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Total number of comments: 366 (since 2011-08-05 19:15:54)

Exiled At Home

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  • It's official: Israeli govt confirms Jews are no longer the majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea
    • Well, then it would seem that the demographic relationship is normalizing. With the exception of a very small chunk of time in which Israeli Jews outnumbered the non-Jewish indigenous populations of Palestine, perhaps between the 1980s-2010, the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea has had a Muslim/Christian majority for nearly 2000 years.

  • No room for racism in a movement working for equality and freedom
    • Ale

      Slandering someone as a "racist" for posting a controversial anti-Zionist
      link is neither principled, nor honest.

      Mondoweiss seems unconvinced that Berlin posted the link without knowing the contents of the video. Fine, press her on that point.

      Mondoweiss wen belligerently too far posting a statement denouncing Berlin as an antisemite and lashing out against her supporters.
      There's nothing defensible about ruining someone's career because you're unconvinced as to her claim not to have known the contents of a stupid video.

      She posted the link, claimed not to know its full contents, issued a statement saying she did not support the contents, and apologized.

    • Park Slope,

      That's patently absurd. It's not antisemitism, but it's Jew-bashing? Stop dressing everything in a Jewish perspective. We oppose Israel because it's a colonial entity occupying another's land. It is a Palestinian narrative, not a Jewish narrative, that should take priority.

      The only Jewish question involved is this: can the Jewish foreigners in Palestine learn to live among the Palestinian natives, as equals in a pluralistic society? If not, they must be opposed, not for their Jewishness, but for their foreign , uncompromising chauvinism.

      It's as simple as that.

    • Israel is different in that its very existence is derived from a post-war 'consensus' that rejects territories conquests of land, and yet presides over the longest sustained colonial occupation in modern history. Israel's 60 year occupation, judged by today's norms, is far more sinister than any of history's many forms of colonialism as judged by their era's norms.

    • Keith,

      Chomsky always links Israel's crimes back to the US, and in doing so apportions the majority of culpability on the US government as if Israel is being used by American imperialists.

      He rejects the influence of AIPAC. He opposes BDS. He used Israel's abuse of the Palestinians as another vehicle to attack American imperialism. He does us all an disservice by deflecting attention away from the root cause, Zionism and pursuit of Etetz Israel. Jeff Blankfort has written extensively on this, you should read his work with an open mind about Chomsky's deflections.

    • Greta,
      You've risked your reputation and your life in defense of Palestinian liberation.

      Those who denounce you over a controversial link have no such courage.

      They protect their own reputations by slandering yours. This is the reality of "solidarity."

      Shameful.

    • 'Tis true...

      Chomsky's passionate support of Palestinian rights always, always culminates in him pointing the finger at the US, to the point that he rejects boycotts directed toward Israel because he believes that the US is the tail that wags the Israeli dog. His Jewish, Zionist upbringing blinds his ability to see reality, and as such he has become massively damaging to efforts to force fundamental reformation of Israeli society.

      Finkelstein, too, has these failing at times.

      Others, such as Avi Shlaim, while recognizing the dark path Israel has embarked upon, always find ways to romanticize early Zionist history, they long for the 'good old days.' It's revisionism, even if well-intentioned.

      Ilan Pappe seems to be that rare beacon of intellectual honesty, willing to make the ultimate and difficult sacrifice in indicting his own country. He has not shied away from laying Israel's dark history in full view of western society. He supports economic and academic boycotts directed at Israel, not the United States, and calls the 2SS a flawed Zionist idea. He's honest, brave and correct. He's not blinded by tribalism. Unfortunately, he's an anomaly in the Jewish community and he's paid dearly for his integrity. Denounced in the Knesset, essentially stripped of his academic credentials and facing death threats against him and his family, he was forced to leave Israel, his country, his homeland, for his efforts to inject equality, honesty, liberty and compassion into the society that he grew up in...

      I thought Phil had come around when he recently posted that he was giving up his efforts to redeem the Jewish community, recognizing the futility of trying to sway those who do not want to see what you have come to show, and is focusing more on speaking to average Americans...

      His deference to the cries of anti-Semitism indicates that this has not occurred.

    • It's really quite troubling that there is so much distortion, subversion, mistrust and deflection within the alleged solidarity movement...

      We have socialist internationalists who have co-opted the Palestinian narrative as a vehicle to attack US imperialism. Fine, but insincere.

      We have feminist, LGBT activists who claim to be pro-Palestinian, yet who constantly deride Palestinian culture.

      We have those who reject any discussion of the Lobby, or US interests, as white supremacism or anti-Semitism...

      With a misfit coalition of allies like us, no wonder Palestine can't make any progress...

    • Hear! Hear!

    • Alison Wier's take on this:

      link to alisonweir.org

    • Phil and Adam,

      Please consider; if the anti-Zionist movement spends a great deal of time and energy dissecting and articulating the difference between Judaism and Zionism, then how can we characterize commentary such as that ensconced in the Greta Berlin linked video (which is focused on the role of Zionism in the atrocities of WWII) as anti-Semitic?

      The linked video did not suggest that Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves. The video did not deny the Holocaust occurred. The video suggests that Zionism contributed to the Holocaust. If we recognize Zionism as an ideology, then how can such suggestions be racially or religiously intolerant or hateful, as the accusation of anti-Semitism implies?

      What's more, how can Greta Berlin be so vehemently and abusively denounced for merely posting this video, especially taking into consideration her statement that she does not support the suggestions made in the video?

      This is tortuous, destructive logic, and it's being stirred up by people who want to destroy the movement for justice in Palestine by sowing the seeds of division within its ranks.

      You've participated in the slander of a woman's name to protect yourselves from the intolerant, unethical and disingenuous slanders you expect to come your way if you do not denounce her. That's not principled.

      Your initial hesitation to disabuse yourselves of association with Greta was based in your support of her work. Why not let that work speak for itself? Why now succumb to the mounting surge of emotional, reactive intolerance that seeks to cripple the reputation of well-intentioned individuals for simply linking to something that some find offensive? We must be more restrained in how we critique the sharing of information in the digital age...

      We cannot denounce everyone who ever posted a link to something controversial...

      It's disheartening to see you join the chorus of this unsubstantiated witch-hunt...

      It's an injustice against Greta Berlin who has never said anything that I am aware of that would suggest intolerant views of Judaism or Jews. It's destructive toward the mission for peace, as Greta has led the way in the movement to undo the blockade of Gaza, and by dragging her name through the mud, the movement itself has suffered.

      It also signifies the ease with which minor things such as a video link can fracture the coalition and turn us against ourselves... Is it not obvious how simply this can be manipulated by those who wish to put an end to this movement for peace and justice? There is a vibrant debate raging over at Electronic Intifada over an article that accuses Ofer Engel of being a provacateur amid all of this controversy. I do not know of him, and will hold judgment on that. However, what I see in the thread is a great many people casting the Council for the National Interest as a neo-nazi, white supremacist outfit, which is ludicrous.

      There are some very radical people within the Palestine solidarity movement who are denouncing the very important strategy of addressing the American people in respect to America's interests in the ME and how our alliance with Israel does not serve those interests. CNI takes this approach because it's a message that resonates with American voters who don't understand the history of I/P. It's not white supremacism, it's prudence. It's effective. It can counter AIPAC. Oh, yes, those who speak of the power of the Lobby are also anti-Semites.

      Can't you see how easy it is for people to denounce and delegitimize these very reasonable positions?

      I fear Greta Berlin has fallen victim to these dark elements within our own movement.

  • Russell Tribunal has placed Palestinians in tradition of Frederick Douglass and Rosa Parks
    • I'm sorry, but Sherry Wolf is far too much of an ideological activist to be so closely associated with the Tribunal.

      This was supposed to be a exercise is legality as enshrined in international agreements.

      That mission is jeopardized by having a panel that includes Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Dennis Banks and others with no background in international law.

      The Tribunal suffers from a destructive schizophrenia, on the one hand exalting the Tribunal's basis in international law, on the other hand packing the jury panel, as well as several speakers, with known activists from a wide array of controversial backgrounds.

      The reason the lobby hasn't denounced the Tribunal more ardently is because the Tribunal set itself up to not be taken seriously.

      This could have been so much more effective had the organizing committee done more to ensure the image of objective jurisprudence.

  • Exile and the Prophetic: The 'Free Gaza' tweets and the challenge for those seeking justice for Israel/Palestine
    • "Trying to counter anti-Semitism by labeling it racism or prejudice as the resigning former Board members do, or referring to Jews simply as an ethnic group as Norman Finkelstein did at the American Jewish relationship with Israel forum at the New School a few days ago, is to tread a politically correct line that goes nowhere."

      Oh, brother...

  • Russell Tribunal conclusion: U.S. facilitates Israeli immunity and impunity
    • I can't speak to her absence, but I confirmed she was not invited as either a jury member or speaker.

    • Alex,

      I think 90%+ of Americans would disagree with your description of Angela Davis and Alice Walker as "luminaries."

      One of my largest complaints with the Tribunal is that they packed the jury panel with individuals who can so easily be dismissed by the Lobby as biased leftists.

      Are CodePink, Blank Panther and Communist Party members really the best candidates to bring this issue to the American people?

      Alison Wier was not invited, nor was anyone from the Council for the National Interest, why? Because this was an event more about attacking American imperialism than it was Palestinian suffering. CNI's emphasis on America's best interests doesn't really resonate with a panel of socialist, communist, progressive radicals (I don't mean that as a pejorative) that, I believe, essentially has co-opted the Palestinian narrative as a vehicle to critique the United States. This is the Chomskyite strategy, and it doesn't appeal to Americans. CNI could appeal, if only it were given a voice; instead it was marginalized. A CNI volunteer handing out literature outside the Tribunal was told that Alison Wier wasn't welcome.

      It's not a very sincere tribunal if it doesn't seek to actually address the power of the lobby, or the speak to the American people.

    • Then you must not have been present at the hearings. I was taken aback, actually, by the number of speakers who, while condemning the failed framework of the established international community (UN), criticized Palestinians for not effectively utilizing this ineffective tool.

  • Tel Aviv and the failure of the Zionist dream
    • I'm not sure racial, cultural harmony was ever a goal of Zionism. Nor is that the suggestion Allison is making, in my opinion.

      She's pointing out that the city exists in a vacuum of collective amnesia and blindness to the Palestinian roots of the city. And, more directly to the point of the city representing the failure of Zionism, Allison points out the stagnation of Tel Aviv, the dilapidation, ghettos and growing social welfare problems, the chasm between segments of the population, the ills of an overburdened capitalist enterprise with no soul, no tradition, no history, no beliefs. Hardly the apogee of cultural Zionism's pursuit of a Jewish social oasis in the desert.

  • 4 arrested for 'correcting... poisonous ad'
    • Sassan,

      The government intervening to remove or cover the ads would, arguably, be stifling free speech and free expression.

      Individuals intervening to remove, cover, deface or shout-down the ads and its supporters is, actually, free speech and expression.

      The government intervening and arresting those exercising their rights is an affront to free speech and expression.

      I can't believe you support governmental suppression of free speech and expression.

  • Change of plan
    • Phil,

      This is great. I've long believed the conversation needs to break away from the Jewish margins, where, as you note, people do not want to know.

      I spend most of my time discussing this with average, uninformed Americans. And, it's been a successful, though tumultuous, endeavor.

      One note of importance: I'm not in the slightest bit a supporter of the Obama administration, and view his administration as completely unresponsive to the needs of progress and back-bone in Israeli-Palestinian discourse. However, Netanyahu has inexplicably made Obama a target of his ire. Which is good. Obama has such a cult of personality surrounding him that Netanyahu's insulting behavior has awakened Obama's base. I work with several politically engaged guys who are ardent supporters of Obama. They have never been especially interested in the Middle East, nor conscious enough, or willing, to criticize Israel. Yet, I have seen an awakening recently, and they are quite pissed of with Netanyahu, his meddling in the election, his war-mongering over Iran. They've openly expressed their anger of late, and have touched on the issue of American unwavering support for Israel, and Netanyahu's disrespectful insolence. The conversation is moving inward from the margins, in large part because of Obama's cult of personality. For once, a good thing.

  • Israel's version of the two-state 'solution' is anything but dead
    • But are they?

      Yes, of course, 'natural and unobjectionable' do not even come close to the reality of these grossly immoral land grabs.

      But, are they not 'permanent and irremovable,' realistically speaking? The West Bank will never be free of Israeli settlers. Jerusalem will never be released from Israeli dominance (not without the collapse and destruction of Israel, either by outside hands or by megomaniacal Israeli hands themselves).

      Do you really think Israel can be arm-twisted to abandon its settler project or abandon Jerusalem? I'm not so sure.

    • Henry,

      Smart, realist assessment. I think it is clear, and has been clear for some time, that the Israeli leadership's ultimate aspirations lay maliciously somewhere in between the idea of the traditional 2SS and the idealist 1SS. The densely concentrated mass of Israeli settlers in Area C (especially in comparison to the ever thinning Palestinian population of Area C) indicates quite clearly Israel's intention of annexing Area C into greater Israel, probably sooner rather than later as the "facts on the ground" won't get much more amicable for Israel than they are today.

      As you note, absorbing Areas A and B is unrealistic, given the proportionally small amount of land and the high concentration of Palestinians (a demographic threat to "the Middle East's only democracy") absent some form of unacceptably visual and high-profile ethnic cleansing.

      And then, of course, we all know that the notion of a traditional 2SS along the '67 borders is not only unrealistic, given Israel's huge investment in Area C, but also entirely unacceptable, unrealistic and non-viable from a Palestinian perspective.

      That really only leaves either a single bi-national state (ideally) or a hugely expanded Israel (including Area C) with a smattering of ineffectual Palestinian Bantustans in Gaza, Area A and Area B.

      Obviously, the latter is immoral, unacceptable and must be opposed at all costs. The former is little more than a lofty dream, currently.

      So, what do you propose? For decades Palestinians have aired their grievances as a list of demands relating to borders, the status of Jerusalem and the right of return. For Americans, who know nothing of the context, the Palestinians appear as pushy, demanding squatters. I've long held that the Palestinian movement must be framed in human terms, with demands of equality, freedom, justice, human rights, dignity as these are the ideals that resonate with average people across the world, including America. As much of a long-shot as it may be, I sincerely believe the only acceptable end is a bi-national state, where millions of Palestinians may not have their own autonomous state, but at least are treated fairly and equally, with voting rights, basic property rights, freedom of movement from the Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean Sea. It's the only acceptable conclusion to nearly a century of gross inhumanity. I know Israeli leadership will never accede to this model on its own... so, the need for forceful, public demands for equality in all of Palestine across the world is more necessary than it has ever been. We need mass demonstrations, we need BDS, we need more and more American courts striking down the efforts of AIPAC to silence 1st Amendment rights, we need pressure on the American Congress. There simply is no other way, other than all out war in the region, and mark my words, Israel is marching itself down that path currently. There is only so long the region can restrain itself before a broad military alliance manifests itself against the Jewish colonial state.

  • Sheldon Adelson's daughter rams 'Democracy Now' crew as it questions her dad
    • I've asked this several times, never received a reply.

      Why do I see with such frequency this use of 'G_d' instead of 'God' among commenters and bloggers on this site and a great many other Jewish-centric sites?

  • The boy on the horse
  • NY state senator puts on Israeli uniform to play soldier on Syrian border
    • Is there really anything more to say? This photograph, and accompanying press release, should indicate with perfect clarity a corrupted and unacceptable display of disloyalty; high crimes, in all honesty. Yet, the dismissive and 'oblivious' atmosphere will no doubt be palpable. This will not raise the slightest of establishment eyebrows, nor their millions of scores of witless supporters.

  • StandWithUs' revisionist history train campaign
  • After home demolition, Israel criminalizes Palestinians' UN emergency housing
    • Allison,

      Any indication as to why the original home was destroyed? Under what pretext? Was it simply that that land wasn't allocated for residential use? Since when? Under what authority? Could you provide any back-story on the original incident? Thanks.

  • The world according to Sheldon Adelson
    • Hebron is deep within "sovereign" Palestinian territory.

      In a city of 180,000 there are 500 or so fanatic Jewish settlers and a garrison of 3000 Israeli soldiers (in a Palestinian city), who have uncontested dominion over a portion of the city. Their racist, violent theology makes them unfit for introduction into a normal population. They live an insulated existence, only coming from the confines of their ivory tower to ridicule, harass and maim their Palestinian neighbors.

  • Can you pass the Hezbollah quiz?
    • "...Olmert wanted to stop but the US and some Arab leaders wouldn't let him and pressed Israel to continue the bombing."

      Eh, come again?

  • Syrian crisis moves into the camps: 20 Palestinians killed in Damascus refugee camp
    • Al-Akbar is a known mouthpiece of the Assad government, has been for quite some time.

    • Dan,

      I appreciate the response. My little dig was a tad harsh, I definitely don't subscribe to the "Jews are the problem" philosophy, do I can appreciate your perspective.

      Annie et al,

      Why such skepticism regarding widespread Syrian support for the rebels? Is there a tangential, at the least, hand of foreign influence? Of course. But, that shouldn't truncate the fact that Syria is a largely Sunni nation ruled for decades by a fringe Alawi minority that even most Shia theologians reject. I find it puzzling that you find it so puzzling that the majority Sunni population might seek greater representation of their Syrian national affairs.

    • Walid,

      Everything turns ugly under oppression.

      One, I suppose, could dismiss Hamas as ugly, Islamic fundamentalism.

      I, on the other hand, would rather look to the conditions and influences which have created Hamas' hardline approach.

    • Dan Crowther, Mr. Defender Against Anti-Semitism Everywhere, is lecturing me about the finer nuances of ethnic/sectarian discernment?

      Pardon me, but I believe I agreed with Danaa's assessment of the FSA being backed by Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar. That's not what i take issue with, hence my statement:

      Your commentary would be useful...

      ...followed by my comment that:

      I understand your skepticism at not supporting the foreign-funded FSA subversion of Syria.

      ...and:

      Sunni revolutionaries, and their foreign backers, pose a palpable threat to Shia, Alawis, and Christians alike in Syria.

      However, with that said, Danaa and others' depictions of the FSA and associated rebel groups as nothing more than fundamentalist Salafists and jihadists is no better than the US caricature of rebel groups in Iraq and Afghanistan as "terrorists."

      Assad dismisses the whole opposition as foreign-backed terrorists. Danaa appears to agree. That sort of myopic caricature is exactly the sort of modus operandi employed by US-Israeli leadership in dealing with their "atrocious, barbaric salafist/jihadist rebel" problems.

      It's a complex situation, and the US and Israel have made their plans quite clear in terms of wanting Assad to fall. However, our opposition to Israeli-American hegemony shouldn't get in the way of our ability to more accurately portray the entire rebel opposition movement in Syria.

      They are not all "nasty" little fundies.

    • And I 'd add, there are legitimate concerns that I share regarding the potential for this to end in sectarian bloodshed should the Assad government fall. Sunni revolutionaries, and their foreign backers, pose a palpable threat to Shia, Alawis, and Christians alike in Syria. But, let's not dismiss wholesale these elements as crazed jihadists.

    • Danaa,

      Your commentary would be useful if it wasn't so riddled with anti-Sunni zeal, regurgitated Assad rhetoric about "terrorist jihadists, etc.

      I'm tending toward not supporting the overall "democracy" movement, given my extreme distrust of the Saudi/Yemeni/NATO backed Free Syrian Army. However, the Syrian government's rhetoric -which you so deftly parrot- is drenched in the language of westernized power concepts, where violence of the privileged is in the name of security, and violence of the weak is terrorism. I don't know what terrorism is, nor what a terrorist looks like, but to hear you, or Assad tell it, it's Sunni, fundi, militant, jihadi aggression. Rhetoric eerily similar to US euphemisms abused on a daily basis.

      I understand you're skepticism at not supporting the foreign-funded FSA subversion of Syria. But, I'd caution you against parroting Assad's highly prejudicial anti-Sunni diatribes.

    • Not that they were "totally" justified? In other words, shelling refugees could be somewhat acceptable or understandable, based in what? Your perception of Palestinian refugee camps as being "hotbeds" of radicalism?

      When did Palestinian existence become so monolithic that one could find justification (karma) for shelling refugees based on Black September, support for the Brotherhood or even anti-Assad protests in Gaza?

      Quit spinning.

    • Whoever was behind this, whatever their motives (perhaps this was not an intentional shelling), yet another tragedy in the morose Palestinian saga.

  • While Palestinians in the West Bank barely have enough water to drink . . .
    • But, but, but... one can be a Zionist and still oppose occupation! BS!

      The very realization of Zionism, even within the pre-1967 borders, necessitated terrorism, ethnic cleansing and occupation.

      There is no benign face of Zionism. It is purely nationalist, racist, violent. Evil.

  • To understand the history of Palestinian dispossession look to the words of Zionist and Israeli leaders
    • Freddy,

      Did you not just chide Colin for suggesting that Ben-Gurion's use of the phrase "we must not expel the Arabs" would have been out of character for him? Essentially, your point was that whether or not something is out of character is not evidence of anything in and of itself.

      But then you turn to Benny Morris' analysis which relies on the fact that Ben-Gurion rarely made corrections to his writings as evidence that he wasn't the one to cross out the word "not" in his letter. Are you not relying on whether or not something was out of character for Ben-Gurion as your own evidence?

      It would seem to me that none of us should rely on whether or not something is out of character, and take the letter at face value, hand-written corrections and all. In which case, the original letter, handwritten, with scribbles and corrections reads:

      We must expel the Arabs and take their land.

  • Romney bombs at the King David
    • Wishful thinking, I'm afraid. President's don't really matter, it's Congress that ensures Israel remains at the forefront of US policy in the region. Congress ensures funding and arms deals, Congress gives Israeli politicians a platform for speeches, Congressmen from various walks of ideological life give the cliched, but effective, AIPAC responses to various media outlets, town hall meetings, and public speeches. Occasionally, Congress will also rally together to pressure the President on matters of diplomatic vetoes at the UN, or public policy aims voiced by the President. Kennedy. Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II. All of the Presidents took a hard-line toward Israel on matters of nuclear weapons, settlements, intransigence and arrogance. All of these Presidential efforts were shut down by Congress.

  • The blatancy of apartheid
    • This site openly admits to censorship (see comment policy). There are no claims to value freedom of expression.

      Incidentally, the majority of censorship is of opinions and expressions critical of Israel that this site deems as unproductive, in so much as it "sullies" the good image of Mondoweiss.

    • The notion that we do what we do, say what we say, and continue to press for openness, justice and peace is all some concerted effort to save the image of Judaism is a disgustingly narrow-minded and typically ethno-centric Jewish perspective.

      I do what I do, say what I say, and press for openness, justice and peace because it's the right thing to do, it's the only thing to do, if I want to consider myself a responsible part of humanity. I do what I do for Palestine, for the Palestinians. Nothing more.

  • Romney's instructive criticisms of Obama's support for Israel
  • Russia's foreign minister claims US justifies terrorism in Syria
    • We condemn all terrorist attacks, all bombings of targets, of civilians. The bombing of the Defense Ministry, however, targeted senior military and security officials.

      I actually agree with this perspective. However, I wonder, does the U.S. State Dept. conduct such parsing when Israeli "military and security officials" are killed?

      Who is the one who is using now fixed-wing aircraft against their own people – helicopters, artillery, gunships, et cetera? It is the Assad regime. And as we’ve said, it is unfortunately not surprising that people are trying to defend themselves now.

      I wonder if the State Dept. is willing to apply that rationale to Palestinians defending themselves, for example, during the Cast Lead catastrophe. I mean, "who is the one who is using fixed-wing aircraft against an occupied people - helicopters, artillery, gunships, white-phosphorous, et cetera? It is the Israeli regime. And as we've said, it is unfortunately not surprising that people are trying to defend themselves now."

  • Adelson-backed ad campaign features Jewish Dem claiming Netanyahu represents 'all' Jews
    • The 1922 League of Nations British Mandate for Palestine and the Transjordan Memorandum laid out British administrative rule over Palestine and an independent Arab Emirate of Jordan east of the Jordan River.

      Within British-administered Palestine, the Mandate called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine."

      Leaving aside for a moment that neither the League of Nations nor the British government had any right to establish a Jewish colonial state in Arab lands, let's look at the demographics strictly within the Mandate of Palestine.

      1890- 43,000 Jews, 57,000 Christians and 589,000 Muslims.

      The final proposal by the United Nations to partition Palestine called for roughly 55% of Palestine to be apportioned for a Jewish state and 45% to become an independent Arab state. Even with aggressive immigration to Palestine of European Jews, by 1947 the foreign-born Jewish presence of 630,000 was outnumbered by 1.1 million Muslim and 143,000 Christians. That's a ratio of 3:1 in favor of indigenous Arabs over immigrant Jews. Yet, the Jewish state was to claim 55% of the land?

      Overlooking the land inequities which unjustifiably favored Jewish settlers from Europe over centuries-long Arab lineage in Palestine, let us also not forget that Jewish militias desiring a greater piece of Palestine began attacks against British personnel and Arab civilians. Successive operations, such as Plan D, aimed to violently and brutally cleanse areas beyond the proposed Jewish state of the Arab residents. Massacres in Jaffa, Acre, Tiberias, Safad and al-Tira, among countless others including the infamous Deir Yassan massacres, effectively forced 700,000+ Palestinians to flee their homes. This is ethnic cleansing, Terry. And it directly violates the principles laid out in the League of Nations' Mandate "that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine."

      The very idea of an exclusive, Jewish state violates the League of Nations Mandate, which never called for a Jewish "state," but rather a Jewish home in Palestine. In other words, Jewish immigration was encouraged so that Jews may build a community in Palestine, not so that they may supplant the Arab presence there. Once it became apparent that Jewish militias would not assimilate, the United Nations stepped in and recommended partition, with two distinct state. But, even then, Jewish groups such as Irgun, Haganah and Stern Gang were violently gaining territory beyond those partition lines. The final declaration of independence by Israel in 1948 extended well beyond partition lines, into the proposed areas of a Palestinian state. Every step of the way, Israeli actions have desecrated and violated both the spirit and the letter of international agreements to find some form of Jewish reconciliation in the Holy Land. The entire existence of Israel is null and void under those stipulations, not to mention the illegitimacy that stems from the lack of authority for the international community to reach such agreements regarding Arab lands to begin with.

      For all its faults, Jordan is not the cause of this conflict. Zionism, the belief that Jewish Europeans have a right to a state in the Middle East, in Arab land, is at the core of decades of violence, death, instability and inhumanity. Colonialism was unjustifiable --and is now widely condemned-- when it was enacted by European powers. It should be no different in regard to Jewish colonialism.

    • Should we congratulate or consider as "fresh" the sudden realization that Israel's military occupation has gone too far? Because that's the essence of Terry's "essay." There is no recognition of the gradual escalation of occupation; no recognition of Israel's abusive and oppressive history; in fact, there is no recognition that Israel has ever done anything worthy of criticism, apparently up until Netanyahu's reign.

      Terry's piece completely washes away decades of Israeli brutality, intolerance, war and land theft and lays the preponderance of culpability at the feet of Arab intransigence and Netanyahu's right-leaning reactions to this perceived intransigence. I have no respect for those who clamor for peace in an effort to save Israel's "Jewish, democratic" character. Terry has no remorse for what Israel has done because of how it has impacted the Arab community of Palestine, but rather Terry's regret comes from the fact that Israel's image is now sullied. It's self-preservation which Terry calls for, not humanity, not compassion, not legality. In fact, it's more ethnocentric babble about Israel standing all alone, about the Jewish people having no one to turn to save for themselves. Terry argues that peace must be imposed by Israel, for Israel, because no one else is up to the task of aiding the Jewish people's tireless pursuit of peace.

      It's actually a nasty, racist, paranoid piece that deserves nothing more than derision.

    • Terry,

      While I suppose I should applaud the fact that you seem to have shed the yoke of 'circle-the-wagon' tribalism that so frequently ensconces the majority of your tribe, that's about as far as I can bring myself in terms of congratulating or appreciating your point of view. You are against military occupation. Brilliant. Welcome to humanity.

      As for the remaining litany of misconceptions, poor metaphors and historically contemptible nonsense that fills the pseudo-Zionist ramblings encountered in your link, I should say you're much more like Mr. Netanyahu than you seem to realize.

      While I'm sure you've given yourself quite the proverbial pat on the back for your unyielding compassion and generosity in proclaiming that Israel cannot exclusively have the land "now primarily populated by Muslims and Christians who call themselves Palestinian," you've of course miserably misconstrued, and as such misconveyed, the realities of rightful land ownership in Palestine. Jewish attachment to the land is, as you say, but a metaphor for a deeper, I suppose spiritual, connection to Palestine. Palestinian attachment to the land is most certainly not metaphorical. It's a reality. An undeniable truth. The historical demographics of Palestine have been overwhelmingly Arab, both Christian and Muslim, since the 5th century. As of 1800, only 7,000 Jews lived in these lands. By 1890, it had risen to around 43,000, compared to 57,000 Christians and 432,000 Muslims. Only after this did a Jewish presence begin to gain strength, and only because of aggressive immigration from Europe. Even when Israel declared its illegitimate independence, the (foreign) Jewish presence was half that of the 1.1 million Muslim and 143,000 Christian indigenous. Palestine, (or as you state, the "part" of Palestine) did not suddenly enjoy a Muslim/Christian presence, or a even a majority. It's been such since well before the blight on humanity known as Zionism infected the mind of Theodore Herzl.

      If anyone, it is the existential Palestinian people who should be so gracious to offer to share portions of their land, not you speaking up as some delusional humanitarian offering the scraps of Israel's colonial project; though I see no reason why Palestine should offer anything to the flee-bitten fanatics of the illegal settlements or their brutal, ideologue overlords in Tel-Aviv.

      Your romantic attachments to the idea of Israel have blinded your ability to even recognize cursory realities of Israel's despicable history. Far from being some recent fringe cliff-dive by the far-right Netanyahu regime, the policies that you seem to so despise define the very fabric of Israel, a belligerent, greedy, colonial entity that has supplanted a diverse and vibrant cultural mixture with an ethno-centric driven society of fanatics, racists, chauvinists and sociopaths. The Israel you lament today is the very Israel that violently carved itself out in successive wars, aggression and occupations since even before its unilateral declaration of independence in 1948.

      By the way, I'd like to introduce you to Lebanon, the Middle East's oldest and most inclusive democracy, despite Israel's best efforts to manifest sectarian bloodshed. If you're going to come here, commenting about your sudden epiphany regarding the ills of occupation (especially in such a proud, self-congratulatory manner), a good tip might be this: avoid linking to your Hasbara-laced social commentary that fires off canard after Likud canard that can so laughably be dismissed by the Mondoweiss commentariat.

      Good day to you, Terry.

    • Sometimes I feel as if I'm living in a dream, certain that at any point I'll awake from this fantastical hallucination to a world of reason and truth., where things really are as they seem, or as they should be.

      The idea that Mr. Obama has been anything less than in intractable enabler of Israeli intransigence and belligerence epitomizes absurdity. When I hear people parrot these claims that Obama is anti-Israel, I want to slap them in the face, douse them in cold water, and rouse them, and hopefully me, from this sickening irreality.

  • Gaza, Get an Airport or Get a Life
    • I was supposed to attend an orientation meeting in Turkey/Istanbul; that is, I had to travel once again. This time, I needed not wait at the border or cross the Sinai desert. I was a normal traveler, at an airport, flying from Valencia to Turkey, no dehumanization or humiliation whatsoever. Yes, I was a normal human being traveling from one place to another, smoothly.

      It's utterly unacceptable that those simple freedoms we take for granted are nearly unattainable luxuries, sometime little more than dreams, for the people of Gaza and the West Bank. Traveling is one of life's greatest, and simplest, joys. The fact that the Israeli government and military (with the intermittent assistance of the Egyptian authorities) dictate that the 1.5+ million Palestinians of Gaza have no right to travel is a crime against humanity.

      Thanks for a glimpse into your world, Fidaa.

  • Is the mainstream press ignoring the Congo because there is no ‘Islamic threat’?
    • Les, grow up. No one benefits from genocide in the Congo.

      Abhorrently wrong.

      link to theinternational.org

    • Very little changes. From 2009:

      Though rising awareness of the violent malaise surrounding conflict minerals has led to some self-censorship by electronic companies and mineral processing plants, there remains a vibrant market for tantalum, especially in Eastern European and Asian technology industries. In 2002, the United Nations named 85 corporations (link to tinyurl.com) that were not in compliance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in their mining related activities in DR Congo. According to the OECD, the guidelines pertain to “disclosure of information, anti-corruption, environmental protection, respect for core labour standards, protection of human rights and taxation.” The brutal exploitation of mining labourers by rebel and government forces in DR Congo clearly prohibits companies from dealing in the minerals obtained through such illegitimate means.

      Despite these ethical guidelines and amidst rampant violence and human rights abuses, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, governments in need of minerals like cobalt and coltan encouraged corporations “to invest in and facilitate production of the needed materials,” according to a report by Dena Montague and Frida Berrigan published by the Arms Trade Resource Centre. During heightened violence, American Mineral Fields (AMF) brokered a $1 billion deal with President Kabila in 1997 allowing staggering access to DR Congo’s many mineral resources. In 1999, Citibank provided a $5 million loan to SONEX, the financial wing of the Rwandan insurgency group RCD. Other corporations and financial institutions in various industries, such as technology, mining, oil, and gas, engaged in similar activities whereby they obtained direct rights to conflict resources and financed or encouraged the exploitation of resources to increase cheap global supplies, often at the detrimental expense of Congolese workers.

      Though general trends have suggested a lessening of foreign investments and corporate involvement in the war-driven industries of the DR Congo, a 21 June 2009 report published by Global Witness concluded that many American, European, and Asian companies continue to import conflict minerals. According to the report, Afrimex, based in the UK; Trademet, based in Belgium; and THAISARCO, based in Bangkok, all obtain minerals directly from the DRC. Global Witness corresponded with 200 companies and reported that the majority have no preventative measures in place to ensure that conflict minerals are not integrated into their supply chains. Even those companies that obtain their supply from legitimate exporters often indirectly finance the conflict. According to Patrick Alley, Director of Global Witness, “It is not good enough for companies to say they buy only from licensed exporters, when they know full well that their middlemen buy from armed groups. The failure of governments to hold companies to account, of Burundi and Rwanda to restrict the trade across their borders, and of donors and diplomats to address explicitly the role of the mineral trade, have all contributed to the continuation of a conflict that has killed millions and displaced many more.”

      link to theinternational.org

  • Homage to Alex Cockburn
  • 'We well understand' what you're experiencing -- Netanyahu to Colorado
  • Syria watch
    • Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen --all of whom have quietly but brutally suppressed their own civil protest movements-- are clamoring for intervention and/or the collapse of the Al-Assad government. They want to cripple the Alawite power structure in Syria, and have been linked to efforts to fund and arm the Free Syrian Army. Israel and the U.S. see Syria as an extension of the Iranian sphere of influence in the Middle East, and thus they too want to see the collapse of Al-Assad's government. The power vacuum that remains will inevitably be filled by Sunni influence, which will sever Syria's link to Iran. This, too, is the hope for Lebanon.

      I see a domino-effect plan, with the collapse of the Al-Assad regime in Syria leading to the targeting of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia want to see the dissolution of the Shia Crescent from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut, and with that the revocation of Russian influence in the region. All that starts with Al-Assad.

  • How many of you are uncomfortable with the phrase 'oppression of Palestinians'? In the packed room, just a few heads nodded
    • The Two-State "Solution" based on the pre-1967 borders is no solution at all, for it nullifies the legitimate right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees whose homes lie on the Israeli side of the Green Line, it legitimizes Israel's acquisition of land by military force in the years just prior to its unilateral declaration of independence on foreign lands as well as during the 1948 war, and forever solidifies as acceptable the farce that the state of Israel can be both Jewish and democratic. The idea of an exclusive Jewish state in Palestine is abhorrent given the displacement of millions of indigenous non-Jews necessary for such a state to be realized. The only path to a just resolution is a single state of Palestine, democratic and heterogeneous with equality for all, Muslims, Jews, Christians and all. Zionism must never be cemented as a legitimate or moral cause.

    • You'd like Tom Segev's "One Palestine Complete." He posits the claim that the British supported the Zionist movement as a means of depopulating Europe of Jewish communities.

  • Krugman's coverup
    • David,
      Israel, its collective voters, its collective politicians, the very ideology that brought it into being, is at the root of all its abhorrent policies since 1948. Likud is but one facet of this. Proclaiming that one shouldn't oppose Israel, or that BDS isn't the answer because it's just right wing politics to blame is naive, if not downright disingenuous. Don't play those identity politics here. There is very little daylight between Israel's political left and right.

  • Netanyahu adopts Facebook strategy to claim sovereignty over Jerusalem for the Olympics
    • Fortunately, having an attachment to and love for a piece of land doesn't justify war, ethnic cleansing, colonialism and apartheid.

      The Jewish people, whose love for Jerusalem is apparently so strong, have every right to settle in the Holy Land... as individuals, not as an armed conquering force fresh off boats from Europe. Incidentally, Jerusalem's sephardic Jewish population (the ones who actually had a legitimate and physical attachment to the land for centuries) opposed the colonial aspirations of a Jewish state as envisioned by Zionism.

    • Why would it be deleted? Not only is the analogy apt, but it's also entirely unoffensive to anyone with the ability to view the history of Israel with even a modicum of clarity.

    • 2) Resolution 181, the basis for an Israeli state, does not include Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty;

      3) the self-declared state of Israel proclaimed independence over west Jerusalem in violation of Res. 181 and without consent of indigenous Arab majority of the city after exerting militant force to aquired "control" of the city, and countless other locales beyond those borders stipulated in Res. 181;

      4) not a single government of the world accepts Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, whereas a great many acknowledge east Jerusalem as exclusively Palestinian (for the aforementioned reasons).

    • Actually, that's exactly what is being posited. Let me be abundantly clear, no part of Jerusalem is sovereign Israeli land for the following reasons:

      1) the city was privately owned overwhelmingly by Palestinian Arabs who were promised independence by British and French for revolting against the Ottoman

  • Settler college granted Israeli university status
  • Bulgarian Foreign Minister: Mistake to blame 'any country or organization' for Burgas attack at this point
  • Liberal Democrats casually smear the Muslim Brotherhood
    • I'm in no way, shape or form associated with "The Left." A common misconception by self-righteous liberal progressives who think they hold a monopoly on compassion and respect for human-rights.

      I'm liberal in the classical sense of the word, which encompasses both the American Right and the American Left, by the way. Neither of which I pledge my allegiance to. Partisanship (or ideological purity) is the scourge of any democratic society.

      Now, as for the Muslim Brotherhood's founder, Hassan al-Banna was a "vicious, yet intelligent, anti-Semite?"

      From Richard Wolin, a professor of history and political science at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York:

      "One of [Jeffrey] Herf's crown witnesses is the Muslim Brotherhood founder, Hassan al-Banna, whose well-documented anti-Semitic tirades in Herf's view represent the missing link between the Nazis and the leading representatives of contemporary political Islam. But as Matthias Küntzel demonstrates in Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 (Telos Press, 2007)--a book for which Herf wrote the foreword--'it would be wrong to characterize the Muslim Brothers as ardent followers of the Nazis.' Here there is simply no squaring the circle; too many aspects of Nazi ideology--its paganism, its Aryan racial doctrines, its conception of Germanic geopolitical supremacy--are incompatible with the key tenets of political Islam. As Küntzel rightly concludes, Hassan al-Banna was too devout a Muslim to latch on to someone as impious as Hitler as a political role model. Such facts speak volumes about the tenuous nature of some of Herf's 'continuity' claims."

      link to chronicle.com

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