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‘NYT’ says Israel doesn’t ‘split’ Palestinian families, ‘Haaretz’ says it does. Who is right?

Israel/Palestine
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Eva Illouz

Eva Illouz

Everyone should read Eva Illouz’s long important piece in Haaretz saying that the occupation is a form of slavery because Israel controls Palestinian movements, decisions, employment, even bodies. Illouz is particularly moving when she explains that a regime that has imprisoned 40 percent of Palestinian males is thereby seeking to control “basic” aspects of Palestinian existence and family life; or when she explains that from the price-tag attacks by settlers to the checkpoints, Israel is impinging on the “very essence of freedom.” So let us call this type of control what it is, slavery.

Hirsh Goodman

Hirsh Goodman (Photo: Ricki Rosen)

And Illouz says that the world sees this, though some Jews don’t: “Israel is dangerously sailing away from the moral vocabulary of most countries of the civilized world.”

I bring this piece up for the very specific business of my headline. The other day the NYT ran a somewhat illogical piece of pro-Israel propaganda by Hirsh Goodman saying that we Israelis are not practicing apartheid, but it sure looks like apartheid to the world, so gosh we better ease up some of the stuff we’re doing, so the label doesn’t stick.

Goodman argued that Israel isn’t at all like South Africa under apartheid:

Masses of black people were forcibly moved from tribal lands to arid Bantustans in the middle of nowhere. A “pass system” stipulated where blacks could live and work, splitting families and breaking down social structures, to provide cheap labor for the mines and white-owned businesses, and a plentiful pool of domestic servants for the white minority. Those found in violation were arrested, usually lashed, and sentenced to stints of hard labor for a few shillings per prisoner per day, payable to the prison service.

None of this even remotely exists in Israel or the occupied territories. But, increasingly, in the mind of the world it does.

Now no system of oppression is exactly like another, but throughout her article Illouz says that Israel controls Palestinian lives, often with violence; and she specifically addressed Goodman’s issue of splitting families as an element of that totalitarian system:

when it comes to marriage, here, too, the occupation has torn families apart. According to a report by B’Tselem – the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Israeli restrictions on the passage from and to Gaza Strip split families and force on couples – where one of them is from Gaza, and the other the West Bank or Israel – a series of bureaucratic restrictions, with no possibility of conducting a reasonable routine. The simplest thing – raising a family, living with spouse and children, and maintaining contact with families of origin of both partners – become unachievable.

In traditional Palestinian society, the custom is that the women will move in with the husband’s family, so the procedures established by the Israeli offensive affect mainly women: Married Gazans living in the West Bank are forced to leave their family and familiar surroundings, without any possibility to visit the Gaza Strip, except for the most exceptional cases. Those who failed to update their address are in constant danger of expulsion from their homes.

We can say conservatively and impressionistically that 70 percent of the Palestinian population live with a permanent sense of dishonor, conduct their lives without predictability and continuity, live in fear of Jewish terror and of the violence of the Israeli military power, and are afraid to have no work, shelter or family.

With tears in my eyes, I beg Americans to consider: Who is telling you the truth about this simple question, the leading American newspaper, or a paper in Israel? I have been to Palestine; I say Haaretz. And why is the New York Times failing even to offer its readers Illouz’s view of reality? And what should we as Americans do about these conditions that we support?

(P.S. A few years ago, speaking at the University of Michigan I lost my composure when a J Street member tried to temper my indictment of Israeli practices in the occupation. I basically jumped out of my chair and started screaming about How can we as Americans (and Jews) hear just some of the facts coming out of the occupation and tolerate these conditions in our name or affect complacence? I embarrassed the guy whose house I was staying in that night and scared people, and later apologized; for I was at the same time imploring and crying. Today I honor that response.)

Thanks to Michael Ratner, a friend of this site.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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14 Responses

  1. annie
    annie
    February 12, 2014, 1:14 pm

    there are a bunch of great videos on the love under apartheid youtube station. here’s one:

    they are all excellent testimonies, each video. anyone who doesn’t think israeli apartheid splits families is living in fantasyland.

    • February 12, 2014, 2:17 pm

      phil,with tears in my eyes, seriously, i say to you, you are a beautiful human being.
      as far as who’s right? well, in the law, whenever the trier of fact, be it judge or jury, is to make a decision as far as the credibility and believability of a witness, one of the most important issues to consider is any connection the witness may have, or have not, with the issue at hand.
      it’s a well established fact in law that a spouse is not to be believed regarding an issue with their spouse for there obvious bias in the matter.
      furthermore spousal immunity.
      a witness’s connection with an issue is strongly taken into consideration.
      it is presumed, based on human behavior, that someone will be more willing to favor a friend than a total stranger, for instance.
      but, and this is very important, when one speaks out negatively against someone, or something, whom they are friends with or on friendly terms with, it is to be given great weight and credibilty in the decisionmaking process.
      this is the exact case here with the haarezt writer who i presume is a citizen of israel: she would normally be presumed to favor her country but,instead, is strongly speaking negatively about it.
      alternatively, the nytimes is well known to strongly favor israel.
      have i made my case? bang, case closed.

  2. Cliff
    Cliff
    February 12, 2014, 1:17 pm

    The Israeli press is more honest, relatively speaking, than the NYT.

    That’s because the stakes are different in America and because the social/ideological pressures are different here.

    So Hirsch Goodman, the Israeli Zionist Jew and his wife – also Jewish, also Zionist, probably has dual citizenship so she might be Israeli too – have to shovel the hasbara more aggressively here in the US.

    In Israel, everyone with meaningful political agency is a Zionist. Israeli society is thoroughly brain-washed so the language of human rights will always fall on deaf ears. The security state apparatus has been accepted by Israeli Jews.

    Honesty about Jewish nationalistic fascism (Zionism) is pervasive in Israel society because everyone knows Israeli Jews are incapable of changing en masse.

    Zionism is their religion. They would have to give up their conception of Jewishness to give up their prejudices and hypocrisy. It all comes back to whether they believe in 2014, that they are still the ultimate victims or not.

    If so, they don’t mind killing/stealing from/colonizing Palestinians and their land because verb, noun, antisemitism or verb, noun, Hamas charter/rockets/suicide bombing/etc.

    • tree
      tree
      February 12, 2014, 7:27 pm

      The Israeli press is more honest, relatively speaking, than the NYT.

      That’s because the stakes are different in America and because the social/ideological pressures are different here.

      Yousef Munayyer has a stark example of that up on the “Permission to Narrate” blog.

      He compares the coverage of an altercation between Israeli settlers and Palestinian villagers as presented by the New York Times and Israel Hayom, the Israeli right-wing Adelson -funded newpaper.

      New York Times first 4 paragraphs:

      A confrontation between a group of Jewish settlers and Palestinian villagers in the West Bank on Tuesday ended when Palestinian officials handed the settlers, who had been surrounded by other Palestinians, over to Israeli forces.

      The episode shined an unusual spotlight on the potentially explosive tensions in the area even as Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were underway.

      Scenes captured on video showed a group of more than a dozen male settlers, including minors, who had apparently been corralled by angry Palestinians in an unfinished building on the edge of the village of Jalud, near Nablus in the northern West Bank. Some of the settlers had bloodied faces.

      The settlers said they had been hiking in the area. But Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said they had come to uproot olive trees and clashed with Palestinians who confronted them in the fields among the villages of Qaryut, Jalud and Qusra.

      Israel Hayom first 4 paragraphs:

      Some 15 settlers from Esh Kodesh placed themselves in life-threatening danger on Tuesday as a result of provocative decision on their part to enter the Palestinian village of Jallud, adjacent to Ramallah.

      Residents began to riot and it was only thanks to several village officials and elders that the settlers escaped from the incident with their lives. Villagers accused the settlers, ages 15 to 30, of throwing rocks at farmers tending their fields, shattering the windows of a local home and assaulting three residents.

      Village officials and elders attempted to contain the situation. According to reports, six Palestinian men shielded the settlers with their bodies against what quickly grew into an angry mob, and were able to hold the settlers in an uninhabited structure on the outskirts of the village until Israel Defense Forces troops arrived.

      The IDF said the settlers, all known right-wing activists, entered the village with the clear intent of carrying out a “price-tag” attack.

      http://blog.thejerusalemfund.org/2014/01/more-zionist-than-zionists.html?utm_source=BP_recent

  3. joecatron
    joecatron
    February 12, 2014, 1:17 pm

    Of course Haaretz is right. Only the fevered imaginations of the most desperate Zionist apologists could suggest otherwise. See the full report by Hamoked and B’Tselem it cites:

    “So Near and Yet So Far: Implications of Israeli-Imposed Seclusion of Gaza Strip on Palestinians’ Right to Family Life”
    http://www.btselem.org/publications/201401_so_near_and_yet_so_far

    There’s promise, though, in the fact that Zionism has reached the point where its most sophisticated shills – writing in the Times, not the Post or Arutz Sheva – have been reduced to flat denials of objective reality.

  4. bilal a
    bilal a
    February 12, 2014, 2:08 pm

    thank u for the sincere testimony; its heart breaking what zionism has done to the reputation of the Jewish contribution to humanity.

  5. James Canning
    James Canning
    February 12, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Great piece. And bravo, Illa Illouz

  6. Shmuel
    Shmuel
    February 12, 2014, 2:22 pm

    Who is telling you the truth about this simple question, the leading American newspaper, or a paper in Israel?

    I must remember to ask my friend Ibrahim, who lives and works in Jerusalem and the WB and cannot live with his wife (a Gaza resident) unless he agrees to share her Gaza prison, losing his job, contact with his kids, and any possibility of returning to the city he has lived in all his life. His request that she be allowed to come to Jerusalem or even the West Bank has been denied and he has been told in no uncertain terms that all movement is unidirectional (to Gaza only) and irreversible.

    I’ll tell him to contact Hirsh Goodman, whose version of reality is so much nicer than the one Ibrahim really inhabits.

  7. Henry Norr
    Henry Norr
    February 12, 2014, 6:57 pm

    I too found the Illouz piece very interesting, especially her discussion of Zionist “morality” vs. the rest of the world’s. But I do have to point out that it also includes a truly choice example of judeocentrism (and academocentrism, to coin a word):

    The initiators and leaders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement are such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    February 12, 2014, 7:48 pm

    RE: “We can say conservatively and impressionistically that 70 percent of the Palestinian population live with a permanent sense of dishonor, conduct their lives without predictability and continuity, live in fear of Jewish terror and of the violence of the Israeli military power, and are afraid to have no work, shelter or family.” ~ Eva Illouz

    MY COMMENT: I can almost hear Ariel Sharon chuckling! *

    * FROM ALISTAIR CROOKE, London Review of Books, 03/03/11:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . It was [Ariel] Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. . .
    . . . It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence. . .

    SOURCE – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n05/alastair-crooke/permanent-temporariness

    P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA [Learned helplessness]:

    [EXCERPT] Learned helplessness is the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.[1] Organisms which have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired learned helplessness.[2]
    The American psychologist Martin Seligman’s foundational experiments and theory of learned helplessness began at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression. Quite by accident, Seligman and colleagues discovered that the conditioning of dogs led to outcomes that opposed the predictions of B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism, then a leading psychological theory.[3][4]

    Experiment
    Summary
    In the learned helplessness experiment an animal is repeatedly hurt by an adverse stimulus which it cannot escape.
    Eventually the animal will stop trying to avoid the pain and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation.
    Finally, when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness prevents any action. The only coping mechanism the animal uses is to be stoical and put up with the discomfort, not expending energy getting worked up about the adverse stimulus. . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness

  9. American
    American
    February 12, 2014, 8:04 pm

    You’re right.
    Haaretz is right.
    Everyone here has seen examples of the truth over and over and over.
    I have not one second of patience left for the half assed weasel wordy downplaying of what Israel does.
    They dont like the apartheid label, they dont like the slavery comparison, they dont like the occupier description…..o.k. well then F’em , give them something to really complain about….call them ‘midget nazis’.
    Midget nazi marriage rules
    Midget nazi race rules
    Midget nazi checkpoints
    Midget nazi occupation
    Midget nazi department of propaganda
    Midget nazi excuses for preserving their tribe purity
    Midget nazi theory of peopehood self determination for the right people only
    Midget nazi IDF midget army
    Midget nazi SS Mossad
    Midget nazi prisons for undesirables
    Midget nazi illusions of grandeur

  10. dbroncos
    dbroncos
    February 12, 2014, 8:52 pm

    “…I lost my composure when a J Street member tried to temper my indictment of Israeli practices in the occupation. I basically jumped out of my chair and started screaming about How can we as Americans (and Jews) hear just some of the facts coming out of the occupation and tolerate these conditions in our name or affect complacence?”

    No shame in this at all, Phil. Every day we have to listen and watch as Israel’s defenders smile in our face and lie lie lie. They smile because they know they have our congress in their hip pocket. But their smiles are turning to frowns more and more because they know that Europe is all but lost and the American left has had it with their bigotry.

  11. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    February 12, 2014, 8:59 pm

    Don’t bother to tell the readers here that in Israel-Haaretz is in dire straights with readership collapsing. Also-that it is the the preeminent leftist mainstream paper in Israel and is NOT by any means a paper that is read by a majority of Israelis. It supports reporters and op-eds that are HIGHLY divisive in Israeli society and to suggest that Haaretz has more of a ‘handle’ on the Palestinian conflict then other middle-road or right leaning Israeli papers is like saying that the New York Post represents a much more ‘honest’ take on what ‘regular’ New Yorkers think about politics-both foreign and domestic. Get real. When you start citing papers other then Haaretz-you may gain the attention of folks other then the MW peanut gallery who seem to sop up every bit of critical AND NON-critical analysis.

  12. DaveS
    DaveS
    February 12, 2014, 11:00 pm

    Occupation is also a form of continuous violence. Every day, even when no shot is fired, Israelis rule over 4 million Palestinians by force of arms, not by moral persuasion or consent of the governed. They compel Palestinians to do this or that, or refrain from this or that, upon penalty of violence if they refuse. A “peaceful” day of Occupation is continuously violent just as an armed robbery of a liquor store which goes smoothly without a shot being fired is universally considered a violent crime.

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