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“Love the Stranger, for You Too Were Once Strangers in Egypt”

I just saw a compelling tweet that pictured a Native Amerian chief with the caption: “so you’re opposed to immigration. Great, when are you leaving?”  It put me in mind of these images related to two of Israel’s greatest dilemmas, one current, one historic.  One picture represents the 1948 Nakba.  The other features a protest in Israel by African refugees about their mistreatment:

palestinian refugees

So you’re an Israeli Jew who favors the expulsion of refugees? Great, so when are you leaving?

african refugees in israel

So you’re an Israeli Jew who wants to send refugees back where they came from? Great, when are you leaving?

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Sara February 9, 2014, 6:39 PM

    Yet you demand Jews be expelled from the West Bank?

    • Richard Silverstein February 9, 2014, 11:11 PM

      @ Sara: Oh, I have no problem with Jews remaining in the West Bank under two alternative scenarios: one, they agree to live under Palestinian sovereignty; or they live in a single unitary state in which Jews and Palestinians were both citizens. Surely, this plan would gain your support as well?

      • free man February 10, 2014, 5:53 AM

        We can agree on that. But the fact that an American and an Israeli agree on something is of non importance.
        It is an empty agreement, because the Arabs in the west bank do not agree.

        • Richard Silverstein February 10, 2014, 1:46 PM

          @ free man: The hindrance isn’t the Palestinians and you know it. Israel refuses to compromise on basic elements necessary for an agreement.

    • Deïr Yassin February 10, 2014, 1:58 AM

      I don’t mind that “Jews” (right-wing Zionist vocabulary for Israelis, a feature they share with genuine anti-semites…..) live in the West Bank too, but of course under the condition that Palestinians can live wherever they want between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and that goes for the refugees too. And all stolen land should of course been given back to their rightful owners, i.e. settlements built on expropriated land should be dismantled. And they will one day…..

      • free man February 10, 2014, 5:55 AM

        20% of the Israeli population is Arab, why not having 20% of the Palestinian population Jews ?

        • Richard Silverstein February 10, 2014, 1:45 PM

          @ free man: There are already 500,000 plus Jewish settlers in Palestine, which is roughly 20% of the overall population. So what do you say? Will you tell them to take Palestinian citizenship and tell them to accept Palestinian sovereignty since Israeli Palestinians are Israeli citizens? What’s fair is fair, after all.

          • free man February 11, 2014, 2:54 AM

            This is exactly what I’m say.
            I’m talking about a peace with the Palestinians and two states living in peace side by side.
            If the Jews that live in what will be Palestine want to be Israelis, they are welcome to return to Israel.
            We will help them to rebuild their home and their way of living.
            If they think that the historic relation with land itself is more important than being an Israeli, then they can stay where they live and become citizens of Palestine.
            I do not see other reasonable solution.

        • Deïr Yassin February 10, 2014, 3:19 PM

          Because those 20% of the Israeli population who are Arabs (they used to be nearly 100% of the population) live legally on their native land, whereas the settlers in the West Bank don’t. Do you know how many Jews lived in Palestine before the first aliyah ? If the Jews are going to stay in the West Bank, Palestinians should of course have the right to settle down in the places within Israel from where they were expelled. And it’s still being generous as no international law gives the Israelis Jews any right to settle down in the West Bank (except the few thousand Jews living there prior to 1948 and their descendants).

          • free man February 11, 2014, 3:06 AM

            You live in history, while the reality is something totally different.
            But if you want, we can talk about history, because you do not provide accurate report of it.
            As it happens we have the census performed in Jerusalem in 1905.
            The results are:
            Jews: 13,300 Muslims: 11,000 Christians: 8,100
            It looks like, not only it was not 100% Muslims, the Jews were the bigger part of the religions in Jerusalem.

          • Deïr Yassin February 12, 2014, 11:29 AM

            Yeah, Free Man, I know your distorsions by now.
            I wrotre ‘nearly 100%’ and I didn’t write ‘Jerusalem’ but Palestine and I asked you how many Jews lived in Palestine before the first aliyah and not in 1905.
            I live in history ? Haha, that’s a joke, isn’t it ? I know the Zionist politics of ‘fait accompli’: you steal a house, settle down in it and say to the rightful owner that asking it back is living in history. How come ‘living in history’ is never used when it comes to claiming back values stolen by the Nazis ?

  • Peter Belmont February 9, 2014, 7:40 PM

    RS: “You were once strangers in Egypt” may have emotional or ethical resonance for pre-1030s Jews and those who’ve kept their sensibilities alive, but Zionism as practiced today has thrown ethics out with the bath-water (the bath-water being the perceived-by-Zionists meekness of pre-1930 Jews).

    Jews (at least in Israel) have become Pharaoh and adopted his sensibilities. I don’t know whether or not those Pharaohonic sensibilities have always been a sort of subliminal part of Judaism (or pf Jewish culture), but if they were, they were always tempered (as to open expression in mixed publics) by a consciousness of the need for Jews to live cautiously within larger societies. This caution was thrown out by Zionists, perhaps as early as 1930s, certainly by today.

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