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Nathan

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  • 'We will not wait 70 years more': scenes from Gaza's March of Return
    • Emory Riddle - It's really not too complicated. The issue of refugees is an end-of-conflict topic. This means that there must be an agreement that resolves the conflict.

      MHughes976 - It's hard to believe that you really are of the opinion that offering Israeli citizenship and compensations to the refugees would be the way to solving the conflict. One of the many grievances of the Palestinians is that the State of Israel was founded in the first place, so it's really silly to imagine that becoming a citizen of a state that shouldn't exist would be a solution. The simple truth is the exact opposite of your outlook: First there should be an agreed solution to the conflict, and then it would be possible to imagine that there would be those who would want to be Israeli citizens or would ask for compensations.

    • Citizen - Your memory is faulty. There is no need for UN recognition of Israel. The acceptance of Israel to the UN was conditionalized on her accepting UNGA 194. And, indeed, Israel accepted the resolution, and she was admitted to the UN. In the anti-Israel world, UNGA is the basis of the "right of return". If one reads the decision, one finds out that those refugees willing to live in peace with their neighbors should be allowed to return as soon as possible. "Willing to live in peace" means "end of conflict", obviously. There is no return of refugees before resolving the conflict. And "should be allowed to return" is not quite the same as "must return". Interestingly, the Arab states at the UN voted against 194. They understood exactly what the intention of the decision was: Agreeing to the existence of Israel and ending the state of war with her.

      Anyway, since UNGA 194, there have been other agreements vis-a-vis the refugees. UNSC 242 called for the solution of the refugee problem in the framework of establishing peace. What is the solution? UNSC 242 doesn't say. So, it has to be (1) negotiated, and (2) the conflict has to be resolved. In the Oslo Agreement, the Palestinians themselves (under Mr Arafat) agreed to negotiate the refugee issue within the framework of final status (i.e. end of conflict).

      There is not going to be a return of refugees without first reaching an agreement to end the conflict. Of course, ending the conflict with Israel is understood as accepting Israel's legitimacy - so, the Palestinians won't ever go for it.

  • Passover is a reminder the battle between Moses and the Pharaoh is still raging
    • Marnie - When it is claimed in the youtube that you have posted here that a certain group of people has been pulling the strings for CENTURIES, causing wars and revolutions, the intention is the Jews. In Hitler's final message to the German people, he said in clear terms that the Jews caused the war and all the suffering. He defined the Jews as the enemy of mankind - which is the essence of the opening minutes of your youtube. I imagine that that you believe in such things, but the question is why did the moderator allow for a Nazi-like comment.

    • Marnie - The youtube that you bring to our attention claims that there is some group that "engineers wars and revolutions" for centuries. I didn't quite catch the name of that evil group of people that wishes to attain total global domination, but I was wondering if you gave the link to this youtube because you agree with this message or because you disagree.

      Does the moderator of the comment section allow for the spread of propaganda in the style of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"? It's very strange that the classic claim of antisemitism is presented here. Actually, it's quite ironic. The anti-Zionists always pooh-pooh the claim that they are antisemites in disguise, so it's really funny that the moderator allowed for this youtube.

  • 'NY Times' covers up Israel's killing of nonviolent protesters along the Gaza border
    • Let's assume that the complaint of biased coverage in the NY Times is well-founded. So what? What is wrong with one-sided coverage. I read the Mondoweiss website regularly, and it's so obvious that its coverage is extremely one-sided. Why would an article in Mondoweiss gripe about the one-sidedness of another publication? Is it really so difficult for an adult to understand that someone else sees the world differently?

  • In calling for end of Jewish state, Avraham Burg is painted as 'troublemaker' at liberal NY synagogue
    • No, Sibiriak, there is no difference between a “Jewish state” and a “Jewish political entity”. The topic at hand is the conflict between Jews and Arabs. In the Arab point of view, the Jews are not a national group - so, it wouldn't make a bit of difference if there is a Jewish nation-state or if there is a Jewish national political entity within a single multi-national state. The conflict would remain the very same conflict. Mr Burg has raised an idea based on total unfamiliarity with the Arab grievance. I would imagine that he hasn't ever read a single book in Arabic.

    • lonely rico - I think that someone who proposes a "one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities" should give us an evaluation regarding the possibility of its acceptance. Surely, the author of the above article should have raised the issue - instead of focusing on the outlook of Deborah.

      In my opinion, the Palestinians will not accept the “one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities” if this arrangement is final (i.e. it's the end of conflict and there are no further grievances). They might accept the arrangement if it's not final (i.e. the conflict continues within the single state, because there are further Palestinian grievances which will remain unresolved). The Palestinians reject the very idea of a Jewish state, and so they will reject the idea of a "Jewish political entity" as well. In both cases (a Jewish state and a "Jewish political entity"), the Jews are defined as a collective whose homeland is Palestine - so, it's the very same conflict from the Palestinian point of view.

      Whenever one wishes to end a conflict, one must first define the reason of conflict. After defining the reason of conflict, one must propose a solution that solves that very reason of conflict. If this conflict was born because sadly there was no federation of Jewish and Palestinian political entities, then Mr Burg's proposal hits the nail on the head, and we should all praise him for his incredible insight.

    • Keith - It's absolutely not true that Israel has the power to resolve the conflict. Although the Palestinians are the weaker side of the conflict, they nevertheless have the power to define the parameters of peace. A peace arrangement cannot be forced upon them. The conflict will end only when the Palestinian side declares that "it's over and we have no further grievances".

      Do the Palestinians agree to end the conflict on the basis of a “one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities”? That is a legitimate question, and it surely should have been raised in the above article. If the Palestinians reject the idea of a federation with the Jews, then there's no point in debating the idea. We should be debating ideas and proposals that the Palestinians would accept as the formula for ending the conflict once and for all.

    • Something quite basic is missing in Mr Burg's post-Zionist vision (as presented here): Do the Palestinians agree to end the conflict on the basis of a "one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities"? Obviously, it is very interesting to read about a proposal that give us a novel approach to conflict-solving. However, it would be nice to hear an evaluation regarding the possibility that the Palestinians would accept such a proposal and declare that the conflict has been resolved.

      According to the article, Mr Burg is calling for the end of the Jewish state. However we learn that he suggests a "one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities". The federation of a Jewish political entity and a Palestinian political entity means that, nevertheless, there will be a Jewish political entity. What's the difference between a "Jewish state" and a "Jewish political entity"? There is no difference. Even though the Jewish political entity in Palestine is not an independent state - nevertheless, it determines that the Jews have a distinct political identity, and this identity has a geographic point of reference (Palestine). So, what is the difference between Burg's "post-Zionism" and just regular Zionism? There's no difference. I'll have to get a hold of the book, of course - but as the issue is presented here, it seems that it hasn't been thought out too clearly. The anti-Zionists (and the Arabs) who reject the legitimacy of the Jewish state will reject the legitimacy of the "Jewish political entity" within the framework of a Jewish-Palestinian federation.

      It should be added that "Jewish" is parallel to "Palestinian". In other words, it's obvious that "Jewish" refers to the Jewish people, just as "Palestinian" refers to the Palestinian people. It's amazing that no one has protested the defining of the Jews as a peoplehood (parallel to the Palestinians). Mr Burg's proposal (as presented here in Mondoweiss) assumes as self-evident that the Jews are a people with a legitimate political agenda in Palestine.

  • 'NYT' writers slam left for intolerance of dissent-- on Israel panel that excludes anti-Zionists and Palestinians
    • "The same lack of free speech is evident at the New York Times, which has no anti-Zionist columnists".

      Having anti-Zionist columnists is a rather silly criterion of "free speech". Since when is a newspaper supposed to present all views? Does the Mondoweiss website feel obligated to publish articles that present the point of view of the pro-Israel public? All the articles seem to have a very extreme anti-Israel ax to grind. Perhaps, it is a type of humor that an article in Mondoweiss criticizes another publication of lacking "free speech" based on the expectation that this other newspaper should publish all the opposing views. I thought it was quite amusing.

      I don't know if it's true that the NY Times has no anti-Zionist columnists. Historically speaking, the newspaper was certainly opposed to the founding of a Jewish state, but the issue is not on the agenda anymore. Today, the NY Times might publish an article that criticizes Israel (which is just fine), but obviously it would be uncommon to find an article that calls for the undoing of Israel. One can find such an article in the Arabic press (and in anti-Israel websites such as this one) in the thousands, but it's really unreasonable to imagine that a serious newspaper would waste its energy publishing articles of utter fantasy.

  • Sex, lies and corruption: Israeli politics from Ben-Gurion to Netanyahu
    • Paranam Kid - As you can see, I agreed with you that the Partition Plan was just a recommendation (read my comment again). In your judgment, there was no "green light" to found Israel if UNGA 181 was just a recommendation. However, that is really strange logic. If the Partition Plan is just a recommendation, then there is no need for a "green light". If there is no binding UN decision (it's just a recommendation), then there is no "red light" either.

      You're right that there is no document that authorizes the founding of Israel. I didn't know that a state needs authorization in order to come into existence. States come into existence when there is a government that has effective control over territory. It's the abc's of political science.

    • Paranam Kid - As you pointed out, "U.N. Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP) was created to examine the issue and offer its recommendation on how to resolve the conflict". And so it was - UNSCOP examined the issue and offered its recommendation. Its majority recommendation was partition. There was also a minority recommendation which called for a single state in Palestine. It would seem obvious that your problem with the recommendation is that it's not the recommendation that you would have liked.

      Perhaps, a movement calling for the canceling of UNGA 181 could be organized. Similar to the very impressive movement calling for the canceling of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, it might have a significant impact on the outcome of events in the Middle East.

  • 'I faced my Jewish racism' -- an alumnus's call to Jewish students for Israeli Apartheid Week
    • "Palestinian refugees have a legal right to return to their homes and lands in geographic Palestine".

      eljay - Well, actually, they don't have the right to return. The solution of the refugee issue is part of the end-of-conflict negotiations. In other words, the return of refugees must be agreed upon with the final settlement of the conflict. Interestingly, Mr Abbas spoke of the Arab League Peace Initiative in his recent address to the Security Council. Here's the quote from the initiative: "Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem to be AGREED UPON in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194". Yes, as you can see, the Palestinian peace proposal calls for an agreement on the refugee problem within the framework of a peace treaty. Obviously, in the absence of peace (the end of conflict), there is no return.

      You claim that the Jews have no legal right "to return to where they're not from". Again, you are mistaken. Of course the Jews have a legal right to come to Israel. It is in accordance to the law of Israel. Every state in the world has its immigration laws, and it's quite usual.

  • NYT op-ed describing Israel as a place of refuge is missing the word, Palestinians
    • JosephA - I don't see why a reference to the Palestinians "should have been there". A person who wishes for Israel to allow the African refugees to stay is not commenting about the conflict with the Arabs - so, Susan Silverman made no mention of them. It's really strange that an anti-Israel activist (a professor of philosophy) expects others to share his outlook and logic. Well, Susan Silverman seems to connect the issue at hand with the story of the Exodus and the memory of the Holocaust, and it's quite legitimate for her to see things as such. Prof. Levine can somehow forgive her if it didn't occur to her to grind his political ax.

      It was VERY interesting to note that Prof. Levine speaks in the first person ("we are the people who expelled... in our war of conquest in 1948"). I'm assuming that Prof. Levine is not from Israel and did not participate in the war - and, yet, he tells us that "WE expelled" in "OUR war". I'm so used to reading in the anti-Israel websites that "Israel doesn't speak for all the Jews" and one often hears the chant "not in our name". So, it was quite surprising to read that what Israel does is (in the eyes of Prof. Levine) in the name of the Jewish people. In his article, the Jews are a single collective identity (a peoplehood), and Israel is a reflection of this collective identity. It's also very interesting to see that there are no comments protesting his line of thought. In short, an anti-Zionist can present a Zionist perspective, and other anti-Zionists won't even notice.

  • How to win the battle for freedom, justice, and equality
    • RoHa - Thanks for all those links. They provided a very convincing argument that the Jews had no right to self-determination. How did it happen that the General Assembly proposed the founding of a Jewish state in 1947?
      How did it happen that the State of Israel was nevertheless accepted to the United Nations? How did it happen that so many states sent an ambassador to serve in Israel? Well, I guess the diplomatic world out there doesn't understand the abc's of statehood and self-determination, and it's a pity. Not too long ago, there were numerous articles on this site that proved very effectively that the Balfour Declaration from 100 years ago was ill-conceived. Based on the success of that effort, it's clear that anything can be undone.

    • MHughes - The Palestinian claim to the country is religious. Palestine is part of the Islamic "waqf", and hence it must be under Islamic rule.

    • Talkback - Are you saying that you can't read an Arabic website? How surprising.

      Any group of people has the right to found a state. It's called the right of self-determination. It could be that a group of people doesn't succeed in founding its state - but when a group succeeds, it succeeds (and its state is absolutely legitimate). There are no illegitimate states.

      The Arabs had the right to oppose the founding of the Jewish state (although, admittedly, it was an unusual situation, because it was a war effort against a UN resolution). Many peoples in the world find themselves in a situation that justifies (in their view) having to go to war. However, the right to go to war does not mean that they will not fail in their war. One has to face the consequences of one's decisions.

    • "What rights do foreign settlers have after 1945 to create a state within a state without holding a referendum and against the consent of the majority of its population?"

      Talkback - Your question was debated in length in the UN already in 1947. The representatives of the Arab states made the exact same argument that you have made (and they added quite a few hints that there will be war if the Partition Plan will be passed). However, as you probably know, the UN gave an answer to your question. The passing of the resolution should be a clear indication for you that there was a right to found the state - even after 1945. The acceptance of Israel as a member of the UN after the war should be yet another indication to you that the international community defined the founding of Israel as legitimate.

      Regarding the topic of refugees, the debate is also over. UNGA 194 and UNSC 242 both indicate that the solution is an end-of-conflict issue. More importantly, the Palestinians themselves agreed in the Oslo Accords that the solution will be worked out in the framework of the final status (the end of conflict). The Palestinians claim that they accept the Arab League Peace Initiative. This initiative also makes it clear that the refugee issue will be solved through an agreement that ends the conflict.

      I understand that it's difficult (or even impossible) for an anti-Israel activist to accept the existence of Israel. However, the issues that you raise have been dealt with. The question of why Israel came into being seventy years ago is really irrelevant. She came into being, period. Moreover, the refugees are not going to be returned or compensated unless the conflict is resolved once and for all. And, yes, this means finalizing peace with Israel.

    • Oh, Mooser, come on. You should be able to find a reason why the Jews should give up their state in more convincing terms. There are lots of anti-Israel people that simply can't imagine that others sees the world very differently. It's called "cognitive self-centrism". You think that the Israeli Jews see things as you do, and hence they would want to "escape responsibility" and "protect their assets". However, the truth is that the Israeli Jews think that it's a wonderful country and life is good. The economy is an incredible success, and the population is increasing by the tens of thousands every year. And the weather is super.

      So, after learning to accept that others might not have your anti-Israel agenda, and that they are quite satisfied with life in Israel - maybe you could bring to their attention the advantages of giving this all up. Since no one has any convincing argument that would win the agreement of the Jews to give up their state, the ploy is to give them a lesson in philosophy: "For the sake of justice..." I understand that you can't imagine that the Jews have legitimate interests and aspirations - but give it a try. Give a convincing reason why Israel should agree to be shut down.

    • RoHa - Search the PA website and find the updated National Charter. As you might know, the Palestinian claim is that the charter has been changed. So, find the revised edition and read it carefully. Also, while you are there, you might want to read Mr Abbas' speech from last week. It's not to be found in an English translation anywhere, but the original Arabic appears in the PA official website. See if you can read it.

    • Mooser - You refer me to the "About" page, but I refer you to the comment of Annie Robbins above: "... yes, from my personal perspective this site exposes that delegitimization [of Israel] every day, with dedication". When I first brought up the claim that the Mondoweiss site is dedicated to proving the illegitimacy of Israel, she asked for proof. It turns out that it really is her perspective. Of course, it's perfectly legitimate to promote an anti-Israel agenda; however, it would be ridiculous to claim that the articles provide balanced reporting.

    • A coward? Annie, anyone who writes comments on the Mondoweiss website that don't present an anti-Israel slant is a virtual hero. There are lots of people here who don't know how to handle non-agreement, and it can be quite unpleasant.

      On the other hand, I've asked you a few questions in the past - and you don't answer. I asked you to deny that the MW website is dedicated to presenting the illegitimacy of Israel. I asked you if you have a vision of peace with Israel. I asked you if you know that there was a Kingdom of Israel. I always felt that your silence is out of cowardice.

    • Annie Robbins - Are you saying that the BDS is proposing peace with Israel? I don't think so, and I'm confident that Talkback knows that no one is talking about peace with Israel. So, "ending the conflict" means without Israel. Of course, I'd be happy to hear a denial from Talkback, saying that "ending the conflict" means with Israel. I would be curious to know if you have a vision of peace with Israel. I've asked you in the past, but you don't answer questions. (You won't even say that you know that there was a Kingdom of Israel in antiquity).

    • RoHa - Do you read Arabic? If so, I recommend to you to read the official website of the Palestinian Authority. After your reading of the website, I'd be curious to hear if you still believe that they will accept the Jews as legitimate residents in the secular democratic state.

      Why should the Jews give up their state? Interestingly, your answer was in the realm of philosophy. In other words, you don't have a proposal for the Jews that takes into account their interests and their aspirations. Maybe you could try and explain to me why a community that has established a successful state should end that state's existence (and place their fate in the hands of those with whom they have been in bitter conflict for a century). Sure, it would be nice to hear from RoHa that the Israeli Jews will thus earn his approval that they are now really decent people; but I would imagine that they already regard themselves to be just fine (surprisingly, Israeli Jews don't share with you that anti-Israel slant). What else do you propose? Why would it be in the interest of the Jews to end their state and to face the unknown? I admit my lack of imagination, but maybe Jeff Halper (or you, Roha) could point me in the right direction. There's got to be a reason that a community that has fought so hard for its statehood would prefer collective political suicide, but (silly me) I can't figure it out.

    • Talkback - My overall impression of your many comments is that Israel is an illegitimate entity. You are welcome to deny this impression - but if it's true, then your above comment is manipulative. The intention of "ending the conflict" would mean that you are referring to the end of Israel - not ending the conflict with Israel - and that's tricky. I think that honest people should state their agenda openly.

      Your understanding of "universal values" is not universal at all ("universal" means that all of mankind agrees). Your understanding of what is right and wrong is in your eyes "universal", but in reality it is political. Your anti-Israel agenda is not universally shared.

      Anyway, Talkback, the BDS movement does not claim that fulfilling its demands would mean that the conflict with Israel is over. Israel has no rights, no interests - and no one in the BDS is promising her anything. Moreover, I think you know this to be true.

      In the world of diplomacy, it is self-evident that this is a conflict between two rival communities in a very small country. The solution is to be found through negotiations, and that's the agenda of the world community. For the anti-Israel world, a negotiated settlement of the conflict is unthinkable. It would mean that Israel is here to stay, and it's final. BDS has no vision of peace with Israel, and so it's agenda will not succeed in captivating the general world community.

    • "One can work for one-state or two-state outcomes so long as each fulfills Palestinian rights. This was the smart, strategic approach by the founders of the BDS movement".

      Well, actually, it's not true at all. The presentation of Palestinian grievances in the realm of civil rights is merely propaganda. It's sounds convincing, and some people might believe that the issue at hand is civil rights. But the world of diplomacy knows that the issue at hand is politics. There are two sides to this conflict, and each side has its political aspirations. Every single proposal for ending the conflict has been based on the logic of politics - i.e. a negotiated compromise.

      By defining the conflict as a type of human rights crisis, the BDS wishes to create a situation in which Israel must fulfill certain conditions, while the Palestinians have no obligations: There are no politics, no negotiations, no commitments. This is the reason for the opposition to the Oslo Agreement that is being attacked in the article. In Oslo, there has to be a negotiated end of conflict. An agreement on borders, refugees, Jerusalem, statehood and settlements means that the conflict has been resolved. In BDS, there is no demand that the Palestinians declare an end of conflict. It's a nice propaganda ploy, but it's not going to work. Perhaps it all makes sense in the world called Mondoweiss, but out there in planet earth there is an expectation that the conflict be resolved through negotiations.

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    • jeffhalper - It's nice that someone writes a comment that outlines an end of conflict. However, it would be a bit encouraging to hear an idea that the two sides might be willing to accept, and it would be a breath of fresh air to hear an idea that actually solves the conflict.

      If the conflict came into this world a century ago because there was a demand for a single democratic state, then obviously you have hit the nail on the head: Founding this single democratic state would, indeed, solve the grievance which gave birth to the conflict. However, this is not the grievance that has ignited the conflict. From the Palestinian point of view, the conflict was born with the rise of the new Hebrew community. In simpler terms, the Palestinians objected (and object) to the Jewish immigration. Founding the single democratic state doesn't solve that grievance in the least, and the conflict would continue in the framework of the single state. A person like you - an immigrant from the USA who became a citizen of Israel through the Law of Return - would be regarded as an illegitimate resident of the new proposed state, and the demand for your removal from the country would be one of the sources of continuing violence.

      There are a lot of grievances against Israel, but you should note that sometimes the grievances contradict each other. If you support the BDS (i.e. you insist on the end of occupation), then you support the two-state solution. If you insist that there will be a single state, then there is no occupation obviously. Similarly, you mention occupation and apartheid in a single breath. If you have a grievance of occupation, then obviously its remedy is withdrawal - and lo and behold we are talking about two separate political entities. If you have a grievance of apartheid, then obviously its remedy is in the realm of civil rights in a single political entity - and lo and behold that single entity is not under occupation.

      It should be mentioned that the Jewish side also has its demands that your plan of a single state doesn't address. Since your plan calls for the end of the Jewish state, it would be a nice idea if you could give a convincing reason why it would be worthwhile for the Jews to give it up. I understand that the anti-Zionist position never takes into account the demands and interests of the Jewish side to the conflict; however, it should be obvious to an intelligent person who wishes to propose a solution to the conflict that one must be listening to the perspective of both sides.

  • A Jewish 'sickness': Israeli journalist explains young American Jews' support for Palestinians
    • Elizabeth Block - Just as the late Isaac Asimov is quoted as saying "who cares" when asked if he is a descendant of the Khazarians or of the Israelites, so too should be our reaction when confronted with the issue of the lessening support for Israel. So what? What difference does it make if a young American Jew speaks up for Israel or if he remains silent? It's really quite similar to all our comments here at Mondoweiss. We can write the most amazing comments, and yet nothing changes. Reality is created by those who actually take action, and actually troubling oneself or dedicating one's life for a cause is not the calling card of American Jews.

  • I'm blacklisted and banned from Israel, but for many others this is nothing new
    • Yes, Annie Robbins, I watched the whole video. It was good. In the past, you would mention that the Exodus story or the kingdoms of David and Solomon are legends. I commented in return that the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah are historical. In other words, the Bible also includes real information. Since you didn't answer with a statement that indeed it is obvious to you that these ancient kingdoms are real history, I repeated myself a few times. Thanks again for the film. Archeology is always interesting.

    • Talkback - Nobody is questioning the right of resistance of an occupied people. My question for you is about those who face that legitimate resistance. Let's take as an example a soldier of an occupation against whom an occupied person very legitimately confronts with a knife. Now, again, nobody is debating the right of resistance of an occupied people. But what about the soldier? Does he have the right to save himself? Is he entitled to shoot the occupied person who wishes to kill the aggressor within the right of legitimate resistance?

    • Annie Robbins - Thanks for the film. It was quite interesting. It's very clear that the story of the conquest of Canaan by Joshua is fiction. Actually, all the cities that he supposedly destroyed were already in ruins for centuries before the Israelite settlement. But no one is saying that there weren't Israelites. You once argued with me about David. You tried to cast doubt on the authenticity of the Tel Dan finding that mentions the House of David. But no one is saying that there wasn't a Kingdom of Judah. You like to bring as examples all those Biblical stories that are legends, but the basic story of the Bible remains intact: There was an ancient people called Israel and Judah on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Even if this people did not escape slavery in Egypt, they still founded kingdoms. If you had any doubts, you would have said that the existence of Biblical Israel is also a fable. I understand that you won't go on record saying that there was a Kingdom of Israel, but It's obvious that you know that its existence is not mythology.

    • Talkback - Let's accept your point of view without debate and conclude that the Palestinians have the right of resistance in accordance to the UN resolutions that you bring to our attention. Now I'm curious as to what is your opinion vis-a-vis Israel's actions in face of the Palestinian resistance. If it is legitimate in the framework of resistance to shoot a missile at an Israeli town or to stab Israelis in the streets, is it also legitimate for the Israelis to use force in the face of these acts of resistance? In other words, would it make sense to you that someone might shoot the Palestinian who is stabbing Israelis in the street, or would the Palestinian right of resistance mean by definition that it is illegitimate to take actions against legitimate acts of resistance?

  • Struggle for equal rights for Palestinians is 'right choice,' and will lead to 'significant exodus of Jews' -- Henry Siegman
    • "The founders of the Zionist movement had little regard for the Messiah, and even less for Jerusalem…."

      I would humbly suggest to Mr Siegman to give a minute's thought as to the very choice of the name of the movement. The name is derived from the word "Zion", the hilltop on which the Temple of Jerusalem was built. Of course, the Zionist Movement attached tremendous importance to Jerusalem. But let's accept Mr Siegman's point of view and maintain that Zionism had little regard for Zion (as absurd as that may sound). So what? Is there any doubt today that the Israeli public regards Jerusalem to be centrally important? No, there is no doubt.

      For how many decades will we hear about "an exodus of Israel’s Jews over time"? As a general rule, it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future. Despite the conflict, the very harsh conditions in the country (and the Holocaust), the Jewish population has nevertheless risen from about 60,000 in 1920 to about 6,500,000 today. I think - in the midst of the ongoing population explosion - we can ask Mr Siegman to rethink his analysis.

  • Israel, are you a real state?
    • Jonathan Ofir - You tell us that you were indoctrinated with Zionist dreams. I have a hard time believing that you were "indoctrinated" at all. It is an oft-repeated grievance in your articles, but it's not too convincing. Your point of view is pretty much in line with the Palestinian argument, so it would seem that the source of your ideas comes from elsewhere.

      I find it almost silly that actions that did not happen are defined as "State Terrorism". I have to admit that this was a new line of anti-Israel propaganda that I have never come across before. There are so many accusations against Israel that you could have repeated, so it's really surprising that you bring as proof of terrorism the "horrors" of an airplane that wasn't shot out of the sky, a stadium that wasn't blown up and journalists who weren't shot.

  • Norman Finkelstein's new book on Gaza is a meticulous account of Israel's crimes
    • Misterioso - Your claim that "Hamas has long since agreed to conclude a peace agreement with Israel based on the June 4/67 borders" is absolutely false. Actually, it's quite puzzling that anyone who tries to follow the conflict could say such an obvious untruth. Besides having missed the many Hamas declarations vis-a-vis the ultimate fate of Israel, apparently you don't know anything about the Islamic Brotherhood (the parent organization of Hamas).

  • There are two narratives, but one reality: Palestinian dispossession
    • eljay - You claim that it doesn't make any difference if the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah existed in antiquity. However, it seems to be an important issue for Annie Robbins. She has claimed that the kingdoms of David and Solomon are a legend, and this is an interesting issue. Why is it important to comment about the ancient kingdoms? Would there be an ideological problem if it turned out that there was a Kingdom of Israel? I don't think so. I am convinced that an anti-Israel activist is able to maintain an anti-Israel point of view even if it is obvious that there was a Kingdom of Judah, but it seems to me that Annie Robbins might have a problem with admitting that the ancient Hebrew kingdoms are real history. I asked her twice, but she prefers not to comment.

      Uri Avnery has written that David's kingdom is fiction, and he mentions that David is not mentioned in the ancient sources. However, Mr Avnery is not saying that there was no ancient Kingdom of Israel or no ancient Kingdom of Judah. There's no debate that these kingdoms are real history.

    • snaidamast - If the Phoenicians were the original inhabitants of the country, shouldn't you be claiming that the Palestinians could be direct descendants of the ancient Phoenicians? The Palestinians claim to be the descendants of the Canaanites, and they maintain that the Israelites were in the country only for seventy years (after which they were expelled). They adamantly reject the claim that they are the Israelites who are regarded to be a foreign invasion.

      You claim that "there is also no evidence whatsoever to be found that modern-day Jews in the West or Eastern Europe have any link to the ancient Israelites". This claim raises two interesting questions. Since you are speaking of European Jews, are you hinting that there are other Jews (not from Europe) who do have a link to the ancient Israelites? And the more important question is why would it be necessary to have evidence that links Jews to the ancient Israelites?

    • Annie Robbins - So, were there a Kingdom of Israel and a Kingdom of Judah in antiquity (in the Iron Age)?

    • Annie Robbins - Perhaps, what you wanted to say is that David and Solomon are not (in your judgment) historic figures. However, don't get carried away by saying that their kingdoms didn't exist. There is no question at all that there was a Kingdom of Israel and a Kingdom of Judah in Biblical times (the Iron Age). Both kingdoms are reported in Assyrian and Babylonian annals. The Mesha Stone mentions the king of Israel as well, repeating an incident that appears in the Book of Kings. You do know that the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah are real history, don't you.

      In case you are interested in the history of the ancient Middle East, it is important to note that the Egyptians retreated from Canaan in about the 12th century BC. In their absence, all these little kingdoms could be founded (Ammon, Moab, Israel, Judah, Tyre, the Philistines, the Arameans and others). If you're looking for a mention of these kingdoms, you might want to read their sources (not the Egyptian sources). The Arameans mentioned "the king of Israel and the king of the House of David". I understand from our past debates that you regard this Tel-Dan inscription to be a likely forgery (but it's not). As mentioned, the Moabite king (Mesha) mentions Omri (king of Israel), and you can read the inscription for yourself at the Louvre Museum.

      Anyway, I'd be curious to hear if you really maintain that the Kingdom of Israel is just a legend (like the Exodus). So you shouldn't feel "boxed in, I'll grant that it is possible to accept the historicity of ancient Israel and still be anti-Israel.

    • Talkback - The "original sin is the terminology of the article. The article itself defines Zionism as "colonialism". Neither one of those terms ("original sin" / "colonialism") is mine. You think (quite strangely) that I can't cope with reality as you see it, but it's simply not true. I'm coping with everything just fine: the State of Israel exists and it's doing quite well. I think that it's obvious that Israel has proven that she can cope with all the challenges she faces (including the nasty coverage at this blog), and the call for her demise is really very entertaining. Moreover, I'm enjoying the debates at Mondoweiss, even if some of my debating adversaries are quite rude. If you like, you could actually answer my comment. I asked to hear "an outline of a real plan of action that is beyond the mantra of 'oy, oy, oy, Zionism is the original sin'." It doesn't really make a difference what anyone of us thinks, because our comments will have zero impact on the outcome of events in any case. However, as a hobby (or as an intellectual discussion), it would be fun to discuss theoretical ideas as to how this conflict could be resolved. Most people here are busy with undefined and debatable terms such as "international law". The conflict is not going to be resolved through the court system anyway, and Israel is not going to disappear after the presentation of a superb analysis of "settler-colonialism", the legality (or illegality) of the Balfour Declaration, the Jewish roots (or lack of roots) in the country, etc, etc.

      Really, what should we do tomorrow morning, Talkback? There are really just three options: (1) You might want to try and defeat Israel militarily; (2) You might want to negotiate an end of conflict that both sides could accept; (3) You might prefer that the present situation continue indefinitely. I think the best thing would be if the Palestinians would agree to negotiate an end of conflict with Israel. I think a peace agreement is nicer than going to war, and it's nicer than the present situation of conflict. What do you think is best?

    • "...someone who hasn’t yet had time to grow accustomed to the reality of the Jewish State in Palestine". Well, at least this is a problem that can be solved satisfactorily. If one hasn't had enough time to grow accustomed to the reality of the Jewish state in Palestine, then perhaps in a few more years Mr Jeffries will learn to accept reality. It shouldn't be too difficult.

      "Of course there is now a Jewish community in Palestine that cannot be ignored or just sent back to where they came from...." So it would seem that someone has learned to accept reality after all. That was quick.

      The last sentence of the article raises the strange point that properly acknowledging the original sin (that can't be undone) should bring genuine peace with justice. I don't think that is a very convincing argument. I think that I'd like to hear in more concrete terms what is the definition of "genuine peace with justice" and how such a peace could be attained through "acknowledging". The conflict is not so simple. Perhaps, just once, we could get an outline of a real plan of action that is beyond the mantra of "oy, oy, oy, Zionism is the original sin".

  • Examining 'Ten Myths about Israel', by Ilan Pappe
    • Annie Robbins - It's a very reasonable observation that not "all Jews considered themselves to be a nation.. Perhaps it should be added that only from the 19th century was there a phenomenon that some Jews defined themselves as "only a religious community". It was universally accepted that the Jews are a distinct people (a nation) whose origins are in Biblical Israel. Anyway, it's true that today not all Jews consider themselves to be a nation, and obviously there are many Jews who do consider themselves to be a nation.

      You have brought up the issue of the Bible being a legend. Obviously, many of the stories are legend, but I think it's obvious to you that there is also history in the Bible. I mentioned to you that there was, in fact, a Kingdom of Israel (and a Kingdom of Judah). However, it should be pointed out that the Bible as a literary creation is not a legend. There is, indeed, an ancient book known as the Bible, written in the Hebrew language in the land of Judah. Obviously, the Hebrew language was the language of some community, and the book itself was intended for some particular audience at some geographic location. So, even if you were to claim that "it's all a fable", still, you would have to accept that fact that the community mentioned in this book of legends is not a legend (even if this people is presenting itself in mythological terms).

    • It happens at times here at the Mondoweiss website that an author tries "to debunk the myths of Zionism", but in the enthusiastic attempt to do so, the basic ideas of Zionism are simply re-confirmed. This above article is a wonderful example of presenting the anti-Zionist point of view that the Jews are not a people (a nation), while at the same time admitting in clear terms that the Jews are a nation.

      Our author tells us the following: "In 1885, another Reform group, meeting in Pittsburgh, declared: 'We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community...'" Notice the wording of the announcement. It could have been written that "we Jews were never a nation (rather we were always a religious community)..." However, we learn that "we NO LONGER consider ourselves a nation". In other words, these Reform rabbis are admitting that the Jews have considered themselves to be a nation, but now they wish to change that self-perception. Well, it's fine that the Reform rabbis wish to change things, but it's obvious that other Jews might continue to regard themselves as a nation. And the real irony of the article is the accusation that the Zionists "redefined Judaism", when in reality the author admits proudly in the clearest of terms that it's the Reform Movement that has changed the definition ("we no longer consider ourselves a nation..."). The article, therefore, admits that Zionism's seeing the Jews as a nation is the continuity of a pre-existing self-perception. (A few decades ago, the Reform Movement joined the Zionist Organization, admitted that the Jews are a people, and encourages immigration to Israel - quite a change since 1885).

      The article brings to our attention the anti-Zionist position of the Bund: "Bund members believed that a socialist revolution would be a far better solution to the problems of Jews in Europe than Zionism..." While it's true that the Bund opposed immigration to Palestine or anywhere else (their slogan was "doykayt" - "being here", participating in the revolution "here"), still it should be noted that the Bund defined the Jews as a nation! The nationality of Bundists was Jewish, defined as such in their ideology by their Jewish language (Yiddish).

      Jonathan Ofir has also written an article recently in which he brings a quote from Gideon Levy. The quote included Mr Levy's perspective that the Jews are a nation. It's quite surprising - even somewhat funny - that these ideological mishaps slip by the editors.

  • Abbas's crime was saying that Zionism is a colonial project
    • No, Rob Roy, I did not claim that Gideon Levy "identifies Israel as a nation". He spoke of the Jews as a nation. He mentioned a nation the majority of which doesn't live in Palestine (in 1917). That nation is the Jews. Now for you, "there can be no Jewish nation" - but for Gideon Levy, the Jews are a nation, and he says so in the quote given in the article.

      The idea of a single state would be possible only in the framework of an end-of-conflict agreement. This means that there must be negotiations to end the conflict - and that doesn't seem too likely. In any case, the one-state solution is not going to happen all by itself.

      The issue at hand is not founding a single state or numerous states. The issue is finding a solution to the conflict. This means that you have to define the conflict (its real cause). Founding a single state will not solve the grievance that has given birth to this conflict, and hence the conflict will continue within the framework of that single state. Do you know what the cause of conflict might be?

    • Talkback - Since it is Gideon Levy who is calling the Jews a nation, the only relevant question in this regard is "what did he mean by nation". You think that I'm confused, but actually I think that you have a problem that's known as "cognitive egocentrism". You think that the way that you see things is how things are, and any other way of seeing things is "confused" or "racism".

      Since Mr Levy is a Hebrew-speaker, he speaks of "nation" as "people who perceive themselves as sharing a common descent". "Nation" comes from the Latin word for birth, so it about common descent. In Hebrew, a nation is "ummah", and it is derived from the word for mother (i.e. it's about common descent). Your lesson about citizenship is irrelevant and ill-informed. It's not about how you view the world. The Jews view themselves as sharing a common descent, and there is no doubt that Hebrew-speaking Gideon Levy meant that definition of "nation".

      And speaking of "cognitive egocentrism", I should bring to your attention that "Palestinian narrative" means "the common story that Palestinians generally tell". It is a neutral term. Indeed, the Palestinians claim that the Jews are not a nation - and saying so is not "racism" or "incitement" or an expressive of dislike. It's just a statement of fact. Maybe your problem is that you don't read literature in foreign languages. It would help you understand that there are other points of view out there (based on different cultural perspectives).

    • eljay - I mentioned that the quote from Gideon Levi defines the Jews as a nation. You might want to write Mr Levy a letter and explain to him that he is mistaken. However, my having noted that he has defined the Jews as a nation is absolutely correct. Jonathan Ofir actually confirms this when he says that he takes issue with Mr Levy in this regard. You should be able to find Mr Levy's address in the Ha-Aretz website, and you could tell him about the "religion-based identity of Jewish". I hope that he'll understand your strange use of the English language.

    • Jonathan Ofir - I was assuming that you have some familiarity with Mr Abbas' PhD thesis, but apparently you don't. If you can read Arabic, you should try to get a copy of it. Obviously, it is much more important than a statement by a politician. It is a doctoral thesis after all, not some confused speech given in a moment of anger.

      President Rivlin's mention of Abbas' Holocaust denial that you have quoted is a correct comment. Mr Abbas claims that it was planned by the Zionist movement already in 1937 that it will be claimed in the future that six million Jews were murdered, so it was obvious (after the Second World War in 1945) that the claim of six million victims was a lie meant to win world sympathy for the founding of a Jewish state. Abbas notes that indeed many Jews died during the war ("maybe 800,000"), however he claims that they were murdered "at the request of the Zionist Movement" in order to achieve statehood after the war.

      There are quite a few conspiracies that Mr Abbas "reveals" in his PhD thesis, but in the framework of a comment the above example is enough. I hope that you won't dismiss this example as "hair-splitting", or something that's not at the level that deserves to be "fixed". It is a serious matter, even if one is anti-Zionist / pro-Palestinian.

      It's interesting that Mr Abbas doesn't allow for his book to be translated. However, if you visit one of the universities in the West Bank, you can find the book in numerous copies in the library (but you'll have to read it in Arabic). The book also appears in his presidential website.

    • Jonathan Ofir - As long as you are mentioning that "Prime Minister Netanyahu has gone in for real Holocaust revisionism....", you might as well demonstrate that you are also aware of Mr Abbas' perspective of the Holocaust. You're right that Mr Netanyahu's comment was in poor taste, but all in all it was just a silly comment of a politician. Mr Abbas' Holocaust alternative history is his PhD thesis, and that's a bit more serious. This doctorate is much more than "imprecise", and it could leave you wondering if anything Mr Abbas tells us is at all credible.

      The quote that you brings us from Gideon Levy was very unusual for the Mondoweiss website. I understand that you liked it because it seems to corroborate the Palestinian narrative that views Zionism as a colonial project. However, the quote confirms that the Jews are a nation ("...a nation whose absolute majority doesn’t live in it [in Palestine]"). The Palestine narrative claims that the Jews are merely a religious community, and hence they have no homeland (but a nation does have a homeland). Gideon Levy sounds to you as an anti-Zionist, however it's not so. He, too, knows that the Jews are a people (a nation). It's funny that you have brought us a quote that negates the anti-Zionist ideology, thinking that it is an anti-Zionist quote.

      Finally, the Arabic should be corrected. Mr Abbas said "yakhreb beitak". It's not such a terrible thing to say in today's spoken Arabic. It means "your house should be destroyed" (which sounds awful), but the intention is something like "get lost" or "get off my back". Your take of it was "yaqreb beitak" (your house should come near), which is incorrect.

  • What's wrong with colonialism?
    • Avigail - You have written in one of your comments to me that the Jewish state must come to its end. So, it's not so amazing that the "end of the exclusively Jewish settler-colonial power structure morphs into [the] demise of Israel". I don't know why, suddenly, you are denying your own point of view. Yes, ending the Jewish state means the end of Israel. That's your point of view, and you should confirm it.

    • Avigail - You claimed that the solution is ending the Jewish state and replacing it with a single state. However, it's not the solution. The grievance of colonialism pre-dates the founding of Israel by a few decades. The grievance of colonialism is about the immigration of Jews to Palestine - so the ending of the Jewish state is not the remedy. The Jews would have to leave. I would imagine that this is not news for you. You call me an apologist, but it's just a ploy on your part to avoid admitting that indeed the end of "colonialism" in your imagination would mean the expulsion of the "colonists".

    • Annie Robbins - Avigail was willing to offer a recipe for solution. She called for ending the Jewish state. Her recipe isn't really a solution, because she doesn't admit or she doesn't realize that ending the existence of Israel is not the end of conflict (the Jews who arrived after 1917 would have to leave). Sadly, she has decided to end the conversation. However, it was admirable that one of the writers at Mondoweiss had the honesty to say in clear words that the agenda is the demise of Israel. It is rather silly. It's so obvious that you oppose the very existence of Israel, and that you have no vision of peace with Israel.

    • No, Avigail, there is no deflection. My intention is straight to the point. I want to hear in clear words what is the intention of the author. You have stated now in the clearest of terms that the Jewish state must come to its end and be replaced by another state. You should have said so in the article. Now, that you have stated the bottom line, it is possible to conduct a discussion or a debate. The one-state solution that you suggest is not really a solution. You have defined colonialism as the Jewish state, and therefore (in your view) ending that state is supposedly a solution. However, you haven't defined colonialism as the Palestinians define it. For the Palestinians, the arrival of the Jews into the country is colonialism. The replacement of Israel will not be the end of conflict ("solution") from their point of view. The grievance of colonialism might be resolved for you, but this is not about your grievances. So, the demise of Israel is your position, but it's not the solution.

    • Amigo - You might want to consider the possibility of giving an honest comment. You suggest that Israel get out of the occupied territory, and then you mention going back to "the so-called state of Israel". Your referring to Israel as such was your way of saying "it's illegitimate". In other words, you are being tricky. You pretend that you have constructive criticism (getting out of the territory) but you really mean that there shouldn't even be an Israel. What's the problem? Just give your real position in full. Are you afraid of something? Moreover, I don't think that the "About" page is the full picture either.

    • Avigail Abarbanel - When reading your article, I couldn't help but notice that some basic element is missing. A critical analysis of colonialism by an activist should include (in my humble opinion) some sort of suggestion as to what you think should be done about it. Talking about problems has some importance, but surely the bottom line has to be some course of action.

      So, what is your advice? Are you suggesting that the colonists be sent back to wherever they came from? If so, should we be organizing the bureaucracy that would facilitate this goal? Since "the dynamic of resistance is at the heart of the success or failure of colonial projects", are you suggesting that we join the resistance movements in order to hasten the failure of colonialism?

      It's hard to imagine that the point of the article is just to cry "oy-oy-oy". There certainly should be some hint as to the nature of activism that might be helpful, but there isn't any. The bottom line seems to be missing from many articles in this website. Perhaps you could add the bottom line here in the comments section.

  • Facing serious damage to its image, Israel must smear its critics as anti-Semites
    • The article begins with a statement that Tony Greenstein's remarks (that led to his suspension from the Labour Party) were "legitimate criticism of Israeli policy, and not derogatory statements about Jews". Then we are told that Mr Greenstein "is an uncompromising opponent of the Zionist project of colonisation and of Israel’s Zionist regime..." I don't know why anti-Israel people insist that they are criticizing Israeli policy. Obviously, they have no criticism of Israel - so the two sentences are in contradiction to each other.

      "Criticism" is about making suggestions that are meant to help out in improving or correcting some shortcomings. For example, you might tell someone that he should improve his driving by taking some lessons. That would be criticism: You have pointed out some fault, and you have a suggestion for bettering the situation. However, if someone is a poor driver, and your suggestion is that he should simply drop dead, that is not criticism. That is hostility (hatred).

      So, Mr Greenstein thinks that Israel should never have come into existence, and he wishes for her to drop dead. In such a point of view, he is not criticizing Israel. He doesn't think that Israel should change her policy or improve herself. He has no suggestion for an Israeli policy that he would approve of. So, he's not criticizing anything. He's hostile to Israel, and it's obvious.

      The article could be just a bit helpful by giving the exact quote which led to Mr Greenstein's suspension. After reading the quote, the Mondoweiss readers could judge for themselves if it's antisemitic or whatever. Obviously, it would be possible to google the quote, but in normal journalism the quote should appear. It's not asking for too much.

      It's also not asking for too much that Mondoweiss articles state clearly what the agenda is. If someone thinks that Israel should not exist, then just say so in plain language. This wording of an "uncompromising opponent" who is just expressing "legitimate criticism" is really just silly.

  • What Canadians can do for Palestine this February
    • Misterioso - Perhaps you should read the new Hamas Charter (2017). It's true that they are willing to go for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza as a first stage, but it's not an acceptance of Israel or an offer of peace. The charter is clear that the entire country from the river to the sea must be liberated. I'm really certain that you have read the new charter, so I believe that you have written a misleading comment. Anyway, here's a quote or two: "19. There shall be no recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist entity...." "20. Hamas believes that no part of the land of Palestine shall be compromised or conceded, irrespective of the causes, the circumstances and the pressures and no matter how long the occupation lasts. Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea".

      Yes, you can find many quotes in which the PLO recognized Israel (past tense). However, you won't find any statement in which it is said that the PLO recognizes Israel (present tense). They do NOT recognize Israel, period. Actually, they have said so in very clear Arabic just this week.

      After trying to demonstrate that Hamas and the PLO have some kind of offer for peace with Israel, one might conclude that you yourself have a vision of peace with Israel. Do you?

    • LHunter - You tell us that the Green Party "stopped short of endorsing BDS". Actually, reading the link that you provided, the Green Party claims that the right of the State of Israel to exist is "inviolable". Moreover, since "the Green Party supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that addresses the security, economic, and religious concerns of the BOTH sides", indeed, the Green Party "stopped short of endorsing BDS". The BDS Movement does not address the concerns of Israel at all. Apparently, the Green Party of Canada is not an anti-Israel organization, so the mention of BDS in this context is really quite unjustified.

  • Israel issues BDS blacklist against 20 organizations-- 'badge of honor,' Munayyer says
    • In this article, Omar Barghouti sees the Israeli decision as bad ("a new low" that is "backfiring"). You might think that he's interested in helping Israel out, but (unfortunately in his view) Israel has worked against her own best interests. And for Ms Vilkomerson of the JVP, it's also a very bad decision, organizationally and personally. Her organization which calls for boycotting Israel would like to be able to visit those whom it is boycotting. Mr Munayyer, on the other hand, is obviously glad that he has been blacklisted. It's a "badge of honor".

      So, are we supposed to be happy that Israel has blacklisted twenty organizations, or are we supposed to be angry about it. When I read the articles in the Mondoweiss website, I try to find the "bottom line", but I can't find it. Obviously, the intention is to present Israel in a negative light, but what is position of the author (or of the website) concerning the issue at hand?

      A while ago, there was an article here that complained that leftist Israelis don't support a two-state solution with the right of return - but the author of the article didn't go on record saying that HE supports a two-state solution with the right of return. So strange. You can't tell if the author is calling upon the Israelis to support a two-state solution with the right of return because he would like to end the conflict with a two-state solution and the right of return - or if he opposes such an outcome, but he just likes to complain about leftist Israelis as a hobby (or as a means to fill up an article).

      I propose a bottom line for the above article: "Let's support the Israeli decision to blacklist the twenty organization". There are many human weaknesses, and supporters of the BDS sometimes fail to maintain their commitments (if such a thing could be imagined). Although they think that Israel should be boycotted, still some of them might fly to Israel and even buy a meal in a restaurant (after all, the weather in Israel is really super, whereas the weather in North America and Europe is really awful). Let's be grateful to the government of Israel that in its wisdom and sense of helpfulness has decided to help the BDS activists to keep their solemn commitments.

  • If you genuinely back the Palestinian cause, you must support the right of return
    • It's interesting (and very strange) to note that the article criticizes those "Israeli organizations and individuals who show support for the Palestinians", but "do not want to recognize a two-state solution based on UN resolutions, including the Right of Return". After all, the author himself doesn't say that he supports "a two-state solution based on UN resolutions, including the Right of Return".

    • Larick - Prof Sand (not Sands) is an expert in the history of cinema. He is not an authority on ancient or medieval history.

      It's not too clear why so many people here comment on the descent of Ashkenazic Jews. It really doesn't make a difference if they are the descendants of the Martians or of the Israelites. They are now Israelis. They were born in Tel-Aviv or in Haifa or in a kibbutz or in a moshav. I understand that for the anti-Israel crowd the passage of time is irrelevant, but still it is worthwhile bringing to your attention that it's been four-five generations already.

      You mentioned as a matter of fact that there was a Kingdom of David. Since you are anti-Israel, no one will argue with you about it. However, bear in mind that generally in the comments section of Mondoweiss, David is regarded to be a myth. You note that the kingdom lasted for 150 years, and you note that "Jewish hegemony" is mythical. Well, it's not really important if your sense of history is accurate (and it's not), but do take to heart that you have contradicted yourself. If the kingdom lasted 150 years, it is not mythical (or if it's mythical, there was no kingdom that lasted 150 years).

  • Israeli prosecutors try to make Ahed Tamimi a terrorist
    • MHughes976 - You'd be surprised to learn that a "fair compromise" does not imply an end of conflict. Perhaps, in the west, one would assume that the compromise ends the conflict, but this is not so in the Arab world. The agreement or compromise redefines the parameters of conflict, but it doesn't end it. It's a different political culture. There is a need to declare that the purpose of the future agreement is to end the conflict.

      In the English language, you could read very carefully the website of the BDS Movement (Barghouthi). There are many, many demands from Israel, yet there is simply no hint or indication that answering these demands and rectifying the many grievances would mean that the conflict is resolved. The conflict is always greater than the sum total of all those grievances.

    • MHughes976 - May I summarize your comment by saying that in your understanding there is no right of return, and that everything must be negotiated? It's not too often that someone agrees with me on this website, so I just wanted to make sure that this is one of those rare moments.

      In the Oslo Agreement, the outline of the future peace was agreed upon. There is no need for either side to make a statement about their view regarding a "fair compromise". The issue is something else: Are we talking about an end of the conflict? The next step should be a clear declaration that the goal is an end of conflict. I don't think that the Palestinians will be willing to declare their intention to reach an end of conflict deal with Israel, and so few of their western supporters (if any) can imagine an end of conflict with Israel. No one is going to implement a "fair compromise" that isn't final. The present conflict is always preferable over the mysterious unknown conflict of the future that will begin with the implementation of a fair compromise that didn't solve the existing conflict.

    • Talkback - You tell me again and again that I shouldn't focus on the Jews. But then, suddenly, you tell me that the Jews are only a fake state nation. It would seem that you, too, are busy with the Jews (and not only with universalistic "individuals that immigrated").

      You are hiding your hostility behind empty slogans of "universal values" and "international law". Your agenda is that all the Jews who arrived after 1917 will have to leave the country. That's not a universal value; rather, it's the particularistic Palestinian position. You are entitled to identify with the ambitions of the Palestinian national struggle, but don't pretend that this is universal. And, obviously, the people living in Israel are Israeli citizens - even those who great-grandparents arrived illegally after 1917 without anyone's consent. That's international law.

      “Are you of the opinion that the presence of the Jewish population in Israel today is illegitimate?” I think that's a good question in a debate. People should present their outlook honestly and to the point. You answer by rephrasing the question in your "universal" terminology ("natives" and "individuals that immigrated"). Obviously, the "natives" are Palestinians and "individuals that immigrated" are the Jews. Shakespeare teaches you that "a rose by any other name...." Your "universal" words are exactly the same particularistic topic at hand: the conflict. But more importantly, you don't answer the question, not in my wording nor in yours. Your answer, nevertheless, is obvious: No, the Jewish population in Israel is illegitimate, and it will have to leave the country. Perhaps, you would prefer to say that the descendants of individuals that immigrated after 1917 to Palestine will have to leave the country - but it's the same particularistic anti-Israel obsession, obviously.

      The right of return is a political issue. It has to be agreed on. I understand that this is a problem for you, because Israel shouldn't even exist in the first place, so you can't imagine negotiating with her. However, reality is that the issue will have to be negotiated in the context of ending the conflict.

    • Annie Robbins - I don't really understand what a "boxed-in question" might be. I had asked Talkback what is the Palestinian grievance, and I think it's a simple, straight-forward question about the conflict. Indeed, the Palestinian grievance is not about universal values and international law. It is a very particularistic grievance, and I am sincerely curious if an outsider (someone who can't read a poem or a book in Arabic) could possibly have a clue.

      It's puzzling that you have a question for me. You don't answer questions that I ask. I really wanted to know if you have a vision for an end of conflict with Israel. I think it's an important question - and it's quite easy to answer. You also told me to go chat with someone else, so it's really puzzling that you wish to hear my ideas.

      I assume that you define the immigration policy of the British Mandatory Government as "a country enforcing immigration on another country". In the strict legal sense, obviously, it was within the right of the government to allow such immigration. The British ruled the country with a mandate from the League of Nations. Was it the right policy? Well, that's an ideological question. There are two very different answers.

      Anyway, the Palestinian grievance which is at the root of this conflict pre-dates the Mandate. However, this little chat raises yet another question which you won't answer: Are you of the opinion that the presence of the Jewish population in Israel today is illegitimate? Should I now chat with someone else?

    • Talkback - I read your "definition from a universal point of view", and I wasn't really too impressed. You define the Jewish immigration to Palestine during the Mandate period as illegitimate, and you define the partition of Palestine as illegitimate as well - and, then your conclusion is that there is a justification for the acts of war or resistance by the Palestinians. (In your words: "the right to defend it against separation by terrorists and foreigners whose immigration was either enforced or who entered the country as illegal immigrants or refugees). Well, as I pointed out to you before, you have a political position, so obviously your "universal" point of view is under the impact of your political position.

      Reading between the lines, I understand that you are arguing that the presence of the Israeli Jewish population in the country today is illegitimate, and you are calling for a single Palestinian state in the country. If my understanding is correct, then obviously you do not really hold a position based on international law or universal values. The Israeli Jews are citizens of the State of Israel, and so their presence in the country is self-evident. If you are imagining that they will have to leave the country, then indeed you have a very strange perception of universal values. Moreover, since both sides have agreed (in Oslo) to negotiate a two-state arrangement, the issue of partition and its legitimacy is really irrelevant. Whatever the two sides will agree upon will be international law.

      But let's regard your "definition from a universal point of view" as absolutely correct: (1) The immigration was illegitimate, (2) the Partition Plan was illegitimate and (3) the Palestinians had the right to resist. What does this mean for the "foreigners" whose presence in the country is "illegal"? Did they have the right to defend their lives? Does an "illegal foreigner" have the right to use force in the face of the resistance against him? In the Palestinian world, the answer is clear: The Jews had no right to be in the country, and so they had no right to fight. However, you claim to believe in universal values - so I'm curious if you understand that a person (or a collective) that is 100% in the wrong (by your view) has the right to use force in the face of a life-and-death situation wherein the adversary is 100% in the right (by your view). I know it's a tough one for you to imagine that universal values also include the right of people whom you despise to fight for their human rights/lives (and even to be victorious).

      I'd be curious to read the international law regarding the right of return. Please give me the link. I understand that the Sudeten Germans (for example) were expelled from their homes. There were no compensations, no right to demand their property back, and surely no right to return. Perhaps the case of the Sudeten Germans is ancient history (1945), whereas the case of the Palestinians is recent history (1948) - but I understand that even in Cyprus (1974) the issue of return and property has gone to the European court - and the "right" was rejected. Anyway, it doesn't really matter. In the case of the Palestinians, there is an agreement (the Oslo Accords) that has determined that the refugee issue is an end-of-conflict topic. In other words, it has to be negotiated and agreed upon - and only in the framework of ending the conflict. Since there is such an agreement witnessed by the international community, it is now international law.

    • Talkback - Perhaps I could bring to your attention that there is a conflict in the Middle East. This means that there are grievances that motivate people to maintain a state of conflict. These are not grievances about "universal values" or "international law". So, no, it's not so simple.

      Actually, I would be curious to know if you are able to define the grievance from the Palestinian point of view (i.e. not from your outsider's point of view). A little hint: The Palestinian grievance is not about international law or about universal values.

      Anyway, let's assume that this is a conflict about "restoring all rights". Well, obviously, there would have to be a discussion in which the rights you have in mind are defined and agreed upon. It's not clear at all what "restoring all rights" might mean. Moreover, one would have to debate the means by which the rights will be restored to the satisfaction of all. Although you don't mention politics in your comment, there is nevertheless a very important political aspect to this conflict. It's hard to believe that it would be possible to agree on "rights" and on the means of "restoring" them.

      You, Talkback, are anti-Israel. You can claim that you are busy with universal values and international law, but it's not very convincing. You have your political slant (which is fine, of course), but you can't possibly be "universal" when dealing with this conflict. Also the understanding of international law is political and debatable.

      So, do you have a vision of peace with Israel? I imagine that your call for "restoring all rights" means for you that there is no vision of peace with Israel. It's a codeword for the demise of Israel. I'd be very happy (and surprised) to hear your denial. Your ending of the comment with "I dare you, Zionist" (instead of "I dare you, Nathan") was an expression of hostility. I wouldn't know why you are hostile to someone whom you don't even know - but it surely means that you are not expressing universal values. You have a political ax to grind.

    • RoHa - It's really quite unusual to receive a polite response in the comments section (well, your opening comment - "I’m going to pretend you are trying to make a serious point" - was meant to be somewhat belittling, but in general you gave a normal debate-like comment). I'd like to bring to your attention some aspects of the one-state solution that you may find surprising. First of all, it will have to be negotiated. The one-state idea is not going to happen by default. The two sides will have to work out the details and reach an agreement on living together. Neither side wants such an agreement, so it's hard to believe that the idea will be realized.

      Most importantly, it's important to point out, that a one-state solution (just like the two-state solution) is a SOLUTION; i.e. it's about an end of conflict. The Palestinians will not commit themselves to an end of conflict, so they won't even sign the agreement. The Palestinian grievance is not about equal rights in a single state, so the founding of a single state with equal rights for all will not resolve the conflict from their point of view. They would agree to a single state only if the conflict ("resistance" or "muqawama") continues within the framework of this new state - but, obviously, the Jewish side is not going to agree to end the existence of their state in order to have a continuation of the conflict.

      Israel is a very successful state, and life is good therein (even in conflict). The Jews are not likely to agree to end its existence. All the slogans of "justice" or "international law" are not going to convince its public to surrender the state in order to live in conflict in a new state. They seem to be handling the present conflict quite fine.

      The Palestinians understand the "end-of-conflict" as surrender. It means that they have to accept as legitimate the Jewish presence in the country. This would mean in their dictionary that they have accepted the Zionist ideology which claims that the country is the homeland of the Jewish people. It's not going to happen. Moreover, the Palestinians see the Jewish population as a VERY strong population, so they would fear that a single state with the Jews will be a state in which the Jews will set the tone in business, industry, culture, academics, etc, etc. The Palestinians are not interested in a one-state solution - and the call for a one-state solution is just a political ploy.

      Whenever one wishes to find a solution for a conflict, the first step is to define (correctly) the very reason of conflict. Once you have established the reason of conflict, then you have to propose a solution that rectifies that reason of conflict. So, what is the reason of conflict? I can promise you that this conflict did not start because the Palestinians were interested in sharing a state with the Jews, and so it's not going to end by establishing a single state with the Jews.

    • Annie Robbins - The last time we exchanged comments, you wouldn't answer my simple question ("Isn’t it true that there is no vision of ending the conflict with Israel?"). Instead, you told me that I should find someone else to chat with. So, I'm quite surprised that you have sent me a comment again.

      I'd like to answer your comment, but I'm still curious if there is a Palestinian vision of ending the conflict with Israel. Well, actually, it would be even more interesting to hear from you if you have a idealistic / dreamy / theoretical scenario in which it would be possible to reach an end-of-conflict with Israel to your satisfaction.

      I suppose you understand why I'm asking these questions, but I'll state my intention bluntly: If there is no vision of ending the conflict with Israel no matter what, then the real position of Mondoweiss is that Israel should not exist. If this is so, then this real position should be stated in clear terms. To present grievances and grievances and grievances is just manipulative propaganda. It sounds like you wish to fix problems when in reality you don't believe that anything could be fixed as long as Israel exists.

      I understand that you won't deny or confirm anything. Your answer will be either that something is wrong with me ("go chat with someone else") or you'll bring up yet another grievance about Israel. In my experience with intellectuals, they all seem quite eager to state their mind and to present their case. Only in the propaganda war against Israel do we have this silly and pointless game of ambiguity.

      Anyway, if there is a vision of peace with Israel, let's hear it and debate about it. If you believe that Israel must cease to exist, then say so and suggest the ways of pursuing that goal. However, raising grievances without defining an end of conflict with Israel that would satisfy you is obviously very unconvincing propaganda.

    • Talkback - You claim that the Jews had "illegally stashed weapons" before the war in 1947-8. Are you trying to say that they should have stashed weapons legally?

      You also claim that "the Palestinians didn’t even have the means to counter-attack the Zionist onslaught...." Well, that's not true at all. The Palestinians had weapons, and they also had forces in the field of battle. It's true that the Palestinians rebelled against the British (1936-9), and they suffered very heavy losses - but you would have to be quite naive to believe that in 1947 they were unarmed. Moreover, the neighboring Arab states were committed to intervene in the war on their behalf, so obviously that should be a reasonable definition of "the means to counter-attack the Zionist onslaught".

      Anyway, let's just assume that reality was exactly as you described it (only the Jewish side had weapons). Why did the Arab side insist on going to war? You would imagine that the clear expectation of utter defeat would have convinced the Arab side to strike some kind of deal with the Jews. The conclusion should be that either the Arabs made a very serious strategic/political blunder or that they felt very confident that the Jews would be soundly defeated in the war.

      Actually, this conclusion is true today as well: Either the Palestinians are making a very serious strategic/political blunder in their refusal to negotiate the final-status agreement with Israel (thus ending the conflict) or they feel very confident that in the absence of a political compromise Israel will eventually be soundly defeated.

  • Why liberal Zionists have nothing to say about Ahed Tamimi's slap and arrest
    • Annie Robbins - It was really a very simple question that I asked you ("Isn’t it true that there is no vision of ending the conflict with Israel?"). You claimed that there are plenty of Palestinian proposals for ending the conflict with Israel, but I haven't heard of them. You yourself won't outline a scenario for ending the conflict with Israel. I think it's clear that no one among the Palestinians or among their western supporters is saying that there will be peace with Israel and an end of conflict when certain conditions are met. The term "end of conflict" surely doesn't appear in the BDS website.

      It shouldn't be too difficult to answer in the positive, admitting that (A) indeed there is no intention of ending the conflict with Israel no matter what. It also wouldn't have been too difficult to answer in the negative that (B) you believe that the conflict with Israel will end as soon as it meets the conditions of the BDS movement. Instead, you claim that you're not in the mood to play "sadistic games" (whatever that means). I think that you're not in the mood to go on record admitting that you oppose ending the conflict with Israel no matter what (A). And, obviously, you're not in the mood to go on record as one who envisions the eventual acceptance of Israel (B).

      Anyway, to answer your question: Yes, of course, I have read the Palestine Papers (and I read the Palestinian newspapers as well). There is no Palestinian proposal to end the conflict with Israel. There were proposals for reaching the "final status" in accordance to the Oslo Agreement, but the Palestinian side does not see the "final status" as the end of grievances and the end of conflict. For example, the return of "x" refugees does not mean that the rest of the refugees have given up the right of return. Quite the contrary. The right of return is an "individual right", and the Palestinian leadership has "no authority" to negotiate the rights of the individual. The return of "x" refugees was supposed to be part of the final status in which a Palestinian state is founded - but the conflict is not over, because the rest of the refugees also have the right of return (and so "final status" is not the finality of conflict).

    • Annie Robbins - I have never come across a Palestinian proposal for ending the conflict with Israel. There are plenty of demands and grievances, but nowhere does one hear that rectifying grievances would mean that the conflict has been resolved (and that there will be no further grievances). I was curious to hear your ideas for ending the conflict. After all, you claimed that there have been plenty of Palestinian proposals, so you should be able to repeat some Palestinian proposal with which you identity. But, alas, you too have a list of demands and grievances - but nowhere is there an indication that rectifying these grievances would bring peace and an end of conflict with Israel.

      Isn't it true that there is no vision of ending the conflict with Israel? I don't think that there are plenty of Palestinian proposals for ending the conflict. It's strange that you make such a claim. Anyway, I'd be happy to learn from you that there is a Palestinian proposal for ending the conflict with Israel.

    • Annie Robbins - Do you read Palestinian newspapers? I find it difficult to believe that you can read Arabic. Anyway, the Palestinian press (which I read all the time) has no proposal of ending the conflict with Israel. If you have seen such a proposal, please send me the link (I read Arabic quite well). Today, the Palestinian leadership claims that it stands behind the Arab League Peace Initiative. However, that initiative doesn't define the solution to the refugee issue. What would be your offer to end the conflict with Israel?

      Sibiriak - The Palestinians insist on the right of return as a personal right - so, no, they do not accept a symbolic number of returnees. They do not accept the right of a Jewish state to exist. They claim all of Jerusalem, so they will not accept that West Jerusalem be the capital city of Israel. It is true that the PLO recognized Israel (past tense) in the framework of the Oslo Agreement. However, they don't recognize Israel (present tense).

    • Misterioso - You say that Avnery's article is worth reading (and indeed it was quite interesting), but you don't say that you agree (or disagree) with its message. For example, Avnery presents with pride the program of the Israeli left. In this program, as Avnery presents it, Israel remains (mostly) a Jewish state with a policy of Jewish immigration. Moreover, only a symbolic number of refugees will be allowed to settle in Israel. It's obvious that the Palestinians won't agree to either of these points (and they won't agree that West Jerusalem be the capital city of Israel) - so, the left in Israel has a wonderful plan, but nothing will become of it. Avnery mocks the right for not having any plan (which is reasonable criticism), but the right's no-plan and the wonderful plan of the left will both receive the very same Palestinian "no".

      I am curious to hear if you agree to the continuing existence of a Jewish state with continuing Jewish immigration. Do you accept the idea that only a symbolic number of refugees shall return to Israel? If not, then I wonder why you recommend to us that we read Avnery's article. Mr Avnery was a soldier in 1948, and he is very proud of his service both in the Irgun as a youngster and in the Israeli army as an adult. It's always surprising to read comments that quote a person whom readers of Mondoweiss would probably condemn as the "bad guy" (he's also a German-born "European invader of Palestine" which is so problematic for many, many readers here).

      There are lots of readers here that like to quote Zionists or Israelis. It would be much more interesting to read an article written by a Palestinian in which the proposal for ending the conflict with Israel would be presented. Have you come across such an article? I would be grateful if you could provide a link. It was very interesting to read Avnery's outline for ending the conflict, but it would be absolutely intriguing to read a parallel outline of a Palestinian activist in which all the conditions for peace with Israel are clarified (the Arab League Peace Initiative doesn't outline the solution of the refugee issue, leaving it to the two sides to work out - i.e. it's an incomplete proposal).

      Do you have an end-of-conflict proposal?

  • 'We should exact a price' from Ahed Tamimi 'in the dark,' Israeli journalist says
    • Misterioso - I wonder how you have "no doubt whatsoever" what would be the opinion of millions of people whom you don't know and whose language you can't even speak. I would imagine that that you are simply assuming that everyone sees the world as you do.

      Take into account that many people who were murdered in the Holocaust had been active in the Zionist youth movements. Surely, you should assume that they would have been pro-Israel people (had they survived). Moreover, in actual historic reality, many Holocaust survivors came to live in Israel. Surely you should assume that others would have come to Israel as well (had they survived). Finally, in actual reality, many Jews in the world identify with Israel. Surely you should assume that a similar percentage of others would have identified with Israel (had they survived).

      About half of the Jews in the world live in Israel. I understand that this reality doesn't make sense to anti-Israel people, but you should nevertheless consider the possibility that most Jews do not share your logic.

  • The never-ending crisis of Zionism
    • It would be nice if a Mondoweiss article would come out and say what exactly is the agenda. On the one hand, the occupation must end ("The occupation surely is destroying Israel spiritually. But who is it actually destroying, Palestinians"). However, on the other hand, partition is no good ("But partition efforts have crumbled for 70 years, and the last 25 years of earnest effort have been a miserable failure. It is not enough to call for partition").

      So, it would seem that the article is giving us a conflicting message. The occupation is awful, so one assumes that it should end. However, ending the occupation would mean that the country will be partitioned between two political entities - and that's not going to work out either according to the logic of the article. So, what should be done? Strangely, the article doesn't have any suggestions.

      Probably, the intention of the article is that the existence of the State of Israel is the definition of "occupation". The occupation will end with the demise of Israel (not with the return to the pre-1967 lines). A new political entity must be founded on the basis of the unity of the country (no partition), and thus we could have an end of occupation without partition. Indeed, the very title of the article ("The never-ending crisis of Zionism") hints to the unspoken intention: "As long as Israel exists there is no solution".

      It shouldn't be a problem for an anti-Israel publication to state its agenda in clear terms. Strangely, there seems to be some kind of problem going on the record with a clear statement that calls for the demise of Israel and its replacement by a new state. Maybe some reader could explain to me the reason for this unnecessary game of beating around the bush.

      Anyway, the article presents a number of poor points that should be debated. For example, we are told that the Palestinian children under occupation are "given no chance to dream of a better life". Well, it is possible to end the conflict with Israel, and in so doing life would obviously improve for everyone. Unfortunately, such a simple and idealistic thought is never considered in this website.

      Another example of a poor point is the comparison between the pogroms in Eastern Europe and the plight of the Palestinians. It's true that suffering is suffering, but still it should be obvious that the historic circumstances are so different. The Jews of Eastern Europe were not in a conflict with anyone. The Palestinians on the other hand are in an armed conflict. It could be that Mondoweiss identifies with the Palestinian struggle, but it still should be obvious that the violence and suffering are not exactly a mystery.

    • Misterioso - If the Israelis are leaving the country in massive numbers, then all should be well in the anti-Israel alternative reality. The State of Israel will fade away, and we'll all have to find a different debating club to keep us busy. Anyway, despite the exodus to Europe and America, Israel is still having an incredible population explosion. Everyone is leaving, obviously, but strangely the traffic jams haven't heard the news.

      I find it quite funny that you tell us that only 62% of the Americans approve of Israel. The approval of the Americans is really not too important. People can sit around the table on Christmas and say that they like Israel or they dislike Israel, and no one is going to lose any sleep over it. However, since you find it important, perhaps you should take note of the fact that 62% is a nice majority. So, most people will be saying at their festive meal that they approve of Israel (but please don't lose a night's sleep over it because it doesn't really make any difference anyway).

    • Misterioso - If Sigmund Freud is really on record as having said in 1930 that "I do not think that Palestine could ever become a Jewish state..." - then you should erase him from your list of "prophetic comments. You should be aware of the fact that a Jewish state was established in Palestine in 1948.

      You have given this exact same comment in the past. It's not really clear why you think that the opinion of prominent people is relevant. There is no need for the approval or the agreement of others.

      By the way, since you included Einstein in your list of prophets, you might find it interesting to learn that the good professor supported Zionism. He was one of the founders of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

  • How Palestinians can transform statelessness into strength
    • “The pursuit of equal rights is the only mechanism for transforming statelessness into strength..." Well, actually, it is yet another illusion of the Palestinians and their western supporters who think that the propaganda war will be victorious.

      It's obvious that the Palestinians have won the propaganda war, and it's obvious that Israel has lost the propaganda war - and the refugee issue is surely an excellent example thereof. The message has been clear for years: The refugees must be allowed to return. Moreover, the international community also plays along with Palestinian definitions - so all the descendants are refugees, their wives become refugees through marriage and those who attain citizenship elsewhere remain refugees as well. But nothing changes in reality.

      "Equal rights" is a propaganda ploy. It works nicely in convincing people to identify with the Palestinians, but "equal rights" is not the real issue behind this conflict. The Palestinians have not been screaming for 100 years that they wish to live with the Jews in a single state with equal rights. They have been saying that the Jews are foreign invaders who had no right to come to Palestine, and they are still saying it today. It's so obvious that "equal rights" will not bring about an end to the conflict, and indeed no one is saying so. Actually, you can't even find a Palestinian spokesman who will say that "this would be the end of conflict" - even as a lie.

      Even as the propaganda war succeeds so well for the Palestinian side, nevertheless the world out there is asking for an end of conflict. One can sympathize with the Palestinian refugees, and one can identify with the principles of equal rights - but above all one wants to hear that the conflict has been resolved once and for all. Unfortunately, there is no intention on the part of the Palestinians and their supporters to make any promises. So, they will keep winning the propaganda war, but nothing will change in reality.

      The Palestinians must define their end-of-conflict scenario. The attempt of defining the issue as a civil rights crisis is meant to avoid the political aspect of the conflict. In a civil rights crisis, you don't have to make any concessions - so defining the conflict as a civil rights crisis is a ploy through which the Palestinians hope to achieve some of their goals without their having to declare that their conflict with the Jews has ended (and that there are no further grievances). But it's not going to work. The world might put pressure on Israel as a result of a good Palestinian propaganda campaign - but the world expects to hear that the conflict has been resolved. The Palestinians will never make any such promise, and the status quo will therefore remain unchanged.

  • Israeli Jews 'will never accept' giving vote to Palestinians -- liberal Zionist leader
    • "...and it’s important to me to see that American Jews abandon the idea of a Jewish state..."

      It's hard to understand why the point of view of the American Jews would be so important. The Jewish state exists because the Jews living in Israel insist that there be a Jewish state. There have always been American Jews who objected to the establishment of a Jewish state, but their objection has had no real impact on the outcome of events. Jews in America can sit around the Friday evening table and speak in favor of or in opposition to Jewish statehood. Speaking in favor or speaking in opposition has had about an equal influence: Somewhere between entirely negligible and nothing at all.

      Every so often, one reads an article in the internet about the lessening of support for Israel among the American Jews. It's a mystery why anyone would take an interest in the statistics. The approval rate of those who don't participate in the making of Israeli society is not really a factor.

      It's not possible to convince the American Jews to abandon the idea of a Jewish state. And, surely, the concept of "the separation of church and state" is not the argument that is going to capture the imagination of the Jewish public in America (a VERY irreligious community, indeed). The idea of the Jewish state is not about the Jewish religion. It's about the Jewish people - and the debate about Israel in the American Jewish community is simply a means for expressing Jewish identity in America as a peoplehood identity, both for the pro-Israel and the anti-Israel audiences.

  • Anti-Christianism
    • "....a lot of Jews are Zionists, and support a militant ETHNOCRATIC state..."

      It's an interesting phenomenon. Sometimes, the anti-Israel line of argument maintains that the Jews are a religious community (and hence one doesn't found a state for believers of a particular religion). Indeed, in the above article, "Jews" are almost always parallel to "Christians" (i.e. two religious communities). However, here in this above quote is another anti-Israel line of argument that maintains that the Jews are a people (and that apparently there is something wrong with having a state meant for a particular people).

      So, now, in an article that presents the Jews as a religious community, Philip Weiss reminds us that Israel is an ethnocracy. Let there be no misunderstanding: "ethnos" in Greek is a people (those who share a common descent). An ethnocracy is, therefore, a state that was founded for a particular people (ethnicity). In the above quote, we learn that many Jews support a state (i.e Israel) that was founded for a particular people (i.e. the Jews).

      There's no understanding why anyone would complain about founding a state for a particular people. Many states of the world are political entities that were founded for a particular ethnicity. In Europe, the phenomenon is quite common (Finland, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, Portugal, and the list goes on and on). It's called the "nation-state" (a state founded for a particular people). Anyway, it was interesting to see that Israel is a state of a particular people, and that eljay didn't feel the need to protest and to remind us that Israel is a state of believers in the Jewish religion.

      And it's true that Israel is a nation-state with a military. Most states have an army (I'll spare the readers the list of examples), and all states that have a conflict actually use their armies (I'll spare the readers the list of examples).

  • Times super-Zionist Bret Stephens commits fallacy and falsehood, on Jerusalem
    • Misterioso - Generally, in this website, an Israeli is not regarded to be a reliable source of information. However, if that Israeli says something that an anti-Israel person can use in the propaganda war against Israel, then suddenly that Israeli is a "renowned writer" or a "famous historian", etc. Moreover, you should take to heart that although Mr Avnery is indeed a very intelligent man, he doesn't know how to read ancient documents nor is he an expert in archeology. He has a political agenda, and so you should take him with a pinch of salt. Indeed, there is no evidence of slavery in Egypt and King Solomon has not yet been found in any archeological dig (David has been discovered), however there are plenty of other Israelite and Judean kings that have been mentioned in archeological texts (Omri, Ahab, Ahaz, Hezekiah and others).

      Why does the issue of ancient Israel come up in the discussion here? Even if it would be clear to you that, indeed, there was an ancient Kingdom of Israel, you would still be against the founding of modern Israel. So, what is the point of all the nonsense that the kingdom lasted only 75 years? We can all adopt the Palestinian narrative, and we can accept that there was no ancient Temple, there was no Israelite kingdom, the Jews are all Khazarian converts from the Middle Ages with no roots in the Middle East and all the rest of the bla-bla-bla - and yet the State of Israel will remain a fact of life, soon to be 70 years old. A state is founded, and that's it. It exists, and it will fight to maintain its existence. That existence doesn't depend on finding King Solomon in an archeological dig, nor does it depend on your desire or lack of desire to live in Ireland.

    • Eljay - You remind us in scores of comments that Jewish identity is a religious identity. You also have your special grammar in order to refrain from saying "Jews", apparently for fear of defining the Jews as a collective entity. So, you should be able to handle a polite reminder that no one needs your seal of approval. There are Jews who define themselves as a people, even as you protest this identity.

    • RoHa / Keith / Anne Robbins - When our author presents a point as having been "forcefully argued", he is expressing his having been impressed by this argument. If Prof. Levine thinks that the Jews are not a "recent nation", then he shouldn't give us such an enthusiastic book report. But this is how it is in the anti-Israel camp. The book of Prof. Sand is really quite unimpressive, but it is an attack on the legitimacy of Israel - so by definition it's a great book. Prof. Levine didn't notice that a "recent" nation is nevertheless a nation - and it slipped by the editor as well. Clearly, the real message of Prof. Levine is that he sees the Jews as a religious community, and he gives himself the right of veto over the other narrative. I think it's fine to remind everyone that other Jews sees themselves as an ancient nation. No one has a monopoly on identity.

    • "Shlomo Sand, in "The Invention of the Jewish People", has forcefully argued that the very idea that Jews, as a collective, constitute a nation, is a very recent idea, largely coinciding with the rise of Zionism".

      Well, it's debatable if Prof Sand "has forcefully argued" his ideas, but for argument's sake let's assume as a fact that the Jews' constituting a nation is "a very recent idea". So, Joseph Levine believes that the Jews constitute a nation, and he claims that this fact has been forcefully argued. It would seem silly, therefore, that Joseph Levine would claim that "this is religious dogma, not history and not political reality". He has just argued that the Jews constitute a nation and that this is recent idea - so, obviously, this is history (albeit in his eyes "recent" history) and obviously this is political reality.

      Prof Levine wishes to establish that the people of the ancient Kingdom of Judah are not the same people as the Jews of today: "But can anyone really take this claim seriously? Judaism is a religion, and what Jews today share with the ancient Judeans is this religion. My roots can be traced back to Eastern Europe, and earlier than that is all speculation and conjecture, nothing that can compete with the Palestinians’ actual residence on the land for the past hundreds of years." Why does Prof Levine share with us the fact that his roots can only be traced back to Eastern Europe? Why does he conclude on a personal note that "Jerusalem is not my homeland, nor my 'birthright'”? It would seem that he is raising the point that he has the right of veto. Since he doesn't share the narrative (of the roots of today's Jews in ancient Judea), the narrative has thereby been disqualified.

      Well, things are not so simple. There is no right of veto. Prof Levine can argue that Jerusalem is not his homeland, but those Jews who argue that this is the homeland are not asking for his approval. There doesn't have to be a unanimous agreement. Moreover, there is also no need for recognition. If someone recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, that would be fine. If not, that would also be just fine.

      We are told that "it was the anti-Semites who emphasized that Jews were a nation apart, and it was advocates for emancipation who argued that Jews were integral to the nations in which they lived but just happened to have a minority religion". However, the question is not what others think. The issue is what is the narrative of the Jews themselves. There are Jews who maintain that their Jewish identity is only religion, and there are Jews who maintain that their Jewish identity is a national identity. Those who disapprove of there being a Jewish homeland will have to learn to live with the fact that no one is asking for their approval.

  • Trump's Jerusalem speech will foster the liberal Jewish awakening
    • "And to acknowledge that the only hope for redeeming Israel is giving the vote to all Palestinians under Israeli governance...."

      There is a conflict raging for more than 100 years, and suddenly the bottom line is some sort of civil rights issue. I've heard a grievance that the Jews had no right to immigrate to Palestine. I've heard a demand that the Jews be returned to Poland. There is a gripe that the Jews had no right to have founded the State of Israel. There was a time that one would hear that the Jews will be driven into the sea, or that on judgment day the stones and trees will reveal the hiding places of the defeated Jews...

      Now, after reading the Mondoweiss website, I have learned that it's all about getting the right to vote in the Knesset elections. I can't remember having heard Mr Arafat sharing with us his dream of becoming a citizen of Israel. I can't recall in which of Mr Abbas' many articles he explained to the world that he is waiting for the day in which he'll finally have his Israeli passport. I don't think that any Hamas leader can even utter the word "Israel", and they would probably prefer to die than to say: "May I please have my Israeli identity card".

      I never would have thought that an anti-Israel website would need a lesson in the very basics from the point of view of the Palestinians. Here it is in one simple sentence: The Palestinians dream about defeating the State of Israel (not about becoming citizens of Israel).

  • Palestinian officials say, Trump 'destroyed' the two-state solution
    • Annie Robbins - Actually, the "David and Goliath story" is, indeed, fiction. Of course, it should be added that claiming that the story is fictitious does NOT necessarily mean that the people mentioned in the story were not real people. I think that it's obvious that the description of David's kingdom "from the Euphrates River to the River of Egypt" is also fiction. But, still, all this doesn't mean that there was no real David. The Tel-Dan stele mentions the "king of Israel and the king of the House of David". So, we know that there was a kingdom of Israel, and we know that there was a dynasty founded by a man called David, even if the stele was found in a floor under a pile of rubbish. (The king of the House of David is the king of Judah).

      Anyway, there is no ideology or politics here. If future research proves that there was no Kingdom of Israel or there was no David, it wouldn't make any difference in our world today. It's just interesting academic research in the realm of the humanities. Therefore, I was surprised that you said that it would be a problem if turned out that David was a real person.

      Once upon a time, I was listening to a Palestinian tour-guide who took a group of visitors to Sebastia in the West Bank. When he presented to us the remains of an Iron Age palace, all he wanted to say was that a king had built this place. The tourists asked him which king and which kingdom. So, the tour-guide started to tell us that there were Canaanites here, and there were Assyrians and Babylonians and Greeks and Romans. It was so strange. Why doesn't he just answer the question? What's the problem? After the audience insisted, the tour-guide was willing to say that the king was Ahab, but he wouldn't say the name of his kingdom. However, after some more insistence of the audience, he finally said that this was the palace of Ahab, the king of Israel. He really knew something about archeology and ancient history, but he really didn't want to share it with us. It was all quite silly.

    • Annie Robbins - You are avoiding answering a very interesting question. I asked you if there is some political or ideological problem if David was a real person. You should be able to give an opinion on the issue. Instead of a simple "yes" or "no", you prefer to ask the opposite question and to answer it as well. Anyway, I'd like to answer your question. No, there is no ideological or political problem if it would turn out that David was not an historic character. Now, I'd like to hear your answer to my question.

    • Mooser - Maybe for you (and for many others) antisemitism is a component of your identity. You can tell us if you wish. And, still, there are many Jews who define themselves as a people. It's nice to see that you agree with me that the approval of eljay (or others) is not a necessary component in matters of identity. (I'm not in need of others agreeing with me, but it was a rarity to read "Very true" in your response to me).

    • Annie Robbins - The Tel-Dan inscription is for real. It was discovered in a real archeological excavation. It was a victory monument of a Damascus king who captured Dan (and set up the stone therein). Obviously, it was knocked down some years later, and it was used as a floor-tile. So, it's true that it was discovered as part of a floor (i.e. in its secondary use), but it's still a real archeological finding from the 9th century BC - even though it was knocked down by the Danites.

      There's an inscription of Emperor Hadrian on the wall of the old city of Jerusalem, just to the south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This inscription is upside-down. Why? Well, it was a monument set up in Jerusalem by Hadrian after the Bar-Kokhva War. Later on, someone used it as building material (i.e. a stone in the wall), and it was placed in the wall upside-down. So, the inscription is located in a secondary location, and you might have to stand on your head in order to read it. Would your conclusion be that the inscription is, therefore, a forgery? Of course not. Similarly, a victory monument turned into a floor-tile still gives authentic information. The king from Damascus knew in the 9th century BC that there was a person named David who was the founder of a dynasty (the House of David).

      Is there some ideological or political problem that David was a real person? Well, anyway, when there is a name found in the Bible, and then that same name appears in an ancient inscription - then it's quite clear that we're dealing with a real person. Recently, the seal of King Hezekiah (the son of Ahaz, king of Judah) was discovered in Jerusalem. Both the father and son appear in the Book of Kings, and both names appear on the seal. So, it turns out that these kings of ancient Judah (and Israel) were real people.

    • eljay - I wonder what is the meaning of "Geographic Palestine". I've never heard of "Geographic India" or "Geographic Spain". So, whenever there is a new term in use, it's interesting to try and figure out what is the intention.

      I noticed that you used the term "religion-based identity of JEWISH". This is not normal English, obviously. So, I wonder why a native English speaker would mess up such an easy concept. It seems to me that in correct English one would say "the religion-based identity of the Jews". However, "the Jews" could also be understood as a people, and that would be problematic for you on the ideological level (peoples, after all, do found states). Is that the reason that you have changed the rules of English? Do you feel that the adjective "Jewish" (in place of the noun "Jews") is helpful in avoiding the fact that the Jews are a people?

      Anyway, since you repeat so very often that Jewish identity is "religion-based", I'm reminded of Shakespeare's excellent phrase: "Methinks he doth protest too much". You apparently do understand that there are many Jews in the world who define themselves as a people. Sadly for you, your approval is not a necessary component in the identity of others.

    • MHughes976 - There is nothing strange about the names of David and Solomon. Both names have meaning in Hebrew. You certainly are right that many names of the Biblical era are theophoric; however, there are plenty of names that are not theophoric. Rehoboam, Asa, Amon, Menasseh, Ahaz are a few examples of kings of Judah whose names are not theophoric. More importantly, since the "House of David" is mentioned in a 9th century BC Aramaic stele, it's rather obvious that the name of David (and his having founded a dynasty) were common knowledge.

    • Misterioso - Uri Avnery whom you quote is really a very intelligent man, however he is not an expert in archeology (however, he does have a political ax to grind). So, although he claims that David and Solomon are absent from the archeological evidence, nevertheless his claim is false. David has been found in archeology (Solomon hasn't).

      Anyway, in your comment, you seem quite busy with DNA. It's all quite interesting, of course, but in the framework of a political debate it is entirely irrelevant. When a group of people succeeds in founding a state, that state is legitimate. The citizens of the state do not have to pass a blood test to gain their place in the community of nations. It might turn out that King Solomon is a fictional character, and it could be that the citizens of Israel are Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Martians - nevertheless, their state will still be there tomorrow morning.

  • US embassy move to Jerusalem would spark 'fanaticism and violence' and end US status as negotiator -- Arab leaders
    • Annie Robbins - Will there be "heightened unrest" if the US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? I suppose so (but maybe there won't be). Will there be "heightened unrest" if the US won't move its embassy to Jerusalem? I suppose so (but maybe there won't be). The conflict has its up's and down's, so there will always be an renewed outbreak of violence followed by a period of calm.

      President Sadat of Egypt visited Jerusalem in an official state visit. He spoke at the Knesset, so he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He went into the old city (he prayed at Al-Aqsa), and so he recognized Israel's rule in the part of the city captured in 1967. This was a much more serious matter than the American recognition of Israel's rule in Jerusalem. So, I would imagine that the Palestinians will be furious (as they were in Sadat's time), but it might not be too dramatic. We'll see.

      Anyway, it really is silly to hear the warnings and concerns of the Palestinians. They say that it will end the possibility of negotiations and of reaching a two-state solution. I don't know why, but that's not the issue here. They have been saying for years that the settlements are the problem that prevent negotiations and a two-state solution. Now, suddenly, we learn that recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is going to end all hopes of reaching an agreement. Well, after convincing me that the settlements have ended the possibility of reaching a two-state solution (or whatever), it's hard to convince me that Jerusalem is now the straw that breaks the camel's already broken back. The Palestinians have no intention of reaching an end-of-conflict agreement with Israel no matter what.

      Mooser - I don't think that you should worry about the security of the US embassy in Jerusalem (if it will be moved). Moving or not moving the embassy is a political decision, not a security issue. Anyway, the moving of the embassy will not make things worse from the point of view of unrest. It will be a political defeat from the Palestinian point of view, but the sun will rise the next morning nonetheless.

      Misterioso - It has been agreed that the fate of the settlements will be decided in negotiations between the two sides (see "Interim Agreement" of Sept 1995). So, whatever will be decided will be legal and final. In the absence of negotiations for a final agreement, the status quo continues as established in the Interim Agreement.

    • JosephA - You claim that the article is very "silly" in claiming that the US government would lose its credibility as the "honest peace broker" when in reality (you believe that) it has already lost its credibility even without recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Well, there are other silly claims in the article that you should have mentioned. For example, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel "could spark serious unrest and protests across the Arab world" and "it will nourish fanaticism and violence". The reality of "serious unrest and protests across the Arab world" in addition to "fanaticism and violence" would seem to be the way things have always been even without having moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

  • Liberal Zionists confront, or deny, the 'Doomsday settlement'
    • So, oldgeezer, you inform us that over 70% of the states in the world recognize the State of Palestine. That's really nice. It would seem, therefore, that you too find it absurd to read in the above article that "we have now entered the period of a struggle for equal rights within a single country..." Most of the world now maintains that there are already two states. More importantly, the Palestinians themselves insist that they have attained a separate statehood - so, obviously, they are not interested in having a single state with the Jews.

      You claim that Israel does not recognize the State of Palestine; however, Israel's recognition is not a necessary component of statehood. There are so many countries in the neighborhood that don't recognize Israel, and yet Israel is a state nevertheless. That's the nature of conflicts.

      Anyway, just for the record, I will state clearly that there is a Palestinian state. I'm happy to learn that you think so, too. So, we can agree that the above article should have mentioned Palestinian statehood.

      JosephA - I think it's quite humorous that my "fixation on semantics isn't particularly productive". Tell me, please, what would be a productive comment in an internet debate? No one here has the talent of expressing an opinion that suddenly will change the reality of planet earth. Debating on Mondoweiss is fun and entertaining, and perhaps someone in thirty years from now will write a PhD thesis about the debate. In such a case, all comments (including yours and mine) will be productive in the sense that they contributed to someone's getting the title of "doctor".

    • It's a very strange world. The Palestinians claim that the State of Palestine has been established, and they are calling upon everyone to recognize it. Yet, no one cares what the Palestinians are saying - not even the pro-Palestinian community. This article asks "whether the two state solution is alive or dead", even though the Palestinians are screaming at us that there are already two states. Was the acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state in the UN just a publicity stunt? Was the acceptance of Palestine in the International Court in the Hague just a game of "make-believe"? It would be nice if an article (claiming that the two-state arrangement is no longer possible) would add a note that the Palestinian state recognized throughout the world is just propaganda.

      Another strange element of the article is the problem of building a neighborhood in Givat HaMatos. For some reason, traveling from Bethlehem to Jerusalem through a built neighborhood (instead of an empty lot) is absolutely impossible - but there is no problem with the world-wide agreement that a Palestinian state should include the West Bank and Gaza which will necessitate traveling through many miles of Israeli territory (and towns) in order to travel from here to there.

      Finally, a further strange claim is the belief that the demise of the two-state solution means that there will be a one-state solution. It's total nonsense. The common denominator of the one-state solution and the two-state solution is, obviously, the term SOLUTION. A solution means that the two sides have reached an agreement to end their conflict through the establishment of a single state or separate states. However, there is not going to be an agreement to end the conflict, period. So, just as there won't be a two-state solution, there will not be a one-state solution either. The two warring communities are not going to find themselves sharing a state together as a kind of default. The only default is the continuity of conflict.

  • Dispatch from Gaza on reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority
    • Annie Robbins - My claim is that the call for the destruction of Israel is an unreasonable position. Even a pro-Palestinian activist should be taken aback by the call for such violence. You interpret my position as a wish to destroy Palestine, and it's absolutely untrue. It's a figment of your imagination. And what's your opinion? Do you think that Mr Sinwar's call to destroy Israel is a reasonable ambition?

      RoHa - You claim that "there is nothing hateful about calling for the dissolution of Israel". Well, that's a tricky answer. The statement quoted in the above article was about the "destruction of Israel". And, yes, the call to destroy Israel is certainly hateful. It's a call for the "dissolution of Israel" through genocide.

      Marnie - What do you mean that "no one has the right to tell the Palestinians what to do and how to do it"? The Palestinians should be criticized just like everyone else in this world. The call for the destruction of Israel is an improper ambition. It's only normal to speak out against such genocidal insanity. Moreover, why is it "Zionist propaganda" to condemn Sinwar's call to destroy Israel? It is ideologically neutral to condemn a call for violence.

    • No, Mooser, no one is in need of "reassurance" or "immunity". We all know that after debating with each other, tomorrow morning the State of Israel will still be there. What is quite interesting in these little debates is the refraining from giving a straight and honest answer. What is so difficult in denying that one identifies with the call to destroy Israel? What is so difficult in confirming that one wishes to destroy Israel?

      Here's my take on the issue. One doesn't deny the identification with the call to destroy Israel, because that would be an obvious lie. On the other hand, to confirm that one wishes to see the destruction of Israel would define that person as identifying with extreme violence or with a very hateful political position.

      Marnie - I didn't realize that there are thinking people in this world who define the Palestinian behavior as "turning the other cheek". The Palestinians see themselves in a conflict for over 100 years, and their expression of being in conflict has always included quite a lot of violence. Anyway, the issue that I raised in my comment to you was the legitimacy of criticism. It is legitimate to criticize someone even when you identify with their struggle. I think that an anti-Israel / pro-Palestinian activist should be capable of saying that the Hamas call to destroy Israel is improper. It's not legitimate to call for genocide. It's too bad that no one here has the courage to go on record, saying that the Palestinian struggle should not include such extreme ambitions. And I do wonder if you actually identify with such extremism.

    • JosephA - You didn't say in the end if "destroying Israel" is a reasonable position. You claim that the Palestinians are the victims of a "slow genocide" (they're actually having an incredible population explosion), and in so doing you somehow avoid having to answer a very simple question. It really shouldn't be too difficult to say that you do not think that the destruction of Israel is a reasonable position. Perhaps, the problem is that in anti-Israel circles, it is a big no-no to criticize the Arab position (criticizing the Arabs might be understood, heaven help us, as expressing an understanding of Israel's concerns).

      Marie - There's no self-pity in my comment. I'm just a curious person who is trying to understand the world the the anti-Israel crowd. The leader of Hamas has declared that he wishes to destroy Israel. I think that even the "I-hate-Israel club" should cry out that this is wrong. Maybe you can explain why it's so difficult for an anti-Israel person to criticize the Palestinians. It's hard to believe that a thinking person would claim that "destroying Israel" is a normal position in the political debate of the 21st century. It shouldn't be too difficult to support the Palestinians while at the same time expressing a word of criticism. However, the clear refusal to criticize what is obviously a very extreme and violent position leaves the impression that maybe you agree that Israel must be destroyed.

    • So, JosephA, if you "can't blame them for feeling angry", should I assume that you accept the last quote of the article ("we are not discussing recognizing Israel, but destroying it...") as a reasonable position of angry people?

      The article tells us that "Sinwar took a harsher tone that walked back some of the pragmatism in the new Hamas Charter". I wonder what is "some of the pragmatism" that appears in the new Hamas Charter. The new charter is quite clear that Israel has no right to exist, so the quote about destroying Israel is in line with the new charter. It would be interesting to hear a definition of "destroying Israel". Since the old charter calls for the murder of the Jews, the call for destroying Israel sounds very bloody. I would hope that JosephA condemns a policy that calls for destroying Israel (even if he "can't blame them for feeling angry").

  • BDS movement holds its first regional anti-normalization conference in Kuwait
    • Yossarian22 - It really is hard to believe that a person who follows the conflict is not kidding around when he argues that "if Israel agreed to the 3 demands of BDS and international law, they would have peaceful relations with all the neighboring states and would no longer be in conflict with any of the major Palestinian factions". I can't imagine that you really believe that the three demands of the BDS movement and international law are the complete summary of the Arab grievances.

      By chance, here in the Mondoweiss website is an article entitled "Dispatch from Gaza on reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority" (27 Nov 2017). In this article, Yahya Sinwar (the Hamas leader) is quoted: "We have passed the stage of discussing the idea of recognizing Israel. Now we are not discussing recognizing Israel, but destroying it and when that will happen". In other words, Hamas is not asking for Israel's agreeing to the three demands; rather, Hamas has other aspirations. Apparently, besides the three demands of the BDS movement and international law, Hamas has some further grievances. If you would read its new charter, you would find out that what some of those grievances are (for example: "Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea").

      In our little debate, we are pretending that the only grievances in this conflict are the Arab grievances. Obviously, in order to end the conflict, the grievances of both sides must be addressed. Anyway, even looking at the conflict from the anti-Israel point of view (i.e. Israel doesn't have any legitimate demands), the Arab grievances are well beyond the three demands of the BDS movement. There is no scenario for an end of conflict. And, indeed, there is no intention of even renewing the talks with Israel - neither Hamas nor Fatah.

    • Yossarian22 - The last section of the article ("Anti-normalization") is about "strengthening public and popular opposition to any possible change of policies towards normalizing relations with Israel in the region". There is no indication whatsoever that this might mean that there will be no normalization with Israel until she meets the demands of BDS. No normalization means no normalization, period. It is an anti-peace statement.

      There is no connection between the demands of the BDS movement and ending the conflict with Israel. There is no scenario for ending the conflict with Israel. You claimed that the BDS demands are that "Israel allow peace", but that is a figment of your imagination. The BDS movement does not even use the word "peace" in its website.

      The Arab Peace Proposal is conditionalized by there being an agreement on the issue of refugees. The Palestinians, however, have no intention of renewing peace talks with Israel, so there is not going to be an agreement on the refugees. Therefore, there is no peace proposal. If the Arab League would have presented their solution to the entire conflict in all of its aspects, then one could conclude that there is an Arab Peace Proposal (and Israel should give an answer). However, the proposal depends on a final peace agreement with the Palestinians (and not on giving an answer to the Arab League), and it doesn't seem to likely that the Palestinians wish to reach an agreement. There is no end of conflict with Israel.

    • pabelmont - In the article, the cry is for "opposition to any possible change of policies towards normalizing relations with Israel in the region". Notice that this is not about boycotting Israel until she rectifies certain grievances. Therefore, this is NOT about what Israel does, nor is Israel given an opening for ending the hostility. So, your emphasis that BDS is an "activity that is (or could be) limited in time" is not what is being described in the article. The article raises quite a few grievances, obviously, but nowhere is there an indication that the rectification of such grievances would mean that there would be peace and an end of conflict. The bottom line is "no normalization", period ( "no normalization" = "no peace with Israel").

      So, actually, this BDS activity described in the article is not at all antisemitism. However, it is indeed anti-peace, and the article is quite straight-to-the-point about it. There is no connection between grievances and the conflict. It's confusing and strange, but the fact is that the conflict is greater than the sum total of all its grievances.

  • 'Struggle for basic rights within binational state has begun and we will win' --Shulman in 'NYRB'
    • Ossinev - I understand that a book about the Jewish people is for you fiction, but you regard the wikipedia website as a serious source. You seem to be quite a serious intellectual. Well, anyway, I assume that you didn't even read the wikipedia website too carefully. The very first line tells us: "This article is about the Jewish religion. For consideration of ethnic, historic and cultural aspects of the Jewish identity, see Jews". In short, there is the religion of Jews (Judaism), but there is also history and ethnicity of the Jews (just as there is the history and the ethnicity of the Italians, and the Irish, and the Norwegians, etc, etc).

      You don't really understand too much about the Jews. You'd be surprised to find out that, indeed, most Jews don't practice Judaism. It's not even "all of a sudden". You might want to check out the "History of the Jewish People" in the library after all. The Jews are an ancient people. The Jews created a religion called Judaism. I understand that this might be just a bit too complicated, but try to stay focused: A Jew is a member of the Jewish people even if he doesn't practice the Jewish religion.

      Notice the word "Judaism". The suffix "-ism" means that it's an abstract concept. The "Juda-" part of the word is derived from the ancient tribe (nation, ethnicity) of Judah. So, Judaism is an abstract concept (a religion) of the people of Judah (i.e the Jews).

    • Yes, Ossinev, Judaism is a religion. However, the Jews are a people. You can take a walk over to the nearest library, and there you'll find a book entitled "The History of the Jewish People". There should also be a book entitled "The History of the Russian People" and a book entitled "The History of the English People" (and the list goes on and on). You won't find a book entitled "The History of the Protestant People". Indeed, there is no such people (nation). However, there is a people called the Jewish people, and this is the people that founded the State of Israel.

      Judaism is an abstract idea. Hence, it is not a group of human beings that see themselves as sharing some common heritage or descent. An abstract idea does not found a state or till the soil. Your use of the term Judaism as if it is a person is manipulative and dishonest.

    • RoHa - Yes, you are absolutely right that three years ago you protested the term "binational nation". Sorry that I didn't check that out before writing my comment.

      Your final note that "nations are not entitled to statehood" is quite puzzling. One of the outstanding phenomena of modern political science is the establishment of nation-states. A nation-state is a state that was founded by (and for) a particular nation (an ethnic community). It's called the "right of self-determination". There are national groups that didn't succeed in founding their own state (Catalonia is a recent example), and there are national groups that are not interested in having their own state (the Frisians, for example). However, many national groups have insisted that it is their right to independent statehood (Poles, Lithuanians and more recently the Kurds). The Palestinians are also demanding the right of self-determination (i.e. a nation that is entitled to statehood). It's surprising to read a comment in this website that rejects the Palestinian demand to have their own state.

    • JohnSmith - You'd be surprised to learn that the Arab side of the conflict does not agree to a binational state. For the Arabs, the "rhetorical game", as you call it, is VERY important. They understand that "binational" means "two nations". Furthermore, they understand that "two nations" can only be understood as including the Jews as one of those two nations in Palestine. And, finally, once you admit that the Jews are a nation, you have admitted that they have a geographic point of reference (i.e. a homeland), and you have therefore accepted the legitimacy of Zionism (and the traditional Jewish narrative of exile and return). So, your call for "universal human rights" in the form of a binational state is not universal at all. Throughout the history of the conflict, the Palestinians have always rejected binationalism, so it is not their solution to the crisis.

      Actually, the quote from Mr Abbas' speech at the UN is an expression of a "solution" that the Palestinians would accept: ".... full equal rights for all inhabitants of historic Palestine.” The inhabitants of historic Palestine (in the world of Mr Abbas) exclude the vast majority of the Jews in the country whom he regards as foreigners. The understanding of David Shulman that this is about "basic rights in a binational state" is quite mistaken. Mr Shulman's "binational state" recognizes the Jewish nation in Palestine, whereas Mr Abbas has something else in mind.

    • I'm quite surprised that no one wishes to protest the use of the term "a single binational state". It should be noted that it is self-evident that a binational state is a state that is set up for two national groups. In case it's not entirely self-evident, the two nations are (1) the Jews and (2) the Palestinians.

      In the article, we are told that "Shulman captures the spirit that animates this site". I'm surprised that the spirit of this website includes a recognition of the nationhood of the Jews. The anti-Israel crowd has always insisted that the Jews are not a nation.

      However, now that we are informed that "Shulman captures the spirit that animates this site", one can now assume that his vision of a binational state is an acceptable concept at Mondoweiss. It should be noted that it makes no difference if you support a separate Jewish nation-state or if you support a binational state in which the Jews are one of the two national communities therein. In both cases, the Jews are a nation entitled to some form of statehood. That is the essence of the Zionist ideology.

  • Liberal Israeli leaders were contemplating genocide in Gaza already in 1967
    • Misterioso - It's quite true that the PLO recognized Israel in the 1947 Partition Plan borders; however, you forgot to mention that the PLO flatly rejects the Partition Plan. It's also true that the PLO recognized Israel in the 1993 Oslo Agreement; however, it should be noted that the PLO does not recognize the legitimacy Israel.

      The PLO also accepted the Arab League Peace Initiative which is totally depended on reaching an Israeli-Palestinian final agreement; however, there is absolutely no intention to negotiate with Israel a final agreement.

      And, yes, Hamas revised its charter, calling for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza; but you forgot to mention that the very same revised charter claims that there are absolutely no rights for "the usurping Zionist entity". (Actually, you should provide the exact quote from the Hamas Charter: "However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees... to be a formula of national consensus"). So, you're right when you claim that Israel didn't respond to the Hamas proposal; however, you forgot to mention that Hamas is not proposing anything to Israel (the 'usurping Zionist entity' in the charter which, apparently, you haven't read).

      I would suggest to you that you read the website of the PLO and Hamas. I'm assuming that an intelligent observer of the conflict is able to read a few pages in Arabic. Binajjah (good luck)!

  • How Avi Shlaim moved from two-state solution to one-state solution
    • Donald Johnson - Already in the article, it is explained that the Israeli public is not interested in the one-state solution. So, that is not the issue of my comment. I am suggesting that the one-state solution is not a solution from the Palestinian point of view. It does NOT address the issue of conflict as the Palestinians see the conflict. Perhaps, you could define in a few sentences what this conflict is all about, and then we could judge if the founding of a single state is the remedy to the crisis.

      In 1947, UNSCOP suggested two ideas to solve the crisis in Palestine. The majority suggestion was partition (two states) and it was the suggestion that was voted on (29 Nov 1947). The minority suggestion was a one-state arrangement. The Arab side of the conflict rejected BOTH suggestions. The acceptance of a one-state solution was also understood as an acceptance of the Jews as legitimate residents of Palestine.

      Today, the one-state solution is not being suggested in order to end the conflict; rather, it's being suggested in order to end the existence of the Jewish state. The conflict will not be resolved with the founding of a single state, and it will continue in the framework of the single state.

    • Yes, Misterioso, Mr Arafat announced that all the parts of the Palestinian National Covenant that negate the existence of Israel have been nullified. That's great news. Now, please, help me find an updated edition of the Palestinian National Covenant. I checked the website of the PLO (in Arabic), and lo and behold, there you can read the 1964 and the 1968 editions of the Palestinian National Covenant - but there is no post-1993 edition.

    • "The PLO by signing the Oslo Accords gave up the claim to 78 percent of Mandatory Palestine..." Well, if this sentence were to be phrased in the present tense, it would be quite a sensation. Perhaps it's true that the PLO gave up its claim, but in reality today the PLO is not giving up its claim to the entire country. Similarly, the PLO agreed (past tense) to erase all the sections of the National Covenant that deny Israel's right to exist; however, they don't agree (present tense) to erase anything. Just take a look at the PLO website, and you can see the 1964 version and the 1968 version of the National Covenant, but the post-Oslo version that was supposed to delete all the calls for the destruction of Israel simply is not available. One also hears all the time that the PLO recognized Israel (past tense), and it's absolutely true. However they don't recognize Israel (present tense).

      Avi Shlaim supports the one-state solution. In order to reach a one-state solution, there will have to be an agreement in which the two sides express their willingness to live together in a single state. Again, once that agreement is reached, it will be possible to state truthfully (only in the past tense) that "the PLO (or the PA) agreed to live with the Israeli Jews in a single state". However, in the present tense, (we will discover that) they simply don't agree. The grievance will be that the Jews are not legitimate residents of the country (they're "invaders"). And the conflict will continue within the single state.

      When proposing a solution for a conflict, it's always a good idea to first define the true reason of conflict. If the conflict started because the two-state arrangement is no longer viable, then the one-state solution is a great proposal. However, if the conflict started (let's say) "because unwanted foreigners arrived in Palestine", then the one-state solution is absolute nonsense (it doesn't solve the Palestinian grievance). It would be helpful if Avi Shlaim would have defined the cause of conflict, and then it would be possible to judge if his one-state idea hits the nail on the head (and I doubt it).

  • Seven members of Jewish Voice for Peace arrested in demonstration at ADL
    • I would have expected that a demonstartion by the Jewish Voice for Peace would shout some slogan about peace. How about something like: "Let's end this conflict once and for all". It would be a breath of fresh air to hear a suggestion for ending the conflict. However, even though "peace" is part of the organization's title, I don't think there is any end-of-conflict scenario. The same is true for other anti-Israel groups (BDS or Mondoweiss). There are endless grievances against Israel, but you never hear in clear terms that correcting these grievances would mean that the conflict is resolved. Apparently, a statement that defines the end of conflict would be understood as an acceptance of Israel's existence as permanent and final.

  • AIPAC and Federation officials criticize Israeli leaders for being clueless about U.S.
    • eljay - Sure you have the right to comment. Actually, I find your style to be intriguing (you have the style of mantra; i.e. you like to repeat the very same line endlessly). However, I did find it surprising that you had an expectation that someone else would repeat the mantra. I thought that I'd be helpful by pointing out to you that there are people out there who see things differently.

      In your answer to me, you express with your "no kidding" a supposed understanding that you know that there are other opinions out there; however, in reality you don't understand that there is another way of seeing things. Your assumption is that those who see things differently are evil.

    • eljay - The people quoted in this article have their criticism of Israel, but they are not part of the anti-Israel community. They identify with the Jewish state and wish it much success. It really shouldn't be so difficult to understand that people who don't agree with you wouldn't feel the need to express your opinions.

  • Israeli forces target Palestinian schools, teachers in East Jerusalem and Hebron
    • Mooser - Are you actually denying the observation that Mondoweiss has an obvious anti-Israel bias? You are asking for proof, but I couldn't help but noticing that you didn't actually say that it's not true.

    • amigo - It really isn't very complicated. Try to find a Palestinian, and then sit down and have a little conversation with him. You can ask him straight to the point: "When you went to school, did you learn about the nakba?" It's a good habit to read the newspapers, but one has to be just a bit skeptical by nature. You can try just a little journalistic investigation of your own. Anyway, you'll notice when speaking with Palestinians that they generally agree about their national narrative in all its details and terminology. Of course they discuss it in school.

    • amigo - You don't have to assume that everything written in the newspapers is true. The Mondoweiss website is surely a very interesting newspaper, but it does have an obvious anti-Israel bias (as you might have noticed). Anyway, the Palestinian children go to schools in their own language, and their teachers are Palestinians as well. So, you can relax and take for granted that they learn about their own history (including the nakba). They also learn about the Jews (ancient and modern) from the Palestinian point of view.

  • Five Palestinians bodies recovered from tunnel bombing after Israeli court ignores emergency rescue petition
    • eljay - The Partition Plan of 29 Nov 1947 was a proposal to found a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine. In your comments, you seem to be recognizing the legitimacy of the Partition Plan borders, but you don't recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state. Obviously, your recognition or non-recognition is not a necessary component in world affairs. However, in the realm of an intellectual discussion, it is an interesting contradiction. Why is it that the Partition Plan is fine for establishing legitimate borders, but that which these borders were supposed to define (the Jewish state) is not legitimate? Surely, if you reject the concept of a Jewish state, then you obviously should be rejecting the Partition Plan, period.

      MHughes976 - You ask how can the existence of Israel be justified. Well, no one has to justify the establishment of any state in the world. The justification for the existence of a state is not an issue in political science. Only in the realm of a propaganda war is the issue of the justification for the founding of Israel debated. However, the debate (as interesting as it might be) is totally irrelevant. A state comes into existence when there is a government that has effective control over territory with a permanent population. No one has to check the DNA of the residents. No one has to quote the Bible. No one has to prove that the founding of the state was just. There is also no need in winning the recognition of others. The very existence of the state is by definition legitimate. Actually, it's quite like the birth of a child: No one has to explain to us why one was born.

    • MHughs976 - There were no doubts concerning the background of the Jews at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. Everyone in the world assumed that the Jews are the descendants of ancient Israel, and there were no debates in this regard. The research of DNA is a new endeavor of recent decades, so only now do you hear of research projects which confirm or refute the descent of today's Jews from ancient Israel.

      Anyway, most of us don't even have the scientific background to understand what is being discussed. Our real debate is political. An anti-Israel activist will continue to negate the legitimacy of Israel even if a voice from heaven would announce that the Jews of today are the direct descendants of the tribes of Israel. And a supporter of Israel accepts her legitimacy even if it would be proved that the Jews arrived from the southern hemisphere of Mars.

      The State of Israel exists, period. The veracity of Biblical literature and/or the esoterics of DNA are really not relevant.

  • Thousands march to UK parliament calling for justice on Balfour centenary
    • eljay - Your call to remove "Israeli citizens and people up to n-generations" is actually a plea to continue the conflict forever. You haven't defined the variable "n", but I would imagine that you have in mind the removal of the majority of the Jews from the country. It shouldn't be too surprising to you that the Jews prefer the present conflict over your vision of "justice". By the way, who is supposed to pay the reparations if the population of Israel is being removed from the country?

    • "The next date to mark for Palestinians is in May 2018...."

      No, that's a mistake. The next date is quite soon: 29 Nov 2017 (seventy years since the Partition Plan). Just as with the Balfour Declaration, the anniversary of the Partition Plan should be an opportunity to repeat all the demands for "apologies" and for "justice". After all, just as it is claimed that the Balfour Declaration was given without the consent of the Palestinians, so too it is claimed that the Partition Plan was accepted against the wishes of the Palestinians. Moreover, just as it is always claimed that the Balfour Declaration led to the rise of Israel, so too it will be argued that the Partition Plan led to the rise of Israel.

      The call to "justice" is not a very clear issue. Someone should define "justice". Since everyone is griping that the Balfour Declaration led to the founding of Israel, I suppose that the call to justice is about the undoing of Israel. No one says anymore that the topic at hand is the end of Israel for fear of losing the support of mainstream public opinion, so "justice" is never defined.

      However, "apology" is a clear topic of "bla-bla-bla". I have never understood why anyone feels the need to hear an apology. It's really a meaningless gesture, however apparently the anti-Israel activists need it just as they need the illusion of mainstream support.

  • The Balfour centenary is also the centenary of the Zionist lobby
    • eljay - It is merely your perception that "Jewish is a religion-based identity". It's an interesting point of view, but it's not the only perception. I have seen quite a few books in the library entitled "The History of the Jewish People" - so it would seem that there are those who perceive the Jews to be a people. Anyway, it's really quite irrelevant how you perceive someone else's identity. Your agreement or understanding is not a necessary ingredient.

      You like to repeat in nearly every comment you make that the Jews had no right to found a state in Palestine (or elsewhere). However, they did found a state in Palestine, and that's that. Your agreement was not a necessary element in the founding of the Jewish state (or any other state).

    • Here's an English translation of the French statement:

      "The Secretary General of Foreign Affairs to Mr Sokolof, Paris 4th June 1917.

      "You were good enough to present the project to which you are devoting your efforts, which has for its object the development of Jewish colonization in Palestine. You consider that, circumstances permitting, and the independence of the Holy Places being safeguarded on the other hand, it would be a deed of justice and of reparation to assist, by the protection of the Allied Powers, in the renaissance of the Jewish nationality in that Land from which the people of Israel were exiled so many centuries ago.

      "The French Government, which entered this present war to defend a people wrongfully attacked, and which continues the struggle to assure the victory of right over might, can but feel sympathy for your cause, the triumph of which is bound up with that of the Allies.

      "I am happy to give you herewith such assurance".

      The French minister of foreign affairs was Jules Cambon, and this statement was issued with the approval of PM Alexandre Ribot. It's interesting to note that Jewish nationality and the very long exile of the people of Israel are simply self-evident common knowledge.

      Anyway, it would seem that both the French and the British wished to present their ambitions in the Middle East as an act of altruism ("a deed of justice...").

    • RoHa - All identities in the world are self-identities. In reality, there are no nationalities. It is simply an abstract concept within the minds of people. A group of people can perceive itself as an ancient nation, and this self-perception doesn't need your approval or agreement. The Jews perceive themselves as an exiled nation, and that's that.

    • Tony - One hundred years ago (1917), it really was common knowledge throughout the world that the Jews are a nation (a peoplehood). The Reform Movement presented a case that the Jews are "no longer" a people (see the Pittsburg Platform of 1885), but obviously the term "no longer" indicates that the proposed change is from "peoplehood to only religion". The vast majority of Jews in the world defined themselves as a nation, so it's simply not true that Zionism wished to "transform what it meant to be Jewish from a religion to a nation".

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