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Nathan

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  • Zionism ate my religion, and I am taking it back
    • Mooser - Maybe you could be helpful. Please explain to me the meaning of “colonizing a language”. I have never heard this grievance before, and I just can't imagine what it could possibly mean. After explaining what it means to "colonize a language", could you please explain to me what is wrong with "“colonizing a language”? Is it as serious as splitting infinitives or using double negatives?

    • It really was a surprise to read in this article a new grievance against Israel (or the Zionists) that I had never heard before:

      "Until I opened that textbook, I had not understood that they overwrote the language of our prayers and our source texts. Biblical Hebrew had not died; they colonized it."

      I have to admit that this particular grievance sounds really awful. I am quite certain that it is without an historic precedence that a language was "overwritten" and "colonized". However, I have to admit that I just don't understand the meaning of "overwriting a language" or "colonizing a language", and I wonder if the editor of this website has given the matter a moment's thought. Perhaps it is just good enough that an article is anti-Israel, and it doesn't really matter if some of the claims simply don't make sense at all.

      Apparently, this issue at hand is that the author is displeased that the Hebrew language was revived. It was really a very special story, and quite a success. There are linguists today who claim that Hebrew wasn't revived. Some claim that Modern Hebrew is simply the continuation of Yiddish ("relexified Yiddish"), and others claim that a new language was born (and it should be called "Israeli"). However, the mainstream still maintains that Hebrew is the only example of a language that had no native speakers for centuries, and then it became the native language of millions (i.e. revival).

      Our author complains that "Biblical Hebrew had not died", but it's a strange complaint. No one speaks Biblical Hebrew, although native Hebrew speakers today generally understand the Biblical text (but not always). Modern Hebrew was born when the language of the new secular Hebrew literature in 19th century Eastern Europe became the spoken language of a few thousand people in Palestine during the first decade of the 20th century.

  • Hasbara is dead
    • Okay, RoHa, I'll have to accept your corrections. There are plenty of Mondoweiss articles that envision an end of conflict. So, allow me to re-phrase my comment. It would be a breath of fresh air to read an article (and to debate with the readers) about an end-of-conflict proposition that is about ending the conflict with Israel. The various proposals for a one-state solution are about replacing Israel with another political entity. It would be a bit more interesting to discuss ideas that are somehow a reflection of political reality.

    • "No, its explanations are reserved now for the hard-core supporters. The hasbara is pure propaganda, aimed at rallying the base. And everyone else is tuning out".

      When I read the above quote, I couldn't help but think that it could apply to this website. The outlook of all the articles is meant for the hard-core anti-Israel audience that dreams of the demise of Israel. It's simply propaganda that is focused on re-convincing the convinced. And no one else takes it too seriously.

      Anyway, let's put things in their proper proportions. Let's say that it's true that "hasbara has died... because the fair-minded have all made up their minds". So what? Let's say that it's true that "fewer and fewer intelligent people elsewhere are buying Israel’s story". So what?

      I understand the need of the anti-Israel crowd to believe that the end is near. Therefore, every protest becomes such a big deal, and any artist who cancels an appearance in Israel is a sign that BDS is on the verge of breaking Israel's back. It must be a terrible burden to maintain such a high level of absolute obsession with fantasies. My sympathies, indeed.

      It would be a breath of fresh air to read an article in Mondoweiss in which appears an outline of some sort of end-of-conflict idea. The impact of such an article on reality would also be negligible, but it certainly would be a blessed change from the boring and oft-repeated message that appears at the end of this article ("We all know the story too well now, and we’ve had enough").

  • The Gaza blockade is illegal-- and so is the use of force to maintain it
    • Annie Robbins - Both sides to the conflict have agreed in Oslo that the refugee issue will be negotiated and agreed upon in the framework of the end of conflict ("final status"). Moreover, the Arab League Peace Initiative (which the Palestinians accept) states very clearly that there must be a "just and agreed solution to the Palestine refugee problem in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 194". Obviously, "just and agreed solution" means that there must be an agreement (a negotiated settlement). Moreover, an agreement includes an end of conflict. An unresolved conflict means that there is no right of return. Strangely, the phrase "end of conflict" never gets mentioned in this website.

  • UNRWA does not perpetuate the conflict, the conflict perpetuates UNRWA
    • Misterioso - UNGA 194 states clearly that "the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date". That earliest practical date apparently hasn't arrived quite yet. If Israel's membership in the UN depends on the implementation of UNGA 194 - and Israel has not been suspended from the world body - then perhaps you should conclude that everyone agrees that "the earliest practical date" has not yet arrived. Maybe it's the same date that the conflict shall be resolved.

      The same resolution instructs "the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation...." Maybe that's the problem. The Conciliation Commission hasn't been doing its task.

      The Conciliation Commission is also supposed "to take steps to assist the Governments and authorities concerned to achieve a final settlement of all questions". Again, it seems that the issue is ending the conflict. Actually, in all cases, refugees return (if they return) when conflicts end.

    • biggerjake - Resolution 194 does not state that "the Palestinians have the right of return". It mentions that those who wish to live in peace with their neighbors should be allowed to return as soon as possible. Those who don't wish to live in peace with their neighbors apparently shouldn't be allowed to return as soon as possible.

    • UNGA 194: “...refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date..."

      We learn in the article that "the right of return is enshrined in the United Nations Resolution 194", and a link is kindly provided therein. It's not too clear to me why anyone who speaks English as a native tongue would come to the conclusion that the above quote defines a right of return. First of all, only those refugees wishing to live at peace with their neighbors are the topic at hand. This would mean that those refugees who do not wish to live in peace with their neighbors have no right of return. There seems to be a condition here (the return is apparently based on an end of hostilities). Has anyone conducted a survey among the refugees to see if they intend to live in peace with their neighbors? I'd be curious to hear if they are willing to express a commitment in this regard.

      The resolution tells us that the refugees willing to live in peace with their neighbors SHOULD be permitted to do so. I would have thought that the right of return means that the refugees MUST be permitted to do so. "Should" sounds like a "maybe" or a "hopefully" - not a legal right. (If you want to get technical about the English language, "should" is the conditional or subjunctive form of the future tense).

      And how do we define the terminology "at the earliest practicable date"? The resolution doesn't say that all the refugees have "the right of return immediately". Is it practicable to return refugees when the conflict has yet to be resolved? "At the earliest practicable date" sounds like another condition - not an unconditional right of return.

      Interestingly, the UNSC Resolution 242 from Nov 1967 doesn't remind us that there is a right of return based on UNGA 194. It only informs us that the establishment of peace should include a just settlement to the refugee problem. Indeed, according to the Oslo Accords signed by the PLO, the refugee issue will be resolved in the framework of the final settlement that ends the conflict (so, it has to be negotiated).

  • Riveting Thai cave story was missing one element -- Israel to the rescue!
    • Gee, Phil, it's really hard to imagine why you would care that an Israeli company is taking credit for its contribution in finding the missing boys. It sounds rather obvious that taking credit is a type of normal advertising. Why would it be an issue in an anti-Israeli publication? Anyway, if indeed the Israeli company has made a contribution in rescuing the kids - well, that's nice. Why would it bother anyone? Apparently, any private Israeli citizen or company is responsible for any real or imaginary grievance that is on your agenda. You've got to admit that it's a rather strange obsession.

  • "A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History": Interview with Jamal Juma’
    • "This will make it impossible for there to be any separation in the future, for there to be any independent Palestinian entity..."

      It seems that Mr Juma' is complaining that there will not be any separation (allowing for an independent Palestinian state). On the other hand the caption next to the photo tells us that "Jamal Juma' leads a nonviolent march against the Israeli Separation Wall in the West Bank town of Al Walaja".

      It seems to me that there must be some innocent error in the article. Either Mr Juma' should be quoted as telling us that "the good news is that there won't be any separation which we absolutely oppose..." (and therefore he is protesting the separation wall at Walaja) - or the caption should be changed, informing us that the demonstration is expressing its support of the wall (and the hope of separation in the future).

      Obviously, it must be an oversight on the part of the editing to give us a contradictory message in such a short article. It just can't be that the same person is complaining that there won't be a separation AND then he appears leading a demonstration against the separation.

  • Israeli left leader says intermarriage by U.S. Jews is 'actual plague' and he vows to find 'a solution'
    • Paranam Kid - It's not really so difficult to understand what someone else might have against intermarriage. The trick in understanding the issue is accepting the fact that others see the world very differently than you. You dismiss with a "so what" the possibility of the disappearance of an ethnic group. Well, as hard as this might be to understand, there are people out there in the world who don't share your judgment of what's important. Some people feel that the disappearance of a distinct culture or language or identity makes the world a poorer place.

      It's also important to take notice of the fact that someone else (who might see the world very differently than you) could actually be a very good person.

  • One Democratic State: an ongoing debate
    • Blake Alcott - You claim that "all of us are working hard on the ‘how to get there’ problem". Yes, I'm certain that all of you are working very hard, but I would imagine that your work is similar to flooring the gas pedal while the car is still in "neutral".

      Here's the basic weakness of the various proposals for "getting there". All of the proposals are based on an obviously deep hostility towards Israel and the Jews who live there. It's impossible to take them seriously.

      Many years ago, I had a very interesting talk with a Holocaust survivor. She escaped from the ghetto with two small children, and the three of them went to hide in the forest. It's very cold in Poland in the winter time, so I found it so surprising that a mother would decide on hiding in the forest when the Germans are promising bread and jam for those starving Jews who show up for deportation to the camps in the east. So, she explained her logic: "If it's so good to go to the train and it's really in our best interest, why are the Germans so violent about it?"

      It's hard to imagine that you really believe that BDS can twist the arm of Israeli society. Everyone understands the meaning of all the overwhelming animosity that stands out in all the "well-meaning" proposals that you work so hard on.

    • And, nevertheless, bcg, what would be the reason that the Jews should agree to dismantle their state. I, personally, can't think of any good reason. It seems to be a very successful state, it enjoys a real population explosion and its citizens are very happy (and the weather is nice, too). The article offers a one-state solution without explaining why anyone would be interested. Let's hear your definition of the interests of the Israelis and why giving up would enhance those interests.

    • David Gerald Fincham - You answer that you "do not accept" my observation that the Palestinians will not accept the existence of the yishuv (the Hebrew-speaking community). Obviously, this conflict is not about what makes sense to you. You change the terminology in your answer (instead of the Jews' constituting a national community, you say that the "Jewish Israelis are a nation"). Your assumption is that if the new terminology makes sense to you then it surely makes sense to the Palestinians. Well, life's not so simple. The Palestinians will never accept your idea of a bi-national state. They reject the very idea that there is another nation that sees the country as its homeland, period. The Palestinians envision ultimate victory over the Jews (or the "Jewish Israelis" as you prefer to define them), and the only way to ensure such a victory in the distant future is by refusing to accept any final arrangement in the present.

      The PLO recognized Israel, but it does not recognize Israel (notice the past tense and present tense forms of the verb). The "long-term truce" that Hamas is offering is a ten-year offer. Why you would feel that this is a "sort of recognition of Israel" is beyond me. Israel would have to end the occupation, allow for the founding of a Palestinian state and return all the refugees - and then Hamas would agree to continue the conflict after a ten-year break. How nice of them. The question for you is the following: If a Palestinian state will be founded, the occupation ends and all the refugees return to their former homes, then why would there be a conflict after ten years? You would think that the issues have all been resolved. Well, here's a hint: Apparently this is not a conflict about occupation, statehood and refugees. There is some other grievance that is the real issue of conflict.

      Here's a little lesson for you in Arabic. It might help in figuring out how someone else sees reality. The term "salaam" in Arabic is translated into English as "peace" - but it doesn't mean "peace" (i.e. tranquility and harmony). It means "surrender" (it's the same root s.l.m. that gives us the word "Islam", surrender to Allah). In short, when someone offers you "salaam", it's not that he seeks to live with you in harmony. He simply has no choice, so he surrenders (for the time being) as his best option. It's not idealism at all. When the circumstances change, the hostilities will be renewed. The PLO recognized Israel (i.e. there was no choice), but they don't recognize Israel, period. Hamas offers a ten-year deal, but obviously it is not the end of conflict. The conflict is permanent (all the conflicts in the Arab world last forever).

    • David Gerald Fincham - It is totally unrealistic and absolutely impossible that the Arab side of the conflict will accept a bi-national solution. In order to understand why this is the case, one must be familiar with the Arab position. The term "bi-national state" means that there are TWO NATIONAL communities sharing a single state (the Jews and the Arabs). The Palestinians claim that the Jews are only a religious community, and hence they have no homeland. If the Palestinians were to accept a bi-national solution, they would be admitting that the Jews are a national community, and therefore Palestine is their national territory. In other words, they would be accepting the legitimacy of Zionism (which defines the Jews as a nation and the Land of Israel as their homeland). There is no way in the world that the Palestinians are going to end the conflict based on a bi-national state, so it is not a solution.

      The 1947 Partition Plan called for the founding of a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine. In other words, the United Nations defined the Jews as a national community, entitled to statehood. The plan was rejected by the Palestinians then, and they still reject it today. Their point of view is that Palestine is the homeland of only one national community (the Palestinian Arabs).

      Both your idea of bi-nationalism and the idea presented in the above article are non-starters from the Palestinian point of view. In order to solve a conflict, one must know how to define correctly the very reason of conflict - and then you can propose an idea that solves that very reason of conflict. If the conflict was born because a single state for two communities did not come into being, then probably a proposal for a single state for the two communities would bring the conflict to its end. However, that is not the reason that the conflict came into being. The Arabs reject the legitimacy of the yishuv (the Hebrew-speaking community); so, a proposal that accepts the permanancy of the yishuv is not going to be accepted, period.

    • The caption tells us that the barbed wire shown in the photo was meant to separate Jews and Arabs. It's not so. The barbed wire was meant to protect the British troops from attack. The area enclosed by the barbed wire is the Russian Compound where the British army was encamped.

      The article asks: "So how do we get there?" However, the answer wasn't given. Whenever I read such unrealistic political programs, I wonder how the author imagines achieving the goal outlined in the article. Apparently, the authors don't have a clue themselves, because they didn't even try to outline any line of action besides the ambiguous "political struggle".

      If you want to replace the existing State of Israel with a different state through a "political struggle", I would humbly suggest to our authors to consider outlining the reasons why the Israeli Jews should agree to the dismantling of their state. Surely, there was space in the article to give just one good argument why it would be in their interest to do so. I can't think of any on my own, so I feel let down by Mondoweiss.

      The Palestinian Arabs do not regard the Israel Jews to be legitimate residents of the country. Accepting the Israel Jews as equal citizens in the imagined single Palestinian state would be regarded by the Palestinians as acceptance of the legitimacy of the Jewish immigration during the Mandate and since the founding of Israel. That's not too likely. Surely the article could have explained how suddenly "invaders" will become accepted as equal citizens. If it's not already too much to expect that the Jews will give up on their very successful state, obviously it is absurd to expect them to exchange it for the prospect of eventual expulsion.

      It seems to me that in the anti-Israel world there is a basic misunderstanding of how the world operates. Generally, intelligent people understand that different people see the world differently. They (intelligent people) should be able to view the world through the eyes of others. If you want to make a political proposal, give it a moment's thought if someone else is even able to consider it at all. The Jews see themselves as the returning sons and daughters of their ancient homeland. They see the founding of their state as the fulfillment of ancient dreams, and the result of a very dramatic struggle. You're not going to get them to give it all up by explaining to them that this is all illegitimate, and expecting them to place their destiny in the hands of those who hate them.

      There's a lot of animosity in this article - and that's the fundamental flaw in the anti-Israel presentation of ideas and suggestions. It's hard to believe that those presenting their ideas for a supposed better future really have good intentions. They don't, obviously.

  • Hitchhiking to Treblinka
    • Mooser - You simply don't have a clue regarding antisemitism. The anti-Semites didn't hate the Jews because the Jews chose to be separated. Quite the contrary. The anti-Semites were always infurious whenever the Jews tried to be exactly like other Europeans and to fit in. For a very extreme (and recent) example, notice that the Germans forced the Jews to mark themselves, and it was a crime punishable by death for a Jew to remove the yellow badge.

      You have your own agenda, and in your agenda the Jews shouldn't be a separate group (and they shouldn't have their own separate state) - but you shouldn't assume that your agenda is the motivating factor of others. Anti-Semites hate the Jews for totally imaginary reasons. It has nothing to do with what Jews do or don't do in reality.

    • Phil defines himself as an assimilationist, but it's just not so. The phenomenon of Jewish assimilationism is typified by a total lack of any interest whatsoever in Jewish matters. In short, an assimilationist doesn't concern himself with the issue of the Jewish future in Poland, nor does an assimilationist wish "to explore this astonishing Jewish experiment" (Israel). Taking an interest in such topics means that one does have a Jewish identity and that this identity is an important factor in life.

      An interesting example of Jewish assimilationism would be the New York Times during the Holocaust. Both the editor and the owner of the Times were assimilationists, and it was actual POLICY not to refer to the Jews in the reporting of their newspaper. It was so obvious that the Germans had singled out the Jews, and yet the most important newspaper in the world didn't discuss the issue. (See "Buried by the Times" by Laura Leff).

      The final sentence of Phil's article is so absurd that it is impossible not to comment on it. No, there is no "meaningful and hopeful" Jewish future in Poland. Jewish life in Poland has been shattered, and it can't be fixed. In the anti-Israel world, this imagined meaningfulness and hopefulness is just a poor attempt to belittle the centrality and success of Israel in modern Jewish history. Since Phil admits that he's been drawn again and again "to explore this astonishing Jewish experiment", it really is silly to claim to be impressed by the future potential of Polish Jewry - but not by the future of Jewish life in Israel.

  • Gaza protests are where we say 'NO' to Trump's decision to move embassy -- demonstrator explains
    • If Jeremy Corbyn intends on recognizing the State of Palestine, then one can assume that this state indeed exists. Generally, in anti-Israel circles, we hear that the two-state arrangement is "dead" and the reality of one single state is now a fact of life. Obviously, if a pro-Israel activist would announce that the Palestinian state exists (and hence the grievance of statelessness has been removed from the list of grievances), the reaction would be that this is "Zionist propaganda". However, if an anti-Israel activist announces the existence of a Palestinian state (and that's the meaning of Jeremy Corbyn's statement), then it's a praiseworthy pro-Palestinian development.

  • Mal Hyman's outspokenness on Gaza massacre is a sign of things to come in Democratic races
    • Phil - Since you claim that the interview with Mr Hyman was "a breath of fresh air", and since you mentioned that "he supports the two-state solution - are you now on record as one who envisions the end of conflict through the two-state compromise? I assume that one of those two states will be Israel, that very state founded by Jews in 1948.

  • Killings shouldn't be necessary for world to hear Gaza voices
    • Talkback - You asked if the minority in Israel would have the right to go to war and to create a state within Israel. The issue is one of success or failure. If someone succeeds in creating a state by a force of arms, then that state comes into being. That's that. It's really quite simple - and quite legitimate. On the other hand, if that community fails in its effort for independence, then they will have to face the consequences thereof. It's happened so many times in history, so really I can't imagine that you need to ask.

      Marnie - You have pointed out the very heavy cost of these demonstrations at the fence. It is a very convincing argument that shows that the demonstrations are a mistake, a miscalculation, an act of recklessness, etc. I understand that you gave all those details in order to express hatred of Israel, not to criticize the Palestinians for their irresponsible tactics. My response to you was an attempt to show you that there is a different way of seeing the events. The actions of the Palestinians are an important part of the story. They knew that the results of the demonstrations would be terrible from their point of view. Strangely, they think it was worth their while, and apparently their "friends" in the west don't have the courage to express a word of reservation. How sad.

    • echinococus - Now that you have clarified that "getting rid of the Zionists" means expulsion, you have me wondering why you would think that the Great March of Return is a means to that end. As Marnie has pointed out so clearly, many people have been killed and wounded at the fence, but there isn't any progress towards your goal of expulsion. In the past (1948), the Palestinians asked for the aid of the Arab states, but that didn't work. Later, it was the Palestinians with the Arab states and the Soviet Union - but that didn't work out either. Perhaps, people (like you) who support the idea of expulsion could organize an invasion and show us how it's done. My suggestion is revolutionary, and sadly it's hard to follow (but I'll try anyway): Maybe it would be better to end the conflict.

    • echinococus - You seem to be saying that the Great March of Return is a strategy to get rid of the Zionists. "Getting rid of the Zionists" can be understood in a number of ways. Maybe you could be specific about the nature of the strategy that you have in mind. Many times, someone says that "the occupation must end" - and the listener naively assumes that the issue is the West Bank or whatever. If, however, one asks in return "which territory is occupied and which territory is not occupied", then one might find out that there is a misunderstanding ("ending the occupation" is quite often a code for "ending the existence of Israel"). So, I'd like to avoid a misunderstanding before answering your question. What exactly is "getting rid of Zionists"? Is it the dis-establishment of Israel, or is it the expulsion of her population, or is it just founding a Palestinian state next to Israel? What exactly is the outcome that you envision? Generally, one hears (in English) that the demonstrations are a protest against the conditions in Gaza, but with your comment I hear a hint that you have something else in mind.

    • Marnie - Your comment is very, very convincing. Indeed, the demonstrations along the fence are simply not worth it. There surely must be a better way of demonstrating, because life is so precious. I'm glad that there's someone in the comments' section who understands that the strategy of the Great March of Return was a terrible mistake.

  • The dangers of conflating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
    • Paranam Kid - You're right that criticism of Israel or the Jews is not antisemitism. However, one shouldn't confuse criticism and hostility. Many, many articles (and comments) here at Mondoweiss are expressing hostility towards Israel. Telling someone to take a shower would be criticism, but telling that someone to drop dead is hostility - and it's an important difference.

      I really can't think of an example of "criticism" of the Jews. Generally, throughout history, the grievances against the Jews are figments of the imagination. The term that was coined for this phenomenon (since 1879) is antisemitism.

      In the case of Israel, there is real criticism obviously. Actually, Israel criticizes herself all the time. However, this criticism is based on the obvious assumption that the state is legitimate, and the criticism is meant to suggest improvements. Obviously, if one regards the state to be illegitimate, then it's not criticism. Mondoweiss is not critical of Israel.

      When the descriptions of Israel are a figment of the imagination, then antisemitism and anti-Israelism become quite similar.

    • "Finding fault with Zionism is not the same as finding fault with Jews..."

      Finding fault? That is quite an understatement in describing the historic phenomenon of hatred of the Jews and the more recent phenomenon of hatred of Israel - and it's very misleading. Finding faults sounds as if someone is trying to give some constructive criticism. This would be an example of finding fault: "Your report card is poor. You should do your homework and stop wasting your time watching TV..." A problem has been presented, and its remedy is obvious.

      In the antisemitic world, there is something particularly odious about the Jews. This is no criticism of the Jews ("finding their faults"); rather, it is an obsession with imaginary Jews. There is no remedy. Similarly, in the anti-Israel world, there is something particularly odious about Israel. This is no criticism of Israel ("finding her faults"); rather it's an obsession with an imaginary Israel. There is no remedy.

  • Don't expect Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris to be critical of Israel
    • RoHa - No, I don't think that you are making a decent effort to advance the interests of the Palestinians. The lack of criticism of their bad decisions is a good indication that you don't have their best interests in mind. No one here (besides me) is willing to say to them that the demonstrations at the fence are a very bad idea. In the realm of hatred of Israel on the other hand, everyone here seems to be able to make maximum efforts.

      There is a nice Arabic expression that describes the effectiveness and the impact of all this "advancing of Palestinian interests" and "hatred of Israel": "Yuharriru al-Andalus al-Qadima" - "He (wishes) to liberate old Andalusia". (In the Islamic view, land that has come under Islamic rule cannot be returned to non-Islamic rule. So, the loss of Spain/Andalusia more than 520 years ago is still a topic on the agenda of the Arab world. However, whenever Arabic speakers wish to mock someone who is wasting energy on a lost cause, they say "yuharriru al-Andalus al-Qadima").

      On the other hand, ending the conflict is not a lost cause. There's a nice expression in coloquial Arabic for this aspiration as well: "illy awwalo sharat, akhro rida" - "He who presents his conditions at first will be satisfied at the end". It would be nice to debate about how to end this conflict instead of dreaming of Andalusia.

    • oldgeezer - When's the last time you visited the Gaza beaches? Have you even been in Gaza? I think that the beaches there are absolutely wonderful.

      RoHa - Yes, the animosity towards Israel is quite a bad idea. Instead of figuring out what should be done to advance the interests of the Palestinians, everyone here seems to be interested only in hating Israel.

    • bcg - That "prison" has one of the most wonderful beaches in this world. It also has some nice cities with farm land between them. That "prison" also has archeological sites, and it has a government, an army, a judicial system, a school system up to the college level and a foreign policy - and it's quite capable of waging war for an extended period. This "prison" also has diplomatic relations with other states (Qatar, Turkey).Actually, one might come to the surprising conclusion that this "big prison" is actually a little state. And it is.

    • oldgeezer - You repeat the Palestinian position that the right of return is a personal right, so it's supposedly non-negotiable. Nevertheless, Mr Arafat signed the Interim Agreement (Sept 1995) in which it was agreed that the issue of refugees is a final-status issue. In other words, it's part of the give-and-take process of negotiations. You should note that UNRWA defined the Palestinian refugee as one "whose normal place of residence was Mandatory Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab–Israeli conflict". In other words, the definition does not include the descendants. So, if you want to claim that the right is individual (and therefore non-negotiable), it would be possible to answer that this non-negotiable right does not include the generations born afterwards, the women who married refugees and any refugee who took on citizenship anywhere else in the world.

      I think that the Oslo Accords are much better. It should be negotiated in the context of ending the conflict.

      And what do you think about the demonstrations? Do you think it's was a good idea to endanger the Palestinian public thus? I understand that it's a big "no-no" in the anti-Israel crowd to criticize the Palestinians. It's not an issue of paternalizing, as you try to claim. You probably criticize plenty of societies in the world without accusing yourself of paternalizing. You don't criticize the Palestinians because that might be understood as siding with Israel. More importantly, you don't really care. The issue is animosity towards Israel.

    • "Finally, the Embassy move violates the Oslo Accords, which considered the status of Jerusalem to be a final status issue".

      JLWarner - If you raise an argument based on the Oslo Accords, you should note that the agreement also establishes that the solution for the refugee question is a final status issue. In other words, the Palestinians have agreed that the topic of refugees must be resolved through negotiations (and ending the conflict). If the issue of refugees must be negotiated (and agreed upon), then obviously no one could possibly know right now what the outcome of the negotiations might be. This means that the Palestinians have agreed that there is no right of return.

      The Americans have not recognized all of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The US administration made it clear that the borders of Jerusalem, Israel must be negotiated. Meanwhile they have placed their embassy within the green line (West Jerusalem).

      If you maintain that there is a right of return, then clearly you reject the Oslo Accords. In such a case, you shouldn't base your argument vis-a-vis Jerusalem on an agreement that you reject. If, however, you accept the validity of Oslo, then obviously you accept that all the outstanding issues will be resolved only with the end of conflict.

      Do you feel that the demonstrations near the fence are a good idea? I think that it would be wise to make the demonstrations in some other location. It was obvious after the first demonstration that it's just not worth it. I wonder why no one in the anti-Israel world has the courage and wisdom to tell the Palestinians to protest elsewhere. All of you anti-Israel people believe that Israel of your imagination is simply the most odious entity in the world. So, you should warn the Palestinians that they shouldn't demonstrate near the border. Tell them that it's a bad idea, because the Israelis are so unreasonable. Alas, anti-Israel activism is not pro-Palestinian. No one here really cares about the Palestinians. The issue is only animosity towards Israel, and the insane Palestinian self-defeating moves serve the purpose of promoting this animosity.

      I would suggest that the Palestinians stop the demonstrations. It would be much better FOR THEM if they would end the conflict with Israel through negotiations. Besides Jerusalem and refugees, the Oslo Accords deal with Palestinian statehood, borders and settlements - all of which must be negotiated within the framework of the final settlement (end of conflict). Let's go for it.

  • Literary hero Yossi Klein Halevi says anti-Zionist Jews aren't Jewish
    • RoHa - It's obvious that in an anti-Israel publication, "occupied East Jerusalem" does not imply that West Jerusalem is not occupied. For people who regard the very existence of Israel to be illegitimate, everything is occupied. However, it should be noted that there is trickiness in using the term "occupied East Jerusalem" when one regards all of Jerusalem to be occupied. It's the same trickiness as saying that "Israel must withdraw from the occupied territories" when you hold the position that Israel shouldn't exist at all. You are misleading some of your readers who might "agree" with you (because they think that you mean withdrawal from the West Bank, and that's that); but if they understood that you oppose the existence of Israel altogether, they wouldn't agree.

      The anti-Israel position in the west is really the same (or nearly the same) as the Arab position. When you read an Arabic-language newspaper, (1) the entire country is occupied, (2) there is VERY little self-criticism (it's as if there is no self-criticism at all), (3) all you hear are grievances and grievances and grievances, and (4) there is NEVER any proposal for solving the conflict. Obviously, these are the very same messages in all the anti-Israel publications in the west: No one has a proposal for ending the conflict (because that would legitimize Israel), so all we hear are grievances and grievances and grievances (without suggesting that rectifying these grievances would mean that the conflict has ended). Moreover, no one ever criticizes the Palestinians, because that would be seen as justifying some aspect of Israel's position - and obviously there is a total rejection of a Jewish state in any territory whatsoever.

      I should add that all the Islamic symbolisms or codes are not understandable to the western anti-Israel people, so the Islamic message is always missing in the west. However, there is another difference. In the Arabic press, the messages are being presented to an audience that shares a common narrative. The anti-Israel crowd in the west (writing in English) has to take into account that some of the readership might not be quite as extreme and uncompromising. So, in an Arabic newspaper, it will generally just say "occupied Jerusalem" - and this includes Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Knesset. However, in English the anti-Israel publication will say "occupied East Jerusalem", and in so doing you can mislead some of the readership into thinking that the issue at hand is just the conquest of 1967. For some reason, in propaganda one likes the illusion that a wide audience agrees to one's point of view - even if this wide "agreement" is achieved through a deliberate misunderstanding.

    • I read the quotes given in this article, and I didn't find the sentence in which Yossi Klein Halevi says that anti-Zionist Jews aren't Jewish. I also noticed that the headline didn't place the statement in quotation marks either, indicating that the editor is aware that there isn't such a quote.

      What did Mr Halevi say (based on the quotes given in this article)? For example, he said that "there is no Judaism without Zionism". Moreover he claimed that supporters of BDS "have placed themselves outside the confines of the Jewish community". Now, obviously, one can argue with Mr Halevi, claiming that there is Judaism without Zionism or that BDS supporters are part of the Jewish community - but, still, it is simply untrue that he said "if you don’t accept the idea of a Jewish state, you’re not a Jew". What misleading reporting.

      It's an old trick of the anti-Zionists to pretend that the word "Judaism" means "Jews". If you read the website of the American Council for Judaism, you can see there their silly claim that "Judaism is not a nationality". Yes, we know that Judaism is a religion. But what about the Jews? Do they define themselves as a national community? Well, that's the debate.

      Mr Halevi spoke about Judaism, and he spoke about Zionism's being mainstream in the Jewish community. He did not say that the anti-Zionists are not Jews.

      In this article, we learn that Mr Halevi moved to "occupied East Jerusalem". Ordinarily, one would conclude that West Jerusalem is therefore not occupied territory, right? However, since this is an anti-Israel website, there might be different rules of logic. In the article of Tom Suarez, for example, he complains that Jaffa doesn't appear as part of the Arab state in the Partition Plan on some propaganda poster, and you would naturally think that such a complaint indicates that he supports the Partition Plan (and therefore Jaffa should be marked clearly as part of the Arab state). But, strangely, he rejects the Partition Plan. Anyway, I'd be curious to find out if "occupied East Jerusalem" means that Mondoweiss recognizes West Jerusalem as part of Israel (i.e. not occupied) - or if "occupied East Jerusalem" means that everything else is also occupied.

  • The unwarranted presumption of Israeli soldier innocence in the killing of Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar
    • Misterioso - If you have read the new Hamas Charter, you have certainly read paragraph 18: "...The establishment of 'Israel' is entirely illegal and contravenes the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and goes against their will and the will of the Ummah..." It's an interesting phenomenon that so many anti-Israel people (who they themselves obviously reject the very existence of Israel) try to claim that Hamas is willing to live in peace with Israel. I'm certain that you must be aware of the fact that Hamas is not less extreme than you.

    • Jonathan Ofir - If you understand that the behavior of Israel is evil (and this is the way it has always been since the founding of the state), then perhaps you should tell the Gazans that it's not such a good idea to demonstrate along the fence. It would be an act of kindness and of deep concern for the well-being of the Palestinian people if good people with excellent insight would explain to them that there are other ways of demonstrating without endangering their public. I understand that in the anti-Israel world no one ever criticizes the Palestinians (this also means that no one really cares about them). Apparently, it is really much more important to you to convince and to re-convince the convinced and the re-convinced that Israel shouldn't exist.

      Well, to be honest, the Palestinians do understand that the events are going to lead to casulties on their side. They knew it beforehand, and they surely understand reality as it has been unfolding for three months. For some strange logic that is beyond me, they feel that this is their best interest. Sadly, no one has the courage to tell them that they're so wrong. A chance to re-re-convince the re-re-convinced anti-Israel readership that Israel is the bad guy is simply so much more important than the well-being of the Palestinians.

      As a dedicated reader of this website, I'd like to use it in order to give my modest criticism to the Palestinians (because I care about them): It would be much better to declare your willingness to end the conflict with Israel. You should negotiate with Israel and reach an agreement with her. Life is very dear.

  • 'Disappearing Palestine' maps must spotlight Jaffa
    • RoHa - You're absolutely right that "the ancestry claim is irrelevant". A state is born when there is a government that has effective control over territory and population. In the propaganda war, someone might claim to have a particular descent, and one's rival might claim that "the state is illegitimate". But it's all nonsense. It doesn't make a bit of difference what is the DNA of the Jews, and (moreover) no one is asking for approval of their statehood.

      It's quite interesting to see how everyone takes the propaganda war so seriously. It's as if a convincing argument vis-a-vis the Jewish narrative will somehow cause the State of Israel to disappear. So some are busy with the veracity of the Bible, others have decided that the Jews are really Khazarians, and still others are focused on the Balfour Declaration and the Partition Plan. The real issue, however, is what to do tomorrow morning in order to end the conflict. Since most of the readers of this website can't even imagine living with Israel in peace, there is no discussion of the one and only topic that really is important.

    • Tom Suarez - The Partition Plan map is shown here in the framework of an anti-Israel poster. It doesn't make any difference if the map is accurate. Even with Jaffa included in the proposed Jewish state, the anti-Israel message remains the same.

      Anyway, if you are really interested in accuracy, the Partition Plan map as presented in the poster has another more important "mistake". The UN 1947 plan called for the founding of a "Jewish state" and an "Arab state". On the map as it appears in the anti-Israel poster, there are "Israel" and "Palestine". Apparently, those who made the poster felt that this false presentation served the purpose of its anti-Israel message.

    • RoHa - The Partition Plan was never implemented, so obviously it did not lead to war. The rejection of the Partition Plan is what led to war. Anyway, the Palestinians succeeded in foiling the UN proposal, so they surely deserve praise for being able to shape events through determination and wisdom. The Arab side also deserves our awe and wonder for its courage in being the only case in the history of the UN in which someone decided to go to war in order to prevent the implementation of a UN decision. It's absolutely inspirational.

    • Tom Suarez - Obviously, you reject the legitimacy of Resolution 181. So, my question remains unanswered: Why do you care if Jaffa has been forgotten on the map of the Partition Plan?

      Misterioso - Thanks for "reality". The Palestinians (and the Arab states) were entitled to reject the Partition Plan. It's fine and legitimate. And, indeed, the Partition Plan was never implemented - so, we can be pleased that their rejection of the UN proposal was a very successful political maneuver.

    • Tom Suarez - It's rather difficult to imagine that you accept the legitimacy of the UN Partition Plan of 1947, so I can't figure out why you would care if Jaffa has been forgotten on the map. Generally, one raises grievances with the self-evident logic that the rectification of such grievances would mean that all is now well and satisfactory. So, let's add a green dot for Jaffa, reminding the public that Jaffa was supposed to be a city in the proposed Arab state according to the Partition Plan (and not in the proposed Jewish state). Is the corrected map now the basis of your peace plan?

  • How an anti-Semitic US law helped bring about Israel's creation
    • Anyone who studies history even at the BA level knows that we don't busy ourselves with the question "what would have happened if...." No one knows what would have happened. So, calling Shlomo Sand "a remarkable scholar" - and then quoting him as saying "[a]bsent this stern anti-immigration policy, it is doubtful whether the State of Israel could have been established" - should be an indication that we're dealing with a very unremarkable scholarship.

      In the Broadway show "Fiddler on the Roof", Tevye the milkman indeed immigrates to America. However, in the original book "Tevye der Milcheker" by Sholom Aleichem, Tevye attempts to immigrate to the Land of Israel. The writers of the Broadway play changed his destination in order to honor their own parents who had immigrated to America. So, although our author can't imagine someone choosing to live in Israel, if he would have read the book he would have known that Sholom Aleichem could imagine immigration to Palestine (even at a time when America was open). Indeed, Sholom Aleichem's daughter and son-in-law settled in the Land of Israel.

      In 1966, Agnon won the Nobel Prize for literature (together with Nelly Sachs). In one the interviews with him at the time, he was asked where he was from. He explained that he was supposed to have been born in Jerusalem where he should have been one of the singers in the Temple, but alas Titus destroyed the Temple - and, so, Agnon was born in exile (Poland) and he became a writer. He was an excellent novelist, so Agnon's "what would have happened if..." is certainly more imaginative and poetic than Shlomo Sand's unremarkable alternative version of history.

  • Tom Friedman has advice for Palestinians: Embrace Zionism
    • Citizen - Constructive criticsm is generally a good indication that one cares about someone else. In your own private life you can see the phenomenon when you tell your son that you think that he doesn't take his school work seriously. You could repeat your son's grievances that "his teacher is unfair" or that "school is a waste of time" - but in so doing you are working against his best interests (and in essence you don't really care about his future). His best interest is being told that his performance is poor, and that he should shape up.

      When reading the various pro-Palestinian sites, you can't help but notice that the writers simply repeat the Palestinian grievances and make excuses for all of their decisions. For a classic example, you can read that "the Partition Plan of 1947 was unfair and illegitimate. The UN had no right to give a land to foreign immigrants..." Those who regard themselves to be pro-Palestinians should be able to tell the Palestinians that "it was a mistake to have rejected the Partition Plan. How can thinking adults, who know that they are not prepared for war, insist on going to war? One doesn't knowingly bring such a disaster on one's people..." But, alas, the issue is not pro-Palestinianism. The issue is hostility to Israel. Criticizing the bad decisions of the Arab side might be understood as an acceptance of the Partition Plan and the legitimacy of the Jewish state - and that is a big "no-no" in the anti-Israel world. So you prefer to re-enforce the Palestinian behavior, identify with the "all-or nothing" approach - instead of giving them good advice, saying: "Sometimes painful compromising is the right course of action".

      A more recent phenomenon is the suicide bombings of the first decade of this century. Everywhere you would hear pro-Palestinians repeat the mantra of "frustrated and desperate people". It was simply impossible for anyone to tell them that "one doesn't do such things". Alas, the issue is in reality about hostility to Israel. Condemning actions of the Palestinians might be understood as expressing sympathy for the Israelis or justifying their security concerns - so, the pro-Palestinian makes excuses (not even caring what is the impact of the culture of death on Palestinian society, because the Palestinians aren't the topic of concern).

      Anyway, Citizen, in today's reality, a person who really cares should be able to tell Hamas that something is wrong with their approach. "Don't send massive demonstrations to the fence knowing that it will end in disaster. Life is very important". But, alas, the issue is hostility to Israel, so all we hear is "how terrible the Zionists are".

      Here in Mondoweiss, there was a very long series of articles about the Balfour Declaration. Why? Well, the Palestinians were busy with the 100th anniversary, so all the pro-Palestinians were busy as well. Again the real agenda was anti-Israelism ("the State of Israel should not have come into existence, and it shouldn't exist"). It would have been a breath of fresh air (and an act of concern for the Palestinians) if someone (besides me) would have expressed some criticism, saying: "Enough belly-aching over things that can't be changed. What's the point of it all? Let's talk about a solution to the conflict". But, sadly, "solution" is a no-no in the anti-Israel world, because it means accepting Israel's existence as final.

      You asked about a suggestion for a deal with Israel. For the purpose of a debate here in the comments' section, it would be enough to leave the issue at the level of the most basic principle: Is there a willingness to end the conflict with Israel? If so, the details of the peace arrangement will be worked out eventually. Perhaps, there will be two states for two peoples, perhaps there will be some form of confederation. It doesn't really make any difference. The only real issue at this moment is the principle of finality (of conflict). My suggestion to Hamas would be to declare its willingness to reach an end-of-conflict deal with Israel. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen. And, sadly, no one in the anti-Israel world is going to express any criticism. Too bad for the Palestinians that they don't have any real friends (BTW, they know that the motivation of their "friends" in the west is really about hostility to Israel).

    • "His claim falls in line with liberal Zionist thinking that dictates what Palestinians should do".

      Here's reality: No one is dictating what the Palestinians should do. What we have in the NY Times article is simply CRITICISM. Someone is trying to tell the Palestinians that it might be better policy to seek an end of conflict (and to strike a deal with Israel). The author of the article should calm down, knowing that Hamas has no intention whatsoever of ending its conflict with Israel, and all their inventive energy will continue to be invested in new ideas of how to strike at Israel (and some of the ideas are quite impressive).

      It's really strange to find out that a thinking person believes that no one should object to the policies of Hamas. However, it should be noted that people who care about others criticize them. It's good and proper. If someone is a reckless driver, you should tell him/her to slow down and to be careful. It's not a dictate as Liz Rose would have it; rather, it's a constructive suggestion for bettering life.

      I don't think that anyone here really cares about the Palestinians. The real motivation here is animosity towards Israel; hence, it is unthinkable to suggest that Hamas agree to end the conflict. Tom Friedman doesn't share this animosity towards Israel, so he is able to think in revolutionary terms: Maybe it's better to live in peace.

  • They prayed for Gaza's dead. Now it's time to say the mourner's prayer for Zionism
    • Keith - You prefer "multiculturalism" and you reject to "stressing Jewish peoplehood" - but actually one could conclude that stressing one's particular peoplehood is an expression of multiculturalism. I suppose that we don't share a common understanding of the term "multiculturalism", but surely it should be self-evident that Jews defining themselves as a people are in essence preserving their ancient cultural outlook. Assimilation of ethnic minorities is the antithesis of multiculturalism. In the process of assimilation, one loses one's distinctive culture.

      Anyway, I can't imagine why you would care that others see the world differently. The Jews have an ancient peoplehood identity, and apparently this identity is important to them. It turns out - as you yourself noticed - that this peoplehood identity is central for both the pro-Israel and the anti-Israel Jews. (There are plenty of books in the library entitled "The History of the Jewish People", so apparently there is a phenomenon throughout the centuries of "stressing Jewish peoplehood").

    • Robert Cohen - It would be interesting to hear a description of the Jewish future that is not dependent on Israel. Quite often, one hears your grievance that the Jewish community in the Diaspora is focused on Israel; yet, one never hears the details of the plan that the Diaspora should adopt. I don't think that there is any such plan.

      Keith opposes the phenomenon of Jewish solidarity, and it's hard to understand why he would care if others wish to express a sense of "tribalism". However, he is right when he points out to you that Jewish anti-Zionism and Jewish support for Israel are of the same nature: Both are a tool for expressing a Jewish identity. In other words, Israel is the "only show in town" in contemporary Jewish history.

      The Jewish communities in the west tried to present to themselves a type of Jewish life that is "only religion". The peoplehood aspect of the Jewish experience was abandoned - and Jewish community life was really quite boring. The centrality of Israel in today's Jewish life (whether one is pro or con) is proof of the fact that Jewish religious life is simply not enough content (most Jews are quite irreligious). Political activism around Israel served as a reminder that the Jews wish to participate in Jewish history.

  • Falsely accusing Palestinians of anti-Semitism is malicious
    • That's right Marnie, the parents or grandparents of Israelis came from elsewhere (actually, most children born in Israel now are the great-grandchildren of immigrants). So the Israelis are not immigrants, as I claimed. The vast majority are native-born.

    • James Michie - The vast majority of the Israelis are native-born. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being an immigrant, and there are plenty of immigrants in Israel. But I can't imagine how you conclude that the majority of Israelis are immigrants.

      There are no "Semites". There is a family of languages which are called Semitic languages (this includes Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, Maltese and Aramaic). "Semitic people" is racist nonsense.

      Antisemitism is a 19th century term which refers to the hatred of Jews. The term is strange (there is no such thing as "semitism", so "antisemitism" is really a weird choice of words) - but this is the term that has been in use since 1879 to describe animosity to the Jews.

      Is anti-Israel activism an expression of antisemitism? No, not necessarily, but in some cases it can be. The antisemites hate Jews of their imagination. They might strike out at real Jews (as in the case of Nazism), but the motivation to do so is a result of their totally imagined grievances. Sometimes (even quite often), you can hear a long list of imaginary grievances against Israel which serve as the basis of a deep and obsessive hatred for Israel. In such a case, the anti-Israel animosity is indeed a phenomenon very similar to classical antisemitism.

  • Documenting Palestinian invisibility for 40 years -- an interview with James Zogby
    • Ossinev - Identity is a tricky issue. It's totally abstract, and out of our control. So there are millions of Jews who "think that they are a people entitled to statehood”. It doesn't make any difference if you believe that this should or shouldn't include converts. What you think that someone else's identity should be is really irrelevant. Peoplehood identities are born in the collective consciousness of human beings everywhere, and no one is asking for your approval (and no one needs to pass a DNA test or present a pedigree).

    • Brewer - It's a bit like the story about the "King's New Clothes" where everyone praises the king for his wonderful new outfit, and some little boy has the nerve to spoil the game, stating what is obvious to everyone: "The king is naked". Sorry, but it's absolutely pointless to try and convince me that "these rights remain invisible to [me]". There are those who don't see the conflict as you do, but that shouldn't be interpreted as invisibility.

      What is the next step? Should we moan and groan again and again that the immigrants shouldn't have come to Palestine, that they had no right to found a Jewish state? That seems to be the point of so many articles and comments on this website, and the unspoken message is that it must all be undone.

      I think that it's in the best interest of the Palestinians to end the conflict with Israel and to strike a deal. Moreover, people who care about the Palestinians should encourage them to seek an end of conflict. Once a year, a community can gather together and mourn their defeat - and all those who identify with them can join them in some solemn ceremony. The rest of the year should deal with solutions. The endless repetition of victimhood on a daily basis, the constant inculcation of the idea that all of this shouldn't have happened and the figment of the imagination that the most talked-about international issue is "invisible" are really a pathetic waste of time. Strangely, for the sake of advancing the anti-Israel agenda, so many people here would prefer to keep the conflict going, even if it means maintaining the plight of the Palestinians.

      Ironically, I'm the only one here with a pro-Palestinian agenda. I really wish them the very best. I'd like to see them ending their conflict.

    • Misterioso - I haven't yet met any "indigenous Palestinian habitants" who have been living in the country for 15,000 years.

      I sometimes wonder why anyone is busy with the span of time that the united kingdom (of Israel) existed. You claim that it's just 80 years. You suggested that I learn Arabic, however you are a bit late with this advice. I studied Arabic many, many years ago, and I read Arabic really quite fine. I imagine that you don't, because in all the literature published in Arabic, the claim is that the kingdom lasted only 70 years. The trend today in research is that there never was a united kingdom. There was a Kingdom of Israel and a Kingdom of Judah, both of which lasted for a few centuries during the first half of the last millenium BC.

      Since you find it important to mention the Kingdom of Israel of antiquity, I couldn't help but notice that you didn't mention the Kingdom of Palestine (united or otherwise) and how long it lasted. Is there any literature about it? Who founded it?

      Yes, I have heard the rumors that the Israelis are leaving the country in massive numbers. This phenomenon has been going on for about a century. The standard joke is that "the last one out is kindly requested to turn the lights out at the Ben-Gurion Airport". There are only some 6.5 millions Jews still left in the country (down from some 60,000 in 1920), so indeed the situation is quite grim.

    • Annie Robbins - It's very interesting to hear your perspective that the Palestinians "have yet to be defeated". I read a lot of anti-Israel websites and publications, and it's so common to read the claim that the refugees have the right of return based on the logic that after the end of hostilities refugees must be allowed to return to their former homes. Now, suddenly, I learn from you that it's not over until it's over.

      Obviously the Palestinians are a defeated people. Their objective was to stop the immigration of Jews to Palestine. The intention was to prevent the founding of the Jewish state. They failed in these efforts. However, if you insist that this is not defeat (i.e. the struggle goes on), then let's agree on the obvious that the conflict is not over. The whole claim of the "right of return" is therefore false - and the refugees will have to wait patiently until the end of hostilities. Actually, that is the essence of the Oslo Agreement (the solution to the refugee problem is an end-of-conflict issue).

    • Yes, Annie Robbins, the world was quite focused on on the plight of the Palestinians in 1975 when “Palestinians: The Invisible Victims” was published. Mr Arafat made his very famous appearance at the UN in 1974. You might want to read this speech. He tells the General Assembly that there are other "causes labouring under imperialism and aggression" besides the Palestinian cause. And then he tells the world: "I call upon the General Assembly urgently to give their just causes the same full attention the General Assembly has so rightly given to our cause". Yes, Mr Arafat is praising the UN for having given its full attention to his cause, and he is criticizing the UN for not having given its full attention for other causes. So, while Mr Zogby claims that the Palestinians are invisible victims, it turns out that Mr Arafat doesn't agree.

    • "And finally this is all about human rights..." Well, actually, it's not about human rights. It's true that in an armed struggle, people are killed, property is destroyed, and political or national ambitions are frustrated. One might want to present such tragedies as a violation of human rights, but in reality the issue at hand is war and defeat.

      "Invisible Victims" is terminology that challenges the very foundation of abstract thinking. The whole world is focused on the plight of the Palestinians. The UN has passed countless resolutions, and it has dedicated extensive means to preserve the status of Palestinians as a unique community. There are so many conflicts in this world where someone might be regarded to be invisible, but surely the Palestinians are very visible. Actually, their visibility is the source of their political power.

      "Why am I now going to support a Jewish state? Especially in a complex environment you don’t want to support one religion over another..." Well, it's quite okay to oppose the founding of a Jewish state, and indeed the entire Arab world tried to prevent the birth of Israel in the political and in the military spheres. However, it is really strange that someone so focused on Israel and on the struggle against her doesn't even have an awareness of how his enemy defines itself. The adjective "Jewish" (as in Jewish state) describes an ethnicity (a peoplehood identity). The idea of founding a Jewish state was about founding a state for the Jews - just as the Polish state was founded for the Poles. The Arabs don't agree that the Jews are a people, but one should at least be able to understand that the Jews do think that they are a people entitled to statehood.

      Anyway, to summarize it all, the Palestinians are very visible, and their struggle against Israel is very much on the agenda of the world community. Their plight is a result of their defeat and the frustration of their political ambitions. It would be helpful if they would be able to understand how others (i.e. the Jews) see reality. Most importantly, it would be a good idea to think in terms of reaching a deal (instead of yet another article that hints that Israel shouldn't exist), thus achieving at least some of their objectives.

  • UN head says Gazans 'caged in a toxic slum from birth to death' as human rights council votes to investigate Israel
    • inbound39 - I think that it's rather obvious the "vast majority of Nations" recognize Israel in the borders of the Green Line. In the 1950's there were still all kinds of proposals that Israel withdraw to the 1947 Partition Plan borders, and there even was a proposal ("Alpha Plan") that she give up the Negev Desert. However, surely since the acceptance of UNSC resolution 242 in November 1967, it is obvious that "occupied territories" mean those territories captured in June 1967.

      Actually, the idea that Israel should be within the Partition Plan borders is an argument popular among anti-Israel activists. In other words, there are people who think that the UN had no right to propose a Jewish state in Palestine (and that there shouldn't be Israel at all) - but within the framework of debate (i.e. in the propaganda war), they claim that Israel should be within the Partition Plan. Talknic is a good example of the phenomenon.

      Your question ("why is it operating outside its declared borders") also sounds like a statement from the anti-Israel world. The anti-Israel crowd doesn't express an awareness of there being a conflict. The reason is that when there is a conflict, there are two sides to the story. A better question would be "why is there a conflict, and what could be its possible solution?"

      And speaking of a possible solution, that would be my advice to the Palestinians. Instead of massive demonstrations along the fence with Israel, I would humbly suggest that they negotiate an end of conflict. People who really care about the Palestinians should take to heart that criticizing them is good and proper. Someone (for example the Mondoweiss website) could explain to them that it wasn't such a good idea to send tens-of-thousands to the fence. It was obvious that the results would be bad. It would be better to announce a willingness to end the conflict, choose a delegation, and go and work out the details with the Jews.

  • Peace begins with Israel ending the Nakba
    • Ilan Pappe speaks of "acknowledging the Nakba, understanding it, and working to reverse it". Surely, our author could be more specific and actually define what he has in mind vis-a-vis "reversing the Nakba". Is there some reason that one cannot state explicitly in a Mondoweiss article that Israel must cease to exist?

      Dr Pappe believes that the State of Israel shouldn't exist, and so (obviously) "reversing the Nakba" means exactly that. It's strange that he doesn't state in an anti-Israel blog what exactly he has in mind. Actually, when reading the various articles on this website, no one actually says in so many words that the end-game is the undoing of Israel. It would be interesting to hear some insight as to why this is the policy of many anti-Israel publications.

  • Ending seventy years of exile for Palestinian refugees
    • I didn't realize that anti-Israel activists were aware of the fact that acquiring citizenship means that one is no longer a refugee. Obviously, your comment is focused on the Jews who left the various Arab states, but your comment is nevertheless true also for the Palestinian refugees. For example, you might find it interesting to learn that there is today Palestinian citizenship.

    • No, RoHa, being prepared to negotiate the issue of refugees means that no one knows what will be the results of the negotiation. Maybe it will be agreed that refugees will be allowed to return, but maybe it will be agreed that they won't. Who knows?

      The Oslo Agreement is, obviously, still valid. Anti-Israel people don't like the Oslo Agreement (it recognized the State of Israel), so they like to claim that it has "timed out" or that it has "been violated" or whatever. However, the PA still exists, the collecting of taxes still goes on, the security coordination is still intact, etc.

      It's interesting that you oppose negotiating with Israel. Not negotiating means that the present situation continues. It's hard to imagine that pro-Palestinian people can gripe and cry about the plight of the Palestinians while at the same time they can't imagine negotiating an end of conflict with Israel. The conclusion is so obvious: There aren't really any pro-Palestinian activists. The real activism is anti-Israel activism.

    • "So far, Israel has been adamant in rejecting such a return, contesting its foundation, invoking security, demographic and existential concerns..."

      Since the author of the article, Francesca Albanese, is an international lawyer "currently engaged in research and advocacy on various humanitarian issues..." - I would like to refer her to a document that any international lawyer should be familiar with: The Interim Agreement (Oslo 2), signed on Sept 28, 1995.

      In the Interim Agreement, it was agreed upon that the final status agreement (the end of conflict) will deal with five issues: Jerusalem, Palestinian statehood, settlements, borders, and REFUGEES. In very simple terms, it has been agreed that the refugee issue will be resolved through negotiations and the signing of an end-of-conflict deal. Mr Arafat signed that agreement. Moreover, the signing was witnessed by the UN, the EU, the USA, the Russian Federation, Egypt, Jordan and Norway. It's now an international agreement.

      Now, does the negotiation of the refugee issue mean that there is a right of return? No. It means that the two sides must reach an agreement. The content of that agreement is still unknown. The Arab League peace initiative also clarifies that the there must be an agreement about the refugees.

      The public debate should now focus on renewing the negotiations. The lack of negotiations means that the interim status quo continues indefinitely.

      Obviously, the problem of the anti-Israel community is that a negotiated end of the conflict means having to accept the legitimacy of the State of Israel (and that's final and forever). Since such an option is unthinkable, the author has to pretend that there is no need to negotiate with Israel the goals of the Palestinians, "none of which is tied to the political solution of an underlying conflict" (as she phrased it). However, it has been agreed that all issues are tied to the political solution of the underlying conflict.

      I understand that in the anti-Israel community it is absolutely impossible to criticize the Palestinian conduct in this conflict. The logic is that any criticism might be understood as being a pro-Israel statement. It should be added, however, that a real pro-Palestinian person is one who is able to express some constructive criticism. This means having the courage to say to them that it's in their best interest to renew the negotiations. This means having the courage to tell them that that refusing to end the conflict with Israel is a statement that they actually prefer the continuing refugee status.

      However, there are very few pro-Palestinian activists around - even among the Palestinians themselves. There are, on the other hand, plenty of anti-Israel activists.

  • Mahmoud Abbas seals his intellectually impoverished legacy
    • Steven Shenfield - Mahmoud Abbas has a PhD in history, so by definition he is an historian. His PhD thesis is full of conspiracy theories, so it's not a very impressive thesis. Actually, he presents a history that is really a figment of his own imagination. Throughout history, the animosity against the Jews was always based on grievances that were a figment of the imagination - and, Abbas' thesis, therefore, is a wonderful presentation of this strange phenomenon. It is not a waste of time reading his book.

      Still, it must be stated again that he was awarded the doctorate (1983), so he is by definition an historian.

      If you can read Arabic, you can look at his presidential website at http://president.ps/books.aspx (where all his books are presented, including his PhD thesis entitled: "al-Wajh al-Akhar: al-'Alaqat as-Sirriya bayna an-Naziya wa's-Sihyuniya").

  • Major bike race will kick off in Jerusalem Friday even as snipers line up on Gaza border
    • Misterioso - I take my hat off to you that you have the time and patience to put together all those quotes and references. Really. However, despite all your admirable hard work, still, there is no intention to end the conflict with Israel. I, personally, think that the best option for the Palestinians would be to end the conflict with Israel, however they see things differently. They interpret "end of conflict" as "defeat", and that's not an option for them. Also the supporters of the Palestinians don't envision an end of conflict with Israel (well, their motivation is actually the hatred of Israel, and not really the support of Palestinians).

    • Rob Lipton - One has to learn that in every struggle there are up's and down's. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Here and there an artist decides to cancel an appearance in Israel (and the anti-Israel people are on cloud nine), but here and there an artist insists on performing in Israel (and the anti-Israel crowd seems to be baffled that such a thing is possible). This time around, you're having one of the down's in your struggle. That's life.

      It's really a sad situation that every Friday people lose their life on the Gaza-Israel border. I have a revolutionary idea that might be helpful. Maybe we should suggest to our Palestinian friends that they demonstrate elsewhere. Maybe it's not too clear to them that demonstrating on the border is simply not worth it. Those who really care about the Palestinians should point out to them that things are not working out as planned. Sometimes, I wonder if anyone really cares about the Palestinians at all, because no one is willing to give them a bit of criticism.

      Speaking of criticism, the new idea of sending kites over the border to burn the wheat fields in Israel is also not worth it. So far, it seems "successful" because all the damage is in Israel. However, just as Israel doesn't agree that people approach the fence, she also doesn't agree that fire bombs come dropping down from the sky. My suggestion to the Palestinians is to come up with some new thinking. For example, they might want to consider ending the conflict. It's a very simple idea, but sometimes the simplest idea is the best one.

  • Las Vegas print shop refuses to print JVP banner over Israel politics
    • Keith - Perhaps you could provide a link to the actual wording of the South Carolina legislation. Allison Weir is an anti-Israel activist, so for the sake of reasonable objectivity in reporting, she might have taken the effort to quote the actual definition of anti-Semitism that she is criticizing. Actually, it is quite puzzling that she writes in her article about a change in the definition of anti-Semitism without telling us what is the original definition and how it has now been changed. Obviously, she has read the legislation, so why doesn't a quote thereof appear in her article?

      Anyway, criticizing Israel is just fine, and I would imagine that the South Carolina legislature has no problem with criticism.

      The anti-Israel crowd likes to claim that it's all about "criticism of Israel", but it's not. "Criticism" is a tool for bettering a situation. For example, you might tell someone that he really needs a shower - and that would be criticism. However, if you tell someone that he shouldn't have been born and that you wish that he'd just drop dead - that would be hostility. Most of the "criticism" that one reads on this website is in reality an expression of hostility. Obviously, it's one's right to be hostile; however, it's manipulative to present one's hostility as mere criticism.

      I thought it was rather humorous to read in this article that the JVP (an organization that calls for boycotting Israel) became a victim of a kind of boycotting. In the past, I have read articles of JVP activists who cry to us that they won't be allowed to visit Israel. One would think that the activists should be grateful that Israel aided them in keeping their policy of boycotting her. Anyway, when you wage a struggle, you have to take into account that sometimes you get the bear (but sometimes the bear gets you). In this case, the JVP has had a little setback in its struggle. They should be able to handle it.

      Finally, Keith, your claim of the "Zionist Jews using their power" is a kind of setback for the claim that anti-Zionism is not an expression of anti-Semitism. You should note that the central theme of classical anti-Semitism has always been the "power of the Jews". Your belief that the "Zionist Jews" are threatening your way of life is the same anti-Semitic figment of the imagination that we've been hearing for centuries.

  • The 'Jewish nation' is the central myth of Zionism. It needs to be dismantled.
    • eljay - It's clear to you that the anti-Israel crowd cannot imagine peace with Israel, and indeed you cannot even utter the words "peace with Israel". Your mention of "peace with an Israel" is manipulative and misleading. It sounds as if you're contradicting my claim that the anti-Israel crowd cannot imagine peace with Israel, but in reality you agree with me. Your adding the article ("an Israel") is your way of saying that you don't object to the theoretical existence in peace of some other state that might be called "Israel", but you absolutely will not accept peace with Israel.

      In these debates with anti-Israel people, it is always so obvious that the vision is the demise of Israel. However, at times, the anti-Israel activist feels that he cannot admit that he is calling for ending Israel's existence - but, at the same time he won't go on record saying that Israel has the right to live in peace. So, the "solution" is to make a statement in strange English. Your choice of strange English was "an Israel".

    • dvered - There is a group of people that shares a particular territory (the western shore of Asia). This very same group of people speaks a common language (Hebrew), and they certainly have a common history (for example, winning the Eurovision song festival in 1979). Moreover, they seem to have a common economy (based on the currency called the sheqel). So, by your definition, this group of people is a nation. Isn't that just wonderful? Now, our task is to decide what is the name of this nation. Some might say that they are Jews. Some insist that they are Khazarians or even "Turko-Slavs". A rose by any other name still smells so sweet, as Shakespeare noted. Anyway, it's a nation in the dvered-dictionary, and this nation has established its state already a very long time ago.

      This whole "nation" debate is just another way of trying to delegitimize the State of Israel. Apparently, there are anti-Israel people who feel that Israel can be removed from the map if only it can be established that the "Jews are merely a religious community", or that the "English had no right to issue the Balfour Declaration", or that the "Bible is fiction", etc.

      It would be nice if there would be a debate about how to end the conflict (i.e. what to do tomorrow morning). However, since the anti-Israel crowd just can't imagine peace with Israel, they prefer to spend their time and energy telling themselves that "Judaism is a religion", expecting the earth to shake beneath our feet when hearing this amazing revelation.

    • Jonathan Ofir - No one celebrates Yom ha-Atzmaut as a religious holiday. The use of the traditional Hebrew calendar is not at all an indication of attaching religious significance to an event. The Hebrew calendar is just a calendar (it keeps time reasonably well).

      But let's assume that you are right, and there are Jews who relate to Israel's Independence Day as a religious event. So what? What do you care about someone's religious feelings?

      However, the really silly aspect of your article is the call for "dismantling" the idea of Jewish nationhood. "Nationhood" is an abstract concept. It exists in the minds of people. One thinks that there is a Jewish nation, so in that individual's mind the Jewish nation exists. Identity is a very complicated issue. There are no rules or definitions. Edwin Montagu thought that there is no Jewish nation (which is really very interesting), but others have a different view. When one grows up, one learns to accept and respect the right of others to have their own personal and collective identity.

      Perhaps, what you want to say is that the State of Israel should be dismantled. If so, you should just say so. There's no point in beating around the bush, telling us about keeping time with the Hebrew calendar or about marking Nakba Day. It would be interesting to hear how you imagine dismantling a state. I don't think it's a realistic ambition, so being obsessed with the demise of Israel is about as useful as churning water or quoting Edwin Montagu.

  • 'We will not wait 70 years more': scenes from Gaza's March of Return
    • Emory Riddle - It's really not too complicated. The issue of refugees is an end-of-conflict topic. This means that there must be an agreement that resolves the conflict.

      MHughes976 - It's hard to believe that you really are of the opinion that offering Israeli citizenship and compensations to the refugees would be the way to solving the conflict. One of the many grievances of the Palestinians is that the State of Israel was founded in the first place, so it's really silly to imagine that becoming a citizen of a state that shouldn't exist would be a solution. The simple truth is the exact opposite of your outlook: First there should be an agreed solution to the conflict, and then it would be possible to imagine that there would be those who would want to be Israeli citizens or would ask for compensations.

    • Citizen - Your memory is faulty. There is no need for UN recognition of Israel. The acceptance of Israel to the UN was conditionalized on her accepting UNGA 194. And, indeed, Israel accepted the resolution, and she was admitted to the UN. In the anti-Israel world, UNGA is the basis of the "right of return". If one reads the decision, one finds out that those refugees willing to live in peace with their neighbors should be allowed to return as soon as possible. "Willing to live in peace" means "end of conflict", obviously. There is no return of refugees before resolving the conflict. And "should be allowed to return" is not quite the same as "must return". Interestingly, the Arab states at the UN voted against 194. They understood exactly what the intention of the decision was: Agreeing to the existence of Israel and ending the state of war with her.

      Anyway, since UNGA 194, there have been other agreements vis-a-vis the refugees. UNSC 242 called for the solution of the refugee problem in the framework of establishing peace. What is the solution? UNSC 242 doesn't say. So, it has to be (1) negotiated, and (2) the conflict has to be resolved. In the Oslo Agreement, the Palestinians themselves (under Mr Arafat) agreed to negotiate the refugee issue within the framework of final status (i.e. end of conflict).

      There is not going to be a return of refugees without first reaching an agreement to end the conflict. Of course, ending the conflict with Israel is understood as accepting Israel's legitimacy - so, the Palestinians won't ever go for it.

  • Passover is a reminder the battle between Moses and the Pharaoh is still raging
    • Marnie - When it is claimed in the youtube that you have posted here that a certain group of people has been pulling the strings for CENTURIES, causing wars and revolutions, the intention is the Jews. In Hitler's final message to the German people, he said in clear terms that the Jews caused the war and all the suffering. He defined the Jews as the enemy of mankind - which is the essence of the opening minutes of your youtube. I imagine that that you believe in such things, but the question is why did the moderator allow for a Nazi-like comment.

    • Marnie - The youtube that you bring to our attention claims that there is some group that "engineers wars and revolutions" for centuries. I didn't quite catch the name of that evil group of people that wishes to attain total global domination, but I was wondering if you gave the link to this youtube because you agree with this message or because you disagree.

      Does the moderator of the comment section allow for the spread of propaganda in the style of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"? It's very strange that the classic claim of antisemitism is presented here. Actually, it's quite ironic. The anti-Zionists always pooh-pooh the claim that they are antisemites in disguise, so it's really funny that the moderator allowed for this youtube.

  • 'NY Times' covers up Israel's killing of nonviolent protesters along the Gaza border
    • Let's assume that the complaint of biased coverage in the NY Times is well-founded. So what? What is wrong with one-sided coverage. I read the Mondoweiss website regularly, and it's so obvious that its coverage is extremely one-sided. Why would an article in Mondoweiss gripe about the one-sidedness of another publication? Is it really so difficult for an adult to understand that someone else sees the world differently?

  • In calling for end of Jewish state, Avraham Burg is painted as 'troublemaker' at liberal NY synagogue
    • No, Sibiriak, there is no difference between a “Jewish state” and a “Jewish political entity”. The topic at hand is the conflict between Jews and Arabs. In the Arab point of view, the Jews are not a national group - so, it wouldn't make a bit of difference if there is a Jewish nation-state or if there is a Jewish national political entity within a single multi-national state. The conflict would remain the very same conflict. Mr Burg has raised an idea based on total unfamiliarity with the Arab grievance. I would imagine that he hasn't ever read a single book in Arabic.

    • lonely rico - I think that someone who proposes a "one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities" should give us an evaluation regarding the possibility of its acceptance. Surely, the author of the above article should have raised the issue - instead of focusing on the outlook of Deborah.

      In my opinion, the Palestinians will not accept the “one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities” if this arrangement is final (i.e. it's the end of conflict and there are no further grievances). They might accept the arrangement if it's not final (i.e. the conflict continues within the single state, because there are further Palestinian grievances which will remain unresolved). The Palestinians reject the very idea of a Jewish state, and so they will reject the idea of a "Jewish political entity" as well. In both cases (a Jewish state and a "Jewish political entity"), the Jews are defined as a collective whose homeland is Palestine - so, it's the very same conflict from the Palestinian point of view.

      Whenever one wishes to end a conflict, one must first define the reason of conflict. After defining the reason of conflict, one must propose a solution that solves that very reason of conflict. If this conflict was born because sadly there was no federation of Jewish and Palestinian political entities, then Mr Burg's proposal hits the nail on the head, and we should all praise him for his incredible insight.

    • Keith - It's absolutely not true that Israel has the power to resolve the conflict. Although the Palestinians are the weaker side of the conflict, they nevertheless have the power to define the parameters of peace. A peace arrangement cannot be forced upon them. The conflict will end only when the Palestinian side declares that "it's over and we have no further grievances".

      Do the Palestinians agree to end the conflict on the basis of a “one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities”? That is a legitimate question, and it surely should have been raised in the above article. If the Palestinians reject the idea of a federation with the Jews, then there's no point in debating the idea. We should be debating ideas and proposals that the Palestinians would accept as the formula for ending the conflict once and for all.

    • Something quite basic is missing in Mr Burg's post-Zionist vision (as presented here): Do the Palestinians agree to end the conflict on the basis of a "one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities"? Obviously, it is very interesting to read about a proposal that give us a novel approach to conflict-solving. However, it would be nice to hear an evaluation regarding the possibility that the Palestinians would accept such a proposal and declare that the conflict has been resolved.

      According to the article, Mr Burg is calling for the end of the Jewish state. However we learn that he suggests a "one-state solution entailing federated Jewish and Palestinian political entities". The federation of a Jewish political entity and a Palestinian political entity means that, nevertheless, there will be a Jewish political entity. What's the difference between a "Jewish state" and a "Jewish political entity"? There is no difference. Even though the Jewish political entity in Palestine is not an independent state - nevertheless, it determines that the Jews have a distinct political identity, and this identity has a geographic point of reference (Palestine). So, what is the difference between Burg's "post-Zionism" and just regular Zionism? There's no difference. I'll have to get a hold of the book, of course - but as the issue is presented here, it seems that it hasn't been thought out too clearly. The anti-Zionists (and the Arabs) who reject the legitimacy of the Jewish state will reject the legitimacy of the "Jewish political entity" within the framework of a Jewish-Palestinian federation.

      It should be added that "Jewish" is parallel to "Palestinian". In other words, it's obvious that "Jewish" refers to the Jewish people, just as "Palestinian" refers to the Palestinian people. It's amazing that no one has protested the defining of the Jews as a peoplehood (parallel to the Palestinians). Mr Burg's proposal (as presented here in Mondoweiss) assumes as self-evident that the Jews are a people with a legitimate political agenda in Palestine.

  • 'NYT' writers slam left for intolerance of dissent-- on Israel panel that excludes anti-Zionists and Palestinians
    • "The same lack of free speech is evident at the New York Times, which has no anti-Zionist columnists".

      Having anti-Zionist columnists is a rather silly criterion of "free speech". Since when is a newspaper supposed to present all views? Does the Mondoweiss website feel obligated to publish articles that present the point of view of the pro-Israel public? All the articles seem to have a very extreme anti-Israel ax to grind. Perhaps, it is a type of humor that an article in Mondoweiss criticizes another publication of lacking "free speech" based on the expectation that this other newspaper should publish all the opposing views. I thought it was quite amusing.

      I don't know if it's true that the NY Times has no anti-Zionist columnists. Historically speaking, the newspaper was certainly opposed to the founding of a Jewish state, but the issue is not on the agenda anymore. Today, the NY Times might publish an article that criticizes Israel (which is just fine), but obviously it would be uncommon to find an article that calls for the undoing of Israel. One can find such an article in the Arabic press (and in anti-Israel websites such as this one) in the thousands, but it's really unreasonable to imagine that a serious newspaper would waste its energy publishing articles of utter fantasy.

  • Sex, lies and corruption: Israeli politics from Ben-Gurion to Netanyahu
    • Paranam Kid - As you can see, I agreed with you that the Partition Plan was just a recommendation (read my comment again). In your judgment, there was no "green light" to found Israel if UNGA 181 was just a recommendation. However, that is really strange logic. If the Partition Plan is just a recommendation, then there is no need for a "green light". If there is no binding UN decision (it's just a recommendation), then there is no "red light" either.

      You're right that there is no document that authorizes the founding of Israel. I didn't know that a state needs authorization in order to come into existence. States come into existence when there is a government that has effective control over territory. It's the abc's of political science.

    • Paranam Kid - As you pointed out, "U.N. Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP) was created to examine the issue and offer its recommendation on how to resolve the conflict". And so it was - UNSCOP examined the issue and offered its recommendation. Its majority recommendation was partition. There was also a minority recommendation which called for a single state in Palestine. It would seem obvious that your problem with the recommendation is that it's not the recommendation that you would have liked.

      Perhaps, a movement calling for the canceling of UNGA 181 could be organized. Similar to the very impressive movement calling for the canceling of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, it might have a significant impact on the outcome of events in the Middle East.

  • 'I faced my Jewish racism' -- an alumnus's call to Jewish students for Israeli Apartheid Week
    • "Palestinian refugees have a legal right to return to their homes and lands in geographic Palestine".

      eljay - Well, actually, they don't have the right to return. The solution of the refugee issue is part of the end-of-conflict negotiations. In other words, the return of refugees must be agreed upon with the final settlement of the conflict. Interestingly, Mr Abbas spoke of the Arab League Peace Initiative in his recent address to the Security Council. Here's the quote from the initiative: "Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem to be AGREED UPON in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194". Yes, as you can see, the Palestinian peace proposal calls for an agreement on the refugee problem within the framework of a peace treaty. Obviously, in the absence of peace (the end of conflict), there is no return.

      You claim that the Jews have no legal right "to return to where they're not from". Again, you are mistaken. Of course the Jews have a legal right to come to Israel. It is in accordance to the law of Israel. Every state in the world has its immigration laws, and it's quite usual.

  • In propaganda coup for Israel, NYT frontpager ascribes Gaza's misery to Palestinian infighting
    • jake41 - Albert Einstein used to refer to the State of Israel as "our State of Israel". He was a supporter of Israel, and he bequeathed all his papers to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. There seems to be a lot of propaganda effort in the anti-Israel world to "prove" that Einstein was anti-Zionist. It's not so.

  • NYT op-ed describing Israel as a place of refuge is missing the word, Palestinians
    • JosephA - I don't see why a reference to the Palestinians "should have been there". A person who wishes for Israel to allow the African refugees to stay is not commenting about the conflict with the Arabs - so, Susan Silverman made no mention of them. It's really strange that an anti-Israel activist (a professor of philosophy) expects others to share his outlook and logic. Well, Susan Silverman seems to connect the issue at hand with the story of the Exodus and the memory of the Holocaust, and it's quite legitimate for her to see things as such. Prof. Levine can somehow forgive her if it didn't occur to her to grind his political ax.

      It was VERY interesting to note that Prof. Levine speaks in the first person ("we are the people who expelled... in our war of conquest in 1948"). I'm assuming that Prof. Levine is not from Israel and did not participate in the war - and, yet, he tells us that "WE expelled" in "OUR war". I'm so used to reading in the anti-Israel websites that "Israel doesn't speak for all the Jews" and one often hears the chant "not in our name". So, it was quite surprising to read that what Israel does is (in the eyes of Prof. Levine) in the name of the Jewish people. In his article, the Jews are a single collective identity (a peoplehood), and Israel is a reflection of this collective identity. It's also very interesting to see that there are no comments protesting his line of thought. In short, an anti-Zionist can present a Zionist perspective, and other anti-Zionists won't even notice.

  • How to win the battle for freedom, justice, and equality
    • RoHa - Thanks for all those links. They provided a very convincing argument that the Jews had no right to self-determination. How did it happen that the General Assembly proposed the founding of a Jewish state in 1947?
      How did it happen that the State of Israel was nevertheless accepted to the United Nations? How did it happen that so many states sent an ambassador to serve in Israel? Well, I guess the diplomatic world out there doesn't understand the abc's of statehood and self-determination, and it's a pity. Not too long ago, there were numerous articles on this site that proved very effectively that the Balfour Declaration from 100 years ago was ill-conceived. Based on the success of that effort, it's clear that anything can be undone.

    • MHughes - The Palestinian claim to the country is religious. Palestine is part of the Islamic "waqf", and hence it must be under Islamic rule.

    • Talkback - Are you saying that you can't read an Arabic website? How surprising.

      Any group of people has the right to found a state. It's called the right of self-determination. It could be that a group of people doesn't succeed in founding its state - but when a group succeeds, it succeeds (and its state is absolutely legitimate). There are no illegitimate states.

      The Arabs had the right to oppose the founding of the Jewish state (although, admittedly, it was an unusual situation, because it was a war effort against a UN resolution). Many peoples in the world find themselves in a situation that justifies (in their view) having to go to war. However, the right to go to war does not mean that they will not fail in their war. One has to face the consequences of one's decisions.

    • "What rights do foreign settlers have after 1945 to create a state within a state without holding a referendum and against the consent of the majority of its population?"

      Talkback - Your question was debated in length in the UN already in 1947. The representatives of the Arab states made the exact same argument that you have made (and they added quite a few hints that there will be war if the Partition Plan will be passed). However, as you probably know, the UN gave an answer to your question. The passing of the resolution should be a clear indication for you that there was a right to found the state - even after 1945. The acceptance of Israel as a member of the UN after the war should be yet another indication to you that the international community defined the founding of Israel as legitimate.

      Regarding the topic of refugees, the debate is also over. UNGA 194 and UNSC 242 both indicate that the solution is an end-of-conflict issue. More importantly, the Palestinians themselves agreed in the Oslo Accords that the solution will be worked out in the framework of the final status (the end of conflict). The Palestinians claim that they accept the Arab League Peace Initiative. This initiative also makes it clear that the refugee issue will be solved through an agreement that ends the conflict.

      I understand that it's difficult (or even impossible) for an anti-Israel activist to accept the existence of Israel. However, the issues that you raise have been dealt with. The question of why Israel came into being seventy years ago is really irrelevant. She came into being, period. Moreover, the refugees are not going to be returned or compensated unless the conflict is resolved once and for all. And, yes, this means finalizing peace with Israel.

    • Oh, Mooser, come on. You should be able to find a reason why the Jews should give up their state in more convincing terms. There are lots of anti-Israel people that simply can't imagine that others sees the world very differently. It's called "cognitive self-centrism". You think that the Israeli Jews see things as you do, and hence they would want to "escape responsibility" and "protect their assets". However, the truth is that the Israeli Jews think that it's a wonderful country and life is good. The economy is an incredible success, and the population is increasing by the tens of thousands every year. And the weather is super.

      So, after learning to accept that others might not have your anti-Israel agenda, and that they are quite satisfied with life in Israel - maybe you could bring to their attention the advantages of giving this all up. Since no one has any convincing argument that would win the agreement of the Jews to give up their state, the ploy is to give them a lesson in philosophy: "For the sake of justice..." I understand that you can't imagine that the Jews have legitimate interests and aspirations - but give it a try. Give a convincing reason why Israel should agree to be shut down.

    • RoHa - Search the PA website and find the updated National Charter. As you might know, the Palestinian claim is that the charter has been changed. So, find the revised edition and read it carefully. Also, while you are there, you might want to read Mr Abbas' speech from last week. It's not to be found in an English translation anywhere, but the original Arabic appears in the PA official website. See if you can read it.

    • Mooser - You refer me to the "About" page, but I refer you to the comment of Annie Robbins above: "... yes, from my personal perspective this site exposes that delegitimization [of Israel] every day, with dedication". When I first brought up the claim that the Mondoweiss site is dedicated to proving the illegitimacy of Israel, she asked for proof. It turns out that it really is her perspective. Of course, it's perfectly legitimate to promote an anti-Israel agenda; however, it would be ridiculous to claim that the articles provide balanced reporting.

    • A coward? Annie, anyone who writes comments on the Mondoweiss website that don't present an anti-Israel slant is a virtual hero. There are lots of people here who don't know how to handle non-agreement, and it can be quite unpleasant.

      On the other hand, I've asked you a few questions in the past - and you don't answer. I asked you to deny that the MW website is dedicated to presenting the illegitimacy of Israel. I asked you if you have a vision of peace with Israel. I asked you if you know that there was a Kingdom of Israel. I always felt that your silence is out of cowardice.

    • Annie Robbins - Are you saying that the BDS is proposing peace with Israel? I don't think so, and I'm confident that Talkback knows that no one is talking about peace with Israel. So, "ending the conflict" means without Israel. Of course, I'd be happy to hear a denial from Talkback, saying that "ending the conflict" means with Israel. I would be curious to know if you have a vision of peace with Israel. I've asked you in the past, but you don't answer questions. (You won't even say that you know that there was a Kingdom of Israel in antiquity).

    • RoHa - Do you read Arabic? If so, I recommend to you to read the official website of the Palestinian Authority. After your reading of the website, I'd be curious to hear if you still believe that they will accept the Jews as legitimate residents in the secular democratic state.

      Why should the Jews give up their state? Interestingly, your answer was in the realm of philosophy. In other words, you don't have a proposal for the Jews that takes into account their interests and their aspirations. Maybe you could try and explain to me why a community that has established a successful state should end that state's existence (and place their fate in the hands of those with whom they have been in bitter conflict for a century). Sure, it would be nice to hear from RoHa that the Israeli Jews will thus earn his approval that they are now really decent people; but I would imagine that they already regard themselves to be just fine (surprisingly, Israeli Jews don't share with you that anti-Israel slant). What else do you propose? Why would it be in the interest of the Jews to end their state and to face the unknown? I admit my lack of imagination, but maybe Jeff Halper (or you, Roha) could point me in the right direction. There's got to be a reason that a community that has fought so hard for its statehood would prefer collective political suicide, but (silly me) I can't figure it out.

    • Talkback - My overall impression of your many comments is that Israel is an illegitimate entity. You are welcome to deny this impression - but if it's true, then your above comment is manipulative. The intention of "ending the conflict" would mean that you are referring to the end of Israel - not ending the conflict with Israel - and that's tricky. I think that honest people should state their agenda openly.

      Your understanding of "universal values" is not universal at all ("universal" means that all of mankind agrees). Your understanding of what is right and wrong is in your eyes "universal", but in reality it is political. Your anti-Israel agenda is not universally shared.

      Anyway, Talkback, the BDS movement does not claim that fulfilling its demands would mean that the conflict with Israel is over. Israel has no rights, no interests - and no one in the BDS is promising her anything. Moreover, I think you know this to be true.

      In the world of diplomacy, it is self-evident that this is a conflict between two rival communities in a very small country. The solution is to be found through negotiations, and that's the agenda of the world community. For the anti-Israel world, a negotiated settlement of the conflict is unthinkable. It would mean that Israel is here to stay, and it's final. BDS has no vision of peace with Israel, and so it's agenda will not succeed in captivating the general world community.

    • "One can work for one-state or two-state outcomes so long as each fulfills Palestinian rights. This was the smart, strategic approach by the founders of the BDS movement".

      Well, actually, it's not true at all. The presentation of Palestinian grievances in the realm of civil rights is merely propaganda. It's sounds convincing, and some people might believe that the issue at hand is civil rights. But the world of diplomacy knows that the issue at hand is politics. There are two sides to this conflict, and each side has its political aspirations. Every single proposal for ending the conflict has been based on the logic of politics - i.e. a negotiated compromise.

      By defining the conflict as a type of human rights crisis, the BDS wishes to create a situation in which Israel must fulfill certain conditions, while the Palestinians have no obligations: There are no politics, no negotiations, no commitments. This is the reason for the opposition to the Oslo Agreement that is being attacked in the article. In Oslo, there has to be a negotiated end of conflict. An agreement on borders, refugees, Jerusalem, statehood and settlements means that the conflict has been resolved. In BDS, there is no demand that the Palestinians declare an end of conflict. It's a nice propaganda ploy, but it's not going to work. Perhaps it all makes sense in the world called Mondoweiss, but out there in planet earth there is an expectation that the conflict be resolved through negotiations.

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