26 thoughts on “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: No Solutions, No Illusions – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Hey Richard, i profoundly disagree with your conclusion, but its 1;30 am here and need to go to sleep, where can I reach you by email ? do you read French? I think you will like the reason why I disagree and why there IS hope. Fundamentally no one has considered how to use the new paradigm of democracy to solving this problem, though nearly everyone professes to believe in it. I have done so applying a general method developed years ago, on how to use democracy as a tool to solve political problems. Because in the end, people create problems and people can also create solutions, States are fictions, people are real (well, “realler” at least, even ‘peoples’ are invented but for our purposes, they are more real than States).

  2. Richard

    Welcome to the light.

    I agree that no institution lasts forever. Israel as we know it will fall or transform into something very different if it survives at all.
    My reading of history is that the unpredictable occurs with astonishing frequency. And our civilization is headed for chaos that we call global warming that will so strain the system over the next few decades that surely the unexpected will occur. And in chaos no one is in charge; events seem to rule. You will probably live to see global climate chaos. My advice is to stay prepared by being true to yourself.

    Your 1st paragraph after the head “Israel” Battlefield Invincible” and last paragraph before the head “What is to be done” are key to understanding why the Palestinian cause is hopeless, and why So. Africa is a poor analog to Isr-Pal. Israel is strong and rich and has lots of friends and Palestine is weak and poor with few friends.

    I am in the fight because I must fight Israel committing crimes in my name.

  3. “But my ancestors were exterminated in Nazi death camps”

    Our ancestors were exterminated because they hadn’t the means to defend themselves.

    The Jewish State of Israel provides Jews with the means to defend themselves.

    Why anti-Zionists would want Jews to return to the ‘bad old days’, to the days when Jews lived on the sufferance of other Nations, is beyond my comprehension and ignores history.

    1. Braintree with your “religious strategy” Muslim and Christian nations could (or should) provide Palestinian Muslims and Christians the “means” to destroy their “enemy”. What is “morally” allowed to Jews and Israel should be allowed also to Christians and Muslims and their countries, right or wrong?

      This constant declaring Israel as the official/moral guarantor of all Jews’ safety and rights is extremely stupid, because it defines (=claims) the Jews general loyalty order everywhere. First Israel then his/shes own nation. When there are changes in the “world order” then it could happen, that Jews in some countries would be treated like American Japanese in WW2.

    2. Braintree
      The belief that Israel can protect Jews world-wide is a fallacy.
      The anger against Israel would mostly disappear if Israel was a state for its population and stopped oppression of Palestinians.

      1. @ Jeff: I think if you probed Braintree just below the surface you’d find he doesn’t give a flying f* about Diaspora Jews. He only care about Israeli Jews. But he considers Israeli Jews the only Jews that matter. And if you protect Israeli Jews, those are the only ones Israel needs to worry about. Anyone else can fend for themselves.

    3. @ Braintree:

      Our ancestors were exterminated because they hadn’t the means to defend themselves.

      You mean like in the days of Bar Kochba when we rebelled against the Romans. We had the means to defend ourselves and guess what–we lost. Oh, right–we didn’t have F-35s and Jericho ICBMs. That’s why we lost, right. So if we become a Sparta of the Middle East with guns and missiles bristling frome very silo and window, then you can sleep soundly in your bed. While also mowing down tens of thousands of your neighbors. Sorry, but that’s not an existence I can endorse.

      The Jewish State of Israel provides Jews with the means to defend themselves.

      The Judeo-supremacist state of Israel provides ISRAELIS (NOT Jews) with the means to annihilate the Middle East 100 times over. That’s not defense. That’s mass murder.

      Not to mention that Judeo-Sparta sparks the worst hate and violence against ALL Jews everywhere. Including terror attacks against Diaspora Jews who have nothing to do with Israel. So thanks for making our lives less safe and more dangerous. Besides, Jews in Israel are 10 or 100 times more endangered than any Diaspora Jew. So your math is whack.

      Anti-Zionists want to return Jews to the ‘bad old days’ when we lived in peace with our neighbors for millenia and did pretty well for ourselves. If there is another Holocaust, it will likely be caused by Israel, rather than suffered by Diaspora Jews.

      You have once again confused Jews and Israelis. Do NOT use the term “Jew” when you are speaking of Israelis. This is anti-Semitic (cf. David Duke). IF you do this again, I will ban you.

      1. [comment deleted: I reminded you several times you are only permitted a single comment in any thread. You’ve ignored me. You are now moderated. Any future violation will lead to banning.]

      2. ‘…Not to mention that Judeo-Sparta sparks the worst hate and violence against ALL Jews everywhere..’

        Hear, hear. At the risk of provoking a frothing fit, I will agree that I have become an anti-semite.

        I wasn’t born that way. In fact, I spent the first two-thirds of my life simply unconscious of Judaism as a major factor in people’s identity. It wasn’t that I didn’t know any Jews; far from it. I’d say a good third of the people I associated with were Jews. Some people were Jews; but some people liked to go skiing. It just wasn’t an element in anyone’s identity I found significant. The first girl I kissed was Jewish; my first serious girlfriend may have been Jewish. I just never thought about it at the time. Was she? No way of knowing now.

        Oh well. But all that started changing when I started noticing Israel around 2000 — and kept noticing it. By 2010 or so, I was joking that Jews would be alright — if only I could think of them without thinking about Israel.

        And now? Well, here we are. In this setting, all I can say is that I wish we hadn’t come here, and that the road started with Israel.

        1. @Colin WRight:

          At the risk of provoking a frothing fit, I will agree that I have become an anti-semite.

          I have an absolute no-tolerance rule for either anti-SEmitism, Islamophobia or racism. I don’t care whether your statment was meant as snark, for dramatic effect, or whatever. Too many of my relatives were murdered by forces who proudly declared themselves anti-Semites as well. I will not permit it here.

          In my comment, I specifically objected to the conflation of Judaism and Israel because it incited anti-Semitism. And you fell right into the ditch by proving my point and calling yourself an anti-Seimite.

          You are now moderated. If you enter this territory again, you will be permanently banned.

    4. ‘…Our ancestors were exterminated because they hadn’t the means to defend themselves.
      The Jewish State of Israel provides Jews with the means to defend themselves..’

      I’ve always found this old nostrum morbidly comic.

      Your survival plan is to pack the Jewish people into a strip of semi-desert half the size of San Bernardino County and make yourself hated by all your neighbors?

      1. [comment deleted: you have once again conflated “Israel” with “Jewish” after I warned you several times against doing it. You also continue to use multiple IP addresses after I warned you against this practice. You are now banned.]

  4. I am not so pessimistic because I believe that we will eventually triumph.

    the point is to analyse the specifics of why there seems to be no progress.

    Unlike Black South Africans Palestinians possess far less power. Primarily because there is no equivalent to the Black working class. The Whites in South Africa primarily sought to exploit not exclude the Blacks.

    Israel is the guardian or watchdog of imperialism’s interests in t he Middle East i.e. it guards over the Arab states and that is why the US supports them. The key then lies in revolution in the Arab East

    1. Professor Norman Finkelstein has come out in support of Putin’s war to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine and Finkelstein also has an odd disdain for President Zelensky.’

      I read Finkelstein with interest, and I certainly respect his intellect; but he’s a compulsive contrarian. If we all started baking at home, he’d come out in favor of store-bought bread.

  5. This is in response to Ian Lustick’s contribution in an email chain

    As long as capitalism and imperialism exists there will never be a solution to the problem of achieving human liberation.

    In the case of Israel the real question is how can Zionism end, how can the Zionist state be dismantled, because as long as the goal is a Jewish settler state then what happens now will continue in one form or another.

    The real problem is that in South Africa the tide turned against the Whites for a number of people. The Black working class could not be suppressed. Its neighbours had turned hostile with the liberation of the Portuguese colonies and South Africa had just lost a war in Angola. It was that, not Western munificence, that spelt the end for Apartheid. Of course the West started falling in line (Israel excepted of course) but Apartheid did not end because the West developed a moral backbone.

    In Israel the settlers are as strong today as they have ever been. The Palestine solidarity movement is stronger too but Western leaders ignore their own populations in queuing up to support Israel. That is our problem. Western imperialism has no morality worthy of the name. We see that now in the US war agenda with China and Russia.

    So yes, no ‘solution’ will work for one simple reason. Israel won’t accept any solution. How then to overcome this?

    I think we have to apply a certain logic, which is difficult  when it comes to Palestine because people allow wishful thinking to replace logical thought. I ask the question:
    Why does the United States and the West support Israel so wholeheartedly?

    Answer this question and you are on the route to a solution. For me it is quite simple. The US supports Israel, not out of a kindly sentiment for Jews, not because of what happened in the Holocaust but because Israel serves US imperialist interests in the Middle East. It is hostile to any revolutionary struggle such as during the Lebanese civil war, it is hostile to radical Arab nationalism as with Nasser and it watches over the whole region. Today it is in bed with the Gulf states openly. Its hostility to Iran is primarily because it doesn’t want any form of opposition to its hegemony.

    The answer therefore lies with the Arab masses. The overthrow of the Arab regimes is the condition for the overthrow of Zionism. Meanwhile we have to do what we can do to give solidarity to the Palestinians and counter the Zionist narrative, which of course is depressing.


    1. I don’t believe that. The US supports Israel for many reasons. The US supports Israel unconditionally and traditionally. This is the problem. We can’t seem to make Israel do the right thing either… and have stopped trying. This compromises and handicaps us on the world stage but it seems to work for politics at home… both parties. The liberals on the left here, like the liberals in Israel, have learned to submerge and attend to their “larger” issues until that is- an uprising from the Palestinians. A final reckoning of the situation (apparently postponement forever is what Israel of the right ever wanted) is partly our fault for not withdrawing support, placing conditions, when it would matter. We help postpone the alleviation of suffering and inequality.
      This keeps the status quo creeping towards the present defacto one state and keeps inequality cemented in time. Israel has been allowed this by us and the Euros. No price. This state makes violent uprising, more repression, a cycle assured. Israel’s deals with Arabs keeps them subdued as well- it seems.
      The horror of the Holocaust, the history of persecution is always present. It’s the uncle in the closet of every Jew that keeps coming out to remind us all.. now with the Russian war on Ukraine. Without the Holocaust I doubt Israel would have happened. Without past and continued repression and persecution of Jews there would not be an Israel of Jewish immigrants still seeking protection in an Israel that cannot offer it.. It cannot offer protection because Israel cannot get beyond the mistrust, a communal PTSD that keeps getting triggered. Israel had to happen. I am disappointed in THIS Israel, unable to overcome, unable to grow, evolve on the emotional level especially with each new influx. I could not live there, not be proud to be an Israeli today. Israeli is a different Jew. I know because I love my Israelis. They are not the Jews in “diaspora” (so to speak). But I said this already

  6. Dear Richard,
    Egypt and Israel signed a peace agreement forty (40) years ago that still holds.
    No one anticipated the events that led to this historic achievement.
    There were two leaders that decided that it is time to change directions, and managed to convince “Hawkish” Israeli prime minister Begin. Many mothers appreciate those three who saved so many lives.
    So yes, I do believe in a peace agreement between the Palestinian and Israelis once the right leaders will decide to do the right thing for their nations.

  7. I gave up on the Israel that isn’t,the one should be, after years of arguing with relatives and strangers.
    Israel has a PTSD to contend with, down from the generations made worse by the Holocaust. A personality evolved, a world view- bred or inbred, a culture formed in families, groups, including traumatized immigrants, those who have been or had been living under repression, those who are forever fearful. People come to Israel to escape into security, the feeling of being finally at home, protected, protected by a strong military, where Jews rule. Palestinians are the threat to their existence, not vice versa.Israelis react to the world from this base.You can’t say it’s without cause given anti-Semitism. But your can’t say either that it is not caused somewhat by Israels own behavior over the years which is why this Israel is unsustainable. It’s disappointing; it does not work.. as Richard says. The Likud, Sharon and Netanyahu, took advantage of it for power. Over the years the situation in which there was hope congealed to despair; the peace movement died.
    Those who are open and embracing who aspire to equality and liberal democratic values, those who know and believe differently, are in retreat, stay silently opposed, compromised or have convinced themselves of that which they were opposed. It’s “the situation”, useless, “what we have to live with”.
    Of the Israel of the pioneers, many had that latter idealistic world view, that expansive embracing knowledge that we are all in this world together, brethren ultimately. One wanted to be a part of this Jewish experiment back then.That was defeated or it morphed into this. I don’t believe that this will change in my lifetime or ever, back to that vision. 

  8. Having accepted that at present, there appears to be no solution, you finish up by rather vaguely hoping for a future in which the dilemma has somehow vanished. This is a bit like me resolving the problem of the eternally slowly-draining upstairs bathtub by hoping something changes: it’s a tad unrealistic.

    I submit that there’s another way of looking at it, and that in fact there are two solutions.

    The first solution is one in which Israel continues to control the global hegemon of the day, and so is able to continue to grind her boot into the face of the Palestinians. For all time — Orwell’s vision of the future, if not on a global scale.

    Not for that? Okay: work for the other solution: the destruction of Israel as we know it.

    Sometimes you have to accept that a sore tooth is not going to get better; and you have to pull it.

  9. As another commentator observes, nothing lasts forever. Rome isn’t around any more; neither are the Manchus.

    However, with wisdom, one can defer the inevitable; and wise leaders have always chosen their moment of strength — not weakness — to make peace. Bismarck established the Germany he wanted, then spent the rest of his career arranging alliances and presiding over conferences to keep it. He was eventually succeeded by other, less gifted figures; but that’s another story.

    Ataturk triumphed over the Greeks, faced down the great powers over Istanbul — and then picked that moment to make peace.

    I don’t like Israel, and I don’t want it to endure. I only say this because I am confident she will ignore the advice.

    She should make peace now.

  10. This piece is so very dark – and I feel it in my soul as true. I’ve ‘only’ been working for peace in the region since 1984, not quite as long as you, and I wouldn’t allow myself to say these words out loud since I believe I don’t have the right to release hope. I can’t. But I also believe that one has to acknowledge the reality to truly ameliorate a situation and you’ve pretty clearly laid it out. And you also reaffirm your commitment to continue fighting – only with this new acknowledgement. I can do that too. I DO think progress has been made at the grassroots and public awareness, but until there’s political will by those in power … the fight continues.

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