≡ Menu

The two largest donors to a new pro-Israel lobbying group, the Israeli-American Council, addressed its first national conference today.  They called for Israel to pursue an implacable, hawkish, Islamophobic agenda against Iran and the Palestinians.  Sheldon Adelson, who gave the IAC its single largest donation ($2.5-million), didn’t surprise anyone with his usual Palestine-denying rhetoric.  Though it tended even more Kahanist than usual.  Adelson rejected the notion that Israel must be a democracy:

“I don’t think the Bible says anything about democracy. I think God didn’t say anything about democracy,” Adelson said. “God talked about all the good things in life. He didn’t talk about Israel remaining as a democratic state, otherwise Israel isn’t going to be a democratic state — so what?”

Israel, a democracy? So what?  That’s going to become a memorable phrase in the annals of the Israel war in the American Jewish community.

At another juncture, Adelson said:

“Israel can no longer live if you say we want to live as a democracy.”

If you’d asked me twenty years ago whether it’d be possible for a devout follower of Meir Kahane to be one of the richest men in the world and one of Israel’s strongest and richest advocates, I’d have thought you’d taken leave of your senses.  Thinking back on what I knew or believed then, it would’ve made me beyond depressed to have known what was to come.

I have no doubt that had he lived, Meir Kahane would be Israeli prime minister and Sheldon Adelson would spend unlimited amounts of money to keep him there.  Even more than he’s willing to spend on Bibi, which is considerable.

haim saban hillary clinton

Haim Saban and his Zio-soul-sister (LA Times)

But major Aipac and Democrat donor, Haim Saban, also offered shocking, memorable copy.  He told the audience that if Israel doesn’t like the Iran-western nuclear deal, it should “bomb the daylight out of the sons of bitches.”  Saban ($400,000 to IAC in 2011) is one of Hillary Clinton’s largest donors.  During her upcoming campaign, when you hear her rattle sabers on Iran or any other Israel-related subject, you’ll now know why.

Saban is also suspected by the FBI of being the Israeli Mossad asset with whom then Congresswoman Jane Harman negotiated a deal she hoped would bring her the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee.  Since Arnon Milchan has written a book reciting his considerable espionage exploits in the U.S. on behalf of the Mossad, it should come as no surprise that the Mossad would see Saban as a prime asset.  It would also come as no surprise if Saban served Israeli intelligence as a loyal, even enthusiastic resource.

The IAC is a new wrinkle on the concept of an Israel Lobby startup.  It focuses mainly on the 100,000-500,000 (depending on who’s counting) Israelis who make their home in the U.S.  Adelson believes that since they’re Israelis and already imbued with ‘Zionist values,’ they’re even more valuable assets for Israel here than American Jews.  They have the zeal, experience, and passion to convey Israel’s story to American policymakers that the rest of us Jews don’t have.  To Adelson, they are the Zionist equivalent of the Christian soldiers of the old hymn (“Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war”).

IAC strives to present itself as a “non-partisan” organization.  That’s as ridiculous as saying Adelson is non-partisan.  Perhaps what they mean is that it is not partisan in terms of U.S. politics.  That’s why it’s important to them they have both a Republican and Democrat fatcat donor.  But the lead speakers at the event were Mitt Romney, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsay Graham.  Not exactly “fair and balanced.”  The prime target for the speakers was the current Democratic president.  And as for Israel, this group is as partisan as they come.  In fact, I firmly believe it should be forced to register as an agent of the Israeli government (as should Aipac).

Saban and Adelson, who own important media properties, goaded each other into further strategic purchases of newspapers like the New York Times in order to further their pro-Israel agenda:

“Why don’t you and I go after The New York Times?” Adelson joked with Saban, later explaining that the only way to do so is by offering “significantly more than it’s worth” and thus having shareholders sue the owners if they don’t accept the offer.

At one time, Saban considered a major investment in Al Jazeera which presumably would’ve toned down its reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict.  He also participated in the bidding for the Washington Post, which Jeff Bezos eventually won.  He does own Univision.  Adelson owns Yisrael HaYom and subsidizes it to the tune of $36-million per year.  During his talk, Adelon admitted he doesn’t like journalism and believes what the rest of us call responsible journalism is “looking for the wrong, to tell the people what’s wrong in life.”  He called this perspective “insane.”

I’ve been writing fairly apocalyptic posts about developments in Israel lately.  About the self-destructive nature of the country’s leaders as they face what may become a new Intifada, but this one inside Israel.  If we now add to this the insane bellicosity of billionaires like Adelson and Saban, we’re approaching a perfect storm.  If Israel had no allies, no trade partners, no donors, it would be forced to trim its ideological sails.  But donors like these encourage the baying of the Zionist hounds.  They both “love the smell of napalm in the morning.”  They both are going for the jugular.  They both are implacable enemies of realism and pragmatism.  Just the opposite of what Israel needs at this juncture.  All I can say is that with friends like these Israel, in its current incarnation, will hasten its own demise.

kafr cana protests

Israeli police use skunk cannon firing environmental poison on Kafr Cana protesters

Yesterday, I was the first media outlet outside the Arab world to report the true story (and video) of the Israeli police murder of Khairuddin Hamdan in the Galilee town of Cana.  Since then, the news has crossed the world like wildfire.  There is now a general strike in the Palestinian sector (in Israel).  The town’s residents have protested with burning tires and tremendous anger against the cold-blooded execution of one of their own.  Video I offered shows clearly that while Hamdan did assault the outside of a police vehicle, he was clearly retreating from a policeman who opened fire at close range and murdered him with multiple gun shots.  The first police statement falsely claimed Hamdan had tried to stab them with a knife (the only thing Hamdan stabbed–and it’s not even clear what implement he held in his hands–was the vehicle itself).  At no point did Hamdan pose a danger to any police officer.

It’s worth quoting here an insightful op-ed in Maariv by Amir Zohar on the absolute cluelessness of the Israelis police in this instance (please know that when I translate an article and use the term “Arab” it’s not my choice, but the author’s, which is why I put it in quotation marks below):

You don’t have to be an “Arab” to write angrily here about the police of the Northern District [Galilee].  You don’t have to be a legal scholar or left-wing journalist, God forbid, in order to determine that a police officer killed Arab civilian, Khir Hamdan, in cold blood and with the connivance of his masked poisonous colleagues who tainted the physical evidence both at the scene [of the crime] and the corpse itself, which they dragged on the ground like a sack of potatoes into their well-appointed, armored van.  It was a real deluxe operation by officers lacking any communal awareness or basic knowledge of the regulations concerning evidence and workplace behavior of the police.

All this was whitewashed by their commanders and police spokespersons who, throughout the night, published mendacious statements about the Arab youth who ran at the police with a knife pointed directly at them.  And that just before he stabbed them they fired in the air as required, before opening fire causing the mortal wounding and death of Hamdan…

All this, which continued being aired even into the morning, was a lie.  The police hadn’t taken into account technology and social media, which even “primitive” Arabs know how to use.

For the information of the regional spokesperson, the policeman didn’t fire in the air.  Rather, he fired into the back of the fleeing suspect.  This is documented by the same video cameras which Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch threatens to use against the residents of East Jerusalem.  This is the video camera which exposed the lies of the police.  Technological justice works both ways it appears, as opposed to political justice [which only works one way]…

For no less than this, when white policemen killed a Black thief, entire cities in the U.S. burned for weeks.  Israel has its own [unrest known as] Intifadas, and it appears the police are begging for a new one.  The behavior of police in Kafr Cana points to the fact that their commanders haven’t learned anything about how to deal with civilian unrest, as was shown in the events of October 2000 [when 13 Palestinian protesters were killed by this same unit of Israeli police]…

The calls by Aharonovitch and other rightist Knesset members to shoot to kill terrorists in Jerusalem, may lead to their political burial in the Galilee, if the riots of Kafr Cana spread throughout the Arab communities in Israel and the PA.

amos biderman cartoon bibi gas fire

Bibi spills a few drops on a fire over which Moshe Feiglin, Uri Ariel, Tzipi Hatovely and Miri Regev are shooting gasoline  (Amos Biderman)

A few days ago, after settlers stormed the Temple Mount and Israeli police desecrated the Al Aqsa mosque, spurring retaliatory terror attacks against Israeli Jews, Bibi Netanyahu mouthed some platitudes calling on his own ultra-nationalist MKs not to fan the fires of incitement.  But those MKs mostly paid no heed.  Deputy Knesset speaker Feiglin was at the forefront.  Minister Uri Ariel moved himself into nice ex-Palestinian digs in East Jerusalem.   The settler pyromaniacs had a field day in their bid to provoke religious war.  Cartoonist Amos Biderman seems almost to be channeling this tweet I published in his latest cartoon.

What truly astounded me about the aftermath of the Cana killing is that instead offering the usual mealy-mouthed platitudes and half-hearted consolation, Bibi Netanyahu has thrown the murder in the faces of the victims.  His statement today reminded me of the sort of cold, heartless response you’d hear from an Egyptian Pharaoh or a dictator like Hitler hoping to provoke a conflagration:

Israel is a nation of law. We will not tolerate disturbances and rioting. We will act against those who throw stones, block roads and call for the establishment of a Palestinian state in place of the State of Israel. Whoever does not honor Israeli law will be punished with utmost severity. I will instruct the Interior Minister to evaluate revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Who is he kidding?  A ‘nation of law?’  For whom?  Jews perhaps, if you’re the right kind.  He ponderously won’t tolerate “disturbances” by Palestinians, but will tolerate, even praise, murder by his own police.  He condemns stone-throwing and blocking roads, while omitting the incident that spurred the rioting: murder.  As for “not honoring Israeli law,” it is the police who’ve done so.  Unless Israeli law says police officers may murder Israeli citizens in cold blood, then it isn’t the residents of Cana who are lawless, but officers of the state.

As for revoking citizenship of Israeli Palestinians who condemn Israel, what self-respecting one would not condemn this regime as hateful to Palestinians.  What self-respecting Palestinian wouldn’t see this regime as lawless?

Bibi is baring his fangs. The bloody fangs he inherited from his father, Jabotinsky’s right-hand henchman.  He’s reverting to a primitive Revisionist-Zionist life form, one that sees enemies everywhere and destruction at every corner.  When this “Zio-type” is cornered it becomes particularly virulent, particularly enraged, and capable of even more extreme violence than normal.

This statement by Bibi marks true desperation.  He is so frightened of the looming Jerusalem Intifada and recent terror attacks there by East Jerusalem Palestinians, that he sees the Cana developments as a claw reaching out to the heart of Israeli society.  Instead of Jerusalemites who aren’t Israelis citizens, those in Cana are.  Once Israeli Palestinians begin rejecting the existence of the state of which they’re citizens, it could be only a matter of time before the ‘affliction’ sweeps the Palestinian communities.

Though I’m not a fan of the game of chicken, nor do I especially enjoy the prospect of apocalypse, the more extreme the Israeli leadership becomes, the more false-steps it makes, the more blood it spills, the closer it comes to the end of the line.  I don’t mean the end of the line for Israel.  But rather for the current iteration, a state based on corruption, ethnic and religious hatred, repression, and authoritarian rule.

Bibi wants to revoke MK Haneen Zoabi’s citizenship? Go right ahead.  He wants to expel Palestinians en masse (as he said publicly he wanted to do in 1988)?  You want to kill Palestinians in cold blood?  The more you do the less chance you have of survival.  So go right ahead.  Mount those corpses on the ritual bonfire of Likudist vanity.  Stack them so high they blot out the sun.  Then when the EU comes to visit and wonders why all is dark, the answer will be self-evident.  Then the American’s and Europeans will have no choice but to acknowledge the worst and take action, no matter how late.

Genocide? Religious holy war? Bring it on.  Not that I want it personally.  But it appears to be coming.  Bibi’s statement above is the equivalent of “bring it!”  So it might as well happen sooner than later.  The sooner it does, the less will die.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  Many will die anyway (alas probably most Palestinian).  But it’s all a matter of degrees.

I await that fateful day, when Bibi or his successor gives the order to his IDF chief of staff to fire on thousands of Palestinians.  The question is what will the troops do?  Will they follow orders as they’re told and commit mass murder for all the world to see.  Or will there be some fundamental break.  Will some soldiers throw down their weapons either before or during the encounter?  Will they say: we’ve had enough of this; our leaders don’t speak for us; this is not our war, let them fight it?

I realize this is my invented version of a scenario.  It may not, probably will not happen precisely this way.  But Israel’s future depends on whether there are those who awaken from their moral stupor and act in some way to signal their opposition.  I don’t expect (though I’d like to see) any White Rose society of dissident resisters.  But I would like to see the Israeli F.W. deKlerks turn their backs on their birthright and go over to the other side.  It would be the beginning of the end.  Or as Churchill once said: “not the beginning of the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning.”  Because this promises to be a long process.  Latter-day Israel and all the corrupt,unjust premises on which it’s based will not be transformed overnight.  There is still a great deal of fight left in this Judean regime.



Tonight, Israeli police in the village of Cana in lower Nazareth attempted to arrest (Hebrew) a Palestinian resident of the town on suspicion that he’s tossed a stun grenade as part of a family conflict.   When they arrived, this video shows Khairuddin Hamdan, age 20, attacking the vehicle with what appears to be a bar, though police claim it was a knife.  He appears to be striking the vehicle, possibly to protest the arrest of the original suspect.

khairuddin hamdan murdered palestinian

Khairuddin Hamdan, Palestinian murdered by Israeli police

The video then shows a police officer exiting the vehicle and immediately pumping several bullets into Hamdan from close range (perhaps 4-6 feet away).  Hamdan immediately crumples to the ground.  This was little more than a cold-blooded execution.  In western nations, when someone attacks a police car they usually aren’t murdered for it.

The police, perhaps believing there was no video of the killing, provided Ynet with a patently false account of what occurred.  They claimed both that Hamdan drew a knife and that he attempted to stab them.  The video clearly indicates there was no attempt to stab them as they were inside their vehicle and never in danger.

Now that the police have been caught red-handed in outright murder, their story will undoubtedly change to account for the new evidence.  The new story will undoubtedly be just as lame as the first one.

They will angrily search out the source of the video.  They’ll arrest the owner of the surveillance camera and confiscate the footage.  They’ll claim the footage was doctored or that it omits some preceding incident that led to the killing.  They’ll try their damndest to get themselves off the hook.  But they’ll fail in the end.

I’m afraid it won’t matter much because Israeli Jews don’t care whether their police officers murder Palestinians.  It’s a minor offense.  No one will be held accountable for this.  An investigation will find that the officers “feared for their lives” and the use of firearms was justified.  It will be business as usual because Palestinian lives are cheap.

rioting in nazareth

Rioting and fires broke out as youth rampaged in Cana to protest the murder of Khairuddin Hamdan by Israeli police (Alarab.net)

Cana, where the killing took place, is often identified with the Galilean village of the same name in the story of Jesus.  There he attended a wedding and, when the wine ran out, he transformed water into wine.  Israeli police are having much less success at transforming the facts of this case into the fraud they’ve concocted.  They should’ve let Jesus perform the miracles and done their own jobs right, instead of acting as hired killers for the State.

Palestinian witnesses to the murder said that the confrontation could’ve been resolved without a resort to gunfire and that the police are little more than criminals themselves.  Residents made clear that they don’t want the police in their midst at all as they don’t trust them to do anything but what happened last night.  The video clearly indicates why.

The false police account is a feeble attempt to link this murder to the string of terror attacks by Jerusalem Palestinians against Israeli Jews.  But this incident appears not to be a terror attack at all, unless you count the police murder as a terror attack.

After the killing, young residents of the town rioted, lit fires and closed access to the community.

If Israeli police wish to light a fire not just in Jerusalem, but in all Palestinian communities in Israel, they couldn’t do better than what they did tonight.  Instead of a Jerusalem Intifada, we might have an Israel-wide Intifada.  Undoubtedly, Pres. Reuven Rivlin will be visiting the village and there will be touching pictures of him embracing the local imam or mukhtar.  He will speak soothing words and talk about historic injustices done to Palestinians.  All of which will mean precious little as nothing will change inside Israeli society.


Neri Merhav, a professor of electrical engineering at Israel’s prestigious Technion, responded to my post in which I highlighted racist Facebook postings in which he advocated ethnic cleansing of Israeli Palestinians and called Barack Obama a Muslim, among others.  Actually, I didn’t ask him to reply.  I sent a query to the president and dean of the Technion asking if they were aware of the public nature of his objectionable views and the impact they might have on both the reputation of the institution and the feelings of Israeli Palestinian students there.

neri merhav

Prof. Merhav’s Facebook profile prominently features his affiliation with Technion

Instead of replying, they passed along my message to Merhav, who replied:

My Dean has forwarded me the e-mail you sent to him and to the President of the Technion…

I was absolutely amazed by this irresponsible and unfair act on your part. I am using the word “irresponsible”, because it is, first of all, YOU who are *explicitly* harming the reputation of the Technion that you so `worry’ about (just like you are harming the reputation of Israel in general in other articles of yours), primarily because of the bombastic, exaggerated title “Technion Professor Supports Palestinian Ethnic Cleansing” (it is bombastic, by the way, just like the name of your blog, “Tikun Olam”).

And I am using the word “unfair” because you did not even give me the opportunity to respond, first of all by myself, to your vicious accusations before you published this poor blog post about me worldwide, and before sending this disturbing e-mail to the dean and the president, who both (unlike you, perhaps) have more important things to take care of in their precious time than to review my Facebook profile, as you suggest them. Take my word for it.

Let me now make several points concerning the contents of your lousy blog post.

My Facebook page is the one of “Neri Merhav” as a private person, it is not a formal Facebook page of “Neri Merhav” as a Technion professor.

As I note in the graphic above, Prof. Merhav prominently highlights his affiliation with the Technion in his Facebook profile.  It’s mentioned no less than three times!  So readers would be forgiven if they associated his views with his employer.  If an employer does not dissociate itself from such racism, as Technion has refused to do, then readers can justifiably assume that they don’t have a problem with the racism spewed by their distinguished faculty members.

As such, I am entitled to express within it my views and my feelings, informally and completely freely, just like any other individual. To the best of knowledge, I am living in a democratic country (the only one in the Middle East, to remind you), exactly like you.

Considering Merhav believes so strong in free speech (except for those he detests, like “Arabs”), it’s a wonder that he’s scrubbed his Facebook account of every post I linked to in my earlier profile of him.  Apparently, toning down his racism through self-censorship is a quality he values.

It never ceases to amaze me that academics considered learned in their fields turn into blubbering idiots when they venture outside it.  That holds especially true when they venture into the thicket that is the Israeli-Arab conflict.  Lawyers, philosophers, engineers, medical doctors all pronounce themselves experts on the subject without having the faintest clue what they’re talking about.  Merhav here makes one of the dumbest errors in the hasbara handbook: first in declaring Israel to be a democracy (it isn’t); and then assuming it is the only one in the Middle East.  It’s no accident this racist omits Lebanon, Turkey, and Iran, each of which boast of democracies at least as creditable as Israel’s if not more so.

So what is your problem exactly? Is your real problem stemming from the fact that my views are different from yours? Or, is it because you have too much free time and you don’t know what to do with it other than digging into people’s Facebook pages and writing vicious blog posts about them? While I don’t think that this is any of your business, I can nevertheless say that you can rest assured – I am not using any Technion-related forum to express my political opinions.

In my earlier post, I predicted Merhav would use a variant of the “some of my best friends are Negroes” defense, offered by whites who sought to criticize Blacks while professing to know and love them.  The good professor doesn’t disappoint:

Moreover, these opinions have *no influence whatsoever* on my actual attitude toward students, whatever their ethnicity may be, and I do have students from various ethnic origins. None of them feels poor to the best of my judgement. On the contrary, one of them (a Muslim Arab, by the way) told me, just this week, that he never enjoyed in academic lectures before as much as he did in mine. Same comment applies to supervision of graduate students.

This is what important and all the rest is completely irrelevant!!!

Your specific comments about my posts are so stupid that they do not even deserve one-by-one replies. Let me just say that some of them show that you completely misunderstood what I meant (unlike many other people, who gave their `like’ or responded favorably).

I especially enjoy the following defense by Merhav, that I just didn’t get the joke he was playing on MK Ahmed Tibi, by asking what it would take to “persuade” him and his fellow “Arabs” to leave Israel:

Others show that you completely lack a sense of humor (like the last one about Tibi’s comment that they don’t leave Israel for “Milky”, or the one about a death penalty for someone who commits suicide..), and yet other comments of yours are either historically false or refer to posts that are completely unrelated to Palestinians. Even those that are related to Palestinians, express legitimate opinions, even if they are not in harmony with your extreme left-wing opinions.

I urge you to remove this blog post about me immediately and to back off from your letter to the dean and president of the Technion.

In response to that last “request,” I certainly will not remove the post.  I’ll let readers and hopefully his students and donors to Technion judge for themselves whether he is the racist I claim him to be; or the jolly bloke he claims to be.

jerusalem terror attack

Ibrahim al-Akri, from Shuafat, went on murderous rampage in Jerusalem

An East Jerusalem Palestinian driver plowed his vehicle into two separate crowds of Israeli Jewish pedestrians, killing a Druze Border Police officer, wounding thirteen, three critically.  A few hours later, three IDF soldiers were wounded in a similar car attack in the West Bank.  It’s the fourth such attack in less than two weeks.  Like one of the past incidents, today’s assault occurred at a Jerusalem light rail station.

When security forces confronted the terrorist they shot and wounded him.  As he lay on the ground, they executed him on the spot.  This has become the normative procedure (and in English) in such attacks.  An eye for an eye, a death for a death.  Israeli public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch heartily approved of the cold blooded killing:

“The action of the Border Police officer who chased after the assailant and quickly killed him was correct and professional and that is how we want these incidents to end.

Haaretz found the Palestinian’s murder to be problematic (translated from Hebrew):

As with the previous vehicular attack, a Border Police officer shot the terrorist to death after he’d been wounded and was lying on the ground.  Once again there are those who claim that given such circumstances his killing was unjustified.

It’s apparent that in such situations there is a new undeclared, unwritten regulation, which has found its expression in these past two incidents: either neutralizing attackers at the site of assault (like today), or the killing of the terrorists at the time of capture (as happened in the aftermath of the Yehudah Glick shooting and in September, during the operation resulting in the ‘detention’ of those who killed the three Israeli kidnap victims in Hebron).  Police shoot first and ask questions later…It even seems superfluous for Public Safety Minister Aharonovitch to declare that every such attack much end with the summary killing [execution] of the attacker.

…Such an unqualified public call [for summary killing] gives permission for [officially sanctioned] execution.  This gives an opening for deeply problematic moral, legal, and political complications…Aside from the prospect of upcoming elections, there would be no other reason for a government minister to offer such public statements.

In many of the past cases of apprehending Palestinians, the security forces claim the suspects opened fire first and were killed by return fire.  But I’ve pointed out that in almost all cases, they don’t fire in response.  They initiate and they execute.  With today’s terror attack, they’ve shed even that nicety.  This is another past incident of Border Police summary execution which I wrote about about here.

Israel immediately and fraudulently blamed Mahmoud Abbas for the attack, though aside from making public statements excoriating the Israeli police for usurping the Muslim holy places, he did nothing to deserve such a claim. Clearly, Netanyahu was using the old trick known so well by magicians of displacing the mark’s attention from where the real sleight of hand was taking place.

In other words, the real cause for the new round of mayhem was the Gaza war of the past summer in which 2,100 Gazans were killed by the IDF, and subsequent rounds of theft and expulsion of long-time Palestinian residents from their East Jerusalem homes by settlers, and the military-style Border Police occupation of Al Aqsa, along with settlers and leading MKs storming the holy site, and calling for its destruction and replacement by the Third Temple.  In the past two weeks, a settler killed a young Palestinian girl & severely wounded her sister in a hit and run attack which police refused to investigate as a crime.  Palestinians don’t forget such things, though Israelis certainly do.

In response, Jordan recalled its ambassador.  While many Israelis care little about foreign diplomats or diplomacy in general and will take little notice of this, it’s significant that one of the Arab countries with which Israel has enjoyed its longest span of peace has taken this dramatic step in protest.  Jordan, as the protector of Jerusalem’s holy places has a special obligation on behalf of the world’s Muslims to object to Israel’s desecration of the Haram al Sharif.  Palestinians and Muslims in general have come to believe that Israel is attempting to unilaterally change conditions on the Temple Mount.

Israeli media claimed the attacker was a “low-level” Hamas “operative” whose brother had served time in an Israeli prison and been released in the Shalit prisoner exchange. But curiously, Israel preferred blaming Abbas. Probably because it knows the PA plans to mount a major international campaign for statehood in the UN. Israel’s leaders also a fear mounting tidal wave of legitimacy for the Palestinian cause will cause pressure to recognize Palestine. This force will enable world powers to exert pressure for Israeli concessions or even the forced implementation of a peace agreement.  Israel is not above exploiting a terror attack in order to defang Palestine’s forward political momentum.  In fact, Netanyahu specializes in such manipulation.

In fact, Sweden just recognized Palestine last week, the first EU country to do so.  The British parliament voted to ask its own cabinet to do so and French lawmakers are preparing debate on such a resolution.

For the past 100  years, whenever one side or the other (but mostly the Jews) have encroached on the prerogatives of the other, they’ve caused a violent response. The 1929 Kotel riots in which scores of Jews and Palestinians were killed started this way.  The first Intifada began when Sharon brought 1,000 police to the Temple Mount in a brazen show of force meant to be seared into Palestinian minds, that while Jordan might nominally control the sacred ground, Israel could impose its will arbitrarily.

Extremist Israelis like those ruling the country now believe they can steamroller over the Palestinians; that “this land is ours and that’s just the way it’s going to be.” It may work for the playground bully, but not so much in the world of real politic when your opponent is willing to die to prevent you from succeeding.  The Palestinian goal will be, like all classic insurgencies, to make East Jerusalem ungovernable.  This would reinforce the illegitimacy of Israeli rule there and dispel the notion of Israeli sovereignty over a “united” Jerusalem.

Israeli extremist hardliners like Naftali Bennet have called for the proverbial ‘iron fist,” as if the country’s current policy is chocolates and cream. The next step is perhaps to forbid Palestinians from driving in Jerusalem. After that, a full curfew for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. Finally, perhaps concentration camps or expulsion?  After all, wouldn’t that be the hardest fist?

The ‘moderate’ among Israeli extremists say they’d allow “moderate” Palestinians to remain after expelling the worst of the lot.  In 1492, the triumphant Spanish Catholics ‘graciously’ offered Jews the opportunity to convert if they wanted to avoid expulsion.  But Israel’s Orthodox rabbinate would never accept mass Muslim converts to Judaism, since they’d be viewed as a secret Fifth Column.  And how would authorities determine which Palestinians were good and which bad?  Perhaps lie detector tests?  Or forcing them to wear 24 hour video cameras to ensure loyalty?


I have an idea.  It’s perhaps a bit far-fetched.  It may not be realistic for a thousand reasons. Not to mention that the Shabak may arrest anyone who proposes it seriously in Israel.  But before I share the idea with you, let me preface it with this background information.

Jonathan Cook just published a terrific and frightening post at Electronic Intifada, Israel moves to outlaw Palestinian political parties in the Knesset.  There is a certain amount of overkill in some anti-Zionist websites and at first I thought that headline might be guilty of it.  But after I read it I not only agreed with Cook, it started me thinking about what should or could be a response to these ominous developments. More on that later in this post.

For those who understand Hebrew, here Zoabi, during her failed visit to the Temple Mount, lectured the Border Police on her rights as an Israeli citizen.  She did so in a way that would make any Israeli blanche.  It’s not surprise that she’s so hated.   She doesn’t take shit from anyone (nor should she):

Cook starts from the current conflict between MK Haneen Zoabi, the Knesset, and Israeli police, which led to her six-month suspension from the elective body.  It is the longest such suspension ever delivered by the inaptly named Ethics committee.  Cook compares the severity of her punishment to a one-day punishment meted out to a radical Jewish MK who called for the death penalty against Ehud Olmert because of his willingness to barter what he saw as sovereign Israeli territory for peace.  The Supreme Court refused to suspend the move and suggested she ask the full Knesset to rescind the Ethics committee ruling.  Which is odd, because the Knesset already voted by a wide majority to approve it.

The Israeli state prosecutor will open a case against Zoabi for “criminal incitement” because the police provocatively assigned two Israeli Palestinian female officers to provoke her at one of her public appearances.  The MK called them “collaborators,” which of course they were.  A new Knesset bill proposed by the far-right Yisrael Beitenu would prohibit anyone “supporting terrorism” from running for Knesset.  Another would strip Zoabi, specifically of citizenship.

The “proof” she supported terrorism is that in an interview:

Zoabi described an Israeli Air Force pilot as “no less a terrorist than a person who takes a knife and commits a beheading.” She added that “both are armies of murderers, they have no boundaries and no red lines.”

One of the many strange qualities of this rightist claim against Zoabi is that it confuses political speech with real terrorism.  So for Lieberman and his cohorts the IDF may murder thousands of Palestinians and it is not terror.  But when Zoabi makes a verbal statement that such an act is terror, then she becomes the terrorist.  These rightist brutes deliberately conflate speech and act.  It seems almost part of the diagnosis of the condition from which they suffer.

The Israeli state apparatus clearly appears to be preparing for Zoabi to meet the same fate as her mentor, former leader of the Balad Party, Azmi Bishara.  The latter was hounded out of the country by the secret police, who accused him (not in court, where they never brought a case, but in the media) of being a Hezbollah spy and the group’s paymaster inside Israel.  Facing the prospect of ten years in an Israeli prison, he chose exile.  He has been welcomed to Dubai, where he’s leading a partnership developing a new Middle East media enterprise.

I predict, with a heavy heart, that the goons of the Shabak are preparing a similar fate for her.  But they first want to warm the hot seat by buffeting her with this series of legal tsouris, that will keep her occupied personally, emotionally and legally for months, if not longer.  Eventually, this smear campaign will set the stage for even more serious charges down the road.

Let’s also keep in mind that Zoabi’s persecution isn’t an anomaly.  Almost all Palestinian MKs have been charged with crimes, arrested, or threatened with expulsion or punishment for the crime of representing their constituents in a so-called democracy.  Jewish MKs never face such political persecution.

An equally damaging Knesset electoral proposal is to increase the threshold for entering the body from 2% to 3.5%.  This would in effect disenfranchise Israeli Palestinian political parties, which now hold 11 seats (while they hold 20% of the population, as racism has increased Palestinian citizens have stayed away from the polls, which explains why they don’t have 20+ seats as their numbers would suggest).  Raising the threshold would leave Palestinians with two unpalatable choices: either unite their disparate parties in a unified list; or face disenfranchisement.  Cook points out that one of the key stumbling blocks to a single party list is Hadash.  The Jewish-Arab party refuses to join the Palestinian parties because it claims it would disenfranchise the Jews who vote for it.  The claim seems dubious and deliberately designed to sabotage any possibility of surmounting the Knesset ploy.

It should be said that Israeli extremists (who run the government and Knesset) often propose maximalist bills meant to throw red meat to their constituents.  Often they back down. Sometimes Bibi calls them to their senses; other times the Supreme Court restrains some of the worst of the lunacy; and in a few rare instances the MKs themselves decide to take a step back from the precipice in the face of international opposition.  So it’s possible that Lieberman and his goons will be stymied in some or all of these efforts.  But liberal Zionists should take no comfort from that.  The fact is that 85% of Israeli Jews favor robbing Zoabi of her seat.  So though the proposals may appear off the wall to Americans or Europeans, this is the direction which the nation is taking.

Things will not get better.  There is no white knight coming along to save the day for Israel.  No DeGaulle.  Not even a Sharon or Rabin.  It can only get worse.

So I propose that Israeli Jews and Palestinians prepare for the worst.  Let’s assume that Palestinians are massively deprived of the vote.  The threshold is raised, the Israeli Palestinian parties can’t come to agreement, Zoabi is exiled.

one state tree

One state from two peoples? (Fogelson-Lubliner)

Clearly, the Jewish nationalist majority wants not only to stifle the Palestinian political voice, they’d like to “disappear” the Palestinians physically and entirely.  The latter should not expect significant help from the outside world.  The U.S. will stand by expressing “disappointment” with rising fascist tendencies.  The EU will come up a day late and dollar short as usual.  There may even be a slight possibility they will all get off their asses and do something for a change.  But we can’t expect this, since their record is so abysmal in past historical circumstances (Rwanda, Serbia, Cambodia).

What could the Palestinians (and Jewish allies) do themselves to take their own fate in their hands?  I make the following suggestions realizing that they are tentative and perhaps even unrealistic.  They demand a great cost from those who embrace them.  But given the dire circumstances true democrats face in Israel, ideas that offer alternatives have some real value.

I suggest that all Palestinians, those who are Israeli citizens and those in the Territories should rid themselves of their past political structures and form a united political coalition.  If there must be political parties from the outset, they should at least begin with the proposition that they are creating an alternative state which rejects the separatism and hate of the current system.

Israeli Jews who are prepared to turn away from the sham democracy offered by the current apartheid system should be recruited as well.  Together, they should propose a new political system that incorporates a single state.  They should prepare an election in all the territory incorporating Israel and Palestine.  They should elect an alternative parliament with ministers and a prime minister.  They should write a Declaration of Independence which promises to fulfill the broken promises in the original 1948 Declaration proposed by Ben Gurion.  This alternative state should propose a non-theocratic system, in which no religion or its adherents hold superior power.  It should draft a constitution guaranteeing rights and equality for all citizens regardless of religion or ethnicity.

This plan should not deny religion, because after all Israeli Jews and Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian, are fervent believers, however they may express this belief.  Religion plays an important role in both peoples.  It can’t be denied or suppressed.  This alternative state must embrace religion, but it must also constrain religion from dominating politics.

We can see why this is necessary from what Haaretz called the impending Jerusalem Intifada.  Today, an Israeli settler-minister proposed destroying the Al Aqsa mosque so the Temple may replace it.  With the nationalist government blocking Muslims from the third holiest shrine in Islam, widespread theft of East Jerusalem homes by Jewish settlers, and fanatics storming the Temple Mount to lay claim to it on behalf of the Third Temple, we can see where this ugliness may lead.  Jihad on the Muslim side and milhemet kodesh (holy war) on the Jewish side.

That’s why it’s so important that this alternative model offer a clear choice.  A new state in which religion will play a role, but where True Believers and fanatics will not rule as they do now.

The entire point of this exercise, which will certainly be hugely contentious in most circles in Israel and Palestine, is to show Israel for what it is: an ethnocratic state offering superior rights to Jews and almost no significant rights to Palestinians.  The alternative state and its new institutions would hold a mirror up to what Israel really is.  It would offer a juxtaposition that isn’t evident in the current system, in which Israel merely hides or crushes the Palestinian minority depending on circumstances.

Before skeptics begin attempting to tear apart this proposal, let me say that I recognize all the impediments: even the most progressive Israeli Jews and Palestinians will find it difficult to shed their previous allegiances and embrace a system so alien to them.  Palestinians from the Territories like Fatah and even Hamas will prefer the suffering and misery they know to the unknown.  The Shabak has also made clear that it would view such political agitation as subversion.  It will be only too happy to harrass, arrest and jail anyone attempting to organize such a project.  But when it does this, it will display the naked aggression of the State in the face of what it views as a challenge to its very existence.  They the world would see to what lengths the Israeli state would go to preserve its interests and prerogatives.

So anyone attempting this would have to brave persecution and even jail in pursuit of a fleeting vision.  But isn’t that what happens in many similar circumstances in the history of nations?  The pioneers advance ideas that threaten the status quo.  They are hated for it, jailed for it, even killed for it (Gandhi, Martin Luther King, etc.).  But a hundred years later, often those same ideas have been absorbed into the mainstream.  No one who didn’t live in that time would even know or remember the suffering and bloodshed the early visionaries faced.

Finally, some will read this plan as my endorsement of a one-state solution.  If so, it is at best one and a-half cheers.  It is an acceptance that the Israeli state as currently constituted is incapable of resolving this conflict.  It is a realization that we must do something to break the logjam.  We must, as has happened with BDS, force Israel to face the fact that if it refuses to make decisions, they will be made for it.  Let Israel look into the future and see the prospect of dissolution of the supremacist Jewish state and its replacement by a democratic multi-religious state.  One can hope the fright will jolt them to their senses.

If you (Israeli Jews) refuse an independent Palestinian state, then accept a single state of Israel-Palestine in which someday you will certainly be a minority.  Israel needs a shock to the system.  Not just a tiny shock, but a near-death experience to realize the severity of the situation.  Indeed, it may already be too late for those who profess to endorse a two-state solution.  If it is, then let’s go forward into the future with a vision of a different state that fully endorses democracy and renounces sectarianism, religious fanaticism, and mindless hatred.  Let’s offer that shock, test the limits, and break them in pursuit of something better, new, and different.


Technion Professor Supports Palestinian Ethnic Cleansing

neri merhav islamophobe technion faculty

Prof. Neri Merhav, distinguished faculty member and devout Islamophobe

UPDATE: Prof. Merhav, thinking better of the worst of his racist Facebook screeds, has scrubbed his page of every post linked below.  One wonders, if he believes in free speech as strongly as he claims here, why he would feel the need to do that.  At any rate, I display a screenshot of his worst offense below & the rest of my references are translations.  Since he’s removed these posts you’ll just have to trust what I translated from his originals.

Neri Merhav is a professor of electrical engineering at Israel’s prestigious Technion. He holds the Irving Shepard Academic chair there. The Technion is one of the world’s leading engineering schools and its graduates populate Israel’s advanced intelligence agencies, including IDF Unit 8200.

He’s consulted for Hewlett Packard Labs in Israel and serves in senior roles on various committees and publications in the field of information theory. But little of this has brought me to dedicating a blog post to Prof. Merhav. What did is his Facebook page, which is full of rants against Palestinians of all varieties. Among other things, he’s advocated ‘soft’ ethnic cleansing and supported building of Israeli settlements in occupied Jerusalem.

In one post he addressed Palestinian MK Ahmed Tibi’s jibe directed at Israeli Jews, in which the latter said no Israeli Palestinian would be emigrating on account of the cheaper prices in Berlin.  This was the so called “Milky” controversy.  Merhav’s riposte:

It’s too bad that you [Israeli Palestinians] don’t leave on account of Milky.  Or perhaps there might be something else that would persuade you to leave.

That vague “something else” might be as benign as a financial incentive or as malign as a pogrom or forced expulsion.  He leaves it to the reader to fill in the blank.

He’s called Barack Obama a Muslim.  He said about Obama’s “confession” that he’d underestimated ISIS–that he needs a priest urgently since he was on a roll making so many confessions.  Then Merhav added snarkily:

On second thought, a priest wouldn’t be appropriate–since he’s actually a Muslim.

neri merhav ethnic cleansing

Prof. Merhav: what it will take to “persuade” Israeli Palestinians to leave Israel.

He attacked an Israeli youth leader who asked a group of Israeli children traveling to Auschwitz to consider whether there is a difference between a Nazi soldier not refusing an [illegal] order and an Israeli soldier not refusing an [illegal] order. Merhav said of the youth counselor:

“With self-hating Jews and Israel haters like these, we don’t even need anti-Semitism.”

In another Facebook post, he derides Mahmoud Abbas’ UN speech, in which the latter accuses Israel of genocide during Operation Protective Edge.  This has to be the most absurd form of genocide in history, Merhav exclaims, because the alleged murderers provided field hospitals and humanitarian aid for the victims.  Apparently, Merhav hadn’t heard of the pleasant, but fake town the Nazis built around the death camp at Theresienstadt to conceal the ugly things going on behind it.  Israel’s offer of assistance to Gazans is about as fake as a three-dollar bill.

Merhav called Israeli territorial concessions proposed during various peace talks “irresponsible” and a form of “national suicide.”  Of former Pres. Jimmy Carter, who called for the U.S. to recognize Hamas, he writes:

Once an anti-Semite, always an anti-Semite.

The only good Muslim for Merhav may not be a dead one, as Gen. Sheridan said of the Indians, but he definitely must be a Zionist. And Merhav has found at least two (count ‘em) such Muslims and fetes ‘em on his Facebook page.

He rejected Israel’s ceasefire with Hamas and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, because it was allegedly conducted “under fire” and would give the enemy the idea it could compel the IDF to retreat through resistance.

Merhav “likes” Im Tirzu on his Facebook page and highlights one of their articles calling the Nakba claim of Palestinians to refugee status, “a lie.”  I find it odd that an Israeli professor would support an organization whose primary mission is to destroy academic freedom on Israeli campuses in the name of  nationalist ideology.  Merhav would no doubt not have trouble limiting the freedom of “anti-Zionist” faculty, as long as it didn’t impinge on his ability to propound his racist views where and when he wished.

Can you imagine the poor Palestinian Technion student (the very few there are) who makes the mistake of walking into one of his courses? What hope does the poor slob have in the face of such abject, histrionic Arabophobia? And if you’re among the few leftists students enrolled at Technion, keep your mouth shut around Merhav otherwise he might drum you out of the place.  Invariably, people like Merhav will have one “Arab” who they’ve befriended or who’s taken a class with them.  This will prove that they are indeed decent human beings, like the American white liberal who said: “Some of my best friends are Negroes.”  But even if the professor can point to one such student, what would it say about such a Palestinian willing to take a course with a faculty member advocating the banishment of his people from Israel?

In another odd, but memorable Facebook post, he criticizes assisted-suicide for the terminally-ill saying:

I would decree a death sentence on anyone unjustifiably seeking to commit suicide.

Finally, let me add that I believe that professors are entitled to their opinions, no matter how odious they might be.  But to publicly express views containing such a high level of political and religious hate and extremism can’t help reflect on the reputation of the institution that employs him.  It’s one thing if he taught at Bar Ilan where such faculty racism is de rigeur.  But the Technion isn’t especially known as a bastion of settlerism and Islamophobia.  One has to wonder what some of its more moderate American Jewish donors would think of such extremism flaunted in such public settings.

Merhav is thought by some to be a bright young star in his academic field.  He probably brings in lots of grant funding and will be untouchable.  I doubt any of the campus leadership will even bring the subject of this post up to him.  That will also be a telling statement on the level of racism tolerated in Israeli academe.  To compare this sort of racism: imagine a U.S. professor advocating the forced expulsion of African-Americans from this country.  While no one would deny his academic freedom to make such a ludicrous statement, his employer would rush to dissociate itself from his views and be rid of him at the first opportunity.

I’m going to try to make it hard for Technion to avoid the subject.  I’d love it if you’d promote this post in the Technion Twitter and Facebook accounts/pages.  An e mail message sent to the president and dean of the Technion remains unanswered.

H/t Nabil Asbi.