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Liberal schizophrenia and moral myopia: On Ari Shavit’s ‘My Promised Land’

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 38 Comments

Ari Shavit has placed all his hope in Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

In January, the Haaretz columnist and toast of the U.S. media called the leaked details of Kerry’s “framework” agreement for peace a “Zionist victory” since it includes “recognition of a Jewish state in the 1967 borders.” Earlier this month, he decried the “offensive” being waged against Israel’s demands that the Palestinians recognize the country as a “Jewish state.”

So Shavit has gone all in on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultimatum to the Palestinians.  And if you read his new book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, you’ll understand why.  Shavit is devoted to liberal Zionism, an ideology that pushes a peace agreement to save Israel’s Jewish character in the face of “demographic threats”–non-Jewish bodies.  He’s so devoted to liberal Zionism that he excuses ethnic cleansing, a war crime, because it enabled the Jewish state.

9780385521703_custom-3ed8cab7d39a91870da51459b60e71aedc5c1d2c-s6-c30I found the book chapter on ethic cleansing, titled “Lydda, 1948,” mostly gut wrenching and honest, with phrases like “Zionism obliterates the city of Lydda” and “cleanse the Galilee.”  The man knows how to write, and write well–historical snapshots that come to life with vivid, thick detail as the author traces the story of Israel through important events like the building of the Dimona nuclear reactor and the 2006 Lebanon War.

The frank descriptions of how Zionist militias expelled the Palestinians of Lydda, never to return again, could easily have come from the work of Ilan Pappe or Walid Khalidi, two of the preeminent scholars of the Nakba.  Shavit’s work on the catastrophe that befell Palestinian society, reprinted in the New Yorker, has brought the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians–the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict–into the homes of many Americans.  (It’s telling, though, that Shavit never utters the word “Nakba” in his book.)

But it’s where Shavit goes with the facts he writes about that is troubling, myopic and, frankly, twisted.  Despite vividly recounting the disturbing scenes of columns of thousands of Palestinians fleeing from their homes, and the massacre of Palestinians holed up in a small mosque, he “stands with the damned”–the ethnic cleansers.  Shavit, one of the most prominent liberal Zionist writers in the country, concludes with these lines: “I know that if it wasn’t for them [the militias who cleansed Lydda], the State of Israel would not have been born…They did the dirty, filthy work that enables my people, myself, my daughter, and my sons to live.”

Those words encapsulate the problem with Shavit’s political analysis.  He stares Zionism’s cold, hard truths in the face and ultimately embraces them.  To Shavit, the choice is stark: either ethnically cleanse Palestine or never have a Jewish homeland.

Perhaps that’s true if the Jewish homeland you envision was an ethnically chauvinist one that needed to engineer a Jewish majority.  But it’s that zero sum mentality that offers little hope for the future.  And it also points to a kind of liberal Israeli schizophrenia, the kind often seen in the “shoot and cry” genre of Israeli literature.  Shavit, and others like him, acknowledge what others see as the fundamental problems with Israel, the pinnacle of which is the Nakba.  But they don’t follow those problems to their logical conclusion: there is something rotten with how Israel was founded and is currently constituted.  This schizophrenia, the simultaneous acknowledgement of deep ethical problems with Zionism and the need to justify it, can be found throughout the book.

Yet it is for this very reason that the book has been praised in the quarters of elite American journalism.  The likes of Thomas Friedman, Jeffrey Goldberg, David Remnick and Leon Wieseltier have heaped praises on Shavit’s book.  It appeals to their sensibility.  They are liberal Zionist defenders of Israel that have qualms about aspects of Israeli policy–the occupation, first and foremost–but never question the validity of an ethnically exclusive state.  So it makes sense that Wieseltier continues to think there can be a “Jewish and democratic state“; that Friedman writes that Netanyahu’s “Jewish state” demand is not “without reason”; that Remnick can acknowledge Israel’s “ethnocracy” but only tie it to the West Bank settlements, a flawed notion that liberal Zionists like Shavit always invoke.

In praising Shavit’s book, all of these luminaries have acknowledged the Nakba. But they have resolved to never do anything about it today–and there is a today, since the Nakba has never ended.  Shavit writes that the Zionist and Palestinian narrative cannot be reconciled, and that this makes peace hard to forge.  But he ignores that the Nakba’s driving ethos–creating a Jewish demographic majority with as few Arabs as possible–remains a core part of contemporary Israeli policy.  What to do about that driving ethos, which Zionism commands, is not a question for Shavit and other liberal Zionists.  Leave it be, because that’s the only way Israel, and the Jewish people, can survive.

That sensibility emerges prominently in the chapter where he interviews Mohammed Dahla, a Palestinian-Israeli attorney who co-founded Adalah, the Palestinian rights group based in Haifa. (The chapter is largely a reprint of a Haaretz piece he wrote in 2003.)  Shavit allows Dahla to talk bluntly about the contradictions of Shavit’s “Jewish and democratic” state.  “Do you really think you can protect yourself with this contradiction of a Jewish democracy? To insist upon the Jewish character of the State of Israel is to live by the sword,” Dahla tells Shavit.

He warns Shavit that “we are not like you. We are not strangers or wanderers or emigrants…No one can uproot us. No one can separate us from the land. Not even you.” What does Shavit have to say in response?  Not much of anything.  “He is as Israeli as any Israeli I know. He is one of the sharpest friends I have. We share a city, a state, a homeland. We hold common values and beliefs. And yet there is a terrible schism between us. What will become of us, Mohammed?” Shavit writes.

He’s wrong about “common values and beliefs.”  Somehow, Shavit deludes himself into thinking that they are both liberal democrats, albeit with different ethnicities.  But the whole chapter showed how wide a gulf there is between them.  Dahla wants a liberal democratic state with equal rights for all.  Shavit does not and resists that call. At first glance, it is mind boggling that he hasn’t internalized that after writing a whole chapter exposing the gulf.  But then again, this is liberal Zionism: a doomed ideology wrestling with the contradictions between liberalism and Zionism, not ever realizing there is no way to reconcile the two.

The other chapter that exposes Shavit’s impoverished politics is his work on Israel’s settlement project.  He is harsh in his condemnation of what he calls a “futile, anachronistic colonialist project.”  But then he offers up these lines in a conversation with Pinchas Wallerstein, a leader of the settlement of Ofra:  “You endangered everything…You contradicted Zionist logic and undermined Zionist interests.”  Similarly, Shavit writes that Ofra was built against the will of the “Jewish democratic state,” and that the settlements “have placed Israel’s neck in a noose.”  The logic of these words is that the settlers had agency that went against what Israel proper wanted.  It is the settlers that have caused the problems for everybody else.

This is a familiar trap embedded in liberal Zionist DNA.  If the settlements are bad, and Israel is good, all we must do is erase the settlements, pull back, and everything will be fine.  What this ignores is that expansion is part of Zionism’s raison d’etre, and that the colonial project in the West Bank was a continuation of the colonial project of Tel Aviv. And the most important fact it ignores is that the settlements are a project of the Israeli state. It is the state that funds the settlements and provides them with infrastructure. Even Shavit acknowledges this in his discussion of Ofra.  He notes that Ofra, while created clandestinely, was helped along by Defense Minister Shimon Peres, and that the Israeli army looked the other way even if the initial settlement of Ofra was launched without their approval.  The gulf between the facts and Shavit’s analysis is, again, stark.

Where does Shavit’s telling of the Israeli state’s history leave us?  Nowhere good.  He concludes by fretting about the “circles” that are enclosing Israel: the Arab circle, the Islamic circle, the Palestinian circle.  The Arab and Islamic circles are in chaos right now, and the Palestinians are largely impotent.  This won’t be the case forever.

Shavit is a scribe piping forth the views of the liberal, Ashkenazi Israeli elite. But those views are a recipe for continued conflict.  He’s right that the Palestinian and Zionist narratives are diametrically opposed.  So be it.  But the “Jewish democracy” he is bent on supporting continues on by imposing the Nakba today, as we speak.  The way forward is to end ethnocracy, to end Jewish privilege between the river and the sea.  Shavit will resist that, it seems, to his last breath.  So long as Israel does the same, blood will roil the holy land.

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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38 Responses

  1. JeffB
    JeffB
    April 3, 2014, 10:42 am

    What this ignores is that expansion is part of Zionism’s raison d’etre, and that the colonial project in the West Bank was a continuation of the colonial project of Tel Aviv.

    Just to refute this point Shavit doesn’t ignore this point. He discusses it at length that what a revolutionary liberation movement can do a state cannot do. He makes a distinction between liberation and colonialism that the acts may be the same but the actors are not. I think that’s false but it is untrue to assert that Shavit doesn’t address this point.

    ____

    As for your general point about nation formation. One can look at the history of almost state in the world. They all went through some period of something similar and they aren’t today in a constant source of conflict. Eventually one of the national claimants drops off or is unable to continue the struggle. The fight ends. The controversy ends. Consider that Israel today is using the Zionist lobby to help Egypt (SCAF) with a weapons purchase. What a change from 50 years ago! The Egyptian people (at least the 45+% that back SCAF) know their current government has tilted pro-Israel and they support the government none-the-less. That’s not to say that almost all Egyptians wouldn’t love to see the Zionist entity ground into the dust, but for today they are fine with an alliance. And that’s how peace is made. After a while working together becomes routine and the countries genuinely like one another. Look at your own country and the country it is most friendly towards, Canada. In another 50 years Egypt’s relationship likely will be the Arab norm. And then 150 or 250 years….

    • annie
      annie
      April 3, 2014, 4:03 pm

      it is untrue to assert that Shavit doesn’t address this point.

      Well, had you simply copied a little more text in your blockquote you could have included: Even Shavit acknowledges this in his discussion.

      to better understand what alex was saying you’d need to back up alittle bit:

      all we must do is erase the settlements, pull back, and everything will be fine. What this ignores is that expansion is part of Zionism’s raison d’etre……….the state that funds the settlements and provides them with infrastructure. Even Shavit acknowledges this

      the ‘this’ in ‘what this ignores’ is “pull back, and everything will be fine”. so if you want to refute alex’s point here, you need to show is how shavit’s didn’t ignore the contradiction of expanding and asserting “everything will be fine” once you pullback. iow, you can’t pull back and expand at the same time.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 3, 2014, 5:37 pm

        @Annie

        I see. OK well then Shavit also does address this argument it is made by several rightwingers in the book. Shavit takes the position that the previous generation quested to win freedom for the Jews. That suffering would not have to be the Jew’s lot. His generation was the first that could look at and say that war did not have to be the Jewish lot and start a quest for normalcy. One can disagree with Shavit’s interpretation of Zionism but he also address that point as well.

    • annie
      annie
      April 3, 2014, 4:30 pm

      One can look at the history of almost state in the world.

      and what are you babbling on about egypt for? this is going on, it’s not just israel’s history, it’s israel’s present day. please site me an example of another ‘nation formation – ethnic cleansing’ taking place during an era where the whole world was watching in a moment by moment web based world. israel came along too late. this is not acceptable in todays world. it’s too last century.

      would you be claiming this was ok if israel was running a slave trade? ‘well, you guys did it’? what about the holocaust? germany got rid of it’s jews, so why can’t we ethnically cleanse palestine? is this your logic?

      He makes a distinction between liberation and colonialism that the acts may be the same but the actors are not.

      maybe that’s his greatest flaw. it’s irrelevant who the actors are if the deeds are morally wrong. ethnic cleansing cannot represent liberation. people have been brainwashed.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 3, 2014, 5:50 pm

        @annie

        and what are you babbling on about egypt for? this is going on, it’s not just israel’s history, it’s israel’s present day.

        Yes their present day is that their #1 enemy in the region a horrific threat is rapidly becoming a close friend. That they are achieving real peace with Egypt while if anything enhancing “ethnocracy”. Which contradicts Alex’s point above.

        please site me an example of another ‘nation formation – ethnic cleansing’ taking place during an era where the whole world was watching in a moment by moment web based world. i

        The whole world watched most ethnic cleansing. Site me an example in the era of pictures live in homes from television, in the era of picture from news reels, in the era of beaming news into every home allowed by radio in the era of instant communication allowed by telegraphs, in the era of movable type….

        But if you want another example of nation formation happening central Africa as the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa recut the region. If you want another example of recent ‘nation formation – ethnic cleansing’, Iraq. And plenty more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_cleansings

    • eljay
      eljay
      April 3, 2014, 7:09 pm

      … One can look at the history of almost state in the world. They all went through some period of something similar and they aren’t today in a constant source of conflict. Eventually one of the national claimants drops off or is unable to continue the struggle. The fight ends. The controversy ends. …

      But the Palestinians haven’t dropped off. They’re not unable to continue the struggle. The fight isn’t over.

      Zio-supremacists want the referee to call the fight now in favour of Israel because they’re afraid that the Palestinians will get back up off the mat and ultimately win it.

    • talknic
      talknic
      April 3, 2014, 7:36 pm

      @ JeffB “One can look at the history of almost state in the world. They all went through some period of something similar and they aren’t today in a constant source of conflict”

      Maybe because they stopped colonizing. Israel continues to colonize by force of arms, outlawed long ago. It’s not hard to figure why Israel might be rightfully hated.

      “Eventually one of the national claimants drops off or is unable to continue the struggle. The fight ends.”

      The Palestinians haven’t dropped off, the fight continues. Infuriated by Palestinian resolve, the Zionist Movement’s Jewish state imposes collective punishment because the Palestinians claim their legal rights.

      Israel is one sick little puppy pal.

  2. Henry Norr
    Henry Norr
    April 3, 2014, 11:21 am

    Terrific review, Alex – says clearly and concisely most of what Norman Finkelstein takes 83 pages to say in “Old Wine, Broken Bottle,” his new booklet devoted entirely to dissecting Shavit’s contradictions. (Not that that’s not also worth reading, for those who have the time.)

    As for the honesty about Lydda, I see it as a fallback position for the Zionists – they know the old BS about the Palestinians leaving at the behest of Arab radio will no longer fly, so they concede a bit of reality, then try to defend its necessity. Note, though, that he kind of makes Lydda sound like a one-off atrocity – they’re not yet prepared to recognize that things like that happened all over the place, much less that , as you say, the nakba continues.

  3. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    April 3, 2014, 11:45 am

    Great review: makes clear and explicit the problem of Zionism for any Zionists with pre-1900’s moral/ethical perceptions. But the original Zionists and many of today’s Zionists have bought that the fate of the Jews depends on doing “what it takes” to survive in Israel as a Jewish majority state, and they have been cruel in the extreme in determining what “what it takes” means. They had choices which they rejected.

    Most clearly, these days, they have rejected the choice of a smaller Israel. Today they want all the West Bank and especially the settlements and the Jordan Valley. Their goal might once have been (mere) survival, but today it is territorial aggrandizement — and ever continuing ethnic cleansing.

    If Shavit is ever to get his eyes opened in a personal way, I suppose it will come when his children or grandchildren opt either to leave Israel or to transform it into a decent land for all its people.

  4. eljay
    eljay
    April 3, 2014, 11:49 am

    >> Shavit is … so devoted to liberal Zionism that he excuses ethnic cleansing, a war crime, because it enabled the Jewish state. … “I know that if it wasn’t for them [the militias who cleansed Lydda], the State of Israel would not have been born…They did the dirty, filthy work that enables my people, myself, my daughter, and my sons to live.”

    “Liberal Zionist” R.W.:

    “I cannot consistently say that ‘ethnic cleansing is never necessary’.”

    ” … I feel that the nakba was a necessary wrong … ”

    “If I was an adult in 1948, I probably would have supported whatever it took to create the state of Israel, and held my nose at actions that I could not possibly do myself.”

    “The nakba that occurred in 1948 was accompanied by the independence, the liberation, of the Jewish community. So, I primarily celebrate … “

    Coincidence? I think not.

    • jimby
      jimby
      April 3, 2014, 4:50 pm

      I’ve noticed a couple of reference to “R.W.” recently. Would that be Richard Witty? I haven’t seen not hide nor hair of the old gent for some time, unless of course he goes by another name….. but ???

    • Elisabeth
      Elisabeth
      April 4, 2014, 11:15 am

      ” They did the dirty, filthy work that enables my people, myself, my daughter, and my sons to live.”

      He makes it look as if it were a matter of choosing between ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and exterminatioon of the Jews.
      That is nonsense and a cheap rhetorical trick, as if Jews have not lived and will continue to live outside of Israel. What he would have said if he were honest is:

      ” They did the dirty, filthy work that enables my people, myself, my daughter, and my sons to live in a country with a Jewish majority.”

      Now that sounds completely different.

  5. American
    American
    April 3, 2014, 11:58 am

    ”We hold common values and beliefs. And yet there is a terrible schism between us. What will become of us, Mohammed?” Shavit writes””

    (sigh)…No, they don’t hold ‘common values and beliefs’ with most people of the world.
    And trying to enforce Jewish ‘self determination’ as Jewish ‘exceptionalism’ on others is what dooms them.
    Blind as bats.

  6. RoHa
    RoHa
    April 3, 2014, 12:07 pm

    ” He’s right that the Palestinian and Zionist narratives are diametrically opposed. ”

    I’m not happy about this talk of “narratives”. To me the term implies that there are no facts about the matter, but only different stories. It suggests that there is no moral right and wrong about the issue, but just confusion and misunderstanding like a less entertaining Brian Rix farce.

  7. Helena Cobban
    Helena Cobban
    April 3, 2014, 2:01 pm

    Great work, Alex! The work of dismantling the foundation myths of “liberal Zionism” will be long and hard; but you make a super contribution to it here.

    Like many reviewers of Shavit’s book, you note the conclusion he articulates re the Lydda massacre… namely that “the dirty, filthy work [of massacre and expulsion there] … enables my people, myself, my daughter, and my sons to live.” You’re quite right to note that this denotes a truly zero-sum-game, “it’s either us or them” view of the relationship toward Palestinians. But what also needs to be underlined, I think, is the sheer hyperbole (and cloying sentimentalism) of what he writes there. The doings of the Zionist colonizers did not “enable” his people, himself, or his daughter and sons to live. His “people”, including his parents, he himself, and his children, have always– since the end of the Holocaust; that is, since before 1948– had robust and satisfying ways to live that did not involve participation in the Zionist project of colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and endless violence. Of the Jews who’ve lived outside historic Palestine since 1945, far fewer of them have been killed or maimed in acts of violence than the proportion of Jews who went to Palestine and participated in the Zionist project there. Jewish life in the Diaspora is rich and satisfying. If Shavit’s parents had not gone to (been in?) Palestine in 1948, he could have grown up and lived a very satisfying life as a Jew almost anywhere else, and undertaken religious pilgrimages to Jewish holy sites in Palestine as and when he pleased… Ditto, his children.

    Really, his hyperbole there needs to be strongly called out!

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      April 3, 2014, 5:58 pm

      @Helena

      Jewish life in the Diaspora is rich and satisfying.

      Shavit’s family was in Israel since the 19th century, he comes from British money. But there were about 1.5m Jews that were going to freeze to death after the Holocaust had Israel not existed. The anti-Zionist position in 1945 was to leave the Jews who had survived the camps to mostly die of exposure. The Arab Jews that moved in the 1950s lived in misery and left for Israel quickly in a mass migration. The next big wave of immigration the Soviet Jews did not like being subject to ethnic discrimination their life was not rich and satisfying. The Jews fleeing Venezuela in the last decade didn’t do it because Venezuela was wonderful to its Jews.

      I don’t think its his hyperbole that needs to be called out.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 4, 2014, 6:10 am

        ”The next big wave of immigration the Soviet Jews did not like being subject to ethnic discrimination their life was not rich and satisfying.”

        Other than for a few oligarchs (a very large proportion of whom were Jewish btw) life was not ‘rich and satisfying’ for anyone in Yeltsin’s Russia. Most Jews who left did so not to escape ‘discrimination’ or from a commitment to Zionism, but because they wanted out of the corrupt, impoverished mess that was Russia, and Israel was the only place they could get a visa. If they’d had the chance to go to Europe or the US, the vast majority would likely have taken that rather than go to Israel. Indeed, many of these Jews have since returned to a more stable and comfortable Russia.

        ”The Jews fleeing Venezuela in the last decade didn’t do it because Venezuela was wonderful to its Jews. ”

        Many people of all religions ‘fled’ Venezuela in the last decade – most of them rich folks who didn’t like the fact that they couldn’t exploit the masses as before. And can you tell me how many of these Jews who ‘fled’ Venezuela ended up in Israel? I’m guessing very few.

        At no point during the Zionist project have a majority of Jews who had a choice about where to live, chosen to take up residence in Israel. Israel has always been the last resort for the majority of Jews. Given other options, most Jews prefer to take their chances with the gentiles.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 4, 2014, 11:58 am

        @Maximus Decimus Meridius

        Most Jews who left did so not to escape ‘discrimination’ or from a commitment to Zionism, but because they wanted out of the corrupt, impoverished mess that was Russia, and Israel was the only place they could get a visa.

        I’m married to a Russian Jew. I know this community rather well. They most certainly did suffer from discrimination. My wife couldn’t go to the college she wanted to and was qualified for in the USSR because she was a Jew. She ended up in a field she didn’t want to work in until she came here.

        Many people of all religions ‘fled’ Venezuela in the last decade – most of them rich folks who didn’t like the fact that they couldn’t exploit the masses as before. And can you tell me how many of these Jews who ‘fled’ Venezuela ended up in Israel? I’m guessing very few.

        Something like 1/4-1/3. Most opted for Spanish speaking countries or countries with a sizable latin American population like America.

        At no point during the Zionist project have a majority of Jews who had a choice about where to live, chosen to take up residence in Israel. Israel has always been the last resort for the majority of Jews.

        OK so what’s your point? The purpose of Zionist safe haven was so that last resort existed.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 4, 2014, 11:32 am

        JeffB “there were about 1.5m Jews that were going to freeze to death after the Holocaust had Israel not existed”

        1.5m Holocaust survivors settled in Israel?

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        April 4, 2014, 11:56 am

        “The anti-Zionist position in 1945 was to leave the Jews who had survived the camps to mostly die of exposure.”

        Once again, you slander your betters, in this case the men and women of the Allied nations who defeated Nazi Germany.

      • irishmoses
        irishmoses
        April 4, 2014, 12:26 pm

        Jeff B said:
        “… there were about 1.5m Jews that were going to freeze to death after the Holocaust had Israel not existed. The anti-Zionist position in 1945 was to leave the Jews who had survived the camps to mostly die of exposure.”

        More JeffB bullshit. Here’s what the US Holocaust Museum says about Jewish post-Holocaust displaced persons:

        Congress also passed the Displaced Persons Act in 1948, authorizing 200,000 DPs to enter the United States. The law’s stipulations made it unfavorable at first to the Jewish DPs, but Congress amended the bill with the DP Act of 1950. By 1952, over 80,000 Jewish DPs had immigrated to the United States under the terms of the DP Act and with the aid of Jewish agencies.

        With over 80,000 Jewish DPs in the United States, about 136,000 in Israel, and another 20,000 in other nations, including Canada and South Africa, the DP emigration crisis came to an end. Almost all of the DP camps were closed by 1952. The Jewish displaced persons began new lives in their new homelands around the world.

        http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005462

        Roughly 1.5 million European Jews survived the Holocaust. Most either survived in their home countries or were repatriated after the war. About 250,000, mostly camp survivors, were considered unable to be repatriated and ended up in Displaced Persons Camps. Of those, 54 percent were resettled in Israel, 32 percent in the US, and the remaining 14 percent went to other countries like the UK, Canada, South Africa, and Australia.

        There were millions of displaced persons at the end of the war. They were fed, housed, treated, and repatriated by the Allied armies in conditions that were far better than the concentration or prisoner of war camps.

        JeffB’s statements that 1.5 million Jews “were going to freeze to death after the Holocaust had Israel not existed”, and ” the anti-Zionist position in 1945 was to leave the Jews who had survived the camps to mostly die of exposure” are patently false and insulting to the massive efforts made by the Allies after World War II on behalf of millions of refugees, including most of all, Jewish refugees.

        In the future, JeffB, kindly provide links to the sources for your “factual claims” as your personal credibility has become highly suspect.

  8. John Douglas
    John Douglas
    April 3, 2014, 2:28 pm

    Shavit wants to be able to embrace a systematic brutality while still coming out of it an honorable man. He writes in effect,
    “I am a truth teller, an honorable reporter, look how well I report the atrocities of those who made my homeland possible, I hide nothing, and even greater than that is my honor because I say to you, difficult as this is for me as a man deserving of admiration, ‘I am glad they did it.'”
    What cr*p, this is, the idea that a man can take part in the murder of thousands (his book is a strengthening force for Zionism) and come out morally okay because first he comes clean about it and second he admits he’s glad he did it. Alex Kane’s word, schizophrenia, is perfect. But too, there’s a hint of socio-pathology.

    • Pixel
      Pixel
      April 4, 2014, 9:09 am

      “I am a truth teller, an honorable reporter, look how well I report the atrocities of those who made my homeland possible, I hide nothing, and even greater than that is my honor because I say to you, difficult as this is for me as a man deserving of admiration, ‘I am glad they did it.’”

      I think you are absolutely right.

  9. annie
    annie
    April 3, 2014, 4:38 pm

    i think this is one of my favorite articles you have ever written alex. i really like hearing your opinions.

  10. jimby
    jimby
    April 3, 2014, 5:03 pm

    Shavit’s point of view reminds me of Israelis that hate the Palestinians for forcing their Jewish children to kill the arab’s children. They must be killed merely because they exist. Oh the hand wringing…. That is sick…

  11. James Canning
    James Canning
    April 3, 2014, 7:15 pm

    Interesting assessment, but most of the countries on the planet support the viewpoint that Israel within its pre-1967 borders is acceptable. The problem is the occupation.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 4, 2014, 6:14 am

      ”most of the countries on the planet support the viewpoint that Israel within its pre-1967 borders is acceptable”

      If you mean governments, then yes. If you mean people, though it’s hard to know for sure, I’m guessing perhaps not.

      ”The problem is the occupation.”

      And yet, ”most countries” don’t really see it as a problem, do they? They claim they do, but in reality they’re happy to see Israel steal as much land as it wants under the cover of a farcical ‘peace process’. And at this stage, calling it an ‘occupation’ is a bit passe. It’s really a de facto annexation. The only reason Israel won’t formalise it as such is that it would leave them with the thorny problem of hundreds of thousands of people who don’t conform with their notion of racial hygiene. The ‘settlements’ are fully integrated into Israel’s infrastructure and economy. As far as Israel is concerned, they are a part of Israel and will remain so.

      In other words, it’s time to stop with the intellectual and moral dishonesty of the ”I support Israel but I oppose the occupation” line. There is no Israel without the ‘occupation’. It’s time to choose which side you’re on.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 4, 2014, 9:39 am

        @Maximus

        Israel has attempted 2 annexations plus a few mutually agreed border changes. Lots of people here dispute the mutually agreed border changes even! The annexations are rejected by the UN and people keep pretending the USA didn’t recognize them even the congress unambiguously did so by law.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        April 4, 2014, 10:44 am

        “and people keep pretending the USA didn’t recognize them even the congress unambiguously did so by law.”

        Yeah, well, too bad that such recognition is an executive branch function, so the Congress’s acts in those regards is only slightly more noteworthy than a resolution on the subject by the local Rotary Club.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 4, 2014, 11:24 am

        @ JeffB “Israel has attempted 2 annexations”

        Unilateral annexation is illegal.

        “plus a few mutually agreed border changes”

        Swapping occupied Palestinian territory for occupied Palestinian territory so Israel can keep occupied Palestinian territory is not something over which there will ever likely be mutual agreement.

        “Lots of people here dispute the mutually agreed border changes even! “

        Indeed. See above

        “The annexations are rejected by the UN”

        Of course. Illegal annexation is against the law

        “people keep pretending the USA didn’t recognize them even the congress unambiguously did so by law”

        Cite the law…. thx

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 4, 2014, 12:00 pm

        Swapping occupied Palestinian territory for occupied Palestinian territory so Israel can keep occupied Palestinian territory is not something over which there will ever likely be mutual agreement.

        There is no palestinians state so they can’t be mutual agreement. These were with Jordan, Syria Lebanon and Egypt.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        April 4, 2014, 2:21 pm

        ALL Arab leaders endorsed the 2002 Saudi Peace Plan and agreed the Palestinians would have to accept Israel within its pre-1967 borders. The only country that can alter this calculus is Israel, by failing to get out of the West bank.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        April 4, 2014, 1:40 pm

        @JeffB
        “There is no palestinians state….”
        Yes there is, as most of the world reconizes.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 5, 2014, 7:18 am

        JeffB “There is no palestinians state”

        Strange that the majority of the world have already recognized the State of Palestine and that it’s already a non member observer state at the UN

        “These were with Jordan, Syria Lebanon and Egypt”

        Careful, you’ll start eating your tail

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 4, 2014, 12:06 pm

        ”The annexations are rejected by the UN”

        Yeah, the UN has a habit of rejecting illegal land seizures. Fancy that.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        April 4, 2014, 12:20 pm

        Maximus

        two posts up:

        It’s really a de facto annexation. The only reason Israel won’t formalise it as such is that it would leave them with the thorny problem of hundreds of thousands of people who don’t conform with their notion of racial hygiene

        this post

        ”The annexations are rejected by the UN” [referring to annexation of that land]
        Yeah, the UN has a habit of rejecting illegal land seizures. Fancy that.

        I think that says it all.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        April 4, 2014, 7:09 pm

        The illegal colonies of Jews are a creeping annexation, in the hopes of Zionist-expansionists. In my view, the fact Jews live in flats or houses in an area of Palestine, does not mean that area should become part of Israel.

  12. aiman
    aiman
    April 4, 2014, 9:15 am

    “I know that if it wasn’t for them [the militias who cleansed Lydda], the State of Israel would not have been born…They did the dirty, filthy work that enables my people, myself, my daughter, and my sons to live.” – Shavit

    This is eerily similar to Michael Walzer’s views on political theory. No wonder unresolved arguments from the Second World War, Zionism and contemporary “humanitarian intervention” are intertwined. At their heart they all excuse massive civilian casualties and still profess nobility. “Shoot and cry” and furrow your forehead to be admired on the cover of the Times.

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