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If billionaires have no right to exist, what about Israel?

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on 69 Comments

“Billionaires should not exist,” Bernie Sanders has said often, and in the Las Vegas Democratic debate last night Chuck Todd asked him what he meant by that. The Vermont senator responded directly:

We have a grotesque and immoral distribution of wealth and income. Mike Bloomberg owns more wealth than the bottom 125 million Americans. That’s wrong. That’s immoral. That should not be the case when we have half a million people sleeping out on the streets. When we have kids who cannot afford to go to college. When we have 45 million people dealing with student debt. We have enormous problems facing this country and we cannot continue seeing a situation where in the last three years, billionaires in this country saw an $850 billion increase in their wealth.

Todd followed up by asking Mayor Bloomberg, “Should you exist?” Bloomberg said he deserved his wealth, most of which he gives away.

I find the question intriguing because it echoes and exposes the famous question, Does Israel have a right to exist? Israel advocates often bring this question up in an alarmed fashion, saying that it is a call for genocide. Anti-Zionists say that Israel has no right to exist! They want to push the Jews into the sea!

The issue ought to be dealt with in the same detached manner as Sanders and others have handled the billionaire question. No one thinks that Bernie Sanders wants to kill Mike Bloomberg and other billionaires. He wants to redistribute grossly-inequitable wealth, so that Mike Bloomberg is merely a multi-millionaire. (Sanders also pointed out that three individuals, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates, now have more wealth than the bottom half of American society.)

Anti-Zionists — and to be clear, Bernie Sanders is not one of us — generally oppose the existence of a Jewish state. Some, like myself, might accept its existence if a viable Palestinian state had been/could have been established. No anti-Zionist I know wants to kill Jews or force them to leave (though, yes, some intemperate types seem to want an Algeria outcome).

Anti-Zionists oppose Israel’s existence as a Jewish state because they feel that status is a legal construct that is at the heart of countless injustices, like the injustices Sanders described as flowing from wealth inequality. Palestinians are second-class citizens inside Israel and can’t expand their towns or acquire “Jewish” lands held by governmental bodies. Jews have an exclusive right to “self-determination” and a higher right to settle anywhere they choose. Millions of Palestinians are living in an open-air prison in Gaza and have no rights in the West Bank — conditions Israeli writers have likened to slavery and that countless human rights experts have called apartheid.

All of this follows from Israel being a Jewish state. So we anti-Zionists are against it. These are, after all, human arrangements of rights, like the Jim Crow South, or the apartheid state of South Africa, or the tax code, that humans can change. (A very different moral question than whether a human being has a right to exist.)

The other analogy here is that neither billionaires nor Israel are going anywhere in the near future. We know that. We are expressing a desire; not leveling a gun. “I hope the day comes when they don’t [exist],” Sanders said of billionaires last year. “It’s not going to be tomorrow.” This reminds me of James North coming back from his first trip to Israel many years ago and telling me that anyone who says they’re against Israel’s “existence” is the equivalent of an ant walking by Citibank headquarters in midtown New York and threatening the bank. Israel is so powerful that it is dishonest for Israelis to claim they are truly afraid that Palestinians, even with more international support, could truly end the country and force all the Jews to leave.

P.S. Sanders is also the candidate who is most critical of Israel. While he is all for its continued existence as a moral matter, alongside a supposed Palestinian state, and has bragged about his working on a kibbutz more than 50 years ago, he has been highly critical of its human rights violations and called for an evenhanded U.S. policy with respect to Israelis and Palestinians. A lot of people associated with the Israel lobby group AIPAC are spending a lot of money to try to stop his campaign.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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69 Responses

  1. Misterioso on February 22, 2020, 11:34 am

    Surely, given his history, its long since time that multi-billionaire presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg was publicly asked where his loyalty lies, i.e., with the United States or Israel.

    https://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Is-Michael-Bloomberg-leading-Jewish-presidential-candidate-good-for-Israel-608956

    Jerusalem Post, Nov. 26, 2019 by Herb Keinon

    “Is Michael Bloomberg, Jewish Dem. candidate, good for Israel?”

    “Jews, both here and abroad, are not satisfied if the US president likes Israel the way he likes a country such as South Korea. They want him to have a special feeling.”

    “Well, one thing is for sure, newly declared Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg passes the ‘kishke test.’

    “You know the ‘kishke test,’ the question many Israelis and Jews around the world ask when weighing the pros and cons of a US president or presidential candidate: ‘Does he have a warm spot in his heart for Israel? Does she get us in her kishkes?’

    “Jews, both here and abroad, are not satisfied if the US president likes Israel the way he likes a country such as South Korea or Jamaica. They want him to have a special feeling.

    “Bloomberg, at least according to his own words, does.

    “The multi-billionaire businessman, who was New York City’s mayor from 2002-2013, was awarded the first Genesis Prize in 2014. During his acceptance speech in Jerusalem that May, he noted that his parents instilled in him the importance of Israel.

    “’My parents saw in our lives just why Israel had to exist – and why it must always exist – and those lessons were passed on to us,’ he said. ‘We are as one with this city [Jerusalem] and this country and this people as you can be.’

    “Bloomberg said that his parents taught him that Jewish history ‘gives us a special obligation to build a brighter future for everyone, and to always believe that tomorrow can be better than today. For them and for so many Jews who witnessed the horrors of World War II, the creation of Israel embodied that obligation and validated that belief. It was a dream fulfilled.’

    “In a short video shown at the Genesis Prize ceremony, Bloomberg’s sister – Marjorie Bloomberg Tiven – said that growing up in Medford, Massachusetts, her parents had a ‘strong Jewish identity’ and took their son’s ‘Jewish education very seriously.’

    “Aryeh Mekel, who was Israel’s consul-general in New York for part of the time that Bloomberg was the city’s mayor, described him to The Jerusalem Post as a ‘liberal New York Jew’ who is ‘very supportive of Israel.’

    “Mekel said he would speak to Bloomberg frequently, and that he brought a parade of Israeli visitors to the mayor’s office and residence on a regular basis.

    “’There is no doubt that he has a soft part in his heart for Israel,’ said Mekel, though he added that this may be for a nostalgic Israel that has long since passed.

    “Saying that candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would be ‘problematic’ for Israel, Mekel said that from an Israeli point of view, Bloomberg would be the best candidate.

    “Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is a friend of Israel who has an ‘excellent’ record of support for the Jewish state, both as vice president and as a senator, Mekel maintained, but he is an ‘American politician’ and, as a result, there are questions as to what motivated that support.

    “Bloomberg’s support for Israel is of a different nature altogether, Mekel said.

    “’He is a Jew who grew up in a Jewish home, and donated to Israel because that is what his parents would have wanted. It is a completely different approach,’ he explained.

    “Some, however, are not convinced that Bloomberg’s Jewish identity is something that would be good for Israel. One Israeli official, who did not want to be identified, said that there always exists the concern that Jewish officials in senior positions will have to ‘bend over backwards’ to show their impartiality towards the Jewish state.

    “But former ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who knows Bloomberg from his days in Washington from 2009 to 2013, characterized Bloomberg as a ‘friend’ who would be ‘very good’ for Israel.

    “’I had a lot of contact with him, and he was very upset about the [Obama] administration’s treatment of us,’ said Oren. ‘He is a Jewish guy who grew up in Boston suburbs. He is not a progressive. He has a deep tribal connection to Israel.’

    “That connection helps explain why in July 2014, during the middle of Operation Protective Edge when the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibited US domestic airlines from flying to Ben-Gurion Airport after a Hamas rocket landed nearby, Bloomberg hopped on an El Al plane and flew from New York to Tel Aviv.

    “This was after his third term as mayor ended, and he explained the move in an opinion piece he penned for his eponymous news service. He made the flight, he wrote, ‘to express solidarity with the Israeli people and show the world that Israel’s airports remain open and safe.’

    “Bloomberg wrote that the FAA’s decision was wrongheaded, and called for the ban to be lifted.

    “’Hamas would like nothing more than to close down Ben-Gurion, isolating Israel from the international community and seriously damaging its economy,’ he wrote. ‘By prohibiting US carriers from flying into Ben-Gurion, the FAA handed Hamas a significant victory – one that the group will undoubtedly attempt to repeat. The FAA has, regrettably, succeeded only in emboldening Hamas.’

    “At a time when Israel was coming under a great deal of criticism for its actions in Gaza, Bloomberg wrote: ‘Every country has a right to defend its borders from enemies, and Israel was entirely justified in crossing into Gaza to destroy the tunnels and rockets that threaten its sovereignty. I know what I would want my government to do if the US was attacked by a rocket from above or via a tunnel from below; I think most Americans do, too.’

    “That was not the only time that Bloomberg made a lightening trip to Israel. In November 2003, he flew with his sister and 95-year-old mother Charlotte to Jerusalem for a brief visit to dedicate a new mother and child health center in her name at the Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

    “According to a communiqué at the time on ‘NYC,’ the ‘Official Website of the City of New York,’ this fulfilled one of his mother’s dreams: ‘to be together as a family in Israel.’

    “The communiqué quoted Bloomberg as saying that he and his sisters were ‘overjoyed to be here as a family’ to dedicate the center.

    “’For more than half a century, our mother has been involved in community activities, especially her synagogue and her local Hadassah chapter,’ he said. ‘Her enduring commitment to Hadassah as a Life Member and her devotion to Israel are profound, and she has served as an inspiration to us on the importance of giving back and community.’

    “According to the communique, this was the second time Bloomberg and his sister honored their mother with a donation to Hadassah in honor of her birthday: ‘For her 90th birthday, they created an endowment for a scholarship fund for deserving teenagers to attend the Tel Yehudah Camp, the Hadassah youth movement, Young Judaea, leadership training camp for 15-17 year olds.’

    “According to a 2010 story in The Wall Street Journal, while religion ‘has long played an important role in the life of Michael Bloomberg’s mother, Charlotte, now 101 years old,’ Judaism ‘never took a stronghold in the New York mayor’s own life, his advisers and other observers say. He believes in God, but is more likely to be found at church for a political event than temple for worship. He grew up among very few Jews in Medford, Massachusetts, but his family maintained some traditions, such as a kosher kitchen and Hebrew school.’

    “According to this report, ‘The mayor had a bar mitzvah, a Jewish rite of passage, but neither of his two daughters had bat mitzvahs. The mayor’s ex-wife, Susan Bloomberg, whose mother was Jewish, ‘kind of raised us to be Church of England,’ though the family celebrated the major Jewish holidays, the mayor’s youngest daughter, Georgina, said in a 2009 biography of Mr. Bloomberg. The mayor’s longtime companion, Diana Taylor, is not Jewish.'”

    • RoHa on February 22, 2020, 10:13 pm

      “Jews, both here and abroad, are not satisfied if the US president likes Israel the way he likes a country such as South Korea or Jamaica. They want him to have a special feeling.”

      But, after this, how can he not have a special feeling for Jamaica?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGBXvI_65nc

  2. Nathan on February 22, 2020, 12:24 pm

    Phil – When you tell us that you “might accept [Israel’s] existence” on some condition, it seems quite odd that you choose the word “might”. It’s really the most non-binding term that you could have chosen. “You might” is really the same as “you might not”. But your use of language is even stranger. The condition that you attach to what you might (or might not) do is worded in the past tense: If a Palestinian had been or could have been established, then you might (or might not) accept the existence of Israel. Ordinarily, one says in the past tense: “If a Palestinian state had been established, then I would have accepted the existence of Israel”. Another possibility is to express your condition in the future tense: “If a Palestinian state will be established, then I will accept the existence of Israel”.

    Obviously, there are no circumstances in which you would accept the existence of a Jewish state, period. You actually say so in your article by stating in the simple present tense that “anti-Zionists oppose the existence of Israel as a Jewish state”. So, what is the need for that strange declaration that you “might” do something if an event (that didn’t happen) had happened? You want to sound reasonable, but you don’t want to commit yourself to a position that you absolutely oppose. It’s all so strange. Just write in simple and normal language what your position is. It’s not about Palestinian statehood that could have been, and there is no point in making an empty non-promise of what you might or might not do.

    Your statement that you don’t know of anti-Zionists who want “to kill Jews or force them to leave” was really unbelievable. Really, spare us the nonsense. In the English language, you can find an interview with the late Prof. Said in which he was asked what will be the fate of the Jews after the establishment of the single state. He admitted that he is worried. I imagine, Phil, that you are familiar with that interview.

    • bcg on February 22, 2020, 5:35 pm

      How about this formulation, Nathan: as a citizen of the global empire that enables Israel’s human rights violations, it is unacceptable to me that Israel exists in its present form. If Israel continues to act like an apartheid state, I vote for its nonexistence. Is that ok?

    • RoHa on February 22, 2020, 9:48 pm

      “If a Palestinian state had been established, then I would have accepted the existence of Israel”.

      Good! You got that one right.

      “If a Palestinian state will be established, then I will accept the existence of Israel”.

      Sorry, no. The correct formulation is:

      “If a Palestinian state is established, then I will accept the existence of Israel”.

      The idea of futurity is carried by the consequent (apodosis) “then” clause, not the condition (protasis) “if” clause.

      But you are improving. Keep working at it.

  3. wondering jew on February 22, 2020, 12:50 pm

    Not a very helpful analogy.

    And this sentence and its qualifier makes no sense: ” No anti-Zionist I know wants to kill Jews or force them to leave (though, yes, some intemperate types seem to want an Algeria outcome).” Seems to be saying, no one wants to force them to leave, they only want to act in ways that will lead them to leave.

    • Mooser on February 22, 2020, 1:39 pm

      ” no one wants to force them to leave, they only want to act in ways that will lead them to leave.”

      That certainly seems fair. Or does Israel deserve some special exemption from reality?

      • Misterioso on February 22, 2020, 4:10 pm

        @wondering Jew

        “…they only want to act in ways that will lead them to leave.”

        I trust you are referring to the thoroughly documented fact that between late 1947 and 1967 by means of several massacres, mass rape, force of arms and intimidation, Zionist Jews of foreign origin dispossessed and expelled about 1,250,000 indigenous Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.

    • Donald on February 22, 2020, 2:48 pm

      Why would they leave? Spell it out. I will do it.

      They might leave because they are afraid that a civil war would break out where there is a much better chance of dying than in the Second Intifada ( which didn’t cause many to leave afaik, but maybe I am wrong).

      Or they might leave because they don’t want to live in equality with Palestinians.

      The third choice— a reversal where Jews live under Palestinian oppression. That would require step one, the civil war with Palestinians winning and feeling vengeful, which often happens after civil wars.

      Setting aside any attempt at guessing the relative probabilities of these scenarios, I am guessing it is probably a mixture of all three fears.

      White southerners had similar fears. The Haitian example was their version of Algeria

      • Mooser on February 24, 2020, 11:52 am

        “That would require step one, the civil war with Palestinians winning and feeling vengeful, which often happens after civil wars.”

        Palestinians, with no martial organization, armed with, at best light weapons and rockets winning a civil war with Israel’s modern mechanized US-backed army. Could happen, I guess.

    • Donald on February 22, 2020, 2:58 pm

      Another point— whatever one thought of the 2ss, my guess ( only a guess) is that any such which would have been minimally acceptable to Palestinians would have to be one with very porous borders where the two sides got along. Something that Israelis would tell themselves was extremely generous. Otherwise it falls apart. I could even see the friendlier sort of 2ss being a stepping stone to unity.

      The cold peace / divorce model that some liberal Zionists propose ( we hate each other so let’s separate and erect a literal wall) just seemed like a recipe for continued hatred. Not very stable, especially with Palestinians rightly angry over of all they had lost. It would be something forced down their throats. Wouldn’t work.

      But probably all water under the bridge, since Israel wants apartheid and Bantustans at best.

    • Nathan on February 23, 2020, 8:00 am

      RoHa – It really would be much more interesting to hear your analysis of Phil’s English. After all, he is a journalist (i.e. a professional). So, is it a normal formulation to state that you “might” do something if something “had” happened? Well, it’s obvious that you can’t approve of the English, so the real question is why would a professional journalist (whose native language is English) phrase his thought in such a strange manner. My guess is that he wanted to sound reasonable, but he didn’t really mean it. I think Phil’s unusual wording was a way of expressing a tricky non-promise. What do you think?

      And speaking of trickiness, what do you think about the surprising statement that Phil doesn’t know of anti-Zionists who wish “to kill Jews or force them to leave”? Since he admits in parentheses that there are some “intemperate types” who “seem to want an Algeria outcome”, apparently he does know of anti-Zionists who wish “to kill the Jews or force them to leave”.

      I wonder if Hamas is defined as “intemperate types”, or if they are mainstream anti-Zionists. Since they won the elections 13 years ago, I think we can assume that they are mainstream from the Palestinian point of view. Anyway, here’s a very common statement that you can hear on Hamas broadcasting: “takun filastin maqbarat al-sha’ab al-yahudi” (Palestine shall be the graveyard of the Jewish people). Notice that this declaration contradicts the anti-Zionist presentation by confirming that the Jews are a people (in addition to its refuting the claim that there aren’t anti-Zionists who want to kill the Jews).

      • Misterioso on February 23, 2020, 10:11 am

        @Nathan

        “Anyway, here’s a very common statement that you can hear on Hamas broadcasting: “takun filastin maqbarat al-sha’ab al-yahudi” (Palestine shall be the graveyard of the Jewish people).”

        Meanwhile, Zionist Jews living north of the illegally (i.e., in gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention) occupied Gaza Strip, the world’s largest prison, spew hatred and threats against the native Palestinians and their leaders:

        https://www.972mag.com/israel-peace-palestinians-tel-aviv/

        “Yes, Israel wants peace — after it gets rid of the Palestinians”

        “Billboards posted across Tel Aviv showing Palestinian leaders blindfolded and on their knees reveal what many Israelis think.” 972 Magazine, Feb. 17/29, by Orly Nor, Feb. 20/20

        “Over the last week, pedestrians and drivers in Tel Aviv caught a glimpse of an especially disturbing billboard that had been posted across the city. The billboard, erected by the far-right group, Israeli Victory Project, showed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh blindfolded and on their knees on a backdrop of destruction. The caption read: ‘Peace is only made with defeated enemies.’

        “By Sunday morning, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai had ordered the billboards taken down, saying the images ‘incited the kind of violence reminiscent of ISIS and the Nazis.’ But what was actually disturbing about the billboard was not the incitement. Israel does not need cheerleaders when it comes to the violence it metes out against the Palestinian people. What is particularly nauseating is the way in which the billboard lays out for all to see the darkest, sickest aspects of Israel’s collective gaze vis-à-vis our neighbors.

        “Firstly, the text itself. ‘Peace is only made with defeated enemies.’

        “Anyone who hopes to bring his enemy to his knees (and blindfolded, no less) has no interest in a peace deal — he is solely interested in submission. That is the bitter truth at the heart of all the ‘peace talks’ and negotiations with the Palestinians: Israel wants to bring Palestinians to their knees and force them to accept disgraceful deals of defeat, all while thanking the Israelis for the ‘painful concessions’ we have been forced to bear.

        “That Abbas is seen raising his hand in defeat, like something out of an execution scene, reveals yet another truth: Israel has never truly distinguished between the various Palestinian political streams or their approach to the Israeli occupation. To Israel, there is no real distinction between the leader of a movement that believes in armed struggle and one who ensures the continuation of security coordination with Israel in order to prevent buses from blowing up in the heart of Israeli cities.

        “The truth is that everyone must be brought to their knees. All must submit.

        “After 50 years of brutal military occupation and over 70 years of oppression, what is the significance of the defeat that the Israeli Victory Project believes Israel must aspire to? The total destruction in the background provides the hint. Defeat means the Palestinian people must wallow in death and decimation while the ‘most moral fighter jets’ in the world circle above them. This, according to the sign, is Israel’s strategic goal. And if this is the goal, then the valley of death that Israel has established in Gaza is a resounding success.

        “And yet the Palestinian people refuse to submit and continue to fight for their liberation. At what point, then, does Israel decide that the Palestinians have been defeated enough to ‘make peace?’ And how does one achieve this final, absolute defeat? Is it through the ongoing murder of unarmed protesters near the Gaza fence? By continuing the policy of home demolitions? By accelerating ethnic cleansing in the West Bank? By multiplying the number of Palestinians in administrative detention? By continuing to destroy the Palestinian economy? How many more Palestinian children have to sit in Israeli prisons — some without trial — so that Israel can officially announce the defeat of the Palestinian people? How many more Palestinian children must lose their eyes for us to bask in the defeat of the enemy?

        “When absolute defeat is the goal, all means are justified. This was precisely what settler leader Uri Elizur had in mind when he wrote his now infamous article — in which he essentially advocated the genocide of the Palestinian people — and which Ayelet Shaked, who was only months away from being appointed Justice Minister, shared on her Facebook page in 2014:

        “‘The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people… What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word ‘war’, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.'”

        “‘After we get rid of an entire people — including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure — perhaps then we will conclude that they have been ‘properly defeated’ and we can finally make peace.'”

      • hai_bar on February 23, 2020, 10:32 am

        Nathan: “Anyway, here’s a very common statement that you can hear on Hamas broadcasting: “takun filastin maqbarat al-sha’ab al-yahudi” (Palestine shall be the graveyard of the Jewish people)”

        wow Nathan, you did it again… You seem like you have an eye and ear on all Palestinian/Arabic sources. Care to provide any thing to support this? I really doubt that I ever heard anything in arabic close to “شعب يهودي”/”shaáb yahudi”.

      • eljay on February 23, 2020, 6:48 pm

        || Nathan: … what do you think about the surprising statement that Phil doesn’t know of anti-Zionists who wish “to kill Jews or force them to leave”? … ||

        I think that quite unsurprisingly you deliberately altered his statement. He didn’t say he “doesn’t know of” anti-Zionists who wish to kill Jews – he said no anti-Zionists “he knows” want to kill Jews.

        || … Anyway, here’s a very common statement that you can hear on Hamas broadcasting: “takun filastin maqbarat al-sha’ab al-yahudi” (Palestine shall be the graveyard of the Jewish people). Notice that this declaration contradicts the anti-Zionist presentation by confirming that the Jews are a people … ||

        Hamas must’ve gotten the wrong impression from Zionists who routinely, deliberately and anti-Semitically conflate Israel and Zionism with all Jews and all Jews with Israel and Zionism. Nevertheless, shame on them for saying such horrible things.

        So, what other things that Hamas says do you agree with?

        || … in addition to its refuting the claim that there aren’t anti-Zionists who want to kill the Jews). … ||

        A claim that you, not Phil, made. Have you no shame?

      • zaid on February 23, 2020, 9:59 pm

        “al-sha’ab al-yahudi””

        I never header of this term in my life .

      • RoHa on February 24, 2020, 12:20 am

        Phil said “Some, like myself, might accept its existence if a viable Palestinian state had been/could have been established.”

        I do approve of the English. Even though Phil is a journalist, he has used perfectly acceptable grammar.

        The implication is that establishing a Palestinian state is not the only condition, though it may be the main one. I see nothing wrong there.

        No anti-Zionist I know wants to kill Jews or force them to leave

        “Know”, not “know of”. “Know” means “personally acquainted with”.
        “Know of” means “aware they exist”.

        Phil’s circle is limited to the gentler versions of anti-Zionists. He has heard of of the rougher, tougher, variety.

        “Notice that this declaration contradicts the anti-Zionist presentation by confirming that the Jews are a people (in addition to its refuting the claim that there aren’t anti-Zionists who want to kill the Jews).”

        Not all anti-Zionists deny that the Jews are a “people”. Some simply think it is irrelevant. And why should we believe Hamas has got it right on this matter?

        “(Palestine shall be the graveyard of the Jewish people). … refuting the claim that there aren’t anti-Zionists who want to kill the Jews.”

        Strictly speaking, the alleged Hamas saying could be metaphoric, and mean that Palestine will be the place where Jews learn to give up Jewishness, and become ordinary people.
        But even if we take it as mean that Jews will be killed in large numbers, this does not imply that Hamas members want to kill them.

        Mind you, considering what “the Jews” have done to Palestinians, I think it highly likely that there are plenty of Palestinians who do want to kill Jews. This is not a reason for denying justice to Palestinians, but it is a prudential reason for Jews to try to make amends as much and as soon as possible.

    • Leopold Bloom on February 23, 2020, 5:49 pm

      A strange comment, because there definitely are anti-Zionists who have expressed the desire to kill every Jew in the world. It’s irrelevant if the author doesn’t know any of them personally. I don’t know any professional balloonists; but it would be ridiculous for me to imply that no professional balloonists exist because I don’t personally know any.

      • Mooser on February 24, 2020, 11:34 am

        Don’t worry, “Bloom”, it’s very doubtful an alliance of anti-Zionists and professional balloonists will spell the end of Israel.
        The Israeli ‘election’ and the ‘deal of the century’ have cornered the market in hot air.

  4. Bumblebye on February 22, 2020, 1:01 pm

    One of the latest arguments by zionists over the ‘right to exist’ goes all the way back to the recognition of israel (this one *said* ‘as a Jewish state’). This apparently conferred an ongoing right to exist by law and any argument or challenge against that was outright antisemitism.

  5. vwbeetle on February 22, 2020, 5:40 pm

    While I accept Israel’s existence – it’s not going away – I believe that the Jewish claim to Palestine has no rational basis i.e Israel has no right to exist. To suggest that the presence of some sort of Jewish entity in Palestine 2,000 years ago gave Jews from Eastern Europe (and around the world) a right to sovereignty in Palestine in the 20th century is an insult to the intelligence of any rational person. As the King-Crane Commission of Inquiry, sent to Palestine in 1919 by US President Woodrow Wilson stated “For the initial claim, often submitted by Zionist representatives, that they have a “right” to Palestine based on an occupation 2000 years ago, can hardly be seriously considered”.

  6. Stephen Shenfield on February 22, 2020, 6:08 pm

    Do believers in the “right of Israel to exist” think that all states have a right to exist? Do they think that Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union had a right to exist? If only certain states have a right to exist, what are the criteria?

    • Nathan on February 23, 2020, 9:15 am

      Stephen Shenfield – The question of Israel’s right to exist is a propaganda ploy. Those who opposed the founding of a Jewish state wished to win the support of others, and one of the arguments was that “the Jews have no right….” Those who were in favor of a Jewish state wished to win the support of others, and one of the arguments was that “the Jews have the right….” The conflict between the Jews and the Arabs has an interesting character in that the passage of time doesn’t make a difference. You still hear the exact same arguments that were raised in the 1920’s. So, in truth, the right of a state to exist is not even an issue on the agenda. A state exists or it doesn’t exist. In the case of Israel, we all agree that she exists. Those who claim that Israel has no right to exist are just saying that they wish she had not been founded. Those who claim that Israel has a right to exist are just saying that they are pleased that she was founded. In reality, the debate is totally irrelevant. There was a group of people that succeeded in founding Israel, whereas the opponents of this group failed in their efforts to prevent this outcome.

      Let’s imagine that the Jews failed to found their state. Would we be debating 72 years later if the Arabs had the right to prevent the founding of a Jewish state? I don’t really know, but I doubt it. So, we should be pleased that the state was, indeed, founded. Many intelligent people are now so fortunate to have this incredible hobby of sitting behind their computer and analyzing the theoretical question if an event that took place before they were born should or should not have happened (and if they might or might not agree if the circumstances had been or could have been different). Isn’t it fun?

      • Stephen Shenfield on February 23, 2020, 5:15 pm

        But it isn’t only about what could or should have happened in the past, is it? It’s also about whether we should or should not aim at certain changes in the character and constitution of the state called Israel that may be desirable from one or another point of view. The “right of Israel to exist” usually means the right of the Zionist majority of Jews to preserve Israel basically as it is now. Logically it could just mean the right of those willing to accept the name “Israel” to preserve “Israel” as the name of the state, but in reality it means more than that, doesn’t it?

      • PaulMerrell on February 23, 2020, 6:58 pm

        @ Nathan: “In reality, the debate is totally irrelevant.”

        But it can be. Let us suppose that a Palestinian family ejected from their home so a Jewish family could move in files a forcible entry and detainer lawsuit to regain their home. The Palestinian’s lawyer argues that because the Israeli government was illegally established, it had no lawful power to eject the Palestinians from their home.

        Moral of the story: Just because you think a topic is academic does not mean that everyone agrees.

  7. JWalters on February 22, 2020, 6:36 pm

    Thank you Phil, for this lucid and accurate analysis. A “legal construct” is not a person, whether it be a corporation or a state. It does not have the same fundamental “right to exist” as a person. Does a legal construct that murders and robs innocent people because of their ethnicity have a right to exist? In a civilized world the self-evident answer is “NO”. It cannot be justified by ancient history or a self-proclaimed spiritual superiority.

    In the case of a corporation, that legal entity is created by its governing state, and can be dissolved by that state. In the case of Israel, the Zionists claim Israel was created by the U.N. However, that is false. The U.N. was manipulated by Zionist bribes and threats to create a legal fig leaf for the Zionist invasion and ethnic cleansing. The Zionist disdain for the U.N. has been clear ever since. Israel is a pirate state, created by war profiteering pirates, for war profiteering pirates.

    People need to look into the role of war profiteers in the roots of the “war on terror”.

  8. brent on February 22, 2020, 11:26 pm

    Received today from a friend. Good and evil reside in every individual, every group, to one extent or another. Few people are as propagandized, manipulated and blind as are Americans and as are Jews.

    https://couragetoresist.org/podcast-dennis-stout/?fbclid=IwAR3pJJ6-290AfDt66xxarPen2a4M_nAgBJPraLH4sm8gm01QN-VwBf856Vk

  9. pjdude on February 23, 2020, 2:27 am

    billionaires shouldn’t exist and neither should israel

  10. Vera Gottlieb on February 23, 2020, 10:39 am

    I might be obtuse but…what has one got to do with the other?

    • Leopold Bloom on February 23, 2020, 5:51 pm

      This site has Israel on the brain. Every injustice must suggest Israel.

      • echinococcus on February 23, 2020, 8:26 pm

        You should read a lot more before judging: this site is the place where all energies are channeled towards having a nice “debate” with Zionist crazies, all other discussions of concepts that could inform effective action to destroy Zionism being barred. As a Zionist, you should be overjoyed that there are sites like this.

      • pjdude on February 25, 2020, 3:46 am

        you are surprised a site about israel’s criminality is focused on Israel? i literaly don’t know how to respond to this level of idiocy

      • eljay on February 25, 2020, 8:25 am

        || Leopold Bloom: This site has Israel on the brain. Every injustice must suggest Israel. ||

        Well, at least Israel is correctly conflated with Israel and Zionism. By contrast, Zionists have this nasty, anti-Semitic habit of conflating Israel with all Jews.

  11. Jackdaw on February 23, 2020, 1:11 pm

    Phil seems unusually desperate.

  12. jw500 on February 24, 2020, 1:03 am

    What a load of crap. If we are going to base “right to exist” on moral conduct, then Israel has more right to exist than many nations in the world including:
    1) USA (slavery, and massive aggression against neighbors resulting in conquest of land)
    2) USSR/Russia (killed tens of millions)
    3) China (ditto)
    4) Germany (Holocaust)
    5) England (centuries of colonial oppression)
    6) All or most Muslim countries (centuries of mass murder and forced conversions).
    7) “Palestine”

    Since existence is determined by “might” not “right,” this entire discussion is academic.

    Also, billionaires and millionaires and every one else has a right to retain their wealth against forfeiture based on misguided communist notions of equality. There will never be equality because people are not equal, some are clearly superior in one skill or another that is valued by society and therefore can be converted into a source of money (or their family was in the past and the wealth passed on to their management and will dissipate over time in the case of mismanagement).

    • Mooser on February 24, 2020, 11:55 am

      You are not talking about Israel’s “right to exist”. You are talking about an obligation to support Israel in its genocidal project. That, most assuredly, does not exist.

      • eljay on February 25, 2020, 7:41 am

        || Mooser: … You are talking about an obligation to support Israel in its genocidal project. … ||

        It’s a very Zionist thing to do.

        But, hey, nothing says “moral beacon”, “light unto the nations” and “progressive paradise” better than deliberately and unapologetically emulating the worst aspects of nation-building in human history (aggression, oppression, theft, military occupation, colonialism, destruction, torture, murder and supremacism).

    • bcg on February 24, 2020, 4:30 pm

      Would it be fair to put Israel on the list?

  13. Ossinev on February 24, 2020, 9:50 am

    @jw500
    “Since existence is determined by “might” not “right,” this entire discussion is academic.”

    Ah so Hitler and the Nazi Germany through “might” had the “right”. That will justify the Holocaust for you no doubt.

    And no doubt in your logic of course justified the Nakba.

    And reassuring that to follow your logic it will justify the overwhelming demographic might of the indigenous Middle Eastern population eventually spits out the s…ty foreign cult colonists who have temporarily implanted themselves like a malign tumor in Palestine.

    • Mooser on February 25, 2020, 12:24 pm

      ““Since existence is determined by “might” not “right,” this entire discussion is academic.” “jw500”

      The ‘might’ of the Jews? Of what does that consist? Is it made of the same thing as ‘Jewish tribal unity’?

  14. bcg on February 24, 2020, 1:44 pm

    We can certainly ask if Israel has the “right to exist” RIGHT NOW, never mind the theoretical questions about whether or not it had the “right to exist” in the first place. Americans can reasonably ask themselves if they want their tax dollars to support an apartheid state, they can ask themselves if they want their own government to run interference in the U.N. to support ethnic cleansing, they can ask themselves if they want trade relations with a country that maintains an enormous open-air prison and destroys peoples homes to support its own crazy ideas of manifest destiny.

  15. Emet on February 24, 2020, 2:31 pm

    The Left infests the service industries and NGO’s around the world. The government or the UN or some interest group pays you to do a job. You actually generate no actual value in what you do. Then you have the entrepreneur who mortgages his house, works day and night and creates something that someone else is willing to pay added value for. This person continues in this line and some soon become very rich. He generates wealth. That begs the question on why Bernie was paid so much money on the job?
    When Jews starting coming home in greater numbers, jobs were needed. Soon the word got out and Arabs from far and wide came from backwater villages to earn a wage. There is a reason that very little is written about Palestinian Arabs prior to 130 years ago. No, the area was not bustling with Arabs. The amount of water at the time made sure that life was centered in certain areas. So stop accepting the lies about how many Arabs lived in the region. It’s was the Jewish ancestral homeland, it is the Jewish ancestral homeland and it always will be the Jewish ancestral homeland. Thank you. Now piss off.
    And yes, Bernie’s a loony who’s going to bankrupt the US if president.

    • bcg on February 24, 2020, 6:52 pm

      Different people have different opinions on the whole “Jewish homeland” trope, and personally I don’t think it’s worth discussing. Israel is the “ancestral homeland” of the Jews? Have it your way, Emet – whatever. My question is whether Israel is also anyone else’s ancestral homeland, and whether Israel gets to do absolutely whatever it wants to people who happen to be living there who aren’t Chosen. What’s the answer?

      • Emet on February 25, 2020, 12:00 pm

        The Palestinian Arab movement only came about during recent history. Many say 1964. Before that there was no people who identified as Palestinian. No one would stand up and shout “I am a Palestinian”. It just never happened. Muslims see themselves belonging mainly the Shiite or Sunni factions and borders had little to no importance. And you obviously do not understand what “chosen” means. It has nothing to do with being better than someone else. Now go and give some money to a charity. It’s the month of Adar and you know what should be done, especially during this month, or have I been chosen to spell it out for you?

      • RoHa on February 25, 2020, 8:47 pm

        The Palestinian Arab movement only came about during recent history. Many say 1964. Before that there was no people who identified as Palestinian. No one would stand up and shout “I am a Palestinian”.

        Why does this matter? They were people, living in their homes in the country most of their ancestors had lived in for centuries. A bunch of foreigners poured into the country, drove them from their homes, farms, and businesses, and took over the land. This was wrong.

        What difference does it make whether they called themselves Arabs, Palestinians, or the Ancient Order of Orange Wranglers?

        They were treated unjustly, and still are being treated unjustly.

      • Emet on February 26, 2020, 2:27 am

        “They were treated unjustly, and still are being treated unjustly” . Yeah, right.
        If only they would have agreed to live side by side with Jews over the past 140 years. Instead they instigated terror, murder, rockets and war. They could have had it different. Hold their feet to the fire. It’s called moral accountability. Something happened in this land that MUST be attributed to Arab rejectionism. You cannot bring back those killed at the hands of Arabs and magically heal the wounded and scared.

      • eljay on February 26, 2020, 8:29 am

        || Emet: … Hold their feet to the fire. It’s called moral accountability. … ||

        Coming from a Zionist, that is pure, unadulterated comedy GOLD!   :-D

        The Zionist lack of self-awareness is truly amazing.

      • Emet on February 26, 2020, 3:54 pm

        eljay, the next time you criticize a Palestinian Arab will be the first time. An therefor when you argue and criticize one side, when it is clear that that the side you are punting for has done some pretty awful things, you become irrelevant.

      • eljay on February 26, 2020, 7:45 pm

        || Emet: eljay, the next time you criticize a Palestinian Arab will be the first time. … ||

        Incorrect. I have criticized “Palestinian Arabs” and, unlike you, I call for all people to be held accountable for their (war) crimes.

        || … An therefor when you argue and criticize one side, when it is clear that that the side you are punting for has done some pretty awful things, you become irrelevant. ||

        …says the Zionist. Are you being dense on purpose or is your astounding lack of self-awareness genuine?

      • RoHa on February 26, 2020, 10:12 pm

        First things first:
        “If only they would have had agreed to live side by side with Jews over the past 140 years. ”

        (Why is this so hard?)

        The Zionist Jews had no right to enter the land in the first place, but they entered with the clear and avowed intent of taking over. They wanted to set up a society that excluded the Palestinians. They were the ones who refused to live side by side.

        And the Palestinians did agree to live side by side. They put forward the idea of a single secular democratic Palestine where Jews and Arabs were equal citizens. They held this position for a long time. The Zionist Jews did not agree.

        And if you want criticism of the Palestinians, here’s some.
        I think they should never have shifted to the “two states” idea, but, since they did, they should have publicly and loudly given it up and gone back to the single state ideal after the failure of the Taba talks.

        But their political failures do not deprive them of their rights.

      • jon s on February 27, 2020, 8:59 am

        RoHa, an Arab victory in 1948 would have meant the annihilation of the Jews in Palestine. The Mufti – Hitler’s groupie- had no intention of leaving any Jews alive.

      • eljay on February 27, 2020, 12:22 pm

        || jon s: RoHa, an Arab victory in 1948 would have meant the annihilation of the Jews in Palestine. The Mufti – Hitler’s groupie- had no intention of leaving any Jews alive. ||

        That sounds very dramatic but the only things that can be said with absolute certainty are:
        – an “Arab victory in 1948” would have meant the end of Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism, colonialism and (war) criminality; and
        – there was no “Arab victory in 1948” and that has meant seemingly endless Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism, colonialism and (war) criminality.

      • oldgeezer on February 27, 2020, 5:52 pm

        @eljay

        “That sounds very dramatic but the only things that can be said with absolute certainty are:”

        How dare you! Don’t you understand that jon s is a professional history teacher. It’s an amazing discipline wherein one extracts history from both written, and fleeting thoughts, of pure fiction! Truly awesome.

      • Mooser on February 27, 2020, 6:49 pm

        “The Mufti – Hitler’s groupie- had no intention of leaving any Jews alive.” “Jon s”

        Oh, I see, the Mufti was a bad guy, and that gives Zionists the right to kill or even kill off Palestinians.

      • Emet on February 29, 2020, 11:35 am

        Mooser, Jews have the right and the obligation by the government of the day is to defend the citizens of the country, both Jew and non Jew, which they have done and at a great cost. And at the same time Jews, Druze and other citizens have helped build the country and economy.
        The Arabs and Muslims who would do harm to Jews, divert their money and resources into building attack tunnels, rockets and other weapons. Nothing has changes with these Arabs. They continue to blame the Jew for all their woes.

      • Mooser on February 29, 2020, 12:35 pm

        “They continue to blame the Jew for all their woes.”

        Awww, doesn’t everybody?

      • RoHa on February 29, 2020, 10:04 pm

        “The Arabs and Muslims who would do harm to Jews, divert their money …”

        Now this single comma is confusing.

        Is “who would do harm to Jews” supposed to be a defining or a non-defining relative clause?

        If defining, the sentence refers to those particular Arabs and Muslims who would do harm to Jews. Other Arabs and Muslims don’t divert their money.

        In that case, there should be no commas at all.

        If non-defining, the sentence implies that all Arabs and Muslims would do harm to Jews and they all divert their money.

        In that case, there should be two commas, one following “Muslims” and one following “Jews”.

      • RoHa on February 29, 2020, 10:09 pm

        Jon s, I’ll try again.

        Since the Palestinians had offered a a single secular democratic Palestine where Jews and Arabs were equal citizens, I very much doubt that an Arab victory would have resulted in total slaughter. (There would have been some “payback” for the massacres and expulsions of Palestinians that took place just before and during the war.)
        But as far as I can tell, the Mufti had very little influence by then.

      • jon s on March 2, 2020, 4:48 pm

        RoHa,
        On the contrary, the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini was the most prominent Palestinian Arab leader, as chairman of the Arab Higher Committee and later as head of the “All-Palestine Government”. Two of his relatives also played prominent roles: Jamal al- Husseini as senior Palestinian diplomat and Abed el Kadder al-Husseini as senior military commander, until he was killed in the battle for the “Kastel ” in April 1948.
        The Palestinian goal was a secular democracy? ! With equal rights for all? Do you really believe that?

      • RoHa on March 3, 2020, 2:23 am

        “The Palestinian goal was a secular democracy? ! With equal rights for all? Do you really believe that?”

        I’m not very good at believing things, but, according to Atiyah, democracy with equal rights is what they offered.

        “Following this failure, the Arab states accepted an invitation from the British Government to send delegations for yet one more conference in London in the winter of 1946-7. But no result was achieved. The Arab delegates reiterated the now unshakable Arab demand for an independent, democratic state in Palestine, offering equal rights to all citizens, freedom of education to the Jews, and the use of Hebrew as an official language. But they insisted on the immediate stoppage of all immigration, and the enforcement of existing regulations against the sale of land to the Jews in certain parts of Palestine.”
        pp 176 – 177
        Atiyah, Edward, (1958 rev. ed.) The Arabs, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth.
        The proposal might have come from the other Arab states, and not from the Palestinians themselves, but it is difficult to imagine that it would have been reiterated without at least grudging agreement from the Palestinian representatives.

    • eljay on February 24, 2020, 9:18 pm

      || Emet: … It’s was the Jewish ancestral homeland, it is the Jewish ancestral homeland and it always will be the Jewish ancestral homeland. … ||

      Geographic Palestine was not and still is not the ancestral / historic / ancient / eternal / lost / one true homeland of every person in the world – every citizen of every homeland throughout the world – who has chosen to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish.

      Stop promoting the lies.

      • Emet on February 25, 2020, 12:07 pm

        Those who do not know their past will stumble and fall. Am I not right eljay?

      • RoHa on February 25, 2020, 8:50 pm

        Those who do not know their past will stumble and fall. Am I not right eljay?

        I think that, before Eljay can answer that, he will need some clarification.
        What on Earth are you talking about?

      • eljay on February 26, 2020, 5:29 am

        || Emet: Those who do not know their past will stumble and fall. Am I not right eljay? ||

        Although they haven’t yet fallen, the falsehoods and fabrications of Zionism have caused the majority of Jews to stumble. So, yes, Emet, you are right. Congratulations.

      • RoHa on February 26, 2020, 8:27 pm

        Well done, Eljay. I had no idea what he was going on about.

      • oldgeezer on February 26, 2020, 10:07 pm

        @Emet

        Well that’s a point for sure.

        Let me know when you start to critcize both/all sides in a relatively equal manner. I’ll need you to point me in the right direction to a half dozen or so, prior or future, posts, by you, that criticize both/all parties that way.

        Who knows it might work! It can be done! Right?

    • RoHa on February 25, 2020, 8:52 pm

      It’s was the Jewish ancestral homeland, it is the Jewish ancestral homeland and it always will be the Jewish ancestral homeland.

      The latest research I read supports the claim that the Kalahari is the ancient human homeland.

      But that does not give any modern human a right to live there, let alone set up a state there and drive out the Bushmen.

      • echinococcus on February 25, 2020, 11:38 pm

        Yabbut you are turning back a golden opportunity to make the Kalahari bloom.

      • Mooser on February 29, 2020, 12:36 pm

        Carry me back to old Kalahari!

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