"Do not be too quick to assume your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage. Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels that you are afraid of him. And perhaps if he believed you were capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy." Thomas Merton (1915-1968) in Seeds of Contemplation.
"Wooden-headedness, the source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government. It consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts. It is epitomized in a historian's statement about Phillip II of Spain, the surpassing woodenhead of all sovereigns: No experience of the failure of his policy could shake his belief in its essential excellence " Barbara Tuchman in the March of Folly. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1984.
These selected emails between a Zionist and I are presented to illustrate the arguments and the fears of committed Zionists (this one is actually moderate and highly respected in the community as a Rabbi). The dialogue started after I posted something about Palestinian refugees in February 2001. The Rabbi's emails are in italic, mine in plain text.
the point, and it is a crucial and important point whether you wish to face it or not is this: When Jewish refugees (coincidentally about the same number as Palestinian refugees) fled Arab lands (like Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen et al.) with barely the shirts on their backs, the Jewish State of Israel did not allow them to exist indefinitely in camps. They absorbed them, taught them Hebrew, trained them for jobs, provided suitable housing and made them productive, proud citizens of Israel. The Arab world with far more resources than Israel could ever dream of even with the generous help of North American Jews did NOTHING. They allowed these poor people to live in squalid camps, with no homes, no jobs, fomenting hatred against Israel with nonrealistic hope for a better future. Whether you like it or not, the shame of the Arab world is the treatment of its refugees. The pride of the Jewish world is the way we treated our refugees. Those are simple facts, Mazin. And those simple facts comprise the major reason why there is no peace today.
The Jews who left Arab countries are not technically refugees. Look-up the definition. They where specifically recruited to come there (sometimes by Zionist violence as when they put the bombs in front of Synagogues in Baghdad). Those who left to Israel whether for ideological or economic reasons (whether from Yemen or Russia) do not seem to want to go back. Most were migrants in the period after the establishment of the state. When the war of 1948 was over, there was half a million Jews living in Palestine. Yemeni Jews came in the 1950s, Iraqis between 1949-1952. Further, they are welcome to go back. They do have the right to go back. This has nothing to do with the Palestinian refugees in any case. You can argue your case with Russia and Yemen either way and insist that they take them back. (this issue is addressed more at length in my book-MQ)
Palestinian refugees where ethnically cleansed and have always insisted on going back. We do not want to live in foreign countries besides our own lands. Why is this concept so difficult to grab.
In your heart of hearts do you really believe that the Jews who lived in Israel far longer than any Palestinians have no right to a homeland in Israel? If you believe that, and you insist on making that belief the center of your outcome objective, then, Mazin, there will never be peace. You take an absolutist position. I want to compromise. Israel wants to compromise; Palestinians take a "get out of our land" position. Sensible people see the conflict as two peoples each claiming the same piece of land. Seen that way there can be compromise and peace. Seen your way, the future is very bleak, and the horror your approach brings to your people will be on your conscience forever.
Your continual insistence on referring to Zionism, the great Jewish liberation movement, as Hitlerism and racism after I patiently explain to you the vast differences is very hurtful. At the end of my essay --which you also call racist to my sadness-- is a question you have--with all of your rhetorical skills-- never come close to answering. If there can be 23 Arab Islamic nations made by people once controlled by the Turks, why not one tiny Jewish nation? Jews lived on that land far longer than the Palestinians did, far longer than the Omanis did on their land or the Abu Dhabians on their land. Why should there not be a Jewish state? You talk of the way we used to live in harmony.
History has taught us that we have not lived in harmony as a subject people. We must --like other nations and like we have had for millennia-- have a land of our own. The world loves the Jews when we are victims. We will trade the love for the security of our own land.
Finally, you will never convince those Jews whose families fled from the Arab countries (where we were all supposed to live together in harmony) with the shirts on their backs that they are not refugees? It would be laughable if it were not so sad.
The difference is that Zionists were clearly intent on driving Palestinians out (illustrated by books from Israeli historians themselves). Further Zionists can be indicted based on their own words. Some like Jabotinsky actually were racists and fascists and no different in their concepts of other people than Hitler.
When you even use the name Hitler as a point of comparison for Israel you cross the line of rational dialogue. I hope you will never do it again.
Is the racism of Jabotisnky different from the racism of Hitler because Jabotinsky was a Jew?
No, the racism of Hitler was unique. Because of him 1/3 of all the Jews alive in the world in 1935 were dead by 1945--2/3 of all the Jews in Europe. In the city where my father grew up 7 of every 9 Jews alive in 1935 perished in the Holocaust. That is why there can be no rational comparison between Jabotinsky and Hitler, and I respectfully, once again, ask you to refrain from such comparisons. State your arguments as forcefully as you like (as if you needed my permission) but understand why Hitler comparisons are totally out of place.
Because of the racism of Zionism, every Palestinian family has lost a child or a member of its family. Seven of every 10 Palestinians lost land and livelihood. 5 of the 8 million Palestinians are refugees or so called "displaced persons." the Hitlerian attitude of Zionism towards its victims (blaming them for their misfortune) is not unique to Nazism or Zionism but was also found in colonialism, Apartheid, and other similar movements throughout the world.
For you Hitler is the archenemy. He is dead though and he and his movement were defeated. For millions of Palestinians, Sharon and others are causing a present day holocaust. Many of my own family and friends are starving now because of the blockade that those you defend impose on villages and towns. Many died because they cannot even get to a doctor.
The fate of war criminals and their ideologies is well known throughout history. History is after all replete with empires that came and went. IMHO, the racist ideologies of Zionism will be defeated much sooner than both of us expect and we will go back to living together (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) in harmony.
I shared some of our correspondence with my older son. I shared my pain over your Hitler references. I thought you might be interested in his response.
"He clearly seeks to provoke you with his Farakhanian accolade of "Hitler's great movement". He seeks to diminish the suffering of the Holocaust. Why? Does the group who suffers more deserve more? Why can't he simply refrain from what you have made clear is painful? You would honor such a courtesy he asked of you? Why is it important to him to diminish our suffering and exalt our greatest tormentor?"
How shall I answer him?
Show me anywhere in my correspondence where I said anything nice about Hitler, diminished his atrocities, or that I defended acts of violence against anyone.
Fact is Jews suffered in other lands, they came to Palestine (an already inhabited land) and they caused significant suffering and exile to another people who had nothing to do with their tormentors in order to create a Jewish state. I do not want to undo this state but to reform it and have it atone for its errors and crimes by correcting them.
(Forwarded article from Haaretz about checkpoints and settlements and their influence on daily Palestinian Life)
Isn't it wonderful that a free press exists in Israel to allow such criticism? Now, show me a similar critique of the Palestinian establishment in a Palestinian newspaper. Show me such a critique of any Arab country in the Middle East in their own press.
I agree that many countries (Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia) don't have free press but this has nothing to do with the Palestinians under occupation or how Israel treats them. There is freedom of the press in some of the Middle East countries including Bahrain (you should watch Al-Jazeera Television), Yemen, Lebanon etc. As for the PA, Israel actually insisted that Arafat control the press and ensure no freedom of expression in the area (to avoid "incitement"). People are free to express their opinion in support of Israel but they don't because there is nothing to support (it is like asking why the people in the concentration camps don't write in praise of the Nazis).
The Palestinians brought Sharon to power. Barak made an offer which was unprecedented. If there were problems, there should have been more negotiations not a violent, vicious, terrorist uprising. The Palestinians have themselves to thank and to blame for Ariel Sharon.
It is like asking the original colonies in the US: they should have just kept negotiating with the king of England or the Jews of Germany told to keep negotiating with Hitler as he may let you keep your necks. Reiterating the mountain of evidence that Barak made no generous offer (sic). Here is an article from Gush Shalom (Israel Peace block) on the issue of the "generous offer"....
You make many arguments and comparisons. This is the weakest of them all. Again, your comparisons of what the Israelis do to Palestinian to what the Nazis in Germany did to the Jews boggle my mind. Where are the extermination camps where Israelis round up Palestinians? where are the gas chambers? Where are the bars of soap the Israelis make from Palestinian flesh? Where are the pillows stuffed with their hair? Where are the mass graves with thousands and thousand of corpses? Please, Mazin. I know you don't really believe these things. Do you
say them just to cause pain?
No I do not want to cause you pain. You are the one who CHOSE to defend atrocities committed using your name. You should be outraged. BTW I think some Zionists would be happy to match what the Nazis did if they thought they could get away with it (just read some of the quotes I sent you earlier from Israeli leaders). And no I do not want to make scales of atrocities ("Nazis 8, Zionists 6, Turks 6, you have to be an 8 to measure-up or to have permission to narrate")
I think you have seen enough of my emails to know how I think. It is actually similar to the way most Palestinians think (I am rather average). I am also not a nationalist nor am I too proud of a particular ideology (Christianity, Islam, Communism, socialism, Judaism, Zionism). In fact, the more I read, the more confused I get about the silliness of all these ideologies.
Sure, Palestinians have extremists (Hamas Military wing etc) but the majority come from peasant background and know very little of the ways of this complex world. We may try to attribute other motives to these people (or to Jews for that matter) but the reality of what drives them is very clear to anyone who cares to look. Clearly you understand more of how I feel and think than you sometimes let appear. Perhaps you are afraid to let your guard down. Perhaps you, like many Israelis is simply afraid to trust anyone who is not Jewish (afterall, you were taught early enough of the history of the Jews as one of victimization, attachment to God and the Covenant, even though historical records now show great discrepancies with Bible/Quran stories). You may even question if anyone who is not Jewish can possibly be honest and decent person who cares about Jews.
Perhaps you and your family's history and up-bringing brings you to your beliefs (even those that are racist, and I think all of us humans have racist tendencies and this is a battle we have to keep fighting regularly to avoid generalizations on other people, cultures and religions). Perhaps occasionally you question your belief systems. Perhaps I am wrong and you are satisfied and happy with your belief systems. It is obvious that conflicting and diametrically opposing belief systems are adopted by millions. For example, 1.2 billion Muslims seem like the majority of them know that they are correct as do the tiny Bahai's. I myself find all these belief systems OK as long as they are not used to oppress/cleanse others. This unfortunately happened under Christianity, Islam, Judaims, Hinduism and others. It is also today as we speak happening using a banner and symbol of Judaism (in Palestine/Israel) and Islam (in (Taliban) Afghanistan).
I would challenge you to take time off and go live in or near a refugee camp in Lebanon or in any Palestinian town and village and mingle and live with the people. You will be surprised. Maybe only then will you understand where we "come from." Who knows, this might be a revolutionary and good thing. I have lived among Israelis (& even spoke Hebrew for a while 24 years ago, now I forgot most of what I learned). I know that certainly revolutionized my thinking.
Thank you for the thoughtful reflection to me yesterday. Our thoughts are different, but I wish we spent more time exploring possibilities for peace than exchanging rhetoric. When you present ideas I consider misleading, though, I feel it necessary to respond to them. You are right, I think we both know how the other feels.
Today, I am deeply saddened by the violence, but I believe with all my heart that the blood of all the innocents --on both sides--lies in the violence perpetrated by the Palestinians in rejecting the peace overtures of Israel last summer. Once again, if I negotiate with you, and I do not like your terms, I continue to negotiate. I do not throw over the table, throw away the progress of the last seven years and start shooting.
As I explained to you many time, the seven years of Oslo were an illusion. No progress but only intensified Israeli efforts to solidify the occupation. For example the 7 years after Oslo saw more settlement activity than the 7 years before. Freedom of movement was more before than after Oslo. Oslo was a sham. That is why the Palestinian street got up in arms in the second Intifada. Nothing more and nothing less. As for what was offered at Camp David, the record speaks for itself. Papers are now available. As Rabin put it once, Oslo was a method to achieve "traditional Israeli objectives." No price was to be paid and no restoration of justice was contemplated.
My letter to Haaretz
My sincerest condolences
Upon hearing of the news of the wedding party turned to tragedy by collapse of the building in Jerusalem, my shock and sadness were intense. It only got worse and turned to tears when I later saw the video footage and read about the alleged construction problems. The video footage reminded me of the footage of my sister's wedding. One woman was dancing with a child (no more than 5-6 year old). I was touched by the ordinariness and beauty of this event and then the tragedy that ensued. I grieve for the victims and my thoughts and prayers are with the families and with you all. Please except my sincerest and humble condolences.
I am a Palestinian American who works for human rights including the Palestinian Refugees' right to return to their homes and lands. I believe that all people of Israel/Palestine must and will eventually live in one democratic and secular state with a constitution that protects all its citizens and treats them equally. We are so similar and it is a shame that political ideas (Zionism and other forms of nationalism) divided us. In 1967, as a ten year old child in Beit Sahur, I witnessed something that still touches me to this day. I witnessed a reunion between my grandfather and his Jewish best friend from high school. Two old folks who have not seen each other between 1948 and 1967. Two old folks who cried like children. Both are gone now. I thought of this and how much I miss the wisdom of my grandfather as I saw the recent events and the tragedies and the victims of violence in our homeland. My grandfather wrote to me in 1974 that if he was to give me one advise for the future it is to realize that the world changes and that we have to remove our own shackles that come to us from society and culture. It is time we start to think and reflect carefully on the futility of separation, nationalism, and militarism. It is time we insist on and teach ourselves to live together in equality and humanity. If the Berlin wall tumbled, Apartheid in South Africa was dismantled, and Europe is unifying, why can't we do the same. Imagine if the billions of dollars we spend on weapons are spent to better our economies, desalinate sea water, grow closer relationships and friendships, and provide therapy for the over 17,000 injured in recent violence.
Howard Zinn wrote "To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, and kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many -where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." (You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A personal history of our times, p. 208)
In the midst of our tragedies, let us work TOGETHER for a better world.
(this letter was published later in Haaretz although shortened/edited)
Yes, Mazin, I am sure the entire country will clamor for your call to commit national suicide. Please get real and exhort your people to stop the violence and make peace. So much blood is on their hands.
(Received after our protests at President Katsav's visit to Connecticut; Katsav had called Palestinians as so different from us civilized people that they are "out of this world.")
Instead of protests, you should send a delegation to Mr. Katzav's ceremony to beg his forgiveness for the horror perpetrated in Tel Aviv last night by one of those not from our continent --one of those savages-- (urged on by leaders who promise him that he will ravage virgins in paradise) who think nothing of killing innocent people. Instead of protesting, urge your fellow Palestinians to forswear violence and return to the negotiating table, which is the only place peace, can be made.
If you persist in promoting national suicide for Israel as the price for peace, there will never be peace --only war and bloodshed and more innocent lives lost.
Your words, Mazin, fall on empty ears and those of self hating Jews. Now it is clear how Israel's great efforts to make peace with those who want no peace have failed. The Palestinians are squandering a golden opportunity, but Israel cannot tolerate even one more act of terror. What great restraint they have shown so far. What courage and what self control. But it cannot last. Woe to the Palestinian leaders who bring such woe on their own people.
What a wonderful ceremony today honoring President Katzav, who fled from Islamic terror and found refuge in the Jewish state as a five year old child. No one compensated his family for their land, and he claims no right to return to Iran. His heartfelt statement outlining all the Israeli efforts for peace was a wonderful inspiration for a community buffeted by the ever more skillful Palestinian propaganda that you generate. Your message though, is now clear. Only the dismantling of the Jewish state--our homeland for 4000 years--will satisfy you. We want peace, desperately, but you ask too much, Mazin. You ask too much.
Yehudah Haim Shoham, five moths old, killed by Palestinian stone throwers... When will it end, Mazin?
It will end when the Palestinians finally accept the absolute and irreversible reality of a Jewish state with the same right to exist as a Jewish state as the 23 Arab states have a right to independent existence as Arab or Islamic states in the Middle East. It will end when the Palestinians renounce terror and violence.
That's all it will take, Mazin, and the Palestinians will have a state. There can be economic, educational and cultural cooperation. There can be peace.
NO, the Palestinians can't have all the land they feel they are entitled to. No, they cannot come and make the Jewish state a "secular state." these things they cannot have. If they insist on them, there will be bloodshed and war. It is the Palestinians choice Mazin. Please use your influence not to support violence and hatred but to promote peace and coexistence. Please. Too many Palestinians and too many Israelis have died already.
It will end when Israelis puts an end to Zionist racism, ethnocentricity, and bigotry and transforms into a state for its people. Ironic that the only place where Jews are in danger is in the nightmare racist state the Zionists created while claiming to want safety for Jews. But alas, Zionists are very content with lots of power and money collected on the backs of fellow Jews and other gullible and brainwashed gentiles. They simply do not care (in fact they themselves killed hundreds and perhaps thousands of Jews over the past 80 years as government documents now reveal). Never mind how many more they sacrifice on the altar of "Erez Yisrael."
Read below for a road to peace (written by a priest). And yes, all settlers must be vacated and prosecuted for their war crimes (settling in another people land is a war crime as is bringing your children to an occupied area as stated by Human Rights Watch).
On another matter, do you ever feel worried that you are spending too much time defending a distant country (rightly or wrongly) while ignoring the spiritual needs of your congregation or your own country's needs? Do you really think you are making a difference for Israel (a country with 300 nuclear weapons, 4th strongest army in the world, its own politicians, billions of aid from the US, millions of Zionist supporters and sympathizers worldwide etc.)? Do your really think Israeli leaders give a hoot about one individual's support (one Zionist leader recently described American Jews as lazy and fat because they would not immigrate to Israel; three times as many Jews left Israel for America last year as the other way around.)?
If you really think so highly of Israel, why do you not go live there (you have an automatic right to citizenship you know while I, born there, do not)? What are you afraid of? Are you comfortable being an armchair Rabbi and lecturing others (you seem to teach reverence to Zionism instead of reverence to God, life, and justice)? You might as well go live in the colonies/settlements of "Netzarim", "Har Homa" or "Efrata" and be a Rabbi who performs by example... These colonies have nice government subsidies (our tax dollars at work), cheap housing, great views, "biblical" connections, chance of building "Greater Israel." Maybe there you can make a difference talking to Palestinians (both within and outside the Green line) about how they should "stop the violence" and accept the "generosity" that came and will be forthcoming from Israeli overlords.
I am a believer in the human spirit. I do believe that one day you will see the light and we will be brothers in fighting for justice and human rights (Jews, Christians, Muslims, Budhists and everyone else equally). Until then, I do remain respectful, optimistic, and candid in my responses.
The ceasefire holds, Mazin, despite continued Palestinian violence and provocation. How long can Israel have such restraint? I hope they can hold on, but the demands from the citizens are understandably weighing heavily. As I was honored to say at the luncheon at U Ha honoring (appropriately) President Katzav. Making peace with a former adversary is difficult. Making peace when you have no partner is impossible.
So I guess don't make peace if you feel that way. Violence is a symptom not the disease and predominantly it is directed against Palestinians. Temporary symptomatic relief when there is cancer to be tackled is rather useless. I predict violence will escalate. I predict Palestinians will resist Arafat's "policing them" for the benefit of Israel. I predict they will resist Israeli occupation by all means available to them. Unfortunately, that will also include the occasional desperate acts against Israeli civilians (I condemned those repeatedly). Just mark my words. Israel will never have peace unless it is based on justice.
BTW, there is no such thing as "ceasefire" here. This term is reserved for war. Contrary to Zionist propaganda, there BTW, there is no "War with the PLO." Israel occupies all the areas and tried to set up a puppet police force to try to do its security bidding among the Palestinian people. This force (Arafat's cronies) was intended to police the prisons/bantustans that were to become the Palestinian "autonomy." Arafat's forces did this effectively for years but the people were angry because settlement expansion, restriction of movement, land confiscation, home demolitions etc actually accelerated under such arrangements.
The recent Intifada (uprising in resistance to Israeli occupation) had nothing to do with the PLO (although later some individual elements joined without any orders from the leadership). It had to do with frustration among the masses at this deception that was called the "Oslo Peace
Process." the Intifada leaders are also those who oppose Arafat and his capitulation at Oslo (intended to cement and strengthen Israeli rule while creating Bantustans).
War does not occur between an occupied people and occupation forces. This is no more a war than the French resistance to German occupation was a war or the resistance to Apartheid in South Africa. But even less so since at least the French and the ANC were well funded and supported from outside powers. The Palestinians have no such support. On the contrary, bordering countries like Egypt and Jordan actively suppress Palestinians in their midst while giving verbal support. Jordan recently shot at Palestinian demonstrators trying to make a "symbolic" walk to the borders to help their fellow nationals. Three civilians were killed. While this is not the same level of Israeli brutality (524 Palestinians killed, 15,000 injured), it is significant.
Facts are important to keep in mind.
(In response to three letters by Jews in the Hartford Courant in support of the Palestinian rights)
That of all those fringe non-Zionist Jews that still exist, you seem to have signed them all up for your cause. Some even support the racist hate mongering of Amy Pagnozzi.
As I said these conscientious Jews are growing in number even within Israel itself. A few years ago it would have been unheard of that hundreds of Israeli soldiers refuse to serve in the occupied areas and many were jailed for their beliefs. A recent meeting in Chicago attracted 800 Jews who are interested in cutting off aid to Israel etc (also an unheard of event). I myself keep being contacted by many such Jews whereas a few years ago (I was also active then), I have received rare contacts. Now I am deluged. On some of the email lists there are hundreds. Noam Chomsky tells me that in the 1960's and 1970's it was only a tiny, tiny group..
By the year 2025, there will be more non-Jews even within the state of Israel than Jews. Currently, west of the river Jordan, there are more non-Jews than Jews (even without ( ) Palestinian refugees). There are over 350,000 non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union (many were victims of the recent bombing unfortunately). That is why it is essential for Israel to make true peace based on justice and abolition of racist laws (land law, law of return etc). Other immigrants don't give a hoot about Zionism or Judaism for that matter. Many are intermarrying with Palestinians (rate of such marriage has skyrocketed in the past 7 years). It would augur well for the future the sooner more Jews abandon Zionism. Otherwise it is simply delaying and killing more Jews and non-Jews. It will happen any ways and ardent and remaining Zionists (Jewish supremacists) will simply manage to delay the inevitable by a couple of years at best. Eventually we will all (including refugees) go back to live together in harmony :-) I trust (Insha'a'Allah, God Willing) you and I will live to see it happen.
Apartheid failed in South Africa and it will fail in Palestine/Israel.
What about the "apartheid" in Abu Dabi, Yemen, Aden, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan et. etc.
Please explain. None of the countries you mentioned segregates people into Bantustans based on their religion. None proposed a two-state solution within their borders to retain a "Jewish" or "Muslim" character of the state. None have separate and different colors on their license plates for one religion versus another. None have a national anthem that is for one religion only (Jewish yearning for their land). None have a set of laws that gives preferences to one religion enshrined as "basic laws" including having land owned by a state in custody of all members of that religion regardless of their citizenship and then leasing it to members of that religion and not allowed to be sold or leased to other members of another religion for 53 years. None came as colonizers and expelled 2/3rd of the native population. All have constitutions guaranteeing freedom of religious beliefs and practice. Of course minorities are discriminated against in any country (even the US) but that is not apartheid.
As for 23 "Muslim" countries, if you use this terminology then there are 110 "Christian" Countries (including the US), many "Buddhist" etc. This "majority" presence does not give a right to any country to implement Apartheid (South Africa tried) with conditions such as I described above for Israel. The International community should not and will not stand for it. Insistence on a "Jewish Character" of the state is anathema to democracy and human rights. Also reality stands against it: running out of Jews to bring in, Jewish birth rate vs. Palestinians within the green line, over 25% of Russians being gentile and 40% don't care about religion or Zionism and came for purely economic reasons etc. Mark my words, Jewish Supremacy (Zionism) is doomed to fail in its attempts at apartheid.
Now I ask you a simple question: is it acceptable to trample Palestinian human rights to create a "Jewish state" and continue to do so to maintain the "Jewish character" of the state? A simple yes or no answer will do.
Still, I'd rather be a Muslim or a Palestinian in Israel (how much better they all say it is than under Jordan on the W.Bank) than a Jew in ANY of those wonderful, non-apartheid places you describe.
How would you expect me to reply to that? It is a no win argument since you will not convert to Islam, move there and see how you are treated. Further, you have not lived in as a minority on either side of this issue. I have (a Christian in a predominantly Muslim country). Personal experiences are important. But this is a no-win argument since Jews feel discriminated against and oppressed wherever they live (even in Israel). It is what many Jewish sociologists call the "Massada Complex" (a siege mentality). I am sure you feel it even here in the US but more importantly you project it on others. I understand this and sympathize with it (due to Jewish history) but the facts are that Jews, Muslims, and Christians all live as minorities in many countries. All are equally discriminated against (e.g. Muslims in India are as equally discriminated against as Jews/Christians in Syria). It is difficult for you as a Jew to see that because you most identify with your own people and their pains are exaggerated to your mind. This is natural but it is important to recognize it for what it is (all humans who identify with a group feeling have this prejudice). It is actually at the core f most human problems and human rights violations. The worst violations occur by individuals thinking they are righteous victims (even the Nazi's).
Thank you for sending me this piece (a human rights report on the occupation's army use of blockades, the siege, and checkpoints). It still seems to me that:
1. There is military occupation because the Arab world started a war to exterminate Israel and lost. Specifically, there is occupation of the West Bank because Jordan refused urgent warnings to stay out of the war and attacked W. Jerusalem.
2. There are restrictive measures against Palestinians to protect innocent Israelis against the horror of brutal, savage terrorism. The more terrorism continues, the more restrictive and punitive the measures must be.
3. If there is an end to terror, there will be an end to the repressive, restrictive measures.
4. If there is an end to Palestinian violence there will be an end to the occupation, there will be a Palestinian State, and we all can have peace.
Read "Collusion across the Jordan" by Avi Schlaim in regards to 1. For 2, 3, and 4 (they) are the same and Inverted logic. Israel ended its occupation of Southern Lebanon before Hizbullah ended its attacks on Israeli soldiers in the so-called security zone (except the Chebaa farms which Hizbullah considers part of Lebanon and the UN considers part of Syrian Golan Heights). Occupation is violence. It is like asking the French to stop their resistance to the Nazis.
It still seems logical to me, Mazin. First we stop shooting, and then we start talking. It would be very hard for you to carry on a meaningful conversation with me if at the same time you had to worry about avoiding bullets that I am shooting at you.
If I come in your house with my guns, shoot 5% of your family members and force you to live in the basement and control your entry and exit and then insist that you have to be completely peaceful for us to "talk" about ending my occupation and theft of your basement (and you already know we will be generous enough to give you 95% of the living space but we will keep entry and exits, water, electricity controls, the walls, and the roof. What is wrong with you to think even about resistance.
Sometimes I think in your heart you know this but your tribal affiliation and nationalism forces you to see things through the fog of Zionism and not through basic humanity. I feel most sad about this since I know the struggles you must go through to reconcile these things that are not reconcilable. Justice, justice you must pursue as the Old Testament/Hebrew Torah commands. Unfortunately you chose to take some segments out of context and apply them to today's world (God giving the land to Israel). Genetically, I am more a son of Israel than Sharon or Ben Gurion is (Converts from Judaism to Christianity 16 centuries ago). Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
I would like your reaction to this excerpt from a letter by a Rabbi whose son serves in the IDF.
I ascribed my discomfort to the fact that my son is in the army, serving as a medic at one of the checkpoints on the West Bank. He deals daily with the need to be a ben adam in his contact with Palestinians. Maybe it will help if I expand a bit on what bothered me. First, there was the assumption that because some soldiers disobey orders and behave as if they or their victims are not bruim bitzelem, those orders do not exist. Underlying that assumption was, I felt, a certain willingness to assume the worst about the Israeli army and the individuals who fill its ranks. Rav related to this point in his later posting. The other problem I had is a gut feeling I get when I read some of the passionate postings on Israel and the Palestinians that generalize from a narrow base of evidence. In these conversations I sometimes feel like the Hasid who rebuked the Vilna Gaon in the famous story. It is easy to be a saint in the yeshiva, in isolation, but "would you be a saint, known for your purity, if you worked in the marketplace selling women's corsets for a living." I make no excuses for those soldiers who behave in opposition to the values that they are taught, in their homes, in their schools, in their synagogues and in the army. They deserve to be punished. However, I believe that we owe great deal more respect than we seem to show sometimes, to the young men and women in the IDF who daily face temptations to misuse power, who submit to daily abuse and physical danger and who, in enormous numbers, daily overcome evil inclinations to abuse those people with whom they deal. You are not likely to see a headline that reads: "Palestinian Not Abused at IDF Checkpoint Today" or "No People Injured Because Israeli Soldier Does Not Open Fire After Being Attacked by a Firebomb." But we, of all people, ought to keep in mind that these "non-headlines" reflect the overwhelming majority of cases. Just as most of
us maintain the standards of ethical behavior that we are committed to uphold as rabbis, so do most of those young people in the IDF maintain appropriate military ethical standards. In that sense, we do well to exercise great humility when we come to make blanket accusations against them, directly or by implication.
This Rabbi should read Yediot Aharonot in Hebrew where high rank IDF commanders clearly indicate that orders referring to dispersing Jewish rioters are very different than "other orders" and "common understanding". For Goyim rioters, treatments are very different. He should take time to talk to Israeli lawyers like Allegra Pacheco who are very familiar with the "orders" and the IDF "understandings". The IDF also is unique in many armies in giving GREAT flexibility to its commanders "on the ground." they believed that was why Israeli Army is so effective because of its autonomy on the theater of "war."
He should also review data from B'Tselem and other human Rights Organizations on the "punishments" that soldiers get when they harm Palestinians even in direct violation of command orders. One soldier was fined an Agora (penny) for killing a Palestinian in the 1970's. None served the sentences given to them in the rare occasions were sentences were handed down. Of course, there are various types of IDF soldiers:
- Those who realize the subtle racism and relish and value it (they tend to be most sadistic - they enjoyed breaking bones in the first Intifada for example)
- Those who do not realize the subtle racism and live in a fantasy world and try to think that they are following orders that are legitimate and have reasons (many think that they are not smart enough to inquire or question their command)
- Those who realize the subtle racism and are awakened and fight it from within (I had experiences of literal fights between Israeli soldiers and their commanders on the ground at operation theatres I witnessed)
-Those who realize the subtle racism and are awakened and fight it by being conscientious objectors (this is the category most hated by the IDF command, 200 were imprisoned)
This of course is not unique to this occupation army. All occupation armies had very similar circumstances (British in India and Palestine, French in Algeria, Germans in France etc). The only difference is of course that Israeli occupation army also engages in literal ethnic cleansing (home
demolitions, expelling people, driving refugees out etc) to "cleanse" the land and make it more Jewish.
You may pass this to your Rabbi friend. May God enlighten us all. In peace,
Did you read the amazing ruling that Israel's Supreme Court has ruled in favor of affirmative action for Arab citizens to be represented on public bodies. Is this a great country or what? How many Jews does the high court of Syria plan to endorse for public office or Libya or Saudi Arabia? Israel is an amazing jewel in the middle east to come up with a ruling like that -- a tiny island in a sea of countries that want to destroy her. It is almost a miracle. Cross out the "almost."
Thank God and hallelujah (sp) for the miracles no matter how small. Now I look for the Supreme Court to recognize the 100+ Palestinian villages not considered existent by Israeli law (many are not even tied to the electric or water system even though thousands live in them). I also look for them
to consider the situation of the 250,000 Israeli citizens (Goyim) considered "present absentees" (their lands belong now to the Jewish Agency and Israel Land Authority).
I am an optimist that these bigger miracles will happen immediately after the supreme court reverses their decision to support the Knesset law that outlaws any party in Israel that does not identify with the "Jewish character" of the state (i.e. Zionism). A test of that is coming with MK Azmi Bishara under investigation. Keep your fingers crossed (or not). At least Iran never passed a law about the "Islamic character" of Iran which has 99% Muslims (Israel has 50% Jews when you consider the population of the occupied areas, 75% without/in the Green line, and 40% with refugees allowed back). Ironic.
Perhaps you can read two or three of those books and tell me if you still feel the same about Zionism.
* The Fateful Triangle: the United States, Israel and the Palestinians by Noam Chomsky
* Bitter Harvest : A Modern History of Palestine, by Sami Hadawi
* Nur Masalha, 'Expulsion of the Palestinians' by IPS
* Livia Rokach, 'Israel's Sacred Terrorism'
* Israel Shahak, 'Israel's Global Role'
* Israel Shahak, 'A History of the Concept of 'Transfer' in Zionism'
* Amos Oz, 'The Slopes of Lebanon'
* a collection of essays on - "Anti-Zionism - Analytical Reflections"
* Walid Khalidi, 'From Haven to Conquest'
* Itamar Rabinovich, 'The War for Lebanon: 1970-1985'
* Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari, 'Israel's Lebanon War'
* Yair Evron, 'War and Intervention in Lebanon'
* Jacobo Timerman, 'The Longest War'
* (of course - Fisk's 'Pity the Nation')
* Dilip Hiro's 'Sharing the Promised Land'
* Avi Shlaim, the Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World" (Norton and Penguin Press
* Issa Nakhleh's "Encylopedia of the Palestine Problem"
* Ilan Pappe's "Israel/Palestine Question"
* Benny Morris' "1948 and After: Israel and the Palestinians"
* Benny Morris' "Righteous Victims - A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999"
* Benny Morris' "The birth of the Palestine Refugee Problem 1947-1949"
Sometimes I think the biggest victims for Zionism as an ideology is not the Palestinians (even though they suffered much with over 2/3rds of them refugees or displaced persons) but really the Jewish people.
And just to set the record straight on Syria, Jordan etc: they are despicable dictatorships and I work on these issues too. MUCH, much more work needs to be done. It is certainly no coincidence that the countries closest to Israel in the"Arab and Muslim world" are the ones with the most repressive regimes. This is not in particular relevance to their friendship to Israel since Egypt and Jordan are even more repressive than Iraq and Libya (and I did visit those countries). Iran is an interesting experiment worth watching since they now have Jewish members of Parliament and have free presidential elections but there is still a struggle between reformists and fundamentalists. We ought to push to ensure that reformists succeed. :-)
How much longer can Sharon resist increasing pressure from larger and larger segments of Israel to do something militarily? How much restraint can one man show? If the terror does not stop, then there will be a bloodbath that makes anything up until now seem small. Is that what the Palestinians want? Is that what you want for your people? If not, then use your vast powers of persuasion not to lure Jews in the West to your way of thinking but to convince your people back home in Palestine that the road to peace must be paved by peace--not war.
Do not be fooled that the B'tzelem Camp, and Rabbis for Human Rights and the historians/pundits you quote so frequently represent anything but a small minority of the Israeli population. The clamors for Sharon to take the restraints off the military grow stronger each day. By not responding he is turning his back on the people who elected him.
What you fail to understand is not what I think but that for the vast (99%) of Palestinians under occupation: they do not care how bad Sharon makes it, it is already intolerable. It is precisely the point of why desperate acts are taken. You fail to see that. I actually think Sharon does see that as do Israeli leaders. But they calculate things not the way you or I do. What they figure is that the cost for them is nothing compared to the vast benefit (financial, military, prestige, power etc). Top them even Israeli lives are not important consideration. You see, the guy who delivered the suicide bomber to Netanya seashore was an Israeli agent. The Zionists were involved in many of the attacks on Jews going back to the 1930's sinking of a ship of Jewish immigrants to the 1949-1950's bombings in Baghdad at Jewish gatherings, and to creation of Hamas (first funding came from the Mossad). Read "Deliberate deceptions" and other books by ex-Mossad agents. You may try to argue that they are not true but the fact that Israel tried to prevent their publication because they revealed state secrets is very telling. Unfortunately, lies are a trademark of Zionist work ESPECIALLY directed towards Jews like you. They know if you knew the facts, you would have a very different perspective.
Just as there are Muslim states and Christian states, there MUST be a Jewish State. What makes Jew INFERIOR to all other people.
Saying that there must be a Jewish state because there are "Islamic" and "Christian states" is incredible to me. How about there must be also a Bahai state, a Hindu state, a protestant state, a Shiite state, a Sunni state, a Buddhist state, a southern Baptist state, an animalist state, a voodo state, a pagan, and a Sufi state. BTW, there should not be any religion based states; period/end of story. Even Iran is not an "Islamic state" even though 98% of the population is Muslim. No matter how hard any of these ideologies try, they all fail and will lose (crusaders tried to have a Christian state and had it for 100 years, even Rome as a Christian state is gone after hundreds of years, Iran is liberalizing after 20, Sudan is now reckoning they can not defeat the Christian and animalist south and must democratize and are beginning to, Israel is already beginning to fray at the edges as evidenced by recent court rulings and population trends.
And please explain to me what you mean by your version of a Jewish state since Israeli's themselves are very highly divided over what constitutes a Jewish state and even who is a Jew. Israel still does not recognize reform Jewish conversions as being Jewish by law. This is a big topic but let us not kid ourselves that states based on religion have a future in this complex world.
Jesus said it best when he admonished his followers to "love thy enemy, for if you only love those who love you, what difference are you from the unbelievers." I would only add that as a clinician he was also making a health recommendation since hate is really harmful to one's health. That is why I myself always have love (even if accompanied by pity) to the Zionists who oppress us in the name of Jewish religion.
May you have a good Shabat. May God grant us all the humility to accept our limitations and extend our love.
By this time it does not surprise me, Mazin, that as bright as you are, you have an answer for everything. In the wake of the article to which I have referred, though, your arguments are so transparent as to belie belief. Just read the article, Mazin and explain it if you can. You constantly tell me read this and read that. I bust my budget trying to buy the obscure, non-mainstream tomes that sell for exorbitant prices because they have no credibility. Still, in the interest of dialogue I try to track them down. I ask you to read one thing --an officially recently broadcast by the PA document, and you huff and puff and come back not with an analysis of the thing I asked you to read which would take five minutes, but your usual referrals to Jewish terrorism and the like. The reality is that the very few acts of Jewish terrorism that occurred (Deir Yassin, yes, a horror) were complete aberrations, totally antithetical to the ideals of Zionism which calls for Jews and Arabs to live side by side, each in their own state. It is totally different from an official statement broadcast Friday calling for the total wipeout of the Jewish state and the Jews in it. Just read the article and comment on it if you wish, Mazin, but spare me the trumped up comparisons which make no sense whatsoever to any rational thinker.
An article is an article. What message you draw is colored by your training, upbringing and needless to say bias. To Palestinians: acts of terror on their part are considered an aberration, to Israelis: the same. The reality is not these acts of terror but the underlying cause: Zionism. Tunisians (who are remarkably similar to Palestinians and have a large Jewish population living among them have no terrorism. Terrorism is a symptom not the disease. The article below about Jihad and suicide bombing from the Independent is accurate. Think diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause.
May the Almighty save us from the day when Jews in Israel have the same rights as Jews in Tunisia.
Zionism = liberation for Jews from centuries, indeed millennia of oppression and dependence on others. When will you finally get it?
Jihad = wanton destruction of the enemy (i.e. non Muslims who have land)
Let me say it again. There are 23 Muslim and/or Arab states where Jews have NO rights--none whatsoever. There can and should be a tiny Jewish state where the Muslims must take a back seat but still a far better seat than Jews occupy in any Muslim country.
After spending an enormous amount of money to order the paperback version of the Benny Morris Book on Refugees you recommended, I came across the sermon broadcast by the Palestinian Authority "We Must Educate our Children on the Love of Jihad." frankly, it disgusted me. It shows why peace is so difficult. It fills me with admiration for the love of peace the glorious Zionist movement pursues in the face of such savage (and I use that word pointedly) provocation. It is not I, Mazin, who has been duped. It is you. The IDF should get the Nobel Peace Prize for their restraint. I dare you to read this sermon and try to explain away this example of Palestinian hatred of Jews as you have so blithely tried to explain other things. You are the eloquent spokesman of a bankrupt cause.
You should read “Ben Gurion Scandals.” Herzl's and Ben Gurion's diaries, the transfer agreements and other documents from the horse's moth about what Zionism was really intended to be not what it was presented to the world (and to gullible Jews).
In the civil rights movement what if someone said the same thing to the African American leaders: "There are 25 African Countries, Negroes must take a back seat here. African countries are not democratic why do you ask for democracy here." the answer would be outrage: irrelevant and bankrupt argument. I am a Palestinian and we are talking about Israeli treatment of natives in that country. When and IF you decide to fight for rights of minorities in other countries, I will walk with you hand in hand (and let us not limit it to Muslim or Arab countries but also Chechniya, Bosnia, Serbia, England, and yes the US).
I guess time will tell whether the cause of the occupation or the occupied is bankrupt. History should give some indication (no occupier ever won by force of arms against a native population in the last 300 years). France killed 1 million Algerians in the course of its 100 years of occupation and most of the dead were in the last 10 years of the occupation. Let us hope that Israel will not reach that number (only 80,000 Palestinians have died in the past 53 years). Add to that the simple fact that the force of International law in this case is very clear. But Israel also has nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Could a new holocaust be far behind thanks to your support?
As to Jihad: I suggest you ask Muslims what Jihad means. Perhaps a lecture to your congregation on Jihad and its true meaning from one of the Muslim leaders in Connecticut will further interfaith dialogue rather than Zionist propaganda. Shalom
This is not about the scholarly or technical meaning of jihad. It is about the absolute refusal to allow the stain of even a tiny Dhimmi state on the vast, vast expanse of Dar al Islam. Did you even read the article? If I were a Palestinian I would be woefully ashamed. I am sorry you are not. To even compare the Jewish liberation movement of Zionism (to have our land like other peoples have their land) with such hatred is inconceivable. Yet for 53 plus years this is the way the Arabs have characterized Israel and vowed her destruction.
No I do not compare Zionism with Jihad. Zionism is a racist ideology with little to do with religion. Religions all talk about hard work/exertion (=Jihad) for the sake of God, Jesus, Yahweh, Allah. Some fanatics in every religion interpret it in their own way. Baruch Goldstein thought he was doing God's work by killing Muslims kneeling in prayer in Hebron (and getting killed himself) so do some of those suicide bombers. This is all distractions from the real problems that cause people to go to such desperation. That problem is that a land that was already heavily populated by natives was to be made "Jewish." Nothing will change these facts and the 8 million native Palestinians will never go away or disappear simply because of the fanatical actions of a few Jews and Muslims (& I am neither)
This below is from a non-Arab/non-Muslim friend. It is a bit obvious I think. As to your argument that there was a Jewish state and it is revived. I would hope you would read the archeological evidence. Judaism is nothing more than one religious sect of Canaanites. They never conquered or dispelled others from their lands (unlike Israel today). The have always had a diversity of people and cultures and continuous historical evolution of religions (polytheistic, monotheistic and then converting to Christianity as my family did, and then many converting to Islam). History and archeology prove that the only time ethnic cleansings were tried they failed historically and they will fail now.
Another hot and suffocating day. You wake up in a home with only sporadic electricity. The water pressure is too low to provide a good shower or bath for you or your family. The neighboring community, armed to the teeth and keeping you and your loved ones in its gun-sights, has sunk a well to the level of the water table of your household; it's their resource now. Not much you can do to stop them--you and what army?
Your children are hungry, irritable, and smelly. You try to calm them, singing them songs while heating up some left-over coffee and listening to news reports on a battery powered radio that promise your
difficult life is only going to get worse.
You need to get to town to buy some food and medicine. Is it safe to try today? No. From your bullet-pocked front door, you see that heavily armed soldiers have blockaded the intersection at the end of your street once again. They are forbidding anyone from going in or out. Another day of being trapped, hungry, frustrated, and anxious about your father's heart condition, your sister's troubled pregnancy. How will you get them to the hospital when the moment of illness or birth comes?
In the searing heat of the afternoon, you decide to take a nap and encourage the fussy children to do the same. But no sooner do you all begin to rest and escape into a fitful sleep from the misery and humiliation of your daily lives than the grinding roar of the bulldozers starts up again. The remaining trees of your family's orchards, a key economic resource for your entire community, are being uprooted by the neighboring community, which wants to expand its considerable living space yet again at your expense--while also reminding you who is boss here.
Some teenaged boys cannot take it any more--the pressure, the boredom, the uncertainty, the injustice. They are gathering to complain loudly to the soldiers at the intersection. The soldiers grow edgy and begin to position themselves for some action. One of the boys flings a rock, and the explosion hanging all day in the air as a possibility is realized: gunshots ring out, tear gas canisters fly, shouts and screams rip through the quiet rage and despair engulfing all of you.
In less than five minutes, one boy lies dead, three more are wounded. No one can get them to the hospital. Will they survive their wounds? And if they do, what sort of future awaits them in this cage? Maybe it is best to die, after all.
The radio brings a report from a powerful leader of a foreign country blaming you and your children for this state of affairs, calling on you and your children to cease and desist from your violence. You have no help, no money, no basic amenities, no weapons, and little hope. You do have a sense of outrage and astonishment that the entire world cannot appreciate how unfair this situation is, how outgunned and overwhelmed you and your family are. That outrage, burning in your empty stomach, is all that sustains you through yet another endless day....
If this were your daily, inescapable reality, in the suburbs and cities of the USA, would you accept it? Would you expect the world to accept it? Probably not. So why should anyone in the comfort of a US city or suburb expect Palestinians under occupation to acquiesce to their oppression, strangulation, disenfranchisement, and dehumanization? the next time some talking head in the US media tells you that Palestinian violence must end, imagine yourself in their worn and tattered shoes, and don't forget: Your tax dollars are enabling this situation to continue.
Many officials spoke about what was offered-- a Palestinian state, secure borders, autonomy--all that the Palestinians said they wanted. It would have been hard to sell in Israel, but Bark put his great reputation on the line and the Palestinians spat in his face. No amount of propaganda can change those facts, Mazin. When push came to shove they retreated to the old NO Israel position.
Palestinians explained what was offered. Americans also did (e.g. Malley) and even Barak himself pronounced that he only offered things in line with his 5 famous "No's" (no to giving up Jerusalem, no to return of refugees, no giving up settlement blocks or the Jordan valley etc). The papers are all there to read if one really wants the truth.
I reread Malley. You leave out important things he said in your description. e.g.:
1. "The Palestinians did not meet their historic responsibilities..."
That is a value judgement but has no concrete items to address.
2. "I (Malley) too was frustrated almost to the point of despair by the Palestinians passivity and inability to seize the moment..."
I agree that the Palestinian leadership is not competent to seize any moment to put together a coherent Palestinian position (they should have had Edward Said, Hanan Ashrawi, Faisal Husseini and other much better folks to seize the moment than the incompetent Arafat). But, the deck was also stacked against them anyway. As Noam Chomsky put it wisely: Palestinians should never agree to negotiate with the US, as a patron of the Israelis, acting as a "mediator."
3. Israel offered, "far more than had been thinkable..."
So what? I take your land, your house, kick you out and nobody thinks I will ever give you anything back and then I decide to give you part of your stolen property and maybe let you live in the basement. A criminal offering more than you thought he would offer- big deal?
4. What Barak offered was "more far reaching than anything any Israeli leader had discussed in the past..."
So what? Going farther than others does not mean zilch when it comes to International law, justice, morality, and basic humanity. A white Apartheid leader went farther than all before him by offering to give blacks bantustans. Big deal!
So, Mazin, here is the issue. If your enemy (now negotiating partner) offers all of the above -- EVEN if it does not satisfy you--does a prudent people
a. Keep talking or
Keep talking while Israel confiscates more land, demolishes homes, builds settlements etc? And yes, actually Arafat continues to keep talking and negotiating (to the consternation of most Palestinians and certainly the leaders of the uprising).
b. begin a reign of terror that forces (yes forces) Israel in the name of security to take harsh repressive measures.
Arafat is still talking if you have not noticed. As Malley observes, the uprising would have started with or without Arafat or this Camp David Summit.
In the interest of fairness and your own credibility, Mazin, as a scholar, analyst and reporter
I do want to set the record straight because you emphasized a couple of times these issues of my alleged "intellectual" abilities: I am an average Palestinian. For some reason you seem to think that I am smarter or more "savvy" etc. Most Palestinians think exactly as I do. This is important for me to tell you because I got the feeling that you think that Palestinians like me are a rarity among the brutish and emotional and violent "Arabs.".
to others of facts that you read, I implore you to edit your last post and include the four statements that I listed above. The impression you gave was: "Of course the Palestinians should have been insulted and walked away from Camp David to pursue their violent terrorist activity.
That was not my message and you know it. Arafat could not accept what was offered and he knew that. Even if he did, it would be irrelevant and the uprising would have started anyway. If you really think Arafat started the uprising then you are very, very naive. Friday, September 29, 6 people were killed in Jerusalem after they protested Sharon's visit. That was the straw that broke the camel's back (the Palestinian People not Arafat who had nothing to do with the start of this uprising). This was two months after Camp David. Arafat later joined in and true to all politicians tried to use the situation to his advantage (as did Barak and Sharon and all other politicians). The reality is not changed by these so-called "leaders", the reality is only made worse. The reality is Zionists ever increasing thirst for land and power and the reality is ethnic cleansing and occupation. No amount of rhetoric can change these facts. All Palestinians and half the Israelis know this. Even you know it. You choose to ignore it and to pretend that Zionism is a redeeming force and that it will somehow, somewhere, sometime fulfil its utopic dreams of taking other people's lands and having them accept it and be nice and complacent (& non-violent).
Zionist wooden-headedness is classic: bury the heads in the sand, ignore facts, ignore history, and keep the dream alive (Ha'Tikva). A friend just wrote to me from the West Bank about the futility of the occupation and suggested that perhaps we in human rights groups should just crack open some beers and sit and watch. Occupation is going to crumple on its own. It is only a matter of time. Zionists cannot oppress 8 million people forever. That is the simple fact. Everything else is gravy.
Let me be brutally honest with you. You have a good conscience and you work for rights of people. But like many Jews, you have one small blind spot when it comes to Israel (afterall Israel, Zionism, and the whole mess is a small bit compared to world history and Jewish history etc). This blind spot is very very difficult to overcome because it goes with your "tribal" instincts of affiliation. It also makes for internal contradictions (e.g. fighting for human rights in the US while ignoring human rights abused by Israel). Jews who manage to overcome this blind spot feel more liberated than any time before in their lives. They feel empowered, more pride and dignity, and more Human. Some Zionists think that these liberated Jews feel shame or self-hating. This cannot be any farthest from the truth. You can see this if you ever sit down and really talk to one of these folks heart to heart. Try it, visit with Noam Chomsky or the hundreds of other Jews for Justice and invite one of them to come speak to a group of open-minded Jews. What have you got to loose (other than a blind spot). In hope,
I unequivocally condemn the savage horrible killings of Palestinians by Israeli settlers. I join with Prime Minister Sharon, President Katzav and others of good will in condemning this horrible betrayal of Jewish and Zionist ideas which call on us to do all that is possible to live in peace with our neighbors.
Thank you. I do appreciate this concern. Perhaps you can write a letter to the editor and ask for evacuation of those settlers (their presence is illegal according to international law).
If I may though, I think you are mistaken to put yourself in league with the likes of Sharon and Katsav or to ascribe good will to those butchers. Both are war criminals who participated in killing civilians. Sharon idealizes the same hero as the settlers (Vladimir Jabotinski whose picture adorns Sharon's office and Kahane's followers). Perhaps you should read some of the quotes of Jabotinsky to understand. Sharon is doing the same terrorism daily with shelling of residential areas (including my hometown Tuesday when three homes were destroyed). You should never put yourself in league with such hypocrites and criminals. As you heard me before, I certainly do not identify with the other idiot (Arafat). You are much, much better than those folks regardless of your tribal feelings.
You are also mistaken to state "Jewish and Zionist ideals": there is nothing shared in ideals between Judaism (one of the great monotheistic religions) and Zionism (a racist, xenophobic, narrow, apartheid, self-destructive, and fascist ideology that is doomed to extinction soon). Someday all Jews will join those Jews who realize the idiocy of Zionism and the dangers it caused Jews all over the world. I say the same thing about Islamism (not the same as Islam) BTW.
No, Mazin, you do not understand. Zionism is the great national liberation movement of the Jewish people. It comes from the term Tzion, a biblical term meaning "a mark of excellence." It is a synonym for the Temple mount (our enemies even want to take that holiest of sites away from us, a site to which we have been physically and emotionally attached for three thousand years. Can you believe it?). Later it became a synonym for Jerusalem and all the land of Israel. Zionism represents the only hope that Jews have to escape a history of 200 years of oppression at the hands of Christians and a long but lesser period of oppression at the hands of Muslims. It is our hope for the future as well to live in peace and harmony (what could be racist about that) as a free and independent people in our land with all of our neighbors in their lands in an atmosphere of mutual cooperation and friendship. I am glad to have the opportunity to set the record straight on this important point. That is why the savage disgusting act of those rogue settlers appalls me so. It is a betrayal of everything for which Zionism stands.
Actually you are wrong. The word Zion comes from Har Zion, one of the hills making up Jerusalem. It was so named by the Canaanites long before the Abrahamic myths and traditions. The Zionists stole the term and developed it into the nationalistic, racist, exclusive movement for gathering of people of Jewish faith in one land (already occupied by natives). This is not a "return" since less than 3% of those people of the Jewish faith today have any genetic linkage to people who lived in Palestine 2000 years ago. More appropriately it is a recreation of a large ghetto for Jews in the minds of other people. For the nature and intent of Zionists all you have to do is read diaries of people like Hertzl, Jabotinsky and Ben Gurion (not their public pronouncements or the Israeli independence declaration). As for emotional attachment to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem, that is fine but it does not give you a right of ownership of native people's lands and properties any more than it gives world Christians the same rights to Palestinian lands and homes in Bethlehem, Nazareth or Jerusalem. The simple truth is that Zionism is racist and incompatible with peace or peaceful coexistence by Jews in the Middle East. Jews are coming to that realization. Here is a message of introduction posted to a list consisting mostly of Jews (part of the many committees of the Palestine Right to Return Coalition):
My name is Keith Rosenthal, I am Jewish ... I am involved in a group in Burlington called Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, also, the Vermont Mobilization for Global Justice, and finally, the International Socialist Organization. Raised as an assimilated Jew, my parents were anti-Zionists, although they did not speak about the subject much. However, they taught me to always fight the good battle, to be selfless, and in the immortal words of Martin Luther King, Jr., 'that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'. I am horrified, as an American and a Jew, about what is happening in the Occupied Territories right now. My main goals are to aid the process of building a grass-roots movement, through education, demonstrations, and organization, in order to cut off US aid to Israel, let Palestinian refugees return to their homes, and eventually, move into a one state solution, with full civil and political rights for all. Like Reema Abu-Hamdieh said (a woman from Hebron who lost 7 members of her family in a one-day massacre back in '92), "This place is too small to be divided."
If the Palestinians stop the terrorism and make peace all the suffering ends, Mazin. Sadly they choose to suffer and die rather than live in peace and harmony because they seek by any means the right to destroy for the Jews and Israel what they claim to be sacred for themselves. Their plight saddens me, but they have made the choice and imposed it on Israel, and no amount of gut wrenching rhetoric by you changes that essential fact. The Palestinians have chosen to let their people suffer and die rather than live in peace and prosperity.
This message and many others tell me that you are not really reading to understand. Your self-centered vision of Palestinians giving up their rights so that Jews can have their dream of a "Jewish state" (what ever that means) and then maybe by charity, the Zionists will suddenly become magnanimous and decent to us (contrary to their 100 year history) just completely and utterly indicate that you choose to live in your dream world rather than reality. Let me be clear: We seek no charity and you will never make Palestinians accept their subservient position. Perhaps you need to read my last post carefully and reflect. Perhaps you should go tell the 20 kids of Um-Yahya that it is not Zionist fault but Palestinians who bring all this suffering. In fact you will have a better chance of convincing a survivor of Auschwitz that Jews brought this suffering unto themselves than you would of convincing a Palestinian that they brought this unto themselves. In fact I am sure of this. Palestinians are natives who lived as mostly farmers for thousands of years (yes under many occupations but never ethnically cleansed on such large scale).
Do you really in your heart not see this or do you see it but just want to blame the victims (as the Nazi's did)? But in reality, it matters little what you think since as I said it really matters what 4 million Palestinian Children think and see. They fashion the future and they are not going anywhere (not physically and certainly not emotionally). If you think I am extreme, please reflect that I have had no brothers, cousins, or parents killed or badly injured by Israelis (only friends and more distant relatives). My brother in law was tortured, lost a kidney, my father was beaten (all without any trials, due process or charges), I was beaten etc. but all of this pales compared to what most Palestinians have gone through. This should really scare Zionists and should scare you if you are a Zionist. Thomas Jefferson said, "I tremble for my fellow man when I remember that God is just." I will add "I tremble for Jews when I know what Zionists have done and continue to do in their name." Very sad indeed and very, very dangerous.
When I say the Palestinians have it better under Israel, I am only quoting the many Palestinians with whom I conversed during visits to Israel --pre intifada conversations-- during several visits over the years. There was a pretty clear consensus from those with whom I spoke in my wanderings in the old city. So I am not trying to tell Palestinians what to feel, I m reporting what they told me they experience. Big difference I hope you would agree.
Now, about all those Hitler analogies you insist on inserting into our discussion. When the Jews wantonly murder by gun and by gas 2/3 of the Arabs in the Middle East, then and only then are any comparisons to Hitler relevant.
you wrote: "Now, about all those Hitler analogies you insist on inserting into our discussion. When the Jews wantonly murder by gun and by gas 2/3 of the Arabs in the Middle East, then and only then are any comparisons to Hitler relevant."
You will excuse me if we DO NOT WAIT FOR THIS TO HAPPEN (it might) before we resist.
Actually one Zionist leader in his memoir stated so clearly (that if they thought they could get away with it, they would do it). When people say never again (and I am sorry to disappoint you) they mean never again for any people and not just Jews. Zionists of course (as the holocaust son Norman Finkelstein documented well in his book "The Holocaust Industry") only use the holocaust and only use it for Jewish supremacist values. In doing so they debase and insult all the victims of all the genocides, pogroms, and suffering of so many people. It is indeed a shame what they did with the suffering of so many. This is one of the many reasons they are failing.
Sometimes you go way too far. Show me documentation that it ever was official Zionist ( not one crack pot writer) policy to exterminate two thirds of all the Arabs in the Middle East, and I will renounce Zionism, the State of Israel and march with you at your next ten rallies. Surely, logic, common sense and fairness have to enter the discussion sometimes. I mean Kahane was barred from the Knesset ( a seat which he won democratically) because of his idea to transport Palestinians by force out of the country. To compare Zionism with Hitlerism is beneath contempt.
OK, here goes Quotations from here and there for your edification
Vladimir Jobotinsky : "Zionist colonization must either be terminated or carried out against the wishes of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, be continued and make progress only under the protection of a power independent of the native population - an iron wall, which will be in a position to resist the pressure to the native population. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs... A voluntary reconciliation with the Arabs is out of the question either now or in the future.....If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find some 'rich man' or benefactor who will provide a garrison on your behalf. Or else-or else, give up your colonization, for without an armed force which will render physically impossible any attempt to destroy or prevent this colonization, colonization is impossible, not "difficult', not 'dangerous', but IMPOSSIBLE!...Zionism is a colonization adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important.... to speak Hebrew, but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot - or else I am through with playing at colonizing." (Vladimir Jobotinsky, 'The Iron Wall' (pub.1923))
Lord Balfour: "In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country." Lord Balfour in a private memorandum to Lord Curzon,
11 August 1919
"We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, 'What is to be done with the Palestinian population?' Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said 'Drive them out!'" Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979; Rabin's description of the conquest of Lydda, after the completion of Plan Dalet.
"We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves." -- Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983.
"There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here (Palestine) to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them; not one village, not one tribe should be left." Jospeh Weitz, Davar, 29 September 1967 from "My Diary and Letters to the Children", Massada, 1965, III, p. 293
"When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like
drugged cockroaches in a bottle." -- Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.
"Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories." -- Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, tells students at Bar Ilan University, From the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.
"We have made the Arabs lose faith and confidence in themselves. Now we must make them lose the hope of pressuring us through the United States." Menachim Begin.
" I don't understand your optimism. Why should the Arabs make Peace? If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural; we have taken their country." Ben Gurion in 1956 Quoted by Nahum Goldman, former President of World Zionist Congress, in "The Jewish Paradox" Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1978, p99}
" If I had been a Palestinian, I would now be a terrorist". Ehud Barak, who stated in March, 1998:
Even if I took every single one of these at face value (which I surely do not, and you do not either) it would not come close to an official Zionist position to wipe out 2/3 of the Arabs in the Middle east or better put 1/3 of all the Muslims in the world. Not even close. So please, let's compare apples with apples not hand grenades with atom bombs.
I will venture to say that this is irrelevant. Hitler also had no "official position" to kill millions of Jews but he did. Zionists were actually more talkative and self-incriminating (as evidence from the quotes which we do take seriously) than Nazis. Zionism killed 300,000 Arabs, 25,000 Jews and caused the suffering of millions and they certainly would have done a lot more if they could get away with it. As I said, Palestinians were never and will never be willing to wait to find out how far Zionists can go to achieve their "Eretz Yisrael" dream. Palestinians also will not ask for charity, or for mercy but only for their return to their homes and lands and for compensation of their suffering.
As to hand grenades and atom bombs: Israel has atom bombs (and money, and the fourth largest army in the world), Palestinians have rocks (and International law, justice and history on their side). We also have both terrorism to contend with on both sides (but those are symptoms of the cancer of Zionism not causes).
You may not like my comparisons with Hitler but comparisons are good for us to understand history. Facts are not changed because of Zionist dreams.
I have invested many, many hours now in "trying to understand." I am frustrated that you see no merit or validity whatever in anything I write. I would like to see a peaceful solution. What you must understand is that our claim to the land is as valid --if not more so-- than yours. After all, we have been there much longer, and we were an independent nation there. You never were, and your residence is much more recent. Unless and until the Palestinians understand that there must be a Jewish state of Israel, there will be no peace. Once they accept that basic premise, then everything is possible. They will not be subservient any longer. They will have their own free and independent state.
You keep using the inflammatory phrase "ethnic cleansing." Nothing Israel has ever done comes close to "Black September." All the Palestinians agreed (until they decided to opt for armed rebellion in the streets which of necessity must be put down-- that they had it MUCH better under Israel than they ever did under Jordan. So, please, let's be real.
You are one person and you did spend many hours. For that I give you credit. You also obviously feel ownership of the issue even though you obviously still manage to do a lot of other things in your life (being a Rabbi etc.). For 8 million Palestinian, they do not have that luxury of having an emotional attachment to an issue and spending a few hours on it (isn't that the definition of a hobby). Their whole lives, like that of Jews under the Nazi's, is controlled and run by their suffering. This you can never understand since you never had that happen to you. It is like me saying I understand women's feeling after being raped. It is even much worse obviously if I am blaming her for her rape and excusing the rapist at the time I say I empathize with her suffering !!!
After two hours of early study, I came back to bed to read the papers alongside my wife. After about a half hour --without looking at me-- she said "Why are you angry. I can tell that something has made you angry." How she could tell I do not know, but she was right.
the front page of the Times showed Palestinian attackers throwing shoes and other things at Israeli riot police. Instead of retaliating, the police hid behind their shields. What caused this? That same bunch of Palestinian cowardly savages decided to throw rocks, some near boulder size, from the elevated vantage point of the Temple mount (to which Arab propagandists say Jews have no legitimate claim) down on the heads of Jews coming to the Western Wall to commemorate the saddest day of the Jewish year Tisha b'Av. Had the police killed the violent would be murderers, no rational person could have condemned them. Instead, in an incredible display of restraint, they did not.
So why does this make me angry? Because I know that you will somehow find a way to send a message to your followers that the boulder throwers were innocent and the Israelis who came to the wall --a wall denied them until its liberation in 1967 when Israel repulsed Jordan's attack-- were somehow guilty.
I also know that you will find a way to twist the airtight logic of Ehud Barak's and William Safire's op ed pieces today into "racist, Zionist propaganda."
You will find a way to condemn Israel's prudent elimination of terrorists who would if left alive kill and maim hundreds of Israeli civilians as barbaric and wrong.
All of this makes me sad and angry.
And so Mazin, I appeal to you. Use the wonderful mind God gave you and the way with words with which God has blessed you (both of which you have developed through your own diligent efforts) to tell your many faithful readers the truth. Israel wants peace, but Israel cannot make peace unless the Palestinian leadership negotiates in good faith. Give up the dream that a Jewish state will not exist. The only way that will happen is for a complete Arab victory in an all out war. Is that what you advocate? there must be a two-state solution. Israel wants it desperately.
Had he had a reliable partner, Ehud Barak might have become the outstanding leader in all of Israel's history. Now, I fear, history will remember him as one willing to trust an untrustworthy adversary. As a result Israel's position necessarily hardened and harsh measures have been necessary. When that happens, innocents suffer. That is sad, but it is the fault of the Palestinian leaders who never ceased to incite hatred against Israel and Israelis and who never negotiated in good faith.
there is only one route to a Palestinian state, Mazin. That is for Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate their differences in an atmosphere without terrorism. That is as basic as one plus one is two. Unless you realize this oh so transparent truth, Mazin, then instead of one who seeks to be part of the solution, Mazin, you become part of the problem. I pray that you see this clear reality and begin to educate your many readers and followers to it.
I am never angry (not even at Sharon). I feel it important to understand the other side even if they follow a cult/tribal mentality (Zionism). As for the incident: you should read why Palestinians reacted. This preposterous allowing to the murderous "Temple Mount Faithful" (who already tried twice to burn the mosques down) to hold a ceremony to "rebuild the temple" is like Germany allowing neo-Nazi's to hold a ceremony calling for the destruction of the main Berlin synagogue. And we already covered the issue of Barak, what he offered and why it is not acceptable.
Excerpt from an opinion article by Doron Rosenblum in Haaretz (8/4/01):
And the omnipresent Chief of Staff, Shaul Mofaz, wore his special agonized face, the one he reserves for just such cases; as if this were some noble ethical feat, he reiterated that, "Had we known there were children there - we would have aborted the mission." "The IDF is the most ethical army in the world," he added in the same breath. Just a reminder: This very same mantra ("You are the most righteous soldiers!") was voiced by then Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin after he gave his troops clubs and instructed them to break arms and legs.
There would not have been any point in picking at this wound, unless all this wiggling was reflective of the deep, truly agonizing cognitive dissonance to which we are all party: No matter what turns the conflict might take, we never relinquish our right to remain the one and only perpetual innocent victim.
We are trapped in a cruel and depressing crying game; as every new week begins, we don't
know what to fear more: the victims within ourselves, or the victims we make of others. It
is incumbent upon us to bring this crying game to an end as soon as we possibly can, because if it continues it is bound to become a lose-lose situation.
1) a parody on the US elections: "Its the occupation stupid!!"
2) Palestinians have little else to lose when 2/3rd of them are refugees, 70% unemployed, per capita income of $900/year, and each family with dead and wounded. Israel needs to beware of people who have nothing left to loose.
For Immediate Release
11 September 2001
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition is deeply shocked at the unfolding tragedies that have taken place in the US today. Many of our members will be concerned for their friends, families and loved ones who may have been affected by these events. Our thoughts and prayers are
with all of the victims and their families.
We ask those in the media, politicians, and all people of good conscience to exercise sound judgment. We recall with pain how Arabs and Muslims were targeted and blamed for the Oklahoma City bombing, and the TWA 800 crash, neither of which had anything to do with Arabs or Muslims.
As a diverse group of human rights advocates, including victims of terrorism, we stand together with US citizens in sadness, shock and condemnation of these terror acts.
Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition
P.O. Box 1172
Orange, CT 06477
Fax: (717) 832-1123
Press Room: http://al-awda.org/pressroom.htm
Your words cannot mask the specter of savage Palestinians dancing for joy in the streets. Now everyone at last knows what Israel faces every day. Now at last the inconveniences suffered by Palestinians are in clear perspective in sharp contrast to the fear of those savages who want to kill and maim.
I cannot believe that even in this tragedy of unimagined proportion (perhaps thousands dead) the only thing you could think about is trying to score political points and send hate-filled messages. I do not know if you are connected to the goons who sent me threatening messages or where they just incited by the CT Jewish Ledger's article. Truly astonishing, truly sad.
It is incredible that you consider yourself a man of God and yet instead of introspecting about what this world is coming to and our own responsibilities as human beings to help and heal each other, you want to score points/point fingers (without any evidence, a sin in any religion). But this (admonition) is going to go in one ear and go out the other since all you are concerned about is scoring points apparently for the "tribe". So you succeeded and so did many "terrorism experts" (Zionists): you scored your points (and many more I am sure to come) and you are winning "the battle" (what ever that is). Did it give you some satisfaction and are you happy? Truly astonishing,, truly sad. Shame.
"Their joy was not sporadic. They let loose with their guns and honked with their horns throughout the region, until they were told by their leaders not to continue, because 'it didn't look good on TV.'"
In contrast, Mazin, Israel was the first to volunteer to send rescue teams and other help. Unfortunately Israel has developed the necessary expertise because Israel lives EVERY DAY with the threat of terror that we suffered here yesterday.
Now, Mazin, you tell me, where lies the shame?
I am not interested in "points." I am interested in peace with justice, righteousness and security for all. The problem is the Palestinians only want to destroy Israel. Fix that problem, Mazin. It is a worthy challenge for your considerable talent and intellect, and if you really want peace, a two-state solution is the only way.
Here is a message from a friend in answer to a saner question.
Your question is very deserving of an explanation, thanks for asking it.
The pictures you saw on television were of a handful of young children, many of which have not reached their teen-age years. Yet the camera's focused on that unfortunately. There were no mass demonstrations in the streets, no adult leadership, no political speeches, and not even flags larger than a palm size. These children where driven by the existence of the camera more than the events which they have no understanding of. These children were interpreting the events in a wrong manner. Yet they are thinking that this represents their nations resentments of America's support of Israel. This is not an accurate representation of the Palestinian feelings.
The Palestinians, who themselves have suffered the most in terms of lost lives, discrimination, occupation and injustice for over 53 years, are capable of understanding and sympathizing with human suffering. However, as their years of suffering have mounted without any relief in sight, many began to see hope in any new effort, misguided or rightfully, only to have more disappointment later. Many now believe that perhaps a major event, as the US has seen, might be the catalyst to finally turn their situation around. This because of the US, in their eyes, is the power preventing the turn around, and because it is the one power that can make it happen. So, somehow, in a perfectly human (perhaps masochistic) manner, they want the US to feel what they are feeling and which it has refused to even acknowledge for so long. The United States' pull out of the recent Conference on Racism is a perfect example on that.
While the cameras give us the wrong impression that the Palestinians are joyful at America's suffering, in their eyes, being too busy with their own suffering to consider America's, they are joyful because they are hopeful that this could be the beginning of the end for them - the end of their own suffering. In other words, they are ignoring the pain of cutting their legs because they hope that this could save their lives from cancer.
I do not know of any Palestinian who is or would be joyful at the death of anyone, particularly American citizens. Yes, Palestinians see America's policy towards them and Israel as being very biased towards Israel, unfair and highly damaging to their just cause. Further, many Palestinians view America's unquestionable support and protection of Israel regardless of their level of suffering as being the accessory to their murder and suffering. On the other hand, Palestinians do truly appreciate, admire and respect Americans. There are more Americans working with and assisting the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and democracy, in medical relief, education, urban renewal and political activism than any other nationals.
Sam Makhlouf, Media Director,
American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, Georgia
After much thought and many months of our conversations, which I truly appreciate, I have arrived at the following firm conclusions. I am unwilling to debate with you or anyone else whether the Jewish State of Israel should exist. That question is no more negotiable than should the USA exist.
If you want to discuss the ins and outs of creating a two state solution where both Israel and Palestine exist with safe and secure borders, that is another matter. And please, do not think to undermine the reality of Israel by an unlimited return of every Palestinian with a claim no matter how tenuous which would make Jews a minority in the Jewish State. That too is unacceptable to me.
If the Palestinians are unable to accept the reality of a Jewish State in the huge vast landmass of the Middle East, then there will never be peace, and no debate with you or anyone else can change that reality. I still claim that if the Palestinians accept the reality of Israel, stop the preaching of hate and really search for a peaceful solution, peace will come.
True to form my dear friend. I had arrived at the conclusion that this is the way you thought from day one (the day we met). I was sincerely hoping you would some day see the light and the futility of the struggle to maintain the myth of racial or religious superiority and segregation...
Truth eventually comes out one way or the other. And as the Jewish Philosopher Martin Buber said:
"Only an internal revolution can have the power to heal our people of their murderous sickness of causeless hatred...It is bound to bring complete ruin upon us. Only then will the old and young in our land realize how great was our responsibility to those Arab refugees in whose towns we have settled Jews who were brought here from afar; whose homes we have inherited, whose fields we now sow and harvest; the fruits of whose gardens, orchards and vineyards we gather; and in whose cities that we robbed we put up houses of education, charity, and prayer, while we babble and rave about being the 'People of the Book' and the 'light of the nations'"
(After a brief period of renewed exchanges on Israeli refusenicks and Jewish opposition to Israeli Violence and as Israeli tanks were entering Arafat's compound to "root out terror.")
You dare to continue your propaganda posts as usual when Palestinian savages kill innocents at our sacred religious feast. You --and your misstatements and half truths-- are a sad obstacle to peace. But now it is clear to all but the most obtuse. Anything the Palestinians suffer is because of their leaders. They callously put innocents at risk. Whatever Israel does is justified in the name of its security. You and your people have shown the world that you have no interest whatsoever in ;peace. The Saudi dismantle Israel in disguise proposal is ample proof. What surprises me is that there are still some, though thankfully fewer each day who still consider you a credible source. I don't suggest they do this, because I still naively hope for peaceful coexistence, but if Israel simply transported every Palestinian out of Israel, it would be more than justified. Savages have no place in peaceful society. (emphasis mine).
Fuchs still refuses to have any public debates. He occasionally (about every month) send me an article or some other material to villify Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims or to just attack me personally.
Here is another exchange with a more rational Zionist on issues of Judaism, Zionism, etc.
The history of Jews in Arab countries after Zionism (ie. in the first half of the 20th century) is tragic and complex. Generalizations do not help (and I see them on all sides). There were also atrocious behavior by Zionists to drive Jews out of Arab lands for example in Iraq. See this article as just one example of documented history: http://www.bintjbeil.com/E/occupation/ameu_iraqjews.html
I think it would be good to have public dialogs and educate with facts laid out about the complexity of history not the simplicity of slogans (e.g. the slogan a land without a people for a people without a land, or Jews lived wonderfully among non-Jews). But I also think it is (even more) important to talk about restorative justice, coexistance, equality... in short getting peace. I do that regularly (about 150 talks every year). I will be on the Wheels of Justice Bus tour again this spring (see justicewheels.org) doing that. I am willing to come to events, to speak, to travel etc in Farmington or other nearby areas with Israel if he is inclined to have joint events.
"Generalizations do not help"
Couldn't agree more.
"atrocious behavior by Zionists to drive Jews out of Arab lands for example in Iraq"
I am sure you were not trying to imply that my ouster from Egypt in '67 was caused by Zionists? I know to support a position or another we look for articles, books etc to support our point of view ... but is that not generalization to an extent. I read Giladi, and I understand he had an axe to grind because we was a "black" Jew in Israel; but to bring up the Farhud in Iraq 1941 and not speak of Hajj Amin El Husseini and his role, is a bit too much for me to swallow.
I assume you have taken a glimpse at my Personal Exodus Story, did you notice any axes I was grinding? Any word of hate? I encourage you to read a simple and personal account of events with me as the observer and beneficiary of its consequences. I wrote it to also bridge the abyss that has formed between friends who found themselves on two sides when all they cared about is their "Friendship"; and my Egyptian Colleagues after reading it, asked permission to circulate it; because it is Egyptian history they were reading about, and did not have a clue it happened.
Putting that aside, I agree with your call for restorative justice and coexistence. I personally have no use for slogans. I appreciate the invite to speak with you on your tour.
The question is: is it in a dove tailed context ... both saying and agreeing to each other positions; or as debaters with each bringing their points to bare on the issues.
1. If the former, I like you to understand that I see Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state as inviolate. I also do not consider Zionism as racism or any other epithet that is so easily bandied about these days (e.g. Carter and his apartheid analogy).
2. For the latter proposition, to debate; while I believe you do not wish to use slogans, using Giladi's article or book such as his, as scholarly work is hardly a point I wish to rebut. Read how many times he used words like "may be", how many times he needed vindication because Israel is Ashkenazi while he is not, look ... I personally will take any day a minority status ... because we only can go up and better and he is just sour grapes and not worth my rebuttal.
PS: BTW, it was a student from Framingham High School (not from Egypt, in Egypt they don't teach that they had a Jewish community in Egypt in HS) my home town that told me that they were taught we all up and left!! But not for long.
To sum up, thank you for approaching me about cooperation; I never turn down reasonable offers. Be well
You misunderstood. I was not inviting you on the bus tour (speakers are selected to address direct experiences of life under occupation in Iraq and Palestine and is not a debate/dialog venue).
I was suggesting a nearer dialog to come to middle grounds and move more forward to real peace. It would be relatively easy for you to find a venue in Farmington (a room) to hold a public dialog. Then all we need is publicity (and I know many people in your area).
As to your question about the dialog structure, I do not think you can precondition what people participating agree to ahead of time on anything. For example while I would have liked to condition dialog on acceptance of at least the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which recognizes rights of refugees to return and the right of all peopel including Egyptian Jews and Palestinians to return to their countries of origin), I am willing to join you unconditionally in such a public dialog. For the record, I do not accept the notion of a Jewish state any more or less than I would accept a notion of an Islamic or a Christian state or a "White state" ala South Africa. It is racist and discriminatory. I also think its is extremely bad for Jews (in fact a Jew in Berlin today is safer than a Jew in Tel Aviv). My views are actually shared this by millions of Jews and hundreds of Jewish organizations (a short list of such progressive organizations is here: http://www.qumsiyeh.org/predominantlyjewishlinks/ ). But it would be good in a civil public dialogue to see if you can convince me or another Jew (and I could suggest some) otherwise (and vice versa). In such a dialog all are entitled to quote and use whatever resources they chose. There you can present your objections as I or others would.
BTW, in CT, we have a group meeting monthy of Jews, Christians, Muslims others called We Refuse to Be Enemies, see http://www.we-refuse.org/
Let me know if you can proceed to do something like that.
we do have an interfaith group in the Boston area and it meets once a month. I understood you do not accept the notion of a Jewish state ... , because you feel that being Jewish is no different than any other religion; what I meant was that Jewishness is "NOT" a religion to me and a Jewish state is not any different than saying an Egyptian state or a Palestinian state.
That is a big and a multidimensional discussion, that based on your biases you may not be predisposed to entertain, so I won't bore you with its nuances. As to the millions of Jews who believe in such views, I am not one of them.
"Jewishness is NOT a religion to me and a Jewish state is not any different than saying an Egyptian state or a Palestinian state."
Usama Bin Laden and people like him also think that Islam is not a religion but that it is a nation (and thus he thinks Al Qaeda is responsible for the welfare of Mulsims whereever they are).
The KKK and White South Africans also felt that Whiteness entitles them to separate nationhood
The Crusaders also thought Christendom was not reducible to religion but a shared history against the other
Feeling unique and "special" is not new and we see it everywhere in human history. There are many other examples than those listed above.
But racism will be eventually wiped out and we all, Jews, Chrisians, Muslims, Buddist, Atheist etc continue to live together, marry one another and show the illusion of segregation and separation for what they are: racism and bigotry.
GENERAL COMMENTS AND Conclusions:
Some may read the exchange and think that I was a bit harsh. But the thinking that this person exhibits is not something unique to him. Many Jews (and even a few Christians and Muslims) have been taken in by these Zionist concepts that there is Am Yisrael ("a nation of Israel") that is the "Jewish people". According to this ideology, Israel as a Jewish state is not a state of its people but a state of the "Jewish people". The ideology Israeli authors like Israel Harel warn of "danger" to the Jewish state because Israeli Arabs refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and have asked Mahmoud Abbas not to go down that path. This is like speaking of the danger of refusing to recognize Apartheid South Africa as a White state. That blacks must recognize White South Africa. Just because a minority of people who come from Jewish families or converted to Judaism believe that they are a tribe with a common history and narrative and must remain connected and strong against the"goyim" does not mean the rest of humanity (and millions of non-Zionist Jews) must cater to their irrational fears and prejudices. I hear arguments all the time that we must be sensitive to the fears of Jews who adhere to Zionism. But why is that any different than asking to cater to fears and prejudices of white South Africans who believed in Apartheid. They also felt besieged and that history dealt them a bad hand but that they had a destiny etc. Is it wise to give protection to an alcoholic or a racist or is it better to confront them so that they can confront their delusions and rationally address the problems they created.
As activists for human rights, we have many times engaged with those who support Israeli government actions (now a shrinking pool) over many years. In the 1990’s our discussions usually had predictable outcome to them. We would talk about refugees right to return home, while they would argue that this is an issue for discussion “between the parties” but that they personally oppose it because they desire a maintenance of a Jewish state (as opposed to a secular democratic state, a pluralistic society). We would talk about the expanding Jewish settlements, land confiscation, and home demolitions, they would talk about the violence and the need for Israeli security.
We would talk about the inhumanity, the continuing humiliation of the Palestinians, the checkpoints, and the economic deprivation and they would speak of the violence and the need for Israeli security. Invariably, they thought by discussing human rights, we were hindering reconciliation and dredging up the past while we thought that by putting these things off sets the stage for more violence and mayhem. In all cases, Zionists had a tribal attitude (us versus them) and made it very difficult to convince them of possibility of coexistance. They clearly prefer segregation and apartheid (as illustrated from the last and rather racist email quoted). I ask readers to re-read that and simply substitute Israel and Israelis for Palestine and Palestinians to see the racist nature of this.
These arguments are remarkably similar to the arguments between blacks and some whites in South Africa at the height of Apartheid. As it turned out, tribalism, fear and inability to address the root causes were central to the maintenance of the conflict in South Africa for so many years. It took economic and other pressures both from within the country and outside the country to change the dynamics. This is beginning to happen in the land of Canaan. In South Africa, those who supported Apartheid quickly changed their mind in the post-Apartheid era. Similarly, one would expect that those who support Zionism will not change their views easily until the post-Zionist era.