To my fellow Israelis: We can stop this

Middle East
on 64 Comments

An open letter to my fellow Israelis:

This is probably a culmination of nearly a decade’s reviewed study of our history. At some point, beyond the singular stories, cases and arguments, I feel something unequivocal and very generally encompassing needs to be said about our Israeli “miracle”, the manifestation of the Zionist “dream”.

I will not write this in Hebrew, although that would probably have been the most direct idiomatic tool to reach your minds. I will not do so, because I have had enough of dirty laundry recycled amongst us “self-understanding” Israelis. Whilst I write to you, my hopes of change coming from within us Israelis have regrettably declined in the years – and thus, I am also, if not more so, placing my bets upon the involvement of the international community – whose help we need so badly – not for more cash, weapons, or apologetic “understanding”, but rather for its intervention in what we are apparently unable, and mostly unwilling, to fix. The attitude which I thus exhibit here is an extremely unpopular one in Israeli and Jewish culture. It is the vein of the “moser” – the one who “snitches” against the “Jewish nation” towards the goyim.

Well, get over it. There are far more serious issues at hand.

I have to tell you first that our evaluation of Israeli history omits so much atrocity from our side. Indeed, much of it is still classified – even back to 1948. Yes, you may have heard about the Deir Yassin massacre, it is often taught in school books, yet portrayed as an aberration, perpetrated by “extremist”, “rogue” factions before the Declaration of Independence (although the leaders of those extremist factions became our Prime Ministers). But what of the dozens of other massacres perpetrated by – us – in 1948, indeed by the very IDF? Have you read about Al Dawayima, which was apparently worse than Deir Yassin? Yair Auron just wrote about it in Haaretz, I translated and put it out here and on my Facebook page. Go and read. It’s a letter which is out for the first time in full, but it’s no secret as such – excerpts of it have been out for decades – as have many other testimonies and documents, for those who care to seek and look.

When you sum up the systematic mass executions, the many gang-rape cases (which have been slow to be uncovered, because they involve shame on both fronts), the crushing of children’s skulls with sticks, the ripping out of fetuses from their mothers’ wombs – all, and many more, perpetrated by “us”, the “good guys”, the “cultured elite” – often in situations which presented no danger, just out of pure gratuitous sadism and hate for the “Arabs” – then you may begin to realise, that Israel is not in a war of survival, a war of an elite and advanced culture in a “bad neighborhood” of backwards Arab sub-culture.

Let me put it out there, clearly and directly:

We have been acting like animals, with barbarism of a degree which indeed could be, and should be, and has been, compared to those whom we love to hate – the Nazis – whose cruelty is supposed to exonerate ours. As Golda Meir told MK Shulamit Aloni: “After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.” NO. Damn well not. We’ve used this excuse, with those words or others, together with a systematic cover-up of our own cruelties, since the start. And because we have largely succumbed to our own propaganda in this, we have failed to perceive the historical trace, which, if followed honestly, will show us that we are essentially AT THE SAME PLACE as before – still subjugating, still massacring, still torturing.

This is not a chain of events forced upon us as an inevitable consequence of trying to “survive”. This is nonetheless a predictable outcome of our inherent state-religion – which is not Judaism, as many mistakenly think – but rather Zionism.

We were brainwashed to think that Zionism is our savior. That as Jesus died on the cross for the Christians, our soldiers have died for our country. No – they died primarily for Zionism. “Our country”, as is mostly perceived by us, is not really “our country”. It is the country of so many others, whom we have not only expelled with unfathomable brutality, but whom we also now keep locked up in cages of various forms, shapes and styles, as well as under horrendous Apartheid regime in various degrees – in order to maintain our sacred “demographic balance” – whilst we continue, rather unabated, in our expansion over the “promised land”.

Our occupation did not begin in 1967, neither did our cruelty and crimes. We have established a state on the mass graves of others. This was not forced upon us. Just as Begin said in 1982, concerning the 1967 war “we must be honest with ourselves…we decided to attack.” So must we be honest with ourselves about all of our other portrayals of “self-defense”. Indeed, the whole Zionist venture is essentially portrayed as a “struggle for survival”, a “struggle for self-defense”.

Had we not hidden our crimes so well, so deep, and with so much propaganda “deterrence” rhetoric, it would perhaps be easier to believe our sincerity. On the other hand, when those crimes are exposed for what they are, it also becomes impossible to justify our moral righteousness. Indeed, as the world media became much more instantly transparent, the reality of our crimes became impossible to hide – so we put an extra focus on propaganda – to twist it all into “self defense”. We indiscriminately shelled houses and leveled neighborhoods in Gaza, for “self-defense”. We torture children, for “self-defense”.

Let’s just say it outright: We torture and terrorize the hell out of Palestinians in order to deter them and make their lives so miserable so they will want to leave – or to revenge, which will justify our next blow.

We have created a monster. Who on earth would want to “survive” if this is how “survival” looks? How vile is this “survival” which maintains itself upon the death and destruction of “others”? Indeed, who are those “others”? Are we not really the “others”, who came with our “better knowing” culture to “make the desert bloom”? And as this desert “blooms” with yet another settlement, another fictitious “military zone”, another “expansion” – the people who are there, the “others”, are gradually removed, encircled, or killed.

We Jews have thus created a violent legacy to last for centuries, even if it were to stop now. If all stories were now revealed, all archives declassified (1948, 1967 and all others), it is certain that this Zionist venture would constitute another shocking and substantial chapter of barbarism and cruelty in the annals of world history.

But it is not over – for worse, but also for better. We have the ability to stop it now. No, this does not mean our annihilation, as the propagandist Zionist hysterics would reflexively profess. It is an option, standing before us – to relinquish the reign of exclusivity, to separate the Jewish from the State, and to live in peace, with all the challenges that may face every human and every state.
But WE are not a state. A state is not “people”. A state is a regime, a paradigm of governance. A state may belong to its citizens – but then neither “we” nor Israel constitute a real state. For the State of Israel is the state of those who hold Jewish Nationality – which supersedes their citizenship. And I refuse to be a part of this “we” if that means some ethnic-religious-national mishmash superiority. Does that necessarily mean divorcing Judaism? No, of course not. It simply means divorcing the ostensibly inextricable tie that Zionism has made between itself and Judaism, in monopolising Judaism, using a mafia-style coercion of all those who speak against it, with the (too often) applied ultimate rhetoric WMD– of “anti-Semitism”.

This is a scare tactic that needs to be fought. If we do not rise above the intellectual atavism that this ideology submits us to, we will continue to be committing grave crimes and exonerating them as we go, in the name of this “religion”.

There is a future. Zionism, nonetheless, is a dead-end. I realise that saying these things today, is far, far from consensus, and is in no uncertain ways a recipe for societal exclusion. I’ll take that. I’m already resolved to it. But this is not some prophetic martyrdom that I submit myself to. It is actually the only right path that I see. If you want to hope for a good future with Zionism, at least do the minimum to really see what it has meant for Palestinians. That is, surprisingly, perhaps the easier part. The harder part is to look the horrors in the eye, and then look yourself in the mirror, and see what Zionism has done to you.

64 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    February 8, 2016, 12:50 pm

    Bravo. Israel must end Zionism. The world must end Greenhouse Gas emission.

    Two great and necessary transformations. Let’s face the future bravely, resolutely, and realizing that doing what is necessary is not always at all easy.

  2. Mooser
    February 8, 2016, 2:04 pm

    You know, it’s sorta funny, but when a person says: “My fellow Israelis” I gotta wonder ‘who on earth is he talking to’?

    • kalithea
      February 9, 2016, 12:35 am

      I know. How about? : To my fellow Jews around the world who are still Zionists-stop this!

  3. JLewisDickerson
    February 8, 2016, 2:51 pm

    RE: ,“I feel something unequivocal and very generally encompassing needs to be said about our Israeli ‘miracle’, the manifestation of the Zionist ‘dream’.” ~ Jonathan Ofir

    MY COMMENT: I am reminded of Max Blumenthal’s reference to “dream castle Israel”.*

    * SEE – Part 2: Max Blumenthal on “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” | democracynow.org | October 04, 2013

    [EXCERPTS] AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Our guest is Max Blumenthal. his latest book is Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. . .

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’m interested what kind of reception your book has gotten in the American media and whether there’s been much receptivity to the stuff that you’ve uncovered during your research in Israel.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: My book came out on October 1st, and so I’m going to do a book tour, and we’re going to see. It’s going to be pretty interesting. I’m doing a lot of cities. Actually starts in—right now it starts in Philadelphia at alma mater UPenn with Ian Lustick, who’s a political science professor at Penn who wrote a really fascinating piece calling for the end of the—you know, the two-state delusion and having a binational state. This is someone who, you know, comes out of—who doesn’t come out of the left. And so, I think it’s going to be an interesting tour. But right now, you know, I think that what the Jewish establishment wants to do and what pro-Israel groups want to do is ignore me. They want to ignore this narrative, and they want to ignore the real Israel. They want to ignore the facts on the ground and not talk about it, and keep focusing on this dream castle Israel, because it not only harms their political efforts, it harms them on a personal psychological level, because this goes to the very heart of their identity.

    SOURCE – link to democracynow.org

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 8, 2016, 2:59 pm

      P.S. A MID-WINTER EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, proudly brought to you by the purveyors of new Über-Xtreme Ziocaine™ Inhalable: “Dream-castle Israel is just a breath away!”

      We’re knights of the round table
      We dance whenever we’re able
      We do routines and chorus scenes
      With footwork impeccable

      We dine well here in Camelot ‘Dream-castle Israel’
      We eat ham and jam and spam a lot

      We’re knights of the round table
      Our shows are formidable
      But many times we’re given rhymes
      That are quite unsingable

      We’re opera mad in Camelot ‘Dream-castle Israel’
      We sing from the diaphragm a lot

      War we’re tough and able, quite indefatigable
      Between our quests we sequin vests
      And impersonate Clark Gable
      It’s a busy life inCamelot ‘Dream-castle Israel’

      I have to push the pram a lot (rhymes with Camelot) . . .

      P.P.S. Ziocaine™ is a registered trademark of The Mooser Corporation, U.S.A

      • inbound39
        February 14, 2016, 9:05 pm

        . Ziocaine™ is a registered trademark of The Mooser Corporation, U.S.A – Mooser brings excellent humour to threads here….he is a legend!

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 8, 2016, 7:12 pm

      P.P.P.S. NOW STREAMING FROM NETFLIX:
      The Wanted 18 (2014) NR 1h 15m
      LINK – link to netflix.com

      ● Here’s a brief synopsis of the film The Wanted 18 from Intuitive Pictures:

      In 1987, at the beginning of the first Intifada, Palestinian leaders asked their communities to develop Palestinian alter-natives to Israeli products. In response, a group of Palestinian activists started a cooperative dairy farm in Beit Sahour with 18 cows. All of the activists were intellectuals who knew nothing about raising cattle or operating a dairy. But, after some training (and the purchase of some cows from Israel), these newbie dairy farmers managed to start producing a high quality competitive product which became known as “intifada milk”.

      However, once the cooperative became successful the Israeli army ordered its closure, declaring it a threat to national security. Defying the army, the activists covered their faces and went under cover. They hid the 18 cows in people’s houses and continued to produce milk.

      The Wanted 18, is an animated documentary told from the unique perspective of the cows and the activists. Using stop frame animation, created by a team in Ramallah and Montreal, this documentary will also contain powerful filmed interviews with the Palestinian activists who initiated the dairy farm in 1988, members of the Israeli army as well as American dairy farmers who were involved in training one of the farmers.

      ● ALSO, FROM MONDOWEISS [‘Come and see!’ (and you will understand), by Rev. Dr. Jeffrey DeYoe on October 24, 2015]:

      Palestinians also value peace. While we were staying in Beit Sahour, the YMCA held programs for us every night after our days of olive picking and touring. One night we were mesmerized by the Palestinian film, “The Wanted 18: A Story of Bovine Resistance.” It is very creative and has won many international awards. It tells the story of the very beginning of the First Intifada (“intifada” means “uprising”), which was a peaceful uprising of economic resistance to oppression against the Israeli government. Up through the 1980s the Palestinian people were dependent upon Israel for most of the goods they could not produce themselves (and for the most part still are today). Therefore Beit Sahour city councilors decided they did not want to depend on Israel for dairy products any longer, so they bought 18 cows from Israeli farmers to start their own dairy. The humorous part of the story is that these were people with businesses and/or advanced college degrees, who knew nothing about taking care of cows. So they sent a young man from their community to the United States to work on a dairy farm for months and he came home ready to set up a milk barn. They got the cows and began production. As the First Intifada took hold, with growing economic resistance to Israel throughout the West Bank, the Israeli military told the Beit Sahour city council that it had to get rid of the cows or have them confiscated. The city council decided not to comply and hid all the cows in separate locations. With that came the spectacle of Israeli soldiers looking for 18 cows throughout the city every day for weeks to no avail. All Beit Sahour soon joked that the Israeli soldiers would search forever for “terrorist cows.”

      The Wanted 18: U.S. & Israel Bar Palestinian Filmmaker from NYC Film Premiere About Intifada Cows ~ Democracy Now! ~ Published Jun 12, 2015

      • kalithea
        February 9, 2016, 4:18 pm

        If these cows could talk they’d say: Resist with imagination. Bullies hate to be out-smarted.

        What can I say except something cheesy like: Milk Zionist paranoia.

        COWS ARE DECLARED A THREAT TO THE STATE OF ISRAEL

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      February 9, 2016, 11:45 am

      We who speak out so passionately to end the brutal occupation will NOT be ignored any longer.

  4. italian ex-pat
    February 8, 2016, 2:56 pm

    Truly amazing article. Not surprising that the author lives in Denmark and not in Israel.

    I find the accompanying photo very disturbing, it has no caption but appears to be a seriously injured Palestinian child being treated by a Red Crescent medic – Gaza?
    I can’t even bear to think of all the similarly maimed and dead children in that slaughter.

    • WH
      February 9, 2016, 2:51 am

      Yes, this was taken during Protective Edge. Some background here: link to electronicintifada.net

      • italian ex-pat
        February 9, 2016, 2:21 pm

        @WH

        Thanks for the link – and glad to learn that that particular boy was saved. Still, I’m thinking of all those who didn’t make it, or lost their parents. To paraphrase a recent disgusting political comment: ” there’s a special place in Hell for those who committed these atrocities against innocent children”.

  5. Kris
    February 8, 2016, 3:31 pm

    Raw truth-telling, but Jewish Israelis seem too far-gone in their supremacist delusions to be able to benefit from it. But maybe it will help open the eyes of some of their enablers in the American Jewish community, especially young Jews whose hearts are not yet dead to the horrors that Israel carries out in their name.

    We have been acting like animals, with barbarism of a degree which indeed could be, and should be, and has been, compared to those whom we love to hate – the Nazis – whose cruelty is supposed to exonerate ours. As Golda Meir told MK Shulamit Aloni: “After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.” NO. Damn well not. We’ve used this excuse, with those words or others, together with a systematic cover-up of our own cruelties, since the start. And because we have largely succumbed to our own propaganda in this, we have failed to perceive the historical trace, which, if followed honestly, will show us that we are essentially AT THE SAME PLACE as before – still subjugating, still massacring, still torturing.

    We read evidence of Israeli Jewish cruelties every single day of every single year, there is no doubt about what is happening.

  6. lysias
    February 8, 2016, 4:42 pm

    I happen to be reading at the moment The Maisky Diaries: Red Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, 1932-1943, an abridgement of the diaries of Ambassador Ivan Maisky. In his entry for Feb. 3, he recounts a visit that Chaim Weizmann paid to him on Feb. 3, 1941:

    Here he [Weizmann] began to set out his fears. The English — and especially their colonial administrators — don’t like Jews, This is particularly noticeable in Palestine, which is inhabited by both Jews and Arabs. Here the British ‘high commissioners’ undoubtedly prefer the Arabs to the Jews. Why? For one very simple reason. An English colonial administrator will usually get his training in British colonies like Nigeria, the Sudan, Rhodesia and so one. These places have a well-defined pattern of rule: a few roads, some courts, a little missionary activity, a little medical care for the population. It’s all so simple, so straightforward, so calm. No serious problems, and no complaints on the part of the governed. The English administrator likes this, and gets used to it. But in Palestine?

    Growing more animated, Weizmann continued: ‘You won’t get very far with a programme like that here. Here there are big and complex problems. It’s true that the Palestinian Arabs are the kind of guinea pigs the administrator is used to, but the Jews reduce him to despair. They are dissatisfied with everything, they ask questions, they demand answers — and sometimes these answers are not easily supplied. The administrator begins to get angry and to see the Jews as a nuisance. But the main thing is that the administrator constantly feels that the Jews is looking at him and thinking to himself: “Are you intelligent? Maybe I’m twice as intelligent as you.”‘

    … And then, taking all these circumstances into account, Weizmann anxiously asks himself: ‘What has a British victory to offer the Jews?’ The question leads him to some uncomfortable conclusions. For the only ‘plan’ which Weizmann can think of to save Central European Jewry (and in the first place Polish Jewry) is this: to move a million Arabs now living in Palestine to Iraq, and to settle four or five million Jews from Poland and other countries on the land which the Arabs had been occupying. The British are hardly likely to agree to this. And if they don’t agree, what will happen?

    I expressed some surprise about how Weizmann hoped to settle 5 million Jews on territory occupied by 1 million Arabs.

    ‘Oh, don’t worry,’ Weizmann burst out laughing. ‘The Arab is often called the son of the desert. It would be truer to call him the father of the desert. Hiz laziness and primitivism turn a flourishing garden into a desert. Give me the land occupied by a million Arabs, and I will easily settle five times that number of Jews on it.’

    Weizmann shook his head sadly and concluded: ‘The only thing is, how do we obtain this land?’

    So this is confirmation that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and a transfer of populations was already a part of the plans of the Zionist movement at the beginning of 1941. And Weizmann’s words confirm what Iraqi Jew Naeim Giladi said in his book Ben-Gurion’s Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews, that the Zionist plan in the late 1940s and early 1950s was indeed a transfer of populations: Jews out of Iraq into Palestine, and Palestinians out of Palestine into Iraq.

    • DaBakr
      February 9, 2016, 8:44 pm

      @l
      confirmation of nothing. weizman was speaking of polish/central jews, not iraqi jews. you pieced together point a with point d and confirmed your own deeply held conspiratorial belief based on the readings you yourself have selected to read. the jews living in iraq for over a 1000 years have their own unique history that is very different then jews who settled in europe.

  7. peter hindrup
    February 8, 2016, 4:54 pm

    And yet again another Israeli Jew, or a Jew in any event, learns and understands the truth, the fact that Israel is built upon a litany of lies, that the numerous ‘wars of survival’ were merely attacks by a vicious, far better armed and more numerous bunch of war criminals than those who were supposedly ‘an existential threat’.
    The Palestinians were from day one, day one being around 1880, 1890, the victims of colonisers, of the various governments who were supposed to be in control of, or administrating the Palestinian territory.
    The British either actively took part in such events as described above, or at best promised villagers under threat that if they gave up their (few) guns, they would protect them, and them stood by and watched the slaughter.

  8. YoniFalic
    February 8, 2016, 8:07 pm

    I have for the most part given up on engaging members of the invader population in Hebrew in invader forums. At least when I write in English to counter false “Jewish” beliefs or propaganda, racist invaders take notice if only to scorn me as a מוסר (informer).

  9. Kay24
    February 8, 2016, 9:16 pm

    Poll after poll shows the Israeli people agreeing with what their government does, supports apartheid policies, and is indifferent to the occupation, in fact preferring the status quo.
    I have no hope that sanity will prevail, and they will want to change their awful ways.

    History shows arrogant tyrants/nations/dictators, never last forever, Israel has, by its own actions, become a disliked and hateful nation. Nothing lasts forever, none of the empires did, and no apartheid nation held up over time. Israel is asking for trouble, and when it comes, neither the US, nor their faithful zionist supporters all over the world, will be able to help them.
    It is such a joke to hear them call their nation the “only democracy in the Middle East”.

  10. Annie Robbins
    February 8, 2016, 10:07 pm

    excellent jonathan, thank you.

  11. kalithea
    February 9, 2016, 12:15 am

    Reality check required reading for liberal progressive Zionists, for those attempting to recover from Zionism, for the 10% out of the 30% Israeli Left that’s left that are Jewish and still Zionist and 60% of Americans who still don’t get that Israel is not your friend. Oh, and send a copy to Bernie with the picture and this question: Are you finally feeling the burn?

    All great truths begin as blasphemies – GBShaw

    This is the highest compliment I can pay.

  12. John Salisbury
    February 9, 2016, 12:39 am

    Extraordinarily good Jonathan

  13. Shmuel
    February 9, 2016, 1:11 am

    Thank you Jonathan.

  14. Bornajoo
    February 9, 2016, 2:41 am

    Bravo Jonathan. Thank you for putting the truth out there

  15. WH
    February 9, 2016, 2:54 am

    Excellent text, though posting it here is essentially preaching to the converted. This should be in something like the NYT or the Forward, whose readers aren’t beyond redemption yet.

    • JWalters
      February 9, 2016, 6:31 pm

      Very true. On the other hand, publishing it here is publishing it somewhere. I hope Mondoweiss readers will post comments with links to this article at other websites. Let’s grow this choir!

      • Annie Robbins
        February 9, 2016, 6:53 pm

        i tweeted it out w/a note that said “everybody should read this” and got lots of RT’s ;)

      • xanadou
        February 9, 2016, 9:37 pm

        “I hope Mondoweiss readers will post comments with links to this article at other websites.”

        Done!

        Publishing on Mondoweis is why I have been coming here for a long time. The evolution of tone and bitterly sad profundity, especially during the last few years, is remarkable. Nevertheless, I am beginning to believe that We Shall Overcome One Day.

        Respect to Mr. Ofir. I hope he has found a protective circle of like-minded souls to help him endure the usual savagery that follows truthtellers.

  16. Sonja
    February 9, 2016, 3:03 am

    War is over, if you want it.

  17. Ossinev
    February 9, 2016, 6:18 am

    Speaking of history Haaretz has this article today:

    “This Day in Jewish History 1973: The Farmer Who Defied His Neighbors and Hosted Woodstock Dies”
    link to haaretz.com

    NB Not a day in American history or rock music history but somehow a day in Jewish history

    Desperate marketing methinks ?

  18. Ossinev
    February 9, 2016, 7:20 am

    FIRST REPORTED FRIENDLY FIRE SKUNK INCIDENT

    Isn`tit News is reporting that a group of residents of the Judean village of Stola Homa were the victims of a what is being described as a ” friendly skunk fire “incident yesterday. A resident of the village , Bernie Schwarz 111 , explained what had happened.

    “Man it was just like so unexpected. We had been watching these Arab squatters below our village inciting us for months, messing around with olive trees and crops and the like on what they claimed to be their land. Finally we had enough. A group of us guys got together and went down with chainsaws. We were peacefully chopping down these illegal trees when this group of Arabs came running at us yelling and throwing stones. So we grabbed some rocks and started to throw them back. There was an IDF unit which was close by and were watching all this going on. Next thing I hear is one of the soldiers yelling at us in some sort of weird language which I didn`t understand. My buddy Arnie told me later that it was Hebrew and that he was saying hang on we`ve radioed for help. About twenty minutes later this great Humvee type truck with a big tank on the back and some sort of giant nozzle on the front arrives. Next thing I know we are covered in this shit man and we are running like crazy back to our houses to get away. It was horrific man and I spent the next two hours trying to hose the stuff off me but I can still smell it. 24 hours on and I still reek of the stuff. My wife and the older kids won`t let me come near them. My youngest little Bernie Schwarz IV screams and throws up whenever I go towards him. I`m having to sleep in a tent in the garden with our Thai maid bringing out my meals. Gee am I really pissed off. We decided to move to Judea and Samaria because of the high taxes in our home state of Maryland and because of the number of blacks who were moving into the neighbourhood but mostly man we wanted to reconnect with our ancient Jewish ancestors. Things were good. We have a nice little subsidized condo with a decent size pool and hilltop views. No local golf course but hey I thought given time and once we had kicked out the Arabs who knows. Now it`s turned into a nightmare. I have spoken to the local IDF commander and he has promised to investigate. If I don`t get any satisfaction on this man I am going to take it all the way to the top and if needs be to my congressman back home”

    An IDF spokesman when contacted said that he couldn`t comment as the matter was the subject of an investigation. About twenty minutes later he contacted this paper to say that the investigation had been concluded and the IDF had issued the following statement:
    “We apologize unreservedly for this tragic error. It was due to poor visibility on the day. The residents involved have been offered free detoxification and trauma counselling. Additionally the Ministry of Defense has authorised payments of 100,000 Shekels per person to those affected by way of compensation. A total of 20 Arabs were arrested at the scene and have been detained on suspicion of terrorism offences”.

  19. Marnie
    February 9, 2016, 7:26 am

    ‘Let’s just say it outright: We torture and terrorize the hell out of Palestinians in order to deter them and make their lives so miserable so they will want to leave – or to revenge, which will justify our next blow’.

    It’s not difficult, it isn’t rocket science, this is exactly what it’s been about and what it continues to be.

    Truth is refreshing.

  20. bintbiba
    February 9, 2016, 12:05 pm

    I’ve been so busy sharing this amazingly honest article that I haven’t had the time to thank Mr Ofir for writing and posting it!

    Heartfelt Thanks !

  21. jake41
    February 9, 2016, 12:26 pm

    Thanks Jonathan, one one the greatest, if not the greatest read I have experienced dealing with the Israeli problem. The 51 day war has changed my life and my attitude toward my country, I try not to allow it to affect my attitude towards people.

  22. Rashers2
    February 9, 2016, 12:37 pm

    Nothing to be added to this open letter; except, sadly, that it won’t be heeded and (if read by them) may not even be understood, in the real sense of “understanding”, by many of its target audience.

  23. RobertB
    February 9, 2016, 12:50 pm

    Thank you…so much… Jonathan!!!

    I am glad to see that you are NOT on the side of the thugs….the murderers of Zionism. You are NOT on the side of the IDF…. the child murderers…the killers of women and children.

    I am glad to see you on the side of humanity, truth, human rights, justice, fairness, compassion, international law….

    I salute your purpose and courage. I commend you and your efforts!!!!

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    “Deir Yassin was only one of many massacres in 1948”

    Tony Greenstein

    link to azvsas.blogspot.com

  24. scott alexander
    February 9, 2016, 5:30 pm

    This is the first time I have ever read an opinion piece that condemns an entire country and its people along with its founding principles. Quite a feat. Nuance and thoughtfulness do not live here. I can accept your view that Israelis have committed barbaric acts against Arabs, afterall why should Israelis be any different from other nationalities who have and continue to do the same. But the comparison to Nazis is a tad overwrought don’t you think? And I guess if antisemitism is the WMD of the Israel can do no wrong crowd, then equating Israelis with Nazis is the WMD of the Israel haters. If Israelis were behaving like Nazis, should the world not then wipe them out? Perhaps that is the point you were making but could not quite put it out there in broad daylight lest you be labeled anti semitic. God this is complicated isn’t it.. I would be curious to know how you think demonizing Israel and at the same time completely ignoring Arab complicity helps bring reconciliation and reasonable accommodation over disputed lands?

    • Mooser
      February 9, 2016, 6:12 pm

      “I guess if antisemitism is the WMD of the Israel can do no wrong crowd, then equating Israelis with Nazis is the WMD of the Israel haters.”

      No, not at all, “scott alexander”. Not at all. I don’t know about the “Israel haters” but I’m pretty sure the “WMD” of the BDS and anti-occupation and Palestine-solidarity movement is international law and the laws of their countries. And oh yeah, the facts. And there’s a big empathy, something the Zionists have pretty much forfeited.

      So compared to that, how would you rate the “WMD of the Israel can do no wrong crowd” in comparison?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 9, 2016, 6:55 pm

        truth is the WMD of pro palestine activism. truth is definitely not on israel’s side and that’s something they can’t do anything about except change their policies, which they refuse to do.

    • amigo
      February 9, 2016, 6:27 pm

      “I would be curious to know how you think demonizing Israel and at the same time completely ignoring Arab complicity helps bring reconciliation and reasonable accommodation over disputed lands?” Scott Alexander.

      Disputed Lands –gee , Mr Van Winkle , there,s a blast from the past.The only folks still using that are the ones who haven,t read a newspaper or watched tv for at least a decade or more.

      The UN/US/EU/IHCJ/ICJ and most of the rest of the international community think they are , “Held under Belligerent Occupation”.

      • bintbiba
        February 11, 2016, 3:24 pm

        Hi amigo,
        On another siteI have appropriated and plagiarised your priceless ‘Niet-and-ya-hoo’ , without your permission. For that I beg your pardon !

        I do hope you don’t object ! I hyphenated it just so it sticks out like a sore thumb!

        I thank you for all your great comments/humour and for your eloquent support of the Palestinian people !

      • amigo
        February 11, 2016, 6:47 pm

        “On another siteI have appropriated and plagiarised your priceless ‘Niet-and-ya-hoo’ , without your permission. For that I beg your pardon !”bintbiba

        No pardon needed .Actually , your revised version is better.Do you mind if I use it.

        “I thank you for all your great comments/humour and for your eloquent support of the Palestinian people !”bintbiba.

        I consider it an honour and a duty to speak out for the Palestinian People .

    • Mooser
      February 9, 2016, 10:18 pm

      “This is the first time I have ever read an opinion piece that condemns an entire country and its people along with its founding principles.”

      Ever hear tell of a place called “Iraq”? And one called “Iran”. And I can remember lots more that got the treatment in my lifetime Soviet Russia, Red China, whatever regime the US says needs changing.

      Better get used to it “scott”. Israel has no immunity to criticism, and political speech.

    • Qualtrough
      February 13, 2016, 11:01 pm

      I know I am late to the game here, but I want to point out that Mr. Scott Alexander (undoubtedly his real name) has just offered up a double whataboutery with anti-semitic flourish, the equivalent of a skating’s triple axle. I stand in awe 10/10. Extra points for incorporating Nazi into the post.

      “I can accept your view that Israelis have committed barbaric acts against Arabs, afterall why should Israelis be any different from other nationalities who have and continue to do the same [sic]”

      “I would be curious to know how you think demonizing Israel and at the same time completely ignoring Arab complicity helps bring reconciliation and reasonable accommodation over disputed lands?”

      “I guess if antisemitism is the WMD of the Israel can do no wrong crowd, then equating Israelis with Nazis is the WMD of the Israel haters.”

    • inbound39
      February 14, 2016, 11:10 pm

      Mr Alexander….when a people conduct themselves as war criminals and show no shame for their actions it cannot be termed Anti semitic……what you are doing is being semantic and most of us here are anti semantic. What settlers and their ilk indulge in is War Crimes. You appear to be Pro War Crimes.

  25. JWalters
    February 9, 2016, 6:37 pm

    Thanks for this very courageous honesty. For readers who haven’t see it yet, a brief account of other buried, contextual history is online in “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”.

  26. MHughes976
    February 10, 2016, 8:05 am

    I’ve often heard my country condemned (also praised) in entirety, these condemnations meaning that our government policy or our public opinion are doing or supporting something wrong. Right or wrong they make reasonable sense, but of course don’t imply wrongdoing by all individually, an implication which would be hard to comprehend. Proclaimed or founding principles or values can be wrong and it may be important to point that out: people tend to think that their own consensus over time is infallible and sacred but that cannot really be true, since a rival consensus among others can so often be produced.
    ‘Disputed’ is another of those words subject to ill-definition and wordplay. In one sense things are disputed if someone merely says ‘I don’t agree’, in another sense ‘disputed’ implies that there is good reason on both sides. In this case the Palestinian claim to Palestine is a logical application of the most sound and accepted moral principles, the Israeli claim not. Israelis do of course retain their human rights, being as human as anyone, and Palestinians may of course do bad things – but the fundamental moral imbalance is not to be forgotten.
    On Mondoweiss we are concerned with ‘the battle of ideas’ – we are not conducting a negotiation aimed at unravelling the mistakes of the past. Mind you, if Israelis want to follow the logic of their ‘disputed’ terminology let them accept that there is at least some good reason on the other side and let them press their governments and representatives night and day to make a proposal for solving the so-called dispute, rather than persist with the dreadful and dishonest business of so-called negotiations in which nothing is proposed and no gap between the sides can be estimated.

  27. Nevada Ned
    February 13, 2016, 4:03 pm

    Slightly off topic, but there’s a new documentary film out, The Settlers, by Shimon Dotan, professor at NYU. The movie was just shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

    Very recently, Shimon Dolan was on Democracy Now, hosted by Amy Goodman. The interview can be found on you-tube. here

    I hope MW will cover the movie.

  28. just
    February 13, 2016, 4:48 pm

    Many thanks for this, Jonathan Ofir.

    (I am glad that you escaped to civilization…)

  29. maiselm
    February 14, 2016, 5:34 am

    Thank you, Jonathan Ofir, for a truly eloquent and moving article.

  30. iResistDe4iAm
    February 14, 2016, 7:16 am

    Bravo. It takes courage to speak out against injustice.

    But alas I think you already know that it’s too late for Israelis to stop this. For if they wanted to stop this, they would not have embarked on a multigenerational military project whose sole purpose is to implement this.

  31. inbound39
    February 14, 2016, 11:16 pm

    Congratulations to Jonathan Ophir for showing the courage and honesty to write the unexpurgated truth. Extremely well articulated. A copy should be sent to every Pro Israeli American Politician. It may well remind them of the conscience they choose to ignore.

  32. rugal_b
    February 15, 2016, 2:07 am

    At the end of the day, this is Israel’s wrong to right. Not anyone else, especially white Americans who have oceans of blood on their hands. So white Americans, stay on your lane and shut up already.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 15, 2016, 3:37 am

      So white Americans, stay on your lane and shut up already.

      LOL! in your friggin dreams dude. as if any pro palestinian activists are taking their marching orders from you.

      • rugal_b
        February 15, 2016, 4:10 am

        “LOL! in your friggin dreams dude. as if any pro palestinian activists are taking their marching orders from you” – Annie

        Don’t get me wrong. I truly admire pro-Palestinian activists, especially if they are from the privileged group as it shows that they are actively venturing past their comfort zone to protest against the dominant narrative, when they could just enjoy the privilege and be blissfully ignorant. However, we must not neglect the fact that there are many in this field, who have vested interests and dishonest motivations which cannot be in any way helpful to the Palestinians cause.

        This is why, white people should be a bit more self-aware on their presence in the field of activism. When black or Palestinian people say they don’t want white people within their ranks, it’s not that they are being racist or evil. They just want a safe-space, where there are minimum chances of interacting with a white person who possess oppressive attitudes or behavior, that can really be triggering and distract a person from his or her activism.

        White people are welcomed in the activism for Palestinians, as long as they know their place and respect the rights of Palestinians to take charge of the narrative of their struggles. This is my honest opinion, based on interacting with many Palestinian-American progressives and activists.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 15, 2016, 11:13 am

        divert divert divert:

        At the end of the day, this is Israel’s wrong to right. Not anyone else

        explain that sans another of your lectures pretending you’re the self appointed spokesperson on the do’s and don’ts for white people in this movement (which you are not). and while you’re contemplating that, remember, we don’t need you (an anonymous person who keeps their identity hidden while feigning to have personal experience interacting with many “Palestinian-American progressives and activists”) to instruct us on what palestinians think and want because they can speak for themselves, and do. we work with palestinians here and have been doing that for a long time (way before you showed up on the scene) and many of us (people who work here and our readership) have personal friendships spanning across different communities. iow thanks but no thanks — they can speak for themselves. here’s an article from a palestinian activist doing just that: link to mondoweiss.net

        but back to the topic in which i engaged you. what does “this is Israel’s wrong to right. Not anyone else” mean? because i think not, i think it’s a global problem that requires an international solution, with palestinians in the lead, vs israel.

      • Mooser
        February 15, 2016, 10:59 am

        “as if any pro palestinian activists are taking their marching orders from you.”

        Oh they do, Annie! They study his archive for their marching orders!!

    • diasp0ra
      February 15, 2016, 4:56 am

      @Rugal

      Are you serious?

      Who are you to act as some kind of gatekeeper? I am sick of your reductionist identity politics. Everyone that wants to help should be able to help.

      Would you have told the world community to shove off when they started to boycott South Africa and told them it was a South African wrong to right?

      • rugal_b
        February 15, 2016, 5:37 am

        @Diaspore

        Hi Diaspora, not all cultures are willing to open up to outsiders and non are actually obliged to do so, regardless of the outsiders intention for joining. Palestinians and their comrades in the diaspora, are diverse enough to be able to internally discuss competing strategies to overthrow their oppressors, without the need for white people’s help. Again, if white people want to be part of the overall struggle, then they should seek the permission of the actual Palestinians who are the primary stakeholders in this conflict. This is all I’m saying.

        Plus, why are the outsiders within the IP activism almost exclusively white people? Just as those activists for women’s right in Islamic nations, or those for children’s right in Africa, or those for food aid in Haiti? I mean, this is a problem that’s a bit bigger than just Israel or Palestine. This is about white savior complex which has been documented extensively by academics and researchers as something that is inherently insidious and harmful to the target populations.

        Are white people so perfect so they feel obliged to help all the lesser peoples to solve their problems through their selfless contributions and charity?

      • Mooser
        February 15, 2016, 10:49 am

        Funny, it always adds up to “leave Israel alone” with “rugal b”

        I guess the Israelis aren’t white, and can’t be part of the whole “white supremacy” “rugal” is so worried about.

        Tell me “Rugal b”, are Jews white? I’d like to know where I fit in.

      • Mooser
        February 15, 2016, 11:04 am

        “Are white people so perfect so they feel obliged to help all the lesser peoples to solve their problems through their selfless contributions and charity?”

        My goodness, I never before realized quite how much my alabaster titties “gleam from sea to shining sea” with hideous evil.
        My every charitable contribution is a bust!

    • rugal_b
      February 16, 2016, 5:31 am

      “My goodness, I never before realized quite how much my alabaster titties “gleam from sea to shining sea” with hideous evil.
      My every charitable contribution is a bust!” – Mooser

      Performing charity without actively participating in the destruction of systemic forces that gave rise to the circumstances where people are made to depend on charities from fellow man is an act of pure narcissism and selfishness. People who do this can go kindly F themselves.

      link to psmag.com

      • Mooser
        February 16, 2016, 10:47 am

        “Performing charity without actively participating in the destruction of systemic forces that gave rise to the circumstances where people are made to depend on charities from fellow man is an act of pure narcissism and selfishness.”

        But how can that be? I look so freakin’ good when I do it, and everybody who has less to give away admires me, and it’s tax-deductible!

        Neither G. Marx or J. Lennon can find fault with that scheme, I’ll warrant! It covers all the Engels!

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