Calling Herzog and liberal Zionism ‘racist,’ Gideon Levy instigates a reckoning

Israel/Palestine
on 56 Comments

The no-holds-barred intramural war between liberal Zionists and anti Zionists that we have called for has arrived in full bloom in the pages of Haaretz. In a gloves-off debate with Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog, leading critic of Israeli apartheid Gideon Levy assails the injustice and oppression inherent in the very fabric of so-called ‘liberal’ Zionism. In unequivocally advocating for equal rights and genuine democracy, Levy lays bare the naked racism of not only Herzog’s politics, but the entirety of the militarily enforced Jewish-majority state, both as a concept and as practiced. By the end of the debate (which may not be over), Levy brilliantly rope-a-dopes the failed prime ministerial candidate into an ideological battle the morally-bankrupt politician cannot possibly win.

The entire five-part exchange is well worth reading, which starts with Levy condemning Herzog’s foolish and counter-productive threats to use massive, unrelenting, violent force as a matter of policy, and evolves into a meta debate about Zionism.

In the initial salvo, Levy upbraids Herzog for his recent promise to be “even more extreme than Netanyahu” in waging “an uncompromising war against terror.”

What did [Herzog] mean when he said that he would be even more extreme than Benjamin Netanyahu? Even more violent? Netanyahu is responsible for killing thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, and he will kill tens of thousands?

In response, Herzog completely dodges Levy’s criticisms and hurls empty ad hominems, calling the journalist a “one trick pony” for harping on the sins of the Israeli occupation:

Levy has been singing the same song for years, publishing the same article and the same text, twice and sometimes three times a week: “Occupation, occupation, occupation and once again occupation; only the Jews are to blame and only the Palestinians are right.” … Levy used to be a Zionist. I’m no longer sure that he is one.

Herzog then breaks out the tired old “two states” mantra, as if chanting those words will somehow distract the reader from the very real and troubling questions Levy raised about Herzog’s megalomaniacal threats.

Levy responds by pointing out that the Israeli media is filled with propaganda-spewing journalists who ignore the occupation at every turn, while the occupation is:

a cruel reality for millions of people… The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (and a handful of Israelis of conscience) are a lot more fed up with the occupation than Herzog is in his posh Tel Aviv neighborhood.

Then Levy takes on the McCarthyite accusation that he’s no longer a Zionist:

I should mention that unlike Herzog, I have also sifted through my share of ideas. We started together in the Labor Party… I arrived a few years before he did, when I still bought concepts such as “the Jordanian option,” “territorial compromise” and “functional compromise” — among the best sleight of hand of the generation of Herzog’s father, designed to solidify the occupation’s hold… Then I favored the Oslo Accords, then the two-state solution. Then I thought the chance had been missed. I too didn’t believe in a boycott. Now I think it should be equal rights for everyone in a single democratic state, and there is no alternative — yes to a boycott.

What a wonderfully concise outline of the long, winding path Levy traveled from blinkered liberal Zionism to seeing the unescapable moral truth that the only just destination is equality and one person, one vote. This is, in fact, the path that all Zionists will eventually travel should they choose to no longer be stuck in the swamp of parochial xenophobia.

But in Herzog’s response, he boldly steps even deeper into the big muddy of racist Liberal Zionism with his scare-mongering comments about what equal rights would mean for privileged Israeli Jews:

[Levy] wants the Jewish minority between the Jordan and the sea to be swallowed up by the Arab majority, so that after 67 years we turn the lights out on the state…
And if the Islamic State decided to run for the parliament of Isra-stan, then what? One man, one vote? Why not? If we’re talking democracy, then democracy all the way, no?
That doesn’t sound like a captivating idea or vision that sparks the imagination. It’s the dream of the messianic right wing and [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniyeh.
What Gideon Levy proposes is not hope. Which sane Israeli would choose to live in a state with an Arab majority? And so what Levy is selling is fear. But for fear we don’t need Levy. For that we have the master of fear. His name is Benjamin Netanyahu.

In his final, must-read response, Levy proclaims the Emperor’s nudity: Isaac Herzog’s words are ‘near-racism’ (I think he used the qualifier to soften the truth — Herzog’s words are absolutely racist by any fair definition); and there is no moral justice to be found in bankrupt Liberal Zionism.

The nationalism and near-racism expressed by Herzog, the loyal spokesman for the center-left, is far more obvious. What is this fear-mongering about the “danger of an Arab majority” if not racism? Where else do they issue such warnings against people who have been living in a place for generations?…

I have no idea what Herzog and his ilk mean when they talk about a “Jewish state,” other than its Jewish majority; it doesn’t matter what kind of Jews or how they act, so long as they are Jews. Any way you slice it, you get a nationalist state. Democratic? Of course it isn’t, by definition, nor is it just. If I had to choose between a “Jewish state” on a slippery slope toward becoming an apartheid state and a just state, I prefer the latter. I seek neither a Jewish majority nor an Arab majority, but a democratic majority…

“What sane Israeli would choose to live in a state with an Arab majority?” asks Herzog, ripping off the mask once and for all. Well, a fifth of Israel’s population would prefer an Arab majority; they’re sane, but Herzog forgot about them.

Herzog says he leads a large ‘camp’ of liberal Zionists who want a two state solution, and to hell with the Palestinian right of return because it would upset our Jewish privilege and rights over land our forebears stole in 1948 during intentionally orchestrated ethnic cleansing (we won’t talk about that in public; we know what Ben-Gurion and company did but we won’t discuss it outside the camp). Well, Gideon Levy is leading the way out of that camp’s crumbling facade, and others will soon follow:

Even as a Jew, however, if I had to choose between a Jewish majority and a democratic majority, between a majority that supports racism and a majority that supports equality, it doesn’t matter what nationality they’re from, I would not hesitate to choose. Nor would Herzog hesitate; he will always prefer the Jews, and then he’ll call that democracy.
This puts Herzog inside the camp and me outside it. I’m proud of that.

The final battle in Liberal Zionism is not over the occupation; plenty of Zionists oppose it. It’s over equal rights, equal votes, but most of all, this… Do Palestinians who were born in Palestine have a right to live in the lands that they own and inhabited for generations before Zionists expelled them and stole their land? It’s the heart of everything, because once one admits the Nakba must be rectified, no longer can a Jewish majority be enforced at gunpoint as it has for more than sixty years. This is the Rubicon Gideon Levy has crossed. Levy blasts “the Law of Return, which is for Jews alone” — implying that the refugees rights’ must be respected. There can be no equality, no democracy, no justice without reparations for the Nakba.

The Jewish community in the U.S. lags behind; we don’t have a prominent journalist who’s allowed to say what Gideon Levy is saying in these pieces. Max Blumenthal would say it if only the NYT would hand him the microphone. And certainly, debating the leader of a major U.S. political party about taxpayer funding for a apartheid client state’s army is off limits.

But this debate inexorably must come to the U.S.; we cannot support an apartheid state forever when key members of its leftist thought leaders are breaking as Levy has. Soon enough, it will be Peter Beinart or someone of his stature who’s arguing exactly what Levy has argued, because the logic is ineluctable. It is impossible to resolve the contradictions and dissonance in the idea of a “Jewish State” whose majority is only preserved through dispossesion, racism, and violations of international law, the very things most Jews in America abhor beyond all else.

About Matthew Taylor

Matthew A. Taylor is co-founder of PeacePower magazine, and author of "The Road to Nonviolent Coexistence in Palestine/Israel," a chapter in the book Nonviolent Coexistence.

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56 Responses

  1. Elliot
    August 27, 2015, 10:49 am

    Thanks for the summary and insights.

    “Herzog says he leads a large ‘camp’ of liberal Zionists”

    The Hebrew adjective Buji Herzog uses repeatedly to magnify his camp is עצום, which translates as “mighty”. It sounds as hollow in Hebrew as it does in English.
    It is a measure of Gideon Levy’s increasing stature that the leader of Israel’s mighty opposition picks an ongoing, losing scrap with him to try to build up his own standing.

  2. pabelmont
    August 27, 2015, 11:33 am

    Nice to see the fat in the fire like that. All praise for Gideon Levy. How can any American, of any religion or ideology (other than some flavor of racial superiority), not join Levy in plumping for a just democracy. (I think Levy should describe “just” as “religiously neutral” — I don’t like the idea of ANY religious fundamentalist in power anywhere in the world, and “democracy” w/o safeguards can quickly become the prisoner of religious fundamentalists.

  3. just
    August 27, 2015, 11:41 am

    I’ve been following this “no-holds-barred intramural war” closely. I quoted part of Levy’s response from this morning and wrote that:

    “Happily, Herzog is also exposing his own face~ it’s really no better than Netanyahu’s. Which just goes to show that there is no such thing as a leftist or liberal Zionist.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/recent-comments#sthash.Wc98Qyjy.dpuf

    I credit Gideon Levy with bringing this and many other truths to the fore. Apparently Rambo Herzog is content to let it all hang out. It’s a good thing, imho. If Rambo is “center left” and the leader of the “opposition”, Israel is in deep doo- doo and destined to fall further into a mire of its own design.

    I’ve always maintained that “liberal Zionist/Zionism” is an oxymoron.

    • inbound39
      August 28, 2015, 1:16 am

      Well articulated ‘just’!…..I too have followed Gideon Levy not just in these articles recently but since Cast Lead and Gideon has faced many a tough situation during that time. He has recieved death threats and been spat at and jostled in public by rightists and it does not deter Gideon from making the reality and truth about Israel known. I have tremendous respect for this guy. He backs down for no-one. Nothing the rightists have done or attempted to do has silenced him. A few months ago there was a concerted effort to force him out of Israel…failed! More Power to Gideon Levy and those who have a conscience like him. The Question that always sits in my mind is why does the World stand for a regime and Nation that mimics Germany 1939 so disturbingly closely? Israel is as close to a clear and present threat to World Peace as you can get. Time for Obama,Merkel,Cameron et al to get off their chuffs and seriously address it and democratically craft a Palestinian State via the UN and impose it by use of a Coalition of the willing to enforce and impose the new States Borders as defined by the Partition Plan.

  4. hophmi
    August 27, 2015, 11:57 am

    “[Levy] wants the Jewish minority between the Jordan and the sea to be swallowed up by the Arab majority, so that after 67 years we turn the lights out on the state…
    And if the Islamic State decided to run for the parliament of Isra-stan, then what? One man, one vote? Why not? If we’re talking democracy, then democracy all the way, no?
    That doesn’t sound like a captivating idea or vision that sparks the imagination. It’s the dream of the messianic right wing and [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniyeh.
    What Gideon Levy proposes is not hope. Which sane Israeli would choose to live in a state with an Arab majority?”

    So lovely for you to be able to stand back from a position of privilege and call statements like this racist when the truth is, Matthew, that you wouldn’t live in a state with an Arab majority either, particularly if that Arab majority was represented by a party dedicated to the murder of Jews. If I’ve said anything incorrect, Matthew, let me know by affirming that you would, in fact, live in an Arab majority state as a Jewish minority. Perhaps you can signify your willingness to do so by moving to a state with an Arab majority. Let me know when you have your bags packed. What? You’re not leaving the United States? But I thought you were so eager to live in a state with an Arab majority. Guess you’re just a racist.

    In Europe today, people can’t seem to live with an Arab minority of 5 or 10 percent. That small minority has led to the rise of the far-right in Europe, and policies meant to keep out a few hundred thousand migrant refugees from the Middle East; I hear Hungary is building a wall and that a few dozen refugees died in truck in Austria yesterday. We’ll see if that gets 1/10th the coverage Israel’s treatment of African refugees gets here. In the United States, the Republican frontrunner speaks about expelling 11 million brown people from the United States, or about 3% of the US population. Even the Democratic Party here can’t seem to find it in their hearts to just do the easiest and most commonsense thing – have a general amnesty and get these people on the books.

    • Elliot
      August 28, 2015, 12:43 am

      I read The Guardian – USA. Both Donald Trump’s outrageous anti-immigrant bloviating and the horrific deaths on the Hungarian border were at the top of the homepage. I never saw any reports on Israel’s Cholot facility outside of Haaretz.
      Jews lived as minorities in Arab countries for centuries. As others have noted countless times, they fared much better under Muslim rule than their less fortunate Ashkenazi brethren who were burned at the stake, tortured in the Inquisition’s dungeons, massacred by Crusaders or suffered any other genocidal Christian pathology.
      Israeli Jews seem like to Arab countries a lot. They are flocking to Morroco. Turkey too.

    • talknic
      August 28, 2015, 12:44 am

      Another valiant attempt to justify the unjustifiable and continued usurping of non-Jews by Israel from non-Israeli territories.

      @ hophmi

      “… the truth is, Matthew, that you wouldn’t live in a state with an Arab majority either, particularly if that Arab majority was represented by a party dedicated to the murder of Jews. If I’ve said anything incorrect, Matthew, let me know by affirming that you would, in fact, live in an Arab majority state as a Jewish minority.”

      Lemme see what you’re trying to say. If Matthew was willing to live in an Arab majority state ( such as Israel was in 1950 http://wp.me/pDB7k-19Y ) then Israel would not be in breach of International Law, the UN Charter and GC IV.

      “In Europe today, people can’t seem to live with an Arab minority of 5 or 10 percent.”

      But they are you stupid stupid person.

      ” a few dozen refugees died in truck in Austria yesterday. We’ll see if that gets 1/10th the coverage Israel’s treatment of African refugees gets here”

      I don’t believe Austria is in the Middle East. Maybe it was moved ?

      “In the United States, the Republican frontrunner speaks about expelling 11 million brown people from the United States, or about 3% of the US population”

      Nor is the US in the Middle East. Was it too moved ? AMAZING!!!!

    • oldgeezer
      August 28, 2015, 1:23 am

      Geeze hophmi. You are so steeped in racist ideology that you totally ignore factual history. Your only claim to rationality is that there are racists elsehwere and that justifies your vile adherence to racist principles.

      “so that after 67 years we turn the lights out on the state… – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/calling-instigates-reckoning#comment-152621

      Yeah? So what? If we end a racist state now instead of 167 years later then that’s a good thing. I am all for an end to all racist states and Israel is certainly a beacon to all racists.

      I prefer that Israel survives as a beacon of justice and democracy but it’s people like you who want to double down on evil. Israel is not the lone evil entity in the world. I don’t pretend it is. To pretend it is not evil in it’s racist intent and actions is equally false. No number of wrongs makes a right let alone two.

    • oldgeezer
      August 28, 2015, 2:11 am

      @hophmi

      “that a few dozen refugees died in truck in Austria yesterday. We’ll see if that gets 1/10th the coverage Israel’s treatment of African refugees gets here. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/calling-instigates-reckoning#comment-152621

      So to you the intentional treatment of refugees by a state (Israel) should be compare to the the accidental and unintentional consequences of others states.

      You would be an apologist for mass murderers and serial killers. In fact you have been through your support for the GoI.

      • WH
        August 28, 2015, 7:12 am

        Accidental and unintentional isn’t quite true – many European states are showing hostility towards the influx of refugees and the Hungarian wall is one expression of that. They might not be as outrightly inhuman towards them as Israel is to its own asylum seekers, but the consequences aren’t necessarily better.

        Still, hophmi’s point is void because these things get plenty of coverage. It’s more of this “What about Syria, who’s condemning Syria?” bullshit.

  5. FreddyV
    August 27, 2015, 12:03 pm

    Return is what Gilad has been going on about for ages. Its not about Jewish agonising and viewing the conflict through the prism of Zionism. Its about those displaced and oppressed in this conflict having their rights addressed firstly and foremost.

    Judaism, Jewishness, Israel, Zionism etc are irrelevant in this.

  6. Citizen
    August 27, 2015, 12:29 pm

    Zionists don’t do irony or mental integrity.

  7. echinococcus
    August 27, 2015, 12:36 pm

    The use of the phrase “intramural war” between Zionists and anti-Zionists is extremely revealing. Here is a very real war being waged against the owners of Palestine; working together with people who see themselves as part of the same house or people as the Zionists may soon become an unaffordable luxury. I certainly don’t think Levy sees himself as belonging any longer in the same room as the tinhorn “Labor”.

  8. Bornajoo
    August 27, 2015, 12:45 pm

    These zionists, the whole spectrum, from liberal to psycho nutjob all think they sound reasonable. Levy ripped this fool to shreds and exposes just how delusional and racist (and scary) they all really are. The only difference between Netanyahu and Herzog is presentation. Herzog is good at pretending he’s not the same as Netanyahu

    Levy really is someone special and extremely brave, but I honestly do fear for him. I’m sure there are many from the psycho nutjob end of the Zionist spectrum that would like to do him harm. I hope he stays safe and continues to shine a light in that very dark place

    Thank you Matthew Taylor

    • Matthew Taylor
      August 27, 2015, 4:28 pm

      HI Bornajoo — Although I understand the reasons for your comments, I caution against descending from an honest critique of an ideology — and specific adherents of the ideology — into broad generalizations about people.
      You wrote, “Levy ripped this fool to shreds and exposes just how delusional and racist (and scary) they all really are.”
      In my experience, comments about “they,” especially “they all,” are unhelpful at the least, and can be heard as attacks on a group of people and a form of prejudice. Our goal should not be to attack Zionists as a group, but instead to point out the moral flaws in the ideology of Zionism while simultaneously showing a new, just path forward, and a way to gracefully let go of anachronistic forms of Zionism and instead embrace equality. It is fine to assert that a public figure like Herzog is a racist when he makes clearly racist statements; it’s a hard truth, and it’s backed up by facts and his statements in writing. But, “all ____ are delusional and racist”? Not kosher, in my book, and not welcome as a comment under this article.

      • Teapot
        August 27, 2015, 4:43 pm

        Our goal should not be to attack Zionists as a group, but instead to point out the moral flaws in the ideology of Zionism while simultaneously showing a new, just path forward, and a way to gracefully let go of anachronistic forms of Zionism and instead embrace equality.

        I may be wrong here, but to me it sounds as if you think there are forms of Zionism that are not racist. If so, could you please elaborate? Because I thought that Zionism was a racist ideology no matter whether it’s liberal, modern, of the right-wing variety or whatever other form there is.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2015, 5:54 pm

        ,” and a way to gracefully let go of anachronistic forms of Zionism and instead embrace equality.”

        You bet! Why, it’ll be just like splitting up a gold mine!

      • Bornajoo
        August 27, 2015, 5:59 pm

        “Not kosher, in my book, and not welcome as a comment under this article.”

        Matthew, I thought that the comments were decided by the moderators, not the author. I’m sure if they find it offensive they’ll go back and delete it. Maybe you found Hophmi’s comment more welcoming. I’m afraid that’s what happens when you write an article which is open to comments, you’re not going to like or agree with all of them, possibly most of them

        I’d love to respond more fully but I can’t right now but will try tomorrow (unless I’m banned by then of course)

      • echinococcus
        August 27, 2015, 6:06 pm

        Let me see. We are in a war since 1947, that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, and a briskly functioning occupation and genocide.
        Can you please throw your mind back to occupied France or Holland or Greece or Poland… in say 1942, and imagine who would have written (because some like you did) the following:

        “In my experience, comments about “they,” especially “they all,” are unhelpful at the least, and can be heard as attacks on a group of people and a form of prejudice. Our goal should not be to attack the Nazi occupiers as a group, but instead to point out the moral flaws in the ideology of Nazism while simultaneously showing a new, just path forward, and a way to gracefully let go of anachronistic forms of Nazism and instead embrace equality. It is fine to assert that a public figure like Goering is a racist when he makes clearly racist statements; it’s a hard truth, and it’s backed up by facts and his statements in writing. But, “all ____ are delusional and racist”? Not kosher…”

      • ritzl
        August 27, 2015, 6:19 pm

        You’re all good, Bornajoo. Imho.

      • Bornajoo
        August 27, 2015, 6:25 pm

        Thanks Ritzl!

      • eljay
        August 27, 2015, 6:26 pm

        || Teapot: I may be wrong here, but to me it sounds as if you think there are forms of Zionism that are not racist. If so, could you please elaborate? Because I thought that Zionism was a racist ideology no matter whether it’s liberal, modern, of the right-wing variety or whatever other form there is. ||

        Good point. Zionism is religion-based Jewish supremacism. It isn’t compatible with equality.

        || ritzl: You’re all good, Bornajoo. Imho. ||

        +1.

      • MHughes976
        August 27, 2015, 6:54 pm

        My view of Zionists is that they hold to an ideology which is very damaging to many people, therefore a serious matter, and above all morally mistaken, the mistake being demonstrable rationally from the best established and recognised principles – approximately those expounded in Locke’s Second Treatise, for those interested in such things.
        By Zionism I mean the belief that Jewish people and they only have an inherent right – commonly called ‘birthright’ – to a share in sovereignty over the Holy Land. I’ll work with other definitions if anyone proposes one, but that’s the one I’m using for now. I believe it’s fairly apt for the practice of Israeli governments and their defenders.
        Bornajoo may not share all my ideas but I imagine that he and I are not far apart. I cannot see that he can with the least reason be accused of even verging on prejudice for his remarks here, rational opposition to false ideas not being expressions of prejudice. If we oppose an idea we are at variance with all who uphold the idea, the whole relevant group. What else? I can’t oppose Flat Earthism but not, in the relevant respects, oppose some whose beliefs place them in the Flat Earther category. Opposition means arguing that they are wrong in the relevant respects, not of course claiming that all members of the group are wrong about other matters, nor that they’re all-round bad people all the time.
        However, to consider an idea false is to consider any idea which is a version of the first one false also. If the earth is not flat then all versions of the idea that it is flat are false also.

      • just
        August 27, 2015, 8:43 pm

        “You’re all good, Bornajoo. Imho.”

        Absolutely agree, ritzl.

        “Not kosher, in my book, and not welcome as a comment under this article.”

        It is the mods who decide. Bornajoo is a valued commenter here @ MW and elsewhere. His voice matters~ a lot.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2015, 8:55 pm

        “Not kosher…”

        Huh? I’m almost certain none of Bornajoo’s comments contain any pork or shellfish.

      • Marnie
        August 28, 2015, 2:55 am

        @Matthew Taylor

        “Our goal should not be to attack Zionists as a group, but instead to point out the moral flaws in the ideology of Zionism while simultaneously showing a new, just path forward, and a way to gracefully let go of anachronistic forms of Zionism and instead embrace equality. ”

        I might be wrong here but it sounds like you are conflating zionism with Judaism, otherwise why be so touchy/protective of zionists? They come in all flavors after all. There’s probably more zionist christians in America than there are zionist Jews. At any rate, zionism is horribly, horribly wrong in its entire concept, so any kind of zionist is horribly wrong.

        I’m sorry but that sounds too much like the folks who claim criticizm of zionism is antisemitic. Is there no end to the demands we walk on eggshells around the obvious problem which is zionism?

      • amigo
        August 28, 2015, 6:04 am

        ” Maybe you found Hophmi’s comment more welcoming. ” Bornajoo.

        Give Mathew a chance to spot check hopknee,s archives and he might want to apologise to you for jumping on the wrong horse.

        In any case , Mathew seems naieve.There is no such thing as a zionist worth a milligram of respect. They are all racists and bigots.No such thing as a liberal KKK member.That is why they join such orgs.

  9. echinococcus
    August 27, 2015, 12:45 pm

    “it will be Peter Beinart or someone of his stature who’s arguing exactly what Levy has argued, because the logic is ineluctable”

    What’s this, apology of racism? Beinart is a Zionist, no less of a partisan of invasion and dispossession of the owners of Palestine than are Herzog, the Yahoo or any of the Zionists.
    He only is more effective in his sleazy propaganda because more gulls stupidly fall for it.

    • bintbiba
      August 27, 2015, 8:52 pm

      Teapot , Ritzl, Eljay , and
      @ Just

      “It is the mods who decide. Bornajoo is a valued commenter here @ MW and elsewhere. His voice matters~ a lot. ”

      …and so say ALL OF US !!

  10. Krauss
    August 27, 2015, 1:36 pm

    Soon enough, it will be Peter Beinart or someone of his stature who’s arguing exactly what Levy has argued

    Thanks for the laugh on Beinart.

    An amusing end to an otherwise interesting article.

  11. bintbiba
    August 27, 2015, 2:54 pm

    @ Bornajoo

    ” These zionists, the whole spectrum, from liberal to psycho nutjob all think they sound reasonable. Levy ripped this fool to shreds and exposes just how delusional and racist (and scary) they all really are. The only difference between Netanyahu and Herzog is presentation. Herzog is good at pretending he’s not the same as Netanyahu

    ….Levy really is someone special and extremely brave, but I honestly do fear for him. I’m sure there are many from the psycho nutjob end of the Zionist spectrum that would like to do him harm. I hope he stays safe and continues to shine a light in that very dark place ”

    “Thank you Matthew Taylor”

    Ditto from me , please ! I would love to shout it from the rooftops. !

  12. DaBakr
    August 27, 2015, 3:34 pm

    Levy is very much like the 1930s liberal assimilated German Jew who kept insisting that only 10% of Germans are Nazis and that the Jews should remain loyal to the German leadership because surely-as a protected minority-their rights would always be respected.
    And Levy is too smart to not see/know what is going on in the so-called ‘Arab-street’ where-unlike the [pro-West] Arab leaderships that put forth a nuanced view of their scant dealings or maybe just their bare tolerance of the Zionist entity-in the streets the cat is out of the bag and every protest has this or that government leader being taunted as a rotten dirty “Jew” descended from ‘apes and pigs’.
    A Jewish majority in Israel can do nothing to diminish the rights or numbers of the Arab citizens in the 22 surrounding Arab nations. But an Arab majority in Israel can do much in very little time to change the lives of every Jew living in their ancestral homeland.
    I think Levy is pretending he is too stupid to understand what an Arab majority would mean. And if he isn’t ‘pretending’ to his loyal readership- he is definitely not a Zionist and has no plan to support the continuation of israel as a state. A new state is what he seeks-if he isn’t just keeping his career alive by vitriol and ire.

    • Mooser
      August 27, 2015, 6:05 pm

      “Levy is very much like the 1930s liberal assimilated German Jew who kept insisting that only 10% of Germans are Nazis”

      Gee, “dabakr” what was that guy’s name, it’s right on the tip of my tongue…

      Anyway, “Dabakr” try and show a little goddam grace while giving up your “anachronistic Zionism”.

      • DaBakr
        August 27, 2015, 11:09 pm

        @ms

        Zionism isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. that its under attack more now then in the recent past is just part of the cyclical nature of the i/p conflict. you may think “anachronistic” but then most of you here hang onto your fairy tale dreams that Israel will be replaced by an Arab majority state where Jews no longer have sovereignty over there own affairs.

        You would do better to accuse me of being scared of spiders, but then you would be wrong there too as I studied spiders for years and know quite a lot about what it takes to weave a web to catch all the progressive arachnophobic anti-Zionists out there.

      • zaid
        August 27, 2015, 11:16 pm

        Dabakr
        Ancestral land !!

        Levy was talking about palestine and not abut eastern europe.

      • oldgeezer
        August 28, 2015, 2:00 am

        @DaBakr
        “that its under attack more now then in the recent past is just part of the cyclical nature of the i/p conflict. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/calling-instigates-reckoning#comment-152621

        I hope you are wrong and I believe you are. It’s under attack now more than in the past as more and more people are realizing what a vile and evil racist ideology it is. Luckily for me Israel continues to provide more evidence for my belief on a daily basis as it murders and abuses innocents not a part of it’s supremacist tribe. Keep digging that hole.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2015, 4:34 pm

        ” I studied spiders for years and know quite a lot about what it takes to weave a web to catch all the progressive arachnophobic anti-Zionists out there.”

        Ah yes, what a tangled web you weave. I’ve noticed all the success you are having here. You goddam simpleton.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2015, 7:27 pm

        “You goddam simpleton”

        Whoops, sorry, “dabakr”. I must have slipped and typed exactly what I was thinking.

    • talknic
      August 27, 2015, 11:40 pm

      DaBakr “… an Arab majority in Israel can do much in very little time to change the lives of every Jew living in their ancestral homeland”

      “Arab” ?? You surely mean ‘non-Jewish’

      A) Israel is very likely already an Arab majority. It certainly was by 1950 http://wp.me/pDB7k-19Y

      B) There’s no foreseeable possibility of a non-Jewish majority in the state of Israel. Even with the return of the non-Jewish Israeli citizens of 1948, who’re now by far outnumbered by Jewish citizens in Israel today.

      C) Even if there were some far off demographic threat, that’s the nature of democracy … however, there’s no mention of democracy in the Israel declaration of statehood

      “The state of Israel … will be based on freedom, justice and peace>as envisaged by the prophets of Israel

      As for “ancestral lands” Chinese/Japanese/German/Inuit/ converts do not have ancestral lands in Israel or Palestine. Australia Aboriginal converts do not have ancestral lands in Israel or Palestine. I doubt many if any foreign converts have “ancestral lands” in Israel or Palestine

    • oldgeezer
      August 28, 2015, 2:05 am

      @DaBakr

      Please list the surrounding 22 Arab states. C’mon, such it up sunshine and list them. 22 states… you have a soundbite and zero knowledge.

    • WH
      August 28, 2015, 7:21 am

      Interesting that an Arab majority is immediately equated with an Arab dictatorship in which all the democratic structures that currently exist for Jews have been abolished.

    • Bandolero
      August 28, 2015, 4:44 pm

      DaBakr

      Levy is very much like the 1930s liberal assimilated German Jew who kept insisting that only 10% of Germans are Nazis and that the Jews should remain loyal to the German leadership because surely-as a protected minority-their rights would always be respected.

      After the Nazis took power in Germany, there was only one current in German jewish life that didn’t see that as a big problem. Hint: this was not the liberal German Jewish current, which saw Zionism, quoted freely after Felix Goldmann, as having originated from the same poisened source of European racism as German racism.

      Rabbi Joachim Prinz, who joined the Zionist Youth movement in 1917 when he was 15 years old, wrote in 1937 about Hitler’s Machtergreifung 33:

      “We all felt sure that one day the government would arrange a round table conference with the Jews, at which – after the riots and atrocities of the revolution had passed – the new status of German Jewry could be considered. The government announced very solemnly that there was no country in the world which tried to solve the Jewish problem as seriously as did Germany. Solution of the Jewish question? It was our Zionist dream! We never denied the existence of the Jewish question! Dissimilation? It was our own appeal! … In a statement notable for its pride and dignity, we called for a conference.”

      Quoted as in Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the age of the Dictators.

      So, I hope that clarifies which current of German judaism was not worried by Nazism, or even happy about Hitler’s Machtergreifung, and why.

  13. Mooser
    August 27, 2015, 5:59 pm

    “But an Arab majority in Israel can do much in very little time to change the lives of every Jew living in their ancestral homeland.”

    You are absolutely right “Dabakr”. Yes, the Jews are indeed living, as you point out, in the Palestinian’s ancestral homelands.

    • bintbiba
      August 27, 2015, 7:59 pm

      Touché , Mooser !!

      Brilliant !!

      :-)

    • DaBakr
      August 27, 2015, 11:11 pm

      @ms

      Oh wow. Its like 4th grade. I say black and you say white. Very constructive and typical. I’m really so hurt and insulted.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2015, 11:43 am

        “I’m really so hurt and insulted.”

        Good! And don’t think it doesn’t show, “dabakr”, cause it very clearly does. You whine like a whipped cur.

      • Bornajoo
        August 28, 2015, 4:09 pm

        “Our goal should not be to attack Zionists as a group, but instead to point out the moral flaws in the ideology of Zionism while simultaneously showing a new, just path forward, and a way to gracefully let go of anachronistic forms of Zionism and instead embrace equality”

        Thanks to everyone for your comments. Great analogy Echinococcus!

        Matthew, can you please give us an estimation of how long this methodology might take? Let’s explain to the Zionists where they’re going wrong and hopefully, possibly, they may see the error of their ways?

        So we just wait for them to do all their soul searching and agonising and hopefully one day, maybe in a couple of decades from now they might see the light and “embrace equality”

        And in the meantime how many more Palestinians have to suffer until the Zionists are given the time they need to do all this agonising and soul searching? Every 2 or 3 days Kate here at mondoweiss puts together a news compilation and in these compilations you will read about the daily horrors of this disgraceful Occupation. Every day there are murders, injuries, detentions and arrests (even of children rounded up in the middle of the night), attacks by settlers, home demolitions, theft of land and water. The list of crimes is endless.

        Gaza, an open air prison, under a ruthless siege has been bombed to hell on 3 occasions. One ton bombs have been dropped onto apartment buildings which have wiped out entire families. White phosphorus has been used and new weapons have been tested in this open air laboratory. Thousands have been injured and traumatised and now as Gazans approach their second winter since the cold blooded slaughter, tens of thousands remain homeless. And 95% of Israelis backed this slaughter, some of them even munching popcorn while cheering on the death and destruction

        I would recommend a couple of articles by Avigail Abarbanel that were featured here. An ex Israeli and a trained psychoanalyst, she explains how dangerous these people really are and any idea of trying to reason with them is utterly foolish. Here is one which was presented and summarised by Hazel Kahan but I would urge you to read Avigail’s responses in the comments below:

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/traumatized-society-dangerous

        While we try and reason with these maniacs they are killing, torturing and continuing their incremental ethnic cleansing and slow motion genocide.

        They need to be stopped from the outside and as quickly as possible. That’s why I (and many others here) wanted Netanyahu/Likud to be reelected because at least they are the ‘honest’ face of Zionism. At least with them it’s all out in the open. Finally the world is able to see a glimpse of the real truth which has in the past been covered up by the more ‘dishonest’ zionists just like Herzog who would continue the same policies indefinitely but pretend he’s a peacemaker

        Zionists have no empathy whatsoever for the suffering they have caused the Palestinians who have been dehumanised to a status lower than their pet dogs which they care a lot more about

        There needs to be a UN resolution as fast as possible followed by a UN peacekeeping force sent in to protect the Palestinian people, who urgently need that protection from these criminals.

        But what the Zionists really want are people to sit and talk in endless circles for another few decades to give them time to finish the job. Anyone who hasn’t figured out that game by now is extremely naive

        I wish you luck with your efforts. Maybe you can start with Hophmi. I mean he’s supposed to be on the board of directors of a couple of Muslim outreach organisations but he talks about living in a state with an Arab majority as some kind of horror. My family and ancestors lived as a Jewish minority in countries with Arab majorities for hundreds of years before the Zionists fucked everything up.

        I’m sorry you found my initial comment not kosher enough. I also used to think that it was possible to reasonably debate with zionists and common sense would eventually prevail. But three decades later you realise you’ve been duped because you are giving them what they want; time to complete what they started

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2015, 4:31 pm

        “Our goal should not be to attack Zionists as a group, but instead to point out the moral flaws in the ideology of Zionism “

        While the Zionists stand there, wide-eyed with disbelief, and say “That’s not a ‘moral flaw’, it’s a feature!”

        And if Matthew Taylor hasn’t noticed, Zionist most certainly do embrace “equality”. They think they should have an equal chance to commit any atrocity or crime from all of recorded history.

      • echinococcus
        August 28, 2015, 4:35 pm

        Bornajoo,

        “I also used to think that it was possible to reasonably debate with zionists and common sense would eventually prevail”

        Expecting reason from Jonestown-like cult followers seems to be the the main mistake most people make with regard to Zionists.

  14. Les
    August 27, 2015, 6:11 pm

    t didn’t take long before America’s Pilgrim fathers, who considered themselves to be God’s Chosen People, to preach from their altars God’s blessing on them for exterminating the Indians whose land God’s Chosen People coveted. Then as now, religion was used to justify racism against the natives because they refused to give up their land.

    • inbound39
      August 28, 2015, 1:31 am

      You are correct. However the Right of Conquest ,whether we like it or not, was legitimate during that period. Israel is trying to claim Right of Conquest during a period when, since the end of WW2,Right of Conquest was outlawed due to the problems caused by the displacement of millions of people through the German Occupation of Europe. Resolution 242 states clearly to Israel that acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible.

  15. ritzl
    August 27, 2015, 6:48 pm

    Good article. It’s wonderful you point to Levy’s courageous take and directness as a model for things to come.

    But this graf takes away from that, the universality of Levy’s message:

    “The Jewish community in the U.S. lags behind; we don’t have a prominent journalist who’s allowed to say what Gideon Levy is saying in these pieces. Max Blumenthal would say it if only the NYT would hand him the microphone. And certainly, debating the leader of a major U.S. political party about taxpayer funding for a apartheid client state’s army is off limits.”

    Maybe the phrasing above is just awkward, but “We”? There are plenty of non-Jewish people who would and do say the exact same thing. Alison Weir for one. Abunimah and Munayyer are others.

    Sorry, but I have to ask, if Levy wasn’t Jewish (or of Zionist heritage) would his crystal-clear and spot-on moral/political opinion matter less? Even to Jews?

    • WH
      August 28, 2015, 7:26 am

      I think it’s less about the intrinsic value of Jewish opinions than their pragmatic significance, just as the cause of ethnic minority rights can benefit from white support. That doesn’t mean that a white opinion is worth more, just that members of the majority (in the case of Israel, taking Amereican Jews as an extension of the majority in Israel) can be more influential.

  16. yonah fredman
    August 28, 2015, 4:44 pm

    The probabilities regarding whether a majority Muslim one state in what is currently Israel-Palestine will result in a democracy that tolerates its Jewish minority should be discussed scientifically rather than asserted as if this is the only possible outcome. when one throws a pair of dice the odds of throwing a two or snake eyes is one out of 36 and at the crap table these odds are reflected by the house. the odds of the emergent Palestine resulting in this tolerant democracy that is imagined by Gideon Levy and which Mathew Taylor informs us that anyone who disbelieves is a racist, are not as slim as one in 36, but certainly not better than 50-50. (I know vegas takes wagers on presidential candidates. I doubt they take wagers on the democratic outcomes of geopolitical change.)

    is the hope in Matthew Taylor’s heart the only way to measure these odds? No. the history of the region: particularly the sectarian battles that took place in Iraq after the removal of the artificial Sunni leadership of the dictator Saddam Hussein, should be forefront in anyone imagining the future. There is a place for hope and it is good that some people are optimists, it adds to the world’s diversity. but not only realism but pessimism has its place as well, and those who label the pessimists as racists are merely trying to limit a discourse that should be trying to reach a coherent anticipation of the future.

    the current state of affairs in syria is one cautionary tale and the current state of affairs in egypt might teach us a second cautionary tale and lebanon has been too roughed up by Israeli hegemony and violence that I hesitate to label it as a third cautionary tale (but nonetheless it is). When jordan is the neighborhood exemplar of domestic tranquility what does that say? To me it says that pessimists have the odds on their side and those who label such pessimism as racism are superficial people with their hearts in the right place but their brains under utilized.

    • Mooser
      August 28, 2015, 7:20 pm

      Yonah, what the heck is wrong with you? Mathew Taylor is not attacking Zionists personally! He is only pointing “out the moral flaws in the ideology of Zionism while simultaneously showing a new, just path forward, and a way to gracefully let go of anachronistic forms of Zionism and instead embrace equality.”

      Don’t you want to “gracefully let go of anachronistic forms of Zionism and instead embrace equality.” Yonah?

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