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If you deduct the Israelites, Pharaoh’s Egypt was actually a marvelous country

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Affirming that Israel is not an apartheid state if one overlooks its treatment of Palestinians, Benjamin Netanyahu said this on Thursday to a reporter from The Onion Haaretz:

The State of Israel is doing “not badly” compared to other countries, and “if you deduct the Arabs and ultra-Orthodox from inequality indexes, we’re in great shape,” said Netanyahu.

He was responding to the latest annual International Monetary Fund report on Israel, which showed that inequality has worsened significantly over the past two decades and that Israel is now one of the three IMF members with the worst inequality.

He said that? Is Bibi asking for the world to unite behind an Israeli-Palestinian Equality Movement, as recently contemplated by card-carrying liberal Zionists Gideon Levy and Bradley Burston?

On Passover, Bibi might remember that according to Jewish mythology, ancient Egypt didn’t do badly compared to other countries of its time, and if you deducted the Israelites from Pharoah’s inequality indexes, the land of the pyramids was in great shape!

Imagine if an American political leader today said something similarly racist and prejudicial involving 18 percent of our population– “If you deduct the Blacks and Mormons from unemployment figures, the U.S. economy is in great shape” — the outrage and criticism that would deservedly descend! Doesn’t Bibi’s quip sound like it could have emanated from the mouth of the governor of a Jim Crow U.S. southern state in the 1950s? 

Memo to Peter Beinart: As Bibi has tacitly admitted, on neither side of the green line is Israel a “flawed but genuine democracy.” Israel is now, and always has been, the Middle East’s Only Pretend Democracy™. It’s time to end the pretension.

Matthew Taylor

Matthew A. Taylor is co-founder of PeacePower magazine, and author of "The Road to Nonviolent Coexistence in Palestine/Israel," a chapter in the book Nonviolent Coexistence.

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26 Responses

  1. on April 8, 2012, 12:21 pm

    my guess is that Mormons have a very low unemployment rate and a pretty high standard of living.

    • piotr on April 9, 2012, 9:49 am

      Actually, when I was driving through Utah and eastern Idaho, “the pretty high standard of living” was not in evidence. Mormons have large families and low employment of women. Supermarkets had scant selection of “middle class foods”, (to no avail we searched for some products that would be good for camping in Wyoming, like Swedish flat bread), and enormous sections of canned fried beans etc. At a shopping plaza in Provo we had the worst Thai meal ever. If you want to pass for a competent cook, a Mormon community can be a good place to try. Also, the residential neighborhoods looked pretty bleak, more or less like in Appalachian towns.

      Of course, the population that buys canned fried beans is richer than the population that buys dry pinto beans in 25 lb bags and corn meal in 50 lb bags — observations from a trading post next to an Indian reservation. For all I know, Navaho can eat better than Mormons, simply spending 10 times less money (I think that they do not buy meat but have their own sheep).

  2. MHughes976 on April 8, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Egypt had, on the face of the biblical record, a remarkably generous policy of receiving refugees in the face of famine, in the time of Joseph, and in the face of political instability, in the time of Jeremiah. Relations with the Babylonian empire were tense already, no doubt, but taking in people whom the Babylonians would have regarded as terrorists might have been quite a risk.

  3. Cliff on April 8, 2012, 12:54 pm

    [email protected] ” the onion ”

    As to the rest of your article Matt, our zionist shortbus insist on making analogies to America only when it serves their interests (ie blah blah imagine if Mexico were lobbing rockets at Texas).

    So when you add some context to said analogy like, oh I dunno, maybe we were occupying and colonizing Mexico for fifty years and killing them at a ratio of 10 to 1 and it was only in the last ten years of the conflict that you could say that any rockets were being lobbed anyway and that these rockets were more or less worthless in and of themselves – not even relatively speaking.

    Etc etc

    Every comparison = Israel loses.

    Any empirical approach to this conflict = Israel loses.

    Only when you employ racism and sophistry (tough neighborhood, it’s complicated, plenty of Arab countries for the Palestinians to migrate to, blah blah) does Zionism fly.

  4. Danaa on April 8, 2012, 1:23 pm

    Continuing the Bibi-logic:

    And if you subtract all Jewish people from the 1%, they will become automatically more like 5%. Bingo! inequality reduced by a factor of 5!

    But there’s more! subtract jewish people from the top 5% (which includes lots of acadmia) and the inequality curve flattens to 80-20. Now we are almost talking European index (almost).

  5. on April 8, 2012, 1:26 pm

    According to GW professor of archeology Eric Cline,
    1. There is no proof that Israelites fled across the desert from Egypt; Hebrew scriptures contain the only information about the event (“but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”).
    2. If the biblical story is to be believed, at very least the numbers of Israelites who fled from Egypt are wildly exaggerated — the most reasonable estimate is that about 600 Israelites were in the group.

    • CloakAndDagger on April 8, 2012, 2:13 pm

      The biblical story appears to have been “lifted” from the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt.

      • CloakAndDagger on April 8, 2012, 3:17 pm

        Cliff may find the following comment in the above article quite interesting as it connects historical Egypt to ancient India:

        Farang permalink
        Merenptah means “Beloved of Ptah”…aka Buddha. Ptah imagery at Saqqara (Sha karra) in the Hall of Kings, the Hall of Sokar ( has an alternate pronuciation of Choiek/Shokar) shows Thutmose III (a “David” typecasting) making an offering to a seated Ptah, with Sokar and Amun standing behind him.

        Can we all say it together? S(h)okar Amun Ptah. Shakamuni Buddha.

        The entire story of the “Fall of Troy” actually relates to the succession battle of the many sons of Ramses II. (Ra Moses, “son of Ra/Rama”) Google : Is the Fall of Troy actually the invasion of the sea peoples” and be amazed. Ramses II is the biblical “Solomon” king…but far from the greatest or the first. He usurped the temples and stables of the Great “Solomon” king: Amenhotep III. And he wasn’t the first either…a Kassite king was…aka Kas-kas…aka Hyksos.

        Priam? An Egyptian pharaoh. “Achilles”: the pharaoh Siptah….born with a deformed foot, easily found photos on internet. The “Teresh” mentioned are the Trojans….aka the Etruscans.

        The Pelest you correctly identified as “Philistines” although Palestinians is better translation.

        of course, the Stele is talking about Jezreel, not “Israel”…how do we know this? Because Jezreel is where what was stored???? SEEDS. What does it say? “The SEED of Jezreel is no more!”

        Look, someone above mentioned Andis Kaulins. Go to Go to index. Click on “Ark of the Covenant”….guess where is was found? In Amenhotep III’s grandson’s tomb: Tut.

        Solomon’s Treasure is the treasure found in Tut’s tomb. Hidden there by 5 Amun priests. Priests that were called “Cohen Gadols.” The Mishnayot tells the tale of it being hidden…..go read Andis Kaulins amazing deciphering of the truth behind the “Hebrew” history. Go to Wikipedia, look up Kassite Stele. See the “Houses”? See the Harp of “David” on one? Beneath an image of Venus? THAT is the image of Istar, who played a Harp.

        Venus: Istar Devatta. Venus: the Star of David.

        “David” had a sex change. And in the “House” next to “David’s”? Is a camel in a House. Under an image of the Sun (Sol) and Moon (Mon/Mun). In the OT, a certain “Zalumeneh and Zeba are murdered while riding a camel. That would be Solomon and Sheba.
        Sol a moon. Solomon. Istar’s husband was the Storm god of the Hittites. His name? Tae Sheba.

        She was literally the Queen of (Tae) Sheba. A king is recorded on stone tablet (Amarna letters) of sending a Statue of Istar to Amenhotep III to “heal him”…she was the goddess of fertilty.

        In the OT…Solomon gets Sheba pregnant: SUCCESS! EGYPTIAN/BABYLONIAN/INDIAN ASTROLOGICAL MYTHS. The “Hebrews” are western Bramha worshipers from the Sarai River valley, known as the Puru kingdom. Hence, the “father of the Jews/Hebrews” was called Abram, then Abraham. A BRAHMA. Amenhotep III’s “vizier: Yuya was the OT’s Yoseph(Joseph)…and his brother was the great Puru Indian king named Dhritastera….Ashtera being another name of Istar.

        The fools in mainstream archaeology call him “Tushratta.” HE was the GREAT KING…a PURU king…The pharaohs of the 18th dynasty had a “Golden Horus” name…”HePeru”…Hebrews. Purus.

        The Book of Ester is the story of Istar worship supplanting the older goddess of eastern Hindu mythology. Check the name of the queen she replaced against the name of the Hindiu goddess: same name.

        The image of the Mother Cow of Hindu is the image of the goddess Egyptian called Hathor….the Eye of Ra being the right eye of the Hindu mother cow: Rama.

      • yourstruly on April 8, 2012, 4:29 pm

        from your link – the archelogical evidence suggests that the exodus never occurred, or if it did, it involved at most a few families, and so it is that their “private story/vague memory/folk tale was expanded and ‘nationalized’ to fill the needs of theological ideology, very much similar to how modern-day zionism has nationalized these remote and inconsistent jewish tales to serve its political project in palestine.”

      • piotr on April 9, 2012, 10:08 am

        Archeology suggests that Semitic nomads were crossing Sinai back and forth “all the time”. Jews appeared after a period when sedentary communities in Cana’an almost vanished, especially outside coastal region. The reason for that seems a drought period at least generation long, and the entire Middle East was affected by that crisis. Then the climate returned to normal and for about 200 years the settled population showed quick “geometric growth” and created new traditions de novo.

        The tall tales of grand exploits of the ancestors could be accumulated, and obviously they had a kernel of truth because the raw material used by the story tellers consisted of some previous stories and experiences.

        To give a more contemporary example, stories of a fabulous kingdom where a tyrannical ruler stocks weapons of incredible potency may put together some actual geographic location with stories on potent weapons that came mostly from totally different places. Even literate people in 21-st century can create a narrative that is quite loosely related to reality.

        It is still unclear to me how the image of powerful biological weapons was created. I am not aware of any credible description of biological weapons that can kill a larger number of people. But the story tellers were clearly expert in telling stories, not in medicine or technology. So we had a story of an evil “Dr Germ” preparing a super weapon from SF movie “Andromeda Strain”.

      • CigarGod on April 9, 2012, 11:08 am

        Thanks for the link to an very interesting site.

      • Charon on April 9, 2012, 1:23 pm

        The Hyskos theory is one plausible example. Egyptian chronology is all messed up though and the Hyskos may not have been completely expelled. Hyskos were foreign rulers with fair skin and red hair, features associated with the worship of Set/Seth. Ramesses II was not from the same era as the Hyskos, but his mummy shows he was Caucasian and had red hair. In fact, Set/Seth was associated with red hair. After the demonization of Set/Seth, there is evidence that red-haired people were sacrificed in Egypt (there were red-haired sacrificial victims found in mummy for all over the world, including in the Mammoth Caves in the US). The Tocharian mummies of the Tarim Basin near India in China have also been connected with the Egyptian red-headed kings.

        Hyskos were called Shepard kings and brought horses, chariots, and bows. Shepard kings, red-haired, horses/chariots, and bows sounds Indo-Scythian. Which would make sense. Some folks have tried to link Hyskos to the Shasu of YHW. Don’t know about that, but the Shasu of YHW have definitely been linked to the Habirus. Religious scholars reject a Hebrew/Habiru connection, but if you take off your blinders you will find more similarities than differences. The Habirus were also known as Sakas. So where the Scythians. Scythian was used by Greeks to refer to anybody in Northern Asia though, so it is a kind of a confusing term since archaeologists often mistake Hun artifacts with Scythian. The Saxons, the Scots, the Scandinavians, etc. are all derived from the word Sakas, and probably all related to them.

        Many Scythians/Sakas areas are named Ibiri/Iberia which isn’t much different phonetically than the word Hebrew (Ireland, Georgia, Siberia, Span).

        So I think there is a historical basis for a lot of this mythology, but not all of it is in Egypt. Pharaoh is a foreign word for Egyptian kings and its biblical name was Mizraim. The history of the world is stranger and lesser known than we are led to believe. And I haven’t even got into the whole Dan sea-faring people thing. Dan, Daan, Danu, Anu, Tanu, etc. are all related to this too.

      • CloakAndDagger on April 9, 2012, 5:36 pm

        Fascinating! Thank you!

      • piotr on April 9, 2012, 7:39 pm

        I think that you are mixing different waves of peoples separated by millenia. Ethnonyms were appearing and disappearing over the ages and widely separated ethnonyms of vagely similar form do not have to be connected.

        While Indoeuropeans were present in Black Sea area and Central Asia from very early times, some organizational and technological improvements around 1700 BC could propel a wave of expansions that is responsible for Greeks in the Aegean and Aryans in Iran and India. The first recorded invasions are of Kassites in Babylonia and Mitanni in Assyria and Syria, and apparently involved a mixture of Hurrians who were either native or native to immediately neighboring highlands and Aryans, and Hyksos also appeared in the 1700-1500 BC period.

        When Hyksos arrived in Egypt they were expert in the new war techniques, including siege warfare. These techniques were probably a combination of bow/chariot complex from Central Asia and practice in siege warfare from wars in Fertile Crescents. Also, the ethnic composition of the warbands was apparently changing quite quickly. Perhaps the ideology of the conquerors facilitated quick incorporation of new tribes in alliances and assimilation of new local deities into their religion.

        Thus the force that conquered northern Egypt was mostly Semitic and quickly adopted elements of Egyptian culture.

        Similarly, Sea People of 1300-1200 included Indoeuropean Greek, but they seem to be related to another series of innovations, and again, involved a groups of unrelated tribes. “Alliance of the willing”, to use a modern slogan. Here relating Dan to Homeric Danaos seem to be rather safe: the same region and the same era, plus Aegean style of pottery on the coast of Palestine.

  6. DICKERSON3870 on April 8, 2012, 4:30 pm

    RE: “…Bibi might remember that according to Jewish mythology, ancient Egypt didn’t do badly compared to other countries of its time, and if you deducted the Israelites from Pharoah’s inequality indexes, the land of the pyramids was in great shape!” ~ Matthew Taylor

    SEE: Were Jews ever really slaves in Egypt, or is Passover a myth? ~ By Josh Mintz, Haaretz, 3/26/12

    (excerpt). . . The reality is that there is no evidence whatsoever that the Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt. Yes, there’s the story contained within the bible itself, but that’s not a remotely historically admissible source. I’m talking about real proof; archeological evidence, state records and primary sources. Of these, nothing exists.
    It is hard to believe that 600,000 families (which would mean about two million people) crossed the entire Sinai without leaving one shard of pottery (the archeologist’s best friend) with Hebrew writing on it. It is remarkable that Egyptian records make no mention of the sudden migration of what would have been nearly a quarter of their population, nor has any evidence been found for any of the expected effects of such an exodus; such as economic downturn or labor shortages. Furthermore, there is no evidence in Israel that shows a sudden influx of people from another culture at that time. No rapid departure from traditional pottery has been seen, no record or story of a surge in population. . .


  7. Keith on April 8, 2012, 5:40 pm

    “He was responding to the latest annual International Monetary Fund report on Israel, which showed that inequality has worsened significantly over the past two decades and that Israel is now one of the three IMF members with the worst inequality.”

    To provide a little historical perspective, it should be noted that in 1996 a group of neocons led by Richard Perle prepared a study for Netanyahu titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” Little discussed were the economic recommendations which follow:

    “As outlined in another Institute report, Israel can become self-reliant only by, in a bold stroke rather than in increments, liberalizing its economy, cutting taxes, relegislating a free-processing zone, and selling-off public lands and enterprises — moves which will electrify and find support from a broad bipartisan spectrum of key pro-Israeli Congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.”

    In short, the neocons were recommending to fellow neocon Netanyahu that he pursue neoliberalism, which he and succeeding governments did with the predictable results. Yet another example of the incestuous relationship between Israeli Zionists and American Jewish Zionists. Some Israelis may well object to the undue influence of the American Jewish lobby on Israeli politics.

    • pabelmont on April 8, 2012, 7:55 pm

      Is this a suggestion that Jewish Bankers (sorry, I mean Jewish neocons toeing the American Model / so-called neoliberal line) control the world economy?

      • Keith on April 9, 2012, 3:50 pm

        PABELMONT- “Is this a suggestion that Jewish Bankers (sorry, I mean Jewish neocons toeing the American Model / so-called neoliberal line) control the world economy?”

        No, not at all. There is a big difference between influence and control. The neocons are influential warmongers who are using their influence to encourage Netanyahu to get on board the program of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is a project primarily of Wall Street with the cooperation of the IMF, World Bank, Treasury, Federal Reserve, etc. I have no way of knowing what percent of the financial elites are Jewish or, more significantly, to what extent the financial elites are Zionists. As a general rule, most of the super elites are “me-firsters.”

    • Denis on April 8, 2012, 10:29 pm

      What!!???? You mean this street goes 2 ways?? The Israeli Jews control the US government and the US Jews control the Israeli government??

      Wonder who’s gettin’ the sh*t end of this stick?

      • Keith on April 9, 2012, 3:52 pm

        DENIS- “The Israeli Jews control the US government and the US Jews control the Israeli government??”

        No, both governments respond to concentrated global and domestic power. In the case of Israel, however, there is a unique relationship between the Israeli elites, American Jewish Zionists, and the American/global elites. It is my view that the center of Zionist power is in the US with Israel being significantly influenced by American Jewish Zionist pressure. This influence is rarely for the good as American Jews seek an Israel of Biblical grandeur. Yitzhak Rabin’s small concessions wildly unpopular and stopped by his assassination. As Philip Weiss has noted, Israel is the way it is in no small measure due to the nature and extent of American Jewish support

  8. GJB on April 8, 2012, 7:13 pm

    “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

  9. wondering jew on April 9, 2012, 3:38 am

    Bibi does not need me to come to his defense, because I believe his policy regarding the “shtachim”, regarding the West Bank specifically is fatally flawed and disingenuous.
    The charedi’s have removed themselves from society and separating them from other statistics makes sense in a certain way.(although any economist could probably reveal the impossibility of using scissors in this way on any graph of any meaning in economics).

    Obviously, the Palestinians, regarding Arabs on either side of the green line who prefer that name, represent a purposefully neglected part of the population and thus a betrayal of political decency and certainly a vital part of the economic picture even moreso than the charedis, I would presume.

  10. FreddyV on April 9, 2012, 8:32 am

    “if you deduct the Arabs and ultra-Orthodox from inequality indexes, we’re in great shape,”


    “If you exclude our problems, we don’t have any problems!”


  11. tombishop on April 9, 2012, 8:48 am

    Mitt’s mandatory friendship
    Even if they didn’t have a 36-year relationship, he’d be joined at the hip with Benjamin Netanyahu

    A Friendship Dating to 1976 Resonates in 2012

  12. Xpat on April 9, 2012, 10:37 am

    Let’s enter the bizarre world of Bibi-logic for a moment. He sees himself as leader of the tribe of nice, modern Jews. He is proud of his success as head of the tribe. Bibi asks the world to consider the modern Jews as the true Israel: waddya gonna do about Arabs and fanatic Jews….y’know, we got our Muslims and fundies too…it’s a tough neighborhood etc.

    But even on that level, his position is disingenuous. The ultra-Orthodox’s large (and overwhelmingly poor and uneducated) families stack up the numbers in his tribe’s zero-sum game of demographics. Bibi cultivates the ultra-Orthodox. Every ultra-Orthodox baby – however poor and unmodern – gets counted for the Jewish team. And Bibi uses the ultra-Orthodox against the Palestinians. The ultra-Orthodox Jews grant him the legitimacy of the majority. It would be a disaster for him if these Jews, whom he detests, did not have lots and lots of Jewish kids.

  13. Justice Please on April 9, 2012, 4:23 pm

    “if you deduct the Arabs and ultra-Orthodox from inequality indexes, we’re in great shape”

    Wow, what a bastard.

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