Israeli Scholars Provide Insights into Zionist Psyche

Zionists are "secular" but they use God as their "land agent" who gave them the "promised land", says Professor Avi Shlaim of Oxford University. Jews are God's "chosen people" who are exempt from the rules that apply to non-Jews, according to Israeli author and journalist Gideon Levy. Israel is carrying out "ethnic cleansing … and that may become genocide”, adds Israeli American scholar Omer Bartov. "No, Palestinians did not commit acts of terrorism, Israel did", tweets Miko Peled, an ex IDF soldier and son of a former Israeli general. These few quotes summarize current thoughts of some of the former Zionists.  

Israel Turns Gaza into Rubble

Israeli author and journalist Gideon Levy:

The core of Zionism is the "feeling of being chosen people" that is "deep rooted" in Israel. A consequence of it is that the rules and laws that apply to others do not apply to Israelis. Here's a quote from one of his speeches:   

"This is the core of Zionism. This feeling of chosen people is still very deep rooted in Israel. The consequence is that everything which refers to any other country in the world does not refer to Israel. That we are a special case. That international law should be implemented everywhere, but we are a different case. That a Molotov bottle against a Jewish soldier is not like a Molotov bottle against a Russian soldier because we are different, because we are chosen, because of this damned Jewish supremacy". 

On Israel's campaign of dehumanizing Palestinians, Levy says:

“My biggest struggle is to rehumanize the Palestinians. There’s a whole machinery of brainwashing in Israel which really accompanies each of us from early childhood, and I’m a product of this machinery as much as anyone else. [We are taught] a few narratives that it’s very hard to break. That we Israelis are the ultimate and only victims. That the Palestinians are born to kill, and their hatred is irrational. That the Palestinians are not human beings like us… So you get a society without any moral doubts, without any questions marks, with hardly public debate. To raise your voice against all this is very hard.”

Levy believes that the talk of the peace process and two-state solution is a scam perpetrated by Zionists. Here's Levy in his own words:   

"Now the real turning point should be, for us, the moment that each of us realize that the Israeli occupation is not a temporary phenomenon. I think that most of the people, if not all of them, understand that the occupation is there to stay. And Israel never had the slightest intention to put an end to it. All the efforts were only to mislead the West and to maintain the occupation. All this longest peace process in history, which never led to anywhere, was never aimed to lead to anywhere. All those efforts were only in order to mislead you and enable the occupation to grow, including Oslo". 

Professor Avi Shlaim:

Oxford Professor Avi Shlaim believes that Israel "prefers land to peace", adding that "land grabbing and peacemaking don't go together". Here's his exact quote:

"Land grabbing and peacemaking don’t go together, it’s one or the other, and by constantly expanding settlements, Israel showed that it prefers land to peace....Israel by its actions has shown that it is not interested in having a Palestinian partner for peace because it wants to maintain its control over the territory. Israel refuses to accept Hamas as a negotiating partner. Israel’s position is that Hamas is a terrorist organisation – pure and simple. It will never negotiate with it. Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy has been to let Hamas rule the Gaza Strip, but to contain the Gaza Strip, and this policy collapsed, because Gaza could not be contained."

Professor Omer Bartov:

Holocaust scholar Omer Bartov has warned of "genocide" in Gaza. He has talked about "clear intention of ethnic cleansing" in the narrow strip of two million Palestinians under heavy bombardment by Israeli forces since the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel. Here's a quote from him:

"So, my sense is the following. Israeli political leaders and military leaders have made very startling and frightening statements about Gaza, speaking about flattening Gaza, speaking about Hamas, but by sort of extending it also, by extension, also Gazans, in general, as human animals, speaking about moving the entire population of Gaza out of Gaza. That is a clear intention of ethnic cleansing. So, those statements show intent. And that’s a genocidal intent, which is often very difficult to prove in genocide. People who carry out genocide don’t always want to say that they’re doing it". 

Former Israeli Soldier Miko Peled:

Miko Peled, whose father was a general in the IDF and who himself served in the Israeli military, says that Israel is the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Talking about the October 7 surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, he says that "Israel is behaving like a gangster who has been humiliated taking vengeance upon innocent civilians, killing thousands upon thousands". "It's not a question of self-defense, it's a question of brutality and revenge because Israel was humiliated", he adds in an interview on Al Jazeera English

Peled accuses Israel of lying about the October 7 attack. He said the testimony is now showing that most of the Israeli civilians on October 7 were killed by the Israeli helicopters firing indiscriminately.  He says the western governments who support Israel “are supporting the fight against justice, the fight against peace”.

Peled says that “liberal Zionism” is a myth and all forms of Zionism amount, in practice, to the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms for the Palestinian people. This process starts at a young age for Israeli children whose history textbooks claim that the Palestinians left their homes of their own free will, that they were not driven out by Jewish militias in the 1940s. These history books deny what the Palestinians call "Nakbah", meaning Great Catastrophe, that forced them to flee their homes as part of the Zionist plan to ethnically cleanse what is now Israel. 

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Riaz Haq said…
shaan Tharoor
"We're rolling out Nakba 2023" — Israeli minister just flatly says it, while many in the West tie themselves up in knots to avoid seeing things as they are


'We're Rolling Out Nakba 2023,' Israeli Minister Says on Northern Gaza Strip Evacuation
Likud Minister Avi Dichter says that 'war is impossible to wage when there are masses between the tanks and the soldiers.' While Netanyahu does not support resettling the Gaza Strip, he says will not give up security control over it 'under any circumstances'

Israeli security cabinet member and Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter (Likud) was asked in a news interview on Saturday whether the images of northern Gaza Strip residents evacuating south on the IDF’s orders are comparable to images of the Nakba. He replied: “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba. From an operational point of view, there is no way to wage a war – as the IDF seeks to do in Gaza – with masses between the tanks and the soldiers.”

When asked again whether this was the “Gaza Nakba”, Dichter – a member of the security cabinet and former Shin Bet director – said “Gaza Nakba 2023. That’s how it’ll end.”

When later asked if this means Gaza City residents won’t be allowed to return, he replied: “I don’t know how it’ll end up happening since Gaza City is one-third of the Strip – half the land’s population but a third of the territory.”

The Gaza Strip’s settlements were evacuated by Israel in 2005 during a unilateral disengagement helmed by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon. Following coalition members’ declarations regarding reversing this move,

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked on Friday if he supports Israeli resettlement in the Gaza Strip after the war. “No, I don’t think so,” he answered, “I said I want full security control. Gaza must be demilitarized. I don’t think (resettlement) is a realistic goal, I’m saying it plainly.”

Netanyahu, who spoke at a press conference alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and minister Benny Gantz, added that he won’t give up control over security in Gaza “under any circumstances.”

In response to a question about the war’s aftermath and the possibility of the Palestinian Authority controlling the Strip, he said: "I repeat, we will have total security control, with the ability to enter whenever we want to eliminate any terrorists who re-emerge. I can say what won’t happen – there will be no Hamas."

"I can say what else will not happen – there will not be a civil authority there that educates its children to hate the State of Israel, to kill Israelis, to eliminate the State of Israel. There cannot be an authority there that pays the families of murderers. There cannot be an authority there whose leader has not yet condemned the terrible massacre more than 30 days after it occurred," added Netanyahu.

Ahmad F. said…


In an interview with POLITICO, Ehud Olmert argued Netanyahu suffered a “nervous breakdown,” as he sought to avoid being thrown out of office for failing to safeguard national security in the murderous Hamas attacks of October 7. Olmert added, “Bibi has been working all his life on the false pretense that he is Mr. Security. He’s ‘Mr. Bullshit.’


Professor Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian who teaches at the University of Exeter in the UK, states that despite claiming to be the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel is only a democracy for its Jewish citizens and not for its Palestinian citizens.


Professor Avi Shlaim, an Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, says: “There is no denying that the establishment of the state of Israel involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. Three-fourths of a million Palestinians, more than half of the Arab population, became refugees, and the name Palestine was wiped off the map."

Turning to recent events, in another conversation, he said: “Israelis claim that they gave the Palestinians a chance to turn Gaza into the Singapore of the Middle East. But they did nothing of the sort. They turned Gaza into an open air prison. The media attention has been on the Hamas attack and on Israel’s response, which is out of all proportion. I condemn both. I condemn the Hamas attack because it was against civilians. And killing civilians is wrong, period. But the Israeli response has been brutal and savage and out of all proportion. And revenge is not a policy. And what Israel is doing is state-sponsored terrorism. Or state terrorism. It’s on a much more serious scale than the attack on Israel.

“The point I really want to emphasize is that the conflict didn’t start on October 7. People don’t ask why did Hamas launch this attack. And the answer is to be found in the context. And the context is the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories since 1967.”


In 2015, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy and said Israel’s right wing extremists had perfected the art of playing victim. In their eyes, they were God’s chosen people and could only do good. That gave them the right to dehumanize the people whose land they were now living on (and this was reconfirmed recently by the Israeli defense minister when he called them “human animals”). They could kill them at will without a pang of guilt.

Levy said he asked Ehud Barak, later prime minister, what he would have done if he had been born into a Palestinian family. The truth came out when he said that he would have grown up to be a terrorist. On November 9, Levy wrote in Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper that he edits, that unless Israel examines its failings, soon it will be fighting another war.


A former Israeli general, Noam Tibon, told NPR: “Benjamin Netanyahu cannot stay even one more day on the chair of the prime minister. He is a failure and he must go.”
Riaz Haq said…
Raphael Mimoun
I grew up in a Zionist household, spent 12 years in a Zionist youth movement, lived 4 years in Israel, and have friends and family who served in the IDF.

When that is your world, it's hard to see apartheid when it's happening.



Raphael Mimoun
I grew up in France, in a Jewish community where the norm was unconditional love and support for Israel. Zionism wasn't even named because that's all we knew. Jews were nearly wiped by pogroms and repeated holocausts, and a Jewish state was the only way to keep us safe.


aphael Mimoun
All Zionism is rooted in trauma and fear. It is first and foremost an ideology of self-liberation. It's about love Jewish people, survival for Jewish people. But Zionism is like any other ethnic nationalism, it's about prioritizing *our* safety and well-being.



Raphael Mimoun
Like all nationalisms, we were fed a historical narrative completely divorced from reality: that Palestine was a largely uninhabited piece of desert before we settled it; that in 1948 Palestinians willingly left because they were making room for Arab armies to...



Raphael Mimoun
..."throw Jews to the sea"; that Arab leaders turned down all Israeli and US peace offers and were unwilling to share the land; that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle-East; that despite terrorism, the IDF upholds the highest moral standards; so on and so on.



Raphael Mimoun
So the first reason that Israelis will never willingly make peace with Palestinians is that Israelis (and Zionist Jews around the world) live in a parallel world. They know alternate historical facts that feed more nationalism, militarism, and extremism.


Raphael Mimoun
So when the IDF bombs Gaza and kills children, the average Israelis thinks that 1) it is the Palestinians' fault--for not agreeing to peace, for continuing to threaten and attack Israel, etc 2) Israel is merely defending itself and that there is simply no alternative.


Riaz Haq said…
Raphael Mimoun
The same rationale justifies Gaza's open-air prison; military checkpoints in the West Bank; bulldozing homes; etc. Israelis even made up the term "Pallywood", because for them, it's all a show to turn the world against Israel. The suffering is either fake or self-inflicted.



Raphael Mimoun
Of course, there are some Israeli leftists and anti-Zionists who fight for Palestinian liberation. But it's a tiny, and shrinking, minority. Most Israelis don't consider what it means for Palestinian freedom, dignity, and physical well-being to be systematically erased.



Raphael Mimoun
Israel is, by every definition, an apartheid state: if a Jew and an Arab commit the exact same crime in the West Bank, they will face two different legal systems. The Jew will face a civil court, the Arab will face a military court. Two legal systems for two ethnic groups.



Raphael Mimoun
But Israelis can't fathom that this is unjust. When they fight against people calling the occupation of the West Bank "apartheid", it's because Israelis genuinely believe that it's all self-defense and needed and legitimate.



Raphael Mimoun
These two factors (alternate history and dehumanization) mean that it is *physically impossible*--and I mean that in the most literal way--for Israel to willingly end the occupation and agree to a just solution to the conflict. Peace cannot come from within Israel.



Raphael Mimoun
Israeli society is getting more extreme, more nationalistic, more violent, and more entrenched in its own historical narrative & its own self-victimization. At this point, it is simply delusional to expect that things change will come from Israel.



Raphael Mimoun
That means consumer boycott of Israeli goods, corporate boycott of Israeli technology, and sanctions by Israel's main trade partner and political supporters, the US and EU. Those are the only measures that can meaningfully push Israel toward ending the occupation.

Riaz Haq said…

William Dalrymple
Few know the history of the violent explusion of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948: it is not taught in schools, and instead many- myself included- were taught outright lies about Palestine being an empty desert, "a land without a people for a people without a land." As ideas for a second Nakba are being drawn up right and discussed right now, as you read this post, it is vitally important we remember this terrible history, and Britain’s role in it, and do everything in our power to stop it being repeated, with the full support of our ignorant, bigoted, cowardly and sometimes outrightly Islamophobic leaders.
Riaz Haq said…

S.L. Kanthan
Israel's propaganda ("hasbara") rests upon two fake logic:

🔹"Israel is defending itself"

🔹"Genocide in Gaza is justified because Hamas is using civilians as a human shield"

First, no country has a right to self-defense when it's occupying others and depriving them of basic rights. In fact, it's Palestinians -- the victims -- who have the right to use force as self-defense.

Second, Israel needs to show proof for each case of destruction of civilian infrastructure. Otherwise, wantonly bombing schools and hospitals is just genocidal and murderous.
Riaz Haq said…
John Oliver on Israel-Hamas war: ‘Any conversation around this has to begin with empathy’ | John Oliver | The Guardian

Oliver sought to zero in on “one of the biggest misconceptions” bandied about over the last month: “The tendency to collapse leaders and citizens when discussing this. To assume that Netanyahu speaks for all Israelis, or that Hamas speaks for all Palestinians, because that is emphatically not the case.”

Oliver started with Hamas, which was founded in 1987 and has been in charge of Gaza for 17 years. Many commentators in Israel and the US have dismissed all Gazans as supportive of Hamas with the claim that Gazans elected them to power. “It is true that at one point, Gazans did elect Hamas,” Oliver noted, “But if you think that makes them all complicit in war crimes their government commits, then boy do I have some bad news for you about decades of US foreign policy.”

And Netanyahu has covertly funded Hamas to play them off their more organized and legitimate rival, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. “Netanyahu took the risk of betting that he could control Hamas, and use them to his own ends, and he was horribly wrong about that,” Oliver explained.

In sum, “Palestinians and Israelis have both been relentlessly let down by their leaders and the result has been a decades-long cycle of extremism, violence, retaliation and more extremism,” Oliver said. Palestinians have experienced that twice over – “subject to the inadequacies and cruelties of a Hamas government and the punishing isolation and daily miseries of an Israeli one”, trapping them in what has been called an “open air prison” by many humanitarian groups.


And the US has “emphatically picked a side” with $3.8bn in annual aid to Israel, including many, many weapons used to bomb Gaza. Oliver refused to show any footage of the atrocities in Gaza, and instead played clips of displaced Palestinian children expressing their confusion in a refugee camp. “It should be impossible to see those kids and not feel shattered,” he said. “There is a natural human impulse to protect children – to grab a toddler you don’t know if you see them running into traffic. And if that impulse is broken or dis-incentivized by a government, then there is absolutely a humanitarian crisis no matter what any asshole has to say about it.”

Oliver didn’t have a solution for peace in the Middle East, and acknowledged that even if he did, “this really would be the worst voice in which to relay that message. But it does seem to me personally that a ceasefire has to be the first step,” he said. “Continuing down this path only creates more extremists, which is the last thing that anybody needs.

“Any conversation around this has to begin with empathy, or we’re just fucked,” he concluded. “We know that dehumanizing people leads to violence. We know that violence leads to even more brutality and destruction, and we know that crucially, breaking that cycle is unfortunately going to require leadership significantly different than the ones currently in place.”

Riaz Haq said…
John Oliver on Netanyahu and Hamas:

the truth is, Netanyahu has been struggling to hold office in the last half-decade. Voters there actually endured five elections in just four years, because neither Netanyahu nor anyone else could form a stable majority. He only made it back into power last year, by forming a coalition with those on the furthest right wing of Israeli politics — leading to the most right-wing government in the country’s history. His cabinet is stocked with extremists. Take Itamar Ben-Gvir. He’s been convicted on at least eight charges, including supporting a terrorist organization and incitement to racism. He was once considered so fringe, the Israeli army rejected him from mandatory service. But he’s now Netanyahu’s minister of national security. Meanwhile, his current finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has said, “Is there a Palestinian history or culture? There is none. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.” He’s also advocated for “victory through settlement,” very basically seizing land in the West Bank, and driving Palestinians from their homes to the point where, quote, “I abort their hopes of establishing a state.” Settlements are widely understood to be against international law, yet Smotrich wants a massive expansion of them, and Netanyahu gave him a special role in charge of settlement affairs. But perhaps the most surprising way Netanyahu has jeopardized Israel’s safety is that, for years, he deliberately used Hamas as a way to undermine the Palestinian Authority, a rival to Hamas, which administers parts of the West Bank and has much more legitimacy on the world stage. Experts say the idea was basically divide and conquer — if Palestinian leadership remains split, and one of the main parties at the table has a terrorism label on it, it’s going to be much easier for Netanyahu to refuse to engage with them, and say he has “no partner for peace.” Here’s Smotrich explaining that strategy out loud in 2015.

The Palestinian Authority is a burden and Hamas is a terrorist organization that no one will recognize, and no one will give it status in the ICC. No one will let them lead a decision in the security council. The main pitch we are playing now is international delegitimization. Hamas at this point, in my opinion, will be an asset.

John: “Hamas is an asset.” If you’re calling the group that has repeatedly killed your people an asset, it shows pretty clearly that what you care about isn’t safety, but total control. And for years, Netanyahu’s government was actually allowing suitcases of cash to be delivered to Hamas, something by the way that earned suitcases of cash the title “most morally disreputable way to transfer money” for the nine hundredth year in a row. When the scandal broke, Netanyahu insisted that that money was for humanitarian aid. Which still doesn’t explain why it had to be delivered in luggage in the back of a fucking car. The point is, Netanyahu took the risk of betting that he could control Hamas, and use them to his own ends. And he was horribly wrong about that, to the point that his ministers are now getting screamed out of hospitals. So, to recap so far: Palestinians and Israelis have both been relentlessly let down by their leaders, and the result has been a decades-long cycle of extremism, violence, retaliation, and more extremism. And Palestinians have been on the receiving end of that extremism twice over — subject to the inadequacies and cruelties of a Hamas government and the punishing isolation and daily misery of an Israeli one. Because Israel’s approach to Gaza has been truly punishing — fencing people in, limiting exits, and trapping them inside of what has been called an open-air prison by many human rights organizations. Life under a blockade there has been hard for a long time, even when there aren’t bombs flying.
Riaz Haq said…

Al Jazeera English
Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, says that Israel cannot claim the right of ‘self-defence’ under international law because Gaza is a territory which it occupies
Ahmad F. said…

Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country.
--David Ben-Gurion, 1956

We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and the gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house.
—Moshe Dayan, April 1956

As soon as we have a big settlement here, we’ll seize the land, we’ll become strong, and then we’ll take care of the Left Bank [of the Jordan River]. We’ll expel them from there, too. Let them go back to the Arab countries.
—Jewish settler, 1891

[We] must be prepared either to drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly Mohammedan and accustomed for centuries to hate us.
—Israel Zangwill, 1905

Palestine shall be as Jewish as England is English, or America is American.
—Chaim Weizmann, 1919

I support compulsory transfer. I do not see in it anything immoral.
—David Ben-Gurion, 1938

Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here.
—Benny Morris, 2004

Maybe England will chance upon an empty piece of land in need
of a white population, and perhaps the Jews will happen to be these whites . . .
—Chaim Weizmann, 1914

We welcome the friendship of Christian Zionists.
—Theodore Herzl, 1897

The entire Christian church, in its variety of branches . . . will be
compelled . . . to teach the history and development of the nascent Jewish state. No commonwealth on earth will start with such propaganda for its exploitation in world thought, or with such eager and minute scrutiny, by millions of people, of its slightest detail.
—A. A. Berle, 1918

Christian Zionists favor Jewish Zionism as a step leading not to the
perpetuation but to the disappearance of the Jews.
—Morris Jastrow, 1919

Zionism has but brought to light and given practical form and a
recognized position to a principle which had long consciously or
unconsciously guided English opinion.
—Nahum Sokolow, 1919

Christian Zionism and Jewish Zionism have combined to create an
international alliance superseding anything that NATO or UN has to
—Daniel Lazare, 2003

Put positively: Other than Israel’s Defense Forces, American Christian Zionists may be the Jewish state’s ultimate strategic asset.
—Daniel Pipes, 2003

US prestige in the Muslim world has suffered a severe blow, and US
strategic interests in the Mediterranean and Near East have been seriously prejudiced.
—George F. Kennan, January 1948
Riaz Haq said…
An Israeli minister (Gila Gamliel) reveals one rationale for destroying so much of Gaza. By rendering large parts of it inhabitable, Israel can "promote the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the Strip."

One of the issues on which my office has been working diligently is how to proceed the day after Hamas has been defeated and annihilated.

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”

The State of Israel is in the midst of one of its greatest crises, certainly for at least two generations.
More than 1,200 of our people were viciously murdered, 239 brutally kidnapped, thousands more injured, and 240,000 made homeless by the Nazi-like regime in Gaza.
Women were raped. The elderly were abused and taken hostage. Children were beheaded. Families were tortured in front of each other for the entertainment of their captors before being burned alive while bound to each other.These inhuman atrocities changed everything.

It is clear that much has to change, as many conceptions were proven wrong on the day of the pogrom on October 7.

What should be just as clear is that many more conceptions must be addressed, challenged, and possibly destroyed in the weeks and months ahead.
One of the issues on which my office has been working diligently is how to proceed the day after Hamas has been defeated and annihilated.
We will still have around two million people in Gaza, many of whom voted for Hamas and celebrated the massacre of innocent men, women, and children.

Gaza is a breeding ground for extremism. It is a small area, by no means the most populated on earth, but one where for too long, its rulers have prioritized war against the Jews over a better life for their people.
It is a place devoid of hope, stolen by the genocidal terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups.
This situation has already led to a large exodus of youths from Gaza. It has been estimated that since Hamas violently took over the Strip in 2007, between 250,000 and 350,000 mostly young adults have left Gaza to make a new life abroad.

As we consider our options for the day after, the international community appears to be pushing to bring the Palestinian Authority back to rule Gaza. This has obvious structural flaws, as it was tried in 2005 after the disaster of the Disengagement when all 8,600 Jewish residents were forcibly evicted from the Gaza Strip. It took only two years for Hamas to seize power, largely by throwing PA leaders off high roofs.
Furthermore, as we are witnessing at this very moment, the PA does not have a markedly different ideology from Hamas. Recently, for example, the PA Ministry of Religious Affairs distributed instructions to preachers in mosques throughout Judea and Samaria to deliver a teaching about the requirement to kill Jews and the wider goal to exterminate all Jews.
So, this option – bringing the PA back to rule Gaza – has failed in the past and will fail again. It is an option that is seen as illegitimate by the Israeli public and one that would put us back to square one within a short amount of time.

Other options for Gaza's future
ANOTHER OPTION is to promote the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the Strip.

It is important that those who seek a life elsewhere be provided with that opportunity. Some world leaders are already discussing a worldwide refugee resettlement scheme and saying they would welcome Gazans to their countries. This could be supported by many nations around the world, especially those that claim to be friends of the Palestinians.
This is an opportunity for those who say they support the Palestinian people to show these are not just empty words.
Riaz Haq said…
Arnaud Bertrand

This is a must-read by Omer Bartov, an Israeli professor who is one of the world’s leading Holocaust historians and genocide experts:

"On October 7 the repressed reality of Palestinians under direct or indirect Israeli rule literally exploded in the country’s face. From this perspective, while I was shocked and horrified by the brutality of the Hamas attack, I was not surprised at all that it occurred. This was an event waiting to happen. If you keep over two million people under siege for 16 years, cramped in a narrow strip of land, without enough work, proper sanitation, food, water, energy, education, with no hope or future prospects, you cannot but expect outbreaks of ever more desperate and brutal violence."

Riaz Haq said…

Arnaud Bertrand
This has got to be a first in France's history. A former Prime Minister saying that France is becoming "a very diminished nation" ("un très petit pays"), notably due to the country's reduction in freedom of thought and speech with regard to Israel.

This was Dominique de Villepin, who was responding to accusations of antisemitism made against him, because he'd been very critical of Israel and of the censorship of Israel's critics. Here's a complete translation of what he said, as always extraordinarily well expressed:

"All roads lead to Rome, but not all paths of criticism lead to antisemitism. It is possible to criticize the United States without being necessarily antisemitic. One can criticize the messianic Zionism of a part of the Israeli government without being antisemitic. One can support the idea of justice for the Palestinian people without being antisemitic. One can question an economic, cultural, financial system... As far as I know, a former [french] president of the republic campaigned denouncing the power of finance, he was not antisemitic!

Essentially, in all the questions you ask me, what is the goal? What is the purpose behind you and those who prepare this kind of questioning? It is to make sure that I remain silent... By constantly wanting to limit our ability to express ourselves, by no longer being able to say anything in the media under the pretext that it might mean [this or that] or be inconvenient, by tracking all forms of thought that can overshadow a strategy or policy, we are becoming what we are turning into, that is, a very diminished nation.

Look at the United States, what is happening there? In the United States, within the Democratic Party, which is not known for its antisemitism, a major revolt is taking place regarding Israel. A generational revolt, a political revolt. And within the Jewish community itself, linked to the relationship between Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, there is also a revolt organizing.

You know, what I think about first and foremost by telling you this is the interests of Israel, the interest of the Jewish community: it is necessary to help oneself, that is, not to put oneself in a situation where one risks fueling criticism. So I believe it takes a lot of lucidity, a great deal of rigor, a little bit of courage, to try to assert one's ideas and convictions."
Riaz Haq said…
The Invention of the Land of Israel by (Jewish History Professor) Shlomo Sand (Professor Emeritus at Tel Aviv University) – review | History books | The Guardian

The "Land of Israel" is barely mentioned in the Old Testament: the more common expression is the Land of Canaan. When it is mentioned, it does not include Jerusalem, Hebron, or Bethlehem. Biblical "Israel" is only northern Israel (Samaria) and there never was a united kingdom including both ancient Judea and Samaria.

Even had such a kingdom ever existed and been promised by God to the Jews, it is hardly a clinching argument for claiming statehood after more than 2,000 years. It is an irony of history that so many past Zionists, most of whom were secular Jews, often socialist, used religious arguments to buttress their case. Besides, the biblical account makes it quite clear (insofar as such accounts are ever clear) that the Jews, led by Moses and then by Joshua, were colonisers themselves and were commanded by God to exterminate "anything that breathes". "Completely destroy them – the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites – as the Lord your God has commanded you." Imagine if the Amorites came back and claimed their ancient land. If they did, this is what Deuteronomy 20 has to say: "Put to the sword all the men ... As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else ... you may take these as plunder for yourselves." Today, such an injunction would take you straight to the international criminal court.

The uncertainty as to what exactly constitutes the "Land of Israel" endures to this day. There is an internationally recognised state of Israel with clearly defined boundaries (the Green Line of 1967, itself the result of the enlargement following the 1948 war) and then there is the "Land of Israel" whose boundaries depend on who is talking: for some, it includes the whole of the West Bank, for others it extends to Jordan. It could be worse: God promised Abraham and his descendants "this land, from the river of Egypt unto the Euphrates", which would include also bits of Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

In traditional Judaism there is no injunction to "return" to the "land of Israel". The ritual "next year in Jerusalem" that is part of the Passover Seder prayer was never a call to action, or to reconstitute a state.

By the 19th century, those who wanted Jews to "return" to the Holy Land were more likely to be Christian Zionists than Jews. Lord Shaftesbury, a compassionate Tory who contributed to improving the conditions of lunatics in asylums and children in factories (The Ten Hours Act, 1833), agitated endlessly for promoting a Jewish presence in Palestine. Sand describes him as an Anglican Theodor Herzl before Herzl; and with reason, since Shaftesbury appears to have even coined the famous line: "A country without a nation for a nation without a country." He hoped, of course, the Jews would also convert to Christianity. Lord Palmerston, on the Liberal side, warmed to the idea, not because he cared in the slightest about Jews (or Christians), but because he thought that British Jews colonising a part of the Ottoman Empire would increase British influence.
Riaz Haq said…
More than 70% of Jewish men and half of the Arab men whose DNA was studied inherited their Y chromosomes from the same paternal ancestors who lived in the ...

COLD SPRING HARBOR, NEW YORK--As fighting continues in the Middle East, a new genetic study shows that many Arabs and Jews are closely related. More than 70% of Jewish men and half of the Arab men whose DNA was studied inherited their Y chromosomes from the same paternal ancestors who lived in the region within the last few thousand years.

The results match historical accounts that some Moslem Arabs are descended from Christians and Jews who lived in the southern Levant, a region that includes Israel and the Sinai. They were descendants of a core population that lived in the area since prehistoric times. And in a recent study of 1371 men from around the world, geneticist Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona in Tucson found that the Y chromosome in Middle Eastern Arabs was almost indistinguishable from that of Jews.

Intrigued by the genetic similarities between the two populations, geneticist Ariella Oppenheim of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who collaborated on the earlier study, focused on Arab and Jewish men. Her team examined the Y chromosomes of 119 Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews and 143 Israeli and Palestinian Arabs. Many of the Jewish subjects were descended from ancestors who presumably originated in the Levant but dispersed throughout the world before returning to Israel in the past few generations; most of the Arab subjects could trace their ancestry to men who had lived in the region for centuries or longer. The Y chromosomes of many of the men had key segments of DNA that were so similar that they clustered into just three of many groups known as haplogroups. Other short segments of DNA called microsatellites were similar enough to reveal that the men must have had common ancestors within the past several thousand years. The study, reported here at a Human Origins and Disease conference, will appear in an upcoming issue of Human Genetics.

Hammer praises the new study for "focusing in detail on the Jewish and Palestinian populations." Oppenheim's team found, for example, that Jews have mixed more with European populations, which makes sense because some of them lived in Europe during the last millennium.
Riaz Haq said…
Adam Shatz · Israel’s Descent

Ben-Gurion’s movement was also on a collision course with those who, like Kohn and Arendt, sympathised with the idea of a Jewish cultural sanctuary in Palestine, but rejected the maximalist, exclusionary, territorial vision of the state associated with Israel’s creation in 1948. Jewish critics of Israel who traced their roots to the cultural Zionism of Magnes and Buber – or to the anti-Zionist Jewish Labor Bund – would find themselves vilified as heretics and traitors. In Our Palestine Question, Geoffrey Levin shows how American Jewish critics of Israel were dislodged from Jewish institutions in the decades following the state’s formation. After the 1948 war, the American Jewish press featured extensive, and largely sympathetic, coverage of the plight of Palestinian refugees: Israel had not yet declared that it would not readmit a single refugee. ‘The question of the Arab refugees is a moral issue which rises above diplomacy,’ William Zukerman, the editor of the Jewish Newsletter, wrote in 1950. ‘The land now called Israel belongs to the Arab Refugees no less than to any Israeli. They have lived on that soil and worked on it ... for twelve hundred years ... The fact that they fled in panic is no excuse for depriving them of their homes.’ Under Israeli pressure, Zukerman lost his job as a New York correspondent for the London-based Jewish Chronicle. Arthur Lourie, the Israeli consul general in New York, exulted in his firing: ‘a real MITZVAH’.

Zukerman wasn’t alone. In 1953, the American Reform rabbi Morris Lazaron recited a prayer of atonement in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, declaring ‘we have sinned’ and calling for the immediate repatriation of a hundred thousand refugees: as members of the ‘tribe of the wandering feet’, he said, Jews should stand with Palestine’s refugees. The leading expert in the US on the Palestinian refugees, Don Peretz, was employed by the American Jewish Committee (AJC). After the 1948 war, he worked with a Quaker group that distributed food and clothing to displaced Palestinians living under Israel’s military government. Horrified to discover ‘an attitude towards the Arabs which resembles that of American racists’, Peretz wrote a pamphlet on the refugees for the AJC. Israeli officials responded by trying to have him fired; Esther Herlitz, Israel’s consul in New York, recommended that the embassy ‘consider digging him a grave’ at the Jewish college in Pennsylvania where he taught. Peretz was not a radical: he simply wanted to create what he called ‘a platform from which to voice not only eulogies of Israel, but a critical concern about many of the problems with which the new state has become involved’, above all the ‘Arab refugee problem, the condition of Israel’s Arab minority’. Instead, he encountered an ‘emotional environment’ that made it ‘as difficult to create an atmosphere for free discussion as it is in the South today to discuss interracial relations’.
Riaz Haq said…
Adam Shatz · Israel’s Descent

‘We have​ no known Einsteins, no Chagall, no Freud or Rubinstein to protect us with a legacy of glorious achievements,’ Edward Said wrote of the Palestinians in 1986. ‘We have had no Holocaust to protect us with the world’s compassion. We are “other”, and opposite, a flaw in the geometry of resettlement and exodus.’ Palestinians are still ‘others’ in the moral calculus of the US and Western powers, without whose support Israel could not have carried out its assault on Gaza. But they can now invoke a genocide of their own, and though it may not yet offer them protection, it has done much to diminish Israel’s already eroded moral capital. Palestinian claims to the land and to justice, already embedded in the conscience of the Global South, have made extraordinary inroads into that of the liberal West, as well as that of American Jewry, in no small part thanks to Said and other Palestinian writers and activists. The birth of a global movement in opposition to Israel’s war in Gaza, and in defence of Palestinian rights, is, if nothing else, a sign that Israel has lost the moral war among people of conscience. While the Palestinian cause is wedded to international justice, to solidarity among oppressed peoples, and to the preservation of a rules-based order, Israel’s appeal is largely confined to religious Jews, the far right, white nationalists and Democratic politicians of an older generation such as Joe Biden, who warned of a ‘ferocious surge’ in antisemitism in America following the protests, and Nancy Pelosi, who claimed to detect a ‘Russian tinge’ to them. When the Proud Boys’ founder, Gavin McInnes, and the House Speaker, Mike Johnson, descended on Columbia’s New York campus to defend Jewish students from ‘antisemitic’ protesters (among them Jews holding liberation seders), they looked as though they’d convened a 6 January reunion. For all their claims to isolation in a sea of sympathy for Palestine, Jewish supporters of Israel, like the state itself, have powerful allies in Washington, in the administration and on university boards.

The excessive, militarised reactions to the encampments at Columbia, UCLA and elsewhere, along with the furious responses of the British, German and French governments to demonstrations in London, Paris and Berlin, are a measure of the movement’s growing influence. As Régis Debray put it, ‘the revolution revolutionises the counterrevolution.’ A worrying development for anyone who cares about free speech and freedom of assembly, the clearing of the solidarity encampments by the police was a reminder that the rhetoric of ‘safe spaces’ can easily lend itself to right-wing capture. The antisemitism bill recently passed in the House of Representatives threatens to stifle pro-Palestinian speech on American campuses, since university administrations could become liable for failing to enforce the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, which conflates anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Like the anti-BDSmeasures adopted by more than thirty states, the Antisemitism Awareness Act is an expression of what Susan Neiman, writing about Germany’s suppression of support for Palestinian rights, has called ‘philosemitic McCarthyism’, and will almost certainly lead to more antisemitism, since it treats Jewish students as a privileged minority whose feelings of safety require special legal protection. It only adds to the unreal quality of the debate in the US that the threat of antisemitism is being weaponised by right-wing Evangelicals who have otherwise made common cause with white nationalists and actual antisemites, while liberal Democratic politicians acquiesce.
Riaz Haq said…
dam Shatz · Israel’s Descent

The political establishment and the mainstream press were largely disdainful. Liberal commentators belittled the students as ‘privileged’, although many of them, particularly at state colleges, came from poor and working-class backgrounds; the protests, some claimed, were ultimately about America, not about the Middle East. (They were about both.) The protesters were also accused of making Jews feel unsafe with their ritualised denunciations of Zionism, of grandstanding, of engaging in a fantasy of 1968-style rebellion, of ignoring Hamas’s cruelties or even justifying them, of romanticising armed struggle in their calls to ‘globalise the intifada,’ of being possessed by a Manichean fervour that blinded them to the complexities of a war that involved multiple parties, not just Israel and Gaza.

There is, of course, a grain of truth to these criticisms. Like ‘defund the police,’ ‘from the river to the sea’ is appealing in its absolutism, but also dangerously ambiguous, fuel for right-wing adversaries looking for evidence of calls for ‘genocide’ against Jews. And there was, as there always is, a theatrical dimension to the protests, with some students imagining themselves to be part of the same drama unfolding in Gaza, confusing the rough clearing of an encampment (‘liberated zones’) with the violent destruction of a refugee camp. But the attacks on the demonstrators – whether for ‘privilege’, supposed hostility to Jews or fanaticism – weren’t a fair portrayal of a broad-based movement that includes Palestinians and Jews, African Americans and Latinos, Christians and atheists.

For all their missteps, the students drew attention to matters that seemed to elude their detractors: the obscenity of Israel’s war on Gaza; the complicity of their government in arming Israel and facilitating the slaughter; the hypocrisy of America’s claim to defend human rights and a rules-based international order while giving Israel carte blanche; and the urgent need for a ceasefire. Nor were they cowed by Netanyahu’s grotesque comparison of the protests to anti-Jewish mobilisations in German universities in the 1930s (where no one was holding seders). If Trump wins they will be blamed, along with Arab and Muslim voters who can’t bring themselves to vote for a president who armed Bibi, but they deserve credit for mobilising support for a ceasefire and for helping to shift the narrative on Palestine.

The destruction of Gaza will be as formative for them as the struggles against the Vietnam War, apartheid in South Africa and the Iraq War were for earlier generations. Their image of a child murdered by a genocidal state will not be Anne Frank but Hind Rajab, the six-year-old girl killed by Israeli tank fire as she sat in a car pleading for help, surrounded by the bodies of her murdered relatives. When they chant ‘We are all Palestinians,’ they are moved by the same feeling of solidarity that led students in 1968 to chant ‘Nous sommes tous des juifs allemands’ after the German-Jewish student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit was expelled from France. These are emotions of which no group of victims can forever remain the privileged beneficiary, not even the descendants of the European Jews who perished in the death camps

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