+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

How a Jewish Agency fellow becomes a one-state activist

When Gila Hashkes arrived at UC Berkeley as a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow, she felt like she was jumping into the heart of pro-Palestinian activism. Her job was to organize Jewish students on campus, strengthen their connection to Israel and give them tools to justify its policies. But after a year-long journey of digging deeper into the conflict, being pushed by both her Jewish and Palestinian peers and glimpsing the ‘mentality of fear’ that grips the American Jewish community, she had an awakening of sorts, moved back to Jerusalem and now works for equal rights for all. Tom Pessah sits down with her and explores the transformation.

By Tom Pessah

UC Berkeley students demonstrate after the student student senate did not overturn a veto on a bill that would divest from American companies profiting off the occupation. (photo: Ramsey El-qare)

Can you talk a little bit about your background?

I’m 28-years-old. My extended family includes a whole range of skullcaps and scarfs, especially knitted skullcaps from Bnei Akiva (a national-religious youth movement). Some are Bennett-style settlers. My close family is national religious. Sabbath was Sabbath; today they’re a bit less observant. I grew up in a religious high school. My matriculation exams were in Gemara (a part of the Talmud consisting primarily of commentary on the Mishna), and I was part of Bnei Akiva. My rebellion was going to the army instead of doing national service, in order to be a strong feminist.

How did you get to be the Israel fellow in Berkeley?

After the army I got my bachelor’s degree in business management and communication. I worked in an advertising agency – I hated the advertising world. I felt I was advertising things that were devoid of any content, selling my soul to the devil. And then a friend suggested that I become an emissary (Israeli government emissary abroad), to market something I believe in, with a purpose. The purpose is strengthening the State of Israel. My brother joined the army, and in my mind he went to fight on the battlefront, whereas my strengths are in marketing – so I’m going to fight in the battlefield of Hasbara.

My first year was in Mobile, Alabama, and there it was mainly preaching to the choir – Christian evangelists who ask “why doesn’t Israel take down the Dome of the Rock and build the Third Temple?” I got a bit scared feeling these were our main donors. Alabama is a shopping center of religions, the Bible Belt – so many are converts who just recently joined Judaism. For me, the purpose is to convince them to join programs like MASA and Birthright. This is how emissaries are judged – to send as many students as possible to those programs. I look at them and say: the Israeli Chief Rabbinate doesn’t recognize them as Jews, but the State of Israel is going to tell them “Make Aliyah, you can live here, for sure.” It looked strange to me, this idea of Jewish nationhood – my brother is in the army, and this wealthy American will come here from Alabama and we’ll pay for his absorption “basket” (grant). But that didn’t particularly shake my convictions.

Even so, I didn’t feel fulfilled. I wanted to go to UC Berkeley. It was right after the 2010 divestment campaign to pull University of California funds from companies profiting from the occupation. I met the fellow there at a conference and she told me what was going on in Berkeley. I went red. How are Jews and Israelis speaking like this [criticizing Israel]? I felt I had the capabilities to change this. I did some research online and I learned about all the different groups. I got trained by the Jewish Agency, how to take things that people say and make a “salad” out of them, like a mix, in order to appear more just. The consulate and the Jewish Agency brought us experts like Neil Lazarus, Ben-Dror Yemini. If someone starts to ask you “why do you put the children of Gaza in the world’s biggest prison camp?” you tell them “Thank you for your question, sir, but that is not the issue: what about the children in Sderot?” They assumed that anyone who’s in this room with them doesn’t need the basis of the “why” but only the “how” to know how to spin the subject around.

What were your expectations when you arrived at Berkeley?

After the training, I arrived in Berkeley, and I felt I was going to face Al-Qaeda, at the very least. I came partly undercover to the first annual meeting of Students for Justice in Palestine. I had a pen with a Star of David on it, which I received from the Jewish Agency. After someone asked for a pen and I gave it to him unnoticeably, I got really scared that they would discover I’m Jewish. I felt I was going to a dangerous place, which was how they made me feel. In retrospect that makes me laugh, since so many members in that movement are Jews.

You went through all sorts of changes in the year you were a fellow, no?

I started having questions. I wanted content, but I got fluff. I kept asking them to give me content. There was an event on campus about the Mavi Marmara. Fellows from other universities sent me YouTube clips, but they didn’t send me content. I felt like I needed to produce content myself, and I didn’t have content that was properly based. Because there isn’t one hard line, you keep people in some kind of a haze.

For instance, we found short films by the Ministry of Hasbara from when they built the [separation] wall. The film was made eight years earlier, and one of its points was that when terrorism ended, it would be taken down. Students asked: “the terrorist attacks finished, so why aren’t they taking down the wall?” We contacted the consulate, we sent emails, I asked for answers that are plausible. The answers I received were fluff: the life of one Israeli is worth one more hour of a Palestinian waiting at a checkpoint. It didn’t satisfy me. They said East Jerusalem Palestinians can ask for citizenship if they want. But when I looked into it more deeply, I saw how many questions they ask anyone who tried to get citizenship, and how low the percentage is of those who actually receive it. I inquired, and I didn’t get answers.

In Hasbara, if you own money, you own people’s opinions. When you do things that are too much to the left the donors put you in your place. Every Hillel has its donors, or its StandWithUs, to “balance” it if it strays too much to the left. With J Street there was a big problem, because the donors didn’t want them. They reached out to me directly, or through the Hillel directors, or through my supervisors in the Jewish Agency in Israel. I’d get a phone call about an event that was sponsored by J Street: “There’s a donor who’s upset, talk to him, meet with him.” On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we read names and had a rally on campus, to commemorate those who had died. The following day we had a different event: we had set up a group that would be centrist in Israeli terms, politically, and we wanted them to have a fun day in San Francisco. We brought them to the building of the Jewish Federation, we made plans for next year, and then we went to a museum. The next day I get a call from the Office of the Spokesperson of the Jewish Agency telling me that there is going to be report in Yedioth Aharonoth [Israel’s second-largest newspaper] about how the Israel fellow in Berkeley turned Holocaust Remembrance Day into a day of fun. But it wasn’t all on Holocaust Remembrance Day, it was the day after and it was an event for Israel! At the time I was extremely right wing.

Today I criticize the date Israel chose, and how they make use of Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies for nationalist purposes. At that point I didn’t hold such views, but I did experience first-hand how this disgusting nit-picking works to decide who is the most Zionist. The Jewish community feels it needs to constantly show support because they’re constantly being checked. If they don’t, they get lynched. I talked to the Jewish Agency spokesperson, to explain to him that this was baseless, and they managed, through the power of the Agency, to prevent the publication of the report. They played a political game so that it wouldn’t get published.  I actually wanted them to publish it, so that people would see how disgusting it is in the US: the competition over who is the most Zionist. Holier than thou. For me, it was a peek at the mentality of fear.

Did you feel lonely going through this?

That’s also true for certain people I worked with, part of the Hillel staff. Towards the end of the year, when I started having questions, I was very surprised when many actually agreed with me, but not vocally. Afterward you go and look for a job, but who would take you, apart from Jewish Voice for Peace?

So how did you change in spite of everything?

It began from a very rational place. I remembered that I had seen a picture of N., a Palestinian student, on Facebook. This was while I was recruiting students for Birthright. One of my roles was to interrogate the students to see if they were really Jewish. I was uncomfortable with that. They’re asked how many times a month do they go to synagogue, whether they had a Bar Mitzvah. Then I see a picture of N. standing next to a Jewish-American student on Facebook. On the Jewish student’s sign it said that Israel would pay for her to go to Jerusalem. On N.’s sign it said that she was born in Jerusalem, and Israel won’t let her go back. At that point I asked myself: why doesn’t N. deserve to go back? It didn’t seem fair. I didn’t understand the issue with East Jerusalem, and I wanted to learn from her, since she was born in Jerusalem. I asked to meet her one-on-one, but not as a representative of the Jewish Agency, since that wouldn’t be fair. I came with an attitude of “I’m not going to fight with you.” When I met with her I came to listen for the first time to a Palestinian and her politics. A lot of the things she said were hard for me to hear, but I didn’t respond. She showed me pictures from iron checkpoints she was at, and pictures of family members in Gaza – from her personal experience. From here I decided to examine whether the one-state solution was something I could live with. I’m not interested in a religious state. I’ve always been interested in a separation of church and state. But I never made the next step toward a state of all its citizens – a state that unites religions, races, nations that live within it. That step never crossed my mind.

So [now] I asked myself – “why do you insist so much on a national Jewish state?” My answer had always been “security,” but here were people who were offering me a solution that was more in line with what I want: a secular state combined with long-term security. But I didn’t know if it was only the “Western” Palestinians, the Berkeley crazies, while at home there may be an absolute majority of Palestinians who want to kill the Jews. What about the mood in the Palestinian street, which is not represented in the Western and Israeli media? I didn’t know if N. was representative of an entire people. So I took it upon myself to find out.

How was it for you to go back to Israel after your year in Berkeley?

At the beginning I didn’t want to go back to Israel, with the crazy fanatics from both sides. In the end I decided that I would go back, for myself, and also for my family and friends. I decided to learn Arabic and understand what’s happening to non-Jews in Israel, including immigrant workers; to see if there is a possibility of living together.

I learned Arabic in a Palestinian institute in the Old City in Jerusalem, where they took us to the Museum of the Political Prisoners. I associated the prisoners with those of the [Zionist] undergrounds during the British Mandate, and it’s really very similar, except that this is happening in the present. I saw a picture there of Amna Mona, the one who enticed a boy [Ofir Rahum, in 2001] through a chatroom to go to Ramallah, where he was murdered. I asked the guide “can you tell us a bit about this picture?” I wanted to hear how they could justify her being a cultural icon. He talked about how her brother was in an Israeli jail, and he wrote to her that he couldn’t survive with all the torture, and that he was going to commit suicide. As his big sister she had to do something, and his friends convinced her to kidnap an Israeli as a bargaining chip, which she did. When the kid got to Ramallah in the taxi it got messy, he understood something was wrong. According to the guide soldiers came, and during the shoot-out the kid died. So for me, what is important is that they’re not saying “well done, she took a 15-year-old kid and killed him.” That shows that it’s not that their culture is saying it’s okay. For us, the case of the lynching [of the soldier] in Ramallah [in 2000], or the murder [of the Fogel family] in Itamar [in 2011], comes from their DNA. But they don’t glorify that. So many people don’t know about the murder in Itamar.

I wanted to understand what they really want, what’s the mood, beyond what the media says: do they really want to throw us into the sea? Since then I met people of all kinds, not just the educated class or those in peace groups. From a reality of living there in Ramallah, in Jordan Valley villages, I met people on the bus, the vegetable seller, the girl who helped me with the shopping. I made friends from being there. I formed a realistic perspective that Israelis and westerners don’t usually get. And what I heard was only nostalgic stories about their Jewish friends before the Wall, or from before ’48. Only once I encountered an older woman who had experienced the Nakba first-hand [in Lydda], who said the Jews shouldn’t be here. And even her, after we sat for half an hour she said “you can stay.” “And my mom?” “Your mom too,” she answered. “And my sister?” “Her too.”

What are you working on now?              

The reality I want to reach is real cooperation. Not the kind where Palestinians come to Tel Aviv as a construction workers, but the kind where everyone has the right to make a living within this shared space. I tested N.’s theory to see if it was valid – and it is. Unfortunately it isn’t valid for Israeli society. I get responses like “are you crazy?” or “We gave them Gaza and look what happened?”

When Israelis hears “peace” they immediately thinks of partition. From the people I have met, Palestinians see partition as a kind of forbidden Solomon’s Trial. Peace for them is something between an “engineered peace” that will enable them to have a normal existence, and a demand for shared life with equal rights in this space. I’m talking about the street, not about politicians. We come from such a militant place, but if we do what I call “bringing hearts together,” people will realize that a reality of shared life in this space is both necessary and possible. I’m not talking about communist equality, not “for each according to his needs,” but rather a human rights approach: a shared citizenship, a shared legal system, a shared right to vote, a shared interest for all of this space. For instance, not building Jerusalem’s dump on top of [the Palestinian neighborhood of] Issawiya, because “why should I care what happens in Issawiya?”

Besides demonstrating against the Prawer Plan, the separation wall, land confiscations etc., this is my aim, as a resident of Jerusalem: there are 200,000 people here who can vote for the Jerusalem municipality, but who don’t use this right because they assume, ideologically and logically, that Jerusalem will one day be divided. Now more and more people realize that the division of Jerusalem isn’t going to happen. So the goal has become to put up a Palestinian candidate for mayor of Jerusalem, al-Quds, the capital of the new state, whatever they’ll call it. It definitely won’t happen yet in the next elections, because the problem is that there is opposition both from this side and from the other side. The Palestinians aren’t there yet. But in Beit Safafa [Palestinian neighborhood in southern Jerusalem], after the city approved a plan to build a highway through the center of the neighborhood, people are suddenly understanding the importance of getting into politics – they’re very involved. For me, I want life in a joint political space that doesn’t belong to any religion. Using the right that people already have to vote to turn it from the municipality of the Jewish State of Israel to a city that takes care of all its residents, and supports religious equality and the right to worship. Even though it is the hardest and most intense here, it is also the most possible. If it works in Jerusalem, the rest will be a piece of cake.

Jewish Agency plans most exorbitant ‘pro-Israel’ campaign ever

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Shmuel

      Is this woman for REAL????!!!!

      “what about the children in Sderot?” They assumed that anyone who’s in this room with them doesn’t need the basis of the “why” but only the “how” to know how to spin the subject around.”

      Obviously she was brainwashed by her experience. She seems to now believe that only the children of Gaza matter but the children of Sderot do not matter.

      And what about this little gem?

      “The film was made eight years earlier, and one of its points was that when terrorism ended, it would be taken down. Students asked: “the terrorist attacks finished, so why aren’t they taking down the wall?”

      Duuuuhhhh, that’s a real hard one. Maybe because they don’t want the suicide bombing campaign (which they called THEIR “smart bombs”) to start again????!!!!!

      And this one …

      “I felt I was going to a dangerous place, which was how they made me feel. In retrospect that makes me laugh, since so many members in that movement are Jews.”

      She is talking about anti Israel activists. Interesting to see her imply that Jews cannot be dangerous. Only non Jews can?????

      She is one hellova confused and brainwashed soul. A classic case of Stockholm syndrome.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tom P.

        Gila is clearly not saying that the children of Sderot don’t matter, only that they shouldn’t be used as a rhetorical distraction from the situation of children in Gaza. This sort if rhetorical game disrespects the children of both sides.

        the hasbara film she was referring to promised that the wall would eventually be taken down,not kept forever in case of potential danger. The bigger point, of course, is that the *route* of the wall has nothing to do with suicide bombings and everything to do with expanding settlements, as Israel’s high court recognized http://972mag.com/the-wall-10-years-on-part-11-security-for-israel/50900/

        >>Interesting to see her imply that Jews cannot be dangerous.
        she is simply implying that the expectation of rampant anti-Jewish feelings among these activists was a result of fears instilled in her, more than because of something these activists had done.

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “This sort if rhetorical game disrespects the children of both sides.”

          And that is also true about people who constantly bring the children of Gaza into the conversation. Either condemn both attitudes or condemn neither. Context IS important.

          “the hasbara film she was referring to promised that the wall would eventually be taken down,not kept forever in case of potential danger.”

          Yes, but on what basis can one assert that the danger is now gone?

          “The bigger point, of course, is that the *route* of the wall has nothing to do with suicide bombings and everything to do with expanding settlements, as Israel’s high court recognized http://972mag.com/the-wall-10-years-on-part-11-security-for-israel/50900/

          The route of the wall is a different argument. Gila seemed to question the justification of the wall NOW, period!

          >>Interesting to see her imply that Jews cannot be dangerous.
          “she is simply implying that the expectation of rampant anti-Jewish feelings among these activists was a result of fears instilled in her, more than because of something these activists had done.”

          I stand by my earlier comment. She is one helluva confused young lady. The thing that got her to laugh off the perceived dangerousness of the activists is the realisation that many of them are Jewish. You don’t find that strange? I do! And I am actually insulted by her attitude, on behalf of non Jews.

          She really is a confused, ignorant and easily influenced young lady. Very superficial too …

          Reply to Comment
    2. Shmuel

      But this takes the cake …

      “I wanted to understand what they really want, what’s the mood, beyond what the media says: do they really want to throw us into the sea? Since then I met people of all kinds, not just the educated class or those in peace groups”

      She met a few people who tell her what she wants to hear. And on that basis, she is now fully convinced that if a one state solution would come about, resulting in an Arab majority, the result would be eternal tolerance, peace and utopia.

      Here is a reality check for her. Look around at what is happening (and has happened) in the region in surrounding Arab countries. Sectarian violence and intolerance of minorities is the norm. That was also the norm that Jews experienced in Arab countries when they lived there as minorities. Yes, even in Palestine.

      At best, I would call this poor girl naive. At worst, she is irrational and weak kneed who allowed herself to be intimidated and brainwashed by experts.

      Reply to Comment
      • “She met a few people who tell her what she wants to hear.”

        You have never met the people she spoke with, learned Arabic, or made one-fiftieth of the effort to communicate with Palestinians that she has, and are sitting behind your keyboard using some kind of clairvoyance to tell her what those people really thought. What a shame she did not have you with her when she began visiting Palestinian communities and speaking with Palestinians, as every ‘poor naive girl’ surely needs a telepathic man by her side to explain all the things that the brain of a ‘confused, ignorant, and easily influenced young lady’ just would not be able to grasp without male assistance.

        Seriously, I have a hard time imagining that you would have taken this patronising tone if the article had been written by a dude. You might have disagreed with him, you might have been similarly belligerent in your approach, you might have mischaracterised his ideas in the same way you did here, but I doubt that a 28-year-old male who had been entrusted quite a high level of responsibility as a political advocate would attract the epithets ‘poor naive boy’ or ‘easily influenced young man’. And of course, the idea that women who disagree must be ‘irrational’ or ‘brainwashed’ is a misogynist classic typically used to dismiss women’s political thought. It’s quite telling that the idea of Gila Hashkes legitimately drawing a different conclusion from yours based on her work and experiences doesn’t even seem to have crossed your mind.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          So, is a man not allowed to criticize a woman or call her naive because he is a man and she is a woman? In other words, is a man obligated to defer to a woman’s opinion because someone somewhere might be offended that a man is criticizing a woman?

          Reply to Comment
          • When was the last time you noticed a 28-year-old male interview subject being referred to as an ‘easily influenced young man’ or a ‘poor naive boy’ by someone who disagreed with his politics? This dismissive treatment (particularly the idea of someone as a naive dupe whose ideas have been absorbed passively from someone else) is something that principally happens to women, and it’s common. The only time I have seen it happening to men is when the man in question has been elderly, leading people to patronisingly question the poor old fellow’s cognitive prowess. I don’t expect men not to criticise women, but I do expect their criticism to be based on actual thoughtful engagement with the ideas expressed, and to be free from condescending language that draws attention to biological sex as though it’s somehow relevant.

            Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “You have never met the people she spoke with, learned Arabic, or made one-fiftieth of the effort to communicate with Palestinians that she has, and are sitting behind your keyboard using some kind of clairvoyance to tell her what those people really thought”

          You are accusing ME of clairvoyance? But you are not acting as a clairvoyant yourself????

          How do you know who I met or didn’t meet or who I spoke to?

          But never mind all that. I know the history of this 100 year conflict. It is a history of blind hatred and violence by Arabs towards Jews. You might say the reverse applies too and I would not necessarily disagree about that outcome as a result of this 100 year conflict. Now, never mind that there are possibly some on both sides who resisted the temptation to hate but I bet you they are in the minority on both sides. People don’t easily forget nor forgive mindless indiscriminite violence. So just get off your high horse and let history run it’s course. Right now, it is healthier to let the two peoples have their own state and separate. As for what happens in future generations after we achieve a sustained period of peace, that will be up to them.

          In the meanwhile, rational people don’t try dangerous social experiments that end up in disasters such as we see all around us in the region. We also heed the lessons of history when we Jews were minorities. So don’t expect us to give up our independence which allowed us to defend ourselves more effectively.

          On second thought, you can expect whatever you want but we won’t heed your advice. That’s it.

          @Richard Witty
          We don’t agree on many things but on this one, I agree with you 100%:

          “The place to start is electoral. If a single-state advocacy party achieves 10% of the vote, then it is a proposal to be reckoned with.

          If just a fantasy idea, then better that it not distort other possibilities.”

          Reply to Comment
          • Ghost

            Yeah, it’s a damn shame that there weren’t more rational people around at the end of WW2. All of this conflict in the middle east could have been avoided if colonial minded Brits and Francs hadn’t carved up the middle east irrespective of cultural and ethnic regions and traditional borders, and on top of that gave away a nice tract of land that was never rightly theirs to give, after promising parts of it to the Arabs in return for revolt.

            Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “Seriously, I have a hard time imagining that you would have taken this patronising tone if the article had been written by a dude”

          Clairvoyance again Vicky?

          Seriously, I won’t even dignify this with a response. You are just trying to score points.


          Reply to Comment
    3. Kolumn9

      Someone sold her a dream and she backfilled the rest with whatever was handy and convenient. This idea of a one state where two formerly hostile ethno-religious groups live together is impractical on so many levels that it is only extreme naivete that leads otherwise intelligent people to embrace it. Every place that tried it either collapsed (Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia) or has a separatist movement (Belgium, Spain, Canada, UK) where the question of partition becomes a central issue of contention. There is no practical way of getting there as there is no room for a baseline agreement for such an entity (arguments over name, flag, anthem, immigration policy, legal system, land control, etc would make it ungovernable long before the ‘crazies’ would blow the whole thing up into a civil war) even if it were desired and it most certainly isn’t by the vast majority of Jews and Arabs. Then there is that little detail about the Middle East in which pretty much every professed ‘secular’ state has gone on to have a civil war (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq).

      I am old enough to remember people (usually Arabs, sometimes even Arab MKs) pointing to Syria and Iraq as paragons of secular Arab states with protected minorities whose political model Israel should be forced to emulate. That argument is dead along with tens of thousands of citizens of these states, many killed in the name of ‘stability’ and ‘secularism’.

      It is incredibly fascinating to me that people could believe in such an absurd and impractical idea which has zero chance in the real world and then become activists on behalf of a vision that almost certainly leads to civil war, massacre, expulsions, anarchy and insecurity for all involved. Anyone that points out the logical, historical and practical flaws to this idea gets branded as a racist or a fear-monger but there is pretty much never an actual rebuttal of any of the points presented. It is like never never land. You just have to have faith and ignore or slander anyone that deigns to raise practical objections to the idea. This, along with the historically ridiculous idea of the inevitability of a ‘one state outcome’, whatever that is, is the full extent of the theoretical underpinnings of the rhetoric of those devoted to the one state solution as an ideal.

      Reply to Comment
      • Do you get the sense from this piece that Hashkes is arguing in favour of a utopia? It’s not that people who see a one-state solution as the most feasible necessarily believe in earthly paradise, only that full integration is likely to offer greater stability than partition/segregation. There is no action in this current situation that is without risk; the fundamental question is over which action poses least risk and offers the most secure long-term outcome. India was partitioned partly in response to sectarian violence, but the violence that occurred as a direct result of that decision was horrific. It’s misleading to present partition as the obvious answer to ethnic-based conflict. In Israel/Palestine the violent effects of separation are already being felt, but because these effects are chiefly being born by Palestinians, they are waved away as either inconsequential or not even genuine by certain advocates for partition – and this cuts to the heart of the problem. It is not automatically about whether a person is advocating for one state or two, but their rationale for taking the stance that they take and the deeper attitudes that they hold.

        There are plenty of people who speak of a ‘quiet period’ when Israelis are living their lives in relative calm; courtesy of the separation that already exists here, the state of affairs in the OPT is not something they even have to consider unless they go specifically looking for it as Haskes did. They envisage the two-state solution as a way to secure maximum resources and benefits for Israel while defanging the Palestinian polity and corralling its residents out of sight. I do not believe that all advocates for a two-state solution suffer from this self-centred short-sightedness, but the prevalence of this attitude is a problem and it is not a solid or safe basis on which to shape policy.

        I am not sure what you are trying to say with your other points. The existence of independence movements in unified countries doesn’t automatically denote the presence of suffering or violence (few supporters of Scottish independence, for example, would lay claim to being persecuted). Sometimes they exist as a democratic expression of different political opinion, which is inevitable, as a unified state is never going to mean perfect unity of opinion – and it should be noted that seeking independence is not necessarily the same thing as advocating for separation as it exists in Israel/Palestine. To take one of your other examples, the Soviet Union tried to impose a false homogeneity on the communities living under its rule; having one single state does not automatically mean trying to shoehorn communities with distinct languages and cultures into national conformity, which is a recipe for disaster. As for civil wars occurring in declared secular states, they undoubtedly do, but why would this nullify the author’s support for the separation of church and state? Civil wars occur across the globe in states with every conceivable mode of governance and ethnic makeup, and the primary determining factor in whether they occur doesn’t seem to be the secularity or lack thereof of the ruling government. Perhaps I am just not understanding you, but your comment appears to make a lot of conflations that don’t fit.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Yes, I get from this piece the idea that she has embraced a delusional utopia and is messianically working backwards skipping all logic and reasoning along the way.

          Of course every action has risks. At the same time calling for a course of action that is doomed to be even more unstable and damaging than the status quo to all concerned with no particular likelihood that it would result in anything that resembles a ‘solution’ can hardly be considered a reasonable proposal. Historically partition is by far the obvious answer to ethnic-based conflict. It is the only answer that has demonstrated repeatedly the capacity to generate states with effective governments that are eventually capable of establishing decent relations with the other side. In Israel/Palestine the violent effects of the absence of partition have been felt by both communities before 1947 and during the second intifada. These effects are not being waved away. They were/are very real and the presumption that the absence of partition is a viable approach is contradicted by all evidence to the contrary in Israel/Palestine and in every comparable situation.

          I proudly fall into the camp which “envisages the two-state solution as a way to secure maximum resources and benefits for Israel” which is also known as being interested in Israel’s well-being. I have a very hard time imagining any country with policymakers whose underlying motives are not the self-centered self-interest of their country, nor do I understand how any expectation to the contrary can be considered reasonable in a representative system of government. I would presume the Palestinian representatives are driven by similar motivations but I am having a very hard time squaring that with their actions thusfar.

          My points are simple. The ‘one state solution’ is a cultish delusion divorced entirely from reality and based on a complete unwillingness to learn from history of both the world and of this region. Those that embrace that delusion have nothing but their faith to support their conviction and are incapable of providing any logical defense when presented with criticism. All previous failures of similar approaches are written off as unique cases where this time ‘it will be different’. This time apparently the government isn’t even going to try to create a common identity and the communities involved will not seek their independence as appears to be par for the course for every other similar arrangement or paralyze the government which is par for the course for such situations or fall into internecine conflict which again is par for the course for such situations. Has this been tried before? No, but ‘this time it will be different’ and besides there are risks in every approach and surely it is worthwhile to try a completely untested approach which is almost guaranteed to fail because…?

          Are there secular states in the Arab Middle East? Are the Palestinians not Arabs with the same historical and cultural baggage and influenced daily and directly by the trends popularized in common Arab media? Again, is there any particular reason to presume that an experiment involving people whose closest cultural brethren have proven incapable of living in secular states will work? Nothing of this nullifies the author’s preference for the separation of church and state. All of it points strongly against the feasibility of the author’s desired outcome of a secular one state in all of the land of Israel and for idealistic naivete as the explanation for the author’s outlook.

          Reply to Comment
          • Sammur

            I think we can live together in one-state (: It’s not that far fetched, we’ve done it before.


            Care to watch a video of Settlers and Palestinians promoting peace, together? From each others’ houses? It’s very refreshing. It’s film is shot from a Settler perspective and is very interesting (and short, just 20 min).


            Reply to Comment
          • Sammur

            *this film

            I think we can live together in one-state (: It’s not that far fetched, we’ve done it before.


            Care to watch a video of Settlers and Palestinians promoting peace, together? From each others’ houses? It’s very refreshing. It’s film is shot from a Settler perspective and is very interesting (and short, just 20 min).


            Reply to Comment
          • sh

            I hope readers watch these videos even if they don’t comment on them.

            I hadn’t seen them before although I knew about the late Rav Froman’s approach and was both relieved and encouraged by it. The fact raised by one of the people in this clip that one doesn’t have to own everything one is umbilically connected with is one I hadn’t heard from anyone but myself (met with deafening silence from the few I annoyed with it) until I watched it. I’m really relieved to discover that it’s proclaimed by such people. They are the only ones who, in my eyes, offer real hope that things can and will, eventually, change for the better despite the current gloom of the overall picture.

            So thanks, Sammur, for posting here. And please bring your friends.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            It really is a nice dream. But 60 or so families talking peace is not even a minute start. All it takes is a couple of terrorists to spoil it all and even the video clip talks about how Hamas murdered an Israeli woman and one of her children.

            This Nachum guy and his fellow peacenicks are admirable people for willing to submit themselves to the mercies of Palestinian Arabs. I and most of the rest of us however would not be willing to risk the lives of our loved ones and our friends for an impossible dream because Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa and the rest of their ilk are not just a figment of our imagination. They exist. And so do their acts of terror and atrocities. And there are not just a few of them. They are the majority. The free and democratic elections of 2005 proved it. The majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas.

            I have nothing but admiration for dreamers like Nachum. They are beautiful people. Unfortunately they are not practical and unfortunately they are not destined to survive. Some Hamasnicks will see to it. I really feel sorry for his innocent kids though …

            Reply to Comment
          • sh

            “I and most of the rest of us however would not be willing to risk the lives of our loved ones and our friends for an impossible dream”

            Speak for yourself, Shmuel, not for most of the rest of us. Some of the settlers in question are descended from survivors of the Gush Etzion massacre, which eventually gave birth to Gush Emunim. If the source of the settlements problem was there, the solution has to come from there too.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            “Some of the settlers in question are descended from survivors of the Gush Etzion massacre”

            I am glad you brought that shameful atrocity up.

            Gush Etzion was part of the Yishuv in 1948. It was attacked by a combination of Arab Legion and Palestinian Arab irregulars in 1948. After it fell, the surviving Jewish prisoners were executed in cold blood with their hands tied behind their backs by, the Palestinian Arab irregulars.

            But after 1967 when Israel recaptured Gush Etzion and Jews repopulated it, people like you pretend that Gush Etzion is just a “settlement” and something illegal. How can then people like me have any respect for what people like you claim and advocate?

            Reply to Comment
          • sh

            I’m at least as well-placed as you are to tell that story, Shmuel. But I see you’ve been having a very good and moving (to me) exchange of views with Sammur.

            Just to remark that members of the Ein Tzurim that was set up within the green line after 1948 helped found two shortlived parties at opposing ends of the political spectrum after 1967: Tehiya and Meimad, both of which were voted into the Knesset within the space of a decade. It also supplied one MK for each. We all know which stream predominates at the moment but the under-current continues its pull.

            Reply to Comment
          • SH, do you know the people at Daher’s Vineyard/Tent of Nations? They’re near Bethlehem and close to the settlement of Neve Daniel. If you’ve never visited before I think you should go. It started out as a family farm, but when the land confiscation and the demolition threats and the raids started the family also turned it into a centre serving Palestinians from neighbouring communities and anyone else who cares to come, which has included more than a few settlers. Yesterday after commenting here I realised that I’m getting tired and should have visited the farm a while ago. The people there are a good antidote to that.

            Reply to Comment
          • sh

            No, I don’t know it, Vicky. Will you go? How does one get there?

            Reply to Comment
          • Sammur

            You’re welcome Sh 🙂 I’m glad you liked it. I thought it was relevant and timely so I posted it. If I find other interesting videos, I will share them.

            Shmuel, logically, what you say about Hamas being representative of the majority of Palestinians (and their way of thinking) makes sense if you’re just looking at the numbers. But, as a 30 yr old Palestinian living in the West Bank, I can assure you that I have never met a single Palestinian that fits your description. I also have family members from Gaza who I rarely see (for obvious reasons) except on holidays, and they really are as normal as you and me.

            I’ve also traveled and lived abroad for many years as I was completing my higher education and I met and mingled with many Palestinians from Jordan, Syria, Chile, and elsewhere; I seriously have never met anyone that condones the extreme (and obviously terrible and inhumane) practices of Hamas’ militants.

            I truly believe they are fringe anti-Semites, anti-humanists and are not, and should not be, representatives of Palestine and Palestinians.

            I guess what I’m trying to say is, why don’t you give peace a chance 🙂 ? I have met and befriended many Israelis, and it’s been a thrill getting to know them and to share ideas with them. Why don’t you (assuming you haven’t already done so) try to meet people from Beit Ummar or elsewhere? I guarantee that you will cherish that experience.

            At the end of the day I’m an idealist and I believe in outreach, love, and compassion above all and that the only constant in life is (positive) change.


            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            “I guess what I’m trying to say is, why don’t you give peace a chance”

            Believe me Sam, I would and I do. But my guard goes up when people start talking about the one state solution which would sooner or later render the Jews into minority status. Gila advocates that and the video implies it in a different way.

            What exactly is wrong with the two state solution?

            Reply to Comment
          • Sammur

            Hi Shmuel,

            “What exactly is wrong with the two state solution?”

            I don’t believe it’s sustainable. You have two national narratives that are polar opposites of each other. I’m for a one-state solution with a consociational form of government. A power sharing, periodic-rule model (each represented group rules for, equally, a set period of time. No minority/majority issues. The president/VP/PM or whichever positions rotate. I don’t see any grievances that way and I get to finally live by the beach.

            The Belfast and Ohrid agreements are decent examples for our situation.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel


            You sound like a decent person so please don’t feel offended about some of my more strident comments that I made previously, nor for what I am about to say.

            You might feel that the two state solution is untenable. I and many more like me on the other hand, feel that the ONE state solution is untenable from our point of view. Let me explain why (briefly).

            We have no confidence in the power sharing that you outline because it means that our national defense force would no longer exist in it’s present form. In a democratic state, the army would become a joint Jewish Arab army. Nothing wrong with that in principle as long as people can trust each other to not put tribal interests first. This is where the rub is. Given our mutual bloody history, there is no such trust. I can only speak about how people like me feel. We feel that sooner or later such an army would disintegrate due to provocations by extremists. And then, where would we be? We would be a minority surrounded by Arab countries who would back up their brother Arabs, the Palestinian Arabs.

            No thanks. we, people like me don’t want to try that experiment.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sammur

            Shmuel, no worries I was and still am not offended; come at me strong and say what you want.

            Just don’t call me a schmuck, and don’t talk about my mother.


            I hear you and you have every right to feel that way -who wouldn’t? And I too believe that both Palestinian and Israeli

            collective traumas make mutual trust very difficult. But, if we imagine for a second that we had been living in a binational

            one-state, I would gladly fight along a Jew (Yemeni, European, Persian, Palestian, Omani) and Druze or whomever to defeat

            extremists and defend my country -a very beautiful country that’s granting me equal rights like every other citizen residing

            in it. I understand your fears, but you have to take into account the major socioeconomic changes, zeitgeist shifts, and the

            numerous shifts in behaviour and thinking given that Palestinians and Jews are now equals. Some things to consider:

            1. Support for radical Palestinian or Jewish groups would have diminished significantly.
            2. Liberal Jews, western leftists and Arab isolationists will leave Israel/Palestine (I like calling it Israestine/Palesrael or just

            Holyland) mostly alone.
            3. Israelestine will be let into the elite international clubs of the world.
            4. Moderate Palestinian/Jewish groups would have grown to be much, much stronger.
            5. Moderate Muslims the world over would already have changed their attitude toward Israel.
            6. Unreliable treaties, like those with Egypt and Turkey, would have grown stronger and even solidified.

            I think that you will only start to see it the way I do if you give your self a chance to mingle with Palestinians and other

            Arabs and hear all their different ideas and views. It’s not black or white, extremist or not. It’s much more complex and of

            course your already know that, but I’m just saying.

            Everytime I get a permit and go to Israel for a couple of days to Acca or Haifa and I strike up conversations with Palestinian

            Israelis, there is one message that sticks with me and that I keep hearing from them -whether from a taxi driver or a barber

            (Yes, I get a haircut everytime I go to Israel). It usually starts off with me saying “goddamn it’s so beautiful over here I so

            envy you” with him replying “yea but we’re still second class citizens” and I reply with “yea i know” with him quickly saying

            “yea but, still, I’m better off here than in any other Arab country. Can you name one other Arab country that gives me free

            health care? Name one other Arab country that’s praised for its scientists, medical professionals, intellectuals, artists. Name

            one other Arab country that’s been able to accomplish all this in 60 years. I’m good here man, I’m good.” I mean, I think

            there’s a lot that he’s overlooking, but you get my point.

            Try it. If you’re able to pull off looking and speaking like a Palestinian, do a social experiment.

            Contrast what you were saying (other Arab nations helping their “Arab brothers”) with what’s happening in Syria. Yes,

            Jordan has done a lot (bless them) by taking in 100s of thousands of Syrians. So has Iraq and Lebanon. Jordan and Syria

            had done the same when Iraq was invaded back in 2003. But, did any of them invade to rescue their Arab brothers? I see

            your point, and it’s a fair point given what’s happened b/w 1947-1973 but Arab nations at those times just rode the

            Palestinian cause to push their own nationalist (and expansionist) agendas. Things have changed, a lot, since then. I hope

            this one last paragraph that you just read does not overshadow what I’ve mentioned above; I feel like I concocted some

            very tasty punch and finally took a dump in it with this last Syria view that I shared.

            Thanks for taking the time to read all this.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel


            I love your vision. It really is inspiring and no, I am not being sarcastic. I truly love what you have to say. But sadly, I cannot believe in it because it sounds too good to be true. At least in the foreseeable future. Why? Because there are enough fanatics around to spoil it. And believe me, even with good people around, the fanatics would succeed in spoiling it because the wounds of history are too fresh. So this is my alternative vision:

            Go with the two state solution. Have your own state, build it up, prosper and thrive. Let us do the same. We both can if we don’t waste precious resources on wars. Build up trust and cooperation between us, it CAN happen gradually. Then who knows, if all that works, with steady progress and sustained peace, trust will strengthen. Maybe down the track, maybe within a generation, there can be talk of a confederation.

            My vision is somewhat utopian too. It’s success is by no means assured but that’s the only option that people like me are willing to entertain. Because it isn’t a practical proposition for us to talk to as many Palestinians as we would need to talk to to build up the sort of trust that would be needed to accede to your vision. And also because the implications of getting it wrong (by agreeing to the one state solution) would be life and death decisions. It could literally mean the death of us and our loved ones. We have been there and done that before as minorities. I am sure you understand what I mean by that. You sound like you read our history.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sammur


            I like your vision. I guess our wounds might still need more time to completely dry up, or at least to coagulate to a thickened clot which I think can only happen if we engage each other.

            As for your history, yes, I do read it. I’m a big fan of the Palestine-Israel Journal. There were certain pieces back in 2002 that significantly changed my perspective on many things. It was the 9th volume for that year and the 4th issue and it was called: Narratives of 1948. Also, meeting Israelis and American Jews abroad also played a major role in re-shaping my thoughts and perspectives, though I should say that my upbringing was of course the biggest factor; it gave me the capacity to engage, be engaged, be open minded and, most importantly, to listen and empathize. I have to give my folks some credit.

            A link to the PIJ pieces I mentioned: http://www.pij.org/current.php?id=12


            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel


            I think there are many decent people on both sides. There are also those who have agendas and they promote those agendas through propaganda. For what it is worth, I think that you are one of the genuine people with whom we could live in peace and mutual respect. But unfortunately often it is the fanatics who are able to decide what happens, at least in the short, or more probably the medium term. So our mutual task is to minimise and marginalise their influence in our respective societies. Easier said than done. It can only be done through honest debate. Self flaggelation does not work. It just gets people’s backs up, it turns us defensive and our natural reaction is to point at what the ‘other’ has done to us. I know because that’s the effect that it has on me.

            In the meanwhile, if we rush things and implement untenable solutions, we will do more harm than good.

            I am glad we had this discussion. Be well.

            Reply to Comment
          • K9, you raise some interesting points on partition, although I disagree with the overall analysis and find the axiom you’re working from to be fundamentally wrong – self-interest that exacts a huge price from other people is a very precarious base for peace. I think it would be interesting to discuss the situation here in light of certain peacemaking and community-building strategies that have been deployed in the Balkans and Northern Ireland. However, I have been feeling quite snappy lately, and it is better I don’t have political discussions until I am feeling marginally less like a crocodile.

            Shmuel, my apologies to you. I think what you’re saying is wrong but there was no reason for me to be rude to you over it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            You say Shmuel is wrong? That’s it?

            He went to a lot of effort to explain his position. He provided historical facts to back up his arguments. For instance the majority vote, in democratic elections, by Palestinian Arabs for Hamas.

            Are you saying he is wrong about that? Or are you saying that he is wrong about Hamas? Are you saying that Hamas are just boy scouts?

            What exactly is Shmuel wrong about?

            Reply to Comment
          • Vicky

            I have explained why I don’t want to discuss this further; I’m feeling tired and snappy lately and it’s making me unfairly caustic with people. Commenting under a different username will not make me more likely to engage with your arguments.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Commenting under a different name? What do you mean?

            Engage with me? You don’t have to if you don’t want to. Hey, my life will still be fulfilling even if you don’t engage.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            “I have explained why I don’t want to discuss this further; I’m feeling tired and snappy lately and it’s making me unfairly caustic with people”

            OR ….

            You cannot back up your arguments with logic and facts.

            Oh and I am sorry too if I was rude to you, Vicky.

            Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “There is no action in this current situation that is without risk; the fundamental question is over which action poses least risk and offers the most secure long-term outcome.”

          Well Vicky, we tried both options.

          For 2000 years we were minorities. How did that work out for us? You tell us …

          For 65 years, we have tried the other option. We are independent and we are a majority in our own state. Things are not perfect this way either but most of us prefer it this way. Go figure …

          Reply to Comment
    4. Richard Witty

      She didn’t address content.

      If she can convince enough Israelis and Palestinians to consent to a single state approach, then that would be the will of the people.

      If not, then she is proposing to impose onto the people.

      The place to start is electoral. If a single-state advocacy party achieves 10% of the vote, then it is a proposal to be reckoned with.

      If just a fantasy idea, then better that it not distort other possibilities.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jacob Branen

      The poor girl never got answers and so she felt betrayed by the people she felt she represented and the people giving her answers were Palestinians. There are reasons to protest the Israeli government so I don’t blame her for making such a radical change. But Israel is not the enemy here, hopefully someone comes to her and convinces her of this fact.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Aaron Gross

      Interesting interview, thanks for posting it. It’s a shame that this woman looked to the wrong people for answers to her very good questions. You’re not going to get good, serious answers from professional propagandists.

      I think there are good, satisfactory – if tragic – answers to all her questions that do justify the existence of the State of Israel. This woman is unusually open-minded and rational. I hope she stays open to good arguments from the other side.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Any apostate can be expected to be vilified as unclean. Denying prior Truth leaves one open to charges of manipulation (as in brainwashing in an above comment) or vile person gratification. On brainwashing, once one admits the term as causally efficacious, all positions are open to the same deterministic charge: so, e.g., the children of settlers are raised in an ignorant environment with suspect religious tenants. But so too the children of progressives. We are vehicles in the clash of ideas. While there are undoubtedly causal schemes predicting which ideas we shall hold, we live our ideas and their clashes. There is not much in humanity which is truly individual; even death, whether of a suicide bomber or a beloved family or group elder, is not one’s own. Perhaps defecation is a somewhat individual act; certainly reproduction is not.

      On Gila’s advocacy of a One State “solution,” I think One State “outcome” is preferable; indeed, final solutions of any kind in your land are dubious. A prior comment notes violent sectarianism rampant in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and offers this as proof for a Two State policy. I would add Greater Palestine to that list (using this neutrally), before and since Israel’s inception. It is just that here the Israeli social economy is far dominant, diverting violence into other forms. In fact, this is why I continue to see One State as inevitable, although surely not initially democratic. I do not “support” a One State outcome; I think the most likely “Two State” policy solution, something like free commerce with associated rights (not voting) coupled with dominate Israeli security, is actually more One State that Two State. I see no plausible road to Oslo like Two States, which was perhaps a fantasy even then.

      Israel proper does indeed enjoy relief from the hells surrounding it. But a significant portion of this is do to socio-economic development. JEWISH Israel has internal strife of many kinds (http://972mag.com/jerusalem-court-okay-to-call-im-tirzu-a-fascist-group/78591/ is one example, as was throwing dirty diapers at the police a while back); and there was militia conflict at Israel’s inception, sometimes leading to internal violence. The best thing you can do to truly limit sectarianism in the West Bank is find a way to instill real economic development there, development which will be linked to you, so with social spillover.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Partial

      All the info about her support for the Muslim brotherhood is left out…
      That in itself is enough to reveal the double standard Gila uses.
      What a shame/sham….

      Reply to Comment
    9. XYZ

      Meeting anecdotal “nice people” on the other side is IRRELEVANT in attempting to determine what the effect of major political shifts will be. Policy is NOT made by people in the street that Gila may meet. Journalist William Shirer said most Germans were terrified of the prospect of war in 1939, but Hitler took them to war anyway. He made the decision, not the nice Germans who may have been in the streets. There is no doubt that people in Sarajevo who were butchering each other in the 1990’s never dreamed of doing that a few years earlier. The Arabs who killed the Jews of Hevron in 1929 probably never thought of doing that even a few weeks before some “inspiring” speaker convinced them to go out and kill their neighbors. Same in Syria, same in Iraq. Most people don’t want wars or trouble but there are enough people who do want these things and they can get everyone else to go along with it, if they use enough persuasion or coercion. It is the leaders who make the decisions, and the Palestinian leadership, both FATAH and HAMAS make it clear they don’t want peace with Israel. That is what determines policy, not Gila’s friends attitudes.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Great to see the new tactics of hasbara exposed in this thread. And as we have just learned, it’s not limited to Palestine, Syria’s fate as well will be influenced by this confederacy of dunces.
      So the name of the game is quantity now. More and more of the same garbage to dilute the few voices of reason and cover up for a total lack honesty.
      As Shmuel said: “But never mind all that. I know the history of this 100 year conflict. It is a history of blind hatred and violence by Arabs towards Jews.” You other fools should just stop pretending you have a brain cell left and just copy and paste this perfect definition of ignorance in every tweet and post.
      As much as I admire the quixotic attempts by Vicky and a few others, I’m afraid it’s useless.

      Reply to Comment
      • Shmuel

        “You other fools should just stop pretending you have a brain cell left”

        And what is your pretence Engel? That there was/is no hatred by Arabs towards Jews? I suppose less than a decade ago, the hordes of suicide bombers who murdered Israeli civilians randomly, had love in their hearts towards their innocent victims?????

        Either you are ignorant of history, or you are pretending. I think it is the latter. Why do I think that? Because no one, not even you, could be THAT ignorant.

        Reply to Comment
    11. Mo

      Shmuel, I recommend following Gila on Facebook. I think you could learn a lot from her.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Shmuel

      “Shmuel, I recommend following Gila on Facebook. I think you could learn a lot from her.”

      HALLELUJAH, I am a believer. Nah, just pulling your leg.

      Reply to Comment
    13. XYX

      How sad, a nice, clean kidnapping got “messy” and the poor boy died, somehow.
      There have always been Jews like this Gila who have ended up joining our enemies and realizing that the enemies were right and, for our own good, we should do what they want. This was the Yevseksia which zealously send religious Jews and Zionists to the GULAG, for their own good and who told us how nice Stalin and the NKVD were, just as nice as Gila’s Palestinian friends are. Just watch out for “messy” actions they may carry out. They may be fatal.

      BTW-if you think Gila represents some sort of mass abandonment of Zionism by people of her background, there are just as many people who came from Peace Now and who are now active as settlers and in other right-wing movements like Im Tirtzu.

      Reply to Comment
      • You’re absolutely right, there are many false prophets of peace walking the Holy Land.

        Reply to Comment
    14. What wil happen to state of Israel after the arabs are allowed to return? Answer They will be obliterated. Two state solution is only way. They will be able to build own country

      Reply to Comment
      • Shmuel

        You are 100% right Julie.

        This charm offensive by SOME Palestinians and their supporters in progressive publications such as this is just their latest tactic to sap the will of Israelis. It is called PROPAGANDA. It always existed and it was always used in all wars by everyone. And there were always gullible people who fell for it but mostly, sensible people see through it for what it is …

        Their new motto is:

        “don’t worry, you are our brothers. All you have to do is give up your independence and live under our rule. We will look after you”

        Yeah … right …. and what happens the day after? ANSWER: What always happened to Jews, sooner or later, when we were minorities …

        Reply to Comment
        • Dan

          Shmuel Shalom,

          It is me, MY1. I must tell you that I answered your questions and sent many replies to you and to others. But I was moderated and many of my comments deleted. That’s the reason people think I don’t reply, don’t bring proofs (like Cliff). Also, the answer to you about the refugees was sent three times and was published only after I did many changes. In this way it is very difficult to me to maintain the sequence of the debate.

          Reply to Comment
    15. eXpat

      This article makes me sick. She was in Mobile ALABAMA encouraging Jews for Jewish to “return to Israel”. Are you joking?

      Reply to Comment
    16. Click here to load previous comments