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Israel’s neverending occupation is bringing ‘infamy’ to Jews worldwide, making Jewish life ‘precarious’ — Tony Klug

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Support for Israel’s “neverending” occupation is changing the very nature of what it means to be Jewish. We used to be people devoted to justice: we played a prominent role in the civil rights movement. Now our reputation is becoming one of “infamy,” as the enablers of Israeli injustices. This new reputation is feeding the surge in anti-Semitism around the world and making the Jewish position in the west “precarious.” Therefore, Diaspora Jews have a responsibility to issue an ultimatum to Israel: End the occupation or grant Palestinians equal rights.

That was the thrust of the best speech I heard at the recent J Street conference– from Tony Klug, a special adviser on the Middle East to the Oxford Research Group. Klug was introduced by Jessica Montell, formerly of B’Tselem, on a panel about the responsibility of Diaspora Jews, and about a new partnership to Save Israel and Stop the Occupation (SISO). This is the body of Tony Klug’s speech; I cut his preamble. –Phil Weiss

After half a century, Israel’s occupation chickens are coming home to roost: creeping isolation, growing challenges to the state’s legitimacy, rising antisemitism, spreading accusations of apartheid, to say nothing of the blossoming of religious zealotry and radical nationalism.

In the wake of the celebrated military victory of 1967, a number of Israeli voices rose above the exultant mood of the time to warn of the perils of triumphalism, hubris and complacency. As an outsider, but a closely-engaged outsider, I remember all this very well. Following an extensive period of research in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon in the early 1970’s, a much earlier version of yours truly offered a few observations himself, which in his innocent youth he regarded as self-evident. I hope you will forgive me if I quote the following condensed passage from his/my pamphlet published in January 1977 when there were probably fewer than 5000 Jewish settlers on the West Bank compared to more than 100 times that number today. This was the passage:

While Israel continues to rule over the West Bank, there are bound to be ever more frequent and more intensive acts of resistance by a population that is feeling encroached upon by a spreading pattern of Jewish colonization and whose yearning for independence is no less than was that of the Palestinian Jews in the early months of 1948. As long as Israel continues to govern that territory, she will have little choice but to retaliate in an increasingly oppressive fashion just to keep order. The moral appeal of Israel’s case will consequently suffer and this will further erode her level of international support, although probably not among organized opinion within the Jewish Diaspora. This sharpening polarization is bound to contribute to an upsurge in overt antisemitism.

In response to this passage I was told by an assortment of outraged Jewish and Israeli readers that I simply did not get it.

First it was said that Israel would soon be returning the territory or the bulk of it, to Arab rule. Meaning to Jordan.

Second it was not independence the Palestinians wanted but good governance and that is what they were getting from Israeli rule.

Third, barring the initial period following the 1967 war, there was very little Palestinian resistance, and there was no reason to believe this would change. Indeed, it took another ten years for the first intifada to break out. The population was enjoying a standard of living well above its previous imaginings, which was true. They were it was claimed better off in almost every respect than Arabs living in Arab countries.

Fourth, the expanding Israeli settlements allegedly had little impact on the local Arab population and where they did it was almost entirely beneficial, for example in providing jobs.

Fifth, international support for Israel was rock solid and growing.

Finally, latent anti-Jewish feeling has always resided in some segments of civil society. Lamentably true. And its manifestations have nothing to do with how Israel behaves. Demonstrably false.

Despite my apparently being wrong on every count, the future played out pretty much as mapped out in the pamphlet. For me this was seriously depressing. Particularly because it wasn’t meant as a prediction. I was sure at the time, as was the vast majority of Israelis too, that Israel in its own best interests would be certain to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the near future.

I don’t expect to be around to shamelessly quote myself again in another 40 years. But as passions continue to rise, it surely is as plain as can be, that if Israel does not end the occupation sharply, and if organized Jewish opinion in other countries appears openly to back it, there will indeed almost certainly be a further surge in anti-Jewish sentiment, potentially unleashing more sinister impulses.

This is not of course to justify such dismal future developments, but it’s not rocket science to see what lies ahead under these circumstances.

What all this points to I fear is that Israel’s neverending occupation of the land and lives of another people is not just seriously endangering Israel, not to mention deepening the despair of the Palestinians. But it is also making the situation of the Jews around the world increasingly precarious.

That makes it personal…. But there’s an even more profound personal dimension, one that goes to the very heart of what it means to be Jewish. I was asked recently what originally attracted to me to the human rights and peace worlds. I worked, by the way, for many years for Amnesty International. Almost without thinking, I answered, the rabbis of the orthodox Jewish school I attended, to the visible amazement of the guy who asked me the question.

I was not, I confess, the greatest student of Jewish studies. But I was very taken by some of the passages that we were taught from the Hebrew bible, the Torah.

Passages like, “Justice, Justice shall thou pursue.” Deuteronomy. Why, the sages asked, repeat justice? Was it a typo? Did the scribe have a stutter?

Came the answer: Justice must be pursued with justice. It is not enough for justice to be the goal. It must be the means too. Astonishing– for now, let alone then.

“Let my people go.” Exodus. A plea for freedom that inspired generations of oppressed peoples, most notably African-American slaves.

“God created humankind in his own image.” Genesis. An affirmation of the inherent equality of all people.

“Seek peace and pursue it.” Psalms.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Leviticus.

“Love the stranger,” I am told, is commanded 36 times.

The legendary Rabbi Hillel summed up the entire Torah on one leg with these words: “What is hateful to you, do not do to another. Everything else is commentary.” On this, he put his foot down.

These time-honored Jewish ideals– justice, freedom, equality, peace, mutual respect– have made an extraordinary contribution to human civilization. They lie at the very core of Jewish identity and are the glue that binds together Jews of many different persuasions and many different countries.

Jews have proudly espoused these values historically for themselves and for others, which at least in part explains why Jews have disproportionately been active in civil rights causes.

Many Jews and others have uncomfortably coexisted with the Israeli occupation for years by sheltering behind the idea that one day soon there will be a Palestinian state alongside Israel in which Palestinians will be able to exercise their national, political, and civil rights.

But we are entering a new epoch. The current Israeli government has virtually blown the roof off of this sanctuary. We now face the major reality of a state that declares itself loudly and often to be Jewish, and demands of others that it be recognized as Jewish, gearing itself to withholding fundamental human rights from millions of people indefinitely. A standpoint that is in total defiance of quintessential Jewish principles.

Indeed one may ask, Would such a blatantly-inequitable policy be condoned by the self-appointed custodians of Jewish values if enacted by any other country?

If we are not prepared to speak out resolutely, we may be on the cusp of Jewish identity being redefined for us and with it the image and global standing of Jews worldwide. Of course Israel is doing its own reputation huge damage as well. Just as the policies of the current US administration are destructive of the idea of America, so the policies of the current Israeli government are perverting the idea of Israel, as captured in its Declaration of Independence.

So what may be done?

To start with, supporters of Israel could openly clarify that their affection for the country however deep does not extend to supporting the occupation. They could consider adopting a slogan like, “Love Israel, hate occupation.”

And it is vital not to shy away from using the term occupation. Losing the language is the first step toward losing the argument. It is not just the verbal distinctions that matter. In all our practical dealings, we need to distinguish between Israel itself and the occupied territories, including the whole suicidal settlement project.

This was the unequivocal message of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 last December. While explicitly endorsing Israel’s legitimacy in its pre-1967 borders, the resolution repudiated any alterations to or changes made beyond those borders. That its closest allies even after 50 years voted in favor and its principal ally did not exercise a veto was a serious political and psychological blow to the Israel government. It thought it had got away with it, when it plainly hadn’t. Nor will it.

But this is not enough. From the inception of occupation, successive Israeli governments have cherry-picked the Geneva Convention to suit their purpose. When expropriating land and building settlements, they deny their role is in law an occupation and therefore bound by the Geneva Convention. But in not extending equal rights to the West Bank’s Palestinian inhabitants, they shield behind the Convention’s prohibition against altering the political or legal status of an occupied people. This calculated ambiguity is a colossal Israeli bluff that it really is time to call. It either is or is not an occupation. The laws of occupation either apply or they don’t. Israel should no longer be permitted to have it both ways.

To reclaim Jewish values and restore the Jewish reputation we have to impress on our Israeli friends the need for Israel either to end the occupation without further procrastination and pretext and work with the Palestinians to build their own state or, pending a future final settlement, whatever that might be, grant equal rights in the meantime to everyone subject to Israeli jurisdiction.


We can accept either. But whether as Jews or as human right adherents we cannot possibly accept neither. No longer can the inherently unequal, unjust, un-Jewish discriminatory status quo be stomached as the automatic default alternative to an indefinitely-postponed future agreement, it is our right and indeed obligation to insist that equal treatment should replace the status quo as the natural default alternative.

Sam Bahour

This proposal draws on an original idea that the Palestinian-American thinker Sam Bahour and I jointly developed three years ago, as part of a broader policy proposal for the international community. It is an idea that in essence has already been taken up by SISO, Tikkun, and the Palestine Strategy Group, with whom I work, pointing to potential for parallel campaigning for a common end, involving Israelis, Jews from other countries, Palestinians and their sympathizers, plus the wider community, whether at the governmental or civil society levels.

This tantalizing prospect, even if improbable, underlines why it is so important to throw our weight behind the SISO project. To be clear, this is not a proposal for one state which has very little authentic support among either Israelis or Palestinians. It is more akin to the situation of Scots in the United Kingdom who enjoy equal rights with everyone else until a possible future two state solution in the UK is enacted. Why should it be different for the Palestinians?

By posing these sharp alternatives– recognize Palestine or grant equal rights– it is hoped that a vigorous debate may be reignited within Israel and a new political current sparked which may return the two state idea to the top of the Israeli political agenda before it really is too late.

When all is said and done, the bottom line is that the conflict with the Palestinians has dominated and distorted the Jewish world for too long.

It is time to bring it to an end and stop the infamy of a half century of military occupation of another people and allow us all to get back to the business of being ourselves.

Afterword from Weiss: Klug’s statements about Israel’s actions fostering global anti-Semitism echo Nathan Glazer’s  predictions of 40 years ago, and the views of Roderick Balfour and Rev. Bruce Shipman in the New York Times letters section (and Shipman paid with his job at Yale for that idea). Klug’s statements about an exceptionalist Jewish identity perfectly reflect my own pride in my background, and hopes. My younger Jewish partners do not have those feelings– which speaks volumes. 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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33 Responses

  1. Kathleen on March 3, 2017, 4:35 pm

    ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt on Washington Journal this morning. A caller said that he stands against Israeli policy and has been called an “anti semite” because of his stance. Greenblatt went on about how Israel does not want to be held to a “different standard”

    As if the fact that the largest foreign aide package that the U.S. hands to Israel should not be put them in the spotlight for criticism.

    As if Israel’s unwillingness to abide by international agreements , UN resolutions etc has not undermined not only their own national security the national security of the U.S.

    He also said something about the Palestinians “internationalizing the issue” Somehow he fails to acknowledge that it was the UN international body that created the state of Israel.

    Interesting segment. March 3, 2017

    Jonathan Greenblat on Threats Against Jewish Sites in U.S.

    Jonathan Greenblatt discussed recent threats made against Jewish community centers and schools.
    Washington Journal | Series |

    • Maghlawatan on March 3, 2017, 5:34 pm

      ADL can either defend Jews in the US or defend Israel but it can’t do both coherently. If what Israel does to the Palestinians is morally defensible so is targeting synagogues in the US.

      • JLewisDickerson on March 4, 2017, 1:56 am

        “Coherence” doesn’t amount to diddly-squat in Trump’s America! ! !

      • xanadou on March 5, 2017, 11:22 pm

        No, targeting the synagogues is hopelessly wrong and misses the point by taking the focus off the guilty genocidal zios and shifting it onto the adherents, and their places of worship, of a religion so hideously used to further the pecuniary interests of the pathocrats.

        An infinitely better way to make one’s point would be to start talking about the sacred cow(ard)s in this country (the US) who have made useless careers of defending the indefensible.

        Seventy years into this horrific nightmare it’s time to address the guilty criminals, ideally at the Int’l Court of Justice at the Hague, not by destroying cemeteries and synagogues, which just gives yet more ammunition to the professional whiners.

    • JLewisDickerson on March 3, 2017, 11:54 pm

      MY REPLY: The ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt says what he is paid to say by the ADL’s “major donors”.

      SEE: “The ‘Israel First’ Industry and CEO Profiteering” | by James Petras | | January 16th, 2014

      [EXCERPTS] During the first half of the 20th century, socially conscious Jews in the United States organized a large network of solidarity and charity associations financed mostly through small donations, raffles, and dues by working and lower middle class supporters. Many of these associations dealt with the everyday needs of Jewish workers, immigrants, and families in need. . .

      . . . Over the past fifty years a far-reaching transformation has taken place within Jewish organizations, among its leaders and their practices and policies. Currently, Jewish leaders have converted charities, social aid-societies and overseas programs for working class Jews into money machines for self-enrichment; converted charities funding health programs for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism into the funding of colonial settlements for armed Zionist zealots intent on uprooting Palestinians; and organized a powerful political machine which buys US Congress people and penetrates the Executive in order to serve Israeli military aims. From defending human rights and fighting fascism, the leaders of the principle Jewish organizations defend each and every Israeli violation of Palestinian human rights – from arbitrary arrests of non-violent dissidents to the detention of children in ‘cages.’ Israel’s Kafkaesque prolonged administration detention without trial is approved by contemporary leaders. In the past Jewish leaders, especially labor and socially-engaged activists had joined forces with Leftists in opposition to political bigots, McCarthyite purges and blacklists. Today’s leaders practice the very same bully, blackmail and blacklist politics against critics of Israel and its Zionist appendages.

      In the past Jewish leaders of social aid organizations received modest salaries . . .

      . . . The moderately social liberal Jewish weekly, The Forward, recently completed a survey of the salaries of Jewish “not-for profits” leaders, with the aid of a professor from the Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania). Among the leading profiteers was Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) earning $688,280, Howard Kohr of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — $556,232, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) — $504,445, Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) — $435,050, Janice Weinman of Hadassah — $410,000, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (PMJO) — $400,815, Mark Helfield of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society — $268,834 and Ann Toback of the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring — $185,712. These salaries and perks put the Jewish leaders of non-profits in the upper 10% of US incomes — a far cry from the not-too-distant past. According to the analysis by the Forward and the Wharton team, ‘most leaders (CEOs) are vastly overpaid – earning more than twice what the head of an organization of their size would be expected to make”.

      While the membership has declined in many organizations, especially among working and lower middle class Jews, the funding has increased and most important the plutocratic leaders have embraced a virulent militarist foreign policy and repressive domestic policies. Forward describes Abraham Foxman as “diverting the ADL from its self-described mission of fighting all forms of bigotry in the US and abroad to putting the ADL firmly on the side of bigotry and intolerance.” . . .

      . . . The overwhelming response of the Jewish readers to the Forward’s survey was one of indignation, disgust, and anger. As one reader commented, “The economic disconnect between their (CEOs) salaries and the average incomes of those who contribute to their charities is unacceptable”. Another indignant reader remarked succinctly: “Gonifs! (Thieves!)”. Many announced they could cut off future donations. One formerly orthodox reader stated, “I would rather give to a street beggar than to any of these”.

      The drop-off of donations from lower-middle class Jews, however, will have little effect in reducing the salaries of the ‘non-profit’ CEO’s or changing the politics of their ‘non-profits; because they increasingly depend on six and seven digit contributions from Jewish millionaires and billionaires. Moreover, the contributions by big donors are linked to the politics of repression at home and securing multi-billion dollar military aid and trade programs for Israel from the US Treasury. The billionaire donors have no objection to funding the millionaire leaders – as long as they concentrate their efforts on buying the votes of US Congress members and aligning their politics with Israel’s war aims. . .


    • JLewisDickerson on March 4, 2017, 1:45 am

      P.S. RE: “The ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt says what he is paid to say by the ADL’s ‘major donors’. ~ me (from above)

      TAKE IT AWAY, JOEY: “Fire Foxman” | by Joey Kurtzman | | July 8, 2007

      [EXCERPT] . . . What’s surprising is how unabashedly forthright Abraham Foxman [erstwhile CEO of the ADL] has become about what motivates him and his institution [i.e., the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)]. In October of 2005, Foxman addressed a classroom of Jewish students at New York University. Young heads nodded and brows furrowed as Foxman riled them with his customary rhetoric: Isn’t it antisemitic for pro-Palestinian groups to seek divestment only from Israel, ignoring the far greater crimes of regimes like Sudan or North Korea? How do we describe this sort of selective flagellation of the world’s only Jewish state, if not as antisemitism? “

      What if the campus Free Tibet club campaigned for divestment from China? Would that be anti-Chinese bigotry?” asked Asaf Shtull-Trauring, a 20-year-old student and conscientious objector from the Israeli army.

      Of course not, answered Foxman, but it was preposterous to compare the two conflicts, what with the Jews’ experience of two millennia of murderous persecution. Shtull-Trauring responded with two questions: Did Foxman mean that selective treatment is okay so long as it’s not directed at Jews? And where did the Anti-Defamation League get off telling Jewish university students which opinions about Israel were acceptable and which verboten?

      The dialogue spiraled into a confrontation. Shtull-Trauring says Foxman, frustrated and under attack, placed his cards on the table, angrily retorting: “I don’t represent you nor the Jewish community! I represent the donors.”

      Foxman’s outburst was surprising not because of its content, but because of its candor. Foxman needn’t bother himself with the trifling concerns of American Jews who happen not to be multimillionaire philanthropists. If he makes the Jewish community less appealing to young Jews, if his theatrics turn us off and turn us away, that’s all beside the point. Foxman’s job is to keep the millionaire benefactors happy: the rest of us can go jump in the Kinneret.

      Without a meaningful mission to pursue, the ADL has resorted to scaremongering to fill its coffers and justify its existence. These efforts have grown increasingly bizarre and damaging. . .


  2. Maghlawatan on March 3, 2017, 5:32 pm

    “In the first stage, [Leibowitz] said, we shall see euphoria, upon our return to our ancient sites. Next, we shall see the emergence of messianic, radical and dangerous nationalism. In the third stage, we shall see Israeli society becoming more brutal and the emergence of a police state.”

    Bernie joins in

  3. JLewisDickerson on March 3, 2017, 11:40 pm

    RE: “While Israel continues to rule over the West Bank (i.e., “Judea and Samaria”), there are bound to be ever more frequent and more intensive acts of resistance by a population that is feeling encroached upon by a spreading pattern of Jewish colonization… As long as Israel continues to govern that territory (i.e., the West Bank “Judea and Samaria”), she will have little choice but to retaliate in an increasingly offensive fashion just to keep order.” ~ Tony Klug’s 1977 pamphlet

    STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S ORIFICE: Netanyahu: “We Will Forever Live By The Sword”, Indefinitely Control All Palestinian Territory | By IMEMC News | October 27, 2015

    [EXCERPT] Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced his plan to control “all of the territory” and “live forever by the sword.”

    The remarks were reported in Haa’retz newspaper, according to PNN, in an article by journalist Barak Ravid.

    Mr Ravid wrote: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that although he doesn’t want a binational state, “at this time we need to control all of the territory for the foreseeable future.”

    MKs who took part in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting – today (Monday) – reportedly told Mr Ravid that Netanyahu had turned to the politicians present and said: “You think there is a magic wand here, but I disagree. I’m asked if we will forever live by the sword – yes.” . . .

    SOURCE –

  4. RoHa on March 4, 2017, 4:15 am

    I take exception to his early comment about “the moral appeal of Israel’s case”. It was never moral.

    And, of course, I dispute the self-congratulatory claim
    “These time-honored Jewish ideals– justice, freedom, equality, peace, mutual respect– have made an extraordinary contribution to human civilisation.”

    But perhaps he felt that this sort of pap was necessary to hold his audience.

    • Danaa on March 5, 2017, 10:38 pm

      I agree RoHa about these “time-honored jewish Ideals”. Since when were equality, justice, peace and mutual respect either “time honored” or “Jewish”? A cursory readings through some of the annals of jewish history, going back to medieval and even further, to biblical times, will reveal that these great virtues were quite limited in scope, even when upheld by Rabbis of great note. They applied primarily to jews, when they did, minus the “mutual respect” part which never applied even among Jews, except by exceptional people.

      Indeed, the Jews who aligned with the ideals circulating in Europe during the 18th, 19th and early 20th century borrowed most of the wisdom of their ideals from Christianity (which they would never stoop to credit) and the winds of enlightenment, which they neither invented, nor propagated among members of their own congregations.

      Justice, freedom, peace and mutual respect – I saw very little of any of these in the old Israel which I knew. needless to say, though these were hardly practiced, we mouthed them off as platitudes handed from on high.

      Of course, there were always good individuals to whom such lofty words meant something. In israel and outside it, among jews and non-Jews. But they were the exception that proved the rule. Indeed I consider myself lucky to have known 5 such israelis in the entire time I spent in that country.

      It’s a racket, what can I tell you? a good one, too.

      • RoHa on March 7, 2017, 1:50 am

        And both pre-Enlightenment Christians and secular thinkers of the Enlightenment learned from the Stoics.

  5. wdr on March 4, 2017, 4:44 am

    The statement above that in 1977 “Israel’s support was rock solid and growing” is patently false. In 1975 the UN General Assembly declared that “Zionism was a form of racism.” (This was repealed in 1991). Israel had no diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union or its satellites (except Romania), which was sytematically persecuting its Jews, or with China. It had diplomatic relations with India of thse most nominal kind. It had no diplomatic relations with any Arab country or with the PLO, all of which refused to negotiate with Israel. Today, Russia and China have warm relations with Israel, and Israel is a close ally of India, especially with a BJP government. It has diplomatic relations with Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf states, etc., and with the Palestinian Authority. The de facto alliance between Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia is basically propping up the Middle East. The only country where relations with Israel have dramatically worsened since 1977 is, of course, Iran, because of the Khomeny revolution of 1979, just as relations between Iran and the US and Europe have gone down the drain.

  6. just on March 4, 2017, 7:48 am

    Two things:

    ““But there are a couple of million people that we’re responsible for, and they’re in a horrible state. Infrastructure, food, healthcare, education. Millions who are living in abject poverty. Gaza is on the verge of plague, hours on end without electricity or water, Israel controls everything that goes in or out” Harel said.”- See more at:

    Finally, the truth. This is a fact. Israel is responsible for the living lives and those that they’ve destroyed of the Occupied Palestinians who have suffered under Israeli military Occupation. There are an endless (and observed) number of laws that Israel violates every. single. day. The indigenous Palestinians are always their target/victims.

    So then I read this, and I recommend reading Carolina Landsmann’s entire interview of Ahmad Tibi:

    “The Arab lawmaker vying to be prime minister of a utopian Israeli-Palestinian state
    Which flag? Which religion? And what about the army? Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi lays out his vision for the one-state solution …

    …Do you think a state like that would be able to fulfill the national aspirations of the Palestinian people? Can you envisage a single state, in which Jews and Palestinians live, that meets the criterion of Palestinian self-determination?

    “Those who support it as a first option think so. When the Palestinian national movement was founded, it spoke of one state. The Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish told me, two years before he died, that two states is the possible solution, one state is the just solution. Why is it just? Because all the refugees will return; Jews will live where they want, Palestinians will live where they want; and there will be no problem of borders.”

    Can the Zionist dream be realized in the one-state format?

    “Not in the way you demonstrate Zionism to us on a daily basis. You know, we get lessons in Zionism: in laws, in the definition of the state, in the attitude toward the Arab Other. Zionism prefers the Jew over the non-Jew. And that’s translated into a discriminatory approach toward Arabs in Israel and across the Green Line: through the Law of Return, through the Jewish National Fund, through land seizures. Zionism advocates ‘a nation that dwells alone.’ Zionism will come to the end of its road in a one-state format.”…”

    read more:

    How I wish that Tony Klug could and would have explored and focused on Zionism as the root of this problem and his own discomfort rather than to dwell on his preoccupation that he has with Israel’s “legitimacy” and “global anti-Semitism”.

    He never mentioned Zionism. I have to wonder why.

    Thanks, Phil.

  7. Vera Gottlieb on March 4, 2017, 10:08 am

    Self-inflicted pain accompanied by the never-missing whining.

  8. Teddy on March 4, 2017, 11:50 am

    “Love Israel, hate occupation.”
    Which “Occupation.”
    The one of 1948 or 1967?
    Nothing here in this article about al-Nakba or Plan Dalet.
    As if it never happened.
    Zionism is the root cause of the conflict.
    Trying to save Jews or Judaism is a Fraud and a subterfuge.

    • pabelmont on March 5, 2017, 12:53 pm

      Thanks Teddy. “Love Israel, hate occupation.” This (implicitly) is LESS than BDS demands, because it says nothing about H/R and C/L within Israel-48. BDS, bless its heart, demands non-discrimination inside Israel — which I take to mean in future, ANY future. (BDS should also demand non-discrimination within ANY Palestine, none today, but maybe in future.)

      So If Israel were to retract to 10% of the territory of Mandatory Palestine (no sign of that, so BIG IF), BDS demands that it should not discriminate within that 10%. same for 100% (as today).

      • Teddy on March 6, 2017, 2:54 pm

        The root cause of this conflict is zionism i.e. an exclusive colonial-settler state based on a religious and ethnic orthodoxy founded through the brutal and ongoing displacement and dispossession of Palestinians and since at least June 8, 1967 backed unconditionally by US imperialism. End the zionist project. No Apartheid annexation.

  9. echinococcus on March 4, 2017, 12:25 pm


    Thanks for the occasional shot of reason in a ceaseless flow of Zionist sympathizer articles.

  10. Yakov Hirsch on March 4, 2017, 2:14 pm

    For those with 90 minutes to spare:

  11. Xpat on March 4, 2017, 3:23 pm

    Phil , re your last comment. To what extent are young, progressive secularized Christians proud of their Christian heritage? There has been a generational shift across society.
    Among synagogue-going Jews there are many progressives who do find inspiration in traditional Jewish texts. These include folks, who like Klug, attended traditional Jewish schools but left that world.

  12. Elizabeth Block on March 4, 2017, 8:45 pm

    “… either to end the occupation without further procrastination and pretext and work with the Palestinians to build their own state or … grant equal rights in the meantime to everyone subject to Israeli jurisdiction.”

    Yes. And if that means that Israel will no longer be a Jewish state – and that is indeed what it means – so much the better. Would American, or Canadian, or British, or whatever, Jews want to live in a country that is a Christian state in the same way that Israel is a Jewish state?

    • rosross on March 5, 2017, 10:05 pm

      You make a logical point which Jewish Israel and its supporters wish to ignore. One wonders how anyone cannot fall about laughing every time Israel claims to be ‘the only democracy in the Middle East.’

      Apartheid States are not democracies. Occupying and colonising states are not democracies. Theocratic, i.e. religious states are not democracies.

  13. JWalters on March 5, 2017, 4:47 am

    “I was sure at the time, as was the vast majority of Israelis too, that Israel in its own best interests would be certain to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the near future.” – Tony Klug

    This is because the financial powers behind the Israeli religious war (aka “Zionist project”) LIED to the Jewish people. Jewish psychologist Avigail Abarbanel laid this out in “It’s time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped”

    History shows that Israel was established by an unholy alliance of war profiteers and radical Jewish extremists from Eastern Europe. War and blowback were widely predicted, e.g. “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror” for readers who haven’t seen it.

  14. pabelmont on March 5, 2017, 11:33 am

    “This new reputation is feeding the surge in anti-Semitism around the world and making the Jewish position in the west “precarious.” Therefore, Diaspora Jews have a responsibility to issue an ultimatum to Israel: End the occupation or grant Palestinians equal rights.”

    Well, I don’t know whether or not awareness of Israel’s nefarious doings is adding to antisemitism (other than by adding to anti-Zionism wrongly identified-as-antisemitism); but it seems to me that diaspora Jews always had at least one reason to utter ultimata — morality/ethics (Jewish or universal or otherwise).

    The argument quoted is however wrong: If antisemitism is growing, then Diaspora Jews do not have a responsibility but rather a self-interest to issue ultimata. There is a difference.

  15. Yakov Hirsch on March 5, 2017, 2:47 pm

    Those interested in my perspective on how hasbara culture works please listen to today’s youtube audio. I do a Talmudic reading of this Jeffrey Goldberg column.
    Read along to with me for best results.

  16. rosross on March 5, 2017, 10:13 pm

    The list of Jewish values, represent a core problem with Israel, for these values are not Jewish but can be found in most religions – they are human values.

    Israel applies these human values to members of Judaism and denies them to non-members, also failing to recognise, that as human values they can be found everywhere, in all religions, cultures, belief systems, including humanists and even atheists.

    It is the ability for society to respect human values which has made democracy so successful. The separation of religion and state, has not diminished human values, but endorsed them, for everyone.

    Israel’s problem is that it is not a democracy. It is a religious state, a theocratic state, which, while barely resembling anything one would associate with religious values, gives superior rights, status and benefits to members of Judaism, or at least those who claim membership of Judaism, even if they are lapsed, or atheist and therefore incapable of belonging to any religion.

    Zionism was invented largely by atheists, secular, or seriously non-practising Jews, so the fact that Israel is devoid of religious values is hardly surprising.

  17. Danaa on March 5, 2017, 10:54 pm

    Klug still aims to save jews from themselves and israel from itself, while bemoaning the downward slide in Judaism’s image.

    It is, however, too late already. Judaism – that goose is cooked. Look at the huge rise of religion worshippers in israel. More and more of even the seculars are actually going in a religious directionl, even as the number of the bona fide religious is rising ever faster with their over-reproductive life styles. That the role and influence of religion can only increase over time is only to be expected since it is after all, a biblical justification that beget and props up claims of legitimacy in Palestine. Without the claims of religion, it is simple colonialism, nothing more. naturally, Israelis, in their desperate search for moral coherence, gravitate towards their own religious prescriptions. Yet, even as israelis increasingly flock towards their singularly ethnocentric brand of parochialism, it is the religion itself that will be collateral damage. No way can judaism shake itself from the burden of culpability in the brutal injustice of the occupation and ethnic cleansing.

    Neither will the jews of the world be able to escape history’s verdict. Just as muslims feel obliged to continually defend islam as a “religion of peace” in the face of the barbaric interpretations and practices of wahabism, so will Jews feel increasingly obliged to spring to judaism’s defense.

    To no avail, of course, because israel, as a whole, cares not a hoot about either physical or spiritual well-being of their “bretherns’ elsewhere. Indeed, were you to ask the average israeli whether they think anti-semitism is good or bad for the jews, they would likely answer that it’s a gift that keeps on giving and they should just all come to israel and bring the money too.

    Unless some miracle happens (and none can be seen on the horizon), the gig is up, and Judaism will have lost its good name as surely as islam had. Or catholicism. History can be tortured but in the end it does not forgive.

  18. xanadou on March 5, 2017, 11:40 pm

    “Second it was not independence the Palestinians wanted but good governance and that is what they were getting from Israeli rule.

    Governance thru the crosshairs of israeli weapons is tantamount to saying that the German idea of “ordnung muss sein” was good governance at the hands of the Nazi occupiers. Notwithstanding the inanity of the statement that “independence was/is not what the Palestinians wanted, but (implied) the life in a walled-in open air ghetto-as-concentration camp.

  19. hophmi on March 6, 2017, 10:35 am

    Acts of terrorism are bringing “infamy” to Muslims worldwide and making Muslim life “precarious” said no one in recent memory without being accused of Islamophobia here.

    • eljay on March 6, 2017, 10:49 am

      || hophmi: Acts of terrorism are bringing “infamy” to Muslims worldwide and making Muslim life “precarious” said no one in recent memory without being accused of Islamophobia here. ||

      Meanwhile, in this thread JeffB re-affirms his anti-Semitic belief that all Jews are responsible for the actions of some Jews and, once again, his Zionist co-collectivists give him a free pass.

    • Mooser on March 6, 2017, 11:07 am

      “Acts of terrorism are bringing “infamy” to Muslims worldwide and making Muslim life “precarious” said no one in recent memory without being accused of Islamophobia here.”

      Oh. And why is it so important to you that Islamophobic tropes be repeated here? Aren’t there plenty of other places to say Islamophobic stuff and be praised for it?

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