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Goodbye status quo: Israel's impending moment of truth

There are no guarantees that the near future will herald freedom for Israel/Palestine. It will, however, shatter the perception of comfort that has paralyzed Israel since the beginning of the millennium.

By Ran Greenstein

When we look at the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a curious pattern can be detected. Every 20 or 30 years a major turning point is reached. This happens in part due to pure coincidence, and in part due to natural processes involving generational change, which takes two or three decades to mature.

The cycle started in 1897 with the foundation of the Zionist movement, which gave a political dimension to the quest for Jewish settlement of Palestine. It continued in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration and the creation of Palestine in its current boundaries, and then on to 1947, when the UN partition resolution led to the establishment of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba. That was followed by 1967 – the re-unification of Palestine under Israeli military control – the First Intifada in 1987 and the onset of the current phase of territorial inclusion combined with Palestinian demographic exclusion.

Youth from Aida Refugee Camp rest during a lull in clashes with Israeli forces near the separation wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, November 16, 2013. The wall, which divides Bethlehem's land is a frequent entry point for incursions by Israeli forces into Aida Refugee Camp, and often a site of clashes with camp youth. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Youth from Aida Refugee Camp rest during a lull in clashes with Israeli forces near the separation wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, November 16, 2013. The wall, which divides Bethlehem’s land is a frequent entry point for incursions by Israeli forces into Aida Refugee Camp, and often a site of clashes with camp youth. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Nothing remarkable happened in 2007, which means that 2017 is next in line. What can we expect then in three years’ time?

Three crucial processes are under way, guaranteed to produce changes that would make the current status quo untenable. But a word of caution is needed here: change is bound to happen, but it will not necessarily be of a positive nature. It will open up new opportunities while also presenting new challenges. The exact direction will depend on proper preparation of activists and movements to make the most of the emerging circumstances.

What are these processes? Let us examine each in turn.

The first involves Palestinian resistance in the post-Gaza war period. It is too early to talk about a third intifada, the unity government has hardly made an impact so far, and the Palestinian Authority continues to make noises about taking its diplomatic campaign to the UN and the International Criminal Court but does nothing concrete. And yet, the nature of the political debate is changing – the voices calling for continuation of the U.S.-sponsored and Israeli-dominated “peace process” have almost disappeared. It is clear to Palestinians that nothing of value can possibly come out of that process, even if a formal notice of termination of talks is not likely to be served soon.

A child coming out of his destroyed home in the village of Khuza'a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. Six family members stay in the living room, which is the only room which was not destroyed. Big holes in the walls have been barely covered by pieces of wood and plastic sheet. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless.  Anne Paq/Activestills.org

A child coming out of his destroyed home in the village of Khuza’a, eastern Gaza Strip, November 7, 2014. Six family members stay in the living room, which is the only room which was not destroyed. Big holes in the walls have been barely covered by pieces of wood and plastic sheet. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip face hard living conditions following the seven-week Israeli offensive during which 2,131 Palestinians were killed, and an estimate of 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Anne Paq/Activestills.org

What is the alternative then? Armed resistance has its symbolic attractions but exacts a very high price from the population with meagre results to show for it. Three months have passed since the last Gaza ceasefire without bringing residents any relief from the conditions that triggered the fire in the first place. Initiatives by individuals who use whatever means at their disposal to attack Israeli targets, whether military or civilian, grab headlines but remain isolated incidents. We may see more of these but they are very unlikely to bring about meaningful change.

With both the Oslo process and the armed struggle proving useless at best (if not outright damaging to the national cause), the only way forward is unarmed mass uprising, along the lines of the First Intifada, backed by a unified leadership. Conditions are still far from there yet, but encouraging signs are emerging, pointing to growing awareness of the necessity of this course of action. Direct action – protests, marches, building bridges over the apartheid wall (literally and metaphorically), boycotts of settlements and their products and refusal to become captive markets for Israeli products, forging political links across militarized boundaries – are some of the steps Palestinians have been taking already and will continue to take in an intensified form in coming years. And all that with a goal of making the Israeli regime ungovernable.

There is no telling how quickly, effectively and massively Palestinians will organize to pursue that goal. One thing, however, is clear: the delusion that the Oslo process can be salvaged has been laid to rest. Future efforts – on the ground and on the diplomatic scene – will take place outside its framework. It may take a while for the process to mature fully, and we can expect by 2017 to have embarked on a new paradigm of struggle.

Palestinians and international activists use make-shift bridges to cross the separation wall between Qalandiya and Jerusalem, November 14, 2014. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinians and international activists use make-shift bridges to cross the separation wall between Qalandiya and Jerusalem, November 14, 2014. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The second process complements the first; it involves the global arena. Under U.S. leadership no international pressure has been applied on the Israeli regime to change its policies. The formal excuse for that is the notion that the 1967 occupation is a temporary arrangement that would reach a resolution through a process of negotiations, culminating in the formation of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel. Any external interference in the dialogue between the two sides to the conflict would hamper the chances of a resolution. This notion is no longer tenable: there is no negotiation process, no dialogue, no movement toward a resolution. It is clear to global actors that Israel has no intention to withdraw from the occupied territories and that the U.S. – whether under Democratic or Republican administration – has no intention of using its power to make that happen.

This realization frees actors to pursue campaigns of external pressure on Israel, led by civil society organizations, academics, unions, solidarity movements – whether independently or under the label of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The European Union has set in motion plans to impose sanctions on Israel should it continues with settlement policies that obstruct the prospect of an independent Palestinian state. These are all in their early stages, without having had much of an impact so far.

While little chance exists of a change in official U.S. policy towards Israel in the near term, the U.S. itself is experiencing an epochal change, with the demographic decline of the traditional support base for Israel (older white people) and the rise of younger more critical voices – including in the Jewish community.

Participants in the Open Hillel Conference, Harvard University. (photo: Gili Getz)

Participants in the Open Hillel Conference, Harvard University. (photo: Gili Getz)

By 2017 we can expect these trends to gain momentum and puncture the immunity that Israel has enjoyed, having been shielded from criticism and protected from suffering consequences for its violations of international law and UN resolutions. This would make it much more difficult to maintain its current course: the pretense of negotiations together with the unilateral determination of their outcome through the use of force. Eating the territorial cake while keeping all options open will no longer be viable.

The third process is internal, and involves the perennial choices: between the Jewish and democratic nature of the state, and between guns and butter. The 2011 summer protests opened up, for the first time since the 1970s, a prospect of social change from within. But they dissipated without bringing about any short-term improvement in people’s living conditions, let alone structural economic changes. With the cost of living as high as ever, housing unaffordable to many families with two working parents, budgets diverted from social services to spending on settlements and the military, as well as deteriorating public facilities, the costs of maintaining the current trajectory of the regime are becoming unbearable.

So far, the strategy of war mongering (invoking external enemies from Iran, Hamas and the Islamic State to Ebola, African migrants, and the draft of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army) has worked for the government. Instead of working out solutions for their own needs and concerns the bulk of the Israeli-Jewish population has fallen prey to political “boogeymen,” whose ability to gain popular support depends on spreading fear among their constituencies. How long will this continue to be effective?

Since nothing has improved since the last round of protests, and many social and economic indicators are showing signs of further, rapid deterioration, it is difficult to see how fear will continue to block protest for much longer. By 2017 we can expect the social rebellion to have revived its strength and erupt again in a powerful form. But to make a difference and sustain the choice of butter over guns, people must deal with the other crucial choice and realize that the forced marriage between the Jewish and ‘democratic’ aspects of the state is not viable. Only a struggle that overcomes fear and turns away from the heavily militarized and settlement-oriented priorities of the state can bring about real social improvement. This struggle can succeed if it mobilizes masses of people in a democratic movement, which breaks through ethnic and religious boundaries. The full incorporation of Palestinian citizens – who were left on the margins in 2011 – will be the crucial test of that. Confining social protests to the Jewish bubble is a sure recipe for repeated failure.

Protest in favor of an equal draft to all Israeli citizens, including Arabs and ultra Orthodox, July 7th 2012 (photo: activestills.org)

Protest in favor of an equal draft to all Israeli citizens, including Arabs and ultra Orthodox, July 7th 2012 (photo: activestills.org)

Signs pointing in this direction are meagre. We have mostly experienced moves in an opposite direction – increased racism, exclusion and violence against dissidents. On their own, internal Israeli dynamics are unlikely to result in a progressive outcome. But combined with intensified Palestinian resistance and greater external pressure, which will raise the cost of defying international legitimacy, the balance of forces may begin to change. Three more years are sufficient time in which the new dynamics can work themselves out, just in time for the centenary of the creation of modern Israel/Palestine, and half a century since the extension of Israeli domination over its entire territory.

Of course, conditions of crisis, tension and pressure can result in contradictory outcomes: movement towards greater repression, more focused and powerful struggle for freedom, attempts to find comfort in the oppressive consensus that shuns dissent. Or perhaps it can result in more openness towards society’s others, in order to solve together our common problems, tightening the Jewish nature of the state while also broadening its democratic horizons.

There are no guarantees that 2017 will herald freedom, but it will shatter the comfortable holding pattern that has paralyzed Israeli society since the beginning of the millennium: no more negotiations that serve only to entrench the occupation, no more diplomacy as usual, no more pretending that neutrality between the two sides is anything other than siding with Israeli oppression, no more peaceful coexistence between Jewish ethnocracy and liberal democracy, no more guns and butter. Choices will have to be made – it is up to activists to ensure they are the right ones.

Ran Greenstein is an Israeli-born associate professor in the sociology department at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Related:
Welcome to Netanyahu’s ‘resolution’ to the conflict
There’s nothing static about the West Bank ‘status quo’
Apartheid or not, separation is the reality

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bruce Gould

      For a long time it seemed impossible that the Berlin wall could fall; for a long time it seemed like apartheid would go on forever, then things snapped: reality is non-linear. There’s a good piece on the one-state possibility over at Mondoweiss –

      http://mondoweiss.net/2014/11/undermines-israels-president

      David Remnick has written a 7,000 word essay describing the “one state reality” in Israel/Palestine. The article appears in the November 17 issue of theThe New Yorker.

      The opening page of the article features a gritty photo of Israel’s President, Rueven Rivlin, with an ominous caption about the demise of “talk” about the two-state solution. The evident purpose of the article is to discredit Rivlin and his prominent advocacy for a one-state solution, granting citizenship and equality for all.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Tomer

      Polls here in Israel carried over the last 15 years show the Israeli Left is progressively shrinking with time. The bulk of Leftists are now pensioners.

      On the International stage, most developed countries are in a deep economic crisis. EU, America and Japan are in a Depression. It is likely the next few years most countries will face internal political revolutions. I don’t see they will have time or energy to deal with situation in Israel.

      In short, the author is a deluded idiot.

      Reply to Comment
      • Josh

        “In short, the author is a deluded idiot.” It’s a compliment if it comes from a sexually frustrated retarded douche.

        Reply to Comment
      • No Chance

        You are wrong. However bad things are in their own countries , there are always people who have time and energy to beat up Israel and the Jews ( the authors country South Africa being a good example)

        Reply to Comment
    3. The only thing that’s shrinking Tomer is your ability to understand the change happening around you. In short, you probably are.

      What happened to you? Overnight you have an excellent command of english? Yesterday and earlier your sentences were of an elementary construct. LOL!

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Unlike Tomer’s, your own comment is riddled with numerous grammatical errors: (a) the punctuations are incorrect, (b) one sentence is incomplete and (c) a noun is written in the incorrect form, etc. Beyond that, you clearly think that “elementary construct” shows lack of “excellent command of english”, even though it demonstrates the contrary. Psychotic, manic and dazed you can’t even figure out the correct reply button to the comment you are responding to, but at the same time you assume that you are in the position to correct anyone? What an imbecile!

        Reply to Comment
        • You’re a Godless woman.

          Reply to Comment
    4. Vic Rothman

      In addition to the factors that Prof. Greenstein outlined, there are several others that indicate Israel is headed toward a crisis. To expand the occupation, it is necessary to use increasing levels of political repression and violence directed at both Israelis and Palestinians. At this point the only way this is possible is through continued practical support from the US government ($3 billion in arms per year, 42 UN vetoes, tax exempt philanthropy, and repetition of hasbara talking points by US government officials and media. But, the US is a waning power in the Middle East, with the entire region in disarray, and the US no longer able to influence events in the ME. This means Israel will demand more and more from the US while it can ultimately deliver less and less. At some point this means that US support for Israel will fade, either by a strategic realignment or an inability to continue support. The beginnings of realignment area already visible with the US’s de facto anti-Isis military alliance with Iran, as well as extended diplomatic US-Iranian negotiations.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Vic Rothman, you have just wasted 185-words ranting and saying nothing – and I mean absolutely nothing. It appears you are in a trance and hallucinating, no?

        Reply to Comment
      • What’s an apartheid welfare state to do? The US has been the supplier and enabler for decades. It is deplorable that the US has put the demands of this parasitic state before the needs of the american people.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          Apartheid state? Utter nonsense. And not just nonsense but a bare faced LIE!

          As for America. Let’s put a bit of perspective on it. In 1948, America imposed an arms embargo on us but we still prevailed. And the aid when it started much later was not only one way traffic America too got it’s money’s worth from us. In fact it’s pay off from us has been much greater than the pay-off which the USA gets from financially supporting the Palestinian Arabs, Egypt and Afghanistan. We are the only reliable ally that the USA has in the Middle East. Even Turkey is not as reliable as us. During the Cold War, we captured fully functioning Soviet weapons systems from the Arabs, including their most advanced MIG fighter planes and anti aircraft missile systems. We passed all of that to the USA. It gained them invaluable insights as to what they are up against.

          Moreover, when Syria threatened to invade Jordan which was in the process of fighting an attempted PLO coup, we came to Jordan’s rescue and saved the USA a lot of money and possible loss of soldiers lives. Because had we not intervened, the USA would have been forced to.

          I guess you people will just dismiss all that. Ok, but what exactly has the USA got for it’s tax payer funded dollars which it spent on the Palestinian Arabs, on Egypt, on Afghanistan and on Kuwait? All the USA has to show for it is hatred (death to America chants), beheadings of it’s journalists and aid workers not to mention kidnappings and what else?

          Reply to Comment
    5. Gustav

      Talking about trends …

      In 1897, the state of the Jewish people was only a dream.

      In 1947, the UN voted for two states, one Jewish, one Arab. The Jews accepted the decision while the Arabs rejected it. By 1948, the Jewish state became a reality while the Arab state was absorbed by other Arab states.

      In 1967, after the latest attempt by the Arabs to wipe out the Jewish state, Israel instead taught the Arabs the lesson that they have no hope of wiping out the Jewish state by fighting conventional wars so instead of making peace, the Arabs expanded their asymmetrical war against the Jewish state.

      And it wasn’t just in wars that Israel went from strength to strength. In 1948, Israel was an economic backwater. A country lacking natural resources. It had a population of less than 1 million, surrounded by enemies, outnumbered 20 to 1. Yet by 2014, our population multiplied by 8. We have a working democracy, a world ranking high tech industry and one of the world’s most advanced medical industries. Our weapons systems are much sought after. We are a nuclear power. We export our know-how in agriculture. And we discovered rich offshore gas fields …

      I could go on. But the message should be clear. We haven’t only survived. We are thriving. Yes there are difficulties to overcome but we have demonstrated to everyone who wants to look at real trends that our enemies are the ones who will have to come around and to give up their crazy dream of destroying us. They will be the ones who will have to accept that THEIR dream just won’t happen. That is the trend …

      PS
      I expect this post of mine to drive the usual suspects around here wild. Just watch the invective coming in my direction soon …

      Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        You’re going to have to do a lot more than jerk off to make us “wild.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          “You’re going to have to do a lot more than jerk off to make us “wild.”

          Oh goodie. I don’t really want you “nice people” go wild. I just thought you have it in you.

          Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          “You’re going to have to do a lot more than jerk off to make us “wild.”

          By the way, Ray dear, accusing me of “jerking” as you so delicately put it, already smacks of a bit of invective. But I do understand … I really do…. it is a slight case of sour grapes. The good news is that if you take a bit of prozac, it will alleviate your depression.
          Salam.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            Very persistent of you.

            By the way, I’m pretty sure “ma’assalama” is how you say goodbye to somebody in Arabic.

            Also, I’m not an Arab.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I did not say goodbye Ray, I said Salam. As in Salam Alaikum. Go look up what that word means in Arabic.

            Reply to Comment
      • Yeah, right

        Yeah, bubbles are like that.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Bruce Gould

      The problem is the word ‘they’. There was a war between Israel and various Arab states in 67, during and after which Israel started ethnically cleansing Palestinian non-combatants in its own territory and territory it held. That’s when the home demolitions began in earnest (> 5,000 in the immediate aftermath of the war according to Halper.) I wonder why there’s no love lost between the Palestinians and Israelis – you think it’s anti-semitism?

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        ” That’s when the home demolitions began in earnest”

        That’s a bit simplistic, isn’t it? The Saint-Palestinians did nothing?

        By the way, the topic here is the trend. You know … as in what is going to happen … the article is trying to say that we are in for it … I on the other hand beg to differ. I say we have been going from strength to strength and overall, the trend is positive for us. Do we still have difficulties? Will we have more difficulties? Of course. But we shall overcome.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bruce Gould

          The crux of the problem is that the Israelis didn’t distinguish between combatants and non-combatant civilians, lumping them all together as one big ‘they’. If you’re going to define Palestinians de-facto as people who want to destroy Israel then there isn’t much room for dialogue. It’s been 47 years since 1967.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “lumping them all together as one big ‘they’. If you’re going to define Palestinians de-facto as people who want to destroy Israel then there isn’t much room for dialogue.”

            I am not lumping them into anything but I am not going to ignore history. Till relatively recently in historical terms, all the Palestinians were openly fed the line by their own leadership that the Jewish state is not a permanent entity in the Middle East, that we are just a cancer which the glorious Arab warriors will remove by force. They did not just say it but they acted on it. For nearly 100 years even before Israel was created, they carried terrorist attacks and pogroms against us. Hamas still openly boasts that they will destroy us no matter how long it takes and those who try are assured a place in Paradise.

            Anyone who lives in reality or is not in “propaganda world” knows full well that what we have here is a fight to death between two nationalist movements. The Jewish nationalist movement (Zionism) and the pan Arab nationalist movement. We, most of us anyway, are realistic enough to know that we can’t kill all of them, nor can we have it all even though a minority of us don’t agree. They, yes, they the Palestinian Arabs, most of them anyway, still think they can have it all and they haven’t yet, as a people, given up on the idea of destroying our state and replacing it with THEIR Arab state. But they WILL!!! Not voluntarily, we will make them give it up and not by appeasement but by making them realise what a price they would have to pay if they keep on trying and what it would cost them if they would somehow by miracle even just look like succeeding. But I don’t even think it will ever get dramatic. We won’t even come close to looking like being destroyed. I am very optimistic about our future. Even about their future because I cannot believe that future generations of Palestinian Arabs will continue following in their parent’s footsteps. At some point THEY too will grow brains and will reach accommodation with us.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Ok a relatively clear statement on what you believe.

            Yes, Gustav, as Bruce said, if you persist in “lumping them all together as one big ‘they,’ if you’re going to define Palestinians de-facto as people who want to destroy Israel then there isn’t much room for dialogue.” You just confirmed Bruce’s judgment in spades. You are absolutely determined to see it as a “nationalist fight to the death” (no less!) Bibi’s/Lieberman’s/Bennet’s zero-sum game.

            I note your deliberate lack of any mention whatsoever of a peacemaker, endorsed by none other than the Israeli Shin Bet Director, and an arch-enemy of Hamas: Abu Mazen. Let’s move along folks, heh heh, they’re all terrorists.

            I note “pan Arab.” Nicely dispenses with any specificity for the Palestinian Arabs and the land they live on and their forefathers lived on. And nicely dispenses with the Arab Peace Initiative. Move along folks, let’s pretend that never happened.

            You have never, Gustav, given a credible refutation of the charge outlined here:

            There is no one further right than Netanyahu
            By Nehemia Shtrasler

            …Now he’s fighting Mahmoud Abbas by repeatedly declaring that Israel has “no partner” for peace, even though the Palestinian Authority president has said he’s ready for a peace deal that will recognize Israel and end the conflict with all the Arab states as ll. That’s why Netanyahu hates him. There’s nothing that drives him crazier than Abbas’ insistence on not committing terror attacks….

            You have never adequately explained Netanyahu’s begrudging attitude to Abu Mazen. Whereas, countless analysts have adequately explained that begrudging attitude in terms of a cynical long term strategy of undermining any reasonable Palestinian proposal by stalling and starving it and thus enabling the “terrorist” alternative he professes to loathe but secretly loves and that is much easier to employ as propaganda. You have never refuted the charge that Netanyahu’s various subterfuges are all in the service of a strategy of “‘manage the conflict’ endlessly and wear them down, and wait for the right moment to seize it all, because in the end we want the land, all of it.”

            Consider the problem with “I am not going to ignore history. Till relatively recently in historical terms….” Consider that this is a refusal to move forwards, a luxuriating in the grievance-laden past, a deliberate turning of a blind eye to the Arab Peace Initiative, to Abu Mazen; a deliberate conflating of the PA with Hamas and a deliberate effort to weaken the anti-Hamas Abu Mazen.

            I’ll say it again: Netanyahu LOVES terrorism. He HATES Abbas because he is not a terrorist.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I’ll say it again, how many times have I said it now? I lost count. Abbas/Abu Mazen (your so called peace maker) had a chance to make peace with us in 2008 when Olmert made the best peace offer that Israel will ever make, no one will offer even that much anymore. But what did Abbas/Abu Mazen do? He sat on the offer for 6 months and did NOTHING till we the Israeli voters got his intended message. Even that offer was not good enough for him. Which means that he is not a partner for peace. Which also meant that we had to elect a strong leader who would be capable of saying ‘NO’ to any further demands. Who was that leader? It was Netanyahu.

            Of course once Netanyahu got elected, your Abbas/Abu Mazen breathed a sigh of relief. He looked skywards and muttered his thanks to Allah and proceeded, ever since to blame Netanyahu for the lack of progress which suits him quite fine because under no circumstances does he want to be the one to sign a peace deal with Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Thx again for the ritual incantation of distortions Bernie Avishai has nicely refuted.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Bernie Avishai? … let me see … who is he? God? Nah … God would be a bit smarter than someone like Bernie and …

            Oh and I don’t suppose you could sum up in a few sentences how your Bernie could possibly refute my so called distortions which is actually just an account of very recent history. You know, it happened only 6 years ago. Anyone can check it out. They might also want to read what Condalica Rice said about it in her memoirs. She said that she was astounded how come Abbas/Abu Mazen did not jump at the opportunity to accept Olmert’s offer.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Which bit of what I said could possibly be a distortion, Brian?

            Are you saying that Olmert did not make the peace offer? Surely even you would not be in denial to that extent, so that isn’t a distortion is it, Brian?

            The bit that Olmert’s offer was so generous that it’s doubtful that any other Israeli leader will offer such an offer again? I have news for you, that is the opinion of most Israeli voters. You and Bernie disagree? Ok, you are entitled to disagree. It is then a difference of opinion not a distortion.

            Are you saying that Abbas/Abu Mazen accepted Olmert’s peace offer? If you’d be saying that, Brian, you’d be lying. So that clearly is not a distortion by me. Abbas indeed did not accept Olmert’s peace offer.

            Are you saying that therefore we the Israeli voters did not get the message that Abbas is not a peace partner and we consequently elected a strong leader like Netanyahu? If you would say that Brian you would be a laughing stock because we did elect him. So that isn’t a distortion either.

            Are you saying that Abbas/Abu Mazen wasn’t beside himself with Joy after Netanyahu got elected because that gives him a fig leaf for covering his shyness about signing a peace deal with Israel? Even if you are saying that, even then, that isn’t a distortion. It is just my opinion based on facts.

            I’ll stop there and leave it in your court Brian. Now you will come up with a one liner equivalent to saying that

            “the rise of the sun in the morning is a distortion”

            Because that’s how you argue your case Brian. You look people in the eye and you brazenly deny history and reality.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Oh I’ll just let Bernie speak for himself:

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/28/what-commentary-gets-wrong-about-olmert-abbas-negotiations.html

            … It is false to state that Abbas rebuffed Olmert’s plan. It is false to say that the Palestinians were unwilling to pursue further negotiations in the wake of Olmert’s offer. (Indeed, neither conclusion can be inferred even from what Issacharoff quotes Olmert saying, but never mind.)

            On the contrary, both Olmert and Abbas emphasized to me that neither side rejected the plan; both understood that they had the basis for a continuing negotiation. Abbas made clear, as did Saeb Erekat, that the Palestinian side accepted (with General James Jone’s assistance) security arrangements acceptable to Olmert. The Palestinians also accepted the principle that the Holy Basin would be under a kind of transnational custodianship. The sides agreed to refer to the Arab Peace Initiative (which itself refers to UN Resolution 194) to launch negotiations about the number of Palestinians who’d come back to Israel under the “right of return.”

            They did not agree yet on a number; and, swap or no swap, Abbas did not accept the border as Olmert had mapped it out, with Ariel, Maaleh Adumim, and Efrat—that is 5.9 percent of the West Bank—incorporated into Israel. The Palestinians wanted a plan in which 1.9 percent would be Israeli, which would allow 62 percent of settlers to remain in place. But closing such gaps is what just American mediation would be for. In fact, negotiations to close them did ensue, though informally, at the Baker Institute at Rice University, where former Israeli officials and one of Palestine’s negotiators, Samih Al-Abid (whom I also interviewed), floated ideas in the 4 percent range.

            Why did Abbas not come back immediately with a counter-proposal? Well, from Abbas’s point of view, Olmert’s was the counter-proposal. Erekat had proposed 1.9 percent. Abbas hoped Obama would be elected and some new mediator might be more sympathetic to the Palestinians when it was time to close the deal….

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            1. Aluf Benn’s account is far more superficial than Avishai’s. Avishai is much more an insider who knew what Olmert really did and did not accomplish. This is evident from reading the two accounts. In no way does Benn’s account refute or even contradict Avishai’s.
            2. Your link does show how much the route of the “security fence” was in line with what, in addition to security, it was in reality: a land-grabbing device. A real multi-purpose device that security fence. The Israelis these days never do anything without deceit it seems.
            3. The map is a map of Palestinian Bantustans, and in return for swallowing prime West Bank land arranged in an intricate network that makes practical Palestinian contiguity impossible and compromises the land around it that it does not literally swallow(an aim of settlement enterprise from its start) the Israelis were going to give the Palestinians a tract of barren Judean desert land. “We’ll take Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim and you guys take a patch of desert, OK?” “Oy! Such a generous deal! We gave them everything and he rejected it! Oh we are so generous and this is the thanks we get?!”

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I hate to tell you this, Brian dear, but Olmert himself disagrees with you. Here is another Haaretz link in which Olmert himself says that Abbas did not respond to his offer.

            http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/olmert-abbas-never-responded-to-my-peace-offer-1.263328?v=8171BA732234398D5A10FF3176EFADF1

            And again. That was the best offer that the Palestinian Arabs will ever get from an Israeli leader. But even your own link shows that Abbas did not respond to it because he was hoping that Obama would get elected and that he would exert pressure on Israel to make even MORE concessions. So even your own link confirms what I said.

            You know what I think your problem is, Brian? You suffer from selective reading. You only see what you want to see …

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            If surrendering Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumin and East Jerusalem to the Israelis is the best offer The Palestinians will ever get from an Israeli leader you have a problem. Because that means you are into humiliation and submission not peace. And into coveting they neighbor’s goods not a remotely fair settlement. And you will have a fight on your hands. Because “they” are not surrendering. And it will not be “a fight to the death between two nationalisms.” It will be a fight about dignity and fairness. And the world, including the USA, will not see it the way you see it. You Israelis do have a choice. You can spin the consequences with all the bluster you are capable of, but I don’t think it will work out well for you in the long run if you insist on this.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “If surrendering Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumin and East Jerusalem to the Israelis is the best offer The Palestinians will ever get from an Israeli leader you have a problem”

            You are talking as if Olmert offered nothing in return Brian, but he did. Read up on the land swaps which Olmert offered.

            But never mind, you just revealed your own agenda too. I take it that you approve of Abbas’s failure to respond to Olmert’s peace offer because you don’t believe Olmert’s offer was good enough.

            Ok then, read the lips of the majority of us Israelis. There will never, I say NEVER, be a better offer than the one Olmert offered. In fact it is highly doubtful that his offer would even be repeated because it was a one-off opportunity for Abbas. Now he will have to settle for less because he did not recognize a good offer when he saw one and circumstances have changed.

            Pity, the Palestinian Arabs keep on doing it to themselves. They always insist on maximal demands but instead they will end up with less and less no matter how much little mugs like you keep on jumping up and down on their behalf. You’d do better for them if you’d try to convince them to see reason.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim and bantustand-cantonization. In exchange for a tract in the Judean desert. Just a nonstarter to any reasonable person. Really striking how you would rather dig in on maximalist demands on land that is not yours rather than seek peace. You reject a two state solution outright. Your choice. You’ll get the consequences. I almost get the sense that you treasure the conflict. That you like it and would be bored without it. But you and Netanyahu are two peas in a pod–all about “lowering their expectations” and treating them with contempt rather than finding a decent solution. I know you have all sorts of justifications in your mind. Blah blah blah. It’s an education for me to see how extreme the Israeli right really is.

            Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        1. Before 1947 Jews lived in Judea & Samaria and were the majority in East Jerusalem. They owned the lands their communities lived on. They owned the lands they purchased to build new communities. They owned the land they farmed on, etc. Between 1948 and 1967 ALL Jews were either murdered or ethnically cleaned from Judea & Samaria and East Jerusalem. Not a single Jew, I repeat, not a single Jew remained in said territories in said periods. The genocide against- and the ethnic cleansing of Jews were total and complete. But I am sure none of the above means anything to you – because the victims are Jews!
        2. During the war of Independence, about a million Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries. Those Jews have since licked their wounds and moved on. Today they form an integral part of the One Jewish Family in Israel. The Arabs should do the same. What part of that is extremely difficult to understand, Bruce?
        3. House demolition is in- and of itself not illegal or morally objectionable. If you think otherwise, here is what you need to do: (a) state your opinion, (b) cite (properly) the relevant provision(s) of the law that in your opinion support(s) your claim and (c) present a series of coherent arguments to support your claim. That’s what you need to do. Every other thing is garbage not worth responding to!

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    7. I don’t suppose you could actually back up the claims you pull out of your ass with actual historical facts? Oh and another thing, you don’t run this site and giving people instructions (a, b, c, etc.,), while humorous, is a clear indication of your delusional thinking. I guess that is a side-effect from being a fervent supporter of the zionist state. It does seem to make a lot of you nutty as a fruitcake. Maybe you can get compensation pay from hasbara central.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        I am all for historical facts. Knowing that you are “challenged”, I will start with facts that involve motion and movements to make it easier for you to understand.

        Hear the testimonies of Jewish victims of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Arabs.

        Watch. And Weep!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTo0BLG9R8s

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Here are more cold, hard facts of history:

          http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/The-ethnic-cleansing-of-Arabic-Jews
          (
          btw. Your post contains numerous grammatical errors of the sort Tomer will never make. You also haven’t learnt to click on the right reply button to the comment(s) you are responding to. Is that too difficult to learn or are you just dazed and confused?).

          Reply to Comment
    8. Oh, more Watch! And Weep! Sure, will get right to that….zzzzzzz

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Wryly detached and bemused reply, Marnie. In the face of a full frontal assault. Shows grace under pressure. (And very funny and effective adoption of “Manic.” IF one has a sense of humor. IF.)

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        • Gustav

          “Wryly detached and bemused reply, Marnie. In the face of a full frontal assault. Shows grace under pressure. (And very funny and effective adoption of “Manic.” IF one has a sense of humor. IF.)”

          Are you listening to your idiotic self congratulatory nonsense, Brian? The word “Humor” in relation to you and Manic is an oxymoron.

          The only humorous thing that you said is your attempt to claim that what you and Manic says has anything to do with humor.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            That’s funny.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I am glad you like it Brian. It’s the truth. And you know the saying …

            “The truth hurts”

            I was worried that you would be hurting. And of course you do know that I wouldn’t want to hurt someone like you for the world. I am too soft hearted.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            You are more soft hearted than The TrespaSSer/Tomer, for sure, but you passively stand by and in a sense utilize them as your forward shock troops and never say a word against their calls for Nazi-style mass population transfer.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            You know why?

            Because if your Saint-Palestinians will continue on the same path which they took for 100 years, then what Tomer and Tresspasser say will come to be. The only thing that will stop that from happening is if your Palestinian Arabs will wake up and come to their senses. Personally, I think that they will. As I said, I am an optimist.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Since they are not continuing on the same path you reveal that you are just Tomer with makeup on.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I don’t care what I reveal or don’t reveal Brian. I am not here to please you.

            And yes, so far they are still continuing with their old ways …

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Gustav,

            1. How do you feel about the fact that under the proposed “Basic Law: Israel – the Nation-State of the Jewish People,” being advanced by MK Ze’ev Elkin, Israeli Arabs’ language (Arabic, that is) would lose its status as an official language?

            2. How do you feel about the Elkin’s proposed law in general?

            3. Would you vote “Yes”? Or “No”?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            You do know that the good old USA hasn’t got an official language other than English (according to some states), Brian?

            Having said that, I don’t really care whether we list Arabic as an official second language or not.

            I do also now for sure that Arabs anywhere or anytime never listed the languages of their minorities as second official languages byt nobody amongst the orthodox lefties (like you) seems to be scandalized about that. Why not, Brian?

            At the end of the day this thing is just another beat-up by you. Another red herring.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Very useful in figuring you out. Until now I wasn’t quite sure where to place you politically. Now it is clearer to me. Tomer and TrespaSSer with makeup. Less aggressive but I don’t think you’d lift a finger to stop them. And I know what they want. If it went “well” you’d be all for them. If it went badly, you’d say you never really agreed with those guys anyway.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Oh, and on #3, I’ll take that as a “Yes.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Oh, and on #3, I’ll take that … ”

            You can take it any which way you like Brian, orally, anally or not take it at all for all I care …

            “as a … Yes.”

            But for the record, no I would not vote for a “yes” nor even for a “no”. Like I said, the whole thing is just another beat-up. An unimportant issue used as a tool by Israel bashers like you. A red herring even, a straw man. I am just not interested either way …

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            We’ll just leave aside your crude, lowering references to homosexual rape. Such incivility. Thug language. That I truly don’t care for. But it brings to mind that perhaps the most frequent locution you use is some variation on “I don’t care…I just don’t care.” Over and over. To Ben Z. you said, as I remember, “I just don’t care, get it?” We get it. It is a signal. You don’t care if the Israeli Arabs get erased and their dignity trampled on. You don’t care if the Palestinian Arabs have their dignity trampled on. You don’t care. TrespaSSer doesn’t care. Tomer doesn’t care. We get it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            LOL, Brian.

            Medications and suppositories are not a reference to homosexual rape.

            Where is that famous sense of humor of your’s Brian?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Useful in what way, Brian? Useful to evade the other more important discussion we are having about Olmert’s peace offer. You concentrate on this BS about what I would or would not do in a hypothetical situation. Here is the real honest answer … I don’t even know. It all depends on a whole lot of preceding events. But I’ll tell you what. I won’t turn the other cheek because I am not a pacifist. I am a strong believer in defending ourselves. You don’t like that? That’s your problem Brian dear.

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          • Brian

            Crude straw man, and a kind of slander: Brian does not like Israelis defending themselves.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Crude straw man, and a kind of slander: Brian does not like Israelis defending themselves.”

            You mean you do? You could have fooled me but seeing that you are so adamant about it, I must say, I am pleasantly surprised. I didn’t think you had it in you.

            Then again, judging by what you advocate, maybe in reality, you don’t…

            Reply to Comment
      • Kiwi

        First this:

        “I don’t suppose you could actually back up the claims you pull out of your ass with actual historical facts?”

        And when Eis produces what Marnie asked for, then this:

        “Oh, more Watch! And Weep! Sure, will get right to that….zzzzzzz”

        How can one have a civilised discussion with people like that?

        Reply to Comment
        • “How can one have a civilised discussion with people like that?”

          It’s a question for the ages Kiwi. How can I, a civilized person, have a discussion with people like y’all?

          Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            Then why do you?

            And why did you ask Eis for proof then didn’t even give her the courtesy of explaining why you don’t accept the proof which she provided?

            You can’t have it both ways. You either ignore the people you want to ignore or if you do decide to engage them then at least behave according to civilised norms. All you do is yell and attempt to score points.

            Reply to Comment
          • I know how to ignore people, that’s not an issue. Eis has a real stalker vibe that I’d call pathologic. I’m not a serial user of all caps, superfluous !!!!! and the weird and creepy catch phrase Watch! And Weep! The “proof” bit is definitely in the eye of the beholder because I see no truth in her, her video selections or links to read. You’re hardly the arbiter of “civility” and your statement (and others) about “yelling” is perplexing to say the least; maybe it says more about you than me.

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          • Kiwi

            So you are saying that there were no Jewish refugees from Arab countries?

            Even I know that there were and I am not Jewish. I live half way around the world. But I spoke to many reasonable Arabs who admit to it and express regret that they got rid of their Jews the way they did! But you deny it?

            Reply to Comment
          • Do you really want to go the way of Gustav and Ginger? I said no such thing. And I’m very good at ignoring so-called people.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            “I said no such thing”

            What is the thing that you haven’t said, Marnie?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            “I see no truth in her, her video selections or links to read”

            Eis’s video and links were about the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Yet your reaction to them was as above. That sure sounds to me as if you were denying the fact that there were lots of refugees from Arab countries. Or at the least, you displayed zero sympathy towards Jewish refugees.

            Tell me how I could possibly read what you said and interpret it differently?

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Nicely articulated answer. You said it better than I. I’d have just told him that either he is new around here or he had amazing chutzpah (or obtuseness, take your pick) to admonish you that you “didn’t even give her the courtesy.” But anyway, it is striking how often they accuse non-rightists of “shouting” when no one’s shouting at all.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            What in particular is rightly articulated in Manic’s answer? She is all over the place. Kiwi, took her apart. He exposed all her weaknesses. She has no legs to stand on. Go watch Monthy Python. She presents the very same as that very funny sketch where all the guy is left with is bluster but he still adamant that he is winning.

            You and your silly girl-friend present exactly the same image. Nice job, Kiwi …

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            … here Brian dear, watch this video and if you really have a sense of homor, laugh at yourself. You are like the Black Knight in that video, LOL …

            http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mjEcj8KpuJw

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Oh, we are talking about girlfriends? Well, that’s interesting because who is it that recently joined his girlfriend in the exclusive club of +972 suicide urgers? Membership count: 2. Contributing wrist slashing to the suggested methods? Ben Z. will remember.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Oh lighten up Brian, stop jumping up and down. Just watch the video about the Black Knight. Doesn’t it remind you of yourself? It really is very funny. I thought you boasted about your famous sense of humor?

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Suicide…anal rape…sodomy… you’re such a jolly good fun fellow, a real debonaire chap.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            You have a very dirty mind Brian. I said this …

            “You can take it any which way you like Brian, orally, anally or not take it at all for all I care …”

            Orally = as in medications

            Anally = as in suppositories

            No sense of humor, Brian, you have none. LOL.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Someone who just committed to public record “You can take it any which way you like, orally, anally or not take it at all” should be very careful about invoking comparisons to a comically obsessive figure who is reduced to “I’ll bite your legs off!” The similarity is just too close for comfort!

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “should be very careful about invoking comparisons to a comically obsessive figure who is reduced to “I’ll bite your legs off”

            Awwww shucks, Brian, you are such a dour old sour-puss … you don’t like Monthy Python’s sense of humor? Oh well … can’t please everyone.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            As I think I just conveyed, I find (have always found you, truth be told) a comically obsessive figure similar to the comically obsessive Monty Python character the Black Knight. The joke is on you and yes it is funny. I enjoyed the experience. Though truth be told you’re only mildly funny to watch and it is a certain kind of amusement. The correct term is: you are a source of bemusement. Glad we straightened that out. Bemusement.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Hey Brian lighten up …

            We are all obsessive around here. Both the lefties and the righties. Unfortunately you revealed yourself as an obsessive who contrary to your claims, hasn’t got a sense of humor, or self awareness.

            Reply to Comment
          • I can’t imagine what kind of firestorm would result in suggesting one or two of them kill themselves, oh the outrage. Suicide seems to be a running theme among some of them. Very strange, don’t recall that being an option for any of us (if we fear God of course), well that and murder, theft, bearing false witness, covetousness, etc.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Suicide and anal rape? Steady on you two. You are really getteng carried away. No one suggested either. Certainly not me.

            Yea gaaaaads, talking about paranoia …

            Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            Not only they don’t have a sense of humour Gustav, but they don’t know how to debate anything in a civilised way with anyone.

            Nice video, by the way. I wonder why neither Marnie nor Brian want to watch it and comment on it? You are right. They have no humour.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Two comments:
            1. For a buddy of the charming, refined, civilized Mr. Anal Suppository, it is actually VERY FUNNY! that you mumble that “they don’t know how to debate anything in a civilised way with anyone.”
            2. See “Bemusement, source of,” above.
            Thanks.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            @Kiwi
            Those two only have the type of humor which laughs at others. When it comes to laughing with someone at their own little self, they suddenly lose all that pent up sense of humor which Brian never stops boasting about.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Ah you are such a saint, Manic. How about the sin of casting stones at others while you live in a glass house? Or hypocrisy as they say?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Ben Z, like you, will remember what he chooses to remember and interpret. I know he chose to interpret what I said to him as you do. But that does not make either one of you right.

            I did not urge him to commit suicide. What I said to him sarcastically, was that if he has such a bad conscience, then he has the option to slash his wrists. If you call that “urging”, that is your problem. Both your problems. Then again it probably is not a problem at all. But rather, it is just a tool to try and beat up on a political opponent. Nice try, but it won’t work.

            Reply to Comment
    9. Cal

      These are the most exciting times in the history of mankind. The second advent is about to occur. Jesus is at the door and the door is opening. Jesus will rule the world for a 1,000 years of true peace and prosperity.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        It’s nutty remarks like this one that underscore the fire the pyromaniacs in Jerusalem (such as Naftali Bennet) are playing with, the danger that they will spark a crazy religious war.

        Reply to Comment
        • It won’t take much to set it off, that’s for sure Brian. And none of them care. They’ll sit back and watch it burn and be ecstatic about it too. They would rather destroy what they claim to cherish rather than admit they are wrong. Jerusalem belongs to everyone and has to be protected; there are people on both sides who will attempt to destroy it and call that love, like the wife-beaters Gustav keeps referring to (must be self-reflection).

          Reply to Comment
          • Violence seems to represent alot of sexual frustration and dysfunction.

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    10. Margot Dunne

      I have enormous respect for “self-hating” Jews who buck the Israeli PC trend & see clearly what has happened, is happening, & might well happen in the future. Plus I have enormous respect for your magazine for allowing such voices to be heard. I am not Jewish, but may I say to you — Shalom.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “I have enormous respect for “self-hating” Jews”

        What exactly makes such people Jews Margot?

        Not religion, I am sure because they are leftist atheists (most of them anyways).

        Not nationality because they have no empathy whatsoever with the idea of a Jewish majority state.

        So if they are not Jews by religion or nationality, what exactly then makes them Jewish? No really, I would be very interested to hear your answer.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          By the way, Margot, never call them “self hating”. That is very misleading. They never hate “themselves”. They just hate Jews, period. Just call them good old common garden variety Jew haters.

          Take pity on them Margot. They badly want to forget their Jewish heritage. By that, I mean that their parents were born Jewish. That is why they become the fiercest critics of the Jewish people. Because they want to show their non Jewish friends how non Jewish they are too. And along you come and spoil it for them by calling them “self hating Jews”. Not nice.

          Reply to Comment
          • Margot Dunne

            I’m sorry if I offended you. The term “self-hating” Jew is sometimes used in my part of the world to describe a person of Jewish genetic heritage who criticizes & argues against the current actions & policies of the State of Israel. People like this tend to be severely castigated by the vocal Zionist lobby here, & I respect them because it is quite brave to speak out under these circumstances. But I think it was a bit crass of me to use the term, & I apologize.

            Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          This is an interesting topic to explore. There are several ironies and ambiguities and contradictions bumping around in there. I had thought that the State of Israel, itself, via its chief rabbinate or whatever, defines a Jew as someone who has either properly converted to Judaism (a tiny minority) or was born of a Jewish mother (the vast majority). A biological definition. And extends the Law of Return to anyone with one Jewish grandparent. There are no doubt numerous technicalities but that is the gist of it, no? And even if I get significant details wrong, in any event the State of Israel is positively obsessed with scrupulously tracking one’s biological lineage when one applies to immigrate under the law of return. So it’s in large part about genetics, biological ancestry. Now you say that it’s about how one feels about Israel and about whether one is religiously observant. Lots of contradictions here.

          I have never had any problem with Israel arriving at a fair final settlement with the Palestinians that builds in the strong likelihood of an Israeli Jewish majority in perpetuity. I’m all for it. That means that I think there should only be a limited symbolic RoR in a final agreement. I think that Abu Mazen wants to sign such an agreement and it will come down to haggling over numbers in the context of a total package that crucially affords everyone dignity, not the humiliating take it or leave it packages of table scraps Netanyahu throws at him. I also want that Jewish majority state to be a democratic state of all its citizens in a way it is very far from being today. Now what is so hateful about that?

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Now you say that it’s about how one feels about Israel and about whether one is religiously observant. Lots of contradictions here.”

            No contradictions. I too say they are Jewish if they want to be Jewish. But do they? I doubt it in many cases. At best, they bring up their Jewish heritage on forums like these, to score points. At worst, they hide their Jewish ancestry because they have had enough of being Jews with all the baggage that entails in some circles.

            Either way, they don’t REALLY feel Jewish and one can’t force people to be what they don’t want to be.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            There’s LOTS of contradictions, ironies, awkwardnesses, 21st Century anachronisms in the Ultra-nationalist project. Naftali Bennet is an anachronism straight out of central casting for a Leni Riefenstahl movie.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Brian, you wouldn’t be bipolar by any chance, would you?

            You don’t seem to be able to stick to one subject. You jump from topic to topic like a jack rabbit.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Nimbleness, dear Gustav, nimbleness.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            More like hyper activity, attention deficit disorder and mood swings.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            You have no idea now little your tiresomely amateurish, false pathologizing impresses me.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I am as interested about what does, or does not impress you as you are interested in what does or does not impress ME.

            Reply to Comment
      • Just a word of caution. If you are new to Zoo +972, please, please, please do not feed the carnivores, repeat, do not feed the carnivores. They in no way represent the majority of the menagerie, which are herbivores, omnivores. They are a mix of snakes, lizards, hyenas, buzzards, and some bottom feeders (all unclean). Just please, don’t feed them. No matter how nicely they beg you.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          BRIAN:”You MUST be an American. No one else could sound so credulous and so idiotic.”

          Brian said this to a poster named Lisa who prfossed to be an American Christian Zionist who cautioned people not to prosecute the Jewish people.

          After challenging Brian about his prejudiced statement about an entire group of people, he responded as follows …

          BRIAN:”Spare us the fake indignation. You take yourself far too seriously”

          … and then he pulled no punches…

          BRIAN:”You really are obtuse about this. No surprise.”

          And then this from Marnie too …

          GUSTAV:”Brian’s sentence implies that ALL Americans are idiotic. Surely you don’t agree with him about that, Marnie”.

          MARNIE:”Actually I do”

          … and the ultimate punchline by Marnie …

          MARNIE:”This sudden deluge of vitriol and the new dog whistle regarding our assumed hatred of america/americans is one of the funnier things posted by dear Gustav and Co. What an incredibly bleak, humorless black and white world he exists in.”

          … suddenly our Marnie found her sense of humor. Where she could laugh at others. But when she and her soul-mate, Brian are the subjects. She has no humor. Go figure …

          Reply to Comment
    11. Matthias Einmahl

      “With both the Oslo process and the armed struggle proving useless at best (if not outright damaging to the national cause), the only way forward is unarmed mass uprising, along the lines of the First Intifada, backed by a unified leadership.”

      I agree with this statement 100 %. One can ask why the already existing unarmed struggle has not yielded any results. The answer lies in the quoted statement. It needs to be a MASS uprising BACKED BY A UNIFIED LEADERSHIP. These two conditions are not met so far.

      Where I disagree with the author however is his assessment that “encouraging signs are emerging, pointing to growing awareness of the necessity of this course of action”. The idea of a mass uprising backed by a unified leadership has been floated here and there but has so far always suffered the same fate: Being ignored. Why? To me that is a complete mystery because it is so compelling and evident. I would be easier for me to understand if it were picked up and opposed. But no, that doesn’t happen. It is simply ignored and this by –as far as I can see- everyone:

      – the political mainstream in Israel and their supporters on social media (which is not surprising)

      -Jews with sympathy for the Palestinian cause like the editors of this website

      -All the other ardent and often hyper aggressive supporters of the Palestinian cause on social media

      -the political mainstream on the Palestinian side (PA under Mahmoud Abbas and again not surprising Hamas and its affiliates)

      The talkback to this article is an excellent example: Dozens of comments with endless tirades about the history of the conflict and one very humble talkback at the very beginning with exactly that quote I refer to here …and two timid “likes”.

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