27 thoughts on “Olmert Must Go – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I don’t believe that any good is going to happen as long as Bush is President. As I said previously, I believe that the next Democratic President, who hopefully is elected next year, will give settling the Israeli-Palestinian dispute high priority. This will be particularly so if it’s Barack Obama and not Hillary Clinton. Other than stating that he or she will give settling this conflict such high priority, the Democratic candidate won’t say during the campaign that he or she will threaten Israel with a cut off of aid, but once in office you can bet that the next President will put pressure on the Israeli government to negotiate in good faith and agree to a contiguous Palestinian state, and also to negotiate with Syria and return the Golan Heights. It will not matter who the Prime Minister of Israel is, and that includes Netanyahu. He’ll have to go along. The recent visit of the Congressional delegation to to the Middle East including Syria led by Speaker Pelosi, is a preview of what’s to come. Up until now, the Israeli government has been doing the bidding of the U.S. government and American corporations that benefit from the current conflict.

  2. It is no surprise that real estate lawyers cannot lead war. However, the incompetence of Ormert is symptomatic of a leader of a nation built on ethnic cleansing, with no history of its own,only myths, and defended by a holocaust forcefield. The world is waiting for a leader who will recognize that “israel” is a failed experiment which threatens the peace of the world. Only then can the Jews exercise their right of return and we can exercise ours.

  3. Amin’s comment is full of sloganeering and light on insight. Israel is NOT a failed experiment any more than Palestinian nationalism is. Israeli hardliners talk about Palestinians in precisely the same dismissive, hateful tones that Amin uses. It’s wrong on both counts.

  4. What is hateful about my comments? I am merely speaking truth to power. A generation ago, our cause was under the radar screen, but today, the cause of the Palestinians is the leading human rights issue of its time. The legitimacy of the zionist entity is now a topic for polite conversation. Even Jews like Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Richard Cohen admit that the concept of Jewish nationality is a mistake that threatens world peace. One day, the leaders of Israel will be tried in a symbolic place like Nuremberg, and true progresives who are not blinded by tribal loyalty will hand ALL of Palestine back to its legitimate owners

  5. Hi

    Please consider writing news pieces or an op-ed for Jewrusalem: Israeli Uncensored News. We strive to present different views and opinions while rejecting political correctness. Ideally, we try to make the news “smart and funny.” Thus, your input is very welcome.


  6. I am glad that Amin has found your website.
    Amin, Greetings to you. I am glad that you comment on Olmert, etc. While I am sympathizing with all Palestinians, I am also familiar with Israel. I have lived there for 13 years. It is like everywhere, many nice and many nasty people.
    What is your suggestion? Can you make a constructive suggestion? Are you in favor of secular societies. Do we need a Kamal Ataturk for Israel and Palestine.
    Best wishes. Steven

  7. Amin,

    You’ve made your feelings about Zionism on this blog clear, and I certainly can’t blame you. That being said, you can’t ignore the reality that has developed the past 60 years. The majority of Israelis continue to support the idea of a Jewish state as a means of defending and protecting Jewish rights. Israelis have a strong sense of identity expressed through their attachment to the Hebrew language. Moreover, Western Jews feel a sense of security and personal fulfillment in Israel as a place of refuge should they become subject to racial or religious persecution and as an expression of Jewish identity. It’s one thing to call the end of discrimination against Israeli Arabs, the end of the Occupation of West Bank/Gaza, even for the right of return for Palestinian refugees, It’s another thing to calling for “the elimination of the Zionist entity”; that may be emotionally satisfying, but it is a recipe for perpetual conflict which Palestinians will lose.

    Any solution – whether a 2-state or a binational – will be unworkable unless it reasonanably accomodates the concerns of both Israelis & Palestinians. Responsible groups like the Alternative Palestinian Agenda recognize this reality:

  8. Even Jews like Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Richard Cohen admit that the concept of Jewish nationality is a mistake that threatens world peace.

    Wow, you found 3 Jewish anti-Zionists and a fourth who says that the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 was a mistake. That proves…what precisely? That you found four Jews who agree with you. And precisely what percentage of ALL Jews in the world agree with you?

    the leaders of Israel will be tried in a symbolic place like Nuremberg, and true progresives who are not blinded by tribal loyalty will hand ALL of Palestine back to its legitimate owners

    When those Israelis are tried they will be sitting in the dock with Khaled Meshal, Hassan Nasrallah and all others who ordered terror attacks against Israeli civilians.

    And I see that your wish to hand all of Palestine back to its “legitimate owners” has nothing to do with “tribal loyalty” does it?

    Your propaganda bores the shit out of me just as right wing pro Israeli propaganda does too.

  9. By the way, Amin, Chomsky is a (reluctant) supporter of the Geneva Accords. Although he believes that a binational state would be the optimal solution: he has also said:
    There has never been a legitimate proposal for a democratic secular state from any significant Palestinian (or of course Israeli) group. One can debate, abstractly, whether it is “desirable.” But it is completely unrealistic. There is no meaningful international support for it, and within Israel, opposition to it is close to universal. It is understood that this would soon become a Palestinian state with a Jewish minority, and with no guarantee for either democracy or secularism (even if the minority status would be accepted, which it would not). Those who are now calling for a democratic secular state are, in my opinion, in effect providing weapons to the most extreme and violent elements in Israel and the US.


  10. With a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, what we could have is an economic union. Here’s a piece by the Israeli writer Uri Avnery sent to me via Tikkun, that addresses that.


    How an anti-Israel Left helps Perpetuate the Occupation

    Posted Saturday, April 21 2007 @ 10:44 PM PDT
    Uri Avnery argues agaisnt some of the anti-Israel ideas like “one state solution” that are growing in popularity among the international Left. With an introductory note from Rabbi Lerner.

    How an anti-Israel Left helps perpetuate the Occupation

    We at Tikkun have recently been discussing how to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Occupation of the West Bank. Like most other liberals and progressives, we see the Occupation as a terrible blight on the history of the Jewish people and an important source for growing anger at those Jews who give blind support to Israeli policies. While the
    distortions in consciousness that have permitted the Occupation were already present in the right-wing of the Zionist movement, the willingness of the American Jewish community and sections of the Labor Party in Israel to justify and implement the Occupation has transformed Jewish life, often turning major segments of the Jewish world and Judaism into a cheering squad for the policies (including torture and assassination of “suspected militants”) of a particular nation state rather than as a witness to the God of the universe and the possibility of a world based on justice, love, generosity and peace.

    Unfortunately, the Left that criticizes Israel has often itself manifested dramatic distortions. For one thing, it seems as if every group of Jews who come to an understanding that Israeli policy is immoral and self-destructive simultaneously develop their own rationale for why they can’t work with other Jewish and non-Jewish groups that have these same ideas. The result is a cacophony of voices that could, if united, work in a powerful way.
    But united around what? It can’t be around the dissolution of the State of Israel envisioned by many who are currently planning a set of demonstrations against Israel June 10-12 coordinated by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the United for Peace and Justice, two organizations to which Tikkun belongs and which oft en do valuable work. The reason we can’t join them is the same reason the Tikkun Community couldn’t join the Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP): the willingness of all these organizations to keep alive as an option the notion that the solution to Israel/Palestine peace lies in the dissolution of a Jewish state, using the language of “one state solution” as the way to signal to many who never thought the Jewish people never deserved a state at all. Now, don’t get us wrong. We are not pro-states at all, and at Tikkun we are working for a 21st century in which nation states are supplanted by regional and global arrangements and nationalism and nationalist wars disappear. But as long as the world does have states, we think the Jewish people have one of the better cases in the history of the modern world for having the protections that a state entails. That’s one reason why we are strongly critical of Israeli policy, but not in favor of destroying or politely eliminating a Jewish state. But our other reasons for opposing a one-state solution have to do with the well-being of the Palestinian people. And these are articulated below by the leader of the most progressive and yet rational peace movement in Israel, Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom. 1. Ask Palestinians to bet on a one state solution and you ask them to continue the occupation for the next twenty years at least, because almost no one in Israel feels safe enough in the world to eliminate the security that they feel from having a Jewish state. 2. Most Israelis and Palestinians would oppose it. 3. If implemented, it would lead to a real apartheid state.

    We want to protest Israeli policy and build an alternative to AIPAC, but it cannot be done unless it is based on unequivocal acceptance of the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to have their own economically, politically and culturally viable states. As Avnery points out below, anything less than that actually plays into the hands of those who seek to perpetuate the occupation.

    These arguments are made in very summary form here, but if you disagree with them, I urge you to read my two books that explore these issues in greater detail: Healing Israel Palestine (North Atlantic Books, 2003) and The Geneva Accord and Other Strategies for Middle East Peace (North Atlantic Books, 2004).

    And please read Uri Avnery’s powerful article, below.
    –Rabbi Michael Lerner
    Editor, Tikkun (www.tikkun.org)
    P.S. Have you signed the ad about how to end the War in Iraq? It’s not too late to sign it and donate to it (though you can sign without donating). http://www.tikkun.org/iraqpeace.

    Uri Avnery

    The Bed of Sodom

    IN HEBREW legend, the bed of Sodom is a symbol of evil.

    The Bible tells how God decided to obliterate Sodom because of the wickedness of its people (Genesis, 18). The legend gives us an example of this wickedness: the special bed for visitors. When a stranger came to Sodom, he was put in this bed. If he was too tall, his legs were shortened. If he was too short, his limbs were stretched to fit.

    In political life, there is more than one bed like this. On the Right and on the Left, there are people who put every problem in such a bed, cut off limbs and stretch limbs, until reality matches theory.

    From the sixties on, doctrinaire leftists tended to put every situation into the bed of Vietnam. Everything – be it the murderous tyranny in Chile or the American threats against Cuba – had to fit the Vietnam example. Applying this model, it was easy to decide who were the good guys and who the bad, what to do and how to solve the problem.

    That was convenient. It is much easier to draw conclusions when there is no need to consider the complexities of a particular conflict, its historical background and its local circumstances.

    LATELY, A NEW bed of Sodom has gained currency: South Africa. In some circles of the radical Left there is a tendency to force every conflict into this bed. Every new case of evil and oppression in the world is seen as a new version of the apartheid regime, and it is decided accordingly how to solve the problem and what to do to achieve the desired end.

    True, the South African situation arose in particular historical circumstances that took centuries to mature. It was not identical with the problem of the aborigines in Australia or the settlement of the Whites in North America, nor to Northern Ireland or the situation in Iraq. But it is certainly convenient to give one and the same answer to all problems.

    Of course, there is always a superficial similarity between different regimes of oppression. But if one is not ready to see the differences between the diseases, one is liable to prescribe false medicines – and risk killing the patient in the process.

    NOW THIS is happening here.

    It is easy to put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the South African bed, since the similarities between the symptoms are obvious. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has been going on for 40 years now, and almost 60 years have passed since the Naqba – the armed conflict of 1948 in which the State of Israel came into being and in which more than half the Palestinians lost their homes and land. Relations between the settlers and the Palestinians are in many ways reminiscent of apartheid; and even in Israel proper, the Arab citizens are far from real equality.

    What to do? One has to learn from South Africa that there is nothing to be gained from appealing to the conscience of the ruling people. Among the white minority in South Africa, there was no real difference between Left and Right, between open racists and liberals, who were but better disguised racists, with the exception of a few white heroes who joined the fight for freedom.

    Therefore, redemption could only come from the outside. And indeed, world public opinion saw the injustice of apartheid and imposed a world-wide boycott on South Africa, till in the end the white minority capitulated. Power in the united South African state passed into the hands of the black majority, Nelson Mandela was released from prison and became president, and all this took place – wonder of wonders – without bloodshed.

    If this happened in South Africa, the proponents of this view say, it must happen here, too. The idea of establishing a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel (the “Two-State Solution”) must be discarded, and the single state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (the “One-State Solution”) must become the aim. This must be achieved by the ultimate weapon which proved itself in South Africa: boycott.

    This is how it is going to happen: justice-lovers throughout the world will convince world public opinion to impose a general boycott on the State of Israel. The state will collapse and disintegrate. Between the sea and the river there will come into being one single state, in which Israelis and Palestinians will live peacefully together, as equal citizens. The settlers can stay where they are, there will be no problem of borders, and all that remains is to decide who will be the Palestinian Mandela.

    THIS WEEK I listened to a lecture by Professor Ilan Pappe of Haifa University, one of the leading spokesmen for this idea. The audience consisted of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists in Bil’in, the village that has become a symbol of resistance to the occupation. He presented a well-structured set of ideas, expressed with eloquence and enthusiasm. These were the principles:

    There is no sense in opposing just the occupation, nor any other particular policy of the Israeli government. The problem is the very essence of Israel as a Zionist state. This essence is unchangeable as long as the state exists. No change from the inside is possible, because in Israel there is no essential difference between Right and Left. Both are accomplices in a policy whose real aim is ethnic cleansing, the expulsion of the Palestinians not only from the occupied territories, but also from Israel proper.

    Therefore, everyone who strives for a just solution must aim at the establishment of a single state, to which the refugees of 1948 and 1967 will be invited to return. This will be a joint and egalitarian state, like today’s South Africa.

    There is no sense in trying to change Israel from the inside. Salvation will come from the outside: a world-wide boycott of Israel, which will cause the state to collapse and convince the Israeli public that there is no escape from the One-State Solution.

    It sounded logical and convincing, and the speaker did indeed gain applause.

    THIS THEORETICAL structure contains several assumptions with which I have no quarrel. The Zionist Left has indeed collapsed in the last few years, and its absence from the field of struggle is a painful and dangerous fact. In today’s Knesset, there is no effective Zionist party that is seriously fighting for real equality for the Arab citizens. Nobody is able today to call out into the street hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands, in order to pressure the government to accept the peace proposal of the whole Arab world.

    There is no doubt that the real disease is not the 40-year long occupation. The occupation is a symptom of a more profound disease, which is connected with the official ideology of the state. The aim of ethnic cleansing and the establishment of a Jewish State from the sea to the river is dear to the hearts of many Israelis, and perhaps Rabbi Meir Kahane was right when he asserted that this is everybody’s unspoken desire.

    But unlike professor Pappe, I am convinced that it is possible to change the historical direction of Israel. I am convinced that this is the real battlefield for the Israeli peace forces, and I myself have been engaged in it for decades.

    Moreover, I believe that we have already attained impressive achievements: the recognition of the existence of the Palestinian people has become general, and so has the readiness of most Israelis to accept the idea of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. We have compelled our government to recognize the PLO, and we shall compel them to recognize Hamas. True, all this would not have happened without the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and (sometimes) favorable international circumstances, but the contribution of the Israeli peace forces, which pioneered these ideas, was significant.

    Also, the notion has lately gained acceptance in Israel and other countries, that peace will be achieved only if we succeed in overcoming the gap between the Israeli and the Palestinian narratives and in integrating them into one single historical account, which will recognize the injustices which have been committed and which are still going on. Nothing is more important. (Our path-breaking booklet “Truth Against Truth” was the beginning of this process.)

    On the surface, it appears that we have failed. We have not succeeded in compelling our government to stop the building of the wall or the enlargement of the settlements, nor to restore to the Palestinians their freedom of movement. In short, we have not succeeded in putting an end to the occupation. The Arab citizens of Israel have not attained real equality. But beneath the surface, in the depths of national consciousness, we are succeeding. The question is how to turn the hidden success into an open political fact. In other words: how to change the policy of the Israeli government.

    THE IDEA of the “One-State Solution” will harm this effort very much.

    It diverts the effort from a solution that has now, after many years, a broad public basis, in favor of a solution that has no chance at all.

    There is no doubt that 99.99% of Jewish Israelis want the State of Israel to exist as a state with a robust Jewish majority, whatever its borders.

    The belief that a world-wide boycott could change this is a complete illusion. Immediately after his lecture, my colleague Adam Keller asked the professor a simple question: “The entire world has imposed a blockade on the Palestinian people. But in spite of the terrible misery of the Palestinians, they have not been brought to their knees. Why do you think that a boycott would break the Israeli public, which is far stronger economically, so that they would give up the Jewish character of the state?” (There was no answer.)

    In any case, such a boycott is quite impossible. Here and there, an organization can declare a boycott, small circles of justice-lovers can keep it, but there is no chance that in the coming decades a world-wide boycott movement, like the one that broke the racist regime in South Africa, will come about. That regime was headed by declared asmirers of the Nazis. A boycott of the “Jewish State”, which is identified with the victims of the Nazis, just will not happen. It will be enough to remind people that the long road to the gas chambers started with the 1933 Nazi slogan “Kauft nicht bei Juden” (“Don’t buy from Jews”).

    (The obnoxious fact that the government of the “State of the Holocaust Survivors” had close relations with the Apartheid State does not change this situation.)

    That is the problem with the bed of Sodom: one size does not fit all. When the circumstances are different, the remedies must be different, too.

    THE IDEA of the “One-State Solution” can attract people who despair of the struggle for the soul of Israel. I do understand them. But it is a dangerous idea, especially for the Palestinians.

    Statistically, the Israeli Jews constitute, as of now, the absolute majority between the sea and the river. To that, one must add an even more important fact: the average annual income of an Arab Palestinian is about 800 dollars, that of a Jewish Israeli is about 20,000 dollars – 25 times (!) higher. The Israeli economy is growing every year. The Palestinians would be “hewers of wood and drawers of water”. That means that if the imaginary joint state did indeed come into being, the Jews there would wield in it absolute power. They would, of course, use this power to consolidate their dominance and prevent the return of refugees.

    Thus the South African example could come true retroactively: in the Single State, an apartheid-like regime would indeed come into being. Not only would the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not be solved, but on the contrary, it would move into an even more dangerous phase.

    Pappe put forward an argument that looked a bit strange to me: that a Single State already exists in practice, since Israel rules from the sea to the river. But that is not so. There is no single state, neither formally nor in practice, but one state occupying another. Such a state, in which a dominant nation controls the others, will eventually disintegrate – as did the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

    The One State will not come into being. Not only the Israelis, but most of the Palestinians, too, will not give up their right to a national state of their own. They can applaud an Israeli professor who advocates the dismantling of the State of Israel, but they have no time to wait for utopian solutions that could be realized in a hundred years. They need an end to the occupation and to achieve a solution to the conflict here and now, in the near future.

    ALL WHO wholeheartedly want to help the occupied Palestinian people would be well advised to keep well away from the idea of a general boycott of Israel. It would push all Israelis into the arms of the extreme Right, because it would reinforce the right-wing belief that “All the world is against us” – a belief that took root in the years of the Holocaust, when “all the world looked on and kept silent”. Every Israeli child learns this in school.

    A focused boycott against specific organizations and corporations that actively contribute to the occupation can indeed help in convincing the Israeli public that the occupation is not worthwhile. Such a boycott can achieve a specific aim – if it is not aimed at the collapse of the State of Israel. Gush Shalom, to which I belong, has for 10 years been organizing a boycott of the products of the settlements. The aim is to isolate the settlers and their accomplices. But a general boycott on the State of Israel would achieve the very opposite – to isolate the Israeli peace activists.

    THE “TWO-STATE SOLUTION” was and still is the only solution. When we put it forward immediately after the 1948 war, we could be counted on the fingers of two hands not only in Israel but in the entire world. Now there exists a world-wide consensus about it. The path to this solution is not smooth, many dangers lurk on the way, but it is a realistic solution that can be achieved.

    One can say: OK, we will accept the Two-State Solution because it is realistic, but after its realization we shall endeavor to abolish the two states and establish one joint state. That is alright with me. As for myself, I hope that in the course of time a federation of the two states will come into being, and relations between the two will become close. I also hope that a regional union, like the EU, will be established, consisting of all the Arab states and Israel, and perhaps also Turkey and Iran.

    But first of all we must treat the wound from which we are all suffering: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not by patent medicines, certainly not by a bed of Sodom, but with the medicines that are on the shelf.

    THE 18th CHAPTER of Genesis tells of Abraham trying to convince the Almighty not to obliterate Sodom. “Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?”

    God promised him not to destroy the town if there were 50 righteous in it. Abraham haggled and brought the Almighty down to 45, then 40, 30 and 20, finally settling for 10. But in Sodom there were no 10 righteous to be found, and so its fate was sealed.

    I believe that in Israel there are many, many more than ten righteous people. All public opinion polls show that the great majority of Israelis not only want peace, but are ready to pay its price. But they are afraid. They lack trust. They are shackled by the beliefs they acquired in early childhood. They must be freed from them – and I believe that it can be done.

  11. You may be tired of my “propaganda and sloganeering”, but the rest of the world is not. All of you know that Palestine was stolen from its rightful owners, and must be returned. Conveniently you lump me in with your right wing extremists, but we and your right wing have only one thing in common-honesty. Your right wing acknowledges that the land is stolen, but says that they are going to hold on to it because they have the superior force of the IOF. On the other hand, you masquerade as progressives, trying to coat the theft of Palestine with a veneer of morality, trying to buy us off with a few crumbs. I will state the honest truth. One cannot be a progressive and support the theft of Palestine at the same time. You know it, Jimmy Carter knows it, Desmond Tutu knows it, and one day you will have to choose between Jimmy Carter and Baruch Goldstein.

  12. you masquerade as progressives, trying to coat the theft of Palestine with a veneer of morality

    This is an abject lie. I do not coat the Occupation or the expulsion of 1948 Israeli Arabs with a veneer of morality. I challenge you to find one moral justification here for it. The next lie of yours leads to your banning.

    Jimmy Carter knows it, Desmond Tutu knows it

    “There he goes again.” Claiming political allies among those who wouldn’t get into bed with you if their lives depended on it. Neither Jimmy Carter nor Desmond Tutu are anti-Zionists and you know it. Neither supports a one state solution and neither supports an absolute open-ended Palestinian right of return.

  13. Sorry, Tutu agrees with me
    see quote below “People are scared in this country [the US], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful – very powerful. Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God’s world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.”

    The occupation did not begin in 1967, it began in 1948, and until it is reversed, there will be no peace. You can ban me if you want, but we are not so far apart. All you have to do is acknowledge that the concept of a Jewish state is racist and you can join the tent of progressives internationally

  14. Sorry, Tutu agrees with me

    FALSE. Tutu’s statement refers to individual leaders who were toppled from power and one government that was transformed. He does not say here, nor does he believe that the Israeli state should be erased as you do.

    All you have to do is acknowledge that the concept of a Jewish state is racist and you can join the tent of progressives internationally

    What, are you the circus ringmaster in this progressive tent? You get to decide who’s kosher & who’s not? Heaven forfend. I will never share a tent or anything else with you (except unfortunately this comment thread).

  15. Amin, I for one welcome your ideas on this blog. Richard, what is the point of talking only to those who share the same views as yourself? Perhaps I am being unfair, but unless Israelis and Palestinians actually start speaking to each other, there will be further suffering and bloodshed. I would like to add my two pennies worth to this discussion.

    One cannot overlook the fact that the creation of an ethnically unitary state raises some very important questions. Amongst others, to what extent is such an entity compatible with democracy? Although you may not like the analogy, this is precisely what the white minority set out to do in South Africa; and they did this through massive forced removals, repression of dissent and in some cases, through the application of violent means. Their project, as we now know, was doomed.

    One cannot overlook the growth of inequality in Israel either. The average Israeli citizen is far poorer that he or she was 10 or 20 years ago, whilst a parasitic layer embodied by the likes of Ehud Olmert and his corrupt cronies have increased their personal wealth exponentially. In Israel, the state that was created to give succour to the survivors of the Holocaust, one third of Holocaust survivors live in abject poverty. This social chasm became apparent during the recent war against Lebanon, where years of capitalist austerity and cutbacks in social expenditure meant that those who were unable to flee the north of Israel had to face Hezbollah rocket attacks with almost no protection. It is this social and economic chasm which has weakened the response to calls for national unity in Israel, thus necessitating the invocation of ever greater and more terrifying bogey-men.

    In Palestine and the occupied territories, the situation is even worse for ordinary men and women. Massive unemployment, the virtual breakdown of most essential services, the fear of you or your children being shot or shrapnelled, makes for an existence that can only be described as hellish. It is difficult to see how people can continue to tolerate these conditions for any length of time.

    The Palestinian leadership is also pursuing the course of ethnic nationalism, which bears certain similarities to elements of Zionism. The calls for the destruction of Israel, and presumably the expulsion of Jews from the territory, is in no way different from the calls for the ‘transfer’ of the Palestinian population. Both aims can only be achieved through massive bloodshed. Both are dead-ends. However, the politics of ethnic nationalism have created a toxic political atmosphere in Israel and Palestine, and have sowed confusion amongst the Palestinian and Israeli masses. Nevertheless, as the daily difficulties of life for both ordinary Palestinians and Israelis increase, we are likely to see a further increase of the distance between the rulers and the people they rule. The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem lies not in the hands of their corrupt and parasitic ruling classes, but in the hands of ordinary men and women.

    Let’s get talking to one another!

  16. Kent: You & I are in fundamental agreement and I don’t mind the apartheid analogy at all since I first wrote on this subject in a paper I wrote as a 17 yr old many decades ago. But what I resent is people using the apartheid analogy to claim that Israel will go the way of the apartheid government. As a progressive Zionist I believe in an Israel that treats all citizens equally and allows no ethnic group to dominate. I am opposed to the Occupation.

    I believe Amin is in favor of eradicating a Jewish presence fr. Palestine (though he hasn’t yet said precisely that–yet). He is certainly in favor of a unitary state including all of current Israel and the Occupied Territories. If he’s in favor of allowing Jews to remain, it’s only as a diminished minority. I’m sorry but I can’t accept such a view as credible or legitimate. However, I too am in favor of as open a debate as possible on this subject. I understand that hate and violence twist minds and make it hard to discuss these issues w/o letting anger seep into one’s arguments. That is why despite the Holocaust/Nazi comparisons & rhetoric I continue to publish his comments.

    Welcome to the blog & I hope you’ll continue to participate.

  17. Amin and Richard, instead of theoretical science, try to visit Israel and Palestine, do not be angry, and even try to live there. I did live there for a long period, and just visited in March as in every year. Let us be practical, and not fall into cold war rhetorics.

    There is some movement on the ground, Israelis and Palestinians are getting more and more reasonable.

    The lines are moving. People are getting more tolerant with each other. I spoke to my Palestinian friends in East Jerusalem, and all are scared, but also ready for compromise. Israelis have little opportunity to hear those voices.

    Amin, you scare us, you scare the Israelis, and many other civilized people with your unbending views.

    Imagine that we are all human beings. Let us stop being enemies. You live in England. Is it such a bad place?

    Would you go back to live in Jerusalem? I have forgo it, are you an economist or historian?

    Nobody talks about moving masses of people, anymore. Everybody should stay where they are, and a massive rehabilitation is needed locally.

    Amin, the first big step would be to distance yourself from the Arab and Iranian tyrants. The case of Palestine will be always weak if the allies are such criminals. Former allies were the Fascist Germans and the totalitarian Soviets. With friends like these, the Palestinians have failed time and time again.

    Palestinians should raise their voice in support of all Arab and Iranian people who live in a worse oppression than Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza can imagine,

    Amin, the Palestinian misery had its origin in the concept that you blame incorrectly on Israel today. The original sin of the Palestinians was the blanket rejection of the returning fellow cousins. The extended tragedy was the alliance with Wahhabism, and other Muslim extremisms. The Christian Palestinians were not asked of their opinion. They did not plot with Christian nations against the immigration of the Jews. Some made a mistake in choosing alliances with the Soviets, and Baathists.

    So if you can clean up these fundamental problems, perhaps a fair compromise is possible.

    The big remaining problem is the illogical US posturing. Looking at home, there is a problem with the Jesus worship, and an attack on progressive ideas, from Darwinism to the crazy emphasis on medieval abortion antagonism.

    Should the USA march to rigid sectarianism – Christinaity, we will have antisemitism here, and a permanent battle with Islam, while Israel and the Palestinians will continue bleeding.

    Too long, and it is difficult to pull the bloggers into the progressive camp.

    Become secular and the world will be a hospitable place for all of us.

  18. Actually, there is enough ambiguity in Tutu’s views to support Amin’s hypothesis as well as yours.In 2003, Tutu accepted the role as patron of Sabeel International, which promotes Replacment Theology-see below

    “Replacement Theology—the belief that the Christian Church replaced Israel in God’s plan—has found a new home in the work of the Sabeel Center—the Jerusalem-based ecumenical organization for Palestinian Christians. After experiencing decades of decline and total rejection by many denominations, Replacement Theology has resurfaced in the form of Palestinian Liberation Theology (PLT)—a theological movement pushed by Sabeel. PLT rejects the eternalness of God’s promises to the Jewish people based on a dangerous manipulation of scripture. PLT’s goal is to radically reinterpret the Bible to make it more relevant to Palestinians and less partial to Jews.”

  19. there is enough ambiguity in Tutu’s views to support Amin’s hypothesis as well as yours

    Melvin: I’m tired of yr quoting smear sources to tarnish the reputations of progressives. I’ve asked you a number of times to provide a link whenever you quote an external source here. Unless & until you do, your comment will simply not be credible. I’m not going to accept yr word for it that Tutu is a “patron” of SABEEL. And I’m not going to accept yr word for it that SABEEL is inimical to Judaism or Israel. SABEEL is a respected Palestinian NGO. If you want to say otherwise you’ll have to do a lot better than this.

  20. From the Wikipedia entry on Sabeel
    The Stephen Roth Institute For The The Study Of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism and others have charged Sabeel with infusing its rhetoric with antisemitism. The Coe College (Iowa) Department of Philosophy and Religion, which had co-sponsored a Sabeel Conference on its campus, acknowledged that anti-Semitic remarks were made at the conference.[9]

    According to CAMERA, Dexter Van Zile, a member of the United Church of Christ, has condemned Ateek for implying that “…Israel is a baby- and Christ-killing nation that stands in the way of humanity’s salvation. Given the role this imagery has played in promoting violence against Jews, and its use in reference to the Jewish state is inexcusable.”[10]

    Van Zile bases these accusations on statements excerpted from Ateek’s 2001 Easter message, such as, “in this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around Him …The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily,” [11]. Similarly, in a February 2001 sermon, Ateek likened the occupation to the “stone placed on the entrance of Jesus’ tomb. … This boulder has shut in the Palestinians within and built structures of domination to keep them in. We have a name for this boulder. It is called the occupation.” [11] Sabeel’s comparisons of Palestinians to the crucified Jesus and Israel to his murderers is also rejected by the ADL as as an “ugly and false deicide charge against all the Jewish people – a concept rejected by prominent historians and repudiated by the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations.” [12]

  21. Amin,

    I don’t understand what you hope to accomplish with your posts here. I would basically say the same thing to a right wing Israeli. As I understand it, Richard’s purpose is to expose injustice and malfaisance in Israel and to work for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Scoring poits for an exclusive victory, which will never happen, seem off topic and quite frankly, boring.

    There are serious problems with both peoples and with US and UK attempts at mediation. I am hoping for suggestions on how to make things better for everyone, not for one side to triumph over the other. For example, I am not interested in whether or not the Israeli state fits some preconceived definition of “apartheit.” That feels like a cat chasing its tail and never catching it. I am interested in the problems of economic disparity between the two peoples and ways to lessen it.

  22. Melvin: You have not supported yr allegation that Archbishop Tutu is a “patron” of SABEEL. Second, as I expected yr primary source is CAMERA, which is an entirely tendentious, partisan source which has no credibility here. As usual the CAMERA rhetoric is inflamed. The quotation from Ateek (whoever he is, you don’t even explain this) talks about Palestinians being crucified like Jesus and calls the Occupation a crucifixtion. But it does not “imply that Israel is a baby-killing…nation that stands in the way of humanity’s salvation.”

    This is an example of two religious traditions locked in their own pre-conceived notions of their own past history & suffering and talking past ea. other. Palestinian Christians naturally use the religious imagery of their tradition to speak of their nation’s suffering. Israelis and Jews naturally parse every Palestinian utterance in light of their past suffering. Personally, I know quite a bit about Jewish theology & I have no problem at all with the passages quoted from SABEEL here. I do not at all hear the murderous hatred of Israelis that you & CAMERA claim to hear. Too many Jews are so paralyzed by their past that they continue to hear echoes of past injustice in current political/religious debate.

    The fact of the matter is that the Occupation is ugly, unjust and causes immense suffering. Babies ARE killed. That doesn’t mean that Israel deserves to be seen as a nation “that stands in the way of human salvation.” But I certainly don’t begrudge SABEEL attemting to interpret their suffering in light of their religious tradition.

    It may be possible there are other utterances by SABEEL that may say something diff. which I might find more offensive. But what you’ve presented is entirely unconvincing as anti-Semitic rhetoric.

  23. My sources for all the attributions are Wikipedia, not Camera, but perhaps Wikipedia is a zionist dominated tool. Amin may enlighten us on this. Naim Ateek is the head of Sabeel. As I recall, being called a Christkiller is an anti-Semitic comment. That is precisely what Ateek, as head of Sabeel is doing

  24. being called a Christkiller is an anti-Semitic comment.

    Do please show me where Ateek calls Jews or Israelis “Christ-killers” using those precise terms. Then you can get away with that kind of overwrought propaganda here.

    It sounds like the person who edited that portion of the Wikipedia article was anti-Palestinian. Would it surprise you that this could be so?

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