BDS leaders say Palestinian human rights are compatible with Israeli Jewish future

Image via WaronWant.org

Image via WaronWant.org

The American Studies Association’s (ASA) move to boycott Israel sparked a deluge of pro-Israel responses claiming that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement seeks the “destruction” of Israel.

It is a line of attack that conjures up the ghosts of the Holocaust to many Jews.  For Israel advocates, destroying Israel would mean destroying Jews’ place in the Middle East.  Cary Nelson, one of the most prominent scholarly voices against the academic boycott of Israel, distilled this type of  anti-BDS argument in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed published in response to the ASA boycott and the Modern Language Association convention.

“The fundamental goal of the boycott movement is not the peaceful coexistence of two states, one Jewish and one Palestinian, but rather the elimination of Israel,” he wrote. “One nation called Palestine would rule from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Those Jews not exiled or killed in the transition to an Arab-dominated nation would live as second-class citizens without fundamental rights.”

But a survey of some of the leading Palestinian supporters of BDS reveals a starkly different vision: that of a shared future in Israel/Palestine, where the rights of everyone are upheld.

“Freedom, justice and equality, the ultimate goals of the BDS movement, would only ‘destroy’ an unjust regime, not harm any humans. BDS categorically opposes all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, and consistently advocates for equal rights for all humans,” said Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and a co-founder of the global, Palestinian-led BDS movement for Palestinian rights. “The Zionist paranoia, whether real or an Oscar-winning act, about BDS aiming to ‘remove Jewish Israelis from the region’ is clearly based on myth and a long record of Zionist ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestinian society. Criminals always fear that their long oppressed victims will resort to the same criminal techniques if they gain power and turn the tables.”

Barghouti pointed to historic examples where former colonizers live with those they colonized, like South Africa and many Latin American countries.

Interviews with BDS advocates show that what the movement takes aim at is Jewish privilege at the expense of the rights of Palestinians.  Israel’s existence as a state that institutionalizes Jewish privilege is the edifice the BDS movement wants to destroy.  Yet that does not translate into destroying Jewish life in Israel/Palestine.  These issues speak to the very nature of Israel and what it will become: a continued site of dispossession and Jewish privilege, or a site where Palestinian human rights are realized and Israeli Jewish claims of exclusive national privilege are rejected.

“The State of Israel is built on the concept of supremacy and privilege… The idea of dismantling that is precisely why it becomes so controversial, because if you can’t have a state that privileges Jewish people, then what does the state become?” Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney who is a supporter of BDS, explained. “For advocates of pluralism and equality, it becomes a better state but for those who consider Jewish privilege a national right, notwithstanding the violence it necessitates, it is an affront.”

Cary Nelson and others imply BDS advocates want an Algeria-style bloody solution, where Israeli Jews are kicked out of their homes and massacred. “This is rhetoric designed deliberately to conjure up images and violence and fear and terror in order to divert from a discussion that really needs to be talked about,” said Ali Abunimah, a prominent BDS advocate and the author of the forthcoming book The Battle For Justice in Palestine.

The BDS movement’s rhetoric points to a South Africa-style resolution.  In an interview, Erakat said that “in most colonial models, the decolonization movement equated to the removal of the settler population.” She added that “the idea that [implementing BDS demands] would mean their annihilation speaks to an anxiety of framing Israel as a settler-colonial state, which it is… But I don’t think resolution of the conflict necessitates the removal of the settler from the land.  We have the capacity to create new types of nationalities, of conceptions of citizenship, that could contemplate the Jewish citizen as part of this multi-ethnic state.”

Whether the resolution is in one state or two states is not a position the movement has a clear answer for. While some of the leading voices in the West affiliated with BDS are in favor of one-state, many Palestinian organizations on the ground in the Middle East continue to favor two states. Indeed, the majority of those within the BNC – the BDS National Committee which leads the movement – support two states. The bottom line, though, for the movement’s supporters is that their demands–the right of return for refugees; ending the occupation and dismantling the separation wall; and recognizing the equality of Palestinian citizens of Israel–are compatible with Israeli Jewish human rights.

“There is absolutely no question of destroying Jews or of destroying the sense of peoplehood,” Nadia Hijab, the Director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network and a supporter of BDS in her personal capacity, told me.  “The only question is what political arrangements will be made that will fulfill human rights and international law as regards this conflict… I am personally agnostic on whether this should be in one state or two states. But whatever they are, these political arrangements cannot and must not allow for discrimination based on ethnic and/or religious grounds as Israel does today towards its own Palestinian citizens, as is very well documented, or against Palestinian refugees and exiles.”

Peter Beinart has criticized the BDS movement, writing that its “statement of principles makes no reference to Jewish rights and Jewish connection to the land.” He is right about that.  But Abunimah says that Beinart should look at the written work of supporters of the movement, which do reference Israeli Jewish spaces in a post-colonial reality.

“True, it’s not coming from the BDS movement or the Boycott National Committee, because its not their job to do that,” Abunimah noted in an interview.  But he also points to, for example, Omar Barghouti, an “intellectual who has written papers on ethical decolonization,” and said that Beinart has not engaged with Palestinians–or Israeli Jews, like those who make up Zochrot–who envision such a future.

In a response to Beinart’s assertion, Barghouti said, “Calling for equality in rights addresses everyone’s rights. It is crucial for the U.S. public, conscientious Jewish Americans included, to think of BDS and the struggle for Palestinian rights out of the Jewish box. This has nothing to do with Jews or Judaism, but has everything to do with a regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid that is today oppressing us and denying our most basic rights. Attempts by ‘soft’ Zionists to claim the mantle of victimness and, as a result, to naggingly demand that the victims of Israel’s oppressive regime must first ensure the preservation of aspects of Israeli apartheid and colonial rule in order for their entitlement to rights to be worthy of consideration are ludicrous and intellectually dishonest, at best.”

Even critics of BDS who are also committed to Palestinian rights, like analyst and author Mouin Rabbani, say that the movement is not bent on violence.

“It is my impression that most of it directly or indirectly calls for a one-state solution.  My personal view has always been that this necessarily requires the elimination…of Israel. I think the view that the state can survive dismantling Jewish privilege, or that you can dismantle Jewish privilege without dismantling Israel, is a chimera,” Rabbani wrote in an e-mail.  He continued:

“That said, I think the argument that the destruction of Israel will necessarily result in the subjugation, expulsion or extermination of its Jewish population is mere propaganda and not a serious argument that deserves serious engagement. To the best of my knowledge, BDS advocates of a one state solution promote either a binational state (communal equality) or a secular democratic state (individual equality).”

The most alarming BDS demand to Zionists is the right of return for Palestinian refugees kicked out in 1948 and their descendants. Their rhetoric, describing a “flood” of Palestinian refugees, is tinged with racism, a fear of the hordes of Muslims and Arabs coming to displace Jews. Aspects of this fear, though, are legitimate, as BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights acknowledged in a report, co-issued with Zochrot, on practical approaches to refugee return.

“These fears can only abate if Israelis have an understanding of how their lives, properties and privileges will be affected by the repatriation of Palestinian refugees,” the report states. “The project aims to show…that refugee return, as well as being legal and just, can also be achieved in a manner which also takes into account the rights of the existing receiving communities.”

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged

{ 65 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. seafoid says:

    “Palestinian rights are consistent with an Israeli Jewish future”
    It is a sign of how bad things have become for the Zionist Project, that it is necessary to say that Jews don’t actually need to persecute non Jews to have citizenship and rights in the region.
    And it makes a complete mockery of Foxman whining about typical antisemitism.
    Judaism really lost the plot in Israel.

    • Krauss says:

      The arguments most potent against BDS – and I mention this because it is still ineffctively answered by the movement – are not really moral in their nature.

      Everyone knows, even most “soft” Zionists as Barghouti likes to say it, that the BDS movement has the morality on its side.

      The question is whether it can be done. What can be done? This:

      To the best of my knowledge, BDS advocates of a one state solution promote either a binational state (communal equality) or a secular democratic state (individual equality).”

      If Abbas would fall down on his (metaphorical) sword tomorrow and Fatah would be forced by deus ex machina to call democratic elections, would the BDS secular types win? It’s highly unlikely as it stands. Fatah would probably be destroyed in the process.

      I understand that a lot of Zionists use this argument as a pre-emptive way to block any peaceful resolution to the conflict, so I use it with great care. But it stills needs to be answered because they are using it to stall the process of acceptance. I believe the process of acceptance will happen anyway, but it can happen faster.
      Because if you can’t answer it in a forceful and rational manner, the response will always be “well you may be right, but it’s impossible to do without allowing an Islamic state in the West Bank to take hold”.
      The implication will be: that’s too bad, we feel your pain, but you don’t show me an acceptable path forward. How many people can you reliably call upon?

      A lot of criticism against BDS is hiding behind these kinds tactical considerations. Most of it can be dismissed.
      But that doesn’t mean that practicality shouldn’t be considered at all.
      From my viewpoint, the people we need to calm are not Zionists – why waste our time, they are hostile from the getgo – but rather reasonable fence-sitters who are sympathetic to these kinds of practical arguments as a method to stall progres. If we don’t deal with them, we’ll be slowed down by them.

      • seafoid says:

        “I understand that a lot of Zionists use this argument as a pre-emptive way to block any peaceful resolution to the conflict”

        The longer the bots delay peace, the more extremist Israeli society becomes.
        link to youtube.com

        Institutionalised sadism contaminates everything.
        Israel desperately needs fresh thinking.

  2. seafoid says:

    How did Judaism manoeuver itself into a position where the flagship of Judaism, the showroom, its pride and joy, the thing 600 generations of Jews prayed for, the driver of the mitzvot, the moral compass, is incompatible with human rights?
    What then is the point of Judaism?

    • bilal a says:

      To begin with, Judaism is not the secular state of Israel, tho people do get confused with their flag on their bombs:

      Max Blumenthal ‏@MaxBlumenthal 4h
      Want to reduce anti-Semitism? Start by removing the Star of David from Israel’s national flag. link to mondoweiss.net

      Vince ‏@vinceperritano 4h
      @MaxBlumenthal Then should Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia change their flags to reduce Islamophobia?

      Max Blumenthal ‏@MaxBlumenthal 4h
      @vinceperritano only to the extent that they claim to represent all the world’s Muslims as Israel claims to speak for all Jews everywhere.

      link to twitter.com

  3. ritzl says:

    Great article. Thoughtful and relevant.

    Israel may turn out to be the biggest exercise in mass assimilation in Jewish history. Assimilation where Jewish-Israelis, when confronted with the seeming Hobson-like choice of attachment to the land or equal rights for all, decline and choose both to become a vibrant, hybrid culture that is truly unique and part of the ME.

    A lot of incorporated steps and rosy assumptions in that, but it is one path. A path that this article suggests is possible, imho.

  4. bangpound says:

    Thanks Alex Kane for doing what so many journalists fail to do: take movements and people seriously and listen to what they actually say.

  5. dimadok says:

    “Whether the resolution is in one state or two states is not a position the movement has a clear answer for.”
    Here is the root of a problem- an assumed “agnostic” view of final peace agreement. Two states- one purely Palestinians with no Jews allowed and another bi-national one state with an immediate majority of Arabs, supported by the flood of “refugees”.
    Seems a bit to much for us to swallow, and will certainly no sane mind in Israel will agree to.
    Keep on BDS, there is a long list of Palestinian failures to achieve anything meaningful and it keeps on growing.

    • Talkback says:

      Two states- one purely Palestinians with no Jews allowed …

      With no Israeli allowed, they can stay as Palestinians. Do you understand the difference?

      • “Do you understand the difference?”
        No way! Wouldn’t fit with the mendacity of his unshakeable sense of victimhood. Wouldn’t fit nicely in his lousy Goebbels-inspired hasbara lines

      • Shingo says:

        He understands the difference, but he’s sticking to the propaganda.

      • Mikhael says:

        Talkback says:
        January 21, 2014 at 6:40 pm

        With no Israeli allowed, they can stay as Palestinians. Do you understand the difference?

        That option, for Israeli Jews living in the disputed territories to receive citizenship in a future Palestinian state hasn’t actually ever been formally offered, but few normal Israeli Jews in their right minds would proudly and willingly adopt a “Palestinian” political identity. We ceased to be “Palestinians”, a status imposed on us by the British, in May 1948 and won’t be going backwards.

        A fair and reasonable offer, if and when Palestinian Arabs ever gain a sovereign state in a good chunk of the West Bank, would be to offer Israeli Jews residing there a choice of citizenship there or permanent residency status, just as Israel extends to East Jerusalem’s Arab population. I can’t imagine that many Israelis would opt for Palestinian citizenship at any time in the near future, though anything is possible decades hence if a future State of Palestine could get its act together.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “A fair and reasonable offer, ”

          The Jews of Occupied Palestine have never acted even slightly in a “fair and reasonable” manner. You people have a lot of guts to expect to be treated in anyway but the manner you’ve treated others. These Jews should be governed by Palestinian martial law for 20 years, have all of their property stolen from them and then oppressed and discriminated against for three generations. THAT would be “fair.”

        • Talkback says:

          Mikhael: We ceased to be “Palestinians”, a status imposed on us by the British, in May 1948 and won’t be going backwards.

          LOL.

          1.) Jews (less then half of them in 1948) ACQUIRED Palestinian citizenship either by being former Ottomans habitually resident in Palestine or by naturalization after immigration. To say that the British “imposed” this status on Jews is absolutely insane.
          2.) Jews ACQUIRED Israeli citizenzship not in 1948, but in 1952 when a new nationality law was enacted. And with this racist perversion of a nationality law you denationalized Arab Palestinian refugees in clear violation of customary international law (as reflected in resolution 181) and human rights law.

          A fair and reasonable offer, if and when Palestinian Arabs ever gain a sovereign state in a good chunk of the West Bank, would be to offer Israeli Jews residing there a choice of citizenship there or permanent residency status, just as Israel extends to East Jerusalem’s Arab population.

          East Jerusalem is not a recognized part of Israel, because illegaly annexed. And the only party that is blocking Palestinians from exercising their sovereignty in the territory they are entitled to is the occupying, land grabbing, civilians terrorizing and oppressing Zionist Apartheid Junta.

          • goldmarx says:

            Talkback: “Jews (less then half of them in 1948) ACQUIRED Palestinian citizenship either by being former Ottomans habitually resident in Palestine or by naturalization after immigration. To say that the British “imposed” this status on Jews is absolutely insane.”

            Actually, when the British declared the Mandate in 1920, making Palestine a country, this status was imposed on ALL residents, not just the Jewish ones. Under the Ottoman Empire, “Filastin” was just a province of Syria, and I haven’t come across any historical record of Palestinian national consciousness prior to the Mandate.

            That you regard what the British did as insane does not make it any less true. Hence, the popularity of Monty Python, for example.

    • Shingo says:

      Two states- one purely Palestinians with no Jews allowed and another bi-national one state with an immediate majority of Arabs, supported by the flood of “refugees”.

      No one has proposed one purely Palestinians with no Jews allowed. Cut the hasbara.

      another bi-national one state with an immediate majority of Arabs, supported by the flood of “refugees”.

      You never objected to Palestine being flooded by Jewish refugees. Of course, those were refugees made refugees by Europe, whereas Israel created the Palestinian refugees.

      Your hypocrisy is mind numbing.

      Keep on BDS, there is a long list of Palestinian failures to achieve anything meaningful and it keeps on growing.

      Yeah , so many failures.
      link to haaretz.com
      link to ynetnews.com

    • goldmarx says:

      dimadok: “Two states- one purely Palestinians with no Jews allowed and another bi-national one state with an immediate majority of Arabs, supported by the flood of “refugees”.”

      The first state you mention will not ban Jews, just settlers. Jews who wish to live under Palestinian authority will be free to do so. For instance, there are some noted anti-Zionist Jews intermarried with Palestinians who will be living there together as a demonstration for a future binational state.

      The second state will not be receiving any ‘flood’ of refugees. The numbers can be negotiated between the two sides. Some eligible refugees have indicated they would take money in lieu of physical resettlement.

      • Talkback says:

        goldmarx: Actually, when the British declared the Mandate in 1920, making Palestine a country, this status was imposed on ALL residents, not just the Jewish ones.

        I didn’t write anything else.

        That you regard what the British did as insane does not make it any less true.

        That is not what I wrote. I wrote that Mikhael’s view is insane. He claimed that British “imposed” the Palestinian nationality upon Jews in Palestine.

  6. mondonut says:

    “Freedom, justice and equality, the ultimate goals of the BDS movement, would only ‘destroy’ an unjust regime, not harm any humans. BDS categorically opposes all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, and consistently advocates for equal rights for all humans,”

    This statement does not in any way contradict Cary Nelson’s. Regardless of what the BDS crew and their useful idiots choose to oppose (publicly) , they will have little to no say in what emerges from the elimination of Israel. What emerges would be whatever mess the current power brokers agree to – a state as imagined by Abbas, Hamas and the PLO.

    The only role of the BDS is to assist with the transfer of power. Somehow I doubt they will stick around to protest and boycott the Palestinians when their idealized state fails to show up.

    • amigo says:

      dimadok and mononut must have contacted each other.look at the timing.5 mins apart.

      But ill informed and completely off the mark as usual.

      Hell, what,s a lying zio apologist to do with all these anti semite truth tellers invading their (well not really) space.

      Whose next , hoppy or yrn.

    • Shingo says:

      The only role of the BDS is to assist with the transfer of power.

      No, but I understand why you would think that seeing as a primary role of the Zionism has been to to assist with the transfer of power.

    • talknic says:

      @ mondonut ” Regardless of what the BDS crew and their useful idiots choose to oppose (publicly)… “

      You know what they oppose privately? WOW!!! C’mon, you can let us know…give

      Only what they oppose in public has any hope of actual effect.

      they will have little to no say in what emerges from the elimination of Israel.”

      What elimination of Israel? What they call for is for Israel to stop acting illegally as the Occupying Power over non-Israeli territories.

      “Somehow I doubt they will stick around to protest and boycott the Palestinians when their idealized state fails to show up”

      The Palestinians already have a state, it has been recognized by the majority of the Comity of Nations and by the UN through a UN body. What they don’t have is an independent state, because Israel refuses to end the illegal acquisition of territory of the State of Palestine and refuses to end its occupation of the State of Palestine.

    • puppies says:

      @The Nut – “a state as imagined by Abbas…”
      That would be a state as dictated by the occupier. You’re really nuts not to take it.

  7. Unfortunately, since the Zios don’t have any actual arguments against justice, equality and a fair allocation of resources for all, they resort to smears, mischaracterisation and hysterical denunciations of those who do. Reason and logic like this is the last thing they are interested in. The generation of a false narrative, along with the demonisation of the indigenous people and anybody who supports their rights, is the paramount aim, a colossal exercise to camouflage the land clearing and dispossession which they have practised since they started. They won’t engage at this kind of level, since it doesn’t serve the ‘project’. Expect more hysteria and black propaganda against the exercise of reason and the crusade for justice. The only people they are interested in is themselves. Everybody else is an enemy, bar the pitiful cadre of blinkered apologists.

  8. giladg says:

    Omar Barghouti does not represent the Islamic extremists. The Islamic extremists control the streets. The Islamic extremists are not willing to share the holiest site for Jews, The Temple Mount, with Jews. Omar Barghouti himself does not want to share or even reconcile with Jewish history and heritage. Therefor Omar Barghouti’s words mean very little. When Omar Barghouti talks about Jews living in the Middle East he does not envision these Jews expressing their rights as Jews. Omar Barghouti is a big waste of time.

  9. German Lefty says:

    “Those Jews not exiled or killed in the transition to an Arab-dominated nation would live as second-class citizens without fundamental rights.”

    A clear case of projection:
    “Those Palestinians not exiled or killed in the transition to a Jewish-dominated nation would live as second-class citizens without fundamental rights.”
    The Zionist described the founding of Israel.

  10. Citizen says:

    Cary Nelson is notorious as a tenured radical and he’s been dipping his toes in Zionist dollars on the other side, as a parrot for AIPAC. He gets to live in great material comfort in this antithetical slot. What’s not to love?

  11. Nevada Ned says:

    Opponents of BDS say that it’s impossible for two peoples to inhabit the same land. Its not possible. It’s never happened. Have they ever heard of the USA?

    The whole posture of most Israeli Jews reminds me of the posture of the white Christian south, before the civil rights movement. Southern whites were convinced that racial equality between blacks and whites would lead to disaster, the end of their unique southern culture, and the destruction of the southern way of life. Hence the Jim Crow system was the defense of the southern way of life and its (alleged) virtues. Most southern whites resented (what they took to be) the ignorant meddling of outsiders who failed to appreciate the southern way of life.

    Either a 1SS or a 2SS would have to be forced on Israel, just as desegregation had to be forced on white southerners in the US. Mississippi and Alabama were just not going to desegregate voluntarily.

    I will say that in many cases, the fear of racial equality expressed by Israeli Jews is genuine, and the fear is stoked by the forces of racism. Netanyahu, Begin, Sharon, and many others have cleverly attempted to portray the oppressed Palestinians as the logical successors to Hitler.

    Is there anybody among Israeli Jewry who is willing to say, “Look, your relatives in the US are a minority of 2-3%, and they’re doing OK.”

    • Mikhael says:

      <blockquote.Nevada Ned says:
      January 21, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Opponents of BDS say that it’s impossible for two peoples to inhabit the same land. Its not possible. It’s never happened. Have they ever heard of the USA?

      In the modern state of Israel, two peoples inhabit the same land. Israeli citizens who belong to the Arab ethnic and linguistic minority are guaranteed under Israeli law the same civil rights as their Jewish fellow citizens.

      The whole posture of most Israeli Jews reminds me of the posture of the white Christian south, before the civil rights movement.

      Except most Israeli Jews, unlike most white Southerners in the Jim Crow era, accept that their fellow citizens who are not Jewish should have the right to vote. Most Israeli Jews who serve in the IDF, unlike most white Southerners in the segregated US military of the 1940s, will accept that Arab officers can lead them (the current commander of the Golani Infantry Brigade, Ghassan Alina is an Arab Druze, and the former commander of the Givati Brigade, Imad Fares, is an Arab.) One of the current justices on Israel’s Supreme Court, Salim Joubran, is an Arab. I cannot recall that any of the high courts of appeal in any state of the segregated Jim Crow South in the US post-Reconstruction had any non-white justices. Most Israelis accept the decisions of the High Court, including its Arab associate justice, as binding. Ordinary Israelis accepted the sentencing of the Jewish former president, Moshe Katzav, by an Arab Christian judge. While some Israelis may have prejudices about living next to Arabs, many others do not, and often Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens live in the same apartment buildings. We would, however, view the idea of being reduced to a minority in our own country as problematic, especially when many of those who advocate a 1SS openly call for it to be an Arab coujntry (despite the protestations of others that it would be a binational, multiethnic state), with Islamic law at its foundation. In this region, sectarian minorities are discriminated against, to say nothing of distinct ethnic minorities.

      Is there anybody among Israeli Jewry who is willing to say, “Look, your relatives in the US are a minority of 2-3%, and they’re doing OK.”

      While it’s true that Jews have fared well in the US, we have existed as a nation in various Diaspora lands far longer than the US has existed. So sure, Jews in the US overall enjoy civic liberties (although most Americans of Jewish ancestry have lost touch with their language, culture and roots), but there is no denying that many Jews in the USA are materially prosperous and enjoy the civic freedoms that country has to offer, By the same token, many Arab-Americans (including those who identify as Palestinian) also thrive in the USA despite being a distinct minority there. Does that make Palestinian Arabs’ desire for self determination in a state framework of their own any less legitimate?

      • Sibiriak says:

        Mikhael:

        We would, however, view the idea of being reduced to a minority in our own country as problematic, especially when many of those who advocate a 1SS openly call for it to be an Arab coujntry (despite the protestations of others that it would be a binational, multiethnic state)….

        A 1SS, however problematic and unrealistic, is being openly called for with so much greater frequency and passion these days for one simple reason: Israel has precluded the possibility of a reasonably just two-state solution.

        most Americans of Jewish ancestry have lost touch with their language, culture and roots

        You mean Yiddish?

        • Mikhael says:

          Sibiriak says:
          January 22, 2014 at 10:25 am

          Mikhael says:
          most Americans of Jewish ancestry have lost touch with their language, culture and roots

          You mean Yiddish?

          No, I meant Hebrew, although American Jews have largely lost touch with Yifddish as well (with the exception of the Haredi communities there). Yiddish is a language that many American Jews’ ancestors spoke prior to their immigration to the US and in the early years of their residence there, but Hebrew, of course, is the ancestral language of nearly all Jews (excluding those who are recent converts to Judasim). Ashkenazi, Sefaradi, and Mizrahi Jews all share a common Hebraic linguistic heritage . Bear in mind also that not all American Jews are of Eastern European Ashkenazi descent. Many Sefaradi/Mizrahi Jews also live in the US–people whose families immigrated from Syria, Iran, Yemen, Morrocco, Turkey…etc. I would guess that Sefaradim/Mizrahim in NYC at least is around 15% of the total Jewish population.

        • Mikhael says:

          Sibiriak says:
          January 22, 2014 at 10:25 am
          A 1SS, however problematic and unrealistic, is being openly called for with so much greater frequency and passion these days for one simple reason: Israel has precluded the possibility of a reasonably just two-state solution.

          What is a “reasonably just two-state solution”? I don’t think Netanyahu is interested in such a thing, but then again neither is Abbas nor hardly any of the people on this site. Such a thing would involve many post-1967 settlements across the Green Line remaining under Israeli sovereignty (e.g., Gush Etzion) while dismantling most that are located deep within heavily Arab-populated areas (e.g., Shiloh, maybe Ariel) or offering their residents the option to live under Palestinian-Arab rule.

          The idea of a “right to return” of foreign Arabs into Israel will never be part of any “reasonably just” 2SS, of course.

          • Sibiriak says:

            Mikhael:

            What is a “reasonably just two-state solution”?

            A two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders (w/agreed land swaps, a large portion of settlements annexed to Israel), Jerusalem a shared capital, a largely symbolic “right of return” with compensation. etc.–i.e., what was called the “international consensus” for some time. (Cf. The Geneva Accords as an example)

            I don’t think such a two-state solution is a realistic possibility because Israel is dead set against such a solution and there are no external or internal forces that can compel Israel to accept such a solution. A single state solution is, a fortiori, even less of a possibility.

            I don’t think Netanyahu is interested in such a thing, but then again neither is Abbas nor hardly any of the people on this site.

            I agree on Netanyahu but not Abbas. As far as this site is concerned, you are partially correct: while there are numerous supporters of a two-state settlement, their numbers are dwindling because they believe that Israeli intransigence and “facts on the ground” make such a reasonable 2SS an impossibility.

      • eljay says:

        Opponents of BDS say that it’s impossible for two peoples to inhabit the same land. Its not possible. It’s never happened. Have they ever heard of the USA?

        In the modern state of Israel, two peoples inhabit the same land. Israeli citizens who belong to the Arab ethnic and linguistic minority are guaranteed under Israeli law the same civil rights as their Jewish fellow citizens.
        . . .
        We would, however, view the idea of being reduced to a minority in our own country as problematic …

        Zio-supremacism explained: All Israelis are guaranteed equality…as long as Jewish Israelis (and non-Israeli Jews) remain more equal than non-Jewish Israelis.

        • Mikhael says:

          eljay says:
          January 22, 2014 at 11:50 am
          Zio-supremacism explained: All Israelis are guaranteed equality…as long as Jewish Israelis (and non-Israeli Jews) remain more equal than non-Jewish Israelis.

          Allegedly “pro-Palestinian” cultish mindset illustrated.

          How does not wanting to be reduced to a discriminated-against minority in one’s own country explain “Zio-supremacism”?

          Israel’s non-Jewish citizens are guaranteed every single civic right that Israel’s Jewish citizens enjoy, in law and in practice, and in the cases where they feel they are not being treated equally they are entitled to seek redress.

          I’m quite sure that however few Jews remain in a state called Palestine (which explicitly defines itself as an ethnic Arab polity) won’t be afforded the same treatment.

          • eljay says:

            >> Allegedly “pro-Palestinian” cultish mindset illustrated.

            Pro-equality, pro-justice, pro-morality. Because you are a hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist, these are things you cannot or will not understand.

            >> How does not wanting to be reduced to a discriminated-against minority in one’s own country explain “Zio-supremacism”?

            Setting up your state as a supremacist “Jewish State” in which Jewish Israelis (and non-Israeli Jews) are guaranteed permanent majority status over non-Jewish Israelis is how it explains Zio-supremacism.

            Pretending that Jewish supremacism is equality doesn’t actually make it so. It remains Jewish supremacism.

      • Nevada Ned says:

        Mikhael:
        you claim that Palestinian citizens of Israel are guaranteed, under Israeli law, the same rights as Israeli Jewish citizens.
        If only that were the case! What you say is absolutely rubbish.
        Do Israeli Jews have to go through checkpoints? No.
        Palestinians have to go through 500 checkpoints.

        Palestinians face widespread systematic racial discrimination. And it’s all on purpose of course. It’s Israel’s official racism, punctuated with periodic pograms of extreme violence.

        In the past, the Israelis and their supporters and defenders could get away with this kind of stonewalling: deny, deny, deny.

        It isn’t working any more.

    • Sibiriak says:

      Nevada Ned:

      Opponents of BDS say that it’s impossible for two peoples to inhabit the same land. Its not possible. It’s never happened. Have they ever heard of the USA?

      The whole posture of most Israeli Jews reminds me of the posture of the white Christian south, before the civil rights movement. Southern whites were convinced that racial equality between blacks and whites would lead to disaster

      What? American blacks were a separate people with national aspirations?

      • Mikhael says:

        Sibiriak says:
        January 22, 2014 at 3:21 am What? American blacks were a separate people with national aspirations?

        That’s actually a very relevant point. American blacks demanded the rights due them as American citizens (although Black Nationalist groups, which were always on the fringe, did–and do–demand recognition as a separate “nation”), something non-Jews who are Israeli citizens do not have to march for.

        Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza have the right to national self-determination in a state of their own. Non-Jewish citizens of Israel have a right to full citizenship rights due any ethnic minority, just as ethnic Turks in Bulgaria have a right to citizenship rights as an ethnic minority, just as ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia have a right as a minority to full citizenship rights in that country, etc. If the ethnic Turk minority in Bulgaria, who do currently enjoy full civil rights in that country (despite having endured earlier episodes of discrimination and persecution) asserted that they had an essential and innate right to alter the Bulgarian character of the state, there would be a severe push-back by ethnic Bulgarians. The same can be said for ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia, ethnic Russians in Estonia, etc. All this is taken for granted for other democratic nation-states. Bulgaria has a right to be Bulgarian. Estonia has a right to be Estonian. But enlightened opinion considers it fundamentally discriminatory for Israel to define itself as Jewish. One can only conclude that people who voice this opinion do so becaise they consider Jewishness in and of itself to be problematic.

        • Sibiriak says:

          Mikhael:

          Bulgaria has a right to be Bulgarian. Estonia has a right to be Estonian. But enlightened opinion considers it fundamentally discriminatory for Israel to define itself as Jewish. One can only conclude that people who voice this opinion do so becaise they consider Jewishness in and of itself to be problematic.

          Almost everyone who is opposed to Israel being defined as a “Jewish State”–and even more problematically, “the nation- state for the entire Jewish people”–would also oppose Bulgaria/Estonia being defined as an ethnically-Bulgarian /Estonian state. So I don’t see the hypocrisy and antisemitism that you do.

          Those who oppose a “Jewish State” generally promote the liberal-democratic model wherein “nationality” is equivalent to citizenship. That is not the case in Israel. Under Israeli law, based on Zionist ideology, there is no Israeli nationality.

          In my view, Israel is an ethnocratic state with liberal-democratic and theocratic elements.

  12. The fears of the Jewish Israelis is not based (solely) upon their suspicions of the attitudes of people like Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah. Barghouti and Abunimah (or people who resemble them) will not be the leaders of the new Palestine. The leaders of the new Palestine will probably resemble Raed Salah of the Islamic movement in Israel. Interview them and find out from them what their attitude towards the settlers (meaning Jewish Israelis) will be and if you receive the same answers as you get from the liberal Palestinians interviewed here, you will be a step forward in convincing Israeli Jews that they have nothing to fear. Meanwhile there is no real reason to assume that the liberals like Barghouti and Abunimah will dominate the new Palestine, any more than the results of Tahrir Square did not put liberals into power, but instead catapulted Morsi into power. (The devolution of the situation in Egypt to the present tense with a military junta in charge is not necessarily greatly encouraging either in terms of the stability of the future.)

    • Shingo says:

      nterview them and find out from them what their attitude towards the settlers (meaning Jewish Israelis) will be and if you receive the same answers as you get from the liberal Palestinians interviewed here, you will be a step forward in convincing Israeli Jews that they have nothing to fear.

      Israelis aren’t stealing land because of what they fear. They are stealing land because of their supremacist ideology and what they want. Those who are driven by this messianic ideal are using fear to justify it.

    • a blah chick says:

      What Jewish Israel fears is that they will end up being treated with the same tenderness and warmth they have treated their fellow Arab citizens.

      Karma is a bitch.

    • bilal a says:

      Who would want a South African solution for the Palestinians or the Israelis? The billionaires kept all the wealth they stole and left the common whites and blacks in an impoverished racially tense brutal corrupt dictatorship.

      I dont get why MWeiss, MaxB, or AA electronic intifada people want this very real possibility, except they wont have to live there, and they seem to hate both the religious Muslims and Jews alike (both having extremist elements not worth preserving, but why destroy the good with the bad).

    • goldmarx says:

      Excuse me, Yonah, but you do know that the Israeli government, along with the Saudis, helped establish Hamas because it wanted a popular, divisive opposition to Arafat, right?

  13. Nelson wrote “The fundamental goal of the boycott movement is not the peaceful coexistence of two states, one Jewish and one Palestinian, but rather the elimination of Israel.” Of course we all know that most BDS supporters have no such desire to hurt Israel at all. We support BDS because we want to put pressure on Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. We have tried all other civilized methods to influence Israel just like we tried and failed with South Africa until BDS made the difference. It appears that Nelson (who is Jewish) must think that BDS is effective, if he thinks that it will eliminate Israel. BDS can only eliminate Israel (unlikely but possible) if Israel refused to settle with the Palestinians in the future. Therefore, Nelson must assume that Israel will not make peace with the Palestinians and therefore he must be opposed to the BDS movement because he does not want Israel to settle with the Palestinians. Therefore he is some sort of irrational right-wing Zionist who is part of the problem we would like to solve.

  14. talknic says:

    @ yonah fredman “The leaders of the new Palestine will probably ..”

    Speculation can be fun, you can say anything

  15. mcohen says:

    Speculation can be fun, you can say anything

    Alex Kane on January 21, 2014 says

    erakat said……….. “We have the capacity to create new types of nationalities, of conceptions of citizenship, that could contemplate the Jewish citizen as part of this multi-ethnic state.”

    • talknic says:

      @mcohen “erakat said……….. “We have the capacity to create new types of nationalities, of conceptions of citizenship, that could contemplate the Jewish citizen as part of this multi-ethnic state.”

      Nice try. However, he IS a Palestinian leader! See the difference?

      • mcohen says:

        talknic says:
        January 23, 2014 at 9:20 am

        ” he IS a Palestinian leader!”

        no he is not -he is as saudi flunkie,addressing people like yourself on the internet who fall for his bullsh*t

        Legacy
        Erekat is one of the more prominent Palestinian spokespeople in the Western media.[13] During the Second Intifada he loudly criticized Israeli actions and together with other sources[14] characterized the IDF’s 2002 assault in the Palestinian town of Jenin as a “massacre” and a “war crime”, alleging that Israel has killed more than 500 Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp. After the incident was over and the Palestinian death toll was recorded at between 53 and 56 casualties, Erekat faced widespread criticism.[15][16][17][18]

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        you need to update your “talknic” hasbara webpage immediately

  16. Omar Barghouti is quoted. That says all about the article.

    I doubt he would state he is against anti-Semitism in Arabic.

  17. Tex Tradd says:

    I really don’t understand how Israeli Jews are supposed to feel confident that their rights would be respected in whatever dispensation results after the changes these BDS activists advocate.

    Yes, I’m aware that the feelings of Zionists shouldn’t get a veto on justice being done.

    But whose ideas of justice are going to prevail? Are there institutions among the Palestinians that can be plausibly said to be preparing for the burdens and responsibilities that a post-Zionist Arab-majority Israel would entail?

    Sure, there is the South Africa model. And Northern Ireland/ Maybe skeptics like myself need to use our moral imaginations more expansively, given these real-world examples. Mandela of course did overcome the dangerously fraught ethnic divides by rising to the historical moment, renouncing violence, setting a great example by endorsing the national rugby team, approving of the work of the Reconciliation committees, and overall doing yeoman’s work reassuring the white South Africans that being a minority population would not mean having less rights.

    But violent crime has gone up there since the end of the Apartheid wickedness, rather severely I think. The prospect of a post-Zionist Israel-stan becoming like South Africa will likely generate not necessarily irrational fears of what comes after.

    Hearing Max Blumenthal on CSPAN recently talk about his sense of the utter improbability of a Two State Solution ever happening (what I have long advocated) is making me really worried. I fear that moment may have indeed passed with the Oslo years.

    But even though I’m not a Zionist (my views are more in the anti-imperialist/pro-peace vein of Ron Paul) I can’t wrap my mind around an optimistic take of what One State comes after the end of Zionism, given the tragic histories and the violence since 1929. Maybe, in the longer term, there could be some sort of edifying pan-Semitic or Abrahamic/Ibrahamic national myths that could serve to bring a One State country together? But what if secular One State post-Zionist type aspirations fail, and the hard men with the guns take over the Arab-minority Israel-istan?

    One State BDSers seem to me to be amazingly optimistic about how it all is supposed to work out for the Israeli Jews. I have to agree with Norman Finkelstein here: a post-Zionist One State with an Arab majority is a bridge too far. Better to cling to hope for Two States, with a territorially viable Palestine forging it’s own prosperous path next to an Israel where all citizens are equal under the law, ethnicity and religion nonwithstanding.

    • Sibiriak says:

      Tex Tradd:

      I really don’t understand how Israeli Jews are supposed to feel confident that their rights would be respected in whatever dispensation results after the changes these BDS activists advocate.

      I agree with the basic thrust of your post. I don’t think a single state is a realistic possibility at this point. But even if it were possible, would it be desirable?

      Check out the debate between Ilan Pappe and Uri Avnery on this question.

      “Two States Or One State” 11 June, 2007

      link to countercurrents.org

      Both make strong arguments, but I end up siding with Avnery regarding a single state. On the other hand, I think a reasonable two-state settlement is no longer possible, so I’m left agreeing with Noam Chomsky’s pessimistic view–neither a 1SS or 2SS is in the cards right now.

      There is, though, some possibility that a historic defeat will be imposed on the Palestinians and their leadership will agree to an extremely truncated, non-contiguous, Israeli-supervised and surrounded, mini-state. Call that the 1.5 state solution.

      See Finkelstein:
      link to normanfinkelstein.com

      When folks like Jeremy Ben-Ami speak of the “two-state solution”, they are talking about two states divided by the pre-June 1967 border, with, they are always careful to add, land swaps. By “land swaps”, they mean Israel’s annexation of the major settlement blocs and giving Palestinians some territory in return. In fact the delineation of their proposed border is very clear. It’s the route of the Wall. Israelis speak fairly openly of the Wall as the “future border“, to quote Israel’s current Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni.

      That kind of two-state settlement precludes any possibility of a Palestinian state. Israeli retention of the settlement blocs of Ariel, Karnei Shomron and Ma’ale Adumim would trisect the West Bank, appropriate some of its most valuable land and resources and cut off East Jerusalem. When people talk about the terms of a final settlement they often focus on percentages—what percentage of the West Bank will Israel retain, and so on—which misses the point made by the Palestinian delegation to the Annapolis talks: it’s not just about percentages. East Jerusalem comprises just 1% of the West Bank, but a Palestinian state in its absence is unthinkable. Greater East Jerusalem—the triangle going from East Jerusalem to Ramallah to Bethlehem—accounts for 40% of the Palestinian economy.

      See also: ” The End of Palestine? An Interview with Norman G. Finkelstein”

      link to zcommunications.org

    • Shingo says:

      I really don’t understand how Israeli Jews are supposed to feel confident that their rights would be respected in whatever dispensation results after the changes these BDS activists advocate.

      Of course you don’t. What you fear will happen ins that the Palestinians would treat the Jews the way Israeli Jews have treated them.

      But whose ideas of justice are going to prevail?

      There’s only one justice. That which involved addressing the injustices that have been perpetrated, and only Israel has done that.

      Are there institutions among the Palestinians that can be plausibly said to be preparing for the burdens and responsibilities that a post-Zionist Arab-majority Israel would entail?

      Typical Zionist demands that the Palestinians prove their intentions in advance while refusing to do the same. What institutions among the Israelis that can be plausibly said to be preparing for the burdens and responsibilities of occupation?

      The prospect of a post-Zionist Israel-stan becoming like South Africa will likely generate not necessarily irrational fears of what comes after.

      Much of that is Israel’s own doing. Israel wanted guarantees that it will get a get of fail free card, when it has no right to expect it.

      Hearing Max Blumenthal on CSPAN recently talk about his sense of the utter improbability of a Two State Solution ever happening (what I have long advocated) is making me really worried.

      Too bad. You hasbrats had your chance – many chances in fact – and you blew it.

      One State BDSers seem to me to be amazingly optimistic about how it all is supposed to work out for the Israeli Jews.

      Not necessarily. It’s just that unlike you Israeli firsters and Zionists, Israeli Jews are not front and centre of the concerns of one state BDSers – something you probably find hard to believe.

      Better to cling to hope for Two States, with a territorially viable Palestine forging it’s own prosperous path next to an Israel where all citizens are equal under the law, ethnicity and religion nonwithstanding.

      Yeah right, better cling to the status quo of a peace process with no peace.

      • Tex Tradd says:

        Shingo: What you fear will happen is that the Palestinians would treat the Jews the way Israeli Jews have treated them.

        This is definitely to be feared, yes. If history is any guide, such a tragedy would quite likely not end there.

        Shingo: There’s only one justice. That which involved addressing the injustices that have been perpetrated, and only Israel has done that.

        It would be a perverse justice if the Israeli Jews’ human rights are not respected in a post-BDS, post-Zionist scenario. That’s not the only consideration of course. But it is a real issue. A failure to think about preventable tragedies of the future is not going to right the wrongs of the past. I hope you are not implying all the injustice is on one side.

        Shingo: Typical Zionist demands that the Palestinians prove their intentions in advance while refusing to do the same.

        I already said I’m not Zionist. I am a critic of Zionism (though I admit my views tend to be pretty close to those of Peter Beinart’s). It seems a true observation even if Zionists use this as a talking point.

        What institutions among the Israelis that can be plausibly said to be preparing for the burdens and responsibilities of occupation?

        Fair point.

        Shingo: You hasbrats had your chance – many chances in fact – and you blew it.

        So those of us who have been advocating for a Palestinian state for many years now, and criticizing the Occupation, as well as the US Empire and imperialism more generally, are doing hasbara now? Doesn’t that stretch the meaning of “hasbara” to the point of meaninglessness?

        I’m just a person who broods over history and is disturbed by it’s tragic dimension.

        Shingo: It’s just that unlike you Israeli firsters and Zionists, Israeli Jews are not front and centre of the concerns of one state BDSers – something you probably find hard to believe.

        I certainly don’t expect Palestinians to base their politics solely on keeping Zionists feeling secure or anything like that. Yet the issue of the viability of Jewish rights and physical security in an Arab majority is a real issue. You can’t wish it away. It has to be dealt with front and center. Any post BDS dispensation is probably a deal killer unless some case is made for why Israeli Jews should believe in it. Your righteous indignation against injustice isn’t substituting for that case.

        And look, I too am slowly losing faith and hope in the Two State Solution. I still find the more compelling arguments to be from people like Ibish, Chomsky and Finkelstein. They seem to be more rigorous in pointing out the really serious difficulties with the One State/Arab majority scenario. Maybe we’re wrong. History has a way of passing ideas by. Long term, maybe Jewish Israelis could thrive in an Arab majority state. In all sincerity, point me to the best essay making the case for this (in an analytically rigorous way, hopefully)

        Overall, I think for Americans such as myself, who are neither Jewish nor Arab or Zionist/anto-Zionist, especially those influenced by the social justice tradition of our churches, we look at this situation and mostly just want all the Palestinians and Israelis to avoid more tragedies.

        • Shingo says:

          This is definitely to be feared, yes. If history is any guide, such a tragedy would quite likely not end there.

          So you have no problem with the Israelis behaving in a barbaric fashion as they are today towards Palestinians, but you fear the possibility of the tables being turned.
          Got it.

          It would be a perverse justice if the Israeli Jews’ human rights are not respected in a post-BDS, post-Zionist scenario.

          No one said anything about denying Jews human rights and BDS most certainly does not advocate any such thing, so you are being dishonest.

          A failure to think about preventable tragedies of the future is not going to right the wrongs of the past. I hope you are not implying all the injustice is on one side.

          Yes the injustice is on one side. Only one side is in the wrong here. Only one side is stealing land, committing ethnic cleansing, occupation, home demolition.

          I already said I’m not Zionist. I am a critic of Zionism (though I admit my views tend to be pretty close to those of Peter Beinart’s). It seems a true observation even if Zionists use this as a talking point.

          Deny it all you want, you sound like a Zionist, argue like one, think like one.

          So those of us who have been advocating for a Palestinian state for many years now, and criticizing the Occupation, as well as the US Empire and imperialism more generally, are doing hasbara now?

          Yes, because you and I all know the 2ss is dead. The only ones holding on to this delusion are those trying to preserve the status quo. So no, it does no meaning of “hasbara” to the point of meaninglessness.

          I’m just a person who broods over history and is disturbed by it’s tragic dimension.

          Correction. You are a person who selectively broods over history and is disturbed by it’s tragic dimensions when it affects specific interests.

          Yet the issue of the viability of Jewish rights and physical security in an Arab majority is a real issue. You can’t wish it away. It has to be dealt with front and center.

          Stop pretending that it has not been addressed. Ali Abunima deals with this very topic extensively in his book.
          No one here would want or wish for harm to come to anyone on Israel, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

          • goldmarx says:

            Shingo: “No one here would want or wish for harm to come to anyone on Israel, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim.”

            Really? TexTradd is new here, and he was trying to be nice. And all you do is make insinuations about his motive, as if he were Hophmi or Miriam. That does not instill faith in your ‘no harm’ sentiment.

  18. Tex Tradd says:

    Meant to write ” But what if secular One State post-Zionist type aspirations fail, and the hard men with the guns take over the Arab majority Israel-istan”, not minority.

    And to clarify, by writing “Better to cling to hope for Two States, with a territorially viable Palestine forging it’s own prosperous path next to an Israel where all citizens are equal under the law” I mean having actually equal rights de facto, not just on paper or de jure.

    • goldmarx says:

      Good point, Tex. Endless replays of the 1929 Hebron Massacre is what many Jews fear in an “Arab majority Israel-istan.” Cutting off the genitals of the victims and stuffing it in their mouths, etc. – yup, the good old days…

  19. kalithea says:

    When the Palestinians rid themselves of the sham government that is the PA and Abbas gets his retirement pay from his Israeli masters, then and only then will BDS be able to expand exponentially worldwide.

    Zionists pray that Abbas will rule for 100 years; maybe they’re grooming his replacement already, but seriously, without the PA, alias Zionist subcontractor, Zionists will be screwed. I’m praying for the day the PA call it quits. But those U.S. millions in bribes, and the millions Harper promised the PA on his two-second tour in Palestinian bantustan are just too tempting to resist. Shameful collaboration and betrayal. Abbas and company – GTF-OUT!