Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 66 (since 2016-05-13 09:14:34)

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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  • The issue isn't the 'occupation', it's Zionism
  • US diplomats say Western Wall is in West Bank, and Nikki Haley backpedals
    • Point taken RoHa! That's actually kinda funny...
      Yes i probably should have stuck to past tense, and gone "where WAS he buried", that's much less controversial!
      I didn't really mean to offer any challenge to the resurrection story...

  • Why are Israeli children brainwashed to hate?
    • Thanks Elizabeth. I believe I should correct, that Barenboim did perform with the East West Divan Orchestra also in Israel (Jerusalem at least I know). They performed in Ramallah too (a good documentary - Knowledge is the Beginning). But I think what you may be referring to is his refusal to perform in Israeli Jewish illegal settlements. He was asked on Army Radio whether he would do so, now that he performs in Ramallah (as if that's the same). He was vehemently against it. His clear and vociferous of Israel’s occupation has won him great unpopularity amongst many in Israel.

    • Very possible, thanks Yoni.

    • Let it be known, that I had voiced my own concern to the editors, about posting a video which I did not have the prime source of. I made full disclosure of not having it. Nonetheless, the content of it is really not doubted by med for a moment as being authentic. I have checked the translation for being precise. I have provided context from an Haaretz article that puts this whole trend in perspective.

      Finally, let it be noted, that if this was a Hamas video showing Mickey Mouse educating kids to take over Palestine, I'm not in doubt that it would be on all mainstream in no-time. Let's not lose perspective of the bigger story here.

    • I have checked the subtitles in English against the Hebrew spoken, it is precise.

    • So, Yonah, your suggesting that this video is simply a staging by Palestinians in order to give Jews a bad name?

  • Israel's proof that Marwan Barghouti is a terrorist – a cookie
  • 100 senators throw their bodies down to end UN 'bias' against Israel
  • Gilad Atzmon’s attack against me – the 'merchant of JVP'
    • You seem to have missed my irony, Citizen. I can't explain it, just like you can't explain a joke without ruining it.

    • Well you know what? I've decided I'll answer those questions anyway. This is not on Atzmon's turf anymore, but I'm making it in 2nd person as a fictive interview. Atzmon seemed somewhat upset when he put this article on his FB wall, said I had inflicted a 'little shoah' upon myself (obviously a dog whistle for anti-Semities and Holocaust-deniers of all kinds). He suggested I simply 'can't' answer those questions. "Why? Zero integrity is obviously the answer", he wrote.

      Although I think I have made my point in the article, I thought, you know what, now that so many people seem to be upset about me not answering the questions - then why not? So here are the answers to all questions, with various analyses of the twists in the questions:

      GA: 1. Your decision to present your moving appeal in English is a significant choice. Rather than talking to Israelis you talk about Israel. I went through a similar transition, rather than talking to Jews I made a decision to talk about Jews.

      What led to your decision?

      JO: Well Atzmon, that’s already a twist in your second sentence. You say “rather than talking to Israelis you talk about Israel”. Let’s see what I actually say, ok? http://mondoweiss.net/2016/02/to-my-fellow-israelis-we-can-stop-this/#sthash.L5If89pH.dpuf

      “I will not write this in Hebrew, although that would probably have been the most direct idiomatic tool to reach your minds. I will not do so, because I have had enough of dirty laundry recycled amongst us “self-understanding” Israelis. Whilst I write to you, my hopes of change coming from within us Israelis have regrettably declined in the years – and thus, I am also, if not more so, placing my bets upon the involvement of the international community – whose help we need so badly – not for more cash, weapons, or apologetic “understanding”, but rather for its intervention in what we are apparently unable, and mostly unwilling, to fix.”

      I speak in second person, do you see that? My title is “to my fellow Israelis”. My point is obviously that I am not excluding Israelis in my address – but rather including all others, as well. There’s a huge difference.

      Now you say that you went through a “similar transition” – that is, based upon your mentioned twist. So the ‘similarity’, for you, is in the sense of ‘Israelis’ being similar to ‘Jews’. And you thus decided to exclude Jews, as it were, from your address, and simply talk about them. Whilst it could be interesting to discuss the parallels between Israelis and Jews, they are simply not the same.

      GA: 2.  I am slightly confused by your attitude to Zionism:

      a.      You seem to argue that Judaism and Zionism are distinct entities; is this really the case? Is there a clear dichotomy? Where does Judaism end and Zionism starts? After all, rabbinical Jews are atthe forefront of the racist crimes against Palestinians.

      b.  I understand that some rabbinical communities are opposed to Israeli and Zionistcrimes, but they are certainly small in number and have limited influence, don’t you agree?

      c.  Like you, I grew up in Israel. My experience was that Zionism was not a driving forcein our upbringing. It was an archaic idiom referring to some Diaspora figures that made it into streets names in Tel Aviv (Herzl, Pinsker, Zobotinsky etc.).  We joined the IDF because we were Jews not because we wereZionists. Do you really believe that Zionism,  that oldpromise to bring the Diaspora Jews to Zion, has once again become a driving force in Israel?

      d. You say, “We were brainwashed to think that Zionism is our saviour.” Were we really?  (by the way, I am not saying you are wrong, I am curious to know why you say what you say, I accept that Israeli society may have changed)

      e. You say our soldiers died “primarily for Zionism?”  Maybe you want to define more clearly what Zionism is and what Zionism has meant for you.

      f.   As you know, Israel is not a country it is a state, Palestine is the country. Soldiers die for ‘Medinat Israel’, the State of Israel. Some rabbinical Jews prefer to talk about Eretz Yisrael -the country of Israel. For them Eretz Yisrael is a holy Jewish continuum and they are willing to fight and die for it. Whether we like it or not, they are Judaically driven rather than Zionistically motivated. Is there a clear dichotomy between ‘the religion’ and ‘the political’ there?

       

      JO:

      a.    Judaism and Zionism are two entities, although they interact. I spoke about “the ostensibly inextricable tie that Zionism has made between itself and Judaism, in monopolising Judaism”. There is a nationalist element in Judaism, and any religion can apply its notion of ‘its people’ to justify tribal violence. That doesn’t make Judaism Zionist. There are many Jews who are not Zionist, in varying degrees of faith from secular to orthodox.

      b.    That Zionism currently has massive representation amongst Jews internationally, does not mean it has always been so. At the beginning of the Zionist movement Zionists were a fringe. This only shows the power that Zionism has. Still, you can’t say it IS Judaism as a generalism.

      c.    Are you saying that the Left-center “Zionist Union” has its name for nothing? (besides The World Zionist Organisation, Zionist Organisation of America etc.). Zionism has come to manifest in Israel. This makes it convenient to speak about “Israel”. Still, the Zionist aim is there. Its essence is to preserve a Jewish Ethnic majority, to substantiate a “Jewish and Democratic state”. You might think that proves it’s about ‘Jewishness’, but I refer you to my point a.

      d.    Yes, it’s a metaphor, I use it to draw a metaphor to Jesus and sacrifice. The notion about Israel saving Jews from another Holocaust, as it were, is probably plainly understood by you. That notion of ‘saving’ is based on the idea of providing a ‘national home’, a ‘national refuge’ as it were – as it requires the Zionist principle of ‘Jewish state’. It’s rather straightforward logic, I thought.

      e.    I don’t need to clarify again, that soldiers who die for Israel, the manifestation of the Zionist aim, die for Zionism. If Israel weren’t that manifestation in its raison d’etre, they wouldn’t be dying primarily for Zionism.

      f.    Once again, those who want to talk about ‘Eretz Israel’ as a holy Jewish continuum, and believe they are fighting Amalekytes in biblical times – let them believe so. I’m not here to get into the heads of those who believe in myths.

       

       

      GA: 3. Do you really believe that the Jews or the Israelis can “stop it now”?

      Have Jews ever stopped themselves voluntarily?

      JO: Yes. That doesn’t mean it should be left to Israelis (allow me to put aside the ‘Jews’) to do so without pressure. Your ‘do you really believe’ could be applied to South African Apartheid. Did you really believe they would stop? Of course, it requires pressure. ‘Have Jews ever stopped themselves voluntarily?’ – now you’re pulling me to the ‘Jewish’ thing again, although that wasn’t my point. OK – you consider yourself an ex-Jew. But when you were ‘Jewish’ – did you ever stop yourself voluntarily? No? Well if not, maybe that’s just a personal trait that you have come to project on ‘Jews’.

        

      GA: 5.  “A state is not people” you say.  “A state is a regime, a paradigm of governance.”

      Is Germany, France or Turkey just a paradigm of governance? Do we deny the existence of the Germans, French and Turks? Assuming that Palestine becomes a state, will we then deny the existence of the Palestinian people? Accordingly, what kind of people are the Jews, especially given that most of them are not physically connected to a land (the land of Israel) ?

       

      JO: Let’s see what I say, in context: ‘A state is not “people”. A state is a regime, a paradigm of governance. A state may belong to its citizens – but then neither “we” nor Israel constitute a real state. For the State of Israel is the state of those who hold Jewish Nationality – which supersedes their citizenship.’

      So yes, I am pointing to the problem of the Israeli national model, where only Israeli citizenship exists, but not Israeli nationality. This is a problem, and this can be solved by regulating religion down to a minor role in which it does not supersede nationality. That’s how UK can be a ‘Christian state’, but you can be a UK national also if you’re Muslim.

      GA: 6. You rightly say “I refuse to be a part of this “we” if that means some ethnic-religious-national mishmash superiority.” Yet how could the Jews celebrate their Jewish collectivism while avoiding exclusivity or choseness?

       

      JO: They can celebrate it like they celebrate Hanukah, like Christians celebrate Christmas and Muslims celebrate Ramadan. It can be done.

       

      GA: 7. You seem to defend Judaism in light of the tie between Judaism and Zionism and I am slightly confused:  are you an observant Jew? If not, why do you feel the need to defend Judaism?

       

      JO: Am I defending Judaism? By suggesting it does not need to be relinquished? Well, yes, like I’m principally defending the right of people to be religious, or atheists, or anything in between. Am I defending it ‘in light of the tie between Judaism and Zionism?’ No, that’s just you’re assertion. I am not an observant Jew. I practice very little if at all anything of Jewish tradition. Why do I ‘feel the need to defend Judaism’? Well, adding to the above, if you don’t defend the rights of people to have a belief (other than what you believe is legitimate to believe) – then it’s tyranny, isn’t it?

       

      GA: 8. Obviously, I agree with you that Israel and Zionism are engaged in horrendous crimes.

      But as far as I can tell, Jewish Bolsheviks were engaged in crimes of an even greater scale.  According to Yuri Slezkin, Jews were “Stalin’s willing executioners”. Neocons, a Jewish American political school have inflicted greater disasters than Israel or Zionism.

      Is it possible that Zionism is just one symptom of a disastrous Jewish political continuum? 

      Can you imagine a peace loving Jewish political existence?

      Can you point at such a body in Jewish history?

       

      JO: Ah, Jewish Bolsheviks. Yes, many Jews were part in the Bolshevik revolution. Does this make all Jews Bolsheviks by nature? Many Germans were Nazis. Does this make all Germans Nazis by nature? You mention Yuri Slezkine (it’s with an E at the end). His book referred to in this respect is ‘The Jewish Century’ from 2006. The phrase “Stalin’s willing executioners” is said to be found there (I have not read the book), but the phrase has become so intriguing that Kevin McDonald’s 17.000 word review of the book, widely circulated, has come to present the phrase as if it was the title itself http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/slezkinerev.pdf

      It is a rather interesting that McDonald’s first bloc quote is of Hitler, and whilst he regards it ‘extreme’, he seems to be supportive of it.

      The irony is, that on page 92, McDonald concedes that “again we see the importance of Slezkine’s claims that Jewish Communists lacked a Jewish identity.”

      You see, Gilad, this is your claim – that “Jewish identity”, “Jewishness” is the problem. You consider that ‘Jewish identity politics’, also when there’s no Jewish State. So your assertion that it’s all just one “disastrous Jewish political continuum” suggests that there’s no escape from this continuum – but to relinquish “Jewishness”. Therefore the question cannot be separate from ‘politics’ – thus you ask “can you imagine a peace loving Jewish political existence’? But I am advocating to separate the Jewish from the State. For you that’s not enough, it would seem – “Jewishness” would continue. Yes – Judiasm, Jews, Jewishness, whatever, they should be allowed to continue. Israel has existed since 1948. So a ‘political existence’ as in a Jewish State hasn’t occurred before that in the past few millennia. But for you it has. For you it’s a one continuum from time immemorial. I find that somewhat Zionist, in a strange kind of way.

    • That’s a valid concern Donald Johnson. It was my initial concern, that whatever I said was probably only going to serve that agenda.
      On the other hand, some people are just unaware of what is behind Atzmon's 'activism'. That needs exposure too. That exposure will no doubt give him publicity and attention. Maybe he trives on this attention, even when it's negative - still, he needs to be known about, on turf that is not his own setup.

    • Keith, you assume a lot here. I've written my points down. You seem to be troubled by my not having copied in what I first wrote on Michael Lesher's thread as a warning - in fact, at first I did fully, but decided to paraphrase a bit so as to avoid literally 'quoting myself', but I did provide a near exact citation. Here's a copy of what I wrote on the thread:
      "I never wrote this publicly before, but Atzmon did once ask to interview me. At that point I only read a few quotes and was warned in advance. Then came the questions. I will not repeat them here. I did a bit more background check, saw a video of his talk. I saw where it was going, and I realised that I would lose any way I answered. I asked politely to back out. I got admonished for lack of 'intellectual integrity'. At that point i knew that a distance had to be kept, and that anything I did or said would likely be held against me.
      It's very rare that I would simply avoid discussion with someone. But this was beyond discussion. It was disturbing at another level."

    • But that doesn't make Miko Peled a Holocaust denier, or even trivialiser.

    • Thanks JD65, it's a very rational dissection there. Thanks for your patience in making it.

    • And Keith, as to Finkelstein's points on Holocaust -
      Finkelstein uses two distinct terms in regards to the Nazi Holocaust: One is "Nazi Holocaust", to refer to the actual events. The second is "Holocaust" to refer to the 'industry' around it.
      Finkelstein does this, I believe, precisely in order to differentiate the two aspects.

      I do not need to get into the "soap" issue Atzmon brings. That is known to be a hoax disseminated by Simon Wiesenthal and Deborah Lipstadt also notes this. That's a shameful invention, and there were others. But that doesn't mean there wasn't a genocide, with gassings, and a Holocaust, if you see what I mean.

    • Keith, I'll try to be short, and give you full disclosure on some of your wonders.

      First of all the questions are in Atzmon's own article which I linked to. At first, I didn't think it was necessary to put them all out there, I thought the last multiple question could do. Then in the editorial process, there was interest to have the questions appear early in the article, to give the reader a sense. So then I put them all up, but it ended up being like a lecture by Atzmon instead. So I opted for a selection.

      You, too, in seeking to convey the 'positive' point, have made a selection. We need to summarize to convey a point, and that's not suspicious or unfair.

      My point is not that all of Atzmon's points are suspicious. I am making the critical point of how he takes those points and where he leads them. It's the low point that I am pointing out. My point about 'losing' is that with him, if you don't agree to the assertions, you are still on his interview turf. And it seemed that it was not a discussion as much as it was a 'test'. I don't want to be tested by a person with such notions.

  • Israel packs seven lies into one statement on the Palestinian hunger strike
  • Sean Spicer needs to go to a Holocaust center
    • Annie, I watched the interview and shared it on my Facebook wall - and then people noted it was pulled. It is indeed gone from that YouTube link, I'll see if it exists somewhere else.

  • The liberal double standard on boycotting North Carolina and boycotting Israel
  • Why so many are twisting Ken Livingstone’s words about Hitler and Zionism
    • L.Willms, I don't know that it's right that the Revisionists supported the boycott against Germany. It was a largely American Jewish liberal move http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/1933-anti-nazi-boycott
      The Revisionists had alliance with Fascists, and do not forget Lehi leader 'Yair' Stern's letter of 1941 to the Nazis offering strategic alliance.

    • Thank you CigarGod. I come from music and still feel most at home kicking ass with Mozart and Beethoven. Although I've found use and purpose in writing, I don't see myself taking up law in near future - but who knows...

    • Thank you Sibiriak. Coming from you it is a real honor. In fact, earlier today, when a friend asked me what I thought about Larry Derfner (referring to his recent here), I simply copied your response on the thread. I had no further comment.

    • Thanks Tom, very relevant. It was obviously impossible to extend too much in an article, I even had to cut short on my rebuttal of Bogdanor to keep it concise. This is a very big and long story, and it's sad that a lot of it remains shut (as the Haganah files on their official Folvar Polkes who met with Eichmann several times are shut). Moreover, Zionists are often relentless in their attacks against those who seek to open up the discussion, as the Livingstone case shows, and as you have already experienced yourself.
      It is a critical debate. The fact that even matters from over 80 years ago are proving so contentious, shows how live this history really is. We have not yet really come to grips with it.

  • The explosion hidden inside the UN Apartheid report
    • Thanks GusCall, well you may have a point there - I could have gone 'the report' rather than 'Falk and Tilley' - as it is noted in advance in my former linked article that they are the authors. I mentioned their names in regards to the emphasis they did not make, which I would make for the purpose of my focus. True, I could have written 'the report', and it would have been less personal. I did not mean it as any sort of attack on their person, merely an additional focus.
      I think I have made it clear that their prerogative was more on the question of Israel as an Apartheid state, where Zionism plays as a side question which they do address.
      It could be a thing to change if it was crucial, but in respect of generally not changing article texts unless a direct false claim is noticed, I would opt to leave it at that.
      But thanks for noting that, I see how such noting can cause an implicit sense of uncertainty about why names are stated all of a sudden.

    • Thanks very much QQQ. I used the euphemism 'shelved' so it would serve as a connenctive one between the report and UN 3379 - although their cases are different in several senses.

      I will follow with interest to see the developments the report may cause. It cannot be buried.

    • Thanks Just. Some truths I think are self evident.
      "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

      We should know better than to let words die on paper in favor of 'realpolitik'.

  • Apartheid wears a veil
    • Well, James Michie, full disclosure: I did not select the title myself. I think my suggested title was "THE ISRAELI APARTHEID UN REPORT WAS SHOT DOWN AFTER TWO DAYS, BUT LIVES ON".

      Nonetheless, the title has full validity, in that it refers to a point made in p. 30 of the report: "By developing discrete bodies of law, termed “domains” in this report, for each territory and their Palestinian populations, Israel has both effected and veiled a comprehensive policy of apartheid directed at the whole Palestinian people."
      Now, I don't know how ironically, or how seriously, you meant what you wrote, James. Nonetheless, there is a point here which, although having been rather clear to me for some time, does nonetheless fool many. It is the 'divide and rule' both in the sense of regime, but also in the sense of propaganda. The report elucidates how Israel is both able to hold the trappings of democracy, whilst not actually having it.

      I have great respect for the ability to convey such notions. It's not enough to know things. That knowledge needs to become effective, conveyed, disseminated. I am therefore not at all cynical about these findings, formulations or titles.

    • Thank you for authoring it, QQQ.

  • Steve Bannon's Judeo-Christian 'Camp of the Saints'
    • Pixel is wondering whether I seriously quoted something from the Huffington Post.
      This is of course a rhetoric quip, to suggest that this is an unreliable source.
      But you see, I check my sources. I happen to have the material, which is presented in quote (and recording) also from other sources, and I read all of Bannon's speech to the Vatican 2014.
      When you have common sense and a basic scrutiny, it's possible to even quote from Breitbart - as I did regarding its co-founder.
      Citing sources is not about repeating analysis of another, or taking their take on the story. It's just a crediting of who brought forth what.

      The story then becomes mine. So if you have a problem with Huffington, Breitbart, Adelson funded Israel Hayom or religious-nationalist Arutz 7 (Israel National News) which I also quote from occasionally, then that's your business. I use the material and provide it critically, with a transparent link, and it's thus possible for the reader to scrutinize the news themselves. That's how you escape the hyperbole of 'fake news' - you simply scrutinise whatever source.

      I hope that helps.

    • Juan R has left a series of 'reports' on...what? Terror in the 'west'? I opened every single article, and every story contained an unclarity about the motive. In some cases it is admittedly assumed as mental instability.
      Juan R does not provide any actual personal analysis, merely a citing of texts - where the main points appear to be not the events themselves - but a reference to earlier events. This paints over the actual cited events, which in themselves do not confirm any particular pattern, as their motives are nuclear.

      Juan R is thus appears to be attempting to make a point. One is left to wonder what it is though.
      Is he trying to say 'Bannon was right'?

  • 'BDS is a terrorist movement' - exposing David Collier
  • A Palestinian state has always been a fiction for Zionists
  • From life in prison to 1.5 years - the Elor Azarya 'manslaughter' sentence
  • Israeli supermarket chain glorifies army killer on grocery bag
    • Thanks Just. Well, if you watch the recent documentary film 'The Lab' on Israel's weapon industry, you'll see General (res.) Amiram Levin saying "these people were born to die. We just need to help them to it".

      It would appear Azarya was thus merely "helping" Al-Sharif, because, as Azarya himself said, he "had to die".

      It's interesting that Levin has more recently come out in defense of Breaking the Silence, against the accusations that they were 'traitors', attacks that also came from defense minister Yaalon. Seen in the light of Levin's aforementioned statement, it would appear that he subscribes to the "shooting and crying" idea.

      But people like Azarya don't need to "tell" about their deeds - everyone saw it. And that's the problem. Israeli soldiers are apparently supposed to "help Palestinians die", and be able to vent their disturbed feelings. But legal accpuntability is a whole other universe. We seem to apply it in diluted formula, when there seems to be no choice, when the PR price is just too heavy.

    • Thanks, point taken. A lot more could be listed...

    • Thanks Hasbara Buster - point taken.

    • YoniFalic, it says "ohavim am Israel".
      Ohavim is a plural verb, as in "loving", as in "loving you".
      I don't think we need to lose focus on the bigger issue at hand because of these semantics.

  • Israel has had a 'Muslim ban' from the start
    • Oh yes there are no doubt differences, Atlantaiconoclast. I don't know whether you meant that as a strengthening of my point, or a countering of it.

      In case it was the latter, I would just say that I wrote: "So Netanyahu congratulates Trump for the wall: “Great success”, “Great idea”. It’s already success because it’s not an ordinary wall, it’s a racist wall, like ours. It’s a great idea because walls are our thing."

      This is a rather euphemistic. First, we know that about 700 miles of the roughly 1.900 mile US southern order are already fenced, so it's not only 'his wall'. But 'his wall' is inevitably tied to the rather ridiculous claim that Mexico should pay for it. So it's a wall of racist incitement. That's how I mean it.

      Now the "wall" that Netanyahu alludes to in his tweet, on the southern border, is not really a wall but rather a fence. When I referred to 'racist wall' I was mostly alluding to another wall, the wall that most people would think of - the 'separation barrier' of the West Bank, 85% of which is built on Palestinian territory and hence de-facto annexing vast territories (hence illegal by 2004 ICJ Advisory Opinion). But even if one were to refer to the southern fence, there's the racist aspect too: In 2013 PM Netanyahu said "the decision was taken to secure Israel's Jewish and democratic character, but that refugees would still be allowed to seek entry." Others in his government have complained about the 'Jewish character' threat (like Ben Dahan whom I quoted), and the view of refugees endangering the 'Jewish character' has been shared by MOST ISRAELIS already in 2011 polls http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4008290,00.html

      Amongst the Ultra-Orthodox, the view was shared by 93%.

    • Thanks Just ;-)

  • Why Israel wants us to say 'terror'
    • HarryLaw - it gets even worse, because Israel doesn't even consider East Jerusalem as part of the West Bank, and there are several other areas like this. I wrote about this a week ago - this is what fools many. In Barak’s alleged 'generous offer' in 2000 he wasn't really oferring 91%. That number didn't include those 'additional areas' already annexed - so it was actually 86%, but it wasn't even that. Here's what I wrote:

      How many percentages of the West Bank did Barak actually offer Arafat in 2000? Figures were circulating in mainstream media of a 96% 'generous offer' at the time.

      Even the more critical appraisals were sometimes based in this idea.
      In the Guardian newspaper on 14 April 2001, diplomatic editor Ewen MacAskill wrote: "The Israelis portrayed it as the Palestinians receiving 96% of the West Bank. But the figure is misleading. The Israelis did not include parts of the West Bank they had already appropriated."

      He had a point about the misrepresentation. But it was also a misrepresentation of a misrepresentation. It turns out that even by the Israeli definition it wasn't 96 but 91%. But it wasn't really 91% either. And what were those "appropriated areas"?

      I found a rather precise answer in Jeremy Pressman, International Security, vol 28, no. 2, Fall 2003 Visions in Collision, What Happened in Camp David and Taba, Harvard, http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/pressman.pdf

      "Three factors made Israel’s territorial offer less forthcoming than it initially appeared. First, the 91 percent land offer was based on the Israeli defnition of the West Bank, but this differs by approximately 5 percentage points from the Palestinian defnition. Palestinians use a total area of 5,854 square kilometers. Israel, however, omits the area known as No Man’s Land (50 sq. km near Latrun), post-1967 East Jerusalem (71sq.km), and the territorial waters Dead Sea (195 sq. km), which reduces the total to 5,538 sq. km. Thus, an Israeli offer of 91 percent (of 5,538 sq. km) of the West Bank translates into only 86 percent from the Palestinian perspective.

      Second, at Camp David, key details related to the exchange of land were left unresolved. In principle, both Israel and the Palestinians agreed to land swaps whereby the Palestinians would get some territory from pre-1967 Israel in exchange for Israeli annexation of some land in the West Bank. In practice, Israel offered only the equivalent of 1 percent of the West Bank in exchange for its annexation of 9 percent. Nor could the Israelis and Palestinians agree on the territory that should be included in the land swaps. At Camp David, the Palestinians rejected the Halutza Sand region (78 sq. km) alongside the Gaza Strip, in part because they claimed that it was inferior in quality to the West Bank land they would be giving up to Israel.

      Third, the Israeli territorial offer at Camp David was noncontiguous, breaking the West Bank into two, if not three, separate areas. At a minimum, as Barak has since confirmed, the Israeli offer broke the West Bank into two parts: “The Palestinians were promised a continuous piece of sovereign territory except for a razor-thin Israeli wedge running from Jerusalem through from [the Israeli settlement of] Maale Adumim to the Jordan River.” The Palestinian negotiators and others have alleged that Israel included a second east-west salient in the northern West Bank (through the Israeli settlement of Ariel). If true, the salient through Ariel would have cut the West Bank portion of the Palestinian state into three pieces. Thus, at Camp David, the total Palestinian land share of the West Bank would have been closer to 77 percent for the first six to twenty-one years. Israel planned to annex 9 percent of West Bank territory while giving the Palestinians the equivalent of 1 percent from pre-1967 Israel. Israel proposed retaining control of 10 percent or more of the Jordan Valley and did not include roughly 5 percent annexation in the total (e.g., Latrun and parts of East Jerusalem)."

      I would dare add a comment to Pressman's otherwise useful analysis, that the 86% is not a "Palestinian perspective". It's just a fact. Those areas were outside 1949 ceasefire lines - period. As well, the additional nearly 10% that were to be 'temporarily' under Israeli control for some 6 to 21 years - if to judge by what happened with Oslo accords and Israeli failure to implement withdrawals from 'temporarily controlled areas' (to be completed before 2000), this would not have boded well. The Palestinians would have had good reason to believe that this was but a means to get away with more.

      Israel's foreign minister under Barak, Shlomo Ben Ami, has himself regarded Israel's security claim over the Jordan Valley as 'mythical', and I would thus summarize and say that Barak was not generous, he was disseminating myths, happily picked up by mainstream media. Yet the impression of 'Palestinian rejectionism' has been the goal of these myths, and that impression is hard to dispel, because many people just remember the slogans.

  • The truck attack that killed four Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem was not 'terrorism'
    • Jackdaw, it would appear that my critical qualification, also attacked by Jon66, is a central point of debate. It would appear that this qualification serves as the grounds for your being able to call me a "*f-king heartless idiot".

      That is really odd, because that qualification is really not that central in itself, and it doesn't even refute that they COULD be called teens, whereas I was being more specific.

      Attacking such a relatively semantic qualification with such obscenity, seems to betray an inability to actually refute the more central claims of my writing, which I thus take as an indirect compliment. So, thank you for that.

      But now, to not be so pedantic, let me assure you, I get the vein of your emotional claim - that I am being pedantic and heartless because I focus upon such unimportant issues, in the face of such events which are so painful and deserve sensitivity (correct me if I have misunderstood your meaning). Well, let me first recommend Michael Lesher's appraisal in Times of Israel (confirming my central claims regarding terror BTW), of how insensitive the mainstream media appears to be regarding the supposed attacker, Fadi Qunbar http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/crime-and-punishment-fadi-qunbar-elor-azaria-and-israels-occupation/ . I would not be surprised that you would consider this ridiculous - does a 'terrorist' even need to be considered?

      Indeed, Netanyahu did not even mention him as one of the four killed in the event. He is apparently not worthy of mentioning. Then as I mention, Netanyahu does not even mention that the "four young Israelis" (never mind that two are also Americans) are soldiers. That needs no mentioning either.

      Now you may call my pointing out of these seemingly unobtrusive facts to be 'f-king heartless' or whatever, but as Annie Robbins here keeps pointing out, facts matter. And Netanyahu's omission of such facts is very, very tactical. It is made to garner emotional support for people to consider it 'heartless' not to condemn this 'terror'. This narrative, nicely followed by much of MSM, provides us only two uncritical options - to either StandwithIsrael, or to be against it and on the side of the terrorist evildoers. That's the essence of it.

      This narrative allows 95% of Jewish Israelis to support a massacre of over 500 children in Gaza, and they will not consider themselves 'f-king heartless'. This is the narrative that allows 2/3 of the public to support Elor Azarya's cold-blooded murder, and the figure goes up to 84% amongst military aged people of 18-24. And the prevailing motto of support will be that Azarya is everyone's son. He's a boy. But the Justice Minister Shaked will advocate for the genocide of the little Gazan children, the 'little snakes', and that's not 'f-king heartless'.

    • Jon66, I did not refute they could be called 'teens', but provided a more specific description - notably including the adult of age 19. It's not either or. It's just that when you say teens, many people often would think of people who are not adults. I just wanted to specify and did not refute 'teens'.
      As to your citing of NY Times and the Hamas connection, as Talknic also points out below, it actually defies your point, as it says "“But the documents, related to an investigation and indictment of the man suspected of leading the kidnappers, provide no evidence that the top leaders of Hamas directed or had prior knowledge of the plot to abduct the three Israeli youths.”

    • Thanks Annie. Let's read Gideon Levy on the duty, and the right, of Palestinians to resist: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.622711 - But let's not leave it at that. Let's relate to Hophmi's claim about "no right to dress in plainclothes and use a civilian vehicle to kill people under international law."

      Now, let us not even go in depth into the fact that Israeli troops regularly act in plainclothes (Mistarvim) and infiltrate Palestinian demonstrations, sometimes shooting them in the leg and taking them away. Let us not even delve into the myriad of Israeli killings in plainclothes on foreign territory. No - let's go straight to the argument regarding 'international law':

      United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978:
      “2. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;”

      General Assembly Resolution A/RES/3246 (XXIX) of 29 November 1974:
      "3. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation form colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle; …
      7. Strongly condemns all Governments which do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people;"

      United Nations GA resolutions may not be as binding as SC resolutions (and as a side note, when have SC resolutions really bothered Israel anyway - it just flouted 2334), they still reflect a certain consensus regarding the law from the international community.

      These resolutions do not regard terror as such, and it is clear that terror can be applied even by occupied people - but the main issue about that is the nature of the victimising - not the occupied victim. That is, that if it targets civilians, that would be a terror act (as Eva Smagadz points out above), regardless of the fact of occupation.

      Broadside bring up an example of the Warsaw ghetto - and asks sarcastically whether Jews should have stolen a tank and taken on uniforms in order to resist 'lawfully'. This reflects one of the major problems within the paradigm of occupation - that by the fact of the occupation, the militant factions are often considered illegitimate by the occupier, so it is often pointless to wear an outfit, although some more organised militant factions do, like Hizbollah and Hamas. Now someone could come and say, that the Palestinians have the PA which is armed - but the PA has an official and explicit security cooperation with Israel, so it is obviously NOT the force that can be applied to resist occupation.

      The suggestion would thus be that NO ARMED RESISTANCE should be possible for Palestinians - despite the international consensus about it. What should they do then? Ah, use boycott, divestment and sanctions - which is generally known as protected speech. But when that's against Israel, it suddenly becomes 'diplomatic terror', as Israel's top diplomat Tzipi Hotoveli (deputy Foreign Miniser, Netanyahu holds the portfolio of Minister) recently said.

      Hophmi also seems to take this line, loosely conjuring guilt by association, suggesting some columnist here has 'advocated such behaviour', indeed that 'Mondoweiss always does' - and then connects that to BDS to suggest that BDS is violent.

      It's an astounding feat of logical gymnastics that Hophmi is performing here before us.

    • Thank you Eva.

  • Memo to Kerry: Support for one state is growing among Palestinians and Israelis
    • Catalan, that 1 state is there, and has been for decades. We can't just sit back and watch, because what we'll be watching is the continued genocide. It is necessary to fight for a just and fair and equal regime in this paradigm.

  • Kerry, interrupted
    • Thank you dearly, Just. This is so spot on. You know, I was just speaking with Gideon Levy today for an hour, and we talked about the Kerry speech and the 'classical' nations of the 2 state solution (I noted also that it used to be an 'extremist' Palestinian approach...), and he mentioned what Diana said, exactly the last paragraph (I didn't know they were on Democracy Now together today). It's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks Just.

  • 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' -- Really?
    • Fair enough jon s, yet I did refer to various Torah quotes which on the face of it seem to profess this 'love'. Nonetheless, I provided a critical view of how even such advocacies can be conditioned and superseded by other, less 'loving' decrees. In the end, my main focus stemning back from the Spencer-Rosenberg debate, is how this plays out in actual current Israeli policy and ideology. It is regretfully not the most kind of policies, and often the more murderous interpretations that gain power, as I have shown. I believe that religion is what we make it be. So is nationalism. I am not blaming Judaism for making things what they are. It's a question of which strains gain power, in both religion and nationalism, as they actually play out, dually, in Jewish State.

  • Why a Texas rabbi keeps losing a debate over Israel with a white nationalist leader
    • Keith, you are attacking an interpretation of what I wrote as disingenuous. Of course assimilation was possible on its own, but the belief was that it's either a complete conversion or a maintenance of some Jewish identity, where the latter would mean that the gentiles would always eventually persecute Jews, no matter how 'assimilated'. The logic suggests that 'mixing in' will always eventually mean a 'disappearance' either by custom or eventual persecution - unless there was a decidedly isolationist venture that would protect the Jews in one place.

      This a rather uncontroversial Zionist logic.

  • Boycott, from within and without
    • Benedict, you keep speaking of "destruction", but I'm talking about transformation. Destruction of Jewish State is already being practiced by Israel.

    • Very good article Nada

    • An extensive response to Benedict:

      “Hi Ofir- The issue is not whether to boycott or not but what are the goals of the boycott. In the case of BDS the ultimate goal is to destroy the Jewish state. Most Israelis regard this goal as deeply offensive and dangerous hence the attitude to those who support it. Assuming the goals of BDS will ever materialize it will risk the lives of countless Israeli jews and dash the hope for jewish independence. Why should any sane Israeli support such goals?”.

      I thought that this one deserves a comprehensive answer, mostly because it is a predominant view not only amongst the wide political spectrum in Israel, but also amongst some liberal intellectuals worldwide.

      To address the last sentence first: “Why would any sane Israeli support such goals?” – this suggests that Israeli BDS supporters are insane. Let us then examine, what these goals are, according to the responder:

      “The destruction of the Jewish State” – this is a claim that seems to encapsulate the essential goal (no other goals are specified).
      Let us test this assumption against the three BDS demands:

      1) Cease of the occupation and dismantling of the wall. This does not mean destruction of the Jewish State. In fact, ending the 1967 occupation is something that many liberal-Zionists want and have been fighting for – as I have noted in my article. Whilst one could be arguing that dismantling the wall could endanger Israelis, the fact is, that this wall is illegal not because it exists – but because 85% of its existing and planned route are on occupied territory. This is, ostensibly, in order to protect settlements – but the settlements are illegal. The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that Israel had a right to build a wall – but it should be on Israel’s side. A withdrawal from 1967 occupied territories will also mean that the wall could be dismantled – or built if necessary on Israel’s territory, without endangering any settlers – because they simply wouldn’t be there.

      2) Equal rights to Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. Why would this destroy the Jewish State? After all, Israel declared from the start, in its Declaration of Independence, that “it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex”. Why should this even be an issue, if that was the stated intention?

      3) Return of Palestinian refugees. Ah, this must be the difficult one. The argument here is, that potential return of about 7 million refugees http://mondoweiss.net/2016/06/palestinian-territories-increased/ would mean that Israel will not be able to ensure its Jewish majority and political sovereignty as Jewish State. But when we look at South Africa during Apartheid, the whites were a small minority, in 1960 about 20%. There was nothing preventing the Apartheid state from exerting Apartheid and exclusivism upon the non-white population. One could then say, that an altered demography, wherein Jews are a minority, will not necessarily mean destruction of the Jewish State. It may make it more obvious that the Jewish State depends upon such anti-democratic exclusivism, but that exclusivism will not start there – it already exists. In fact, this is the argument of liberal-Zionists in regards to “stopping the occupation”, that Israel is governing a territory which contains about as many non-Jews as Jews, and that it will “soon” mean Apartheid. But it already does, since the start. When we say “Apartheid” today, this is most essentially a qualitative term – not necessarily a quantitative one. It doesn’t start when the rulers are a minority. The crime of Apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as acts "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime." In fact, the 1967 occupation meant Israel taking under its control a large Palestinian population (where many were 1948 refugees). This was not an ‘accidental’ result of the 1967 war. As Moshe Dayan stated in 1973: “Among ourselves [the Zionists] there can be no debate about the integrity of the land of Israel [ie, Palestine], and about our ties and right to the whole of the land …When a Zionist speaks about the integrity of the land, this can only mean colonisation [hityashvut] by the Jews of the land in its entirety. That is to say, from the viewpoint of Zionism the real touchstone is not confined to [the question as to] whom this or that segment of the land belongs to politically, nor even to the abstract belief in the integrity of the land. Rather, the aim and touchstone of Zionism is the actual implementation of colonisation by the Jews of all areas of the land of Israel”. (Ha’aretz, February 18 1973, in Moshé Machover http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2016-08-16/moshe-machover-the-decolonisation-of-palestine/ ). Israel thus conquered the territories out of the clear wish to hold onto them – but also with the clear wish to avoid having to take into its own constituency “too many Arabs”. In other words – Israel wanted the land, but not the people. This is the paradigm that describes not only the 1967 (and onwards) paradigm – but also the 1948 (and on) paradigm. This is a description of the very essence of Zionism, as it materialized for all practical purposes, in the Jewish State. If preservation of “Jewish State” means Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity, per definition, why would it be so terrible to dismantle it? It doesn’t mean “destruction” as in annihilation of its Jewish constituency – it just means a democratic state.

      In fact, the whole terminology is misleading. States are not people – they are governing constructs. Not only should we separate the people from the state, we should separate religion from the state. What is described here as “destruction of the Jewish State” is merely a separation of religion and state, a separation of the Jewish from the State.

      If anyone thought that the construct of “Jewish State” would succeed in both preserving Jewish exclusivity whilst nonetheless “ensuring complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex”, I believe history has proven them wrong, from day 1. Two first decades of mass ethnic cleansing and military rule of the Palestinian Israelis, followed by 5 decades of military occupation of surrounding territories are more than enough to indicate what many sceptics were worried about at the outset – that this would be an oppressive construct.

      The fact that BDS does not even have to relate to the question of Jewish State as such, and that mere applications of standard international law in themselves constitute an “offensive” and “dangerous” challenge to the Jewish State construct, is in itself telling. It tells, that the Jewish State DEPENDS upon violation of international law in order to exist.

      I would conclude this with a mentioning of the thread response to the aforementioned comment, provided by Mondoweiss Editor at Large Annie Robbins: ““Most Israelis regard this goal as deeply offensive and dangerous hence the attitude to those who support it”. Most Palestinians regard this goal of a Zionist state as deeply offensive and dangerous hence the attitude to those who support it”.

      It is certainly not insane to challenge the Jewish State.

  • Israeli rabbi who advocated rape of 'comely gentile women' during war becomes chief army rabbi
    • I copy Michael Lesher's comment from a discussion we had about this earlier, once again: "For what it's worth, I can add a bit to this mess.

      The Talmud discusses the passage in question (Deut. 21:10-14) at Qiddushin 22a. Most of the passage is devoted to the details of the process that, according to these verses, must precede the soldier's marriage to the captive woman. However, it is unclear from the Talmud whether or not the soldier is allowed to RAPE the woman BEFORE she begins that process -- and commentators, predictably, differ.

      Rashi takes the position Qarim falls back on in his "clarification": namely, that no rape is ever permitted. A few other sources concur. However, the 19th century rabbi -- and famous Orthodox "liberal" -- Samson Raphael Hirsch was unfortunately correct in writing (in his own Pentateuch commentary) that the great majority of commentators disagree with Rashi; they insist that the soldier may FIRST rape the captive, and only then must take the steps prescribed in Deuteronomy 21:11-14. These commentators stress the Talmud's words that the commandment in question was designed with the soldier's "evil inclination" in mind: in other words, he must satisfy his lust, and divine law concedes this much to him, adding only certain qualifications in the event he intends to "keep" his victim. This was clearly the view -- again, the traditional MAJORITY view -- that Rabbi Qarim had in mind when he wrote his first response. Rabbi Qarim then added his own gloss to the effect that anything that helps a soldier maintain his fighting morale in time of war can't be all bad. Given the premises of the previous commentators, I'm afraid I can't call his position illogical.

      I won't waste time on the revolting assumptions at work here -- this passage is perhaps the starkest example in the Hebrew Bible of woman-as-object misogyny. And although commentators like Rashi, Ramban and Ohr ha-Hayyim all clearly wanted to purge the passage of its nastiest aspects, they never won the day. People who naively suppose that today's Orthodox rabbis, in light of modern feminism -- or just basic decency -- would be rushing to disown these laws, or at least the most vicious interpretations of them, don't know much about the rabbinate.

      The real point I think this episode illustrates -- and this is one that's hard to fit into a tight paragraph -- is the methodological dishonesty employed by far too many Orthodox rabbis when they discover their Talmudic analyses are reaching an unexpected audience and that the audience isn't happy with what it's hearing. Instead of telling the truth about the traditional material they're interpreting, or even -- still more breathtaking -- acknowledging its moral flaws, these rabbis spin the material into the form that best suits their purpose at that particular moment, hoping the reader won't know how to check sources for herself and will never realize she's being lied to. Afterwards, of course, the rabbi can go back to the faithful and repeat what he really believes.

      I doubt that many outside the Orthodox Jewish community realize how often this sort of thing happens when rabbis address a non-Orthodox public, or how easily, almost unconsciously, rabbis like Qarim lapse into dishonest apologetics once they realize something they've said didn't have the desired effect on an unfamiliar group of readers. Israel Shahak's savage critique of the Orthodox rabbinate on this score was, alas, quite justified. And when influential rabbis play this game -- in this case, a rabbi whose word is relied on by real soldiers in a real army, dealing (all too often) with real captives -- the consequences can only be disastrous. I can assure you that no Orthodox IDF soldier will be impressed by Qarim's backpedaling, because he will understand at once what it means: that's the story for THEM; the real story is more complicated, meaning, in the end, do what you want, it's all right, no one can blame you (assuming you can get away with it). Some religious counsel."

    • Hophmi, it's strange, because it appears you might not have actually read my article - I cover, with considerable detail, the particular passage. I have also scrutinised the distinctions between rape an marriage, how the inquirer in 2003 asked specifically about rape, how Qarim answered about rape, and how in 2012 he tried to backpedal by talking about "marriage" in detail, whilst only addressing rape in one sentence. It actually appears that Qarim is in the concensus regarding rape, that is, BEFORE the rest of the acts prescribed regarding marriage. I would recommend to read Michael Lesher's comment which he posted in an earlier discussion about this: "For what it's worth, I can add a bit to this mess.

      The Talmud discusses the passage in question (Deut. 21:10-14) at Qiddushin 22a. Most of the passage is devoted to the details of the process that, according to these verses, must precede the soldier's marriage to the captive woman. However, it is unclear from the Talmud whether or not the soldier is allowed to RAPE the woman BEFORE she begins that process -- and commentators, predictably, differ.

      Rashi takes the position Qarim falls back on in his "clarification": namely, that no rape is ever permitted. A few other sources concur. However, the 19th century rabbi -- and famous Orthodox "liberal" -- Samson Raphael Hirsch was unfortunately correct in writing (in his own Pentateuch commentary) that the great majority of commentators disagree with Rashi; they insist that the soldier may FIRST rape the captive, and only then must take the steps prescribed in Deuteronomy 21:11-14. These commentators stress the Talmud's words that the commandment in question was designed with the soldier's "evil inclination" in mind: in other words, he must satisfy his lust, and divine law concedes this much to him, adding only certain qualifications in the event he intends to "keep" his victim. This was clearly the view -- again, the traditional MAJORITY view -- that Rabbi Qarim had in mind when he wrote his first response. Rabbi Qarim then added his own gloss to the effect that anything that helps a soldier maintain his fighting morale in time of war can't be all bad. Given the premises of the previous commentators, I'm afraid I can't call his position illogical.

      I won't waste time on the revolting assumptions at work here -- this passage is perhaps the starkest example in the Hebrew Bible of woman-as-object misogyny. And although commentators like Rashi, Ramban and Ohr ha-Hayyim all clearly wanted to purge the passage of its nastiest aspects, they never won the day. People who naively suppose that today's Orthodox rabbis, in light of modern feminism -- or just basic decency -- would be rushing to disown these laws, or at least the most vicious interpretations of them, don't know much about the rabbinate.

      The real point I think this episode illustrates -- and this is one that's hard to fit into a tight paragraph -- is the methodological dishonesty employed by far too many Orthodox rabbis when they discover their Talmudic analyses are reaching an unexpected audience and that the audience isn't happy with what it's hearing. Instead of telling the truth about the traditional material they're interpreting, or even -- still more breathtaking -- acknowledging its moral flaws, these rabbis spin the material into the form that best suits their purpose at that particular moment, hoping the reader won't know how to check sources for herself and will never realize she's being lied to. Afterwards, of course, the rabbi can go back to the faithful and repeat what he really believes.

      I doubt that many outside the Orthodox Jewish community realize how often this sort of thing happens when rabbis address a non-Orthodox public, or how easily, almost unconsciously, rabbis like Qarim lapse into dishonest apologetics once they realize something they've said didn't have the desired effect on an unfamiliar group of readers. Israel Shahak's savage critique of the Orthodox rabbinate on this score was, alas, quite justified. And when influential rabbis play this game -- in this case, a rabbi whose word is relied on by real soldiers in a real army, dealing (all too often) with real captives -- the consequences can only be disastrous. I can assure you that no Orthodox IDF soldier will be impressed by Qarim's backpedaling, because he will understand at once what it means: that's the story for THEM; the real story is more complicated, meaning, in the end, do what you want, it's all right, no one can blame you (assuming you can get away with it). Some religious counsel."

    • Very important, thanks Annie

  • Answering Yair Lapid's (contemptuous) questions about refugees
  • Condemn! Condemn!
    • Jackdaw, if we're going to be that specific, we'll have to say that Israel didn't actually conquer the Syrian Golan in 1967, because Dayan (then Defense Minister) commanded the invasion without telling his Chief of Staff (Rabin), nor, more significantly - his PM (Eshkol).
      It does not have to be our great concern that there have been rogue operations because of power fights within Israeli government. In the end, Defense Minister Lavon resigned. I do not know whether Ben Gurion was involved - very likely yes, I would say. But in the end Israel did this - but denied doing it. And then honored the "heroes".
      I feel no need to make apologetic qualifications for such things.

  • With BDS order, Cuomo imports the anti-democratic spirit, from Israel and France
    • Mcohen, in your response to Annie, you write "there is no bad or good.everything is paid for in blood and treasure. you should be grateful you live in america."

      If there is no bad or good, then no state is better than another. Why should Annie then be grateful to live in America? It is after all not worse or better than any other country? Ah, perhaps because America managed to get more "treasure" by "blood". So the argument is supposed to be that it's a rich country (and that's the only thing that counts, because it can't be a "good" country anyway. According to the US debt clock, the USA debt is very close to 20 trillion USD. (http://www.usdebtclock.org/#), where a lot of that is simply war expenditure and maintenance of about 800 military locations worldwide. So we could talk about how, or whether, this "blood" is actually producing "treasure". By your logic, USA is not policing the world in order for it to become "good", or to remove "bad regimes" - because there is no bad or good. It is spilling blood in order to get treasure. Ironically, I think this is the logic underlying the many interventions. I think it's bad, really bad. But you don't believe in good or bad.

  • 'I am Palestinian and I am human' -- and Leanne Mohamad, 15, is disqualified from UK speaking competition
    • Barmalei, you write "Then, the girl said 30,000, not 9,000, and this is a falsehood that as a rational individual you should condemn and not condone the same way as you are prone to condemn a falsehood coming out of the mouth of Netaniyahu".
      I don't have time to comment other aspects of your response at this point, but Annie Robbins did answer with a few aspects I wish to further here.

      First of all, Leanne's reference is to children killed since 1948. My reference, in admittance that it is a moot point and that statistics on this have been hard to find, is about deaths ONLY SINCE 2000. If you would want to equate the two linearly, you would have to multiply the figure I gave by about 4.5. In any case, I referred to her reference being also more general, in regards to killings - as she alludes to indirect deaths, which are not included in my cited statistics.

      Now Annie Robbins wisely refers to another case, indirectly - the Holocaust. If someone were holding a speech on that - would it make the marked qualitative difference if they related to Raul Hilberg's 5.1 million Jewish killed estimation, or the more popularly referred 6 million?

      And since we are speaking of the Holocaust, I would like to use this as a reality check in regards to "killed" and "murdered". So if someone holding a speech on the Holocaust would say that 6 million Jews were "murdered" - that would go down pretty normal, wouldn't it. If they would say "killed" - that would be considered even more conservative. Would anyone chide the speaker for regarding those people Jews who happened to die not from a bullet to the head or any direct execution as such, but rather from conditions of life inflicted upon them in ghettos and concentration camps - that they died from disease, or malnutrition etc. - regarding them as "killed", or indeed even "murdered"?

  • Israeli 'chutzpah' versus Palestinian 'sumud'
    • Apologies for not following ALL responses, but I see that Ohplease makes a claim here, as to item 1 involving ALA fighters. This is simply not in the text, and I cannot see its basis. You state that you are not denying the Nakba or claiming that the "call to flee" (by Arab leaders) is the only reason for the exodus - in this respect it is interesting to note how Benny Morris categorically refutes the Shabtai Teveth 'theory' about this. It is a myth that has become widely inculcated in Zionist culture:
      In the first chapter of 1948 and After, Morris outlines his refutation of the single-cause thesis to the Palestinian exodus. On p. 31, he writes: "In refuting Teveth's single-cause ("Arab orders") explanation of the exodus up to 15 May, I pointed out that there is simply no evidence to support it, and that the single document Teveth is able to cite, the Haganah report of 24 April, refers explicitly to "rumours" and to an order to "several localities" (rather than a blanket order to "the Arabs of Palestine"). Moreover, neither these "rumours" nor the purported order were referred to again in any subsequent Haganah intelligence report (which surely would have been the case had these "rumours" been confirmed and had an actual order been picked up). The fact is that the opposite occurred: Haganah intelligence and Western diplomatic missions in the Middle East at the time, around 5–6 May 1948, picked up, recorded and quoted from Arab orders and appeals (by King Abdullah I, Arab Liberation Army Commander Fawzi Qawuqji, and Damascus Radio) to the Arabs of Palestine to stay put in their homes or, if already in exile, to return to Palestine. Not evidence of "Arab orders" to flee but of orders to stay put during those crucial pre-invasion weeks. It flies in the face of the chronology, which there is no getting around. There was an almost universal one-to-one correspondence between Jewish attacks in specific localities and on specific towns and Arab flight from these localities and towns;"

      Now even if there were defensive forces (and note that sometimes the appearance of "Arab irregular" forces has been a matter that could cause flight, see item 8 in the IDF document), that could hardly justify that the village be attacked just because it has people to defend it... in egregious cases which I have covered in detail, the taking out of fighters only precipitated a large scale massacre of the civilian population (Dawaymeh, Tantura), and it was generally the case that the village would be expelled and demolished - this was the case hundreds of times. Had the objective really been just taking out military resistance, all the rest would not be necessary.

  • Zionism threatens to bring anti-semitism full-circle
    • Thank you for the correction Rashers - I believe I submitted it simply as HMG but it got edited, and we are so used to it meaning HER MG in recent times...will submit correction.

    • Thanks Dan. Hmm you're not going to hang me on my words here, but I would say it is an unreasonable, emotional and not logically propelled hate of Jews. I mean, that's what I see the term is supposed to mean when it's not misused. Of course, the term, which I understand is a rather late application from 1860 by the Austrian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider (1816-1907), is in itself somewhat misleading - in that it's subject group doesn't only refer to Jews, and that most of these are not Semites in any ethnic way. Unless you relate to the Hebrew of the scriptures as the 'Semitic' aspect - but hardly any Jews spoke it as daily language at the time - in fact this was already the case in Jesus' time - they would apply Aramaic for the most - still Semitic perhaps, but you get my meaning... In any case, although I might be a 'nerd' here on the term itself, what is important in my mind is to relate to what it is SUPPOSED TO MEAN in our times - because it is also this common meaning, regardless of the intricacies in the term, that is also often being misused. See my recent article 'Don't say the Z-word' for how now, even the word 'Zionist' is suggested by Zionist pundits to be another form of Anti-Semitism. So it's an important discussion, that is: What is reasonable, grounded criticism, and what is mere racist hate?

    • Thank you very much Bandolero.

  • 'Maximum Jews, minimum Palestinians' -- Yair Lapid is the pretty face of ultranationalism
    • It may surprise you, JLewisDickerson, that the source of the "Auschwitz borders" term is actually not the Likud, but rather the left, labor Abba Eban. He said this at the UN in 1969 (in regards to withdrawal to pre 1967 lines): "We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz."

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