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Open Letter to Wajahat Ali: Don’t undermine the Palestinian struggle

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on 52 Comments

Dear Wajahat,

Like you, I’m a Pakistani Muslim. I am a woman who is married to a Jewish man. I, together with my husband, am active at a progressive synagogue in San Francisco, where we live. I’ve spent years studying Palestine, particularly on the similarities between Israel and our shared home country of Pakistan, as the only two countries in the world created for a religious group. I’ve been to Israel-Palestine more times than most American Jews. My life straddles my dual Jewish-Muslim worlds, every single day. So I’m uniquely placed to tell you why your work for The Atlantic and your subsequent defensiveness about it are both problematic.

You’ve selectively chosen to respond to some of your detractors in a disingenuous manner (“Neither am I an agent of Mossad and the CIA forged in a Tel Aviv lab and sent to infiltrate and destroy American Muslim communities”), as if people are single-handedly blaming you for the occupation (newsflash: they’re not). But you don’t respond to your many other critics – many people, who, upon careful consideration, have a moral and principled stance against Zionism, and by extension, against the normalization that your involvement with a Zionist group entails.

I’ve engaged enough with the Shalom Hartman Institute to have developed a nuanced understanding of the group and its Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI). It is not, as you claim, a “program that promotes engagement between American Muslims and Jewish scholars.” It is a one-sided exchange – to teach emerging Muslim leaders about Israel and Zionism. It presumes Muslims are the ones who need to learn from Jews on this topic. It is fundamentally set up for an unequal exchange. The organization normalizes the Kibush (Occupation) and is deeply disingenuous, not to mention patronizing in their justifications for colonialism and oppression.

I hope you can see that the disgust of many in the Muslim community towards you is not because you “talked to Zionists” (why do you like clickbait and feeding into tropes about Muslims?). Many in the Muslim community talk to Zionists, either in a personal or organizational capacity. The disdain towards you is because you chose to engage with a Zionist group about Israel/Palestine when there were many other groups you could have engaged with to learn in a more nuanced manner. You then magically gained access to The Atlantic (a publication run by a former IDF prison guard) and similar forums to write about said topic. Please don’t kid yourself about years of work paying off in having a high-profile voice. There are plenty of actual scholars on the topic who will never be given the platform you have, because their views are distasteful to those who decide what voices get a seat at the table and for what purpose. Nobody is denying the benefit of a diversity of views on a given topic. But there is a difference between disparities in opinion and participation in a program that seeks to undermine the Palestinian struggle. You’ve been incredibly disingenuous about the voice you now have and why you have it.

You may have debated with Bari Weiss about Gaza on a morning TV show. But you’re still playing within the realm of manufactured consent. The Liberal Zionist party line on Israel/Palestine is that the “conflict” is “complicated,” and that “both sides” are to blame. And you, Wajahat, through your article and documentary for The Atlantic, seem to have drunk the hasbara Kool-Aid. You don’t seem to realize that you’re a convenient tool, trotted out to parrot moral equivalence under the guise of having dialogue and exposing oneself to other narratives –  all while never challenging the root of the conflict, of course. Liberal Zionists posit the settlements as the real problem (the occupation is 50 years old, not 70, according to them) – while ignoring that Zionism, in its most charitable interpretation, is based on the minimization of Palestinian presence on the land. You have fed directly into that narrative, and are now being defensive about it. That is why there has been so much backlash against you by the Muslim community.

Your argument that Muslims have selective outrage about Zionism is straight out of a hasbara playbook. Yes, there are terrible things happening in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Myanmar, South Sudan, etc. And yet people seem to care more about Israeli injustice. Are you implying (as many Zionists do, as a disingenuous way to shut down conversations) that they care more about this particular injustice because Jews are involved and are easy to blame? Anti-Semitism is a malicious brush to tar people with, but unfortunately one that’s used all too often. Yes, Palestine is a rallying cause for Muslims all over the world. Why? Because occupiers displaced indigenous people from their land, and then act as if they’re the victim. Other countries have done that in the past, but Israel is the only one doing that right now while masquerading as a Western democracy. They don’t do that in Saudi Arabia. They say: we chop people’s heads off in public, that’s who we are. To dismiss criticism of Zionism with a straw man argument of selective outrage is intellectually dishonest. Does that mean nobody has a right to complain about any human rights issue, ever, because there is always a worse violation happening elsewhere?  Muslims (and others) have a right to be outraged specifically at Israel without being labeled as anti-Semites. We are not responsible for assuaging the anxieties of our oppressors.

Yes, all communities need to be better about dissent. But all organizations have a right to draw a line where they see fit. Do you think the Shalom Hartman Institute works with Jewish Voice for Peace, a non-Zionist group that opposes ethnonationalism? Do you think they get invited to SHI’s talks and trips? Similarly, ISNA has a right to draw a line where they see fit.

Yes, the organized Muslim community needs to be better about what dissent it tolerates. My marriage to a Jewish man likely wouldn’t be recognized by some of these groups. I wish I could drag certain Muslim organizations into accepting all Muslims (especially Ahmadi Muslims), LGBTQIA rights, women’s rights, and intermarriage, among other issues. There are many Muslim organizations that are incredibly open and accepting, and plenty that are not. But Palestine is a topic where there is a clear right and wrong, a clear oppressed and an oppressor. Would you expect there to be a reasonable discussion in this day and age about “both sides” of Native American genocide and expulsion from their land? There’s a right and wrong side of history to be on regarding Palestine, and it’s up to you which side to choose – just don’t be defensive about it.

Lastly, have you heard of the Yiddish phrase “shanda fur di goyim”? Loosely translated, it means (Jewish) embarrassment at a fellow Jew for doing something shameful in front of non-Jews. I want to say that phrase to you as it pertains to our community, Wajahat. Those in power love promoting a Muslim voice that feeds into their narrative, because it distracts from the oppression they perpetuate. They also enjoy seeing us squabble in front of them like circus animals for their entertainment. Please don’t feed into that. Please be better than that.

About Maliha Khan

Maliha Khan is a writer based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter at @malihaazadkhan.

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52 Responses

  1. Philip Weiss
    June 4, 2018, 9:47 am

    Wajahat Ali’s piece on the settlers for the Atlantic should be faulted for its claim that 400,000 settlers live in occupied territories. He specifically excludes the couple hundred thousand in and around Jerusalem. Occupied Jerusalem does not figure in the piece. This is consistent with Jeffrey Goldberg’s efforts to say that Gilo is just part of greater Jerusalem.

    • Sibiriak
      June 4, 2018, 11:30 am

      In contrast to the short video, the first sentence in Wajahat Ali’s print piece on the settlers states, ” I was here to report on Jewish settlers, the 600,000 citizens of Israel living beyond its pre-1967 borders. “, and Jerusalem is discussed.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/a-muslim-among-the-settlers/559145/

    • Paranam Kid
      June 4, 2018, 1:07 pm

      @Philip Weiss:
      From: http://mondoweiss.NET/2017/05/diplomats-western-backpedals/

      Last year, the religious-nationalist outlet Israel National News, based in the settlement of Beit El did a count on Jewish settlers. The count neared 800,000 settlers. It wrote that

      “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 Jerusalem (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”.

      So, old Wajahat Ali is actually doing a disservice to the Israeli Jews, specifically the settlers, by understating their numbers in the occupied territories.

      Ironically, now that the US has recognised Jerusalem as part of Israel, those 360 000 al-Quds Jews, who were included to bump up the settler numbers as much as poss to create ‘unalterable facts on the ground’, could now be excluded to prove that the numbers are not ‘unalterable’.

  2. chocopie
    June 4, 2018, 11:44 am

    Ugh, this guy is so smug and pleased with himself. He’s Pakistani and very intent on proving that he’s a tame Muslim so the important people will let him into the Atlantic and the NYT. He’s helping Zionists shove Palestinians backstage while he takes center stage instead, loudly proclaiming, “Hey look at me! See how we can all get along!”

    He’s not Palestinian! Doesn’t he understand why they want the focus on him and there are no Palestinians involved? Unbelievably obtuse. Career-minded and clueless. He’s been given a bullhorn by the same people who gag Palestinians and he doesn’t have the intellectual honesty to look at that.

  3. Annie Robbins
    June 4, 2018, 4:55 pm

    watching the little video at the atlantic a 2nd time last night, taking notes by the minute. just for myself, as if my original disgust might have been some trumped up memory. so many teeth grinding moments as it seemed like almost an advertisement for settlers. the utter disgust when he asked the father of a martyr if he condemned his own son’s actions. mindboggling.

    just had to say that, will go back to reading the article. that this person, and his friends, can’t figure out why his little tour was offensive just boggles the imagination… the interview with the settler’s ‘palestinian associate’ who, speaking for palestinians, said they wanted to live under israeli rule!!!!!! AHHHH.

    from my notes last night:

    “most palestinians say they want israel to return and govern over this area” loudly! “i have a few who object to israeli control here!”.. the jews don’t butcher us like our arab brothers!”.. like iraq and syria….oud strumming fades in…

  4. Yasmine
    June 4, 2018, 5:24 pm

    I just joined and feel somewhat pressured to write something “articulate and thoughtful” as we are instructed. I doubt this will meet that standard.

    I just wanted to say I appreciate this article because I saw Wajahat Ali on a recent news program and had the strangest feeling about him. For one thing, I believe he said there were 385,000 settlers. (I could be wrong). The whole appearance was very strange – I guess because they were treating him like an authority on Palestine and I had never heard of him before. I feel like there haven’t been these types of – sorry to say it – “native informants” in a while but maybe it’s because I don’t watch much TV news.

  5. Amani
    June 4, 2018, 5:59 pm

    Thank you Maliha. Excellent response!

  6. Yasmine
    June 4, 2018, 6:14 pm

    I just read the Atlantic article and now I’m even more annoyed. First of all, he went to the settlement near Bethlehem and the refugee camp but didn’t make it to the old city of Bethlehem? It’s very picturesque compared to the ugly settlements and architecturally blends in with the environment in a way the settlements don’t. Manger square is a lovely place to hang out. I just can’t believe he’s raving about the settlements this way.

  7. bcg
    June 4, 2018, 6:56 pm

    Points taken, but I noticed that at the very end of the piece in the Atlantic he writes positively about a one-state solution, a idea which is rarely expressed in the U.S. mainstream press and usually dismissed as crazy.

    “But given the dismal realities on the ground, what might be better, alas, is a one-state solution that absorbs all the Palestinians as citizens of Israel and gives everyone an equal vote and equal rights. Ironically, this might be the only thing that many of the most hard-line sttlers, and many of the most unbending Palestinians, agree on.”

    • Donald Johnson
      June 4, 2018, 9:24 pm

      It isn’t much of a recommendation. Note that word “ alas”. He is saddened by the thought of a single state with equal rights for all. I think he is pandering to Atlantic editors or readers who are horrified by the thought.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 6, 2018, 3:30 pm

        plus, to suggest that “hardline” settlers “agree” on giving palestinians an equal vote and equal rights, after just interviewing settlers saying they don’t believe in that? while i appreciate him bringing up the idea of one state, he’s suggesting these hardcore settlers are something they are not… they are the ones who think palestinians should be slaves.

      • DaBakr
        June 6, 2018, 9:48 pm

        @annie

        In the end, if there were a negotiated peace to end the conflict, the fanatical religious settlers will not be strong enough to prevail. things have swung to the right because that is the nature of how the pendulum swings. the left is on the downswing after decades of power.

      • echinococcus
        June 6, 2018, 10:12 pm

        if there were a negotiated peace to end the conflict

        Yarright. The Bakr himself is so clueless that he believes that his own Zionist crazy murderers can ever “negotiate peace” without being compelled by overwhelming force.

      • DaBakr
        June 16, 2018, 5:35 pm

        @ec

        I don’t believe anything until I see it. even if these so-called ‘murderers’ from the far right fanatical religious sector decided to make trouble were a negotiated peace treaty on the table they would not have the cumulative power to fight the state.

        As for a treaty?. Just as the Arabs will not sign a treaty that doesn’t give them control of al-aqsa and eastern Jerusalem (and other stuff) the Israelis, both left and right will never negotiate a treaty that doesn’t end the conflict permanently and will never agree to a policy where Jews would quickly become a minority in their own nation(been there, done that) Financial compensation and a symbolic return of 1000s to Israel have already been put on the table. If the Arabs agreed to basic Olmert plan the right wing fanatics, I repeat, would not have enough strength to defeat a comprehensive treaty that ENDS the conflict… That means it’s over. No more claims

        And if not, which is the most likely scenario….Status Quo. That is the kryptonite for Netanyahu. He hasn’t became the longest serving, most trusted (achem, yup) PM for nothing. He’s a master of maintaining the status quo and evidently, the billionaire Hamas leaders in Qatar and billionaire Abbas and his multitudes of cronies like it that way too. (And, while mondo Weiss commenters may believe that Israelis are the ones pushing status quo They should take a less gloomy trip then owner PW to the suburbs of Ramallah or other built up areas. Check out the pallazzos’ and English manors and other mansions in the hills. Do a little count of % luxury cars that most Americans or Israelis cAnti afford. Of course there is still an underclass. Still refugee camps. It’s not a utopia, it’s a kleptocrsy/ patronage govt with a military occupation by Israel. But a lot trickles down West Bank Arabs have VERY little motivation to wreak havoc on what they have been able to build in the past decades. They are definitely not willing to have their infrastructure, cities, homes and civic sites destroyed. The West Bank may not be economically on par with its neighbor to the west but it is definitely in better shape then its traditional homeland (occupied by hashemite dynasty) and neighbor to east.

  8. BodhiRook
    June 4, 2018, 9:04 pm

    Great response to Wajahat Ali. I’m glad this post was written and I really hope he reads it (I doubt it though).

    I hate to nitpick, but the point the author makes about the “similarities” between Pakistan and Israel is quite simplistic and inaccurate. The reasons for their creation are vastly different and I would encourage people to read up on their history. What stands out with Israel is that it was founded as a settler-colonial state, continuing the West’s long history of colonialism and importing Europeans while violently driving out the indigenous population. Yes, partition in South Asia resulted in brutal atrocities, there’s no denying that. Just saying the contexts of what led to the creation of Pakistan were different and it’s overly simplistic to compare this to the creation of Israel. Let’s not perpetuate harmful narratives while speaking out against injustice and oppression. If anything, comparisons should be drawn between Indian occupation of Kashmir and Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

    Also, I wouldn’t appeal to Wajahat Ali’s Pakistani identity. He is more invested in U.S. assimilation politics and comes off as someone who identifies primarily as an “American Muslim” more than anything. Him and MLI perpetuate the U.S. savior complex through the notion that it is “American Islam” and the “American Muslim” leadership that will “save” other Muslims.

  9. DaBakr
    June 6, 2018, 3:12 pm

    How to drive MW commenters into hysterical whining, self-righteous justification, a whole bunch of excuses and denial.
    Mention:. Selective Outrage

    Of course it’s because israel is jewish. there is no other logical explanation. And the tortured reasoning on why Israel is focused upon is absurd. It doesn’t wash because it’s too dirty

    Author can brag about how much she’s studied Palestine, how she is with an authentic jew(which makes hatred totally ok,) and scold all she likes but she’s preaching to the choir

    • Annie Robbins
      June 6, 2018, 3:36 pm

      what hysterical whining dabkr?

      Of course it’s because israel is jewish. there is no other logical explanation.

      your determined consistency on this crutch belies a stubborn weak dishonesty underlying your words.

      she’s preaching to the choir

      nah, she talking to you too.

      • DaBakr
        June 6, 2018, 9:43 pm

        @annie

        Actually, she’s talking to Ali.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 17, 2018, 1:24 pm

        true, in the form of an open letter. i’m sure she’d be thrilled to have it published in the atlantic or the new york times.

    • eljay
      June 6, 2018, 3:44 pm

      || @Daa: How to drive MW commenters into hysterical whining, self-righteous justification, a whole bunch of excuses and denial.
      Mention:. Selective Outrage … ||

      How to drive Zionists into hysterical whining, self-righteous justification, a whole bunch of excuses and denial:
      Remind them: They aren’t entitled to be supremacists and to do evil.

      • DaBakr
        June 6, 2018, 9:31 pm

        @ej

        Wow. Very creative. It reminds me of a child or pee wee herman: “whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you” . There are Muslim dominant nations, Christian dominant nations, buddist, Hindu, Catholic and there is one very small Jewish dominant nation and Muslims, Arabs and Zionist haters can’t stand it and won’t rest until “jerusalem and all Palestine from river to sea is Muslim again” . say what you will but denying its about Jews is the most dishonest argument on earth. at least the Hamas and Abbas(only in Arabic) don’t lie and admit it’s about Muslims. MW commenters won’t or can’t. As if y’all care about occupation in general. bs

      • RoHa
        June 6, 2018, 10:26 pm

        “There are Muslim dominant nations, Christian dominant nations, buddist, Hindu, Catholic and there is one very small Jewish dominant nation”
        Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Catholic (sub-group of Christian) are all just religious affiliations. Are you saying that Jewish is also just a religious affiliation?

      • eljay
        June 7, 2018, 7:22 am

        || @aar: @ej

        Wow. Very creative. It reminds me of a child or pee wee herman: “whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you” . … ||

        It’s cute, Francis, how you took a moment out of your busy, wife-beating schedule just to say you’re not a wife-beater.

        || … There are Muslim dominant nations, Christian dominant nations, buddist, Hindu, Catholic and there is one very small Jewish dominant nation and Muslims, Arabs and Zionist haters can’t stand it and won’t rest until “jerusalem and all Palestine from river to sea is Muslim again” . say what you will but denying its about Jews is the most dishonest argument on earth. … ||

        There’s nothing dishonest about condemning supremacism in all its forms. What is dishonest is Zionist hypocrites like you condemning supremacism elsewhere in the world but advocating it, supporting it, justifying it and defending it in Israel because Jews are the ones doing it to others.

      • Mooser
        June 7, 2018, 6:24 pm

        ” and there is one very small Jewish dominant nation”

        And worse, there’s more than ten million Jews throughout the world which are hostage to Israel’s actions.
        Israel does take that into consideration when formulating policy, I hope.

      • Mooser
        June 7, 2018, 6:44 pm

        “There’s nothing dishonest about condemning supremacism in all its forms.”

        Yes, but there is something very dishonest about using a phrase like “Christian (or whatever)dominant” without providing examples of nations which are “Christian etc. dominant” in the same ways that Israel is “Jewish dominant”.

      • eljay
        June 8, 2018, 8:57 am

        || Mooser: … Yes, but there is something very dishonest about using a phrase like “Christian (or whatever)dominant” without providing examples of nations which are “Christian etc. dominant” in the same ways that Israel is “Jewish dominant”. ||

        It’s very dishonest and very…what’s the word? Oh, yeah, that’s it: Zionist.

      • DaBakr
        June 16, 2018, 6:02 pm

        @ all of ya’s

        Oh how cute. Y’all are so coy. “Oh my oh my, there is nothing in the least bit similar about a Muslim nation and a Jewish state. ” (in the voice of scarlet o’hara.)

        In what Muslim nation were Jews and Christians not subjected to certain restrictive and humiliating laws/rules based on the concept that Islam is not just a religion but a governing system and it was an absolute requirement that Islam must reign superior to judaism/christianity?

        those Muslim nations, in the name of Islam, want to destroy Israel, wipe it from face of earth, put it in dust bin of history , march en masse (or at least in the millions) on Jerusalem. Of course it has nothing to do with jews. It only has to do with concern for the Arabs and Palestinians there. Who cares about Yemen, Syria, Libya? There ain’t no Jews there. And btw: where is the fourth and fifth holiest shrine in Islam?

        P’s. Interesting note: the other day in the city of david a Muslim talisman was found in a floor strata dating back to approximately 1000yrs or The Abbasid calaphate period. (The golden age of Islam) the clay talisman was beautifully intricate and nobody could believe something so fragile could still be intact. It might have been placed between tiles. It basically said what many modern talismans say: may the one and only god _____protect me

      • Annie Robbins
        June 16, 2018, 7:52 pm

        https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/MAGAZINE-unique-1-000-year-old-islamic-amulet-found-in-jerusalem-1.6175765

        Unique 1,000-year-old Islamic Amulet Found in Jerusalem

        ….The devotional writing appears on two lines and has been translated as reading: “Kareem trusts in Allah – Lord of the Worlds is Allah.”

        The Abbasids, said to have descended from the Prophet Mohammed’s uncle Al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib (566–653 C.E.), were the third caliphate after Mohammed’s time, and ruled from Baghdad over a vast empire, from the 8th century to the 13th.

        The amulet was found in the excavation of a site formerly known as the Givati parking lot, located just south of the Temple Mount and part of the area thought to have been the first inhabited nucleus of the city.

        The area, now called the City of David (though there is no direct archaeological proof of King David’s existence) has remains from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman period, including structures left by the Israelites, Romans, Arabs and a half dozen other civilizations that left their mark on Jerusalem over its millennia of history.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 16, 2018, 8:14 pm

        are you crazy? just because we don’t write many articles on syria and yemen here doesn’t mean people don’t care about them. https://twitter.com/amnesty/status/1004019299986624513

        and what to do about libya? it’s mind numbing!!! literally mind numbing!!! please do not make assumptions about what everyone thinks about based solely on the comment section of mondoweiss.

      • eljay
        June 16, 2018, 8:42 pm

        || @aBa: @ all of ya’s

        Oh how cute. Y’all are so coy. … ||

        Thanks, Baker-man, for that excellent demonstration of what a Zionist driven into hysterical whining, self-righteous justification, a whole bunch of excuses and denial sounds like.

      • DaBakr
        June 16, 2018, 10:21 pm

        @annie

        I don’t read haartz. But, there is nothing you wrote that I take any issue with. wether you know your history or it’s all from the hrtz it is all a good approximation of the site. I would add that there are a few archeological discoveries that hone closely with the history told of Hezekiah in the bible about the Siloam tunnel and the Jews preparation for an Assyrian siege. radio carbon data points to the correct time period but some scientists area still testing. But none of this is disputing your comment about how many people’s inhabited the city and surroundings.
        There is also purported to be a coin found recently with the name Dvd but I wouldn’t count it until it’s been examined more.

        As for wether I’m “crazy”? I do apologize if I made assumptions about commenters not caring about other conflict zones. I suppose I should know by now that mw is specifically focused on the I/P conflict, anti-zionism, antiisraelism, and pro-israel palestinian hasbara.
        . (I believe sites like MW have used the word enough that itS appropriate to use in general discussion. It’s a unique word that doesn’t exactly mean propaganda but the palestinians do it as much as Israelis and most people know exactly what it is when they hear or read it.

        And you are right about it being too overwhelming to bring in the Syrian, Yemeni, Libyan and other ME conflicts where far more civilians are being killed daily but the conflicts don’t directly touch on the I/P situation.

        @elj

        Not sure what your definition of whining is but there were a few questions, none of which you answered. And you are welcome to explain where I was wrong. You pretty much just stick to your conviction that a jew is a person who chose to identify as jewish. period. got it. is the Islamic Republic of Iran just a nation that simply chose to identify as Muslim?

      • Annie Robbins
        June 17, 2018, 12:49 pm

        Dabakr, you briefly mentioned the amulet. i thought it was interesting and tracked down an article about it. no argument there.

        none of this is disputing your comment about how many people’s inhabited the city and surroundings.

        what comment might you be referencing? no idea what you mean. you come into an old thread and start inserting all this stuff. what gives? is this thread of particular relevance to something?

        you are right about it being too overwhelming to bring in the Syrian, Yemeni, Libyan and other ME conflicts where far more civilians are being killed daily

        words in my mouth by way of “you are right about”? regarding something i never stated? it’s not too overwhelming in the least to bring up ME conflicts. and, depending on the context it’s often (generally) whataboutery when you do it in the service of hasbara (see hasbara handbook chapter on point scoring, false equivalency).

        my point was just because someone doesn’t discuss it here doesn’t mean it’s not of interest. ie: i’ve posted 1000’s of tweets about syria and probably 100’s about yemen and on many other issues too. using atrocities in Syria, Yemen, Libya as a bashing mechanism, claims of whining etc, are simple common ad hominem rhetorical devices and will be perceived as such. that’s all.

      • eljay
        June 16, 2018, 10:39 pm

        || @Daar: @elj

        Not sure what your definition of whining is … ||

        Sure you know, because it’s what you do.

        || … but there were a few questions, none of which you answered. … ||

        Unlike the questions you asked me just the other day – questions which I answered – these questions were not addressed to me. So suck it up, buttercup.

        || … You pretty much just stick to your conviction that a jew is a person who chose to identify as jewish. period. … ||

        Given that Jewish is both a religion-based identity and a choice, there is no other conviction to which I can stick.

        || … is the Islamic Republic of Iran just a nation that simply chose to identify as Muslim? ||

        As far as I can tell, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a nation that – just like Israel – has chosen not to be the secular and democratic state of and for all of its citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally.

      • Talkback
        June 17, 2018, 2:01 am

        dabakr: “I do apologize if I made assumptions about commenters not caring about other conflict zones.”

        Tell us dabakr. Why don’t you support other cases of racist regimes that violate human rights, practice Apartheid, need to keep another people disenfrenchized, dispossessed or expelled so that it can mantain a regime based on ethnicity or religion?

        Do you hate Nonjews? Of course this question is based on the pseudo lpgocal conclusion of imbecile Zionists. You know how low their IQ is.

      • Mooser
        June 17, 2018, 12:06 pm

        “Thanks, Baker-man, for that excellent demonstration of what a Zionist driven into hysterical whining, self-righteous justification, a whole bunch of excuses and denial sounds like.”

        When “DaBakr” takes on a job, he always gives full value for money. And a little over, just to help destroy stereotypes.

    • RoHa
      June 7, 2018, 1:57 am

      Let us, for the moment, pretend that I and others here are, as Nathan says) a bunch of fanatical Israel-haters because (as DB hints) we are a bunch of fanatical anti-Semites who, in private, wear SS uniforms and read back copies of Der Stürmer.

      Would that mitigate, by one scrap, the evil that Israel commits daily?

      Would that reduce, in any way, the moral responsibility Israel bears for the misery of the Palestinians?

      So all this “you wouldn’t be saying that if Israel weren’t Jewish” stuff is totally irrelevant.

      • DaBakr
        June 16, 2018, 6:11 pm

        @ro

        1. I do not think MW commenters privately idolize nazi iconography. I don’t even think MW commenters think much about modern neo nazis at all.
        Now, if your talking about searching history for any miniscule crumb or a load the size of Plymouth rock of actual evidence of Nazi actions against gypsies, Jews and some others so as to compare these actions to Israel, well then your getting closer. There is definitely a subset of commenters on MW that either believe, enjoy or simply repeat these asinine memes and comparisons for either kicks or delusional satisfaction in intellectual ability.

        And in answer to your slightly skewed questions:

        Mitigated…?. Yes. Absolutely

        Would it reduce…?. Yes.

        So all this…… Irrelevant? Not in the least. It makes it more so.

      • Talkback
        June 17, 2018, 3:22 am

        Dabakr: “Now, if your talking about searching history for any miniscule crumb or a load the size of Plymouth rock of actual evidence of Nazi actions against gypsies, Jews and some others so as to compare these actions to Israel, well then your getting closer.”

        You will get even closer as soon as you realize that the crimes that Jews commit against Palestinians are considered to be crimes since the Nuremberg trials and how international law, humanitarian law and human rights law came into life as a response to these crimes.

        Excessive and disproportional use of force, house demolitions, want on destruction, conflating civilians with combatants, illegal occupation, colonizing occupied territories, collective punishments and many more … these are not the only crimes the Nazis commited, too.

      • echinococcus
        June 17, 2018, 11:59 am

        Talkback

        Excessive and disproportional use of force, house demolitions, wanton destruction, conflating civilians with combatants, illegal occupation, colonizing occupied territories, collective punishments and many more …

        Colonial invasion itself, since 1897 at the latest, being the central, hanging crime that “contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”. If it was worth making the Nazi aggression retrospectively punishable, the same applies to colonial invasion.

  10. MHughes976
    June 6, 2018, 4:11 pm

    I object to what is going on in Palestine – I bitterly condemn it – because so many people have been excluded from their homes and so many people have been denied the normal right to exist as enfranchised citizens of a sovereign state. I see no other parallel situation. If there were such it would be just as wrong. The ethnicity of those responsible makes no difference to anything.

    • DaBakr
      June 6, 2018, 9:37 pm

      @hhs

      Sure, it would be “Wrong” but you devote your time to MW. Of course there are other people’s who were permanently displaced right after ww2. You can try and exceptionalize israel as much as you like but the single biggest difference is about Jews. convenient to argue and dance around the spot in the middle of your face. and of course the palestinian people have a legitimate beef. negotiate a peace that ends the conflict, not one that leaves it open ended.

      note…mssr: hush.

      • MHughes976
        June 7, 2018, 12:47 pm

        The displacements after WW2 don’t seem to me to have yielded any situation parallel to the Palestine situation now. The wrong of the situation is in the suffering and injustice inherent in it, not in the identity of those responsible. However, the importance of events can lie not only in their right or wrong but in the way they are discussed, a way of spreading good and evil beyond its existing places, and it can be both important and distressing that the prevailing discussion is dominated by bad arguments. I too think that the Palestinians have a legitimate grievance. To redress which, I think that it should be an important short term aim for all of us to get all concerned – I would say particularly Israel, by far the most powerful participant – to state what they would consider a fair and final settlement to be.

      • Mooser
        June 7, 2018, 6:32 pm

        “note…mssr: hush.”

        Why, there were about 250,000 Jewish Displaced Persons after WW2 in Europe! Some say as high as 350,000!

        A quarter of a million Jewish people or more!

      • DaBakr
        June 16, 2018, 7:03 pm

        @mh

        You say you can find no compatible suffering.

        I think there were approximately 50 million people displaced in the 20thC just from WW2. yet you can, with all your knowledge, and I assume you are very well read, only see the suffering of a group of Arabs(among many millions of Arabs displaced by the arbitrary drawing of nations by Europeans like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan etc.)

        This group of displaced Arabs, perhaps 600-725,000 out of millions of others displaced and who mostly joined a seven Arab army that attacked one of the newly carved out nations,(the tiniest of any surrounding nation) and lost thereby resulting in many more then might have been forced or ordered to leave for other Arab states.

        After llosing several more wars and infinite violent skirmishes this group of Arabs adapted the identity of Palestinian (which ironically or not had been a connotation for the Jews who were thriving there during the mandate and before Israel was considered. But that, I would admit is irrelevant now)

        . So, now Palestinian as separate nation from Jordanians (recently carved out of the original homeland for the Jews but altered by the white paper. And also, in the most egregious example of European arrogance the trans-jordan was not given to the Arabs who lived there and made up over 75% population. No, because the hashemite dynasty and king was humiliated at his defeat by the Sauds got himself installed as monarch over people not even his own) But even so, there was now Jordan and Palestinians. There are very many stab scholars who will teach that the Jordanians and Palestinian,bds are one and the same and Abbas has stated publicly on different occasions that’as soon as Palestine is free(river to sea) we will join with our brothers in Jordan’ so, whatever that means….

        But now, 70 yrs after ww2 , with Syrians, Afghanis, Sudanese, biafrans, Pakistanis, Tibetans, Czechs, Bosnians, Kurds, Armenians , z Germans, aboriginals, Zulu, Hutu, Chinese, Cambodian and many others you have chosen to focus on the condition of the Palestinians. And you must know that the United Nations treats Palestinian refugees not only different and exclusive of, but funds the Palestinian refugees much more then any group of suffering refugees in the world, period. The billions in aide is more then any other refugees combined. Tyre palestinians also are entitled to a unique categorization: they are entitled to perpetual refugee status. Meaning a grandfather in 48 has a daughter in Lebanon. They all immigrate to Canada where the daughter has three babies. ALL of those babies who are naturalized Canadian citizens are still entitled to refugee status by the UN and therefore much of the world.

        And since nobody can tell anybody else what should be or shouldn’t be meaningful to them you have studied (you claimed) and reached the conclusion that the palestinians are unique in the world in that their suffering as refugees is greater then any other example you could find.

        The fact that the tiny piece of land the Palestinians want to ‘reclaim’ (ignoring conveniently that Arabs themselves invaded, conquered and colonized the land) happens to be the ancient homeland of the Jewish people (who were almost entirely displaced from Europe without one single other ‘jewish’ state that would take them in. The surrounding area is about 1000x larger then Israel and was ruled by mostly Islamic monarchies, regimes or otherwise. The fact that the ancient Jewish bible which was adapted by Christianity and partly by Islam contained 100s of references in daily prayers that beseeched g-d that they should return to Jerusalem again. (Not like putting zionists in Uganda exactly)

        So, while at least as many Jewish Arabs between 700-1,000,000 were chased threatened and had their property stolen and were displaced as were Palestinian. Why their surrounding brethren in Islamic/arab nations did not embrace them as citizens is a question I can not answer.

        But you interest and fixation on the PalestinianS as the most suffering group of refugees possibly in the world (or at lest the most unique) is noted. The fact that the land they want is inhabited by Jews who have established a functioning thriving Jewish nation with full civil rights for Arabs, Jews, Druze, gays, people of any colour or race woman had nothing to do with Jews. Of course not. It makes absolutely no logical sense

      • Talkback
        June 17, 2018, 3:14 am

        dabakr: “this group of displaced Arabs, perhaps 600-725,000 out of millions of others displaced and who mostly joined a seven Arab army …”

        That’s the first Zionist kindergarden lie irst lie that they “mostly joined” any army after the whole of Palestine was demilitarized after the Arab revolt in the 30s. Plan Daleth clearly states: “… the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state”.

        “… a seven Arab army that attacked one of the newly carved out nations …”

        That’s another Zionist kindergarden lie that they “attacked” a nation. The state of Israel was nothing but a declaration of statehood which in itself was a clear violation of Security Council Resolution 46. The Arab armies intervened in the Zionist violent takeover of Palestine and the expulsion of its natives.

        “…, U.S. officials there faced the Jewish Agency’s rejection of a truce as well as a trusteeship arrangement to replace what the State Department and the White House conceded to be the failure of the partition plan. In evaluating the situation, Robert McClintock, a special assistant to Dean Rusk, then director of the Office of UN Affairs, deliberated over the implications of these developments. It may well be, he speculated, that Washington would soon be confronted with a situation created by Jewish military forces, including the Haganah, the Stern Gang and Irgun, in which it would have to determine whether a “Jewish armed attack on Arab communities in Palestine is legitimate or whether it constitutes such a threat to international peace and security as to call for coercive measures by the Security Council.”15 Washington would face what McClintock called an “anomalous situation,” in which “the Jews will be the actual aggressors against the Arabs. However, the Jews will claim that they are merely defending the boundaries of a state which were traced by the UN and approved, at least in principle, by two-thirds of the UN membership.””
        http://mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/us-policy-israel/palestine-1948?print

        … “and lost thereby resulting in many more then might have been forced or ordered to leave for other Arab states.”

        Another Zionist kindergarden lie. The Zionist willingness to expell Nonjews to achieve a viable Jewish majority resulted in the expulsion of Nonjews. And that’s exactly the reason why they are kept expelled until today so that Israel can fake being a democracy while keeping these Nonjewish potential voters disenfranchised.

        “After llosing several more wars and infinite violent skirmishes this group of Arabs adapted the identity of Palestinian (which ironically or not had been a connotation for the Jews who were thriving there during the mandate and before Israel was considered. But that, I would admit is irrelevant now) ”

        Another Zionist kindergarden lie “Palestinian” was the legal term of the nationality in Palestine . It’s a term for a constitutive people that is neither based on ethnicity nor faith and exists until today. On the other hand the so called “Jewish nation” is a term without any international relevance or legality. It is a racist concept, because nobody can become “Jewish” by acquiring the citizenship of any state.

        “So, now Palestinian as separate nation from Jordanians …”

        Another Zionist kindergarden lie. It is not “now”, but has been since 1925 legally and official even before the mandate came into effect.

        “Tyre palestinians also are entitled to a unique categorization: they are entitled to perpetual refugee status.”

        Another Zionist kindergarden lie, because under UNHCR not only descendants, but even ancestors can acquire refugee status of their relatives under the principle of family reeunification.
        https://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/features/exploding-myths-unrwa-unhcr-and-palestine-refugees

        “The fact that the tiny piece of land the Palestinians want to ‘reclaim’ (ignoring conveniently that Arabs themselves invaded, conquered and colonized the land) happens to be the ancient homeland of the Jewish people …”

        Another Zionist kindergarden lie. The Palestinians are not those who invaded, conquered or even colonized the land. Amongst Palestinians only 5% have Arabian origins. And the Arabs conqured and arabized. They DID NOT colonize. Why don’t you mention how Jews acquired their “ancient homeland”? Because it was through invasion, conquering and colonizing? No also in modern terms, but even back then. And do you really think that a couple of hundred years of Hebrews ruling over this land outweighs everything else? Do the Egypts have a right to this land, because it was part of their New Kingdom of Egypt?

        “So, while at least as many Jewish Arabs between 700-1,000,000 were chased threatened and had their property stolen and were displaced as were Palestinian. Why their surrounding brethren in Islamic/arab nations did not embrace them as citizens is a question I can not answer.”

        Sure, to a Zionist the idea of repatriation of refugees and expellees is totally strange if they are Nonjews. I have never heard a zionist supporting a right of return of Nonjews. On the other hand they don’t give a sh** if Jews are expelled as long as they move to historic Palestine.

        “The fact that the land they want is inhabited by Jews ….”

        Well this is rich. First expell them from their homeland and than higlight that this land is “inhabitad by Jews” as if they are the natives which is laughable in most of the cases.

        “… with full civil rights for Arabs, Jews, Druze, gays, people of any colour or race woman …”

        Sure. “Full civil rights” for them, but not all the rights that citizens enjoy in other states and are only reserved for “the nation” of Israel. In Israel it is literally and legally like in animal farm. “All are equal but some are more equal than others.” The right to equality was explicitly removed from Israel pseudo constitutional “Basic law” which in inself is not constitutionally enshrined, can be voted off by a simple majority and violated by a law that befits the state as “Jewish and democratic”. And even in the case of the “Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law” in which the law was ruled to be violating fundamental rights it was upheld, because one judge (who was the deciding vote also claimed that the law was violating fundamental rights) argued that is was better to have that this racist law than none until it was revised. Of course it wasn’t revised, because the succeding group of judges were even more racist.

        But dabakr, we know that the truth won’t stop you from repeating the same BS over and over again, don’t we?

  11. Yonah Fredman
    June 6, 2018, 5:19 pm

    Wajahat Ali is seeking a way to communicate with mainstream American Jewish voices regarding the Israel- Palestine conflict. Explicitly citing his college years’ activism which was an era of shouting at the Zionists from across an abyss, he wishes to engage with them on a personal, social and political level. As such he has gravitated to the two state solution, for this is the natural meeting ground of his initial position and those with whom he wishes to communicate.

    Maliha Khan’s attitude is decidedly opposed to the idea of engagement of this sort. BDS isn’t only a tactic, it is a mindset. Communication is normalization and therefore forbidden.

    Whose side are you on? Here in the mw comment section, it seems that Khan’s attitude prevails. Not much of a surprise.

    • DaBakr
      June 6, 2018, 9:41 pm

      @yf

      and they have the gaul, no, the chutzpah to whine about ‘drinking pro Israel kool-aid’ . lol.

      • Mooser
        June 7, 2018, 6:34 pm

        “and they have the gaul,”

        And a croissant is just a Gallic bagel.

  12. Boris
    June 9, 2018, 9:35 pm

    I am Jewish atheist.

    However, now I like to say ” Allahu Akbar” after taking a big dump.

    • Mooser
      June 17, 2018, 12:12 pm

      “Boris”, that’s the spirit. Don’t ever let the good of Zionism or Israel stop you from making an ass of yourself.
      Why, if you have to think about Zionism and Israel before you comment, the anti-semites have won!

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