Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 46 (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.

Showing comments 46 - 1

  • My family's Nakba story
    • Yes, U, all human deaths are tragedies. But in this case the root cause of the tragedies on both sides is the same: Zionist determination to dispossess the indigenous people of Palestine. We need peace under UNGA resolution 194.

  • 'We are Israel and Israel is us' -- Governor Cuomo ends all the confusion!
  • To the Holocaust survivor I interviewed, in regards to Palestine
    • Thanks for reminder, Annie. I read Hatim Kanaaneh's article at the time (I read all of his articles), but had forgotten it. Great picture of a glorious sabr.

    • Excellent, apposite post, Shmuel. I remember well this vivid passage (one of many) in Benvenisti's book.

      The settler's hatred of sabra (tzabar in Hebrew; sabr in Arabic) cactus is richly ironic, given that "tzabar" was the Mandate-era name for Jews who were born in Palestine, rather than immigrating from Europe.

      Doubly ironic, since sabra is itself an immigrant from Mexico:

      "Word of the Day: Tzabar David Sarna Galdi, Haaretz, June 21, 2013

      What's rough and prickly on the outside, but sweet and soft on the inside? A tzabar. What is a tzabar? It's a native-born Israeli. Well, technically, it is Opuntia ficus-indica, or the common cactus.

      Tzabar is the Hebrew term for a cactus. But it's also slang for someone born in Israel, which was a badge of pride during the early years of the young state when almost all of the Jewish citizens were recent immigrants fleeing pogroms and prejudice in Europe and Middle Eastern countries.

      Jewish folk born in the land of Israel after 2,000 years of diaspora clearly deserved a nickname. "Tzabar" is recorded as having been used by a journalist in the long defunct Doar Hayom newspaper in April 1931. The term was also ingrained in society by Israeli politicians and the kibbutz movement, bent on constructing the image of the "new Jew" – a young, strong, healthy agriculturist in Israel.

      Why a cactus? Good question, especially since the common cactus is actually Mexican. It made its way to Israel long ago, after Spanish conquerors of the Americas brought it to Europe. However, it is quite prevalent in Israel, and more importantly, it is an analogy for the Israeli personality: overtly tough but warm and kind under the surface - a decidedly good comparison.

      "Soft on the inside," in the case of the cactus, actually refers to the red-yellow fruit beloved by Israelis called "sabras" in Hebrew, which have a unique flavor but require a certain talent to peel without getting stabbed, if picked straight from the cactus.

      So, once you've tasted a sabra and had to deal with an argumentative Israeli, you've officially been immersed in a real native Israeli experience! (Or Mexican.)"

      Triply ironic, since the sabra's determination to come back after being cut back, which the Eastern European settler so despised, is a symbol of Palestinian awda (return), as in this handala cartoon: link to

    • I agree with Jon S that the name Zippori (Tzippori) probably pre-dated Saffuriya (Saffuri, Saffuriyya, etc.), but it's likely that the Hellenistic name Sepphoris came between them. Tzippori is often taken to mean little bird, but it could also mean the Biblical Tzipporah (Safurah in Arabic). Whatever the derivation, the decision of the JNF Naming Committee (or some equivalent Zionist authority) to name the moshav built on Saffuriya's land "Tzippori" was undoubtedly intended to erase the linguistic evidence of many centuries of Arab culture in the Galilee, thus complementing the IDF's previous physical erasure of the Palestinian town.

  • PEN director praises Charlie Hebdo's courage, then suggests BDS makes students feel 'isolated, vulnerable, threatened'
  • After 68 years of Nakba, is coexistence still possible?
    • Mohammed Alhammami: "The only way to bring about coexistence is to resolve the root causes of the conflict: the occupation and refugee crisis."

      Hasbara translation: "The only way to bring about coexistence is for 'Israel to be destroyed'."

      Israeli Jews equate loss of their ethno-religious sovereignty over part (or all) of Palestine with "destruction." They will eventually be forced learn that loss of their militarily imposed ethno-religious sovereignty will be a liberation rather than a destruction.

  • The end of apartheid in Israel will not destroy the country, it can only improve it
    • Indigeneity is a fraught concept. As both Echinococcus and MHughes point out, the long-standing population of Palestinian Jews was tiny in comparison to the European and (eventually) Middle Eastern settlers who flooded into Palestine under the banner of Zionism. In 1936, say, at the beginning of the Arab Revolt, it is at least arguable that those Jewish settlers weren’t “indigenous,” and that no great injustice would have been done if the truly, unarguably indigenous Palestinian Arabs had managed to expel them and their abhorrent Zionist ideology by force of arms. Now, 80 years later, Zionism is no less abhorrent, but surely the second, third and fourth generations of the settlers’ descendants are more “indigenous” than their forebears. If you don’t like the term “indigenous,” can you not at least admit that these people have human rights as individuals that parallel those of the descendants of the victims of the Nakba? To deny these Jews their individual human rights because they mostly support Zionism is just as wrong as Zionists’ denial of the human rights of Gazans because they support (or don’t overthrow) Hamas. Individual human rights inhere in individuals, not in the political ideologies those individuals espouse or tolerate.

      I presume that Echinococcus (and MHughes) agree with anti-Zionists (including me) in fully endorsing the right of return of the Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants to their homeland. That in itself would mean an end to Zionism. Given that premise, what is s/he objecting to so strenuously? What does s/he mean by Palestinian Arabs’ “sovereignty over their own territory”? Does s/he want the right of return to be accompanies by an ethnic cleansing of “non-indigenous” Jews? Does s/he want those Jews to be relegated to second-class citizenship as punishment for the Nakba? If either of these is her/his position, s/he parts company with all but a fringe of the global anti-Zionist movement, and with basic demands of justice.

    • Bryan:

      Excellent expansion of Stephen Shenfield's excellent comment. I fully endorse the geographically appropriate term "Palestine" for the new democracy. It was after all the term that both Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews used in the Mandate era.

      Still, we must admit that the name is no longer entirely neutral. "Palestine" has taken on an additional nationalist connotation over the last 100 years as the Arabs of Palestine have come to appreciate the commonality of their heritage and culture. They insist on referring to themselves as "Palestinians" rather than deracinated "Arabs," in order to assert their indigeneity, and to counter "transferist" ideology that insists that the greater Arab region outside Palestine is homeland enough for them. It is understandable, then, that Zionists regard changing the name of their homeland to "Palestine" as adumbrating replacement of the Jewish ethnocracy with a Palestinian Arab ethnocracy. That might be a condign end to Zionism, but it would be adding a new injustice to the old one.

      Of course, replacement of one ethnocracy with another is not at all what the anti-Zionist, anti-apartheid, pro-democracy movement stands for. But has the movement made that sufficiently plain, either inside Palestine or outside? When Americans like me say we're in "solidarity" with the Palestinians, do we make it crystal clear that that solidarity is an entirely different kind of solidarity from the solidarity that AIPAC, ADL, etc. feel with Israeli Jews who are enforcing their ethnocratic supremacism on Palestinian Arabs? Indeed, I think anti-Zionists should avoid the term solidarity entirely. It weakens our case. The only enduring commitment that stands to prevail is solidarity with universal rights. We should explicitly, emphatically, and consistently declare that we regard both Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs as indigenous people sharing their common Palestinian homeland.

  • Against Balance: Thoughts on teaching Israel/Palestine
    • A thoughtful and inspiring guidebook and meditation. I suggest a benchmark for responsible teaching in a highly contentious area of inquiry: Will a student opposed to the teacher's viewpoint be a more effective advocate for his/her opinion as a result of taking the course?

  • 'NYT' article on roots of recent violence in Israel/Palestine fails to use the word 'occupation'
    • Well, Herchel, if the shooter's first cousin and a dozen neighbors had recently been killed by the victims' gang under protection of the police, maybe it WOULD be responsible reporting to cover the shooter's perspective.

  • Health Advisory: Notes from a sandstorm
  • Can Holocaust compensation agreements be a model for Nakba reparations?
    • About 1 million Palestinians were dispossessed in the Nakba, 3/4 of them by being expelled. Conservatively estimating the current market value of their lost property at $100,000 per person, compensation would amount to about $100 billion, or about 1/3 of Israel's current GDP. The country's current public debt amounts to about 2/3 of its GDP. So financing compensation by borrowing would increase the public debt to about 100% of GDP, which isn't at all outrageous. Decreasing Israel's military/security budget by 90% would go a long way to servicing this debt. This is an eminently do-able program.

  • Responding to Gershom Gorenberg's 'Atticus Finch principle of Israeli history'
    • Excellent analysis! In the immediate aftermath of the 1967 war, Israel had an opportunity to choose the path of peace and reconciliation. The green line border was suddenly opened, and for a brief time many Palestinian Arabs expelled in 1947-1949 were able to visit (though not return permanently to) their homeland. If the Israeli state had chosen to build on this opening, even partially, they would have been REPUDIATING (at least partially) the core of political Zionism: the Nakba that had been an unavoidable condition of a Jewish majority in the new state. To claim, as Gorenberg in effect does, that the path of peace would have been a continuation of a valorous pre-1967 Zionism is a fundamentally dishonest distortion of reality. Of course, all this is counterfactual speculation. In fact, Israel didn't choose the path of peace. They chose instead to double down on the Nakba, colonizing the remainder of Palestine along with the Golan and Sinai.

  • Hillary Clinton promises megadonor she will work with Republicans-- to oppose BDS
    • You bet there's a candidate who doesn’t pledge blind loyalty to Israel! That's Jill Stein for the Green Party. And she's on the progressive side of countless other issues as well. By all means donate to Bernie Sanders and attend his rallies, despite his shameful record on the Middle East. But WORK for Jill Stein! She'll still be there for us long after Sanders has endorsed Clinton, as he's promised he will.

  • Jewish community must 'welcome' anti-Zionist, pro-BDS Jews, Beinart says-- but Shavit says, Excommunicate them
    • " surely an excellent writer who composes ideas in an elegant compelling manner." --Philip Weiss

      Correction: He USED to be an excellent writer. Now every topic he touches is "a turning point in history" or some such overblown rubbish. There is a single chapter of straightforward, non-hyperbolic, sincere writing in My Promised Land: a reprint of his 1991 essay On Gaza Beach (translation in the New York Review of Books: link to He was young then. Now he's able to write without embarrassment and shame: "I know that if not for [the ethnic cleansing of Lydda in 1948] the State of Israel would not have been born....[T]he filthy work [enabled] my people, my nation, my daughter, my sons, and me to live." A new genre in liberal Zionist punditry: "ethnic cleansing and weeping," as Shlomi Segall aptly put it in a letter to the editor of the New Yorker.

  • Combatants for Peace responds to Memorial Day report
    • "Regarding the final agreement, CFP is not a think tank but a grass-root movement. We do not see it our role to draft the future agreement between the TWO SIDES. Indeed, the right of return, just like water and borders are all details that have to be agreed upon by BOTH SIDES." -- Combatants for Peace response to Dan Cohen; my emphasis

      It's not dialogue itself that's wrong-headed about CFP and allied peace initiatives. It's the futile "two-sides" framing of the dialogue. Dialogue that starts there, ends with continued oppression and dispossession. The two "sides" in this conflict are equal human rights on the one hand versus their denial on the other. The conflict can end only with victory for the former. Such an outcome could be considered a victory for the indigenous people of Palestine, but it wouldn't be a victory for their ethnic community over the Israeli Jews' ethnic community. The human rights of both communities, non-Jewish and Jewish alike, would be affirmed.

  • Leading American rabbi issues first public criticism of apartheid conditions in Jerusalem
    • I suppose it's possible to imagine more pusillanimously timid criticism of Israel than these two leveled. You'd have to work at it, though.

  • Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: An argument
    • "Since 1988, however, both the declared and observable purpose of Arafat, the PLO, and the present Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas has been the end of the Israeli occupation and the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state in the 23% of the historical land of Palestine that remained after the Israeli victory in the 1948 war—a clearly just cause." -- Jerome Slater

      A SEMI-just cause. A CLEARLY just cause would be full democracy from the River to the Sea, with equal rights for Jews and non-Jews alike.

  • The Nakba Day denial
    • Deri is a Mitzrahi name. It's likely that Ben Deri comes from an Arab Jewish family from Morocco (I don't know this for sure of course). That young Mitzrahim have been drawn so thoroughly into the culture of hatred against their fellow Arabs is emblematic of Zionism's betrayal of the Middle East's rich Jewish culture .

  • Settlers' video accuses B'Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Peace Now and New Israel Fund of collaborating with Nazi anti-Semites
  • 'She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice and peace': American hostage killed in Syria remembered for work in Palestine
    • Actually, does it matter if ISIL or Jordan killed Kayla Mueller? I think we have to agree that ISIL are responsible in either case, since they were imprisoning her against her will. And there's no allegation that even if she was killed by a Jordanian airstrike that Jordan specifically intended to kill her. Even if we oppose the coalition's military intervention in Syria, I don't think we can lay the blame for this particular death at its door.

  • Why do Muslims object to depictions of their prophet?
    • That won't wash, C.O. The cartoon's hook is that the most unlikely conceivable person, the Prophet on whose behalf the attackers claimed to act, is himself joining the throngs of demonstrators expressing solidarity with (and forgiveness of) the victims by holding up the je suis Charlie sign. If Mohammad is instead forgiving the attackers, where's the hook??

    • Tout n'est pas pardonne

      A large part of what's offensive about CH's cover cartoon is that it's completely undeserved self-forgiveness. I could see circumstances in which depiction of a tearful Prophet under the very same banner (tout est pardonne) would be shocking but not offensive in the same way. If, say, Mohammad were forgiving some 7th century offense for which some 21st century Muslims had just killed some other 21st century Muslims, it would be a principled rebuke, not a boorish, gratuitous insult.

  • A Knesset without Arab parties?
    • Jon S is right about the numbers (and perhaps one or two other points in his commenting career). In addition, United Arab List-Ta'al got 3.65% of the vote in 2013, which would be enough to make the threshold in the March 17 election. There are only two Palestinian-identified lists in the current Knesset: United Arab List-Ta'al and Balad, with 4 and 3 MKs, respectively.

      Raising the threshold to 3.25% may indeed have had the purpose of further reducing Palestinian representation in the Knesset, but it could have the opposite effect if it inspires like-minded politicians, both Palestinian or Jewish, to unite for the common cause of equal rights, at least in '48 Israel.

  • Mamdani's 'holistic' challenge: Anti-Zionists must persuade Jews they can only be safe by dismantling the Jewish state
    • A corollary of Mamdani's thesis is that there must be a credible government in waiting, ready to oversee the transition from ethnocracy to non-ethnocratic democracy. Otherwise, the dominant ethnic group will not be persuaded that there is an alternative to continuing ethnocratic rule. By the 1990s the ANC had built a credible government in waiting, led by Mandela and other visionary leaders, that de Klerk and the Nationalists had confidence in.

      What corresponds in Palestine today to the ANC in, say, 1985? There is no shortage of visionary leaders (no, I'm not talking of Mahmoud Abbas), but there is little by way of organized, non-ethnic political structures comparable to the ANC. The parties of the PLC (legislature created by Oslo) vie with one another to represent the interests of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but not Palestinians as a whole, and certainly not Israeli Jews. The PNC (theoretically representing the Palestinian people as a whole) is moribund. The "Arab" parties in the Knesset represent the interests of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, even when equality is central to their ideology (e.g., Balad).

      Knesset elections are coming in March 2015, and it looks like the threshold for representation will be increased so that both Balad and United Arab List-Taal are in danger of losing the few seats they have. There is thus an impetus for coalition building. Balad is already proposing coalition lists. Hadash (descendant of the communists) is resisting combining with "Arab" parties like Balad since they are nominally non-ethnic and have a few Jewish members (including one MK). It would be a hopeful sign if such parties could get over their differences. Formation of a coalition party or list that includes both Palestinian and Jewish politicians, and is committed to full equality in Israel itself, would be a significant achievement on the road to democracy.

      I don't mean to downplay the importance of BDS in any way. That too is vital. And in fact it's a model for the non-ethnic politics I'm advocating, in that its adherents prominently include Jews, both in the diaspora and in Israel itself. But it's not a government in waiting. That too is vital in my opinion.

  • It's always been a holy war
    • The "locals" refused to accept the newcomers as fellow residents because ever since the second aliyah the newcomers made clear their intention to wrest control of the country away from its indigenous inhabitants. This intention was evident in large ways in Zionist writing, which Palestinian intellectuals in Jaffa and Haifa became aware of; and in small ways in the expulsion of Palestinian fellahin from the growing number of Zionist settlements committed to "Hebrew labor" and (Hebrew) democracy. Sure, the "war part of it" may not have been intended: the Zionists may well have hoped that the Palestinians wouldn't resist their dispossession. But the Palestinians did resist, and continue to do so to this day.

  • 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

      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

  • 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 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 (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.

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