You know your country’s in trouble when you’re afraid to put on a bumper sticker

Middle East
on 60 Comments
Larry Derfner is a brave man who broke with liberal Zionism, and has just published a memoir entitled “No Country for Jewish Liberals. His book traces his youth in Los Angeles to his eventual move to Israel, where he lives and works as a prominent journalist — most recently at Haaretz.  Derfner lately appeared on a video discussion at Facebook and on the New York Times op-ed page, “Israel’s Next War Is Always ‘Inevitable'”. Here in an excerpt from chapter 12 of his book, (reprinted with permission of Just World Books). Derfner is a skilled reporter and writer, with an eye for the telling detail. Watch how he starts off by using the history of bumper stickers in Israel to illustrate a much larger point.

If there’s one image from Israeli life that illustrates the national mentality in this decade, it’s the sight of cars backed up in front of you on the highway, and as far and wide as you search, you probably won’t find a single political bumper sticker. No slogans, no parties, no movements. You see quite a few true-believing Orthodox Jewish stickers —“We have no one to depend on except the Blessed Holy One” is a favorite — but aside from them, virtually the only stickers on Israeli bumpers in the 2010’s are commercial advertisements, with “How am I driving?” easily being number one.

This marks a radical change from decades past, when it seemed every newly arrived foreign correspondent from a major newspaper wrote about the vehement political debate going on between Israeli cars on the road, which was seen as a perfect illustration of the passion Israelis brought to political life. In 2004, novelist David Grossman wrote the lyrics of a famous song — “The Sticker Song,” which strung together 54 Israeli bumper-sticker slogans, most of them political —“A whole generation demands peace,” “Let the IDF win,” “The nation is with the Golan,” “Yes to peace, no to violence,” “Shalom, haver,” “It’s all because of you, haver,” “Hebron, always and forever,” and so on. That was in 2004. Except for the few old leftover stickers that haven’t been peeled off, they’re all gone and no new ones have taken their place.

I can’t think of the last political sticker that caught on with Israelis, not on the right or the left. I always used to have a left-wing sticker on my car; it was a matter of principle. But that was in decades past. The last one I can remember putting on my car was “When it’s all shit, evacuate” for disengagement in 2005. Which one would I put on today? Peace Now? Is Peace Now doing something; are there any demonstrations? (This is another conspicuous absence that tells so much about contemporary Israel.) Should I put up another Meretz sticker? Meretz still says all the right things; it’s still a brave, honorable party, but it has no impact anymore. Yet there’s another reason why leftists like me haven’t put political stickers on our cars in recent years: We’re afraid. Afraid they’ll just be torn off, one after another, which is kind of humiliating, as I described earlier — but also that our cars could get vandalized if we parked in the wrong place, such as Jerusalem (never mind a West Bank settlement). In the late 1990’s, I was stopped at a light in Jerusalem with a Peace Now sticker on my rear bumper, and the car sitting in back bumped me—not hard enough to cause a dent, but enough to show the driver’s mind was somewhere else. I turned around and glared at him, then turned back around. A few seconds later, he bumped me again. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw a young man in the driver’s seat staring at me grimly. The light turned green and I drove off. The only explanation I have is my Peace Now sticker that was staring at him.

Nowadays, I think displaying left-wing sentiments would be more dangerous than in decades past. Right-wing marauders in Jerusalem and other cities used to be accustomed to the sight of peacenik bumper stickers—they were all over the place—but the new generation grew up without them, and if they suddenly started seeing cars sporting left-wing or antiwar stickers, or, God forbid, ones for the despised New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, or Breaking the Silence, I think they’d go wild.

“No Country for Jewish Liberals” by Larry Derfner. (Image: Just World Books)

And just as the left’s hopelessness and timidity explain the absence of left-wing bumper stickers, the right’s awareness of the left’s lack of spirit explains the absence of right-wing bumper stickers: They don’t need them anymore. They’ve won. They don’t need to get in the left’s face any longer—the left has backed down. Is the “national camp” in danger of being overthrown by the “peace camp”? Is there any threat to the settlements? Is there a Palestinian state looming on the horizon? In this second age of Netanyahu, and starting even a couple of years before, an Israeli putting a right-wing bumper sticker on his car would just be bursting through an open door.

We are in a post-political era in this country. The central, over-riding political fact of national life, the occupation, is no longer a subject for discussion. As far as the public and the major parties are concerned, it’s settled (in more ways than one). The January 2013 campaign, the first of the decade, was also the first in which the question of the occupied territories, and of war and peace in general, was not disputed between the large parties. The Likud’s prescription—more of the same—went unchallenged as the Labor Party, for the first time, dropped the whole matter and concentrated strictly on economic issues. Meanwhile, the star of that election, media personality Yair Lapid, head of the new Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party, turned indifference to the occupation into an art. Campaigning against corruption, the high cost of living, and the economic, military, and religious burden of the ultra-Orthodox, Yesh Atid won enough votes to become the second-largest party in the country behind Likud.

This indifference carried on later in the year when John Kerry started up a new peace process. Everybody but Kerry knew it was going nowhere. After nine months, the Netanyahu government, which had shown its attitude to the negotiations by announcing one new settlement project after another, reneged on its commitment to release the last set of long-serving Palestinian prisoners, and that was that—“poof,” as Kerry would haplessly put it.

The 2015 election campaign matched the pattern of contemporary Israeli political life. The only change is in the hardening of the status quo: The country gets more paranoid, more racist, more aggressive. Netanyahu’s Election Day appeal to right-wing voters that “the Arabs are heading to the polls in droves, the left-wing NGOs are bussing them in” has become notorious, but it was only the culmination of an already vicious campaign, the worst he’d ever run, which is saying a lot.

For decades he had been accusing his centrist rivals of being “leftists,” but this time he charged Isaac Herzog, Tzipi Livni, and their Zionist Union list with being “anti-Zionists,” which, in the Israeli political vocabulary, is worse than being leftists. A leftist may be merely naïve, a bleeding heart, someone who speaks up for the Arabs out of that old, unkillable Jewish guilt—but an anti-Zionist is a declared hater and enemy of the State of Israel, an anti-Semite. Netanyahu accused Israel’s friendliest Arab, sportscaster and inter-communal peacemaker Zohair Bahloul, the only Arab high enough on Zionist Union’s ticket to be electable, of “giving character testimony in praise of Hezbollah”—which, as Bahloul’s testimony from the trial in question showed, was the exact opposite of the truth. Netanyahu’s single deadliest campaign video, set to a sound track of Arabic rap music, showed a truck full of ISIS men asking an Israeli, “How do we get to Jerusalem, bro?” The Israeli replies, “Take a left,” and the ISIS team drives on with shouts of jubilation. Punctuated by the sound of gunshots, the words, “The left will surrender to terror,” appear on the screen in red letters with bullet holes.

And it worked. I spoke to voters in different mainstream right-wing strongholds, and while they all talked like civilized, friendly people, which you wouldn’t have guessed from the campaigns of the parties they supported, the sentiment I heard over and over, in one phrasing or another, was fear of the so-called left taking over. (And this when the “left-wing” opposition, for the second straight election, had airbrushed the occupation and the Palestinians out of their campaign, lined up behind Bibi on security, and focused strictly on domestic, chiefly economic, issues.) The remark that stood out for me came from a 24-year-old biotechnology student at Bar-Ilan University named Reuven Gersovitch. “God forbid Zionist Union wins,” he said, sitting at an outdoor campus café. “They live in a different world. They’re nice people, they’re good people, but their way of looking at things is just not suitable to where we live.”

Israelis were growing more and more complacent. The economy was good enough for most and great for many, we’d won the war in Gaza, there were no rockets flying our way, no terror to speak of from the West Bank, and the riots in East Jerusalem, which had been sparked by the burning alive of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy by local Jews, had pretty much faded. Between the wars, now falling every couple of years or so, Bibi was keeping us pretty safe and prosperous. For a Jewish state in the Middle East looking out for number one, this was the best of all possible worlds.

About Larry Derfner

Larry Derfner is an op-ed contributor to Haaretz and the author of the book "No Country for Jewish Liberals" (Just World Books, April 2017). He was a columnist and feature writer for the Jerusalem Post, as well as the correspondent in Israel for the U.S. News and World Report, for many years. He wrote feature articles for the Sunday Times of London during the second intifada, and has been writing for American Jewish publications since 1990.

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60 Responses

  1. Citizen
    April 6, 2017, 2:30 pm

    I live in the USA. I get political bumper stickers sent to me from time to time, quite a few from organizations defending the Palestinian cause and/or questioning the US-Israel “special relationship,” including the comparatively lavish funding of Israel. I would not dare slap one on my car. Afraid my car would be vandalized while it was parked in a public parking lot. Anybody else?

    • Annie Robbins
      April 7, 2017, 1:10 am

      i’ve had a “free gaza” bumper sticker on the back of my car for at least 6 years now. it’s small but prominent, high up near the hatchback window (as opposed to low on the bumper). i just noticed recently it was starting to peel and curl on the upper right corner (maybe it’s all the rain this winter). it occurred to me the curling provided an opportunity for someone to give it a yank and rip it off. so far it’s just hangin’ in there. i have an identical back up. originally i got 3 of them and gave one to a palestinian friend visiting from gaza, she thought it was so cool on the back of my sportscar and took photos of it.

      there are a lot of jewish people in my area. sometimes (rarely) i get honks and high 5’s from passerbys. but no one has given me the finger or any evidence of annoyance or displeasure. i have an open carport and people walk by all the time. northern california.

      • amigo
        April 7, 2017, 6:17 am

        Annie, I have a “Boycott Israel ” sticker on the rear window of my car , which I got during one of the 6 protest marches in 2014. I drive an 04 Renault Megane and have been hoping someone will retaliate to a degree that forces me to upgrade but no luck so far. But this is , Israel /Jew hating Ireland so the chances of a hate attack on “Betsy ” are far less likely than in the Israel loving US of A.

        I think anyone in the US who places any sticker condemning Israel is courageous as are you and Citizen.

      • jon s
        April 7, 2017, 9:48 am

        amigo,
        So it will be easy to find you when and if I visit Ireland. You’re the guy driving around with the “Boycott Israel ” sticker.
        Annie, “Free Gaza” can be understood as an anti-Hamas slogan.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 7, 2017, 10:32 am

        Most people in Ireland support justice for the Palestinians ,Jon ,so the bumper stickers will be plentiful.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 7, 2017, 12:22 pm

        “Free Gaza” can be understood as an anti-Hamas slogan.

        lol, so that’s why my car/bumpersticker have not been vandalized jon?

        amigo, betsy? that’s so sweet ;)

      • Mooser
        April 7, 2017, 12:59 pm

        “nothern california”

        Where they take you as you are,
        With bunper-stickers on your car,
        California, she’s comin’ home.

      • Mooser
        April 7, 2017, 1:49 pm

        “lol, so that’s why my car/bumpersticker have not been vandalized jon?”

        Cause, you know, Jews in the US always go around vandalizing cars with bumper-stickers not extolling Israel. It’s a mitzvah! You only escaped because you fooled them.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 7, 2017, 4:06 pm

        not sure if we’ve got many of those jdl types out here mooser.

        Yet there’s another reason why leftists like me haven’t put political stickers on our cars in recent years: We’re afraid. Afraid they’ll just be torn off, one after another, which is kind of humiliating, as I described earlier –

        so much for israel providing jewish self determination. only if you’re right wing.

      • mariapalestina
        April 7, 2017, 5:33 pm

        A few years ago I naively placed a “Free Palestine” sticker on my bumper. Within days I found dog feces smeared all over the windows, windscreen and sunroof. I washed it off, and within the next ten days I had four slashed tires. I removed the bumper sticker and made sure to never again park in front of my house.

        My home, where I have lived for 45 years, is in a very nice Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles. My neighbors were all friendly, and we got along fine until the Israelis began to move in. If I had been more observant I would have seen the jeep with the IDF sticker a few doors down the street. Free speech doesn’t always work when it offends zionists, apparently.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 7, 2017, 9:45 pm

        that’s so sad mariapalestina.

      • gamal
        April 7, 2017, 9:33 pm

        “only if you’re right wing.”

        Darling inside in London ghetto music paul fox encapsulated that in

        “Forget about your full belly, feed your empty heart” from “Full Belly, Empty Heart”

        https://youtu.be/EcnjA0la_U4

      • Annie Robbins
        April 7, 2017, 9:55 pm

        eh, listening now gamal.

      • Marnie
        April 8, 2017, 2:54 am

        Jon, will you never learn?

      • jon s
        April 8, 2017, 3:23 am

        Do you think that intolerence only occurs from one side?
        What would happen to a pro-Israel sticker in a predominantly Arab neighborhood?

      • (((James North)))
        April 8, 2017, 10:56 am

        Jon s: I’m surprised that neither you nor any of our other liberal Zionists have commented on Larry Derfner’s pathbreaking book, (with the exception of JeffB). Derfner lives in Israel, but has persuasively challenged basic liberal Zionist views. Don’t you have a response to him? Are you hiding?

      • Citizen
        April 8, 2017, 2:47 pm

        It depends on where you live in the USA. I live in Florida, not California. I use to live in Skokie, Illinois–imagine a Free Palestine bumper sticker or No More Foreign Aid To Israel bumper sticker there….

    • lyn117
      April 12, 2017, 1:43 pm

      One of my friends with a free Palestine bumper sticker went to a pro-Israel town hall put on by a local congressman. Some other attendee called the police and reported her for terrorism. Another has had her car vandalized.

  2. Maghlawatan
    April 6, 2017, 4:37 pm

    Israel reminds me of Brexit in the UK. The right wing won . But it’s groupthink and the country is doomed unless it changes course.

    As Unamuno said to the fascists: Venceréis pero no convenceréis / You’ll win but you won’t convince

    • RoHa
      April 6, 2017, 11:12 pm

      A bit OT, but I do you see Brexit as “the right wing won”?
      It looks more like the people won against the elite to me.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 6, 2017, 11:23 pm

        The people didn’t win. Brexit is a fantasy. Read the Daily Telegraph
        http://Www.Telegraph. Co.UK

        Brexit was funded by a handful of billionaires.

      • RoHa
        April 6, 2017, 11:49 pm

        Voted for by the people.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 7, 2017, 3:27 am

        The people were lied to

        – 350 m to the NHS. Actually there is not more money but less in the coffers. Borrowing has to be increased by an alarming rate. And the roughly 400.000 Brits in Spain and France will lose their health insurance after Brexit.
        – Single Market Access will be retained because Germans want to sell cars. Seems the Germans have other priorities.
        – There will be an ambitious Free Trade Agreement in two years. The EU negotiators have said that this will be impossible.
        – The City will not suffer because they need the UK more than the UK needs them. Except that all the banks are now looking for office space on the continent.
        – Britain will still be a great place for business. But the new electric MINI won’t be produced in Oxford but Germany, Holland and in the Czech Republic.
        – Immigration will be cut to tens of thousands. Except it won’t
        – WTO rules will be just fine. Except that economists assume that Britain’s GDP in 2020 will be 3,5 to 5 percent lower.

      • RoHa
        April 8, 2017, 1:55 am

        What a wonderful crystal ball you have!

        But, with the exception of immigration, I doubt that those points were of much concern to most Brexit voters. They are used to lies.

        Many of the older voters will have remembered the lies they were told in 1973 and 1975. Many of the younger ones will have seen that “Remain” was supported by the smoothy-chops Davos man types, by the fashionable artsy-fartsies, by the respectable commentators, and by the Establishment in general. So naturally they would vote to leave. (The American phrase “stick it to The Man” applies here, as well as the principal that anything the Establishment supports must be bad for the rest.) Others, again, will have decided to take a chance that things couldn’t get much worse, and might even get a bit better. And some will simply have wanted to take their country back.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 8, 2017, 4:09 pm

        Roha, 68% in a survey before the vote indicated they would vote leave on condition it didn’t cost them anything.
        And Brexit will be VERY expensive

      • Keith
        April 8, 2017, 7:19 pm

        MAGHLAWATAN- “And Brexit will be VERY expensive”

        Perhaps in the short run, assuming other countries don’t join in, and particularly if the elites wish to punish the rebellious Brits. In the long run, however, the Brits will maintain control of their currency which they would have otherwise lost. I believe they were near the end of an exemption. A country which does not control its own currency is not independent. The EU is to a significant degree run by the European Central Bank headed by a Goldman-Sachs alumnus. The political systems of the EU countries, particularly the smaller ones such as Greece, are at the mercy of the global financial system which has no mercy for the 99%. These interlocking dependencies moderated by a predatory financial system are a disaster which will soon get worse. We are at the end of an era. Environmental factors, particularly climate change, require us to emphasize local autonomy, not trade. Only radical conservation will enable a reduced human population to survive. Business as usual will likely terminate the human experiment.

      • RoHa
        April 9, 2017, 12:44 am

        The other 32% wanted to leave no matter what it cost?

        I can’t open your article from the Telegraph, but it seems to me that (regardless of funding) support both for and against Brexit came from people across the “left-right” spectrum, but that the final vote was against the smarmy-pants elite.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 9, 2017, 1:29 am

        Keith, neoliberalism is dying. The velocity of money is ultra low . The 1% own 50% of everything. Debt will either be written off or given the 1950s treatment viz inflation.
        Leaving the EU may be a good idea but it has to be developed and put before the people warts and all. It has to be won fairly and squarely. Brexit is the political equivalent of a one night stand. It was not planned. It is a joke.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        April 9, 2017, 5:05 pm

        RoHa/Maghlawatan: As an outsider to the Brexit-issue, I am most interested in what happens with the boarder of North-Ireland and Ireland and what happens with Scotland.. How does the Brexit affect in the Great Britain in that way..

        I think here in the Nordic Countries Brexit rather achieved a discussion of how to make the EU better for just an average EU citizen. Following Finnish, Swedish and Danish EU discussion it seems to me that Brexit actually just made the discussion better. So mostly we are waiting for the next elections in France, but not strong sounds of any more “exits” in here right now..

      • Keith
        April 9, 2017, 6:32 pm

        MAGHLAWATAN- “Keith, neoliberalism is dying.”

        Well, you could have fooled me! You might want to send the good news to the folks in Greece. I am sure that they will be pleased. At the core, neoliberalism amounts to applying IMF structural adjustment programs on a global scale. Financialization and privatization reign supreme. I am unaware of any change to the neoliberal globalization onslaught. We appear to me to be still headed towards a form of neofeudalism and debt peonage. Or we will be if the empire can eliminate any and all alternatives like Russia and China. That is why the empire is on a global rampage.

        As for Brexit, the longer you allow the financial system to create financial interdependencies moderated by the financial system, along with the “trade” agreements legal framework of compliance, the more disruptive a break will become. The entire process of globalization is designed to lock countries and individuals into the global system of financial control. Brexit will be disruptive. Waiting 5 years would be more disruptive. Waiting for the system to collapse would be catastrophic.

        MAGHLAWATAN- “Debt will either be written off or given the 1950s treatment viz inflation.”

        Is that what happened in 2008? Forget economic theory, the game is rigged. The financiers make the rules, you and I suffer the consequences. The future looks bleak to me regardless of Brexit or not.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        April 9, 2017, 7:35 pm

        Keith:

        I would say, that in my opinion, the young generations in EU have grown to like the freedom to move, study and work freely around the Europe so much, that it is hard for me to believe they would want to close the boarders and turn back inside.

        I am not sure about the Euro as a currency in the future, but to give up the freedom to move and be part of the “European community”.. I think we like each other too much to want to give up on it..

        And at least in here, money ain’t everything (as we say in Finnish: “It is not about how much money you make, but how little you spend.. ” And you can have a pretty good life here with out being a millionaire.. )

        By the way, there was a terror attack in Stockholm couple of days ago (a guy from Uzbegistan drow over some people with a truck in the city) and today there was a concert in the middle of the town for the memory of the victims and the main message was: Sweden will not turn inside, it will not close and let the fear to separate the people and the biggest goal of the country will still be to become the best country of the world in the matter of humanity and a welfare state.

        Discussion is needed of course, but compared to the Israelian way of eternally taking revenge on mostly innocent people, I prefair this model of dealing with the violent attacks better.. But then again, I quess Israel does not compete in wanting to be one of the best welfare states in the world..

        And about the money: The future generations might like to concentrate on saving the planet Earth rather than making lot of money.. At least that’s how it looks like now..

      • Keith
        April 10, 2017, 12:39 am

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “I would say, that in my opinion, the young generations in EU have grown to like the freedom to move, study and work freely around the Europe so much, that it is hard for me to believe they would want to close the boarders and turn back inside.”

        Surely, all of that could be easily be accomplished without turning control of the European national economies over to the European Union Central Bank? Interestingly, as neoliberal globalization proceeds apace, the US borders have tightened up. There used to be relatively free travel between the US and Canada and Mexico before the “war on terror.” No need for passports, etc. One can control one’s currency and still have relatively open borders.

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “And about the money: The future generations might like to concentrate on saving the planet Earth rather than making lot of money.. At least that’s how it looks like now..”

        If the global financial system dictates the course of events that won’t be an option. If the 99% are locked into debt peonage, they will have no voice. No choice but to go along with what the oligarchs and corporations decide.

      • Citizen
        April 10, 2017, 10:02 am

        I agree with Keith’s input.

      • amigo
        April 10, 2017, 12:37 pm

        “I am most interested in what happens with the boarder of North-Ireland and Ireland and what happens with Scotland.. How does the Brexit affect in the Great Britain in that way.”Kaisa of Finland .

        Kaisa , GB pols are simply going through the motions of carrying out the wishes of those who voted for Brexit.The remaining 27 countries have already informed GB that no trade negotiations will take place until the terms of the Divorce are settled.The whole process will take 5 + years and by that time , the British People will realise what a bad decision they have made. A 2nd referendum will take place and Brexit will be reversed.The Tories (conservatives ) are aware that the level of fear mongering over the next 5+years will create a reversal of support for Brexit.The Border between the Republic and Northern Ireland and Scotland,s threat to leave the UK coupled with the Gibraltar issue and a plethora of problems yet to emerge , will add to the confusion/concern of the UK citizens.

        INMHO , the whole exercise will prove to have been a total waste of time and money.On the upside , it will negate the possibility of a Frexit/Grexit/Spexit/Chexit/ etc etc.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        April 10, 2017, 1:52 pm

        Keith:

        Well, what I meant was that EU might change it’s form to be better for the ones who stay in. It might get “financially more loose” and concentrate on other issues.. I think the elections in France will show a lot. But since the vote for Brexit and Trump in the White House, the strongest “exit talks” have dissapeared..

        I am hearing more of “lets make it better” talk..

        So the future will show.

        (By the way, Sweden and Denmark are both part of EU, but have both kept their own currency. So Finland is the only Euro country in the North and the currency is not the main issue of EU for me..)

      • Kaisa of Finland
        April 10, 2017, 2:20 pm

        Amigo:

        Thanks for your information.. I wish it all will turn out to be good in the end..

        Brexit kind of showed that we are already a net of people working/studying/living a flexible life here and there inside these same “wider boarders” and closing the boarders do not seem as a step to a better future..

      • Kaisa of Finland
        April 10, 2017, 2:55 pm

        Keith: “If the global financial system dictates the course of events that won’t be an option. If the 99% are locked into debt peonage, they will have no voice. No choice but to go along with what the oligarchs and corporations decide”

        The balance in the world has always been in constant change.. For how long has the world looked like the way you talk about it??? For a hundred years max. ??

        So in 40 years the Golden Trump towers could be “falling into disrepair” and the oligarchs and big corporations in the way we see them now, a history..

        In China teenagers are watching a liberal Scandinavian Norwegian tv-series (called Skam) from internet against the goverments will and in the Palestine children are filming human right violations with their mobile phones..

        This will change the balance of the world since people are able to find more sides of the stories told by their leaders and under all this anxiety in the world, there are lot of good things happening..

        So I am not so pessimistic about the future..

  3. Sibiriak
    April 6, 2017, 10:36 pm

    Larry Derfner is a brave man who broke with liberal Zionism …
    ———————–

    Actually, Derfner has has NOT broken with liberal Zionism; he criticizes the establishment version–often radically– but ultimately reaffirms its most fundamental tenets.

    He supports the end of the Occupation and the continuation of Jewish statehood in Israel, and he reluctantly supports BDS as a means to those ends.

    There is no ambiguity on this point: in his new book he describes himself as an “ultra-liberal Zionist”. (p.238)

    And he writes:

    I’ve learned a tremendous amount from the left. The exposure has moved me further in their direction, mainly in recognizing the justice of the Palestinians’ insistence on the right of return for refugees who were run out of the country in 1948.

    But the recognition of that justice has not led me to accept the left-wing view that Zionism is racism or that the Jewish state must be dismantled and replaced with a non-sectarian, Western-style democracy. Given the political geography and history of the Middle East, I don’t see how Arabs and Jews will all serve together in the military and intelligence agencies of a country whose potential enemies are all Arab and Muslim states and militias–and if Jews and Arabs in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza can’t defend a state together, they cannot maintain one together. As far as I am concerned, the one-state idea for Israel-Palestine is the local equivalent of the idea of a one-world government: It sounds sublime, and if it were workable it would obviously be preferable to nationalism, Jewish or otherwise, but that is not how people live. If the left’s idea for Israel-Palestine were actually implemented, I believe it would lead to a civil war whose end would only come once most of the Jews or most of the Arabs were gone. So while I think the Palestinian refugees have the right to return, I also think the Jews of Israel have the right to live in a stable, secure country, and the only possible country of that kind, at least in the Holy Land, is one with a solid, lasting Jewish majority. So the Palestinian right of return and the Jewish right to security have to be balanced. As for feasibility, as unlikely as Israeli Jews are as to ever give up the occupation, they’ll come around to that a long time before they’ll give up the Jewish state. [p.238-39] [emphasis added]

    https://www.amazon.com/Country-Jewish-Liberals-Larry-Derfner-ebook/dp/B06XGJR15M/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491530754&sr=8-1&keywords=No+Country+for+Jewish+Liberals#reader_B06XGJR15M

    • Maghlawatan
      April 9, 2017, 2:35 am

      Israel.is only sustainable when it oppresses Palestinians . Oppressing Palestinians renders Israel unsustainable. Israel was never planned. It has always been run on emotion. The system is not rational. Kosher plus torture.
      The collapse will be unmissable.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    April 6, 2017, 11:22 pm

    RE: “The January 2013 campaign, the first of the decade, was also the first in which the question of the occupied territories, and of war and peace in general, was not disputed between the large parties.” ~ Derfner

    URI AVNERY ON HOW THE ISRAELIS HAVE BEEN “BRAINWASHED”:
    “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . The Israeli media are already to a large extent neutralized, a creeping process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung. [SEE: Gleichschaltung @ Wikipedia – J.L.D. ]

    All three TV channels are more or less bankrupt and dependent on government handouts. Their editors are practically government appointees. The printed press is also teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, except the largest “news” paper, which belongs to Sheldon Adelson and is a Netanyahu propaganda sheet, distributed gratis. [Naftali] Bennett repeats the ridiculous assertion that almost all journalists are left-wingers (meaning traitors.) He promises to put an end to this intolerable situation. . .

    . . . In the coming four years, the official annexation of the West Bank to Israel may become a fact. . .

    . . . If the government continues on its present course, this will lead to certain disaster – the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will become one unit under Israeli rule. This Greater Israel will contain an Arab majority and a shrinking Jewish minority, turning it inevitably into an apartheid state, plagued by a permanent civil war and shunned by the world.

    If pressure from without and within eventually compels the government to grant civil rights to the Arab majority, the country will turn into an Arab state. 134 years of Zionist endeavor will come to naught, a repetition of the Crusaders’ kingdom.

    This is so obvious, so inevitable, that one needs an iron will not to think about it. It seems that all major parties in these elections have this will. Speaking about peace, they believe, is poison. Giving back the West Bank and East Jerusalem for peace? God forbid even thinking about it.

    The weird fact is that this week two respected polls – independent of each other – came to the same conclusion: the great majority of Israeli voters favors the “two-state solution”, the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem. This majority includes the majority of Likud voters, and even about half of Bennett’s adherents.

    How come? The explanation lies in the next question: How many voters believe that this solution is possible? The answer: almost nobody. Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that “the Arabs” don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.

    If peace is impossible, why think about it? Why even mention it in the election campaign? Why not go back 44 years to Golda Meir’s days and pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist? (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away. They did not exist.” – Golda Meir, June 13, 1969) . . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/04/israels-weird-elections/

  5. Ossinev
    April 7, 2017, 1:12 pm

    @JonS
    “So it will be easy to find you when and if I visit Ireland”

    May I suggest that you try to fit in a visit to the Shankill Road or Loyalist East Belfast. Best of all go to Belfast during the “marching season” and take in the glory and splendours of an Orange Order Parade and “traditional” bonfire. You will really appreciate it and will feel really at home witnessing their shenanigans = the closest thing to ugly racist Zionism and Zionist thuggery in Europe. True kindred spirits to the Chosen People in Zioland.

    • jon s
      April 8, 2017, 3:25 am

      Ossinev,
      Why would I appreciate manifestations of racism? I despise racism.

      • Mooser
        April 8, 2017, 12:47 pm

        “.I despise racism.”

        Unless racism is keeping you safe from Eritreans who might wander by at the wrong moment.

      • MHughes976
        April 8, 2017, 5:00 pm

        Racism = prejudice on grounds of ancestry?

      • echinococcus
        April 8, 2017, 5:55 pm

        Ancestry looks very much like an accident of birth.

      • Mooser
        April 8, 2017, 8:23 pm

        “Racism = prejudice on grounds of ancestry?”

        Exactly. Like thinking that one’s ancestry gives one a right to somebody elses stuff and land.

      • RoHa
        April 9, 2017, 12:35 am

        “Racism = prejudice on grounds of ancestry?”

        I think we need a little more detail than that. The British political system shows strong prejudice on grounds of ancestry, in that people with the right ancestors are more likely to end up as monarchs than those of whose blood is at the other end of the spectrum.

      • Talkback
        April 9, 2017, 6:26 am

        jon s: “Why would I appreciate manifestations of racism? I despise racism.”

        That explains your call for regime change to end JSIL’s Hafradaheid.

      • jon s
        April 12, 2017, 10:54 am

        Here’s the Webster definition of racism:

        Definition of racism
        1
        : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
        2
        a : a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
        b : a political or social system founded on racism
        3
        : racial prejudice or discrimination

        The absolute opposite of what I think and believe.

      • eljay
        April 12, 2017, 11:05 am

        || jon s: Here’s the Webster definition of racism … The absolute opposite of what I think and believe. ||

        I don’t know why people insist on calling you a racist when, really, you’re a supremacist – a Zionist – who believes that for the people who choose to hold it the religion-based identity of Jewish comprises a right to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2017, 1:27 pm

        “Definition of racism”

        Problem is “Jon s” you don’t know what a “race” is. Because you think there is such a thing as “race”. And since everybody involved is roughly the same skin-color, you think you can evade the ‘racism’ charge.

        “Race” is any distinction the oppressing group chooses to make between themselves and another group. It isn’t always skin color. It can be religion, ethnic derivation, or any perceived difference.

        So don’t try and get sophisticated on us, “Jon s”, what Zionism does and what Zionism believes can be very well described as racism. Sure, more particular descriptions can be made. But “racism’ is plenty good to get along with.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2017, 1:52 pm

        “Why would I appreciate manifestations of racism? I despise racism.”

        Yup, that’s why you were so quick to defend the beating death of an Eritrean by Beersheba settlers. That was no “manifestation of racism”, was it?

      • MHughes976
        April 12, 2017, 4:31 pm

        Well, a) taking the third element in jon’s definition b) taking race to mean a status significantly determined by ancestry c) taking ancestry to mean something a bit more historic and long- term than parentage and close family, let’s see.
        Jon might say that Israel’s treatment of non-Jewish people subject to its exercise of sovereign power is not a matter of prejudice but of reason, ie the rational purpose of maintaining the Jewish character of the state. That is quite like what I would say about some forms of hereditary privilege, mentioned by RoHa , that there may be reason to maintain them for the common good, rather than prejudice in favour of those involved. But it is impossible to say that the Israeli system is for the common good, including that of the non-Jews concerned.
        Even if we are not talking about prejudice we are surely talking about serious discrimination, including for many disfranchised status in face of the sovereign power exercised over their lives. And we are talking about whether or not people are Jewish, which in turn is commonly defined, to a significant degree, by reference to ancestry. So I think it’s quite hard to escape the application of the term ‘racism’ when it comes to the Israeli system and those who defend it, even if they do not accept any wide-ranging racial theory – and that’s using the Jon/Webster definition, which does not require all three of its three clauses to apply, only one.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2017, 5:12 pm

        “Here’s the Webster definition of racism:”

        Well, well, lookee there at Webster. Doesn’t mention “religion” once.

        I guess that means anti-Semitism isn’t racism.

      • RoHa
        April 12, 2017, 7:29 pm

        I would add that Zionism is wrong regardless of whether it counts as or is classed as racism.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2017, 11:32 pm

        “I would add that Zionism is wrong regardless of whether it counts as or is classed as racism.”

        “RoHa”, to paraphrase whatshisname, “Zionism is worse than wrong. It is a blunder!

    • Citizen
      April 8, 2017, 2:57 pm

      The Brits/Orangemen say the Brit Government never engaged in genocide, although it did outlaw Irish culture, for example, which is why the Irish dancing came into being: nothing moving above the window sill, all a frenzy below… Fact is while the famine was in full swing, food was exported en masse from Ireland by capitalists. British troops guarded this export. There’s more than one way to skin an untermenschen cat…now, modern Israel vs Hitler’s Germany….

  6. Ossinev
    April 9, 2017, 7:19 am

    @JonS
    “Why would I appreciate manifestations of racism? I despise racism”

    So tell me then. Where did you come from? Where did your family come from? Which bit of stolen Palestinian land do you live on?Do you know the names of the Palestinians who were driven from the land on which you live to make way for you and your family and your new Jewish neighbours from Brooklyn or wherever .

    No don`t tell me its not the same. Your family were here 3000 years ago and they have simply returned to reclaim their God given entitlement and were thoroughly justified because of God`s blessing to kick out the native Palestinians.And that of course in your eyes is not ” a manifestation of racism”.

    Of course you are not a racist because you believe in a two state solution .You believe in a two state solution in the same way that a thief believes he has the right to keep what he has stolen and he is really a moral person because he is prepared to allow his victim to keep what remains.

    • Mooser
      April 9, 2017, 1:38 pm

      “and your new Jewish neighbours from Brooklyn or wherever .”

      “Jon s” is from the, USA. He has a choice, and chooses to engage in the Zionist project, at a settlement.

      He does not want to live in a country where a strange Eritrean man can walk into town, and go to an office unmolested.

      • Citizen
        April 10, 2017, 10:06 am

        I can’t imagine “Jon S” would join the US Army or protest endless cash to rogue Israel.

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