Philip Mendes on Jewish antizionism

5 Responses to “Philip Mendes on Jewish antizionism”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    The comments say more about the anti-Zionist brigade than they do about Israel, and there certainly isn’t any discussion of Mendes’ argument.

    Wonder why? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.)

  2. David Olesker Says:

    Are proponents of territorial compromise on Israel’s part anti-Zionists or not? I think the dividing line between those who are and are not can (theoretically) be clearly drawn.

    Israel’s claim to Judea Samaria and Gaza are legally indistinguishable from her claim on Tel Aviv and Eilat. They are all part of the original Palestine mandate that was recognized as being the part of the Land of Israel in which the Jews could express their right to national self determination.

    If someone asserts that Israel has no claims to JS&G, then they are attacking the principles underlying the Mandate and calling into question the essential rights of the Jews in the Land of Israel and are anti-Zionist.

    If someone asserts that it is either unwise or immoral for the Jews to insist on their rights in opposition to Arab claims then they are merely critics of Israeli policies.

    Of course, there are many (both supporters of Israel and opponents) who would like to blur this distinction, but I think that’s all the more reason to keep it clear.

  3. Brian Robinson Says:

    To me the most arresting sentence in the article was, “[advocating] the dissolution of Israel into a single multi-national state which will in reality almost certainly be an Islamic Arab dominated state of Greater Palestine”, which reminded me of something David (now Lord) Owen said in a totally different context at a meeting many years ago, but the general principle is relevant: “Britain should never have acquired nuclear weapons but now that we have them we shouldn’t abandon them”.

    That’s to say, one can argue (as many anti-Zionists do) that the creation of Israel was the wrong response to antisemitism and so it should not have been created, or as others who are not against the existence of a Jewish state per se argue, that it’s in the wrong place. These are debatable propositions. I used to ask, until I got fed up getting dusty replies, What kind of Palestine are you struggling for? “That’s not our business, or responsibility, we’re simply fighting for restitutive justice”.

    It’s now fashionable to claim, and there’s considerable evidence for it, that the settlements and annexations have ended any possibility of a genuine two-state resolution, and that Israeli policy has created a de facto single state with a substantial Palestinian minority. Norman Finkelstein has recently attempted to show, with maps, that this is not yet the case, and for this and other reasons has become persona non grata with most of his previous fan base.

    Mendes’s point cannot be dismissed. What would be the implications, not just for Israelis but for Jews worldwide, of “the dissolution of Israel” now? Would Islamist triumphalism feel encouraged? Would a militant antisemitism be reinvigorated?

    We appear to have reached an impasse (the unlikeliness of both a binational single state and an alternative two states) unless Israel completely changes tack on the settlements, the occupation, and specifically East Jerusalem. The more it feels itself (despite its military strength) to be under siege, the less likely will it feel able to change. Militant strands of anti-Zionism often appear to be strengthening the very thing they think they’re opposing.

    • Jonathan Goodson Says:

      “We appear to have reached an impasse (the unlikeliness of both a binational single state and an alternative two states) unless Israel completely changes tack on the settlements, the occupation, and specifically East Jerusalem.”

      What on earth do you mean by this?

      Regarding settlements, Israel hasn’t built any new ones since 1993 and has not permitted existing settlements to expand beyond their current boundaries; Sharon withdrew all settlements and settlers from Gaza in 2005 only for 1000s of rockets to be fired deliberately at Israeli citizen; and even Bibi offered a 10-month freeze not long ago on building within existing settlements to try to get the Palestinians to the negotiating table but they effectively refused. Regarding the occupation, Israel has already given up over 90% of the territory it captured in 1967, including the whole of Gaza; it offered Arafat a state on the vast majority of the Palestinian territories in early 2001 and something similar to Abbas in 2008; and even Bibi has acknowledged in recent years that Israel will have to do something similar if the Palestinians can ever be persuaded to come to the table and accept a compromise that doesn’t include Israel’s destruction. Regarding East Jerusalem, while the official position is that it is Israel’s permanent capital, in practice Israel agreed to divide the city in both 2001 and 2008; and it would doubtless do so again if a genuine peace were otherwise all but agreed because no leader who refused to in such circumstances would get reelected.

      The problem is not Israeli intransigence on these issues, for there is a consensus on the basics (though not on the language and tactics to be used) across the mainstream left, centre, and right. It is rather that the dominant positions among Palestinians, not just in Hamas but also Fatah, are just as much about reversing 1948, not 1967, as they have ever been. In fact, now that Islamism is becoming the dominant ideology, not just among Palestinians but in the wider Arab-Muslim world, the rejectionism is worse than ever.

      Hence, there isn’t going to be a peace deal for decades and, whether one agrees or disagrees with this or that Israeli policy or action, the current impasse cannot fairly be attributed to Israel as you seem to suggest.

  4. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    During the March on Jerusalem some Neture Karta participants in Jordan were attacked and expelled from the March, which is evidence that the problem of those Islamists is not Judea or Samaria. For those Neture Karta members are not only against settlements in Judea and Samaria but against the existence of the Jewish and democratic State of Israel.
    Jews have no right to self-determination and they have no right to exist that is the opinion of Islamists. So if the “as Jews” want really to please the Palestinian Islamists they must commit suicide.
    Adolf Hitler had good words only for one Jew, for Otto Weininger, who committed suicide. No wonder that one of the ideals of the former Israeli saxophonist Gilad Atzmon is Otto Weininger. Atzmon who peddles his anti-Semite ranting is a favourite of many Palestinians and of extreme left- and right-wingers.


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