77 thoughts on “Beinart’s Buy Israel, ‘Zionist BDS’ Reverse Boycott – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. FOI always wanted two things: [1] a predominantly Jewish Israel and [2] a big, big chunk of Palestine (if not more — some of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan).

    No-one in BDS movement (I suspect) would object to a small Israel — occupying (let us say) 10% of Mandatory Palestine — being and remaining predominantly Jewish — because such a small state — while being quite large enough to house all of Israel’s Jews, and being much larger than NYC for example — would not be a target of return to more than about 10% of all the Palestinian refugees/exiles from 1948, and that 10% might well prefer to “return” to the non-Jewish 90% when a right of return was at long, long last achieved for them.

    But FOI don’t want it small, they want it all.

    Israel’s mission, thus and clearly, is not merely to create a Jewish State (whether or not democratic!), but to seize the entire Palestine and dispossess the entire Palestinian people. For that dispossession is a necessary concomitant of taking all the land. The honest (and somewhat frightening) Israeli Jews admit this:

    We, the Jewish People, are embroiled in an ongoing battle for reclamation of our land, our historic birthright, the Land of Israel.

    The Jewish People are, and have been, the indigenous inhabitants of the Land of Israel for over 4000 years. We have been continuously present here, in greater or lesser numbers, despite enforced exile and dispossession by a series of foreign invaders and conquerors – with the Arabs and Moslems only the latest in a long line.

    ; the dishonest and far more frightening ones deny it — while supporting the zealot settlers.

  2. Good God, Richard. America’s “original sin” was committed long, long before slavery. It began the day the first European set foot on the continent and began killing the indigenous people.

    No one has a birthright to land, actually. Land is neutral. The crime is in killing and displacing people who were living there first. The Jews cannot prove they have a 4,000 year claim to Palestine, nor can they ever justify killing anyone in order to “claim” this land. As I tell zionists over and over again, God is not a real estate broker. Besides, since Jews have always lived in Palestine, and peacefully alongside Christians and Muslims, this shows that they could have always lived there – all they had to do was go to Palestine if they were so inclined.

    1. Mary what do you mean “The Jews cannot prove they have a 4,000 year claim to Palestine” ?

      Cyrus Cylinder – goes back to 539 BC.
      Dead sea scrolls are going back to 200 BC – approximately.
      and there are many other historical document that establish an indisputable connection of the Jews to that area and the land of Palestine.
      not to mention countless archaeological findings.

      to deny the Jewish connection to the place well that is simply lying.

      1. Jews in general have a historical connection to Israel. But what does that mean? That you therefore have a right to hold Yitzhar & Tapuach forever? That you have a right to deny rights to Israeli Palestinian citizens?

        Do YOU personally have such an ancient connection when your ancestry likely goes back to Europe? Can you trace a direct connection to Israel? The whole “we have a right to the land because our ancestors were there” is tenuous, vague & unpersuasive, at best. The best thing is to avoid all these historical claims & figure out a way to resolve the conflict fairly.

        1. Hold on a sec,
          One of the arguments you bring here is the Injustice caused by the displacement of some of the Arabs residing in what then was Palestine during the war in 1948.

          Why does that displacement takes president over an earlier displacement ?

          As for me despite my Last name i’m an 12 generation Israeli, all my ancestors and we do have a map going back 12 generations were residing in Israel. My great grandparents were murdered in the city of Hebron during the 1929 riots. Our Last name was changed during Ben-Gurion times.

          You can’t talk about the Arab right of return in the name of injustice without acknowledging same injustice caused in part by Arabs/Muslims. Historically speaking they conquered the land by force.

          1. Twelve generations Israeli? Can you squeeze 12 generations into 64 years (the total number of years Israel has existed)?

            Back in 1929 the land was called Palestine.

            And how did Israel acquire the land, if not by force? I’m sure you were there for the Deir Yassin massacre, among others. And you were there in 1967 when Israel stole the West Bank and Jerusalem.

            What injustice in particular should be talked about re: the Arabs and their right of return?

          2. Mary, The state of Israel was conquered by the Romans in 66 AD, that was despite your notion more then 64 years ago.

            The name Palestina, was given to the area by the Romans.In my dad’s birth certificate it is stated that he was born in Palastina – Israel he was born in 1935.
            as for your claims that i participated in the massacre over Deir Yassin:
            1. Please take the time and look at this interview with an Arab survivor of what you claim was a massacre, he has a different view [URL deleted for violation of comment rules]
            2. To your appointment i am to young, i wasn’t even born there.

            are you willing to finally stick to facts and not re-invent history ?

          3. I do NOT allow propaganda links in the comment threads & any video attempting to prove there was no massacre at Deir Yassin is a fraud & propaganda. Go back & read the comment rules. I do not allow such nonsense here. Supporting evidence, sources, etc. must be credible, provable & reliable.

          4. Pardon my English:
            2. to your disappointment i am toy young, i wasn’t even born then.

          5. “i participated in the massacre over Deir Yassin:
            1. Please take the time and look at this interview with an Arab survivor of what you claim was a massacre, he has a different view”

            I copied, clicked, and saw the title “The myth of the Deir Yassin massacre”. Ludicrous if it wasn’t so shameful.

            You may not realize it, but the most devastating posts about Israel are posted by Israelis like yourself trying to defend it.

          6. Donald, did you see the video ?
            Or did the title offended you to the point you didn’t want to watch ?
            I did not produce the video, but i think you should watch it, it feature two survivors, one of whom is a news reporter which tell an interesting story.
            In the name of pluralism I think one should watch it. After watching it you can always stick to your old guns.

          7. Yes I watched it. It doesn’t demonstrate anything beyond what I already knew–the Arab side used the Deir Yassin in their propaganda campaign and wrote a lurid account for propaganda purposes and the villager denied that their women had been raped. So what? People usually use atrocities in propaganda campaigns. We know women and children were murdered. There are usually disputes about the details of atrocities, but only deniers use those disputes to try and cast doubt on the overall event.

          8. I don’t know what displacement you’re talking about: you mean the few scores of Jews who were displaced from Gush Etzion in 1929? That compares to the forced expulsion of nearly 1 million in 1948? Not to mention your family can now return there & live there while those 1 million cannot return to Israel. A far, far greater injustice.

          9. @ Oded Rozen
            Though Richard deleted the video, I know which one you’re talikng about: the one with Hazem Nusseibeh, right ?
            It has been posted by every right-wing Zionist since it was cut-and-paste from a BBC-documentary (critical of the official Hasbara).
            In that same full-length documentary fron the BBC, we see Shimon Peres claiming that there was no ethnic cleansing in ’48, and he has the chutzpah to claim that Ben Gourion, on the contrary, begged the Palestinians to stay. I’ve never liked the guy, but after hearing him saying that, I despise him.This is an insult to our intelligence ! And one wonders if that were the case: how come the Palestinians were not allowed home after the end of the war, and the voting of 194.
            You know: you can also find “documentaries” on the net “proving” that there was no Holocaust. This is disgusting – and so are you !

          10. Deïr Yassin:
            1. Thank you, i did not know this was part of a BBC documentary, i will look it up.
            2. I resent your personal tone, and take offense at your remark. I do not see a reason grown ups will be unable to discuss heated subjects without personal insults, which is a violation of this site hospitality and rules.
            3. Until you’ll apologize for the personal tone i see no reason to honor you with any further exchange.

            A question for Richard, Since the video is a part of a BBC documentary do you still consider it propaganda ? i am asking so i will not violate your rules by linking to propaganda.

          11. @ Oded
            Don’t tell me about the rules here. I would never link to the sh.. you did !

            “Until you’ll apologize for the personal tone….”
            No way! It IS disgusting to try to deny or minimize the massacre of Deïr Yassin, one of the best documented massacres in ’48, with a manipulated extract. For God sake, even Begin boasted about Deir Yassin. It’s an insult to people that I love, and who have never been able to return to their homeland, so don’t expect any apologies from me. You’re free to return the compliment when I link to some Holocaust-denial stuff or some “the-Jews-were-in-fact-responsible-for-what-happened-to-them in-39-45”-crap.
            By the way, I’ve heard there are ghosts screaming at night in the Kfar Shaul Mental Hospital, established in one of the few buildings that remain from the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. Wonder what they are screaming about…

          12. Sorry. I forgot to mention that the 1:45 min cut-and-paste manipulation “The Myth of Deir Yassin” has been put on the net by the Walid Shoebat Foundation (among others). That should be enough for people to judge the seriousness of the stuff.

          13. Deïr Yassin there is really no point in having a debate with you about the subject, as you behave the way you do.

            1. I had no idea who was the organization behind the youtube, already said that but you don’t listen.

            2. While the holocaust is undisputed by all sides, Deir Yassin the nature of the events in Deir Yassin is disputed to date by historians. Was it a massacre ? was it just fierce fighting ?
            the following was written by prof Mark. H. Gelber from BGU
            Palestine 1948 page 307

            ” A number of actions of the IZL and LHI, not Plan D, frightened the Palestinians in April 1948 and generated panic that spread swiftly across the country. The most notorious* was the joint assault of the militias of the two dissident organizations, IZL and LHI, on the village Deir Yassin,
            west of Jerusalem. It is an uncontested fact that this attack inflicted heavy casualties on the inhabitants of Deir Yassin. However, what happened that day in the village — a bloodstained battle or a cold-blooded massacre — has remained highly disputed. Although the onslaught was not a
            glorious operation by any standard, a wide gap separates what happened in the village from the stories that spread at the time and persist to the present. These stories were the nucleus for a narrative — in this case both Palestinian and Israeli — that has since been invented and embellished.
            The Palestinians’ objective has been to besmirch Israel in the eyes of the world and make it responsible for the refugee problem. The Israeli Left has exploited Deir Yassin to slander “the dissidents” and blame them for continuing international condemnation of Israel on account of the
            massacre and for violating tohar haneshek”

            @ Richard, Prof Morris acknowledge he found about a dozen of documented rape incidents during the 1948 war, but found non in Deir Yassin.

          14. Deir Yassin is NOT disputed by historians. It is disputed by right wing nationalist ideologues & their historian hangers-on. You will NOT conduct a propaganda campaign here on their behalf. Do you understand? You will not conduct a campaign questioning Deir Yassin. I want that to be crystal clear. There are things commenters may do and may not do here, on both sides of the political divide. This is one of the things your side will not do.

            As for rapes, I never said there were rapes at Deir Yassin. I said Benny Morris proved there were rapes committed by Yishuv forces. The fact that there were none there when only 200 people were massacred there in cold blood leaves me ice cold.

            You better do some research on the sources you offer here. Because if their credentials are as flimsy as Gelber’s & their partisan ideological motivations so transparent, you will not make an impression here.

          15. @ Oded
            The 1:45 minute propaganda that you posted is not really about the Deir Yassin massacre in itself but about the impact, but as you don’t have a clue about Palestinian history, you don’t see that, do you ?
            Your propaganda-video is insinuating or rather claiming – by cutting-and pasting the testimoinies of Hazem Nusseibeh and the older inhabitant from DY – that there were no killings at DY, that is was Arab propaganda and as DY was a primary factor for the Palestinian exodus from April ’48 onwards, it’s implying that the Palestinians were actaully themselves responsible for what happened to them. “They played the propaganda card, and thus made people flee”: that’s the message.

            This is ofcourse a historical distorsion, and even if it were true it doesn’t explain the hundreds of thousands who fled prior to DY. Zionist gangs gunned down civilians in Lifta already in december ’47 for instance.

            You present a Mark H. Gelber, pretending he wrote the Appendix that you linked to. Gee, the guy is a professor at BGU in comparative litterature and German Jewish litterature as far as I can see. What the hell does he know about Deir Yassin ? And much as you I guess !

            Your man is YOAV Gelber, well-known right-wing historian, professoor at Haifa University, former career officer in the IDF, self-proclaimed Tzomet-sympathizer and one of the main instigators behind the smear-campaign against Ilan Pappe that finally made himleave Israel to pursue his historical research in the UK.

            Maybe you should read at least Morris before pretending to know anything about Deir Yassin. I also recommend (in French) the best testimony by the head of the Swiss Red Cross, Jacques de Reynier, who arrived in DY on April 11th shortly after the killings, and collected testimonies.

            Hind Husseini, who created Dar al-Tifl for DY-orphants (described in the film ‘Mistral’), Walid Khalidi, Nur Masalha, Salman Abu Sitta have all written about the massacre, but of course they’re all Palestinians.

      2. Mary: “The Jews cannot prove they have a 4,000 year claim to Palestine”

        She is talking about claiming title to land, which is a legal concept.

        Oded: “to deny the Jewish connection to the place well that is simply lying.”

        You, on the other hand, are talking about the special place this land has in your heart, and in the heart of all Jews.

        Which, obviously, is not a legal concept no matter how “heartfelt” it may be.

        Mary is simply pointing out (quite correctly) that “yearning” for something does not – and can not – grant legal title to that yearned-for object.

        After all, I’ve always yearned for a Ferrari, but that doesn’t mean I can go out and steal one, and it certainly does mean that I can then claim that it has always been Mine! Mine! Mine!

        1. You are ignoring two things
          1. The fact that legal documents were evolved during the centuries, and title documents of today simply didn’t exist 2000 years ago.
          2 Cyrus Cylinder – goes back to 539 BC, and establishes a title to the land by the Jews.

          1. What do you mean absurd ?
            You accept the Palestinian notion that they were forced out in 1948, from a land the Muslim conquered around 630 AD.

            But you do not accept the fact that the jews were forced out of the place few hundred years before ?

            As Richard said, it’s best to ignore History and concentrate on solving the current situation on the ground. But in my opinion you can’t recognize the injustice done to the Palestinians while ignoring the historical injustice done to the Jews.

          2. Sorry, but a legal doc that is 2500 yrs old doesn’t establish any legal claim to anything. It merely confirms there were Jews of that day who lived in Israel. Can you prove a direct family link & inheritance to that specific family?

          3. So what are you saying ?
            That title of your house , a current binding legal document will mean nothing in let’s say 200 years ? What about 2000 years ?
            what will be it’s status if your future relatives will not keep their family tree up to date ?

            to me what you said doesn’t make sense, partly because of the fact that human race knowledge evolved with time and with it the way we keep documents (including titles, family tress etc)

          4. Oded: “You are ignoring two things”

            No, you ignored the fact that title to land t.o.d.a.y. is based upon the legal code as it exists t.o.d.a.y.

            Oded: “1. The fact that legal documents were evolved during the centuries, and title documents of today simply didn’t exist 2000 years ago.”

            Then you can not claim a legal ownership of land t.o.d.a.y. based upon whatever legal documents you claim were in the possession of Jews 2,000 years ago, precisely because such documents would not be accepted into a court of law t.o.d.a.y.

            A pretty simple concept to grasp, I would have thought.

            Oded: “2 Cyrus Cylinder – goes back to 539 BC, and establishes a title to the land by the Jews.”

            See above.

            The legal regime of Cyrus the Great no longer exists, and nothing of todays legal code owes anything to the Persian legal system of 539 BC.

            It’s like an American trying to claim that enslaving a defeated foe was a perfectly legal concept back in the days of the Roman Empire and, therefore, the USA is perfectly entitled to enslave the Afghans today.

            The argument is flawed, and for exactly the same reason i.e. the laws of war t.o.d.a.y. do not allow an invader to become a slaveowner, only to become an occupying power.

            Similarly, kicking Arabs out of their home does not allow a Jew to claim ownership of that home based upon a 2,000 year old legal claim i.e. that Jew has to prove a prior legal title under a legal system that has relevence to the legal system of t.o.d.a.y., and while that may indeed include Ottoman law and/or British Mandate Law it does not include the laws of Cyrus the Great.

          5. Oded: “You accept the Palestinian notion that they were forced out in 1948, from a land the Muslim conquered around 630 AD.”

            In 1948 the legal system that covers what happens in wartime were already in place, and they clearly state that ownership of land survives intact regardless of who is occupying the territory.

            The domestic laws in place in 1948 in this territory (Ottoman law and British Mandate law) regarding “land ownership” are also relevent – even today – precisely because int’l humanitarian law says that an invading army can’t apply their own domestic law to the territory that they occupy.

            But that was not the case in 630 AD i.e. back then nobody had any problem with the concept of “conquest”, and so if your army overran a territory then you “owned” the land.

            Oded: “But you do not accept the fact that the jews were forced out of the place few hundred years before ?”

            A few hundred years before the prevailing legal concept was that of “right of conquest” i.e. if you conquer this territory then you own this territory, and all prior legal claims are extinguished.

            Sorry, but that was then, and back then that was a perfectly legal thing to do.

            Sorry, but this is now, and in the here and now you can’t do that.

          6. It is absurd because the reach of historical accuracy, the reach of research, becomes murky with time (and, of course, other things.) One cannot easy distinguish ascertainable fact from myth and you, I think, recite myths because they are comfortable, e.g. Deir Yassin, a doc from long ago, the so-called “exile” etc.

            It is true that Jews were expelled from Israel at one point (not “Judea”) and that the Romans would have liked to move the Jews around. They were unsuccessful as you know because, let me remind you, Jesus is presumed to have been a Jew living under Roman rule! And the Dead Sea Scrolls issued from a radical group of Jews during Roman times, etc.

            Jews dispersed for many reasons and at various times like other peoples migrated repeatedly. Jews kept a sort of national identity in their wanderings. The fascinating thing for me is that, in all these wanderings around the globe, reaching the New World very early on, for example, Jews rarely opted to return to the land of their antiquity. Even after about 50 years of Zionism, the numbers of Jews in Palestine remained pretty small, all things considered.

            If there is a valid 2500 year old document of some sort — I haven’t done the research — I would suggest that Jews gave up any such rights through 20 centuries of absenteeism. Israel used a similar law, applicable to a much shorter period of time, regarding Palestinian property, as you know very well.

            The cleansing of Palestine in 1948 may have historical antecedents, but the more ancient these antecedents, the more deplorable the cleansing in our time. Lastly, Islam conquered vast areas and almost everywhere these armies went they discovered some Jews and made some reasonable accomodation for them. The rest of indigenous peoples were mostly converted.

            1948 might not today be repeatedly cited as a “crime” if the Zionists had made some accomodation with rising Palestinian nationalism in its own land. The idea that Arab nationalism anywhere can be contained or walled off will fail ultimately. I can’t even think of an indigenous people who, once adopting national goals and revolution, ever failed to obtain them — for better or worse.

          7. David,
            let me see if i understand.
            Your argument is that because of the time that passed there is no way to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was a Jewish independent state in the land of Israel which was conquered by force, hence the Jewish right to the land is vague ? and you say that despite the international historical documents (roman’s, Egyptians, Syrians and even Persians) which state otherwise, document which the international community recognized many times ?

            Base on what i understand from your passage, all Israel needs to do is wait few 100 years, and there will be no room for the Palestinian claims.

            As for why the Jews didn’t return to the land for 20 centuries, the answer is simple, they weren’t organized or strong enough to take such an endeavor.

          8. Rozen — you still don’t get it. Nobody refutes Jewish ties to the land stemming from antiquity. These ties — and even the brief existence of Jewish state in antiquity — do not provide a legal claim of ownership to the land. Jews could always have moved to Palestine and formed a Yishuv without a state, as such. Many Germans, Italians and Puerto Ricans have moved to the US and formed local communities.

            Second, the fact that Israel was conquered in the ancient past has no special meaning here because the conquests were not for the purpose of replacing Jewish habitation with, say, Roman or Assyrian habitation.

            Zionism is wrong on both counts. First, there is nothing that entitles Jews to a political state in Palestine. Jewish history may tie to the region, and this creates a sentimental tie but that tie was more religious than it ever was political. These sentimental ties do not create RIGHTS and it is RIGHTS that were invented by Zionists and sold to Jews worldwide. Second, past Jewish sufferings, including the several not-so-complete “exiles” do not justify or create a right to retaliate against Palestinians who, themselves, never exiled the Jews.

            And the real reason that Jews did not return to Zion over 20 centuries is that they didn’t feel any compelling need to do so, individually or collectively (a community, for example.) Even up through WW II most Jews were not especially interested in relocating to Palestine or Israel. Even now, the most shrill Ziooist voices in America emanate from American Jews who will not relocate to Israel, even now, when demographics are becoming critical. The second loudest Zionists are ex-patriate Israelis living in the US who think that Jews should immigrate to Israel, except for them.

            Any people that remains “disorganized” (I think you are suggesting) for 20 centuries has no right to anything, anyway.

  3. In today’s (March 19) New York Times we find two important articles. One on the op-ed page by Peter Beinart http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/opinion/to-save-israel-boycott-the-settlements.html?hp, the other in World by Eric Lichtblau and Mark Landler, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/world/pro-israel-groups-differing-approaches-on-iran.html?hp. While Beinart’s is a cri de coeur, “To Save Israel, Boycott the Settlements”, the second is a description of how the “Hawks Steering Debate on How to Take on Iran”.

    Beinart accuses both the Israeli government and the B.D.S. movement of promoting radically different visions of a one-state solution that are sweeping efforts to create two states “into history’s dustbin.” It indeed does seem that a two-state solution has already been obviated, and Israel is destined to become one state covering all of Palestine. Just how that will play out is anyone’s guess. However, Beinart believes a two-state solution is still viable and his solution is to boycott the settlements and bring Israel back to it’s original borders within the green line. He believes the settlements are delegitimizing Israel because they are not democratic for either the Palestinians or the settlers, themselves. What he seems to overlook is that Israel is not even a democracy within its own so-called legitimate borders. Fully twenty percent of its citizens, Palestinian Muslims and Christians do not share equal rights with its Jewish citizens. Though I believe Beinart’s heart is in the right place, his solution is skewed toward maintaining Israel as a Jewish state that allegedly serves as a beacon for diaspora Judaism. That dream of the original Zionist project is long past, and Zionism itself has become the enemy of democracy. Lichtblau and Lander show in their article just how far from reality it is to believe that the US is sincere in supporting any peace initiatives. The hawks still seem to be in control of the discourse being waged about a possible war with Iran. Even mad man Richard Perle appears on the scene in an attempt to make “military operations more politically viable for Mr. Obama”. As though they weren’t already. Unfortunately, Lichtbau and Landler show that Beinart is beating his head against the wailing wall.

    1. Wasn’t Perle instrumental in the decision to invade and occupy Iraq? How can a guy like this even dare to show himself in public given the catastrophic results (for America, not Israel)? He should be deported.

    2. I agree that the dream of Zionism is “long past.” Frankly, Zionism is fanciful nonsense credible to sentimental Jews who think they are doing something good and right (something at least akin to religious) in supporting Zionism and also the deceitful hypocritical government of Israel.

      The settlements do not de-legitimize Israel by virtue of being undemocratic. They de-legitimize Israel — and much of its official history — by their very presence, the presence of Zionists, yet again, on Palestinian land. The presence of Zionists means the total annexation and ethnic cleansing of the WEst Bank. It is the occupation and its sequel, the settlements, which de-legitimize Israel.

    3. For Beinart’s thesis to be correct, you must believe that the Palestinian Authority and the PLO has no political legitimacy, or power.

      Yet it is recognized as a full state by 129 nations; its citizens vote (at least in theory) to elect their leaders, it has autonomy, a territory that all accept as controlled by its own security forces, a court system, an Olympic team, and its own passports. According to at least one distinguished legal scholar, it is considered a full state under international law. The World Bank is putting out reports about how ready the territories are for statehood. The entire Oslo process – that Israel still supports – was designed to give full self-determination to Palestinian Arabs in the territories, and (more recently) statehood. For Beinart to turn around and state that all of these don’t exist, and that for some reason the territories are (as he tries to coin the term) “nondemocratic Israel,” is nonsense. Israel has no intention of integrating Ramallah or Jericho into Israel.

      1. Usually your comments have the benefit of having been tested in the hasbara lab before setting them loose on the reading public. This comment is so half-baked you had to have devised it yourself. Not even Yuli Edelstein or Danny Ayalon would’ve allowed it to see the light of day. You must go back to the drawing board & come back with a comment that at least allows us to grapple with it in some form. This one is truly nonsensical.

      2. What pieces exactly of other people’s property does Israel intend to “integrate?” Apparently, you know the plan, so ‘fess up –Are we looking at a “Greater Israel Co-Prosperity Sphere?” Or maybe a “New Order” for the ME? What’s the plan, Stan? Curious people everywhere want to know! Is it maybe “Israel Plus”? or “New, Improved Israel?” Or better yet – “Israel 2.0?”

  4. RE: Beinart’s Buy Israel, ‘Zionist BDS’ Reverse Boycott

    ALSO SEE: Two Israeli refusers on why they support BDS, by Noam Gur and Alon Gurman, Mondoweiss, 3/19/12

    (excerpts)…it is not only Israelis who take part – actively or passively – in the occupation and the war crimes carried out by Israel. Powerful organizations with powerful interests feed the occupation, by sending it money and by giving political backing to Israel’s actions; these are corporations, arms traders, extremist political organizations and zealots from America, Europe, and other places. We are sad to report that the U.S. administrations also continue to fund Israel’s war crimes. But we can act together, around the world, in condemning the financing and legitimization of Israel’s government, and eventually bring about the end of international support of its policy. We, as a community, can bring about the end of the normalization of occupation.
    Each of us must, of course, choose the way they see fit to fight the crimes of Israel – but at the moment, it seems that the Palestinian polity wishes to follow BDS – boycott, divestment, and sanctions – directed at Israeli corporations and institutions. BDS is the fruition of a call from Palestinians, published in 2005, which has since become the central tool in the nonviolent struggle against Israeli violation of human rights…
    …Shaking off an occupation is a delicate, complex, and multifaceted process, but we all should and can take part in this shaking off. The way that we, Noam and Alon, have chosen to shake off the occupation is by declaring our refusal to serve in the military publicly, alongside activism and support of the Palestinian BDS call.

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/two-israeli-refusers-on-why-they-support-bds.html

    1. You’ve got things ass-backwards. First, Israel declared statehood despite the fact that the Arab states warned that war would be the result. 6,000 Jews were not killed implementing Nakba. They were killed in a war for statehood. The forced exile of up to 1 million Israeli Palestinians was not something forced on Israel. It was something Israel chose to do. That makes it the deep moral blot on Israel that it is and will be until it is rectified.

      1. How convenient of you, Richard, to hold back on allowing my comment on this very subject, with a view different than yours, made an hour and a half before this comment. By the way, I don’t know how the Jewish casualties broke down in the two phases of the 1948 war—i.e., how many of the 6,000 Jewish dead and 15,000 wounded (3.5% of the Yishuv’s total population) fell in each phase. But surely most of the nearly 1,000 Jewish non-combatants were killed during the initial “civil war” phase between Palestinian Jews and Palestinian Arabs, along with many of the combat casualties.

        1. Stop bitching & moaning Seliger. If there’s one thing I hate is lib Zionists whining about how mistreated they are. Read the comment rules. If you write a comment I want to respond to I won’t approve it till I’m ready to respond. And believe it or not there are more important things for me to do here than respond to you.

          Another comment rule: stay on topic. That means commenting on the specific subject of the blog post. Not what YOU want to talk about.

        2. The local Arabs of Palestine were the unfortunate casualties of a war instigated by Great Britain and Arab States that sought to destroy the infant Jewish State. The secret war plans were discovered by France and passed on to Ben Gurion. This espionage was France’s revenge against Britain for having forced France to quit Syria in 1945. See James Barr’s new book,


          or the more important series of articles by Professor Meir Zamir.

          1. The Palestinian residents of Israel were not “unfortunate casualties” of Arab states or Britain. They were the victims of Israeli Jewish expulsion.

            Once again, this is OFF TOPIC & repetitive ad nauseam.

          2. Wow! Ben-Gurion didn’t want war. Apparently, he thought he could just takeover 78% of Palestine and kick out Palestinians, destroy villages and all without blowback — the natives would run away and Arab armies, such as they were, would sit by watching. Zionism did not aim at forcibly taking over the land at all. Zionism thought Palestine would be handed to them by the natives who would then obligingly move on. I did not know these facts.

            But war was forced on them and then explusion was forced on them. But for this war, the Jewish state would be just the 50+% that the UN provided to the Yishuv. But for those uncooperative Arabs and the conniving British, Israel would today be decidedly smaller but perhaps at peace with its neighbors and universally revered as a “light” unto the nations.

            This is a classic case of the perpetrator blaming the victim. American jails are full of these people, the ones who say “She made me do it” “They gave me no choice!” etc. On the individual level, this is called “sociopathology”. On the scale of nations, we will need to invent an apt term.

      2. The Romans, Ottomans, even Muslims conquered the land variously in time, but did not demand the land for one people only. Romans couldn’t cared less who lived there as long as they paid taxes. Same for Ottomans and Muslims.

        And there is much doubt about the “exile”. It is not a proper characterization of how Jews dispersed across Asia and Europe and into the New World. This was not exile but dispersion. Oddly these dispersing Jews did not think much of returning to the land of their forefathers where, more often than not, they would have been tolerated. Instead they went to South America, and North America and Western Europe, not Jerusalem. The connection to the land itself was tenuous and minimal for many centuries, despite the incantations about Jerusalem.

        But Zionists — all of a sudden, historically — decide that not only is it right and necessary for Jews to resettle in the land of their forebears, but that this land should belong to Jews exclusively, despite 13 centuries of Muslim habitation mainly. This is something different from the “conquering” of the land as Rozen (above) sees it. From his point of view, Jews were dispossed IN THE SAME WAY that Palestinians were dispossesed and this is simply not the case. Jews were not dispossessed in favor of Roman settlement, or Ottoman Turk settlement, like the Nakba. The Nakba is then not simply a normal consequence of war between nations, so to speak, but an unnatural outcome of the particular political curse called Zionism, or rather racism by another name.

        1. dispossessed not “dispossed”. I get carried along.

          The cleansing of the land by the conqueror has some ancient and modern antecedents. In modern times, South Africa and Nazi Germany stand out. Israel continues this unusual form of conquest and habitation at a time in history which views such extremism as unnecessary, meaningless, and morally unacceptable.

        2. Thank you. I am weary of lame attempts to normalize an abnormal history and also at covering up massacres. Reference is made to an attempt to delegitimize the accounts of the Deir Yassin massacre, by a Zionist here who watched a video and became ‘enlightened.’ YouTube seems to be the place to go for anyone who wishes to find any version of history that suits their agenda. That is, when they aren’t busy misconstruing literary argument.

          1. Mary — Zionsim revealed is Zionism defanged! It is important that everyone understand that the conquest of Palestine was an “abnormal” (as you say) result of a war between invaders and indigenous people. The abnormality is the explusion of the indigenous people. In times past, conquerors were content to administer and plunder and tax new territories. Israel does all of this while, at the same time, carefully separating Palestinians from their homes and property by making life and culture unsustainable both in Gaza and the West Bank.

            As for “on topic”, I have no sympathy with any convoluted result that suggests I and others “buy Israel.” The trademark, if you will, of the I/P debate is its apparent and unusual complex nature. The complexity itself (such as to suggest “buy Israel”) is a kind of mystification of a relatively simple matter. Even here and now, I am often ashamed that I am drawn to refute and comment on Richard’s interesting posts because I know, in my heart, this is just tarrying, that we are perhaps lolling about on the wrong side of the river. I hope not: I hope these debates are useful and will help us cross over.

  5. A problem with the “Nakba”-“right of return” argument is that it ignores the fact that the Arab side not only rejected the UN General Assembly vote to partition the Palestinian Mandate into two states–one predominantly Jewish and the other overwhelmingly Arab–but also launched a two-phase war to destroy Israel at its birth. In fact, the first phase, the Palestinian Arab effort to destroy the Yishuv, was launched 1/2 year before Israel declared its independence. If the Palestinians had closely coordinated their attacks with the outside invasion by five Arab armies in May 1948, the Arabs might have won that war, and we’d be talking about the great massacre and expulsion of Palestinian Jews in 1948.
    So Israel’s “original sin” was a response to the Arabs’ “sin”–or at least their error–in going to war in the first place. If they hadn’t done so, there would not have been a massive exodus of Palestinian refugees. The refugee problem needs to be fixed, primarily in terms of voluntary resettlement and compensation as outlined in the Geneva Accord, but not with a massive “return” to Israel, mostly by people who were never born there.

    1. First, your comment is off topic. The goal of this blog is not to be a soccer match with cheering fans on either side of the pitch. Nor is it to score pts in a propaganda war. Nor is it to fight the battle of Zionist history over again to ensure your side wins the argument. So if you want to comment here read & follow the rules.

      The Nakba is a historical event in its own right which cannot be mitigated or excused or explained by any other historical event. The fact that Arab states rejected Partition has absolutely no bearing on the Nakba. The 1 million or so who were expelled did not personally reject Partition & the Arab states who did, do not speak or act as agents on behalf of the Nakba victims. The fact that Israel was at war defending itself against Arab armies in no way excuses a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing in violation of international law.

      Rejecting Partition was not a sin. It was a political decision. We can argue it was a wrong decision or one we wish would’ve turned out differently. But just as Arab states rejected Partition, Israel rejected strenuous efforts at negotiation & warnings that declaring statehood would bring war. If the war had gone against Israel, then now we’d be blaming Ben Gurion for not taking that advice as others blame the Arab states for not accepting Partition. Nakba was a national Original Sin. Rejection Partition was not.

      You also misconstrue the Geneva Initiative which calls very specifically for return of refugees to Israel.

      I am NOT prepared to get into a knock down drag out fight with you about anything. You are done in this thread. You may particpate in other threads. But do not respond to this comment. I will be monitoring yr participation because of major issues you & I have had in the past.

      1. One gets the impression from this Seliger that the poor, small Zionist community (Yishuv) was peacefully going about its business and living in peace with its neighbors went, all of a sudden, their neighbors attacked them out of the blue and, in defense, the heroic Hagannah, prepared for such community emergencies, fought back gallantly. In the process of defending itself, the UN Partition Jewish territory grew to encompass some 78% of Palestine and — oddly enough — the “neighbors” — were progressively moved out!
        Brave little Yishuv!

        Zionism, however, was and is not a passive theory of a gemutlich community, but an aggressive doctrine aiming at the re-conquest of land they never owned and the explusion of non-Jews. Zionism sought and required conflict, then and now. And Seliger’s account of the Nakba is little better than hypocrisy.

        1. Richard — it is hard to stay “on topic” because discussion always gets finally into fundamental beliefs etc. I don’t see how to avoid the “cheer leading” that results. One must refute misinformation and disparage dumb ideas.

          1. I direct these comments at Seliger & those to his right who introduce non sequitur historical arguments which tend to distract rather than enlighten. I understand if others like you respond to them. The point scoring is a reference to their techniques.

          1. Which political party in Israel represents the sort of Zionism that you believe in?

            Is there one that comes close at least?

          2. None. The left is pretty much dead as a political movement (i.e. electoral politics) in Israel. I like Hadash except that it’s pretty exclusively an Israeli Palestinian party. From what I know of Dov Khenin, I like his politics.

      2. Richard, the Arab residents of Palastina – Israel, formally rejected the partition plan. The Arab Higher Committee (הוועד הערבי העליון בארץ ישראל) which was the political body representing the Arab residents of Palastina – Israel officially rejected the partition plan the day it was adopted at the UN with Jamal al-Husayni stating before that, that Palestine will be filled with Jewish Blood. They also rejected the UN peace proposal of March 1948, and arranged the Palestinian militias, funding and operations.

        So saying the Palestinian residents has no vote on their future is not accurate.

        1. Of course Palestinians rejected the partition plan: Would an American accept the partition of America? Or an Italian the partition of Italy? This not excuse either the Palestinian from failing to foresee the consequences or the Zionists from never seeking true accomodation of Palestinians in their own land.

          The UN was created primarily to disavow the aggrandizement of territory through force, i.e. expanionist war. Israel agreed to this principle on becoming a member and then promptly turned around and waged just such war for territory or to keep territory obtained through such war.
          Israel can never cite the UN for anything — it has ignored with impunity (no sanctions) numerous UN resolutions. To cite the UN plan in any way amounts to cherry picking UN actions.

          Ben Gurion hoped the Arabs would reject partition. He was a Zionist but not a fool.

        2. This is precisely what I didn’t want to do. And I said so explicitly. You clearly can read & understand English. I DO NOT want to get into a stale historical exercise on who was wrong or right in 1947. Did you understand that?

          As far as I understand there was no Palestinian political body representing Palestinians in the same coordinated, organized way the Yishuv represented the Jews. Even if there was, there is absolutely NO justification for Nakba. None.

          I categorically reject any contention that Arab rejection of the Partition justified in any way what came afterward. If you want to argue this point you will have to do it elsehwere I’m afraid. Not here. Do you understand that as well? Good.

  6. I have one positive thing to say about the Beinart piece, but I’ll get to that after first agreeing your criticisms and adding one more. Is Beinart opposed to sanctions on Iran? Was he opposed to the sanctions on Iraq or the blockade of Gaza? I don’t know offhand–maybe he was opposed to one or all of them, and if so, good for him, but what I’ve noticed in general is that in the US it’s apparently okay to inflict great economic and humanitarian hardship on Muslims, but a much milder set of sanctions inflicted on Israelis is somehow a really terrible thing to contemplate. Well, if BDS was going to be as harsh as the sanctions on Iraq or Gaza, I’d agree. But I don’t think anyone even contemplates trying to turn Israel into a collapsed economic basket case on the verge of humanitarian disaster. Again, we only do that sort of thing to Muslims.

    Now for the positive note. As flawed as the Beinart piece is, it was nice to see even the most anemic sanctions suggested for some group of people or some set of corporations somehow linked to Israel, even if he hems and haws and whitewashes and weakens all of his criticisms. He and the NYT are still going to get shrieks of outrage directed at them. I don’t feel any sympathy–they should go much further and if the NYT had any sense of fair play, they’ll run a pro-BDS piece some time in the near future. I’m not holding my breath.

      1. Gimme a break. One op ed by Ali Abunimah & one by Rashi Khalidi in 5 yrs. And certainly a few others like the one about pinkwashing. That’s all well & good as far as it goes, but that’s not very far & really tokenism. Meanwhile how many scores by Israel and its right wing supporters? And how many by lib Zionists?

        1. The NYT printed four letters today on the Beinart piece. Three of them were critical from a pro-Israel POV. One was critical from a pro-Palestinian POV. One of the three pro-Israel types suggested that it should be the Palestinians who ought to be boycotted. It never crossed his mind that the blockade on Gaza was a bit more severe than BDS would be. Another mentioned the rockets, also seemingly unaware that Israel had done anything to Gazans since the withdrawal of Gaza settlers.

        2. The NY Times published a piece by Mahmoud Abbas around the time of the UN bid, which shocked me. But of course, they’ll never publish anything by Khaled Meshaal although it would be enlightening reading. It’s a fig leaf – the real NY Times hides behind the “fairness” facade. But it only goes so far and never questions the legitimacy of what is going on in the West Bank and Gaza, no matter who gets published.

    1. Your observation about sanctions is right on, and useful. We promote not buying hummus which supports the Golani brigade while Iraq, and now Iran, were economically outlawed by sanctions and, as you say, brought to their knees! The double standard in American foreign policy is typified by these sorts of incommensurate policies.

  7. The Beinert NY Times op-ed article has stirred immediate vigorous reactions pro and con, both in the Letters of the Time column, and in this Tikun Olam website and others.

    I think there is a recent sea-change in the character of this discussion on the Internet. Instead of merely continually stated assertions of who’s right and who’s wrong, there is more attention being given to commonly accepted historical facts, as well as acknowledgement that many of the standard assertions made on this topic are not factually correct, or are even fanciful.

    I do fervently hope there will be a BDS peace in the Times soon to describe the specifics of the BDS campaign and its objectives. Like Donald, I’m not holding my breath. But basic, incontrovertible facts about BDS and its purposes are readily available in “BDS – Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions: the Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights”” by Omar Barghouti (Haymarket Books).

    1. Now if the NYT published something like that, maybe we’d start having a real conversation about the subject in the MSM.

    2. Yes, it’s the token Palestinian who gets to publish once every two weeks. It wasn’t brave of him to allow this to be published. He knew he needed at least one token Palestinian voice (Hussein Ibish is a hopelessly compromised Arab voice). So he has Yousef, who never even bothered to reply to my questions of him via Twitter.

      1. Well, that’s true about Beinart. I was comparing Beinart to the NYT–it can cause grade inflation when one uses them as the standard.

  8. Be it noted: Israel has never formally declared what its borders are or should be, nor have borders for Israel ever been defined by international agreement or mandate.

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