Israeli women march to ‘wage peace’ but refuse to challenge the occupation

Israel/Palestine
on 48 Comments

I don’t like to start articles with throat-clearing but I need to start here with full disclosure:

My mom is a very active member in the Israeli NGO Women Wage Peace (WWP) and I’m obviously a man. Those are two things that have admittedly inhibited me in writing critically about this organization and its recent event, the peace march called “Journey to Peace”, which ended with a rally Sunday last week in Jerusalem, after a two week march through Israel and Palestine.

What’s there not to like, you might ask? Israeli women of the whole political spectrum were joining with some Palestinian women (they call the Palestinian women who are Israeli citizens ‘Arabs’), and they were even endorsed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Who could say anything bad about this? Indeed, the international mainstream press was highly positive, and the organization proudly lists many of the stories.

And yet, not all were happy with this. The Times of Israel posited that the “Israeli-Palestinian women’s peace march exposes Palestinian divides”, noting both Hamas and BDS opposition to what was perceived as “normalizing relations with Israel”. This depiction automatically portrays the Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority as the ‘moderate’ ones, where Hamas and BDS are automatically depicted as the more ‘intransigent’.

But Hamas and BDS were not the only ones critical of the initiative – there were in fact women – Jewish, Israeli women, who spoke quite vociferously and critically against it. One of these women, Orly Noy, a voice that is always worth listening to, has written an article last Friday in +972 Magazine, titled “How can women ‘wage peace’ without talking about occupation?”. I think that article is a must-read, and should definitely not be drowned in the euphoric sense of 30,000 women wearing white, singing songs and banging drums together.

“I write these words with a great deal of sadness”, Noy points out,

“In the political reality of the last few decades, there is nothing trivial about the fact that tens of thousands of women are demanding to change that reality and are willing to march down the streets of every town and city in order to build their movement. That this is a women’s initiative gives it even greater potential. And yes, there is such a thing as women-led politics and it can be revolutionary and powerful — a politics that first and foremost challenges existing hierarchies and social structures”, Noy writes.

And yet –

“The women-led politics I saw in Jerusalem was the complete opposite of that, however. It was the kind that only strengthens those existing power structures. It was a politics in which being a woman means wearing white, singing and dancing.”

I share these sentiments exactly.

I want us to look at what is actually going on here, and a good place to start is the Women Wage Peace mission statement. It says that the goal is “To reach an honourable and bilaterally acceptable political agreement of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict which is to be reached by 2018”.

How will this be done? Three objectives are listed:

(1)  To grow our numbers through diversity by reaching out to religious and secular women; Jews and Arabs; right, center, and left-wing voters; immigrant and native-born residents from all corners of the country, as well as moderate settler women.

(2)  To pressure the Israeli government to prioritize the reaching of an agreement.

(3) To increase the number of women in all aspects of negotiation as mandated by UN Security Council resolution 1325 to which Israel was the first signatory in 2005.

The first objective merits close scrutiny. It is “to grow our numbers”. Not to pressure the government first, but to grow the numbers. And how will this be done? By appealing to a wide spectrum – right center and left (including ‘Arabs’), and, notice this – “moderate settler women”. Now, let’s pause on that one. “Moderate settler women” – who are they? Supposedly, settler women who say they want ‘peace’. Who will be the arbiter of who is a ‘moderate’ settler? This opens up for all kinds of possibilities, but before we go deeper into it, let us note, that as UNSC Resolution 2334 of last December stated, all Israeli settlements are ‘flagrant violations’ of international law. They are, to put is simply, war crimes, under the 4th Geneva convention article 49. In other words, all Israeli settlers are effectively war criminals. But not for Israelis. That mentioned resolution was also bemoaned by the Israeli Zionist left, for the ‘damage’ it inflicted on the ‘settlement blocs’. Israel really does want to normalize the occupation – this is not just some slogan that Hamas and BDS are senselessly throwing around. And Women Wage Peace participate in this normalization. There are ‘moderate settler women’.

Noy refers to the speech that one of these ‘moderate settler women’ gave at the Jerusalem Rally:

“All types of women, including a settler who, as she put it, lives in “beautiful and bleeding Samaria.” Yes, even she wants peace. But how does she see us achieving that peace? “When tens of thousands of women are able to talk about the difficult topics our leadership won’t be able to ignore us.” But what are those difficult topics we must talk about? Perhaps the defiant and growing presence of settlements, like the one she lives in, and which prevent any chance of establishing a Palestinian state? No. So perhaps the occupation and the checkpoints she passes through every day on her way home? Human rights violations? War crimes? No. A West Bank settler can so easily stand on stage and speak about the need “to talk about the difficult things,” because she knows they won’t actually be talked about. Otherwise, she might not be able to take part in the movement from the get go.”

Indeed, the movement simply does not utter the word “occupation” as a rule. Noy tried to get some of the Palestinians to speak about it, and it was hard:

“I came early, deciding to sit in a cafe along the route of the march. After a few minutes, two women dressed in white and speaking in Arabic sat next to me. I asked if they were part of the march; they said yes. After a brief conversation, I asked one of the women, a Palestinian-Israeli from Jaffa, if she isn’t bothered that Women Wage Peace never even hints at the word “occupation.”

“This was the decision that was made,” she responded evasively. When I asked once more whether or not it bothers her, she said, “of course it bothers me. It bothers me as a woman, as a Palestinian, as an Israeli, but this is what they decided. That we must speak about the future, we’ve already spoken plenty about the past.” But the occupation is not the past, I insisted. It is very much the present. “You’re right, but what can we do? Keep sitting at home? We need to do something to change reality.”

So the Palestinian women want to talk about the occupation, but someone at the core of this movement, a movement which is actually dominated by what could be described as ‘liberal-Zionists’, decided that this would defeat the purpose of appealing to the wide spectrum – the predominantly Jewish-Zionist spectrum that is.

And this silence creates not only a space for ‘moderate settler women’ as it were – but also for the most rabid, messianic settlers – men no less – like Yehuda Glick – who became Member of Knesset (Likud) last year. Glick seeks the establishment of the Third Temple in the place of Al Aqsa, and has single-handedly broken the status-quo at the Al-Aqsa compound by praying there. He has stopped his visits to the compound only because Netanyahu had banned MK’s visiting there in attempt to calm tensions.

Glick had joined the march in its early stages, and WWP prides itself with an article about it (nr. 2 on its media list), from the settler-outlet Israel National News.

Here Glick is quoted saying “It’s true that a significant part of their activities are carried out by left-wing women, but I say, let’s not leave it to the left. Let’s take part. And they know my opinions. I say that peace includes massive sovereignty and construction in Judea and Samaria and they still applaud.”

In other words, this movement is allowing even men – messianic settlers – to whitewash themselves as ‘liberals’, because they, too, want ‘peace’.

That ethnic cleansers seek to pose as ‘liberals’ is really not new in Israel. For example, former Knesset co-speaker Moshe Feiglin, who in 2014 authored a 7-point plan for the complete ethnic cleansing of Gaza, also got a prize for his humanitarian work in protesting Chinese violations of human rights, and continues to fight for ‘human-rights’ in Israel. In Israel this is compatible – if those ‘terrorists’ are not human anyway, then they don’t need ‘human rights’, so there’s no contradiction, right?

So, this is what is happening here. WWP is not naming anything to do with Israel’s violations – not the occupation, not settlements, not the siege of Gaza – it’s staying supposedly ‘not political’, snow-white – but demanding ‘peace’ through ‘negotiations’.

Per their third objective, Women Wage Peace are apparently trying to sell us the notion that suggests that if only there were more women in Israel’s negotiation leadership, things would be better. And yet, I would like to point out that it is not true that Israel is led by men alone. In fact, there are several women leaders, currently and historically, who in their chauvinism, violence, coarseness, intransigence and arrogance could make the typical ‘male chauvinist’ seem pale. These include the late Prime Minister Golda Meir, who said that there was no such thing as Palestinians, who was so proud of herself, she ignored the Egyptian Saadat’s 1970 peace overtures and got Israel into the 1973 October war – because force was the only language she could understand. And what about Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the fascist, with her genocide of ‘little snakes’ – children of Gaza? And what about Israel’s top diplomat, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, with her “this land is ours, all of it is ours?” Not enough? What about the ‘centrist’ Tzipi Livni, who demanded “real hooliganism” when she was Foreign Minister during the 2008-9 Gaza onslaught, and thought that is was a “good thing” that Israel responded by “going wild”?

In other words, women don’t necessarily wage peace. Does it make any difference for a Gazan child that they and their family are obliterated by a male pilot, or by a woman who demands ‘hooliganism’ or a woman who wants to kill ‘little snakes’? It makes no difference at all. If these women do not want to name any aspect in the paradigm of the Israeli oppression, then what they are peddling is simply the notion that since they are women, we should listen, and that it will work.

But in the power structure of today, not naming anything but ‘peace’ and ‘agreement’, and claiming you are ‘not political’ is just divisive. This is political, and the politics of it is effectively to maintain a status quo – whilst dancing and singing.

Those who want to speak about the critical issues spoil the party, which is supposed to be inclusive for everyone. But when the party is over, the Palestinians go to their Bantustans, and the ‘moderate settler women’ drive on their Jewish-only roads to get to their settlements. If only the Arabs could somehow accept this as ‘peace’, then all would be well…

About Jonathan Ofir

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

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48 Responses

  1. Kay24
    October 18, 2017, 12:54 pm

    From what I recall, the majority of Israelis support the occupation, and do not want it to end.

    “More than 70 percent of Israelis want their army to continue its brutal 50-year occupation of the Palestinian territory.
    The majority of Israelis are against ending the 50-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, a poll released Tuesday showed, which also found that most Israelis want full control over the city of Jerusalem, while Palestinians want its east side as their capital.

    The poll, conducted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, found that 77 percent of all Israelis oppose a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, which has been illegally occupied for the past 50 years.

    Most Israelis also opposed another withdrawal option that would allow Israel to keep the internationally-illegal settlements it has constructed in the West Bank but withdraw from the rest of the Palestinian territory with 57 percent saying they opposed such an option.”

  2. Ossinev
    October 18, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Meanwhile even the extreme Zionuts are wetting their pants at the prospect of losing their Palestinian Kapos in the Occupied Territories:

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/bennett-says-security-cooperation-to-continue-despite-fatah-hamas-unity-deal/

    Whilst your ” ordinary ??” Zio on the Israeli street probably don`t even think of the consequences if that happens. Quite comfortable with the Vichy PA keeping the Untermenschen under control providing it doesn`t interfere with their most moral sons and daughters having their fun terrifying families in their 3 a.m. raids and abducting the existentially threatening 8 yr old boys for most moral interrogation.

  3. yonah fredman
    October 18, 2017, 2:27 pm

    I don’t think a peace movement of this sort is useful at this time, in terms of in fact changing the facts on the ground. i think that communication of various and diverse sorts is a good start building the basis of living together and that aspect should not be neglected. (if there will be a peace, these women will help to see it through.) but obviously those who want to see change soon are bound to be frustrated by this.

    • Mooser
      October 18, 2017, 7:33 pm

      “I don’t think a peace movement of this sort is useful at this time…”

      That “yonah”, he’s full of surprises. So counterintuitive, so original.

    • Paranam Kid
      October 19, 2017, 6:45 am

      In other words, let’s carry on “negotiating” like we have till now, so nothing changes for the Palestinians while the Ziofascists can continue their illegal settlements which we hope can become “normal” & acceptable to the world, and a Palestinian state? Oh boy, we forgot about that, oh well, too bad, let’s hope for better next time.

      Your “country” lacks legitimacy completely & needs to be dismantled & rebuilt into a truly democratic state with EQUAL rights for ALL its citizens, incl. Palestinians, and the Stolen Palestinian Territories should be vacated, as demanded by the international community. That is what those women should demand.

      • Mooser
        October 20, 2017, 1:30 pm

        “Israelis… are not willing to cast their lot with any “peacemaker” “concessions maker”. they don’t believe in peace or in concessions. “yonah”

  4. Nathan
    October 18, 2017, 3:47 pm

    I would be curious to hear a clear geographic definition of “occupation”. It’s never clear in anti-Israel publications if the occupation refers to the entire territory of the former British Mandate, or if the occupation is the West Bank and Gaza.

    Anyway, it’s not too clear to me why Jonathan Ofir has a problem with the goals of “Women Wage Peace”. Reaching an agreement means that all the grievances will have been rectified. This would include the grievance of occupation, obviously. So, what’s wrong with demanding negotiations with the purpose of reaching an agreement to end the conflict? I assume that ending the conflict is the aspiration of the readership of Mondoweiss.

    • Jonathan Ofir
      October 19, 2017, 2:42 am

      Nathan, my draft had in fact included more quotes from Noy, but these were slightly reduced, as I suppose it began to look like I was simply reproducing her piece and that she already said what I would have said – which I must say would not be far from the truth…
      But there was in particular one passage which was taken out, which I missed more than others – and it is this one, which refers to your question:

      ‘There is something simplistic, even childish, about speaking of “negotiations” and demanding a “peace agreement” a quarter century after the failure of the Oslo Accords. Negotiations? On the contrary: Israel would love to enter into another endless round of talks that will stave off international pressure and allow it to continue dispossessing, just like all the previous rounds of negotiations. These women seek to jump into this vacuum, filling it with lots of emotional words and a desperate attempt to create some semblance of symmetry between Israelis and Palestinians.’

      • Nathan
        October 19, 2017, 3:23 am

        Jonathan Ofir – So, should one conclude that there shouldn’t be negotiations and there shouldn’t be a peace agreement? What is it that we should want to do?

        You wish to end the occupation, and this seems to be the only legitimate target from your point of view. You should at least define the term “occupation” as I suggested in my first comment: Does the occupation refer to the entire territory of the former British Mandate for Palestine, or does the occupation refer only to the West Bank and Gaza?

        If the occupation refers to the whole country, then you should make this clear in your article. It would mean that you are calling for the demise of Israel (and hence, indeed, there would be no point in negotiations or in a peace treaty as you now argue). It could be that you are criticizing “Women Wage Peace” because they haven’t adopted your perspective that the issue at hand is the illegitimacy of the State of Israel in any border whatsoever. In any case, you should be frank and to the point: What is the geographic definition of the occupation in your view?

      • Jonathan Ofir
        October 19, 2017, 9:35 am

        Nathan, the ‘occupation’ referred to here is rather unambiguous and simple – Israel’s military occupation (including illegal annexations) from the 1967 war, beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

        Whether I would want more? Oh, I demand more. The illegal separation wall should be dismantled, there should be provided equality to non-Jewish citizens and there should be a return of refugees. These are the simple demands presented by the BDS. it doesn’t even require Israel withdrawing back to 1947 Partition Plan lines, upon which it was initially established.

        But all that is a side issue to the article. I am talking about the 1967 occupation when I say ‘occupation’ here.

        Several people have asked me whether I did not believe that the WWP dialogue would eventually lead to a challenging of Zionism. My answer is ‘you’ve got to be joking – they can’t even say ‘occupation”.

      • Misterioso
        October 19, 2017, 10:38 am

        @Nathan

        UN Security Council Resolution 2334, December 23, 2016: “Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

        “Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,

        “Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,….”

        “1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

        “2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;…”

      • Nathan
        October 19, 2017, 1:44 pm

        Jonathan Ofir – Since you seem to be against negotiations and a peace treaty, I wonder if the withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 and the return of refugees, etc. would mean that the conflict is resolved. You referred to the BDS demands. In their website, there is no hint that the fulfilling of the BDS demands would mean that Israel would have the right to live in peace. You don’t say so either. Actually, no one says so. So, I’ll ask you straight to the point: Are you defining an end-of-conflict scenario?

        You tell me twice that the “‘occupation’ referred to here” (in your article) is about the 1967 occupation. That’s fine and clear. However, since you clarify that this is the definition of occupation “here” (in your article), it would seem logical that “elsewhere” there might be a different definition of occupation. So, again, I’ll ask you straight to the point: Is the territory within the Green Line (in your view) the legitimate territory of the State of Israel (i.e. it is not occupied territory)?

      • Annie Robbins
        October 19, 2017, 2:23 pm

        Nathan October 19, 2017, 3:23 am
        Jonathan Ofir – So, should one conclude that there shouldn’t be negotiations

        Jonathan Ofir October 19, 2017, 9:35 am
        Nathan….Whether I would want more? Oh, I demand more.

        Nathan October 19, 2017, 1:44 pm
        Jonathan Ofir – Since you seem to be against negotiations

        hmm.

        nathan, there’s no hint israel’s occupation of palestine affords palestinians the right to live in peace. why should israel be afforded this so called right when they have been oppressing, imprisoning, and killing palestinians for decades? under the circumstances, i don’t think israelis have earned that right any more than a criminal should have the right to live in peace and harmony while they are carrying out crimes against humanity. whereas, i think palestinians have a right to resist the occupation.

        I wonder if the withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 and the return of refugees, etc. would mean that the conflict is resolved.

        it would for sure be a start. would you advocate for that? a withdraw from all territories occupied in 67? let’s start there why don’t we.

      • Nathan
        October 19, 2017, 2:25 pm

        Misterioso – Thanks for taking the time and energy to copy for me UNSC 2334. Indeed, the resolution doesn’t define “occupation”; rather, it defines “Palestinian Territory” as the territory captured in the 1967 war. I suppose that we can assume that the two terms are synonyms from the UN point of view. However, it is much more interesting to hear what is your point of view. What is your geographical definition of occupation?

        Since you have brought to my attention UNSC 2334, I naturally assumed that you accept the validity of Security Council resolutions in general. In UNSC 242 from Nov 1967, it is stated that all the states in the Middle East have the right to live in peace in secure and recognized borders. Do you stand behind this decision as well?

      • Annie Robbins
        October 19, 2017, 3:23 pm

        In UNSC 242 from Nov 1967, it is stated that all the states in the Middle East have the right to live in peace in secure and recognized borders. Do you stand behind this decision as well?

        resolution 242 Expresses, Emphasizes, Emphasizes further, Affirms, Affirms further, and it Requests. the part you cite reads like this:

        1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

        (i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

        (ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

        Do you stand behind this affirmation [(i),(ii)] as well? and do you recognize that the UN has recognized the statehood of palestine?

      • Nathan
        October 19, 2017, 3:07 pm

        Annie Robbins – In my comments to Jonathan Ofir, I wondered if the withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 and the return of refugees, etc. would mean that the conflict is resolved. My question refers to the future, obviously. In your answer, you refer to the present tense (you don’t think that Israel has earned the right to live in peace). You have avoided the issue. There is a list of demands from Israel (withdrawal, refugees, etc), and it’s a perfectly legitimate question to ask if this list of demands defines the parameters of a future peace (i.e. the end of conflict).

        You tell me that the withdrawal from occupied territories, the return of refugees, etc. would “for sure be a start”. In other words, you are saying that the conflict would not be resolved through fulfilling these demands. It’s only “a start”, so there must be other undefined demands that would be “an end”. So, what are these further demands? It would be possible to accept “a start” if there is a promise of “an end”. What is the end of conflict from your point of view?

      • Nathan
        October 19, 2017, 4:04 pm

        Yes, Annie Robbins, for sure I accept UNSC 242. Doesn’t everyone? There must be a withdrawal from territories occupied in June 1967, and there must be a recognition of all states in the area to live in peace. This means the acceptance of Israel’s right to live in peace.

        You forgot to quote the following line: “Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles….” In other words, the withdrawal from occupied territories is within the framework of establishing peace. It’s not just “a start”. The establishment of peace includes withdrawal from territory and the recognition of the right of all states (including Israel) to live in peace. It’s “an end” (of conflict), obviously.

        And, now, I return to you the question. Do you accept UNSC 242? Do you accept that with the establishment of peace, there will be a withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967, a just settlement of the refugee problem AND an acceptance of Israel’s right to live in peace in secure and recognized borders?

        Yes, I am aware that the UN has recognized the statehood of Palestine (it was in Nov 2012, I believe) – and I fully agree. Indeed, there is a State of Palestine and I recognize this Palestinian statehood. Do you recognize Palestinian statehood?

      • Annie Robbins
        October 19, 2017, 6:17 pm

        You forgot to quote the following line: “Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles….”

        no i didn’t, in fact i bolded the last part of it. scroll up and reread.

        You tell me that the withdrawal from occupied territories, the return of refugees, etc. would “for sure be a start”. In other words, you are saying that the conflict would not be resolved through fulfilling these demands.

        not necessarily. for example, if israel withdrew all their armed forces from occupied territories and left a bunch of fanatical settlers who were burning down palestinian homes and mosques and torturing kids and stuff, clearly the conflict would not be over.

        It’s only “a start”, so there must be other undefined demands that would be “an end”. So, what are these further demands? It would be possible to accept “a start” if there is a promise of “an end”. What is the end of conflict from your point of view?

        the end of the conflict, in my view, would be when there is no more conflict. i am not a palestinian so what i think constitutes the end of the conflict is sort of irrelevant. but i don’t think the army leaving behind 750k armed zionist settlers sitting on top of all the resource rich land will end the conflict. not at all. and i don’t think those settlers will pack up and leave.

        and i have no faith israel will be a peaceful partner. they left gaza too and imposed an economic and inhumane blockade, set up watchtowers and let snipers go at it. so under those circumstances the occupation is not really over is it?

        now, I return to you the question. Do you accept UNSC 242? Do you accept that with the establishment of peace, there will be a withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967, a just settlement of the refugee problem AND an acceptance of Israel’s right to live in peace in secure and recognized borders?

        i can’t conceive there could be an “establishment of peace” prior to withdrawl. peace can only be established once palestinians are free. the resolution says peace should include the application of the withdrawl and termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State which to me means israel as well as israeli citizens, would need to terminate claims on palestinian land and respect palestinian sovereignty, territorial integrity and the political independence of the state of palestine.

        do i think most palestinian factions would accept and respect a deal on the 67 lines? yes, i do. would the gov of israel, most of the settlers and their supporters? i don’t think so. it’s hard to even fathom. so asking me if i would accept it is rather irrelevant. i do not believe it will ever be offered.

  5. Citizen
    October 18, 2017, 5:18 pm

    Thank you, Mr. Ofir, for your very brave, and insightful piece here.

    • Mooser
      October 19, 2017, 4:32 pm

      “Thank you, Mr. Ofir, for your very brave, and insightful piece here.”

      I add my thanks, and thanks also for participating in the comment threads.

  6. Marnie
    October 18, 2017, 9:35 pm

    “If only the Arabs could somehow accept this as ‘peace’, then all would be well…”

    The women’s march was a joke and no offense to your mother , but this is too ‘lite’ of a movement to be anything more than a joint non-aerobic activity between mostly israeli women and some palestinian women – looks good but doesn’t really do anything.

  7. JosephA
    October 19, 2017, 12:15 am

    Jonathan, as always you are very logical and your arguments do stand to reason.

  8. mcohen..
    October 19, 2017, 4:46 am

    all great movements start with a few steps in the right direction.

  9. Ossinev
    October 19, 2017, 7:50 am

    “Now, let’s pause on that one. “Moderate settler women” – who are they? ”

    Perhaps they are referring to the ones who stop just short of chucking urine and faeces over the native Palestinians under the watchful and approving eyes of the most moral.

  10. JeffB
    October 19, 2017, 7:51 am

    @ Jonathan

    Well I can start by saying I don’t disagree with your facts or your analysis. Which is good normally MW is squabbling about minor details and you can never get to the bigger more interesting points. Here I can.

    I agree with you about the fact that women aren’t more moderate. Female led groups have higher rates of successful compromises then groups with male participants in decision making. More importantly for peace men are much less negative towards compromises drafted by women than by other men. That being said extremists are disproportionately male and that could derail a female led compromise. So it might work. I kind of lean towards giving it a shot.

    I agree with you that the Woman Wage Peace normalizes the settlements. You have Palestinians, left Israelis and rightist Israelis all petitioning the government to go back to negotiating in good faith. What that probably means with this crowd is that one starts from scratch. You start with we have groups A, B, C, D with interests Ai, Bi, Ci, Di and we want to negotiate between them…. That would be the approach they are advocating. There is no demonization, the settlers are just as entitled to have their interests reflected as leftish Israelis. You are correct this is a rejection of the UN framework that starts with the idea that we ignore the interests of the people on the ground in 2017 and instead look at lines created by accident in 1949.

    And that leads to the big area of disagreement. I think that rejection of the UN approach is absolutely fantastic. The easiest place to start is the settlers. Their are 650k settlers. It is rapidly growing population. There is no chance of any peace agreement being workable that settlers strongly oppose. You can engage in name calling like “war criminals” and get nowhere. This group can derail a peace if they want to. Make a peace entirely at their expense and they will. This is not like the Sinai or Gaza. Even if you could magically teleport the settlers back to Green Line Israel 10% of the population enraged for generations about a peace will necessarily undermine it. Think about how effective Hamas was in the 1990s at undermining the forward progress and you are talking a much larger and more influential group than the Hamas of the 1990s. So I fully support the alternative of engage them as a party that has interests, and choosing to respect their interests. Which does mean working to get their buy-in on a future agreement.

    Moreover not just in this specific I disagree strongly with the basic approach to the conflict you are advocating .of exclusion and demonization. The reason the Israeli / Palestinian conflict is hard to solve is that Israelis and Palestinians don’t like each other. They dislike each other so much that they are unable to work together on building a better society for both of them. The dislike and quite often hatred is the cause of the conflict. Normalizing activities where everyone is working together undermines the conflict by undermining the root of the conflict. Eliminate the hatred and you eliminate the mistrust that makes the border such a serious matter. Eliminate the hatred and you eliminate the need for a border.

    Consider 4 classes of Arabs: Mizrahi Jews, Israeli-Arabs, West Bank Palestinians and Gazans. From left to right you have
    1) Greater levels of freedom in their day to day lives
    2) A greater desire for the Ashkenazi Jews to include them
    3) A greater desire among those Arabs to be included
    4) A greater willingness to work with Ashkenazi Jews on evolving Israeli society rather than seeking to destroy and replace it.
    5) A greater willingness to tolerate slow incremental improvement rather than taking drastic actions

    The Gazans would love to have the problems the West Bankers have. The West Bankers would love to have the problems the Israeli-Arabs have. The Israeli-Arabs would love to have the problems the Mizrahi have. The thing I have never understood when it comes to normalization is why someone interested in peace would encourage the West Bankers to pursue the Gazan’s policy choices (in the 1980s) and not the Israeli-Arabs policy choices?

    You end with this line, “But when the party is over, the Palestinians go to their Bantustans, and the ‘moderate settler women’ drive on their Jewish-only roads to get to their settlements. If only the Arabs could somehow accept this as ‘peace’, then all would be well… ” The difference between the “bantustans” and the “settlements” are on the ground, materially, fairly easy things to change. Far easier than displacing 650k people.

    • Jonathan Ofir
      October 19, 2017, 9:27 am

      JeffB, “The dislike and quite often hatred is the cause of the conflict.”

      I disagree. I think the cause of the ‘conflict’ is Zionist settler-colonialism. I think it’s quite natural to end up disliking and even hating it, especially when you suffer under its boot.

      But when the colonialism is done in the name of the Jewish State, then when you hate it, they tell you you’re also an anti-Semite.

      All of that is a huge problem.

      • JeffB
        October 19, 2017, 9:58 am

        @Jonathan Ofir

        I disagree. I think the cause of the ‘conflict’ is Zionist settler-colonialism.

        I think you are right that’s the root of your disagreement. All the other points about whether settlers should be included or whether a women led negotiation could make a difference or … don’t really matter. It all comes down to settler-colonialism.

        Settler-colonialism IMHO is just leftist for a mass migration. When one asks what characteristics “settler-colonialism” has there tend not to be any other than a group of immigrants that maintain a distinctive identity and sovereignty from the country they are moving to. Israelis certainly did and continue to do that. Israelis are completely unwilling to live under Palestinian law so they have strong incentives to continue to do that. Israelis are the much stronger party so they cannot be forced to live under a Palestinian sovereign .

        So then what? Where do you go from there? The problem as you phrased it is unfixable. So let’s rephrase the question using that frame. If the eventual inevitable outcome is the total transformation of mandate Palestine into an Israeli state do you are at all what path that takes? There are paths that involve genocide, there are paths that involve a warm acceptance of Palestinians as individuals and there are paths where there is a warm acceptance of a Palestinian national identity render unthreatening to Israel. If you were a Palestinian I assume you want the less hostile paths. If you are Israeli I assume you want to implement the less brutal paths.

        Assume that’s what the Women’s Walk means by “peace”. All they are saying is given the actual circumstances that exist they are looking for a best possible path. They want to construct a nice path that doesn’t involve lots of killing. What objections do you have then?

      • Maghlawatan
        October 19, 2017, 10:57 am

        Jonathan, the violence is driven by Jewish trauma. You cannot move to another part of the world and start over after genocide.

      • Keith
        October 19, 2017, 11:44 am

        MAGHLAWATAN- “Jonathan, the violence is driven by Jewish trauma. You cannot move to another part of the world and start over after genocide.”

        You have conflated two basic assertions here with no proof or argument for either. As for trauma, much of this “trauma” is manufactured trauma created by the Zionist ideology of the Holocaust being the unique culmination of eternal and irrational anti-Semitism. After WWII, the immediate victims of the Holocaust living in the DP camps by and large did not want to go to Israel and had to be coerced into going. Hardly an excuse or justification for current violence by those who never directly experienced trauma. As for genocide, Zionism predates the Holocaust by many decades and was basically an attempt to rejuvenate Jewish tribalism which had been weakened by the enlightenment and modernity. As for moving to another part of the world and starting over, is that not exactly what those Jewish survivors of the Holocaust did who moved to the US? Norman Finkelstein’s parents, for example?

      • Mooser
        October 19, 2017, 4:45 pm

        “Jonathan, the violence is driven by Jewish trauma. “

        Naaa, no trauma ‘long us! What you are seeing is the natural effervescence of a burgeoning race, reunited with its native soil, coming into its own and taking its place among the nations.

        I just don’t see how it could be confused with the passive-aggressive posturings and defensive fantasies, (not to mention incorporating the victimisers values as your own) of a traumatized people.

    • Marnie
      October 19, 2017, 10:16 am

      JeffBeeeeeee: You write as if you’re problem solving here and just about have your final solution to the question of the palestinian problem in your head, but want to bounce it off the actual writer of this piece, who, in the entire article he wrote DID NOT ASK FOR YOUR HELP. You speak with the arrogance and authority of any ugly american a$$hole directing the movers on where to put the boxes, but can’t actually help with the heavy lifting because his lumbago and hemorrhoids are acting up again. Such is the mind of a ‘liberal zionist’. You and your compadres in the am yisrael chai club have yet to be able to defend your support of the zionist enterprise. You talk circles around everyone and squat here and do nothing but cheerlead apartheid. You have not ever been able to explain how in the fuck you continue to support the occupation. Not once. I for one am sick and tired of seeing your bullshit. You are disgusting and absolutely full of shit. You jump on the opportunity to explain what israeli women need to do is start fucking arab men to erase arab identity then everthing will be right as rain! I’m sick of your damn opinions. You’re too lazy to write a blog of your own so you attach yourself here like the bloodsucking leech you are and try to take over every article, post copiously and with one hand too. You post everywhere but I’ve rarely seen your script on Kate’s pages. That’s where you get silent. You and the rest of the zionist cretins. Her reporting makes you very quiet for some reason. You can’t defend what she reports on can you? Children being murdered. Students denied the right to leave to attend the university they’ve been accepted to because the israelis have a lot of fun playing god at the checkpoints. Children being arrested, beaten by police and then for extra fun, dropped off in a settlement so those brownshirts can get their rocks off torturing them. C’mon JeffBee – justify that! Because if you just scratch the surface here that’s what you’ll find. Justify it JeffBee – you can do it, I just know you can.

      This was hysterical: “The Gazans would love to have the problems the West Bankers have. The West Bankers would love to have the problems the Israeli-Arabs have. The Israeli-Arabs would love to have the problems the Mizrahi have.” What about your problems? They’re YUGE because the problem you and people like you have are what keeps this shit going 24/7. Now justify it. Explain how you can continue to support and defend the israeli government and zionism.Please?

      • Misterioso
        October 19, 2017, 11:00 am

        @Marnie

        BINGO!!!

      • JeffB
        October 19, 2017, 1:12 pm

        @Marnie

        I don’t normally respond to you because you are too rude. But I’ll give it a shot.

        1) Of the 3 major forms of government that can exist: large aristocratic government, nation states, small local governments I think on balance nation states offer the best combination of scale for economic projects with the most room for human freedom. So on balance I support nation states over the other alternatives. Given that Israeli Jews have a national identity and meet the other criteria for a nation state (the ability to maintain an army capable of standing alone…) I’d want them to have a state.

        2) I focus on maximizing the good to people in the here and now. An individuals benefits from a society are best measured through their utility (the log of annual spending). For a population then the sum of utility is the geometric mean of the annual spending of the members of the society. There are a lot of measures of good government and bad government but if we wanted to choose a single one that would be it. Israel and the Yishuv before it continue to do a wonderful job in boosting utility under challenging circumstances. Which means it is a good government.

        3) The Palestinians with the strongest national identity live in Gaza and have a terrible standard of living. The Palestinians with the weakest national identity live in Europe or Israeli Arabs and have a high standard of living among Palestinians. Palestinian culture is destructive to the utility of its participants. I hold brown people to the same standard of good government as I do white people. The Palestinian nationalism has resulted time after time in bad government that damages utility. And that includes their nationalism in places outside of Israel like Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon… so this is not solely the result of Israeli policy.

        4) Therefore the best thing that can happen to the Palestinians is they become Israelis and lose most of their cultural identity. A weak destructive culture dies and is replaced by a strong healthy culture.

        5) That still leaves the issue of “original sin” or whatever. I’m not particularly concerned with going back into ancient history and trying to fix wrong from generations past. I think there is some value in prosecuting criminal behavior near to the time it occurs, that value falls off quickly with time. That means in particular I don’t approve of trying to right injustices that occurred more than a lifetime ago. The choice of Palestine as where to locate the Jewish state falls into that more than a lifetime ago category. There are other apologetics as to why it is a good choice, but mostly I don’t think it matters. In 2017 as opposed to 1887 the cost of undoing this choice at this point far outweighs any possible benefit. Move on deal with the facts as they exist.

        6) As far as Kate’s stuff I don’t necessarily approve of the day to day brutality that Israeli society engages in. There is quite a lot of it I don’t approve of. I think Netanyahu is being terribly inhumane and missing opportunities to make things better for everyone. And if this were a Liberal Zionist discussion board where we were rationally discussing less destructive alternatives to current Israeli policy I’d be happy to suggest those. But MW doesn’t do that. It isn’t interested in policy reform. It instead focuses on unfixable problem and tries to address them by advocating for the total destruction of a state and society. The levels of violence that Kate reports pale in comparison to what the destruction of Israel would involve. When you talk about the kinds of sequences of wars (since it usually involves multiple wars) that destroy a prosperous military strong state and society you are talking horrific losses. So my back of a napkin estimate for implementation of the anti-Zionist program is 100m dead. I don’t like seeing kids shot unnecessarily. I don’t like seeing whole cities full of kids incinerated more. You all advocate for more violence and hatred. Marnie have you listened to your tone lately? I have trouble taking you seriously when you talk about objecting to violence and hatred.

        7) So with all that the question becomes a search for the most humane way to implement the Zionist program and normalize Israel’s relationship with a destructive minority. And that’s the policy I support. Maximizing utility.

      • Mooser
        October 19, 2017, 4:51 pm

        “Jeff b”, you are a real asset. You do much to help people clarify their thoughts, and make up their minds about Zionists and Zionism.

    • Misterioso
      October 19, 2017, 10:58 am

      @JeffB

      “Far easier than displacing 650k people.”

      Bull crap!!

      These “650k people” are belligerent, illegal, brutal occupiers of Palestinian lands seized by the entity known as “Israel” during the war it launched on 5 June 1967. (Nor should it be forgotten that the entity known as “Israel” is also occupying Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms and Kfarshuba hills.) There is no special provision in international law, e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute, which came about in large measure to the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis, that enables Zionist Jews to violate it with impunity.

      • JeffB
        October 19, 2017, 1:14 pm

        @Misterioso

        In what possible world does that screed even attempt to make the argument it is easy to displace those 650k people? At best it seems to make an argument as to why you think its a good idea.

      • Marnie
        October 20, 2017, 1:24 am

        I myself am not concerned at all with the fate of the 650K colonialist carpetbaggers and thieves. They have the big guns on their side after all. However, the care and upkeep of these hillbillies is a strain and a drain on the rest of us. I’d sure hate to ponder what could happen if the rest of the israelis started realizing they’re getting royally screwed. Oh well, that’ll never happen as most all israelis don’t give a damn anyway, which is why it’s so important for the rest of the world to and for places like Mondoweiss to exist.

    • Mooser
      October 20, 2017, 4:16 pm

      “Well I can start by saying I don’t disagree with your facts or your analysis. Which is good normally MW is squabbling about minor details and you can never get to the bigger more interesting points. Here I can.” “Prof. Rev. Dr. Jeff b GCMG”

      You are bug-fuck nuts, “Jeff b”. Remind us again who you are, and why we should do anything but laugh at you trying to correct Jonathan Ofir?

  11. [email protected]
    October 19, 2017, 9:14 am

    By its own admission, this organization claims to have 26,000 members of which a few hundred perhaps like 200-300 are Palestinian. What does this mean, 99% Jewish Israelis and 1% everything else. But if you look at their press releases after the march this one percent is shown everywhere. We have this phenomena here in the US at trump rallies and yes some 99% white liberal groups like churches and colleges. Diversity is manufactured by the camera for the sake of Public Relations. Show the Blacks and Hispanics in press releases after the march even though diversity is almost completely non-existent. This march was to serve Israeli interests and make it seem as if their is a wide swath of Israeli and Palestinian women willing to stand for peace. As trump said in Charlottesville, many of his marchers are good people and their on all sides. Women (or men) who March while ignoring and minimizing suffering and oppression, are the same kind of good folks minus the torches that we have here in the US. They want to preserve the Arab Lives don’t matter status quo exactly like the marchers here who like peace within the Black Lives don’t matter preferred history of segregation and preserving a positive memory of segregation and subjugation.

  12. Misterioso
    October 19, 2017, 11:07 am

    PRESS RELEASE

    The Palestinian Liberation Organization
    Department of Culture & Information

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    October 19, 2017

    PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi condemns recent Israeli raids on eight Palestinian media outlets and agencies

    “In the strongest terms, we condemn Israel’s storming of eight Palestinian media offices in Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem, and Hebron, the arrest of two Palestinian journalists, and the willful confiscation of equipment in the raids. In direct contravention of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that calls for the protection of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, these violations are part of Israel’s systematic policy that deliberately targets journalists and media institutions in Palestine.

    “Such unlawful acts that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday were carried out under the pretext that the media outlets and agencies were ‘broadcasting incitement.’ Undoubtedly, the root cause of incitement is Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestine and its persistent and flagrant suppression of the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing extremist government are responsible for generating systemic racism, injustice, violence, and a culture of hate against the Palestinian people, enabling its extremist settler population to commit acts of terror against the Palestinians. 

    “It is incumbent upon members of the international community, including the International Federation of Journalists, to take immediate action to curb Israel’s ongoing breach of international and humanitarian law and to safeguard Palestinian and foreign journalists from Israeli violations.”

    “We also honor the courageous journalists in Palestine and abroad who have worked to report on Israel’s military occupation and its policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”  

    • Marnie
      October 19, 2017, 12:54 pm

      C’mon and defend the zionists on this one JeffBee – anyone?

  13. amigo
    October 19, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Let,s refresh our memories as to how we got here.This article is from 2010 and matters have exponentially worsened since then.

    Yeah , we know , it is all the fault of the obstructionist Palestinians who refuse to take the crumbs thrown to them from the zionist table.

    This article is also useful as it might clear up any confusion that Israel has always wanted peace and were/are willing to pay a price for it.That is if giving back what was stolen can be considered as paying a price.

    https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/06/17/top-ten-myths-about-the-israeli-palestinian-conflict/

  14. Ossinev
    October 19, 2017, 1:22 pm

    @Marnie
    “C’mon and defend the zionists on this one JeffBee – anyone?”

    Liked your previous post @1016 hrs but this one simply invites Jeffb to continue with his convoluted “liberal Zionist ” gobshite.

    Best IMHO that he is simply ignored by all and in due course he will eventually disappear up his own Hasbaritic rectum.

    • Marnie
      October 20, 2017, 1:26 am

      I understand that intellectually; deprive the troll of oxygen and he’ll wither and die, but it’s taking too long Ossinev!

  15. amigo
    October 19, 2017, 1:46 pm

    More on the myth that Israel seeks peace and is willing to recognise the right of Palestinians to self determination.

    “Netanyahu likes the status quo. His coalition includes those, like Minister Naftali Bennett, who want formal annexation of the majority of the West Bank. But all the Labor Party is offering by way of an alternative is an Israeli-defined “separation” plan that smacks of a “smarter” version of apartheid.

    In other words, none of the Israeli political parties who are either part of the current ruling coalition, or who could feasibly lead an alternative one, support a solution based on international law and the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, sovereignty, and return.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/israel-palestine-labor-party-gabbay-netanyahu-settlements-two-state-bds-movement-a8005136.html

    Israel was born of myths.It lives based on myths and for sure it will die based on those myths.

    The sooner this scourge is neutralised, the better for everyone , except maybe for some zionist crackpots but who cares what they think.

  16. Annie Robbins
    October 19, 2017, 1:56 pm

    jonathan, regarding Moshe Feiglin’s 7-point plan for the ethnic cleansing of Gaza, i posted and partly transcribed a video of his speech on that plan in a 2014 article if anyone is interested in the actual plan itself, fairly gruesome. excerpt:

    Victory means destroying your enemy, and take over the place.

    The enemy is not the tunnels, the enemy is not the rockets, and the target is definitely not to weaken the Hamas. Did Churchill say that the enemy is the Luftwaffe airplanes? Was the target to weaken Hitler [Hebrew words]. If that’s the way World War Two would have been done, there would be no victory at the end of it. God forbid. The Six Days War, it took less than a day to take over the Gaza Strip… You don’t run up to tunnels, you don’t go into the homes, you hit the leadership hard. You understand that you the good guy and they are the bad guy, you represent good, they represent evil. We have a war over here, and the war is not against the Hamas and there’s no innocent people around it. So these are the two rules. First of all, we should look for victory, we should win, we should take over, we should destroy Hamas and take over the whole city and we should do it according to Jewish law and not according to this immoral ideas that putting our soldiers in danger…

    [audience applause]

    The question is what are we going to do afterwards with 1.8 million Arabs in Gaza? There are three categories. The first category is those who fighting against you, who fought against you, fighting against you – still not accepting your full sovereignty on your land. And if I did not mention that of course it’s part of it, I’m not talking about going back to Gaza as a colonialist as we did in 1967, no. I’m talking about going back to Gaza as the owner of the land, as we did in Yafo [Jaffa] in 1948. Those who fought you in the past or don’t accept your sovereignty today should be destroyed or sent away. That’s the first category, it’s simple.

    full speech here: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/12/million-palestinians-feiglin/

  17. Nathan
    October 21, 2017, 1:56 pm

    “The end of the conflict, in my view, would be when there is no more conflict. I am not a Palestinian so what I think constitutes the end of the conflict is sort of irrelevant…”

    Annie Robbins – In other words, you don’t have a scenario for the end of conflict. It’s not too surprising. (Did you say that you accept UNSC 242)? In the anti-Israel world, no one promises an end of conflict. There is never any connection between grievances and the conflict (solving all the grievances does not solve the conflict).

    You leave the end of conflict to the Palestinians. Well, if you ask a Palestinian the straight-to-the-point question (“what would be the end of conflict with Israel”), he wouldn’t be so evasive and vague. He’ll tell you honestly that there is no end of conflict with Israel. This is position of the anti-Israel world as well.

    Anyway, the simple truth is summarized in UNSC 242. In the framework of establishing peace, the right of Israel to live in peace must be accepted, there will be a withdrawal from occupied territories and there will be a solution to the refugee issue. (It’s no wonder that you didn’t say that you accept the resolution). The anti-Israel position that these grievances (and others) will be addressed without the establishment of peace (the end of conflict) is not going to be realized.

    To paraphrase your insight: The conflict with all of its unresolved grievances will continue indefinitely (its grievances remaining unresolved) until the end of conflict.

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