says at least the Israeli Jewish spoke folks are honest, e.g., the one he single out says, “The Tyranny of the majority is the essence of democracy.”

    This book by Max is a major breakthrough.

  47. Citizen
    December 1, 2013, 12:17 pm

    Seems the liberal Zionists here (and their bribed gentile pawns in government) and the Israeli leaders and right wing American Jews like Adelson are firmly convince that minority rights are of utmost importance everywhere jews reside in the world–except in Israel. This is a recipe for eventual disaster under the guise of “what’s best for the jews.”

  48. spokelse
    December 1, 2013, 7:13 pm

    Max’s book is a useful and unapologetic. It’s an important tonic to the crap that is pedaled in the mainstream press. And to be clear, any claims for Zionism ever having a “golden age,” an innocent age, so to speak, is simply historically incorrect. All persons involved with the original project knew that Palestine was deeply problematic because of the actual Palestinians that lived there. Settler colonialism was always implicit in the genetic code of the middle east Zionist project, Jabotinsky knew this and was very realistic about the ramifications. No matter the terrible history visited on European Jewry (including my family) there is no narrative that, in any way, has the Palestinians as anything but victims. Further, there is no narrative, in any way, that realistically assesses Zionism as anything but a ethnically motivated settler colonial project, perhaps the last spun off from the “old Europe.” And to be clear, there are always supposedly good reasons for every settler colonial project. They all do the same thing though, steal land, dispossess and destroy the population already on the land. There is no nuance here, the mainstream US Jewish American population is not going to be “properly talked to” Other solutions need to be found. Max’s reporting and justified anger at the US supported settler colonial project are not things that need to be nuanced. What needs to be highlighted is the egregious occupation and the concentration camp that is Gaza. (what else would anyone call Gaza?).

    • jon s
      December 2, 2013, 3:36 am

      spokelse, I doubt that you know what a concentration camp was.

      • Cliff
        December 2, 2013, 5:18 am

        jon s, I doubt YOU know what a concentration camp was.

        You are not a Holocaust survivor. Nor an ancient Israelite. Nor indigenous to Israel/Palestine.

  49. kalithea
    December 1, 2013, 8:20 pm

    I view Blumenthal’s “Goliath” as Bernard Shaw viewed truth: “All great truths begin as blasphemies.” You kind of have to be visionary to understand how this makes perfect sense. Obviously the author of this piece here doesn’t have that scope of perception.

    “In shops beneath Blumenthal’s flat, “Gun-toting Orthodox settlers” and soldiers are not merely eating, but are “gorging themselves.” ”

    When you’re exposed to depravity day in and day out; sarcasm is a mild sort of rebellion. My primal reaction against this daily exposure to insane depravity and staggering hypocrisy might be rage in the form of a barrage of profanity and it would be totally justified. So in my opinion, his description is pretty tame.

    “Blumenthal strongly implies that Zionism has always been wrong.”

    Newsflash: Zionism HAS always been wrong.

    I used to think that BDS was the only way to defeat the injustice of Zionism. But it’s not the only way. To defeat what Zionism has spawned is to first define Zionism in REALISTIC not illusory terms and put to rest the false premise regarding Zionism, i.e. that it was an urgent necessity. FALSE. There was another option for the settlement of Jews which Zionists ended up rejecting.

    Zionism is one of the great injustices of the 20th Century. No matter what the intentions of some – Zionism was always a bad idea; and a twisted ideology that rooted itself in a crime of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians and it has never ceased being a crime of ethnic cleansing up to the present.

    The time for hand holding and coddling Zionists is long past. No more pussyfooting around — Zionists themselves have made the brutal truth an “urgent necessity” to end this madness.

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