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Even Bernie can’t square the circle of ‘progressive Zionism’

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Most readers are probably already familiar with Bernie Sanders’s opinion piece, “How to Fight Anti-Semitism,” that recently appeared in Jewish Currents (see here and here). Let me say straight out that I’m a Bernie supporter in the presidential campaign.  I think everyone in the world, especially Palestinians, will be better off if he is President, at least given any of the remotely possible alternatives.

I will also say that Bernie makes some good and important points in this piece.  He makes clear that the real threat to Jews in this country, and around the world, emanates from the white supremacist right, encouraged and facilitated by Trump.  He also strongly condemns the cynical use of the charge of Anti-Semitism to silence criticism of Israel (though note the important criticism of his remarks on this pointed out by Nada Elia).  Finally, by openly associating himself with BDS supporters like Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, and Cornell West, he’s taken a public stand at least implicitly in defense of the movement that no other candidate can claim.

Nevertheless, the piece is deeply flawed.  In fact, it’s a paradigmatic example of the twisted logic underlying so-called “progressive Zionism”, a position that attempts to “square the circle” with reasoning that descends into what I can only call intellectual and moral dishonesty.

One passage in particular stands out:

“We must also be honest about this: The founding of Israel is understood by another people in the land of Palestine as the cause of their painful displacement. And just as Palestinians should recognize the just claims of Israeli Jews, supporters of Israel must understand why Palestinians view Israel’s creation as they do.”

On the surface this passage is a call for reciprocity.  Who can be against reciprocity, after all?  But when you read the passage closely (and you don’t need to squint), it actually erases the Palestinian experience of Zionism and imposes a Zionist frame on the history of the conflict.  This not only fails as an expression of reciprocity, but it turns the moral and historical facts of the case upside down.

To begin with, to ask anything like recognizing the “just claims” of Israeli Jews at a time that Palestinians are, and have been for decades, under a brutal military oppression by precisely the group whose claims they are supposed to recognize is morally obtuse.  There’s time enough for reconciling competing claims once the oppression ends.  Right now the only imperative is to end it!

But diving into the faux reciprocity itself, first note that it is not merely “understood” by Palestinians that the “founding of Israel is…the cause of their painful displacement”; it is the cause!  Is Bernie really ignorant of the events of 1947-1949? Even Benny Morris, who justifies the Nakba, is clear that the Jewish forces expelled the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians in 1948.  In fact, he claims they didn’t go far enough, and should have expelled them all.  (Some might say Morris never agreed that there was an overall plan to expel the Palestinians.  But, as he admitted at his recent talk at UMass Amherst, whether or not there was an explicit overall plan, when you forcibly prevent someone from returning to their home, which no one denies Israel did, you have expelled them.)

Second, in his statement expressing the reciprocal obligations of each side toward the other, an important asymmetry arises.  Palestinians are required to recognize the “just claims of Israeli Jews”.  This entails that objectively there are just claims of Israeli Jews, a fact that allegedly transcends the mere understanding that Israeli Jews have of their situation.  But when it comes to the obligations of Israeli Jews to reciprocate, what they are asked is only to “understand why Palestinians view Israel’s creation as they do.”  One can easily do that without actually crediting this view with any basis in reality. Some reciprocity!

Third, Bernie never tells us what he considers the “just claims of Israeli Jews” to be.  I think that’s not just an oversight, because if he did spell them out he’d have to face the incompatibility of his democratic socialism with his Zionism.  Does he mean their right to live in peace and security?  Well, I support that claim, but of course that is not a claim Palestinians reject.  Rather, the claim at issue is the Israeli Jewish claim to hold sovereignty in a Jewish state and maintain a Jewish majority in that state, thus requiring the subordination of one part of the citizenry to the other.  Elsewhere I have argued at length that there is no legitimate moral basis for such a claim.  So there really is nothing legitimate to ask Palestinians to recognize that they don’t already recognize.

Finally, I object to this line:

“It is true that some criticism of Israel can cross the line into antisemitism, especially when it denies the right of self-determination to Jews, or when it plays into conspiracy theories about outsized Jewish power.”

Of course holding “conspiracy theories about outsized Jewish power” is antisemitic, almost by definition.  If it’s a “conspiracy theory”, then presumably it has no basis in fact; this is reinforced by describing it in terms of “outsized Jewish power”, meaning larger than actually exists. Well, if it has no basis in fact, then the theory in question is indeed most likely explained by anti-Jewish animus.  We see this play out on the alt-right consistently.

What I object to, however, is the idea that there is a spectrum along which criticism of Israel can be placed and when it gets too extreme – veering into denying “the right of self-determination to Jews” – then it’s gone over the line into antisemitic territory.  For one thing, as I’ve already stated, the supposed right to self-determination that Bernie clearly means here is one that no ethnic or religious group possesses, so therefore not Jews either.  (See the NYT piece cited above.)

But mainly, the whole notion of a spectrum here is wrongheaded.  There are of course milder and stronger forms of criticism of Israel, but that spectrum is independent of the question of antisemitism.  I have met critics of Israel that I believe to be acting out of anti-Jewish animus. They do exist. Their criticisms fall all over the spectrum that goes from Bibi is bad to Zionism is bad.  As I say, these are independent dimensions.  So too, when critics of Israel point to the power of the Israel lobby, there is no spectrum here.  Some are just pointing out the obvious role that major official Jewish institutions play in this lobby, and others, a very small minority in my experience, are indeed under the sway of a Jews-rule-the-world conspiracy theory.  This constant threat that if you say anything about the power of the lobby you might be engaging in an “antisemitic trope” needs to be forthrightly resisted, and who better than we Jews to resist it.

Joseph Levine

Joseph Levine is Professor of Philosophy at UMass Amherst, member of the Academic Council of JVP, and member of Western Mass chapter of JVP.

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36 Responses

  1. echinococcus on November 16, 2019, 2:05 pm

    “Third, Bernie never tells us what he considers the “just claims of Israeli Jews” to be. I think that’s not just an oversight, because if he did spell them out he’d have to face the incompatibility of his democratic socialism with his Zionism. Does he mean their right to live in peace and security? Well, I support that claim…”

    Now, the author here doesn’t tell us what he bases his support on. If he had to establish how come invaders who have started an ongoing war of aggression, and are currently committing genocide on other people’s land, should have a “right to live in peace and security” he’d have to say Zionists have a right to Palestine, or at least part of it.

    That’s just as absurd as when armed bandits take possession of a house, murder and kick out most inhabitants, hold the remaining as slaves and hostages — and you recognize them a “right to live in peace and security” while these invaders still are within the house! Beyond crazy, but it may pass unnoticed as part of an otherwise lofty-sounding jvp piece, because most people’s brains have been washed by Zopaganda over so many years.

    “… but of course that is not a claim Palestinians reject.”

    And how would you know that? Because you heard it from the Zionist puppets that are paid by the US taxpayer to act as Zionist police over the expelled Palestinians (after they finished helping their Zionist masters murder all resistance)?
    Where is the general Palestinian plebiscite that would prove that the Palestinians just gave away their own land and their right to decide whatever happens on it? An aggressed people object of a ruthless war of aggression and annihilation — recognizing the aggressor a right to live in peace and security. That’s how you win…

    The last resource of Zionists is not “liberal Zionism”.
    It is this tribal solidarity posing as a critique of liberal Zionism.

    • smithgp on November 17, 2019, 6:44 am

      Joseph Levine: “Does he mean [Israeli Jews’] right to live in peace and security? Well, I support that claim, but of course that is not a claim Palestinians reject.”

      Echinococcus: “And how would you know that? Because you heard it from the Zionist puppets that are paid by the US taxpayer to act as Zionist police over the expelled Palestinians (after they finished helping their Zionist masters murder all resistance)? Where is the general Palestinian plebiscite that would prove that the Palestinians just gave away their own land and their right to decide whatever happens on it? An aggressed people object of a ruthless war of aggression and annihilation — recognizing the aggressor a right to live in peace and security. That’s how you win…”

      Ethno-national groups, including indigenous Palestinians, don’t “own” their homelands, Echinococcus. That is the nineteenth century blut und boden (blood and soil) ideology that culminated in Nazism, and that is foundational to Zionism as well. Homelands are never ethnically “pure,” and nowhere is that more evident than in Palestine, whose indigenous Palestinian people are themselves a rich mixture of ethnicities, many of whom originally settled the land as invaders. Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, pointed out to me last April that Palestinian political parties and civil society organizations call for freedom, justice, and equality for all the people who share the Palestinian homeland, not for expelling Israeli Jews. This is not because Israeli Jews have earned the right to live there. It’s because the right to live in peace and security is a fundamental, inalienable right of individuals, even invaders’ grandchildren who vote for odious political parties and tweet racist slurs. A second round of expulsion is not the remedy for the Nakba, whether or not a plebicite of indigenous Palestinians would vote in favor of it.

      • Mooser on November 17, 2019, 3:40 pm

        “It’s because the right to live in peace and security is a fundamental, inalienable right of individuals, even invaders’ grandchildren who vote for odious political parties and tweet racist slurs.”

        Shorter “smithgp”: ‘The Israelis have a fundamental right to kill Palestinians and steal their land’

        That circle ain’t getting no squarer.

      • Donald on November 17, 2019, 6:45 pm

        Are you Native American, mooser?

      • smithgp on November 17, 2019, 6:50 pm

        Hey “Moose,” you might want to spell out your steps of logic for us slow learners. Just sayin’.

      • oldgeezer on November 17, 2019, 10:49 pm

        @smithgp

        I don’t see how the right to occupy or live on a particular plot of land is tied to the right to live in peace and security? If it is how is that an Israelis such right takes primacy over the former Palestinians who were forced out?

        Throughout the world human rights are curtailed or minimized in cases where a crime is perpetrated. How do you square granting Israelis those rights effectively legitimizing their activities and rewarding them with the fruits of their crimes?

        I see no reason for a nakba 2. The settlers should be offered Palestinian citizenship. The settlements should become part of Palestine which is what the land was intended to be. Those who wish to leave may do so. Those who feel aggreived by the loss of what they delusionally considered to be their property should be not only encouraged but supported in suing the Israeli state for putting them into such a position along with such ministers who were a party to encouraging criminality.

      • echinococcus on November 17, 2019, 11:12 pm

        This Smith, now, seems to be from the bestest and brightest of the new wave.

        “Ethno-national groups, including indigenous Palestinians, don’t “own” their homelands… That is the nineteenth century blut und boden (blood and soil) ideology that culminated in Nazism, and that is foundational to Zionism as well. Homelands are never ethnically “pure,” and nowhere is that more evident than in Palestine…” blah

        The crust. Chutzpa in Yiddish. He is talking about the colonized populations of a given territory to the land and the political power over it, which was defined by the UN as “the right to self-determination of peoples”. Who ever mentioned “ethno-national groups, for fusk’s sake? He just smuggled that in, when everything was very clear that it is a right of the inhabitants of a territory at the time of its invasion by the colonial criminals.

        And now he plays the teacher about ethnic past: of course there were, as we always acknowledge, very many different ethnicities, nationalities and nominally religious “millets” in Palestine prior to the Zionist invasion (officially announced in 1897). Including many Jewish-Palestinian legitimate residents, who had not expressed a desire to subvert the sovereignty over the territory, and didn’t do so, on the whole, even after the end of Ottoman rule, a whole lot of refugees immigrated, again as refugees, not invaders aiming at overthrowing the sovereignty of the Palestinian population.

        Even if the offspring of the invaders were not massively a war-making, genocidaire mob (which they are), even if they were all pure angels, they still are the heirs of the invaders.
        Their remaining there without very valid official permission by a majority of all legitimate Palestinians would only support impunity for the huge crime against humanity of colonial settlement.

        Besides, once more, where did anyone see an argument for a right to “live in security and peace” of the aggressor nation? The aggressor nation in one of the most brutal wars of the post-45 period, a war of aggression and annihilation, by the alter ego of the USUK, supported by all European nations, against a totally undefended civilian population?

        Peace and security for the aggressor nation means total ban of any kind of resistance by the aggressed.

        And this latest avatar of the good old Doctor…. plays the anti-Zionist, dropping some names (of course containing Omar Barghouti, duh!)

        “A second round of expulsion is not the remedy for the Nakba…”

        Not for the Nakba, silly! The remedy for the Nakba is restitution. In the absence of a very valid general Palestinian plebiscite that encompasses all the Diaspora and excludes all Zionist arrivals after 1897, the remedy for the colonial invasion, as distinct from the act of the Nakba, is expulsion. Algeria gives us a very valid precedent, It offered a choice between full acceptance of Algerian citizenship or expulsion. That worked well.

        Congrats to Mooser. He was very accurate and it’s a duty to re-quote him:
        “Shorter ‘smithgp’: ‘The Israelis have a fundamental right to kill Palestinians and steal their land’.”

      • echinococcus on November 17, 2019, 11:17 pm

        “Hey “Moose,” you might want to spell out your steps of logic for us slow learners. Just sayin’.”

        That has already been explained to your colleague Levine, and to you in a new message. But then, if you are asking sincerely, I’d personally would book you as beyond slow…

        Again, ensuring peace and security for the aggressor (and what a one, in this case!) equals forbidding any resistance to the aggressee. Knock twice if you get the message.

      • smithgp on November 18, 2019, 5:22 am

        @oldgeezer

        What you apparently envision in your last paragraph for the occupied territories is pretty what I envision for the entirety of historic Palestine: freedom, justice, and equality for all the people who share the Palestinian homeland, Israeli Jews and Palestinians alike. The freedom of Israeli Jews to take Palestinian citizenship is another way of saying they have the individual right to live in peace and harmony as equal citizens in a democratic, non-Zionist state encompassing all of Palestine.

        I cannot share your enthusiasm for getting Israel to compensate settlers who have to move back to Israel. The Israeli state or its democratic successor state should certainly pay dearly in restitution for 71 years of dispossession, but former settlers would be my last choice for the beneficiaries. My suggestion instead is an immediate $100 billion investment fund (a modest $100,000 for each of the ~1 million Palestinian individuals who have been expelled in one way or another over the 71 years) focused on Palestinian society within Palestine itself and in the diaspora. The investment would be financed by increasing the successor state’s national debt by that amount. That’s only ~1/3 of Israel’s current GDP, and would bring the national debt-to-GDP ratio to approximately the U.S. level. It would be very appropriate for foreign states like the U.S. who have been deeply complicit in the Zionist crime against humanity to augment this meager fund. The details of the restitution “Marshall Plan” would have to be decided by the democratic successor state.

      • annie on November 18, 2019, 10:32 am

        how can Israel “certainly pay dearly in restitution for 71 years of dispossession” by a “meager sum”? and what % do you think should be augmented by the US and foreign complicit states vs financed by Israeli national debt? and why do you think this ‘marshal plan’ should be decided by israel or what ever state is there vs giving 100k each to a million palestinians? and how do you come up with 1 million palestinians? what about all the other palestinian refugees who have suffered horrific loss?

        why should the US give billions more to israel to decide how this restitution should be spent? why not give it directly to the refugees and let them decide? is there any previous model of a ‘marshal plan’ where the receiver of the funds gets to decide the plan?

      • echinococcus on November 18, 2019, 12:18 pm

        Smith again, but this time on a different tune:

        ” The freedom of Israeli Jews to take Palestinian citizenship is another way of saying they have the individual right to live in peace and harmony…”

        The first problem is that the part about “as equal citizens in a democratic, non-Zionist state encompassing all of Palestine” only now gets introduced — after a right to peace+security had been mentioned in the Levine paper straight, no chaser, i.e. as applying to the warring invaders *as they are* now, and defended by Smith.

        The second is that taking up Palestinian citizenship is totally different from”another way of saying they have the individual right to live in peace and harmony as equal citizens in a democratic, non-Zionist state encompassing all of Palestine”. Palestinian citizenship is conferred by Palestine, ie the state of, and exclusively managed by, legitimate Palestinians. Not of hostile invaders and offspring thereof.

        Remind me to ask for the right to decide what you do with your house next time I occupy your house, throw you out and kill your wife and children and squat as a co-owner after I graciously welcome you back and rob you again.

        Get a valid certificate after an all-Palestinian plebiscite, in the absence of occupation or other duress and excluding all invaders, before you equate Palestinian citizenship with citizenship of a Crusader Kingdom dominated by the crusaders.

      • Mooser on November 18, 2019, 12:50 pm

        “Are you Native American, mooser?”

        Are you really going to say that the colonization and settlement of America is the same process as Zionism?

        And, uh, what does that say about Zionism?

      • Mooser on November 18, 2019, 3:37 pm

        “Are you Native American, mooser?”

        No, I’m an American citizen, but that does not mean I must admire and endorse the genocide, slavery and discrimination which was used in America, does it, and want to see it applied everywhere, and more than 200 years later?

        So the colonial settlement, and genocide of the indigenous people and the use of slavery provides us with a model, not a cautionary tale?

      • oldgeezer on November 18, 2019, 10:55 pm

        @Mooser

        Exactly. And no it’s neither a double standard nor hypocritical.

      • Donald on November 19, 2019, 8:35 am

        “ Are you really going to say that the colonization and settlement of America is the same process as Zionism?

        And, uh, what does that say about Zionism?”

        Of course I am going to say it. Chomsky and Finkelstein said it decades ago. Weirdly, some Zionists starting using it as a defense of the Nakba. What it says about Zionism is that it is a late arrival in the history of settler colonialism.

        But what echinococcus is recommending as a fair solution for Israel also applies to the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and probably some other places. Latin America is complicated— many people have both European and Native American ancestry. The new leader after the fascist coup in Bolivia is supposed to be of mixed ethnicity, but sides with the racist whites.

        One man, one vote is what people have pushed in these other places. It isn’t close to being the complete solution. This is why people argue about reparations. ( Slavery is a related moral issue.)

      • echinococcus on November 19, 2019, 11:05 am

        Donald,

        Thank you and Mooser both for bringing this up.

        “But what echinococcus is recommending as a fair solution for Israel also applies to the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and probably some other places.”

        It would have applied, rather. The Zionist model is obviously the US or Australia (or 20th C. Turkey.) Undebatably so. Not South Africa. Model or “cautionary tale” depending on your point of view.

        That’s why the Zionists’ problem is that they are in a race against the clock: either they complete the genocide and expulsion of Palestinians before the world situation finally aligns against the American Empire, or a second wave of decolonization shakes them loose worse than Algeria. That’s why I always mention this condition in the rare cases I get into discussions of future plans and “solutions”, as opposed to fighting in the here and now.

        Obviously it is the Palestinians who have more to lose against the clock. All the more so as effective, organized resistance has been strangled, with no apparent signs of resurrection since the early nineties.

        As to the point at which a genocide / uprooting is completed for the purposes of settler colonialism, I suppose the many precedents should provide enough material.

      • Donald on November 19, 2019, 11:52 pm

        Echino—

        I actually disagree with your view— it strikes me as a form of collective punishment.

        It is also academic, since it is impossible to imagine a situation where Palestinians have the power to vote Israeli Jews out of the country. The only way such a mass expulsion could take place would be after a prolonged Algerian style conflict. My crystal ball doesn’t work any more, but my guess is that a conflict on that scale would be bad news for everyone.

        One man, one vote seems like the best path forward. Then a struggle for reparations. This might actually go better for Palestinians if they get the vote, since they have the numbers. But that makes getting the vote very difficult. If they used the vote to vote Israeli Jews out, I think they would have the Algerian War scenario.

      • Mooser on November 20, 2019, 12:52 pm

        “It is also academic, since it is impossible to imagine a situation where Palestinians have the power to vote Israeli Jews out of the country.”

        You have no idea how academic it is. How many Israeli Jews can you guarantee, or even predict will stay in Palestine when conditions change?
        There won’t be any need for expulsions.

      • echinococcus on November 20, 2019, 9:33 pm

        Donald,

        “The only way such a mass expulsion could take place would be after a prolonged Algerian style conflict.”

        Correct.

        “My crystal ball doesn’t work any more, but my guess is that a conflict on that scale would be bad news for everyone.”

        Correct again. Remember all the wars of colonial lberation: it did go from bad to worse for one or more whole generations. Bad news are bad enough now and have been bad for a long time. It may even get worse, yes. But none of these struggles follows a blueprint — a social movement has its own dynamic, bad news or not. Otherwise, ie if logic prevailed, there would be no wars.

        In fact,seeing the Zionists’ character, can anyone imagine any other outcome than either that or completed genocide?

        “One man, one vote seems like the best path forward”

        “Best” it would probably be. But did the owners agree to a blatant injustice for the sake of “best”? When did they? “Collective punishment”? How else can you ever make the prohibition of settler colonialism enforceable?

      • echinococcus on November 21, 2019, 12:56 am

        PS to Donald.

        First skipped as non-essential, but it is:

        “….a prolonged Algerian style conflict. My crystal ball doesn’t work any more, but my guess is that a conflict on that scale would be bad news for everyone.”

        Bad news, yes, but the real bad news is this: the scale of this violent repression and struggle has for a longish time been way higher than anything Algeria (or a lot of other African ex-colonies) have ever seen.

        Trying to avoid the threat of something that already lies in the past is not the best argument for giving up basic rights.

  2. Rob Roy on November 16, 2019, 5:46 pm

    I appreciated some of the criticism of Bernie’s argument, but agree with you, echinococcus, and your insightful comment. Thank you for your clarity and your armed bandits house invaders analogy. Perfect.
    I think it is difficult for Jews who mean well and make great efforts to be fair, to be really fair and admit that the British had no right to give away another peoples’ land. Period. There are some Jews in Palestine that are there by historic right…they are the descendants of the handful (perhaps 5% of the citizens ) of Jews living in Palestine when Palestine was given away. [Those people call themselves “Palestinians.”] The 95% of citizens, Palestinians, with those few descendants are the legal and moral owners of the land that has been brutally stolen ever since the Nakba, one hectare at a time, one house at a time, many murders at a time. The goal is extermination of the Palestinians. The IDF, a terrorist organization will not stop until this is accomplished because they are brainwashed and trained to be this way. These days, they are even making games of their murders.
    No matter how many rationalizations, in erudite language attempting to explain what the “Jewish Nation’s” goal is, the Greater Israel populated with ONLY Jews, and make it sound as if Palestinians are just unreasonable, the fact remains that the Jews who were given Palestine have no right to be there, let alone be supported by the US, et.al.
    How many times do we have to hear politicians say, “Israel has a right to defend itself” and never hear any of them say, “Palestine has a right to defend itself”?

    • echinococcus on November 16, 2019, 7:52 pm

      “How many times do we have to hear politicians say, “Israel has a right to defend itself” and never hear any of them say, ‘Palestine has a right to defend itself’?”

      Just so. Unfortunately, this formula, already despicable enough by itself, has now been escalated to *a right of the initiators of an ongoing brutal, interminable war of aggression and extermination to live in peace and security*, in other words protected from their victims. By a JVP leader, no less.

  3. eljay on November 16, 2019, 5:46 pm

    Bernie is a Zionist and every Zionist – even a “liberal” one like him – believes that the religion-based identity of Jewish grants to those who choose to hold it the “right”:
    – to be supremacists;
    – to have as large as possible a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”; and
    – to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality (a.k.a. “necessary evil”) they would not have others do unto them.

    • Rob Roy on November 17, 2019, 12:16 am

      Right. Gideon Levy says the Jews are three things:

      1. God’s Chosen, therefore, superior to all others
      2. Eternal victims; no others have suffered as they have
      3. Believe the Palestinians (Arabs) are like cockroaches beneath Jews’ feet,
      worthless; therefore they can be eliminated without a thought

      • MHughes976 on November 17, 2019, 5:30 pm

        It’s not quite fair to say ‘therefore superior’ – being chosen implies a special mission to bring the world back to God and thus the possibility of God’s becoming angry with backsliding in a way that he never is with the other nations. The moral struggles of the other nations are not to be despised but they are unavailing because not sufficiently guided from on high. One day when the backsliding is over and the glory of Jewish obedience is revealed the other nations will, as Zechariah hath prophesied, be ‘added to Yahweh’ rather painlessly: the Jews suffer the extremes so that we don’t have to. The Jews endure many things, both the wrath of God when they don’t live up to their mission and the hatred of the wicked, accompanied by the incomprehension of the many, when they do: makes quite a lot of sense, I think. That’s what would quite likely happen if you were on a mission from God. The wicked are understood in political terms to a degree, as ‘Amalek’ most vividly. There had ‘always’ been a current in Jewish thought that was not quite satisfied with this view of the nations as at best an applauding audience of the Jewish drama and wanted to give them a role on stage and this current gained much force in the first century and became Christianity, with the Suffering Servant of God becoming an individual, Jesus, and the political enemy becoming a motley band of reprobates and vessels of wrath. As Slomo Sand remarks, the Old Testament is a theological masterpiece and its ideas get a grip on many minds, not all reprobate. The dominant interpretation of a masterpiece gets lots of applause. Unfamiliar interpretations get booed and that’s part of our problem.

      • echinococcus on November 17, 2019, 10:40 pm

        Hughes,

        I liked that: “The Jews endure many things, both the wrath of God when they don’t live up to their mission and the hatred of the wicked, accompanied by the incomprehension of the many, when they do: makes quite a lot of sense, I think.”

        Now, extrapolating it — illicitly, I know — to Zionists, we see that they did earn “the hatred of the wicked [us], accompanied by the incomprehension of the many”, indeed. The wrath of Yahweh, though, is uncommonly late manifesting itself. He used to provide quick service in the good old times, according to His chroniclers.

      • MHughes976 on November 18, 2019, 5:17 pm

        Thanks for kind word, echino. We wrestle not only against Benjsmins but against principalities and powers who make just the extrapolation you mention, thinking without more ado that the likes of us are wicked and trusting in ourselves that they are righteous. I see Pompeo has just announced that the Settlements are no longer considered illegal. I wonder if Johnson will proclaim agreement to embarrass Corbyn, against whom the thunderous accusations of anti-Semitism roll on.

      • echinococcus on November 18, 2019, 10:53 pm

        “I see Pompeo has just announced that the Settlements are no longer considered illegal. I wonder if Johnson will proclaim agreement to embarrass Corbyn, against whom the thunderous accusations of anti-Semitism roll on”

        It don’t have to be Johnson; any old Prime Minister will do. Complicity in the deed of conquest and genocide is baked in the UK cake. Even those rare times in which a verbal agreement cannot be openly expressed for fear of disturbing the Trojan Horse in Europe status of our overseas territory without a vote.

        If, now, you believe that Corbyn can ever win anything, or better win anything and stick to his word, I got a very nice, gently used bridge for you.

  4. Peter in SF on November 17, 2019, 1:30 am

    You need to drill down on Bernie’s stated support of “the right of self-determination” for “Jews”, when he includes himself in the category of “Jews” at the same time that he is running for president of the United States of America.

    To try to understand the issue here, as a professor of philosophy, you get to ask students thought-provoking questions such as “Is it racist to deny the right of self-determination to African-Americans?”

    • Stephen Shenfield on November 17, 2019, 1:17 pm

      Quite so. A hypothetical example I like to use is whether it is anti-Romany to deny the right of Romanies to “return” to their ancestral homeland in the Punjab and expel the current inhabitants? Granting a “right of self-determination” is like signing a blank check, because you don’t know in advance what it will be used to justify. It might be interpreted harmlessly — say, as the right to speak and write in a certain language — but it can also be interpreted as justifying ethnic cleansing or even genocide. So better not to recognize such a right.

      In general, it is safer not to recognize “rights” that are not clearly defined. The “right to live in peace and security” could mean the right to live in peace and security somewhere, or wherever you like, or wherever you happen to be right now. It is often understood to mean the right to live wherever you like but with exceptions that exclude large areas because they are others’ property or in nature reserves or in other countries that do not allow you to immigrate. Should we have a right to live on land owned by others without their permission? If not, then seeing that most land in Palestine is stolen how can the thieves or their beneficiaries have a right to live on it? They may still have a right to live in peace and security, but somewhere else.

      Another question about “rights.” Are they to be regarded as unconditional and inalienable or should they be made conditional on the performance of certain duties — above all, the duty to respect the rights of others? Doesn’t my right to wave my fists about stop in front of your nose?

  5. echinococcus on November 17, 2019, 11:20 pm

    Considering the JVP heavy artillery involved here, it is perfectly justified to demand to know if “the right of Israel Jews to live in security and peace” is something officially defended by the JVP.

    Yes or no? Kindly check the appropriate answer.

  6. Misterioso on November 18, 2019, 10:07 am

    A brief reminder:

    Recommendatory only (i.e., no legal status, contrary to the terms of the British Class A Mandate and the Atlantic Charter, never adopted by the UNSC and grossly unfair to the native Palestinian Arabs), the Partition Plan (Res. 181) was passed by the UNGA on 29 November, 1947 as a result of enormous Zionist prompted U.S. pressure and bullying tactics:

    Although the Philippines initially opposed Res. 181 and Liberia and Haiti wanted to abstain, the United States pressured these countries to vote in favour, thereby gaining the necessary two-thirds approval. “Under threat of a Jewish boycott of Firestone rubber and tire products, Harvey Firestone told Liberia that he would recommend suspension of plans for the expansion of development there if Liberia voted against partition.” (Michael Cohen, Palestine and the Great Powers, 1945-1948, 1982)

    These and other bullying tactics were aptly described by James Forrestal, then U.S. Secretary of Defence: “The methods that had been used…to bring coercion and duress on other nations in the General Assembly bordered closely onto scandal.” (Millis, Walter, ed., The Forrestal Diaries, New York: the Viking Press, 1951)

    Despite massive Jewish immigration during the British Mandate, Jews comprised just 31% of the population & privately owned only 6 to 7% of the land. Outrageously, the Partition Plan recommended Jews receive 56% of Palestine as a state!! (Native Arab Palestinian Jews comprised 10% of the Jewish population and were opposed to Zionism.)

    48% of the total land area of mandated Palestine was privately owned (‘mulk khaas’) by Palestinian Arabs. (To repeat, total Jewish privately owned land was between 6% and 7%.) About 45% of the total land area was state owned (i.e., by its citizens)* and it was comprised of Communal Property (‘mashaa’), Endowment Property, (‘waqf’), and Government Property, (‘miri’.) The British Mandate kept an extensive land registry and the UN used the registry during its early deliberations. It has in its archives 453,000 records of individual Palestinian owners defined by name, location & area. *Only 30% of the Jewish immigrants had taken out citizenship & tens of thousands were illegals.

    Land ownership in all of mandated Palestine on Nov. 29, 1947: By Sub district – Acre: 87% Palestinian owned, 3% Jewish owned, 10% state owned; Safed: 68% Palestinian owned, 18% Jewish owned, 14% state owned; Haifa: 42% Palestinian owned, 35% Jewish owned, 23% state owned; Nazareth: 52% Palestinian owned, 28% Jewish owned, 20% state owned; Tiberias: 51% Palestinian owned, 38% Jewish owned, 11% state owned; Jenin: 84% Palestinian owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 16% state owned; Beisnan: 44% Palestinian owned, 34% Jewish owned, 22% state owned; Tulkarm: 78% PalestinIan owned; 17% Jewish owned, 5% state owned; Nablus: 87% Palestinian owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 13% state owned; Jaffa: 47% Palestinian owned, 39% Jewish owned, 14% state owned; Ramleh: 77% Palestinian owned, 14% Jewish owned, 9% state owned; Ramallah: 99% Palestinian owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, less than 1% state owned; Jerusalem (West and East): 84% Palestinian owned, 2% Jewish owned, 14% state owned; Gaza: 75% Palestinian owned, 4% Jewish owned, 21% state owned; Hebron: 96% Palestinian owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 4% state owned; Bersheeba: 15% Palestinian owned, less than 1% Jewish owned, 85% state owned. (Village Statistics, Jerusalem: Palestine Government, 1945; subsequently published as United Nations Map no. 94b, August, 1950)

    Regarding land ownership in West and East Jerusalem in 1947: The total land area of West Jerusalem (the New City) was 19,331 dunams (about 4,833 acres) of which 40 per cent was owned by Palestinian Muslims and Christians, 26.12 per cent by Jews and 13.86 per cent by others, including Christian communities. Government and municipal land made up 2.90 per cent and roads and railways 17.12 per cent.

    East Jerusalem (the Old City) consisted of 800 dunams (about 200 acres) of which five dunams (just over one acre) were Jewish owned and the remaining 795 dunams were owned by Palestinian Muslims and Christians. (“Assessing Palestinian Property in the City,” by Dalia Habash and Terry Rempel, Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and their Fate in the War, 1999, pp. 184-85)

    • jon s on November 18, 2019, 1:20 pm

      “Arab Palestinian Jews” who opposed Zionism?
      10%?
      I wonder how misterioso comes up with this stuff?

  7. ElmoX on November 18, 2019, 11:12 am

    “Senator” Sanders is just one of the 100 oligarchs’ “senator” puppets and a walking-talking Orwellian quote:

    “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectful and give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind” ~ George Orwell

    ‘US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy, says Scientific Study’

    “A study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, “Who governs? Who really rules?” in this country, is: ”
    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/04/14/us-oligarchy-not-democracy-says-scientific-study

  8. snaidamast on November 18, 2019, 12:15 pm

    “We must also be honest about this: The founding of Israel is understood by another people in the land of Palestine as the cause of their painful displacement. And just as Palestinians should recognize the just claims of Israeli Jews, supporters of Israel must understand why Palestinians view Israel’s creation as they do.”

    There have never been and never will be “just claims” for Israeli Jews for the land that is Palestine. This has been well documented for many years. The conflict in 1948 in that region of the world was clearly land theft through violent aggression.

    Any possible legitimacy that the Zionist had then went out the window when they committed war crimes…

  9. Ossinev on November 18, 2019, 5:23 pm

    All bets now off for the “2SS” ?
    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/18/politics/pompeo-west-bank-settlements-announcement/index.html

    Now the biggest question is how the International Community (Trumpland cannot realistically be included since it is “run” by a looney tune with his posterior cleansing acolytes such as the abject coward Pompeo) dresses up the corpse to make it appear “alive”. Tough call as there is no longer any flesh on the bones with the exception of the arch enablers in the Vichy PA.

    One Apartheid state here we come !

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