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Michael Oren normalizes Israeli racism (‘logical and just’) in ‘The Atlantic’

Media Analysis

The Atlantic has published a favorable article about the possible ascension to the Israeli premiereship of Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in an illegal settlement and has called for transferring Palestinians from Israel because they are potentially disloyal to the Jewish state.

Author Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the US, pretends to be appalled by racist comments from Lieberman and then a sentence or two later he justifies them, again and again.

So the Atlantic is allowing a politician who was a minister in the Netanyahu government this year to publish what masquerades as analytical journalism about a rightwing party leader, but is propaganda, the classic Israeli “hasbara,” explaining-ourselves-to-the-world.

The conflict of interest is so massive it’s farcical. It’s like having a former Trump official who still supports his policies write an analytical piece about the immigration issue.

Oren’s goal here is transparent. Make Israeli racism understandable and justifiable. But readers should prepare themselves: the MSM is going this way. Yes it’s Jim Crow, but Israel has no choice.

Here are some excerpts showing Oren’s sales job for Lieberman. Lieberman is a complex but fair man, he just wants “greater loyalty” from Palestinians.

[H]e could be a constructive partner for any Trump-administration peace plan. Electoral success for Lieberman would mean an Israel that will demand greater loyalty from its Arab citizens and army service from Haredi Jews, an Israel fighting on at least one front, and an Israel that may reconcile with the Palestinians.

Yes it’s true that Lieberman has adopted racist ideas. But that’s because the late pollster Arthur Finkelstein advised him to choose “an enemy that most people hate and hone in on it.” So, “Lieberman chose Israel’s Arab citizens.” Watch how Oren pivots and makes it justifiable:

His 2009 campaign posters showed Lieberman glowering over the incendiary slogan “He speaks Arabic,” meaning force—implying that was the only language Palestinians understood. He accused anti-Zionist Arab politicians of treason—“Your place is in prison, not the Knesset”—and demanded loyalty oaths from Israeli Arabs and the death penalty for Palestinian terrorists.

Such populism, brutish even by Israeli standards, earned Lieberman an international reputation as a racist. The sight of every poster, and every call for loyalty oaths, made me cringe. Yet Lieberman’s message resonated with a significant number of Israelis fed up with Arab Knesset members who were openly opposed to the Jewish state and who condoned violence against it. The larger public was desperate for ways to deter continued terror. Even if repelled by his rhetoric, they quietly shared many of his sentiments….

So Israel faced a fifth column. Israelis were subject to the terror campaign of the Second Intifada. And by the way: Israelis always means Jewish Israelis. Oren never speaks for Palestinian citizens.

In the throes of the second Intifada, during which 1,000 of their co-citizens were killed by Palestinian bombers, Israelis were not in a compromising mood.

Oren never mentions the thousands of Palestinian victims of Israeli violence. The word occupation doesn’t appear in the article.

Oren met Lieberman back in ’09 when he became ambassador and Lieberman was Foreign Minister. Lieberman was no racist. That was just tactics. Beneath the “supposed hatred” was a worldly trustworthy man.

The person I met that night was strikingly different from his public persona—curious about my background, respectful, and wry. He gave no hint of his supposed hatred of Arabs or indeed of any far-right attitudes, which I began to suspect were less deep-seated convictions than opportunistic political tools. In time, I would come to know Lieberman as that rare politician who retained the same devoted staff over many years and who always lived up to his word…

And the Jewish left is no better than the right, when it comes to transferring Palestinians. Lieberman’s idea is “logical and just”. Because Palestinians are a “hotbed of sedition.”

Lieberman described the Triangle [where several hundred thousand Palestinians live] as a hotbed of sedition and recalled how the Israeli left proposed transferring the 200,000 Arabs of East Jerusalem to Palestinian control even though most of them preferred to remain within Israel. For all the controversy it aroused, Lieberman’s concept struck a nerve among many Israelis who saw it as both logical and just. After all, 9,000 settlers had recently been uprooted from Gaza. …

Lieberman is a thoughtful man. In 2015, Oren was in the Knesset when he heard about Lieberman’s ideas about how to take on Hamas in the Gaza strip.

listening to Lieberman’s closed-door testimony before the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, I was impressed by his mastery of complex security issues. My colleagues on all sides of the aisle agreed…

You would never know that 2 million Palestinians live in Gaza in an open-air prison.

In the end, Lieberman is another smart, can-do Israeli. He doesn’t run on racism anymore. Everything will be fine.

[H]is campaign is aimed at Tel Aviv professionals. Commuting to their high-tech jobs outside the city, they pass billboards with Lieberman’s still-glowering face but a different slogan, this one in English. “Make Israel Normal Again,” it says, a clear reference to President Trump.

There’s one excellent insider moment in the article. In September 2009 Lieberman and Oren had a photo-op with President Obama and Netanyahu at the U.N. and then got on an elevator.

“I’m pessimistic,” [national security adviser Uzi] Arad said, concerned about the possibility of intensified American pressure on Israel. “Something will come of this.” Lieberman responded, chortling: “I’m optimistic. Nothing will.”

And nothing did.

Nothing did because of the power of the Israel lobby in the United States. This piece is just more evidence of its power. BTW, the editor of the Atlantic is Jeffrey Goldberg, who served in the Israeli army and once said J Street was perceived as stabbing Israel in the back by supporting the Iran deal.

Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson

Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson are NY writers and regular contributors to this site

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44 Responses

  1. Donald on August 30, 2019, 2:11 pm

    Needs a bit of editing. This appears twice—

    “Oren’s goal here is transparent. Make Israeli racism understandable and justifiable. But readers should prepare themselves: the MSM is going this way. Yes it’s Jim Crow, but Israel has no choice.”

    Probably needs to be said over and over again, but not in the same article.

  2. brent on August 30, 2019, 2:21 pm

    The power over America is significantly enhanced by influence on the media and by Palestinian civil society reinforcing established narratives by abiding, even celebrating, the killing of Jewish settlers. They appear to underpin Israel’s “explaining” and lack of traction for the aggrieved party.

    • Mooser on August 30, 2019, 2:33 pm

      ” Palestinian civil society reinforcing established narratives by abiding, even celebrating, the killing of Jewish settlers.”

      Are you talking about the Palestinians who did dances celebrating the arson death of a child?

      Well, Palestinians can’t “shoot and cry”. They haven’t got guns.

  3. wondering jew on August 30, 2019, 2:30 pm

    Because Israel is moving neither towards withdrawal from the West Bank (the first step of which would be negotiating boundaries with the PLO), nor towards full annexation (and citizenship for You Know Who’s), it is indeed planning to remain indefinitely in the status quo which indeed is anti democratic. And Oren is firmly on the side of the indefinite status quo.

    As regards Lieberman, the political acumen that saw the opportunity to go from 4 to 12 Knesset seats, should not be underestimated. Neither should it be overestimated. No one is going to hand him the Premiership and neither is he about to seize it by force of arms or charms. Anti Charedi draft dodging and general anti charedi sentiments are a factor in a large section of the electorate, but they are not the means for ascending to power, certainly not for Lieberman.

    • Mooser on August 31, 2019, 7:27 pm

      ” it is indeed planning to remain indefinitely in the status quo”

      What an advanced dialectic you pro-Israel balmalochas have. It lets you turn a crisis into a “status quo”.

      • echinococcus on August 31, 2019, 11:15 pm

        Big round of applause, Mooser.

    • johneill on September 1, 2019, 12:19 pm

      why would palestinians in the west bank get citizenship, come annexation, when jerusalemites in ‘the undivided capital’ only got ‘temporary’ residency?

  4. eljay on August 30, 2019, 6:40 pm

    Michael Oren normalizes Israeli racism

    Because Michael Oren – like all Zionists – is a hateful and immoral supremacist and hypocrite.

  5. Jonathan Ofir on August 31, 2019, 1:53 am

    “Here are some excerpts showing Oren’s sales job for Lieberman. Lieberman is a complex but fair man, he just wants “greater loyalty” from Palestinians.” (Weiss, Johnson).

    Lieberman was so desperate for “loyalty” from Palestinians, that he proposed to decapitate the disloyal ones with an axe.

    https://www.haaretz.com/lieberman-disloyal-israeli-arabs-should-be-beheaded-1.5334458

    • philweiss on August 31, 2019, 8:35 am

      thanks for tht reminder Jonathan! Oren left that out somehow?

      • Jonathan Ofir on August 31, 2019, 4:02 pm

        Oren is not always the sharpest, so I’m not so sure about his memory. He could also have noted that Lieberman had suggested to drown Palestinian prisoners in the Dead Sea.

        https://mondoweiss.net/2018/01/shithole-countries-mainstream/

        But I bet Oren would regard that as “less deep-seated convictions than opportunistic political tools”.

  6. Kay24 on August 31, 2019, 6:37 am

    “Oren never mentions the thousands of Palestinian victims of Israeli violence. The word occupation doesn’t appear in the article.”

    These apologists whether officials like Oren, so called journalists like Bret (the Bedbug) Stephens, or Bari Weiss, or comedians like Bill Maher, NEVER refer to the occupation, land grabs, or that unarmed civilians especially kids are being killed. The way they frame it, one is supposed to think all Palestinians are terrorists, and that they are the aggressors. Israel is also made to be the constant victim, whatever the situation is, even when they massacre protestors by the hundreds. It is utter zionist bullshit and they have been doing the same thing for decades, because no one has the courage to stand up to their fake outrage.

    • Citizen on September 3, 2019, 9:56 am

      Agreed.

    • Jasonius Maximus on September 3, 2019, 12:19 pm

      Exactly! These apologists and enablers are also the very same people who are the first to say that Israel, the Netanyahu government, and its policies don’t represent ALL Jews and scream “anti-semitism” at any suggestion of it. Yet in their very next breath they have the chutzpah to claim that the Palestinians will never be free while they ALL support Hamas and until they ALL stop firing rockets. Which, apart from being an utterly absurd and incorrect claim, implies and endorses the idea of ‘guilt by association’ and ‘collective punishment’. Hypocrisy doesn’t even come close to describing the lengths they will go to to spew their illogical racist propaganda.

      • Kay24 on September 3, 2019, 2:48 pm

        The unfortunate thing is, American politicians know this, but still pretend they believe the zionist liars, and spew their talking points for them.

  7. Vera Gottlieb on August 31, 2019, 10:33 am

    Although I am of Jewish background, I am not ashamed to state that I am sick and tired of the Zionist hypocrisies.

    • Elizabeth Block on September 1, 2019, 3:13 pm

      “Israelis always means Jewish Israelis.” Yes. Thank you. I am in the habit of saying “Israelis” instead of “Jews.” I realize now that this is a euphemism. I’ll start saying Jews when I mean Jews. I’m Jewish myself. Why should I softpedal other Jews?

      • Mooser on September 1, 2019, 5:24 pm

        Well, the important thing is that we don’t mix up “Jews” and “the Jews”. Use each in the proper place.

      • Citizen on September 3, 2019, 9:59 am

        @Mooser
        You mean like distinguishing between “territories’ and “the territories”?

  8. Misterioso on August 31, 2019, 10:41 am

    @Kay24, et al.

    For the record:

    https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Encountering-Peace-Have-We-No-Shame-596738

    “ENCOUNTERING PEACE: HAVE WE NO SHAME?”
    “What we did, what the State of Israel did, what we do in the name of the Jewish state is becoming pure evil.” BY GERSHON BASKIN, JULY 24, 2019

    “As I watched the video of the Israeli soldiers and police blowing up one of the 13 residential buildings demolished this week in the Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood of Sur Bahir in east Jerusalem, I wanted to bury myself in shame. When the building imploded and the soldiers laughed as we heard the screams and cries from the Palestinians who became homeless, my shame turned to pure outrage and the urge to be violent. But I will not step down to that level. I will not be violent. But I will not hold back, I will not forget and I will not forgive. What we did, what the State of Israel did, what we do in the name of the Jewish state is becoming pure evil.

    “My first thoughts about what I see in the daily reality of east Jerusalem, and the West Bank and Gaza – things such as the Sur Bahir home demolitions; the removal of Palestinians from their homes in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, and the moving in of Jewish settlers in their place; settlement expansion and building at a faster pace than I have seen in many years; unauthorized settlements being built, budgeted and hooked up to Israeli infrastructure; massive police presence all over the West Bank ticketing hundreds of Palestinian cars (not cars of settlers); and the ongoing strangling the Palestinian economy in full coordination with the US government – all of these actions and more are leading to a definite explosion. My thought: Maybe that is exactly what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants? This is the perfect backdrop for Election Day. Could even Netanyahu be so cynical? I thought to myself – this can’t be.

    “Some of the right-wing politicians have been open and direct about their strategies – they will find ways of encouraging Palestinians to leave their homes and their country. This is what our transportation minister has been saying for years. This is what some of the Likud MKs say and believe. We don’t need Meir Kahane’s followers to force the Palestinians to leave against their will – that is what the government of Israel is carrying out. The policies being implemented on the ground, for years now, are working in that direction. But very few of the Palestinians are actually leaving. The majority of them are staying and they are suffering, and they will not forget or forgive.

    “SOME OF MY right-wing friends criticize my posts on Israel’s shameless and criminal behavior. They tell me that Israel does it under the rules of Oslo. They say that the Palestinians agreed to give up their authority in Jerusalem in the Oslo Accords. They say that the Palestinians agreed to give us Area C – 62% of the West Bank. They say that Israel has the legal right to demolish those homes in Area A, and that this, too, is part of Oslo. All of these claims are lies and false. Let us all remember the truth – Oslo was an interim meant to last five years, not 25 years. The designation of Area A, Area B and Area C were temporary. Even Area C, where Israel took full civil and security authority, was supposed to be a very small part of the West Bank, including only those areas designated as connected to permanent status negotiations (meaning the settlements), which then constituted about 2% of the West Bank, and ‘specified military locations’ constituting about 1% of the West Bank. According to Oslo, Israel was supposed to withdraw from all of the rest of the territories and transfer them to the Palestinian Authority. That never happened and that was Israel’s most fundamental breach of its commitments to the Oslo Accords. Israel did not implement what it took upon itself to implement – that is pure and simple fact.

    “It was never stated in the Oslo Accords that Israel could not build more settlements. It didn’t need to be written. Israel was supposed to turn over most of the West Bank to the Palestinians even before permanent status negotiations were to be concluded. Who could have imagined that Israel would continue building in areas that it was supposed to withdraw from?

    “As I travel all over the West Bank – which I do several days a week, going to Palestinian towns and villages from the South to the North – I see the settlements on the hilltops. This week, I visited several typical Palestinian towns – not far from Modi’in. They are poor, underdeveloped, short of land, short of water, short of electricity and short of money. I looked around at the settlements and saw prosperity, villas, gardens, swimming pools, community centers, and modern large schools and health clinics – in short, paradise.

    “I know why the settlers fight so hard to stay where they are and it has nothing to do with God’s promises to the Jewish people and it has absolutely nothing to do with the security of the State of Israel. They have a great deal. Very affordable very large housing with high quality of life, and the Israeli taxpayers foot a large part of the bill. They build on land that is not theirs. They use modern infrastructure that they do not pay for. They live under the laws of a state that is not sovereign there. Of course they want to stay. Of course they use their political power to protect their interests, and they do this all the way to crying to the public that they are discriminated against.

    “They were all against Oslo, but they continue to claim and use Oslo as justification for the criminal policies of Israel of removing Palestinians from their homes, demolishing others, strangling their economy, closing roads to them, stealing Palestinian land, burning Palestinian crops, cutting down Palestinian olive trees, chasing shepherds from their land, bulldozing water wells and working toward erasing entire villages. This is the height of being cynical.

    “WE HAVE no shame. But wait, Palestinians can go to court – there is a system of justice, right? A system of justice run by a military government with military courts under military law is not a system of justice. A Palestinian has little chance of getting justice in an Israeli military court. But wait – what about Israel’s Supreme Court? The High Court of Justice? This is the same court that, back in 1967, decided that international law does not guide its judgments. This is the court that ‘legalized’ illegal settlement building. This is the court that legalized house demolitions. This is one of the examples that former chief justice Aharon Barak said that he struggles with – the decision to ‘legally’ remove families from their home and demolish it. This is called a war crime in international law.

    “Even international law does not know how to respond to the Israeli occupation. The Fourth Geneva Conventions, which are supposed to provide the international legal basis for enabling military occupations to function and to protect and provide services to the occupied peoples and their lands, did not imagine a scenario of a military occupation lasting more than 50 years. International law recognizes the commander of the Israeli Forces in Judea and Samaria as the legal sovereign whose main task is to deal with the protection of civilians in a war zone – meaning the Palestinians occupied by Israel. The Israeli military commanders work against the protection of the civilians in the war zone and have worked on behalf of Israeli annexationist interests for a very long time. It is these interests that have put the largest distance between us and peace.

    “In the scene of the soldiers forcing the Palestinians from their homes, in every demonstration I have been at in the past years in the occupied territories, you see the horrible site of solders with black masks over their faces. They look like figures out of the darkest periods of our own history. They say it is to protect our soldiers. I think maybe it is because we should be so ashamed of what we have become they don’t want to show their faces. Maybe they feel the shame? Probably not. You can’t keep a military occupation of millions of people going on for years without becoming the essence of evil. That is what we have become and now we don’t even have shame in what we do.”
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    The writer is a political and social entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to the State of Israel and to peace between Israel and her neighbors. His latest book, ‘In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine,’ was published by Vanderbilt University Press and is now available in Israel and Palestine.

  9. JLewisDickerson on August 31, 2019, 10:47 am

    RE: Yes it’s true that Lieberman has adopted racist ideas. But that’s because the late pollster Arthur Finkelstein advised him to choose “an enemy that most people hate and hone in on it.” ~ Weiss & Johnson

    Arthur J. Finkelstein
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_J._Finkelstein

    [EXCERPT] Arthur Jay Finkelstein (May 18, 1945 – August 18, 2017) was a New York State-based Republican Party (GOP) consultant who had worked for conservative and right-wing candidates in the United States, Canada, Israel, Central and Eastern Europe over the past four decades. . .

    . . . In November 1984, Finkelstein also found success in New Hampshire, as he aided freshman conservative Sen. Gordon Humphrey[51] in overcoming a tough challenge . . . Another client, Congressman Tom Corcoran, failed to dislodge incumbent Charles Percy from the Senate nomination in Illinois, despite tough ads (attributed to Finkelstein) suggesting Percy was personally close to PLO leader Yasser Arafat.[54] . . .

  10. Joshua Laskin on August 31, 2019, 12:08 pm

    Zionists can’t conceive of Jewish ‘occupation’ of the Land. To them, it’s the Arabs who are occupying the rightfully-Jewish Land; and, Jews have shown the greatest magnanimity, by not driving all the Arabs out. So, they just can’t understand what the Arabs are so angry about— who must all just be bad people. When relating to Zionists, we must keep in mind, we’re dealing with people who are severely retarded, in their understanding of Human history. When addressing ‘special-needs’ persons, it’s pointless to get angry with them. It’s their disability that’s preventing them from seeing the world as the cognitively-able do. Still, we shouldn’t sit by and let them hurt others and themselves. Unfortunately, our political system has caused us to do just that. It’s really our own American politics, that’s to blame for the plight of Palestine. It’s too easy to blame Zionists, who are as they are; when America herself bears the true guilt. America needs to look in the mirror, have what’s colloquially termed a come-to-Jesus moment, and confront the damage we’ve overseen. Let’s Boycott Zionist America (BZA), to give our politicians another acronym to scream about.

    • MHughes976 on August 31, 2019, 5:49 pm

      I understand Z to be the belief that people who are Jewish, and they only, have an inherent right – commonly called birthright – to a share of sovereignty over the Holy Land, others having a share only by the grace and generosity of the true heirs. It’s indeed true, as you say, that this idea can make cruelty look like tender mercy to those practising it and I think that the general intention is to preserve a small Palestinian presence for a very long time, long enough to prove that Zionists are the opposite of Nazis, characteristically generous even to those who have perversely and savagely refused to acknowledge Jewish rights. Of course this is not genuine generosity: you cannot really give a share of something to people who, by their inherent qualities, for ever lack a true right of sharing. The gift has always to be precarious, so not a real gift.
      I think that the problem is with America and the West only so far as they are Zionist, usually with a rather passive kind of Z which is accepted because it is regarded as the only alternative to anti-Semitism, a choice whose apparently binary nature is asserted by propaganda every day. In truth there is no logical reason why someone who took a negative and prejudiced view of Jews in the West should be opposed to a Jewish-dominated polity elsewhere.

      • wondering jew on August 31, 2019, 10:06 pm

        Chaim Gans’s egalitarian Zionism does not fit this model. It is not the predominant view of Zionism in Israel, but it is a type of Zionism that exists today.

      • eljay on August 31, 2019, 11:35 pm

        || wondering jew: Chaim Gans’s egalitarian Zionism does not fit this model. It is not the predominant view of Zionism in Israel, but it is a type of Zionism that exists today. ||

        Egalitarian supremacism. Huh. I’m not sure how exactly that works, but I can see why it wouldn’t be popular with the unabashedly supremacist “strong fighting Jews” who believe in Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • MHughes976 on September 1, 2019, 3:23 am

        I’m open to more information about Gans’ view, Yonah.

      • RoHa on September 1, 2019, 3:51 am

        The key idea that Emet and other Zionists work on is, as Mhughes has pointed out, that only Jews have any right to live in Palestine, though other people may be permitted to live there by the grace and favour of the Jews.
        This idea seems to be supported by, though perhaps not completely dependent on, the claim that Palestine is the “historic homeland” of “the Jews”.
        The fact that support is invoked suggests to me that the Zionist is implying that there is an argument to be made, based on a general principle of the form “if territory X is the historic homeland of ethnic/religious group X, then only members of group X have any right to live in that territory”.
        This is not to say that the Zionist actually believes there is such a principle, or has any clear argument in mind. Implied arguments are psychologically more convincing than explicit ones, because the hearer/reader has to complete it for himself, and thus tends to regard the conclusion as his own. If all the grisly details are spelled out, the hearer/reader can look at it more dispassionately.

        A danger with such an argument is that it may be met with the claim that Palestine is the historic homeland of the Palestinians. I suspect that averting this danger is the reason Zionists put so much effort into denying that the Palestinians are a “people” and/or that Palestine is their historic homeland.
        But there are other problems with the implied argument. The main problem is whether there is any such principle at all.
        We need to know what constitutes a homeland for group X, and then what constitutes a historic homeland for group X.
        We need to know why the current members of group X have inherited the presumed right of the originators of group X.
        We need to know why only the members of group X have the right to live in the territory.
        I would love to see the Zionists take up the burden of meeting these challenges with solid arguments based on fundamental moral principles.
        But I’m pretty sure they won’t.

      • RoHa on September 1, 2019, 3:52 am

        “Chaim Gans’s egalitarian Zionism does not fit this model. It is not the predominant view of Zionism in Israel, but it is a type of Zionism that exists today.”

        Since it seems to be about as influential as I am, I think we can safely ignore it.

      • Mooser on September 1, 2019, 3:38 pm

        “Chaim Gans’s egalitarian Zionism does not fit this model.”

        Well, then, all he has to do is join the other nine righteous men and not look back.

      • Mooser on September 1, 2019, 3:43 pm
      • Donald on September 1, 2019, 4:06 pm

        Here is an interview with Gans.

        http://fathomjournal.org/justifying-israel-an-interview-with-chaim-gans/

        Summarizing ( but interested people should read it) he thinks a Jewish state is justifiable on two grounds ( I think). One is that many Jews benefit from living in a state which is culturally Jewish. He is not knocking Jews who would choose to live elsewhere.

        And second, given the long history of antisemitism Jews need a guaranteed refuge.

        Okay, that’s fine, I may not agree that a Jewish homeland is the best cure for antisemitism, but I wouldn’t want to argue about it in the era of Russian pogroms, general Western antisemitism, or later, the Nazis. ( The cultural argument is none of my business.). But the 800 lb gorilla in the room is what about the Palestinian right to live in their own homeland? So I was waiting for the interviewer to pin him down on the Nakba and the Palestinian right of return and it didn’t happen, or else I skimmed it too quickly. But he seems to be defending the current demography within the 67 lines, so that probably answers that question. But anyone really interested would probably have to read his books or find a better interviewer.

      • Mooser on September 1, 2019, 6:06 pm

        ” of “the Jews”.

        Just in case anybody is going to start some nonsense about “who are “the Jews”, exactly”? The answer is simple: ‘The Jews are people who engage in or support Zionism.’

      • wondering jew on September 1, 2019, 7:00 pm

        Donald- It is totally appropriate for you to establish undoing the nakba as the true measure of justice, but nonetheless the point I was trying to make had to do with a definition of Zionism that does not see the Jewish Zionists as the only ones with logical rights on the land. If Gans opposes the right of return I would attribute it not to a feeling or a belief that the Jews are the only ones with rights on the land, rather it has to do with practical concerns: That a Palestinian majority will behave like their brethren in Lebanon and Egypt and elsewhere, where minorities are living dependent on the whim of the majority.

      • Donald on September 1, 2019, 7:55 pm

        Yonah—

        I’m not dismissing him. If there is ever going to be a just solution it would probably have to involve people like Beinart and Gans ( and you) getting together with Palestinians. The reality though, is set by people like Netanyahu.

        Norman Finkelstein has given up on solutions, He thinks people should concentrate on ending the Gaza blockade.

      • wondering jew on September 1, 2019, 10:16 pm

        Donald- I agree that the first priority should be the achievable, which is the end of the Gaza blockade. If Netanyahu continues as the next prime minister I hope that Gaza will be his first order of serious business vis a vis the Palestinians. (The major snag is that Israel wants the bodies of some (one or two) of its soldiers killed in 2014 and Hamas wants the release of prisoners in order to release the bodies.) But ultimately the two sides should be able to agree. Although I am rooting for a Gantz victory, he would be more reluctant to reach an agreement with Hamas compared to Netanyahu because he would not wish to seem like a pushover as his first official act in office.

      • Keith on September 2, 2019, 12:23 am

        DONALD- “He thinks people should concentrate on ending the Gaza blockade.”

        Yes, and I agree. As I have said in the past, if you can’t get the blockade lifted then you can’t get anything else done.

      • RoHa on September 2, 2019, 2:03 am

        Read it. Interesting. I disagree with some of his main points (especially his ideas about self-determination, his apparent idea of the (more-or-less) innocence of pre-1967 Israel, and his use of necessity as a justification) but I agree that his is a preferable form of Zionism to the other forms he describes.

        But does anyone actually pay any attention to him? Does he have any influence of the people of Israel?

      • Talkback on September 2, 2019, 6:57 am

        Mooser: “The Jews are people who engage in or support Zionism.”

        No Mooser, these Jews are “real” Jews. The rest are “kapos”. Well, at least according to the “real” Jews.

      • Mooser on September 2, 2019, 12:49 pm

        ” The rest are “kapos”. Well, at least according to the “real” Jews.”

        Oh, they say that now, but they will soon be singing in a different key.

      • Mooser on September 2, 2019, 12:57 pm

        “If there is ever going to be a just solution it would probably have to involve people like Beinart and Gans ( and you) getting together with Palestinians.”

        “Yonah” will handle ‘getting together’ with Palestinian youth. From “”WJ’s” Sumer Vacation, Part 3:

        ” (I have a two weeks’ growth of beard and on occasions like this I wonder how Jewish my face is and whether the Palestinian store owners or the Palestinian kids can recognize me as a Jew.) At one point I was following a teacher leading a class of fifth grade girls and they turned off and headed to the mosque and I felt tempted to follow them…” “wj”

  11. Ossinev on August 31, 2019, 1:40 pm

    @Joshua Laskin

    An interesting interview with Norman Finklestein on the “reality” of Israel. It has truly proved itself to be a “Light unto the Nations” as in a “Light unto the Alt-Right Nations”

    http://normanfinkelstein.com/2019/08/23/a-nation-of-murderers/

    “A question was asked by probably the world’s leading authority on fascism… Zeev Sternhell… And he raised the question, rhetorically: ‘Why are all these alt-right leaders so attracted to Israel?’… He said [it’s] because they don’t see the Israelis as Jewish. And that’s true. They see them as white übermenschen – like the alt-right everywhere – the ‘white supermen’.”

    • Mooser on August 31, 2019, 5:09 pm

      As goes the Right, so goes the all-rightnik.

      • Mooser on August 31, 2019, 7:33 pm

        “Azoy vert dos matzo tzekrochen…in a halb-beykt kraker”

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