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How to tell when defending Israel is actually racist

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on 44 Comments

Those empathetic to Palestinians toil in unhappy corners of the internet, fending off trolls eager to dazzle with age-old vitriol.  But decorated professionals recite the same discourses throughout corporate media, the veneer of respectability making them even more grotesque. Anti-Arab racism underlies defense of Israel. The racism isn’t marginal, either; it’s the lingua franca of American punditry.

Many of the people who defend Israel are consciously racist (clearly), but others dehumanize Arabs and Muslims by reproducing unexamined assumptions about Israel’s moral or civilizational superiority. Anyway, I’m less concerned with intent than with consequences. Anti-Arab racism is normalized to the point of common sense, largely because defending Israel requires dehumanization of Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians (and often Muslims more generally).

Because we spend so much time debating when (or if) criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, we rarely get around to assessing how pro-Israel narratives exhibit anti-Arab racism. It seems important to rectify this problem. The following list is my humble contribution to the effort:

  • Falsely accusing Palestinians of anti-Semitism when they condemn Israel (or Zionism).
    Why does this rise to the level of racism rather than merely being dishonest or mendacious? Because it attributes anti-colonial sentiment to cultural barbarity. It validates the settler’s political fetish. It obliges Palestinians to abandon their sensibilities for the sake of their oppressor’s comfort. And it can open Arabs and Muslims to punishment.
  • Yelling about “Hamas” to deflect from (or justify) Israeli war crimes.
    “Hamas” is the world’s biggest red herring.  (Every foreign leader the USA wants to depose is tied for second.) “Hamas” is distinct from the political party that goes by the name of Hamas. The version with scare-quotes is an evil apologue deployed to embody Palestinian barbarity. Zionists (and their stenographers in corporate media) only need to accuse a person of being “Hamas”—children, the disabled, the elderly, the unborn, the already-dead, it doesn’t matter—in order to justify an act of murder, no matter how stunning or vicious. This kind of rhetoric shows the impossibility of being human under Israeli rule. Palestine has no civic structure; it has no voluntary association. The nation is a mass of unwanted bodies. Palestinians cannot organize. They cannot affiliate. They cannot fraternize. They exist only to die. The mere possibility of social life is enough for Israel to pursue their destruction.  In any case, based on the historical and legislative record, support of Likud, Labor, Hatnuah, Shas, Tkuma, and Yisrael Beiteinu is an objectively more violent affiliation. By analyzing a hypocritical discourse that mystifies settler colonization, I will be asked to clarify that I don’t in fact support “Hamas.” I’d rather hear the Zionist inquisitors clarify that they don’t support any of the Israeli parties currently orchestrating genocide.
  • Proposing “solutions” based on what Israelis will or won’t accept.
    Or, saying that certain things are “impossible” or “unrealistic”: the right of return, equality, binationalism, and so forth.  Colonizers like to present unilateral decisions as cooperative. And it’s always racist. The native is made to shoulder the inconveniences of pragmatism. The settler’s comfort is a given.
  • Validating or ignoring the histories that led to Gaza in the first place.
    The Gaza Strip isn’t an historical accident. It’s filled with refugees unable to visit their ancestral villages. Israel constricts the territory from land, sea, and air. The disparities of power between Israel the Gaza Strip are enormous.  Gaza is the result of ethnic cleansing, a brutal experiment in warehousing human surplus, but Israel’s apologists treat its residents as an undistinguished mass of existential terror. Palestinians lack agency until it’s time to justify another Israeli massacre, at which point they’re suddenly capable of spectacular conspiracies.
  • Assuming that Israel has a divine or universal mandate to shoot and kill.
    The assumption has religious undertones. The God of this religion is “security,” a privilege unavailable to the people whose safety is actually threatened.
  • Assigning blame to “both sides.”  
    Only one side colonizes.  Only one side demolishes homes, crops, schools, and hospitals.  Only one side determines citizenship and belonging. Only one side travels freely.  Only one side dominates the airwaves. Only one side has a nuclear arsenal. Only one side ethnically cleanses.  Conflating the work of survival with the violence of colonization not only bastardizes history; it also desecrates basic moral reasoning.
  • Deflecting condemnation of Israel with appeals to “dialogue” (or using “dialogue” as a form of cooptation).
    It’s not dialogue if one side has access to policymakers and corporate media and the other side gets punished merely for asserting its existence.  Nor is it dialogue whenever one side handpicks a stable of native informants to represent the other side. Amid colonial violence, “dialogue” is usually a rhetorical device to implicate Palestinians as irrationally recalcitrant in contrast to the modern, open-minded Israelis.

Let’s recap. When does defending Israel cross the line into racism (directly or implicitly)? The moment anybody defends Israel, of course.

Steven Salaita
About Steven Salaita

Steven Salaita's most recent book is Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine.

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44 Responses

  1. yesspam
    yesspam
    June 4, 2018, 2:10 pm

    A brilliant article. Another example of racism is that ‘Israel msde the desert bloom.’

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      June 4, 2018, 11:04 pm

      “Israel destroyed the ecological balance” would be closer to the truth.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      June 5, 2018, 11:03 am

      @yesspam

      Well said.

      The truth is that during the first three decades of Israel’s existence when it received a net import of capital totalling $31.5 billion (Maariv, 1 July 1977) and had the use of modern agricultural equipment as well as sophisticated farming techniques, its record of land cultivation was quite poor. “[T]he area within what became Israel actually being farmed by Arabs in 1947 was greater than the physical area which was under cultivation in Israel almost thirty years later…. The impressive expansion of Israel’s cultivated area since 1948 has been more apparent than real since it involved mainly the ‘reclamation’ of farmland belonging to the refugees; this is probably as true for the Negev desert as for the rest of Israel.” (Alan George, “Making the Desert Bloom…”, p.100)

  2. Keith
    Keith
    June 4, 2018, 4:00 pm

    STEVEN SALAITA- “Or, saying that certain things are “impossible” or “unrealistic”: the right of return, equality, binationalism, and so forth.”

    Saying that having realistic goals and objectives in regards to Palestine is akin to anti-Arab racism is bullshit, pure and simple. Linking to Norman Finkelstein to imply that he is, by your perverse definition, an anti-Arab racist is despicable and you should be ashamed. In the real world, the power imbalance between an empire supported Israel and the prisoners of Gaza is so extreme that tactics need to be adjusted accordingly. Rather than emphasizing the right of return, had the Palestine solidarity movement thrown its full support behind the Gaza protest march and focused on ending the illegal and inhumane blockade, the Gazans would have been the better for it. Go for the low hanging fruit first. If you can’t end the blockade of Gaza you lack the power to even think about right of return, and focusing on near term unattainable objectives sacrifices the ability to possibly achieve more immediate essential objectives. Inferring someone is a racist for recommending different tactics is self-defeating.

    • Edward Q
      Edward Q
      June 4, 2018, 9:33 pm

      I think you assume it is obvious what is “realistic”. Dismissing something as “unrealistic” can be a form of concern trolling. The Palestinians have had their rights violated in detail and this needs to be spelled out. Israel and its supporters want everyone to forget the crimes against Palestinians.

      I don’t like Finkelstein being accused of racism. There needs to be space for open discussions.

      • Keith
        Keith
        June 5, 2018, 12:58 am

        EDWARD Q- “I think you assume it is obvious what is “realistic”.”

        No, I think that inferring someone is an anti-Arab racist because they raise the question of what is realistic under the circumstances is bullshit. I thought that I made that clear. To clarify, what do you think is more realistic? To fight for the lifting of the illegal and inhumane blockade or to stress the right of return of all of the refugees resulting in the end of Israel as a Jewish state? So yes, I think that eliminating the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza is more realistic than getting Zionist Israel to agree to allowing a full right of return resulting in the de facto elimination of the Jewish state. You disagree?

      • Edward Q
        Edward Q
        June 5, 2018, 9:35 pm

        I don’t think Salaita’s claims about racism depend on whether a tactic is effective, except he made an accusation against Finkelstein, which brings that person’s effectiveness claims into the discussion for examination.

        Palestinian legal and human rights have been dismissed for 70+ years. This is racist. As a practical matter we work within this racist framework, trying to move parties such as the U.S. and Israel, bit by bit, to start respecting those rights. And for pragmatic reasons people such as Finkelstein might argue “We need to go along with racist item X for the moment so we can accomplish Y”. This happens all the time in politics. I don’t think making an argument like this turns Finkelstein into a racist; I believe he is offering the best strategy he can think of to try and make a dent in Israel’s apartheid system.

        The question about what strategy to follow is complicated but I probably agree with you about “low hanging fruit”. Nevertheless, it is important to talk about the claims made by the Palestinians such as the right of return to make a dent in the racist framework.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      June 4, 2018, 11:39 pm

      Keith

      It’s all about power. The power to set the limits of debate and to punish those who exceed those limits.
      Racism is a function of power, as is misogyny.

      “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get. No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.” Frederick Douglass

      I don’t think it matters what tactics Palestinians use. Israel is insane.

      Over to Walt :

      “No matter how well-written or delivered, a speech cannot divert who le societies from a well-established course of action. Policies in motion tend to remain in motion; to change the trajectory of a deeply-entrenched set of initiatives requires the application of political forces of equal momentum. ”

      The Palestinians do not have that financial capacity. Ideally the Jewish community should lance the boil but if it won’t the outside world will have to bring Zionism down.
      Bourdieu was very good on power and nonsense. Israel is a rich source of this

      One of his aphorisms is that ‘the dominant retain their position by constantly changing their stance’. This leads to all sorts of real world contradictions, so the debate has to be structured is such a way as to ensure the ‘nonsensical aspect’ is concealed. This is traditionally achieved by limiting the scope of the debate, the number of ‘legitimate’ contributors, and shutting down alternative debates by force if necessary.

      No discussion of Israeli power shenanigans is complete without reference to projection.

      “Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to other people.”

      Khamas! With thanks to Dickerson

      “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” F. Nietzsche

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      June 5, 2018, 8:50 am

      Keith: Saying that having realistic goals and objectives in regards to Palestine is akin to anti-Arab racism is bullshit, pure and simple. Linking to Norman Finkelstein to imply that he is, by your perverse definition, an anti-Arab racist is despicable …
      ——————————-

      I agree 100%.

      [Salaita:]”“Proposing “solutions” based on what Israelis will or won’t accept. Or, saying that certain things are “impossible” or “unrealistic”…

      Yeah well, the next time someone argues that a two state solution is “impossible” or “unrealistic”–because Israel would never willingly accept a sovereign Palestinian state, or Israel would never willing accept the removal of a single settler etc.— well then, by Salaita’s logic that common anti-Zionist argument should also be labeled “racist”.

      • Keith
        Keith
        June 5, 2018, 11:24 am

        SIBIRIAK- “… by Salaita’s logic that common anti-Zionist argument should also be labeled “racist”.

        I am not sure what the main point of Salaita’s armchair philosophizing is. That political Zionism is inherently anti-Palestinian/anti-Gentile could be made more directly without dubious libels of Norman Finkelstein. He totally ignores his main assertion that we spend so much time debating whether criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. I agree that too much time is spent discussing anti-Semitism, however, this is the result of anti-Zionist Jews placing undue emphasis on seeking out any hint of anti-Semitism in their attempt to control the discourse on the left. As for ignoring history, the one-staters completely gloss over the fact that initially the PLO and folks like Noam Chomsky advocated for a one state solution and were totally ignored. The PLO eventually changed position and advocated for a two state solution at which point Chomsky supported their new position. The idea of one democratic state is not a new idea. The question of what is reasonably achievable under present circumstances is, of course, a judgment call. But that is what life is all about. In the real world we must deal with power imbalances as best we can. Better to engage in guerrilla warfare than be part of the charge of the light brigade.

    • Donald
      Donald
      June 5, 2018, 10:03 am

      I agree that calling Finkelstein racist is stupid.

      But here are a few other points. First, it is Palestinians themselves including the Gazans who are demanding the right of return. Second, the practical argument makes sense, but only in a limited way. I mean that yes, we in the West can make more headway, maybe, if we concentrate on lifting the blockade, but that means making common cause with the more liberal portion of the liberal Zionists. I mean people like Beinart. Beinart and others like him recognize that even from their own viewpoint the blockade is gratuitously cruel. Even from the Israeli- centric viewpoint the blockade is far more stringent than it needs to be to keep weapons out. The Israelis are clearly being sadistic, in order to push the Palestinians towards violence. That Sharon advisor whose name I forget said this years ago. The more honest liberal Zionists recognize at least part of this. Being politically practical in an American context means working with liberal Zionists, for better or worse.

      But third, if one is too “ practical” you surrender the basic point, which is that the Zionists had no right to drive the Palestinians out. ( No, Keith, I am not saying you are doing this. Just pointing out pitfalls.). In the US and maybe in other Western countries the Zionists have been allowed to set the framework, so the liberal Zionist view becomes the extreme left. So if people are “ practical” and choose to focus first on the blockade, don’t stop talking about the right of return. It’s a dead end, going too far in the “ practical” direction. The Oslo accords were practical, the Palestinian leadership gave up on the 1ss, and all they got was some goodies for the corrupt leadership and more settlements and no 2ss.

      Fourth, it is unfair to call Finkelstein a racist, but Finkelstein has been pretty harsh in criticizing the BDS movement. If Palestinians are being killed for demanding the right of return, he might want to keep that in mind.

      • Keith
        Keith
        June 5, 2018, 11:44 am

        DONALD JOHNSON- ” If Palestinians are being killed for demanding the right of return, he might want to keep that in mind.”

        Are they? Why are the Gazans protesting while the West Bank Palestinians aren’t? Any significant differences between the two groups? The driving force behind these protests is the illegal and inhumane blockade which has poisoned the drinking water and made Gaza unlivable. And sure, the Gazans would like to be let out of their open air prison, but the driving force continues to be lifting the blockade which has been Hamas’ goal for a long time. No? From the horse’s mouth:

        “As it did in the past, Hamas is offering a long-term cease-fire — known in Arabic as “hudna” — in return for a lifting of the blockade. It conveyed such a proposal to Israel several weeks ago through Egyptian and Qatari channels, but Israel ignored it.” (Shlomi Eldar) http://normanfinkelstein.com/2018/05/23/as-it-did-in-the-past-hamas-is-offering-a-long-term-cease-fire-known-in-arabic-as-hudna-in-return-for-a-lifting-of-the-blockade-it-conveyed-such-a-proposal-to/

      • Keith
        Keith
        June 5, 2018, 12:08 pm

        DONALD JOHNSON- “But third, if one is too “ practical” you surrender the basic point….”

        Bullshit! By demanding the right to be treated like human beings with rights including an end to the de facto occupation, access to clean drinking water, a functioning economy, education and health care, etc., you surrender nothing. To the contrary, you are in a stronger position to redress other wrongs. There is nothing noble in the charge of the light brigade, guerrilla warfare is not surrender. And armchair purism and endless debate about long term objectives is a luxury only Western armchair philosophers can afford. And while there are Palestinians involved in BDS, let us not assume that they speak for all Palestinians anymore than we would assume that Trump speaks for the American people

      • Donald
        Donald
        June 5, 2018, 1:25 pm

        This is another one of those armchair purist arguments where people shout past each other. It is perfectly possible to work forthe end of the blockade and talk about the right of return at the same time. The first goal is more immediate and also more “ practical” because it means one can work alongside the more honest liberal Zionists. But it is possible to talk about both simultaneously no matter what Finkelstein might say.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/opinion/march-gaza-friday-palestinian.html

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        June 5, 2018, 1:54 pm

        There is nothing noble in the charge of the light brigade, guerrilla warfare is not surrender. And armchair purism and endless debate about long term objectives is a luxury only Western armchair philosophers can afford. And while there are Palestinians involved in BDS, let us not assume that they speak for all Palestinians anymore than we would assume that Trump speaks for the American people

        Thank you, Keith. Most effectively formulated.

        Two objections, though:

        1. The charge of the light brigade is exactly what is going on instead of effective resistance this very moment, based on a hope that international revulsion at the openly Nazi practices of the Zionists will amount to anything. The least one can do is to reverberate unchanged the victims’ expressed demands, both short and long-term.

        2. As so well expressed by Hughes (who is still using a conditional mood), the chances of the most urgent, short-term request being acted upon (for a lifting of the blockade/strangulation) are the same as those of the long-term objectives (right of return, equal rights, full justice, whatever). Meaning zilch. Anyone believing concessions are coming from the Zionists, in the US or Azrael, without their being hurt very hard, please raise your hand.

      • zaid
        zaid
        June 6, 2018, 2:34 pm

        “Why are the Gazans protesting while the West Bank Palestinians aren’t?”

        Come on !

        There were protest all over the west bank and there were injuries and two fatalities.

        The reason why it wasnot as powerful as in Gaza is because Gaza is 80% Refugees and the west bank is less than 20% refugees.Also the leadership in the west bank does not allow mass protest for various reasons and sometimes uses the same violent tactics that Israel use to stop it.

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        June 6, 2018, 3:25 pm

        @zaid, Gaza is 80% Refugees

        Gaza is Palestine. And the vast, vast majority of its residents are Palestinians residing in Palestine, where they were born and raised. Despite their historical claims, there are few true refugees in Gaza.

      • eljay
        eljay
        June 6, 2018, 3:41 pm

        || mon donut: … Gaza is Palestine. … ||

        Gaza is one part of Partition-borders Palestine, yes.

      • zaid
        zaid
        June 7, 2018, 11:14 am

        There are 13 million Palestinians who are the one and only true owner of Palestine which extends from the Jordan river to the sea and covers 27,000 m2

  3. Boomer
    Boomer
    June 4, 2018, 7:25 pm

    “How to tell when defending Israel is actually racist”

    An excellent analysis. Though in truth, defenses of Israel almost always are. If the defense does not include an acknowledgement of injustice and an assertion of the need to reparation and change, it is racist.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      June 4, 2018, 8:26 pm

      Defending Israel is ultimately about defending the political economy of Zionism with Jewish income of 20k per head and Palestinian of $300 to $800 per head. That is what the system means. Defending it is sick.

      • m1945
        m1945
        June 5, 2018, 10:10 am

        Zionism has nothing to do with economics.

      • eljay
        eljay
        June 5, 2018, 11:41 am

        || Jack Green: Zionism has nothing to do with economics. ||

        I know this won’t last long, but I agree with you. Zionism has everything to do with Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        June 5, 2018, 4:10 pm

        “Zionism has nothing to do with economics.”

        Oh, it must. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, and we couldn’t afford Zionism.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        June 5, 2018, 4:38 pm

        Zionism is all about money.

        Nir Barkat spelt it out in a 2011 interview
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_ayRyCkryU&feature=youtu.be
        at around 2.35

        average income for:
        – a jew in Jerusalem: $16,000
        – a jew in central Israel: $24,000
        – a Palestinian living in Jerusalem: $4,000
        – a West Bank Palestinian: $800

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        June 5, 2018, 5:54 pm

        “Zionism has everything to do with Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.”

        And that don’t come cheap. And I can’t help but notice a new awareness of the situation and the Palestinian’s plight in the American Jewish community since the 2009 financial collapse.

      • umm al-hamam
        umm al-hamam
        June 6, 2018, 4:00 am

        >>Zionism has nothing to do with economics.<<

        Gershon Shafir's book Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882-1914 is the most in-depth & effective analysis of the Zionist project from a labour and economics perspective. The basic summary is:
        1) Zionism is almost entirely an economic project based on land exploitation
        2) The "prosperity" and "economic miracle" of the Zionist entity post-1917 and especially post-1948 is based on expropriation of land and resources that rightfully, if not legally, belonged to the indigenous people
        3) The partition plan in 1947 granted the Zionists the bulk of Palestine's most fertile arable land, and one of the main purposes of the 1948 war was for the Zionists to seize as much of the remaining arable land as possible, particularly in the north. So e.g. the 1948 conquest of Jerusalem was also, and just as significantly, a conquest of the highly fertile & productive Wadi es-Sarar (Nahal Soreq) valley, one of the few permanent rivers in Palestine, & one that is now almost entirely diverted for Zionist agricultural purposes
        4) until 1988, and to a lesser extent from then until the present day, the continued economic growth of the Zionist entity owes a significant amount to the existence & exploitation of cheap Palestinian labour
        5) the settlements in the West Bank & East Jerusalem derive their prosperity entirely from these two factors—cheap Palestinian labour and expropriation of natural resources. If Palestinians launched a general strike and took control of the water, land & agricultural resources that rightfully belong to them under international law, the settlements would collapse overnight
        6) although the USA primarily supports Zionism at the moment in order to have a client state/military base in the Middle East, economic concerns are an important secondary concern, especially the large military and technological industries within the Zionist state & their close working relationship with military forces and private military contractors throughout the USA & Europe. place an arms embargo on the Zionist state and its ability to sustain itself would collapse.

  4. Marnie
    Marnie
    June 4, 2018, 11:23 pm

    “It obliges Palestinians to abandon their sensibilities for the sake of their oppressor’s comfort.”
    It takes constant lawn mowing, putting palestinians on diets, enacting ever stricter military ‘laws’ to keep these oppressors comfortable.
    “Palestinians cannot organize. They cannot affiliate. They cannot fraternize. They exist only to die. The mere possibility of social life is enough for Israel to pursue their destruction.” As any palestinian would tell you, merely suggesting unity and solidarity on facebook is ‘antisemitism’ at it’s core!! Yet something else that makes the oppressor uncomfortable.
    “The God of this religion is “security,” a privilege unavailable to the people whose safety is actually threatened.” Hence the unending sacrifices of palestinian blood to the oppressor’s moloch.
    “Assigning blame to “both sides.” See tRUMP’s famous ‘good people on both sides’ speech, when one side was promoting violence and historically violent and murderous and the other side protesting against that, with the murder of one of the protestors.

    I was talking to an acquaintance about Gaza and all she could do was say she wishes there were peace, but was completely unwilling to recognize that the very obstacles to peace are in fact ‘israel’ and it’s bitch, the u.s. To her, stones were the problem, not what caused the stones to be thrown. Yes, kill the messengers, but shoot and cry about the lack of peace.

  5. Keith
    Keith
    June 5, 2018, 1:00 am

    EDWARD Q- “I think you assume it is obvious what is “realistic”.”

    No, I think that inferring someone is an anti-Arab racist because they raise the question of what is realistic under the circumstances is bullshit. I thought that I made that clear. To clarify, what do you think is more realistic? To fight for the lifting of the illegal and inhumane blockade or to stress the right of return of all of the refugees resulting in the end of Israel as a Jewish state? So yes, I think that eliminating the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza is more realistic than getting Zionist Israel to agree to allowing a full right of return resulting in the de facto elimination of the Jewish state. You disagree?

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      June 5, 2018, 12:58 pm

      I think that there is a style of discussion – and I think that it is in effect dominant among our Western politicians – whereby solicitude for Israel is so overwhelming and concern for the Palestinians so secondary that it deserves to be called extremely prejudiced in favour of one group defined in part by ancestry, racist really. Often enough inverted racism based on fear of being considered anti-Semitic, ie racist in another way.
      However, it’s not racist to point out that there exist disparities of power which affect what we can hope to achieve or that in most situations a lesser, though still significant, concession is easier to achieve than a greater, transformating one. Mind you, in this
      case I’m not so sure of that. No significant concession, not even the lifting of the blockade, seems clearly within grasp. Perhaps Israel is in the position of being unable to give an inch without giving a mile.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        June 5, 2018, 4:05 pm

        Thanks to echino for kind word above, sorry for the ugly ‘transfornatimg’ in my post. Don’t know how that got there.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        June 5, 2018, 7:01 pm

        ” sorry for the ugly ‘transfornatimg’ in my post. Don’t know how that got there.”

        Mossad.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        June 6, 2018, 12:01 pm

        “Mossad.”

        A rolling spel-chek gathers no Mossad.

    • pjdude
      pjdude
      June 17, 2018, 4:25 pm

      your ignoring the long and storied history of racists telling their victims to be realistic about what can be done. just look at the civil rights movement in the US. telling the opressed to be realistic and the need to cater to their oppressors sensibilities is racist. its essentially telling someone that they are inherently unimportant. why does Israel get to have lines that dont get to be crossed but the palestinians dont. your argument boils down to jews deserve more say because they have power because thats what your essentially saying.

  6. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    June 5, 2018, 2:28 pm

    If you compare Israel to other situations you get a sense of how messed up it is

  7. CHUCKMAN
    CHUCKMAN
    June 5, 2018, 3:31 pm

    Amen.

  8. sizzo37
    sizzo37
    June 6, 2018, 1:10 am

    “Zionists: transforming ‘anti-semitism’ from something horrible to something honorable since 1948”- Steven Salaita, tweeted July 19, 2014

  9. Ron Fox
    Ron Fox
    June 6, 2018, 9:37 am

    A Helpful New Definition and Bill for responding to the question
    “How to Tell When Defending Israel is Racist”

    BREAKING NEWS

    In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy, Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate along with the Secretary of State came together and each one read the following:

    Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. Robert Kennedy

    Following that, the US State Department issued the following definition of Anti-Palestinianism and leaders of the House and the Senate filed the Anti-Palestinianism Awareness Act of 2018 incorporating this definition.

    THE US STATE DEPARTMENT DEFINITION OF ANTI-PALESTINIANISM TO BE INCORPORATED IN THE ANTI-PALESTINIANISM AWARENESS ACT OF 2018

    Defining Anti-Palestinianism

    JUNE 6, 2018

    ________________________________________
    “Anti-Palestinianism is a certain perception of Palestinians, which may be expressed as hatred toward Palestinians. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Palestinianism are directed toward Palestinian or non-Palestinian individuals and/or their property, toward Palestinian community institutions and religious facilities.”

    Contemporary Examples of Anti-Palestinianism
    • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Palestinians (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion).
    • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians as such or the power of Palestinians as a collective.
    • Accusing Palestinians as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Palestinian person or group, the Occupied Territories, or even for acts committed by non-Palestinians.
    • Accusing the Palestinians as a people, or, of inventing or exaggerating the NAKBA.
    • Accusing Palestinians of being more loyal to the Occupied Territories or to the alleged priorities of Palestinians worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.

    What is Anti-Palestinianism Relative to the Occupied Territories?
    EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Palestinianism manifests itself with regard to the Occupied Territories, taking into account the overall context could include:
    DEMONIZE the Occupied Territories:
    • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Palestinianism to characterize the Occupied Territories
    • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Palestinians reactions to that of the Nazis
    • Blaming Palestinians for all inter-religious or political tensions
    DOUBLE STANDARD FOR the Occupied Territories:
    • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other occupied territories
    • Multilateral organizations focusing on the Occupied Territories only for peace or human rights investigations
    DELEGITIMIZE the Occupied Territories:
    • Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination, and denying the Occupied Territories international human and civil rights
    However, criticism of the Occupied Territories similar to that leveled against any other occupied territories cannot be regarded as anti-Palestinianism.

  10. Rokdr
    Rokdr
    June 7, 2018, 1:03 pm

    Jordan occupied the West Bank from 1949 – 1967. Why didn’t THEY set it up as a Palestinian State THEN! Maybe because THEY considered them to be non-Jordanian Arabs, and didn’t want the either! To this day, none of the surrounding Arab countries ALLOW “Palestinians” to immigrate to THEIR countries. Why IS that? And what IS a Palestinian? Yasir Arafat was born in Egypt, for instance! Recently I read an article about a “Palestinian”; it said: ” Mr. X, a Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia, ….”. There’s more to this that what Israel is being accused of. I thing the Arab countries prefer to imprison the people in Gaza to use them as a perpetual thorn in Israel’s side!

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      June 7, 2018, 7:20 pm

      Uh huh.
      The reason for the Jordanian ‘occupation’ – during which West Bank Palestinians had citizenship, civic rights and human rights, non-existent under israeli occupation – was a *trusteeship* until the issues of the *original* israeli occupation, all that territory *outside* israel’s declared borders and up to the Armistice/Green Line were resolved. Oddly enough, in the 19 years from 1948 to 1967, no headway at all was made. Now, why could that be?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      June 9, 2018, 3:21 pm

      ” Mr. X, a Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia, ….”.”

      Mr. Xstein, an Israeli born in the US, Britian, Canada, the EU, and who still holds citizenship in his home country…

  11. David Green
    David Green
    June 13, 2018, 11:21 am

    I am a week late to this thread, specifically in relation to the Finkelstein, BDS, two states issue. But for what it’s worth, I agree with Keith’s critiques above.

    I have avidly defended Salaita here in Urbana-Champaign–where he lost his job–for many years, and wrote about that on Mondoweiss. But he is mistaken to bring Finkelstein into his own critique, just as he was when he attacked Finkelstein in Electronic Intifada several years ago.

    I must also add that I transcribed Finkelstein’s recent comments on these controversial matters, just because I thought it was important for people to be able to read them and to have them in the textual record, rather than just on a youtube video. They are at this link:

    https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/bds-one-state-two-states-tactics-goals-and-resistance/

    I would also note that both Counterpunch and Mondoweiss rejected my submission of this transcript, while Z accepted it. That indicates that there is a common reluctance to address Finkelstein’s very serious critique of the BDS movement. That’s too bad for the Palestinians, in my view.

    • eljay
      eljay
      June 13, 2018, 12:17 pm

      || David Green: … I transcribed Finkelstein’s recent comments on these controversial matters, just because I thought it was important for people to be able to read them and to have them in the textual record, rather than just on a youtube video. They are at this link:

      https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/bds-one-state-two-states-tactics-goals-and-resistance/ … ||

      Thanks for the link. Finkelstein makes excellent points.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        June 13, 2018, 2:50 pm

        I think it consistent to argue that international law primarily and rightly requires the situation in Palestine to change in the Palestinians’ favour and that BDS is a reasonable means to achieve change and so to conclude that should be supported. This holds true even if I cannot make up my mind on which form of change I want or if I consider that there is a conflict between law favouring 2ss and morality favouring something else. International law does not require individuals to hold to certain ideas, only to take certain actions. So it is not inconsistency or hypocrisy or a mistake to support BDS without a settled mind about 2ss but it is a mistake to hold back from BDS because the question of 2ss is unsettled. So I think Finkekstein is mistaken. It’s true that if any change were to arrive clearly within the bounds of practically that would be a serious reason to support it – but to my mind that point has nowhere near been reached.
        I haven’t been questioning F’s premises but I do think that his suggestion that 1ss is absolutely – presumably even if negotiated and agreed in some more enlightened time – illegal is far too strong.

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