Another prominent liberal Jew runs away from the Zionist label

Israel/Palestine
on 54 Comments
Saul Friedlander

Saul Friedlander

Holocaust historian Saul Friedlander, an Israeli who teaches at UCLA, was in Israel to receive a prestigious prize, and made these comments in an interview in Haaretz:

“I am connected to this country. My eldest son and grandchildren live here but I can’t call myself a Zionist. Not because I feel estranged from Israel but because Zionism has been taken, kidnapped even, by the far right. You could say I was a normal Zionist until 1968, when I wrote a short book in French about Israel’s future. I don’t think it was especially daring, but I already then I wrote that we couldn’t continue holding on to territories with Arab population; no one called them Palestinians then. I thought and still do that it would ruin the values of Israeli society from within.”

So we are beginning to see mainstream Jews distance themselves from an ideology that is as user-friendly as Communism was when Stalin destroyed that brand in the ’40s and ’50s. David Rothkopf calls Zionism “exactly the wrong” response to history. So it is necessary to talk about the idea content of Zionism, its claim that Jews must be sovereign in order to be safe. Even Norman Finkelstein, who dismissed that kind of argument two years ago by saying that Zionism might as well be a hairspray for all that Americans know what it means, goes right after Zionist ideology in his new book Old Wine, Broken Bottle.

“Like the tobacco industry after the Surgeon General’s warning in the 1960s, the formidable challenge confronting Zionist true believers is to repackage the old product such that it still sells despite its disquieting contents.”

In that Haaretz interview, Friedlander also says that people should be allowed to criticize Israeli policy by using the Nazi analogy. “[T]he political-messianism and its connection to religion and extreme nationalism we see in Israel today is similar to the main component of extreme European movements,” he says. Full context: 

As an early member of Peace Now, Friedlander regrets that his colleagues in the Israeli left prefer not to base their arguments more on the lessons of the Holocaust. “It’s a mistake of the left to keep clear from such a major part of our history. They are afraid of dragging the Holocaust into the political game but we can turn around the way the right uses it.”

Friedlander is fundamentally opposed to making political use of the Holocaust, but believes the left has no choice, since the right has been doing so for over 30 years. “Since the 1970s when Menachem Begin described Yasser Arafat as a ‘second Hitler,’ we have seen how the political right in Israel has been using the Holocaust and its memory to justify more and more radical positions. It caused the left to refrain from even mentioning the Shoah. Personally, it caused me a dilemma when I saw how the subject which I devoted my life to has been used to prop up the most repulsive political attitudes.”

Friedlander knows the backlash awaiting anyone who compares what is happening today between Israel and the Palestinians with the dark days in Europe. But few know as much as he does about that period. “Things that are being said now remind us of some of the bad regimes of the 1930s, but not the 1940s,” he says, making a clear distinction. “But it’s dangerous to compare because the ordinary reader doesn’t distinguish between the thirties and the forties. The moment someone says Germany you immediately think of extermination; it’s a very slippery slope. But the political-messianism and its connection to religion and extreme nationalism we see in Israel today is similar to the main component of extreme European movements.”

Just like Max Blumenthal said in his book Goliath, and the pro-Israel crowd went nuts about what you can and can’t say.

Thanks to Nima Shirazi.

About Philip Weiss

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

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54 Responses

  1. pjdude
    May 19, 2014, 10:57 am

    I can’t but help but note the same sense of double standards that all liberal zionists and sadly some anti zionists use. If it was wrong to occupy and take Palestinian territory in 67 why wasn’t wrong in 48 when zionists first waged their war of conquest in Palestine. Why two different standards for the same acts just because they happened at different times? I applaud the recognition of the wrongness but with out confronting the hypocrisy of treating 67 and 48 differently it doesn’t really show very much evolution in thought in my opinion. Theft is theft is it not? Last time I checked the relevant parts of international hadn’t changed

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 19, 2014, 11:25 am

      Very good point. That’s why these stories raise a bit of a shrugged-shoulder reaction in me. I guess it’s good that he’s where he is, but it’s not a sound position.

      • Krauss
        May 19, 2014, 2:24 pm

        Very good point. That’s why these stories raise a bit of a shrugged-shoulder reaction in me. I guess it’s good that he’s where he is, but it’s not a sound position.

        Bingo. He has all the fake liberalism of a genuine liberal Zionist. Here’s the quote that reveals it:

        Not because I feel estranged from Israel but because Zionism has been taken, kidnapped even, by the far right. You could say I was a normal Zionist until 1968

        It’s the same old “liberal” Zionist claptrap: everything went wrong after ’67 but Israel before that was a paragon of virtue, or at least a normal democracy. He ignores the previous 50 years of systematic colonization and the military rule imposed on non-Jews to ethnically cleanse them and encourage them to leave the country(after which getting back would be very difficult).

        Life’s tough for people like Friedlander. They’ve been warning about extremism all their life, yet they looked on about what happened in Israel and did nothing. Peace Now is the J Street of Israeli politics.

        Friedlander’s dear Labor party was responsible for the Nakba and for ’67.
        But hey, let’s blame Likud!

        He doesn’t want to admit that a man like him who imagines himself as an anti-racist is in fact a supporter of colonization of another people. So he invents a parallell universe where everything that happened before Likud came to power was somehow benevolent.

        To do otherwise would be to admit that there is no material difference between Likud and Labor, and if anything, Labor has a worse history. But then his own identity would be plunged into a personal crisis.

      • Shingo
        May 19, 2014, 4:46 pm

        Yes, what we are witnessing is the case of liberal Zionists falling back and building new lines they are not willing to address. They are now prepared to condemn 1967 but not prepared to address 1948 or earlier.

    • talknic
      May 19, 2014, 12:36 pm

      @ pjdude “If it was wrong to occupy and take Palestinian territory in 67 why wasn’t wrong in 48 when zionists first waged their war of conquest in Palestine”

      It was illegal in ’48-’49 as it was in ’67. However, the UN cannot directly censure non-members for their actions or censure in retrospect for actions before becoming a UN Member State. Israel is not named in UNSC resolutions until being put forward and after being accepted as a UN Member in ’49

      The territory “outside the State of Israel” as described by the Israeli Govt May 22nd 1948 as being under Israeli military control (occupation) before Israel was accepted as a UN Member state ’48-’49 is subject to the ’49 Armistice Agreements which are between warring states regardless of UN membership.

      ’67 is covered by UNSC resolutions (“recent hostilities” as in UNSC res 242 & subsequent) which are to warring UN member states.

      As I understand it, territory can only be acquired by legal annexation, by agreement. Were Israel to now attempt to unilaterally annex those ’48-’49 territories the UNSC would be obliged to condemn the move as it did the unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem.

      • pjdude
        May 19, 2014, 1:03 pm

        You do realize I view all of the 48 gains including the territory gain that was just declared israel as illegal. The terror tactics by the Irgun and Lehi meet the requirements of illegality under the montvideo conventions.

      • talknic
        May 19, 2014, 1:42 pm

        @ pjdude “You do realize I view all of the 48 gains including the territory gain that was just declared israel as illegal”

        Yes, I am aware of your stance. My arguments are however against and expose the lies behind Israel’s illegal activities based on the existence of Israel as the official spokespersons of the Jewish Agency and successive Israeli Governments have officially stated and would have it. In their own words, they delegitimize themselves and expose the criminality of Israel’s actions. By their own words they expose the Hasbara as complete bullsh*t!

        “The terror tactics by the Irgun and Lehi meet the requirements of illegality under the montvideo conventions.”

        The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States is as it’s title suggests. Irgun et al were not states.

        Prior to the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel coming into effect at 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time), it was a civil war in Palestine, certainly escalated by Plan Dalet, Irgun et al

        The moment the Declaration came into effect at 00:01 May 15th ’48, with Jewish forces in territories “outside the State of Israel”, it became a war waged by the State of Israel on what remained of Palestine.

      • pjdude
        May 19, 2014, 5:59 pm

        I know its refered to as a civil war prior to the decleration of ISrael but it never felt right to call it a civil war when ones sides armed units were primarely people who up until that point resided out side of said territory. ie that calling a civil war doesn’t change the fact it was a war of an outside agency trying to conquer the territory.

      • Hostage
        May 20, 2014, 6:07 am

        I know its refered to as a civil war prior to the decleration of ISrael but it never felt right to call it a civil war

        The armed conflict was waged across international frontiers from the moment resolution 181(II) was adopted and the transition period began:

        The period between the adoption by the General Assembly of its recommendation on the question of Palestine and the establishment of the independence of the Arab and Jewish States shall be a transitional period.
        B. STEPS PREPARATORY TO INDEPENDENCE . . . The Provisional Council of Government of each State shall, within the shortest time possible, recruit an armed militia from the residents of that State, sufficient in number to maintain internal order and to prevent frontier clashes.

        http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/res181.htm

        It’s ridiculous to propose that the League of Nations could instantly create mandated states by adopting resolutions on the subject, but that the UN could not do the same thing when it created and partitioned more than a dozen other states under its own trusteeship system. The ICJ confirmed in the Namibia case that the General Assembly had the power and competence under the Charter to dictate terms for the termination of a mandate regime and to adopt a decision to place some or all of a territory subject to an international trust under the direct administration of the UN organization, like the Corpus Separatum.

      • talknic
        May 20, 2014, 10:20 am

        I stand corrected, as Hostage shows via the actual wording of UNGA res 181 and especially as the Jewish Agency considered UNGA res 181 binding http://wp.me/pDB7k-Yx

        The closer one looks at the Israeli narrative, the more bullsh*t one finds.

      • Hostage
        May 19, 2014, 2:43 pm

        The terror tactics by the Irgun and Lehi meet the requirements of illegality under the montvideo conventions.

        So far as I know, the international courts have never ruled on the customary status of some of the provisions of the 1932 Montevideo Convention. Although Article 1 is considered customary international law, there are only 19 High Contracting Parties to the entire convention. The same Rights and Duties were contained in Chapter IV of the OAS Charter in 1945, which was much more widely ratified. Likewise, during the transition period that started on 29 November 1947, the Jewish and Arab state authorities were subject to the customary prohibitions contained in the UN Charter of 1945, since they were explicitly repeated in resolution 181(II). The Charter has been universally ratified for all practical intents and purposes and the prohibitions in it concerning the threat or use of force have been declared customary law by the General Assembly, Security Council, and the ICJ. Non-member states are not bound by all of the provisions of the UN Charter, but they are NOT free to ignore that one. All of the members have a treaty obligation under Article 2(6) to make non-member states comply with the rules regarding peaceful settlement of their international disputes:

        The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.

        Here are the key provisions of the “Steps Prior to Independence” of resolution 181(II) that the Jewish Agency and Vaad Leumi “accepted” in their self-appointed role as the “Provisional Government” of the “Jewish State”:

        The Constituent Assembly of each State shall draft a democratic constitution for its State and choose a provisional government to succeed the Provisional Council of Government appointed by the Commission. The Constitutions of the States shall embody Chapters 1 and 2 of the Declaration provided for in section C below and include, inter alia, provisions for:

        Establishing in each State a legislative body elected by universal suffrage and by secret ballot on the basis of proportional representation, and an executive body responsible to the legislature;

        Settling all international disputes in which the State may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered;

        Accepting the obligation of the State to refrain in its international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations;

        Guaranteeing to all persons equal and non-discriminatory rights in civil, political, economic and religious matters and the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion, language, speech and publication, education, assembly and association;

        Preserving freedom of transit and visit for all residents and citizens of the other State in Palestine and the City of Jerusalem, subject to considerations of national security, provided that each State shall control residence within its borders.

        http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/res181.htm

        The ICJ explained:

        On 24 October 1973, the General Assembly adopted resolution 2625 (XXV), entitled “Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States [in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations ]” (hereinafter “resolution 2625 (XXV)”), in which it emphasized that “No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal.” As the Court stated in its Judgment in the case concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), the principles as to the use of force incorporated in the Charter reflect customary international law (see I. C. J. Reports 1986, pp. 98-101, paras. 187- 190); the same is true of its corollary entailing the illegality of territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force.

        — Paragraph 87, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1671.pdf

      • RoHa
        May 19, 2014, 7:42 pm

        Regardless of what international law may or may not say, Zionism and the founding and conduct of Israel are moral abominations.

        Israel was evil in conception, evil in creation, and is evil in conduct.

    • mondonut
      May 19, 2014, 1:17 pm

      If it was wrong to occupy and take Palestinian territory in 67 …

      Well for openers, it was not (is not) Palestinian territory.

      • amigo
        May 19, 2014, 3:31 pm

        “Well for openers, it was not (is not) Palestinian territory.” mondonut

        Well , for closers it is not Israeli territory.

        1, Here is what Lord Caradon said about borders and negotiating same. “”Knowing as I did the unsatisfactory nature of the 1967 line, I wasn’t prepared to use wording in the Resolution that would have made that line permanent. Nonetheless, it is necessary to say again that the overwhelming principle was the ‘inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’ and that meant that there could be no justification for the annexation of territory on the Arab side of the 1967 line merely because it had been conquered in the 1967 war.”Lord Caradon

        2, bet Zourik V Israel case 2056/04 .
        The Israeli High Court of Justice ruled the West Bank to be held “Under Belligerent Occupation ” by Israel and therefore it cannot be Sovereign Israeli Territory.

        You stole it thief, now get out of there and give it back to it,s rightful Owners.

      • mondonut
        May 20, 2014, 6:51 pm

        amigo says: Well , for closers it is not Israeli territory.

        Where in your argument did it become Palestinian territory? More “it is their’s by default” reasoning?

      • Hostage
        May 20, 2014, 9:24 pm

        More “it is their’s by default” reasoning?

        Yes, among other things, the territory does belong to the lawful inhabitants by default. It’s called popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people.

      • talknic
        May 21, 2014, 12:55 am

        mondonut “it is their’s by default”

        Precisely. Palestine was partitioned. Israel according to the ISRAELI GOVERNMENT itself, was “proclaimed as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947” http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/documents/newPDF/49.pdf and that’s how it was recognized

        Now, unless you’re a super stupid thick headed brainless f*ckwit, what remained of Palestine after Israel was declared was by default still Palestine/Palestinian and; as Israel has never legally annexed any further territories it remains Palestinian (or Arab UNSC res 476).

      • Hostage
        May 19, 2014, 3:43 pm

        Well for openers, it was not (is not) Palestinian territory.

        The ICJ advised that the territory is Palestinian and reminded Israel that resolution 242 required it to withdraw and drop its belligerent claims.

        Several international and national courts, including the Palestinian High Court of Justice, ruled that the Asian territory detached from Turkey was transferred to a mandated allied successor state called “Palestine” in accordance with the protocols of the Treaty of Lausanne.

        The General Assembly called the resolution that created a Jewish and an Arab state “The Plan for the Future Government of Palestine”. When President Truman recognized your shitty little republic, he noted that he had just been informed that a Jewish state had been established – wait for it – “in Palestine”. http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/documents/newPDF/49.pdf#zoom=100

        In 1948 the government of Israel proclaimed an independent republic “within the frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution of November 29, 1947”. In a conference held in 1949 Israel refused to honor the terms of Article 28 of the Palestine Mandate regarding the transfer of sovereignty, treaty obligations, and public debts. It claimed that it was established by its own act of secession in a portion of Palestine and that there was no orderly replacement of one state by the other to which the normal rules of state succession applied. See D.P. O’Connell author “The Law of State Succession”, Volume V of the Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law, 1956, Hersh Lauterpacht editor, pages 10-11, and 178. The inhabitants of the remaining territory declared Abdullah “King of Arab Palestine”. The Arab League of States; the United States; Great Britain; France; the Soviet Union; the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly, the Mediator, and the Palestine Conciliation Commission continued to recognize the territory as “Arab Palestine”.

      • mondonut
        May 19, 2014, 10:29 pm

        @hostage

        The ICJ advised…
        Advised? As in a non-binding opinion? Still not Palestinian territory.

        Several international and national courts, including the Palestinian High Court …
        The Palestinians say it is Palestinian? Quelle surprise!!! But still not Palestinian territory.
        The General Assembly called…
        Correct, “Palestine” is the correct geographical reference. But still not Palestinian territory.

        In 1948 the government of Israel blah, blah, blah…
        Bitching about Article 28 is entirely off topic. Still not Palestinian territory. Gaza and arguably Area A are Palestinian territory, anytihng beyind that remains to be determined.

      • Hostage
        May 20, 2014, 8:08 pm

        The ICJ advised…
        Advised? As in a non-binding opinion? Still not Palestinian territory.

        No, the General Assembly request for an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israeli acts required the Court to perform a legal analysis on the status of the territory under the applicable international laws, which are always legally binding. It’s the job of the Court to say what the law is.

        In his Western Sahara, Advisory Opinion Judge Gros explained:

        “…. when the Court gives an advisory opinion on a question of law it states the law. The absence of binding force does not transform the judicial operation into a legal consultation, which maybe made use of or not according to choice. The advisory opinion determines the law applicable to the question put; it is possible for the body which sought the opinion not to follow it in its action, but that body is aware that no position adopted contrary to the Court’s pronouncement will have any effectiveness whatsoever in the legal sphere.”

        Likewise in the 1970 Namibia case, the Court was required to determine the status of the territory before it could advise on the legal consequences of South Africa’s continued occupation for other states. Judge Gros said:

        The request for an advisory opinion relates to a substantive problem over which South Africa and other States are opposed; the existence of slight divergences of view on some points among those other States is immaterial, the basic legal question for all of them without exception being that of the revocation of the Mandate with which, as a binding decision, certain States confront South Africa, but which gives rise to doubts and hesitations on the part of others; the purpose of the Advisory Opinion is to apprise the international community of the present legal position of the Territory of Namibia (South West Africa), and thus to determine the purport of a certain international status. It is another way of putting afresh the question laid before the Court in 1950: “What is the international status of the territory?”

        In the 2003 Wall case Judge Higgins explained that Israel has no right to any of the occupied Palestinian territory:

        This is not difficult – from Security Council resolution 242 (1967) through to Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), the key underlying requirements have remained the same – that Israel is entitled to exist, to be recognized, and to security, and that the Palestinian people are entitled to their territory, to exercise self-determination, and to have their own State.

        link to icj-cij.org

      • Hostage
        May 20, 2014, 8:27 pm

        Several international and national courts, including the Palestinian High Court …
        The Palestinians say it is Palestinian? Quelle surprise!!! But still not Palestinian territory.

        I’m referring to cases brought before the Palestinian High Court of Justice, before the mandate was terminated, regarding the legal status of areas that are outside the frontiers established by the government of the State of Israel by its 1948 act of secession. FYI, if you claim that Jordan was an occupying power, then under international law, Arab Palestine still exists and has legally recognized reversionary rights, i.e. The Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States reflects customary state practice and international law on the subject. § 201 Reporter’s Note 3 says: “The United States will treat States the territory of which is under foreign military occupation as continuing to exist.”

        Like Great Britain, France, and the USSR, the USA officially recognized Arab Palestine and its union with Transjordan. For example, the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. It contains a Memorandum of Conversation, between Mr. Stuart W. Rockwell of the Office of African and Near Eastern Affairs and Mr. Abdel Monem Rifai, Counselor, Jordan Legation in Washington, June 5, 1950 which documents the US recognition of the union between Arab Palestine and Transjordan. See Foreign relations of the United States, 1950. The Near East, South Asia, and Africa, Volume V (1950), Page 921 http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1950v05&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=921

        On 28 March, 1949, President Truman wrote to the Abdullah, who had just been declared the King of Arab Palestine:

        “I desire to recall to Your Majesty that the policy of the United States Government as regards a final territorial settlement in Palestine and as stated in the General Assembly on Nov 30, 1948 by Dr. Philip Jessup, the American representative, is that Israel is entitled to the territory allotted to her by the General Assembly Resolution of November 29, 1947, but that if Israel desires additions, i.e., territory allotted to, the Arabs by the November 29 Resolution, it should offer territorial compensation.

        See the FRUS Volume VI 1949, pages 878-879. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

      • talknic
        May 21, 2014, 3:07 am

        @ mondonut “The ICJ advised…
        Advised? As in a non-binding opinion? Still not Palestinian territory.”

        The laws referenced in their opinion ARE binding and their opinion shows that were the court asked to pass a judgement on the matter the court would rule against Israel and your unqualified bullsh*t

      • pjdude
        May 19, 2014, 5:55 pm

        false an illegal change in defacto ownership doesn’t over rule actual legal de jure ownership in stating which state owns it legally.

  2. Nevada Ned
    May 19, 2014, 11:19 am

    Decades ago, the late Israel Shahak, a chemistry professor at the Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem, was one of the few Israeli Jews who criticized Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. Shahak was a human rights activist who was active back when the language barrier (Hebrew to English) prevented the US public from reading damning documents from the Israeli Hebrew press. Shahak translated important articles from the Hebrew press and sent them on to Alexander Cockburn, Edward Said, and Noam Chomsky, who were some of the very few people willing to take on the Israel Lobby.

    Shahak connected his activism with the Holocaust. Shahak said that so much attention was devoted to the final stages of the Holocaust that not enough attention was devoted to the beginning stages of the Holocaust. “And in Israel today,” Shahak continued, “we are way, way past the beginning”.

    For Cockburn’s 2001 tribute to Shahak, click here. Cockburn also praised Israeli journalists, who exposed Israel’s oppression in ways that couldn’t be voiced in public in the US, because of the power of the Israel Lobby.

  3. Hostage
    May 19, 2014, 11:30 am

    David Rothkopf calls Zionism “exactly the wrong” response to history.

    Well it is. The 1949 Geneva Conventions were exactly the wrong thing, if you look at the earlier international law that prohibited acts that it merely sought to regulate. There was the criminal indictment of the Kaiser in the Treaty of Versailles; the Kellogg-Briand Pact prohibition against wars of aggression; the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States and its rules on the inviolability of the territorial integrity of states and the prohibition of foreign military occupations; the Stimson Doctrine; the UN Charter prohibition against the threat of use of force; and the Nuremberg Tribunal’s Charter prohibition of crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. Now the parties to the Rome Statute have accepted those customary definitions of aggression and have proposed that military occupations, blockades, & etc. in violation of the UN Charter be criminalized.

    The latest development that Palestinian Solidarity activists need to fully appreciate and appropriate as a precedent for their cause is the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights that Turkey must pay $123 million for its 1974 invasion of Cyprus:
    * Crimea after Cyprus v. Turkey: Just Satisfaction for Unlawful Annexation? http://www.ejiltalk.org/crimea-after-cyprus-v-turkey-just-satisfaction-for-unlawful-annexation/

    * European court orders Turkey to compensate Cyprus for 1974 invasion
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/12/us-cyprus-turkey-courts-idUSBREA4B0K520140512

    • Citizen
      May 19, 2014, 12:52 pm

      And, don’t we know have the trial of war criminals re former Yugoslavia?

  4. lysias
    May 19, 2014, 11:39 am

    As the author of the historical classic Nazi Germany and the Jews, Saul Friedlander is qualified to say what one can and cannot compare with Nazi Germany.

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 19, 2014, 12:59 pm

      No one is qualified to “permit” that, because recognizing the power to permit implicitly recognizes the power to forbid, and no one rightfully has that power.

  5. charlesfrith
    May 19, 2014, 12:56 pm

    It’s well worth checking out David Coles latest interviews on the holocaust. Ground breaking recordings that drip authenticity.

  6. Les
    May 19, 2014, 1:29 pm

    Another case of supporting the theory of zionism but opposing it when he saw that theory put into practice.

  7. seafoid
    May 19, 2014, 1:43 pm

    Nima Shirazi is doing great work.

    Zionism is the wrong response. Victims turned oppressors – it is not sustainable.
    Israel was allowed statehood due to a massive post war wave of sympathy for Jews- very little of that is left now .

    Thuggery is not Judaism even if all the prayers are kosher lemehadrin..

  8. Jim Holstun
    May 19, 2014, 1:56 pm

    Good to read, and yet, it puts me in mind of Thomas Jefferson in Notes on the State of Virginia, worrying about the way in which slavery is sure to corrupt the heart of white America. No doubt, but that’s not the main thing. And really, let’s do drop the Nazi comparison, which is not transcendent. Nobody gets a pass on something just because it stops short of Auschwitz.

    The thing is this: the Zionists are acting like Zionists, and have been, since 1948. Genug.

    • tree
      May 19, 2014, 5:43 pm

      …since 1948

      Since the late eighteen hundreds. The ideology was racist and flawed from the very beginning.

      • lysias
        May 19, 2014, 5:55 pm

        Mein Kampf is a very dubious historical source, especially when it comes to the explanation of how Hitler became an anti-Semite (there’s good evidence that Hitler did not become an anti-Semite until 1919 or so — see Brigitte Hamann’s Hitler’s Vienna, Ralf Georg Reuth’s Hitlers Judenhass, and Joachim Riecker’s Hitlers 9. November: Wie der Erste Weltkrieg zum Holocaust führte), but it is perhaps worth noting that, according to Hitler’s own account, his discovery — according to his account, in Vienna — of the existence of Zionism played a major role in his becoming anti-Semitic.

      • Citizen
        May 20, 2014, 5:42 am

        Hitler’s first anti-semitic writing came in the form of a letter, in 1919:http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Adolf_Hitler's_First_Antisemitic_Writing.html

      • jon s
        May 20, 2014, 11:07 am

        Also: Shirer’s classic “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” (p.26) refers to Hitler’s own account of his conversion to Anti-Semitism , without any mention of Zionism.

      • lysias
        May 20, 2014, 5:57 pm

        Well, it’s there in Mein Kampf. So it’s part of Hitler’s account, whether it is true or not.

        I wasn’t aware of Hitler’s saying Zionism played such a role until now either, but I happen to be reading Mein Kampf at the moment, largely because there was a discussion on MW a few days ago on the extent to which “Weltanschauung” became discredited as a Nazi word, and I wanted to see for myself what role the word plays in Hitler’s book, and I am discovering things like the alleged role of Zionism that I had been unaware of.

  9. seafoid
    May 19, 2014, 2:01 pm

    “exactly the wrong” response to history

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVrbO6CihGY

    “the rain hit the roof,
    with the sound of a finished kiss,
    like a lip lifted from a lip
    I took the wrong road around”

  10. James Canning
    May 19, 2014, 2:26 pm

    Being a “Zionist” generally means being supportive of Israel. In which case, one in my view should call for Israel to get out of the West Bank.

  11. lysias
    May 19, 2014, 3:30 pm

    Emily Hauser has a response to Friedlander in the Forward: 19, 2014, 2:15pm

    Zionism Wasn’t Kidnapped. It Was Handed Over:

    It’s profoundly easy, and deeply comforting, to think that Israeli politicians like Uri Ariel and Ayelet Shaked and American leaders like Sheldon Adelson and Mort Klein are the problem. That they have taken our dreams and roughed them up, and oy, what can we do?

    But the simple truth is that these people – just like the settlers who set mosques alight and the soldiers who kick little boys – are doing what we have let them do.

    That’s what silence does. That’s what willed and willfully instilled ignorance does. Those who don’t stand up against that which is wrong are partners in the outcome.

    The right didn’t have to kidnap anything. The silent middle handed it over, with a nice shiny bow.

    • a blah chick
      May 19, 2014, 5:53 pm

      I think it was Beinart who used a similar analogy saying that the right wingers had caused Israel to veer off onto another direction, another road, if you will.

      No, it’s the same road they have been on for sixty odd years. They’re just driving more on the right side now.

  12. Henry Norr
    May 19, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Emily Hauser has a good response to Friedlander, entitled “Zionism Wasn’t Kidnapped. It Was Handed Over,” at the Forward site. http://blogs.forward.com/forward-thinking/198457/zionism-wasnt-kidnapped-it-was-handed-over/

    I guess she’s some species of liberal Zionist – she used to write for Beinart’s Open Zion site – and she certainly doesn’t get into questions about 1948, etc., but at least she acknowledges that the crimes of recent decades have been committed by or with the complicity of the Jewish mainstream – at least implicitly, US as well as Israeli Jews. As she puts it, “Zionism wasn’t kidnapped, or even merely ‘taken,’ by the far right. It was handed over, with barely a peep, by the vast middle.”

    A couple of excerpts:

    Wars, incursions, bombings – all are sad, indeed, particularly when innocent Israelis are hurt or killed, but human rights abuses by the military? The IDF is the most moral army in the world, and anyone who says different is probably an anti-Semite. Or, if the source is a Jew, a self-hater. Or, if the source is an Israeli combat soldier, a self-hater and an embarrassment to the nation. Demagogues climbed to the top of Israel’s political ladder, gained government ministries, passed anti-democratic laws, and structured budgets to make Israel’s occupation permanent – and the vast middle has watched, and sighed. And written checks, and sent their kids on Birthright, and floated in the Dead Sea.

    Because it’s easier. It’s easier to believe that ethnic anxiety is the only true form of Judaism. It’s easier to believe that boys who look like your boys must be nice boys. It’s easier to believe that the bad guys are always bad, that Israeli hi-tech is more important than Israeli soldiers invading people’s homes, and that everything will be…okay.

    Wars, incursions, bombings – all are sad, indeed, particularly when innocent Israelis are hurt or killed, but human rights abuses by the military? The IDF is the most moral army in the world, and anyone who says different is probably an anti-Semite. Or, if the source is a Jew, a self-hater. Or, if the source is an Israeli combat soldier, a self-hater and an embarrassment to the nation. Demagogues climbed to the top of Israel’s political ladder, gained government ministries, passed anti-democratic laws, and structured budgets to make Israel’s occupation permanent – and the vast middle has watched, and sighed. And written checks, and sent their kids on Birthright, and floated in the Dead Sea.

    Because it’s easier. It’s easier to believe that ethnic anxiety is the only true form of Judaism. It’s easier to believe that boys who look like your boys must be nice boys. It’s easier to believe that the bad guys are always bad, that Israeli hi-tech is more important than Israeli soldiers invading people’s homes, and that everything will be…okay.”

    Rather than use our vaunted Jewish intelligence to question the very idea that any occupation could ever be enlightened; rather than mine the free press that flourishes in our democracies to seek the truth; rather than look the Palestinian people in the eye and see their pain – we have chosen to listen to those who make us feel good about ourselves. We turn the page when Hass or Beinart appear. We close our minds and our social halls to Breaking the Silence and J Street. We march in Israel Day parades and send emails about BDS [HN: I assume she means attacking or fretting about BDS] and sing Hatikva.

    And today Israel and the Zionist dream of a democratic, Jewish homeland hang by a thread. We are inches from a one-state “solution” predicated on the permanent, illegal, unjust and immoral subjugation of millions of people, one that will be soaked in blood (who knows better than Jews that the subjugated tend to rise up?), and leave in tatters the Jewish values we claim to hold so dear.

    It’s profoundly easy, and deeply comforting, to think that Israeli politicians like Uri Ariel and Ayelet Shaked and American leaders like Sheldon Adelson and Mort Klein are the problem. That they have taken our dreams and roughed them up, and oy, what can we do?

    But the simple truth is that these people – just like the settlers who set mosques alight and the soldiers who kick little boys – are doing what we have let them do.

    • Ecru
      May 20, 2014, 2:03 am

      @ Henry Norr

      Sweet but it’s just more weasel words trying to dodge culpability in passive language.

      Israel didn’t jackboot its way over Palestinian lives because the “Middle” just “let it.” Israel jackbooted its way across Palestinian lives because the “Middle” justified every single shiny step, no matter how illegal, immoral or vile. Because the “Middle” when it couldn’t find an excuse to defend preferred to ignore or deny. Because the “Middle” wielded the pitchforks and the flaming torches as they joined in hounding anyone who dared think the “anti-semitic” thought that wrong is wrong even when the perpetrators are Jewish. Because the “Middle” was never really “Middle” when it came to Jewish overlordship in Israel – there it was decidedly in favour of bigotry and supremacism.

      No. No “let” no “permitted” no “allowed” – actively f’ing ENCOURAGED is more like it.

  13. seafoid
    May 19, 2014, 3:47 pm

    In the end the only Zionists left will be low rent. It’s a dingy ideology now, 66 years on from the ur problem, the ethnic cleansing.

  14. jon s
    May 19, 2014, 3:49 pm

    “Just like Max Blumenthal said…”
    Let’s just say that Max Blumenthal has yet to attain the stature of Saul Friedlander.

    Prof. Friedlander’s 2-volume “Nazi Germany and the Jews” is a magnificent book, a masterpiece of historical writing.

  15. Walid
    May 19, 2014, 3:59 pm

    I don’t see Saul Friedlander running away from anything Zionist but simply picking and choosing from it. At the end, he may have become an enlightened Zionist but a Zionist nonetheless. He mentions that in 1968, they didn’t refer to them as “Palestinians”. Well, actually they still don’t use that dirty word. Einstein too didn’t like the monster Zionist had turned into but he still remained a Zionist just the same, like Saul Friedlander and others today. Can one be a half-racist?

    • seafoid
      May 19, 2014, 4:45 pm

      There were no Palestinians until the late 60s, Walid.
      I read it in Ha’aretz.

      Also here

      http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=21&x_article=766
      “Another giveaway is that the term “Palestinian” was used in 1956. It only came into vogue in the 1960s”

      WTF

      • W.Jones
        May 19, 2014, 5:16 pm

        Martyrs of Palestine – Wikipedia
        On the Martyrs of Palestine is a work by the church historian and Bishop of Caesarea, Eusebius (AD 263 – 339)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_of_Palestine

        See, they called themselves “Of Palestine-ians”, not “Palestinians!” Obviously people in so called “Palestine” never used any regional adjective to distinguish themselves from A-rabs in any other region of the world.

        (humor)

      • just
        May 19, 2014, 5:48 pm

        wtf indeed.

      • seafoid
        May 20, 2014, 8:51 am

        Imagine the uproar if some ultra violent group took over the US and banned the use of the word “Jew” to identify individuals.

  16. bilal a
    May 19, 2014, 5:31 pm

    Friedlander , like many left wing critics of Israel, is misrepresenting history and contemporary reality because he does not like the implications:

    1. Fascism in Europe was not religious, it was anti-religious.

    2. National socialism was a left wing workers movement with a supremacist nationalism.

    3. Netanyahu , like most Israelis, is an atheist; like every past Prime Minister of Israel. He is not ‘religious’ in any theological sense, when he says ‘Jewish’ he means an ethnicity that came about from a religious source, that’s all. This is perfectly consistent with Israeli history. Zionism was a left wing socialist (kibbutzim) supremacist nationalism ; its religious components were clearly marginal, and opposed by most Rabbis of the day.

    4. Even the religious nationalists in Israel seem disconnected from the laudable ethics of Judaism, and ignore the immense pre Israeli religious corpus which was anti-zionist. They pick and choose from the religion to come to the supremacist nationalist ideological conclusions they favor.

    Communism, National Socialism, Zionism: three criminal , anti-theist dogmas with a messianic (this world) claim of universal superiority, with murderous consequences .

  17. Kathleen
    May 19, 2014, 11:38 pm

    Better late than never crowd growing. They know the wind has shifted. Been a very bad situation for decades. They knew.

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