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American Perspective

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  • Organizer of the Great March of Return says protests in Gaza 'must go on'
    • "They will show the world that we are people who love life, that we keep our national consciousness alive in our hearts, and that we are the victims of a racist occupation regime."

      Is it the author's impression that the State of Palestine is not powerful enough or doesn't get enough press attention? Does the author think that the Arab nationalist cause is lacking a voice to broadcast her illegitimate and petty grievances?

      This is what I mean when I talk about the Mondoweiss delusionalists.

      If the Arab nationalist cause lacked a loud enough platform, then this strategy would be brilliant. Maybe for the first time ever people would know that Arabic-speakers see themselves as a nation and want to preserve their racial purity at all costs.

      But that's delusional. The powerful State of Palestine rules the world. It bends the U.N. to her every whim and controls the OIC and OPEC. Gaza's problem is not a lack of military and political power. And it's not a lack of attention.

      Gaza merely needs to surrender and de-Arabize. Either maintain the status quo or surrender. There is no third option.

  • If I had to live in Israel again, 'it would actually drive me insane' -- Shaul Magid
    • American Perspective June 18, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      Misterioso -

      "It would, however, be correct to conclude that the entity known as 'Israel' is utterly dependent on the U.S. for its survival."

      That's an absolutely delusional thing to write. What is the basis for this claim?

      "The U.S. certainly has its problems . . . . However . . . ."

      Ah! The old Whataboutery.

      And, by the way, other than Zionists, does the United States have any problems? Or is the United States such a utopia, that all countries in the world should do exactly what it does?

    • American Perspective June 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      An American Jew is an American Jew. And Israeli Jew is an Israeli Jew. A small number of folks have created a hybrid of those identities. This particular speaker hasn't.

      How is any of this new? Life in Israel (everything from the metric v. Imperial system, the geography, the demographics, the climate, the economy, the history, the role of religion, etc . . .) is different.

      Why would that be a surprise or remarkable to anyone?

      The delusional "utopia" that you guys have about Israel, or delusion that Israel is the United States leads to very poor analysis.

      If Philip Weiss, until this speech, thought Israel was the United States or that American Jews are Israeli Jews - then it calls into question everything he's ever written about his State of Palestine and his Arab nationalist cause.

      If you guys want to have a racially pure State of Palestine and want to promote an "authentic" Arab identity - you'd be better off understanding your enemy well. If you thought Israel was the U.S. or that Israeli Jews were American Jews then you've been operating under a delusion and virtually everything you've advocated is simply wrong.

    • Apparently it's a "condemnation of Israel's political decisionmaking" that Israel hasn't become the United States. Weiss is blown away by this new information and thinks the idea that Israelis live "in a particular way" is some kind of put-down.

      You guys must be fun at parties.

  • 'Let them eat candy' – Israel’s ideological war against incendiary kites from Gaza
    • American Perspective June 18, 2018 at 11:27 am

      "Bigot Israelis and IDF soldiers in riot gear"

      Let's repeat that: "in riot gear".

      Do you guys even hear yourself?

      Spoiler alert - The Rome Statute, which your State of Palestine joined, requires all participants in "resistance" or other military activity to wear "gear". According to the law of the State of Palestine, any act of resistance while not in uniform renders the attacker an unlawful combatant (popularly known as a "Terrorist").

  • 'The Israeli military said,' the New York Times reports
    • Why is there no disclosure about Finkelstein's ongoing criminal suit where a pro-Palestine UN bureaucrat intervened on his behalf?

      Maybe Captain Underpants makes a good argument here. Maybe a poor argument. But Mondoweiss readers should know that given the criminal charges, and the UN's unprecedented intervention on his behalf, Finkelstein may have other motivations in presenting a far-right Arab nationalist perspective - such as guaranteeing continued UN intervention in his case.

      If Mondoweiss wants to be taken seriously as the voice of the powerful State of Palestine, it should at least follow basic journalistic conventions about disclosure.

      But then again, Finkelstein's blog includes headlines such as: "Schmuck, Schnorrer, Schlock, Shmate, Shiksa, Shyster, Shnook, Shlemiel…Shmuel (Rosner)". Finkelstein LARPed as some kind of a legal advisor on a matrimonial case in Nassau, which ended in tears. His blog posted the following headline about opposing counsel in that case: "THE DISEASED INNARDS OF A ONE-TRICK PONY".

      So maybe journalist ethics shouldn't be on the top of Mondoweiss concerns here. The real question is how the mundane "thoughts" of some elderly Yiddishist from Brooklyn (who speaks neither Hebrew nor the various Arabic languages that are common in Palestine) could possibly add to the important debates about the State of Palestine's military tactics. Does Finkelstein have any experience in cross-border skirmishes which would allow him to bring an informed perspective to this issue?

  • Don't expect Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris to be critical of Israel
    • American Perspective June 14, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      Eljay:

      The powerful State of Palestine went up head-to-head against the United States this week at the UN. The outcome was clear: the State of Palestine is the most powerful country on earth. Nobody seriously doubts that. Aside from its own power to bend the will to the U.N. to its every whim, the State of Palestine rules OPEC and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and many other countries by proxy.

      Have you ever met a Zionist who has doubted that the State of Palestine (directly, and through its dozens of client states) is powerful?

      The question about whether Gaza is "pleasant" is an odd one.

      Gaza certainly doesn't look like Singapore or Las Vegas. It doesn't look like Hong Kong or Eilat. For that matter it doesn't look like the Arab nationalist areas of the West Bank or its neighbors in Egypt, Cyprus or Israel.

      Gaza looks the way that the people who live there want it to look. We can debate whether that's "pleasant" or not - but a more helpful way to discuss it is, "is Gaza society consistent with what how its residents want to live?"

      And the answer to that is an emphatic: Yes!

      Gazans are eager to die in huge numbers to protest against the United States' moving its embassy somewhere overseas. If the people of Gaza didn't like their society or didn't find it "pleasant" they would turn to their leaders and demand change. They don't because Gaza is exactly the way the people of Gaza want it to be.

      Just like Singapore looks the way that the people of Singapore want it to look. And Las Vegas looks like was folks there want it to be.

      Not all societies are the same. We would never want to impose Singaporese values (beating folks for littering, outlawing dissent) or Las Vegas values (legal prostitution, open carry for guns and alcohol) or Eilat values (no sales tax, religiosity frowned upon) on other societies. We recognize that various places choose how they want to be. It would be arrogant and useless to object to those choices.

      Gaza chose.

    • Is it typical for mainstream candidates for the Presidency to be critical of allies?

      Take the United Mexican States (what Americans call "Mexico"). Whatever criticism the denizens of Mondoweiss have against the Israeli State, applies multiple-fold to Mexico. It is a government which deeply oppresses minorities and dissidents. It maintains barrios that are open-air prisons (ones that are far smaller than Gaza). For some context, last year the Mexican government facilitated the murder of 25,000 people (compare to about 50 Palestinians who were killed last year).

      Or take the Republic of China. China has occupied Tibet for almost a Century and subjected the indigenous people of both Tibet and the non-Han countryside to far harsher conditions, and sociocide than anything that happens in Gaza or the areas of the West Bank and Jerusalem where people speak Arabic. China is a single-party state that prohibits the practice of mainstream Islam by Uighurs and serves as a key ally to the worst human rights violators on earth.

      Israel is an ally of the United States. Yeah - there's BS talk about "shared values", and side deals to American military contractors, and all sorts of dressing typical of how you manage allies. But basically Israel under Netanyahu is an ally of the United States. By contrast, the Hamdallah administration and its powerful allies including the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syrian Arab Republic are not.

      So why would you expect a mainstream candidate to criticize? Have you heard Warren or Harris make any Bush-era neocon claims, or Carter-era human rights claims about exporting our values abroad? Have either Warren or Harris made human rights in China or Mexico central to their platform - and if they did want to become neocons, why would they concentrate on Israel? We have other allies (like our new friends in North Korea) who deserve far more criticism.

  • Knesset foils efforts to end Israeli apartheid
    • American Perspective June 13, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      Exactly!

      Bernie Sanders is a delusional crank. Abroad he's best known for the death of tens of thousands of Venezuelans and, at home, he leads a parade of crackpots, utopians, and failures. It's the "coalition of the oppressed" on acid.

      If someone wanted to understand our unprecedented military strength, our sizzling hot economy, the way we've achieved domestic harmony with the most diverse demographics of the Western world - the last people you would consult are marginal extremists like Farrakhan, Sanders and Spencer.

      Do they have a perspective? Yes! Is it an important one? Maybe.

      But you'ld have a pretty weird idea of why we're growing our economy by a trillion dollars a year if you thought casting couch anal sex (Farrakhan), 1920s-era "democratic" socialism (Socialism), and the white ethnostate (Spencer) are the pressing issues of the day in the United States.

      Similarly, your perspective on the foreign country which this website obsesses is skewed in a very counterproductive way.

      There's a translation by the Israeli Communist Party floating around of an article from a half-Century ago. The "A strategy for Israel in the 1980s" or something. The writer has a hot take that Israel should tear up the Carter peace plan and conquer the Suez canal and all sorts of other ideas.

      The article itself is anachronistic and humdrum.

      What is interesting is the plea by the translator. He addresses the Communist Movement globally and urges them to understand that their perspective on Israel is completely delusional. He explained it wasn't Israel that was hurt in 1967 by those sorts of delusions - it was the Arab nationalist movement, and ultimately the Communist Party. Similarly, he says that the Communists are going to lose Egypt and Syria if they don't understand Israel.

      I'd suggest that the far-right hardliners here on Mondoweiss would be better off having nuanced, informed conversations about Israel. Even conversations about how to defeat her or change her. But delusional fantasies and amplification of marginal cranks only helps Israel and her allies.

    • American Perspective June 13, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      You're free to believe all that, which is the standard line among the far-right hardliners here on Mondoweiss and in the State of Palestine.

      But honestly, if you only read marginal cranks like Sternhall you are going to make serious errors in judgment about how things work. That's what happened in Gaza, where the protestors entirely misread their Israeli neighbors.

      If you are committed to the ethnic passions of Arabic speakers in the State of Palestine, you (and them!) would be better served by fully understanding your enemy in all her complexity and nuance. Folks who describe things as "horrible", "wicked, loathsome", "despises the land" don't just rile people up counterproductively. They are also analytically wrong and liable to make (and cause others to make) errors in judgment based on that unhinged misunderstanding of the situation.

      It would be like trying to understand the United States by only listening to extremists like Louis Farrakhan, Bernie Sanders, and Richard Spencer.

    • In classical Jewish literature, Palestine was known as "Ma'aravah" ("The West"). In much of Eastern Europe, which was an Ashkenazi Jewish heartland during the early modern period, shuls were oriented South toward Palestine. Out in LA and the Southwest, Jews face North in a great circle route to face the Temple Mount.

      So the term "Orient" (Eastern) or Middle East, is a Euro-centric geographical term. For Jews and Americans it is not a naturally coherent category. And as a political matter, the contemporary term is actually "Middle East and North Africa" (MENA) - but even that assumes some sort of "Arab" identity or a geographical basis of identity. .

      I reject that entirely.

      It think T.E. Lawrence's exotic and at one time exciting idea of an "Arab" identity is long pass its sell-date. If there was any debate about this issue, I think the last half-decade in the Syrian Arab Republic has settled the issue.

      As for how we deal with it - we do have Mexican and Black and White and Jewish and other nationalists. Just this weekend, the Puerto Rican day parade took over Manhattan. But in the United States, folks who want to go far in politics have to embrace the contemporary rhetoric, which changes over time (e.g. Obama's opposition to gay marriage when he ran for president v. Trump's embrace of gay marriage when he ran 8 years later) but which emphatically does not include small-minded oppositional nationalist ideals; while in Israel the oppositional minority nationalists sit in the Knesset.

    • American Perspective June 12, 2018 at 11:56 pm

      There was a Whites-preferred immigration policy until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Whites-only public accommodations, schools, political movements were common before the Civil Rights Act. Some folks (BLM, Nation of Islam, etc . . .) believe we live under a new Jim Crow.

      So the idea that citizenship fully encompasses all races, religions, and backgrounds is a *very* new experiment. We'll see how it goes.

      We do know that in France, the experiment failed. Contemporary French "civil nationalism" has been a failure for everyone, but especially for French Jews who are heavily persecuted by supporters of the government of the State of Palestine. That's why you hear the French language being spoken so much in South Beach and the Upper West Side these days.

      In Britain, the jury is out. We should know in the next 5 - 10 years whether civil nationalism will be a successful formula. It's not promising. And it's been devastating for the Jewish community of Britain.

      In the United States it has had mixed results. Since this is a Jew-focussed site, we'll discuss how CN worked for that community. Chareidi Jews, who make up the bulk of young American Jews in the Northeast, have largely been isolated from the benefits of civil nationalism and are quite poor and marginalized as a result. Leftist Jews have experienced CN as a godsend, although they are becoming demographically obsolete and increasingly alienated from Jewish identity at all, which I guess is the destination of late-stage civil nationalism.

      So to take a very modern political model, which has had mixed results (and particularly bad outcomes for Jews in France and Germany); and mixed or uncertain results in the very few other places it's been tried - and just assume that it is a universal, platonic ideal that we should expect from every country in the world is naive.

      It is absurd to assume that folks in Israel want, need, or should adopt some political fad that's younger than Instant Oatmeal.

      Besides, if we're going to throw our weight around as Americans to get foreign countries to adopt our political model, why don't we try introducing civil nationalism to our neighbors in Cuba, Mexico and Quebec before we foist it on a small country half-way across the world which belongs to a completely different civilization? 100's times more folks die because of the Mexican political model each year than die in Israel/Palestine.

    • American Perspective June 12, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      Eljay:

      But *you* do not see Israel as a utopia. So you have nothing to worry about.

      And to be honest, your belief that Zionists believe that the State of Israel and its people are perfect seems . . . improbable.

      I think all of us should look at things realistically. Israel is neither a utopia (which seems hard to square with its diversity of political parties, which implies there are at least 32 version of Israel on the offing - which version do Zionists believe to be perfect?) nor a dystopia (like many folks on Mondoweiss are convinced). Israel is just a middling country which is doing pretty good under the circumstances and has a lot to be proud of.

      As an American, it would be just weird to obsess over it, unless I have some other agenda going on. E.g., I hate Israel as a proxy for hating the United States; I love Israel as a proxy for loving my fellow Jews; I hate Israel as a proxy for hating White People; I love Israel as a proxy for loving minorities, etc . . . But that's just delusional.

    • American Perspective June 12, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      Annie Robbins:

      Quite right! For folks who see the world as it is, they realize things are not monocausal. Israel has restrictions on civil liberties, elements of which would be inconceivable in some other countries (e.g. a military censor, a millet religious system). On the other hand, Israel tolerates minority nationalism (specifically Arab nationalism) in a way that would be inconceivable in the West.

      And Israel has political participation - not merely voting rates - but general accessibility of its politicians and a broad range of viable political parties (including Arab nationalist political parties) that would put the West to shame.

      But all of this is academic.

      The takeaway is that Israel is a great democracy and considering how it's dealt with minority nationalism (as against it's peers in that regard, specifically Turkey, Morocco, Spain, and China) has done a great job of allowing broad political participation while avoiding almost all domestic political violence. And the idea that supporters of the State of Palestine would criticize Israel about "democracy" is laughable.

      And as an American, who is deeply complicit in the crimes of the Mexican government and the unjust repression of the Quebecois government, my worries about Israeli "human rights" issues is far down on the list.

    • I think civil nationalism has worked well in the United States since it was introduced in the 1960s.

      It's not universally popular (see the tremendous support for Louis Farrakhan's vision of black identity; the California and Texan and Floridian and Southern seperationists; the BLM; the Puerto Rican independence movement; the Chareidi "villages" in the backwoods of Pennsylvania and New York; the Alt-Right) but it has been great for the American economy and has provided a lot of opportunity for folks like me and my friends & family.

      But Israel is not the United States. It has a different geography, different demography, different history, different economy, different geo-political role, different moral and economic horizons, and a different sense of self-identity.

      I don't visit the badlands of Quebec and start lecturing the locals that they should allow folks to use whatever language they want. I don't journey to the U.K. and start demanding that they let Lauren Southern be admitted to the country. I don't fly to Spain and tell them that they shouldn't jail Catalan nationalists.

      I recognize that the great idea of late capitalism - civil nationalism - which the United States has tried since the 1960s, has a lot to recommend it. But that it's not my role as a patriot to start imposing our unique and very specific view of the world on our neighbors in Mexico, Cuba, Canada - and certainly not on countries half-way across the world.

      All we can do as Americans is model the best version of ourselves, promote our values and hope that foreigners pick up on some of the best elements of who we are. (I.e. we wouldn't want Mexicans or Chinese or Israelis to mimic the Alt-right, Nation of Islam, MS-13; but rather the best version of ourselves).

      But we should never impose or assume our model is the best for everyone.

    • I've been. They celebrate Israel as a Jewish state. Not as a civil nationalist utopia, which the New Israel Fund yearns for.

      Is this concept (that in the 1940s when the Mandate ended, Israel chose to become a nation-state; not a civil nationalist "state of all its citizens") new to you?

    • I don't really recognize a category of "Middle East", or "Arab". But I'll address you on your terms.

      Democracy Index, an objective, peer-reviewed, internationally-recognized project of The Economist measures how democratic countries are.

      So for example, the powerful State of Palestine claims its authority comes from being a "democracy". The Syrian Arab Republic obviously claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East (Ba'athism and SSNP - Arab Socialism and N*zism. respectively - claim to represent the mythic "authentic Arab identity" and that their policies are inherently democratic as the natural will of the Arab Volk) . Israel also claims to be a democracy.

      So measured objectively, Israel is in the "Flawed Democracy" level with France and the United States. That's pretty good! And when considering the agitation Israel faces by a nationalist minority and ongoing wars - unmatched anywhere. So the "only democracy" claim can be made with a straight face.

      By contrast, the State of Palestine is listed as a low Hybrid Regime (authoritarian with some democratic elements); and the Syrian Arab Republic as full-on authoritarian. Turkey's an interesting case because it had a democratic awakening in the late 2000s, early 2010s - but all that's fallen apart since the coup attempt.

      So when people say "Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East", they don't mean utopia. And Israel doesn't claim to be some White Nordic, Civil and Social Democratic paradise on the Med. It means that Israel is broadly liberal democratic and in a category all its own for its peer group.

    • "Shared values" is ridiculous.

      As Americans we have "shared values" with Canada, but are at the start of a major trade war. We have "shared values" with post-Apartheid South Africa, which has been a failed experiment and anything but American in its substance and its execution.

      "Shared values" is just a cute catchphrase to justify existing power relations. Don't read too much into it. We're going to be getting along just fine with a unified Korea (as we do with China) without any "shared values" nonsense.

      You sound like those folks who take the "Jewish state" line seriously.

    • American Perspective June 12, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      Israel right now is a liberal democracy. Democracy Index lists it somewhere close to Western Europe levels and rising. Which is quite remarkable considering the agitation it faces from a nationalist minority and ongoing wars with a dozen countries.

      But Israel has never been shy about its nation-state identity. It is not a universal, civil nationalist state like the U.S. or late-stage Western European countries. And it has never claimed to be.

      Israel is more like Quebec or Spain (although with much broader civil liberties than Quebec or Spain for minority religions and minority national identitarians). Quebec and Spain (like Israel) are liberal democracies. They share virtually no civil nationalist ideals with the United States - but that doesn't mean it's not a liberal democracy.

    • "the illusion that Israel is a western-style liberal democracy".

      Maybe Jonathan can correct me, but when has Israel (or its supporters or illusionists) ever claimed that Israel is a "western-style liberal democracy"?

      When the League of Nations Mandate ended, the Zionist leadership quite emphatically accepted the proposal that Palestine *not* be a western-style liberal democracy. The Zionist leadership embraced the idea that the successor country would be a nation-state.

      This isn't any kind of secret or "illusion". I think the Star of David on the flag, the choice to name the successor state "Israel", the adoption of the Hebrew calendar, and the adoption of Hebrew as one of the official languages may have given that "secret" or "illusion" away that Israel doesn't claim to have the United States' or Western Europe's political culture.

      This may come as a shock to some Mondoweiss readers. But keep in mind, many of you unconditionally support the State of Palestine and strongly support its political culture - a political culture that also doesn't claim to be a "western-style liberal democracy".

      If Jonathan Cook thought that Israel was a "western-style liberal democracy" which claimed to be a civil nationalist country, he obviously has a very poor grasp of how international politics works. And if he thinks that "western-style liberal democracy" is some platonic ideal appropriate for all places at all times, he's gotta make that argument and explain why. And also explain why its appropriate for Israel and not appropriate for Palestine.

  • 'Why Ahed slapped the soldier' --an interview with Bassem Tamimi
    • American Perspective June 15, 2018 at 9:15 am

      Jethro:

      The profoundly immoral cause of Arab nationalism does not become "halal" because it is advocated by an Orthodox American Jew. The illegitimate grievances do not become "Kosher" because someone wrote a blog.

      Nobody seriously thinks that the far-right hardliners here on Mondoweiss or the Arab nationalist movement in general is motivated by "human rights". That's an absolutely ridiculous idea - Arab nationalists societies have, for a Century, have had the most anti-human rights records imaginable.

      I refer specifically to the Arab nationalist alliance with Communism, Jihad, Leftism, anti-Amerinism, the Juche idea, anti-colonialism, etc . . . I'll leave WWII off the table because it's a touchy issue with you revisionists. There is no way to square Arab nationalism with Human Rights.

      If you guys truly love the State of Palestine and are committed to her ethnic purity you would be better served by being honest.

      Okay - let's call your bluff! 40% of the West Bank and Jerusalem are Hebrew speaking folks who identify as Jewish. What have the far-right hardliners here on Mondoweiss (who are motivated by human rights, amirite?) done to ensure the State of Palestine is welcoming and tolerant and inclusive of its Jewish population?

      If you care about human rights why aren't 40% of the PLC Jewish? Why isn't the State of Palestine demanding that Hebrew be made an official language at the UN?

      Yeah - I thought so. So cut out the "human rights" bullsh!t. No point promoting 1960s rhetoric that nobody on any side believes.

    • American Perspective June 14, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      RoHa:

      Yeah . . . no.

      I'm not buying it. Nobody seriously thinks the hardliners here on Mondoweiss are motivated by sympathy for some human rights cause.

      The petty grievances of the far-right ethnic nationalists in Palestine pale in comparison to the grievances of the Alt-Right, the minorities in Mexico, the Nation of Islam and folks far closer to home who complain about government abuse. Arab nationalism is about "authenticity" and restoring the historic glories of the medieval, Arabic-speaking Empires. It's not about human rights.

      And if you think the petty grievances of the Western Asian and Southern Mediterranean underclass is the most important human rights issue of the day; then the occupied Cypriots, Sawahiris and Yemenis have a much more sympathetic human rights claim to your attention.

      Listen - I don't begrudge you your desire to promote Arab nationalism in Palestine. But I'm certainly not going to take seriously the claim that the Mondoweiss crowd is motivated by a human rights motive. That's a very silly idea.

    • American Perspective June 14, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      Danaa:

      1. If the State of Palestine doesn't exist, then you better let the UN's chemical weapons treaty organization know, because Palestine just joined. If the State of Palestine doesn't exist, we better reverse the vote that Palestine whipped this week, just to re-affirm that they are the most militarily powerful country on earth.

      Simply put, the Arab nationalists won in 1988 when they won their state through military conquest. Everything since then has been hubristic overreach.

      2. I'm not going to question your motives, I'll just note that its flat-out weird to compare Gaza to 1940s Central Europe. Its not the 1940s and Gaza isn't in Europe.

      A better analogy would be to the Islamic occupation of Cyprus. Or, if you're so inclined, the world's largest open air prison (Arab Republic of Yemen). And in both those cases the existence of some technical "Occupation" under international law (which is irrelevant) doesn't change the sovereignty of the local government.

      Gaza chose.

      * serious question, how did the situation in Gaza bring to your mind 1940s Poland? Are you of Polish or Central European Heritage whereby the trauma of the Holocaust informs how you look at all border disputes? Because if it does, you'll end up with a delusional understanding of events in Palestine. Far-right hardliners of Mondoweiss aren't serving their cause by obsessing about the early 20th Century in Europe. It will lead you to very poor analysis of the actual situation on the ground.

    • American Perspective June 14, 2018 at 10:20 am

      Danaa:

      Yes.

      Since the 1700s (and since the Islamic Capitulations in the 7th and then 19th Century) Sovereign Immunity has been a basic aspect of the international world order. When supporters of the government of the State of Palestine raped children in Rochdale, or the Israeli army attacked Gaza, or the government of the State of Palestine conquered Aleppo - the sole recourse for folks who disagreed with those action is on a political level.

      Yeah, from time to time there will be prosecutions (to avoid unrest, the UK is going through the motions of prosecuting some of the pro-Palestine activists - that's what tipped off the whole Tommy Robinson drama); there's occasional talk about using the International Criminal Court to prosecute individual Israeli and Palestinian politicians and soldiers (although after the Bemba ruling, that's impossible).

      But as our Supreme Court re-affirmed last month by not taking Certiorari in Sokolow v. PLO; when a government actor behaves in a way you don't like, the sole recourse is political. War, negotiations, sanctions, allyship - those are political responses to sovereign acts. Governments can do whatever they like unless they face a successful political challenge.

      When the government of the State of Palestine shoots rockets across its borders against a foreign country, the response was a blockade and political pressure. That's how Sovereign Immunity works - instead of brawling in the parking lot, governments make political decisions about how to respond.

      You see that here. Nobody changes American policy by protesting. Ask the pro-Ba'athist movement in the early 2000s, or the pro-Open Borders crowd during the Trump administration how that worked out for them.

      Political problems require political solutions.

    • American Perspective June 13, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      Inbound - Mehmet Ali was a white Albanian who strongly identified as European. His proudest achievement was the introduction of French educational methods. He annexed Palestine to European-oriented Egypt; not to Arabic-oriented Syria.

      So when the Turks re-conquered Palestine from him in the 1850s, I think the local residents of the Khedive would have been bemused to learn that they were really Syrian Arabs.

      The Turks made the Mutasarrifate report directly to Constantinople because the locals folks in Palestine would never agree to have a connection with what they saw as a backward, Bedu culture of Arabia.

    • Thanks, biggerjake, for your welcome!

      I'll try to avoid the reality (or event appearance) of trolling. But admit it - you guys love having a little dissent thrown in once in a while, amirite? Doesn't it sharpen your own thinking to read about how others see the world?

    • American Perspective June 13, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Annie - Herodotus didn't write in English.

      After defeating the Caliphate, the League of Nations used "Palestine" in English to refer to Southern Syria. But in Hebrew, the Mandatory simple used Palaestina - Eretz Yisrael.

      You can read all about it in the lawsuit brought by your folks in the 1920s. Some Turks protested the use of the Jewish term "Palestine" (adapted into Turkish Arab as "Filistin"), which is just an English translation of Eretz Yisrael.

      Fascinating case.

      RoHa - "why does identity matter"?

      The whole agenda of Mondoweiss is to promote Arab nationalism and provide a forum to discuss how to make Palestine as "authentically" "Arabic" as possible.

      The whole "Palestinian Cause" is an ethnic political movement where identity - a non-existent one I would argue - is central to everything in the world. How can you even ask that?

    • I'm new to Mondoweiss, but okay if I take your questions as serious (rather than merely rhetorical)? I don't want to overstep my welcome, but joining this site to debate with you folks would benefit us both - you'll understand how others think, and maybe you'll change my mind.

      "If there’s not, why are all the names of places in “Israel” Arabic (until they are stolen and renamed with Hebrew words)? If there were no Palestinians in Palestine, how could the terrorists who stole their land destroy the lives of 750,000 Palestinians in the Nakba?"

      You're making a very dangerous conflation here between an Arabic identity and a "Palestinian" identity. Palestine, which is simply the traditional English-language term for Eretz Yisrael has been around since the Canaanites were defeated. Palestine has never been Arabic. There were some foreign Arabic-speakers and a tiny number of - for lack of a better term, "indigenous" Turks - who moved in the 1940s during various wars. The "Arabic names" you refer to are adaptations from Turkish which are adaptations from Latin/Greek which are adaptations from Hebrew.

      12 million Syria Arabians have moved in the past 5 years - population movements are common in Middle East wars. To describe the 1940s as some sort of "Nakba", especially in light of what we've seen the Syrian Arabs do in the 2010s seems hyperbolic.

      "Why do Israelis 1) believe they are “god’s chosen people” and therefor superior to all others, especially Arabs? (Because they wrote the book?)"

      I don't think the Arab nationalists living in Israel see themselves as "god's chosen people". For the Jews living in Israel, the idea of being an Am Hanivchar (a chosen people) is a common motif in their culture and religion. Everything else here about "superior to all others", the existence of "Arabs", etc . . . is so silly it doesn't merit a response.

      "2) think they are the only victims of a holocaust and deny all other holocausts (such as the Armenian holocaust which, no matter how horrible the Jewish holocaust was, was even worse?"

      Which Israelis have "den[ied] all other holocausts".

      "3) think Palestinians are less human than the Jews are?"

      Which Israelis think folks are "less human than the Jews" - you realize that more than a million Jews live in Palestine (and are therefore Palestinians), right?

      "If Israel is a democracy, why can’t same sex couples get married?"

      Because to appease the Moslems, the League of Nations mandatory adopted all existing laws - including the millet religious marital status system. None of the millet streams allow marriages of folks from the same gender. There has been no successful effort to change that system since Israel inherited the Mandate in 1948. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with democracy, though? Can you explain.

      "Why does Israel still have the odious “conversion therapy?”"

      Who does "conversion therapy" in Israel? And what rules are they subject to? What does that have to do with democracy.

      "Why do any bills brought before the Knesset to better the lives of LGBTQ people not passed."

      What bill do you want to have passed?

      "Why do Palestinians always lose in the Israeli courts."

      I'm not sure why a foreigner would go to a court overseas to pursue her rights. But what specific cases are you talking about?

      "Why can IDF soldiers shoot/murder anyone without consequence."

      Sovereign Immunity. The only recourse for a "shooting" or "murder" done by a country's military is on the political level. The same sovereign immunity that the State of Palestine consistently and successfully claims for itself. The idea of sovereign immunity is deeply embedded in Islamic law as well.

      "Why does a girl get an exteme prison sentence for slapping a heavily armed soldier who was illegally on her property?"

      You see, you're confusing things here. Specifically, you seem to be conflating your aspirational perspective (the soldier being there is "illegal", the slapping is legal) with the actual law in place. The answer is that your aspirational hopes for what the law should be is different than the practical reality of what the law is.

      "Why don’t soldiers ever go to jail for their crimes?"

      Mentioned sovereign immunity above. I'm not sure what system you're referring to where soldiers go to jail? Do you have examples of this?

      "Why does the Israeli people stand by silently as the Palestinians are poisoned by filthy water (97% of their water is undrinkable)."

      Israel built out the water infrastructure system in the 1970s. It no longer works because the government of Gaza had other priorities. That doesn't mean folks are being "poisoned by filthy water" - they just don't have use of kitchen water from the tap. Just like in most of the Middle East (and South Africa for that matter).

      That doesn't mean people are being "poisoned" - it just means they no longer have access to home plumbing. Israelis don't (and shouldn't) see themselves as responsible for decisions made by the government Gaza with respect to water infrastructure.

      "Why does no Israeli protest the shortage of medicines and electricity in Gaza and the West Bank."

      I'm not sure if that's true. But what does medical infrastructure in Gaza and "the West Bank" have to do with Israelis?

      "Why does Israel withhold funds belonging to Palestinians?"

      Paris Accords. Signed by Arafat. It gave Israel discretion over tax withholdings paid by foreign workers from Palestine who work on the books in Israel.

      "Why are the Israeli so cruel."

      Don't stereotype. Unbecoming of you.

      "Why are IDF soldiers allowed to stink-bomb children’s schools?"

      Sovereign immunity.

      "Why can the arrest children and question them without their parents..even kids who are still pre-school?"

      That's an operational question - practical realities of governing a national minority is difficult.

      "Why can’t Palestinians get passports, or move freely about?"

      Palestinians have had passports since the 1990s. Their passports allow them access to more countries than Israeli passports do.

      "Why don’t Israelis every cross over to Gaza or the West Bank and talk to the Palestinians?"

      Just randomly travel overseas and start talking to random people? Seems like a weird thing to do.

  • 'I'm targeted by the Israeli army,' Razan al-Najjar said before she was killed
    • American Perspective June 18, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Eljay - just replace "Prussia" with "the State of Palestine"; replace "Germanic blood" with "race-pure Arabic-speakers"; replace "Judaizers" with "Zionists".

      Exact same language, exact same beliefs. And welcome to them.

      I'm just pointing out that no Land is "Arabic-speaking", Arab nationalists have no unique connection to Palestine, and that using a "rape" analogy for immigration is just flat-out weird in 2018.

      And the claim that you (and other Mondoweiss writers) aren't far-right Arab ultra-nationalists is delusional. You guys are obsessed with "authentic" racial identity, with maintaining the race purity of particular geographic areas, and are opposed to modernity and (legal and illegal) immigration.

      Those are the primary themes of the far-right everywhere.

    • American Perspective June 18, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Eljay -

      The motif of Judea raping Prussia (which you use constantly) goes back to the late 19th Century.

      The Romantics imagined the Rheinland and Bohemia, etc . . . as these pure volkïsch lands with a "natural" population of Germanic-speaking natives.

      Judea, by contrast, represented civilization, unrooted cosmopolitanism, sophistry, and mercantilism. The motif is that the der Ewige Jüde came from far away and took advantage of the naïve noble savage Germanic tribesmen and women and imposed on them with their Judaizing presence.

      Germanic political ideas have always been popular among Arabic-speakers, of course. The Caliph was allied with the Germans for centuries and during the great wars, the Arabic speakers stood four-square behind Germany. That's why after WWII, the SSNP and Ba'athist leadership in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt were largely German-speaking.

      So ideas like "Judea is raping the simple, volkïsch Arabic-language tribeswomen and men", or these Ostjuden foreigners are "Judaizing" our race-purity . . . these are popular themes among your far-right Arab nationalists. If you are not familiar with their origin, I'm happy to educate you about where the motifs you use are coming from.

      In modern political thinking (including in Germany), the idea that a land and its people are a "body" which can be "raped" by the presence of foreigners is regarded as anachronistic and even racist.*

      * I am not accusing you of racism.

    • American Perspective June 17, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Annie -

      I think I'm pretty grounded in reality..

      As Steven Crowder likes to say: "Change my Mind"! Show me 6 things I've said which are inconsistent with reality. If I have some major blind spot, I'd love to have it pointed out!

      And I'm confused about your reference to "Israel". Neither I, nor anyone else here, has discussed Israel - this website is about promoting, what your national anthem calls "Wa'aswaqi dam l'ard" (The race-yearning for the Land).

      Mondoweiss is about centering the hardline ethnic passions of the Arab nationalists living in Palestine. Nobody here has discussed Israel, at least as long as I've been participating in these conservations. (* except for Eljays's volkïsch complaints about Judea).

      Keep your eye on the ball, Annie!

    • American Perspective June 17, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      Mooser - is the belief that the Palestine Investment Fund and the Bank of Palestine are "Hasbarah shills" reality-based? Or is it an entirely baseless accusation?

      Now, you personally may *want* the PIF and Bank of Palestine to be Hasbarah shills because . . . ? Maybe you have some "it's gotta get so bad it breaks because then magic and the Arab nationalists conquer Israel" mojo. Rashid Khalidi's been pushing that hallucination recently. Or maybe the status quo in Gaza is ideal and any suggestion that things change is a threat. Who knows? I can't read your mind.

      If an observer comments to you that your belief that the Palestine Investment Fund and Bank of Palestine are "Hasbarah shills" is not reality-based, I think you should consider whether she may have point. Maybe they are "Hasbarah shills", maybe they're not. But surely you should at least consider the question and not dismiss it out of hand.

    • Eljay:

      Neither the land of Palestine, nor the Arab nationalist cause are a body that can be raped.

      The 19th Century volkïsch theme of the Romantics - that Judea "raped" Allgemeine by diluting her racial purity and he defiled Prussian soil with his sophistry and mercantilism - is delusional. It was delusional back then in Central Europe, it's entirely unmoored from the material reality in the 2018 Eastern Mediterranean.

      Palestine yields archaelogical evidence at The Giant's Circle (5,000 years ago) and Jericho (10,000 years ago) of a thriving, cosmopolitan civilization with influences from Britain to China - from the Indus to the Tana Rivers (Mei'Hodu v'ad Kush, for the Biblically literate).

      The idea that Palestine - literally the center of the world in the T-in-O maps - was some sheltered, volkïsch, race pure virgin who was raped by the Zionists is delusional. It reveals a profound error in your understanding of Palestine and of the Romantic idea.

      And like I've been saying - the greatest weakness of you hardline Arab nationalists is that you simply do not understand your enemy. I've noted here a few times that in the few days I've participated here, I've seen Mondoweiss writers incessantly analogize Israelis to 1920s Yiddishist immigrants to the United States, Boer activists in Southern Africa, German Nazis during WWII, and British colonial officers in 1940s India.

      Eljay wants to resurrect Romantic motifs about Palestine as some virgin land, untouched by civilization until the 1890s Zionist movement.

      You're free to believe what you want. And I don't begrudge you if this satisfies some emotional need of y'alls.

      But do recognize that what you are saying is unmoored from reality. And the best thing you can do to promote the Arab nationalist cause (and protect residents of Gaza) is get back to reality. It doesn't do Arab nationalists favors to send them into cloud cuckoo land.

    • "Zioland", "Zioblink", "poisoned by the Chosen", and "psychpathic freaks who are running the Zioshow" . . .

      Ossinev - I'm sure in your mind these are brilliant turns of phrase which are the edge of the spear of the inevitable victory of the Arab nationalist movement in Palestine. And there are Jewish liberals in the United States and Israeli Communists who read what you write and tremble for the future of the "Zioland".

      I'm just going to suggest that objectively speaking, you sound entirely unmoored from the material reality. And while I've no doubt that the passion you exhibit is intended to "help", in reality this delusion approach is profoundly counterproductive to the actual people living in Palestine.

      Another future is possible.

      The people of Gaza will be defeated and will surrender to globalization, surrender to Israel and surrender to the future.

      I'll take your "inevitable arc of history" and raise you that in 2050, the 3.5 million Arabic-speakers living in Gaza will still need to get along with their Zioblink and Egyptian Arab neighbors. They will still need to bow to the logic of International Economics and Malthusian math.

      The only question is how they get there.

      The derech hamelech is for them to surrender. Not delusional ideé fixe like "non-violent resistance", "international intervention", and "the tides of history" - but take their front seat in history and surrender fully. Economists estimate that a peaceful Palestine would see a doubling of the GDP per capita in Israel and Gaza within a decade - from 42K to about 90K dollars in Israel, from 1,600 to 3,000 in Gaza!

      Or you can continue a pointless resistance that leaves Gaza at the same place economically today as it was in 2000. (IMF estimates that if Palestine doesn't surrender, it will take until 2030 to recover from the 2014 border skirmish).

      The Gazan economists and business-people who wrote Gaza Connected are "connected" to reality and want to help people.

      Delusional accusations that the Palestine Investment Fund and Bank of Palestine are "Hasbarah shills" does not help your cause.

    • American Perspective June 17, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      Annie:

      Surrender.

      The assumption that some kind of natural justice or "arc of history" bends toward the petty ethnic passions of the Arab nationalists living in Palestine has been devastating. It's been a Century since Colonel Lawrence invented the idea of Arab nationalism to encourage the backwards countryfolk to rebel against the Caliph. It's long past time we acknowledge that Lawrence's invention has been a failure.

      Since Arab nationalism was invented a century ago, the Egyptian Arab Republic went from being a cosmopolitan, multicultural, economic powerhouse to a poor, dusty backwater. Half of the Syrian Arab Republic is displaced (5 million refugees, yes, but an additional 7 million internally displaced persons). The Hashemite Kingdom is a schizophrenic transit camp. The Lebanon still hasn't fully recovered from the war that the Palestine imposed on it in the 80s.

      Rather than wasting another 70 years trying to regain some "authentic" Arab identity, and an imagined ethnic purity - folks who love the Gazan people should be encouraging them to Surrender. And there is a plan for it.

      You can google "Global Palestine, Connected Gaza" which discussed the plan in detail.

      Rather than trying to conquer Israel or create an Arabic-speaking hermit kingdom on the Med; Connected Gaza sees the Arab nationalists surrendering. Surrendering to globalization, surrendering to Israel, surrendering to the future.

      Gaza Connected has a vision where Gaza will be a wealthy hinterland of the Tel Aviv Metropolitan hub (that would include Jerusalem and Haifa). Gaza will have a regional airport, a port that will work well with its neighbors as Israel becomes more chareidi (the Gaza port will pick up the slack on Saturdays), abundant housing, and international connections overseas to Israel, the Arab Republic, and even to the Hashemite Kingdom and Saudi.

      You can like the idea or hate it - but watch the presentation first, though, it's very convincing.

      If I may say so, this lack of imagination and understanding of the material reality has been devastating to the Arab nationalists. Like this "non-violence" shtick. Israelis are not American Ashkenazim in the 70s (the heyday of Jewish liberalism in the US); Israelis are not 1930s British colonial officers in India; Israelis are not 1980s Boer activists.

      Arab nationalists seem to think that Israelis are some or all of these things - and how has that worked out for them?

      You're not doing the Arab nationalists in Gaza any favors by tricking them into thinking that they are going to conquer Israel or that Surrender is not an option. You're not doing the Arab nationalists in Gaza any favors by making them think that Israelis are elderly American Ashkenazim or British colonists. It will only end in tears.

      Mondoweiss (and you, Annie) would be better off providing folks accurate, clear-eyed information about Israel - provide articles from Yediot and Yisrael Hayom (newspapers that Israelis read) rather than crackpot editorials by marginal European-focussed rags like Ha'aretz. Teach folks about the Israeli political scene, from UTJ to Shas to Nash Dom Israel to Bayit Yehudi - instead of marginal cranks like Meretz and the Joint List.

      The best thing Mondoweiss can do for Palestine and its supporters is provide a clear-eyed understanding the material reality on the ground. Rather than some imagined dystopia, or some American Ashkenazi perspective.

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