Antisemitism and the boycott: David Hirsh responds to Ran Greenstein

This relates to an ongoing debate about the campaign to boycott Israel. All the links are here.

Ran Greenstein has made a number of arguments for a boycott of Israel and he has tried to deal with a few responses.  I, however, commented that I found it astonishing that he had not even attempted to say anything about the issue of antisemitism.  I went on:

I ask Ran Greenstein about the antisemitism which always accompanies a campaign to exclude Israelis but nobody else from the global academic, cultural, sporting and economic community.

I say that the standard mode of antisemitic bullying is to accuse Jews of inventing antisemitism in bad faith in a dishonest attempt to shield Israel from critiicsm.

Ran Greenstein’s response is

1. there isn’t any antsiemitism

2. the many hundreds of thousands of words of evidence on Engage is “rather flimsy”

3. If there is antisemitism, then Engage is mobilising it as “an excuse to do nothing”.

The chief spokesperson in the trade union movement for “BDS” in South Africa, Bongani Masuku, has been found guilty of antisemitic hate speech by the South African human Rights commission, a body set up by the South African state to fight racism.

http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/hate-speech-ruling-against-bongani-masuku/

In UCU, there is not a single Jew left at Congress who is willing or able to oppose the boycott. This is why:

https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/david-hirshs-talk-at-ucu/

Michael Cushman, the leader of the acaemic boycott campaign, pushes antisemitic conspiracy theory and rejoices at the exclusion of “the Zionists” from the union:

http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/michael-cushman-and-the-jew-free-ucu-congress/

A ucu official claimed that money stolen from Lehman Brothers was paying for anti-boycott lawyers in the UK:

http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/ucl-ucu-branch-secretary-sean-wallis-lines-up-with-antisemitic-lehman-brothers-conspiracy-theorists/

Conspiracy theory from David Duke’s website has been circulated around the union lists by pro boycott activists:

http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2058

There is a detailed five year long catalogue on Engage of the antisemitism which accmpanies the boycott movement.  It is not accidental.  The boycott is in itself antisemtic – it launches a global campaign of exclusion against Jews who committ human rights abuses while not doing the same against non-Jews who committ incomparably more serious human rights abuses.

With this campaign comes conspiracy theory.

http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2092

With this campaign comes bloodl libel.

http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/blood-libel-in-maintream-swedish-newspaper/

With this campaign comes rhetoric which accuses Jews of being nazis.

http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2216

http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2217

With this campaign comes rhetoric which accuses Jews of being neurotic.

http://www.thejc.com/comment/comment/do-not-confine-jews-couch

We have shown you precisely how the campaign to boycott israeli academics works in practice:
http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/01/16/the-campaign-to-boycott-israel-is-now-fighting-for-a-concrete-exclusion-of-israeli-scholars/

Howard Jacboson makes the argument:

http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/howard-jacobson-says-it-all-about-contemporary-antisemitism-in-todays-independent/

I have shown you how it has become standard practice to respond to a charge of antisemitism:

https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/david-hirsh-the-livingstone-formulation/

Ran, you don’t want to read the evidence. I suspect that you don’t think a bit of antisemitism in the Palestine Solidarity movement is very important. If that is what you think, you should say so. I think you would be quite wrong.

Ran Greenstein replies as follows:

David, I have claim no expertise on (or interest in) internal British academic politics and am happy to leave you guys to sort it out.

As for South Africa, there was ONE Cosatu official, who made offensive comments in ONE speech a couple of years ago, and was censured for it. Make of it what you will. There were TWO incidents of excluding Israeli academics in the UK as individuals and they took place in 2002-03. You have been making a fuss over that ever since.

I would not have bothered to intervene in this debate at all, if it continued to be confined to your dispute with the UCU. It is when you attack activists with impeccable progressive and anti-racist credentials like Desmond Tutu and Neve Gordon, precisely at a time when the Israeli state is coordinating a global campaign against them (and others like them), that I was moved to respond.

If you are for criticism of Israeli human rights abuses, then go ahead and criticise. The academic boycott campaign is merely one aspect – and a marginal one at that – of the global solidarity campaign with those fighting against the occupation and Israeli exclusionary practices. No one will stand in your way in fighting these in any way you see fit. Keep in mind at all times, though, that the goal here is to bring oppression to an end – the Israeli state and its agencies are culprits, not allies in this struggle.

Definitively, Ran Greenstein’s answer is

1  I don’t know what happens in the British Labour movement and I don’t know what happens in British Universities.  I do not intend to find out.

2  There is no significant antisemitism in the South African Palestine Solidarity Movement.

3  You (Engage?  David Hirsh?) makes a fuss about what there is – either because you are useful idiots who think they are protesting against antisemitism but are in fact objectively bolstering the occupation, or because you are dishonest supporters of the occupation.

Greenstein is an Israel-firster.  He has already told us proudly that he thinks what he thinks and he acts how he acts at least in part because he is Jewish and because he is Israeli.  He employs the “asa Jew” rhetoric and the “not in my name” rhetoric.  And now he tells us that he is only concerned with the campaign against Israel and he is uninterested, not “bothered” about what happens around the world in the Labour movement and in the universities.

I and Robert Fine challenged what Desmond Tutu and Neve Gordon had to say and we raised the issue of antismitism, making arguments and offering evidence.

Ran Greenstein responds not to what we say but in terms of who we are.

He denounces myself and Robert as idiots or apologists for Zionism.

He defends Desmond Tutu and Neve Gordon by saying that they both have ” impeccable progressive and anti-racist credentials”.

But these ad hominem attacks and defences leave the issue at hand entirely un-dealt with.  He fails to relate to what is being said.  He says he can’t be bothered.

Greenstein talks the language of universalist cosmopolitanism but actually he is only concerned that his own state, Israel, gets a kicking.

He accuses us of parochialism because we are concerned by the poison of antisemitism being introduced by his rhetoric into the global labour movement when really, don’t we know, the only important issue is punishing Israel.

He is like ‘socialists’ in times gone by who thought that people who made propaganda against Jewish capital and Jewish banks were half way there, and all that was required was for the masses to move one step beyond hating the Jews to hating all the capitalists.

In Ran Greenstein’s world, a campaign against only Jewish human rights abuses, special punishment for only Jewish human rights abuses, are justified.

Serious people on the left have always taken antisemitism in our movement seriously.  They have understood that antisemitism within our movement is an indicator for something profoundly wrong.   Not Ran though, who says he isn’t bothered by what happens in Britain in the wake of his boycott movement, so long as he can recruit the British to his own campaign against Israel.

Ran Greenstein has given up on his academic colleagues in Israel, on the Israeli working class and on the Israeli peace movement.  He has given up on his colleagues in Israel but he thinks my colleagues in Britain are capable of achieving what Israelis cannot achieve.   He thinks we can deliver the telling blow against “Zionism”.  And he isn’t interested in thinking through or finding out the relationship between his yearned-for blow to the Israeli state and antisemitism.

David Hirsh

Goldsmiths, University of London

This relates to an ongoing debate about the campaign to boycott Israel. All the links are here.

100 Responses to “Antisemitism and the boycott: David Hirsh responds to Ran Greenstein”

  1. Avi in Jerusalem Says:

    AsanIsraeliJew I am not at all surprised by the blatantly anti democratic attitude take by Ran Greenstein and his Israeli mates. Their arguments have failed to convince the vast majority of the Israeli voting public to support them in an open democratic system, so, as they know much better than all the rest of us simple people, they get up and go and look for support from similar like minded comrades abroad. They are allowed to play the game by their rules.

    He seems to have no inking of any historical echo of his actions, which can be compared to the supporters of the USSR in the 20th century and those who converted to Christianity and Islam over the last couple of millenia. The currency that they paid to their new friends was always in that of the problems that they caused to the Jewish community that they left.

    I am also not surprised by his evasive responses. IMHO we are not dealing with a rational academic discussion, but one where one side has a concrete religious belief and all and every argument is viewed through that prism. His mind is made up as he has a direct line to THE TRUTH. Of course the problem is that the discussion takes place under the guise of an academic discussion, which it is not.

  2. Ran Greenstein Says:

    David, this is a bizarre set of accusations that have very little to do with my views.

    You say: “In Ran Greenstein’s world, a campaign against only Jewish human rights abuses, special punishment for only Jewish human rights abuses, are justified.”

    Wrong (doubly): first, my main concern is with Israeli state practices, not “Jewish human rights abuses”. I find this term weird. The abuses are not Jewish, though the bulk of the perpetrators in Israel/Palestine are Israeli Jews. Their role has to do with their actions on behalf and at the behest of the State of Israel, not on behalf and not in the name of Jews elsewhere.

    Second, my concern is with a lot of other abuses as well (in South Africa primarily, Zimbabwe, China and elsewhere). Why would I express such concerns on a website dedicated to action around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? I don’t see this exchange as an opportunity to outline my correct views on everything.

    You say: “[Ran] says he isn’t bothered by what happens in Britain in the wake of his boycott movement, so long as he can recruit the British to his own campaign against Israel.”

    Wrong (doubly) again. First, ,my lack of interest is reserved to UK petty academic politics. I think solidarity with all those who fight against the occupation and for human rights is important, and I care about such campaigns and their outcomes.

    Second, I don’t have an “own” campaign and my work is not “against Israel”. Rather, it is for Israel as an inclusive non-ethnic democracy that guarantees equal rights to all those who live in or hail from it.

    You say: “he thinks my colleagues in Britain are capable of achieving what Israelis cannot achieve. He thinks we can deliver the telling blow against “Zionism”. And he isn’t interested in thinking through or finding out the relationship between his yearned-for blow to the Israeli state and antisemitism.”

    Wrong (triply) again: First, I have made no attempt to appeal to your colleagues in Britain, whoever they may be. My concern is with Israelis, Palestinians and South Africans, though many forums for exchange are based in the UK and US, so it’s natural to conduct debates there as well.

    Second, I don’t think UK people can or should deliver blows against Zionism: rather, I would like people in the UK to stop supporting the State of Israel when it commits abuses of human rights and war crimes, and put pressure on their government to do the same.

    Third, any diminishing of the capacity of the Israeli state to continue with its exclusionary and abusive practices is a blow against anti-semitism, because it relieves Jews of the burden of having to pay a price for Israeli policies they do not support and have nothing to do with them.

  3. David Hirsh Says:

    First, the point is that you call for a boycott against Israel and no other state. You are for a boycott in response to human rights abuses committed by Jews, but you are not for a boycott anywhere else in the world.

    We all want Israel to be an inclusive democracy – this discussion is about how we go about helping that to happen.

    You say you make no appeal to colleagues in Britain – again a petty parochial nationalist point – you are part of a global movement for the exclusion of Israelis from the global community. You are not just a little guy in Israel fighting your own vile government. You are part of a global movement.

    Of course you want to deliver blows against “Zionism” or against the exclusivist Israeli state or whichever name you wish to obfuscate your campaign to exclude israelis behind.

    Your last point is a disgrace. If Jews have to “pay a price” then it is because Israeli policy is interpreted by antisemites in an antisemitic way. We do not fight antisemitism by asking Jews in the Middle East, or anywhere else, to behave better.

    When people came for Jews citing the crimes of Jewish capital, Jews didn’t respond by joining their campaign against Jewish capital. They responded first by kicking the antisemites and second, some of them, by campaigning against capital, Jewish or not.

    You have still refused to engage with the facts and the arguments put forward to you concerning the connection between your global campaign for excluding Israelis and antisemitism.

    You just don’t think it is important.

    But you seem to take your “credentials” as a “progressive” seriously.

    You should, then, understand that antisemitism has always been dangerously corrosive of our own “progressive” movements. You should take that seriously.

  4. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Third, any diminishing of the capacity of the Israeli state to continue with its exclusionary and abusive practices is a blow against anti-semitism, because it relieves Jews of the burden of having to pay a price for Israeli policies they do not support and have nothing to do with them.”

    Great slogan, Ran,
    “Stop Antisemitism: Boycott Jews”

  5. Ran Greenstein Says:

    David, it is strange that you feel the need systematically to distort my arguments:

    First, I call for boycotts and sanctions against a wide variety of actors: oppressive officials in Zimbabwe, state-sponsored killers in Sudan, genociders in Rwanda and Serbia, and so on. All this in accordance with international human rights law. Whether they are Jews or not is completely irrelevant.

    Second, that “we all” want an inclusive democracy is news to me. Most commentators here have argued for something different: a Jewish democracy, which is a contradiction in terms. If it is ‘Jewish’ by definition it cannot be inclusive, and if it is ‘inclusive’ it cannot be Jewish.

    Third, I am part of a global movement for the inclusion of Israelis as equal partners in the struggle for human rights and justice for all in Israel/Palestine, not for their exclusion from the global community.

    Fourth, unlike antisemites (and Zionists), I see no identity between Jews and Israelis. Jews – as a group – bear no responsibility for Israeli actions, nor do all Jews bear collective responsibility for what some Jews are doing . The burden of responsibility for oppressive and abusive Israeli state practices falls on those who take part in them and those who identify with and support them, Jews and non-Jews alike, in Israel and elsewhere.

    Fifth, antisemitism must be fought indeed. One of the ways of doing that is by de-linking Jews from what the State of Israel does in their name and supposedly on their behalf.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      “First, I call for boycotts and sanctions against a wide variety of actors: oppressive officials in Zimbabwe, state-sponsored killers in Sudan, genociders in Rwanda and Serbia, and so on. All this in accordance with international human rights law. Whether they are Jews or not is completely irrelevant.”

      I briefly searched for web stuff containing your name and no reference to Israel or Palestinians and I couldn’t find any calls to get behind boycott campaigns other than the one against Israel. I admit to skimming the results – perhaps you might be able to post a few indicative links.

    • Richard Gold Says:

      Hi Ran. You say antisemitism must be fought so i’ll post again a comment in which i asked you a question but haven’t seen an answer.

      Ran you say with regard to Masuku : “As for South Africa, there was ONE Cosatu official, who made offensive comments in ONE speech a couple of years ago, and was censured for it. Make of it what you will.”

      Masuku is a leading boycott activist. I take it you disagree with Masuku’s antisemitic outburst. So did the boycott campaign speak out against it or did they defend Mauku ? UCU in the UK organised a speaking tour for Masuku to promote the boycott. Would you agree that UCU were wrong to do so ?

      Cosatu and Palestine Solidarity Committee (what’s your involvement in this committee Ran) actually defended Masuku didn’t they ?

      http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?include=docs/pr/2009/pr1207a.html&ID=2707&cat=COSATU%20Today

    • Richard Gold Says:

      Also another question i asked you – What would Israel have to do for you to drop your call for boycott. So to make it easy for you to answer – Would a withdrawal to the Green Line, full dismantling of the settllements and a 2 states final settlement be sufficient for you to withdraw your boycott call ?

  6. David Hirsh Says:

    You appear to have finished this debate as you started it, Ran, with the “liar liar pants on fire” argument.

    It won’t persuade anybody.

  7. Toby Esterhase Says:

    What is the nature of contemporary antisemitic bullying?

    Simples. It is the repeated ad hominem attack on predominately Jewish activists who stand up against the demonization of Israel and against antisemitsm. These activsits are routinely accused of bad faith, of trying to play the antisemitism card and of supporting Israeli human rights abuses. Repeated accusations of bad faith and of dishonesty constitute bullying and exclusion.

    Ran Greenstein accuses anti-antisemitism activists of bad faith, of disguising one aim as another: “Less official attempts [at apologising for oppressive practices] in the same vein are sometimes disguised as liberal progressive efforts to enhance the struggle against the occupation by ridding it of particularly ‘offensive’ associations.”

    (made specifically against Benjamin Pogrund, lifelong anti-apartheid campaigner and supporter of the Israeli peace movement)

    Ran Greenstein on anti-antisemitism activists: “Wittingly or not, those operating from this perspective serve as ‘useful idiots’ for Israeli state propaganda.”

    Ran Greenstein accusing Engage of only pretending to be concerned about antisemitism: “They present themselves as concerned with anti-Semitism in the UK academic world, operating from a universal cosmopolitan perspective, but in fact have become a tool in the hands of those who reject all criticism of Israeli policies and practices as tainted with anti-Semitism.”

    Ran Greenstein on Robert Fine: he “distorts the essence of the solidarity campaign”

    Ran Greenstein on Robert Fine’s honesty: “Fine is misguided, though perhaps well-intentioned…”

    Ran Greenstein on David Hirsh: “Hirsh has nothing to add to Fine’s points beyond personal vilification.”

    Ran Greenstein on Hirsh’s bad faith: “… not coincidentally, his attack on Gordon comes precisely at the moment when Israeli progressives rally against what they themselves regard as growing racist and fascist tendencies in Israel…”

    Ran Greenstein accuses David Hirsh of standing against the Israeli peace movement: “That even some government ministers regard such trends as a threat of creeping fascism is unlikely to deter Hirsh in his campaign against
    Israeli dissidents…”

    Ran Greenstein on Engage: “they actively side with the Israeli state and its propaganda apparatus.”

    Farid Esack, as recommended by Ran Greenstein on lifelong antiapartheid activist and socialist and social theorist Robert Fine: “This is a well-rehearsed bully tactic repeatedly used by Israel-supporters … The intent is clear: to portray any and all criticism of Israeli actions as a symptom of irrational prejudice and thus to silence all and any criticism. … That Fine has, in effect, endorsed this position places him squarely in the camp of those for whom only uncritical support for the Israeli state is evidence of moral good faith. That an academic who claims to support free inquiry and open debate could endorse such a position is deeply shameful.

    Ran Greenstein on David Hirsh’s bad faith: “But, if all you ever do is complain about actual and potential antisemitism in the solidarity campaign, and use it as an excuse to do nothing (or worse, to shield the Israeli state from well-deserved criticism and attack those who do take action, like you did with Neve Gordon), then don’t be surprised by the responses.”

    Ran Greenstein on antisemitism in UCU: “Do you really think that, faced with all that, Israeli academics should be particularly concerned with the difficulties some Jewish academic activists experience in their local union?”

    Ran Greenstein onn David Hirsh’s dishonesty: “David, it is strange that you feel the need systematically to distort my arguments”

    David, why don’t you sue him? He has repeatedly made defamatory comments relating to your good faith and your honesty, as an academic colleague and as an activist against the occupation and against antisemitism. Why do you allow him to libel you?

  8. Seth Says:

    David Hirsh wrote:

    “In Ran Greenstein’s world, a campaign against only Jewish human rights abuses, special punishment for only Jewish human rights abuses, are justified.”

    I know Ran already responded to this, but I have to say that this is a remarkable comment from David. As far as I can see, Ran made no comment about “Jewish human rights abuses”. Why in the world would anybody concerned about Jews having to “pay a price” because of Israeli policies make such a identification between Israeli human rights abuses and “Jewish human rights abuses”? Strange.

  9. Inna Says:

    Ran–

    If your aim were to convince the Israeli public (and I do mean Israel as opposed to Jewish) you would run for office, back a citizens’ initiative (if they have them in Israel?), start a political party around this theme, mobilize support in Israel. That is what the electoral process in a democracy is For: to convince people of like mind.

    But that does not seem to be your objective. Yur objective is a boycott of Israel–which is to say to bully Israelis (Arabs and Jews alike) into doing whatever it is You want them to do. And, as you say, you seek “solidarity” from the Brits. That reminds me of a passage in the Tanach when Moses decided that a man who broke Sabbath was to be stoned to death. Except Moses didn’t stone the man himself, nor did he try to convince the rest of the Hebrews that stoning a man for breaking the Sabbath was a good idea he basically ordered them to stone the man with him. You could say he “sought solidarity” with them. Aaron Wildavsky, in his book on Moses, wasn’t quite so generous–he said Moses made the Israelis “complicit” in the murder.

    Regards,

    Inna

  10. Ran Greenstein Says:

    David, funny thing that. Neve Gordon ended his brief exchange with Engage accusing you of distortions. I wonder why?

    Anyway, you have wisely avoided any issue of substance regarding Israel/Palestine, unlike some of your colleagues who have made fools of themselves with the use of stale Israeli MFA talking points (I can see why they communicate under assumed identities). If you were active against the Israeli occupation, human rights abuses and exclusionary practices, but chose to use non-boycott strategies, no-one would have a problem with that. But when this anti-boycott campaign serves as an excuse to do nothing (or worse, attack those who do), then there is a serious problem here. The same goes for Benjamin Pogrund, ‘Toby’, whose sole contribution to the ‘peace movement’ is writing to the Guardian to denounce anyone using the term ‘apartheid’ anywhere near Israel (a list that by now includes former prime minister Olmert and current defense minister Barak).

    Mira, thanks for checking out on my record. I’ll make a point to forward you any email or letter in which I talk about cases other than Israel, shall I?

    Richard, I have answered your question about ending the boycott before. Any agreement between Israel and the Palestinians acceptable to both sides would be acceptable to me. As an Israeli citizen though, I would continue to advocate for Israel to become a non-ethnic inclusive democracy regardless of what the Palestinian leadership has to say on the matter.

    Avi in Jerusalem, democracy means that the ‘demos’ (people) decide on their own affairs. In Israel, it is Israeli citizens who decide on the fate of Palestinians in the occupied territories (who have no say in the way they are controlled by Israel) and on the fate of Palestinian refugees (who are excluded from any discussion affecting their status, land, rights). This is not a democracy, since these issues are not an internal Israeli matter, open to decision by citizens only. When matters affecting Israeli-Palestinian relations would be submitted to the vote of ALL affected people in and from the country (whether citizens or not), I would happily abide by the result of this democratic process.

    And this is also the main reason why international intervention is necessary, not to replace local struggles but to supplement and bolster them. Israel is unique in forcibly excluding a large part of the relevant ‘demos’ from its deliberations. Its liberal democratic pretensions can be sustained only if we accept such exclusion as a foundation. To counter this imbalance, action must be taken from outside the system, as well as from within it. The role of solidarity campaigns (among which BDS is one tactic) is to help restore balance. Most powerful western governments (US, UK, Germany, France, Italy) ‘single out’ Israel by shielding its government from censure over massive abuses of rights, and providing it with financial, military and diplomatic support. Civil society organizations have made some efforts to counter such policies. These efforts may not be perfect, and tactics chosen may not always yield the best results. But it is only on the basis of commitment to the cause of extending human rights to all and fighting exclusionary practices in Israel/Palestine, that such debate over tactics can meaningfully take place. Do we have such basic agreement?

    • Richard Gold Says:

      So if there was a 2 states agreement between the PLO and the Israeli government then you would call for the boycott to be lifted ? Is this what the boycott campaign calls for ? I understand you only speak for yourself even though you’re a boycott activist but would you say in your opinion that people who support BDS because they feel it would stop the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza leading to a final 2 states settlement are correct in their belief that this is the aim of the boycott campaign ?

      Also could you please answer my question re Mauku

      Ran you say with regard to Masuku : “As for South Africa, there was ONE Cosatu official, who made offensive comments in ONE speech a couple of years ago, and was censured for it. Make of it what you will.”

      Masuku is a leading boycott activist. I take it you disagree with Masuku’s antisemitic outburst. So did the boycott campaign speak out against it or did they defend Mauku ? UCU in the UK organised a speaking tour for Masuku to promote the boycott. Would you agree that UCU were wrong to do so ?

      Cosatu and Palestine Solidarity Committee (what’s your involvement in this committee Ran) actually defended Masuku didn’t they ?

      http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?include=docs/pr/2009/pr1207a.html&ID=2707&cat=COSATU%20Today

  11. Blacklisted Dictator Says:

    Ran Grrenstein,
    Do you agree with the “hate-speech” verdict of The SAHRC (South African Human Rights Commission) in respect of Cosatu’s Bongani Masuku?

  12. Emma Curtis Says:

    I have been following this whole debate with increasing disbelief.

    These continual allegations of distortion and lying against David Hirsh are sickening.

    What kind of dishonesty could he possibly be involved in when he, himself, has published Ran Greenstein’s responses to everything? At great length.

  13. Ran Greenstein Says:

    Richard, the boycott campaign is a loose network of people who mobilize occasionally to act when someone takes the initiative. My involvement in it has amounted to a grand total of ONE petition and ONE letter in the UJ-BGU case, and ONE general article in MRZine. What I say represents my views only. So, if Israel reaches an agreement with legitimate Palestinian representatives, satisfactory to both sides, I would accept it, and see no need for external intervention.

    As for Masuku, all I know is what I read in the newspapers about rude comments he made to some Jewish protestors at a meeting. I am opposed to the notion of “hate speech” (in general) as a punishable offense, so cannot support any verdict based on that, but he should be censured for making offensive remarks. I am not aware he had anything to do with the UJ-BGU issue.

  14. Absolute Observer Says:

    “The burden of responsibility for oppressive and abusive Israeli state practices falls on those who take part in them and those who identify with and support them, Jews and non-Jews alike, in Israel and elsewhere.”

    Let the witchhunts begin.

  15. Avi in Jerusalem Says:

    Ran ,

    I suspect that as a sociologist you are not happy with the messy world of real human beings. Your predefined political positions seem to lead you up the garden path to the ridiculous situation in which you find yourself. Perhaps you should stop, look and think for yourself instead of using predefined positions, just because they are held by your valued colleagues and comrades in academia.

    By defining the conflict dogmatically and ideologically, you automatically define your solution. This absolves you of the need to partake in independent thinking and in taking responsibility for the outcome. Any uncomfortable facts can be dismissed and airbrushed out the way as “alternative narratives” or other such magical incantations.

    One could posit that if the Jews are not a people, they therefore have no rights to national self determination. The apparent appearance of a State (where you were born and brought up) is obviously a mirage built on the false consciousness of the fools who are forced to live there by powers that they can no control – colonialism, capitalism etc.etc.

    The real world where I live is a messy place. I have seen over the past 40 years since I moved to Israel a significant change in the attitude of the people and the political leadership here as to how we should find a solution with our Arab neighbours. This is an ongoing political process. I would be happier if the same was to be said of the progress made on the other side. What is needed is to advance that process. That can only be done by political activity on the ground, persuading people of the justice and attractiveness of your position. This is not easy. There are no magic recipe books with pre-prepared solutions. Anyone who thinks that he possess such a thing, is fooling himself.

    By your actions you are actively sabotaging any moves towards a solution here, however imperfect, by blindly adhering to a Utopian belief that has no real connection to the real world. It does obviously get you highly appreciated by your comrades and colleagues who agree with you. In the course of your actions, you blindly dismiss the collateral damage that you are causing to your other colleagues in Academia in supporting an antisemitic boycott whose result is their exclusion from Academia. Are you totally blind and deaf to the historical echoes of what you are up to?

    Your actions are exactly those of the idiots who supported the Communists in the Soviet Union, imposed their solution on their people by force of terror, until they fell victim to the same terror. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    In order to advance towards a solution, both sides must engage in an internal democratic process which has to be supported. The way the world is and will probably continue to be for sometime in the future, we are talking about conciliation between separate national/ethnic groups which form nation states. You would seem to promote the idea of a single state where everyone votes and the winner takes all. This is a recipe for renewed disaster. The model does not work in the real world with real people.

  16. Ex-UCU Says:

    Hi Ran,
    Thanks for the insult.
    Always easier than actually addressing the questions asked (unless, of course, repeating your point over and over again, sometimes using CAPITALS).

    So again, I ask, how come a country like the UK (a formally Christian country) has managed to grant full and equal rights to all its citizens over a long period of time, still remains formally a Christian state?

    Have you even considered how is it that a formally secular state (the type of state you believe exhausts the definition of “democracy”) and which your fetishize and idealize, continues to deny rights to some of its citizens on grounds of sexuality and is seeking to limit some citizens’ right to worship where they wish?

    Of course you haven’t. And why? Because you have no idea about how politics works, how states evolve, how rights are never given, but are always a consequence of struggle and how states develop as a consequence of that struggle.

    You, Ran, like the spoilt little Israeler that you are, have not only given up that struggle, but are busy undermining those who still retain the stomach to struggle to ensure that the Jewish state upholds its constitutional principles of equality for all its citizens (Jewish, Arab, Christian, gay, etc. etc.)

    You really are no different from a little boy who gets so frustrated because he cannot put the pieces of a puzzle together, that rather than develop the skills and patience necessary simply throws the puzzle away instead.

    “I want my way and I want it NOW and I’m going to scream and scream and stamp my foot until I do”

    Ran, do yourself a favour. Grow up!

  17. Ran Greenstein Says:

    Ex-UCU, the UK (and Canada, Australia, USA, Argentina, South Africa, and so on), are NOT Christian states: whites, Christians, protestants, anglo-saxons, have no status in law which is different to that of members of any other group, nor are they entitled to any privileges in the allocation of rights and resources by the state (even if informal inequality may exist in various spheres). There are no state institutions dedicated to enhancing their demographic and political superiority, or to ensuring their control over land, or to recruiting members of the group from other countries in order to prevent the demise of their control over the state.

    This is not the case for Jews in Israel, where differential political and social rights are entrenched in law, as well as in informal practice: this refers to immigration, land ownership, budgetary resources, access to arms, and so on. I have forwarded a couple of times already a long list of documents produced by Israeli legal and human rights organizations where evidence for such laws and practices are found. Make use of it.

    Now, you do make one point about change: these states above used to be white supremacist and have changed. Why can Israel not do the same? It can, but for that to happen, its citizens need to discard its Jewish identity which stands as the biggest stumbling block to equality. That the ‘Jewish’ nature of the state continues to act as a major – and increasing – source of inequality can be ascertained by opening any major Hebrew daily newspaper, any day (even Ma’ariv). Try it sometimes.

    Avi in Jerusalem, what actions of mine sabotage which solution? Are you referring by any chance to the Oslo process, which has resulted in nothing but increasing oppression, land dispossession and entrenchment of Israeli and settler rule over the last 17 years?

    Check out Akiva Eldar in today’s Haaretz:

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-end-of-oslo-1.321009

  18. Blacklisted Dictator Says:

    Ran Greenstein,

    You write: “I am not aware he (Bongani Masuku)” had anything to do with the UJ-BGU issue.”

    Are you aware of the following?:

    “(We) call upon the University of Johannesburg to act in the interest of justice and terminate an agreement between itself and the Ben Gurion University, on the grounds of BGU’s direct and indirect support for the Israeli military and the occupation itself,” said Cosatu’s international relations secretary, Bongani Masuku, in a statement.

    “We support the demand by workers and students, together with progressive academics of the University of Johannesburg, to have any relationship with any Israeli institution terminated instantly.”

  19. Avi in Jerusalem Says:

    Ran,
    So Oslo is not a solution? In your eyes, implementation of two States for two peoples, a Jewish Sate and an Arab Palestinian State is not on. What is? One State run by Lieberman or one State run by Hamas? What do you do with 6 million Jews who want to live in a Jewish State plus millions of Jews outside who look upon Israel as their ancient homeland too? What do you with the Palestinians of the West bank and Gaza and all of the purposely ill treated Palestinian refugees outside of the borders of the Mandate in other Arab countries?
    An achievable political solution can only be based on mutual recognition on national rights. That is how the world works. We have long historical experience of being a “tolerated” minority in Europe and in the Arab world and we are not going back there. I would assume that the Palestinians too have had enough of being pawns in the Arab and now Islamic world and want to have somewhere where they can determine themselves too.
    If the history of the 19th and 20th centuries, if not post expulsion Spain and the Inquisition, shown us anything, it is that assimilation of Jews might work on a small scale for a few people, but on large scale, for the rest of us, it is not an option. The only game in town is nation states, and generally ethnic and cultural ones at that.
    I am willing to work for to create the 5th successful secular democratic multicultural, multi-religious State in the Middle East, if not in the world, once I see it working properly elsewhere. Even Belgium is falling apart. Until then, I am sticking to what we have and trying to make it better.

  20. Raphael Says:

    In the UK there is a head of state, the Queen, who is also the “Supreme Governor” of the Church of England.

    From the secular society website:
    “The law requires that Religious Education is taught in all maintained schools. For many years it was the only compulsory topic in the curriculum.”

    “In all community schools and all foundation and voluntary schools without a religious character (in England and Wales), the content of religious education lessons is controlled by LEA-convened bodies called SACREs (Standing Advisory Committees on Religious Education). Unfortunately, SACREs are completely dominated by religious interests. ”

    “The law currently requires all maintained schools to provide a daily act of collective worship for their pupils.”

    “there are 26 unelected bishops in the House of Lords ”

    More here:

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/

  21. Absolute Observer Says:

    Ran,
    You simply do not get it.

    There is no operative contradiction between “equal rights” as per the constitution of Israel and its remaining a “Jewish” state.

    This would onvolve changing those political and social rights that are currently in existence, ending the privileges, etc., etc. that are currently in force.
    I am with those fighting for those changes in Israel in a way you are not.

    (I defend the right for Jews to move there, since I think the land/citizenship link a product of reactionary thinking. I assume a soverign Palestine would also have a similar righrt to return, which I would also support).

    In other words, the secular state that you believe in (and which, as noted, you fetishize (as if there are no exclusions in those states!) is not the only form of state that can guarantee equal rights. As you note, the UK is no longer a “white supremicist” state, but is, nonetheless, constitutionally a “Christian state”. Or is it not, formally, at least a Christian state? Do let me know if this characterization of the UK is wrong (and please do not confuse me with saying Jews are oppressed in the UK. They are not – that is my point!)

    I leave out of consideration all the ethnic states of the former East Europe which are “ethnic” yet all citizens have full and equal rights (even though they did not in the 20’s and 30’s where minorities had formal “protection” from the League of Nations. Hungary, for example, is still a Hungarian state, even though “non-Hungarians” have full rights (rights some are wishing to deny).

  22. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Ran Greenstein is being accused, oh so politely, in this thread, of asserting instead of producing evidence for his arguments. In my exchanges with him on the comments thread to the article titled “Boycott Israel ‘as a Jew’ – Ran Greenstein”, I said so directly. The interesting thing is that not until I said that he was welcome to the last comment, because of his propensity to avoid substantive responses, did he produce one: a link to a review by him of Benny Morris’s book “One State, Two States”.

    Except that it wasn’t so much a review as an example of what Howard Jacobson attacks as vitriol disguised as criticism, in brief, a hatchet job – for those who haven’t seen it yet, do scroll down to the clip from Jacobson to the Engage meeting in 2007. This is not to say that there weren’t valid points in the review, there were, but reading it wouldn’t convince anyone who wasn’t already of Greenstein’s opinion that _he_ was right and _Morris_ was wrong. But then, possibly, he was always intending to preach to the converted.

    Then, he gives the impression of being ahistorical: he ignores the comments on how Israel got to be like it is: a strange failing in a social scientist. This is either because he accepts the history, but sees it as irrelevant to his current position – in which case nothing is lost in saying so; or because it would fatally undermine his position to have to admit that Israel is as least as much sinned against as sinning.

    He claims that Israel is guilty of establishing itself at the cost of displacing 80% of the original inhabitants (but see the last point above). Let’s leave aside the continued presence of Jews in Judea/Palestina/Southern Syria continuously for the last 3000 years – too inconvenient a truth – and just ask why he ignores the establishment of so many other states (many, but not all, liberal democracies) at the expense of the ethnic cleansing of earlier inhabitants: the USA; Canada; the Caribbean states, most, if not all, of Latin America; Australia. He also manages to ignore my references (twice) to bantustans – another inconvenient truth. Only Israeli “ethnic cleansing” _really_ counts.

    Further, I am accused of being taken in by Israeli Foreign Ministry documents – here he is referring to my citing of Morris’s “1948”. This is most interesting: he doesn’t specify whether it is the documents that are false – deliberately falsified state archives? is he serious?; Morris’s reading of them that is false; or my reading of the book that is wilful. Some clarity would be nice, but I suspect that’s a pious hope.

    We expect fogginess and sleight of hand from our politiicans (and are agreeably surprised when we get straightforwardness); constant changes of direction from journalists – they are writing for a living, after all; but consistency, clarity and _evidence_ from academics. If not from them, then who?

    Mira asks if you would post some links as to evidence of your support for other boycott movements and calls. Your response?

    “Mira, thanks for checking out on my record. I’ll make a point to forward you any email or letter in which I talk about cases other than Israel, shall I?”

    That’s not only patronising and insulting, it’s the reply of someone who doesn’t have an answer.

  23. Ex-UCU Says:

    Raphael and AO
    Thanks.
    That is precisely my point.

    A non-secular state does not inherently entail an absence of (formal) equality (of course, substantive inequality exists everywhere and across all sorts of divides).

    Now I assume that neither of the posters are saying Jews are discriminated against (formally) nor that only Christians are reserved certain posts (save the monarchy, the C of E and the House of Lords (a few).

    There was a time that the political and social liberties granted in the UK prohibited Catholics and Jews.
    Your position then would have been, stuff the fight for rights of the excluded, let’s get rid of the state (a kind of Bauer lite).

    That did not happen.

    People opposed these restrictions for dozens of reasons/

    The result was a “Christian state” with equal rights for all its subjects (and now citizens).

    I would prefer to live in a secular state, but it is unlikely to happen for a while in the UK (people here seem quite happy with a Monarchy), and I have bigger fish to fry.
    And, anyway, as we know by the question of who can serve in the US military, who can and cannot marry each other, who can and cannot be “profiled” according to skin colour, who can and cannot continue their cultural heritiage where they want, secular states are not the magic wand you think they are.

    I thnk Avi has it perfectly right.
    Manybe, just maybe, when Israel and Palestine are both sovereign states, when they enter agreements together, political, social economic, maybe then, we can talk about a democratic secular state, which would be premised upon consent and not coercion.

    It is to be noted that no European countries, east, west and central have achived what you are demanding of Israel. Indeed, to add to Belguim is the split of the Czech republic and Slovakia and a host of others.

    I think that Avi, AO and my argument can be summed up by reference to the following and the context in which it is placed by Hegel,
    Hic Rhodus, hic salta.

  24. Absolute Observer Says:

    Earlier I said constitution. Apologies, I meant Declaration of Independence, no doubt part of the conventions that taken together comprise a part of Israel#s unwritten constitution.

  25. Stephen Rothbart Says:

    So if a two state solution is reached, acceptable to both sides, Ran will give up the boycott. I think this is what he just said.

    Aside from the fact that Hamas, who were elected by the people of Gaza, have sworn never to make peace let alone recognize Israel’s right to exist, and never to accept a two state solution, who is to blame if a two state solution can never be reached?

    Well clearly, according to Ran, only Israel. And thus any Israeli, whatever their beliefs, must be punished by boycotts designed and often led by Palestinian backed boycott movements and their anti-Semitic friends!

    I can understand if Ran, as an Israeli concerned with where his government’s policies were taking his country, demanded action, which garnered local support, and became a powerful movement inside Israel capable of changing the things he disliked.

    But by calling on outside agencies including Palestinian ones, and other countries to interfere in a sovereign state’s political decisions, made by an elected government of the people, and who have perhaps, a far greater understanding of the events than Ran appears to have, well that could have been considered treason in another time.

    I am not saying that Ran should be subject to any legal punishment for his betrayal of Israeli democracy, however imperfect he may feel that is, but he should at least try to see himself as others see him and not live in his own self-righteous bubble.

    For Ran is not as a fighter for freedom, trying to show the moral path forward to his vision of whatever that is, but a naif, clearly knowledgeable about theory, but also clearly out of his depth in how things work in an imperfect world.

    Until we see or hear of Ran or his colleagues such as Bishop Tutu going into Gaza City or Ramallah and threatening to arrange the boycotting of Palestinian institutions and businesses unless their leaders stop killing and harassing their people and start negotiating in good faith with Israel, then to me they are just a bunch of hypocrites. Ran certainly is. He is making the same unreasonable demands on Israel as his friends, and always assuming the worst of his people, and asking nothing of their enemies. Had the Palestinians accepted Labour’s offer under Ehud Barak when Arafat was in charge, Netanyahu and Kadima would have had nothing to negotiate. But the Palestinians, even under a dictator like Arafat could not make a deal, and Israelis realized they had no partner in the Peace Process and moved to the Right.

    No one with any sense of reality believes that it is possible for Israelis and Palestinians to sign a peace treaty for a two state solution for at least a generation, and if it comes, it will come, not from the US or the EU or (especially) the UN trying to impose it.

    It will only happen when Palestinians start finding something worthwhile to do with their lives, and their Arab ‘friends’ start helping them re-build their businesses and lives, so that the lure of terrorism and war loses its attraction.

    This is already beginning to happen in the West Bank, which now has a GDP that most countries in Europe would die for right now. It is also happening because Israel is helping it to happen.

    That is the only way forward. Boycotts are for student unions and university dons and trade unions. And, I guess, Neve and Ran.

  26. Ran Greenstein Says:

    Blacklisted dictator, I was not aware that Masuku had anything to say about the UJ-BGU issue. I am still unaware that he had anything to do with the petition, which I signed, but if he had indeed been involved, it would have changed nothing in my support for it, based on its content. If you want to learn the full story of Masuku, including the extent to which he was responding to intense provocation check out the good people of Open Shuhada Street from Cape Town: http://openshuhadastreet.org/?p=187

    Avi in Jerusalem, in a nutshell, my solution consists of 3 parts: Israeli withdrawal from the 1967 occupied territories, transformation of Israel into a state of all its citizens, and an agreement between Israel and representatives of Palestinian refugees based on UN resolution 194.

    What do I do with 6 million Jews living in Israel at the moment? Nothing, let them live long and prosper. If they insist on political privileges, I would tell them that sharing the state equally with their fellow citizens is better for all involved, and is the only guarantee for long-term peace and security.

    Is that unrealistic? No more than 43 years in which liberal-left Zionists achieved absolutely nothing, except for entrenching the occupation and Israeli brutal domination. Have you read today’s Akiva Eldar yet? What have you and your colleagues to show for 17 years of Oslo and ‘realistic’ talk about 2 states for 2 peoples? A big fat zero.

    And by the way, as a model for coexistence, combining unity and diversity, with all their imperfections, I would take Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, UK, even Lebanon today, over current Israel, every time

    Raphael, as a Jew you cannot become Queen of England. I feel truly sorry for you.

    Absolute Observer, Israel does not have a constitution, and civil and political privileges for Jews are enshrined in a vast body of laws and regulations, state institutions and para-state structures, all of them hinging on the definition of the state as Jewish. Removing such privileges would amount to changing the state from Jewish to non-ethnic or bi-ethnic (either option is fine with me). The source of the problem is that the majority of Jews are opposed to reducing their privileges and moving towards civil-political equality with Palestinian citizens. The vast majority of Palestinian citizens believe that reducing the Jewish nature of the state and moving towards a state of all its citizens is essential for equality. Both sides regard a Jewish state as the source of inequality (which Jews favour and Arabs oppose): that is why the struggle is centred around this notion. Not for nothing it is the most fundamental issue debated in Israel today.

    Brian Goldfarb, I demonstrate in my review of Morris that he is ignorant about the topic he writes about (bi-nationalism), that his facts need to be taken with a large dose of skepticism (for example, Arafat’s visit to Johannesburg), and that his logic is bizarre (warning the West to expect Hamas suicide bombers on its doorstep). All this is backed up by extensive quotations and arguments. If that is not evidence, what is?

    I have referred you to my book “Genealogies of Conflict”, published in 1995, for historical background on the pre-1948 period. Sorry for not replicating a 300-page discussion here.

    As for Morris’s book 1948, he may be a good chronicler of events, but his entire – new – theory that Palestinian resistance to Zionism is motivated by religious fanaticism is a fabrication, not backed up by documents (from the Israeli state archives or elsewhere). It contradicts what he had argued before 2008, without him producing any new evidence (given that he does not read Arabic, knows nothing about Islamic history, and never read or quoted from Islamic texts, he would not be able to find such evidence even if it had existed).

    Brian, I would love to take you through my book and articles on Israeli-Palestinian history, page by page, to satisfy your quest for knowledge, but life is a bit too short for that. Sorry.

  27. Blacklisted Dictator Says:

    Ran Greenstein,

    Thank you for your link to the Open Shuhada Street website.

    You write that “hate speech” should not be punishable. Are you, in this regard, campaigning to change the South African constitution? (As you know, “hate speech” is a major issue in the current South African political context.)

  28. Eamonn McDonagh Says:

    so, self determination for all peoples everywhere except for one people. That people have to live without a state because their having one constitutes an injustice in itself which no national minority should have to tolerate.

    I think we should all be grateful to Ran for updating us on the latest in Good Jew thought.

  29. Absolute Observer Says:

    “The source of the problem is that the majority of Jews are opposed to reducing their privileges and moving towards civil-political equality with Palestinian citizens.”

    “The vast majority of Palestinian citizens believe that reducing the Jewish nature of the state and moving towards a state of all its citizens is essential for equality.”

    Ever thought that both the Jews and the Palestinians are wrong and that maybe there is another way than imposing on the Jews a solution that is (currently) anathema to them and at the same time, deny the Palestinians outside Israel the dignity of their own state and sovereignty whilst also seeking equality for all citizens within both the Jewish and Palestinian states (and, even before the establishment of a sovereign Palestine, the quest for equality in Israel should continue (but, of course, you think such “reformism” is a waste of time, don’t you? not time for reform. simply end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state! no brook with compromise! but then again, you’re not a Palestinian citizen, are you? you are an Israeli Jew so don’t have to worry about day-today things, do you). Then, and maybe, then, your dream of a secular democratic state, could begin.

    However, as with so many nationalists, you seem to think that coercion is the only way forward.

    Nationalist and authoritarian – and you are different from the settlers, how?

  30. Stephen Rothbart Says:

    OK now Ran has actually left the planet Earth.

    ‘As a model for coexistence, combining unity and diversity, with all their imperfections, I would take Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, UK, even Lebanon today, over current Israel, every time’ he says.

    Belgium is in the process of dissolving into two separate states because the Flemish and Walloon citizens cannot stand each other and will not employ the other in jobs or even in government positions. Some Flemish citizens want to go back to being French. Spain is no longer one country but a series of states each with their own autonomy and laws. One of their States has been carrying out a terrorist war on the other citizens of Spain for decades. Czechoslovakia does not exist anymore. The two countries split up over a decade ago. They are now the Czech and the Slovak Republics, Ran, in case you have not heard, and both countries are actively trying to expel their Roma citizens.

    Even the Lebanese that are not Shia, are appalled that Hezbollah has taken over whole parts of their country and forced its way into their government, backed by Iran and Syria. Some Christian Lebanese were actually quoted in saying they missed the time when Israel occupied Southern Lebanon, compared to the conditions under Hezbollah.

    Now let’s get to Israel disbanding its Jewish state concept, and opening up its borders to everyone to live together in ‘peace and harmony.’

    As Angela Merkel has pointed out in peaceful, united Germany, multiculturalism (in this case with its Turkish populations, has failed.

    Yet Ran expects a people, who voted for the Party that swears it shall remove every Jew from the Holy Land to suddenly move into Israel and all those murderous thoughts would simply go away.

    Ran should remember that the song ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in peace and harmony’ was just that. A song. In the real world, though,it does not happen.

  31. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Much the same arguments can be turned back against Ran Greenstein as he uses against me. But in his case, he only turns to evidence when his interlocutors refuse to bow to his assertions. Until then, that is all he used, as a reading of our (and others) discourses with him will show. I stand by everything I have said, and further, repeat that it is a little late in the day now to refer me to his book, when he could have done that earlier and, even more pertinently, actually cited evidence from it to refute me. He chooses only to do so when I (and others) refuse to accept just his word for it. And life _is_ far too short to read something that I fear would be as polemical as his diatribe against Morris’s book(s).

    And I still don’t accept just his word for it.

    I further notice not a word of apology to Mira for his patronising attitude: is that beneath him? To a mere non-Professor?

    I notice no acknowledgement of anyone else’s ethnic cleansing to establish their states, only Israel’s – and excuses about this being his only concern are wearing remarkably thin: it’s usually political parties and lobbies that are single issue, not social science academics, or any others with claims to the status of an intellectual.

    As for professing ignorance about Masuku’s activities, and even trying the line that he had been sorely tried by his opponents: well that makes him either a lousy politician or a demagogue – you choose, Ran.

    Finally, we still have only his word (not evidence) that the history of the creation of the state of Israel is other than we have said, with evidence. Why should we take his word and reference to a book which may well as I suggest above?

  32. Duncan Bryson Says:

    Hi Ran,

    I have been following the various debates in which you have been involved here. Thank you for taking the time to explain yourself so thoroughly even to those you know to oppose you so passionately. Many of your arguments are persuasive, but I would like to quiz you about a couple of them.

    Firstly I think you rightly point out that Israel privileges Jews over its other citizens in a number of ways and that this privileging is central to Zionism. Correct me if I am misrepresenting you, but this seems to be a central problem you have with Israel and Zionism. Taken on its own this is understandable, but are there not good reasons for some of that privileging? Surely the reason Israel exists and the Jews who are its citizens live there is because they were excluded by exclusive nationalisms of both European and Arab varieties. If all other nations have so totally failed to be nations for all their citizens when those citizens are Jews is it not understandable that a nation which privileges Jewishness is an understandable response? You are right in that this privileging probably goes to far. I think that the maintainance of a nation that is a haven for jews and celebrates jewishness need not oppress its other citizens, which Israel does, but, given that every country in the middle east defines its national character on ethnic / linguistic / religious lines is there still not a need for such a nation? When there are the Arab republics of Syria and Egypt; the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan; the Islamic republic of Iran and even Lebanon has strict ethnic citizenship laws to maintain its sectarian balance, is it not understandable that jewish Israelis may fear that the disappearance of an avowedly Jewish state may leave them once again excluded?

    You also point to the belief of the majority of Palestinian citizens in equality for all who live in former mandate Palestine. This seems to be a reasonable belief. Until fairly recently those who claimed to represent the Palestinian people did not hold such views, but proposed various solutions involving expulsions or mergers with other states to ensure an Arab majority. Certainly they were nationalists who envisaged an Arab nation called Palestine; Arab in nature with a Palestinian tricolour, a member of the Arab family of nations and little or no acknowledgement of a separate Jewish nation, with or without its own state. The change of heart seems to have occured at a similar time to the point at which demographics swung in their favour. How do you allay fears that appeals to civil rights arguments, to ‘equal rights for all’ is merely a different means of achieving the same nationalist ends? Did not Yasser Arafat say that their greatest weapon was the womb of the Palestinian woman?
    Such fears are sharpened with the growing popularity of Islamists in Palestinian politics. Does not the existence in such strength of openly anti semitic movements among the Palestinians suggest difficulties for a single nation?

    I ask these questions in good faith and with genuine interest in your replies.

    Thank you

    Duncan

  33. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    My final comment was a trifle (but only a trifle) harsh. Ran Greenstein, link me to a review or reviews of your book by those other than fans/comrades of yours (and I don’t expect a link to Benny Morris – he’s likely to be as rude about you as you are about him, with justice), and I’ll decide whether I feel it’s worth taking the time out of my life when I could be doing so much else to read your book. Bear in mind that I am retired and extremely busy with many things.

  34. 1948 again Says:

    Ran wants to re-run 1948 all over again , except he wants the Jews to loose this time.

  35. Gurvitz-Goldman, Greenstein And Good Jews at Z-Word Blog Says:

    [...] in which he offers arguments in support of a boycott of Israel and only Israel, Ran Greenstein says, Third, any diminishing of the capacity of the Israeli state to continue with its exclusionary and [...]

  36. Inna Says:

    “And this is also the main reason why international intervention is necessary, not to replace local struggles but to supplement and bolster them.”

    In other words, you do not believe in the democratic process but require accomplices to assist you in forcing Israelis to do what you want them to do.

    The UCU needs you (a Jewish Israeli speaking “as a Jew”) to try to deny the charge of anti-Semitism. So when someone asks them why they are focusing on a country of 5M people the size of Wales and not (say) on the Chechnya conflict, they can point to you and say, “Look, he thinks we should do it too.”

    But you need the UCU just as urgently. You have given up on the democratic process. Indeed, I have not seen any effort from you to actively engage with the arguments presented (which is in fact what democracy is all about). Nor have I seen from you even an attempt to convince people. You make these broad statements without backing them up and then when presented with details you are (quite frankly) stumped. So you seem to have given up on democracy.

    So what’s left? I mean, there is a real problem (I think everyone agrees on that much) but if you can’t solve it by convincing people to take a course of action what can you do? Well, you can try force. And a boycott is an attempt at force; it is a type of bullying.

    Except of course you don’t want to be the one (at least not the only one) doing the forcing. You want to be able to say that you are part of a wider movement of the academia that has taken this humanitarian position to bully Israelis. So you need the UCU–the representatives of the academia.

    It’s a great pairing really: They need you because you’re Jewish and Israeli; you need them because you gave up on Israeli democracy. Your common objective: bullying Wales (I mean Israel).

    Regards,

    Inna

  37. Ran Greenstein Says:

    Brief responses (time is short and work is abundant):

    Blacklisted, I am against penalizing speech (any speech), but in favour of moral/informal censure of hate speech as OSS are doing to Masuku

    Eamonn, Jews are entitled to same rights as everybody else, and have the same obligation as everybody else not to violate others’ rights. If you can create a Jewish state in a way that will not violate the rights of people already residing in the territory, go for it with my blessings. The present attempt has failed miserably in this regard, and as a result threatens Jews who live there more than Jews anywhere else

    Absolute, together with the majority of Palestinian citizens I support reform that will lead Israel to become an inclusive non-ethnic democracy or a bi-ethnic democracy. I refer to this as bi-nationalism, and see the model as suitable to both Israel and Palestine in whichever borders. Jews will not lose their identity and collective rights, but will share the country with Palestinians.

    Stephen yes, all these models are more peaceful and respectful of rights than the Israeli model of ethnic exclusion and thus are preferable even if they are imperfect in themselves

    Brian, please specify which of my criticisms of Morris are inaccurate or wrong. I received the link to OSS on Masuku yesterday from a friend who has been following this discussion, hence the timing.

    Duncan, Jews do not live in isolation. If they did they could do whatever they wished with their state. But its exclusionary nature violates other people’s rights and thus is a recipe for eternal war. What may have been understandable behaviour in 1948, after the holocaust, is not a valid excuse now after Israel had become the world’s 4th largest military power. You cannot use the same argument about – and method for meeting – Jewish needs when these needs have changed radically over time.

    What Palestinian citizens have been demanding all along – since they were forcibly incorporated into Israel in 1948 – is equality, and sharing the land peacefull with fellow Jewish citizens. What’s to fear here?

    Brian (again), read whatever you find of interest. Israeli progressive scholars have produced many good books. Mine is hardly unique: read Gershon Shafir, Baruch Kimmerling, Oren Yiftachel, Neve Gordon, Ilan Pappe, Adi Ophir, Yehouda Shenhav, Michael Shalev, Meron Benvenisti, Danny Rubinstein, Joel Beinin, Zachary Lockman, and many others. IF you want a detailed list will happily send you .

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      “Brian (again), read whatever you find of interest.” I do. The point is that you’re ducking the issue. I asked about _your _ book, not anyone else’s. For a start, I wouldn’t touch Ilan Pappe with a barge pole, for the reverse reasons that you fins Morris anathema.

      Try again.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      “Brian, please specify which of my criticisms of Morris are inaccurate or wrong.”

      I don’t need to, you do it all by yourself, to whit:

      “As for Morris’s book 1948, he may be a good chronicler of events, but his entire – new – theory that Palestinian resistance to Zionism is motivated by religious fanaticism is a fabrication, not backed up by documents (from the Israeli state archives or elsewhere). It contradicts what he had argued before 2008, without him producing any new evidence (given that he does not read Arabic, knows nothing about Islamic history, and never read or quoted from Islamic texts, he would not be able to find such evidence even if it had existed).”

      That he has changed his mind on perusing different, newly available documents is hardly a hanging offence: all reputable academics should be able to change their mind if they feel new evidence demands this. Further, you accuse of a “fabrication”, merely asserting that this particular claim is not backed up by Israeli state documents. Regrettably (living in a small apartment) my copy of the book is stored in the loft, so I am unable to argue the point. But my memory is other than yours.

      Chapter and verse would be nice (for once).

  38. Stephen Rothbart Says:

    Ran, ‘all these models are more peaceful and respectful of rights?’

    ‘All’ meaning Hezbollah in southern Lebanon? A militia backed by Iran and it’s own proxy in the region, Syria, and which assassinates its opponents, according to your comment, is a better example of human rights than exists in Israel.

    Ran, what is exasperating about you is you are clearly a very intelligent man, learned, caring, etc. but you seem to see life in the Middle East through your own distorted prism.

    You look at how Israeli society has evolved as if it grew up in isolation of everything happening around it.

    The fact that after the UN voted in favour of partition the Arab states around it attacked. That only tiny Czechoslovakia, alone in the world, sent it any meaningful arms to fight back, that its people have been living through wars or threats of war from its neighbours since then, that even when they quit Gaza, the Palestinians kept up their attacks, that Hezbollah continued to attack them after they left Southern Lebanon, that Yasir Arafat and his Palestinians tried to take over both Jordan and Lebanon when they were established there, that you cannot name one Islamic state surrounding this tiny country that lives without internal strife from its own people.

    Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, none of them have peaceful and full democracies, and the Christians living in Palestinian controlled lands, are moving out in droves because of the way they are treated.

    It’s all lost on you, it seems. Only Israel must show tolerance and trust and treat their fellow man as equal, even if that fellow man might try to kill them, and will, certainly, once demographically more numerous than the Jews living among them, use their numerical advantage to eject Jewish life from the region accept on their terms.

    Because that is what they do everywhere in the Middle East. It’s not as if Palestinians are a united people. There are constant examples of their own internal and often deadly conflicts between the clans and factions that make up the ‘Palestinian’ nation, which of course is itself a myth.

    A nation has a history, borders, a language, a passport, a currency, a President or Government. Before Arafat and 1967, such things never existed.

    This does not excuse Israel from behaving decently and with respect, but it is a two way street.

    Your way is suicide, in my opinion, if the people of Israel agreed to it. But by trying to force Israel into it by means of enlisting outside agencies, the people active in such actions are getting closer to something else.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Stephen, he’s ignored me every time I make this point, perhaps he’ll reply to you. Or maybe he’ll respond with his usual riposte of “80% ethnic cleansing by the Jews” – no evidence, just assertion.

      • Stephen Rothbart Says:

        Brian, Ran ignores all the points that don’t fit in to his argument. He treats them superficially. My point was that if even Belgians, Spanish, Czechs and Slovaks, and Germans find it hard to live alongside each other because of ethnic divisions, let alone people who are actively and violently anti- Shia or Sunni or whatever, how can such anti-Semitic people live peacefully alongside Jews, and he ignores the question, comparing the evolution of these countries today, with that of Israel. But he just glosses over it with a throwaway remark.

        Every one of the above countries had their own ethnic cleansing, internecine wars, some quite recently some just a century or so ago.

        Yes of course no one kills each other in most of these countries today, except perhaps the Spanish, but that’s because they are mostly not violent people walking around with a gun as easily as most people carry a mobile phone.

        Not quite the same in Gaza or Ramallah though.

        Ran is a probably a lost cause. Perhaps Gideon Swort, below, is right after all. But it is the obligation of Jews who think that Ran is dangerous to us all by his siding with the anti-Semites who simply hate Israel for being Israel and their singling out of Israel as a cover for their darker thoughts, to at least try to dissuade him of being one of the ‘useful idiots’ that fortify their noxious ideology.

  39. Gideon Swort Says:

    I just love the way you lot are debating the latest incarnation of an academic Gornisht that rises to “fame” on the boycott Israel gravy train. You are all so polite, so patient. However, since you have all skillfully, tirelessly, substantially debated the man to a rose garden cul de sac, I’ll represent the As-An-Ost- Yuden perspective, and recommend that Mr. Greenstein take a strong laxative, lest he explodes into a fountain of self serving drek.

  40. Emma Curtis Says:

    “together with the majority of Palestinian citizens I support reform that will lead Israel to become an inclusive non-ethnic democracy or a bi-ethnic democracy.”

    You say that the majority of Palestinian citizens of Israel want Israel to become an inclusive non-ethnic democracy.

    We know that the last time they were asked, Palestinian non-citizens of Israel voted for Hamas – in other words they voted for an exclusive and ethnic non-democracy and for the killing of the Jews of the Middle East.

    How can we explain this 180 degree difference between Palestinians with and without Israeli citizenship?

  41. Saul Says:

    Ran’s ideals were put forward by some European Jews prior to the establishment of Israel. Unfortunately, they did not succeed, and the nationalists were successful.
    They were disappointed and frustrated with the Israel that did emerge, but continued to recognise the need for a Jewish state (even if they were somewhat critical of it).
    That was then.
    In todays’ context, however, Ran’s arguments about the inability to achieve equal rights in a Jewish state echoes Bauer’s anti-emancipationist argument that no one can be “free” within a non-secular state.
    Marx showed him how wrong he was.

    The point to note, however, is that Ran is really irrelevant to the serious business of Israeli politics and Isreal/Palestinian relations.

    He has turned its back on it and is calling for the cavalry to save him from his own failures.

    He is probably surprised at the fact that people at Engage are taking him seriously at all.

  42. Raphael Says:

    “Raphael, as a Jew you cannot become Queen of England. I feel truly sorry for you.”

    Brian G comment about your reply to Mira applies:

    ###
    Mira asks if you would post some links as to evidence of your support for other boycott movements and calls. Your response?

    “Mira, thanks for checking out on my record. I’ll make a point to forward you any email or letter in which I talk about cases other than Israel, shall I?”

    That’s not only patronising and insulting, it’s the reply of someone who doesn’t have an answer.
    ###

    and you may also wish to read this excellent article:
    “Jewish Peoplehood and the Jewish State, how unique? A comparative survey”

    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1963#

    all the best, the QoE

  43. Ran Greenstein Says:

    Inna, a democracy means that all members of the relevant ‘demos’ take part in decisions affecting their future. When it comes to Israel and the occupation, the relevant demos consists of the residents of the occupied territories, who are excluded from any say in the way they are controlled by Israel. When it comes to the questions of citizenship, ethnic and national rights and relationship to the state in Israel, the relevant demos are all Jews who live there, together with all Palestinians who live there or who were born there (or their parents) and are forcibly excluded from it.

    So, I am all in favour of a democratic process that includes ALL relevant parties. A process that is internal to Israeli Jews, or even to Israeli citizens (including non-Jews), is not complete and therefore is not democratic. You cannot invoke the notion of democracy without acknoweldging that the boundaries of citizenship are contested (ABC of political science).

    Brian, Morris did not change his mind. He ‘discovered’ a completely different course of analysis without producing any documents (Israeli or otherwise) to explain why everything he said in his “Righteous Victims”, for example, suddnely became invalid. He simply reads into the past the Islamophobia of post-2001.

    Emma, many Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens voted for Hamas because it represents to them resistance to the Israeli occupation and to their ongoing situation of living as stateless persons or refugees. The PLO/Fatah is seen as grovelling in the dust before Israel without being able to show any results for that. They recognized Israel, entered negotiations, compromised on key positions. In exchange, they received more settlements, more restrictions on movement, more land confiscation, and less freedom. If they get nothing from Israel no matter what they do, by voting for Hamas they at least manage to maintain self respect.

    As for Palestinian citizens of Israel, their support for an inclusive democracy has been consistent over the last 60 years, only to be constantly rebuffed by their fellow Jewish citizens (now more than ever).

    Stephen, yes, Lebanon is a better example of observing human rights than Israel in its policies vis-a-vis Palestinians. Have a look at reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and dozens of other human rights organizations, in Europe, USA and Israel.

    Saul, yes, the bi-nationalist movement before 1948 failed. Yet, all its warnings came true, which is why it should be resurrected

    Raphael, thanks for the reference to Yakobson’s article. I responded to him (and Ruth Gavison of similar views) in a long exchange last year, which you can access on http://metzilah.org.il/?p=544. A summary of it is here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=426090777187

    • David Hirsh Says:

      Ran, could you please explain how voting for a party which is founded on the rhetoric of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, on Holocaust denial and on a programme of killing Jews qua Jews allows Palestinian voters to “maintain self respect”?

      • Lurker Says:

        Do you also believe, Ran, that after having been humiliated in the First World War, having been stripped of its colonies, having had to pay crippling reparations by the Versaille Treaty, having had its nose ground into the dust by the imperialist nations, that ….

        nah. I’m going to stop there already.

    • Inna Says:

      “So, I am all in favour of a democratic process that includes ALL relevant parties.”

      So as someone who had relatives in Hevron in 1929, I will get to vote? How nice.

      Regards,

      Inna
      PS: I have never been to Israel or, indeed, the Middle East.

  44. Emma Curtis Says:

    Ran, many Jews who are Israeli citizens voted for Likud because it represents to them resistance to Palestinian terrorism and antisemitism to their ongoing situation of living as people targetted for annihilation by their neighbors. The Labour/Meretz is seen as grovelling in the dust before Hamas without being able to show any results for that. They recognized Palestine, entered negotiations, compromised on key positions. In exchange, they received more bombs, threats and missiles. If they get nothing from the Palestinians no matter what they do, by voting for Likud they at least manage to maintain self respect.

  45. David Galant Says:

    I find this discussion incredibly irrelevant to anything outside a rather bad report. I am a non academic and that may be my problem. On the other hand, very few of you approach humanity one individual at at time. Most of you seem to be believers in mass movements and mass action. Human rights (whatever they may be) accrue to the individual, not a collective. Shame upon all of you who think this way.
    I am always curious about the answers to the following questions.
    Ran is simply not serious about addressing the problems
    What is the problem? What is proposed solution? How much will it cost in lives, money and any additional dimensions you might wish to include? Who will pay the cost? What do you do with those involved who cannot abide your solution?

    I see lots of attempts to redefine a problem, but not one of the remaining questions is ever addressed.

    Ran is simply irrelevant to reality. If he were, he would be deeply involved in Israeli politics, not stamping his foot and screaming like a four year old.

    Come Ran, let us reason together. Formulate some answers with specific details to the above questions if you want to be taken seriously.

    This thread past its due date long ago. Except to an academic, it is irrelevant.

  46. Stephen Rothbart Says:

    So there we have the answer. The nub of Ran’s thought process. It is not human rights for all. It is just human rights for Palestinians, even if their own leaders grant them none.

    ‘Lebanon’ he says ‘is a better example of observing human rights than Israel in its policies vis-a-vis Palestinians.’

    So the only way to judge whether a country has observed human rights, is how they treat Palestinians? Never mind the Lebanese Christians living among them, and never mind how the leaders of those Palestinians or the Arab world around them have treated Palestinians by keeping them locked up in refugee camps for over 60 years. If Jews don’t look after Palestinians, no matter what the Palestinians do to or say about the Jews living amongst them, then they have no right to a sovereign state.

    Then Ran goes on to say ‘Have a look at reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and dozens of other human rights organizations, in Europe, USA and Israel.’

    Well Ran, of course I will have a look at what those reports say. I will also look at the reports by the Republican Party on what they think about Obama, then read Arthur Scargill’s biography to find out what he thought of Margaret Thatcher, because I really, really want to find out what totally unbiased opinions look like on all these subjects.

    Ran, if you want to take Human Rights Watch reports seriously, first look who is funding them.

    Let me remind him of the concluding paragraph about a report last July in the WSJ (yes they may be right wing, but that does not mean all their reports are false) – ‘In other words, yes, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis, including a member of the Shura Council (which oversees, on behalf of the Saudi monarchy, the imposition in the Kingdom of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law) in part by highlighting her organization’s investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel’s “supporters,” who are liars and deceivers. It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity.’

    I do not wish to go on about any organization associated or organized within the UN, as we all know UNRWA staff is made up of Palestinians and others who have made a career out of working with Palestinian refugees, so their own opinions are not exactly without a touch of bias.

    In the end let us put it in perspective. After WW2, over 35 million people became displaced refugees. Within a decade, the refugee crisis was over and people were re-settled, some well, some badly. But none live in refugee camps any more.

    At more or less the same time, 600,000 Palestinian Arabs and 800,000 Jews were forced into or volunteered to go into exile from where they lived as a result of the war in 1948. The Jews went to Israel and the US and Britain and were absorbed. 60 years later, many of the survivors of the Palestinian Arabs and their off-spring are still living in refugee camps, because no-one else seems to want them anywhere else.

    According to Ran, this is entirely the fault of Israeli Jews, and in order to pay for this crime, the world must unite to isolate her until she does what Ran and his supporters around the world want, which is to commit to her own oblivion.

    Sadly, with this kind of mind-set, Ran has shown that he is in fact not open to reason. His world is biased, anti-Zionist and set in stone. His sympathy is only for the Palestinian Arab, not even for the Palestinian Jew, for that, in the end is how he judges human rights.

  47. Ran Greenstein Says:

    David, most voters of Hamas have no interest in the protocols of the Elders of Zion. They are interested in living dignified life free of oppression on their ancestral land. That Hamas provides a vehicle for such aspirations is a result of the total failure of secular nationalists like Fatah to extract any concessions from Israel, after 17 years of the Oslo process and 22 years after having accepted the principle of two states. It is depressing, but due to the unwillingness of Israelis to recognize Palestinians as equal partners, deserving of independence, freedom and human rights.

    Emma, Many Jews reflect precisely such logic, with one difference – instead of making any concessions to Palestinians they used the Oslo process to confiscate more land, establish more settlements, imprison tens of thousands of people, kill and wound tens of thousands of others, and make life impossible for the rest.

    How to you get out of this cycle of violence? First of all by acknowledging that the country belongs to all who live in it, Jew and Arab alike. Second, by recognizing the principle of individual and collective equality of all (whether in 1, 2 or many states). Third, by negotiating in good faith on a basis of equality how to meet the needs and concerns of all parties without using the vastly superior military force of one side to dictate terms of surrender to the other side.

  48. Saul Says:

    “Saul, yes, the bi-nationalist movement before 1948 failed. Yet, all its warnings came true, which is why it should be resurrected.”

    As you note, in 2010 there is less will for a bi-national state that there was in 1948 from Israeli Jews and, as you have also noted, from Palestinians in Gaza (and also in the West Bank).

    Neither party to the conflict want it.
    Neither party desire it.
    Neither party has it on the table.

    Yet, despite the lack of will by both Palestinians and Israelis this is what you “demand” and for the goals for which you are seeking the exclusion of Israeli Jews from the global community.

    This is in contrast to what the more progressive elements in both Israel and Palestine “demand” – a sovereign Israel alongside a sovereign Palestine and in both states a commitment to equality regardless of whether one is Jew or Arab.

    Unfortunately, such actually-existing views get in the way of the ideal. If the poor deluded idiots do not choose “freedom” on their own account, then, no matter what the consequences, no matter the opposition, indeed, no matter what, they must be forced to be free. Nothing short of the Absolute will do. After all, such ways of thinking and the acts that follow it have always such a great success rate. I can’t think of one occasion where it fell short of its desired outcomes!

  49. David Hirsh Says:

    OK, I understand now Ran.

    People vote for a party which has the most clear and extreme antisemitism in its founding document, as well as in its day to day rhetoric, and also its day to day action, and you interpret that vote as expressing an “interest in living [a] dignified life free of oppression on their ancestral land”.

    That is a serious piece of interpretation Ran. I guess you know much better than the Palestinian voters what they were intending to express.

    I’m also interested in this concept of “ancestral land”. Where is the “ancestral land” of the Jews Ran?

    When Jews lived in Europe they were murdered and driven out because, people said, Europe was not their “ancestral land”.

    Now they live in Israel and other people are voting for a party which promises to kill them and drive them out because that is not their ancestral land either.

  50. Curious Says:

    Ran,

    Looking over your previous posts, I have a simple question for you.

    From your perspective has Israel done anything not worthy of censure, not worthy of condemnation?

    Thank you in advance for your time.

  51. 1948 onward Says:

    Poor Ran, fighting on all these different fronts at one and the same time.

    Now, that is a truly Israeli experience.

  52. Absolute Observer Says:

    “most voters of Hamas have no interest in the protocols of the Elders of Zion. They are interested in living dignified life free of oppression on their ancestral land.”

    And what did those who not vote Hamas want?

    A life of oppression? A life without dignity? A life away from their “ancestral lands”?

    traitorous bastards!

  53. David Hirsh Says:

    I have just noticed that on the original piece by Neve Gordon, on the website of the International Sociological Association, there is a link which refers to me as “Zioinist Hirsh”.

    This strikes me as a strange way for a professional sociologist to be referred to on the website of the ISA. I’m guessing it is an automatic link and has not been authorized by anybody at the ISA. Nevertheless…

    http://www.isa-sociology.org/universities-in-crisis/?p=559

    The heading is: “Reply by Zionist Hirsh to Neve Gordon”. It doesn’t refer to Neve Gordon as “Zionist Gordon”. It is on a website called “Shoah: The Palestinian Holocaust”. It seems to have substituted “Zionist” for “David”.

    Currently on the front page of that website is a piece headed: “Welcome to Israel, the land of White Slavers, Bodysnatchers and Drug Mules”.

    This might be a big day for you Ran, because it might be the first time you’ve seen a colleague, a fellow sociologist, referred to in an antisemitic way and it might be the first time you’ve seen an antisemitic website purporting to support the Palestinian cause.

    • modernity Says:

      David,

      Shoah.org.uk is a well known racist web site, best avoided.

      They pilfer from other sites for material, which explains the trackback link. I have had problems with them.

  54. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    God, this lack of a reasoned response from Greenstein is getting so bloody boring. Assertion after assertion after…

    “Brian, Morris did not change his mind. He ‘discovered’ a completely different course of analysis without producing any documents (Israeli or otherwise) to explain why everything he said in his “Righteous Victims”, for example, suddnely became invalid. He simply reads into the past the Islamophobia of post-2001.”

    So he’s a liar in “1948: The First Arab-Israeli War”, then? and all those references and detailed footnotes to official documents and reports (including many from non-Israeli sources) are fabrications. No evidence, note, dear reader, just continued assertion.

    Then we have this gem “the residents of the occupied territories, who are excluded from any say in the way they are controlled by Israel.” Now, I know his concern is Israel and only Israel as the greatest sinner in the world, but for an academic and a social scientist at that to ignore as irrelevant to his concerns the exclusion “from any say in the way they are controlled” virtually the whole population of Syria, of Libya, of China, of most of Saudi Arabia, certainly of Iran (where they rig elections to avoid the election of a moderate slightly to the left of Genghis Khan rather than one slightly to his right…all this beggars belief. Or rather it would have done before Ran Greenstein came on the scene.

    Further, this is someone who can ignore the antisemitic and eliminationist Charter of Hamas, so that those who vote for it are somehow expressing their demand for dignity and freedom – presumably by calling for the elimination of not only Israel, but all Jews (they mean you too, Ran Greenstein). Not forgetting the same aspects of the Hezbollah Charter, looming there on Israel’s northern border, nor that of both organisations paymaster and arms supplier, Iran.

    But none of this matters, because Ran Greenstein will continue to ignore all substantive points which run counter to his ideology, which calls for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the world (and the only one which counts as a liberal-democracy in the region) but no other ethnically and/or religiously based states.

    Of course, to do otherwise would expose him to a genuine debate, in which he would actually have to defend and define his position with evidence instead of assertion. Clearly too much to ask of a Professor of Sociology. For, as he says, life is too short.

    Only for those with nothing to say.

    And still no links to reviews of his book other than by comrades and other ideological soulmates. Why not, Prof? Aren’t there any? And still not even a hint of an apology to Mira (who is too dignified to demand one) or Raphael. No time for that either, Prof? Or are you too busy avoiding finding evidence to uphold your claims?

  55. Thankyou Ran Says:

    I’ve read Ran’s comments and would like to thank him for being so upfront. Ran’s position is basically the PLO Covenant (which the PLO dropped many years ago).

    Ran has shown in his writings that he doesn’t care what happens to Israeli Jews, ignores the genocidal policies of Hamas, is not interested in fighting antisemitism and importantly shows that his part in the boycott campaign is about trying to achieve a one state solution with no Israel.

    So thanks Ran for opening my eyes to your views and the real aims of your objectives for the boycott campaign in South Africa. Ran makes Bishop Tutu sound like a zionist.

  56. Ex-UCU Says:

    Ran,
    This is how your message for “democracy” and your fine distinctions between calls to exclude Israeli “institutions” as opposed to Israeli academics, translates in the real world, the world in which Jews who disagree with you, and say so, live and work.

    “REPLY BY ZIONIST HIRSH TO NEVE GORDON
    Posted on07 October 2010.
    NOVANEWS
    Find this reply by David Hirsh to Neve Gordon here.
    As part of a series entitled ‘Universities in Crisis’ on the website of the International Sociological Association, Neve Gordon, a supporter of the campaign to exclude Israeli scholars from the international academic community, writes a report on the state of academic freedom in Israel.”

    And, Ran, this is your “response” when told about such things,

    “David, I have claim no expertise on (or interest in) internal British academic politics and am happy to leave you guys to sort it out.”

    But, nonetheless, Ran, you offer this choice piece of advice on such matters,

    “antisemitism must be fought indeed. One of the ways of doing that is by de-linking Jews from what the State of Israel does in their name and supposedly on their behalf.”

  57. Inna Says:

    “together with the majority of Palestinian citizens ..”

    That’s really interesting. You know, Arab-Israelis (or Palestinians if you prefer) who live in Jerusalem and the environs are overwhelmingly in favor of remaining Israeli, That is citizens (or residents as the case may be) of the Jewish State of Israel. Not only do opinion polls (carried out by Arab organizations) show this to be the case but every time the fence is built a little more, there are stories of this or that Arab-Israeli bribing various builders to move the fence in such a way that his house is on the Jewish side.

    So, actually it would seem when the proverbial rubber hits the road, that the majority of Palestinians who have a choice as to whether to live under Palestinian rule or Israeli seem to prefer the Israeli version.

    Regards,

    Inna

  58. Inna Says:

    “antisemitism must be fought indeed. One of the ways of doing that is by de-linking Jews …”

    In other words, Jewish citizens of the United Kingdom and elsewhere, unlike all other citizens are not to be allowed to have an independent opinion on Israel or Palestine or indeed the Middle East.

    This is fighting anti-Semism?

    How nice.

    Regards,

    Inna

  59. Ran Greenstein Says:

    David, most voters of Hamas, as well as most voters of any political party, do not bother to read ideological platforms. If you want to know what they think and what really motivates them, study them directly, or read dozens of public opinion polls, which show that the majority want to live dignified life, free of oppression and Israeli control, but together with Jews in Israel/Palestine.

    You know very well that if you started attributing to the voting population what their leaders (especially ‘spiritual leaders’ say), you won’t get very far in the argument: the foremost leader of mizrahi religious Jews in Israel – Ovadia Yosef – declared that god keeps goyim – and donkies – alive only because their role is to serve Jews as slaves: “why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created.” He also said a few weeks earlier: “May our enemies and adversaries be destroyed. Abu Mazen (Abbas) and all those evil men – may they perish from this world. May God Almighty strike them and these Palestinians.”

    Now, have you used this to denounce all Shas voters, PM Netanyahu and President Peres who always go to receive blessing from him, and the Israeli government who said nothing about that and some of whose members continue to worship Rabbi Yosef? How is it different from Hamas? Do you attribute to the hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel who voted for Shas support for these positions?

    If you wish to understand support for Hamas, start with the fact that 80% of the people in Gaza are refugees, who regard all of Palestine as their ancestral land, but wish to go back to their ancestral homes (see Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza for a vivid portrayal). You quote antisemities who claimed that Jews’ ancestral land was Palestine. Why should I take my lead from them? Where is the ancestral land of the Jews, then? My grandparents came from the what is now the Ukraine, and their ancestors for centuries also lived there. Beyond that, I don’t really know. Reading Shlomo Sand “The Invention of the Jewish People” may provide some clues.

    Further, you know very well that when a UK Nazi website referred to you, that had nothing to do with Gordon, or me, or the ISA, so why even bother to bring this into the discussion?

    Since you are so concerned about the issue of singling out, how about this – guess which military authority for years singled out a population of 1.5 million people to be kept supplied with just enough food so they would hover on the edge of starvation? You can find the answer here: http://www.gisha.org/index.php?intLanguage=2&intItemId=1904&intSiteSN=113

    Did you know about that? Have you ever said anything about this boycott? Do you expect activists to be concerned about the fact that one Israeli student in the UK had to look for a different supervisor but not that millions are starved as a matter of deliberate Israeli policy?

    Stephen, all your points about human rights have been answered in Norman Finkelstein’s “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History”. I won’t bother to replicate this here.

    Brian, I was warned not to use the word ‘liar’ in relation to Morris here, so won’t. My point is simple: in his last few books, Morris produces no evidence for his new central claim that Palestinian resistence to Zionism is – and always has been – motivated by Islamic fanaticism and hatred of Jews. I have dealt with this in my review (with quotations and argument and reference to sources, but that is not ‘evidence’ for you; what is?), and most academic reviweres of ‘1948’ dismiss this point as a blemish on an otherwise good chronicle of the military aspects of the war.

  60. Inna Says:

    Ran–

    My understanding is that Yosef is, at best, ambivalent about Zionism. I have asked about the quote you have cited; what I do know of the Rabbi is that he is-to put it mildly–quite uncomfortable with a secular Jewish state and also feels that the Sephardic system of learning is far preferable (I believe he says “more practical and humane”) than Ashkenazi.

    Now, I don’t know about you but few people would call Netanyahu ambivalent about Zionism. Perhaps you are such a person which is why you feel that Rabbi Yosef’s pronouncements are relevant here?

    Regards,

    Inna

  61. David Hirsh Says:

    I wasn’t attributing anything to a voting population Ran, you were.

    Your claim was that those people who voted for Hamas did so because they believed it would communicate their wish to maintain their self-respect.

    You even seemed to imply that you thought that a vote for hamas was more progressive than a vote for Fatah.

    You interpreted a vote for Hamas as an indication of the maintenance of self-respect, implying that a vote for Fatah was not that.

    Later you attributed to Hamas voters the property of being “interested in living dignified life free of oppression on their ancestral land.”

    Many Palestinians voted for an extremely and explicitly antisemitic party, one which was set up in order to wreck the peace process by killing Jews. A party which is explicitly opposed to Palestinians or Jews living a dignified life, free of opression in their ancestral land.

    It is also, and perhaps more importantly, a party which itself oppresses Palestinian trade unionists, secularists, Christians, feminists, democrats, nationalists etc.

    I don’t think you should, Ran, “as a Jew”, substitute your own voice for that of those Palestinians who chose to vote for Hamas.

    You didn’t like what they said in the elction of 2006, so you just substitute your own voice for theirs, and pretend they said what you want them to have said.

    I am not making any claim about what voting for Hamas signified. I think it is complicated. I think that real anger against Israel gets transformed and mystified when it is expressed in the language of antisemitism. I think we have to take that seriously – we have to take the anger seriously and also the particular form in which it manifests itself.

    We shouldn’t just shut the voters up and replace their voice with our own fantasy voice.

    Yes, of course, I think we should also take it seriously when Israeli voters vote for racist parties. We should not simply say that Israelis who voted for Lieberman are expressing a wish to live a dignified and free life. It would be quite wrong simply to substitute our fantasy of what we wish they were trying to express for the politics that they were actually endorsing.

    I am not denouncing voters who vote for racist parties. I am just saying that we should take what they do with their vote seriously.

    You make no comment on my disquiet over your use of the essentialising term “ancestral lands”.

    I am now referred to on the ISA website, my own professional organisaiton, as “Zionist Hirsh”. I think the website to which the ISA site is linked, now, is an antisemtic website, do you? It is not at all clear to me that this would be widely recognized as an antisemitic website. I am surprised that you think this is not worth mentioning.

    • Seth Says:

      David,

      You write: “You didn’t like what they said in the elction of 2006, so you just substitute your own voice for theirs, and pretend they said what you want them to have said.”

      But Ran wrote:

      “If you want to know what they think and what really motivates them, study them directly, or read dozens of public opinion polls, which show that the majority want to live dignified life, free of oppression and Israeli control, but together with Jews in Israel/Palestine”

      So therefore shouldn’t an appropriate followup question be to simply ask for some examples of the public opinion polls, or studies of the motivations of Hamas voters?

      .

  62. Thankyou Ran Says:

    Ran doesn’t care about whether on the ISA website is a reference to “Zionist Hirsh” from an anti-semitic website, he doesn’t care about what a one state solution would result in, he doesn’t care about the genocidal views of Hamas. Ran only cares about the Palestinians if the result is that Israel ceases to exist. Ran’s anti-zionism is all that matters to him. It’s how he defines his identity ASAJew,

  63. Ran Greenstein Says:

    Inna, Palestinian citizens or residents of Israel do not want to live under the PA. Why? Because it means living under military occupation, where you need to cross dozens of roadblocks in order to visit family members living a few miles away, where your access to schools, clinics, shops may be cut off because some 20-year old captain decided so without giving you any reasons, where you may be subject to physical assualt by Israeli soldiers and armed settlers any time of the day or night without warning. Would you be willing to live under these conditions?

    As a Jewish citizen of the UK you are entitled to voice whatever views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If you support oppressive practices you should be called to account for that (politically and morally, not legally or physically). What is antisemitic about that?

    David, about 30% of the Israeli Knesset consists of members who voice frequently and consistently racist views (motivated by religion or nationalism or both), and put their views into legislation, some parts of which adopted already, others in the pipeline. They make the BNP look like a branch of Amnesty International. You are not endorsing their views (though some of the participants here do), but what have you done about that, expect for criticising … Hamas?

    As for “ancestral land”, there is nothing essentialist about it: it is the piece of land – a concrete village, neighbourhood and town – where they or their immediate ancestors (parents) resided until they were forced out and prevented from returning. We are not dealing here with some mystical Indo-European or Celtic homeland, lost in the mists of time.

    You know that the ISA link is automatically generated, and has nothing to do with anyone’s decision to refer to you in an offensive manner. Why do you make a fuss over that as if it were some kind of conspiracy? I featured on that Nazi site against my will, and so have many others. What do you expect me to do about that?

    • Gerry Says:

      Ran ” They make the BNP look like a branch of Amnesty International.”

      First Ran ignores what Hamas stand for and now he plays down what the BNP stand for. And he sees himself an anti-racist. You couldn’t make it up.

  64. Absolute Observer Says:

    My what a progressive view of the matter,
    Antisemitism v Palestinian Rights.

    Funny, I never saw the struggle against the former and the struggle for the latter in such opposing terms.

    Perhaps Ran could quantify what percentage of antisemitism is acceptable in the struggle for Palestinian rights? 50/50? 40/60? Or maybe only when Jews are living in the same abject conditions of many of the inhabitants in Gaza?

    I don’t think I have seen such reactionary politics masquarading as “progressive” and “emancipatory” for a very long time.

    • WestEndGirl Says:

      I’m going to go further AO.

      I have never seen such puerile, infantile excuse for “debate” from an “academic” in my life.

      “About 30% of the Knesset consists of members who voice frequently and consistently racist views” – assertion, source please!

      “Palestinian citizens or residents of Israel do not want to live under the PA. Why? Because it means living under military occupation, where you need to cross dozens of roadblocks in order to visit family members living a few miles away (and etc)” – assertion, source please!

      And of course I could continue. Although I lack the energy tbh.

      I think – sadly, given Ran’s role in the BDS campaign in ZA and his AsaJew cover to its anti-Semitic tendencies – that it’s not possible or worthwhile engaging with him. Because he is not arguing in good faith.

      When people raise logical, factual counterexamples to his assertions or point out inconsistencies or challenge his assumptions, he merely pouts, sulks, insults and then shifts immediately to yet another assertion of how Israel is quite literally beyond the pale from concept to practice without ever engaging with the issues raised. This is not debate. It’s talking to a brick wall.

      And the funny thing is? Most people on here actually *agree* with him that Israel is an oppressive force at this space and time.

      The difference is is that his distress about this has meant he has moved from seeing Israel as a state with actors that need to be engaged with politically, fairly and with rational debate instead to a quasi-mystical concept of “teh most Evil thing evah”.

      And it’s just not possible to discuss things rationally with a person like that. He has his fingers in his ears and his eyes covered to anything which doesn’t agree with his quasi-mystical concept. You can’t debate something that’s not real. We are all wasting our time.

  65. Ex-UCU Says:

    Ran,
    In what way has David Hirsh “support[ed] oppressive practices” in Israel?

  66. Blacklisted Dictator Says:

    Ran,
    Let’s imagine that Israel agreed to a single state and allowed millions of Palestinians to return. What would be the outcome for the Jewish population, assuming of course that they were now in a minority at the national elections?

  67. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “antisemitism must be fought indeed. One of the ways of doing that is by de-linking Jews from what the State of Israel does in their name and supposedly on their behalf.”

    This is an echo of what Anthony Lerman keeps saying. This assumes that the behaviour of the despised out-group will actually have an effect on the prejudiced discriminator. What an odd view for two such prominent social scientists to take. It suggests that, despite their positions in academe, they fail to understand their subjects.

    In the the 15th century, Spanish (and shortly after them, Portugese) Jews were offered stark choices: convert to Catholicism; leave Spain (and Portugal) – while leaving most of your possessions behind – it was ever thus and exactly what happened to English Jews 2 and a half centuries earlier; or face the Inquisition with the strong possibility of an auto-da-fe awaiting at the end.

    The thing was that those who chose option 1, conversion, even if apparently sincere, still faced suspicion and the constant threat of exposure (and the Inquisition) if they did _anything_ that upset the powerful. And that is what happened to significant numbers of the “conversos”/”marranos”.

    There is also an echo here of Robert K. Merton. In one of the essays in “Social Theory & Social Structure” (it might be in “The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”, but I no longer have the book to hand), Merton notes that the traits which are seen as admiirable by Americans when found in Abraham Lincoln are seen as worthy of contempt when found in the Jew. No change there then, and there would be no change if the traits changed to others seen as equally worthy in, say, George Washington.

    In practice and the very long run, the best off were those who left; but doing what the prejudiced discriminator wanted brought no effective relief from discrimination (i.e., antisemitism). If it didn’t back in the 15th century, why should it in the 21st? Pandering to the antisemites only encourages them. It’s why, after World War 2 in London, the 43 Group and its policy of physical confrontation with UK fascists and other antisemites was much more effective than apologising for having survivied and/or welcoming the creation of the State of Israel.

    If Ran Greenstein _really_ doesn’t understand that, then he _really_ doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously as a social scientist.

    As for: “Brian, I was warned not to use the word ‘liar’ in relation to Morris here, so won’t.” In other words, ‘Morris goes beyond being economical with the truth, but my lawyer friend tells not to say that’.

    No more to be said really, not without chapter and verse of where Morris got it wrong. Still waiting.

  68. NIMN Says:

    “I featured on that Nazi site against my will, and so have many others. What do you expect me to do about that?”

    Well, maybe think what it is about your own position that nazis and antisemites find attractive and worthy of supprt.
    Maybe think about how boycotting Israeli Jews appeals to nazis and antisemites.

    Maybe think about how the call to end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state is something nazis think is a worthwhile aim.

    Maybe think how you own situation effects people in general and Jews in particular outside of Israel.

    Or, of course, you can simply deny that, “as an Israeli and as a Jew”, it has nothing to do with you whatsoever.

  69. Absolute Observer Says:

    West End Girl,
    Ran sees Israel as born in “original sin”.
    Israel carries forever within itself the stain of that original sin.
    Nothing Israel can do can redeem it – other than sacrificing itself,
    Regards,
    AO

  70. David Hirsh Says:

    What have I done?

    We are having a debate about whether a boycott is a good strategy to help create a democratic outcome in Israel and in Palestine. We are discussing antisemitism in Palestine, racism in Israel and both in the wider world. We make arguments and we adduce evidence.

    But Ran keeps coming back to this ad hominem stuff.

    He speaks “as a Jew”.

    Robert Fine is an “idiot”.

    Hirsh is an apologist for Israeli human rights abuses.

    Neve Gordon has excellent “progressive credentials”.

    Hirsh doesn’t have excellent “progressive credentials”.

    Thse kinds ad hominem questions do not have any bearing at all on who is right or wrong on the questions at hand.

    Your point is again to say that I raise the issue of antisemitism in bad faith in order to de-legitimise criticism of the occupation.

    I reject the idea that a person needs to have “done” something against the occupation before s/he is qualified to speak out against antisemitism.

    I think we should defend Jews, and also defend the labour movement, against antisemitism unconditionally. I don’t think we should make defence conditional upon having established “progressive credentials”.

    What have I done about the occupation? Well, mainly what I have done is speak out, make arguments, written, gone on demonstrations, and, as a teacher, I have taught, and as an academic I have done research and written.

    In the 80s I spent a lot of time in the student movement and in the Labour Party arguing for an end to the occupation, for a 2 state solution, for support for the Israeli peace movement and for the recognition of the PLO as a legitimate leadership of the Palestinians.

    I drove Adam Keller of Gush Shalom around the UK when he came on a speaking tour and I was involved in organising his tour.

    I speak out against the occupation, in academia, in my union and within the Jewish community.

    I have taken part in demonstrations, most recently the one in Tel Aviv against the occupation and against the Israeli action against the flotilla.

    Engage has consistently highlighted the plight of Palestinian academics and students whose life is made extremely difficult by the occupation. We have argued for our academic union to make links with Palestinian and Israeli colleagues.

    I have written in public against the occupation:

    For example here, on the Guardian website:

    “Everybody serious supports a two state solution; an Israeli withdrawal to borders based on the 1967 ceasefire line, the foundation of an independent Palestinian state and a deal done between the two parties on Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees and their descendents.”

    In the South African press:

    “Palestinians are not free. They suffer under an Israeli occupation that is sustained by a regime of violence, surveillance and control.”

    “As well as a military occupation, successive Israeli governments have tolerated and supported the efforts of settlers to take Palestinian land for themselves in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

    “Palestinians and settlers live under unequal legal regimes. Settlers have incomparably greater freedom of movement, democratic and legal rights as well as access to resources.”

    http://www.mg.co.za/article/2008-10-09-occupation-not-apartheid

    In the Israeli press:

    “One reason that the loathing of Israel is becoming respectable in British society is that the Israeli state often acts wrongly. Israel still hangs on to the West Bank, encourages Jews to build settlements there, and rules it as a colony. The Israeli government acts as though it plans to annex a significant proportion of the West Bank to Israel. Within pre-1967 Israel, there is still discrimination against Arab citizens, some of it formalized in law. Because Israel is the occupying power, and because it is vastly more powerful than Palestine, it must accept a major share of responsibility for squandering the opportunities for peace in the 1990s. ”

    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=206

    Within the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Global Forum against Antisemitism:

    “One of the reasons why so many people around the world are angry with Israel is because of the continuing occupation of Palestinian land and because Israel, which has state power, has not done enough to end the occupation. Such an occupation cannot be sustained without racism, violence and humiliation against the people who are occupied. ”

    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1683

    I feel a bit dirty for having obeyed your injunction to answer “what I have done” because I think that “what I have done” against the occupation is irrelevent to the arguments that I make.

    But we do, don’t we? When people accuse us of acting in bad faith, we are tempted to jump through their hoops, to demonstrate good faith, while knowing that there will always be a new hoop offered.

    • WestEndGirl Says:

      Seriously, David (or should I call you “the Zionist Hirsh”?!) – don’t bother.

      I – like many on here I’m guessing – initially thought that Ran was an overexcited anti-racist/progressive academic professional, whose understandable upset at the racist/anti-progressive things Israel, as a state, has done had induced him to support a boycott reluctantly as a political tool in the fight against the Occupation.

      Whereas, in fact, he is a deluded ideologue whose is totally unable to mentally separate ‘how things actually are’ from ‘how he would like them to be’. In his quest for a totally equal and unachievable utopia in the area of Israel/Palestine, he throws away or totally ignores the messy realities and practicalities of all states, nations and peoples; categorising Israel as the anti-utopia needing to be erased.

      With this mindset, no debate is actually possible. Any evidence that counteracts his narrative just pings off his dogmatic force-field. Just ignore him. Don’t waste one more brain cell on his nonsense. Especially not justifying yourself. He is the David Irving of AsaJews – all his brain power is being used to defend and promote an hateful ideology that flies in the face of evidence. Let him fade into obscurity. Use your energy to talk to people that have a potential to listen.

  71. Absolute Observer Says:

    David Hirsh,

    You could have said,

    “Ran, I have claim no expertise on (or interest in) Israel and Palestine am happy to leave you guys to sort it out”

    However, that is not the position Ran takes.

    Ran calls on non-Israelis to boycott Israeli Jews until they agree with him.

    Ran calls for “Jewish citizen[s] of the UK (and elsewhere) to be be called to account for” supporting Israel.

    Ran demands that non-Israeli Jews (and non-Jews) shut up about antisemitism until the world has solved his own state’s problems.

    When it comes to antisemitism, Ran takes no responsibility whatsover for anything that happens outside the borders of the country in which he is a citizen.

    For these reasons – and a host of others – Ran has no right whatsoever to ask you “what you have done” when it comes to his own parochial concerns.

  72. Ran Greenstein Says:

    Thanks David for these brave words (not being facetious here). May I interpret your words to say that you agree that:
    (1) the occupation constitutes a massive violation of human rights and it must be terminated
    (2) settlements are a violation of international law and must be evacuated
    (3) Palestinian citizens must be given full equality with their Jewish colleagues, and
    (4) Israel must negotiate with respresentatives of the Palestinian refugees and their descendants to resolve their situation?

    If that is indeed the case, you have no major disagreement with me (even if I call point 3 ‘making Israel a state of all its citizens’ instead of a ‘Jewish’ state and you don’t), and the only question is what tactics are most suitable in achieveing all that. If we put the BDS question like this – the shared goal is changing Israeli policies and the disagreement is how best to do that – then we have made some progress after all. I suspect that many of the commentators here would not be very happy with that, but that’s their problem.

    • Richard Gold Says:

      Ran, why don’t you take a little time to read through the articles on Engage. Then if you still think we are apologists for Israeli human rights abuses and the occupation, if you still think we are useful idiots, if you still think we are using antisemitism as a tool to smear the boycott movement as antisemitic, then please tell us why with actual examples. You must have a lot of them.

      Ran, you need to judge Engage by what it says and not what you wish we had said. You claimed in an early email to me that you had a general view of Engage so maybe now you should do your homework.

      • Stephen Rothbart Says:

        According to the Poll No 37 undertaken this week by PSR (Palestine Centre for Policy and Survey Research, 14% of Palestinians ‘strongly support’ killing Israeli citizens inside Israel, while 34% ‘support’ killing Israeli civilians inside Israel.

        43% of Palestinians ‘oppose’ killing Israeli citizens inside Israel and 6% ‘strongly’ oppose such actions.

        There are approximately 3,700,000 Arabs living in what is known as Gaza and the West Bank who might claim the Right of Return.

        Based upon the above statistics, 48% of these favour killing Israeli citizens inside Israel, ie. 1,776,000 of them.

        Can anyone in Engage, who unlike Neve Gordon and Ran, live in the real world, tell me which government, anywhere, would advocate such a high number of potentially hostile immigrants integrating with their citizens, knowing the latent and not so latent hostility of these immigrants’ mind set?

        Even if you assume, and it is a huge assumption, that the 34% who ‘support’ killing the Israeli civilians, might miraculously cast aside their hatred of Israelis once Ran has achieved his aim and Israel is disbanded as a nation (especially in the light of all those property disputes that would arise), and you just left a hardcore of the 14% who ‘strongly’ support killing civilians, that leaves 500,000 Palestinian Arabs about whom Ran sees nothing harmful.

        Now perhaps I should put it another way. A debate is going on about the wisdom of allowing Turkey into the European Union. This is because once it is in, millions of Turks will be free to settle anywhere they like in Europe, and given the nature of their religion, this is rightly or wrongly perceived as a hot potato.

        We can all agree that by and large, Turks are a peaceful people, and although there is an increasingly worrying battle for Turkey to lose its secular political governmental status in favour of more Islamic influenced, no one there appears to be harbouring any intent on killing civilians living in Europe.

        But imagine, if, in a Poll similar to the one carried about by the PSR, a large percentage of Turkish immigrants announced that they would support the kind of terrorism we have seen in London, Paris, Madrid and Germany unless these countries pulled their troops out of Afghanistan or Iraq, what would happen to the debate on Turkish membership.

        Now I admit, that I am right of centre politically, and I see the ‘occupation’ as more an accident of the fate of Israel winning wars started by other people rather than a deliberate attempt at empire building. But most of the Engage commentators seem to believe otherwise and see the Israeli settlers as the tail wagging the dog, while I see them as a problem that will go away as soon as an Israeli government finds a real partner for Peace on the other side.

        So I recognize that the belief that Israel is a transgressor is shared by many here even though they heartily disagree with Ran and Neve.

        So my point is that both Israelis and Palestinians are too entrenched now in their beliefs to be moved by political influences and boycotts. Given time and the opportunity for economic growth where each side helps each other’s economies to grow as was happening in the West Bank until Obama stepped in and tried to restart the Peace Talks again, I believe that both sides will find a way to neutralize the bigots and the violent mentality that prevails on both sides of the border. But it won’t be quick and it will be done when both sides realize that it down to them and only them to resolve the issues.

        Continuing in the conceit that Israel, alone in the world, must be punished for behaving the way it does, while surrounded by the kinds of people that support killing civilians in the numbers that they do, and ignoring such facts, is tantamount to victimization of a people, since Israel is identified as a Jewish State. A Jew that engages in such actions without context is therefore assisting in the demonizing again of the Jewish people.

        Worse still, their allies are anti-Semites and rogue nations like Iran and Syria, organisations like Hamas, Hezbollah.

        They should be ashamed.

  73. Ex-UCU Says:

    Ran,

    “I suspect that many of the commentators here would not be very happy with that, but that’s their problem.”

    What would the “many commentators” not be happy with Ran?
    That Israel has to end the occupation?
    That Israel has an agreed border according to pre-1967?
    That Israel has to negotiate with the representatives of the Palestinians?

    Why would “many commentators” disagree with you Ran?

    What makes you say that?

    In fact, it is you who disagrees with you.

    You have called for a “secular democratic state” of Jews and Arabs.

    You have called for Israel as a Jewish state to cease and for those with a “connection” to the land to be given residency rights and those without such a physical connection to be barred.

    Why would any of the points you raise be relevant anymore since, according to your logic, the distinction between Israel and Palestine would dissolve in the ideal of a lack of distinction between Jews and Arabs? (As you have argued, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank would not “need” an independent state, since they would have returned to their own “ancestral lands”.)?

    Or, are you in fact arguing, for a. a “secular” Israel and b. a Palestine which, I would assume, you would permit to constitute itself howsoever it chooses (a Muslim state, a Palestinian state, a Christian state, a secular state)?

    It is in this context that you call on the global community to exclude Israeli Jews. Your call for a boycott is not about the Palestinians (this is more or less the first time you have mentioned them).

    It is about Israel ceasing to be a Jewish state (your point 3).
    Hence the original connection you try to make between Israel and apartheid South Africa; about how Israel has always been racist and exclusionary since 1948, how Jews are falsely recognised as a historical people, etc, etc, etc..

    For you, Ran, Israel is a fake state, a racist state, a false state.
    You detest the Jewish state far more than you give a toss about the Palestinians.

  74. Ex-UCU Says:

    And, as many have pointed out quite clearly – equality is not dependent upon secularisation of either Israel or any other state for that matter. That being the case, why would people at Engage not agree with you Ran, even on your point 3?

    As Richard Gold says, engage with what is said, not what you think is being said.

  75. Absolute Observer Says:

    “I suspect that many of the commentators here would not be very happy with that, but that’s their problem.”

    And that is Ran’s attitude to the overwhelming majority in Israel (including those who for either principled or pragmatic reasons support a two state solution) who think that getting rid of Israel as a Jewish state is not the best idea in the world.

    “It’s their problem” so I won’t listen, I won’t discuss, I won’t try to persuade, I’ll get my way despite them and if they don’t like its “their problem.”

    Again, exactly the language of the authoritarian right. We will keep our settlements, and if the Arabs don’t like it and the Israelis don’t like it, “it’s their problem”.

  76. Inna Says:

    ” Palestinian citizens or residents of Israel do not want to live under the PA. Why? Because it means living under military occupation, where you need to cross dozens of roadblocks in order to visit family members living a few miles away, where your access to schools, clinics, shops may be cut off because some 20-year old captain decided so without giving you any reasons, where you may be subject to physical assualt by Israeli soldiers and armed settlers any time of the day or night without warning. Would you be willing to live under these conditions?

    “As a Jewish citizen of the UK you are entitled to voice whatever views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If you support oppressive practices you should be called to account for that (politically and morally, not legally or physically). What is antisemitic about that?”

    Let’s take the issues one at a time. I don’t thnk anyone here is defending the occupation. On the other hand, I am a bit puzzled. If a Palestinian wants to get to a clinic in Palestine, there shouldn’t be a problem. In Gaza, certainly, Shalit is the only Israeli.

    I am a Jewish citizen of the US. (Hence the spelling differences.) I take fll responsibility for my constantly evolving views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict–just as I am sure Muslims in the US take full responsibility for their vies of Hezbullah, al-Qaeda, etc. However, I feel it would be wrong of me to tell Muslims to dis-associate themselves from al-Qaeda (or even Saudi Arabia and Syria to name but two noxious regimes) because doing so would imply that if they somehow did Not dis-associate themselves with the human rights abuses in those places then it would be OK to attack them as Muslms. I feel doing so, or even suggesting so would be terribly racist.

    Don’t you?

    Regards,

    Inna


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