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Liberal Israeli leaders were contemplating genocide in Gaza already in 1967

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“Perhaps if we don’t give them enough water they won’t have a choice, because the orchards will yellow and wither.”

That is what Israeli Prime Minster Levi Eshkol said in 1967 about Gaza, as revealed in newly declassified documents from the time. Ofer Aderet of Haaretz reported about this today.   

As I have already written, Eshkol, the leftist ‘liberal Zionist,’ was very willing to send Palestinians to the moon:

“I want them all to go, even if they go to the moon”, he said. 

As is widely known, the standard UN definition of Genocide includes “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

These newly declassified documents reveal that the genocidal policy was indeed there already in 1967. This is important, because it sheds light on later policies, such as Israel’s siege of Gaza, which is part of an ‘incremental genocide,’ as historian Ilan Pappe has been calling it since 2006, and it puts the notion of a “huge concentration camp”, the term Haaretz journalist Amira Hass has used for Gaza, in historical perspective.  

Indeed, Eshkol was aware in the months after the 1967 war of the “suffocation and imprisonment” in Gaza in 1967, as the declassified documents reveal. And he was quite clear about this being an instrument to effect Israeli strategy:

“precisely because of the suffocation and imprisonment there, maybe the Arabs will move from the Gaza Strip”, he said.

Eshkol was also paraphrasing Herzl, when Eshkol told the cabinet he was “working on the establishment of a unit or office that will engage in encouraging Arab emigration.” He noted that

“We should deal with this issue quietly, calmly and covertly, and we should work on finding a way from them to emigrate to other countries and not just over the Jordan [River].”

This is a near quote of Herzl’s 1895 diary entry:

“We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly”, Herzl wrote.

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan was approving of Eshkol’s (and Herzl’s) ideas. He said, 

“By allowing these Arabs to seek and find work in foreign countries, there’s a greater chance that they’ll want to migrate to those countries later.”

Dayan raised the idea of giving the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza permits to work abroad, in the hope that some would prefer to stay there.

Eshkol was rather obsessed with the ethnic cleansing of Gaza as a prime issue:

“We are interested in emptying out Gaza first”, he said.

This shows that the notion of the complete ethnic cleansing of Gaza is not limited to right-wing politicians such as Moshe Feiglin, who as Likud Knesset co-speaker in July 2014, provided a 7-point plan to Netanyahu, to do just that.

Eshkol also provides for other more apocalyptic options:

“Perhaps we can expect another war and then this problem will be solved. But that’s a type of ‘luxury,’ an unexpected solution.”

This ‘luxury’ (for Zionists, that is), is quite precisely what the ‘leftist’ Israeli historian Benny Morris was speaking about when he told Ari Shavit in 2004:

“But I am ready to tell you that in other circumstances, apocalyptic ones, which are liable to be realized in five or ten years, I can see expulsions”.  

Dayan, by the way, was a bit more ‘generous’ than Eshkol, and suggested that out of the 400,000 Gazans, the 100,000 whom he considered ‘not refugees’ would be allowed to stay. 

Dayan also seems to suggest the ‘Bantustan’ blueprint, which is the idea that has informed Israeli policy in the West Bank, even within the ‘peace-process’ of the last few decades, even when Israel was supposedly being ‘generous’:  

“No soldier will have any interest in interfering in the lives of the inhabitants. I have no interest in the army sitting precisely in Nablus. It can sit on a hill outside Nablus”, Dayan said.

In the same way, Israel does not need to be IN Gaza, or only occasionally. It’s much easier to just control the prison from outside, from a nearby hill…

In 1967, Israel was experiencing the duality of exhilarated joy at the ‘liberation’ of the new territories (as even ‘leftist hero’ Ehud Barak puts it), and the ‘trouble’ of the Palestinian presence. This is embodied in Eshkol’s words:

“I suggest that we don’t come to a vote or a decision today; there’s time to deal with this joy, or better put, there’s time to deal with this trouble”.

The ‘trouble’ was of course the Palestinian ‘demographic problem’, which has been looming upon Israel from its very beginning.

“I cannot imagine it — how we will organize life in this country when we have 1.4 million Arabs and we are 2.4 million, with 400,000 Arabs already in the country?”, Eshkol said.

These words are very interesting to scrutinize. When Eshkol says “we are 2.4 million”, he is actually not including the Palestinian citizens of Israel (known in Israel as ‘Israeli Arabs’). This is clear, because in 1967, the total population of Israel was nearly 2.8 million. The last time the population was 2.4 million was early 1963. The prime minister couldn’t possibly be making a numerical error of that magnitude. No; Eshkol is clearly excluding the Palestinian population from the count, and treating it as a population to be regarded as a fifth column, an alien population, of ‘Arabs already in the country’ – just like the 1.4 million Arabs who have just come under Israel’s control. Let it be noted, that in late 1966, Israel relinquished its 19-year military regime over Palestinian citizens in Israel. Eshkol’s words demonstrate that whilst the relinquishing of this regime happened technically, and for ‘moral’ reasons, the establishment’s overall perception of Palestinian citizens was still as ‘others’.

The concern with the ‘demographic problem’ in the minutes is all-consuming. Education Minister Zalman Aranne was emphatic about the ‘demographic threat’:

“The way I know the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, after all the heroism, miracles and wonders, a Jewish state in which there are 40 percent Arabs, is not a Jewish state. It is a fifth column that will destroy the Jewish state. It will be the kiss of death after a generation or a generation and a half”.

Adding vitriolic spices of ‘Arab hatred’ and the ‘high birth rate’ of Arabs, Aranne continued:

“I see the two million Jews before me differently when there will be 1.3 million Arabs — 1.3 million Arabs, with their high birth rate and their permanent pent-up hatred. … We can overcome 60,000 Arabs, but not 600,000 and not a million”.

Finally, there is an interesting part about Jewish settlement in Al-Khalil (Hebron). Eshkol showed the ministers a letter he received in November 1967 from associates of the dean of Hebron Yeshiva — which had relocated to Jerusalem after the 1929 Hebron Massacre — asking the government to “make appropriate arrangements to let dozens of the yeshiva’s students, teachers and supervisors return and set up a branch in Hebron.” Labour Minister Yigal Allon (author of the famous Allon Plan to annex large swaths of the West Bank) was all for it: “There is a benefit in finding the first nucleus of people willing to settle there. The desire of these yeshiva students is a great thing. There aren’t always candidates willing to go to such a difficult place”, he said.

So much for rogue religious rightwing settlers twisting Israel’s arm.  

Those who have followed the Zionist historical trace may not be surprised by these statements, nor that they are uttered by ‘liberal-Zionists’, by ‘leftists’.

The logic here is, after all, Zionism 101. Nonetheless, they can still be shocking to read, and they should be. These are statements that convey clear intention of ethnic cleansing, and even Genocide. Emptying out, suffocation, deprivation of water till orchards wither. These words are not uttered by rightist Zionist leaders, but by leftist ones. No wonder Israel keeps these archives hidden for 50 years and more

H/T Ian Berman for bringing the recent Haaretz article to my attention.

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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45 Responses

  1. JosephA on November 17, 2017, 12:51 pm

    Who says zionism does not equal racism and encourage intentional genocide?

    • JWalters on November 17, 2017, 8:43 pm

      Who indeed. Mondoweiss is doing a great service by reporting on these foundation FACTS about the “Zionist project”. Maintaining the blanket of lies all these years is a clear demonstration of Zionist power in the news business. The documentation and analysis of these facts will help promote justice far beyond Israel itself.

    • CitizenC on November 19, 2017, 1:08 pm

      I think most people who profess “concern” over Palestine dispute that Zionism equals racism and genocide. I attended a talk by Tom Suarez about his book “Terror State”, based on material from the British official archives, at Columbia, moderated by Rashid Khalidi. The audience seemed less interested in the latest details on the Zionist-Israeli horror show than in meta-answers.

      During his talk, Suarez said that comparisons of Zionism and Nazism had the effect of “calibrating Palestinian suffering by European Jewish standards, and obscuring Palestine”, so he rejected them.

      During Q&A I conceded Suarez’s point about calibrating suffering, but argued that Zionism and “Jewish identity” generally had to be acknowledged as Jewish racialism, as powerful as German voelkisch ideology in the 1930s.

      A guy who identified himself as a former defense attorney at Gitmo said that the corruption of law by Israel was comparable to Fascism.

      The Israel Lobby also came up. In response there was a whiffleball statement about “strategic asset” by an apparent undergraduate.

      Rashid Khalidi was so upset he had to declare, “as a historian”, that comparisons of Zionism with Nazism and Fascism were inappropriate, because “these developments were all local and contingent and unique”. A questioner stated that “of course Zionism isn’t as bad as Nazism.”

      Khalidi also dismissed the Israel Lobby categorically. “For the US and Britain, it’s always been about strategic interest”.

      Not to single out Khalidi, but I think his is the prevailing viewpoint, certainly at outfits like Jewish Voice for Peace and its effective subsidiary, US Campaign. The long history of Zionism as Jewish racialism, including its collaboration with Nazi Germany, and the critiques of Zionism and the “Jewish people” idea as racism by Jewish writers like Elmer Berger, has been buried by the Jewish left, and most Palestine supporters have gone along. JVP and others still vilify critics of the Israel Lobby as anti-semites.

  2. Steve Macklevore on November 17, 2017, 12:59 pm

    And to think that as a young man, I dutifully swallowed the rancid shit these people spouted about a “benign occupation” and how the West Bank and Gaza were just “bargaining chips” and how that if only Cario would call there would be no occupation and peace in six months.

    • MHughes976 on November 17, 2017, 4:26 pm

      I too spent many years thinking that it was only a matter of time before the moderates on both sides would prevail and that the broad outlines of a peace agreement were indeed already known, with the Palestinians warmly welcoming the big increase in prosperity they were due to receive. We all make mistakes but that was what President Trump would call a beauty.

      • Elizabeth Block on November 18, 2017, 4:38 pm

        It was Fiorello LaGuardia, mayor of New York in the 1930s, who said, “I don’t often make a mistake, but when I do, it’s a beaut.”
        Has Trump ever admitted making a mistake? I can’t imagine it!

      • MHughes976 on November 19, 2017, 3:27 pm

        No, Elizabeth, I don’t think he has, but he’s used the term of the mistakes of others!

  3. gamal on November 17, 2017, 1:18 pm

    “Eshkol also provides for other more apocalyptic options:

    “Perhaps we can expect another war and then this problem will be solved. But that’s a type of ‘luxury,’ an unexpected solution.”

    ” Eshkol, the leftist ‘liberal Zionist,’ ”

    I see the term Ziowahhabi is gaining currency in some circles

    • on November 18, 2017, 7:19 am

      Thanks for sharing the link – an excellent article.

  4. Ian Berman on November 17, 2017, 1:22 pm

    One of your most enlightening pieces Jonathan.

    I cannot understand how Jews defend Israel’s policies and actions. What does any of this have to do with the Jewish faith that is so proudly displayed on army uniforms, tanks, attack helicopters and modern jet warplanes. And bulldozers that destroys homes and schools.

    The dedication to blindness is enormous.
    I am Not a Self-Hating Jew. I am Ashamed Other Jews Defend This

    • stopthelie on November 17, 2017, 7:40 pm

      Cant see a call for genocide ,here just a concern about local arab population. looks like you have a notion of a call to relocate – that is not genocide.

      but you do want to use this strong word to make your point! again a very biased article…
      so to quote the article :

      “As is widely known, the standard UN definition of Genocide includes “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

      This means that Lebanon, Iran , Syria, HAMAS and the PALESTINIANS are guilty of calls for genocide as they want to destroy israel in whole…why are you not outraged by that???

      • Misterioso on November 18, 2017, 11:56 am




        In 1988, the PLO recognized Israel as a sovereign state within the borders of the 1947 recommendatory only UNGA Partition Plan, Res. 181, which violated the terms of the British Class A Mandate for Palestine and the Atlantic Charter, was never adopted by the UNSC and was grossly unfair to the indigenous Palestinian Arab inhabitants.

        By signing the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO accepted UNSC Res. 242 and thereby agreed to recognize a sovereign Israel within the 1949 armistice lines, i.e., as of 4 June 1967 – 78% of mandate Palestine.

        The PLO also agreed to the US/EU/UN supported 2002 Arab League Beirut Summit Peace Initiative, which offers Israel full recognition as a sovereign state (per UNSC Res. 242, i.e., within its June 4/67 boundaries with possible minor, equal and mutually agreed land swaps), exchange of ambassadors, trade, tourism, etc., if Israel complies with international law (e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute.) Fully aware of Israel’s demographic concerns, the Beirut initiative does not demand the return of all Palestinian refugees. In accordance with Israel’s pledge given to the UNGA in 1949 and by signing the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference Protocol to abide by UNGA Res. 194 regarding the then 800,000 Palestinian refugees as a precondition for admittance to the UN (after being rejected twice), the Arab League’s Initiative “calls upon Israel to affirm” that it agrees to help pursue the “achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem…”

        Along with all Arab states and the PLO, Hezbollah and Iran have also accepted the Arab League’s 2002 Beirut Summit Peace Initiative. (In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Israel promptly rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.)

        Regrettably, then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon summarily dismissed the Arab League’s peace overture, as did Israel in 2008 and thereafter.

        As for the much touted 2000 Camp David Summit, working in tandem, Barak and Clinton tried to shove a very bad deal down Arafat’s throat. It could only be rejected. Suffice to quote Shlomo Ben-Ami, then Israel’s foreign minister and lead negotiator at Camp David: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.” (National Public Radio, 14 February 2006.)

        The “offer” made in 2008 by then Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was never seen as serious because it lacked cabinet approval, he was under indictment with only a few weeks left in office, had a 6% favorable rating, and, therefore, couldn’t have closed the deal, even if the Palestinians had accepted it. (Olmert was imprisoned.)

        Unfortunately, Israel’s response to every peace overture from the Palestinians and Arab states, has been an escalation of illegal settlement construction in occupied Palestinian and other Arab lands.

      • John O on November 18, 2017, 1:17 pm

        @stopthelie – “why are you not outraged…?”

        Two reasons: (1) None of the groups you mention are currently inflicting any of this on Israel, nor are they in a position to do so, even if they really, really seriously wanted to; (2) Israel is currently inflicting this on Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

      • Elizabeth Block on November 18, 2017, 4:42 pm

        No one has ever called Lebanon, Iran, Syria, etc. “the only democracy in the Middle East.”
        Israel has criteria that it has stated itself, and to which we are entitled to call it to account.
        Separating husbands and wives, so they cannot have children?
        Stealing people’s land and water and livelihoods? If it’s not genocide, what is it?
        As for a “call to relocate,” i.e. a call to forcibly relocate people against their will? It may not be genocide, but it sure is ethnic cleansing.

      • oldgeezer on November 18, 2017, 10:02 pm


        Ethnic cleansing is a form of genocide under the law. Body counts are not relevant regardless of ziothug propaganda.

      • Nathan on November 22, 2017, 8:19 pm

        Misterioso – It’s quite true that the PLO recognized Israel in the 1947 Partition Plan borders; however, you forgot to mention that the PLO flatly rejects the Partition Plan. It’s also true that the PLO recognized Israel in the 1993 Oslo Agreement; however, it should be noted that the PLO does not recognize the legitimacy Israel.

        The PLO also accepted the Arab League Peace Initiative which is totally depended on reaching an Israeli-Palestinian final agreement; however, there is absolutely no intention to negotiate with Israel a final agreement.

        And, yes, Hamas revised its charter, calling for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza; but you forgot to mention that the very same revised charter claims that there are absolutely no rights for “the usurping Zionist entity”. (Actually, you should provide the exact quote from the Hamas Charter: “However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees… to be a formula of national consensus”). So, you’re right when you claim that Israel didn’t respond to the Hamas proposal; however, you forgot to mention that Hamas is not proposing anything to Israel (the ‘usurping Zionist entity’ in the charter which, apparently, you haven’t read).

        I would suggest to you that you read the website of the PLO and Hamas. I’m assuming that an intelligent observer of the conflict is able to read a few pages in Arabic. Binajjah (good luck)!

      • echinococcus on November 23, 2017, 12:39 am


        Arguing with Zionists about compromises made at the point of a gun doesn’t really make sense. When one points out that this or that Palestinian politician “recognized” the Zionist entity or declared readiness to coexist with it, the zombies get arrogant and want more **as if there was any obligation for Palestinians to let any invader sit on their land** Look at the Nathan’s bitter recriminations: the propagandist for goddam squatters and thieves has the crust to make it an accusation that “Israel” is not fully recognized, etc. as if they had any right to anything other than a kick in the backside!

        Possibly one should every time preface such discussions with the obvious fact that any such “recognition” is nothing but a compromise extracted under armed threat and that there never was any obligation to tolerate a single invader’s presence anywhere in Palestine.

        This is also the big drawback of “binational state” or “two-state”-type discussions: any such wishes totally disregard Palestinian rights, putting thieves and invaders on an equal footing with legitimate owners. They may be fine for compromises –provided that it is clear on all sides that this would be a compromise under the gun and that it violates basic rights.

        It should also to be stated every time that believing in any possibility of reciprocal compromise from the invader side, at even the most elementary level, is more retarded than believing in Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

    • on November 18, 2017, 7:22 am

      One has to distinguish between Jews and Zionists. I know all Zios (excl. Christian Zios) are Jews, but only in name. In reality, the Zios are racists, fascists, and the only way they can justify that is to conflate Judaism & Zionism, i.e. a religion & a racist ideology.
      Start making that distinction because as long as you allow it to go on it plays into the hands of the Ziofascists.

  5. Matthew Taylor on November 17, 2017, 1:49 pm

    “We must expel the Arabs and take their places,” future first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion famously wrote in 1937 in a letter to his son, a decade before he planned, organized, and led the 1947-1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Let’s not forget this important part of the lineage.

  6. MHughes976 on November 17, 2017, 4:19 pm

    The fundamental principle of Z is that only those people who are Jews have an inherent right, these days called birthright, to be citizens of the Holy Land, others only so far as Jewish grace may extend. Others who are there have no right to be and one way or another this has to be made clear to them and to everyone, though many of them are left with some possessions, for which they should be grateful.

  7. Ossinev on November 17, 2017, 5:46 pm

    “Light unto the Nations”. I think not – more like “S..te unto the Nations”

    I am surprised that they haven`t patented some of their “covert” ethnic cleansing methodology. Still I suppose they are currently on a nice little earner from the Burmese whilst shunting out their pathetic disaster relief PR machine as the classic clumsy Ziodistraction.

  8. Citizen on November 17, 2017, 6:56 pm

    Kudos, Richard Spencer will understand this article very well. Goebbels would have too.

  9. Ronald Johnson on November 18, 2017, 10:43 am

    Look upon Israel as a cultural anthropology project, as in, “Coming of Age in Samoa”. Israel is a place to study Zionist Jews in their own declared state, unencumbered by Gentile majorities.

    We await the conclusions.

    • John O on November 18, 2017, 2:17 pm

      “Coming of age in Samoa”? More like “The only way is Essex”!

      • gamal on November 18, 2017, 7:35 pm

        “The only way is Essex”!

        ok lets deal with tawriya,

        the earliest example is in the line from ‘Amr ibni Kulthums’ mu’allaqa which ends with ” ida ma’l mau halataha sahina” right thing is sahina could be an adjective in the adverbial accusative,

        ” when it is mixed with water that is hot”….or it could be read as the first personal plural of the verb “sahiya” ..”when it is mixed with water we become liberal”…..

        we don’t even know what poems mean let alone scripture….

  10. Krendall Mist on November 18, 2017, 6:33 pm

    “By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.”

    Exodus 23:30

  11. Marnie on November 19, 2017, 12:21 am

    Thanks Jonathan for proving that the term liberal can never be paired with the term zionist. Eshkol was prime minister 50 years ago, during the Johnson administration, and now we’re 9 presidents past Johnson and the situation has, predictably, become worse. There are no excuses left for ‘liberal zionists’. They can’t claim they didn’t know, didn’t see, didn’t understand. They didn’t care. They believed their rabbis/youth leaders/Hollywood bullshit. Shame on us.

  12. Tom Suarez on November 20, 2017, 9:31 am

    Regarding CitizenC,

    Just to clarify, the quote you ascribe to me, that comparisons of Zionism and Nazism had the effect of “calibrating Palestinian suffering by European Jewish standards, and obscuring Palestine,” is not mine at all, but a paraphrasing of the comment of an audience member. For the record, I have put a video of everything that was said on this topic at the Columbia event you cite, both in the talk proper and in the Q&A, here (about 4 minutes);

    Regarding Professor Khalidi, I don’t think it is accurate to say that he “was so upset he had to declare” etc. He was making an unimpassioned, academic distinctions. Nor do I think he “categorically dismissed” the influence of the Israeli lobby, but rather placed it in its relative proportion to other, more powerful elements of US support for Israel.

    • MHughes976 on November 20, 2017, 12:45 pm

      Mind you, I can’t see why the fact that almost all political movements are local and contingent should be a reason for not comparing them with each other. It’s the comparisons that bring out what is idiosyncratic and what is common,

    • CitizenC on November 26, 2017, 3:32 pm

      Tom Suarez, the quote I attributed to you, that the Nazi comparison “calibrates Palestinian suffering by European Jewish standards, and obscures Palestine” is a correct paraphrase of what you said, as anyone would conclude after seeing your brief excerpt above. I can’t recall a remark from the audience like that

      I noted that Khalidi spoke “as a historian”, exactly his words, in rejecting comparison of Zionism with Nazism and apartheid. He was moderately animated and emphatic. I agree that the Nazi comparison can obscure Palestine and distract from its appalling reality, as you said.

      It is however necessary in order to understand Zionism, as Jewish racialism, as race doctrine, comparable to racialist anti-Semitism. The late Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the late Israel Shahak, two emphatic Israeli critics of Zionism, and the late Hajo Mayer, a Reform Jews and survivor of Auschwitz, all made the comparison of Zionism and Nazism.

      It is necessary because of the voelkisch turn in Jewish affairs since 1967, the enduring, fanatical pro-Israelism of organized Jewry outside Israel, and the equivocation and manipulation of the Jewish left, who have for 50 years imposed a minimal critique of “the occupation”, etc, which is only now being challenged. I tried to explain this in my question to you during Q&A.

      Khalidi did indeed declare that “for the US and Britain, it has always been about strategic interests,” pretty much exactly those words. He referred to his first book, about British policy before 1914, which refers to a 50-yr old article by Maier Verete on this point.

      The question of British “strategic influence” vs the London Zionist Lobby in the Balfour Declaration has been thoroughly discussed in the wake of Sahar Huneidi’s “Broken Trust”, about the politics of Balfour and the early British administration in Palestine. As far as I can tell British “strategic interest” was limited to the marginal advantage Zionism might bring with Jewish opinion in Russia and the US, in Britain’s colossal struggle with the Central Powers.

      The alleged “strategic advantage” of Zionism in helping secure the Suez Canal was Zionist propaganda, and by no means unanimous in the British government. I think Huneidi is right in arguing that the British persisted with the Balfour Declaration, even after the election of 1923 replaced the wartime government with one much less committed, mainly for reasons of invested prestige.

      I don’t recall any qualification about “relative proportion to other, more powerful elements” in Khalidi’s remarks about the Israel Lobby. I think he is wrong about Balfour as British strategic interst, and also wrong about US policy. See for example my critique of a book on US policy in the 1940s that was published by Columbia Univ Press

    • Sibiriak on November 28, 2017, 6:02 pm

      CitizenC: Khalidi also dismissed the Israel Lobby categorically. “For the US and Britain, it’s always been about strategic interest”.

      I can’t comment on what transpired at Suarez’s talk, but based on his published writings it would be a gross falsehood to say that he categorically dismisses the Israel Lobby. In his book, “ Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. has Undermined Peace in the Middle East” (which you have read) he makes multiple statements about the enormous power of the Israel Lobby, including the power to override U.S strategic interests. In fact, he makes it clear that when strategic considerations did on a few occassions override the wishes of the Israel lobby, those events were exceptions , not the norm.

      • CitizenC on November 29, 2017, 5:05 am

        Khalidi also defended the affirmative side of a resolution on the Israel Lobby, with Tony Judt, in a debate vs Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross, its two preeminent creatures.

        I suggest you look up the video of his talk, on YouTube, before throwing around words like “gross falsehoods”. In it he cited his first book, on the pre-1914 background to British Middle East policy. He found British policy in WWI incl the Balfour Decl based on “strategic interests”, which I think is dated and wrong. See Sahar Huneidi’s book “Broken Trust” that I mentioned, and the discussion around it.

        See also my critique of “Dying to Forget” linked above , a crudely dishonest attempt to impose the “strategic interest” view on US policy in the 1940s. It was published by Columbia Univ Press, and Khaliidi as senior prof at Columbia very likely recommended it to the press. I could also discuss his views on more recent history.

        I know of his earlier views, but he seems to be reconsidering more recently, as the stakes around the issue have risen

      • Sibiriak on December 2, 2017, 4:39 pm

        CitizenC: I suggest you look up the video of his talk, on YouTube, before throwing around words like “gross falsehoods”.

        I was referring to Khalidi’s published works, not Tom Suarez’s talk. [I wrote: I can’t comment on what transpired at Suarez’s talk, but based on his published writings it would be a gross falsehood to say that he categorically dismisses the Israel Lobby. ]

        I have no problem with anybody criticizing any aspect of Khalidi’s work, including his discussion of the pre-1914 period you refer to. But your blanket expression “categorically dismisses the Israel Lobby” makes no distinctions as to time periods or particular issues and, intentionally or not, gives the impression that Khalidi “categorically dismisses the Israel lobby” in some kind of general, overall sense. That would indeed be a gross falsehood—Khalidi in no way dismisses the Lobby.

        To prove this point, I quote from Khalidi’s book, “Brokers of Deceit”:

        This is the little-understood secret of the US government’s enduring bias in favor of Israel: in the face of what since 1967 has increasingly been a Saudi-dominated Arab world, policymakers in Washington are guided almost exclusively by the pressure exerted on Congress, the executive branch, and the media by the Israel lobby, or the stubborn obduracy of Israel’s leaders in preserving their regime of colonization and occupation. Because of the Arab regimes’ disunity, futile competition with one another, and deep dependence on the United States, there is absolutely no serious Arab counterweight to balance this formidable pressure.

        * * * * *
        …the core dynamics at work in American policymaking toward Palestine have been remarkably stable for much longer. In these dynamics, domestic political calculations have generally taken precedence, while occasionally being balanced or overridden by strategic considerations. It is striking how rarely the United States was forced by such considerations to modify its policy on Palestine over many decades.

        * * * * *
        Where the issue of Palestine is concerned, American Middle East policy from Truman down to Obama has consistently hewn to the three patterns described in the introduction: an almost total lack of pressure from the Arab Gulf monarchies; the impact of US domestic politics, driven by the Israel lobby, and an unconcern about Palestinian rights. The preferred approach of US presidents has therefore generally involved deferring to Israel and its American supporters…

        * * * * *
        The 1946 midterm congressional electoral defeat only reinforced Truman’s favoring of domestic political calculations over those of strategy and diplomacy where Palestine was concerned […]
        Truman was strongly influenced by a coterie of advisors and friends like Eleanor Roosevelt, Clark Clifford, Max Lowenthal, and David Niles, all of whom were deeply committed Zionists.
        39 In addition, he tended to listen most carefully to those like himself whose political lives had been primarily spent making domestic and electoral calculations rather than decisions about strategy or foreign policy or the national interest.

        * * * * *
        The period between 1945 and 1948 reveals at least two more patterns in American policy over Palestine […]The first was the pattern already mentioned of presidential solicitude for domestic constituencies generally taking precedence over other considerations, including ordinary foreign policy concerns, and sometimes even long-term American strategic interests.

        […] For all of its importance, however, the basic pattern of presidential solicitude for domestic political considerations was often disrupted by the intrusion of Cold War issues during Arab-Israeli crises, when larger strategic interests momentarily came into play.

        * * * * *

        These were the most important exceptions to the pattern of domestic factors predominating in policymaking regarding Israel and Palestine, exceptions that generally arose in moments of high crisis with the Soviet Union, where vital American interests necessarily took precedence over all else, including domestic politics.

        * * * * *

        Barring exceptional situations like those just enumerated involving major American strategic or economic interests, US policy on Palestine and Israel has been made almost exclusively with an eye to those who, in Truman’s words, “are anxious for the success of Zionism. ” Certainly this was the case wherever the Palestinians were concerned.

        * * * * *
        As we have seen, a distorted set of American priorities— largely directed at catering to the demands of Israel and of its vocal American supporters rather than doing anything substantial to resolve the struggle over Palestine, which is the core and the origin of the Arab-Israeli conflict— has contributed significantly to producing a broad range of intractable outcomes.

        * * * * *
        …the bitter hostility toward Iran of both Israel and Saudi Arabia has further envenomed American-Iranian relations, largely thanks to the extraordinary impact on American public discourse and Middle East policy of Israel, its Washington lobby, and the much more discreet lobbying of Saudi Arabia.

        * * * * *

        From the blinkered perspective of many policymakers in Washington and important lobbies there, this may not seem like a major problem: Iran is their obsessive focus anyway. In addition, the powerful warmongering pressures of the Netanyahu government, the Saudi regime, the Israel lobby, and hawkish Republicans have by now produced a constant anti-Iranian drumbeat for war that all but prevents rational discourse on these issues anywhere inside the Washington Beltway.

        * * * * *
        …Obama appeared to be trying a new approach to the problem of Palestine and Israel, in parallel with aspects of what we have seen that Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush senior, and Clinton had tried and failed to do. That effort lasted roughly until the Republican Party’s capture of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of November 2010. That victory significantly changed the political situation in Washington where Israel was concerned, measurably strengthening both Netanyahu and Israel’s lobby there, and thereby effectively stymieing the president.

        * * * * *
        Some Republicans, in close coordination with the Israeli government and its Washington lobby, are saying that a Democratic administration should follow exactly the same line as does an American ally and not allow any visible differences between the two. They are in effect supporting a foreign government over their own on questions of foreign policy, indeed on weighty questions of war and peace.

        * * * * *
        The disaffection of some on the Right with Obama over his policies on Israel and Palestine is also partly a result of the striking rightward lurch of both Israel’s internal politics and its domestic and security policies, and of the increasingly conservative leadership of the large American lobby that supports Israel. This is as true of the lobby’s Christian Zionist evangelical wing as it is of the wing rooted in the leading institutions of the American Jewish community.

        Both Israel and its most outspoken American supporters have gone so far to the right that American “support for Israel” is now taken by them to mean unquestioning support for expanded colonization of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem; for legitimizing overt legal discrimination against the nearly 20 percent of Israeli citizens who are not Jews, and for the permanent exclusion from Israel of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, both under the rubric of “Israel as a Jewish state”; and for military actions outside Israel’s borders that are more and more difficult to describe in terms of self-defense. It is hard to reconcile the fealty to increasingly extreme positions that Israel and its supporters have come to expect from Congress and the US government since this rightward turn with traditional official American positions.

        * * * * *
        Over this period President Barack Obama faced relentless pressure from Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu, acting in concert both with the Republican leadership in Congress (newly energized after its Tea Party– fueled victories in the 2010 midterm elections) and with the potent congressional lobby for Israel. The latter is composed of an archipelago of organizations rooted in the older, more affluent, and more conservative sectors of the Jewish community and headed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), allied with a range of right-wing Christian evangelical groups passionately supportive of Israel. 14 The tripartite pressure of Netanyahu, the Republicans, and the Israel lobby forced Obama into humiliating retreats from the positions he had staked out during his first two years in office

        * * * * *
        The president’s failure to visit Israel while he was in the Middle East on trips to Turkey and Egypt in 2009 was part of the same petulant list of complaints of those who held these views.52 On reflection, these kinds of petty grievances are remarkably revealing of two phenomena. One is the almost irrationally jealous insecurity regarding the American-Israeli alliance evinced both by Israel’s government and by its powerful lobby in Washington. The second involves an element of carefully dosed pressure tactics, whereby no matter how favorable a president is toward Israel, any perceived slippage, however minor, from the high bar set for him by both Israel and the lobby provokes heated charges of betrayal of Israel’s security, if not of its very survival. There may be a certain element of sincerity to these histrionics. However, their intended purpose, and certainly their effect, is to bludgeon the offending politician back into line.

        * * * * *

        There is no evidence that Barack Obama in any case ever contemplated taking on the lobby, which in this day and age would have also meant taking on a Republican Party very different from that of George H. W. Bush, one now driven by its right-wing base, a large part of which is fanatically hawkish and pro-Israel. As in Truman’s day, therefore, and virtually every day in between, the outcome of Obama’s efforts was overdetermined. It was an outcome essentially dictated by the contours of the political map in Washington and the rest of the country, and one that could have been predicted in advance. It had little to do with the merits of the policies being followed…

      • Sibiriak on December 3, 2017, 2:33 am

        CitizenC: I know of [Khalidi’s] earlier views, but he seems to be reconsidering more recently…

        Really? Which views is Khalidi reconsidering? Please provide specific instances with quotes. Otherwise that’s just a vague, unsubstantiated assertion.

  13. asherpat on November 22, 2017, 2:39 am

    Israel’s must be the most incompetent “genocide” in history! the “exterminated” population doubles or triples and its income improves most when under the “genocidal” regime!

    • eljay on November 22, 2017, 8:23 am

      || asherpat: Israel’s must be the most incompetent “genocide” in history! … ||

      The “Jewish State” may not be good at genocide, but it’s quite adept at terrorism, ethnic cleansing, theft, military occupation, colonialism, destruction, torture and murder.

      You gotta give credit where credit is due.

      • DaBakr on November 24, 2017, 12:34 am


        -Genocide that isn’t really genocide
        -Apartheid that isn’t really apartheid(unless one puts credence in the kangaroo Durban debacle
        -torture that most often turns out to be a gross exaggeration
        -ethnic cleansing that is not regarded as reciprocal as an equal amount of refugees from all me lands were displaced, had their wealth and land confiscated

        So yes, pretty piss poor results by such conniving zionists

      • eljay on November 24, 2017, 8:36 am

        || @aBar: @e

        -Genocide that isn’t really genocide … ||

        I acknowledged that the “Jewish State” may not be good at genocide.

        || … -Apartheid that isn’t really apartheid … ||

        I didn’t say anything about apartheid, so I don’t know why you brought it up.

        || … -torture that most often turns out to be a gross exaggeration … ||

        Although “most often” claims of torture are exaggerated, the “Jewish State” does torture. Thanks for confirming that.

        || … -ethnic cleansing that is not regarded as reciprocal … ||

        Thanks also for confirming that the “Jewish State” committed ethnic cleansing.

        (I can’t imagine why you didn’t address the realities of “Jewish State” terrorism, theft, military occupation, colonialism, destruction and murder.)

        || … So yes, pretty piss poor results by such conniving Zionists ||

        Stop being so hard on yourself and your fellow Zionists. You guys – and gals – and your “Jewish State” may not be as good at evil as Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hell-holes”, 19th-century America and China but you’re no slouches.

      • Mooser on November 24, 2017, 1:47 pm

        “So yes, pretty piss poor results by such conniving zionists”

        Thank you, “Dabakr”. I’ve been trying to make exactly that point for a long time: The Zionists promise a lot, but cannot deliver. They cannot deliver a secure Jewish State on Zionist terms.

    • Mooser on November 22, 2017, 12:33 pm

      ” the “exterminated” population doubles or triples and its income improves most when under the “genocidal” regime!”

      So the Zionists hold out the ‘hope’ and the ‘promise’ of a genocide they can’t accomplish (except in announced intent, and that’s what matters) to encourage the Jewish population. That ought to work as a long term-solution.

  14. tony greenstein on November 24, 2017, 11:02 pm

    I disagree with Rashid Khalidi. There are very many valid comparisons between Zionism and Nazism, most notably that both are a form of ethno-nationalism.

    The concept of Aryan was defined so as to exclude Jews, Roma and the biologically ‘unfit’ – Israel defines a Jew racially, the product of a Jewish woman, the product of a blood line.

    Zionism is certainly a Jewish volkish movement, attached to blood and soil.

    See my Why we should not hesitate to compare Zionism and the Israeli state with the Nazis

  15. Boomer on June 11, 2018, 11:46 am

    I appreciate Mondoweiss showcasing some of the excellent essays that have been posted in the past, such as this one. There are many that deserve to be remembered, and this certainly is one of them.

    Reading it makes me even more mindful of the irony implicit in my stated view that the U.S. should invite Palestinians who wish to do so to come to the U.S. I’m well aware that doing so would, in a way, simply complete the plan that Herzl and the others advocated. One could say that it would make the U.S. complicit in the destruction of Palestinian culture. That would be true.

    But we are already complicit: our constant military, financial and political support for the Zionist project have made us guilty. I don’t see any prospect of constructive change for the Palestinians where they are. I don’t see any prospect that the leaders of the U.S. will support sanctions that might force Israel to behave differently. So a humanitarian response of welcoming to the U.S. those we have helped to expel from their own homeland seems the best available option. Even that isn’t available right now, of course, given the current politics of immigration. But perhaps that could change.

    Maybe I’m wrong. If I understood him correctly, Mooser has suggested that someday perhaps Jewish Israelis will decide to move to Europe and the U.S., leaving the land to the Palestinians. Perhaps that, or some other future is indeed possible. I don’t know.

    • Mooser on June 11, 2018, 3:37 pm

      “someday perhaps Jewish Israelis will decide to move to Europe and the U.S., “

      Many have dual-citizenships. Not much of a way of stopping them from moving to their citizenship countries.

  16. justice48 on January 22, 2019, 4:14 am

    Is that Genocide, complete, partial, tentative or what….
    Here is the Israeli policy of killing the refugees since it planned to occupy Gaza in 1965:
    “Eshkol [Israeli PM] had already reason to worry about the Gaza refugees roughly two years before the Six-Day War…Once he asked the chief of staff what would happen if the Egyptians [in Gaza at the time before PLO, Fatah, Hamas] simply marched the refugees –women and children in the vanguard- towards the border with Israel. [Yitzhak] Rabin said they would not do that, and if they did, as soon the IDF KILLED THE FIRST HUNDRED, the rest would go back to Gaza.”
    Reference: [Cabinet] Weekly Meeting, 4 June 1965, ISA 7925/A-8, Cited in: Tom Segev,1967, Israel, the War and the Year that Transformed the Middle East, Little, Brown 2007, p524.

  17. justice48 on January 22, 2019, 8:28 am

    Is that Genocide, complete, partial, tentative or what….
    Here is the Israeli policy of killing the refugees since it planned to occupy Gaza in 1965:
    “Eshkol [Israeli PM] had already reason to worry about the Gaza refugees roughly two years before the Six-Day War…Once he asked the chief of staff what would happen if the Egyptians [in Gaza at the time before PLO, Fatah, Hamas] simply marched the refugees –women and children in the vanguard- towards the border with Israel. [Yitzhak] Rabin said they would not do that, and if they did, as soon the IDF KILLED THE FIRST HUNDRED, the rest would go back to Gaza.”
    Reference: [Cabinet] Weekly Meeting, 4 June 1965, ISA 7925/A-8, Cited in: Tom Segev,1967, Israel, the War and the Year that Transformed the Middle East, Little, Brown 2007, p524.
    22 May 2018

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