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Sign of the times, in a Brooklyn window

on 23 Comments

I saw this on Scott Roth’s twitter feed, “Seen in Brooklyn” and think it’s a sign of Israel’s shifting image. Chofshi is said to have written the statement in 1959, or it was quoted in the Spectator at that time.  He moved to Palestine in 1908, per the same source. His statement is gaining circulation on the net, I see.

We came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And still we dare to slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being deeply ashamed of what we did and trying to undo some of the evil we committed … we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them.

PS. Roth’s twitter feed has been fascinating recently. He’s in Poland, and braced himself for a day at Auschwitz by conducting a scientific test of Polish vodkas.

Philip Weiss

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

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23 Responses

  1. just on September 7, 2014, 3:12 pm

    A beautiful thing to behold– in Brooklyn! A new flower has bloomed.

    (Hope it’s high up enough not to get vandalized.)

  2. LanceThruster on September 7, 2014, 3:57 pm

    Stunningly powerful message.

  3. Xpat on September 7, 2014, 8:55 pm

    There is a detailed bio of him up on the Israeli Wikipedia. Nathan Chofshi was born as Nathan Fraenkl in Europe. (Chofshi is a typical new, Israeli-Hebrew name. It translates as “free”.) Chofshi was a vegan and a pacifist. He was no stranger to the Arab-Israeli conflict, having escaped with his two children and sick, pregnant wife from the far north settlement of Metulla in 1920, as the Arab militia entered the gates of the village.
    He was an associate of Martin Buber’s and active in Brit Shalom.
    He had a farm for many years in the village of Nahalal, whose most famous son was Moshe Dayan.
    Lived 1889 – 1980.

  4. DICKERSON3870 on September 8, 2014, 3:04 am

    Apparently the statement pictured has also been attributed to Erskine Barton Childers (11 March 1929 – 25 August 1996) who was a writer, BBC correspondent and United Nations senior civil servant. From Wikipedia:

    [EXCERPT] . . . By 1960, Childers was in London working for the BBC in both Radio and Television.[3] His broadcasts from the BBC World Service ranged on varying topics from the Suez Crisis and Palestine to the John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963. He was one of the first presenters at the start of the BBC TV show The Money Programme in 1966. The Suez Canal and Palestine issues would later form the basis of his writing on the subjects.
    He was distinguished as one of the first mainstream writers in the West to systematically challenge the contention that Palestinian Arab refugees of the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine and the 1948 Arab–Israeli War (see 1948 Palestinian exodus) fled their homes primarily from Arab broadcast evacuation orders (see Broadcasts for Christopher Hitchens’ article about same), rather than from the use of force and terror by armed forces of the newly forming state of Israel. . .

    ● Robert Erskine Childers – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Erskine_Childers

    • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 3:43 pm

      From “Jon s” link:

      “Until Israel was established in 1948, the Jewish people did not take any land, and likewise the British government did not allocate them any government land. They paid for everything with good money. And the Arab leaders that were preaching against Jewish settlement in the country, were selling lands to the Jews at the same time.”

      “Prof. Anita Shapira lives in Israel. She is Head of The Nation State Project in the Israeli Democracy Institute, and professor emerita at the Tel-Aviv University”

      • Misterioso on September 8, 2014, 4:55 pm

        Yes. And by 1947 – when the recommendatory only, contrary to the terms of the League of Nations British Class A Mandate, never passed by the UNSC UNGA – Partition Plan (Res. 181) was passed, Jews (including native anti-Zionist Jewish Arab/Palestinians) owned a mere 6% of mandated Palestine. Nonetheless, the Partition Plan recommended they receive 56% of Palestine.
        Unjust and absurd in the extreme and as subsequent events attest, entirely unworkable. So much so that when Polish born David Ben-Gurion (nee, David Gruen) et al declared the state of Israel effective 15 May 1948, the UNGA was in the process of shelving the Partition Plan (as requested by the Truman administration) in favor of a UN Trusteeship for mandated Palestine.

      • talknic on September 9, 2014, 8:43 am

        “Until Israel was established in 1948, the Jewish people did not take any land, and likewise the British government did not allocate them any government land. They paid for everything with good money. ”

        The early settlers bought ‘real estate’.
        They didn’t buy any territory.
        The ‘territory’ for the State of Israel cost nothing! (the USA paid for Alaska)

        “And the Arab leaders that were preaching against Jewish settlement in the country, were selling lands to the Jews at the same time.”

        Bullsh*t! A) Read Article 7 LoN Mandate for Palestine, agreed to by the Arabs.

        B) The Arab leaders didn’t own all the lands and what was sold was ‘real estate’

        C) They were arguing against a Jewish state, with ‘territory’.

        D) Fix the f&(k*ng text highlight color for copy/editing FFS it only takes changing ONE f&(k*ng number! Are the people who did the web design asleep?

      • Mooser on September 9, 2014, 10:38 am

        Gee, if wanted to put a bunch of poor, isolated and persecuted Jews in a fight-or-die position I would send them to Palestine and tell them we “owned” the land they were told to settle on, and then leave them to work it out with the people already there. Don’t nobody want to die.

      • Misterioso on September 10, 2014, 10:49 pm

        To quote a dear departed Palestinian friend of mine who was born in Jaffa in 1922:

        “Unfortunately, there were some unscrupulous Palestinians who betrayed their people for financial gain. Up until 1929, at least ninety per cent of the land acquired by Jewish immigrants was sold by absentee Arab landowners (such as the Sursuq family living in Beirut), but soon thereafter some was being purchased from greedy resident landlords. There were also wealthy Palestinian usurers loaning money to small land owners, who because of the crushing debt, were forced to sell their land to Zionists. These profiteers, known as samasra, came from a corrupt few within the privileged class and were seen as traitors.

        “I remember one of the samasra very well, but I will not refer to him or his village by name out of respect for his family. After selling land to Zionists he used his ill-gotten gains to purchase a brand new beautiful jet black Packard convertible touring car with continental side-wheels that he had ordered from America. It was just like those in American movies and probably the only one in Palestine. Being very young and impressionable at the time, my friends and I loved to just sit and admire that elegant automobile as it was driven through downtown Jaffa by its infamous owner. Then suddenly, one day he disappeared, never to be seen again and that magnificent Packard was found smashed and burned almost beyond recognition.”

        Bottom line: By 29 November 1947, when the recommendatory only/illegal Partition Plan was passed, which outrageously suggested they be given 56% of mandated Palestine, Jews (including anti-Zionist native Arab/Palestinian Jews who made up about 10% of the total Jewish population) owned a mere 6% of mandated Palestine.

      • Misterioso on September 10, 2014, 11:10 pm

        For the record:

        During the entire duration of the League of Nations British mandate Zionists succeeded in purchasing only 100,000 acres from resident Palestinians. (Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest, p. 50) and from 1937 to 1948 the sale of land by local and absentee landowners was negligible. (Harvard Professor Emeritus, Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest, p. xli)

  5. just on September 8, 2014, 11:10 am

    Thanks to all of you that posted further info on this remarkable man.

  6. Mooser on September 8, 2014, 12:49 pm

    Yeah but that was 1908, and since then Israel has done at least sixty-five things to save the Arabs.

  7. jon s on September 8, 2014, 1:05 pm

    In any case, Hofshi didn’t write that quote in 1908.

    • Mooser on September 8, 2014, 3:45 pm

      “In any case, Hofshi didn’t write that quote in 1908.”

      So what? What freaking difference does it make what year he wrote it? Can you say it is not true?

      • eljay on September 9, 2014, 8:53 am

        >> Mooser: So what? What freaking difference does it make what year he wrote it? Can you say it is not true?

        He can’t say that it’s not true but, like RW, he can say:
        – ” … I feel that the nakba [sic] was a necessary wrong … ”
        – “If I was an adult in 1948, I probably would have supported whatever it took to create the state of Israel, and held my nose at actions that I could not possibly do myself.”
        – “The nakba [sic] that occurred in 1948 was accompanied by the independence, the liberation, of the Jewish community. So, I primarily celebrate … “

      • Mooser on September 9, 2014, 10:40 am

        Yes, but notice the great care they use to get their links into Mondoweiss. Almost like they want to get it “on the record”.

  8. Misterioso on September 8, 2014, 4:43 pm

    The statement in question by Nathan Chofshi was first quoted in the Jewish Newsletter, February 9, 1959. It is also quoted by Harvard Professor Emeritus, Walid Khalidi in his “From Haven to Conquest,” and as already noted, by Erskine Childers in his “The Other Exodus.”

    BTW, What actually happened in Palestine in 1947 and 1948 was described by eye-witness Nathan Chofshi (a Jewish immigrant from Russia who arrived in Palestine in 1908 in the same group as David Ben-Gurion ,nee, David Gruen): “…we old Jewish settlers in Palestine who witnessed the flight [know] how and in what manner we, Jews, forced the Arabs to leave cities and villages…some of them were driven out by force of arms; others were made to leave by deceit, lying and false promises. It is enough to cite the cities of Jaffa, Lydda, Ramle, Beersheba, Acre from among numberless others.” (Quoted in the Jewish Newsletter, New York, February 9, 1959)

    • Mooser on September 9, 2014, 10:42 am

      Mr. Ioso, this is the first time I’ve seen you here. Hope you stick around! I like the cut of your jibe.

      • Mooser on September 9, 2014, 10:43 am

        Darn, I meant “jib”!

      • Misterioso on September 10, 2014, 10:52 pm

        Thank you and likewise. I am a great fan of this site, but lack the time to keep on top of it.

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