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Palestine and the Climate Crisis 

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The urgency of the global climate crisis makes it imperative for any social justice movement to come to grips with, and confront it in some way. There can be no social justice, after all, on a dead planet.

Biologists report that Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction (the previous mass extinction, 65 million years ago, ended the dinosaurs). The World Wildlife Fund reports that 60% of the world’s vertebrate population has died off since 1970, a mere half century ago. Global carbon emissions reached an all-time high in 2018 and the accumulated concentrations of greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere have set a new record, and are increasing. At the current rate of global emissions, climate models predict 4°C to 7°C of warming above pre-industrial global averages by 2100, a time frame within the lifetimes of young people today.

Temperature increases at the low end of this range would result in the end of civilization, as Noam Chomsky and prominent climate scientists have warned. The high end of this temperature range would likely be an extinction level event for human beings, along with many other species, because of deadly heat waves and other extreme weather events, sea level rise of several meters, and the collapse of the global food system.

Even a much lower global average temperature increase of 2°C, set by the Paris Climate Agreement, would be catastrophic according to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with, among other concomitants, the death of virtually all coral reefs in all the world’s oceans. The IPCC estimates a maximum of 12 years within which the world can reduce global emissions by 45%, which then must be followed by a further decrease to zero net emissions worldwide by 2050.

A garbage truck is seen unloading near the sewage water basins in the northern Gaza Strip, Sept. 19, 2013.(Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Climate Vulnerability in Palestine

Nowhere is the impact to the environment more connected to injustice and oppression than in Palestine. Over and above the military invasions and apartheid practices, Israel also wages its ethnic cleansing agenda through toxic waste-dumping, intentional destruction of water storage and sewage facilities, and the expropriation of fresh water sources from Palestinian communities, for the exclusive use by Jewish settlers. As a consequence, 97 percent of ground water in Gaza is now undrinkable. Israel’s assaults are not only environmental crimes, they are integral to Israel’s colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Friends of the Earth International aptly described what is happening in Palestine as an Environmental Nakba (PDF), and there can be no doubt that global warming will amplify this unfolding disaster.

The effects of global warming are projected to be more extreme in the Middle East than on the planet as a whole.  An MIT study found that under business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions, extreme heat waves in the Middle East would result, within decades, in temperature and humidity increases beyond the limits of human survivability. According to one of the authors of the report, “Our results expose a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant [carbon cuts], is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future.”

Another study focused on the Mediterranean Basin, including Israel/Palestine, reported that “rates of climate change observed in the Mediterranean Basin exceed the global trends for most variables.” The environmental threats include droughts occurring at the same time as increased water needs for irrigation on account of higher evaporation rates.

Gaza, in particular, faces environmental perils not only from changing atmospheric conditions but also from ocean acidification and ocean deoxygenation both of which threaten ocean ecology and therefore endanger a major food source for Gazans. In addition sea level is projected to rise by as much as several meters by leading climate scientist James Hansen and fellow researchers, possibly as soon as 50 years from now. These climactic changes will have devastating effects on Israel and many other countries as well, but since Gaza is essentially an open air prison whose inhabitants are confined to the coast, a single major storm could all but end life there.

Palestine is already hanging by an environmental thread, with life threatening shortages of clean water and the effects of a host of other environmental crimes carried out by Israel. Even moderate global warming will intensify these problems. One can easily imagine a scenario in which climate change acts as a final step in Israel’s ethnic cleansing program, allowing the Israeli government to claim at some time in the near future that “natural causes” were to blame for the demise of the Palestinian people, a demise that just happened to solve Israel’s “demographic problem.”

What can be done?

The Zionist policy to keep Palestinian society barely on life support is an obvious barrier to the development of adaptations to climate change, sea level rise, and related environmental threats for Palestinians. International pressure might help mitigate this, but fundamentally, the climate crisis is a global crisis.  It is not exclusive to any one region, and it follows that solutions to the crisis are necessarily global. What must be done to minimize the climate disruption in Palestine is the same as what must be done to minimize it globally.

The root cause of the climate crisis, and more broadly the global environmental crisis, is the global capitalist system. This is because perpetual growth on a finite planet is impossible, and by its very nature, capitalism requires perpetual economic growth. In order to stave off mass unemployment and economic misery, capitalism requires ever-increasing commodity production, resource extraction, trash and toxic dumping, and especially energy production. A corporation that cannot promise growth is a corporation that will soon be out of business. Capitalism, with its grow-or-die imperative, drives the world’s increasing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental devastation. A social justice movement that seeks only to find accommodations within capitalism is ultimately doomed to fail, and through neglect to help doom the planet.

Individual actions can play only a very limited a role, but there is one important choice individuals can make to support a livable planet: stop flying. In the apocalyptic British film, The Age of Stupid, one of the characters remarks, “other than setting fire to a forest, flying is the single worst thing an ordinary individual can do to cause climate change.”

Air travel indeed contributes disproportionately to global warming. According to NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus, “Hour for hour, there’s no better way to warm the planet than to fly in a plane. If you fly coach from Los Angeles to Paris and back, you’ve just emitted 3 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, 10 times what an average Kenyan emits in an entire year…however, the total climate impact of planes is likely two to three times greater than the impact from the CO2 emissions alone.” Air travel contributes disproportionately to global warming, not only because of greenhouse gas and soot emissions but also on account of the effects of contrails on atmospheric chemistry and cirrus cloud formation. Activists and academics should carefully weigh the benefits of flying somewhere to give a talk in support of social justice against the heavy damage that flying causes not only to Palestine but to the world.

More broadly, it is essential for US activists to support an uncompromised Green New Deal as a first step toward more comprehensive steps including:

1) Nationalize the fossil fuel industry and the industries that depend on fossil fuels in order to phase them out.

2) Launch an emergency program to rapidly phase in renewable power, electrified mass transportation, and sustainable agriculture.

3) Institute a federal public works program, similar to FDR’s 1930’s depression programs, to employ workers from fossil fuel dependent industries to build a new sustainable national economy.

The climate crisis is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. It has the potential to cause the destruction of civilization, mass extinctions, and in the worst case scenarios, the end of our species. The time to act is now.

About David Klein

David Klein is a member of the Organizing Collective of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) and is the director of the Climate Science Program at California State University Northridge. He is also a member of System Change not Climate Change and is the author of the ebook, Capitalism and Climate Change: The Science and Politics of Global Warming.

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57 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson on February 4, 2019, 2:35 pm

    Thank’s. I have long wondered how Israel/Palestine would be impacted by climate change.
    I suspect Israel has designs on Lebanon’s Litani River.

  2. Parity
    Parity on February 4, 2019, 3:40 pm

    It would be useful to have a calculation on how missiles, bombs, bombers, tanks, bullets, and teargas affect the climate. Does war have a big effect on climate change?

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      Lillian Rosengarten on February 5, 2019, 12:16 pm

      This is reality. Our world leaders are greedy and stupid. Of course wars, and planes and lack of nurturing and caring for our sad world is leading to a terrible end.

  3. Keith
    Keith on February 4, 2019, 5:19 pm

    DAVID KLEIN- “At the current rate of global emissions, climate models predict 4°C to 7°C of warming above pre-industrial global averages by 2100, a time frame within the lifetimes of young people today.”

    Unfortunately, the climate models rather consistently underestimate the rate of climate change. Below I quote from an article by Dahr Jamail where the International Energy Agency estimates a 6 degree C (11 degree F) rise by 2050 while Shell and BP estimate only a 5 degree C (9 degree F) increase by 2050. A global 9 to 11 degree Fahrenheit increase in about 30 years? We are doomed.

    “The International Energy Agency has already shown that maintaining our current fossil-fueled economic system would virtually guarantee a six-degree rise in the Earth’s temperature before 2050. To add insult to injury, a 2017 analysis from oil giants BP and Shell indicated that they expected the planet to be five degrees warmer by mid-century.” (Dahr Jamail) https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/01/18/a-planet-in-crisis-the-heats-on-us/

    • Keith
      Keith on February 4, 2019, 5:29 pm

      More good news. Click the link and check out the graph. 280 ppm is the historical baseline. Keep in mind that CO2 naturally lingers in the atmosphere for centuries.

      “During 2019 Met Office climate scientists expect to see one of the largest rises in atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentration in 62 years of measurements. The Met Office CO₂ forecast is based on a combination of factors including rising anthropogenic emissions and a relative reduction in the uptake of carbon-dioxide by ecosystems due to tropical climate variability.” (Met Office) https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2019/2019-carbondioxide-forecast

  4. JWalters
    JWalters on February 4, 2019, 7:15 pm

    In my mind the problem is greed and corruption rather than capitalism. Capitalism is simply a system that let’s a person save their earnings (“capital”) and re-invest it in their business. Individual initiative is a key engine of innovation, and the Constitution provides for patent and copyright laws to encourage such innovation.

    But it’s clear that capitalism must be regulated or the wealthiest will take over the system, as the game of Monopoly was invented to demonstrate. And the most ruthless, corrupt predators will become the wealthiest if allowed. And that is what we have today.

    Today ruthless, corrupt predators control the media, and hence are able to keep most of the public uninformed about their manufacturing wars for profit, their manufacturing economic crises for profit, and their intentional environmental plundering. Nothing will change until these predators are taken down. And as the data show, it needs to happen soon. These predators are as arrogant and ignorant as they are ruthless, and WILL drive humanity off a cliff if they are allowed to keep control.

  5. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw on February 5, 2019, 6:26 am

    Right. Like I’ve been saying.

    The PA and Hamas must make a two-State deal right now.

    That’s if Islamic law allows Muslims to cede Muslim land to Jews.
    I think Islam forbids this, and that it’s gummed up the works these 100 years.

    Experts on Islamic law, I’m not one, are asked to weigh in on this question.

    • gamal
      gamal on February 5, 2019, 8:24 am

      No need you could just consult history the 5th(?) Crusade the Sultan offered to exchange Damietta for Jerusalem the Crusaders refused and then lost..so no need to trouble “Islamic law” I suspect your loathsome racism is playing up, it gives you no rest.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw on February 5, 2019, 1:54 pm

        @gamal

        I’m not asking whether there has been any historical precedence, I’m asking what Islamic law is, and you sir, apparently, can’t answer.

        BTW, as I’ve mentioned here before, one of my dearest, dearest friends is an (Christian) Arab-American.
        So, no, I can’t be a racist in anyone’s eyes, except in the eyes of a hater.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on February 5, 2019, 2:42 pm

        “BTW, as I’ve mentioned here before, one of my dearest, dearest friends is an (Christian) Arab-American.
        So, no, I can’t be a racist in anyone’s eyes”

        Good thing you didn’t say “best”. “Dearest dearest” carries so much more conviction.

      • amigo
        amigo on February 5, 2019, 2:48 pm

        “So, no, I can’t be a racist in anyone’s eyes, ” jackduh

        Yeah, we know, your not a racist —-BUT.

        And your dearest friend is a Christian.

        Many of my dearest friends are Jewish.How can I be a hater.

        None of my dearest friends are zionists.Does that make me a Jew hater.I guess if you conflate all Jews with Zionism –it does , but that would be Antisemitic.

        Why do you hate Jews so much –jackduh.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on February 5, 2019, 4:16 pm

        The argument in face of accusations of anti-Semitism that ‘some of my best friends are Jews’ – which Jeremy Corbyn (once again ‘anti-Semitism’ trouble) could well make – has come to be regraded with scorn. It’s interesting to see Jackdaw adopting a version of it. I’ve long thought the scorn a bit excessive. Perhaps not all Zionists are prejudiced, just in inveterate error.

      • gamal
        gamal on February 5, 2019, 9:06 pm

        “This mindset only works in the muddled thinking of a zionist”

        and Islamic law is particularly harsh with that kind of thing…probably… you’d have to ask someone though like who might kind of know…what a way to earn a shekel.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw on February 6, 2019, 1:30 am

        @gamal

        Okay.
        The question comes down to this; is Palestine inalienable waqf land, or is it fay’ land?
        Hamas and the PA claim that it is waqf land.

        Well. Is it or isn’t it?
        Waqf or fay’?

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 6, 2019, 8:53 am

        Jackdaw: “Well. Is it or isn’t it? Waqf or fay’?”

        In the Ottoman period miri land was transfered to Non Muslim.

        But you are confusing individual with national land rights. In other words, those who consider Palestine to be wafq, won’t endorse transfering parts to Israel.

    • Talkback
      Talkback on February 5, 2019, 8:43 am

      So you still can’t except the reality of the Palestine Papers, can you?

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw on February 5, 2019, 1:56 pm

        @talk the talk

        Not for the last time, I don’t know what your talking about.

      • amigo
        amigo on February 5, 2019, 3:13 pm

        “Not for the last time, I don’t know what your talking about.”jackduh

        Jackduh , Not for the first time , you don,t know what your talking about.

      • amigo
        amigo on February 5, 2019, 8:39 pm

        “It’s interesting to see Jackdaw adopting a version of it.” MHughes976

        Jackdaw , like most zionists is possessed of limited and mono thinking.

        Non Jews who oppose Israel,s policies may not have Jewish friends because they are haters of all Jews . Conversely, Jews who applaud land theft and the murder of Palestinians are allowed to claim they do not hate them because they have a Palestinian who is their dearest friend .

        This mindset only works in the muddled thinking of a zionist.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 6, 2019, 8:29 am

        Jackdaw: “@talk the talk”

        Grow up, Jackdaw.

        Jackdaw: “Not for the last time, I don’t know what your talking about.”

        You demand from Palestinians to deliever, allthought it has been proven that it is Israel that sabotages the outcome of negotiations, even if Palestinians are willing to except the unacceptable. See the Palestine Papers:

        Jackdaw: “That’s if Islamic law allows Muslims to cede Muslim land to Jews.
        I think Islam forbids this, and that it’s gummed up the works these 100 years. ”

        You are wrong again. Every Muslim and non-Muslim are entitled under Sharia to the ownership and transfer of property. But unfortunately for Apartheid Jews both the Quran and hadith forbid taking over property of others through unlawful means whether by and individual or by state.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on February 6, 2019, 10:07 pm

        That should be

        “those who consider Palestine to be wafq won’t endorse transfering parts to Israel.”

        “Who consider Palestine to be wafq” is a defining relative clause, so it does not take commas.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus on February 6, 2019, 11:47 pm

        Moslem, schmoslem. There’s nothing religious in prohibiting the sale of real estate to an invading, thieving enemy and everyone is falling into the trap set by that Jacksomething of seriously discussing something so obvious.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 7, 2019, 8:24 am

        @ RoHa

        That changes everything. I need to withdraw my comment and focus on the right use of commata. Or would it be ok to continue the debate in my native language?

      • RoHa
        RoHa on February 8, 2019, 4:14 am

        No, it’s more fun if you keep commenting in English and I keep posting corrections.

        That way at least some of my comments will get through. The mods have been clamping down on me recently.

    • bcg
      bcg on February 5, 2019, 9:11 am

      @Jackdaw: I’d be all for two states, but it is no longer possible – look at this map put out by ICAHD, as well as the text below:

      https://icahd.org/get-the-facts/matrix-control/

      How will this end, Jackdaw? Realistically, not in your fictional world in which Israel is willing and eager to negotiate.

    • Rashers2
      Rashers2 on February 5, 2019, 9:30 am

      “That’s if Islamic law allows Muslims to cede Muslim land to Jews.” I may know a bit about Islamic finance but not a lot about Shari’a land law. What I’m sure of, however, is that there will be no fatwas against Jews ceding land to Muslims because the Quran doesn’t forbid the restitution of stolen property to its owners. Problem solved for you, ‘daw.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on February 5, 2019, 12:31 pm

        “What I’m sure of, however, is that there will be no fatwas against Jews ceding land to Muslims because the Quran doesn’t forbid the restitution of stolen property to its owners. “ “Rashers2”.

        Well said, sir!

      • eljay
        eljay on February 5, 2019, 1:20 pm

        || Mooser: … Well said, sir! ||

        +1.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw on February 6, 2019, 1:52 am

        @rashers

        You’re very funny.

        But really, a fatwa from 1935 signed by 249 ulama, including muftis, qadis (judges), and other officials of Palestine, according to which, “These holy lands are the first qibla (direction of prayer), the third mosque, the destination of the isra’ and the mi’raj (the Prophet Muhammad’s nighttime journey to the Al-Aqsa Mosque as per the Quran (17:1) and the story of his ascent to Heaven) of your Prophet, and the earth that is drenched with the blood of righteous Muslim warriors and the prophets, holy men, martyrs and righteous forefathers, and every step of these lands embodies all the glorified holy endowment deeds that survived over the generations, and they are what determine the Islamic nature of the Land, for there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger. The Holy Land, which embodies all of the above is the deposit (amana) of Allah and his Messenger and entails a duty for all Muslims.
        Therefore, the sale of any piece to the Zionists is a betrayal of Allah and his Messenger and all Muslims, and its [significance] is extinguishment of the light that shines from the Holy Land, and [in addition, such a sale] promotes the expulsion of Muslims from their lands.”

        There’s no law, like old law!

      • eljay
        eljay on February 7, 2019, 8:17 am

        || Jackdaw: … But really, a fatwa from 1935 … according to which, “ … Therefore, the sale of any piece to the Zionists … ||

        The fatwa says “the Zionists”, not “the Jews” (or “Jews”). Imagine that.

      • Rashers2
        Rashers2 on February 8, 2019, 4:35 am

        Jackdaw, you quote the Quran, “Therefore, the sale of any piece to the Zionists is a betrayal of Allah and his Messenger and all Muslims, and its [significance] is extinguishment of the light that shines from the Holy Land, and [in addition, such a sale] promotes the expulsion of Muslims from their lands.” @eljay has already given you the response. You are in any case deliberately evading my point that it is not the Muslims who need to “cede” land to Zionists but Zionists who need to cede (stolen) land to Muslims in order for there to be a resolution. The “Swiss cheese” of the OWB makes a two-state solution virtually impossible, unless all the OWB and East Jerusalem settlements are vacated. One of those four-footed I-mention-nots (may Allah curse their herdsmen!) has just flown past my window……

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso on February 5, 2019, 10:10 am

      @Jackdaw

      Do some elementary research and you’ll soon discover that Hamas and the PA have long since publicly agreed to a two state solution. Unfortunately, Netanyahu and his gang of murderous, thieving Zionist thugs have repeatedly rejected or ignored the offer.

      Re: “That’s if Islamic law allows Muslims to ‘cede Muslim land to Jews.'” Well, you’re finally making progress. You’ve acknowledged the fact that it is “Muslim land,” not Jewish land.

      • mondonut
        mondonut on February 5, 2019, 12:11 pm

        @Misterioso, Hamas and the PA have long since publicly agreed to a two state solution.

        The only 2SS Hamas has agreed to, is two Palestinian states side by side.

    • eljay
      eljay on February 5, 2019, 1:06 pm

      || Jackdaw: … The PA and Hamas must make a two-State deal right now.

      That’s if Islamic law allows Muslims to cede Muslim land to Jews. … ||

      No excuse is too lame for Zionists to use to avoid negotiating peace based on justice, accountability and equality.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw on February 5, 2019, 1:50 pm

        11 years 10 months till the planet goes teats up.

        Tick..tick..tick.

        BTW. No one has answered my question about Muslimsn ceding Muslim land to Jews.

        Lots of haters at Mondoweiss, haters and few scholars.

      • eljay
        eljay on February 5, 2019, 1:56 pm

        || Jackdaw: … Lots of haters at Mondoweiss, haters … ||

        Yup, you Zionists sure do like to frequent MW.

        || … and few scholars. ||

        So true:

        || Jackdaw: … Experts on Islamic law, I’m not one … ||

      • Mooser
        Mooser on February 5, 2019, 2:30 pm

        “Jackdaw”, it just doesn’t seem possible Israel can hold the world hostage to climate disaster, unless you can say that Israel possesses the power to reverse it.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 6, 2019, 8:43 am

        Jackdaw: “No one has answered my question about Muslimsn ceding Muslim land to Jews.”

        Ownership or transfer of land is allowed under Sharia law. Next question.

        Jackdaw: “Lots of haters at Mondoweiss, haters and few scholars.”

        Says the one who hatefully accuses others of hate, because he doesn’t know the answer himself. Pathetic, as usual.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on February 6, 2019, 12:19 pm

        “11 years 10 months till the planet goes teats up.”

        Planet, schlammet! I have only one question…

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976 on February 5, 2019, 4:07 pm

      The works may have been gummed up somewhat by the argument within Judaism about prohibition on ceding land to non-Jews. There are different interpretations of the passage in Kings where Solomon cedes land to Hiram – disagreement runs deep, since Chronicles reports very differently. (Uri Tal’s contribution to ‘Totalitarian Democracy and After’, 1984.) That should not stop us from hoping that Jewish religious sentiment, though it certainly seems to be an obstacle, will not be an insuperable barrier to compromise of some kind if that elusive thing is otherwise available.
      I’m very ignorant of things Islamic but if you say that religious sentiment on that side too is an obstacle I would say in just the same way as before that there is hope that this obstacle will not be insuperable. I’d say too that there is certainly no good reason to refrain from making any proposal for Muslim political leaders to consider. The actual behaviour of those leaders over time is relevant for promoting that hope.
      I know that that is not an answer to your question about Muslim theology and ethics, which I am not competent to provide. But I think it’s a reason not to regard your open question as a reason for modifying, or regarding as hopelessly unrealistic, your remark that they should make an agreement. I admit I have reasons of my own for not thinking that an agreement or compromise is near. But then Balaam’s idea that one can sense what is not near shouldn’t be forgotten.

  6. Rashers2
    Rashers2 on February 5, 2019, 10:02 pm

    @MHughes976, the `daw’s comment about some phantom Islamic canon law prohibition on “Muslims [ ] ced[ing] Muslim land to Jews” is merely another way of blaming the failure hitherto to reach a two-state solution on the Palestinians and exculpating the Ziopaths from all responsibility for such failure. Accordingly, I couldn’t give a t*ss about any alleged, reciprocal, Biblical embargoes in the Books of Kings, Chronicles or Knave of Cups on Jews “ceding” land to Goyim of any stripe, which is equally irrelevant.
    @Misterioso says above that the Palestinians had already agreed in 2002 to accept a plan for a two-state solution which had the backing of the ENTIRE Arab world, of itself a rare feat by the plan’s architect. That plan was unveiled amid some strident, initial opposition from the Arab hardline states by Prince (later King) Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. In summary, it consisted of a return to the `67 borders (with land swaps where this had been rendered physically impractical) and a sovereign Palestinian state with East Al Quds as capital city, in exchange for full diplomatic recognition of Israel by all Arab states and the opening of all Arab economies to dealings with Israel. To an outsider, it looked more-than-fair, even generous to Israel. The USA ignored Prince Abdullah’s plan and the Israelis rejected it out of hand, refusing even to enter into a dialogue about it.
    Please understand that the Zionists have consistently demonstrated that they aren’t interested in peace on any terms but their own, which will be a greatly enlarged Eretz Israel with zero or a minimal Arab population. Meanwhile, they need the perpetual threats that an unresolved conflict provides so they can justify to themselves the continuing victim-oppressor role as settler-colonists.
    That the Saudi Arabian plan was acceptable to both Hamas and the PA tells you all you need to know about the introduction by one of our resident Hasba-rats of some specious red herring about Shari‘a law’s being inimical to a two-state solution (which, as @bcg’s comment points out, the Israelis have by now deliberately rendered unfeasible).

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976 on February 6, 2019, 5:05 am

      Well, I think that religious organisations are quite powerful in Israel and so the ideas, even the disputed ideas, circulating among them should be noted. Generally I think that the religious basis of Zionism is very important for understanding that movement.
      Jackdaw type statements suggest that there is something remarkable about an ethical objection, expressed in religious terms or not, to losing areas where your family has once, within memory and documentation, lived to the claim by an ethnic or religious group to which you do not belong that ‘this land is ours’ and thus something remarkable about an ethical reluctance to sign a paper saying ‘it is yours now’. It’s the reverse that would be remarkable.

    • Jackdaw
      Jackdaw on February 6, 2019, 11:07 am

      The Saudi Plan was fine. The problem was the rider that was appended to it that required the return of every Palestinian refugee living, at that time, in Lebanon.

      Rasher. Don’t try to bullshit a bullshiter.

      I don’t blame the Palestinians if they cannot cede Muslim land anymore than I don’t blame a Jew for not eating pork. If you can’t, you can’t. Just be honest about it.

      And please retract your claim about ‘phantom Islamic canon law’, which actual law, I’ve now clearly cited to.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 7, 2019, 8:09 am

        Jackdaw: “I don’t blame the Palestinians if they cannot cede Muslim land anymore …”

        Yes, yes, I also can’t blame Israeli Jews if they cannot cede “Jewish land” anymore. Wait, I can.

      • Rashers2
        Rashers2 on February 8, 2019, 4:44 am

        “The problem was the rider that was appended to it that required the return of every Palestinian refugee living, at that time, in Lebanon.” Why was that a “problem”? After all, approximately nine million Jews have the “right” to make Aliyah to Israel…….

  7. Rashers2
    Rashers2 on February 7, 2019, 4:20 am

    @MHughes976, thanks for what is obviously a thoughtful response to what may have appeared a rather dismissive reply by me to your original comment. Your response, however, reveals where we differ at a fundamental level in our understanding and perception of Zionism. When I explain my position, we may continue to differ on the relevance (or not) of religious, scriptural or doctrinal considerations as potential impediments to resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian question.
    You state, “….. I think that the religious basis of Zionism is very important for understanding that movement.” No, it isn’t important at all; because Zionism doesn’t have a religious basis. Period. Zionism, developed and prosyletised by Theodor Herzl and other early, secular leaders of the Zionist movement in the 19th Century, is a political creed, as Edwin Montagu so aptly described it when advocating against the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Montagu foresaw both the likely ways in which a Jewish colonial-settler state in Palestine would develop in terms of supremacism and of relationships with the indigenous, non-Jewish population it was seeking to colonise; and in terms of potentially undermining the position and safety of assimilated, Western Jews by inviting into the popular mind suspicions of divided loyalties. He viewed himself to be exclusively British and held high political office.
    So-called “Religious Zionism” is a highly questionable doctrine developed by such as Yitzchak Reines and Rav Abraham Kook. It is a later confection than Zionism itself although a highly convenient one which has since been superimposed upon Zionism and exploited with great success by Zionists to provide scriptural justification and rationalisation for an essentially political dogma, since Kook and his cohorts claim the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine to be a sacred duty imposed on adherents by the Torah. Given the amount of time, effort and intellect which had previously been devoted to the study of the Torah throughout Judaism’s history, the cynical might be forgiven for finding it remarkable that such “sacred duty” became apparent as late as the early 20th Century…..
    It is a tribute to the success of Reines’ and Kook’s theological ingenuity that the Torahic genesis of Zionism has become one of the latter’s many notorious “facts on the ground” and is widely if ignorantly accepted both within the Zionist community and way beyond it. It’s interesting that this very acceptance is an exemplar of the effectiveness of the temporal sleight of hand that suffuses and characterises Zionism – if actual chronology were interpolated into Zionism, the lack of logic underpinning the whole premise would be immediately manifest. Instead, two millennia are magicked away and “history” moves seamlessly from the Roman expulsions to the settler-colonists’ enterprise in modern-day Palestine.
    The `daw’s comment about Islamic land law which sparked these exchanges is thus an example, albeit quite possibly subconscious, of one of the three Hasbaratic mainstays: projection.

    • Keith
      Keith on February 7, 2019, 12:45 pm

      RASHERS2- “No, it isn’t important at all; because Zionism doesn’t have a religious basis.”

      Of course it does. Zionism is a reworking of the myths of Classical Judaism into a modern secular form. Says who? Israel Shahak and Jacob Neusner. Religion is basically an ideology with a god-head and a metaphysical basis. I have extensively quoted Shahak and Neusner in the past. How about Zeev Sternhell?

      “And indeed, peace is in mortal danger to the Zionism of blood and soil, a Zionism that cannot imagine willingly returning even an inch of the sacred territory of the land of Israel.” p343, “The Founding Myths of Israel,” Zeev Sternhell). Need I point out the religious basis of the word “sacred?”

      To make a point, I am going to requote Shahak regarding Classical Judaism and Zionism.

      “It became apparent to me, as drawing on knowledge acquired in my youth, I began to study the Talmudic laws governing the relations between Jews and non-Jews, that neither Zionism, including its seemingly secular part, nor Israeli politics since the inception of the State of Israel, nor particularly the policies of the Jewish supporters of Israel in the diaspora, could be understood unless the deeper influence of these laws, and the worldview which they both create and express is taken into account.” (p1, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” Israel Shahak)

      • Rashers2
        Rashers2 on February 8, 2019, 4:22 am

        The key to the significance of your response is here (your words, my emphasis): “Of course it does. Zionism is a reworking of the MYTHS of Classical Judaism into a modern secular form”; and here, citing a supporting source (again, my emphasis): “The Founding MYTHS of Israel”.

      • Keith
        Keith on February 8, 2019, 10:17 am

        RASHERS2- (Quoting me)- “…Zionism is a reworking of the MYTHS of Classical Judaism into a modern secular form”

        You are suggesting what? That Zionism is based upon myths, whereas, Judaism is based upon divine revelation which has nothing to do with the myths of Zionism? That Shahak is wrong? That Zionism and Israel can be understood without reference to the Talmudic laws governing relations between Jews and non-Jews and the “deeper influence of these laws, and the worldview which they both create and express is taken into account.”? Well then, we disagree don’t we? I agree with MHughes976 on this point.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on February 8, 2019, 12:55 pm

        “Keith”, I don’t know why “Classical Judaism” worries you so.
        People don’t dig that long-hair schmaltz these days.

      • Keith
        Keith on February 8, 2019, 2:31 pm

        MOOSER- “Keith”, I don’t know why “Classical Judaism” worries you so.”

        It concerns me insofar as the mythos of Classical Judaism informs the mythos of Jewish Zionism (but not Christian Zionism). It is a reversion to the medieval concept of Jewish peoplehood prior to the separation of church and state. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Reform Judaism rejected the notion of Jewish peoplehood and sought to transform Judaism into simply a religion. An American Jew for example would be an American who practiced the Judaic religion, not a Jew who happened to live in the US. This is what the enlightenment entailed. Zionism is a regression to a medieval belief system in modern form which has transformed most organized American Judaism into a form of Blood and Soil nationalism where Israel has become the “sacred soil.” The Palestine problem cannot be solved as long as Zionism, as presently understood, exists. Re-read the Zeev Sternhell quote.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on February 8, 2019, 5:08 pm

        “An American Jew for example would be an American who practiced the Judaic religion, not a Jew who happened to live in the US.”

        If I’m not mistaken, isn’t that the system I’ve been operating under for 60…something years?
        Last I heard, the US can draft me, tax me, make me obey its laws. Israel, Zionism and Judaism cannot.

        You think “American neo-Zionism”* has a shot at changing that? Be one heck of a coup.

        *As distinct from ordinary “neo-Zionism”. For clarity, you should call it “American-Jewish- anti-Zionist-neo-Zionism” so there’s no confusion.

      • Keith
        Keith on February 9, 2019, 10:56 am

        MOOSER- “If I’m not mistaken, isn’t that the system I’ve been operating under for 60…something years?”

        That option is certainly available to you, however, Zionism is the rejection of liberalism in favor of Jewish peoplehood. A Rabbi Stephen Wise quote for you.

        “I am not an American of JEWISH faith. I am a JEW. I have been a JEW for a thousand years. Hitler was right in one thing. He calls the Jewish people a race, and we are a race.” (Rabbi Stephen Wise, former President of the World Jewish Congress and the Zionist Organization of America) https://www.azquotes.com/author/22938-Stephen_Samuel_Wise

        MOOSER- “You think “American neo-Zionism”* has a shot at changing that?”

        Methinks the “Moose” doth protest too much.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on February 9, 2019, 1:54 pm

        “I am not an American of JEWISH faith. I am a JEW. I have been a JEW for a thousand years.”

        “Hitler was right”…. ooops, lost me right there Rabbi, sorry.

        But you never know, in another 934 years, I might feel exactly the same.
        I’ll just have to wait and see. Anyway Wise is an upstart, a youngster. I take all my advice from a guy twice as old.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on February 10, 2019, 3:38 pm

        Mooser: ““Hitler was right”…. ooops, lost me right there Rabbi, sorry.”

        Dr. Mooser, how much do you know about epigenetics? Could it be that sheer believe or maybe even mass hysteria that some are descendants of ancient Hebrews can activate “Jewish” genes? It could it explain why only 5% of the Palestinians have Arabian genes. Deep inside they believe, too, that they are descendants from ancient Hebrews!!!

      • YoniFalic
        YoniFalic on February 10, 2019, 6:28 pm

        Biblical Judaism is a backstory to Rabbinic Judaism, which is a very different religion. Both Orthodox Christianity and Islam have much more in common with Judean Judaism of Jesus’ time than Rabbinic Judaism, which crystallizes almost a millennium later and which must be considered a religion that originates in Mesopotamia.

        Both German Nazism and also Slavo-Turk Zionism are retrospective utopian ideologies that try to recreate the idealized unity of pre-modern Christendom (Christenthum) in the Aryan Race and the idealized unity of pre-modern Jewdom (Judenthum) in the Jewish ethnonationality or Volk.

        This retrospective utopianism is a result of the confrontation with modernization. Too many people have found the complexity and fragmentation of the modern world simply unbearable. They retreat into various dangerous atavistic belief systems.

        The Polish Marxist philosopher and sociologist Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz believed such retrospective utopianism could be harnessed positively for Marxist revolution, but he was an exception among Marxist thinkers. He was also sympathetic to Zionism and did not perceive the dangers of Zionism as clearly as his opponent Rosa Luxemburg did.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on February 10, 2019, 8:53 pm

        ” ancient Hebrews can activate “Jewish” genes?”

        I’m trying to picture Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show singing “My Baby Makes Those Jewish Genes Talk” but having no luck. Sorry.

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