Shira Robinson explains the DNA of Israel

Israel/Palestine
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Shira Robinson has an important new book out called Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel’s Liberal Settler State that lays out the foundations of second-class status for Palestinians inside Israel. (A few weeks back we posted the introduction.) An associate professor of history at the George Washington University, Robinson demonstrates how a series of events– Israel’s Law of Return, in 1950; its citizenship law, passed in 1952; and its military campaign against Palestinian refugees who were trying to return to their homes– enshrined a weak definition of citizenship for Palestinians that was lesser to Jewish citizenship, because of Jewish “nationality.” This double standard continues to this day, Robinson explains. Lately Phil Weiss interviewed Robinson about her book by phone. She then revised the transcript by email.

Q. You use the words ethnic cleansing about 1948. What’s the status of that view among historians?

The short answer is during the first three months of the fighting, which began in December 1947, more Palestinians fled from the areas conquered by the Haganah than were expelled, and that from March, and especially April 1948, on, expulsions became more and more systematic. To this you have to add that the majority of Palestinians who did flee, particularly starting in the Spring of 1948, did so at the encouragement of Jewish forces—whether direct encouragement, in the form of whispering campaigns, leaflets being dropped, rumors being spread, or indirect encouragement, such as fear that things that Jewish forces had done in other places might happen in their own communities.

Historians no longer disagree on this point. The question that remains for a small group of scholars was whether what happened was the result of a master plan—something mapped out in detail months in advance—or whether it was the result of decades of thinking on the part of the Zionist leadership and realizing that there was no way to square the circle and have a large Arab population within a Jewish state, as well as military preparations for a confrontation with that population. Just a few weeks before the UN Partition Resolution was announced in late November 1947, Jewish Agency Chair David Ben Gurion told a small group of colleagues that it would be better to expel the Arab population that lived in the area predicted to be slated for independence rather than imprison them, since the government would eventually have to let them out and grant them citizenship. So it’s a debate over whether to look for a smoking gun, which – proclamations aside – I still don’t think we have, or to accept that virtually all political, military, social, and ideological roads converged to produce this outcome.

Q. Where do you come down?

I try to come down on it in a very careful way.  I had a lot of people read those two or three pages of the book who have thought and read a lot about the war, including scholars and graduate students who care very deeply about getting this story right. The language that I use in my book is that Plan D, which was finalized in April 1948, amounted to an expulsion blueprint. But I also don’t think it’s necessary to talk about a master plan, given what we know happened afterward. So I sort of am trying to say, I don’t think the debate over the master plan is particularly interesting, because as a historian there’s a whole lot of reasons why this happened and why the opposite or a different result did not happen, and that’s enough for me.

Robinson jacketQ. You quote a line about Dayr Yasin from Ben Gurion– If we didn’t have Dayr Yasin, we would be a minority in this country. For me that’s a smoking gun.

To be fair, in the next line of that passage from the Knesset transcript — which I don’t quote — he says of course the Haganah didn’t carry out Dayr Yasin, that was the Irgun and the Stern Gang [two more radical militias that split from the Haganah in the years prior to the war], not us. I don’t quote it for two reasons. One, Ben Gurion’s attempt to distance himself from the massacre is undermined by evidence that the Haganah approved of the attack on the village in advance. Two, which is more important, he is still acknowledging the way in which the Jewish public profited profoundly from the massacre. And in that sense you can say he’s directly or indirectly endorsing the results of it.

Q. To me, in the end, the discussion is not that interesting.

Well, it’s very important to Palestinians whose actual lived experiences have been denied, and it’s important to get the story right to the best of our ability. But looking back, structurally and historically, there’s a lot more to say about what happens afterwards. So it shouldn’t be and really no longer is the main point. I will tell you this, though: I have a friend from graduate school who teaches in a university in Brazil. Just two days ago she was asked to translate for Benny Morris during a lecture he gave at her university, and he was apparently going on about how Ilan Pappe and Tom Segev are political activists, not historians, that “the Arabs” have no documentation on the 1948 war, and that their oral accounts have no value. So for a very small number of scholars, this debate does still matter, but in the scheme of things I would argue that it’s no longer the primary question. There are plenty of decisions that Israel made after the war where we can see its intentions quite clearly.

Q. Right. If they all fled, and you didn’t let them come back, what’s the difference?

The point is there was some of this and some of that. Some of them fled, and many more were kicked out.

Q. You say that Israel said, “We’re going to let 100,000 back in order to satisfy the UN.” What’s that about?

That was about Israel trying to seal the deal on the bilateral armistice agreements with its neighbors and get Israel’s application to be admitted to the United Nations. The vote was coming up in May of 1949, the promise was made a few months before. And it was made explicitly to placate the international community, including the Americans, who were actually pressing somewhat seriously for the return of a significant number of refugees. The Israelis had already had their first application for membership denied in part because of Israel’s refusal to allow the refugees to come home, and also for other reasons, like the state’s refusal to define its borders.

So Moshe Shertok, the foreign minister, who later Hebraicized his name to Sharett, was basically trying to do anything that he could, make as many promises as he could, to get Israel admitted to the UN, to annex from Jordan the narrow sliver of land known as the Little Triangle, and to seal the deal of territorial advances that Israel had made during the war beyond the land it was allocated by the UN in 1947, including the Galilee and the Negev. There’s evidence that he knew that that was a disingenuous promise from the start, because it was going to have to be approved by the Knesset. He knew the Knesset would not approve it, but he said it knowing that he would never have to really be held accountable for it.

Q. It never happened.

It never happened, of course.

Q. “We begged them to stay.” Who said that?

Various government officials and agencies made this claim. The person most often quoted as saying this is Golda Meir. If I remember correctly, she claimed in her autobiography that she begged the Arabs of Haifa to stay. But that’s got to be the most disingenuous thing I’ve ever heard, because there was a clear and targeted Haganah artillery campaign from the top of the Carmel Mountain to get the people in the lower part of the city, which was where most Palestinians lived at the time, to get them to flee toward the sea. That has been well documented, so her claim that we begged them to stay was just insulting.

Q. You say that had the Palestinian refugees returned, all but 1/400th of the land reserved for Jewish immigrants would have been lost.

Remember that before 1948 Zionist land agencies and private Jewish landholders owned less than 6 percent of the territory in Palestine. In the early years of statehood, the Knesset passed two critical laws that made permanent the military and the state’s seizure of Palestinian lands since the start of the war—the first targeted the land of Palestinian refugees outside the country, the second targeted the land of Palestinian citizens still in the country. I rely on the work of other scholars who have documented this process and revealed some stark findings. To take just two, 350 out of 370 new settlements created between 1948 and 1953 were established on Palestinian-owned land, and by 1954, one third of Israel’s Jewish population, including veteran settlers present before the war, lived or worked on Arab “absentee” property.

Q. What is the War on Return?

The War on Return is my appellation for Ben-Gurion’s officially named War on Infiltration, which was both a military and bureaucratic campaign to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees. And the reason that it came about is that, starting in the summer of 1948, thousands of refugees each month were crossing back into the new state to return to their homes, and Israel had no legal infrastructure for determining who was legally resident in the state and who was not. And it needed one. Because in fact the vast majority of Palestinians had attained Palestinian citizenship thanks to a British Mandatory order issued in 1925. The Israeli government, which was headed by Ben-Gurion, who was both prime minister and defense minister, decided to work on two fronts: the borders, physically trying to seal them, which was successful in the sense that thousands of Palestinians were killed and otherwise prevented from coming in, but which also failed in that thousands of Palestinians managed to get in and would later obtain retroactive status. So he tried to seal the borders and did so in the absence of a citizenship law, whose passage he delayed in order to limit the number of Palestinians who got permanent residency and political status in Israel. This is how the War on Return also became a bureaucratic campaign to freeze the status of all Palestinians in Israel after the war—both those who managed to remain, and those who managed to return.

Q. Tell me about the Law of Return in 1950.

The story is that on the one hand, Ben-Gurion’s War on Infiltration–which I call the War on Return to shift our perspective from the state to the Palestinians—the War on Return was basically failing to address certain major legal and bureaucratic inconsistencies and loopholes in Israeli policy. Without a citizenship law, for example, Israelis going on personal or business trips around the world were getting turned away from visa offices and at foreign airports, because they didn’t have bona fide passports, which the government could not issue without a citizenship law. The government also couldn’t sign certain commercial treaties. But more importantly, more and more Palestinians were coming back and saying, “I have a right to stay, here’s my British Palestinian passport, thank you very much. You have no legal basis on which to exclude me, and if you deport me, I’ll risk my life to return again.” The legal question had been brewing for some time already. Soon after the UN Partition Resolution was announced in November 1947, the Yishuv began preparing for Britain’s withdrawal, and began to think, OK, in order to comply with the demands of the resolution, we need to set up a democratic constituent assembly that will enact a constitution that guarantees, among other things, equal citizenship for all residents, the protection of private property, etc. They started to think about what a citizenship law would look like. And from then until late 1949 Ben-Gurion rejected 18 drafts of the citizenship bill, because none of them could reconcile the contradiction between Jewish privilege and universal democracy, or a system of one person, one vote. At one point he had three different parliamentary committees working on the bill, and none could give him a version he liked.

It wasn’t until late 1949, when one Knesset member said, “I have a new idea, we’ll resolve the status of Jews in the country before we resolve the status of Arabs.” In other words, we’ll create a law that establishes a legal status that is outside and above that of citizenship. We’ll call it–the Law of Return to Zion, the Charter of Rights Guaranteed to Every Jew in Israel. It had different names at first. The idea was, Jews in the country now and anywhere in the world would forever have rights of preference to the state.

And then we can have a more neutral sounding, seemingly universal citizenship law, which makes no explicit reference to Arabs or Jews, and whose contents would be legally superseded by the contents of the Law of Return.

And Ben-Gurion said, “We got it, that’s it.”

The government mistranslated the English name of the Citizenship Law as the Nationality Law, but I would argue that Israel’s actual nationality law is the Law of Return.

Q. You say the truce lines were killing fields? 1000 people died.

Actually between 2700 and 5000 people eventually died up through 1956. That’s what Benny Morris says, so that’s an easy quote to cite. He also says that 1000 or more were killed in 1949 alone. What happened is, as part of Ben Gurion’s War on Infiltration, which was launched in early January 1949, just in advance of the first parliamentary election, Ben-Gurion was in a position where Israel had already been denied its first bid for membership in the UN. It had been denied in December. He said, I’ve got to look like I’m giving rights to Palestinians. But there are too many of them here, and I don’t want them all to be able to vote, so I’m going to give people the right to vote, but I’m also going to work to reduce the size of the population at the same time. And this was the War on Infiltration. As part of that campaign, he authorized the army to establish what were called free-fire zones along the border. And that just meant that you could shoot to kill anyone you saw moving across the border, that you suspected was moving in the area without permission. So within the first year of the policy, at least 1000 Palestinians were killed, the majority of whom were civilians.

Q. Here’s the crux of your book. You say that over the seven decades of Israeli existence, its definition of citizenship has been very weak. And that all comes out of these two laws, the Law of Return and the Citizenship Law. It’s intentional, they had this UN constraint, so they had to give these people some rights, citizenship, but they didn’t want to give them full rights. Am I reading you right?

They didn’t want to share political power with them; they didn’t want to share political power with the Arab population because that population might then use the power of their political vote to undo Jewish privilege, like end military rule, which prevented Palestinians from accessing their lands, finding work, changing their residence, or leaving their villages for any reason without a permit—all to facilitate Jewish settlement on Arab land with as little resistance as possible. The government’s thinking on this point was pretty straightforward, but implementing this policy wasn’t as seamless as it hoped. One reason for this was the racial geography of the map after 1948,which left the majority of Palestinians living in areas that had been very sparsely populated by Jews before the war. For example, over 60 percent of the Palestinian population after 1948 lived in the Galilee; and the Galilee had been designated by the UN to be part of the independent Palestinian state. Ben-Gurion and Israeli officials close to him were genuinely concerned that there was a conflict between the ongoing aspirations of Palestinians in the Galilee for self-determination, and the fact that there were almost no Jews in the Galilee to quickly change the facts on the ground and trump that demand. In other words, the overwhelming majority in the Galilee was Arab. So why shouldn’t they have a majority rule? That was the UN’s determination in 1947, and that seemed to be the way the world was going. So Israel was increasingly desperate, especially as it saw the return of even more Palestinians after the war. It was very concerned to put a stop to the further resettlement and repatriation of Palestinians who would only bolster the claim that their right to self-determination was legitimate.

Q. These were concerns with respect to the 1949 armistice lines? Concerns with respect to the Galilee, that, hey, the UN said this was Arab, it’s almost all Arab, so why should that fall within the Green Line?

The Green Line is a term that emerged after 1967. But to answer the question, you had Palestinians outside of Israel and also activists inside Israel, saying, hey, this is part of the Palestinian state to be, you can’t stay here. And Nasser, of all people, endorsed partition in 1955 at the Bandung conference [of Asian and African states] in Indonesia. Nasser was seen as Israel’s number one enemy in the Arab world. But actually he took a fairly moderate position at Bandung, or he ended up having to accept a moderate position, that said, “Alright, I’m not going to demand the dismantlement of the Jewish state but I do reject Israel’s annexation of the Galilee, which was promised to the Arab state under the UN Partition Plan.” So the issue of the ‘49 armistice borders for Palestinians and their supporters outside never went away.

Q. But now we say the issue of the ‘67 borders never went away!

In those early years after the ’48 war, everything was still uncertain. And the decisions that were made would have a big impact. [Robinson mentions Israeli Communist Party conferences at which Palestinians pushed back on these borders.] That issue would come up again and again at Communist Party conferences, whose debates and resolutions the Shin Bet [internal security service] was very attuned to. Every few years the Palestinian leadership of the party pushed back, saying, “We have the right to self determination. The armistice lines are not legitimate borders. Israel hasn’t declared its actual borders. So the annexation of the Galilee, especially, is still up for grabs.” This scared Israeli officials, especially as you had the movement for decolonization getting under way in the mid-to-late 1950s.

Q. You say that Israel severed the state-nation link. What does that mean?

So you have a passport, and I have a passport. Your American passport reads nationality, United States of America. If you were French, it would read Nationality: France. If you have an Israeli passport, like I do because I was born in Israel, your passport reads, Citizenship: Israel. The word “nationality” doesn’t appear, and that’s because there is no universal nationality in Israel. Instead, nationality is divided between Jews, Arabs, Druze, and some 130 more obscure options, like Romanians. There have been sporadic demands since the late 1950s to create a singular nationality, but the High Court has always nixed them because this would undermine the power of the Law of Return, which effectively created Jews as the only nationals of the country. Jews who live here or may want to come here–they have the right to the state. Those rights have precedence over any other status that they might attain later, i.e., citizenship. That last line is my riff on the law, it’s not something that it said explicitly. But the 1952 Citizenship Law says, the very first part of it says, This law applies to those who are not already tied to the state by means of the Law of Return. i.e., it applies only to non-Jews.

Just last week, the Israeli government stated that Christians would have separate representation from Muslims on the national employment commission. This announcement is actually part of a broader effort, first reported last fall, to try to establish a “Christian nationality” within the state. The only reason that makes sense is that there is no such thing as an Israeli nationality. Israelis have passports for outside and identity cards that they are required to carry inside. On your ID, it’s not your citizenship but your nationality that appears. A few years ago, the government replaced your designated nationality (Jewish, Arab, Druze) with a line of asterisks—not as a move toward civil equality but because of a fight with the rabbinate over who was a Jew. Those non-Jewish nationalities were created precisely to divide the indigenous Palestinian population, to prevent them from organizing a unified political front to demand an end to Jewish privilege.

Q. When I read your book, I was very moved by the depth of the scholarship, the horror of it, the precision of it, the moral impulse under it. These are great things in your book. My memory in reading your book, is that this is the DNA of Israel, these two laws. My feeling was, this is when the die was cast. It could have been cast in a different direction?

It could have been, but it’s not surprising that it wasn’t. First of all: this is the DNA of Israel. And there’s a quote in my book from Moshe Sharett, who rejoices over what he calls the “wholesale evacuation” of the majority of Palestinians from Israeli territory as an event “more spectacular than the establishment of the Jewish state.” Of course he absolves himself of any responsibility for their departure, but the important point here is the possibilities it created. And to understand what’s going on in Israel today, we have to return to the DNA of the state, which rests on the decision to bar the repatriation of Palestinians. Whether more fled or were expelled ultimately matters less than the government’s decision not to allow them to return.

Because that made possible the absorption of new immigrants, the ability to claim land owned by Palestinians and refugees alike, for public use, for Jewish national development, industrialization, etc. All of that is very critical. The reason it matters is not because I want to get on my moral high horse, or to try to get you to buy my book. It matters because when someone like Peter Beinart gets up and urges that liberal Zionists need to boycott products made in the West Bank (but not pre-1967 Israel), and Yossi Sarid warns that a boycott of settlement products is the only thing that will “remove the gangrene and save Israel’s healthy tissue,” it is misleading. There’s this fantasy that Israel before ‘67 was a kinder, gentler state, that the period before ‘67 was the golden age of the state’s democracy. And if we could only go back to that era, Jews in Israel would enjoy a normal existence and live in peace with their neighbors.

My book is full of evidence of ethical injustices that were committed against Palestinians during these years, but the key analytical point is that the structural contradictions that are at the foundation of the state will continue to haunt the state and all of its citizens until they’re resolved.

Peter Beinart’s most recent piece in Haaretz defended himself and other liberal Zionist supporters of a West Bank boycott against charges of naiveté by saying that most Palestinians are pragmatic (meaning, they will accept the two-state solution), and that failing to prop up the pragmatists will only encourage Palestinian maximalism.  He goes on to say that even though all Palestinians see political Zionism as a moral evil giving Jews special privileges in the state, they will get over it once they have a state of their own. Who is he to say that they’ll get over it? They’re not getting over it now! Palestinian citizens are demanding their rights more and more assertively and militantly. They’re getting more and more organized, they’re getting more and more vocal, making more and more of a difference, and they’re connecting their own struggle to the [broader] struggle of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and the diaspora.

That problem won’t go away because labor Zionists or liberal Zionists hope it will.

Q. If we’re on this pragmatic political ground, the issue arises, is it possible that you could get the Palestinians of the West Bank to accept a 2 state solution, selling out the refugees in order to get some kind of sovereignty. Isn’t that what the two state solution is about?

It is what the two-state solution is about, though Gaza has to be included. I don’t follow political trends in the West Bank and Gaza as carefully as others, but I will say that even though a majority of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories accept the basic premise of a two-state solution, and even if Israel were to suddenly agree to remove every last settlement and give up its control of the water, electric grid, and borders with Jordan and Egypt, that would not undo or resolve or make go away the contradictions of Israel within its ‘49 borders or address the demand of Palestinian refugees to return. Those contradictions would remain. The demographic realities of the country and the trends, the forecasts, remain.

Through much of the 1950s Israel was able to get away with creating what I call a liberal settler state, because of the specific time period where it was born, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, and when most countries in Asia and Africa were still under foreign rule. That gig started to unravel, that comfort zone started to unravel within years of Israel’s creation, particularly in the late ‘50s, after the Algerian revolution started, Tunisia and Morocco gained independence, and the US civil rights movement and the struggle against Apartheid gained strength. There were also revolutions over the border to get rid of some of the Arab world’s western-allied autocrats. So there were a lot of factors that challenged the system that had been relatively easy for Israel to set up in the beginning.

And it wasn’t only external factors. As Palestinians became more acclimated to Hebrew, more of them pushed their way into the university system, more of them were educated abroad, there were more lawyers, they got savvier about working within the system. Now the movement for equality inside Israel is more powerful than ever.

Q. You say that Israel has a very unstable definition of citizenship.

It’s very unstable. Just today there was an article in Haaretz about a Palestinian Christian woman who teaches tourism at a Jewish high school. She was with her students in Eilat, and she was humiliated and taken aside and strip-searched at the airport before going back on the plane with her students to the north. The point is that Israel is trying desperately to break Palestinian resistance to Jewish privilege. And the most recent trick up its sleeve is an old one: to try to create a new nationality, to separate Christians from Muslims. But at the end of the day Israel will still treat them as Palestinian, as non-Jews. They will still be considered suspect. And that contradiction will not go away. It will not go away because the state rests on privileging one group at the expense of another. It’s very simple, actually.

Q. Tell me about your mother, the comment in the preface, “she struggled to understand some of my conclusions about the past and future of Israel/Palestine.” Can you elaborate? Or is that private?

It’s not private. I put it in there!

Q. But these issues are very personal.

Very personal! I don’t know if this will be interesting, but I’ll give you a brief synopsis of my background. My parents are both Americans, born and raised in the New York area. My mother’s mother, however, and her whole family, was from Ottoman Palestine. And after World War I, there was a famine, and unemployment and they left. They were members of a longstanding Jewish community in Jerusalem, going back to the early 19th century–Hungarian and Romanian immigrants, they came to live and die in the holy land. They were Ottoman Palestinian Jews. My grandmother came over, along with her brothers and sisters, after the war. She was deemed a rebel in the family, because she became a Zionist before it was fashionable. She married my grandfather, my mother’s father, who was born in Canada and immigrated to America, after they met at a Poalei Zion[Labor Zionist movement] office. My mother grew up in New York City, she actually was born on a Zionist training farm in New Jersey, and she grew up loving the idea of Israel because of her mother. She visited when she was a teenager, and afterward. Long story short–my mother grew up a strong liberal Zionist. My mother met my father on a bus, they were both good Jewish liberals in New York City, and she was a Zionist, whatever that meant at the time to her, and he was a socialist, and they moved to a kibbutz. They eventually hated it, but not before I was born in 1972, and they left just before the war in October 1973. My mother hated the fact that I was confined to the baby house on the kibbutz. My father hated the politics. They were both unstimulated intellectually, and they left. They felt it was a parochial society and they didn’t have any interest in that. This was on Kibbutz Kabri– which I only learned was named after a nearby depopulated Palestinian village when I was in college.

Despite the fact that my parents didn’t want to stay on the kibbutz, and I moved back with them when I was 11 months old, I grew up in a very strong liberal Zionist family. They sent me to a Labor Zionist summer camp. I was very active in the movement. I spent a year between high school and college on a kibbutz in the Negev and witnessed the racism that emerged during the 1991 Gulf War. I was there with my gas mask, and hearing accusations that all the Palestinians wanted all the Jews to die and were dancing on the rooftops. And meanwhile, my mother was sending me clippings from the Washington Jewish Week that Palestinians weren’t getting their gas masks at all, that this was a shande, a scandal. I went to the University of Michigan. I became very politically involved there. In the course of two years I went from being the chair of the Progressive Zionist Caucus to the chair of the Palestine Solidarity Committee. And I had some very explicit and concrete moments of realization that transformed my politics.

Q. What did you major in at U of Michigan?

Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Then I finished college in 1995 and worked for two years at Human Rights Watch, in the Middle East division, in DC. Then I went to Stanford for graduate school.

Q. And studied?

Middle Eastern History. I worked with Joel Beinin, who is a known historian of Israel/Palestine, among other things. He also grew up in a Labor Zionist youth movement, though his was somewhat to the left of mine.

Q. Why did you write this book?

I went to graduate school in the mid to late 1990s, when post-colonial studies were at a peak of sorts. I was in a reading group about the cultures of imperialism. And I knew that Israel had imposed military rule on the Palestinians who remained in the state, and had intentionally absorbed all these British military regulations that had been formulated over the previous decades to fight anti-colonial rebellions throughout the empire. But Israel was completely absent from discussions of empire, especially pre-‘67 Israel. The more reading I did, the more confusing and odd this seemed to me. So, I started to dig deeper.

It wasn’t until I turned in my dissertation that I encountered substantial–substantial resistance from two of my three committee members at Stanford. They effectively disowned me after I turned in my dissertation. One, who is a specialist of European imperial history, said to me “I don’t know what this quote unquote colonial thing is that you’re talking about.” He couldn’t deal with me. The other person, a Europeanist, said, parts of this dissertation are brilliant—particularly the material you have on citizenship—but I simply can’t deal with it. Unlike Joel, who remains a fierce ally to this day, these two refused to support my work after I graduated. They wanted nothing to do with it. It’s possible that they would feel differently now, I don’t know.

You’re groaning.

Q. It hurts my heart. It’s horrible. Unless you became a great scholar in the last few years, I assume you were a good student.

I was a fine student. But the dissertation was actually less hard-hitting than the book, and I realized in the course of my discussions with these advisers that I needed to be even more explicit about what I was talking about, both in terms of colonialism and in terms of liberalism. And I needed to situate what I was doing in a broader historiographic, and historical framework, talking about where Israel’s birth and its policies fit into the global moment. So that experience actually propelled me forward. Another confrontation I had that inspired the book took place at one of my first job interviews at a university in the Midwest. The chair of the search committee, who was a historian of European Jewry, sat me down in his office and said, “Can we just get over this a settler colonial thing? When do we get to recognize that Jews are no longer settlers? When do they get to be normal citizens?”

I really took that to heart. I realized that the book needed to show that Israeli Jews are still settlers. So that’s why I am very explicit in the introduction about, very very explicit—that Jews are still positioned structurally in Israel as settlers even though they’ve been born there now for several decades as a majority population. That their status as settlers hasn’t gone away because they are now “native.”

Q. Camus’s family on his mother’s side I think went back four generations in Algeria before they had to leave. Derrida’s family went back too.

What I’m saying is that what matters for settler populations is less how long your family has been there and more the privileges you continue to have in that society. In other words, if the same privileges you enjoy today come from your community’s historical status as a minority settler community, then structurally you’re still positioned as a settler.

Q. This issue arose during that job interview, does it still arise? Or has it gone away?

It has enormous implications. When people hear the term settler colonialism, the first thing they think of is Algeria; the second thing they think of is, if they’re informed and engaged, is South Africa. In the first case the settlers left, and it was violent and traumatic for everyone involved. In the second case, some of the white population left but the legacy of Apartheid is deep. And it came after enormous violence and bloodshed, and a huge movement that emerged from a particular set of circumstances that are not entirely replicated in Israel. Above all, Jews were the majority after 1948, not the minority, as whites were in South Africa.

Once you use the term settler a lot of people freak out, because of the implications: If a., then b.; if the Jews are settlers, where are they supposed to go? So my point, I’m not a political scientist or a politician or a pundit, but my personal position is that it would be a huge step forward if Israel undid the status of Jews as settlers and Palestinians as a disadvantaged indigenous population, if you actually created a one-person, one-vote system, in which there were no privileges accorded to one group over another…

Of course there are still all kinds of questions to address. What do you do with land previously owned by a Palestinian family that’s already been settled? But you could start off by saying the Law of Return is over, let’s write a new Citizenship Law and create a single nationality. Let’s draft a constitution after all these years, a process that was buried in the early 1950s precisely to keep Palestinians from having equal rights to Jews.

Q. So if you left Europe to escape the Holocaust, landed in Palestine, your grandchild could still be a settler.

That’s my point. This is a structural rather than a voluntary deal.

Q. You dedicated this book to your mom, who passed away 10 years ago.

My mom was very proud of me, but she struggled with some of the stuff I brought home to her. When I told her there could be no Jewish and democratic state, that that was an oxymoron, it was like I was insulting her mother. She also genuinely believed in that idea. For her, it was one thing to be a critic of the occupation, that was moral and just and righteous. But it was hard to wrap her head around the fact that there could be no Jewish democracy. That was too painful for her emotionally.

It was precisely the contradiction between the values of justice and fairness that my parents instilled in me, and the reality of the pre-1967 period as I researched it, that led me to write the book that I did. In some ways, I worked even harder in the book than the dissertation to convince people like my mom—honest and well-intentioned liberal Jews—that their assumptions about the possibility of a Jewish democracy have always rested on wishful thinking—thinking that, because of its ideological power, has been devastating to another people.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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  1. Cliff
    March 13, 2014, 10:02 am

    Antisemite!

    Paging Abe Foxman and/or StandWithUs’s Captain Israel!

  2. bintbiba
    March 13, 2014, 10:19 am

    A big Thank You to Shira Robinson and Philip Weiss for this very valuable interview
    (Document). Good luck with the book. With Max Blumenthal’s Goliath, you join the outstandingly heroic and ‘righteous’ truth-tellers of this century.

  3. Kris
    March 13, 2014, 10:22 am

    What a great interview! Thank you both!

    • justicewillprevail
      March 13, 2014, 11:38 am

      Superb deconstruction of the institutional and legal discrimination which is at the heart of the Israel project, and why it will never be solved by superficial peace processes and platitudes.

  4. John Douglas
    March 13, 2014, 10:29 am

    This is a wonderful interview, Philip. Shira Robinson reveals herself as such a careful and honest scholar and the program of reading the early history through the lens of citizenship is very instructive.
    One thing that occurred to me as I read your interview was the parallel between how recent Israeli government have used what we now call the settlers to do the dirty work of making Palestinian life unbearable and how Ben-Gurion and others used the Irgun and other extra-governmental groups to do their dirty work.

    • puppies
      March 13, 2014, 12:10 pm

      @John Douglas – “used what we now call the settlers to do the dirty work of making Palestinian life unbearable and how Ben-Gurion and others used the Irgun and other extra-governmental groups to do their dirty work.”

      Precisely! That’s why all settlers anywhere outside the 67 armistice lines are to be considered military personnel.

      • Sumud
        March 13, 2014, 11:39 pm

        That’s why all settlers anywhere outside the 67 armistice lines are to be considered military personnel.

        I understand where you’re coming from but you can’t classify children as military, no matter how repugnant the behaviour of their parents.

        The moral case to be made is that forcing Israeli children to live in settlements outside Israel, in clear violation of Geneva 4, is a form of child abuse.

        For example, I believe the parents of the 3 settler children murdered in 2011 in Ittamar bear as much moral responsibility as the actual murderers. That they (the parents) were also murdered does not excuse them. They neglected their duty of care by forcing their children to participate in a war crime.

      • puppies
        March 14, 2014, 3:50 am

        @Sumud – Minors are obviously the responsibility of their guardians and the state. Anyway, let’s hope no one gets outraged by the Zionist atrocities including the imprisonment, torture and deliberate murder of Palestinian children to the point of exacting revenge.

      • Sumud
        March 15, 2014, 8:34 am

        Sadly puppies Israel will continue for the foreseeable future with the jackboot on the neck of Palestinians applying more or less pressure as it please them.

        So outbreaks of violence and loss of much innocent life is inevitable: because Israel values Palestinian land and water over Palestinian and Israeli lives.

        I believe that before this is over there will be mass killings occurring in the West Bank perpetrated by breakaway fundamentalist brigade(s) of the IDF, just when it looks like one single state with equal rights for all is about to come into existence. It’s going to have to be really big and really horrible before the US decides to finally pull the pin on the ugly little spartan state (i.e. move to supporting UN sanctions on, and cease supplying arms to Israel).

      • puppies
        March 15, 2014, 7:08 pm

        @Sumud – All of that is logical, of course, as is the ominous probability of reprisals against settler civilians –with the attending PR damage in the soundbite West.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 13, 2014, 12:26 pm

      but essential ‘dirty work’ was implemented thru legislation.

    • eljay
      March 13, 2014, 12:31 pm

      >> One thing that occurred to me as I read your interview was the parallel between how recent Israeli government have used what we now call the settlers to do the dirty work of making Palestinian life unbearable and how Ben-Gurion and others used the Irgun and other extra-governmental groups to do their dirty work.

      The hard-core Zio-supremacists do the dirty work while the more-delicate liberal Zionists “hold their noses” and cheer on their hardier co-collectivists.

      In the end, though, they all “primarily celebrate”.

  5. hophmi
    March 13, 2014, 11:01 am

    “Q. So if you left Europe to escape the Holocaust, landed in Palestine, your grandchild could still be a settler.”

    A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 13, 2014, 11:26 am

      “A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews.”

      Name another community in which the benefits enjoyed by one ethno-religious group comes from that community’s status as a minority settler community, and it would apply there, too. If israeli Jews are an exception, it is because no one anymore acts in the barbaric manner they act.

    • justicewillprevail
      March 13, 2014, 11:33 am

      Yes, and if you had understood in any way the extremely cogent argument she puts forward, you would also understand why she says that, which is nothing to do with your shopworn cliches about standards being only applied to Israeli Jews, but arises from the laws which Israeli Jews have instituted to privilege themselves as Jewish. In other words, the ‘standard’ which you go on about is not a standard at all, but a structural consequence of the racist laws and categories which Israel has implemented. No-one is ‘applying’ it to Israeli jews, they have created it themselves. Try understanding the very well argued and clear piece before you leap in with the customary stale old soundbites, for once.

      And if you are looking for similarities to other situations, equally discriminatory, both Algeria and South Africa are mentioned, so not only Israeli jews can write racist constitutions for themselves, and be justifiably criticised for it. In fact, colonialism has a long history of it.

    • seafoid
      March 13, 2014, 11:42 am

      A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews

      If you left England on the Mayflower and landed in Virginia your grandchildren would still be settlers.

      WTF is wrong with you, Hoph ?

      • Sibiriak
        March 13, 2014, 11:45 am

        Seafoid:

        … your grandchildren would still be settlers.

        At what point, then, do the progeny of settlers cease to be settlers?

      • Hostage
        March 13, 2014, 12:41 pm

        At what point, then, do the progeny of settlers cease to be settlers?

        I suppose it will happen when we no longer have laws on the books that peg everyone else’s enjoyment of fundamental human rights to the archaic notion of a “white” standard of living, e.g.

        “All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.”

        link to law.cornell.edu

        This requires others to make constant comparisons in order to effectively exercise their own rights.

        P.S. Robinson errs a little when she says that Israeli citizenship is unique. The inhabitants of unincorporated US territories are US nationals, but not US citizens and they do not have all of the same voting rights, & etc.

      • Shira Robinson
        March 13, 2014, 2:02 pm

        Hi Hostage, thanks for your comment here. I don’t use the word “unique” in the interview, but your point about the murkiness of rights accorded to those living in the unincorporated US territories is great! There’s some terrific new research being done on America’s “Insular Empire,” to quote the name of a new documentary about the Guam and the Mariana Islands (link to horseopera.org), some of which I cite in the introduction to the book. The point I’m trying to make is that for a host of reasons, Israel was forced to formally share politically power with the very indigenous population whose land it sought to take on behalf of its “nationals,” the Jews who moved there. It was this dynamic that made it historically unique, not the fact that it wrote inequality into its laws. If you look at the question of Native Americans, for example, the US spent 2 centuries attenuating their land base before extending citizenship status to them. In Algeria the French spent over a century dispossessing the indigenous population before granting them French citizenship, and at that point (in the late 1940s/early 1950s) it was only a desperate move to hold onto the territory. I elaborate on this stuff in the book.

      • Hostage
        March 13, 2014, 5:17 pm

        I don’t use the word “unique” in the interview, but your point about the murkiness of rights accorded to those living in the unincorporated US territories is great!

        Fair enough, I stand corrected. In any event, I agreed with the point you were trying to make, and was citing our own American Empire as another example of a two-tiered system of nationality and citizenship that has an adverse impact on the exercise of equal rights by some of our indigenous peoples. During the Ottoman era, the US and other western powers insisted on superior rights for their own nationals who settled in Palestine. They each had their own Consular Courts, marshal services, & etc. under the Capitulations. IMO, they were already governing Palestine as an international condominium in the 19th century and imposing their western vision of Palestine on top of the inhabitants opposing views about Filastin.

        The point I’m trying to make is that for a host of reasons, Israel was forced to formally share politically power with the very indigenous population whose land it sought to take on behalf of its “nationals,” the Jews who moved there. It was this dynamic that made it historically unique, not the fact that it wrote inequality into its laws.

        I agree. I’ve been commenting here for years about the development of the customary international law regarding the requirements for treaty protection of minority and religious groups in newly created states and the unique Zionist promise to secure the Jewish homeland in accordance with that body of public law. The UN requirement for Israel to accept a minority protection plan and adopt a democratic constitution guaranteeing equality and non-discrimination is one of the great untold stories of 1948.

        For example, Jacob Robinson spent much of his adult life working on the enforcement of the minority treaties and writing about them, e.g. Robinson et al., “Were the Minorities Treaties a Failure?” He also authored a volume about the UN deliberations on the plan for the future government of Palestine, while serving as a legal advisor to the Jewish Agency during the UNSCOP and Ad Hoc Commission hearings (Palestine and the United Nations: Prelude to Solution). He went on to serve as the legal advisor of the Israeli UN delegation. He wrote an astonishing paper, “International Protection of Minorities: A Global View,” which was reprinted in an anniversary edition of Yoram Dinstein, Fania Domb [editors], Israel Yearbook on Human Rights, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Nov 11, 2011, page 73-106. It concealed the fact that the UN had incorporated a formal minority protection plan in resolution 181 (II) and falsely stated that it had abandoned the custom. link to books.google.com

        Since the rights in question were placed under UN guarantee, the issue is is still very relevant today. Livni and Gavison are trying to come up with a smooth and glossy explanation for Israel’s continued refusal to grant full equality to its citizens and deal with the issue of the refugees. Here are a few links to my comments on the subject:
        * link to mondoweiss.net
        * link to mondoweiss.net
        * link to mondoweiss.net

        Once you study all of the primary and secondary sources you need to understand the situation, you come to realize that it’s almost impossible to explain it all to anyone else. That’s one of the reasons I loved the introduction to your book that you let Mondoweiss publish online, because you did such an excellent job of putting the overall situation into words. Thanks.

      • Donald
        March 13, 2014, 12:47 pm

        “At what point, then, do the progeny of settlers cease to be settlers?”

        I would have had a problem with that statement too, except that the article provided plenty of context. The point is that if the descendants of settlers still enjoy legal privileges that the descendants of the original inhabitants do not, then it is still a settler colonial state, and not a normal country with a history of conquest like so many others.

        The point should be that discrimination continues to exist in Israel. One would have the same problem for other reasons if a society were an Islamic state and it discriminates against non-Muslims. It’s not that present day Israeli Jews are guilty of what people did back in 1948–it’s that they essentially endorse what happened then, continue to benefit from it, continue to do some of the same things, don’t try to make up for the injustice, and have a system in the West Bank that is similar to apartheid and a less harsh but still discriminatory system inside Israel itself.

      • Hostage
        March 13, 2014, 1:14 pm

        Donald, I cited the (still) current post Civil War era civil rights act that guarantees every citizen of the USA the same rights enjoyed by white citizens. Israel doesn’t need to adopt a constitution in order to adopt a similar law that grants every citizen the same rights enjoyed by Jewish citizens in just a few words.

        The Zionists have rejected that idea and have studiously entrenched special rights for Jewish citizens in their laws, administrative regulations, and their policies and practices.

      • eljay
        March 13, 2014, 1:53 pm

        >> The Zionists have … studiously entrenched special rights for Jewish citizens in their laws, administrative regulations, and their policies and practices.

        It wouldn’t be much of a supremacist “Jewish State” without those special rights.

      • puppies
        March 13, 2014, 2:31 pm

        @Hostage – Asking for a free consultation once more: I vaguely remember different challenges (rejected lawsuits in Turkey and Greece, articles in the French and German press, etc., and one federal case –effective or intended– in Switzerland) in the 50s-60s against the mention of the citizen’s “religion” in identity documents or other government records. “Religion” here is nominal of course, not effective: indicates ethnic discrimination for all practical purposes. Is there any valid basis for such challenges in international law –or some national setting? My research skills in legal matters are below zero.

      • Hostage
        March 13, 2014, 10:07 pm

        I vaguely remember different challenges (rejected lawsuits in Turkey and Greece, articles in the French and German press, etc., and one federal case –effective or intended– in Switzerland) in the 50s-60s against the mention of the citizen’s “religion” in identity documents or other government records.

        It’s not allowed under Article 9 of the EU Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Case of Sinan Işık v. Turkey (Application no. 21924/05) cites quite a few related EU cases as authorities on the subject, but doesn’t cite any other international conventions which prohibit the practice: link to hudoc.echr.coe.int

        Of course there are a number of similar UN and regional human rights conventions that prohibit any discrimination on the bases of religion or creeds and I suspect that the Inter-American and African human rights courts would follow the example of the EU. UNESCO has a list here: link to unesco.org

      • puppies
        March 14, 2014, 1:44 am

        @Hostage – Thank you very much. At least there is something about it, and that’s a lot.

      • Sibiriak
        March 14, 2014, 2:29 am

        Donald:

        [Sibiriak:]“At what point, then, do the progeny of settlers cease to be settlers?”

        I would have had a problem with that statement too, except that the article provided plenty of context. The point is that if the descendants of settlers still enjoy legal privileges that the descendants of the original inhabitants do not, then it is still a settler colonial state, and not a normal country with a history of conquest like so many others. ETC.

        I agree with everything you wrote, but it didn’t quite answer the question. I was asking about the classification of individuals as “settlers”, not the classification of states in historical-sociological terms.

        I think the word “settler” is terminologically incorrect for distant descendants of “settlers” who are now residents of a legal state, however discriminatory or oppressive that state may be. It just doesn’t make sense to argue that all Israeli citizens today who are progeny of “settlers” are themselves also “settlers”, but that they would instantly cease to be “settlers” if the Israeli state became fully democratic/non-discriminatory. Individuals as “settlers” and individuals as beneficiaries of a discriminatory ethnocratic state- those are two distinct concepts, which may or may not be related given the specific case.

        Btw, the term “settler” is interesting for its connotations. The fact is most Jewish immigrants (80%?) who came to mandatory Palestine ended up in cities , not in farms or kibbutzim etc. So, ironically, the term “settler” plays into the myth of Jewish pioneers developing and making bloom an unsettled land.

      • seafoid
        March 13, 2014, 3:49 pm

        Ask the Hopi or the Blackfeet, Sibiriak.
        I suppose it depends on how things pan out afterwards.

      • talknic
        March 14, 2014, 12:02 am

        @ Sibiriak “At what point, then, do the progeny of settlers cease to be settlers?”

        Simple. When they become legal citizens of the entity to which the territory legally belongs. As long as Israeli settlers and their children in non-Israeli territory held under the occupation of Israel are ISRAELI citizens, they’re illegal (Jewish or non-Jewish Israelis alike).

      • Sibiriak
        March 14, 2014, 2:31 am

        talknic :

        @ Sibiriak “At what point, then, do the progeny of settlers cease to be settlers?”

        Simple. When they become legal citizens of the entity to which the territory legally belongs. As long as Israeli settlers and their children in non-Israeli territory…

        I was referring to individuals in Israel proper, or other states like the U.S., Australia etc. which have been classified as “settler-colonial” states.

      • hophmi
        March 13, 2014, 3:38 pm

        “If you left England on the Mayflower and landed in Virginia your grandchildren would still be settlers.”

        Now find me anyone who refer to Americans that way. Everybody everywhere is a settler under this logic.

    • Donald
      March 13, 2014, 11:47 am

      “A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews.”

      That’s obviously false and you know it. It applies to any society that began as a settler colonialist society and still gives privileges and rights to one ethnic or religious group over the people who were already there. So it would apply to apartheid South Africa, Rhodesia when still under white rule, Algeria under the French, the US for much of its history, Australia for much of its history, etc… The US and other societies are still guilty of injustice against the original inhabitants, but Israel is, figuratively speaking, still stuck back in the 19th century.

    • Hostage
      March 13, 2014, 12:18 pm

      A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews.

      Not at all. The hasbara fellowship has a whole line of talking points about Native Americans that you, yourself, have routinely employed right here at MW. Zionists pretend that Native Americans aren’t citizens and US nationals with equal civil and political rights; that they are still confined to reservations involuntarily; that there haven’t been any Indian claims commissions or court settlements; and that the anti-miscegenation laws are still on the books.

      Since they argue that the USA is still an unjust settler society, they must agree that Israel is one too, because it hasn’t even started providing those same rights, privileges, and legal remedies to the indigenous Palestinians.

    • eljay
      March 13, 2014, 12:38 pm

      >> A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews.

      To Israeli Jewish settlers, sure.

      Do you enjoy being such an aggressor-victimhood whiner, or is it some sort of chore for you?

      • hophmi
        March 13, 2014, 3:39 pm

        “Do you enjoy being such an aggressor-victimhood whiner, or is it some sort of chore for you?”

        No, I enjoy finding the weaknesses in stupid arguments.

      • eljay
        March 14, 2014, 6:18 pm

        >> No, I enjoy finding the weaknesses in stupid arguments.

        Turn your attention to your own arguments – you’ll have field day with them.

      • MHughes976
        March 13, 2014, 4:14 pm

        A conquering force, competing down the years or even down the generations with the conquered, remains a conquering force from the moment its campaign begins until the moment, if it comes, when things are transformed by a settlement to which all agree. What else could we think? The members of the conquering group who become active later are surely, who could doubt it, engaged on exactly the same operation, with exactly the same right or lack of it, as were their predecessors or ancestors. The success of the first wave does not transform the ethical situation for the second wave unless might is right, which it isn’t.
        For much the same reasons I would think that refugees remain refugees down the years and generations until they accept some new status, either as returning exiles or as citizens who have chosen a new residence.
        The ‘Danes’ who arrived in ‘England’ during the later 800s accepted a settlement and I’m sure I’m descended from people on both sides of that conflict.

    • tree
      March 13, 2014, 5:50 pm

      “Q. So if you left Europe to escape the Holocaust, landed in Palestine, your grandchild could still be a settler.”

      A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews.

      Another gem from the man who said

      I could care less [sic] that Christian killed Christians in endless intraChristian wars.

      Obviously, if any history was important to him other than Jewish history he’d know that South Africa was colonized by whites starting in the 1600s and that French Huegonots, fleeing persecution in France after the repeal of the Edict of Nantes, made up a important element of the settler community there. Because South Africa remained a settler colonial state well into the 20th century, their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren were still settlers in apartheid South Africa. That’s much much much older than the vast majority of Israeli Jews who are for the most part either children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of the original Zionist settlers, or new arrivals themselves.

      When you manage to ignore vast swaths of history that don’t primarily involve Jews its very easy to insist that Jews are being singled out in your willfully narrow-minded ignorance and come up with idiotic statements like this. Its probably a “feature” not a “bug” as they say, meant to excuse things that would be inexcusable if non-Jews were doing them.

    • Sumud
      March 14, 2014, 12:52 am

      A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews.

      Indigenous Australians were given Australian citizenship in 1949 along with all other Australians, when everyone ceased to be classified as British subjects. But until the 1967 referendum the Australian constitution explicitly allowed separate laws to be made for aborigines – as Shira Robinson points out Israel has never written a constitution because it doesn’t want to be so obvious. Federal (national) voting rights were enacted on a state-by-state basis during the 1960s.

      1967 referendum question:
      DO YOU APPROVE the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled— ‘An Act to alter the Constitution so as to omit certain words relating to the People of the Aboriginal Race in any State and so that Aboriginals are to be counted in reckoning the Population?

      Outcome:
      YES: 90.8%
      NO: 9.2%

      Both my parents were born before 1967 – I have no problem in saying they were born settlers and remained so until 1967 when the constitution was altered to give full equality. In fact, it was apartheid – more benign than South Africa and Israel, but apartheid all the same. Reconciliation is an ongoing process.

      At a constitutional level there is a growing movement to again add material referring to indigenous Australians but this time it would be a specific acknowledgement of their history as original custodians of the land and a recognition of the way the country was settled – as yet I have only heard talk of the idea, not seen any proposed wording.

      It’s about everyone having a truer understanding of our history and one more firmly based in the idea of a universal humanity and equality, and a rejection of the European colonial mindset of which Israel is still a prime example – regressing even.

      You’re having a pity party hophmi, most unattractive – change is going to require giving up privilege.

      Israel is not being singled out, it is most definitely not unique – just a very slow learner, and the bible and the holocaust excuse none of the crimes and misdeeds.

      • puppies
        March 14, 2014, 9:24 am

        @Sumud – “slow learner”: no. The Zionist program is clear: no stopping before the conquest and ethnic cleansing of all Palestine plus appendages. The still not disavowed program declarations (mainly by Labor…) are confirmed by thousands of daily acts, so it’s not about “learning”.

      • Sumud
        March 15, 2014, 1:45 pm

        For sure – I agree, which is why I said Israel is regressing even.

        I use “slow learner” as an old-fashioned descriptor for someone with terrible brain damage, rather than the not too bright one with a good heart that will make it in the end…

    • talknic
      March 14, 2014, 3:28 am

      @ hophmi “A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews”

      How strange. Israel’s moronic shortsighted apologists have it on their list of stupid propaganda things to say, applying it to Australia and the USA, despite the fact that colonization of those countries occurred long before the acquisition of territory by force was outlawed.

      Meanwhile Israel continues to colonize non-Israeli territories today in breach of the Law, UN Charter and relevant conventions

    • Philip Weiss
      March 15, 2014, 3:17 pm

      Hophmi, she was applying that standard to Algerian settlers too. I pointed out that Derrida’s and Camus’s ancestors had arrived generations before, yet they were still considered colons by the nationalists because of privileged status.

    • Ecru
      March 15, 2014, 7:04 pm

      @ Hoppy

      A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews.

      Not heard of Zimbabwe then have we Hoppy?

  6. seafoid
    March 13, 2014, 11:45 am

    Super interview. Basically all we ever get is the Zionist narrative.
    And the Palestinians had and have rights that are never ever honoured.

    Zionist promises are worth less than Lehman stocks. So many broken. Bad faith is their DNA.

    I saw a poster in East Jerusalem once. “There is no difference between Beit El and Tel Aviv”. And there isn’t.

    I had an Arabic teacher in Bir Zeit who used to talk about “mustawtanah Tel Abib”. The settlement of Tel Aviv….

  7. Donald
    March 13, 2014, 11:50 am

    I have a suggestion. Articles of this importance should be easy to find. Mondoweiss should have a sidebar with a list of topics, each one linking to some of the best posts on that particular subject. So, for instance, “Israel’s early years” could be one, and this article would be linked.

    No need to thank me for the suggestion–I’m always up for making proposals that involve work for other people.

  8. seafoid
    March 13, 2014, 11:55 am

    Israel’s DNA also features a component that they share with Millwall FC in London

    Everyone hates us/nobody likes us .We don’t care

    link to youtube.com

  9. Krauss
    March 13, 2014, 12:26 pm

    Great interview. The subtitle is wonderfully ironic. “Liberal” Settler state.
    Just like “liberal” Zionist.

    There’s some pretty awesome scholarship here, too.

  10. Stogumber
    March 13, 2014, 12:33 pm

    I think that Ms. Robinson is wrong as a political scientist.
    We have to ask: In a time of globalization, what functions will remain for the national states?
    And a quite reasonable answer is: The national states are still needed as a resort for the members of a particular ethnical group, if they are endangered in other states. Just that is the most important function which will remain for the national states.

    And most people in the world will understand this. Not even small peoples, but the Chinese, too. U.S.-Americans are perhaps too exceptional to see this.

    • puppies
      March 13, 2014, 2:53 pm

      @Stogumber – Even conceding the totally undocumented assumption that ” The national states are still needed as a resort for the members of a particular ethnical group, if they are endangered in other states”, and the absurd albeit widespread idea that “Jewish” is a unitary “ethnic” designation, the one place where people considering themselves “Jewish” are most endangered in the whole world is the pre-67 and post-67 occupied Palestine.

    • Hostage
      March 13, 2014, 6:18 pm

      The national states are still needed as a resort for the members of a particular ethnical group

      The documentary record shows that, long before Israel became worried about being flooded with millions of Palestinian refugees, it was worried about being flooded with millions of undesirable Jewish refugees. There has never been a mass exodus of those proportions and it would pose insurmountable logistical and transportation problems for Israel or any other nation state.

      I just got finished making a comment which illustrated that members of the Jewish Agency Executive were not concerned with bringing all of the Jewish people, as such, to Palestine or concerned about their fate:

      A representative of the Jewish Agency has stated that in the event of partition the 400,000 Jews in the Arab states outside Palestine may have to be sacrificed in the interest of the Jewish community as a whole.

      link to foia.cia.gov

      The Jewish Agency had nearly 30,000 unused immigration certificates that it refused to issue to refugees on the SS Patria and the SS Struma when it gambled with their lives and lost.

      Weizmann never considered many Jews to be fit material for the Jewish community he was building in Palestine:

      Dr. Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization and ex-officio President of the Jewish Agency, stated that he had come to this country, with Palestine as always uppermost in his mind, to raise $4,000,000 outside the United Palestine Appeal for strengthening the Jewish community in Palestine.
      It was to be anticipated, Dr. Weizmann said, that at the end of the war there would be at least 2,500,000 Jews seeking refuge. Of these perhaps 1,000,000 would represent Jews with a future and the others Jews whose lives were behind them-”who were but little more than dust”. He believed that it would be possible to settle in Palestine 1,000,000 of these refugees, so far as possible those with a future, one-fourth on the land, the remainder as an addition to the urban population.

      link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

      Here are a number of cites from Boaz Evron, “Jewish State or Israeli Nation?”, Indiana University Press, 1995, page 260-261 regarding the deliberations and correspondence of the Zionist Executive on the subject of the Evian Conference on Refugees:
      *The Jewish Agency’s Executive met on June 26, 1938 to discuss the Evian Conference goal of raising Allied attention to the need for efforts and funding in order to resettle endangered Jews in other countries. Evron wrote that: “It was summed up in the meeting that the Zionist thing to do ‘is belittle the Conference as far as possible and to cause it to decide nothing’.
      “We are particularly worried that it would move Jewish organizations to collect large sums of money for aid to Jewish refugees, and these collections could interfere with our collection effort.” Ben Gurion said “No rationalization can turn the conference from a harmful to a useful one. What can and should be done is to limit the damage as far as possible.”
      *Evron quotes from a letter written by Georg Landauer, the managing director of the Jewish Agency Central Bureau for the Settlement of German Jews, to Rabbi Stephen Wise, the Co-Chair of the American Zionist Emergency Council, dated February 13, 1938: I am writing this letter at the request of Dr. Weizmann because we are extremely concerned lest the problem be presented in a way which would prejudice the activity for Eretz Israel. Even if the conference does not propose immediately after its opening other countries but Eretz Israel as venues for Jewish emigration, it will certainly arouse a public response that could put the importance of Eretz Israel in the shade. . . . We are particularly worried that it would move Jewish organizations to collect large sums of money for the aid of Jewish refugees, and these collection efforts would interfere with our collection efforts.
      *There was also the statement made by Menachem Ussishkin head of the Jewish National Fund in the meeting of the Zionist Executive on June 26, 1938 regarding the report of Mr. Greenbaum: “He is also concerned at the Evian Conference. . . . Mr. Greenbaum is right in stating that there is a danger that the Jewish people also will take Eretz Israel off its agenda, and this should be viewed by us as a terrible danger. He hoped to hear in Evian that Eretz Israel remains the main venue for Jewish emigration. All other emigration countries do not interest him. . . . The greatest danger remains that attempts will be made to find other territories for Jewish emigration.”
      The statement by Ben Gurion and the letter to Rabbi Wise were also cited in S. Beit Zvi, Hatzionut Ha-Post-Ugandit Bemashber Ha’shoah (Post-Uganda Zionism and the Holocaust), Tel Aviv: Bronfmann, 1977, page 178, 181, 182

    • Sumud
      March 14, 2014, 1:34 am

      “In a time of globalization” and for some time before that nation states are composed of their citizens, not ethnic groups.

      “if they are endangered in other states” there is the UN refugee convention which some states including Israel have refused to ratify. It’s ironic if you consider the plight of jews during WW2, but sinister if you pull back the curtain as Hostage has done in the post above this one.

    • Ecru
      March 15, 2014, 7:10 pm

      @ Stogumber

      “The national states are still needed as a resort for the members of a particular ethnical group, if they are endangered in other states.”

      I’ve never really seen the draw of that argument. Imagine if in Europe during WWII there had been a Jewish or Roma nation – how much easier would Hitler’s work have been. No need to build camps in the boondocks no need for all the infrastructure to get people to them and no need for elaborate murder tactics, he could have just bombed them.

      Eggs. Basket, Nobody familiar with that one?

      • Sibiriak
        March 15, 2014, 11:04 pm

        Ecru:

        Imagine if in Europe during WWII there had been a Jewish or Roma nation

        I guess you need to imagine a Jewish or Roma state able to defend itself militarily against all attackers–or take them down with them. Not easy to imagine without a nuclear arsenal.

      • Ecru
        March 16, 2014, 5:04 am

        @ Sibiriak

        Even with a nuclear arsenal and an insane desire to take the world down with them (the Samson Option that would even have Israel nuke nations not attacking it) you’d still end up a Jewish or Roma nation completely annihilated.

        The biggest protection Jews have ever had has been the Diaspora, without it they’d probably have been consigned to the history books millennia ago.

      • Citizen
        March 17, 2014, 3:26 pm

        It is irony that Israel is seen as the safe haven state for Jews, but where have most Jews died unwillingly since 1945 other than in Israel and its surrounding when Jews were “defending” Israel? That’s contemporary history, no? Further, where would the state of Israel be in terms of military protection and diplomatic protection without the US government? 2% of the USA is Jewish. When will the US Goys gain any thanks from Israel and America’s Jews? Tell it to the US taxpayers, and to the families of US grunts who sacrificed for Israel’s wars in the ME.

    • eljay
      March 15, 2014, 11:22 pm

      >> The national states are still needed as a resort for the members of a particular ethnical group, if they are endangered in other states.

      Members of particular ethnic groups don’t need a “national state” any more than members of particular gender groups or particular sexual-orientation groups need one. The answer to injustice against any person or group is justice and accountability, and not the creation of a supremacist “national state”.

  11. Hostage
    March 13, 2014, 1:25 pm

    This is a super article. Her book is just outstanding too. Shira Robinson, adds to the work of others, like Shimha Flapan, Tony Judt, and Joel Kovel when it comes to deconstructing myths and shedding light on the realities of Zionism.

    • Jackdaw
      March 13, 2014, 2:30 pm

      @Hostage

      America violates international law and commits war crimes and you do nothing.
      The N.S.A. violates people’s privacy and the CIA breaks the law and trashes the Constitution when it spies on a Senate Committee and what do you have to say?

      You ignore what happens in your own country and, instead, obsessively, attack a tiny foreign country you never even visited.

      What’s your response to your government running amok and breaking the law?

      Where are your stones, man?

      • Hostage
        March 13, 2014, 6:05 pm

        @Hostage

        America violates international law and commits war crimes and you do nothing.

        You are completely mistaken. I’ve contributed money to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, and the Center for Constitutional Rights. I’ve spoken out against US war crimes and crimes against humanity here at Mondoweiss, Opinio Juris, the PhD Studies in Human Rights blog, and the European Journal of International Law Talk! blog. You are just a troll trying to engage in uninformed whataboutery.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 14, 2014, 12:04 am

        You are just a troll trying to engage in uninformed whataboutery.

        uninformed whataboutery! i love it! hostage, you are such a jewel.

        [edit..great minds think alike, and look at that timing. tree is our treasure too]

      • Jackdaw
        March 14, 2014, 1:11 am

        @Hostage

        You comment on blogs that 99% of Americans don’t even know exists, much less read. How can you affect real change in America that way?
        You can’t, but it makes you feel good along with your donations.

        Medea Benjamin has the guts to stand up, sacrifice, make noise and get arrested.

        You hide behind anonymity and shoot mock, international law subpoenas into the ether to make you feel like a powerful activist’.

        In fact, you don’t have the balls to stand up and make a real difference.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 14, 2014, 3:03 am
      • Hostage
        March 14, 2014, 6:18 am

        You comment on blogs that 99% of Americans don’t even know exists, much less read.

        I’ve obviously gotten your attention.

        You hide behind anonymity and shoot mock, international law subpoenas into the ether to make you feel like a powerful activist’. In fact, you don’t have the balls to stand up and make a real difference.

        You’re entitled to your opinion. I spent 21 years in the military and have been insulted by experts. Believe me, you don’t have the necessary skills or intelligence to rattle my cage or to be a really effective ankle-biter.

      • justicewillprevail
        March 14, 2014, 6:57 am

        Jackdaw, you are a pipsqueak. Insulting Hostage with your childish remarks says, of course, nothing about Hostage (who has done a lot more than you ever will), but a lot about you. Unable to come up with a single coherent sentence regarding the article above, unable to learn anything, but still determined to make asinine and pathetic attempts at diversionary hasbarubbish. So all you can do is attack the people you don’t have the skills or knowledge to debate with. Cheap.

      • Philip Weiss
        March 15, 2014, 3:19 pm

        James North is in Africa now so I must impersonate him for a moment: Jackdaw, if this site is so inconsequential, why are you wasting your time here?

      • Jackdaw
        March 15, 2014, 4:25 pm

        @Phil Weiss

        I waste a miniscule portion of my time on this website, compared to you and your devotees.

        To answer your question, I do learn a lot from Mondoweiss.

      • ToivoS
        March 13, 2014, 6:12 pm

        I can’t speak for Hostage but I can for myself and probably many thousands of fellow Americans. I have been active in the antiwar movement for many decades. Active in the sense of working in organizations, attending demonstrations, donating considerable time and money, and getting arrested on three different occasions. During most of that period I didn’t really pay much attention to Israel and to the extent that I gave it much thought it was better to not introduce that issue into the various political groups where I worked because it would cause unneeded dissension.

        This attitude continued through the movement against war in Iraq. Then the penny dropped. That was a war that was openly supported by the lobby, those right wing Jews who brought Israel directly into American politics on behalf of war. All the while I and many compatriots were avoiding the obvious because we did not want to offend our pro-Israel comrades.

        Those days are over. Israel has made itself a major factor in the prowar Party here in the US and it seems to me that we have to take that on. I am not that engaged in the tribal war over Palestine much and if the US stopped actively supporting Israel in its perpetual war and the Zionists were purged from our government Israel would not be that big of an issue in my thinking.

        Then I could go back and work politically to fight America’s tendency to commit war crimes, demand political control over the NSA and CIA, etc.

      • Jackdaw
        March 14, 2014, 1:14 am

        @Toivo

        “Active in the sense of working in organizations, attending demonstrations, donating considerable time and money, and getting arrested on three different occasions.”

        And I respect you for that.

      • Sumud
        March 14, 2014, 3:48 am

        Jackdaw just casually you appear to have a thing for Hostage’s testicles.

      • amigo
        March 14, 2014, 10:39 am

        “And I respect you for that.”jackdaw

        And what have you done ,that we can respect ???.

        Do not include your trolling history.

      • Sumud
        March 14, 2014, 3:39 am

        @ annie

        Jackdaw’s nom de guerre has been blown, his or her real name is ‘Great Spotted Cuckoo’.

        From your link:

        The Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius) has been recorded as a brood parasite of the Western Jackdaw, depositing its eggs in their nests in Spain and Israel.

      • just
        March 14, 2014, 6:18 am

        Cuckoo is right.

        (lol)

      • bintbiba
        March 14, 2014, 7:57 am

        Ha ha !!

      • Annie Robbins
        March 15, 2014, 4:44 pm

        The Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius) has been recorded as a brood parasite of the Western Jackdaw, depositing its eggs in their nests in Spain and Israel.

        ha! i just read this sumud. it’s amusing when an anonymous person chastises someone else for posting anonymously!

        hostage’s response is perfect.

        Jackdaw just casually you appear to have a thing for Hostage’s testicles.

        lil ankle-biter wants to play in the big leagues. ;)

      • RoHa
        March 14, 2014, 9:17 am

        I don’t think he is entitled to an opinion about you, Hostage. To be entitled to* an opinion on a subject one has to have studied and thought about it. I am not convinced he has done either.

        (*We allow people to hold opinions, but that does not imply they are entitled to those opinions.)

      • just
        March 14, 2014, 6:34 pm

        @ Hostage says on March 14, 2014 at 6:18 am

        Kerpow! I read that this morning and spewed my coffee. I so wanted to comment right then, but I really had to make myself presentable first……..

        You are amazing.

      • Hostage
        March 14, 2014, 6:33 am

        You ignore what happens in your own country and, instead, obsessively, attack a tiny foreign country you never even visited.

        No, but I have visited Lebanon and the Sinai when both were Israeli occupied territory and witnessed the aftermath first hand.

      • Jackdaw
        March 14, 2014, 6:58 am

        @Hostage

        Sinai remained occupied by Israel through default. Israel had offered to return Sinai in exchange for peace and that offer had been refused.

        Lebanon’s civil war had been raging for years, 100,000+ dead, before Israel invaded and occupied South Lebanon.

      • Hostage
        March 14, 2014, 7:57 pm

        @Hostage Sinai remained occupied by Israel through default. . . . before Israel invaded and occupied South Lebanon.

        Correction: Both countries were illegally occupied in violation of a resolution of the General Assembly adopted during an Emergency Session convened under the terms of the “Uniting for Peace” resolution. It demanded that Israel immediately and unconditionally withdraw from all of “the occupied Arab territories” and subsequently declared Israel’s continued occupation in violation of UN resolutions an illegal act of aggression in line with its Definition of Aggression (14 December 1974) A/RES/3314 (XXIX):
        *General Assembly Resolution ES-9/1 link to un.org
        *General Assembly resolution 39/146 link to un.org

      • talknic
        March 14, 2014, 8:44 pm

        Jackdaw “Sinai remained occupied by Israel through default. “

        LOL. Default of Israel refusing to have “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”

        “Israel had offered to return Sinai in exchange for peace and that offer had been refused”

        “offered to return” how cute. Fact is, Israel was legally required to withdraw from all territory sovereign to Egypt. First comes withdrawal link to wp.me

      • Ellen
        March 15, 2014, 12:12 am

        jackdraw, please, please learn your history. You can even study the IDF archive for this.

        Israel never offered to return the Sinai it grossly and illegally took in the six day war, which Israel initiated. Sadat made clear to Israel that It must return the ill-gotten territory, and that Egypt would never let it stand. Egypt was willing to negotiate. Begin felt he did not need to negotiate anything: Israel successfully took it, and it was now Israel. (remember where and when Begin grew up.)

        Long story short…after Israel refused to negotiate, it late took massive losses and was forced to to give it all up as it found itself not only militarily pushed into a corner, but standing alone without the support of Uncle Sam this time.

        Jack, Israel,never offered anything. It stole the Sinai, could have negotiated to keep some and then lost it all in from its own hubris and delusions.

        Lots of lessons there. You might want to educate yourself.

  12. Jackdaw
    March 13, 2014, 1:58 pm

    I’m waiting for Professor Robinson’s next book on how the 500,000 Jewish citizens of the Arab States became second class citizens and were then forced to flee their homes.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 13, 2014, 2:15 pm

      And if they actually did flee (and weren’t motivated by a desire to join in on the zionist project to destroy Palestine), then their concerns should be examined. But that does not, in any way, excuse the crimes done to the Palestinians or relieve, in the slightest, that which the zionists owe them to make them whole for their losses and for the relief which justice demands the zionists provide to their victims..

    • puppies
      March 13, 2014, 2:21 pm

      @Jackdaw – You mean you’re a newborn or haven’t ever read anything? Just google “Lavon”, just as an example. Or look up November 1947, Zionist aggression.

    • eljay
      March 13, 2014, 2:29 pm

      >> I’m waiting for Professor Robinson’s next book on how the 500,000 Jewish citizens of the Arab States became second class citizens and were then forced to flee their homes.

      An injustice, for which the remedy was and is justice, not the existence of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • Jackdaw
        March 14, 2014, 12:24 pm

        @Eljay

        Isn’t there a 100 strong confederation of Islamic States? An Arab League? Why do you give them a pass?

      • eljay
        March 14, 2014, 6:22 pm

        >> Why do you give them a pass?

        Please do show me where I have given them a pass.

    • Empiricon
      March 13, 2014, 3:28 pm

      Thank you, Jackdaw, for acknowlegding that Palestinians “became second class citizens and were…forced to flee their homes”. Because if you are (rightfully) concerned with what happened to Jews then, you must also know that the actions of Arab states was warned about (then directly precipitated by) the partition and the treatment of Palestinians by Zionist Jews. Two wrongs don’t make a right – but the second wrong wouldn’t have happened without the first.

    • justicewillprevail
      March 13, 2014, 4:47 pm

      I’m waiting for the Jackdaw to come up with a comment which isn’t a feeble attempt at diversion or a third-hand cliched myth. Can’t address the points the professor makes, eh?

    • Shira Robinson
      March 13, 2014, 5:39 pm

      Jackdaw,
      Others have written great books on this subject. On Egypt, see Beinin’s _Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry_; on Iraq, see Bashkin’s _New Babylonians_ and everything written on Iraqi Jews in Israel by Yehuda Shenhav, Sammy Smouha, and others. On claims of unresolved compensation disputes, see Michael Fishbach’s _Jewish Property Claims Against Arab Countries. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008_.

    • Hostage
      March 13, 2014, 5:45 pm

      I’m waiting for Professor Robinson’s next book on how the 500,000 Jewish citizens of the Arab States became second class citizens and were then forced to flee their homes.

      The refugees deserve the right of repatriation or compensation. It was pretty clear to the officials of the Jewish Agency that their plan of action against others in Palestine might cause a backlash:

      A representative of the Jewish Agency has stated that in the event of partition the 400,000 Jews in the Arab states outside Palestine may have to be sacrificed in the interest of the Jewish community as a whole.

      link to foia.cia.gov

      Professor Robinson is correct in pointing out that Jews were settled on land formerly occupied by the refugees, not in the vast uninhabited territory ceded to Israel in the Negev. The Government of Israel reserved the right to prevent Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes and claimed “their space” was needed by Jewish refugees from Europe and Zionists from Arab countries who had expressed an interest in coming to Palestine. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu
      We also know that the Israeli Ambassador admitted his government had triggered the mass exodus from Iraq. See the heading “Ingathering of Exiles” in the Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs (Jones), Secret [WASHINGTON,] August 2,1951.
      Subject: Israel’s Concern Re Peace With the Arabs and Other Matters.
      Participants: Mr. Theodore Kollek, Embassy of Israel and Mr. G. Lewis Jones, NE, Foreign relations of the United States, 1951. The Near East and Africa, page 815 link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu
      For years the government of Israel shamelessly tried to claim that there were 800,000 refugees from Arab lands whose claims offset those of Palestinian refugees, despite the fact that those Jews had no claims against Palestinians at all.
      Now it turns out that Israel never collected more than 14,000 claims:

      In 2010, a law was passed stating that compensation for the lost property would be included in any future Arab-Israeli peace agreement. But the report shows that even if peace were to break out tomorrow morning, Israel would be hard-pressed to present a solid claim because the state does not know what property is at issue. The possible reasons for this are many and absurd: Over the years, immigrants from Iran and Arab states were instructed to fill in and submit forms aimed at enabling the coordination of both individual and communal claims. Between 1969-2009, the Justice Ministry collected around 14,000 of these, but they were never processed or entered into a computer database. Some of the records are still in the ministry’s archive, waiting to be scanned digitally, but some have deteriorated so badly as to be worthless. The retirement of a single clerk who was in charge of the material at one point but did not train her successor is thought to have led to the disappearance of still more documents connected to the issue.
      – Comptroller blasts state for neglecting restitution of Jewish property in Arab states link to haaretz.com
      ====
      PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi reportedly claimed that “if Israel is their [Arab Jews’] homeland, then they are not ‘refugees’; they are emigrants who return either voluntarily or due to a political decision.”
      Ironically, Ashrawi’s sentiment succinctly captures what was once the prevailing view within the Israeli government and among major Zionist advocacy organizations. “I do not regard the departure of Jews from Arab lands as that of refugees,” asserted Iraqi-Israeli former Knesset Speaker Shlomo Hillel. “They came here because they wanted to, as Zionists.” His position was and still is shared by many others. Noteworthy, too, is the Law of Return, which ensures that Jews never arrive in Israel as refugees, but as “olim hadashim” − new immigrants.

      – A dubious campaign on behalf of Arab Jewish refugees link to haaretz.com

      • Jackdaw
        March 14, 2014, 8:25 am

        @Hostage

        Your a history buff.
        Didn’t both Lincoln and Grant suspend habeas corpus during and after the American Civil War? For like a total of 9 or 10 years?

        Wasn’t Reconstruction in the former Confederate States bitterly contested?

        Why is Israel’s nose being rubbed in the dirt for struggling for her post- war identity?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 14, 2014, 9:55 am

        “Why is Israel’s nose being rubbed in the dirt for struggling for her post- war identity?”

        Because that “identity” consists of nothing more than ethno-religious Apartheid and oppression of the native Palestian population, of course.

      • amigo
        March 14, 2014, 10:26 am

        “Why is Israel’s nose being rubbed in the dirt for struggling for her post- war identity?” Jackdaw

        You gotta ask???.Here is some help!!

        “July 4: Resolution 2253 (ES-V): Condemns Israel’s measures to change the status of Jerusalem as invalid
        July 14: Resolution 2254: “Deplores” Israel’s failure to abide by UN General Assembly Resolution 2253 (ES-V)

        1969:
        December 10: Resolution 2535: UNRWA Report. “Reaffirms” the “inalienable rights” of the Palestinian people and requests the Security Council to take “effective measures” to force implementation of previous UN resolutions
        December 11: Resolution 2546: Condemns Israeli “violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” in the occupied territories

        1970:

        November 4: Resolution 2628: Urges the speedy implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 and recognizes that “respect for the rights of the Palestinians is an indisputable element in the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East”

        December 5: Resolution 2727: Calls on Israel implement the recommendations of the UN special committee investigating Israeli practices in the occupied territories
        December 7: Resolution 2656: Establishment of a working group for the financing of UNRWA.

        December 15: Resolution 2728: Report of the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the Human Rights of the population of the Occupied Territories.

        1982-December 16: Resolution 37/123: Condemnation of Israel’s responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut, Lebanon; resolves that the massacre was an act of genocide; condemns acts of plundering Palestinian cultural heritage; condemns the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights; and condemns the annexation of Jerusalem.

        1984–1984:

        November 23: Resolution 39/14: Reiterates the demand that Israel withdraw its threat to attack nuclear facilities of neighbouring nations.
        December 13: Resolution 39/72-C: Demanding that Israel terminate all form of collaboration with South Africa.
        December 14: Resolutions 39/95: Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories.
        December 14: Resolutions 39/99: UNRWA report.
        December 14: Resolution 39/101: Demands Israel not to build a canal between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.
        December 14: Resolution 39/146: Reaffirmation of resolution 38/180 condemning Israel and calling all nations to cut ties with it.

        Israel needs more than it,s nose rubbed in the dirt.Israel needs to be thrown out of the UN until it cleans up it,s act and civilizes itself before it is allowed to return to the family of law abiding and civilized and democratic nations. Oh, and get a constitution.

        But a paid troll is not allowed to think for themselves.Hasbara HQ owns your brain.

      • Hostage
        March 14, 2014, 12:19 pm

        Your a history buff. Didn’t both Lincoln and Grant suspend habeas corpus during and after the American Civil War? For like a total of 9 or 10 years? Wasn’t Reconstruction in the former Confederate States bitterly contested? Why is Israel’s nose being rubbed in the dirt for struggling for her post- war identity?

        I’m a fan of logic, rhetoric, and argumentation too. You’ve cobbled together a poorly framed rhetorical appeal. Those emergency powers aren’t merely an item of historical interest, since the suspension clause is still in the constitution and it has been unsuccessfully invoked in recent years by both the Congress and the President. The scope and applicability of those delegated powers are still hotly debated legal and constitutional questions to this very day. Lincoln has never wanted for critics or scrutiny on that account. So it does not logically follow that his objectionable behavior or wrongful acts debar others from criticizing Israeli officials for similar conduct. It’s certainly possible, and easy, to do both things

      • Jackdaw
        March 14, 2014, 1:33 pm

        @Hostage

        “Lincoln has never wanted for critics or scrutiny on that account. So it does not logically follow that his objectionable behavior or wrongful acts debar others from criticizing Israeli officials for similar conduct”.

        A gutless ‘cop out’ if I ever heard one.
        You ought to be ashamed.

        A joyous Purim to all.

      • Hostage
        March 14, 2014, 7:32 pm

        A gutless ‘cop out’ if I ever heard one.
        You ought to be ashamed.

        I haven’t “copped out” about it, I just don’t feel the need to feed the trolls. I noted that the emergency constitutional powers are still hotly debated today and that both the President and the Congress have attempted unsuccessfully to suspend the writ in recent years.

        The framers of the Constitution included a clause in Article 1 that permits the writ to be suspended in cases of rebellion. It was admitted on all sides that Lincoln was dealing with one. Unfortunately for Justice Tanney and Mr. Merryman, only the Congress can impeach a sitting President for serious misconduct involving allegations about unconstitutional behavior. But that never happened in any of the cases involving Lincoln and Grant. In fact, the Congress finally responded by adopting an act that left it up to Lincoln to suspend the writ whenever, and wherever he deemed fit: link to memory.loc.gov

        I get much more excited about Washington’s use of a drum head court martial to execute members of the New Jersey line, who tried to go home when their enlistments expired and the Congress had failed to pay their wages. The IDF used a similar summary procedure to execute Meir Tobianski over false allegations of collaboration with the enemy during the 1948 war. FYI, I’ve commented on all of these issues in the past, as well as the subjects of the Reconstruction, the criminality of transferring prisoners outside the occupied territories for internment at Guantanamo Bay; the criminality of signature drone strikes and targeted assassinations; and a host of other issues that would probably put you to sleep or go a little over your head.

      • Citizen
        March 14, 2014, 12:45 pm

        @ Jackdaw

        The US Civil War was fought between majority northerners and majority southerns. Not between settlers and natives (that would be the native American Indian wars). And, as Hostage points out, there’s other major differences. Also, we don’t live in the pre-WW1 & pre-WW2 state of international morality and ethics anymore, anymore than we live in knuckle-dragging, primitive cave-dweller times. The Nuremberg Trials (& Tokyo Trials) and their Geneva prodigy are in bloom now as judicial and state- curbing examples to follow. Israel is singled out by Americans such as me because my own government and my taxes support Israel’s crappy, and unAmerican conduct, and because I’m a humanist, which Israel despises. I’m the other side of the US-Israel “special relationship” coin, a tax coin, once again my hard work produced.

      • Jackdaw
        March 14, 2014, 4:08 pm

        @Citizen

        “Israel is singled out by Americans such as me because my own government and my taxes support Israel’s crappy, and un American conduct,”

        ‘Un American’, as in invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan?
        ‘Un American’ as in torturing Muslim detainees?
        ‘Un American’ as in murdering un-armed civilians in war zones?

        I’m from New York. What part of America did you grow up in?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 14, 2014, 6:11 pm

        “‘Un American’, as in invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan?”
        “‘Un American’ as in torturing Muslim detainees?”
        “‘Un American’ as in murdering un-armed civilians in war zones?”

        No, Un American as withholding the human, civil and political rights because of one’s ethno-religious background. We used to do that, but the Confederacy and the Klan lost. Time their Jewish compatriots in occupied Palestine did, too.

      • just
        March 14, 2014, 7:44 pm

        “I’ve commented on all of these issues in the past, as well as the subjects of the Reconstruction, the criminality of transferring prisoners outside the occupied territories for internment at Guantanamo Bay; the criminality of signature drone strikes and targeted assassinations; and a host of other issues that would probably put you to sleep or go a little over your head.”

        Many, many thanks for your incredible work and your devotion for justice and truth.

      • Donald
        March 14, 2014, 1:16 pm

        “Wasn’t Reconstruction in the former Confederate States bitterly contested?

        Why is Israel’s nose being rubbed in the dirt for struggling for her post- war identity?”

        It’s weird how Israel defenders take some of the most shameful episodes in US history and cite them as some sort of defense. It used to be that Israel’s critics, like Chomsky and Finkelstein, would make connections between what Israel is doing and what America has done. Now Israel apologists refer to American sins as some sort of positive moral precedent, or at least as an excuse.

        So regarding Reconstruction, for a short period of time blacks in the South had civil rights, but southern whites opposed this, and the era of Jim Crow was put in place. Then white racist historians portrayed the Reconstruction era as a time when corrupt Yankee carpetbaggers and ignorant slaves ruled over their betters, before the whites fought back. In recent decades historians have rejected that racist interpretation, so now we see Reconstruction as a brief period of hope, followed by a vicious racist reaction that lasted until the civil rights movement in the mid-20th century.

        If you want to say that Israel is repeating the history of the post-Civil War south, in that the rights of some people are being crushed for the benefit of others , you would be correct.

      • Citizen
        March 14, 2014, 1:24 pm

        @ Donald
        Yep. It’s as if the hasbarists were saying, Why pick on Israel when ape men use to beat each other with clubs thousands of years ago.

      • eljay
        March 14, 2014, 1:42 pm

        >> It’s weird how Israel defenders take some of the most shameful episodes in US history and cite them as some sort of defense.

        Zio-supremacists are very strange. When they’re not busy boasting about how Israel is a modern, Western-styled Eden in the Middle East, they’re busy defending it by pointing out that, sure, Israel is a shit-hole of injustice and immorality but, hey, at least it’s not as bad as Saudi Arabia or Mali or Civil War-era America!

        Weird.

      • JeffB
        March 14, 2014, 1:47 pm

        @Donald

        Then white racist historians portrayed the Reconstruction era as a time when corrupt Yankee carpetbaggers and ignorant slaves ruled over their betters, before the whites fought back. In recent decades historians have rejected that racist interpretation, so now we see Reconstruction as a brief period of hope, followed by a vicious racist reaction that lasted until the civil rights movement in the mid-20th century.

        No Donald. Historians don’t have those sorts of opinions about “brief periods of hope”. They are perfectly willing to see carpetbaggers are corrupt and oppressive while seeing their opponents as racist. They understand that all political movements are morally flawed. And they don’t condemn peoples because their politics is imperfect.

      • Jackdaw
        March 14, 2014, 1:58 pm

        @ Donald

        The Union Army ‘occupied’ the ex- Confederate States for ten years after the Civil war. That wasn’t shameful. They were tamping down insurrection and trying to enforce Reconstruction. That Reconstruction failed was shameful.

      • Hostage
        March 14, 2014, 5:35 pm

        They understand that all political movements are morally flawed. And they don’t condemn peoples because their politics is imperfect.

        In fact historians do not hesitate to describe criminal acts, as such, in the case of the State of Israel and many other regimes founded in violation of international laws. In the recent debate between scholars, published in the Journal of Genocide Research, regarding the crimes committed in connection with the founding of the State of Israel, it was agreed by both sides that Israel had engaged in illegal, forceable population transfer or “ethnic cleansing”. The only question was whether it also constituted attempted genocide or the crime of genocide. link to forward.com

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 14, 2014, 6:14 pm

        “It’s weird how Israel defenders take some of the most shameful episodes in US history and cite them as some sort of defense.”

        I call it “genocide envy.” “The Americans got to wipe out the Native Americans, so we should be able to do the same to the Palestinians…”

      • Citizen
        March 14, 2014, 9:13 pm

        @ Jackdaw

        In case you haven’t noticed, the American people have been polled a lot and they agree by a vast majority that the US Congress does not represent them, and has not done so for a long time. I grew up in New York, Ohio, and Illinois.

      • Donald
        March 15, 2014, 4:00 pm

        “Historians don’t have those sorts of opinions about “brief periods of hope”. They are perfectly willing to see carpetbaggers are corrupt and oppressive while seeing their opponents as racist. They understand that all political movements are morally flawed. And they don’t condemn peoples because their politics is imperfect.”

        I was giving a brief summary, but of course some Northerners were corrupt and some weren’t. And for many decades white southerners told a fairy story (encapsulated in movies like “Gone With the Wind” about corrupt northerners and blacks oppressing white southerners.

        “After the fall of the south it was occupied and within a decade a terrorist movement arose to drive the Northern troops and their associated economic interests out of the territory. This would be called an “anti-colonial” struggle in other contexts.”

        In the sense that Zionism would be called an anti-colonial struggle. The problem with the white southern stance is that they were struggling against the notion that they had to treat blacks as equals, just as Israeli Zionists had to struggle against the notion that Palestinians were human beings with the right to live in their own homeland.

        As for “not condemning peoples because their politics is imperfect”, that’s too vague to mean anything. I think you just don’t want to come right out with a clearly made point. Obviously some historians do condemn groups like the Nazis or the secessionists or the Ku Klux Klan. And Israel’s history doesn’t look any too pretty when examined closely–that’s why there were so many lies told about the Palestinian expulsion.

      • Citizen
        March 15, 2014, 4:41 pm

        @ Woody T

        (no reply button)

        I agree that all the things you mention are not examples of what the best America has wrought. I, as an American, have protested all of them. They all show major defects in America. Are you suggesting America has no positive core values it doesn’t too often ignore? What contemporary state do you think is better in maintaining humanistic values?

      • JeffB
        March 14, 2014, 1:44 pm

        @Jackdaw

        Wasn’t Reconstruction in the former Confederate States bitterly contested?

        Yes it was. After the fall of the south it was occupied and within a decade a terrorist movement arose to drive the Northern troops and their associated economic interests out of the territory. This would be called an “anti-colonial” struggle in other contexts.

        Why is Israel’s nose being rubbed in the dirt for struggling for her post- war identity?

        Because some people are completely unwilling to consider Jews to be equals. The idea of a Israeli/Jewish state existing in the same way as a French or Chinese state is simply beyond the pale. But outside the muslim world that isn’t the case and most people are increasingly indifferent.

        Israel is going to work it out, it is just going to take another century or two.

      • RoHa
        March 14, 2014, 4:49 pm

        “The idea of a Israeli/Jewish state existing in the same way as a French or Chinese state is simply beyond the pale.”

        “French”means “connected with or originating in France.” Various colonies and ex-colonies have that connection, and so can be called “French States”, but I know of no Chinese or Israeli ex-colonies.

      • Hostage
        March 14, 2014, 5:46 pm

        Why is Israel’s nose being rubbed in the dirt for struggling for her post- war identity?

        Because some people are completely unwilling to consider Jews to be equals.

        You either have a delusional world view or you are deliberately repeating shopworn hasbara talking points. See Larry Derfner, “The world’s blatant double standard – in Israel’s favor”, and stop acting so clueless: link to 972mag.com

      • eljay
        March 14, 2014, 6:16 pm

        >> The idea of a Israeli/Jewish state existing in the same way as a French or Chinese state is simply beyond the pale.

        Israel as a secular and democratic Israeli state – a state of and for all the people of the geographic region comprising Partition-borders Israel, equally – should continue to exist. I accept it.

        Israel as a “Jewish State” – a state primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews, a state which relegates non-Jewish Israelis to second-class status – is a supremacist construct. Such a state has no right to exist. I reject it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 14, 2014, 6:21 pm

        “Because some people are completely unwilling to consider Jews to be equals.”

        Yes, zionists. They insist on their judeo-supremacist ideology.

      • talknic
        March 15, 2014, 3:05 am

        @ JeffB @Jackdaw

        [/ "Why is Israel’s nose being rubbed in the dirt for struggling for her post- war identity?" /

        "Because some people are completely unwilling to consider Jews to be equals. The idea of a Israeli/Jewish state existing in the same way as a French or Chinese state is simply beyond the pale."]

        Hasbarastas really are quite pathetic

        Perhaps they can point to another UN Member state been given HUNDREDS of OPPORTUNITIES via UNSC resolutions to comply with the binding Law and UN Charter re-affirmed and emphasized in those resolutions.

        Israel has been favoured for 65 years. Unfortunately the little rogue state has not lived up to its legal obligations, supporters of Israel’s immoral behaviour have no reason to bitch and whine and moan, they only have themselves, their stupidity and greed to blame.

      • RobertB
        March 14, 2014, 3:21 pm

        @Jackdaw

        It appears that you are attempting to sidetrack Hostage on this thread…you apparently don’t want Hostage to write…discuss… and expose the truth about your Apartheid Israel….your apartheid zionism!

        Your pale hasbara tactics and attempts of sidetracking, changing the subject, will not work on here. More and more Americans are slowly waking up from their deep slumber…and finding out the truth about your Apartheid Israel…and where their hard earned tax $$$ go…in the billions of dollars each year …to the brutal occupation of the Palestinian people and the building and expansions of “for Jews only settlements” on occupied Palestinian land.

        Yep… Jackdaw…your pale attempts are transparent!

    • tree
      March 13, 2014, 6:02 pm

      I’m waiting for Professor Robinson’s …

      Ah, I love the smell of whataboutery in the morning…Smells like…victory.

      First rule : If you can’t refute anything that’s said, resort to whataboutery.

      • MHughes976
        March 14, 2014, 2:06 pm

        After all, nothing ceases to be bad because something else is bad too.

    • talknic
      March 14, 2014, 8:52 pm

      Jackdaw “I’m waiting for Professor Robinson’s next book ……”

      Why? It’s quite NORMAL. States at war often inter or expel possible 5th columnists, freezing their assets. The US, Australia, UK numerous other countries did to their Japanese and German citizens during WWII.

      Some astute Australian German Jews even resorted to changing their names long before to avert that situation arising

      It’s also quite normal to release and or allow their return if they haven’t taken up citizenship elsewhere thereby forgoing refugee status which, with the encouragement of the Zionist Movement’s state, they did in Israel. Fact is there are no longer any Jewish Arab refugees.

      • RoHa
        March 15, 2014, 4:49 am

        When WW1 started, the older members of the Monash family worried that they would be persecuted because of their German origins. (They don’t seem to have worried about persecution because they were Jews.)
        It didn’t happen. John Monash was made commander of the Australian army.

      • talknic
        March 16, 2014, 10:16 am

        @ RoHa

        I was referring to German Jews my family knew who anglicized or changed their names when they immigrated pre WWII on fear of the same persecution or internment suffered by some German Australians during WWI.

        Monash is far less obvious than the likes of Diersdörfer or Schwarzenberge

  13. puppies
    March 13, 2014, 2:02 pm

    “if the same privileges you enjoy today come from your community’s historical status as a minority settler community, then structurally you’re still positioned as a settler.”

    She’s absolutely brilliant. I suppose it would be an excellent idea to offer ad space for the book –to make up for its drab, unappealing title. Was it yet again a case of someone else “designing” a title?

  14. GJB
    March 13, 2014, 2:31 pm

    This is a wonderful interview, especially timely for me as I’ve been reading “Citizen Strangers” so this provides a good companion overview as well as a window into who she is and how her thinking and values developed. I always wish, as I read a book, or afterwards, that I could converse with the author, so many questions come up, so much more I want to know. In that vein, Phil, I wonder if Mondoweiss might ever consider some sort of “authors’ series”, where your readers could meet, hear from, and converse with some of the writers featured on the site, such as Shira Robinson, Max Blumenthal, Miko Peled, Pamela Olson, etc. You could even do it as a fundraiser for MW; perhaps one donation level to hear them speak with a Q and A, another level for a reception with a chance to converse at greater length. Just a thought …

    • Sumud
      March 14, 2014, 1:56 am

      Ali Abunimah has a new book out, The Battle for Justice in Palestine, I add him to your list – and I think it’s a great idea.

      The first review on Amazon is from none other than MJ Rosenberg and he flies off the handle just a little, as usual when he speaks or writes about Ali.

      If MJ is to be believed Abunimah now advocates for a single state (no change) where jews would have “minority rights” (big change). MJ refers twice in his review to “minority rights” without ever specifying what that means. I haven’t read AA’s book yet but as MJ writes it, it sounds second class – like what Israel is doing to Israeli Arabs now.

      I can’t see Abunimah advocating that.

      • Citizen
        March 14, 2014, 1:30 pm

        @ Sumud
        Haven’t you noticed, if you subscribe to his newsletter, that MJR is seriously befuddled about his own Jewish ID to Israeli policy and conduct? He sees major problems from a humanitarian POV, but he still loves to be a cherished MOT. It’s his own way of being like Goldstone. I think we should call it the Atzmon test.

        Goldstone Report: link to en.wikipedia.org

      • American
        March 15, 2014, 10:44 am

        mj’s hypocrisy is worth displaying in full:..

        ”An honest argument against the existence of Israel in any way, shape or form
        By MJ Rosenberg on March 5, 2014
        Format: Kindle Edition Amazon Verified Purchase
        I give the book four stars for its honesty (certainly not for its turgid writing). And certainly not because I agree with it. I absolutely do not.

        But the book is valuable and I recommend purchasing it because it definitively demonstrates that the goal of the BDS (the movement to Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel) is to eliminate the State of Israel, utterly and completely.

        No, the author (one of the pioneers of the BDS movement) does not favor driving Israel into the sea. He is not, by any means, advocating genocide.

        His goal, honestly stated, is the dismantling of the State of Israel, all its laws and institutions, and replacing it with a Palestinian state in which Jews would have minority rights.

        Abunimah makes this point clearly in both chapter 2 and chapter 7 which are the book’s key chapters. For him, there is no such thing as an Israeli. There are only “Israeli Jews.” This is the precise distinction rightwing Jews make against the creation of a Palestinian state. There are no “Palestinians,” just “Palestinian Arabs” who have no national rights. And shouldn’t either.

        Of course, it is hard to imagine any Jew (let alone Israeli) accepting the offer Abunimah proffers: that after paying reparations to Palestinians for both stealing their land and all the crimes against them, “Israeli Jews” will be permitted to live in Tel Aviv, Nablus or anywhere else in Palestine with full minority rights, like under the Ottomans.

        That’s it. That is Abunimah’ goal and the goal of the BDS movement he represents: the eradication of Israel as a state and Israeli as a nationality. From his point of view, this makes sense: he recognizes no Jewish connection to Palestine at all. For him, Palestine is as unconnected to Jews as Uganda would have been if Zionists had chosen it as the Jewish homeland. But, he concedes, Jews live there so they can stay but, as he spells out, with no national rights.

        Fortunately, Abunimah’s vision will never happen. Jews will never be stateless again. That is why the only fair resolution of the conflict is two states for two peoples: Israel within the ’67 lines and Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem.

        Only a fool thinks the State of Israel is going to disappear. And only someone who wishes Jews ill would want it to. Abunimah’s book, like everything he writes, indicates a deep loathing for any Jew who does not believe, as he does so fervently, that Israel has no right to exist.”>>

        Yea and only an idiot cant see the hypocrisy in mj’s screed. He’s really saying just as Israel says, that Jews are a nationality. And that minority right are good enough for non Jews in a Jewish ruled, Jewish majority state but not good enough for Jews as a minority in a potential Palestine
        fully democratic state even with Jews able to live wherever they please and with equal rights.
        He’s a mental case—one day he writes he’s for BDS, the next day he writes he’s against BDS. Basically he a true bigot and Jewish ‘exceptionalist’—-because he believes all non Jews are anti semites or can become anti semites in a flash so Jews are therefore a ‘special case’ deserving of special treatment so what applies to what he calls ‘minority rights’, which in any democracy is simply called ‘equal rights’, is not good enough for Jews—they must have ‘superior rights’, as in the right to Jewish ‘rule’ in a ‘enforced’ Jewish ‘majority’ in a state.
        Anyone that doesn’t go along with this exception to ‘equal rights’ for
        both majorities and minorities and believe Jews should have ‘superior rights as in ruling and being the majority wants to destroy Israel which means to mj destroying Jews.
        Since mj scours MW for anti semites this comment is just the kind he will latch onto as anti semitic—–JUST BECAUSE….it doesn’t agree or
        recognize that Jews are entitled to ‘superior rights’.
        Only the mentally and emotionally deranged don’t understand that when any group has superior rights anywhere then others automatically have ‘lesser rights’.

      • Citizen
        March 15, 2014, 4:32 pm

        @ American
        Yep. Your profile of MJR is right on the money.

  15. seafoid
    March 13, 2014, 3:53 pm

    “It was precisely the contradiction between the values of justice and fairness that my parents instilled in me, and the reality of the pre-1967 period as I researched it that led me to write the book that I did.”

    Finkelstein and Amira Hass often come back to this point.

    Shira Robinson and Steve Salaita would make a great jazz duo on Israel/Palestine

  16. just
    March 13, 2014, 6:28 pm

    This interview is an incredible gift. Many, many thanks for it! It sheds much light into formally dark and hidden confines of dialogue.

    Thank you for telling your story, and for your great and scholarly examination of the past and present, Professor Robinson. I am looking forward to reading your book, and passing it around. This interview will also be shared.

  17. a blah chick
    March 13, 2014, 7:32 pm

    I owed both her book and Blumenthal’s. I especially am looking forward to reading both, though I have skimmed them.

    I did read her chapter on Kafr Kasem massacre. What that government did to the victims would get them a trial in the Hague if there was any justice in the world.

  18. W.Jones
    March 13, 2014, 8:44 pm

    Jewish Virtual Library’s take on Deir Yassin is that the Israeli army was trying to make a line to Jerusalem’s Jewish population and that Deir Yassin people were firing on the convoy so the Israeli forces. Then it says those forces had a battle in the village and the people killed were combatants.

    That’s not exactly the usual story, and it sounds a bit too clean for me, as the village was basically destroyed and is gone today. That would not happen if it was just some normal battle.

    • puppies
      March 14, 2014, 1:27 am

      @Jones – That lie was shot down by the ICRC station chief Jacques de Reynier’s report, eyewitness.
      link to hist.net (report, untranslated)
      link to tinyurl.com
      link to marxists.de (main passages, in Schoenman’s book)

    • tree
      March 15, 2014, 4:41 pm

      W.Jones,

      The Jewish Virtual Library is not a reliable source. When I first started researching the overall issue and history back in 2000, I compared the JVL version of Deir Yassin with the Deir Yassin Remembered version and found that the JVL version included both lies and important omissions. I just re-read the JVL version and it appears essentially the same as it was in 2000, when it was specifically listed under the byline of Mitchell Bard, a well-known propagandist for Israel and someone who I would never consider a truthful source on anything related to Israel. One very important omission that I noted then was that JVL(Bard) didn’t mention that there were two trucks of captured villagers paraded through Jerusalem by the victorious Lehi and Etzel troops. One contained some women, children and old men. They were dropped at the Jaffa gate to fend for themselves. The other truck, unmentioned by Bard, was driven back to Deir Yassin and all the captives were shot and their bodies dumped in a pit there. This was confirmed at the time by the Red Cross’ Jacques de Reynier , as mentioned by puppies.

      At the Deir Yassin Remembered site, here is a report on a version of the massacre from an Israeli perspective, that of Me’ir Pa’ill, who had been a Haganah liason to Lehi-Etzel and was present with a cameraman at the massacre:

      link to deiryassin.org

      My independent research, mostly from Israeli sources, confirms for the most part the version given at the Deir Yassin Remembered website, which was itself compiled from numerous sources and is quite detailed:

      link to deiryassin.org

      This research was my first experience with the extent to which Israeli apologists, in this case Bard, would distort the truth in order to defend the indefensible.

      As a small side note, I find it revealing that this is one of the few instances where Israeli apologists have given the Palestinian derived numbers of casualties preference over the Israeli one. Israeli sources at the time put the massacre’s casualties at 240 killed. Decades later Palestinian researchers, interviewing survivors, pieced together a total of 110 or so killed. Almost all Israeli apologists now use this smaller number, and some even imply that the larger number was the fault of Palestinian lying about numbers, when clearly the 240 number came from Begin and his co-horts themselves.

      • tree
        March 15, 2014, 4:54 pm

        I mistakenly linked to the shorter summary of the Deir Yassin massacre in my second link above. This is the longer, more detailed version I meant to link :

        link to deiryassin.org

      • W.Jones
        March 16, 2014, 3:01 am

        They paraded their captives before killing them.

  19. Annie Robbins
    March 14, 2014, 12:32 am

    one of the things that makes this interview so wonderful to read is the inclusion of robinson’s mother and family history. there’s something about interviews of this nature that are so much more engaging to read, it feels like i’m stepping into someones living room, or a salon. it’s lush or something. reminds me of the kovel interviews in a way, only different of course. and how lucky we are robinson comes into the comment section, that’s rare.

    i agree w/donald, we should have a place for these special interviews to be archived and readily accessible. perhaps under the ‘features’ section directly above the title. hmm.

    and thank you! thank you shira robinson. reading the book now, i highly recommend. the wheels are turning.

  20. Citizen
    March 14, 2014, 2:09 am

    Thank you, Shira Robinson!

    And, here also for the MW readers, is a breakdown, more easily accessible panel discussion on the DNA of AIPAC Matrix:

    Videos of Panels at National Summit to Reassess U.S.—Israel “Special Relationship”

    It appears that the link to the video for The National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship,” held on March 7, 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, can no longer be accessed from the National Summit link. All the panels can be now be viewed, however, at the following links.

    View each of the six panels:

    Panel 1.0 How does the Israel lobby influence Congress?
    Paul Findley, Janet McMahon, Cynthia McKinney, and Delinda Hanley.
    link to c-span.org
    link to t.co
    Panel 2.0 Does Israel and its lobby exercise too much influence on U.S. decisions to wage war in the Middle East?
    Stephen Sniegoski, Karen Kwiatkowski, Gareth Porter, and Brigadier General (Ret) James David.
    link to c-span.org
    link to t.co
    Panel 3.0 Does the “special relationship” transcend rule of law?
    Grant Smith, Ernie Gallo, Mark Perry, and Spike Bowman.
    link to c-span.org
    link to t.co
    Panel 4.0 How did the “special relationship” come to be?
    Stephen Walt, Geoffrey Wawro, John Quigley, and Alison Weir.
    link to c-span.org
    link to t.co
    Panel 5.0 Has Israel lobby captured political parties & news media?
    Jeffrey Blankfort, Allan Brownfeld, Justin Raimondo, Scott McConnell, and Phil Weiss.
    link to c-span.org
    link to t.co
    Panel 6.0: Is Israel Really a U.S. Ally?
    Paul Pillar, Ray McGovern and Philip Giraldi.
    link to c-span.org
    link to t.co

  21. peeesss
    March 14, 2014, 4:06 am

    I thank you also, Shira Robinson And Philip Weiss for a most informative interview. Will certainly get the book. Shira Robinson’s point that all of the land of Palestine that became the State of Israel in 1948 is a “settler” nation certainly is a valid and potent assertion. The passage of time does not make Israel less a settler, Colonial State . I can understand why the “hasbarists” on this site are quite upset at Shira Robinson’s research and the conclusions that she reaches. Equal rights for all should not be so hard to digest in the year 2014, should it.?

  22. amigo
    March 14, 2014, 9:03 am

    OT but this one is for the mehanes who claim Israel,s Arab Citizens are treated equally in Israel.

    From Haaretz!!
    “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu frequently boasts of the favorable conditions enjoyed by Arabs in Israel, which he says causes them to prefer the comfortable life of a minority in a Jewish state to any alternative in the region.

    The financial reports of Israel’s local government show a less rosy picture. As reported by Meirav Arlosoroff in TheMarker, per capita spending for municipal services in Arab communities is 527 shekels a year. That’s about half of the national average in Jewish communities, 40 percent of the average for poor Jewish communities and about a third of the average in wealthier Jewish communities.

    link to haaretz.com

    I don,t expect to hear from potato man on this one but maybe some of his racist fellow travellers will convince us that Israel,s budget director , Amir Levy is an anti semite , self hating Jew and is telling lies.

    Man up mehane and defend your oft repeated claims.

  23. RobertB
    March 14, 2014, 10:51 am

    Deir Yassin was only one of many massacres in 1948

    A legend has grown up that the only massacre during Israel’s War of Independence, the Naqba, was that of Deir Yassin, for which Ben-Gurion apologised whilst blaming on Menachem Begin.
    In fact Deir Yassin was one of a number of massacres, such as Duweimah, Tantura, Saf Saf, Lydda-Ramleh and not the largest massacre either.

    The Massacres of 1948

    Not Only Deir Yassin

    By Guy Erlich, Ha’ir, 6 May 1992

    “Since its establishment, the State of Israel keeps a conspiracy of silence concerning massacres committed in the War of Independence. The only massacre acknowledged in official publications is that of Deir Yassin, perhaps because it was perpetrated by the IZL (Irgun). Books and press reports have referred to dozens of cases, but only partially and incompletely.”

    “If Yitzhaki claims that almost in every village there were murders, then I maintain that even before the establishment of the State, each battle ended with a massacre.”

    A careful study reveals that until today over twenty massacres were publicly reported. The testimonies were not published in one collection, a fact which adds to this phenomenon another dimension”

    “The testimonies concerning the massacres, revealed here for the first time by Yitzhaki, are kept in the IDF archives. Those who wish to study the documents in question confront a blank refusal. The director, Miki Kaufman: “If you are looking for what I believe you are looking for, then you can forget it. In any case, just keep in mind that we are reading over any documents before you are allowed to see them and we cull out material that you should not see.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Click on link below for the rest of the details:
    link to azvsas.blogspot.com

  24. Citizen
    March 14, 2014, 1:42 pm

    So, let’s see….Israel, the biggest recipient of US foreign (TAXPAYER) aid in all US history, is a major proponent of exactly WHAT USA despises. Makes sense only if you know most Americans are clueless about this situation. Thank you, US main media and US government. Time to throw these Gentile AIPAC prostitutes out!

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