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. morris says:

    The BDS (The boycott campaign) does not target the ‘invisible’ hold in the guise of financial services, still a boycott is demeaning and a powerful slur but it is unlikely to have any ‘real’ effect.

  2. Y. Ben-David says:

    If Olmert is right that “Israel is finished if it doesn’t create a Palestinian state right away”, then why should the Palestinians go along with him? After, getting rid of Israel is their main goal, so if they think he is right, they should OPPOSE the creation of such a state.

  3. Arie Brand says:

    Yes, and when a De Klerk was needed a Verwoerd was elected. Will the stage now be open for a Tsafendas?

  4. jdledell says:

    “If Olmert is right that “Israel is finished if it doesn’t create a Palestinian state right away”, then why should the Palestinians go along with him?”

    YBD – The Palestinians need an economically vibrant Israel next door in order for their own state to succeed and thrive. If you talk to knowledeable Palestinians they all recognize it. In time all Palestinians will recognize that.

    I’ve been around Israel and Palestinians for decades and remember the days when you could drive to Ramallah, or Nablus for shopping and dining and have a great time with the locals. Jews and Palestinians don’t have to be enemies but state sanctioned occupation has to cease. It’s the occupation that is causing most of the animosity. Germans and Japanese get along with Americans just fine and have since shortly after the war. The same will happen between Jews and arabs IF a peace agreement is signed.

    Simply put – it is time for Israel to make an offer that is too good to turn down.

  5. Donald says:

    Maybe they should, YBD, especially if Israel just offers them some bantustans. What’s your point?

  6. Nonie Darwish says:

    International donors pledged almost $4.5 billion in aid for Gaza earlier this month. It has been very painful for me to witness over the past few years the deteriorating humanitarian situation in that narrow strip where I lived as a child in the 1950s.

    The media tend to attribute Gaza’s decline solely to Israeli military and economic actions against Hamas. But such a myopic analysis ignores the problem’s root cause: 60 years of Arab policy aimed at cementing the Palestinian people’s status as stateless refugees in order to use their suffering as a weapon against Israel.

    As a child in Gaza in the 1950s, I experienced the early results of this policy. Egypt, which then controlled the territory, conducted guerrilla-style operations against Israel from Gaza. My father commanded these operations, carried out by Palestinian fedayeen, Arabic for “self-sacrifice.” Back then, Gaza was already the front line of the Arab jihad against Israel. My father was assassinated by Israeli forces in 1956.

    It was in those years that the Arab League started its Palestinian refugee policy. Arab countries implemented special laws designed to make it impossible to integrate the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Arab war against Israel. Even descendants of Palestinian refugees who are born in another Arab country and live there their entire lives can never gain that country’s passport. Even if they marry a citizen of an Arab country, they cannot become citizens of their spouse’s country. They must remain “Palestinian” even though they may have never set foot in the West Bank or Gaza.

    This policy of forcing a Palestinian identity on these people for eternity and condemning them to a miserable life in a refugee camp was designed to perpetuate and exacerbate the Palestinian refugee crisis.

    So was the Arab policy of overpopulating Gaza. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, whose main political support comes from Arab countries, encourages high birth rates by rewarding families with many children. Yasser Arafat said the Palestinian woman’s womb was his best weapon.

    For 60 years, Palestinians have been used and abused by Arab regimes and Palestinian terrorists in their fight against Israel.

    Arab countries always push for classifying as many Palestinians as possible as “refugees.” As a result, about one-third of the Palestinians in Gaza still live in refugee camps. For 60 years, Palestinians have been used and abused by Arab regimes and Palestinian terrorists in their fight against Israel.

    Now it is Hamas, an Islamist terror organization supported by Iran, which is using and abusing Palestinians for this purpose. While Hamas leaders hid in the well-stocked bunkers and tunnels they prepared before they provoked Israel into attacking them, Palestinian civilians were exposed and caught in the deadly crossfire between Hamas and Israeli soldiers.

    As a result of 60 years of this Arab policy, Gaza has become a prison camp for 1.5 million Palestinians. Both Israel and Egypt are fearful of terrorist infiltration from Gaza — all the more so since Hamas took over — and have always maintained tight controls over their borders with Gaza. The Palestinians continue to endure hardships because Gaza continues to serve as the launching pad for terror attacks against Israeli citizens. Those attacks come in the form of Hamas missiles that indiscriminately target Israeli kindergartens, homes and businesses.

    And Hamas continued these attacks more than two years after Israel withdrew from Gaza in the hope that this step would begin the process of building a Palestinian state, eventually leading to a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There was no “cycle of violence” then, no justification for anything other than peace and prosperity. But instead, Hamas chose Islamic jihad. Gazans’ and Israelis’ hopes have been met with misery for Palestinians and missiles for Israelis.

    Hamas, an Iran proxy, has become a danger not only to Israel, but also to Palestinians as well as to neighboring Arab states, who fear the spread of radical Islam could destabilize their countries.

    Arabs claim they love the Palestinian people, but they seem more interested in sacrificing them. If they really loved their Palestinian brethren, they’d pressure Hamas to stop firing missiles at Israel. In the longer term, the Arab world must end the Palestinians’ refugee status and thereby their desire to harm Israel. It’s time for the 22 Arab countries to open their borders and absorb the Palestinians of Gaza who wish to start a new life. It is time for the Arab world to truly help the Palestinians, not use them

  7. Arie Brand says:

    NOT “posted” by Nonie Darwish but copied from the Wall Street Journal Europe

  8. Arie Brand says:

    Darwish is the child of an Egyptian general who was a victim of an Israeli targeted killing in Gaza because he organised Palestinian guerilla raids.

    Darwish doesn’t blame Israel for his death but ascribes it to the anti-Israel activities of her own father.

    After this primary identification with the aggressor one could expect her to do and/or say anything in its defence.

    And so she has.

    Her argument that it is really the Arab countries that are primarily responsible for Palestinian misery is absurd. The idea that these countries should have aided and abetted Israeli ethnic cleansing by speedily transforming refugees into Egyptian, Jordanian or Saudian citizens is worthy of a Horowitz, a Ledeen or a Coulter, people she consorted with in the 2007-(anti) university campaign named ‘Islamo fascism awareness’ week.

    Though Darwish likes to suggest that she is defending the real interest of Gazans on the basis of the fact that she spent some time there before the Israeli take over, she is so entirely oblivious of Palestinian aspirations that she never asks the question whether Palestinians WANTED to become citizens of the states they had been exiled to rather than returning to their own homes and/or having their own state.

    Let us look at some absurdities of a lesser order. She wrote:

    ‘While Hamas leaders hid in the well-stocked bunkers and tunnels they prepared before they provoked Israel into attacking them, Palestinian civilians were exposed and caught in the deadly crossfire between Hamas and Israeli soldiers.’

    So they were not firing then from amidst civilians using them as ‘human shields’- another asccusation that belongs to the stock in trade of crypto Zionists. And what about that ‘crossfire’? In the murdercampaign called ‘Cast Lead’ about half a dozen Israeli soldiers died as a result of Palestinian action as compared to about 1450 Palestinians. Doesn’t sound like much of a ‘crossfire’ to me. But ‘crossfire’ sounds of course much better than wholesale slaughter.

    Darwish wrote:

    ‘ … Israel withdrew from Gaza in the hope that this step would begin the process of building a Palestinian state, eventually leading to a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.’

    Is this woman just ignorant or is she lying through her teeth? Ari Shavit’s interview with Sharon’s adviser, Dov Weisglass, in which this luminary explained that the Gaza withdrawal was meant to put an end to the peace process, to put it ‘in formaldehyde’ as he said, has been quoted endlessly. Even Darwish, though she is surrounded by a ‘cordon (in)sanitaire’ of Zionist liars, cannot have escaped seeing it.

    Her prize item is this:

    ‘So was the Arab policy of overpopulating Gaza. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, whose main political support comes from Arab countries, encourages high birth rates by rewarding families with many children.’

    The overpopulation of Gaza, dear Lady, is a direct result of Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing. The idea that UNRWA support to families, commonsensically in accordance with their size, is meant to create a demographic time bomb for Israel is a sign of advanced Zionist paranoia, quite common in Israel I suppose but no doubt a great rarity among Arab Americans.

  9. Clingon says:

    I think that Jon Stewarts original name was Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz. It seems that “Jon” is running away from his identity. Israel bashing is always safe for insecure Leibowitzes

  10. DaveS says:

    Tony is absolutely right to downplay the supposed demographic tipping point when a majority of the people in the entire area are non-Jewish. Israel has been ruling over millions of Palestinians for over 40 years, denying them all basic democratic rights. What difference does it make if they, plus the Arab citizens of Israel, become a majority? I don’t see why anyone would notice. Unfortunately, the moral unacceptability of the situation will not become more apparent on that day.

    What is potentially far more important is the demographic time bomb within Israel itself. Even if Israel were to withdraw to the 1967 borders tomorrow, and a Palestinian state created in the West Bank and Gaza, a two-tiered citizenry would remain in Israel. Differences between the rights of Jewish and Arab citizens are plentiful, and while they can be reduced to a certain extent, they can never be eradicated entirely. Non-Jewish citizens would never be equal in a Jeish State. However, these pesky Israeli Arabs also have a higher growth rate. Right now, they are about 20% of the population, but in a few short decades, their numbers will increase to a “dangerous” proportion. Fifty percent of course would spell doom for the “democratic” Jewish State, but even less would make it unmanageable. There’s also a small percentage of Israeli Jews who actually think that full equality for all citizens is a demand that cannot be compromised, and is incompatible with the very notion of a Jewish State. Their numbers combined with a growing Arab citizenry could put pressure on Israel within a generation, certainly within two.

    It is hard to see what Israel’s long-range game plan is. Forced expulsion? Disenfranchisement? Avigdor Lieberman has more than hinted at attacking this “problem” now, but even Livni, the mainstream politician, the hope of the peace camp, sparked outrage when she suggested that when (if!!!) a Palestinian state is created, Israeli Arabs should high-tail it for their new homeland. She is guilty only of recognizing reality. To continue as a Jewish State, either apartheid or another round of forced expulsion is in the offing. Maybe it’s time to rethink the whole idea of a Jewish State. If we could travel back in time to an early Zionist meeting, who among us would counsel that the indigenous population will not mind giving up their land for emigrants from another continent, or that it would be moral to simply steal it from them?

  11. Clingon says:

    If we could travel back in time to an early Zionist meeting, who among us would counsel that the indigenous population will not mind giving up their land for emigrants from another continent, or that it would be moral to simply steal it from them…If we could travel back in time to the Wannsee conference in Berlin, who among us would counsel Reinhard Heydrich to speed up the final solution because the Jews that were missed by the final solution would end up causing war that threatens world peace. Just imagine that if Hitler was successful, we would have already achieved world peace. My sympathies go out to the innocent lice that were gassed with the Jews

  12. Matthew says:

    Nonie Darwish is utter human garbage. She supports Israel although they killed her father; she converted to Evangelical Christianity; she touts Israel although they routinely murder Palestinians.

    Ms. Darwish: you have betrayed your family, your religion, and your people. Who haven’t you betrayed?

    I hope you enjoy the 30 pieces of silver.

  13. Matthew says:

    Clingon: “My sympathies go out to the innocent lice that were gassed with the Jews.”

    WTF is that? For God sake, stop reading the Aryan Nation newsletters.

  14. Khaled Abu Toameh says:

    During a recent visit to several university campuses in the U.S. , I discovered that there is more sympathy for Hamas there than there is in Ramallah. Listening to some students and professors on these campuses, for a moment Ithought I was sitting opposite a Hamas spokesman or a would-be-suicide bomber. I was told, for instance, that Israel has no right to exist, that Israel’s”apartheid system” is worse than the one that existed in South Africa andthat Operation Cast Lead was launched only because Hamas was beginning toshow signs that it was interested in making peace and not because of therockets that the Islamic movement was launching at Israeli communities. I was also told that top Fatah operative Marwan Barghouti, who is servingfive life terms in prison for masterminding terror attacks against Israelicivilians, was thrown behind bars simply because he was trying to promotepeace between Israelis and Palestinians. Furthermore, I was told that all the talk about financial corruption in thePalestinian Authority was “Zionist propaganda” and that Yasser Arafat haddone wonderful things for his people, including the establishment ofschools, hospitals and universities. The good news is that these remarks were made only by a minority of peopleon the campuses who describe themselves as “pro-Palestinian,” although theoverwhelming majority of them are not Palestinians or even Arabs or Muslims. The bad news is that these groups of hard-line activists/thugs are trying tointimidate anyone who dares to say something that they don’t like to hear. When the self-designated “pro-Palestinian” lobbyists are unable to challengethe facts presented by a speaker, they resort to verbal abuse. On one campus, for example, I was condemned as an “idiot” because I saidthat a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas in the January 2006 electionbecause they were fed up with financial corruption in the PalestinianAuthority. On another campus, I was dubbed as a “mouthpiece for the Zionists” because Isaid that Israel has a free media. There was another campus where someonetold me that I was a ‘liar” because I said that Barghouti was sentenced tofive life terms because of his role in terrorism. And then there was the campus (in Chicago ) where I was “greeted” withswastikas that were painted over posters promoting my talk. Theperpetrators, of course, never showed up at my event because they would notbe able to challenge someone who has been working in the field for nearly 30years.What struck me more than anything else was the fact that many of the peopleI met on the campuses supported Hamas and believed that it had the right to”resist the occupation” even if that meant blowing up children and women ona bus in downtown Jerusalem. I never imagined that I would need police protection while speaking at auniversity in the U.S. I have been on many Palestinian campuses in the WestBank and Gaza Strip and I cannot recall one case where I felt intimidated orwhere someone shouted abuse at me. Ironically, many of the Arabs and Muslims I met on the campuses were muchmore understanding and even welcomed my “even-handed analysis” of theIsraeli-Arab conflict. After all, the views I voiced were not much differentthan those made by the leaderships both in Israel and the PalestinianAuthority. These views include support for the two-state solution and theidea of coexistence between Jews and Arabs in this part of the world. The so-called pro-Palestinian “junta” on the campuses has nothing to offerother than hatred and de-legitimization of Israel . If these folks reallycared about the Palestinians, they would be campaigning for good governmentand for the promotion of values of democracy and freedom in the West Bankand Gaza Strip. Their hatred for Israel and what it stands for has blinded them to a pointwhere they no longer care about the real interests of the Palestinians,namely the need to end the anarchy and lawlessness, and to dismantle all thearmed gangs that are responsible for the death of hundreds of innocentPalestinians over the past few years. The majority of these activists openly admit that they have never visitedIsrael or the Palestinian territories. They don’t know -and don’t want toknow – that Jews and Arabs here are still doing business together andstudying together and meeting with each other on a daily basis because theyare destined to live together in this part of the world. They don’t want tohear that despite all the problems life continues and that ordinary Arab and Jewish parents who wake up in the morning just want to send their children to school and go to work before returning home safely and happily.What is happening on the U.S. campuses is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state.It is not really about ending the “occupation” as much as it is about endingthe existence of Israel . Many of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials I talk to in thecontext of my work as a journalist sound much more pragmatic than most ofthe anti-Israel, “pro-Palestinian” folks on the campuses. Over the past 15 years, much has been written and said about the fact thatPalestinian school textbooks don’t promote peace and coexistence and thatthe Palestinian media often publishes anti-Israel material. While this may be true, there is no ignoring the fact that the anti-Israelcampaign on U.S. campuses is not less dangerous. What is happening on thesecampuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not besurprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan , but from university campuses across the U.S

  15. Joshua says:

    Is that really Abu Toameh? It sounds like the usual garbage that he espouses most of the time. I wonder if he really believes what he writes, for instance this:

    “Over the past 15 years, much has been written and said about the fact thatPalestinian school textbooks don’t promote peace and coexistence and thatthe Palestinian media often publishes anti-Israel material. While this may be true, there is no ignoring the fact that the anti-Israelcampaign on U.S. campuses is not less dangerous. What is happening on thesecampuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not besurprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan , but from university campuses across the U.S.”

    For a man who purports to “know” so much about the co-existence of both Palestinians and Israelis, he still manages to regurgitate awful propaganda that was dismissed eight years ago as propaganda. The whole Palestinian textbooks fiasco was debunked by both Akiva Eldar and Nathan Brown, the latter writing an entire book about it. But I guess Abu Toameh wouldn’t know since he excoriates “university campuses across the U.S.” as a platform for a haven for “jihadists”. I really wonder how much research do the people who complain about those who “disseminate hatred” against Israel on campuses.

  16. Tony says:

    Just a note on what happened to Clingon — I unapproved that comment, I won’t tolerate anti-Semitism on this site. But I do want to inform the ignorant racist that what’s particularly bizarre about his comment is that most of the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis had no interest in a Jewish State in Palestine (Zionism was a minority movement among European Jews) whereas the Nazis were initially a lot more open to the idea, and even had economic relations with the Yishuv (the pre-independence proto state created by the Zionist movement in what was then British Mandate Palestine)

  17. Y. Ben-David says:

    Your comment that “most Jews who were murdered by the Nazis had no interest in a Jewish state in Palestine” is unsubstantiated. Sure, had everything been great in Europe in the decades before the Holocaust, that might have been the case. But antisemitism was rampant throughout Europe to different degrees and almost all Jews were aware of it. They had different responses, such as “accelerated assimilation” (i.e. make more and more effort to the non-Jews to show we are really okay), radical revolutionarism (i.e. let’s try to overthrow the system and create a new unbiased society), “put our heads in the sands” (e.g. “this is the 20th century, they can’t do anything really bad to us because the world won’t let them, so we will ride it out”), and finally, Zionism. By the 1930’s Zionism was rapidly becoming the major force in European Jewry. Even the non-Zionist religious elements were moving in the direction of practical support for Zionism before the war. I know you feel very uncomfortable with Zionism, but the fact is that the majority of world Jewry (both inside Israel and out) support it, regardless of the feverish efforts I see recently of some “Jewish progressives” to delegitimize it.

  18. Constantine Gboa says:

    most of the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis had no interest in a Jewish State in Palestine (Zionism was a minority movement among European Jews)…This statement by Tony is misleading. They had no interest in immigrating from Europe as long as conditions were good (like Jews in the US today). However, the world community failed to prevent the extermination of European Jews (many prominent Americans like John McCloy, Chas Lindbergh approved of it). Today, you ask the Jews to put their faith in the international community, whos still hates the Jews as much as they did in 1939, but now you have to deal with Israel. This is what makes Tony upset

  19. Clement Fong says:

    Here is the source about Jews and lice-it comes from a Norwegian comedian, not the Aryan nations.

    An almighty row has broken out in Norway following a monologue by comedian Otto Jespersen – and broadcast on national TV – which resulted in a man who lost nine relatives during the Holocaust phoning the police.

    Here’s the joke:

    ”I would also like to take the opportunity to remember all the billions of fleas and lice that lost their lives in German gas chambers, without having done anything wrong other than settling on persons of Jewish background.”

  20. Arie Brand says:

    My impression is that the resistance against Zionism among West European Jewry was much greater than YBD lets on.

    Montagu, the only Jewish member of the British cabinet that issued the Balfour declaration, complained that Zionism was a mischievous project of East European Jews, partly hailing from countries that are amongst ‘His Majesty’s enemies’. He saw in it a project designed to push Jews back into the ghetto, now on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean.

    I think that many British Jews had the attitude of people like him and like Karl Popper, Michael Polanyi, Erich Hobsbawm etc.

    Paul Knepper wrote:

    “In a lecture to the Jewish Medical Society in Liverpool in January 1936, Polanyi explained that his
    impression of Herzl’s ideas reflected his outlook as a ‘non-Jewish Jew.’ … ‘When I look back to my childhood’ ,Polanyi recalled that Januarynight, ‘…I am astonished to discover with what supreme overbearance the successfully assimilant milieu in
    which I was brought up looked upon Herzl’s ideas. Assimilation had become a passion directed toward a
    luminous ideal, the perfectly non-Jewish Jew. Zionism, with its implications of a return to primeval habits, was simply horrifying.’19
    Polanyi was born in 1891 in Budapest, the second capital of Austria-Hungary under the Habsburgs.”

    The historian Eric Hobsbawm
    grew up in 1920s Vienna and his sense of Jewish identity offers some insight into Polanyi’s. Hobsbawm’s
    family took no notice of Shabbat, Jewish holidays, or dietary laws. He received minimal instruction in Judaism, something less than an hour a week at the gymnasium. He suffered nothing personally in the way of anti-
    Semitism and lived a life completely remote from the beliefs and practises of Judaism. Yet, as Hobsbawm writes
    in his autobiography, ‘though entirely unobservant, we nevertheless knew that we were, and could not get away from being, Jews.’22 On one occasion at about ten years of age, after he had made a remark about a relative’s behaviour being ‘typically Jewish’ ,his mother told him firmly: ‘You must never do anything, or seem to do anything that might suggest you are ashamed of being a Jew’ . He aimed to live by this ever since despite his
    indifference to religion and virtually lifelong commitment to communism.23
    Vienna’s non-Jewish Jews advanced the progressive Viennese imagination. The progressives were militantly secular, politically radical, and great believers in social reform, popular education, and technological
    progress. They renounced ethnic identity as prerequisite for assimilation. Jews comprised the majority of -progressives in Vienna, although they would have denied that they constituted a nationality.24 For Jews to be German or Hungarian in the context of Austria-Hungary did not express a political or national project, but a cultural project. ‘It meant’ ,as Hobsbawm puts it, ‘leaving behind the backwardness and isolation of the shtetls and shuls to join the modern world’ . The leaders of the town of Brody, in Galacia, a population in which eight
    of ten was Jewish, had petitioned the emperor years earlier to make the language of school education German,
    not because they aspired to become Teutonic but because they wanted to distance themselves from the Yiddishspeaking Talmudists and Hasidim. Middle and upper class Jews, whose parents had migrated from Polish,Czech, and Hungarian provinces demarcated themselves from the ‘Eastern Jews’ for this same reason.25″

    Amos Elon has written with a certain nostalgia of the pre-Hitlerite Jewish community in Germany that occupied a vital place in the cultural life of the country (“The Pity of it All. German Jews before Hitler”). In his opinion things did not have to go as they did. The Jews were at one stage utterly successful in having made a place for themselves in the cultural and economic life of the country.

    Victor Klemperer, the German Jew who became famous because of his war diary, wrote as late as June 1934:

    “To me the Zionists, who want to go back to the Jewish state of 70 AD (destruction of Jerusalem by Titus), are just as offensive as the Nazis. With their nosing after blood, their ancient ‘cultural roots’, their partly canting, partly obtuse winding back of the world, they are altogether a match for the National Socialists.”

    But as a reviewer of Elon’s book wrote: “The story of the Jews in Germany is like a classical ballet in which only the third act is regularly played.”

    To look at pre-Hitlerite West European Jewry through the shattered windows of “Kristallnacht” or the razor wire of the camps leads inevitably to distortions.

  21. Spyguy says:

    It might be helpful to keep in mind that the people in the US and Europe that felt most guilty about the Holocaust are literally dying off due to old age. A majority of the people in both the US and EU have very little memory, let alone guilt, over WW2. The Holocaust is just a few paragraphs in their history books that they want to forget as soon as they can pass the class. Israel is fighting a losing battle to keep the guilt over the Holocaust and antisemitism alive with new generations of people. This is a very real problem in countries that tend to ignore all history and the consequences of actions, like the US. This lack of historical memory is partially the cause of the US quagmire in Iraq. While there still appears to be a wide “feel good” support of Israel in the US, my impression is it is very, very shallow. That is, as long as it is convenient to support Israel, Americans will do it, but if even a slight problem shows up that effects Americans lives in a negative way, they will turn on Israel in a heart beat.

    Another problem Israel faces is the US and EU constitute less than 15% of the world population. The rest of the world (~85% of all humans alive today) has ZERO guilt over the Holocaust and in fact does NOT care one bit if Israel disappeared tomorrow. Couple this with the very real shift in power from the US and EU to the rest of the world, in particular China and Russia, and Israel is setting itself up for a real BAD future.

    I can not understand why Israelis can not see that their future is very much in doubt if they don’t figure out a way to reach a fair agreement with the Arabs. Sure, Israel will have to give up lots of land, water and cash, but at least it will have a future. If Israel keeps on the current path, it is very likely that one day, the US will not have the power or will to protect Israel and the Arabs will forcibly take back their land.

    I know at this point, multiple people will claim that the IDF can defeat every enemy that Israel has, this is pure bullsh*t! The world is awash in weapons equal to or better than anything Israel has or will ever have. For example, it is estimated that there are enough AK47s sloshing around on the earth so that nearly 25% of all the humans on could have their very own. Thousands of rockets trump a few hundred airplanes. and the list goes on. Once the US neuters itself (it is almost there now), Israel will not have the resources to fight off the Arabs for more than a few weeks at best.

    Israel is facing an increasingly hostile world with an increasingly impotent US at its side. Why can the Israelis not see where this path is leading?

    If I were living in Israel today, I would be looking for a new home outside the ME where I could prosper in safety. I couldn’t be paid enough cash to live in Israel now.

  22. Y. Ben-David says:

    The examples you give are of assimilated Western European Jews. Yes, most were anti-Zionist, or at most, indifferent. But they were a small minority of European Jewry.
    Why, after all, do you think the British gave the Balfour Declaration? Because they knew it would be popular with European and American Jewry. For heaven’s sake, even a radical self-hating Jewish anti-Zionist like Woody Allen admitted when he group up they had the “pushke” for the Jewish National Fund in his parent’s house.

  23. Y. Ben-David says:


    Israel and China have flourishing relations. China does it for one reason, and it isn’t “guilt over the Holocaust”. They view it as being in their interest. They are the biggest country in the world. Israel’s relationship with Russia and Eastern Europe are flourishing too. So the small number of “progressives” who are fighting against Israel in Western Europe and the US will not have that much impace, even if they are successful at causing downgrading of relations (something that I very much doubt).

    Who is safe in the world today, anyway. India, with their hostile neighbor now armed with nuclear weapons? Japan and South Korea with a nucelar North Korea next door? There are a lot of hot spots around the world and thanks to that fellow Khan in Pakistan, a lot of nuclear proliferation.

  24. Clement Fong says:

    Amos Elon has written with a certain nostalgia of the pre-Hitlerite Jewish community in Germany that occupied a vital place in the cultural life of the country (”The Pity of it All. German Jews before Hitler”). In his opinion things did not have to go as they did. The Jews were at one stage utterly successful in having made a place for themselves in the cultural and economic life of the country…

    Arie, the place you are describing sounds like a wonderful place. Why dont you visit there and let us know what you think

  25. Spyguy says:

    YBD, like many westerners, grossly misunderstands China. For one thing, he does not appear to understand that China thinks in centuries, not years.

    The only reason China has any relationship with Israel right now, is to suck as much intellectual property (IP) out of Israel as possible. While it is taking China a while to build up its own R&D infrastructure capable of original, innovative IP, they are already very good at taking IP from others and improving it. Once China has bled Israel for everything it can, it will drop Israel like a hot stone. From what I saw at the last Consumer Electronics Show, Chinese organizations are rapidly approaching the point where they will be able to invent pretty much what ever they need without any outside help. They now have a large cadre of trained, innovative engineers and scientists, and many are world-class.

    The thing to realize about China is there are no permanent partners, only convenient, temporary vassals. Right this moment, Israel has some things for China to “borrow,” but if Israel causes problems for China and its other “relationships” Israel will be dropped.

    Basically YBD should NOT count on China being friendly to Israel for very long. China will not protect Israel from being defeated by the Arabs and if it feels that it serves its LONG TERM interests, it may even help the Arabs.

    Israel can not survive without a protector and neither China nor Russia will replace the US in that role. Once the US is too weak to protect Israel, Israel is toast, unless it has negotiated a fair agreement with the Arabs.

    No colonial empire lasts forever, no matter how fierce or battle ready it is. Israel is a colonial empire, so the natives will forcibly retake their land one of these days, unless there is a negotiated agreement that lets the Israelis continue to have a little of the land.

    No matter how much bluster people like YBD have, the flow of history is against them and the flow of history has proved people like YBD wrong for over 6000 years.

  26. Y. Ben-David says:

    First of all, I am aware of what you say about China. I never said Israel could “rely” on China. I used it as an example to show that Israel has products people want to buy and Israel is a technological powerhouse and is not simply a dependency of the US as so many Israel-bashing “progressives” seem to portray it.

    Seconly, people have been writing off the Jews for thousands of years, including historian Arnold Toynbee. We are still around and doing fine. We will continue flourish. Your claim that Israel, a tiny country being a “colonial empire” is presposterous. It is the ARABS who have, in effect, a colonial empire which they use to coerce minority or subjugated populations to adopt their religion and culture. Israel has no interest in forcing Arabs living under its rule to convert to Judaism, whereas the Arabs/Muslims use a lot of pressure to get their non-Muslim populations to go over to their side.

  27. Y. Ben-David says:

    Here is a very interesting interview with an American Oleh to Israel who once believed in “the peace process” but then woke up to reality, and how this affects Israel as a Jewish state:

  28. David Seaton says:

    A contrarian or cynical view might maintain that if the Afrikaners had converted en masse to Judaism in the 1980s, Apartheid would still exist today and Nelson Mandela would have gone the way of Yasser Arafat.

  29. saffer says:

    The boycott won’t change anything. In SA it was the interference of the cia including funding that decided the changes.

    It was not a good change either.

  30. zealot says:

    So much for Israel becoming non-viable if guys like you succede in convincing western public oppinion that it is the ‘baddie’

    End of an era: Israel replaces Russia as India’s top military supplier

    YBD is actually right in his answer to Spyguy. Zionist regime can sustain itself even if it’s seen as a rogue (nuclear) garrison state, off of arms deals with those who don’t care.
    Not forever, but long enough to A)make it seem like a good idea to the most rabid of zionists, B) give them enough time to exterminate/expell the remaining native population.

    Also not all colonial entities (of which israel is one) are ultimately defeated by the natives. Not if natives are permanently eliminated from the teritory (anglo-saxons v celts, teutonic knights v original prussians, american colonists v native americans)
    So if you really want to get rid of zionists before they exterminate palestinians, bring back antisemitism in the west, and burn out in subsequent border wars in what will soon become failed arab states, blogging in hope of reaching goys like me isn’t gonna cut it.

  31. Arie Brand says:

    YBD I could not answer you earlier because our server was down for two days (!).

    You wrote:

    “Why, after all, do you think the British gave the Balfour Declaration? Because they knew it would be popular with European and American Jewry”

    The motivation for coming up with the Balfour Declaration has been much discussed.People have spoken of the personal influence of Weizmann who seems to have been a very persuasive person to whom the British government moreover owed a debt of gratitude (he had developed a process facilitating the manufacture of cordite – an essential element in weaponry). Mention has also been made of Balfour’s basic anti-semitism – his idea that Jews didn’t really belong. He had voted against Jewish immigration in 2005. Weizmann says, furthermore, in one of his letters that B. had told him to have spoken at a much earlier stage with Cosima Wagner in Bayreuth and that he did have to agree with many of her anti-semitic postulates. There could also have been another aspect of anti-semitism involved : the idea that organised world jewry had much invisible power. Weizmann found it convenient not to disturb that idea.

    The fear was that world jewry might side with Germany (the famous First World War hate song against England was written by a German Jew).

    To the extent that the Declaration did indeed aim at the mobilisation of world jewry in favour of the allies it did perhaps target in the first place American Jews. What could be expected of the East European ghetto proletariate?

    You assume that the anti-Zionist West European Jews constituted a ‘small minority’. Where, in Western Europe or overall? Anyway, how do you know? Have you got any figures?

    What was the scene in Herzl’s own Vienna? Stefan Zweig, who knew Herzl personally and admired him, describes it in “Die Welt von Gestern” as follows (my translation A.B.): I was, he says, when Herzl’s brochure (Die Judenstaat) appeared still in high school “but can well remember the general amazement and irritation of the Viennese bourgeois-Jewish circle. What has gotten into this otherwise so clever, witty and cultivated author they asked brusquely? What kind of nonsense is he engaged in? Why do we have to go to Palestine? Our language is German and not Hebrew, our fatherland is beautiful Austria? Aren’t we doing very well under the good Emperor Franz Joseph? Don’t we have our decent living, our secured position? Aren’t we citizens with equal rights, long established and loyal inhabitants of this beloved Vienna? And don’t we live in a progressive era, that will do away with denominational prejudices in a few decades? Why does he, who speaks as a Jew and wants to help Jewry, help our most evil enemies with arguments against us and tries to set us apart, though each day connects us more and more intensively with the German world? The rabbis agitated against him from their pulpits, the editor of the “Neue Freie Presse” (the paper Herzl worked for A.B.)prohibited the use of the very word “zionism” in his “progressive” paper. The Thersites of Viennese literature, the master of venomous mockery, Karl Kraus, wrote a brochure entitled “A Crown for Zion”. When Herzl entered the theater, people in all rows murmured mockingly: “His Majesty has come.”

    But, says Zweig, there WAS a tremendous response to his brochure. However it didn’t come “from the comfortably living, well situated bourgeois Jews of the West, but from the gigantic masses of the East, from the Galician, Polish and Russian ghetto proletariate.”

    You originally took issue with Tony’s statement that most of the German Jewish victims of Nazism were not interested in Zionism.This seems to me quite probable. That they later would have preferred it to their actual fate is self evident. But they might have been even more interested in migration to the US.

  32. Arie Brand says:

    Clement Fong wrote a propos of my synopsis of Elon’s views on pre-Nazi German Jewry:

    “Arie, the place you are describing sounds like a wonderful place. Why dont you visit there and let us know what you think.”

    I suppose this is meant ironically. That German Jewry could indeed once have occupied the position that Elon ascribes to it does indeed seem incredible in view of its later fate. But let Elon speak for himself. I will quote from Ari Shavit’s interview with him that appeared originally in Haaretz:

    “S: Your book on German Jewry is written with caution and restraint and historical matter-of-factness. But between the lines, you can sense a certain yearning.

    E: “I like these people. I see myself as one of them. Therefore, I identify with these people and with their struggle. I also identify with their terrible tragedy, with the pain of how it all ended, how it ended in such a horrible way.”

    S: But you insist that this end wasn’t necessary. That, as you see it, the Holocaust was not an inevitable event.

    E: “I don’t believe in deterministic processes. Aside from the Zionists, no one believes in that anymore. Only the Zionists believe that the hatred of the Jewish people throughout the ages will also continue in the future. But I’m saying that it’s not inevitable. That it could be different. There was nothing fundamental in the relationship between German culture and German Jewry that absolutely dictated this appalling end.”

    S: If that’s so, then basically you believe that this thing could have continued to survive. The option of the Jewish diaspora in Germany was the most promising cultural option for Europe, in your opinion.

    E: “Certainly. German Jewry was the secular elite of Europe. They were the essence of modernism – leaders who made their livelihood from brainpower and not from brawn, mediators and not workers of the land. Journalists, writers, scientists. If it all hadn’t ended so horribly, today we’d be singing the praises of Weimar culture. We’d be comparing it to the Italian Renaissance. What happened there in the fields of literature, psychology, painting and architecture didn’t happen anywhere else. There hadn’t been anything like it since the Renaissance.”

    S: You refuse to see the fact that there was a basic failure in this enterprise of secular European Jewry. You refuse to see that it couldn’t last.

    E: “I sincerely dispute that. I don’t think there was something deep or fundamental or unavoidable here. It was chance. If the First World War hadn’t destroyed Germany’s liberal middle class, a very progressive nation would have developed there. Even after the war, Hitler wasn’t the only alternative.”

    S: You’re really insistent on that. It’s important to you to cling to the lost option of the yekkes. The book you wrote is essentially a nostalgic ode to the refined lost paradise of that Jewish Germany. In a certain sense, it is your true homeland.

    E: “No. I grew up here, not there. I grew up in Tel Aviv in a middle-class family that lost its assets as a result of its emigration to Israel. My parents arrived from Vienna in 1933. My father wanted to go to France but my mother said it had to be Eretz Israel. And so we ended up in Eretz Israel. That’s why I am not an ideological Israeli. I did not grow up here out of choice. But I did grow up here. Here is where I kissed a girl for the first time. And what is a homeland if not the place where you kiss a girl for the first time?

    “Yes, my parents’ friends were all immigrants from Germany and Austria. The big library at home was all German. And being a yekke [a Jew of German origin] was difficult then. It was a derogatory word. So it was important to me to write about the yekkes. Because in the past they didn’t get such good press here. But they were really the first free Jews. And the first Europeans. And they built a civil society and believed obsessively in Bildung, which is self-improvement through the fostering of social concerns. They were constantly working on self- improvement. On self-refinement.”

    S: And on assimilation. Your book is a paean to the assimilationists.

    “Yes, certainly.”

    S: Assimilation is a legitimate personal option. Perhaps it’s even a fruitful one, as your book describes, for a generation or two. But it’s not a sustainable option. In the third or fourth generation, the possibility of being an assimilated Jew dissipates. The Jewish element of the identity disappears.

    E: “So it dissipates. That doesn’t concern me.”

    S: It doesn’t concern you whether there will be some kind of future for the Jewish people?

    E: “The whole matter of Judaism as a nation is quite problematic. Apart from the Zionists, no one argues that the Jews are a nation.”

    S: In your view, the Jews are not a nation?

    E: “I don’t think that they are one nation. I don’t think so. It’s a religion.”

    S: If so, then the problem is even worse. A Jew who isn’t religious is basically lacking an identity.

    E: “Why must a person constantly define himself? Only doctrinaires demand that you present your identity card all the time. I don’t want Judaism to be a tattoo on my forehead. And I can’t say that I’m a Jew because I am a totally secular person.”

    S: Let’s leave the matter of identity aside. The possibility that in the future there may not be a Jewish people or a Jewish civilization doesn’t bother you?

    E: “If people want to assimilate to the point that they disappear within the general society without a trace – that’s their right. I don’t think it’s a tragedy. It’s not the end of the world.”

    S: I want to go back to the journalist in you. Israel is a pretty major story. You were the chief chronicler of this story. And now you’ve given it up.

    E: “Yes, but I’m leaving behind an opus that’s worth something. And I’m fortunate enough to live in Tuscany on a hill that looks out on what may be the most beautiful landscape in the world. Nothing has changed there in thousands of years. And it’s so beautiful that it melts your heart. So in the few years I have left, I want to look at this view most of the days of the year. On other days, I’ll come to Israel and get mad.”

  33. Y. Ben-David says:

    Thank you Brand for posting that ode of an assimilated Jew. Elon doesn’t want to be a Jew, that’s his priviledge (BTW-he is deluding himself in thinking that Germany wouldn’t turn out the way it did…at the time of German “Emancipation” in the 1860’s (i.e. when Jews supposedly had most legal restrictions removed) many German non-Jews were warning that the Jews would take over the free professions, as indeed happened to a large degree (law, medicine, accounting) and that this would be a “disaster for Germany”. 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. Jews such as Otto Klemperer had to convert to Christianity in order to get appointments as conductors of major orchestras. And of course, the Jews were blamed for the defeat of Germany in World War I, the Kaiser said it himself openly. Finally, with the founding of the Weimar Republic in 1919, the final legal restrictions against the Jews and then IMMEDIATELY, there was a massive explosion of antisemitism. Nazism didn’t come out of nowhere, unlike what Elon says.

    Sure, Elon mourns being born Jewish and finally ran away from Israel. That is his priviledge. But he has no right to define everyone elses Jewish identity, which millions of Jews, particularly those in Israel cherish. So making up myths that “most Jews in Europe were not interested in a Jewish state in Eretz Israel” is simply rewriting history to correspond to a failed ideology.

  34. Arie Brand says:

    The talk was about West European Jews, not “most Jews in Europe”. And once again you only come up with assertions. And where do you get your information about Germany from? Not from Goldhagen’s book I hope.

    About Jewish army officers – yes that was a career that was largely blocked to them though there might have been some wartime appointments. That career was in fact in certain regiments largely reserved for aristocratic types. Moreover, that was typically a field Jews weren’t interested in – then (though the chief commander of the Australian troops during the First World War, General Monash, was Jewish – but he was an engineer in civil life and a wartime appointment).

    Where do you get your information about Jewish academics in imperial Germany from? Offhand I can think of one of the greats in my own field, sociology, who had a professorship well before 1918: Georg Simmel. And, offhand again, I remember that Thomas Mann’s Jewish father in law, Alfred Pringsheim, had a professorship in mathematics at the University of Muenich at the beginning of last century. The Pringsheim family was quite well off and lived in a truly palatial mansion (“Palais Pringsheim”).

    Also, you are quite wrong about Klemperer. He was a conductor of major orchestras, in Strassburg as well as Cologne, BEFORE he got converted to catholicism.

    But admittedly this is all anecdotical. I expect you to have figures – or are you just coming up with assertions here as well?

    Also, the question was not whether there was anti-semitism in pre-Nazi Germany. There undoubtedly was though one can differ of opinion about the extent of it. But Tony’s original assertion was that most German Jews from before the Nazi era were not Zionists. I think that is very probable and that the statement might even hold for West European Jews in general. Thus far you have come up with nothing that induces me to change my mind.

  35. Clement Fong says:

    Perhaps Germany didnt turn on the Jews as we have been led to believe. Perhaps there are 6 million lost Jews living in secluded hamlets in the Austrian Tyrol, making precious Judaica and dancing to Klezmer muzak, staying off the internet, and speaking Yiddish. Let Arie Brand and Amos Elon find them and live in this paradise. By the way, AMos Elon doesnt sound very Germans. Gasp! It might be an Israeli name. He should change it immediately. Evern Aiee Brand could pass as an Israeli name. They should change it to an authentic German name. Perhaps Tony could become Tony Karinhall (after Goebbels museum/estate)

  36. Arie Brand says:

    Hey Fong, successful irony requires a somewhat finer touch. Try again.

  37. Arie Brand says:

    YBD said to Spy guy:

    “Your claim that Israel, a tiny country being a “colonial empire” is presposterous. … Israel has no interest in forcing Arabs living under its rule to convert to Judaism,…”

    YBD, you really should do a bit of reading on that subject. Neither the fact that Israel is a tiny country nor its lack of interest in proselytizing among Palestinians betokens the absence of colonialism. Holland was a tiny country in possession of a big colony. It had very little interest in proselytizing among Indonesian moslems. In fact it organized the hadj for them by providing adequate shipping. And when Indonesians started to complain about deception among ‘hadjis’ (some characters only went as far as Singapore but claimed on return that they had been to Mecca) the Dutch placed a consul in Jeddah who could provide genuine ‘hadjis’ with evidence of their zeal.

    About Israel as a colonial venture Elon said some interesting things as well in the interview I have quoted earlier:

    “S: Has Israel slid into a situation that places it in a category other than the democratic Western nations?

    E: “Without a doubt. And I’m still wracking my brain wondering what those people were thinking after the Six-Day War. How did they think they could keep it? What did Dayan think? Did he really think that if we just treat them nicely, everything will be fine? What provinciality it was. What historic ignorance. Had this ever happened anywhere else in the world? From this perspective, the Israeli occupation is perhaps the least successful attempt at colonialism that I can think of. This is the crappiest colonial regime that I can think of in the modern age.”

    S: How is it worse than French or British colonialism?

    E:”In the French and British colonies, there were mixed marriages. In India, for instance. But especially with the French. They’re freer than the British are in bed, that’s well-known. But both the French and the British tried to co-opt the elites. As a rule, whenever a European nation took over territory in the Third World, it tried to embrace the elite. Here there was no such attempt. There were no mixed marriages, there was no significant commercial cooperation. The only human partnership was in the lowest dimension of all: crime.”

    S: What you’re really saying is that there was Israeli political primitiveness. That we didn’t even have a colonialist civilization worthy of the name.

    E: “Correct. There was provinciality here. There was this upstart’s arrogance. I’m not surprised when you look at the population. We know where it comes from. Either from the Arab countries or from Eastern Europe. But on the political level, this arrogance was manifested in a total forsaking of an embracing of the elites. They didn’t know it was even possible.”

    Elon is quite right in thinking that the clue to successful colonialism was the co-optation of the indigenous elite. It was certainly so in the Dutch case. In Java there was even a double administrative apparatus: one consisting of Dutch field officers – its mirror one manned by the indigenous aristocracy. And much of the administration in the Outer Provinces, as they were called, was indirect.

    There was also a lot of intermarriage though this was often limited to the lower social strata. Nevertheless, it was estimated that just before the Second World War three quarters of the European population there was of mixed ancestry.

    As to what Dayan was thinking in the aftermath of the Six Day War the answer is: not much or too much. The British Embassy reported that in a period of a few months he came up with six different plans. Avi Shlaim ruefully remarked that in the “land of the blind the one eyed man was King”.

  38. Y. Ben-David says:

    Interesting poll of attitudes of young Palestinians:

    Note how they realize they are losing the war with Israel. Note how only 28% of them consider themselves “Palestinians” whereas 47% consider themselves “Muslims”. It is this confusion of identities that is a prime cause of the disunity that has plagued them for generations.
    This is a fine confirmation of what we have been saying for years…there is no such thing as a “Palestinian nation”.

  39. Arie Brand says:

    Confusion of identities, eh? (and that after having had a state for more than sixty years):

    Poll: Most Israelis see themselves as Jewish first, Israeli second +

    Israel Democracy Institute releases special survey probing Israelis’ perception of identify, says 94% of Jewish population in Israel believe they are part of worldwide Jewish community

    Sixty years after Israel was established as the Jewish state and the polemic is at its peak – are we Jewish first and Israeli second or vice versa?

    An ongoing study preformed by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), published for the first time on Ynet, reveals that 47% of the public sees itself as Jewish first and Israeli second, as opposed to 39% who consider themselves first and foremost Israeli.


    Poll: 51% of Israelis want separate secular, religious neighborhoods / Ynet

    Gesher-Ynet survey shows majority of Israeli public feels religious, secular Jews ought to live separately, with only a third of Israelis endorsing ‘mixed’ neighborhoods
    Full story

    According to the IDI’s Guttman Center, which published the data Tuesday, 94% of the Jewish population in Israel views itself as part of the worldwide Jewish community – 68% think Jews living in Israel share the same destiny as those living in the Diaspora.

    The study was based on an ongoing survey undertaken by the Guttman Center among Jews in the country.

    Those taking part were asked to rank the way they perceived their identity by order of importance. A total of 47% said they were Jewish, 39% said they were Israeli, 10% based their identity on their religious affiliation and 4% according to their ethnic denomination.

    A closer look at the religious community showed that the more devout the sector – the stronger the Jewish definition: Some 78% of those identifying themselves as haredim and 73% of their religious counterparts chose the Jewish identity over the Israeli one, with 0% and 16% (respectively) choosing to define themselves as Israelis.

  40. Y. Ben-David says:

    No confusion at all, Israel is a Jewish state, a state of the Jews. There were attempts by Yohanan Ratosh and the Canaanites (I think Uri Avnery also subscribes to this position) said the Israelis are a different people that the Jews and have much more in common with the Arabs in the Middle East than they do with the Jews of the Galut (Exile).
    This ideology failed completely.

  41. Arie Brand says:

    Palestinians identify themselves in the first place as Muslims, and only secondly as Palestinians. They suffer from a confused identity.

    Israeli Jews identify themselves in the first place as Jews, and only secondly as Israelis. But they don’t suffer from a confused identity at all, says YBD. Israel is a state of the Jews. Yes, but for the majority of Jews Israel is not their state. You don’t believe those evil allegations about dual loyalty do you?

    We have here, in fact, just a new variant of what Michael Neumann called the ‘venerable shell-game’ of Jewish identity.

    How did it go again ?

    “But here, immediately, we come up against the venerable shell-game of Jewish identity: “Look! We’re a religion! No! a race! No! a cultural entity! Sorry–a religion!” When we tire of this game, we get suckered into another: “anti-Zionism is antisemitism! ” quickly alternates with: “Don’t confuse Zionism with Judaism! How dare you, you antisemite!” ”

    Talking about a ‘confused identity’.

  42. Y. Ben-David says:

    Approximately half the Jews in the world now live in Israel and there is ongoing immigration to Israel from all over the world, and increasingly so from the West, such as North America, Britain and France, where they are not leaving primarily because of poverty or antisemitism, but rather they are attracted by the intense Jewish ambience of Israel. So regardless of whatever you may consider yourself and no matter how confused you may be about your own identity, Brand, a lot of Jews around the world do indeed consider themselves part of a unique people whose homeland is in Eretz Israel.

  43. Arie Brand says:

    YBD, it is regrettable that your primordial attachment(or, in less euphemistic terms, your primitive tribal solidarity) impels you time and again to be parsimonious with the truth.

    According to the relevant Wiki the Jewish population of Israel constitutes about 41 % of the world Jewish population. This is hardly ‘approximately half’.

    The American Jewish yearbook for 2006 said that Israel had 40.6 % of the world Jewish population or 5,313,800 in total.

    The CIA-factbook gives the following number for the present population of Israel (including the illegal settlers):7,233,701. However, only 76.4 % is, according to this factbook, Jewish or, in my computation, 5,526,547 (incidentally this non-Jewish element is increasing which makes the term ‘State of the Jews’ more and more of a misnomer).

    Some sources claim that there are up to 18 million Jews in the world. If that is the case the Israeli Jewish population does not even constitute 30 % of that.

    There seems to be some increased immigration which, according to you, is due to the attractiveness of “the intense Jewish ambience of Israel”.

    The Director General of the Absorption Ministry, Halfon, had a somewhat soberer explanation:

    “In explaining the increase in the number of returnees, Halfon said that it mostly owes to a far-reaching tax reform plan that the government announced earlier this year which, in a bid to attract expatriates and Western immigrants, offers a 10-year exemption on taxation of out-of-state income and other concessions.”

    (Haaretz 3/14/2009)

    Finally, this might disappoint you, but I have no trouble with my identity whatsoever. Last time I checked I still belonged to the species homo sapiens.

  44. Y. Ben-David says:

    You throw out an epithet that I am “tribal”. OKAY. I AM TO SOME EXTENT. SO WHAT? So are the Palestinians. So is almost everybody in the world. Everyone feels closer to their family, their neighbors, their fellow countrymen than they do to people outside their circle. The Palestinians and other Arabs are actually much more than I am and you know that. Tell THEM not to be tribal. Don’t just pick on us Jews. If you are universalist, then you must direct your “educational” activities at everybody.
    Otherwise you would be a hypocrite like Gandhi was, who told Jews to be non-violent but who gave Arabs a pass and who “understood” their violence.
    If you really care about the Palestinians, tell them that Israel would be doing them a favor by NOT giving them a state…that way they can learn to be superior, universalist homo-sapiens just like you are, and not fall into the “tribalist” trap us Israelis are caught in, as you claim.

  45. Arie Brand says:

    My dear fellow, as far as I am concerned you can feel as tribal as you wish – but don’t let us pay the price for it in the form of exposure to your tribal fibs.

  46. Y. Ben-David says:

    Gee, people in the former USSR who lived for 7 decades under a “universalist, progressive, humanist, multi-cultural” society couldn’t wait to revert to regular nationalism as soon as the iron hand of the Communist regime was removed and so the USSR broke up. Same with multi-cultural Yugoslavia. What is funny is that the “progressives” supported this. Look at “progressive” Belgium which is in the “progressive, multi-cultural” EU, it is breaking up. It is considered “progressive” to encourage Scottish separatism within the UK. “Progressives” also support Irish Catholic nationalism in Northern Ireland. So we see that “progressives” DO support nationalism in many cases. It seems everybody, according to the “progressives” is entitled to be nationalists, EXCEPT THE JEWS, right, Brand?

    Radical Jewish “universalist progressives” have a famous joke applied to their rather arbitrary belief system: “They believe the Jews are a divinely chosen people who have a heavenly-mandated mission to tell the world there is no Deity and that the Jews are no different than anybody else”.

  47. Y. Ben-David says:

    Why then do you support the “tribalist fibs” of the Palestinians? Either univesalism applies to everyone or it is meaningless.

  48. Y. Ben-David says:

    It is interesting how you manage to twist every fact to fit your ideology. Western immigration to Israel is NOT motivated by tax breaks Israel offers to olim. I immigrated to Israel from California. My standard of living was higher in California. I didn’t move to Israel to improve my material condition, I moved there to improve my Jewish condition. I know that you may not be able to understand that, but thousands of other Western Jews do and want the same thing.

  49. Arie Brand says:

    Palestinian fibs? They are totally drowned out by those of your lot. Of course they haven’t got “a thousand pens at their command.”

    So those who want to clean out the Augeas stable of lies know which door to enter first.

    You wanted to “improve your Jewish condition”? Well, good luck to you. Watch that it is not at the price of your humanity.

  50. Y. Ben-David says:

    Brand-Everyone knows the Jews have been a people for over 3000 years. There was NEVER a “Palestinian” people until after 1948. The idea that there is a “Palestinian people” is your biggest “fib” of them all. The first use of the word “Naqba” was when the British and French separated what later came to be called Palestine in approximately 1920. The Palestinians called it a Naqba (catastrophe) because they said “WE ARE NOT PALESTINIANS, WE ARE SYRIANS!”. The Naqba was the creation of Palestinian identity. The Arabs REFUSED to be called Palestinians before 1948. They rejected it. The term “Palestinian” before 1948 meant “JEW”. For heaven’s sake, the Arabs don’t even have an Arab name for the country, they use a name left by an extinct tribe that came to the country from the Aegean Sea area 3000 years ago.

    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.

    Now, do you want to debate how close “41%” is to “approximately half”?

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