Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1034 (since 2010-02-28 20:54:05)



Showing comments 300 - 201

  • In 'NYT' tale of two mothers, the occupation is a human-relations problem
    • It would be so different if the Palestinians loved their children, . . .There could be a McDonalds in every village.

      Oh no. That reminds me of the joke about the 7th Bomb Wing. Its motto was "Death from above", but the motto of the services squadron that ran its dining halls was allegedly "Death from within".

    • She stressed that [her community of] Nof Ayalon, which spills slightly over the 1949 armistice line dividing Israel from the West Bank, is not a settlement.

      Yeah and there's Yeshivat Sha'alvim within walking distance, less than half a mile away from Nof Ayalon. Do the yeshivas in the Gush Etzion bloc they attended insure them a better spot in heaven? I hope so, for their sakes.

  • Glib, simplistic, and extreme -- the world according to Richard Landes
    • The BDS campaign began to develop in 2002 in response to an Israeli crackdown. It quickly grew to represent a majority of Palestinian Civil Society.

      You still aren't discussing a call for a boycott of Israel from Palestinian Israelis with the aim of securing equal rights for themselves. Even in 2004 when PACBI was founded it's agenda was based upon ending the occupation. Likewise, the International Academic Boycott platform endorsed by Badil targeted the occupation. See footnote 1 link to

      People who claim that Omar Barghouti's needs and wishes about participation in the academic boycott need to be consulted, shouldn't object when Chomsky notes that we should wait for the other victims to request that we boycott their country. You haven't provided any evidence to support the idea that Chomsky was speaking out of turn in 2004 or that he meant to say that Zionist perpetrators of human rights violations have to consent before they can be targeted with sanctions. That is simply not what he said.

      FYI, there were calls for sanctions from NGOs at the Durban Conference in 2001. You are trying to imply that the 2005 Call for action endorsing boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in support of Palestinian citizens of Israel was already in effect at the time of the 2004 Chomsky interview and that Palestinian Israelis had already widely endorsed it. That was simply not the case.

    • Now you are just making up things.
      The last Jewish revolt was the Bar Kokhba (132 – 135 CE) in their own land of Judea.

      So let me get this straight. The uprising against servitude and the exodus from Egypt doesn't count, the revolt and split between the northern and southern Kingdom doesn't count, and even the revolts against the Romans don't somehow count, because we have been pacifists ever since. The Zionist militias didn't stage a revolt against their British oppressors in order to drive them out of Palestine - and Yad Vashem Museum is simply lying about combat resistance and ghetto uprisings during the Holocaust, e.g. link to For that matter, the widespread reports of the slaughter of half a million gentiles in the Kitos Wars, carried out by the Jewish diaspora in the territory from the coasts of northern Africa and Cyprus all the way east to Mespotamia, that preceded the Bar Kochba's revolt, never happened and was made up. All of the political intrigues of the Jewish ministers of the Sultan against the Christian Kings and Princes of Russia, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands in Heinrich Graetz "History of the Jews" is all just bullshit? Those Jewish ministers who were the power behind the scenes in the Porte, according to Graetz, were nothing but dhimmis? Wow are you ever out of your depth.

    • Here is one: willingness to sign on finality of claims. This is anathema to Palestinian leaderships of whatever nature.

      It's a same that you aren't better informed. You need to read something beside the Hasbara Fellowship talking points:

      Peace with Israel would end Palestinian land claims, says Mahmoud Abbas: Palestinian president makes apparent move to reassure Israelis after expressing frustration at talks' lack of progress link to

    • Cherry picking. The Ottoman empire was rotting from within and shedding its very sovereignty in various domains. Visit Iran and Northern Africa at the time and see dhimmitude in full blossom

      I'm not cherrypicking, I'm citing actual studies about Jewish life in Ottoman Palestine. You were talking about dhimmitude being an integral part of Arab culture, and now you are talking about Persians and Africans. Neither Iran nor Northern Africa were under Arab rule at the time or amounted to a reflection of unadulterated Arab culture. In fact, the rotting process you talked about was mostly attributable to western powers who were busy setting-up their own protectorates in all those places using treaties and recognition of trucial states.

    • “Eventually” is for Star Trek. Today, those threatened by ISISism are turning to Israel. Can’t imagine why.

      I've heard the fox in the hen house volunteer, but I haven't heard about anyone dumb enough to accept the offer. Citation please.

    • In America they call it maintaining forces in Germany, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, correctly not trusting two oceans to provide sufficient defense (cf. Pearl Harbor and the Atlantic shipping war).

      Having troops in those locations does not stop attacks on the USA, as 9/11 amply illustrated. The US forward deploys troops and equipment for use in conflicts in regions it considers vital to its national interests and for strategic deterrence. We damn sure don't implant settlers in any of those territories. So the analogy is bogus. But I think you already know that and just use your account to troll the threads.

    • An odd takeoff on the bodycount fallacy (= the side that boasts the most fatalities is in the right): the bombing fallacy (= whoever reportedly bombed the other more times is in the wrong). Ah, I got it: Israel bombed Syria; Syria merely shelled and sniped into Israel. Bring this to Bibi’s knowledge, Derfner;

      He doesn't have to, since he already wrote at least one article pointing out that you can't cite Article 51 of the UN Charter to justify bombing a UN member state over the acquisition of conventional air defense systems. Bibi is perfectly aware of that fact, and used the lame excuse that Syria could declare a no-fly zone over Israel and the OPt with the S-300 system. IMO, sane intellects would have to view that as a good idea that could end Israel's outlandish policies of aggression against others.

    • Neither have they indicated that a diplomatic settlement of any kind would represent finality of claims.

      Wow! Just Wow! The lack of self-awareness is just stunning. The post-WWII settlement conferences also incorporated terms regarding finality of claims. I don't suppose you've noticed how we Jews have nonetheless pursued individual and class action judgments through the Courts and established our own standing claims conference that cajoles more and more money from the Germans every year? It's a good thing that billion dollar Swiss Bank indemnity was a voluntary pretrial out-of-court settlement, because it would certainly have been appealed and reversed after the Supreme Court decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

    • No, there were many times that it took steps without relying on the US government. The Nakba was one of them. The US government did not participate to the extent that without it, the Nakba would not have occurred. At that point in time, while the US was supporting the State at the UN, it was not supporting it actively every step of the way.

      Pull your head out. We know from the minutes of the People's Council minutes that Ben Gurion left the question of borders open to developments, but said he would abide by the UN resolution if it was enforced. The UN Security Council refused to take action on the General Assembly recommendation that it treat any attempt to alter the partition plan by force as a threat to international peace and security. At the same time, Dean Rusk's USUN delegation memos indicate that Truman had already ruled out any intervention against the Jews in March, e,g. link to The French, British, Belgian, and US delegations knew perfectly well after US Consul Watson's reports of massacres in March and April, that the Jewish militias were engaged in ethnic cleansing and that they were the aggressors. Rusk's only worry was that there would be domestic pressure from within the US to attack the Arabs! The only US reaction was to wait another month and let the slaughter continue while hoping that Transjordan and Israel might conclude a unofficial modus vivendi and partition Palestine between themselves on a de facto basis:

      Memorandum by the Director of the Office of United Nations Affairs (Rusk) to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)
      SECRET [WASHINGTON,] May 4, 1948:
      Military operations after May 15 will probably be undertaken by
      the Haganah with the assistance of the Jewish terrorist organizations Irgun and Stern. Copies of Consul General Wasson's excellent reports, as set forth in his telegram 530 of May 3, are attached, and provide the estimate of the British General Officer Commanding as to the probable course of military events after British withdrawal on May 15.

      If these predictions come true. we shall find ourselves in the UN
      confronted by a very anomalous situation. The Jews will be the actual aggressors against the Arabs. However, the Jews will claim that they are merely defending the boundaries of a state which were traced by the UN and approved, at least in principle, by two-thirds of the UN membership. The question which will confront the Security Council in scarcely ten days' time will be whether Jewish armed attack on Arab communities in Palestine is legitimate or whether it constitutes such a threat to international peace and security as to call for coercive measures by the Security Council. The situation may be made more difficult and less clear-cut if, as is probable, Arab armies from outside Palestine cross the frontier to aid their disorganized and demoralized brethren who will be the objects of Jewish attack. In the event of such Arab outside aid the Jews will come running to the Security Council with the claim that their state is the object of armed aggression and will use every means to obscure the fact that it is their own armed aggression against the Arabs inside Palestine which is the cause of Arab counter-attack.

      There will be a decided effort, given this eventuality, that the United States will be called upon by elements inside this country to support Security Council action against the Arab states. To take such action would seem to me to be morally indefensible while, from the aspect of our relations with the Middle East and of our broad security aspects in that region, it would be almost fatal to pit forces of the United States and possibly Russia against the governments of the Arab world.

      Given this almost intolerable situation, the wisest course of action might be for the United States and Great Britain, with the assistance of France, to undertake immediate diplomatic action seeking to work out a modus vivendi between Abdullah of Transjordan and the Jewish Agency. This modus vivendi would call for, in effect, a de facto partition of Palestine along the lines traced by Sir Arthur Creech Jones in his remark to Ambassador Parodi on May 2, as indicated on Page 3 of USUN's telegram [549], May 2, which has been drawn to your attention.

      By July, the League of Arab States were alarmed by Israel's large scale arms acquisitions and resulting strengthened position during the cease fire and they resumed hostilities. The UN Security Council finally declared the situation a threat to international peace and security, but the US prevented any adverse sanctions against Israel.

      The internal memo was published in the Foreign relations of the United States, 1948. The Near East, South Asia, and Africa , Volume V, Part 2, page 848. Analysis of the memo is contained in "The British Empire in the Middle East, 1945-1951", William Roger Louis, Oxford University Press, 1984, ISBN: 0198229607, page 545; Zionism and the Palestinians, Simha Flapan, Croom Helm, 1979, ISBN: 0856644994, Page 336; and Fallen pillars: U.S. policy towards Palestine and Israel since 1945, Donald Neff, 2nd Edition, Institute for Palestine Studies, 1995, ISBN: 0887282598, page 65.

    • But if Ali A is now advocating BDS to help the right of return, then on the question of seeking the right of return, Ali A is in keeping with those refugees’ opinions. Thus, we don’t find a chasm between them on this question of the right of return.

      Ali A attacks everyone else for giving up the right of return and hypocritically gives his father a free pass. Ali A's father, Hasan Abu Nimah, is a regular contributor to EI. link to It looks like we are just expected to forget that he said the same thing as Chomsky using different words. He concluded a treaty that falsely claimed the right of return couldn't be addressed or resolved between Jordan and Israel on a bilateral basis. Who pray tell is standing in the way of these two states, which govern the bulk of the Palestine refugees?

      See Article 8 of the treaty between Jordan and Israel for the double talk, dissimulation, and circumlocutions (but no mention of the right of return). link to

      Article 8 - Refugees and Displaced Persons

      Recognizing the massive human problems caused to both Parties by the conflict in the Middle East, as well as the contribution made by them towards the alleviation of human suffering, the parties will seek to further alleviate those problems arising on a bilateral level.
      1. Recognizing that the above human problems caused by the conflict in the Middle East cannot be fully resolved on the bilateral level, the Parties will seek to resolve them in appropriate forums, in accordance with international law, including the following:

      A. In the case of displaced persons, in a quadripartite committee together with Egypt and the Palestinians;

      B. In the case of refugees,
      (i) In the framework of the Multilateral Working Group on Refugees;
      (ii) In negotiations, in a framework to be agreed, bilateral or otherwise, in conjunction with and at the same time as the permanent status negotiations pertaining to the Territories referred to in Article 3 of this Treaty;

      C. Through the implementation of agreed United Nations programs and other agreed international economic programs concerning refugees and displaced persons, including assistance to their settlement.

      Why shouldn't we be boycotting Jordan and demanding that it take actions? I'm just curious

    • No local Arab leadership representing to any degree the resident Arab population or receiving the support of such accepted Israel, recognized any form of Jewish national ethos or accepted Jewish sovereign presence on any territory of what they refer to as “Palestine”.

      Well that's demonstrably false, since Arafat explicitly recognized Israel's right to exist in writing. There are other examples, which are a matter of public record in the UN archives.

      In 1996, the representative of Palestine to the United Nations notified both the Security Council (S/1999/334) and General Assembly (A/53/879) that:

      since the strategic decision to forge a peace on the basis of coexistence, resolution 181 (II) has become acceptable. The resolution provides the legal basis for the existence of both the Jewish and the Arab States in Mandated Palestine. [Hello ymedad are you listening to that formal recognition of the Jewish state's right to exist?] According to the resolution, Jerusalem should become a corpus separatum, which the Palestinian side is willing to take into consideration and to reconcile with the Palestinian position that East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territory and the capital of the Palestinian State. The Palestinian side adheres to international legitimacy and respects General Assembly resolution 181 (II), as well as Security Council resolution 242 (1967), the implementation of which is the aim of the current Middle East peace process.
      Israel must comply with United Nations resolutions. It has no power to unilaterally annul any of those resolutions, particularly such a historic resolution as 181 (II). Israel’s claim that the resolution is “null and void” is illegal, and it is also inadmissible given the history of the matter.
      Prior to its admission to United Nations membership, Israel made clear pledges to the members of the United Nations that it would implement resolution 181 (II) and resolution 194 (III) of 1949, related inter alia to the rights of Palestine refugees. In actuality, resolution 273 (III) of 11 May 1949, admitting Israel to membership in the United Nations, recalled in its preamble both of those resolutions and took note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the Government of Israel before the Ad Hoc Political Committee with respect to the implementation of the said resolutions.
      Furthermore, in the “Declaration of the State of Israel”, it is clearly stated that Israel is prepared to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of 29 November 1947. In fact, the declaration, at least in part, was made on “the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly”.
      Thus, while we are not sure whether or not the officials of the Israeli Foreign Ministry understand what they are stating and its implications, the international community should nevertheless take it seriously. Moreover, we believe that Israel must still explain to the international community the measures it took illegally to extend its laws and regulations to the territory it occupied in the war of 1948, beyond the territory allocated to the Jewish State in resolution 181 (II). Such a situation has not been accepted by the international community.
      I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter distributed as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda items 39, 40 and 84, and of the Security Council.
      (Signed) Nasser AL-KIDWA
      Permanent Observer of
      Palestine to the United Nations

      link to

    • you can protest everything except for the “dhimmitude”. I don’t know hpw you can deny that part of Arab/Muslim culture.

      It hasn't been part of their culture since the 19th century:

      But these imposts, the kharaj on the land and the djizyah on the person of a non-moslem, were once for all abolished by virtue of the Hatti-Sharif of Gul-Haneh of 1839 and of the Hatti-Hamayun of 1856. In the earlier of these two charters, the Sultan sought to secure for the provinces of the Ottoman Empire the benefits of good government by the introduction of new institutions that were to bear chiefly upon the three following heads: (1) The guaranties for insuring to his subjects perfect security as to their life, their honor, and their fortune: (2) A regular method for the assessment and collection of taxes; and (3) an equally regular method for the levying of soldiers and the duration of their service.

      How the second of these three objects was to be attained the Hatti-Sharif determined by further ordaining that—
      Thenceforth every member of Ottoman society should be taxed for a proportional part of the impost, to be reckoned on the basis of his fortune and his abilities, and that beyond this no thing could be exacted of him.
      And the charter of 1856 further decreed that: The taxes that are exigible from all our subjects shall be collected under the same designation without distinction of class or creed.

      -- Report of Edward A. Van Dyck: Upon the Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire Since the Year 1150, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1881, page 6 link to

      Ottoman government and Court records indicate that it wasn’t unusual for upper and middle class Jewish dhimmis to own Christian and Muslim slaves and concubines. But you don’t hear the Zionists complaining about any of those inconvenient historical facts. See for example Yaron Ben-Naeh, “Blond, tall, with honey-colored eyes: Jewish ownership of slaves in the Ottoman Empire.” Jewish History 20.3-4 (2006): 315-332. link to

    • Such wonderful news, isn’t it?!!!!!!!

      Hell yes it is. If the Dreyfus Affair proved that Jews needed a safe haven, then the Al-Arian and Holy Land Foundation Affairs prove that Palestinians need one too, and that they can't get a square deal in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    • W. Jones responding to you here once again. In the interview Citizen C linked to, Chomsky says about sanctions: Sanctions hurt the population. You don’t impose them unless the population is asking for them. So the first point in the case of Israel is that: Is the population asking for it? Well, obviously not.

      Why was it “obvious” that the population of the Israeli State was not asking for sanctions? Because Palestinians only make up 20% of the population. Since the remainder of the Israeli population are overwhelmingly Israeli nationalists, Chomsky demands that the nationalists demand the BDS campaign before he will accept it.

      Once again CitizenC didn't link to the interview, I did, because he was being dishonest when he claimed Chomsky said anything at all about obtaining the consent of Israeli Jews. You are showing extremely bad faith by repeating that false allegation again and responding to comments that already answered your hypothetical question. But since you asked, the Palestinian Citizens of Israel were not calling for sanctions at the time of the Chomsky interview. There wasn’t even a Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) until 2007 or a call to action in 2004 when the interview took place.

      During the 2001 Durban Conference, when other Palestinians were calling for sanctions to end the occupation and colonization of the OPt, the Durbin Declaration portrayed the problems of the Palestinian citizens of Israel as a civil matter and there was no mention of sanctions in that connection from groups like Adallah or Mossawa:

      325. The Palestinian Citizens of Israel should be recognized as a distinct national minority group based on Article 27 of the ICCPR. We call for the implementation of the recommendations and concluding comments regarding Israel issued by UN Human Rights treaty or Charter based bodies such as the CESCR, the Human Rights Committee and the Commission on human rights, which emphasized the Palestinian citizens’ collective rights regarding lands, absentee property, uprooted villages and the unrecognized villages.

      link to

      The head of the Adalah delegation said later that they were censored by the Arab group and that:

      We were not able to talk about ourselves as Palestinian citizens of Israel facing racial discrimination because such a discourse is regarded as an essentially civil discourse, while the conflict was not civil in nature but radical and existential. And so we nullified ourselves, our self, our uniqueness, in order to be a part of the consensus and the Islamic grouping.

      link to

      In fact, the December 2006 report on "The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel", by "The National Committee for the Heads of
      the Arab Local Authorities in Israel" there is no mention at all of BDS or sanctions. link to

      The only related reference is a complaint about a virtual Arab cultural boycott of Palestinian Arabs in Israel:

      The issue of the Palestinian Arab in Israel culture continuity to the Arab world is ambiguous due to the disconnection from the mother culture in our homeland. It mounts sometimes to the extent of Arab boycott on our culture or discard of its status and refusal to acknowledging its confrontational position in the front line of the anti-Arab thought ideology.

      -- link to

      So there was no identity of views or love lost between Palestinian Israelis and other Arab groups who either ignored or were hostile to them. As I noted earlier, we’ve long since crossed that threshold. The government of Israel made it a civil offense to call for a boycott, because a sufficient number of Palestinian Israeli parties, organizations, academics, and individuals working together with like minded non-Palestinian Israeli academics, organizations and individuals have subsequently endorsed or called for sanctions. In the interview Chomsky also said that sanctions should be applied to the US, because without its support, it would be over. He also supports the work of Palestinian Israelis, like Haneen Zoabi, as a member of the Advisory Board of the Israeli Occupation Archive link to

      If Palestinians were rioting, as you said, over Ali A’s father making peace between the Israeli State and Jordan, it is hard to think that they would not be in favor of BDS.

      You are making my point for me. I said there were riots in the occupied territories and refugee camps located outside of Jordan. I never said anything about riots in Israel.

    • When the Palestinians are ready for 2 states for 2 people, they shall have their sovereignty. Until then, status quo

      The international community of states and the UN have already recognized the Palestinian state, which includes the entitlement to juridical equality and sovereign equality. Israel was granted recognition of its sovereignty at a time when illegal Jewish militias, that were incorporated into the IDF, were clearly engaged in rampant acts of self-confessed terrorism. In addition, the Israels refused to adopt the customary minority rights protections that were a requirement for termination of a mandate regime, thus proving their own unreadiness for self-government under the classic western imperial criteria which applied to such cases.

      FYI, the UN abolished and prohibited the practice of denying independence to peoples on the basis of allegations regarding the population's level of civilization at the same time it prohibited apartheid and colonialism in the 1960s, i.e. see the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, Adopted by General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960. link to and the Convention on the Elimination of All Racial Discrimination, adopted by the General Assembly on 21 December 1965 by resolution 2106 (XX). link to So maintaining the status quo is a punishable criminal offense.

  • Reporters talk about Sykes-Picot of 1916 (and ignore the Balfour Declaration of 1917)
    • A valid question, Peter. The Balfour Declaration messed things up in Palestine but had nothing to do with the screwing up that Sykes and Picot did with the rest of the Middle East.

      Well for starters ISIS hasn't declared that Palestine lies outside the boundaries of their restored Caliphate. The stated demand that Muslims everywhere must pay obeisance implicitly includes Palestine in their jurisdiction. In addition, the terms regarding the international condominium in Palestine were applied by the Versailles Peace Conference. It was included inside the "Sykes Picot line" cited in the “Aide-memoire in regard to the occupation of Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia pending the decision in regard to Mandates, 13 September 1919″ and was also the subject of both the Balfour Declaration and the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement, which was one of the documents placed before the conference as well:

      Mr. WEIZMANN: I mentioned the treaty of friendship with the then Emir Feisal, subsequently King Feisal of Iraq. I should have explained a little more by saying that we drew up a treaty of friendship. This record of the treaty is part of the general record of the Peace Treaty of that time, and no doubt among the documents which are before you you will find a copy of this treaty. A postscript was also included in this treaty. This postscript relates to a reservation by King Feisal that he would carry out all the promises in this treaty if and when he would obtain his demands, namely, independence for the Arab countries. I submit that these requirements of King Feisal have at present been realized. The Arab countries are all independent, and therefore the condition on which depended the fulfillment of this treaty, has come into effect. Therefore, this treaty, to all intents and purposes, should today be a valid document.

      -- United Nations Special Committee On Palestine Annex A: Oral Evidence Presented At Public Meeting Lake Success, New York, 8 July 1947 link to

      FYI, neither Balfour nor Zionist leaders, including the Revisionists and Labor Socialists alike, ever accepted that proposition that the eastern border of the historical Jewish national home had to be fixed at the Jordan river. Leaving them aside, national religious Jews can hardly be expected to settle for anything less than a border at the Babylon river in Syria if the opportunity ever presents itself. The offerings and tithes that only applied to Eretz Israel were enforced in that region according to the Talmud. Full stop. They all read whatever the like into the warrant to "reconstitute" that home contained in Mr. Balfour's Declaration and the endorsement by the French and other allied powers.

      You don't need to consult the Irgun map of Eretz Israel to determine the supposed applicability of the Balfour Declaration to all of the mandated territory east of the Jordan river. In 1946 Ben Gurion's Jewish Agency publicly laid claim to that whole region and cited the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Resolution, and Article 80 of the UN Charter. See for example “Mandate is Indivisible Jewish Agency Objects to Severance of T.-J.”, Palestine Post Apr 9, 1946, page 3 link to

      In August of 1937, Ben Gurion made it clear to the members of the 20th Zionist Congress that he was NOT choosing between a Jewish State in Western Palestine and Jewish claims to all of Eretz Israel on both sides of the Jordan river:

      As a historian of Zionism, Gideon, you must know Ben-Gurion’s words in the 20th Zionist Congress in 1937 (this time in Zurich not in Basel): ‘If I had been faced with the question: a Jewish state in the west of the land of Israel (note the emphasis of the ‘west of the land of Israel’ meaning there is also a ‘east of the land of Israel’) in return to giving up on our historical right to the entire land of Israel I would have postponed the (establishment) of the state’. And he added (as far as I know, to applause from many of the delegates): ‘No Jew is entitled to give up the right of the Jewish nation to the land. It is not in the authority of any Jew or of any Jewish body; it is not even in the authority of the entire nation alive today to give up any part of the land’.

      – Israel Harel, Jewish Quarterly, Winter 2007, Number 208, link to

      If you've read the Levy Commission report, then you'd know that the Zionists are still invoking the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo resolution, and the undetermined eastern boundary mentioned in the Palestine mandate as a pretext to contest the legal status of territory and the right to reconstitute the national home in all of it, and British failure to abide by those terms.

    • What I meant is that when discussing why ISIS cares little about the border between Syria and Iraq, it makes sense to discuss the history that led to the creation of that border – and once can cogently do so without necessarily discussing other aspects of Middle East history

      You obviously don't understand that restoration of the Caliphate will include jurisdiction over Palestine as part of natural Syria. After all, the Caliphate was what ultimately led to the breakdown in relations between all of the parties in the post-WWI negotiations. The borders and states in the region were established to facilitate the construction of a British pipeline from Mesopotamia to Haifa, without passing through French mandated territory or its sphere of influence in Area A of the Sykes-Picot map.

      Neither France nor Great Britain had the armed forces necessary to garrison the vast Arab interior, so they needed to install Hashemite suzerains and arm their defense forces to protect the pump stations, pipelines, and communications lines in the interior. The British talked the French into issuing the joint Anglo-French Declaration of 1919 in order to abrogate Sykes-Picot, and then set about remodeling and renegotiating the territorial division and concessions to their advantage at San Remo. The British and French oil company continued to require the cooperation of the Hashemites, even after the Battle of Maysalun. That's why Britain insisted that the French could not use their mandate to abrogate the deal that had been struck between the parties.

      The Balfour memo 242 explained that the allies had agreed in 1915 to allow Husein to delineate the borders reflected in the maps annexed to the secret treaties I cited above. Among other things, the British directed Chaim Weizmann to sign an agreement on a boundary commission with the Arab state and King Feisal. They asked Georges Clemenceau to do the same with respect to the French mandate and the new Arab state. Its boundary ran west of the new Arab state's cities of Damascus, Homs, Homa, and Allepo as shown on the maps. Lloyd George was adamant during the Versailles Conference that the French could not occupy those cities or the region east of them.

      For their own part, the Arabs continued to insist that the British and French restore the Caliphate and fulfill the promises about Arab independence in Palestine and elsewhere. They were still insisting that the agreement between Sykes, Picot, and King Husein had provided for an independent Arab state and had not granted the British and French advisors full executive authority. The Arab's cooperation and assistance in manning the garrisons in the interior was essential to any pipeline and Abdullah was threatening the whole scheme. So protracted attempts to arrive at a suitable treaty were made. British Cabinet papers reveal that after the Cairo Conference:

      “Negotiations have been in progress for about a year for the conclusion of a treaty with King Hussein of the Hejaz, who is the person to whom the McMahon promises of 1915 (see paragraph 5 of the office memorandum) were given. A draft of the treaty was actually initialed in London in April 1923, but difficulties have since arisen, particularly in regard to Article 2 of the draft, which deals with our position in the Mandated States of Iraq, Palestine and Trans-Jordan.”

      Former Reference: CP 121 (24)
      Title: Palestine.
      Author: James H Thomas
      Date 19 February 1924
      Catalogue reference CAB 24/165
      link to

      The Arabs have always known about the Allied double cross regarding the Caliphate and Arab Independence through works like George Antonius, The Arab Awakening, and the declassified documents, like Balfour's memo 242 that were all published in the 1950s. Only non-Muslims or non-Arabs think these issues are completely unrelated.

    • I mean yes – these reporters are talking about Iraq and Syria, in the context of ISIS.

      Yes, and they consider everything between Bilad as-Sham, Bilad al-Iraq to Bilad al-Yamin, including Palestine, to be an integral part of their homeland, Arabia.

    • we ain’t going nowhere not without one hell of a fight :)

      Israelis used to say the same thing about southern Lebanon. The problem for you is that there are forces in your neighborhood who will be glad to give you one and that anything one army can do in six days, another army can undo in roughly the same amount of time.

    • ‘in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country

      Thanks for the link. You are quoting a portion of Balfour's infamous memo 242. The whole thing is available online and is even more cynical than you might imagine. See Nº. 242. Memorandum by Mr. Balfour (Paris) respecting Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia’ [132187/2117/44A], August 11, 1919, link to

    • In spite of the qualified commitment to Arab independence, Britain’s Sir Mark Sykes opened talks with France’s Georges Picot May 16th, 1916, with the aim of betraying the Arabs, abrogating the McMahon accord, and carving up Ottoman domains between their faltering empires.

      If you look at the map at the UK National Archives above, it labels Areas A & B of the Sykes-Picot agreement "The Independent Arab State". Map 3 Possible Settlement of Arab Countries, one of the last maps in the file, divides the blue area between the Hashemites groups under: Feisal, Abdullah, Husein, and Zaid. (See the legend on page 14)

      During a meeting of the Council of Four held during the Versailles Conference, Lloyd George insisted that the LoN mandates could not be used to violate the treaty agreements concluded with the Hashemites. He also explained that the McMahon-Hussein agreement had been the basis of the Sykes-Picot treaty. link to

      Sykes and Picot went to the Hedjaz to conclude the details spelled-out in the preliminary McMahon-Husein correspondence. The British Cabinet papers regarding the commitments to Husein note that the Sharif advised both Picot and Sykes during the negotiations that he would only agree to British or French advisors on the understanding that they would have no executive authority whatsoever.
      * See pdf file page 9 of 21 in:
      Former Reference: GT 6185
      Title: British Commitments to King Husein.
      Author: Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office
      Date November 1918
      Catalogue reference CAB 24/68
      link to

      Article 3 of the Sykes-Picot agreement of May 1916 specifically required the British and French to consult the Russians, the other Allies (Italy), and the Sharif of Mecca on the form of government that was to be adopted in the international condominium located in Palestine. It did not include any of the Muslim Holy sites, which were to remain under a Muslim ruler (more below). link to

      Lord Curzon had chaired a War Cabinet meeting of the Eastern Committee attended by Balfour and a great many others on 5 December 1918. The agenda was devoted to a discussion of a memorandum and maps that were distributed by Lord Balfour on the subjects of Syria and Palestine. It also envisioned an international condominium in Palestine. During the morning session on Syria Curzon said:

      “First, as regards the facts of the case. The various pledges are given in the Foreign Office paper* [E.C. 2201] which has been circulated, and I need only refer to them in the briefest possible words. In their bearing on Syria they are the following: First there was the letter to King Hussein from Sir Henry McMahon of the 24th October 1915, in which we gave him the assurance that the Hedjaz, the red area which we commonly call Mesopotamia, the brown area or Palestine, the Acre-Haifa enclave, the big Arab areas (A) and (B), and the whole of the Arabian peninsula down to Aden should be Arab and independent.” (E.C. 41st minutes, for 5 December 1918, page 6).

      In the second half of the meeting on the subject of Palestine he said:
      “The Palestine position is this. If we deal with our commitments, there is first the general pledge to Hussein in October 1915, under which Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future . . . the United Kingdom and France – Italy subsequently agreeing – committed themselves to an international administration of Palestine in consultation with Russia, who was an ally at that time . . . A new feature was brought into the case in November 1917, when Mr. Balfour, with the authority of the War Cabinet, issued his famous declaration to the Zionists that Palestine ‘should be the national home of the Jewish people, but that nothing should be done – and this, of course, was a most important proviso – to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Those, as far as I know, are the only actual engagements into which we entered with regard to Palestine.” (E.C. 41st minutes, for 5 December 1918, page 16)

      E.C. 2201 contained two documents:
      The Maps illustrating the Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula cited above and:
      Former Reference: GT 6506
      Title: The Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula.
      Author: Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office
      Date 21 November 1918
      Catalogue reference CAB 24/72
      link to

      Furthermore, British Cabinet papers reveal that the Muslim Holy Places in Hebron and Jerusalem had been completely excluded from the territory of the brown, Palestinian International Enclave, shown on the map attached to the Sykes-Picot Agreement in accordance with the Government of India’s Proclamation No. 4 to the Arab and Indian Sheikhs and the Sharif of Mecca. The remainder of Palestine was included in the area pledged for Arab Independence. See for example paragraph 4 (c) on pp 4 (pdf page 5) and paragraph 6 (a), (d), & (e) on pp 8-9 (pdf page 9-10) CAB 24/72, “The Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula” (Former Reference: GT 6506) , 21 November 1918 and the collection of small and large detailed maps of Palestine in CAB 24/72 “Maps illustrating the Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula”, (Former Reference: GT 6506A) 21 November 1918 cited and linked above.

      The boundaries established for the OETA East included everything on the maps inside the boundaries of the Independent Arab State. There was a written agreement at Versailles on boundaries that cited "the Sykes-Picot line" and the “Arab State”. It included all of the territory Feisal had liberated in what later became the new state of Transjordan and Syria. “Palestine” was strictly limited to the area under actual British occupation after Allenby’s forces withdrew from Syria. See the terms of the “Aide-memoire in regard to the occupation of Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia pending the decision in regard to Mandates, 13 September 1919″ that was handed by Mr. Lloyd George to M. Clemenceau and placed before the Versailles Conference.
      link to

    • Hoteliers in Oberlin, Ohio will thrive as journalists pore over the King Crane reports, which failed to find their way into Wilson’s hands before the end of the treaty confab

      The King-Crane Commission Archives at Oberlin College has a webpage which makes it clear that Wilson and the State Department suppressed the report. It explains that the findings of the Commission were so at odds with the actions being taken by the Allies that the Chairman sent urgent telegrams to President Wilson calling for modification of the extreme Zionists program for Palestine (See page 2 of the cable). Charles R. Crane, telegram to Woodrow Wilson, 1919. Henry Churchill King Presidential Papers, Record Group 2/6, box 128, folder 1, Oberlin College Archives link to

      The final report was submitted to the Paris Peace Conference and hand carried to Washington, but Wilson and State Department officials decided suppress it until after the post war treaties were concluded. The Oberlin page cites a “Letter from Undersecretary Henry Fletcher to Secretary of State Leland Harrison, April 7, 1922. Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State, 763.72119/7161, Microfilm Publication 367, Reel 439, National Archives and Records Administration” and explains that:

      Though both Henry Churchill King and Charles Crane felt that the Commission’s report should be made public, they believed themselves unable to distribute the report or speak with the press without the explicit permission of either the Department of State or Woodrow Wilson himself. The State Department prevented even other U.S. government officials from seeing the report, stating that, “it would not be compatible with the public interest.”

      There was quite a bit of public outrage when the report was finally published after the US and the Allies had signed the Treaty of Sevres and partitioned Ottoman Asia against the wishes of the inhabitants of Palestine and Syria.

    • Where can we go to see these various secret treaty agreements? Preferably a site where they discuss the impact of those agreements?

      Trotsky published them after the revolution and the are available in various online archives, e.g. THE SECRET TREATIES AND UNDERSTANDINGS link to

    • that’s facile. where are the oil concessions ?

      Inside the Red Line;-) But that wasn't finalized until 1928. The US didn’t declare War on the Ottoman Empire, but it demanded a share in the post-war settlements including the oil concessions in Turkish Asia. The San Remo Conference was mainly devoted to the squabbling over the oil fields in Mesopotamia, not to the allocation of mandates. Volume 1 of the League of Nations Yearbook reported that:

      “France and Great Britain signed, at Paris on December 23, 1920, a compact, intended to settle finally “the problems raised by the attribution to Great Britain of the mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine, and by the attribution to France of the mandate over Syria and the Lebanon, all three conferred by the Supreme Council at San Remo. By this treaty a portion of southern Syria, bordering upon Palestine, is transferred from France to Great Britain. One reason for this transfer appears in this paragraph:
      “The French Government consents to the nomination of a special commission, which, after having examined the ground, may readjust the frontier line in the valley of the Yarmuk as far as Nasib in such a manner as to render possible the construction of a British railway and pipe line connecting Palestine with the Hedjaz railway and the valley of the Euphrates, and running entirely within the limits of the areas under the British mandate.

      “The new frontier includes enough of the Syrian mountain country to enable England to give Palestine a water supply. On the other hand France obtains a share of the Mesopotamian oil lands, and a promise from England not to cede or dispose of Cyprus without the consent of France.

      link to
      That agreement was later remodeled to accommodate US oil interests during the Lausanne Conference of 1923, which dealt with the cession from Turkey and superseded the Treaty of Sèvres. There were further modifications in favor of other interests that resulted in the so-called Red Line Agreement of 1928. It established the international Middle East Oil Cartel. During WWII the US experienced shortages, established the strategic reserve, and entered into an agreement with the Cartel members. In the early 1950s the State Department reported that the US could no longer be energy self-sufficient and requested that the Federal Trade Commission not draw attention to the fact that a cartel controlled world oil prices. The editors of the 1943 FRUS cited a copy of the agreement in the possession of the Congress and a few of its details:

      For text of the Group (Red Line) Agreement between private American and European oil companies, July 31, 1928, see House of Representatives, Current Antitrust Problems: Hearings before Antitrust Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, 84th Cong., 1st sess., pt. 2, pp. 1004 ff.; the name is derived from the red line drawn on a map which was included as an attached schedule to the agreement, illustrative of certain restrictive provisions imposed by the companies on themselves in the agreement. The red line delimited a “defined area” from which the companies mutually excluded (with slight qualifications) themselves except as shareholders of the Turkish (Iraq) Petroleum Company; as the area of demarcation included generally all of the old Ottoman Empire except the sheikhdom of Kuwait and Egypt, this self-denying provision in effect confined the operations of the participating companies to the [so-called] Iraq concession area.

      The Eisenhower administration intervened with both conventional forces and financial assistance in Lebanon decades before Camp David. The US had 14,000 troops on the ground – a much larger number than even the Lebanese had at the time. We were also providing arms to regimes in Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, and using covert operations to overthrow the elected regime in Iran, e.g. link to

      I used to have a link to the Red Line map, but it's sadly dead now.
      Our role in the 1950s in overthrowing the government of Iran, occupying Lebanon, assisting Great Britain in putting down opposition to the Hashemites in Jordan are all well known, together with our continuing involvement in Saudi Arabia and Gulf.

    • P.S. There is a very interesting map on pages 11 and 12 of the pdf file at the link above, which deals with the possible redistribution of territory on the basis of self-determination.

    • You know, the modern Middle East was formed really all but on the back of an envelope.

      No, to be honest, anyone who's ever ordered a copy of the full size color map from the UK Archives knows that it has to be folded-up to in order to fit in even the largest envelope. It also had spheres of influence for not only the British French, but also ones for the Italians, Russians, Arabs, and an International one in Palestine. They were all governed by various secret treaty agreements. The ISIS state is in Area A and B which was always set aside for an independent Arab State. See page 6 of 17 in CAB 24/72/7
      Memorandum Former Reference: GT 6506A
      Title: Maps illustrating the Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula.
      Author: Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office
      Date: 21 November 1918
      link to

  • 'Haaretz' conference trumpets tired word 'Peace' (when the only solution is 'equality')
    • It is cynical to imply that justice will only arrive with the RoR. Otherwise, it is just a way to perpetuate the conflict. A good compromise is one where both sides feel cheated. Get with the program. Most of the Arab world is ready to accept < total RoR.

      No it's cynical to do nothing about individual rights, until a mutually agreed upon final settlement, ending all claims, can be negotiated and pass two national plebiscites. If the Arab states accept less than full right of return, then the "refugees" won't be living on "mountains suspended by a hair". Since the Arab Peace Initiative was adopted, nothing has prevented them from surveying the people living in their respective countries and granting those who want compensation and resettlement in lieu of return naturalization and a normal life. Likewise, the international community should simply say that Israel will have to accept an equal number of refugees as the number of settlers it has implanted illegally in Palestine under any future settlement. That would be in addition to those persons actually displaced by the wars. Israeli assets equal to the amount the UNRWA spends to maintain that number of refugees could be frozen and used for that purpose, pending actual repatriation. In short there's no reason to link the refugee question to the negotiations.

    • Speaking of peace/equality, I believe Jewish Voice for Peace should change its name to Jewish Voice for Equality.

      Works for me. Although I wouldn't dislike "Jewish Voice for Peace and Equality" either;-)

  • 'J Street has to change or die': Divestment battle exposes tactical rift among liberal Zionists
    • Quite extraordinary in light of his suggestion that a more appropriate boycott would be of the US arms industry.

      Quite extraordinary since CitizenC made-up the part about "Israeli Jews", who aren't actually mentioned in that passage from the interview. You overlook the parts of Chomsky's reply to Barat where he says: Yes, those [the tactics and aims of the 2005 BDS call to action] are all the right things to do, but why don't you boycott the US, . . . & etc.? When Chomsky advocates cutting off the billions in foreign assistance, weapons, and tax-deductible donations it's not an empty gesture or something the international community hasn't called for in UN resolutions adopted under the auspices of "Uniting for Peace". The foundation is there in international law, so I wonder about the people who criticize the proposition in apparent bad faith.

    • Evidently he identifies with those who have warm clothes and homes rather than those who lack them, just as Chomsky identifies with the zionists (in spite of his disagreements with them) rather than with their victims.

      A lot of people get angry at Chomsky or Finkelstein for describing the international consensus, as if they created it. Finkelstein was employing an analogy to explain that there is no international support for the right of return or resettlement. That ought to be obvious after 60 years. Rather than wait for monkeys to reproduce the works of Shakespeare or for the Israelis and Palestinians to stop killing people every day, he suggested that a consensus exists to end the armed conflict today and that tying a solution to that problem to the right of return amounted to fringe thinking, because that will only result in a prolongation of the status quo and solve neither problem. Even if you disagree, it's still a fact that the international community is fed-up with the settlements and is adopting measures to sanction them, but it is completely silent about the issue of the refugees.

    • I have no interest in an extended exchange (or any exchange) on this, but Mondovians should know what Chomsky said.

      It doesn't take one, because he was talking about a grassroots call from the Palestinian victims in Israel, and never said that sanctions couldn't be applied if the Zionists disapproved. He compared it to the situation in South Africa, where the victims themselves had called for sanctions, knowing that they would suffer from them along with everyone else. Chomsky never suggested that the officials of the South African apartheid regime had to approve of the sanctions or ever called for them.

      FYI, there wasn't even a Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) until 2007 or a call to action in 2004 when the interview took place. The portion of the interview you are talking about was prefaced by Chomsky remarking that Israel didn't have to hide what it was doing, because there are no sanctions (the interviewer never discussed BDS or a boycott, just "sanctions"). Chomsky said that it was premature to adopt sanctions against Israel, until such time as the people of Israel called for it themselves, as they had in South Africa, because sanctions hurt everyone in the targeted country. He said that when there was support like that for BDS, international corporations and other governments would get behind it. FYI, we've long since crossed that threshold. The government of Israel made it a civil offense to call for a boycott, because a sufficient number of Palestinian Israeli parties, organizations, academics, and individuals working together with like minded non-Palestinian Israeli academics, organizations and individuals have subsequently endorsed or called for sanctions. Chomsky also said that sanctions should be applied to the US, because without its support, it would be over.

      It's not very difficult to provide a link, Chomsky hosts the interview on his own website. link to

    • Ali A and Barghouti both are of Palestinian ethnicity.

      Chomsky didn't complain that they weren't members of an ethnic group. He said they weren't members of "Palestinian civil society", don't live there, have no problem with going to Tel Aviv university, and don't necessarily speak for those people that do live in the occupied territories. He noted that the PA has had great difficulty enforcing its own legally mandated boycott of goods from Israeli settlements. There was an article here just the other day which indicated there was no way to motivate the inhabitants of Ramallah with talk about BDS. Why is it okay for that person to say it, but not Chomsky?

      Rather than argue about red herrings, why don't you have the decency to answer Chomsky's actual points? What's with all this tap dancing? I don't agree with him on many things, but I'm not trying to make shit up or hold McCarthy hearings to excommunicate him. Can you show me a Palestinian publication from the territories that condemns Chomsky, or is this a foreign affliction?

    • I don’t think there are many Reform Jews who would consider themselves religious.

      A recent survey shows 51% of Jews in Israel believe non-Orthodox movements should be given equal status in matters of religious conversion and marriage. So, I suppose most Jews don't put much stock in your definition of "religious".

      Life has changed since 1806, and the promises of the French Revolution were not delivered upon for most Jews who found that in reality, they had to shed their identities to assimilate into European society. . . . Jews submerged their own campaign for emancipation into the national campaigns of the countries in which they lived. So how did that turn out?

      The "lachrymose view of Jewish history as a vale of tears, a succession of persecutions, humiliation and violence" is unhistorical. Since you asked, it has turned out pretty well. The French had a Jewish Prime Minister before Israel had one and France has had five prime ministers of Jewish descent.

      FYI, a poll carried out by the Israel Democracy Institute in cooperation with the Government Press Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, the Ministry of Tourism and KKL-JNF revealed that sixty-percent of Israeli Jews believe that the Jewish people in Israel are a nation separate from the Jews abroad, like yourself. So, nothing has changed on that score, since the days of the Grand Sanhedrin.

      When asked to choose what defines the primary connection between Jews in Israel and Jews in the Diaspora, only 13 percent said nationality. A plurality of respondents selected Jewish culture and tradition (40%). link to

    • The whole thing dates back to a recommendation from the UNHRC Fact Finding Mission report on the impact of illegal Israeli settlements. There have been several UN reports now that warn businesses and individuals about possible civil and criminal liability for anyone getting involved in settlement-related activities, including economic and financial activities, the provision of services in settlements and the purchasing of property.
      link to

      There may be an article here in a few days about these and other recent developments.

    • So-called ‘liberal’ Zionists know as well as we do that the BDS movement, which is led by Palestinians, asserts basic Palestinian rights and gives voice to Palestinian aspirations, has effectively stripped them of their ‘gatekeeper’ status.”

      That goes for Chomsky and Finkelstein too, which probably explains their inflammatory rhetoric

      Pointing out that some of the leaders of the movement aren't really Palestinian or members of Palestinian civil society, or expressing the opinion that there is no realistic possibility the right of return will be implemented may be inflammatory. But it isn't gate keeping or liberal Zionism for that matter. Those are ad hominem fallacies.

    • Silly. If that is true, then those supporters are not aware of the. BDS mission

      Israel has spent 40 years ignoring the law and UN resolutions regarding its obligation to leave the demography of the occupied territory, including Jerusalem, well enough alone. So don't act like a jerk and deliver lectures to us about sinister missions. BDS simply aims to facilitate the exercise of the refugees right of return to the extent provided by the applicable international law.

      FYI, in light of the recent ECHR decision to award Cyprus compensation for the Turkish invasion and occupation, the BDS call to action should probably be updated a bit to reflect international practice.

    • That reform rabbi who railed against the Presby vote shows the biggest group of religious Jews in the US, the reform Jews, a sector of heirs of Enlightenment liberalism initiated in France

      Fair enough, but the Grand Sanhedrin represented the orthodoxy of its day and age. Modern Orthodox Judaism sprang into existence as a reaction to the mainstream Jewish Haskalah.

      The Edinburgh Review observed that the Actes du Grand Sanhédrin (Paris, 1807), were formally sanctioned, legalised and promulgated, on behalf of the Jews of France, Italy, Holland, and South Germany, by the great Sanhedrin summoned by Napoleon in 1806:

      “This authoritative body renounced Jewish nationality in unambiguous terms. It declared the Jews to be ‘ neither a nation within a nation, nor cosmopolitan ‘; it affirmed that they were an integral part of the nations among whom they lived, and it claimed for them the same rights, and acknowledged the same duties, as their fellow-citizens, from whom they differed only in religion.

      — The Edinburgh Review, Volume 225, A. and C. Black, 1917, page 306 link to

    • Didn’t the Israel high court declare Israeli nationalism is kaput? How does that fit in?

      In the Kaadan case they told JNF to get bent, but the AG struck a deal to reimburse JNF with state land elsewhere anytime an "Arab" won a tender. The Knesset quickly adopted a law that sanctioned community admissions committees that circumvented the Supreme Court decision, because there's no Constitution. The Knesset is also trying to adopt the "Basic Law: The National Home" which will legally entrench Israeli Jewish nationalism as fundamental law.

    • Breaking News a poll carried out by the Israel Democracy Institute in cooperation with the Government Press Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, the Ministry of Tourism and KKL-JNF revealed that sixty-percent of Israeli Jews believe that the Jewish people in Israel are a nation separate from the Jews abroad. When asked to choose what defines the primary connection between Jews in Israel and Jews in the Diaspora, only 13 percent said nationality.

      I wonder when they will announce that Zionist nationalism is officially kaput? link to

  • 'I was a Zionist till I was 64. I want to hit myself'
    • 1) Chomsky to a major extent acknowledges their narrative, but perhaps he also downplays it, since he said in the interview that it’s 100 times worse everywhere else.

      It's perverse to engage in concern shopping if you don't admit that the wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and the genocides or mass killings in Cambodia, Rwanda, Dafur, and the former Yugoslavia were an order of magnitude worse in terms of sheer numbers of fatalities than the situation in Palestine. This line of argument is just as offensive as Nakba denial.

    • About half of the world’s Palestinians are refugees. I think that they would like to have their right of return, rather than being cut off forever from their homes.

      If anyone had ever asked Palestinian refugees if they feared persecution in Israel or Palestine and wanted resettlement elsewhere, then you might have a point. Many refugees who gain asylum in the United States or other western countries have no intention of suffering refoulment or return to their countries of origin. We know that because we hold hearings and ask them. For decades the Palestinian refugees have been used as pawns in the struggle against Zionism whose wishes have never been officially consulted one way or the other. Here is the text and commentary on a note from the Arab Higher Committee to the Arab League on the Refugee Situation which says as much:

      The AHC categorically rejects proposals that Arab refugees be returned to Jewish controlled areas, arguing that to do so would:
      1. "Constitute a recognition of the imaginary Jewish state."
      2. Place the refugees at the mercy of the Jews as virtual hostages.
      3. Permit the Jews to exploit the refugees in a political sense, possibly winning their votes in a likely plebiscite.
      4. Place the refugees on the marginal fringe of the Jewish economy.

      In addition to arguing against the return of the refugees to Palestine, the AHC presents: its own suggestions for the solution of the refugee problem. In brief, these call for centralized handling of the situation, financial assistance from the Arab countries and the International Refugee Organization, dispatch of men "capable of carrying arms" to Palestine "in the defense of their country," and the establishment of refugee camps in Arab parts of Palestine.

      The tenor of the entire note reflects the irreconciled position of the AHC that the struggle against Zionism must continue unabated. Although eventually published, it is worthy of note that this document was at first suppressed by the Syrian authorities.

      link to

    • If one doesn’t support the refugees’ “right” or desire to return to their homeland, then I am not sure how he/she is standing in “solidarity” with those very refugees. Calling something a “right” after all suggests that it has a basis in law.

      Among other things, the thing that makes a person a "refugee" is a well grounded fear that they will be persecuted if they return to their country or origin or nationality. That's one of the situations that resolution 194 actually deals with. It says that people who feel like that are entitled to opt for compensation, instead of return. They also have the right not to be treated as political pawns or misled by the BDS movement or any party to the conflict.

      972 Magazine ran an article which said that polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research indicated 90 percent of the refugees preferred compensation in lieu of the right of return to Israel. Abbas’s comments during the March 2009 meeting reflected that there would be a firm requirement for Israeli compensation of the refugees in any event and that the refugees in the Diaspora would be allowed to vote in a national plebiscite on the final settlement. He repeated that promise during the recent round of talks. Ali Abunimah took issue with the poll because “the question offered a choice between return and compensation as if refugees are entitled to only one or the other.” Resolution 194 certainly spells it out that way.

      In reality, opting to exercise the “right of return” will undoubtedly work against an individual’s “right to compensation”. Resolution 181(II) allowed the states to expropriate property from the members of ethnic and religious minority groups for public use. It gave the Supreme Courts of the respective states the discretion to decide upon the amount of compensation in such cases. Resolution 194(III) did not alter that situation.

      The existing Israeli Supreme Court precedents beginning with CApp 41/49 Simshon Palestine Portland Cement Factory LTD. v. Attorney-General (1950) have cited Hans Kelsen’s article, “Theorie generale du droit international public, problemes choisis”, in vol. 49 of the Recueil des Cours of the Hague Academy of International Law:

      “In so far as concerns debts due to individuals who become, as a result of territorial changes, citizens of the successor State, here there can arise no question of a legal succession based upon principles of general international law itself. The relations between the State and its citizens are in the exclusive jurisdiction of the State in question which can therefore, acting in full accord with international law, decide quite freely whether it will take upon itself debts such as these” (p. 329).

      I support the right of refugees to retain that status and support from UNRWA, while demanding compensation or resettlement elsewhere, owing to a well grounded fear of persecution, second class citizenship, and denial of compensation if they return to either Israel or Palestine. I do that, because that's the law. I get sick and tired of hearing propaganda talking points about 5 million refugees returning to Israel, when polling says that isn't going to happen, and no one has ever surveyed the actual wishes of the refugees registered with UNRWA, much less confirmed that descendants of refugees have a legal right to anything more than refugee status and property claims. Neither of those automatically confer a right of residency or repatriation under international law. I think that keeping people in refugee camps in limbo, until there is a "final settlement", if they don't want to return in any event, can't be described as solidarity.

    • Like the dear lady and Noam Chomsky, I happen to agree that the United States makes it all possible, and that without the United States, it simply couldn’t happen. . . . Oh, I don’t know.

      Let's just leave it at that. There are obviously a lot of things you'd like to speculate or guess about, but the documentary record is clear. The Zionist movement has relied upon the government and people of the United States from the moment it came into existence and at every step along the way, until now.

    • There are a lot of Palestinians in the West Bank who think Abbas is a collaborator.

      Both Arafat and Abbas won PLO and PA Presidential elections by wide margins, based upon the 1988 Algiers Declaration and the 1988 platform of the PLO Central committee. It was incorporated in the "Plan to End the Occupation and Establish the State" that was adopted early in Abbas' term as PA President. He won that election by a popular vote of 62 percent.

      but let’s not try to imagine such a chasm between the Diaspora like Ali A. and Palestinians under occupation.

      Don't kid yourself. There were riots in occupied Palestine and the refugee camps outside Jordan, when Ali A's father concluded the treaty normalizing relations between Israel and Jordan. There are many people who think he and his family are Jordanian collaborators. I happen to believe that his heart's in the right place, but I don't think he has ever had a legal mandate from anyone.

    • Chomsky told F.Barat that the BDS petition was “pure antisemitism” for divesting from the Israeli State when it’s “100 times worse” everywhere else, supposedly. That’s an emphatic rejection of the official BDS campaign as “anti-semitic”.

      No, Chomsky actually said, "Yes those are all the right things to do", but why don't you do them against the United States, which is 100 times worse? He was actually making an observation about things others had said. He actually said that "particular words could be attacked, and were attacked, as pure anti-Semitism, with some justification" and that they were "a gift to hardliners". I happen to be one of the people he was criticizing, because I've commented on many occasions here that an illegal apartheid regime, like Israel, South Africa, or Southern Rhodesia, has no right to exist and that international law and state practice say as much. I've always maintained that the international community has no more historical obligation to maintain a racist Jewish state in Palestine than it did a racist Nazi regime in the Sudetenland. I do not support the continued existence of the State of Israel or the State of Palestine in their current forms and could care less who knows that. Both of the states should be reconstituted as states of all their citizens with guarantees of equal rights or abolished and replaced with a state that can do those things. It's a standard hasbara talking point that I'm denying the Jewish people's right of self-determination by saying those things and that it's a form anti-semitism - and some people think there's some justification for that proposition.

      When Phil said "the Talmud is bullshit" or I said that I consider the prohibition against intermarriage in Judaism to be racist, other commenters said that there was some justification to interpret those words as anti-Semitic. So why do you keep twisting what Chomsky actually said when you know damn good and well that he pointed out that he's been doing BDS longer than you have? He only disapproves of some of the tactics the movement employs from time to time, because they might be counter-productive and backfire, harming the victims?

      Re: "supposedly". I pointed out to you that the USA keeps a higher percentage of its population in jail than any other country on Earth. One in three black males will go to jail in their lifetime. Blacks represent 60 percent of the prison population, but only represent 30 percent of the country's population. Unlike Israel, the armed forces of the United States have killed millions of people in foreign wars and made millions more refugees, just in my lifetime. The fact that you still deny that its been worse than Israel, could be called racist, with some justification.

    • Whose “panties are in a wad?”

      LoL! The people like you who don't like what Finkelstein and Chomsky have to say. You go out of your way to drag them into a conversation and construct straw man arguments about their "total rejection of BDS" or pretend those two are powerful or popular enough to play the role of gatekeepers. In fact its you who are trying to summarily excommunicate them and pretend their views are somehow beyond the pale.

      FYI, BDSers, like Barghouti, fought the UN statehood bid because they claimed it would somehow abandon the refugees and Palestinian Israelis. He even tried to advance the risible notion that the UN has recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. In fact, the rights of both groups are under UN guarantee and are in no danger of lapsing due to the status of the PLO. That's the reason I disagreed with Finkelstein's claim that international law has nothing to say about Israel's treatment of its minorities. I've explained time again why BDS and Palestine ought to demand that the General Assembly pursue enforcement of the minority rights treaty in resolution 181(II) in order to obtain equal constitutional rights for Palestinians living in Israel and the return of all refugees actually displaced during the wars in 1948 and 1967. If anyone, including Barghouti or Finkelstein, think that's fringe thinking, so be it. The trouble is, that thin-skinned people did get their panties in a wad and decided to excommunicate Finkelstein and haven't engaged in a constructive conversation about leveraging those UN guarantees to the benefit of the refugees and Palestinians citizens of Israel.

      Who cares where they grew up and were educated? imo, that’s irrelevant. Gandhi was born in India, educated in London and was an expatriate lawyer in South Africa before leading India to freedom.

      Apparently lots of people care, because Chomsky's remarks pissed them off. The fact is that the people living in Tel Aviv, New York, and Chicago haven't gone back and led anyone to freedom and can only be considered self-appointed members of Palestinian civil society in the loosest sense of the term.

      If, that’s the case, then that’s for the Palestinians to state. . . . They seem quite capable of speaking for themselves. Really, Hostage? A BDS office in occupied Palestine? And what do you think would happen to that?

      So you are admitting that Abbas is braver than these ex-pats? FFS Abbas won an election by a 60 percent majority of the Palestinians. None of the ex-pats has ever been elected to be a dog catcher. Abbas gets criticized here all of the time for only advocating a boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the illegal settlements. He filed a criminal complaint with the ICC while living in Ramallah and stood by it, even after the head of Shin Beit threatened to turn the West Bank into another Gaza. Nonetheless the commentors here claim he is Israel's bitch. I think that its time for the UN to repeal the resolutions on security cooperation with Israel and the Road Map and that the Human Rights treaty bodies should be on Palestine's violations like white on rice, now that it is a state party to all the major conventions. But I don't find the arguments here to be very convincing with regard to the notion that unelected BDS ex-pats, and not the PLO Executive or Hamas, suddenly speak for Palestine, e.g. link to While you can argue their terms are expired, the BDS movement opposed their positions even when they had a valid mandate and were undoubtedly expressing the will of the people who just elected them.

    • She blamed America for supplying Israel with all the tools they are using to oppress the Palestinians, which is somewhat inaccurate.

      Like the dear lady and Noam Chomsky, I happen to agree that the United States makes it all possible, and that without the United States, it simply couldn't happen.

      The United States has been involved since our Consuls in Palestine facilitated the first illegal Jewish settlers from the USA there during the 19th century and refused to bring them home when they overstayed their welcome. The United States has certainly played a role every step of the way, since the British government coordinated with US officials on the wording of the first drafts of the Balfour Declaration. You can only speculate that Israel could have done everything that's happened since then without US assistance, because it has never existed for one moment without it.

    • Not a “straw man.” No distortion or misrepresentation. “fellow BDSers”? Who are you referring to? Noam Chomsky?

      Yes, I notice you reserve your right to disagree or engage in ankle biting: "Why shouldn’t “BDSers” disagree with each other? We’re not a homogenous group. We comprise people from all over the world-many cultures, nationalities and languages."

      Cool, I think you're a mental midget and a waste of valuable time that could be spent more profitably on more important subjects.

      Jamie Stern-Weiner . . . individuals and organisations who emphatically reject BDS. As examples of such “targeted support for BDS” the authors cite, …Norman Finkelstein, NOAM CHOMSKY [my emphasis],

      Jamie Stern-Weiner is entitled to her opinion, but if she is implying that Finklestein or Chomsky "emphatically reject BDS", then she is mischaracterizing their positions and erecting a straw man. Chomsky has never said that he doesn't support the refugee right of return, he simply says there isn't any realistic possibility it will be implemented through the tactics adopted by the BDS movement - and that those tactics have been a veritable gift to hardliners that have backfired and harmed the victims. Rejecting ineffective tactics can't be equated with rejecting the basic human rights, but that hasn't stopped you guys from trying.

    • Mich Levy’s 3 points seem very logical

      I don't know Mich Levy, but if he wants to engage in ankle-biting and criticism of Chomsky, he can do so himself. Frankly, even if I accepted the nonsense that people here try to promulgate about Chomsky, he would nonetheless be a pro-Palestinian activist who has standing invitations to speak to Palestinian university audiences and members of the international solidarity movement in the West Bank and Gaza.

      Levy's ideas only sound very logical in the abstract - and only if you think millions of Israeli Jews aren't at the heart of the struggle too. For example, I could frankly give a shit less about supporting the Hamas narrative or demand for an Islamic Republic in all of historical Palestine, even though 30-40 percent of the population supports that narrative or political platform and it prevailed in the 2007 elections. I'm perfectly willing to say that they are all entitled to the same freedoms and fundamental, equal human rights as anyone else, without exception. They can adopt any form of government they want, with my full support, subject to the caveat that it guarantees the same human rights to others. So, I can't accept the notion that I have to "2) support the demands [for a Jewish or Islamic state] put forward by those at the heart of the struggle;" if that doesn't include full equality and non-discrimination. It also doesn't mean that I have to support stupid political tactics that harm the cause, just because they have been adopted by the Palestinians themselves, e.g. suicide bombings were counter-productive and so are abstract discussions about international law and millions of refugees conducted outside the courtroom or without consulting the wishes of the individual refugees. They only amount to hasbara/agit-prop that inflames passions on both sides unnecessarily without settling a damn thing.

      Zionists practice apartheid and either discriminate against or persecute the Palestinian people wherever they exist. Predictably enough, when you promulgate propaganda about things, like the Arab League boycott, or say that international law recognizes the rights of millions of refugees, without having a court opinion, treaty, or convention in hand that says as much, you can count on the fact that the Israeli government and its legion of minions will set about to change public opinion and the applicable national and international law. That's exactly what has always happened, with disastrous consequences for the Palestinians concerned.

      For example, people here condemn Abbas for failing to endorse BDS, without ever considering the fact that Palestinian government calls or participation in a boycott against Israel would automatically subject the movement to existing anti-boycott legislation. link to We've been there and done that. So it's a bad tactic. Abbas was instrumental in getting the UN fact finding mission on the impact of settlements in the occupied territory. It addressed the civil and criminal liability of foreign corporations and persons doing business in the settlements. The UN Working group staffed to report on that aspect published a statement earlier this month confirming that existing law provides for criminal liability. 5 of the biggest EU countries have subsequently warned their businesses and citizens. The BDS movement needs to take the hint and demand that government pursue these corrupt organizations and racketeers.

      FYI, Chomsky originally supported a single state in Palestine, just like the PLO. He does not support the idea of a Jewish state. He believes that Israel should be a state of all its citizens and only endorses a two state solution as a pragmatic measure to end the occupation and the armed conflict. He doesn't believe a one state solution on non-Zionist terms will happen any time soon. He has stated that he thinks a two state solution should be an initial step on the road to an eventual confederation or federal union between the two peoples.

    • Well Hostage, if as you mention, she didn’t say anything that Professor Chomsky hasn’t said, his interview with Frank Barat didn’t reflect that, as other commenters on this site have also mentioned.

      Other commenters on this site obviously haven't compared this lady's comments about BDS to Chomsky's, for the simple reason she didn't discuss the subject with Phil. CitzenC would, of course, condemn her and dismiss her views out of hand, simply because she is a member of JVP, which he says only offers a minimal critique of Zionism. I think my anti-Zionist comments on this website and this lady's anti-Zionist comments illustrate that JVP members offer a damn sight more than a minimal critique if you care to listen and stop cherrypicking.

      Most other commentators here get their panties in a wad because Chomsky points out that most Palestinians are not motivated by the BDS movement and feel more like the person in Corey Peruca's article about Ramallah. Omar Barghouti, who was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt, lives in Israel, and attended Tel Aviv University. Ali Abunimah was born in Washington D.C. to the Jordanian ambassador that concluded the treaty which normalized relations with Israel and he lives in Chicago. Rashid Khalidi was born and lives in New York. His family of Palestinian notables prospered under the Ottomans, the British, and Jordanian rule. His uncle was mayor of Jerusalem, a member of the Arab Higher Committee, a member of the All-Palestinian Government in Gaza, the custodian and supervisor of the Haram al-Sharif, and was the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister of Jordan. Chomsky was pointing out to Barat that these and many other leaders and spokespersons for the BDS movement do not reflect the views of many Palestinians. In some cases the organizations don't even have offices or a mailbox in occupied Palestine. If you think they nonetheless represent Palestinian civil society, you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled complain when critics point out that they are not necessarily citizens or residents of Palestine.

    • I doesn’t seem to me that Professor Chomsky has fully acknowledged the narrative of the Palestinians or fully supports their demands–numbers 1) and 2). These would seem to be a prerequisite for 3).

      Nice straw man, but telling fellow BDSers that one of their tactics is wrong-headed or that they might do more harm than good, at a given point in time, doesn't mean you don't acknowledge the Palestinian narrative or support their rightful demands. Here's another quote from a previous article about the attitude of a member of Palestinian civil society:

      As much as I wanted to break into my shpeil about BDS etc, I realized there is nothing I could really say that would re-ignite his motivation.

    • Maybe she should be on the board of Jewish Voice for Peace (instead of Noam Chomsky).

      I think she would be a good addition to the advisory board. But she truly didn't say anything in the video that Chomsky hasn't said, apart from the details of her personal conversion. There are plenty of droll, scholarly types, including Chomsky and Finkelstien, so its refreshing to see someone as outgoing, charming, and inspiring as this great lady.

    • what a wonderful video. i love her!

      Me too.

  • Israel announces identity of suspected kidnappers, still no evidence of abduction made public
    • @ W Jones answering you here: ((As made clear in the criteria for derivative status above, in all cases, refugees and their descendants retain the status of refugees until that status lapses through the achievement of a just and lasting solution. Again, I will allow published UNHCR documents to speak for themselves.)) link to

      You can show me the UN documents, if you want, but the Convention in question doesn't provide for any such thing as "a right of return"or "repatriation" of a person who has the recognized legal status of a refugee.

      In fact the convention deals with prohibitions against refoulment or return and treats refugee status, country of origin, country of habitual residence, and country of nationality as separate and distinct legal questions. Even if it did provide such guarantees, the definition of the term refugee in Article 1 of the 1951 Refugee Convention explicitly excluded the refugees provided for by the UNRWA from the scope of applicability of the convention. That can be verified by the text of Article 1 itself and the travaux préparatoires, which are readily available online. link to

      That was done quite deliberately by the authors, which included the representatives of the government of Israel and the Allied powers. They had no capacity to deal with or transport the millions of WWII era refugees from Asia.

      The working group report on statelessness simply recommended that rights granted to a refugee be extended to immediate family members. link to But that simply made them refugees. There is no consensus that the altruistic statement in the convention itself regarding the aim of preserving family unity creates any binding legal obligation, since it merely concludes with a "recommendation" to governments. It doesn't stipulate that it covers the disposition of adult descendants or succeeding generations, rather than minor children. But in customary UN practice the refugee status is passed from generation to generation. It cannot be inferred that this implies the existence of an unmentioned, penumbral right of return in accordance with the customary rules of treaty interpretation contained in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, since the convention explicitly provides for resettlement and acquisition of citizenship in other countries and involuntary loss of refugee status.

      I think that a good case can be made for the right of descendants who remain refugees to return to their family's country of origin based upon the Citizenship Ordinance of 1925, the Hague rules regarding family honor and rights, and the Geneva Conventions and Protocols. That does not include members of the diaspora who have resettled outside of Palestine/Jordan. That argument isn't based upon the ineffective patchwork of rules in the 1951 convention or its additional protocol.

    • He sees this kidnapping as an opportunity to force Israel to release prisoners.

      Oh please, when the Israeli High Court of Justice finally ruled that the law didn't permit the use of administrative detention to hold prisoners for use as bargaining chips, the Knesset took the hint and adopted a version of the "Unlawful Combatants Law" that does permit the practice.

      In any event, the Shin Bet security service and the Israeli government have always used Palestinian prisoners as hostages and bargaining chips. When Shalit was captured they ignored the AG's advice and did it anyway. See
      * AG refuses to ok use of Hamas officials as 'bargaining chips'
      G8: IDF detention of 64 lawmakers raises 'concerns'; Israel warns not even Haniyeh immune from detention. link to
      * IDF Court Frees Bargaining Chip for Shalit: An IDF court in Wednesday freed a senior Hamas political leader after 36 months in jail, leaving Israel with one less bargaining chip for Shalit. link to

  • Oldman labels himself an 'A-hole' for saying Jews run Hollywood
    • Well, Phil the Jews of Europe for many centuries were in ghettos – as Jews. They were not there by choice, and neither were the Jews of Hollywood.

      Yes, many of them wouldn't touch a gentile with a barge pole, let alone be "assimilated" into secular or religious gentile culture or society. Hannah Arendt observed that there was nothing in the German laws that prohibited sexual relations or marriage between Jews and Germans that should have offended anyone, since the same prohibitions were already contained in the Jewish halakhah.

      If any of that troubles you, then why aren't you complaining about the Jewish ghetto, surrounded by walls and fences, that the Zionists have built for themselves in the Middle East? I'm curious if we should feel sorry for them, because they are not there by choice?

    • Foxman said that yes there are a lot of Jews in Hollywood.

      [Oldman's] reference [in his first apology] to the Neal Gabler book he was reading only reinforces the notion that Jewish directors, producers and financiers are there in Hollywood as Jews.

      This has gotten silly. Oldman said " 'Mel Gibson is in a town that's run by Jews." He did NOT say that it's run by "the Jews".

  • Socialism and the Jews
    • As I mentioned above, the key criterion is practicality.

      No, as Chomsky noted BDS is a symbolic tactic. The United States has participated in more cases before the ICJ than any other country in the Court's history. The key criterion in cases like Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America); Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America); and Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America) was to name and shame the USA by establishing its responsibility for wrongful acts of state and payment of compensation.

      Palestinian civil society has been harmed by US government violations of the UN resolutions I cited above which deplored its abuse of the Security Council veto, its provision of weapons and foreign assistance, and its recognition and assistance of illegal territorial situations created by Israel.

      Speaking of Guatanamo’s butterflies, State Department staff have said that it’s harder to stop administrative detention at Guantanamo when the “key ally”, the Israeli State, does it.

      I don't see what's so hard about it. All it would take to deter those responsible would be for a) one of the victim states to issue arrest warrants for Bush, Obama, McCain, and Graham; b) to let it be known there is no statute of limitations; and c) that they will be pursued forever along with any lawmaker who conspires with them to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open. The Rome Statute, the 4th Geneva Convention, and the First Additional Protocol make it a crime to transfer or deport protected persons out of the occupied territory. Afghanistan is a party to the Rome Statute. The Courts of ICC member states, including the ECHR and the UK Supreme Court, have already ruled that the United States has violated article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention by operating Guantanamo or by abducting people elsewhere and taking them to Afghanistan to be tortured by the CIA. See for example:
      * Court Finds Rights Violation in C.I.A. Rendition Case link to
      * UK Supreme Court Rejects Jack Goldsmith’s Interpretation of GC IV
      link to

      The fact that the ICC member states which have jurisdiction are either unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute the responsible US officials is supposed to automatically trigger the complimentary jurisdiction of the ICC. The perpetrators are well known. They include US lawmakers who have publicly implicated themselves on international news program broadcasts and the Congressional record. The Office of the Prosecutor has supposedly been "examining" the situation for ten years, but at this point they should probably be indicted by Argentina and Gambia for aiding and abetting the situation. Amnesty International published a study last year which indicated that 163 countries have laws on the books which grant their national courts some form of universal jurisdiction. So it should be trivially easy to find one of them willing to act in response to those Court decisions I cited above and grassroots political pressure.

      So, US officials can be held personally responsible for crimes committed against the people of Afghanistan in exactly the same way that the ICC opened the cases against persons who committed crimes in Kenya on its own initiative. The Prosecutor has the necessary prerogative.

    • Regarding refugees’ descendants’ return:
      (( Further, the actual phrasing of the right of return under art 12(4) of the ICCPR incorporates the term ‘enter’ in place of ‘return’. According to several legal commentators, this ‘accommodate[s] the situation of second-, third- or fourth-generation refugees’ born outside their ‘country’, giving them a right to enter the country — which is of considerable significance in the Palestinian context.)) link to

      No, there is only one author at BADIL. Under the VCLT rules of treaty interpretation, there is no "right" for second-, third- or fourth-generation stateless refugees, in the absence of an explicit treaty provision.

      That article actually says "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country." So the text "his own country" is still very problematic for stateless descendants of Palestinian refugees. Israel is not their country of origin, residence, or nationality and Israel's formal reservation to the ICCPR makes any personal status determinations a matter of domestic Israeli law:

      "With reference to Article 23 of the Covenant, and any other provision thereof to which the present reservation may be relevant, matters of personal status are governed in Israel by the religious law of the parties concerned.
      "To the extent that such law is inconsistent with its obligations under the Covenant, Israel reserves the right to apply that law."

      -- link to

      Nothing in the ICCPR dispute resolution procedures contained in Article 42 and 44 require Israel to accept a proposed solution to a disputed matter, unless it is in line with that reservation.

      The statement of End The Occupation and Amnesty International about the existence of a right for descendants in international law is just that, an unsupported statement of belief. I agree, but you need to situate that right in an enforceable convention and get a court, like the ICJ or ECHR, to rule on the question.

    • I think that the US did at times cooperate strategically with South Africa.

      It's still a piss-poor analogy, unless there's:
      * $270 billion in foreign assistance involved;
      * a Security Council resolution, like 500 (1982), calling for an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, because the United States had prevented the Council from fulfilling its primary responsibilities;
      * a General Assembly resolution, like ES-9/1, adopted under the auspices of "Uniting for Peace" and deploring the use of a veto by the United States to prevent the adoption of appropriate measures against Israel under Chapter VII and any political, economic, military, or technical support provided to Israel - plus a call to all members to refrain from supplying Israel with any weapons and to suspend any military assistance to Israel.
      link to
      link to

      Nothing remotely similar happened in the case of South Africa, the USA, and the UN. All of those actions were taken by the international community of states in accordance with the international law contained in the UN Charter. If you don't agree with Chomsky that its high time for others take BDS action against the USA, then WTF more does it have to do? Use Guantanamo to pull the wings off of captured butterflies and torture unicorns?

    • @ W.Jones Why does Chomsky say that the Petition read to him is one that demands Israel’s destruction when it says no such thing, but rather asks for the refugees’ right to return to their homes?

      Because the BDS movement constantly talks about the right of 5 million people to return to Israel. Chomsky thought that tactic could backfire and harm the victims. Finkelstein also tried to explain that there is no international public support for that proposition. I think a legal case can be made for repatriation of descendants who were not personally displaced, but neither the BDS movement nor the government of Palestine has ever done that. It certainly isn't mentioned in any ICJ cases and isn't black letter law. In the meantime, the government of Israel is working assiduously to establish examples of contrary state practice. See the article I cited above and "US to differentiate between ‘personally displaced’ Palestinian refugees and their descendants" link to

      and Barat gave the right answer by pointing to South Africa’s analogy.

      Oh please! The South African government had complained about the class action Alien Tort Statute lawsuits against Ford, IBM, et al for aiding and abetting the former apartheid regime. It said they interfered with its own rights to litigate such claims itself (though it later reversed its position and supported the right of private action), e.g. link to So there's ample evidence that the government of South Africa hasn't ruled out the possibility of pursuing claims or adopting sanctions against the US government and its corporations. In any event, the US government never gave the South African apartheid regime anywhere near $3 billion a year, much less $276 billion over six decades. So it doesn't logically follow that Barat can cite an African analogy to explain why the international BDS movement shouldn't target the US for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions for its role in aiding and abetting Israel. That's especially true since it has been explicitly condemned by an Emergency Special Sessions of the UN General assembly for doing exactly that. Nothing remotely analogous to that happened with the US, the UN, and South Africa.

    • P.S. Chomsky notes that these are tactics, not principles, and that before we use them we should consider whether they might harm the victims. I've commented on the fact that almost everyone concerned has strongly opposed an actual survey to consult the wishes of the refugees to determine how many want to return to Israel, opt for compensation, or wish to pursue some other remedy.

      Nasser recommended that be done way back in 1955 and presumed most refugees would not want to stay after they saw the existing conditions and realized that they would be de facto second class citizens. That actually did happen to many Jews from Arab countries and the former Soviet Union. link to

      Nonetheless, people tend to talk and negotiate in the abstract, as if there are 5 million refugees who only wish to live among their Zionist persecutors in Israel.

    • @W.Jones replying to you here The Israeli state is going through a boom economically and getting tons of foreign aid. BDS is nowhere near hurting the Israelis so severely that Palestinians are being hurt.

      Midway through the video you cited Chomsky stopped Barat in mid-sentence and said that's not what we are talking about. He is saying that the narrative about the hypothetical exercise of the right of return has been a gift to American hardliners that has already harmed Palestinians.

      Just watch the cheers and applause during Netahyahu's speech to the Congress when he proclaims that Israel won't accept even one descendant of a refugee. The Whitehouse is still serving-up his side of the story:

      The Arab attack in 1948 on Israel resulted in two refugee problems -- Palestinian refugee problem and Jewish refugees, roughly the same number, who were expelled from Arab lands. Now, tiny Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees, but the vast Arab world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees. Now, 63 years later, the Palestinians come to us and they say to Israel, accept the grandchildren, really, and the great grandchildren of these refugees, thereby wiping out Israel’s future as a Jewish state.

      So it’s not going to happen. Everybody knows it’s not going to happen. And I think it’s time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly it’s not going to happen.

      -- link to

      The government of Israel routinely uses the prospect of Palestinian refugees flooding the country to whip-up support at home and abroad to punish the refugees. As a direct result of that very effective propaganda campaign, there are calls from our lawmakers to reduce funding to UNRWA to levels that would only feed 30,000 refugees, not the 5 million who are in need of support today. -- link to

  • 'Forward' editor says Presbyterian vote was anti-Semitic
    • Russia and Ukraine are calling.

      File this under the heading of unintended irony or things meant to drive Victoria Nuland over the edge: "Putin meets with Abbas, calls for renewal of Mideast peace talks: Russian leader tells PA president that despite difficulties, he is open to discussing joint steps on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. link to

    • Learn some geography and history. Most of these events occurred in Galilee.

      Thanks to Jewish sectarianism and snobbery, that region was part of the original Who is a Jew? controversy. Like today's Reform and Conservative Jews, the inhabitants of Samaria and "Galilee of the Gentiles" weren't even considered proper Jews back in those days. All of Ben Gurion's posturing about re-establishing the glory of the Second Commonwealth era, should have created doubts about the title to those regions. Not that I would object to a Roman governor and an Idumean or Hashemite Tetrarchy;-)

    • It seems to me that people here like to talk about “proportion” only when it serves their arguments.

      Then you aren't reading very carefully. I've always pointed out that under customary international law, organizations, like the UN are responsible for guaranteeing fundamental human rights in the new states that are created through their assistance. Israel has actively prevented the creation of Arab Palestine, so it's practically the only state the UN has ever created so far that stubbornly rejects the principle of fundamental equality of all its citizens and the role of the UN to step in and attempt to fulfill its legal guarantees.

      It's important to recall that Zionists and Jews living in other countries asked to be singled out for special treatment under the terms of the minority rights treaties and the Palestine mandate. The JCPA published a tract which included an essay by Eli Likovski on the “Status of the Jewish Agency and WZO”. He explained that when the Zionist Congress said “to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine, secured under public law” that they simply meant “public international law”. See page 32 of Daniel Judah Elazar, Alysa M. Dortort (editors) “Understanding the Jewish Agency: a handbook, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs*, 1984.

      Adam Keller wrote an article which sums-up the situation. The Zionists asked for special treatment and promised to observe the usual legal obligations, then they turned right around an broke all of their promises:

      And thus, to go back to the question posed at the beginning of this article: Is Israel singled out, by international civil society if not (yet?) by international diplomacy? Yes, it is. Is it unfair and biased? To my view, it is not. It is but a quite fair demand upon Israel to pay at least part of a long-overdue debt, and keep their part of a contract which Israel’s Founding Fathers solemnly signed.
      Yes, there are many countries whose conduct fully deserves condemnation – but none was given such a unique privilege as the Zionist movement was given, none had made such a binding obligation in return for being given such a privilege, and which it failed to keep.
      In recent years the State of Israel has been vociferously criticized for planting settlers in the occupied territories – which it can be argued that China is also doing in Tibet; and for killing civilians in the bombings of Gaza, which it can shown that Americans and Europeans are also doing in Iraq and Afghanistan; and for lethally raiding the Gaza Aid Flotilla, for which some apologists also tried to find various precedents and parallels. Yet Israel is singled out because it, and it alone, is in obvious default of a fundamental obligation, an obligation which was the condition for Israel coming into being in the first place.
      The plan which is now on offer – and had been on offer for quite a long time – gives Israel the possibility of settling this debt on quite comfortable conditions. The West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are to be given up and become the State of Palestine, are after all little more than 22% of what was Mandatory Palestine, and by giving them up Israel would be intentionally recognized as having at last discharged its debt and kept its obligation. But continued persistence in refusing to pay the debt – continuing it until the international balance of power has fundamentally changed, some years or decades from now – might put Israel at the risk of what happens to those who fail to pay their debts: going into liquidation.

      link to

    • But for Israel-you have these fuzzy ‘plan D’ which is hardly conclusive

      There was nothing vague about it. The preamble of Plan dalet said that it was based upon three earlier plans, Plan B, September 1945, The May 1946 Plan, and the Yehoshua Plan, 1948. The official published history of the Haganah says that in the summer of 1937, ten years before the UN Partition plan, David Ben Gurion directed the Haganah Commander of Tel Aviv, Elimelech Slikowitz (“Avnir” the author of Plan A), to draw up a plan to take over the entire country after the British withdrawal. Full stop.

      Plan Dalet was not a defensive plan. It literally declared war upon the Arab State:

      (a) The objective of this plan is to gain control of the areas of the Hebrew state and defend its borders. It also aims at gaining control of the areas of Jewish settlement and concentration which are located outside the borders [of the Hebrew state] against regular, semi-regular, and small forces operating from bases outside or inside the state.

      I take it you have no military training or formal education on the subject of the laws and customs of land warfare. The plan explicitly called for terror operations in cities and probes or unprovoked attacks against Arab population centers, and in the cases of those which defended themselves, it required that the inhabitants be driven beyond the borders of the Hebrew State.
      It also amounts to a plan for a war of aggression against the Arab state by a fifth column working in tandem with the militias of the Jewish state. The explicit objectives were to gain control of the territory in and around the Jewish settlements in the Arab state, in order to allow the settlements freedom of military activity. That was to be accomplished by destroying or occupying legitimate Arab defense installations located inside the Arab state through the use of unprovoked attacks. At the time this was all happening the Jewish militias were under an obligation contained in resolution 181(II) to only use military force for internal security and to prevent border clashes. The resolution recited the prohibition against the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of “any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”.
      This portion of Plan Dalet can only be described as an operational plan for premeditated ethnic cleansing:

      4. Mounting operations against enemy population centers located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force. These operations can be divided into the following categories:
      Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.
      Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.
      The villages which are emptied in the manner described above must be included in the fixed defensive system and must be fortified as necessary.

      link to

    • Exactly what sanctions are on the current regimes in Iraq and Egypt? Egypt receives a couple billion in military aid every year. You’re spinning.

      The Huffington Post carried a Reuters report today that aid to Egypt will be cut by a third, even if the threat of a Leahy Act freeze is averted, and that's unlikely if it doesn't free the Al Jazeera journalists and call off the mass executions of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood. link to

      The US withheld aid under the Leahy Act last year after Morsi was deposed and Leahy is doing it again this year:

      Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) has prevented all U.S. military assistance to the Egyptians, asserting the Egyptian government had violated human rights in ousting the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood regime.

      Bill Gertz, "Leahy Holds Up Egypt’s Apache Attack Helicopters", June 12, 2014, link to

      The Leahy Act cuts last year were reported here at Mondoweiss, but they were covered by the mainstream press too:

      The U.S. will withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egypt amid a crackdown by the country’s military-backed regime, the State Department said Wednesday.

      The U.S., which provides up to $1.5 billion in aid annually to the Arab nation, will withhold delivery of certain large-scale military systems and cash assistance to the Egyptian government, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

      -- U.S. Will Cut Aid to Egypt: The move marks a chilling of relations between the two nations link to

      The sanctions on Iraq are contained in the Iraq Stabilization and Insurgency Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 576 (“ISISR”). According to the Treasury Department:

      In response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, the United States imposed comprehensive sanctions, including a trade embargo against Iraq and a freeze of the assets of the then-Iraqi government, which were implemented in the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 575.
      Over the years, a series of Executive orders adjusted the sanctions in response to events in Iraq. On September 13, 2010, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published final rules removing the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations from 31 C.F.R. chapter V and adding the Iraq Stabilization and Insurgency Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 576 (“ISISR”), in implementation of Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003 (“E.O. 13303”), Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003 (“E.O. 13315”), Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004 (“E.O. 13350”), Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004 (“E.O. 13364”), and Executive Order 13438 of July 17, 2007 (“E.O. 13438”). A summary of the provisions of these Executive orders can be found in the Preamble of the final rule promulgating the ISISR (75 Fed. Reg. 55464, September 13, 2010). The ISISR contain all of the current OFAC restrictions involving Iraq and Iraqi property.
      This brochure summarizes these new regulations.

      There currently are no broad-based sanctions in place against Iraq, but there are certain prohibitions and asset freezes against specific individuals and entities associated with the former Saddam Hussein regime, as well as parties determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act of violence that has the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people. The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to name all such individuals and entities. These names are included in OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”). In addition to these targeted sanctions, the ISISR impose some specific prohibitions designed to protect certain Iraqi property and contain certain provisions dealing with residual restrictions from the 1990 Iraqi sanctions.

      -- link to

    • how can a Christian organization single out Israel in a region where Christians are literally running for their lives from other countries because they are being killed or ethnically cleansed AS CHRISTIANS.

      They don't. The PCUSA has taken similar actions in connection with the conflict in Sudan that included persecution of Christians. As you know, we've had stories here which explain that Israel denies asylum to African Christians running for their lives.

      In the past, I've explained to readers how they can find articles on the PCUSA website about the situation in Tibet: link to

      You can use the same method to find over 300 articles about Jordan; 400 articles on Syria; 400 articles on Iraq; 300 articles on Lebanon; and 680 articles on Egypt. But that still puts the cart before the horse. What companies are aiding and abetting or facilitating those other human rights situations and does the PCUSA own any of their stock that it should divest?

      In the case of Israel, Christians living in Palestine have asked the PCUSA for help in ending Zionist persecution, e.g. link to

    • Both Apartheid and Ethnic Cleansing are designated as Crimes Against Humanity

      True enough, but that simply allows the ICC to prosecute them when there is no connection to an armed conflict. FYI, Article 85 of the 1st Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions (1977) also designates them as grave breaches and war crimes if the are committed during an occupation or armed conflict. So they can also be prosecuted as war crimes under Article 8(2)(b) of the Rome Statute, i.e. "Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law".

      P.S. The IDF is killing Palestinian civilians nearly every damn day. We don't have to wait for some other country to right all of its wrongs before we can insist that the illegal situation in the OPT be brought to an immediate end.

    • Do not forget. Eisner defended Sodastream, too.

      While the Bedouins displaced by Ma'ale Adumim and its industrial park have been relocated to the immediate vicinity of the Abu Dis garbage dump. See Bedouins around Ma’ale Adumim link to

      P.S, Sodastream is currently trading at a 52 week low:-)

    • At the very least, shouldn’t Syria and Iraq and Egypt be boycotted, too?

      The US government has adopted sanctions against Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. There are still a panoply of prohibitions and asset freezes in place for entities and individuals associated with the former regime and those who threaten the stability of the current government of Iraq. We literally went to war against Iraq twice, and imposed a crippling sanctions regime on the country. One of our Presidents [Bush Sr.] rejected a proposal to settle the first war peacefully by tying the Iraqi withdrawal from occupied Kuwait to the Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories. A couple hundred thousand dead Iraqi people latter, why shouldn't Israel and its corporate enablers be on the top of our shit todo list?

  • Oldman says Hollywood is 'run by Jews,' then offers over-the-top apology
    • While Jews do manage the day-to-day affairs of Hollywood, true power lies with ownership.

      Sony NYSE: SNE and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) are publicly owned stock companies. BTW, Oldman was talking about who runs Hollywood, not who owns it. I'm see even you agree that "Jews do manage the day-to-day affairs of Hollywood".

    • Let me add that Time Warner is led by Jeffrey Bewkes, who is Lutheran.

      He's in New York. In Burbank, Richard J. Fox, is Executive Vice President, International, Warner Bros. Entertainment; Greg Silverman is the President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group and there are a host of other Jewish operating officers and divisional executives.

    • I think the only workable reading of the "apology" is that he was "pulling their leg" and enjoying every minute of it. It's dripping with sarcasm and thinly veiled contempt, delivered "deadpan"-style.

  • Israel can’t force-feed occupation to those who hunger for freedom
    • Whatever became of Israel’s project to make honest Israelis of its Christian citizens?

      I haven't heard anything, except for the adoption of a law that provided for separate representation on the public advisory council which is appointed under the 1988 Equal Employment Opportunities Law. The employment opportunities for an "Arab" are pretty much the same, whether or not you are a Muslim or a Christian. A Jewish commissioner noted that "there are no groups promoting employment for different sectors in the Arab population per se, only for the Arab population as a whole.” So, there isn't much to show for the initiative so far.

  • 'It is Time for Accountability': International 'Month Against the Apartheid Wall' marks 10 years since ICJ ruling
    • Whatever the international community is tired of, they are now more concerned with the rise of jihadis in the Middle East as well as Russian and Chinese expansionism. Or they should be.

      Regardless of what you think they are more tired of, they know perfectly well that the predictable intransigence of Zionists has led to the collapse of the peace talks, and more settlement construction. All of that fuels the rise of jihadis in the Middle East. That's why the largest EU states and the EU Commission have responded with warnings for their citizens and businesses not to do business with the settlements and have rejected Israeli certifications and labeling of settlement products.

    • I think Abbas should hold a referendum amongst the Palestinian people and let them decide if Israel,s criminal leaders should face justice.

      According to the documents he has forwarded to the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly and the Security Coucil, that decision has already been made:

      This letter is in follow-up to our previous 489 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the territory of the State of Palestine. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 12 March 2014 (A/ES-10/620-S/2014/180), constitute a basic record of the crimes being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people since September 2000. For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism and systematic human rights violations being committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

      – A/ES-10/621 link to

    • The ICC is weak. Abbas is weak. The PA’s bid for Palestinian independence is weak, and no amount of shadow puppetry is going to change that.

      Who cares? The laws on the books in the ICC member states aren't weak and Zionists can't even bear to think about giving up their junkets to Europe as things stand now.

      Hostage. Even you must be getting weak from constantly throwing hyper legalistic cow patties at the wall and hoping for some to stick.

      No, all of the available evidence indicates that the international community is getting tired of Zionist's doing that sort of thing.

    • So why is Abbas still in charge? When are they going to remove him? He’s clearly not prepared to give up power willingly.

      The Unity government plan called for elections within six months, and he's not running for re-election.

    • You realized that they have not paid the bill, right??

      I realize the bill is the result of creative bookkeeping and that the Israeli naval forces are preventing the Palestinians from exploiting the natural gas in their own exclusive economic zone. You realize that Israel will never be able to pay the compensation it owes the Palestinians for the theft of state and personal property and the illegal plunder of Palestinian natural resources, right???

    • ... Tells you everything you need to know about the Palestinian leadership.

      I think you misinterpreting what Abbas had to say about his reluctance to pursue remedies in the international courts. It's not unheard of for cases in the ICJ to drag-on for more than a decade and the ICC has many cases that look as if they too will follow that example. So his decision to accept Obama and Kerry's promise of a final agreement within one year in exchange for a 9 month hiatus was a no brainer. He can always grant retroactive jurisdiction for any crimes committed after the UNESCO vote according to the VCLT and he has demonstrated that good faith negotiations are an exercise in futility. Here is a longer, more detailed comment on the subject:

      The Palestinian Authority may file charges against Israel with the UN’s International Criminal Court [sic] over the government’s recent decision to build 3,000 housing units in Jerusalem and the West Bank, President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday.

      “We are not very inclined to resort to this path, but if Israel insists on its unacceptable plan, then we will use other methods,” Abbas said during a joint press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara. “If Israel continues in this way, we will respond with all means – of course peaceful ones – including the possibility of going to this court.”

      -- Abbas threatens to take Israel to ICC over E1 link to

      FYI, the entire PLO Executive serves as the provisional government of the State of Palestine, and most have made statements in favor of the aims of the BDS movement and granting the ICC jurisdiction.

  • Three critical responses to 'Growing Jewish support for boycott'
    • Shingo: What Fink and Chomsky can’t get through their gatekeeper skulls is that so long as Israel pays no price or faces no consequence for their maintaining the status quo, it’s leaders have no reason to get rid of those warmongers. . . . Jones: Exactly.

      I think the point you two are deliberately missing is that diaspora Palestinian warmongers are just the other side of the same coin. International law doesn't favor either side or permit Palestinians to resort to warfare in order to make anyone pay a price, until their belligerent claims for property rights or a one state solution are satisfied. The call to action was based upon the failure of the international community to take action on the ICJ advisory opinion. But it was based upon resolution 62 and 73 armistice lines and resolution 242 and 338 withdrawal and termination of belligerent claims. That's the international legal consensus. You can't introduce mission creep into the BDS movement by suggesting a one state solution, without getting those old laws and resolutions repealed. In the mean time Chomsky and Finklestein are guilty of pointing out the fact that international consensus exists for a compromise solution that would end the armed conflict.

    • Since BDS is a nonviolent campaign and the right of return has been upheld by the UN, BDS is not resorting to “deadly force” to “defend mundane property rights.”

      I don't believe the UN organization has ever addressed the issue of the right of return for adult Palestinian refugees who were born abroad and have no continuing social connections to the country. I can only find references to refugees who were displaced by the wars in 1948 and 1967 and vague references to the goal of maintaining family unity.

      The BDS leadership has prolonged the armed conflict by insisting on the inclusion of mundane property rights in any settlement. That means the property rights are the subject of an on-going belligerent claim. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades happen to be a fact of life and part of Palestinian society. They have resorted to deadly force and refuse to comply with the principles of international law reflected in the UN Charter and relevant UN resolutions, i.e. the immediate "Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area".

    • Similarly, your argument comes across as a classic Marie Antoinette moment. Why should they squabble over trivialities like a roof over their heads so long as they have a pulse right Hostage?

      I don't think that's a good faith reading of any comment I've made. My argument is that nobody elected these two to conduct Palestine's foreign relations or other acts of state. They gave aid and comfort to the legions of Zionist enemies, like Dore Gold, who were lobbying the ICC for all they were worth at the time. link to

      They became part of the vocal chorus who said that "Palestine wasn't a state", and thus, incapable of accepting ICC jurisdiction for crimes, including those committed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead. That sort of thing has given Israel the impunity it requires to go on killing Palestinians, with or without a roof over their heads.

    • I have yet to see any statements from either of them that condones internecine slaughter and loss of life forever over petty property right squabbles, so by all means, feel free to link to any examples.

      Both of them opposed the UN statehood bid, without which Palestine has no legal standing in the international courts or in national courts that apply the customary doctrine of foreign sovereign immunity. In other words, they were undermining the validity of Palestine's Article 12(3) declaration regarding the situation in Gaza (Cast Lead) and working assiduously to maintain the status quo that prevents Palestinian victims from pursuing legal remedies on their own behalf. The status quo happens to be a situation of internecine slaughter that is being prolonged over issues regarding mundane boundary and property disputes.

      The people on both sides who refuse to end the armed conflict, unless there is some grand "final settlement" that resolves all life or death matters and mundane claims are really only creating a "Gordian Knot" that's too sacrosanct to cut. That only prolongs the conflict and violates international law which calls for an end to all such belligerent claims and prohibits threats or use of force.

    • Oh really? I take it you don’t regard courts in the US and Britain as civilized systems.

      There have been plenty of cases involving US states and courts that have tried to automatically authorize the use of deadly force in defense of mere property rights. Stand your ground laws only offer a defense against a charge of homicide, not immunity. The Courts can and do dismiss that defense when there is no physical attack or apparent threat to life involved, e.g.
      * Brandishing a Deadly Weapon In Defense of Personal Property is A Criminal Act "Commonwealth v. Alexander, 531 S.E.2d 567 (VA Supreme Court 2000)"
      *The owner of land has no right to assault a mere trespasser with a deadly weapon. Montgomery, 98 Va. at 844, 36 S.E. at 373
      * The dissent argues that the shooting was justified by the fact that Officer Hymon had probable cause to believe that Garner had committed a nighttime burglary. Post, at 29, 32. While we agree that burglary is a serious crime, we cannot agree that it is so dangerous as automatically to justify the use of deadly force. The FBI classifies burglary as a "property" rather than a "violent" crime. See Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States 1 (1984). 22 Although the armed burglar would present a different situation, the fact that an unarmed suspect has broken into a dwelling at night does not automatically mean he is physically dangerous. This case demonstrates as much. See also Solem v. Helm, 463 U.S. 277, 296 -297, and nn. 22-23 (1983). In fact, the available statistics demonstrate that burglaries only rarely involve physical violence. During the 10-year period from 1973-1982, only 3.8% of all burglaries involved violent crime. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Household [471 U.S. 1, 22] Burglary 4 (1985). 23 See also T. Reppetto, Residential Crime 17, 105 (1974); Conklin & Bittner, Burglary in a Suburb, 11 Criminology 208, 214 (1973). -- US Supreme Court in TENNESSEE v. GARNER, 471 U.S. 1 (1985)

    • Omar Barghouti, et al are all in agreement that the limitation of BDS action to the occupation and colonization of Arab Lands “…occupied in 1967…” [] is antithetical to the original Palestinian Call.

      The page you cited doesn't actually say any of that. Here's one by Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss from The Nation that says:

      The movement has won adherents by saying that it will accept any gesture of boycott or divestment that Westerners are willing to make. "If you only want to boycott an egg, we want you to boycott an egg," said Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which is part of the BNC, during a tour of America last year to drum up support.

      -- link to

    • Chomsky’s position that BDS does not represent Palestinian Civil Society is the opposite of what JVP’s official position is, which I cited above.

      No if you are going to cherry-pick quotes, he was only discussing those who hope to destroy Israel per se. He noted that the other aims and methods of the movement are "all the right thing to do", but wondered why Barat doesn't employ those methods on the USA too (not instead)? The JVP mission statement does call a complete change in US foreign policies and boycotts, divestment, and sanctions of US entities that facilitate the occupation.

    • Which is a 180 degree flip flop from his earlier position that right of return is a human right of every refugee and not subject to whether it threatens the Jewish majority. UNGA194 doesn’t make the return of refugees subject to protecting Jewish supremacy.

      No it is not. You're still treating a hypothetical problem, until you actually consult the wishes of each refugee registered with the UNRWA. Polls indicate that 9 out of 10 prefer compensation, have a reasonable fear of persecution, and don't wish to live among Zionists. Members of the diaspora who are not actual refugees, may have no right of return, but can pursue property claims to obtain title or compensation. By way of analogy, years ago I returned from a long term deployment, and discovered that in the meantime, my old work car had been totaled, while sitting in the parking lot at my apartment complex. There had been a hit and run by a drunk who was driving with no insurance or license. When the guy was finally pulled over by the police, he ran into another parked car. It wasn't the first time he had been caught drinking and driving, and he was already in jail serving his sentence on the related charges by the time I got home. My legal right to compensation was perfectly clear, but there wasn't any realistic probability that I'd ever recover enough money to pay my legal fees, even if I obtained a judgment and tried to enforce it. The guy was perfectly willing to go to jail rather than obey the law or court orders and his attitude was basically that you can't get blood out of a turnip. The bottom line is that having a right and implementing it are two very different things and that someone else, like the BDS movement can't decide how you should exercise your rights for you.

      I think that Palestine could win its legal cases on the issues in the ICJ, and still not be able to enforce the judgments. In fact a situation like that led to the 2005 call to action. I don't think the ICJ is never going to rule that a 7th generation Israeli Zionist doesn't have the same universal human rights to leave and return to his country of origin, like everyone else. Likewise, I think the ICC could issue arrest warrants, obtain custody of some suspects, and even obtain some convictions that would serve as a deterrent to future crimes. But it doesn't have the power to order the government of Israel to do anything, much less the ability to repatriate millions of refugees and settlers or to magically create enough land and other environment resources to accommodate everyone concerned.

      Chomsky and Finklestein have surveyed the likely results of waiting for the international community to assist refugees and their descendants in implementing a just solution, including the right of return for all, and have decided that's wishful or fringe thinking at this point. That doesn't mean they don't recognize the existence of the legal entitlement. I think that there could be a private right of action against the state of Israel and the settlers for the crime of pillage, that could lead to asset freezes and recovery, but almost no one is discussing that subject.

    • So name them.

      I've already done that, Ali Abunimah and Omar Barghouti are prime examples.

      Right and Chomsky is willing to tolerate the status quo indefinitely and insists the Palestinians submit and take it up the rear for another few decades while they wait for “international law” and “international consensus” to ride in on a white horse and come to the rescue because this will lead to less slaughter and loss of life.

      Nonsense, in civilized systems you are only allowed to resort to the use of deadly force if your life is threatened, not to defend mundane property rights. Finkelstein and Chomsky catch hell for pointing out that there is an international consensus regarding the two state solution that would end the armed conflict and serve as a possible step on the road to a one state solution or regional economic union/confederation. There is a fringe theory that everyone would be better off dead, rather than dividing the life or death issues from the ones that only affect peacetime administrative boundaries, place of residence, and mundane property rights and solving the more important issues as a preliminary matter.

    • He simply criticizes some of the leaders for misrepresenting themselves as members of Palestinian civil society and says some of them have unrealistic expectations about the possibilities for implementing the right of return.

      He does a lot more than that.

      In an interview on the subject he first dismissed BDS as the agenda pushed by individuals who are not members of Palestinian civil society. Then he questioned that even if BDS was a grassroots Palestinian initiative, it would make no sense for us to to support it because it was not in the best interests of Palesitianians.

      No, he characterizes the agenda to destroy the state of Israel, based upon unrealistic or wildly over optimistic expectations concerning the implementation of the right of return that way. The only people I know who really think that's gonna happen are deluded youngsters who probably watched too much Pinky and the Brain in their formative years.

      He's absolutely correct that many leaders of the BDS movement don't fit the "Palestinian civil society" bill of particulars and that there is little popular support for the PAs boycott of illegal settlement products.

      If the boycott doesn't have the potential to harm Palestinians, then why do we have to make such a big deal over the need for exceptions, in cases like Omar Barghouti's, so that Palestinians can attend a Zionist university? FFS he isn't even living under the jurisdiction of the IDF Civil Administration and its permit system, but we are nonetheless asked to accept the need to bend the rules so that participation in the boycott won't result in a deprivation of equal educational opportunities. I don't see anything wrong when Chomsky makes a similar observation.

      Chomsky blows hot air about how it would be more effective to boycott the military industrial complex – as though the average Joe goes out and buys F35s.

      No, he's talking as though the average Joe's members of Congress go out and buy Israel squadrons of F35s.

    • This sounds like a pretty weak argument Hostage. The fact that those BDS leaders don’t prioritize accepting the jurisdiction of international courts above sovereignty and self determination could hardly be described as a delegitimizing the former.

      Oh bull. We all know who Chomsky was talking about and they have Jordanian, Israeli, or US passports. They are willing to condone internecine slaughter and loss of life forever over petty property right squabbles, just so long as they, themselves, aren't included in the list of casualties. They oppose a solution to the armed conflict, based on the State of Palestine accepting the ICC's jurisdiction, because they reject anything that might pose an obstacle to a one state solution. In other words, they know what’s best for Palestinians, even if the actual Palestinians don’t.

      Finklestein described their Zionist counterparts in Yoav Shamir's film "Defamation":

      "It's the best thing that will ever happen to Israel if they get rid of these American Jews who are warmongers from Martha's Vinyard; and the warmongers from the Hamptons; and the warmongers from Beverly Hills; and the warmongers from Miami. It's been a disaster for Israel. It's the best thing if it can ever get rid of this [warmongering] American Jewry. It's a curse."

      They don't live in Palestine or a Palestinian refugee camp, they aren't citizens of Palestine, and have never held an elected office there. But they represent themselves as leaders of "Palestinian civil society organizations".

    • JVP’s commitment to “full equality” is in my view merely nominal,

      We've discussed your views in the past, and you aren't very well informed or very honest in my book.

      Chomsky for his part has said Israel cannot be boycotted because “the majority do not approve” including Israeli Jews.

      You need to provide a cite and supply verbatim quotes so that we can see if you've taken remarks out of context. After all, I've already caught you misrepresenting the published positions of Chomsky, Rabbi Elmer Berger, Dr W. Tom Mallison, and David Landy.

      He has also accused BDSers of hypocrisy and damaging the Palestinians because they don’t boycott, for instance, the US.

      BDSers are fond of pointing out that criticism of Israel is not evidence of bigotry or that no political entity is above criticism. The same arguments apply to BDSers and the BDS movement. Some BDS leaders lecture others about the need to enforce international law and then turn right around a delegitimize efforts to obtain UN recognition of Palestine's status as a state capable of accepting the jurisdiction of international courts. Some of the BDS leaders are citizens of other countries, like the US or Jordan and write screeds about others allegedly surrendering the right of return. But they never utter a peep about their own family members who have negotiated final status agreements that normalized relations with Israel, without securing any guarantees regarding the right of return or the right to compensation. Those sort of situations are somewhat hypocritical.

      For example they don’t support BDS against Israel itself,

      No JVP doesn't concentrate it efforts on boycotting Israel. That doesn't mean that it opposes others in the movement who do so.

      In general, Chomsky (and JVP and the Jewish left) have foisted on us a minimal critique of “anti-occupation”, etc, rather than rejecting Zionism categorically, as did the classical left and liberal views descended from the Enlightenment and emancipation.

      The last time I checked, JVP is still partnering with Students for Justice in Palestine in raising public awareness of Israel's war crimes, crimes against humanity, and denial of fundamental human rights and equality to Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. Some of those allegations are crimes for which no statutory limitations apply and for which 163 countries have granted their courts some degree of universal jurisdiction. It's hard to see how that is a "minimal critique", or why anyone should listen to you pretend that it is.

    • In contrast to JVP, Chomsky

      Chomsky is a member of the JVP advisory board. link to

      I don't think your analysis of Chomsky's remarks holds much water. He endorses the stated aims of the BDS movement and all of its methods, when they are "done right". After the interview you cited, Barat, Chomsky, and Pappé were co-authors of "Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians".

      No, because he explicitly supports the campaign, and his desire that other people participate as much as they are willing to does not mean otherwise.

      You haven't shown any examples where Chomsky doesn't support the BDS campaign. He simply criticizes some of the leaders for misrepresenting themselves as members of Palestinian civil society and says some of them have unrealistic expectations about the possibilities for implementing the right of return. Any argument you can muster in support of Barghouti's non-participation would apply equally to any Israeli who has tenure in a university, but supports the BDS movement and its methods.

    • Nor is the US 100 times worse. If you asked the people of Central America, Iraq, Vietnam, and African Americans if they would want their people to trade places with the Palestinians

      Since millions of them are dead, I'll leave it to you to figure out how to ask them if they'd trade places with refugees. Many of the survivors are still refugees today, due to the total collapse of their societies and the refusal of the USA to pay reparations, even after the ICJ ruled that they were required.

    • For anyone interested in ending the occupation (whether you are referring to ’48 or ’67) and building new political and economic realities between the River and the Sea, Jewish-Arab partnership is the only possibility. If for no other reason than the fact that none of us are going anywhere.

      Everyone here is counting on that. But we insist that the partnership has to be based upon absolute equality and non-discrimination. The problem is that Zionists say giving non-Jews equal rights, immunities, and privileges would destroy the State of Israel.

    • She [Jamie Stern-Weiner] concludes that this does not really amount to support for the BDS campaign, but just limited BDS “methods”. . . . Unfortunately, based on the interview with Frank Barat one may be skeptical.

      Barghouti, who is an Israeli, once said: "If you only want to boycott an egg, we want you to boycott an egg." He admittedly doesn't participate in the cultural boycott of Israeli universities. Do his statements and actions also lead to the conclusion that he doesn't really support the campaign, just limited BDS methods?

      The JVP mission statement explains that we are inspired by traditional Jewish ideology to work toward peace, justice, and human rights for all peoples of the Middle East. We have adopted our own political platform and agenda to achieve those ends, which go beyond the mere application of "BDS methods" to Israel. We also hope to change US foreign policy in the region. link to

      Nonetheless, our leadership has endorsed all of the aims of the BDS movement, and that does amount to support for the mainstream BDS campaign. In the real world, the only tangible manifestation of the BDS movement is the adoption of its aims and the application of its methods.

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