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New York Times assault on the BDS movement reinforces Israeli fears

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
on 65 Comments
Image via WaronWant.org

Image via WaronWant.org

The New York Times is paying close attention to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel, nine years after the 2005 call for boycott from Palestinian civil society. But the paper’s coverage does a poor job of honestly explaining what the BDS movement says about the future of Israel and Jewish life in the region.

Phil Weiss took a close look at Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren’s fear-mongering piece today, where she invokes the specter of the Nazi boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. Roger Cohen’s article approvingly quotes an activist who claims that the BDS movement’s objectives would “doom Israel as a national home for the Jews.” (The Palestine Center’s Yousef Munayyer responds here.)

And today, Thomas Friedman takes a whack at BDS by giving space to the Israeli government-linked Reut Institute, whose director, Gidi Grinstein, says that “the B.D.S. movement at heart is not about Israel’s policies but Israel’s existence: they want to see Israel disappear.” (Grinstein also, rightly, points out that the peace process is keeping BDS at bay, but if it collapses, Israel’s isolation will deepen–and fast.)

All three pieces give short shrift to what BDS advocates say about Israel’s existence as a home for Jews. They overwhelmingly tilt towards calling the movement’s prescription for ending the conflict catastrophic to Jews.  The implication is that Jews would have no place in Israel/Palestine, especially if there is a right of return for Palestinian refugees. But what do BDS advocates themselves say about the future of Jews in an Israel/Palestine where the BDS movement’s demands are met?

Last month, I took that question to some leading BDS activists.  For instance, human rights attorney Noura Erakat told me that she doesn’t “think resolution of the conflict necessitates the removal of the settler from the land.  We have the capacity to create new types of nationalities, of conceptions of citizenship, that could contemplate the Jewish citizen as part of this multi-ethnic state.”  Other interviews with BDS activists showed that what the movement wants to dismantle is a state that institutionalizes Jewish privilege at the expense of the rights of Palestinians.  (And while there is no consensus within the BDS movement on one-state or two-states, there is a consensus on dismantling Jewish privilege.)

Erakat’s and other activists’ take goes to the heart of Friedman’s apt question: “What is the nation state of the Jewish people?” The BDS movement’s take on that question depends on what your definition of a Jewish state is.  If Israel, by definition, is an institutionalized regime of Jewish privilege, enforced at the barrel of a gun, then the BDS movement certainly wants to “destroy” Israel.

But what if Israel/Palestine can be re-imagined, a space that preserves Israeli Jewish life and culture while implementing Palestinian human rights for all?  It’s a more complicated counter-question to Friedman’s.  But the BDS movement’s prescriptions certainly point towards that sentiment, which is a more interesting and fair take on the future that stoking existential fears of destruction.  Perhaps once the two-state paradigm collapses–and it will if John Kerry’s efforts fail, which is why the U.S. is so feverishly working towards a framework agreement–these complicated, thorny questions will come to the fore. The Times will have to play catch up.

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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65 Responses

  1. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes
    February 12, 2014, 3:28 pm

    The Piece Process may end if John Kerry’s efforts fail, but not necessarily a 2SS. Abbas can pursue full statehood for Palestine through the UN and ICC.

    • The JillyBeans
      The JillyBeans
      February 13, 2014, 5:14 pm

      Given that Israel, well at least the current regime’s defiance of UN resolutions and the international community’s standards regarding occupation of captured territories, it’s highly unlikely that they would recognize a Palestinian state carved out that way. It is likely the Israeli’s would see that as a reason to go to war and potentially decimate the ill equipped Palestinians. I highly doubt the Arab neighbors would lift a finger to give the Palestinians a fighting chance. Stones, rockets vs planes and bombs? It would be a massacre.

    • puppies
      puppies
      February 13, 2014, 10:46 pm

      Rusty Pipes – “Abbas can pursue full statehood for Palestine through the UN and ICC.”
      Abbas, my friend, has been selected, bought and fully paid to do exactly what the Zionist entity tell him to do. Continue waiting.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 14, 2014, 9:27 am

        Abbas, my friend, has been selected, bought and fully paid to do exactly what the Zionist entity tell him to do. Continue waiting.

        You need to explain to us which one of his Zionist masters asked him to accept ICC jurisdiction and file a sealed criminal complaint in the Hague? I think you haven’t been watching events very closely.

        Palestine just filed an emergency application with UNESCO to discuss World Heritage status for Batir this summer. That’s a unilateral move in the UN and it indicates that Palestine will no longer consider itself to be bound by the current ground rules after April, even if they agree to continued talks. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.574171

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 15, 2014, 1:05 am

        @Hostage – This kind of legal moves (“toothless-legal”, with no enforcement) don’t go unnoticed. Symbolically they are valuable, but then Pétain, Tsolakoglou and the other WW2 puppet government leaders did also go through similar-sounding “patriotic” motions. We just won’t agree on how much value to attach to a recourse to UN organs. As valuable as the Wall judgment is, no enforcement is forthcoming without political violence. A State on paper sounds nice until you realize it is forbidden to Palestinians have more than a US-trained police force to repress the resistance itself, and emergency medical requests have to be re-written on PA paper. Abbas himself has seen how a mysterious, fulminating hematologic illness lies kin ambush for being headstrong. Most important, the “ground rules” you mention continue to apply even with the frenzied settlement expansion.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 15, 2014, 1:01 pm

        @Hostage – This kind of legal moves (“toothless-legal”, with no enforcement) don’t go unnoticed.

        You’re so intelligent and observant. Please explain how Abbas, or anyone else for that matter, can get Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, the ICC Prosecutor, to get off her ass and take enforcement action?

        Great Britain is member state of the ICC. So the Prosecutor does not need a referral from the Security Council to exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed by its citizens. There have been no shortage of referrals for their role in the use of torture and the illegal transfer/deportation of prisoners to Guantanamo. See
        * Can the ICC investigate UK higher echelons’ command responsibility for torture committed by the armed forces against Iraqi detainees?
        http://opiniojuris.org/2014/01/19/guest-post-meloni-can-icc-investigate-uk-higher-echelons-command-responsibility-torture-committed-armed-forces-iraqi-detainees/
        * UK Supreme Court Rejects Jack Goldsmith’s Interpretation of GC IV
        http://opiniojuris.org/2012/11/01/uk-supreme-court-rejects-jack-goldsmiths-interpretation-of-gc-iv/

        Afghanistan is an ICC member state and it has been waiting for more than a decade for the ICC to take action against crimes committed on its territory.
        * The OTP’s Remarkable Slow-Walking of the Afghanistan Examination
        http://opiniojuris.org/2013/12/01/otps-remarkable-slow-walking-afghanistan-examination/

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 15, 2014, 8:42 pm

        @Hostage – Absolutely right. Goes to show that even these timid moves can’t proceed past the ICC blockade, never mind the edentulous sentences when a blue moon provides a sentence. More reason to ignore the farce played by this puppet dogcatcher administration: if he goes to the Tribunal in April this year, it will be with the full knowledge that the overdue move is doomed. Or he’ll find some new pretext for not even trying, depending on his handlers’ wishes.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 17, 2014, 12:20 am

        @Hostage – Absolutely right. Goes to show that even these timid moves can’t proceed past the ICC blockade, never mind the edentulous sentences when a blue moon provides a sentence. More reason to ignore the farce played by this puppet dogcatcher administration: if he goes to the Tribunal in April this year, it will be with the full knowledge that the overdue move is doomed. Or he’ll find some new pretext for not even trying, depending on his handlers’ wishes.

        You’re talking about a situation where he would have no choice:

        Answering a question on whether the Palestinian Authority would be willing to accept Israeli settlers remaining under the jurisdiction of a future Palestinian state, the same as the Arab minority living in Israel, Abbas said the analogy is flawed, but even so the discussion of the issue is premature. “First of all, give me the borders of the Palestinian state and then we’ll discuss the repercussions and minor details,” he said.

        Regarding borders, Abbas reiterated that the Palestinians want to negotiate borders based on the 1967 lines with agreed-upon land swaps.

        Abbas said he sees no reason to extend the peace talks with Israel as long as no proposal forming a basis for a future agreement has been put on the table. Regarding possible scenarios after the time allotted for the negotiation expires, Abbas said: “I prefer the diplomatic solution, and I dislike courts. But if we have no choice? I ask you what you would do.”

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.574502

        I don’t accept the propositions contained in the rest of your analysis. I think the international community can bring pressure to bear on the ICC Prosecutor and make her take action. The BDS movement just needs to focus on the issue of imposing criminal sanctions through real tribunals instead of mock ones, like the Russell Tribunal, to help achieve its aims.

        Wikileaks revealed that Israel considered the ICC complaint Abbas had filed to be an act of war. Neither Israel nor the USA put him up to that. The government of Israel publicly demanded that he withdraw it. He proved to be a lot braver than any of the commenters around here give him credit for, when he refused to back down and went to the UN over hysterical Israeli and US protests in order to put more pressure on the ICC Prosecutor to act. If you want to complain about his human rights record, go right ahead. But I can’t take anyone seriously when they complain about Abbas taking orders from Israel or the USA.

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 17, 2014, 2:02 am

        @Hostage – Some valuable things in there, except:
        “The BDS movement just needs to focus on the issue of imposing criminal sanctions through real tribunals instead of mock ones, like the Russell Tribunal, to help achieve its aims.”

        By which mechanism will a boycott of Israel products (being drowned by a Zionist-controlled limited boycott of settlement products) and an only-nascent academic boycott (that pulls its punch by not applying to individuals) force the OTP to accept non-African-non-South-Slavic defendants?
        Ricochet? Boycott the ICC merchandise –t-shirts and mugs?
        It’s hard to explain to jurists the degree to which the ICC has discredited itself in the eyes of millions of laymen, by being a true and steady friend of its supposed defendants. The “International Community” you suppose should move the P is not what you imagine but a congeries of criminals against humanity. Blair is probably a dear friend of hers. The Russell tribunal commands infinitely more respect –and has probably the same powers of enforcement except for Africans and other US targets, ie zilch.

        As for the terrible tempest in the teapot of PA statehood and ICC, well, what else could have salvaged the PA’s last whiff of a shadow of a tatter of credibility? Why would the Zionist entity swallow whole the hundreds of UNGA and even UNSC camels and strain at this gnat?

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 17, 2014, 3:23 am

        @puppies: “edentulous,” “elucubrations”– them’s pretty fancy words you use!!

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 17, 2014, 3:32 am

        http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4489004,00.html

        The chief Palestinian negotiator says that if US-brokered peace talks fail to result in an accord, then the Palestinian will call for an economic boycott of Israel, in contradiction to conciliatory statements made by Palestinian president before a group of Israeli students.

        Saeb Erekat made the comments during an interview given to Al-Jazeera last Friday before an audience of hundreds of students at Britain’s Oxford University.

        “Turning to international tribunals, to UN bodies, and joining a call for economic sanctions – all that will come if Kerry’s initiative fails,” Erekat said when asked why the Palestinians do not petition the ICC and ICJ at this time.

        According to Erekat, the Palestinians promised not to attempt to try Israel in international courts, and in return secured the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners. Therefore, he explained, no suits would be filed until the fourth and final round of prisoners are released.

        According to the Palestinian negotiator, the PA is preparing for a “blitz” of lawsuits against Israel in The Hague, claiming the Palestinians have more than 50 petitions signed and ready, should talks fail.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 17, 2014, 3:44 am

        By which mechanism will a boycott of Israel products (being drowned by a Zionist-controlled limited boycott of settlement products) and an only-nascent academic boycott (that pulls its punch by not applying to individuals) force the OTP to accept non-African-non-South-Slavic defendants?

        The “S” in BDS stands for sanctions. Colleges and rock concerts don’t impose sanctions. The 2005 BDS call to action didn’t mention anything at all about mock tribunals. But it damn sure did say:

        We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel.

        http://www.bdsmovement.net/call

        The ICC is an international, intergovernmental organization that imposes penal sanctions on individuals responsible for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community of states. The Rome Statute is an agreement between states, not lawyers or judges. There are 122 states that pay the bills at the ICC. They are also the “Assembly of State Parties”, which is the rule making body and the body responsible for drafting the terms of the mandates for the Court’s independent oversight mechanisms.

        There is no veto in the Assembly, and a simple majority is all that’s required to adopt any decision. More than 70 of the member states voted to upgrade Palestine’s status in the UN so it could file criminal complaints under the provisions they included in Article 12(3) for non-member states. The former Prosecutor advised the UN in his last update report that he was not empowered to make a decision about the status of Palestine, but that the Assembly of State parties could dispose of the question as to whether or not Palestine is a non-member state capable of accepting the Court’s jurisdiction and making a self-referral. So far, only a handful of Palestinian activists have asked the Assembly to vote on the question, and only three or four are active in the BDS movement: See ICC Assembly of States Parties Urged to Decide on Status of Palestine. http://www.ejiltalk.org/icc-assembly-of-states-parties-urged-to-decide-on-status-of-palestine/

        The way the members of the global BDS movement can get the Assembly of State parties to act, is to contact the elected representatives in their respective governments and raise hell. Palestine has the support of a majority of the voting member states and neither Israel nor the USA even have a vote.

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 17, 2014, 4:52 am

        @Sibiriak – Return them to store if found wanting; we’ll be glad to replace them.

  2. American
    American
    February 12, 2014, 4:46 pm

    ”But what if Israel/Palestine can be re-imagined, a space that preserves Israeli Jewish life and culture while implementing Palestinian human rights for all?”

    Israeli Jewish life and culture is about and has been completely based on Jewish supremism, expansion (stealing), violence and rule for 65 years and they are going to have some great moral awakening and do a magical 180 and ‘benevolently bestow’ on non Jews equal rights or give Palestines an equal share of their own stolen drinking water every day?

    Very naïve to believe that.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      February 13, 2014, 10:55 am

      American:

      Very naïve to believe that.

      Exactly.

    • Sycamores
      Sycamores
      February 13, 2014, 2:50 pm

      it’s naive now but isn’t that the reason behind the BDS to change that view.

      in defeat israelis will be demanding human rights for all.

      if the peace talks fail and the BDS movement explodes all around the world and israel gets hit by one sanction after another. eventually israel economy would collapse and after awhile they would give in to all BDS demands to salvage any claims to the land. the flood of Palestinians refugees would change the demographics over night.

      the cry for ‘human rights for all’ will have a whole new meaning for the israelis.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      February 17, 2014, 9:27 am

      ”But what if Israel/Palestine can be re-imagined, a space that preserves Israeli Jewish life and culture while implementing Palestinian human rights for all?

      The problem is more easily seen by rephrasing the question as:

      “But what if Israel/Palestine can be re-imagined, a space that preserves Jewish Zionist life and culture while implementing Palestinian human rights for all”.

      The key point is: Jewish life and culture in Israel/Palestine is Zionist and Zionism (as actually practiced ) is incompatible with “human rights for all”.

      So, what would be involved is not re-imagining a space or political arrangement, but the complete erasure of a ethno-supremacist culture– the complete ideological and psychological transformation of millions of people.

      That’s not unimaginable, but it’s something that would take generations. And right now, Israeli culture is moving in the opposite direction: toward greater racism, ethnic-nationalism, illiberalism, and fundamentalist religiosity.

  3. Henry Norr
    Henry Norr
    February 12, 2014, 5:00 pm

    My take on the Rudoren, Cohen, and Friedman pieces about BDS this week: the Times’ bosses are probably taking flak from the Israelis and the lobby – and feeling guilty – for running the Barghouti op-ed, so they sent out a hasty alert to the crew to crank out whatever they could to placate the critics.

    • DICKERSON3870
      DICKERSON3870
      February 12, 2014, 10:09 pm

      Yes, I think that is a good explanation of the likely dynamics at the upper echelon of The New York Times.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 13, 2014, 11:02 am

        Yeah. It looks like Israel + DC + NYT + Micronesia + Nauru versus everyone else

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        February 13, 2014, 7:48 pm

        considering the NYT is so hated by both pro Zionists and anti-Zionists it should be easy to conclude that they must be doing something right. What that is, I couldnt say though. But I can say that the hatred for the nyt coverage of Israel is almost universal.

  4. ritzl
    ritzl
    February 12, 2014, 8:38 pm

    It kinda seems like we’re in the Bargaining>Depression stage of support for Israel-the-dream.

    The next step in this hand-wringing, rear-guard media exercise will be the Acceptance that Israel, as the exclusive Jewish State, IS going to go away. One year or ten, the clock’s ticking and the inevitability is becoming apparent. I think even Roger Cohen’s article teeters on that acceptance (at least his intro).

    The post WWII moral fundamentals just aren’t there, there’s been so, So many [decades of them] opportunities for Israel to resolve this morally, justly and viably, such that these anger-cum-bargaining arguments just aren’t convincing anymore. Or immediately and recognizably superfluous.

    Israel, the Jewish State, violently and at great cost to the people already living there, done “self-determined” itself in 1948. It could have stopped, but its continued expansion was/is rhetorically unsupportable and, imho, now terminal.

    • Les
      Les
      February 12, 2014, 9:12 pm

      Ending the expansion of the Jewish state will suffocate zionism.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 14, 2014, 5:14 pm

        nobody here is GLOATING about the sudden rise in Sodastream stock of almost 23% opening at $44 like they were gloating about Sodastreams demise after the Superbowl.

        Nearly 50 percent of the outstanding shares are short interest.
        http://www.highshortinterest.com/

        The current price is based on completely unfounded speculation that Pepsico might buy an interest in Sodastream. The stock was at a 52 week low and had badly missed its own earnings estimate before Coke bought a 10 percent interest in a competitor. There’s been no evidence that Pepsi is suddenly interested in Sodastream. It quashed similar rumors just a few months ago.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        February 15, 2014, 7:22 pm

        Motley Fool-not your average ‘zionist’ source is just one of a few dozen stock analysis sites claiming SS is a “winning pick” as a buy in for 2014-15. They are not even anticipating any moves by Pepsico and acknowledge the Coke has bought a home soda company subsidiary. They base their analysis on SS current position in the market and their new focus on expansion after a bad year. It looks like a definite risk but a good risk with a high potential pay out. I seriously doubt this wont be generally accepted in the market at large. Motley Fool is hardly ‘cutting edge’ any more. But SS is still up above $40. At least the ‘poor suffering soda-less BDS’rs’ will finally have an alternative to SS when Keurig starts to put out its own machine with Coke backing. Now-if only there were alternatives to intell, HP, Apple, MS, Generic pills, etc etc.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 17, 2014, 12:59 am

        They are not even anticipating any moves by Pepsico and acknowledge the Coke has bought a home soda company subsidiary.

        They shouldn’t anticipate any moves by Pepsico. BTW, Coke didn’t “validate the market” or buy a home soda company. It only took a 10 percent stake in the successful Keurig coffee pod maker’s business. Nothing prevents Pepsi from doing the same:

        This is not an exclusive partnership; Green Mountain will also look for deals with other companies, although Kelley declined to offer further details.

        — SodaStream’s New Mainstream Rivals: Coke and Green Mountain
        http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-05/sodastreams-new-mainstream-rivals-coke-and-green-mountain

        Coke and Green Mountain have joint plans to take market share away from SS. But even if that doesn’t come to fruition, Coke still owns a 10 percent share of a money making coffee beverage business.

        They base their analysis on SS current position in the market and their new focus on expansion after a bad year. It looks like a definite risk

        Yeah, the author is a private investor who admits up front that he is a contrarian who is pulling his hair out wondering where this fizz maker will be a week from now, much less several years. He notes that most analysts and media outlets disagree with his optimistic analysis. Last summer the Motley bloggers were publishing much more realistic articles which explained that SS had peaked-out in a fad market with an overpriced product. http://beta.fool.com/sammattera/2013/06/08/sodastream-is-a-fad/36518/

        Plans to expand and build a new facility in the Negev are probably a little beside the point if their sales were already failing to match their own predictions before the competing Coke/Green Mountain product was announced.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        February 15, 2014, 6:59 pm

        @Les- Agree. The expansion is the self-evident, morally-wrong basis, NOT the “self-determination.”

        That’s becoming, if not has become, obvious to anyone who contemplates this issue for more than a second.

  5. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    February 12, 2014, 8:54 pm

    nobody here is GLOATING about the sudden rise in Sodastream stock of almost 23% opening at $44 like they were gloating about Sodastreams demise after the Superbowl. Whats the analysis on this trend? Evil Zionists artificially pumping up Sodastream in a grand conspiracy? Or just backlash?

    • DICKERSON3870
      DICKERSON3870
      February 14, 2014, 3:19 pm

      For me, trying to make sense of the stock market is a bit like “reading tea leaves”. That said, it is possible that the pitch SodaStream’s CEO made to The Israel Project earned him some sympathy “buys”.

    • American
      American
      February 15, 2014, 4:47 pm

      ”Evil Zionists artificially pumping up Sodastream in a grand conspiracy? Or just backlash?”’

      Wouldnt be the first time a company ‘planted’ rumors—-of a buy out, falsified sales results or financials, etc—-so the inside execs could run up the stock price and sell their shares before the bottom drops out.
      Does Enron ring any bells?……exactly what they did.
      We’ll see what happens…too soon to tell.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    February 12, 2014, 9:52 pm

    RE: “Erakat’s and other activists’ take goes to the heart of Friedman’s apt question: ‘What is the nation state of the Jewish people?’” ~ Kane

    MY COMMENT: Ira Chernus recently considered that question along with one other to boot.*

    * SEE: Is Israel a “Jewish Nation”? Is the US an “American Nation”?, by Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.org, 1/31/14

    [EXCERPT] . . . All countries define themselves, Hind Khoury, a former Palestinian minister and ambassador, told Rudoren. “Why doesn’t Israel call itself at the U.N. whatever they want to call it — the Jewish whatever, Maccabean, whatever they want. Then the whole world will recognize it.” But, Khoury added, “We will never recognize Israel the way they want, I mean genuinely, from our hearts. … Why for them to feel secure do we have to deny our most recent history?”
    “For them to feel secure” — There’s the heart of the matter, as Americans should easily understand. Israeli Jews, like white Americans, have always known that their claim to the land they call their own is dubious.
    Ever since the first Europeans arrived in what would become the United States, they have paraded an endless array of papers, all claiming to be treaties signed by native peoples ceding their lands to the conquerors. “You see, we have a right to this land,” the whites proudly proclaimed. Never mind that most of the treaties were either coerced, signed by native peoples who did not understand them, or outright fraudulent. They gave at least the appearance of legal right.
    Israel has a somewhat stronger case with UN Resolution 181, passed in 1947, providing for “independent Arab and Jewish States” in Palestine. But the right of the Jews to have their own state in Palestine has still remained a matter of contention (pardon the understatement) ever since.
    Why did so many white Americans find it so important to be able to waive those pieces of paper “proving” their “legal right” to the land? Why do a sizeable majority of Israeli Jews favor the demand that Palestinians acknowledge Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”? Obviously, both peoples are insecure about their right to their land. If they can get the former inhabitants to relinquish their rights, it gives the appearance, at least, that the vanquished concede to the victors a moral right to the land they have taken.
    But the issue of security runs even deeper.
    Yedidia Z. Stern, a vice president of the Israel Democracy Institute, told Rudoren: “We don’t know what it means to be a Jewish state. But does that mean we have to give it up?
    No way. I would leave. The reason I’m here is because this state is a Jewish state.”
    On the face of it, this sounds shockingly illogical. Why stake your life on three words whose meaning you can’t define or explain — three words whose meaning your own people have been debating for over a century?
    But the shock I got was one of recognition. So many people in the U.S. have been doing much the same thing for over three centuries: insisting that what makes us a great and exceptional people is that we are Americans, yet being unable to say exactly what it means to be “an American” and endlessly arguing about it. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – https://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/01/31-0

  7. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    February 13, 2014, 5:39 am

    Why would one take Noura Erekat’s ideas regarding the future of post Zionist Palestine any more seriously than one should take the ideas of the liberal Egyptians of Tahrir Square’s. That is: as ideas they are interesting and maybe even beguiling, but as a map to the future they are misleading, ephemeral and unrealistic. Egypt might some day live up to the ideals of the liberals of Tahrir Square. But today the choices of Egypt are between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood. Noura Erekat’s ideas are as valuable as those liberal ideas, but as irrelevant to the near future. Her ideas will most probably not rule the new Palestine that she is building. Those who oppose her have a more realistic concept of what will come about and her idealism should be noted, but certainly is insufficient to those who believe in the reality principle.

    • tree
      tree
      February 13, 2014, 6:32 am

      Noura Erekat’s ideas are as valuable as those liberal ideas, but as irrelevant to the near future. Her ideas will most probably not rule the new Palestine that she is building. Those who oppose her have a more realistic concept of what will come about and her idealism should be noted, but certainly is insufficient to those who believe in the reality principle.

      Yes, of course. Because all Arabs are the same, right yonah? What happened in Egypt under the current situation (which includes apartheid Israel and a US that uses its muscle to reinforce Israel’s will, as well as Egypt’s particular history) is exactly what will happen in Israel/Palestine should Israeli Jews actually decide to treat the Palestinians decently, like fellow human beings. After all, Palestinians are just Arabs and indistinguishable from any other Arab mindset, right? And of course, these same Israeli Jews, who are steeped in learned bigotry from childhood on by the institutions of their state, are a better judge of what Palestinians will be like when they are finally treated with equality and justice. Yeah, you tell ’em, yonah. The Grand Wizard would be mighty proud of your “grasp” of the “reality principle”.

      The sad thing is that we don’t have to imagine what things would be like with Zionist Jews in charge, because we already know, and it isn’t pretty. But you don’t want to think about that. You’d rather throw your hat in with racists than embrace the concept of equality of citizenship because you’re too bigoted to realize that the Zionists are goring your ox as well.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        February 13, 2014, 5:59 pm

        I hate to tell you that Palestinian Arabs are not particularly different-as you claim-then typical Arabs in Egypt, Jordan, or Israel. They share many cultural similarities and descend from the same Arab conquerors in the 7century. Of course every group of people in one situation differ slightly from people in another situation. But there is a reason Nasser is still idolized by vast majorities of Arab Muslims. And what would you say distinguishes the majority population of Palestinians living under the Hashemite monarchy in Jordan from the Palestinians living across the river? Were you surprised when Palestinians voted Hamas into office (or do you rationalize it by using Israeli-PA coöperation and/or coruption as the driving motivator?)? Are you surprised that more then 80% of Palestinians polled say making an interim ‘peace’ with Israel is totally acceptable as a means to reclaiming the entire mandate? Are you surprised that while Arab and Muslim nationalism is proudly acknowledged by vast % of Arabs that they consider Zionism as a ‘racist’ and ‘nazi-like’ form of nationalism? (thanks in part to EU/US based Palestinian PR ngo’s)

        And in case you hadn;’t heard-the UN wiped its slate clean of the smear that zionism=racism. Or then a guess you also advocate for ignoring the UN decisions that violate your basic sense of decency? Just like Zionists, ey?.

        I wish that all those who advocate for the end of Zionism would go and stay for a spell in Mugabes Zimbabwe where there was NO Mandela to smooth out any transitions and white farmers have left in droves-even to neighbors who welcome their farming skills like Mozambique- due to policies of ‘righting ancient wrongs’. Go there and live for a while then come back and lecture Zionist Israelis who built a democratic and dynamic Nation where ALL people have the vote and access to healthcare and freedom.

      • James North
        James North
        February 13, 2014, 7:50 pm

        Shift change at Hasbara Central.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 13, 2014, 8:26 pm

        I hate to tell you that Palestinian Arabs are not particularly different-as you claim-then typical Arabs in Egypt, Jordan, or Israel. They share many cultural similarities and descend from the same Arab conquerors in the 7century.

        You should let the editors of the Jerusalem Post in on that secret:

        Misinai collected stories – legends and folklore from the mouths of mukhtars, village elders throughout the land, attesting to the truth of his assertions. “There are large clans throughout the country, in the Hebron Hills, in Samaria and among the Negev Beduin, who know of their heritage and even have family trees that document their roots. Not only that; many of them have specifically Jewish customs, and their neighbors would call them ‘the Jews,’ even though they were technically as Muslim as anyone else.” Close to nine out of 10 Palestinians in the Land of Israel – Israel proper, Judea, Samaria and Gaza – have Jewish roots. In fact, he says, the percentage in Gaza is somewhat higher than 90 percent. Misinai is far from the first researcher to have stumbled upon this historical find. The first president of Israel, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, and the first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, wrote several books and articles on the subject. In fact, Ben-Gurion believed so strongly in the idea that in 1956 he set up a task force headed by Moshe Dayan and Haim Levkov (the Palmah’s “point man” among the Arabs of Israel, he worked with Yigal Allon to set up the Trackers’ Unit, traditionally the domain of Negev Beduin), that was supposed to develop ways to “Judaize” the Beduin, teaching them something about modern Jewish life and tradition to integrate them with the Israeli people, ethnically if not religiously. The Beduin were willing enough, but the teachers who were supposed to live and work with them dropped out of the program because of the rough living conditions. In the end, Dayan convinced Ben-Gurion that the idea would upset “the Islamic world,” and the program was dropped.

        — “The lost Palestinian Jews” http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Features/The-lost-Palestinian-Jews

        Go there and live for a while then come back and lecture Zionist Israelis who built a democratic and dynamic Nation where ALL people have the vote and access to healthcare and freedom.

        Yeah but only the Jews have the right to engage in pillage or to make their living off the proceeds through racketeering.

        Come to this country, where its considered illegal, immoral, or unconstitutional for any official to deny a citizen equal rights, privileges, or immunities under color of law or government regulation and then go back to Israel and try to justify the exclusive Jewish privilege under the Law of Return to the Palestinian inhabitants. Here’s a link to one of the laws that prevents that racist crap from happening here: 42 U.S. Code § 1983 – Civil action for deprivation of rights http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/1983

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        February 13, 2014, 10:49 pm

        I didn’t say they werent different “at all”. I said they were not PARTICULARLY different. [And why should I care about an article in the JP? Its still a rag as much as Haaretz. Unless you thought I would respect the jp for some reason?] and I meant mostly in how they view Jews, Israel, Zionism the Zionist Entity and the conflict. If you want to be a wise guy and let me in on all the secret histories of Palestinians I would agree, all people have unique histories. If only their so-called differences translated to something truly DIFFERENT -politically speaking-in this neighborhood. And I am not referring to the destruction of Zionism either.

        And omg! Are you really going to cite US statute law? Well then. Why don’t we have a mock trial on the green line and wether it ACTUALLY, not theoretically, morally, or by opinion of the unelected EU, but if it actually meets the criteria for an “occupied land” considering it was occupied by Jordan and annexed and then captured by Israel and an armistice line was negotiated. Doesnt quite fit the legal definition of what the laws on transferring populations in occupied territory refer to. And all of this still doesnt mean Israel will not willing make painful comprimises in both land and population to achieve a FINAL peace. Not an interim peace that flies out the window with the next radical islamist group voted in or when the propped up monarchies fall and treaties along with them. In light of this-try and explain to Israelis why they shouldnt bide their time. Are Islamist groups that hate Zionist Entity and may very well hate Jews too going away from the so-called ‘Arab Spring’?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 14, 2014, 9:17 am

        I didn’t say they werent different “at all”. I said they were not PARTICULARLY different. [And why should I care about an article in the JP?

        You haven’t said anything that was particularly intelligent either. They aren’t particularly different from their Jewish neighbors when it comes to their culture and historical connection to the land of Palestine.

        And omg! Are you really going to cite US statute law?

        Yes of course, since you tried to come here and deliver a lecture about democracy on behalf of a theocratic and ethnic racial regime. You dimwits in Israel have been struggling to define the term “democracy” for your draft constitution for the past 66 years. I just thought you could use some helpful suggestions that your own lawmakers could just cut and paste into a basic law.

        The Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset and your Cabinet keep churning out embarrassingly racist horse shit like this:
        * Basic Law: Israel as the Nation -State of the Jewish People
        http://index.justice.gov.il/StateIdentity/InformationInEnglish/Documents/Basic%20Law%20110911%20%281%29.pdf

        Your Justice Minister has asked a washed-out, pathetic Zionist ideologue to spell-out the legal basis of a Jewish and democratic state. But it’s case of the blind leading the blind. Gavison admitted a long time ago that the Jewish part of the equation trumps the democratic part and that Israel can only be described as democratic if everyone else agrees to redefine the term and make an exception for your shitty little state, i.e.
        * Can Israel be both Jewish and democratic? Ruth Gavison
        http://members.ngfp.org/Courses/gavison/Moment.pdf

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 14, 2014, 11:49 pm

        @Baker (no reply button) – “Are Islamist groups that hate Zionist Entity and may very well hate Jews too going away from the so-called ‘Arab Spring’?”

        Why should they? Hate against the Zionist entity is universal among decent people of the earth. What did you think, that there is no price tag for colonial invasion, land theft, massacres, occupation, apartheid, war of aggression and all the rest? The Zionist entity started a full-blown war and has concluded no just peace with the Palestinian people.

        As for “Jews”, in Palestine that means the Master Race. The Aryans of the new racist mass-murderer and thief state. If you want to be exempt from such a characterization and contempt, kindly prove your personal deserter or resistant status.

      • talknic
        talknic
        February 17, 2014, 4:46 am

        @DaBakr “Why don’t we have a mock trial on the green line and wether it ACTUALLY, not theoretically, morally, or by opinion of the unelected EU, but if it actually meets the criteria for an “occupied land” .. “

        UNSC res 476… ever read it? Not by the EU. It reaffirms and emphasizes binding International Law under which the territories ARE occupied.

        “.. considering it was occupied by Jordan and annexed “

        It was occupied by Transjordan by AGREEMENT under the 1949 Armistice Agreement with ISRAEL. You know what an agreement is?

        The West Bank as it is now known, was legally annexed at the request of the Palestinians Jordan’s annexation was as a trustee only (Session: 12-II Date: May 1950).

        “..and then captured by Israel and an armistice line was negotiated”

        At the time it was captured by Israel in ’67, it was a part of Jordan which was a UN Member state and a high contracting power.

        Can you give a source for the alleged armistice agreement of 1967….thx

        Don’t give up. Keep spouting your bullsh*t. It’s cute… Every time you do it affords the opportunity to show other readers just how stupid supporters of Israel’s crimes can be

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        February 13, 2014, 8:26 pm

        tree- Nice. Grand Wizard.

        What are the forces that would rule a free Palestine. Is it racist to worry that free Palestine would resemble the other Arab countries in the region?

        The last election held in the territories voted for a plurality of Hamas. When Gaza’s military occupation was reduced to its current siege, who took over Gaza? Gaza may be different. Its situation is far worse economically and population density wise than the West Bank and desperate conditions and the election of Islamists seem to go together. So the elections of 2006 are not proof of the unwritten future. I think it is logical to consider the situations in contiguous countries (that is countries contiguous to the future free Palestine.) Those countries are Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. (Saudi Arabia is practically contiguous but not quite.) Syria is a mess so comparing anything to Syria will result in hyperbole. Jordan is a monarchy. So called Free Palestine might be liberal (more than a 2% possibility) before it will be a monarchy, so Jordan is not of much help. Lebanon hangs on by the spit on its teeth to a precarious balance, for many reasons, including the existence of Israel next door, including the Palestinian refugees, but currently because of Hezbollah and its support for Syria’s Assad and Iran’s interests. I do not think Lebanon is proof of a positive future, but I suppose compared to Egypt this would be considered positive.

        It is true that elsewhere in the Arab world Tunisia is trying to make its way past the obstacles of Islamism and army rule to something resembling a good future. Or is mentioning Tunisia racist as well? Should I go to Eastern Europe and figure out the odds of Free Palestine’s adherence to liberal principles rather than to contiguous nations of similar cultural histories. (Do I not hear constantly that the Brits and the French carved up the Arab world haphazardly after WWI and in fact they are a unit. Does not an organization called the Arab League exist. Is its existence a racist fact as well.)

        If you offer something other than pie in the sky naivete hope for the wisdom of mankind as an alternative to my seeking the logical expectable futures presented by history- Hamas in last elections and Hamas in Gaza, or presented by contiguous countries of similar culture, then I might be able to assess your liberal vision of the future based on some facts. But instead you want to call me names and are not interested in presenting facts about what one can reasonably expect.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        February 13, 2014, 8:50 pm

        “What are the forces that would rule a free Palestine. Is it racist to worry that free Palestine would resemble the other Arab countries in the region?”

        That’s an excuse, not a reason. And we can know that beyond doubt because the zios could choose to run both the israeli state and the occupation in such a way to insure that the Jews and Palestinians had equal opportunities, freedoms, average income, economic opportunities and also prevented any theft or encroachment on Palestinian lands and property. The fact that the zios enacted the most racist apartheid system and have treated the Palestinians in such a evil manner demonstrates that Klan-level racism by the zios is driving this thing.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 13, 2014, 10:10 pm

        No, it is not racist, Yonah.

        But it is certainly wrong to use this worry as a justification for maintaining the status quo.

        If the Israelis had even a shred of human decency, or were even normally reasonable, they would be working for reconciliation with the Palestinians and trying to find ways to make a mixed state function. If they want the Palestinians to accept the necessary liberal values, they should encourage those values. Setting an example would help.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        February 13, 2014, 11:30 pm

        RoHa and others- I am not in favor of maintaining the status quo. I was reacting to a post that used a quote from Noura Erekat that proved that the BDS movement stands for certain things that imply what the reality will be after Palestine will be freed. The quote and the assertion were silly (not silly, but really child’s play, like junior high school debate, rather than situation room at the white house debate). No one of you can deny that fact. Instead you return to the point that existed before this article and its silly quote, that the status quo sucks. So, if MW deletes this article and deletes the silly quote we will be back at ground zero: the status quo sucks. Time machine us back to before where the article is printed and its silly quote and the silly defense of the quote and then I won’t have to react to the quote and you won’t have to react to me. Problem solved. Stupid interaction.

      • tree
        tree
        February 13, 2014, 11:35 pm

        Is it racist to worry that free Palestine would resemble the other Arab countries in the region?

        You’re not being honest. You weren’t “worrying”. You were flat out saying yet again that what Noura Erekat or any of the other Palestinian civil society BDS advocates were envisioning was, and I quote, “irrelevant” to the future, and that Netanyahu and the bunch were much better judges of what Israel/Palestine would be like if BDS succeeded. You were excusing the current racist status quo because you buy the Israeli racism that says that Palestinians can’t handle democracy, and that’s why they have denied them this all these decades. Its not that Zionists are hopeless bigots, no, its purely the fact that Palestinians are inferior and incapable of treating “us” fairly, and that’s why we’ve been forced to treat them unfairly. That’s pure racism, and you know it.

        If you offer something other than pie in the sky naivete hope for the wisdom of mankind as an alternative to my seeking the logical expectable futures presented by history- Hamas in last elections and Hamas in Gaza, or presented by contiguous countries of similar culture, then I might be able to assess your liberal vision of the future based on some facts.

        I think that you are the one offering simple but racist “pie in the sky naivete” by failing to consider the possibility of any future except continued inequality, with the preference on your part, no doubt, being that Jews are on the ruling side and not the other way around. You aren’t willing to lift a finger to help lead things toward equality and justice because the future could be worse, but you don’t understand that by failing to do anything you are insuring the worse possible outcome, not only for Palestinians but for Israeli Jews as well. If Israel had been successfully pushed into treating the Palestinians with some measure of human dignity then things wouldn’t be as bad as they are today, and the chances of getting to a place where all can live together without hatred and anger would have been far greater than they are today. I’ve come to the conclusion that Zionism was never capable of ruling as a majority. It doesn’t understand that you can’t treat people like lesser beings and expect them to accept and forgive you into eternity. You can’t take children out of there beds at night and into a prison to be tortured and then expect them to be concerned with your well being. At some point you can’t keep destroying people’s homes and expect them to give a damn about yours. Amazingly this is a concept that Zionism has never understood, or perhaps its too warped to care. Israel could have created a different military occupation that could have used its greater wealth and technology to improve the lives of the Palestinians under occupation, invested in its infrastructure, cared about its children, reached out as a friend to the Palestinians and gotten a steadfast friend in return, but Zionism’s racism wouldn’t let it do that, any more than it could treat its own non-Jewish citizens with equality. It has to be pushed, and even then it may not be enough. If Israel/Palestine is saved then it will owe a great debt to those Israeli Jews and Palestinians who are reaching out in equality and non-violence to right the wrongs that Zionism has committed over these hundred some years. The fact that it is not too late to do so is testament to the forgiveness of the Palestinian people. I’ve seen it and heard it. Its quite amazing. And there are numerous Palestinian academics, activists, intellectuals and just plain people who are a part of this. To pretend that they don’t count is to engage in your preferred fantasy, not reality.

        Hamas was not elected in a free Palestine. And it was elected primarily, according to polls, because of its lack of corruption as opposed to Fatah. In any case, the corruption of Fatah and the militancy of Hamas are no greater than the corruption and militancy of the various Israeli governments over the years, so again, your fears are really that a Palestinian government won’t be any better than an average Israeli one. The difference is that the corruption of Fatah and the militancy of Hamas are directly related to the conditions of belligerent occupation they are under, whereas the corruption of the Israeli governments are the result of the warped ideology of Zionism.

        I can see several possible futures, many of them tragic, and most of them with the Palestinians continuing to get the very short end of it, regardless of what they do, good or bad. Israel is firmly in control and there is no hope to change that without BDS or some similar international compulsion placed on Israel to stop its continual harsh denial of Palestinian human rights. I take it that you are OK with that, so your interest isn’t really in justice or equality. Your problem is that Israel’s actions will inevitably lead to a final reckoning if they can’t change their ways, or if enough of the international community can’t force a change. Israel can continue to cause a lot of destruction but that path leads to its own eventual destruction and a point where the rest of the world will cease to care when destruction is visited in return on Israel. When I am pessimistic I think about that, which is the result of doing nothing. When I am hopeful I think of the people of Budrus and Al Aqaba and other places in Palestine who simply want to live on their land without being threatened with dispossession and demolition and who face the violence against them with non-violence. I think of Jonathan Pollack and Neta Golan and Allegra Pacheco and David Sheen and all the other brave Israeli Jews who reach out to help those people and provide the best proof that Israeli Jews don’t have to be racists. And I think of the numerous real live Palestinian activists who you are willing to write off as “irrelevant” but are willing themselves to support the cause of equality for the long haul against major odds.

        *And I didn’t call you a name. I said that the KKK Grand Wizard would be proud of your kind of racist thinking. You ought to think about that. If, as you think, ethnicity trumps possibility and the past is always the future you should be concerned, because that would mean that the vast majority of Israeli Jews are incapable of acting as a responsible majority or treating minorities equitably. If that were the case then minority status would be a blessing in disguise.

      • tree
        tree
        February 13, 2014, 11:59 pm

        I was reacting to a post that used a quote from Noura Erekat that proved that the BDS movement stands for certain things that imply what the reality will be after Palestine will be freed.

        Since the post was in response to several hyperventilating columns in the NYT that either implied or flat out said that BDS advocates are angling for the “destruction of Israel”, it makes perfect journalistic sense to actually ask the BDS advocates what their actual vision is. I’m sorry you think that is stupid, but it sounds like a personal problem, not a journalistic one.

        So, if MW deletes this article and deletes the silly quote we will be back at ground zero: the status quo sucks. Time machine us back to before where the article is printed and its silly quote and the silly defense of the quote and then I won’t have to react to the quote and you won’t have to react to me. Problem solved. Stupid interaction.

        This seems to be a rut you are in recently and would apply to your attitude about several articles here whenever you get a dissenting reply. Emily Litella moments? Hanging out too much with Doc Brown and his DeLorean lately?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        February 14, 2014, 12:31 am

        tree- Your talent with words again impresses me (even when you are full of malarkey.)

        (outright malarkey:) If I say that Father Coughlin would be proud of you, (nothing you said here would make him proud, but in other comments on previous occasions there was indeed malarkey in your words that would have made him strut with pride), that isn’t name calling, right?

        (diluted malarkey:) I think that a track record is important. And if the track record of the liberals of Egypt does not badly reflect on the future track record of liberals in Palestine, then certainly the track record of westerners who fell in love with the liberals of Tahrir Square certainly should be considered when those same westerners fall in love with the liberals of the future free Palestine. Those who utterly failed to reckon reality into their assessment of Tahrir Square should not be believed when they again toss reality to the side.

        If I have not made my preferences clear before, I side with Peter Beinart and not with Benjamin Netanyahu. This might not fit your requirements, as to what is an acceptable position, but at least don’t use your broad brush to paint me as a Netanyahu supporter.

        There is a logical problem as to how to change the status quo if one recoils at the thought of joining forces with those like Omar Barghouti and Abunimah. If the net effect of my words is to protect Netanyahu and Bennett, then indeed I have not succeeded. In fact Naftali Bennett is a bigger threat to the Jewish people than Max Blumenthal, although my urge to vomit is greater in regards to Max and therefore my condemnations of Max roll off my tongue (typing fingers) much more easily than they do in condemning Bennett.

        There will be many rivers to cross and decades to endure before the Jews in Israel are condemned to minority status. Are you a prophet to know that the situation then will be a blessing to the Jews and their minority status?

        Yes, those who support the freedom of the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza and the refugee camps and the exiles have different priorities than I do. But the path from here to the future first and foremost must deal in honesty and truth. And presenting the words of Noura Erekat and treating them as gospel truth, as if not a drop of skepticism is required is certainly not truthful.

        I do not go back 100 years to condemn the Zionists, although there were things wished for and written by the Zionists before 1947 that deserve condemnation. I begin with the nakba and not really the beginning of the nakba, as in Plan Dalet, but in the aftermath of the nakba and the unwillingness of Israel to take the refugees back in.

        I know my musings won’t suffice, but nonetheless here is my thought experiment. The day after the Israeli elections in 1949 (they weren’t strictly speaking Knesset elections, but were supposedly elections to a constitutional convention, which never took place), Ben Gurion dies and Moshe Sharett takes his place. Then Sharett dreams that God (who resembles Ben Gurion in his voice and height) “commands” Sharett that he should take the refugees back into Israel and Sharett thus commanded must now present the new Knesset with this command. (Obviously the Jews of Israel would not agree and Sharett lacked the juice to force his opinion on the people and the thought experiment does not lead us out of the nakba and into the future.)

        Those who are thinking how to build a good free Palestine rather than a Hamas Palestine are great people in their hearts and I like to hear their thoughts if only to clarify where I think they are disregarding reality and if in fact there hearts are as pure as first glance. But those who write columns on web sites and accept those words without tempering them with reality are people who are dabbling in wishes and not facts. And those who write such columns and approve of such columns deserve scorn for dealing in fantasy.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 14, 2014, 9:41 am

        I think that a track record is important. And if the track record of the liberals of Egypt does not badly reflect on the future track record of liberals in Palestine, then certainly the track record of westerners who fell in love with the liberals of Tahrir Square certainly should be considered when those same westerners fall in love with the liberals of the future free Palestine.

        That might make a little sense if the government of Israel wasn’t up to its eyeballs in trying to overturn the outcome of the Palestinian and Egyptian elections that put the members of political parties aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood in office. Israelis “don’t do Ghandi”. So its humorous to hear you talk as if it’s the liberal alternative to the status quo.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        February 14, 2014, 10:07 pm

        Hostage- It sounds to me that you think that Morsi was a dream come true. He was not. I do not approve of the coup, nor do I approve of the clumsiness of Morsi and the M.B. until the coup. But the point is: the liberals promised something and what they delivered was Morsi. The westerners said, oh listen to the liberals they speak of liberty. And in fact they delivered Morsi. The coup and Israel’s pleasure with the coup are topics for another time. Can we deal with one aspect at a time or is that not possible?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        February 14, 2014, 11:10 pm

        Hostage- It sounds to me that you think that Morsi was a dream come true.

        No, I’m saying that it’s a violation of international law for other governments to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries, especially to overturn their elections. If it can be done to Palestine and Egypt, then it can be done to Israel and the USA too.

        But the point is: the liberals promised something and what they delivered was Morsi.

        One thing is for certain, it didn’t take the Egyptians or Morsi 67 years to get around to writing a constitution.

        The USA promised a lot too. It claimed that all men are created equal, but the first President was actually a despot who practiced slavery. It took generations to bring the constitution and the laws into line with the original pretensions of liberality. Nonetheless, citizens can still be murdered in cold blood without any due process, if the President or one of his flunkey’s suspects you of acting suspiciously, i.e. The Case Against Drone Strikes on People Who Only ‘Act’ Like Terrorists http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/08/the-case-against-drone-strikes-on-people-who-only-act-like-terrorists/278744/

        Israel can’t even write a simple definition of what its own government means by the apparent oxymoron “Jewish and democratic” state. It can’t even adopt a constitution that openly and honestly discusses Zionist aspirations for the non-Jewish population. But it nonetheless demands that other states should recognize this undefined, pig in a poke, work in progress. Until you bozos can show the world a map of Israel’s proposed borders and a written constitution which defines what this “Jewish” mumbo jumbo really means, it’s premature to ask anyone to “recognize” it.

        The coup and Israel’s pleasure with the coup are topics for another time.

        How convenient.

      • tree
        tree
        February 15, 2014, 12:48 am

        yonah,

        I stand, or sit in this case, corrected. I did call you a name. I called you a racist and I believe its an accurate description in your case. But I did not call you a Grand Wizard. I strongly suspect that you are essentially a good person and wouldn’t personally hurt a fly, figuratively speaking (although you would probably make excuses for someone else hurting the fly if they were Jewish and the drosophila wasn’t). We might even like each other in person if we could avoid discussing this topic. But I still honestly think you have racist ideas and feelings and I call them as I see them.

        I think that a track record is important. And if the track record of the liberals of Egypt does not badly reflect on the future track record of liberals in Palestine, then certainly the track record of westerners who fell in love with the liberals of Tahrir Square certainly should be considered when those same westerners fall in love with the liberals of the future free Palestine.

        I never made any comment about Tahrir Square as I didn’t feel I knew enough about Egypt to make any accurate prediction what would happen although I was not greatly surprised that it fizzled out as it seemed too sudden for meaningful change to come, and I couldn’t even tell you who the “liberals of Tahrir Square” were. Can you? Did you read extensively any of their tracts or visions or was this all absorbed by you through a few weeks of msm news and a few websites? Do you really think that then involves a “track record”” or any significance?

        I do know a lot more about Palestine, including the names and histories of many of the activists and NGOs there, and much of Palestine’s history since the 1800’s. I know enough to say that Palestine is not Egypt. Besides the great difference in size and the much greater economic inequality in Egypt, there are several other important differences between Palestine and Egypt. This may sound counter-intuitive at first but honestly the Palestinians have had more experience with self-government than the Egyptians. Yes, they have been under occupation for 47 years, but they have for the most part had to fend for themselves in terms of their daily survival, including creating numerous NGOs to provide services that should have been provided by Israel but weren’t, and they’ve had to do it under some pretty dire circumstances. Their struggle is not just a two week television phenomenon. Just because the flash of Tahrir Square died out for now is no reason to suppose that the two situations are analogous, other than a desire on your part to explain all actions on a purely ethnic basis. And again, if we are going to really look at track records, the Zionist Jews in Israel have a very long record (even if you only go back to 1948 or 1967) of being incapable of creating a society built on human rights and justice for all, regardless of religion and ethnicity. I was serious in saying that its possible that the only way they will be willing to embrace equality and human rights would be if they were in the minority. As a majority they’ve been a disaster at it.

        If I have not made my preferences clear before, I side with Peter Beinart and not with Benjamin Netanyahu. This might not fit your requirements, as to what is an acceptable position, but at least don’t use your broad brush to paint me as a Netanyahu supporter.

        Unless I misunderstood you, you claimed that BDS’ “opponents” had a more realistic view of a Palestinian future (Quoting:”Those who oppose her have a more realistic concept of what will come about.) Are you telling me now that you meant Peter Beinart in that respect, and not the Government of Israel? As far as I know, Beinart is an advocate of a limited boycott of the settlements, and I don’t think that BDS, with its acceptance of those who wish to “only boycott an egg” considers him an “opponent”, nor does Beinart consider BDS necessarily an opponent. So why the bad feeling on your part over BDS, unless you are buying Netanyahu’s hysterical blather over the prospect of boycott and the “real intent” of BDS advocates. Who were you referring to as “those who oppose her” who you think were being more realistic about the future?

        There is a logical problem as to how to change the status quo if one recoils at the thought of joining forces with those like Omar Barghouti and Abunimah.If the net effect of my words is to protect Netanyahu and Bennett, then indeed I have not succeeded. In fact Naftali Bennett is a bigger threat to the Jewish people than Max Blumenthal, although my urge to vomit is greater in regards to Max and therefore my condemnations of Max roll off my tongue (typing fingers) much more easily than they do in condemning Bennett.

        It sounds like you are ruled by your feelings despite claiming to look at things “realistically”. You seem to have a visceral dislike of people for no logical reason other than prejudice. You might want to consider why that is and whether such visceral feelings are tampering with your sense of “reality” which appears to me to be quite fantasy-based.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        February 15, 2014, 2:36 pm

        @tree- These are some of the best comments I’ve ever read here. Thoughtful, encyclical, contextual, proscriptive, and needless to say, well-written.

        Dots identified and connected. Pitch perfect.

        Thanks. Bookmarked.

      • Donald
        Donald
        February 15, 2014, 6:50 pm

        “In fact Naftali Bennett is a bigger threat to the Jewish people than Max Blumenthal, although my urge to vomit is greater in regards to Max and therefore my condemnations of Max roll off my tongue (typing fingers) much more easily than they do in condemning Bennett.”

        Yonah, you’re one of the most honest people I’ve ever “met” (online doesn’t quite count as meeting), and I mean this without irony, as praise, but as tree suggests, you really ought to do something about these inner feelings of yours.

        On the 1SS, there are probably enough fanatics on both sides to make it a risky proposition, but every proposition seems risky. I don’t think Israel can be forced to accept a 1ss anyway–the international consensus has been for a 2ss, as Finkelstein argues, but Israel isn’t serious about that either. Thomas Friedman actually wrote something worth reading recently–he pointed out that the Israelis and Palestinians need to cooperate on issues like water and sewage or they will both face an environmental disaster. Which means that if there is a 2SS, it had better be one which is acceptable to Palestinians and where both sides can work together. And if that’s the case, and if there are hundreds of thousands of Israelis who want to live on the WB and Palestinians who want to live inside the 67 lines, and the two sides are getting along fine, maybe the border will start to seem silly. I’m sort of a long term optimist and short term pessimist on this. And maybe a medium term pessimist as well–the impression I get from several thousand miles away is that the Israeli left is pretty anemic and the younger generation of Israelis is being raised on some really noxious propaganda. Things are never so bad they can’t get worse.

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        February 14, 2014, 12:39 am

        Its situation is far worse economically and population density wise than the West Bank and desperate conditions and the election of Islamists seem to go together.

        How offensive – as if the desperate conditions in Gaza Ghetto [and the West Bank] are not manufactured deliberately by the jewish state.

      • just
        just
        February 15, 2014, 3:06 pm

        I have to agree, ritzl. tree– that is a truly awesome post.

  8. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    February 13, 2014, 10:44 am

    Only one of the three goals of the BDS movement can by any stretch be seen (by anybody) as masking a desire to destroy Israel or destroy its Jewish majority: that is the call for a PRoR.

    Whether the greater world will, in (appearing to) join the BDS bandwagon, actually adopt all of the goals of BDS and hold to that adoption over the long haul is, of course, unclear, but Israelis fear that world pressure will increase and its goals broaden. Well, from their fears to god’s ears, I suppose. My hope is, too, that what will change in coming years is the world’s giving of a “free pass” to Israel for any or all of its human rights abuses, the which appears to be increasing and thereby increasing also the likelihood of increased world pressure.

    QUOTE: The implication is that Jews would have no place in Israel/Palestine, especially if there is a right of return for Palestinian refugees. But what do BDS advocates themselves say about the future of Jews in an Israel/Palestine where the BDS movement’s demands are met?

    As to this QUOTE, I’d remind everyone that Israel was initially imagined under a humanitarian call for a place of refuge for Jews attacked elsewhere. That call did not demand a large Israel, nor did it arise from or promise Israel any Biblically-described territory.

    The UNGA partition plan did not propose a place as large as pre-1967 Israel, and Israeli Jews could live as comfortably as many people do in a place as small as an equivalent population lives, New York City, which occupies a far smaller geographical area than Israel.

    A small Israel (unlikely to come to pass but not an impossible outcome of negotiations which, after all, seem ready to propose a small Palestine) could meet BDS’s call for PRoR without endangering any Jewish majority within (the small) Israel. The explanation of this is that PRoR describes Palestinian exiles returning to the place from which they were exiled, and fewer exiles came form any small place within Israel than came from the entirety of Israel.

    Well, Israel will not want to accept a small territory for itself. Accordingly it sees PRoR as likely to flood it with Palestinians and destroy the “Jewish Character” (or Jewish majority) in Israel. And so Israelis deplore BDS. They want a free hand to require the continuation in perpetuity of the ethnic cleansing they performed in 1948.

    They are saying that crime (exile and refusal to readmit Palestinians) is intrinsic to Israel, to Zionism, and cannot (or will not) be corrected. Ever.

    Against that attitude, BDS should stick to its guns. Israelis may claim a right to an Israel which is large, Jewish-majority, Jewish-character, and denies human-rights to Palestinians, but there is no earthly reason why the people of the world should continue to buy such a claim of right.

    And no reason why Jews should buy it either. Another reason, if reason were needed, for Jews to DENOUNCE the notion of Israel as THE State of the Jewish People.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      February 13, 2014, 4:33 pm

      Your use of the terms “large” and “small” in reference to Israel are ludicrous. You may feel the conflict in volves ONLY the Palestinians but I think history will bear out that the conflict involves the ENTIRE Arab block (plus some) in either a state of war or a hostile ‘peace’ with Israel. MANY if not MOST Arabs self identify as Muslim nations and these nations all happen to surround Israel in a vast tract of land that renders the concept of small and large within the borders of Israel post-48 and pre-67 indistinguishable from a defensive military standpoint. WHile I am not saying the Israelis could live, if forced, on a smaller piece of land and the Palestinians would theoretically live on even a smaller piece of land I also think any political student would have to seriously consider the fact that Jordan (another european idea) is a majority Palestinian with an increasingly unpopular monarchy. When Palestinians continue to voice their approval of making a ‘treaty’ with Israel as a two-step plan to reclaim the entire mandate from Amman to the sea-it only makes sense that a majority of our population have no NEW reason to fear a Palestinian state on the 67 armistice line. Of course the RofR id a non-starter and any military arms would be allowed only after a good long interim of peace. If Japan could flourish then surely the Palestinains can give it a shot.

      As for where things could go if the Palestinians keep giving lip service to a “final status deal” that they never intend to adhere to which in turn gives Israelis fuel to keep going in the face of ‘supposed’ ridicule from the rest of the world? I would only say that despite the impression that the US-Israeli alliance instill in those that hate Zionism the basic principles of geo-political stratagems still exist. The Palestinians can continue to milk their ‘victimhood’ as much as many claim the Jews milk their own victimhood. But when push comes to shove-there is the IDF that has always operated under the directive (yes-of course there have been some egregious abuses)
      that “quiet will be met with quiet”. And THAT is how it has basically gone on for almost 40 years now. (because of course before 1967 NOBODY was claiming the WB/GAZA was occupied and in dire need of liberation were they?)

      • James North
        James North
        February 13, 2014, 7:54 pm

        Hasbara Central is scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        February 13, 2014, 10:57 pm

        that is such a typical and mediocre reply. I see it all the time and yet-it fails to make sense to anyone but the ‘magically clued in’, I guess. If this is ‘Hasbara’ as you say then so is 90% of what I read here. Just not Israeli Hasbara.

        I’ll be gone in a day and you’ll still be quacking about ‘hasbara central’. Learn how to dispute something if you don’t agree with it. Anything else just insults your own self.

      • James North
        James North
        February 13, 2014, 11:13 pm

        I’ll be gone in a day.

        When you report back to Hasbara Central tomorrow, tell them to assign someone from their A Team to replace you.

      • talknic
        talknic
        February 17, 2014, 6:15 am

        @ DaBakr ” I also think any political student would have to seriously consider the fact that Jordan (another european idea) is a majority Palestinian”

        They’re all Jordanian. Same as ALL Israelis are Israelis. Only the folk who lived in what became Jordan had an automatic right to permanent Jordanian citizenship. That it was once a part of Palestine did not give anyone outside the area that became Jordan an automatic right to be Jordanian citizens.

        “When Palestinians continue to voice their approval of making a ‘treaty’ with Israel as a two-step plan to reclaim the entire mandate from Amman to the sea-it”

        Quote them…thx (not some moron claiming they do)

        “RofR id a non-starter”

        It’s a right

        “and any military arms would be allowed only after a good long interim of peace”

        Why? Israel was recognized and admitted to the UN while armed and at war in non-Israeli territory Jewish forces had invaded before and after Israel was declared.

        “If Japan could flourish then surely the Palestinains can give it a shot”

        Unlike Palestine, Japan was A) reconstructed under the Marshal plan and it had not been B) sliced in half (’48) and given to anyone else and then B) have half of what remained of Palestine illegally acquired by war over the next 65 years

        ” The Palestinians can continue to milk their ‘victimhood’”

        They the victim. Their land was subdivided against their will, they are in refugee camps because Israel refuses to abide by the law, the occupation goes on because Israel refuses to abide by the law. ( after having been given hundreds of opportunities to adhere to the law under hundreds of UNSC resolutions. Israel has failed. It’s a rogue state )

        “as much as many claim the Jews milk their own victimhood”

        Today Jews are not victims the Holocaust was over decades ago. The Palestinians are still victims, still dispossessed, still occupied.

        “the IDF that has always operated under the directive (yes-of course there have been some egregious abuses)
        that “quiet will be met with quiet””

        LOL Meaning if occupation isn’t resisted then the illegal status quo will hold.

        “And THAT is how it has basically gone on for almost 40 years now”

        65 years you silly person Jerusalem Declared Israel-Occupied City- by Israeli Government Proclamation 12 Aug 1948

        “(because of course before 1967 NOBODY was claiming the WB/GAZA was occupied and in dire need of liberation were they?)”

        Your ignorance is profound. Both were under the PROTECTION OF Jordan and Egypt respectively by AGREEMENT with Israel. Israel was supposed to be protecting the territories it occupied by AGREEMENT. An AGREEMENT that required a negotiated settlement. Israel claimed those territories for itself without any agreement (yet to be legally annexed to Israel)

        31st Aug 1949 Israel tried unsuccessfully to claim the territories it occupied. The claim was rebuffed, citing the Armistice AGREEMENTS.

        Like all stupid Hasbarristers, you’re light on facts and dripping with drivel

  9. NickJOCW
    NickJOCW
    February 13, 2014, 11:03 am

     We have the capacity to create new types of nationalities, of conceptions of citizenship, that could contemplate the Jewish citizen as part of this multi-ethnic state.

    This is a profound vision. It applies not only to the Holy Land but to all areas where there is cultural conflict. We all need to abandon the entire concept of nation states, which belong to an industrial past of greed and tribalism, and move towards greater cooperation. If we are able to do that we have all the scientific resources to solve any problems our world faces, if not we will doze and scrap while our environment and resources become increasingly unsuited to sustain human life,

    • NickJOCW
      NickJOCW
      February 13, 2014, 11:43 am

      If you think such a prospect fanciful, consider that we are concerned with a rich land, a spiritual focus for three great religions with but one God. Where better might He seek to unite all His children for a future that He has progressively exposed to them.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        February 13, 2014, 11:04 pm

        Or-if you go by the biblical tradition-you could say that Israel is the perfect place for g-d to reign down some nasty apocalyptic horror on the region wiping out millions of ALL faiths destroying all holy places. And then-humans would have to actually understand this as a msg from g-d in the first place. Its a great notion but not one grounded in human nature. Many people coming to Israel for the first time are overcome with this feeling that something like you suggest will happen here. My grandfather always said, “everything and anything”

      • American
        American
        February 17, 2014, 9:35 am

        DaBakr says:
        February 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm
        Or-if you go by the biblical tradition-you could say that Israel is the perfect place for g-d to reign down some nasty apocalyptic horror on the region wiping out millions of ALL faiths destroying all holy places. And then-humans would have to actually understand this as a msg from g-d in the first place.
        >>>>

        Well, keep on pushing your apocalypic bibical cultism for Israel and there probably will be a apocalypic horror in the region, but it wont be a message sent by God.

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