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Israel’s unending settlements ‘mortally wound idea of a Jewish state’ — Indyk

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Martin Indyk spoke at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy yesterday and placed most of the blame on the Israelis for the breakdown in talks and echoed Palestinian frustration. He said in essence that the Israelis aren’t serious about negotiations. They can’t even stop settlements for three months; and those unending settlements are acting to bring on a binational state and “mortally wound the idea of Israel as a Jewish state,” which would be “a tragedy of historic proportions.” (Do you think that would be a tragedy? I don’t. Neither do most Americans.)

Here are some of his comments. I’m leaving out Indyk’s faulting the Palestinians for seeking to join international bodies and reaching a reconciliation deal with Hamas, because the blame on Israel had so much more weight in his remarks.

First, on the unending settlement construction, all over the West Bank:

We have also spoken about the impact of settlement activity. Just during the past nine months of negotiations, tenders for building 4,800 settlement units were announced and planning was announced for another 8,000 units. It’s true that most of the tendered units are slated to be built in areas that even Palestinian maps in the past have indicated would be part of Israel. Yet the planning units were largely outside that area in the West Bank….

The Palestinians have demanded that Israel show the borders of its state. Indyk echoes that demand.

Indeed, according to the Israeli Bureau of Census and Statistics, from 2012 to 2013 construction starts in West Bank settlements more than doubled. That’s why Secretary Kerry believes it is essential to delineate the borders and establish the security arrangements in parallel with all the other permanent status issues.

In that way, once a border is agreed each party would be free to build in its own state.

Here’s the bit about Israel mortally wounding the idea of a Jewish state by creating a binational state.

I also worry about a more subtle threat to the character of the Jewish state. Prime Minister Netanyahu himself has made clear, the fundamental purpose of these negotiations is to ensure that Israel remains a Jewish and democratic state − not a de facto bi-national state. The settlement movement on the other hand may well drive Israel into an irreversible binational reality. If you care about Israel’s future, as I know so many of you do and as I do, you should understand that rampant settlement activity – especially in the midst of negotiations – doesn’t just undermine Palestinian trust in the purpose of the negotiations; it can undermine Israel’s Jewish future. If this continues, it could mortally wound the idea of Israel as a Jewish state – and that would be a tragedy of historic proportions.

Indyk says that 80 percent of the settlers will stay under a deal, but that Netanyahu is politically incapable of agreeing to any freeze on settlements, even for three months, which is a condition for negotiations.

Of course, Prime Minister Netanyahu can no more do a three-month construction freeze in the West Bank and east Jerusalem than he could before we started the negotiations, in the run-up to that, because that would collapse his government. And there’s no prime minister that I know anywhere who is willing to sacrifice his government. So, it’s not just that it sabotaged the negotiations, but it’s also a roadblock— one of the roadblocks, now—to the resumption of the negotiations. So, you know, we can rationalize it, we can explain it away, we can argue that they’re all going to be evacuated, or 80 percent of the settlers are
going to be accommodated, as part of the deal, which is probably true. But, in the meantime, the building of settlements, expansion of settlements, on land that the Palestinians believe is supposed to be part of their state—and the prevention of their ability to build in the same land—is a very problematic situation in terms of trying to resolve this conflict.

On Abbas’s terms for returning to negotiations. Indyk doesn’t see the Israelis as serious:

He will come back to negotiations if his test of seriousness is met, as I explained it to you: construction freeze in the West Bank and east Jerusalem for three months while the border is drawn—because if an Israeli government is prepared to do that, then from his point of view, that’s a serious negotiation. Other than that, he’s not interested.

Update: Arutz Sheva the rightwing Israeli website describes Indyk’s statements as “harsh” criticism and accusation, and quotes Netanyahu’s Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis saying the U.S. has fallen under the influence of Palestinian “propaganda.”

“It is unfortunate that a Palestinian lie also affects our friends,” Akunis stated. “There are not two truths here, only one: the Palestinians torpedoed the negotiations by choosing to reconcile with Hamas and take unilateral steps to apply to UN agencies.”

Philip Weiss

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73 Responses

  1. hophmi on May 9, 2014, 10:46 am

    ““mortally wound the idea of Israel as a Jewish state,” which would be “a tragedy of historic proportions.” (Do you think that would be a tragedy? I don’t. Neither do most Americans.)”

    You’re completely misusing Telhami’s survey. Telhami’s survey did not ask Americans whether they would regard the end of the world’s only Jewish state as a tragedy. I suspect you’re doing this because you know that if he had asked that question, the answer would likely have been different.

    • RoHa on May 9, 2014, 7:43 pm

      Again we get “the world’s only Jewish state”. What moral difference would it make if there were 42 Jewish States? Would the end of it be any more or less a tragedy?
      If so, why so?*

      It cannot be the uniqueness by itself that raises the possibility of tragedy. We would hardly think the demise of the world’s only Pure Aryan state, the world’s only slave-trading state, or the world’s only postmodernist state as tragedy.

      (Ever since I was a boy I have been asking people “why”. It has not made me popular, and I seldom receive answers. But I remain ever hopeful that my interlocutors will take up the burden of explanation.)

    • eljay on May 9, 2014, 10:16 pm

      >> ” … the world’s only Jewish state … ”

      …is just another supremacist state the world didn’t and doesn’t need. No state has a right to be a supremacist state. No people – not even Jewish people – are entitled to a supremacist state.

    • on May 9, 2014, 11:54 pm

      i don’t want to unnecessarily scare people but mondo readers are pretty savvy so they’ve known what israel’s all about anyway.
      israel seems to be like a plane uncontrollably going down in a death spiral. i just worry what golda mier so chillingly and convincingly said so many years ago that israel will take the world down with it!

    • pabelmont on May 10, 2014, 10:13 am

      What if the result (of history as it unfolds) is that there remains / is created a Jewish and democratic state inside Mandatory Palestine which occupies 50% of the territory of pre-1967 Israel plus a few of the dense settlements around Jerusalem.

      Would that be a tragedy (for whom?) of historic proportions? Because of SIZE? Shouldn’t be, because no-one talks about size when they talk about Jewish state. Well, they also don’t talk about water either, do they. A lot of things too embarrassing to talk about.

      As far as I am concerned, the smaller the (predominantly) Jewish state, the better.

  2. Nevada Ned on May 9, 2014, 10:59 am

    WINEP is a satellite organization of AIPAC, so Indyk was preaching to the choir.

    Israel and the co-called Palestinian “authority” (which in fact has no authority) should not be negotiating about borders, because Israel is so much stronger than the PA. Instead, the world should decree that the borders are those recognized by the world, the pre-1967 borders. This would require Israel to get out of ALL of the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem. Not “freezing construction” of new all-Jewish settlements. Evacuating the settlements: All of them, new and old.

    And under international law, the Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their homes, from which they were expelled.

    This whole negotiation process (so-called peace process) is a fraud.

  3. seafoid on May 9, 2014, 11:19 am

    Indyk is not credible. He has been intimately involved in the joke “peace process” for at least 15 years. He could have stood up at any time to say what he’s saying now. Why didn’t he ?

    • hophmi on May 9, 2014, 11:24 am

      He has, actually.

      Indyk’s been a critic for years. You just don’t pay attention.

    • wondering jew on May 9, 2014, 11:28 am

      This: “the peace process has been a joke all along” stuff is just not true. To those who advocate a return of millions of Palestinians to Israel and who cannot stomach any swap of territory, then it is a joke, but this does not include Mahmoud Abbas. How far away was Abbas from Olmert in 2008? (True, Olmert was not willing to put his words in writing, which is “suspect”, but he did make a counteroffer and how far apart were the two sides, 40 square miles? less? more? I have not read the Palestine Papers. Maybe they were further apart than that.)

      It is true that before Camp David 2000 Israel had not faced up to the types of concessions Israel would have to agree to for a peace, but by January 2001, the raw outlines of an agreement were clear to israeli negotiators. Sharon was not willing to go that route, but Olmert’s attitude was inconsistent, but not a joke. Since the 2009 elections there has not been anything similar to Olmert’s seriousness.

      • seafoid on May 9, 2014, 11:33 am

        Israel never wanted peace, habibi, and the growth of YESHA proves it. You got your 20 years to show you wanted it and you didn’t – you just built more homes for miserable ‘revenant’ Jews who think the world owes them something.

        Never mind the hasbara, feel the consequences

        “On Thursday, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and 15 other organizations urged Abbas to seek access for Palestine at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
        In a statement they said that such a move “could ensure access to international justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on Palestinian territories, and would send an important message that such crimes cannot be committed with impunity.”

        So much post Shoah goodwill and not a drop of it left today.

      • piotr on May 9, 2014, 11:46 am

        Yea, it was not a joke because its is not funny. But as Indyk somehow managed to notice, it was not serious. That really calls for “slow thinker” award, but I am at loss how it should be structured. As the contenders like Indyk take decades to conclude the obvious, one cannot go for “slow thinker of the year”. Perhaps carrier awards?

      • Kathleen on May 10, 2014, 1:34 am

        “As the contenders like Indyk take decades to conclude the obvious, one cannot go fr “slow thinker of the year.”

        Indyk has always known it was only a matter of time that Israel was going to get seriously called out…he knows the tide has shifted and there is not going back. Israel has become its own enemy.

      • on May 9, 2014, 11:52 am

        Yonah has once again misrepresented the facts about the return of millions of Palestinians to Israel. He left out the fact that Israel’s recognition as a state back in 1948 was based on their agreement to allow the return of the 700,000 plus Palestinians whom they had driven out to achieve their goal of a heavy Jewish majority. They have been in breach of their agreement for 65 plus years and so have delegitimized themselves and their claim to statehood.

      • Citizen on May 9, 2014, 4:50 pm

        @ Giles
        Yes, it’s amazing and depressive to me that the Israelis never fulfilled the return ASAP of the Nabka refugees as a condition subsequent to the world’s recognition of the state of Israel as a “nation among nations” at the UN in the first place. It’s also amazing to me that the US mainstream press has never pointed out this dereliction to Dick and Jane, they who financially support Israel day by day.

      • pabelmont on May 10, 2014, 11:23 am


        I really don’t know what undertakings Israel made at the time of its application for UN membership. And, of course, i don’t know which such were “required” by UN for the membership. Do you have a link to info on this?

    • amigo on May 9, 2014, 11:36 am

      “He could have stood up at any time to say what he’s saying now. Why didn’t he ?”seafoid.

      Not to seem too simplistic but , you can fool some of the people all the time , etc etc.

      Indyk knows the jig is up and is now trying to distance himself from the criminals he previously broke bread with.He is a coward and a traitor to all those he deals with.Not to be trusted under any circumstances.

      Will he Go-Goldstone and reverse again??.

      Will he do a Benny Morris??.

      Will he buckle under the inevitable attacks .

      We will see.

      • seafoid on May 10, 2014, 12:44 am

        He spent a large chunk of his career propping up YESHA and now he wants to distance himself from it.

        Reminds me of “Waldorf Salad”, the Fawlty Towers episode

        Zero credibility

    • Walid on May 9, 2014, 1:53 pm

      “Indyk is not credible. ”

      seafoid, the guy’s actually a fraud. Speaking at WINEP is more of platform to deliver a message since he is WINEP and after quitting his phony “peacemaker” post, it was reported that he’d be returning there. As a “peacemaker” he was just just as legitimate as Ross, that other WINEP fixture.

      • seafoid on May 9, 2014, 2:47 pm

        I agree, Walid. They all are. Never wanted peace and thought the Shoah was a permanent excuse .

        It’s funny to see diehard bots like Indyk and Livni tell Yossi Israeli that the world is sick of the settlers. YESHA just cost 100bn dollars and now it’s unacceptable to the goys.

        What’s the Yiddish word for when that sort of thing happens ?

      • Walid on May 9, 2014, 3:05 pm

        Livni was either the first that came out with the concept of transfers of whole Palestinian-Israeli villages or just about the same time as Lieberman did. So with such ideas on her brain, she surely would not do away with the settlements, the larder ones at least. As to her posturing along with Indyk against the settlements, this has to be part of some face-saving ploy to bring Abbas back to the negotiations to stall for more time before the Palestinians decide to jump the gun and go to the ICC. This sort of coincides with an equal push on the other side by Abbas that keeps repeating every 20 minutes how he’s ready to rush back to the talks provided Israel sweetens the pot by agreeing to a few concessions. They’re bitching about the settlements while Netanyahu is swearing up and down that he wouldn’t let go of the Valley, which is a worse scenario.

      • seafoid on May 9, 2014, 3:53 pm

        They might get Abbas back for one more round but he’ll end up going to the UN, I bet. Israel has basically lost elite goy opinion. Indyk turning on the settlers- the new Jews, the revenants, the living covenant with Hakadosh Baruch Hu, the perfection of humanity- is just proof .

    • David Doppler on May 9, 2014, 4:26 pm

      Indyk is at @46min to 1:14. I found him credible, and calling for leadership from Israel and Palestine, with most of the pressure on Israel. ICJ beckons/threatens. A flood of negative news in America does the same. There won’t be any way to turn that flood back, once it starts, even though Indyk promises Obama is sincere in his unshakeable support for Israeli security. Obama’s term is up in two and a half years. The flood of negative news that beckons/threatens today, if unleashed, will usher in a new era of political reality in the US whose course cannot be clearly predicted.

      • Citizen on May 9, 2014, 4:59 pm

        @ David Doppler
        Really? The political reality in the US can be clearly predicted by the US political campaign finance laws, as recently enhanced by SCOTUS. Follow the money is more efficient than ever.

      • American on May 9, 2014, 8:39 pm

        David Doppler says:

        ” Obama is sincere in his unshakeable support for Israeli security. Obama’s term is up in two and a half years. The flood of negative news that beckons/threatens today, if unleashed, will usher in a new era of political reality in the US whose course cannot be clearly predicted.’….>>>>

        Which is probably why Peter Beinart is tying to get Joe “I am a Zionist” Biden to run for President.

    • concernedhuman on May 9, 2014, 7:20 pm

      “He could have stood up at any time to say what he’s saying now. ”
      Because he is now asked by the state department to talk .

  4. seafoid on May 9, 2014, 11:43 am

    More chutzpah from the political backers of YESHA

    Zippy Livni is an old negotiating hand. Here she is from 2007

    “Livni: My problem is that of security. Some said to me that there would be violence among my people if I evacuated them, but the pressure will be less if I give the right to choose. I cannot bear the responsibility of their life in case they are exposed to danger and then the army will have to interfere. ”

    And here Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni insists on annexing the settlement of Ariel – which lies some 15 miles to the east of the Israeli border, deep in the West Bank: Livni: “The idea behind our desire to annex Ariel settlement was not to get more water but because thousands of people live there. We want to have an answer for those who have lived there for forty years.”
    Those people are going nowhere. As always planned.
    Elsewhere :
    “Livni is recorded confirming what Palestinians have always accused Israeli governments of doing: creating facts on the ground to prevent the possibility of a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.”
    When Mr Erekat asked Ms Livni: “Short of your jet fighters in my sky and your army on my territory, can I choose where I secure external defence?”. She replied: “No. In order to create your state you have to agree in advance with Israel – you have to choose not to have the right of choice afterwards. These are the basic pillars.”
    “Israel takes more land [so] that the Palestinian state will be impossible . . . the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that is impossible, we already have the land and we cannot create the state”. She conceded that it had been “the policy of the government for a really long time”.
    Another choice comment from Livni, this one from a Nov. 13, 2007 meeting, where she and Abu Ala (Qurei) were discussing what should be included in the “terms of reference” for the upcoming Annapolis meeting (the eighth meeting on this question):
    AA: International law?
    Livni : NO. I was the Minister of Justice. I am a lawyer…But I am against law — international law in particular. Law in general. If we want to make the agreement smaller, can we just drop some of these issues? Like international law, this will make the agreements easier.”

    And now in 2014 she blames the settlers . Bots don’t ever do responsibility.

    “The settlers want to prevent us from living a normal life and do not accept the authority of the law,” Livni told Army Radio on Friday.
    Echoing U.S. special envoy Martin Indyk’s comments Thursday night that settlements undermine negotiations and and could “drive Israel into an irreversible binational reality,” Livni said that the settlers “are preventing us from reaching a resolution,” adding that “settlement construction makes it impossible to defend Israel around the world.””

    a bit of slapper pop for Zippy

    • seafoid on May 9, 2014, 11:25 pm

      Livni was Israel’s chief negotiator.
      “Justice Minister Tzipi Livni warned Tuesday that the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners – set to be freed at the end of March as part of the agreement to resume negotiations – will not be released if Israel and the Palestinians have not reached a broad framework agreement by then.
      “The prison keys are in the hands of [Palestinian President] Mahmoud Abbas and the decisions he makes over the next few days,” Livni said, in what seemed to be an attempt to put pressure on Abbas to accept the U.S. framework agreement. ”

      what a turd.
      She could have stood up to YESHA. She was driving the negotiations.

  5. wondering jew on May 9, 2014, 11:44 am

    The idea of a Jewish state- as in a country that will take in a Jew who has nowhere else to turn, is an idea that was “historically inevitable” given the facts of 1881 to 1945. The fact that to establish such a state a large population of Palestinians “had to be” kicked out certainly casts a shadow about the justice of such a state coming into existence, but no one aware of the history of that period can remain callous to the need that was crying out to be filled. Of course history is not inevitable and there were other strands of history that sought a cure in the international brotherhood of men, although knowing what we know now about Stalinism, that cure also contained a good deal of toxic side effects. And of course I must mention that the US post WWI changed policy towards immigration made the need for such a refuge, such a country that would of a matter of policy accept Jewish refugees, more obvious more glaring and more painfully necessary.

    The disappearance of Israel is not going to be voted into effect overnight and even Phil, you imagine that violence will be the path of the birth of this change that you see as inevitable and good. But how do you know? You hope and suppose, but you do not know. I can be condemned for my fears, but Las Vegas would give better odds to my fears than to your hopes. (Of course the Jewish role in Vegas makes that a tainted way to phrase myself.) Your lack of feeling about the loss of a Jewish refuge reflects both your optimism re: the future of the Jews in America and your lack of concern regarding the future of Jews elsewhere in the world. Your lack of fear regarding the new Palestine reflects an optimism that has little basis in reality, but merely is a preferred stance given your politics.

    • talknic on May 9, 2014, 12:04 pm

      yonah fredman “The idea of a Jewish state- as in a country that will take in a Jew who has nowhere else to turn, is an idea that was “historically inevitable” given the facts of 1881 to 1945. The fact that to establish such a state a large population of Palestinians “had to be” kicked out certainly casts a shadow about the justice of such a state coming into existence, but no one aware of the history of that period can remain callous to the need that was crying out to be filled”

      Fine. It was out crying to be filled. It has been and the holocaust is over. 66 years later and Jews who ARE NOT endangered, NOT the subject of Antisemitic attacks, NOT refugees, often have dual citizenship, are living in NON-Israeli territory in illegal settlements. They’re often armed and they’re not even in Israel and they’re dispossessing non-Jews.

    • talknic on May 9, 2014, 12:10 pm

      “The disappearance of Israel ..”

      What disappearance of Israel? A change of regime and abiding by the law does not disappear a country.

      • Kay24 on May 9, 2014, 4:40 pm

        Oh that’s the usual victim card being played, when in reality Israel has become a fat monster being fed by the US, and expanding their elastic borders, at the expense of those they military occupy. Oh woe is us, everyone is out to get us blah blah.

      • Michaeden on May 9, 2014, 6:56 pm

        Please take note those suggest the holocaust is over and Jews are safe anywhere in the world. There are Redwood trees in United States over 2000 years old! If just one country decides to persecute Jews at any time, as does most of the Arab bloc implicitly, will any state guarantee to automatically let Jews in? No.It’s not the way the world turns. This is the rationale behind Israel’s creation. It is the wider world that is problem, not Israel or Zionism.

      • john h on May 10, 2014, 1:37 am

        ” A change of regime and abiding by the law does not disappear a country”.

        Modern examples are Germany after the Nazi regime, Russia [and others] out of the Soviet Union, and South Africa post apartheid.

      • jayn0t on May 10, 2014, 2:09 am

        “What disappearance of Israel? A change of regime and abiding by the law does not disappear a country.” Sorry, talknic, in this case it does. Whereas all the Republic of South Africa had to do was change its constitution, if Israel changed its constitution to bring it in line with modern Western standards, to be a state of all its inhabitants, plus the descendants of those ethnically cleansed since 1948, it would cease to be a Jewish state.

      • Ellen on May 10, 2014, 3:39 am

        Jaynot, Israel never completed or ratified a constitution. Essentially it has no constitution. For some that raises the question if it really even is a modern State.

        No complete ratified constitution, no completed agreed upon borders….

      • Krusty on May 10, 2014, 4:05 am

        The UK doesn’t have a written constitution either, formed a Supreme Court just a few years ago, and those pesky Scots are about to be independent! :P

        The truth is that Israel has something called “Basic Laws”, which are tantamount to a Constitution. Any change or addition to them is extremely hotly debated. The most recent example of this is the proposed Jewish & democratic nation-state law. As you can imagine, it’s a very thorny issue, and any potential wording (there have been other attempts before) is very important.

    • talknic on May 9, 2014, 1:17 pm

      @ yonah fredman “The disappearance of Israel ..”

      Best stop wasting your time here and start lobbying for a constitution before the sh*te gets too close to the fan!

      Take your whining to the Zionist Movement

    • on May 9, 2014, 4:01 pm

      Actually, recent scholarship reveals that the impetus for Zionism was not the prevalence of anti-Semitism, which indeed was far less at the time Zionism was being birthed than in earlier centuries, but rather the fear that Jews were being successfully too assimilated into the nations they lived in.

      Sans Zionism American Jews — who are white people after all — would be as assimilated as Irish Americans and German Americans, for two examples.

      And an assimilated people would never be able to accrue the power that the Zionists have managed in America

      • Michaeden on May 9, 2014, 6:45 pm

        I believe Zionists have accrued power owing to respect of their struggle to create their own nation state in the 20th century. For a long time funding arrived to the IRA from America to further the cause Irish independence. Germany’s case is to a certain extent fait accompli owing to its decisive participation in the development of 20th history. Israel’s struggle will continue for as long as Arab countries in its midst abject to democracy and religious pluralism. America’s identification and support of Israel reflect these facts within that context. Furthermore, please take note participation and not assimilation is, the American way.

    • Citizen on May 9, 2014, 5:15 pm

      @ yonah

      You say: “Your lack of feeling about the loss of a Jewish refuge reflects both your optimism re: the future of the Jews in America and your lack of concern regarding the future of Jews elsewhere in the world.”

      So, you peddle the notion that there will always be a jew-hater around the next corner, always driven by pure hate, simply because someone is “born a jew.”

      Your prescription is that we (98% non-Jewish) Americans should always opt to rubber-stamp diplomatically and greatly fund the nuclear-powered and US funded state of Israel, no matter what it does?

    • bilal a on May 9, 2014, 5:36 pm

      I take it that many here do not recognize the right of Jews in Palestine to self determination as a people, which would certainly be lost if Israel is submerged into a multicultural melting pot. They deny these rights even as they affirm them for Tibetans. Why?

      It seems to me that Jewish anti-Zionism here is linked to a broader anti-theism, they do not like the idea of a religion Judaism having any say in the construction of civil law in Palestine. Submersion into the one state solution rectifies this, in their mind.

      Ironically such a solution would negate the basic self determination rights of a Jewish minority , once protected in historic caliphates, but a secular Arab Israeli bi-national state would also negate this self determination.

      Hatred of the religious overrides Jewish solidarity; it is preferable to lose Israel as a Jewish state rather than allow the Orthodox to speak on moral issues through civil law– because Orthodox views are deeply threatening to the liberal cosmopolitan ethic , the state religion of the transnational corporation.

      Moreover Jewish self determination as an idea could be universalized into Christian or Muslim self determination ; a grave threat to Western elite rule. Indeed anti-racial, sectarian identity politics supported by religious- moral unity is the only majoritarian threat to liberal elite consensus politics in America and the Arab world.

    • RoHa on May 9, 2014, 7:52 pm

      “The fact that to establish such a state a large population of Palestinians “had to be” kicked out certainly casts a shadow about the justice of such a state coming into existence, but no one aware of the history of that period can remain callous to the need that was crying out to be filled. ”

      To fulfil the alleged need by murder, theft, and ethnic cleansing casts more than a shadow. It is a blatant crime. It is a declaration that the needs of Jews are more important than the needs of others. “We matter and you don’t.”

      And when you refer to Phil’s “lack of concern regarding the future of Jews elsewhere in the world”, it looks as though you too think that Jews are more worthy of concern than other people.

    • eljay on May 9, 2014, 9:59 pm

      >> The idea of a Jewish state … is an idea that was “historically inevitable” …

      The idea of a supremacist “Jewish State” may not have been “historically inevitable”, but its realization was evitable.

      >> The fact that to establish such a state a large population of Palestinians “had to be” kicked out certainly casts a shadow about the justice of such a state coming into existence …

      There was and is nothing just about a supremacist “Jewish State” coming into existence, even if there had been no ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands to “cast a shadow” (what a charming way to put it) on the undertaking.

      >> … but no one aware of the history of that period can remain callous to the need that was crying out to be filled.

      The need that was crying out to be filled was a need for justice and accountability. There was and is no “need” for a supremacist “Jewish State” or for any other type of supremacist state.

      • eljay on May 10, 2014, 10:38 am

        Corrected: The idea of a supremacist “Jewish State” may not have been “historically inevitable”, but its realization was evitable.

    • seafoid on May 9, 2014, 11:26 pm

      I am not sure anything is “historically inevitable”
      Should Liverpool have won the English Premiership ?

  6. seafoid on May 9, 2014, 11:47 am

    The fact they had no land of their own was ultimately what mortally wounded the notion of the “Jewish state” . They had to kill so many people and abandon whatever moral values Judaism stands for that they ended up being run by a militaristic clique. They just couldn’t stop themselves taking over the rump in 1967 and building those EJ settlements.

    Now they are powerless to stop the feedback loops.
    And who honestly can say the IDF has anything to do with historic Judaism ?

  7. Jeff Klein on May 9, 2014, 2:23 pm

    This is what Lord Balfour had to say two years after issuing his famous “declaration” in 1917:

    Lord Balfour to Foreign Secretary George Curzon
    November 17, 1919

    “In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country….The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land…”

    Can anyone defend this today?

    • seafoid on May 9, 2014, 3:08 pm

      “And Zionism, be it right or wrong”

      That was actually wrong. Maybe if the bots had run a feudal agricultural economy with minimal contact with the outside world they could have done what they wanted but they do like their fast moving consumer goods, don’t they ?

      • MHughes976 on May 9, 2014, 3:36 pm

        I think Balfour’s ‘ancient land’ statement is repeated and quite widely defended today. That is why there is so much emphasis on ancient and biblical history, interpreted as a warrant for what is happening now. How otherwise could all the references to ‘historic homeland’ that we find even here on MW arise?
        As to refuge from persecution and dispossession, the situation we want, for the sake of human right, is that these disasters should not occur, but that should they occur states and polities should be ready to provide refuge to all, regardless of such things as race or religion. The Zionist argument is that since being Jewish calls forth, on the witness of history, more persecution than any other situation being Jewish confers special rights by which the normal set of rights is overridden. I disagree with this argument because the idea of non-universal rights to my mind produces moral chaos and because the idea of a right to limit the risk of suffering, which does not currently exist, by causing and indefinitely prolonging actual suffering verges on paradox.

      • seafoid on May 9, 2014, 4:02 pm

        “because the idea of a right to limit the risk of suffering, which does not currently exist, by causing and indefinitely prolonging actual suffering verges on paradox”

        And is very close to the border with hypocrisy
        The notion of Jewish chosenness is very troubling- who says Yossi Israeli is superior to Mohammed Falastini ? Why should anyone not Jewish accept that?

      • Michaeden on May 9, 2014, 6:29 pm

        Jewish chosen-ness is a metaphor for being human, it does not privilege one people over another. Chosen-ness describes the condition of being chosen by God to fulfil God’s will and to suffer tests of morality both in strife and in health.

      • Stephen Shenfield on May 9, 2014, 7:36 pm

        It was not hypocritical at the time of Zionism’s birth because the idea of the superiority of some “civilized” nations to other “primitive” nations was then the prevailing “commonsense” assumption (questioned by only a few mavericks). And European Jews were generally viewed as more “civilized” than Arabs — and not only by European Jews themselves. The world has changed since then. Zionism has not — it is caught in a time warp.

        Even if the “refuge” justification for Zionism were to be accepted in principle (I am not saying it should be), it is surely relevant to ask to what extent Israel has in practice provided a refuge for persecuted Jews in the two thirds of a century of its existence. The answer, I think, is “only marginally.” Jews in the USSR were in danger during the final years of Stalin’s rule (his death narrowly averted their deportation) but they were unable to get out of the country. Israel did provide a refuge for a few Jewish victims of the Nazi Argentine military junta (Jacobo Timmerman being the best known), but at the same time Israel helped maintain that regime by means of arms sales etc. The safety of Jews has always come way down the list of factors influencing Israeli foreign policy.

    • john h on May 10, 2014, 1:51 am

      Jeff Klein: “Can anyone defend this today?”

      Yes, everyone who defends the reasoning and/or the result.

  8. Michaeden on May 9, 2014, 2:24 pm

    ‘Here’s the bit about Israel mortally wounding the idea of a Jewish state by creating a binational state.’

    Well reported but Indyk makes no sense. Israel has no intention of creating a binational state. Where did that fantasy come from? Also, the settlements have no relation to democracy or Jewishness in Israel proper. Very odd.

    • Kathleen on May 10, 2014, 1:44 am

      More often than not alleged Jewish “chosen- ness” has been used to exclude, elevate and cultivate ethnocentrism. Racism is generally the result.

    • pabelmont on May 10, 2014, 11:48 am

      I don’t think Indyk means Israel would voluntarily make a democratic non-discriminating single state to replace the current apartheid single state. I think his fear is that such a (dreadful in his view) thing may be forced upon Israel in some near future, adn that it would not be forced upon Israel if Israel renounced either the entire occupation/settlements or lots of it/them. He’s prodding Israel (or WINEP) to abandon the settlement project in favor of something that can be sold to the world and to the Palestinians as a satisfactory 2SS.

  9. Steve Macklevore on May 9, 2014, 5:34 pm

    “If [settlement construction] continues, it could mortally wound the idea of Israel as a Jewish state…”

    Poor dim-bulb Martin. If only you’d had this realisation 15 years ago and acted upon it. Instead you choose to enable it, by acting as Israel’s American lawyer. What a terrible irony of history.

    • john h on May 10, 2014, 1:59 am

      “What a terrible irony of history”.

      It is the terrible legacy of Presidents and their lackeys. Holocaust guilt will be replaced or superceded by the guilt of bending the knee to Zionism and shafting the Palestinians, over a long period.

      Two wrongs do not a right make.

    • NickJOCW on May 10, 2014, 3:53 am

      Ultimately the settlers are expendable, meanwhile they absorb pretty well all the flak, literally and figuratively. One day I imagine they will leave with much wailing and tearing of hair, and a successful orthodontist in Tel Aviv won’t be overly sorry to see them go.

      • Walid on May 10, 2014, 6:21 am

        What’s the story on the successful TA orthodontist?

    • Ellen on May 10, 2014, 3:58 am

      Israeli press and pundits are rightfully making the same argument. How can the US/Indyk claim the settlement building blew up the negotiations? They entered the negotiations with both feet knowing the settlements were being expanded.

      So the US has exposed itself as either participating in the fraud to allow Israel to steal or is utterly foolish and ignorant or both. Which means the US has no legitimacy in its role.

      This development has mostly weakened Israel’s host and patron. Not good for either.

      • Kay24 on May 10, 2014, 7:19 am

        You are right. The US looks bad either way. It has lost any credibility when it comes to Israel. It is fully aware of the continuous land grabs, did not protest during negotiations when Israel kept announcing even more, and now US officials pretend they are shocked that the peace talks failed.
        The rest of the world must have had a good laugh when we initiated these talks first, in fact many of us here were skeptical too.

    • Walid on May 10, 2014, 6:30 am

      He’s not as dumb as he looks, Steve, the guy’s got something up his sleeve. Keep your eye on it and in time you’ll see him pull a rabbit out of it. He didn’t get super-fast US naturalization upon his arrival there for nothing.

      • Shingo on May 10, 2014, 7:37 am

        He might something up his sleeve but he’s a rank amateur and of no consequence.

        By his own admission he went to Washington to defend Israel. With those ambitions, it’s no surprise he obtained super fast naturalization. A phone call to Tel Aviv was all it needed.

  10. Citizen on May 9, 2014, 9:34 pm

    Time for Obama and Kerry to just go over the heads of the press and congress and tell the American people: Yes, Israeli apartheid! Time to cut the NASTY umbilical cord!

  11. jayn0t on May 10, 2014, 2:04 am

    Indyk: “If this continues, it could mortally wound the idea of Israel as a Jewish state – and that would be a tragedy of historic proportions.” Weiss says: “Do you think that would be a tragedy? I don’t. Neither do most Americans.” Indyk is trying to contribute to a discussion about what tactics Jewish supremacy should adopt. He thinks settlements will harm it. They haven’t done it any harm up til now.

  12. ramzijaber on May 10, 2014, 8:53 am

    Indyk is right. Let’s remember, he’s also ex-AIPAC.

    I have been asking a simple question over the years but never got an answer. I have asked it to moderate israelis, to extreme zionists, to americans, to europeans.

    What does “jewish and democratic” really mean and how does it work?

    Still waiting after all these years……………………

    • Walid on May 11, 2014, 2:10 am

      Ya Ramzi, anyone that really believes snake-oil salesman Indyk’s claim about anything being mortal to Israel isn’t being serious. He’s probably sending up smoke signals of Israel’s plan announcing its unilateral withdrawal from the remote and redundant settlements and the wholesale annexation of the major ones. Think back to the Gaza pullout amid the screaming and yelling settlers while Sharon was stealthily going on his merry way stealing more land with his WB wall than what was actually being abandoned in Gaza, and being branded “man of peace” for it by the Americans.

      On another note that you’d find interesting is an article this week by J. Blankfort who’s been around the conflict for a while ; a small excerpt of what he sees as the real reason behind the current rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas:

      “… Even the PA’s applications to join 15 UN agencies—not, including, of course, the International Criminal Court—can be explained as part of a plan to not only unite Israelis behind Netanyahu, but to rally support for Abbas in the West Bank and Gaza for “standing up to Israel.”

      “With the [Fatah-Hamas] deal,” wrote Israeli alternative journalist Noam Sheizaf, “Netanyahu had a perfect alibi: after all, if Abbas is back to doing business with an organization that refuses to recognize Israel and believes in armed resistance, one cannot blame the Israeli government for abandoning the peace process.”

      This is the same Abbas, it should be recalled, who sabotaged efforts to bring the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead before the UN Security Council; the same Abbas who has publicly rejected the Palestinian “right of return;” the same Abbas whose earlier willingness, and that of chief PA negotiator, Saeb Erekat, to acquiesce to Israel’s demands were exposed in documents turned over to Al Jazeera in 2011 by a Palestinian Edward Snowden, and the same Abbas who recently reaffirmed his opposition to boycotts, divestment, and sanctions directed against Israel itself. (The Al Jazeera revelations had forced an embarrassed Erekat to submit his resignation as PA’s negotiator, but like everything else in the Alice in Wonderland world within which this conflict seems to be discussed and debated, it was like it never happened.)

      It is the security collaboration with Israel, however, that remains the greatest indictment against Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and yet, apart from some all too rare outbursts of criticism from Palestinians in the diaspora and even fewer from Palestinian solidarity activists, mention of the subject has largely been restricted to praise for the unholy alliance from Israeli officials and their US agents.”

      Full article:

  13. asherpat on May 10, 2014, 9:59 am

    If “settlements ‘mortally wound idea of a Jewish state’”, then whoever supports Israel as a Jewish state should resist and oppose “settlements”.

    Wait, so, whoever opposes Israel as a Jewish state should…err…support “settlements”?

  14. Citizen on May 10, 2014, 11:25 am

    Michelle Bachmann’s POV on the ruptured peace process:

    Washington times publishing this insane Islamophobe and Christian Zionist? Check out her total ignorance of historical facts and lack of logic.

    • amigo on May 10, 2014, 3:28 pm

      Her diatribe is straight out of the hasbara manual.

      I did not read past the claim that Palestinians helped the nazis.

      I wonder if bachmann knows that Jews ___Lehi terrorists offered to help the nazis.

      What.s funny is she is on an intelligence committee.

  15. Citizen on May 10, 2014, 12:20 pm

    Here’s another blame US leadership for the collapse of the peace process:

  16. American on May 10, 2014, 12:39 pm

    Stephen Walt @stephenWalt:

    “Weird thought: might Indyk & WINEP one day call for conditioning US aid to Israel on settlement halt? If truly”pro-Israel,” they would.”

    Cut off the gd money.

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