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Gideon Levy vs Benny Morris – and the fight for the soul of the one-state

Middle East
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For nearly a week now, a fierce ideological fight has been taking place on the pages of the Israeli daily Haaretz, between Israeli historian Benny Morris and Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy.

It started with Morris giving a long interview to Ofer Aderet in which he issued dire predictions for the future of the state of Israel. This has become a back-and-forth (Morris-Levy-Morris-Levy) that is a fight for the soul of the one-state. Both essentially agree, that the two-state solution is no longer an actual possibility. Thus, the discussion becomes, What kind of a state this is, and what it will become.

Let’s look first at Morris’ predictions in the first interview:

This place will decline like a Middle Eastern state with an Arab majority. The violence between the different populations, within the state, will increase. The Arabs will demand the return of the refugees. The Jews will remain a small minority within a large Arab sea of Palestinians, a persecuted or slaughtered minority, as they were when they lived in Arab countries. Those among the Jews who can, will flee to America and the West.

Benny Morris

Levy responded with a piece titled “Benny Morris’ Dystopian Predictions About Israel’s Future Miss the Point” that begins with a thank-you.

I find myself grateful to Benny Morris. In his blindness and his pessimism, he has once again reminded me of the hope that exists.

Once again making the case for a single democratic state, Levy shows Morris’s ideological thickness:

To his credit, [Morris] does understand that the two-state solution is no longer an option. To his discredit, he blames this entirely on the Palestinians. The man who accuses the Arabs of a dearth of self-criticism has been revealed as a characteristic Zionist, one who always blames the Arabs for everything. Here’s his solution: “Play the diplomatic game to retain the West’s sympathy.” If that’s the only thing left for Zionism to do, the Zionist project is indeed finished. But that isn’t the only option; Morris’ dystopian predictions are simply blind to the others. Anyone who papers over the connection between Zionism’s abuse of the Palestinians and their hatred of Israel is incapable of imagining that altering one half of this equation might alter the other.

Levy notes Morris’ (racist) view of ‘Arabs’ as pathologically murderous:

According to Morris and his ilk, the Arabs are born to kill. Every Palestinian gets up in the morning and asks himself, “Which Jew shall I slaughter today, and which shall I drive into the sea?” It’s a kind of hobby. And if so, there’s nothing to talk about and no one to talk to.

And countering Morris’s status quo of occupation for who knows how many years, Levy posits another possibility:

Yet there’s another, more encouraging possibility —– that when the Palestinians belatedly gain equality and justice, they will no longer be the same Palestinians. That under conditions of freedom and dignity, which they have never had, it will become possible to establish a different reality and a different relationship in a single democratic state. Morris has never thought about that, and neither has Zionism. Because if the Zionists thought about it, they might have an obligation to make it happen.

Morris’s response was titled “Gideon Levy Is Wrong About the Past, the Present, and I Believe the Future as Well”. It begins:

[Levy] described me, based on my remarks in an [2004] interview with Ari Shavit, as “the researcher who presented two choices, ethnic cleansing or genocide.” This relates, of course, to what happened in 1948. The unknowing reader is supposed to understand from Levy’s words that, rather than destroying the Arabs, the Jews choose to expel them. But that is not what I said. I said then and I say now that the Jewish community in 1948 had two possibilities: Either that the Arabs would commit genocide against them – and I have no doubt that an Arab victory in 1948 would have ended with mass slaughter of Jews – or the Jews, to defend themselves, would expel Arabs, or at least prevent those who fled and were expelled from returning.

There’s a heap of contradiction here. First of all, Morris is now, once again, confirming that what happened in 1948 was ethnic cleansing – something that he was denying just over two years ago in Haaretz, when he sought to counter his earlier statements in support of ethnic cleansing in that 2004 interview with Ari Shavit in Haaretz. This is a maddening back-and-forth between Morris and himself. He simply doesn’t know what to think anymore.

Morris’s claim that he only referred to genocide as something Palestinians may do to Jews is contradicted by his own genocidal advocacy in 2004. Look at the very long interview with Ari Shavit in 2004. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.

There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing. I know that this term is completely negative in the discourse of the 21st century, but when the choice is between ethnic cleansing and genocide – the annihilation of your people – I prefer ethnic cleansing.

Morris goes on to praise the annihilation of the Palestinians.

Even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians. There are cases in which the overall, final good justifies harsh and cruel acts that are committed in the course of history.

So you see, it’s pretty clear that Morris also meant genocide in the sense of what Zionism did (though he wouldn’t say it out loud). In Morris’s world, this is a zero-sum game, of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and they are essentially related and intertwined. So Levy was right. Those are Morris’s two options by his own weltanschauung.

Morris continues, as usual, to whitewash Zionist crimes and rewrite the history that he himself documented:

The Jews chose not to be massacred, and rightly so. But even ethnic cleansing according to the meaning of the term as it has been defined in recent decades, based on the actions of the Serbs in the 1990s in Bosnia, which included many intentional acts of murder and rape, was not carried out here. What happened here was a struggle between two peoples who both claimed the right to the same land.

Really? There were not many acts of murder and rape in the Nakba of 1948?

Back to ‘the other’ Morris, from his interview with Shavit. In the section titled “Rape, massacre, transfer”, Morris says:

What the new material shows is that there were far more Israeli acts of massacre than I had previously thought. To my surprise, there were also many cases of rape. In the months of April-May 1948, units of the Haganah [the pre-state defense force that was the precursor of the IDF] were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers, expel them and destroy the villages themselves… Usually more than one [Zionist] soldier was involved [in rape]. Usually there were one or two Palestinian girls. In a large proportion of the cases the event ended with murder. Because neither the victims nor the rapists liked to report these events, we have to assume that the dozen cases of rape that were reported, which I found, are not the whole story. They are just the tip of the iceberg.

That’s a whole lot of murder and rape, and what Morris found is “just the tip of the iceberg”. Now Morris is saying it didn’t happen. Which Morris should we believe?

Back to the present Morris, he whitewashes the Nakba:

Some of the Arabs who were expelled left on the advice of, under pressure from or on the instructions of Arab leaders, as happened in Haifa in April 1948. During the war, the Israeli government formulated a policy intended to prevent the return of the refugees (who had just tried to destroy the Jewish community); and this policy was indeed carried out on the ground. But there was no policy of “expulsion of the Arabs,” and so some 160,000 Arabs remained, about one-fifth of the country’s total population.

So, wait a minute, did the ‘Arabs’ get expelled, or did they leave on the instructions of Arab leaders? The argument, as Morris appears to know very well, is a typical Zionist apologetic one, to supposedly exonerate it from actual ethnic cleansing, since some Arab leaders actually or supposedly instructed to Palestinians to leave temporarily; and those instructions supposedly mean that they have no right to return.

Let’s look at what Morris said precisely about the case of Haifa in an interview in 1995 with Danny Rubinstein:

In Haifa, for example, there was no expulsion order, and probably there wasn’t an order from above or from outside of Palestine, from the Mufti or Arab leaders to the population, to leave when the Jews took over. After the population began to leave, there were some rumors – perhaps even orders from the Mufti – to continue to leave. But after the exit began, the Mufti went along with it and told his people in Haifa, okay, keep leaving the town. That’s not why they left. They had been subjected to attacks, the same as the Jewish population had been subjected to attacks by Arabs. For months, since December 1947-January 1948, there had been fighting along the seam between the two communities, and the actual battle for the city took place on April 21 and 22. A lot of middle- and upper-class Arabs had left the town already from December 1947 onwards and closed their businesses, causing unemployment. There was a shortage of food because, occasionally, Jews stopped convoys of food from reaching the town. And the leaders had left their posts, understandably causing a panic. The British, by saying we will escort you out of town and get you safely to Acre and to the Lebanese border, were actually in fact hinting to the population that, yes, you perhaps should leave. This is how the population understood it. There were also arrests, beatings and looting, as there was in every town which Jews took over. So all of these reasons combined to persuade the Arabs of Haifa to leave. Of some 70,000, only a few thousand remained, and most had decided to leave the town by the beginning of May 1948.

So, let’s get this right – it isn’t clear that there were orders from Arab leaders to leave at the outset. And in any case, that’s not why the Palestinians left: they left primarily because they were subject to Zionist militia attacks.

Morris knows this very well, and he knows that the Zionists knew in real time, because in his book ‘1948 and After’ he reproduced an IDF Intelligence Service document entitled “The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine in the Period 1/12/1947 – 1/6/1948”, dated 30 June 1948. The document lists 11 factors which caused the Palestinian exodus “in order of importance”. The three top ones are:

  1. Direct, hostile Jewish [ Haganah/IDF ] operations against Arab settlements.
  2. The effect of our [Haganah/IDF] hostile operations against nearby [Arab] settlements… (… especially the fall of large neighbouring centers).
  3. Operation of [Jewish] dissidents [Irgun Tzvai Leumi [aka Irgun] and Lohamei Herut Yisrael [aka Stern Gang]]

In other words, the Palestinians were terrorized into fleeing.

Morris is aware that the claims of “voluntary” flight are just “Israeli propaganda”. As he told Rubinstein:

Since 1948, the Jews have maintained that the Arabs fled, either what is called voluntarily, or because of orders or requests by their leaders inside or outside Palestine. This has been the basis of Israeli propaganda since 1948.

Although he has often been very vague about the Zionist policy of expulsion (he notes it typically as “born of war, not of design”), Morris is nonetheless clear about the facts. And denying the Palestinians the right to return is actually a confirmation of an expulsion policy, as he told Rubinstein:

Many Palestinians left not because they were actually expelled but because of the fear of war, the fear of battle reaching their homes, and so on. But once they had left their villages and the country, and then tried to come back and were barred – that is the point where one can talk of a policy of expulsion.

Back to Morris of today, whitewashing the ethnic cleansing:

There were officers who expelled Arabs (Yigal Allon, Yitzhak Rabin) and there were some who did not (Benjamin Dunkelman, Moshe Carmel). But the majority fled or were made to flee. Not exactly “ethnic cleansing”.

You see, I didn’t have to bring in another scholar into the picture in order to contradict Morris – I brought Morris himself, for he is a master of contradicting himself. “Rape… not carried out here.” “Many cases of rape.” And the contradictions are always a desperate attempt of Morris the Zionist political pundit, trying to extricate himself from the damning findings, which Morris the historian himself had already unearthed.

As to Morris’s appraisal of the present and future, it is basically liberal-Zionist boilerplate.

“I have always opposed occupation, a messianic occupation from a moral standpoint”.

Morris pays his lip-tax to the supposed, theoretical 2-state solution:

“With regard to the future, I still believe that the idea of two states for two peoples and territorial partition are the only basis for a solution that would provide a measure of justice to the two peoples”.

But alas…

“But like Levy, I also believe that it is not possible to bring it about at the moment, and it may not even be possible at all in the future”.

Although Morris opposes Netanyahu, whose “habits disgust” him, Morris really sounds like Netanyahu when he speaks about that 2-state solution. Like when Netanyahu, in 2015, in walking the tightrope of pretense between supporting a 2-state solution and maintaining status quo, said:

I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution. But for that, circumstances have to change.

That was just after his 2015 election, on the eve of which he promised that there would be no Palestinian state under his watch, and race-baited his voters saying, “the Arabs are coming to vote in droves,” all of which got really uncomfortable for Obama’s Administration.

This is all simply a Zionist status-quo maintenance, with all kinds of fancy words. In the end, it’s like what Defense Minister Moshe Dayan proposed saying to Palestinians in the wake of the 1967 war:

We don’t have a solution, and you will continue living like dogs, and whoever wants will go, and we’ll see how this procedure will work out.

Likewise, Morris doesn’t have a solution, he can’t see a possibility of a one democratic state, nor of two-states, only eventual doom for the Jews, once they lose their privilege.

The latest development in this ideological battle is Levy’s response from two days ago, titled “Benny Morris, You’re Wrong: Jews and Arabs Can Live Together. They Already Do”.

[T]he main problem with Morris’ position is his prediction for the future, spelled out in an interview with Haaretz: “This place will decline like a Middle Eastern state with an Arab majority,” he said. The Jews will remain a “persecuted or slaughtered minority”. That’s a description of a situation that leaves no option besides utter destruction, without addressing the causes of the situation. Morris is convinced that what prevailed in the past will also exist in the future. As a historian, he should know this isn’t the case, not forever. He describes the future as the twin of the present. Even worse, he views it through the glasses of race and arrogance. If it’s the Arabs that Morris is describing, and they remain like that forever, he’s right. It’s the end of the world, but there is another possibility.

Levy points out that Palestinians are normal people, who respond like any other normal people to oppression:

Morris views the present, in which a nation is fighting for its freedom, including with violence, like every nation in history, and concludes that this is how they will always be. He sees a nation that has never been treated fairly and concludes that that’s how it will remain forever. They will always kill. Whether under occupation and while suffering injustice or whether they are accorded justice and equality, they will always steal cars, always murder their women, always act savagely.

Levy provides examples of how order was restored, and even forgiveness achieved, in other cases of historical injustice:

You don’t need to be an optimist in order to believe in it. Morris is convinced that the Arabs will never forgive Israel for what it did to them. The Jews quickly forgave the Germans for much more horrible crimes. The blacks in the United States and in South Africa forgave the whites. France and Germany became allies right after World War II.

Benny Morris does not see any such possibility. Because the Palestinians are not viewed by him as normal. They are simply wild murderous animals that need to be caged, as he said to Ari Shavit back in 2004. And this is precisely why Morris sees no hope, whereas Levy does – because Levy has escaped the racist persuasion of Zionism, and Morris hasn’t.

About Jonathan Ofir

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

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29 Responses

  1. bcg
    bcg
    January 23, 2019, 6:20 pm

    On the whole two-state one-state issue, Bernard Avishai has an article in the online New York Review of Books titled “Confederation: The One Possible Israel-Palestine Solution” – it’s very detailed. Frankly, to me it sounds a little apartheid-lite, but I think it’s worth reading – as it becomes more obvious that two-states is dead, I predict the Zionists will start to adopt his point of view:

    https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/02/02/confederation-the-one-possible-israel-palestine-solution/

    Talk of confederation, I know, sounds wistful in the current environment, with Donald Trump in the White House, Likud in power, and Hamas in Gaza. But any talk of peace does. What’s really naïve is to suppose that only bad faith or ideological fanaticism has caused the two-state solution to fall into disrepute. Perhaps a confederal solution will take another generation to be realized. But in the 1970s, it was the two-state solution that seemed fanciful. Shikaki and Scheindlin found that, just in the past year, support in Israel for a confederation quite like the one described here rose from 28 to 39 percent.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      January 24, 2019, 9:21 am

      @beg, et al

      In the long run, as the Zionist zealots die off or leave, both peoples will realize that one state with unhampered trade and travel access to the entire region will best serve their common interests. It’s common sense and inevitable.

  2. JWalters
    JWalters
    January 23, 2019, 7:10 pm

    Zionist lies versus facts. Eventually this will be clear to everybody. Thank you Mr. Levy.

  3. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    January 23, 2019, 7:32 pm

    Edward Said was worried about the outcome of a single state: “I worry about that. The history of minorities in the Middle East has not been as bad as in Europe, but I wonder what would happen. It worries me a great deal. The question of what is going to be the fate of the Jews is very difficult for me. I really don’t know. It worries me.” https://politicsandculture.org/2010/08/10/an-interview-with-edward-said-2/

    Does that mean he was racist and only Jonathan Ofir and Gideon Levy are pure?

    (To be clear: Said was in favor of a majority Arab ruled Palestine, he just was unsure what its nature would be.)

    • amigo
      amigo
      January 23, 2019, 9:26 pm

      Yonah you are like a cat with a mouse on this issue and have been playing with it for a few days.You are desperately trying to place the blame on the Palestinians and cherry picking Edward Said,s words to make your self serving point.He had much more to say about Israel,s part in all of this but no mention from you.No surprise there.

      Did you even read the whole article you linked to ??.Or did you pick up those few words on some zionist site.

      Here are just a few of his words from the article.

      “As a Jew, you obviously have good reasons to be afraid. But in the long run, one should move toward less rather than more anxiety. Maybe I’m wrong, but the way I read it, the present existence of Israel is based largely upon fending off what’s around and preventing it, as it were, from crashing in. That’s an unattractive way to live, I think. The nationalistic option created an anxiety-ridden society. It produced paranoia, militarization and a rigid mindset. All for what? The other way, the option I’m talking about, would give you, the Jews, a much more mobile and open life. It would give the project of the Jews coming to Palestine,to Israel, a much saner basis.” Edward Said

      You and others might learn something outside of your blinkered view by reading the whole article.Do you have the courage Yonah???.

      https://politicsandculture.org/2010/08/10/an-interview-with-edward-said-2/

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        January 24, 2019, 9:11 am

        @amigo

        BINGO!!

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        January 30, 2019, 3:06 am

        Said the author who couldn’t name one damn Arab nation where ANY minority group had it better then Palestine Arabs in israel. Said was a brilliant iconic fraud. Which makes perfect sense considering the subject and the writer

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        January 30, 2019, 9:23 am

        DaBakr: “Said the author who couldn’t name one damn Arab nation where ANY minority group had it better then Palestine Arabs in israel.”

        Why don’t you name us one damn Arab country in which any minority group is not part of the nation of this state?

        No, name us one damn country in the world which is not the state of all of its citizens. Except Israel. That would be too easy. )And we are talking post 1945 to rule out Nazi Germany.)

        And while you are at it. Why don’t you tell us how minority groups in Arab countries are treated to be able to compare it to Israel’s treatment of Nonjews.

    • amigo
      amigo
      January 23, 2019, 9:39 pm

      “(To be clear: Said was in favor of a majority Arab ruled Palestine, ” Yonah Fredman.”

      And you and every zionist are in favour of a Jewish Majority ruled Greater Israel and could really care less what it might be like for the Non Jewish citizens (2nd class) as long as they don,t make trouble or encroach on Jewish supremacy.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      January 24, 2019, 3:18 am

      If the prospect of an Arab-ruled Palestine worries the Israeli Jews, the wise move for the Israeli Jews would be to start reconciling with the Palestinians and making friends.

      But they seem set on the opposite course.

  4. brent
    brent
    January 23, 2019, 11:47 pm

    I’m hoping Palestinians will consider rethinking the leadership’s reaction to Trump. He may have judged America would not deny Jerusalem to the Jews and moved the embassy, without stipulating sovereignty or borders for Jerusalem, in order to purchase the leverage he figured he would need to bring Israel to a deal in his first term.

    Also, that peaceful coexistence in this situation is sooner achieved without bloodletting.

  5. eljay
    eljay
    January 24, 2019, 8:20 am

    … Morris:

    … There are cases in which the overall, final good justifies harsh and cruel acts that are committed in the course of history.

    Zionists have an unsettling habit of inviting the world to do evil unto Jews. In this particular case, all that’s required is a subjective determination of “overall, final good”.

    Why do Zionists insist on hating Jews so much?!

  6. tamarque
    tamarque
    January 24, 2019, 8:50 am

    A real pickle of a problem: 1 vs 2 state solution. Israel was crafty (not really) in the slow stealth of Palestinian land creating ‘facts on the ground’ which makes removing Jewish settlers seem an impossible task. Actually, if it weren’t for the national hasbara and the constant guilt tripping over the holocaust, it would be costly but removal of the settlers is doable. If 750,000 Palestininas could be removed in a few months, the same could be done for the illegal settlers. So this needs to be stated and acknowledged.

    Morris is really an unethical person. I recall him being part of the New Historians that were removing the masks of denial and researching the true history of the State. But as most self-serving people, he let himself be bought off/woo’d by the State to change his leopard spots. I believe he was offered a cushy academic position but I could be corrected on the details of his ‘conversion’ to the zionist hasbara. I believe this experience in researching history vs the lies he now promotes is what causes him to be contradictory and confusing. He knows the history but will not deal with his own racism and bigotry. Being so public, he makes a good study in human psychology and the process of betraying intellectual ethics vs core emotional sickness.

    As for history to demonstrate how people can be changed, Levy does not differentiate between people of the same race vs those who are not. In Europe you had white people in a white supremacist culture getting over their conflcts and dealing with forgiveness with mutual alliances developing. in the US this has never happened. Native Americans were horribly decimated and are still living in abject poverty as a group with their treaty rights and lands consistantly being trashed. Government has been slowly eroding their treaty rights in many ways. Enforcing toxic fuel lines thru their territory and sacred grounds is only one of the recent examples. Native Americans do tend to take the peace path but have been organizing legal cases for a few decades now. African Americans are in even a worse situation as they never had treaty rights and their freedom from enslavement was in lip service only. Voting rights, granted in the 13th ammendment to the Constitution was disingenuous as the language in it clearly allows enslavement but now they are called criminals. The prison industry developed specifically to enslave people of color and excess poor whites, but mainly people of color who represent 15% (approx) of the population but 42% (approx) of the prison population. The entire law and order set of institutions was designed specifically to ensnare people of color and still make profits off them again as unpaid labor in prisons. For those unknowlng folks, prisons make contracts with industry for profit and use inmates for free labor (paying inmates $.50/hour is free labor!).

    So the point here being that unless the Zionist State is totally disengaged from its core ideology and structural racism, you will have the same type of continuation of impoverishment and destruction of the Palestinians even if Israel is forced to create a democratic constitution which it has refused to do for the very reason of avoiding being held accountable to it. It is all a very nasty game they are playing but only get away with it because they weild power with guilt and the State’s usefulness to the US and other western nations as a Euro-centered white culture that will serve to continue the racism and colonialist mentality of the West.

    • jackal
      jackal
      January 29, 2019, 8:00 pm

      Very well expressed in a concise and articulate short version of the problems in both countries that have been caused by greed and religious ignorance — in the case of Judiasm/Islam in Israel/Palestine and in the case of the US, initially Quaker/Protestant and now the Zionist Evangelical movement.

  7. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    January 24, 2019, 10:50 am

    Meanwhile:

    http://www.dci.plo.ps/en/article/11566/January-24,-2019-Dr-Ashrawi-Israeli-attacks-against-Palestinian-Political-Prisoners-are-cruel-and-unconscionable

    The Palestine Liberation Organization – Press Release, January 24/19

    “Dr. Ashrawi: Israeli attacks against Palestinian Political Prisoners are cruel and unconscionable”

    “In light of the ongoing and grave escalation in human rights abuses against Palestinian political prisoners, including children, at the hands of Israeli occupation authorities, PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi issued the following statement:

    “Ongoing Israeli attacks against Palestinian prisoners, including child prisoners, are cruel and unconscionable.

    “The escalating situation comes in the context of systematic efforts by the Israeli government to vilify and incite against Palestinian political prisoners while taking additional punitive measures that exacerbate the dismal and illegal conditions of their detention. Six thousand Palestinians are imprisoned by Israel, including 700 suffering from chronic illnesses and 230 children. They endure systematic violations of their most basic human rights, including torture and other forms of maltreatment.

    “The institutional hostility and depravity against Palestinian prisoners in Israel must stop. State parties to international conventions on human rights, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, have an obligation to ensure universal respect for human rights and protected persons. Continued international silence on this matter is unacceptable. It emboldens Israel to act above the law and exclude the Palestinian people from the norms and rules of universal human rights.

    “I have written to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, urging her on behalf of the Palestinian leadership, to confront these violations and protect the victims from further abuse.

    “I also called on her to speak on behalf of Palestinian prisoners, specifically victims of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and defend their inalienable right to life, dignity, and safety.
    I urge all states and champions of human rights to speak up on this issue and hold Israel accountable for its documented and demonstrable human rights abuses. Continued international neutrality is an irresponsible and unacceptable disservice to the rights-based international system.”

  8. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw
    January 24, 2019, 1:58 pm

    Both of these two losers should be put out to pasture.

    • bcg
      bcg
      January 25, 2019, 8:57 am

      @Jackdaw: ad-hominem. If you had something to say about the content of the piece, what would it be?

  9. Nathan
    Nathan
    January 28, 2019, 10:49 am

    This “one-state solution vs. two-state solution” debate is really a boring waste of time. Both concepts have a common denominator, namely “a solution”. By “solution”, one surely means a solution to the conflict (i.e. the absolute end of conflict, there being no further grievances by either side). And, obviously, either the one-state solution or the two-state solution necessitates an agreement between the two sides. There won’t be an agreement, period.

    In order to reach a solution to the conflict, one must first define correctly the reason that brought the conflict into being, and then one must propose an idea that rectifies the very grievance that gave birth to the conflict. It’s quite rare that an article in Mondoweiss touches on the very birth of the conflict. Generally, in the anti-Israel world, there is a preference to repeat again and again and again all the grievances that came into being AFTER the birth of the conflict. No one ever says that rectifying such grievances (“refugees”, “occupation” for example) would mean that the conflict has been solved, because indeed there was a conflict before the war in 1967 (“occupation”) and before the 1947 Partition Plan (“refugees”). Obviously, rectifying the consequences of a conflict wouldn’t solve the real problem. Moreover, this is not a conflict that was born when one side said that it insists on having a state of its own in part of the country (two-state reality), or when one side said that it insists on living with the other side in a single state (one-state reality). So, it doesn’t really matter if we decide on a one-state solution or a two-state solution. The conflict will continue either way.

    The Israeli Jews see the country as their ancient homeland to which they have returned after a long exile. The Palestinian Arabs reject the very idea that Palestine is the homeland of another people. In any peaceful or agreed solution, the Arabs will have to accept the idea that the Jews have a right to live in the country (i.e, it is indeed their homeland) – and that is absolutely impossible from the Palestinian point of view. The returning of Jews to a land that is regarded to be “waqf” (an Islamic possession) means that a pre-Islamic civilization is still relevant. This means, of course, that there was no need for Islam in the first place – and that is an intolerable thought. The Palestinians, therefore, can only sign an agreement with the Jews if it is allowed to continue the conflict afterwards; but, obviously, the Jews will not sign an agreement unless it’s final and the conflict is over once and for all.

    There is another theoretical possibility, and it is the non-peaceful and the non-agreed “solution”: The Palestinians could eventually defeat the Jews. The last 100 years seem to indicate that this is a very unlikely scenario. Israel is a very successful and thriving state, and she’s very capable of handling the pressures of conflict (including the many, many articles in Mondoweiss).

    So, there won’t be an agreed end of conflict, and it’s impossible to defeat Israel. It seems more likely that the present status quo will continue into the foreseeable future. There will continue being low-level violence against the background of intense propaganda and political activism (none of which will have the slightest impact on changing the reality of life).

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 28, 2019, 11:50 am

      || Nathan: … In any peaceful or agreed solution, the Arabs will have to accept the idea that the Jews have a right to live in the country (i.e, it is indeed their homeland) … ||

      “The Arabs” have to accept that Jews have a right to live in geographic Palestine as citizens of one or two secular and democratic states.

      “The Jews” have to accept that geographic Palestine was not and still is not the homeland (“ancient”, “eternal”, “one true” or other) of every person in the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who chooses to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish.

      Both “the Arabs” and “the Jews” have to accept is that neither group is entitled to a supremacist state of any kind.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      January 28, 2019, 1:07 pm

      Nathan: “In order to reach a solution to the conflict, one must first define correctly the reason that brought the conflict into being, …”

      That’s easy. Let’s start with the creation of a “Jewish state” in Palestine and the expulsion of the majority of its citizens.

      Nathan “… and then one must propose an idea that rectifies the very grievance that gave birth to the conflict.”

      Ok. Annulation of the state of Israel and return of those who were expelled and their descendants.

      Nathan: “The Israeli Jews see the country as their ancient homeland to which they have returned after a long exile.”

      Well they are believing a hoax, because not a single Israeli academic has been able to proof that there has ever been an exile (beyond Jerusalem). IAnd it is a matter of fact that the immigration of foreigners which happen to be Jewish was imposed on the people of the country.

      Nathan: “The Palestinian Arabs reject the very idea that Palestine is the homeland of another people.”

      I see what you did there. No hint that the Israeli Jews would see it this way. And no reference that the Palestinians have been the native population of Palestine who have been actually living there. And you are wrong. “Palestinians” is the term of a constitutive people which includes “Arabs” and Nonarabs, including Jews. Even according to the PLO definition o1964 some Jews are automatically considered to be “Palestinians”.

      Nathan: “In any peaceful or agreed solution, the Arabs will have to accept the idea that the Jews have a right to live in the country (i.e, it is indeed their homeland) – and that is absolutely impossible from the Palestinian point of view.”

      Again, absolutely wrong. You are just projecting again the Zionist view unto the Palestinians. It is Israel that doesn’t accept the idea that all citizens of the then mandated state of Palestine and their descendants have a right to live in their country which is ACTUALLY and without being a HOAX their real homeland.

      Your see through shtick is just pathetic.

    • Brewer
      Brewer
      January 28, 2019, 2:36 pm

      “the Arabs will have to accept the idea that the Jews have a right to live in the country”

      A “right’ precisely equivalent to any person’s right to live in any country in which their ancestors have lived at any time.
      In other words, a “right” that, if it did exist in any World (apart from a Zionist’s perverse imagination) would render the World ungovernable, any concept of nationhood or even race, meaningless.
      Of course, such a right would return Palestinians to their homes immediately eh Nathan?

      It is often said that the Arabs fled, that they left the country voluntarily, and that they therefore bear the responsibility for losing their property and their land. It is true that in history there are some instances — in Rome and in France during the Revolutions when enemies of the state were proscribed and their property confiscated.

      In general international law, the principle holds true that no citizen loses his property or his rights of citizenship; and the citizenship right is de facto a right to which the Arabs in Israel have much more legitimacy than the [European] Jews. Just because the Arabs fled? Since when is that punishable by confiscation of property and by being barred from returning to the land on which a people’s forefathers have lived for generations? Thus, the claim of the Jews to the land of Israel cannot be a realistic political claim. If all nations would suddenly claim territories in which their forefathers had lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse.”
      – Erich Fromm

      • jackal
        jackal
        January 29, 2019, 8:17 pm

        Totally right. My ancestors came from Russia, after having been forced to leave Europe. They bought land in the Ukraine in the 1700’s and farmed and to some extent industrialized some of the area for a 150 years. Before and during theRussian revolution they were again forced to leave it all behind, much as the Palistinians were forced from their land. Should we perhaps suggest to the US gov’t to help us get back our land, in the same fashion as the Israelis had the help of the British and French to exorcize the Palistinians? I don’t think so.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      January 29, 2019, 1:16 am

      ” Generally, in the anti-Israel world, there is a preference to repeat again and again and again all the grievances that came into being AFTER the birth of the conflict. ”

      To show that the source of the conflict – Zionisms – leads to evil consequences as well as being evil in itself.

      “Moreover, this is not a conflict that was born when one side said that it insists on having a state of its own in part of the country (two-state reality), or when one side said that it insists on living with the other side in a single state (one-state reality). ”

      No, it was born when one side insisted on having having a state of its own in the whole of the country, or at least as much as it could steal and hold onto.

      “In any peaceful or agreed solution, the Arabs will have to accept the idea that the Jews have a right to live in the country (i.e, it is indeed their homeland)”

      The Jews will have to accept the idea that the Arabs have a right to live in the country.

      (What is a “homeland”? If a territory is the “homeland” of the distant ancestors of a group, how does that give the modern descendants of that group the right to live there?)

      “The returning of Jews to a land that is regarded to be “waqf” (an Islamic possession) means that a pre-Islamic civilization is still relevant. This means, of course, that there was no need for Islam in the first place – and that is an intolerable thought.”

      This piece of tosh ignores the fact that many of the aggrieved Palestinians are Christians. Oddly, their strong presence in Palestine did not seem to have any intolerable implications for the Muslim Palestinians.

  10. Danaa
    Danaa
    January 28, 2019, 4:04 pm

    Levy provides examples of how order was restored, and even forgiveness achieved, in other cases of historical injustice:

    You don’t need to be an optimist in order to believe in it. Morris is convinced that the Arabs will never forgive Israel for what it did to them. The Jews quickly forgave the Germans for much more horrible crimes. The blacks in the United States and in South Africa forgave the whites. France and Germany became allies right after World War II.

    This is interesting – bringing in the concept of “forgiveness” as a criterion for whether or not the future can be different from the past, and whether the hatchet can be buried.

    WE never know of course, and cannot know, until events happen. But there are indications that some are more capable of forgiveness than others.

    The Vietnamese certainly could be crowned as the most forgiving of people given their graciousness towards American visitors after the horrors that were visited upon them by the US. The South African blacks have shown willingness to live with the white, though I am not sure there was actual “forgiveness”.

    But the jews never did forgive the Germans, no matter how many Jews and israelis visit Germany. In their soul of souls there has been no real forgiveness. Not for the germans of then and not for the Germans of now. Most Jews of israel still believe that if you scratch under the surface of a German you’ll find a Nazi. They may not always say it out in the open, but the conviction, that hard core distrust is always there.

    And not just the Germans. I maintain that Jewish history and Jewish texts, such as the Talmud, are not exactly replete with “forgiveness”. Indeed, if one were to carefully read the Passover haggadah – the original, not the reform version in the US – the one thing that’s missing is, in fact, forgiveness.

    It is Christianity that brought in the concepts of “forgiveness” starting with jesus’ words on the cross “forgive them for they know not what they do”. It is Christianity, in the protestant version, that brought forth the concept of “grace” (interpreted broadly). Yes, there are words attributed to Hillel, and there are admonishions to kindness in the Talmud (as well as the opposite). But there’s not much forgiveness in the Tanakh and little evidence that the god as portrayed there had much use for that, except among certain very chosen individuals.

    I think that it is the Jews of Israel who’ll find it most difficult to forgive the Palestinians, should they ever chance to live side by side. That, while I also believe, based on countless anecdotes, that it is the Palestinians who have the greater capacity to forgive.

    We can argue this back and forth for all eternity, but for me, I only wish we could put my thesis to the test.

    • amigo
      amigo
      January 28, 2019, 5:20 pm

      “But the jews never did forgive the Germans, no matter how many Jews and israelis visit Germany.”Danaa

      Asking for forgiveness is tantamount to admitting guilt.

      Zionist Jews will never admit guilt at any level.They wouldn,t know where to begin.They claim that the Occupation was forced on them.They claim that the Palestinians –every man , woman and child , that is , wishes to drive them into the sea.Add to that the claim that God gave them so called Israel and you have yourself a recipe for a people who will knowingly commit national suicide before taking blame for what they have done or admitting their whole existence has been based on lies and fantasies for the last 100 years.Zionists are way past the point of return.

      • jackal
        jackal
        January 29, 2019, 8:22 pm

        You have definitely pointed out the heart of the dispute!

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        January 30, 2019, 9:55 am

        Typical symptoms of narcissim.

    • gamal
      gamal
      January 28, 2019, 5:25 pm

      oh forgiveness, well no need to be downhearted

      “By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, God would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from God; and God will certainly forgive them.”

      for himself he said

      “I turn to God seventy times a day seeking pardon and forgiveness”

      Muhammad

      From Muslim and Bukhari

    • Keith
      Keith
      January 29, 2019, 12:49 am

      DANAA- “Most Jews of israel still believe that if you scratch under the surface of a German you’ll find a Nazi.”

      Under the surface of a German? How about under the surface of the Goyim? Isn’t that what Zionism is all about?

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