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Cultural Zionism good, political Zionism bad

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Back in 2012 Peter Beinart wrote a book, The Crisis of Zionism, suggesting that Zionism has lost its way from the path promised in Israel’s declaration of independence. That promise was to develop the country for all its inhabitants based on precepts of liberty and justice; the promise was to achieve social and political equality for all its citizens. Beinart argued that Zionism breached this promise and has become illiberal. Beinart argued that liberal Zionism must be restored.

Bernard Avishai published an interesting essay about Beinart’s book in The Nation when the book came out. Avishai distinguished between political Zionism and cultural Zionism. Political Zionism, argued Avishai, was necessarily illiberal at its founding–and remains illiberal to this day. That same point was made by Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land in the chapter about the ethnic cleansing of Lydda that was excerpted in the New Yorker. Without some profoundly illiberal actions (without political Zionism), said Shavit, the state would never have been born.

Avishai suggests that in order to build a Hebrew culture that did not exist in the land in 1900, Jewish settlers needed self-segregated contiguous collectives–otherwise they would become Arab speaking overseers of Arab labor. Socialism fit the bill. And so from 1905 on, says Avishai, the socialist Jewish pioneers built a segregated Jewish political economy and culture. The currents of state building were segregationist, not integrationist. The founding forces of Zionism did not worry about how to integrate Jews and Arabs into a cohesive, harmonious, and non-discriminatory political whole in the small shared plot of land that is Israel/Palestine; they worked in the opposite direction. The founding forces of the state established a separate language, separate political structures, separate institutions, and separate spaces in which the Hebrew culture could emerge.

But the Sturm und Drang of building a Jewish nation has resulted in a (virtually) all Jewish army, Jewish only settlements, expropriation of land from Palestinians to build settlements, contiguous Jewish land-ownership were Arabs are kept out, Jewish courts and institutions, a Jewish-only law of return in combination with a complete prohibition of Arab refugees to return to the land, a refusal to sanction intermarriage, and a 48 year occupation.

From Avishai’s description, it seems clear that all this illiberality is baked into the DNA of political Zionism because political Zionism says “the land is mine.” In order to become a modern liberal democracy the state must abandon its political Zionism.

But the real accomplishments of Zionism, suggested Avishai, are cultural: the creation of 8 million Hebrew speakers who are running a $360 billion economy. The Hebrew language and the culture it has created are now secure. These accomplishments are not going away, no matter what the politics of the country are. The amazing thing about the Zionist venture he suggested is that couples in tank tops and shorts can walk down the street holding hands in Tel Aviv, speaking a language that Moses would have understood. That is a cultural achievement, a cultural legacy that will survive a more liberal politics. These eight million Hebrew speakers and the culture they have created will not go away if the state stops its discrimination against Arabs.

It seems apparent that political Zionism, as described by Avishai, is necessarily illiberal and must go. Cultural Zionism need not be illiberal; it should be preserved and defended.

“Labor Zionists cherished civil and artistic freedoms,” says Avishai, “but questions of how to promote political liberty in a pluralistic inclusive state, once the separation engendered by Zionist activity ended, seemed like a distant problem” during the formative stages of the country. I deduce from this that the focus could have/would have/should have changed starting in 1966 when the military occupation of Arab towns ended. But integration was undermined and interrupted first by the Six Day War, then the Yom Kippur war, Lebanon wars, and the Gaza wars, and (most of all) by the occupation and renewed efforts of political Zionist activity in settling the West Bank–setting up contiguous spaces and separate infrastructure, Jewish only political structures, and land confiscation all over again in the expanded space.

It’s time to do away with this political supremacist Zionism.

Here are the sounds of political Zionism. When Netanyahu spoke to a joint session of Congress on March 3, 2015, he said: “The days when the Jewish people remain passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.” He meant not only “genocidal enemies,” of course, but all enemies–the Palestinians, the Arabs, the Persians, the American President. When soldiers marching to Sinai in 1967 proudly proclaimed “no longer are we tailors, doctors, lawyers,” as shown in the film Censored Voices, they also meant that Israeli Jews are now self-reliant and strong. The bully, not the bullied. Israel’s hawkish former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman showed off his political Zionism this past December at the annual Saban Forum conference in Washington DC. When asked about the concerns of liberal Jewish students who find it hard to defend Israel’s occupation on American college campuses, he said “I don’t care; I really don’t care.”

This is the sound of the political Zionism that thinks of itself as the Jewish state instead of a modern democracy with a secure Jewish culture. To the extent that Netanyahu’s comments to Congress, the soldiers’s gloating about muscular Judaism, and Lieberman’s indifference to people’s feelings about the occupation imply a theory of justice, surely they embrace the view of Thrasymachus in Plato’s Republic. “Listen, then,” says Thrasymachus to Socrates, “I say justice is nothing other than what is advantageous for the stronger.” John Holbo recently expressed this in a cartoon (check it out).

Avishai’s essay suggests that the real remedy is to abandon political Zionism (which is necessarily illiberal), and to embrace the liberal politics of a modern democratic state. The work of political Zionism is complete. In order to achieve justice, political Zionism has got to go. It must be replaced with a modern democratic state that is Jewish not because it is run by and for Jews, but that is Jewish and Palestinian because it has thriving Jewish and Palestinian cultures.

Now that a Hebrew culture, language, and economy have been created, it’s past time to ease up on this illiberal political Zionism. In fact, it’s time to jettison political Zionism altogether and trade it for the politics of a modern liberal democratic state. And this does not mean abandoning cultural Zionism or the Hebrew culture that has been built. I think that’s the implication of what Avishai is saying, but he’s being a bit kabbalistic about the way forward–so read him for yourself [HERE].

Avishai does not foresee one state with one government administration governing all the people between the river and the sea. He speaks of confederated arrangements. Whatever those arrangements will be, they must strive to provide equal protection and equal rights and equal benefits for everyone between the river and the sea, and governmental structures that strive to promote Zionist culture and Palestinian culture equally. Avishai does not expressly say this, but that is what I take away from what he is saying.

“The earliest Zionists” said Avishai, “assumed that the ethical qualities of traditional Judaism, coupled with the experience of being a persecuted minority would naturally make any Jewish state liberal.” But this was a false assumption. The political structures that Zionism had to build in order to bring the state into existence as a culturally Jewish state necessarily nudged the state in illiberal directions. Instead of fading over time, the illiberal tendencies of political Zionism have accelerated in recent years.
This trend must be reversed. But instead of working to reverse the illiberal effects of political Zionism, the Netanyahu governments have worked to strengthen political Zionism.Political Zionism’s Thrasymachus rationale is dressed up with anti-semitism, the Holocaust, and religious justifications. For Netanyahu the most compelling fact about Jewish life is the intractability of its enemies, said Beinart. The purpose of the Jewish state in this view is to erect a wall against anti-Semitic forces. It’s a life-boat philosophy with a strong streak of paranoia. But these are misleading and self-deluding rationales. As the United States and today’s Europe have proven, assimilation is possible. Anti-Semitism is not an eternal law of nature. But even if it were, it would not prove Thrasymachus right.

The very success of cultural Zionism in creating a society conducting a $336 billion economy in a language that Moses would have understood, makes political compromise possible, says Avishai. He does not spell out what that compromise might be. But the principles are apparent enough: structures of the state must be made equitable and non-discriminatory, the support that political structures provides to its citizens cannot be based on ethnicity and religion. Political Zionism which reigns supreme now must be balanced with Palestinian structures and slowly dismantled. Palestinian culture must be strengthened and allowed to thrive next to the Hebrew culture.There surely are too many political forces in play to predict outcomes. Building a modern state in Israel/Palestine will require buy in from Palestinians and good will from people across the spectrum. But political Zionism–the idea that the state belongs to Jews and everyone is there at their pleasure—this has got to go.

 This post first appeared on Roland Nikles’s blog last week.
Roland Nikles
About Roland Nikles

Roland Nikles is a Bay Area writer and attorney. He blogs here: rolandnikles.blogspot.com. And you can follow him on twitter @RolandNikles

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61 Responses

  1. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    January 30, 2016, 12:56 pm

    Appreciate the good intent of your comments but I`m afraid the horse has long bolted.There is no longer a nuanced cultural Zionism alongside an “illiberal” political Zionism. There is only, as Norman Finkelstein points out, a lunatic state with a lunatic leader and an increasingly lunatic Jewish population and I`m afraid it`s irreversible – short of the US suddenly cutting the umbilical cord.

  2. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    January 30, 2016, 1:22 pm

    All right, that’s what a certain Avishai, a Zionist who is trying to present the invasion of Palestine by racially/tribally segregated bands of Zionists as something positive.

    All political considerations are skipped, e.g. that this “cultural Zionism” is no different than armed Zionism in the Ottoman era, when the “cultural”s were directing the WZO (another detail we don’t hear), given that the “cultural Zionist” gated and segregated community was necessarily intended to be under Ottoman sovereignty and supposed to be protected by Ottoman armed forces and police, in addition to the Zionists’ own armed latifundial guards.

    Finally, presenting the invention of a totally constructed language, an engineered bastard language that in fact, no, Moses would !not! understand, not being conversant with its Yiddish and Slavic substratum, well, that is a crime against culture. That language invention was designed as a social engineering operation to make people forget their mother tongues. It killed Yiddish. It even, later, killed Djudezmo (Ladino, a Spanish dialect –info just in case.) It was designed for the dastardly objective of creating an aggressive, racial supremacist nationalism where there is no “people”, making the only cultural ethny that made up their movement, that of the Yiddish-speakers, also disappear as such.
    It would be interesting, with all the Zionist posts appearing here, to have comments from the site ownership, too.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      January 30, 2016, 6:38 pm

      There were really two distinct “cultural Zionisms.” The first was the “Love of Zion” movement, which arose in Russia in the 1850s, long before Herzl and organized political Zionism. The revival of Hebrew as a modern literary language began with them. Was Abraham Mapu’s Hebrew contaminated with the Yiddish and Slavic substratum that marked the Hebrew that began to develop in Palestine half a century later? I don’t know but I would guess not. The earlier cultural Zionism was more distinct from political Zionism and could provide a more genuine Hebrew alternative for those Israeli Jews who feel a need for one as they struggle to wean themselves off political Zionism.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        January 31, 2016, 2:04 am

        That 1850s thing vanished without leaving traces, like so many other crazy ideas; any speculations would be idle. Even those who only vaguely have heard of this beast are rare –I only remember seeing a paragraph on it, being no specialist.
        As for reviving languages that have not had a continuous natural evolution with native speakers, it’s a question of… taste. Some people don’t mind Esperanto or Volapük. Would be interesting to hear more about that 1850s conlang, by the way, if you’re well informed, but this is not the proper place for those details.
        Whatever one’s position on social engineering, though, the express objective of forcing Modern Hebrew into some sort of a creole was that of killing Yiddish or other mother tongues and promoting the nonsense of a nationalism for a non-existing “nation” with zilch in common except religion –led by atheist mythology. Some cultural contribution.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        January 31, 2016, 5:05 am

        Modern Hebrew preceded Zionism. Here’s from wikipedia on the Haskala.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haskalah

        “Language played a key role in the haskalah movement, as Mendelssohn and others called for a revival in Hebrew and a reduction in the use of Yiddish. The result was an outpouring of new, secular literature, as well as critical studies of religious texts. Julius Fürst along with other German-Jewish scholars compiled Hebrew and Aramaic dictionaries and grammars. Jews also began to study and communicate in the languages of the countries in which they settled, providing another gateway for integration.”

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        January 31, 2016, 11:43 am

        Mr Fredman, you are describing the first steps of the criminal, nationalist social engineering that I described (don’t know if it’s released.) You will note the enmity against mother tongues. Perlman from Minsk, in the next generation, was the one to raise his kids as mother-tongue speakers of that strange constructed language.
        If there were no political (and genocidally political) angle to this, I’d just say preferences for natural or engineered languages are a matter of choice. In this case, though, it was an instrument of nationalist fraud.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 31, 2016, 12:07 pm

        “Modern Hebrew preceded Zionism.”

        So there you go! You just said that Zionism wasn’t needed and in fact damaged, the Hebrew revival.

        And aren’t you conflating the revival and adaption of ancient Hebrew with the invention of Modern Israeli Hebrew?

  3. Keith
    Keith
    January 30, 2016, 6:04 pm

    ROLAND NIKLES- “But the real accomplishments of Zionism, suggested Avishai, are cultural: the creation of 8 million Hebrew speakers who are running a $360 billion economy.”

    Apparently, you and Avishai feel that “Hebrew culture” consists almost exclusively of a resurrected Hebrew language and a $360 billion economy. I see no other references to anything distinctly “Hebrew” about Israel other than you continuing to regurgitate the words “Hebrew culture,” as if repetition would make it so. The harsh reality is that anything remotely authentically Hebrew in Palestine has been plowed under to make way for the modern Sabra Jewish pioneer. Israel copies Europe, not the Middle East. That is why the native olive trees were cut down and plowed under to plant inappropriate, non-native European evergreen trees that are a fire hazard. Culture? That $360 billion economy is centered around high tech militarism and the security establishment. Is Israel’s matrix of control an example of Hebrew culture? Not only that, but the accomplishments and culture of the Diaspora have been denigrated and effaced.

    “The earliest Zionists” said Avishai, “assumed that the ethical qualities of traditional Judaism, coupled with the experience of being a persecuted minority would naturally make any Jewish state liberal.”

    This is myth-history, pure and simple. What is “traditional Judaism?” Is Avishai (and you) referring to the Judaic religion? What Israel Shahak refers to as Classical Judaism? There was nothing liberal about Classical Judaism. Besides, most of the founding Zionists were atheists who were more influenced by blood and soil nationalism than with mythical Jewish ethics.

    Let us be honest, cultural Zionism died with the founding of the Jewish state of Israel, if not before. One hardly needed to create a militarized, Eurocentric state to resurrect a modern version of Hebrew. Get rid of political Zionism? By all means, however, let us recognize that nowadays there is basically only one type of Zionism: political Zionism. What you are calling cultural Zionism is basically liberal Zionism, an oxymoron.

    ROLAND NIKLES- “Anti-Semitism is not an eternal law of nature. But even if it were….”

    Even if it were? Roland, why can’t I shake the feeling that somewhere along the way you drank the Kool Aid?

    ROLAND NIKLES- “In fact, it’s time to jettison political Zionism altogether and trade it for the politics of a modern liberal democratic state.”

    In the age of neoliberalism, the notion of a liberal democratic state is an illusion. I don’t wish to sound too critical, but this entire post is one long word game where your assumptions are sufficiently divorced from reality to render the whole exercise a dubious digression into a mythical Israeli culture. To the degree that Israel has a distinctive culture, it would entail the merging of secular blood and soil Zionism with elements of Classical Judaism to bring forth a kind of fascism with religious overtones. The culture and political Zionism are inseparable, therefore, eliminating Zionism would profoundly change Israeli culture.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      January 30, 2016, 11:44 pm

      “Building a modern state in Israel/Palestine will require buy in from Palestinians and good will from people across the spectrum.”

      Gee, I wonder if the Palestinians can afford the buy-in price, what with Israel multi billion-dollar economy.
      I guess they haven’t paid enough yet.

      • annie
        annie
        January 31, 2016, 1:59 am

        you can read all about the buy in from Jabotinsky

        I do not mean to assert that no agreement whatever is possible with the Arabs of the Land of Israel. But a voluntary agreement is just not possible. As long as the Arabs preserve a gleam of hope that they will succeed in getting rid of us, nothing in the world can cause them to relinquish this hope, precisely because they are not a rabble but a living people. And a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they have given up all hope of getting rid of the alien settlers. Only then will extremist groups with their slogans “No, never” lose their influence, and only then will their influence be transferred to more moderate groups. And only then will the moderates offer suggestions for compromise. Then only will they begin bargaining with us on practical matters, such as guarantees against pushing them out, and equality of civil and national rights.

        ….

        It is my hope and belief that we will then offer them guarantees that will satisfy them and that both peoples will live in peace as good neighbors. But the sole way to such an agreement is through the iron wall, that is to say, the establishment in Palestine of a force that will in no way be influenced by Arab pressure. In other words, the only way to achieve a settlement in the future is total avoidance of all attempts to arrive at a settlement in the present.

        https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/shlaim-wall.html

        “total avoidance of all attempts to arrive at a settlement in the present”

        sound familiar?

        “moderates offer suggestions for compromise” and “moderates offer suggestions for compromise” and “moderates offer suggestions for compromise” and “moderates offer suggestions for compromise” and at every turn there’s total avoidance of all attempts to arrive at a reasonable settlement in the present. and that’s how they’ve been doing now for so many years. and the one time they got close, they killed rabin. and even then it was a compromise that radically favored israel. we saw how far the palestinians bent when the palestine papers were released. it was outrageous. and livni just said no. it’s all BS.

        the revisionists own israel. the extremists own israel. it is so far away from any conception of an idealized cultural zionism it’s not even worth discussing. sorry, that’s just the reality. we’re nearing a tipping pt, it will crash. then the so called moderates — the cultural zionists, let them offer suggestions for compromise and see if palestinians accept their offer. the very idea of palestinians offering suggestions for compromise at this juncture is pathetic. how much can you squeeze a people till they realize there’s no partner in peace? israel is no partner in peace and never was.

        “total avoidance of all attempts to arrive at a settlement in the present”

        it was always a shell game

      • Roland Nikles
        Roland Nikles
        January 31, 2016, 10:05 pm

        Mooser: “Buy in” here refers to shared values for a democratic society. But you knew that, yes?

      • Roland Nikles
        Roland Nikles
        January 31, 2016, 10:09 pm

        Annie: What Jabotinsky is expressing is a strong Political Zionism in the terminology used in the article. It’s what I believe everyone here agrees cannot be squared with a just society.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 1, 2016, 12:13 am

        Roland Nikles: “Buy in” here refers to shared values for a democratic society.

        —————————-

        Does “buy in” mean the Palestinian people give up their right to national self-determination ?

        In the 2004 “Wall” case, ICJ Judge Higgins made it clear that Israel had no right to any occupied Palestinian territory:

        This is not difficult – from Security Council resolution 242 (1967) through to Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), the key underlying requirements have remained the same – that Israel is entitled to exist, to be recognized, and to security, and that the Palestinian people are entitled to their territory, to exercise self-determination, and to have their own State. [emphasis added]

        That statement succinctly captures the international legal and political consensus–do you reject it?

        Are you saying the Palestinian people must give up their right to national self-determination and “buy in” to some kind of Israeli-approved “arrangement” (alien determination), such as autonomous enclaves “confederated” to the Israeli state?

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 1, 2016, 10:15 am

        I share Sibiriak’s scepticism about the Confederated States. I can’t make sense of the self-determination of groups. If every individual had their rights that would be good. It is possible that in a situation where those rights were granted there would be a genuine agreement on two states. But if that agreement were based on equality in the decision-making process it would result in nothing like the pre-67 partition, with a massively greater share of land and resources for one side.
        Still less would it result in what is occasionally offered in a half-hearted way by Israeli governments, that is a massively armed and powerful Isrsel beside a demilitarised Palestinian protectorate, unable to defend or even speak for itself – the formula that there must not ever be a request in the future for a better deal is often mentioned. That is what a confederacy based on the 67 borders would have to be.
        The international consensus in favour of the 67 borders is really a miserable thing. International committees lack and have never had – who do,they think they are? – the right to break up or give away territory regardless of the inhabitants’ consent, in this case the right to insist that the Palestinians accept something which is quite screamingly unfair. The consensus is based solely on the wish that these people would just stop bothering us.
        Israel is planning its own method of making them stop bothering us, which is removing them from the place altogether but for a remnant compatible with Israeli culture. The wicked plan for population transfer is slowly coming into the open, even here where the Nakba justifiers are being joined by the Nakba intensifiers. I don’t look at American right-wing websites very much but I stumbled on one the other day – it’s called Townhall – where this proposal was made fair and square. The illogical sweet talk of the liberal Zionists is something of a smokescreen.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 1, 2016, 12:22 pm

        “Buy in” here refers to shared values for a democratic society. But you knew that, yes?”

        Look, I don’t think you can ask them to become Zionists. That is what, for some incredible reason, you are asking.

      • Roland Nikles
        Roland Nikles
        February 1, 2016, 4:44 pm

        @Mooser re asking Palestinians to become Zionists. Not me. I’m asking them to become post-Enlightenment liberal democrats… which is the same thing I’m suggesting to the Israelis. A strong Palestinian culture and a strong Hebrew culture with state structure(s) that don’t play favorites between them and that don’t discriminate to favor one over the other.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 1, 2016, 5:00 pm

        “@Mooser re asking Palestinians to become…/… that don’t discriminate to favor one over the other.”

        Not even worth responding to, sorry. I get it, if the Palestinians can prove they are “post-Enlightenment liberal democrats” by giving up everything, all for the honor of having you bestow that title on them. And living with thousands of Israeli criminals. What a deal.

        And, oh yeah, you “suggest” it to the Israelis,

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      January 31, 2016, 5:38 am

      Hebrew culture- is Jewish culture, as in Shabbat Shalom, instead of have a nice weekend, as in Purim, instead of Halloween, as in Chanuka instead of Christmas, as in Passover. As in Tu bishvat, instead of Arbor day. As in New Year’s in September and not January. as in Sukkot and Shvuot.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 31, 2016, 1:07 pm

        “Hebrew culture- is Jewish culture, as in…/…in Sukkot and Shvuot.”

        Really? That freakin shallow? Not a single moral or ethical obligation, to each other let alone anybody else? Not a single thing we can’t do? What a great “culture”, a few buzz words, some holidays, and we’re the best thing since sliced bread? For that they owe us a country stolen from somebody else?
        And (hubba-hubba) ‘anything goes’, in the struggle for continuity?

        You will have to do better, “Yonah”. Remember, you are asking for a lot.-

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        February 1, 2016, 11:27 am

        mooser- I would tell you what to do, or where to go, but annie robbins would not allow it. so instead i will repeat, “what we have here is a failure to communicate”.

      • annie
        annie
        February 1, 2016, 11:56 am

        LOL! i am not the only one clearing comments here yonah. you should try it anyway, you never know.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        February 1, 2016, 12:16 pm

        For the record:

        PALESTINE BEFORE ZIONISM

        Europeans visited the Holy Land regularly and their diaries provide a portrait of Palestine before the arrival of the Zionists. As far back as 1615, the English poet George Sandys found it “a land that flowed with milk and honey; in the midst as it were of the habitable world, and under a temperate clime; adorned with beautiful mountains and luxurious valleys; the rocks producing excellent waters; and no part empty of delight or profit.”

        According to Englishwoman Lady Hester Stanhope who was in Palestine in 1810, “The luxuriance of vegetation is not to be described…. Fruits of all sorts from the banana to the blackberry are abundant. The banks of the rivers are clothed naturally with oleander and flowering shrubs…. [The Arab orchards near Jaffa] contained lemon, orange, almond, peach, apple, pomegranate and other trees.”

        In 1859, a British missionary described the southern coast of Palestine as “a very ocean of wheat…the fields would do credit to British farming.” (James Reilly, “The Peasantry of Late Ottoman Palestine”)

        While visiting Palestine in 1883, Englishman Laurence Oliphant described the Plain of Esdraelon at Acre as being “…in a high state of cultivation. It looks today like a huge green lake of waving wheat, with its village-crowned mounds rising from it like islands and it presents one of the most striking pictures of luxurious fertility which it is possible to conceive.” (ibid)

        The Palestinian wheat fields Oliphant described had contributed a great deal to keeping France’s population from starvation. According to the French economic historian Paul Masson, “wheat shipments from the Palestinian port of Acre had helped to save southern France from famine on numerous occasions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.” (Quoted by Marwan R. Beheiry, “The Agricultural Exports of Southern Palestine, 1885-1914”)

        Research by Middle East scholar Dr. Alexander Scholch reveals that between 1865 and 1882 “Palestine produced a relatively large agricultural surplus which was marketed in neighbouring countries, such as Egypt and Lebanon, and increasingly exported to Europe. These exports included wheat, barley, durra, maize, sesame, olive oil, soap, oranges, vegetables and cotton. Among the European importers of Palestinian produce were France, England, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Malta.” (Alexander Scholch, “The Economic Development of Palestine, 1856-1882”)

        Most Palestinians made their living directly or indirectly from farming. Those residing in towns, villages and cities mainly engaged in business and the crafts or served as government workers and professionals. Many of the wealthy were landlords and/or members of older families who held positions in the civil service, the judiciary and associated professions.

        The main source of wealth for all Palestinians was the abundance of food produced on the fertile coastal plain that stretched from Gaza in the south to Acre in the north. For centuries, the country’s principle export was its enormous crop of world famous citrus and other fruits from the orchards near Jaffa. The legendary Jaffa orange resulted from an innovated grafting technique devised by Palestinian orchardists. Jaffa oranges were of such high quality that in 1856, Henry Gillman, the American consul in Jerusalem, suggested that Florida citrus growers would improve their crops by studying and adopting Palestinian grafting techniques. “The volume of the 1880 harvest was 36 million oranges.” (British report on Palestinian agriculture, Parliamentary Papers, 1881/xc Beyrout, 19.3 1881)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 1, 2016, 12:26 pm

        “what we have here is a failure to communicate”.

        For some reason, “Yonah” is convinced that is a clever yet completely undetectable way of threatening me with a beating.

        “Yonah” what happened in the movie after “a failure to communicate” was judged to be the problem? So you are the warden (or jailer) and I’m the “Luke” who is judged incommunicative?

        ” I would tell you what to do, or where to go”

        “Yonah” you couldn’t do that if the Mods all fell asleep with their fingers on the “publish” button. You have no idea where I am at, to start with, and besides, everybody says I’m not all there! And “Yonah”, you can’t get there from here.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 1, 2016, 2:01 pm

        ” I would tell you what to do, or where to go”

        Which would show everybody right where you’re at.

        The line from the film:
        “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”

        Sure, “Yonah” go ahead, put me in “the box”. Or you can think about doing it shortly before falling asleep at night, if that helps.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    January 30, 2016, 6:10 pm

    RE: “But political Zionism–the idea that the state belongs to Jews and everyone is there at their pleasure—this has got to go.” ~ Roland Nikles

    MY COMMENT: Meanwhile, the Likudniks are Whistlin’ Dixie like the devil! Seemingly with the full support of the Jewish-American establishment. Not to mention that the U.S. Congress unquestioningly has the Likudniks’ backs no matter what they do. And, as to the GOP, it is so thoroughly enraptured by Likudnik Israel’s white-like supremacism that the Israeli flag is sometimes used in leiu of the Stars and Bars.

    ■ TWEET:

    Chemi Shalev
    @ChemiShalev

    Making the rounds (and turning stomachs) 2012 Netanyahu appeal in English to support proto-fascist Im Tirzu

    [YouTube VIDEO*]

    RETWEETS
    19
    LIKES
    4
    2:48 AM – 29 Jan 2016

    * PM Netanyahu’s message to ‘Im Tirtzu’ supporters

    Uploaded on Jan 26, 2012
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message to ‘Im Tirtzu’ Supporters

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      January 31, 2016, 2:25 am

      RE: “It’s time to do away with this political supremacist Zionism.” ~ Roland Nikles

      THE QUESTION REMAINS: Is Israel more likely to be liberated (from political supremacist Zionism) through the efforts of the “innies” or the “outies”? Enquiring minds mimes want to know!™

      SEE: “The Pied Piper of Zion”, By Uri Avnery, zope.gush-shalom.org, 30/01/16

      [EXCERPTS] . . . [A] debate is going on. Will redemption come from within Israel or from outside?

      The latest contributor to this debate is Amos Schocken, the owner of the “Haaretz” newspaper. He has written one of his rare articles, arguing that only outside forces can save us now.
      In his article Schocken says that the battle to save Israel from within is hopeless, and that we must therefore support the pressures coming from outside: the growing worldwide movement for boycotting Israel politically, economically and academically.

      Another prominent Israeli who supports this view is Alon Liel, a former ambassador to South Africa and current university lecturer. Based on his own experience, Liel asserts that it was the worldwide boycott that brought the apartheid regime to its knees.

      Far be it from me to contest the testimony of such a towering expert. I never went to South Africa to see for myself. But I have talked to many participants, black and white, and my impression is a bit different. . .

      . . . The international pressure helped by making the whites increasingly aware of their isolation. Some measures, such as the international boycott on South African sports teams, were especially painful. But without the fight of the black population itself, international pressure would have been ineffective. . .

      . . . Even a superficial comparison between the two cases shows that the Israeli apartheid regime enjoys major assets that did not exist in South Africa.

      The South African white rulers were universally detested because they quite openly supported the Nazis in World War II. The Jews were the victims of the Nazis. The Holocaust is a huge asset of Israeli propaganda. So is the labeling of all critics of Israel as anti-Semites – a very effective weapon these days.

      The uncritical support of the powerful Jewish communities throughout the world for the Israeli government is something the South African whites could not even have dreamed of.

      And, of course, there is no Nelson Mandela in sight. Not after Arafat’s isolation and murder, at least.

      Paradoxically, there is a little bit of racism in the view that it was the whites in the Western world that delivered the blacks in South Africa, and not the black South Africans themselves.

      There is another big difference between the two situations. Hardened by centuries of persecution in the Christian world, Jewish Israelis can react to outside pressure differently than expected. Outside pressure can turn out to be counterproductive. It may re-confirm the old Jewish belief that Jews are persecuted not for what they do, but for who they are. That is one of Netanyahu’s main selling points. . .

      . . . The Israeli peace camp is in a state of despair. The size and power of the right wing is growing. Almost daily, obnoxious new laws are proposed and enacted, some of them with an unmistakable fascist flavor. The Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has surrounded himself with a bunch of male and female rowdies mainly from his Likud party, compared to whom he is a liberal. The main opposition party, the “Zionist Camp” (alias Labor), could be called Likud B.

      Apart from some dozens of fringe groups who brave this wave and do admirable work, each in its chosen niche, the peace camp is paralyzed by its own despair. . .

      . . . So who is right: those who believe that only the fight inside Israel can save us, or those who put their trust entirely in outside pressure?

      My answer is: neither. Or, rather, both.

      Those who fight inside need all the outside help they can get . . .
      But for outside pressure to be effective, they must be able to connect with the fight inside, publicize it and gain support for it. They can give new hope to those who are despairing. Nothing is more vital.

      The government realizes this. Therefore it is enacting all kinds of laws to cut Israeli peace groups off from foreign help.

      So let the good fight go on – inside, outside, everywhere.

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1454081725/

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      February 1, 2016, 9:45 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “The Dangerous Ideology of Religion” | By Lawrence Davidson | ConsortiumNews.com | January 30, 2016
      • Ideology, in the hands of true-believers, tends to reject facts in favor of some grander “truth,” an especially dangerous tendency when mixed with religious conviction and certainty, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

      [EXCEPTS] . . . Ideologies are pre-set forms of thinking that shape people’s worldviews and, supposedly, help to order and simplify reality. While this supposition is always flawed to one extent or another, ideologies can be very seductive. In part this is because they free their adherents from the hard work of critical thinking. Thus, they are often held onto tenaciously.

      Because ideologies distort reality, they are particularly unsuited for those aspiring to power as well as their devoted supporters. History is full of examples of politically powerful ideologies that underscore this fact: fascism, communism, various military cults (particularly popular in South America and the Middle East) and even the ideology of democracy as manipulated by corrupt elites, who play the Pied Piper to the masses.

      Yet there is still one more ideology out there which, even now, wreaks havoc by either claiming for itself the trappings of secular power or attaching itself in some influential advisory way to the institutions of power. That ideology is religion in its various institutional manifestations.

      I want to emphasize that I am not referring to the personal religious convictions of millions by which life is made to appear understandable and meaningful. Whether such convictions are accurate or not, they play an important role at the individual level and, as long as they do not promote harmful intolerance, should be left to benignly function at the local level.

      What I am referring to are religious ideologies that are institutionalized in bureaucracies that can project power much as do secular institutions of authority. Religious ideologies so institutionalized see themselves as possessed of God-given truth while playing the game of power amidst human competitors. . .

      . . . Since 1948 Judaism has succumbed to the same fate as other world religions entangling themselves in politics. Despite all the rationalizations, propaganda and self-deception, it is clear that institutional Judaism is now firmly melded to the deeply discriminatory and particularly brutal political ideology of Zionism.

      I use the word “melded” because what we have here is something more than just an alliance of two separate entities. The Zionists have insisted since 1917, the year of the Balfour Declaration, was proclaimed, that the fate of Judaism and an Israeli “national home” are thoroughly intertwined. Their insistent manipulations have resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      The consequences of this melding have been horrific. If you want to know just how horrid things have become, there are numerous Palestinian and Jewish human rights groups that are easily found on the web which will document Israeli behavior in all its dehumanizing detail.

      For a more personalized assessment of just what this melding means for Judaism as a religion I recommend the recent book by Marc H. Ellis entitled The Heartbeat of the Prophetic (New Diaspora Books, 2015). Ellis is a Jewish theologian who, in the 1970s, was greatly influenced by the work of Roman Catholic priests in Latin America who were promoting “liberation theology.”

      That “for the good of the people” interpretation of religion was corrosive of the institutionalized Church, and so the movement was ultimately stifled. However, Ellis thought that the same philosophy could be applied to Judaism – an insight that eventually led him to denounce Zionized Judaism in a manner reminiscent of the prophets of the Old Testament.

      For Ellis, institutionalized Judaism has been reduced to an adjunct of an expansionist and racist political ideology. He feels that there is no getting around the inherent evil of this situation. No two-state solution or other “progressive” approach can erase it. As long as Judaism persists in identifying itself in terms of the Israeli state and Zionist ideology, the ethical underpinnings of the religion are left behind in the wreckage of an evolving “Jewish empire.” . . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/30/the-dangerous-ideology-of-religion/

      ■ “We’re surrounded by the craziest people” | Conflict Zone | DW (English)

      Published on Nov 4, 2015
      Tim Sebastian interviews Naftali Bennett, Israeli Minister of Education and leader of the right-wing Jewish Home Party.

  5. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    January 31, 2016, 1:23 am

    Once a native people have taken back their homeland, is there even one instance where the former colonizers and newly liberated natives live together in one harmonious society based on equality with liberty and justice for all? More often than not what happens is the former settlers, rather than accept being “downgraded” to no more than one among equals, opt to return to their (or their forebears land of origin. Since over half of Jewish Israelis carry two passports, once Palestine is liberated what’ll probably happen is that a goodly number of them will bid adieu to Palestine and move to wherever their second Passport takes them. And based on recent experiences elsewhere in which the natives fought and won back their homelands (Vietnam Algeria, Mozambique), expect most of the Zionist colonizers to pack up and leave ASAP.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      January 31, 2016, 1:44 am

      yourstruly,

      The US has already said it will take them up anyway, if I remember correctly.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      January 31, 2016, 4:00 am

      “Since over half of Jewish Israelis carry two passports,” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/cultural-zionism-good-political-zionism-bad#comment-822452. this is a lie that you read on the internet and you took it for truth.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        January 31, 2016, 12:16 pm

        Don’t BS please, Reb Fredman. Simple back-of-the-envelope calculation based on the pattern of illegal importation of hostile invaders to the Zionist entity would show you certainly more than half are foreign-born or within 2 generation of foreign-born, meaning that nearly all of these have a right to citizenship of another country.
        Also, I hear that the US has already promised to take up Zionist entity Master-Race citizens –in the event of an event, as they say.

      • Donald
        Donald
        January 31, 2016, 12:53 pm

        Yonah, I don’t think your link is working ( or not for me anyway.)

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        February 1, 2016, 11:25 am

        Donald, it is not really a link. it is a quote from the paragraph above.

        Echo- the statement is that they hold passports and not they have a right to a passport. Facts are facts whereas mathematically probable suppositions are not facts. if you or yourstruly have links to facts, then link, otherwise, assert the facts as suppositions and not as facts, write, “since more than half of all Israelis probably have the right to second passports”. that would be good enough to turn a lie/supposition into an assertion.

  6. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    January 31, 2016, 2:13 am

    From Avishai’s description, it seems clear that all this illiberality is baked into the DNA of political Zionism because political Zionism says “the land is mine.”
    * * * *
    Avishai does not foresee one state with one government administration governing all the people between the river and the sea. He speaks of confederated arrangements. [emphasis added]
    ——————-

    “Confederated arrangements”? What? No sovereign Palestinian state? No pre-1967 borders as called for by the international legal and political consensus?

    It’s still about land. It’s about more settlements, spreading “Hebrew culture” further into the West Bank, and relegating Palestinians to non-contiguous, shrunken, Israeli-supervised “autonomous zones”.

    —————-

    Whatever those arrangements will be, they must strive to provide equal protection and equal rights and equal benefits for everyone between the river and the sea, and governmental structures that strive to promote Zionist culture and Palestinian culture equally.

    “Equal rights”, but no mention of the Palestinian people’s right of self-determination.
    Israeli Jews will decide what the “arrangements” will be, not the Palestinians.

    What if Palestinians don’t want bantustans “confederated” with the Hebrew-culture State? Do they have a say in the matter? Apparently not.

  7. diasp0ra
    diasp0ra
    January 31, 2016, 11:35 am

    Are we going to pretend that these “cultural” achievements weren’t brought around only because of political Zionism and its inhumane crimes?

    Or are we going to pretend that bygones are bygones and now we can all hold hands after the Zionists took over all the country and all its resources and have all the power?

    • Roland Nikles
      Roland Nikles
      January 31, 2016, 10:23 pm

      diaspOra: Neither. Read the Avishai article. The hope is for all the people who live between the river and the sea to move forward to form a just society.

      • diasp0ra
        diasp0ra
        February 1, 2016, 6:06 am

        @Roland

        I tried to edit my original comment a bit after posting but it was too late. I articulated my point poorly.

        The gist of what I wanted to say is that I find it difficult to differentiate between political and cultural Zionism when one is a direct result of the other, and both are built on Palestinian backs. I agree though that the current Zionist ideology of Israel needs to go, not sure about a confederation though.

  8. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    January 31, 2016, 8:57 pm

    It sounds from this essay that Nikles supports Cultural Zionism, because he did not get much into critiques of it.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      February 1, 2016, 8:55 pm

      OK, now reading the comments and his writings in the comments section, I see that he supports “Cultural Zionism”.

  9. Roland Nikles
    Roland Nikles
    January 31, 2016, 10:02 pm

    Keith:

    Regarding your assertion that Israel’s economy is “centered around high tech militarism and the security apparatus….”: military spending is less than 6% of GDP. That’s a lot, but not so much more than the U.S. I think there’s more to the story than military spending and security apparatus.

    You suggest that Avishai’s observation that the early Zionists assumed the nature of the state would be naturally liberal is mythmaking. That may be, but it’s a myth the early Zionists bought into from Herzel “Alt Neuland” to the Declaration of Independence, which (as you know) said: “[The state] will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

    Dismissing Liberal Zionism as an oxymoron is too simplistic. Any stripe of Zionism can be more or less liberal. Liberal is better. Liberal may not be enough with political Zionism; a liberal cultural Zionism along a strong Palestinian culture? It’s a vision. You may call it fantasy. Ultimately it’s the vision of people living there that counts, Jews and Palestinians, not ours.

    I said I don’t believe anti-Semitism is an eternal law of nature, and suggested that even if it were it would not justify the occupation. I’m not following you in your Kool-Aid comment.

    You are not clear in your last paragraph. I agree with you that separating cultural Zionism from political Zionism would change Israeli society. I think that’s the point.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      February 1, 2016, 1:16 am

      Roland Nikles: […] a liberal cultural Zionism along a strong Palestinian culture? It’s a vision –
      ———————

      I agree. A coherent liberal-cultural Zionism, however, requires the following:

      1)Recognition of the Palestinian people’s right to national self-determination in their own state on their own territory.

      2)Acceptance of the international two-state consensus: pre-1967 borders; mutually agreed minor land swaps that would allow some settlement blocs to be annexed to Israel; a solution to the refugee problem that involves Israeli recognition of responsibility along with compensation etc.; Jerusalem as a shared capital of both states, etc.

      3)Israel maintains its Jewish super-majority, but abandons all discriminatory laws and evolves into a non-ethno/theocratic liberal democracy.

      5) Israel abandons its role as a homeland/refuge for global Jewry and becomes simply a state for all its citizens and only its citizens.

      6) If Palestine wishes to join in some kind of economic union or confederation with Israel, or with other states in the region, that is the Palestinians’ choice to make.

      7) In order to get there, a coherent liberal-cultural Zionism must embrace BDS and other forms of pressuring the Israeli state to abandon its expansionist and apartheid policies.

      Avishai, however, seems unwilling to take the first and essential step– that of recognizing the Palestinian people’s right to self determination in their own sovereign state, in accordance with international law and the international political consensus.

      He writes of “Israelis in shock at the thought of removing hundreds of thousands of settlers, apparently accepting the political Zionist mantra that a genuine two-state solution is impossible, because “facts on the ground.”

      He talks about building on Olmert’s offer to Abbas–but he gives no details. But if it’s not to be two states based on the international consensus, then what is he talking about? The continuation of settlement expansion, with Palestinians relegated to shrunken, non-contiguous enclaves with limited sovereignty, “confederated” to the Israeli state? There is no way that can work. That’s apartheid. Palestinians will not accept it. The world will not accept it. It just means more conflict, more polarization, more radicalization–the opposite of the professed goals of liberal-cultural Zionism.

      Liberal-cultural Zionism is a sham if it does not embrace the Palestinian’s right to self-determination and the enforcement of international law.

      Liberal-cultural Zionism is a sham if it does not embrace BDS to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        February 1, 2016, 2:49 am

        Sibiriak,

        Nice to see you come round to

        1)Recognition of the Palestinian people’s right to national self-determination in their own state on their own territory

        which totally invalidates your point 2.

        Or do you perhaps mean that what is true to you today did not hold in 1947 or before?

        Why?

        Do votes by other states replace the self-determination of peoples? Key word: self.

        As of now, there is still no Palestinian acceptance of a single Zionist, cultural or uncultured, on any Palestinian territory. Except, possibly, if there were any pre-1897.

        Also, the wording “in their own state on their own territory” is ambiguous. Self-determination is something to which “their own state” is subordinate, and concerns the entire Palestinian territory, not just what’s left after illegal conquest as in 1947.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 3, 2016, 12:18 pm

        @echinococcus

        1) I described what I thought a coherent liberal-cultural Zionism might look like. I never said I personally ascribed to such a view.

        2) Nor did I ever say that such a view was in accordance with what you have called “strict justice”. The whole Zionist project since the late 19th century has been one long series of injustices, one piled upon the next. The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate, the 1947 partition–all were violations of the principle of self-determination of peoples. Even the UNSCOP which formulated the 1947 partition plan admitted that.

        I agree with moral gist of this historical assessment:

        [echinococcus:] these so-called 1967 borders are not the partition proposal line. They were reached by war of aggression, military conquest, robbery, forced displacement of populations and genocidal action (euphemized today as “ethnic cleansing”.)

        Then, there are no 1948 borders, really: the partition proposal is just a proposal that was rejected by the owners of the land.

        The owners of the land, as opposed to the totally fictional “equal neighbors” who were nothing but illegally immigrating armed invaders who refused to behave as immigrants. If the refusal by the owners of the land were not enough, the violation of the indissociable conditions set by the partition proposal also canceled it.

        Not only that, but there is no obligation at all to ever accept for a partition proposal, as the British Empire was in charge of an administrative mandate, some kind of an escrow. The land of Palestine wasn’t under Lord Balfour’s personal sovereignty and it wasn’t the Empire’s or the UN’s to partition.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/exterminate-million-netanyahu#comment-761907

        3)”Strict justice” would mean undoing ALL the injustices wrought by Zionism. It would mean that all or most Jewish Zionist immigrants and their descendants leave Palestine and return the land to its rightful owners. It would mean massive economic compensation for all the damages done to Palestinians over the last 100 plus years– to the tune of billions, if not trillions. It would mean the prosecution and imprisonment of thousands of Israelis directly involved in war crimes. It would mean compensatory payments from all the Israeli companies that profited from Palestinian dispossession and oppression.

        Any kind of two-state solution would not meet the demands of “strict justice.”

        But neither would a single state “shared by Israeli colonists and Palestinian indigenous alike” (rosross).

        Such a bi-national state would hardly be compatible with Palestinian national self-determination. Every single Palestinian decision of national import, every decision about the political, economic, social and cultural direction of the country, would have to be made in conjunction with the Israeli Jewish population, a huge majority of which are ethnocentric, chauvinistic, racist and virulently anti-Arab/ anti-Muslim. Depending on the exact nature of the electoral system, such a substantial minority would have an effective veto power on most issues, or at least formidable powers of obstruction and gridlock.

        According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 1:

        “All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

        There can be no self-determination for one people if another people has effective veto power on practically every important decision regarding economic, social and cultural development.

        Furthermore, in a single “democratic” Israeli/Palestinian state, money-power would be vastly asymmetrical. Wealthy Jewish citizens and corporations would not only be able to corrupt and control the government, they would be able to buy up and profit from the best economic assets throughout the whole of Palestine. Needless to say, the vast settlement blocs wouldn’t be going anywhere–they would now be expanding and spreading without legal impediments whatsoever, gobbling up all the land and precious resources money can buy.

        4) I don’t think you and I would disagree too much on what the demands of “strict justice” would be. Where we disagree is on whether “strict justice” is actually achievable. I don’t think it is.

        5) You write:

        [echinococcus:] A “culture” of illegal importation on other people’s land and territory, imposed only by the force of conquest. The “culture” did not arrive on its own from the most unrelated places, you know. It was carried by people settled there forcibly against the owners’ will.

        True. But the Israeli state with its dominant culture is a fait accompli.

        Oh no! That’s not true! , you say. Nothing is permanent! The Zionist project can be undone! Not just partially. Entirely. Not slowly, stage by stage, but in one fell swoop! Look at history. Look at South Africa. Look at the Soviet Union. States come and go. Nothing is permanent. I’m for strict justice. Zionist Israel has no legitimacy, no right to exist. It must be destroyed.

        But how?

        In your opinion, the BDS movement is hopeless–hijacked by liberal Zionists; it’s stated goal only calls for the end of the Israeli occupation of Arab lands occupied by Israel in 1967 . The UN, international law–corrupted, U.S. controlled, hopeless. Local Palestinian resistance–feeble, ineffective, hopeless.

        So what does that leave? Oh yes, a “regional conflagration” ! It’s the only thing that will destroy the Zionist state and usher in a golden age of “strict justice”:

        [echinococcus:] Let’s stop deluding ourselves. This “reality” argument is total nonsense. First, a peaceful transition like, say, South Africa or the USSR has less chance than a snowball in hell. Not gonna happen. Same for the chances of the Resistance to force any change by itself. What will probably reshape it all is a regional conflagration provoked by Israel and the US.

        * * *

        […]let’s again forget the absurd delusions of a peaceful transition. An Algerian solution would be surprisingly mild , all things considered. That is the price of all extreme nationalist and racist indoctrination: once the smart ones flee, the remainder are suicidal. ,/b> [emphasis added]

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/exterminate-million-netanyahu#comment-761907

        So there you have it. The Palestinians should forget any and all compromises, wait for the “regional conflagration” and then reap the rewards. But what if the “regional conflagration” never comes? Then what?

        Besides, exactly how is a “regional conflagration” is going to produce the results you desire–especially considering that Israel is a nuclear power backed by the world’s only military super-power. Perhaps you can describe what kind of scenario you are envisaging, but full-scale regional war would, imo, most certainly be a huge catastrophe–unlikely to happen and not something to wish for.

        As Shingo succinctly put it to you:

        . I don’t disagree with a word you said, and the injustice inflicted on the existing population by Europe and the Allied powers is immeasurable, but the notion that any of those sins can be undone today, 66 after the fact is a delusion. It’s not about the sales job, it’s about the reality of today. The fact remains that Israel is a reality today and is indeed a legitimate state.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/exterminate-million-netanyahu#comment-761907

        “Legitimate” in terms of international law, not “strict justice”, of course. But that brings us back to possibility of having to accept some measure of injustice in order to prevent even greater injustices and even greater suffering.

        I do admit, however, that being an advocate for “strict justice” has its appeal– it’s easy! All you have to do is calculate what “strict justice” demands and then righteously denounce everything else.

  10. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    January 31, 2016, 11:57 pm

    Liberal is better.

    How so? In this particular case, “liberal” allows continuing dispossession while putting on a human mask, giving a pretext to Western rulers to show their indignant populations for continuing their full support to the Zionist invasion, arming and reinforcing it. Years more of the same nonsense about talks, about a nonexistent “state” of Zionist puppets in the Bantu corner, all getting established, signed and supported and blessed by all. Palestinians still with nothing and continued genocide, as before 1983 or so. Middle East still with that cancer in its middle.
    No, it’s not better. In this case the Yahoo and his fanatic JSIL hordes are better.

    Liberal may not be enough with political Zionism; a liberal cultural Zionism along a strong Palestinian culture? It’s a vision. You may call it fantasy.

    Let’s call it BS. A “culture” of illegal importation on other people’s land and territory, imposed only by the force of conquest. The “culture” did not arrive on its own from the most unrelated places, you know. It was carried by people settled there forcibly against the owners’ will.

    Ultimately it’s the vision of people living there that counts, Jews and Palestinians, not ours

    Correct. Only, it’s not “Jews”, it’s Zionists. Exponents of a political movement for the illegal conquest of other people’s land.
    And before the “vision” of the people legitimately there, i.e. all Palestinians including the expelled and the driven away, including also the 5% Jewish Palestinians living there before the declaration of hostile intent, their acceptance or rejection of aliens coming to impose their presence or their… “culture” must still be obtained.
    They have never been asked, not by the colonial powers, not by the UN. They have never accepted. And they are the owners of sovereignty on the entirety of Palestine. That is why “cultural Zionism” is as much conquest and invasion as cultureless Zionism, just as it was under the Ottomans, too.

  11. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    February 1, 2016, 12:35 am

    While we’re at it, I have other questions about “Jewish culture”. What exactly does that mean outside religious liturgy? What is there that is not strictly regional, like Eskenazi, Sefardí, Mizrahi, etc.? The invention of a constructed language only serves the myth of a “Jewish people” for the purposes of a German-romantic nationalism where there is no ethnicity outside Eskenazi and the absurdity of a land different than yours just because of religion.

    In other words, not “Jewish” culture by any common-human-language criterion, but Zionist culture. What we call things has consequences. “Zionist culture” would attract no objections.

  12. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    February 1, 2016, 6:57 am

    At this rate, cultural Zionism seems to be the belief that people who are Jewish have always had a right to create in Palestine an area where Jewish culture flourishes. In a certain sense this seems utterly innocuous. The same right has been exercised in London and New York: in parity, there are Englsh cultural colonies in some Italian cities.
    However, if the claim is intensified to include the right to acquire political power beyond what is usual for individuals, to override normal tmmigration rules and to use force, even extreme force, even to the point of driving others out from the desired cultural area then it becomes, from the first step, morally mistaken and misleading.
    At that point it is not redeemed by added liberalism in the sense (which it seems to have here) of being happy with the existence of other cultural areas in reasonably close proximity. In itself this form of liberalism – an insistent presence, a half-assurance that demands are limited (on,y half, because more may always be needed for the security of what we have) a confident, sweeping promise of benefits for all – is patronising and menacing. Its further implications are worse.

  13. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    February 1, 2016, 9:18 am

    The article and comments are replete with statements that “what is needed is” and “it is time to” . The fact is that different folks want different things, and what “liberal” Americans want is pretty irrelevant to what hard-line Israeli Hebrews want. For the record, I’d like Israel-cum-WB+G to be replaced with something politically more like the USA than like apartheid South Africa.

    The Jewish (or, perhaps better, the Hebrew) people of Israel want political right-wing illiberal apartheit Israel just as they have it, in the entire land-of-Israel built out to include the Golan (Zholan) Heights. They (overwhelming majority of them) do not want and do not need any revision which would make life comfortable for Palestinians anywhere in the world. They don’t know who Avishai is, or care, ditto Beinart. Ditto me. Ditto JVP.

    To make them want or need a different politics is the job of outside pressure, just as it was with South Africa.

    There is a special constituency of “liberal Zionists” who want something not exactly like today’s USA or South Africa in Israel, who want something with a more “Jewish” flavor, but who detest totalitarianism and all its less stringent flavors including the flavor developing today in Israel. But these people are, presently, of little importance in the USA (except as a “choir” to cheer each other, which is in a way what churches exist to do BTW) and of no importance in Israel.

  14. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    February 1, 2016, 9:08 pm

    OK, now I see how Roland Nikles supports Cultural Zionism:

    But the real accomplishments of Zionism, suggested Avishai, are cultural: the creation of 8 million Hebrew speakers who are running a $360 billion economy. The Hebrew language and the culture it has created are now secure. These accomplishments are not going away, no matter what the politics of the country are. The amazing thing about the Zionist venture he suggested is that couples in tank tops and shorts can walk down the street holding hands in Tel Aviv, speaking a language that Moses would have understood. That is a cultural achievement, a cultural legacy that will survive a more liberal politics. These eight million Hebrew speakers and the culture they have created will not go away if the state stops its discrimination against Arabs.

    Many, maybe 20%, of those “8 million” Hebrew speakers would not prefer for their society to have gone in the direction of speaking Hebrew over the last century.
    That being the case, was it really an “achievement” that this 20% speaks Hebrew any more than the fact that Native peoples in the Americas speak European languages?

    It appears that at least Avishai’s and Nikle’s description of “Cultural Zionism” is still a form of Cultural Conquest.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 2, 2016, 10:39 am

      “It appears that at least Avishai’s and Nikle’s description of “Cultural Zionism” is still a form of Cultural Conquest.”

      So, is Nikkles unaware of that, even tho he makes it glaringly obvious (‘got to get them Ayrabs into the modren whirl, got to enlighten them‘) or does he expect to fool us?

      And is there any rational reason why I shouldn’t wonder about that?

    • Roland Nikles
      Roland Nikles
      February 2, 2016, 9:27 pm

      @ W. Jones and Mooser: Right. I’m not troubled by cultural conquest. It doesn’t bother me that Hollywood movies have a 60%+ share of world market, and it doesn’t bother me that 40 percent of Californians speak a language other than English at home. Palestinian culture and Hebrew culture obviously influence each other. I care not which culture has more influence. Contrary to Mooser (apparently) I do care about liberal democratic values, equal rights, equal representation, equitable distribution of the economic pie, equality of opportunity, separation of church and state. I see liberal democratic values as the only way towards justice in that land. If you think that is an imposition on Palestinians, or somehow unfair….. I don’t get that. If you think equal rights, and equal opportunity, and equal protection, and equality before the law today are not “fair” to Palestinians because of past transgressions in the Nakba (is that what you are suggesting??) I think that is seriously misguided because it implies there really is no alternative to Thrasymachus rules. And you think that’s going to work out well for the Palestinians?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 2, 2016, 11:55 pm

        “Right. I’m not troubled by cultural conquest. It doesn’t bother me that Hollywood movies have a 60%+ share of world market”

        Yeah, it must have been all the folk dancing and heartfelt renditions of Hava Negilah which got the Zionists where they are. Get real.

        ” I see liberal democratic values as the only way towards justice in that land. If you think that is an imposition on Palestinians, or somehow unfair”

        Yeah, yeah, it’s the lack of Palestinian “liberal democratic values” which is causing all the problems.

        And you really, have the chutzpah to mention the word “imposition” in connection with the Palestinians? Really?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 3, 2016, 12:03 am

        “If you think equal rights, and equal opportunity, and equal protection, and equality before the law today are not “fair” to Palestinians because of past transgressions in the Nakba (is that what you are suggesting??)”

        Another words, the Zionists give back nothing, and get a general amnesty for crimes.
        And the Palestinians get to start as if they were penniless refugees in their own home.
        That’s what it adds up to.

        While the whole world looks on and admires our cleverness.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 3, 2016, 11:17 am

        Roland Nickles: If you think equal rights, and equal opportunity, and equal protection, and equality before the law today are not “fair” to Palestinians…

        ———————–

        Who said that? Looks like a huge straw man.

        Besides, Avishai “does not foresee one state with one government administration governing all the people between the river and the sea.”

        Not one liberal democratic state, but not two liberal democratic states either. So what kind of equality are we talking about– separate but equal?

        In any case, you still haven’t answered my questions about the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

        I take it then that national self-determination is not one of the rights liberal-cultural Zionist are willing to bestow upon the Palestinians.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        February 3, 2016, 12:10 pm

        Hello, Roland. I am not sure if you understand my point.
        You appeared to herald it as an achievement that about 2 million Palestinians speak Hebrew, even though they would not have wanted the cultural conquest that caused this.
        Would you consider it a wonderful “achievement” that the Native Americans speak English or Spanish?
        Instead of the achievement of “the creation of 8 million Hebrew speakers”, how would we feel talking about the “achievement” of all the billions of English and Spanish speakers in the Americas? Maybe you don’t understand what issue I am talking about or what there is not to be proud of in that?

        I am not talking about whether Indians enjoy equality with whites, but whether cultural conquest is an achievement.

  15. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    February 3, 2016, 7:29 am

    Hello, Roland. I am not sure if you understand my point.
    You appeared to herald it as an achievement that about 2 million Palestinians speak Hebrew, even though they would not have wanted the cultural conquest that caused this.
    Would you consider it a wonderful “achievement” that the Native Americans speak English or Spanish?
    Instead of the achievement of “the creation of 8 million Hebrew speakers”, how would we feel talking about the “achievement” of all the billions of English and Spanish speakers in the Americas? Maybe you don’t understand what issue I am talking about or what there is not to be proud of in that?

    I am not talking about whether Indians enjoy equality with whites, but whether cultural conquest is an achievement.

    • Keith
      Keith
      February 3, 2016, 1:21 pm

      W JONES- “I am not talking about whether Indians enjoy equality with whites, but whether cultural conquest is an achievement.”

      Excellent point! The early Zionists did not merely drive the Palestinians away, they consciously attempted to destroy both their memory and culture. Why else destroy olive trees and villages and (initially) deny the Nakba? This was a concerted attempt at historical engineering to control the narrative. They effaced the Palestinians and their culture even as they denigrated the Jews in the Diaspora and the Diaspora culture. This occurred even as they tried to recreate the European culture they left behind. Some cultural restoration project!

  16. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    February 3, 2016, 12:14 pm

    Roland Nikles: I’m not troubled by cultural conquest.
    ———————-

    How about cultural genocide? Are you okay with that as well?

    https://web.archive.org/web/20080316124021/http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/03/16/tibet.unrest/index.html

    http://972mag.com/documenting-scores-of-palestinian-books-nakbas-lesser-known-victims/34169/

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      February 3, 2016, 11:28 pm

      So we can rewrite the title:
      Cultural Zionism – good, political Zionism – bad, Cultural Conquest – no problem

  17. Roland Nikles
    Roland Nikles
    February 3, 2016, 12:52 pm

    Thanks, Sibriak. Interesting articles. You might reread my post above. I think steps should be taken to strengthen Palestinian culture.

  18. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    February 3, 2016, 1:27 pm

    Roland Nikles : I think steps should be taken to strengthen Palestinian culture.
    —————–

    I do think a coherent cultural-liberal Zionism is theoretically possible, as I outlined in a post above. But what I’m reading here, I have to say, is coming off as paternalistic, if not disingenuous.

    Steps? How about ending the occupation? How about recognizing the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination in their own state in their own territory? How about abolishing Israel’s discriminatory laws? How about support for BDS?

    Why is Avishai’s liberal-cultural Zionist program so non-committal and vague?

    He speaks of confederated arrangements. Whatever those arrangements will be …

    Yeah, well, whatever… not a very compelling vision.

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