33 thoughts on “NY Times Reporter Calls Israeli Treatment of Palestinians ‘Aggression’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Tom Friedman has no writing skill whatsoever. I wonder why he has a job as a journalist.

    It’s a sad state of affairs, indeed, when the rare moment occurs and we see someone in the US news media say something even close to the truth about Palestine.

    1. If lack of writing skills were Tom Friedman’s biggest problem he still might be worth reading now and then!

  2. “The official said the Turkish government would also no longer invite Israel to participate in international military exercises hosted in Turkey. “After all, the experience gained in these exercises is used in launching operations on Gaza,” said the official. “We had to respond to that.” ”

    While turkey uses their experience for “friendly” flights and bombings of kurds..

      1. No, you dont get it.
        Its not “OK” for anyone to kill anyone, but it gets way worse when people who send their air force to bomb the sh** out of kurds try to teach others how to behave.
        IT also kinda shows u that israel is not that different from many other countries around the world, but for some reason those others have the privilege to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

        There was also an interesting report on ynet this week about cenzorship in turkey, and that they are blocking sites like blogspot and youtube, but that doesnt prevent them from acting like worlds number one specialists in the field of human rights.

        Anywya, I think the article summarizes it with the quote richard pasted in his post very well: “twist in Turkish politics towards a religiously conservative government “

        1. Its not “OK” for anyone to kill anyone

          But i’s more OK for Israel to kill than it is for Turkey. Is that what you’re saying?

          Every nation has skeletons in its closet. That does not disqualify any such nation from engagement with the issue of human rights. If we automatically disqualified every such nation, then there would be no international community acting as monitor over such issues. Thankfully, there are NGOs criticizing TUrkey’s record just as there are those criticizing Israel’s. That’s as it should be. YOur line of argument is bankrupt.

        2. The present Turkish government has treated the Kurds far better than previous more secular governments.

      2. This is a typical Hasbara procedure.
        Here’s the ‘Hasbara for beginners’:
        1. the accusation of antisemitism
        2. the ‘it’s the same or even worse elsewhere’
        – a) in space: Sudan, Iraq, Tchechenia, and recently:
        a1) particularly: the Arab world
        b) in time: the Native Indian genocide, the Armenian
        genocide, Slavery
        3) historical inaccuracy: particularly anachronism, reversing
        CAUSE and EFFECT
        4) The ‘Heavenly Hasbara’, or the ‘Hasbara of the last
        “GOD gave Us this Land”

        If the Hasbara is not included here, move on to the ‘Hasbara for Advanced Learners’ which I haven’t edited yet :-)) but “tehhaggis’ just gave an example of no. 2a.

        So in order to save time for everybody, the Hasbaratchik could just give a number, and we’ll figures it out on our own.

  3. The NYT article is indeed so poorly edited that one gets the impression that it has, somehow, slipped through.

    And what about that curious detail in the Israeli media of a plane with military officers wishing to visit Auschwitz at exactly this time being banned from using Turkish airspace? Another misuse of the holocaust for propaganda purposes?

    1. I had noticed that little incident too, and wondered about it. And is such a trip a private initiative? Or part of the officer training? Let’s just hope that justified anger against the Nazi’s is not used to incite more agression towards the Palestinians. (I have the impression that the Nazi’s and the Palestinians are sometimes mixed up in public opinion in Israel.)

      1. This is why I think the holocaust needs to be put in the past where it belongs. Dragging it into the present discourse and exploiting it is a cheapening of the whole thing. I wish the Israelis would stop doing it.

        1. If not for the Holocaust there is a very good chance that Zionism would never have succeeded, and it is unlikely that Israelis and Zionists will ever stop using it for all it’s worth.

        2. I was going to write a long reply about how it would be ridiculous to put the Holocaust back in the past where it belongs, but I knew you would never see eye to eye, so let me just ask you this: Why not put the Nakba in the past where it belongs?

          1. It cannot be put in the past because it has never been addressed in the first place. That is why.

          2. And the Holocaust has been addressed? I assume you mean the creation of the State of Israel… but isn’t that something you oppose? What would you have done with the Jews after the Holocaust? What do you think the fate of the Jewish people should have been?

            The State of Israel is a product of the Holocaust whether you like it or not. Israel is not something that belongs in the past.

          3. Shai, the Nakba didn’t end in 1948. It didn’t end when 750,000 people fled or were expelled from their land. It didn’t end with the killings that took place, leaving the survivors to come to terms with their lot and move on. It didn’t end when the refugee camps ceased to be canvas and became concrete.

            The Nakba is still going on. The Nakba is malnutrition and crowding and destitution, brought on by the checkpoint system in the West Bank and Israel’s refusal to grant adequate public services and room for expansion to Palestinian villages in Israel. The Nakba is the land grab that resulted from the construction of the separation wall, which separates so many Palestinians from their former schools and fields and businesses. The Nakba is the JNF’s continued government-sanctioned theft of Arab-owned land within Israel itself. The Nakba is what forces some Palestinian families in the West Bank to choose between taking a morning shower and having enough drinking water for the day (while the lawns in the illegal settlements are kept green and fresh). The Nakba is the humiliation and intimidation that routinely occurs as checkpoints, where small children are strip-searched publicly (I’ve seen it) and people are held up for hours, prevented from leading anything like a normal life. The Nakba is an eleven-year-old girl taken from her home in Hebron at gunpoint and forced to act as a human shield in an IDF house search. The Nakba is what prevents her and others like her from being able to access good treatment for the terrible mental distress that they have developed. The Nakba is the cause of that mental distress. The Nakba is what ensures that there aren’t enough doctors around to treat the psychiatric problems of Palestinian patients (or their heart problems, or their throat problems, or their…). The Nakba is the stillborn children at the checkpoints, the sick people who die because they can’t pass through to the nearest hospital. The Nakba is the pitiful quality of education received by Palestinian children, who are taught with out-of-date materials because their schools either can’t afford or aren’t permitted to obtain better ones. (Within Israel itself, Arab schools get a paltry amount of funding compared to what Jewish schools receive.) The Nakba is the censorship that goes on in Israeli schools, the ban on teaching the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and the custom of having every Arab school employee vetted by the Shin Bet. The Nakba is the travel restrictions that prevent Palestinians from going abroad to further their education. I know a man in Bethlehem who was forced to choose between an MA degree and the right to live in the West Bank. He was told by the Israeli authorities, “If you go, you’re not coming back.” The Nakba is what makes me look on this man’s case and think, “Well, he doesn’t have it too badly. What about the man who lives just down the street from him, whose mother died of cancer in East Jerusalem? Was he allowed to go through? Did he see her before she died?”

            Do you want to try and guess the answer?

            The Nakba is still going on. It is perpetuated by seemingly pragmatic remarks like this: “It’s all in the past. We have to try and forget about 1948 and focus on what we can do now.” Or, “All the Palestinians have to do is renounce violence and then they could have a state.” Or, “It’s nowhere nearly as bad as the Holocaust.”

            Next time I meet a Palestinian parent whose child died needlessly because of inadequate access to inadequate healthcare, I’ll tell him or her that the Nakba isn’t anywhere nearly as bad as the Holocaust. It won’t help.

          4. And the Holocaust has been addressed? I assume you mean the creation of the State of Israel… but isn’t that something you oppose? What would you have done with the Jews after the Holocaust? What do you think the fate of the Jewish people should have been?

            You are so cute when you think you are making a powerful argument. This is reminiscent of the drunk in the karaoke bar who thinks he is sounding like a rock ‘n’ roll super star when to his audience he sounds more like a cross between a sick moose and a squalling cat.

            The State of Israel is a product of the Holocaust whether you like it or not. Israel is not something that belongs in the past.

            Wow, I’ll bet you thought this bit was especially brilliant. Sorry, dude, but the reaction it produces is more like “huh?!” than anything else. You ARE correct, however, than the State of Israel is a product of the Holocaust, and boy, oh, boy did the Zionists exploit that horror for all it was worth to them while it was going on and forever after. Ben Gurion for one unashamedly admitted that he was willing to sacrifice Jewish lives in order to achieve his goal of a Jewish State. I had a Jewish interlocutor for years whose father, a Holocaust survivor, had been a victim of Ben Gurion’s single-minded dedication to Zionism over and above the lives and welfare of individual Jews, and who despised Ben Gurion for the rest of his life.

          5. Why not put the Nakba in the past where it belongs?

            The Nakba does not belong in the past because it is still going on. When it ends and is acknowledged it will be time to do what is needed to heal and put it in the past.

            The Holocaust ended more than six decades ago, and has received more than its due acknowledgment from the world. It is shameful and should be embarrassing that there are Jews who are two and three generations removed from the Holocaust who act as though they themselves are its victims just because they are Jews. It should never be forgotten, or forgiven either, in my view, but it IS time to stop letting it poison Jewish lives and Jewish thoughts and Jewish views of the world. Let it go and move on.

          6. Great comment, Vicky – thanks!

            I have a small quibble with the number forced from their homes in 1948. I used to cite the 750,000 number since that is the approximate number of registered and known refugees, and after all, it is bad enough that there is no need to cite a higher number. However, I have in my life met enough 1948 Palestinians who fled or were forced out and never registered as refugees or were recognized as refugees by the UN that I am forced to revise that number upward, and would estimate the number of Palestinians displaced in 1947-49 as at least one million. There were many who fled or were forced out who ended up living with relatives in other countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, or Jordan, or in the West Bank, or Europe and thereby avoided being counted among the refugees. In my life I have been acquainted with such people, and in some cases counted them as friends.

            Also, your comment about “Arab” schools in Israel getting “paltry” funding reminds me that even Jews from Arab lands – aka Arab Jews – as well as Persian, Indian, African and other “oriental” Jews have historically not been provided with the same quantity and quality of education as Ashkenazi Jews in Israel. That has become somewhat better for “oriental” Jews over time, but there is still a very significant disparity of educational opportunity between Ashkenazi Jews, for which Israel was originally intended, and “orientals”.

      2. It is, I believe, part of officer training for the IDF. Just as visiting Katyn is part of the training of every Polish officer.

        The IDF were merely diverted and delayed by the Turkish action, not prevented from getting there, and certainly not killed (and looted). They have no great grounds for complaint.

        Events in Rwanda and Kosovo have shown that the holocaust cannot be entirely confined to the past.

        But perhaps it should be seen as no different to Stalin’s genocide in the Ukraine, which preceded it, or Japanese attempts at genocide in China which took place at the same time and claimed somewhere around 27M civilian lives. This may have been a fraction of the numbers which Imperial Japan needed to kill in order to achieve their aims (converting China into a resource area for the Japanese empire), but it’s still vastly more innocent souls departed than any other direct genocide.

        Because the extremists feel threatened if the holocaust was not a UNIQUELY massive crime, many people grow up not knowing about all the other massive genocides of that period in time. If they did learn about this, objectively, they might see that a policy of genocide seems able to recommend itself to the leaders of almost any nation at some point in its history. Or even to the Pope, because that’s what the Spanish Armada was for.

        And if Israel’s political leaders were able to see that truth, then they would realize that there s a far worse fate than being the victims of a genocide. It is becoming the authors of a genocide.

        The Imperial German army occupying Nambia, carried out a genocide at the very beginning of the 20th century, against a native tribe which “rebelled” against their rule. They used their arms to drive the tribe into the desert, where most of them perished.

        In 1915, The South African army drove that same German army into the same desert and they were so thoroughly destroyed that only some of the horses survived. Their descendants still haunt the coastal fringes of the desert to this day.

        What’s the point of sending IDF officers to Auschwitz, if they are not able to learn anything from it? Perhaps sending them to Namibia, to see the wild horses which are the only memorial to a sizable German army, might bring home the lesson that there is no worse fate than to COMMIT genocide.

        Today, Israel is again on rails taking it inexorably to a place of genocide. Only this time as perpetrators and not as victims.

  4. I am not sure about what Aji X is agreeing with and his proposal to ‘re-examine’ the ‘traditional holocaust narrative’ does sound suspicious. But, Richard, I hope you will agree that this proposal has little to do with the proposition that referrals to the holocaust are not always made in the spirit of pious commemoration as they should. They have not infrequently been made to serve ulterior purposes. The writings of Peter Novick and Norman Finkelstein come to mind.

    Now it is possible that IDF visits to Auschwitz are a routine affair but I do find it suspicious that almost directly after the ban on Israeli military planes in Turkish airspace was announced the first thing we hear of its implementation has to do with a plane going to Auschwitz.

    1. Actually, I would say Finkelstein’s book “The Holocaust Industry” very effectively points out the abuse and exploitation of the holocaust by Zionists. Finkelstein lost many family members in the concentration camps and both his parents were in concentration camps.

      1. Many Zionists also lost as many or more relatives in the Holocaust as Finkelstein. That’s what strenthens their Zionism.

  5. Yes Mary I agree with you about the merits of Finkelstein’s book. Peter Novick’s book (The Holocaust in American Life) came out earlier and I am afraid that N. labored under the suspicion that Finkelstein had pinched some of his ideas. We will leave that matter to the judgment of professional critics.

    Novick is not talking about the holocaust itself but at the place it has assumed, since the crucial date of 1967, in American life. After that date the holocaust came to be seen as a historical phenomenon sui generis. Before that it was mainly seen in the context of the larger holocaust, the fifty million deaths brought about by the Second World War.

    What surprised me was that, on the other side of the Atlantic, Professor Micha Brumlik, who was then Director of the Fritz Bauer Institute for the Study and Documentation of the History of the Holocaust, discussed both Novick’s and Finkelstein’s book in a very positive manner.

    1. Finkelstein’s book was along the same vein, which of course gave rise to plagiarism suspicions against Finkelstein. I haven’t read both books, so I really can’t comment on that. I just wonder how many years it will be before the holocaust takes its place in history and is no longer exploited and peddled for profit in the present. I also hope the many non-Jews who died in the holocaust will also be remembered among its victims. I think that the holocaust should be remembered as a crime against all of humanity; perhaps then, its lessons will be learned and no particular group of people will take ownership of the dubious right to exploit it.

      1. I’ve read both, twice, though it goes back some years by now. I’ve read elsewhere that Finkelstein considers Novick an inspiration and I don’t think he ever tried to hide that. On the contrary, Novick has taken a certain distance from Finkelstein’s main subject: the economical exploitation by main American Jewish organizations of the Jewish suffering. I do adore Finkelstein, but I might understand that some people find his attitude ‘too polemical’. That’s not my point of view, I do think he manage to ‘shake up some bad conscience’. Novick is a historian and his book is ‘sober’ and very recommendable.

        1. I want to thank you all for sharing your views on these two books. I am too busy right now, but hearing all of your perpectives, I am getting more and more interested in reading Finkelstein’sand Novick’s work.

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