20 thoughts on “Frozen Jews and Popsicles – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. My impression of Zionism is that is is a hungry monster that is eating up East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and killing the people of Gaza. It has very little to do with Jewishness and more to do with an ideology that is inherently racist and whose objective includes the ethnic cleansing of Arab Palestinians. Netanyahu’s bogus freeze on settlements proves it, as does Israel’s longstanding choice to look the other way and even assist settlers in building in the West Bank contrary to international law, and also knowing damned well that no future peace would come of it.

    The last thing Israel needs is Zionism. It would be better off without it.

  2. Is it just me or does anyone else feel a turnout of 10,000 to an anti-settlement freeze organized by the entire settler movement is a pathetic response?

    It may be large compared to the population of Israel, and the settler population in general. Israel’s population is estimated at 7,233,000, so a rally of 10,000 people is equivalent to an about 415,000-person rally in the United States in terms of percentage of population. That is very large, but not exceptionally so.

    But as you pointed out, it is only a fraction of the settler population themselves. So I agree with your greater point.

    1. Everybody knows the freeze is bogus anyway. So why show up for a demonstration, why not just wait it out until the freeze ends? After all, Netanyahu promised that after this little half-hearted moratorium, the land grab will continue as before. It’s just a glitch in the colonialist scheme of things.

  3. First of all, other newspapers reported larger numbers. Yisrael HaYom said 30,000. I spoke to someone who was there and he thought 10,000 was far off the mark.
    Secondly, a lot of people are suspicious of the YESHA Council because of their tepid opposition to the destruction of Gush Katif and didn’t come because of that. Thus, this demonstration does not mark full mobilization of the pro-settlement forces.

  4. Zionism involved (and involves) settling Jews into areas where a majority, indigenous Palestinian population resides.

    This was what Zionism was in 1937, in 1947, in 1967, in 1987, in 2007, and I assume – also in 2017.

    Richard – you (and I) are opposed to the post ’67 settlers, but to say that what they are doing is not “Zionist” is simply wrong.

    1. It is very, very Zionist. The objective of Zionism is to create a Jewish State in what used to be historic Palestine. Although they have violated international law from the beginning, Zionists have stuck to their agenda and are continuing to stick to it.

      Unless this madness is stopped, there won’t be anything of Palestine left in 2017.

    2. My pt. is that Zionism is a varied movement which contains ardent nationalist extremists only too happy to expel the indigenous population. It also includes those like Buber & Magnes & those who came in their footsteps who believed that Zionism should accomodate as much as possible w. the indigenous local population. I am not saying that there is a Zionism that does not involve an injustice committed against the Palestinians. I am saying there is a Zionism which believes in minimizing that injustice as much as possible.

      For some, that is not enough justification to say there should be any Jewish presence in Israel, at least not in any national form. I can’t deal with that.

      1. I think a lot of Israelis, particularly those with experience of post-war Yugoslavia, the GDR, South Africa, etc can and would endorse “Zionism-lite”, in the form of a two-state solution that also de-institutionalized a lot of the advantages of Jewishness in Israel. But most of the discourse about Zionism is about rejecting Israel as a mistake, as was done to the Afrikaners and East Germans, without extending any legitimacy to their lives, property, and identity, as a comparative reading of the ANC Charter documents and the Hamas Charter will reveal.

        In Israel you have a lot, a lot, a lot of people who lived through the “ends” of various states, whether Yugoslavia, Apartheid South Africa, the GDR, or the USSR, and they know how it is done, either well or poorly, and they know full well that the groups on order to “end” the State of Israel and absorb it into Palestine bear no resemblance to the ANC or the FRG.

        Those calling for the end of Israel, at least in the European Left, know this, and wish a pied-noir fate on the Jews, with the modification that the Jews will be moving back into Diaspora oppression, rather than passing into the arms of a mother country in full post-war economic upswing. They are cruel cynics and no more deserving of a hearing by Jews than Petlyura and his ilk.

        1. The Hamas charter governs nothing & represents nothing except the person who wrote it. No one consults it except you & pro-Israel folk who need to have a bete noir to wave before the world to prove Hamas are bloodthirsty Jew-hating genocidaires.

          You’re talking about the anti-Zionist rejectionists among the European-Palestinian far left. They represent a few more individuals than the person who wrote the Hamas charter, but hardly much more. When Israel signs a peace treaty with the Palestinians the agreement will not represent extermination of Israeli Jews or Israel. Whatever happens, Jewish identity & national rights will be preserved. Either within Israel as a separate state or within a state that represents all Palestinians & Jews & respects religious & civil rights for all.

          To compare Palestinian nationalism to Ukrainian Cossacks is laughable. But nice try. You’ve proven you have a smidgen of erudition. Unfortunately though, you don’t exercise it very thoughtfully.

          1. One of the big problems with “El-Moujahid” and the various programs of the Algerian FLN was that (on paper) the concerns of Algeria’s future minorities–Jewish, Christian, and Berber–were regulated in a pseudo-socialist fashion, when the final decision defined Algerian as “child of an Algerian Muslim father.” So Israelis are right to respect the Charter of an Islamist faction at its word, and compare to the ANC. Israeli-Palestinian groups like Hadash and Balad are much more approachable in that respect, which is why we’ll see them govern a multicultural Israel w/out the Territories much sooner than a one-state union with violent xenophobic Islamic parties. Even the Islamic Movement of Israel hems and haws a bit on Sharia as law of the State of Israel, knowing that (unlike Hamas/Jihad) it is unable/unwilling to force the issue vs. anti-Islamist Muslims within the Israeli polity. It is a democratic Islamist party, after all.

            I think the anti-Zionist Left within Europe (which I compared to Petlyura, not the Palestinians, who are at least more ideologically diverse) will engineer Israel’s ostracism from the UN, world trade networks, etc. within 10 years, when they realize an Israel-Palestine peace treaty
            will leave Israel intact with a Jewish majority.

            I think you are much more optimistic, and without cause. I think a Hezbollah-style continued resistance is more likely, whatever a US-tainted PA agrees to, and the more interesting union is going to be between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs who have no wish to live under an “Islamic resistance”-ruled unitary state. Remember that Lebanon is still in an existential war with Israel, despite the UN certification of withdrawal. Palestine is likely to go the same way–useless UN-certified withdrawal, a diffident PA on the US payroll, and Islamic resistance indefinitely.

      2. Richard,
        Here you are admitting that Zionism by its nature contains injustice, and that you can bear with that Injustice for the sake of Jews and Israel.
        Iow, Jews are more important and more worthy of conscience than are the people of Palestine.
        I am glad to finally have the contradiction of Zionism out there.
        At least you are honest.

        To speak of minimizing injustice is an oxymoron, it’s like being a little bit pregnant. One either holds justice as a value, or not.

        Until the modern era, Jews tended to believe in Justice as a universal value, not as a commodity to be doled out a little here, and a little more there.
        One tribal Jew says, who cares about justice for Palestine, Israel must have the land sea to sea–
        Another tribal Jew says, we should be as good as possible to the Palestinians, as much as we can without offending Jews.

        The Universalist Jew says, justice is indivisible.
        The Universalist Jew says, no person of any ethnicity is more deserving than another.


        Richard: “I am not saying that there is a Zionism that does not involve an injustice committed against the Palestinians. I am saying there is a Zionism which believes in minimizing that injustice as much as possible.
        For some, that is not enough justification to say there should be any Jewish presence in Israel, at least not in any national form. I can’t deal with that.”

        1. “There is a Zionism which believes in minimizing that injustice as much as possible…”

          And which Zionism would that be? The Zionism which only steals 75 percent of the West Bank and 80 percent of the water? Or would they steal less than that, but still persist in the ongoing theft?

          The sad thing of Zionism is that it created a time bomb in the middle east which never had to happen. Jews and Arabs lived peacefully in Palestine for ages and would have no doubt continued to do so, if the Jews had chosen peace over war, and compromise over theft. Instead a slow genocide is taking place. So many Israeli politicians have come and gone, all saying different things, some wanting also to “minimize” the destruction, but Israel’s government merely carries out the Zionist mission, regardless of which party holds power.

  5. Richard, your distinction between Israel the colonial settler state within the 1967 borders and Israel the colonial settler state expanding beyond its 1967 borders is pretty much a matter of borders, not of Zionism’s essential nature.

    Zionism today and Jabotinsky’s Zionism (long before the 1967 borders) are remarkably similar. Let’s not forget that Zionism was a 19th century Jewish first cousin to German nationalism. Today it is an anachronism and a contradiction of secular democratic Western values.

    1. The Zionism that brought about the Nakba in 1948 is the same Zionism that is slowly ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

      Israel exists as a result of Zionism, and the past cannot be changed (although many people would like to, and have, rewritten it), but the present need not continue along this Colonialist track that is so destructive both to Israel and to the Arabs, not to mention all of the middle east.

      It is way past time to shut down the Zionist project for good and for Israel to live as a peaceful nation.

      1. Mary,
        I agree with you, except that –
        without Zionism, there is no Israel.
        So, I, too – would do away with Zionism, and I would suggest one state for two peoples.

  6. An interesting article in Jan 2010 Harper’s about dissident poet Yitzhak Laor’s book, Myths of Liberal Zionism”.
    Harper’s is apparently available by sub. only, but you can read about it at http://mondoweiss.net/.
    Laor accuses the famous writers of his generation of providing humanitarian cover for Israeli abuses.

    At the risk of being banned, I think Richard does too. Richard I wish you would respond to my post above. Is justice divisible? Do you believe Palestinians are entitled to Justice so long as providing that justice does not impinge on Jews having a state?
    Apparently….but I’d like to see you say so.

    You see I think you are hypocritical, making a big deal of how humanitarian you are, attacking those right-wingers, yet you (as it seems to me) are on a spectrum with them – albeit a kinder, gentler embodiment.

    If I’m wrong please explain.


    1. Ellen: You can say what you will about my views. I’m used to anti-Zionists throwing me in the same bathwater with all other Zionists. It’s not for me to justify myself in the eyes of those who see Zionism as a monolith. I know what I am and I’m proud of it. If you want pure justice I’m afraid you’ll have to find it in another lifetime or another galaxy than this one. It simply doesn’t exist in this one. Of course, you’re welcome to fight for pure justice for the Palestinians. But of course doing so will involve further suffering to Jews. Of course, one can justify this by showing how much suffering these Jews have already inflicted on Palestinians. Unlike you, Shirin & others on this subject, I’m a pragmatist & not an absolutist. Absolutism & attempts at imposing pure justice (however ea. side has defined it) have only caused more nuttiness & violence when imposed on this situation.

      I have only read about Laor’s book. Fr. what I have read I would prob. agree w. most or all of it. If you read this blog you will find criticism of all the liberal Zionist figures mentioned by Laor. And I am not a liberal Zionist.

      1. Richard, the thing is that sometimes you make excuses for the Israelis, such as when you made the remark about minimizing the injustice against the Palestinians, as though you think injustice is necessary for the sake of the Jews. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Israel’s policies are unjust, and they hurt the world’s Jews because people stupidly identify all Jews with what Zionist Israel does.

        Pragmatism be damned; Israel’s idea of pragmatism is nothing more than demanding those phony “concessions” from Palestinians who have been ripped off more than enough.

        1. Israel’s solution for the Palestinians is & has been wrong since 1948. Hamas’ and other anti-ZIonist provisions for a one-state solution would be equally wrong since they would do nothing, or very little to protect the rights of the minority Jewish population. That’s why I say a grave injustice has been committed against the Palestinians and that turning around & ‘doing to them what they did to us’ (to quote a great old line from Hill Street Blues) will do nothing but make more suffering & injustice (but this time for Jews).

          What you folks don’t realize is that whatever happens in the region we call Israel-Palestine will be a state that is profoundly ethnic and religious in its makeup. It won’t be a secular democratic state shorn of religious or ethnic identity. So the question is how do you protect the minority ethnic/religious group? Do you do it by pretending every citizen of this state will be the same as every other? If you do, then you create a recipe for social implosion. Or do you somehow protect the rights or all minorities?

          I don’t know whether this gets worked out via one or two-states in the long run. But if one state, then I know that the anti-Zionists are far too glib in terms of what they think will happen to minorities within the new state & how it will work.

          1. The problem exists whether the occupation continues or not, and whether there will be a one-state or two-state solution. The occupation fed the festering animosities existing between Jews and non-Jews, and those animosities will persist beyond any “peace settlement” being implemented. This is why there are some good folks working in the West Bank to try to teach kids and young adults the necessary skills for resolving conflicts peacefully. Of course, it’s not the answer to everything, but it helps a little.

            The thing is, no one knows how things will work out demographically, either. If there is a hard line drawn in a two-state settlement where there are no Jews in the West Bank and no Palestinian Arabs in Israel; however, I doubt this is going to be the case.

            All groups, whether minorities or whatever, must be made equal under the laws, and those laws will need to be strictly enforced. When there is a strict enforcement, including significant penalties, people eventually get the idea that discrimination is wrong. The Civil Rights Act of 1965 did not make the US a utopia, but it did a lot to change the way Americans both perceived and treated each other.

            I think we’re all aware of what would lie ahead when (and I do mean when) there is a peace agreement. But we have to get there first.

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