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Thank you Bret Stephens, for making anti-Zionism a subject for every dinner table, and BDS a household word

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Three weeks ago the New York Times ran a bombshell opinion piece off the front page of its Week in Review. Michelle Alexander, the professor and social activist who changed the paradigm on the wholesale incarceration of black men (the new Jim Crow), wrote that she was at last breaking her silence on Israel and Palestine, and risking the career consequences that have stopped many progressives from calling apartheid apartheid. The piece did more to animate the progressive discussion of Palestine than any other intervention in memory. It drew fiery attacks from the Israel lobby.

That piece followed Michelle Goldberg’s strong opinion piece of two months back saying that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, acknowledging that the two-state solution is over, and all but calling for equal rights for all in one state. Goldberg has since joined Alexander in describing a progressive “taboo” on documenting Palestinian persecution in the U.S. mainstream: “I feel like it’s very difficult to speak kind of rationally and forthrightly about real human rights abuses in the West Bank.”

Perhaps the Times hierarchy got scared by the huge response to Alexander and Goldberg. The editors surely feel that they have to give equal space to a rebuttal; and today Bret Stephens counters the two columnists in a long piece that aims to prevent mainstream progressives, the “not-so-far-left,” from adopting anti-Zionism because it is, he says, anti-Semitism.

Stephens’s article is an earnest attempt to diminish Palestinian demands and paint anyone who stands up for them as an anti-Semite. It is titled, “The Progressive Assault on Israel: A movement that can detect a racist dog-whistle from miles away is strangely deaf when it comes to some of the barking on its own side of the fence,” and it is riddled with erroneous framings. But while at first blush it looks like more pro-Israel propaganda, Stephens’s article is actually very good, because it will get more people talking about important issues.

As for its errors, first, Stephens purports to speak for the Democratic Party mainstream — for instance, when he reviles rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for having a phone call with Jeremy Corbyn, whom Stephens describes as a deep-seated anti-Semite.

Now is the time for party leaders to make sure [an alliance of US progressives and Corybnites] doesn’t happen by insisting that anti-Zionism has no more a place in the Democratic fold than any form of prejudice.

But what standing does Stephens have among Democrats and progressives? He’s a hack for Israel. This is the man who repeatedly bashed Barack Obama for “betraying” Israel and said he didn’t hold a candle as a leader to Benjamin Netanyahu. He has labeled Trump a fascist, but defended Netanyahu from the same charge.

Next, Stephens is earnest in his identification of “the politics of the American Jewish community” as Zionist politics. He equates Zionism and Judaism throughout the article. Anti-Zionism, he writes, is

profoundly unsettling to a Jewish community that has generally seen the Democratic Party as its political home. That’s not because American Jews are unfamiliar with the radical left’s militant hostility toward the Jewish state. That’s been true for decades. Nor is it because American Jews are suddenly tilting right: Some 76 percent voted for Democrats in the midterms.

What’s unsettling is that the far-left’s hostility is now being mainstreamed by the not-so-far left. Anti-Zionism — that is, rejection not just of this or that Israeli policy, but also of the idea of a Jewish state itself — is becoming a respectable position among people who would never support the elimination of any other country in any other circumstance. And it is churning up a new wave of nakedly anti-Jewish bigotry.

But what to make of the hordes of Jews, including Michelle Goldberg and IfNotNow, who defend the long tradition of anti-Zionism in the Jewish community, or who are heirs to that tradition themselves: notably Jewish Voice for Peace, the fastest-growing Jewish organization in the country, which Stephens simply whites-out of the picture.

Next, it is impossible to offer yourself as a model to progressives if you are completely indifferent to human rights. The piece relates how many Israeli civilians have died from Palestinian violence, for instance, but says not a word about Palestinian casualties. This indifference is not a surprise. Stephens has defended the Israeli slaughter of hundreds of non-violent Palestinian protesters at the Gaza fence, saying it’s the Palestinians’ fault, one of four NYT columnists who have justified the slaughter. The Times would never run a piece defending Palestinian terrorism against civilians. The roof would cave in; and if somehow something like that did run, the editors would apologize profusely. That standard goes out the window when Palestinians are murdered by Israelis and Stephens is treated as a moral authority over Jeremy Corbyn . . .

In the same vein, Stephens says flatly that the following statements are not true.

More than a half-century of occupation of Palestinian territories is a massive injustice that fair-minded people can no longer ignore, especially given America’s financial support for Israel. Continued settlement expansion in the West Bank proves Israel has no interest in making peace on equitable terms. And endless occupation makes Israel’s vaunted democracy less about Jewish self-determination than it is about ethnic subjugation.

Not “even half true,” Stephens argues, because Israel has tried again and again to make peace, and Arabs have never accepted its existence.

Stephens has chosen an excellent ground for debate. It is because of those 50 years of occupation, a massive injustice, and Israel’s new nation state law that says Jews have the “exclusive” right to self-determination in the land, that young American progressives and women and people of color are showing more sympathy to the Palestinians than Israel and are willing to support one democratic state in Israel and Palestine.

An unintended achievement of the article is that in attacking BDS, boycott, divestment and sanctions, a program we always spell out to readers, Stephens does not spell out what B.D.S. means. No: BDS has now become a household word.

Progressives — including presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren — also united behind Vermont’s Bernie Sanders in a failed bid to block a Senate bill, passed on Tuesday, that includes an anti-B.D.S. measure prohibiting federal contracts with businesses that boycott Israel, ostensibly on free-speech grounds.

Finally, there are Stephens’s core assertions: That it is anti-Semitic bigotry 1), to believe that Israel’s failure to end the occupation is evidence of “its boundless greed for Palestinian land and wicked indifference to their plight” and 2), to believe that Israel is “an illegitimate state.”

Again, we are glad this is the ground that Stephens has chosen for debate. It seems to us perfectly acceptable in an open discourse to argue that Israel’s endless colonization of Palestinian land with as few Palestinians on it as possible is “wicked” and “boundless greed.” This site provides evidence of that cruelty every day.

It also seems to us perfectly acceptable to argue that a self-described Jewish state that fails to separate church and state and that holds that Jews have an exclusive right to self-determination when 20 percent of the population is not Jewish is “illegitimate.” Many states have lost legitimacy. That doesn’t mean they have to dissolve into violence, as Stephen implies.

In short, we should all be grateful to Bret Stephens for “making anti-Zionism the talk of the dinner table,” as the human-and-civil rights leader Abdeen Jabara states. “I salute Stephens.”

Keep it up, Bret Stephens. Tell us more!

H/t Donald Johnson.

50 Responses

  1. amigo
    amigo
    February 10, 2019, 4:18 pm

    American Football teams gather in a “Huddle”to discuss strategy.

    Zionists are gathering in ever larger huddles to discuss strategy .

    It,s not working Guys .It,s bottom of the 4th quarter and you are scoreless and 3 touchdowns behind.

    You have used all your hail Marys , time outs and the wind and sun are in your face.You have been running the same plays for decades and they don,t work.Time to walk off the field and consider your future .

    Time to retire .

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      February 11, 2019, 10:25 am

      @amigo, et al

      This short Spanish documentary about Gaza just won the Goya Prize (Spanish equivalent of the Oscar). The Zionist lobby in Madrid had tried to prevent it from being aired, so it was a particularly sweet victory when it won the highest cinematic award in the country. Please watch. It is heartbreaking.

      It’s a mix of Arabic and English with Spanish subtitles, so you might not
      catch everything that’s said, but the images speak for themselves.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=57Ss2Zk7Jb4&feature=share

      Those who continue to whitewash Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians are complicit in those crimes. Ilan Pappe has referred to the situation in Gaza as ‘incremental genocide.’ Amira Hass has referred to Gaza as a ‘concentration camp.’ We are governed by moral cowards.

    • aloeste
      aloeste
      February 11, 2019, 10:35 am

      actuallly , palestine exists in your mind, but not in the middle east…. i guess you jhaven’t been to israel lately– oh yeah, i forgot , you can’t get in to our state….

      • amigo
        amigo
        February 11, 2019, 1:50 pm

        “actuallly , palestine exists in your mind, but not in the middle east…” aloeste

        Really , so in that case can you provide us with a map of your Israel.

        “i guess you jhaven’t been to israel lately– oh yeah, i forgot , you can’t get in to our state….”aloeste

        No , I have no desire to get into your state.Why would I want to finance an Apartheid criminal enterprise .I know all I need to know about the rogue entity and i don,t need to put my toe in the water to find out if it is wet.

        Enjoy it while you still have it.

        Tick, tick.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        February 11, 2019, 2:20 pm

        aloeste: “actuallly , palestine exists in your mind, but not in the middle east…. i guess you jhaven’t been to israel lately– oh yeah, i forgot , you can’t get in to our state….”

        I guess that neither your or your ascendants have legally acquired Palestinian citizenship before 1948.

        And Palestine is actually UN non-member state since 2012. I guess you haven’t been in touch with reality lately – oh yeah, i forgot , you can’t get out of your Zionist perception bubble ….

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 11, 2019, 3:08 pm

        “actuallly , palestine exists in your mind, but not in the middle east…. i guess you jhaven’t been to israel lately– oh yeah, i forgot , you can’t get in to our state”

        Isn’t it wonderful how easily “aloesta’s” commitment to Zionism can be satisfied?

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        February 11, 2019, 3:29 pm

        @aloeste

        Gee, I guess I missed the news release. When did the entity referred to as “Israel” officially declare its borders and have them agreed to as such by the international community? Its a prerequisite for state, nation or country status.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        February 11, 2019, 5:20 pm

        @aloeste

        “actuallly , palestine exists in your mind, but not in the middle east…. ”

        This going to be a shock to the 136 countries repesenting the vast majority of humanity that currently recognize it as a state. Under occupation but a state.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 11, 2019, 8:13 pm

        Mist,
        What’s the internationally recognized border between India-Pakistan, India-China, UK and Spain, Russia/Japan, etc? There are many disputed borders in the world. I’m not sure I get your point.

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        February 11, 2019, 10:43 pm

        @Misterioso, Its a prerequisite for state, nation or country status.

        This ridiculous idea that borders do not exist unless agreed to as such by the international community is a fantasy that only applies to the Jewish State. There are over 100 ongoing border and territorial disputes in the world – and yet they all remain states with defined borders (all except Israel of course).

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_territorial_disputes

    • genesto
      genesto
      February 11, 2019, 12:35 pm

      Defending the indefensible is a fool’s mission. All the money in the world cannot change historical facts. The truth will prevail, no matter how long it takes to reveal it. Zionism, while it fights tooth and nail for survival, is ultimately doomed.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 11, 2019, 1:21 pm

        Defending the morally indefensible often seems to work out quite well. That arc seems to develop a kink.

      • amigo
        amigo
        February 11, 2019, 8:51 pm

        “What’s the internationally recognized border between UK and Spain, ” jon 66

        There is no border between the UK and Spain.Gibraltar is not part of the UK but is an internationally recognised British territory,It is not considered Occupied by Britain and the Gibraltarians have voted to remain as a British Territory.

        Squawk all you want about disputed territories .Palestine is occupied by Israel as confirmed by numerous UNSCR,,s .

        Here , educate yourself and stop asking dumb questions.Troll.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disputed_status_of_Gibraltar

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 11, 2019, 9:49 pm

        Amigo,
        The question is not one of occupation. Rather it is whether or not a border must be defined and internationally recognized to be qualified as a state. The border of Gilbraltar is disputed. The border of India is disputed. Both Spain and India are states.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 11, 2019, 10:05 pm

        amigo: Gibraltar is not part of the UK…
        —————————————————

        Gibraltar is not an Occupied Territory like Palestine is, however, it’s exact status is a matter of some dispute:

        EU irks Britain by calling Gibraltar a ‘colony’ February 1, 2019

        https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-gibraltar/eu-irks-britain-by-calling-gibraltar-colony-idUKKCN1PQ4DJ

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 12, 2019, 12:05 am

        ” The border of Gilbraltar is disputed. ”

        I don’t think there is any dispute between Spain and the UK as to where the border is.

        India and Pakistan have both declared where they think the border should be. Same for India and China. The countries disagree about where it should be, but they have declared their borders.

        The big question (and I have no idea about the answer) is whether Israel has declared all its borders.

      • amigo
        amigo
        February 12, 2019, 7:44 am

        “EU irks Britain by calling Gibraltar a ‘colony’ February 1, 2019” Sibiriak

        Thanks for your reply.

        The EU is being disingenuous as they are now defending the Spanish position now that Britain is on it,s way out.Understandable , I guess.

        In any event Britain has agreed for years that it will relinquish control over Gibraltar if and when the majority of the 33000 citizens of Gibraltar vote to end their connection to Britain.
        Britain has agreed to the same arrangement in Northern Ireland and the Malvina’s (Falklands).

        I believe Gibraltar voted to stay in the EU as did NI and Scotland,so we may well see a further reduction in the status of Global Britain.

        Gotta love those Brexiteers.

      • amigo
        amigo
        February 12, 2019, 8:05 am

        “The question is not one of occupation. Rather it is whether or not a border must be defined and internationally recognized to be qualified as a state.”jon 66

        Given that Israel does not recognise the State of Palestine (135 member nations of the UN do) which it occupies and keeps stealing , it is hard for anyone to define what Israel,s border are.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      February 11, 2019, 3:48 pm

      @amigo, et al

      From The New York Times, Feb. 11/19
      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/11/us/politics/ilhan-omar-anti-semitism.html

      “Pelosi and Democratic Leaders Condemn Omar Statements as Anti-Semitic.”

      “Representative Ilhan Omar’s implication that Jewish money is driving pro-Israel sentiments has drawn fierce rebukes, this time from Democrats and Republicans.”

      Attention: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, et al
      Re: “Jewish money driving pro-Israel sentiments” – Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban leap to mind.

  2. bcg
    bcg
    February 10, 2019, 5:18 pm

    “It also seems to us perfectly acceptable to argue that a self-described Jewish state that fails to separate church and state and that holds that Jews have an exclusive right to self-determination when 20 percent of the population is not Jewish is “illegitimate.” ”

    Every single demographic breakdown of the Israeli population I’ve seen states that 25% of the population is not Jewish. For example,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Israel#Ethnic_and_religious_groups

    Scroll down to religious makeup, 2017: Jews comprise 74.50% of the population.

  3. kev
    kev
    February 10, 2019, 6:18 pm

    When I started reading this, it came to me:

    BDS until ODS

    One Democratic State

    Maybe someone with better design sense than me can make this into a logo, button, T-shirt, etc. I gladly license this concept/phrasing under Creative Commons CC0 (public domain) license. If someone (or many people) come up with a design, I’d love to see them. Maybe I’ll get a T-shirt made for myself. Maybe “BDS until ODS” on one side, and “One Democratic State” on the other? Oh, and if anyone follows up on this, please do make sure to send some complimentary buttons to Bret Stephens and some of his fellows at the Times.

    • amigo
      amigo
      February 10, 2019, 6:58 pm

      “Oh, and if anyone follows up on this, please do make sure to send some complimentary buttons to Bret Stephens and some of his fellows at the Times.”kev

      Don,t forget the front row seats at the lowering of the Israeli Flag ( religious symbol) and the raising of the Flag of the DNSPP.(Democratic Nation State of the Palestinian People (Muslims/Christians/Jews et al.).

    • Peter in SF
      Peter in SF
      February 11, 2019, 4:27 am


      BDS until ODS

      One Democratic State

      Maybe someone with better design sense than me can make this into a logo, button, T-shirt, etc.

      Although that is a good sentiment, and obviously many BDS supporters agree with it, that message also gives people the impression that the BDS movement as a whole is aiming for ODS, when that is not true. The BDS movement has three specific stated goals, and they don’t include ODS.

      • aloeste
        aloeste
        February 11, 2019, 10:35 am

        except that everyone knows that is the goal

      • gamal
        gamal
        February 11, 2019, 12:21 pm

        ” everyone knows ”

        but that’s not what everyone knows mama made a song about what everyone knows..but unlike you repellent little eichmanns mama has soul.. still anyone bought Ibram X Kendi : stamped from the beginning, everyone knows you need to start looking at yourselves..it’s a dirty job and still you have to do it.

        (mama being Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens)

        https://youtu.be/LgM8ZzEkFlU

  4. Rob Roy
    Rob Roy
    February 10, 2019, 7:18 pm

    Stephens says: …”Israel has tried again and again to make peace, and Arabs have never accepted its existence.”
    On the Israel/Palestine conflict: “We must define our position and lay down basic principles for a settlement. Our demands should be moderate and balanced, and appear to be reasonable. But in fact they must involve such conditions as to ensure that the enemy rejects them. Then we should manoeuvre and allow him to define his own position, and reject a settlement on the basis of a compromise position. We should then publish his demands as embodying unreasonable extremism”. – General Yehoshafat Harkabi, Former Israeli Chief of Military Intelligence

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      February 11, 2019, 9:42 am

      @Rob Roy, et al

      “…Stephens argues, because Israel has tried again and again to make peace, and Arabs have never accepted its existence.”

      Stephens is either a liar or grossly uninformed – perhaps both.

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

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

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

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

      Unfortunately, Israel’s response to every peace overture from the Palestinians (including Hamas) and Arab states, has been an escalation of illegal settlement construction, dispossession and oppression in occupied Palestine (and other Arab lands.)

      Regarding Hamas:
      On 16 June 2009, after meeting with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Hamas’s Gaza Strip government, announced that “If there is a real plan to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 [i.e. 22% of historic Palestine] and with full sovereignty, we are in favour of it.”

      “‘We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,’ Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which “Israel” captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. ” (Haaretz, December 1, 2010)

      In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas again agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, “Israel” promptly rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.

      “Senior Hamas Official: ‘I Think We Can All Live Here in This Land – Muslims, Christians and Jews.’” By Nir Gontarz. March 28, 2018, Haaretz.

      As for Netanyahu and the Likud party, here’s a brief summation of their positions that are contrary to international law and explain why the conflict continues:
      The Likud Party Platform:
      a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”
      b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”
      c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”
      d. “…. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

      For the record, other peace initiatives that Israeli governments have rebuffed include: U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers’ The Rogers Plan (1969); The Scranton Mission on behalf of President Nixon (1970); Egyptian President Sadat’s land for peace and mutual recognition proposal (1971); U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s call for a Geneva international conference (1977); Saudi Arabian King Fahd’s peace offer (1981); U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Reagan Plan (1982); U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz’s Schultz Plan (1988); U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s Baker Plan (1989); and the previously noted 1993 Oslo accords signed by Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that unravelled following the latter’s assassination and subsequent return to power of the Likud party from 1996-1999 under Benjamin Netanyahu; continuation of the Taba II negotiations (2001); the unofficial Geneva Peace Initiative of November/December 2003; and the 2014 Kerry Initiative.

  5. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    February 10, 2019, 8:26 pm

    I wonder what Stephens has to say about the new israeli plans to put a million more settlers in the West Bank as fast as possible.

    • kev
      kev
      February 10, 2019, 8:57 pm

      I read “two million”.

      Yes, clear proof of an intent to annex even more land without giving citizenship to the residents of the land, AKA: Apartheid (like what exists in East Jerusalem).

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      February 11, 2019, 6:52 am

      Not much I suppose. It’s part of the master plan to get rid of the Arabs, and aren’t the zionists entitled to it all?

  6. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    February 10, 2019, 9:06 pm

    But what to make of the hordes of Jews, including Michelle Goldberg and IfNotNow, who defend the long tradition of anti-Zionism in the Jewish community
    ————————————————————————————-

    Hordes of anti-Zionist Jews?

  7. klm90046
    klm90046
    February 11, 2019, 2:23 am

    Israel has made it clear, repeatedly, that it will allow a Palestine only on the following conditions:-

    All land, sea and air borders of the new Palestine will be controlled by Israel.
    Palestine will not have a military.
    Palestine’s police will be under Israeli control.
    Israeli forces will enter and carry out security ops in Palestine without hindrance.
    Israel will control all water resources in Palestine.
    Israel will control wireless frequencies over Palestine.

    No self-respecting nation can accept such obscene conditions; which apparently have US acquiescence.

    These negotiations are merely a tactic to place irreversible facts on the ground so that a Palestine becomes unachievable. I believe it already is.

    Palestinians should forget about a peaceful solution. There is none. The negotiations project has turned into an industry. Scores of people are making a living out of it. It could go on for ever. Palestinians should instead start looking for their George Washington, who will unite them, energize them, motivate them, arm them, train them and then lead them in a war of independence.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      February 11, 2019, 8:46 am

      klm90046: “Israel has made it clear, repeatedly, that it will allow a Palestine only on the following conditions:-

      All land, sea and air borders of the new Palestine will be controlled by Israel.
      Palestine will not have a military.
      Palestine’s police will be under Israeli control.
      Israeli forces will enter and carry out security ops in Palestine without hindrance.
      Israel will control all water resources in Palestine.
      Israel will control wireless frequencies over Palestine.”

      Yes, like Oslo and the so called “disengagement from Gaza” Israel only wants to modify the occupation to make it appear as if it wasn’t an occupation. If it talks about a two state solution it imagines a single Jewish state with Palestinian bantustan/autonomy enclaves with a Palestinian flag and embassy.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 11, 2019, 3:42 pm

      “Palestinians should instead start looking for their George Washington, who will unite them, energize them, motivate them, arm them, train them and then lead them in a war of independence”“klm90046”

      Gee, what a provocative proposal! Is that why you keep on repeating it? I count at least six times recently.
      Has the hour produced the man?

  8. Peter in SF
    Peter in SF
    February 11, 2019, 5:08 am


    in attacking BDS, boycott, divestment and sanctions, a program we always spell out to readers, Stephens does not spell out what B.D.S. means.

    Has any anti-BDS writer in the NYT actually written out the three stated goals of the BDS movement? The fact that they don’t shows that they know that it doesn’t help their side.

    There’s a different tack that hasbarists could take when addressing the ignorant: namely, that the BDS movement’s three stated goals have already been achieved. They could say that
    (1) Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel are already full and equal citizens under the law;
    (2) Israel does not “occupy” any “Arab lands”; and
    (3) Palestinians who lost their homes in 1948 actually left voluntarily, or even, they didn’t actually live in what’s now Israel, but are only saying that they did because they want to destroy the Jewish state.

    Obviously, making claims (1)-(3) would be thoroughly dishonest, but such a prissy concern hasn’t prevented hasbarists from saying a lot of other things, and they are secure in the knowledge that most of their audience will believe them and not even listen to debunkers who are immoderate or radical or anti-Semitic or Arab or Muslim, etc.
    I still haven’t seen any writer make this kind of argument claiming that BDS is unnecessary because its stated goals have all been achieved. Has anyone else seen it anywhere?

  9. Kay24
    Kay24
    February 11, 2019, 6:55 am

    So it seems AIPAC is all out to make the two new Muslim Congress women look like a couple of anti-semitic politicians, because they “dared” to criticize Israel and it’s lobby here.
    What a load of bull.

    https://www.juancole.com/2019/02/senate-amendment-boycott.html

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      February 11, 2019, 9:57 am

      @Kay24

      Fear not. The Zionist camp is in accelerating panic mode. Suddenly, its seven decades of being able to easily manipulate the media and coerce American politicians into financing and fully supporting its well documented brutal occupation, dispossession and oppression of the indigenous Palestinians are under increasing attack, especially within the ranks of the young, including Jews. The Zionist edifice is shaking and beginning to crumble. It’s only a matter of time before it comes crashing down.

  10. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    February 11, 2019, 9:02 am

    “50 years of occupation”

    The listing and unmasking of the propaganda arguments that Stephens uses to support Democrat Party Zionism was quite good. Was there a need, though, to contribute to that same Zionist propaganda by repeating the statement above?

  11. Richard Baldwin Cook
    Richard Baldwin Cook
    February 11, 2019, 9:06 am

    David Hurst, in 1972, pointed out that Zionism “cannot challenge the Arab claim to Jerusalem by the only criterion which would count in modern law – centuries of continuous residence and ownership of the land; so they have to erect another one in its place, the intensity of the sentimental attachment, the strength of the mystic bond which binds them to it.” – David Hirst, Manchester Guardian Weekly, April 27, 1972, quoted in THE ZIONIST CONNECTION, Alfred Lilienthal, 1978, p. 753

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      February 11, 2019, 10:14 am

      @Richard Baldwin Cook

      I’m so happy to learn that you are familiar with the late Dr. Alfred Lilienthal’s “THE ZIONIST CONNECTION.”

      Chock full of thoroughly documented facts and revelations, it is an absolute “must read” regarding the conflict. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you seek out his other books on the subject.

      I had the good fortune to correspond with Dr. Lilienthal during his final years. What a wonderful man, what a gentleman, what a scholar he was!!!

      He was also one of the very first Jewish American scholars to reveal the truth of the horrors and monstrous crimes Zionists have perpetrated against the indigenous Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

      • Keith
        Keith
        February 11, 2019, 11:39 am

        MISTERIOSO- “Chock full of thoroughly documented facts and revelations, it is an absolute “must read” regarding the conflict.”

        I agree, however, for those put off by the over 800 page length, Lilienthal’s 186 page “What Price Israel” (anniversary edition) would be a good place to start.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 11, 2019, 1:18 pm

        This is one of the reasons why I see Zionism as having an essentially religious basis – its claims have no basis in any normal ethical system and therefore have to form an exception to the ethical rule. It is hard to see what judge or agency has a right to set the rules aside except the general consent of those involved, seeing that exception in question is clearly for the general good, or of course God in his necessarily superior wisdom. The first of these doesn’t apply. The Biblicalclaim that God in his wisdom did indeed bestow the Holy Land on Israel is very readily available and never more than half an inch below the surface of Zionist argumentation. The form of Christianity that does not see this donation as still operative has been discredited as anti-Semitic.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        February 11, 2019, 3:38 pm

        @keith

        Agreed. A good way to absorb all the thoroughly documented information that Dr. Lilienthal put on the table is to begin with his “What Price Israel?”

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 12, 2019, 1:47 am

        “Zionism … its claims have no basis in any normal ethical system and therefore have to form an exception to the ethical rule.”

        One way the Zionists try to get round this is to pretend everyone agrees with rules that they have cooked up themselves. Then they get shocked if anyone questions them.

        Such rules as these:

        “Any group that declares itself to be a ‘people’ or ‘nation’ has a right to establish a state.”
        “Only people who are members of a ‘people’ or ‘nation’ and who have previously established a state have any rights at all.”
        “Everyone is morally obliged to support Zionists in establishing and maintaining their state.”
        “Any attempt to use any rules for the benefit of the Palestinians is anti-Semitic.”
        “Anti-Semitism is wronger than all other possible wrongs. It’s the wrongest wrong there is.”
        “Anything Zionists declare to be anti-Semitic is anti-Semitic.”

        I’m sure you can add a few.

        “The Biblical claim that God in his wisdom did indeed bestow the Holy Land on Israel is very readily available”

        I haven’t seen a signed deed or affidavit from God. I have never heard of him appearing in court and swearing to that bestowal. Did he really give the land to Israel?

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      February 11, 2019, 2:17 pm

      RBC: “David Hurst, in 1972, pointed out that Zionism “cannot challenge the Arab claim to Jerusalem by the only criterion which would count in modern law – centuries of continuous residence and ownership of the land.”

      LOL. Only to Jerusalem? Make it Palestine based on this absolutely correct argument.

  12. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    February 11, 2019, 1:02 pm

    The ‘sought peace before’ claim is often made, but has no moral force unless ‘still seeking peace’ is added. In which case, what terms of peace would you consider fair? Let the world see.

  13. Elizabeth Block
    Elizabeth Block
    February 11, 2019, 4:42 pm

    Someone I know – a Quaker – was at an event where Bernie Farber, formerly head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, spoke. He talked about human rights violations and genocides in many places but (surprise!) didn’t mention Palestine. When she brought it up, in a small breakout group, a member of the local synagogue said she shouldn’t conflate Israel and Judaism.
    Well, that’s what Israel, and Zionists, have been doing for decades, with considerable success. Now, when a Jew can’t defend Israel, he says Israel isn’t Judaism. I don’t think you can have it both ways.

  14. James Canning
    James Canning
    February 11, 2019, 6:07 pm

    So, Bret Stephens is a cheerleader for ever more illegal settlement activity in the occupied West Bank by Jews. How much damage is this continuing illegal program inflicting on the US? Immense damage, obviously.

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