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Thirty-five years ago Likud wouldn’t conceive of sitting down with Kahane. What changed?

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Last week, PM Netanyahu did his nefarious best to make certain “Kahane’s people” – the talismanic name used by former members of the terrorist organizations Kach and Kahane Chai, an incantation so powerful it makes the prosecution blind to who they are – will enter the next Knesset. For that purpose, he cooked up an unusually malodorous witch’s brew, as part of which he will make a Jewish Home member, Eli Ben Dahan,  a part of the Likud list, and after the elections Ben Dahan will take this Likud seat and return back to the Jewish Home. It will probably be the duty of the High Court of Justice to finally decide whether this groundbreaking deal, which bypasses the entire democratic process (people voting for Likud will be actually voting for the Jewish Home in order put a member of Jewish Power in the Knesset) is stinking but kosher.

The union between the Jewish Home and Jewish power is anything but surprising. Yours truly was the editor of the school paper in Nechalim Yeshiva back in 1988, and the paper was suppressed by the rosh yeshiva, Yoske Ba-Gad, because I made a poll which showed that, among the two senior classes, 30% would vote for Kahane if they could (and, among the senior class, many did have the vote). Ba-Gad, who himself told us “Kahane is right, but he’s insane”, was afraid of bad publicity.  

The course charted by Religious Zionism, focusing on the “redemption” of the West Bank, steered it towards supporting terrorism even back in the early 1980s. For the past four years, it was represented in the Knesset by B’tzalel Smutrich, who spoke about ethnically cleansing the Palestinians. The Kahanists were always legitimate during the Kiddush following Saturday morning prayer, when the words not meant for strangers’ ears were spoken.

The Kahanists, after all, were always the unhiemlich of religious Zionism: the uncanny, the stranger who looks too familiar, the one whose existence wakes in you your deepest fears about your identity – and your deepest urges. Now the person merged with its shadow. Troubling, perhaps, but hardly surprising. Rafi Peretz, the newly-minted leader of Jewish Home, moved from firebrand opposition to the Kahanist deal to an enthusiastic embrace of them within 24 hours.

Likud, we’d think, would be another opera. Unfortunately, we think so because we are still listening to the sounds of a bygone, completely different orchestra, and we find it hard to notice the conductor and the players have all changed. In the 1980s, all members of Likud left the well of the Knesset when Kahane spoke; Likud MK Miki Eitan made a minute and devastating comparison between Kahane’s laws about “protecting Jewish honor” and the Nuremburg Laws. Kahane and his followers were beyond the pale.

So what changed?

In the 1980s, the Likud still believed in Jabotinsky’s “Iron wall” concept: that if the Jewish state would be steadfast and refrain from retreating, the Palestinians will eventually understand it’s not going anywhere, will tire of war, and peace will be reached. This theory had one glaring hole: 1980s Likudniks had no idea how to handle millions of Palestinians.

Jabotinsky, when he was writing in the 1920s and 1930s, had no such problems. He supported a one-state solution. Some Likudniks (notably President Rivlin) still do. Most of the party, however, can’t conceive of this notion.

It’s been 30 years and more since Kahane’s party was disqualified from running in the 1988 elections, but the Palestinians have not gone anywhere. Quite the contrary. If they weren’t even on the radar of the West in the 1970s, and in the 1980s they were seen just as terrorists, now the Palestinian issue haunts Israel everywhere.

In 1987, Likud torpedoed the London Agreement between King Hussein of Jordan and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, which was supposed to return the West Bank to Jordanian control. Soon afterwards, the First Intifada broke out; it led Palestinian society to a paradigm change few Israelis understood then or now.

Until 1987, the Palestinian struggle was focused on the Palestinian diaspora: the vision of the violent struggle which will bring Israel down and return the refugees to their land. The Intifada, on the other hand, did not just stress non-violent struggle: it changed the focus. It demanded struggle will deal, first and foremost, not with the refugees but with the Palestinians living on their land and under Israeli occupation. It moved the Palestinian struggle from outside to inside. It’s not a coincidence Yasser Arafat did his considerable best to behead the local leadership of the Intifada: it grew from below and represented people on the ground, not grandiloquent would-be revolutionaries.

Yet the First Intifada, crushed by the IDF and the ISA (Shin Bet) from one side and by terrified Palestinian bureaucrats in exile on the other, did reach an impressive victory. It made it clear to Israeli decision makers the danger they faced was not a few scattered terror attacks, but in a Palestinian uprising, not by refugees but by people living under a military dictatorship. Following the Intifada, the Palestinian issue never left the stage, neither in Israel nor in the world.

Under Shamir, the Likud was dragged, screaming and kicking, to Madrid, where it mostly burned time to delay the end. Madrid led to Oslo, which made the hitherto fringe idea of separation into two states a mainstream one. The two state solution would wipe out Likud’s vision; Netanyahu made sure to kill it before Barak came to power in 1999. This left only three options on the table: A country of all its residents, an official apartheid regime (contrary to the unofficial one already in place), or ethnic cleansing.

Maybe we should have noticed the old Likud idea died back in 1999. Benny Begin ran for the Knesset with a right-wing outfit, crashed and burned, and left politics for a decade. He said then that he still believed Israel could be, had to be, a Jewish state which will promise human rights to Palestinians – but that there didn’t seem to be many Israelis who thought so.

Then came the Second Intifada, an ocean of the blood of the blameless. Palestinian killers committed crimes against humanity in busses and restaurants; Israel committed massive war crimes on an almost daily basis. When the smoke cleared, the Palestinians were still there, still demanding independence.

(It should be noted that many proud Palestinian veterans of the First Intifada will not recognize the 2000-2005 struggle as an Intifada; they deride it as “the second fauda“, chaos, and claim there was only one Intifada. Theirs, they say, was led by the people; the other was taken over by gunmen.)  

The concept of an “iron wall” looks shaky after the Second Intifada, Cast lead and Protective Edge. If this massive flow of bloodshed wouldn’t build a wall, it seems nothing wall. Israel requires more and more effort to maintain the occupation: it has to run in order to stay where it is. Peres’ “Jordanian option” is long dead, assuming it ever lived; the two state solution died about a decade ago; and we’re fast slipping into what looks into a T-Junction. Either a one state solution or an official apartheid.

But there is another option: ethnic cleansing. The right-wing doesn’t speak about it openly, but the Kahanists do. This is what is whispered over kugel and herring in Kiddush after prayers for decades. And Likud’s internal logic, having hit the iron wall of reality, begins to bend in this way. Some 10% of the Jewish population of Israel have been speaking about “a second nakba” even as they denied the first; now Likud joins them.

That’s where the shock of the Kahanist deal comes from. The road was leading there; there’s no surprise here. But names do have meanings, and Netanyahu invoked shem ha’meforah, the explicit name.

Meir Martin Kahane used to say there was a little Kahane in every Jew, and that it was his mission to make him come to the fore. He could not know Netanyahu would be better, so much better, at this than him.

A beast is slouching from Hebron to be born. Perhaps its time has come. But we need to face it, and vanquish it. Hopefully, we still can.

Yossi Gurvitz

Yossi Gurvitz is a journalist and a blogger, and has covered the occupation extensively.

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21 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan on February 27, 2019, 11:32 am

    For years people who could see where things were going were told to butt out. Israel was an internal Jewish matter

    For years Palestinians were told to resist peacefully. Now BDS is deemed anti Semitic. So are left wing parties who want to change the dead system .

    https://mobile.twitter.com/TheBirmingham6/status/1099689441084559361

    Israel is out of control.
    If it fell apart would it be a tragedy ? No

    Hitler made sure he got what he wanted unscrupulously and it all fell apart. That was not tragic. A tragedy is when 2 conflicting forces interact in a person. 

    In Israel there is no conflict either.
    So it would be payback

    • Misterioso on February 28, 2019, 8:59 am

      @Maghlawatan, et al

      Major development:

      https://www.timesofisrael.com/deborah-lipstadt-resigns-from-synagogue-over-defense-of-israeli-extreme-right/

      “Deborah Lipstadt resigns from synagogue over defense of Israeli extreme right”

      “Leading Holocaust scholar cuts ties with Young Israel, saying she can’t associate with organization that condones ‘such racism, celebration of violence, and immoral policies.’”
      Times of Israel, Feb. 27/19

      “Deborah Lipstadt, the prominent Holocaust historian, is resigning her membership in her local synagogue because it belongs to a movement that defended an Israeli political deal with the extremist right wing.

      “Lipstadt belonged to Young Israel of Toco Hills in Atlanta, an Orthodox congregation. The broader Young Israel movement, in a statement Monday to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, defended an agreement between the Jewish Home party and Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power,) a far-right political party. Jewish Power is led by followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, who advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israel.

      “The merger deal was facilitated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a bid to strengthen a future Likud-led coalition following the April 9 election, and has since been widely condemned, including by other Israeli lawmakers — though not from Likud — and mainstream US Jewish organizations.

      “But Young Israel defended the move.

      “’Prime Minister Netanyahu acted to get right-wing parties to merge in order to meet the threshold necessary to secure a victory in the election,’ read the statement by Farley Weiss, president of the National Council of Young Israel. ‘We understand what Prime Minister Netanyahu did, and he did it to have ministers of the national religious and national union parties in his coalition.’

      “The rabbi of Lipstadt’s synagogue, Adam Starr, himself condemned the statement in a Facebook post Monday, writing, ‘Not in my name and not in my shul’s name!’ But Lipstadt still felt that she could not continue to be associated with Young Israel, despite having fond words for her synagogue and rabbi.

      “’I cannot be associated with an organization that gives such racism, celebration of violence, and immoral policies a ‘heksher,’ or imprimatur, she wrote in an open letter posted to Facebook Tuesday. ‘At this time of rising antisemitism, Jew hatred, and prejudice of all kinds, each of us – and not just our spiritual leaders – must speak out and act individually and collectively. And so I speak out with deep sadness that such a despicable action is given ‘cover’ by people who claim to walk in the ways of the Kadosh Baruch Hu,’ a Hebrew term for God.

      “Lipstadt told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Tuesday that she felt a particular urgency to act because she is now promoting a book about present-day anti-Semitism.

      “’This is a party that has racist views,’ she said. ‘This is a party that condones murder. This is a party that condones the man who committed the largest mass murder in Israel by a Jew. Those are all things that I find despicable, and to say it’s just politics is really bad.’

      “One of the leaders of Otzma Yehudit hung a picture in his home of Baruch Goldstein, the Jewish terrorist who killed 29 Palestinians at the Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994.

      “The extremist Otzma Yehudit is the spiritual successor to Meir Kahane’s Kach party, which was barred from the Knesset under a Basic Law outlawing incitement to violence and later banned entirely in Israel.

      “It supports encouraging emigration of non-Jews from Israel and expelling Palestinians and Israeli Arabs who refuse to declare loyalty to Israel and accept diminished status in an expanded Jewish state whose sovereignty extends throughout the West Bank.

      “Lipstadt also condemned Netanyahu for the agreement, which saw Jewish Power merge with other right-wing parties in a joint slate for Israel’s upcoming election. The unified slate will give the parties a better chance of getting enough votes to enter Israel’s Knesset. She said the deal was of a piece with Netanyahu’s recent tendency to cozy up to right-wing nationalist leaders in Europe, like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

      “’It was sadly in sync with a number of things we’ve seen,’ she said. ‘This was just one more step but this was a deal breaker.’”

      • Brewer on March 1, 2019, 4:50 am

        An ideology that is based on myth and is inherently illogical must inevitably fall apart.

  2. eljay on February 27, 2019, 12:40 pm

    According to Zionists, the majority of people who have chosen to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish believe that their identity comprises a right:
    – to Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of geographic Palestine; and
    – to commit the “necessary evil” to secure it.

    Rather than disabuse them of this unjust and immoral belief, the “Western world” for decades has done nothing but validate it with endless economic, military, political and financial support.

    It’s no wonder that an unjust and immoral state continues to slip further into injustice and immorality.

  3. just on February 27, 2019, 2:54 pm

    Thanks, Yossi. I have long been horrified by the ‘leaders’ in Israel, many of whom have openly advocated for and acted toward continued apartheid, occupation, ethnic cleansing, and massacre. Never, ever peace and justice.

    Bennett~ “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

    Shaked of “little snakes”~ “This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people… an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”

    Hotovely~ “You are thieves of history. Your history books are empty, and you are trying to co-opt Jewish history and Islamicize it.” This book is empty. Do you know why it is empty? Because they have no kings, they have no heritage sites. The Palestinians are violating Jewish heritage sites. …

    David, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah are the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish nation. You will not succeed in Islamicizing them, you will not succeed in eradicating the bible.”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2017/07/thieves-hotovely-palestinians/

    Smotrich~ “Smotrich has advocated a shoot-to-kill policy for the military when they deal with Palestinian children throwing stones. Stating his intention to “abort” a Palestinian state, he states that Palestinians have 3 options: to leave, accept rule by a Jewish state, or fight and be defeated. Asked what he would do were another intifada to arise, and a Palestinian child were to throw stones, he replied: “Either I will shoot him, or I will jail him, or I will expel him.”[23][24] …

    Smotrich has argued that price tag assaults on Palestinian people or property, while criminal in nature, are not to be classified as examples of terrorism, which he defined as “only violence carried out by an enemy within the framework of war against us”. Commenting on a specific case, the Duma arson attack, in which a Palestinian family of 3 were killed, and for which a Jewish settler has been indicted, Smotrich stated that to brand such deeds as terrorism causes “mortal and unjustified harm to human and civil rights”.[25]

    In April 2018, Smotrich tweeted that Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian serving an eight-month jail sentence for assaulting a soldier, incitement, and interfering with a soldier in the line of duty, “should have gotten a bullet, at least in the kneekap”.”

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

    Oh, and there’s Golda Meir, all the Generals and Elor and his family, etc.

    The list goes on forever. It doesn’t matter which Zionist party you examine, it’s all there. Not much difference when calling for erasure of Palestinians, denial of their existence, and claiming all of Palestine for the Jewish people.

    I have to say that I am disgusted with an article in Haaretz this morning :

    “Following Controversial Deal With Kahanists, Religious Israelis Are Seeking a New Political Home

    Habayit Hayehudi has long been the home of religious Zionists, but its electoral alliance with Otzma Yehudit, at the urging of Benjamin Netanyahu, has proved the final straw for some party members

    …….Moriah-Gibor may be politically “homeless” – the term she uses to describe herself – but she is not alone. “I feel we’re a big group of people and that this has been coming for a long time,” she says.

    Yaara Yeshurun, who ran the women’s forum at Habayit Hayehudi and was a member of the party’s central committee, also sounds pretty devastated. “I lost my home, and I feel very confused,” she says. “It takes time to digest the fact that your home is no longer your home.”…

    Yeshurun and Moriah-Gibor belong to a growing list of former loyalists who can no longer fathom the idea of voting for Habayit Hayehudi. They include Yifat Ehrlich, a former journalist who until the Otzma Yehudit deal was No. 3 on the party ticket – the top spot designated for a woman. Last Thursday, a day after the alliance was approved, she resigned in protest.

    The day before, Danny Hirschberg – the former secretary-general of Bnei Akiva (the youth movement affiliated with religious Zionism) – reached out to members of the party central committee on Facebook, begging them to reject the deal.

    “There are lines that can’t be crossed, and a move like this has a price that we should not pay,” he wrote. “Not even to save two seats for the right-wing bloc.” He also said he would not vote for the party “that was my home.”

    After Bennett and Shaked left the party, Tirza Kelman was among a group of Habayit Hayehudi loyalists charged with getting the house back in order. A prominent member of Israel’s Orthodox feminist community, she devoted herself diligently to the challenge. But then came the deal with the Kahanists – one blow too many for her.

    “Those who don’t accept the rules of the game regarding the authority of the state, those who don’t respect fundamental civil rights, those who supported in the past and do not distance themselves from extreme violence by private individuals – they are way beyond the pale for me,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “I assume that those of you who are fuming at me since the beginning of the week will explain to me how terrible it is that I take a stand. But, thank God, we still live in a country where that is legitimate.”

    She added: “I’m not moving to any new political home for now. Just consider me homeless.”

    By far the most extreme denunciation of the party came from Benny Lau, a prominent Jerusalem rabbi and pillar of the religious Zionist community. (The conventional wisdom is that, given his very liberal leanings, he doesn’t vote for Habayit Hayehudi, or at least hasn’t in a long time). Delivering his weekly synagogue talk on Saturday morning, Lau begged his congregants not to vote for Habayit Hayehudi, comparing the platform of its new Kahanist partners to that of the Nazi Party. (Otzma Yehudit’s Itamar Ben-Gvir slapped a lawsuit on Lau for the comparison and is demanding an apology.) …”

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-following-deal-with-kahanists-religious-israelis-are-seeking-new-political-home-1.6977875

    “Home” is used repetitively in this article. No mention of the Palestinians and their homeland. None at all. It’s all pearl- clutching and boo- hoo. I truly believe that the majority of Jewish Israelis have no ability to look in the mirror or evaluate their ‘leaders’ honestly. I’ve seen “red lines” crossed by Israel many, many times over the course of my lifetime and the Israeli public may shrug with a tsk- tsk, but they keep on doing the same thing because, I guess, they like the results.

  4. ckg on February 27, 2019, 3:19 pm

    What changed? The times they are a changin’, and not in a good way. As a famous follower of Kahane once said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Seems like a lot of young U.S. Jews are now saying to Israel, “You go your way and I go mine.”

  5. Kay24 on February 27, 2019, 6:55 pm

    Netanyahu is desperate. Desperate to remain in power, and he is running for re-election on a very weak position, because he is going to be an indicted PM as candidate, which will go against him. Desperate people do desperate things. Now that he cannot convince his people that he is the toughest candidate, and can kill Palestinians mostly unarmed ones easily, as his rival can brag about it too, he has to resort to these drastic measures. He has embraced an entity that is based on terrorism, called terrorists by the US State department, and condemned by many Israelis. This is perhaps the real Netanyahu, and it is time his country rejected him. Israel is becoming more and more a pariah nation, and Israelis should thank Netanyahu for it.

    • just on February 27, 2019, 7:12 pm

      “Huge Majority of Right-wing, Religious Israeli Voters Say Netanyahu Is Being Framed

      On eve of attorney general’s expected indictment announcement, most Israelis think prime minister is corrupt, but his supporters say it’s law enforcement that’s guilty

      Just before Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit decides on filing indictments in the cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it seems that almost half the public has little trust, or no trust, in Mendelblit. This group is made up not just of Likud voters, but comes in large part from the religious Zionist and Haredi communities.

      These are some of the findings of a survey conducted on the issue of corruption, the largest-ever conducted in Israel on the matter. It was carried out by Dr. Doron Navot, head of the democracy studies program in the department of political science at Haifa University. The study was funded by the Israel Science Foundation.

      About 75 percent of the ultra-Orthodox people who participated in the series of surveys believe that the institutions of law enforcement in Israel are participating in an attempt to remove Netanyahu, as do 65 percent of Likud voters. Over 60 percent of those who vote for Likud do not believe the police, nor do over 80 percent of those who vote for Shas and United Torah Judaism. …

      The public’s stance concerning corruption has been examined in the past, but never in such a detailed, diverse fashion. The striking thing is that part of the public does not at all believe the messenger – the law enforcement system and the media, Navot found in this latest survey.

      “In surveys conducted after the police presented their recommendations to charge him, backing for Netanyahu among his [supporters] only rose and the public’s trust in institutions fell. The significance here is that the law enforcement system investigates Netanyahu, with the possibility of filing indictments, while a large part of the public does not believe in the system. What the government is doing is a violent act and its legitimacy is in doubt as far, as it’s concerned,” Navot said. …”

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/survey-huge-majority-of-right-wing-religious-voters-say-netanyahu-being-framed-1.6978845

      Lots of Israelis appear to be addicted to Netanyahu… and not to the truth. What will Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit do ?

      “Likud Braces for Impact Ahead of Expected Netanyahu Indictment

      The party fears it could lose five Knesset seats once attorney general announces decision, and is saving every shekel to fight the charges via advertisements, text messages and social media campaigns …”

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-likud-braces-for-impact-ahead-of-expected-netanyahu-indictment-1.6978800?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      I guess we can expect another steaming heap of Likud Hasbara…

  6. Keith on February 27, 2019, 7:01 pm

    “The course charted by Religious Zionism, focusing on the “redemption” of the West Bank….”

    “Redemption,” not conquest. Zionist Israel is not your stereotypical settler colonialism. Zionist ideology posits Israel/Palestine as the home country. There are significant ramifications to this.

    • Talkback on February 28, 2019, 9:01 am

      From Israel’s declaration of independence:

      “We appeal to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream – the redemption of Israel.”
      https://www.knesset.gov.il/docs/eng/megilat_eng.htm

      • RoHa on February 28, 2019, 7:15 pm

        If the Israelis claim they are redeeming Israel, I want to see the pawn ticket.

    • Elizabeth Block on February 28, 2019, 12:55 pm

      Redemption? Conquest?
      Years ago, when I was just ceasing to ignore this whole issue, I told a friend at her seder that there were Jewish settlements in the Gaza strip, and I said they could only have been built on stolen land. She said indignantly, “It isn’t stolen. It’s conquered!” I didn’t have the wits at the time to say, “Well, if it’s conquered and the conquerees try to conquer it back, you haven’t got a moral leg to stand on to object.”
      At least she didn’t try to say it was redeemed.

      • philweiss on February 28, 2019, 2:36 pm

        That’s a fantastic line, what you didnt/shoulda told your friend.

      • YoniFalic on February 28, 2019, 2:57 pm

        A good summary of the reason for an international anti-genocide legal regime that has a specific starting point (terminus a quo).

        Do we really want to live in a world based on the law of the jungle?

      • eljay on February 28, 2019, 3:17 pm

        || Elizabeth Block: … She said indignantly, “It isn’t stolen. It’s conquered!” I didn’t have the wits at the time to say, “Well, if it’s conquered and the conquerees try to conquer it back, you haven’t got a moral leg to stand on to object.” … ||

        For decades Zionists have been undermining international laws and human rights and the protections they are meant to afford all people including Jews. It amazes me that they:
        – refuse to understand the impact of what they’re doing; or, worse,
        – simply don’t care.

        I remain unable to comprehend why Zionists hate Jews so much.

      • Keith on February 28, 2019, 5:14 pm

        YONIFALIC- “Do we really want to live in a world based on the law of the jungle?”

        We do live in a world where those with power abuse and exploit those with less power. International law is little more than an attempt to camouflage the ugly reality. Like religion, it provides hope for the hopeless. I am unaware of any instance where international law significantly influenced the actions of empire except, perhaps, to hire lawyers to engage in legal pilpul. Those who support international law have little power while those with real power don’t, lofty rhetoric notwithstanding.

      • YoniFalic on February 28, 2019, 8:14 pm

        The incidence of slavery seems much less today than it was in the middle of the 19th century, but an historical political economist might argue that the decrease comes from economic more than legal development.

        I suspect a combination of both developments has lead to the vanishing of slavery as a viable social system.

        Women’s rights also seem to have advanced in law and in culture since the middle of the 19th century.

        As for genocide, at least the crime has been articulated, and the international legal regime operates — somewhat fitfully I admit.

  7. Misterioso on February 28, 2019, 9:23 am

    As events unfold, the truth stated long ago by the following wise eminent Jews warrants repeating:

    Then Secretary of State for India and the British cabinet’s only Jewish member, Lord Edwin Montagu’s response to Prime Minister Lloyd George following issuance of the illegal 1917 Balfour Declaration: “All my life I have been trying to get out of the ghetto. You want to force me back there.”

    Henry Morgenthau Sr., former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1919: “Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history…. The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is… a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light.” (Quoted by Frank Epp, Whose Land is Palestine? p. 261)

    Asked to sign a petition supporting settlement of Jews in Palestine, Sigmund Freud declined: “I cannot…I do not think that Palestine could ever become a Jewish state….It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land….I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.” (Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 2/26/30)

    In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people….. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.” (Einstein and Zionism by Banesh Hoffmann, in General Relativity and Gravitation, eds G. Shaviv and J. Rosen, Wiley, 1975, p. 242)

    Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, 1944: “The concept of a racial state – the Hitlerian concept- is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved. . . , I urge that we do nothing to set us back on the road to the past. To project at this time the creation of a Jewish state or commonwealth is to launch a singular innovation in world affairs which might well have incalculable consequences.”

  8. Jejasalo on February 28, 2019, 1:27 pm

    The two-state solution became the international consensus on Israel and Palestine in 1976 with the passage of a variety of United Nations Security Council Reslutions. It had already gained currency among nations of the world by the mid-1970s, was popular among some Palestinian groups by then, and was finally accepted by its leadership in 1982.

    A better question to ask than “what changed?” that allowed Israel to have Kahanist views in the mainstream by 2019 is “what didn’t change?”

    What didn’t change were the votes on having a two-state solution —reiterated in many subsequent UN resolutions: the United States and Israel consistently voted “No”.

    Had these two states shown the slightest willingness to work with the 2-state solution, something resembling it would almost certainly exist today.

    It was and has been the rejection of the two-state solution by Israel and America all along that has contributed so significantly to the rise of radical extremist right wing parties.

  9. YoniFalic on February 28, 2019, 3:01 pm

    The two-state solution is inherently wrong and undermines the international anti-genocide legal regime.

    We must face facts.

    Opposition to abolishing the State of Israel today is at least as evil today as opposition to abolishing US slavery was before the US Civil War.

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