27 thoughts on “Lange Lies, Again – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Long ago I posted a comment on a major American news organisation’s site. Though critical of Israel, it was written in a rather civilised manner. It’s been vetted off the page within a minute or two due to readers’ complaints, suggesting a coodinated gang action.
    Looking at other comments, I was amazed to see quite a few rude, patheticly antisemitic comments while no reasonably mannered criticism of Israel was to be found.
    It became quite clear to me there was a sinister, organised campaign going on to silence all civilised criticism of Israel while allowing — probably producing — Nazi-style comments to monopolise the Anti-Zionist side of the discussion.

    1. yankel, you are quite correct in your suspicions. We have seen some of these neo-nazi-like comments in quite a few blogs as well. usually channeling some old protocol canrad or other. These are almost certainly posted by the pro-israelites, in an effort to teint all legitimate and impassioned criticism of israel, or, for that matter, the lobby that enables that country’s bad behavior. On the positive side, it’s easy enough to recognize the agent provocateurs by the shrillness of the message and the fact that it is usually not connected to anything than anyone else said. Richard has been effectively policing his commenters, but not everyone can, and when it comes to the MSM, tools such as giyus (now supplanted) have done qquite a job at messing up the comments sections of eg, the Gurdian’s Cif pages. Which is one reason the Cif now is a far cry from what it once was, especially when it comes to I/P.

      I suggest you keep trying. You know, the hasbara-bots can’t be everywhere …..

  2. You write: “They are the smiling face of Likudism and the national security state, while Thomas is the ugly, racist, homicidal dark side”. Well, as to personalities, hats off to you. But as to the characterization of Israel as a “national security state”, my take is that Israel (like the USA) is an “outward-reaching militarist imperialist state”, that is, a state not content with the secret-police-style internal controls suggested (perhaps only to me) by “national security state”.

  3. “Frankly, I will warn the pro-Israel commenters who publish here that henceforth I will consider all of them either paid shills or potential paid shills for Israel’s Likudist government. ”

    Henceforth? You have, even before this, almost invariably accused anyone who presents reasoned, factual arguments on Israel’s behalf, as being precisely that. You know perfectly well that there is no way to DISPROVE such an accusation, so it’s easy enough for you to slander us in this way and get away with it.

    1. Your complaint should be directed at your prime minister who’s discredited your participation in any online website or social media site. The problem isn’t me. I didn’t devise this disgusting program. But I will be forced to respond to it by suspecting every right wing pro Israel commenter of having the same motives these paid, secret pro Israel shills have.

      1. @ Richard
        “Your complaint should be directed at your prime minister who’s ”
        BS, what is that joke you have here about Ben-Gurion ? How long are you using that line ?
        What is it you called me ? “El Al Miki flight ?

    2. Shimona, could you provide perhaps a single “factual” argument on “Israel’s behalf” vis-a-vis the settlements? how about the conquest and subjugation of palestine and the “veil of tears”? no straying off the subject though – OK? it’s Ok to make comparisons with American indians, if you wish.

      I suggest a viewing of “budrus” might help – I really would like to know what the defense of the horror show visited by israel are. Yes, I know, there’s always Attila’s argument (the best defense is offense – did he really say that?). can also try the “manifest destiny” – that kind of works – in a racial supremacist context. Actually i think that the pro-israelites would do well to re-read the literature of the early conquistadors. some of them DID actually advance arguments. Usually followed by the sword. but who’s quibbling?

      Actually i do wish someone would advance the argument that in the end, the fence around Budrus was moved, showing just how civilized “the only democracy in the ME” is. It’s a good opening move, wanna try it?

  4. @Dana: “Shimona, could you provide perhaps a single “factual” argument on “Israel’s behalf” vis-a-vis the settlements?”
    Do you mean a defence of Israel’s right to BUILD “settlements”? Or to expand them? Or do you mean, not so much the “settlements” – as the “settlers”?
    What about factual arguments which pro-Israel commentators have advanced in the past about other subjects, such as the refutation of the oft-repeated lie that Israel is an “apartheid state”(only to be accused of being professional hasbarists)? Or the false claim made some time ago on this blog that Arabs are not allowed to live in Jewish neighbourhoods? Or the inaccurate claims of discrimination against Arabs based on a biased and twisted use of statistics?
    ” no straying off the subject though – OK? ” – That is, in fact, exactly what YOU have done. If I now launch into a defence of “the settlements”, Mr Silverstein will no doubt castigate me for straying off topic.
    So – if you want to know what I have to say, on the subjects of the “settlements”, you will have to wait until that is the topic at hand, when I will decide whether or not I have anything to say on the matter. Failing that – and if you cannot curb your impatience – feel free to visit my blog. I, at least, don’t censor opposing points of view, as long as they are couched in more or less civilised language.

    1. Shimona, not bad for starters – conquistadors had a few better arguments though – may be you should stray away from your own cult literature now and then? there were many conquests throughout human history, some far more brutal than whatever israel has committed. Those too were justifiied in the minds of those who did the conquering.

      Alas, if you don’t see hasbara in denying the obvious, cf., apartheid due to a racially supremacist ideology promulgated by a militarized garrison “state”, then your blog will hold little surprise – or appeal – for me. having carried on for a while calling it the way it is, it seems to me from your opening moves that the level you care to dwell on will be a bit low on the starting block. I can of course suggest some good readings for you – to help take it up a notch, but again, though again, few would be interested in taking on a handicap just for the dubious pleasure of running in a secondary race on such poorly maintained terrain.

      As for Richard’s blog, it’s his and i can’t blame him for not having much patience with peddlers of worn PR masquerading as self-justifying holy-land ooz. he gets more of them than most, probably because of the topics he wrestles with. Those who come here to justify mafeasances by painting lipstick on skunks, seem of a rather low caliber.

      Mind you, he didn’t like everything I had to say either but that’s par for the course. If you come to someone’s blog with disputations, be prepared to get a smack down. last i saw, there’s no rule that requires anyone to tolerate comments from anyone else, if they don’t care for it. You can police your own blog anyway you want. of course, to get people to come and visit, you might consider a slightly more appetizing enticement.

    2. Listing all those refutable lies we lefties spread about your paymasters’ state of apartheid, Shimona, you failed to mention the oft-repeated root fallacy of them all — that “two and two make four” — all the rest are just its unavoidable logical derivatives.

  5. @Dana: “Alas, if you don’t see hasbara in denying the obvious, cf., apartheid due to a racially supremacist ideology promulgated by a militarized garrison “state”, then your blog will hold little surprise – or appeal – for me.”

    And here we go again, claiming that it’s “obvious” that Israel is “an apartheid state” because of her “racially supremacist Ideology”. Two flaws in that argument, Dana, – first, you haven’t proved that Israel has a “racially supremacist ideology” (and no, giving priority to Jewish olim in what even the UN intended to be a Jewish state is not proof of “supremacist ideology”) and second (even more to the point) you haven’t proved that any of the characteristic apartheid laws which applied in South Africa – and, indeed, to the southern states of the USA until the mid-1960s – are applicable in Israel. Frankly, I wonder if you even know what “apartheid” really was. I am forced to state these facts again and again, because people like you keep side-stepping the gauntlet I have thrown down. As long as you and people like you continue to tell lies about Israel, I have no choice to point out that that’s exactly what they are – LIES – and counter them with the truth. If you don’t want me to keep repeating the facts, then stop telling lies.

    @Yankel: I have no paymasters. I defend Israel because I am an Israeli who loves her country. Clearly, the concept is alien to you. Tell me, are you paid for Israel-bashing or do you do it for the sheer fun of expressing your hatred of the Jewish state?

    1. Characteristics of apartheid in South Africa

      In no way can one describe the South in the US as living under apartheid rule. Don’t confuse segregation and discrimination with apartheid. I fail to see any purpose to find similarity between Israel and South Africa. The “blanken” in South Africa cannot be seen as occupiers and I don’t see supremacist ideology as mainstream in Israel. The problems between Israelis and Palestinians are unique and as such should be discussed and negotiated for a permanent peace. Of course, a visitor like Mitt Romney who acclaims: “Jewish People a Superior Race” doesn’t really help the cause.

    2. @Shimona: One of the main themes of this blog is offering ongoing proof, with just about every day & post, that contemporary Israel and the classical Zionist ideology on which it is based is “racially supremacist.” The Law of Return (which doesn’t offer “priority” to Jewish olim, it offers automatic citizenship) is only one indicator of that. Rabbinical control of major aspects of civic life like marriage, death & divorce; settlerist domination of domestic politics; restrictions on the ownership or leasing of land to Jews–all of these & much, much more indicate a Israel that is racist to its core.

      Unlike some, I don’t believe this was predetermined historically. I believe Israel’s Zionist establishment made certain choices that led to the current predicament. There had been other Zionist streams that would’ve led in a clearly different direction, but which were suppressed or ignored. Further, these historical streams of the movement give me hope that Israel can be transformed at some point and return to its universalist roots. At any rate, we have now what we have. History is hindsight.

      As for classical apartheid laws: laws and practice concerning Israeli Palestinians clearly indicate a huge divide between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. THis is de jure apartheid. In the Territories however, apartheid is legally inscribed (or I should say “illegally”). There are scores if not hundreds of examples of this. Just a few are segregated public roads; theft of Palestinian lands by Jews which are sanctioned by the state; application of military law to civilian Palestinian population.

      Don’t throw down any gauntlets here. And cut the over-dramatizations. You’re just a run of the mill hasbarist with little new, interesting or even provocative to say. Don’t get carried away with yourself.

      Anyone notice that with the “loss” of our few dearly departed hasbarists in the past week, we’ve gained a few new hasbarists who’ve come in for their landing here?? Welcome Shimona from hasbara central. We’ll enjoy your stay here while it lasts. Look behind you and you’ll see your replacement already lined up to take your place after your departure. Have a nice stay while you’re here. Be sure to use your seat belt on your departing flight.

      As for being in the pay of anyone, I assure you there’s no pay in being critical of Israeli apartheid and Occupation. On the other hand, your government is spending tens of millions in its hasbara war, including paying people just like you to do exactly what you’re doing. That phenomenon too is well documented. So anyone who suspects you of being in the pay of Israel advocates is being prudent.

      As for your ‘facts’ about Israel, I’ve heard nothing but your opinion. Opinions aren’t facts till they’re bolstered by evidence, none of which you offer.

      NOTE: Shimona has violated a cardinal comment rule. She’s used a previous nickname, Simone. She was banned using that nickname. Now she’s returned like a hasbara Zombie assuming a new identity, Shimona. By rights, I should just ban “Shimona” outright. But I’m going to moderate her instead of banning her outright. That means that I will only approve comments that don’t violate the comment rules. And the first time Shimona does this she will be banned again.

      1. The Law of Return is not racially “supremicist” – even if it includes a racial aspect. It is the legitimate piece of legislation in a soverign democratic state to allow in Jews as a matter of legally protected right, precisely BECAUSE Jews have been persecuted in many different countries and had no guaranteed place of refuge. It apples not only to those who are halachically Jewish (whether by birth or conversion) but also those who have even one Jewish grandparent and might be considered Jewish by others.

        Also, the Law of return does not exist in a legislative vacuum. That is, allthough no one other than those mentioned above are granted the automatic right by the Law of Return, that law exists in parallel with the discretion of the Minister of the Interior to grant right of entry and residence to others – a right which has been exercised in favour of African refugees from Muslim countries and Vietnamese refugees from Communism. No doubt some will say that this is Israel grandstanding or playing to the gallery, but that is very much part of the “heads I win tails you lose” approach of Israel’s critics.

        Regarding banning Shimona/Simone, as you delight in pointing out it’s your blog and you can run it as you please. Perhaps that’s the way that both Israel and the Arabs should negotiate: setting strict rules and ending the discussion as soon as the other side is perceived to break them.

        1. A law encouraging Jews — by birth or by conversion — to “return” to their supposedly ancestral land of bygone millennia while ruling out the right of (often stateless) Palestinian refugees to return to their very own property — robbed by the same law — is racist by definition.

          Trying to gain credits for acceptance of African refugees while actualy coercing them to return to the killing fields by forcing them into what’s evolving to be crude concentration camps (Heb: http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4413951,00.html ) is grossly hypocritical.

          While there are plenty of internationally accepted rules regarding the treatment of occupied land and its inhabitants, Israel takes great pride of disregarding them.

        2. @Thomas Holloway: THere are almost no Jews in the world today who face the imminent need of refuge from persecution as they once did 70 years ago. To enshrine such a policy in perpetuity in national laws when historical circumstances have changed dramatically means setting a country’s interests and policies in concrete. Israel needs to be a country for all its citizens, not just its Jewish citizens. Every citizen needs equal access to all resources & rights. No religion should be privileged. If Jewishness is a privileged status in Israel then that is racist by its very definition.

          It’s remarkable that you point to the benficence of Israel offering haven to a few thousand refugees a few decades ago when the country’s views of refugees today are fraught with racism. What African refugees from a Muslim or any other country have been given legal refuge in Israel lately? Please don’t try to pass off bullshit as new mown hay. It doesn’t pass the smell test.

          As for what you think about my moderating (I didn’t ban her as you claim) Simone, I don’t recall asking your opinion nor do I care what it is. The comment threads here are not an international peace negotiation. They’re just a blog. So your attempt at wit and one-upsmanship wasn’t at all convincing. Besides, the day that someone like you or Simone contributes a jot or tittle to bringing peace is the day the earth will stand still.

      1. @ Richard
        The EI-article links to a second article by Ravid:
        “Early this morning Haaretz reported that Seaman had been suspended from his official position”
        I didn’t log in to read the article (I stick to the 10 monthly for free), but the headline says: “Israel’s PR chief to cease activity”

  6. The fact that no Jews are currently in imminent danger, ignores the fact that these dangers are cyclic. Israel does, as you say, have a duty to serve all its citizens. But this does not negate its right – with the consent of those citizens – to allow new citizens.
    I actually agree with you that Israel’s Jewish citizens should not be privileged:that Arabs should not be exempt from military service and that tax laws should be enforced against the cash in hand economy.
    I’m not sure what you mean by the country’s views on refugees. Israel is pluralistic and harbours many views. Which African refugees from Arab countries is Israel allowing in, you ask? The ones who Manage to make it to the border.
    About not asking my opinion, I never said you did. I said you delight in saying. Just as you delighted in telling me that you didn’t ask my opinion.
    So when people negotiate peace they should be able to hear alternative views without walking out but when they simply discuss politics with their fellow men they should lose their patience?

    1. @Thomas Holloway:

      these dangers are cyclic

      And you know this how? Jews did incredibly well for themselves during a 2,000 year period when there was no Israel. As far as I can see on balance, Israel’s current policies cause more danger to Diaspora Jews than the the State offers as a refuge for endangered Jews.

      And if you acknowledge we’re in a historical cycle in which such dangers are minimal how do you even know Israel will survive long enough to shelter Jews who may need itself in the next cycle?? Because the way Israel is going, it may not exist that long. At least not as it’s presently constituted.

      I actually agree with you that Israel’s Jewish citizens should not be privileged:that Arabs should not be exempt from military service and that tax laws should be enforced against the cash in hand economy.

      That’s not at all what I wrote. I wrote that Israeli Palestinians deserved all the rights (not just the obligations) of Jewish citizens. You haven’t acknowledged these rights. You’ve only acknowledged their obligations. Until you embrace rights for these citizens you’re a disingenuous hypocrite.

      I’m not sure what you mean by the country’s views on refugees

      Where have you been for the last few years? Living in a hole? You sure haven’t been reading this blog because I’ve covered in great detail the horrific racism, violence, & outrageous infringements of the rights of refugees seeking shelter in Israel.

      1. @Richard Silverstein
        “Jews did incredibly well for themselves during a 2,000 year period when there was no Israel.”

        I would hardly call being subject to pogroms, blood libels, massacres, forced conversion to Islam, and forced baptism “doing incredibly well” – and that’s before we even come to the Holocaust. All these happened when there was no Israel.

        “As far as I can see on balance, Israel’s current policies cause more danger to Diaspora Jews than the State offers as a refuge for endangered Jews.”

        The word “causing” in this context raises an interesting ethical question. Assuming that “Smith” provokes “Jones” and Jones responds by beating Smith’s brothernds. Who is responsible for Smith’s brother getting beaten Smith or Jones. From an ethical point of view, I would say Jones. The same applies to Israel allegedly “causing” danger to Disapora Jews.

        I suppose you could take a down-the-middle approach and say that BOTH Smith and Jones are responsible, but that still leaves the question of why you regard Diaspora Jews as being in danger? Remember that according to your own argument “There are almost no Jews in the world today who face the imminent need of refuge from persecution as they once did 70 years ago.” But in the past they clearly did. If Israel’s policies were CAUSING diaspora Jews to be in danger, then one would expect the opposite to be the case.

        “And if you acknowledge we’re in a historical cycle in which such dangers are minimal how do you even know Israel will survive long enough to shelter Jews who may need itself in the next cycle??”

        I can’t guarantee it. I never said or sought to imply that I could. But the possibility that Israel MIGHT not survive is hardly a reason for it to not exist or to not be prepared by having a law in place that allows Jews in. I do not see that allowing Jews in per se violates anyone’s rights. Therefore I cannot see any reason for the state not to have a law that reflects the will of the vast majority of its citizens.

        ME: “I actually agree with you that Israel’s Jewish citizens should not be privileged:that Arabs should not be exempt from military service and that tax laws should be enforced against the cash in hand economy.”

        YOU: That’s not at all what I wrote. I wrote that Israeli Palestinians deserved all the rights (not just the obligations) of Jewish citizens. You haven’t acknowledged these rights. You’ve only acknowledged their obligations. Until you embrace rights for these citizens you’re a disingenuous hypocrite.”

        I mentioned the obligations, you mentioned the rights. I don’t see how that makes either of us hypocrites. I suppose it would be pointless to mention the rudeness, as you would once again respond: “It’s my blog and I’ll be rude if I want, rude if I want, rude if I want to…”

        For the record, I DO believe that Arab citizens of Israel should have the right to vote, the right to stand (run) for election, the right to be lawyers and judges, doctors and pharmacists, academics and businessmen the right to study at Israel’s universities. If any Israel government tried to take these rigths away from Israel’s Arab citizens, I would oppose them. The one area where I find myself currently at odds with Israel is in their refusal to allow civil marriage (including intermarriage). However, aside from this, Israel’s human rights record is somewhat better than its neighbours.

        “Where have you been for the last few years? Living in a hole? You sure haven’t been reading this blog because I’ve covered in great detail the horrific racism, violence, & outrageous infringements of the rights of refugees seeking shelter in Israel.”

        First of all, I do read this blog, but I read other sources as well.

        Secondly, one might well argue that they aren’t technically refugees, because they didn’t come directly to Israel from their countries of origin but passed first through other countries – such as Egypt. Don’t you think those other countries had a legal and moral duty towards them?

        However, Israel HAS allowed them to stay. Yes, I’m aware that SOME Israeli citizens, notably in the southern neighbourhoods of Tel Aviv, have, on occasion, used violence towards them. But this came after a steep increase in the crime rate in those neighbourhoods, particular violent crime, and crime of a sexual nature, committed by African refugees against the Jewish residents of those neighbourhoods. In a country of seven million people, you are bound to find SOME cases of people who act like this towards refugees. Of course I don’t justify the violent reaction – but to say, because of that, that “the country’s” views of the refugees are racist, is pure hyperbole.

        1. @Thomas Holloway:

          During the 2,000 years in which Diaspora Jews lived without an Israel there were indeed episodes of violence as you note. But if you compare the level of violence during that period with the level of internal violence in the centuries before Rome conquered Judea when there was an Israel; or the level of violence since the State was created in 1948–you’ll find there were incredibly high levels of violence during those periods as well. Jews killed each other by the thousands during the Biblical era. They also killed Greeks, Romans, Philistines, Moabites, Amalekites, Jebusites & any number of other foreigners. As for the period since 1948, violence directed against Israelis has been intense as well. So I’m afraid Israel’s existence is no guarantee of safety and security for Jews.

          As for “forced conversion of Jews to Islam,” I don’t know what you’re talking about. There were some individual cases of Jews forced to convert to Christianity. But I’m not aware of any such phenomena in Islam. But I DO NOT want to get into a pissing contest about the evils of Islam. So if you go there you’re going way off-topic & I warn you not to do so.

          As for Israel causing danger to Diaspora Jews, I’m not talking of systemic danger like pogroms or expulsions of the past. I’m talking about terror attacks commmitted by angry Islamist militants in Diaspora communities. In these cases, in which extremist Muslims take their grievances out of these communities, it is very clearly Israel’s Occupation, theft of Arab land, military aggression, & level of violence against it’s Arab neighbors including the Palestinians, that provokes this hate. So sending Diaspora Jews to make aliyah will actually bring them into much more danger than having them remain–until Israel settles its disputes with the Arab frontline states.

          The Right of Return is not “a law that allows Jews in” as you state. It is a law that allows Jews automatic citizenship. That is far different than “allowing them in.” Of course I approve of allowing Jews (and non-Jews) to emigrate to Israel. I just don’t approve of automatic citizenship. I would however approve of an expedited form of citizenship for anyone (Jew or non-Jew) who could prove that the lives were in danger due to religious or ethnic violence or hatred. But this would be determined on a case by case basis, not for an entire religious class as it is now.

          The list of “rights” you’ve deigned to offer Israeli Palestinians in no way would make them equal citizens to Jews. The rights that would do so would be the right to own lease and own land anywhere in Israel with no restrictions or condition (as there are presently in many cases); the right to choose their own religious leaders without the interference of the State (as it does now); the right to serve in all the elite IDF units (as is denied them now); the right to equal funding of their municipalities to Jewish ones; the right of their relgious parties to inclusion in governing coalitions (something denied de jure currently); the right to health care, education, jobs, and social services that are at parity with Jews (none of which is the case currently). So I’m afraid your “rights” are far inferior to the ones I envision.

          As to African refugees in Israel: so because Eritreans, Sudanese, Ethiopians passed through 3rd countries on their way to Israel & aren’t “refugees” according to your fahrkochteh definition, that means that the tens of thousands of European Jews who passed through other countries on their way to havens in the U.S., Israel, Latin AMerica, etc. weren’t refugees either? You can see, I hope, that this defintion is ridiculous. A person is a refugee not due to passing directly from his native country to the country in which he seeks refuge, but rather because of the reason he left his home country, condition there at the time he left, etc. On that basis, these people are refugees and Israel is violating their rights under international law.

          Not to mention that your claim that they aren’t refugees seems designed to somehow minimize the outrageous racist violence directed at them by Israeli Jews. Was that your intent? If not, you might want to go back to your original claim that Israel has been so incredibly hospitable to African refugess and modify it (i.e. admit you may’ve been correct decades ago, but that your claim has long since been in error as far as Israel’s record of tolerance for such refugees).

          In terms of your justification of violence against African refugees, again you prove your ignorance of the facts in Israeli society. There has been NO increase in crimes in poor neighborhoods of Tel Aviv attributed to African refugees. None. This is the propaganda of Likud racists like Miri Regev which you’ve swallowed lock stock & sinker. The fact that you either are so ignorant or are parroting racist propaganda I find deeply repugnant.

          As for sexual violence in these neighborhoods, again most of this is propaganda. But the level of sexual violence among Israeli Jews is far higher than among African refugees.

          I’m officially ending your participation in this thread. You may comment in others. But you’re done in this one. Move on.

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