16 thoughts on “Amitai Etzioni, Nakba and Moral Blindness – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard.
    Was the acquisition of your Seattle from the Puget Sound Native Americans moral, just and bloodless?

    1. @ Shoshana: Do you know how many times hasbarists before you have tried this little rhetorical trick? What never ceases to amaze me is people like you who think you’ve come up with a masterful argument no one’s ever thought of before!

      So here’s the boring response I gave to the last people (yes, more than one has tried it) who offered that argument. First, the native tribes here were among the first in the U.S. to make a massive claim against the U.S. government for their dispossession. As a result they received compensation in a negotiated resolution of those claims. Not to mention other consideration Native Americans receive for their special status as indigenous peoples.

      Not that I justify their treatment or the genocide perpetrated against them. Their treatment was inexcusable. It’s a dark stain on our country. One that, were I alive at the time, I would’ve protested strenuously. In fact, none of my antecedents were even in this country at the time of the Native American genocide. So attributing personal blame or responsibility to me is a nifty trick.

        1. You apparently haven’t read carefully. NW tribes were compensated for loss of their lands. Aare you compensating Palestinians for theft of theirs? Not to mention that we ‘re no longer engaging in genocide against Native. Americans while Israeli dispossession of. Palestinians continues unabated.

          You might want to explain the Bible’s call for genocide against non-Israelite tribes like Amalek, the Moabites, etc. Israelite genocide far predates. U.S. genociide.

    2. @Shoshana Hundreds of years separate these “conquests.” Second, if the Zionists stole the land, as you appear to accept, then reparations are owed. Israel — not the survivors as I understand — has been receiving reparations for harm done from European states for some time. Why shouldn’t the Nakba be recognized by Israel and reparations offered? Israel won’t admit to any hand in the misfortune of these people and this is telling of the mindset that feels entitled to whatever it wants, just like most crooks.

  2. My understanding is that Etzioni served with the Palmach in 1947-1948 so it was quite possible that he did not witness the ethnic cleansing in his own village. He was likely stationed in some other part of Palestine doing whatever in those locations. I once asked him if he ever apologized to any Palestinian for having driven them out when he served in Palmach. He acted deeply insulted and responded the question did not deserve an answer.

  3. Thank you, Richard, that was a very good article. I hope someone will send it forward to this Amitai Etzioni guy. Isn’t it amazing, we’re in the time of the internet and this guy didn’t do anything to find out about his “Sidney Alley”. I guess he didn’t really want to know. In “Salt of this Sea” by Annemarie Jacir, Juliano Mer-Khamis is an Israeli schoolteacher taking his students to see some ‘old ruins from their past’, it’s in fact the ruins of the Palestinian village al-Dawayima whose inhabitants were massacred in october ’48, described by Israeli testimonies as being at least as violent as Deir Yassin (cf. al-Dawayima massacre, wiki).
    I tried to find some informations about the village al-Haram [the sanctuary] that Walid Khalidi also mentions in his masterpiece “All that Remains”, and came across what seems to be a just published book based on a doctoral thesis: “Zionism and Land Tenure in Mandate Palestine” by Aida Asim Essaid. Routledge 2014. Chapter 6 is a case study of the village of al-Haram. It’s on google.books, but only a few pages of chapter 6 is available, starting p. 175 (I haven’t read it but will later). Maybe Amitai Etzioni should buy that book too….

    1. Would love your feedback on my research. My objective was to dissect the land tenure system to understand how ownership actually changed before 1948…unfortunately the methods used by Zionist actors then are still being used today. I chose Al Haram as one of the case studies to show how the system was being implemented. Thanks for the mention.

  4. I do not understand the heartache about whether Palestinians were expelled or not. There is plenty of proof that they were driven out, either directly or by instilling fear in them. The fact is that they were not allowed to return which, as far as I can see, is expulsion in any case.

    Finkelstein does a masterful job of taking on Shavit’s silly book and I recommend it highly. There are special attributes of the Zionist narrative. This story has unspoken parts: The silence about what to do with the Arabs is one of these. So little is actually said in the record. What were they thinking? Did they hope that enough Jews would settle in Palestine to make a majority in some part and, when that didn’t quite work out, the unspoken policy of cleansing went into effect without clear written orders?

  5. Yes, everybody lives on blood-soaked land. Doesn’t the story go that ancient Israel took its lands from more ancient peoples? With [Hebrew] God’s blessing, to be sure. (No info in the Hebrew Bible about what the Gods of those other folks had to say about it all.) So 1948 was a replay. Same territorial drives, although different “laws”.

    As to blood-soaking, for me (is this MY escape hatch from guilt?), the distinguishing event is that the UN was formed BEFORE Israel self-declared and the UN charter, which Israel seems to have declared its approval of, declares the impermissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. so that the creation of Israel violated the sense of the UN Charter. See also UNSC 242.

    As to “fallow land”: today meat is “cheap” in the USA because we factory-farm beef, et al., on a small territory (a factory feed-lot, very closely and inhumanely cooped-up chickens and pigs) and meat from “free-range” beef and sheep and swine and chickens are very expensive. The cheaper meat is heavily loaded with antibiotics, some quite unnecessary (call it added poisoning) but some to combat the diseases of this land-free method of animal husbandry.

    My guess is that grazing people (perhaps Bedu in Palestine) used the land as efficiently as possible (for meat production anyhow (sheep and goats) — vegetarianism not having become popular at the time I suppose — and “fallow land” was really grazing land.

  6. Were my comments removed? I’m surprised–neither seemed out of line. Maybe it’s a technical glitch. The first one was in agreement with Richard in his argument with Shoshana and the second asked a question about what Etzioni was trying to say when he claimed that there was enough room for both Palestinians and Jews in Israel–it almost sounded like an argument for a one state solution. Which was puzzling, given his resort to standard hasbara claims about why the Palestinians in the neighboring village left.

    1. @ Donald: Apologies to you & others for any lost comments. I reverted back to a previous version of my installation in an attempt to fix a website problem. THis caused the loss of comments published yesterday. Though I know it’s inconvenient. If you can republish them, I’d appreciate that.

      1. Thanks–I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t on your bad side, so to speak. The first was basically about how odd it was that modern day Zionists use American treatment of the Native Americans as a defense of Israel. Benny Morris is the first person I’d seen ever do that back in 2004. Before then the only people who made that comparison were people like Norman Finkelstein, who was pointing out the racism and immorality common to both situations. The second was basically just what I rewrote above–Etzioni almost seems to be arguing for a 1SS in his piece, claiming that both sides could have lived together, but he also repeats the usual nonsense about why the Palestinians left. I suppose he could be claiming that the Palestinians had their chance for a 1SS and blew it but it sounded a little self-contradictory.

  7. Dr. Falk/Etzioni is, in my humble opinion, public enemy number one, regardless of the country he’s in. I stand in dedicated, open opposition to his recommendations to my government regarding policy and laws that govern our citizens. Etzioni played an advisory role in every unconstitutional action taken against the American people since he slipped into the White House under Jimmy Carter. He mentored the Clintons, the Bushes and Barack Obama, and isn’t it interesting how little attention the Obama haters paid to him? He bills himself as “one of the most admired intellectuals in the USA” (where most people never heard of him at all!) and as the “everything expert”. His organization, the Communitarian Network at GWU, claims to be shoring up the moral, social and political environment… all in a vague, soft, fuzzy way we’re not supposed to notice or care to notice.

    I’ve been challenging Etzioni to a public debate over the Privacy “issue” since March 2000. I joined his old forum back in 2001 and have been a tiny thorn in his side ever since. While he only responded to me once via email, many moons ago, his office assistant Erin Riska confirmed in 2003 that he read my websites and I did get a notice from Twitter that he’s following me there now (lol). I am definitely just a nobody with no credentials or positions to brag about, but my very existence proves his communitarian theory is imperfect

    As the co-founder of the Anti Communitarian League, a dinky, unfunded, genuine grassroots attempt to be a barrier between Etzioni and American liberty, I am always looking for confirmation or rebuttal to my assessment of the man, his power and his influence, which seems to only grow. This article obviously goes into my confirmation folder. Thank you for pursuing it to the level you did.

    I’m very interested now in establishing Werner Falk/Amiati Etzioni’s family history in Germany. I’m specifically wondering if Etzioni is any relation to Samuel Falk, the hidden Magician of the Moravians who was sometimes called the oracle for the Christian caballists in the 17th century. Any idea how to find out more about his family line? From what I’ve read, Etzioni doesn’t often revealed their actual names.

    P.S. Erin Riska confirmed, in writing, in 2003, that Etzioni does not write most of what he puts his name on. She said it was all mostly written by his assistants.

    Again, thank you for taking Etzioni to task for being such a shameless manipulator.


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