Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 76 (since 2009-10-17 21:00:07)

George Smith

I call myself a "Jew-in-law," since my wife is Jewish, our kids are both bar-mitzvahed, and we're active in the congregation though not religious. For me you'll have to add another species to your bestiary: Nakba Jew-in-law.

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  • The Combined Jewish Appeal's deep complicity in Israeli crimes
    • Inspiration from the Polish shoah

      The cultural reference in your choice of Mordechai Gebirtig's famous song 'Es brent (Undzer shtetl brent) is heartbreakingly apposite. For those who don't know this furious rebuke to Jewish passivity and urgent call to Jewish resistance, here's the refrain in Yiddish and English:

      Un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh
      Mit farleygte hent,
      Un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh—
      Undzer shtetl brent.

      And you stand there looking on
      With futile, folded arms,
      And you stand there looking on—
      While our village burns!

      Could there be a better metaphor for what the "organized Jewish community" is allowing to happen to Judaism? Here's the final refrain:

      Shteyt nisht brider ot azoy zikh
      Mit farleygte hent,
      Shteyt nisht brider, lesht dos fayer—
      Undzer shtetl brent.

      Don’t stand there, brothers, looking on
      With futile, folded arms,
      Don’t stand there, brothers, douse the fire!—
      Our poor village burns!

      Here's a classic version that fully captures the spirit of Gebirtig's song without distracting ornamentation: link to youtube.com

      Here’s an adaptation by Israeli anti-apartheid activist Yonatan Shapira, a name that will be familiar to most Mondoweiss readers, in Yiddish, Hebrew and Arabic: link to youtube.com

  • Netanyahu says there will never be a real Palestinian state
    • Sorry, what's your point Dan? Keep up the rockets? Are you claiming that rockets will bring on justice faster than will international delegitimization of Zionism? "Uncle" Phil isn't counseling patience, he's counseling urgency. And his advice isn't being delivered to Palestinians; it's being delivered to the global community of justice.

    • This "international consensus" is a consensus of a tiny coterie of ruling elites. It's not a consensus that can mobilize a global campaign for justice. For that, only equal rights will do, and equal rights will mean an end to Jewish ethnocracy. The phony two-state "consensus" only serves as a smokescreen for continued Zionist expulsion and oppression. Zionist governments, from left to right, have made abundantly clear that they have no intention of permitting creation of a sovereign Palestinian state; Netanyahu's intransigence is anything but extreme in Israeli political discourse.

      Implementing the two-state "solution," even if by some incredible miracle it came to pass, would hardly be a occasion for unreserved celebration. It would in effect entail yet another ethnic cleansing, this time of Jews. It would be acceding to the false premise that the conflict is about ethnic sovereignty, not about justice. Isn't it long past time to repudiate nationalistic, exclusivist "solidarity," whether Jewish or Palestinian?

  • Young Jew seeks to prepares his community for heretical & inevitable-- end of Jewish state
    • I don't know whose parenthetical definition of Yom Ha’atzmaut was in Katz's narrative, but it's certainly wrong. Yom Ha’atzmaut doesn't commemorate the Shoah. It's what we know in English as Independence Day, celebrating the declaration of the Israeli state in 1948. Not that that declaration is something to celebrate. Palestinians COMMEMORATE the same event as Youm an-Nakba (Day of the Catastrophe), which ironically translates to Yom HaShoah in Hebrew. And truly, as Katz and so many Jewish followers of this website have come to realize, it has turned out to be a shoah for Jews as well as for Zionism's Palestinian victims.

  • Fear of anti-semitism accusation did not stop Presbyterians from witnessing occupation
    • "You are kidding yourself if you feel that this weak move will influence any sort of policy or start a trend. It was a last gasp."--Pat

      How right you are! That's why the Zionists made no effort to counter the weak move. No, wait. They DID make an effort. A HUGE effort. I wonder why that was.

      "[I]t made anti-Semites very happy with themselves."--Pat

      Perhaps. I wouldn't know. But for sure those anti-Semites are WAY happier when the IDF kills unarmed Palestinian teenage protesters in their own land, while the Zionists claim that the IDF is "fighting" on behalf of Jews everywhere.

  • Israeli checkpoint reinstated outside Nablus stops Palestinian traffic for over two hours
  • Why a false understanding of the 'Six Day War' still matters
    • Exhaustive list of Israel's defensive wars:

      1973 Yom Kippur war* (but questionable)

      List of Israel's major wars of aggression:

      1947-1949 War of Palestinian Expulsion
      1956 Sinai War
      1967 War of Territorial Expansion
      1982 First Lebanon Massacre
      2006 Second Lebanon Massacre
      2008-9 War of Gaza Extermination

  • Fire Thomas Friedman
  • The mass hunger strike returns: Palestinian prisoners refuse food to protest detention without trial
    • Please change the caption of the pic: Ofer prison is in the West Bank, not in Israel.

  • NY Times troubling corrections: Hebron youth who first 'had brass knuckles' now investigated for possessing 'weapons' (Updated)
    • Uri Avnery has posted an interesting and disturbing commentary on the incident at Counterpunch: link to counterpunch.org. Among other things you'll learn why the soldier, David Adamov, is called David Nahlawi. Also why there's no way the army is going to be able to evacuate the 50,000 or so settler extremists who would mount armed resistance to a two-state "solution."

  • A surprise: Bush is respected in Africa for launching huge campaign against AIDS
    • OK, James North, I bow to your greater familiarity with PEPFAR, and have to admit that I was exaggerating my criticism of the program for my own ideologically driven reasons. And it's news to me that President Bush was willing to downplay the abstinence/fidelity requirement.
      It must have been a great honor to meet Judge Cameron in person.

    • Misplaced credit! We should be celebrating South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) much more than PEPFAR for progress in antiretroviral (ARV) accessibility. Whereas Bush vigorously defended and enforced drug companies' patent rights (while at the same time funding very modest levels of drug availability), TAC has been at the forefront of the generic ARV movement that has had far more impact on ARV accessibility. PEPFAR's disproportionate emphasis on abstinence and fidelity in its anti-AIDS programs was an ideologically-motivated impediment to progress (link to pepfarwatch.org). (It was TAC, too, that was primarily responsible for defeating denialism in South Africa.)

  • Video: SodaScream -- Bubble trouble
  • 'NPR' denies the Nakba
    • Phil's population numbers:

      The number of Jews and Palestinians in Palestine at the onset of the Nakba in 1947 are usually given as about 660,000 and 1.3 million, respectively. About 750,000 of the 1.3 million Palestinians were expelled from their homes in the future state of Israel, but undoubtedly the great majority of them ended up in Gaza and the West Bank, which lie within historic Palestine. So Jews remained a minority in historic Palestine after the Nakba. Immediately afterward, the Jewish population was augmented by immigration of about 330,000 Mizrahi Jews, along with a lesser number of European Jews. After the second major wave of expulsion during the 1967 Six Day War (about 250,000 Palestinians), Jews finally became a majority in historic Palestine.

  • Avigdor Lieberman: 'Our Oscar goes to Scarlett'
    • Eyes on the prize, everyone! Johansson's person and character are not our enemies. Our goal is not to vaporize her with the withering rays of our sarcasm, but to use boycott--of her movies, of SodaStream's bubbles--to try to change her, and others', behavior.

      Lieberman's person and character aren't our enemies, either. His policy is. If, inshallah, democracy comes to prevail over ethnocracy in Palestine, Lieberman will be a Palestinian citizen in exactly the same degree as the returning refugees will be. He may be a citizen in jail, of course, but if so only at the end of a fair trial. If you think the struggle for justice in Palestine is "transferist," you may be confusing it with Zionism.

  • Student who exposed 'leftist' teacher is honored at Knesset, while teacher gets violent threats
    • Gee, Gilad! I didn't think of this. Let's do the math: 700,000 Palestinians expelled. 500 Palestinian villages and towns depopulated. That's 1,400 Palestinians expelled per village/town on average. I can't believe I've been making such a big deal over so few inhabitants! Well, I've learned my lesson, thanks to you. I'm going to turn in my Delegitimizer Identity Card and follow Mark Twain's advice: I'll become a Zionist!

    • Mikhael again:

      1. It's unfair to accuse me of playing with a sterotype. As a good American, I know very well that appearance is a very unsure guide to ethnicity. I advanced my conjecture about Sapir Sabah with a candid admission that I could be wrong.

      2. I offered that Sapir Sabah is pretty not only because that's my opinion, but also to head off any idea that my opinions followed from a negative stereotype of Mizrahim. My reaction to her face was an immediate feeling of empathy, as is my reaction to most faces that I encounter for the first time, before any encounter with the attached character. And even after learning something about her, my reaction is not personal condemnation of her or her ethnicity, but the sadness that I've described in my response to your earlier comment above..

    • Mikhael:

      1. You're not denying Arab Jews were heavily recruited by Zionist agents, are you? Conversely, I'm not in the least denying that many Arab Jews emigrated to Israel willingly, even when (as was frequently the case) it meant giving up all their possessions.

      2. Doesn't your response to my distress that Arab Jews repudiated their natural sympathy for Palestinian Arabs make my point? Of course, and entirely expectedly, the Arab olim identified with other Israeli Jews. The Mizrahim indeed had good reason to be "Zionist," in the sense of fully embracing their new country; and the same applies to their descendants. But does it follow that they should abandon their natural sympathy with Palestinian Arabs. Wouldn't one expect exactly the reverse? Our own immigrant communities in the US don't generally become enemies of the ethnicities of their origin. That Arab olim have felt compelled do just that is a pathology of ethnocratic states. That at least is the argument I'm putting forth here.

    • Look at Sapir Sabah's pretty face. If she's not of Mizrahi (Middle Eastern Jewish) parentage, my eyes are deceiving me. Whether or not I'm right in Sabah's case, it is one of the many heartbreaking illnesses of Israeli Jewish culture that the Mizrahi citizens, heavily recruited by Zionist agents to the new country, but subject to severe social discrimination once they got there, have repudiated the natural sympathy they should feel for their Palestinian brethren.

  • Scarlett Johansson gets an ally-- Mike Huckabee
    • Sorry, where do you get that H has visited Israel 9 to 20 times?? All he says is "so many times I've lost track," which means at least once.

  • Why Americans must see 'When I Saw You'
    • "For a long time it has been clear that the American love affair with Israel will not be altered by journalism or government or activism or scholarship, it will come down to art." --Philip Weiss

      As moved as I was by Jacir's other awda (return) film "Salt of This Sea" (available on Netflix; I haven't succeeded in getting a copy of "When I Saw You" yet), Phil's sentence is incoherent, and I hope that as a journalist and activist he doesn't believe it. Otherwise, why am I donating to this site?

      The arc of the moral universe is long, and to bend it toward justice we need:

      1. Responsible journalism

      2. Government action

      3. Sustained activistm

      4. Honest scholarship

      5. Art: Annemarie Jacir's, Carlos Latuff's, Rafeef Ziadah's,......

  • 'The Nation' and the privileging of Jewish voices on Israel/Palestine
    • JeffB: Precise calculation of liberalism's pivot point on the Pro-Israel/Pro-Palestinian axis is a loser's task. BDS lies on an orthogonal axis: Pro-equal rights/Anti-equal rights. Is there any question where The Nation should be on that axis? The analogy with South Africa is very close indeed.

  • Preaching to the choir: reflections on Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • Jerry Slater writes "I can imagine circumstances in which the 2ss is revived, but none in which a binational state will occur."

      Fair enough. There are certainly legitimate differences of opinion on the likely outcome of the conflict in Palestine.

      But the crucial choice here is not among different guesses about the future, but rather among different focuses of advocacy and activism. Many, probably most, people Jerry would classify as advocates of a binational state see themselves instead as advocates of equal rights and justice. That certainly would be my stance. We focus on people as individuals, not "peoples" collectively as nations, ethnicities, confessional communities, etc. It's true that the equal rights movement threatens the continued existence of Israel as a specifically Jewish state. But how many takers will there be for an "equal rights EXCEPT..." movement?

    • Sorry, Jerry. I withdraw my stupid aside. I was intending to mock Eric Alterman, not you! I have the highest respect for your long-standing, clear-eyed confrontation with the reality in Palestine.

    • Comments on comments:

      1. "The great majority of Palestinians...are not struggling “for equal rights in all of Palestine” but for the equal right to have a state of their own in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem."

      This is disputable, especially if the Palestinian diaspora and the Palestinian citizens of Israel are taken into consideration (as they should be).

      2. "The right to end foreign oppression and win a nation-state is, in fact, a very important human right, both at the collective and individual level."

      I agree about foreign oppression, of course. But I don't agree about winning a nation-state. The principle of "self-determination of peoples" (plural, "peoples" meaning nationalities) has been the pretext for oppression and violence for a century. It's people, not peoples, who have rights. I would not regard relacing the single existing ethnocracy in Palestine with two to be great advance in human rights.

      3. "A binational state has no chance of coming into existence. That being the case, the real-world consequence of abandoning the two-state idea in favor of a binational single state would be that the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians will continue."

      Two sovereign states have no chance of coming into existence. That being the case, the real-world consequence of pinning hopes for justice on the two-state idea would be that the Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians will continue.

    • As indispensable as Jerome Slater and other liberal Zionists have been for the freedom movement in Palestine, they undermine that movement when they frame it as a territorial dispute rather than a struggle for equal human rights in all of Palestine. The utmost of his ambition is to "cause the majority of American Jews and other 'pro-Israeli' groups to change their minds and support serious U.S. pressures on Israel." He urges a more nuanced understanding of Zionism, but it's an understanding that clashes with the unremitting reality on the ground--Goliath's depiction of which, he agrees, is "mostly technically accurate." Liberal Zionists' kinder, gentler brand of Jewish ethnocracy has no hope of mobilizing a global movement comparable to the one against South African Apartheid. Equal rights for all the people of Palestine, Jew and non-Jew alike, does. And despite Slater's assertion to the contrary, there is even hope that many "centrist" American Jews, increasingly divorced from Zionist Israel as a keystone of Jewish culture, will join the equal rights movement.

  • Did the U.S. undermine democracy in the Maldives because it wants to set up military bases there?
  • What Comes Next: A new generation will rise to inspire, unify and liberate
    • "The creation of a unifying body that will translate the aspirations of our nation to a resistance project with fitting movement ethics" --Abir Kopty

      This is indeed an urgent need, but to be successful and ethical it must be a movement of "co-resistance," meaning that it must incorporate Jews, including Israeli Jews. The liberated Palestine to come will be half Jewish in terms of population, and at the moment of liberation overwhelmingly Jewish in terms of wealth and political power. Whatever the crimes of Zionism, the Jews as individuals are Palestinians too.

  • What Comes Next: Once the one-state reality in Israel/Palestine is recognized, the basis for a comprehensive peace will be clear
    • "Like other settler-colonial projects, Israel created something new from the old, reviving and modernizing the Hebrew language, fostering a polyglot culture that drew upon traditions Ashkenazi and Sephardic, Arab, Persian and Turkish, Levantine and North African, to list a few. "

      This is a startling contention. Surely the effect of Zionist enterprise has been overwhelmingly destructive of Middle East Jewish culture, not creative. The vibrant, TRULY polyglot Jewish communities in Tehran, Cairo, Damascus, etc., etc. shriveled in the aftermath of the Nakba, partly as a result of strenuous Zionist recruitment and covert action (cf. the Lavon affair), and partly as a result of a sharp, understandable, if not excusable, rise in anti-Semitism in the region. The "reverse Nakba"--the exodus of ~800,000 Jews from the countries of the Middle East--may not have been the moral equivalent of the Nakba itself, but it was nonetheless a disastrous impoverishment of Middle East Jewish culture. I'm thinking what a "birthright" trip might be for American Jews today if Zionism had not become a campaign for ethnic sovereignty--if it had become a modernizing enrichment rather than a militaristic wizening of Middle East Judaism.

      None of this is to deny that Israeli Jews have the same inherent right to live in their homeland as the Palestinians they expelled. But isn't this the whole point of BDS?

  • 'Occupied Palestine' doc'y finds new life 30 years after a bombthreat killed its release
  • Bill Clinton is Weiner's role model, not his boss
    • Weiner’s a jerk of the first water—a jerkwater for short—but sexting has nothing to do with it. Who exactly is the victim of that “crime”? Who exactly has been harmed by that “lapse in judgment”? Perhaps you say his wife Huma Abedin, but if so how do you know that? And what business is it of yours anyway? Can you not easily imagine a circumstance in which, say, going out to play golf some afternoon would be a far graver marital betrayal than one-handed messaging? Only in the Land of the Prurient and the Home of the Pusillanimous would sexting rather than the [Israelization] of the mayoral race be considered appropriate grounds for hounding candidate Jerkwater out of office.

  • I thought this was a copperhead snake
    • You live in the stomping grounds of my boyhood hero Raymond L. Ditmars. No excuse for such ignorance.

  • The homogeneity and 'intense political programming' of Jewish day schools
    • An extraordinarily thoughtful, mature meditation on education. What struck me most about your story is your youthful essay about Israel's violations of international law. I could no more have done such a thing in high school than, let's say, make the varsity football team. You may not have outwardly protested against your score of 40 out of 100, but perhaps--I wouldn't put it past you!--you gave him/her the LOOK. You know, the one that expresses contempt more eloquently than any words. The one that we teachers dread almost beyond anything else.

  • 'Palestine' is an ancient name, for a land of many cultures
    • Bottom line: "Palestine" is a geographic name, not an ethnic or sectarian identity. It is the name that the Yishuv themselves called the land that they coveted. So "Palestine" is an entirely appropriate name for the Free Palestine of the near future. "Israel," a sectarian ethnic name, is entirely inappropriate. Examples of Palestinians with full citizenship and equal rights in Free Palestine:

      Arab Palestinians dispossessed in the ongoing Nakba, whether they live in Israel, West Bank, E.J., Gaza or the diaspora
      Righteous Israeli Jews like Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, etc.
      Kippa-wearing former Uzi-toting hilltop youth
      Moldovan immigrants like Avigdor Lieberman

      Same freedom of expression (even of Zionist sentiment), same laws, same rights. Same jails if they break the law.

  • Approaching 60, Norman Finkelstein reflects
    • I also admire Finkelstein tremendously, and am shocked if he's being blacklisted by some elements of the Palestine solidarity movement for his politically incorrect views on the resolution of the conflict.

      At the same time, I thoroughly agree with your last paragraph, especially about Finkelstein's reasoning concerning the 2SS. Which is more likely to attract the "masses" he's ambitious to woo: (1) a kinder, gentler brand of ethnic exclusivism, where only 1.3 million Palestinians continue to be Jim-Crowed within the 67 borders while the remainder are free to make what they can of 22 percent of their homeland; or (2) equal rights for everyone in 100 percent of Palestine? I think we all can agree with Finkelstein that (1) is better than the present situation. But I can't imagine building a mass movement for (1), whereas the example of South Africa in the 80s makes a mass movement for (2) highly plausible. And I already see a movement for (2) with strong parallels to anti-apartheid activism in the 80s; it doesn't feel like a cult to me. The real cult here is the phony "mass movement" that's actually behind (1) as the "international consensus." Who exactly subscribes to this "consensus"? Tony Blair. Check. Barack Obama. Check. Let's see. Uhh...give me a minute, will you?...

  • Updated: al-Aqsa Foundation discovers mass graves of Palestinians killed during the Nakba in Jaffa
  • The 'double standards' issue and moral judgment of Israeli policies
    • The increasing support of the one-state "solution" among Palestinians and the anti-apartheid movement is not an indication of polarization. It's a shift from a fruitless struggle for territorial sovereignty over an ever-decreasing fraction of the Palestinian homeland to a global struggle for equal rights in all of the Palestinian homeland. The 2SS and 1SS are not two points on a single continuum of "polarization." They are different dimensions of political action.

    • The Columbia Daily Tribune and its editor Jim Robertson are as mainstream as it gets here in mid-Missouri. They don't run columns by Carlos Strenger or Shlomo Avineri, but they do regularly publish right-wing hasbarista Mona Charen, who was all over Hawking like white over rice. They also occasionally run my counter-hasbara Op-Eds, though, plus this letter to the editor in response to Charen:

      A long-standing staple of Zionist rhetoric is “what-aboutery,” the argument that supporters of Palestinian human rights single out Israel while giving a pass to much worse abusers. “What about Darfur?” “What about Tibet?” And so forth. The implication is that the true motivation must be irrational hatred of Israel, or even of Jews, rather than principled support of human rights.

      Mona Charen’s indictment of Stephen Hawking (Tribune, May 22) is a classic of this genre. On May 8, at the urging of Palestinian colleagues, the renowned wheelchair-bound physicist canceled his scheduled participation in a conference honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres. Because Hawking didn’t boycott conferences in the Soviet Union in 1973 or Iran in 2007, countries with arguably even worse human rights records than Israel, Charen implies that his selective boycott of the latter cannot be grounded in principle.

      If what-aboutery were taken seriously, it would instantly paralyze every human rights movement in the world. Only after the very worst abuse had been agreed upon and addressed could work begin on the remaining injustices in their proper order of badness. The task would be impossibly monumental, the postponement indefinite. Every human rights abuser on Earth would be off the hook.

      Charen is undoubtedly correct that Palestinian rights activists single out Israel over worse abusers. But does it follow that our activism is hypocritical? that we condone the abuses we don’t elect to focus on? that Israel is not guilty as charged of ongoing dispossession and oppression of the Palestinian people?

  • 'What about Iran and China?' attack on BDS draws boos from the commenting crowd
    • I’m registered for Advanced Outrage Calculus III next semester. We’ll cover partial moral differentials and Jacobean transformations. The Honors Section may get to the chapter on specification of global atrocity extrema.

  • Land swaps in Israel/Palestine (and a bridge for sale in Brooklyn)
    • @frankier:

      1. I think SA fits (b) better than (a). Sure, there was (and is) resentment against the whites, but it's crucial that that resentment didn't result in expulsion or government organized reprisals. This is not to say that the single state that emerged in SA was a "solution." Political apartheid may have given way to political democracy, but the neoliberal economic apartheid regime continues, though no longer on enforced along strict racial lines. There has been only a tiny steering of resources to "integration and reconstruction."

      2. What made "acceptance by the minority" (the white minority in SA) possible was the establishment over ~3 decades of a highly credible government in waiting: the ANC. F.W. de Clerk's Nationalist party had enough trust in the ANC's commitment to reconciliation that they saw it in their interest to relinquish political power in favor of democracy.

      3. In the case of Palestine, with roughly equal numbers of oppressors (Zionists Jews) and oppressed (Palestinians), all means of coercion being with the former, it is extremely unlikely that the Zionist leadership will relinquish political power to a nationalist Palestinian government in waiting. In order to be credible in the eyes of the Zionist leadership, a government in waiting will have to be a non-nationalist coalition of Jews and Palestinians, with a central platform of equal rights for all. There is very little Jewish-Palestinian coalition building in the formal political arena today, either in the Knesset, the Palestinian Legislative Council (legislative arm of the PA) or the Palestinian National Council (legislative arm of the PLO). Coalition politics is certainly visible in civil society, however, as can be seen in the Friday demonstrations on view in "5 Broken Cameras," or in a growing number of op-eds in Haaretz. Building on those small beginnings and bringing them into the formal political arena seems to me the most plausible pathway to democracy in Palestine.

  • 'They have stones, we need drones': Israeli activists tell Obama 'thank you for supporting our Apartheid state'
    • Wow! They could be a new party! I estimate maybe 20 activists in the video. Probably good soccer players, too, so they could call themselves Forward. No, wait, that's taken. What about Red Flag? They'd have garnered 0.000633 Knesset seats in the last election. Progress!

  • 'Did Hagel get $25K speaking fee from Friends of Hamas?' -- Daily News seeded suspicion
    • I'm with piotr on this one. Friedman's jokey internet style is familiar to anyone who reads comments on this site. And this applies equally to the second e-mail: Friedman doesn't get a response to his first off-the-wall joke, so he prods with an even more over-the-top joke. Who among us hasn't done this? Mondoweiss must be totally infested with irresponsible rumor-mongers! Just as Capitol Hill is apparently (manifestly?) infested with knuckle-draggers. And none of this depends on Friedman's views on Palestine.

  • First they stole our books, then they took our story
    • Allies should be welcomed!!

      Abulhawa: "The fact is that Mr Brunner’s film is wonderful and he’s being compensated for it, with whatever funds, fame or recognition the film brings."

      But is it really true that he's being compensated with what he values most? By all evidence, Mr. Brunner's ambition isn't funds, fame or recognition. He wants a just Palestine, as does Ms. Abulhawa. He may stem from recent colonial immigrant stock with a racist ideology, but still he's Palestinian, a full citizen in the inclusivist Palestinian state to come. And is it not evident that Mr. Brunner loves these stolen books, values them as his heritage too? Has he not in his own way joined Palestinian society, like Neta Golan and Amira Haas? As Fritz somewhat timidly insists, "everybody has a right to express ideas," and if a few of those ideas are informed by unpalatable, condescending "context," the appropriate response is counter-context. I imagine Brunner would be completely receptive to his ideas about the disposal of the books being corrected. But that doesn't mean he should be denounced. As Ms. Adulhawa herself emphasizes, Brunner is an ally, not an adversary, in what really matters on the ground.

  • Comparisons to Nazi Germany are exaggerated
    • Wake up, guys! Slater's being sarcastic, "defending" Zionism by pointing out the many ways it isn't nearly as bad as Nazi Germany. With shomers like Slater, who needs delegitimizers? Very funny, Jerome!

  • Beyond Brooklyn College: How and why Israel advocates are fighting BDS
    • To Ben White’s list of reasons why the Zionist establishment fears BDS, I would add an important bullet: that BDS has largely succeeded in refocusing the movement, both globally and within Palestine itself, from a struggle between two ostensibly comparable contestants for sovereignty over land (a contest that Palestinians have no hope of winning) to a struggle for equal rights. If the struggle is between Democracy and oppression (as indeed it is), who apart from radical Zionists is going to side with the latter? Then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Haaretz November 29, 2007): “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights….the State of Israel is finished. The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents.” The then-prevailing non-Zionist community disagreed only in our belief that the two-state solution had long since collapsed by 2007.

  • Hagel's 'caged animals' line echoes Israeli soldier at checkpoint-- 'the animals are locked'
    • "I have come to view the Hagel hearing not as an actual hearing – I believe it was actually a fundraiser." --Krauss

      Les mots justes!

  • Palestinian ghettos, created by violence, have been Israeli plan since '67 -- Amira Hass
  • Bab Shams (Gate of Sun)
  • Preparing for the best
    • Bumblebee:

      Sorry, I wasn't clear when I used the term "de-Judaization." In the context I meant the ideologically driven erasure of all traces of Palestine's Zionist history. Your comment refers instead to the starkly non-symbolic adjustments that justice most urgently demands, and that will surely be the first business of a new government under Democracy. In particular, all property will surely be opened up to all citizens, especially the property held in trust for the Jewish people under Israel's racist land administration.

      Your point about the threat of a housing market collapse and overall economic retrenchment is very well taken, and has been emphasized by other observers. It closely parallels the economic threat that would be the major factor persuading the Israeli Jewish establishment to agree to Democracy according to some scenarios. We can only hope that the new government will be able to head off disaster as much as possible. As implied by the last paragraph of my post, preparing to avert that "second Nakba" is one of the chief reasons why a government in waiting is needed.

    • Bumblebee:

      Of course I agree the the political regime under Democracy will have to be decided by citizens as a whole. My post wasn't an argument for continuation of the current Israeli and Palestinian regimes! It was about what might be done now, under the current regimes, to help prepare for the change.

      You raise the usual arguments for and against proportional representation, but that wasn't the subject of my post.

      Incidentally, whatever the form of the hypothetical new legislature, would it not be pleasing if it were called the Knesset, even by non-Jewish citizens? More generally, I hope the new Democracy will not embark on a project of de-Judaization parallel to Zionism's ongoing project of Judaization. Like Ilan Pappe, I despise historicide in all its forms.

    • Pabelmont: The "may" was not for safety, but to reflect the tentativeness of my partial opposition to academic boycott. And you bring up the very arguments that make my opposition tentative. But I would counter that in this boycott there is no coherent division of "us" (Palestinians and their supporters) versus "them" (Jewish Israelis). It is the apartheid system, not the Jewish population of Israel, that is the real target of boycott, and Israeli Jews will be among the boycott's beneficiaries if it's successful. Anti-Zionist Israeli profs like Drs. Z and G(ordon) must be full, unboycotted partners in this struggle.

  • Bin Laden execution has claimed more innocent victims
    • Sorry: The hyperlinks were garbled when my post was processed for display at the Mondoweiss site. I hope these work:

      The original Guardian article on exposing the fake vaccine project:
      link to guardian.co.uk

      Recent Guardian article linking the recent UN health care workers to the fake vaccine project:
      link to guardian.co.uk

      Wikipedia article on Shakil Afridi:
      link to en.wikipedia.org

    • The gist of David Samel's story is certainly correct, but some details of the fake vaccination program are almost certainly wrong. According to a Guardian article (link to guardian.co.uk) a few months after the assassination, the subjects were vaccinated against hepatitis B, not polio. The hep B vaccine is administered with a syringe and needle; it would be pretty easy to collect DNA samples in the process. The polio vaccine used in endemic areas, probably including Pakistan, is administered orally; it would be harder, but certainly not impossible, to collect DNA samples in the process. The ordinary course of immunization with both vaccines is three doses, but only one was administered in the fake program.

      The nine UN workers were indeed working on a polio eradication effort, as Samel correctly writes. The guardian (link to guardian.co.uk) makes the connection with the fake hep B vaccination project, but the AP article in our newspaper (Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia, MO) doesn't.

      The "integrity challenged" Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, has had nothing but trouble ever since (link to en.wikipedia.org).

  • 'It was like pictures of Babi Yar' -- an Israeli witness to Sabra and Shatila speaks because of the stain on his soul
    • This testimony is classic "shoot and cry," in much the same vein as Waltz with Bashir. The Palestinian victims have only a faceless presence, quite analogous to their ghostly disembodiment in the movie. Nevertheless, I cannot share Mndwss's contempt. In this story, as in the great Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar, the anguish is manifestly not caused by the noxious smell or any other inconvenience to the witness, but rather by being party to great suffering of others. I don't think S. is asking us to feel sorry for him. I think he's asking us to share his horror at the great crime he and his country helped commit. There's not a hint of "ein breirah" (no choice) justification in his words.

  • Ali Abunimah KO's Jonathan Tobin in 'Democracy Now' debate
    • Just watched the video again. Tobin does indeed interrupt Abunimah briefly at ~7:50, but the melee really begins at ~10:20. I think an unbiased observer (I couldn't claim to be one) would come away with the strong impression that it was Abunimah who started the overtalking match.

      But "who started" isn't the point at all. We (anti-Zionists, peaceniks, activists--whoever "we" are) have all the reason on our side. The lesson is to let the Tobins have their say, then dissect their nonsense in a calm, dispassionate, utterly convincing way. This is Norman Finkelstein's style when he's at his most effective. It's Abunimah's usual style, too: this DN debate seems to me an aberration from his enviable ability to maintain personal comity while forcefully making his (often accusatory) points.

      I'm personally a terrible interrupter. I find it extremely difficult to restrain myself in exchanges with people like Tobin. I'm trying to learn to be a more effective spokesman for peace and justice--more like Abunimah usually is.

    • Out on counts, perhaps, but not a KO. Ali Abunimah is a most effective and forceful spokesperson for peace and justice in Palestine, but I thought he greatly undermined his effectiveness when he broke in on Tobin's diatribe about the "destruction" of Israel. The "debate" then descended into a barely intelligible simultaneous speaking match. Abunimah's objection to the "destruction" meme was entirely justified, of course, but it would have been so much more devastating if he'd delivered it after waiting patiently for Tobin to finish. Up to that point, it should be pointed out, Tobin himself had waited patiently for Abunimah's confrontational points to be made, even when he (Tobin) was not given a chance at rebuttal. The overall impression by the end was of a symmetrical catfight between two pugilists. And undoubtedly Tobin will, with some justification, claim that he was unfairly treated on DN.

  • Finkelstein stands by 'BDS cult' accusation, says it's 'historically criminal' to not support the two state solution
    • I believe tokyobk is correct that a full RoR, one of the three core principles underlying the BDS call, would indeed spell the end of the ethnically exclusivist Jewish state. To say this would be the "end of Israel" is rhetorical obfuscation, however. The BDS campaign emphatically does NOT call for replacing the ethnically exclusivist Jewish state with an ethnically exclusivist non-Jewish one. Jews would still be a major part of the citizenry in either a single Palestinian state or in a separate state within the Green Line.

      The essence of the BDS call, and the root of its appeal among an ever-growing community of supporters worldwide, is replacement of a struggle for Palestinian sovereignty over a much-diminished remnant of their homeland with a call for equal rights within whatever polity or polities emerge in that homeland.

      BDS might arguably recruit a few additional liberal Zionists--perhaps even members of the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby J Street--by backing off the RoR and explicitly endorsing the "right" of Israel to continue as a specifically Jewish state. But such a move would greatly weaken the movement overall, and not only among Palestinians themselves. As in the South African campaign of the 1980s, an uncompromising appeal for full democracy and human rights has the potential to rally justice-loving people the world over, whether Jewish or not. A deeply compromised appeal for a modified form of ethnic exclusiveness does not.

  • Senate challenge to Obama on refugees came from Israel
    • Oops. I meant this to go after another giladg comment below. I've reposted it there.

    • Gilad’s post is certainly a good example of Nakba denial, but it’s also a good example of why it’s a bad idea to moderate Nakba denial from Mondoweiss. He’s expressing the standard mythological account of Israeli “independence,” a mythology that’s a hulking roadblock to peace and justice in Palestine. Discrediting that mythology wherever it appears is an urgent mitzvah for those who hope for a durable (= just) resolution of the Middle East conflict, whether or not they’re Jewish. So let us patiently pick apart Gilad’s main arguments.

      1. Yes, of course Palestinians and their Arab supporters rejected the 1947 UN partition plan, which was also rejected by all UN member states with a sizable Muslim population. What right did that organization have to give away 56 percent of the Palestinian homeland to some recent European invaders openly bent on taking away all their homeland if they could? invaders who at the time owned less than 10 percent of the land, and who represented only a third of the population despite decades of effective control of immigration by the Jewish Agency. Does Palestinians’ resistance to this UN-sanctioned theft mean they forfeited all subsequent right to struggle for their lost land and property?

      2. The Arab armies didn’t “invade” Palestine until May 14-15, 1948, by which time a quarter of a million Palestinians had already been expelled from their homes. The “Arab invasion” was an attempt to intervene in the ongoing ethnic cleansing (i.e., the “episode of Palestinian refugees,” in Gilad’s sanitized language), not its cause. It was a feeble attempt, undertaken with great reluctance on the part of Arab leaders, who knew only too well how futile it would be, but who felt compelled by the strong feelings of their subjects.

      3. And in case there are those who sometimes get confused with all the terminology …. White Europeans = Ashkenazi Jews of Palestine. Ashkenazi Jews of Palestine are white Europeans. Ashkenazi Jews of Palestine are part of the white European family. It was a white European army who attacked Palestine in 1947-1949 with the sole purpose of wiping the indigenous Palestinian Arabs off the map.

  • Video: Israeli mob demands all African refugees be deported from the country (and anyone who disagrees deserves to be raped)
    • Dim:

      Huh?? I'm praising a (presumed) Israeli Jew for her moral courage, and this is vilifying Jews or Israel??

      As for YOUR "problems": they're OUR problems, too. Israel's oppression of Palestinians (and the rampant racism on the part of some Israelis that reinforces that oppression, and that is on shameful display in this video) is a problem for Jews in general because of Israel's claim to being the homeland of all Jews. And it's a problem for the US as a whole because of the material support we give to its program of oppression. So sorry: we non-Israelis have standing in this case.

    • The woman is a righteous Jew (even if she's not Jewish). How many of us would stand up for decency the way she did???

  • The awakening: Missouri paper runs a Jew's call for equal rights for all
    • Thanks for the clarification, Hostage.

      I'd be interested in your take on a fundamental question: Did the Arab Legion prevent the Zionist forces from taking over what is now the West Bank, as is usually contended? Absent the Legion, would Israel have expanded its control to encompass the West Bank, as it did so many other areas assigned to the Arabs in the 1947 UN Partition Plan?

      I don't suppose the Zionists of 1948 could have anticipated the economic importance of the West Bank to the future of the Israeli state. Most importantly, it is now an indispensable source of water (unless perhaps Israel were to abandon its agricultural sector = ~50% of high-quality water consumption and ~3% of GDP). Whatever their understanding of the water situation, the Zionists of 1948 certainly placed a high value on Jerusalem, as witnessed for example by their multiple assaults on Latrun in order to preserve the corridor connecting Jerusalem to the coastal plain.

    • Hostage: I don't really disagree with this. Compared to the more than 100,000 troops ultimately deployed by the Yishuv (and the state of Israel), the Arab Legion's 8,000-12,000 men at arms was tiny. My counterfactual scenario envisioned Arab Legion "intervention" in the ethnic cleansing, not blocking or reversing it altogether. Suggesting that the Arab Legion "actually posed a threat to the Zionist takeover" is admittedly venturing beyond the facts. My arguable exaggeration of the strength of the Arab Legion was rhetorical, ceding even more than I needed to to the Zionist myth of an overwhelming Arab "assault" on a nearly defenseless infant nation. I don't understand in what sense this is "shopworn propaganda."

    • Oops! Indeed, I meant three quarters of a million.

    • Lobewyper: I'm an alter kaker too: age 71. And I would thoroughly agree about the young people who have emboldened older people like you and me to be less pusilanimous.

    • Annie et al.:

      The main Columbia Daily Tribune web page is link to columbiatribune.com. Within that webpage, you click on the Commentary tab to get to editorials.

      You get 10 free views per 30 days at the website without subscribing.

      So far there are no comments on the editorial.

    • I wish I'd called myself an "unconverted" rather than a "nonreligious" member of Congregation Beth Shalom. I'm not Jewish, and neither I nor our (ultra-Zionist) rabbi Yossi Feintuch would countenance a hypocritical "conversion" just so I could say I spoke as a bone fide member of the tribe. But the congregational community does welcome me as family--even those who like Yossi vehemently disagree with my jeremiads on Palestine.

  • Watching propaganda in a Missouri synagogue
    • Mooser: I call myself a Jew-in-law because I identify with the Jewish community and Congregation Beth Shalom through my wife and sons, but as an unbeliever am unwilling to convert to Judaism as a religion. Nor would Rabbi Yossi Feintuch countenance such a “conversion,” his motto being “say what you mean and mean what you say.” And like many Mondoweiss followers, including for example those who belong to Jewish Voice for Peace, I don’t accept that it’s Judaism that’s in conflict with decency and righteousness in Palestine. I doubt you do either.

    • Thanks for posting, Phil. HOWEVER: I'm sorry you "corrected" "abba ghanoush" to "babba ghanoush."

  • '60 Minutes' profiles Palestinian Christians, Michael Oren falls on his face
    • More about the Apartheid Wall, W. Jones:

      1. Currently Israel uses 83% of the water from the West Bank aquifers, Palestinians getting the remaining 17%. Palestinians' overall per-capita water consumption is ~25% of Israel's and ~33% of Jordan's. A true two-state "solution" would put Israel's control of that precious water in jeopardy (that, by the way, is one of the major reasons why I think Israeli Jews will in the end agree to a single non-sectarian state in all of historic Palestine). The Apartheid Wall is designed to place not only the major settlement blocs but also some of the most important Palestinian aquifer resources on the "Israeli" side.

      2. Please take to heart tree's conclusion: the Apartheid Wall did NOTHING to stop Palestinian violence in Israel. As far as a would-be terrorist is concerned, the current 60% completed Apartheid Wall is the same as a 0% completed Apartheid Wall. The violence has taken place WITHIN the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the overwhelming majority committed by Israeli soldiers and settlers against Palestinians in their own land.

  • A dialogue about divestment that didn't happen in the Columbia Tribune
    • Hey, that's my rabbi!

      I just sent out this e-mail to Rabbi Feintuch and some friends concerned about Palestine:

      Friends:

      Mondoweiss has a post about Yossi's Columbia Tribune column of Wednesday 4/11/2012 (link to mondoweiss.net). The unpublished response letter by Andrea Whitmore (among other things a supporter of Jewish Voice for Peace) reflects views that are increasingly commonplace among American Jews, though certainly not yet a majority of them.

      It should be noted that the proposed divestment on the part of the United Methodist Church (link to kairosresponse.org) is very focused so as to avoid being a fundamental challenge to Zionism. It specifically targets three American corporations, Motorola, Caterpillar and Hewlett Packard, that profit from Israel's occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands in the West Bank (or "the so-called West Bank" = "Judea and Samaria" in settler parlance), East Jerusalem and Gaza. Every country on earth apart from Israel condemns this settler colonial project, and the violent oppression that's necessary to support it, as blatantly illegal under International law. That even includes occupation's main foreign funder, diplomatic protector, and all-round abettor the United States, though our country has taken pains never to actually act on its supposed principles ever since the occupation began nearly 45 years ago.

      Liberal Zionists who believe that Israel has a right to exist as an exclusivist Jewish state (I'm not one of them) should eagerly join with such divestment projects in resisting and undermining the occupation. As many mainstream Israeli leaders have argued, the occupation is by far the biggest threat to the Jewish state, and it's at least arguable that an end to the occupation might rescue the Zionist project from the collapse it's currently rushing toward. In November 2007, for instance, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert famously warned that unless Israel grants the Palestinians an independent state soon, it will “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.” This is indeed the terrible threat that Zionist Israel faces: that all the people it governs, all the inhabitants from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, should have equal rights. This form of government has a name: Democracy.

  • Ahmed Moor in WaPo: Harvard One State conference 'informed by the uncontroversial view that all people are created equal'
    • Not trivial, and of course I don't know the answer. But I would point out that a geographic name like Palestine, which is the name the yishuv themselves used before 1948, is much more appropriate than a sectarian name like Israel.

  • Why young Palestinians chant the word 'thawra'
    • Sorry Chaos, I don't get it. I'm not being belligerent, I just don't understand what you're (apparently) flagging as unprincipled. All the best.

    • Gamal: "Galuts" like Phil are your friends! You're using the same term of contempt that the settlers of Yehuda and Shomron use for self-hating Jews in comfy apartments in New York and London. Is that how you really feel about activists like Phil??? Self-centered condescension is a perpetual enemy, never to be defeated. It's built into our natures. Please accept our perpetual apologies. But the real foe--yours, Phil's, mine (I'm what you might call a self-hating Jew-in-law)--is Zionism (sorry, Phil, if you're not there yet, but I think you are). Not Jews, not Israelis, not even Zionists, but ZionISM. That's a vulnerable foe. Maybe I've come to despise Zionism unconscionably slowly and for a different mix of reasons from yours, including an arguably clannish concern for Jews and Judaism. That's not inconsistent with being on the same side. Indeed, I largely agree with your comments about violent resistance (and so do other "galuts" such as Max Ajl of Jewbonics), about steadfastness ("existence is resistence"), about the pathetic futility of further "concessions" to Zionism.

    • Phil: I think the word is transliterated "thawra," meaning revolt or revolution.

  • The end of the 'two-state solution' is the beginning of a more just future
    • First some terminology

      In this response to Jeff Halpern’s article, “Democracy” means what it means in South Africa: equal rights for all the citizens of Palestine. It stands opposed to Apartheid, the present form of government in Palestine. Another term for Apartheid in Palestine is Zionism, the ranks of former liberal Zionists swelling steadily as one by one we reluctantly come to acknowledge the equation. “Palestine” here means the land between the river and the sea. I don’t know what the land will actually be called under Democracy, though a geographic name like Palestine—the name the pre-1948 yishuv themselves used—would certainly be more fitting than a sectarian name like “Israel.” If the name indeed turns out to be Palestine, Jewish citizens whose roots in the land go back 30 or 60 years will be no less Palestinian than Arab citizens whose roots go back five or ten centuries. Hilltop youth would become just another Palestinian police problem. Tel Aviv and Birzeit Universities would both be Palestinian institutions of higher learning. My purpose in this post is not to rehearse the many reasons for this vision of Palestine’s future. Rather I want to call attention to what seem to me to be obvious and urgent implications for today’s anti-Apartheid struggle.

      The urgent need for a government in waiting

      Little time elapsed between when South African Democracy still seemed a far-off utopian dream and its ultimate triumph. But the ANC was not caught off-guard. For decades they’d been creating a government-in-waiting, so that when F.W. de Klerk’s Nationalist Party voluntarily surrendered power, it was to an established entity in whose commitment to just treatment they could have some confidence. And how about Palestine’s new leadership: is it ready to govern on short notice? Is an alternative to the Apartheid regime being vigorously developed, an alternative at the same time just and practical?

      The task will much more difficult in Palestine than in South Africa. That’s because Jews and non-Jews are about equally numerous. Any workable government will have to be a non-sectarian coalition to whom the Apartheid leadership will reluctantly relinquish power despite having overwhelming superiority in armed force. The ANC, in contrast, represented 90 percent of the citizens and had no need to build a coalition with anti-Apartheid whites.

      The listless Democracy movement

      A “list” in parliamentary elections with proportional representation is a grouping of parliamentary candidates standing as a single political party. Elections to the Israeli Knesset and Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) are 100 percent and 50 percent by proportional representation, respectively. Both venues are well-suited homes for the government in waiting. In Israel it’s especially easy to create a list with real prospects for a substantial number of Knesset seats, as illustrated by the respectful reception of Yair Lapid shows. Two of the sitting Arab lists already have “Democratic” as part of their names, and Balad (Haneen Zouabi’s party) is ostensibly both Jewish and non-Jewish.

      Some aspects of BDS may stand in the way. Consider the extreme hypothetical case posited by the admirable Ahmed Moor on Mondoweiss on March 12, 2010: “Dr. Z is an anti-Zionist history lecturer at an Israeli institute of higher learning who actively contributes to the delegitimization of Zionism through his research. He feels strongly that Palestine/Israel ought to be one country and that Jewish privilege has no place in a modern democratic state. He is, in every way, an ally to the cause for equal rights in Palestine/Israel. So, why do I feel he should be boycotted?” Why indeed? Even if we agree with Moor’s “personal judgment…that Israeli academic institutions are not independent of…Zionist…political aims and goals,” is it wise to boycott the Neve Gordons of Israeli public discourse? These rare academic prophets, along with non-academic activists like Jeff Halpern, are, and must be seen to be, the vanguard of a new, truly Palestinian democracy, in which Dr. Z and his university are no less Palestinian than Ahmed Moor.

      The neoliberal threat

      South Africa’s anti-Apartheid movement may have triumphed politically, but it collapsed on the economic front. The economic principles of the ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter were abandoned in favor of a neoliberal regime that has created some of the bleakest economic disparity in the world today. And much the same disaster, a second Nakba, looms in Palestine. Silwan will be sacked no less surely if the City of David theme park is run by Disney than if it is run by Elad. The neoliberal threat adds urgency to the need to create an alternative coalition government in waiting: a leadership with sufficient credibility among all Palestinians, including Jews, to guide the future democracy firmly toward liberty and justice for all.

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