11 thoughts on “Netanyahu: Ethnic Cleanser – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. So you want to dredge up statements from 30 years ago, huh?

    That’s just what Israel’s right wing extremists do with Palestinian leaders statements, only more recent ones. . Go look at one of your favorite hasbarah sites for plenty of examples. They use these statements to “prove” the Palestinian’s “real” intentions. These conclusions are false, of course.

    Both sides certainly made regrettable statements, it was a different time, in a different world, in different circumstances. Netanyahu is no humanist, but leaders do change, not because they are transformed individuals, but because circumstances force it. Olmert changed. Sharon changed. So did Begin and Rabin. Maybe Arafat changed to some degree, I’m not sure. I think Abbas has changed.

    1. @Yehuda:

      The difference is that the Zionist-hasbara narrative holds it to be true that the Palestinians are “genocidal” and “hate Jews for no reason” just because, and with nothing to actually back those kinds of demonizing claims up, in terms of actual evidence.

      Israel, on the other hand, has a proven, historical record of mass expulsions, ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Well over one million expelled and ethnically cleansed in a 20-year period .

      Netanyahu has proven himself to a rabid expansionist and clearly has the power and mentality to potentially encourage resumed ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. There’s a big difference between him and his pack of dangerous lunatics in the Knesset and nasty “fighting words” from Hamas or some other Palestinian entity because Israel continues to murder Palestinians and otherwise collectively abuse them as a people.

  2. My understanding is that an important differentiating personality trait is whether one favors plurality and diversity
    versus those opposed to these qualities. Netanyahu is strongly on the side of those in opposition. In a position of power, it is not surprising that he would attempt to carry out policies in that direction,. perhaps even more so as he begins to realize he will not forever be in power. Thus, those who disagree with that direction, need to find allies and re-double their efforts. to defeat that individual and his cohorts.

  3. Norman Finkelstein has commented that in 2014 Netanyahu appears to have followed the advice he gave back in 1989. Once world media attention had shifted away from Gaza because of the downing of an airliner over Ukraine, he was free to step up the violence against Gaza with fewer consequences. And he did it. So it’s unlikely that his comments from 1989 represent some sort of fleeting aberration.

  4. Richard.
    Between 1984 and 1989, Israel deported only 50 Palestinian ‘inciters’, and Bibi was aware of that number when he made his speech. So, relatively speaking, deporting 500 ‘inciters’ is a ‘ large number’, and deporting 500 ‘inciters’ is a ‘large scale’ expulsion.

    But deporting 500 Palestinians is not ethnic cleansing., when millions are left undisturbed in the Territories.

    Size matters, and so does context.

  5. This apple did not fall far from the tree. I am posting here an article I wrote last year which is relevant to Richard’s post and to this discussion:

    Benjamin, a male given name: from Hebrew, meaning “son of the right”.

    I became acquainted with the Netanyahu family in Jerusalem after the 1973 war as a good friend of one of the Netanyahu brothers. The Netanyahu boys’ political consciousness was largely formed and groomed by their tough and strong-minded father Bentzion Netanyahu. Bentzion was an ultra-militant Jewish nationalist who in his early thirties moved to NYC to be the personal secretary of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of the hard-line Revisionist movement. Bentzion’s father (Bibi’s grandfather Nathan) had too once come to live in America (1925-1929) for the purpose of influencing the American political establishment to advance his earlier-day Revisionist-Zionist visions. In 1947, still living in NYC and working as executive director of The United Zionists-Revisionists of America (the political rival of the mainstream ZOA), Bentzion campaigned hard AGAINST the 1947 UN partition plan (since all of Palestine should belong to Jews only) which included taking out an ad in the NY Times against the plan just before that historic UN vote. Many prominent Jewish thinkers of the time, such as Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt publicly labeled the Revisionist movement leaders extremist fascists, and called for US Jewry to disengage from them.

    Bentzion was an academic whose scholarship expertise was the Medieval Spanish Inquisition and the torture methods used on Jews. He truly believed that most Gentiles are out to get all Jews, and even if they appear not to be, eventually they will. (I remember one time at the Netanyahu family residence when he told me this in no uncertain and somewhat startling terms). He returned to Israel after its 1948 Independence, but the then ruling Labor establishment stood in the way of the Hebrew University professorship he wanted (and felt he deserved). Somewhat an out-cast, he eventually moved his family to the U.S. where he got his university position – and the boys their American accent.

    Bibi may use bombastic rhetoric, or appear as an over-the-top or even contrived grand-stander. But don’t be confused. This style is but the political modern-populist expression of his deep fear-driven, extremist essence. He really does see threats lurking everywhere – Gentiles always out to get Jews. He truly does believe in the supreme historical right of Jews to all of Greater Israel – all others there be damned. And it is from these convictions that comes a wide self-granted license to say or act as he deems necessary in their pursuit.

    Bentzion was an early advocate of transferring the indigenous Palestinian population out of Palestine, and actively promoted a 1939 Palestine Review article urging that “the masses of Palestinian Arabs be transferred peaceably and in orderly fashion to Iraq.”

    And Bibi, as deputy Foreign Minister in 1989 in front of a small group at Bar-Ilan University said: “Israel should have taken advantage of the suppression of the demonstrations in China [Tiananmen Square], when the world’s attention was focused on what was happening in that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the Territories. However, to my regret, they did not support that policy that I proposed, and which I still propose should be implemented.”

    This is why Bibi saw a (centrifuge-free) Iran as an “imminent” nuclear-armed “existential threat” a quarter-century ago, and likens modern Israel’s (nuclear-armed) regional-power position to that of the stateless and powerless European Jews of 1938. This is why he riled-up and drove his political supporters to violent opposition against the “dangerous” and “treacherous” Oslo accords in 1995, which fueled the zealot flames that led to Rabin’s assassination and Oslo’s demise. And this is why he recently called on an establishment-pillared and very influential French Jewry to leave France en mass, as if the Dreyfus affair was still an ongoing and urgent matter though now prosecuted by a government residing in Vichy.

    Fear and militant expansionism form an unending feedback loop. This is Bibi’s formula – though not an original one. Settler expansionism and its corollary Palestinian dispossession generate deep animosity, which in turn generates the dehumanization-enabling fear which serves to justify further domination and expansion. It is a spiral of violence and dread that leads to nowhere one would wish, and which can turn once-enlightened people into whole nations of frightened, violence-justifying haters.

    Though of the three boys Bibi wasn’t, or because he wasn’t, the apple of his father’s eye – he always was, and still very much is, his father’s son.

    And thus; the dark, fearful, and destructive outlook that Israel’s early leadership consciously out-cast as they labored to build a forward-looking society with Holocaust survivors, has now much become Israel’s core political philosophy, and an extremist Judean Zionism rules Jerusalem like the uncompromising Judean Zealots who brought down a Jewish State two thousand long and tragic years ago.

    “I should not be wrong in saying that the capture of the city began with the death of Ananus; and that the overthrow of the walls and the downfall of the Jewish state dated from the day on which the (Zealots) Jews beheld their high priest, the captain of their salvation, butchered in the heart of Jerusalem.”
    – Flavius Josephus (Yosef Ben Matityahu) “The Wars Of The Jews” 75 AD

  6. Yehuda said:

    ” but leaders do change,”

    There are indeed people of whom one can say, when one of their earlier statements is quoted, – Huh, that seems totally out of character – .Netanyahu is not one of them..

    Bernie X said:

    “when millions are left undisturbed”

    You mean they are harassed where they are.

    1. @Arie– Netanyahu is clearly an intellectual descendant of the Revisionist branch of Zionism and I don’t deny that. And I am not defending him.
      My only claim is that history is replete with examples of leaders of various personalities and histories, who, because of changing circumstances (including the moral landscape) change their policies. So, despite his previous statements, and the sentiments among some Israelis, there will be no expulsion or ethnic cleansing, not by Netanyahu or by any other Israeli leader.

  7. Yehuda wrote:

    “… there will be no expulsion or ethnic cleansing, not by Netanyahu or by any other Israeli leader.”

    Sorry but that assurance seems to me to be based on exactly nothing. There seems to me to be somewhat more evidence for the opposite view, namely that he is waiting for the world to be distracted elsewhere to go ahead with pleasing old Benzion.posthumously. His view on what he can get away with will depend on the scope of the distraction.. I wouldn’t fancy the Palestinians’ chances for instance if there iwere a major conflagration between China and the US which from my vantage point seems somewhat more likely than probably from yours.

    1. @Arie– indeed, there may be a confrontation between China and the US, and God help us if there is.
      But honestly, do you think the Israel High Court would permit mass expulsions of Palestinians? Do you think that the legislature would pass such a thing? With the free press in Israel, do you think they could get by with something like that?
      Nothing is impossible, but there are too many solid civil institutions in Israel to allow such a thing. It is basically unthinkable, except in the minds of people who are looking to stir up hatred.

      I would not rule out a situation, where if there were an all out no holds barred civil war in Israel, that in the course of the warfare there would be refugees, such as in Syria or Iraq. But I consider this to be an extremely unlikely scenario.

      Honestly, it is a pointless argument because it is based on hypotheticals and counterfactuals. If you look at the trajectory of the Palestinians, they are moving towards more independence not less.

  8. @Yehuda

    ” … except in the minds of people who are looking to stir up hatred.”

    Hatred doesn’t have to be stirred up there. It is there already by the bucket full and it might ultimately undermine all those allegedly solid institutions you are talking about.

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