New book by Larry Derfner, the American-turned-Israeli journalist, crushes liberal Zionism

US Politics
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It takes tremendous courage to recognize that the political views that you have held for your entire adult life have been at least partly mistaken. Larry Derfner, a prominent American-turned-Israeli journalist now in his mid-60s, has such courage.

Derfner’s new memoir, No Country for Jewish Liberals (Just World Books, $26.95) is a brave analysis that will help change history. No liberal Zionist who reads this 260-page, sprightly-written book will be able to close it with their complacency intact. And among what Derfner calls the “right-wing chickenhawks of organized American Jewry,” there will be teeth-gnashing and a dilemma: should they ignore Derfner and hope that few notice him, or should they launch a campaign to try and smear him?

There is so much in this vital new book that this review is in two parts. First, we will summarize some of Larry Derfner’s courageous insights, which will shake liberal Zionism to its foundation. In Part 2, we will look more closely at his compelling personal evolution, in which he explains how he was a liberal Zionist himself during his first two decades in Israel, until he changed in his mid-50s.

Here is some of what Larry Derfner believes today. Let us remember that he is no marginal figure, but a successful, respected journalist, who has contributed to American media since 1985 and had a long-running column in the Jerusalem Post until he was fired for his changing views.

Israel is not the victim, but itself provokes the regular conflicts in Gaza and the attacks in Lebanon and Syria. Derfner did successfully place a short version of this well-reasoned argument in the New York Times Op-Ed section. It is a sharp break with liberal Zionists, who contend Israel is forced to fight, and is also a brave stand for a man who himself served in the Israeli army and whose two Israeli sons are subject to military service.

Israel is a segregated society. Derfner explains that he and his family live in the middle-class town of Modi’in, a place with 85,000 residents — which includes not a single Palestinian Israeli family, even though a fifth of the Israeli population west of the green line is Palestinian. He says, “The way I live now, in a city that’s 100 percent Jewish, is the Israeli norm.”

Both the 1993 Oslo agreement and the negotiations in 2000 led by Prime Minister Ehud Barak were fatally flawed, and no Palestinian leader could ever have accepted either agreement. Here is another deep disagreement with liberal Zionism, which blames the Palestinians for turning down reasonable deals.

“The occupation is not just a flaw, but a morally fatal flaw.” Derfner adds, “It is different from apartheid, different from Jim Crow, but the same in one overriding way: It is a species of tyranny, a system of government in which the strong trample the weak. The system Israel runs on the three million people of the West Bank is military dictatorship.”

“The purpose of the occupation isn’t security; it’s conquest.” He goes on, “If Israel had only been interested in the West Bank and Gaza for security reasons, it wouldn’t have built civilian settlements — colonies — for 600,000 people and counting. Instead, it would have built only military installations. Residential neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers, and parking lots don’t give you security.” Liberal Zionists are far too squeamish to agree — especially when he accurately uses the word “colonies.”

“Israel’s problem is not what it may become, but what it already is.” Derfner argues convincingly that the Israeli right and far-right have already won, that only a small, powerless percentage of Israeli Jews agree with his views: “Liberals who for years on end warn Israel about the future are just afraid to admit that the future has long since arrived.” Here he is correcting one of the most dangerous examples of bias in the New York Times and the rest of the US mainstream — which go to tortuous lengths to cover up the viciousness, violence and the power of the Israeli far right, some of whom are already influential members of the government.

No Country for Jewish Liberals, by Larry Derfner, from Just World Books

“Stop blaming both sides equally.” Here is another view that should cause liberal Zionists to lose sleep. Derfner writes, “. . . if all the influential liberal politicians, diplomats and writers were to suddenly tell the truth about who they think is mainly, if not fully, to blame for the conflict, the pressure on Israel would skyrocket.”

“US diplomacy is not the solution; it’s a central part of the problem.” Professional Peace Processors like Dennis Ross will turn pale with fear on reading, “Negotiations that go nowhere take international pressure off Israel, which is why Netanyahu almost always wants to negotiate.”

Boycott Divestment and Sanctions is a necessary part of the solution. Here is where Derfner’s moral courage shines especially brightly. He lives in Israel, and he may actually be breaking Israeli law by endorsing BDS. He says, “Not that I like the idea of advocating the boycott of my own country, but since it is now clear that Israel will not change of its own accord and that America is unwilling to force it to change, there’s no way left but the South Africa model to end the occupation, and so BDS seems the lesser of two evils, the greater one being occupation forever.”

Liberal Zionists distract by asserting that some BDS advocates actually want to end Israel as a Jewish state. Derfner quotes his own rebuttal, from a piece he wrote in the (excellent) online publication +972:

I have no problem supporting BDS because I know that if Israel ever gets to the point where it’s ready to concede to international pressure, it will be responding not to the small left-wing groups calling for it to give up Jewish statehood, but to the powerful forces in the democratic world calling for it to give up the occupation alone.”

Larry Derfner’s excellent publisher, Just World Books, is starting to put together a publicity visit to the US. Of course Jewish Voice for Peace will want to hear this courageous and accomplished writer. But other organizations, from J Street to AIPAC all the way over to the Zionist Organization of America, should be eager to book him. College Hillel’s and synagogues from coast to coast should invite him to speak, just as they have always welcomed Israeli Zionists like Ari Shavit.

But if the liberal Zionists and others do boycott this remarkable man, they should at least read what he has to say about moral and intellectual courage (on page 199):

“So often I’ll be writing a piece, or thinking about writing one, and I’ll become aware that there’s something I’m afraid to say, something I’m even afraid to think. Then I’ll dare to think that thought (because once you realize there’s something you’re afraid to think, you either have to think it or admit that you’re a coward).”

About James North

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57 Responses

  1. Sibiriak
    April 4, 2017, 10:10 am

    Liberal Zionists distract by asserting that some BDS advocates actually want to end Israel as a Jewish state. Derfner quotes his own rebuttal, from a piece he wrote in the (excellent) online publication +972:

    I have no problem supporting BDS because I know that if Israel ever gets to the point where it’s ready to concede to international pressure, it will be responding not to the small left-wing groups calling for it to give up Jewish statehood, but to the powerful forces in the democratic world calling for it to give up the occupation alone.”


    ———————–

    Derfner critiques liberal Zionism, but ultimately reaffirms it. BDS, in his view, can only result in a two-state settlement that allows “Jewish statehood” to survive.

    • pabelmont
      April 5, 2017, 7:14 am

      Derfner does not reaffirm LZ by saying that BDS “can only” result in the end of the occupation. He says that the expansive goals of BDS, expressed by the “boycott and divestment” activities of human-rights people are unlikely to result in pressure by the nations (sanctions) aimed at anything more than ending the occupation. It is a prediction about real-politik.

      Other predictions are possible. If the past is prelude, the other great possibility is that the nations will NOT even go so far, and it will be apartheid-for-ever (as Netanyahu and his ilk would love to have it).

      OTOH, as I would wish (but cannot really expect), by the time the pressure of the human-rights people becomes strong enough to move the nations to do anything at all, the tide may have become so strong as to perform a “South Africa” on Israel, that is, to persuade the nations (the tide being in full flood by then) to keep the sanctions going until Israel allows PRoR or becomes truly non-discriminatory in its legislation.

      • Sibiriak
        April 5, 2017, 9:13 am

        Derfner wants to end of the Occupation only; he wants “Jewish statehood” to survive. He rebuts the idea that BDS would lead to the end of “Jewish statehood”.

        Whether good or bad, right or wrong, how is that not a variant of liberal Zionism?

      • yonah fredman
        April 6, 2017, 10:53 pm

        Watch the hour interview with derfner for the release of his book. He is very specific regarding his views about a Jewish state. No need to parse his words, he is quite clear.

      • Sibiriak
        April 7, 2017, 12:05 am

        Derfner:

        But the recognition of that justice [Palestinians’ right of return] 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.

        * * *

        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.

        See longer quotation at : http://mondoweiss.net/2017/04/countrys-trouble-sticker/#comment-176383

        So we have Derfner stripping Zionism down to its most essential element– a Jewish majority in Israel– and arguing that such a minimalist “ultra-liberal” Zionism is not only compatible with BDS, but in fact requires it.

      • eljay
        April 7, 2017, 10:21 am

        Mr. Derfner is a Zionist and therefore he believes what all Zionists believe: That people who choose to hold the religion-based identity of Jewish are entitled to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

  2. Ossinev
    April 4, 2017, 12:29 pm

    “The purpose of the occupation isn’t security; it’s conquest.” He goes on, “If Israel had only been interested in the in the West Bank and Gaza for security reasons, it wouldn’t have built civilian settlements — colonies — for 600,000 people and counting. Instead, it would have built only military installations. Residential neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers, and parking lots don’t give you security.”

    Very much succinct and to the point. Nails what is perhaps the biggest Zio lie of all ie it`s all about our security. We are so threatened, so victimised etc etc (double sob).

  3. Annie Robbins
    April 4, 2017, 12:50 pm

    i would very much like to meet larry defner. hope the tour brings him to the bay area. kudos to just world books (the amazing helena cobban) for sponsoring these tours and publishing so many amazing writers and artists. mohammad saba’aneh tour coming up this spring too!

    • Mooser
      April 5, 2017, 11:23 am

      “hope the tour brings him to the bay area”

      Just don’t get in front of the bus!

      • Maghlawatan
        April 5, 2017, 12:45 pm

        Israel will of course be under the bus.

  4. (((James North)))
    April 4, 2017, 6:42 pm

    So where are comments from the liberal Zionists in the Mondoweiss online community? Do none of them want to engage with Larry Derfner and his terrific new book?

    • pabelmont
      April 5, 2017, 7:23 am

      Hey, (((JN))), terrific essay! And kudos to LD for the book. High time. Abbreviated, it simply says that the Emperor Is Naked. Very, very nice to see these evident (except to those afraid to look) conclusions in print.

      with the younger generation of Jews falling away from Zionism, this book now attacks the middle-agers. (IMO, the old, if not yet convinced, will be hopeless.)

    • jon s
      April 8, 2017, 5:38 pm

      James North,
      No, I’m not in hiding. I just can’t inhabit MW 24/7 and comment on every post, especially these busy days before Passover.
      However, since you asked:
      1.First, I confess that I haven’t read Mr.Derfner’s book. I’m responding to the excerpts you provided.
      2.I’ve never defined myself as a “Liberal Zionist” and would prefer the title “Israeli Left” which I use in my commenter profile. The various categories – liberal Zionist, non-Zionist, anti-Zionist- may be anachronistic these days. A so-called liberal Zionist who supports Meretz probably has more in common with a supporter of the non-Zionist Joint List than with , say, Lieberman and Bennet. The important distinction in my opinion is not between Zionists and non-Zionists . It’s between those who seek a reasonable Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement which will end the occupation and terrorism and bloodshed and assure a better future for both peoples –and those who oppose any such option.
      3. There’s a masochistic and defeatist trend, which Derfner’s book may be part of, of people on the Left beating up on… the Left. “Why are we so small, why are we so weak? We’re fighting a rearguard battle for a lost cause, etc.” Well, I don’t buy it. The Left has a lot to be proud of, has been correct in its predictions and analysis. The Right is leading the country to disaster, has no real answers , and it’s up to us to be the alternative, to be the future. We need to go back to basic politics, organize and return to the streets.
      4. I agree with some of Derfner’s ideas, such as his critique of the stupid, endless “peace process”.
      5.On the other hand I disagree with BDS, both morally and tactically (although I support a boycott of the settlements). And my experience here in Beersheva is quite different from Derfner’s in Modiin. I certainly don’t feel that I live in a segregated society (I’ve never even visited Modiin).

      • (((James North)))
        April 8, 2017, 6:35 pm

        Thanks for taking the time to respond.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 8, 2017, 7:34 pm

        Why would any Jew south of the Galilee feel they lived in a segregated society? There are no Palestinians anywhere . They were all ethnically cleansed in 48. Gaza is less than 50 miles away but it might as well be Kandahar. The Khamas bogeyman lives there. And the Israeli history curriculum is pretty clear. This is Jewish land.

      • Mooser
        April 8, 2017, 8:27 pm

        “And my experience here in Beersheva is quite different from Derfner’s in Modiin.”

        You mean they don’t have mob killings of innocent strangers in Modiin?

      • Talkback
        April 9, 2017, 5:39 am

        jon s: “I’ve never defined myself as a “Liberal Zionist” and would prefer the title “Israeli Left” which I use in my commenter profile.”

        What on earth is an “Israeli Left”? Someone who embraces the terrorist take over, expulsion or oppression of Nonjews and the establishment of an supremacist Apartheid regime only in about 80% of Palestine? Like a Nazi minus the Lebensraum policy?

      • echinococcus
        April 9, 2017, 11:55 am

        Talkback,

        Nazi minus the Lebensraum policy

        Priceless. Quote of the year.

        Except, of course, that the Lebensraum in this case is 100%.

      • Mooser
        April 9, 2017, 2:03 pm

        jon s: “I’ve never defined myself as a “Liberal Zionist” and would prefer the title “Israeli Left” which I use in my commenter profile.”

      • jon s
        April 12, 2017, 10:31 am

        Maghlawatan,
        I don’t understand what you mean about there not being any Palestinians south of the Galilee?
        You’re not ignorant. Unless you’re trying to be sarcastic.

      • jon s
        April 12, 2017, 10:34 am

        talkback,
        “Israeli Left ” means a commitment to democracy, social justice and peace.

      • jon s
        April 12, 2017, 11:08 am

        James North,
        Aside from thanking me (you’re welcome..) , I would be interested in any on-topic comments you may have on my comments…

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2017, 2:28 pm

        “Jon s” why do you address “(((James North)))” as simply “James North”? Don’t you think he has a right to be addressed by his full name?
        Or do you not recognize “(((Jame’s” right to stand in loco parentheses?

  5. JeffB
    April 5, 2017, 12:59 am

    @James

    So where are comments from the liberal Zionists in the Mondoweiss online community?

    You didn’t really give his arguments but…

    Israel is not the victim, but itself provokes the regular conflicts: Israel isn’t a victim. It is a country utilizing military power to advance its interests against hostiles. Classifying that as provocation is nonsense. The provocation for the military strikes is the hostile policies of the countries it is acting against. He is somewhat arguing a false dichotomy here.

    Israel is a segregated society: He’s correct. Housing discrimination is a serious problem in Israel. The government recently has gotten more aggressive in addressing this we’ll see in a decade or so how that plays out. I wish liberal activists were working on this, because this along with workplace discrimination is something I think is achievable to correct.

    Both the 1993 Oslo agreement and the negotiations in 2000 led by Prime Minister Ehud Barak were fatally flawed, and no Palestinian leader could ever have accepted either agreement: That’s going to need to be argued not asserted. I think Camp David was a sweetheart deal and the Palestinians were fools not to take it. That it got better in Taba and they still turned it down was incompetence of the highest order.

    The occupation is not just a flaw, but a morally fatal flaw: By this he seems to mean that the West Bank is under a military dictatorship. I don’t think that’s a fatal flaw, lots of military dictatorships do fine. Regardless though Israel is moving towards annexing Area-C and thus correcting a key part of the problem.

    The purpose of the occupation isn’t security; it’s conquest: Again false dichotomy. Its both. Also I’m not sure “conquest” is the right word. Areas like the Jordan Valley are primarily security. Areas like Ariel are clearly mostly “conquest”, the establishment of permanent Jewish cities. After the failure of Oslo, it seems Israel is keeping the West Bank. So yeah the policy is conquest.

    Israel’s problem is not what it may become, but what it already is: Dead wrong. The Palestinian denormalization has created a generation of Israelis with few if any memories of good things about Palestinians. In addition most of the Palestinians are surplus labor and not integrated into the Israeli economy. That combination is really really dangerous. Sane Palestinian leadership would be fixing that as priority #1. Things could get much much worse. So yes, the problem is what it could become.

    Stop blaming both sides equally: He’s wrong on this one. Most of the world already pretends to hate Israel . However the world is not going to challenge a nuclear power over equal rights for Palestinians. The reason pressure doesn’t skyrocket is not the New York Times but because it doesn’t make practical sense to challenge Israel. What’s in it for Poland to challenge Israel?

    US diplomacy is not the solution; it’s a central part of the problem: I think we disagree too much on what the problem is.

    Boycott Divestment and Sanctions is a necessary part of the solution: Argued extensively here already why this is wrong.

    • Talkback
      April 6, 2017, 8:40 am

      JeffB: “The provocation for the military strikes is the hostile policies of the countries it is acting against.”

      LOL The Zionist terror thugs were provoking since the late 30s in hope to present themselves as “defenders”.

  6. Marnie
    April 5, 2017, 1:16 am

    Larry Derfner has achieved the status of traitor and self-hating Jew: My hero. I hope Annie can meet up with him and snag an interview :)

    • echinococcus
      April 5, 2017, 2:25 pm

      Your hero is an American invader staying there against the express will of the invaded owners of the place.

      • Marnie
        April 6, 2017, 5:55 am

        Thanks for your post. It made me read the article instead of jumping on the headline and going by posts on 972. He’s a zionist israel-firster after all.

      • echinococcus
        April 6, 2017, 11:49 am

        Marnie,

        Thank you for your response. You’re right, Derfner is effectively a Zionism-firster.

        My remark, though, also extends to “dissidents” who continue to squat any part of Palestine as members of the Herrenvolk. Staying seems to only legitimize the invasion.

      • Marnie
        April 7, 2017, 12:30 am

        I live in israel, not palestine. At this point in time the only difference between israel and the united states would be the u.s. has lots more distractions, lights, shiny stuff and shit to do. My reasons for being here are mostly personal but I don’t see anything the way I did 20+ years ago. I never saw myself in zionism; judaism – yes.

      • echinococcus
        April 7, 2017, 10:37 am

        Marnie,

        That is Palestine all right and I am sure you’ll be asking yourself where you get the right to be there.

        As I already wrote but the dog seems to have eaten it.

      • Marnie
        April 8, 2017, 2:46 am

        Echinococcus –

        Why do you make assumptions about individuals when you have no knowledge about them? I understand its easy to do, especially if you need a prop to make your point. No response is necessary or wanted.

  7. pabelmont
    April 5, 2017, 9:39 am

    As to what might happen in years to come, if Liberal Jews turn away from Israel strongly and numerously enough, and if BDS gets a big boost from all this, and stupid anti-BDS governmental policies fall away:

    The political question that remains is (IMO)

    Whether:
    [1] the nations will allow the present apartheid forever
    [2] the nations will gin up a minimal pressure (some sort of sanctions) sufficient to force Israel to end the occupation (and on what terms!?)
    [3] the nations (after a big fight with Israel, perhaps as to [2] above, will put maximal pressure on Israel (a la South Africa) to force Israel to become (ahem) a “formally” non-discriminatory democracy for all its people (nor Jews nor anyone privileged at law), end the occupation, and allow Palestinian refugees to return.

    If the people-power which moves the nations from [1] to [2] is strong enough to do just that, and then Israel puts up such a lengthy struggle as to allow people-power to grow and the nations to get royally ticked off, then we might get to [3].

  8. Tom Suarez
    April 5, 2017, 11:01 am

    Like Sibiriak, I am struck by Mr. Derfner’s stated goal of getting Israel “to give up the occupation alone” but not “for it to give up Jewish statehood”.
    This is a remarkable statement for someone claiming to critique “liberal” Zionists. For all of Mr. Derfner’s good intentions, as long as he believes that the problem is “the occupation”, and that “Jewish statehood” is not newspeak for apartheid, then nothing, in the final analysis, has changed.

    • echinococcus
      April 5, 2017, 2:23 pm

      Exactly, Sibiriak and Suarez.

      Not to forget that this guy is, according to the title, an ” American-turned-Israeli journalist” –by dint of his racial identification with the invading tribe, an illegal resident as part of the Herrenvolk. And continuing. How is that not Zionist?

      Who the hell cares if his Zionism is liberal or fanatical? It is just as illegal, invading and genocidal. “Good intentions”? Like continuing the theft and murder –but perhaps giving a little bit more of a sugar to the home slaves inside the green line, like the French Socialists in Vietnam?

    • ritzl
      April 5, 2017, 2:41 pm

      Agree. A pretty major thing to gloss over.

      Derfner’s a mixed bag. He moves in the right direction generally and generally courageously, but his boundaries seem to be that Jews have be the sole arbiters of a good result for Israel (the implication being, counter to his observation of a immutable right-wing racist colonial-ruled future, that they can do so without integral Palestinian involvement even and especially inside ’67 Israel). Seems somewhat contradictory and/or ambiguous.

      I don’t know. Maybe we’re reading too much into that particular phrasing. Perhaps Mr. Derfner will explain (He’s been pretty good about that in the past…).

  9. Citizen
    April 5, 2017, 2:13 pm

    Given the philosophical culture of Jewish Israelis (don’t rely on the goys, ever) and their very rich fellow travelers with power in the plutocratic Western nations. I see only that Israel is now, and will remain as it is, growing even more so, and nothing will change until some enemy of Greater Israel gets and employs some suitcase nukes.

    • Maghlawatan
      April 5, 2017, 3:32 pm

      Don’t rely on the goys is for show. Israel imports over 80% of its energy. It’s tech industry relies on galut, as does its standard of living. BDS is so dangerous because it threatens the ties that keep Israel going.

  10. rplatkin
    April 6, 2017, 3:39 am

    I appreciate Defner’s references to South Africa, but based on the review, they are incomplete. BDS played a small role in the end of legal apartheid in South Africa. The heavy lifting involved mass confrontations threatening capital across the entire country, South Africa’s defeat in Angola with the help of Cuban troops, the ANC-SACP political line of a unified country devoid of any ethnic nationalisms, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (US Government sanctions on South Africa), and an initial stress (later dropped) on economic equality. Most of these features are so far missing in Israel-Palestine, including a serious BDS call for US government sanctions on Israel.

  11. iResistDe4iAm
    April 6, 2017, 6:48 am

    “If Israel had only been interested in the West Bank and Gaza for security reasons, it wouldn’t have built civilian settlements — colonies — for 600,000 people and counting. Instead, it would have built only military installations. Residential neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers, and parking lots don’t give you security.”

    The late Ed Koch (former mayor of New York City) would strongly disagree, and so would most Zionists. According to Koch, the settlements/colonies are intended “to provide a defense bulwark” against “the Islamist armies” of five nations. In other words, the 600,000 Jewish settlers are Israel’s human shields

    “You ask Israel to cease building settlements on the West Bank, which are intended not only to house Israelis, but to provide a defense bulwark when the Islamist armies of the surrounding states, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria – Assad or his opponents – and Iraq, again try militarily to crush Israel” ~ Ed Koch, 2013
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/163827

    • JeffB
      April 7, 2017, 8:15 am

      @iResistDe4iAm

      — In other words, the 600,000 Jewish settlers are Israel’s human shields…

      No that is not what Koch means at all. Wartime armies burn up supplies at a tremendous rate which creates awful logistic problems. For example in the early 1990s the USA had a 8 soldiers and civilian aides involved in logistics for every solider involved in combat. Supply lines are highly vulnerable to sabotage. To avoid saboteurs you either need to depopulate the territory around supply lines or you need a very friendly civilian population. The Palestinians are obviously not a very friendly civilian population towards the IDF and thus could not be trusted in the case of a war. Conversely Jewish settlers are a very friendly civilian population.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 7, 2017, 8:43 am

        Israel can’t fight a war longer than 1 month.
        Yossi Israeli loves dead Arabs but can’t stand seeing dead Jews.

        Israel would have lost in 1973 unless the Yanks hadn’t rearmed it.

      • echinococcus
        April 7, 2017, 10:33 am

        Thanks for confirming that post-67 settlers cannot be considered civilians.

      • iResistDe4iAm
        April 7, 2017, 10:44 am

        bulwark: noun (Oxford Dictionaries)
        1. A defensive wall.
        1.1 A person or thing that acts as a defence.
        2. An extension of a ship’s sides above the level of the deck.

        If Palestinians were to rise up in armed resistance against their military occupiers, they are likely to do so in their own territories in the West Bank or East Jerusalem (same for Syrians in the Golan Heights). The Israeli settlements would make strategic targets.

        If Koch’s “five nation Islamist armies” were to intervene on behalf of the Palestinians, they are more likely to enter the West Bank through friendly territory via Jordan (one of Koch’s five nations), rather than via Israel directly (for example via beach landings at Tel Aviv, Ashdod or Ashkelon). Again, the Israeli settlements would make strategic targets.

        The fact that the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights are recent war zones and are still under belligerent military occupation, makes them more likely to be potential future war zones.

        Therefore, by deliberately placing Jewish civilians in subsidised settlements on stolen land deep inside occupied enemy territories (territories with which it is still technically at war), Israel is using the settlers as a “defense bulwark” (Koch’s words) or first line of defense (colloquially known as: human shields).

      • talknic
        April 7, 2017, 11:03 am

        “Therefore, by deliberately placing Jewish civilians in subsidised settlements on stolen land deep inside occupied enemy territories (territories with which it is still technically at war), Israel is using the settlers as a “defense bulwark” (Koch’s words) or first line of defense (colloquially known as: human shields).”

        But wait … there’s more. They’re also loaned money, specifically at interest, to buy a home specifically in an illegal settlement in non-Israeli territory

      • Mooser
        April 7, 2017, 1:36 pm

        “, Israel is using the settlers as a “defense bulwark” (Koch’s words) or first line of defense (colloquially known as: human shields).”

        Settlers, with lots of women and children, and light weapons?
        That would be suicide, unless the settlers are dealing with exceptionally pacific and gentle people.

      • Mooser
        April 7, 2017, 1:44 pm

        “They’re also loaned money, specifically at interest, to buy a home specifically in an illegal settlement in non-Israeli territory”

        If I am not mistaken, the diaspora (You know them, they are always seated on the dias) has always been generous in support of religious settlements in the Holy Land. (And “JNF gifts are Tax-Deductible)

      • Maghlawatan
        April 7, 2017, 2:48 pm

        Echi

        the settlers are civilians. Any armed are so at their own risk ultimately.
        Israel put the settlers in situ on the assumption the move would be irreversible. But they neglected the take care of the Palestine question. So the move was neutered.

      • Mooser
        April 7, 2017, 3:21 pm

        “Human shields”, yes. Or trip-wires, or tethered goats.

      • echinococcus
        April 8, 2017, 12:00 am

        Maghlawatan,

        Are you following the discussion or some other thought of yours?
        Jeff has confirmed, citing a well-informed article by Ed Koch, that post-1967 ununiformed/paramilitary invaders, aka “settlers”, were placed there, in what constitutes a war crime, to act as support personnel to the military invaders. The thinking behind their presence, as exposed by Koch, was inaugurated by the Nazi civilian settlements in Poland, Czechoslovakia etc. These “settlers” are “logistics” personnel according to JeffB. I tend to agree. If a particular one is armed or not on a given day doesn’t make any difference.

        A single conclusion forces itself: These guys. Are. Not. Civilians. They are military support personnel, i.e. part of the occupation army. No discussion possible. Dragging there the occasional true civilian, e.g. a minor or a non-combatant civilian, is a major war crime committed by the respective settler who should be held accountable for it, just as much as the Zionist entity government.

      • RoHa
        April 8, 2017, 12:05 am

        If the settlers are not civilians, wouldn’t that make their children child soldiers?

      • Maghlawatan
        April 8, 2017, 10:20 am

        Echi

        Israel.doesn’t believe in the Geneva Convention or the laws of war.
        Settlement is a war crime.

        The settlers are religious freeloaders and trailer trash Sabraswho were lured to.the West Bank as a buffer for East Jerusalem under another Israeli let’s see if this works project.

        They are not soldiers. Most are there because they couldn’t afford a villa in Israel. There was a lot of funding from US Judaism which does not happen for apartment buyers in Hod Hasharon.

        The settlers could be compared to the Serbs of the Croatian Krajina or the Germans of East Prussia. It is a power thing.

        The logic on which the settlement project was based is incoherent.
        Hebron’s évacuation could turn into a bloodbath.

      • echinococcus
        April 9, 2017, 1:01 am

        Watan,

        There is a lot to discuss in what you said –I was just pointing out the fact that Ed Koch and the Zio spokesman Jeff B clearly say, making a good case, that this varmint is military auxiliary personnel, and who am I to contradict such experts?

        Also, as you so nicely say, settler colonialism is a war crime and there is a very good reason these people are not protected under Geneva. So the finer distinctions are moot.

  12. Dan Walsh
    April 6, 2017, 8:46 pm

    While reading James North’s review of Larry Derfner’s new book “No Country for Jewish Liberals ” I found echoes of Angelina and Sarah Grimké, two courageous and dedicated American abolitionists. Their writings, like Derfner’s, had a profound, outsized moral gravity because they too wrote from the perspective of those who lived within, and on the privileged side of, an oppressive system.

    This is not to equate Southern chattel slavery with contemporary political Zionism as practiced in Israel in all its particulars: in fact, the two are functionally incomparable. It is also not to compare Derfner pound-for-pound with the Grimkés or the abolitionists. They repudiated outright not only the slavocracy, the idea of living in the South and even their own families while Derfner served in the IDF, works towards reforming Israel/Zionism and chooses to live in a Zionist colonial settlement, Modi’in, in what he calls “my country”.

    Early JNF poster promoting Jewish settlement in Modi’in:

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/restore-modiin

    What is directly comparable, however, are the social, political and economic privileges that the respective systems granted/grant their adherents. In the South/Confederacy all whites were superior to all blacks: in Israel all Jews are superior to all Palestinians.

    Clever Zionists will attempt to deploy hasbara for example the much-vaunted Arab/Druze/Muslim presence in various Israeli institutions as proof that it is not a religious ethnocracy. But to no avail. Only Jews can be “nationals” of Israel (all others are mere “citizens”) and this racial/religious distinction is codified in law and cannot be denied.

    Derfner voices raw honesty and simultaneously runs the risk of inflaming Zionist animosity when he observes:

    “Israel is not the victim, but itself provokes the regular conflicts in Gaza and the attacks in Lebanon and Syria.”

    “Israel is a segregated society.”

    “The purpose of the occupation isn’t security; it’s conquest.”

    Bold stuff for any Zionist to put in print however, these are truths that every Palestinian has known, endured and spoken about for decades. I have Palestinian friends whose grade school children have said as much (in Hebrew!) by which I mean these are not secrets or major discoveries.

    Is Derfner hailed for voicing these truths simply because he is Israeli/Jewish/Zionist? Why is that? Why does it take so much courage for an Israeli to speak the truth about Zionism? And why is it that when an equally qualified Palestinian says as much he or she is ignored or dismissed out of hand by MSM? I hope, as does Annie, that Derfner is offered a robust speaking calendar here in the US and I hope someone asks him these questions.

    Derfner sounds a lot like a great many other intellectually tortured political Zionists in that they are very willing to criticize Israel’s Occupation, political parties, politicians, the Apartheid Wall, and a host of policy decisions even including Israeli military action such as the Gaza War of 2014. But they are utterly unwilling or unable to condemn political Zionism. He skirted the idea when he said: “The occupation is not just a flaw, but a morally fatal flaw.”

    A more honest phrasing would have been to say: “Zionism is fatally flawed and has been from its very birth in Basel”.

    The Grimkés knew that slavery could not be reformed and that only its abolition could lay the groundwork for a just society. Same for Zionism and I hope Derfner can soon find a way to put his courage and talents towards that end.

    • MHughes976
      April 7, 2017, 3:46 am

      The basic claim of Zionism, I think, is that people who are Jewish, and they only, have what is now called a ‘birthright’ in the Holy Land. Only this makes sense, if that’s the word, of the extraordinary claim that a group defined by its relationship to an ancestral religion – by practising it or by being closely descended from those who did – have the right to permanent majority status, with any second state clearly very secondary, not possibly more than a protectorate. The word ‘conquest’ is all too correct but it’s a bit frustrating to see someone being so warmly congratulated (as it seems) for using, so misleadingly,
      only of the 67 territories. Mr. Derfner evidently makes, like the other eloquent liberal Zionists, many good points but he stands to be much feted for his eloquence and, I think, runs little personal risk.

    • Mooser
      April 7, 2017, 12:44 pm

      He told me I should get hit by a bus.

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