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Beinart says ‘Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed’ with Palestinian violence

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The liberal Zionist Peter Beinart last night attributed the violence in Israel and Palestine to Israel’s “moral darkness.” Speaking at Beth Chayim Chadashim, a progressive synagogue in Los Angeles that came out of the gay community, Beinart said, “the Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed” in Palestine because it has denied dignity and basic rights for millions of Palestinians for decades.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Here’s a fuller context for the remarks. He started by saying that it was hard for a traumatized people to hear the truth about terrorism:

The September 11th attacks were a monstrous, demented response to American foreign policy, a foreign policy of support for Arab dictatorships and Israeli policies which produced tremendous suffering in the Arab world. And today’s Palestinian terrorism is a monstrous, demented response to Israel’s denial of basic Palestinian rights.

That’s not a popular thing to say in Israel right now, but within a people as within a family, you don’t build real solidarity by telling people things they want to hear at the expense of what you believe is true.

Then he offered his view of the current violence:

Let me start with what I hope is obvious. No matter how much you object to Israeli policy, stabbing another human being  is wrong. Israelis deserve to be able to walk safely down the street, just like every other group of people. A national movement that justifies violence corrupts itself morally. And even if you don’t care about Israeli lives, which you should, it’s simply impossible after the second intifada to credibly argue that killing ordinary Israelis serves the Palestinian cause. The suicide bombings of the early 2000s set the Palestinian liberation movement back massively, and any Palestinian leader today who thinks that he can use Palestinian violence to win concessions from Israel, as Yassir Arafat tragically believed in 2000 and 2001, is a fool.

But while we condemn Palestinian violence, we must recognize this painful truth: that Israeli policy has encouraged it.  Israel has encouraged it by penalizing Palestinian nonviolence, by responding to that nonviolence by deportations, teargas, imprisonment, and the confiscation of Palestinian lands. Hard as it is to say, the Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed.

Beinart then offered several examples of Israel penalizing nonviolence. He cited Mubarak Awad, who created the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence nearly 30 years ago, and who was dubbed a Palestinian Gandhi by journalists. As In These Times lately noted, “Awad was jailed, tortured and eventually deported by Israel in 1988 for circulating leaflets encouraging civil disobedience.” Beinart said, “He now lives in exile in Washington, DC.”

Beinart also cited the case of Abdullah Abu Rahme of the occupied village of Bil’in. In 2010, Abu Rahme wrote: “In Bil’in we have chosen to protest nonviolently together with Israeli and international supporters. We have chosen to carry a message of hope and real partnership between Palestinians and Israelis in the face of oppression and injustice.” That letter had to be smuggled out of prison by his wife; Abu Rahme was serving a year long sentence for incitement and for organizing illegal demonstrations.

Beinart also related the Israeli contempt for the leadership of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad. It expanded settlements rapaciously when he was offering himself as an economic partner to Israel in the West Bank.

Under Oslo, Beinart said, life has gotten worse for Palestinians. Settler terrorism is never prosecuted. The Palestinian Authority is merely Israel’s subcontractor for occupation.

Young Palestinians live without dignity. Even some Israelis acknowledge, “We are making the lives of millions unbearable.” Beinart continued:

To stop the violence ultimately you have to change their experience, or at least give them hope that it can change.

Between 1964 and 1967, African Americans rioted every summer, most famoulsy not far from here in Watts. In a 1967 speech about those riots, Martin Luther King quoted the French writer Victor Hugo as saying, “If a soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness”….

I think here must always be individual moral responsibility for anyone who decides to pick up a knife and take another human being’s life.

But there’s also our larger moral responsibility for the moral darkness, for an occupation that for nearly 50 years has left Palestinians without citizenship in the country in which they live, without the right to vote over the government that controls their lives and under military law while their Jewish neighbors enjoy due process.

Beinart devoted much of his time to now-familiar arguments (which I find unpersuasive) against one democratic state and the boycott movement, BDS. His opposition to boycott seems especially weak. He has just related that millions of people have no right to vote over the government that controls their lives and some are resorting to violence. What’s the alternative? Among the hopes Beinart offered is that “the costs” of the occupation would increase for ordinary Israelis– “that’s the hope.” He included economic pressure from Europe, for instance, which creates “new opportunities” politically in Israel. This is BDS by proxy. Because that’s exactly what BDS is now doing: increasing the costs for Israel. It’s the most important force right now in applying that pressure. Beinart is against it largely because he is a Zionist. A Zionist living in New York and having freedom in the U.S. while enabling oppression in Palestine. That contradiction is the weakest point in international Zionism right now.

About Philip Weiss

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

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45 Responses

  1. amigo
    November 5, 2015, 12:11 pm

    BBC,s Steven Sackur put,s the blame squarely on the Palestinians —no surprise but Erekat gives him little room to spew his pro zionist agenda but the truth is , Erekat seems ready to throw in the towel and hand the occupation over to Netanyahu who he accuses of killing the OSLO Accords and the 2SS as well as any hope Palestinian youth has of a normal future with freedom , dignity and equality.I have never seen him so despondent.Not that I feel sorry for him and Abbas who are just a pair of collaborators with the occupation forces.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06n67v2/hardtalk-saeb-erekat-secretary-general-palestine-liberation-organisation

    • Mooser
      November 5, 2015, 6:14 pm

      “And today’s Palestinian terrorism is a monstrous, demented response to Israel’s denial of basic Palestinian rights.”

      Oh yeah, there’s a “monstrous, demented response” here, but most of it is Beinart’s. Oh, dial it back, Beinart, the Palestinians haven’t even blown up a hotel.

      • alen
        November 6, 2015, 3:45 pm

        “And today’s Palestinian terrorism is a monstrous, demented response to Israel’s denial of basic Palestinian rights.”

        Like most “leftist” Zionists, he conveniently ignores the monstrous, demented Israeli terrorism that is of far greater violence (and unlike Palestinians defending themselves, has no moral or ethical reason to exist).

      • Mooser
        November 7, 2015, 2:37 am

        “And today’s Palestinian terrorism is a monstrous, demented response to Israel’s denial of basic Palestinian rights.”

        Mr. Beinart, we begged the Palestinians, on bentwood knees, to call off the stabbings, and reduce the Palestinian response to a full-scale aerial attack on Tel Aviv! But no, they got all monstrous and demented on us.

      • Kathleen
        November 8, 2015, 11:55 am

        Was taken by where Beinart chose to use “monstrous” and “demented.” Unwilling to label anything Israel has done as “monstrous” and “demented.”

        This also got to me..Beinart “Ultimately you have to change their experience, or at least give them hope that it can change” Sound like he is talking about some servants, peasants, slaves…essentially the message is throw them (you know the folks) some bones.

        Somehow sounds racist.

        Our dear friend human rights activist Art Gish used to talk about Mubarak Awad and his non-violent push years ago.

  2. pabelmont
    November 5, 2015, 12:50 pm

    Beinart “included economic pressure from Europe, for instance, which creates “new opportunities” politically in Israel. This is BDS by proxy.”

    Were there any significant pressure from EU, and even the tiny (insignificant) amount that there is, is the “S” in BDS — governmental sanctions. It is not a proxy: it is indeed one of the principal goals of the BDS movement.

  3. Kay24
    November 5, 2015, 1:01 pm

    There is no doubt, that Israel has only itself to be blamed. They keep doing the same thing over and over again, and seem surprised at the same result. Rockets, stones, and knives are wrong, but they come out because of a never ending occupation, illegal settlements, precision bombs, check points, blockades, collective punishment, and entire families being wiped out by deadly weapons. The zionists know this, but are masters at pretending they can’t get it, and that the status quo is how things must be.

    Why is “defending” ones people, only apply to one side? The world knows now that the Palestinians are protesting the atrocities and crimes against them. Only the US and the Congress either look naive or a hundred percent complicit in Israel’s war crimes.

    BDS is the ONLY way to go.

    • Pretext
      November 6, 2015, 12:42 am

      When our tribe does it, it’s “self-defense”. When another tribe does it, it’s “terrorism”

      • Kay24
        November 6, 2015, 8:39 am

        Absolutely, in fact even the fact that the majority killed are unarmed civilians, does not deter them. To them (and the US) all massacred civilians become “terrorists”.

        Meanwhile in the illegal settlement the Jewish terrorists are given a free pass and allowed to perpetrate their crimes with impunity.

    • brent
      November 6, 2015, 12:11 pm

      Most likely the Israel govt. is not Reaping what it has sown, rather Enjoying what it has sown. Creating chaos while yearning for peace has been the double game. Obama just got stuffed, as was Carter, Clinton.

      The failure of the Palestinian intellectual class to provide insight and direction in that fishbowl, has been a big fly in the ointment.

      Supporters of Israel have yet to choose independence, two states, or equality, one state. The integrity of Israel is in the balance.

      With NPR and The Newshour editing out of facts and realities, while promoting Israel as the victim this choice has been avoided.

      • Kay24
        November 6, 2015, 1:17 pm

        The question is, will our leaders ever learn, or they just pretending to go along?

        I have never seen another so called “ally” get such preferential treatment, allowed to interfere in our policies, and get rewarded for deals made by the US that they tried to sabotage and were against.

        Something is wrong here.

      • Kathleen
        November 8, 2015, 12:11 pm

        I actually do not think Obama “got stuffed.” Getting that Iran deal through was huge. Israel and the I lobby took a hit. Although many believe the deal is better for Iran, the U,S. and ultimately Israel. I agree better for all

  4. Don
    November 5, 2015, 1:05 pm

    Beinart said, “the Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed” …

    Beinnart should look in a mirror on that score…

    • joemowrey
      November 5, 2015, 2:06 pm

      Exactly right, Don. Unfortunately, the only thing Beinart has reaped is tons of money for his ever-changing distortions of reality. Which begs the question once again, why do the intelligent writers and commenters at MW continue to give this little punk credibility by writing about his inane perspectives as if they have even a shred of legitimacy?

      No doubt, Peter will be out with a new book soon touting his latest “blowing in the wind” answers to all things Zionist. Then there will be the accompanying speaking tour. There’s plenty of money to be made by being a willfully ignorant and amoral blowhard.

      • Kathleen
        November 8, 2015, 12:17 pm

        Bingo…not sure why Phil is so taken by Beinart?

        Switching to being on the “right side of history” because it is an opportune time to do so, seems to be paying off for Beinart The way he addresses the lack of justice, human rights crimes that Israel has committed for decades sounds too much like a South African apartheid supporter for decades switching because it’s time to switch to the “right side of history” Something insincere and opportunistic in his writings.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    November 5, 2015, 2:25 pm

    RE: Beinart also cited the case of Abdullah Abu Rahme of the occupied village of Bil’in. In 2010, Abu Rahme wrote: “In Bil’in we have chosen to protest nonviolently together with Israeli and international supporters. We have chosen to carry a message of hope and real partnership between Palestinians and Israelis in the face of oppression and injustice.” That letter had to be smuggled out of prison by his wife; Abu Rahme was serving a year long sentence for incitement and for organizing illegal demonstrations. ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Abdullah Abu Rahme(h), chairman of the Bilin Popular Committee against the Wall, was imprisoned in Dec 2009 and charged with arms possession for displaying empty tear gas canisters and used rubber-coated bullets to form a peace symbol. Some of the allegations against him included incitement for planning the peaceful protests and “being in possession of arms.” The latter referred to his collection of used teargas canisters and spent bullet cartridges which had been fired by Israeli troops at unarmed protestors (and then used by Abdullah Abu Rahme to make a peace sign in his garden).

    ■ SEE: “Israel Convicts Another Palestinian Gandhi” ~ By Jerry Haber, 08/24/10

    [EXCERPT] So what were the charges against Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the internationally-known organizer of the Bil’in protest, that stuck? Exonerated of stone-throwing and weapons possession (a charge that even John Stewart in his wildest satire could not have concocted), he was convicted for “incitement” and “organizing illegal demonstrations.”

    As the statement below reports, incitement is defined, under Israel military law, as “the attempt, verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order.” Forget for a moment that the evidence was gathered from minors arrested in the middle of the night. Since any protest against the expropriation of land in the Occupied Territories (by Arabs; Jewish settlers, under the system of Hafradah, are not tried in military courts) can be interpreted as IPSO FACTO disturbing the public peace or public order (what public peace or public order? These protests are in Palestinian villages), the law, in effect, bans all Palestinian protest. And if you organize a non-violent protest, you can sit in jail for up to ten years.

    What is an illegal protest under Israeli military law? A gathering of 11 people without a permit from the military commander. Note that Abu Rahmah was not charged or convicted with organizing a violent protest, or a protest in which stones are thrown. Just a protest. . .

    CONTINUED AT – http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2010/08/israel-convicts-another-palestinian.html

    ■ AND SEE: “‘Palestinian Gandhi’ Convicted for Protesting; U.S. Silent” ~ by Robert Naiman, Common Dreams, 08/30/10

    [EXCERPT] Last week, an Israeli military court convicted Abdallah Abu Rahmah, whom progressive Zionists have called a “Palestinian Gandhi,” of “incitement” and “organizing and participating in illegal demonstrations” for organizing protests against the confiscation of Palestinian land by the “Apartheid Wall” in the village of Bilin in the West Bank, following an eight month trial, during which he was kept in prison.
    The European Union issued a protest. But as far as I am aware, no U.S. official has said anything and no U.S. newspaper columnist has denounced this act of repression; indeed, the U.S. press hasn’t even reported the news. To find out what happened, someone could search the wires where they’ll find this AFP story, or go to the British or Israeli press. . .

    CONTINUED AT – http://www.commondreams.org/views/2010/08/30/palestinian-gandhi-convicted-protesting-us-silent

  6. eljay
    November 5, 2015, 2:28 pm

    Beinart sounds like a guy who’s been taking part in a multi-person gang-rape in his buddy’s basement. They’ve been having the time of their lives doing what they know is their gawd-given right: “Self-determining” themselves in their victim.

    But now the girl is looking unwell, so Pete starts thinking maybe a doctor should be called to examine her and treat her. Not so that she can leave, mind you, but only so that she can remain healthy enough for them to continue with their self-determination.

    The other guys don`t care – they just want to keep on truckin`.

    Pete is sad that his buddies won`t be reasonable. After all, he`s just trying to be the “moral voice” in all of this. :-(

    Disgusting.

  7. abbasolomon
    November 5, 2015, 3:16 pm

    Peter Beinart has been moving closer and closer to frank talk about Palestinian human rights in the last few years, but stays loyal to political/national Zionism. To Beinart, Zionism has been soiled, badly administered, but the core is healthy, waiting to flower again.

  8. yonah fredman
    November 5, 2015, 6:14 pm

    Gideon Levy has declared that there are two alternatives: the apartheid of Netanyahu and the one state solution and between the two Gideon Levy chooses the one state solution. Beinart sees the one state solution as no solution. Beinart quotes Marwan Barghouti that the one state solution is no solution but a recipe for permanent civil war. Beinart values Jewish statehood and since such statehood existed between 1948 and 1967 without the “territories” he wishes to return to pre 1967. There is nothing pristine about the Zionism of between 48 and 67, but there is something valuable in Jewish statehood and when the alternative is the civil war described by Marwan Barghouti, the combination of the two factors overrides all arguments.

    Beinart’s weakness is the lack of a path to the two state solution given Israeli politics and American politics. Beinart’s limited boycott of the west bank is an insufficient act by a tiny movement that has no power to change the geopolitics so that a two state solution can be reached. It is not Beinart’s goal but his method that is faulty.

    • Mooser
      November 5, 2015, 7:02 pm

      “and when the alternative is the civil war”

      A “civil war” between right-wing and left-wing Israelis? What other “civil war” can there be?

    • RoHa
      November 5, 2015, 7:26 pm

      “…there is something valuable in Jewish statehood…”

      And what might that “something” be?

    • eljay
      November 5, 2015, 9:05 pm

      || yonah fredman: … there is something valuable in Jewish statehood … ||

      To supremacist Jews and to those who support them, sure. But what part of Jewish supremacism in/and a supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine is of value to anyone who cares about justice, accountability and equality?

  9. yonah fredman
    November 5, 2015, 9:11 pm

    RoHa- The value (that I assess for Jews in Israel) is certainly influenced by the history of 1881-1945 in most of the world where there were Jews (not including US, UK and Australia, but certainly including all other Jewish populations in Europe.) It is also influenced by the history of vulnerability during other periods in nonEuropean settings. (I think most Mizrahi Jews who live in Israel, would consider sovereignty a value, based upon the current situations and Islamic dominance mindsets in Arab countries that are the places they emigrated from.)

    As far as civil war. The civil war in this new one state would be between Arabs and Jews.

    Those proposing a one state solution forced upon the Jewish Zionist population of Israel must be envisioning an army of some sort taking over Lod Airport and other access points and thus it will not just be a war as a result of the one state solution, but also a war in order to impose the one state solution. The alternative to coercion would be annexation of the West Bank by Israel. There is not a critical mass in Israel to accept such a solution, but a solution that was initiated by Israel’s right wing (that would eventually entail full citizenship) would not require coercion to achieve it. Then the only civil war danger would be as a result of the situation rather than war as a means to impose the situation.

    (I realize that a full solution to the Palestinian versus Zionist Jew conflict would have to entail some solutions to Gaza and the refugees as well, but the right wing Zionist that is willing to talk about full citizenship resulting from an annexation of all the West Bank (not the Area C annexation advocated by Bennett, but the full annexation advocated by others) are not at all on the same page regarding Gaza and the refugees.

    • Mooser
      November 5, 2015, 10:08 pm

      “As far as civil war. The civil war in this new one state would be between Arabs and Jews.”

      Shorter Yonah: ‘I’ve got an idea, first Israel will assimilate all the Palestinians and annex their land. Then we will declare them rebels, and destroy them in a “civil war”! And a civil war is nobody else’s business.’

      ROTFMSJAO!!

      No Yonah, you can’t commit genocide and call it a “civil war” You are so funny.

      • yonah fredman
        November 6, 2015, 10:38 pm

        Mooser- If i am disciplined in the future, I will refer to the violence that I am envisioning as sectarian warfare rather than civil war.

      • Mooser
        November 7, 2015, 1:58 am

        ” If i am disciplined in the future, I will refer to the violence that I am envisioning as sectarian warfare”

        “Sectarian warfare”? “Yonah” that’s even stupider than “civil war”. When did the Palestinians become a ‘sect’ of Judaism, or Zionism? You are doing the same thing, making the Palestinians a ‘sect’ of Judaism, so you can say ‘See, it is “sectarian warfare” so we can kill them all and it’s nobody’s business’.

        Wow, the “one state solution” as a framework for genocide! Oh BTW, “Yonah”, in your “civil war” or “sectarian warfare” scenario, who equips, trains, supplies and finances the Palestinians so it’s a “war” instead of a slaughter?

  10. kalithea
    November 6, 2015, 3:04 am

    Martin Luther King quoted the French writer Victor Hugo as saying, “If a soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness”….

    And today’s Palestinian terrorism is a monstrous, demented response to Israel’s denial of basic Palestinian rights.

    Either you accept the truth; or you don’t. Monstrous is the one who causes the darkness.

    If you put a man in a cage for decades and subject him to deprivation; you really want to turn him into an animal, don’t you? The larger responsibility failed from day one. Now you’re faced with opening the cage and risk getting bitten; or letting him die in that cage. What a shameless; immoral predicament Zionism is – Catch 22!

    Quit selling Zionism.

  11. Boomer
    November 6, 2015, 6:47 am

    “reaping what it has sowed” usually implies something unwanted, but in this case, Israel is getting what it wanted:
    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/11/netanyahus-calculated-palestinians

  12. donnasaggia
    November 6, 2015, 9:27 am

    There are always “sins of omission” in these so-called critiques of Israel. Beinart condemns Palestinian violence (“stabbing another human being is wrong”) but ignores the daily violence of the Israeli military machine and the settlers. It’s the same argument made against those “rockets” from Gaza — focus on the small acts of violence committed by the oppressed, while never naming the massive slaughter and daily human rights crimes of the oppressor.

    • MHughes976
      November 10, 2015, 1:43 pm

      Beinart does not quote the next remark in MLK’s eloquent address, apparently to the staff of the SCLC in Frogmore, NC early in 1968 – ‘perhaps it is incontestable and deplorable that Negros commit crimes, but they are essentially derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of white society ‘. Perhaps that analogy was stronger stuff than Beinart was prepared to set before his audience but he shows some courage even in drawing our attention to it implicitly.
      MLK’s address was called ‘A New Sense of Direction’.

  13. Vera Gottlieb
    November 6, 2015, 9:37 am

    The Zionists have been reaping it since 1948.

  14. hophmi
    November 6, 2015, 2:45 pm

    “Beinart is against it largely because he is a Zionist. ”

    Nah, it’s more because he’s just a decent human being who understands that BDS is discriminatory and too many of its proponents are antisemites.

    • Mooser
      November 7, 2015, 2:04 am

      “Nah, it’s more because he’s just a decent human being who understands that BDS is discriminatory and too many of its proponents are antisemites.”

      A person is “discriminatory” and “antisemites” for not buying Israeli products.

      Now, that’s a hell of a sales pitch! How can they not run down to the store and buy everything with a Star-O-David on it?

      • hophmi
        November 9, 2015, 3:10 pm

        A person is discriminatory when they discriminate against people on the basis of national origin, as those who advocate censoring the voices of Israeli academics in the academy do. A movement contains too many antisemites when one of the most prominent blogs in the movement is devoted to blaming the Jewish community for the war in Iraq and opining that Jews have too much power in American society.

        In any case, the Israeli economy continues to do well, forming new partnerships with China and India, among many others.

      • RoHa
        November 9, 2015, 6:46 pm

        “A person is discriminatory when they discriminate against people on the basis of national origin,”

        There is nothing wrong with discrimination. Unjust discrimination is wrong, but so is anything that is unjust.

        “A movement contains too many antisemites when one of the most prominent blogs in the movement is devoted to blaming the Jewish community for the war in Iraq and opining that Jews have too much power in American society. ”

        Even if these claims are true?

      • eljay
        November 9, 2015, 9:17 pm

        || hophmi @ November 9, 2015, 3:10 pm ||

        A Zio-supremacist lectures people who support justice, accountability and equality on discrimination.

        Next up: A rapist lectures a law-abiding citizen on criminal behaviour.

      • Sibiriak
        November 9, 2015, 9:44 pm

        RoHa: “A movement contains too many antisemites when one of the most prominent blogs in the movement is devoted to blaming the Jewish community for the war in Iraq and opining that Jews have too much power in American society.

        Even if these claims are true? [emphasis added]
        ————————

        Do you think they are true?

        Do you think they could be true, i.e., that it could be true that an a single American ethno-cultural community is to blame for the Iraq war, or that a American ethno-cultural community has “too much power”?

      • RoHa
        November 10, 2015, 4:22 am

        If prominent and powerful members, whose power depends on the support of that group, put forward the idea and are a major factor in getting it accepted, then I think it is fair to place some of the blame on the group.

        But my point is that hophmi constantly whines about this or that claim being anti-Semitic. He does not seem interested in truth.

      • eljay
        November 10, 2015, 12:00 pm

        || RoHa: … my point is that hophmi constantly whines about this or that claim being anti-Semitic. He does not seem interested in truth. ||

        Zio-supremacists are not interested in truth, morality or a just peace. But they are interested in:
        – “truth” (that serves their supremacist ideology and state);
        – “morality” (goal + methods); and
        – “peace” (without justice, accountability and equality).

      • Keith
        November 10, 2015, 4:23 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “Do you think they could be true, i.e., that it could be true that an a single American ethno-cultural community is to blame for the Iraq war, or that a American ethno-cultural community has “too much power”?”

        Interesting questions. As for the “too much power” question, I personally feel that the wildly disproportionate success of American Jews indicates significant societal problems involving the distribution of power among the various social groups of the citizenry and of the potential for social mobility. Power seeking clannishness and exclusivity inherently discriminates against those not part of the clan. I don’t consider de facto birthright royalty to be wholesome. It could also lead to a form of de facto sectarianism whereby society devolves into competing tribal-like groups fighting for power and safety. The enlightenment involved breaking down sub-group loyalties in favor of a more universal perspective. Jewish Zionist kinship involves utilizing the organized power of group solidarity within an inclusive setting to seek advantage. Why else would Jewish Zionist elites engage in such knee-jerk solidarity? Furthermore, the current top group tends to evaluate social dynamics from a tribal perspective, not from the perspective of the citizenry as a whole. “Thus, ADL head Nathan Pearlmutter maintained that the “real anti-Semitism” in America consisted of policy initiatives “corrosive of Jewish interests,” such as affirmative action, cuts in the defense budget,….” (p37, “The Holocaust Industry,” Norman Finkelstein) I have come to believe that among most organized Jewish groups (particularly Zionist groups), the operational definition of anti-Semitism is anything “corrosive of Jewish interests.” Perhaps, that helps to explain all of the recent laws criminalizing perceived anti-Semitism, including criticism of Israel?

        I should clarify my position by noting that I consider the relatively high ratio of Jews in the oligarchic elite to be much less significant than the reality of an oligarchic elite. Our current system of concentrated economic power is inherently unjust and unstable.

        As for the Iraq war, I continue to believe that the war was initiated to achieve imperial objectives, including the control of the Iraq oil fields and the strategic leverage which that provided. The neocons were a primary driving force behind the invasion, including selling the idea to Israel which was skeptical initially but latter fully supportive. It should be noted that the majority of neocons which pushed for this were members of the Council on Foreign Relations and that their views were, in fact, consistent with the consensus of the imperial elite. I might add that in previous Mondoweiss discussions, my view was in the minority, the strategic importance of oil pooh- poohed in view of the ability to buy oil on the open market. I am not anxious to reopen that discussion, opinions likely to have remained unchanged.

    • alen
      November 10, 2015, 1:37 am

      “Nah, it’s more because he’s just a decent human being who understands that BDS is discriminatory and too many of its proponents are antisemites”

      Zionists like hophmi can’t see their own hypocrisy. I suppose it was discriminatory to use BDS against Apartheid South Africa too, to fight an even worse kind of discrimination. Compared to what Israeli Zionists are doing and have done, they have little right to talk about being a decent human being.

      • MHughes976
        November 10, 2015, 7:56 am

        If we’re discussing the possible rather than the actual then I would say that it is within the bounds of possibility for a small group, if capable of common action, articulate and determined, to tip the balance in circumstances where the others are divided or uncertain, and so to determine what the wider polity does,for good or ill. To do this is not necessarily good or bad. But if it’s bad and things go wrong the smalll group can reasonably take blame, though of course not all the blame.
        The idea of ‘too much power’ expresses a value judgement, not just a possible state of affairs. It is possible for the members of a group to have more or less.power, perhaps expressed as numbers in high office, than you would expect from their number in the population. This again may be for the greater good of the whole polity, but may be considered ‘too much’ if gained by questionable means or if customarily used against the common good, ‘too little’ if restricted by the unjust hostility of others or if insufficient to protect the reasonable interests of group members.

      • lysias
        November 10, 2015, 12:13 pm

        The solution is the ancient Athenian system, in which elections were only used for the highest executive offices (the 10 generals) and some offices demanding financial expertise. Otherwise, a system was used in which every segment of the population was represented in proportion to its share of the population. Random selection from the whole body of adult male citizens was used for the upper house of the legislature (the Boule or Council), other executive offices, and the judicial system. The lower house of the legislature was the Ekklesia or popular Assembly, which all adult male citizens could attend. Since attendance in the Assembly and participating in the other political functions was paid, most citizens did participate, and poorer citizens were particularly likely to participate.

  15. yonah fredman
    November 7, 2015, 11:25 pm

    Liberal Zionism- The belief that the original partition plan of 1947 advocated by the United Nations was justified by a historic analysis of the vulnerability of the Jews and the development of events in Palestine. Unfortunately the nakba of 1948 added a second element to liberal Zionism: an acceptance of the necessity of resolving the conflict without a major repatriation of the Palestinian refugees.

    The current liberal Zionist dilemma is the antipathy they feel towards Netanyahu and the occupation and the value they feel towards the existence of Israel. Gideon Levy’s bifurcation: apartheid or one state is rejected by liberal Zionists without offering the path towards the middle road that they envision.

    • Mooser
      November 8, 2015, 11:56 am

      “Gideon Levy’s bifurcation: apartheid or one state is rejected by liberal Zionists without offering the path towards the middle road that they envision.”

      You are right, “Yonah” And do you know why that is?
      It’s because liberal Zionism is, after all, still Zionism.
      It’s not a middle road at all. A “muddled” road, sure, but not a middle.

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