Among the settlers

Israel/Palestine
on 84 Comments

This is the first half of a piece about my tour of four Israeli settlements in mid-January. The second half is here.

On my first night in an Israeli settlement, David served chicken soup left over from Sabbath and told me an unsettling story about the birth of Israel. His great uncle had escaped Europe to come to a Jewish kibbutz called Ein Harod. On the next hill was a Palestinian village. When hostilities broke out between Jews and Palestinians in 1948, the Jews went up to the village and announced that the next day they were bringing bulldozers to level the place, the people should leave. The next day they went back and were surprised to find that the Palestinians had all fled– fearing a massacre like the one that took place in Deir Yassin. The Jews then leveled the village and used the stones to build a stadium in their kibbutz. David said his uncle had told this story “with a twinkle in his eye.”

David was not the only settler to tell me stories of the Nakba. And the meaning was clear: A previous generation of Zionists had done terrible things to Palestinians in order to build the state of Israel. Now David and the other settlers were taking that same project– Zionism, the renewal of the Jewish people in their land—to the next part of the land of Israel. And they were doing so without destroying Palestinian villages, as their socialist predecessors had done.

The settlers told me that the great political development of the last year or two is that the Tel Aviv elite now concede that the settlers are never leaving. The elites give lip service to a Palestinian state because the world wants to hear that. But few in Jewish Israeli society even want that to happen; it would tear the country apart.

I spent five days in the settlements in mid-January using the Airbnb service. My original plan was to expose the fact that Airbnb is doing business inside the occupation. But that story broke when I got to Palestine (with Jewish Voice for Peace and others calling on the company to end the service). I followed through on my bookings because I have always been curious about settlers. I slept in four settlements and visited a half dozen others. I ate with settlers and prayed with them. I saw a bris and a bar mitzvah. Half my hosts were American-born, half were Israeli. I gave my real name to my hosts, but I misrepresented myself, saying that I sell houses in New York (I have supported myself in part by flipping houses), because it was clear that I would never be accepted in these places if I was forthcoming. The settlers are engaged in what the world sees as illegal activities, and imposture was the only way for me to get this story. All my hosts were kind to me; I am masking their identities.

I learned more about Israel in those five days in Palestine than in any other trips I’ve made. These colonies were founded a generation ago with the aim of creating one state between the river and the sea and they have succeeded. They are fortresses built with Palestinian labor. Today the mass of Israeli Jewish society does not want a Palestinian state, these settlers say; and the colonists would rise up in the hundreds of thousands before allowing such a state. This is the reality that high State Department officials have sought to convey to the American public– but that our press has failed to tell us.

The world I visited is the world that Zionists made, according to their ideal of Jewish sovereignty. And it is a world of segregation, with Jews on top. One fact leaps out from my tour. In five days of moving in and out of settlements in occupied territories and making four trips back to West Jerusalem inside Israel by bus and hitchhiking, I never had to produce my passport. Not once. Because I was with the whites, in white cars. I have visited occupied Palestine countless times with Palestinians; I am almost always asked to produce my passport at checkpoints.

1. Gush Etzion bloc

David is tall and wiry and weatherbeaten, in his late 60s and lives in a shack on a hillside and wears khakis begrimed by physical labor and a “cowboy” revolver slipped into his belt. He grew up on Long Island and could have had a much better life in the U.S. He says that he lives on the edge of the Judean wilderness, and he can walk to the Dead Sea in a full moon in 12 hours. “They call it Judea. That means it is the land of the Jews. This is where a Jew belongs, that’s my view.” His house is held together with baling wire. He doesn’t care about money, he cares about children. He has five by his ex, and a couple of years ago he married an immigrant from Russia in her 30s after she converted to Judaism. It didn’t work out, but when I ask him how many children he was going to have with her David says, “Double digit.”

He drives me around three hilltop settlements in a rickety car and points out a ridge covered with new redroofed houses. “Are you sitting down? That’s the Tekoa housing boom– because of the settlement freeze!” He says the 2010 freeze allowed construction on houses that were already started; so before it went into effect, crews worked day and night with lights to get scores of foundations in.

View north from Nokdim settlement in Gush Etzion bloc. Tekoa settlement is at left. In center foreground is security camera; in right background the Herodium

View north from Nokdim settlement in Gush Etzion bloc. Tekoa settlement is at left. In center foreground is security camera; in right background the Herodium. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

The construction workers were Palestinian. As we drive in and out of Tekoa, David waves to a Palestinian man in a new pickup. Ahmed is shuttling work crews from job sites inside the settlement to their cars in a lot outside. They can’t walk or drive through the settlement; they must get a day-pass from security and a ride. Ahmed has a pass to bring his car into the settlement. Ahmed lives in “Arab Tekoa,” David says. “You can always tell the Arab villages by the phallic symbol. The minarets.”

David works as a security guard for Ahmed and other Palestinian contractors, because all Palestinian workers must be accompanied by an armed Israeli. It is for the peace of mind of the Israeli mothers, perambulating their children, David explains. So he sits in a chair with a book and his gun all day as Ahmed’s workers set cinderblock and plaster walls. He makes 300 shekels a day, the same as a master craftsman.

Sometimes the homeowner pays for him, but more often the contractor. David said to Ahmed: “Do you see how absurd this is? You pay me… To protect someone else… From you!”

There is an innocence about David I find appealing. Back at his house we open a bottle of settler wine, and he agrees that it is wrong that Ahmed can’t vote and he can. That’s why the Israeli government built the wall inside Palestinian territories, he says. It’s not a security fence: it provides no security to hundreds of thousands of settlers on the Palestinian side of the wall who would be the “juiciest” victims if the Palestinians really wanted to kill them. The purpose of the wall—in the view of the Israeli establishment, David says — is to keep down the number of “filthy Arabs” who will someday be able to vote inside greater Israel.

A bottle of settler wine in David's kitchen in a Gush Etzion settlement

A bottle of settler wine in David’s kitchen in a Gush Etzion settlement. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

David says the elites in Tel Aviv don’t like the settlers because the settlers expose the fact that they did far worse for the same Zionist goals. “700,000 Palestinians fled their villages in 1948– why?” David asks me. “The official version is that the Arab committee in Damascus issued orders for them to leave that went out on loudspeakers, and the villagers up and left.” But that’s nonsense. The Palestinians fled in fear after the massacre at Deir Yassin.

David also excuses the Zionist militias of massacres. They were trying to secure the road to Jerusalem, and were under attack. “Of course we fought back. We’d just gone like lambs to slaughter in Europe.”

I ask David why we need a Jewish state. David tilts his head and looks at me oddly, like I said the earth is flat.

“Come on?! After the Holocaust?”

He builds a fire in the wood stove and shows me a video of a Jew in the US army fighting the Nazis. He reads a lot about the Holocaust. “1.5 million Jewish children. Imagine that. 1.5 million.”

I tell him what my mother said about why she had six children. “One for each million.”

David claps his chest. “Did she really? That sends a shiver up my spine.”

We drink more wine and he tells me of his own motivation. It was 1973, the Yom Kippur War. He had security clearance in the US army and his commanding officer told him that Egypt and Syria were going to invade Israel two days before it happened. David understood that the US was not sharing all it knew with Israel, and he was on the wrong side. When a polygraph operator asked him if he would ever share secrets with a foreign country, he said, “No,” and the operator said, “You had trouble with that one.” David realized he was right and he should leave the country, and help secure the Jewish state.

I ask him why people call these illegal settlements.

“Because the world has always hated Jews,” David says. He tells me of his experience of anti-Semitism in the United States. He had a good gentile friend who one day commented about a jeweler, “He’s a Jew, in the worst sense.” David says, “When I heard that something inside me died.”

Though David reflects that if he weren’t Jewish he would probably be anti-semitic. “Because we’re a clannish group that outdoes you.”

The chicken soup from Sabbath at his daughter’s house three days ago is stretched with cut-up hotdogs and chicken necks. As we eat, David shows me a flyer in Arabic distributed by the “Associazione Musulmani Italiani” that he has had copied by the gross because he thinks it can change Muslims. It is part of his program for de-Islamification.

“What does de-Islamification sound like?” he says.

I can’t guess, and he says: “DeNazification.”

Flyer on Islam that a settler distributes to Palestinians in his campaign for "de-Islamification"

Flyer on Islam that a settler distributes to Palestinians in his campaign for “de-Islamification” (Photo: Philip Weiss)

If the world had stopped the Nazis in the 30s, it would have saved 70 million lives. The same opportunity is available to us now. I tell David I don’t think that Jews and Zionists are going to be able to force changes in another religious culture. David says it’s the only way to peace. Palestinians will be allowed to vote once they accept that Israel is a Jewish state. They can’t accept that under Islam.

I get ready for bed. This is frontier life. There are compound buckets filled with gray water from the washing machine that you put in the toilet tank to make it flush. In the morning David toasts bread on top of the wood stove and serves it with instant coffee.

Sitting down, he gives me a sweet smile. “What your mother said about the 6 million– that was a beautiful statement.”

David’s son has borrowed the car, so we walk to a bris at Nokdim, a neighboring settlement. We have to walk out past heavy steel security gates and a guard in a booth. She’s Russian. A lot of the Russians are not Jewish, David says, or they have one grandparent who’s Jewish. To get married in Israel they have to convert, but the official rabbis don’t accept a lot of the conversions.

Avigdor Lieberman's house can be seen at the back of this photograph in Nokidim settlement in Gush Etzion bloc in Palestine

Avigdor Lieberman’s house can be seen at the back of this photograph in Nokdim settlement in Gush Etzion bloc in Palestine. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

Our trip takes us past the houses of two famous members of Knesset: Avigdor Lieberman, former foreign minister (and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union), and Ze’ev Elkin, a minister in the Netanyahu government who brought down the last government by putting forward a bill stating that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. At the gates of Lieberman’s settlement, two Palestinian workers are standing waiting for their day passes. They probably live in a nearby village. I live thousands of miles away but I saunter in with David with a mere nod from the guard. The two workers are to be ferried to the jobsite by a contractor named Mahmoud, whose car is authorized. His hands are covered with stone dust. David also works for Mahmoud. He stops to chatter with him in Hebrew about the Italian Muslim leaflet. Mahmoud says that 40 percent of the people he’s given it to are persuaded.

As we walk away David says it was “the hand of God” that Mahmoud was there when we came up.

Look closely and you can see Palestinian workers at this job site inside Israeli settlement Nokidim. At center right of shot several of them are eating lunch. Jan. 13, 2016

Look closely and you can see Palestinian workers at this job site inside Israeli settlement Nokdim. At center right several of them are seated, having a break, January 13, 2016. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

The bris is at a modern synagogue built into the hillside beside a high security fence mounted with cameras to monitor the perimeter. Several Americans of David’s generation are at the bris, and David wears a Nefesh b’Nefesh hat—from a program that gets American Jews to move to the occupied territories. One guy admires David’s cowboy gun, and a bearded guy from Colorado tells me that in every Jew’s life he will hear a call to join his people. Abraham got it in the land of Haran; he had to move his family to Canaan.

“Was that what my grandfather heard in Russia, when he came out to America?” I say.

“No. That was Get the hell out of here!”

The bearded guy says the call is deep in your brain. “It’s like a salmon being out in the ocean doing fine, then something goes off in his head and he turns around and swims upstream, past dams and Indians and bears– it doesn’t matter.”

“Salmon– that’s good,” David says. “I always thought of lemmings.”

“No; stay away from lemmings,” his wise friend says.

The two grandfathers of the object of the bris are American. The redheaded one tells me he went out to South Africa in 1986 with the Jewish Agency to bring Jews to Israel. “The blacks were rising up,” he says.

“Doesn’t that happen here too?” I venture.

“No. We’re the natives.”

A young guy interrupts us to make circumcision jokes. “Can you get half off? Will you keep the tip?”

The grandfather comes back at him. “How do you circumcise a whale? Four skin divers.”

I slip out before the fateful act. David and I hug one another goodbye and I wait at the bus stop for all of 30 seconds before an American-Israeli in a suit and a yarmulke stops. This is what Israelis call the trampiada, the hitching spot. He drives me fast into West Jerusalem.

A gray fox crosses the road and I tell the driver about the political understanding I’ve gotten from one night in Gush Etzion: liberal Zionists divide Israeli history into a noble portion of 19 years from 1948-1967 and a shameful portion of 48 years since; but that’s wishful thinking, it’s all one Zionist process of putting Jews on the land.

“You have it exactly right,” he says. “Though what you’re leaving out is that Jews have been coming to the land of Israel for millennia. In fact, to say Jews shouldn’t be allowed to live in these places is a form of anti-Semitism.”

“What about the two state solution?” I ask.

“Who talks about that anymore? Obama even has given up on it. In what’s left of his administration, it’s over.” He says the elites still pretend to support it. “Even Netanyahu.” They have a plan, in which a few hundred thousand people would be uprooted from these communities. But he says there would be a massive rebellion if that ever happened.

View to the west from kibbutz Na'aran in the Jordan Valley. Beyond security fence is the wadi and Judean hills.

View to the west from kibbutz Na’aran in the Jordan Valley. Beyond security fence is the wadi and Judean hills. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

2. Na’aran, the Jordan Valley

My second settlement has a different ideological flavor than the first, and even more beautiful views. It is a hilltop kibbutz below sea level in the Jordan Valley. To the west we look up at the Judean mountains guarding Jerusalem. To the east we can see the Jordan River delta and the lights of Amman. In the foreground: a date palm plantation owned by the kibbutz, and a factory that makes plastic films that a member of the kibbutz says proudly employs lots of Palestinians (and that Human Rights Watch last week called on to leave the occupation)

Like the early kibbutzes in the Galilee, this kibbutz has a fortresslike character. It is composed of a ring of hutlike structures on the hilltop. My host shows me to one of them. We walk down pathways that intertwine the huts, and he tells me I don’t need to lock my door, none of the wifi networks needs a password, and I can go anywhere I like in the kibbutz, though my walks will end when I come to the high fence topped with barbed wire.

Walking the perimeter of kibbutz Naaran at night. Note the spools of concertina wire behind the similarly-topped fence

Walking the perimeter of kibbutz Naaran at night. Note the spools of concertina wire behind the fence. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

My host brings me a dish of fresh dates, then has to leave for Tel Aviv for a teaching job. The kibbutz is the home of HaMahanot HaOlim, a Zionist youth movement dedicated to education. The kibbutz had been abandoned ten years ago when HaMahanot HaOlim took it over. The young people haven’t fully recolonized the place. Many of the huts are empty, and a lot of the flower-power debris from the first kibbutz is still strewn around the place: pink trucks and chicken-wire radio receivers.

Old roadbuilding equipment at kibbutz Naaran in Jordan Valley, Palestine

Old roadbuilding equipment at kibbutz Naaran in Jordan Valley, Palestine. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

The HaMahanot kibbutzniks are more like me than any of the settlers I meet during my tour. They are secular professionals with liberal ideas, and their recycling bin is overflowing with red wine bottles. Yet they are also Jewish nationalists. They are building the Jewish community in the land of Israel. “Original Zionist,” my host tells me. “We are not religious but we celebrate the Jewish holidays in our own non-traditional ways.” In Wikipedia, I learn that the youth movement has been thrown out of an international socialist group because it still operates in occupied territories.

Of course, there are no Palestinians in the kibbutz. Though there is a hut filled with Thais. On my walk, I see a flatbed truck carrying a dozen of them back from the plantation. As the sun is setting I walk into their yard. They are having an outdoor fire at 5 o’clock, but I’m definitely not welcome. They are tired-seeming, a couple look at me with frightened faces. The old ideal of Jewish labor has given way to neoliberal globalization.

After dark I walk up to the kibbutz dining hall. The door is open but it is completely empty. I’m saddened. Communal life is the reason Bernie Sanders, Tony Judt, Arthur Koestler and Noam Chomsky came out to this country. Now that’s the past.

Zivia Lubetkin, Warsaw Ghetto heroine, picture in the Hamahanot Haolim kibbutz in occupied territory

Zivia Lubetkin, Warsaw Ghetto heroine, picture in the office of HaMahanot Haolim kibbutz in occupied territory. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

I’m using the internet in the breezeway outside the office when a slender Israeli in a hoodie comes up with two M16’s crammed under one arm. He is the head of security, he says affably, but the guns are evidence of the place’s intense security needs. On my night walk, I will go to the front gate and chat with three Israel Defense Forces soldiers next to a sliding steel barrier big enough to stop a truck. The kibbutz’s own neighbors don’t really want it here. It’s not much different from the tower-and-wall outposts the early Zionists build when they colonized the Galilee.

I talk to a few of the kibbutzniks. They all say they would leave the Jordan Valley if the government asked them to, to make way for a Palestinian state. But when you scratch the surface, they don’t believe in a Palestinian state any more than the more conservative religious Jewish settlers I’ve met.

“I am a leftist, but the two state solution is problematic,” says a burly thoughtful kibbutznik. “They won’t have an airport– they can’t, it won’t happen. They won’t have a seaport, except through Israeli control.” The only way for Palestinians to gain real sovereignty is to share portions of the West Bank with Jordan. That’s an idea you hear from rightwing Zionists all the time. The kibbutznik says that a “tongue” of land would connect the Palestinian villages on the West Bank hills with Jordan. And another tongue would connect Israel to the Jordan Valley; his country would need to keep a force in the valley to preserve not just Israel but Jordan and progressive elements of Palestinian society from Islamists.

“Jordanian soldiers don’t face us, they face east. ISIS is just 50 or 100 miles away,” he says.

A kibbutznik who is playing with his child near a steamroller from olden days tells me about Jewish settler violence. Duma, the village where three members of the Dawabshe family were murdered by settlers last summer in a firebombing attack, is just a few miles over the hills to the northwest. And then there is that rabbi’s book called the King’s Torah that justifies the killing of gentile babies, if they might grow up to hurt Jews. The rightwing intolerance makes him despair, he says.

“We want a future with hope,” he says.

“What if that hope is a democracy that’s not a Jewish state?” I say.

He shakes his head. “No. We need a Jewish state. History shows– the Second World War. But Palestinians must not be second-grade citizens. Israel can be like the Vatican. There are non-Catholics living in Vatican City, and they have rights.”

Even liberal Zionists think it's one state. This is the map on the office wall of socialist kibbutz Naaran, operated by the HaMahanot HaOlim youth movement. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

Even liberal Zionists think it’s one state. This is the map on the office wall of socialist kibbutz Naaran, operated by the HaMahanot HaOlim youth movement. (Photo: Philip Weiss)

That night I’m walking around the kibbutz perimeter road when I have a classic kibbutz experience. On a wall by a hut I see the cowering silhouette of a dog watching me. Then a minute later it has attached himself to me! The dogs here are communal, but I use the lost-dog excuse to say hello to two women sitting out on their porch by a wood stove. One of them is very friendly. She invites me on to the porch and makes me tea from a verbena plant and tells me about her years in the U.S. southwest in an Israeli diplomatic family. Funny and wise and aware of the outside world, this young woman is the most sophisticated person I will meet in my five days in settlements.

I say, “But do we really need a Jewish state?”

“Don’t start that! I’m not a Zionist.”

We both laugh. Then she vents some universalist ideals about the end of identity politics as I nod my head. I never ask her what she’s doing in an exclusively-Jewish community; but I find the conversation restorative. Some Israelis understand that Jewish nationalism isn’t working out.

Though the next morning my settlement malaise sets in again. I’m out for another walk when I hear children’s voices ringing across the land. I walk toward the cries, hoping to see the kibbutz kids playing together. I pass the dump from the last kibbutz and an installation of ET-style radio receivers, but the voices continue to echo without getting any closer.

Then I see it’s Palestinian shepherds on horseback in the wadi far below, calling out to one another as they bring their flock up the slopes. They are a half mile away, but as I come closer to the fence, they gallop away round a stony outcropping out of sight. I feel imprisoned. They are much freer on this land than my hosts.

This is the first of two parts. The second part is here

84 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    January 25, 2016, 10:57 am

    This statement really stood out for me.

    “I am a leftist, but the two state solution is problematic,” says a burly thoughtful kibbutznik. “They won’t have an airport– they can’t, it won’t happen. They won’t have a seaport, except through Israeli control.”

    This is the bleak inhumane legacy of Zionism. They cannot even pretend that everyone will benefit. It’s been sometime since I read Herzl “The Jewish State” but I cannot recall that he mentions the treatment of non Jews anywhere in it. At least Herzl as a 19th century white European man was merely repeating the racism he grew up with. Current Zionists will not be allowed to have that as an excuse.

  2. Liz
    January 25, 2016, 11:28 am

    Oh Philip,

    Such a sad and beautiful portrayal of what’s happening in the settlements. Thank you for providing such an honest report, something that we could never count on from the mainstream media. From the misguided idealism of the Israeli Jews to the Palestinian and other workers, to the communal dog, thank you for the truth.

  3. Sibiriak
    January 25, 2016, 11:49 am

    I remember reading another “Among the Settlers” — back in 2004.

    link to newyorker.com

  4. Mooser
    January 25, 2016, 12:46 pm

    You went there? Goodbye.

    • Mooser
      January 25, 2016, 6:28 pm

      “You went there? Goodbye.”

      What I mean is, you got some chuevos! I’d be afraid to go within a mile of them. Absolutely paralyzed.

      • Boomer
        January 25, 2016, 8:31 pm

        I often don’t know what you mean, Mooser. Sometimes I just don’t get the joke. In this case, chuevos is mysterious (though I can guess), and, as usual, Google translate doesn’t help me. I guess Google figures if you don’t know, you deserve to be confused. Or maybe Google thinks it is part of American English. Some issue arises when David Brooks, et al. slip in expressions to the NYT without a translation. I guess the editors there have the same attitude.

        Anyway, I figured that by saying “Goodbye” you meant to convey the original intent of the expression, “God Be With You” to Phil. That, sentiment, I think, most of us here can agree on in this context.

      • Mooser
        January 25, 2016, 9:51 pm

        “(though I can guess),”

        I don’t know how he managed. They terrify me.

        “God Be With You” to Phil.”

        Exactly. I was waving good-bye before turning around and running.

      • John O
        January 26, 2016, 3:06 am

        Do you mean “huevos”? (Spanish “eggs” – a euphemism for “cojones”)

      • RoHa
        January 26, 2016, 4:44 am

        “Huevos” is Spanish for “eggs”. Mooser is pronouncing it the way Zionists pronounce “Hamas”.

      • Boomer
        January 26, 2016, 6:28 pm

        Thanks for the explication de Mooser, RoHa.

      • tree
        January 26, 2016, 6:34 pm

        “Mooser is pronouncing it the way Zionists pronounce “Hamas”. ”

        I thought it was a combination of chutzpah and huevos.

        Cheuvos. If it isn’t a word already, maybe it should be. We can give Mooser credit for adding to the English language.

      • Mooser
        January 27, 2016, 12:14 am

        “adding to the English language…”

        Well, at least I haven’t got the responsibility for coining the term “Ziocaine” and “the Ziocaine Syndrome” on my conscience!
        Truly, it doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I’m a little proud of it.

      • RoHa
        January 27, 2016, 6:31 am

        If “chuevos” is a portmanteau word for “chutzpah” and “huevos”, I hope the editors of the OED are already preparing a definition for inclusion.

      • Mooser
        January 27, 2016, 11:12 am

        “If “chuevos” is a portmanteau word for…”

        Oy Gevalt! what ‘pretentious Anglophile orthography’ (no, I haven’t forgotten!)! “portmanteau”, already? In sooth, it’s more of a cheap cardboard suitcase with a broken strap.

  5. Kathleen
    January 25, 2016, 1:42 pm

    Great piece Phil. Although I would think most illegal settlers have access to computers and could so easily look up your name and associations. Odd

    The ethno centric make up of so many illegal settlers is so deeply disturbing.

    2011
    link to filmsforaction.org

    “Do you believe Palestinians and Jews are equal” Illegal settler “NO” No hesitation no shame at all.

    • Kathleen
      January 25, 2016, 7:18 pm

      ” I don’t need to lock my door, none of the wifi networks needs a password, and I can go anywhere I like in the kibbutz, though my walks will end when I come to the high fence topped with barbed wire.” –

      So interesting that no one googled your name.

      • Mooser
        January 26, 2016, 12:29 am

        “So interesting that no one googled your name.”

        He zeligged them!

      • Waterbuoy
        January 26, 2016, 8:04 pm

        They might not have but, after this article gets around, I think many of them will.

  6. Kathleen
    January 25, 2016, 1:46 pm

    Violent Israeli Settlers Terrorize Palestinians

    link to youtube.com

    so many clips of settler violence on Palestinians now available on line. Violence that has been written and talked about for decades now on line.

    • Eva Smagacz
      January 26, 2016, 5:47 am

      This Video is from 2009. There seem to be very few films on YouTube which are uploaded recently, even as we know violence is continuing unabated.

      • Kathleen
        January 26, 2016, 12:58 pm

        There are quite a few. Now days you have to dig a bit more. You tube has them categorized for adults now. One more way to keep the visuals out of people’s reach. Last time I looked you can keep accessing just a bit more involved

  7. Ossinev
    January 25, 2016, 1:49 pm

    “One guy admires David’s cowboy gun, and a bearded guy from Colorado tells me that in every Jew’s life he will hear a call to join his people”

    Sounds as if David is really living the Zionist John Wayne dream. All that is needed is a good horse and saddle , a few hitching posts in the settlements as well as spittoons for the chewing tobacco and it would be just like the good old Wild West keeping those ornery native varmints under control.

    Frightening that there are hundreds of thousands of these lunatics in the West Bank and in Israel. They are increasingly running the Zionist show and most worrying of all it is a show which gives access to nuclear weapons.

  8. rugal_b
    January 25, 2016, 2:04 pm

    Is there any similarities between the socialism in the Kibbutz and the democratic socialism that is being championed by Bernie?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 25, 2016, 2:14 pm

      sure, the concept of socialism. the question you should be asking is ‘are there any differences between the socialism in the Kibbutz and the democratic socialism that is being championed by Bernie?’

      can you see any differences?

    • YoniFalic
      January 25, 2016, 9:59 pm

      Arlosoroff called the Zionist socialism by the German name Volkssozialismus, which means race socialism.

      • rugal_b
        January 26, 2016, 1:03 am

        Yonifalic, socialism is a system that calls for strict cooperation between members in a group instead of competition. A race is a group of individuals with the same blood, or iow people who share same set of genes. As such, don’t every group in the world practice race socialism to a certain extent? Why a special term for Jews? Honest question.

        @Annie, I am concerned with similarities because I don’t want Bernie to advocate Americans to practice the same philosophy as the Kibbutz socialists, whose socioeconomic model is based on maximising the efficiency of theft.

      • Talkback
        January 27, 2016, 8:03 am

        The term “Volkssozialismus” is just a different term for Nationalsozialismus (National Socialism) to avoid legal prosecution.

      • YoniFalic
        January 27, 2016, 10:08 am

        The important labor Zionist leader, Chaim Arlosoroff, was calling labor Zionism by the name Volkssozialismus in 1919.

        link to archive.org

        Volkssozialismus is far more explicitly racist than Nationalsozialismus, and one should not be surprised that the German Nazis included non-racists like the members of the Straßer faction. Non-racist Zionists by the explicit definition of Zionism cannot exist.

  9. Annie Robbins
    January 25, 2016, 2:23 pm

    phil, super super interesting. can’t wait for part 2. the idea of going to one of these places is so creepy — but i’m glad you did it to bring these stories to us.

    • yishai
      January 25, 2016, 9:06 pm

      Agree with Annie and others here, this is a VERY important and deep piece that is hard to put down. This is detail that needs to be seen. These are a vast range of people, with different politics and alibis, but all of whom find a way to legitimize their presence as settlers and occupiers, in a directly violent manner, every moment of their time there. It is literally inescapable in those places, built into the architecture and the landscape. I am slowly working on writing my own memories of the settlements in the late 80s, for the very same reason I find Phil’s piece so deep and needed – because the truth needs to get out, and its silencing is one of the particulars necessary to the maintenance of this power structure.

      The comments about why Phil was not recognized also strike me as naive. The name Phil Weiss is a bit like Joe Smith in the US, its a pretty generic Jewish name. We all probably know 3-4 Phil Weiss’s. The blending in that is enabled by whiteness, not to mention Jewishness, masculinity, Western-ness, US-vernacular, etc., are also hugely at play, and Phil describes how he literally just walked in places, and was expected to.

      • WH
        January 26, 2016, 1:46 am

        ‘The comments about why Phil was not recognized also strike me as naive. The name Phil Weiss is a bit like Joe Smith in the US, its a pretty generic Jewish name. We all probably know 3-4 Phil Weiss’s.’

        Google ‘Philip Weiss’ – the first page of results is almost all about this one, and the word ‘anti-Zionist’ appears in some of the previews.

      • Tova Perlmutter
        January 26, 2016, 9:11 am

        WH, your Google results depend heavily on what Google’s algorithms have recorded you searching for in the past. Someone who has never visited Mondoweiss or read anything about this Phil Weiss will not get the same set of results that you got.

        But also, the commonness of the name means that someone wouldn’t think of googling him in the first place. Example: I know who Pamela Geller is, but if I meet someone named Pam Geller in the course of everyday life, and she behaves pleasantly and in a civilized manner I’m not going to assume it’s *the* Pamela Geller. And I’m on the lookout for this kind of thing; presumably these settlers aren’t assuming that anti-Zionists are going to be showing up at their door.

  10. Kris
    January 25, 2016, 3:28 pm

    This is a fascinating story, and I look forward to the next installment.

    But why did you write, “The settlers are engaged in what the world sees as illegal activities, and imposture was the only way for me to get this story.”

    “What the world SEES as illegal activities”? These are weasel words, just as when journalists imply that occupied Palestinian land is merely in dispute, not stolen, as in “land that the Palestinians want for their state.”

    Why you didn’t just write, “The settlers are engaged in illegal activities…” , which is the simple truth?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 25, 2016, 4:08 pm

      Why you didn’t just write, “The settlers are engaged in illegal activities…”

      kris, that “what the world sees” sort of jumped out at me too, but i thought he was perhaps putting the weight of the world behind the statement, vs merely his opinion.

      plus, in the entire context:

      I would never be accepted in these places if I was forthcoming. The settlers are engaged in what the world sees as illegal activities, and imposture was the only way for me to get this story.

      phil is explaining why he would never be accepted had he told the truth. because settlers understand the world sees their actions as illegal (vs some fringe left wing element in the world), and because of that phil approached them as an imposture.

      • MHughes976
        January 25, 2016, 4:34 pm

        I don’t see those words as weaselly, maybe a bit too optimistic. The settlers are breaking laws of many kinds and the world sees this clearly: the second clause is a significant addition. And true in that the settlers are unpopular in most of the world, slightly disowned even in Israel. However, the West tends to think of them as untypical and unrepresentative of the society that underpins them.

  11. Boomer
    January 25, 2016, 5:20 pm

    Amazing report, so well written. Thanks for it, but be careful.

    Re: “The bearded guy says the call is deep in your brain. “It’s like a salmon being out in the ocean doing fine, then something goes off in his head and he turns around and swims upstream, past dams and Indians and bears– it doesn’t matter.”

    That reminds me of a quote from Sharon that I read somewhere (probably at this site) years ago. He was ridiculing the Palestinians who asserted a right to return to their homeland. They were “like salmon” he said, as if the notion that people actually born in what is now Israel would want to return was ridiculous, while the notion that Jews born on other continents had such a right was obvious and sacred.

  12. HarryLaw
    January 25, 2016, 5:25 pm

    MHughes976. “The settlers are breaking laws of many kinds and the world sees this clearly” Unfortunately these are only allegations, the World court [ICJ] did find [by 15 judges to 0 ] that Israel is in breach of article 49.6 of the Geneva Convention [on settlements] but that was only an opinion. Similarly the UNSC has not taken any action against Israel, merely stating that the settlements are illegitimate. It is meaningless to describe an action as illegal if there is no expectation that the perpetrator of the action will be convicted by a competent judicial body. In the real world, an action is legal unless a competent judicial body rules that it is illegal. While I do rule out any action for the foreseeable future on the part of the UNSC [because of the US veto] it is to be hoped that the ICC Prosecutor will not politicize her approach to the Palestinians numerous complaints [including on settlements] recently made to that body. Unfortunately the ICC does not have a good record in that regard.

    • MHughes976
      January 26, 2016, 1:04 pm

      I was saying that Phil’s words were not weaselly. He wasn’t suggesting that he might not share the world’s perception of illegality. I think that your own remarks, Harry, show that claims about law-breaking do make sense – they may well mean that, just as you say, that prosecutors and courts ought to act.
      I also think that Phil was quite right to say that world opinion in general thinks that the settlements are illegal.
      I was also thinking of moral law, in the end the most important.

      • HarryLaw
        January 26, 2016, 2:53 pm

        Yes, I always say the settlements are illegal myself, similarly when the Israeli Government say the settlements are disputed, they are, with Israel and the US disputing with the rest of the world. Rather like the notorious Charles Manson and his lawyer disputing the juries verdict. I do hope the ICC can investigate, even if only the settlement enterprise. It should be in US parlance ‘a slam dunk’.

    • irishmoses
      January 26, 2016, 8:58 pm

      Re: HarryLaw “It is meaningless to describe an action as illegal if there is no expectation that the perpetrator of the action will be convicted by a competent judicial body. In the real world, an action is legal unless a competent judicial body rules that it is illegal.”

      I’m sure I follow the logic here. If Israel’s actions violate provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention (to which Israel is a signatory), and a court of competent jurisdiction hears evidence and concludes Israel has indeed violated those provisions, why is it “meaningless” to describe Israel’s actions as illegal? The law is pretty clear, as is Israel’s acceptance of that law and jurisdiction. Israel’s own internal government documents show (the Meron memo) Israel’s fore knowledge of its pending violation of that law in 1967 and its decision to ignore and intentionally violate it.

      The fact that there are political obstacles that have prevented enforcement of the law doesn’t mean those obstacles are permanent. While Israel may offer a convoluted, Charlie Manson-ish defense that the issue is “disputed”, the US has never accepted the validity of Israel’s position. The only thing standing in the way of a conviction of Israel for violations of Geneva IV is Israel and its US lobby’s continuing ability to apply political pressure and extract a UN veto from the US government. There is no legitimate legal dispute anymore than there is a legitimate dispute about climate change or the spherical nature of the earth. The flimsy logic of corrupt naysayers does not a valid dispute make.

      I suppose I’m tilting at windmills since you agree that an ICC or UNSC decision against Israel would be a “slam dunk”. What’s sticking in my craw is the implication that there is some validity to the “dispute” and that both sides bring equal facts and evidence to the table.

      • HarryLaw
        January 27, 2016, 7:36 am

        irishmoses. If Israel’s actions violate provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention (to which Israel is a signatory), and a court of competent jurisdiction hears evidence and concludes Israel has indeed violated those provisions, why is it “meaningless” to describe Israel’s actions as illegal?
        I think you miss my point, I too think, as did the International Court of Justice [ICJ] that Israel is breaching article 49.6 of the Geneva Conventions, however both myself and the ICJ are only offering opinions, although it must be said that the ICJ’s opinions must be taken note of by other states. So, although being merely an opinion, it is not legally binding on Israel.
        It is the case that the highest authority in the World the UNSC have declared that the settlement enterprise is illegitimate, they have so far failed to do anything about it, hence my accusation that the UNSC ‘s denunciation of the settlement enterprise, without taking the appropriate action [sanctions or such like] is meaningless.

      • HarryLaw
        January 27, 2016, 7:49 am

        irishmoses. To help illustrate my point, Dr David Morrison [SADAKA] Ireland, published an article on the UNSC in relation to the Iraq war. “The Attorney-General’s legal advice was sound” I hope you find the time to read it, and if possible give your opinion. link to david-morrison.org.uk

      • irishmoses
        January 27, 2016, 7:05 pm

        HarryLaw,
        I read and enjoyed the Morrison piece. It lays out the limitations of the UN and the ICJ very clearly. A worthwhile read. My quibble is with the term ‘meaningless’. You seem to be saying that since Israel’s violations of Geneva IV as documented in the Wall case, have had no legal repercussions or consequences, the accusation that Israel has violated international law has no meaning and the legal status of the occupied territories remains a valid legal dispute even though you personally feel Israel’s conduct to be illegal.

        I think Israel’s conduct toward the Palestinians is almost universally seen as illegal and very meaningful in its effect on those millions of stateless, oppressed people. I hope and think that the rising ire of the public will eventually make it politically possible or even mandatory for the UNSC to finally put its foot down and impose severe enough sanctions to force a change. At that point, there will be meaning and consequences for Israel’s actions. The UNSC certainly has the power to do so (assuming agreement among the Big 5) as its actions toward Iraq prior to Gulf War I demonstrate.

        I also think Israel’s violations of G-IV and the Wall decision confirming same are meaningful in the sense that these are frequently used to provide legal justification for international bodies condemning and sanctioning Israel, like the EU.

      • HarryLaw
        January 27, 2016, 8:06 pm

        irishmoses. Thanks for taking the trouble to read the Morrison piece, George Galloway regards Morrison as one of the best researchers in British politics today, he also wrote a book in partnership with Peter Oborne on Iran’s troubles with the west regarding its use of Nuclear energy. My use of the word meaningless was maybe too strong a word since the wall judgement has been used politically by pro Palestinian organizations, although Professor Finkelstein berates the Palestinian leadership for failing to capitalize on the ICJ ‘opinion’. Professor James Crawford who I mention lower down in the thread gives chapter and verse on the responsibilities of third parties both state and private institutions on the legal consequences of both recognizing and trading with the settlement enterprises link to tuc.org.uk It is 60 pages long but well worth the read, although it is still only an ‘opinion’. His point amounts to the prerequisite that states must have the political will to take the necessary action including sanctions. I have long been an admirer of Professor Finkelstein and his insistence on the application of International law, unfortunately it is not going to be implemented by the United States, hopefully the International Criminal Court can set aside any political threats from the US/Israel and investigate the Palestinian situation as a non politicized court and come to the same conclusions as the ICJ. I hope I am not being too naive.

    • Talkback
      January 27, 2016, 8:10 am

      HarryLaw: “but that was only an opinion. Similarly the UNSC has not taken any action against Israel,”

      That wasn’t “only a opinion”. The ICJ is the only institution which can interpret international law with legal effect. So it isn’t just an opinion, it’s a legal fact with legal effects.

      And the UNSC in 1980
      “6. Strongly deplores the continuation and persistence of Israel in pursuing those policies and practices and calls upon the Government and people of Israel to rescind those measures, to dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem;

      7. Calls upon all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connexion with settlements in the occupied territories;”
      link to unispal.un.org

      • HarryLaw
        January 27, 2016, 9:00 am

        Talkback, As I indicated in my reply to irishmoses above, UN States must take account of the ‘opinion’ of the ICJ since it is an interpretation of International law. What other states do in practice is usually a political matter. Professor James Crawford was commissioned by the TUC to determine what other ‘third parties’ must do link to tuc.org.uk. Paragraph 139/ “Unfortunately, the present reality of the Political situation in Palestine is such that it is unlikely that any adverse legal ramifications will result from states or private entities continuing to engage with unlawful settlements. As noted by the court in its Namibia judgment; “The qualification of a situation as illegal does not by itself put an end to it, it can only be the first, necessary step, in an en-devour to bring the illegal situation to an end” Regrettably, the political will does not seem to exist at present to enforce principles of International law in respect of settlements.

  13. broadside
    January 25, 2016, 6:31 pm

    “I misrepresented myself, saying that I sell houses in New York (I have supported myself in part by flipping houses), because it was clear that I would never be accepted in these places if I was forthcoming.”

    And that creates several very big problems, I think, one recurring: Phil’s not averse to taking advantage of the very ethnic supremacy he excoriates. (See hug.) That’s compounded here because it almost comes across as Phil not wanting to disappoint his new friends. (See hug.) And even worse, from the journalism angle, it establishes the relationship between Phil and the settlers as false, they’re not aware of whom they’re talking too, Phil having to be coy with his questions; it’s dishonest, the last thing the discussion needs.

    If there’s a need to get further into these people’s heads — I don’t think so; I don’t think it’s very deep — then I think Phil should have introduced himself, identified himself, shaken hands (no hugs) , and asked his questions.

    • yishai
      January 25, 2016, 8:36 pm

      Broadside: Your liberal perquisites for discussion would essentially underwrite continued silence on the apartheid nature of Jewish whiteness in the Occupied Territories. Specifically because no one, neither Phil nor any sane individual, would want to identify as an anti-zionist activist in those contexts, because of the very real threat of violence. I myself was ushered off a Gaza settlement at uzi point in the middle of a Passover Seder in 1988 for doing just that sort of thing, but not even that explicitly. My father and brother stayed, and I walked through a field of tiny red peppers to the nearest Palestinian farm house, where I was taken in for the night – but not before the settlers pushing me out said: “you love the F-ing Arabs so much, F-ing go be with them, and good luck when they murder you…” and other lovely things of that order. I also met numerous soldiers of fortune in my time in the West Bank, not to mention that nearly all settlers were active in the IDF, even amongst many of the religious, Haredi, etc.
      Phil: your work is pretty amazing, much appreciated, and “imposture” would not be needed if there were not a violent occupation, OR if many others had also written such exposes. Sadly, we need many more still, before this carefully guarded shame and the revealing of its presence causes (or more realistically, contributes to) a massive shift in direction.

    • WH
      January 26, 2016, 1:49 am

      I guess you don’t know much about investigative reporting…

    • John O
      January 26, 2016, 3:15 am

      Reporters often have to go undercover when investigating criminal activities. Nowt wrong with that.

      PS – great work, Phil. I often skim the articles on here if pressed for time. This one I read slowly and carefully.

      • broadside
        January 26, 2016, 11:00 am

        “Carefully guarded shame,” Yishai? Jewish settlers?? Now that would have been a story.

        You also write: “…but not before the settlers pushing me out said: “you love the F-ing Arabs so much, F-ing go be with them, and good luck when they murder you…”

        But we already know that; we’ve known it for years. So what’s the point of this story? Are these settlers “complicated and nuanced”? That’s what Jodi Rudoren said of one, and Phil seems to second that here. Stop trying to make this Mordechai Vanunu going undercover at Dimona. (John O. WH) Take the bastards on. “I’m Phil Weiss. I’m a Jew who runs an anti-Zionist website in America. Who’s willing to answer some questions?” For every settler who would have shown Phil the door, even brusquely, I’d be amazed if there weren’t ten who would have happily answered any question Phil chose to ask. (They’ve got God on their side, remember?)

        Instead we get Phil sitting around the campfire swapping his mother’s holocaust stories, sipping wine, taking every advantage of being a member of the tribe (“All my hosts were kind to me”) without accepting any of the responsibility, without even stating his purpose; namely: I’m Phil Weiss. I’m a Jew. And your behavior sickens me. What gives you the right?

        Because that, ultimately, is what the issue is all about. What gives them the right? Phil’s gone to the great trouble to be with them, but doesn’t ask them.

        Going undercover to get into the minds of racists; sorry, as elitist as it gets.

      • MHughes976
        January 26, 2016, 4:50 pm

        The settlers have sometimes talked to critical visitors – but that is to invite posing and bravado. I see the value of having some illustration of how they talk among themselves. I do agree that deception is always problematic.

    • irishmoses
      January 26, 2016, 9:23 pm

      I don’t fault Phil for not divulging his full identity. His purpose was to go and learn what these settler folks are about. Identifying himself as the enemy would have made that impossible and likely would have resulted in his being fed liver (his own) with some fava beans and a fine Judean Chianti. Since he didn’t divulge the the identity of those he interviewed, I see no harm and no foul.

      A very brave deed in my view. If some nerdish settler nebbish had discovered the full identity of their humble guest, we might be reading a very different story, a homage to our erstwhile leader.

  14. Kathleen
    January 25, 2016, 7:22 pm

    Read for the second time. So nauseating. What bigots and ethno centric’s, Just one more article confirming Israel is an apartheid state. Shameless one at that.

    If it is accurate that no one knew who you were wondering if they will get wind of this?

    Shameless bigots, thieves and human rights criminals.

  15. gamal
    January 25, 2016, 9:31 pm

    is that leaflet by Abdul Hadi Palazzi ?

    • Shmuel
      January 26, 2016, 1:56 am

      is that leaflet by Abdul Hadi Palazzi ?

      One would assume.

      • gamal
        January 26, 2016, 10:44 pm

        he is an interesting case, now a Hindu

        The Curious Case of “Sheikh” Abdul Palazzi: The Muslim Zionist Hindu Islamophobe

        link to islamophobiatoday.com

  16. Marnie
    January 26, 2016, 12:59 am

    That was depressing as hell. The feeling I got from reading Phil’s piece is one of oppression. Like visiting Beit Shemesh years ago. It felt like being under a shroud, stifling and dead. I’m reading more into it because of personal disdain. The only thing that made me feel not so depressed was this: “Funny and wise and aware of the outside world, this young woman is the most sophisticated person I will meet in my five days in settlements. I say, “But do we really need a Jewish state?” “Don’t start that! I’m not a Zionist.” We both laugh. Then she vents some universalist ideals about the end of identity politics as I nod my head. I never ask her what she’s doing in an exclusively-Jewish community; but I find the conversation restorative. Some Israelis understand that Jewish nationalism isn’t working out.” I don’t know how this young woman is surviving what must be an incredible battle for her soul. This is all the more depressing as I’ve just received Khirbet Khizeh and am full of tears. It’s too much to read the “beginning of sorrows” and then your piece. And the most horrible part is the sorrow I feel amounts to nothing, “two tears in a bucket, motherf&ck it”.

  17. Qualtrough
    January 26, 2016, 1:26 am

    Excellent but disturbing article. One bit I don’t understand:

    “He has five [children] by his ex, and a couple of years ago he married an immigrant from Russia in her 30s after she converted to Judaism. It didn’t work out, but when I ask him how many children he was going to have with her David says, “Double digit.”

    How is he planning on having children with her if things didn’t work out?

    • Kathleen
      January 26, 2016, 5:40 pm

      Goes along with his other delusions. Because our Jewish god said so as he shared with Jewish men that these lands belong to the Jewish people and the Jewish people only said the Jewish illegal settlers . Enough of the fundamentalist on all sides.

  18. Shmuel
    January 26, 2016, 1:55 am

    The historical honesty of some of the settlers (as opposed to nice Tel-Aviv or Na’aran “leftists”) can be refreshing (almost to the point of hypothermia), but there’s something to be said for the “decency” of self-deception. Ari Shavit has come up with an interesting (i.e. particularly disturbing) hybrid approach, which seems to combine the worst of both.

    Yehoud Shenhav-Shaharabani found some hope in settler honesty (again, as opposed to the hypocrisy of the so-called peace movement). He’s certainly right about the hypocrisy, but I’m not convinced about the settlers.

    • irishmoses
      January 28, 2016, 8:27 am

      I encountered the same feeling when I was living in a small town in the Deep South in the early 1960s. There was a refreshing honesty in the local middle-aged rednecks as they talked about the race problem which they were a living part of. It’s one thing to intellectualize about a problem; it’s quite another to live in the midst of it. The moral conclusion is the same, but the feeling, emotional part of it is much different. I suspect there is a lot of similarity between life in a settlement and life in the post WW2 small town south.

  19. Steve Grover
    January 26, 2016, 9:35 am

    Weiss Sez:
    “I slip out before the fateful act.”
    Why? Were you in a hurry? Did ya have to be somewhere?

    Did you put on a Kippah in the Synagogue? Did it make you squirm?

  20. John Fearey
    January 26, 2016, 12:43 pm

    ” ‘I ask David why we need a Jewish state. David tilts his head and looks at me oddly, like I said the earth is flat.
    “Come on?! After the Holocaust?’ ”

    Great article Phil. I am crossing a tour of settlements off my list of places to go before I die.
    The above quoted part of your article got me thinking. In the animal kingdom, the first thing a herd does when stalked by a predator is to disperse. There are many people who are persecuted, but I would say the chances of another holocaust directed at Jews is zero to none. The only scenario I could see it happening is if a racist form of fascism comprised of the ignorant, the hateful and the angry were to take hold. Racist, ignorant, angry, hateful, and add self serving: sound like anyone we know (hint, initials “BN”)?
    The best protection against the remote eventuality of a holocaust of Jews (there are still holocausts, just not Nazi ones) it would seem to me would be to spread the wrongly maligned principles of liberalism, not plop down in the desert amongst a hostile population and drive them out. Zionism is just a land grab dressed up in religious garb.

  21. James Canning
    January 26, 2016, 2:00 pm

    Many illegal Jews settling in the occupied West Bank think they are creating “facts on the ground”. Whether this proves to be the case remains to be seen.

    • RoHa
      January 27, 2016, 4:54 am

      The Romans created facts on the ground in Britain. Some of the facts are still there.

      But that thought is not much help in the short term.

  22. John O
    January 27, 2016, 11:49 am

    BTW – Great photo at the top of the article.

  23. JLewisDickerson
    January 27, 2016, 8:26 pm

    RE:“Among the settlers” and “The world the settlers made” ~ Phil’s pieces (not to be confused with Reese’s® Pieces) about his tour of four Israeli settlements in mid-January

    INTRODUCING MY SOON TO BE MUCH-BALLYHOOED (BY ME, IF NO ONE ELSE) “STREAM OF DISCOUNTENANCED INCONTINENCE”™ :
    Phil’s account of his surreal sojourn (i.e., his tour of four Israeli settlements in mid-January) is utterly riveting. Part Hejira/hegira; part ‘conversion on the road to Damascus’; part Peoples Temple Agricultural Project; all ultimately just scenes within acts comprising The Theatre of the Absurd.
    Exquisitely thought-provoking, but also intensely depressing!
    Truly Weltschmerz-inducing.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA.COM [Absurdism]:

    [EXCERPT] In philosophy, “the Absurd” refers to the conflict between (1) the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and (2) the human inability to find any. In this context absurd does not mean “logically impossible”, but rather “humanly impossible”.[1] The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the Absurd, but rather, the Absurd arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.

    Accordingly, absurdism is a philosophical school of thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd) because the sheer amount of information as well as the vast realm of the unknown make total certainty impossible. As a philosophy, absurdism furthermore explores the fundamental nature of the Absurd and how individuals, once becoming conscious of the Absurd, should respond to it. The absurdist philosopher Albert Camus stated that individuals should embrace the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning.[2] . . .

    “Anyone who isn’t confused really doesn’t understand the situation.” – Edward R. Murrow

    “Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” – Isaac Asimov

    “I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist”. – Jorge Luis Borges

    “All systems of morality are based on the idea that an action has consequences that legitimize or cancel it. A mind imbued with the absurd merely judges that those consequences must be considered calmly”. – Albert Camus

    “The Theatre of the Absurd … can be seen as the reflection of what seems to be the attitude most genuinely representative of our own time. The hallmark of this attitude is its sense that the certitudes and unshakable basic assumptions of former ages have been swept away, that they have been tested and found wanting, that they have been discredited as cheap and somewhat childish illusions”. – Martin Esslin

    ■ Arturo Ripstein’s discourse regarding Buñuel’s “The Exterminating Angel” (1962)

    • CigarGod
      January 28, 2016, 11:21 am

      “Those who can make us believe absurdities, can make us commit atrocities.” – Voltaire –

  24. CigarGod
    January 28, 2016, 11:16 am

    That “Couch and TV” photo is a brilliant work of art.

    • John O
      January 28, 2016, 11:46 am

      Indeed. I keep seeing more and more meanings in it every time I look at it.

  25. Yehudi Ben Israel
    January 29, 2016, 12:29 am

    You americans are so hypocritical. You think you can get a continent to yourselves by ethnically cleansing and killing its people and herding them into “reservations” and yet other people can’t do the same treating the natives in far more humane way and for a far smaller piece of land?

    • Shmuel
      January 29, 2016, 5:35 am

      Congratulations YBI. You just invented the right to ethnically cleanse indigenous populations. Shall I notify Amnesty or will you?

    • Kay24
      January 29, 2016, 6:29 am

      New hasbara recruit eh?

      According to your ridiculous comment, the precision bombing, the massacres, the kidnapping and jailing of little kids, who are rotting in stinking Israeli jails with no legal representation, the stealing of farms, olive trees, even soil, the blockades, the illegal settlements which house some Jewish terrorists, the stealing and controlling of Palestinian water, are “humane treatment” of those who lived before the transgressors were dumped there. Stop trying to justify these crimes by comparing it to what America has done. What the US did at that time was not right, but that was decades ago. It does not mean an on going occupation, illegal and condemned by the rest of the world, where indigenous people are still held under siege, no freedom, nor have their rights given back to them, is okay or acceptable.

      The oppressors are a devious, and shameless bunch of thieves, and make every damn excuse in the book, to keep the land thefts and occupation going. Pointing to America’s past, does not justify Israel’s crimes.

      You can call us “hypocritical” but you sure know how to sponge off us, and beg for more aid and weapons. How hypocritical.

    • diasp0ra
      January 29, 2016, 6:49 am

      @YBI

      At least you recognize who the natives are and that you are in fact ethnically cleansing them.

      Everything after that is justification for war crimes.

      Why do Zionists insist on drawing comparisons with periods before the advent of international humanitarian law? Do you yearn for the days of colonialism so much?

      • talknic
        January 29, 2016, 6:55 am

        @ diasp0ra

        ” Do you yearn for the days of colonialism so much?”

        No they yearn for valid excuses. There are none of course, but that doesn’t stop their Ziopoop

    • talknic
      January 29, 2016, 6:52 am

      @ Yehudi Ben Israel “You think you can get a continent to yourselves by ethnically cleansing and killing its people and herding them into “reservations” “

      Israel is STILL GOING IT!

      “and yet other people can’t do the same treating the natives in far more humane way and for a far smaller piece of land?”

      How many wrongs make a right in Ziopuke?

    • RoHa
      January 29, 2016, 7:55 am

      Is hypocrisy a worse crime than killing and ethnic cleansing?

    • Kay24
      January 29, 2016, 8:05 am

      YBI, hope the responses to your “great” comment made you feel welcome. If you stay around, you will feel more welcome, and even learn a thing or two, and begin to see some sense….nah forget that.

      • Shmuel
        January 29, 2016, 8:53 am

        YBI, hope the responses to your “great” comment made you feel welcome.

        But it went over so well at the last Women in Green demo ;-)

    • eljay
      January 29, 2016, 8:46 am

      || Yehudi Ben Israel: You americans are so hypocritical. You think you can get a continent to yourselves by ethnically cleansing and killing its people and herding them into “reservations” and yet other people can’t do the same … ||

      “Murderers exist, so it’s OK to rape.”

      Zio-supremacists sure do love their whataboutism-based appeals to the lowest possible standards of justice and morality.

      Zio-supremacists are truly hateful and immoral people.

    • Mooser
      January 29, 2016, 1:11 pm

      “You americans are…/… for a far smaller piece of land?”

      “Yehudi”, I’m sure everybody appreciates your performance, but we already have several Zionist-parody posters. And I want to warn you; they are first-rate! You will face stiff competition if you want to settle here.

    • amigo
      January 31, 2016, 8:04 am

      “You americans are so hypocritical” ybi

      Hey, we are not all Americans here.I am Irish and we never ethnically cleansed a people like Israelis have done.So, will you accept criticism from a citizen of a nation that has never colonized or stolen from or ethnically cleansed anyone.Also, you might want to prove your dislike for American colonisers by calling on them to quit giving Israel 3,5 billion dollars each and every year and diplomatic coverage at the UN , thereby enabling Israel,s crimes .

      You claim to be a committed zionist. That,s good , as all zionists should be committed.In fact I think all zionists should be “asylum ” seekers.

      My advice for you yahoody, is to go back to the J POST , you will be among friends who will not challenge you .

  26. Ossinev
    January 29, 2016, 7:09 am

    YBI. Welcome to the block and really appreciate your comments. It is so good to get confirmation that the Palestinians are the natives in the land and that the “Israelis” are the illegal ethnically cleansing invaders.

    KUTGW

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