Grindr in Hebron: A dispatch from the last debate

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 98 Comments

Over the years, I have experienced a barrage of attacks from a virtual who’s who of pro-Israel activists and intellectuals. Yet none of my assailants have ever accepted an invitation to engage with me in a public conversation. The most notable example of the phenomenon was provided in recent months by Eric Alterman, who attacked me in nine separate posts on the Nation website but vehemently refused to debate me, though he solicited a $10,000 fee to do so under the table.

Max Blumenthal speaking in Culver City, CA, November 4, 2013. (Photo: Jimmy Janszen)

Max Blumenthal speaking in Culver City, CA, November 4, 2013. (Photo: Jimmy Janszen)

Alterman was not alone. The Nation Institute invited Peter Beinart to engage with me in a moderated discussion in October in New York City at the opening event of my book tour, but Beinart refused without explanation. Gershom Gorenberg, the liberal Zionist author and journalist who has scathingly attacked my work, refused an invitation from the journalist Robert Wright to engage with me in a discussion on the online debating site, Bloggingheads. So did Eli Lake, the passionately neoconservative correspondent who busies himself during lunch breaks and throughout the workday by lobbying insults at me on Twitter. They were cowed, and understandably so.

It is increasingly clear that the struggle over the future of Israel-Palestine will be decided through a conflict between Zionists and anti-Zionists, with Jews and Arabs aligned on both sides of the divide. However, American Zionists have stringently avoided sharing any intellectual space with their real adversaries. Beinart was eager to debate Alan Dershowitz; Jeremy Ben Ami has jousted with Bill Kristol; and Daniel Gordis argued the merits of boycotting settlements with Lara Friedman. But few of these figures have ever dared to expose their ideas to the interrogation of a Palestinian or an anti-Zionist Jew. Instead, liberal and Likudnik Zionists stage one mock debate after another, aiming to conceal their fundamentally anti-Palestinian ideological alignment behind a smokescreen of rancorous dispute.

When Zionists debate, they do so over the only issue over which they disagree: Which size cage should Palestinians inhabit?

Last week, I announced plans to appear at an Israel Apartheid Week event at Boston University alongside Sa’ed Atshan, a Palestinian-American Postdoctoral Fellow in International Studies at Brown University. Hours after the announcement, I received an message on Twitter from Richard Landes that offered a unique opportunity: he wanted to debate me.

Landes is a professor of history at Boston University with a specialization in millennialism. Despite his lack of academic credentials on Israel-Palestine and the Middle East, he has made a name for himself on the rightward edge of the pro-Israel advocacy world by denying Israeli human rights crimes – he has branded images of Palestinian victimhood as examples of “Pallywood.” Through his involvement in front groups like Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Landes has received substantial support from big pro-Israel donors like the Fairbrook Foundation and from the right-wing Koch Brothers.

I accepted Landes’ invitation primarily because I reasoned that exposing his reactionary line of thinking would be productive for a university audience. Since Atshan was to join me as a debating partner, Landes invited a former South Sudanese refugee named Simon Deng to round out the field. Deng is trained as a lifeguard, not an academic or journalist, and works on the beaches of Coney Island, not the Middle East. But his sectarian views on Arabs and Muslims attracted the attention and support of Charles Jacobs, the David Project founder who has called Europeans “neopagans” and described mosques as “victory markers.” Thanks to Jacobs and his allies, Deng has been junketed around the world to counter Palestine solidarity events, denigrating Muslims and “so-called Palestinian refugees” while arguing that accusations that Israel practices of apartheid are insulting to Africans like him.

The debate proceeded almost exactly as I expected it would. With the discussion framed around the topic of Palestinian resistance, Landes spent much of his time blaming Palestinians for their own suffering, accusing children of faking injuries and arguing that their resistance to Zionism was a ploy designed to distract from the cultural failings of the Arab world. His rhetoric echoed an op-ed he published in the Wall Street Journal in which he argued that Palestinians enjoyed higher standards of living in areas settled by Jews like Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank than in areas like Gaza that were exclusively Palestinian. As devoid of context and nakedly colonialist as the claim might have been, it mirrored Beinart’s argument in his book, The Crisis of Zionism, that the advancement of Zionism in historic Palestine had cured Palestinians of their illiteracy (p. 15). Indeed, right-wing Israel advocates like Landes were not unique in their celebration of Zionism as a mission civilisatrise.

Atshan and I spent much of our time outlining the myriad obstacles Palestinians faced in their struggle for basic rights, from military occupation to a regime of legal apartheid to the crusade of intellectual suppression and intimidation guided by Israel advocates like Charles Jacobs, who was seated in the audience. With Washington closed off to anyone to the left of AIPAC, I argued, the only available recourse was a campaign of massive external pressure against Israel organized among global civil society, with BDS as its central tactic.

Deng did not attempt to counter any of our points. Instead, he spent much of his time rambling about the misdeeds and devious machinations of Muslims and Arabs. As soon as his turn for a rebuttal arrived, Landes reverted to type, branding me a “Jewish supremacist” because I held “the Jews” to unfairly high standards. Landes later turned to the crowd and proclaimed, “The Palestinians are ginned up on jihad.” The audience was practically rolling in the aisles, but they were not laughing with him.

Next, Landes homed in on Atshan, who happens to be gay, opening up a line of homophobic bullying. Landes told Atshan that because of his “gender choices” he could not safely travel to the Islamist-ruled Gaza Strip. Not only had Landes suggested that homosexuality was a choice, recycling a myth more familiar to the tongue talking bigots of the Christian Right than the obsessively pinkwashing Israel lobby, he had inadvertently invoked the specter of anti-gay violence against Atshan. On a college campus in a cosmopolitan urban center, this was not exactly a winning argument.

During the debate’s question and answer session, a gay pro-Israel student activist named Raphael Fils picked up where Landes left off. Fils, a founder of the Safe Hillel movement, recounted a tour he took to Hebron, an occupied city in the West Bank plagued by a suffocating regime of settler terror and army repression, and complained to Atshan about the greatest horror he witnessed there: When he logged onto Grindr, a popular geosocial hook-up application for gay and bisexual men, he could not find any available men.

“What’s up with that?” Fils asked Atshan in a deadly serious tone.

Atshan was stunned. He asked Fils why the only thing that outraged him during his visit to Hebron was the absence of Grindr dates. Then he launched into a devastating explanation of how sexual colonialism had been deployed to silence and denigrate Palestinians, branding them as culturally inferior in order to justify their continued occupation. Though words can hardly convey the power of Atshan’s response, unfortunately, I have not been able secure permission from the event’s planners to release video of the debate.

At this point in the debate, Landes, Deng, and their supporters in the audience seemed utterly demoralized. With the event drawing to a close, one of Landes’ supporters rose from the crowd to deliver a barely coherent tirade about Hajj Al-Amin Husseini, the long-dead Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and his ties to Nazi Germany during World War Two. Minutes later, as Atshan and I left the stage, we found ourselves momentarily surrounded by a cast of geriatric Zionists demanding to know how we could overlook the Palestinians’ direct involvement in the Holocaust.

“They Palestinians aren’t the new Nazis,” one of them barked at me, “they’re the old Nazis!”

The rhetoric from the other side had rapidly degenerated from ahistorical to bigoted to bizarre to downright beserk. It had become painfully clear that this was all Zionists had left. No wonder events like our debate were so rare, and why they will become increasingly so.

About Max Blumenthal

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

Other posts by .


Posted In:

98 Responses

  1. justicewillprevail
    March 10, 2014, 10:50 am

    Well done, Max. The consequences of Zionism, which are thoroughly detailed in your book, are irrefutable, which is of course why so many of them refuse to debate publicly about the hideous vindictive, sadistic practices of the occupation. Instead, all they can offer is myths, lies and incitement – which betrays the weakness of their case. No wonder they are so threatened by a simple exposure of the truth. Their goal in the US has always been to control the narrative, deciding who gets to speak and write about the subject, so I am not in the least surprised that they try to ostracise you, whilst predictably smearing and lying about you from the comfort of their gated community. The problem with that is that they have no idea of how the debate has changed, and how attitudes have shifted away from the uncritical acceptance of their lazy ritualised dogma, which looks more and more exposed each time they wheel it out. Keep it up.

    • Krauss
      March 10, 2014, 2:25 pm

      I think it’s quite sad, yet not surprising, that Charles Jacobs used to march in civil rights demonstrations.

      This underscores a fundamental reality: don’t judge non-white Christians on their liberal credentials when we are in the minority – liberal values are in our racial self-interest then.

      Judge us when we are in the majority or at least in a hypothetical situation where we’d be in the majority(Zionism from afar).

      Mr. Jacobs may be extreme, but there are plenty of people who proclaim to be liberals in the Jewish community, and for the most part actually are when it comes to American politics, but who completely transform as soon as you reach the border.

      The reason? They go, mentally and intellectually, from being minorities to being in the majority. That’s what happened to Jacobs and countless others.

      • Citizen
        March 10, 2014, 7:23 pm

        Krauss

        Liberal Jewish cognitive dissonance (double standards), where it exists in USA, has its roots in the old Jewish adage, ” Be a jew at home (Israel), and a man in the Street (diaspora)”? Also, another general adage is, “the test of virtue is power.”

  2. Larry Goldsmith
    March 10, 2014, 11:13 am

    Excellent article. However, as a gay man, I would just like to comment that the idea that homosexuality is a choice is not necessarily “a myth more familiar to the tongue talking bigots of the Christian Right than the obsessively pinkwashing Israel lobby.” There’s an ongoing debate about this. I’d like to think that even if it were nothing more than a simple individual choice to live my life as a gay man, I’d still be entitled to that right. My freedom to live my life as I want should not depend on my being “born this way.”

    • Krauss
      March 10, 2014, 2:52 pm

      Gender identity is fluid for everyone. But homosexuality is a biological fact. These two things are not contradictory, much less than a woman might identity as queer but still be interested in heterosexual relationships, among other kinds of relationships.

      The problem with giving the myth that ALL homosexuality is basically a choice and/or a product of culture is like giving fodder to religious bigots who want to institutionalize homophobia and force gay teens into “gay reprogramming centers”.

      You shouldn’t lend your sexual preferences as a shield to this kind of monstrous bigotry.

      • German Lefty
        March 10, 2014, 7:15 pm

        You shouldn’t lend your sexual preferences as a shield to this kind of monstrous bigotry.
        Krauss, sexual preferences and sexual orientation are different things. The term “sexual preferences” refers to practices, e.g. BDSM.

      • elephantine
        March 11, 2014, 3:32 am

        Sexual fluidity:

        It’s a lot easier to believe that people are either gay, straight, or bisexual (and many are!) — but there’s another explanation for it: sexual fluidity. In Dr. Lisa Diamond’s book of the same name, Diamond shares research that shows that women often experience one or more shifts during their lives, identifying first as straight and then later as gay, or first as gay and then later straight, or bisexual, or some combination thereof. How is that different from being bisexual? The research subjects in the book don’t simultaneously feel attracted to men and women. Their attraction is exclusive to men or women, over long periods of time.

        Amelia Sauter writes, in “Falling for Leah,” “You won’t find me rewriting history to say that I was gay all along. I was straight. Now I am gay. I won’t insult my past self by saying I was in denial or confused. I am a textbook example of the fluidity of sexuality.”

        Understanding sexual fluidity:

        …. appears to be an example of what scientists are now terming “sexual fluidity.” In other words, she may be attracted to a specific person rather than a particular gender.

        It’s a phenomenon that Lisa Diamond, a University of Utah psychology professor, has studied extensively. In her 2008 book, “Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire,” she writes that women’s sexuality appears to be much more fluid than men’s, and that this fluidity tends to involve three main characteristics:

        – Non-exclusivity in attractions: can find either gender sexually attractive
        – Changes in attractions: can suddenly find a man or woman sexually attractive after having been in a long-term relationship with the other
        – Attraction to the person, not the gender

        Research seems to support the idea that some women are able to move between relationships with both genders without blinking an eye – and that labels matter little. In a 2008 study, Diamond followed 70 lesbian, bisexual, and “unlabeled” women over the course of 10 years.

        During that decade, two-thirds of the women changed their initial identity labels, and one-third of these changed labels at least twice. And although conventional wisdom suggests that more women would transition out of the bisexual and unlabeled groups and into the more “standard” groups of heterosexuality or homosexuality, this was not the case.

        As Diamond writes, “More women adopted bisexual/unlabeled identities than relinquished these identities; few bisexual/unlabeled women ended up identifying as lesbian or heterosexual. Overall, the most commonly adopted identity was ‘unlabeled.’”

        When gay is a choice:

        As psychologist John Michael Bailey of Northwestern University told me in an email, “The sentence ‘I choose to prefer sex with women to sex with men’ is meaningless. Schopenhauer wrote: ‘Man can do what he wants, but he cannot want what he wants,’” he says. “We choose our behaviors but not our desires.” But it may be that women generally have a broader range of desires to choose from.

        More than a decade ago, social psychologist Roy Baumeister proposed the idea of female “erotic plasticity.” In a paper on the subject, he explained that men tend to have rigid sexual preferences that “generally remain the same for the rest of the man’s life.” Women, on the other hand, “are more likely to switch back and forth,” he wrote. “Some heterosexual women may begin to experiment with lesbian activities in their 30s or 40s. Some lesbians begin desiring sex with men after many years of exclusive same-sex orientation.”

        Bailey believes that “men’s differentiated sexual arousal pattern makes them sexually rigid, and women’s lack of one makes them flexible.”

        But beyond the ongoing scientific debate, there’s a strong political argument to be made against taking an unwavering “born this way” stance. Marta Meana, a clinical psychologist at the University of Nevada Las Vegas who has researched sexual fluidity, believes “it is a devil’s bargain to argue for acceptance on the basis of biology,” she explains. “The ‘I can’t help it’ argument retains the idea that something is amiss. The truly progressive stance is that all people should be treated with respect, dignity and equality regardless of the mechanisms that led them to prefer having consensual sex with one group over another, at any point in time.”

    • Annie Robbins
      March 10, 2014, 3:09 pm

      “a simple individual choice to live my life as a gay man”

      how one chooses to lives one’s life is a choice in lifestyle. however, ones sexual orientation is not a style, it is one’s being. isn’t it?

      • German Lefty
        March 10, 2014, 7:11 pm

        ones sexual orientation is not a style, it is one’s being. isn’t it?
        Annie, that’s not the point of his comment.
        Besides, he wrote “even if it were”. So, he was talking about a hypothetical case.

      • Larry Goldsmith
        March 10, 2014, 8:13 pm

        Yes, it’s one’s being, and in my view, one chooses how to be, within limits to be sure, but one chooses nonetheless. The danger, as I said, is in basing your claim to fundamental civil rights on the idea that you can’t help being the way you are. It’s practically an invitation to scientists and religious bigots to try to change you to the way they want you to be. But this is a big question, and it’s not particularly relevant to the topic of this article. I only wanted to mention it because it is stated so categorically in the article, even though it isn’t pertinent, and it is in fact a matter of debate. I would add (to Krauss) that expressing reasoned views in that debate is hardly lending my sexual preferences as a shield to bigotry.

      • Citizen
        March 10, 2014, 9:59 pm

        @ Annie Robbins
        I’m attracted to females sexually; I’ve always been that way since I was first moved sexually. I don’t think it’s ever been a choice I made. That’s all I know about the matter. I first met homosexual advances when I was seventeen. I had no physical interest then, nor do I now. I never judged any on that fact, but on their character generally, as I’ve always done with people I’ve met along the way.

      • bangpound
        March 11, 2014, 9:23 am

        It’s a very modern, very recent and very western thing to think the practices people have for pleasure reveal a deep inner truth about the self (“one’s being”). This thinking is what leads to the trap that men who have sex mostly/exclusively with other men but don’t publicize it or confess it are deceiving others or themselves or somehow not living with “true” knowledge about their “true” selves.

        But I digress…

      • puppies
        March 11, 2014, 10:10 am

        @Annie – For all you and I know, it is: we only know the public façade and it should be enough as it’s no business of ours; we all have equal legal rights anyway.
        The only thing we should worry about here, as a strictly personal opinion, is not people’s sexuality but the scandalous embrace, if you’ll pass the expression, of homosexuals for propaganda purposes. It must be so nice and trendy to be tortured by a homosexual sadist Zionist jailer, shot for no reason but random culling by a Zionist queen soldier or blown to bits by a USMarine married to a man.
        That’s what both the US and Zionist entity governments mean by “progressive”: ostentating the homosexual among the murderers.

    • German Lefty
      March 10, 2014, 7:06 pm

      @ Larry Goldsmith
      Even if it were nothing more than a simple individual choice to live my life as a gay man, I’d still be entitled to that right. My freedom to live my life as I want should not depend on my being “born this way.”

      As a bisexual woman, I agree with you. I was actually offended by the “born this way” hype. It was like saying, “Being gay (or bi) is a birth defect. That’s why gay (or bi) people should be given equal rights out of pity. However, if sexual orientation were a choice, then these people should not be given equal rights. Because in that case they could – and should be encouraged to – opt for heterosexuality.”
      People who think that all sexual orientations are equally good don’t care WHY someone is gay, bi, or straight.

      • Citizen
        March 10, 2014, 10:13 pm

        @ GL
        Re your last sentence–is the converse something you also believe? Just asking.

  3. palijustice
    March 10, 2014, 11:22 am

    When people don’t have justice on their side they will resort to personal attacks, twisting the truth and even projection. His calling you a Jewish Supremacist takes the cake. It’s Israel’s Jewish supremacy laws, about 50 of them, that are part of the crux of the Israeli state’s problem. These folks don’t see that by liberating Palestinians, they would be liberating Jewish Israelis too.

    • Citizen
      March 10, 2014, 10:16 pm

      @ palijustice
      Maybe some people don’t want to be liberated from their state/culturally enforced privilege?

  4. Pamela Olson
    March 10, 2014, 11:38 am

    No Grindr dates in Hebron — that’s a new one to add to the list of grievances of oppressed Jewish Israelis in the Holy Land. God gave them the land AND the option to have a gay date WHENEVER AND WHEREVER THEY WANT. Seriously… what is up with that? Step it up, men of Hebron!

    • a blah chick
      March 10, 2014, 8:48 pm

      Really, I mean could his question have been any more shallow? “Sorry I didn’t notices the anti-Arab slogans on the walls or the Jews-only street because I was too busy looking for a hook-up.” My God, what an idiot. I hope he can enjoy that new hole Atshan tore him.

  5. Krusty
    March 10, 2014, 12:26 pm

    Wouldn’t the most likely answer for no Grindr dates in Hebron be that the population:

    a) is too damn broke to have smart phones (is Grindr iOS only?) Note that I sort of doubt this.
    b) is too religious/oppressive to publicly broadcast a homosexual “hookup” culture? Note that I sort of don’t doubt this. Particularly in light of the famous friendliness of Israel, and Tel Aviv in particular, to the LGBT community, especially in comparison to neighboring states.

    C) Directly to Mr. Blumenthal, I’m curious if you’d answer a few of questions.

    1) Do you think that the refusal to debate you is due to the controversial nature of your writing and a lack of desire to give it greater publicity? It’s indisputable that Peter Beinart is a bigger name than you are.

    Please note that I am strongly opposed to censorship and do believe that more prominent and moderate Zionists (who are more representative of the Zionist body politic) should engage you in debate. My belief in this follows from Herzog/Toynbee.

    2) Noting the language you used in this article. The Guardian has written about the necessity of sachel in reporting on matters concerning Zionism and Jewry: link to theguardian.com

    In both this post and your other writings, you make a point of using notably controversial language. I’m curious if you’d like to address the idea that there is a significant problem relating to the potential use of loaded language.

    An example: “With Washington closed off to anyone to the left of AIPAC, I argued, the only available recourse was a campaign of massive external pressure against Israel organized among global civil society, with BDS as its central tactic.”

    This would appear to me to be, dovishly, something in line with the Walt/Mearsheimer (how about that Gilad Atzmon?) hypothesis. However, as has been written about quite a bit, a very significant percentage of official Washington – including the President – is explicitly to the left of AIPAC while still remaining Zionist in its proclivities. What say you about J Street? And what of the potential to read that sentence as something much darker?

    Further you mentioned “the obsessively pinkwashing Israel lobby”. I’m curious as to what you mean by this. Is there anything wrong with Zionists who highlight Tel Aviv’s LGBT community as evidence of tolerance within Israel proper? Particularly as contrasted towards prevailing attitudes towards homosexuals throughout the rest of the region. link to en.wikipedia.org (please also note the disparity between the Gaza and the West Bank.)

    link to buzzfeed.com (yeah, it’s Buzzfeed, but it’s also well sourced.)

    One other bit: “Landes homed in on Atshan, who happens to be gay, “… you might want to listen to an old George Carlin bit about this.

    3) “When Zionists debate, they do so over the only issue over which they disagree: Which size cage should Palestinians inhabit?”

    As a liberal Zionist who strongly supports the 2SS and the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign nation state and self-determination, I’m curious as to what you mean by this. I don’t think that’s a fair characterization of my views, or those of most American Democrats, or the Israeli center or left.

    Thanks for your time.

    • justicewillprevail
      March 10, 2014, 1:05 pm

      Krusty, while you are playing the faux naif, maybe you should read Max’s book to inform yourself. Self-proclaimed ‘liberal’ zionists invariably claim to support the rights of Palestinians whilst living in complete denial about the ruthless violence of the occupation and its consequences, not least the obliteration of a 2SS ‘solution’, and its apartheid nature. But you can always read the book first, then come back.

      • Citizen
        March 10, 2014, 10:21 pm

        @ justicewillprevail

        I’m reading Max’s book now; it’s a gold mine of facts; the aggregate is horrifying.

      • Krusty
        March 11, 2014, 3:09 pm

        Why would you assume I didn’t read it? And why would you assume I support the treatment of Palestinians under the Occupation? Or the obviously unhinged actions of a small minority of the Israeli population?

        I have read Goliath. While it was obviously a yeoman’s effort to write, the tone and tenor were so biased and inflammatory as to create apprehension and misgivings surrounding the author’s personal biases, and I think that was fairly generalized reaction beyond the audience to which Mr. Blumenthal was already writing.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 11, 2014, 4:52 pm

        ” While it was obviously a yeoman’s effort to write, the tone and tenor were so biased and inflammatory as to create apprehension and misgivings surrounding the author’s personal biases,”

        So because you don’t like the tone, you don’t believe the facts. Is that it?? Does that sound in any way rational?

      • justicewillprevail
        March 12, 2014, 8:05 am

        I would assume you haven’t read it from your inane questions and comments, particularly the ridiculous patronising attempt at dismissing a book you seem unfamiliar with – yeoman? lol, generalised reaction? you mean on zionist sites and opeds which also haven’t read it, and predicably attack and smear the messenger.
        Your caricature of a ‘small minority’ however is the clincher that you haven’t read it, since the book details the opposite. Your personal biases creates apprehension and misgivings surrounding your questionable statements and tactics. Rather like the poor debaters Max encounters in the article.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 10, 2014, 3:13 pm

      “As a liberal Zionist who strongly supports the 2SS and the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign nation state and self-determination, I’m curious as to what you mean by this.”

      In this “sovereign nation state” and exercise in Palestinian self-determination that you envision as a liberal zionist under the 2 state solution, do you envision the Palestinians controlling their own air space, water approaches, electromagnetic spectrum and being fully free to enter into any defensive treaty as any other state and to fully arm itself with any weapon it chooses, up to and including the type of nuclear weapons held by israel, as well as being free of foreign troops or citizens anywhere east of the green line??

      • Citizen
        March 10, 2014, 10:22 pm

        @ Woody
        I await Krusty’s response.

      • Krusty
        March 11, 2014, 4:02 pm

        See below, and feel free to comment.

      • Krusty
        March 11, 2014, 2:58 pm

        @Woody

        I think that if that’s the agreement reached between Israelis and Palestinians, then that should certainly be the case. My own preference is probably something closer to the rumored Kerry Framework or the Olmert Plan, but I’d be a-ok with that if it was what the Israeli government agreed to and what their citizenry approved via referenda. Might I ask what your preferred peace deal looks like?

        Please note that the following isn’t my precise preference, but I think is representative of what the Israeli center and right would probably accept since it follows what is reputed to be the Netanyahu bargaining position:

        Would you be ok with a demilitarized Palestinian state on the Gaza and approximately 90% of the land beyond the Green Line with appropriate land swaps and a predetermined access route between the two territories, recognized West Jerusalem and predesignated East Jerusalem settlements as the Israeli capital in addition to the Old City (with liberal access rights and the existing control of the al-Aqsa Mosque carried over), which allowed for an indefinite joint-IDF/NATO presence along the Jordan River, and which affirmatively outlawed anti-Israeli incitement in all forms while recognizing Israel as the national home of the Jewish people?

        Would you support it if the Palestinian Authority agreed to that and the Palestinian people approved that or a similar plan in a national referendum?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 11, 2014, 5:22 pm

        Krusty,

        “My own preference is probably something closer to the rumored Kerry Framework or the Olmert Plan”

        What you are discussing is the size of the cage in which you’d stick the Palestinians. That’s what Max is talking about. The zionists never discuss the principles of human freedom, liberty, equality and self-determination when it comes to the Palestinian people; you only talk about the restrictions you would impose upon them.

        “but I’d be a-ok with that if it was what the Israeli government agreed to and what their citizenry approved via referenda.”

        In other words, you’d be okay if the Israelis decided to insist that the Palestinians be placed in that particular cage.

        “Might I ask what your preferred peace deal looks like?”

        Liberty, freedom, human, civil and political rights and equality for all, regardless of ethnoreligious background. Preferably in one state. But if it must be two, then the land split on precisely the 1967 lines. If, after the states are established, then they can negotiate land swaps, but only if both sides, without coercion, agree to do so and, if they don’t, then each is satisfied with the 1967 lines. For the rest, what is good for one, is good for the other, so neither side may insist on something concerning the other if it, itself is not ready to agree. If israelis wish to visit Palestine to visit the Western Wall or Cave of the Patriarchs or Hebron, they must be willing to offer the same rights of Palestinians to visit anywhere in israel that they wish.

        “but I think is representative of what the Israeli center and right would probably accept since it follows what is reputed to be the Netanyahu bargaining position”

        Do you think that there is any justice or human rights in the israelis dictating the size of the Palestinians’ cage?

        “Would you support it if the Palestinian Authority agreed to that and the Palestinian people approved that or a similar plan in a national referendum?”

        I would believe that such a plan is fundamentally unjust and no such acceptance can be freely entered into, as such a “deal” is the equivalent of a gunman holding a pistol to your child’s head, forcing you to sign over all of your property to him. Sure, you signed and sure, you agreed to it, but in no way is a valid agreement. But if they wanted to accept such a plan, that is their business.

        Further, of the terms of abject surrender (let’s call the thing by its name) you raise: The “land swaps” are nothing more than a euphamism for israel stealing the most productive or useful parts of the West Bank and requiring the Palestinians to agree to that theft (again, the gun to the child’s head); the possession of any parts of East Jerusalem, especialy al Haram ash Sharif, is an affront; the presence of israeli terror forces and NATO dupes (especially an open-ended one) on the border between Palestine and Jordan is a spit in the face of the notion of state sovereignty, as is the imposed demilitarization. Finally, the Orwellian requirements concerning “incitement” (an ESPECIALLY slippery term and one that israelis would no doubt invoke if anyone said anything bad about them) and the “National home of the Jewish people” nonsense is an insult to thinking people everywhere.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 10, 2014, 3:23 pm

      It’s indisputable that Peter Beinart is a bigger name than you are.

      perhaps in your worldview krusty. but i would dispute beinart’s a bigger name. beinart has 23.5k twitter followers to blumenthal’s 28.8k

      and a google search of beinart’s name garners 574,000 results vs max at 2,470,000.

      maybe you live in a bubble.

      • Philip Munger
        March 10, 2014, 4:48 pm

        beinart has 23.5k twitter followers to blumenthal’s 28.8k

        and a google search of beinart’s name garners 574,000 results vs max at 2,470,000.

        learn something new every day.

        Also, I thought “When Zionists debate, they do so over the only issue over which they disagree: Which size cage should Palestinians inhabit?” was an excellent line, with a lot or truth in it.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 10, 2014, 5:19 pm

        i agree philip, an excellent line.

      • Citizen
        March 10, 2014, 10:23 pm

        @ Philip Munger
        I thought the line was both witty and pithy too.

      • Krusty
        March 11, 2014, 4:01 pm

        You’re right. Honestly/sincerely, as I know the Internet can sometimes obscure that. It would appear, based upon that, that Mr. Blumenthal has greater reach amongst those who use the web.

        This is precisely the reason that I post here and visit this site, so as to be exposed to news that I might not read otherwise. My impression was obviously based on the fact that Mr. Beinart has been featured in significantly more mainstream media (NYTimes, etc.)

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 12, 2014, 9:16 am

        “My impression was obviously based on the fact that Mr. Beinart has been featured in significantly more mainstream media (NYTimes, etc.)”

        So do you think that your false impression that the zionist was a bigger name than the non-zionist, based on the different treatment each has received in the (overwhelmingly zionist) mainstream media, a case of case or effect??

    • German Lefty
      March 10, 2014, 7:30 pm

      And what of the potential to read that sentence as something much darker?

      How about giving people the benefit of the doubt instead of trying to read anti-Semitism into every sentence? Besides, if a Zionist WANTS to accuse you of anti-Semitism, then he will find a reason/pretext to do so, no matter how carefully you choose your words.
      Choosing your words MORE carefully when writing about Jews than about non-Jews would be special treatment of Jews. And that’s discrimination.

      • tokyobk
        March 11, 2014, 12:07 am

        A German who doesn’t write sensitively about Jews may not be an anti-semite but is definitely an a-hole. (and probably not really much of a lefty).

      • Ellen
        March 11, 2014, 12:27 am

        tokyobk, Should the British write with a special sensitivity about the Irish? What do you think?

        Me thinks the British should be clear and truthful, not distorted by sentimentalization or emotions of a past history, a past that is only that — it no longer exists.

        Special treatment is not only patronizing and condescending, but dishonest and damaging.

        Is this what you expect for treatment of Jews — a “sonderbehandlung?”

      • German Lefty
        March 11, 2014, 6:01 am

        A German who doesn’t write sensitively about Jews may not be an anti-semite but is definitely an a-hole.

        Do you really expect me to “write sensitively” about Zionist racists just because they happen to be Jews? No way!
        Besides, criminal records are not inheritable. So, if my ancestors committed any crimes against Jews, then this has nothing to do with me.
        Why should anti-Zionists adapt their language to the paranoia of Zionist Jews? That would be pandering to their whims. The victimhood mindset of Zionist Jews is truly pathetic. They need to acknowledge that times have changed. Anti-Semitism is not a problem anymore. Or at least a much, much, much, much, much smaller problem than injustice to Palestinians.

      • Sumud
        March 11, 2014, 7:43 am

        German Lefty ~

        Do you really expect me to “write sensitively” about Zionist racists just because they happen to be Jews?

        That’s exactly what tokyobk expects – he or she promotes “affirmative action” for racist jews from Germans because of something racist Germans did to jews way back when. Ultimately racism isn’t the problem for tokyobk, which is why their tonic for racism is …more racism!!!

        Israel is such a head-case.

      • Krusty
        March 11, 2014, 3:49 pm

        “Besides, criminal records are not inheritable. So, if my ancestors committed any crimes against Jews, then this has nothing to do with me.”

        “The victimhood mindset of Zionist Jews is truly pathetic. They need to acknowledge that times have changed. Anti-Semitism is not a problem anymore. Or at least a much, much, much, much, much smaller problem than injustice to Palestinians.”

        ” Besides, if a Zionist WANTS to accuse you of anti-Semitism, then he will find a reason/pretext to do so, no matter how carefully you choose your words.
        Choosing your words MORE carefully when writing about Jews than about non-Jews would be special treatment of Jews. And that’s discrimination.”

        I’m struck by your statements. Do you understand how these statements could be viewed as being discriminatory in effect? Are you familiar with the concept of a “suspect class”? Why did you, in response to me, immediately compare anti-Semitism to the Occupation (which I have repeatedly denounced on this website)?

        I’m curious as to this: how would you define an anti-Semitic action or statement? Do you believe there currently exists a basis for there to be laws against discrimination, Holocaust denial, or incitement, as there presently are in Germany?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 11, 2014, 4:54 pm

        @Krusty
        “Do you believe there currently exists a basis for there to be laws against … Holocaust denial, … as there presently are in Germany?”

        Anyone who is in favor of liberty and human rights should be appalled that Holocaust denial is outlawed. Such a violation of the right of free speech, free expression and freedom of thought should be denounced by every rational person everywhere.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 11, 2014, 5:33 pm

        “I’m struck by your statements. Do you understand how these statements could be viewed as being discriminatory in effect?”

        There is nothing discriminatory at all in those statements, either as stated or “in effect.”

        “Are you familiar with the concept of a ‘suspect class’?”

        Yes, and zionists do not constitute a suspect class.

        “Why did you, in response to me, immediately compare anti-Semitism to the Occupation (which I have repeatedly denounced on this website)?”

        The Occupation is necessarily raised whenever the subject of israel comes up, because it is the defining feature of the zionist ideology. So when you implied antisemitism in connection with the AIPAC’ers strangle hold on Washington, the Occupation and injustice towards the Palestinians was necessarily raised at that point.

      • puppies
        March 11, 2014, 6:00 pm

        @Krusty – “suspect class” my axe. Zionists are not just suspect but obviously exploiting a false accusation for their own malignant aims. And they are not a “class”, they are a political entity consciously pursuing a genocidal policy. As for your “opposing occupation” my axe again. You are here to defend it by pretending to oppose some portion of the post-1967 occupation, big fat hairy deal.
        If you have anyone stating that “Jews” are so by birth, racially determined and a “nation” apart due to this fact, well that is by definition a Zionist contention (we won’t mention the Nazis who had the same delusion.) You have to add discrimination against the whole group as defined by accident of birth. No antisemitism before that. Of course, when you call “antisemitic” people born to many generations of nominally “Jewish” ancestry, some of them even born in the Zionist entity, you make me want to laugh with my nether orifice…

      • eljay
        March 11, 2014, 7:02 am

        >> A German who doesn’t write sensitively about Jews may not be an anti-semite but is definitely an a-hole. (and probably not really much of a lefty).

        Wow, you’re really off the mark with this comment.

      • American
        March 11, 2014, 5:23 pm

        ”I’m curious as to this: how would you define an anti-Semitic action or statement? Do you believe there currently exists a basis for there to be laws against discrimination, Holocaust denial, or incitement, as there presently are in Germany?”…krusty

        Laws against civil-human rights discrimination —-Yes.
        Laws against Holocaust denial —-No. Why? Because people can rationally or irrationally believe or not believe anything they want–lots of people deny the existence of God—is that against the law? No it isn’t. A lot of people deny the official 911 report and claim the government was behind it. Is that against the law? No it isn’t. You cant make people believe what they don’t believe or don’t want to believe for whatever reason.
        Incitement—–depends on what is called incitement. If I stand in front of the Rayburn building and shout for the politicians to be charged with treason over something, that’s not incitement, that my political free speech–same if I call for the I-Zionist to be investigated or charged with subversion. If I was in a mob screaming for someone to be lynched–that would be incitement.

      • Sibiriak
        March 11, 2014, 7:02 am

        tokyobk :

        A German who doesn’t write sensitively about Jews may not be an anti-semite but is definitely an a-hole.

        Why should there be a separate standard for Germans? There is no guilt transmitted via genetics or citizenship,. Germans should be able to speak openly just like other individuals. And blanket “sensitivity” for all Jews just because they are Jewish? Nonsense.

      • puppies
        March 11, 2014, 9:09 am

        @tokyo – Anyone asking for special “sensitivity” to be shown to him personally should ask for guardianship, or never get out of his room because he isn’t fit for a free society, but that’s not what you were asking.
        Anyone asking for special sensitivity for one particular group of people on a religious belief basis is insanely religious, but I don’t think that’s what you wer e requesting; when you say “Jews” here you aren’t only intending those persons sincerely devout in observing some form of Judaism.
        Anyone asking for special sensitivity toward one particular group of people on the basis of an accident of birth, for instance the meaning of Jewish as intended by both the Nazi and the Zionists is a despicable racist.
        Making it even worse by some inane “left-right” challenge, where up is down and racial opposition to internationalism is “left”. Only in the Zionist cloudcuckooland.

      • American
        March 11, 2014, 10:56 pm

        tokyobk says:

        March 11, 2014 at 12:07 am
        A German who doesn’t write sensitively about Jews may not be an anti-semite but is definitely an a-hole. (and probably not really much of a lefty).>>>>>>

        You have it backwards as usual—-the person who wants to be treated sensitively because of an accident of birth or membership in some group is the one that is the a-hole.
        Havent you ever heard someone say about another person …”so and so thinks he’s God gift to the world’……
        That might be your problem come to think of it.

    • German Lefty
      March 11, 2014, 6:13 pm

      @ Krusty

      I’m struck by your statements.

      Seriously? LOL.

      Do you understand how these statements could be viewed as being discriminatory in effect?

      My comments are NOT discriminatory. However, I am sure that Zionists will find a way to misinterpret my comments as discriminatory. Because they WANT to view them as discriminatory. If racists claim that something is discriminatory, then it’s probably NOT discriminatory.
      I clearly stated that I am AGAINST discrimination. That’s precisely why I refuse to treat Jews differently than non-Jews. So, don’t expect me to be gentler to Jews than to non-Jews.

      Are you familiar with the concept of a “suspect class”?

      I looked it up. However, this has nothing to do with our discussion.

      Why did you, in response to me, immediately compare anti-Semitism to the Occupation (which I have repeatedly denounced on this website)?

      What? I didn’t even mention the occupation. I talked about Zionism in general, which is more than just the occupation.
      It’s a fact that Zionists use false accusations of anti-Semitism as silencing tactic and/or diversionary tactic. Therefore, such accusations can’t be taken seriously anymore and should be ignored. link to youtube.com
      It’s also a fact that anti-Semitism is almost non-existent. If “the Jews” are hated at all, then they are mainly hated for the crimes that the self-declared “Jewish state” commits in their name. It’s the Zionists who co-opt Jewish symbols and Jewish history in the hope of getting away with their crimes against Palestinians. So, if you really want to fight anti-Semitism, then you should start by fighting Zionism, and not just the occupation.

      how would you define an anti-Semitic action or statement?

      Denial of equal rights and equal treatment.

      Do you believe there currently exists a basis for there to be laws against discrimination, Holocaust denial, or incitement, as there presently are in Germany?

      I don’t quite understand your question. Do you want to know if I believe that these laws are justified? The law against discrimination is necessary. It should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Having a law against incitement is useful. However, it must not be too far-reaching. The law against Holocaust denial is stupid.

      As a liberal Zionist who strongly supports the 2SS and the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign nation state and self-determination

      Please read the following statements. I have already posted them before, but you are quite new here.
      Omar Barghouti: “The most important right is the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Why is that the most important right? Simply because 68% of the Palestinian people are refugees. 50% of the Palestinian people live in exile, outside of historic Palestine. 12% are Palestinian citizens of Israel. And 38% are in the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem. This means that anyone who says ‘I support Palestinian rights and therefore I support ending the occupation.’ is only saying ‘I support SOME Palestinian rights for a MINORITY of the Palestinian people.’ 38% in fact. They are not addressing THE Palestinian people.”
      link to youtube.com (from 7:10 to 8:30)

      Shir Hever: “We should be very careful, very responsible in the way that we speak in such a way that we do not adopt this sort of authoritative rhetoric of imposing a solution, also from the other side. The key of the movement has to be Palestinian choice. Palestinian subjectivity and the Palestinians’ right to choose their own future. No one will tell them what kind of future they should have. Now, some people say: ‘Well, what about the choice of Israelis? If we want to talk especially about one state, shouldn’t the Israelis also have a choice?’ Well, the Israeli society has already made its choice. The Israeli society chose to continue the status quo forever and not to engage in any process to allow Palestinians their rights. So, that means the ball is now in the court of Palestinians. I was recently in a conference and a member of Germany’s Left Party said: ‘The Left Party’s policy is the two-state solution.’ So, I asked him: ‘So, should the Palestinians come to the Left Party to hear what is their plan? The Left Party is now the leader of the Palestinian people?’ But the same kind of argument I also apply to myself. I am an Israeli Jew. I don’t have any right to tell the Palestinians also that the one-state solution is the right solution. I happen to prefer that solution. But there is a difference between when Palestinians discuss ‘What should be our future?’ and when Israelis or internationals tell the Palestinians… So, I have no authority to impose. But I can make a request. I can make a suggestion. And that is what I’ll do. My suggestion is: Please don’t use the term ‘The two-state solution is dead.’ Because when we say ‘The two-state solution is dead.’, it is a rhetoric of defeat. It says: ‘We don’t prefer the one-state solution because it’s our goal. It’s because we don’t have any other choice.’ If the Palestinians choose the one-state solution, they do it not because they are desperate, but because this is the future they want to see. So, please, let’s not use the term ‘It is dead.’ I don’t think it is dead. I think if the Palestinians would decide they want two states, there will be two states. And for the same reason, I want to say, please don’t say that the right of return of Palestinian refugees depends on the one-state solution. Because Palestinians do have a right [to choose] if they want to have one state or two states. That is up to the Palestinians to decide. But the right of return belongs to the refugees. And not even a Palestinian can tell a Palestinian refugee: ‘You don’t have a right to return.’ Not even Mahmoud Abbas. So, that is something that stands by itself. It is not dependent.”
      link to youtube.com (from 39:23 to 42:30)

      Any thoughts on these statements?

  6. pabelmont
    March 10, 2014, 12:31 pm

    Anyone interested in powerful polemics on an older subject of dreadful contention — Stalinism/Trotskyism/Communism — might read the (densely argued) book “Isaac and Isaiah” (David Caute) about the fierce antagonism between Isaiah Berlin, English (born in Riga) Jewish philosopher, and Isaac Deutsher, English (born Poland) Jewish philosopher/historian.

    Our troubles with the “right” (or not) of Zionist Jews, first, to expulsively take over green-line Israel in 1948 and, second, to behave to the remaining Palestinians as they did through 1967 and thereafter on a larger scale pale in comparison to what Marx-Lenin-Stalin etc. did, where the comparison might be made either to the size/extent (number of victims) of the crimes or to the per-capita violence.

    It is quite a read, to see how the defenders of Communism did their best to excuse the horrible dictatorship of the Party (not of the Proletariat) over the people, the Stalinist purges, the starvation during the early collectivization of the Ukrainian farms, the deportation to labor camps of many non-peasants/non-workers, etc.

    It gives perspective also on how illogical people can be when arguing fiercely held positions. Berlin, for example, decries the horrors visited upon “the people” by Communism but didn’t “see” (didn’t anyhow condemn in public) the horrors of industrialization, capitalism, environmental degradations, et al. which — having been seen rather accurately by Marx served as justification for those who aligned themselves with Communism.

    Living as we do in the time of oligarchic control (rather than democratic control) of the USA, a control made possible by the commodification of political power (which meant that capitalists not only owned everything else but also owned the government), we might see the sense of revolution, even if few have the energy, daring, etc., to seek to bring revolution about.

    For us, the Zionists seem unable to see the crimes they’ve committed w.r.t. the Palestinians, presumably either because they have an inescapable sense of Jewish superiority (or of promises said by some to have been made by God) (a racist view allowing them to feel fine about their crimes against the “other”) or because they have an overwhelming sense of the wrongs done to Jews in Europe which (to them) gave them the right to perform a “transfer” seldom identified under that name, namely, the transfer of the homeless, refugee, uprooted -status of postwar European Jews into the homeless, refugee, uprooted -status of most of the Palestinian people.

    I believe that the sense of entitlement of Zionists is so deep-rooted that (just like the fiercely held pro- and anti-Communism described in David Caute’s book) they will never voluntarily make restitution for anything, not 1948, not 1967-present, and must therefore be forced to do so by external pressure. In that context, long live the educational venture known as BDS and may its lessons fix themselves into the hearts of mankind.

  7. Binyamin in Orangeburg
    March 10, 2014, 1:14 pm

    I often encounter the Haj Amin argument as well.

    My reply is that this is a new form of Holocaust denial, because it shifts blame away from the perpetrators of the Shoah — who were all white Europeans, and who all believed they were acting in the name of Christianity.

    Haj Amin was one of about two dozen leaders of the Palestinians community before WW2, and the only one to make common cause with the Nazis. There are numerous examples of ordinary Moslems in Nazi-occupied North Africa saving Jewish countrymen. link to en.wikipedia.org

    Here is a snippet for a right-wing Israeli politician recalling the aid Jews received from Arabs:
    link to pbs.org
    (An excellent documentary based on the book “Among the RIghteous” by Robert Satloff, a right-wing AIPACer no less, fully documents Arab Moslem efforts to protect North African Jews during the war.)

    The Zio-habarists sometimes revert to the SS division composed of Bosnian Moslems to prove their point. Firstly, what do Bosnians have to do with Palestinians, other than the fact that they share the Islamic faith? And what do any of these events have to do with Palestinians today? Isn’t this line of argument just another form of the “blood libel” used against Jews., i.e. blaming people for what their long-dead ancestors are alleged to have done? (FYI, the Handschar division never had more than 5000 Bosnian Moslems in it, about a quarter the number who fought with Tito’s partisans. One of the first things that happened after the division was formed in 1943 was a mutiny in which a dozen of the German officers were killed. Virtually all of the Moslem religious leaders in Bosnia issued fatwas against the Nazis.)

    I love the part about the geriatric Zionists. I think, because of efforts like Mr. Blumenthal’s, we are winning the fight among young Jewish Americans.

    • James North
      March 10, 2014, 10:28 pm

      Thank you, Binyamin. I remember visiting the Yad Vashem Memorial/Museum, where I was moved to learn that people who were probably distant cousins of mine had died in the Holocaust.
      But then I was disgusted to see the photograph of Haj Amin, a transparent propaganda effort to link Palestinians with Nazis. The Yad Vashem management should take down his photo and replace it with the truthful history you have just summarized for us.

  8. Krauss
    March 10, 2014, 2:36 pm

    It’s really too bad there was no video of the debate. Were you given an explanation?

    • Krauss
      March 10, 2014, 2:58 pm

      I mean, I know there was video, but what was their rationale for not allowing it to go online? Could you talk to them about it, I think it’s really valuable.

  9. Krauss
    March 10, 2014, 2:54 pm

    But few of these figures have ever dared to expose their ideas to the interrogation of a Palestinian or an anti-Zionist Jew. Instead, liberal and Likudnik Zionists stage one mock debate after another, aiming to conceal their fundamentally anti-Palestinian ideological alignment behind a smokescreen of rancorous dispute.

    This is such a beautiful quote. In part because it is true, of course, but also because of its intellectual deft and how summed up it is.

    We saw the same thing happen over the Sodastream/Scarlett debacle.
    When it really counted, the “liberals” joined hands with the Likudniks.
    Fundamentally, there is little to nothing that separates them.
    All the flowery rhetoric was pushed aside when the fundamental legitimacy of the settler-colonial ideology was at stake, when it was at risk.

    As you wrote, only the size of the cage is their actual quarrel.

    Still, the Sodastream debacle and the BDS campaign in general is exposing these things. That’s the beauty of what is happening now.

  10. adele
    March 10, 2014, 4:48 pm

    Max, as always a coherent and thought-provoking read. It is a truly unfortunate that the organizers won’t release the video of this debate. If they change their mind please do post it.

    On a related matter, during the Q&A session of Ali Abunimah’s book event at the New School this past Friday evening, a pro-Israel audience member claimed that she was recently harassed at a BDS event and was allegedly called a “Jew bitch”, and used this alleged occurrence to claim that BDS was anti-semitic. This disturbed me on a number of levels: 1) if it occurred we must be vigilant of any anti-semitic remarks/actions by any BDS members. 2) if it didn’t occur, this may be an example of how the pro-Israel crowd will try to slander and undermine BDS. It also made me think of the recent report on MW w/ regards to StandWithUs tactics.

    Ali’s response and tone was exemplary, he was very respectful of her concerns and told her that BDS is NOT anti-semitic, the issue at hand is Zionism, and that any such actions will never be tolerated. He spoke at length on it and explained the reasoning behind BDS.

    On a personal level and from my own experience as an activist who has taken part in Palestine justice campaigns in NY and DC, I have rarely come across any overt anti-semitic actions or comments, and have always steered away from or ostrasized any “provacateurs”. I can recall a few times (and by few I mean not more than 3 or 4 instances ) when demonstrating/tabling some people approached us wanting to know more and making comments about “the Jews”, and we could already sense from the tone that the individual had a bigoted angle; either we tried to explain that the issue concerned human rights, or we simply stopped any further interaction as a way of shutting off the individual. This is an issue to which the activists I have worked with are very sensitive about, primarily because a) many activists are themselves Jewish and b) anti-semitism goes against the values we uphold and fight for. It is as simple as that.

  11. JewEgg
    March 10, 2014, 5:35 pm

    There are two primary reasons nobody is willing to debate you, which are that your particular brand of antizionism is so rigid and dogmatic that there is nothing to be gained from talking to you, and because your ideas and opinions are irrelevant to the future of Israel/Palestine. You operate in a self contained bubble of likeminded individuals who feel that your cause is not only just, but any deviation from your preferred narrative is inherently immoral.

    More importantly, your views and opinions have no impact on the future of Israel and Palestine. There is no broader audience for your advocated one state solution, because any student of history understands that forcing warring ethnic groups into a single national body only ends in bloodshed. The idea that sufficient international pressure (and this is assuming you are capable of producing such pressure) could convince either Israelis or Palestinians to simply abandon their national aspirations is childish naiveté.

    Palestinians have resisted military occupation for the last nearly half century, as well as mass displacement, and have not abandoned their national aspirations. Jews have existed in a state of diaspora for thousands of years without abandoning national aspirations, and have now seen them fulfilled. Why would either group decide willingly to abandon such clearly strongly held senses of peoplehood, and for that matter, why should anyone be forced to do so?

    • James North
      March 10, 2014, 5:51 pm

      Hasbara Central sends over someone new specifically to combat Max Blumenthal.

      • JewEgg
        March 10, 2014, 8:21 pm

        Yup. Not like people ever leave comments on articles they read and disagree with. Must be a conspiracy.

      • James North
        March 10, 2014, 10:20 pm

        JewEgg: Mondoweiss has been around for 7 or 8 years now. It is a very well known site, (more popular than Commentary magazine, among others). You are obviously someone with strong views on Israel/Palestine. Do you really expect us to believe that you just showed up here out of the blue, with a full-throated attack on Max Blumenthal?
        Israel has indirectly acknowledged the existence of Hasbara Central, even if they don’t call it that. Wouldn’t Mondoweiss be one of their top targets?

      • JewEgg
        March 10, 2014, 10:47 pm

        I also occasionally troll commentary comments, if that makes you feel any better

    • Cliff
      March 10, 2014, 5:53 pm

      Because Jews are not indigenous to Historic Palestine. Only the Jews of that land were.

      Jews everywhere by simply being Jewish have NO collective right to steal Palestine.

      Palestinian self-determination is based on land.

      So-called ‘Jewish self-determination’ is based on being Jewish, then saying all Jews are tied to Israel/Palestine by being Jewish.

      No comparison.

      And Max would wipe the floor with you Zionist trolls.

      • JewEgg
        March 10, 2014, 8:20 pm

        Jews are a diaspora community due to forced expulsion from roman Judea, which geographically corresponds to Historic Palestine. Your claims of lack of Indigenousness are false.

        link to epiphenom.fieldofscience.com

        If Jews and Palestinians have the same direct ancestors, it follows that Jews have rights to the land they formerly inhabited.

      • talknic
        March 11, 2014, 1:05 am

        JewEgg Jews are a diaspora community due to forced expulsion from roman Judea, which geographically corresponds to Historic Palestine”

        A) How odd. For centuries Jews could have returned to Palestine, gained citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in the ‘historic homeland’ in “Historic Palestine”

        In herlz’s time he could have returned to Palestine, gained citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in the ‘historic homeland’. He didn’t even bother.

        B) From the moment Israel was proclaimed independent of Palestine effective at precisely 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) link to trumanlibrary.org the Jewish people’s historic homeland was relegated to history and;
        by default of Israel’s independence two entities then existed. Israel and what remained of Palestine after 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time).

        What occurred pre 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) is entirely irrelevant to Israel’s Internationally recognized sovereign extent and to Israel’s illegal ‘facts on the ground’ activities in “territories outside of Israel” ..”in Palestine” link to pages.citebite.com

        “If Jews and Palestinians have the same direct ancestors, it follows that Jews have rights to the land they formerly inhabited”

        Uh huh. However, if they’d like to settle in non-Israeli territories, say in Palestine, they’re required to take up Palestinian citizenship.

        Idiots like yourself are actually blabbering on about the injustices done to Jewish folk by the Zionist Federation and the Jewish Agency who, by demanding and getting a separate state automatically made it necessary to become citizens of Palestine to settle in Palestine.

        Meanwhile we Jewish folk have all of Israel to go settle in, some 56% of pre 00:01 1948 Palestine, granted completely gratis for the Jewish state.

        BTW Israel has not since 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) legally acquired any further territory. There has never been any legal annexation of territory to Israel by agreement and the acquisition of territory by war has been illegal since at least 1933 link to pages.citebite.com

      • JewEgg
        March 11, 2014, 2:33 am

        Um… i also strongly oppose Israel’s illegal occupation and settlement in the west bank and gaza you don’t need to explain that to me.

      • Cliff
        March 11, 2014, 6:54 am

        Jews are not indigenous to Historic Palestine.

        Judaism is a religion. Not a race. There is no such thing as Jewish DNA.

        Those Jews from 3000 or however many years ago, are not related to Jews today – who are the product of conversion.

        In fact, how many Jews were there 3000 years ago? Do you even know?

        Jews lived all over the world. There is no ‘Jewish’ collective homeland. There are homelands (including Historic Palestine) for people who are Jews.

        But there is no collective homeland for Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. etc.

        Religions have no homelands.

      • JewEgg
        March 11, 2014, 9:37 pm

        Dna evidence disproves you

        link to pnas.org

        link to sciencedirect.com

        and it isn’t up to you to define what jews are and are not. We jews self define as a nation.

      • talknic
        March 12, 2014, 12:00 am

        JewEgg “it isn’t up to you to define what jews are and are not. We jews self define as a nation”

        And it’s not up to DNA or science to define who or who is not a Jew, we Jews self define as Jewish or not by pour choice of religion regardless of origins, heritage, ethnicity, bloodline, mother, father, Rabbis, laws.

        BTW some Jews simply do not want to be part of any Jewish nation, preferring citizenship in the country and amongst the people of our choice.

        Self determination is an individual choice…

      • Cliff
        March 12, 2014, 7:20 am

        @jewegg

        Neither of those sources prove the existence of Jewish “DNA”.

        Jews are not a race.

        Jewish identity is cultural.

        So if people in your religion marry and propagate with other people in your religion, then naturally there will be similarities within that group.

        You then label it as ‘Jewish’. Those ancient Jews could have labeled themselves as Followers of the Great Stapler. Staplerians. And

        Then 3000+ years later, when the Zionist Staplerians stole Palestine from the indigenous Palestinian Arabs, trolls like you could be here @MW saying Staplerians are a race.

        Jewishness is a man-made identity.

        How about this: does any study in existence say Jews are similar because they are Jews? What does such a statement mean? Where’s the logic there?

        If I convert to Judaism, does that mean I share the same classic genetic markers as those Jews examined in the aforementioned studies? NO!

        So being Jewish is not the cause. The cause is reproducing with people who share your cultural background and/or habitat.

        Jewish identity (like every other identity, including Palestinian identity) is an invention.

        So those studies are simply saying that people who mate together – are related. Hence why some studies say Jews and non-Jews of the same region are closely related.

        and it isn’t up to you to define what jews are and are not. We jews self define as a nation.

        Sure it is – I can decide for myself (as can anyone else).

        People who define themselves as they please, are certainly free to do so.

        But your capacity to do so does not separate you from other human beings.

        It doesn’t separate you from the judgment of non-group members.

        Group membership doesn’t grant you infallibility. So go ahead and identify as Pastafarians as much as you like.

        You’re still (first and foremost to me) a crazy person. Not a Jew.

      • eljay
        March 11, 2014, 7:09 am

        >> If Jews and Palestinians have the same direct ancestors, it follows that Jews have rights to the land they formerly inhabited.

        If they lived in Palestine around the time of Partition, sure. Otherwise, no: A Jew – simply because he is a Jew – would not have any special right or entitlement to land in Palestine.

      • RoHa
        March 11, 2014, 10:40 pm

        “We Jews self define as a nation.”

        Does that mean Jews call themselves a nation? So what? They could call themselves a flock of penguins. First winter in Antarctica would teach them the difference between what they call themselves and what they are.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 11, 2014, 10:45 am

        “If Jews and Palestinians have the same direct ancestors, it follows that Jews have rights to the land they formerly inhabited.”

        Only if the fact that one’s ancestors formerly inhabited a piece of land gives one present rights to that land. However, no such right exists.

        For example, I have ancestors (among others) who formerly lived in East Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Great Britain and Ireland. I have no right to live in any of those lands, even though for the last two, that ancestor lived there more recently than the ancestor of most of the Jewish immigrants to Palestine lived there.

      • JewEgg
        March 11, 2014, 9:38 pm

        So then Palestinians whose grandparents lived in palestine but were born outside it’s borders have no rights to any land in Palestine? Interesting.

      • talknic
        March 12, 2014, 12:07 am

        @ JewEgg
        “So then Palestinians whose grandparents lived in palestine but were born outside it’s borders have no rights to any land in Palestine? Interesting”

        Except of course if they’re refugees born of refugees from Palestine and have never taken up permanent citizenship in a country other than that of return. Exactly the same as Jewish refugees under UNGA res 194, except of course if they or their forefathers took up permanent citizenship in a country other than the country of return, in which case they are no longer refugees and have no refugee status or rights.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 12, 2014, 9:11 am

        “So then Palestinians whose grandparents lived in palestine but were born outside it’s borders have no rights to any land in Palestine? Interesting.”

        Wrong. While they don’t have that right simply because their ancestors lived there, they do have that right because they are refugees in an ongoing conflict and have the return to return to their country of origin when the conflict is concluded. So if a Palestinian voluntarily left Jaffa, Palestine in 1946 for America, then his descendants have no right to return to Jaffa today. However, if the Palestinian was brutally ethnically cleansed by zio terrorists, and was made a refugee, then his descendants have the right to return to live in peace in Jaffa.

    • RoHa
      March 10, 2014, 10:42 pm

      “Why would either group decide willingly to abandon such clearly strongly held senses of peoplehood,”

      Perhaps by coming to realise that “senses of peoplehood” are obstacles to humanity and morality.

      Perhaps because they see that such “senses of peoplehood” just cause trouble.

      “and for that matter, why should anyone be forced to do so?”

      Because holding “senses of peoplehood” causes trouble for everyone, and thus is wrong.

    • Ellen
      March 11, 2014, 10:15 am

      JewEgg, while Judaism has been around for a very long time (but not as long as a few other religions) “national aspirations ” is a very recent phenomena within the Jewish faith. Judaism was adopted by various groups around the globe over time.

      The idea of nation is quite modern.

      As for the unwillingness of Zionists to debate Blumental? Your claims of his dogmatism never stopped a debate among the intelligent and informed. If Max has his facts wrong, he is an easy debate opponent.

      And what, exactly, are his irrelevant ideas?

      If they are irrelevant, it would make him a very easy debating opponent.

      A blind dogmatist with irrelevant ideas is a pushover? So why is no one debating him?

      • JewEgg
        March 11, 2014, 9:38 pm

        Yeah, national aspirations totally new.

        Just pretend the Hasmonean and Bar Kokhba revolts never happened.

      • adele
        March 11, 2014, 10:46 pm

        JewEgg,
        Ellen raises very interesting points w/ regard to your assertion about Max’s dogmatism and irrelevance. Can you address her questions?

      • mikeo
        March 12, 2014, 7:54 pm

        Wikipedia article: Nation state

        “Most theories see the nation state as a 19th-century European phenomenon”

        JewEgg you are either disingenuous or a moron, I can’t decide which…

  12. American
    March 10, 2014, 6:16 pm

    ”’The rhetoric from the other side had rapidly degenerated from ahistorical to bigoted to bizarre to downright beserk. It had become painfully clear that this was all Zionists had left. No wonder events like our debate were so rare, and why they will become increasingly so”’..Max

    Too bad you had to waste your time on that.
    This will tell you why its pointless to debate uber zionist or any of them really……..
    link to salon.com

    The kind of people you describe are missing something upstairs—and it cant be fixed.
    There is a gene that encodes an enzyme called MAOA-L. In the brain, MAOA breaks down important neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. MAO stands for monoamine oxidase; A designates a subtype of the enzyme (sort of like a car model), and L stands for low activity. Since 1993, the low-activity version of the gene—dubbed the “warrior gene” by the press—has been linked in several studies to increased aggressive behavior. A tendency to get into fights or strike out at others is not the same as the goal-directed aggression often seen in criminal psychopaths, but the existence of the MAOA-L gene does strongly support the view that some aggressive tendencies may be inherited.
    The lack of neuronal activity in the pre frontal cortex is a factor in bad behavior.
    Healthy brains in normal people suck up lot of glucose that keep brain working normally —-in people who are irrational, aggressive, verbally or physically, their brains don’t suck enough glucose to keep it hitting on all cylinders—-equaling tempers fits and irrationality.
    Always knew the Zios had some sort of brain malfunction….lol

    Who you should invite to debate you is some politicians……lol, that would be even more of a slaughter.

  13. Sycamores
    March 10, 2014, 7:40 pm

    i question why would Richard Landes debate with Max Blumenthal.

    maybe the pro-israel group used Richard Landes to test the water so to speak.

    it would seem that Max Blumenthal didn’t even need to exposed Richard Landes or Simon Deng as blithering idiots, they did that by themselves.

    Deng did not attempt to counter any of our points. Instead, he spent much of his time rambling about the misdeeds and devious machinations of Muslims and Arabs. As soon as his turn for a rebuttal arrived, Landes reverted to type, branding me a “Jewish supremacist” because I held “the Jews” to unfairly high standards. Landes later turned to the crowd and proclaimed, “The Palestinians are ginned up on jihad.” The audience was practically rolling in the aisles, but they were not laughing with him.

  14. just
    March 10, 2014, 8:19 pm

    Your calm and truthful voice of experience is driving them more stark raving mad than they already were. Though it must be more than unpleasant to ‘debate’ these people,– the few that dare– you are doing the world a great service by deigning to engage them, and allowing them the opportunity to expose their racism, hasbara, fantastical re- writing of ‘history’, and putrid discrimination in public.

    Thanks, Max. Best wishes for continued success on your trailblazing journey.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    March 10, 2014, 9:40 pm

    RE: “With the event drawing to a close, one of Landes’ supporters rose from the crowd to deliver a barely coherent tirade about Hajj Al-Amin Husseini, the long-dead Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and his ties to Nazi Germany during World War Two.” ~ Max Blumenthal

    SEE – “Christian Zionism: The Root of All Evil?” ~ By Tammy Obeidallah, The Palestine Chronicle, Aug 16 2010

    [EXCERPT] . . . Not only do Zionists distort biblical history, they spread lies about more modern events as well. Proponents of Israel will often pander the tired Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini obfuscation in an attempt to connect all Palestinians to Adolph Hitler. Husseini was imposed upon the Palestinians in 1921 by the British Mandate’s first high commissioner, a British Jew named Herbert Samuel. Husseini was selected over the rival Nashashibi candidate and favored by the Zionist Commission. Husseini allied with Hitler to oppose the British, falling into the trap as so many others who have believed “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to palestinechronicle.com

    • Sycamores
      March 10, 2014, 11:13 pm

      Husseini was imposed upon the Palestinians in 1921 by the British Mandate’s first high commissioner

      another example of the British pulling strings trying to divide and conquer the Palestinian community along religious grounds.

      new avator i see, Ernst Ingmar Bergman film The Silence. i watch this film a few years ago as part of the Ingmar Bergman season. The Seven Seal is my favorite with Max von Sydow playing chess with the reaper asking questions about the meaning of life and death. i’m no aficionado i just enjoy some of his films.

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 15, 2014, 5:40 am

        Yes, actually it is cropped from the poster for the German theaters showing The Silence (1963). I really like the artwork.
        I saw The Seventh Seal (1957) decades ago and remember being very impressed by it. It’s in my NetFlix queue to see again.
        I just finished watching Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light and The Silence (a/k/a “Bergman’s trilogy”), and I highly recommend them.

        POSTER SOURCE – link to imdb.com

    • Walid
      March 11, 2014, 1:22 am

      “… Beinart’s argument in his book, The Crisis of Zionism, that the advancement of Zionism in historic Palestine had cured Palestinians of their illiteracy (p. 15).”

      Not a totally false concept if you accept that before the important European Zionist inflows into Palestine started, the Palestinian Jews at the time were as equally backwards as the Arabs and that the Zionists’ mission civilisatrice was actually a mission colonialiste. Zionists advanced the literacy of the Jews and hindered that of the Arabs and this policy hasn’t changed in a hundred years.

      • seafoid
        March 11, 2014, 4:45 am

        @ Walid

        Zionism brought ‘modernity” to a lot of poor Sephardim but I am not sure it was better than what they had. The bots gave them a fairly shaky ideology and if you watch Danon you can see how robust it is 60 years later.

        I think if you studied it the literacy levels of diaspora Jews would be higher than those of Yossi Israeli. They can’t run Sparta 2.0 and have thinkers.

      • Walid
        March 11, 2014, 5:12 am

        seafoid, I was thinking of the flood of educated Europeans that had a hand at introducing technology there. If you remember the aborted Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, even Faisal wanted a piece of that technological know-how for the Arabs and was selling Palestine and the Palestinians for it.

        On another subject removed from the navel of the universe, things are deteriorating very fast between SA and Qatar and getting downright nasty. I’m getting the feeling that SA is trying to punish the US more than Qatar in all those things it’s doing. It reached the point of Saudia asking for al-Jazeera to be shut down, or else. Qatar back to flirting with Iran is not helping matters.

        From Arabian Busines.com:

        “Saudi threatens to block Qatar’s land, sea borders
        By Courtney Trenwith
        Monday, 10 March 2014 9:48 AM

        Saudi Arabia has threatened to block Qatar by land and sea unless it cuts ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, shuts down broadcaster Al Jazeera and expels local branches of two US think tanks, according to US-based Huffington Post.

        The threats were made during a private meeting between the foreign ministers of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states in Riyadh last week – before the kingdom, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, a source who was present at the meeting said.

        Saudi foreign minister Saud bin Faisal reportedly said only those three requirements would be sufficient to prevent Qatar from “being punished”.
        Days later the Gulf state was left embarrassed by the departure of ambassadors from the three neighbouring countries historically close to Qatar.

        On Friday, Saudi Arabia also declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, following the same decision taken in Egypt in December.
        The two US think tanks targeted are the Brookings Doha Centre and the Rand Qatar Policy Institute, while Al Jazeera has been accused of deliberate bias towards the Muslim Brotherhood in its reporting on the conflict in Egypt as well as playing a significant role in the ousting of leaders in Tunisia and Egypt during the Arab Spring…”

        Full article:

        link to arabianbusiness.com

  16. Allison Deger
    March 10, 2014, 10:54 pm

    Ramallah has a few people on Grindr…

  17. bilal a
    March 11, 2014, 6:10 am

    During the debate’s question and answer session, a gay pro-Israel student activist named Raphael Fils picked up where Landes left off. Fils, a founder of the Safe Hillel movement, recounted a tour he took to Hebron, an occupied city in the West Bank plagued by a suffocating regime of settler terror and army repression, and complained to Atshan about the greatest horror he witnessed there: When he logged onto Grindr, a popular geosocial hook-up application for gay and bisexual men, he could not find any available men.

    “What’s up with that?” Fils asked Atshan in a deadly serious tone.

    This is supposed to be a new pro-zionist Islamaphobe talking point?

    it might have worked on msnbc with putin, but try running it by the evangelicals.

  18. OlegR
    March 11, 2014, 9:32 am

    Is there a link to a video from this debate or is this just you waving fists
    screaming “i have won i have won i am great”

    • adele
      March 11, 2014, 10:55 pm

      OlegR,
      as usual, your (lack of) reading skills betray the challenges you endure w/ regards to a functioning cerebrum. If you bothered to read Max’s post (and learn something), you would have read him clearly stating:

      “I have not been able secure permission from the event’s planners to release video of the debate.”

      Read, Oleg, Read!

    • just
      March 12, 2014, 6:19 am

      I guess you did not read the article.

      “I have not been able secure permission from the event’s planners to release video of the debate.”

      (the “screaming” is in your head)

  19. seafoid
    March 11, 2014, 12:29 pm

    Grindr and Hebron – it would almost be funny if Israel weren’t f$cking every single Palestinian in the city

  20. Rusty Pipes
    March 12, 2014, 3:23 pm

    Deng’s participation on the panel is part of the longer history of Zionist interest in Sudan. The hasbarist deflection of “what about Sudan/Darfur” has been just the most visible part of the Israel Lobby’s use of that conflict. Christian Zionist mission workers have played a role in highlighting the region to promote Islamophobia in America. But prominent members of the Israel Lobby have been active in raising the profile of that conflict for years. After working in CAMERA’s Boston leadership, Charles Jacobs founded the American Anti-Slavery Group and the Sudan Campaign.

Leave a Reply