More from Ran Greenstein and Robert Fine

The links to the debate so far are all here.

From Ran Greenstein:

Dear Robert,

Thanks again for your considered and reasonable contribution to the debate.

Here is – in brief – my response, with headings to highlight remaining
disagreements

1.      Zionism as a national movement and a colonial project

You say that Zionism was one among many European nationalist
movements, all of which contained “strong exclusionary forces”. You
add that many new independent states combine “a vibrant sense of
national freedom with exclusion of those deemed not to belong to the
nation in question”. In addition, most countries in the Middle East
are defined in ethnic or religious terms and are exclusionary to
various degrees. You use these points to argue that Israel is not
unique in displaying exclusionary tendencies.

You are right that exclusionary policies are not unique, but you
ignore a crucial aspect of the Israeli state that makes it stand out:
it was born out of a project that saw immigrants – mostly of European
origins – moving into a territory populated by local non-European
people, and displacing them (politically and physically). As a result,
Israel is viewed as part of the colonial enterprise of subordinating
indigenous populations and territories to settler rule. Regardless of
the subjective consciousness of settlers, they are perceived in this
light in much of Asia, Africa and Latin America. That accounts for the
wide sense of solidarity people in these parts of the world feel for
the Palestinian struggle. They see it as similar to their own
struggles against colonial and settler forces: if you want to
understand South African responses to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, look no further.

2.      The Nakba as ethnic cleansing

You acknowledge the exclusionary consequences of Zionist policies
towards Palestinians but regard the notion of “ethnic cleansing” as an
exaggeration. What better term do you propose to refer to the
flight/expulsion of 80% of the indigenous population of what became
the State of Israel in 1948? What better term for their prevention
from returning to their homes, villages and towns (frequently located
a few miles away from their new refugee camps)?

3.      Israel’s ‘drift to the right’

You recognize the “drift to the right” in Israel, but claim it is not
unique. In several European countries there is a drift to “an
increasingly ultra-nationalist right wing”. What you fail to consider
is that the nationalist right-wing in Israel argues that it is
resurrecting the original Zionist vision of exclusion. It describes
itself as a guard against any relaxation of segregation and
inequality. Its rallying cry is the need for an undiluted “Jewish
state” in the spirit of Herzl and Ben-Gurion. Of course, they may be
wrong or manipulative. But, ask yourself, what is it in the original
Zionist vision that allows them to claim it today to justify
anti-democratic abuses and exclusions? Why do their claims and
campaigns resonate with a large section of the Israeli-Jewish public,
born and raised on Zionist ideology?

4.      ‘Singling out’ Israel

You raise the point that many Jews were ill-treated in Arab and
Islamic countries, that Christian existence increasingly is under
attack, and that democracy is threatened due to the rise of religious
fundamentalism and secular authoritarianism in the Arab world. All
true. You then ask “From where then does the singling out of Israel
derive?”

The simple answer is that Israel ‘singles out’ itself by its policies:
it is unique in excluding the indigenous majority of its population in
order to clear the way for a group of settlers, who used force to
become a majority. That the settlers did not regard themselves as
foreigners, and in their minds they were returning to the land of
their ancestors, made no difference to the concerns of the locals: can
you think of a different response offered by any indigenous group in
Asia, Africa and the Americas to the prospect of European-originated
settlement?

To be precise, what is unique is not the historical context – many
states were born in violence and conflict – but the re-enactment of
the founding act of exclusion of 1948 on a daily basis. Take for
example this week’s Knesset bill, sponsored by members of Kadima
(hailed by some deluded people as a liberal alternative to Likud):
“The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Wednesday
unanimously approved a bill which gives the right to absorption
committees of small communities in Israel to reject candidates if they
do not meet specific criteria. The bill has sparked wide condemnation
and many believe it to be discriminatory and racist, since it allows
communities to reject residents if they do not meet the criteria of
‘suitability to the community’s fundamental outlook’, which in effect
enables them to reject candidates based on sex, religion, and
socioeconomic status.” In the minds of all participants in the debate
there was not the slightest doubt what the target was: preventing
Arabs from joining Jewish settlements that control the bulk of land in
Israel. But let us be fair. The exclusion is not complete: “The
committee’s chairman, David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), responded to
claims the bill was meant to reject Arabs from joining Israeli towns.
‘In my opinion, every Jewish town needs at least one Arab. What would
happen if my refrigerator stopped working on Shabbat?”
(http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/knesset-panel-approves-controversial-bill-allowing-towns-to-reject-residents-1.321433)

Can you think of another country (Western or otherwise) in which such
parliamentary debate can take place today? My point is not that racism
is extreme in Israel. Rather, it is that current legislation reflects
the uninterrupted practice of Zionist settlement from its inception.
The socialist, egalitarian Kibbutzim and collective Moshavim were/are
just as exclusionary as the unabashed racists under the leadership of
Lieberman and Yishai, who receive the tacit support of Netanyahu,
Livni and Barak. They all follow what Israeli historian and analyst
Meron Benvenisti called “the genetic [historical-cultural] code of a
settler society” (see here the useful discussion by ‘The Magnes
Zionist’ on http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/).

5.      Does Jewishnsess matter?

You say: “What is really unique about Israel is the Jewishness of the
Jewish state as opposed to the Arabness of an Arab state or indeed the
Britishness of the British state.” No. What is unique is that Israel
alone is based on historical dispossession of the indigenous
population, which continues to this day. Israel is not the only – or
worst – oppressive regime. It is not the only – or worst – state that
practices discrimination and violation of human rights. It is not the
only – or worst – state that emerged out of a violent colonial-type
conflict. It is not the only – or worst – state that dispossessed
indigenous people. But, it is indeed the only state that continues to
re-enact such historical dispossession today, in an ever intensified
form.

You say: “you do not ask why of all states it is Israel that is
selected out for not meeting this ideal” (of non-ethnic inclusive
democracy). But of course you know very well that Israel is not unique
in this respect: I happen to live in a state that experienced
precisely that kind of selection. How can you make an argument about
‘Jewishness’ as a reason for excessive criticism, when you are fully
aware that Afrikaners (or white South Africans generally) were
subjected to similar – and frequently much harsher – treatment?

If the Jewish state of Israel is treated in the same way as the white
Republic of South Africa was treated, it cannot possibly be because of
what they do not share (‘Jewishness’). It can only be because of what
they do share: exclusionary policies towards their indigenous
populations.

6.      What is to be done and how

Finally, you agree that change is necessary, but say that “the idea of
transformation from an ‘exclusionary ethnic state’ to ‘an inclusive
democratic state’ does justice neither to the past nor the future. In
this scenario the darkness of the past goes along with unlimited trust
in the future.” I am afraid that this has nothing to do with my
understanding of politics. What I call for is a process of political
struggle and change, proceeding through education, growing awareness,
and numerous campaigns, which would culminate – hopefully – in an
overall change of the system. It is likely to be a slow, gradual and
painful process. It is not a messianic transformation from one extreme
to another, and it should build on all the positive – but partial –
achievements of past struggles.

Most Jews in Israel are indeed fearful of this prospect, and most
Palestinians embrace nationalism and religion rather than non-ethnic
inclusive democratic notions. So change is not likely to be immediate,
easy or unproblematic. It may be a journey of a thousand miles, but
even such a journey must begin with one step, as long as we are moving
in the right direction (see today’s useful insights by historian
Dimitri Shumski on the need for an Israeli democratic state in
http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1195906.html – only in Hebrew
for now, but surely to be translated).

Where can we go from here despite our disagreements? Towards a common
struggle on what we agree on: the need to fight the occupation, the
need to make Israel a state in which all citizens are equal, the need
to respect international human rights law, the need to redress
historical injustices. Whether the academic boycott is a useful step
to take in this struggle is a minor point. Don’t let it distract us
from the more substantial task of transforming Israel into a democracy
that acts for the benefit of all its residents, past and present.

And this, hot off the press, the most irreverent independent
e-magazine in Israel:

Yossi Gurvitz, “Introducing ethnic segregation: the Q’aadan curse”:
http://972mag.com/the-q%E2%80%99aadan-curse/

And, Ami Kaufman, “Every Jewish community needs its nigger”:
http://972mag.com/%E2%80%9Cevery-jewish-community-needs-its-nigger%E2%80%9D/

Best Wishes

Ran Greenstein

From Robert Fine:

Dear Ran

Sorry once more for the delay in replying to your note. I won’t respond directly to each of the points you make – and to do them justice may require a historical knowledge I only wish I had – but offer you my general thoughts.

What strikes me most about your way of seeing your home country is the harshness of the language you use about it and its people – settler colonial state, exclusion, ethnic cleansing, segregation, racism, etc. – and the readiness with which you dismiss what you call the ‘subjective consciousness of settlers’. It seems to me that the story you construct about Israel is not false but lacks reflectivity.

First, it is selective in the way it picks out certain aspects of Israeli history and society at the expense of other aspects. A ‘Zionist’, so to speak, could equally well pick out these other aspects to construct the conventional laudation of Israel’s achievements in building modernity (democracy, a vibrant economy, worldliness, etc.) in its part of the Middle East. Neither story is right when turned into an absolute, not the ‘Zionist’ tale but not yours either. The point is not to say that one story is right and the other wrong, but to be open to the equivocations, the limits, of both.

Second, your story is interpretive in the way it characterises the elements that it does select. Take, for example, the epithet you use to describe those who came to Israel in its early days: ‘European settler colonists’. Clearly the status of Jews as ‘European’ has not been unproblematic over the centuries. On the contrary, it has been fragile and often denied, no more so of course than when the Nazis organised the murder of ‘European’ Jews. Equally it is difficult to accept that the status of Jews as ‘colonial’ can be the whole story at a time when some Jewish people formed one small part of a world revolution against European colonialism and for national independence. I don’t want to deny that there is a ‘colonial’ aspect to Jewish history in the Middle East, especially in relation to the exclusion of Palestinians and occupation of Palestinian land, only to say that your interpretation appears to me as one-sided as that of the ‘Zionists’ you criticise. I am not convinced, for instance, that it does much to illuminates the history of ethnic conflict in the Middle East to say either that the exclusion of Palestinians from Israel or the exclusion of Jews from Arab countries was a case of ‘ethnic cleansing’ – except, that is, in those instances when extreme violence was employed: like the massacre of over a hundred Palestinians by the Irgun in 1948 in Deir Yassin and the subsequent expulsion of the inhabitants of the village.

Third, it seems to me that your story offers a deeply unequal distribution of compassion and blame. All the compassion is for Palestinians, all blame for Israeli Jews. The two appear interlinked: the more you blame the Israelis, the more you feel for the Palestinians; the more you feel for the Palestinians, the more you condemn the Israelis for their suffering. In this scenario compassion for the victim becomes your justification for condemning those you declare victimisers (in this case Israeli Jews and only Israeli Jews) and on the other hand for substituting your voice for the many voices of the victims. Paradoxically, both sides end up dehumanised in this scenario: one side demonised, the other, as it were, ‘victimised’. Palestinians become only victims and victims only of Jews. This is not to deny that Palestinians are victims but I do protest against the epithet of victimhood overshadowing all other aspects of Palestinian subjectivity. Conversely Israelis becomes only victimisers. Against the pathos of ‘Zionist’ narratives of Jewish suffering no space is left for compassion, and against ‘Zionist’ narratives of only responding to Arab aggression no space is left for understanding the multiple subjectivities of Israeli Jews – or for that matter of Jews elsewhere.

You make many valid points. Of course Israel has and always has had its fair share of bigots, racists, ultra-nationalists and fundamentalists, but democracy in Israel is not simply a sham. It’s easy to say that today’s exclusion goes back to an original Zionist idea but the damage this does is not only to the complexities of history, it is also to democracy. It blunts the nerve of outrage to dismiss what right wingers in the Israeli government are now trying to impose on Israeli Palestinians as simply the same old logic of Zionist exclusion. In any event exclusion itself is not an absolute evil. The case I am making is that if we want to end the occupation and make Israel a state in which all citizens are equal, one step in this direction is to understand where different people are coming from, not to construct a tale of nationally defined villains and victims. It seems to me we need to place the issues we have discussed side by side, to let them breathe, not to squash them into a single non-negotiable narrative. The erasure of qualifications creates a comfortably reductive story, but to enable people to live together in peace requires that we assign to Israelis the same capacity to be ambivalent, wrong, thoughtful, anxious, wounded, reactive and strategic as we do to Palestinians.

To return to the question that triggered this dialogue, I was reading this morning a public letter written by a fellow academic, Denis Noble, resigning from our University College Union because of its boycott campaign against Israeli academic institutions. He writes that successive boycott resolutions passed by our union ‘discriminate against certain colleagues (Israelis) on the grounds of their nationality… and hold Israeli colleagues responsible for, and punish them for, the actions of their government via a type of reasoning (guilt by association) that is never applied to the academics of any other country’.  Surely this is right. We can all accept that the Israeli government is guilty of human-rights violations and that the union is entitled to criticise it, but as the author of this letter goes on to write, it is instructive to compare motions supporting boycott of Israel with motions about China, a country which has also occupied the territories of a different national group for many years and encourages its own nationals to establish settlement in the occupied territory. The motion on China reaffirms that UCU “will continue to condemn abuses of human rights of trade unionists and others” but at the same time recognises “the need to encourage collegial dialogue” with Chinese institutions.  We must ask ourselves why these double standards exist, why Israel is singled-out in this kind of way.

Finally in your letter you write understandably that ‘regardless of the subjective consciousness of settlers, they [Israelis] are perceived in this light [as part of the colonial enterprise of subordinating indigenous populations and territories to settler rule] in much of Asia, Africa and Latin America. That accounts for the wide sense of solidarity people in these parts of the world feel for the Palestinian struggle. They see it as similar to their own struggles against colonial and settler forces: if you want to understand South African responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, look no further’. You may well be right that many people in the non-Western world see the situation in Israel/Palestine through this anti-colonial lens. However, our task, as I see it, is not to confirm that this simulacrum of anti-colonialism is the real thing but to reach out beyond these categories to some foundation of human experience.

Best wishes, Robert Fine

84 Responses to “More from Ran Greenstein and Robert Fine”

  1. Greenstein Again at Z-Word Blog Says:

    [...] at Engage, with an astonishing degree of patience, they are giving space to an individual called Greenstein from South Africa. He wants an academic boycott of Israel, and [...]

  2. Harry Goldstein Says:

    Please forgive me if I cross-post my comment from Z-Word. I think this is important.

    We concede far too much when we admit comparisons with European settlers in America (north or south) and Australia.

    How clearly and often can we say it:

    The Zionists were NOT settlers in the above sense. They were legal immigrants within the laws of the existing ruling polity, the Ottoman Empire. They were subject to its laws, even in many cases being conscripted into the Ottoman army during WW1, and in some cases being imprisoned or expelled by the same Ottoman regime for political agitation. There wasn’t a single inch ‘occupied’ by the Jews that they hadn’t bought under the law of the land.

    Nor was the Zionist immigration an inevitable cause of displacement of the Arab population. On the contrary that population grew massively over those years, due to immigration from surrounding Arab countries. The reason was the economic progress triggered by the Zionist immigration into a previously stagnant and underpopulated region.

    The ‘naqba’ of 1948 was the direct result of the war of extermination launched by the Arabs against the Jews in 1947/8.

    It seems a pity that Robert, who admits to knowing little about the history, should collude in his opponent’s tendentious interpretation of the historical facts.

  3. Philip Says:

    The very reason that the land purchases were so controversial was that they did not fit in with the prevailing norms and customs of the society at that time. So the people who had in the past worked the land for absentee landlords were replaced by Zionists settlers, who brought their own workers in, and often their own guards to make sure that locals did not trespass. This was a huge deal in that kind of society, which can’t be explained away as you try to do.

    However, that’s in the past. The issue is today, where the settlement programme is a textbook exercise in colonialism. There is no recognised legal mechanism under which the settlement programme can be said to be legal. It good old-fashioned colonialism.

    • zkharya Says:

      ‘The very reason that the land purchases were so controversial was that they did not fit in with the prevailing norms and customs of the society at that time.’

      e.g. Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians did not want Jews living in the land in other than the tiny numbers they were accustomed, if not against whom they were acCUSTOMed to practise discrimination or apartheid, and had been, for centuries.

      What some call ‘resistance’, others call ‘apartheid’.

      ‘So the people who had in the past worked the land for absentee landlords were replaced by Zionists settlers, who brought their own workers in,’

      You mean ‘brought themselves’ in? Because that was the whole point of the exercise, and precisely to which the early Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalists objected?

      Seriously, Philip, do you read what you write?

      ‘and often their own guards to make sure that locals did not trespass.’

      Actually, the militias began to protect the lives and property of said settlers, from the Palestinian and other Arab Muslims who proved quite ready to take them from time to time.

      Among the ‘norms’ you mention is that Jews were not allowed to bear arms to defend themselves or their property until the late Ottoman period, and very much against the wishes of the locals.

      • Philip Says:

        So we have an observed phenomenon (viz. the indigenous people were not happy that another group came over and was gradually controlling more and more land) and I say that’s because it was unsettling economically and culturally. And you say they weren’t happy with it because they were racists.

        Sounds to me as though you are veering towards racism against Arabs yourself.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Isn’t it wonderful how Philip manages to read something into whatever anyone posts here which is other than what the plain words actually say and mean. He even, oh so subtly, accuses zkharya of being racist (“Sounds to me as though you are veering towards racism against Arabs yourself” is, as Morris said about Shlaim’s insult to him, a very British way of saying exactly that).

          And, by the way, Zkharya _doesn’t say that “… they weren’t happy with it because they were racists.” If Philip really believes that that is what he says, please deconstruct and explain, don’t, in effect, insinuate.

        • zkharya Says:

          ‘So we have an observed phenomenon (viz. the indigenous people were not happy that another group’

          About 20 000 Jews

          ‘came over’

          immigrated

          ‘and was gradually controlling more and more land)’

          You mean buying tiny areas of land and settling it? They rest migrating to towns?

          ‘and I say that’s because it was unsettling economically’

          In the late 19th early 20th century?

          ‘and culturally.’

          You mean the Jews didn’t behave like the dhimmi to which Palestinian Arab Muslims were acCUSTOMed? They actually dared to bear arms and defend themselves and their property? They didn’t let bedouin slit their throats at night? They didn’t bribe other bedouin to defend them?

          TINY areas of land. TINY. At some of the highest prices in the world.

          ‘And you say they weren’t happy with it because they were racists.’

          They were unhappy with more than a tiny number of Jews living in the land, against whom they had been acCUSTOMed to discriminate (practise apartheid?) for centuries.

        • Philip Says:

          Zkharya, I see! The bedouin are throat-slitters. Of course! There are many other ways of interpreting the reaction of Palestinians to the incoming Jewish migrants in the early 20th century. The one you have chosen is to say that the Arabs were racist. Which is basically anti-Arab racism. And on a site that is dedicated to anti-racism!

        • Jonathan Romer Says:

          “The bedouin are throat-slitters. Of course! There are many other ways of interpreting the reaction of Palestinians to the incoming Jewish migrants in the early 20th century. The one you have chosen is to say that the Arabs were racist. Which is basically anti-Arab racism.”

          This is very poor stuff indeed. You carp that Jews guarded their own property. Zkharya points out that they had reason to. Suddenly, he’s a racist. If you know so little history that you aren’t aware that the small, weak, Jewish communities of pre-Israel times — both Zionist and non- — were often subject to theft and violence, you’ve no business with something so dangerous as an opinion. Self-defence grew out of necessity.

          Not every Jewish action signals a malevolent desire to inflict harm on Arabs. There are many other ways of interpreting the reaction of Jews to the local Arabs in the early 20th century. The one you have chosen is to say that the Jews were racist. Which is basically anti-semitism.

        • Philip Says:

          No, what I am saying is racist is the way of assuming that Arab motivations were malevolent without due consideration of other possibilities as well as selective recollection in order to prove that point.

          There are many other ways of interpreting the reaction of Jews to the local Arabs in the early 20th century. The one you have chosen is to say that the Jews were racist. Which is basically anti-semitism.

          I don’t recall making comments about Jews being racist Could you cite the offending line please?

        • Jonathan Romer Says:

          “what I am saying is racist is the way of assuming that Arab motivations were malevolent without due consideration of other possibilities”

          What would be the benevolent motives for stealing livestock and farm implements, destroying property and attacking, sometimes killing, Jews?

        • Philip Says:

          Could you cite the offending line please?

        • Jonathan Romer Says:

          “Could you cite the offending line please?”

          The lines that offended me are yours, and I cited them. What is it you want?

        • Philip Says:

          Apologies, I misunderstood your comment at first. This was certainly not a universal reaction. As i said in my initial comment, the Jewish migrants significantly changed the way that the land was farmed. While many farms were owned by absentee landlords (often based in Lebanon), locals had been accustomed to farming this land. The Jewish migrants who bought the land turfed these people off it, farming it themselves and often bringing in their own, Jewish, farm hands. This was economically unsettling, since it deprived many of their means of subsistence. And it was also culturally upsetting. This is not to condone acts of violence, which did occur. But it does help to explain why these reactions were not born of racism. Khalidi discusses this, and provides plenty of evidence from Ottoman and other local sources, in much more details.

        • zkharya Says:

          ‘Apologies, I misunderstood your comment at first. This was certainly not a universal reaction. As i said in my initial comment, the Jewish migrants significantly changed the way that the land was farmed. While many farms were owned by absentee landlords (often based in Lebanon), locals had been accustomed to farming this land. The Jewish migrants who bought the land turfed these people off it, farming it themselves and often bringing in their own, Jewish, farm hands. This was economically unsettling, since it deprived many of their means of subsistence.’

          You mean Jews bought land, worked and settled it.

          Yes, but the numbers dispossessed or disowned were very small as was the area of land.

          ‘ And it was also culturally upsetting.’

          You mean the presence of too many Jews, conducting themselves as though they were the equal of Palestinian Arab Muslims, as if they owned property, and were entitled to work and protect it was unsettling to some?

          Absolutely.

          ‘This is not to condone acts of violence, which did occur.’

          Yes, they did. Which necessitated the formation of militias.

          ‘But it does help to explain why these reactions were not born of racism.’

          No, it doesn’t. Very traditional Palestinian Arab Muslim prejudice was involved, often. Especially in the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalists who promoted it.

          What Neville Mandel shows is that, while there often was friction between Jewish settlers and locals in the late 19th century, these were usually resolved.

          In was the more educated and urban Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian middle class, who might see relatively large numbers of Jews (compared to heretofore) arriving say in Haifa harbour, before they dispersed all over the country, who feared rivalry in their more urban, middle class professions, who tended to stoke the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalism that almost from its inception was calling for a cessation of all Jewish immigration into Palestine.

          In any case, Jews were to settle chiefly in towns and cities, sometimes building their own, as in Tel Aviv. They used less land more efficiently.

          ‘Khalidi discusses this, and provides plenty of evidence from Ottoman and other local sources, in much more details.’

          This doesn’t sound especially new or original. But, in my experience, Palestinian Arab nationalist authors tend to suppress the less attractive aspects to nascent Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalism, or anything that suggests very traditional Arab Muslim and Christian anti-Jewish prejudice was involved.

          I do not believe that Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians ever had the right to deny Jews some kind of right or return or restoration, certainly not the right to block Jewish immigration altogether.

          By doing so, frankly, they sowed the seeds of the disaster that was to befall them; by refusing to come to some kind of compromise with the Jew; by the efforts to exclude, expel or eliminate them; not only in Palestine, but elsewhere.

          When Mahmoud Al-Zahar gives a rendition of Jewish history that depicts as a tissue of dispossessions, past and future, as a punishment for their sins, he is continuing in a very old Palestinian Arab Islamic vain, which also traditionally held Jews to be a people dispossessed as a punishment for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets.

          But, instead of that teaching Palestinian Arab Muslims or Christians a measure of sympathy for Jews in their dispossession, it taught them exactly the opposite lesson: to endeavour to exclude them, and keep them in their state of dispossession. Not only from Palestine, but in some cases from everywhere else, including this world, as in the case of early Palestinian Arab Islamic nationalist sympathy for Hitler , or in that of co-leader and founder of Hamas, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, today.

          Early Zionist principles were not set in stone. And had Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians had the imagination, they could have come to an agreement or compromise that sought assuage both peoples’ desire for national self-determination and justice.

          Instead they opted for the absolutist measure of seeking to keep the Jews out (or worse); a measure rooted in a very traditional Palestinian Arab Islamic and Christian assumption of superiority over Jews, and a knowledge of the proper place of the Jews as largely dispossessed of the land for their sins, and Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians as largely possessed of the land for their respective virtues.

          The British caved into these demands by blocking Transjordan and most of western Palestine to Jewish settlement, which was another factor that made future conflict likely inevitable.

        • Jonathan Romer Says:

          “Apologies, I misunderstood your comment at first. This was certainly not a universal reaction.”

          What’s the point of all this, Phillip? You come with complaints that Zkharya imputes the worst motives he can to Arabs, whilst at the very same time distorting Zionist history into a fairytale that seems to draw more on the enclosure of the English commons than on Levantine reality. After going round and round for a while, you’re reduced to banalities like the above.

          Nobody has suggested that either the antisemitism or the banditry was universal and, again, what’s your point? Is there some threshold level for attacks on the Yishuv and its property below which you think it had no right to protect itself, but above which it would have been OK? Was it all fine so long as the violence wasn’t motivated by, God forbid, race hate?

          Yes, societies struggle with change, the more so when they are traditional in character. And yes, Palestine and the rest of the Middle East underwent huge upheavals around the turn of the 20th century, in which the influx of Jews played a part — alongside many other factors. But being good anti-racists, we don’t usually use this obvious truth to justify or explain away an outpouring of xenophobic or racist rejectionism. Rejectionism, in this particular case, which is antisemitic, sometimes explicitly and always in effect, and has now been permitted, in fact encouraged, to drag on for a century. When the BNP and the EDL rant on about the immigrants who are ruining Britain, do you visit anti-racist websites to say “You’ve got to look at it through their eyes”?

        • Philip Says:

          Zkharya, wait, you’re presenting Hamas as the supposed Palestinian historian to argue against? Come on…

          Jonathan Romer, actually, someone did say that antisemitism was a universal feature of the Palestinian reaction to Jewish migration to the Mandate Territory.

          There are plenty of people who are deeply unsettled, culturally and economically, by migration to the UK. Change is always unsettling. People lose jobs, etc., etc. Not everyone who reacts that way is a BNP or EDL supporter. Should we see things through the eyes of people who are unsettled? Yes. Should we excuse BNP and EDL behaviour and violence? No. Should we see things through the eyes of Palestinians? Yes. Should we assume that because a minority were involved in antisemitism that all of them were? No. Simple, really.

      • zkharya Says:

        ‘Zkharya, I see! The bedouin are throat-slitters. Of course!’

        If you say so. I didn’t.

        ‘There are many other ways of interpreting the reaction of Palestinians to the incoming Jewish migrants in the early 20th century.’

        Not when your throat is slit.

        ‘The one you have chosen is to say that the Arabs were racist.’

        Actually, I didn’t say that.

        But Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians, as a group, as a nation, were not saints. And they had a history of discrimination, sometimes persecution, occasional murder and massacre of Jews.

        And certain anti-Jewish, sometimes antisemitic prejudices and assumptions are not hard to trace or discern in the earliest Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalist authors.

        ‘Which is basically anti-Arab racism.’

        Huh? Remarking Arab racism when it is occurs is anti-Arab racism?

        ‘And on a site that is dedicated to anti-racism!.’

        What, your ignoring, overlooking, conniving at or explaining Arab racism constitutes anti-racism?

        You’re confused.

        • Philip Says:

          I don’t think anyone would argue that there is any national group that can be held up as saints. That much is uncontroversial.

          What is controversial, and indeed racist, is making out as though Arabs as a group, more than other groups, were somehow more or even innately antisemitic. I know it works well because it helps you to justify your ideological narrative, but the record is not quite so simple, which is why I recommend that you read this book, and then get back to me: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0231105150/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_3?pf_rd_p=103612307&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0231074352&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=00GXSGGH7ZD7TBEP01Y8.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          This is Philip.”Sounds to me as though you are veering towards racism against Arabs yourself.” And this is what he said in a comment just above zkharya’s above: “I don’t recall making comments about Jews being racist Could you cite the offending line please?”

          Certainly at least one Jew he’s accusing of being racist (just recall the Benny Morris line about Avi Shlaim saying of Morris that he “was in danger of becoming a liar”, which Morris noted was a very British way of saying that Morris was a liar).

          Seems to me that Philip is following in very distinguished footsteps, assuming that one thinks that Avi Shlaim’s footsteps are distinguished.

        • zkharya Says:

          ‘What is controversial, and indeed racist, is making out as though Arabs as a group, more than other groups, were somehow more or even innately antisemitic.’

          I didn’t say either of those things.

        • Philip Says:

          You certainly give the impression that you think that by failing to consider alternative explanations for Palestinian reactions.

          I’ll have a look at the book you cite. One problem with these accounts is an overwhelming reliance on European sources, however. This is why Khalidi is so helpful. He looks at Ottoman and other local sources. What do you make of this issue?

        • zkharya Says:

          ‘You certainly give the impression that you think that by failing to consider alternative explanations for Palestinian reactions’

          ….that by failing to consider to consider etc what?

          ‘I’ll have a look at the book you cite. One problem with these accounts’

          Which accounts? Mandel?’
          ‘is an overwhelming reliance on European sources, however.
          ‘This is why Khalidi is so helpful.’

          Which is why Mandel is helpful.

          ‘He looks at Ottoman and other local sources. What do you make of this issue?’

          What issue? Modern Palestinian Arab nationalist self-censoring of their earliest sources?

        • zkharya Says:

          ‘‘You certainly give the impression that you think that by failing to consider alternative explanations for Palestinian reactions’

          They aren’t ‘alternative’. It isn’t either/or. Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians feared dispossession. In fact, what they fear is becoming the new Jews, the new dispossessed of the earth. They feared that what they had believed was the proper, deserved fate of Jews, their exile and dispossession, would in turn become their own.

          I question their right to exclude Jews, to keep Jews dispossessed; their assumption that the land was essentially theirs, and that Jews had no fundamental right of return, as a matter or justice and need.

          I certainly question their right to side with the persecutors of Jews worldwide, or to facilitate them, or to seek/have sought to expel or eliminate Palestinian, Israeli or any other Jews.

          These beliefs have a long pedigree in the evolution of modern Palestinian Arab Muslim and even Christian nationalism. They continue today in the pronouncements of Mahmoud Al-Zahar, who is a direct ideological descendant of Haj Amin Al-Husseini, and the reactionaries who preceded him.

        • zkharya Says:

          Hi Philip,

          I just noticed a longish post didn’t get through. Briefly I said I can’t afford Khalidi at the mo, but I have and have read e.g. Maslih’s The origins of Palestinian nationalism. And even Maslih uses Mandel’s book as a source. I tried to get hold of Benny Morris’ review of Khalidi online, but it isn’t openly available without access to the journal of Israel Studies.

          I also have Nur Masalha’s The expulsion of the Palestinians, which details ‘transfer’ in Zionist discourse (not unproblematically, it must be said) but, while big on detailing Zionist Jewish sins is understandably short on detailing the equivalent ideas in Palestinian nationalist discourse, precisely for his own Palestinian nationalist reasons. It is always easier to address the shortcomings of one’s opponent that those of one’s own.

        • zkharya Says:

          ‘‘Zkharya, wait, you’re presenting Hamas as the supposed Palestinian historian to argue against?’’

          Further, I think Al-Zahar, a politician speaking to his (originally elected) audience could be taken as being no less representative of his constituency i.e. Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians generally than Khalidi.

          In any case, here is the link to Mandel’s book again

          http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=kdnxxIskv_MC&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq=khalidi+neville+mandel&source=bl&ots=ZU7fbFhfvT&sig=n2Ksd_LdB5mVcgvbofCqswH6Q6E&hl=en&ei=PWrqTJLJHJSK4gas5fT4Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAg#v=snippet&q=weakest&f=false

      • zkharya Says:

        ‘Zkharya, wait, you’re presenting Hamas as the supposed Palestinian historian to argue against?’

        What do you mean ‘argue against’?

        I am saying that Al-Zahar’s take on Jewish history is in a sense very traditional Palestinian Islamic (with an exception being his take on the Exodus), which also held the Jews to be a people historically dispossessed for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets.

        Compare the remarks of Rashid Rida in 1898 (Mandel, p. 45-46, of the google book, to which I link, though I cannot copy and paste).

        I think both Rashid and Al-Zahar were less concerned about saying things with which potential western allies, such as yourself, would feel comfortable. They were speaking and writing in Arabic for their own domestic audience.

        Like al-Taji in his more explicitly anti-Semitic and Islamic triumphalist (but also, by extension, Christian triumphalist, since it was published by the Orthodox Christian run ‘Falastin’) anti-Zionist poem (the first recorded: Mandel, p. 175-176) of 1913.

        ‘Come on’.

        ‘Come on’ what? Your attempt to transmute what I did say into something I did not?

        ‘Evidence, evidence, evidence is the name of the game.’

        What have you produced, precisely, other than a link to a book that no one can read or access?

      • zkharya Says:

        Philllip, I assume you actually possess Khalidi’s book. Could I ask you a favour?

        On p. 242 of the google edition is a footnote, no. 17. It says’s Mandel’s book ‘is the most thorough’. Could you go back to the original page (which is unavailable in Google books) and clarify in what way Mandel’s book ‘is the most thorough’?

        Thank you.

    • Inna Says:

      “The very reason that the land purchases were so controversial was that they did not fit in with the prevailing norms and customs of the society at that time..”

      Or, as jihad watch puts it (about a different group of immigrants): “”You can’t expect British society to be reconfigured around you.” That, of course, is precisely what jihadists not only expect, but demand..”

      Regards,

      Inna

      • Philip Says:

        Not sure of the relevance of this comment. Are you saying that you think the Zionists, like Muslim migrants to the UK, should have adapted to local forms and customs of land tenure?

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          No, that clearly isn’t what Inna is saying, Philip. She’s saying that those who resented and resisted (violently) the Jewish land purchase were refusing to acknowledge that the world had changed and that the new “forms and customs”now permitted this.

          As I’ve said before, if you don’t like this, go and complain to the Turkish empire.

          This is very different from the jihad watch comment, which is that the world hasn’t changed in the UK and elsewhere and that newcomers should note that and adjust to the unchanging (broadly) prevailing norms and customs and not fdemand that 98.5% of the rest of the population become like them.

          Doesn’t work like that.

        • zkharya Says:

          Local Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian ‘custom’ was that Jews remain a tiny, discriminated against minority, that knew its place as a people humiliated and largely exiled and dispossessed.

          Hence the Palestinian Arab nationalist slogan, datable to at least the 1920s:

          Filastin biladna
          W’al Yahud kalabna

          Palestine is our land
          And the Jews are our dogs

      • zkharya Says:

        Interestingly, on a cursory scan, Khalidi refers to Rida and al-Taji, but merely quotes one line from the latter.

        He also uses Mandel for other information.

        • zkharya Says:

          Briefly, p. 99-100, Khalidi uses Mandel to note that Jewish settlers were repeatedly harrasssed by Palestinian Arabs in the 1880s, but friction died down when some land was leased back to them.

          Also 96-97, up to 1914 only 10-12 000 of Palestinian Jews resided outside cities i.e. the area of land colonised was very small.

  4. Thomas Venner Says:

    The other thing that hasn’t been pointed out for some reason is that the majority of Jewish immigration into what would become the state of Israel did not come from Europe.

    The majority of Israel’s population is, and always has been, composed of Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews native to the Middle East and North Africa. Comparatively few European Jews migrated to the region before the rise of Fascism, and the British Government made sure that comparatively few managed to take refuge there during the 1930s and 40s. After the establishment of the state of Israel, around 250,000 Ashkenazi Jews moved there during the late 40s-early 50s, along with around 850,000 more Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews who had been stripped of their property and forcibly expelled from most of the other states in the Middle East as collective punishment for Israel’s declaration of independence.

    Until the fall of Communism, which led to a wave of Jewish immigration from former Eastern Bloc states during the 1990s, there was a negligible amount of immigration into Israel from Europe (and a similarly minimal amount from the USA, with the exception of the settlers, who don’t exactly live in Israel anyway). Most of the Ashkenazi Jews who moved to Israel shortly after it was founded have by now mixed in with the majority Mizrahi and Sephardi populations to the point where, several generations on, they are no longer culturally or ethnically distinct. Most of the noticeably “European” Jews in Israel are part of the more recent waves of immigration from the past twenty years.

    At the moment, another wave of European Jewish immigration into Israel is taking place, predominantly composed of Jews from France, Sweden and from the large communities of predominantly European Jews in Venezuela, who fled there to escape from the Nazis during the 1930s and are now having to leave on account of the anti-Semitic campaigns of the Chavez government. In recent years, the last remaining Jewish communities in Yemen, who have traditionally been anti-Zionist, have relocated to Israel to escape persecution, and substantial numbers of Ethiopian Jews, predominantly from Zimbabwe, have begun to move to Israel as well.

    I hope some of that helps disperse the myth that Israel is some kind of European “colony”.

  5. Lynne T Says:

    Absent from this debate between Greenstein and Fine is any reference to the very significant number of non-Ashkenazic Jewish Israelis, who often abandoned significant holdings in Egypt, Iraq, Iran, etc., to settle in Israel. Those Jews and their descendents however, are never referred to as refugees because they were settled. The occupation and the continued existence of “refugee camps” is not simply the result of Israel capturing the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and refusing to return it to their “rightful” owners, but of a conscious policy practiced by the Arab League, the PLO and even the UN for constituting a special body for one particular group of refugeee claimants.

  6. Stephen Rothbart Says:

    The entire world is full of colonists. At some time or other, the indigenous populations of almost every nation in Europe came from somewhere else, through natural migration and also conquest. This also goes for the United States, Canada, the former Soviet Union, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

    The entire Middle East is made up of wandering tribes and clans, each with different ethnic cultures and religious interpretations. Until quite recently, they were all under Ottoman rule, and Turkey occupies the Kurdish lands, as does Iraq. Both are practising ethnic cleansing today, and the Armenians also have a view on Turkey that is less than flattering.

    Ironically, the one nation that did not start with either migration or conquest is Israel.

    The State of Israel was legally granted status by the United Nations. The Jews living there were then attacked by those Arab states and Egypt, that did not accept the UN vote.

    I do not mean to revisit a history that most people already know, but the above information is factual.

    The only difference is time. Some nations are hundreds of years old, some occupations or military conquests older or some more recent.

    But they are, nonetheless, often the results of ‘ethnic cleansing.’

    The Czech Republic, where I live, expelled the Sudetan Germans after the Second World War. That is ethnic cleansing and happened more or less at the same time as the Palestinian ‘naqba.’

    No one is boycotting the Czech Republic. In Belgium the Walloons and Flemish populations are in a fight that could break the nation.

    No one is boycotting Belgium.

    Poland occupies some of Germany and Russia occupies some of Poland. Such is life.

    The only difference is that for the Jews of Israel to survive, they have to fight, not negotiate.

    As I have said before in earlier posts to this discussion, there is no credible partner for Peace on the Palestinian side. There has been continual warfare carried out during Israel’s short 60 years, which has made the country paranoid and the people have become hardened against compromise. It’s hard to like a people that have schools with maps where Israel does not exist, and their leaders call the Jews dogs and monkeys, blow up cafes and shops, and school buses, and fire rockets at you.

    I know when the IRA were bombing us in London and other UK cities, how I felt about the Irish living among us, even though many were as repulsed as I was by what was done in their name.

    It’s only human. But again and again, Ran ignores the underlying truth about why Israel, alone, is picked out for special censure.

    I refer to this recent letter sent by a fellow South African Jew to Medecins Sans Frontieres:

    ‘Dear Sir/Madam,

    When my daughter wed in July 2006, in lieu of gifts she asked for donations to be made to Doctors without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières as our family had always supported the Group.
    Well, I have a regret. I’ve just read a presentation by Alan Dershowitz:
    “Doctors Without Borders erected borders when it came to Israeli doctors who flew to the Congo to treat 50 local villagers who had been severely burned. The Israeli volunteers worked around the clock, treated the burn victims and trained local doctors to perform skin grafts, and donated tons of medical equipment.
    But Doctors Without Borders refused to work with the Israeli medics and para medics and treated them “as though we were occupiers.” – quoted one Israeli medic.
    Dr. Marie Pierre Allie, President of the French branch of the organization, said that “Israel’s actions in Gaza were actually worse than the Darfur genocide in the Sudan.”
    Only a blind moonbat could even make such a comparison! MSF has an apparent problem with one democratic Jewish State but is quite at ease with the existence and actions of 56 dysfunctional & corrupt Islamic states. As one critic has put it well, “These are Doctors With Borders – and without scruples.”
    Google “Doctors without Borders Israel” and you will get more confirmation of the reactions around the world.
    My family will no longer donate to Doctors without Borders until this cynical, hateful and bitter culture towards Israel – which obviously emanates from the top – ceases.
    I shall disseminate this email as widely as I can and shall ask recipients to forward it on also.’

    This action by MSF actually endangers lives. It’s not far from the comments made by senior members of the UN and EU about Israel’s ventures to Haiti after the devastating earthquake, that they only went there to harvest the organs of the children.

    What kind of hate is there that allows an Israeli doctor to be treated so appallingly?

    When will Ran realize that high-minded and one-sided essays such as his on Israel only reinforce the Jew haters, and do nothing to move the situation forward in the Middle East.

    The groundswell of anti-Semitism is increasing. Israel is used as the pretext for it, but most Jews can recognize it for what it is.

    If the ethnic cleansing that has afflicted the Jewish nation these last two thousand years comes again, Ran’s moral self-righteousness will not save him. It never saved the European Jews who converted to Christianity to save themselves. It won’t save him.

    Time to chose a side and decide which one you wish to prevail, Ran. By all means comment and persuade. Happily you can still do it in Israel without imprisonment or censure.

  7. Harry Goldstein Says:

    Philip,

    You have completely misunderstood my point. Yes, some (not all) Jewish land purchases were from absentee landlords. Yes, some (not all) resulted in the displacement of tenants. Yes, this was unpopular. But none of this is relevant to my point.

    The key point is that there is all the difference in the world between an immigrant – someone who enters another state legally under the laws of that state – and a settler – someone who occupies land by force or fait accompli in the absence of any indigenous state authority. The Europeans who first settled the United States and Australia were clearly settlers. The Jews who entered Palestine under both Ottoman and British rule were immigrants, just as the people from all over the world who have entered Britain over the last few decades were immigrants. We wouldn’t denounce the latter because they ‘settled’ in historic Anglo-Saxon lands (although a member of the BNP might) nor would we attack them as immigrants because their presence led to unpopular social changes. We would deal with the social problems, if there were any, as social problems.

    The anti-Israel lobby has misrepresented the Zionists of the 1880s through to the 1940s as ‘settlers’ when they were in fact immigrants. This results from a complete misunderstanding, or perhaps deliberate misrepresentation, of the situation obtaining in Palestine during this period.

    And no, it’s not just in the past. If it were, you wouldn’t have challenged me on it. It goes to the heart of the delegitimisation of Israel and its right to self-determination.

    • Philip Says:

      But in most (not all) cases, the intent of the Zionists was to found their own state. So the while the methodology was different, the intent was not. It’s not a misrepresentation therefore to say that this is a colonial state. Which is now continuing in the West Bank.

      Now, no one is saying that we should roll back all of that settler activity back. It’s a fait accompli and besides, there are good reasons for Israel to exist. What people are saying is that the settler activity that is ongoing, in the West Bank, should be stopped. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. And it’s certainly not about ‘deligitimisation’.

      I recommend reading Fred Halliday and Rashid Khalidi for some of the background.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        Philip recommends us to read Fred Halliday and Rashid Khalidi. I am unable to comment on Halliday, because Philip fails to provide a link to his writing on this topic. However, when Khalidi came up earlier (on an earlier Fine/Greenstein article, on the page before this – it’s the one with 99 comments), recommended to me by Philip, I responded thus:

        “Then we have Rashid Khalidi. Interesting person. The Wikipedia entry on him has this to say (and I didn’t write it, don’t know who did, and have never made any contribution of any kind to Wikipedia): ‘Khalidi has described discussions of Arab restitution for property confiscated from Jewish refugees forced to flee Middle Eastern and North African countries after the creation of Israel as “insidious”, “because the advocates of Jewish refugees are not working to get those legitimate assets back but are in fact trying to cancel out the debt of Israel toward Palestinian refugees.”‘

        What do think of that, Philip? Fair? Even-handed? Would you expect that, to be even-handed, he would and should say the same things about the “dispossessed Palestinians”? Or are their claims equally insidious (his word)? Surely, as an academic and an intellectual (Professor at Columbia University – high class place, that), we should expect consistency from him. Or is he just an ideologue?

        Then we find this on him, from my google search:
        “Obama Pal Rashid Khalidi Back in the News for Aiding Hamas
        July 20, 2010 5:09 P.M.
        By Andy McCarthy
        President Obama’s good friend, former PLO mouthpiece Rashid Khalidi, is back in the news. He has signed an appeal for funds to outfit another ship that, like the “peace flotilla,” would try to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the territory controlled by Hamas — the foreign terrorist organization that is the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian arm.

        The ship would be called — wait for it — The Audacity of Hope.”

        I think that’s from a website called “One Nation”, but I could be wrong. Google UK threw it up, at about 4 or 5 down, when I googled Rashid Khalidi.

        You’ll gather I’m less than overwhelmed by you third choice of witness.”

        Apologies for the length of that. Philip then accused me of saying that Khalidi was a supporter of Hamas, when I merely repeated what my google search had turned up. He at no point attempted to refute as untrue or inaccurate the comments I quoted. And the second quote wasn’t from One Nation, but I haven’t bothered to refind it, especially as the accuracy hasn’t been queried.

        Of course, people will make up their own minds about how useful Rashid Khalidi is to this debate, but beware being smeared by association by Philip if you dare to find any source he suggests less than wonderful.

      • zkharya Says:

        ‘But in most (not all) cases, the intent of the Zionists was to found their own state.’

        It depends when you mean. In the formative late 19th early 20th centuries, most had the notion of wanting

        a) to live in the land

        b) to ultimately rule themselves, not to be ruled by others, certainly not Arab Muslims (or Christians) who had practised apartheid against Jews for centuries.

        If the British had allowed Jews to settle east of the Jordan, and not restricted most of the western part to Jewish purchase and settlement, that might have been possible a bi-national state, the two populations, Jewish and Arab being far more interspersed and integrated.

        But they gave into Arab nationalist pressure, which resented more than a tiny number of the Jews in the land in any case. 1921 probably made partition inevitable.

        From the earliest records, in the late 19th early 20th century, Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalists ask Turk or British to halt all Jewish migration into the land.

        From then on Jews had to preserve and defend their right and ability to immigrate. That made a proto-state in the form of the Yishuv inevitable. Jews had no choice but to immigrate against the wishes of the locals. It was either that or not immigrate at all. And the more Jews, the easier it was to join them.

        The only way to appease Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian resentment was not to immigrate, period.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          “Also, can I suggest that if post something that suggests that Khalidi is a Hamas supporter, it suggests that that is what you think.”

          Philip, this is your interpretation, because I refuse to roll over and wave my legs gently in the air. Just stop trying to smear me. It makes you look like the character in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”: “those who are not with us are against us.”

          You compound this when you go on to say that: “Still, from the internal consistency of what you cite, the logic is faulty. Supporting a boat for Gazan aid is quite different from supporting Hamas.” I note that all I’ve done is quote from an online newspaper, which may or may not be accurate. Nothing you have posted is evidence that the report is wrong. Indeed, you have notably failed to refute (with evidence, note) either of the quotes I cited in the original post. You’ve just attempted to use the McCarthyite tactic of guilt by association.

          Evidence, evidence, evidence. Or shut up and stop smearing me.

          All I’ve said is that I’m unhappy with Khalidi as a witness for the defence (or prosecution, or whatever). Seems reasonable to me. I can’t help it if you find this unreasonable, but can’t find any evidence to sustain your position.

          And, by the way, what about the quote from Wikipedia about Khalidi’s assertion that any demands for compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab lands is “insidious”? I note no reference from you to _that_ quote, or my extension of it. Is that because it’s true and unanswerable?

          Answers on a postcard, please.

        • Philip Says:

          Brian, quite the opposite is true. I presented a qualified academic’s book. An academic who has published widely on the subject, and who holds a distinguished chair at a top university, much like De Montfort. You chose to try to discredit him. Now you disown the references you gave. If you want to make an argument against Khalidi then you must present evidence. Otherwise, he is innocent until proven guilty. Oh, and it’s rude to tell someone to shut up.

  8. zkharya Says:

    ‘No. What is unique is that Israel
    alone is based on historical dispossession of the indigenous
    population’

    Never mind the US, Australia etc, what about Greece, Turkey, India and Pakistan?

    What about the fact that dispossession or worse was threatened against Palestinian and Israeli Jews, until 1988 with the PLO, until today with Hamas?

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      Actually, Pakistan is a very good point of comparison. It was founded at the same time as Israel, as a home for a specific ethno-religious group, and involved a more or less total dispossession and displacement of those living there who did not belong to said group. Both states were created for groups of people who wanted self-determination, though Israel was also intended as a refuge for a group who had suffered repeated attempts at genocide during their recent history, which cannot be said for Pakistan.

      To this day, religious minorities in Pakistan, who only comprise around 3% of the population, have their political rights constitutionally limited. In Israel, although there is strong evidence of institutional discrimination in some areas, ethnic and religious minorities (who comprise around 25-30% of the population) have the same political rights as the majority population.

      Pakistan barely functions as a democracy, with the military maintaining enormous power and religious courts still able to exert considerable control over the judicial system. Human rights abuses are commonplace. Israel suffers from a labyrinthine political system based around coalitions formed from large numbers of small, constantly squabbling political parties, many of whom hold views that most people would find highly objectionable, but still functions as a democracy, with every citizen having an equal vote. Political censorship is minimal, and generally only applied to parties promoting acts of violence. The military has no real power over the civil authorities, and religious authorities only have authority over matters directly concerning religion, with the judicial system and government operating according to secular principles. Human rights abuses have been recorded, but to no greater extent than in most Western democracies (and to a far lesser extent than in the USA).

      Despite Pakistan’s flaws, no sane person would claim, especially after over sixty years of its existence, that it does not have the right to exist, that it should be treated as a pariah state, or that it should be forced to let itself be re-absorbed into India.

      Likewise, nobody compares Pakistan to Nazi Germany or the Apartheid regime in South Africa, calls for Pakistan’s economic, cultural and academic exclusion or treats individual Pakistanis as if they were all monsters (apart, of course, from racists).

      If we strip everything down to the most basic points of comparison, Israel is essentially a smaller, slightly nicer version of Pakistan (with an even better reason for its creation in the form of the need to protect the people who went to live there from any further genocide attempts). So what exactly makes Israel so much worse? Why does Israel find itself subjected to calls for exclusion, comparisons with Nazi Germany, accusations of Apartheid, of genocide, of all manner of atrocious crimes, and told that it has no right to exist and that its majority population should give up on their only chance for self-determination and submit to subjugation or ethnic cleansing at the hands of the “rightful” owners of their country, when Pakistan, a state that is essentially the same in principle, experiences none of this?

      I think we all know the reason by now. I don’t need to say it.

  9. zkharya Says:

    Logical contradiction:

    ‘No. What is unique is that Israel
    alone is based on historical dispossession of the indigenous
    population, which continues to this day…It is not the only – or worst – state that dispossessed indigenous people. But, it is indeed the only state that continues to re-enact such historical dispossession today, in an ever intensified
    form.’

    How many Kurds did the Turks dispossess from the 1980s? How many Greek Cypriots in 1974?

    A curious expression ‘re-enact such a historical dispossession’. What, exactly, does it mean?

    And does Turkey not ‘re-enact’ its dispossessions, and genocide, by refusing to acknowledge them?

    What does ‘in an ever intensified form’ mean? That Israeli Jews are expelling more Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians than Palestinian or Zionist Jews did, in the past?

    Ran Greenstein has an interesting use of language, all his own.

    No less pertinent, what about the dispossession or genocide threatened against Israeli Jews, by the PLO until 1988, by Hamas until today, as well as by other groups?

    i.e. what about a context of struggle and war, in which Israeli and Palestinian Jews have been threatened by expulsionist or eliminationist enemies, for decades?

  10. zkharya Says:

    ‘Ran Greenstein has an interesting use of language, all his own.’

    A mystical, quasi-religious one, even. Israel ‘re-enacts’ past dispossessions, by not executing any to anything like the same extent, yet, even so, ‘in an intensified form’.

    This is truly a work of exegesis. Truly you have found the new in the old.

  11. zkharya Says:

    ‘You acknowledge the exclusionary consequences of Zionist policies towards Palestinians but regard the notion of “ethnic cleansing” as an exaggeration. What better term do you propose to refer to the flight/expulsion of 80% of the indigenous population of what became the State of Israel in 1948? What better term for their prevention from returning to their homes, villages and towns (frequently located
    a few miles away from their new refugee camps)?’

    By the same token, Turkey is ‘re-enacting…in an intensified form’ its genocide against Armenian Christians by

    a) refusing to acknowledge it

    b) doing nothing to redress it.

    And that doesn’t even start on its other documented dispossessions, of recent times.

    ‘What better term for their prevention from returning to their homes, villages and towns (frequently located
    a few miles away from their new refugee camps)?’

    Further, in most other situations, a refugee a mere few miles from their origin is not considered a refugee, least of all one that lives in built up suburbs, clothed and fed daily free of charge, for nearly 60 years. How much further had to come Jews? And over how greater a period of time? Did a UN body feed and clothe them, free of charge, for 60 years?

    No. Which is why they had to build a state.

  12. Harry Goldstein Says:

    Another response to the ‘dispossession’ narrative is also evident from the facts of Palestine’s population development.

    I pointed out in my first post that the Arab population of Palestine grew dramatically during the period of Zionist immigration, as a direct consequence of the economic development triggered by the latter. It is not often appreciated how significant this was.

    The population of the whole of Palestine was estimated in the mid-19th century as about 250,000 (of which about 20,000 were Jews). By comparison, the population in Roman times is thought to have been about 1 million.

    By 1921 – i.e. after the first two major waves of Zionist immigration – the Arab population had grown to around 1.25 million, largely by inmigration from surrounding countries. And the Arab population continued to grow during the succeeding inter-war waves of Jewish immigration.

    Today there are around 1.25 million Arab citizens of Israel, while the population of the Palestinian territories is around 4.4 million. In other words, there are about 5 times as many Arabs living today in Israel alone as there were in the whole of Palestine in the 19th century – never mind the much larger numbers in the Palestinian territories.

    So in the first place this massive growth hardly suggests ‘displacement’ of the indigenous population. In the second place, it calls into question the term ‘indigenous’ itself. On the contrary, it suggests that the average modern ‘Palestinian’ is almost as likely to be the descendant of immigrants to Palestine as is the average Israeli Jew.

    None of this is meant to detract from the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, which I fully support. I just wish that people like Philip would support Israel’s right to the same thing.

    • Philip Says:

      I fully believe that the state of Israel should not be dismantled. However, I’m an anti-nationalist, or something like that. I don’t believe in the right of any ethnic or national group to self-determination.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        In which case, Philip, as “an anti-nationalist, or something like that”, why are you posting at all on a site like this, making comments that would appear to make you anti only the State of Israel and anti only the right of Jews to self-determination and, as phrased, pro a single state “between the river and the sea”? If I’ve mistaken you, please elucidate.

        • Philip Says:

          Rather than merely making assertions, perhaps you can give evidence of where I have made any comments that might anyone think this.

          Evidence, evidence, evidence is the name of the game.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          “Evidence, evidence, evidence is the name of the game.”

          It would be nice if Philip would follow his own demand when evidence is requested of him. Plenty, that he appears to ignore, at least in part, sometimes a critical part, is presented in response to his comments.

  13. zkharya Says:

    Israel ‘was born out of a project that saw immigrants – mostly of European origins – moving into a territory populated by local non-European people, and displacing them (politically and physically).’

    like what is important is the geographical origin of both peoples, specifically ‘European’ vs. ‘non-European’?

    Like it would matter if most Israeli Jews had come from outside Europe (though nearly half did)?

    And, as fine says, most Israeli Jews came from Europe precisely because they were not seen as properly ‘European’, any more than Arab Jews were seen as properly Arab -least of all by the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christians, leaders and others, who supported the extermination or expulsion of both.

    In fact, for most of Christian and Islamic history, Jews have been seen as a people historically exiled, dispossessed or displaced i.e. as ‘Palestinians’, to some degree or another, including by some of the earliest Palestinian Arab nationalists who specifically contrast themselves positively, as a people yet possessed of their land, with Jews as a people dispossessed of their historical homeland, and whose fate precisely Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians do not wish to endure.

    As an aside, ‘moving into a territory populated by local non-European people’ reminds me of The League of Gentlemen:

    ‘This is a Local territory, populated for and by Local people!’

  14. Ignorance is bliss Says:

    Nationalism is defined as the self-determination of people in their “own” land. It rests on an assumed link between “a people”, its “origins” and its “land”.
    This is the argument of (much) Palestinian nationalaism (indeed, of most nationalism within and outside Europe).

    Colonialism is the people of one land going onto the land of another people so as to occupy it on their own name (And, as noted elsewhere,”Europe” is not a “land” is a contiment of many “lands”)

    Jews never had a “land” in Europe which as a “people” they could point to (a myth of) “origins”. Part of the reason is that, from those in the lands of Europe, Jews were the “Other”, the non-national or the anti-national.

    When Jews began to “emigrate” (under fear and duress) to Israel, some argued, like all nationalists, of the “myth” of the “land” where Jews had their “origins”.

    Many in the “lands” of Europe accepted this view of the matter, and, with the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews became a “national” people like all the other people’s of Europe.

    However, from the perspective of those “outside” the lands of Europe (and often with their own nationalist aspirations) Jews as a “people” had no piece of “land” in the Middle East to which they could be siad to be “attached”, to where they had there “origins”. From this perspective, and those that adopt that perspective, Jews were “colonilaists”, “settlers”, “illegitimate intruders”, a people not of the “lands” of the region.

    From the colonialist perspetive, Jews are what they hade been in Europe, interlopers who, at most, could be tolerated (or even emancipated) amongst and within the other national states of the Middle East

    But, what both the lands of Europe and the lands of the Middle East agree on, there is no place fo Jews (unlike most other peoples) for their own state, their own self-determination in either continent.

    Aliens in one, they have now become aliens in the other – the consequence of the same myths of “a people” with an “origin” that can be traced back to a “land”.

    Where Jews were once the victims of nationalism within the lands of Europe, they are now, again, the victims of nationalism in the lands of the Middle East. And, at the heart of both of these nationalisms is the idea of Jews as the extra-territorial “Other”. And, again, common to the nationalisms of both region, the most Jews can be granted is a right to live amongst others; a “right” that, as history has taught, can be rescinded at a moment’s notice.

    Perhaps, the problem is not Jews, but the nationalism that chases them from wherever they seek to lay down, not only their hats, but also some roots.
    Paradoxically, of course, in a kind of trompe “d’oeil”, Jews, as victims of nationalism both in Europe and the Middle East, come to appear, at least to some, not only as the embodient of nationalism itself, but also its unique or exceptional manifestation; a kind of latter-day, sacrificial animal to which alll the “sins” of the world
    are concentrated and, with its always present hope (by some) of its demise, cleansed.

  15. allan siegel Says:

    Reading this last batch of posts it is quite amazing the way history becomes a matter of chutzpah rather than facts. The mash-up of terminology is astounding: nationalism, colonialism, Palestinian Jews (that’s a new one) and so on. A people’s actions (whether French, Italian or Japanese) at any historical moment says a lot about the aspirations and sense (or lack) of justice. The issue here is the actions of a government and the consistency of its actions and motivations. This is not about whether there are good or bad Israelis its about a government whose actions are so transparently colonial in intent – underscored by a racism and sense of superiority towards the indigenous people – that only the most ignorant or blind fail to see what is taking place.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Allan Siegel returns to Engage with a mass of assertions and no evidence. To whit: “This is not about whether there are good or bad Israelis its about a government whose actions are so transparently colonial in intent” he says. No evidence, no argument, merely assertion. If he is so sure of this claim, where are the links, the suggested readings? It may be transparent to him, but not to me. Like many others, I need convincing other than by the force of the name of the person asserting it.

      He goes on “… underscored by a racism and sense of superiority towards the indigenous people…” Allan Siegel may know this as a fact (and I’m ready to believe that at least _some_ Israelis are guilty of such views, feelings and emotions, just like any other population), but where is the evidence that all (by implication) or even a majority of Israelis are so guilty?

      Finally, in this extract, we have this gem: ” that only the most ignorant or blind fail to see what is taking place.” Really? Just like that? Were I to make such a statement about his views, I would be, rightly, vilified. Allan Siegel, consider yourself vilified. This is a load of assertive balderdash, without a trace of evidence, let alone argument. Produce evidence or quit the field.

      As ever here, assertion alone is exceedingly inadequate.

    • Gil Says:

      Allan Siegel, it is racism, i.e. antsemitism to expect the Jews to be whiter than white, to hold them to some higher moral standard than the rest of the world and those that do, do so in full awareness that their view is dishonest but uncaringly or gleefully.

    • zkharya Says:

      ‘The issue here is the actions of a government and the consistency of its actions and motivations.’

      Not according to Ran Greenstein. Why not read what he actually wrote, above?

  16. modernityblog Says:

    “sense of superiority towards the indigenous people “

    The Israeli government’s actions are wrong in many ways, but unless we assume a certain uniqueness and have no reference to the rest of humanity, then many of the attitudes that you argue exist there, also exist in other countries.

    You wouldn’t need to go very far in the Middle East to find persecuted minorities, by the millions, the Kurds, the Copts, etc

    You might remember how America was founded on the belief of manifest destiny, and until the late 1960s showed their own sense of superiority against blacks and ethnic minorities.

    To this day the US of A, has hundreds of hate groups that preach violent supremacist, that’s excluding the Tea party’s xenophobia, and the militiamen.

    Elsewhere, in Britain we’ve seen the rise of fascist groupings and racial supremacy over the past 70 years, and you might argue that it’s ingrained in the fabric of the country, have you even listened to Parry’s “Jerusalem” or Land of Hope and Glory.

    Or could I remind you of neofacist groupings rising in Europe too? There’s a fair few in Hungary too….

  17. Evan Says:

    Interesting that when Jews were in Europe, European nationalists considered them Asiatic, Semitic outsiders who should move back to “where they came from”.

    When the Jews moved to Palestine/Israel, many Arabs considered (and many still consider) them to be non-Semitic European colonists who should “return” to Russia and Poland…

    While other ethnic groups’ self-identification and origin narratives are respected and/or venerated, somehow the Jews’ must be scoffed and derided (see, for example, Palestinian-American novelist Susan Abulhawa’s piece in Dissident Voice: http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/11/my-encounter-with-a-zionist-in-crisis/ – in which she pooh-poohs the suggestion that Jews have ANY sort of link to “the land of my grandparents”)

    Are Jews “indigenous” to any place?

  18. Yehuda Erdman Says:

    There are so many good and valid arguments many of which are contradictory because of the point of view of the protagonists, and this is all good, high level debating. However in trying to seek the truth it is essential for ALL sides to acknowledge that ALL the sides have some legitimacy. For many years serious people have been trying to reconcile the narratives of the parties directly involved in the monumental struggle between (for the sake of brevity) Zionism and Pan-Arabism.
    You can not even treat this in isolation but have to also look at the background against which this struggle played from around 1850 to today. In the Nineteenth century, which was the culmination of several hundred years of colonialism by the then great European powers, changes came over time as the powers jockeyed for world domination. The middle east was firstly dominated by the Ottoman Empire, which later was superseded by England and France. In the Twentieth Century it was the ideologies which dominated, the so called “isms”, including Communism, Fascism, Nationalism (self determination by former colonised states and people), and yes Zionism, Pan-Arabism which continue unabated. The two superpowers dominating the region after about 1950 were the USA and the USSR.
    Any objective observer must note that the actions of e.g. Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, USA, Soviet Union were for much of the time in self interest and were counter-productive to the needs of the inhabitants of the middle east. Indeed the actions were based on the old maxim “divide and rule”.
    Sadly it seems that Israel became a neocolonial (small scale) power and after capturing whole swathes of territory after the 6 Day War, did not want to relinquish the concepts of “Greater Israel”, “Enhanced Security”, “God given right to the Holy Land”. Also Israel conducted divide and rule tactics with much success, but also some spectacular failure.
    For example, when the PLO were the number one enemy, Israel encouraged the nascent Islamic fundamentalists (now known as Hamas), to form a resistance to the PLO. In time a working relationship was forged with most of the PLO factions, but by then Hamas was beyond the control of Israel.
    In common with most of the fundamentalist Islamic groupings in the world, their hatred of Israel, the USA, the “Western World”, any other faith besides Islam (in extremist form) is ideological and can not be met by standard tools of dialogue and diplomacy.
    The only way forward is to seek a commonality of interests, but to avoid war as nearly all experts agree that the next war in the middle east is potentially “the mother of all battles”. Israeli experts are now publicly stating that there could be large numbers of Israeli civilian casualties, and some have advocated the need to evacuate civilian populations. Where to??

    • Gil Says:

      Utter rubbish. Israel DID give back territories: It gave back the Sinai desert, lock, stock and barrel inc. the settlements in the Rafah salient. Not to mention airbases (Sharm, Eitam etc.) and other strategic interests e.g. an oil field. My oh my, how peoples’ memories are short.

      How on earth do you form a ‘commonality of interests’ if as you say in the previous paragraph ‘standard tools of dialogue and diplomacy’ won’t work? Methinks you need to iron out this contradiction.

      Predictions of major civilian casualties in the next war, ‘mother of all battles’ (Saddam said the same thing in Gulf War 1) blah blah. So perhaps Israel should just lay down arms, then. Is that what you want?

  19. zkharya Says:

    ‘Palestinian Jews (that’s a new one) ‘

    No it isn’t.

  20. Absolute Observer Says:

    Ignorance is Bliss and Evan.
    Good points.
    As far as I understand what you are saying, of all people’s of the world, it is the Jews who are denied a “home” anywhere in the world. For those opposed to the state of Israel per se (as opposed to its Occupation of the WB), the “Wandering Jew” is the Jews’ continuing fate.

    • Patricia Mirror Says:

      Absolute Guest: for some reason I was under the impression that Britain is your home. Yiu now make it clear that it is not. May I ask how many homes do you need “as a Jew”ish “national” when indigenous Palestinians have none? How greedy, racist and oppressive can British Zionists be in consciously striping non-Jewish semitic Palestinians of their natural rights in their homeland which is outside the UK and Europe? Talk about anti-semitism.

      All that engage needs in order to fully understand the phenomenon of anti-semitism is a mirror.

      • conchovor Says:

        ‘May I ask how many homes do you need “as a Jew”ish “national” when indigenous Palestinians have none?’

        You mean they aren’t housed, fed and clothed by the UN, mostly within the borders of original British ruled Palestine, most of the rest very close to those borders, free of charge, and haven’t been for the last 60 years or so?

        Or is what you mean that they do not have a Palestinian state?

        And whose fault, exactly, is that?

        If Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians, and/or their leaders, had not thought it more important to deny Jews a state, and keep Jews in a state of dispossession and statelessness, than acquire their own (the first in their history, in fact), they could have had a state for the last 60 years, or more.

        ‘All that engage needs in order to fully understand the phenomenon of anti-semitism is a mirror.’

        We don’t need a mirror to see you, and the only reflection you show is your own.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        This post begs an enormous number of questions, as well as managing to ignore an awful lot of information that has been published both on this site and elsewhere.

        Thus, why and how Jews came to be scattered across the world is ignored, as are all the comments noting the general Christian (over 2000 years) and Moslem (over 1400 years) attitudes towards Jews. Further, this is compounded by a refusal to acknowledge the actual treatment of Jews in the world: denied citizenship, irrespective of length of collective residence; exploited by their “hosts”; expelled (after leaving their property behind) again and again; forcibly converted to others religions; persecuted after conversion; and repeated attempted exterminations, culminating in the Shoah.

        Given Jews continued wanderings, is it any wonder that we have many nationalities? But this isn’t enough for Patricia. When we (or some of us) regain our ancient homeland (and Jews have been continuously present there for the past 3000 years – and I’ll repost a comment on this if she wishes), still she carps. She would rather complain about the Palestinians’ lack of a homeland, taking no notice of the arguments as to why this is still the case after all these years, or of the part played by fellow Moslem and Arab states in this continued injustice, than seek what is to most the obvious solution: two states.

        Argument, evidence and rationality, it would seem, have no part to play in Patricia’s philosophy.

        Worse, she insists on repeating what should be long-dead canards. Thus we have this: “How greedy, racist and oppressive can British Zionists be in consciously striping non-Jewish semitic Palestinians of their natural rights in their homeland which is outside the UK and Europe? Talk about anti-semitism.” If she doesn’t know then she should that the term “antisemisitsm” was invited by an anti-Jewish, racist, reactionary German to refer specifically to Jews. The term “semitic” which is taken to include certain others is a reference to language groups and has nothing to do with ethnicity or (in an older usage) “race”.

        Further, she chooses to take no notice of all the evidence as to what _really_ happened in Palestine, both under the Turks and under the British Mandate. Nor does she care who started the violence: as has been frequently noted in these columns, we can start with Hebron in 1929; the Arab Revolt of 1936+; the Palestinian militias attacks on Jewish settlements and towns after the UN resolution of November 1947; and/or the invasion by 5 Arab national armies after May 1948.

        No, what really exercises her is the lack of a Palestinian state, when the solution stares her in the face.

        And she concludes with this: “All that engage needs in order to fully understand the phenomenon of anti-semitism is a mirror.” This is a classic: antisemitism is the fault of the Jews. Antisemites are not to blame. If only the Jews would behave differently, then antisemitism would go away. As if. Accomodationist behaviour by the despised out-group has _never_ altered for the better the behaviour of the oppressor. Again, arguments willingly supplied.

        What Patricia possibly doesn’t realise is that such a comment is actually a racist or antisemitic trope, demanding change from the oppressed and not the oppressor, thus further embedding the racist/antisemitic attitudes in the oppressor.

  21. Absolute Observer Says:

    Patricia,
    “for some reason I was under the impression that Britain is your home.”

    Well, that all depends. There are many in the UK whose notion of “home”, like yours, turns on the question of whether one is indigenous or not.

    Those racists who make such arguments attack Jews in Britain as not belonging; as not being “indigenous”.

    You, on the other hand, attack Jews in their own state, for not belonging; for not being “indigenous”.

    You then move on to attack Jews for being at home in the UK when the choice exists for them to live in Israel should they choose – you call them “greedy, racist and oppressive” (terms with a long pedigree is such matters).

    You then further attack Jews in Israel for not being at home in the UK (or I assume, France, Germany, Egypt, Iran, Russia, Ethiopia, Poland, Jordan and so on)

    So, Patricia, thanks for you comment, you have illustrated precisely the point I was trying to make.

    AO

  22. Greedy, who me? Says:

    Patricia,
    I was under the impression that the UK was your home (and your father’s home)? Why do you want another one?
    Why are you so greedy as to want two homes? Or, would you be happy that, when a sovereign Palestine is declared, you are either a. forcibly removed from the UK (on the grounds that you or one of your parents, are not “indigenous” to the UK) or b. not given a right to move to that state on the grounds that you are not “indigenous” to it?

  23. Curious Says:

    Dear Patricia,
    You speak of the “natural rights” of “indigenous people”.
    Could you clarify for me where Jews are indigenous to?
    Thank you.

    • Inna Says:

      I was never entirel sure why any people are indigenous to any place except perhaps Africa. I mean, the history of the homo sapiens began with conquest. First we “took care” of the Neanderthals and then we turned on one another.

  24. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Philip gives a link to amazon to buy a Fred Halliday book. If it’s such an important book, perhaps he could direct me to a review of it that I might decide whether it’s spending my money on. That or an essay by Halliday.

    • azazel Says:

      I’m not Philip, but there’s a representative essay by Halliday here. I also found his “100 Myths about the Middle East” enlightening if (necessarily) simplistic and occasionally wrong on the facts.

      Bottom line: he’s not a hater and he isn’t a proponent of either side’s nationalism.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        Thanks, azazel. Printed off to read later.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          That essay that azazel linked to is very thoughtful. I’ be interested to know how Philip thinks that Halliday is supportive of his case, as it seems to me that the late Fred Halliday is more than even-handed in his treatment of the situation as he saw it in 2006.

          But then Philip seems to me to be fond of citing people, even providing references without telling us what that person actually _says_. Does make it a little difficult to know what Philip’s point is.

  25. Inna Says:

    “Not sure of the relevance of this comment. Are you saying that you think the Zionists, like Muslim migrants to the UK, should have adapted to local forms and customs of land tenure?”

    Sorry for not using the reply function-for whatever reason my computer has decided that the reply function is a bad thing (or whatever message it sent me). Actually, what I am saying is that the nativist movement is as old as the hills. People don’t like those who are different. The Jews of Hevron did not much care for the new Jews coming over either by the way. The remarkable (and now not much discussed) history of how the Jews who had lived in Israel for thousands of years reacted to the new-comers (and vice versa) I cam across quite by accident in a book that was a compilation of source documents. It was called the Arab Jews I believe. I still regret not buying it… So no, I am simply comparing the view that “those people” need to conform to “us” attitude then and now and finding that it actually has not changed at all. Remarkable really when yo consider that we are talking about different peoples on different sides of the world… and it doesn’t matter. “We” still don’t much care for ‘them” and really wish “they” would leave. Yesterday “they” were Eastern European Jews today (in the UK) ‘they” are Muslims and the attitude is exactly the same…

  26. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Philip: “Brian, quite the opposite is true. I presented a qualified academic’s book. An academic who has published widely on the subject, and who holds a distinguished chair at a top university, much like De Montfort. You chose to try to discredit him. Now you disown the references you gave. If you want to make an argument against Khalidi then you must present evidence. Otherwise, he is innocent until proven guilty.”

    He is now inverting what has been said. Nowhere do I discredit Khalidi. I reprint certain quotes about him, suggesting that he may not be the impartial observer that Philip sees him as. One of these quotes, which Philip has never returned to, is the Wikipedia entry where Khalidi states that Jewish demands for reparations for those Jews forced to leave Arab lands are “insidious”. Philip has never refuted this quote, nor has he addressed the extension of that quote from me to relate it to Palestinian refugees. I can only take from his silence that he, perforce, accepts the truth of the original quote and the logic of my extension.

    That’s hardly me “disowning” that quote.

    Further, Philip consistently smears me, by asserting that I say Khalidi is a supporter of Hamas. I provided a quote from an online source, which Philip fails to refute. He merely demands evidence from me, while failing to provide evidence that Khalidi is not a supporter of Hamas. He may well not be. But how do we know, when his chief defender on this site consistently fails to produce any evidence to support his contention.

    Like it or not, the onus is on Philip to answer this point. And until he does, he should cease using McCarthyite smear tactics. And stop inverting what is being said. It ill becomes him, as does the insinuation that _I_ am deliberately smearing others.

  27. allan siegel Says:

    In Brian Goldfarb quest for the ultimate piece of evidence, he seems to show a kind of logic deficency. One piece of evidence alone does not substantiate a claim – the most basic legal procedings illustrate this. What Phillip suggests (via the Khalid book) is that there are other sources of knowledge that portray history (and Palestine/Israel) in a manner different then you are accustomed.

    And, BTW, does one have to Jewish inorder to be a Zionist? I mention this because I have noticed there are many Zionists who are not Jewish and who share the same ideological views as Jewish Zionists and have common ground in their attitude towards Palestinians and a Palestinian state.

  28. zkharya Says:

    ‘What Phillip suggests (via the Khalid book) is that there are other sources of knowledge that portray history (and Palestine/Israel) in a manner different then you are accustomed.’

    How do you know to what I am accustomed?

    Is there nothing to which Khalidi is accustomed?

  29. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    @Philip@ Not the settlements are the problem. Because Israel has shown, that in the interest of peace it can take down settlements. The problem is, do the Palestinian regimes of Hamas and PA-Westbank want to have a peace with their neighbour Israel?
    On the paper Palestinians have the most liberal and democratic political system in Arab history but failed spectacularly. In the 3 years of schism (Hamas and PA-Westbank) Palestinian institution building has returned to its authoritarian roots. The Basic Law has become dead letter and both halves of the PA rule limit political dissent, ban each others’ newspapers and harass NGOs that are deemed politically suspect. Political arrests, extralegal actions, and unaccountable official actions are now the stuff of daily politics. The only institutionally development underway today is authoritarian and has shallow popular roots and domestic legitimacy. Revival of a two-state solution is complicated by the strength of Hamas, which is deeply entrenched in parts of Pal. society and cannot be erased. The situation of Palestinian society and their indoctrination of their children to hate Jews are the main cause for lack of peace.


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