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The heart of the problem with Israel: The mass expulsion of the Palestinian people

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A Palestinian man overlooks the Jaramana Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria in 1948. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

A Palestinian man overlooks the Jaramana Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria in 1948. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

As Israeli government violence against the Palestinians in Gaza intensifies (the latest news being an aggressive ground invasion), I saw a discussion on-line about whether Israel has become more brutal or the brutality has simply become more visible to the public.

I remembered listening to Benjamin Netanyahu when he was at MIT in the 1970’s. He called himself Bibi Nitai and said he was in self-exile until the Labor Party, which he despised, was out of power. He spoke contemptuously about Arabs, and predicted he would be the leader of Israel someday and would protect the Jewish state in the way it deserved. The immediate response many of us had was: “Heaven help us all if he ever gets into power in Israel.”

I also remember the many Israeli leaders I met in the 1970’s from Labor and Mapam and from smaller parties on the “Zionist left” who seemed kind and caring and markedly different from Benjamin Netanyahu—and in many ways they were, not just in their political rhetoric (they all said they were socialists) but as human beings, or so it seemed. But when I finally dug a little deeper and read my history, I learned how they, too, were participants—in fact, often leaders—in the plan to drive the Palestinians out of their homes and off their land. Nothing very kind or caring about that, to say the least.

The bottom line: Israel was created based on the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians from their land and from their homes (what Palestinians call the Nakba, the catastrophe). This is the heart of the problem.

In some circles, particularly among “progressive” Zionists, the terrible injustice done to the Palestinians is acknowledged, but as awful as the Nakba was, they say, it was what had to be done to create and ensure the security of the Jewish state. (The most recent proponent of this position is Israeli writer Avi Shavit.) It was a terrible price that had to be paid, he and others concede. To be clear, the price was paid by the Palestinians—that is, the killing and expulsion of Palestinians for the sake of Jewish safety. And quite simply, the only way you can think that – that you can excuse the Nakba– is to believe that Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives.

And isn’t that what we are seeing today? If Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives—if, as the argument goes, the Nakba had to happen so that Jews could be “safe”—doesn’t the brutal violence we see so casually inflicted on the people of Gaza by the Israeli government follow from, in fact, isn’t it embedded in, that history? (And it’s ironic to note that large numbers of the Palestinians in Gaza are from families that fled there during the Nakba in 1948 as refugees from cities and villages in what became Israel.)

That is why I believe those of us working in our own communities—in my case, the Jewish community—need to make sure everyone not only knows about the Nakba but understands that this is the heart of the issue. And that central to the achievement of the “Zionist dream” has been that Jewish lives matter more than Arab lives. That so much attention was paid in Israel to the three kidnapped Israeli boys, in contrast to the total contempt and disregard for the large numbers of Palestinian youth killed and languishing in Israeli prisons for the crime of being Palestinian, brings this point home.

Finally, our understanding of the Nakba cannot end there. We cannot use the acknowledgement of injustice to excuse ourselves from doing anything to end it. We have to take the next step—to think about solutions; to work to hold Israel accountable to basic principles of human rights and self-determination; to recognize the rights of those who have been expelled from their homes. Sometimes the problem is understood as beginning with “the occupation” of 1967, but the root cause goes back to the Nakba and the refusal to allow the return of the refugees in contradiction of UN general assembly resolution 194. In the Palestinian-led call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), which has reverberated across the globe, the principles are laid out clearly: 1. Ending the Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. That is what is needed to address the problem at its core.

This article originally appeared in AlterNet.

Donna Nevel
About Donna Nevel

Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator, is co-director of PARCEO. She's a founding member of Jews Say No!, Facing the Nakba, and Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism (JAAMR) and was a co-founder of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.

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27 Responses

  1. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia on July 19, 2014, 1:44 pm

    If Palestine uprising continued ,Israel would have to make war on her Arab neighbors. The war,he said,would provide the circumstances for the removal of the entire Palestinian population from the West Bank and Gaza and even from Israel proper”
    Ariel Sharon 1988
    ” What is inconceivable in normal times;is possible in revolutionary times;and if if at this time the opportunity is missed and what is possible in such great hours is not carried out- a whole world is missed”- Ben Guiron
    http://www.counterpunch.com-Ismael Hossain Zadeh 07/18-20/2014
    Netanyhu said similar stuff during 1989 China ‘s violent demonstration . He rebuked Israel for focussing on it and asked Israel should have seized the opportunity of inattention of the west and finish the plan on the Palestinian.

    From these long lines of believers in violence stretching over a few decades to a century, one can safely assume that this network and policy or faith that bind this Zionist entity together would cause chaos,would provoke retaliation,would disturb equilibrium and would then blame the victims to unleash the animal like violent assault on children,women and elderly.

  2. philweiss
    philweiss on July 19, 2014, 3:01 pm

    Great piece. Extremely clear thinking and persuasive, especially right now when the mainstream is in such turbulence and wondering why Israel is inflicting such “remorseless and repetitively compulsive violence”. This is why: these people have gotten in the way of their vision of a nation, a terribly flawed vision.

  3. hophmi
    hophmi on July 19, 2014, 3:10 pm

    “And quite simply, the only way you can think that – that you can excuse the Nakba– is to believe that Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives.”

    Quite simply, that’s nonsense. The argument that driving out the Palestinian population was necessary to Israel’s creation is that had it not happened, there would have been a civil war and the Jews would have been massacred, as Arab leaders then were threatening to do. It has nothing to do with valuing one life over another.

    The BDS movement, by denying Israelis any meaningful right of self-defense, value the lives of Palestinians over the lives of Jews. They are incapable of loving Jews as anything but downtrodden victims.

    • eljay
      eljay on July 19, 2014, 3:44 pm

      >> hophmeee: The argument that driving out the Palestinian population was necessary to Israel’s creation is that had it not happened, there would have been a civil war and the Jews would have been massacred … It has nothing to do with valuing one life over another.

      The argument that it was necessary to create a supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine in the first place has everything to do with valuing one life over another.

      Once Zio-supremacists had decided that Jews were entitled to a “greater” supremacist state in Palestine, the remaining valuations – Jewish terrorism, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands, expansionism, occupation, colonization, devastation and murder – were a matter of course.

    • eljay
      eljay on July 19, 2014, 3:52 pm

      >> hophmeee: The BDS movement, by denying Israelis any meaningful right of self-defense, value the lives of Palestinians over the lives of Jews. They are incapable of loving Jews as anything but downtrodden victims.

      If Israel weren’t…
      – an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state born of terrorism and ethnic cleansing;
      – engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder;
      – refusing to honour its obligations under international law;
      – refusing to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace,
      …you might have a point.

      But it is, so you don’t. As usual. :-(

    • biorabbi
      biorabbi on July 19, 2014, 4:37 pm

      Hophmi, this is why it is so crucial for Phil’s crowd to negate/confuse the anti-semitic incidents in Paris. Note the tact taken by Annie, reporting the Jewish Defense League started the Parisian synagogue riot… without answering

      1. Why are pro-Palestinian marchers outside a Paris Synagogue in the first place?
      2. Where is the outrage over Assad and Isis among the hundreds of thousands of protestors today?(Phil and Annie were either silent–or deceptive with the false flag crap).

      By negating / downplaying anti-semitism, Phil and Annie show they true agenda.

      • talknic
        talknic on July 19, 2014, 6:21 pm

        @ biorabbi “… without answering

        1. Why are pro-Palestinian marchers outside a Paris Synagogue in the first place?”

        Something that obvious needs answering? How on earth did you learn breath out? They should protest outside a catholic church?

        It’s logical to be in proximity of an establishment where Jews gather and might be prompted to lobby the Jewish state to stop its slaughter of innocent non-Jews in non-Israeli territories the Zionist Movement‘s state covets.

        “2. Where is the outrage over Assad and Isis ….. By negating / downplaying anti-semitism, Phil and Annie show they true agenda”

        Derailing the threat and ye olde Antisemitic card is so cute, so transparent, scraping the bottom of the ziopoop bucket

      • Sumud
        Sumud on July 19, 2014, 6:45 pm

        The Palestine rally started at Place de la Republique and made it’s way south and concluded at the Bastille. I’ve previously linked to a full English translation of a statement made by a participant in that rally disputing there was any anti-semitic activity – she herself is Jewish and was marching in a larger group that I understand to be something like JVP. Check my archive search for the term “vert”.

        In her account she mentions violent and provocative behaviour by a group of 4-5 JDL members which occurred near the Chemin Vert metro station, the second last stop on the line from Republique to Bastille. I will point out that Chemin Vert is fully 800m from the synagogue so it is the JDL that traveled to the rally in that case. There is also documented social media of the group stating their intentions to cause trouble.

        From another statement that was released by a participant when the rally was over people found the Bastille metro station closed and were directed to use Voltaire which is east of Bastille. The synagogue is on the very road that joins the two.

        I will include a link to a (google translate of an) interview with the president of the synagogue who criticises the JDL and talks about what happened [my emphasis]:

        The synagogue rue de la Roquette she really was “besieged”?

        The president of the synagogue of the Rue de la Roquette is very clear from the beginning, his goal was “to put things in their context and in their measure.” And what follows is eloquent. “Not a single projectile on the synagogue.” “At no time have we been in physical danger,” he says. So where did this rumor come from? Serge Benhaïm think of a “confusion” between the events near a synagogue in Aulnay-sous-Bois , and those of the synagogue of the Rue de la Roquette.

        http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A//www.itele.fr/france/video/incidents-rue-de-la-roquette-la-ldj-briefee-par-la-police-88717

      • biorabbi
        biorabbi on July 19, 2014, 7:31 pm

        Wasn’t another synagogue firebombed the same day. Thanks for explaining how the protestors were trying to “lobby” the Jews. I wonder if Phil Weiss agrees with this distinction between anti-semitism and anti-zionism.

      • Sumud
        Sumud on July 20, 2014, 9:04 am

        There was another incident I believe it was 1 or 2 days before, the synagogue president referred to it in passing at the end of his statement. I don’t know anything about it sorry, except to say it obviously wasn’t connected to the Palestine rally.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on July 20, 2014, 9:40 am

        Well from all appearances the incident didn’t happen as the JDL, and others, attempted to portray. That said, if it had, I would agree totally that targetting any place of worship for any religion is wrong. Israel likely has an embassy, consular offices, trade offices that can be the target of a peaceful protest. Even Israeli owned businesses particularly if they operate in the OT.

        Many people argue against conflating Judaism, Israel, zionism as if they are all one and the same. And Judaism is not Israel. Not all Jewish people support either zionism or Israel. And as I said I just think it’s wrong to target any house of worship.

    • talknic
      talknic on July 19, 2014, 7:15 pm

      @ hophmi “The argument that driving out the Palestinian population was necessary to Israel’s creation is that had it not happened there would have been …. “

      So it DID happen! Well, thanks for clarifying that hophmi. That ol’ ziocaine sure does a whiz bang job on whatever meager brain cells one might have had to begin with.

      “..there would have been a civil war “

      There already was a civil war until 00:01 May 15th 1948 ME time, when Israel was proclaimed within the UNGA res 181 boundaries! The civil war was purposefully escalated under Plan Dalet in the months preceding the Israeli Government’s undeniable proclamation to the world of its sovereign extent per UNGA re 181 perhaps the most significant fact in the history of the modern state of Israel. One which idiots for Israeli intransigence and the Jewish Colonial warmongers must purposefully choose to ignore. At 00:01 May 15th 1948 the civil war became a war waged by the State of Israel on what remained of Palestine!

      “and the Jews would have been massacred, as Arab leaders then were threatening to do”

      According to this Israeli Government source, the Arab states were officially proposing a democratic unity state with freedom of religion for all!

      “The Governments of the Arab States emphasise, on this occasion, what they have already declared before the London Conference and the United Nations, that the only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian State, in accordance with democratic principles, whereby its inhabitants will enjoy complete equality before the law, [and whereby] minorities will be assured of all the guarantees recognised in democratic constitutional countries, and [whereby] the holy places will be preserved and the right of access thereto guaranteed. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign+Relations/Israels+Foreign+Relations+since+1947/1947-1974/5+Arab+League+declaration+on+the+invasion+of+Pales.htm

      BTW The Arab Regional Powers had a legal right under the UN Charter Chapt VII to protect non-Israeli territory from Israeli forces already, at 00:01 May 15th 1948 ME time, in territory not slated for the Jewish state, not proclaimed as the Jewish state and not even today officially recognized as part of the Jewish state. http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk#googlemap

      “It has nothing to do with valuing one life over another”

      Weird …. this yours? “and the Jews would have been massacred” BTW the official UN records show it was non-Jews massacred, dispossessed, both within territory slated for and proclaimed as the Jewish state and in territory which according to the Israeli Government on May 22nd 1948 was “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”

      “The BDS movement, by denying Israelis any meaningful right of self-defense …”

      You’re spouting bullsh*t! Israel has every right to protect its own people in its OWN territories. It has no right to encourage and assist Israeli citizens to be in non-Israeli territories under Israeli Occupation, illegally settling, illegal benefiting from the resources in Occupied Territories. It has no legal right to claim, sell, settle Occupied Territories.

      “… value the lives of Palestinians over the lives of Jews”

      Oh that’s so cute. Are you going for the record for how many times can you repeat bullsh*t before you realize your bullsh*t is just bullsh*t. All lives are equal. Asking a state to adhere to the law does NOT value one life over another.

      Meanwhile idiots for Israel must purposefully fail to comprehend that ALL Israeli citizens, incl non-Jews, are prohibited by International Law and conventions from illegally settling in non-Israeli territory.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on July 19, 2014, 9:31 pm

        “Israel has every right to protect its own people in its OWN territories.”

        Thanks for recognizing that Israel has a basic right of self-defense to protect its citizens. Since Hamas rocket have been fired at about 80% of Israel’s civilians, all inside the Green Line, I’m glad you now approve of Israel’s decision to defend itself by addressing the problem in Gaza.

      • talknic
        talknic on July 19, 2014, 10:11 pm

        @ hophmi
        “Thanks for recognizing that Israel has a basic right of self-defense to protect its citizens”

        Same for all states, independent or not, including Palestine.

        ” Since Hamas rocket have been fired at about 80% of Israel’s civilians, all inside the Green Line”

        A) Your propaganda nonsense is disproven by the IDF Memorial site which tells us more Israeli military personnel have been killed and injured than Israeli civilians have by collateral. It also tells us more military sites have been hit than civilians sites.

        B) The Green line was a ceasefire line adopted into the 1949 Armistice Agreement. It does not constitute a border.

        In fact the Armistice Agreements state http://pages.citebite.com/t2b2w2a6b6cig 2. The “Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary …”

        Israel’s actual borders are those recognized as the Israeli Government asked to be recognized May 15th 1948 effective 00:01 May 1th 1948 http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/documents/newPDF/49.pdf a fact you and your stupid kind MUST ignore

        “I’m glad you now approve of Israel’s decision to defend itself by addressing the problem in Gaza”

        Cute try. So transparent. So expected. So moronic. Save your drivel pal. I’ve always approved of the right of ALL states and people to protect themselves.

        You need reminding, it is Israel who has been for 66 years creating illegal facts of the ground. Israel in breach of hundreds of UNSC resolutions giving Israel the OPPORTUNITY to abide by the binding laws and UN Charter they emphasize and re-affirm. Instead the Jewish state has continued to ignore, continued its illegal activities.

        So take your pathetic whining complaints to the Zionist Federation and Israeli Government who actively encourage Israel’s Jewish citizens to break the law by illegally settling in non-Israeli territory, thereby endangering them to the certain violent consequences one can expect when one dispossesses and occupies another people while stealing their territory.

    • RoHa
      RoHa on July 19, 2014, 10:41 pm

      “The argument that driving out the Palestinian population was necessary to Israel’s creation is that had it not happened, there would have been a civil war and the Jews would have been massacred”

      You steadfastly refuse to recognize the reality and the associated morality of the situation. The Zionist intention, clearly stated, was to take over the country and make it into a Jewish State. This meant that the Palestinian Muslims and Christians would be either expelled or subjugated. The Zionists acknowledged that.

      Expulsion began with the Zionists buying land and then driving Arab tenant farmers off the land. Of course, it became full blown expulsion later.
      Subjugation was foreshadowed by the refusal of the Zionists to become part of Palestinian society and their insistence on setting up a “Jews Only” society.

      Thus, it was the expulsion and subjugation that lead to civil war. To claim that expulsion was necessary to avoid a civil war is a reversal of the reality.

      The Zionist plan and its execution were both grossly immoral from the start. It assumed that the wishes of Zionist Jews were more important than the lives and rights of Palestinians.

      If you cannot see that immorality (and it seems you cannot) then it is clear that you do, in fact, believe that Jews matter more than Arabs.

  4. Helena Cobban
    Helena Cobban on July 19, 2014, 4:41 pm

    1967 was 47 years ago. 1948 was 66 years ago. Not so much difference in length of time from today’s POV as there was in, say, 1974, when it was more plausible to talk about “rectifying the wrongs of 1967” without even addressing 1948.

    I have *always* understood Gaza to be the crucible of Palestinian nationalism. (Check my 1984 book on the PLO for details of this.) It is a crucible today in more ways than one. Very importantly, Gaza’s population is around 80% refugees. It is impossible to think of Gaza’s situation being “resolved” in any way that does not at least address the issues of 1948.

    I want to write an article sometime titled “What we’re not talking about when we’re not talking about 1948″… For a huge long time there it was considered “impolite” to raise the issues of the refugees and what happened in 1948 in “polite” society in Washington DC… Even at last week’s event at New America, that I blogged about here, the moderator got very flustered when Noura Erakat and Samer Badawi started talking about “ethnic cleansing” and started saying “You can’t talk about that!”

    Kudos to Donna for writing this!

  5. seafoid
    seafoid on July 19, 2014, 5:00 pm

    1948 is original sin for Zionism. And they never dealt with it. They could have bought out the refugees but they were too smart for that. They aren’t very good at long term thinking. Zionism is more spur of the moment it’ll all work out. 1967 was a great example.
    Maybe if they didn’t have DC in their pocket they could have behaved more rationally. But they never do responsibility either.

  6. wondering jew
    wondering jew on July 19, 2014, 5:48 pm

    The next step is an Israeli government that would negotiate its borders with Gaza and the West Bank with the PLO. This government will not be that one.

    The other next step is the PLO and Hamas conceding defeat to the occupation, stopping to claim the west bank and gaza as a separate entity and encouraging the annexation of these areas to Israel and full citizenship for all the people living there.

    The refugee issue will follow either one of these two steps, but certainly not come before either one. Getting one’s mind right on the issue of the refugees, I can buy the importance of that. But the sequence of events will require one of my two alternatives to precede the refugee issue.

  7. tillkan
    tillkan on July 19, 2014, 6:04 pm

    I don’t remember the exact words but a few days ago CBS Evening News began the Gaza report with this sentence: Most people who live in Gaza are refugees from Israel’s creation. Swear to god, I did not imagine it, my partner saw it too. The next few sentences of reporting were pretty good too, I sort of remember. Then it probably got bad and I turned it off.

  8. wondering jew
    wondering jew on July 19, 2014, 7:23 pm

    Zionism chose to establish itself by bayonets. Bayonets or war implies that I kill your side, so that my side can live here under my rules. The nature of war is that my people are worth more than yours. That’s the nature of bayonets and the nature of war. Whether the exile of the Palestinians was necessary or not, by its essence the establishment of a state and an army are about force and preferring survival for my side and willing to kill your side. In 2014 America we are trained to appreciate pacifism, “can’t we all just get along?” and that’s the essence of the post war (WWII and post cold war) world that we are trying to build. Israel established long ago right after WWII is not of that frame of mind.

    Based upon the politics in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Saudi Arabia I don’t think that the Jews in Israel are wrong in expecting a full return of the refugees of 48 to produce a result that will not allow them to stay in Israel and as such the proposal is one that they consider an attempt to exile them from their homes. It is a suspension of disbelief that you are demanding from them by pretending that the current state of politics in those mentioned countries tell them nothing about what a post refugee return Israel/Palestine will look like. I accept your quest for justice. But that is the equation that they make in their minds and they seem to be sensible in that equation.

    • SQ Debris
      SQ Debris on July 20, 2014, 1:42 pm

      “the proposal is one that they consider an attempt to exile them from their homes.”
      Yonah, that might wash if those homes were “their homes.” It’s property, stolen at gun point, that Israelis are living in. They have no natural right to be there in the first place. By taking the position that stolen property belongs to these squatters you provide us with a fine illustration of the “we are more important and valuable than them” point of the post.

  9. RoHa
    RoHa on July 19, 2014, 11:48 pm

    “Zionism chose to establish itself by bayonets.”

    Exactly. There was no necessity for it. It was a choice. And that immoral choice created the “sides”. You cannot appeal to the “nature of war” to absolve the Zionists. It was their choice, so it is their guilt.

    ” Israel established long ago right after WWII is not of that frame of mind. ”

    The moral principles of responsibility for suffering in war were known centuries ago.

    “Based upon the politics in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Saudi Arabia…”

    I understand this concern*, but it is not sufficient to stand in the way of justice. The Israelis have had sixty years to find a way of reconciliation with the people they expelled. They have had forty-seven years to make the people of the West Bank and Gaza full members of the body-politic, with an equal status and equal stake in the stability of the country. What have they done? Only added to the injustice.
    Even now it might be possible** to reverse this policy, to bring about a measure of justice and unite the two “peoples” into a single “people”. But they will have to work it out for themselves. I simply demand that the Israelis start working on it.

    (*Though I think it is overblown.)
    (**Optimism from someone of my years!)

    • Elisabeth
      Elisabeth on July 20, 2014, 7:45 am

      I agree RoHa. And it is refreshing to read a Zionist being honest about Israel’s creation for a change. I don’t agree with Jonahs’ morality but this is much more palatable than the usual “we were a peacefull defenseless little country full of Holocaust survivors and all the big bad Arabs attacked us”.

      • eljay
        eljay on July 20, 2014, 2:27 pm

        >> y.f.: Zionism chose to establish itself by bayonets. Bayonets or war implies that I kill your side, so that my side can live here under my rules. The nature of war is that my people are worth more than yours. That’s the nature of bayonets and the nature of war. Whether the exile of the Palestinians was necessary or not, by its essence the establishment of a state and an army are about force and preferring survival for my side and willing to kill your side. In 2014 America we are trained to appreciate pacifism, “can’t we all just get along?” and that’s the essence of the post war (WWII and post cold war) world that we are trying to build. Israel established long ago right after WWII is not of that frame of mind.

        Zio-supremacist Jews are to be excused for creating by bayonets an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state in Palestine because immediately after WWII they were not of the “can’t we all just get along” frame of mind.

        But non-Jews in Palestine are not to be excused for defending by bayonets their homes and lands against the bayonets of Zio-supremacist Jews.

        Interesting.

  10. German Lefty
    German Lefty on July 20, 2014, 12:04 pm

    Great article! I keep posting links to it on the MSNBC website in the hope that the content will make it on TV.
    However, I’d like to point out that the name of the Israeli writer is Ari Shavit, not Avi Shavit.

  11. avatarmh
    avatarmh on July 20, 2014, 12:24 pm

    While I personally agree that one group should not value the lives of their own over others, it is natural to do so. It’s too bad Palestinian or neighboring Arab leadership doesn’t value the lives of their Palestinian and Arab citizens over others. If they did, they’d be seeking peace, even with Israel (even in the borders of the 1947 Partition Plan, about 25% of the original British Mandate) and distributing their vast oil monies to build their own paradises in peace for all their citizens in the Middle East rather. Instead, they perpetuate the misery we see in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, and the huge disparities of well being in even the wealthiest Arab states. Out of context, Israel’s policies are abhorrent, but no more so than those of the other countries in the Middle East, which also, coincidentally are religion-based governments. The only difference is Israel treat its citizens relatively well, even the non-Jews (albeit differentially).

  12. PilgrimSoul
    PilgrimSoul on July 20, 2014, 3:11 pm

    I think many of us have refrained from referencing this historical reality because we didn’t want to get in an argument over “Zionism,” whatever that may man now. (Mostly the current uncritical supporters of Israel are what I would call ‘neo-Zionists.’) But what the Jewish settlers did to the Palestinians, including the very methodical destruction of the 500-600 or so Palestinian villages, is the key to the entire problem. Everything is a continuation of the war of 1948, and the ethnic cleansing that both motivated and accompanied it.

    The Zionists told the world that Jews needed a “refuge” from the world’s antisemitism, and then proceeded to create a Jewish state in such a way that it made permanent war inevitable. (Ten wars at the last count, although this current Gaza horror makes it eleven, I guess.) The sheer self-defeating, contradictory nature of Zionist claims are glaringly obvious. Jews needed power to defend themselves, but it was the evil genius of the Zionists to create a state based entirely on the wrong kind of power, a kind of systemic evil that operates like an addiction.

    Christians are often afraid of openly and freely opposing Israeli brutality because they don’t want to examine their own antisemitism, which drove Jews from Europe. To examine that might reveal that Christianity is, by its own standards, a failure. Instead they desperately throw money at Israel, hoping they can buy redemption from their own past cruelties in that manner, contributing directly to the corruption of the entire American democracy. The Israel Lobby owns foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as the entire legislative branch of US government.

    But the tide is turning. BDS is the best chance for a break in the right direction. The political class in Israel is rife with neo-fascist and Likudnik ideas; therefore the only way they will ever give the Palestinians a state, or human rights, will be if their own state is threatened. The choice the world should give them is simple: Want a Jewish state? Fine, but to have one, you must give the Palestinians their own state, or human rights with one-person, one vote.

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