Sunday, March 14, 2010

The problem is with the hasbara, not with the audience

In the final years of the Apartheid era in South Africa, Coloreds and Indians enjoyed political representation. They elected a Colored Parliament, with 85 MPs, and an Indian Parliament, with 45 MPs.  The whites, for their part, elected a white parliament with 178 MPs. The three chambers combined formed the electoral college that appointed the President and the Cabinet. Thus, Colored and Indian MPs could give speeches, criticize the government, enact laws that applied to their communities, etc., but when it came to actually holding power, the result was inexorable: the President and the Cabinet ministers where all white, courtesy of the absolute majority the whites enjoyed in the electoral college. Indeed there were three parliaments, but one was all-important and the other two were irrelevant.

The Israeli Knesset combines both systems in one and the same legislature. There are around 110 Jewish MKs, who make the decisions that affect the country, and 10 token Arab MKs, who can give speeches and complain all they wish, but who can never influence any act of government, much less one that affects them.

This similarity (yet another one) between Apartheid South Africa and Israel sprang to my mind upon reading (at this prompting) a purported rebuttal to claims of Israeli apartheid. This document is a very interesting example of what Saree Makdisi (here) calls the linguistic contortionism of Israel apologists. I'd like to focus today on the following extraordinary paragraph from the executive summary:

Israel is a multi-racial and multi-colored society, and the Arab minority actively participates in the political process. There are Arab parliamentarians, Arab judges including on the Supreme Court, Arab cabinet ministers, Arab heads of hospital departments, Arab university professors, Arab diplomats in the Foreign Service, and very senior Arab police and army officers. Incitement to racism in Israel is a criminal offence, as is discrimination on the basis of race or religion.

The verb participate  is broad enough that a bull can be said to participate in a bullfight, or a slave in human trafficking. Whoever said that participants in a process are equal to each other? The paragraph above simply  takes advantage of this ambiguity to distort the truth.

It would be accurate to say, for instance, that Jews actively participate in the political process in Argentina. In the last mayoral election in Buenos Aires, the incumbent, Jorge Télerman, was Jewish, as was one of his rivals, Daniel Filmus. The third contender, Mauricio Macri, was Catholic. Mr. Macri won the election -- because he convinced the electorate, not because of any limitation on the Jews' political rights.

Similarly, in my city Roberto Miguel Lifschitz defeated Héctor Cavallero to become Rosario's first Jewish mayor ever, and proceeded to appoint Mirta Levín as his Planning Secretary, as well as several other Jewish advisors. Other examples abound. Jorge Alperóvich is the governor of Tucumán (possibly the country's most heavily Catholic province), Héctor Tímerman is the ambassador to Washington, Carlos Kúnkel one of the most prominent lawmakers from the governing party. The Jewish participation in Argentinian politics means that they can effectively influence events.

This is hardly the same as the situation in Israel, where Arabs can participate to elect an irrelevant Arab caucus in the Knesset, but can't expect to become mayors of Tel Aviv, ambassadors to Washington or key Cabinet members. The quoted paragraph contorts language in presenting events that have happened once or twice in the country's history (like the token appoointment of an Arab to a minor ministerial position) as if they were normal occurrences, and by including in the category, "Arabs," the Druze, who are less discriminated against than Muslims and Christians, and who form the totality of all those "very senior Arab police and army officers" (the State itself recognizes the Druze as a separate nationality).

But the most egregious distortion is the phrase "Incitement to racism in Israel is a criminal offence, as is discrimination on the basis of race or religion." Of course such practices are banned by the legislation, but the laws are never enforced against the Jews. Very senior officials have incited against the Arabs without facing any retribution. Case in point, housing minister Ariel Attias, whose reflections on Arab Israelis were recently reported by Haaretz:

Housing Minister Ariel Atias on Thursday warned against the spread of Arab population into various parts of Israel, saying that preventing this phenomenon was no less than a national responsibility.


"I see [it] as a national duty to prevent the spread of a population that, to say the least, does not love the state of Israel," Atias told a conference of the Israel Bar Association, which focused on a reforming Israel's Land Administration.


The Shas minister referred to Harish, a housing project built for the Haredi community in northern Israel, saying that the Arab population from the nearby Wadi Ara was spreading into the Harish area.


Atias went on to address the issue of the Galilee, saying that "if we go on like we have until now, we will lose the Galilee. Populations that should not mix are spreading there. I don't think that it is appropriate [for them] to live together."

Remember, this is the Cabinet minister who decides who will live where. This key official promulgates an explicit policy of preventing the "spreading" of Arabs "who don't love Israel" (not a single word against Jews who reject the State, like the Neturei Karta) to certain parts of the country and their mixing with Jews, yet there's no Apartheid in Israel!

Israel's Hasbara officials often vent their frustration that their efforts fail to convince their target audiences. They publish booklets, support rabid organizations like CAMERA and MEMRI, go on TV, even enlist Israeli tourists for the cause, but the world keeps talking about Israeli apartheid. They tend to conclude that prejudice against the Jews is so deeply ingrained that all explanatory efforts are doomed.

A better idea would be to stop taking the public for idiots and making ludicrous denials that are disproved by an even cursory look at the Israeli press.  The problem is not with the audience; it's with the intelligence-insulting hasbara that is served them.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Generally, a pretty good article. Just one point - many Israeli Arabs do not participate in Israeli civic life out of choice, not anti-Arab coercion. The 10 Arab Knesset Members that you mention do have power - wide latitude to request funds for their communities, just as religious Jewish MKs request funds for their communities, pro-immigrant MK's request funds for immigrant communities, etc.

It is unfortunate that the Israeli Arab public does not vote in great numbers, and the vested powers within Israeli Arab leadership often discourage participation in the rest of Israeli society - be it the army, alternate civil volunteer opportunities, etc. - preferring to remain insulated from much of Israeli life.

This is changing, as more Israeli Arabs leave their farming villages and wish to better integrate, culturally and professionally, into the dominant Jewish society, but it is a slow process.

Take even Avigdor Lieberman, whose right hand man is a Druze and the architect of the "loyalty oath". The Druze want the loyalty oath, in order to demonstrate their commitment to the overall society and thus quicken acceptance into public life, and to distinguish themselves from the Arabs who don't.

In many ways, the lack of Arab integration and a wholesale rejection by part of their society of Israel is a sad affair. Arab village life is a relic of the past. Second, third and forth generations of Israeli Arabs have now been born in the Jewish state, and they speak Hebrew better than Arabic, dress like Israelis, and want to be normal people in a normal society, to go to college, have girlfriends, etc. All too often, they are reined in by their families and leaders, whose rejection of Israeli cultural infiltration of the villages is a last gasp at pretending they are not living surrounded by Jews.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

There are around 110 Jewish MKs, who make the decisions that affect the country, and 10 token Arab MKs, who can give speeches and complain all they wish, but who can never influence any act of government, much less one that affects them.

If Arab citizens in Green-line Israel have the same voting rights as Jewish ones and if Arab MKs have the same vote on legislation as other MKs, then pointing out that there are only 10 of them is meaningless. There are as many as can win elections. That isn't tokenism. The fact that they are a minority in an antagonistic relationship with the majority population may put them at a practical disadvantage where voting and parliamentary maneuvering are concerned, but that isn't what we normally mean by Apartheid or whatever. And you just got finished explaining that South Africa had separate parliaments.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

I'm not trying to prove that Israel is an apartheid state; I'm trying to prove that Israel's apologists make exaggerated embellishments of the situation of Arabs in Israel that verge on the grotesque.

I argued that the words "actively participate" are deceitful in the context of the article I'm critiquing, since they suggest a full integration of the Arab minority into the political process (such as Jews enjoy in Argentina, for instance).

Maybe you have a different view, and you believe that having parliamentary representation, like Arabs have in Israel or Jews have in Iran, is already an active enough participation.

Anonymous said...

You're degrading your own argument. There is no law or oversight preventing Arabs from becoming an Israeli cabinet or prime minister. They are a minority of the population, and only a minority of that minority even votes. Their representation in the Knesset and participation in Israeli political and civil life is restricted only by their demographics and a general communal reluctance to integrate culturally and politically into Israel.

What you or I want doesn't matter, and ascribing such intent validity is specious. If Arabs voted proportionate to the Jewish population, they could negotiate any cabinet portfolio they wished within coalition talks, and there is nothing that even the most obstinate Arab hater could do to stop them.

Gert said...

Anonymous:

"There is no law or oversight preventing Arabs from becoming an Israeli cabinet or prime minister."

The Jewish majority will do anything to maintain the 'Jewish character' of the State of Israel, it clearly states so.

The moment Arabs were to come anywhere near actual power, the State would take ('legalised') countermeasures to prevent that from happening: import more Jews, transfer Arabs or curtail Arab voting rights or a combination thereof.

Israel's democracy may not be comparable to SA style Apartheid but it's not comparable to typical Western Liberal democracies either. In Britain the next prime minister may well be Jewish (David Miliband), yet British Jews are a tiny minority.

Anonymous said...

Gert
how impressive - now you are not only into astrology but you can also predict the future - glorious - congratulations
Silke

andrew r said...

First, I'd like to know if this is the same Anon we know and love. Because going from mad outbursts to well-spoken only means he's playing silly games.

However, the 1985 amendment to the Knesset law forbids anti-Zionist parties from running for office. So, duh, Israel has a legal restriction on political speech. For contrast, you can be against the existance of the United States and run for office. And it has been done (by Russell Means).

It doesn't take astrology to predict Israel will do the same thing as always, Silke.

andrew r said...

Also, there are laws preventing non-Jews from leasing land managed by the Israel Lands Authority, which is 93% of the land withing the green line. If you can't campaign or raise funds, your involvement in the political process is curtailed as a side effect.

Regardless of the formalities, Israel's treatment of its gentile citizens is apartheid as defined by the UN in that they're denied "the right to freedom of movement and residence," divided "along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos," and they face "the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof" The latter is codified in the Absentees' Property Law.

The paradox is that very few Arabs can integrate into the Israeli political system by remaining in the country. The Palestinians in refugee camps and under occupation are more integrated than any Druze officer. (As a sidenote, I think Israeli Druze tend not to consider themselves Arab and I know for a fact Druze in the Golan were encouraged to think that way in their curriculum.)

Yitzchak Goodman said...

I'm not trying to prove that Israel is an apartheid state

You wrote "The Israeli Knesset combines both systems in one and the same legislature." That's a transition between talking about South Africa and talking about Israel.

Maybe you have a different view, and you believe that having parliamentary representation, like Arabs have in Israel or Jews have in Iran, is already an active enough participation.

I think Jewish representation in Iran is fixed at one member of parliament. And you brought it up. Facts don't like being swept under rugs, even Persian rugs.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

You wrote "The Israeli Knesset combines both systems in one and the same legislature." That's a transition between talking about South Africa and talking about Israel.

Yes, but my main point is not that Israel is an apartheid society. My main point is that those who fight that notion overdo it by painting a picture of a fully egalitarian society.

You at least acknowledge that, for the reasons that be, there are issues with the Palestinian population in Israel that impede their full participation in politics. There's a huge difference between that and claiming that the Palestinians participate normally in the political process and there's no issue whatsoever.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

There's a huge difference between that and claiming that the Palestinians participate normally in the political process and there's no issue whatsoever.

"No issue whatsoever"? Those are your words, and their inaplicability to any actual political system is obvious and uninteresting. You are avoiding realities about Israel and also about Hasbara-busting. The Hasbara busting in your post is, as usual, a pose.

Gert said...

Sorry Yitzchak, but Ibrahim's assessment of the difference between the proclamation that 'Israel is a democracy' and actual democracy is quite subtle. And quite correct: Israel is principally a democracy for Jews. Non-Jews are entitled to vote but not to win.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

I was directed by a Zionist blogger to a Zionist document that purportedly debunked the claim that Israel is an Apartheid state.

That document fails to mention the lack of participation of Arabs in the decision-making process, and clearly misleads the reader into believing that they do participate. Of course, and as you point out, in all political systems there are problems concerning ethnic minorities, who are always complaining about this, that or the other thing. But this doesn't prevent those minorities from playing an active role in the administration. For instance, no one can say that the Québécois are very much enthusiastic about Canada; however, there have been a lot of Québécois prime ministers. And despite the general lack of identification of Basques with Spain, numerous Basque ministers have been appointed to the Spanish cabinet.

In all advanced democratic countries, the fact that a minority is disaffected doesn't prevent its members from holding top positions in government. That's not the case in Israel.

Gert said...

This preventing full Arab political participation also means that they rely entirely on the 'benevolent majority' for any legislation pertaining to their rights. Arab MKs could propose legislation with regard to how Arabs are to be treated in Israel but they could never obtain the votes to turn the bill into law.

Anonymous said...

Ibrahim, you're making allegations without substantiation, based on your prejudices and your perception of the prejudices of others.

Apartheid South Africa had a series of laws that legislated minority white rule.

Name the structural mechanism in Israeli politics by which Arabs are excluded from holding significant governmental roles.

If there is no such mechanism, and there isn't, then you have no case, except arguing against people's personal convictions.

Many people believed that a black man should not be President of the US, and so this did not happen for a long time. That doesn't change the fact that there was no structural impediment stopping a black man from winning the Presidency.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Anonymous, would you say that the phrase "Israel is a multi-racial and multi-colored society, and the Arab minority actively participates in the political process" adequately describes the role of the Arab minority in Israeli society?

Anonymous said...

Does this mean you can't name the structural mechanism in Israeli politics by which Arabs are excluded from holding significant governmental roles? Why is it so hard to admit that Israel is not an apartheid state?

Perhaps if people stopped lobbing baseless accusations of apartheid at Israel, it wouldn't elicit such a simplistic response from Israeli supporters.

Bottom line, what is it that you want? More participation by Arabs in the Israeli political process? Then go do something productive about it, write a check, instead of fighting a meaningless rhetorical war.

Political participation is a voluntary activity. Israeli Arabs face no barriers to entry into the country's the political process. Whether they choose to do in greater numbers than they have up till now is up to them.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

My point, as is evident both from the contents of the post and from the title itself, is that Zionists make ludicrous claims which detract from their credibility.

You have failed to answer a very simple question: would you say that the phrase "Israel is a multi-racial and multi-colored society, and the Arab minority actively participates in the political process" adequately describes the role of the Arab minority in Israeli society?

Whatever the reasons, the Arabs don't actively participate, and, hence, the author of the document I'm critiquing is a liar.

Israeli Arabs face no barriers to entry into the country's the political process.

In other words, "let's deny everything." Thank you for illustrating my point.

Anonymous said...

For a while there, you were factual, and I appreciate that.

At the point where you won't let reality get in the way of your agenda... What makes you any different from the hasbaristas you critique?

I'll say it again, a point you have not disproven, and refuse to address:

Political participation is a voluntary activity. Israeli Arabs face no barriers to entry into the country's the political process. Whether they choose to do [so] in greater numbers than they have up till now is up to them.

Frankly, I'm beginning to think this doesn't have very much to do with empowering Israeli Arabs. Prove me wrong. Lift a finger to encourage Arab participation in the Israeli political process.

This is your blog. You can do whatever you want. Erase my comments if you don't like them. I'm tired of dealing with people who won't let truth interfere in their holy crusade.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget there was an Arab cabinet member under Olmert. Just think. the only democratically elected Arab politician in the whole Arab world in...the Jewish State! Israel truly is a miracle, its creation the high point of the 20th century, for Jews -- and Arabs.

Tarig Musa said...

Just think. the only democratically elected Arab politician in the whole Arab world in...the Jewish State!

Really, I thought Hamas was voted for in a free and fair election, by all the worlds’ electoral standards! What about Hariri, did he somehow loose his Arab identity? Isn't Iraq a so called democracy now that it is occupied and a puppet put in place, just like that Abbas fella you Zionists love so much?

You ever watch Hollywood films? You ever notice that in almost every film there is a group of white guys and then a token black guy that has no real part in the film, and on many occasions dies? It's the same thing as this Arab in Olmerts cabinet, he was a token to hold up to show the world look, we're not racist, we have a sand n****r in our government! Even white South Africa had their token black men, a perfect example, Chester Williams.

Bottom line, I couldn't care less if Israel is an apartheid state or not, people are judged by their actions in the end. What I do care about is the fact that is easily one of the most racist states in the world, and the government is committing ethnic cleansing as can be seen through the constant home evictions, refusal to address wrongs of the past, and the most obvious, the regular murders of innocents, people protesting for their human rights, not civil, human rights, the murder of children and the elderly walking under white flags. Too many soldiers admit to it for these accusations not to be true, instead the Zionist system prefers to mask its crimes by hiding behind the disease of projectionism, 'those Arabs use human shields'. Interesting considering the only evidence of the use of human shields being used in this conflict points at the IDF's use of this sick practice. The IDF is the most moral army in the world hey? I guess we really don't have much to amount to!

Oh but wait, Isn't the President of Sudan wanted for ethnic cleansing? So surely he must have committed a much more sinister act than any Israeli politician has ever done. Well lets look at the facts:
Number of refugees:
Darfur: 2.7 Million
Palestine: 4.7 Million

total number of deaths:
Darfur: 300,000
Palestine: estimates vary from 50,000 to over a million since the beginning of conflicts, I find it rather interesting that there aren't readily available records to give at least a ball park figure.

Number of home evictions:
Darfur: 0
Palestine: 24, 115

Number of settlers on privately owned and confiscated land:
Darfur:0
Palestine: 484,862 (as of 2007)

Extent of Government control over relative party to the conflict:
Darfur: Financial backing to one player in the conflict
Palestine: Israeli govt. completely controls IDF

http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=41
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3496731.stm
https://hampedia.org/wiki/SJP_%28Students_for_Justice_in_Palestine%29#Death_Toll
http://www.btselem.org/English/Video/200412_House_Demolitions.asp
http://www.ifamericansonlyknew.org/stats/homes.html#source

which looks like the worst to you? And don't come back with regular zionist rhetoric trying to change the subject and calling me names, or accusing me of backing a war criminal, I'm sudanese and I know 2 things about that conflict, 1 the media has grossly exaggerated the number of deaths, and 2 the sooner Bashir is out of power the better. But the Zionist entity is far worse, yet it receives backing from all key world governments, and yet the 'world' is still full of Anti-semites!

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

At the point where you won't let reality get in the way of your agenda... What makes you any different from the hasbaristas you critique?

Your objections are basically responded to in the post itself. For instance, you cite an Arab minister, but I had already stated "The quoted paragraph contorts language in presenting events that have happened once or twice in the country's history (like the token appoointment of an Arab to a minor ministerial position) as if they were normal occurrences." Also, you fail to address the problem of incitement against the Arab minority, of which I give an example.

You suggest that the only problem with the Arab minority is that they don't want to participate more. This contradicts all research carried out on the situation of Israeli Arabs, which points to ongoing and unabashed discrimination.

Anonymous said...

For instance, you cite an Arab minister

No, I didn't. I also don't appreciate you inserting strawman talking points under an anonymous alias and then attributing them to me.

Also, you fail to address the problem of incitement against the Arab minority, of which I give an example.

There is "incitement against the Arab minority" in the United States, just as there is incitement against black and Jews. People's personal prejudices have nothing to do with the state of the system itself.

Your argument is not based on confronting prejudices, in either the Arab or Jewish Israeli communities. You attempt to illustrate that Israel is a structurally racist, apartheid state. However, when pressed, you are unable to point to the structural elements that institutionalize this racism.

You suggest that the only problem with the Arab minority is that they don't want to participate more.

I don't think there is a "problem" with the Arab minority, just as I don't think there is a problem with a Black American minority that doesn't vote proportional to the White majority. It's not my responsibility to increase voluntary political participation by Israeli Arabs. There are foundations and education programs that attempt to do this, though.

This contradicts all research carried out on the situation of Israeli Arabs, which points to ongoing and unabashed discrimination.

Really? All the research? You read it all? Do you really think I'll let you get away with generalized nonsensical statements at this point? There is "ongoing and unabashed discrimination" against blacks in America. People have a right to be racist in a democracy. They don't have a right to institutionalize that racism and prevent active political participation by others.

Name the structural impediments to greater Arab participation in Israel's political process.

Your evasions are impressive. With a little tweaking, all that skill could be put to good use. I think you should apply with the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry and become the head Hasbarista. You're that good.

Anonymous said...

Who let the Jews out?

Gert said...

Anonymous:

It would help if you got a valid Google handle or at least used the same identifier, so we can differentiate you from the many 'Anonymous' trolls that plague this site.

You wrote:

"Israel truly is a miracle, its creation the high point of the 20th century, for Jews -- and Arabs."

Yes, you're right, it's truly a Light unto the Nations. Seeing how brilliantly Israel's democracy works, not to mention it's immigration policies or Occupation of the West Bank, I'm sure the 'Muzzies' in the region can't wait to sign up to such a brilliant system of governance... Ungrateful little things though aren't they, these Arabs?

Personally I would argue that the creation of Israel was one of the worst ME/FP disasters of the 20th Century.

Assuming that video was also posted by you, it was sooooo drole! (Not)

andrew r said...

This is your blog. You can do whatever you want. Erase my comments if you don't like them. I'm tired of dealing with people who won't let truth interfere in their holy crusade.

No, I didn't. I also don't appreciate you inserting strawman talking points under an anonymous alias and then attributing them to me.

Have you figured out yet this anonymous troll could care less about the issue and is only here to prod around with such breath-taking rhetorical flourishes? Because Ibrahim using his real name would make it fine and dandy to invent a strawman.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

In all advanced democratic countries, the fact that a minority is disaffected doesn't prevent its members from holding top positions in government. That's not the case in Israel.

Which ones have something which is analogous to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

andrew r said...

Yitzchak - You just had to ask

United States
Canada
New Zealand
Australia

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Yitzchak - You just had to ask

United States . . .


That's interesting. What in the US is analogous to the I/P conflict?

Anonymous said...

Gert, Andrew, as much as Ibrahim appreciates you running interference on his behalf, he also understands that his credibility is at stake. You may be his "boys" on here, but you are clearly not his equals.

Ibrahim has made a significant effort to not be a reflexive anti-Semite, or even an anti-Israel bigot. He builds his arguments carefully. In this case, he has made an assertion on flawed information and analysis. Now that I've forced him to confront the flaw, he can't run from it. This is where the rubber meets the road and we find out just what kind of an intellectual he is, or if all that careful reasoning is a facade for something much less pleasant.

And yes, experience has shown that I should save a copy of this webpage, which I have, and prepare a high profile blog where it can be preserved forever, and I have.

Let's get this over with, Ibrahim.

Name the structural impediments to greater Arab participation in Israel's political process.

andrew r said...

You just had to ask Part Deux.

Wounded Knee, Seminole Wars, invasions of Canada and Mexico, Trail of Tears, reservations, Black Hills, forced assimilation of children although this was done primarily to Mizrachi Jews instead of Palestinians...

andrew r said...

I'm not doing anything for Ibrahim. I suffer your acting thick through purple prose in my own right.

Anonymous said...

Gert:

"Personally I would argue that the creation of Israel was one of the worst ME/FP disasters of the 20th Century."

99% of Jews would agree that Israel's creation is one of the high-points not just of the 20th century but of all history -- yet you call it a "disaster". Why am I not surprised?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Which ones have something which is analogous to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

I would say the Basques have killed far more civilians than the Israeli Arabs have. When I was living in Barcelona a supermarket was blown up by ETA killing 21 people. Yet the Basque Joaquín Almunia retained his job as Public Administrations Minister, and less than a year after the attack three other Basques were appointed to Cabinet posts: Enrique Múgica as Justice Minister, José Luis Corcuera as Minister of the Interior, and José Claudio Aranzadi as Minister of Industry and Energy. And the Basques are a tiny minority of 2 million in a country of 47 million people.

Why aren't Israeli Arabs appointed to ministerial positions in similar numbers?

Or are you suggesting that the generally peaceful Israeli Arabs have to pay for the crimes of non-Israeli Palestinians?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Name the structural impediments to greater Arab participation in Israel's political process.

Did I say there's a structural impediment to greater Arab participation?

Also, what do you mean by "structural"?

Gert said...

Anonymous:

"99% of Jews would agree that Israel's creation is one of the high-points not just of the 20th century but of all history -- yet you call it a "disaster". Why am I not surprised? "

You seem pretty cavalier with your numerical statements. Apart from the fact that Zionism has a long history of Jewish resistance to it, you must be completely unaware of the emerging Jewish anti-Zionist movements both in the US and Europe (I suggest you consult respectively Mondoweiss and Jews Sans Frontieres for further information).

You're 'not surprised'... Please indulge one of 'Ibrahim's boys' as to why this is so... Don't whisper, speak up.

As to my own reasons for considering it a disaster, these are multiple. Large numbers of Palestinian refugees rotting in various refugee camps in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are a good starting point. Israel's slow (well, not that slow) but ongoing colonisation of Palestinian land another. Israel's slow but decisive efforts at transferring Palestinians from E.J'sem yet another. The sheer hopelessness of the conflict, largely due to Israel's continued breaking of I'national law and its refusal to abide by over 70 UN resolutions, another. Its 'full spectrum dominance' type of 'self-defense' (aka 'Mad Dog mode'), see Leb II and Gaza I. It's hypocritical stance on nuclear weapons in the ME yet another.

Quite a few Jews around the world may believe in the illusion that Israel increases their safety but they'll have to accept that this was obtained at the expense of the safety and well-being of another people, not to mention some of Israel's neighbours...

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Yet the Basque Joaquín Almunia retained his job as Public Administrations Minister, and less than a year after the attack three other Basques were appointed to Cabinet posts

How similar are their political views to those of the banned Batasuna party?

Anonymous said...

The massive and overwhelming support for Zionism among Jews around the world (really, I think it might be closer to 99.99%) has little to do with security and everything to do with the promise we made each other at every Passover Seder from Cochin to Vancouver for the last 2,000 years: "Next year in Jerusalem!"

When you understand this then you will understand what it means to be a Jew and what Israel means in the heart of all Jews.

Anonymous said...

Gert:

"As to my own reasons for considering it a disaster.."

So these reasons lead you to the conclusion that the improbable and amazing experiment which is Zionism -- the reconstitution of a Jewish State after 2000 years of Diaspora around the world -- should come to an end. I think none of them merits such an extreme, an ultimately destructive (to the Jews) "solution".

p.s. The fact that Palestinian refugees are forced to live in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria has nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with the faux "brotherhood" among Arabs.

Gert said...

Anonymous:

Unless you start using a handle that distinguishes you from other anons I won't be addressing you again after this.

"The massive and overwhelming support for Zionism among Jews around the world (really, I think it might be closer to 99.99%) has little to do with security [...]"

I'd really like to see some evidence for that contention...

"The fact that Palestinian refugees are forced to live in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria has nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with the faux "brotherhood" among Arabs. "

Like the true adherent to a racist ideology, you blame the victims for their own misfortune. You look at the Palestinians as some kind of an abstraction that can simply be moved across the board like a pawn.

"So these reasons lead you to the conclusion that the improbable and amazing experiment which is Zionism -- the reconstitution of a Jewish State after 2000 years of Diaspora around the world -- should come to an end."

A deliberately self-serving and self-victimising interpretation of anti-Zionism, of course...

Anonymous said...

My name is irrelevant, and I wish to keep my anonymity. What is wrong with that?

There is nothing remotely "racist" about Zionism -- quite the opposite: it is a national liberation and emancipation movement of the Jewish People, the realization of our age-old dream of returning to our land to establish a Jewish State there, just as the Dutch have the Netherlands, the French have France and the Arabs have dozens of countries of their own. Yet even the tiny sliver of land called Israel is too much for people like you.

What is racist is to deny the Jews the right to self-determination like any other people!

andrew r said...

A while back it was mentioned that this software could ban anonymous comments. If Ibrahim won't do it I'm willing to put up with the half-dozen or so anons who post here. I really wonder if they're all the same person, though.

just as the Dutch have the Netherlands, the French have France and the Arabs have dozens of countries of their own.

Let's deconstruct that a bit. If you're a citizen of the Netherlands, you're Dutch. If you're a citizen of France, you're French. If you're a citizen of Israel, you're... Israeli? Well, no, the Israeli Supreme Court declared an Israeli nationality separate from Jewish nationality does not exist.

The United States must be racist to Jews because it's denying us self-determination. Yet there is no separatist movement here. Come on people, we've got as many Jews here as Israel. If we need self-determination that badly, why are we still here and not fighting for a Jewish state in continental North America?

Methinks American Jews actually like the idea of equal treatment under a liberal, democratic regime. It's only in Palestine that well to do Americans, Jewish or otherwise, cheerlead a violent, mass displacement to make a certain group the majority. Okay, okay, we don't really cheerlead anything. Making excuses and half-hearted apologies is more like it.

The irony behind complaining about the two dozen or so Arab states is that they exist for the same reason Israel does -- the Great Powers invaded the former Ottoman Empire and divided it into separate polities, each to be ruled by local and imported collaborators as they saw fit. So you'd rather have one or two strong entities in the region opposing Zionism? Hey, that's a great idea.

Gert said...

Anonymous:

The only reason why we'd like you to simply get a self-chosen nickname (without surrendering your actual anonymity) is to distinguish yourself from other Anons. We have one here that blames Goy commenters of this blog for the Shoah. How do we know that 'Anonymous' isn't you, if you sign also with 'Anonymous'?

That wasn't too hard, now was it?

Gert said...

As regards the 'right' to self-determination, I've never believed it is an 'innate' or automatic right.

There are many cases where I oppose the right to self-determination: Scots, Kurds and Tamils are but three. Past examples of self-determination not being really all that brilliant are Pakistan and Bangladesh. Israel is a good example too.

Cases where self-determination is unlikely to be achieved include Tibet: no Western country will sacrifice its own national interest by clashing with China over Tibetan self-determination.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

My name is irrelevant, and I wish to keep my anonymity. What is wrong with that?

We don't want you to tell us your name. We're kindly asking you to adopt a nickname so that we can use it to address you and so that your writings aren't confused with those of other unnamed commenters.

There is nothing remotely "racist" about Zionism -- quite the opposite: it is a national liberation and emancipation movement of the Jewish People

How is a Jew in, say, Argentina, in need of liberation and emancipation? Is anyone preventing Jews from living anywhere, or denying them the right to practice their professions? If most Argentinian Jews have chosen NOT to emigrate to Israel, should they retain that right forever? If they're persecuted, how is it they didn't make aliyah?

What is racist is to deny the Jews the right to self-determination like any other people!

What other people? The Kurds? The Basques? The Catalans? The Igbo? Where's the self-determination for the Afrikaners, who were forced by the malevolent international community to share their country with the blacks?

You don't know what self-determination means. Self-determination doesn't mean every people has the right to a State. Argentinian Jews enjoy self-determination in Argentina and Israeli Jews will enjoy self-determination in a binational state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.

When you live with other people, self-determination holds for all, not just for you.

Anonymous said...

The point is that now the Jews have achieved national self-determination in Israel they won't give it up anymore than the Argentines will. They haven't fought 7 wars in as many decades and amassed hundreds of nukes to roll over because some gentiles shout "racist" at them. Hate to bust your pipe dream but it's pretty damn ludicrous to think that after 2000 years of finally getting their land back they're going to accommodate a binational state or revoke Israel's unique Jewish character. After all there are hundreds of Christian and Muslim states but they've only got one Israel.

Anonymous said...

"Is anyone preventing Jews from living anywhere, or denying them the right to practice their professions?"

That's pretty rich! After 2000 years of lethal antisemitism and oppression by non-Jews, being denied entry into most professions and expulsions from just about every city in Christendom -- all of which culminated in the physical destruction of half the world's Jewish population -- NOW you want to pretend that everything is hunky dory and that the Jews should trust the post-Holocaust, post-Israel status quo?! And this new status quo is a reason for eliminating the world's only Jewish State? Not going to happen. I know, I know I must be another paranoid jewish victimologist...but it still aint gonna happen.

Gert said...

I thought you said it wasn't about 'security', Anonymous?

andrew r said...

They haven't fought 7 wars in as many decades and amassed hundreds of nukes to roll over because some gentiles shout "racist" at them.

That's rich. Not only because Israel would not be the first nuclear state to peacefully give up what it acquired through war, also because you seem to think Israel and the whole Zionist movement has been independent of any gentile whims.

andrew r said...

It may be reasonable to expect Jews to be persecuted in the United States and other places where they enjoy relative freedom. What is paranoid is the idea Israel will save them. Japan and China did no good for the Japanese who were thrown into concentration camps and the Chinese worked to death on the railroads.

Israel has the power to make perpetual war and ruin millions of lives. It can't actually save anyone.

Anonymous said...

Israel has the power to make perpetual war and ruin millions of lives. It can't actually save anyone.

Right. And yet, it does seem to be a haven for everyone from victims of genocide in Darfur to gay Palestinians, Ethiopian, Yemeni, Iraq, Russian and so many many other Jews, from around the world.

Israel doesn't exist to save Jews. It empowers Jews in need of salvation to save themselves.

P.S. I am not the same anonymous as above.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

And yet, it does seem to be a haven for everyone from victims of genocide in Darfur to gay Palestinians, Ethiopian, Yemeni, Iraq, Russian and so many many other Jews, from around the world.

Crap. Pure, utter and absolute crap.

Darfur: Government: Darfur refugees will be refused entry into Israel.

Gays: "Ezra, an Israeli Jew, and Selim, a Palestinian Muslim, live, sleep -- and hide together. The gay couple faces arrest at any moment: Selim for being illegally on Israeli soil, Ezra for helping, hiring and sheltering him." (Source)

It's only too bad that Israel invented the microchip, the computer and finally the Internet. Because of them, Zionists can't peddle self-flattering lies with impunity anymore. The Israelis will have to stop being so creative.

Alex said...

The apartheid analogy is not fair for a number of reasons, one of which is that South Africa under the apartheid regime did not let black people (80-90 percent of the population) even vote, much less be a part of the system. It is true that there is a lot of discrimination and structural barriers, but the apartheid analogy throws more heat than light on the Palestinian-Israeli situation.