For all of Israels faults, Jerusalem is actually a good example of Israels moral superiority over their neighbors and the Palestinians.
Unlike Jordan, which refused access to the Western Wall to Jewish and Israeli worshippers, when it was under their control from 1948-1967, Israel has done little to restrict access to Jerusalem, and for the most part left control of religious places up to their worshippers.
Why am I not surprised, that the Jordanian refusal of letting worshippers enter isn't mentioned here, just like the forceful eviction of thousands of Jews from East Jerusalem is ignored.
Palestinian racism is obviously alive and well even today, as evidenced by the fact that any Palestinian who'd like to sell his or her property in Jerusalem to the highest bidder, has to use subterfuge and middlemen if the buyer happens to be Jewish, out of fear for physical reprisals.
Unfortunately however, Palestinians maturing from nationalism is further away than ever. If anything Palestinian society seems to be turning the other way, towards insulation, nationalism, religious fanaticism and liberal values.
In the 70ies you still had groups like PFLP which not only had female operatives and at least attempted to have a truly progressive outlook on things like feminism and the patriarchy.
Today PFLP exists primarily in name. And much progress on social issues have been lost outside of Ramallah. An acquaintance of mine worked as a volunteer teacher in one of the refugee camps near Nablus. One time one of the braver kids asked her why she didn't have children herself. Was she sick? Because these kids have never encountered a woman in her twenties who wasn't married and didn't have children, except for when some physical malady had left her barren and unmarried.
Before the wall came up, it wasn't unusual that Palestinians in the territories worked in Israel or went there for shopping.
One of the few fun memories I have from Gaza was a middle aged man who entertained me with stories of how he used to go drinking and partying inside Israel when he was younger.
Today? Since the wall came up and the second intifada, a whole generation have grown up, who have never been outside of Gaza. In ten or twenty years you may still be able to find somebody in Gaza adventurous or irreligious enough to flaunt the prohibition against alcohol.
But you'll probably have a better chance of finding somebody who've been on the moon, than a Gazan who've been in Israel for a casual day trip. Its not that they're completely cut off from the world. Theyre as much on Facebook and cellphones as anybody. You can get (smuggled)!iPhones and Big Macs no problem.
But those kinda of casual, physical contacts with the outside world don't take place anymore, and that doesnt exactly encourage more liberal values.
I noticed that Phillip elegantly sidestepped Haneen Zoabis assertion that African migrants could have a role to play in Palestinians struggle
(Which granted, was a supremely stupid question to ask if you know even a little bit about the region.)
I assume the reason why he didn't explore or explain her deadpan refusal, is because he knows perfectly well why she answered that way.
From Haneens point of view, which would be considered obvious beyond explanation for most Palestinians, an African migrant is not a Palestinian and therefore has nothing to do in their struggle.
Since Haneen is first of all a nationalist, it follows that in the hypothetical Palestinian state she is trying to make a reality, there would be no room for African migrants or anybody else but Palestinians. She even says that much, when she talks about one democratic multicultural state and "one state for Palestinians".
At best they might be tolerated as an unavoidable fact, as in Israel in some cases, and exploited for their cheap labor and dreams of a life in Europe.
And this is seriously who Phillip Weiss thinks a brave and courageous, laudable and quotable activist? The reason that she isn't being featured more isn't that she in any way is dangerous for the status quo.
Its because she IS the status quo. She is merely replacing one kind of virulent nationalism: Zionism with a Palestinian virulent nationalism, which in the eyes of most people isn't exactly progress.
Unfortunately, Phillip Weiss can't see it, which is because he seems smitten by an affliction that is often mentioned here: PEP. He's Progressive Except for Palestine.
Like many of his comrades, he either ignores any evil which he'd never support in any other case, or excuse it when it comes to Palestine "because Israel does the same!"
Principled progressives turning PEP is always sad, though perhaps understandable.
After decades of setbacks and lack of other options on the Palestinian side, they're forced to either give up their engagement in the Palestinian cause such as I did, or ally with virulent nationalists and Islamists like HAMAS, and pretend that they're not guilty of the very sin they often accuse Zionists for. Holding one part to a different standard.
Considering how the Syrian army has tried to starve Yarmouk for years, Israel is apparently also miles above the Assad's regime.
I certainly don't recall anybody starving to death in Gaza. Even during the invasions there, humanitarian aid was allowed in, let alone now when hundreds of trucks with supplies cross into Gaza every week.
Pretending that Syria is some bastion of human rights (whether the comparison is Israel or anywhere else), or any "great friend or beneficiary of Palestinians" is ridiculous.
His primary concern was always his own regime, with Palestinians rarely having any more value but as a convenient propaganda tool.
I suppose Palestinians inside Yarmouk felt the same way, which is why they tried to align themselves closer with the armed opposition, which is what led to Assad trying to starve them into submission ever since.
As for the Palestinian militias fighting alongside the regime, there has always been collaborators in all dictatorships.
The fact that there are only a few hundred of them, divided among several militias, out of a population in Yarmouk of hundreds of thousands, really tells the whole story of how popular Assad is there, and what "a great friend" the local Palestinians consider him to be.
Lawyers and political philosophers have discussed for decades what exactly is a requirement for nationhood. Is de facto control enough, or is international recognition also necessary?
In the case of Israel, it has both. And in fact it's looking more secure than ever. It has close ties with two of its close neighbors, the only neighbour still hostile to it has devolved into a handful of warring sheikdoms.
And most importantly, after over 60 years, and generations born in the country, very few people in the U.S. or Europe question their right to exist.
I've never travelled much in neither religious nor Jewish circles, but outside of bitter Palestinian émigrés, and a handful of old Maoists, I've never met anyone who questions Israels right to exist. Even among people very sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, that sympathy rarely stretches further than to a two state solution.
As for Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union neither country had the internal cohesion to stay together, and once defacto control were in the hands of another party, the international community quickly recognized them as independent countries.
No such situation is likely to happen in Israel, which despite its turbulent politics has a high degree of internal cohesion. (Inside of the 67 borders).
Even the large Palestinian/Druze/Bedouin minority
may hope for a two state solution for Palestinians without Israeli citizenship, but polls show that they have little intention to live there themselves but would, begrudgingly in some cases perhaps, prefer to stay as Israeli citizens.
Aside from the fact, that it's been over 70 years, and most of the people who would "have loving memories of their homeland" are long gone, the two situations are completely different.
You don't have to be Israeli or Jewish to realize that the right of return is a non-starter. Everyone outside the narrow circles of the far left in the 'Viva Palestina' crowd understand this.
Heck, even plenty of Palestinians I've talked to know that the right of return will never happen, and that its for the best.
For political reasons Abbas must pretend that the right of return is non negotiable, blah blah, but you think he's really eager to see an influx of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, into an economy that's challeneged enough as it is?
Many of the Palestinian refugees are fed and have their schooling paid for by the UNRWA. You seriously think, that he's in any way or shape eager to take over that responsibility?
In that case I have a wonderful property on Diego Garcia you might be interested in.