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The late Benzion Netanyahu's appalling views on Arabs

“The tendency toward conflict is in the essence of the Arab.” — Benzion Netanyahu, the prime minister’s father, who died Monday (from a 2009 interview).

Below are excerpts from a lengthy April 3, 2009 interview in the Israeli daily Maariv conducted by Sari Makover Belikov with Benzion Netanyahu, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, who died Monday morning at age 102. They were translated into English and published the same day by Noam Sheizaf on his personal blog, Promised Land. Benzion Netanyahu, who had a deep, formative influence on the prime minister’s thinking, and who will be widely remembered as a great Zionist visionary, held views on Arabs and war that were simply horrific.

According to the interview, Professor Netanyahu, then 99, a world-renowned historian of the Spanish Inquisition, spoke with perfect lucidity; in fact, he was about to leave for a working visit to the United States. The professor gave the interview without first telling the Prime Minister’s Office.  As walla.co.il reported, the prime minister tried to prevent its publication and even called Maariv’s publisher, Ofer Nimrodi, on the matter. Finally it was agreed that because of Prof. Netanyahu’s age, his son Iddo would be able to go over the father’s answers prior to publication. Noam felt this gave even further confirmation that Prof. Netanyahu was in full control of his faculties during the interview, since his son Iddo surely would not have let Maariv publish a text which did not reflect his father’s personality and views.

Excerpts:

On the “essence” of Arabs

Prof. Netanyahu: The Jews and the Arabs are like two goats facing each other on a narrow bridge. One must jump to the river – but that involves a danger of death. The strong goat will make the weaker one jump …  and I believe the Jewish power will prevail.

Q: What does the Arabs’ “jump” entail?

A: That they won’t be able to face [anymore] war with us, which will include withholding food from Arab cities, preventing education, terminating electrical power and more. They won’t be able to exist, and they will run away from here. But it all depends on the war, and whether we will win the battles with them.

Q: I suppose you don’t believe in the peace process.

A: I don’t see any signs that the Arabs want peace. …  We will face fierce attacks from the Arabs, and we must react firmly. If we don’t, they will go on and Jews will start leaving the country. …  We just handed them a strong beating in Gaza, and they still bargain with us over one hostage. …  If we gave them a beating that would really hurt them, they would have given us Gilad Shalit back.

Q: Operation Cast Lead was one of the worst beatings we ever handed on a civilian population.

A: That’s not enough. It’s possible that we should have hit harder.

Q: You don’t like the Arabs, to say the least.

A: The Bible finds no worse image than that of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases. The tendency toward conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war.

Q: Is there any hope of peace?

A: Out of an agreement? No. The other side might keep the peace if it understands that doing anything [else] will cause it enormous pain. The two-state solution doesn’t exist. There are no two peoples here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population. …  There is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation. …  They only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.

Q: So what’s the solution?

A: No solution but force …  strong military rule. Any outbreak will bring upon the Arabs enormous suffering. We shouldn’t wait for a big uprising to start, but rather act immediately with great force to prevent them from carrying on. … If it’s possible, we should conquer any disputed territory in the Land of Israel. Conquer and hold it, even if it brings us years of war. We should conquer Gaza, and parts of the Galilee, and the Golan. This will bring upon us a bloody war, since war is difficult for us – we don’t have a lot of territory, while the Arabs have lots of space to retreat to. But that’s the only way to survive here.

There is valuable experience [on this matter] we don’t pay notice to. I mean the Ottoman rule over the Arabs. The Turks ruled over the Arabs for 400 years, and there was peace and quiet everywhere. The Arabs hated the Ottomans, but every little thing they did brought mass killings and hanging in towns squares. They were hanging people in Damascus, and Izmir …  every town had hanging posts in its center. … The Arabs were so badly beaten, they didn’t dare revolt. Naturally, I don’t recommend the use of hangings as a show of force like the Turks did, I just want to show that the only thing that might move the Arabs from the rejectionist position is force.

On the peace process

Prof. Netanyahu: The problem with the Left is that it thinks the war with the Arabs is like all the wars that nations around the world are conducting. These wars end with a compromise after one side wins or after both sides get tired from war and understand that victory is not possible. But in the Arabs’ case, their nature and character won’t allow any compromise. When they talk of compromise, it’s a way of deceiving. They want to make the other side stop giving its best efforts and fall into the trap of compromising. The Left helps them with that goal.

Q: If compromise replaces war, what is the damage?

A: Compromise is not realistic. It weakens our positions and brings us to a state of limpness, of false believes, of illusions. Every illusion is weakening.

On Arab citizens of Israel

Prof. Netanyahu: We don’t have a real partnership with them. The Arab citizens’ goal is to destroy us. They don’t deny that they want to destroy us. Except for a small minority who is willing to live with us under certain agreements because of the economic benefits they receive, the vast majority of the Israeli Arabs would chose to exterminate us if they had the option to do so. Because of our power they can’t say this, so they keep quiet and concentrate on their daily life.

I think we should speak to the Israeli Arabs in the language they understand and admire – the language of force. If we act with strength against any crime they commit, they will understand we show no forgiveness. Had we used this language from the start, they would have been more careful.

I am talking about strength that is based on justice. They should know that we will maintain a just attitude toward them, but a tough one. You don’t kill or hurt people or deny their right to make a living just like that. In the villages that we rule, we need to grant them all the rights – infrastructure, and transportation and education …  but they have to give things in return. If the teachers are inciting the students, we should close the schools and expel the teachers. …  We should preserve their rights, but also ours.

On his son, Israel’s prime minister 

Prof. Netanyahu: Benjamin, or Bibi, is, in several aspects, a great man. He can influence and motivate people to do what’s necessary. …  He is loyal to his people, and has a sense of responsibility. …  He is not one who prefers the comfort of compromise just to rid himself of pressure.

Q. Is he influenced by your opinions?

A: Sometimes I feel Bibi is influenced by them from a very early age, and sometimes I don’t. We don’t always have the same opinions…

Q: And still, how much do you think you’ve influenced his opinions today?

A: I have a general idea. Bibi might aim for the same goals as mine, but he keeps to himself  the ways to achieve them, because if he gave expression to them, he would expose his goals.

Q: Is that your wish?

A: No, I just believe that this could be the case. Because he is smart. Because he is very careful. Because he has his ways of handling himself. I am talking about tactics regarding the revealing of theories that people with a different ideology might not accept. That’s why he doesn’t expose them - because of the reaction from his enemies as well as from the people whose support he seeks. It’s an assumption, but it might be correct.

 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. aristeides

      These views have become normative in Israel. You see them everywhere, posted in blogs and talkback sites. You can see them posted on this site.

      .
      That’s what’s really appalling.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Menil

      Sounds like Strom Thurmond. They also both belonged to the same era and lived as long. The difference is that the US has already rid itself of racist hatred 50 years ago, while Israel continues to be based on these appalling ideas, with anyone who dares to oppose them considered a “traitor” and violently quelled.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Andrea

      I hate to say this but Benzion’s views on Arabs are shared by many people out of Israel as well, mostly in North America and Europe( “Tendency toward conflict is the essence of Arabs” )
      The worst thing is that same people sharing Benzin’s opinions on Arabs have not better perception of Israelis( with apparent exception of Conservative right in USA )
      Europeans and Americans have not any historical rights of sentencing about tendency toward conflict but….yet the idea in western countries is that Middle East imbroglio is without any solution other than permanent war or quasi war. All this sounds racist but in the same way very popular.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      In my experience, these kinds of views of Arabs are typically expressed by Mizrahim, especially Mizrahim of a certain age who grew up in Arab countries; and also by post-1990 Russian immigrants. It’s very rare to hear Ashkenazim like Netanyahu talking like this. More than once I’ve seen lefty-peacy conversations among beautiful souls (Ashkenazim, of course) interrupted by a Mizrahi who says, “Excuse me, but I was born in Cairo/Tunis/wherever, and I know Arabs first-hand, and….” But that’s just my own experience.
       
      On the substance of the interview, I’m not all that big on essences of ethnic groups (or on a supposed essence of anti-Semitism either, but that’s another topic). But essentialism aside, ethnic groups obviously do differ culturally, and that includes attitudes towards war and peace. The differences are less blatant than depicted in Netanyahu’s cartoonish description, but they’re there. Two different mistakes to avoid: to essentialize those differences, and to deny them.

      Reply to Comment
    5. OMF-ingG! This interview is priceless, we’re back in Alabama in 1950. This stuff is in the genetic code of generations of older sabras (Israeli-born Israelis). And then the young are given a booster by the ex-Totalitarians like Lieberman…and this is what makes the Occupation go round…and round and round.
      We have to pray that Bibi will be SLIGHTLY liberated from this total racism, by his father’s death. We have to pray that he doesn’t decide to take his father’s legacy and run with it….

      Reply to Comment
    6. XYZ

      Who is the bigger racist? Netanyahu, or the Israeli Leftists who say “don’t pay any attention to their propaganda, they mean it for internal consumption, you know Arabs, they don’t mean what they say, when Arafat says he will never make real peace with Israel, he will never give up the “right of return of the refugees, the “agreement” with Israel is like the temporary agreements Muhammed made with the Meccans, he doesn’t mean it because he will take money from us and they really do what we want, not what he tells his own people because in the end, all they care about is money, not what they promise their own people”.

      Reply to Comment
    7. suad farah

      Now I know why Dagan, Diskin, Ashkenasi and others have been warning us of Natanyahy .. this man has been fed on hatred to the Palestinians and Arabs with his mother’s milk and his father’s fascist ideology .. it’s even worse than I believed it is .. It’s pure fascism ..

      Reply to Comment
    8. aristeides

      Here’s X with the standard Zionist deflection post.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Jack

      Aristeides,
      The deflecting is actually quite interesting.
      Because the people who use it admit if indirectly that Israel commit crimes.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Danny

      Aside from an uncanny resemblance to Golum of Lord of the Rings, I see nothing interesting about this racist and his son the prime minister. Just a couple of bozos who belong in the trash heap of history.

      Reply to Comment
    11. I read the whole interview, and it starts by claiming that Israelis and Arabs are like two goats on a bridge, only one of which will make it across. Which I believe is the essential issue in the Arab / Israeli conflict: two people, both of whom are tribal and therefore able to live in a world of invented views of the other; neither made up mostly of individuals who have discovered that every human is the same deep inside; and therefore all humans can learn to live with each other in a civil and productive way.

      So until most Israelis and most Palestinians become individuals and give up their tribal identities (from which is where Zionism and Islam as a government rise), and both begin to dialogue to discover how to live in peace and harmony, there probably won’t be any concrete and permanent movement toward viable outcome. Which undoubtably will be a single state called Palestine; or maybe “The Republic of Israeline (or Palesrael)”.

      I would suggest to those Israelis who consider themselves “progressive”, that you are just as much an interference as long as you desire Israel to exist, as is Netanyahu.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Josh

      @Harvey: “This stuff is in the genetic code of generations of older sabras”
      …does anyone else find this ironic? (if you don’t get it, he’s being racist himself!)

      I agree that these viewpoints are pretty appalling, but what’s the point of posting it? Does the effort to criticize Israel’s policies really require us to disrespect the deceased?-Like actually, how does this article advance anyone in any way and is there something to be said for waiting, I don’t know, more than 12 hours after someone dies to trash them?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Kolumn9

      Most of it seems pretty reasonable. Many Arabs reading this would call it racist but admit that much of it is valid.
      .

      He doesn’t care about the Arabs and doesn’t think they are willing to compromise for peace. I can argue this point in a completely non-racist way just by pointing to the positions of half the posters on this site who argue that the Arabs are inherently justified in demanding everything while also arguing that time will inevitably doom Israel without requiring any Arab compromise. Why should the Arabs compromise when people on the left feed their illusions? Hell, if there were 250 million Hebrew Jews surrounding a state of 6 million Arab Muslims I would barely willing to compromise too. This isn’t rocket science, it is just human nature and there isn’t anything particularly racist about it.
      .

      Proving that Arab political culture is predisposed to forceful faits accomplis is not only historically trivial but should also be unnecessary since most Arabs would admit this is how things are actually done where the fait accompli is legitimized after the fact with flowery displays of conciliation where the losing side accepts some token formulation for the change in the status quo. My god, just look at the Arab world. There isn’t a single other place in the world where relations are based nearly as much on conflict and power relations on every level, starting down at the family level, up to the hamula level, up to the village/town level, up to the national party level. All based on conflict. I can point you to academic studies on this in West Bank, Israel and other places and editorials to this effect in the Arab press. This too is common knowledge to everyone except those for whom it is an inconvenient truth for their argument or those that want to pretend that all cultures are the same (while lambasting Israeli culture as being different and problematic).
      .

      Then he makes the argument that these illusions of compromise are damaging. Of course he is right. Prior to 2000 Jerusalem was considered out of bounds for negotiations. Then Barak puts a suggestion to divide Jerusalem on the table and suddenly it becomes self-evident. If you look at Peace Now’s little settlement mapping tool you will notice that they don’t even have the population numbers for Jerusalem neighborhoods before 2000. The 1967 lines were never even considered by Rabin to be future borders, now they are almost expected from Israel a priori. Freeze settlement construction once, now it is a precondition. It is impossible to argue that the more aggressive Palestinian positions in negotiations and American and European positions on the conflict are not the direct result of Israeli compromises. This is mostly led by people like the authors on 972mag who can’t even find a Muslim Arab to write for them that supports the continued existence of a Jewish state but continue to argue for concessions and compromise. They argue among each other about which concessions should be made while the other side consistently refuses to even accept the premise for any possible solution.
      .

      At every corner Arab actions prove Ben-Zion Netanyahu to be correct. People who refuse to see it base their ideas on faith, not reality.

      Reply to Comment
    14. aristeides

      Compromise = the victims are forced to agree to let the thieves keep most of their stolen goods, and they argue about how little they will return to the victims.

      .
      Compromise is only a valid approach when two parties to a dispute both have reasonable claims. It doesn’t apply in the case of thieves. The problem with Zionism is always the delusion of righteousness. The other side has to give in on this, that point, because the Israeli position is righteous. When you elminiate that error, it looks quite different.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Kolumn9

      Yep, with positions like those of Aristeides, it is no wonder that Ben-Zion Netanyahu was right in his thinking. If the other side believes that you have no legitimate claim at all, then no compromise will satisfy them. As such, compromise and concessions on the part of Israel are ridiculous until the Palestinians accept a priori that they are negotiating with a side with a legitimate claim to the land. Until then all compromise, concessions and negotiations are pointless except where they contribute to long-term sustainability even in the absence of the cooperation of the other side.

      Reply to Comment
    16. XYZ

      Kolumn9-
      Very well put! It is the radical Left, by way of dragging the moderate Zionist Left along with it, that is perpetuating the Arab-Israeli conflict by making the Arabs think that a deus-ex-machina is going to come along and give them everything they want. I do believe that the Zionist Left is beginning to understand this (e.g. Carlos Strenger and Ari Shavit of Ha’aretz) but with the Left like Mofaz of KADIMAH still whining that Netanyahu has not made enough concession, there is still a long way to go before Israel gets its act together and presents a united front as it did before Oslo.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Kolumn9

      XYZ, I think there is a united Zionist front which is that neither peace talks nor full annexation are viable at the moment. This consensus just doesn’t extend to the fringes of the extreme left or right. The real discussion that will occur soon between the right and the left in Israel is about the potential need for unilateral measures to deal with the sustainability issue.

      Reply to Comment
    18. FYI, Joachim Martillo is banned.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Mr Heisenberg

      don’t feed the Kolumn9 troll…

      Reply to Comment
    20. XYZ

      Kolumn9-
      I have seen some talk by Ami Ayalon and others about a “soft” withdrawal. I believe Mofaz has also started talking about this. This would involve, as I understand it, freezing settlement development outside the settlement blocs, prohibiting Jews from moving into Arab areas of east Jerusalem, and passing a compensation bill to encourage Jews living in the “frozen” settlements to leave on their own.
      The IDF would be left in place to prevent the “freeze” area from turning into a base for terrorist attacks against Israel, like Gaza became.
      The problem is that I don’t see that this could be carried out. If a Left-wing gov’t were to proclaim such a policy, it would inflame the pro-settlement Right who would view it as a declaration of war, BUT there would be no compensatory move by the Arabs to acknowledge this, just like the Arabs refused to credit Israel with any good intentions from the 2005 Gaza withdrawal. It would, of course, be praised by the US, but the political benefit from such statements by the US would be ephemeral. The internal political situation in Israel would become tense without the Leftist gov’t receiving any political benefit (Oslo at least promised something like peace, Sharon’s destruction of Gush Katif promised an easing of the military situation by removing troops from the Gaza strip, but the benefits never materialized).
      When Olmert was in, many proposed the voluntary compensation scheme be passed by his gov’t but he refused to do it, for the reasons I have state, I believe.
      Thus, I don’t see any unilateral moves in the foreseeable future. Many intelligent people like Moshe Arens are willing to say that it is untrue that the current situation is “unsustainable” and that Israel has no choice but to continue, especially now that peace agreement with Egypt is falling apart.

      Reply to Comment
    21. XYZ

      The person who posted a comment as “Mr Heisenberg” is yet another incarnation of the antisemite who has posted here and was banned in the past under the name “Stella Goldschlag”, “Nicholas Donin”, “Herbert Kappler”, “Sepp Dietrich”, etc.
      Werner Heisenberg was a famous German physicist who worked on Hitler’s atomic bomb project.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Apa

      XYZ, other than a stop of terror attacks from the West Bank, what type of “compensatory move” by the Palestinians are you looking for?

      If you are beating someone up, and then stop – do you expect them to be grateful?

      Reply to Comment
    23. Rafael

      @XYZ

      What good intentions were behind the 2005 Gaza withdrawal? Israeli cabinet members were on record saying they withdrew only only to enable a division of Palestine alone political lines.

      And by the way, I think you have a serious problem – you see anti-Semites everywhere. Aren’t you the guy who said before that Gandhi was an anti-Semite? Why was it, I ask myself? Because, along with many Israeli historians, he has argued that Zionists managed to impose themselves on Palestine by means of terrorism?

      Reply to Comment
    24. XYZ

      Gandhi was a antisemitite of the classic, genteel-British type. He said Jews were Jesus-killers and in the 1930′s were dragging the whole world to war just for their own personal benefit (i.e not being killed by the Germans). He said the greatest service the Jews could have performed was to commit mass suicide, that way they would have left the Germans “pure”. He justified Arab violence against Jews in Palestine during the 1930′s. When IIRC Martin Buber asked about his insistence on “non-violence”, Gandhi replied that didn’t apply to the Arabs who had every right to be violent.
      Of course Gandhi opposed persecution of the Jews in theory. He loved everybody, right? However, he strongly opposed Jews defending themselves or anyone else doing it. So you can see what the bottom line is.
      A few years ago I found a collection of Gandhi’s antisemitic remarks on the internet collected by an Indian fellow, but I haven’t come across it at the moment. If I find it I will post it.

      Reply to Comment
    25. XYZ

      I expect the Palestinians to start talking about peace and acting upon this. To stop praising suicide bombers in their media. To acknowledge that JEWS ARE NATIVE PEOPLE TO THE COUNTRY AND HAVE AS MUCH RIGHT TO BE HERE AS THE ARABS DO. To encourage the other Arab countries to make peace with Israel. Most importantly, to finally admit that the refugees are not going to return to within Israel. To finally put an end to their endless repition of their supposed grievances and to lay out how they intend to live in a state of permanent peace with Israel and to stop potraying peace agreements as merely temporary cease fires that will hold only as long as the Arabs need them in order to re-arm themselves.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Jack

      XYZ,
      Your hasbara will take you nowhere. Israel doesnt want peace, deal with it, stop blaming other parties for the failure of Israel.
      So its time Israel recognize the native people, stop colonizing their land and recognize international law – more or less become more civilized and peaceful.

      Reply to Comment
    27. aristeides

      Why should the Palestinians admit to a lie? The entire problem has its origin in the false assertion of Zionists that they have a right to another people’s land.

      .
      There is a simple reason that the Palestinians don’t do all those peaceful things that Zionists demand of them. Because they know nothing will come of it. Israel, confident in its lie, will never abandon the WB settlements, thus the occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Abe Bird

      He was damn right Prof. Netanyahu. Many Israelis mostly “Mizrahim” think the same.

      Reply to Comment
    29. It seems to me that this whole conversation is conducted in mid-air, because the preconditions for a unified Arab nationalism have never, historically, been allowed to mature. Potential Arab nationalist leaders, most famously Nasser, have been sawn off at the knees every time by an unholy combination of British, US, Israeli and Saudi overt wars and covert ops. The substitute for pan-Arabism (the only conceivably effective Arab nationalism, given the fact that the Arab lands were deliberately carved up by the British and French and placed under puppet monarchs) is pan-Sunnism, a doctrine so mystificatory that it can in fact function as a proxy form of US imperialism while making vociferous anti-US and anti-Israel noises, and any Arab who sees through this and says so can be dismissed as a leftist and an atheist. Opinions, of course, differ on how far this pan-Sunni deception goes: some consider even takfiris such as the late bin Laden to have been nothing more than deniable western assets. Sneering at the political incapacities of Arab nationalism is akin to sneering at the athletic incapacities of someone who has been repeatedly shot in the kneecaps.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Mareli

      Although I find it hard to be glad to hear of anyone’s death, now that Ben Zion is gone Bibi will not be under the gun from his own father. There may be a better chance for peace with Ben Zion out of the picture. We shall see.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Mikesailor

      This discussion has devolved into the world of the absurd. Was Benzion Netanyahu a racist? Undoubtedly. Was he a lousy historian? Almost certainly. The intellectual dishonesty evinced is simply astounding. Rather than use actual statements of fact, he pronounces generalities without any qualifications about the ‘nature of the Arabs’ without using any reasoned or even semi-rational arguments. Arabs are not a fungible group. A Syrian Arab is not the same as a Palestinian, an Iraqi, a Saudi or an Egyptian. They may all belong to the same ethnicity but that is all. Each group has its own history and political aspirations.
      The Zionist cause presupposed that all Jews were of the same ethnicity and that would override all differences. History, cultural differences, language etc. didn’t matter. It was the other side of the argument pronounced by Netanyahu: That ethnicity trumps all other group attributes, and that the individual doesn’t matter, only the group. Therefore, according to this logic, antisemitism, like islamophobia or hatred of Arabs, is perfectly correct and should be applauded. For each ethnicity should be hated by others..it is only right and natural.

      Which brings us to the real question: Was Hitler right in promoting his version of Aryan supremacy vis-a-vis the Jews, Gypsies and all other ‘ethnicities’ he pronounced ‘inferior’? Not in his way of enforcing ‘ethnic purity’ i.e. extermination, but on the general principle of ethnicity trumping all other human rights, especially those of the individual? Apparently K-9. XYZ and Netanyahu believe in such priciples, although not as applied to their particular ‘ethnicity’. So, where exactly is the difference?

      Reply to Comment
    32. Proudzionist777

      Considering the history of the region, old man Netanyahu wasn’t so far off the mark; Arab clan and tribal warfare, Bedouin brigands, Ibrahim Pasha right up to today’s headlines.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Kolumn9

      XYZ, Most likely such a unilateral move would be sold to the public in some sort of internationally backed package with a new name for a process, etc. The Gaza withdrawal, even without Arab credit, put Israel into a significantly more sustainable long-term position. Almost all demographic and political analysis (both left and right) now exclude Gaza from consideration. Even on 972mag Gaza has dropped off the map. Support for a future unilateral action is definitely picking up – Ayalon, Mofaz, Olmert have thrown plans out there and it is likely to coalesce as the alternative to the status quo. The other side of the debate will be those, like Arens that believe the current situation is sustainable, and the usual array of ideological supporters of maximizing land control west of the river. I think this is a healthy conversation to be had.
      .

      Mikesailor, Benzion believed that the world is both inherently anti-semitic and unstable and that Jews must have control over their own land and destiny in order to survive. There is no argument for ethnic purity, just control. People like Jabotinsky, Benzion Netanyahu, Arens, Bibi, Begin, etc.. ideologically have absolutely no problem with full rights for minorities in the Jewish state assuming they accept its existence and contribute to its defense. See the difference?
      .

      The difference between a Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi are lines drawn on a map a hundred years by an Englishman and a Frenchman. The differences between Arabs in Aleppo and Damascus in 1920 were not greater that those between those between Damascus and Beirut or Damascus and Jerusalem. All these national identities are completely artificial. The cultural processes that created these Arabs are also the same and the sources for their ethnic identities are the same. Not only that, but they share a culture, dominant religion and now even mass media. It is not really hard to argue that the political cultures across these artificial lines share significant commonalities.
      .

      The Zionist cause has always been a purely voluntary one. Jews that choose to not come to Israel or leave Israel can do so. Zionism postulates that Jews would be safer as a group living in their homeland. A large percentage of the Jews as individuals have agreed and have chosen to participate. Within the same framework Zionism postulates that there are other cohesive groups operating for the perceived benefit of their members and that the interests of such groups are likely to be in conflict with each other and with the of Jews. As such they are perceived as competitors and potential threats, not objects of hate. You don’t like this way of seeing the world, but that such a perception of the world exists, and is not even remotely isolated to Zionists, seems to support its own premises.

      Reply to Comment
    34. K-9: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, likewise a pile of excrement would smell as badly. Does a belief in ethnic superiority make one a racist? Of course it does. Likewise a belief in religious superiority makes one a bigot. Neither matters much unless those beliefs are enforced by the military power of the state. And therein lies the rub.
      Actually, the moral pygmies you cite neglect that fact. For why should an ethnic or religious minority support the ideals of a state which does not recognize them as full partners, but instead accepts them at sufferance? Instead of a state with equal rights for all its citizens, you have created an Animal Farm state where “..all animals are equal but some are more equal than others..”. Which leads back to the question I asked previously: Was Hitler correct in promoting an Aryan state to the detriment of all other ethnicities he deemed inferior? Isn’t that the place Zionism inexorably leads? For if one didn’t meet the conventional definition of ‘Aryan’, wasn’t discrimination against those ‘inferiors’ inevitable? And aren’t you promoting the same? Should a Jew, Gypsy or humanist have supported an Aryan state under Hitler’s conditions?
      As to ‘Arabs’, why don’t you speak with one some time? You will learn they have their own histories, cultural differences etc. The ‘lines on the map’ I agree were artificial, but their regional histories were not. Only those ‘too blind to see’ would not recognioze that fact.
      By the way, Zionism brooks little dissent. You are either ‘with the program’ or are ostracized and attacked as ‘self-hating’, antisemitic, or a traitor. And all the while, lawlessness, in the name of Judaism no less, continues unabated.
      Any country which has as one of its foundation the advocacy of ethnic superiority and legalized discrimination compounded and enforced by the use of military force is to be deplored.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Kolumn9

      Mikesailor, you argument is flawed since none of these thinkers or politicians ever made a claim for Jewish ethnic or religious superiority. You are making a series of conclusions and pronouncements from a fundamentally flawed assumption. If you want to find ideological parallels to Zionism, you should look to the ethnic nationalist movements of Eastern Europe – the Czechs, the Poles, etc. Alternatively you can look at the Middle East at secular Arabism, Turkism, etc.. It is a positive nationalism based on building a state for its titular ethnic group rather than a negative one based on the hatred of the other. Despite all attempts to show otherwise there is very little actual hatred for Arabs or Palestinians or Muslims in Israel. The call of Zionism was entirely for self-determination of the Jewish people and the equality of rights with all the other nations of the world, nothing more, nothing less.
      .

      How can a Syrian identity not be artificial when the defining characteristic of a Syrian is based on artificial lines on a map? In any case, the point isn’t that the Arab national identities are artificial (they are), but that the commonalities in political cultures between the Arab countries are clear and are based on the common historical, cultural, ideological and religious histories of their formation.
      .

      Zionism brooks plenty of dissent, as it isn’t even a unified ideology and has a large number of ideological streams. The positions on Zionism I lay out are my own and I think are well within the consensus, but that is all they are. Not only that but there is obvious tolerance of non-Zionist and anti-Zionist positions as you can tell from the fact that such communities exist and prosper in Israel and abroad. They are certainly verbally attacked and ridiculed from within the Zionist streams, but I have no idea how you would expect anything less in an ideological dispute.

      Reply to Comment
    36. aristeides

      Zionists believe that Jews must have control over someone else’s land – and that’s the problem.

      .
      No wonder that “they rise up to destroy us” when Jews are taking their homeland. Who wouldn’t try to destroy an invasion of their homeland?

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    37. Kolumn9

      No, Aristeides, Zionists believe that they must have control over their own homeland. They often also believe that the phrase of “they rise up to destroy us” has been true long before Zionism. Try not to confuse the Palestinian rejection of Israel with arguing against the historical fact of the persecution of Jews everywhere.

      Reply to Comment
    38. aristeides

      No, Kolumn, Zionists believe they can take another people’s homeland and call it their own. You can call a thief a Zionist, but he’s still a thief. And when an armed thief breaks into your house, you get to shoot him. That’s not persecution, that’s self-defense.

      Reply to Comment
    39. max

      Netanyahu’s interpretation of the Arab history is very pessimistic and his distrust very deep. I hope he’s wrong.
      Incidentally, several of his views mirror T.E. Lawrence’s views of The Arab (especially the Arabs’ view of Lawrence’s view of them), though the perspective and motivation are very different.
      .
      But nowhere have I read even a hint of racism in this text.

      Reply to Comment
    40. aristeides

      Max – “The tendency toward avarice is in the essence of the Jew. He is a usurer by essence.”

      Reply to Comment
    41. Proudzionist777

      @Aris

      You might consider that the Zionists were invited to settle in Palestine by Great Britain and the League of Nations. You might want to consider that.

      Reply to Comment
    42. aristeides

      Why would I want to consider that, 777? In the first place, the Zionists were already infiltrating Palestine. In the second, the “invitation” was the result of Zionist pressure. In the third, Great Britain didn’t have the right to give away land that wasn’t theirs. If you want to trace the problems of the mideast to a single cause, it would be the imperialist designs of the dying British empire.

      .
      I spit on its invitations and declarations.

      Reply to Comment
    43. RFS

      @xyz
      Every nation pays homage to people who’ve fought to advance its interests (independence, for instance), even if they’re viewed by other nations as less than honorable. Tell me, didn’t Israel, some years ago, honored the would-be terrorists the behind the failed Lavon Affair, spurning Egypt, a country with which it has signed a peace agreement? Doesn’t Israel see the terrorists of the Irgun and Lehi, who are behind massacres and executions of Palestinians, as national heroes? Heck, I even know Israelis who see Baruch Goldstein as a hero.
      .
      That peace has failed to arrive, has nothing to do with the Arab media who sympathize with suicide bombers. It is mainly because of Israel’s land confiscation and military bullying — everyone can see that Israel has an interest in perpetuating the conflict so as to expand its borders at the expense of Palestinians. And as the Palestinians are unable to respond in any significant way – militarily, diplomatically – there’s nothing actually that will put Israel in check, nothing that will lead it to the negotiation table.
      .
      Drop your p*thetic and increasingly empty strategy of blaming every Palestinian non-issue as the true hurdle for peace. You Israelis – specially those who can’t take responsibility for their actions, who blame everything they do on Arabs, who can see fault only in others – are the ones to blame for the current state of affairs between Israel and Palestine.

      Reply to Comment
    44. XYZ

      The ONLY reason countries like Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the PA exist is because BRITISH soldiers , some of whom died in the effort, evicting the Ottomon Turk overlords. The Arabs did practically NOTHING to bring about their liberation from the Turks. That gives the British some say in how the territories were to be disposed.

      Reply to Comment
    45. XYZ, the British by 1948 had decided in their usual imperial way to screw everybody. Look what they did to India; the creation of Pakistan was a form of revenge on India for demanding independence, an attempt to obtain a docile imperial client carved out of the living flesh of India. Informed estimates place the death toll at upwards of two million, though British and imperial history generally continues to place it at a million or less. In the same way, the British sent Glubb’s Arab Legion into Palestine in 1948 to roll the zionists as far as possible back to the coastal strip. Otherwise Israel would have engulfed the whole of Jerusalem, the west bank, Gaza and the Golan right then and there. Divide and rule, old boy, all empires do it. At the time, the British empire stretched literally all the way across Asia and Africa, from the Pacific to the Atlantic. You can’t expect them to put all that at risk for the sake of a handful of.. ahem…

      Reply to Comment
    46. amazona

      re @MYZ – its really against my principles to respond to talkbacks, after all, there are enough people shooting off their mouths but reading this guy’s comments on Ghandi as anti-semitic, I couldn’t resist. Here is just one article, among many, on Ghandi’s comments on the Jews – which would make a great seminar on the uses and misuses of non-violence. follow the link or just google
      Ghandi and the Jews – and you can all argue your heads off while the world goes its merry way. And yes, old man Netanyahu was a fanatic and his son is a mendacious mouse (as someone else pointed out elsewhere) and freud would have love him as a case study.

      http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2008/02/gandhiandthejews/

      Reply to Comment
    47. Kolumn9

      Yeah, Gandhi and the Jews. Let’s see. Don’t leave your homes and move where you would be safe because that would be playing into the hands of those that want to murder you. In fact what you should do is offer your neck willingly because that will cause such great consternation that at some point down the line civilization will change for the better because of your sacrifice. In other words, rather than saving yourselves, please gently line up to sacrifice yourselves on the altar of human progress. You know, that sounds an awful lot like the views of many progressives on Israel. I can now see how influential Gandhi really was.

      Reply to Comment
    48. aristeides

      The British in WWI weren’t in the business of liberating the Arabs but transfering the Ottoman empire to their own. The borders of countries like Iraq were deliberately drawn to promote diviseness and prevent nationalist movements. After the war, the imperialist powers made a mockery of self-determination to promote their own imperialist ends.

      .
      The crime that become Israel has its origin there.

      Reply to Comment
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