Friday, October 30, 2009

Israel, sanctions and the blackness of pots

According to conventional Zionist wisdom, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel is antisemitic. Pots are calling a kettle black; your country is worse than Israel and you say nothing; shouldn't Manhattan be returned to the Cherokee; why Israel and not Sudan, etc., etc., etc.

Do they have a point? They might if there existed some kind of obligation for all countries to focus on the most grievous human rights abuses, and if chastizing Israel were in some way unique.

But that's not the case, and one example is provided by Israel's staunchest ally. For the last 45 years, the United States has been enforcing a trade embargo on Cuba that has crippled the island's economy. US companies are forbidden to do business there, its carriers are not allowed to fly tourists to Havanna, etc. A Cuban Democracy Act was passed during the Clinton era despite the island being much more democratic than other countries the US buys like crazy from (where's the Saudi Democracy Act, or the Chinese Democracy Act?).

The American embargo of Cuba is annually condemned at the UN, as it should be. Only two countries, apart from the US itself, support that very selective punishment of a country over relatively minor human rights violations.

Are you suspecting something by now? Please confirm your hunch:

The U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly condemned the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, an annual ritual that highlights global opposition to the policy.

This year's vote was 187-3 in opposition to the embargo, up from 185-3 last year, with only Israel and the tiny Pacific island nation of Palau supporting the United States. It was the 19th year in a row that the General Assembly has taken up the symbolic measure, with Washington steadily losing what little support it once had.

Here's a query for my readers. Please check the option that best describes Israel's behavior re the Cuban embargo:

Do as I say but not as I do.
You should not do to others what you don't want to be done to you.
Of all the human-rights abusers in the world, they nit-pick a tiny country where hardly anyone has been killed. They're downright racists.
All of the above.

86 comments:

Ernie Halfdram said...

And guess who voted on behalf of Palau? http://lefti.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html#6928134324055407762

Jon said...

It’s interesting that you site one example of a vote at the UN being driven by political cooperation among allies (in this case, Israel supporting the US’s Cuba policy), but fail to mention that the entire edifice of human rights accusations against Israel is built upon similar “log-rolling” by organizations like the OIC and the Arab League

These organizations (and, before them the Soviet Bloc and “Non-Aligned Movement”) have historically driven (and, in many cases, bullied) the United Nations to pass thousands of votes deriding Israel for it’s alleged human rights abuses while simultaneously demanding that the organization never, under any circumstances, focus its critical eye on Israel’s critics (which include the greatest human-rights abusers on the planet).

Given this reality, I can understand why you prefer to pretend that the many legitimate arguments against boycott, divestment and sanction (including, most importantly, the clear hypocrisy of Israel’s critics) are actually empty accusations of anti-Semitism. I’ve been critiquing the BDS movement for years (most recently on my Web site www.divestthis.com) without ever mentioning “anti-Semitism,” but that has certainly not kept people from claiming that this is the only argument I’ve ever presented.

This phenomenon makes perfect sense since looking at the situation from the perspective of the very reality you illustrate with your Cuba example (only applied to the Arab nation’s use of the UN to assault their Israeli foe) highlights the fact that you, like many anti-Zionists, are simply doing the bidding of the rich and powerful, something that clearly flies in the face of your self image as the champion of the weak and oppressed.

Jon

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Here's my response, Jon:

1) BDS is having little to zero effect on the Israeli economy. The US embargo of Cuba, on the other hand, has had devastating consequences for the island's economy.

2) As an American citizen who objects to such sanctions, you should focus on the embargo, not on BDS. BDS is pushed by private individuals with their own money. The embargo, by contrast, is enforced by the American government. It is much worse when bad things are done by governments than by individuales. Your taxes are used to boycott a country. Why are you silent?

3) I never called the US anti-Cubanites. Zionists have called BDS supporters antisemites (you are a tiny minority in not holding this position). It is in this context that I bring up Israel's support of a measure similar to BDS: to prove that support of sanctions, even unwarranted ones, is not, per se, hateful.

4) You somehow claim that if an embargo is supported for political expediency, it's less immoral than if the support is wholehearted. But wasn't it political expediency that led the Mufti to support the Nazis?

5) I never said I myself am involved in the BDS movement. I'm not. It's just that if they are to be criticized, the criticism should not be that they're antisemites.

Jon said...

Ibrahim - You seem to be directing your last comment in the wrong direction. I spend my time fighting BDS primarily because hundreds, if not thousands, of American tax-payers are pushing for divestment from Israel, rather than taking your advice and spending all of that time and energy calling for an end to the Cuban embargo.

Perhaps you can switch the focus of your blog and use this forum to demand that your readers stop wasting their time with BDS and other such trifles and, instead, focus their political energy and attention towards the Caribean as you suggest.

You'd be killing two birds with one stone since the only reason I have to spend so much time battling and deconstructing divestment is because so many people seem to be wasting their lives by making their life's work the defemation of Israel which - as you point out - is a distraction from the real problems of the world.

Anonymous said...

You don't get it do you? Israel votes with the US on many issues, such as Cuba, for the same reason Palau votes with the US: for strategic reasons; to show solidarity and because of the special relationship. Israel couldn't really care one way or another about the Cuban boycott: it wants to show its most important ally that it's willing to vote with it so it won't have to oppose the whole world alone. And Israel expects the same of the US on issues related to its own survival.

On the other hand, those who single out Israel for condemnation -- when a dozen other countries, including the UK, Spain, etc. are in fact doing much worse in whatever area is being looked at -- are not motivated by strategic considerations but by antisemitism. That, in a nutshell, is the difference.

Anonymous said...

"But wasn't it political expediency that led the Mufti to support the Nazis?"

No. It was genocidal antisemitism.

Gert said...

Jon:

"[...] I have to spend so much time battling and deconstructing divestment is because so many people seem to be wasting their lives by making their life's work the defemation [sic] of Israel which - as you point out - is a distraction from the real problems of the world."

The overwhelming majority of critics of Israel and anti-Zionists stick pretty much to the facts on the ground. The interpretation of these facts may be differ depending on the perspective of the observer but the facts remains.

Of course if someone truly believes that Jews have a Divine Right to all of the 'Holy Land' then criticism of Israeli settlement building may be considered by that person as 'defamatory' (or worse, 'blasphemous').

But the settlements are real, they actually exist. Numerous human rights violations committed by Israel are very well documented. The war crimes of which Israel stand accused by the Goldstone report are also well documented (unless someone believes Israel has the right to go even further than the winter 'war' did and has the right to turn Gaza into a parking lot - these people do exist - most others have serious questions re. the assault on Gaza).

So there is, bar some exceptions, no 'defamation' going on. Note also how in many cases Israel is incapable of truthfully refuting the allegations and prefers instead to resort to smearing those who make them ('anti-Semites!'): in few cases was this clearer than in the case of Judge Goldstone.

When it comes to defamation, Israel and its clique of cyber-Hasbarists know a thing or two...

As regards the "real problems of the world", you don't believe a 42 year long occupation and increasingly fast colonisation of the West Bank are 'real problems'? The Palestinian refugee problem isn't a 'real problem'? Is it remotely possible that the problem is less real to you because it involves brownie Moooslims, whose lives and well-being aren't to be valued quite the same as that of their Jewish counterparts?

Anonymous said...

No, Gert. By "real problems of the world" Jon was referring to the many genocides and major massacres occurring across Africa and Asia that make the I/P conflict look like kid's play and to which fools like you turn a blind eye because the only thing you are interested in, the only fight worth fighting is against the embattled Jews of Israel. So you side with 500 million Arabs against a few million Jews living with their backs to the sea on a strip of land half the size of Delaware. How courageous of you.

Anonymous said...

p.s. Gert: the vast majority of Jews do not invoked "divine right" when justifying Zionism, but rather the historical rights of the Jews to Zion on which Israeli territorial claims are based -- historical rights which are older than those of any other nation to their land. It has nothing to do with God, everything to do with the Jews' survival through the millennia and the fact that we have never forgotten our history and never relinquished our historical land rights.

Gert said...

Anon:

I wasn't really going to spend anymore time on you because you're simply not worth it and because you can't keep your ad hom under control. But I will say this, regarding your PS which is full of holes.

Firstly, you should learn to read. I never wrote anything like "the vast majority of Jews invoke "divine right" [...]".

But certainly a lot of observant Jews do invoke just that. Your own spiel about 'historical rights' is in fact based on it: without the religious texts making all sorts of unverifiable claims with regards to the Promised Land and the Choseness of the Jewish People you would not be able to make your 'historical claim' because there really are no other independent (say secular) sources that make that claim. You may not be religious yourself and yet your claim derives directly from a religious narrative. To say 'it has nothing to do with G-d' is patent nonsense.

Also, you should really quit thinking you speak for all Jews: you do not. Even though you may want to dismiss those Jews who are non-Zionist or anti-Zionist as 'self-haters' (a compete oxymoron) there are indeed loads of Jews who disagree profoundly with Zionism and such people existed right from the very start of the project. I think you should read Explaining the Long — and Largely Untold — History of Jewish Opposition to Zionism, from The American Council for Judaism.

Today still only about a third of Jews worldwide actually live in Israel. Another massive Aliyah like the Russian one is an unlikely re-occurrence. Most Western Jews have little or no inclination to immigrate to Israel. And many Israeli Jews are increasingly choosing to leave Israel.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Unfortunately, Jon, you don't seem to have read my comment carefully enough.

I'm puzzled by your placing your fight against BDS --which is an entirely PRIVATE enterprise-- above your fight against the Cuban embargo --which is enforced with YOUR money--.

You yourself have said "I spend my time fighting BDS primarily because hundreds, if not thousands, of American tax-payers are pushing for divestment from Israel, rather than taking your advice and spending all of that time and energy calling for an end to the Cuban embargo." Why are you so worried about how other people waste their time? It's their business; they're not forcing you to do anything. By contrast, the American government is forcing you to pay for the implementation of the Cuban embargo.

Why do you place your concern for other people's moral integrity above your own financial and moral interests?

And if you respond "I have no obligation to justify my lawful actions," isn't that true for BDS proponents too?

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Cuba has a severely antagonistic relationship with the United States for geographical and Cold War reasons. Your whole argument has an apples and oranges quality and your example undermines your argument. You have to downplay Cuba's human rights abuses even though some sources on human rights rate them as particularly severe. According to Wikipedia, citing the Committee to Protect Journalists, Cuba was "the second biggest prison in the world for journalists in 2008, second only to the People's Republic of China." So why do people want to make Israel a pariah state? Why not Cuba? Leaving aside its relationship with the US, Cuba is fairly well-treated internationally, and Castro is often treated as some sort of elder statesman. To a leftist that proves that they must not be so bad, but if you're looking for double standards in the light of actual government oppression, why is there such a focus on Israel's violations when regimes like Cuba exist?

Jon said...

Ibrahim - I understood your comment and your original article perfectly well, although I must admit that I continue to have to relearn the lesson that irony does not travel all that well on the Internet.

Pots, kettles and blackness are generally in the eye of the beholder, especially with regard to the old shell game whereby anything goes with regard to political action someone agrees with, but that anyone opposing that action is subject to criticism for “remaining silent” about some other ill in the world.
For example, you decry Israel for voting with the US in the UN about this-or-that resolution related to the Cuban embargo, yet fail to mention that each and every one of the hundreds or thousands of anti-Israel resolutions passed by that same body are the work of dozens of log-rolling nations who have bullied the organization into taking two official, eternal stands, which can be summarized as: (1) most, if not all human rights resolutions will declare Israel guilty and (2) no UN entity will ever cast its eye on those making these accusations.

Thus you have Israel (the kettle) being called “black” by 21 pots of the Arab League, which include among them the most racist, sexist, homophobic, reactionary states on the face of the earth. Yet when someone like me points this out, you demand to know why we’re silent on Cuba. Well why are you silent on the greatest threat to Muslim life on the planet: the governments of the Muslim nations?

And before you move the pea under another shell, the American tax payer is underwriting most if not all of these regimes via defense pacts (Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States) or direct foreign aid (people seem to forget that Egypt receives, by formula, 2/3 of what Israel does). So it’s American policy funded by your tax money (not to mention your gas money) that goes into the enslavement of women, the murder of homosexuals and the repression of minorities throughout the Muslim world.
So is your self-image as a human rights champion genuine, or are you simply the practitioner of “Hasbara” for the most repressive regimes on the face of the earth?

Gert said...

Yitchak:

Apples and oranges indeed. The blockade of Cuba is a ridiculous remnant of the Cold War, Israel on the other hand continues to occupy Palestinian land illegally and continues to colonise it, in defiance of just about every nation on this planet, now for 42 years.

You should try to be honest: do you believe the Zionists are entitled to all of Palestine? Because if you're not you should protest the ongoing colonisation of the WB, instead of trying to create equivalences where there are none.

Jon said...

Gert Said…

“The overwhelming majority of critics of Israel and anti-Zionists stick pretty much to the facts on the ground. The interpretation of these facts may be differ depending on the perspective of the observer but the facts remains.”

For some strange reason, the “facts” to which you refer seem always to be carefully selected to serve the anti-Zionist’s political purpose. Thus settlement growth “facts” are highlighted while the vast Palestinian building boom on the West Bank is ignored. Israel’s military action in Gaza gets Goldstoned, while the 8000 Hamas rockets that triggered that action (and the Hamas “defense” strategy of firing from Mosques and schools) gets whitewashed.

And when such facts don’t do the trick, news ones keep being created! For example, does anyone remember the thousands of Palestinian civilians supposedly killed in Jenin during the last Intifada? That was the subject of the last UN inquisition (not to mention movies and books) until even the UN had to admit that only 54 people (almost all PLO fighters) were killed in that city.
The lies I must continually deconstruct are not always made up of pure fiction. More often, they are built on individual items, some of which may be technically “facts,” but which are carefully chosen to paint a picture that ends up being not simply a lie, but the Big Lie.

Your religious argument is an excellent case in point. No doubt you can find some Jews who believe their right to West Bank territory is religious in nature. But in an era when Islamic imperialism claiming that every inch of not just Israel but any territory in which Islam once ruled is sacred Muslim soil that must be battled over until the end of time animates most of the world’s human rights catastrophes, I’m not sure grabbing two religious Jews to place over your eyes is going to give anyone the perspective you need to understand the world.

Gert said...

Jon:

The UNSC Israel related resolutions to date are 221. Not all are condemnatory. We're not talking about 'thousands' of resolutions (the latter really gives your anti-UN bias, so fashionable among the US Right, away). But you're right: the UN is bought and sold by Arab/Muslim countries (and watch out: they're out to come and get ya!), that's why there isn't a single Arab/Muslim country in the SC!

And since clearly you are on the US Right, since when have they started caring about women's rights (aren't feminists called 'feminazis' in your corner of the world?), or the rights of homosexuals (the US is the most homophobic country in the 'free world'). The US Right cares about these things only in the ME/Iran context.

Do you think I should call for a boycott of US goods for its now despicable human rights records re. Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, torture and special renditions? Just asking, you know...

Gert said...

Jon:

"[...] while the 8000 Hamas rockets that triggered that action (and the Hamas “defense” strategy of firing from Mosques and schools) gets whitewashed."

During the firing of these rockets Israel never hesitated to strike back, as is her right. To present Gaza as some kind of a bill for all that patience is patent nonsense. There were rocket strikes, Israeli incursions, lulls and temporary truces from both sides, all throughout that period.

No one denies Israel the right to defend herself: that's not even the object of Goldstone (it makes no pronouncements about the validity of the causus bellum). But Israel's response was hugely disproportionate. Don't believe me? Fine, but the court of world opinion is against you.

"The lies I must continually deconstruct are not always made up of pure fiction. More often, they are built on individual items, some of which may be technically “facts,” but which are carefully chosen to paint a picture that ends up being not simply a lie, but the Big Lie."

OK. I think you've put enough of your cards on the table now to be able to call you. The 'Big Lie' probably means you believe also in the 'A Land w/o People for a People w/o Land' mythology. Palestinians as 'Fakestinians'...

"No doubt you can find some Jews who believe their right to West Bank territory is religious in nature."

You've misunderstood my point. The whole argument that allegedly underpins the RoR of Jews the world over is based on the religious notion that Israel was promised by G-d to the Jewish people. Even the secular and Leftist early Zionist ultimately chose Palestine over Argentina or Uganda because it would be easier to base the revived Jewish nationalism on that religious myth.

Today very large numbers of Jews do believe this myth, not just 'a few' or 'some' Jews and not just settlers either. It's rather deeply engrained in modern Jewry, at least among those who support Israel. I know Zionist bloggers that would consider you to be an anti-Semite for even questioning the Divine nature of the RoR of Jews.

andrew r said...

"But in an era when Islamic imperialism claiming that every inch of not just Israel but any territory..."

Oh yea, another staple of the US right. If Palestinians had a different religion they would just love being occupied and ethnically cleansed by Israel. Look at George Habash, Leila Khaled, Ghassan Kanafani, Azmi Bishara and Abu Iyad. Being exiled from their own country was no skin off their back.

Jon said...

I can understand the need to declare anyone with whom you disagree as a member of the US Right (whatever that means) since it then absolves you of having to confront the correlary of why those who pose as great humanitarians (I presume not on the right) support the side of the struggle that represents enslavement of women, the murder of homosexuals and the repression of minorities. As a matter of fact, given your support of movements like Hamas that practices all of these human rights abuses, does that make you an ally of those who defame "uppity" women (by calling the Feminazis or forcing them beneath the veil)?

Just asking!

andrew r said...

"...in which Islam once ruled is sacred Muslim soil that must be battled over until the end of time animates most of the world’s human rights catastrophes"

Just for reference, this is 100% Grade A Yanked From The Ass.

"Thus you have Israel (the kettle) being called “black” by 21 pots of the Arab League, which include among them the most racist, sexist, homophobic, reactionary states on the face of the earth."

Just because you don't like some regime doesn't mean they have to embrace Israel. And if you're concerned with human rights violations, you shouldn't have to audit those who criticize them until they actively damage solidarity efforts. Show me where a pro-Palestinian group has embraced an Arab League regime?

andrew r said...

Jon, this shouldn't be taken as a defense of Hamas (there is plenty to criticize about them ~ it's how and why that matters), three Hamas members of the Ramallah city council voted to elect a Christian woman mayor. Now, if Hamas were all about "enslavement of women, the murder of homosexuals and the repression of minorities," I don't think that would be possible. I think you are doing exactly what right-wing Americans do: using 'human rights' and other liberal concepts to demonize Muslims.

You don't support human rights in the ME by supporting a state that has bombed anything in land it wanted to conquer that wasn't Jewish -- and even some things that were! (the Magen Abraham Synagogue in Beirut was bombed by Israel in 1982).

Jon said...

I understand that the Palestinian Hasbara playbook requires you to demand the moral high ground, regardless of how many facts about the people you support are presented, but even so attempts to minimize the brutality of Arab regimes in general and the Palestinians in particular(especially as they relate to the treatment of women, gays and minorities) really rise to new levels on this site. (Although nothing tops Ibrahim's voluntary attempt to apologize for the Mufti of Jerusalem - the George Washington of Palestinian nationalism's - WWII alliance with the Nazis.)

You can save yourself some time by just being honest and saying that human rights are not of interest to anyone on this site, beyond their usefulness to condemn those with whom you politically disagree (in this case, Israel and America). Beyond this utility, human rights for the Palestinian Hasbara crowd seems to amount to "the hell with the suffering of any human being whose pain cannot be used for political leverage."

Perhaps it would be best to drop the progressive human rights pretence and simply announce yourselves to be the doctrinaire partisans you clearly are. It might not be as effective with regard to pulling the wool over people eyes regarding your real agenda, but at least it would be honest.

andrew r said...

This is where I get flippant.

"demand the moral high ground"

Because the moral high ground is yours to give?

"minimize the brutality of Arab regimes in general and the Palestinians in particular"

Look at that syntax. The Palestinians are an Arab regime.

Anyway, so you don't politically disagree with the Arab regimes and the Palestinians, you don't care about political leverage against them, you care about the suffering of anyone regardless, you weren't being partisan by saying Muslims commit most of the world's human rights abuses and you have no agenda against Muslims or Arabs (who can't be lumped together, by the way).

Glad we cleared that up.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

instead of trying to create equivalences where there are none

I was commenting on "equivalences" created by someone else.

Jon said...

andrew r said:

"Glad we cleared that up."

If by "that" you mean the fact that people who hold a nearly infinite number of incompatible things in their head (i.e., that they are champions of human rights, yet are apologists for everything the world's worst human rights abusers do - including supporting the Nazi party; that they are progressive yet have nothing to say about the most regressive practices going on amongst their allies, etc., etc.) reduces people like you to near incoherence, then yet. That is completely cleared up.

Thanks.

Gert said...

Jon:

"As a matter of fact, given your support of movements like Hamas that practices all of these human rights abuses, does that make you an ally of those who defame "uppity" women (by calling the Feminazis or forcing them beneath the veil)?"

I don't support Hamas but I do support the Palestinians' right to elect democratically whom they see fit. Not so the US (or the Europoodles) who proclaim to want democracy but then sabotage it when the outcome of elections isn't to their liking.

I also support their right to resist occupation, to paraphrase Ehud Barak, if I was Palestinian I would resist too. So would you, assuming you had a pair of balls...

No doubt you see the election of Hamas as another manifestation of 'Muslim Imperialism' (say, what?) but the reality on the ground and the reasons Gazans voted for Hamas are very different.

I suggest you at least read this short eyewitness account of Hamas by an ordinary Gazan.

For twenty years or so I was what could be called a 'moderate Zionist' but I guess all this waiting for Israel to try and do the right thing has made me cynical. And the Gaza massacre also very angry.

Gert said...

Yitchak:

You still haven't answered my simple question:

"You should try to be honest: do you believe the Zionists are entitled to all of Palestine?"

Do try.

Jon said...

I see Gert, so you don’t “support” Hamas, but you do justify their rule because of an election (the one that came after Arafat died having completed the eighth year of his five year term), ignoring, it would seem, the violent coup-de-tat in that is the real reason behind Hamas’ rule in Gaza. (You know, the one that involved throwing rivals off the roofs of buildings or pulling them from hospital beds and shooting them, then adding those corpses to their list of casualties allegedly caused by Israel.)

Now where was I, oh yes, and you also don’t “support” them, but claim that firing 8000 rockets from Palestinian civilian areas into Israeli ones is simply some form of “balsy” resistance. (I wonder what might have happened had Gandhi, who by your calculation, lacked a “pair of balls,” had chosen the Hamas route vs. the one he took. Or whether the Palestinians might have a home and normal life had they followed the Gandhi vs. the Arafat course.)

I think what you mean when you say that you “do not support Hamas” is that you fully support (or at least are willing to explain away or apologize for) how they came to power or how they triggered last year’s Gaza war, but that you accept no responsibility for the consequences of those activities, be they the repression of women, the murder of gays (or rival Palestinians) or the consequences of their “balsy” resistance of targeting Israeli schoolyards with rockets and missies for years.

In other words, you have developed an impenetrable mental force field around the possibility that the Gaza “massacre” (which supposedly made you very angry) was the result of the very party (Hamas) whom you dedicate so much time defending and apologizing for here in this forum. Thinking otherwise might help you better understand the concept of cause and effect (and might put you on the road to helping end more suffering on the part of Palestinians and Jews in the future). But it might possibly dent your self-image as a righteous, virtuous and courageous soul speaking “truth to power” (which you define as solely Israeli power). I suspect that even if I could demonstrate conclusively that your position would lead inexorably to the death of thousands, you would not be able to budge in your convictions since how can you compare the value of those lives vs. the importance of your self-image?

andrew r said...

'If by "that" you mean...'

Wow Jon, I totally didn't! And I need a moment to take this in: "the world's worst human rights abusers do - including supporting the Nazi party"

So the Nazis weren't the world's worst human rights abusers. They were supported by those who are. What a bunch of coherence.

Jon said...

Andrew - I was talking about the greatest human rights abusers today vs. tha past, but I appreciate that the concept of time moving forward can be challenging to some people.

I hope this clears things up.

Jon

Gert said...

Jon:

Your responses are getting increasingly emotional. Lemmesee:

"where was I, oh yes, and you also don’t “support” them, but claim that firing 8000 rockets from Palestinian civilian areas into Israeli ones is simply some form of “balsy” resistance. (I wonder what might have happened had Gandhi, who by your calculation, lacked a “pair of balls,” had chosen the Hamas route vs. the one he took. Or whether the Palestinians might have a home and normal life had they followed the Gandhi vs. the Arafat course.)"

Well, to begin with, the "Palestinians might have a home and normal life" indeed, if it wasn't for the fact that in 1948 750,000 of them had been uprooted to make room for the Jewish State, followed by another 250,000 expelled from the West Bank in 1967, followed by 40 years of Israeli military occupation (condemned by just about the entire international community, including the US) and ongoing and accelerating colonisation of the West Bank.

As regards Ghandi, it's rather typical of a US rightist to believe the US (and the West at large) can dictate how an oppressed people should respond and what mode of resistance is permissible in their eyes. Hamas' choice of taking up arms (it didn't do so immediately) is largely in response to the poor track record of results obtained by the PLO (which did renounce violence but got little in return). Palestinians have indeed in their history tried both violent and non-violent means of resisting. But as long as the West (or at least its leaders) keeps siding almost unconditionally with Zionism, there will be no major change and the low-level conflict will continue to smolder.

"I think what you mean when you say that you “do not support Hamas” is that you fully support (or at least are willing to explain away or apologize for) how they came to power or how they triggered last year’s Gaza war, but that you accept no responsibility for the consequences of those activities, be they the repression of women, the murder of gays (or rival Palestinians) or the consequences of their “balsy” resistance of targeting Israeli schoolyards with rockets and missies for years."

Again, I don't really need a sermon from the citizen of a country that has supported (installed even) repressive regimes around the world over the past 40 years to serve its own self-interests, something which today it is still doing by supporting the criminal Zionist regime. Something which clearly you are doing too.

"Thinking otherwise might help you better understand the concept of cause and effect (and might put you on the road to helping end more suffering on the part of Palestinians and Jews in the future). But it might possibly dent your self-image as a righteous, virtuous and courageous soul speaking “truth to power” (which you define as solely Israeli power). I suspect that even if I could demonstrate conclusively that your position would lead inexorably to the death of thousands, you would not be able to budge in your convictions since how can you compare the value of those lives vs. the importance of your self-image?"

Firstly Jon, quit the cheap psychologising: you don't know me from Adam.

As regards the "death of thousands" that's not only highly speculative (do check out the death toll caused by the "rockets"), but I'm also fairly convinced you really don't give a hoot about the Brownies' lives. Muslim Imperialists, right? Guilty by association at the very least, no?

And cause and effect? Oh dear, you people never learns, do they? The Palestinians will continue to resist their fate by the means of their choice (not for me to dictate) in the same way the Iraqis resisted their occupation (long after 'mission accomplished') and the same way many Afghans will continue to resist Western occupation.

All in all you strike me as coming to this table without ever having heard the counter-arguments and with an obsession about Hamas rather typical of today's Zionist apologists.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Cuba was "the second biggest prison in the world for journalists in 2008, second only to the People's Republic of China."

Of course, the difference between Cuba and other non-democracies is that while Cuba jails journalists, other countries kill them. As you can see here, not a single journalist has been murdered in the island, making it one of the safest dictatorships for media workers.

The motive behind the US's sanctions against Cuba is to make it more democratic. Why Cuba and not Saudi Arabia? Cuba is much more democratic than Saudi.

My point is that if you accept sanctions as a way to punish relatively mild human-rights abuses, then it's OK to apply them to both Cuba and Israel. If you believe, however, that there should exist a priority order, whereby the most serious abusers should be addressed first, then punishing Cuba is just as wrong as punishing Israel: Sudan or China are far worse than both.

andrew r said...

That might've made sense Jon, if the only Nazi supporter we know of hadn't died in 1972.

Anonymous said...

"That might've made sense Jon, if the only Nazi supporter we know of hadn't died in 1972."

No, andrew. There are plenty of neo-Nazis in the world, especially the Middle East and Europe. These people dream of liquidating Israel and destroying the Jewish People. Because they fear the Jews. And well they should: we have ten times more Nobel Prizes, ten times more money and ten times more influence than we should for our population size.

And this fear of the Jews -- also known as antisemitism -- is the reason we have ten times as many nukes. Good luck trying to liquidate us in the future jealous goyim.

Anonymous said...

"That might've made sense Jon, if the only Nazi supporter we know of hadn't died in 1972."

No, andrew. There are plenty of neo-Nazis in the world, especially the Middle East and Europe. These people dream of liquidating Israel and destroying the Jewish People. Because they fear the Jews. And well they should: we have ten times more Nobel Prizes, ten times more money and ten times more influence than we should for our population size.

And this fear of the Jews -- also known as antisemitism -- is the reason we have ten times as many nukes. Good luck trying to liquidate us in the future jealous goyim.

Jon said...

Dear Gert – As someone who has decided that anyone who does not agree with him must be a “Rightie” (laced with relatively lame accusations of bigotry), you are not actually in a very good position to demand others do not attempt to characterize you (psychologically or otherwise).

Clearly, despite the image you are trying to project for yourself (or believe internally), you possess a pretty healthy regard for violence (especially when it’s perpetrated by those with whom you politically agree or against those who you don’t like). Thus the Palestinian, Afghan, and Iraqi “resistance” (who, over the last 25 years, have murdered more Muslims than the rest of the Jewish and Christian world combined), are to be celebrated (or at least understood). But anyone who, say, decides to defend himself from 8000 rocket attacks (fired in the name of “resistance” of course) is to be condemned as war criminals and murderous brutes.

Again, your self-image as a virtuous progressive seems strangely at odds with your passion for violence, especially when it’s done by the most reactionary forces on the planet (such as Hamas and the Taliban). As the parent of a ten year old, I understand that lashing out at people pointing out difficult facts is a normal human reaction, but perhaps you should look in the mirror the next time you feel like accusing someone of “Rightiness” or lack of concern for “Brownies” (or anyone else).

Gert said...

Dear Jon:

"But anyone who, say, decides to defend himself from 8000 rocket attacks (fired in the name of “resistance” of course) is to be condemned as war criminals and murderous brutes."

Israel has defended herself against the rocket attacks from the day they started, that is her inaliable right. During these act of self-defence systematically more Palestinians died than Israelis (the ratio is usually about 10:1 Palestinians:Israelis).

During Cast Lead (an operation that was very long in the planning), according to B'Tselem 1,382 Palestinians died, 320 of those were minors, 111 were women and 325 classed as combatants. 13 Israelis were killed during the conflict, including four soldiers in two separate friendly fire incidents and three civilians. Apart from the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure, factories, farmland etc, I consider that, as does much of the rest of the world, a hugely disproportionate response.

During the 'war' we here in Europe were able to watch the onslaught almost live (and sometimes actually live) via footage from Aljazeera and Press TV. I saw women and children being hit by white phosphorus while fleeing a school. But I saw much, much more besides that. It was in a single word ghastly.

Zapping to the US 'media' (not worthy of that term IMHO), hardly a mention, not an image, nothing. No wonder you end up simply believing the Lobby's narrative...

Part of Israel's problem was that despite trying to ban journalists and having prepared an impressive PR offensive their Hasbara efforts really fell flat this time, thanks to Aljazeera, Press TV and the Internet.

It's for those same reasons that serious cracks are starting to appear in the US media landscape and why initiatives like J Street, Jewish Voices for Peace and blogs like Mondoweiss are becoming increasingly strong.

"Again, your self-image as a virtuous progressive seems strangely at odds with your passion for violence, especially when it’s done by the most reactionary forces on the planet (such as Hamas and the Taliban)."

I have neither a passion for violence (but I'm not a pacifist) nor do I support reactionary forces. I note however that when a country is occupied the occupied resist, no matter what denomination the resistance might be.

When German troops marched through my father's hometown of Antwerp in WW II he was only six. What he remembers about that moment is how much he HATED these soldiers. He was only six...

Jon said...

As you readily describe, the Hamas rocket fire did not stop when Israel took lesser actions to defend itself before Cast Lead. And, given that even the most flexible legal and moral reasoners would have trouble claiming that the firing of hundreds of rockets into a nation's territories is anything other than an act of war, Israel's response was forced upon it by Hamas' choice to continue to wage war.

You can call it "resistance" if you like (a word, I suspect, you reserve for warlike violence performed by those with whom you are in political agreement), but in any other place in the world, in any other period of history, no nation would be asked to wait until the 8000th rocket before defending itself. Feel free to list all the statistics you like about the number and nature of the war's victims, but your moral posturing would feel less empty if you didn't spend so much time apologizing for those responsible for the hostilities that forced the need for Cast Lead.

As for your father's growing up in Antwerp during WWII, I could take a cheap shot and ask how he might feel about the Mufti of Jerusalem (the George Washington of Palestinian nationalism) forming an alliance with the supreme leader of those soldiers lo those many years ago.

But instead, I will simply point that your Dad, like many other children (including Antwerp's Jewish children who did not make it to adulthood in order to have kids of their own) would have loved to have seen other soldiers - Allied soldiers - kick the Nazis he so hated back to their homeland and into the dustbin of history.

The trouble is that his son seems to have a hard time distinguishing between one set of soldiers and another. Today, the children of Sderodt do not have to go through the same suffering as the children of Antwerp did 70 years ago because soldiers - Israel soldiers - are there to prevent it.

If the cost of saving their lives is the tut tutting of a few Belgians who spend their time glued to Aljezzera, then that is a price worth paying.

Ernie Halfdram said...

First, regarding BDS, I’m at a loss why this is so mysterious. When the ANC and other South African black organisations called for a boycott, principled antiracists supported it. When Palestinian civil society univocally called for BDS, principled antiracists supported it. When the colonised people of the US, Puerto Rico, or Guam call for a boycott of the US, principled antiracists will support it. If the oppressed in Cuba were calling for a boycott, that would hardly matter, because the existing boycott could hardly be strengthened further. Ibrahim’s point is sound – the hasbaristas oppose sanctions against Israel but are apparently content that Israel, along with their proxy, Palauan ambassador ‘Stuart Beck, an American with Israeli citizenship’, supports sanctions against Cuba, not to mention Iran. It is irrelevant that the call for BDS at this stage is based on individual and civil society action. Ultimately, I for one would like to see full scale diplomatic and economic sanctions imposed.

Gert, I think you were on the right track when you said you weren’t ‘going to spend anymore time on you because you're simply not worth it’. Ibrahim attracts the same class of trolls as anyone else. They have nothing to say and their objective is to waste your time. That said, they do have a point. Israel is not responsible for the greatest or worst atrocities in the world today. The US is. ‘Cast lead’ was modelled on Fallujah… Which leads to the other reason it’s not worth bothering with the trolls – you are digging yourself into a hole. The problem with Israel is not that it violates International Law or UN resolutions. If that’s all it were, the US would be blameless. It’s that it’s a racist settler colony, much like its principal sponsor, albeit on a much smaller scale.

‘Cast lead’ was not a ‘disproportionate response’ to Qassam rockets. The rockets are a response to Israeli oppression and the unquantified Israeli attacks on Gaza – certainly many more than 8000, leaving aside the gross disproportion in numbers of casualties, from the stress and bedwetting so many kids in Sderot suffer to disability and death.

Furthermore, it’s just not the case that ‘No one denies Israel the right to defend herself’ – I certainly do – Israel is utterly indefensible and the colonised and oppressed are entitled to resist by the means available to them. When you write ‘there isn't a single Arab/Muslim country in the SC’, that would be apart from Libya and Turkey, I suppose?

And what is this macho shit about pairs of balls? As if women hadn’t always resisted occupation as vigorously as men!

Andrew, if you argue that ‘three Hamas members of the Ramallah city council voted to elect a Christian woman mayor’ is counterevidence to accusations that Hamas is sexist, much less anything else, then is Obama’s election evidence that there is no racism in the US?

There’s no need to go all defensive when these trolls come along and accuse antizionists of anti-Semitism. Sure, you can find confused antisemites who pretend to oppose Israel, but there are a lot more antisemites who support Israel, including the American Christian right, the BNP, and above all the Zionists themselves. If you’re going to argue with trolls, you might as well go on the offensive and call a spade a spade. Stupid double standards and inconsistency are the trolls’ territory and I’m content to leave it to them. When we argue carelessly, we leave ourselves open to accusations that we’re no better than them.

andrew r said...

Ernie - I think it's worth pointing out when the trolls hurl superlatives and interpolate Saudi Arabia onto every Arab regime and Islamic group.

It doesn't save Hamas from charges of sexism (they banned women from motorcycles) but it shows the wilful ignorance behind calling them the most sexist regime in the world.

While there is some anecdotal evidence that racists voted for Obama, Janet Khoury was elected by a movement that, according to people like Jon, are supposed to be against that. The idea is to make them think a little. Maybe there's distinctions between Hamas and the Saudis and whatever else.

Ernie Halfdram said...

Well, Andrew, I don’t know who reads The hasbara buster apart from those who comment here, but in my view, it’s not worth pointing anything out to the trolls – their minds, such as they are, are made up; don’t confuse them with the facts. And for everybody else, I reckon it’s superfluous.

When I read of the motorcycle ban, it reminded me of Pakistan, where a woman on a motorbike would invariably be riding sidesaddle on the pillion with the baby on her lap. Nothing wrong with that, if you’re sufficiently fatalistic – if the kids are destined to die, there’s nothing you can do to avert it; if destined to live, there’s nothing you can do to endanger them. So I speculated that the same situation might pertain in Gaza and the ban mightn’t be motivated entirely by sexism and might in fact represent a retreat from hard Islamism. Just speculation, mind you.

The point about Obama isn’t that racists voted for him. It’s that the US, like any other settler colony, is a fundamentally racist society and that elevating the occasional member of an oppressed group doesn’t obviate that. I think there was a similar discussion when Ibrahim posted on the assets of the Iraqi Jews. Again, if the objective is to get the trolls to think a little, you’re wasting your time, and they win.

More specifically, I don’t think it matters whether Hamas is more or less sexist than the Saudi monarchy. What matters is that Hamas, for all its legion faults, represents resistance to colonialism and oppression, while the House of Saud is the oppressor within their little pond. Hamas’s sexism, homophobia, and brutality, along with their resort to religious rhetoric, are artefacts of powerlessness and despair. They are unforgivable and counterproductive and we can and should criticise them on that basis, but we also need to understand where they come from. Insofar as they resist the oppressor, and only that far, I support them. There are no grounds whatsoever to support the Saudi royals.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Hamas’s sexism, homophobia, and brutality, along with their resort to religious rhetoric, are artefacts of powerlessness and despair.

Supposing there is a 33.546% chance that this isn't true?

Yitzchak Goodman said...

not a single journalist has been murdered in the island, making it one of the safest dictatorships for media workers.

The scale probably matters. A very large chance of being sent to a gulag might be quite a bit scarier than a relatively small chance of being killed.

My point is that if you accept sanctions as a way to punish relatively mild human-rights abuses, then it's OK to apply them to both Cuba and Israel.

And to make that point you have to downplay Cuba's considerable human rights abuses, ignore the circumstances of Cuba's relationship with the US, and ignore the solidarity that Cuba gets from the world at large. Can't you find another Pariah Democracy to compare Israel to?

Yitzchak Goodman said...

You still haven't answered my simple question

It isn't as simple a question as you're pretending, and your question appears in a non-responsive response to something I wrote in response to something Ibrahim wrote. I don't have to follow you onto any tangent that strikes your fancy. Compare Ibrahim's continuation of the conversation to yours.

Jon said...

Ernie – Given that I only tend to join an online debate like this one once every 2-3 years, I find it interesting that every time I do so Israel’s accusers start with the “don’t listen to those old trolls” line the minute they start losing the argument. As I mention whenever this tired meme gets resurrected, the owner of this site has options. He can restrict comments so that only people who agree with one another are allowed on the site, or he can eliminate comments altogether (like the folks at Muzzlewatch were forced to do when our analysis was striking a little too close to home). All of these choices are available that will ensure your eyes and ears will never have to encounter a fact that contradicts your political pre-conceptions. If Ibrahim wants to go this route, options to do so can be found in the Customize Comments tab in Blogger.

Until the glorious day when you’ll never have to encounter a dissenting voice, allow me to clear up a few misconceptions that you may have inadvertently left on this site. Starting with the notion that BDS is welling up from Palestinian society (and thus provides the reason why Israel should be the target of divestment and not, say, China or Saudi Arabia), you are referring to a petition signed by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (or PACBI).

But as I point out here (http://www.divestthis.com/2009/10/unpacking-pacbi-excuse.html), it is questionable whether this call (as the name suggests) applies to most of the BDS activity going on in the world that extends beyond academic and cultural boycott (the least successful forms of boycott attempted towards Israel to date, given how they fly in the face of academic and cultural freedom). This research also notes serious issues with regard to PACBI being a result of coercion vs. voluntary politics, and (most importantly) the face that the PACBI petition came long after the initial successes of BDS between 2001-2004 (and thus could not have been the cause).

Now clearly someone who comes to the Middle East debate with the pre-conception that Israel = South Africa will look for whatever information they can find to support that analogy (and discard anything that doesn’t). The fact that the Israel/Apartheid analogy originated in 1975 when the Arab states successfully bullied the UN into voting on the now-discredited Zionism=Racism resolution (a resolution that piggybacked on the South African analogy), is particularly telling, given that those same Arab states were – at that very moment – secretly supplying Apartheid South Africa with the oil it needed to survive. It’s also telling since the term “Apartheid” would much more aptly be applied to countries like Saudi Arabia, Sudan or Hamas’ Gazastan where gender Apartheid (in the form of imprisonment of women), sexual Apartheid (in the form of the murder of gays and lesbians), religious and ethnic Apartheid are the law of the land.

But like so many other “right-thinking” commenters on this board, facing these truths would require you to face up to the fact that the anti-Israel agenda (i.e., your agenda) is being driven by wealthy and powerful states such as those making up the Arab League and OIC, not welling up from the poor and dispossessed. And since your self-image is based on “speaking truth to power,” huge effort must be expended to hide the fact (even from yourself) that you are actually sucking up to it.

Gert said...

Ernie:

Two small points:

"Furthermore, it’s just not the case that ‘No one denies Israel the right to defend herself’ – I certainly do – Israel is utterly indefensible and the colonised and oppressed are entitled to resist by the means available to them."

It's unrealistic to claim Israel has no right to defend herself, no matter how we feel about the entire Zionist enterprise.

"And what is this macho shit about pairs of balls? As if women hadn’t always resisted occupation as vigorously as men!"

By figure of speech of course, nothing else. It does take courage to resist and you find it in both genders. Wrong choice of words, I guess.

Thanks for your advice!

Gert said...

Yitchak:

"I don't have to follow you onto any tangent that strikes your fancy."

Fine but I'm not debating someone who in all likelihood does support the complete colonisation of Palestine, it'd be a complete waste of time. Hence the question.

Bye.

Jon said...

Gert - I believe Yitchak was simply pointing out that there are options other than answering yes or no to your "the conversation can only continue after you tell me when you stopped beating your wife" challenge.

After all, if Yitzchak or I asked you to confirm whether you supported or didn't support the Islamic Totalitarian imperial ambition to control all of Palestine (and after that the world!), you would be free to point out that such a question pre-supposed a phenomena that you do not believe exists, and thus it was an illegitimate question to demand a yes or no answer to (much less make further conversation hinge on supplying such a yes or no answer).

All we are asking is that you extend the same courtesy you would no doubt demand for yourself to those with whom you disagree.

Gert said...

Dear Jon:

What are you kvetching about now:

"After all, if Yitzchak or I asked you to confirm whether you supported or didn't support the Islamic Totalitarian imperial ambition to control all of Palestine (and after that the world!), you would be free to point out that such a question pre-supposed a phenomena that you do not believe exists, and thus it was an illegitimate question to demand a yes or no answer to (much less make further conversation hinge on supplying such a yes or no answer)."

'the Islamic Totalitarian imperial ambition to control all of Palestine' doesn't exist and if it did I would condemn it. Easy question, straightforward answer.

By contrast Yitchak evades the question on the grounds that it's simplistic. Well, dear Yitchak, please elaborate, that would be really courteous. I'm all ear.

As regards your earlier:

"But instead, I will simply point that your Dad, like many other children (including Antwerp's Jewish children who did not make it to adulthood in order to have kids of their own) would have loved to have seen other soldiers - Allied soldiers - kick the Nazis he so hated back to their homeland and into the dustbin of history."

What a crying shame that in 1948 there were no Allied soldiers to prevent 750,000 Palestinians being kicked out of their homes. What a crying shame there was no one to ensure that after cessation of hostilities they were allowed to return home. But that clearly is of no concern to you.

Jon said...

Dear Gert - I will leave it to Yitchak to provide you his own comments regarding whether or not your question is legitimate or simply of the "when did you stop beating your wife" variety. Suffice to say, your implication that anyone who disagrees with you must be a fully-throated supporter of religious colonialism is more reflective of whom you would prefer to be debating vs. who you are actually talking with.

Regarding your 1948 comment, I could go the obvious route and point out your number of Arab refugees is one of those stats that seems to grow by 25% with each passing decade, or ask why you don't mention the 800,000 Jews who were kicked out of the Arab world after the 1948 war in order to flood Israel with penniless refugees.

But instead I will simply point out another tiny event that happened in the year of 1948 which was the invasion of the newly established nation of Israel by the armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.

Given that this latter army (supplied by the British empire and under British command) cleansed the territory it won in the conflict (the West Bank including Jerusalem) of every Jew, and leveled all traces of Jewish culture in Jerusalem, I think it's safe to say what would have happened had those five armies won the day in 1948.

But as I've noticed before, from the comfort of contemporary Belgium it can be difficult to determine which soldiers are conquerors in jackboots and which are the defenders since all soldiers tend to wear uniforms and carry guns.

I understand your need to run the entire present through an ideological filter built by Aljezzera, but running the past through that same filter as well runs the hazard of having to deal wtih people who actually know the history you have either forgotten or refused to learn.

Gert said...

Dear Jon,

Ernie was of course right, I'm completely wasting my time here, as are you. This will be my last comment directed at you on this thread.

"Suffice to say, your implication that anyone who disagrees with you must be a fully-throated supporter of religious colonialism is more reflective of whom you would prefer to be debating vs. who you are actually talking with."

Straw man. I asked Yitchak a simple question and look what you make of it!

"Regarding your 1948 comment, I could go the obvious route and point out your number of Arab refugees is one of those stats that seems to grow by 25% with each passing decade, or ask why you don't mention the 800,000 Jews who were kicked out of the Arab world after the 1948 war in order to flood Israel with penniless refugees."

Please prove the 'growth by 25 % with each decade'. The estimated 750,000 figure has been stable at least since I started reading up on the subject, at the end of the seventies.
Regarding the '800,000 Jewish refugees', please consider reading Yehouda Shenhav's Arab Jews, Palestinian Refugees and Israel's Folly Politics as an interestingly detailed second opinion.

"But instead I will simply point out another tiny event that happened in the year of 1948 which was the invasion of the newly established nation of Israel by the armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan."

For a more insider perspective of the 1948 war, I suggest reading this interview with Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel’s Foreign Minister and key Israeli negotiator at the Camp David and Taba meetings in 2000-.

"But as I've noticed before, from the comfort of contemporary Belgium it can be difficult to determine which soldiers are conquerors in jackboots and which are the defenders since all soldiers tend to wear uniforms and carry guns.

I understand your need to run the entire present through an ideological filter built by Aljezzera, but running the past through that same filter as well runs the hazard of having to deal wtih people who actually know the history you have either forgotten or refused to learn."


Jon, beneath your carefully constructed veneer of courteousness lays a sea of condescension and soft ad hom, as well as a tendency to jump to conclusions. Aljazeera has its own perspective (like you and like me) but for me it is merely one interesting source on the current situation in the ME.

All the best with your anti-BDS campaign: may you winkle out many 'anti-Israel' elements on campuses and legal guilds.

Goodbye.

Gert said...

PS: I'm Belgian but don't live there. I've lived abroad for about the last 15 years in various countries, currently and until further notice in the UK. That was just another one of your jumpy conclusions...

Jon said...

Gert - The old joke from the days of UseNet was "Don't go away mad, just go away." But in this case, I think you are right that nothing is to be gained by continuing a conversation between two people who have already chosen not to agree.

I will leave it to readers to determine who has chosen to limit his horizen to just those sources that support pre-conceived beliefs (like those you list in your final message). Given that this is a forum created primarily for people who share your views, I suspect you'll win the vote (if not the argument) on that matter.

Tot kijk

Jon

Ernie Halfdram said...

I suppose what I should have written was, ‘Stupid double standards, inconsistency, a cavalier approach to history, conspiracy theories, and paranoid delusions are the trolls’ territory and I’m content to leave it to them.’ My bad. Sorry.

I think what’s unrealistic, Gert, is to get involved in a discourse about rights, particularly the rights of states. If the Israeli state were really concerned to protect Israelis, they could move military bases and munitions factories away from civilian residential areas – hiding behind civilian human shields, as they like to say. More to the point, if they eschewed their oppressive colonial project, defence would not be necessary. Indeed, lifting the siege on Gaza and refraining from the constant barrage of shells and missiles they launch against Gaza alone would reduce Qassam launches to a trickle, if not eliminate it entirely.

Jon said...

"Stupid double standards, inconsistency, a cavalier approach to history, conspiracy theories, and paranoid delusions..."

And as Cyrano would have put it: Pleased to meet you! And I, on the other hand, am Jon.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/index.jsp?cid=186362

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

And to make that point you have to downplay Cuba's considerable human rights abuses, ignore the circumstances of Cuba's relationship with the US, and ignore the solidarity that Cuba gets from the world at large.

You seem to be suggesting that punishing a certain country, even as you leave other countries with far worse human-rights records unpunished, may be justifiable depending on the circumstances. That is a much more nuanced approach than the blanket assertion that the worst offenders should be addressed first.

Still, you haven't provided a criterion to decide which circumstances justify a selective boycott and which ones don't. Until you do, the BDS-proponents' "circumstances" should be considered as valid as the US government's, and BDS is, at the very least, as justified as the Cuban embargo.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Jon, I don't consider you a troll. That said, I think I've made a couple of sound points, and you've failed to address them. Meanwhile:

people seem to forget that Egypt receives, by formula, 2/3 of what Israel does

Which adds to the aid Israel gets from the US! Israel actually gets $5 bn: $3 bn to buy weapons, and $2 bn to discourage Egypt from making war on Israel. (If I bribed a cop so that he won't fine you, wouldn't I be helping YOU?)

the Mufti of Jerusalem - the George Washington of Palestinian nationalism

Not sure what you mean by this, but for the record, George Washington was a constitutionally elected president of the US, while the Mufti was a British-appointed figure who represented no one but himself.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

You seem to be suggesting that punishing a certain country, even as you leave other countries with far worse human-rights records unpunished, may be justifiable depending on the circumstances.

I'm suggesting that US-related circumstances might make Cuba an unlikely site to go treasure-hunting for double-standards that relate to Israel--unless you want to note that Cuba-solidarity and Castro-coddling help illustrate that Israel is a Democracy singled out for pariah-treatment in a world full of dictatorships.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Yitzchak, I'm not criticizing the US's double standards. I'm criticizing yours. What I'm saying is that, just as the US has US-related circumstances that justify its embargo of Cuba (a MILD human-rights abuser), I have myself-related circumstances that justify my criticism of Israel (another mild human-rights abuser).

I can't see why you Zionists expect me to tackle all human-rights violations in the world, when the US, with all its government agencies, doesn't.

Israel is a Democracy singled out for pariah-treatment in a world full of dictatorships.

Pariah-treatment is a very subjective concept. Let's see:

1) The US gives Israel an annual gift of $3 bn, and also pays a $2 bn bribe to Egypt so that it won't make war on Israel.

2) By a European Union Working Definition, even to suggest that Israel should be a binational state is considered antisemitic.

3) Israel has a legion of both Jewish and non-Jewish apologists, like British MP Dennis McShane, who rabidly defend it.

4) Israel is the only country in the world that has foreign private institutions like CAMERA and MEMRI exclusively devoted to smear its enemies.

5) Terror attacks against Israel make it instantly to the newspaper covers. Much bloodier terror attacks against other countries, such as the Tamil Tigers' attacks on Sri Lanka, are never reported so prominently.

Hardly --HARDLY!!!-- the treatment one would expect to be accorded to a pariah state.

Jon said...

Ibrahim – I appreciate your understanding that people who disagree with you, especially those that put time and thought into their arguments, should not be dismissed as “trolls,” (a term, I have come to understand, justifies putting fingers in the ears and covering the eyes to avoid having to confront dissenting opinions, regardless of their quality or merit). I also appreciate your maintaining open comments, something not all parisan bloggers on either side of this debate are willing to do.

In truth, I’m actually not much of an online debater these days. I delved into it pretty deeply in the early days of UseNet, but since getting married and having kids I’ve only taken part in these types of heated discussions on a few occasions, and usually in an effort to learn something. Most recently (two years ago, actually), I took part in the comment forums that originally accompanied the Muzzlewatch site (www.muzzlewatch.com) in order to determine why a premise that was so demonstrably false (that accusations against Israel which are screamed from every corner of the land are somehow “repressed”) could be taken as gospel by so many. As mentioned previously, that group decided to shut down their comment section when our questioning got too close to home (which helped answer my question as to whether the Muzzlewatch thesis was a sincere mis-understanding, or a cynical political ploy).

I can’t say for sure what drew me to this discussion, other than the obvious need to address your analysis of BDS which, as the subject of my own blog, is of particular interest. Since this will likely be one of my last postings here, I thought it best to think out loud about the experience.

I’ve recently become interested in the whole concept of “inversion,” that is the swapping of victim and victimizer in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The entire Arab and Muslim world has rejected a non-Arab, non-Muslim presence in even 1% of the Middle East, just as they reject any non-Muslim polity on what they daily refer to as “sacred Arab land.” And yet this reality is somehow turned on its head whereby Israel is guilty for rejecting a Muslim (i.e. Palestinian) presence in its midst.

In an era when religious conflict is the prime motivator of Muslim politics, laying waste to whole regions and killing millions as this religious rage is exported to all four corners of the globe, somehow the existence of any Jew who thinks about their homeland in religious terms is considered a threat to world peace.

The notion that Israel is pariah nation is enshrined at that international Holy of Holies the United Nations where a majority of time, effort and resolutions are focused on the alleged “crimes” of the Jewish state. The fact that these calumnies are led by major vs. mild human rights abusers (which you readily agree characterizes Israel’s human rights record) also demonstrates that inversion: projecting the faults of the accuser onto the accused, is the reigning narrative of international politics.

Continued...

Jon said...

Which I guess is why I found a web site dedicated to “Hasbara-busing” kind of interesting. After all, whether it’s my blog, or CAMERA, or Dennis McShane, the defenders of Israel are doing just that: defending. We are not spending our time and energy demanding the UN officially condemn Saudi Arabia for its treatment of women, or denounce Hamas for its treatment of gays (or even Jews). We are responding to accusations, many false, most exaggerated, all out of context. And yet our unwillingness to lie down and be rolled over by our accusers is simply added to the indictment (by characterizing our free-speech activities as “private institutions dedicated to smearing [Israel’s] enemies” for example).
Perhaps this is just an example of what I found at Muzzlewatch: a ruthless political maneuver designed to shut up Israel’s friends while their foes are allowed to say and do anything they like. Or perhaps it is simply the activities of people so convinced that they are right that they have no mechanism to even contemplate the possibility that they are wrong.

Anyway, enough rambling for now. If you want to turn this into a thoughtful exchange (or if I need to stay on to respond to any outstanding questions or challenges), I’ll stick around. Otherwise, have a good life and we’ll see you in the blogosphere.

Jon

Gert said...

Sorry Jon, but I'm gonna break my word here. You're now kvetching nonsense like there's no tomorrow.

"I’ve recently become interested in the whole concept of “inversion,” that is the swapping of victim and victimizer in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The entire Arab and Muslim world has rejected a non-Arab, non-Muslim presence in even 1% of the Middle East, just as they reject any non-Muslim polity on what they daily refer to as “sacred Arab land.” And yet this reality is somehow turned on its head whereby Israel is guilty for rejecting a Muslim (i.e. Palestinian) presence in its midst."

I'll firstly assume (because it isn't clear) that by "has rejected" you're referring to 1948.

Right Jon, imagine for argument's sake an imaginary people whom I'll call the Syldovians and that these people claim, for whatever reason, to have a small stake in, say, the US state of Pennsylvania. To that effect they acquire/occupy less than 1 % of Pennsylvania, expel a significant number of Pennsylvanians and call the unilaterally for the independence of a new state, Syldonia. What do you expect Pennsylvania to do about this?

I'll make it multiple choice:

a. They tell the Syldonians to go right ahead, perhaps even sending them 'Wishing you well!' cards and flowers.
b. They protest, probably resist the seizing of Pennsylvanian land.
c. They declare war on the new state in order to try and reverse the situation and allow the expelled to return home.

No prizes for guessing the right answer. Who would you back, Pennsylvania or the Syldonians? Again no prizes required. This is what Ernie refers to as double standards. Why on Earth are Arabs/Muslims supposed to have a different attitude?

C'td below.

Gert said...

Now instead I'll assume that your "has rejected" actually refers to the current situation. Well Jon, that Arab/Muslim states may not like Israel very much is a fact but they are overwhelmingly resigned to its existence. Not one (no, not even Iran) is calling for war on Israel or demands its destruction or dismantling. So in that sense what you write is also jingoistic quatch.

"In an era when religious conflict is the prime motivator of Muslim politics, laying waste to whole regions and killing millions as this religious rage is exported to all four corners of the globe, somehow the existence of any Jew who thinks about their homeland in religious terms is considered a threat to world peace."

This is hardly worth refuting. Only if you see the Muslim world as some monolithic bloc (when in reality it's about as fragmented and divided as Christian Protestantism) can you believe that the various conflicts that involve Muslims around the world are all manifestations of the same phenomenon. This is a trick the Israeli leadership just loooves to play: to present Israel as a bulwark against International Islamist Terrorism. But whatever you think of Hamas and Hesbollah, neither have anything to do with bin Laden, Al Qaeda, the Taleban or any international Islamist organisation, zilch, nada, nothing. And Fatah is largely secular of course.

"And yet our unwillingness to lie down and be rolled over by our accusers is simply added to the indictment (by characterizing our free-speech activities as “private institutions dedicated to smearing [Israel’s] enemies” for example)."

There is no question in my mind that there exist individuals and organisations dedicated almost solely to smear Israel's opponents. Your blog may not be one of them but they clearly exist nonetheless. Smearing is something Israel is very good at: its immediate response to Goldstone was to try and delegitimise its author. Today Israel still hasn't denied anything substantial, bar rather vague assertions that the report was one-sided and such like.

"Or perhaps it is simply the activities of people so convinced that they are right that they have no mechanism to even contemplate the possibility that they are wrong."

You on the other hand are such a wonderfully open-minded person, free of any bias or preconception and soooo willing to consider another viewpoint, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

I think arguing with Jon is a complete waste of time considering he lives in a parallel universe where the Palestinians and the victimizers and Israel is the victim.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Hardly --HARDLY!!!-- the treatment one would expect to be accorded to a pariah state.

I am using the term to refer to a pattern of at least trying to make Israel a pariah-state, not saying that Israel doesn't have its defenders. It does. Your post is about the BDS movement, which is part of a larger pattern of singling out Israel by the UN, by NGOs, by the left in general, etc. Your argument, as I understand it, is that this pattern isn't worthy of outrage because the same thing is done to Cuba. My reply to that is that Cuba happens to be on the US dreck-list (for not particularly mysterious reasons although you can still disagree with the blockade), but otherwise Cuba isn't subjected to a broader international pattern of reprobation as Israel is. That is what I take to be the discussion so far.

andrew r said...

Sorry Jon, but I'm gonna break my word here. You're now kvetching nonsense like there's no tomorrow.

That's exactly it, Gert. Like any good troll, Jon's got a million of 'em. And Ernie has a point ~ most pro-Israel arguments are a waste of time and divert the serious anti-Zionism. My personal bane is the origin of Jews in the holy land. Zionism won't get any better if it turns out today's Israelis really did have ancestors there 2000 years ago. The fact that Zionism is constructed on ahistorical nonsense is a symptom of how racist it is, since racism is built on delusions. But that's not what makes it a racist ideology. Namely: it considers the Palestinian refugees an unacceptable part of their homeland. This would be the case even if the Muslims expelled the Jews in A.D. 654. The nakba would still be dubious if it was a counter-expulsion.

Gabriel Ash talked about a "degenerate discourse" regarding the common use of socialism as a political slur in the US. That's exactly what I'd call arguments about not accepting such and such in 1% of the ME. Though it might be fun to deconstruct, it's just a cheap justification for not letting the refugees go home.

Most of what Zionists say is bull-dooky, but you can nod politely through most of it and still tell them how the nakba is ongoing and why it should be stopped.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Zionism won't get any better if it turns out today's Israelis really did have ancestors there 2000 years ago.

Josephus was born in 37 CE. There weren't any Jews in the Holy Land 28 years before he was born? Or do you not think that modern Jews are descended from ancient Jews? Just curious.

andrew r said...

I don't think European Jews are although it's probably the case with Jews from the ME. As always, this is academic.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

I don't think European Jews are

And where did you get this idea? Arthur Koestler?

As always, this is academic

I'd say that's in the eye of the beholder.

Ernie Halfdram said...

I think the obvious Zionist retort to your analogy, Gert, is, ‘But the Syldonians are not the Jews! When was the Syldonian Holocaust? Etc.’ Double standards are hardwired into the Zionist mindset, so analogies of this kind just fall flat. In other words, I agree with anonymous.

Andrew makes some very important points:

‘Zionism won't get any better if it turns out today's Israelis really did have ancestors there 2000 years ago... it considers the Palestinian refugees an unacceptable part of their homeland.’

Leaving aside the issue of whether there is such a thing as a Jewish nation or a Jewish people, which I’ll return to, the time may come when genetics can show decisively whether modern Ashkenazim or any other population descends directly from people who lived in part of what we now call Palestine in antiquity. As you say, it’s utterly irrelevant in the here and now. European Jews quite deliberately set out to colonise Palestine in the late 19th Century and establish a Jewish majority there at the expense of the people who actually lived there at the time. Many have pointed out the hypocrisy of the claim the Jews have some kind of entitlement to turf out the Palestinians on the grounds that they used to live there millennia ago, while denying the claims of those who lived there just decades ago. Ultimately, the justice of the Zionist claim rests on the biblical narrative about The Promised Land. I could, with equal justice, write a book claiming that some supernatural being promised my mythical ancestors the island of Manhattan and exile all the current inhabitants, if I had sufficient force at my disposal. One of the problems with accepting biblical narrative as historical fact is that it doesn’t claim that the Jews were the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. If it were a true historical record, 1948 would not be the first time that Jews had occupied Palestine at the expense of the indigenous people.

‘racism is built on delusions’

I think we may be on more or less the same page here, but I don’t think it’s a delusion to believe that oppressing a group of people and instilling an ideology justifying their oppression serves the interests of a ruling class, particularly insofar as their interests are served by exploiting the resources or labour of the victims. And that is what I reckon is the basis of racism. The specific form the ideology takes – that all members of the oppressed group possess some inherited essence that makes it ok to oppress them is of course delusory. Zionism is unequivocally racist in constructing the Palestinians as a race. They wanted Palestinian land, water, olive and citrus groves and the Palestinians were in the way. So they became an inferior race, interlopers in the Jews’ rightful country, who deserved exile. It is also racist in perpetuating the conceit of Jews as a race articulated by such luminaries as Moshe Hess http://www.zionismontheweb.org/Moses_Hess_Rome_and_Jerusalem.htm
and Theodore Herzl http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/6640/zion/judenstaadt.html. The reason I am a Jew is not that my ancestors lived in Palestine, or that I observe Jewish ritual or speak a Jewish language or whatever. It’s that the Nazis defined a race of Jews, followed closely by the Zionist Law of return, to include me.

andrew r said...

Yitzchak - I don't really believe the Khazar theory (and wouldn't read Koestler as a rule) but it's just obvious when you look at all the different people who are Jewish. Somebody had to convert along the way and there's no way we can all trace our ancestors back to the holy land. If it turns out European Jews can, I'm pretty much indifferent. I know who doesn't need genetic testing to find their ancestors in Palestine.

Gert said...

Ernie:

"Many have pointed out the hypocrisy of the claim the Jews have some kind of entitlement to turf out the Palestinians on the grounds that they used to live there millennia ago, while denying the claims of those who lived there just decades ago. Ultimately, the justice of the Zionist claim rests on the biblical narrative about The Promised Land. I could, with equal justice, write a book claiming that some supernatural being promised my mythical ancestors the island of Manhattan and exile all the current inhabitants, if I had sufficient force at my disposal."

Precisely. Well, to be more effective I should have included in the Syldonian narrative a tale of a lost tribe, divinely ordained by G-d. Few things appear in the eyes of many to be more convincing: for the oppressors to have an invisible Almighty Top Dog in the Heavens who orders the oppressors to do their thing. Hell, even the vaguely atheistic sounding Jon seems to fall for it... And generally tribalistic as we are, most love a story of a 'good homecoming' (of a 'lost People'): after all that suffering, finally a happy ending! And look how well they're doing! Creating animosity towards these pesky party-pooping 'Fakestinians' was never going to be that hard...

But I have to say that the modern refutation of the Syldonian analogy usually invokes Gabriel Ashe's 'Everything Sucks!' argument in the form of 'Everybody's done imperialism, why pick on us? You discriminate against Jews ergo you must be an AS!'

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Leaving aside the issue of whether there is such a thing as a Jewish nation or a Jewish people, which I’ll return to

I'm a Jew and there appear to be millions more of us. Why is this an issue at all?

European Jews quite deliberately set out to colonise Palestine in the late 19th Century and establish a Jewish majority there at the expense of the people who actually lived there at the time.

Nachmanides moved to Jerusalem in 1267 and worked to strengthen Jewish communal life there. Was he bad too?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

My reply to that is that Cuba happens to be on the US dreck-list (for not particularly mysterious reasons although you can still disagree with the blockade), but otherwise Cuba isn't subjected to a broader international pattern of reprobation as Israel is

And my reply is that just as the US has reasons to boycott Cuba, BDS-proponents have reasons to boycott Israel, and they don't automatically become antisemites just because you don't have enough imagination to fathom those reasons.

In any event, BDS supporters are frequently attacked under the argument that they don't support BDS against human-rights abusers that are far worse than Israel. The US's (and Israel's) attitude vis-à-vis Cuba proves that they can't be brought to task on those grounds alone.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

they don't automatically become antisemites just because you don't have enough imagination to fathom those reasons

Did you happen to notice that I participated fairly extensively in this thread without using the term "antisemitic"? What are "those reasons"?

The US's (and Israel's) attitude vis-à-vis Cuba proves that they can't be brought to task on those grounds alone.

Forget for a moment that you are making some sort of "gotcha" point against Hasbaristas. Don't you think the blockade against Cuba is a bad thing? Why is the BDS movement against Israel good? Or was your only interest refuting accusations of antisemitism?

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Somebody had to convert along the way and there's no way we can all trace our ancestors back to the holy land.

"We" being Jews? Judaism does accept converts and it does accept some people born of intermarriage as Jews. Nobody I take seriously is arguing for genetic purity, but the Jewish community has its roots in Israel and never severed those roots. The Jewish people did not re-establish their presence in large numbers in Israel merely because they were following Zionist leaders. There is more to life than politics.

I know who doesn't need genetic testing to find their ancestors in Palestine.

I do, too. The survival (and eventual revival as a spoken language) of Hebrew is more amazing to me than anything genetic testing will ever discover.

andrew r said...

Well Yitzchak, your last comment is exactly what we're talking about in microcosm. In your haste to emphasize how good it's been for the Jews, the Palestinians disappear. Would that it be so easy in real life.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so much chatter.

No wonder I never got a response to my comment on Ibn Yusuf's previous post.

Gert said...

Well, HB IS the Nouveaux Chic of AZ, didn't you know? ;-)

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Well Yitzchak, your last comment is exactly what we're talking about in microcosm. In your haste to emphasize how good it's been for the Jews, the Palestinians disappear.

You are the one insisting on seeing it that way. The Jewish connection to Israel is not a trivial matter. Some promoters of the Palestinian narrative write sentences that begin "Just because you had some ancestors in a place 2000 years ago . . . " or they describe the Jewish connection to Israel as "mythical." People who think like this are hard-pressed to even explain why Zionism succeeded in establishing a state.
Most back-to-somewhere movements don't lead anywhere. One aspect of the answer is that Zionism tapped into the Jewish connection to Israel, something that exists independently of Herzl or whoever. Why should the truth make anyone "disappear"?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Did you happen to notice that I participated fairly extensively in this thread without using the term "antisemitic"? What are "those reasons"?

I said 'you' in a generic sense (unfortunately, English doesn't have a generic pronoun like the French 'on', the German 'man' or the Spanish 'se'). You yourself may not claim that BDS is antisemitic, but a relevant segment of the Zionist punditry does. See, for instance, here.

Forget for a moment that you are making some sort of "gotcha" point against Hasbaristas. Don't you think the blockade against Cuba is a bad thing? Why is the BDS movement against Israel good? Or was your only interest refuting accusations of antisemitism?

For the umpteenth time: I'm responding to the argument that there's something inherently wrong in boycotting a country when other, far worse human-rights abusers are not boycotted. This is an argument often made by Zionists. However, those very same Zionists remain strangely silent when the US, with Israeli support, enforces the Cuban embargo. In the particular case of the American Zionists, they don't seem to object to their government using public funds to punish Cuba, instead of doing something about Congo, where over 5.5 M people died in the Second Congo War.

andrew r said...

Truth doesn't make anyone disappear; force does. That's how Israel became a state. And what do you think keeps the Palestinian refugees from going home, their weaker connection to the land or the overwhelming force arrayed against them?

I don't regard the Jewish connection to eretz Israel as trivial, either. That's why I don't like hearing it as a selling point for the perpetual war of banishment called Zionism.

Oh, and there was a Zionist movement before Herzl, but he began the process that really made it happen -- lobbying the asshats of the universe (the Tsar, the Kaiser and the Sultan) and promising them quid pro quos about the Jewish question. They didn't give much but the Brits thought the Zionists could steal Jews away from Bolshevism so they engaged in some quid pro quos like using the Jewish Legion in the war in the Levant and enabling the Jewish Agency afterward. Without this support the yearning for Zion would've done little more than a few disparate settlements.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

In the particular case of the American Zionists, they don't seem to object to their government using public funds to punish Cuba, instead of doing something about Congo, where over 5.5 M people died in the Second Congo War.

Does that distinguish American Zionists from American non-Zionists? Why won't you make your point about the Congo simply as a point about the Congo? Do you lose interest in this point if you can't reproach Zionists with it? Supposing the biggest human rights abusers should, as a matter of fact, actually really get the most attention? Then the BDS people are really worthy of criticism, although the Hasbaristas need to get their act together about Cuba or the Congo or whatever.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

And what do you think keeps the Palestinian refugees from going home, their weaker connection to the land or the overwhelming force arrayed against them?

Presuming you are including people born since 1948, what is stopping them from being considered full-fledged citizens, i.e. non-refugees, in the countries they were born in? Their own preferences? How many people would you like to see transferred from Arab countries to contemporary Israel?

They didn't give much but the Brits thought the Zionists could steal Jews away from Bolshevism so they engaged in some quid pro quos like using the Jewish Legion in the war in the Levant and enabling the Jewish Agency afterward. Without this support the yearning for Zion would've done little more than a few disparate settlements.

And voila, you've accounted for over 5 million people living in Israel and conducting their daily lives in Hebrew? Your little romp through history comes up short in the human motivation department.

andrew r said...

I've never found a satisfactory answer for why the Arab states don't naturalize the refugees (being in conflict with Israel isn't necessarily correlated - otherwise the faux treaty with Amin Gemayel wouldn't happen). I've also never read a Palestinian writer who would view that as a substitute for returning to present-day Israel.

As for human motivation, I'm not arguing Zionism didn't accomplish what it did. I'm saying the Palestinian refugees know their ancestors were in Israel just a few decades ago and there's no legal or moral basis for keeping them out, Hebrew or not.

Plus, motivation is hard to pin down. I'm sure there's a wide spectrum across all the Jews who went there, ranging from national emancipation to getting outright bullied there from a DP camp when they wanted to go somewhere else.

Gert said...

Andrew r:

"I've never found a satisfactory answer for why the Arab states don't naturalize the refugees [...]"

One important reason not to permanently accept Palestinian refugees as naturalised citizens is that that would be rewarding bad behaviour. It would also set a dangerous precedent: Country A invades Country B and ethnically cleanses it, safe in the knowledge that the refugees from Country B will be absorbed by their 'brethren' from Countries C, D etc.

And you can bet on your Nelly that when such a transfer was to take place, Israel would simply claim; 'they have a state now, case closed'... Funnily enough, the Jews that keep pouring into Israel already have statehood too...

In part, the RoR as enshrined in the relevant Geneva Convention, exists precisely to prevent some kind of 'musical chairs of the Peoples'. And another good reason for the one state solution: as it stands today permanently displaced Palestinians will forever dream of the day they will return to their 'ancestral homelands' and Israel will be looking over its shoulder in perpetuity...