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How to talk occupation at a Rosh Hashanah dinner and make it out alive

What were you thinking? Everyone in the family noticed that anti-war status you posted this summer, and the hasbara video they sent that you didn’t ‘like.’ Tonight they are going to air it all.

The Rosh Hashanah holiday dinner is a dangerous event for Israeli leftists — especially after this past summer. Remember that angry post you uploaded to Facebook about Shujaiya, or the settlement budget, or about people who put Israeli flag badges on their profile pictures? Present at your holiday dinner will be at least two cousins who noticed and have been waiting two months to take it up with you. And let’s not forget about mom’s elderly uncle. He may not have noticed that you didn’t ‘like’ the hasbara video he posted on your Facebook wall, but you better trust that he won’t miss his chance to explain, at first with a smile but quickly with a face flush red from wine, about the true nature of “the Arab” (in the third person singular).

The keyword of the evening: ISIS. You’re going to hear it a lot. Because the Israeli leftist is a specimen: an object to identify, educate, and if that doesn’t work, to chop up and make meatballs out of. It really doesn’t matter if you’re one of those provocateurs who at Passover says that “freedom is for Palestinians, too,” or if you shelter yourself by “hiding” everyone on Facebook with whom you disagree in order to fortify your safe and pleasant bubble — the family thought-police will catch up with you. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about not getting married, or about the kids you need to have already. This time, the interrogation will go in an entirely different direction.

The recommended strategy is desertion. A long weekend out of the country, or at least out of town, will stop you from becoming the central attraction that keeps all the guests in their seats until midnight. But if you don’t have a viable escape plan, or if you’re one of those masochists who is still planning to convince those who aren’t really even part of the debate, you should probably come prepared, and use only the leftist strategies that have been proven over the years to work. The occupation has been around since 1967, which means that we’re the second and third generations of annoying polemicists, so we might as well make good use of our accumulated experience.

Illustrative photo of Rosh Hashana family dinner. (Photo by Rache Barenblat/Flickr/CC)

Yes, we are looking at you. (Illustrative / Rache Barenblat/Flickr/CC BY-NC SA 2.0 )

1. The “so what do you propose” method (for use in a diverse crowd): This is by far the most effective tactic we have in our arsenal. The trick is to never allow yourself to be dragged into historical arguments of “who started it” and other similar traps. Look only forward. I’ve always wondered about interviewers who allow right-wingers to pour fire and brimstone on the Left, on Arabs and on “the world’s anti-Israel bias,” but who don’t ask them, “OK, so what do you propose?” The first thing that always happens is that the angry tone of the security-oriented Right immediately drops by at least 20 decibels, and their monologues start to become much less matter-of-fact and much more foggy. Now you’re going to hear slogans about an “iron fist” and “if we pull out of the West Bank they’ll shoot at the TLV airport,” and so on and so forth.

At this point, all you need to ask is, “and then what?” In other words, after we crush and eliminate and scorch, what do we do next? Do we annex it all? Do we expel them? Withdraw from the territories? Because those security problems will also be there in five or 10 or 20 years, along with the same West Bank hillsides and the same mortars and the same airport they can hit. Indeed, the Palestinians aren’t going anywhere, so what do you propose?

The Right doesn’t have an actual operative plan, and therefore, you can continue in these circles endlessly, or at least clear through to dessert. As it becomes obvious that your opponent has nothing to offer, the rest of the family will lose interest. Maybe they’ll even appreciate you and your rational thinking. You might be a lefty Arab-lover, but not an idiot. Under the present circumstances, that’s something.

There is, of course, the possibility that your opponent will double down and yell: “There is no solution! We’ll always live by the sword!” From my experience, that answer is not a crowd pleaser — especially for those in the crowd who have children to be drafted into the army soon. If they choose to get involved, you’ve won.

2. The Ehud Barak method: As everyone knows, Barak’s only contribution to the public discourse in Israel was in that old interview with Gideon Levy, in which Barak said that if he was a Palestinian he would have joined one of the terrorist organizations and fought against Israel. Despite all of the hasbara efforts, there’s something about that sentence — the simple truth in it — that most Israelis understand. Use that to your advantage.

The challenge here is timing. If you ask, “what would you do if you were Palestinian,” at the right moment, you may just get some surprising answers. If the conversation wanders to the refugee camps and general misery in Gaza, know you are on the right track – you may even be able to mention the siege.

Ehud Barak (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org)

Your friend in this fight. Ehud Barak (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org)

The problem is that after this past summer many people think that if they were Palestinians they would fight against Hamas because it’s fighting against Israel. So you need to demonstrate that those Palestinians who don’t fight against Israel (like Abbas) still don’t get anything from the Israeli government. At the end of the day, you can explain, the tragic truth is that Israel makes concessions only to those who fight it with force. After the First Intifada we agreed to Oslo, after the Second Intifada — the Gaza Disengagement. “And in order to agree to withdrawing from Sinai,” you should add, “we needed the 1973 War, with thousands dead.” The older crowd will give you a point, if not for the idea then at least for the historical reference.

3. The strategist approach (suitable for an audience with a tendency for geopolitical analyses): A simple argument, which should only be pulled out after the whole family has already talked about ISIS. After they recite the Netanyahuian argument that we can’t make any concessions right now because there are animals like the Islamic State all over the Middle East, you should say something like, “you could also look at things in a different way.” For the first time in the history of Israel, you’ll explain, there’s no functioning army within hundreds of kilometers of our borders. Not Iraq, not Syria and not Hezbollah, which are all busy with civil wars. Even the Egyptians are occupied with their own internal matters, and their coordination with Israel isn’t actually all that bad.

The Israeli existence has never been so secure. What will destroy us is the occupation, and so it’s actually now, when we’re in a strong position and secure, that we need to make a fair deal with the Palestinians. If your audience puts up too much resistance, revert to Method 1: “So what do you propose?”

4. The Leibowitz method (for the Labor/Meretz crowd — or really, for anyone who worries about “the conflict”): The basic argument is that the occupation is destroying Israeli society. All of the tension, the violence, the fact that people can’t imagine a future here more than three or four years ahead, is the inevitable result of the occupation. And in the prophet’s own words, many, many years ago:

A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret-police state, with all that this implies for education, free speech and democratic institutions. The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the State of Israel. The administration would suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab Quislings on the other. There is also good reason to fear that the Israel Defense Force, which has been until now a people’s army, would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation, degenerate, and its commanders, who will have become military governors, resemble their colleagues in other nations.

Explain to them that everything is happening exactly as Leibowitz foretold. So, maybe let’s change direction?

If among the guests there are any couples whose twenty-something children ran away to New York or Europe (with the encouragement of their parents, as is acceptable today), it’s possible they might nod in agreement. The problem is that most of the Israeli public is living pretty well with today’s status quo, so this approach won’t bring you any further than a draw.

5. The one-state method (best used with a very right-wing crowd). This is your nuclear option. After you voice it, most of the table will probably think you’re delusional, but that’s still better than getting beaten up. In order to use it, you need to understand that the Right’s premise is that the entire Left falls somewhere between Tzipi Livni and Peace Now — that the only thing we’re interested in is dismantling settlements. The goal here is to stupify your opponent by completely agreeing with them, and then to end the argument before they have time to recover.

For most of the discussion let the other side presume that you are only in favor of withdrawal from the West Bank. After they pull out their “security borders,” and ISIS, and the mortars fired at the airport, and maybe even something about our right to live in Hebron (strangely, the Right rarely raises this argument anymore), in a calm voice tell your interlocutor that they’re 100 percent correct, that the two-state solution has no chance, and that the only people who understand it are Uri Elizur, Tzipi Hotovely and Reuven Rivlin.

Yeah, yeah, it turns out that since the Pasover Seder you’ve become a one-state supporter, and they’re actually the ones who convinced you, cousins from Ariel who were always disappointed by your political views. They won. Therefore, clarify that you support Naftali Bennett’s plan to annex Area C — because it will inevitably lead to granting voting rights to Palestinians in areas A and B. We will have it all: democracy, security – and Hebron. Just in case your cousins don’t think of it on their own, remind them that we didn’t come to this land in order to settle Herzliya.

From there, the rest of the argument becomes irrelevant. It’s even possible that silence could prevail. Exploit that moment to clear your plate, quickly thank your hosts, and dash home. It’s late, and you have to catch a flight in the morning.

Related:
From my old blog: Talking to Israelis is so useless these days
There’s nothing static about the West Bank ‘status quo’

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    COMMENTS

    1. Victor Arajs

      The only part of this article I agree with is desertion- but it should be permanent. The right wing are honest thieves, they state that we intend to steal the land and hold it with superior firepower. The left is probably even more guilty, because they argue that the theft of 1948 is not really theft but that of 1967 is. By talking about the 1967 occupation, they hope you will forget about the 1948 occupation. So yes, please desert. There is a lot of wide open space in Ukraine and Belarus where you wont oppress anyone

      Reply to Comment
      • James

        Advice to Victor Arajs: Seek a mental health specialist who can guide you through the process of meeting reality. And in reality, the Jewish state of Israel exists, next to 20+ Arab states, and it’s there to stay. Accept that Jews managed to squeeze one tiny state into existence, next to 50+ Muslim states. Work through it.

        Reply to Comment
        • Erik

          Wow, James, you’re really quite a bigot, aren’t you? Modern Israel has existed since 1948, sure. How long will it last, though? You’re doing the Israelis a great disservice by being such a prick in how you represent them.

          The US is loosing power relative to other power-poles in the world and Israel is loosing support here and in Europe.

          Also, with social media, Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians are getting out, causing even further decreases in support for them.

          They need to make nice and stop the lying a.s.a.p. All it’s going to take is a country like China or Russia standing up to an increasingly weak and indifferent US and Israel is gone unless they make more friends.

          Snotty supporters like you are just hammering nails in their coffins.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Tomer

      In the long-term, we must expel the Arab settlers back to Jordan (where they belong).

      All other options just means more wars.

      Reply to Comment
      • Mareli

        Jordan does not want or need any more refugees from anyplace; it is already filled with refugees from Iraq, Syria, and, yes, mandatory Palestine.

        Reply to Comment
      • Liz

        What will you do, Tomer, if Jordan refuses to take them? You are falling into the same trap as all those who think like you, that if Israel wants to expel it can. The problem is that Israel has to expel to somewhere. What if nowhere will open its doors to accommodate Israel’s wishes.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Excellent article. Am I glad though not to belong to that endangered species called ‘Israeli Left’.

      A state were the political pendulum no longer swings significantly is democratically in serious trouble.

      ***In the long-term, we must expel the Arab settlers back to Jordan (where they belong).***

      Of all the possible options Tomer manages to choose that one that is truly impossible. Bar a few nutjobs on the Extreme Far Right no one contemplates this seriously.

      Even Israel’s greatest supporter and benefactor will not allow wholesale transfer.

      In a sort of ‘Devil’s advocate’ way I could almost wish Tomer’s plan was put into action: it would lead to almost lethal ostracising of Israel by the RoW.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Whiplash

      Noam has an inflated sense of worth if he thinks he would be “the central attraction that keeps all the guests in their seats until midnight.”

      It is sad commentary that he plots in advance what he might say at the dinner table instead of looking forward to renewing family ties.

      Most guests would laugh at Noam’s attempts to steer the conversation and not talk about the Palestinian factor. If Palestinians wanted peace based upon two states for two peoples, there would have been peace. The Palestinians’ own poll (September 2, 2014) of Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank show that only 22% believe in a negotiated solution while over 60% believe in violent resistance. The same poll showed that 88% of Palestinians approved of Hamas’s actions in the Gaza war and 72% supported the transfer of Hamas tactics and arms to the West Bank. The majority of Palestinians also approved of the kidnapping and murder of three innocent Israeli teenagers. What does this tell you about the attitudes of the Palestinian people toward peace and for the need of the Israeli people to prevent the Palestinians from gaining their objectives by Hamas style tactics?

      Parents of young children and teenagers need only remember the slitting of the throats of the Fogel children, the killing of three Israeli teenagers in June, the killing of 4 year old Daniel Tragerman, and the killing of school children on exploding buses in the second intifada to realize that their children are targets of Palestinian terrorism and like themselves their children will serve in the IDF to protect Israeli society and its children from additional attacks.

      Most guests might tell Noam that life goes on whether or not there is a solution to the Palestinian conflict. They would tell him that peace waits a paradigm shift in Palestinian attitudes to the conflict. This paradigm shift awaits a Palestinian discourse on abandonment of the revolutionary ideals of violent resistance and replacement with peace seeking cooperation with the Jewish state of Israel. It also means that Palestinians must learn to value their children as more than suicide bombers and cannon fodder in the war against Israelis. As Golda Meir said they must learn to love their children more than they hate Israelis.

      So most guests will ignore Noam’s rambling discourse and get on with celebrating the New Year.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        The worn out lie Whiplash tirelessly pushes is that had the Palestinians approached their Israeli occupiers with absolute nonviolence they would have gotten anything even remotely approaching a square deal. The history of the whole conflict up to September 24, 2014 exposes the lie. They would have gotten absolutely nothing except more settlement and sneaky evasions and endless talking, endless management. The Right knows this. The Left knows this. The Center knows this. Whiplash knows this. It’s all dishonest pretending.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          If the Palestinians had approached the conflict in 1947 with absolute non-violence, the Palestinians would have received a state on 45% of the remainder of the land of the Mandate of Palestine after 78% had been sliced off for the state of Jordan. 70% of the Jewish state would have been made up of desert and 40% of the Jewish state would have been Arab citizens. The Arab state would have had a small Jewish minority.

          Not only would there have been peace in Israel and the new Arab state, the region would not have been plunged into war. In the absence of the war, peace could have flourished. The billions of dollars spent on war could have been spent on building the Palestinian and Israeli states, living side by side in peace and prosperity.

          But this was not to be, because the Palestinian Arabs chose war in 1947 and sought to eradicate the emerging Jewish state. At anytime between 1949 and 1967 the Palestinians Arabs could have sought peace and a state on the lands of Gaza and the West Bank with no Jews living there. Instead the Palestinians chose to form the PLO, Hamas and other terror groups whose existence was based on the violent destruction of Israel and its people.

          In 1978 the Palestinians refused to join the Egyptians and Israelis in peace negotiations at Camp David. They again chose violence over peace. If they had chosen peace over violence they would have had a state before the 1990s.

          In 1993 the Palestinians used the Oslo Accords to bring their terrorist activities to Israel, Judea and Samaria and Gaza. If Arafat, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinians had chosen absolute non-violence in 1993 Shimon Peres would have been elected prime minister of Israel and peace would have have resulted in a Palestinian state before the year 2000. There would have been no second intifada and no Gaza wars. By now the Israeli forces which would have been stationed in the West Bank following the peace agreement for 10 years would be back in Israel. The Palestinian airport would have continued to fly Palestinians and the seaport would have been finished in Gaza. Palestinians would have continued to enjoy the free access to and from Israel and the rest of the world which they had prior to the second intifada.

          If Palestinians had chosen absolute non-violence in 1993 they could be celebrating at least 16 years of independence. But the Palestinians did not choose peace or non-violence, but instead continued with violence without any ethical boundaries.

          Reply to Comment
          • Pierre J. Tack. .Antwerp. Belgium

            About Tomer’s opinion on 24/9: more nazi than his comment, you die !
            About Whiplash on 24/9, “if, if, if,…” whith “ifs” you can put Paris in a bottle as the French say ! Useless !
            What the Israeli Government needs is a Mandela to free the Palestinians and a Bishop Tutu to reconciliate Palestinians and Israeli !
            If that’s not done history will repeat itself : forced exodus to Babylon and Egypt ! It’s up to you Israel !!!

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            If the Palestinians had approached the conflict in 1947 with absolute non-violence

            …the Israelis would have been able to remove them from their lands using the police instead of having to chase them away with mortar shelling. And the UNSCOP-proposed Arab state, had it been implemented, would have faced a refugee problem itself.

            Nobody who’s done their homework on Zionism is going to believe the Palestinians could have saved themselves from expulsion by converting to Mahayana Buddhism.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BS. Pure assertion. I could equally claim that you want to put all Jews into a rocket and shoot us to the dark side of the moon. Like your claim, that too would just be a claim.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Andrew, in 1947, the partition plan provided for a transition plan from British mandatory rule, to rule by an UN Commission and then to rule by two independent states living in peace side to side. All peoples would have been protected and no one, Jewish, Christian Arab or Muslim Arab, would have had to leave his home or land.

            The Jewish people had accepted the plan. If the Palestinians had accepted the plan and there had been absolute non-violence, British mandatory rule would have transitioned peacefully to the UN Commission and then to two independent states.

            If the Palestinian Arabs had made peace, then the Arab countries would have made peace with Israel and peace would have been the order of the day. There would have been no impetus for the rise of Arab tyrants like Nassar and the Assads. Civil wars caused by the Palestinians in Jordan and Lebanon would have never happened. Wars between Israel and Arab states would have never happened. Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians would have never been killed.

            The Palestinians would have had their own state instead of being possessions of Jordan and Egypt. The Palestinians could have developed their own economy and policies instead of being gathered in slums and ghettos in the West Bank, Gaza and the Arab world.

            The Palestinians have paid dearly for their choosing war instead on non-violence and peace. Yet they still eschew peace and the rewards of peace for a policy of violent resistance.

            Reply to Comment
    5. Brian

      Actually, the Palestinians WOULD haw gotten something more: ruthless violent suppression of nonviolent protest, complete with lethal sniper action. The ONLY thing that gets the complacent, complicit Israeli public’s attention is violence. Otherwise it’s “the Palestinians? Who are they? Who cares? Let’s go to the beach now shall we?”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Actually, the Palestinians WOULD haw gotten something more: ruthless violent suppression of nonviolent protest,”

        What are you deaf, Brian?

        Whiplash said this:
        “If the Palestinians had approached the conflict in 1947 with absolute non-violence, the Palestinians would have received a state”

        Which bit of their OWN state don’t you understand? Who would they have been protesting “non violently” in THEIR OWN STATE? Their OWN rulers?

        I think you are on autopilot Brian, dear.

        Reply to Comment
    6. James

      LOL at extreme-left self-hating “Jews” who want Israel weakened or destroyed thinking they matter in this world.

      The “occupation” is defensive, and exists to expand Israel a little bit and add a buffer zone to keep Israel separated from the deranged jihadist lunatics that dominate the region right outside of Israel. It’s not complicated.

      Reply to Comment
    7. James

      Wait, so Israel should simply end its “occupation” and hand a lot of land directly next to Israel over to jihadist psychopaths who want to wipe Jews/Israel out? So then Israel did “the right thing” and weakened itself and made itself smaller. And then the crazed jihadist lunatics who would get control of the land would continue to attack Israel. And then more Israelis would die in the attacks because Israel was smaller? And then what, the self-hating Jews who root for Israel to be smaller and weaker would do what, exactly, continue to blame Israel for what the crazy jihadist neighbors do? Or would the self-hating extreme left Jews switch sides now that the occupation was over, and FINALLY criticize Palestinians for continuing to attack Israel even though the occupation was over? Except then, who cares, because now a lot more Israelis are dying?

      Also, why is it acceptable to ban Jews from living in the West Bank? It isn’t acceptable to ban Arabs from living in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • Felix Reichert

        Because the PLO and Fatah are “lunatic Djihadists”, that is exactly why they have cooperated closely with Israel on security matters for several years now.

        Am I right or am I right?

        Or are in fact all Palestinians “lunatic Djihadists”?

        Just like all Jews (and especially Israelis) are “bloodthirsty childkillers”?

        Just asking.

        Reply to Comment
    8. Mikesailor

      All of your strategms would be effective if you were in a rational discussion. Yet you forget that you are arguing with ‘faith’, not reason. And that ‘faith’ can withstand all rational argument, facts, history and foster a disturbing cognitive dissonance bordering on mental illness. Even if you get a member or two of the group to agree with your points, they will quickly revert to the herd mentality and comfort of belief as soon as you are gone. In fact, they will all ‘circle the wagons’ and believe that you are some sort of infectious agent they must protect themselves against, usually by pointedly disinviting or ignoring you at all other family functions. Making others think outside their ‘comfort zone’ often has this effect upon the ‘true believers’. For you make them uncomfortable to say the least, and hated by the most rabid.

      Reply to Comment
    9. James

      Imagine the struggle of being a self-hating extreme-left “Jew” whose sole purpose on this world appears to be to (1) Demonize Israel (2) Weaken Israel (3) Erase Israel (4) Whitewash the actions of Jew-hating jihadists who want to wipe Jews/Israel out.

      Like, imagine how miserable it must be if that’s your purpose in this world. To go around claiming to be “Jewish,” yet your entire focus in this world is to promote one-sided Israel-bashing, and to do everything you can to make Israel more vulnerable to attack from the crazy neighbors.

      I’ve never heard of Italians trying to make Italy weaker, or Japanese people trying to make Japan weaker, or Indian people trying to make India more vulnerable to attack, etc.

      Why do we have extreme-left “Jews” whose sole mission in this world appears to to be try to make six million Israeli Jews weaker and more vulnerable to attack?

      Reply to Comment
    10. James

      Freedom is for Palestinians too? Fine, but freedom to do what? To live in peace next to Israel, or to keep trying to kill Israelis?

      Furthermore, what Palestinians insist that Israel be safe and Israeli Jews be safe?

      Why do self-hating extreme-leftist “Jews” stick up for people who seem to openly want to murder Jews and destroy Israel?

      Reply to Comment
    11. ***The “occupation” is defensive, and exists to expand Israel a little bit and add a buffer zone to keep Israel separated from the deranged jihadist lunatics that dominate the region right outside of Israel. It’s not complicated.***

      In 1967 and up to recently the ‘deranged jihadist lunatics’ simply didn’t exist. Nor do they ‘dominate the region’.

      Is E.J’lem also part of that ‘buffer zone’?

      If the occupation existed for security purposes there would be no incentive to settle that land (unless Israel Proper wishes to use settlers as human shields, of course).

      The occupation is ongoing because it’s the logical consequence of wanting a Greater Israel, preferably with as few non-Jews in it as possible. That dream existed before 1948 and was well articulated by nearly all early Zionist leaders an that time.

      Reply to Comment
    12. bor

      I enjoyed the humor, Noam, and shanah tova.

      Here are some answers and new questions.

      1. The “so what do you propose” method.

      Answer: I dunno. I supported Oslo, Barak’s plan, Olmert’s plan, Sharon’s disengagement, and voted Olmert in for a Judea and Samaria disengagement but the Palestinians didn’t budge by an inch and now we get thousands of rockets.

      So, Noam, since you’re clearly smarter than me, what do you propose? Oh wait, never mind, you propose we repeat the Gaza experience with Judea and Samaria and, if we’re lucky and don’t lose our country, at least your magazine can publish articles about how Israel kills Palestinian children. Sneaky!

      2. “The Ehud Barak method: …if he was a Palestinian he would have joined one of the terrorist organizations and fought against Israel.”

      Answer: How come you’re so confident about dismissing everything else Barak has done, but like to quote this one thing as if it’s gospel? First of all, when Barak entered a terrorist’s home and killed him, he avoided killing the wife, so his definition of fighting doesn’t include the Palestinian version of targeting civilians. Second, if you accept that he got something right, why not also consider the other thing he said, that if the Palestinians don’t accept peace and a state when it is offered to them, then their true face will be revealed. They’ve now rejected peace 3 times in the past 14 years.

      “…those Palestinians who don’t fight against Israel (like Abbas) still don’t get anything from the Israeli government.”

      Untrue. His government has been saved for years now by Israel, so that he can continue to travel the world and accumulate millions in the bank along with his buddies.

      “At the end of the day, you can explain, the tragic truth is that Israel makes concessions only to those who fight it with force.”

      Misinterpretation of history. The tragic truth is that Israel makes concessions only to those who offer it peace. Oslo is an example of concessions when the Palestinians agreed to make peace. Gaza disengagement has nothing to do with an intifada but rather Sharon’s concern about demographics: get the majority of Palestinians into their own autonomous enclave and they are no longer counted in the demographic count. And giving the Sinai back? That’s not because of war, that’s because the Egyptians offered peace!

      So the question to you, Noam, is why aren’t you doing everything in your power to compel the Palestinians to come to peace with Israel? According to your historical references, Israel would be forthcoming with a deal. Is it because Rami Younis (see his article in your magazine), your Palestinian overlord, told you not to do this?

      3. “The Israeli existence has never been so secure. What will destroy us is the occupation, and so it’s actually now, when we’re in a strong position and secure, that we need to make a fair deal with the Palestinians.”

      Answer: But Noam, a fair deal has been proposed three times now in 14 years. We like it when Tzipi Livni goes to meet Erakat over and over again, but get real.

      Also, this ISIS business that makes you say we shouldn’t be worried? What is it with you and shortsightedness? What happens if they conquer Jordan or Syria or even Saudi? Do you know how many billions of dollars of equipment the US and Russia sold those countries? Far more than Israel received.

      4. The Leibowitz method.

      Answer: Arab MKs are joining flotillas against Israel and you’re complaining about democracy? As for the corruption of our soldiers, after this last Gaza war, do you suppose there are many soldiers left of any political stripe who don’t understand the importance of staying in Judea and Samaria? What if they hadn’t uncovered the Hamas coup against Abbas? Hamas would be in power there now.

      But you’re right, some of our kids are leaving for New York and LA. Life is hard in Israel. If only you would use your intelligence and abilities to solve social and economic problems in Israel, perhaps we would all be better off? Anyway, you know, many return after a few years abroad.

      5. The one-state method.

      Nah. Palestinians have demonstrated they believe in one person, one vote, one time. Then their brutal leaders become authoritarians. Bennett’s plan will piss off the Americans even more, so that’s a no go. Hey! How about confederation with Jordan? Palestinians get autonomy better than they already have and get to engage with the majority of Jordan’s population which is also Jordanian. Heck, Abbas can just move into his existing Jordanian home.

      No?

      You know, I’m kind of tired of talking about this. Can we change the subject? I’d like to discuss pinkwashing instead. You know, the cover-up of the heinous crimes committed against queers in many segments of the Arab and Muslim world by deflecting attention towards Israel?

      Maybe your magazine could write something about that?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Mikesailor

      James: You really are funny. How do Noam’s strategms: 1)Demonise Israel. 2)Weaken Israel, 3)Erase Israel or 4) etc. etc. You must really have problems with the “Jihadists are coming” othetrwise believing such pap is only for those too weak-minded, or young, to think for themselves. By facing reality? By perhaps admitting that israel’s policies do not, in fact, help Israel but only makes it a pariah? By admitting perhaps that a “Jewish” state was a dumb idea to begin with and the more it retains knee-jerk support and an abhorrence of non-Jews, the worse it behaves? That this is really the heart of the matter: that to remain a Jew-centric ethnocracy is apartheid and that no successful country has been able to implement such a policy and survive? That change to a ‘country of all its citizens” may be a better idea? Italians, Americans etc. criticize their country’s policies in an attempt, often futile, to improve their repective countries. Many recognize their shortcomings and oppose those policies they feel are detrimental. People who espouse views like yours seem to feel that any problems are always outside their purview and therefore they never need to reflect nor take responsibility for their actions. When you are a powerless minority such a view may be excused. When you belong to the majority, and you have the power, such a view is inexcusable and childish to say the least, and criminal more likely. Grow up James. Realize that injustice is universal; that there is no such thing as justice for one group and not another. That an accident of birth does not confer greater human rights otherwise G-d must be a complete ass.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “to remain a Jew-centric ethnocracy is apartheid”

        Is that so Mikey?

        So presumably you consider the nearly 50% of Scots who voted for separation from Britain ethnocentric Scots who prefer Apartheid?

        How about the Catalonians of Spain?

        Or the Chechs and the Slovaks who actually separated from each other?

        Or what about the Bosnian Muslims who fought to separate from Serbia and did?

        Are they all ethnocentrics who believe in an apartheid system?

        Or are you, Mikey, an abhorent racist who singles out Jews and delights to make vile accusations against Jews who have been subjected to racism by people like you for many generations and you find it hard to give up your old habits?

        Reply to Comment
        • Eliza

          Gustav – Nope. The nearly 50% of Scots who voted for independence are not ethnocentrics who prefer Apartheid. They are either romantics or people fed up with continually voting Labour and getting a Conservative National Government.

          All people in England and Scotland are nationals and citizens with full civil rights within the UK.

          Unless and until the non-Jews who reside in Gaza, W/B and EJ are (1) both nationals and citizens with full civil rights in the State of Greater Israel; or (2) both nationals and citizens with full civil rights in an independent, sovereign State of Palestine (able to control its own airspace, land/sea borders and determine its own foreign policy), then Israel is pursuing an Apartheid State situation.

          Israel cannot indefinitely maintain the occupation of the W/B, EJ and Gaza and avoid governance that is aptly termed Apartheid Israeli style; related to but not quite the same as the original Apartheid of the former regime in SA.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Unless and until the non-Jews who reside in Gaza, W/B and EJ are (1) both nationals and citizens with full civil rights in the State of Greater Israel;”

            That won’t happen because like about, 50% of the Scots, like the Chechs and the Slovaks, like the Muslim Bosnians, and like the Catelonians, who all want their independt states with their own majorities, we too want our own Jewish majority state.

            “or (2) both nationals and citizens with full civil rights in an independent, sovereign State of Palestine”

            That COULD have happened many times over, but your Palestinian Arabs refused to end the war and make a peace deal which would have left a recognized Jewish majority state living side by side by an ethnically pure Arab state. They did not like the Jewish state bit. When they learn to accept that bit, that’s when they will end up having their own state.

            Reply to Comment
          • Eliza

            OK Gustav, have it your way. You argue that an independent, sovereign state of Palestine could have happened except Palestinian Arabs refused to end the war and make a peace deal.

            Let this be so. The situation remains that there is no Palestinian state and Israel remains imposing the siege on Gaza (controlling its airspace, land/sea borders and effectively squashing normal commercial trade) as well as its military occupation of the W/B.

            Internal governance of Gaza is made difficult due to the siege (or because they are hopeless, don’t love their children enough and prefer to fight Jews simply because they are Jews rather than build an economy as many argue). It really doesn’t matter.

            Israel basically governs the W/B and EJ. Again, not because Israel wants to but because the Palestinians want all of Israel, or(are hopeless, don’t love their children enough or simply prefer to fight Jews simply because they are Jews etc). Again it really doesn’t matter.

            Where there is only one State in existence and nationals of that State (Jews) settle in the occupied (call it disputed if you like) land, and one group of people are governed by civil law and another group of people are governed by military law, you end up with something that is Apartheid Israeli style. Why or how this came about doesn’t matter. What matters is that this exists.

            I assume you don’t want or like this situation. But you have got it and it looks like you will have it for quite some time.

            So, who is calling the shots here? Got to be the Palestinians – essentially Israel is hostage to their intransigence. There is nothing that Israel can do about this. Surely this is coming under Noam’s No 1 discussion point.

            I know that many Jews (Israeli or not) argue that Jews will never go like lambs to the slaughter again. I can protest this; European Jews were slaughtered but did not go like lambs. Effective resistance was not easy and how was it within the capacity of ordinary Jews with families to look out for, to get out of reaches of the Third Reich.

            But Israel can chart its own course and not be a hostage to Palestinian intransigence or Arabic rejection. That’s if it really wants to. If not, Israel will be defined by what the Palestinians/Arabs just happen they will decide to do? Could change their minds tomorrow, who knows? Israel can only react to what is dished out to them. And who in the end, do you think is going to get hurt?

            BTW – Over 50% of Scots rejected an ethnically pure state and voted to mingle as equals with the dreaded English, the lovely Welsh and the somewhat charming North Irish. Truly ethnic or racial purity is a hopeless task.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “or simply prefer to fight Jews simply because they are Jews etc).”

            Nope, not the above nor any of the other ways you put it either. Rather, simply because they are supremacists. Shall I put it in starker terms? Their dogma is: Arabs uber alles …

            As to your point about us being hostages to them? Yes, in a way it is true. Yes, since 1947, they are the ones who set the agenda. But no, not everything went to their plan either so in a way, they are our hostages too. In fact, the best way to put it is that we are hostages to each other.

            We have them by their throat and yes, life is tough for them. But they on the other hand pride themselves on their steadfastness (or Sumud as they call it) and their ability to resist till victory would come their way (or so they hope or delude themselves). So there it is. It is still a stalemate.

            How will this end? Here are the possibilities:

            1. If we give in, we will end as a people. Certainly as a culture and many of us would end up dead. May I suggest though that in that eventuality, we would take a lot of our enemies with us (I won’t elaborate other than I would say that the outcome would be ugly for everyone).

            2. They will get sick of this and will reach a negotiated settlement with us which would be acceptable to us and them too.

            I am betting on outcome 2. How long will it take? I don’t know.

            As for the Scots, you just repeated what I said too but you prefer to see them as the glass half full, I chose to present them as half empty. Not that I have anything against the Scots. They are a fine people but what nearly 50% of them wanted was no different than what most of us want. We want self determination in a state in which we are the majority. And not only we want it but about 50% of the Scots want it AND the Catalonians want it AND the Bosnian Muslims want it AND the Chechs want it AND the Slovaks want it AND many other nations want it. Are we all racists for wanting it? Either say yes to ALL of us or to none of us. Don’t as usual single us Jews out and blame us for wanting what most other humans want. And while we are on the topic of blame, it is intolerable to blame Israel alone for the predicament of the Palestinian Arabs when clearly they are at least as much to blame for the situation but I would say they are virtually totally to blame for it. You don’t want to go that far? You are wrong of course but at least don’t absolve them entirely because if you do, then you lose all credibility and most Israelis will just ignore you even if you manage to unleash your much touted BDS. You need to understand that the Holocaust was the last generation of Jews which had no choice but to give up their lives without being able to exact a heavy toll from our enemies in return. To us Israelis, the phrase “Never Again” is not just a slogan. We live by it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Eliza

            Gustav – Last words on this.

            If you want to the dominant reason why there is still no sovereign Palestinian state to be because of ‘Arab uber alles’, then that’s all right with me. Of course, I don’t really believe that but I suspect that you also don’t entirely believe it either.

            You state that the odds are with your (2) outcome – basically a negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine. I do too.
            I think that we differ on how this should come about and what is meant by a sovereign State.

            At least you didn’t have a (3) option of enforced or bribed transfer to Jordon.

            If you want to be a gambling man, then all I am saying, why not try and get good cards; just not rely on the killer punch of military supremacy, control and domination of non-Jews within Greater Israel – waiting passively for them to grow tired and sick at heart.

            And that, to me entails ceasing the siege (by all means have sensible arms entry checks) of Gaza and also insisting that the IDF conduct themselves intelligently as they protect Jewish settlers within the W/B – and even consider taking Jewish settler aggression and crime against Palestinians seriously. That would be a good start. But enough of this for now.

            I just don’t think in terms of league tables when it comes to blame. Determining whose the worst or whose the least worst generally only allows the spleen to vent nicely. This can be personally satisfying and generally, like other things that are personally satisfying should be done in private. Doesn’t interest me in a public way – but no I do think that Israel is to blame for everything. It is not responsible for the current Sunni/Shite division or the emergence of IS. It is not responsible for the various Kings and Dictators of Arab States. Nothing Israel can do, or not do, will resolve these issues. The real point is that Israel exists within this ME world. I would have thought the smart thing to do would be for Israel to see the Palestinians as their bridge to this world; and also their buffer. Why make permanent enemies of people with whom you could ally? Why bet all on Fortress Israel? Why not hedge your bets just a little?

            Finally, no I don’t think it is ‘racist’ to want to belong to the majority in a State. Its sorta comfy. I don’t think its racist to prefer the company of people like yourself (whatever that may be).

            I think its tribal – and we are all tribal. The interesting thing is how we define our tribe and how many different tribes we think we belong to. We are all multi-layered that way. And that too becomes very comfy. Its a nice way to live. But over and above all of this, is that none of this can come before the rights of any minority or any people to live as a citizen/national within a recognised and sovereign state. And guess what? Basically, in reality it never does – in the long term. The actuality of rights of others existing really does not impact on the extent that we all belong to our tribe(s).

            That’s what I think.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “If you want to the dominant reason why there is still no sovereign Palestinian state to be because of ‘Arab uber alles’, then that’s all right with me. Of course, I don’t really believe that but I suspect that you also don’t entirely believe it either.”

            You suspect wrong. The Arabs are the ultimate supremacists. They believe that Islam is the only true religion and non Muslim are inferior. Couple this to their glorious days of past conquests and how we Jews used to live under their “benign dominion”, they are just UNABLE to come to terms with their present status. When I say “they”, I mean they as a people. Not each and every individual Arab. Of course there are plenty of sensible, realistic and decent Arab individuals. But as a group, they need to grow up, big time.

            “You state that the odds are with your (2) outcome – basically a negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine. I do too.
            I think that we differ on how this should come about and what is meant by a sovereign State.”

            I suspect you are right.

            “At least you didn’t have a (3) option of enforced or bribed transfer to Jordon.”

            No I did not mention that specifically because I think that would come under option 1. It would be a doomsday scenario.

            “If you want to be a gambling man, then all I am saying, why not try and get good cards; just not rely on the killer punch of military supremacy, control and domination of non-Jews within Greater Israel – waiting passively for them to grow tired and sick at heart.”

            I am not sure what you mean by “greater Israel” if you mean that us keeping the major “settlement” blocs in return for land swaps then you can call me a proponent of greater Israel. I don’t agree with you that uprooting 500,000 Israeli citizens from their legitimate homes which also give us marginally more secure borders would constitute dealing ourselves good cards.

            “And that, to me entails ceasing the siege (by all means have sensible arms entry checks) of Gaza and also insisting that the IDF conduct themselves intelligently as they protect Jewish settlers within the W/B – and even consider taking Jewish settler aggression and crime against Palestinians seriously. That would be a good start. But enough of this for now.”

            Yes, I believe in motherhood and apple pie too but then I wake up from my day dream and I realize that there is no such thing as a civilized occupation of a people who hate our guts. Unfortunately, the alternative to ending such an occupation improperly would be even worse.

            “I just don’t think in terms of league tables when it comes to blame. Determining whose the worst or whose the least worst generally only allows the spleen to vent nicely. This can be personally satisfying and generally, like other things that are personally satisfying should be done in private. Doesn’t interest me in a public way”

            Ok I get your inference. It did raise a smile …

            ” – but no I do think that Israel is to blame for everything.”

            I think this was a typo, you left out the word “don’t”?

            “It is not responsible for the current Sunni/Shite division or the emergence of IS. It is not responsible for the various Kings and Dictators of Arab States. Nothing Israel can do, or not do, will resolve these issues.”

            While you are at it, let’s add to this list Tsunamis, Hurricanes and earthquakes? But don’t laugh some people disagree with both you and me when it comes to that list.

            “The real point is that Israel exists within this ME world. I would have thought the smart thing to do would be for Israel to see the Palestinians as their bridge to this world;”

            That would be nice, but I think that is just wishful thinking. Certainly at this point in history.

            “and also their buffer. Why make permanent enemies of people with whom you could ally? Why bet all on Fortress Israel? Why not hedge your bets just a little?”

            We could ally with them yes, we have it in us. We are pragmatic enough. Unfortunately they (again this word “they” but I explained myself before …) don’t look at us even as potential allies. They look at us as a foreign body to be got rid of from the Middle East after they vent their spleen on us and redeem their honor a bit like they did to the poor unfortunate reservist soldiers who strayed into Ramallah at the onset of the second Intifada, whom they mercilessly lynched.

            “Finally, no I don’t think it is ‘racist’ to want to belong to the majority in a State. Its sorta comfy. I don’t think its racist to prefer the company of people like yourself (whatever that may be).”

            At least we agree on this.

            I think its tribal – and we are all tribal. The interesting thing is how we define our tribe and how many different tribes we think we belong to. We are all multi-layered that way. And that too becomes very comfy. Its a nice way to live.”

            And this too. It’s called the human condition. And don’t forget, in times of war, it is even more so.

            “But over and above all of this, is that none of this can come before the rights of any minority or any people to live as a citizen/national within a recognised and sovereign state. And guess what? Basically, in reality it never does – in the long term. The actuality of rights of others existing really does not impact on the extent that we all belong to our tribe(s).”

            I am all for the rights of minorities especially since in the not too distant past, my own ancestors were minorities in places where their rights were hopelessly trampled both by prejudices within the host society and by the state itself. And my ancestors were not even rebellious.

            Now here in Israel’s case, we are talking about two groups whom you want us to respect. First, our Arab Israeli citizens who live here in Israel. I can tell you that except with regards to immigration laws, they have full equality with the Jewish citizens according to our laws. Do they suffer discrimination from individuals? Yes. After all we are at war with their brethren and war does not bring out the best from many of us or many of them.

            Then there are the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza who have never been our citizens, nor will they be. They are a people under occupation not because we enjoy ruling over them but because so long as they aspire to destroy us instead of making peace, we need to keep them under close supervision and not allow them free rein to try and realize their intent against us. After they make it clear in a peace treaty that they will give up their ambition to obliterate us and OUR state, we will let them have THEIR state where they will be responsible for themselves.

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    14. Alan

      Yep, nothing except a serious boycott will change anybody’s mind or get anyone’s attention. It’s why boycott is treated like the plague, like a horrible “offense” that is shockingly beyond the pale. Except the Zionists think it’s A-OK to boycott anyone else besides Israel. EU/NATO sanctions Russia, hey that’s OK. But EU even thinks of discussing the possibility of sanctions against Israel–“oh my GOD the sky is falling!!!, those ANTI-SEMITES!!!! AAAARRGGHH!!”

      Reply to Comment
      • Kiwi

        A serious boycott? Who are you kidding? The handful of idiots like you whose religion is hatred of Israel?

        Israel does not even want your business. They have plenty of sensible buyers who love Israeli technology and medical advances.

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    15. Danny

      Your right-wing family gives you a hard time at family get-togethers? Do what I do: Don’t get together with them. They’ll get the message. It’s sort of like ignoring the hasbara trolls on this site – education through silence. If they are indeed as right wing as you describe them, they’re not worthy of your presence there.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        There’s a lot of wisdom in what you say Danny.

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        • Whiplash

          Poor Noam. Maybe he should rent a family of extreme leftists for Rosh Hashanah next year in Tel Aviv. Or maybe he should do that Abrahamic thing and look for 10 good fringe leftists in Tel Aviv who would sit down with him for dinner.

          Better yet maybe he should leave Israel without a forwarding address.

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          • “Better yet maybe he should leave Israel without a forwarding address.”

            Or perhaps in that fantasyland of yours you wouldn’t mind if he was pushed?

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    16. Victor Arajs

      I am offereing the only viable solution. Noam has a plane to catch. So do millions of other invaders need to get on planes headed for Eastern Europe

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      • Gustav

        “I am offereing the only viable solution. Noam has a plane to catch. So do millions of other invaders need to get on planes headed for Eastern Europe”

        Noam, I suggest you should listen to little old Victor Arajs Jr here. He has plans for you. Similar plans which his grand pappy already perpetrated.

        “Viktors Arājs (13 January 1910 – 13 January 1988) was a Latvian collaborator and Nazi SS officer, who took part in the Holocaust during the German occupation of Latvia and Belarus (then called White Russia or White Ruthenia) as the leader of the Arājs Kommando. The Arajs Kommando murdered about half of Latvia’s Jews.[1]”

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      • Yoav Sari Levi

        Victor Arajs suggest that we get on planes to Europe,Victor you guys have done your dash.Victor hop on a plane and join ISIS at the moment they need people like you there.

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    17. Average American

      Whiplash – “the conflict of 1947”? You mean when a bunch of people from Russia and Europe came in and started pushing non-Jews out?
      James – “to expand Israel a little”? There you have it, the central objective of The Jewish State.

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      • Gustav

        “You mean when a bunch of people from Russia and Europe came in and started pushing non-Jews out?”

        Yea a bunch of people who had nothing to do with the land of Israel, huh?

        And the “non Jews” whom they pushed out were just peaceful folk who minded their own business who never hurt a fly, right?

        Or, that bunch of people returned to their ancestral homeland and joined other Jews who lived there and bought lands at exorbitant prices. And settled on uncultivated lands which they proceeded to cultivate but the local non Jews, let’s just call them what they really were: Arabs, got envious and they tried to claim that everything really was all theirs even though it wasn’t. And then tried to push the Jews out.

        That’s what you really meant, didn’t you, Average Arab?

        Reply to Comment
        • ****Or, that bunch of people returned to their ancestral homeland and joined other Jews who lived there and bought lands at exorbitant prices. And settled on uncultivated lands which they proceeded to cultivate but the local non Jews, let’s just call them what they really were: Arabs, got envious and they tried to claim that everything really was all theirs even though it wasn’t. And then tried to push the Jews out.****

          Gustav, no nation, whether Arab, Chinese, Venitian, Martian or other, would have accepted to become oppressed minorities by immigrants who wanted to create a state there.

          Had the New Israel been attempted in say New Hampshire, the locals would have done everything to stop that too, in all likelihood with greater success than the Palestinians.

          Gurion, Jabotinsky and so many others understood that perfectly well and acted accordingly (so why can’t you?).

          Yours is a post-facto ahistorical fantasy, at best something to tell your grandkids, if you’re into telling them nationalistic myths of course.

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          • Gustav

            “Had the New Israel been attempted in say New Hampshire, the locals would have done everything to stop that too, in all likelihood with greater success than the Palestinians.”

            And rightly so. Because we have no historical connection to New Hampshire. On the other hand, native American Indians do and if they would have tried and been able to establish their own state in New Hampshire, the European locals would have had a much weaker moral case against the native American Indians.

            By the same token, the descendants of Arab invaders had a much weaker case to prevent the descendants of native Hebrews from returning and reestablishing our homeland on at least part of the land which was ours way before the Arabs were even heard of. And don’t try the stunt that “yea but you left the place therefore you forfeited it” because some of us never left. We lived there both before and after the Arab invasion. Nor should you try the stunt: “yea but you can’t just push out the ‘local Arabs'”. Firstly, because we are on the record of agreeing to live side by side with them in our Jewish state alongside THEIR Arab state. And secondly, because there was plenty of room for two states. There were plenty of uncultivated empty lands. Thirdly because the lands were no more Arab lands than Jewish lands. Neither of us was a sovereign owner of the lands for a long time. Fourthly, because some of the locals were Jews. Not just Arabs. Fifthly, because some of the Arabs were recent immigrants too, not just some of the Jews.

            Nuff said, Gertie?

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          • ***Firstly, because we are on the record of agreeing to live side by side with them in our Jewish state alongside THEIR Arab state. And secondly, because there was plenty of room for two states.***

            No, you’re not. Read all the statements of early Zionists re. their intentions vis-à-vis Palestine.

            The partition plan was simply an insult. And business as usual of course: White powers squandering away the land of weaker brownishe people. It happens to this day.

            No nation would EVER voluntarily give up territory, not for the ‘descendants of this’ or the ‘descendants of that’. NEVER has that occurred in history, nor should it.

            Jabotinsky et al understood that perfectly (and rightly so), so why can’t you?

            Israel only gave any territory back after it was forced to. It still holds on to the Golan Heights, practically annexed now.

            Israel is an expansionist country. That is why the European Left started to turn its back on it after 1967.

            Get it, ‘Gustaffie’?

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          • Gustav

            “Get it, ‘Gustaffie’?”

            The only thing that I get, Gertie is that you are a religious robot.

            Religious because you believe only what you want to believe and you don’t use your reasoning powers to see what is in front of your own nose.

            A robot because you monotonically repeat ad nauseam what you have been programmed to say in publications like this. You can’t even help yourself.

            I don’t even hate you. I pity you. You live a kind of a curse.

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      • “to expand Israel a little”?

        Average American:

        Not ‘a little’. Plans for an Israeli superpower including all of Palestine, Sinai and Lebanon up to the Litani existed from early on. Israel’s expansionism nearly made it possible, but not quite.

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        • Gustav

          Gaaaaawd you people are ignorant.

          Or are you just malicious liars? If we are so intent on expansion, how come we gave the Sinai back to Egypt, together with it’s oil fields in exchange for peace? And how come we got out of Gaza unilaterally?

          So right now, this Brian bod and now you Gertie display affinity to this so called “Average American”. Did you see the type of posts he posts about Jews? I gave a direct quote of him on this site.

          Can I assume you too agree with him? Of course you do. After all, you chose to quote him after I posted his hateful quote about Jews which does not seem to faze you. On the contrary, you seemed to embrace him.

          Fine, I will treat you too like a hater.

          Reply to Comment
    18. Gil

      Maybe it’s relevant to see what people very high up in the Israeli security apparatus think. Anyone see “The Gatekeepers”? It consists of interviews with a half dozen or so former heads of Shin Bet, and some of them say amazing things.

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    19. Bruce Gould

      What’s really interesting about these discussions is how people assume that there’s some fixed entity called “the Palestinians” or “the Israelis”, as if they’re individuals who never change. Three generations have passed since 1948, are Palestinian or Israeli attitudes the same as they were 60 years ago? Anyone here actually talked to real, honest-to-goodness Palestinians? Anyone know Israelis who have daily contact with Palestinians?

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      • Gustav

        “What’s really interesting about these discussions is how people assume that there’s some fixed entity called “the Palestinians” or “the Israelis”, as if they’re individuals who never change.”

        Ok Bruce, tell us how things changed since say 1929? Or 1947? Or 2000?

        Waiting … waiting … waiting …

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        • Bruce Gould

          Nope. I’m interested in seeing if people in this discussion actually beleive that nothing has changed, everthing is frozen in time, “the Palestinians” and “the Jews” are the same as they were in 29, 47, or 2000. I’m interested in seeing if anyone has talked to Palestinians or Israelis who work with them every day, or if this is just some theoretical discussion that has no connection to human beings.

          Another great feature of these discussions is the underlaying assumption that we’re playing some kind of board game, and the winner takes all. “the” Palestinians made some bad moves in 48, so the government of Israel can do anything it wants with them, they lost fair and square. Checkmate!

          Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Bruce, have you ever heard the phrase;

            “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

            In 1937 the Peel commission found that fear and hatred of the Jews permeated Palestinian Arab society. Although the composition of the Palestinian Arab population has changed, its hatred and fear of the Jewish people has not. The incitement to hatred and violence instigated in the 1920s against Jewish people and their communities remains a dominant theme in Palestinian society today.

            The Peel Commission asked the Arab representative, Amin Al-Husseini, if there was a unitary Arab state would there be room in this state for all the Jews currently residing in Mandate Palestine to remain or would they be removed. He indicated that the post Ottoman era Jews would be removed. The commission said it feared the massacre of the Jews in an unitary Arab state as had happened to Christian Nestorians in Iraq a few years previous. Today Hamas calls for the destruction of the Israeli state and killing of all Jews. Abbas calls for a Juderein Arab state. Times have changed but have stayed the same.

            In 1947 Palestinian Arab leader Haj Amin al-Husseini chose war over peace for his people. Palestinian leaders between 1947 and 1967 chose violence and cross border attacks instead of peace. Arafat and the PLO committed the Palestinians to a life and death struggle with Israel and implemented a strategic decision to use terrorism as a means of destroying Israel, its people and institutions. Arafat specifically represented that he was the nephew or Haj Amin al-Husseini and following in his footsteps.

            The PLO signed the Oslo Accords in 1993 promising to prevent terrorism and violence against the Israeli state but did the exact opposite in establishing tens of terrorist groups in Judea and Samaria and allowing Hamas to murder and destroy at will.

            Hamas’ Charter and its leaders continue to call for Israel’s destruction and a peace agreement with them is against their beliefs.

            Meanwhile the lastest PSR survey of the Palestinians, September 2, 2014 shows that only 22% of Palestinians believe in a negotiated solution while over 60% favor violent resistance. 88% approve of Hamas’s actions in the Gaza war. 72% want to see Hamas’ arms and tactics transferred to the West Bank to better carry out attacks on Israelis. A majority of Palestinians even approved of the murder of 3 Israeli teenagers in June.

            Times change, but things stay the same.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Bruce, have you ever heard the phrase;

            “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

            In 1937 the Peel commission found that fear and hatred of the Jews permeated Palestinian Arab society. Although the composition of the Palestinian Arab population has changed, its hatred and fear of the Jewish people has not. The incitement to hatred and violence instigated in the 1920s against Jewish people and their communities remains a dominant theme in Palestinian society today.

            The Peel Commission asked the Arab representative, Amin Al-Husseini, if there was a unitary Arab state would there be room in this state for all the Jews currently residing in Mandate Palestine to remain or would they be removed. He indicated that the post Ottoman era Jews would be removed. The commission said it feared the massacre of the Jews in an unitary Arab state as had happened to Christian Nestorians in Iraq a few years previous. Today Hamas calls for the destruction of the Israeli state and killing of all Jews. Abbas calls for a Juderein Arab state. Times have changed but have stayed the same.

            In 1947 Palestinian Arab leader Haj Amin al-Husseini chose war over peace for his people. Palestinian leaders between 1947 and 1967 chose violence and cross border attacks instead of peace. Arafat and the PLO committed the Palestinians to a life and death struggle with Israel and implemented a strategic decision to use terrorism as a means of destroying Israel, its people and institutions. Arafat specifically represented that he was the nephew or Haj Amin al-Husseini and following in his footsteps.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “the” Palestinians made some bad moves in 48, so the government of Israel can do anything it wants with them, they lost fair and square. Checkmate!”

            Yea, right, “the” Palestinians made some bad moves in 48. Since then, they were perfectly reasonable.

            Sigh … give me patience.

            Reply to Comment
    20. Whiplash

      part 2 The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      The PLO signed the Oslo Accords in 1993 promising to prevent terrorism and violence against the Israeli state but did the exact opposite in establishing tens of terrorist groups in Judea and Samaria and allowing Hamas to murder and destroy at will.

      Hamas’ Charter and its leaders continue to call for Israel’s destruction and a peace agreement with them is against their beliefs.

      Meanwhile the lastest PSR survey of the Palestinians, September 2, 2014 shows that only 22% of Palestinians believe in a negotiated solution while over 60% favor violent resistance. 88% approve of Hamas’s actions in the Gaza war. 72% want to see Hamas’ arms and tactics transferred to the West Bank to better carry out attacks on Israelis. A majority of Palestinians even approved of the murder of 3 Israeli teenagers in June.

      Times change, but things stay the same.

      Reply to Comment
      • “The incitement to hatred and violence instigated in the 1920s against Jewish people and their communities remains a dominant theme in Palestinian society today.”

        Have you heard, read and seen some of the blood curdling rhetoric about Arabs that specifically emanates from YOUR side of Israeli society?

        “Today Hamas calls for the destruction of the Israeli state and killing of all Jews. Abbas calls for a Juderein Arab state.”

        Hamas has been proposing for years to have a long term cease fire. Where does Abbas call for a ‘Jew free Arab state’? It’s rather funny that YOU would be COMPLETELY OPPOSED to a single state with equal rights for everyone. In such a scenario both can live where they CHOOSE to live.

        “Arafat and the PLO committed the Palestinians to a life and death struggle with Israel and implemented a strategic decision to use terrorism as a means of destroying Israel, its people and institutions.”

        Yep. That explains why Arafat’s PLO recognized the state of Israel and solemnly swore off all use of violent struggle. For that he got diddly squat.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          “Have you heard, read and seen some of the blood curdling rhetoric about Arabs that specifically emanates from YOUR side of Israeli society?”

          What percentage of us engage in blood curdling rhetoric and what percentage of them does so?

          “Hamas has been proposing for years to have a long term cease fire.”

          A 10 year Hudna to be more exact, referring to a treaty between Muhammad and the Quraysh tribe of Mecca which Muhammad broke when it suited him. That is exactly Hamas’s blueprint. Why not make a permanent peace deal instead?

          I’ll tell you why: because they want us to lift the blockade, give them free rein to arm themselves so that they would be able to resume their relentless war against us with renewed vigor.

          “Where does Abbas call for a ‘Jew free Arab state’?”

          He is on the record saying that he wants the so called “settlements” evacuated because his shining new Palestinian state will not have Jewish citizens.

          “It’s rather funny that YOU would be COMPLETELY OPPOSED to a single state with equal rights for everyone. In such a scenario both can live where they CHOOSE to live.”

          Yea right, in your fantasy world. In reality, we Jews would quickly find ourselves treated the same way, or worse than other minorities are treated in the Arab world. Or if we listen to what Hamas promise, even dead.

          I tell you what Gertie, you try it. Please be my guest, immigrate to an Arab country of your choice together with your family and settle in their midst. Then ask your children in 20 years whether they appreciated your move.

          “Yep. That explains why Arafat’s PLO recognized the state of Israel and solemnly swore off all use of violent struggle. For that he got diddly squat.”

          … then immediately after that promise, the level of terrorism against Israelis spiked to record heights even during Rabin’s Prime Ministership.

          Reply to Comment
          • “What percentage of us engage in blood curdling rhetoric and what percentage of them does so?”

            You don’t know the answer to that question either. Israel is jam packed with Jewish racists. And they’re proud of it too. They chant it, they graffiti it, they facebook it.

            Arab Israelis don’t get treated as equals either, far from it.

            Zionism = racism, period.

            “Why not make a permanent peace deal instead?”

            A long term cease fire would be an enormous step in that direction.

            “Then ask your children in 20 years whether they appreciated your move.”

            I would not be welcome in Israel either. Not at all, in fact.

            “… then immediately after that promise, the level of terrorism against Israelis spiked to record heights even during Rabin’s Prime Ministership.”

            Only mice would not resist the fate the Palestinians suffer under Zionism.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I will let you speak for yoursel, Gertie. To show how you go around in circles and contradict yourself:

            First you said this:
            “Yep. That explains why Arafat’s PLO recognized the state of Israel and solemnly swore off all use of violent struggle.”

            I then reminded you of what really happened:
            “… then immediately after that promise, the level of terrorism against Israelis spiked to record heights even during Rabin’s Prime Ministership.”

            Then you retort with the below:
            “Only mice would not resist the fate the Palestinians suffer under Zionism.”

            Make up your mind Gertie, did your Palestinians really swore off violence during Oslo? Or did they just pretend?

            Of course they only pretended. You know that’s true Gertie but YOU are just pretending. You are a regular comic but you only amuse yourself and your kind.

            Reply to Comment
    21. Ishmael

      “Circle the wagons” seems to me a very apt expression in this argument. I remember all those spaghetti westerns I watched, growing up in Idaho in the ’50s. Were those the times Ronald Reagan meant, when he said of those movies, “They didn’t want them good, they wanted them Tuesday.”?

      Bor counters every argument with – a counterargument. Guess for a moment, that he is part of the Israeli State’s immune system, fighting back the nasty inflammation caused by a recently debrided wound (called Gaza). What is the point of his engagement in the debate? To legitimate the existence of Israel by referring to heroic resistance against an attack of thousands of (pathetically inaccurate) rockets? The rockets have caused few fatalities, but much mindless, intransigent hatred. (as has the disproportionate destruction, death and wounding in Gaza).

      From the outside, it appears that intransigent hatred resonates through inequitable Israeli policies that make non-Jews second class citizens in Israel; policies that legitimate the persecution of Palestinians by settlers and IDF troops, who act with impunity.

      Policies that make the Antebellum South and the Reconstruction South of the USA look positively benign, in their treatment of slaves, then African-Americans.

      I would ask those who have already labeled me a self-hating Jew (you’re wrong, I’m not a Jew, just a once-youthful admirer of the warmth, culture and vitality of my adolescent Jewish friends and their families, in a small town in Idaho):
      I would ask them, what will come of your fear and hatred of Palestinians, and your inequitable treatment of Israeli Arabs?

      I am hoping that, 100 years from now, Israel has somehow become a place where, in general, Arab and Jew can take it for granted that they are safe in each other’s company, as Israelis.

      Bor, ask yourself, do you share the same vision? One alternative is a radioactive Middle-East, where survivors (if there be any) are unlikely to be safe outside the company of clan or tribe.

      Idaho is a long way from Israel, but your insistence on survival at any cost is likely to cost the rest of the planet dearly. Who will be left to tell the tale 100 years from now, and what would they say about your clever propagandizing?

      Bor, perhaps our great great grandchildren will be genuinely fortunate to know, but your inability to address or tackle Israeli injustice and impunity, in the here and now, does not bode well for the future. Mr Einstein made clear the difference between the days of circling the wagons, and the world you and I have lived in since 1945.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kiwi

        Ishmael

        I am not Jewish either but at least I have been to Israel. Have you been?

        I suspect not. And therefore you seem to glean your misinformed information from jaundiced publications such as this whose mission statement is to vilify Israel.

        But even if you read here with a bit more critical mind, you can find information which put a lie to your claim that Israel’s Arab citizens are so mistreated.

        If you would be a bit more alert, you would have taken note of the pertinent questions which posters like Bor asked. They asked, how come Israel’s Arab citizens were so much against the suggestion which Israel’s foreign Minister floated? He suggested, that part of a peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis could involve the detachment of Israel’s North which has a cluster of Arab villages, together with their lands, the people and all their assets and allowing them to become part of the new Palestinian state.

        Do you know what their reaction was? They were horrified and they made it clear that they want to remain Israeli citizens and remain part of Israel.

        Now ask yourself, what does this mean? How can you reconcile such a reaction by so many of Israel’s Arab citizens with your claim that they are second class citizens? Do you consider yourself a thinking person? Or a person who is susceptible to being fooled by relentless propaganda conducted by well paid professionals? May I suggest that you fall into the second category?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ishmael

          Kiwi, I have not been to Israel, but I did hitch-hike through the American southern states in 1964. I remember the education so willingly offered to a northern kid by many of the folks who picked me up and let me off later, down the road. I remember the explanations about how coloured folks (not the term that always go used)were better off under segregation. They were all very nice people, the folks who gave me lifts, through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. I spent two months living in Florida and learned yet more about how African Americans were (and often still are) spoken of and treated by white folks.

          You’re right, I do read biased coverage on Israel. I get much of my information about human rights failings from BT’selem, and I’ve heard as well from a friend (English, respectful of the Jewish faith) who worked in Palestine for a couple of years, some years ago.

          I don’t share your opinion that BTselem aims to vilify Israel. It seems to me that they want to assure that Israelis and Palestinians benefit and are held to account by the the law.

          I see little point in going to Israel. If you want to do smug about that, be my guest. I’m talking about 100 years down the road, when neither of us will be doing any talking in this world, and our children’s grandchildren will be reaping the harvest of our deeds.

          My guess is you missed out on that part of the geography and times, on your travels.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            Ishmael

            Your analogy about what white folk told you about How African Americans had better lives under white segregation in the 1960s is just not relevant. Not relevant because you did not ask what the African Americans themselves were thinking about it.

            The example which I gave you on the other hand showed how Israel’s Arab citizens feel about being Israeli citizens. They themselves voted with their feet. They showed that they prefer to remain Israeli citizens rather than become citizens of a new Palestine. Can’t you see the distinction between the two cases?

            As for what your friends told you. Yes, I am sure they filled your head about how the West Bank’s Palestinian Arabs suffer under occupation. That is true but that doesn’t just happen because Israelis are natural born torturers. Barely a decade ago, those very Palestinians were sending waves upon waves of suicide bombers to murder Israelis. So Israel has had to tighten it’s rule over them to stop that, till peace comes.

            Anyway, that’s another matter entirely. The WB Arabs were never Israeli citizens. Before 1967, they were part of Jordan which attacked Israel. That’s how come the occupation came about. And it still exists because those Palestinians still refuse to make peace.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi’s been to Israel. Now he’s obviously an expert on Zionism (NOT)

            ***That’s how come the occupation came about. And it still exists because those Palestinians still refuse to make peace.***

            How do the settlements figure into that justification of oppression of yours, Kiwi?

            Do you understand just how powerful settlerism as a political movement has become in Israel?

            Do you think settling the WB and E.j’lem somehow prevents or reduces Palestinian resistance?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            I don’t talk to one eyed bigots, Gert. You are one of those. After this post, I will let others engage you if they want to. I haven’t got the stomach to do it after this one post.

            The only thing that I will leave you to ponder is this. Before 1967, there were no settlements yet Palestinians perpetrated terrorism against Israelis and the Arab states made war on Israel.

            Want to tell us why?

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Kiwi – I’ll tell you why. Same reason American Indians fought white men from Europe. It became clear that the white men intended to push them out and take their land, with the full support of white military and white government and white legal system. Now here’s something important too: you said un-tilled land was un-owned land. That is a halaka concept. You’re putting Jewish religious law (laws for Only Certain Special People) above secular property law (laws for Everyone). Wow. That says a lot about Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            “you said un-tilled land was un-owned land”

            Where did I say that? And what’s this halaka you are babbling about?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            “Kiwi – I’ll tell you why. Same reason American Indians fought white men from Europe.”

            So, are you an American Indian? If not, I presume you feel that you have no right to live in America, Average American?

            Reply to Comment
    22. Marc Allan Feldman

      Peace will come with interaction, mutual understanding, and economic cooperation. More Palestinians are learning Hebrew, applying for Israeli citizenship, even volunteering to serve in the IDF. The “demographic bomb” is a dud. There will eventually be one state, no security barrier necessary.

      Reply to Comment
      • Arieh

        Yes and what next? You want the Yazidis and Christians to return to Northern Iraq and live in Kumbaya with the Sunnis in ISIS?

        Reply to Comment
        • Arieh

          Or maybe you want to go back to the future and have a one state solution for the Bosnian Muslims and the Serbs?

          Good luck with all of that.

          Reply to Comment
    23. Average American

      Gustav – You mention the Land of Israel. From Gurion to Netanyahu all PMs mentioned it too. What is it? What does it look like on a map? From where to where? Who defined it?

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        UN Resolution 181 defined it exactly, Average Arab, Ben Gurion accepted it provisionally. Subject to acceptance of it by your brothers, the Palestinian Arabs.

        But lo and behold … guess what? Your Palestinian Arabs DID NOT accept it!!!!!?

        They said ALL of Palestine is Arab. And they still are saying the same thing. Certainly Hamas does!

        So guess what. Ben Gurion then also said that he wants more than what the UN allocated to us. He said, why should we be better than the Arabs? If they are going for broke, we will go for broke too and at the end we will negotiate what our borders are.

        That was the position of successive Israeli governments too. That we will have negotiated borders. But again, guess what? The Palestinian Arabs still want it all to be Arab. So what is the point of us declaring borders which they don’t want to recognize anyway? Or are you saying that Hamas would recognize Israel on even one square inch of land?

        Stop lecturing us, Average Arab. Go lecture your Palestinian Arab brothers to be more reasonable. Then we will have two states, one Arab, one Jewish in mutually recognized borders. OK?????

        Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          “The Land Of Israel”, that is what I asked you about. You know the concept, comes from founders of your country. They had a map. You dodge it.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I dodge nothing but your lies, Average Arab.

            And two more Israeli PMs tried to define Israel’s borders in very recent history. Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert. Both made offers. But your Palestinian Arabs refused to make peace because they still dream of having all of Palestine Arab only and Judenrein. Although they now know that they cannot achieve such an aim in one go. They know that they need to use salami tactics and achieve it in stages. But they won’t and now they will be lucky if they get such offers again from another Israeli PM.

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Gustav – Didn’t ask you about political offers and posturing. I asked you about “Land of Israel”, “Eretz Israel”, what do these terms mean? What do they look like on a map? From where to where?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I answered your question. Are you really dumb? Or are you just pretending?

            Reply to Comment
    24. Bruce Gould

      No one appears to claim any connection to the Palestinian community, you know – live human beings. This whole disucssion is like some 19th British drawing room discussion about black people: what are their mental capacities? Are they capable of civilization?

      One of the many things that’s changed since 20 years ago is the willingness of very, very high level people in the Israeli security community to spill the beans, which can be seen in some recent documentaries. Anyone know what I mean?

      Reply to Comment
      • JohnW

        ” Anyone know what I mean?”

        You probably mean that we are the villains and the Palestinian Arabs are just exceptionally peace loving people who can get on with everyone except us Israeli Jews because we are so unreasonable. Right, Bruce??

        Reply to Comment
    25. James

      99.9% of Jewish family dinners wouldn’t have to worry about this.

      The 0.1% of self-hating, “demonize every single thing about Israel right down to Israel’s very existence” extreme-leftists who pretend to be Jewish don’t mean anything in this world. All they have is a handful of blogs like this, and support from antisemites who want to destroy Israel and actually hate Jews but have a special place in their heart for extreme-left self-hating “destroy Israel” Jews. Antisemites see these self-hating Jews as useful pawns. They all share a common goal, to let Arab states be Arab, let Muslim states be Muslim, yet waste their worthless, pathetic lives trying to make the world’s only tiny Jewish state cease to be Jewish anymore and cease to be a state anymore.

      Reply to Comment
      • Arieh

        Well said James.

        Reply to Comment
    26. bir

      Ishmael,

      “From the outside, it appears that intransigent hatred resonates through inequitable Israeli policies”

      Perhaps to very ignorant people. You could argue that you disagree with some Israeli policies but ascribing their motivation to hatred is ignorant. And wrong.

      “that make non-Jews second class citizens in Israel;”

      Arabs in Israel are first-class citizens.

      “policies that legitimate the persecution of Palestinians by settlers and IDF troops, who act with impunity.”

      There is a law in Israel and it prohibits precisely what you say.

      “Policies that make the Antebellum South and the Reconstruction South of the USA look positively benign, in their treatment of slaves, then African-Americans.”

      Perhaps one of the stupidest remarks I’ve ever read.

      “I would ask them, what will come of your fear and hatred of Palestinians,”

      You’re confused. It’s the Palestinians who hate Israelis.

      “and your inequitable treatment of Israeli Arabs?”

      Arabs in Israel are presently receiving more per capita assistance from the government than any group in Israeli society save for the settlers.

      “I am hoping that, 100 years from now, Israel has somehow become a place where, in general, Arab and Jew can take it for granted that they are safe in each other’s company, as Israelis.”

      So are most Israelis.

      “Bor, ask yourself, do you share the same vision? One alternative is a radioactive Middle-East, where survivors (if there be any) are unlikely to be safe outside the company of clan or tribe.”

      I share a vision of truth and truthful statements not born of ignorance.

      “Idaho is a long way from Israel, but your insistence on survival at any cost is likely to cost the rest of the planet dearly.”

      Oh please. Why don’t you worry about the rest of the planet first. Even in Israel’s neighborhood more people have been killed in the past 3 years than in the entire conflict between Arabs and Jews over the past century in Ottoman Palestine, Mandatory Palestine and Israel.

      “Who will be left to tell the tale 100 years from now, and what would they say about your clever propagandizing?”

      I merely responded to Noam. Nothing I wrote was propaganda. He knows it. We both look at the same information and come to different conclusions, but nothing I wrote is inaccurate.

      “Bor, perhaps our great great grandchildren will be genuinely fortunate to know, but your inability to address or tackle Israeli injustice and impunity, in the here and now, does not bode well for the future. Mr Einstein made clear the difference between the days of circling the wagons, and the world you and I have lived in since 1945.”

      Tell that to the Yazidis, the Kurds and the Syrians who aren’t fighting.

      Reply to Comment
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