Israel’s Apartheid Anxiety

The international anti-apartheid movement to isolate South Africa also started at grassroots level, and became so powerful that governments were forced to follow suit

This from my latest in the National:

In a remarkable interview last November, the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert cautioned that unless it could achieve a two-state solution quickly, Israel would “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished”. The reason, he said, was that Israel would be internationally isolated. “The Jewish organisations, which are our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents.”

Jewish communities in western countries have long been Israel’s trump card against international pressure, because they mobilise support for Israel and restrain critics by painting opposition to Israel’s policies as motivated by hostility to Jews – a toxic accusation in a world still sensitive to the horrors of the Holocaust. But what was palpable during the Gaza conflict was the diminished enthusiasm of young Jewish people abroad for Israeli militarism, and the increasing willingness of many to openly challenge Israel.

This change is personified by Jon Stewart, the Jewish-American comic whose Daily Show is the premier vehicle of contemporary American political satire. Stewart mercilessly mocked American politicians for their slavish echoing of the Israeli narrative during the Gaza conflict. “It’s the Möbius strip of issues,” he sarcastically enthused. “There’s only one side!” Clearly, the younger, hipper Jewish liberal mainstream exemplified by Stewart intends to judge Israel on the basis of its actions, rather than express morally blind ethnic solidarity.

To read the whole thing, click here

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75 Responses to Israel’s Apartheid Anxiety

  1. Arie Brand says:

    Oh dear, oh dear. I thought that these hasbara chestnuts had been buried with Mrs. Golda Meir.

    For you ‘improving your Jewish condition’ obviously means to be able to imbibe Zionist myths in an environment that provides a sounding board and where you are undisturbed by facts.

    And now to these facts.

    You wrote:

    ” …what later came to be called Palestine in approximately 1920″

    As it so happens I like to collect old encyclopedias. I have two from around 1880 (The National Encyclopedia – A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge by writers of eminence in literature, science, and art – it has no publication date but proudly mentions that it includes the (British) census of 1881 – the other one is the Chambers’s Encyclopedia – A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for the people – no publication date either but judging from the dating of population numbers etc it is from about the same period).

    Well now, both these old encyclopedias have an extensive entry under the term ‘Palestine’.

    I am also in the proud possession of the last British, and as is generally acknowledged most scholarly, edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica – the eleventh dating from 1910 – 1911 (after this date it got into American hands).

    This has also an extensive entry under the term ‘Palestine’. It mentions that the name ‘Palestine’ is derived from the ‘narrow strip of coast-land once occupied by the Philistines …’ It also says “The extension of the name of Palestine beyond the limits of Philistia proper is not older than the Byzantine period.”

    The Byzantine period, YBD, goes a bit further back than 1920! Let us say about fifteen hundred years.

    Of course the latest edition of the Britannica makes a point of saying that yes, the Romans called it ‘Syriae Palaestina’, ‘but the name only gained official status again after World War I.’ Do I detect some Zionist influence here? Who talks about official status? When it comes to that the name Israel only gained ‘official status’ in 1948.

    You say:
    “The Arabs REFUSED to be called Palestinians before 1948.”

    O.K. Here is what the Wiki says:
    “The first widespread use of ‘Palestinian’ as an eudonym to refer to the nationalist concept of a Palestinian people by the local Arab-speaking population of Palestine began prior to the outbreak of World War I,…”.

    You seem to be fairly ignorant YBD, but even you know of course that World War I started in 1914 – not 1948. Note furthermore that the term Palestinian seems to pre-date the term ‘Israeli’ (though not Israelite).

    You might of course want to debate how close 1914 is to 1948. You seem to have a knack with numbers – in an instant 41 % becomes ‘approximately half’.

    It has been the fashion among Zionists to declare that the Palestinian claim that they are descended from the ancient Canaanites and thus have more ancient claims to the territory than the Jews is a Palestinian myth recently cooked up.

    Now what does my Encyclopedia Britannica of 1911 say: “The sedentary population of the country villages – the fellahin, or agriculturists – is, on the whole, comparatively unmixed; but traces of various intrusive strains assert themselves. It is by no means unreasonable to suppose that there is a fundamental Canaanite element in this population: the ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’ often remain undisturbed through successive occupations of a land; and there is a remarkable correspondence of type between many of the modern fellahin and skeletons of ancient inhabitants which have been recovered in the course of excavation.’

    Now the fact that this one century old encyclopedia mentions this does not mean of course that the claim is true. What it does mean is that it has not recently been cooked up by the Palestinians.

    On genetic tests the Wiki says inter alia:
    “Results of a DNA study by geneticist Ariella Oppenheim appears to match historical accounts that Arab Israelis and Palestinians,[92][93] together as the one same population, represent modern “descendants of a core population that lived in the area since prehistoric times”, albeit religiously first Christianized then largely Islamized, and all eventually culturally Arabized.[94] Referring to those of the Muslim faith more specifically, it reaffirmed that Palestinian “Muslim Arabs are descended from Christians and Jews who lived in the southern Levant, a region that includes Israel, Sinai and part of Jordan.” …

    While both the Palestinians and the world’s distinct Jewish populations have mixed with invading and host populations respectively, Oppenheim’s team found “that Jews have mixed more with other populations, which makes sense because they were more likely to leave the Levant.”.[96]

    Yes,that makes a lot of sense.

  2. Arie Brand says:

    YBD wrote yesterday:

    “And the “Palestinians” have the monetary and propaganda backing of the people that control a large part of the world’s oil supply, so they are hardly defenseless, as you make them out to be.”

    YBD wrote three weeks ago (4/13/09 at ‘Realistic Dove’):

    “The delusion is that the Egypt and Jordan are concerned about the Palestinians …

    In reality, the Arab world views the Palestinian as nothing more than cannon fodder, and they have no interest in “improving their lives”. ”

    You can turn it any old way you like, eh, YBD?

  3. Arie Brand says:

    A further note on the antiquity of the name ‘Palestine’. In a long and awfully learned article by Robert Drews (“Canaanites and Philistines” in “Journal for the Study of the old Testament” 1998;23;39)I read:

    “By the end of classical antiquity, when Jerome was writing at Bethlehem,
    most people in the southern Levant who did not call themselves
    loudaioi called themselves Palaistinoi. Although the popularity of the Greek name Palaistinoi, or Palaestini in Latin, was due in large part to Hadrian’s decision in 135 CE to change the name of the Romans’
    southern Levantine province from Judaea to Palaestina, the name was
    widespread long before the change in official nomenclature.”

    And in the Abstract he makes clear: “In the iron age many inhabitants of what once had been Canaan preferred to be called “Sons of Israel”, while those who did not affiliate themselves to Israel preferred the name “Palestinians” ”

    That sounds awfully up to date, doesn’t it?

  4. Elihu Richter says:

    The genocidal threats from Iran’s nuclear program, genocidal incitement and support for genocidal terror: What has to be done?

    What is the problem and what has to be done?

    I. Israel and those concerned with the genocidal threats it now faces must lead the world in defining the problem:

    1. Israel’s conflict is not only with the Palestinian Authority (the PA), but with an Islamic world engulfed by endemic toxic hate for Israel and Jews. “Conflict resolution between two relatively small groups” downsizes the asymmetric nature of the existential threats to Israel posed by this region wide endemic hate and its genocidal motifs.

    2. Endemic hate language and incitement throughout much of the Muslim world are toxic because they transmit their messages through the generations. The threats generated by such incitement go hand in hand with an equally toxic culture of death which is programming the behavior of so many of the young. The toll has been huge: 12 million reportedly dead from wars and violence throughout the Muslim world since World War II.

    3. Iran’s regime is the epicenter of an international axis of support for genocide and incitement of genocide and genocidal terror. Iran and its proxies have used genocidal hate language to transform the “two state solution” into the “two -stage solution”-i.e., the ultimate dismemberment of Israel. Along with Iran, the leading members of the new axis of genocide are its terror proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Sudan, with back up support from North Korea and Venezuela. The PA, which helped bring Khomeini to power, goes along with this axis, and indeed, appears to be egging it on,.

    4. Over and over again, territorial concessions (“land for peace”) have led to more, not less terror and death (“territory for terror”). It is state sanctioned incitement which drives this inverse relationship.

    5. There can be no expectation for the sustainability of any future political agreement, if it is undermined by region-wide hate language and incitement in schools, texts, mosques and electronic media. If enriched uranium and missiles are the hardware, it is such hate language and incitement which is the software. Since Oslo, niether Israel nor outside intermdiaries have not demanded an end to continued PA and PLO and region wide incitement against reconciliation based on mutual respect for life and live-and-let-live. Both the PA and the PLO still signal continued support for terror (e.g. the honor Abbas bestowed Samir Kuntir).

    Therefore, Israel and all the outside players involved in negotiations and aid must now immediately do something they have never done before: (a) define, track, and monitor region-wide hate language and incitement to genocide and genocidal terror,and (b) specify and require tangible progress —i.e. defninable endpoints, milestones,– towards eradication of state sponsored hate language and incitement. We believe thatpast failures to specify and require region -wide implementation of these demands as preconditions for a Palestinian state have sabotaged foreseeable prospects for reconciliation and live-and-let-live. Future failures to do so will jeopardize Israel.

    II. Israel itself and those who are concerned for its wellbeing mustrestate the Narrative. There is a need to project a coherent posture based on the following principles, policies, messages and requirements:

    1. The world now, more than ever before, has a responsibility to protect Israel from region-wide threats of genocide and genocidal terror. Israel, a small first nation which has returned to its ancestral home, has always accepted responsibility for its own protection. It was the first to come into being as a result of a UN resolution, but now is the first to be threatened with nuclear genocide.

    2. The first essential pre-requisite for progress towards any political settlement based on Respect for Life and Live-and-Let-Live is the removal of the Iranian nuclear threat and the threats from its arming, support for and training of terror proxies and its state-sponsored hate language and incitement. These threats currently overshadow everything else in the region.

    3. Terminating Iran’s region-wide state-sanctioned hate language and incitement of genocide must be central to a strategy with the immediate aim of removing, preventing or preempting the threats from Iranian nuclear genocide and genocidal terror. Prevention of genocide requires that the UN, US and EU immediately use existing tools of international law to prosecute those Iranian leaders and their proxies personally accountable for state-sanctioned incitement of genocide and hate language (“Israel is a cancer, microbe, filthy corpse, etc), as well as for their involvement and support for genocidal terror.

    4. Protection and respect for individual life and human dignity requires that the PA abandon terror and incitement to terror, and more fundamentally, its aim of dismembering Israel. It also means that the PA respect the lives and dignity of its own citizens.

    5. All the points in the preceding four paragraphs are pre-conditions and prerequisites for Palestinian sovereignty. Not satisfying them is a deal-breaker. Satisfying them is a deal-maker

  5. Arie Brand says:

    “Israel and those concerned with the genocidal threats it now faces must lead the world in defining the problem”

    God help Us!

  6. Arie Brand says:

    European Journal of Public Health, Vol. 15, No. 1, © European Public Health Association 2005; all rights reserved


    Letter to the Editor

    Disturbing distortions: a response to Elihu Richter’s response

    It was disheartening and sad to read Dr. Elihu Richter’s knee-jerk response to the publication of our article ‘Imprints on the Consciousness … .’ in the European Journal of Public Health recently, as he was trying to justify the unjustifiable and distort reality. We are all too aware of the problem of falling into the trap of counting dead bodies and fixating on the consequences rather than the causes of death, injury and ill health in both Palestine and Israel, as the cause of suffering of all is the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land. And whereas this is not our preferred approach to argument, we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having to respond in line with the logic that he used in critiquing what we have written.

    From September 14th 1993 till September 28th 2000, 389 Palestinians were killed by Israelis, while 262 Israelis were killed by Palestinians. Palestinian fatality accounted for 60% of all Palestinian and Israeli fatalities during this Post Oslo Peace Accords period. From September 29th 2000 until September 15th 2004, 2859 Palestinians were killed by Israelis while 916 Israelis were killed by Palestinians; in this period, Palestinian fatality accounted for 76% of all Palestinian and Israeli fatalities. Totaling the death toll during the two periods reveals that overall, 73% of all fatalities were Palestinian fatalities, compared to 27% for Israelis.

    Since the Israeli military re-occupation in September 2000, 557 Palestinian minors have been killed by Israelis. At least 40 Palestinians, including 14 minors, died following Israeli army delays or denial of passage at checkpoints. Seven of the deaths were of newborns whose mothers were prevented from reaching hospital while in labor.1 At the time of writing this letter (October 10th) at least 101 Palestinians were reported dead, including 32 children and women and more than 322 wounded as a result of the latest Israeli military incursions in the Gaza strip beginning September 28th, 2004, and ongoing!2

    Palestinian survivors continue to suffer systematic Israeli army onslaughts in violation of the most basic human rights and the Geneva Convention: thousands of injuries; home demolitions (612 homes completely demolished during the period October 2001 till September 2004); the erection of an Apartheid Wall that separates people from families, work, school and land, with 875,600 Palestinian lives and health affected negatively (amounting to 38% of the West Bank population); travel restrictions imposed by at least 39 permanent Israeli army checkpoints on the West Bank, and many more temporary ones; and the prohibition or restriction of Palestinian travel on 41 roads and sections of roads throughout the West Bank, including many of the main traffic arteries, and with a total of over 700 kilometers of roadway.3 These are only reminders of some of the measures implemented against Palestinians, other than spiraling poverty and rampant unemployment that have contributed to the misery, indeed, sometimes the impossibility, of Palestinian life.

    Does Dr. Richter realize how these actions and human rights violations affect the living? the health of the Palestinian public? ”

    Perhaps Dr.Richter, who gave us the benefit of his views on the Israel-Iran conflict,might care to answer that question (now,after Gaza, even more acute)here.

  7. Caroline Glick says:

    We were not supposed to see Shlomo Nativ’s name in the newspapers. At least,we weren’t supposed to know who he was for several years. He was just a13-year-old boy. He was loved by his family and friends. He had brothers andsisters, parents and grandparents. His life was not our business. And, to acertain extent, now that it is over, it still shouldn’t concern us. What should concern us is his death. Nativ was murdered last Thursday at thehands of a Palestinian ax murderer just a few meters from his home in BatAyin. And his death should interest us for what it teaches us, first of allabout the nature of the Middle East and Israel’s place in it. The mainstream media in Europe and the US and even here maintain thatNativ’s death tells us little we didn’t already “know” if we areright-thinking people. By this view of things, the cold-blooded terroristmurder of civilians – even of children – is to be expected when the victimsin question are Israeli Jews who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines. Itisn’t nice. It isn’t pleasant to say. But as far as the right-thinkingpeople of the Western media are concerned, Israeli Jews like Nativ, who livein Gush Etzion in Judea, are simply asking to be murdered. Today, the media’s view is shared by both European governments and the Obamaadministration. For years now the Europeans have accepted the legallyunsupportable Arab claim that all Jewish presence in areas beyond the 1949armistice lines is illegal. Since 1993, supported by the Israeli Left, theUS government has gradually moved toward adopting this view. And today thisview stands at the center of President Barack Obama’s emerging policy towardIsrael and the Palestinians. At base, this view assumes two things. First, it assumes that the root ofthe Arab-Israeli conflict is the absence of Palestinian statehood, andtherefore the solution is the establishment of a Palestinian state. Thesecond thing it assumes is that the Palestinian demand that any territorythat Israel transfers to Palestinian control must first be ethnicallycleansed of all Jewish presence is completely innocent and acceptable. OBAMA MADE clear that this is the view of his administration on twooccasions in the past week. First, at a news conference before he departedfor his European tour, he announced that as far as his administration isconcerned, the only way of contending with the Arab conflict with Israel isby establishing a Palestinian state. In his words, “It is critical for us toadvance a two-state solution.” And second, last Thursday in London, Obama made clear that he supports themass expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (as well as theGolan Heights), when he announced his support for the so-called Saudi peaceplan. The Saudi plan, issued as a propaganda stunt by Saudi King Abdullah during ameeting with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in 2002, calls forIsrael to commit national suicide by removing itself to within theindefensible 1949 lines and accepting millions of hostile foreign Arabs ascitizens in its rump state in exchange for “regular” relations with the Arabworld. Shlomo Nativ’s murder shows clearly that Obama and his supporters areviewing the Arab conflict with Israel through a distorted lens. Theirinterpretation of both the nature of the conflict and its likely resolutionare wrong. IT TAKES A CERTAIN type of person to hack a child to death with an ax. Inthe case at hand, Nativ’s murderer actually tried to kill seven-year-oldYair Gamliel as well. But unlike Nativ, the first grader managed to escapewith a fractured skull. Nativ of course was not the first child to be brutally murdered byPalestinian terrorists. Kobi Mandell and Yosef Ish-Ran were also 13 whenthey were stoned to death by a mob as they gathered wood for a bonfire in2001. In 2003 five-month-old Shaked Avraham was shot in her crib by aPalestinian terrorist who pushed his way into her home. In 2002five-year-old Matan Ohayon, four-year-old Noam Ohayon and their motherRevital Ohayon were murdered in their home in Kibbutz Metzer. And the list goes on and on and on. It takes a special type of person to murder a child. And it takes a specialtype of society to support such behavior. Palestinian society is a specialsociety. It has become routine, indeed it has become expected that in theaftermath of successful murders of Israelis – including children -Palestinians distribute candy in public celebrations. In 2002 for instance, when word got out about the terrorist who barged intoNina Kardashov’s bat mitzva party in Hadera and massacred six people, themasses took to the streets in neighboring Tulkarm to celebrate. Thatparticular attack was carried out by a Fatah terrorist employed by theUS-trained Palestinian Authority security forces. The Shin Bet (IsraelSecurity Agency) and the IDF now reportedly believe that Nativ was alsomurdered by a Fatah terrorist. TO CELEBRATE the terrorist murder of children and to glorify child murderersas heroes is to celebrate and glorify the nullification of life – or atleast the life of the target society. This is the case because at the mostbasic philosophical level, children represent the notion that life isintrinsically valuable. Since children haven’t yet had the chance toaccomplish great and lasting things for humanity, all they can give us isthe promise of a future. The fact that Palestinian terrorists target children specifically – bothinside and outside the 1949 lines – and that Palestinian society celebratestheir murder tells us that the two foundational assumptions upon which Obamaand his supporters base their policies toward Israel and the Middle East arefalse. It is not the absence of a Palestinian state that stands at the rootof the conflict, and it is not the presence of Israeli communities, or”settlements,” beyond the 1949 armistice lines that renders the conflictintractable. Instead, the root of the conflict is the Arab world’s rejection of Israel’sright to exist – regardless of its size. And the reason the conflict isintractable is because hatred of Israel and Jews is so deep and endemic inboth Palestinian society and the wider Arab world that they view the veryexistence of Jews – including Jewish children – in Israel as an unacceptableaffront to their sensibilities. Indeed, the Jewish presence both within andbeyond the 1949 armistice lines is so unacceptable that murdering Jews atevery opportunity is perceived as an acceptable and indeed heroicundertaking. THIS BEING the case, the question necessarily arises, why are these basicfacts so assiduously ignored by people like Obama who should know better?Why did Sen. John Kerry, who chairs the US Senate’s Foreign RelationsCommittee, say in late February, “Nothing will do more to make clear ourseriousness about turning the page [in US relations with the Arab world]than demonstrating – with actions rather than words – that we are seriousabout Israel’s freezing settlement activity in the West Bank?” Why did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attack Israel during her visitlast month for lawfully destroying illegal Arab houses in Jerusalem? Why are Obama’s supporters from Peace Now to the Arab League to TheWashington Post and Haaretz editorial boards urging him to coerce theNetanyahu government to accept a complete halt to all building activitiesfor Jews in Judea and Samaria? The answer unfortunately is that in their actions, Obama, his colleagues andsupporters are not motivated by facts. Instead they are motivated by adesire to ignore the facts. They wish to believe that the existence ofIsraeli communities in Judea and Samaria is a primary obstacle to peacebecause doing so allows them to ignore the fact that the reason there is nopeace is because Palestinians and their Arab and Iranian brethren refuse topeacefully coexist with Israel regardless of its size. Accepting such bitterrealities would make it impossible for them to move forward with theiragenda of appeasing the Arab world because it would force them toacknowledge that the Arab world is unappeasable. And that’s the thing of it. At base, the so-called settlements are nothingbut an excuse for appeasers to curry favor with the Arabs by blaming Israelfor the absence of peace while ignoring the Arabs’ bigotry, hatred andaggression. What these Israeli communities represent is nothing more than anassertion of Israeli rights to land – whether that land is within or beyondthe 1949 armistice lines. If these communities didn’t exist – as they nolonger exist in Gaza – then a surrogate, such as the IDF which protectsother Israeli land, would be found to replace them. And if the IDF weren’t around – as it isn’t in Gaza or in southern Lebanon -then the appeasers would blame another surrogate, such as the Israeli navalquarantine of Gaza, or Israel’s control over the town of Ghajar along theLebanese border for the Arabs’ bigotry, hatred and aggression against it. Here it should be noted that there is no difference in principle between theway the likes of the Obama administration and its supporters treat Israeland the way they treat the US and its non-Israeli allies. When on SundayObama responded to North Korea’s launch of a long-range ballistic missile byannouncing that he wishes to all but disarm the US of its nuclear arsenal,he was effectively arguing that US strength is to blame for North Korea’saggression. He did what amounts to the same thing when he apologized to theIranian regime for supposed US arrogance. By Obama’s lights, now that the USis humble, the Iranians may one day stop calling for its destruction, wagingwar against it in Iraq and Afghanistan and building a nuclear arsenal. Then too, when Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen reportedlyagreed to apologize to the Islamic world for Denmark’s independentJyllands-Postens 2005 publication of cartoons of Muhammad in exchange forTurkish support for his candidacy for NATO secretary-general, he wasaccepting that it is Western civilization – with its freedom of speech -that is to blame for Islamic aggression and intolerance. In the end then, the truth exposed by Shlomo Nativ’s brutal murder onThursday in Bat Ayin is twofold. First, it demonstrated that the so-calledsettlements have no relevance whatsoever to the intractability of theArab-Israeli conflict. When your enemy hates you so much that he hacks yourchildren to pieces, there is nothing you can do, short of committingsuicide, that will appease him. Second, it reminded us of what appeasement places at risk. By attempting toappease the unappeasable, all that successive Israeli, American and European governments have done is strengthen our enemies at the expense of oursecurity and freedom.

  8. Ketchup lobby says:

    Hot spot: Restaurant ketchup bottle

    It’s the rare eatery that regularly bleaches down condiment containers. And the reality is that many people don’t wash their hands before eating, says Reynolds. So while you may be diligent, the guy who poured the ketchup before you may not have been, which means his germs are now on your fries.

    Keep it clean: Squirt hand sanitizer on the outside of the bottle or use a disinfectant wipe before you grab it. Holding the bottle with a napkin won’t help—they’re porous, so microorganisms can seep right through, says Reynolds

  9. Arie Brand says:

    Hacks like Glick hardly deserve an answer but last week I happened to get hold of Saul Bellow’s “To Jerusalem and Back – A Personal Account”. Well, I thought, here we have a Nobel Prize winner, a novelist who has been praised to the skies, here we will get a sober and truthful account of that thorn in the flesh of the international community, that turbulent country on the eastern border of the Mediterranean. Nothing doing.

    I found it a cowardly book. Bellow’s procedure, if I may call it that, is to put extreme opinions of all kinds into the mouths of his conversation partners and then to leave these uncommented. So he gets them across without having to take personal responsibility for them.

    The most flagrant example of this occurs on pp.37/38 where he lets a certain Shahar, as it were “avant la lettre”, come up with the whole pack of Joan Peters’ lies (you know stuff like: this place was a desert we made it bloom – the Arab population grew so large because our wealth attracted them – “Jews had outnumbered Arabs and Christians for a very long time” – we made concession after concession to these Arabs and if a “state was what they wanted they might have had it years ago” etc.etc.). Bellows concludes this bit by saying “I know that some of what Shahar is saying is not true, but I say nothing”. Well never mind that he said nothing to Shahar, perhaps he feared a punch on the nose, but he says nothing to us about these porkers either. And yet a bit further down, after having let Shahar blow off a bit more steam, he says; “I am beginning to irritate him with my American evenhandedness, my objectivity at his expense”. He must be joking. What evenhandedness? In fact Bellow, as his later praise for Joan Peters’ obviously fraudulent book showed, believed a lot of this stuff himself plus a lot of the other hasbara chestnuts – such as that many Arabs “displaced themselves”(p.158), that Jews “were driven out from Arab lands”, all 800.000 of them (p.159), that the survivors of the camps had nowhere else to go etc.etc. He becomes absolutely laughable when he mentions as virtually the only instance of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians the fact that a Jewish officer went to great lengths to restore some jewelry to an Palestinian woman that had been damaged or stolen.

    Can he be excused because he wrote before the work of Israel’s so-called “new historians” had appeared. I don’t think so.

    I treasure a little book by the late Dutch author Renate Rubinstein, “Jood in Arabie – Goi in Israel”, that is based on her travel in the region just after the Six Day War – and about six years before the trip Bellow describes. Now, Rubinstein had as much reason to treasure Israel as Bellow had. She had studied there, had many good friends there whom she didn’t like to hurt, in short she loved Israel but she loved the truth better. Rubinstein already mentioned that this whole story of the Arabs having “displaced themselves”, to use Bellow’s expression, was an absolute nonsense. She didn’t need the new historians to tell her that. She was also appalled, as was Tony Judt at round about the same time, by the “colonialist” tendencies the Israelis displayed after the Six Day War, when people discussed what to do with the territories as if there were no Palestinians living there.

    And here I am at a point where I must give Bellow some praise. Because he summarises at some length an article by Professor Tzvi Lamm, then of the Hebrew University, that deserves to be less obscure and with the main thrust of which B. can’t have had much sympathy. I will summarise B.’s summary because I believe it to be quite apposite comment on the articles by Richter and Glick, the sort of articles that some nitwit who obviously doesn’t dare to write him/herself keeps sending us.

    Lamm believed that Israel had lost touch with reality, that it had become autistic – autism being defined as “the rejection of actual reality and its replacement by a reality which is the product of wish fulfillment”. The victory of 1967 was the main cause of this. Israelis began to speak then about the West Bank as “liberated territory”. Lamm wrote “this break with reality did not necessarily blind men to the fact that the territories were populated by Arabs, but it kept them from understanding that our settlement and taking possession of the territories would turn our existence as a state into a powerful presence that would unite the Arab world and aggravate our insecure situation in a way previously unknown in our history” “Statesmen, thinkers, writers, journalists became proud” says Bellow summarising Lamm “lost sight of the true reason for the founding of the state – the “rescue” reason – and became power intoxicated, deluded. The nation, according to Professor Lamm, now lived in a dream world, political debate virtually ended.”

    It seems to me that this picture is even more fitting for the present situation. Autism, the syndrome that Lamm spotted thirty five years ago, is not onloy characterized by a shaky hold on reality but also by an absolute inability to empathise, to understand the reactions of others. Hence the sad attempts by Israeli political commentators of the Glick-variety to ascribe the world’s indignation about Gaza to still festering anti-semitism rather than to the facts of the situation.

    I believe that Ben-Gurion had more nous in assessing Israel’s security needs than that tiresome “Brooklyn Israeli”, Caroline Glick. Yet he was after the Six Day War in favour of returning most of the occupied territories. Mrs. Glick however, that self appointed military strategist, believes that without these Israel would be indefensible.

    That people like that have so much influence in Israel is an absolute “testimonium paupertatis” for the public realm there.

  10. Mike says:

    Just a couple of small points of fact.

    On the status of Zionism among pre-war Jewry, I would like to point out that not only was Zionism a highly fragmented collection of tiny, absolutely marginal political movements among West and Central European Jews, and completely non-existent among Arab Jews, but in East Europe too, it was absolutely dwarfed by the number of Jews professing allegiance to Bundism, Communism, the Aguda and also of course middle class assimilationism.

    Of course this situation was radically changed by the Holocaust, and also by continuing restrictions on large scale overseas immigration by Holocaust survivors. At the same time however, one might quietly point out that the horrific pain, loss and trauma of the Holocaust was not exactly conducive to sound decision-making that would have been mindful of the best long term strategic interests of people of Jewish descent. In a cooler, calmer state of mind, it is unlikely that the option of forcing a European-style Jewish nation state onto the vociferously objecting native Arabs of the Levant would have been seen as a strategically wise or in any way viable move by the bulk of people of Jewish descent around the world.

    Re the Balfour Declaration, the protestant religious beliefs of Balfour and Lloyd George, and the utter respectability, at the time, of European colonialism, were both a very large part of the motivation for the “generous British donation” to the Zionist Jews of a piece of land the Brits did not actually own.

    In fact, the colonising nature of the Zionist enterprise was openly admitted in the early days of Zionism, with the official stamps on old Zionist documents all showing something along the lines of “Organisation for the Colonisation of Palestine and Syria,” whether in German, Hebrew, Polish, Hungarian or English. After all, the colonisation of native lands was a perfectly respectable enterprise at the time.

    Now for a couple of general points.

    The insular unwisdom of zealots like Ben-David, Richter or Glick is staggering.

    The utter and complete pointlessness of campaigns like the ones Israel waged in Lebanon (2006) and Gaza (2009)is evidence, if any further evidence was needed, of the March of Folly the Zionist project is embarked upon. These campaigns are also of course significant strategic pointers to its inevitable demise over the coming decades.

    I say this in sorrow, and in full cognisance of the immense amount of blood, sweat, treasure and sheer creativity that has gone into the making of the State of Israel.

    Let’s just hope that there will be some kind of a soft landing for the Jews of Israel, rather than a second Masada or indeed a repeat of the Holocaust.

  11. arie brand says:

    I return to an earlier point in this exchange at which YBD wrote:

    “In fact, even with the Emancipation it was almost impossible for Jews to get appointments as Professors and Army officers up until the end of the Kaiser’s regime in 1918.”

    I have given some examples to the contrary earlier but have been rummaging my library for Karl Popper’s intellectual autobiography ‘Unended Quest’ because I remembered he had said something about it. I have now found it and this is what he said in a passage that seems to have regard to Austria (where he spent his early life) as well as Germany: “The proportion of Jews or men of Jewish origin among University professors, medical men, and lawyers was very high, and open resentment was aroused by this only after the First World War. Baptized Jews could rise to the highest positions in the civil service.”

    On the same page there is a statement that seems rather relevant to YBD’s “happy tribalism”: ” … it is understandable that people who were despised for their racial origin should react by saying that they were proud of it. But racial pride is not only stupid but wrong, even if provoked by racial hatred. All nationalism or racialism is evil, and Jewish nationalism is no exception.”

  12. Joe S. says:

    In response to #60, it wasn’t impossible for Jews to receive academic appointments in Wilhelmine Germany. But I don’t think it was easy. Georg Simmel, the great German Jewish sociologist, spent most of his career as an extraordinary (i.e., not real) professor. Einstein’s annus mirabilis, if you remember, occurred while he was working in the Swiss patent office: 1905. It is very easy to spot talent in physics, but Einstein somehow appeared to fall through the cracks.

  13. Arie Brand says:

    There is, I think, little doubt that anti-semitism had an impact on Jewish academic careers – but it is not easy to gauge the extent of this.

    I obtained the following data from a thesis for the Freie Universitaet Berlin, entitled “Das Juedische Bildingsbewusstsein” and authored by Katharina Happ (see

    1. In the first forty years of the previous century was almost a third of all German Nobel Laureates of Jewish origin. This percentage was many times above that of their share in the German population. It is not fanciful to presume that most of these Jewish Nobel Laureates were senior academics.

    2. There was an enormous urge among German Jews to obtain “Bildung”.Already in 1848 was the percentage of Jewish students in German universities two times higher than their share in the total population.

    3. In 1886 Jewish students constituted 9% of all university students in Prussia – 7.5 times their share in the total population.

    4. In 1875 there were 20 baptised Jewish professors and 10 unbaptised ones. In 1909 the equivalent numbers were 44 versus 25. Happ doesn’t tell us whether these were all “Ordinarien”.

    5. The percentage of full (“Ordinarius”) professors among Jewish academic personnel was 14.5 % – far lower than among the non-Jewish personnel were it was 58%.

    Unfortunately Happ doesn’t give us here a further background to these figures, such as the total number of Jewish versus non-Jewish academic personnel. It seems to me safe to assume that the percentage of Jews was many times higher than their share in the total population. If we assume that talent was evenly distributed among the total population we don’t have to ascribe this lower Jewish percentage exclusively to anti-semitism though it no doubt played a role. It is of course a separate, though related, question to what extent talent and academic merit did play a role in senior academic appointments. Happ reports that Jews stayed on average longer in the lower academic ranks (mainly that of “Privatdozenten”) than non-Jewish personnel.

    In the case of Simmel anti-semitism did play a definite role in his career. In 1908 he was called to Heidelberg for a full professorship but a negative reference by the historian Dietrich Schaefer put a spoke in the wheel. I have read that reference (it might have been published in “Buch des Dankes”) and do remember that Schaefer referred rather scathingly to Simmel’s Jewish appearance. The support of Max Weber and Eberhard Gothein didn’t help him here, though he obtained in 1914 a full professorship in Strassburg, admittedly late in his career (he was then 56).

    It should be clear from these data though that Ben-David’s original information on the matter was completely wrong.

  14. The Apartheid State of Israel: a Jew is sentenced to death for selling land to the Palestinians and the world is silent.

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  22. dogflea says:

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  23. marich says:

    the Palestinians and the world’s distinct Jewish populations have mixed with invading and host populations respectively, Oppenheim’s team found “that Jews have mixed more with other populations,

  24. kita says:

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  25. or if Okami’s win would be validated But if your head or your body is hit unexpectedly hard,or has a sudden impact

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