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Liberman: Citizenship annulment is a condition for peace

The foreign minister’s provocations may be damaging, but they create a clear and present danger when tied to actual policies.

Avigdor Liberman has come roaring back again. When the Israeli foreign minister returned to his post following a lengthy corruption investigation that ended in anti-climax of acquittal, some thought he had been chastened by time or political pragmatism and softened his firebrand style.

As if to cast aside those doubts, Liberman has given a stellar performance this week (and it’s only Thursday). He insisted that his party will oppose any Israeli-Palestinian agreement that does not include territorial and population swaps, as per his plan to excise a major swath of the Israeli citizenry who are Arab. He said that he would not agree to a single Palestinian refugee returning to Israel, which pretty well sinks the idea of even a symbolic number of returnees, as envisioned by most peace plans on the table since Camp David in 2000.

Palestinians commonly accuse Israel of creating new conditions for peace as a delaying tactic, such as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Liberman’s statements this week make the land and population swaps no less than a hard condition for his party’s support. The Palestinian complaint is difficult to dismiss.

Liberman’s idea is anathema even to some well within his right-wing, nationalist camp.  Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar of Likud told Israeli television on Tuesday that he opposed the plan because it would harm the notion of citizenship and goes against the democratic values of the party. Responding to the criticism of the Left, Liberman snapped back on his Facebook page Wednesday:

…These same people who instead of celebrating independence day, mark the ‘Nakba Day,’ and wave black flags instead of Israeli flags, and in their rallies they wave flags of Nasrallah and Hamas and Hezbollah, these same exact people are now outraged by the intention that as part of a peace agreement that includes land and population swaps, they will become citizens of a Palestinian state. Suddenly, they are an integral part of the State of Israel, suddenly, Herzl is their national hero.

Reading this, one might imagine that all the roughly 1.6 million Arab-Palestinians of Israel do is pray for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (they don’t), or that they all identify first of all as Palestinians (in a survey I conducted in 2011, two-thirds nearly 60 percent do not cite “Palestinian” as their primary identity). One might think that Arabs have not been striving for full integration into Israeli economic, political and social life since 1948 (they have), or that they have advanced a secessionist agenda all these years (they have never). One might even think it’s legitimate to strip someone’s citizenship for expressing political views such as observing the Nakba.

Yet, the confrontational, bullying style is almost routine, a mainstay of Liberman’s persona. In one of his most infamous statements from over a decade ago, he entertained the idea of bombing Egypt’s Aswan dam. It was bluster and rhetoric, devoid of any actual policy implications. This is also the case with accusing the Palestinians of “diplomatic terrorism,” and claiming to be steadfastly against “land for peace.” In the previous Netanyahu/Likud-led government, he was ironically one of the stronger voices supporting the very notion of a two-state solution.

These provocations may be damaging, but they create a clear and present danger when tied to actual policies. Thus, his 2009 campaign slogan, “No loyalty, no citizenship!” referred to a very real battery of legislative initiatives, and originally included intentions to strip Arab citizens of their right to vote if they didn’t swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state. The idea was diluted but eventually turned into an amendment to Israel’s citizenship law that discriminates between Jewish and non-Jewish immigrants by forcing the latter to swear allegiance to the Jewish nature of the state.

If that case is any example, Liberman might very well be using the same tactic to promote his plan for forced citizenship annulment: ask for something outrageous, legitimize it through extreme rhetoric and make the debate about how to accommodate the basic egregious idea in seemingly less egregious form. Ariel Sharon may be going, but Liberman is back – and in terms of political and social influence, neither one ever really left.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Moussa

      Can a link be posted to the survey you reference?

      Reply to Comment
      • Please see my earlier comment. Here is a link to an article I wrote about the data at the time. It is important to realize that I do NOT claim that the majority of Arab citizens reject the description of “Palestinian” – in the survey we asked which would be their FIRST description of themselves. They may choose “Palestinian” as a secondary description, and I don’t see any contradiction there. http://972mag.com/survey-arabpalestinian-citizens-demand-social-justice/30941/

        Reply to Comment
    2. Adam Dayton

      As a matter of self-determination, the Jewish people must be allowed to decide with whom they will maintain a society and state. If they do not want a societal partnership with Arabs living in territories that could very easily be joined with an Arab state, that should be their right.

      What the Arabs in this territory want is irrelevant in this regard. They have no right to impose their will on others, forcing them to stay in a marriage that they do not want.

      Reply to Comment
      • So a “right” becomes the forced will of another. The National Socialists similarly imposed their “People’s” will both on “other races,” including Jews, and, why, those of their own “People.”

        Recall the 614th Commandment: give Hitler no posthumous victories. By employing the logic of racial purity as did Hitler, you provide him such a victory–”see, only racial war is possible.”

        “to stay in a marriage that they do not want”: so now the State is tell them what they want and, knowing this better than those living it, will act on their behalf.

        Reply to Comment
        • Adam Dayton

          I’m not really moved by guilt by association fallacies. Hitler also believed that Water was h20. Should we deny that as well?

          If the Jewish citizenry of Israel does not want the Arab Triangle as part of their start, then their will should be respected.

          Reply to Comment
          • jmgreen

            Allocating rights on the basis of a person’s ethnic or religious background is rejected by decent people everywhere who believe in equality.

            Reply to Comment
          • Adam Dayton

            JM,

            Please don’t use loaded terms like “decent people.” What you mean to say is “people whom I subjectively view as decent.”

            I am not advocating unequal rights, however. Quite the contrary, just as Palestinians in Israel have a right to self-determination vis-a-vis the Jews so too do the Jews. If the Jews no longer wish to form a society with them or some of them, that is their right. I believe it is most certainly not decent to force a people to live together as one state.

            Reply to Comment
          • Philos

            The cognitive dissonance is painful. You just wrote that the Arabs have the right to self-determination yet you wrote previously on the same thread that they have no right to determine that they can stay in the State of Israel. Go home Gringo! You make no sense to us Israelis who don’t really exist, and I’m sure the Palestinians have an even lower opinion of you.

            Reply to Comment
          • adam dayton

            Philos – huh? The right to self determination doesnt entail a peoples unilaterally joining with another state. Using your logic, mexicans can declare themselve part of the USA. Its a two way street. Do the Arabs in israel have the right to determine whether they will join a Palestinian state? Fine, then the Jews have the right to determine if their union with arab locales will remain.

            Reply to Comment
          • If you can strip an Arab Israeli of citizenship for a “true racial disposition,” a fortiori, you can strip him of equal protection as applied while retaining citizenship. What you have done is assert that no citizen is safe. While “Jewish” seems to act as a protector, once the more other Arab is removed, we will find some Jews are less equal than others; indeed, I believe the charges of “foreign paid agent” and the Boycott Law approach this result nicely.

            The National Socialists reified race. You do so as well. That you would transfer whole towns without moving them by placing them in another State may be more subtle, but it has the same basis as, well, more untidy means. There is no guilt by association here, rather identity of core logic and ontology.

            Reply to Comment
      • Semiotic.Observer

        Adam, let’s flip that around and see how it sounds, shall we?

        —-
        As a matter of self-determination, the Arab people must be allowed to decide with whom they will maintain a society and state. If they do not want a societal partnership with Jews living in territories that could very easily be joined with a European state, that should be their right.

        What the Jews in this territory want is irrelevant in this regard. They have no right to impose their will on others, forcing them to stay in a marriage that they do not want.
        —-

        Does that sound good to you?

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Sure, if you can find a Jewish or Israeli state with which the Jews explicitly identify I would say your turning it around would make sense.

          However if you go to any of the towns which would be shifted to Palestinian sovereignty you will notice quite a few Palestinian flags, and a population that pronounces itself as Palestinian at every opportunity (except of course when it comes to potentially actually living in Palestine. Then they are ISRAELI and how dare anyone question that.).

          Ahmed Tibi, an MK from Taybeh served as an adviser to Yasser Arafat and then got elected to the Knesset. The leadership of Balad is Palestinian nationalist and declare so proudly. And now we are supposed to take them seriously when they cry out that they are extremely attached to their Israeli identity? Really? What nonsense.

          Reply to Comment
        • adam dayton

          Semio – yes. Of course, there are other principles like self-defense, but in principle my answer is yes.

          Reply to Comment
      • Craig Vale

        While that issue you speak of may address the territories under occupation and beyond.You did not address what Avi’s plans are for Arabs who have lived their lives in total within the confines of Israel. What do you propose….booting them all out ?

        Reply to Comment
    3. mt noise

      Fair is only fair. If you’re going to force Jews, some that may have been there for decades, to leave the West Bank to make it Jew free than an equal number of palestians in Israel should go live with their brothers.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Kolumn9

      The number of Israeli Arabs that declare ‘Palestinian’ as their primary identity has been growing steadily over the past 10 years. 20%+ now pronounce themselves to be ‘Palestinian Arabs’ as their primary identity and another 40%+ pronounce themselves to be ‘Palestinian Israelis’. In other words, the majority declare themselves to be Palestinians.

      A poll that was published in Haaretz a couple of days ago has 31% of Israeli Arabs agreeing to their village being attached to a Palestinian State. The percentage was 36% among those 18-24. So, a third of the Israeli Arabs don’t have any particular problem with the suggestion of the Israeli Foreign Minister, which hardly allows to categorize it as extreme.

      It is in fact entirely legitimate for a state to strip someone of their citizenship. The British for example did it last year to a bunch of people they consider ‘terrorists’. This is especially true where the person has an alternative citizenship. In this case these people would have their villages shifted to the Palestinian side of the border and get Palestinian citizenship. Within the context of a peace treaty where borders are established it is entirely reasonable for such a process to take place. I even recall some people on this board suggesting that Israeli settlers would be stripped of their citizenship and given Palestinian citizenship instead. Funny how no one among you hypocrites cried foul then.

      I find it especially entertaining to watch Arab members of the Knesset who in every speech pronounce themselves to be Palestinians in conflict with the state of Israel to suddenly declare that they can’t imagine a world where they are living as Palestinians in a Palestinian State because a border was shifted. Most fascinating are those that consider replacing their Israeli citizenship with Palestinian citizenship even though they never move one inch from their house to be a potential new ‘nakba’. Who knew that being a part of the state of Israel was so dear to them. I wonder if they had their way and the state of Israel ceased to exist and their villages were to be run by Palestinian state whether they too would declare that to be a ‘nakba’. The hypocrisy of Palestinian nationalists who get angry when told that they might have to live in a nation-state of the Palestinian people is just breathtaking.

      Reply to Comment
      • andrew r

        Any discussion of Israeli settlers becoming citizens of Palestine is academic. Yvette the Bouncer’s creeper proposal, if implemented, will not have a sovereign entity as a tradeoff, but a bantustan with the added bonus of int’l recognition. It’s lose-lose for the residents of the swapped-out territory.

        The difference between the West Bank settlements and Umm el-Fahm is that the latter had the state of Israel imposed on them, while the settlers are willingly aiding their govt. in committing warcrimes (in many cases they do so because of economic coercion more than ideology, as new movers are subsidized). Umm el-Fahm will probably have a decimated economy if they are walled in behind a checkpoint, and at the very least the residents will lose their access to Jerusalem. Of course they don’t want to lose the few privileges they have as Israeli citizens.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >Any discussion of Israeli settlers becoming citizens of Palestine is academic.

          A baseless assumption.

          >Yvette the Bouncer’s creeper proposal, if implemented, will not have a sovereign entity as a tradeoff, but a bantustan with the added bonus of int’l recognition. It’s lose-lose for the residents of the swapped-out territory.

          Nonsense, just nonsense.

          >The difference between the West Bank settlements and Umm el-Fahm is that the latter had the state of Israel imposed on them

          Not only that. Also, Israelis, even those who reside inside the West Bank, have no beautiful habit of killing their female relatives for dating wrong men.

          >while the settlers are willingly aiding their govt. in committing warcrimes

          More nonsense.

          >in many cases they do so because of economic coercion more than ideology, as new movers are subsidized

          Yet more nonsense. You have not even slightest idea of what you are talking about.

          >Umm el-Fahm will probably have a decimated economy

          And even more nonsense. You see, there is only one condition under which an Arab state might be prosperous – if they are lucky enough to have oil which can be sold to those who actually know how to use it.

          >if they are walled in behind a checkpoint

          You are about to break my nonsensemeter.

          What makes you think that Umm El Fahm would be walled?

          As of checkpoints – since they will be citizens of another state, they will have to acquire working visa to work inside Israel.

          >and at the very least the residents will lose their access to Jerusalem.

          Nonsense.
          The only place of interest for Muslim Arabs in Jerusalem is the Temple Mount.

          >Of course they don’t want to lose the few privileges they have as Israeli citizens.

          No. They don’t want to become citizens of another failed state, that’s all.

          Reply to Comment
    5. Noam

      This idea is bogus. It’s ridiculous and undemocratic, I agree.

      I have an editorial question to +972, though (Noam Sheizaf?) – since about half of Israel’s Arabs, if not more, do not consider themselves “Palestinian”, why are they ALL referred to as such on most articles on +972 ? (excluding Dahlia and Derfner).

      I can imagine this comes from a very politically correct place, but the result is patronizing.
      “Arab-Israelis” includes “Palestinian-Israelis”. But it doesn’t work the other way around.

      Reply to Comment
    6. The reason for this statement must surely be to undermine Livni. For a foreign minister to make such a statement in the midst of closed negotiations is amazing. But he has his right to speak–unlike Arab citizens.

      There can be no equal protection in a State which strips citizenship corporately. This is why you need independent courts and a constitution. If the Declaration of Independence guarantees the equal protection of rights, it must also guarantee citizenship once present, for otherwise any right may be stripped via stripped citizenship. A Supreme Knesset is a Supreme Boot.

      Once again, the Israeli ruling coalition shows itself to be a War Council where members take extreme positions to tack others toward them. In such a dynamic minorities can hold great sway–which, again, is why you need independent judicial review.

      Reply to Comment
      • enola gay

        Can you name some Arabs who do not have the right to speak?
        Seems that by spreading falsehoods, you are a bigot

        Reply to Comment
    7. Danny

      Democracy is about people being able to define themselves as they wish, including nationally, while respecting and adhering to their country’s laws. If 20% of Israel’s citizens don’t identify with their country, it is not because they don’t want to, it’s because they can’t. Their country, from day one, was designed to exclude them on every level.

      Now, along comes this Moldavian immigrant, who will decide, ipso facto, that Israeli citizens who deserve to be here far more than he does, cannot be part of this state. Why? Because they have the chutzpah to not be loyal to the state that has marginalized them since 1948. Beautiful. Democracy in action.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Rehmat

      Now, put John Kerry into Lieberman’s shoes, after all Kerry could be as much Jewish as Lieberman is (Kerry’s both grandparents were Jewish and his wife, Teresa Heinz, is Jewish). What if Kerry calls for the deportation of five million American Jews to Israel’s most friendly country, Canada. I bet Quebec premier Pauline Marois would be more than glad to let them settle in her province. Montreal is already home to Canada’s largest Jewish community. The influx of five million Jews will also help pro-Israel Pauline Marois Parti Quebecois in its bid for separation of French-speaking Quebec from the rest of English-speaking Canada.

      http://rehmat1.com/2014/01/09/how-about-moving-american-jews-to-canada/

      Reply to Comment
    9. JohnW

      Isn’t it amazing? We Israelis stand accused of all sorts of nasty things about how we treat our Arab citizens. Yet when someone suggests an amicable separation, the very accusers are aghast. How dare we? And not only that, we should accept more Arab citizens through the right of return.

      Talking about cognitive dissonance, does all of that makes sense? After all, if we really are so badly mistreating our Arab citizens, they should just jump at the opportunity to separate from us and become part of the Arab majority of the new cherished Palestine. But alas they don’t want to. How come? Something just does not add up. Any serious person realises that!

      Reply to Comment
      • “amicable separation?” What will happen to their health care? To the funded education of their children? To road and infrastructure? To their Israeli employment?

        Nor is the separation “amicable” if they do not want it for questions such as these.

        But more, in constitutional law allowing corporate stripping of citizenship, the citizen exists for the State, not the State for the citizen.

        Reply to Comment
        • JohnW

          So what you are saying here, Mr Pollock, is that they have a lot to lose?

          If you do, then please acknowledge that those friends of yours who accuse Israel of practicing apartheid, repression and discrimination against Arab Israelis are exaggerating.

          But if you don’t, then my point stands. The Arab Israelis themselves should be happy to leave us and become part of the mainstream in a Palestinian state where they won’t be “repressed” and “discriminated” against.

          Which is it Mr Pollock? You can’t have it both ways. For instance, if you would offer Israelis who were kicked out from Arab countries to return to those countries, 99.999% of them would take you for a lunatic because they know how they would be treated in Arab lands if they would return there to resume life as a minority group. They know how they were repressed, harassed and even murdered there so they would be afraid to return.
          But it seems that Arabs don’t only want to stay in Israel but even those who were allegedly kicked out by us want to live amongst us. Doesn’t that tell you that we are not the monsters that we are being pained as by some?

          An honest response would be refreshing, Mr Pollock, are you up to it? Or should I expect the usual double talk that one gets from the ETERNAL critics of Israel?

          Reply to Comment
          • Semiotic.Observer

            I’m not answering for Greg Pollock, of course.

            JohnW, you are the one who is engaging in double speak. You claim that those “who accuse Israel of practicing apartheid, repression and discrimination against Arab Israelis are exaggerating”, but at the same time you are defending a proposal to kick them out?

            If that isn’t double speak I don’t know what is.

            As for the Palestinians having a lot to lose, of course they do. But what they will lose is not the gentle democratic embrace of the State of Israel, it is their land, their homes, their families, their social ties, their history, and their lives. That is a lot to lose.

            I don’t expect a Zionist and Jewish supremacist to understand the human aspects of loss. I do however expect more double speak and spurious logic to justify your racism, immediately followed by accusing others of the doing same.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “, but at the same time you are defending a proposal to kick them out?”

            Semiot, I am sorry that you suffer from comprehension problems.

            Please show me where did I advocate kicking Arabs out?

            What I did do is pointed out the inconsistency of the ETERNAL critics of Israel who on the one hand allege that we Israelis are being eeeeeeviiiiiiil to Arab Israelis who somehow nevertheless want to live with us as a repressed persecuted minority instead of choosing to live un-oppressed and in freedom together with their own brothers in their own state while still keeping their lands and properties.

            You don’t find that strange? Oh well, I do.

            Now you see what you have done? You jumped in. You misinterpreted what I said and you gave Mr Pollock an excuse not to respond to my question. I knew you guys would find a way to wiggle out of answering. Maybe you could answer my question instead, Semiot? Go read it this time properly, try and understand it and respond to my actual point not to your made up straw man argument.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “it is their land, their homes, their families, their social ties, their history, and their lives”

            You definitely suffer from comprehension problems, Semiot.

            The Liberman proposal involves a combined land and population swap. So the Arab Israelis would keep their lands and properties and since it would involve the total population of the Arab triangle, they would not lose their family ties either. As for why you think that they would lose their history, I really don’t understand that one.

            By the way, calling me a racist is an obvious and predictable tactic that I expect from the likes of you. What better way to deflect my question and my credibility. Congratulations. But attack dogs like you don’t intimidate me.

            Now, care to answer my question? Or is it too hard for you?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >You definitely suffer from comprehension problems, Semiot.

            It seems to be the most common problem among leftists.

            People have problem understanding that no one is going to expel Arabs during land swaps, or that draft dodger is a criminal and not a refugee, or that those who clearly state their hostility towards a state should not enjoy the protection of that same state…

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            that those who clearly state their hostility towards a state should not enjoy the protection of that same state…

            Stripping someone of their Israeli citizenship because they identify as Palestinian is an act of apartheid.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “that those who clearly state their hostility towards a state should not enjoy the protection of that same state…

            Stripping someone of their Israeli citizenship because they identify as Palestinian is an act of apartheid.”

            Maybe, maybe not. Clearly if they are hostile to the state, then they don’t want to be part of that state. So where is the coercion in what is being proposed? Maybe they are happy about being stripped of their citizenship?

            In any case, this has not even been done. It is only a proposal by one politician. Yet, you guys have claimed for years that Israel is an apartheid state way before this proposal came up. It seems that whatever we do, or don’t do, according to you guys we are guilty.

            Maybe you could explain to us why you have been calling Israel an apartheid state? And if we are an apartheid state now, before having done this, then why would you object to freeing Arab citizens and letting them be part of a new shiny democratic Palestinian state where they would be free from our oppression?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >Stripping someone of their Israeli citizenship because they identify as Palestinian is an act of apartheid.

            1) “Palestine” and “Israel” are mutually exclusive toponyms. There can be no Palestinian Israelis or Israeli Palestinians, although there certainly can be Israeli Arabs or Palestinian Jews.

            2) I find it hilarious that in your head whoever identifies as a “Palestinians” is by definition hostile towards the State of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            “I find it hilarious that in your head whoever identifies as a “Palestinians” is by definition hostile towards the State of Israel.”

            Supposedly you’ve got me confused with the person who wrote

            find it especially entertaining to watch Arab members of the Knesset who in every speech pronounce themselves to be Palestinians in conflict with the state of Israel to suddenly declare that they can’t imagine a world where they are living as Palestinians in a Palestinian State

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            Maybe you could explain to us why you have been calling Israel an apartheid state?

            For starters, annulling the citizenship orders of the British Mandate and denying Israeli citizenship to those Palestinians who were outside the area conquered by Zionist forces during 1948; using various legal devices to confiscate land (even if it’s privately registered, one practice I laid out in the thread linked below); applying JNF regulations to all ILA-administered land so any gentile would be barred from leasing land held by the JNF or Israeli govt.; confiscating the property of so-called absentees and reserving it for Jewish use.

            http://972mag.com/prawer-plan-may-not-be-shelved-after-all/83792/

            why would you object to freeing Arab citizens and letting them be part of a new shiny democratic Palestinian state where they would be free from our oppression?

            I answered this question above. Anyone with half a brain should be able to understand that stripping someone of their citizenship against their will is an act of persecution. In any case, no, Lieberman’s proposal is not going to make Israel an apartheid state; it’s simply another technique to further racist separation of Jewish and Arab populations.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            ” it’s simply another technique to further racist separation of Jewish and Arab populations.”

            Yea like separating Burmese populations from Thai populations. Or India’s population from Pakistan. All racist ploys. Yea right …

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            ANDREW:”In any case, no, Lieberman’s proposal is not going to make Israel an apartheid state;”

            If you are going to spout polemics, Andrew, be at least consistent. This is what we are up against with these people …

            ANDREW:”Stripping someone of their Israeli citizenship because they identify as Palestinian is an act of apartheid.”

            For goodness sake, at least make an effort to be consistent in what you say Andrew, LOL.

            Reply to Comment
    10. Johnw

      Yoo hoo Mr Pollock, are you still out there? Please feel free to respond to my question:

      If we are so eeeeeviiiiiil towards our Arab citizensthen then how come they would still rather live under our oppression rather than in freedom in their own state together with their brothers?

      Alternatively, feel free to acknowledge that we are not the monsters that your fellow critics of Israel paint us to be.

      Which is it, Mr Pollock? Care to respond?

      Reply to Comment
      • Eternal, John? I’m going to die.

        If is the logic of apartheid to have a Foreign Minister push the corporate stripping of citizenship as viable. To claim that because Arab citizens would want to retain what benefits they have means that there is no discrimination is false. To claim that because they might be worse off socio-economically upon such forced, magical, deportation of village they are treated indiscriminately where they are is also false. Both these claims might be true, but are not necessarily the case. I think both are false; discrimination is a relativized effect.

        I repeat what I said earlier, above:

        ‘If you can strip an Arab Israeli of citizenship for a “true racial disposition,” a fortiori, you can strip him of equal protection as applied while retaining citizenship. What you have done is assert that no citizen is safe. While “Jewish” seems to act as a protector, once the more other Arab is removed, we will find some Jews are less equal than others; indeed, I believe the charges of “foreign paid agent” and the Boycott Law approach this result nicely.’

        Citizenship is not a team against team game. The State exists for its citizens, not citizens for the State; you are choosing the latter in such a way that race, ethnicity, trumps citizenship.

        There is nothing anti-Israel in this view. It is indeed anti present ruling coalition; perhaps you have conflated the two.

        Reply to Comment
        • JohnW

          You are still ignoring my question/point, Mr Pollock.

          My question was not related to what Liberman wants to do. My question is, why aren’t the Arab citizens of Israel jumping for joy at the prospect of such a proposal? After all, you lot claim that Israel treats it’s Arab citizens abysmally. If that would be true, then they should welcome the opportunity that Liberman is offering. But instead, they are horrified at the prospect. How come? A suffering people would welcome the prospect, wouldn’t they Mr Pollock? Alternatively, please be man enough and admit that Israel is not the monster that you people paint it to be.

          Now are you going to answer my actual question? Or are you going to continue to skirt around it with irrelevancies, Mr Pollock?

          Reply to Comment
        • Samuel

          Greg

          John made a big point in here. Why are you side stepping it? A while ago I had a long argument. Yes I said argument in here with a dude who called himself DavidT. He likened the behavior of Israel towards it’s Arab citizens to the behavior of Nazi Germany towards it’s Jewish citizens in the 1930s and you agreed with him.

          Now I too have to ask you. Had the Nazis made a similar offer to the Jews we Jews would have jumped at it. We would have been ecstatic to be able to keep our lands, assets and properties and at the same time to escape Nazi persecution by being able to join fellow Jews and become citizens of our own country where we would no longer be persecuted.

          So why do you think the Arab citizens of Israel do not feel the same way? Please be good enough to explain that anomaly to me, to us.

          Reply to Comment
          • Yes, these Arab Israeli citizens’ lives are better with Israel. Most, I think, would not want to leave for that reason. Nor, being citizens, should that possibility ever be presented to them as a forced measure. But that doesn’t mean they are treated in full social equality. In fact, a case in point is this piece, which indeed focuses on Lieberman. For to make your point you say “see how they fear leaving us?” But who induces that fear by threatening or entertaining the corporate stripping of citizenship? The Foreign Minister of the State–and that is indeed a relevant point to your question.

            I am not saying their lives are worse than outside Israel. I am saying that entertaining the forced removal of citizenship en mass (not for individual deeds) is not a mark of equality–and it does have a psychological effect.

            At the beginning of the US Civil Rights movement you heard something like this: they are doing fine, compared to blacks in Africa–look at all the poverty, violence, war, abuse over there. And, indeed, some would say “give them the opportunity to transfer over there and see them say no!” And also this: “If we gave them control over here, look at what they do to Africa!” These were thought cogent arguments back then. But they had nothing to do with the equal protection of the law in the US; the argument was spurious.

            As to transferring this village land upon a peace accord, one could do that, albeit painfully, if 1) citizens had the right to relocate within Israel rather than staying where they were; and 2) such relocation would compensate them significantly for the upheaval in their social economy. I suspect that point 2 would be quite difficult to achieve, politically; it would take a lot of money to pull the internal movement of citizens off equitably.

            As to “Israel is a monster or monstrous.” Do you really think I would spend so much effort on this site if I thought so? Do you really think I would argue for changes within Israeli jurisprudence if I thought so? Do you not see that if I thought legal advance was futile I would just leave? I cannot speak for other commentors at this site, but for me, that is how I feel. And, more important that that, do you really think that the members of 972 post because they hate their homeland? I see rather a resolute love for it You may not like their views, but that does not mean they hate their land.

            That’s all I can do. I’ve answered you questions: these Arab Israeli citizens are better off for being Israeli, and they should never be threatened with the corporate removal of citizenship by a senior official in the government; no mention has been made of a truly compensated move within Israel as a matter of eminent domain upon peace accord (assuming the Palestinian side would entertain the matter). As presented, the proposal is demeaning and bespeaks a second class status which should naturally be forbidden in jurisprudence. And I point out that some in Likud have already said that the plan would “harm the democracy.”

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “At the beginning of the US Civil Rights movement you heard something like this: they are doing fine, compared to blacks in Africa–look at all the poverty, violence, war, abuse over there.”

            Your analogy could not be more irrelevant.

            African Americans were removed from Africa against their will and made slaves. And no they were not better off as slaves than they would have been in their birth place.

            On the other hand, what Liberman proposes would not involve the physical removal of Arab Israelis from where they are. Nor would it involve them in any loss of land or property. The only thing that would change is that instead of Arabs being Israeli citizens, they would become citizens of the new state of Palestine.

            You claim that what is wrong with that is the fact that it would involve coercion. But would it really? Are you sure that they themselves would not prefer to be citizens of Palestine? Amongst their brothers?

            But my main point is that if I am wrong and they would prefer to remain attached at the hip to us, Jewish Israelis and remain Israeli citizens then there is a message in there somewhere, as I think you are beginning to admit (Mr Pollock). But only beginning.

            To me the message is that all the lies that people in sites like these smear Israel with are just lies. On the whole, Arab Israelis are treated well in Israel. Not perfectly mind you but well. Otherwise they would not need to be coerced to change citizenship. They would be glad to drop their Israeli citizenship and become part of Palestine.

            Now back to your analogy: had the African American slaves been offered the chance to regain their freedom on the condition that they would have to return to Africa, how many would have refused? Some may have refused, the ones who were treated reasonably, but my guess is that the majority would have opted to return to Africa. What is your guess, Mr Pollock? In any case, this question is a better analogy than the analogy that you tried to apply.

            Reply to Comment
          • You say Arab citizens are treated well yet entertain their removal as citizens, saying they can live where they are, just not as Israelis, so, most likely, with travel restrictions throughout the new Israel and loss of current employment, and perhaps health coverage as well. Interesting equality.

            A State which can corporately strip citizenship without personal consent is no modern democracy. It’s obvious. It is also obvious that if one can do such a thing then a fortiori weaker violations of equal protection are possible. Congress once passed a law saying that if naturalized citizens were convicted of a certain number of crimes they could be stripped of citizenship. The Supreme Court said no: once you’re admitted into the club, all are identical, for, as said, such a badge of potential difference would admit smaller differences. And you advocate something worse, for in Lieberman’s proposal personal culpability would not be necessary at all–except being Arab, living at a certain place on Israeli territory. Guilty of being Arab. In the US the phrase was guilty of being black.

            Equal protection is not defined by “it could be worse” but by, well, equal treatment. Hear yourself:

            “what Liberman proposes would not involve the physical removal of Arab Israelis from where they are. Nor would it involve them in any loss of land or property. The only thing that would change is that instead of Arabs being Israeli citizens, they would become citizens of the new state of Palestine.

            “You claim that what is wrong with that is the fact that it would involve coercion. But would it really? Are you sure that they themselves would not prefer to be citizens of Palestine? Amongst their brothers?”

            Before you emphasized they wouldn’t want to leave because they had it so good. Now they would want to go with their “brothers.” As I said, if a true peace accord were possible I could see, most unpleasantly, offering these citizens compensation for moving within Israel or entering a new State; but never the latter as a forced measure. You would force the latter, and it seems pretty clear would be happy with it.

            That slaves would want to flee (and did–North) but 1950′s and 60′s American Southern blacks would not want to leave where they were born in no way denies equal protection to them. And while some in hatred did say they should be sent back to Africa, no Cabinet Secretary did so. Nor would the courts have allowed it. And you think because you can point to the rape of women, the whipping of men (and women), the tearing asunder of children from their parents for sale, the squalor of imposed life, the enforced illiteracy; you think that because you can point to all that back then it allows you to strip corporately citizenship in Israel today? This isn’t about Israel bashing. It’s about the equal protection of your citizens. Trying to get people to praise Israel while Lieberman marches forward isn’t going to work.

            Lieberman’s proposal is affront to the concept of citizen. It is about changing demographics, not relocating citizens because of a necessary and painful land swap. You know this. Look at what Stalin did. I’m certain these citizens will agree they prefer living in Israel to Stalinist Russia too.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “A state which can corporately strip citizenship without personal consent is no modern democracy.”

            Who says there is no personal consent Mr Pollock?

            You say Israel has been treating it’s Arab citizens badly, then surely the Arab citizens would love to be stripped of their hated Israeli citizenship and be free in their own Palestinian state?

            But if not, then surely Israel hasn’t treated them all that badly? Jews who fled from Eastern Europe just shut the door of their apartments and left everything behind. Lands, properties, assets, jobs, everything. They fled because they were persecuted.

            The Arabs would keep everything but they don’t want to leave us? They don’t want to leave us even though we are so mean to them? Strange, very strange Mr, Pollock, don’t you think?

            Reply to Comment
          • Well, John, this will be my last reply,as we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

            It is not a matter of their desire to leave, if there; indeed, they could leave now if they wanted. It is that the State cannot affirm equal protection and entertain the corporate stripping of citizenship. Here is how Lieberman could have formulated his proposal to avoid this: “I think it best that this land be turned over to a future Palestinian State. Because villages in the area are mostly Arab, perhaps many will want to go too. We will insure their property is so transferred, and their money. Of course, those who want to remain Israelis will be given full compensation, a new residence, work of comparable kind, within Israel.” That is not at all what he said or what you seem to be saying.

            The promise of citizenship and equal protection says “never again” to what happened to East European Jewry. What happened then we will not do ourselves now.

            Reading your earlier comments, I imagine future official notice sent to Arabs stripped of citizenship with the headline

            “This is no Cultural Revolution”

            And no, it wouldn’t be Maoist China. But neither would it be the promise of your Declaration of Independence.

            You’ve asked me to take you seriously, and I have tried.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “You’ve asked me to take you seriously, and I have tried.”

            No you have not tried. What you did try though is to spin the situation to put Israel into the worst possible light.

            For the record, I too am against forced transfer of citizenship. But I tried to goad you to admit that the polemicists who visit this site, possibly you included, always blame Israel for whatever goes wrong and always exaggerate anything that Israel or Israelis do wrong.

            I tried to show you that if Israel is really as evil as some people try to depict us to be then the Arabs should be jumping for joy for Liberman’s offer and they would fall over themselves in the rush to accept it in order to escape our tyranny. Unless of course they are:

            1. Masochists?

            Or

            2. Stupid?

            I don’t think they are either of the above. So that leave only one last possibility:

            3. That we are not evil and they have it relatively good in Israel. Not perfect, but relatively good.

            I could not get you to admit to that. That says more about you than about Israel. It says that you too are here for only one purpose. To present Israel in the worst possible light. And then you want us to take you seriously? Dream on Mr Pollock. That is not the way to be persuasive. The way to be persuasive is to be balanced and to foster credibility. You are neither.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samuel

            John

            To be fair to Greg, you did manage to coax out of him an admission that he does not consider Israel to be a “monster” or “monstrous” as he put it. But it was clearly a grudging admission. It seemed to go against his grain and it came with lots of qualifications and accusations.

            I must say that a while ago, I entertained illusions that this Greg person had a measure of balance and that he is not just the average anti Israel head kicker who tends to visit this site. But I started having second thoughts about him after he seemed to cheer on that moron by the name of DavidT who obscenely compared Israel to Nazi Germany. And after your little encounter with him here, when he was so reluctant to talk about the anomaly that you rightly pointed out about why our Arab citizens are suddenly so attached to their Israeli citizenship, I too lost all hope for him.

            I finally see him for what he really is. Just another mindless prosecuter of Israel who never misses an opportunity to concentrate only on Israel’s negatives. By doing that, these people manage to make Israel look worse than we actually are. And it is a cheap shoddy trick because all countries do have negatives and dirty laundries. But by focusing only on those, and especially without the context of what brings on some of the negative behaviors (like terrorism, rockets, intransigence etc) any country could be made to look worse than it actually is.

            They think they will weaken our resolve but they are wrong. We are not stupid, we know what they are doing it and why. And the more they do it the more it will strengthen our resolve to get a just and durable peace which will not threaten our security. We will not give in to their blackmail to give in to the dictates of the Arabs to have another meaningless withdrawal with a pretend peace which they will break at the earliest opportunity after which they would start a new cycle of blackmail.

            Reply to Comment
          • When is the last time you commented on Yossi’s Yesh Din pieces? Silence is not balance. Nor is the denial of free speech through the Boycott and Nakba laws. That has informed my position.

            And you might have noticed I have repeatedly felt more coverage should be placed on violence against Israelis. But I am–unbalanced.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “When is the last time you commented on Yossi’s Yesh Din pieces?”

            Yossi? Don’t make me puke. I gave up reading his filth when he repeated the hoax about Israeli Mossad agents dancing after 9/11. And his little blood libels about how the Jewish religion promotes hatred of gentiles.

            The fact that you give this guy any credibility sheds further light on why you believe what you believe. People who eat junk food become unhealthy. People who read junk blogs pick up the disease of the writers. But hey, don’t let me stop you from feeding your brain with what that hater has to say.

            Reply to Comment
          • 972 is a “junk blog?” Why are you here? You are aware that the Yesh Din pieces appear on this blog? Why not show their factual inaccuracies? Why not show how the charges and apparent documentation are obviously not possible? And why call me out? Nobody cares about me. Why call me out?

            I don’t know about Yossi’s statements about Israeli security’s reaction to 9-11, but I do have to wonder if your description contains the same, well, omissions as your (non)advocacy of the corporate stripping of citizenship, which, of course, you would oppose.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            Why not show factual inaccuracies?

            They aren’t always inaccuracies. It is more like omission of context. They are also misinterpretations of what is appropriate. They use kangaroo court tactics to judge Israel. They hold Israel to a standard that they expect of no one else. I could go on …

            In any case, like I said, as far as I am concerned I would rather put my head in an oven than read the rubbish that Yossi vomits out.

            Last but not least, as I am finding out with even you, I would be wasting my time here. I mean if you can’t see the logic that supposedly suffering Arab citizens of Israel would consider Liberman’s offer an opportunity to escape their suffering and would gratefully accept the offer instead of protesting about it. If you can’t even see that and at least wonder about that anomaly, then there is nothing that I can say that would not fall on deaf ears in here. Am I right Mr Pollock?

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            ” And why call me out? Nobody cares about me. Why call me out?”

            May I remind you, Mr Pollock, that you are the one who first addressed me about what I said in response to this article. In other words, you attempted to call ME out and I responded to YOU (not that I minded). Feel free to go back and check it out.

            Reply to Comment
          • So you lied to me–presented views not your own to goad–then wonder why I did not capitulate. Ok.

            I actually don’t care about most comments to this site. I will defend a view occasionally if I think it has merit, or if the attack on it seems devoted solely to silence. Otherwise I just pass over them. For example, I defended Ramat once, based on the evidence he provided in that comment, but he has since moved to paranoia, so I ignore him.

            I, of course, see something else happening here. The Bedouin and African refugee events haven’t gone too well for the national right, so someone comes on and, well, heckle challenges “Mr. Pollock” to come out and fight. I came out, not to fight, but respond to the view presented by Lieberman. That was this post’s focus, not Israel does great things. If you want to talk about the latter, one example would be the IDF’s early acceptance of gays. The focus here was the corporate stripping of citizenship, and you played into that; very sad.

            I have no dreams, John. I expect no effect at all from my typed presence here. But I do it anyway. And so will continue.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “So you lied to me–presented views not your own to goad–then wonder why I did not capitulate. Ok.”

            No Mr Pollock, I did not lie to you. I witheld information about my views in order to provoke you and coax out opinions from you. I was hoping to get you to use your God given intellect to think about the charades and propaganda that the haters of Israel use against us.

            Alas I did not succeed. I did not succeed either because you too are one of them in which case there is no hope. Or because you don’t want to use your intellect or unable to use it to see the games that Israel’s enemies are playing.

            Do you think that was unfair of me, Mr Pollock? Personally, I have a clear conscience. I don’t feel guilty for trying to get someone to think for themselves.

            Reply to Comment
          • God given mind? No–a product of evolution, and not a very fine product at that.

            Unfair of you? To use a threat of forced transfer made by the State’s Foreign Minister to get some unknown guy to speak of the good of Israel?
            Nah. Standard meal.

            Did I mention the IDF’s early recognition of gays?

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “Did I mention the IDF’s early recognition of gays?”

            Yes you did. And it is highly relevant to this discussion isn’t it? Especially the repetition of it. I am sure that will make the difference to the future well being of all the inhabitants of the Middle East.

            Did I mention ping pong diplomacy?

            Nah, I think we are getting off track, no? Maybe you are right, this discussion died a natural (or maybe unnatural?) death, don’t you think Mr Pollock?

            Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        You are wasting your time John.

        These people are here for one reason only. To knock Israel endlessly. No amount of reasoning or logic will get them to admit to a single positive thing about Israel.

        They obfuscate, they misinterpret, they pretend to be obtuse. They concentrate on negatives only. And if you corner them, they just skulk away but next time they will repeat their anti Israel mantra as if nothing happened.

        Reply to Comment
        • enola gay

          I am happy to see the pretentious and obtuse gentleman from America being moderated. Always among the first to post (driven by his obsession with Israel and with Jewish people), he makes things up and cannot understand why everyone does not agree with his political views. Adds very little to a genuine discussion

          Reply to Comment
          • Why, Enola, I’ve always thought the same about my self too.

            Reply to Comment
      • Y-Man

        Your logic: Rape by me is not as bad as murder by others, therefore my rape should go unnoticed.

        Reply to Comment
    11. Tzutzik

      Interesting. Nothing new under the sun. Read this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_exchange_between_Greece_and_Turkey

      “The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey (Greek: Ἡ Ἀνταλλαγή, Turkish: Mübadele) was based upon religious identity, and involved the Greek Orthodox citizens of Turkey and the Muslim citizens of Greece. It was a major compulsory population exchange, or agreed mutual expulsion.
      The “Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations” was signed at Lausanne, Switzerland, on 30 January 1923, by the governments of Greece and Turkey. It involved approximately 2 million people (around 1.5 million Anatolian Greeks and 500,000 Muslims in Greece), most of whom were forcibly made refugees and de jure denaturalized from their homelands.”

      It seems Liberman was not the first to think of this type of solution. Yet I don’t think I saw anyone having been outraged at the people of Greece and Turkey for having done that. I don’t mean now, I mean historically.

      But if an Israeli leader comes up with the same idea? Of course he is a racist scum. What else? After all aren’t all Israelis racist scum? [SARCASM - major SARCASM]

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        Oh and I should have pointed out that unlike Liberman’s proposal, the Turkish Greek population exchange was much messier because it involved the physical uprooting of both peoples (Turks and Greeks) from their homes and lands.

        Liberman’s proposal on the other hand, would allow Israel’s Arab citizens to keep their lands and everything else except their Israeli citizenship which would be replaced by their shiny new Palestinian citizenship where they would be rid of us pesky Joooooooooos and would live blissfully in the new democratic Palestine.

        I ask everyone, what could be possibly wrong with that? Sounds like Paradise on earth to me.

        Reply to Comment
    12. Ginger Eis

      To they who oppose the Lieberman-plan I have just one word: Czechoslovakia.

      Sidebar: “equal protection” and non-discriminations are legal concepts that are applicable ONLY in specific legal context with specific constellation of facts. The United Nation’s Chatter guarantees all peoples the right to Self-determination. That right entails ONLY the right of SECESSION and NOT the right to be part of a specific State. Just as Palestinians (as a distinct ETHNIC group) have to secede from the State Of Israel, so do Jews have the right to determine the nature and make-up of their own State. Discriminatory (based on ethnicity)? Yea, absolutely. But discrimination is NOT a-priori wrong/illegal/immoral (under national- and INTERNATIONAL law). Any discriminatory act that (a) pursues a legitimate goal, (b) by its nature is capable of achieving the goal pursued, (c) is necessary in securing legitimate interest of a democratic society, and (d) in harmony with the principle of proportionality, is LEGAL under both national- and International law. If the Lieberman-plan meets all these requirements (and there is no indication that it does not), then there are no violations of the “equal protection”/non-discrimination laws or International conventions/covenants. The Right To Self-determination is NOT “the right of minority groups”. That right is “the right of peoples”. And “peoples” may either be minority- or majority (ethnic/racial) groups, poor/weak- or rich/strong (ethnic/racial) groups, etc. I think they who oppose the Lieberman-plan oppose it NOT on its merits, but because of Lieberman. Had e.g. Yossi Beilin been the originator of that plan, the same group that oppose it now will be supporting it vigorously.

      Reply to Comment
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