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  • Abbas agrees to 'Dershowitz Formula' in NY meeting with Jewish leaders
    • he said “competing claims” mnut, israel’s claim is illegal and they are the only ones who recognize it.

      The unilateral annexation of Jerusalem was null and void and a flagrant violation of international law. But simply pursuing claims to the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem has never been illegal. The UN General Assembly is partial to the idea that East Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine. The Security Council has adopted the Quartet Road Map, which holds that Jerusalem is a final status issue that can only be established through negotiations.

    • It is not Abbas’ destiny to resolve the issue, only to keep it from exploding. Palestinians await a charismatic new leader, a Guevara. He’s probably in college somewhere.

      The international community is still tracking down the nonagenarians responsible for WWII-era crimes. For jurisdictional purposes, it never mattered whether the Third Reich still existed or whether its successor was one state or two. So it's possible that Abbas could have set in motion events that will bear fruit long after he departs the world stage, simply by filing the official complaint back in 2009 with the ICC and accepting the Court's jurisdiction on behalf of the State of Palestine.

      FYI, a group of prominent academics in the field of international law has written to the President of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court asking that she put the issue of Palestinian statehood before the next session of the Assembly in November. So the upgrade in the permanent observer status of Palestine at the United Nations isn't the only game in town. The UN could prove to be an unnecessary distraction. The Cook Islands joined the ICC without becoming a UN member state or a UN observer state. -- See the letter and endorsements by: John Dugard, William Schabas, Georges Abi-­‐Saab, Susan Akram, Ove Bring, Marcel Brus, Eric David, Anton du Plessis, Max du Plessis, Mathias Forteau, Vera
      Gowlland Debbas, Larissa van den Herik, Victor Kattan, Michael Kearney, Marcelo Kohen, Chantal Meloni, André Nollkaemper, Roger O’Keefe, Alain Pellet, John Quigley, John Reynolds, Jean Salmon, Ben Saul, Nico Schrijver, Iain GM Scobbie, Carsten Stahn, Sébastien Touzé, Paul de Waart, William Thomas Worster, and Liesbeth Zegveld. --

    • Of course Abbas knows. But he is paid to pretend that he doesn’t. . . . the PA leadership that they can do little else but serve as Israel’s prison wardens.

      The PA leadership asked that the Israeli leadership be indicted and prosecuted in an international criminal court. They got sandbagged by the leaders of the so-called Palestinian Solidarity movement. Do you ever wonder if someone paid them off too?

    • Both are fully supported by the Charter of the UN. There are no “competing claims”, by the way, the “right of conquest” being equal to mere piracy since the Trety of Westphalia. And decisions by some members do not cancel the Charter.

      The Ottoman Empire officially recognized the Sephardic community of Jerusalem and granted them autonomy under their chief rabbi, the Hakam Bashi. They were indigenous and inhabited the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. If the League of Nations mandate didn't do anything else, it certainly did recognize the Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Palestine as subjects of international law.

      Ernest Gross, a Legal Counsel at the US State Department, wrote an advisory opinion which explained that in the absence of the mandatory or other administration, the law of nations recognized the inherent right of the people of those communities to organize a state and operate government in the areas that they inhabited.

      So there are some competing equitable claims that aren't based on conquest.

    • I would hope so, but, frankly, if there is truth to the story, I can’t see it in action.

      I don't think that the status quo can last for more than a matter of months.

      The PA can either deliver on its promises to pursue statehood and claims against Israel in the ICJ and ICC after November 6, or they'll be finished and Palestine will become a dependent territory of Israel. The customary rights and duties of statehood itself are incompatible with the terms of the lapsed Oslo interim agreements.

      The Palestinian public barely tolerated the last round of negotiations in Amman over the exchange of border and security proposals. Netanyahu's only incentive to restart those talks would be to obtain concessions from the PA. I haven't seen any evidence of popular support or any calls from the Palestinian grassroots to offer any more concessions. If Netanyahu doesn't act on the Levy Commission report, one of his successors surely will. The only strategy that will work against the creeping annexation in the short term is the statehood bid, and it's shelf life has almost expired.

  • The 'Land of Israel' lobby doesn't trust wobbly Netanyahu
    • To repeat, it seems to me that under these circumstances, to participate in the system may be to legitimize it. It makes it look like there is due process, the rule of the law, etc when in fact there isn’t.

      Not really. The SOAS-HSRC study had subsections devoted to the subjects of "Jurisprudence of Israel’s High Court regarding settlements" and "Application of Israeli Law in the OPT". They detailed the complicity of the judiciary in evicting Palestinians from their lands on various grounds in order to facilitate the establishment of Jewish settlements.

      In the Highway 443 ruling, the former President of the Israeli Supreme Court, Dorit Beinish, angrily acknowledged that the repeated allegations concerning the crime of apartheid amounted to crimes of State in which the High Court was implicitly accused as an unindicted co-conspirator.

    • While I don’t question the sincerity and good will of Sfard, Yesh Din, et al — whose interests are they actually serving?

      By endlessly but with negligible success opposing the Israel’s projects in the courts, aren’t they merely lending a veneer of legality and Western-style due process to what is in fact a tyrannical process that proceeds regardless of the law and in pursuit of wholly illegal ends?

      Justice. The last time I checked, Sfard was one of the few people in the world who have not simply stood by or abandoned the Palestinian people to their fate.

      He has represented their prisoners who are being tortured; married couples who have been separated by The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) 5763; home owners and land owners whose property has been stolen; persons whose lives are endangered by reductions in the size of the IDF "safety zones" used during bombardments in built-up areas; and Israelis and NGO workers who had been prohibited from offering transportation to Palestinian passengers. In connection with that latter case, he formally accused the government of the State of Israel and the IDF with the crime of apartheid in the High Court of Justice. He also consulted in the SOAS/HSRC study "Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?" It assembled all of the evidence and provided an expert analysis. The authors recommended that the South African government and other states should request an advisory opinion from the ICJ regarding Israel's responsibility for the international crime of apartheid. The study thoroughly documented the evidence for other members of the international legal community.

      Frankly, I'm amazed that he's still walking around in the land of the living.

    • How can I support the political efforts of this fine group?

      If past experience is any indication, then Netanyahu is probably responsible for this shtick. It garners sympathy for him in foreign capitals if he can feign resistance to the proposition while playing the role of the moderate good guy opposite these fanatical bad guys. You're not supposed to notice that he already "legalized" a few outposts that Israel was obliged to remove under the terms of the Quartet Road Map.

  • In 'NYT', Mishra says US should get out of the Middle East, and Israel is 'turning into a loose cannon'
    • The Palestinians were dispossessed in 1940?

      No, FDR proposed that they be dispossessed in 1940 and that the leaders of the receiving Arab states be given monetary incentives from the Zionists for talking them in.

      A number of other hair-brained schemes like that one were documented in Rafael Medoff, "Baksheesh Diplomacy: Secret Negotiations between American Jewish Leaders and Arab Officials on the Eve of World War II", Lexington Books, 2001.

  • Palestinians head back to UN seeking non-member state status
    • 1) Why the non-violent demonstration happen almost exclusively in places where Abbas has no control? he deserves zero credit for demonstrations in Area C. Why there is so little support from Palestinians in Area A? There were some very nice actions, but surprisingly few. Or not so surprisingly given arrests of activists in Area A.

      The Oslo Accords provide for full Israeli civil and security control in Area C, except over the Palestinian civilians living there. So Abbas is ultimately responsible for the conduct of Palestinian civilians who engage in those demonstrations.

      2) Of course, Road Map was written on toilet paper, or used on paper that was later used in that fashion. PA is “restrainig individuals”, Israel not so much. PA has no obligation to conduct sweeping arrests.

      Nonetheless, the international community and Israeli officials have all admitted that the PA has fulfilled its security obligations under the terms of the Road Map and that Israel has never had a better partner with which to negotiate a settlement. Without Abbas and the PA, the campaign to delegitimize Israel's policies of apartheid would face insurmountable PR problems. Even as it is, too many people still think its perfectly fine if Israel turns the whole territory into a large open air prison for the sake of a few ineffective terrorists.

    • Concerning the financial blackmail PA suffers: true. Perhaps deep in his heart Abbas would support some resistance, but this is the nature of a quisling regime: at the end of the day, you follow the orders.

      1) Abbas has not prevented the campaign of non-violent weekly demonstrations against the sections of the apartheid wall/fence throughout the West Bank.
      2)It was the UN Security Council who adopted the Road Map and the General Assembly, acting in Emergency Special Session who issued the orders to the PA calling upon it to fulfil its obligations under relevant provisions of the road map, "to undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks." --
      3) You may have noticed, that when left to their own devices, Hamas tends to commit acts that are viewed as flagrant war crimes or crimes against humanity, like using an anti-tank weapon on an Israeli school bus and its passengers. That behavior isn't considered a legitimate form of resistance. Imposing regular military discipline on your own armed forces and militias and arresting the members of units that plan or engage in acts of terror doesn't make you a Quisling.
      4) You still haven't explained: How filing a criminal complaint in the Hague alleging war crimes and crimes against humanity accrues any benefits for Israel? The Palestinian authorities accepted the jurisdiction of the Court for all crimes committed by anyone on the territory of Palestine since July 2002. That includes the crimes committed by PA officials too, so they weren't simply pursuing their own selfish interests.

    • omg! i feel like a million bucks hostage. you linked to..

      Hell yeah! I don't come here to comment, I come to read all of the great articles.

    • Concerning peace talks that were not, Abbas totally downplayed that. 90 days elapsed several times by now.

      No, the Palestinians publicly highlighted the failure of Israel to submit a map containing its proposed borders. The situation with respect to funding of UN agencies that allow Palestinian membership remains unchanged. See
      *Israel, Palestinians spar over Quartet deadline
      * Palestinians fulfill Quartet’s request. Israelis don’t. Guess who ‘Washington Post’ blames?
      *Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General, Says Palestine Bid To Join UN Agencies Is 'Not Beneficial For Anybody'.

      Reconciliation was a sham, and my impression is that Abbas is largely responsible. And he loudly complains any time Egypt considers relaxing blockade of Gaza, which is not particularly reconciliatory.

      My impression is that the EU, US, and Israel are preventing reconciliation by threatening to cut-off the transfer of funds that are needed for essential public services, utilities, public payrolls, & etc. to both Gaza and the West Bank in the event that Hamas is allowed to join the PLO or PA. Israel hasn't consented to hold elections in Jerusalem either. The Hamas leadership in Gaza has refused to allow the Central Elections Commission to update its lists until it is allowed to operate freely in the West Bank. It's extremely unlikely that the IDF would stand still for that. So both sides have played a role in postponing the elections. See Hamas official: No elections without West Bank freedoms

      I've never seen any reports that Abbas supports the closure of Gaza apart from the usual accounts published by the stenographers in the Israeli government echo chamber. Abbas has been on record as calling for the complete lifting of the blockade for a number of years now, e.g.
      * Mahmud Abbas: Israel must lift Gaza blockade

      Neither the de facto government in Gaza nor the PA have commendable human rights records.

    • who is ‘they’? do you man the obama administration ‘caved’ and dropped a demand palestinians abandon their bid altogether?

      Yes exactly. There are insurmountable difficulties that would tend to prevent the US from cutting-off payment of its assessments to the UN General Assembly. After the UNESCO vote, the US and Israel are only in a position to delay the inevitable role that will be played by the ICJ, ICC, and other arbitors.

    • i missed the “thought they were off the hook” reaction.

      Yes, there were a number of reports which incorrectly claimed "the court cannot open an investigation into cases related to the 2008-09 Gaza war because Palestine is not a state." e.g.

      In fact, the Prosecutor merely explained that he lacked the authority to decide that question and could not open an investigation yet. The general public was fed stories which contained claims that were legally and logically inconsistent because they implied that the Prosecutor had in fact determined that Palestine was NOT a state.

      Palestine had filed a declaration with the Court accepting its jurisdiction for all crimes committed on its territory since July of 2002. Most of the existing cases in the ICC are based upon similar retroactive declarations. At the same time PA officials provided documents which showed that it had been formally recognized as a state by 67 other countries and indicated that they could supply addition proof if that became necessary.

      All the Prosecutor said was that he did not have the statutory authority to make a determination, but that the Secretary General, the General Assembly, or the ICC's own Assembly of State Parties could decide the question at a later date. Only the Israeli Foreign Ministry seems to have noticed that last part:

      Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that while Israel welcomes the decision on the lack of ICC jurisdiction, “it has reservations regarding some of the legal pronouncements and assumptions in the Prosecutor’s statement.”


      The majority of UNESCO member states had implicitly recognized the 1988 Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). The Palestinians cited the 1988 UDI as the legal basis of their application for membership in the UN and UNESCO.

      They will undoubtedly do that again when they submit their request for upgraded observer status. In fact, the existing resolution that governs their current observer privileges explicitly noted the 1988 UDI and the fact that Palestine was already a full member of several international organizations that are only open to membership by States, e.g. the Group of Asian States, the Group of 77, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, and the League of Arab States. --

      Between 1998 and 2004 Palestine had more privileges than any non-member observer state. When the Holy See's application for full membership was not successful, it requested that its privileges be upgraded to equal those of Palestine. Compare the rules annexed to A/RES/52/250 (1998) with those annexed to A/RES/58/314 (2004) See also: "The Holy See backs off from its claim for full membership of the UN, settling for the rights already held by Palestine."

      So it logically follows that Palestine was already recognized and treated as a state by the General Assembly as early as 1998. The resolution that President Abbas will submit to the General Assembly will simply affirm that status for the benefit of others. Nothing will stand in the way of opening an investigation of acts committed since July of 2002, since many of those acts were crimes that were - and still are - subject to the Court's jurisdiction.

    • So there is no cost to going to the international community. Israel has to be made accountable. Saying G-d gave the land doesn’t cut the mustard any more.

      One of life's little ironies is the fact that the first international convention that called for the establishment of an international criminal tribunal was the convention on the suppression of the crime of apartheid. But the new court didn't come into existence in time to assist the victims in South Africa or Namibia.

      A collection of Bantustans must first obtain recognition as an occupied state (ala Namibia) as a prerequisite to any request that the responsible government officials be prosecuted for the crime of apartheid in the new International Criminal Court.

    • In particular, there is nothing wrong in “heading back to UN”, but surely PA is very slow about it.

      The Palestinians have been told that if they pursue prosecution of Israeli officials, Israel will consider it an act of war and either turn the West Bank into another Gaza or annex Area C. They have been told that getting recognition of statehood from any UN organ won't result in an end to the occupation, but rather an end to their tax revenues and any funding for the PA and that particular UN organ. Last year, the Secretary-General asked the Palestinans to stop efforts to join other UN specialized agencies after the US and Israel cut-off funding to UNESCO and the Quartet demanded that both sides submit their proposals on borders within 90 days. Israel interpreted that to mean 90 days after the first meeting in Amman Jordan.

      And very fast about arresting Hamasniks and assorted independents like Zakariya Zubeidi.

      In the past, Abbas and Fayyad have been responsive to pressure from NGOs and international news and wire services when it comes to releasing independents. The Quartet and General Assembly have tasked the PA with arresting Palestinians who are targeting Israelis. Hamas has also been quick to arrest or threaten the West Bank and Gaza factions of Fatah. Both sides released prisoners last year before talks on reconciliation broke down.

      by desertpeace

      No, the PLO/PA formally charged Israel with the crime of Apartheid back in 2003. Just read chapter 10 of the written statement of Palestine in the ICJ Wall case.

      What actually happened is that desertpeace finally woke up to the PA plan for ending the occupation and establishing the state that Abbas and Fayyad announced to the donors way back in 2009.
      * Ending Occupation Establishing the State (August 2009) pdf
      * Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State, Year Two pdf,%20Establishing%20the%20State,%20Year%20Two.pdf
      *PNA report to the AHLC Sep 2011 - Building the State ofPalestine-A Success Story pdf

      The fact is that the US and Israel have used blackmail, threats, and broken agreements to maintain the status quo of apartheid.

    • The way I see it, PA is essentially a quisling operation

      Then kindly explain to me why Abbas and Fayyad went straight to the ICC after Cast Lead and filed a criminal complaint against Israeli officials for all of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Palestine since July of 2002? Those charges can't be withdrawn.

      Wikileaks subsequently published a classified document which revealed that the IDF considered the PA criminal complaint an act of war and had asked the US for assistance in getting the complaint quashed. But neither the US nor Israel has the necessary legal standing to do that.

    • What comes next? I just dropped my crystal ball…………..

      First off the members of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement should be camped-out at the Hague demanding that the Prosecutor take action on the Palestinian criminal complaint that was lodged back in 2009. They can also pressure their individual state governments to apply legal sanctions. That would include direct state referrals of the situation in Palestine to the ICC Prosecutor. Those referrals do not have to go through the UN Nations:
      Article 14
      Referral of a situation by a State Party

      1. A State Party may refer to the Prosecutor a situation in which one or more crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court appear to have been committed requesting the Prosecutor to investigate the situation for the purpose of determining whether one or more specific persons should be charged with the commission of such crimes.

      Secondly the members of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement should pressure the government of Palestine to adopt a permanent constitution guaranteeing every citizen full legal equality without regard to religion, race, creed, gender, disability, & etc. The Palestinians should also fulfill the promise contained in the 2003 Basic Law and quicly become a state party to all of the UN human rights treaties.

      Palestine should become a state party to the UN "Vienna" Conventions on the Law of Treaties and Diplomatic Relations + the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property. The latter would finally establish the fact that the judgments of the Courts of Palestine are dispositive regarding any disputes over the use of state lands by Israeli settlers, not lapsed executive agreements made by the PLO.

    • the US has no veto at the general assembly blake,

      And there is no such thing in the ICC either. About 70 of its 121 member Assembly of State Parties have formally recognized the state of Palestine. The relationship with the UN includes a clause in the Rome Statute that permits the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to delay prosecution of cases for up to 12 months at a time. But any attempt to do that would probably be vetoed by Russia or China. Neither the US nor Israel has that much political capital among the other members of the P-5.

    • why rudoren characterizes this as “largely symbolic” is beyond me. . . . so why’d she do that?

      The ICC is not a UN institution, and none of the member states enjoys a veto. Israel's Hasbara and Foreign Ministries have over-dramatized the significance of the last status update from the out-going ICC Prosecutor. He simply said that he didn't feel that he had the competence under the terms of the statute to decide whether Palestine was a state or not. But he explicitly stated that the UN Secretary-General, the General Assembly, or the ICC Assembly of State Parties had the competence to do that. Israeli officials reacted as if that pause in the process means they are off the hook for crimes committed since 2002 (when the Rome Statute went into effect). That is NOT necessarily the case.

      The latest hasbara spin has been an effort to control the narrative and claim that recognition of the 67 borders and upgrade to non-member permanent observer state status is only the first step in the legal process, and that everything will still require the consent of the Israelis. But that is definitely not the case with the ICC.

    • Abbas “is not pressing for a vote until after the U.S. presidential election”

      The elephant in the room is that the Obama administration passed a request to Abbas through the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and merely asked that they delay the statehood bid until after the election. The big news there was that they appear to have caved-in and dropped the demand that it be abandoned altogether.

      The Oslo and Paris Accords would no longer be relevant. They were only a 5-year interim agreement and the State of Palestine was never one of the contracting parties.

      If the resolution is based upon the 1988 Algiers declaration of the State of Palestine, then the government can still file an Article 12(3) declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC for any crimes committed on the territory of Palestine after July of 2002. So, the deterrent effect would not depend upon the date of the General Assembly vote, only upon the inevitability of the vote happening soon.

  • Walt, Munayyer, and Mearsheimer offer one state scenarios, and my response
    • You also seem to place very little weight on Jewish history backed by the Torah, archeology and written works from the time (Dead Sea Scrolls and the works of Josephus Falvius) and the Bible.

      The Torah itself explained that God would drive the Jews into exile (e.g. See Deuteronomy 28:15- 36). Judaism is a religion that is suited to life in the Diaspora, but the Knesset has never adopted the Torah to govern the day-to-day operations of the government of the State of Israel. In fact it requires one law for both the children of Israel and for strangers living in the land, not the two tiered apartheid laws that you have in place today.

      The Bible established the "historical connection" of many other ethnic nationalities, including the Edomites, Moabites, Philistines, Phoenicians, & etc. The scriptures establish that God himself had brought some of those other peoples into the Middle East in exactly the same way that the Patriarch Abram had been brought there from the land of the Chaldeans. The Torah prohibited the Israelites from obtaining title so much as an inch of the lands God had given to them by conquest or any other means. But by the era of the Second Commonwealth, the ancient Israelites had long since ignored or violated those prohibitions.

      FYI, modern archeology confirms that Josephus was completely wrong in many instances, including the history of the Samaritan Temple on Mt. Gerazim.
      link to
      link to

      In any event, Josephus had nothing good to say about the nationalist and religious factions that started the Wars of the Jews. Rabbi Johanan ben Zakai also sided with Vespasian against those same nationalist and religious factions. FYI, the Dead Sea sect considered members of the Jerusalem Temple cult, like Josephus and the Rabbi, to be sons of darkness that they hoped to massacre in a final apocalyptic battle. Little else about them is known with any degree of certainty.

      The Israeli Supreme Court refused to honor claims and the public debts created by the mandatory in the course of establishing the Jewish national home in Palestine. This, despite the fact that the Jews living there had always been obligated to do so in accordance with Article 28 of the Mandate and the terms of the UN partition plan. See the references to public debts and treaty obligations in:
      *Article 28 of the Palestine Mandate
      *UN General Assembly Resolution 181

      The representatives of the Zionists had helped draft both of those documents and had formally "accepted" the terms. The High Court ruled instead that all rights under the mandate had ended when it was terminated. See CApp 41/49 Simshon Palestine Portland Cement Factory LTD. v. Attorney-General (1950)

      So your own religion and government didn't set a very good example when it comes to honoring the "historical" claims of the other peoples living in Palestine.

    • The Palestinians have managed to pull the wool over your eyes. You think the conflict is a Israel/Palestinian one when it is really an Israeli/Arab(Muslim) conflict. If the Palestinians have established a track outside of the Arab/Muslim one, then this should fit your definition of ethnic nationalism.

      The "Jewish" Diaspora isn't "Israeli", but it started the conflict in the first place and has intentionally prolonged it. Ambassador Micheal Oren made an ass out of himself recently by trying to quash a 60 Minutes program segment which described how the government of Israel is persecuting the Palestinian Christian communities of Bethlehem. The signatories of The Kairos Palestine Document include Latin, Lutheran, Anglican, Episcopal, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and other Christian groups. So why are you trying to pull the wool over our eyes by claiming this is a conflict with Arab Muslims, instead of one against all non-Jewish Palestinians?

    • This should be enough until a peace deal is worked out, a deal that insures the security of the Jewish State and a deal that takes into account the many wars and terror campaigns waged by Arabs and Muslims against Jews.

      Sorry but the ICJ affirmed the fact that no state has the right to peace and security while it violates the rights of the inhabitants of the territory in its Kosovo decision.

      Unless Israel pays compensation to the refugees who opt for it, or allows them to be repatriated, it has no inherent right to live in peace or security. In fact, the Court ruled on that issue in the Wall case. It said that Israel could not cite security or a state of necessity to avoid the responsibility for the wrongfulness of its own actions, because Israel had contributed to the state of necessity. The Mitchell report also noted that Israel has to withdraw its armed forces before it can expect the Palestinians to terminate their belligerent claims.

    • But considering that any of this is binding on the Palestinians (or at least those without a Jordanian citizenship or loyalty) is nothing but a figment of someone’s imagination.

      That's incorrect. Both the PCIJ and the ICJ have repeatedly adopted judgments which have held that countries remain bound by the terms of their own acceptance, whenever their representatives participate in drafting a resolution or acknowledge their acceptance of the terms of a resolution adopted by an international organization.

      The representatives of the Palestinian people , i.e. the PLO or the provisional government of "Palestine" which was named in the 1988 Declaration of Independence, has participated in the business of the UN and co-sponsored a multitude of resolutions which have cited and accepted the terms of UNSC resolutions 242, 338, and 1515. They have publicly solicited recognition of the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders and have demanded that they be used as the basis for any negotiations with Israel.

      The application of Palestine for membership in the United Nations cites the two state solution; bilateral recognition of its 4 June 1967 borders and its capital the East Jerusalem; and UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 1397.
      See A/66/371–S/2011/592 page 4 of 5 link to

    • They were groups of people with nothing in common but a religion.

      It would be more correct to talk about the cultures of the Jews and various Judaisms. Even the standard pre-mandate era 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia article on Jerusalem contained a page-long digression explaining the historical details about the official recognition of the Sephardic Jewish community by the Ottoman government, via a decree issued by the Sultan.

      Its chief rabbi, the Hakam Bashi, was a government official tasked with responsibility for collecting taxes for the Empire from the Jews. He was vested with authority to collect and administer communal taxes too. The article explained that the Ashkenaziim refused to accept the authority of the Hakam Bashi; that they were not officially recognized as a community by the Ottoman government; and that most enjoyed the protection of some foreign consulate. Even today, the Israeli rabbinate remains divided along the Askenazim/Separdim confessional lines and several of the non-orthodox Judaisms are only recognized by the State Sports Ministry.

    • “A country must have recognized borders in order to be called a country.’

      Even the authors of the Jewish scriptures and the Jewish sages couldn't agree about the locations of the borders of Eretz Israel. In any event, the Irgun Logo indicated that the Prophet Moses died inside the boundaries of their Promised Land and that the Torah was simply mistaken about that minor detail.

      If we suppose that the Euphrates river was the eastern and not the northern boundary, then the remorse of the so-called "exiles" in Babylon was inexplicable. The Euphrates river flowed through the city. So at least part of it was always inside the boundaries of the imaginary Promised Land. Contradictory accounts claim that the children of Israel had to cross the Jordan river to enter their Promised Land.

      I suppose that confusion is one of the reasons why, that after months of trying, Netanyahu couldn't provide the Quartet with a map showing where Eretz Yisroel's borders were located.

    • mig, go read the Torah. Go read the Dead Sea Scrolls written over 2,000 years ago. You will find all the law you need, and much more.

      Which modern society employs just those particular archaic laws to govern itself? Certainly not Israel. The members of the first Knesset rejected the idea that the country could be run on the basis of the Shulchan Aruch. That primitive code is thousands of years more up to date.

      Israel's statutes bear little resemblance to the sources that you recommend.

    • The state of war is continuing since 1948 with the unilateral attack prior to any discussion of a non-binding partition proposal.

      In point of fact the UN Security Council adopted resolutions demanding that Egypt open the Suez Canal and Straits of Tiran because Chapter VII resolutions 62 and 73 had established mutually agreed upon permanent armistice lines of demarcation and had legally ended the state belligerency between all of the parties.

      In 1951 and 1956 this same legal challenge was addressed to the Security Council. The Reportery of Practice of UN Organs, Extracts on Article 25 explains:

      The resolution of 1 September 1951 had been legally and properly adopted. Its validity could not be denied by reason of certain reservations entered by one party at the time of its adoption. Moreover, that resolution had specifically referred to those reservations and had stated that "neither party can reasonably assert that it is actively a "belligerent or requires to exercise the right of visit, search and seizure for any legitimate purpose of self-defence";
      (b) The resolution of 1 September 1951 had "been adopted in connexion with the application of the General Armistice Agreement between Egypt and Israel. Violation of the armistice agreement involved a danger to peace which was the legitimate concern of the Security Council; and
      (c) Under Article 25, Member States were obligated to respect and implement decisions of the Security Council since it was assigned the function of maintaining international peace and security.


      there are no defined borders except for an armistice line. As for the armistice line (“green line”), it’s not an armistice between the Zionist entity and any Palestinian government, but Egypt, Jordan etc.

      It is a legally binding agreement between United Nations Organization, Israel, and Jordan too. Jordan was generally recognized as the Palestinian government at the time the armistice agreement was adopted. See for example the extract from the Security Council resolution above which stated that the Hebron area was in fact Jordanian territory in November 1966.

      Abdullah negotiated the armistice agreement at his palace at Shuna after the Jericho Congress had declared him King of Arab Palestine. West Bank Palestinians served as Jordanian Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Ambassadors to the UN, comprised half the members of the House of Deputies, and many served in the Senate too. When the political union was dissolved, Palestine assumed the rights and obligations of as the successor state. It cited the construction of the Wall in departure of the Armistice Line of 1949 as being in contradiction to the relevant provisions of international law (pdf file page number 12) in its written complaint to the ICJ. It also noted that:

      The war ended with the Armistice Agreements concluded between Israel and Egypt in February 1949, Lebanon in March 1949, Jordan in April 1949, and Syria in July 1949.

      See para 86 on pdf file page number 48 of 848. --

      *The notion that UN mandated permanent armistice lines of demarcation are not legal borders or that states have to have defined borders has no basis in international law. In fact the Security Council and General Assembly have repeatedly emphasized that Israel cannot legally obtain territory beyond the armistice lines by war.
      *The General Assembly and the ICJ cited UN Security Resolution 62 to establish that the route of the Wall was illegal wherever it deviated from the armistice line into the Occupied Palestinian territory.
      *The ICJ has repeatedly cited the customary and binding status of the "Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations". It stipulated that: Every State has the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force to violate international lines of demarcation, such as armistice lines, established by or pursuant to an international agreement to which it is a party or which it is otherwise bound to respect.
      * Borders are irrelevant to a determination as to whether or not territory is part of a state. The International Court of Justice noted in their "North Sea Continental Shelf case (1968) judgment that:

      "There is no rule that the land frontiers of a State must be fully delimited and defined, and often in various places and for long periods they are not, as is shown by the case of the entry of Albania into the League of Nations (Monastery of Saint Naoum, Advisor): Opinion, 1924, P.C.I.J., Series B, No. 9, at p. 10)." See pdf file page 60 of 109) link to

      *Whenever it suits the government of Israel, it claims that the Occupied Palestinian Territory is not part of its sovereign territory or jurisdiction. See CCPR/C/ISR/2001/2, para 8 or E/1990/6/Add.32, para 6-7

      The rest of your comment is wishful thinking. Israel is a UN member state with all of the rights and duties of any other state. Until the Security Council repeals resolution 242, 338, and 1515 all of the members are required to recognize its right to exist, its sovereignty, and its territorial integrity.

    • There was no Palestinian body then that could speak for Palestinians, but happily, there is now.

      By way of clarification:
      *The real armistice negotiations were conducted by King Abdullah at his palace at Shuna after he had been formally proclaimed King of Arab Palestine by an Arab Palestinian Congress.
      *The first head of the PLO, Ahmad Shuqayri, had been a member of the Syrian delegation to the Lausanne Conference.
      *Jordan was comprised exclusively of citizens from the Arab communities of the former Palestine mandate. For example, Jerusalem-born Husayn Fakhri al-Khalidi served as a Foreign Minister and Prime Minister of the government of Jordan (despite the fact that he was also an alumnus of the Arab Higher Committee and the All-Palestine Government of Gaza). After the Jericho Congress, King Abdullah dissolved the Transjordanian parliament in preparation for the April 1950 national elections. The new Parliament was composed of a House of Notables (Majlis al-A'yan), or Senate, and the House of Deputies (Majlis al-Nuwwab). Half the seats in the House of Deputies were reserved for representatives from the West Bank. The King appointed many senators and cabinet officials from the West Bank too. They participated in the process of making the laws and conducting the affairs of State.

      The Palestinians and King Hussein certainly did have a violent falling-out, but the Palestinians were formally represented in the government of Jordan and in the UN until the day the political union between the East and West Bank was dissolved. Jordan, like all of the members of the League of Arab States, recognized the de jure existence of the State Palestine in line with the Annex to the League Charter.

    • I think a Jewish state would have been okay, but it should have been limited to a federation of the Jewish-owned quarters of the four Holy Cities and its prospects kept in line with the actual population and property rights of the indigenous Jews. That would have only called for self-determination and autonomy within the confines of a few, non-contiguous, San Marino-sized city states.

      I don't believe that anyone has ever suggested that new states should be created half a world away to relieve the suffering of oppressed populations living elsewhere. Just this lone, bizarre example - and the UNSCOP was opposed to the idea of attempting to use Palestine to solve the international Jewish question.

    • Opinions can differ on whether creating Israel was even a good idea or 'solution' for Jews, I don't think it was.

      The UN never intended to "create Israel" or for the Jewish state to drive its Arab inhabitants into permanent exile. They recommended the creation of two democratic states with constitutions that guaranteed equal rights for women and minorities; equal representation for all of the citizens in the law making bodies; an internationally supervised regional economic union between the two Palestinian states that allowed for redistribution of revenues between them to meet their needs in the areas of non-self supporting essential services; a special regime - administered directly by the UN Organization itself - to safeguard the exercise of rights and transit of the various religious groups to their respective holy places.

      The economic union, common market, and rights of transit meant that it was a "two state solution" in name only. The UNSCOP reported that from the outset, the Arabs would constitute a slight majority of the population of the proposed "Jewish State". The obvious implication for the Zionists was that the Arab voters, and their representatives in the government, would in short order be in the position to adopt legislation that would put an end to their proposals for continued Jewish immigration.

      Ben Gurion drove home that point when he explained why he had not attempted to annex the West Bank: it contained too many Palestinians who would destroy the necessary demographic advantage the Jews had just obtained. The opposition in the Knesset claimed that demographics didn't matter, because multitudes of Jews throughout the world were willing to come to Israel. Ben Gurion replied that the foreign multitudes were irrelevant, since the existing Arab majority would simply adopt laws to prevent them from ever coming.

    • When was the announcement of the independence of Palestine with recognized borders?

      FYI, the overwhelming majority of UN member states, 169+, have long-since recognized the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people over the natural resources of the territory in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem that came under Israeli military control in 1967. Those boundaries are very well known. They were established as permanent international armistice lines of demarcation in accordance with Chapter VII UN Security Council resolutions that Israel is still bound to respect. Those same UN member states have also acknowledged Palestine's right to compensation for the minerals, water, and other resources that Israelis have extracted for their own benefit. UNESCO relied upon those boundaries when it designated the Church of the Nativity in Palestine as a World Heritage site.

      About 130 of those same UN member states have also formally recognized the statehood of Palestine, within the 67 borders, on the basis of the 1988 Algiers Declaration of Independence. A sufficient number of them voted in favor of admitting Palestine to an internationally recognized category of States, i.e. members of UN special agencies. All UN member states have either a customary or conventional legal obligation to treat members of UN special agencies as states according to the terms of the UN "Vienna" Conventions.

    • Well, no. There is no “occupied state” because there never was a state on that side.

      Oh, you're resorting to the very same rationale employed by Yehuda Blum, Meir Shamgar, Alan Baker, and Danny Ayalon, while claiming that the PA are collaborators. That's pretty rich. With friends like you, why do the Palestinians need enemies?

      FYI, the only legally binding obligation which prohibits Israel's colonization of the territories of the West Bank and Gaza is Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention. It does not apply to cases of non-international armed conflict between the inhabitants of a single state engaged in a prolonged civil war. If there was never any other state with jurisdiction over the territory, then please explain why it is illegal to establish Jewish neighborhoods there or to deploy the IDF to end the armed Palestinian insurgency and restore law and order?

      You can't have it both ways and use arguments that are based on the proposition of the existence of an international armed conflict between two states and a subsequent regime of occupation, while at one and the same time arguing that there has only really been one state in existence there all along.

      Here are the legal documents and instruments that the ICJ considered and cited when it reject the government of Israel’s argument against Jordanian jurisdiction over the "disputed territory" in question:
      International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
      Article 1
      1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
      link to
      Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations:
      The establishment of a sovereign and independent State, the free association or integration with an independent State or the emergence into any other political status freely determined by a people constitute modes of implementing the right of self-determination by that people.
      link to
      From the Written Statement of Jordan to the ICJ:
      2.18 In 1948, during the Arab-Israeli hostilities, the only effective authority in relation to the West Bank was that of Jordan: in December 1949 the West Bank was placed under Jordanian rule, and it was formally incorporated into Jordan on 24 April 1950 . This was the result of the signing by King Abdallah of a resolution passed to him for signature by Jordan’s National Assembly (including representatives of both East and West Banks), which supported the unity of the two Banks as one nation State called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, “without prejudicing the final settlement of Palestine’s just case within the sphere of national aspiration, inter-Arab cooperation and international justice”.
      2.19 The signing of this resolution was the culmination of a series of earlier requests made by the Palestinian Arabs through conferences attended by the elected Mayors of major West Bank towns and villages (Hebron, Ramallah, Al-Beereh, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, Qalqilya and Anabta), as well as leading religious clerics (Muslims and Christians alike), and a multiplicity of notables, tribal leaders, activists, college presidents, the Chief Shariaa Judge, and the Mufti of Jerusalem Saed-Ideen Al-Alami. Following these conferences, King Abdallah consented to a proposed constitutional amendment to expand the membership of the Jordanian Parliament to include elected representatives from all the West Bank constituencies. Elections for the expanded Parliament were held on 11 April 1950 and a new Parliament was elected with half of its members elected from the West Bank.
      2.20 This provoked something of a crisis in relations between Jordan and other Arab States, but any risk of serious problems was averted when the
      Government of Jordan formally declared in 1950 that unity with the Palestinian territory was “without prejudice to the final settlement” of the
      Palestinian problem: this declaration was accepted by the Arab League.
      2.21 The boundaries of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as it resulted from these events are illustrated in Sketch Map No. 4 following page 7. It was with those publicly known boundaries that Jordan became a Member of the United Nations in 1955, without any objection about Jordan’s territorial extent being made by any State (including Israel, which was already at that time a Member State). Furthermore, after the unification of the West Bank within Jordan’s territory, Jordan concluded with a considerable number of States bilateral and multilateral treaties whose application extended to the entirety of Jordan including all of the West Bank: none of the other parties to those treaties made any reservation to the effect that their applicability to the West Bank was excluded. The Security Council evidently shared that view when it adopted Resolution 228 (1966): the Council observed that, “the grave Israeli Military action which took place in the southern Hebron area [of the West Bank] on 13 November 1966… constituted a large scale and carefully planned military action on the territory of Jordan by the armed forces of Israel” (emphasis added).
      In the course of hearings held from 23 to 25 February 2004, the Court
      heard oral statements from Mr. James Crawford, S.C., Whewell Professor of
      International Law, University of Cambridge, Member of the Institute of International Law, Counsel and Advocate for Palestine. Here is an extract from his “Conclusions” chapter in “The Creation of States in International Law”:
      “In the first place, the concept of “sovereignty” as a criterion for plenary competence has been rejected. Although that view gained a certain degree of acceptance among nineteenth-century writers and was accepted in the twentieth century in Soviet and in some western doctrine, the notion of “sovereignty” has been seen to be both unhelpful and misleading as a criterion. It is unhelpful since both the legal and the effective capacities, rights, immunities and so on of States may vary widely, within the limits established by the criteria for separate independence. It is misleading since it implies a necessary and overriding omnipotence which States do not possess in law or in fact. Rejection of “sovereignty” as a criterion involves rejection of the old notion of the “semi-sovereign” State. Those dependent, devolving or sui generis entities that qualify as States under the general criteria do so despite specific limitations as to capacity and the like;
      Here is an extract from Israel’s losing position from the Secretary General’s report to the International Court of Justice:
      Annex I
      Summary legal position of the Government of Israel . . .
      3. Despite having ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has not incorporated it into its domestic legislation. Nor does it agree that the Convention is applicable to the occupied Palestinian territory, citing the lack of recognition of the territory as sovereign prior to its annexation by Jordan and Egypt and, therefore, not a territory of a High Contracting Party as required by the Convention. link to

    • Israel has taken the Palestinians out of the dark ages and is prepared to take them further, only they insist on returning to mud houses.

      Every racist colonial enterprise in history has pretended that the indigenous people have held back the march of civilization and that they couldn't possibly have exploited their own natural resources without being controlled by foreign interlopers. That's why the doctrine regarding the permanent sovereignty of indigenous peoples over their natural resources and territory was adopted as part of the UN program of Decolonization.

      That same sort of racism was once reflected in the beliefs that were promulgated by the owners of the New York Times about the "Children of Abraham" who had immigrated to this country from Poland and Russia. They were barely given credit for having enough sense to get out of the way of traffic in the streets:

      Yet the long-whiskered descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah on the east side gets out of the street without being hit with a stone or having a putrid fish or piece of meat thrown in his face.

      This neighborhood, peopled almost entirely by the people who claim to have been driven from Poland and Russia, is the eyesore of New York, and perhaps the filthiest place on the Western Continent. It is impossible for a Christian to live there, because he will be driven out, either by blows or the dirt and stench.

      Cleanliness is an unknown quantity to these people. They cannot be lifted up to a higher plane because they do not want to be. If the cholera should ever get among these people they would scatter its germs as a sower does grain.

      -- Published: July 30, 1893 The New York Times

    • How does one define and describe an anti-Semite? . . . We have “American” above telling us how Israel has prevented Palestinians from taking part in musical or other events. . . . Palestinians can do no wrong not because they are angelic but because the other party in the conflict just happens to be Jewish.

      He was describing one of the constituent acts of the crime of apartheid, i.e. "Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups. No one here claims that Palestinians have not been responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The difference is that their officials have accepted the jurisdiction of an international criminal court for all crimes committed on their territory since July of 2002.

    • The Palestinians were offered a whole lot more than what they are publicly asking for now. They rejected the offer and because they rejected the 1947 Partition Plan they have caused the death of many Israeli’s.

      Nice try, but FYI: both Palestine and Israel made declarations to the UN in line with their acceptance of resolution 181(II). Furthermore, the same day that the UN recognized Israel's statehood, all of the Arab states signed the Lausanne protocol accepting the map from resolution 181(II) as the basis for a negotiated settlement. BTW, Israel has killed many more Palestinians as a result of its attempts to reformulate the original allocation of territory in its favor.

      For example, at the Lausanne conference it demanded the Gaza Strip, which the Security Council subsequently reaffirmed is an integral part of the Palestinian state. How many years do you think it will be before it reaffirms that the West Bank and East Jerusalem are not part of Israel's territory or jurisdiction?

    • “Jordan is Palestine”, although totally ignored here, is looking more likely than any other option mentioned.

      LOL! Obviously not, since it was overlooked by the Israeli and Jordanian officials who negotiated and ratified the treaty of peace between the two countries. I nearly fell out of my chair the first time I read the damn thing, because it didn't even contain any specific references to the rights or status of the Palestinian refugees living in Jordan prior to the 67 war. It merely contained a safeguarding clause regarding the status of the Arab territories that came under Israeli military control afterward.

      In short, there's little substance to the notion that "Jordan is Palestine", unless you are referring to the Jordanian territories in the West Bank. That wouldn't be very wise, since Jordan is a founding member of the International Criminal Court.

    • What makes a “state” a “state?”

      Article 6 of the Montevideo Convention explains that:

      The recognition of a state merely signifies that the state which recognizes it accepts the personality of the other with all the rights and duties determined by international law.


      It is simply a legal status conferred by other existing states on a territorial entity that has declared its independence.

      The situation is analogous to the legal status conferred on a couple by others in common law states after they have declared themselves to be husband and wife. It is absurd for Israel and the US to go on "disputing" the status of Palestine, since the overwhelming majority of other existing states have long since recognized its 1988 Declaration of Independence and its legal statehood. That automatically entails the exercise of all the rights with no other limitation in line with the exercise of the rights of other states according to international law.

    • In addition, Americans are even in less of a position than before to apply pressure to both parties in order to bring about a negotiated settlement.

      That "negotiated settlement" nonsense is a ridiculous talking point introduced by the United States decades ago to head off calls for an arbitrated settlement. The parties have failed to come to an agreement for more than 60 years. During the Reagan administration, the General Assembly convened an emergency special session and proposed a real international peace conference (ala the Concert of Europe or Versailles) that could formulate an arbitrated settlement which would not be susceptible to any appeals. The United States has always opposed that idea on the grounds that it would derail its own non-productive peace initiatives.

      The US simply does not have the political capital or the support of key Arab states that it needs to go on controlling the international agenda under vague open-ended frameworks.

    • Nice to see kind of a consensus to start seeing what has been occupying all our visual field for years, namely that the one-state has been there since 1967 anyway, and that the chance of having any agreement to change on the part of the Zionists (including their US satellite) is that of the legendary snowball in hell.

      That's just a talking point. The situation remains one of an occupied state being governed by another state which is the occupying power. If you get arrested and charged as a collaborator by the de facto government or the PA, you would not be arguing that there is only one state in the region.
      *Maan 12/09/2012 "Gaza court sentences man to death for collaboration"
      * Shurat HaDin "Palestinian Operatives" and "Condeming Abbas' Ratification of Death Sentences for Suspected Israeli Agent" -- --

      The US opposition to the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN could be quickly ended by simply 1) pressing the Palestinian authorities to ratify all of the UN treaties that are explicitly open for accession to member states of the UN specialized agencies, like UNESCO; and 2) ratifying, in-turn, all of the treaties that are explicitly open for accession to "all states". Neither of those measures require any vote or upgrade in Palestine's observer status. At that point there would no longer be any legal consequences to admitting Palestine as a full UN member state - other than the ability to vote in the General Assembly - where Palestine already enjoys an automatic rubber stamp of any draft resolution that it introduces. All of the treaty obligations the US and Israel are trying to avoid would already be in full force and effect, by simply going around the Security Council and General Assembly, and working directly through the UN Treaty Organization and the Secretary General - acting as the depositary.

    • It would be much more difficult for Israel to spin a demand for equality as being unreasonable, and to portray their own quasi-racial discrimination as legitimate.

      Not really. The Zionists have been very successful in getting the mainstream media to parrot the PR line that the situation in Israel is completely different from the one in the occupied territories. Many, if not most Americans accept the proposition that boycotts and sanctions are inappropriate on the Israeli side of the Green Line, because all citizens there supposedly enjoy equal democratic rights in line with Israel's Declaration of Independence, that Arabs are fairly represented in government organs and in the budgets, blah, blah, blah.

      In fact, the problem in the occupied territory stems from the extraterritorial application of Israel's two-tiered system of municipal laws that give people of Jewish descent superior rights and systematically discriminate against non-Jewish citizens on the basis of their nationalities. Nobody talks about segregation and discrimination, like the de facto Jewish-only communal settlements, on the Israeli side of the Green Line. If you simply begin to treat the region as a single state, where the laws of occupation no longer apply, that two-tiered system of municipal law (and concomitant PR campaign) would undoubtedly gain the same sort of mainstream acceptance under the guise of equal rights of citizenship.

      No one is seriously discussing any plan to incorporate or annex the belligerent communities in Gaza either. They are still considered an "enemy entity". So it appears that Israel could safely postpone granting equal rights or citizenship there almost indefinitely. Israel only needs to maintain its existing policy of backing or subverting insurgent factions, while refusing to negotiate with them or their opponents.

      One of the benefits of the UN statehood bid is that the Palestinians would be able to become state parties to the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property. As Michael Sfard has noted, Palestinian Courts would determine what laws apply to their state lands, not the Israeli Courts. So outposts and settlements built illegally on "state land" would not be a matter reserved for final status negotiations under the lapsed terms of the Oslo Accords signed by the PLO. Of course they could pursue charges against the responsible Israeli officials that would help bring the illegal closure of Gaza to an end & stop the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

    • Could the Israelis envisage allowing Palestinians to remain in a Greater Israel and deny them the vote just like the mother of Parliaments disenfranchised N Ireland residents for generations?

      Of course. The model that they would pursue to pull-off something like that would be the same one that the US, UK, and other governments employ to withhold the right of self-determination and keep selected portions of their own territories at arm's length in a "dependent status" in order to prevent them from fully participating in the political life of the country. I've cited American Samoa and the Chagos Islanders as examples of those policies here in the past. In the Chagos case, the US and UK have protected their spoils - a US air base in the Indian Ocean - from being returned to the former inhabitants, despite the fact that the UK High Court ruled that the Islanders had been illegally removed by the UK government. To add insult to injury, the government declared the entire region, including 55 islands, a marine sanctuary in order to frustrate the attempts of the former inhabitants to return and restore their way of life.

      *Court victory for Chagos families
      *Britain blocks return home for Chagos Islanders
      *Britain protects Chagos Islands, creating world's largest marine reserve

  • Stoking fear of 'genocide,' an academic pushes Israel to war
    • I guess this is the reason why the good professor advocates to use Canada as a venue, but it reeks hypocrisy. (Because USA refuses to be subject of lawsuits, it also refuses to enforce verdicts against other governments. Instead we “freeze” accounts of hostile governments by administrative fiat. I think this as a matter of policy USA prefers piracy over legality.)

      FYI, the parties to the genocide convention have granted the Court jurisdiction in contentious cases to settle disputes regarding state responsibility for the crime of genocide or any act listed in Article III.

      *Orwellian Quote of the Day

      by Kevin Jon Heller

      From the government brief arguing that the media and witnesses in the 9/11 trial should not be permitted to hear the defendants describe being tortured by the US government:

      “Each of the accused is in the unique position of having had access to classified intelligence sources and methods,” the prosecution says in court papers. “The government, like the defense, must protect that classified information from disclosure.”

      The government is right about one thing — the 9/11 defendants are indeed in a “unique position” to know how the government tortures people. --

      * Israel is a signatory of the genocide convention - and it is the alleged victim state, not Canada or the US.

      Israel and the United States have carried on a public debate about pre-emptive air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities which are ipso jure illegal under the terms of IAEA resolutions. They have also been implicated in the use of computer viruses and paramilitary terror units which have assassinated Iranian scientists. In Nicaragua v. United States of America, the ICJ ruling on the merits held that the Court could examine the behavior of the alleged victim:

      The exercise of the right of collective self-defence presupposes that an armed attack has occurred ; and it is evident that it is the victim State, being the most directly aware of that fact, which is likely to draw general attention to its plight. It is also evident that if the victim State wishes another State to come to its help in the exercise of the right of collective self-defence, it will normally make an express request to that effect. Thus in the present instance, the Court is entitled to take account, in judging the asserted justification of the exercise of collective self-defence by the United States, of the actual conduct of El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica at the relevant time"

      Do you really think that Israel or the United States want the ICJ looking into the actual conduct of either country?

    • Nevertheless, sans showing what you call propaganda is mistranslated or fabricated, you’re not gonna win this argument.

      Sure I would. Article IX of the genocide treaty only applies to the responsibility of a State for genocide or for any of the other acts enumerated in article III. None of the statements attributed to Iranian state officials satisfies the requisite element of intent to commit the genocide or evidence of mens rea. Compare that with the statements made by the government officials in the Rabbinate Authority or the IDF Rabbinate in Israel before and after Operation Cast Lead.

      Forghani stressed that the opinions presented in his post are his own and do not represent the regime’s position.

    • I’m aware that Brian Whitaker is not a fan. Nevertheless, it is generally respected outside of the pro-Palestinian community and is often cited in the NY Times, which is not a propaganda organization.

      The NY Times has promulgated boat loads of propaganda. Even a jerk like you can't successfully gloss over the role played by Judith Miller and the NY Times between 2002–2005 in inciting an unnecessary war in which hundreds of thousands were killed and millions were displaced and turned into refugees.

    • Excuse me. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it propaganda.

      No, but it's uncorroborated and comes from a well-known propaganda organization, MEMRI. It is run by (supposedly) former members of the Israeli intelligence service.

      *Selective Memri

      In the past, the US government has subsidized public propaganda campaigns to make its own "Iraqi National Congress" look like a legitimate organization and to create fear about Iraqi "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in order to help incite a war against the government of Iraq. MEMRI passed along reports that it claimed had indicated Iraqis were still trying to obtain WMDs and that Iraqis said they had a right to possess WMDs.

      *MEMRI Iraqi Press on Weapons of Mass Destruction, January 24, 2002

      *State Dept funding neocon-Zionist propaganda outfit

    • German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first world leader to recognize the connection between Iran’s uranium enrichment, its testing of long distance missiles, and the genocidal statements of its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. . . . Really? This is what you’re peddling?

      I know. It's amazing that her extraordinary powers of recognition didn't pickup the fact that she was supplying Israel with submarines capable of being armed with nuclear weapons long after Prime Minister Olmert had admitted on German television that Israel had them. See
      *YNET Olmert: Iran wants nuclear weapons like Israel: (VIDEO) Ahead of his first visit to Germany as prime minister, Olmert forced to deal with embarrassing slip of the tongue in interview with German TV, saying Iran aspires to possess nuclear weapons like US, France, Israel and Russia. --,7340,L-3338783,00.html

      *SPIEGEL Israel's Deployment of Nuclear Missiles on Subs from Germany: Many have wondered for years about the exact capabilities of the submarines Germany exports to Israel. Now, experts in Germany and Israel have confirmed that nuclear-tipped missiles have been deployed on the vessels. And the German government has long known about it. --

      It's really incredible that she can't grasp what it means when Netanyahu and Barak refuse to provide an honest answer on that subject in speeches and interviews, while making bellicose pronouncements about “all options” being “on the table” and Israel’s “right to self-defence”. After all, if you consider the covert operations that these two sociopaths have green lighted involving stolen passports, assassinations or failed attempts in Jordan, Dubai, and Iran - or massacres of the passengers of the humanitarian aid flotillas in international waters - then you'd just about have to conclude that these guys are the real deal when it comes to genocidal nutcases.

    • Meanwhile, you — as an academic who holds himself out as an expert on genocidal tendencies of nation-states — remain silent on Israel’s “Dahiya doctrine,” . . . Richard Falk wrote that under the doctrine . . .

      Any useful theory has to be able to make accurate predictions. Prof Stanton is shreying about eight stages or indicators on the road to genocide based upon Iranian threats dating back to 1979.

      But nobody ever lost a wager by predicting that Israel would perpetrate massacres against the Palestinians.

      More than a year before Operation Cast Lead, Prof. Falk pointed out in very explicit terms that intervention was urgently required in response to Israel's genocidal policies and practices to protect the citizens of Gaza from a looming collective tragedy:

      Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy. If ever the ethos of 'a responsibility to protect,' recently adopted by the UN Security Council as the basis of 'humanitarian intervention' is applicable, it would be to act now to start protecting the people of Gaza from further pain and suffering.

      See Slouching Toward A Palestinian Holocaust, 07 July, 2007

      Another very distinguished expert in international law compiled a database of Palestinian civilian casualties during the 1st Intifada: M. Cherif Bassiouni, L. Cainkar , eds., The Palestinian Intifada – December 9, 1987 - December 8, 1988: A Record of Israeli Repression, Database Project on Palestinian Human Rights, Chicago 1989". It has tabulated data including names locations, dates, and type of fatal wounds on scores of 3-13 yr-old children. Many were killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head or chest.

      In 1998, Prof Francis Boyle, who successfully argued the Bosnian genocide case before the ICJ, stood in Gaza and recommended that "Palestine Should Sue Israel for Genocide before the International Court of Justice". At one and the same time, he also recommended another lawsuit against "the United States before the International Court of Justice for aiding and abetting Israeli genocide against the Palestinian People in violation of Article III(e) of the 1948 Genocide Convention that expressly criminalizes "complicity" in genocide.

      Sure enough, in 2000 his article was reprinted when the UN Commission on Human Rights reported "widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Israeli occupying Power, in particular mass killings and collective punishments, such as demolition of houses and closure of the Palestinian territories, measures which constitute war crimes, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity." See E/CN.4/RES/S-5/1 19 October 2000

      I know for a fact that those views are shared by some of the members of the Genocide Watch advisory board. So it's sort of inexplicable that the situation has escaped the attention of Prof. Stanton.

    • Incitement to commit genocide against a national group is incitement to commit genocide. The Iranian leaders don’t have to incite to commit genocide against anyone other than the citizens of another nation for them to be guilty of direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

      That's a tautological ipse dixit. The deliberate subtrefuges regarding WMDs that were employed by Bush and Blair in order to effect regime change in Iraq would be a much better example of that sort of thing in action.

      Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed, millions were displaced or became exiled refugees, and thousands were wrongfully treated while being imprisoned. So is it illegal for a western head of state to incite the citizenry to wage an illegal war of aggression that destroys such a sizable portion of the targeted group or not? If you are going claim that they lacked the necessary mental element, then the same argument applies with greater force and effect in the case of the Iranians who have said the same things but done nothing about it.

      The fools who read this blog (and I am resigning with this final posting) should know that Genocide Watch opposes discrimination against Palestinians, and also opposes war with Iran. We just refuse to bury our heads in the sand and ignore Iran’s continuous incitements to commit genocide against the nation of Israel since 1979.

      Prof. William Schabas is a very distinguished legal scholar, and a person of Jewish ancestry. He is also a member of your Genocide Watch Advisory Board. He's authored his own analysis of the charges against Ahmadinejad et al. for public incitement to commit genocide. It is not in agreement with the opinions that you've expressed here. See for example "Genocide and the United States Election",

    • Hate language refers to terms which are used to dehumanize demonize, stigmatize, delegitimize, or slander groups defined by their national, ethnic, religious, racial, or political identity. Dehumanization refers to hate language which includes terms and metaphors-usually of epidemic disease, cancer, or physical decay from public health and medicine-- which induce disgust, revulsion, fear and hate for the other.

      In the context of Israeli society that would certainly include the terms "gentile" or "goyim","demographic threat", "missionary", and "infiltrators" (aka refugees, indigenous Palestinians or Bedouins). See for example
      *MK Who Called Sudanese 'Cancer' won't be Punished: Ethics Committee rejects complaints against MK Miri Regev and others who spoke harshly against infiltrators.
      *"MKs debate protection of 'equality' in future constitution"

      A Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Justice Elon, ruled that Arab citizens merely have an equal right to recognize that Israel is the state of the Jewish people, and only the Jewish people. Any Arab political party that denies that principle and calls for a bi-national state with equal legal standing and entitlements for non-Jews is ipso jure illegal:

      The principle that the State of Israel is the state of the Jewish people is Israel’s foundation and mission [yessoda vi-yeuda], and the principle of the equality of rights and obligations of all citizens of the State of Israel is of the State’s essence and character [mahuta ve-ofya]. The latter principle comes only to add to the former, not to modify it; there is nothing in the principle of the equality of civil rights and obligations to modify the principle that the State of Israel is the state of the Jewish people, and only the Jewish people. -- (Ben-Shalom v. Central Elections Commission, 1988, 272)

      Here are some scholarly sources which weigh-in on that subject of delegitimization of the Palestinian people:
      *Baruch Kimmerling, Politicide: Ariel Sharon's War Against the Palestinians, Verso, 2003;
      *Rosemary E. Shinko, "Discourses of Denial: Silencing the Palestinians, Delegitimizing Their Claims," Journal of International Affairs 58.1 (2004);
      *Marcelo Svirsky, "The Desire for terra nullius and the Zionist-Palestinian Conflict," in Paul Patton and Simone Bignall (Eds.) Deleuze and the Postcolonial, Edinburgh University Press 2009.
      *Joyce Dalsheim, Settler nationalism, collective memories of violence and the 'uncanny other', Social Identities, Volume 10, Issue 2 2004 , pages 151 - 170;
      *Lawrence Davidson, "Historical Ignorance and Popular Perception: the Case of U.S. Perceptions of Palestine, 1917," Middle East Policy3.2 (1994): pages 125-148;

      Here is a reliable published report which implicated officials in the Rabbinate of the Israeli Defense Forces of doing exactly what you've described:

      An overview of some of the army rabbinate's publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians.

      Haaretz has received some of the publications through Breaking the Silence, a group of former soldiers who collect evidence of unacceptable behavior in the army vis-a-vis Palestinians. Other material was provided by officers and men who received it during Operation Cast Lead. Following are quotations from this material:

      "[There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it." This is an excerpt from a publication entitled "Daily Torah studies for the soldier and the commander in Operation Cast Lead," issued by the IDF rabbinate.

      -- Amos Harel "IDF rabbinate publication during Gaza war", Haaretz, Jan. 26, 2009

      This blog is nothing but an anti-Israeli propaganda site.

      Well it's behavior is nothing to brag about. UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, John Dugard, wrote:

      Checkpoints are not so much a security measure for ensuring that would-be suicide bombers do not enter Israel, but rather the institutionalization of the humiliation of the Palestinian people. Similarly, a curfew is not simply a restriction on leaving one’s home. It is the imprisonment of the people within their own homes. Unable to go to work, to buy food, to go to school, to visit hospitals or to bury their dead, they are confined within the walls of their own homes while the IDF patrols their streets. Statistics of checkpoints and curfews cannot accurately portray the obscenity of the situation.

      See E/CN.4/2004/6, 8 September 2003 link to

      The Goldstone report contained similar observations which explained that Israeli law qualifies the non-Jewish indigenous population as "alien persons":

      Despite prohibitions under international humanitarian law (IHL), Israel has applied its domestic laws throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967. . . . .[T]he application of Israeli domestic laws has resulted in institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the benefit of Jewish settlers, both Israeli citizens and others. Exclusive benefits reserved for Jews derive from the two-tiered civil status under Israel’s domestic legal regime based on a “Jewish nationality,” which entitles “persons of Jewish race or descendency” to superior rights and privileges, particularly in land use, housing, development, immigration and access to natural resources, as affirmed in key legislation. Administrative procedures qualify indigenous inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory as “alien persons” and, thus, prohibited from building on, or renting, large portions of land designated by the Government of Israel as “State land” (para 206)
      From the facts available to it, the Mission believes that in the movement and access policy there has been a violation of the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of race or national origin. . . . The Mission is also concerned that the increasingly entrenched array of movement and access restrictions, both physical and non-physical, amount to a deliberate policy of closely controlling a population in order to make use of areas of its land.
      The Mission further considers that the series of acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed.

    • we have a video here from jerusalem day with thousands of people (many wearing yamakas) marching near damascus gate while chanting ‘death to arabs’.

      And videos of IDF soldiers standing idly by while settlers shoot Palestinians during weekly demonstrations. Thanks for commenting about the death chants from the miles-long line of right wing, white-shirted, Israelis marching through the Arab neighborhood on Jerusalem Day. I omitted them in my response to the proposition that Israeli officials, like the IDF Chief Rabbi & etc. had not engaged in direct public incitement to commit genocide.

      These State-supported ugly and threatening parades through Jerusalem have been the subject of Security Council concerns over international peace and security since the first one was held in Jerusalem on 2 May 1968. It included a provocative military parade that started in the occupied City of Jerusalem. See
      * S/Res/252 21 May 1968

      US displeasure over Israel's behavior came to a head on 1 July 1969, when Ambassador Yost, acting on instructions from President Nixon, told the Security Council that the United States had repeatedly advised the government of Israel that it considered East Jerusalem occupied territory to which the Geneva Conventions applied.

    • Intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a national group is genocide, a crime under the Genocide Convention. . . . For an example of such incitement see the recent statements by President Ahmedinijad reported by Reuters on Friday, August 17, 2012:

      That report doesn't contain a single example of incitement to commit genocide against any people. I've provided examples of reports about Israeli religious and political officials who actually did discuss making indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations; officials who did destroy vital civilian sources of sustenance and infrastructure; and findings from the ICJ and fact finding mission reports which say that the Israeli government and the IDF have deliberately imposed conditions of life that are intended to physically destroy segments of the Palestinian population by denying them their own sources of sustenance while interfering with the provision of adequate food, water, and shelter from international sources.

      There's just no way for someone in your position to claim they're unaware of all that evidence of persecution and incitement committed by Israeli officials against Palestinians.

    • Even if Iran had any genocidal intentions towards the inhabitants of Israel, she has no hope of carrying them out.

      In all fairness states frequently employ third parties, including paramilitary forces. Iran has provided arms, advisors, and financial support to a number of enemy entities that have staged attacks on the territory and people of Israel, e.g. Hezbollah and Hamas. Israel's use of the insurgent MEK to stage attacks on the territory and people of Iran is another example. Both are analogous to a degree with the "Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua" case (Nicaragua v United States of America). In the latter case, the ICJ ruled that the victim state was in the best position to pursue a claim of aggression.

      Israel is a party to the Genocide Convention and is the purported victim state in this instance. So it's a bit odd to suggest that Canada pursue the claim on Israel's behalf. I doubt that would keep the Court from considering Iranian counter-claims regarding Israel's nuclear weapons program, Israeli support for the MEK, and Israel's record of launching illegal preemptive attacks on other nuclear facilities in Iraq and Syria. The genocide treaty does provide that any dispute over interpretation be settled by the ICJ. In theory, that would include this dispute too.

    • Instead what I advocated is a new approach to deterring genocide: getting a country that is a State-Party to the Genocide Convention such as Canada to bring a dispute with Iran to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for violation of the Genocide Convention’s Article 3b, which makes it a crime to directly and publicly incite genocide against another national, ethnic, religious or racial group.

      That's certainly a very commendable goal. Prof. John Dugard and an international fact finding committee suggested that the members of the League of Arab States should request a similar finding against Israel from the ICJ for failing to take appropriate action to prevent cases of direct and public incitement (see below). But one drawback to the approach would be the lack of ICJ jurisdiction in cases involving non-state actors, like Hamas, unless they happen to be sponsored by a State party to the Genocide Convention.

      One of the members of the Genocide Watch Board of Advisors, Prof. William Schabas, wrote an article on this issue recently. He noted that the example of statements by Iranian officials had been employed by politicians as part of a demagogic appeal aimed at obtaining votes from Americans.

      He doesn't think there is credible evidence (yet) of direct and public incitement to commit genocide on the part of the Iranians. Producing prima facie evidence of unpunished acts of incitement would be an indispensable preliminary to any request from one of the other State parties for the International Court of Justice to find that Iran has failed to discharge the responsibility of a State for any of the acts enumerated in article III of the Genocide Convention.

      I think eljay is correct to point out that Israel and other countries have failed to fulfill their State responsibilities in instances where their own citizens have directed threats against Palestinian nationals or the non-Jewish population of Israel through remarks that constitute direct and public incitement to commit genocide. Genocide Watch does list those groups as a population at risk. But these indicators are amenable to your new approach to combating genocide:
      *No Safe Place – The Report of the Arab League’s Independent Fact Finding Committee Following “Operation Cast Lead” noted that some individual IDF soldiers may have had the mens rea and actus reus of crimes of genocide and might therefore be prosecuted for this crime. That finding was based on the brutality of some of the killing and reliable public reports that some soldiers had acted under the influence of rabbis who had encouraged them to believe that the Holy Land should be cleansed of non-Jews. The mission suggested that a ruling be obtained from the ICJ against Israel under section 9 of the Genocide Convention (page 148)
      link to Arab League of Arab States report
      *Stories circulated in the wake of Operation Cast Lead that an IDF officer handed out booklets to troops during Israel’s military incursion in the Gaza Strip urging soldiers to show no mercy to their enemies. The IDF merely reprimanded the officer. Several months later the IDF did nothing at all when its Chief Rabbi engaged in the same form of incitement saying: Troops who show mercy to the enemy will be ‘damned’ -
      #link to
      #link to
      *Former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza. Eliyahu delivered the ruling in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert published in Olam Katan, a weekly pamphlet distributed in synagogues nationwide. He called for carpet bombing and cited the biblical story of the Shechem massacre (Genesis 34) and Maimonides’ commentary (Laws of Kings 9, 14) on the story as proof texts for his legal decision. Eliyahu wrote that according to Jewish war ethics an entire city holds collective responsibility and said the entire populace of Gaza is responsible. The former chief rabbi also said it was forbidden to risk the lives of IDF soldiers for fear of injuring or killing Palestinian noncombatants living in Gaza. link to
      *Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira, Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar and Rabbi Dov Lior have written that “The prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’” applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew.” and that Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them “curb their evil inclination,” while babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.” The State Rabbinate has refused to comment and Knesset members from Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and National Union have introduced bills which seek to absolve rabbis of criminal responsibility, and make them immune to legal action in such cases.
      link to
      link to
      *Moment Magazine quoted Chabad Rabbi Manis Friedman as saying: “I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral. The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children and cattle. link to

      Those who choose to ignore or deny this are like the European Jews who would not believe that Hitler would actually do what he openly said he would do from Mein Kampf until the Holocaust.

      Fair enough. The infamous Boxheim documents revealed plans to intern Jews and starve them out.

      There is abundant evidence that Israeli officials and their supporters view starvation; denial of the right to adequate supplies of food and water and to be free from hunger as acceptable methods of warfare and population control aimed at reducing the number of births in the Palestinian population of Israel or the occupied territories.
      *In their written submissions to the ICJ in the Wall Case, Palestine and other interested States alleged that Israel had deliberately committed illegal acts against the Palestinian people, including "the deliberate imposition on a group of living conditions calculated to cause its physical destruction in whole or in part". See page 9
      *The Court's findings of fact in the Wall case included reports that Israel had deliberately cut-off populations from their sources of sustenance and denied them the right to adequate supplies of food and water (paragraphs 132-134).
      *The ICRC and UN treaty monitoring bodies have declared that the Gaza blockade is an illegal form of collective punishment. There have been reliable reports, including one from The Lancet, which illustrate that one direct result of the blockade is that a statistically significant proportion of the population exhibited signs of malnutrition, including stunted growth of children; permanent developmental disabilities; and shortened life expectancy. See:
      Gaza’s Stunted Growth Problem
      ICRC - Gaza closure: not another year!
      *Many public figures have made comments in support of the illegal Israeli sanctions on the basis of a perceived need to end "pro-natal subsidies" to Palestinians that result in either an undesirable Arab "fifth column" in Israel or a "surplus of angry young men" in the occupied territories. See
      Smear intifada
      The same figures don't seem to mind pro-natal subsidies paid to many Jewish families, just those paid to Arab ones. See Israel’s Arabs, Living a Paradox link to

    • Examine his reasoning, not his past.

      His reasoning is pretty flawed. Neither the circumstances, nor the statements made by the Iranian officials about Zionism satisfy the necessary mental element to establish that they have the intent to incite or engage in genocidal behavior against Israelis.

      On the other hand, the occupation of Palestine in violation of UN resolutions; constant discussions about preemptive strikes; deployment of nuclear armed submarines; employing sabotage against centrifuges; and murdering Iranian scientists are pretty powerful evidence of on-going aggression.

    • His credibility should be beyond doubt since he dealt with Rwanda and tried to prevent the horrors there

      No he only helped draft the UN Security Council resolutions that established the international criminal tribunal after the fact. The current situation isn't even vaguely similar. The international legal community hasn't taken these propaganda talking points about Iran as serious propositions.

  • Dowd's stalwart defenders lead counter-attack on neocons for pushing disastrous war
    • The Americans - 22 CIA agents and one Air Force pilot - who are believed to be in the United States and were tried in their absence - are unlikely to serve their sentences. But they will be unable to travel to Europe without risking arrest.

      It would be nice to see trials conducted in absentia for all of the key Israeli officials responsible for expanding the illegal settlements; the creeping annexation of "Jerusalem", and etc. in the Hague. It would send a clear message to Tel Aviv that you will be a wanted fugitive for the rest of your life.

      It would also curtail corruption like the "Bibi-Tours" scandal.

    • And Fallows links a Paul Pillar piece at the National Interest asking, Why are the Neocons still around? Good question

      Yes, a lot of journalists have asked that same question. A few have even remarked that the neo-cons have remained oblivious to their loss of credibility on the subject of Middle East foreign policy:

      Were you to start counting the ironies here, where would you stop? Here was a Jewish scholar criticizing the pope for apologizing to Muslims for a holy war against Muslims, which was also a massacre of the Jews. Here were the theorists of the invasion of Iraq, many of them also Jewish, applauding the notion that the Crusades were not so terrible and embracing a time horizon that makes it impossible to judge them wrong. And here was the clubhouse of the neocons throwing itself a lavish 'do, when the biggest question in American politics is how to escape the hole they've dug. Reality seemed to have taken up residence elsewhere for the evening.

      But whether or not the neocons are ready to face it, their moment has passed.

      -- Jacob Weisberg, Party of Defeat: AEI's weird celebration, March 14, 2007

  • Romney's defeat will expose the lobby's weakness
    • Obama's going to win bigtime, and Obama defied the so-called lobby.

      Oh please, both candidates and the leadership of both parties took turns pandering to The Israel Lobby. The spectacle of Obama putting recognition of Jerusalem back in the party platform was an act over defiance alright, but he was standing up against the party delegates, not AIPAC.

  • Resolution: UC Student Association opposes all racism, whether anti-Semitism on campus or racism of Israeli human rights violations
    • “anti-semitism” in this country? It’s undoubtedly riding on the back of a Hollywood Unicorn, Hopni not withstanding.

      Oh there's still anti-Semitism. But it's way outside the mainstream, unlike Zionist racism and Islamophobia.

    • ” The majority of Americans support freedom of speech.”

      Yes, they do. Mark Yudof’s report is a permissible exercise of free speech.

      LOL! This article is about California Assembly Bill HR 35. The Jerusalem Post report noted that

      A University of California spokesman told the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday that it would not support the resolution, saying that it violates the First Amendment.

      See “University of Cali rejects anti-Semitism resolution”
      link to

      FYI, the so-called "Yudof report" was actually prepared by a group of 17 people that comprised an "Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion". The members included students, faculty and administrators from UC campuses as well as leaders from various racial and religious groups. It was setup to look into two possible changes in university policies after the U.C. Berkeley anti-Semistism case was dismissed by the Federal District Court. The Judge ruled that the speech in question was constitutionally protected "pure political speech". But more importantly, he ruled that the school has no business or legal obligation interceding in political campus disputes.

      The petitioners agreed to drop their appeal with the understanding that the university would consider implementing two possible changes to its policies on campus demonstrations after gathering campus opinion. The university is not required by law to do anything, and would be wise to stay above the fray.

      FYI, the advisory panel found that negative experiences for both groups of students were most common when outside speakers known for their provocative stances participated in campus events. So, the University itself, should probably not be directly involved in sponsoring outside speakers, like Ambassador Oren, at so-called "public meetings" if they want to avoid the appearance of bias.

    • I recall a whole lot of students trying to suppress free speech by repeatedly engaging in disorderly conduct, as pro-Palestinian students have done a number of times throughout the Western world.

      Of course ignoramuses, just like you, were quick to point out that Rosa Parks and Dr. King had broken the laws against disorderly conduct too. Fortunately for most of us, that sort of bigoted and unenlightened thinking doesn't look half as clever to the majority as you seem to think it does.

  • Israel's version of the two-state 'solution' is anything but dead
    • I hesitate to disagree with such a diverse array of pols and pundits, but I don’t buy it. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that a two-state outcome - of sorts - remains very much in the cards: I think it’s almost certainly what Netanyahu et al. are planning, if not for the immediate future then for some opportune moment down the road.

      Yes, I've been commenting for a long time that even the South African BDS movement did not end the occupation of Namibia or prevent the creation of Bantustans there and in the Union of South Africa. I've also noted that the US and Israeli governments have already opted for more of the status quo.

      Undoubtedly, the Israelis would insist on demilitarization and a variety of other limitations on the sovereignty of this Palestinian entity, but they could still call it a state.

      No, I don't that's an option these days, because the International Criminal Court is open to membership by all states, and it has jurisdiction over the crime of apartheid and violations of the Geneva Conventions. For example, David Bar-Illan, director of Communications and Policy Planning in the office of Prime Minister Netanyahu during his first term said that the Palestinians can call whatever fragments of Palestine are left to them “a state” if they like — or they can call them “fried chicken”. See the Interview in the Palestine-Israel Journal, Summer/Autumn 1996 --

      Conversely, the State of Israel and its supporters subsequently waged a full-scale assault on the Office of the ICC Prosecutor with a half dozen legal briefs claiming that Palestine is NOT a state that is capable of accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC. They've even started a propaganda spin campaign that falsely claims UN upgrade or recognition would only constitute the first step toward achieving the legal status of statehood as part of their "negotiated settlement" talking points.

  • In new leaked tapes, Romney rejects two-state solution - 'The idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world'
    • “Are you so far done the road of big government looking after you? . . . Yes, if your state name is Israel.

      LOL! Of course the Israelis should be added to Romney's 47 percent! Obama should take Netahyahu's advice and draw a red line through Israel's foreign military assistance budget.

    • He is known for making facts up.

      link to

      link to

      link to

      And the subsequent discussion here which MW and Hostage played an abetting role to further distort translation.

      link to

      Actually Ben Gurion is rather infamous for destroying archival evidence and for personal dishonesty in connection with various cover-ups, like the one that destroyed his political career. CAMERA has a reputation for being cavalier with the facts, distributing false information, and deliberate distortions too, e.g.

      Here are the facts that we know:
      *Researchers relied upon transcripts prepared by Ben Gurion for many years before they were given access to the original letters;
      *The redactions were made before the letters were deposited in the Ben Gurion archives.
      *The Ben Gurion estate owns the copyrights to both versions of the "Letter to Amoz", and Ben Gurion prepared both for publication.
      *The Ben Gurion regime did physically displace thousands of the non-Jewish inhabitants and used martial law to prevent them from returning to their homes and villages. In many instances Jewish refugees from Europe were settled in their place.

      We get it. You'd like to distract attention away from what happened.

    • So Colin, are you telling us that from this one photo you have determined that the Turks did not prevent Jews from praying in Jerusalem?

      Digitized photos of Jews praying or loitering around the "Wailing Wall" are available online via the Library of Congress. There are even Jewish web sites that have pages devoted to the subject, e.g.

    • “Most Israeli children are already being given an ultra-Orthodox education.” . . . No they’re not.

      Here's a recent article from Haaretz on that topic:

      In the first grades now - among those defined in Israel as Jews - a majority is once again being consolidated. It's no longer "only" Jerusalem, it's all of Israel. The country is funding and subsidizing religious or Haredi education for most children. And not moderate religious education. Among the vast majority, boys and girls study in separate classes, never see a secular person, and receive a racist-religious-extremist-anti-liberal education, whose inevitable result is the violent events in Zion Square and the Latrun Monastery.

      See "The final moment before the liberal population leaves Israel": The moment the public comprehends the irreversible nature of the process, the outcome will be clear and enlightened population will leave Israel and move west, as was the case with Jerusalem. --

    • So at some time in the future (or even now) a ROR for the Palestinians is going to naturally run (or has already run) out?

      I've already discussed cases where that happened, e.g. Cyprus, although there are justicable differences. In the case of Israel, the UN organization has taken the position that Israel agreed to allow the refugees to return or to pay compensation. If the UN recognizes the state of Palestine this year, then the question of return to Palestine wouldn't be subject to the negotiations with Israel. That wouldn't relieve Israel of responsibility to pay compensation to refugees, their heirs, or assignees. Descendants of the refugees, who are registered as refugees with the UNRWA, would have the legal right to return to their country of nationality in any event.

    • The Benny Morris article I read from there ( ) is hardly conclusive about what may have happened at Tantura as hard documentary evidence is scant. . . . What Morris contended was

      the total of fewer than 800 Arabs killed in war crimes was ‘peanuts’

      Morris actually cited undisputed evidence from the Alexandroni veterans themselves that atrocities, including summary executions of unarmed prisoners were committed:

      But atrocities — war crimes, in modem parlance — appear to have occurred. Many of the Tantura dead, even if they only numbered 70-75 as Alexandroni veterans would have it, were unarmed civilians or disarmed militiamen. A number of Alexandroni veterans said as much in undisputed interviews. We have Makovsky’s diary and Micha Vitkon’s statements, both to Katz and to Gilal, that there was execution of prisoners by B Company’s commander, Kami, and that there had been “killing.’

      At this point, any "undisputed" evidence of atrocities from the veterans can't be fairly described as inconclusive. You and Ms Wurmzer of the Hudson Institute offer a lame, cherry-picked analysis of your own sources.

    • Israel is far from perfect but yes, the Jewish people have the truth on their side in the context of the Arab/Israeli struggle.

      More to the point, it's far from acceptable. Some of the Jews were indigenous and meant no harm to the other inhabitants, but you narcissistic Zionists have given everyone living there a bad reputation when it comes to truthfulness. Your comments here indicate that you're completely clueless and dishonest, but you've nailed the usual smug, arrogant, performance.

    • Jews are from this land and were on this land a long long time before Palestinians came along.

      That's platitudinous and a misstatement of the facts. According to the Jewish legends, the Patriarch Abraham wasn't indigenous to Palestine. The Palestinians are descended from the indigenous peoples, including the Jews who took up residence in Palestine. The notion that you have a right to seize a land because your distant relatives were "from" that place is utter nonsense.

    • Imaginative ways are possible to grant this access to inure Muslim pride is not damaged too much. Muslim pride would need to absorb the shock of accepting that Jews are an equal party to this land as well. Will this ever happen?

      Nope. See the "Greek Inscription, Found on Site of Temple Area, Forbidding Gentiles to Enter Within the Inner Temple Wall" in the Jewish Encyclopedia:

      Discovered by Clermont-Ganneau in 1871. It reads:

      No Foreigner
      Is To Go Beyond The Balustrade
      And The Plaza Of The Temple Zone
      Whoever Is Caught Doing So
      Will Have Himself To Blame
      For His Death
      Which Will Follow

      Everyone knows that the real troglodytes in the "Temple faithful movement" won't be satisfied until they can restore that authentic practice and animal sacrifice to Judaism. They will waste no time building an inner wall around their so-called "holy place" to keep the gentiles out on pain of death - just like "the good old days" - once they become the majority. Most Israeli children are already being given an ultra-Orthodox education. The rest of these ultra religious figures are just nut cases who want to start a war. They'll use "Talmudic rituals" or any other convenient excuse:


      Thursday 6th September, 30 members of Israel's intelligence community headed by Likud member, Moshe Feiglin, and groups of settlers broke into al-Aqsa mosque since early hours of the morning.

      Al Aqsa Institute said in a press release that Moshe Feiglin, escorted by settlers broke into the mosque to perform Talmudic rituals, under the protection of Israeli forces.


    • Afrikaner rule was all of 40 years. Do yourself a favor and try and understand what proportional means.

      What are you trying to establish? Sharon withdrew from Gaza and northern Samaria within 38 years of the start of the occupation.

    • No spin can put aside the fact that Pappe is pushing a political agenda and using ‘history’ that he doctors to his advantage.

      LOL! The Encyclopaedia Judaica and personal diaries of the leaders of the Zionist movement record the fact that various Zionist officials, like Vladimir Jabotinsky, held official positions as Directors of Propaganda for the Zionist Organization, and its subsidiary organs from the moment the movement was founded, e.g.

      Hannah Arendt and other scholars have described the habit of Jewish, Zionist, and other historians to isolate the hostile elements in their opponents sources and to stress the series of catastrophes, expulsions, and massacres that have punctuated Jewish history just as armed and unarmed conflicts, war, famine, and pestilence have punctuated the history of Europe. She noted that Jewish historiography had a strong polemical and apologetical bias. See:
      *Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and tolerance: studies in Jewish-Gentile relations in medieval and modern times, Behrman House, Inc, 1961; and *Zeev Sternhell, The Founding Myths of Israel, Princeton University Press, 1999;
      *Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities, Croom Helm, 1987

      Zionist propagandist and various other Israeli officials specialized in distorting the facts and telling outright lies about things like the bombing of the SS Patria, the massacres carried out by Jewish militias and IDF units (e.g. Sharon's notorious Unit 101), and botched espionage operations like the Lavon Affair. The details of those things can be verified from the published personal and political diaries of the second Prime Minister of Israel.

      At this late date, no amount of spin can salvage the founding myths of Israel from the legions of scholars who set-out to debunk them. The Zionist lies and legends were usually discredited with publicly available, third party verifiable, archival materials contained in various State and Zionist archives. The fact that the scholars usually did have opposing ideological views to those held by the various the Zionist bureaucrats that had served in the Organization's propaganda organs is pretty unremarkable.

    • If facts get in the way, make new facts up, is what he is saying.

      No, the extract that you just quoted speaks for itself. But your lame attempt at a summary is not an accurate restatement of what he said.

    • Remember that Palestinians have never in all of history, controlled Jerusalem. Even for one day.

      In fact it's a matter of public record that an Ottoman-era official memorandum, written by a member of the Sultan's entourage in the Yildiz Palace, Ahmed Hamdi in 1884 complained that between Aqaba in the south and the northern towns of Nablus and Salt there was a stretch of 800 hours travel distance of an anarchic nature where no single government employee was ever seen or heard from and which was entirely left to the local shaykhs ('urban mesayihine terk olan)”. See the discussion on pages 53 & 54 of Johann Büssow, Hamidian Palestine: Politics and Society in the District of Jerusalem 1872-1908 link to

      Even in the best of times, the Sultan exercised suzerainty through the ruling class of local notables, & tribal and clan chiefs. Even the Jewish Virtual Library has biographical articles which explain that the Palestinian representative of the District of Jerusalem was the Speaker of the Ottoman Parliament. See link to

  • Is this predictable, or what?
  • It's not about religion, says Gregory Harms. I say it is
    • my sense is that Balfour was just honestly intellectually moved by the jews historic plight and was persuaded by Weizman (sic?) that a homeland in Palestine wasn’t going to hurt anyone.

      Balfour knew perfectly well that he was betraying the war time promises of independence which Great Britain had made to the Arabs and that establishing a Jewish home in Palestine was contrary to their interests. According to British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, who actually worked the Foreign Office Political Intelligence Department during the war, Balfour was an evil person, who simply didn't care. That comes through very clearly in Balfour's memo on the subject from the Paris Peace Conference.

  • Glimpse into the mind of a Netanyahu minion
    • If the quote from that professor were authentic (very doubtful…) it would be almost as crazy as the first part: A boycott target boycotting an even lower-status boycott target.

      Not quite. Ayelet Shaked is suggesting that the reason the Jews aren't as numerous as the Chinese people is because of incitement by Jews, like Prof. Emanuel Sivan. He is advocating a boycott of Ariel University.

      I'd suggest that it probably has more to do with the fact that the Chinese didn't have a bunch of rabbis sitting around deciding who was, or wasn't, Chinese.

  • Boycott advocates hope that Red Hot Chili Peppers will call off Monday nite gig in Tel Aviv
    • Isn’t there a logical inconsistency between arguing against the reality of ‘world Jewry’ and at the same time insisting that this non-existent ‘world Jewry’ is a single people whose rightful home is Palestine?

      Not to the Zionists. They view the Diaspora as something similar to a spawning ground that functions like a hatchery or fishery devoted to raising and harvesting Jews on their behalf. Israeli Supreme Court President Shimon Agranat ruled that:

      “the wish of a handful of Jews to break away from the nation and create a new concept of an Israeli nation was not a legitimate aspiration. . . . There is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish people. . . . The Jewish people is composed not only of those residing in Israel but also of Diaspora Jewries.”– HCJ 630/70 Tamarin v. State of Israel [1970] IsrSC 26(1) 197

      Learn it. Know it. Live it;-)

  • Baltzer, Finkelstein and Chomsky to speak on state of American Jews re Jewish state
    • You have invented Landy’s remarks about the Bund; he nowhere says it was “quintessentially Jewish”. He says the Bund is part of “diasporic Jewish identity,” the “basis of an identitarian claim”, whose limits he shows. p 48 passim

      Here is what he says on page 48 verbatim. Notice that he did say the Bund was "secular", "specifically Jewish", and that he said it can be claimed to be "quintessentially Jewish":

      Here diaspora Jews are presented as brave and world-directed, proud of their heritage, whereas Israelis are (understandably) narrow, just wanting to flee into a ghetto and negate the past, the Jewish tradition. This ‘standing and fighting in the diaspora' narrative is a reversal of the common Zionist one of cowardly diaspora Jews going meekly to their deaths during the Holocaust instead of bravely moving to Zion. Sometimes the Jewish Bund is cited as a historical precedent of brave Jews fighting in the diaspora. The Bund was a secular socialist group founded in 1897 that tried to carve a level of autonomy for an independent Jewish voice within the socialist movement in the Russian Empire. Beset on one side by a growing Zionism and on the other by the Bolsheviks, it declined in the aftermath o f the 1905 revolution (Rose 2004). However, Bundism has a resonance beyond the fortunes of this fraction of Russian revolutionary politics; it refers to the whole tradition of specifically Jewish left-wing activism throughout Europe and the USA . Nowadays this revolutionary disruption of Jewish life and thought, by virtue of its death, can be claimed as quintessentially Jewish, and thanks to this reclaimed Jewish authenticity can be put to identitarian work.

    • “Your attempt to dismiss the need for laws that protect the rights of the individual by making yet another unscientific and irrational appeal to “overwhelming Jewish power in the US, and in the world” is a stereotypical and shop-worn propaganda technique.”

      Used by propagandists like Avraham Burg.

      I actually quoted an American President and expert on constitutional law from the Federalist papers on the need to protect minority rights from the majority, and you respond by citing nebulous propaganda claims from Avraham Burg, former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, and former Chairman of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization. That still doesn't merit any serious consideration.

    • Hostage: The existing Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Palestine were provisionally recognized as independent nations by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Those communities were merged into a new multinational state called Palestine.

      CitizenC: You are lying brazenly. See Article 22 of the Covenant, which did not refer to Jews and Palestinians as “independent nations” to be “merged into a multinational state”.

      That is another of your clumsy attempts to re-frame what I said. Part of the Ottoman government reforms in the 19th century was the formal articulation of the existence of a Jewish millet that was equal to the other millets. The confessional communities registered and taxed non-observant Jews according to the halakhah so long as they were born into the communities and didn't convert to Islam. Many communities had haskamot (agreements) and takkanot (ordinances, regulations) that prohibited or discouraged individual Jews from transferring membership from one Jewish confessional congregation to another. --

      The Jews had already enjoyed limited autonomy over their synagogues, religious courts, schools, communal properties, and secular administrations in Palestine and elsewhere for several centuries. See for example Avigdor Levy (editor), "Jews, Turks, Ottomans: A Shared History, Fifteenth Through the Twentieth Century", Syracuse University Press, 2002.

      The Allies were acutely aware of the fact that their mandate could not offer the Jewish communities in Palestine or Christian communities in Lebanon fewer rights and privileges than the ones they had enjoyed as Ottoman subjects under the Tanzimat reforms, the Reglement Organique Agreements and the Treaty of Berlin of 1878.

      The Council of Ten accepted proposals from Mr. Nathan Sokolow, acting as a representative of the Jewish population of Palestine, aka the Yishuv. They incorporated several of his proposals regarding unambiguous references to a "National Home for the Jewish people" and the establishment of self-governing institutions in the text of the Palestine Mandate. Dr. Weizmann also made specific requests with respect to immigration and the establishment of Jewish minority schools, where instruction took place in the Hebrew language - in line with the rights of Jews living in other countries under the framework of their own minority treaties. Specifically, the preamble of the mandate stated that the Allies were all in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and the 2nd operative article held the Mandatory responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions.

      *See Sokolow's proposal from the Minutes of the Council of Ten Meeting in the FRUS:
      *See Weizmann's explanation about the meaning of the Jewish National Home and Hebrew schools to US Secretary of State Lansing during the Paris Peace Conference.

      The Supreme Council of the Allied Powers subsequently met at San Remo. It and the Council of the League put the government of Great Britain in charge of implementing its own Balfour Declaration. The representative of the British Government provided the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission with his government’s official interpretation of the intent of the Declaration. It dealt with the Jews and Arabs as separate races and nations. The League accepted those propositions without any objection or reservations:

      The view of His Majesty’s Government as to the intentions of the Balfour Declaration was as follows:

      “His Majesty’s Government and their predecessors, since the obligations of the mandate were accepted, had taken the view, which the tenor of the mandate itself implies, that their obligations to Arabs and Jews respectively were not incompatible, on the assumption that in the process of time the two races would so adjust their national aspirations as to render possible the establishment of a single commonwealth under a unitary Government.”

      link to

      The League and the British Government both worked for twenty years to establish what they called a “Judeo-Arab self-governing commonwealth”. They definitely viewed the Jews and Arabs as separate nations and races. See for example the Minutes Of The Thirty-Second (Extraordinary) Session of The League of Nations Permanent Mandate Commission, 18 August 1937 at the unispal link above.

    • Hostage: I don’t believe that the diaspora satisfies the territorial or spatial criteria to consider the Jews a single “people” or self-determination unit for the purposes of international law.

      CitizenC:That is what Zionist ideology and Zionist “Jewish nationality” claim.

      So what? I'm an American anti-Zionist secular Jew. I don't accept the proposition that my American nationality negates my ancestry, my family's ethnic characteristics, our family traditions, my upbringing, or that I should voluntarily forgo legal rights or remedies afforded to other citizens. My being "Jew-ish" is no skin off your back and it definitely hasn't stopped me from making much more cogent arguments than you have about illegal Israeli policies and practices of aggression and apartheid - based upon historical human and humanitarian rights obligations toward national religious groups, and racial or ethnic minority groups.

    • Hostage, your law library no longer includes the Halakah and the Talmud and Mishna.

      Speak for yourself. Legal historians and specialists alike still study and refer to the ethical principles and maxims contained in the Talmud or the Halakhah.

      *Supreme Court Justice Scalia has cited the Babylonian Talmud in the dicta of his opinions, e.g. See Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. --

      *Supreme Court Justice and secular Jew, Stephen Breyer, spoke about the legal legacy stretching from the Nuremberg Tribunal to present-day efforts to hold war criminals accountable, such as the International Criminal Court:

      “I come here as a judge and a Jew,” . . . Such institutions are “imperfect,” the justice said. “We need only look around today’s world to see that the rights, rules, and obligations that the law sets forth are no more powerful than the human will to enforce them.

      “The Talmud teaches us ‘it is not incumbent upon you to complete the work,’” Justice Breyer said. “’But neither are you free to evade it.”.

      Many Jews here and in other countries opt to utilize Jewish Courts to arbitrate their contract disputes and divorce settlements. The regular courts usually enforce the results of any agreed-upon form of binding arbitration. For the purposes of our discussion here, scholars like Assaf Likhovski, have also documented the fact that "historical Hebrew law" and "new Hebrew law" were an integral part of law and identity in Mandate Palestine too. See for example:
      *Florida Anti-Sharia Legislation May Outlaw Orthodox Jewish Divorces
      *Assaf Likhovski, Law and Identity in Mandate Palestine (Studies in Legal History), University of North Carolina Press, 2006, pages 134-139.
      *Religious courts already in use : Jewish courts are in daily use in Britain, and have been for centuries.

      But you still cite Zionist definitions like the opinon of Ynet that 42% of Israelis consider themselves secular Jews. That’s a Zionist definition; their id cards carry those definitions; the validity of that is at issue.

      No those are the responses of individual secular Jews. They recorded them on questionnaires about their religious preferences from an organ of the government of the State of Israel, the Israeli Central Bureau Statistics. You are making a blanket assumption that all native-born Israelis are "Zionists", but hundreds of thousands of them have voted with their feet and emigrated to other countries, including the United States. I've already pointed out that under our laws they can bring claims of discrimination on the grounds of either their Israeli national origin or their Jewish ancestry and ethnic characteristics - in line with the Supreme Court decisions in the St. Francis and Tefila Congregation cases and the published guidelines of the US Civil Rights Commission. That clearly reflects the intent of Congress, which has subsequently established additional programs that specifically deal with anti-Semitism.

    • The US has *never* accepted “the Jewish people” in international law.

      That does not mean that the US didn't recognize "Jewish communities" in Palestine and other countries as legal and political entities in accordance with the terms of the Anglo-American Palestine Convention.

      It also does not mean that it has not recognized Israel as "a Jewish state", e.g.

      The US State Department said Tuesday it supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.


      U.S. House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, released a statement saying

      "the law stipulates that the PA government must recognize the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist, among other things. Therefore, in order to implement existing law, the U.S. must end assistance to the Palestinian Authority."

      The law in question is U.S. Code Title 22, Chapter 32, Subchapter III, Part I, § 2378b “Limitation on assistance to the Palestinian authority”.

      The status of the Jewish "communities" mentioned in the minority treaties really isn't subject to debate, since the PCIJ ruled that those communities were subjects of international law and provided a standard definition that it used in all of its subsequent cases on the topic. See Greco-Bulgarian Communities (Opinion No. 17) and Minority Schools in Albania (Opinion A/B 64).

      Ernest Gross, a Legal Counsel at the US State Department, wrote an advisory opinion which explained that in the absence of the mandatory or other administration, the law of nations recognized the inherent right of the people of those communities to organize a state and operate government. He also said that it was quite evident that Palestine as a whole was not a single community, as is shown by the fact that the mandatory in 1946 detached the Trans-Jordan from Palestine and gave it independence. He noted that the mandate instrument referred specifically to "communities" in a way that made it clear that Jewish and Arab communities of Palestine were the intended subjects.

      I've noted on many occasions that the 1st and 14th Amendments would prohibit the establishment of a Jewish state here in America and that the same constitutional limits apply when creatures of the Constitution conduct our foreign affairs. The establishment of "Jewish states" really isn't something that the Constitution has empowered our government to undertake on the taxpayer's dime, either in the US or anywhere else in the world. In Reid v Covert, the Supreme Court ruled that the President and the Congress are merely creatures of the Constitution and that they have no authority to do anything overseas that the Constitution would prohibit right here in the United States. Needless to say, nobody would tolerate a statute that required the inhabitants to recognize one of the United States as "the state of the Jewish people" or to grant them superior rights and privileges. It doesn't make a bit of difference if "the Jewish people" believe that they are part of a religious sect, race, or an ethnicity.

    • CitizenC, I know I’m late to this particular discussion, but Baltzer explicitly states that shes opposes Zionism in her book.

      LOL! CitizenC isn't listening to anything that's being discussed here. That's especially true if you are actually an anti-Zionist Jew. He's being deliberately disingenuous about his agenda and claims we're all trying to establish a Jewish *national* identity. The artless dissimulation in all of his posts on the subject of anti-Zionism and the historical record of Jewish social movements that advocated equal human rights is very striking. That's especially true in the case of Jews, like Edwin Montagu and Claude Montifiore, who worked in direct opposition to the Zionists in order to safeguard the human rights of Palestinians during the deliberations on the Balfour Declaration and the terms of the Palestine Mandate. JVP is fulfilling the same humanitarian role today, but CitizenC labels discussions about human rights "ahistorical".

    • The minority rights issue for East European Jews arose because of the concentrations of Yiddish speaking Jews, not the Polonized or Hungarian or Viennese Austrian Jews, who were as acculturated and accomplished as their counterparts in western Europe.

      I've provided you with a number of examples of the minority treaties in action wherein the petitioners were so-called acculturated and accomplished Jews seeking equal rights and treatment under the law and the Polish minority treaty.
      Here are the links to:
      *The text of the Polish Minorities Treaty which explicitly addresses the rights of Jewish communities --

      *The judgment of the PCIJ in "Rights of Minorities in Upper Silesia (Germany v. Poland)”, 1928 P.C.I.J. (ser. A) No. 15 (Apr. 26); --

      *The text of the Petition of Franz Bernhiem to the League of Nations, May 12, 1933 --

      You keep pretending that liberal citizenship will somehow guard against the need for legal remedies in cases where governments or societies deny people their individual rights on the basis of religion, color, ancestry, or ethnic characteristics. In "Federalist 51"', James Madison wrote:

      It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but also to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure."

      You are indeed a Hostage, to this history, which you somehow manage to apply to the US. The oppressed denizens of impoverished shtetls like Brookline and Newton and the Upper West Side and West LA are a national minority.

      First of all, the United States did have a Civil Rights Act of 1866, which the Supreme Court applied in the St Francis and Tefila Congregation cases. The US government explicitly agreed to safeguard the existing rights of Jews in other countries, including the US, when it concluded the Anglo-American Convention on Rights in Palestine (1924). The Court noted that it was the intent of Congress to protect Jews from discrimination on the basis of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics. It cited the racial categories contained in the 9th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica and references in the verbatim records of the Congressional debate on the statute itself to members of the "Jewish" and "Arab" races.

      Here's another example of discrimination against a Jewish person and his family on the basis of "descent" or "ancestry" that required a legal remedy provided by the civil rights statutes we're discussing here:

      Richard Ornstein, a Jewish refugee from Austria, contracted to purchase a home for his family in the Sand Point Country Club area of Seattle in late 1952. Unknown to both Ornstein and the seller, the property’s deed contained a neighborhood-wide restrictive covenant barring the sale or rental of the home to non-Whites and people of Jewish descent. In spite of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deemed racial restrictive covenants unenforceable in 1948, Ornstein’s case reveals that this ruling yielded little power over the application of these restrictions on the individual level. Daniel Boone Allison, Head of the Sand Point Country Club Commission, approached the realtor negotiating the sale and announced: “the community will not have Jews as residents.”

      Over the next several weeks Allison campaigned to stop the sale by both citing the covenant barring the sale of homes to Jews and by threatening Ornstein with a list of ways intolerant area residents “could” respond to the presence of the Ornstein family in the neighborhood. Despite the willingness on the part of the home seller, despite the support of civil rights activists, and despite the 1948 court ruling, Ornstein eventually became a victim of Allison’s threats and “made it clear that he [had] no intention of moving” into an area that did not accept his presence.

      What happened to Richard Ornstein is part of a long and extensive history of racial restrictive covenants and housing segregation in Seattle.


      Now if you've listened to libertarian government officials, including Senators Rand Paul and Representative Ron Paul, talk about the need to restore the old system of private prerogatives in the areas of home sales, public accommodations, and employment, then it's utter nonsense to keep blathering-on here about the imaginary safeguards afforded by "liberal citizenship". See for example: Rand Paul Explains His Family’s Opposition To Civil Rights Act: ‘It’s About Controlling Property’ --

    • Hostage, you’re just repeating yourself. The legal measures pre-1919 were not undertaken to support the *national rights* of minorities.

      No I'm providing comments and links which demonstrate that JVP is not engaging in an ahistorical discussion of Palestinian human rights. The Zionists and nationalism are your straw man, not mine. I don't see why you keep trying in vain to claim that my comments advance the notion of a single Jewish people or nation, when I've obviously cited scholars and historical sources which say that people of Jewish ancestry and ethnicity represent a variety of cultures and lands.

      I didn't claim that pre-1919 legal measures protected *national rights* of the Jews and other national minorities. On the contrary, I've provided a link and quoted Georges Clemenceau's aide-mémoire to the Polish minorities treaty which explained that all the inhabitants of that particular territory were being added to the Polish nation, i.e. the Jewish communities of Poland became a Polish national minority.

      The existing Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Palestine were provisionally recognized as independent nations by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Those communities were merged into a new multinational state called Palestine. The Mandate explicitly stated that there would be a Jewish national home in Palestine, but it also required a nationality law that facilitated "the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews". The US government had a legal obligation under the terms of Article 30 of the Treaty of Lausanne and Article 7 of the Anglo American Palestine Convention to recognize that new nationality.

      I've consistently explained that the individual minority treaties guaranteed equal rights for the various national minorities in the countries that they inhabited, not special privileges. You obviously can't cite a historical Jewish source who opposed equal rights for Jewish citizens or these minority treaties which served to guarantee them equal rights. The fact that Zionists subsequently moved to subvert the minority blocs and the European Congress of Minorities by advancing their own narrow national separatist agenda in those forums is not surprising, or relevant to our discussion here.

      I'm discussing the broader Jewish objectives and the realist objectives behind the minority treaties. One of the sources that you recommended highlighted those factors. Dr. Mallison devoted the first chapter of "The Palestine Problem" to an international law appraisal of the Balfour Declaration. From the outset he distinguished the negotiating objectives and the competing interests under the numbered headings of:
      1 British Objectives;
      2 Zionists Objectives;
      3 Jewish Objectives.

      Here is an extract which discusses the fact that the Jews intended to protect those pre-1919 legal measures in Great Britain and other countries. But more to the point for our discussion here about JVP, he says that in direct opposition to the Zionists, it was the Jews who acted to protect the rights of the Palestinians:

      3. Jewish Objectives

      The Jewish objectives manifested in the negotiations were humanitarian. Montagu and his associates were, however, realists who recognized that humanitarian ends required juridical means. The immediate objective was to protect the existing equality of rights including the religious freedom of Jews in Great Britain. Zionism threatened the political rights of such Jews through their involuntary inclusion in the claimed "Jewish People " nationality constituency . The leading British Jews, however, recognized that Zionist nationalism was directed not only at British Jews but at all Jews. One of their central objectives, consequently, was to maintain the existing legal rights of Jews in other states in addition to Great Britain. In their view, the victories won in obtaining emancipation and individual equality in many states could not be surrendered in return for the creation of a Zionist ghetto in Palestine.

      The Jews, in direct opposition to the Zionists, sought to maintain the existing rights of the Palestinians. Because of their full awareness of the historic persecution suffered by Jews, they believed it essential to protect Palestinians in the enjoyment of their rights. The Zionist position that the Palestinians were either a non-people or had no rights worthy of consideration imposed a moral obligation upon the Jews to attempt to protect these people, an obligation which they readily accepted.

      See The Palestine Problem in International Law and World Order, Longman, 1986, page 30.

      He also goes on to discuss the two related safeguard clauses contained in the Balfour Declaration and the preamble of the Palestine Mandate under the headings:
      IV Interpretation of the Meaning of the Declaration page 47
      B. The Safeguard Clauses in Context page 55
      1. The First Safeguard Clause: Palestinian Rights
      2. The Second Safeguard Clause: Jewish Rights

      FYI, those minority rights were placed under the protection of the League of Nations and the new Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ). For example the "Summary of the work of the League of Nations, January 1920-March 1922" noted that the Court would be competent to adjudicate any dispute on that subject:

      There are also, in all the treaties of peace, clauses for the protection of minorities, and disputes regarding the carrying into effect of these clauses are to be referred to the Court. In the draft mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine, the Court's decision is to be evoked in any dispute.

      -- See page 4

      I've already noted that the successor to the PCIJ, the ICJ, actually did include the rights that were placed under international guarantee by the Treaty of Berlin (1878) and the safeguarding clauses contained in the Palestine Mandate and the UN Partition Plan in its legal analysis @ paragraph 129 of the Wall case Advisory Opinion.

      See if you can cobble together something to dispute the step-by-step historical role played by the Jews or the very traditional role that JVP is still playing today in safeguarding and securing equal rights for Palestinians.

      My other comments here contain links to the British Cabinet paper on Zionism by Edwin Montagu and many other papers on the subject of the deliberations that led-up to the Balfour Declaration, e.g. See CAB 24/30, “The Future of Palestine” (Former Reference: GT 2406), 26 October 1917; CAB 24/4, “The Zionist Movement”(Former Reference: G 164), 17 October 1917; and CAB 24/28 (Former Reference: GT 2263) “Zionism, 9 October 1917.

    • The Society for Humanistic Judaism sounds religious. Forming such a body doesn’t accord some political, national rights to “Jews”, only the liberal right to organize religiously.

      You do seem to have trouble grasping the concept of legal entities. Nothing prevents them from organizing a registered lobby and an associated 501(c)(4) organization, like AIPAC , to promote secular Judaism and Jewish social welfare.

      This is indefensible in modern terms; “Jew” is not a political, national category, cannot be. Their minimal critique is liberal Jewish racism.

      I noted above that we're still talking about a country with laws on the books that explicitly limit the rights of all citizens to those enjoyed by members of the mythical "white" race. Since the government now considers Jews to be "white", all citizens are entitled to the same rights and privileges that we enjoy.

      Unfortunately, there's still a need to provide legal protections for the civil, political, and property rights of individuals who happen to be the targets of discrimination on the basis of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics. That applies to Jews and other indigenous national minorities as citizens of the various countries that they inhabit.

      The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) stressed the importance of enforcing existing treaties with indigenous groups, including treaties that secure the rights of ethnic national minorities. I think its very telling that Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States were the only supposedly "civilized" countries which opposed that proposition.

      At the Durban review conference, 182 States from all regions of the world reached a consensus and urged all UN member States to take all necessary measures to implement the rights of indigenous peoples in accordance with international human rights instruments without discrimination. The United States and Israel refused to even participate.

      At the time, the United States was proposing the establishment of a radioactive waste dump in the middle of the Goshute Indian reservation in violation of its treaty obligations. It had already established a military weapons-testing site nearby. It was still detaining hundreds of Muslims, including US citizens, indefinitely without trial under conditions that violated its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. In that connection, the US government had conducted a campaign of forced disappearances and the establishment of a worldwide network of secret prison facilities.

      U.S. government officials had also conducted a propaganda campaign using manufactured evidence about weapons of mass destruction to incite the public and conduct a war of aggression. Our government targeted the Iraqi people and the armed conflict resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands by the most conservative estimates. The government also was constructing a fence on the border with Mexico and adopting more and more onerous laws that permitted racial and religious profiling. Months before the US government killed Anwar al-Aulaqi in a drone attack, I commented on his case here at Mondoweiss and noted that:

      the government can kill you if it suspects you of being suspicious. No one is accountable for explaining how or when your name got added to the kill list. That might reveal sensitive (and faulty) classified intelligence sources and methods like the highly publicized errors found in the TSA no-fly list.


      Of course the State of Israel has done all of that and more. So it takes a great deal of hubris to even mention "liberal citizenship" in a pair of countries which are responsible for all of those things.

    • My objection to JVP is that they organize politically as “Jews”, and adopt a minimal, self-serving critique on Palestine

      Wrong. JVP shares the aims of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee. Its published national BDS policy specifically addresses the lack of equal rights for Palestinians now living in Israel. I've repeatedly identified myself as a member of JVP. I've commented here at length on Israel's legal obligation to provide equal rights to Palestinians. I've also pointed out that specific Israeli officials are responsible for committing acts on both sides of the Green Line that satisfy all of the necessary elements of the international crime of apartheid. I've supplied citations to treaty body reports and written submissions in the 2004 ICJ Wall case which substantiate that conclusion. No other member of JVP has ever challenged that position or suggested that members are required to check their brains or beliefs about Israel's wrongful acts of state at the door. Maybe you should familiarize yourself with the rules of the organization and the range of views held by the membership before you go off on these tangents?

      This discussion is absolute Zionist classic, in the boundless energy, and the 180-degree backward viewpoint. “Hostage” all right.

      You're either not intelligent enough to grasp what I actually said about the role played by the US government in codifying unscientific and irrational public perceptions about race, ethnicity, and ancestry as part of its own official legal construction of individual identity, or you're simply hell bent on repeating irrelevant talking points about a single non-existent Jewish "nationality", "Zionism", and "holo-denial laws". Those things have nothing to do with the civil rights and human rights laws under discussion here.

      No true advocate of "liberal citizenship' has any business characterizing laws that simply guarantee equal civil, political, and property rights to members of national ethnic or religious minority groups as an attempt to establish "a privilege".

      Your attempt to dismiss the need for laws that protect the rights of the individual by making yet another unscientific and irrational appeal to "overwhelming Jewish power in the US, and in the world" is a stereotypical and shop-worn propaganda technique.

      Read David Landy’s book, which I was discussing, and the references there on the ahistorical quality of law and rights discourse, . . . . The same holds for British definitions under the Mandate, which included the Balfour charge to foster the “Jewish national home”. . . . .see the Mallisons’ discussion of this and related matters.

      I've read Landy's book, but it focuses on academic views of race and sociology. In fairness it doesn't really try to cover all of the aspects of the halakhah, and the Talmud, much less the history and evolution of customary international law with regard to the minority rights treaties and all of the international court cases that I'm discussing here at Mondoweiss. He doesn't seem to be an expert on the subject human rights law in any event.

      BTW he describes the secular Jewish Socialist movements, like the Bund, as "quintessentially Jewish". He notes that individual Jews frequently adopt unilateralist ethical creeds, on the basis of their own views of Jewish culture, that aren't necessarily centered on God or religion at all. You and he can go argue whether that sort of thing is intellectually satisfying, but the law here would make it illegal for anyone to discriminate against those individuals on the basis of an ethnic characteristic; creed (e.g. Tikun Olam); or their ancestry.

      I've never said that all Jews belong to a single "nationality", that's your straw man. The St. Francis and Tefila Congregation Supreme Court cases dealt with intentional discrimination against individuals "solely because of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics", not their nationality.

      My comment archive here contains a number entries which oppose the mistaken view that Jews share a single common culture or nationality.

      On the other hand, that doesn't mean that US citizens of Israeli origin don't have a perfect right to pursue legal claims of discrimination on the basis of their personal national origin.

      FYI, the late Dr. Mallison, acknowledged that the League of Nations acted on behalf of the international community of its day when it constituted the Zionist Organization as the Jewish Agency - a public body which was a subject of international law. He also noted that it had certain limited powers and purposes that governments had a treaty obligation to respect with regard to the "Jewish national home" and the "Jews of Palestine". He noted that the United States Government had agreed to accept those terms when it concluded the Anglo-American Convention on Palestine, 44 U.S. Stat. 2184 (1925). See the discussion and footnotes 40 & 42 on pages 92-93 of W. T. Mallison and S. Mallison, The Palestine Problem in International Law and World Order, Longman, 1986.

      Furthermore, Dr. Mallison held identical views to those that I've expressed on the historical and legal significance of the minority treaties and Israel's unfulfilled legal obligations under the terms of the minority protection plan contained in UN General Assembly resolution 181(II). He personally testified about that particular subject to a U.S. Senate Subcommittee. You can read more about that in the comment here which contains links to the primary sources:

      Cultural rights like language education and public services point to a reality that does not exist in the US today, for Jews anyway.

      I would disagree. American Jews are no different from other Jewish cultures which adapted a foreign language for their own use. English speaking Jews have established their own editions of the ancient texts, established their own Jewish publishing societies, Jewish Encyclopedias, Jewish Dictionaries and Lexicons, & etc.

      In many areas Jews have their own private religious Hebrew schools that make use of the public school district's services, such transportation and drivers education. There is a burgeoning movement to establish public secular Hebrew Charter Schools. I've commented here about the objectionable practice of including Zionist materials in the curriculum, but I don't have any other serious objections to those sort of publicly supported institutions.

      As others have suggested, this leads to legal absurdity, like the Univ of California policies,

      You are conflating a non-binding resolution with an enforceable university policy. I pointed out at the time, that:
      *The spokesperson for the UC Regents stated that the resolution was unenforceable on 1st Amendment grounds;
      *The Assistant US Secretary of Education for Civil Rights stated that the Office for Civil Rights will not investigate allegations of anti-Semitic harassment unless the allegations also include other forms of discrimination over which the Office for Civil Rights has subject matter jurisdiction;
      *The Federal District Court dismissed the case against UC Berkeley which had been based upon the theory that there was an atmosphere of campus anti-Semitism. The Judge ruled that the examples cited were constitutionally protected "pure political speech".

      I generally support legal sanctions against incitement to commit crimes or hate speech that publicly condones the commission of crimes described in the Nuremberg Charter or the Rome Statute. Those crimes actually target and harm persons or place them at risk on the basis of nationality, race, or ethnicity. But I've explained that Holocaust remembrance laws are really not the same thing. The UN Human Rights Council and many legal experts have pointed out that they are a violation of the basic human right to hold an opinion. --

    • BTW Hostage, you are overlooking a major opportunity for Jewish separatism, difference and distinction, the biological, in the form of “Jewish genetics”.

      I've actually commented extensively on the flaws in those studies. You might want to search my comment archive on that subject before you leap to any more unfounded conclusions, e.g.

      Just as you cobble together legal distinctions which invert Nazi group persecution to privilege,

      You can keep on trying to spin the Jewish social and political movements to guarantee equal rights for members of national minority groups as one to establish privileges based upon Nazi group persecution, but you only make yourself look like an uneducated jerk when you do that. The practice was already part of the customary public international law of Europe by the mid-19th century and arguments based upon that historical fact aren't cobbled together. I've provided several overviews of that situation here in the past, e.g.

    • But I have to agree with Jeffrey Blankfort that regarding the role of the Israel lobby in American politics, Chomsky is evasive and intellectually dishonest (or he has managed to delude himself).

      I think Chomsky has it about right on corporate or industrial support for Zionism. But I agree that he tends to ignore the role played by Zionist lobbyists, like Dennis Ross, working inside the US government. The Israel Lobby and the government aren't to blame for Caterpillar, Motorola, or HP corporate policies, although some corporations are Zionist owned or operated affairs. If the I-P conflict was hurting the bottom line, no one would have to twist the arm of most CEOs to be more humane or more profitable.

      Chomsky has never denied that the Lobby is powerful and has victories on things like the settlements due to the backing of their Christian Zionist friends:

      (MR): Are you saying the Lobby isn’t a factor?

      NC No, the Lobby is real. It’s significant. That’s not even a question—neither I nor anyone has ever questioned it. It’s very well organized, it has its victories. But if it runs up against crucial power interests of the state or the corporate sector, it backs off. There is case after case I could mention. But when what the Lobby does more or less conforms to the interests of powerful domestic sectors, then yes, it is influential. That’s quite true of lobbies generally. For example, India’s lobby in the U.S. apparently played an important role in pressuring Congress to accept the U.S.-Indian treaty, which effectively authorized the U.S. to support indirectly India’s nuclear weapons program.

      (MR): But if we go back to some of the things we were discussing earlier, many people would say that where these lobbies are most effective is not specific deals, but in shaping public opinion.

      (NC): Yes, but they’re pushing on an open door, because there are independent reasons why Americans tend towards Israel. Remember, this is a long-standing relationship that goes back long before Zionism. There’s an instinctive identification that’s unique. There’s the American Indian comparison, you know, the barbaric redskins trying to prevent progress and development and attacking innocent whites: that’s Israel-Palestine. In fact, it’s right there in the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, the most libertarian of the founding fathers. One of the charges in the Declaration against King George III is that he unleashed the merciless Indian savages against us, whose known way of warfare is torture and killing and so on. That could come straight out of Zionist propaganda. This is a very deep strain in American culture and history. After all, the country was founded by religious extremists who were waving the Holy Book and describing themselves as children of Israel returning to the Promised Land. So Zionism found its natural environment here.

      (MR): So would you situate the Lobby primarily within the broader cultural background, where Americans look at Israel and recognize themselves?

      (NC): For many Americans, it’s just instinctive that the Jews in Israel are reliving our history. They recognize themselves, and furthermore they recognize the crusaders who succeeded in throwing out the pagans. There’s the analogy to the American conquest of the national territory, the Zionists use this analogy as well, but positively. We are bringing civilization to the barbarians, which is after all the whole core of Western imperialist ideology. It’s very deeply rooted.


    • OK. What about his derision of BDS as a cult, though, and why he does not think it works or something like that?

      He says that BDS will not become a mass movement until it clearly defines its goals. He thinks that should done in-line with existing international consensus and international law. Resolution 242 has been enshrined in international law, by reference in conventions and agreements dating back to the Camp David era. It requires withdrawal of Israeli armed forces, recognition of the right of the State of Israel to exist, and a just settlement for the refugees.

      Many leaders of the BDS movement base their arguments on the laws of occupation as if there are two territorial entities involved. At one and the same time, they've signed a Manifesto calling for the recognition of one democratic state, instead of two. They've implicitly rejected the acceptability of a rights-based solution to the armed conflict inline with UN SC res 242. Finkelstein says that the BDS movement should publicly admit that fact, and that if they won't, its a sign of cult-like thinking among the leaders that tends to diminish the mass appeal and impact of the entire movement.

    • This seems to me to push us further on the slide to the Ottoman vision of the state as a collection of ‘millets’ — religiously and ethnically defined groups, each with specific rights and obligations.

      LOL! The US government pursued the extra-territorial rights and immunities of its citizens under the Capitulations long after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

      I didn't even mention religion, just Jewish ethnicity or national origin under the authority of controlling case law. FYI, the US Commission on Civil Rights has stipulated that its jurisdiction in regard to anti-Semitism is strictly limited to discrimination based on ancestry or ethnic characteristics, since it has no authority to investigate religious discrimination per se. That's why the Office for Civil Rights will not investigate allegations of anti-Semitic harassment unless the allegations also include other forms of discrimination over which the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has subject matter jurisdiction.

      The UC Berkeley complaint that equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism went over like a lead balloon with OCR and the United States District Court.

    • I’d be interested to see if anyone can find Chomsky taking a position that implies the disappearance of Israel without also implying the disappearance of nation states in general.

      I can do better than that. He says that he has been in favor of a single bi-national state in Palestine since childhood:

      Quseation: At one time, you urged a single bi-national state as the best solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Do you think such a solution is desirable today? Is it realistic today?

      Chomsky: As to its desirability, I have believed that from childhood, and still do. And at times it has also been realistic. From 1967 to 1973 I wrote about it quite a lot, because during those years it was quite feasible. However, there was virtually no support for it among Palestinians or Israelis; rather, it elicited severe criticism, from doves as well, and in the US, near hysteria. In the same years, a full peace treaty with the major Arab states was also quite feasible, and indeed had been offered in 1971 by Egypt, then Jordan. I have discussed the matter extensively in print, then and since, and won't try to summarize. In my opinion, had these measures been pursued, a great deal of suffering, death, and destruction would have been avoided. By 1973 the opportunity was lost, and the only feasible short-term settlement was the two-state proposal. That remains true. If that is implemented, perhaps along the lines of the Geneva Accords, the cycle of violence will be ended and reversed. Perhaps in the longer term, as hostility and fear subside and relations are more firmly developed along non-national lines, there will be a possibility of moving towards a federal version of binationalism, then perhaps on to closer integration, perhaps even to a democratic secular state -- though it is far from obvious that that is the optimal arrangement for complex societies, there or elsewhere, a different matter.

      -- See Justice for Palestine? Noam Chomsky interviewed by Stephen R. Shalom and Justin Podur, ZNet, March 30, 2004,

    • I’d ask them the same question.

      There is a specialized field of science, anthropology, that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind. I've noted elsewhere that Australia has spent some of your tax dollars on Jewish Studies already. You might inquire and see if they've made any discoveries, besides the motives that I've already mentioned;-)

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