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Marking Memorial Day in Tel Aviv with Kahanists and Combatants for Peace

Israel/Palestine
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Tuesday night, as recently re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised his ideological hero Vlamidir Jabotinksky’s Iron Wall policy at Israel’s Memorial Day, a busload of Palestinians from the West Bank and hundreds of Israeli Jews filed into the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds — an upscale theater in affluent north Tel Aviv — to attend a Combatants for Peace event billed as “Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony: Honoring the Victims, Fighting for Peace.” The 25 Palestinians in attendance were permitted entry into Israel from the West Bank and promptly returned that night following the event.

Combatants for Peace describes itself as a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization that “see dialogue and reconciliation as the only way to act in order to terminate the Israeli occupation, to halt the settlement project and to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, alongside the State of Israel.”

Inside, I spoke with former Israeli combat soldier and Combatants for Peace Regional Groups Companion, Avner Wishnitzer. Israelis and Palestinians are “all victims of this conflict,” he told me.

Wishnitzer denied that the event portrayed symmetry between the deaths of Israeli soldiers and Palestinians who resist but asserted that, “There is always a choice for [Israeli] soldiers and for those [Palestinians] who fight the occupation. If I were Palestinian, I would have several different choices. But what I can do as an Israeli?”

This narrative turns reality on its head, portraying Palestinian armed resistance as responsible for perpetuation of the conflict rather than the colonial violence that has always defined Israeli policy to Palestinians. It is precisely this violence — the Iron Wall — that Benjamin Netanyahu praised earlier that night.

Attendees walk by images from the Occupied West Bank on display. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Attendees walk by images from the Occupied West Bank on display. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Combatant for Peace remains committed to the two-state solution, despite Israeli society’s continuous rightward shift which Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to in order to gain votes when he reiterated he would never allow the establishment of a Palestinian State.

The organization does not officially take a stance on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which originated as a call from Palestinian civil society. Wishnitzer is weary of BDS because he fears that calling for boycott would marginalize Combatants for Peace from Israel. “If we want to be able to continue to speak to the Israeli public, we cannot openly call for boycott. This would immediately shut our mouth completely,” he said.

Facing the aforementioned trajectory of Israeli society, Combatants for Peace’s tacit rejection of BDS is an ultimately vain attempt to appeal to Benjamin Netanyahu’s political base which refuses to even pay lip service to peace. Is it particularly ironic that Combatants for Peace would reject BDS given that their collaboration with Palestinians is conditional upon Palestinian rejection of armed resistance and exclusive use of unarmed resistance — precisely what BDS is. In the end, Combatants for Peace’s rejection of Palestine’s mass non-violent movement BDS leaves Palestinians with one option: acceptance of permanent occupation and dispossession.

When asked about the right of return for Palestinian refugees, he answered, “We don’t have a decided opinion on that,” calling it a “detail” to be agreed upon by the political leadership of both sides.

For millions of Palestinians, the refugees’ right of return remains the core issue and marginalization of this right is essential to Zionism.

Palestinian members of Combatants for Peace Yahya Anati and Ahmed Al-Helou. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Palestinian members of Combatants for Peace Yahya Anati and Ahmed Al-Helou. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

I spoke with Ahmed Al-Helou, 43, who came from Jericho in the group of 25. He grew up in Jericho after his grandfather fled to the West Bank from his native Gaza during the Nakba. During Israel’s Operation Protective Edge last summer, which killed more than 2,300 Palestinians,11 members of his family were wiped out in a 3 am airstrike on a Gaza City home after they had fled the bombardment of Shujaiya, according to DCI-Palestine. “I don’t look at the Israelis as soldiers, I look at them as human beings,” Al-Helou calmly explained. “I believe the conflict kills innocent people from both sides.”

Sitting next to Al-Helou was 23-year-old Yahya Anati, who came from the Moroccan Gate of the Jerusalem’s Old City. Initially, Anati expressed similar sentiment as Al-Helou. “I become sad for anyone killed because they are innocent.” I asked him about support for armed resistance movements like Al-Qassam (the armed wing of Hamas). “The Israeli military and Al-Qassam are the same — they use weapons against each other. I don’t support anyone who uses violence.” When I asked if he differentiates between the offensive nature of occupation and the defensive nature of armed resistance, Anati looked at the ground and sighed. “It’s very complicated. I don’t know how to look at that.” Seated next to him, Ahmed Al-Helou pressed Anati to think about it. After a long pause, he expressed support for Gaza’s armed resistance. “People in Gaza are defending themselves. Palestinians are being falsely accused — they are being framed.”

Outside the event, police quarantined a demonstration of approximately thirty Kahanists — followers of the ultra-nationalist and former Israeli parliamentarian Rabbi Meir Kahane who advocated expulsion of Palestinians citizens from Israel. They were led by Benzi Gopstein, founder of Lehava, the anti-miscegenation hate group whose members admitted to having burned a mixed Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem last year.

The Kahanists shouted curses at attendees as they waited in line. “Murderers, Nazis, go to hell,” and “go to Gaza” could be heard amid chants of, “Death to Arabs” and “Your mothers are whores!” Referencing the Nakba –the expulsion of Palestinians from modern-day Israel at the hands of pre-state Zionist militias — they roared, “We bring the Nakba upon you,” — a twist on an old Israeli peacenik chant, “We bring peace upon you.”

 Lehava fouder Benzi Gopstein led the demonstration. The flag reads "The State of Israel for only the Israeli people" and "Temple Mount - for Jewish sovereignty." (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Lehava fouder Benzi Gopstein led the demonstration. The flag reads “The State of Israel for only the Israeli people” and “Temple Mount – for Jewish sovereignty.” (Photo: Dan Cohen)

The attendance of Palestinians was much to the chagrin of the Kahanists’ official body, the Samaria Settler Council, which petitioned Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to ban the “enemies of Israel” from entering Israel for the ceremony.

Retired Israeli police officer Haim Blair, 60, from Gan Yavne criticized the Israeli Jews in Combatants for Peace as naive and that the presence of Palestinians at the event was inappropriate. Wearing a white muscle shirt that read “I ♥ Israel,” he explained, “Today is meant to remember IDF soldiers and the warriors of the underground groups (a reference to pre-state Zionist militias Lehi and Haganah) … and everyone who lost their lives here and elsewhere by the terrorist groups, who they [the attendees] are now backing.”

Others were less restrained in their comments.

“They are not Jews, they are Muslims!” said Ofer Golan before he boasted about his Facebook group called Fighting the Palestinian Lie which recycles the debunked Zionist myth that Palestinians are an invented people. “This is a war of religions and Muslims are the enemy!”

However honest in their endeavors Combatants for Peace may be, Tuesday night’s events only lend credence to the fact that Zionism will exploit Palestinian suffering as a matter of maintenance — a move even more cynical than the honest brutality of the Kahanist “Death to Arabs” chants outside. Only through acceptance of a Palestinian-led movement will organizations like Combatants for Peace become allies in the struggle for justice in Palestine.

Editor’s Note: Combatants for Peace has responded this this story here

Dan Cohen
About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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51 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    April 23, 2015, 1:23 pm

    RE: PHOTO CAPTION – Lehava fouder Benzi Gopstein led the demonstration. The flag reads “The State of Israel for only the Israeli people” and “Temple Mount – for Jewish sovereignty.” (Photo: Dan Cohen)

    REMINDS ME OF: “Australia for the Australians” ~ the White Australia Policy*

    * FROM WIKIPEDIA (White Australia Policy):

    [EXCERPT] The term White Australia Policy comprises various historical policies that intentionally favoured immigration to Australia from certain European countries, and especially from Britain. It came to fruition in 1901 soon after the Federation of Australia, and the policies were progressively dismantled between 1949 and 1973.[2] Australia’s official First World War historian Charles Bean defined the early intentions of the policy as “a vehement effort to maintain a high Western standard of economy, society and culture (necessitating at that stage, however it might be camouflaged, the rigid exclusion of Oriental peoples).”[3]
    Competition in the goldfields between British and Chinese miners, and labour union opposition to the importation of Pacific Islanders into the sugar plantations of Queensland, reinforced the demand to eliminate or minimize low wage immigration from Asia and the Pacific Islands. Soon after Australia became a federation it passed the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901. The passage of this bill is considered the commencement of the White Australia Policy as Australian government policy. Subsequent acts further strengthened the policy up to the start of the Second World War.[4] These policies effectively allowed for British migrants to be preferred over all others through the first four decades of the 20th century. During the Second World War, Prime Minister John Curtin reinforced the policy, saying “This country shall remain forever the home of the descendants of those people who came here in peace in order to establish in the South Seas an outpost of the British race.”[2]
    The policy was dismantled in stages by successive governments after the conclusion of the Second World War, with the encouragement of first non-British, non-white immigration, allowing for a large multi-ethnic post-war program of immigration. The Menzies and Holt Governments effectively dismantled the policies between 1949 and 1966 and the Whitlam Government passed laws to ensure that race would be totally disregarded as a component for immigration to Australia in 1973. In 1975 the Whitlam Government passed the Racial Discrimination Act, which made racially-based selection criteria unlawful. In the decades since, Australia has maintained largescale multi-ethnic immigration. Australia’s current Migration Program allows people from any country to apply to migrate to Australia, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, culture, religion, or language, provided that they meet the criteria set out in law.[2] . . .

    CONTINUED AT – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Australia_policy

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 24, 2015, 10:56 am

      Have I said “Thank you, JLewisDickerson” any time lately? No? In that case, here goes: “Thanks JLewis Dickerson!”

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      April 24, 2015, 6:27 pm

      P.S. RE: During the Second World War, Prime Minister John Curtin reinforced the policy, saying “This country shall remain forever the home of the descendants of those people who came here in peace in order to establish in the South Seas an outpost of the British race.”[2] ~ from the above Wikipedia excerpt on the ‘White Australia Policy’

      ALABAMA GOVERNOR GEORGE WALLACE (1963 Inaugural Address ~ January 14, 1963 ~ Montgomery, Alabama):

      [EXCERPT] . . . Today I have stood, where once Jefferson Davis stood, and took an oath to my people. It is very appropriate then that from this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland, that today we sound the drum for freedom as have our generations of forebears before us done, time and time again through history. Let us rise to the call of freedom-loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever. . .

      SOURCE – http://www.archives.alabama.gov/govs_list/inauguralspeech.html

      ● Wallace’s 1963 Inaugural Address @ Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wallace's_1963_Inaugural_Address
      ● George Wallace’s 1963 Inaugural Speech [full speech] – http://www.archives.alabama.gov/govs_list/inauguralspeech.html
      ● George Wallace – Segregation forever.mp4 [VIDEO, 01:06] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLLDn7MjbF0

  2. weiss
    weiss
    April 23, 2015, 1:27 pm

    “For millions of Palestinians, the refugees’ right of return remains the core issue and marginalization of this right is essential to Zionism.” ( and maintaining Jewish Supremacy)

    That pretty much sums it up….

    And these Kahanist Right Wing Brown-Shirt Fascist Thugs are just plain disgusting people….

    THIS Jew will not be SILENT !!!

  3. eljay
    eljay
    April 23, 2015, 1:33 pm

    The flag reads “The State of Israel for only the Israeli people” …

    That sounds great…except that what it actually means is “The State of Israel as a religion-supremacist ‘Jewish State’ primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews”.

    And that’s far from great although, apparently, it’s a bit better than Saudi Arabia, Mali and African “hell-holes”.

  4. amigo
    amigo
    April 23, 2015, 1:58 pm

    “Today is meant to remember IDF soldiers and the warriors of the underground groups (a reference to pre-state Zionist militias Lehi and Haganah) … and everyone who lost their lives here and elsewhere by the terrorist groups, who they [the attendees] are now backing.”Gan Yavner.

    He is referring to lehi,Irgun ,hagganah and the stern gang , all of who committed terrorist acts including throwing bombs at buses and into open markets to mention just two of their criminals activities.Those who killed the Jewish terrorists are promptly called terrorists.

    Ah, the zionist mind and it,s upside down logic.

    It should be noted that these people took their cue from past Israeli governments who honored lehi terrorists by the creation of “The Lehi ribbon of honor” thereby cleansing and legitimizing their terrorist acts.

    • Neil Schipper
      Neil Schipper
      April 23, 2015, 5:33 pm

      There’s a chronology to anti-Zionist and Zionist killing of non-combatants.

      One started 16 years before the other.

      I think you know this.

      • amigo
        amigo
        April 23, 2015, 6:41 pm

        “There’s a chronology to anti-Zionist and Zionist killing of non-combatants. “Neil Schipper.

        I was referring to Kahanists and Israeli Governments idolizing Jewish terrorism.

        Btw , are you suggesting it,s ok to respond by killing non combatants because (allegedly ) , the other side started first. .

        “One started 16 years before the other.” NS.

        Do please be more specific then I can determine what it is you claim I already know.

    • Rodneywatts
      Rodneywatts
      April 24, 2015, 5:40 am

      amigo: ‘Ah, the zionist mind and it’s upside down logic’

      Absolutely right, and I would add ‘inside out’

      The Lehi/Stern gang were not only the forerunners of the ‘Kahanist Right Wing Brown-Shirt Fascist Thugs’- as Phil describes above but they actually sought to ally themselves with the Nazis in WWII:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehi_(group)

      Stern was an admirer of Hitler and these guys killed innocent Jews for heaven’s sake.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 24, 2015, 2:11 pm

        “and these guys killed innocent Jews for heaven’s sake”

        “Innocent”? What if they were “self-hating Jews”? Doesn’t every people have the right, nay, the obligation to cleanse those with a serious mental disarrangement from their midst?

  5. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    April 23, 2015, 2:09 pm

    Thanks Dan Cohen,

    approx thirty Kahanists is a relative small number. i’m surprise they couldn’t muster more for such an event.

    in the discription for your first photo

    zionist fighters killed since 1860 ????

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      April 23, 2015, 5:51 pm

      “approx thirty Kahanists is a relative small number. i’m surprise they couldn’t muster more for such an event”

      Yeah, but think about it, what do these people have to protest? The country from their pm down to the average street thug thinks like them. The whole country is rumbling on like the well oiled fascist machine. It’s all good.

      • Sycamores
        Sycamores
        April 23, 2015, 11:45 pm

        Hi a blah chick,

        i agree with you, i’m just surprise by the low numbers at this particular event.

        compare to this:

        According to the racism-monitoring website Kifaya, the 19 April march was part of the monthly “Tour of the Gates” by Jewish extremists through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

        As part of the event, held at the beginning of every month according to the Jewish calendar, the one-kilometer-long route is blocked to Palestinians, and businesses and stores must close, Kifaya says.

        Palestinians are forbidden from leaving their homes during the march.

        “Some 1,500 Jews participated in the march,” Kifaya says, “and it was secured by hundreds of policemen and soldiers, who thronged the area.”
        Organized hate

        In addition to “death to the Arabs,” the marchers’ repertoire of cries and songs included: “revenge,” “may your name be wiped out,” “may your village be burnt down,” and the anti-Muslim chant “Muhammad is dead” –- all heard by the police and occupation forces who secured the event, Kifaya says.

        Some of the marchers even banged on the doors of homes and businesses and there were also some attempts to damage property.

        http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-death-arabs-march-forces-its-way-through-occupied-jerusalem

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 24, 2015, 12:17 am

        @Sycamores

        Just imagine this happening in New York, Richland WA, Temple Tx, Leeds UK,Manchester UK, Montreal CA, Hamburgh.

        Once a month all Jewish people are restricted. Municipal and Regional police, along with Federal armed forces protect a parade through the city calling for the death of Jews. Not all people would participate. In the case of the largers cities only thousands or maybe a few 10’s of thousands.

        What would yonah, hophmi, jeffb, catalan have to say? We can only speculate.

        In the meantime we see their daily defense of this racist rogue state in all it’s vile splendour.

      • catalan
        catalan
        April 24, 2015, 9:32 am

        What would yonah, hophmi, jeffb, catalan have to say? – Oldgeezer
        Don’t know about the rest, but personally I try to take things with some humor. What’s the point of getting angry, say, over the recently made call here that I step away from the accounting profession because there are too many Jews in it and I am upsetting the balance of the universe?
        How are the claims of “too many” Jewish doctors and lawyers different from some parade. Bigotry has many faces.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 24, 2015, 11:05 am

        “How are the claims of “too many” Jewish doctors and lawyers different from some parade.”

        ‘catalan”, you are going to have to try harder. Much, much harder. Get some training from Yonah on how to do the passive-aggressive thing, too.

        Face it “catalan”, nobody is going to reassure you we are not anti-semitic (and thus divert the thread) or play into your gambit.(and thus divert the thread)

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        April 24, 2015, 11:54 am

        oldgeezer- I was unaware that this demonstration was held this past week. I doubt these demonstrations take place once a month, but the once a year demonstrations on Jerusalem Day are bad enough. I am not sure how the government (besides monitoring its own incendiary statements and policies) should react to demonstrations of this sort in Israel proper. East Jerusalem presents its own complexities.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 24, 2015, 1:59 pm

        @catalan

        I must have missed said call but will accept your claim at face value.

        That said bigotry does indeed come in many forms. And varying degrees.

        Het back to me when someone tells you to leave your chosen profession while holding a gun to your head.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        April 24, 2015, 8:20 pm

        ‘ the anti-Muslim chant “Muhammad is dead” ‘

        The anti-Muslim intent is clear, but, taken objectively, it is a rather silly chant. All Muslims know perfectly well that Muhammad is dead, and agree that his death does not diminish his importance.

      • Keith
        Keith
        April 24, 2015, 9:14 pm

        CATALAN- “What’s the point of getting angry, say, over the recently made call here that I step away from the accounting profession because there are too many Jews in it and I am upsetting the balance of the universe?”

        Did someone literally say that or are you being your usual dishonest self? Interesting how you attempt to spin a legitimate question about the social distribution of power and privilege into an implied instance of anti-Semitism with you the victim.

        Actually, according to Hophmi, it was Ben-Gurion who said “But the real mischief of that statement lies rather in the second part of the sentence, denying us the privilege of being “hewers of wood and drawers of water”; we consider this as a great, true privilege. It was denied to us in many countries and many generations, when we were forced to live only in the cities, and in the cities we were confined to a limited number of occupations. We were forcibly divorced from work on the soil, and if there was an ideal, in addition to the love for our country, which animated the tens of thousands of Jewish youth who came to Palestine, it was the ideal of becoming hewers of wood and drawers of water, to do all kinds of hard physical work with their own hands, to live by the sweat of their brow.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/understanding-jewish-national#comment-762455

        So Catalan, I don’t want either you or Hophmi to think that we Gentiles are restricting you to the traditional Jewish professions and denying you the privilege of doing ” all kinds of hard physical work.” That is what Israel is all about and as a Zionist I am sure that you, like Ben-Gurion, long to see a more socially balanced choice of occupations for Jews so that they are not forced into such a narrow social role. That was a real concern of the early Zionists, you know. Seriously.

        On the other hand, perhaps you and Hophmi share a more feudal perspective.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        April 26, 2015, 12:38 am

        @yonah

        “I am not sure how the government (besides monitoring its own incendiary statements and policies) should react to demonstrations of this sort in Israel proper. ”

        Well I thank you for responding but isn’t that a major cop out? Are you suggesting that the IDF and other security personnel, should and would, provide protection to Israeli minorities who wanted to march through the streets shouting Death to Jews? I would think and hope not. I don’t believe for a second you think that. Once a week, once a month, twice a year… The frequency is not relevant.

        Clearly as would happen in any actual western nation such parades would be dispersed, including arrests if necessary. Providing protection shows the tacit state support for the vile racism exposed by the behaviour. X state in the middle east is just as bad? I am willing to acknowledge that someone who says that is employed in a race to the bottom of the gutter. Most GoI positions eminate from there.

        I don’t know how often I have heard ardent zionists refer to comments here on MW as antisemitism or hate speech yet I have, personally, never seen death to Jews or Israelis. I don’t think there is a person here who would support that and if there is, then I wouldn’t.

        Again thanks for replying but zero points for addressing the issue.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 24, 2015, 11:00 am

      “zionist fighters killed since 1860 ????”

      Ah yes, since 1860. Makes it very stark, doesn’t it? While the world was passing through an unprecedented century-plus of peace and prosperity, “Zionist fighters” were being killed left and right!

      Oy Gevalt nobody knows the trouble we’ve seen!

  6. Dan Fleshler
    Dan Fleshler
    April 23, 2015, 5:35 pm

    Your threshold for acceptable activism is disturbingly high, IMO. I assumed you checked out their web site (http://cfpeace.org/?page_id=2), which reads:

    “The “Combatants for Peace” movement was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom.”

    A group that refers to “violent struggle for Palestinian freedom” is not, as you write “portraying Palestinian armed resistance as responsible for perpetuation of the conflict rather than the colonial violence that has always defined Israeli policy to Palestinians.” But they are acknowledging what you have apparently decided warrants no attention of any kind: Israelis DO fear violence. Despite the obvious asymmetry of power and the asymmetry of suffering, that is a reality that can’t be blithely dismissed by anyone who wants to end the occupation.

    I think acknowledging that reality is actually a brave, and savvy, thing for Palestinians to do. Based on their web site, it came after meetings “in which both sides tell about the violent actions that they have taken part in and about the turning point which led them to understand the limits of violence. Naturally, these meetings were fraught with many fears, however we soon learned that despite years of fear and hatred, there is more that unites us than divides. ”

    As for endorsement of the two state solution, I haven’t looked at the polls lately, but isn’t that solution still supported by the majority of Palestinians in the occupied territories? A dwindling majority, yes, but a majority nevertheless. Certainly a strong case can be made that it is too late, but it is a bit presumptuous for someone named Dan Cohen to blithely dismiss Palestinians who still think it is the best of the bad answers that are available. and to dismiss simply because of “Israeli society’s continuous rightward shift” and Netanyahu’s election.

    • annie
      annie
      April 24, 2015, 12:31 pm

      A group that refers to “violent struggle for Palestinian freedom” is not, as you write “portraying Palestinian armed resistance as responsible for perpetuation of the conflict rather than the colonial violence that has always defined Israeli policy to Palestinians.” But they are acknowledging what you have apparently decided warrants no attention of any kind: Israelis DO fear violence. Despite the obvious asymmetry of power and the asymmetry of suffering, that is a reality that can’t be blithely dismissed by anyone who wants to end the occupation.

      dan fleshler, merely because they referenced a “violent struggle for Palestinian freedom” on their website does not refute what cohen wrote regarding the responsibility for perpetuation of the conflict.

      let’s review what cohen wrote before deconstructing the basis of his logic: (my bold)

      Wishnitzer denied that the event portrayed symmetry between the deaths of Israeli soldiers and Palestinians who resist but asserted that, “There is always a choice for [Israeli] soldiers and for those [Palestinians] who fight the occupation. If I were Palestinian, I would have several different choices. But what I can do as an Israeli?

      This narrative turns reality on its head, portraying Palestinian armed resistance as responsible for perpetuation of the conflict rather than the colonial violence that has always defined Israeli policy to Palestinians.

      first of all, when cohen writes “this narrative” he is referencing a revealing quote by Wishnitzer not something on their website, so i am not sure this represents the official position of the group. that said, the framing of (paraphrasing the bolded section above) ‘as an israeli my options are limited whereas palestinians have multiple options for ending the conflict’ does flip reality on it’s head and does imply Palestinian armed resistance as responsible for perpetuation of the conflict rather than the colonial violence.

      “But what I can do as an Israeli?” — to begin with they could elect leaders who would stop building on palestinian land! Despite the obvious asymmetry of power and the asymmetry of suffering, despite the fact the gov of israel routinely ‘mows the grass’ in gaza slaughtering hundreds of civilians, despite the bulldozed homes, imprisonment of thousands of palestinian people and continued land theft, “they” (presumably combatants for peace) acknowledge israelis fear violence.

      so what? every human being fears violence. if israel’s main concern was the fears of israelis they would end the actions that perpetuate that violence but they won’t do that. do you know why? because expansion of their state is more important to them. the colonial enterprise is worth more to the powers that be than peace and it has always been so since the founding of the state.

      so why is it you think acknowledging israeli fear is so important in ending the occupation? palestinian fear, due to the asymmetrical dynamics you have acknowledged, has by far more basis for pronouncement. and yet Wishnitzer, denying a portrayal of symmetry between the deaths of Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, asks “what I can do as an Israeli?” and thinks palestinians have lots of choices!

      you’re not seeing the forest for the trees. if everyone on the planet acknowledges israeli fear then what? if palestinians ended all violent resistance then what? there are already laws in israel making the non violent action of sanctions and boycotts a crime. as well as legislation promoted in this country. the cause of the conflict is the zionist expansion of the state. that has to stop. no people anywhere on earth will be pacified when a ruling authority is bulldozing their homes, imprisoning their family, and denied their civil rights. the very word “resistance” means it is a response. that is a reality that can’t be blithely dismissed by anyone who wants to end the occupation, not “israeli fear.” this whole obsession with fear and hurt feelings and jewish or israeli emotions (including all those oh so sad pro israel jewish students on campuses having their feelings hurt) is a diversion. a decades long diversion and no, it simply is not at the center of the conflict, israel aggression, violence, domination and colonial expansion is.

      wake up.

      • Dan Fleshler
        Dan Fleshler
        April 24, 2015, 4:12 pm

        Annie, you probably won’t believe this, but I am as angry as you are about Israeli behavior. And I’ve probably been angry for a lot longer than you have. But I’ve tried to disentangle your angry, and mostly valid, attacks on Israel to find tactics that make sense, I just can’t find any.

        We seem to be looking at the same forest but see a different set of trees, or a different ratio between different kinds of trees. In the forest that I and Wishnitzer are looking at it, of course Palestinian violence is not “responsible for the perpetuation of the conflict. ” He most certainly did NOT imply that. What he clearly knows, as do his Palestinian counterparts, is that Palestinian violence has played A ROLE in the perpetuation of the conflict, and Israelis are not the ONLY people who have agency in this ongoing tragedy.

        There are many many examples. Here’s one: More than a 1,000 Israelis were killed in the second Palestinian intifadeh and many more were injured. Of course many more Palestinians were killed and maimed by the horrific military response by Barak and then Sharon, but that doesn’t change the fact that there used to be a much larger “peace camp” in Israel and it was shattered by the intifadeh. Maybe many people in that peace camp did not go as far as you or I would have liked when it came to the nature of a two state solution. But they most certainly did not want to rule over another people. I believe there would have been much more support for a Palestinian state that was not a collection of disconnected Bantustans if the intifadeh had not occurred. The possibility of that support was quashed by many factors, but I don’t see what is gained by denying that Palestinian violence and the fear it created was an important factor.

        Later, Israelis who were afraid of Hamas and Hizbollah rockets included anti-Zionists, post-Zionists, BDS supporters, 1-staters, and draft resisters. They included Palestinian citizens of Israel. Trying to figure out how to achieve a future in which they and their neighbors will feel physically safe does not mean ignoring the asymmetry of power, suffering or vulnerability. It means not completely discounting those needs, or carelessly conflating them, as you do. with “this whole obsession with fear and hurt feelings and jewish or israeli emotions (including all those oh so sad pro israel jewish students on campuses having their feelings hurt).” I don’t care about hurt feelings, either. I care about people on both sides of the Green Line believing they can live together. And whether that happens in one state or two, or as a result of global BDS or some other tactic, both sides need to feel safe.

        I am breaking a longstanding vow not to weigh in on my old friend Phil Weiss’ web site because I am completely mystified that so many of his fans do not seem to believe, or care about, what I just wrote.

        You wrote: “`But what I can do as an Israeli?” — to begin with they could elect leaders who would stop building on palestinian land!” Completely agree. How do you propose to accomplish that? In the last election, Bibi and Bennet based much of their appeal on fear –yes, it was fear tinged with vile racism, but that doesn’t mean everyone who is afraid is a vile racist. Even if you think those fears are completely unjustified, do you honestly think any change is possible if they are completely ignored?

      • annie
        annie
        April 25, 2015, 9:12 am

        I’ve tried to disentangle your angry, and mostly valid, attacks on Israel to find tactics that make sense, I just can’t find any.

        i engaged with you respectfully addressing your specific argument. initiating a response with an unsubstantiated reference my so called “angry” attacks is weak, diversionary, and duly noted!

        of course Palestinian violence is not “responsible for the perpetuation of the conflict. ” He most certainly did NOT imply that.

        tip: refuting an argument that’s logical and sourced requires more than a mere refutation, capital letters won’t help. Wishnitzer’s quote “If I were Palestinian, I would have several different choices. But what I can do as an Israeli?” very much does imply that he thinks future available options rest solely with palestinians, not with israelis. and that, in turn, implies the responsibility for perpetuating or ending the conflict rests with palestinians. i welcome you deconstructing his statement otherwise. but “of course” and “NOT” is not an argument with merit, not in my book anyway. you should have stopped at “tried to …find tactics that make sense, I just can’t find any.”

        What he clearly knows, as do his Palestinian counterparts, is that Palestinian violence has played A ROLE in the perpetuation of the conflict, and Israelis are not the ONLY people who have agency in this ongoing tragedy.

        hmm, i’m not sure anyone is making the claim palestinians have no agency.

        But they most certainly did not want to rule over another people.

        given tho options of ruling over another people or treating them as equals, evidence suggests you are wrong. but of course i do recognize the founders of the state as well as the majority of zionists wanted the land without the people on it and would have much preferred they (palestinians) simply had disappeared vs all that maiming, killing, imprisonment, torture, home demolitions and wiping villages off the map (which is still going on, read allison’s recent article) and global response to decades of zionist war crimes and human suffering . so in that regard, point taken. but so what? i could as easily say i didn’t want to run you over with a truck, i just wanted you dead and gone.

        I don’t see what is gained by denying that Palestinian violence and the fear it created was an important factor.

        this is a strawman, primarily because we’re not discussing “important factors” regarding israeli fear. we’re talking core issues (causes) for the conflict. you didn’t answer my question:

        they could elect leaders who would stop building on palestinian land! Despite the obvious asymmetry of power and the asymmetry of suffering, despite the fact the gov of israel routinely ‘mows the grass’ in gaza slaughtering hundreds of civilians, despite the bulldozed homes, imprisonment of thousands of palestinian people and continued land theft, “they” (presumably combatants for peace) acknowledge israelis fear violence.

        so what?

        get it? i did not deny Palestinian violence or israeli fear. both so called “liberal” zionist and right wing gov coalitions have all operated as colonial expansionists. the release of the palestine papers exposed israeli intransigence wrt the “peace process.”

        there’s only so much coddling of israeli fear people can take. evidence suggests even if israelis didn’t fear palestinians they’d still want all the land. it runs against human nature to do nothing when when your land and rights are denied. assuaging israeli fear is a diversion that perpetuates the conflict.

        Even if you think those fears are completely unjustified, do you honestly think any change is possible if they are completely ignored?

        yes, i do. in a situation of crisis put out the flames before tackling the therapy. if a kid with a box of matches is standing in the living room screaming his head off in fear of the fire that is raging in the bedroom where people are sleeping you don’t focus your attention on the fear of the child. that comes later. in fact, in that circumstance it’s irrelevant whether the child’s fears are justified. you put out the fire. this is a no brainer.

        as long as you’re prioritizing israeli fear you’re part of the problem. as long as the house is burning put “those needs” on the back burner. they are not part of the immediate critical solution, they are part of future resolution. in fact, the action of putting out the fire will go a long way to assuaging the screaming child’s fear. this require adult supervision. it requires the global community to fix it. support bds. fire requires oxygen to burn. stop giving the fire oxygen. suffocate the flames. stop expanding the state.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 25, 2015, 11:47 am

        Dan Fleshler, I have often been very dissatisfied with the comparisons of the Palestinians to a woman fighting back in a sexual assault, and being condemned for it. Never liked it.
        You know what, pal, you just converted me. They are right.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 25, 2015, 12:15 pm

        I am breaking a longstanding vow not to weigh in on my old friend Phil Weiss’ web site because I am completely mystified that so many of his fans do not seem to believe, or care about, what I just wrote. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/memorial-kahanists-combatants/comment-page-1#comment-763313

        “My old friend Phil Weiss”. Got hard news for you, Mr. Flesher. Your “old friend” needs your help, badly. Read this, and see if you don’t agree:

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/03/netanyahus-speech-israel#comment-751062

      • justicewillprevail
        justicewillprevail
        April 25, 2015, 12:27 pm

        That you refer to readers and commenters here as ‘fans’ and have a little strop because people refuse to comply with your clearly superior insight, and prefer to think for themselves, tells us a lot about you, and nothing about Phil or Mondoweiss. Better to keep your vow.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 25, 2015, 7:28 pm

        I am always a little but awe-struck when how see just how deeply, within what strictly ethical guidelines, and with what unsparing disinterestedness Zionists have examined their Zionism.
        Wow, I wish I could get away with stuff like that.

  7. hophmi
    hophmi
    April 23, 2015, 6:24 pm

    Only when everyone agrees with me, Dan Cohen, will their views on peace and Israel be relevant to me.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      April 23, 2015, 8:09 pm

      “Only when everyone agrees with me, Dan Cohen, will their views on peace and Israel be relevant to me.” “Hophmi” his own self. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/memorial-kahanists-combatants#sthash.7pc8rg0b.dpuf

      Shockingly frank self-summation for Hophmi! A brief flash of insight, written and posted. Thanks, Hophmi!

      • Sycamores
        Sycamores
        April 25, 2015, 10:47 am

        Hi Mooser,

        i was hoping Hophmi would clarify his statement.
        if he believes this nonsense how can anyone take him serious.

        he claims that Phil said

        that I put up with a lot of nonsense here – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/hophmi#sthash.pQkkG8fK.dpuf

        it seems some of us truly live in a back to front, upside down world.

        still hoping it’s a joke and i should probably leave it at that.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 25, 2015, 11:55 am

        “still hoping it’s a joke and i should probably leave it at that.”

        You are referring to the “Faithwashing” thread, and Hophmi’s report on his back-channel communications with Phil Weiss, appealing to their bonds as “gentleman” and, I seem to sense, balebatim, as opposed to the awful stuff those other commenters send in?

        Yes, I sense somebody got a joke played on them there, but I’m not sure who it was. Probably me. I’m one hell of a piece of work.

    • Sycamores
      Sycamores
      April 24, 2015, 11:06 am

      Hophmi,

      you don’t believe that, this is a joke right?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 24, 2015, 2:22 pm

        “you don’t believe that, this is a joke right?”

        Sycamores, I think maybe you are a little like me. You have a hard time believing the worst of people. Yes, I comfort myself with the thought that “Hophmi” may be some kind of performance some kind of schtick. But wow, the kid is strictly Method, all Stanislavski! A regular Zionist Brando, I tell you.
        I asked Hophmi if he stood by his self-hatred analysis of Phil Weiss, and Hophmi replied:

        “The claim is well-supported by easily-accessible sociological data.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/03/netanyahus-speech-israel#comment-754359

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 25, 2015, 12:24 pm

        “The claim is well-supported by easily-accessible sociological data.” – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/memorial-kahanists-combatants/comment-page-1#comment-763316

        My goodness, Hophmi is right! I did some checking of the “easily-accessible sociological data” and Hophmi is right! Self-hatred is crippling us. Unable to integrate into American society, inability to succeed in business or school or professions, a complete abscence of Jews in political roles, a complete refusal to out-marry, or indeed, marry at all, high, high rates of incarceration, suicide, drug abuse, unwilling to seek health care… well, you know the drill.

        Hophmi is right, “easily-accessible sociological data” shows that we got Jewish self-hatred bad, and that ain’t good!

      • otc
        otc
        April 25, 2015, 7:04 pm

        “you don’t believe that, this is a joke right?”

        If you read the article, and think about for a bit, I think you’ll see that Hophmi is being
        sarcastic. He’s mocking the author – that’s my take anyhow.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 27, 2015, 11:56 am

        ” He’s mocking the author – that’s my take anyhow.”

        Hophmi? “Mocking the author”? I ask you, Dan, would that be the act of a “gentleman”?

      • otc
        otc
        April 27, 2015, 7:01 pm

        @Mooser

        “I ask you, Dan, would that be the act of a “gentleman”? ”

        I don’t see why not – I probably used the term “mocking” inappropriately – too harsh a description.

        I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 28, 2015, 10:58 am

        “I’m not sure what you’re getting at.”

        I’m sorry, Dan. I think if you take a look at the comment thread for the “MLI faithwashing” post. you will see what I mean.

  8. Walid
    Walid
    April 23, 2015, 7:45 pm

    It was absurd for al-Helou, Anati and the other 23 Palestinians, (that were rushed back to their side of the fence after the event) to have attended that gathering, especially that al-Helou’s grandfather had to flee Gaza in 48 and 11 of his relatives were recently killed in Gaza by Israel. Ayman Odeh should have been there to light one of the candles.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      April 25, 2015, 6:50 pm

      There is so much irony in that. CFP is an ex-combatants group, right? So it is made of people who thought it’s wrong to fight, right? So why are they going to a memorial for people on the conquering side only who died for making that “wrong” choice?

      And isn’t this memorial one of the main events for CFP? Are they also bringing Israelis to a memorial for Palestinian fighters?

      So what is the purpose behind an “anti-combat” group doing that for the conquering side’s combatants only?

  9. michelle
    michelle
    April 23, 2015, 7:57 pm

    .
    the unjust fear justice
    the liars fear truth
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  10. eusebio
    eusebio
    April 24, 2015, 9:48 am

    Peace and stability in Israel and Palestine

  11. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    April 24, 2015, 12:52 pm

    To Dan Cohen the views of Combatants for Peace is not sufficiently anti Israel or pro Palestinian. But the building of friendships and relationships between Israelis and Palestinians is a good thing and Cohen’s critique is besides the point.

  12. Dan Fleshler
    Dan Fleshler
    April 25, 2015, 11:34 am

    Annie Robbins,

    I don’t think it will serve any purpose for me to deconstruct your deconstructions of my deconstructions of Dan Cohen’s deconstructions. The most important difference between us is summed up in the following exchange about Israeli fears:

    DF: “Even if you think those fears are completely unjustified, do you honestly think any change is possible if they are completely ignored?

    AR: “Yes, i do.”

    This is a disagreement about tactics needed to end the occupation, not goals. What you espouse in your last paragraph is external pressure on Israel to “put out the fire,” and you think the situation “requires the global community to fix it.” Combatants for Peace is trying, against daunting odds, to figure out the best way to use internal pressure and Israeli public opinion to stop the occupation. Why can’t both paths be pursued simultaneously? In their response to Dan Cohen’s piece, they noted that

    “The Palestinian members of CFP had served years in Israeli prisons before turning to non-violence and they need no lectures about resistance. Co-resistance is our way of challenging the unequal power relations between Israelis and Palestinians, something no member in the movement, including the interviewees, would ever deny.” (See http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/combatants-responds-memorial#sthash.k0xRKE2A.dpuf)

    I don’t know any of them. But when former Palestinian prisoners decide it is important to let the Israeli people know that they don’t think armed struggle is the path to their liberation, I would venture to guess they have reached conclusions about Israeli fears that are similar to the ones I presented. So argue with them, not me.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      April 25, 2015, 5:49 pm

      when former Palestinian prisoners decide…

      Aren’t we like forgetting that this is a war? Not a “war of ideas”, a war. Like 39-45. Collaborators, even if broken and turned in prison, don’t get given a voice. Neither do the Quisling governments or other feelgood-PR operations under the occupier.

    • otc
      otc
      April 25, 2015, 8:32 pm

      @Dan Flesher
      When I first read Mr. Wishnitzer quote it seemed strange. Here is a guy
      who is taking action.as a former soldier who is leading member of an activist
      organization, so the quote “But what I can do as an Israeli”
      seemed incongruous. The group posted a response to the article with the quote
      “All CFP members interviewed for this story feel their words have been distorted and manipulated beyond recognition”, so it is probably pointless to speculate since the quote may be incorrect, but…

      After reading the group’s website, I take it to mean he is talking
      about non violence, and how to respond to the occupation as an individual.

      Soldiers have choices how they can react to demonstrators,or treat Palestinians, since they have the power.
      They can also be conscientious objectors I believe.
      Palestinians can choose peaceful or non peaceful methods of resistance.
      I think he is saying,in response to the authors criticism of the event (for supposedly promoting symmetry), that as an Israel he feels joining non violent organizations like Combatants, is the only way he knows to action and fight back.

      • Dan Fleshler
        Dan Fleshler
        April 27, 2015, 9:37 am

        Thanks, Dan. I also assumed that’s what he meant, when I looked at their web site and the context. We have Israeli Jews here who are clearly objecting to –and trying to do something about- the violence perpetrated by Israeli Jews. So it was wrong to wrench that quote (assuming it is accurate) out of that context, and parse it so that it somehow represents an entire “narrative” that holds Palestinian violence entirely responsible for perpetuating the conflict.

  13. Mooser
    Mooser
    April 25, 2015, 12:04 pm

    ” is not sufficiently”

    Yonah, we gtet it, we get it. If somebody is not willing to become part of: “a rising tide of racism , xenophobia and anti-democratic tendencies, especially (though not exclusively) among the Orthodox Jews.” -( See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/jon-s#sthash.L0ZMjaTd.dpuf ) they are not sufficiently pro-Israel.

    Another words, if they are not willing to give absolution, rather than a solution, you don’t think they’re fair.
    Of course, you ske-daddled from “Israel”, but you have no problem urging Israelis up the the mark. Hey, it’s not your butt which has to bear the consequences.

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