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WATCH: +972 bloggers on revolutions and political impasse

+972 bloggers Joseph Dana, Aziz Abu Sarah, Noam Sheizaf and Lisa Goldman were recently hosted by Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., where they held a panel discussion on their work in a changing Middle East.

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    1. RichardNYC

      @JOSEPH DANA
      You should also have mentioned to the audience that, in addition to ending the occupation, you were also personally interested in seeing Palestinians realize a “right of return.” Why didn’t you? This cause is not unrelated to Israelis’ unwillingness to end the occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Good to see some of your faces. I doubt I could describe how much I admire you all. You refuse not to see; and you speak. I could not, at your ages. Hell, not now either.
      .
      America will not help you. You’ll have to start within your own law and values. Rights begin there. And they break the fortress naratives used by all sides. Noam’s particularism is the only refuge. Will it be easy? No. Will you often look like fools. Many times–and sometimes you will indeed be fools.
      .
      Richard,
      A pure occupation creates something of a right of return. I don’t think you really want to understand where your corporate race stance sends you.

      Reply to Comment
    3. AYLA

      so much respect, admiration, and gratitude to each of you who have each traveled beyond your own assumptions and comfort zones, who each continue to do so, daily, and who understand the power of sharing your stories, observation, and learning as you go. Whereas news is reductive and polarizing, your work expands the minds and hearts of anyone who reads in ernest. I can’t thank you enough. Please, keep going.

      Reply to Comment
    4. AYLA

      RichardNYC–get your own blog. see if anyone wants to listen. I, for one, will not be there.

      Reply to Comment
    5. AYLA

      I just want to add, 972 writers, that I cried many times while watching this video. You are all tremendously moving, simply because you insist on bringing your true, human selves to the page/your ongoing investigations, and because you resist the equally human urge to reduce what could otherwise be too much for the average human heart.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ben Israel

      Ayla-
      I find it interesting that you find encountering dissident viewpoints so unsettling. RichardNYC, myself and a few other right-wingers post here regularly. Few other right-wing opinions appear. Thus, you can see our pen-names and, if it bothers you, you can skip reading them. You are also under no obligation to answer what we see.
      I, for one, am constantly testing my beliefs so I find continually encountering viewpoints other than my own quite useful. It also helps me hone my own arguments.
      Obviously, the moderators here are under no obligation to allow dissenting viewpoints, but they do and I will take advantage of it. But I think it is important that you understand there are lots of Israelis and others who don’t agree with you. Democracy is based on people with differing views getting together and working out compromises so that everyone can live together. Censorship is very damaging to that concept.

      Reply to Comment
    7. AYLA

      Ben Israel–I’m all for dissenting viewpoints and disagreement. And I certainly know that my politics aren’t representative. It’s interesting that you say you’re always challenging your own beliefs–I’ve never once witnessed this; you seem immoveable even on objective truths. If you listen to this video (have you?), you’ll hear four people, each from different backgrounds and perspectives, who resist the people’s wish for them to get into different policy debates, talking points, and solutions. They are talking about something far deeper and more human than that, and they are debunking the very way in which the majority of us talk about “peace”. They are also devoting their lives to their work. I don’t know anything about RichardNYC’s life, but I gather he’s all armchair. To listen to this video, which he probably didn’t, and fire back a one-liner about Dana being for the palestinian right of return is ridiculous. This video isn’t about the right of return. In fact, Noam makes it quite clear that they leave the “solutions” to the politicians. Also, regardless of your stance on that issue–which is not even presently on any serious game board–for Richard to make this pronouncement as if Dana has this dark, evil secret is also ridiculous.
      *
      I don’t object to your politics. well, actually, I do object to them, but I don’t object to your presence here because of them. I know you care deeply about Israel, and that you believe that your ways are for the higher good. I object to anyone being here, or anywhere, to spew predetermined rhetoric. Especially when this is not a site of left-wingers spewing predetermined left-wing rhetoric; it’s a site of truly brave thinkers and, well, livers. not the organ. but just as vital.

      Reply to Comment
    8. AYLA

      @Greg–No, America won’t help them. But American humans will, if they have the knowledge. (and thanks, as always).

      Reply to Comment
    9. RichardNYC

      @BEN ISRAEL
      Thanks for the defense, but I am not a right winger. I am a pragmatist. Unfortunately, the anti-Israel community often succeeds in convincing ppl that those who paint an accurate picture of Palestinian society and politics are right wing.

      Reply to Comment
    10. AYLA

      RichardNYC–calling people who believe as I do “anti-israel” is no different than if I were to call you “anti-israel” because I believe that your ideas are bad for Israel (and lots of other places and people). It’s no surprise that someone who repeatedly sums things up that simply can only provide glib one-liners when faced with the 972 writers’ level of humanity, emotional bravery, intellectual curiosity and devotion.

      Reply to Comment
    11. AYLA

      p.s. RichardNYC–It’s such a good thing that Joseph Dana, who lives in Ramallah, has you to “paint” for him “an accurate picture of Palestinian society”! We are all enriched from your contribution! The next time I’m wondering about Palestinian society–you know, like when I have free time while in a bomb shelter in Be’er Sheva–I’ll be sure to write it down to ask you!

      Reply to Comment
    12. RichardNYC

      @AYLA
      I didn’t call you “anti-Israel.” I was speaking generally. I would, however, characterize people who campaign for “right of return” to be anti-Israel, since the realization of this kind of reconquest would end Israel, and not peacefully. These are also usually the ppl who present dishonest assessments of threats to Israel’s security, since they don’t care about it in the first place. I doubt you fit this description so please disavow any hurt feelings.
      PS: Joseph Dana’s contribution to documenting events in the West Bank (such as non-violence protest) is valuable, but that doesn’t mean his judgment about larger, strategic issues, is always right. Nor does it excuse representing oneself as being merely against “the occupation”, and offering descriptive assessments of how best to end “the occupation”, when one is really invested in promoting a more radical agenda that actually prolongs “the occupation.”

      Reply to Comment
    13. AYLA

      @RNYC–I am whole-heartedly for the palestinian right of return. Couldn’t disagree with you more about how the realization of that right would play out, or about what people who feel that way do or don’t care about. Anyway, no worries–you didn’t hurt my feelings. And lastly, from what I’ve read, none of Joseph Dana’s (or any writer here’s) views are merely for or merely against anything.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Bosko

      @Ben Israel
      Hear, Hear I agree with you whole heartedly. Some of the so called tolerant ones (towards the Palestinian Arabs) seem to be extremely intolerant to alternative points of view. Especially when they strike the nail right on the head as Richardnyc did with his comment about the so called right of return. That issue alone scuttled at least two far reaching peace offers made by Israel first in 2000/2001 and then in 2008. Had it not been for the right of return demand, a peace deal could have been reached and the occupation would have ended.

      Reply to Comment
    15. aristeides

      One problem with much of the right-wing rhetoric here and elsewhere is the contemptous way it puts scare quotes around such terms as “right of return,” as if Palestinians are second-class humans without the normal rights of other persons. Both international law and common justice are behind this right, so long denied.

      .
      Now, if the right-wingers are convinced that fulfillment of this right will bring some kind of disaster, what they should say is, “We refuse to allow Palestinian rights to be realized.” This, at least, would be honest. But to sneer at the very concept of this basic human right is contemptible.

      Reply to Comment
    16. RichardNYC

      @LISA
      If someone really changed his mind about Zionism because he saw a picture of a Western journalist suffering from IDF teargas, I’m surprised you respect his opinion at all, let alone take pride in influencing such a morally and intellectually feeble individual. Pretty laughable stuff.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Richard Witty

      I haven’t seen the whole post. I did watch up to the point of the commentary on the J14 movement.

      I was insulted by your commentary, Joseph Dana’s in particular.

      To summarize, his point seemed to be that the demonstration was important because it demonstrated that Israelis are hopeless, useless.

      I think the emphasis on social issues is critical, over political. I consider the reason for ending the occupation is to improve the social welfare, everyone’s. The social IS the content.

      Social is the construction of what is “we”, a very first person, subjective change. That Arab Israelis were part of the “we” is the MOST CRITICAL element of the movement.

      The awareness of the political comes naturally and quickly from that shift of “us/them” to “WE”.

      In contrast, the identification that the political first (the cart first from my perspective), is divisive.

      It does NOT result in Palestinians regarding Israelis as part of their “we”. On the contrary, it names, you name, Israelis as part of the “them”.

      You had the opportunity to participate in a fundamental transformation, and opted to boycott.

      As it happens in EVERY movement, one’s own perspective is not always the one that appears as most relevant.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Bosko

      Here is what a right winger like me is willing to say. As a human being, I sympathise with what happened to about 700,000 Palestinian Arab refugees in 1948. I also sympathise with roughly about the same number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries who were chased out and whose properties and lands were confiscated, to a large extent because of the PalestinianArab/Israeli conflict. Add to that, the Israeli refugees who became refugees directly as a result of the war that the Palestinian Arabs started in 1947/1948 from places such as East Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.
      .
      The problem with SOME left wingers though is that they have so much sympathy for the RIGHTS of the Palestinian Arab refugees that they don’t have ANY sympathy left over for the Jewish refugees that the Arabs created. They always clamor only for Arab rights but they don’t want to consider Jewish rights.
      .
      In a perfect world, the solution would be to allow all refugees to return to their original homes and live happily ever after and in perfect peace, as equals with their neighbours, Jewish and Arab in Israel and various Arab countries each where they came from.
      .
      But, is our world a perfect world? No it isn’t! Our world is the world of Rwandas, the Balkans, Lebanon, Iraq, Cyprusand other similar places where minorities who were in historical conflicts with majority populations get slaughtered by the stronger side that fosters historical hatreds. And it does not take too much to stoke historical hatreds between people.
      .
      So what should be the PRACTICAL solution to the Jewish and Arab refugees? Each should settle amongst their own people. Jews in Israel and Palestinian Arabs amongst their Arab brothers. That’s what happened in other similar conflicts in other wars where there millions of refugees. In places such as India/Pakistan and in Europe after WW2. Population exchanges took place. Israel already took care of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Now it’s time for the Arab countries to take care of the Palestinian Arab refugees and stop treating them as proxies to keep the war alive against Israel. Stop using the Palestinian Arabs as cannon fodder.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Richard Witty

      The difference Bosko, is that Palestinian tragedy continues and is institutionalized, while the tragedy of the early 50’s Arab world refugees to Israel is at most residual, past.

      To the extent that the impoverishment of sephardi Israelis continues, it is at least considerably a result of obstacles to full integration and participation in Israeli society.

      The current healing of the world, the part that you can assist at, is the healing of the Palestinian experience.

      The “they did worse” (whether true or not) is a distraction from what is needed, a distraction from Israeli maturity.

      Reply to Comment
    20. aristeides

      Bosko – there is much I could take issue with in your comments, but my real point at the moment is to object when people use terms like “so-called right of return.” I think that if you’re going to violate a people’s rights, they should at least be acknowledged in the breach.

      .
      Well, one thing – the Indo/Pak partition resulted in as many as a million deaths. I don’t think this is the best model for peace and reconciliation.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Bosko

      Aristeides said …
      .
      “Well, one thing – the Indo/Pak partition resulted in as many as a million deaths. I don’t think this is the best model for peace and reconciliation”
      .
      Yes, and those deaths occurred right in the middle of the flights of both peoples, Muslims into Pakistan and Hindus into India. Had either side insisted on a right of return subsequently, no doubt there would have been many more deaths. But they did not and therefore there were no more deaths. So my model was perfectly to the point.

      Reply to Comment
    22. aristeides

      I will point out, Bosko, that the Indo/Pak partition was bilateral. Refugees were created on both sides, although not in equal numbers.

      In the Israeli/Palestinian partition, only the Palestinians were made stateless refugees. There were no Jews driven out of their homes =in Palestine=.

      That Jews were forced to leave their homes in Arab countries and might well have a right of return is all very well, but it’s not something that can be traded for Palestinian rights. Palestinians weren’t responsible. The Zionist tendency to lump all “arabs” into one group distorts the reality.

      .
      There is no obligation for, say, Saudi Arabia to grant Palestinian Christians a homeland just because they are an Arab state. Saudi Arabia was not responsible for creating the refugees. Israel was.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Bosko

      Aristeides said …
      .
      “I will point out, Bosko, that the Indo/Pak partition was bilateral. Refugees were created on both sides, although not in equal numbers.
      In the Israeli/Palestinian partition, only the Palestinians were made stateless refugees. There were no Jews driven out of their homes =in Palestine=.”
      .
      Actually, you are incorrect. The Jews of East Jerusalem were ethnically cleansed by the Arab Legion and Palestinian irregular forces. And so were Jews from places like Gush Etzion who not only were ethnically cleansed but Jewish prisoners of war were massacred in cold blood with their hands tied behind their backs, again by Palestinian Arab irregular forces. So you see? The Palestinian Arabs too committed their share of atrocities.
      .
      Question to you Aresteides: Why don’t you guys ever talk about that side of history too? Why are you always preoccupied ONLY with Israeli misdeeds? And I am not denying Israeli misdeeds. It’s just that they are not as extensive as many of you guys claim, they happen in the context of a very dirty war that the Arabs have been waging against their Jewish neighbours and not in isolation. And most importantly, the Israelis are not the ones who started the wars of aggression (with the possible exception of 1956 but even then, Israel was subjected to terrorist provocations and bellicose threats of extermination. Very bellicose …).

      Reply to Comment
    24. Henry Weinstein

      “There is no obligation for, say, Saudi Arabia to grant Palestinian Christians a homeland just because they are an Arab state”.
      Hey Aristeides, what did you smoke before to write this?

      Reply to Comment
    25. Bosko

      @Aristeides
      Nice try with your Saudi Arabia line. Nice red herring …
      .
      How about Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon though? Jews were kicked out from all those countries and many of those Jews ended up in Israel. Those countries also directly committed an act of aggression against Israel in 1948, as a result of which many Palestinian Arabs fled to those countries.
      .
      So what happened? A population exchange. And therefore, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon certainly DO have an obligation to look after the Palestinian Arab refugees that they too helped to create. Not to mention the fact that by doing so, they would also help redress their obligations towards the Jewish refugees that they created.
      .
      .
      .
      PS
      Thanks Henry for pointing it out. I nearly missed that little gem of his.

      Reply to Comment
    26. I knew, soon as I saw Richard’s #1 comment on the right of return, that soon a slew of comments on return would result, swamping out the video’s content. Which is the point of so commenting. I saw a somewhat different focus in the video: human particularism, where, irrespective of one’s global opinion on mutual ethnic transfer or return, one says: “what I see should not be happening. It is wrong for a State as developed as ours to do this.” You can include Judaism in “State” here or not; the sentiment works either way. This personal shock was reported by at least two of the panel. Instead, comments are sending people to where they will be happiest.
      .
      You are not going to force 1 million + Arabs to leave Isreal; what are you going to do with that? Are they your equals in Israel? Start there. Or not. Just keep the standard rhetoric going. It’s worked for decades, hasn’t it?
      .
      I refuse your old war. And there may well come a time when many Israelis say the same.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Bosko

      Richard Witty said …
      .
      “The difference Bosko, is that Palestinian tragedy continues and is institutionalized, while the tragedy of the early 50’s Arab world refugees to Israel is at most residual, past”
      .
      The Palestinian tragedy continues for a number of reasons …
      .
      First: Because unlike Israel, the Arab countries who were main contributors to the problems refuse to integrate Palestinian Arab refugees in their midst.
      .
      Second: The Palestinian Arabs themselves who also bear a heavy responsibility for the creation of the problems, refuse to negotiate in good faith and reach a resolution based on compromise. They act as though they are just innocent victims and they expect Israel alone to solve ALL their problems without accepting THEIR share of responsibility for the creation of the problem in the first place and subsequent behaviour too.
      .
      Israel on the other hand, made a major effort to resolve the plight of Jewish refugees that the Arabs created. Why should they ALONE be expected to carry for the Palestinian Arab refugees too?

      Reply to Comment
    28. Bosko

      Greg
      I don’t know many Israelis who actively advocate the expulsion of Israel’s existing 1 million Arab citizens. We are talking about the refugees who fled in 1948. Surely, the Arab nations must pitch in to help and resolve their plight. After all, Israel’s Arab neighbours, at least had a major hand in creating the problem in the first place.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Bosko,
      That was not the way your rhetoric was going: Jews for Jews, Arabs for Arabs. And, as you certainly support the settlements, you do see the need for ethnic removal there. My overall point, though, is that you must deal with Arabs as equal citizens; and Israel does not.
      .
      In any case, the issue of the actual video is human particularism. If the Arab countries won’t do want you want, you still have that issue before you. And you know they will not. So your stance just avoids the human responisbility Israel inherits. In occupied land and Israel itself.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Bosko

      OK Greg. Let me explain my real position. I am sorry that you misunderstood me.
      .
      Yes, I advocate for the existence of a Jewish nation state. That means Hebrew as the official language. Jewish culture, Jewish holidays like Hanukah are the official state holidays. Etc …
      .
      But that does not mean that Israel can’t have a minority Arab population who are already citizens. And there is no reason to discriminate against them either except in terms of immigration policies which wold aim to keep a Jewish majority because the very purpose of creating Israel was to have one state in tthis world where the Jewish people couldn’t be turned into a persecuted oppressed minority again.
      .
      Such a policy does not make Israel unique or racist. Most countries in this world have minorities and they all have policies to maintain their national character. Yet minorities can and should have their rights respected in every other way. But it is much harder to keep to that when the minority in question are related to a larger group of outsiders who actively pursue a policy to try to destroy the state as is the case with the Arabs.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Bosko

      As for “the Arab countries won’t do want you want …”. You may be right. But that does not mean that Israel has to do what the Arabs want as a result either. It does mean though that the conflict won’t be resolved for some time to come. But someone or both will tire of it sooner or later and resolution will be reached.
      .
      What you guys advocate though is that since the Arabs won’t see reason, Israel should be the one to resolve everything. What I mean by “every thing” is the refugee problem too. And that’s not on because the solutions that the Arabs demand are TOTALLY unacceptable to Israel since it would lead to the destruction of the Jewish nation state

      Reply to Comment
    32. AYLA

      I”m grateful for all of Aristeides and GregPollack’s comments, and mostly want to second Aristeides–as a response, too, to what BEN ISRAEL wrote to me earlier, when A wrote:

      “One problem with much of the right-wing rhetoric here and elsewhere is the contemptous way it puts scare quotes around such terms as “right of return,” as if Palestinians are second-class humans without the normal rights of other persons. Both international law and common justice are behind this right, so long denied.
      .
      Now, if the right-wingers are convinced that fulfillment of this right will bring some kind of disaster, what they should say is, “We refuse to allow Palestinian rights to be realized.” This, at least, would be honest. But to sneer at the very concept of this basic human right is contemptible.”

      ***
      Just as an example: I would NOT object to an intelligently made argument against the palestinian right of return. I mean, I would be upset by it, because I would likely disagree with every premise and find it to be rooted in preconceived, unchecked notions that dodge humanity in favor of ideology and/or disproportionate fear, but I would not object to those ideas (which reflect majority opinion and any actual “solution” on the table), IF those comments were in response to a blog piece that were actually about that (!), and IF the comments indicated that the person writing them had bothered to listen to the blogger and was now giving a true, thoughtful response to what he heard.
      ***
      Here, we have a video from four very brave people who are constantly challenging their own ideas, who are each emotionally connected to this place and its people, who are talking about ideas that are ABOUT getting off talking points, getting unstuck from debates about particular solutions, and the very first comment we have attempts to shut all that down, and to preempt any intelligent discussion we could have based on the content of the video. This happens all the time on this site. I have to believe it is the purpose of some of those commenters, and that other(s) just completely lack self-awareness.
      ***
      Lisa, Noam, Aziz, Joseph–thank you. As you know, your blogs get shared, and reshared, by hundreds, read probably by tens of thousands. The serial comments here represent, what, 20?
      ***
      What worries me about your comments, commenters to whom we are referring, is that people who have never met an Israeli, or maybe even a Jew, may try this site, read the comments, consider joining the conversation, and find us represented by you. This is a time of citizen journalism and citizen activism, and online dialogue is our best tool to connect with people we can’t otherwise talk to. You three are making this very difficult, and that offends me deeply–thus, the way I respond to you.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Bosko

      Ayla said …
      .
      “One problem with much of the right-wing rhetoric here and elsewhere is the contemptous way it puts scare quotes around such terms as “right of return,” as if Palestinians are second-class humans without the normal rights of other persons”
      .
      I am a right winger and what Ayla alleges above about our rhetoric on this blog, bears absolutely no resemblance to reality. She builds a straw man and then proceeds to destroy it. Good luck with that but it’s dishonest.

      Reply to Comment
    34. AYLA

      Bosko…. a) I was quoting Aristeides. Do try to read before knee-jerk responding. b) you are too unaware of yourself to talk to. you said “so-called right of return”. that’s the same as air quotes. Aristeides already addressed this well, and thoroughly; I was just seconding his important observation. Anyway, Bosko, this dialogue is never worth it, for the reasons I’ve already cited, many times, including here. beautiful day, here in the Negev! going out to enjoy it, and to interact with dogs and ibex and jews and arabs and other living creatures on this land who enjoy each other despite the armchair critics! Bye!

      Reply to Comment
    35. Richard Witty

      “Yes, I advocate for the existence of a Jewish nation state. That means Hebrew as the official language. Jewish culture, Jewish holidays like Hanukah are the official state holidays. Etc …
      .
      But that does not mean that Israel can’t have a minority Arab population who are already citizens. And there is no reason to discriminate against them either except in terms of immigration policies which wold aim to keep a Jewish majority because the very purpose of creating Israel was to have one state in tthis world where the Jewish people couldn’t be turned into a persecuted oppressed minority again.”

      This view DIFFERS from the advocacy for settlement expansion.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Richard Witty

      “Second: The Palestinian Arabs themselves who also bear a heavy responsibility for the creation of the problems, refuse to negotiate in good faith and reach a resolution based on compromise. They act as though they are just innocent victims and they expect Israel alone to solve ALL their problems without accepting THEIR share of responsibility for the creation of the problem in the first place and subsequent behaviour too.”

      http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/strenger-than-fiction/carlo-strenger-mahmoud-abbas-crucial-message-to-israel-1.393351

      Reply to Comment
    37. Richard Witty

      Ayla,
      The problem with the rhetorical usage of “right of return” is that it applies to an extra-legal maximalist position of ‘Any descendent of anyone that formerly resided in what was the Palestinian mandate (actually only the river to sea portion) has the right to return to anywhere in the former Palestinian mandate, and potentially displace current residents’

      Its scary, extra-legal, ignores that history really does change things, presumes that international law does not also contain features that conflict with the interpretation of right of return, asserts that international law supercedes rather than reconciles with common and statutory law, assumes that the opinions of human rights organizations are determinations in law rather than just opinions with limited evidence.

      International law exists, but exists within an internal tension (as all law contains contradictory features).

      The interpretations of what is international law are propaganda, meant for the purpose of argument (to win), and not so much to reconcile.

      The PA has a more moderate interpretation of the right of return than the maximalist, pragmatic while still affirming principles, seeking a mutually palatable form for those principles.

      One can say “I support the principles of international law, and the chips should fall where they may.” if applied consistently to friend and foe.

      If not applied consistently, then it is hypocritical polemic and not an advocacy of principles, but principles for an advantage, for an agenda.

      I found Joseph Dana’s comment on how he got involved to be important. He stated that originally he observed harms that created an emotional reaction, that he was motivated by that emotion to understand more fully.

      I think it creates alternately a strong motivation to reconcile, indefatigable for a good and noble cause, or a strong motivation to war, indefatigable for a gamble.

      Reply to Comment
    38. AYLA

      @RichardWitty–that’s a thoughtful argument, thank you, and thank you even more for relating back to the original video. I was also moved by Joseph Dana on this point. Re: the argument–lots of interesting material, there. Thank you. I majored in social policy in college and made a very clear decision later not to pursue a career in policy. I leave it to others. What I do want is for families of those who had to flee in ’48 to be able to return to SOME part of this land, if not the same square dunam. I want that because a) I can be here as a seventh generation american so its only right b) I want to live on this land with my arab brothers and sisters, and I don’t say that in some pc-hippie way; I feel it, deeply: that’s the true Palestine/Israel/Judea Samaria/Holy Land to which I feel connected and which reflects the culture of the land, and our lives are enriched by each other’s deep presence, and c) because if we’re going to be a state with Jewish interests, I believe it’s our obligation to do it very, very well. This state should be more ethical than most; more democratic than most; not less. How that all gets hammered out–I am certainly not the one to say, Thank God (for all of our sake). I have a novel to write, a dog to walk. I do understand, though, that many people with the right to return (and I do feel it’s their right), wouldn’t use it. many others would get a Palestinian passport but not reside here. Many would simply visit their land, their holy sites, for the first time. They won’t be able to visit their grandparents’ graves; we’ve paved over them. They won’t be able to visit their own homes, and maybe not even their old trees. But they could visit their people, their land, their sites. i pray for this.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Bosko

      Ayla said …
      .
      “Bosko…. a) I was quoting Aristeides. Do try to read before knee-jerk responding”
      .
      Yes. And you enthusiastically agreed with him. In my “unaware of myself mind”, it’s the same as sying so yourself. So I stand by what I said about your comment. And his …

      Reply to Comment
    40. Bosko

      Thank you Richard for the link to Strenger’s article. I responded to it on the other thread. I said that Abbas’s acknowledgement of Palestinian Arab mistakes such as launching the 1947 war against Israel and the year 2000 intifada is an important step in the right direction. Unfortunately though he still expects only Israel to take steps to resolve the consequences of those Palestinian mistakes. Here read what Condie Rice says about Abbas and how he missed an important opportunity to make peace in 2008.
      .
      http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=243917

      Reply to Comment
    41. aristeides

      Bosko – you referred to “the so-called right of return.” RichardNYC placed “right of return” in scare quotes. It would be dishonest to deny this.

      .
      You are correct that Jews in Jerusalem were expelled from their homes by Jordanian forces. But they were NOT expelled from Palestine. They were not made stateless. And they did eventually claim a right of return (along with thousands of other Jews who had never lived there and had no such basis for this claim).

      .
      You also say that “the Arabs won’t see reason,” in which the Arabs seeing reason seems to mean “doing what Israel wants.” The error is supposing that there was any kind of reciprocal population exchange in which reciprocal obligations exist. Israel, unilaterally, expelled the Palestinians from their homeland and violated their rights. It is Israel’s responsibility to recongize these rights and provide restitution.

      The question of Jews expelled from any Arab nation is a totally separate one and must be dealt with separately. You can’t repay your debt to Peter by telling him to get his money from Paul. But the first step is in acknowledging that the debt exists.

      Reply to Comment
    42. AYLA

      @Aristeides–you have a fan. beautifully put. Thank you.

      Reply to Comment
    43. AYLA

      @972–maybe you can pen an even more sophisticated comment policy that allows you to ban people here for hasbara purposes, which of course is different from having a right wing (or any dissenting) argument. We know the difference. You know the difference. And the thing is, there are fewer and fewer Palestinians commenting here, and I believe this may be why (based on what some of them have said). These comments are potentially important for many reasons. 1) we learn from each other and share information. 2) we can ask you questions and learn this way. 3) the dialogue between us can generate ideas, understanding, solidarity, and off-line activism. Hasbara interferes with all four, and personally, I resent the way I’m being represented as an Israeli and a Jew. They comment more than anyone else, because it is their job (volunteer, paid, who cares). I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know–just suggesting that there may be a kosher way to distinguish hasbara from dissent, and an important reason to do so. You’re creating a real opportunity for cross-cultural dialogue, here, and it is being sabotaged.

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    44. Bosko

      Ayla said …
      .
      “maybe you can pen an even more sophisticated comment policy that allows you to ban people here for hasbara purposes”
      .
      Translation: they don’t conform to OUR ideology. Ban them. In other times in other places, the Aylas of this world set up Gulags and lock people up in Lunatic Asylums because not everyone tows their party line.
      .
      Ayla also said …
      .
      “which of course is different from having a right wing (or any dissenting) argument. We know the difference”
      .
      Yes, we know the difference. A good argument makes you think. It makes you uncomfortable. You label that Hasbarah. And the use of a label allows you to dismiss the argument as “just Hasbarah”, something to be stomped on and banned. The other kind of argument that you profess to be comfortable with is just towing your line, maybe with mild dissent. It kinda gives you a fig leaf to allow you to pretend that you are tolerant to other points of view.
      .
      Good luck with all that Ayla. I hope that Israel will never fall into the hands of the likes of you. I don’t want to see Stalinism in Israel.
      .
      @972 If you agree with Ayla, then I nominate myself as your first candidate to be banned.

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    45. Mitchell Cohen

      Bosko, I second your sentiments. Contrary to popular belief, I am able to respect those with politics I vehemently disagree with. Ayla was one of those examples until she started falling for the those who have politics which don’t jive with mine (or most of those on this site) = “Hasbarah” (as if Hasbarah is a bad word).

      Reply to Comment
    46. Bosko

      Aresteides.
      Yes, I referred to the “so called right of return” and I stand by it.
      .
      Because there is no such a right. Certainly not an automatic right. There is more than one way to redress any wrongs done to individuals who become refugees in any place at any time. And if you want to bring up UN resolution 194, you might want to know that it was a non binding general assembly resolution which I am not even sure whether it advocated an automatic right of return (I will have to check up on it). In any case, it had the same weight as UN resolution 181 for the partition of Palestine into two states, a Jewish one and an Arab one, which the Palestinian Arabs rejected and no one from your side of politics chastises them for it.
      .
      As for your claim that ALL the Palestinian Arabs were expelled directly by Israel, rather than SOME of them, it is simplistic to say the least. Many of them fled because that’s what many people do in all wars. They hear rumors, they get scared and they decide that it isn’t safe to stay. I suggest you read Benny Morris, he explains it better and he did not set out to pull his punches against Israel.
      .
      And you might want to ponder this question too: if Israel had a blanket policy to expel Arabs in 1948, then how come 20% of Israel’s citizens are Arabs today? How come Israel didn’t expel them (or their parents) in 1948?

      Reply to Comment
    47. Bosko

      Thank you Mitch

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    48. aristeides

      Bosko – the Palestinian Arabs were not expelled in 1948. Most of them had already been expelled during the “civil war” phase of the conflict, in 1947. (Read Benny Morris for confirmation of this.)

      Thus your claim that the Arab states who came to their defense in mid-1948 were responsible for their plight doesn’t hold water.

      .
      But, as you say, wars produce refugees. This is normal. And what is also normal is that after the war is over, the refugees return home. Israel’s real crime was less the expulsion in the heat of war but the cold-blooded and cold-hearted refusal to allow their return when the war was over, thus violating one of the most basic human rights.

      It’s unfortunate that the UN at that time did not rescind Israel’s membership and openly declare it a pariah state. But politics is always more important than justice.

      Reply to Comment
    49. Henry Weinstein

      To Ayla
      There must be a positive way to express your discontent without asking for censorship, Ayla. It’s one thing to explain like you do but too briefly that “personally, I resent the way I’m being represented as an Israeli and a Jew”, and it’s a sincere statement, a challenging issue, which would deserve to be developed idealy in a post on +972. It’s another thing to suggest, in the heat of an angered moment, to ban other commenters on +972, and I think above all it’s not the best way to express your discontent.
      Personally I’m against to ban people for political reasons (and I never ask to ban anyone, trusting +972 bloggers & moderators), apart from multi-recidivist extremist hatred commenters.
      I like what you bring on +972, Ayla, even if it challenges sometimes my preconceptions. But I have to say I appreciate also Bosko’s company on this blog, for the same reason.
      Let’s +972 bloggers & moderators do the Mister Clean’s job!!

      Reply to Comment
    50. Bosko

      Thank you Henry. I appreciate your comment even though I know that you and I too don’t always agree with each other.

      Reply to Comment
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