Remnick asks Shavit whether Zionism is a historical mistake

Israel/Palestine
on 62 Comments

In October, David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, published the most transgressive portion of Ari Shavit’s very-Zionist book, a piece about the ethnic cleansing of Lydda in 1948, and when the book came out a month later, Remnick interviewed Shavit on stage at the 92d Street Y, where it was clear that the two journalists have been friends for many years. But Remnick also differed with Shavit over several issues, and in some of those utterances, Remnick showed that he is weary of Israeli claims and has heard anti-Zionist arguments.

I study Remnick’s public statements because he is a leading Establishment intellectual who has been associated with the pro-Israel cause. Yet he has shifted in recent years in ways that indicate an internal struggle that will surely be reflected in the discourse. He has lost patience with the occupation and slammed the lobby for turning the US Jewish community into “breakfast at the Regency [hotel].” He has published Yousef Munayyer’s call for democracy in Israel and Palestine; and on Charlie Rose, sitting with two other Jewish journalists, he bridled at the absence of Palestinians at the table.

If you watch the 92d Street Y appearance from November 19, Shavit comes across as a witness of Israeli miracles, with all the sophistication of the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Topeka, while Remnick comes across as dissenting, skeptical, even troubled by some of these assertions.

When Shavit says that the Palestinians need Salaam Fayyad’s program of economic development in the West Bank more than anything, Remnick says, “His popular support is shaky at best.” When Shavit says that secular American Jews need Israel “like oxygen,” in order to survive, Remnick is dubious, and doesn’t cotton to Shavit’s idea that Israel should help fund secular Jewish schools here for American Jews so that we stay Jewish. When Shavit says that Edward Said’s legacy has “poisoned” the American left so as to blind us to the evils of Palestinian intolerance, Remnick says, “I don’t agree with you at all.”

The two differ over the Israeli nuclear program. “By the way there is one,” Remnick says, shaking his head at the official deception (at 16:56). “‘According to foreign sources.’ The most ridiculous scam. Ridiculous!”

And in addressing Shavit’s claim that his government learned about the torture of Palestinians in an Israeli jail in Gaza from his own groundbreaking piece as a reservist in 1991, Remnick isn’t buying. He relates it to US politicians playing him (28:30):

“How did they not know?… There’s always the chance, and I feel it at times, that the government is performing for you, its own moral outrage, when they know damn well about it.”

“You’re too cynical, David.”

“I am.”

The best moments are historical, when Remnick raises questions about the Zionist project in light of the crisis it finds itself in. When Shavit says that the settlement program was a huge mistake, akin to the “mindboggling… march of folly” to World War I, Remnick says, “Ari, is it an irreversible mistake?” He reminds us that this mistake has gone on for a long time, fostering dreams of one democratic state:

Remnick: Israel is the only nation of its kind that is an occupying power and at the same time it feels itself under threat enormous threat.
Shavit: It doesn’t feel itself– it is threatened.

Remnick: It is threatened, we agree on that 100 percent, whether from its geography, its proximity to the Syrian situation, Hezbollah, Iran. How is it possible to become solved? The occupation has been there since 1967, the vast majority of the life of the state of Israel. The sense of threat, the actual threat, the geopolitical, geostrategic threat, has existed from the very first hours of the beginning of that state. How does this possibly move forward in your view? Right now Secretary Kerry is shuttling from Washington to Ramallah to Jerusalem in the search yet again of the revival of a two state solution. It seems highly unlikely that that will happen anytime soon. In the meantime, discussion of a one state solution raises its head all the time, more and more in different quarters… What’s the way out?

Last, a dialogue about historical experiment.

The discussion turns to the Nakba, and Shavit takes the side of Israel’s ethnic cleansers. The founders of Israel can say with justice to bleeding-heart liberals, “We did the dirty work. They live on the land that we cleared for them and they say that these guys committed war crimes.” It’s a valid argument, Shavit says, because of the American genocide of Native Americans:

Shavit: I think it’s very important to remember, and I said it to you on some other occasions. This country [the U.S.] is based on crimes that are much worse than Lydda, much worse than Lydda. When I hear American liberals, Canadian liberals, Australian liberals and New Zealand liberals– their liberalism and their universal values are based on the fact that they basically murdered the others. And therefore they can criticize us.
Remnick: What’s the difference?
Shavit: 100 years.
Remnick: Exactly.
Shavit: Zionism was late… All these countries were really the product of white Europe. We are the product of the victims of Europe. This is why we were late.

Remnick: When somebody points out not only these realities, of the ’40s and before, but also precisely where the state of Israel is situated and what it’s surrounded by and somebody says to you, confronts you with those realities that you hardly deny, in fact it’s your work as a citizen, as a journalist, as a thinker, as a human being to confront them all the time– How is Zionism then not a mistake, considering its predicament, considering the lack of bright light and optimism even at the end of this book of the most passionate Zionist one can imagine? That’s a question you have to confront all the time.

Shavit says, “We will know the answer about Zionism in 100 years time or 200 years’ time.”

History doesn’t have time for that.

62 Responses

  1. W.Jones
    December 23, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Shavit says, “We will know the answer about Zionism in 100 years time or 200 years’ time.”
    Halper says something similar about how it can be like the Indians, where once it’s done they look back and say Wasnt that bad.

    Actually I want to go back in time and save the U.S. Indians. They were not really bad.

    And Yes, in Shavit’s view we know the answer, as is implicit in his statement comparing it to the Indians.

    • Krauss
      December 23, 2013, 4:01 pm

      And what is Shavits response to a liberal in, say Denmark? He cannot play the native American card.

      Secondly, Shavit defends the ethnic cleansing. And this is a guy who says he is a centrist. Not even the Tea Party defends the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans.

      Finally, the ethnic cleansing was not something that happened way back and is no longer relevant. It is ongoing. Shavit does not touch on the Prawer plan and neither, to the disservice of his own reputation as a liberal, does Remnick. Or what is happening in East Jerusalem. Or the racist immigration laws. Or the marriage laws. Or the racially segregated school system. And so on.

      Remnick is smart enough to see the terminal endphase of Zionism is within reach.
      At least the figleaf of liberalism. Shavit spoke of blindness yet he is not different at all from the people he criticizes. In some ways he is worse. He sees the other side and he defends their persecution as necessary.

      P.S Shavit also praised Bennett as having “qualities” before going into a theatrical rant, the type that Remnick referenced earlier. Thought that was noteworthy but Phil left it out. Israeli Centrism, ladies and gentlemen.

      • Bumblebye
        December 23, 2013, 5:25 pm

        @Krauss
        “And what is Shavits response to a liberal in, say Denmark? He cannot play the native American card.”

        Not the Native American card, maybe, but Denmark had Imperial ambitions at one time. It had various colonial outposts in India, and also had the Virgin Isles in the Caribbean. The former it sold to Britain somewhen around 1845 (I’m not looking it up) and the latter it sold to the US in 1917.

    • seafoid
      December 24, 2013, 8:42 am

      Israel will always be an enclave, Palestinian Endloesung or not. If you tolerate this your children will be next etc.

  2. NormanF
    December 23, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Anti-Zionists have declaring Israel’s time has been running out for over a century.

    Zionism doesn’t face an existential crisis. The Muslim World does which is basically in its death throes.

    Muslims are killing each other like there’s no tomorrow. No society has ever survived in the face of internecine bloodshed.

    Meanwhile Israel is a country where people have freedom and normal lives. Israeli Jews would like their Arab neighbors to have the same thing they do but the Arabs are not yet at the point of admitting their century-long effort to wipe out Zionism and the Jewish State has been a catastrophe for the Arabs.

    Someday, they will really accept the obvious. Until that time comes, Israel will have shoulder on facing the costs of a grinding conflict – which its well-equipped to do.

    • eljay
      December 23, 2013, 1:58 pm

      >> Meanwhile Israel is a country where people have freedom and normal lives. Israeli Jews would like their Arab neighbors to have the same thing they do …

      Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” that refuses to honour its obligations under international law or to hold itself accountable – or to be held accountable – for its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes.

      Why would Israeli Jews like their Arab neighbours to be like them?

      Why would Israel’s Arab neighbours want to be like them?

    • seafoid
      December 23, 2013, 2:01 pm

      Left wingers have been claiming the earth’s climate is changing for 40 years. It doesn’t matter how many GOP voters disagree.
      Israel will collapse, norman.

    • lysias
      December 23, 2013, 2:19 pm

      Couldn’t one have said much the same things about the Muslim world in the first few decades of the existence of the Crusader States?

    • JeffB
      December 23, 2013, 2:41 pm

      @Norman —

      Can’t agree with you Muslim world death throes. Islam is rather successful and growing. Plenty of societies have survived and thrived with internecine bloodshed. Take Christiandom / Europe over the last 500 years.

      But as far as Israel’s time running out. I have to agree. I see no signs of Israel weakening. There is a sort of weird schizophrenia where people can talk about how The Nation won’t even take a clear stand or publish an article on some anti-Zionist books… the media is wholly owned… congress is a pawn…. while at the same time believing they are about to achieve levels of success that require incredible uniformity and almost total victory.

      It is comforting that I don’t hear much that sounds like a viable anti-Israel plan here though. It is all sort of: we march, we protest, lots of people agree, then magic happens.

      • talknic
        December 23, 2013, 5:02 pm

        @ JeffB “I see no signs of Israel weakening”

        Palestine is now a non-independent state with International recognition. Membership in a UN body. It has advanced in status.

        Israel’s status has declined to only being protected from the consequences of building its vile illegal facts on the ground by the US UNSC veto vote

        “It is all sort of: we march, we protest, lots of people agree, then ..”

        ..rather than Hasbara bullsh*t, more and more people are better informed it is the Jewish state in breach of international law and the Palestinians actually have the law in their favour.

    • talknic
      December 23, 2013, 5:24 pm

      @ NormanF “Zionism doesn’t face an existential crisis”

      With so many of our Jewish fellows also realizing the depths of Zionist deception, don’t bet on it

      “The Muslim World does which is basically in its death throes”

      Uh huh link to foreignpolicy.com

      “Meanwhile Israel is a country where people have freedom and normal lives”

      Odd. Jewish Israelis can marry anyone from anywhere and cohabit in Israel. A Palestinian Israeli cannot. Furthermore it is not normal to occupy another people and their territory. Nor is it normal to illegally annex territory illegally acquired by war. Nor is it normal to be deceived into believing you have a right to illegally settle in illegally annexed territory illegally acquired by war

      Israeli Jews would like their Arab neighbors to have the same thing they do “

      .. more territory than they’re entitled to under International Law?

      “..but the Arabs are not yet at the point of admitting their century-long effort to wipe out Zionism and the Jewish State has been a catastrophe for the Arabs”

      Strange. The Arabs accepted the LoN Mandate for Palestine under which even Zionist Jews could have Palestinian citizenship.

      “Someday, they will really accept the obvious “

      They did long ago. Zionist Israel is a rogue state

      • Ismail
        December 24, 2013, 12:49 pm

        Before some hasbarista with bad intent hops on you for it, talknic, your comment that “…Jewish Israelis can marry anyone from anywhere and cohabit in Israel. A Palestinian Israeli cannot…” is not exactly true.

        As I understand it, no Israeli, Palestinian or Jewish, may bring a spouse from the WB or numerous other forbidden zones into Israel.

        Of course, few Jewish Israelis are looking to marry and cohabit with WB Palestinians, so in effect the law is precisely the filthy racist horror that you suggest. But it’s always best to be precise.

        Anatole France famously remarked that “The law, in its majesty and equality, forbids both the rich and poor from stealing bread and sleeping under bridges” or something like that. Same thing with Israel’s ghastly marriage laws (and many of the other “democratic triumphs” about which Usurpia ceaselessly boasts) – a thin veneer of democratic boilerplate barely concealing a system of the rankest racial privilege.

      • talknic
        December 24, 2013, 3:12 pm

        Thx … I did realize my error alas too late to correct it

        The whole thing is idiotic. Especially when people talk about Arabs, Jews, Israelis. There are hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arab Jews (or Jewish Arab Israelis)

        If you examine the Israeli narrative on the issue of Arabs/Jews/Israel/Palestine, it never seems to add up.

        By 1950 there were some 156,000 non-Jewish Arabs in Israel and some 500,000 Arab Jewish refugees from the Arab states

        That’s 656,000 Arabs of a population of about 1,370,000 about 47% not including the indigenous Arab Jews.

        link to wp.me

      • talknic
        December 24, 2013, 3:26 pm

        @ Ismail “Before some hasbarista …”

        It’s interesting to note when a Hasbarsita is active when one takes the International date line into consideration. It gives an indication of where they might really be link to timeanddate.com

    • Stephen Shenfield
      December 23, 2013, 5:51 pm

      All by itself, right? Even if Europe and the US stop contributing to those costs?

      • Citizen
        December 23, 2013, 10:36 pm

        Bibi said back in the 90s Israel was going to drop US aid package as Israel didn’t need it; he most recently said, “Israel can defend itself, by itself” in the context of Iran’s nuclear enrichment and Kerry’s Iran deal. But Bibi gets those US tax dollars regularly and Obama just gave him more millions on top of his usual $3 B per annum–for things like Iron Dome. And Germany’s still sending reparations, and stuff like those deep discount submarines easily adaptable to carry nuke warheads. Hell, as far as I know, Egypt’s still deep discounting natural energy sales to Israel, while Egypt’s own citizens pay dearly for the same energy source.

        And can Israel defend itself by itself effectively sans the US SC veto?

    • traintosiberia
      December 23, 2013, 11:22 pm

      There is some distorted morbid truth, zionist hopes and zionist engineering in your assertion how both are ( Arab death and Israeli proseprity) occurring sametime. The ideas of balkanaziation of Arab world and ME ( including Iran and later Pakistan ) have been a theme from the days of Ben Gurion with some geographic modifications here and there. This was echoed my Yoded Yonion in 1981, dreamed by Ariel Sharon while engilfing Christian and Muslim in Lebanon in 1980s and asserted as policy platform by PNAC ,addressed to Nethanhoo government and to US .This was executed by neocons author of that piece and of succeessive follow-up pieces of similar visions after they took control of major governmnet departments of Bush jr.This time they rightly envisoned that Muslim world would be engulfed in flames by their actions ( disbanding security of Iraq )and inactions (not planning for post invasion fiasco,struggles,tribal violence,and lack of simple security for the citizen ) .This is the time to remember the comments of Michael Ledeen- –“One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today. If we wage the war effectively, we will bring down the terror regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and either bring down the Saudi monarchy or force it to abandon its global assembly line to indoctrinate young terrorists. That’s our mission in the war against terror.” in response to the concerns of National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132×1933432
      Violence is the name of Purim .

      Zionsit knows that the prosperity of Jewish nation is so tied to the destruction of Arab world.
      Hey was n’t that the reason that Ben Guiorn was banning the employment of Arabs and fining the Jewish employers for trying to hire the Arab. while promoting his ideaal mutuallly beneficial vision to hapless Arabs?
      Was n’ that the reason that when Antebbe was advisong the Jewish enterprenaeuer in Jerusalem in 1913 to allow teaching in Arabic in the newly opened school and was asking to publish news in Arabic side by side with Hebrews for understanding and for combined future , he was ignored ? He was asking the Zionist owned Anglo-Palestine bank to offer credit to Arabs and not offer loans to the Jewish people only but he was asked to go away . but he was pushed away and ignored ( JERUSALEM 1913 The origin of the Arab-Israeli conflict by Amy Dockser Marcus)

    • seafoid
      December 24, 2013, 2:56 pm

      The muslim world (1 billion plus) is in its death throes. Sure it is. Intermarriage is not the issue it is elsewhere….

  3. seafoid
    December 23, 2013, 2:05 pm

    The problem with Shavit’s argument is that it justifies Arab revenge for 48. Whenever it comes. It could be salafi, it is that bad. Judaism needs justice for the long haul.

  4. American
    December 23, 2013, 2:44 pm

    ”Remnick: What’s the difference?
    Shavit: 100 years.
    Remnick: Exactly.
    Shavit: Zionism was late… All these countries were really the product of white Europe. We are the product of the victims of Europe. This is why we were late.>>>>

    Ah yes, the old…….”Johnny did it too mommy!”..and…” Johnny made me do it”! excuses.
    Hopeless morons.

    • marc b.
      December 23, 2013, 3:25 pm

      it is silly and narcissistic and myopic, american. the state of Israel owes its existence to a coordinated international response to the genocidal treatment of a minority. that’s the difference that those two navel gazing hypocrites don’t get.

      • Citizen
        December 23, 2013, 10:51 pm

        @ marc b
        Exactly. I was disappointed Remnick, the cosmopolitan said “Exactly.”

        He should have said, “Exactly–and within that 100 years, Nuremberg and its Geneva progeny.”

        Israel and its enabler (and copycat in Iraq), USA, have been ignoring said principles of international law. The Arab world knows this, acutely. So does the EU world. Not to mention Russia and China. Thanks to its “special relationship” with the midget Captain Israel, Captain America had been digging himself deeper, and deeper into its own moral ground, which sure as hell isn’t high as it was in 1945. In fact much of the world now sees no high ground over there in the US at all.

    • Taxi
      December 23, 2013, 3:48 pm

      Johnny Come Lately to genocide.

  5. seafoid
    December 23, 2013, 3:41 pm

    Remnick is far too intelligent to buy the memes of Zionism. That is one of the big problems the bots have. It is so contrived and so threadbare now.

    • chinese box
      December 23, 2013, 5:52 pm

      I agree, Remnick’s an excellent writer…he reminds me of Benjamin Schwarz…Schwarz has written some very pessimistic pieces about I/P, although it’s hard to tell where he comes down personally on the issue–he holds his cards pretty close to the vest.

  6. Patrick
    December 23, 2013, 4:42 pm

    Shavit: “When I hear American liberals, Canadian liberals, Australian liberals and New Zealand liberals– their liberalism and their universal values are based on the fact that they basically murdered the others. And therefore they can criticize us.”

    The Canadian situation is different than that of the US, and its apparent that both Shavit and Remnick are uninformed of this. The claims of First Nations to their ancestral lands within Canada have achieved widespread legitimacy over the last 30 years. The courts have repeatedly ruled in their favor, recognizing Aboriginal title to the land. This has given First Nations great political power. No significant project can go ahead without their approbation. Case in point: the very contentious Northern Gateway pipeline which is to transport diluted bitumen from Alberta to the BC coast, passing through First Nations lands. Even though the federal gov’t is very much supporting this, it won’t go ahead without significant support from the native population, which is very much in doubt at this point.

  7. LarryDerfner
    December 23, 2013, 5:21 pm

    No comments from anyone about the comparison to the U.S. and the Indians?

    • goldmarx
      December 24, 2013, 10:23 am

      Derfner: Because that comparison is valid, and the anti-Zionists here are too ashamed to admit it.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 24, 2013, 10:04 pm

        Because that comparison is valid, and the anti-Zionists here are too ashamed to admit it.

        there’s something particularly gruesome about using a past genocide to justify the current actions of a state. i can’t imagine someone trying that with germany someday. well you killed millions of people so why can’t we? are we supposed to be tongue tied? oh gee, we got away with it so why can’t you? jeffb said something about ‘neutral moral actors’ the other day link to mondoweiss.net , how can anyone be considered a ‘moral actor’ when they are defending ethnic cleansing or genocide? i really don’t get that. i can’t defend what we did to native americans because it was immoral. completely immoral and barbaric. how would you like it if someone used the holocaust to justify their genocide of another people? maybe you are into it too deep you can’t hear the implications about how gross these kinds of comparisons are.

    • ToivoS
      December 24, 2013, 4:32 pm

      Larry I am not sure what your point is here. The crime against the Native Americans from the 15th to the 20th century is recognized by most if not not all of us. It is almost grotesque to hear from a liberal Zionist telling us that we have to remain silent about what Israel is doing to its native Palestinian people because our ancestors, here in the US, must remain silent, because today’s Israelis are committing the same crimes.

      I was raised in a family that taught me that those people who founded the US committed horrible crimes. Both against the African slaves and the Native Americans who preceded us.

      When I first saw this argument my first reaction was that people who say this do not live in the same century that I do. They remind me of the barbaric nature of my ancestors. (Mine are Vikings and Finns who spread terror through Eastern and Western Europe for centuries).

      You, Larry, coming from a small ME country expect me to accept what you are doing to the Palestinians because of the genocide of the North America Indians. Nope I will not. What happened in the 19th century has been and is still recognized as a crime against humanity. Those who carried out that crime are all dead. If they were still alive they would be prosecuted. I know that in 1913 Yuba county (just north of where I now live) rescinded the 13 dollar per scalp of any Indian that was paid on delivery. This bounty was rescinded after a UC Berkeley anthropologist discovered Ishi and convinced many civilized European descended Americans that he was really a human. Of course, he spent his last years as a specimen in some SF “scientific” exhibit.

      Larry you have a real problem it seems to me. If you want to justify Israeli policies towards the Palestinians by appealing to what happened in the US in the 19th century then I think your whole Zionist program is facing total defeat. If you have not noticed, but there have been a number of international laws that make what you are doing totally illegal.

      This is so totally insane. I can’t believe that the Zionists are attacking us because nobody is “stepping up” and acknowledging what we did to the America Indians. Sorry Larry, given your isolation in Israel, we have been talking about this for over a century. If you want to use this as a precedent for your land grabs in the ME then that is your problem, but please do not accuse us of hypocrisy. You might not by hypocritical but you belong to a moral universe that has been rejected at least since the end of WWII.

      • MHughes976
        December 24, 2013, 5:07 pm

        It is ‘so totally insane’, even if the comparisons in question were totally exact, which they never are. Does someone think that if A and B in conversation expose each other’s faults that means that both faults, by being exposed in a conversation of that kind, become good deeds or at any rate go beyond objection? As if truth depended on the process by which it comes to light, not on its objectivity.
        If we have both done the same wrong don’t we both have an obligation to take the same steps to put things right?
        If American treatment of Native Americans was murderous and oppressive does that commit Americans to fall silent before every act of murder and oppression that they encounter everywhere? How can the reaction to crime not be repentance and restitution but indifference to further crime? How can the proper reaction to being bad be becoming even worse?
        These arguments are desperate, perverse scrapings of the barrel of rhetoric but serious people whom we are encouraged to respect are advancing them. O mi God.

      • LarryDerfner
        December 24, 2013, 6:46 pm

        And don’t pretend I’m saying anybody should be silent about Israel, and don’t pretend I’m talking about the post-67 occupation – I’m talking about right of return for 48 refugees, nothing else.

      • LarryDerfner
        December 24, 2013, 6:36 pm

        No, my point is strictly about right of return: If Israel is required to repatriate Palestinians and give them their land back, isn’t America required to give the Indians their land back?

      • talknic
        December 24, 2013, 7:03 pm

        LarryDerfner ” If Israel is required to repatriate Palestinians and give them their land back, isn’t America required to give the Indians their land back?”

        The American Indians are not hosted in refugee camps in other countries. They’re in America. They’re American citizens. They can vote as American citizens. They can travel freely in and out of America. They can own land anywhere in America, incl Alaska, Hawaii

      • MHughes976
        December 25, 2013, 10:24 am

        The argument, if relevant at all, should really be the other way around, should it not? Seeing that America has now liberated from non-sovereign ‘reservations’ and fully enfranchised the ‘Indians’ who exist under its sovereignty, should Israel not do the same for the Palestinians?
        However, Britain and America are guilty of a crime in respect of Diego Garcia, for which restitution and compensation are due, no less than to the Palestinians.
        The same moral rules apply everywhere. The descendants of Jewish people forced out of Europe should have the right of return to their former countries unless they clearly have laid that right down. Identifiable property that was expropriated should be returned to them or at least bought out at full value.

      • LarryDerfner
        December 24, 2013, 6:43 pm

        And if Israel must grant right of return to the 48 refugees, shouldn’t America have to give California, Arizona, N. Mexico and Texas back to Mexico?

      • talknic
        December 24, 2013, 6:58 pm

        @ LarryDerfner “And if Israel must grant right of return to the 48 refugees, shouldn’t America have to give California, Arizona, N. Mexico and Texas back to Mexico?”

        You’re spouting nonsense.

        The US legally annexed those states by agreement with the citizens of those states. By adopting the legal custom of acquiring territory through annexation by agreement, the US was instrumental in that legal custom passing into Customary International Law as the legal method for acquiring territory. Self determination.

      • JeffB
        December 25, 2013, 10:52 am

        @talknic

        You don’t get to play that. With Israel you reject any sort of acquisition of territory including UN recognition that isn’t part of the original formation of the country. If self determination mattered to you then the settlements, especially those on the border are part of Israel.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 24, 2013, 7:14 pm

        shouldn’t America have to give California, Arizona, N. Mexico and Texas back to Mexico?

        larry, i don’t think the US ethnically cleansed mexicans from it’s borders when calif, arizona, new mexico and texas became part of the US. i’m not sure how applicable your analogy is to israel. is BDS asking for israel to be ‘given back’ to palestine? is that your idea of giving people equal rights?

        today native americans or americans of mexican heritage can move anywhere they want in the US, they are not restricted to reservations or certain neighborhoods. they have the same rights in the courts as i do and the same citizenship as me. it’s not a perfect set up, but i don’t think it can be compared to israel.

        and when you say ‘giving’ land back, to palestine, do you mean the currently expanding settlements? israel is still in the process of taking more land. there’s a lot of land inside israel that belongs to palestinians no one is even living on. land they are actively trying to find jewish setttlers for link to mondoweiss.net

        doesn’t that strike you as rather odd?

        i think the point is, that israel has been ruling over all of these people since it’s inception, albeit radically differently. i think a good place to start might be to give them their equal rights, all of them. and let them go wherever they want the same i way i can go where ever i want in the US. they deserve the same opportunity as you have. it’s not like anyone is demanding you come back to the US. you’re from the US right?

        trying to convince average americans that giving everyone equal rights will ruin or destroy your country is not a very winning argument since lots of us believe we’re stronger for being a country where everyone is equal regardless of ethnicity. that’s sort of normal here. and it probably wouldn’t make israel worse, it would make it better.

      • MHughes976
        December 24, 2013, 8:34 pm

        I understand that the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo, which transferred huge stretches of Mexican territory to the United States, specifically permitted existing Mexican residents to remain as US citizens, not as disfranchised persons or as persons subjected to an occupying regime.
        The point is not that Israel should cede territories to neighbouring states as that it should enfranchise all those subject to its sovereignty, which the United States, for all its faults, has done.

      • JeffB
        December 24, 2013, 11:14 pm

        @Annie —

        Of course it would make it better. We could stop talking about “occupation” and start talking about how best to govern Israel. No one is arguing that equal rights will ruin a country, but a an active 5th column trying to overthrow a state and cooperating with its enemies. Yeah, that can ruin a country and I think average Americans would understand what say adding 100m Al-Qaeda supporters would do the United States, which is what 2m Palestinians are like in proportion as long as they are hostile to the government.

        Anyway the Texas analogy holds up. Israel is at an earlier stage of development. The purpose of the US settlements in Texas in the 1820 was eventually to break Texas free. The Mexican government, just like the PA today, saw what the Americans were planning for Texas and tried to resist but they failed. 1829 is when Texas was majority anglo. The West Bank is still in the early 1820s in this analogy.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 25, 2013, 1:46 am

        100m Al-Qaeda supporters would do the United States, which is what 2m Palestinians are like in proportion as long as they are hostile to the government.

        that’s quite a winning argument/not. palestinians are not AQ. i can’t believe we’re even having this conversation. try harder. and if you’re interested in palestinians not being enemies of the state try taking responsibility for why that might be. if israel offered them citizenship and the equal benefits of any other israeli citizen (like decades ago!) they would not be your enemy. it’s rather disingenuous to ethnically cleanse them from their homes, corral them into densely populated areas, steal all their resources, use them for target practice, and then blame them for being your enemy. nobody’s falling for this BS analogy except brainwashed people. AQ, unlike the vast majority of palestinians, are extremist religious/islamic fundamentalists caliphates. that was not how palestinians lived in the past and it’s not their goal for the future.

        and it may behoove you to realize the US has millions of arab american citizens, and a good many of them palestinians. they are not any more likely to be terrorists than any other american.

      • JeffB
        December 25, 2013, 8:56 am

        @Annie

        that’s quite a winning argument/not. palestinians are not AQ. i can’t believe we’re even having this conversation.

        They aren’t Al-Qaeda they are enemies of the state. That’s why it was an analogy.

        and it may behoove you to realize the US has millions of arab american citizens, and a good many of them palestinians. they are not any more likely to be terrorists than any other american.

        I agree. I lived in LA where the Palestinians and the Jews got along fine. And they got along fine because both of them accepted the state they lived in, both the Palestinians and the Jews in LA were Americans. That’s not the case with many Palestinians in Israel, they hate the state they live, refuse to join the Israeli nation, and work actively to destroy their state and undermine it. That’s what Al-Qaeda is doing in places like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria… hence the analogy.

    • talknic
      December 24, 2013, 7:09 pm

      LarryDerfner

      “No comments from anyone about the comparison to the U.S. and the Indians?”

      There is no comparison. The American Indians are American citizens who can settle anywhere in the US. Travel freely anywhere in the US. Vote in the US. Marry whoever they want and live in the US. They’re not hosted in refugee camps waiting to return to the US

      goldmarx ” Derfner: Because that comparison is valid, and the anti-Zionists here are too ashamed to admit it.”

      What’s valid about it goldmax?

      • MHughes976
        December 24, 2013, 8:23 pm

        I see no reply in any of this to what I said.
        If Derfner was not saying that anyone should fall silent about Israel he is allowing everyone to speak, regardless of their own burdens of guilt. It is not to be expected that anyone who speaks with any moral integrity should approve of exclusions and expropriations and continuing disfranchisement.
        Let all the descendants of the victims of former times be enfranchised. Let all the descendants of those who were dominant in former times live in equality with those former victims. Let that be done both in America and in the Middle East.

      • LarryDerfner
        December 25, 2013, 3:29 am

        Very well said, JeffB. Otherwise, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Americans who think of themselves as leftists give such a clean bill of health to “manifest destiny” and “how the West was won.” Are there any Mexicans or American Indians on this thread by any chance? I wonder what they would say to this. As a matter of fact, I wonder what the American Studies Association professors who just boycotted Israel would say. The white man in America decimated the Indian population via disease and slaughter, took whatever of their land they wanted then penned the rest in reservations. The Indians weren’t allowed to vote until, if I’m not mistaken, 1924 – only then did the whites feel sufficiently secure that the threat had been vanquished. On another front, America conquered the Southwest in a war of aggression against Mexico so the whites could run the show there, too. Yes, today Indians are citizens who can vote and live where they want; so can Mexicans who aren’t shot coming across the border or running from immigration or being thrown into jail – there are about 250 million whites in America, they don’t have to worry about the Indians or Mexicans trying to get their land back. The wars were won, and now the winners can reap the profits and even mumble an apology, maybe hug an Indian or Mexican – what does it cost them? But, to pick up with what JeffB said, what if there were 250 million American Indians and Mexicans who’d been expelled from their land or seen it taken over by the whites, and the Indians all wanted in the country so they could get their land back and the Mexicans all wanted to return the Southwest to Mexico – and not only that, but all the countries surrounding the U.S. were populated by American Indians and Mexicans who outnumbered the American whites by 50-fold, and who sided with their brethren in the U.S. and against the whites – would America have agreed to let all those 250 million defeated, vengeful Indians and Mexicans into the country and made them citizens? That’s Israel’s predicament. That’s the practical argument against the right of return. And when you folks are so amazingly morally complacent about your own country’s history, so at ease over all the ethnic cleansing/genocide/conquest it took to secure the country for you, you may want to try being a little more humble before you demand that Israel undo all the terrible things it did in 1948.

      • Sibiriak
        December 26, 2013, 1:40 am

        LarryDerfner:

        That’s Israel’s predicament. That’s the practical argument against the right of return..

        There is no practical argument against the “right of return”, since its been perfectly clear for some time that the Palestinian leadership has been willing to agree to a largely symbolic “right of return” with compensation etc.

        So, Israel’s “predicament” is that it is not willing to agree to a 2SS based on pre-1967 borders (with agreed upon land swaps), a largely symbolic right of return, and Jerusalem as a capital for both states–and because it is not willing to agree to such a settlement it is facing growing growing condemnation, delegitimization and pressure of various sorts.

      • MHughes976
        December 26, 2013, 11:21 am

        How is the demand for humility to be met?
        If it is common ground that someone did terrible (does that mean wrong?) things then is there a lack of humility simply in saying ‘put things right’? There is no implicit pride or boast on the part of the person who simply says this. If he adds vainglorious rhetoric or makes the claim to be personally faultless then perhaps he should be more humble, but even if he should his call for things to be put right is still as valid as ever it was. Truth is not dependent on who says it or in what style it is said.
        If you are responsible for terrible things then you too should speak with humility not with truculence. Of course what we inherit from the past is not endless personal responsibility for misdeeds that were not ours personally but responsibility to make the best of the situation where we find ourselves.
        If you say ‘Putting things right would cost too much in this case; it has been easier in other situations’ then the conversation can turn to gradual stages, compromises and all that. Sibiriak mentions that compromises on the Palestinian right of return have actually been offered.

  8. Elliot
    December 23, 2013, 5:30 pm

    “Shavit says, “We will know the answer about Zionism in 100 years time or 200 years’ time.”

    I posted yesterday how Shavit is trying to make a Jewish argument that ended over 100 years ago. This is another example of that. So, the Israeli strategy is to get by for another century or two and then turn around at that point and say: just like the U.S. managed to separate itself from its century old crimes, so can we right now. It’s desperation.

    • Taxi
      December 24, 2013, 12:18 am

      Didn’t prez Bush jnr say that ‘history’ will judge whether his Iraq invasion was a good thing? Never mind the present is chocking with criminal aftereffects of the Iraq invasion, with no signs that the bloody chaos is ever letting up. Just like in israel where daily crimes are relentlessly being committed against the Palestinian natives by Apartheid jewish terrorists.

      I guess both Bush jnr and israel think that history will turn a blind eye to decades of state-sponsored terrorism against unarmed civilians.

  9. talknic
    December 23, 2013, 7:05 pm

    “The occupation has been there since 1967″

    A popular misconception promoted by Israel. However, in 1948 corpus separatum was never instituted, Jerusalem has never been legally separated from what remained of Palestine after Israel proclaimed its sovereign extent as being “an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947″ link to trumanlibrary.org

    On the 12 Aug 1948 the Provisional Israeli Government itself proclaimed

    Jerusalem Declared Israel-Occupied City

    “On 2 August, the Government of Israel rejected the suggestion and decided to declare the Jerusalem area under its control as Israel-occupied territory”

    The Israeli Government immediately contravened the Laws of Occupation

    “2. The law of the State of Israel prevails in the administered area.” (ibid)

    UNSC res 476 1. Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

  10. Sibiriak
    December 23, 2013, 8:58 pm

    [Shavit:] Zionism was late… All these countries were really the product of white Europe. We are the product of the victims of Europe.

    But Zionism was also the product and beneficiary of “white Europe”–not just of its victims. Zionism rode into Palestine on the back of European imperalism and Euro-supremacism. Without the backing of the British Empire, Israel would never have come into existence.

    [Shavit:]When I hear American liberals, Canadian liberals, Australian liberals and New Zealand liberals– their liberalism and their universal values are based on the fact that they basically murdered the others.

    That’s wrong. Various settler-colonial societies were founded on genocide/ethnic cleansing but universal values were not. It’s only by dint of universal values that we now label those actions “murder”.

  11. DICKERSON3870
    December 23, 2013, 9:15 pm

    RE: “Remnick . . . doesn’t cotton to Shavit’s idea that Israel should help fund secular Jewish schools here for American Jews so that we stay Jewish.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Shavit’s idea sounds like the Israeli equivalent of the Saudi Arabian model! ! !*

    * SEE: “We do use books that call Jews ‘apes’ admits head of Islamic school”, thisislondon.co.uk, 07/02/07

    [EXCERPT] The principal of an Islamic school has admitted that it uses textbooks which describe Jews as “apes” and Christians as “pigs” and has refused to withdraw them.
    Dr Sumaya Alyusuf confirmed that the offending books exist after former teacher Colin Cook, 57, alleged that children as young as five are taught from racist materials at the King Fahd Academy in Acton [a district of west London, England]. . .
    . . . The school is owned, funded and run by the government of Saudi Arabia. . .

    SOURCE – link to thisislondon.co.uk

    • gamal
      December 24, 2013, 3:22 am

      ah yes cool, I’d like to see the offending passages, not sure how Literalist Wahhabis are going to call Jews and Christians apes and pigs, as most of the prophets of Islam were Jews and Christ and John the Baptist etc, Abdul Basit does Maryam beautifully I am sure you can get it on you tube, opening with the story of Zachariya and Yahya, almost like a ballad in its simple pathos.

      cant say whats in those text books, the Saudi are capable of anything, important to keep in mind that Saudi’s live on the threat of ‘Islam’ and pay most if not all of the rabid sectarians of Sunnism.

      Suleyman, Dauod all revered prophets, of course an Egyptian has no problem worshiping pigs and apes, but those Mashreqi’s are very correct anyone seen these passages? I never have despite their great fame, its a doctrinal nightmare for a Muslim chauvinist, a Muslim is duty bound to accept the divine origin of Judaism and Christianity, its where almost all their prophets come from, the Bibles.

      One of the sticking points between Islamic and Biblical accounts is the Greek God immorality of some of the Prophets is rejected they are portrayed in Islam as morally and spiritually highly developed. Because of this where the Quran differs with the earlier scriptures it is if anything to burnish the prophets, no incest or sending pretty women’s husbands on suicide missions, however the Biblical story itself is one of a failed relationship and God, the putative author, says clearly to the Hebrews/Israelites its you not me, or do I have a bootleg copy, doesnt the Quran wax lyrical about Ishaq and the “Prophethood and scripture” that will exemplify his descendants, still I would love to see the actual offending textbook, I wouldnt rule it out, but the admission is, as is everything emanating from Saudi sources, questionable.

  12. traintosiberia
    December 23, 2013, 11:40 pm

    NormanF says:
    December 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Additional relevant fact-
    from the chapter 3 of Neo -Conned again ( or Neoconned ) by Maurizio Blondet

    This is why Edward Luttwak ( historian,author,penatgon consultant,military strategist ) was telling in 1990 that Saddam had to be destroyed for he was spending money and wealth in building Iraq( edcuation,infrastrures,health,business) and demobilizing Republican Guard and not spending money on wine and girls like the other kings and sheikhs.

  13. Sammar
    December 24, 2013, 1:43 am

    This is getting as tiresome as refuting the wrong translation of “wiping Israel off the map”. The verses in the Koran are clear – they are not calling Jews apes or pigs, they say that those who transgressed and turned away from God were turned into apes ( which I assume like many things in the bible is not to be taken “literally”).

    “AND LO! We accepted your solemn pledge, raising Mount Sinai high above you, [and saying;] “Hold fast with [all your] strength unto what We have vouchsafed you, and bear in mind all that is therein, so that you might remain conscious of God!” And you turned away after that-! And had it not been for God’s favour upon you and His grace, you would surely have found yourselves among the lost. For you are well aware of those from among you who profaned the Sabbath, whereupon We said unto them, “Be as apes despicable!” and set them up as a warning example for their time and for all times to come, as well as an admonition to all who are conscious of God. (2:63-66)

    Say: “O followers of earlier revelation! Do you find fault with us for no other reason than that we believe in God [alone], and in that which He has bestowed from on high upon us as well as that which He has bestowed aforetime? – or [is it only] because most of you are iniquitous?” Say: “Shall I tell you who, in the sight of God, deserves a yet worse retribution than these? They whom God rejected and whom He condemned, and whom He turned into apes and swine because they worshipped the powers of evil: these are yet worse in station, and farther astray from the right path [than the mockers].” (5:59-60)

    And then, when they disdainfully persisted in doing what they had been forbidden to do, We said unto them: “Be as apes despicable!” (7:166)”

    And this is what the Koran says of those who do not transgress and turn away from God:

    “”Surely, those who believe, those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians – whosoever believed in Allah ( Allah being the Arabic word for “God”) and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”
    [al-Maa’idah 5:69]

    And then you have Israeli politicians calling Palestinians cockroaches and a cancer and other vile things – and not only those who transgress against Israel, but ALL of them.

  14. Hostage
    December 24, 2013, 2:50 am

    Shavit says, “We will know the answer about Zionism in 100 years time or 200 years’ time.”

    Yossi Gurvitz knows the answer and has written the best article I’ve seen in a long time on the subject of what Shavit and other Israelis must already know, but won’t admit.

    See: “Israelis could take a page from Abraham Lincoln”, especially the last half of the article. link to 972mag.com

  15. seafoid
    December 24, 2013, 4:07 am

    Zionism is a big mistake but post ww2 what were the options? The sephardim would not have been admitted to the US. I think it suits the Dershes to have the project an ocean away too.

    • puppies
      December 25, 2013, 3:05 am

      The options for what exactly, post-WW2?
      Post-WW2 by definition Nazism had been stamped out.
      Displaced persons were able to return home.
      Where was the need for Sephardim to go to the US? It’s not like they were being expelled from their homes in Yugoslavia or Greece (even though not many survived the Nazis there) or Turkey or Egypt.
      Essentially the “option” post-WW2 was to be a citizen of one’s country.

      • seafoid
        December 26, 2013, 5:39 am

        The Euros didn’t want them. Neither did the Yanks. Send them away was the idea. Their own leaders cooperated in sending them to Auschwitz. It is a horrible history.

      • puppies
        December 26, 2013, 11:26 pm

        1. The ones who closed the US and GB borders to European Jews [PRE and INTRA-WW2, not POST] were not the “Yanks” but the Jewish Zionist organizations, under the leadership of Rabbi Wise.

        2. The “Euros”, [PRE and INTRA-WW2, not POST] seem to have accepted as many as could fit and even more in the early days –before falling prey to the Nazi occupati0n (during which it may have been hard to accept refugees…) As for Post-WW2, which is what you speficied, Nazism had been stamped out and no European (or non) nations stood under the obligation to accept more refugees from populations to whom their country and citizenship had been restored.

        3. Post-WW2 by definition Nazism was stamped out. So I would be very grateful if you now could try to answer my questions (you seem to have missed them all.) Or to clearly formulate what you were saying.

  16. Pamela Olson
    December 24, 2013, 11:33 am

    By the way, didn’t Fayyad resign in part because the occupation destroyed the Palestinian economy so thoroughly, he basically had almost nothing to work with?

    In any case, the arrogance of this guy telling the Palestinians what they need to do to appease people like him is sickening. He clearly doesn’t really understand their situation at all, and he’s telling them what to do? And implying they deserve their fate until they do? It’s like tying someone up in chains, throwing him in a river, and chastising and punishing him if he can’t swim.

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