John Kerry picked the wrong timeline for the Jewish state

Middle East
on 37 Comments

In his recent speech titled ‘Remarks on Middle East Peace’, US Secretary of State John Kerry offered a wide historical symmetric trajectory including “milestones” which Kerry believes “illustrate the two sides of the conflict and form the basis for its resolution.”

His three-point trajectory was based upon three dates: 1897, 1947 and 1967.

It started out 120 years ago, 1897, with the First Zionist Congress in Basel, “by a group of Jewish visionaries, who decided that the only effective response to the waves of anti-Semitic horrors sweeping across Europe was to create a state in the historic home of the Jewish people, where their ties to the land went back centuries – a state that could defend its borders, protect its people, and live in peace with its neighbors. That was the vision. That was the modern beginning, and it remains the dream of Israel today,” as Kerry appraises.

It continued with a point nearly 70 years ago, marking the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 which Kerry says “finally paved the way to making the State of Israel a reality. The concept was simple: to create two states for two peoples – one Jewish, one Arab – to realize the national aspirations of both Jews and Palestinians.”

It ended with 1967, where as Kerry notes, 2017 marks “50 years since the end of the Six-Day War, when Israel again fought for its survival. And Palestinians will again mark just the opposite: 50 years of military occupation. Both sides have accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242, which called for the withdrawal of Israel from territory that it occupied in 1967 in return for peace and secure borders, as the basis for ending the conflict.”

I would like to offer an even more symmetric trajectory, which does not dismiss Kerry’s mentioned events (albeit with a somewhat different appraisal of their nature), yet starts a bit later, exactly a century ago, with the 1917 Balfour Declaration which Kerry interestingly omits completely from his historical appraisal; it continues with the 1967 occupation that Kerry notes; and it ends with today – 2017, which I would like to mark as a particular point in a historical trajectory.

Kerry relates to this present as something that is still, in some way, on the horizon, as 2017 was at the time of his speech, just a week ago. But as one is often surprised at how fast the sun sets into the sea at the very last point of dusk, the ‘future’ often surprises us as already being here, whilst we speak of it as ‘soon to come’. I had a conversation about this speech with Israeli journalist Gideon Levy a couple of days ago, where he said:

“John Kerry, in his speech, he described a reality of what would be in a ‘one-state’ scenario, the Palestinians would live in enclaves, and that they would be without rights – he was actually describing the situation of today! Why are you saying when it becomes a ‘one-state’? Today! Why in the future? Today!”

Indeed, today. Let us then go back 100 years.

1917

The reason I pose 1917 as a significant date in this historical symmetry is not because I dismiss the fact and significance of the First Zionist Congress in 1897. It is because at the time of that congress, Zionism was still a fringe, at its very inception, and at this embryonic stage it was still not even completely fixed in any practical way upon Palestine as such. For example, in 1903, at the 6th Zionist Congress, Herzl proposed at British sponsored plan for settlement in East Africa, based on a British official letter concerning a “scheme for amelioration of the position of the Jewish race” [sic]. The congress became known as the ‘Uganda Congress’ for this, and whilst Herzl assured members that this plan would not be at the expense of the aim to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine, there was serious discontent amongst many, who observed it as a sidetracking of the main aim, and the plan was voted down two years later.

One of the main opponents to the plan was future first Israeli President Chaim Weizmann. It is interesting to note how Lord Arthur Balfour himself also appraised this plan, in his introduction to the 1919 book ‘History of Zionism 1600-1919’ by prominent Zionist leader Nahum Sokolow. Balfour writes:

“The [East-Africa] scheme was certainly well-intentioned, and had, I think, many merits. But it had one serious defect. It was not Zionism. It attempted to find a home for men of Jewish religion and Jewish race in a region far removed from the country where that race was nurtured and that religion came into being. Conversations I held with Mr. Weizmann in January, 1906, convinced me that history could not thus be ignored, and that if a home was to be found for the Jewish people, homeless now for nearly nineteen hundred years, it was vain to seek it anywhere but in Palestine.”

The point when Zionism really began to get a tangible grip on realpolitik in regards to Palestine, was thus with the letter sent on November 2nd 1917 by British Foreign Secretary, the same Lord Balfour, to the British Zionist Baron Walter Rothschild, conveying that “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object”. This became known as the ‘Balfour Declaration’.

Whilst the term ‘race’ was replaced with ‘people’, and whilst the ‘declaration’ ended with the qualification of “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”, there were many who regarded Zionism’s core notions as problematic to the extreme. Some of the most vociferous opponents were Jews themselves. The British Jewish Secretary of State for India Edwin Montagu levelled scathing critique at the Government’s intentions to endorse a ‘Jewish national home’ in Palestine in 1917, saying:

“I assert that there is not a Jewish nation. The members of my family, for instance, who have been in this country for generations, have no sort or kind of community of view or of desire with any Jewish family in any other country beyond the fact that they profess to a greater or less degree the same religion. It is no more true to say that a Jewish Englishman and a Jewish Moor are of the same nation than it is to say that a Christian Englishman and a Christian Frenchman are of the same nation: of the same race, perhaps, traced back through the centuries – through centuries of the history of a peculiarly adaptable race”.

Although some Jews saw Zionism as dangerous, Zionist leaders had managed to persuade British leaders that those were just “the wrong kind of Jews”. As Weizmann recalls in his memoirs (Trial and Error, 1949), one of his several exchanges (between 1906 and 1915) with Balfour went like this:

[Balfour said] “Are there many Jews who think like you?” I answered: “I believe I speak the mind of millions of Jews whom you will never see and who cannot speak for themselves.” … To this he said: “If that is so you will one day be a force.” Shortly before I withdrew, Balfour said: “It is curious. The Jews I meet are quite different.” I answered: “Mr. Balfour, you meet the wrong kind of Jews”.

By 1915, Balfour was already saying to Weizmann “you know, I was thinking of that conversation of ours, and I believe that after the guns stop firing you may get your Jerusalem”, already offering a state not even under his control, to another supposed “nation” which had little presence there.

Indeed, the Zionist venture was from the outset meant as a völkisch nation-state colonialist project. Whilst the Balfour letter regards a ‘national home’, one should not be too naïve about what this would eventually mean. In fact, Herzl’s diary entry from 1895, saying that “We shall have to spirit the penniless population (the Arabs) across the borderwhile denying it any employment in our own country”, could have already betrayed the real goals of Zionism from the outset. The reason why such designs were generally obscured from the public as far as possible (and still are), is already outlined in the continuation of Herzl’s mentioned diary entry, which states that “expropriation and the removal of the poor [indigenous population] must be carried out discretely and circumspectly”. These notions of ‘discretion’ and ‘circumspection’ lie at the heart of the reason of how Zionism managed to get so far in its diplomatic efforts to secure international and imperial powers to aid its cause.

Nor should one be in doubt as to the designs of Balfour himself. In 1919 he responded to Lord Curzon, that “in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country …. The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land”. (In Geoffrey Lewis, Balfour and Weizmann, 2009).

The British Palin commission sent to investigate Jerusalem riots in 1920, regarded the ‘Balfour declaration’ to be “”. It laid out the full declaration text, and noted as follows:

This is a very carefully worded document and but for the somewhat vague phrase “A National Home for the Jewish People” might be considered sufficiently unalarming, offering as it does, ample guarantees for the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities. But the vagueness of the phrase cited has been a cause of trouble from the commencement. Various persons in high positions have used language of the loosest kind calculated to convey a very different impression to the more moderate interpretation which can be put upon the words. President Wilson brushed away all doubts as to what was intended from his point of view when, in March 1919, he said to the Jewish leaders in America, “I am moreover persuaded that the allied nations, with the fullest concurrence of our own Government and people are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundations of a Jewish Commonwealth.” The late President [Teddy] Roosevelt declared that one of the Allies peace conditions should be that “Palestine must be made a Jewish State.” Mr. Winston Churchill has spoken of a “Jewish State” and Mr. Bonar Law has talked in Parliament of “restoring Palestine to the Jews”. Of the interpretation put upon the Declaration by all but the most moderate Zionists, it will be necessary to speak in detail later on”.

Thus the ‘Balfour declaration’ which Zionists themselves note as a milestone event in regards to the manifestation of the Jewish State, is very arguably ‘the starting point of the whole trouble’, not dismissing that Zionist activity and settlement had already begun.

This is a milestone event which Kerry had failed to mention, or deliberately omitted, although it is not only the most striking in its symmetry as a centennial, but also striking as a moment of distinct imperial action on behalf of a would-be Jewish State.

Skipping 1947

We are allowed to skip episodes of history when we regard them as less critical to our appraisal, or when we chose to omit them in the service of succinct summation. In my appraisal, I will thus opt to skip the indeed critical point which Kerry presents as a milestone – 1947. It is not that the UN resolution 181 known as the ‘Partition Plan for Palestine’ is not a subject worthy of historical appraisal as such. It is simply, that Kerry regards it as a “milestone” in that it “finally paved the way to making the State of Israel a reality. The concept was simple: to create two states for two peoples – one Jewish, one Arab – to realize the national aspirations of both Jews and Palestinians.” This is a highly disingenuous appraisal. First of all, the resolution was null and void for all practical purposes, as it was not in the UN mandate to create states, nor was the resolution ever taken up in the Security Council. Furthermore, it regarded the “aspirations”, “desires” and prejudices” of the Palestinians with clearly far less importance in comparison to the “far profounder”, “needs” and “hopes” of Zionism, as Balfour would have expressed it. The plan appropriated 55% of historical Palestine to a Jewish population constituting a mere 1/3 of the entire population (It was about 10% at the time of the ‘Balfour declaration’), where Jews owned about 7% of the land.

The 1947 Partition Plan was thus a continuation of the colonialist biased pattern that manifested itself in international imperial concerns since 1917. The Zionists of course accepted this Partition, and could exploit the ‘Arab rejection’ as another talking point in the presentation of Zionism as ‘diplomatic and willing’ as opposed to ‘Arab rejectionism’ – a central Zionist Hasbara talking point. Davide Ben-Gurion was very aware of the “circumspection” necessary in order to appear ‘willing’ in international diplomacy, whilst exploiting any opening as a starting point for the acquisition of more. He applied a certain ‘discretion’, so it is often necessary to look into the more private writings to get a glimpse of his actual intentions. Such a glimpse, one of great value, is offered to us in his letter from 1937 which he wrote to his son Amos (first published by Ilan Pappe), where he considers an earlier partition plan – the Peel commission plan:

“My assumption (which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition) is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning. When we acquire one thousand or 10,000 dunams, we feel elated. It does not hurt our feelings that by this acquisition we are not in possession of the whole land. This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole. The establishment of a state, even if only on a portion of the land, is the maximal reinforcement of our strength at the present time and a powerful boost to our historical endeavors to liberate the entire country.”

1967

“The Six-Day War, when Israel again fought for its survival”, says Kerry.

Another myth, dispelled by Israel’s own leaders and generals:

Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, a member of the cabinet in June 1967 said that “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him”. General Matti Peled, Chief of Operations in 1967: “I am convinced that our General Staff never told the government [of Levi Eshkol] that there was any substance to the Egyptian military threat to Israel, or that we were not capable of crushing Nasser’s army which had exposed itself, with unprecedented foolishness, to the devastating strikes of our forces…. While we proceeded towards the full mobilization of our forces, no person in his right mind could believe that all this force was necessary for our ‘defense’ against the Egyptian threat….To pretend that the Egyptian forces concentrated on our borders were capable of threatening Israel’s existence not only insults the intelligence of any person capable of analyzing this kind of situation, but is primarily an insult to Zahal [the Israeli Army].”

There are numerous similar accounts. Here is a short collection:

Rabin: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

Mordecai Bentov (member of the wartime national government): “The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”

General Haim Bar-Lev (Rabin’s predecessor as chief of staff): “We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the Six Days War, and we had never thought of such a possibility.”

Ezer Weizman, Chief of Operations during the war (by the way nephew of Chaim Weizmann): “There was never any danger of annihilation. This hypothesis has never been considered in any serious meeting.”

And finally, to sum this up with Peled once again: “The thesis according to which the danger of genocide hung over us in June 1967, and according to which Israel was fighting for her very physical survival, was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred after the war.”

Thus, in accordance with the words of Israeli generals and leaders themselves, Kerry’s appraisal could simply be said to be ‘an insult to intelligence’.

Yes, Kerry acknowledged:

“Palestinians will again mark just the opposite: 50 years of military occupation. Both sides have accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242, which called for the withdrawal of Israel from territory that it occupied in 1967 in return for peace and secure borders, as the basis for ending the conflict.”

Well, ostensibly so, I would say.

Israel’s supporters managed to find a way to create the famous ‘ambiguity’ in UN 242 in relation to the occupied territories that Israel should evacuate. As Secretary of State Dean Rusk noted in his book “As I Saw It” (1990), “there was much bickering over whether that resolution should say from ‘the’ territories or from ‘all’ territories. In the French version, which is equally authentic, it says withdrawal de territory, with de meaning ‘the.’ We wanted that to be left a little vague and subject to future negotiation because we thought the Israeli border along the West Bank could be ‘rationalized’; certain anomalies could easily be straightened out with some exchanges of territory, making a more sensible border for all parties. We also wanted to leave open demilitarization measures in the Sinai and the Golan Heights and take a fresh look at the old city of Jerusalem. But we never contemplated any significant grant of territory to Israel as a result of the June 1967 war. On that point we and the Israelis to this day remain sharply divided. This situation could lead to real trouble in the future. Although every President since Harry Truman has committed the United States to the security and independence of Israel, I’m not aware of any commitment the United States has made to assist Israel in retaining territories seized in the Six-Day War.”

So, there was that ‘vagueness’, which indeed led to ‘real trouble’. As Palestinian Authority Chief Negotiator Nabil Shaath, said: “Resolution 242 has come to be used by Israel as a way to procrastinate.”

And this brings us to 2017.

2017

Here we are. Happy new year. Nothing much has changed in the past 100 years, except that the ‘Jewish national home’ project manifested itself into ‘greater Israel’, a term which even Kerry uses. But he seems to want to frame this on the “settler agenda”.

“The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel. And their stated purpose is clear. They believe in one state: greater Israel. In fact, one prominent minister, who heads a pro-settler party, declared just after the U.S. election – and I quote – ‘the era of the two-state solution is over,’ end quote. And many other coalition ministers publicly reject a Palestinian state.”

But are these anything but rogue elements in Israeli politics? I recently wrote in response to Kerry’s speech, that just before the last elections, just before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “the Arabs are coming to vote in droves”, the prime minister assured the public in no uncertain terms that there will not be established a Palestinian State under his watch. It was unmistakable. And the Likud party platform of 1999, never rescinded, ‘flatly rejects a Palestinian state’, and the Likud was voted in just shortly after that (2001), and again, and again, and again, and again. What is there to be in doubt about? Is this not what the ‘democratic’ Israel wants? Is this not what its public voted for? Is this not a reflection of its real ‘values’?

Kerry is forgetting that the settlements are not merely the products of the right, but rather of all governments both right and left. Notice how even the political left leadership (Isaac Herzog) bemoans the ‘damage’ done to the ‘settlement blocs’ due to the recent UN resolution condemning settlements.

Back to my conversation with Gideon Levy. I said:

“I recall that you wrote in some article, that you not only thought that the idea of the 2-state solution is dead, but that it was not even born”.

Levy said:

“I say it was not born because I think that there was not one Prime Minister in Israel who ever really intended it. Because if there had been a PM who would have really intended it, then they would first of all stop with the settlements. And no PM has ever stopped with the settlements.”

This is also the point of Ilan Pappe – that the settlements are a ‘litmus test’ for the honesty of Israel in the ‘peace process’. And it must thus be said to have been dishonest throughout.

But when will recognize that what we are seeing is, indeed, what is reality today and not ‘soon’? We have come full circle. This has been a century of the Jewish State, where it has come from merely being endorsed in 1917 (by a power not in control of Palestine at the time), to manifesting as Greater Israel with unfathomable military power that continues to be replenished by USA, which provides to it more than half of the U.S.’s entire global foreign military aid, whilst Kerry complains that its leaders are not listening.

No. It is we who may not have been listening properly, not paying enough attention to Herzl’s words in those ‘discrete’ and ‘circumspect’ entries in his diaries way back in 1895, when he already knew what the venture would entail.

This is 2017. This is Herzl’s ‘Der Judenstaat’, The Jewish State, as it has come full circle over the whole of historical Palestine. It’s one state, today. As Kerry notes, the choice in such a case is only between Apartheid or democracy, but he thinks there is a tomorrow. As Levy was saying to me, it’s today, and the struggle needs to be over the nature of its governance. Apartheid has been the choice so far, and it’s that or democracy. If we choose democracy, we should start working at it, today.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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37 Responses

  1. DaBakr
    January 3, 2017, 10:24 pm

    omg! Ho-Hum. So ho-hum in fact, i had to do the evelyn woods thing lest risk falling asleep. who on earth is this directed at other then the specific bunch of lefties that comment on mw?

    the point?..

    1-palestinians have started to use balfour as a point of attack to resolve their dispute with israel in their overall campaign of lawfare utilizing the ICC, UN, so-called human rights orgs and other venues.

    2. kerry is out-of-touch and living in the post vietnam political scene. his obama appt. as SOS was probably his last best chance at achieving any office higher then senator.

    3. if balfour is declared illegitimate then israel can be declared illegitimate .

    • Boo
      January 4, 2017, 12:19 pm

      Ho hum. Somebody wake me when you’re done.

    • Misterioso
      January 4, 2017, 2:32 pm

      For the record.

      The Balfour Declaration was illegitimate because Palestine was still a province of the Ottoman Empire on the 2nd of November, 1917 when it was signed.

      “His Majesty’s Government” pledge to use its “best endeavours” to facilitate the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish peoples” amounted to a promise to give to the Zionists what England did not have, in violation of the established legal maxim Nemo dat quod non habet (nobody can give what he does not possess.)

      In discussing the legal basis for the creation of Israel, the highly respected American lawyer and diplomat Sol Linowitz wrote: “…the [Balfour] Declaration was legally impotent. For Great Britain had no sovereign rights over Palestine; it had no proprietary interest; it had no authority to dispose of the land. The Declaration was merely a statement of British intentions and no more.” (Sol M. Linowitz, “Analysis of a Tinderbox: The Legal Basis for the State of Israel.” American Bar Association Journal XLlll, , 1957, pp.522-3)

      Even Chaim Weizmann knew the Declaration had no legal status: “The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was built on air.” (Mallison, “The Balfour Declaration,” in The transformation of Palestine: essays on the Origin and Development of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, ed. by Abu-Lughold; Northwestern University Press, 1971 p. 85)

    • bryan
      January 6, 2017, 8:25 am

      If I wasn’t an atheist I think I would react OMG: I can’t believe I’ve just read that.

      Properly understanding history may be a lefty thing, but it certainly knocks spots off the rightie thing of inventing it. Thank you Jonathan for an excellent and much-needed response to Kerry’s fairy story.

      “[P]alestinians have started to use [B]alfour as a point of attack” – no they haven’t: they have always been outraged that their land could be given away by an imperial Britain that had no claim upon it and had already twice gifted it away (McMahon-Hussein correspondence and Sykes-Picot agreement).

      “so-called human rights” are not a stick to beat Israel; they are the means universally adopted by men of goodwill to avoid any repetition of the horrors that befell Europe and the world under Fascism. They are in fact a very Jewish thing. Prime mover in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the French Jewish jurist Rene Samuel Cassin. Rabbi Daniel Polish argued that, whilst the concept of “human rights” is a modern juridical notion, “the system of values and ideas” on which human rights are grounded 
      are among the beliefs which constitute the very core of Jewish sacred scripture and the tradition of ideas and practices which flows from it.” David Daube argued that foundations for human rights may be found in the religious literature of Judaism, and S. D. Goitein asserted that “human rights, and relations among men in general, had been fully established in the Bible and the Talmud, and these formed the very substance of medieval Jewish beliefs and practices.” The consequences of this tradition may be seen in the active involvement of Jews in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when “the support for universally valid laws and human rights became almost a self-understood Jewish concern.”

      Zioinist attacks on the concept of human rights came about only because Zionism as a colonial, occupying, exclusionist, ethnic cleansing ideology turned its back on centuries of a cultural tradition in which Jews had fought for tolerance, liberty and pluralism.

      The Balfour Declaration may have been totally illegitimate, but that, per se, does not undermine Israel’s legitimacy. Israel, of course, has no right to exist, and states frequently structure themselves in such away that they eventually collapse (Soviet Union, Apartheid South Africa, etc.). Nevertheless, Israel has as much legitimacy as any other state that seeks to live in peace within its own borders.

  2. RoHa
    January 3, 2017, 11:10 pm

    ‘I answered: “Mr. Balfour, you meet the wrong kind of Jews”. ‘

    You, Mooser?

    • Mooser
      January 4, 2017, 11:53 am

      “You, Mooser?”

      Me? I strive to be the right-on kind of Jew.

  3. RoHa
    January 3, 2017, 11:30 pm

    “And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land”

    So Jews are more important than Arabs! Even if they are wrong and bad.

  4. RoHa
    January 4, 2017, 5:15 am

    ‘In 1919 he responded to Lord Curzon, “… the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land”. ‘

    700,000 in 1919? Balfour was fantasising. There were hardly any Arabs in Palestine then. They all rushed in during the Mandate period. Or so we are told.

    • pabelmont
      January 4, 2017, 9:40 am

      Has RoHa been reading the (IMO completely discredited) “From Time Immemorial” (Peters)?

      See: http://normanfinkelstein.com/2015/01/28/norman-finkelstein-on-joan-peters-legacy-and-dershowitzs-legal-troubles/

      The bizarre chapter of Joan Peters’s contribution to the Middle East debate does not end with her death. Her arguments, both those she adopted from others and those she formulated herself, still constitute a huge portion of the go-to hasbara repertoire.” I interviewed Norman Finkelstein and asked him to reflect on her work and legacy, as he played a central role in debunking much of her work as described in his book Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

      Adam Horowitz: Could you start by saying a bit about how From Time Immemorial was received?

    • Misterioso
      January 4, 2017, 10:49 am

      Roha

      Although hardly a surprise, It seems like many others of your ilk, you have been duped by Joan Peters’ long since debunked mountain of mendacity, “From Time Immemorial…”

      To wit:

      Dr. Porath, one of Israel’s leading demographic historians, called Peters’ book a “forgery… [that] was almost universally dismissed [in Israel] as sheer rubbish except maybe as a propaganda weapon.”(New York Times, Nov.28, 1985)

      Rabbi Arthur Herzberg, vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, agreed: “I think that she’s cooked the statistics…. The scholarship is phony and tendentious. I do not believe that she has read the Arabic sources that she quotes.”(ibid)

      To further quote Professor Porath: “The precise demographic history of modern Palestine cannot be summed up briefly, but its main features are clear enough and they are very different from the fanciful description Mrs. Peters gives…. [S]he has apparently searched through documents for any statement to the effect that Arabs entered Palestine. But even if we put together all the cases she cites, one cannot escape the conclusion that most of the growth of the Palestinian Arab community resulted from a process of natural increase.” (“Mrs. Peters’ Palestine” New York Review of Books, 16 January 1986.)

      • RoHa
        January 4, 2017, 5:59 pm

        Pabelmont, Misterioso. No, I haven’t actually read Ms Peter’s famous work, but some of the Zionists who post here assure us that Palestine was almost empty until the Zionists started making the desert bloom, and then Arabs from the surrounding countries poured to take advantage of them. Since Zionists are never wrong (you ask them, if you doubt that), I can only conclude that Balfour must have somehow inflated the figures.

        And I don’t think I have an ilk to be of. Ilks are more Mooser’s line.

    • just
      January 4, 2017, 11:31 am

      I read/sensed irony in RoHa’s comment…

      • Mooser
        January 4, 2017, 11:58 am

        “I read/sensed…”

        One might say “RoHa” is the rhetorical Geritol of the comment section, his comments are a specific for irony-poor blood. One might say that.

    • Misterioso
      January 4, 2017, 6:47 pm

      RoHa

      I apologize. Being unfamiliar with your sense of humour, I didn’t realize you were being facetious.

  5. talknic
    January 4, 2017, 7:45 am

    Whatever happened prior to 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) is of historical interest.

    However, it’s a relic of the past and irrelevant to the State of Israel’s self proclaimed and Internationally recognized territories and the State of Israel’s illegal activities in non-Israeli territories acquired by war and/or under Israeli Occupation today.

    There is only one state that has officially recognized Israel beyond it’s 00:01 May 15th 1948 borders and that state is Palestine!

    • echinococcus
      January 4, 2017, 9:29 am

      Irrelevant? Past? Oh sure, for you defensors of some initial right of Zionists to perform invasion, conquest and genocide, and the right of colonial powers to trample all their own, self-proclaimed laws, of course it’s irrelevant and past.

      You still haven’t asked the owners of the place.

      You are competing with the worst colonialists in giving away what is not yours.

      • talknic
        January 4, 2017, 11:49 am

        Been here before.

        Israel exists as a state. Like it or not. Legally or illegally. Just or unjust. Not at my insistence. Not with my assistance.

        If it insists on existing, then it must be held to its obligations as a state, to International Law and the UN Charter

      • echinococcus
        January 4, 2017, 1:29 pm

        So you are neutral between illegality and injustice and its contrary, but you are dedicating a considerable amount of energy to the defense of illegality of justice. Not of its contrary. Defending only some obligations, secondary to more central crimes, but not the central crimes themselves.

        So that is certainly your choice, your insistence and your assistance as long as you do not address the central crime of aggression and invasion instead f only defending the initial invasion as a helper of the colonial powers.

      • Mooser
        January 4, 2017, 2:00 pm

        “Echin” what would be so wrong with trying to hold Israel to it’s 1948 statehood agreement?
        The eventual result will be the Israelis saying it is unacceptable!

      • echinococcus
        January 4, 2017, 8:25 pm

        Mooser,

        Who said not to hold the b@st@rd entity to its “1948 statehood agreement”? Sure, its nose must be ground to anything it signed.
        I am only saying that reminding the illegal Zionist entity of agreements entered after a totally illegal grant by colonial powers does not magically legitimate such grants and landgrabs.

        Meaning that if you “hold” the b@st@rd entity to any commitments incurred after its illegitimate birth while also reminding of the total illegitimacy of its existence, I have absolutely no objection and more power to you.

        If, on the other hand, all you do is continue droning like the ghost of Kitchener carrying the White Man’s Burden, affirming the legitimacy of a totally worthless grant of other people’s land in blatant violation of all basic international law (no mention of the original total illegality), you are a colonial propagandist, and I don’t care how you view yourself subjectively.

        If you are shysterly-inclined, go bring me a UN Charter article or somesuch, internationally valid in 1947, that says “Colonial overlords enjoy the absolute property of any lands conquered or supposedly placed in their fiduciary care; they can give away the sovereignty over them as they wish, pack them full of pirate bands who have declared hostile intent, bestow citizenship on said pirates, commit wholesale ethnic cleansing, browbeat their fellow colonial powers and enslaved and vanquished clients into illegally signing off on what they are not allowed to sign off on. Then have all lawyerly-inclined paragraph-shitters, no matter if they call themselves “Anti-Zionist”, continue, day in day out, proposing this as the Golden Calf of legality –no matter how long after colonialism has been made illegal. In fact, as if it had ever been legal.”

      • Mooser
        January 4, 2017, 9:13 pm

        “If you are shysterly-inclined,”

        Sorry, “Echin” you lost me there. Is a “shysterly” person some one who is chronically shy? Or is a “shyster” a name for a person who can be goaded into making a foolish and tragic bet?
        Or is there another meaning?

      • echinococcus
        January 5, 2017, 3:16 am

        Mooser,

        I have to apologize for the careless use of US colloquial “you” as an undefined pronoun –instead of the clearer “one”. Of course you, Mooser, weren’t meant.

      • Mooser
        January 5, 2017, 3:54 pm

        “Of course you, Mooser, weren’t meant.”

        Oh, hardly matters, since I don’t know what a “Shysterely person” is. Or is it better I shouldn’t know?

    • pabelmont
      January 4, 2017, 9:44 am

      What are the May 15, 1948, borders? Those proposed by UNGA 181? Or some (early) wartime temps? After all, the “1948” war itself continued (the Arab State armies did not even enter the picture until May 15, 1948) and the major trucial agreements came later and set the borders for what is usually called pre-1967 Israel or Israel-48.

    • Misterioso
      January 4, 2017, 11:13 am

      The thoroughly documented dispossession and expulsion of about 400,000 Palestinians by Jewish forces between passage of recommendatory only UNGA Res. 181, the Partition Plan, on Nov. 29/47 (in violation of the terms of the League of Nations British Mandate and the Atlantic Charter, never ratified by the UNSC and grossly unfair to the native Palestinian Arabs) and the declaration of the state of Israel by Polish born Ben-Gurion (nee, David Gruen) et al effective 15 May 1948, is hardly a “relic of the past.”

      Indeed, for the record, it was only the beginning. Between 15 May and the end of 1948, the IDF expelled a further 400,000 Palestinians from their homeland and destroyed nearly 500 of their towns and villages, including churches, mosques and cemeteries.

      Nor should we forget that as a precondition for UN admittance (after being rejected twice), Israel promised the UNGA and so declared by signing the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference Protocol that it would comply with Resolution 194 (based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) calling for the return of or financial compensation for the then 800,000 Palestinian refugees. Needless to say, Israel has not complied. It did however, dispossess and expel an additional approximately 250,000 Palestinians between 1949 and 1967.

      • oldgeezer
        January 4, 2017, 12:28 pm

        Israel demands,pleads amd whines for legitimacy. Particularly for it’s illegitimate acts. Any attempt at acting eithin the law, that governs all, or equality for all peoples is deemed as Jew hatred or antisemitism.

        Ziosupremacists aren’t alone in their vile immoral beliefs but they are part of the collective that represents the very worst humanity has to offer.

      • talknic
        January 4, 2017, 2:15 pm

        @ Misterioso

        All history, just and /or unjust, is a relic of the past.

        “The thoroughly documented dispossession and expulsion of about 400,000 Palestinians by Jewish forces between passage of recommendatory only UNGA Res. 181, the Partition Plan, on Nov. 29/47 (in violation of the terms of the League of Nations British Mandate and the Atlantic Charter, never ratified by the UNSC and grossly unfair to the native Palestinian Arabs) “

        I agree

        “… and the declaration of the state of Israel by Polish born Ben-Gurion (nee, David Gruen) et al effective 15 May 1948, is hardly a “relic of the past.” “

        I specifically didn’t say it was

        “Indeed, for the record, it was only the beginning. “

        It was the beginning of the issue being with the State of Israel. Prior to 00:01 May 15th 1948 the conflict was not with the State of Israel.

        Nothing prior to 00:01 May 15th 1948 justifies Israeli expansionism.

    • Misterioso
      January 4, 2017, 7:18 pm

      “Whatever happened prior to 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) is of historical interest.”
      “However, it’s a relic of the past….”

      No it’s not “a relic of the past.” The inalienable right of return and/or compensation as per UNGA Res. 194, which must be included in a final peace agreement, includes the 400,000 Palestinians driven out of their homeland “prior to 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time)” and their descendants as well as the additional 400,000 expelled by the end of 1948.

      Admittedly, a final peace agreement will probably include a compromise, e.g., a partial return and/or financial compensation for all the refugees. However, until it is finalized, Res. 194 is applicable in full. The right of return of and/or financial compensation for the 400,000 Palestinians expelled before 15 May 1948 are still on the table, not a “relic.”

      Nor is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is binding on all UN members.

      • talknic
        January 4, 2017, 9:24 pm

        @ Misterioso January 4, 2017, 7:18 pm

        “No it’s not “a relic of the past.” “

        I wrote quite specifically in one continuous sentence, that ” … it’s a relic of the past and irrelevant to the State of Israel’s self proclaimed and Internationally recognized territories and the State of Israel’s illegal activities in non-Israeli territories acquired by war and/or under Israeli Occupation today. ” !

        The consequences of what happened prior to 00:01 May 15th 1948 live on as a matter of course

        “The inalienable right of return … etc”

        Of course and it’s now the State of Israel’s obligation

        “Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is binding on all UN members”

        Same

      • inbound39
        January 9, 2017, 3:47 pm

        If you check with UNISPAL site it says Israel agreed to implement Resolution 194 in return for Full UN Membership. It has never implemented 194 so UN by rights should suspend Israel from UN until it does implement it. Other States need to insist Israel keep its agreements.

  6. pabelmont
    January 4, 2017, 9:48 am

    I agree that the 1SS imposed by Israel over the years after 1967 must, by any reasonable person not a diplomat, be regarded as a fait accompli (even though in principle it could be reversed or altered by diplomacy or war or that lovely middle ground between diplomacy and war, “sanctions”). and it is clearly an “apartheid” regime where nearly 1/2 the residents are denied either full citizenship or any citizenship.

    We must hammer at this!

    • echinococcus
      January 4, 2017, 8:35 pm

      Pabelmont,

      in principle it could be reversed or altered by diplomacy or war or that lovely middle ground between diplomacy and war, “sanctions”

      in principle or not, this totally cancels that:

      I agree that the 1SS imposed by Israel over the years after 1967 must, by any reasonable person not a diplomat, be regarded as a fait accompli

      Why you strangely consider diplomats as the only logical, or principled, beings on earth is hard to guess at.

      The fait accompli can be défait, as you say. As you may have have specified, it all hangs from the vagaries of US power, inside and outside.

  7. Kay24
    January 4, 2017, 7:54 pm

    Occupying and stealing lands have consequences, and Israel is feeling it very badly.
    Israel truly deserves it.

    Israel’s global standing is continuing to deteriorate, a new report from some of the country’s top strategists concludes.

    “Israel’s image in Western countries continues to decline, a trend that enhances the ability of hostile groups to engage in actions aimed at depriving Israel of moral and political legitimacy and launch boycotts,” the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University states in its 2016-2017 Strategic Survey for Israel.

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israels-global-standing-continues-sink-top-strategists-say#comment-53036

    • inbound39
      January 9, 2017, 3:55 pm

      Kay…the one thing those of us with eyes wide open have over traitorous congress men and women who serve a Foreign Government and Israel ,is we see Israel do more to delegitimize itself by its own actions or lack of actions than any entity or persons Israel accuses of delegitimizing Israel. It is mounting up and Trump is going to have an uphill battle legitimizing support for Israel if the American people voice their discontent with exorbitant amounts of taxpayer money being spent on a war criminal State thus making Americans complicit in Israeli crimes.

  8. Citizen
    January 5, 2017, 6:33 am

    Lots of Tweets ridiculing and condemning Obama & Kerry as Jew-haters who stabbed Israel in the back. I wish the US could take back that total of $161 Bn US taxpayers have gifted Israel to date. We need it here, and it’s been a net loss in every way for the USA.

  9. wdr
    January 5, 2017, 10:52 pm

    After January 20, what Obama or Kerry think about anything will be as relevant as Chester A. Arthur’s famous State of the Union Address of 1883- which, of course, every schoolboy and girl knows by heart, and has been translated into 34 languages.

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