Official Guardian editorial legitimizes a ‘one-state solution’.

So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot - George Orwell

We’ve long believed that chances were strong that the historic editorial preference at ‘Comment is Free‘ towards commentators (and even Islamist extremists) who seek a ‘one state solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict would eventually translate into an official editorial position in favor of such a final solution.  Whilst that position may not yet have been explicitly expressed, today’s official Guardian editorial, on Jerusalem’s municipal elections, seems to have at least taken a step in that direction.


Ignoring polls indicating that Palestinian residents of Jerusalem would prefer – in the event a Palestinian state were created resulting in a divided Jerusalem – to remain citizens or residents of Israel, their Oct. 21 editorial (Jerusalem elections: the ballot and the boycott) starts off by legitimizing the most radical and unrepresentative Palestinian voices:

To cast a vote [in the Jerusalem municipal elections] is to acknowledge the legitimacy of the occupation, or so it is argued. “Participating in the process merely gives [the Israelis] political cover,” insists Hanan Ashrawi, from the PLO’s executive committee. “They want to create a reality where the Palestinians participate in the occupation of their own country.

The Guardian editorial continues:

But this year, for the first time ever, there is a Palestinian candidate [Arab Israeli] Fuad Saliman…[who] is running as a part of an Israeli coalition of left-wing parties. Given that Palestinians make up well over a third of the city’s population, their participation in the political process could transform a political landscape…

So, what is the Guardian’s interest in increasing Palestinian voter strength? It becomes apparent in the following paragraphs:

As a thought experiment, however, it is fascinating. Extrapolating from the local situation in Jerusalem, what if all Palestinians made a strategic decision to seek full voting rights within the reality that is Israel, rather than demanding a separate Palestinian state? In other words, what if they transformed their struggle from a nationalist one into a civil rights one?

Of course, Palestinians don’t all have the same access to the ballot box. But far from looking to exert their electoral presence on the national stage, those who do have the right to vote have been exercising it less and less. Seventy-five per cent voted in the 1999 elections. Ten years later, it was 54%. The fact that it didn’t dip below half earlier this year was put down to a last-minute intervention by the Arab League urging the million or so Palestinians living in Israel to get out and vote. Amid deepening despair as to the viability of a two-state solution, this [one-state] option…is only going to attract more attention.

While it is curious that their latest expression of “despair” over the two-state solution was published at a time when serious peace negotiations between the two parties are currently taking place, it’s more important to understand what exactly their little one-state “thought experiment” actually means: the legitimization of a radical reconstitution of Israel from the world’s only Jewish state into a binational state in which Jews would likely again be at the mercy of the ‘benevolence’ of a hostile Arab majority.  

The overwhelming majority of Jewish Israelis, possessing a sobriety informed by an understanding of the catastrophic history of such political powerlessness, would of course violently resist such a scenario, rendering any attempt to impose such a solution a recipe for endless war.

Finally, in 2011, following the Guardian’s release of its highly skewed “expose” of the ‘Palestine Papers’ (which among other stances, characterized Palestinian compromise on the refugee issue as a “craven”) Ron Prosor, who was then Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, blasted the paper in a Huffington Post essay titled “The Guardian’s Assault on Peace in the Middle East”.  Prosor decried the “self-appointed ‘guardian’ of Palestinian truth” who “maximized its opportunity to pledge allegiance to the hard-line, national fantasies which have crippled the Palestinian cause for decades.”

The one-state scenario, however it is couched, is not a “solution” but, rather, the racist anti-Zionist end game of Palestinian extremists (and their far-left supporters) who seek to deny Jews, and only Jews, their inalienable right to self-determination.  

The end of Israel will have to wait: On the patient anti-Zionism of the Guardian Left.

One of the more misunderstood dynamics of Israeli politics is the Jewish electorate’s move to the right.  The increasing popularity of center-right parties in recent elections – and the increasing marginalization of left-wing parties – is typically characterized (at least in its national security policy context) by many in the media in a manner using “right-wing” in a pejorative manner: meaning less flexible, more hawkish, less open to peace, etc.

In fact, the degree to which Israelis have moved right on the issues of peace and security can be attributed to the failure of Oslo ‘peace process’ – and the broader failure of the ‘land for peace’ strategy, per such unilateral Israeli moves as their withdrawal from S. Lebanon in 2000, and the Gaza disengagement in 2005.

While a strong majority Israelis still support, in principle, a two-state solution, and a large majority support the evacuation of a substantial portion of the settlements in return for a peace agreement and the end of the conflict, the most important Israeli consensus is almost never reported: A large majority of Israelis assume that the two-state solution will NOT actually resolve the conflict with the Palestinians.

So, it’s not that most Israelis don’t passionately support peace.  Rather, most, based on experience, believe that the creation of a Palestinian state will actually make their lives less secure.

As Yoram Ettinger argued:

“The Palestinian Authority’s track record in the 19 years since Oslo has been heavy on hate-education, incitement, terrorism, non-compliance, corruption, repression of fellow Palestinians, support of arch terrorists such as Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, support of anti-U.S. terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, and friendships with Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and other enemies and rivals of the U.S. and Western democracies.

The seismic “Arab Street” has exposed the endemic vulnerabilities of “peace treaties” in the Middle East, highlighting the Arab Middle East as the role model of intra-Arab violence, treachery, unpredictably, instability, fragmentation, non-compliance and violation of human liberties.”

The prospect that the new state of Palestine will become another Gaza-style launching pad for terrorists – with extremists able to operate freely upon IDF withdrawal – is a very real fear, one which much of the left typically ignores.

Further, few Israelis are under the illusion that most Palestinians are prepared to accept peace with a Jewish state within any borders – fears that are very well founded.  

In addition to the fact that Palestinian leaders have rejected two offers of statehood since 2000 (Barak’s in 2000-01fig and Olmert’s in 2008) , we’ve noted one especially depressing poll demonstrating that only 23% of Palestinians believe in Israel’s right to exist as the national homeland of the Jews.

Additionally, ignored by most of the mainstream media, the same poll indicates that over 60% of Palestinians express support for the two-state solution ‏(Israel and Palestine‏) but eventually hope that one state − Palestine − will prevail.

As I’ve argued previously, the bi-national idea is not only a dead letter for the overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews – but represents a political solution which would be militarily resisted if any party tried to impose it.  

David Wearing, one state and two states:

You’d could almost believe that David Wearing’s latest ‘Comment is Free’ piece, ‘A two-state solution is the most practical solution‘, Nov. 2, represented a rare expression of support for the two-state solution at the Guardian – where the one-state delusion finds the most fertile ground – but you’d be wrong.

In fact, a hint that the headline is not a quiet accurate reflection of Wearing’s intentions can be found in the strap line of the piece.

“Those calling for a single bi-national state are in the ascendancy but this would entail the end of Israel, which is not realistic.

Note that the end of the Jewish state is characterized not as anything especially undesirable, or immoral, but as simply an idea lacking in practicality…for the moment.

Wearing writes:

“The case for a single, bi-national state is now reasonably familiar. Israel’s illegal settlements are so entrenched that uprooting them to make way for a viable Palestinian state has become impossible. We should therefore call instead for a single, democratic state in the whole of the former British Mandate for Palestine.

But the logic is incomplete. Declaring the two-state solution unrealistic does not, by itself, make self-evident the greater feasibility of one bi-national state. The latter would entail the end of Israel, and of Zionism, as we understand those terms today. Is this really a more likely scenario than the colonial infrastructure in the occupied territories being dismantled?

Recent polls showing alarming levels of racism in Israeli public opinion, reflected in the new hard-right alliance between Likud and Yisrael Beitenu, suggest a polity that is not currently minded to dissolve itself under any amount of political pressure.” [emphasis added]

Israeli Jews, per Wearing, are not only racist, but quite stubborn to boot – as they are not currently inclined to entertain the notion of their state’s demise.

Wearing continues:

“...the most practical route to a bi-national state may lie in securing a modicum of justice and peace as soon as possible through a two-state settlement, thus establishing the conditions most likely to lead, through dialogue and consensus-building over the longer term, to a more enduring bi-national state.”

David Wearing is convinced in Palestinian ‘staying power‘, confident in their ability to eventually overcome the Jewish state’s existence.

In the meantime, Wearing is willing to wait Zionism out.

Anyone who follows this blog shouldn’t be surprised that the Guardian continues to morally sanction voices advocating for the end of the Jewish state, as the London-based paper has been in the forefront in legitimizing, not merely Zionism’s end, but, often, the most radical, reactionary, violent (often Islamist) voices within the region.

However, the ubiquity of such anti-Zionism at the Guardian shouldn’t blind those (on the left or right) who genuinely support a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to the danger such political extremism poses.

If Israelis like myself are to take the profound risks necessary for peace, and support the two-state paradigm, then we must have faith that any deal with the Palestinians will truly bring security and mean the final end of the six decade assault against our existence.

Those advocating for a bi-national state – whether immediately or over time – necessarily are working to, in effect, irreparably erode our confidence in the efficacy of territorial concessions and other painful compromises which we are continually asked to make.

As long as Palestinians, and their supporters, can not inspire confidence that a deal with the PA will achieve a final and lasting peace, and will result an end to all historical grievances, then Israelis will continue to soberly view demands they disengage from land across the 1949 armistice lines as mere cynical ploys in a continuation of the sixty-four year Arab war against Israel, albeit by other means.

You don’t need to know Hebrew to write Israeli history backwards at the Guardian

A guest post by AKUS

As you know, Hebrew is written from right to left, not left to right. But the mere fact that the letters are arranged in the opposite direction should not imply that the logic is.

Apparently, however, when writing to the Guardian, it helps to transcribe the letters from left to right, but have the logic go backwards.

In a recent letter to the Guardian, arguing for a two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution against the one-state solution proposed in an article by   Rachel Shabi declaring the “Two-State Solution  Dead”, Dr. John Jennings wrote (my emphasis added):

“The opening sentence in Rachel Shabi’s article (The death of the two-state solution gives fresh hope, 24 October) underlines its central weakness. We are told: “We could argue who killed it but what’s the point.” But exaggeration aside, this is precisely what we should do, since it immediately highlights the principal cause: A COMPLETE ABSENCE of a sustainable high-powered PALESTINIAN resistance movement on the ground for over TWO DECADES and counting.

The literature on resistance in asymmetric conflicts over the last 100 years shows that, for the weaker protagonist, up to 50% of such conflicts are successful, not so much in the classical Castro sense, but more with respect to a meaningful and substantive reconfiguration of the power between the parties. Then and only then can negotiations become “realistic”, as the stronger party, succumbing to the cost factor, inevitably becomes attuned to the reality of a robust protagonist.

A classical paradigm is the Vietnam war, but PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE, especially in the late 1980s, is even more pertinent, since it effectively drove RABIN to the negotiating table, AS HE HIMSELF ADMITTED. The great pity was that Arafat threw away all the advantages of this initial success by disbanding the very resistance that prompted the Palestinian breakthrough in the first place.

In my view, a comprehensive, robust, nonviolent core resistance on the ground in Palestine, coupled with an international campaign akin to the boycott movement, in conjunction with an equally robust negotiating strategy will lead to an independent Palestinian state.”

Now, how about this version?

“We could argue who killed it but what’s the point.” But exaggeration aside, this is precisely what we should do, since it immediately highlights the principal cause: THE EMERGENCE OF A high-powered JEWISH/ZIONIST/ISRAELI resistance movement on the ground for over SIX DECADES and counting that led to an Independent Israeli state that could not be coerced into accepting an Arab fiat creating a Palestinian state under conditions unacceptable to Israel.

The literature on resistance in asymmetric conflicts over the last 100 years shows that, THE VASTLY OUTNUMBERED JEWISH STATE, was the best example of how to create a meaningful and substantive reconfiguration of the power between the parties.

A classical paradigm is NOT the Vietnam war, waged by the Vietnamese against foreign powers. ISRAELI FORTITUDE, especially in the late 1980s, is even more pertinent, since it effectively drove EGYPT AND JORDAN to the negotiating table, as THEY THEMSELVES admitted.

Any impartial reading of the last 64 years, since the State of Israel was founded, and also the 30 -40 years before that, must show that Israelis pulled off a textbook example of using self-reliance, economic development, willingness to sacrifice and flexibility in negotiations to achieve goals the Palestinians have never been able  to achieve. If one seeks a classic example of “asymmetric resistance” in the face of a vastly superior enemy, it is Israel’s ability to resist conquest by its Arab enemies.

Jennings’ call for the Palestinians to emulate the Vietnamese in order to create a Palestinian state is ludicrous and a complete misreading of the two conflicts. There is not the slightest resemblance to the Vietnam situation. In Vietnam, an existing nation beat off the armies of foreign powers led by the USA that came from thousands of miles away for ideological reasons (anti-Communism) to support a corrupt regime that had taken over half the country.  Obviously, Israel in this scenario is not in any sense a remote country under no threat from its opponent  like the USA and its allies in Vietnam, and certainly is not trying to support the corrupt and divided Palestinian regime. Moreover, Israel is not going to go away when the going gets tough.

Rather than having a “robust negotiating strategy” the Palestinians have either walked away from negotiations or refused to negotiate with a stronger power, Israel.  When Jennings proposes “a comprehensive, robust, nonviolent core resistance on the ground” he is dreaming. The only person to seriously attempt to implement this has been Salam Fayyad. He is regarded almost if not in fact as a traitor to “the cause”, which is really the destruction of Israel, not the creation of Palestinian State on the West Bank (and possibly in Gaza). The concept of “resistance”, in the Palestinian context, means the use of terror tactics against Israeli civilians, not non-violence.

Furthermore, Jennings’ proposal for a sort of “asymmetric” jiu-jitsu, i.e. an “international campaign akin to the boycott movement,” has been tried and like the BDS cult, has failed. The Palestinians can go to the UN as often as they like, but it is not the UN they must negotiate with, and the UN will not force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank in its entirety which is the only thing that might satisfy the Palestinians.

The Palestinians are not the Vietnamese or Cubans. They have not been a “robust opponent” able to “drive”  Israel to the negotiating table. On the contrary, Israel has begged the obdurate Palestinians to negotiate – which means accepting some compromises for both sides – and they have refused. One could argue, I suppose, that Israel has not been able to “drive” the Palestinians to the negotiating table – is this a measure of Palestinian power and success? It certainly does not seem to be.

The problem the Palestinians have is not how to “drive” Israel to the negotiating table. The most “unrealistic” aspect of the Palestinians’ aspirations for a Palestinian state (other than their desire to take over Israel) is that they have not learned how to say “yes” when offered 95% of the West Bank. But perhaps the problem is that what lies behind the “one-state” concept is that it is not even 100% of the West Bank that would satisfy them – it is 100% of Israel that they dream of taking.

 Israel is not America, the Palestinians are not a good example of a resistance or national liberation movement but Israel is, and they have no need of a “robust resistance”. If it is an “independent state” they want, as Jennings seems to believe, they can have 95% of what they want tomorrow if they can only bring themselves to take it.

What is becoming increasing apparent, hence the futile calls for the impossible “one-state solution”, is that the Palestinians are incapable of creating the conditions under which they will achieve a Palestinian state on the West Bank.  The conclusion seems to be that this is not what they want even if Jennings  and others think it is what they should want.

On the other hand, despite Shabi, since the “one state solution” requires Israelis to agree to it, they are unlikely to get that either. If one accepts that their leaders understand that, and are unwilling to negotiate with Israel, one can only assume that they do not, in fact, want an independent state. The true “one-state” for the West Bankers is federation with Jordan – a logical idea which is becoming more openly discussed by West Bank intellectuals and Jordanian leaders. The West Bank leadership should say so, and open negotiations with Jordan, with Israel entering the final status negotiations under the terms of the existing peace agreement with Jordan once those two parties have formulated their proposals.

As long as you can write the logic backwards, reinvent history, draw false analogies and make improbable claims about how to create a Palestinian state other than simply saying “yes” it appears that, like Dr. Jennings, you too can have a letter published in the Guardian.

The use of ‘AsAJews’ like Antony Lerman to legitimize ‘one-state solution’ proposals is shameful

“abusive references to ‘Zionism’ … go far beyond direct reference to Israel. An ideology of national self-determination, applicable in one tiny part of the world, has become a universally applied epithet, a fundamental evil responsible for most of the world’s problems…. The ways in which Zionism is referred to are so far-fetched and have such little bearing on the real world that what is needed is a correct meaning and use of the word…. The distortion of Zionism is deliberate and calculated and not just a product of sloppy thinking.” – Antony LermanResearch Report No. 20, “The Abuse of Zionism,” published by the Institute of Jewish Affairs in December 1981.

“the…Community Security Trust reports a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the beginning of the Gaza war. This is not a new phenomenon. For some decades, incidents have increased at times of high tension or violence in Israel-Palestine. Jewish leaders and commentators are indignant at the implication that Jews worldwide are responsible for Israel’s actions. Don’t conflate Jews and Israel, they say. But matters are far more complicated. Most Jews support Israel; they feel it’s part of their identity; official Jewish bodies defend Israel when it’s criticised….But we can’t have it both ways. If you’re close to Israel, you can’t just own your connection with the country when all is quiet; you have to own it when what Israel does provokes outrage. The consequence of this is recognising that by provoking outrage, which is then used to target Jews, Israel bears responsibility for that anti-Jewish hostility.” Antony Lerman, ‘Must Jews always see themselves as victims‘, Independent, March 2009.

How Antony Lerman was transformed from an outspoken critic of those who demonize Israel to a proponent of the hideous logic that Israel is responsible for antisemitism is a vexing question.

While a conclusive answer would be difficult to ascertain, it is clear that his comment in 2009 was not a one-off.

In September 2008 Lerman attacked the widely accepted Fundamental Rights Agency Working Definition of Antisemitism (accepted by the US State Department and the UK Parliamentary Committee on Antisemitism). He wrote that the working definition “puts out of bounds the perfectly legitimate discussion of whether increased anti-Semitism is a result of Israel’s actions.”

In 2006 Lerman attacked the Board of Deputies (The representative organisation of British Jewry) for lodging a complaint against then London Mayor Ken Livingstone for telling a Jewish reporter that he could have been a guard in a concentration camp.

On June 25th, 2010 – on the pages of CiF – Lerman accused Israeli leaders of “taking Jews back to the perceived ghetto mentality of diaspora Jews that Zionism was meant to eradicate.”

So Lerman’s recent return to ‘Comment is Free’, after a two-year absence, represented a  reprise of his Guardian role ‘AsAJew’ to decry the “abuse” which “dissident Jews” like himself are subjected to by the Jewish establishment, (Abuse of dissenting Jews is shameful, August 20th).

Lerman begins by arguing that “[Israeli] governments have taken support [for Israel by diaspora Jews] for granted for decades” and then explains why many, like himself, feel disconnected from the Jewish state:

“[Israelis] should stop accusing [diaspora Jews] of disloyalty, succumbing to “Jewish self-hatred”, and being “fellow travelers” of antisemites…[those] Jewish critics with radical ideas for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

Of course, the radical idea he’s referring to – and for which he has advocated before – is what is known as a ‘one-state solution': the end of the world’s only Jewish state.

Jews who oppose Israel’s existence as a Jewish state within any borders are, per Lerman, “subjected to a process of vilification, demonisation and marginalisation.” Lerman then argues that “The Jewish establishment in the UK…is highly experienced at such [exclusion].”

While Lerman does concede that, of late,  opportunities for expressing dissent appear to have grown, he nonetheless warns:

“… right-wing Zionists staged a media-savvy fightback, using the usual accusations of disloyalty and “giving succour to our enemies”, especially targeting liberal Zionist Jewish critics.”

Who are these “right-wing Zionists” with their media-savvy silencing tactics?  Lerman explains:

“The latest charge is ‘Jew-washing, Jews using their Jewishness to give token cover for [boycotting Israel] and even antisemitism” – a calumny, itself redolent of antisemitism, promoted by the Israel-based, rightwing NGO Monitor. Spearheading this crusade is an assortment of columnists, bloggers and thinktankers of an aggressive and apocalyptic mindset who smear their targets to the edge of actionable defamation.” [emphasis added]

It is not at all surprising that Lerman would decry the term ‘Jew-washing’ because the term – referring to the cynical use of token Jews to legitimize antisemitism and the demonization of Israel – is exactly what the Guardian does by using commentators like him to impute liberalism to such inherently illiberal views.

Lerman not only seeks the end of Jewish national sovereignty, but feels entitled to do so without any corresponding critical scrutiny or public opprobrium.  He not only believes that the first sovereign Jewish state in 2000 years needs to be radically reconstituted into an Arab/Muslim state – with Jews, once again, the minority at the mercy of a hostile majority – but wants respect from Zionist Jews and even the very Israelis whose state he believes is illegitimate. 

Lerman ends thus:

“…the tectonic plates of Jewish diaspora awareness of Israel’s self-destructive path are definitely shifting…the Jewish diaspora’s…quest for serious, open and civil debate among Jews about what is really best for Israel must continue.”

Indeed, in an essay at Ha’aretz in 2008, Lerman bizarrely suggests that “advocacy of a one-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict” is not “prima facie anti-Zionist”.

This argument is not only morally obscene, but also fundamentally illogical.

A one-state solution is, by definition, anti-Zionist, as Zionism merely refers to support for the existence of a Jewish state.

As Gerald Steinberg and Yitzhak Santis argued in their essay on ‘Jew-washing':

“While the term “Jew-washing” is an ugly expression, the practice is not only much uglier, but extremely dangerous to real Jewish lives.”

Those arguing for a one-state solution are legitimizing the logic of ethnic cleansing. They are saying, in effect, that the Arabs were right in emphatically opposing Israel’s existence, and that Jews were wrong to demand sovereignty in their ancient homeland.  

Lerman’s logic suggests that the Arabs (both state and non-state actors) who sought Israel’s destruction in 1948, and in subsequent wars throughout the Jewish state’s first 64 years, were justified and that Jews who have insisted on arduously protecting political freedom, based on legal and moral right, as well as a keen understanding of Jewish history, have been on the wrong side of history.

While Lerman has the right to advocate policies which, by definition, endanger six million Jews – only with breathtaking hubris can he believe that he can do so while enjoying moral impunity.

CiF’s Khaled Diab decries Palestinian fixation on ‘right of return’, but still seeks one state solution

A guest post by Anne, an Anglo-Israeli writer who blogs at Anne’s Opinions

It’s Naqba Day, and the Guardian is certainly not one to miss an opportunity to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. Yesterday’s contribution to this commemoration was an article by Khaled Diab.  (Diab is a regular contributor to ‘Comment is Free’, and is a staunch supporter of the one-state solution.)

The general premise of Diab’s ‘Comment is Free’ essay sounds fair enough, titled “Palestinians must prioritise people over lost land”, with the sub-title “Nakba day reminds Palestinians that dreaming of the right of return stands in the way of securing more vital rights”.

However, as we read through the essay the position suggested by the title (and some of the opening text) is undermined quite egregiously. He begins with an appeal to the emotions of the reader with an evocative story of a Palestinian grandmother who experienced the events of 1948:

“Perhaps few recall it better than my Palestinian neighbour, a sprightly great-grandmother who turned 90 this year. Born at the start of the British mandate to a prominent Jerusalem family, she gave birth to her second child just months before Israel’s declaration of independence. At first, she and her family were determined to stay put during the civil war that broke out following the UN vote to partition Palestine.

Then the Deir Yassin massacre occurred, leading to general panic among the Palestinian population. Fearing for the safety of their family, my neighbour and her husband packed a couple of suitcases and sought temporary refuge in Amman, then a tiny backwater of just 33,000 inhabitants.”

Deir Yassin is one of those “clashes of narratives” that are at the root of Palestinian hostility towards Israel, and which will never be agreed upon by both sides. The article points the reader to the Wikipedia entry for Deir Yassin but one can gain a much more balanced understanding of the event from the Jewish Virtual Library.

Regardless of the facts and numbers of casualties at Deir Yassin, the JVL explains that the Arab propaganda about the alleged Jewish violence against Deir Yassin’s residence backfired, thus confirming Diab’s neighbour’s story:

“Contrary to claims from Arab propagandists at the time and some since, no evidence has ever been produced that any women were raped. On the contrary, every villager ever interviewed has denied these allegations. Like many of the claims, this was a deliberate propaganda ploy, but one that backfired. Hazam Nusseibi, who worked for the Palestine Broadcasting Service in 1948, admitted being told by Hussein Khalidi, a Palestinian Arab leader, to fabricate the atrocity claims. Abu Mahmud, a Deir Yassin resident in 1948 told Khalidi “there was no rape,” but Khalidi replied, “We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.” Nusseibeh told the BBC 50 years later, “This was our biggest mistake. We did not realize how our people would react. As soon as they heard that women had been raped at Deir Yassin, Palestinians fled in terror.”14

Returning to Khaled Diab’s article, we read:

“The family has never managed to regain or be compensated for their house in West Jerusalem but, unlike many others, they managed to return to East Jerusalem and settle just a few miles from their former home. Today, millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants live in neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, while significant Palestinian diasporas are found in Chile, the US, Honduras, Germany and other countries.”

This above paragraph really encapsulates the whole Palestinian “right of return” issue. The family fled due to their own leaders’ propaganda, but managed to return to “just a few miles from their former home”. In this case, why are they still considered refugees?

In this vein, Diab continues:

“Closely related to the Nakba is another political yin-yang: the Palestinian dream, and Israeli nightmare, of return. Palestinians, particularly the disenfranchised inhabitants of refugee camps, have clung on to their dream for the past 64 years. This is most poignantly symbolised by the keys to their former homes which many families have held on to. Politically, this longing has been expressed by Palestinians in their claimed “right of return”, which has been upheld by a number of UN resolutions, including Resolution 194 of 1948.”

However, Resolution 194 does not say what Diab thinks it says. Paragraph 11 states:

“11. Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;”

It does not mention descendants inheriting the refugee status ad infinitum. And as proof of Israel’s compliance with this article, Diab’s grandmotherly neighbour herself, back in East Jerusalem, is but one confirmation of this fact.

Diab further relates how the Palestinian demand for “right of return” has taken over their political process but comes to the correct conclusion that this is a loser’s game.

“But at a time when the dream of Palestinian return is perhaps more distant than ever, and more and more Palestinians are being pushed off their lands by Israel, why are so many focusing on what to much of the rest of the world seems like a futile quest?

The reasons are complex and include disappointment and frustration at the crushing of the Palestinian dream of self-determination, on the one hand, and the cynical exploitation of identity politics as a substitute for real policies, on the other. Then there is the aggressive expansion of Israeli settlements, ongoing Israeli Nakba denial, as well as Israel’s insistence on a law of return for Jews but no right of return for Palestinians.”

Diab’s recitation of Israel’s “crimes” is repeating the failed propaganda exercise of the Palestinians’ early leaders in 1948. There is no “aggressive expansion of Israeli settlements” since no new settlements have been set up since the mid-1990s. Any new settlement building is done within settlements’ boundaries, and therefore does not encroach on any further land.

Further, Diab’s reference to what he characterizes as Israeli “Nakba denial” necessarily evokes “Holocaust denial”, a hyperbolic and completely unserious historical comparison.

As for Israel’s “insistence” on the Law of Return, that is a direct outcome of (and reaction to) 2,000 years of persecution throughout the world, both in the Western Christian world and the Eastern Moslem world, culminating in the Holocaust. If Israel were to be overrun tomorrow, 6 million Jews would be easy prey with nowhere to go, and politically persecuted Jews in the diaspora would, once again, have no place to take refuge. 

Diab is now building up to the main thrust of his article, their treatment at the hands of their fellow Arabs, although he cannot resist a malicious dig at Israel once again:

“However, the trouble is that this fixation on return focuses aspirations on a remote, distant and perhaps unattainable goal, while drawing attention and energy away from the very real issues facing Palestinians across the region. Not only does Israel disenfranchise and discriminate against the Palestinian populations under its control, especially in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians in many Arab countries are denied their rights too. [emphasis added]

Perhaps the starkest example is Lebanon where, on the back of fears of upsetting the small country’s fragile sectarian balance, some 400,000 Palestinian refugees, many of whom were born in Lebanon, are deprived of numerous basic rights – including citizenship, public healthcare and access to numerous professions – and forced to live in what are effectively ghettos, otherwise known as refugee camps. Jordan has done more than others to integrate dispossessed Palestinians by granting most of them citizenship but, even there, Palestinians still face a certain amount of discrimination and some of them have been made stateless again.

Though the status of Palestinians in many Arab countries is partly a product of classic xenophobia and a reluctance, as they see it, to pay for Israel’s crimes, much of this marginalisation stems from Palestinian and Arab fears that integrating refugees would hurt their political quest for nationhood and the ever-elusive return. But what this traditional equation overlooks is that a nation is not the land – which has been declared so “sacred” by both Israelis and Palestinians alike that any number of generations is worth sacrificing at its divine altar – but the sum of its people. [emphasis added]

So this Nakba day, 15 May, it is time for Palestinians to prioritise the people over their lost land, and to campaign, wherever they now live, for their full civil, social and economic rights and their cultural right to be recognised as a distinct community.”

I would say that it’s about time an Arab commentator stated this clearly. 

Diab continues:

“That is not to say that Palestinians should forget the Nakba. Just like Jews mourned their “exile” for centuries, Palestinians have a right to keep the memory of their dispossession alive, though this is likely to become more spiritual and symbolic with the passing of each generation. And perhaps, counterintuitively for us today, as Palestinians cement their identity as a people without a land, they may, in a more tolerant and inclusive future, also start performing a kind of Palestinian version of Aliyah to a land with two peoples.” [emphasis added]

This co-opting of Jewish methods for mourning, commemorating the Destruction and Diaspora, and the 2,000 year-old Jewish wish to make “Aliyah” suggests a determined effort to construct a historical understanding necessary to one day supplant the Jewish nation itself.

Furthermore, with the innocuous little phrase “a land with two peoples”, Diab has managed to slyly insert a “one-state solution” proposal by the back door. This does not bode well for a future of peace and co-existence.

Diab is correct that the Palestinians must let go of their insistence on “right of return” because it is recognized as a non-starter. He is also very right in drawing attention to the miserable treatment the Palestinians receive at the hands of their brethren. However, aiming for a one-state solution will not bring the Palestinians any closer to a state of their own.

The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland reconciles with the anti-Zionist left

The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland has evidently fully recovered from his jarring experience with vicious anti-Zionists at a debate on BDS in London with participants (including Omar Barghouti) who seek the end of the Jewish state.

According to The JC’s report on the debate, Freedland’s attempts to refute accusations that Israel is an “apartheid” state and that, therefore, BDS was a moral imperative were both repeatedly shouted down by pro-Palestinian activists, which led an evidently shaken Freedland to tell the audience:

“Tonight has been hugely revealing. I thought my disagreement with the boycott movement was because I want to see the end of occupation and you want to see the end of occupation and it was an argument about tactics.

“What has come through loud and clear is your motivation is not actually just the end of occupation but it’s with Israel itself – you have a fundamental problem with it.”

Just how revealing was Freedland’s jarring experience with rabid anti-Zionists? Well, not so jarring that he’s in any more predisposed to take on anti-Zionist such as Joseph Dana.

Joseph Dana, an American-Israeli, is a vocal BDS activist and proponent of the one-state solution, that is, the end of the Jewish state – a position which has endeared him to such vicious anti-Zionists as Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss. (In fact, Dana is a judge at something at Mondoweiss called the Mondo Awards – no doubt an award in great anti-Zionist achievements – a panel which includes Omar Barghouti)

Dana once wrote, “Why anyone, Jew or Arab, would want to see this [Israeli] state continue in its present form is really beyond comprehension.” 

And, he has even echoed the vile logic of CiF’s Slavoj Zizek that modern Zionists have come to resemble old style fascists, in an essay published at the viciously anti-Israel site, DesertPeace.

Recently, Jonathan Freedland Tweeted the following to his friend Joseph Dana (who Tweets under “ibnezra”)

The article Freedland links to, in Ha’aretz, reports on a group of settlers who vandalized an Israeli Army base as part of a “price tag” for the IDF’s recent demolishing of an outpost in Migron.  While the destructive actions of the settlers are of course indefensible, the shallow implication of Freedland’s Tweet encouraged me to respond in kind.

My reply

Beyond the Tweet itself (which was, interestingly, re-Tweeted by Seumas Milne), it’s dispiriting to say the least that Freedland has apparently learned nothing from his encounter with the anti-Zionist crowd in London.

In an essay about his experiences at the debate, published at the Zionist Left site, Engage, Freedland wrote the following:

“What [the debate] confirmed out loud was that the hard core of boycott campaigners do not merely object to the post-1967 occupation- even if that dominates their public rhetoric – but to Israel as Israel.”

Speakers from the floor repeatedly returned to the alleged ills of pre-1967 Israel and of Zionism itself. Indeed, Naomi Foyle, the activist who had acted as a “volunteer consultant” to the South Bank in organising the debate, later blogged a concise response to my claim that the boycott campaign was anti-Israel rather than anti-occupation: “Damn right.”

By finding common cause with one-state solution proponents who vilify Israel and her supporters at every opportunity, such as Joseph Dana, it’s clear Freedland – like many who maintain soft support for Zionism yet don’t want to get their hands dirty in the fight – is not willing to sacrifice alienating those in his progressive political circles for the sake of Israel’s survival.

While I’m a big believer in the idea of “Big Tent Zionism”, the key word in that phrase is, of course, “Zionism”.

Guardian commentator Slavo Zizek muses on Jewish supremacism, poisoned wells, and a final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Slavoj Žižek is a Guardian commentator, philosopher and unreformed communist who has attributed the attacks of 9/11 to the “antagonisms of global capitalism”, and has argued that Hitler’s greatest sin was that he was “not radical enough” in that he didn’t “dare to disturb the basic structure of the modern capitalist social space”, adding that the Nazi dictator “was not violent enough…not ‘essential’ enough.”

He has also recently joined a growing list of Guardian and CiF columnists who have opined that the Jewish state should not exist.

Writing for British left-wing political magazine The New Statesman, in an essay titled “Israel’s best hope lies in a single state“, Žižek begins by characterizing the wish of Jews in Israel to marry within the faith as a sinister, intolerant, and irrational hatred towards “the other”, meant to maintain racial purity – a fantastical tale which mocks Israeli “Guardians of Jewish purity” and manages to conjure “vigilante-style patrols work[ing] to stop Arab men from mixing with local Jewish girls.” [emphasis mine]

In Žižek’s imaginary Middle East, Israelis (and certainly not Hamas, PFLP, and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade) are the only real terrorists in the region: sinister political actors who – as anyone schooled in the dark history of Jewish malevolence in the world surely would not be surprised to know – are not above literally “poisoning” [Palestinian] water” wells.

The only just and final solution, according to Žižek, to this wretched nightmare named Israel is not a two-state solution but rather, to “abolish the apartheid [state] that exists” and replace it with one majority Arab state.

Žižek’s advocacy for the political destruction of the first sovereign Jewish polity in 2000 years should not be judged too harshly as, not unlike Mya Guarnieri, he’s clearly only trying to save Jews from themselves, to save – as Guarnieri so subtly put it – “Judaism’s very soul“, and indeed closes by sagely moralizing to Zionists, these “Israeli defenders of Jewish purity”, that “they want to protect [Israel] so much that they are ready to forsake the very core of Jewish identity.”

Adam Kirsch, reviewing Žižek’s book, In Defense of Lost Causes, for The New Republic, observed that to Žižek:

“Jews are a mere abstraction, objects of fantasy and speculation, that can be forced to play any number of roles in his psychic economy.”

Thus, it’s indeed very likely that his philosophical musings on the moral failings of Jews, and the moral necessity of the Jewish state’s demise, will continue to be welcomed at the Guardian.

Ahmed Moor kicks the Zionist cat.

Ahmed Moor

As anyone who has spent time in or seriously studied the Middle East and the Arab world knows, the default option for many a political leader or struggling dictator in that region when the going gets tough is to kick the Zionist cat.

Rising opposition from within? The Zionists must be behind it. Economy going off the rails? The Israelis are of course to blame. Indeed more or less anything can be attributed to the Jews, often in a manner which would not seem out-of-place in a Monty Python sketch, because the conspiracy theories about them have been cultivated for so long that they have become part of the region’s folklore and mindset.

So when self-declared anti-Zionist, one-stater, promoter of apartheid analogies and would-be dismantler of the Palestinian Authority Ahmed Moor appears on the pages of CiF America promoting Jewish/Zionist conspiracy theories, we can be sure that here is one American who has well and truly imbibed the culture surrounding him in his chosen new home in Beirut.

According to Moor, both the Israeli government and pro-Israel American Jewish organisations are leaning heavily on the US administration to confront Iran, if not directly then by way of its proxy in Lebanon, Hizbollah.

“Josh Block – a former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) – recently argued that President Obama ought to confront Hezbollah in Lebanon in order to confront Iran.”

“Only last week, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew across the Atlantic to ask Vice President Joseph Biden to launch a war against Iran on Israel’s behalf.”

“The pro-Israel lobby is aware that America is too over-committed to attack Iran. But America is evidently capable of taking on Hezbollah, an Iranian ally”

In actual fact Josh Block seemed to be arguing in favor of strengthening and supporting the Lebanese people who do not want their country taken over by proxies of a theocratic dictatorship – the link in Moor’s article is broken – see here.  The Lebanese are of course not the only ones in the region concerned about Iran’s growing influence on the area and the possibility of its gaining an upper hand in the Middle East power struggle; there are several Arab countries who have no less interest than either Lebanon or Israel in containing the neighborhood bully before it is too late to prevent yet more violence. Moor completely ignores the bigger regional picture, however, in favor of a trite kick to the local cat; Israel.

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and the implied threat of a “one state solution”

Harriet Sherwood summed up the British Foreign Secretary’s two day visit to Israel last week in an article which raises quite a few questions with regard to the British government’s policies and attitudes towards Israel, in addition to those already prompted by David Cameron’s “prison camp” remarks made in Ankara.

First, however, let’s take a look at some of the comments prompted by this article. A significant proportion of them seemed to accept unquestioningly Hague’s dubious axiom whereby the so-called ‘window of opportunity’ for a two-state solution to the conflict is closing, and duly leapt in with their own suggestion – the somewhat hackneyed ‘one-state solution’.

Obviously ‘NoNukesPlease’ has never heard of this institution in Jerusalem.

That seems to sound like a threat of violence.


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Selling out to Soros


Well,well; it’s amazing what one finds out by reading the Guardian. Had I not read the October 28th editorial “In praise (I think that’s British understatement) of George Soros” for instance, I would never have discovered that I’m apparently of a curmudgeonly persuasion.

It turns out too that I’m deemed to remain “an ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions” (according to the dictionary) for the Guardian informs me that “[o]nly the most curmudgeonly of his critics could fail to admire what the billionaire is doing with his money”.

As a socialist, I do resent the fact that the Soros fortune was mostly made by carelessly playing around with the lives of the little people affected by currency speculation. Short sellers and operators of hedge funds for the super-rich are not the traditional type of praiseworthy hero for a Left of centre newspaper, but the Guardian’s apparent ‘conversion’ indicates just how far it is prepared to go in sanctifying the methods in order to realise the aim.

I’m afraid that I must also plead guilty to holding on to the stubborn notion that the legalisation of drugs – one of Soros’ pet campaigns – is not a positive step for society to take, particularly in light of the well-known link between drugs and the financing of terror, but also due to my experience as a health-care professional who has often had to deal with the devastating effects of drug use not only upon the lives of addicts themselves, but also upon their families and even innocent bystanders.

But the aspect of Soros’ ‘chequebook advocacy’ which makes me most ill-tempered is his support for organisations which aim to eliminate the Jewish nature of Israel and undermine the elected government of a democratic nation by means of delegitimisation. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to live in a society in which we count votes, not cash; in which every voice carries equal weight, regardless of wealth or connections. The sad thing is that once upon a time, the Guardian believed in that too.

Soros’ ‘Open Society Institute’ funds a whole host of operations in Israel such as Adalah, Peace Now, Breaking the Silence, Gisha and Yesh Din. Adalah works towards a one-state ‘solution’ in which the Jewish nature of Israel would be replaced by a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” framework. Jewish immigration would only be permitted for “humanitarian reasons.” In other words, millions of Palestinian refugees would be brought to Israel, but Jews would be severely limited in their right to immigrate as the Law of Return would have been abolished.  Adalah promotes the erroneous and delegitimising concept of ‘Israeli apartheid’ and contributed significantly to the infamous Goldstone Report.  Soros’ Open Society Institute has provided legal assistance to Adalah in its attempts to overturn the Israeli law which states that spouses from enemy states are not automatically granted Israeli citizenship for reasons of security. That’s not only foreign intervention in the internal legal affairs of a sovereign state, but also reckless gambling with the lives of Israeli citizens.

Soros recently donated $100,000,000 in matched funding over a period of 10 years to Human Rights Watch. Readers will no doubt remember that just over a year ago Human Rights Watch’s founder, Robert Bernstein, accused the organization of “helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state”. The generous Soros pledge does not bode well for any kind of improvement in the organizational culture at HRW ; in fact one might even say that this is a case of ‘birds of a feather’ joining forces –  supposed political agenda-free ‘human rights’ activists using the language of civil rights and democracy in order to promote extremist ideology. And if that sounds a little far-fetched, consider the following.

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A Sad Day for the One-Staters and BDSers

A guest post by AKUS

Ever since I came across a naïve report on “Comment is Free” touting the cooked poll run by J Street about US Jews’ views of the I/P issue, I’ve had a soft-spot for polls about the issue. They generally seem hopelessly biased, usually due to the careful selection of a, typically, small number of “appropriate” respondents.

The recent Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) poll reported on CiF Watch via Israel Matzav was far more rigorous than most I’ve seen, as have been its previous efforts:

“The poll was conducted right after the expiration of the Israeli partial settlement freeze and during Palestinian deliberations on the future of their direct negotiations with the Israeli government… Total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%.”

Among many other interesting results, its findings give lie to those endlessly promoting a “one state solution” (i.e., the destruction of Israel) and boycotts of Israel by WBers (by CiFers sipping latte’s at a convenient Starbucks). The response to Q.35-3 showed an overwhelming dismissal of the idea of a “one state solution” on the WB and in Gaza, though I suppose no objective data will cause members of the “pro-Palestinian” crowd to change their ingrained opinions or stop them from claiming it is only Israelis that reject the concept:

Q. 35 -3 Abandon the two state solution and demand the establishment of one state for Palestinians and Israelis

Support: WB – 28.6%. Gaza 14.4%

Oppose: WB – 68.9% Gaza 73.6%

Moreover, despite the world-wide clamor over Gaza, PSR reports that only 15% of Palestinians on the WB and in Gaza regard the “siege” as the main problem confronting them. National unity (or lack thereof) and poverty and unemployment are regarded as roughly twice as important:

….. what worsens conditions for Hamas is the public belief that the two issues of national unity and ending the siege should be two of the most important Palestinian priorities. In an open question about the main problems confronting Palestinians which should be the top priorities of the PA, 26% mentioned the absence of national unity due to the split, while 15% mentioned the siege and the closure of the Gaza border crossings, 28% mentioned poverty and unemployment, 16% mentioned occupation and settlement activities, and 11% mentioned corruption in some public institutions.

Those eagerly cheering on WB boycotts of Israeli goods (which are widely available in Gaza, of course) or hoping to stop WBers working for Israeli companies should take these numbers to heart.  Flotilla supporters should consider how unimportant their PR stunts are to most of the Arabs on the WB and in Gaza.

There were a several responses in PSR’s summary of key findings that knock the feet out from the anti-Israeli arguments and breast-beating about the occupation constantly repeated on CiF by a small group of robo-typists.

It turns out that while conditions in Gaza are not considered good, by a large majority WBers feel things are not so bad. So the occupation of the WB, the settlements, the checkpoints, etc. are presumably not affecting WBers’ lives as much as the bleeding hearts parading on their behalf elsewhere would believe. This reflect the reports we read of restaurants, cinemas , nightclubs, beer factories, and so forth that are starting to populate even the Guardian’s website:

  • 70% describe conditions in the Gaza Strip and 34% describe conditions in the West Bank as bad or very bad.
  • 58% believe there is, or there is to some extent, free press in the West Bank and 32% say there is, or there is to some extent, free press in the Gaza Strip.
  • Perception of safety and security is identical in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip: 60% say that these days they feel that their safety and security is assured.
  • Positive evaluation of the performance of public institutions in the West Bank reaches 43% and in the Gaza Strip 30%.

(A fairly substantial portion of the US electorate would likely respond in similar fashion to similar questions about the current state of affairs in the USA!!)

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The Guardian and Yom Kippur

A guest post by AKUS

The Guardian has become notorious for the dissemination of anti-Israeli articles. Many contain factual errors, some outright lies, but we never see significant attempts by the Guardian to correct its errors. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are about the year that has passed, and the year ahead. We examine our souls and our conduct towards others, and ask forgiveness for our sins and faults. It is time for the Guardian to conduct a “cheshbon nefesh” – an accounting of one’s conscience – for the New Year. I will be even more specific – it is time for the Guardian’s Jewish writers to issue apologies for the attacks against Israel that they have largely led on the Guardian’s website.

This year, once again, we have had several egregious and inflammatory articles run by the Guardian. Perhaps the worst was a story about rape in Israel that that was picked up by the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood on July 21st and repeated on July 25th in more detail as Saber Kushour: ‘My conviction for “rape by deception” has ruined my life’ . The articles built on extraordinary claims made largely by Israel’s home-grown hater, Gideon Levy, of Israeli racism when an Arab was apparently found to have committed “rape by deception”.

Rachel Shabi had no trouble using this issue on July 23rd as the “hook” for an article with the attention-grabbing headline Israel turns on its own.  Shabi’s article played to all the tropes so beloved by the Guardian’s Israel haters (Israel as a racist, violent, European, Mizrachi- and Arab hating implant in the Islamic world). But it was her brief reference to the rape case (“and now a Palestinian man from Jerusalem has just been convicted of rape after pretending to be Jewish and having consensual sex. This verdict, in effect turning the obfuscation of race into a criminal offence, also reveals the extent to which Israelis consider Palestinians to be abhorrent”) that  resulted in the extraordinarily large number of 591 comments below the line:

Arch Israel-hater JRuskin (formerly Moeran) was quick to pick up on the allusion to the rape case:

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Ghada Karmi: the fantasy and the reality

Karmi speaking at a ‘Stop the War Coalition’ (StWC) rally. StWC is a group organized in part by Islamist organisations such as the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)

I would like to be able to write that Ghada Karmi’s political polemic of September 1st was exceptional. Unfortunately, advocates of the destructive one-state ‘solution’ to the Israel/Palestine conflict have become disturbingly common above the line at CiF, which obliges one to ask if this is also the official editorial line of the Guardian and if so, how many other sovereign states which are members of the UN does the Guardian advocate destroying?

Ghada Karmi is an extremist of the worst kind; one who stokes the fires of conflict in comfort from afar. She is, however, far from unique. The anti-Israel lobby, in its politically correct costume of ‘pro-Palestinian’ activism, is choc a bloc full of people who incite the Palestinians actually living in the Middle East against making the compromises necessary to put an end to a conflict with a toll of blood not paid by Karmi and others of her ilk.

Karmi is of course a known one-staterand takes part in incitements such as ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ and Al Awda conventions. She is a board member and former vice-chair of CAABU and a patron  of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – that same organization which intimidates  shop keepers in the most thuggish of manners. She co-operates with the ISM – the same movement which harbored suicide bombers in Israel and teaches ‘conflict resolution’ (no, I’m not joking) at Exeter – a university which sees nothing wrong with taking money  from the extremist Islamist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood.

In this latest polemic, Karmi transparently attempted to twist the reality of the long history of Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations completely on its head in order to create a new narrative.

“There is a real danger that the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks due to starton (sic) September 2 in Washington could yield a botched deal that falls far short of the needs of international law or elemental justice, and sets back the cause of Palestine for decades, if not for ever.”

The solution to a conflict in which both sides have valid, if often juxtaposed, claims will not be found through raising the banner of ‘elemental justice’. Both parties will have to put some of their wish for justice aside in order to make compromises which will be painful, but which will enable a peaceful solution to be reached. Of course Karmi is only concerned about ‘justice’ for one party in this conflict; as an advocator of the one-state ‘solution’ she refuses to recognize the just rights of the Jewish people to self-determination. And if sharing the land available through a two-state solution is such an abhorrent prospect for Karmi, this would indicate that in her view the ‘cause of Palestine’ has nothing to do with peaceful co-existence.

“Time and again, when Israel was thrown a lifeline by Arab neighbours that could have ensured its legitimacy and security, its folly and greed lost it those opportunities.”

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The Guardian’s White Elephant

Ben White was back on CiF on August 17th with yet another anti-Israel diatribe, this time on the subject of the ‘colonisation’ of the Jordan Valley.

Taking a leaf from Neve Gordon’s book, he claims that Israel is ‘ethnically cleansing’ Bedouins  from the area, without addressing the real issues of illegal building without permits and land grabs  – in the case of Al Farsiya, in a military zone. Not content with that, he criticizes the existence of security check points within the region using a report by the UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as the basis for his argument. Yes; that is the same OCHA which permitted an announcement to be made on its official website lauding the anti-Semite Yasser Kashlak.

Ben White is obviously well aware that the type of audience which reads his CiF columns does not usually demand that his material come from objective sources, or that he present both points of view of an event or situation. Such pedantry would obviously dilute the concentration of the anti-Israel fix he strives to provide. Neither do most CiF readers demand that events be viewed in the context of documented history, which is probably something of a relief for a polemicist like White, as he would otherwise have been obliged to explain the whole issue of the Oslo accords and Area C (which includes the Jordan Valley), retained by Israel according to those agreements, which were signed in person by Mahmoud Abbas.  He would have had to elaborate on the subject of the five year transitional period before permanent status negotiations as specified in those accords and how the Palestinian decision to opt for terror prevented those permanent status negotiations from ever taking place.  Who knows; he may even have had to come to the conclusion that had the Palestinian Authority not chosen to renege on the agreements they had signed, or had accepted Clinton’s ‘Bridging Proposals’ in 2000,  the Jordan Valley would by now have been under their permanent control.

Such intricacies are, however, far too complicated for a one trick pony such as Ben White. He much prefers the tried and tested method of base sloganeering, as demonstrated in this article, employing phrases such as “land seizure and ethnic cleansing”, “colonies”, and “a stark example of Israeli apartheid”. No surprises there; we are all too familiar with White’s bigoted, if not downright anti-Semitic, descriptions of Israela nation he deems guilty of ‘ethnic cleansing’, ‘death marches’, ‘massacres’, ‘colonisation’, ‘racism’, and last but not least ‘apartheid’.  He has characterized Zionism as an ideology of extermination, has promoted sanctions and boycotts against Israel, advocated a one-state ‘solution’ and downplayed (or downright excused) Palestinian violence against Israelis many times before. We have even seen him express his belief that anti-Semitism is an “understandable” reaction to Israeli behavior, and sourcing material from a Holocaust denier for his book.

As Eric Lee so accurately puts it:

“But when you grieve over the suffering — the genuine suffering, I might add — of the Palestinians, but feel nothing in your heart for the suffering of the Jews; when every mention of the Israelis is entirely negative, portraying them as monsters — you are not longer a critic and instead have become a bigot.”

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The Guardian’s Khaled Diab, on “peace and co-existence” (and, oh yeah, the right of Palestinians to “armed resistance”)

We had to wait until the last paragraph of Khaled Diab’s essay in CiF, Peace Summit or the height of folly?, to learn that he rejects the very moral legitimacy of the state of Israel.  He coolly notes that, “I am in favour of [one] bi-national, secular state eventually emerging.”  His commentary, like so many  others at the Guardian, suggests that Israel, alone among the 192 nations in the world, is not morally legitimate in it current form, as the world’s only majority-Jewish state, and thus must be radically reconstituted into the 51st majority-Muslim nation.

The ostensible focus of his essay was eight Jewish and Arab Israelis who scaled Europe’s highest mountain after months of rigorous training as part of an initiative called Breaking the Ice, which seeks to thaw relations between the two groups – sponsored by a Swiss NGO called coexistences.

Of course, Diab’s bias gleams through right away with the awkward syntax used to describe the participants, referring to them as “a group of young Israelis and Palestinians”  – prompting me to initially think he was referring to a group consisting of Israelis and non-Israelis (likely, Palestinians from the West Bank).  However, he then adds parenthesis to add a further descriptive “(all of whom are citizens of Israel)” – reluctantly conveying that the group consists of Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel – that is, Israelis.  Of course referring to them as  Palestinians who just happen to have Israeli citizenship, as opposed to Arab Israelis, is a way of dismissing the fact that, whatever the divides, and inequities, in Israeli society between Jew and Arab, Arabs’ rights as citizens of Israel are simply undeniable.

Israeli Arabs have full voting rights – one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote – and have also held various government posts, including one who served as Israel’s ambassador to Finland. Oscar Abu Razaq was appointed Director General of the Ministry of Interior, the first Arab citizen to become chief executive of a key government ministry. Ariel Sharon’s original cabinet included the first Arab minister, Salah Tarif, a Druze who served as a minister without portfolio. An Arab is also a Supreme Court justice.

Diab even does his best to convey optimism over the project, quoting Arab and Jewish participants which claim that the program did indeed, to some degree, break down barriers, before shifting gears.

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