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Victoria Nuland

Victoria Nuland

Last week we ran a piece about a fawning profile in the New York Times of neoconservative Robert Kagan and his family in which Kagan argued that the U.S. has an imperial role to play in a “world order built around American economic, political, and military power.” The piece mentioned that Kagan’s wife Victoria Nuland is an assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Michael Smith, co-author of the new book, Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA, offered this footnote. A dialogue ensued.–Phil Weiss. 

Nuland is the daughter of the recently deceased Dr. Sherwin Nuland, a most wonderful man. He was a surgeon and a medical historian who taught at Yale. He wrote a number of books including the very fine “How We Die.” His humanism came from early childhood, growing up as a first generation Jewish immigrant in the Bronx. His daughter you may remember bragged about United States spending 5 billion dollars to accomplish the violent overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine, and put in place, for the first time since 1945 a number of ministers who are openly Fascists. How ironic that his daughter and son-in-law turned out to be monsters. Only in America.

Weiss: What I sometimes wonder is, Was the socialism of our grandfathers a predictable Jewish response to their conditions, as empire neoliberalism is a predictable Jewish response to ours? I am not putting your socialism in that category, Michael: It is an intellectual and spiritual commitment that would survive any test. But when my grandmother was praising the Rosenbergs, I wonder how much of it was simply tribal; her grandchildren are as materialistic a group as any other Americans.

I think my grandfather’s generation, which lived around the time of the first world war and the greatest antiwar movement of them all, the Russian Revolution, was shaped by and responded  to their world. Both Jews and non-Jews alike covered the spectrum from being apolitical, to tribalistic, to socialists.

My grandfather came here as a teenager in 1916. He became a tailor in Chicago. He was the president of an organization called United Chicago Jews of Hungarian descent.
He was not particularly political.

The Jews of Eastern Europe and Russia had varying responses to their oppression. A small minority were Zionists.  Others were in the Bund which, as you know, was a socialist organization with tribalistic leanings. Others became revolutionaries whose primary identity was not Jewish but socialist. The most famous Jew to carry forward this tradition was of course Leon Trotsky.

Jews in America were exceptionally successful. I think materialists in your family are an example of that. Kagan Nuland and Kristol are other examples, successes in the political/intellectual world. And successful because they advanced the ideology of American imperialism in a  quite a successful manner. So they were embraced.

I would suggest your reading Isaac Deutscher. Particularly his three volume biography of Trotsky which is a good history of the times, as well as his singular essay “The Non-Jewish Jew,” which is available online.

I think it is significant that the Jewish radical tradition has carried forward for the last 100 years. Yes, there are materialistic successes, but there also are Jewish Voice for Peace and folks at Mondoweiss, etc. Young Jews were heavily and disproportionately represented in the generation of 60s radicals and are in the current generation.

When the Rosenbergs were framed up, tried, and convicted and sentenced to death it was very brave for people to come forward and support them given the atmosphere of the times. Good for your grandmother, who identified herself as a Jew with the Rosenbergs who were vilified  as Jews. In fact, the perfidy of this government was such that they used a Jew as a prosecutor, judge,  and main witness against the Rosenbergs. Your grandmother’s understanding this trickery and still identifying and supporting the Rosenberg’s was extraordinary and commendable.

Michael S. Smith
About Michael Smith

Michael S. Smith is a lawyer, author and radio host. He can be heard on "Law and Disorder." http://lawanddisorder.org/

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18 Responses

  1. bilal a
    bilal a on June 25, 2014, 4:35 pm

    Good for your grandmother, who identified herself as a Jew with the Rosenbergs….”

    why? that is tribalism.

    They were soviet spies, just as undoubtedly there are agents of a hostile foreign power, even now embedded in our national security state, media, and economy.

    Is There Anything More to Say About the Rosenberg Case?
    http://monthlyreview.org/2011/02/01/is-there-anything-more-to-say-about-the-rosenberg-case

  2. Stogumber
    Stogumber on June 25, 2014, 4:38 pm

    “In fact, the perfidy of this government was such that they used a Jew as a prosecutor, judge, and main witness against the Rosenbergs. ”

    I suppose that the Jewish prosecutor and judge acted in good faith – and so where’s the perfidy? In fact, the Jewish prosecutor and judge did a lot to improve the public opinion about Jews.

    In any case, the first Jews who turned anti-communist took a brave standing against general (Rooseveltist) opinion as well as against their own tribe and that ought to be acknowledged. Of course, later on being an anti-communist became a matter of conformity, but that’s the way things go; we can’t judge the forerunners like the latecomers.

  3. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield on June 25, 2014, 4:43 pm

    Many of our grandfathers — and grandmothers — in the Russian Empire and other parts of Eastern and Central Europe were indeed socialists of various kind, and this can of course be viewed as a response to their material and psychological conditions (though by no means fully determined by those conditions). However, Jews were also active in other segments of the political spectrum, including liberalism (e.g., Mikhail Gershenzon) and even conservatism. Liberal and conservative Jews tended to come from higher-status families and were less alienated from “respectable society.” Some conservative Jews even fought on the White side in the Civil War. I have written about one of these figures, Yakov Bromberg, on my site:

    http://www.stephenshenfield.net/themes/jewish-issues/jews-in-tsarist-russia/105-the-jewish-eurasianism-of-yakov-bromberg

    At the other extreme, Jews also took part in the anarchist insurrection of Nestor Makhno in Ukraine.

  4. Citizen
    Citizen on June 25, 2014, 9:45 pm

    Are you suggesting that the Rosenbergs were not traitors? If so, where does this come from? They were a key component of how Stalin got the bomb. Was that a good thing? If so, how so? Anybody want to explain this? I’m confused.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones on June 26, 2014, 12:37 am

      Citizen,
      He may be coming at it from the viewpoint that a stable multipolar world is better, even if you are an American. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but if the US and the Israeli State (which received it from the US) were the only two places in the world with the bom, then it would create a much more unipolar world. While it is not a pleasure to have another country at crossed swords, if only one country had the sword, it could be easily abused. The superpower could decide that it could dictate its terms to the world, and from thence to its own people, in the model of Brave New World. If other countries resisted, they could get caught up in the billions in a hurricane of fire. At first this unipolarity might seem attractive. But think of a business that comes to town and makes a monopoly. Without any competition or political responsibility to the “world” or town that it effectively covers, even its output and motivation will suffer, prices will rise, and it can become corrupted.

      Such an asymmetic balance could make the crushing relationship between the Israeli State, US and the rest of the Middle East into a frightening reflection of the world’s history.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on June 26, 2014, 6:26 am

        @ W.Jones

        Wouldn’t “a stable multipolar world” POV favor Iran getting the bomb so that a country there besides Israel can balance the power?

      • Hostage
        Hostage on June 26, 2014, 10:21 am

        @W.Jones replying to you here The Israeli state is going through a boom economically and getting tons of foreign aid. BDS is nowhere near hurting the Israelis so severely that Palestinians are being hurt.

        Midway through the video you cited Chomsky stopped Barat in mid-sentence and said that’s not what we are talking about. He is saying that the narrative about the hypothetical exercise of the right of return has been a gift to American hardliners that has already harmed Palestinians.

        Just watch the cheers and applause during Netahyahu’s speech to the Congress when he proclaims that Israel won’t accept even one descendant of a refugee. The Whitehouse is still serving-up his side of the story:

        The Arab attack in 1948 on Israel resulted in two refugee problems — Palestinian refugee problem and Jewish refugees, roughly the same number, who were expelled from Arab lands. Now, tiny Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees, but the vast Arab world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees. Now, 63 years later, the Palestinians come to us and they say to Israel, accept the grandchildren, really, and the great grandchildren of these refugees, thereby wiping out Israel’s future as a Jewish state.

        So it’s not going to happen. Everybody knows it’s not going to happen. And I think it’s time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly it’s not going to happen.

        http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/20/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-netanyahu-israel-after-bilate

        The government of Israel routinely uses the prospect of Palestinian refugees flooding the country to whip-up support at home and abroad to punish the refugees. As a direct result of that very effective propaganda campaign, there are calls from our lawmakers to reduce funding to UNRWA to levels that would only feed 30,000 refugees, not the 5 million who are in need of support today. — http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-senate-dramatically-redefines-definition-of-palestinian-refugees/

      • Hostage
        Hostage on June 26, 2014, 10:52 am

        P.S. Chomsky notes that these are tactics, not principles, and that before we use them we should consider whether they might harm the victims. I’ve commented on the fact that almost everyone concerned has strongly opposed an actual survey to consult the wishes of the refugees to determine how many want to return to Israel, opt for compensation, or wish to pursue some other remedy.

        Nasser recommended that be done way back in 1955 and presumed most refugees would not want to stay after they saw the existing conditions and realized that they would be de facto second class citizens. That actually did happen to many Jews from Arab countries and the former Soviet Union. http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1955-57v14/d428

        Nonetheless, people tend to talk and negotiate in the abstract, as if there are 5 million refugees who only wish to live among their Zionist persecutors in Israel.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on June 26, 2014, 3:29 pm

        Hello, Hostage.

        It’s interesting writing with you. Perhaps it’s not all bad that MW’s editors set a 2 day deadline for comments or else we could go on for ten days talking about this.

        I wrote: Chomsky’s position that BDS does not represent Palestinian Civil Society. You replied:

        “No if you are going to cherry-pick quotes, he was only discussing those who hope to destroy Israel per se.”

        In the video I posted, Barat read to Chomsky the BDS platform, and Chomsky replied “and the destruction of Israel”, and said that the BDS petition was not Palestinian Civil Society. It’s not “cherry picking”, because we are dealing with the main quote in the video: The formal BDS Petition and Chomsky’s reply. Why does Chomsky say that the Petition read to him is one that demands Israel’s destruction when it says no such thing, but rather asks for the refugees’ right to return to their homes?

        You commented:

        He… wondered why Barat doesn’t employ those methods on the USA too (not instead)?

        Yes Chomsky did, and Barat gave the right answer by pointing to South Africa’s analogy.

        On another note, I spent half a year debating a socialist, hardcore P.E.P. nationalist on an internet forum I frequented almost daily. I highly recommend it for anyone who is dedicated to the IP conflict, because it gets you to check sources and think critically. Eventually the same kinds of arguments get recycled so much that they stop phasing you, and when you hear a new one, you have a pretty good suspicion that there is something wrong with it, factually or otherwise. Granted, it can be rather crushing for someone from a WASP background who does not yet realize how thoroughly their mentality has been washed by the media.

        They might talk about how: “It’s 100 times worse everywhere else”, “the only democracy in the Middle East”, “Yes, both sides are wrong, but”, “pure antisemitism”, the refugees are bad, Islamicists, “consequences are consequences”, etc.

        Unlike you, my hardcore PEP acquaintance downplayed what Palestinians go through. You have excellent legal knowledge and passion about the law, and what Palestinians go through seriously troubles you. Chomsky is normally a humanitarian person with a radical, positive ideology, and I was impressed to hear IIRC him describe how he was nice to Nazi POWS because he felt bad for them. In terms of speaking out in a strong way about Palestinians’ current suffering from occupation, Chomsky does a first rate job, which is why he attracts attention.

        Unfortunately, he admitted that he has a personal connection to Israeli society and that it may bias him- not unlike my PEP colleague, who I would normally agree with on issues. His use of a PEP style of argument (eg. It’s 100 times worse everywhere else.) about a strategy successful with South Africa is unfortunately a major example.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on June 26, 2014, 6:20 pm

        @ W.Jones Why does Chomsky say that the Petition read to him is one that demands Israel’s destruction when it says no such thing, but rather asks for the refugees’ right to return to their homes?

        Because the BDS movement constantly talks about the right of 5 million people to return to Israel. Chomsky thought that tactic could backfire and harm the victims. Finkelstein also tried to explain that there is no international public support for that proposition. I think a legal case can be made for repatriation of descendants who were not personally displaced, but neither the BDS movement nor the government of Palestine has ever done that. It certainly isn’t mentioned in any ICJ cases and isn’t black letter law. In the meantime, the government of Israel is working assiduously to establish examples of contrary state practice. See the article I cited above and “US to differentiate between ‘personally displaced’ Palestinian refugees and their descendants” http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/us-to-differentiate-between-personally-displaced-palestinian-refugees-and-their-descendants.html

        and Barat gave the right answer by pointing to South Africa’s analogy.

        Oh please! The South African government had complained about the class action Alien Tort Statute lawsuits against Ford, IBM, et al for aiding and abetting the former apartheid regime. It said they interfered with its own rights to litigate such claims itself (though it later reversed its position and supported the right of private action), e.g. http://online.wsj.com/article/AP175e930ab7ab4a35a5a24df4193e1d5e.html So there’s ample evidence that the government of South Africa hasn’t ruled out the possibility of pursuing claims or adopting sanctions against the US government and its corporations. In any event, the US government never gave the South African apartheid regime anywhere near $3 billion a year, much less $276 billion over six decades. So it doesn’t logically follow that Barat can cite an African analogy to explain why the international BDS movement shouldn’t target the US for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions for its role in aiding and abetting Israel. That’s especially true since it has been explicitly condemned by an Emergency Special Sessions of the UN General assembly for doing exactly that. Nothing remotely analogous to that happened with the US, the UN, and South Africa.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on June 26, 2014, 9:27 pm

        Regarding refugees’ descendants’ return:
        (( Further, the actual phrasing of the right of return under art 12(4) of the ICCPR incorporates the term ‘enter’ in place of ‘return’. According to several legal commentators, this ‘accommodate[s] the situation of second-, third- or fourth-generation refugees’ born outside their ‘country’, giving them a right toenterthe country — which is of considerable significance in the Palestinian context.))
        http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/files/dmfile/download99e31.pdf

        “The 1948 refugees and their descendants, now numbering about 5 million world-wide, have the right under international law to return to their homes inside what is now Israel.”
        http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=185

        “Amnesty International believes that the right to return applies not just to those who were directly expelled and their immediate families, but also to those of their descendants who have maintained what the Human Rights Committee calls “close and enduring connections” with the area.” http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/0/035d9aa650e839ff85257188005e5fbe?OpenDocument#sthash.20fviBDo.dpuf

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on June 26, 2014, 9:47 pm

        In any event, the US government never gave the South African apartheid regime anywhere near $3 billion a year, much less $276 billion over six decades. So it doesn’t logically follow that Barat can cite an African analogy to explain why the international BDS movement shouldn’t target the US for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions for its role in aiding and abetting Israel.

        I think that the US did at times cooperate strategically with South Africa.

        Besides, why didn’t the anti-Apartheid activists divest from the US, when as you said, the US has done bad things in Central America, etc? Two reasons: practicality and because they want to focus attention on their target.

        The practicality and targeting argument says that it’s practical for US activists to boycott South Africa and the Israeli State, and it focuses attention on them when it’s done directly.

        In any case, the main point is that Chomsky is in disagreement with JVP’s position that the BDS campaign, including divestment, is antisemitic. Chomsky on the other hand sees the divestment campaign as “pure antisemitism” because it doesn’t divest from the US for being “100 times worse”, which is impractical.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on June 26, 2014, 10:39 pm

        I think that the US did at times cooperate strategically with South Africa.

        It’s still a piss-poor analogy, unless there’s:
        * $270 billion in foreign assistance involved;
        * a Security Council resolution, like 500 (1982), calling for an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, because the United States had prevented the Council from fulfilling its primary responsibilities;
        * a General Assembly resolution, like ES-9/1, adopted under the auspices of “Uniting for Peace” and deploring the use of a veto by the United States to prevent the adoption of appropriate measures against Israel under Chapter VII and any political, economic, military, or technical support provided to Israel – plus a call to all members to refrain from supplying Israel with any weapons and to suspend any military assistance to Israel.
        http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/500%20%281982%29
        http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/ES-9/1

        Nothing remotely similar happened in the case of South Africa, the USA, and the UN. All of those actions were taken by the international community of states in accordance with the international law contained in the UN Charter. If you don’t agree with Chomsky that its high time for others take BDS action against the USA, then WTF more does it have to do? Use Guantanamo to pull the wings off of captured butterflies and torture unicorns?

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on June 26, 2014, 11:27 pm

        If you don’t agree with Chomsky that its high time for others take BDS action against the USA, then WTF more does it have to do? Use Guantanamo to pull the wings off of captured butterflies and torture unicorns?

        Hostage,
        As I mentioned above, the key criterion is practicality. The US is the world’s superpower in economics and global politics, and it is one of the world’s largest countries. With 300 million Americans, domestic commerce and self-sustainability is much greater than if it were a small country.

        Meanwhile, as we have learned on MW and the Clean Break Document, the Israeli State has played a key role in setting destructive Middle East policies. Speaking of Guatanamo’s butterflies, State Department staff have said that it’s harder to stop administrative detention at Guantanamo when the “key ally”, the Israeli State, does it. And since the Israeli State is a small, westward-looking country it relies more on international trade to get along. The necessity of global trade to the small country makes BDS not just far more effective, but also practical in a way that it is not with the US.

        And stopping Israeli domination and brutality and replacing it with positive relations with its neighbors would result in a better US Middle East policy, once the Israeli State came to prefer a stable Middle East, rather than a destroyed one.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on June 26, 2014, 11:40 pm

        Regarding refugees’ descendants’ return:
        (( Further, the actual phrasing of the right of return under art 12(4) of the ICCPR incorporates the term ‘enter’ in place of ‘return’. According to several legal commentators, this ‘accommodate[s] the situation of second-, third- or fourth-generation refugees’ born outside their ‘country’, giving them a right to enter the country — which is of considerable significance in the Palestinian context.)) http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/files/dmfile/download99e31.pdf

        No, there is only one author at BADIL. Under the VCLT rules of treaty interpretation, there is no “right” for second-, third- or fourth-generation stateless refugees, in the absence of an explicit treaty provision.

        That article actually says “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.” So the text “his own country” is still very problematic for stateless descendants of Palestinian refugees. Israel is not their country of origin, residence, or nationality and Israel’s formal reservation to the ICCPR makes any personal status determinations a matter of domestic Israeli law:

        Israel
        Reservation:
        “With reference to Article 23 of the Covenant, and any other provision thereof to which the present reservation may be relevant, matters of personal status are governed in Israel by the religious law of the parties concerned.
        “To the extent that such law is inconsistent with its obligations under the Covenant, Israel reserves the right to apply that law.”

        http://goo.gl/1DMYTf

        Nothing in the ICCPR dispute resolution procedures contained in Article 42 and 44 require Israel to accept a proposed solution to a disputed matter, unless it is in line with that reservation.

        The statement of End The Occupation and Amnesty International about the existence of a right for descendants in international law is just that, an unsupported statement of belief. I agree, but you need to situate that right in an enforceable convention and get a court, like the ICJ or ECHR, to rule on the question.

      • Hostage
        Hostage on June 27, 2014, 7:10 am

        As I mentioned above, the key criterion is practicality.

        No, as Chomsky noted BDS is a symbolic tactic. The United States has participated in more cases before the ICJ than any other country in the Court’s history. The key criterion in cases like Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America); Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America); and Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America) was to name and shame the USA by establishing its responsibility for wrongful acts of state and payment of compensation.

        Palestinian civil society has been harmed by US government violations of the UN resolutions I cited above which deplored its abuse of the Security Council veto, its provision of weapons and foreign assistance, and its recognition and assistance of illegal territorial situations created by Israel.

        Speaking of Guatanamo’s butterflies, State Department staff have said that it’s harder to stop administrative detention at Guantanamo when the “key ally”, the Israeli State, does it.

        I don’t see what’s so hard about it. All it would take to deter those responsible would be for a) one of the victim states to issue arrest warrants for Bush, Obama, McCain, and Graham; b) to let it be known there is no statute of limitations; and c) that they will be pursued forever along with any lawmaker who conspires with them to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open. The Rome Statute, the 4th Geneva Convention, and the First Additional Protocol make it a crime to transfer or deport protected persons out of the occupied territory. Afghanistan is a party to the Rome Statute. The Courts of ICC member states, including the ECHR and the UK Supreme Court, have already ruled that the United States has violated article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention by operating Guantanamo or by abducting people elsewhere and taking them to Afghanistan to be tortured by the CIA. See for example:
        * Court Finds Rights Violation in C.I.A. Rendition Case http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/world/europe/european-court-backs-cia-rendition-victim-khaled-el-masri.html?_r=0
        * UK Supreme Court Rejects Jack Goldsmith’s Interpretation of GC IV
        http://opiniojuris.org/2012/11/01/uk-supreme-court-rejects-jack-goldsmiths-interpretation-of-gc-iv/

        The fact that the ICC member states which have jurisdiction are either unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute the responsible US officials is supposed to automatically trigger the complimentary jurisdiction of the ICC. The perpetrators are well known. They include US lawmakers who have publicly implicated themselves on international news program broadcasts and the Congressional record. The Office of the Prosecutor has supposedly been “examining” the situation for ten years, but at this point they should probably be indicted by Argentina and Gambia for aiding and abetting the situation. Amnesty International published a study last year which indicated that 163 countries have laws on the books which grant their national courts some form of universal jurisdiction. So it should be trivially easy to find one of them willing to act in response to those Court decisions I cited above and grassroots political pressure.

        So, US officials can be held personally responsible for crimes committed against the people of Afghanistan in exactly the same way that the ICC opened the cases against persons who committed crimes in Kenya on its own initiative. The Prosecutor has the necessary prerogative.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on June 27, 2014, 10:13 am

        ((As made clear in the criteria for derivative status above, in all cases, refugees and their descendants retain the status of refugees until that status lapses through the achievement of a just and lasting solution. Again, I will allow published UNHCR documents to speak for themselves.))
        http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/features/exploding-myths-unrwa-unhcr-and-palestine-refugees

        ML: Israelis also argue, based on the 1952-67 UN Convention on Refugees, that the internationally accepted definition of a refugee does not include their descendents – or to refugees who have taken on another nationality (eg, Jordanian, British, or Canadian). Is this true?

        IJG: The notion that the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol do not cover the descendants of refugees has no basis in these instruments and international law in general. In fact, UNHCR as the responsible agency, treats all descendants of refugees as refugees, until they have obtained voluntary durable solutions, including revolutionary repatriation (return), integration in host countries and resettlement in third countries.

        SA: In addition to this, Palestinian refugees have a different status under international law than other refugees, by reason of their distinct definitions in the relevant treaties, resolutions and agency mandates. The first definition is that incorporated into UNGA resolution 194, which defines the population for whom the UNCCP was given responsibility and the obligation to find durable solutions. This is the definition incorporated into the “Palestinian clause” of the Refugee Convention, Article 1D, and which applies to the global population of Palestinian refugees, no matter where they were located. This definition is linked to paragraph 11 of resolution 194, which requires the durable solution of return, restitution and compensation, and maintains refugee status (regardless of generation) until that solution is accomplished. This definition is also incorporated into the second definition, meeting UNRWA’s eligibility guidelines.

        UNRWA’s definitions of “refugee” and “displaced persons”, but with the additional criteria of “need”, that applies to the approximately 5 million UNRWA-registered refugees. This needs-based definition is also not generationally linked, but continues as long as the person remains a 194-defined refugee, who is in need of assistance. Because of the unique character of Palestinian refugees under international law, there is no generation-limitation to the status.

        http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/09/2011922135540203743.html

        In the wake of a number of refugee crises in the 1990′s, the UN Human Rights Committee issued an official comment applying Article 12 to refugee situations. The general language of the comment seems to support a fairly strong claim for many 1948 and 1967 refugees, and perhaps a weaker claim for their descendants.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2010/09/notes-on-international-law-and-the-right-of-return.html

        since the legal rights of descendants regarding expulsion and return are derivative of the rights of their ancestors alive in 1947–
        49, the Article’s analysis of the original refugees’ claims is
        dispositive for everyone.
        Since the 1960s, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees
        in the Near East (UNRWA) has taken the position that descendants of original refugees are themselves refugees entitled to its protection and services. See BENJAMIN N. SCHIFF, REFUGEES UNTO THE THIRD GENERATION: U.N. AID TO PALESTINIANS 7 (1995).

        https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/files/1949-kent34upajintll1492012pdf

  5. jon s
    jon s on June 26, 2014, 10:38 am

    “The Jews of Eastern Europe and Russia had varying responses to their oppression. A small minority were Zionists. Others were in the Bund which, as you know, was a socialist organization with tribalistic leanings. Others became revolutionaries whose primary identity was not Jewish but socialist…”

    Two comments:
    1.You could choose to be a Zionist or a socialist , but it wasn’t necessarily either/or. There was also a “mating” , so to speak, of Zionism and Socialism, producing Socialist Zionism, aka Labor Zionism -which went on to become a significant, even dominant, part of the Zionist movement.
    2.The Bund was a Jewish socialist-autonomist movement. In other words, they sought Jewish non-territorial autonomy , in the context of a socialist society. It was a mass movement at the time, committed to Yiddish language and culture. I don’t think the term “tribalistic” is appropriate.

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