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Struggle for equal rights for Palestinians is ‘right choice,’ and will lead to ‘significant exodus of Jews’ — Henry Siegman

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Everyone should read Henry Siegman’s long piece in the National Interest on the “Implications of President Trump’s Jerusalem Ploy.” Siegman is a great leader because he has bucked the American and Jewish establishment, of which he is a member, to declare that the two-state solution is dead and buried.

He is also a prophet inasmuch as he is counseling American Jewry to give up its attachment to Zionism as a dead letter, no different from a Christian state here, and so prepare itself for a future in which Israel is isolated as a pariah state and there is a “significant exodus of Israel’s Jews.”

His words are astounding because Siegman, a Holocaust survivor now in his late 80s, was himself a Zionist, and head of the World Jewish Congress. His bravery in renouncing the animating political faiths of his life– it’s inspiring.

His intervention is especially meaningful because this week Barack Obama came back for an encore, at a prominent NY synagogue this week, and trotted out his usual b.s. about being Israel’s best friend, and softening his good last blow– allowing the Security Council settlements resolution to pass– by saying that settlement construction had “rocketed,” so he had to do something. No vision at all, from a person who has some high degree of freedom in his life. Siegman knocks Obama hard in his piece.

Here are some crucial passages. Near the end of the piece, Siegman lays out the cruel delusion of Oslo and praises Trump for shattering “the illusion of a two-state outcome,” finally turning the struggle to one of equal rights no statehood. Notice how he aligns himself with young Palestinians’ hopes and idealism.

Nothing has been as harmful to the Palestinian struggle to end Israel’s occupation and unrelenting theft of territory intended for its state as Abbas’ insistence on the preservation of the Palestinian Authority and the myth that it serves as “a state in formation,” when it so clearly allowed Israel to solidify its occupation. Trump’s move on Jerusalem achieved what years of Israel’s settlements failed to do—shatter the illusion of a two-state outcome, and allow the Palestinian national movement to turn into a struggle for rights, which is to say a struggle to end Israel’s de facto apartheid regime, a course I have advocated for over a decade, and now increasingly embraced by younger Palestinians. What is particularly significant is that this younger generation is opting for a struggle for equal rights in a single state not because they despair of achieving a state of their own, but because it is their preferred solution.

Siegman then endorse the struggle for equal rights and the end of Zionism. This is his conclusion. Notice the clarity of his phrasing. There are no evasions here. And: notice the repeated references to an exodus of Jews.

It is the right choice, for their struggle for a state of their own is one Palestinians cannot win, while a struggle to maintain an apartheid regime is one Israel cannot win.

If after what undoubtedly would be a long and bitter anti-apartheid struggle Palestinians prevail, they will be in the clear majority. Having established the principle that the majority can impose on the minority the religious and cultural identity of the State, Israel will not be in a strong position to deny Palestinians that same right. That will lead in time to a significant exodus of Israel’s Jews.

If Palestinians do not prevail, then the undeniable apartheid character of the state and the cost of the ongoing struggle will lead to the same result—an exodus of Israel’s Jews over time, creating an even greater demographic imbalance between the country’s Jewish and Arab populations. Palestinians will not leave because they will have nowhere to go.

Next, no tears for Zionism. And a warning to American Jews to abandon Zionism.

The outcome is therefore likely to be the end of Israel as a Jewish state. If so, it will be an outcome brought about not by BDS movements but by Israelis themselves, not only because of their rejection of the two-state solution, but because of their insistence on defining Israel’s national identity and territorial claims in religious terms. A state that fast-tracks citizenship through government-sponsored religious conversion to Judaism, as Israel’s government now does, cannot for long hide that it privileges its Jewish citizens—just as the United States could not have claimed to be a democracy if conversion to Christianity were a path to U.S. citizenship.

Of course Palestinians have been saying this for a long time, idealistic democracy-loving Palestinians like Ali Abunimah and Omar Barghouti and Linda Sarsour. Yes, but it is meaningful that a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Zionist leader is saying so, folks.

Some other bits. The peace process is a lie and a scam.

Critics of Trump’s declaration warned that it will put an end to what prospect there may still have been for a resumption of the peace process. Apparently word that the peace process is dead and buried never reached them. The fiction of its existence served no purpose other than to provide Netanyahu cover for his lie that the reason Israel is not already an apartheid state is that he is waiting for the resumption of the peace process with a more accommodating Palestinian leadership.

The leaders of Western democracies have yet to end their shameful collaboration with this Israeli scam. Not that they ever believed it, but they needed to pretend that they do, for otherwise they would have had to explain why they urged the security council to impose sanctions on Russia for its land grab in the Ukraine but refused to impose sanctions on Israel for its land grabs in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Obama was part of this longrunning scam:

This pretense was also what led President Obama to say in one of his speeches to the UN Annual Meeting of the General Assembly something that is outrageously untrue—that the UN is not the place to which Palestinians can bring their quest for self-determination and statehood because that can only be resolved in direct negotiations with Netanyahu. No one knew better than Obama that the UN was established exactly for that reason—to help populations under former colonial control achieve self-determination.

Those who tell the Palestinians to negotiate are cruel, and nuts.

It would be madness for Abbas to resume negotiations that both Israel and the self-appointed mediator have publicly declared allow Israel to grab Palestinian territory. For what do the powerless Palestinians have going for them in these negotiations other than international law?

Jewish liberals would not recognize Israel. Its culture is shaped by the brutality of disenfranchising people on a racial basis:

Israel’s dominant political culture is today far more reflective of Trumpian and similar mid-European authoritarian values. It is the predictable by-product of a culture shaped by the unrelenting repression and total disenfranchisement of millions of people under Israel’s military rule that is now in its fiftieth year. Virtually every young Israeli Jewish citizen spends three impressionable years of his young life looking at Palestinians through his rifle’s sights as potential targets to be eliminated.

Lacerating anecdote showing Israeli racism, emphasis mine.

I happened to be in Israel during a launch of a new book by an author and historian, Raphael Israeli, a professor emeritus at the Hebrew University. The event, which drew a large Likud crowd, including government ministers and Knesset members, reminded me—like nothing else ever did in my over sixty years of professional engagement with the Israel-Palestine conflict—of how woefully uninformed not only the American public but our government officials and academics are about the realities on the ground in Israel and in the Palestinian occupied territories.

The central thesis of this new book, titled “The Arab Minority in Israel” (published only in Hebrew), is that Israeli Arabs are a fifth column “who suck from the state’s teats” and cannot be integrated into Israeli society. Expressing admiration for the Americans’ internment of its Japanese citizens during World War II, the author advocates the confinement of Israeli Arabs in concentration camps. The author sees Israel’s failure to have taken such measures as a sign of “an enfeebled Israel that has lost its will to exist.” For “although the Arabs openly identify with our enemy . . . [n]ot only are they not incarcerated in camps, we allow them to stand on our platforms.”

These are not Palestinian residents of the West Bank, but Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel that he is describing.

There is also some excellent religious history about the non-attachment of Jews to Jerusalem as a place.

Muslims actually lived in Jerusalem and worshipped at the Noble Sanctuary for over a millennium. Most Jews did not make their lives in Jerusalem during these past two millenniums, even in times when they were able to do so…

In fact, the Jewish attachment to Jerusalem related not to its status as a capital city but to the location of the Batei Hamikdash, the two ancient Temples; Jerusalem was not known as Yerushalayim Habira (Jerusalem the Capital). When the second Temple was destroyed and the sages deferred its rebuilding and the resumption of its rituals to messianic times, there was no longer a compelling reason to live in Jerusalem. The small Orthodox community that continued to exist in Jerusalem considers Zionism a heresy and to this day does not recognize the religious or political legitimacy of the State of Israel.

The founders of the Zionist movement had little regard for the Messiah, and even less for Jerusalem….

I don’t understand why Siegman is not in all our leading papers and on the cable shows. The New York Times should be interviewing him; Chris Hayes should be hosting him. Because this is news. For the U.S. establishment it’s huge news. The two state solution is an illusion, the peace process is dead and buried, maintaining otherwise is a scam that serves Netanyahu, and Jews should prepare themselves for a “significant exodus of Jews” from Israel as it faces a future of acknowledged apartheid or– democracy.

Thanks to John Whitbeck and James North and Henry Norr. 

PS. I originally stated that this piece appeared in the National, not the National Interest. A world of difference there.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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57 Responses

  1. Naftush
    January 27, 2018, 1:12 pm

    Siegman’s biggest slip, maybe the source of the smaller ones, is the bit about defining Israel’s national identity and territorial claims in religious terms. He proves it by citing the religious element of the conversion process as practiced in Israel. He has little choice, whether he thought about it or not, because Israel defines no other element in its civic life that way. Even the Law of Return, which he probably reviles, applies a religious criterion only by negation. He is speaking from his American Jewish perspective of seeing Jewishness as religion-only and therefore Israel as a religious project. How dissonant that is to the ears of any Israeli, Jewish or not, religious or not.

    • John O
      January 27, 2018, 1:44 pm

      Privileging one group of people living in a defined space (i.e. a country) either by religion or by ethnicity is immoral. End of.

    • eljay
      January 27, 2018, 2:34 pm

      || Naftush: Siegman’s biggest slip, maybe the source of the smaller ones, is the bit about defining Israel’s national identity and territorial claims in religious terms. … He is speaking from his American Jewish perspective of seeing Jewishness as religion-only and therefore Israel as a religious project. … ||

      Jewish is a religion-based identity. There are no valid territorial claims for a religion-based identity. A state (Israel) envisioned, established, maintained and expanded as a state primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews is necessarily a religion-supremacist construct. No slip(s) about it.

      • Misterioso
        January 29, 2018, 10:35 am

        @John O and eljay

        Well and truly stated!!!

    • Annie Robbins
      January 27, 2018, 2:50 pm

      the bit about defining Israel’s national identity and territorial claims in religious terms

      do you mean this:

      Most Jews did not make their lives in Jerusalem during these past two millenniums, even in times when they were able to do so…

      In fact, the Jewish attachment to Jerusalem related not to its status as a capital city but to the location of the Batei Hamikdash, the two ancient Temples; Jerusalem was not known as Yerushalayim Habira (Jerusalem the Capital). When the second Temple was destroyed and the sages deferred its rebuilding and the resumption of its rituals to messianic times, there was no longer a compelling reason to live in Jerusalem.

      if not, please cite the passage you are referring to. thanks.

  2. Annie Robbins
    January 27, 2018, 2:52 pm

    I don’t understand why Siegman is not in all our leading papers and on the cable shows.

    really? not even a hunch? ;)

    • atime forpeace
      January 28, 2018, 12:45 pm

      I am with you on this Annie. This is rich on the authors part to say this.

      “I don’t understand why Siegman is not in all our leading papers and on the cable shows.”

      Why Siegman does not get any airplay on the MSM or why his very qualified views are not voiced above a mild whisper is the reason why you started this online magazine.

      Fear to “call a spade a spade” permeates the air on the Issue of Zionism’s influence in the United states is the answer to your query.

      To “call a spade a spade” is a figurative expression which refers to calling something “as it is”, that is, by its right or proper name, without “beating about the bush”—being outspoken about it, truthfully, frankly, and directly, even to the point of being blunt or rude, and even if the subject is considered coarse, …

    • Donald Johnson
      January 28, 2018, 5:00 pm

      I guess several of us had the same reaction to that line. Obviously Phil knows why or this blog wouldn’t exist.

      But Phil, if you are reading this, I think you could make your point about the press more bluntly, without the rhetorical naïveté.

      • LHunter
        January 29, 2018, 12:08 am

        why would an anti-Zionist not get any MSM air time? because he is a holocaust survivor? because his Papa was a leader in the European Zionist movement? because he is the former head of the World Jewish Council? because he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations? because he is a Jew? a rabbi? balding?

      • Donald Johnson
        January 30, 2018, 1:39 pm

        “why would an anti-Zionist not get any MSM air time? ”

        I am not sure if you were misreading me. Anyway, I think anti-Zionists don’t get airtime because there has been a long and up to this point successful campaign by Zionists in the US to portray anti-Zionists as anti-semites. This is or might be slowly starting to change, but right now openly racist jerks like Bret Stephens can have a regular column at the NYT, while we all got excited because Michelle Goldberg wrote one piece questioning Zionism. The equivalent of Bret Stephens would be someone I wouldn’t want representing the pro-Palestinian side–it would be someone who actually was an anti-semite. There is no need to worry about it though–the NYT would never dream of publishing such a person.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      January 29, 2018, 1:41 pm

      Siegman is a voice that needs to be heard. I identify completely. He is a hero and speaks the truth. That the US( and Germany) continues to be complicit with Zionism is a national disgrace as well as intolerable.

    • genesto
      January 29, 2018, 1:55 pm

      It’s tongue-in-cheek, Annie!

      • Annie Robbins
        January 29, 2018, 2:19 pm

        thanks genesto, that’s why i adorned my comment to phil w/a little smiley face.

  3. Maghlawatan
    January 27, 2018, 4:42 pm

    Siegman has been writing g good stuff for a while. Apartheid is not sustainable but it is kept going for the moment because of how groupthink works. Decent jews who speak out are silenced and ostracised by the thug majority.

  4. Nathan
    January 27, 2018, 5:50 pm

    “The founders of the Zionist movement had little regard for the Messiah, and even less for Jerusalem….”

    I would humbly suggest to Mr Siegman to give a minute’s thought as to the very choice of the name of the movement. The name is derived from the word “Zion”, the hilltop on which the Temple of Jerusalem was built. Of course, the Zionist Movement attached tremendous importance to Jerusalem. But let’s accept Mr Siegman’s point of view and maintain that Zionism had little regard for Zion (as absurd as that may sound). So what? Is there any doubt today that the Israeli public regards Jerusalem to be centrally important? No, there is no doubt.

    For how many decades will we hear about “an exodus of Israel’s Jews over time”? As a general rule, it’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. Despite the conflict, the very harsh conditions in the country (and the Holocaust), the Jewish population has nevertheless risen from about 60,000 in 1920 to about 6,500,000 today. I think – in the midst of the ongoing population explosion – we can ask Mr Siegman to rethink his analysis.

    • JohnSmith
      January 28, 2018, 3:19 am

      The best thing about a Nathan post is the snide, disdainful, and arrogant tone, suitable for a racial supremacist in talking to inferiors who believe in silly things like equal rights and democracy.

      According to Wikipedia, the 6,500,000 is not too far wrong. It looks like the number would be slightly above 6,460,000, and Nathan, understandably, wants to round this up or views the difference as de minimis. Whatever. What is more significant is Nathan and Israel’s dishonesty in arriving at this figure. How many of those 6,460,000 or 6,500,000 actually live in the United States? How many of them actually live in the West Bank?

      Without even getting into the growth of Palestinian refugee and expatriate communities driven out of Israel, why does Nathan think that West Bank Palestinians shouldn’t count in the Israel population, but settler populations should? The answer is Nathan and Israel’s racism. If Nathan ever decides not to be a bigot, maybe then he can “rethink his analysis.”

      • Paranam Kid
        January 28, 2018, 8:51 am

        There may be as many as 1 million Israeli Jews living as expats in the US: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/08/many-million-israelis/

      • Mooser
        January 28, 2018, 1:12 pm

        “The best thing about a Nathan post is the snide, disdainful, and arrogant tone, suitable for a racial supremacist in talking to inferiors who believe in silly things like equal rights and democracy.” “John Smith”

        Well, when you belong to the most numerous, powerful, disciplined and unified group on earth, which has never suffered a rebuff, well, you tend to get that way a little. Try and overlook it.

        Of course, the possibility exist “Nathan’s” attitude is just a very human defensive response to trauma, and a hopeless situation, irrational, and full of false pride. Hard to tell, ain’t it?

    • Paranam Kid
      January 28, 2018, 8:59 am

      “Is there any doubt today that the Israeli public regards Jerusalem to be centrally important?”

      So what? The Muslims and Christians also regard al-Quds as centrally important !!! Furthermore, al-Quds was supposed to be international ground, or after Israel’s illegal capture of the whole city in 1967, West al-Quds was for Israel, East al-Quds for Palestine.

      What’s more, the settlers themselves don’t even consider East al-Quds as part of Israel:

      Based on the Population Registry of Israel’s Interior Ministry, there are 406,302 Jews in Judea and Samaria as of December 31, 2015. As clearly stated in the report, the statistics do not include eastern neighborhoods of al-Quds (e.g. Pisgat Zeev, Ramat Shlomo, Ramot, Gilo, Ramat Eshkol, etc.) which are technically part of the West Bank and are home to another approximately 360,000 Jews. Source: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/diplomats-western-backpedals/

    • Misterioso
      January 29, 2018, 10:44 am

      @Nathan

      Congratulations! You and your ilk have created a racist, expansionist, fascistic, illegal/brutal occupier, serial violator of hard won international humanitarian law entity known as “Israel.”

    • Annie Robbins
      January 29, 2018, 11:55 am

      The name is derived from the word “Zion”, the hilltop on which the Temple of Jerusalem was built. Of course, the Zionist Movement attached tremendous importance to Jerusalem. But let’s accept Mr Siegman’s point of view and maintain that Zionism had little regard for Zion

      Siegman didn’t maintain zionism had little regard for zion. besides, isn’t the term “zion” ancient Hebrew for sanctuary or refuge or redemption? anyway, regarding “the hilltop on which the Temple of Jerusalem was built”, according to wikipedia, the meaning has shifted and it is now used as the name of ancient Jerusalem’s Western Hill.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Zion

      so i am not certain it is accurate to claim zionism was named after jerusalem per se.

      • Lillian Rosengarten
        January 29, 2018, 1:43 pm

        Annie, who cares. This simply deflects from what is important, the rape of land and genocide.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 29, 2018, 2:24 pm

        lillian, i guess because i hear all around me the rape and genocide justifying colonialism masquerading as historical claim. and i think siegman’s point — that the original zionists weren’t even religious — is a reminder their movement was a colonialist movement. and the original appeals to persuade jews to move there were not primarily religious either.

        as israel furthers fanaticization, settlers/religious nationalists as well as appealing to christian zionist support, the hasbara has turned more religiously theme based.

        btw, did you get a chance to read “Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of ‘Jewish people’ is assault on my religion”? http://mondoweiss.net/2018/01/recognition-jerusalem-religion/
        Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro shows up repeatedly in the comment section and makes similar points siegman is making.

        i think it’s important to emphasize this hasbara is by design just as the fanaticization of colonialism is by design. it’s a set up to claim those who either deny it or do not respect it or give it the elevation (supremacist) we’re programed to accept (without regard to the centrality to either islam or christianity) are worthy of some kind of scorn. so i think it’s worth backing siegman’s ptv on this particular topic (as well as rabbi shapiro).

  5. yonah fredman
    January 28, 2018, 12:03 pm

    Henry Siegman is an important dissenter. The exodus as a result of equal rights that he predicts gives him no obvious pause, for the Israelis will reap what they have sowed. But he is a serious thinker on modern israeli/Palestinian peacemaking efforts and ideas.
    Having received his semicha (ordination) from torah v’da’as, he has Jewish credentials.
    I was put off by his ” Jerusalem was merely a spiritual, end of the days destination”. I think the development of identity consciousness as in the emergence of nationalism calls upon all elements of emotion and to draw a line of barbed wire between the Jerusalem of animal sacrifices and the Jerusalem of imagination is artificial. The inclusion of his rabbinic interpretation of what is Jerusalem to the Jews as a national unit versus the Jews as a religious tradition is the weak link in the article and undermines respect for his political analysis.
    The status quo whether called any specific term like apartheid, is a system of suppression, which is inherently unstable. The militarism that was logical in1948, seems like a mindset of nightmarish quality 70 years later, certainly when viewed at a distance.
    The reaction of the Jews of nationalist inclinations to the situation presented to them in1945 does not seem outlandish, despite the catastrophe to a vast number of palestinians. Yet logic dictates that something should have been done to dilute the insult and injury since. This hasn’t happened. I understand the elation of1967 but to engage in a settler enterprise was foolhardy. Military occupation would still have been ugly, but a settler occupation is clearly heading in a specific direction.
    I first arrived in the west bank in 1972, less than 5 years after the 67 war.

    • Brewer
      January 28, 2018, 6:03 pm

      Very interesting post Yonah, this caught my eye:
      “a line of barbed wire between the Jerusalem of animal sacrifices and the Jerusalem of imagination”
      I have had my curiosity aroused by Russel Gmirkin’s theories that indicate that Judaism post-dates Plato and draws on his “Republic” and “Laws”.
      I am not a Biblical scholar so I can only repeat what he has alleged but it seems he makes a good case and is reasonably well respected. There is a debate here:
      https://vridar.org/?s=+Russell+Gmirkin

      I seem to remember Gmirkin alleging that there was evidence of Judaism being polytheistic up until about 300BC. Do you know anything about this?

      • yonah fredman
        January 28, 2018, 7:27 pm

        Brewer- My curiosity regarding the earlier stages of Judaism is limited. Regarding the polytheistic roots and vestiges in early Judaism, the multiple names of God- elohim, versus the Name, are well known as are the various Bible passages that emphasize one name over the other. The study of Bible from a Kabbalistic perspective is of some interest, and of all current streams of Judaism, Kabbalism is the most polytheistic dividing God the merciful from God the just.
        The lived day to day world that existed before the modern era will not return on a large scale and as such the influence of the religion will take place on a smaller scale in communities and in individuals in many different hearts and minds studying the books and the traditions. whether these studies lead to “progress” is “hit or miss”.

      • Brewer
        January 28, 2018, 11:14 pm

        Thanks Yonah. My interest is purely academic or at least rooted in my youthful interest in religion/theology. Up until university days I was a Jerusalemite. University converted me to Athens.
        Most Judeo/Christians assume that the “Bible” is a collection of ancient texts that have been passed down through millennia. Gmirkin et al allege that in fact, the Septuagint originates in the Alexandra Library around 300BC – a collection of legend and story drawn from many sources and inspired by Plato’s blueprint for a Republic which calls for a “divine” narrative to underpin its legitimacy.
        Given that these texts have had such a profound effect on the cultures and even the epistemology of so many of us, I am intrigued by the idea that they may in fact be so recent and “written to order” as it were.
        We do know that there are antecedents to some of the stories – Eden and Noah for example are found in the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BC) – and this would seem to support Gmirkin’s thesis.
        If there were evidence that Judaism was not monotheistic before 300BC, or that dietary laws etc were not adhered to it would support Gmirkin. I don’t think there are any Biblical documents yet discovered that predate about 300BC so far as I know (the Dead Sea Scrolls mostly date from around the time of Christ) but it should be possible to detect their existence if there is evidence that the rules they contain were being adhered to prior – to my way of thinking.

      • jon s
        January 29, 2018, 6:28 am

        The earliest biblical text found is the priestly blessing, which appears in the biblical Book of Numbers and was found on amulets dated from the late 7th to early 6th century BCE :

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketef_Hinnom

    • RoHa
      January 28, 2018, 9:49 pm

      Yonah, I am beginning to think you are more cunning than I originally estimated. In the middle of a number of perfectly good sentences, you slip in a couple with commas after the subject clauses. You are doing it just to annoy me, aren’t you?

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2018, 1:08 pm

        ” You are doing it just to annoy me, aren’t you?”

        Please, no. He does that to make it easier to distinguish what he has copy/pasted, and what “yonah” actually wrote.

  6. LHunter
    January 28, 2018, 2:41 pm

    Never heard of Siegman but I sure do like his thinking/politics. If someone that was so deeply indoctrinated has managed to break the zio-chains that bound him there is hope.

    Thx Phil, great read, hoping Finkelstein gets a chance to read Siegman’s article and perhaps feel a tad bit better about the growing groundswell of support for Palestinians rights due in part to the departure of Jews from Zionism.

  7. Boomer
    January 28, 2018, 4:43 pm

    re potential “significant exodus” of Israelis:

    Well, I hope we don’t get an influx of more Zionists here. We’ve got enough of them now. Hopefully the better sort of people, the more moral sort, will be the ones to leave. But you never know how it will work out. People can be surprising. I recall David Brooks writing years ago, after one of his trips to Israel, about how much he loves the country, but how he wouldn’t want to live there. The locals make life there unpleasant, compared with home. As some middle Americans (known to the coastal elites as people from fly-over country) are wont to say of NYC, “it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

    On the other hand, I do think we owe admission and citizenship to those Palestinians who want to come here, in light of our complicity in helping Israel to take their homes and homeland. I think we should offer the same to the citizens of the Marshall Islands, in light of the nuclear contamination we left there, and our role in flooding them out of their homes in the foreseeable future.

    That’s not to say I favor open borders. There is now a considerable social science literature suggesting that there are costs as well as benefits to social and cultural diversity. And population growth also has costs as well as benefits. I think a rational policy implies some limits to immigration.

    It’s hard to have a dispassionate discussion of this topic these days. Indeed, after Mr. Trump’s “shithole” comment, it may be impossible to so so. My point is that it seems to me that it should be possible, within in the context of a rational policy, to make room for those we have displaced. (I don’t expect that our policy will actually conform to my preferences; indeed, I fear that Mr. Trump might well include the groups I’ve mentioned in his “shithole” category.)

  8. JosephA
    January 29, 2018, 1:06 am

    Henry Siegman seems to be speaking the truth (to power) and it also appears that he knows whereof he speaks. I am mightily impressed, and I am bummed that I hadn’t read any of his writing sooner. Thank you for this wonderful article.

  9. wdr
    January 29, 2018, 2:53 am

    Siegman is an 88 year old chronic left wing critic of Israel. He ceased being head of the American Jewish Congress in 1994, 24 years ago. If you look at its website, you will see that it has now taken a strong stand against BDS. What he is saying here is nonsense. First- as with everyone on this site- he is grossly and consistently underestimated the fear, hatred, and loathing generated by Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in America and the West. So long as this is a continuing factor, anti-Zionism will get nowhere in the mainstream. Secondly, you are also grossly underestimating the impact of the Holocaust on support for Israel, which only rises and rises. Thirdly, Israel will not commit suicide, any more than the United States will hand back its land to the American Indians, or Australia hand back its land
    to the Aborigines. No Palestinian “refugees” will ever be allowed to “return” to Israel (which their grandparents left, not them). Unless readers of this site understand these points, they are wasting their time- at least this is not print media and you are not destroying a forest.

    • eljay
      January 29, 2018, 9:05 am

      || wdr: … No Palestinian “refugees” will ever be allowed to “return” to Israel (which their grandparents left, not them). … ||

      Thanks for underscoring the religion-supremacist nature of a “Jewish State” of Israel:
      – non-Jewish refugees from Israel – people actually from or up to n-generations removed from the geographic region comprising Israel – are not permitted to return to their homes and lands; but
      – Jewish “exiles” – people of a religion-based identity with (extremely) remote or even non-existent ties to the geographic region comprising Israel – are permitted and encouraged to leave their actual homelands throughout the world and immigrate (Zionistically: “return”) to it.

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2018, 11:19 am

        ” First- as with everyone on this site- he is grossly and consistently underestimated the fear, hatred, and loathing generated by Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in America and the West. So long as this is a continuing factor, anti-Zionism will get nowhere in the mainstream”

        Shorter “wdr”: ‘Zionists can always count on Islamophobia’.

        Of course, if “Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in America” is so scary, imagine how terrifying it must be surrounded by 22 Muslim countries! We must think about Jewish survival.

    • Talkback
      January 29, 2018, 10:30 am

      wdr: “No Palestinian “refugees” will ever be allowed to “return” to Israel (which their grandparents left, not them).”

      You don’t have to tell us that Israel does everything to maintain being a Jewish Apartheid Junta. And you don’t even have to tell us that you are a Nakba denier (which are despicable as Holocaust deniers) and claim that the grandparents “left” and put refugees in quotation marks allthough there is not doubt that not most of them were expelled directls, but that they all count as expelled, because they were not allowed to return. And you also don’t have to tell us that you have no idea about the fact that the refugee status is passed unto the descendants in intentionally prolonged refugee problems like those which your Junta created for Apartheid reasons.

      The only question would be, if you support such crimes against humanity and its denial and the answer is obvious, too. Cause that’s what you are: A blatant racist of the likes who were similarly racists towards Jews.

    • Mooser
      January 29, 2018, 11:00 am

      “wdr” do you have a plan to force Jews to stay in Palestine? Jews are people, too, most of them, and can tell when they are being taken.

      BTW, what’s the minimum Zionist Jews in Palestine needed to keep the Zionist regime working “from the river to the sea”?

      “Struggle for equal rights for Palestinians is ‘right choice,’ and will lead to ‘significant exodus of Jews’ —”

      That’s the most sensible conclusion. At some point there won’t be enough.

      • eljay
        January 29, 2018, 11:26 am

        || Mooser: “wdr” do you have a plan to force Jews to stay in Palestine? … ||

        If he does have a plan, he’ll need to be able to identify who is a Jew. Luckily for him, Boris has that part all figured out.

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2018, 1:10 pm

        ” If he does have a plan, he’ll need to be able to identify who is a Jew.”

        And who can get out up to their knees.

    • Misterioso
      January 29, 2018, 11:06 am

      @wdr
      Bullcrap!!

      Israel is a historical anachronism, 70 years of trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.
      Inevitably, it will be abandoned by the U.S., its only “friend.”

      In 20-25 years there will be about 3 billion Muslims worldwide. There will also be over 600 million Arabs, including 10-12 million Palestinians between the River and the Sea as well as about 150 million Iranians and 150 million Turks. Can there be any doubt as to where America and the world’s long term economic and geopolitical interests lie? Certainly not with Israel, an illegal, brutal occupier, a thoroughly documented serial/escalating violator of hard won international humanitarian law and an increasingly heavy millstone around America’s neck.
      In the long run, there will be one state between the River and the Sea with a Palestinian majority and Jews will finally be free of the curse of Zionism.

    • Misterioso
      January 29, 2018, 11:34 am

      @wdr

      Henry Siegman tells it like it is:

      London Review of Books
      Vol. 29 No. 16 dated 16 August 2007

      Henry Siegman – “The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam”

      “The Middle East peace process may well be the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history. Since the failed Camp David summit of 2000, and actually well before it, Israel’s interest in a peace process – other than for the purpose of obtaining Palestinian and international acceptance of the status quo – has been a fiction that has served primarily to provide cover for its systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and an occupation
      whose goal, according to the former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, is ‘to sear deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people’. In his reluctant embrace of the Oslo Accords, and his distaste for the settlers, Yitzhak Rabin may have been the exception to this, but even he did not entertain a return of Palestinian territory beyond the so-called Allon Plan, which allowed Israel to retain the Jordan Valley and other parts of the
      West Bank.

      “Anyone familiar with Israel’s relentless confiscations of Palestinian territory – based on a
      plan devised, overseen and implemented by Ariel Sharon – knows that the objective of its settlement enterprise in the West Bank has been largely achieved. Gaza, the evacuation of whose settlements was so naively hailed by the international community as the heroic achievement of a man newly committed to an honourable peace with the Palestinians, was intended to serve as the first in a series of Palestinian bantustans. Gaza’s situation shows us what these bantustans will look like if their residents do not behave as Israel wants.

      “Israel’s disingenuous commitment to a peace process and a two-state solution is precisely what has made possible its open-ended occupation and dismemberment of Palestinian territory. And the Quartet – with the EU, the UN secretary general and Russia obediently
      following Washington’s lead – has collaborated with and provided cover for this deception by
      accepting Israel’s claim that it has been unable to find a deserving Palestinian peace partner.”

      • Annie Robbins
        January 29, 2018, 12:36 pm

        Siegman : Gaza’s situation shows us what these bantustans will look like if their residents do not behave as Israel wants.

        this reminds me of a comment jon made earlier today on the “What’s wrong with colonialism?” thread. he claimed “totalitarianism and terrorism, violence and misery. Not for me.
        So I prefer not to be alienated from our people’s identity, heritage and culture.”

        which begs the question, what is israel’s military occupation of palestine if not totalitarianism, terrorism, violence and misery? and how does a zionist divorce their jewish identity, heritage and culture from that totalitarianism, terrorism, violence and misery? how can one say “not for me” wrt totalitarianism and yet “prefer…not to desert from the battlefield” which is implementing the very deeds to maintain it? it boggles the imagination.

        it reminds of the tide pod challenge. they might look edible (he may sound reasonable) but they are not good for you in any circumstance. they might whitewash your crimes, but you can’t eat them and they can kill you.

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2018, 12:58 pm

        “So I prefer not to be alienated from our people’s identity, heritage and culture.”

        Especially if there is something to gain by it!

        “totalitarianism and terrorism, violence and misery. Not for me.”

        So if it gets too bad, “Jon s” has a ticket out. He can return to the US and talk about how right-wing Israelis failed him.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      January 29, 2018, 1:47 pm

      wdr: Lets leave the “Holocaust” out of this. We are dealing with the brutal crimes of Zionism.

  10. Ossinev
    January 29, 2018, 7:24 am

    @wdr
    ” Thirdly, Israel will not commit suicide, any more than the United States will hand back its land to the American Indians, or Australia hand back its land
    to the Aborigines.”

    Great stuff . I love it. So just like in America and Australia with Native Indians and Native Aborigines Palestinians will have full equal rights and full voting powers in the new single state.
    And who knows they may decide to remove all of those thick imported forests which the Zios planted to cover all of the Palestinian villages in the “land without people”.

    Great to have you on board WDR !

    • Mooser
      January 29, 2018, 11:07 am

      “” Thirdly, Israel will not commit suicide, any more than the United States will hand back its land to the American Indians, or Australia hand back its land
      to the Aborigines.”
      “wdr”

      Oh, you bet, good comparison. Between the vast natural resources and unlimited land area of Palestine, and the welcome to any person regardless of religion makes Palestine just like the US and Australia.

  11. James Michie
    January 29, 2018, 9:26 am

    Oh, give me a break, Phil–no, give me a dozen breaks, while I brake you, as you offer up Siegman as a “former Zionist”. In a recent response to my exchange of emails with you, you stated that there would be bloodshed before a “one-state” solution could ever come to be. As you and Siegman know all too well, the State of Palestine for the past five decades has undergone and continues to suffer, brutality, racism (call it apartheid, if you like), genocide, ethnic cleansing, land theft, and political imprisonment at the hands of Israel’s Zionist regime. Please explain to us how much more torment and terrorism, how many more of Israel’s extrajudicial executions of Palestinians must the unarmed and defenseless Palestinians suffer at the hands of Israel’s Zionists and its Zionist Army. Come on, Phil, give us your best estimates on the cost of “bloodshed” to the Palestinians? How many more Palestinians must die, Phil, for them to “celebrate” a “one-state solution” and gain freedom, justice and equality in your Zionist theocracy? How many, Phil?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 29, 2018, 10:16 am

      How many more Palestinians must die, Phil, for them to “celebrate” a “one-state solution” and gain freedom, justice and equality in your Zionist theocracy?

      james, how many more Palestinians must die for them to “celebrate” a “one-state solution” and gain freedom, justice and equality in your Zionist theocracy?

      Please explain to us how much more torment and terrorism, how many more of Israel’s extrajudicial executions of Palestinians must the unarmed and defenseless Palestinians suffer at the hands of Israel’s Zionists and its Zionist Army. Come on, james, give us your best estimates on the cost of “bloodshed” to the Palestinians?

      and if i am misconstruing the implications of your words, by all means explain to us how you think any solution will come about with no more bloodshed. i’d really like to hear this. so please enlighten us.

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2018, 11:10 am

        ” How many, Phil? .”

        Jeez, “James”, do you think Israel will shoot (or more likely, penalize) Israelis who decide they’ve had enough and join the ‘significant exodus of Jews’?
        I doubt it. Just can’t see it. Imagine the howl set up by the Jewish community!

      • James Michie
        January 29, 2018, 12:32 pm

        Oh my goodness, Annie, avec plaisir! Let’s see now, for starters: the Zionist-supporting US, UK, etc. , could begin recognizing the United Nations and its efforts to declare Israel as an apartheid state that has committed, and continues to commit daily, numerous war and human/civil rights crimes against its “neighbors”, the Palestinians; the US could cease vetoing U.N. resolutions critical of Zionist Israel; the US could rightfully declare AIPAC a foreign agent and require that it be registered so, thereby bringing to a halt the $$$tens of millions AIPAC contributes to both Senate and House members for their “support” of the apartheid state of Israel; the US could withhold the $38 million in “foreign aid” to Zionist Israel unless and until it ceases its brutal, ruthless, racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, land-stealing “policies” exacted daily on Palestine and its people, in addition to removing the siege/blockade of the Palestinian territory of Gaza and allowing free and open passage to West Bank and East Jerusalem; and this list could go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, etc So, Annie, yes, the Palestinians could indeed gain their freedom, Justice and equality, either in a two-or-one-state solution and without further bloodshed if your Zionist Israel were to begin functioning like a civil, humanitarian nation along side their “neighbors” the Palestinians. Cheers!

      • Annie Robbins
        January 29, 2018, 1:00 pm

        ok james, you’re postulating your zionist israel could “begin functioning like a civil, humanitarian nation along side their “neighbors” the Palestinians” with no more torment or terrorism, no more of Israel’s extrajudicial executions of Palestinians, with no unarmed and defenseless Palestinians suffering at the hands of Israel’s Zionists and its Zionist Army. and you, james, think this can all happen (now presumably) with no bloodshed to Palestinians.

        i think you’re a fool. i think the chance of this happening with no more bloodshed is ZERO. but the clock is ticking so it won’t take us very long to prove you wrong.

        and what’s this “if” you’ve got shoved into your argument? you’re going full tilt on chastising phil, allegedly for saying he thought there would be lots of bloodshed entailed in any long term solution. you’ve got this pie in the sky plan that offers not even one tiny idea regarding what would compel the US to make a 180% turn that would provide for all of this happening virtually immediately to ensure all bloodshed would end immediately, and then you say “if”. well anyone can do that james. if i had wings i could fly too. but i don’t. i have to get in the car and drive to the airport and go to the car park and walk through security. i don’t just sprout wings — just like you can’t sprout all these oh so unoriginal ideas in your perfect plan. but what you have not done is explain how all of this is going to take place w/no more bloodshed. it takes time james, just like bds takes time, just like ending apartheid in south africa took time, and during that time, the bloodshed will continue. that’s what i call a no brainer.

  12. wfleitz
    January 29, 2018, 2:51 pm

    Wow. Comment section is on fire! Just want to add that Ben White has an article up that dovetails nicely with this discussion: “Fear of Palestinian majority drives attacks on single democratic state” at https://benwhite.org.uk/2018/01/26/fear-of-palestinian-majority-drives-attacks-on-single-democratic-state/

    My personal opinion is that this “fear” that Jews feel about a one state is that after 70 years of utter brutality toward the native population the new majority might decide (appropriately in my opinion) on a commission on the violations of human rights under the former leadership (particularly Likud). There is a precedent for such a commission (e.g. El Salvador,, Chile, Argentina) and it could entail significant jail time for former leaders guilty of war crimes. I’d have to believe that any one state solution would have to come with a cost of amnesty for the criminals if they are planning to stay around.

  13. James Canning
    January 29, 2018, 5:35 pm

    I continue to think there is no chance whatever, that Israel will at some point give equal rights to Muslims living in Israel. I also think it will prove impossible for Israel to be compelled to annex the West Bank.

  14. James Michie
    January 29, 2018, 5:53 pm

    A response from Jim Michie to Annie Robbins:
    I had hoped, Annie, that our exchange of views would not resort to name-calling, but I think I can at least begin to appreciate the frustration endured by you, Phil and others at Mondoweiss, true practitioners of Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31:a.—especially since Israel, with the iron-clad support and “blessing” of the ugly old USA, continues to operate as an ugly fascist rogue state.
    My point is direct and very simple, Annie: unless and until all people around the world who truly practice Judaism—not Zionism—break their silence and join together in educating and leading the world to condemn, instead of defending indefensible Zionist Israel, nothing, absolutely nothing, will change for the Palestinians. And, yes, there would be much bloodshed in Palestine at the hands of the Zionists.
    So, do talk of a “struggle” for Palestinians to win their freedom, justice and equality. But, justly, and in reality, it should be a “struggle” between Judaism and Zionism—and with bloodshed if need be!

    • Annie Robbins
      January 29, 2018, 8:41 pm

      I think I can at least begin to appreciate the frustration endured by you, Phil and others at Mondoweiss, true practitioners of Judaism

      i do not practice judaism nor am i jewish.

      I had hoped, Annie, that our exchange of views would not resort to name-calling,

      i guess saying you sounded like a fool was off the rails! ok, let’s get back to you telling phil you would “brake” (like a horse i presume) him and now lecturing us to do unto others what i would have them do unto me. just wondering why you’re not going after zionists on this board ( ie http://mondoweiss.net/2018/01/blacklisted-banned-nothing/comment-page-1/#comment-905965 ) or those continually defending zionist crimes. or maybe that’s what you thought you were doing. carry on, don’t mind me!

  15. inbound39
    January 30, 2018, 3:29 am

    If we travel back in time to when Zionism was founded, Theodore Herzl and others decided that they could not achieve their aims in Palestine unless they purported to support and embrace Christianity and Judaism. One point being Zionists needed to increase their numbers rapidly and need the cover of religion to validate their preposterous claims on a land without a people that never ever belonged to them. Their history and connection lies in Europe.

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