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Israeli Jews maintain the occupation because it is in their interest — Noam Sheizaf

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on 38 Comments

Noam Sheizaf, speaking at the Kehilla Community Synagogue of the East Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area last Friday, made the point that Israel will not change its occupation without outside help. And the most obvious outside “help” to be had is the United States stopping to run interference for Israel at the UN, says Sheizaf. Are you listening Nikki Haley?

The Israeli writer elaborated on why, among the available choices under discussion for peace in Israel/Palestine–(a) the one state solution, (b) the two state solution, and (c) the status quo–the status quo is the most attractive option from an Israeli Jewish perspective. The status quo is also immoral; and morality doesn’t hold a candle to rational self-interest.

Here are extended excerpts of his comments. Sheizaf:

The Risks of a One State or Two State Solution

“I want to explain something . . .  which has to do with the Jewish public. Since the Jewish public has the assets and has the sovereignty, the keys are in the Jewish public’s hands. It takes an Israeli decision to end the occupation. There is no way around that. And despite the fact that everyone understands it takes an Israeli decision, and not a Palestinian decision, to end the occupation, the political interventions that we keep reproducing don’t recognize that fact. They look at both parties.

“But it takes an Israeli decision to end the occupation.

“There are many explanations why an Israeli decision to end the occupation has not been forthcoming. Some have to do with fear of existential violence, but I want to offer the political thought which has to do with choices. With political choices, and choices the Jewish public makes.

“Let’s think about the options that Israeli Jews face. . .  Israelis are told—by Obama and everyone else—you either choose the two state solution, or the one state solution, and the one-state solution will be the end of the Jewish dream, the end of Israel. And this may be good or bad, depending on your perspective. But that is what we are told. Because we are not moving towards a two-state solution, we are moving to a one-state solution.

“The problems with the one state solution in the Israeli psyche are clear. The . . .  one state solution—meaning giving equal citizenship to everybody on the ground—would mean a reshuffling of everything. The Palestinians might not like being absorbed into the state of Israel, but every Palestinian acknowledges they will use their rights if they get them to change the nature of the state: to redistribute the assets, the ground, the physical assets, the political assets; they’ll redistribute them to create a one state solution. Whether it will still be called Israel or something else is up in the air. Nobody knows. It will be a reshuffling of the entire system.

“If you’re the privileged group that holds all the assets, and all the political rights, this is the scariest thing you can be thinking about. The one thing we know about the one state solution is we don’t exactly know how it will behave after it’s implemented. We don’t know what the relations between Jews and Palestinians will look like. Will they be peaceful or not? Will the redistribution of wealth and assets work, or not. We know nothing about that. So in the Israeli mind this one state solution is probably the worst outcome, because it’s the big unknown.

“But let’s look at the two state solution, which is the solution that the international community has supported, and that both publics, at least in theory, support. The two state solution for Israelis is still not a simple thing. It will mean a big internal controversy, some would say a civil war within the Jewish society. Every politician who tried to evacuate some parts of the West Bank in Israel lost his job as prime minster, and one time his life. Olmert fell from power, Rabin was murdered, and Sharon had to break his own political party, the Likud. So politicians see the personal cost of this type of political debate about leaving the West Bank.

“And to be completely honest, the Israeli fears of what will happen post two-state solution are grounded. Nobody knows what will happen in the relation between Israel and Palestine the day after. There can be all manner of commitments. But that’s all true on the moment when you sign the agreement. Nobody knows what will happen after that. The point about giving Palestinians sovereignty over their state is that they can do whatever they want with it. That’s sovereignty. Nobody can dictate that the moderates will rule. And Israel understands this. There is the chance for violence. There is the chance for internal violence between Jews. There is the external violence that can come with a solution. So this solution might not be as costly as the one state solution, but it is still an enormously costly solution.

The Status Quo is Rational

“But the thing that is unspoken in the media, and in the political process that accompanies it, in all the international interventions—the European and the American—is that there is a third option. There is always another option. The third option is the status quo. The third option is to maintain things as they are. And if you’ve been to Israel lately, it’s not such a bad option. The economy is fine, security is fine.

“It’s not the best of all worlds. Even if you go to Israelis who support maintaining things as they are, they will tell you, “we would like not to have the occupation.” I heard that from Dani Dayan, the UN Counsel General in New York. He is a settler, but as a young person he didn’t travel to South Africa because he was boycotting Apartheid. And he says he doesn’t like the occupation. He acknowledges everything that comes with it, and it troubles him. And I believe him. I really believe he is an honest man.

“Israelis might say it is not the perfect solution, but in terms of rational choice, of what costs us more, and what gives us more benefit, there is simply no doubt that maintaining the status quo is the best solution from the Israeli perspective. And we are not talking about the values of good and bad, or evil. I’m not making any moral judgments here. I’m just looking at what a politician might pay if he chooses one of the solutions, the one state or the two state, as opposed to if he chooses the status quo.

“I’m also talking about what a person in the street might feel, in terms of his own personal security in a one state framework, a two state framework, and in a status quo framework. And everywhere I examine it I would say that the status quo comes in first. The status quo is the best option as far as the Jewish public is concerned. People may argue, as I do, that in the long run the status quo might be the worst option, but political choices are never made in the long run. And there are good reasons for that because reality and political relations are fluid, and you don’t know what will happen. So you make plans for five, ten years. And for the foreseeable future, the status quo is better for Israeli Jews.

 And so Jews are left with a Moral Choice

“This also should be common sense, but it is never referred to because the deep meaning of what I’m arguing is that your personal interest, your deepest interest as a citizen, as a parent, as a mother and a father, the deep political interest is inherently immoral. And what do you do then?

“I think this is what is at the root of the famous Israeli anxiety over where we are and where we are heading, and the anger over intervention from the outside. And this is why pointing the finger and saying if you don’t implement a two state solution, you’ll end up with a one state solution doesn’t work. Israelis understand the situation perfectly well and they make rational choices. And the rational choice in the short to medium term is to maintain the status quo. And this is why we’ve elected the person whose whole persona, whose whole political existence, is a fabulous talent in maintaining the status quo, despite all sorts of pressures: pressure for war and pressure for peace. . . .

“Palestinians will never consent to the occupation and maintaining people without rights. It’s simply about control. It’s about controlling people without rights; locking them in the same situation for more, and more, and more years. And I think some of the things that we put a spotlight on, like the tiny settlement here and the appropriation of land there, misses the essence of the story. The essence of the story is about control, about keeping people without rights, by force, for decades and decades.

“And if you look at the West Bank right now . . . . if you traveled in the 60’s to the West Bank, or in the 70’s, and even the 80’s. . . the place today looks very different. It looks more and more like a prison, the West Bank: it’s surrounded by walls that are 10 yards high, and watchtowers, and there are cameras everywhere, in separate rows, all aimed at maintaining the situation on the ground (indefinitely), with the least possible violence, the least possible problems.

“Maintaining the status quo; maintaining people under control without rights for more and more years, until something happens. And I think this is the essence of the occupation in the post Oslo period. Not the settlements, not anything else. It’s about maintaining people without rights under control.”

And if we care about changing the status quo, Sheizaf ends on a pessimistic note:

“Ten years ago this was such an anomaly in the international system– the idea that half of the population under a certain sovereignty [has no effective say], that one third of the population does not enjoy the rights and benefits of the political system, that it’s a democracy for this and not a democracy for that, that these can participate, and those are held through force, that these are held through consent and are patriotic while those are held at gun-point . . . . This is such a bizarre situation in the international system that I thought it cannot hold; it cannot hold.

“There was a sense of inevitability about the occupation [that it would end] in the 90’s, and even during the second Intifada because we looked at the suicide bombings and we said ‘this is a product of the situation,’ and the situation cannot hold. But when I look at the world today, I see more and more places where people are held without rights, and you see more and more walls and watchtowers everywhere in the world. And you see more and more democracies thinking about how can we hold these refugees, or these countries that we’ve gotten into everlasting wars with, how can we hold it, this unnatural situation where people are being held by force without rights for longer and longer. How can we maintain it?

“And I don’t believe in this inevitability any more.”

This post first appeared on Roland Nikles’s blog today in a slightly different version, which includes a report on Larry Derfner’s dialogue with Gilad Halpern.

Roland Nikles
About Roland Nikles

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

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38 Responses

  1. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    April 5, 2017, 8:55 pm

    Is it rational to optimize the next few years and ignore the longer term? The years pass quickly. Is it irrational to care what situation you leave to your children and grandchildren? And this “rational” Israeli Jewish public does not seem to understand the extent to which it is determining its own longer-term future by the choices it makes now. You can’t lock your “problem” population up indefinitely — changing circumstances are on the whole working in favor of the Palestinians and they will eventually get their rights. How they treat you when they get the upper hand will depend on how you treat them while you are in charge. You yourselves determine how likely it is that they will take revenge when they can. The white South Africans have been pretty lucky so far, but you can’t count on that sort of luck. How rational is a calculation of self-interest built on the absurd assumption that your opponent is not human like yourself?

    • JeffB
      April 6, 2017, 12:26 pm


      I think you are making an assumption here that the tied will turn which Israelis would disagree with. Obviously if Israelis believed that Israel was a short term plan that would eventually fall and become a Palestinian state they act very differently. But they don’t share that belief.

      The reality on the ground for now 13 consecutive decades of Zionism vs. Palestinian nationalism is that the relative to Palestinian Nationalism Zionism grows stronger and quite quickly. At this point Israel’s economy surpasses Egypt’s and approaches Iran’s. At this point Israel’s military is on par with the rest of the peninsula combined. Israel has never been more diplomatically effective than it is today. Israel’s cultural influence is increasing. Pan-arab nationalism, the great threat to Israel, is almost completely dead being replaced with an ethnic tribalism that is going to be much more comfortable for a Jewish state.

      Why should an Israeli look at that with anything other than optimism for the future? There are lots of solutions to the Palestinian problem other than defeat.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield
        April 6, 2017, 5:46 pm

        So why the hysterical reaction to criticism? Why the obsession with “delegitimization”? It doesn’t suggest confident optimism to me.

      • Mooser
        April 6, 2017, 7:23 pm

        “JeffB”, any settler-colonialism project which is properly planned and implemented keeps a couple of throw-away generations on hand. People Israel could tell “Yes, the occupation-and-settlement two generations served wasn’t the saving of Israel, it was a criminal policy. Go figure out what that means to you, and oh yeah, some of you might get prosecuted for this-n’-that. Times have changed,goodbye, and thank you for your service…”

        But Israel hasn’t got the resources.

      • Citizen
        April 7, 2017, 4:30 pm

        Israel has the resources: the entire USA; I don’t see any sign of that going away, do you? Trump continues it.

      • Mooser
        April 9, 2017, 1:19 pm

        “Israel has the resources: the entire USA;”

        There are some things even the USA can’t give Israel.

    • Maghlawatan
      April 6, 2017, 4:54 pm

      It isn’t rational. Lehman Bros shares grew regularly and gave good dividends until the company collapsed. It wasn’t rational.
      The occupation is in nobody’s interest.
      The US Jewish lobby will fail like Tammany Hall. There will be nobody to protect Israel from the consequences of its idiocy.

      • JeffB
        April 6, 2017, 5:55 pm


        — The US Jewish lobby will fail like Tammany Hall.

        Be careful what you wish for. The Tammany societies started in the 1770s. They grew in power through to the 1850s where it ran New York for 80 years. Then it still took another generation before it faded from power completely.

        I would not be so bold as to make that prediction but if the Israeli lobby follows a trajectory like that only 170 years later than the Israeli lobby peaks around 2020 and is dominant on middle east policy until 2100 and then falls gradually till about 2130 where it dies completely.

      • JeffB
        April 6, 2017, 6:34 pm


        So why the hysterical reaction to criticism? Why the obsession with “delegitimization”? It doesn’t suggest confident optimism to me.

        Well first off the BDS movement isn’t really criticism. Israel has a vibrant democracy (for Jews, don’t want to get distracted by “not for Palestinians” stuff for this thread). There is plenty of robust discussion of Israeli policy within the Israeli mainstream. Israel experiences a robust evaluative and corrective process on policies today within the Zionist framework. BDS isn’t an evaluative and corrective exercise, it isn’t really criticism at all. BDSers aren’t aiming for a better Israel, they are mostly emoting on how much they hate Israel and looking for ways to express that hatred. Think about how difficult it has to have normal discussions on MW about government policies: who gets what and who pays in a normal way in terms of cost benefit analysis and trying to achieve win-win policies.

        This whole thread with you is an excellent example. Rapidly growing GDP including per capita, healthy population, overpowering defense capability, increasing alliances… why would anyone be talking about a country like that failing? You were emoting, because you don’t want Israel to succeed, you aren’t rationally looking at the evidence.

        Now why the hysteria? Anti-zionism has a long history of failure in doing much damage to Israel. It has a long history of success in raising the level of antisemitism in countries to a level that clears the country of its indigenous Jewish population. BDS, anti-zionism and antisemitism is a unifying fight for the global Jewish community. The fight helps to alienate Jews from their host countries and creates a stronger zionist identity. The more this becomes a domestic issue and not a foreign policy issue the more Jews vote, donate and volunteer their Judaism rather than all sorts of other aspects of their identity. As a result of the BDS wave there are probably one-million Jews in the USA who personally experienced personal fear and upset because of anti-Israeli activism. 20 years from now you think 5% become AIPAC volunteers or donors over that? What’s the impact of those 50k additional volunteers and donors for a generation?

        It also works well because it is a distraction. Talking about whether the BDS Women’s Studies group did or did not intimidate Gail Hamner is a lot better than talking about Israel’s rapid creation of facts on the ground. John Kerry and Nikki Haley can agree on hating BDS. They don’t agree on Israel colonizing the West Bank or playing footsie with tribal separatists movements all over the middle east. Which do you think Israel would rather have them discussing?

        Finally the BDSers are rude and angry. They get a rude angry reaction in response. A good place to see the effect is note the way INN is treated vs. the way JVP is treated. Pretty similar critique, but one is given from a place of love tinged with disappointment the other from a place of hatred tinged with self righteous anger.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 6, 2017, 11:21 pm

        Nice try, Jeff

        The good news is that Empires die younger now. The British Empire expired after 200 years The American one barely lasted 70.

    • Donald
      April 7, 2017, 1:27 am

      It’s not rational, but people normally don’t think long term if the short and medium term seems comfortable. That is why global warming is such a threat. The Israeli blindness is the same sort of mentality. They feel fine and the long term threat would require uncomfortable changes or maybe worse from their pov, so like most humans tend to do they stick their heads in the sand until forced to do otherwise.

      On another issue, I see people making the same mistake I constantly made with a different liberal Zionist commenter several years ago–I couldn’t let his nonsense go unanswered. It’s a waste of time. I would like to see a discussion/ debate between someone like Peter Beinart and Phil or better, a Palestinian, but that’s not exactly what’s been going on here ( or in my day with the other guy). Of course people gave me the same advice back then and I didn’t listen.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 7, 2017, 3:29 am

        Arguing with groupthink is a waste of time

  2. RafinSFastur
    April 6, 2017, 12:07 am

    A COMMENT ABOUT WHERE BDS IS TODAY. The Zionist destroy BDS plan is to make “Not liking Israel social and political nationalistic practices” illegal. This has already happened in Spain, UK, US and a few other countries. BDS is not a movement that seeks violence or hatred against Jews and their religion. BDS condemns such actions as a mean of achieving their goal of forcing Israel to accept and implement the resolutions of the UN Security Council and International Law mandates. The BDS international movement only seeks to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people by promoting the boycott of Israel’s economic, banking, commercial, military, academic, cultural and tourism activities.

    • Citizen
      April 7, 2017, 4:41 pm

      Just so you know, your spiel is nowhere to be found in the USA’s main media conduits to the US public, so they can make “informed consent.”

      US 6-corporate main media monopolizes 90% of what most Americans have to engage their so-informed consent.

  3. just
    April 6, 2017, 5:25 am

    Hell’s bells, “Israeli Jews” celebrate the Occupation:

    “Israel to Commemorate Six Day War in Event at West Bank Settlement of Gush Etzion

    Education chief and culture minister say ‘liberation of the West Bank’ should be celebrated with the ‘respect it deserves,’ drawing fierce criticism from the opposition

     Israel’s official ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War will take place in the settlement of Gush Etzion in the West Bank, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Culture Minister Miri Regev announced on Wednesday, drawing sharp criticism from the opposition. 

    The ceremony will begin on the anniversary of the return to Kfar Etzion, a kibbutz that was destroyed during the War of Independence and re-established after the 1967 conflict.

    The two ministries will spend a total of 10 million shekels ($2.74 million) on events marking the anniversary of what Bennett and Regev called, “Israel’s glorious victory in the Six Day War and the liberation of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley,” that, according to Bennett, should be celebrated with “the respect it deserves.”

    “A nation that is concerned for its future must always look back at its past and know how to continue its dynasty,” Bennett said.

    Brushing off the disputed nature of the West Bank, Regev said, “Regardless of the conflict over these parts of the country, every Israeli should know and cherish these places as the cradle of the Jewish people and its culture.”

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports the ministers’ plans. …”

    read more:

    • just
      April 6, 2017, 9:58 pm

      “Israel sunk in ‘incremental tyranny’, say former Shin Bet chiefs

      Ami Ayalon and Carmi Gillon speak out ahead of 50th anniversary of occupation of Palestinian territories

      Two former heads of Israel’s powerful domestic intelligence service, the Shin Bet, have made an impassioned and powerful intervention ahead of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in June.

      One of the pair warned that the country’s political system was sunk in the process of “incremental tyranny”.

      Ami Ayalon and Carmi Gillon were speaking ahead of a public meeting at a Jerusalem gallery which is threatened with closure for hosting a meeting organised by the military whistleblowing group Breaking the Silence, one of the main targets of the rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

      During his recent visit to the UK, Netanyahu also asked Theresa May to cut UK government funding to the group – a request that baffled diplomats as no direct UK funding exists.

      “Incremental tyranny [is a process] which means you live in a democracy and suddenly you understand it is not a democracy any more,” Ayalon told a small group of journalists, including the Guardian, ahead of the event. “This is what we are seeing in Israel. The tragedy of this process is that you only know it when it is too late.”

      Ayalon cited recent moves by ministers in the Netanyahu government to change the laws to hit groups such as Breaking the Silence by banning them from events in schools and targeting their funding, while also taking aim at the country’s supreme court and independence of the media.

      Issues of freedom of speech and expression have become one of the key faultlines in Israeli society – in everything from the arts to journalism – under the most rightwing government in the country’s history.

      The Babur gallery is under threat of closure after being censured by the country’s culture minister, Miri Regev, for holding an event with Breaking the Silence on publicly owned property – a group which Regev claimed “hurts Israel’s image”.

      Gillon was equally bleak in his analysis of Israel’s trajectory, saying that the country was being “driven by this occupation towards disaster”. …

      The decision by Ayalon and Gillon to make such a public show of support, was seen as a big coup for the human rights group, which has been facing increasing official efforts to limit its activities.

      The two also criticised the unwillingness of the Israeli media and senior opposition politicians to speak up for freedom of speech, in particular concerning the moves against groups like Breaking the Silence.

      “They do what they do because they understand it is their moral duty. They are soldiers who serve and like every gatekeeper they hold up a mirror image of the Israeli reality in the occupied territories. What they see is very ugly. So we hate the mirror and blame the mirror and don’t hear what they say,” said Ayalon.

      They added that they were also deeply concerned about a growing apathy in Israeli society where, after so many years, an occupation justified by the Israeli courts and legal system as temporary had come to defy the meaning of the word.

      Ayalon suggested an Orwellian dynamic that supported Israelis in a state of fear for political ends. “What is necessary to pave the way for this concept of incremental tyranny is an ongoing war. It is like 1984. There is always an enemy.”

      Just days ago Regev, a controversial rightwing minister, said that Breaking the Silence and others who supported it “had no place in Israel”.

      The two former Shin Bet chiefs were speaking as it was revealed that one of Israel’s main official ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the six-day war would controversially take place in the settlement of Gush Etzion in the West Bank.

      The two ministries will spend a total of 10m shekels ($2.74m) on events marking the anniversary of what the education minister, Naftali Bennett, and Regev described as “Israel’s glorious victory in the six-day war, and the liberation of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley”.”

      They’re dreadfully late to the table. Perhaps some Israeli Jewish (those uninterested as well as those that are ultra- Zionist) folks and those other Zionists all over the world who are complicit in their unexcusable violations of international law will pay attention~ finally. The “tyranny” has been always been directed at the Occupied Palestinians of Palestine. Few Israelis in power spoke up, and most are still silent while basking in their comfort.

    • Maghlawatan
      April 7, 2017, 3:33 am

      Israel also conquered the Sinai in 1967 but it is no longer mentioned

  4. pabelmont
    April 6, 2017, 9:37 am

    So obvious, but good to have it said out loud from a personal and deeply knowledgeable perspective. Thanks for republishing Sheizaf’s remarks.

  5. Ossinev
    April 6, 2017, 1:26 pm

    “Israel has never been more diplomatically effective than it is today”

    North Korea`s Kim Jung Un will be really pissed off when he hears about this. He thought that he had overtaken Zioland in the effective diplomacy race. He will be even more pissed off because Zioland has achieved this remarkable status despite the recent UNSC condemnation and the Yahoo`s diplomatic response.

    Keep on sniffing the Zio glue – it makes for hilarious reading.

    • JeffB
      April 6, 2017, 2:43 pm


      You keep worrying about 2234 while I notice that Netanyahu was in Beijing with King Salman. That Israel and Jordan are discussing a rail link. While Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is openly talking a full alliance with Israel. While Nassar’s grandson invited the Israeli ambassador to his wedding.

      That’s the real deal. Israel is being accepted in the region as part of a alliance against Iran.

      • amigo
        April 6, 2017, 6:59 pm

        Jeff B here is the “real deal ” !!!..

        Watch this video Jeff and tell me Israel is going to survive.

        Also for Jon S who likes to post links to polls that describe Israel as 11th on the “happiness ” scale.

        If you are real teacher , share this with your students and show them just what a screwed up fascist and racist society their elders are bequeathing them.

        There is even video footage of your fellow Beershebans beating to death an Eritrean.It includes video footage of Israeli Jews handing out condoms to Black people on the streets of Israel,s cities and much , much more.

      • jon s
        jon s
        April 7, 2017, 10:01 am

        I’m aware of the horrible killing of an innocent Eritrean man in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Beersheva. I wrote about it on this forum at the time.

        I do try to discuss with my students the dangers of racism and fascism.

        As to the happiness index, I’m still trying to figure it out myself, sort of caught me by surprise.
        When I have more time maybe I’ll try to think it through (this being a few days before Passover, very busy…)

      • Mooser
        April 7, 2017, 5:14 pm

        “in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Beersheva”

        There was no “terrorist attack” on Beersheba, and even if there was, why does that give you the right to lynch a man?

        “I wrote about it…”

        No, you made some evasive references to it when pressed.

      • Mooser
        April 7, 2017, 5:23 pm

        “I do try to discuss with my students the dangers of racism and fascism.”

        Exactly. It’s anti-Semitic to call a Zionist a racist or a fascist!

      • Marnie
        April 8, 2017, 2:36 pm

        “this being a few days before Passover, very busy…) ”

        Just threw up a bit.

      • jon s
        jon s
        April 8, 2017, 5:45 pm

        For people who maintain a kosher home-and are hosting the seder- the days before Passover really are rather busy,

      • Maghlawatan
        April 8, 2017, 7:24 pm

        The last war against Gaza reminded me of passover . In the Jewish story the angel of death hovers over the land. In Gaza it was the Israeli airforce. Passover is rich in images but Protective Edge was rich in videos.

        The Jewish religious holidays are about principles rather than processes but so few Israelis understand this.
        MaintainIng kosher in pointless. The country is overflowing internally with filth like hatred, trauma, stress, oppression.. Keeping the milk separate from the meat? Why not vote for a decent government instead?

      • Mooser
        April 8, 2017, 8:14 pm

        “this being a few days before Passover, very busy…) ”

        Yeah, there’s a lot of ‘transactions’ to be made.

      • Mooser
        April 8, 2017, 8:33 pm

        “(this being a few days before Passover, very busy…)”

        And why is that night different from all the other nights? Because tonight we remember how the Lord, with a strong foot and a metal chair, brought us out from Eritrean bondage.
        Think you’ll be hosting anyone involved in that little melee?

      • Marnie
        April 9, 2017, 1:09 am

        “For people who maintain a kosher home-and are hosting the seder- the days before Passover really are rather busy,”

        Yes, it must be extremely difficult. I feel for you I really do. And I used to be so concerned about the kosherness of my home. It seemed so important to maintain a ‘fit’ home, a shalom bayit. However, years ago I questioned how can one keep a kosher home when one lives in a filthy country with swine running it? I’ve given up. No matter how much bleach or Ajax I use, I can’t remove the stench and the uncleanness of where I live from my home. And it has absolutely nothing to do with hygiene. And please don’t take the easy way out and tell me I can leave – I’ve known that all along. If I can’t do anything else, I can remind you (and me) that this evil will not go unpunished. If you believe ‘the book’, and you’ll be reading a haggadah with the references to pharaoh, how God hardened his heart, the plagues that were unleashed and their end in the sea, etc., think on this. If God gave this punishment to pharaoh, who didn’t even know him, how much worse will the punishment be for God’s so-called ‘chosen’, who profess to know him and love him, who have his book of his laws and commandments, and yet act worse than the so-called gentiles?

        There is one special treat during pesach that always made me smile though and that was a room full of white folks singing Go down Moses (badly). Another stolen treasure from a people who actually experienced slavery, the worst known to humanity and still, in their own country, are treated like 2nd class citizens to this day. And jews sing ‘Go down Moses’. That takes more than chutzpah, that’s an abomination. The ‘slaves’ in Egypt had their own homes, raised their own children, their families remained intact, raised their own food, had livestock too. Doesn’t sound bad really. Course they lived at the whim of pharaoh and any Egyptian. Who lives like that these days? Hmmmm.

      • jon s
        jon s
        April 12, 2017, 10:48 am

        Why is voting for a better government “instead ” of keeping kosher? Who says we can’t work for a decent government and also keep a kosher kitchen?

        I don’t recall ever attending a seder in which “Go Down Moses” was sung.
        The seder is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that the struggle for freedom is not a thing of the past, it’s ongoing . “In every generation…”

  6. Maghlawatan
    April 6, 2017, 4:46 pm

    The status quo seems rational but it isn’t because Israel is not stable. The country is in a state of moral decay because of the occupation. In a human it might manifest itself as paranoid schizophrenia. Something awful will happen. There is no equilibrium.
    The status quo is deceptive.

    Flannery O’Connor :
    “Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it.”

  7. Henry Norr
    Henry Norr
    April 7, 2017, 12:13 am

    Sheizaf’s analysis is smart and useful, IMO, but I have one quibble: at least in the excerpts quoted here, he seems to be arguing that the “rational” reason Israelis want to perpetuate the status quo is that there are risks, from their point of view, associated with either a single state (one in which Palestinians have rights, that is) or a two-state solution. That’s true enough, but it leaves out the immediate material advantages to Israeli Jews of the status quo: water and any other resources they want from the West Bank; free or subsidized land and housing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; cheap Palestinian labor whenever they want it (legally or illegally); and so on.

    • Maghlawatan
      April 7, 2017, 5:13 am

      When you grow up in a country you assume it is permanent. Israelis do. They don’t understand macro risk. Continuity bias is the assumption that past equals future. Israelis assume they can do whatever they want to the Palestinians. It is hard to see the rot if you are a Hebrew speaker.

  8. MHughes976
    April 7, 2017, 3:59 am

    We awake to the new world where Trump has bombed Syria. Is this the opening shot of WW3 or a demonstration of the totality of American miltary power? For Israel it is surely a sign that everything is going more and more their way., that their bets have been very rational. I think that they have been wrong morally but in terms of rational self interest they have an excellent case.

  9. JeffB
    April 7, 2017, 6:55 am

    @ Maghlawatan

    Nice try, Jeff

    The good news is that Empires die younger now. The British Empire expired after 200 years The American one barely lasted 70.

    So not only is Israel failing the USA is as well? I’m not even sure what to say to that other than start adding specific refutable dates to your predictions. Like for example what year do the Chinese have troops in more nations than the Americans?


    My country has pretty serious racism during the 17-19th centuries, and then a less bad but arguably worse than Israel for much of the 20th it survived and thrived. Your country had pretty horrific religious hatreds, it survived. Japan is probably the most racist country on earth and it has survived many centuries. Racism doesn’t end countries. Racism diminishes economic productivity as it does in Israel. It is offensive. But no that’s not going to kill the country off.

  10. Citizen
    April 7, 2017, 4:48 pm

    I see nothing on the horizon that puts an end to Israel’s status quo. I do see a WW3 in the future.

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