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‘Up With Chris’ on MSNBC features 2 Palestinians out of 4 guests — and bankruptcy of neocon Frum’s claims

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An important moment took place this morning on Chris Hayes’s MSNBC show when Hayes had on not one but two Palestinians to discuss the escalating conflict in Israel/Palestine.

Noura Erakat of Georgetown University and Yousef Munayyer of The Jerusalem Fund were joined by Noam Sheizaf of +972 and David Frum, the neoconservative former speechwriter for George Bush famous for allegedly coining the term, “axis of evil.”

It was a revealing discussion. Sheizaf started off saying, Obviously there’s been a steady escalation of hostilities around Gaza, but you can’t remove the political aspect. Elections are coming up in January ,and the Israeli Jewish public wants a more pro-active approach to dealing with the rocket fire from Gaza.

Munayyer then explained that there’s no military solution to this: You can’t bomb people into liking you.

But Noura Erakat was the real star of the show. She made the point: Who started all this? We’re losing focus of the idea, she said, that even if all the rockets stopped, from both sides, Palestinians would still be living under Israeli violence- unending blockade, occupation, and arbitrary detention. (As for the attacks on Gaza fishermen and young children on their side of the Israel-Gaza border, Munayyer pointed this out).

What struck me most strongly about the discussion was that Frum did not have anything of substance to add.  In fact, his comments only hurt his position.  In response to Munayyer’s thoughtful comments about Hamas’s opposition to Israel’s policy of extra-judicial assassinations as a whole, but especially in times of relative peace when rockets aren’t fired from Gaza, Frum could only respond that “it’s a little thick to hear it said that Hamas objects to assassinations when its stock in trade is mass murder.”

Later on, Frum continued with a third-grade knowledge of Hamas when he said, “Peace is not possible with Hamas.”

Erakat took him to task on this. She said that Hamas has long indicated that it was open to a two-state solution along the 1967 borders. It would not be a permanent solution, in Hamas’s view, but it would result in a long term truce; and that’s important.

Then she provided the money shot of the discussion. Frum had said that Oslo fell apart because Palestinian violence disillusioned a lot of Israelis and Diaspora Jews who at one point had been optimistic about a two-state deal.   

Erakat asked Frum, What about the settlements? They doubled between 1993 and 2000. 

Erakat: “Does that factor into the liberal Jewish community’s constellation of factors of what actually drove, torpedoed the peace process?”

Frum: “Settlements are just about money in the end. It’s just buildings.”

Erakat: “They’re on Palestinian land.”

Frum: “They’re the Palestinian apartment blocks of the future, potentially.  That’s the way we would have thought about this in the 1990’s.”

Erakat: “But on destroyed land.”

Frum: “Apartments are useful things.  The thinking was then that there would be a deal and probably these buildings would all be turned over…”

That’s not a meaningful response to the fact that they are on Palestinian land. Erakat is right. Villages have been bulldozed, farmland destroyed, the topography of the place has been transformed forever. Moreover the expectation that Palestinians would be expected to live inside former settlements, the fruits of their oppression, is obscene. Only someone with a colonial mindset like Frum would even suggest the idea in the first place.  Sheizaf then dealt the knockout blow on this subject when he told Frum that it has become politically impossible to evacuate the settlements anyway. 

Frum finished off by saying that the Palestinians had started a war that they ended up losing and therefore any agreement should be predicated on that outcome. He also argued that the true battlefield in this conflict was located inside social media, which led to a strong response by both Erakat and Sheizaf as they both reminded him that the conflict was having real effects on people on both sides.

Overall it was a very important conversation in our mainstream media.  There was a discussion about Israel/Palestine, during a crisis, and two of the four on the panel were Palestinian. Chris Hayes should be commended for having the courage to bring them on.

But the discussion was important in another way.  It showed the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the Zionist right position.  Between vapid talking points, sound bites and purely colonial thinking, Frum stood no chance when confronted with inconvenient facts that he is rarely, if ever, confronted with on television.

Scott Roth

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30 Responses

  1. Cliff on November 18, 2012, 5:05 pm

    Chris Hayes is awesome. I wonder what it must be like to navigate the shark-infested waters of the MSM.

    How did he get there? How does he stay there after a show like this?

    I recall Chomsky talking to a group of Canadian journalists (Frum was one of them) in the 80s.

    The ‘interview’/interrogation is online on YouTube. This was a group discussion on Chomsky and Herman’s ‘Manufacturing Consent’.

    The discussion was featured as a short clip in the documentary version of the book. However, you can find the entire video @YT.

    Anyways, Frum was as vapid and dishonest as ever in the discussion and said Chomsky cares more about “Palestinian corpse” and downplays that of etc. etc.

    Chomsky’s answer was that we – generally speaking but in his case, Americans – should focus much more on our own crimes than on the crimes of others.

    And that makes sense, but Frum took the typical Zionist line/Neocon line and said that Chomsky doesn’t criticize the Soviets or something.

    There are 4 videos total I believe. The second link is part 2 and I think Frum asks the first question.

    Another funny question Frum asked was how Chomsky’s thesis/propaganda model can hold up when he is speaking to such a big audience often.

    Chomsky’s answer was that as you move further from the centers of importance and ideological/institutional pressures – then it becomes easier to say what you want to say.

    He was in Canada.

    • Nevada Ned on November 18, 2012, 6:53 pm


      Anybody who says that Chomsky doesn’t criticize the Soviets hasn’t read much of Chomsky’s writings. He criticized them all the time, even when their connection to the topic under discussion was remote.

      This is, of course, a side issue. But still…

  2. anonymouscomments on November 18, 2012, 5:33 pm

    frum acts like there was a “war” between nations, and palestinians “lost” so they should lose some more rights/territory/whatever.

    i can’t believe they did not JUMP on him. it was an uprising of a stateless, occupied, colonized, oppressed people. that was it…. not a war.

    and further, even if it were a “war” between two nations, he suggests the “loser” should LOSE something (who starts wars anyways? the loser or the one who will win? and who really can define who starts most wars?). unless this is the case, he suggests, war will be a perpetual temptation.

    bullshit… that would prompt overt and covert wars (and has in israel’s case). it is the opposite… we have the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by force”. if you do NOT allow nations to take land and resources from war, then you remove the impetus for most wars (israeli wars in particular). of course, the international community has to actually act on this central point of international law, and sanction and otherwise dissuade countries from taking land by force.

    zionists drive me crazy.

    • Citizen on November 19, 2012, 9:29 am

      Nuremberg stands for the postWW2 international principle that the key crime is waging aggressive war, which spawns all the other war crimes and crimes against humanity. Did all those who died in that war do so, so that Israel could thumb its nose at the world after so much human loss–enabled by the only superpower left on the planet, and with official complicity of the Western countries?

  3. Stone on November 18, 2012, 5:43 pm

    Bravo to Chris. Unfortunately, he is only on weekend mornings. Still it’s a start. We need to hear this on our more well-known Sunday morning shows as well. Also in prime-time to counter the false narratives that we are hearing from the Israel-firsters. Good of the guests to bring up the Occupation. The day-to-day suffering of the Palestinians is practically ignored in the US media. The checkpoints, the demolitions, the violence from the settlers are things we never hear about on the news. The settlers even attack olive groves. O, the irony.

  4. Les on November 18, 2012, 6:10 pm

    Our media can’t get beyond the Israeli position that Palestinians are squatters on Palestinian land.

  5. Avi_G. on November 18, 2012, 6:28 pm

    It’s an insult to talk to Zionist Jews; they think that the person they are speaking with is a complete moron.

    Yesterday, member trainofsiberia posted a British Rabbi’s candid remarks.

    This is the essence of what is wrong with the Jewish community that supports Israel. That community, wherever it may be, likes to put on a nice and kind face for the goyim among whom it lives. And that face, comes with all the hypocrisy, the spin, and the lies.

    But within the Jewish community or at least in small circles, Jewish individuals allow themselves to be candid; just as Rosenfeld, the Israeli spokesperson allowed himself to be candid with Allison Deger when he told her that they will wipe Gaza off the map. He must have thought Allison was a member of the tribe, an American-Jewish spectator. But when someone like Phil Weiss, a man in his 50s, someone who is the stereotypical serious journalist asked him a question, Rosenfeld put on that fake facade and utilized nice language to explain Israel’s intentions.

    So Frum’s garbage is not only pathetic, but it’s sad that intelligent adults have put up with such schtick for more than 40 years now, especially from the Zionist Jewish members of society.

    At least non-Jewish hacks spout out the Hasbara without showing too much passion and conviction. They’re doing it for career or money. But Jewish Zionists are doing it with a passion that is motivated by an ideology, a strong belief in an idea. It’s sickening.

  6. American on November 18, 2012, 8:28 pm

    When people ask you about Gaza, Israel or Palestine just tell the truth.
    And the truth is the Jews went to Palestine and this is what they did…..

    “They stole my land,
    burnt my olive trees,
    destroyed my house,
    took my water,
    bombed my country,
    imprisoned my father,
    killed my mother,
    took my job,
    starved us all,
    humiliated us all,

    But I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.

    So they stole more of my land,
    burnt my olive trees,
    destroyed my house,
    took my water,
    bombed my country….”

    And then ask the person what they would do or would have done if the Jews promised land awarded by the UN had been in their state of Vermont or Texas, on their land, and they had done the same things here as they did in Palestine. This is the only way you need to explain it, everyone will get it.

    • Ellen on November 19, 2012, 4:26 am

      American, you mean the Zionists, not Jews. Eventhough Zionists refer to Jews when speaking about themselves, Zionism (no matter how it’s painted) is nothing more than a late 19th century European colonialist movement.

      On behalf of many Jews around the world, maintain the distinction.

      As an aside: The primitive rhetoric coming from the major of Jerusalem on CNN stating “Jews are really tough ” when speaking for all the citizens of Jerusalem said so much about the non- Democratic and ethnic nationalism mindset controling Israel.

      • tokyobk on November 19, 2012, 7:44 am

        No, I have read many of American’s comments and my guess is he actually means “the Jews.”

        But I agree Texas is a good example of colonialism and occupation several times over. There are lots of different people to ask how they feel about occupying and being occupied and what they would do and did when conquered by an invading power and new sovereignty.

      • Cliff on November 19, 2012, 8:44 am

        Short history of Texas acquisition:

        Empresarios (Americans hired by Mexican government to become entrepreneurs on Mexican land; previously Texas was a buffer zone – their ‘Northern frontier’ vs. our ‘SW frontier’)
        Infringed on current land owners; tensions; facilitated by Mexican government
        General Santa Ana becomes an autocrat
        Mexican states ally to oust him
        After Mexican states win, Texas wants to become independent (empresarios reign) Tejanos didn’t want slavery/Empresarios (I think led by Stephen Austin) did
        Our President at the time doesn’t get involved directly

        Our history is full of stuff like this. We didn’t come by our land acquisitions honestly in any sense.

        And a pervading view at the time that resembles Jewish nationalism today (and during the Mandate years) is the idea of ‘settling the land’.

        Our view was that the frontier was a wilderness as a result of The Fall (Adam, Eve, apple, snake).

        It was ‘our’ job to bring order to this new wilderness with our Christian values that had been lost after the fiasco in Eden.

        We viewed natives who didn’t cultivate the land in a way we approved of as unworthy of said land.

        Just like the whole Zionist ‘desert bloom’ nonsense. If the natives weren’t using it properly (often Zionists say Palestine was a uncultivated, unoccupied, swamp) then it was our job to take it.

      • American on November 19, 2012, 10:29 am


        I am well aware of the distinctions and make them when appropriate. I am pushing the envelope of responsibility for the Jewish State.
        Congress Toll Free Number 1- 877- 762- 8762
        AIPAC never sleeps.

      • Ellen on November 20, 2012, 4:07 am

        America, I understand. And Zionists certaintly do not make the distinction. But for anyone posting here, I think it is important to do so.

        BTw, interesting and predictable how hasabists such as toykobk come with the European colonialization of Texas spiel when speaking about Zionist colonial expansion. He is right it was a slow genocide of a people then just as it is now as Zionists continue the cleansing and killing.

        At least the toykobk’s of the world remind us for exactly what it is.

        As many predicted, including many Jews, this will be the legacy of Zionism.

  7. Basilio on November 18, 2012, 11:16 pm

    Well, Frum was in front of two Palestinians and a Jewish-Israeli who sort of sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians and seem to somewhat understand their suffering. He probably expected an Israeli who was more right wing and was probably taken aback by not only having two Palestinian guests, but also a very moderate Israeli. I’m not a fan of Frum or Right wing Israel, but I can understand how he would have been intimidated. Israel is hard to defend anyway by American Jews considering it looks worse and worse.

  8. DICKERSON3870 on November 19, 2012, 12:30 am

    RE: “Settlements are just about money in the end. It’s just buildings. . . They’re the Palestinian apartment blocks of the future, potentially.” ~ Fee Fi Fo Frum

    MY COMMENT: Elliott Abrams convinced me several years ago* to give up on the “two-state solution”.

    FROM ELLIOTT ABRAMS, The Washington (Neocon) Post, 04/08/09:

    [EXCERPT] . . . Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the 6 percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have
    resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state. . .

    SOURCE –

    P.S. Elliott Abrams has totally convinced me [by the sheer power of his (il)logic and his very impressive math skills] to wholeheartedly support the Israeli settlement project in the West Bank.
    As I understand it, the ‘Abrams Principle’ stands for the proposition that more Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank will result in a larger area for the Palestinian state. That’s why I say: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” with the settlement actvity; so as to result in the largest Palestinian state possible (from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River). Fiat justitia! ( “Let Justice Be Done!” )

    • DICKERSON3870 on November 19, 2012, 1:12 am

      P.P.S. ALSO RE: “Settlements are just about money in the end. It’s just buildings. . . They’re the Palestinian apartment blocks of the future, potentially.” ~ Fee Fi Fo Frum

      A MID-AUTUMN EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, proudly brought to you by the makers of new Ziocaine Über-Xtreme®: It’s guaran-damn-teed to blow your effing mind.™

      Fee fi fo she smells his body
      She smells his body
      And it makes her sick to her mind
      He has got so much to answer for . . .

      . . . It’s true what people say
      God protect the ones who help themselves
      In their own way
      It’s true what people say
      God protects the ones who help themselves
      In their own way

      He was sitting in her bedroom
      In her bedroom
      And now what should she do
      She’s got so much insecurity
      And his impurity It was a gathering gloom . . .

      . . . It’s true what people say
      God protects the ones who help themselves
      In their own way
      And I often wondered to myself:
      Who protects the ones who can’t protect themselves?

      Fee fi fo [x4] ~ The Cranberries

      Fee Fi Fo – The Cranberries [VIDEO, 04:47] –

  9. jimbowski on November 19, 2012, 12:57 am

    Hey, thanks for this excellent summary! I ended my 30-year “relationship” with cable TV in 2010 after CNN Headline “News” hired Glenn Beck. Anyhoo, it really bothers me that people think Palestinians “started” this mult-decade of terror and colonization of their land. Perhaps all the esteemed readers here already saw this, but Albert Einstein co-authored a 1948 letter to the NYT warning Americans about fascism by specific Jews in Israel, namely Menachem Begin, who later became PM of Israel and whose philosophy survives today at the Kenesset. The warning letter shows how precient old Albert and Co. had been! We need to spread this important letter of history far and wide! Check it out:

  10. Avi_G. on November 19, 2012, 3:17 am

    By the way, it’s amazing how everyone on that panel, with the exception of Frum, is a lousy debater.

    I know Munayyer’s writing, and his articles are great. But it seems that when it comes to debating others on camera, he freezes.

    Frum, ever the liar and spinner, claimed that Palestinians launched a war in 2000 and lost.

    Of course, what he didn’t say was that that so-called “war” wasn’t a war at all. Had he said, “Intifada”, he would have had to explain the meaning of the word. And that would have undone his entire propaganda.

    The 2000 Intifada was, however, both a rebellion against the long and savage Israeli occupation, and came as a result of Ehud Barak going to Camp David and giving both Clinton and Arafat the finger, while saying to the media that he made Arafat an unprecedented offer. For several years now we have known that Ehud Barak lied in order to win an election in the autumn that followed.

    So of course Palestinians were disillusioned.

    Why is it that no one on that panel is capable of explaining such simple issues? You’ve finally been given a platform to broadcast the truth about what is happening, take advantage of it. Don’t piss it away with a deer-caught-in-the-headlights look of ‘Whoa, I’m on TV’. The same goes for Noura Erekat.

    Those people need to learn — and they better do it quickly — how to keep their sentences short, concise and to the point.

    • Cliff on November 19, 2012, 4:31 am

      I don’t know either. It’s infuriating. It’s like whenever someone for the Palestinian ‘side’ is on TV, they turn into mush.

      The same goes for Anna Baltzer and whatshisface on The Daily Show. They didn’t explain anything about the history of the conflict. They just smiled a lot and presented, what could easily be dismissed by neocons and fanatical American nationalists as ‘hippy liberal’ idealism.

      I remember seeing a debate between Israeli kids and Palestinian kids on Al Jazeera English.

      Those young Palestinians (for the most part) debated very well. They were passionate and wouldn’t sit back and just let lies go unanswered.

      That is what we need. You don’t have to be aggressive, but you shouldn’t let people say whatever the hell they want going unanswered…

      Just awful. It’s not like this was the first time a Palestinian was on American TV.

      • Ellen on November 19, 2012, 6:41 am

        good points, Avi. Chris Hays unfortunately does not know how to moderate or even coax out a good discussion.

        His guests are often simply props, who have the chance to say little, as he prattles and pontificates on and on.

        It is so frustrating to watch and listen. If we could only hear more from his guest and less from him.

    • MRW on November 19, 2012, 6:17 am


      I thought Munayyer was better than Frum. Munayyer understands the breathing that keeps you from being interrupted on TV. Frum didn’t impress me at all, but I wonder if that’s because I could judge the accuracy of what he said. Noura needs to stop conducting traffic with her hands.

      • MHughes976 on November 19, 2012, 11:26 am

        I didn’t see this exchange and so far the British channels seem (not that I’ve been keeping a beady eye on them) to be avoiding any direct exchange between Israeli and Palestinian apologists – the former striking a pose of calm wisdom and sadness. But I suppose we have to expect the massively greater experience and training of the pro-Israel side to tell, along with the fact that their interlocutors have been trained assiduously to treat them with respect. They are as well armed with polished rhetoric as they are with iron domes. The Palestinians are emerging blinking into the harsh glare of the West’s publicity machines, still full of suspicion directed against them, for almost the first time. But they are appearing at last.

      • Kathleen on November 19, 2012, 6:19 pm

        Frum threw out grenades that are not working any more. What an arrogant ass “just buildings” in the West Bank “just buildings”

  11. just on November 19, 2012, 9:04 am

    Hanan Ashwari is a darned good debater……

    Unfortunately, she is rarely on anymore.

    Chris is very good, imho.

    Other than that, the coverage in the American media has been pitiful.

  12. Citizen on November 19, 2012, 9:49 am

    Rupert Murdoch has recently tweeted that he can’t understand how the Jewish-owned Media in America so hates the Jews in Israel:
    (Read the comments too.)

    How many lethal ironies can you tweet in one tweet? No wonder Rush Lumbaugh is afraid of using Twitter.

    Over the weekend, the English guy on CNBC, Piers Morgen, also had a panel discussing Gaza with Frum and that Palestinian lady, among others. He asked both sides some good questions, and listened intently, let them talk, and that itself blew my mind. But he didn’t follow through, e.g., when the Palestinian woman argue against the idea the natives stated it; she repeated, “It’s the occupation!”

    I saw another show with Hayes, the Rachel Maddow show over the weekend. They discussed Gaza briefly; he was vague, like a kid talking fast to cover up he had nothing pithy to say.

  13. irishmoses on November 19, 2012, 9:56 am

    Chris Hayes? Chris Hayes? Ohhh, you mean that young fellow who dominates the 5am to 8am prime time slot on Saturday and Sunday mornings here on the West Coast. I suspect his ratings numbers, even on the East Coast starting at 8am on weekend days are not worth mentioning. You wonder why he can remain on showing such courage? Simple; the Hasbara crowd knows nobody or at least very few are awake. Too bad they don’t switch his three hour slot with the likeable woman (name escapes me) who follows him on weekend days. Chris provides the best analysis of any news show in the MSM.

    • Stone on November 19, 2012, 5:00 pm

      Yes, Melissa Harris-Perry. I like her too but unfortunately her time slot isn’t too good either. Both shows are good too in that they actually discuss topics much more thoroughly than you are likely to get elsewhere in the MSM. Also I caught Hanan Ashwari on CNN the other day. I forgot who was interviewing her right now. It wasn’t Piers though.

  14. Kathleen on November 19, 2012, 9:57 am

    Chris Hayes and his team have been putting some large cracks in the wall of silence about the facts having to do with the I/P conflict since Hayes has been on. Awareness growing about Israel’s brutality….situation on the ground getting worse for the Palestinians.

  15. HRK on November 19, 2012, 11:20 am

    That’s not a meaningful response to the fact that they are on Palestinian land. Erakat is right. Villages have been bulldozed, farmland destroyed, the topography of the place has been transformed forever. Moreover the expectation that Palestinians would be expected to live inside former settlements, the fruits of their oppression, is obscene. Only someone with a colonial mindset like Frum would even suggest the idea in the first place.

    But I think the more important point is that it’s all bullcrap. The idea that the Israelis were going to just turn over the land. Everyone knows that “possession is 9/10s of the law.” This was about taking. The after-it’s-over-we’ll-give-back-apartments–that was a hoax, a scam all along.

  16. Kathleen on November 19, 2012, 6:15 pm

    Frum on illegal settlements in the West Bank “just buildings” What an arrogant ass
    Noura “on Palestinian lands” Illegal settlers on Palestinian lands

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