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If Israelis want change, they'll have to let go of fear

These elections showed that Israelis are guided by their fears of another Holocaust, ISIS, Arab citizens or left-wing NGOs. Now is the time for it to move beyond the scars of the past and make real change, before it is too late.

Benjamin Netanyahu gives a victory speech on election night, March 18, 2015. (Photo: +972 Magazine)

Benjamin Netanyahu gives a victory speech on election night, March 18, 2015. (Photo: +972 Magazine)

It’s all because of the Holocaust. Yes, these elections revealed the depth of the scar that still affects most Jews in Israel. Netanyahu turned out to be the good “shepherd” of the nation, who is well aware of the kind of herd he has been raising for the past 20 years. This is a frightened and discipline herd, which passes on the feeling of persecution and worldwide hatred of Jews from generation to generation.

This is a herd that is frightened of foreigners, and allows itself to do anything in the name of sacred survival and security: occupation, murder, arrests, home demolitions, control of people and land — everything is kosher. Even when members of the herd live in fancy, protected settlements, and even after building fences and walls with security cameras on every corner, they remain the same Holocaust survivors, victims of the great expulsion to Babylon, and they carry this with them their entire lives. The herd is controlled by the same establishment that forcefully perpetuates and exacerbates the story of a persecuted people: the people who established a tiny state in the Middle East, because God gave them the right to do so, and are only looking to live in peace and quiet.

This past election cycle only deepened the belief, which perhaps I was in denial of, that this complex may be unsolvable. I thought that all those who made fun of Netanyahu and his cartoon drawing of Iran’s nuclear weapon had already recovered, and who wanted to rid themselves of the feeling that “the entire world is against us,” or “everyone is anti-Semitic.” Turns out I was wrong.

On the contrary. The extreme right wing was able to improve and enhance the level of sensitivity of this complex, such that it would include the Islamic State, Hamas, Arab citizens, left-wing NGOs and more. The prime minister didn’t shy away from pressing all of these buttons, giving speech after speech on the Arabs coming in droves, armed with their ballots, ready to conquer the voting booths. We must fight to protect our homeland from them, he said, and it worked.

I was shocked that journalists didn’t lift a finger and attack Netanyahu’s statements, whether in the name of Israel’s vaunted democracy, not to mention a modicum of decency. I imagined Angela Merkel speaking in front of the German people on election day: “The Jews are voting,” she would shout, “And you, the great German nation, are sitting at home?” What would happen in the world or the Israeli media? Netanyahu himself would have headed a solidarity delegation to the Jews of Berlin, and surely would have given a heated speech about the rise of racism, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, as he did not long ago in France. But why should we condemn Netanyahu, when his own foreign minister suggested chopping off the heads of his opponents with an ax.

These elections were of great interest to many learned sociologists, who spoke about the different groups in Israeli society, about demography and different sectors. And all the while, what we really needed were psychologists who specialize in phobias, paranoia, self-hatred and hatred of the other, not to mention post-post-post trauma.

Joint List MKs celebrate on election night, Nazareth, March 17, 2015. (Akron Darwishi/Activestills.org)

Joint List MKs celebrate on election night, Nazareth, March 17, 2015. (Akron Darwishi/Activestills.org)

I tried to understand why this nation has chosen its least successful leader to lead it once more. I have no explanation aside from this “scar” or fear of change. This is comparable to a child who wets himself at night, and instead of being weaned, he simply learns, with the help of the best psychologists, to live with it. “Warm and nice,” he tells himself, “nasty but familiar.” Nothing will change until the child discovers that he smells so bad that people stay away from him. Until then, there will be no change. Perhaps things need to become really bad before someone wakes up.

This election, the sane Arabs and Jews tried to be the alarm clock for Israeli society. They succeeded in fixing the clock, adjusting it and warning about the situation before it was too late. With 13-14 seats, they succeeded in sounding the alarm too softly, before it was immediately silenced. But with the establishment of the Joint List, the level of hostility and racism jumped a level under Netanyahu. The Arabs in the List have developed a special immunity and steadfastness to this type of racism. A new layer of skin, which as grown over the years as a response to the continual discrimination against them.

Yes, we had very little expectations for a significant political upheaval. But I feel sorry for my Jewish friends — I even found myself consoling some of them, telling them that everything is for the better. I told one of them that perhaps if this upcoming term brings about even more extremism and violence, unrest in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, international isolation and privatization, then perhaps it will bring about a new consciousness to the Israeli public. Maybe this time will make clear that the child stinks, and it is time to be weaned.

Until that happens, we’ll flee the country to breathe the fresh air in another country. We’ll compare prices, complain a bit, dream a bit about a better future. And we’ll return, of course we’ll return. We always return.

Samah Salaime is a social worker, a director of AWC (Arab Women in the Center) in Lod/Lyd and a graduate of the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem. This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ben

      I guess so. But look, obviously fear is only half of it. The other half is greed and the pleasure in dominating.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Well this is the thing isn’t it? All the complaints about fear (see below, blah blah blah) while to be taken with utmost seriousness, yet represent a half-truth, compromised by obvious conflict of interest so to speak. Because the other side of this is that whenever a reasonable fair and secure solution is even tendered another “problem” suddenly materializes. And the goal posts constantly shift. The credibility of the complaint that the objections are only or mainly about fear has been exhausted. Disingenuousness has become a core problem.

        Reply to Comment
    2. The combination of self-prophesying paranoia (#), the absence of any credible Left and a widespread belief that the Zionists divinely own the land is a terrible combination, feeding an ‘evolving status quo’ that seems irresolvable and irreversible.

      Israel’s only hope for redemption is strong outside pressure like BDS. May it grow quickly.

      (#) see for example the increasingly reflexive condemnations of any criticism of Israel as ‘antisemitic’.

      Reply to Comment
      • Hilo

        Wouldn’t BDS just make the paranoia stronger?

        Reply to Comment
        • The paranoia of which you speak is entirely of your own making. If you had the means to put the Palestians in a cage, within a cage, within a cage, within a cage, within a cage with some more walls around it and another cage, you’d feel not an iota more secure, probably the opposite in fact.

          That’s because the paranoia isn’t based in actual fact but is entirely manufactured by the criminals that run Israel. Twits like you then internalise it because it’s a useful excuse to continue occupying and settling.

          Another 20 high tech Iron Dome missile shields wouldn’t make you feel anymore secure either, because it’s not about security anyway: it’s about having a fig leaf for continued colonisation. And because of the Holocaust, a sizeable part of the world’s near illiterates buy into that. But that won’t work forever, believe me…

          Reply to Comment
          • Hilo

            You are right. So right. The suicide bombing and rockets were imaginary. So is the collapse of Syria and Iraq, the rise of ISIS and the growing power of an Islamic fundamentalist Iran. All made up by our leadership and internalized by twits like me. Oh if only I was less of a twit maybe I could will all these illusions away. I wish I had your strength of mind.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Suicide bombings and rockets were simply a result of the occupation, and anyway suicide bombings have stopped and the feeble home made rockets have caused some disruption, minimal damage to property, and very few deaths, and they have always, always been in response to Israeli attacks on Gaza and its population. Anyway now you have Iron Dome you can stop worrying, though your politicians will continue to use the “threat” to canvas sympathy in a hostile world and to feed your sense of victim-hood. Hezbollah would never have emerged as a formidable opponent were it not for Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Civil war in Syria is of course a concern, but no threat to the fourth most powerful army in the world, and again can absurdly be used to feed your sense of victim-hood, and of course Israeli policy has always been dedicated to weakening Syria, without concern for the consequences. If you could no longer point to the existential threats that surround Israel, the nation might start to demand honest government that benefited ordinary Israelis. As for Iran, which has never attacked a neighbouring state in recent centuries, well “sticks and stones, break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. It is far from clear that Iran was implicated in the Buenos Ares bombings, but even if we assume that it was, these incidents were simply blowback for Israeli targeted assassinations. It is far from clear that Iran can or even wants to achieve a nuclear bomb but why should it not be able to deter the two hundred Israeli nuclear bombs that could target Tehran and its major cities? But like drug-addiction victim-hood is a habit that is very difficult to break.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Perhaps nearly as bad – the Israelis are also caged, living behind walls, in an intellectual and social ghetto, unable to sleep at night, haunted by nightmares, threatened by everything that moves, and suffering a form of PTSD that their leaders have induced.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Hilo

      When someone offers us a credible alternative to the status quo we’ll move on and not a second earlier. Otherwise the ‘herd’ remembers the last time it let go of the fear and ended up with its children blown up on buses.

      I like the use of the term “sacred survival” and letting go of fear in one article. Yes, indeed, why can’t they just get rid of their pesky desire to survive?

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        There has been a viable alternative since 1947 or many years before then – to accept that if your crazy religious ideas required you to return to a land where some of your ancestors once lived you simply live as good neighbours with the indigenous inhabitants of the land. For instance the great tribal leader of Zionism, David Ben-Gurion said
        Under no circumstances must we touch land belonging to fellahs or worked by them. Only if a fellah leaves his place of settlement, should we offer to buy his land, at an appropriate price.
        Written statement (1920), as quoted in Teveth, Shabtai (1985), Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War, Oxford University Press.

        We do not wish, we do not need to expel the Arabs and take their place. All our aspirations are built upon the assumption — proven throughout all our activity in the Land — that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.
        Letter to his son Amos (5 October 1937)

        Reply to Comment
        • Hilo

          Yes, and then the Arabs tried to kill us all. We sinned in staying alive through our pesky and inexplicable desire for sacred survival. So now we are not going to accept anything short of our own state and the ability to defend ourselves.

          Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Arab communities were far more tolerant and accepting of Jews than were many Christian communities around the world, and anti-Semitism was largely the product of Christians who believed that Jews killed Jesus whereas Moslems shared many Jewish beliefs especially that God is Uniate not a Trinity. This changed only when Zionists wanted sovereignty over the Temple Mount, started agitating for a Jewish state rather than the binational state foolishly promised by Balfour, and began plotting how to eliminate Arabs from the land. You have to admit under those circumstances it would have been very surprising had the Palestinians not turned against you. But again we have the sob story that they hate us – they hate you for what you do (understandably) not for what you are.

            Reply to Comment
          • Hilo

            Traditionally Islamic countries were far more tolerant to Jews than Europe. On that there is real point in arguing. Europe was hell and had no secure place for Jews. In the Islamic countries the Jews had a usually secure place as second or third class citizens if they ‘stayed in their place’.

            None of that changes the fact that the Arabs tried to kill us all when some of us came back to our homeland. Nor does it change the fact that Arab and Islamic societies have become fundamentally less tolerant of minorities in the past 100 years and not just of the Jews. The expulsion of Jews from the Arab countries was just the beginning. What Europe was for the Jews during medieval times is what much of the Arab/Islamic world has turned into for all minorities now. Both of these facts contribute to the understanding on our part that we must have our own state and we must be able to defend ourselves. We can accept nothing less.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            “Arabs tried to kill us all when some of us came back to our homeland.” You haven’t dealt with my point that the problem was not that some of “you” came back to your “homeland”, but that you wished to create a Jewish supremacist state, and to expropriate and expel the prior residents.

            Reply to Comment
          • “So now we are not going to accept anything short of our own state and the ability to defend ourselves.”

            Newsflash! You’ve had your own state for 67 years now. It’s also a regional superpower, with more than the ‘ability to defend yourselves’.

            Any reasonable person would conclude that obviously that’s not enough for you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Hilo

            We plan to ensure it stays that way and not throw it away in a fit of misguided optimism. Our last few optimistic adventures have directly led to a bus blowing up on the bus line I took to university and a rocket being shot down over my house and its remains falling to the ground next to my house.

            Reply to Comment
        • Kareem Jeans

          Bryan, peace was not an option in 1948. To suggest otherwise reaffirms your status as a buffoon.

          Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            With the Zionists and their armed groups, no.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kareem Jeans

            If only one side was armed, then there would have been no war. You fucking idiot.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Neither you nor I can prove whether peace was or was not a viable option in 1948, but remember, long before the creation of the Israeli state and the intervention of the Arab armies Zionism had initiated the process of massacring Palestinian people (e.g. Deir Yassin and many other atrocities carried out by the militias), expelling Palestinians from their homes, and conquering territory which the failed UN partition proposal had reserved for a future Arab state. Or do your Zionist propaganda manuals hide these facts from you. So don’t call anyone a buffoon when I am certain that I know far more about the events of that year than you do.

            Reply to Comment
      • andrew r

        During the first Intifada, when there were no suicide bombings, the Swedish NGO Save the Children estimated over 20,000 Palestinian minors were treated for injuries, including 6,500-8,000 cases of gunfire wounds. And the fatalities under 18 according to Btselem were 48, 78, 23 in the years 1988-90. That’s pretty high considering Israel can’t even pretend to have faced a rocket threat from Gaza in those years.

        It’s just me but I think this death lottery the IDF imposed on the Palestinians is a much bigger factor in the suicide bombings than anything else.

        lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/news/2008/05/liberal-israeli.html
        http://www.btselem.org/statistics/first_intifada_tables

        Reply to Comment
        • Hilo

          The Arabs use 15, 16 and 17 year olds as soldiers and when they are shot dead complain that children were killed.

          There were 100+ dead Israeli civilians during the first intifada. Whether the Arabs use guns, suicide bombings or rockets to try to kill Israelis isn’t in itself relevant. Suicide bombings as a tactic was learned from the Hezbollah and became popular as a result of the Islamization of Palestinian society in the 1990s. Prior to that most attacks on Israeli civilians was carried out with knives and guns by secular Palestinian factions. The methods changed, the goal of killing Israeli civilians stayed the same.

          The Arabs are at a massive military disadvantage so when they fight Israel they will take the larger casualties.

          Reply to Comment
          • Andrew r

            In that case, the Zionists were invaders who planned to form their own country on someone else’s land and it’s not relevant if they only possessed adequate arms later. If Israel only hits military targets, creating that state in the first place was a military target.

            Reply to Comment
          • Hilo

            You seem to be arguing that it is legitimate for Arabs within the context of the conflict to murder Jewish civilians. This is an interesting argument, but fundamentally immoral even if you choose to agree with the Arab narrative that we are invaders and not with ours that sees us returning to our homeland.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            Really, without murdering civilians there wouldn’t be a state of Israel. Pretending otherwise is hypocritical. Civilians are by definition military enemies of the Zionist project.

            Reply to Comment
          • Hilo

            Nonsense and garbage.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kareem Jeans

            Andrew, you are saying excessively stupid things

            Reply to Comment
    4. Bar

      Yeah, those paranoid Jews should just accept that love is coming their way, like the Yazidis, Syrians and Christians in Arab lands.

      Having said that, we can agree that Bibi’s comments on Arabs were indefensible and he needs to make serious efforts to amend and fix what he did.

      Reply to Comment
      • Richard Lightbown

        Well I’ll gratefully accept the second sentence, but the damage is done now and the cat is out of the bag. Do you really think a few lies on the lines of what he said at Bar-Ilan (under immense pressure from a very new US President I suspect) will make amends? Methinks he has blown his cover this time, and the electorate with him. The real question now is how much spunk (if any) does the US President and the EU leadership have?

        Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          As I was saying, disingenuousness is a core problem, and Netanyahu its potent symbol:

          U.S. to review Israel-Palestinian policy despite Netanyahu’s backtracking
          White House and State Department reject PM’s clarifications of campaign remarks. ‘He was prime minister three days ago as well,’ says spokeswoman.

          Reply to Comment
        • Bar

          Please, those who want to believe that he froze settlements for 10 months and released 76 murderers just so he can “pretend” would believe whatever they want anyway. He stated officially today that he hasn’t given up on Bar Ilan or a peaceful solution. So do you believe him today? If not, why believe what he said 4 days ago? Because it fulfills your own bias?

          Israel has no partner. A smart US and EU would focus on getting the partner to become a true partner.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Hey the burden of proof is on Netanyahu not the other way around. You can cry boo hoo but that’s the way it is in the adult world. Apparently no one believes a thing he and his compatriots say. Gee whose to blame for that?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            I was responding to Richard. I tend to skip your comments, as you know.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Oh boo hoo.

            Reply to Comment
      • Bar, this will probably be lost in the flow, but I happened upon your comment

        “Bibi’s comments on Arabs were indefensible and he needs to make serious efforts to amend and fix what he did.”

        He knew what he was doing, and would do it again. For Israel. For the Jewish People. Because only he can shepherd the Nation.

        Funny thing: he didn’t have to do it; he would have won anyway. But the fear of loss was too much.

        That is Bibi, your continuing Savior.

        And what kind of amends should the Arab citizens of Israel accept from the man who also sustained Liberman as Foreign Minister for his own goals? Decapitate, strip citizenship, force a loyalty oath, offer to pay them to leave, have purity committees for admission into communities. That is the Foreign Minister. Warning that Arabs are voting is rather mild in comparison, no?

        Reply to Comment
    5. Leo

      Some Jewish Israelis voted for the joint list; I am one of those and besides my spouse, I know others who did the same.

      Of course I wish there were a Jewish party with a serious political platform. But the point is that was none (except Hadash, even though I have many disagreements with their ideas).

      I am pretty sure many other Israelis feel this was the right thing to do, but did not take the plunge.

      Maybe Israelis will feel the heat when the US won’t protect “our” state anymore by stopping vetoing the security council. This may come sooner than some expect. And all this wasted time about (and the destruction brought about by) Israel ha-Shlemah (which is a political concept, and not a religious one despite all claims to the contrary) will become crystal-clear, and everyone will understand in his or her own way, in his or her own language, religious or not, Jewish or non-Jewish, that the land is HaShem’s and that we have to share it.

      So… with a little help of our Goyish friends… international pressure on Israel will be a good thing.

      Reply to Comment
      • Hilo

        There are 7,000 of you that voted for the Joint Arab List compared to 10,000 that voted for Hadash in the last election. The warnings of catastrophe and apocalypse are cute but not exactly new. We have been hearing the same crap for well over 30 years now. They are just becoming more and more shrill over time as they have failed to materialize. The end is nigh.

        Reply to Comment
        • Leo

          The question is: which end ?

          Reply to Comment
    6. Gustav

      ” rid themselves of the feeling that “the entire world is against us,”

      Silly comment. We certainly don’t feel that. If we would, we may as well slash our collective wrists and take the entire Middle East with us.

      We do however feel that 400 million Arabs and their friends are against us and have been for at least 100 years.

      And before that? Well … we were just another minority who could be reminded forcefully that we were just a minority everytime we thought we were accepted and were able to accumulate some wealth. That was as true in the Arab world as in the rest of the “civilized world”. Or did we just imagine that the holocaust happened? That the inquisition happened? That the Dreyfus affair just happened? That the pogroms just happened? That the blood libel of Jews happened?

      Did I say pogroms? Yes, they happened in the Arab world too even before Modern Zionism was ever thought of.

      Ok extreme, lefties. Let’s hear your next bright theory to convince us why we should change our thinking. Waiting… waiting…. waiting….

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        The world is brim full of minorities. America is a nation of minorities, but there is scarcely a state in the world that does not contain numerous minorities. All minorities have at times experienced appalling and unacceptable racism and discrimination, but Jews in modern America and Europe do not experience the attacks that blacks and Moslems experience on a regular basis. Jews have experienced far more than appalling and unacceptable racism, but experience of the Holocaust has led some to portray anti-Semitism as eternal and ineradicable, whereas others have reacted by espousing justice and human rights to ensure that such an outrage can never occur again for any people of the world.

        Your problem is quite possibly derived from a religion that historically inculcated solidarity by portraying you as a nation alone that experienced constant hostility from Amelekites, Philistines, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Greeks etc. etc. No problem surely – update your religion in line with the modern world and accept the brotherhood of man or fully embrace secularism, But no – some rabbis and politicians insist on continuing to advocate Jewish exceptionalism, whilst all the more progressive voices within Judaism advance universalism.

        That might be part of the problem, and it is surely a problem that Zionism has made many times worse in order to dragoon people into making aliyah.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Brian

      Khaled Diab:

      “…Moreover, when the polls forecasted that Likud was falling behind, Netanyahu sought to galvanise the party’s traditional but increasingly apathetic support base by tapping into its fears. “Arab voters are going in droves to the polls,” he warned ominously, in one of the election’s ugliest moments. “Left-wing NGOs are bringing them on buses.”

      This contrasts sharply with the measured, inclusive campaign spearheaded by the Joint List’s leader and perhaps Israel’s fastest-rising political star, Ayman Odeh. With his background in the joint Arab-Jewish Hadash party, he has moved the Arab coalition he heads away from identity politics and toward questions of universal social and economic justice.

      “Our Joint List calls for the unification of all the weak and oppressed populations, regardless of race, religion or sex,” he insists. “We will be an alternative camp, the democratic camp – where Arabs and Jews are equal partners, not enemies.”…”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Whoppeeeee dooooo

        Hail the extreme left’s new messiah ….

        Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          Just like Bibi, you’re simply unbelievable (“oh we’d love to make peace but…”). Your credibility is fatally compromised by your obvious conflict of interest. That’s the way it is. Time to leave the solution to objective outside parties. As in all such cases, this ugly divorce and domestic violence case requires an impartial judge. It’s so obvious.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “you’re simply unbelievable (“oh we’d love to make peace but…”).”

            I could not give a stuff what the likes of you think of my credibility. You wanna know why? Because as far as I am concerned, Brian, YOU have no credibility. I think of the likes of you as our sworn enemy.

            As for my attitude about peace, you can try and put words in my mouth but that does not make you right. I never pretended that there could be peace in our time. Nor do I want a pece at any price. A peace which would collapse around our ear and lead to disaster before the ink would dry on the paper which the likes of you would have us sign. Then you’d walk away from it and blame everyone for it’s collapse except yourself for conceiving of it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Hey, Roy Isacowitz in Haaretz said something that reminded me so much of you:

            “Democracy is when the majority of people get the government they want – and that is undeniably the case here. Israel will get the government it sees when it looks in the mirror every morning: ugly but familiar; tribal yet cosmopolitan; intolerant of others but extraordinarily self-forgiving; over-emotional, irascible and sanctimonious.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            What you don’t understand about people like me Brian is that unlike you, we woke up from our illusions about the possibility of peace in our time in 2000 following Ehud Barak’s peace offer.

            Even if I would be willing to accept that his offer did not go far enough, which I don’t. And Bill Clinton didn’t either. Nor did Dennis Ross and I think even Amos Oz doesn’t. But even then…

            What followed was a wake up call. The second Intifada followed and the Durban conference was what followed. That was a wake up call for people like me. We may have been willing to accept rejection of the offer which would have followed more negotiations or even a stalemate for a while. But the bloodshed and the visceral hatred directed at us following what even by today’s standards were major concessions by us was a wake up call. It was an eye opener. The spectacle of two of our reservists being lynched in Ramallah by cheering Saint Palestinians opened our eyes about the extent of hatred by which we are surrounded. Under the circumstances, I for one am not willing to take risks with this generation of Palestinian Arabs. The only peace that I would be willing to sanction is one which would be backed up by iron clad guarantees starting with their open and clearly stated recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Anything less than that just rings clear alarm bells.

            You don’t like that, Brian? No problems. We don’t care. You have no say in it because you don’t live here.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            The obvious flaw here, the weak link in the chain–whether it is just a mistake or something more deliberate I can’t say, but disingenuousness has been a problem with your man Netanyahu–is that there is no logical practical link between “iron clad guarantees” and “recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.” None. Zip. It has been the consistent flaw in your reasoning for many moons now, chief.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            And the consistent flaw in your argument chief is that you ignore everything that you are told.

            Let me remind you again. In response to MAJOR concessions by Ehud Barak in 2000/01, we got a bloody Intifada and the vilification (by your kind) which emanated from Durban. That was our reward for making concessions. This has been a constant theme in our negotiations with your Saint Palestinians. And the last time I checked, Ehud Barak was not Netanyahu.

            Conclusion, chief? That to your kind, no matter what, Israel is doing it is always wrong while the Saint Palestinians are always right. It is the elephant in the room, Brian, that is why YOU have no credibility with the likes of me. Kapish?

            Reply to Comment
          • “That was our reward for making concessions.”

            Israel has never made any significant concessions because no one forces it to. Clintoooon was just another typical ‘liberal’ Zionist.

            Your country is like a deeply troubled and thoroughly spoiled child: everyone constantly indulges it and the more it misbehaves, the more the West tells it we love you all the same. Over 50 years of this behaviour means that Israelis feel they have nothing to lose by rejectionism, hence enter another Bibi government.

            As regards ‘the Arabs’, does it occur to you that Israel has strong and peaceful relations with most of its significant immediate neighbours and that many other Arab tinfoil hats mostly do as the US/West tells it to? And what little criticism these Arab nations do voice is directed at the occupation and the impossible treatment of Palestinians by their Israeli captors.

            More and more people around the world are seeing the truth about I/P and that means BDS is coming to a place very near you, sooner or later. Idiots like you always bury their head in the sand but when push comes to shove a lot of Israelis will see sense, over going into ‘Banzai!’ mode.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Typical extreme leftist post.

            Ignore history. Ignore Palestinian Arab culpability. Everything is Israel’s fault. Nothing is the fault of the saint Palestinians.

            Not only ignore history but mis-explain it. Peace with some of our neighbors came about not because we were spineless and did as we were told (as extreme leftists want us to), but because we stood up to them and they saw no further merit in trying to conquer us.

            But rest Assured, that the moment they could smell weakness, they would smell our blood and rise up to try and finish the job that the old Mufti of Jerusalem tried to start and which Nasser and others tried to finish.

            As for your bansai mode comment, Gertie, yes we have stupid Israelis who are seduced by the sweet promises about a kumbaya world promised by you extreme lefties. The rest of us though say Never Again! So pray that your sweet Palestinians don’t end up defeating us with the help of your much cherished BDS. Because their victory would be a phyrric victory.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            “Kumbaya.” When pressed, Gustav and allies always fall back on how it all depends on how the Arabs and the Jews FEEL about each other. Not practical arrangements. It’s about “feelings.” Because that allows one to talk about “the Jewish State” and how the Arabs feel about it. And how “they” need psychotherapy. Long term psychotherapy. Before his compatriots act. Which, on purpose, gets everything psychological science has learned backwards.

            Change the (Israeli/Jewish) behavior and the (Palestinian/Arab) feelings will follow. NOT the other way around.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Change the (Israeli/Jewish) behavior and the (Palestinian/Arab) feelings will follow. NOT the other way around”

            Again, typical extreme leftist misrepresentation of history. It ignores what happened when different Israeli leaders did exactly as suggested above and what we got in response. Suicide bombings, rockets and vilification.

            So we have had it now Brian. No more! Do you hear me? No more! We won’t be doing as you say because we don’t anticipate the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIS (who are around the corner) to change their feelings for us if we weaken ourselves just because people like you preach that we should.

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    8. Brian

      Many of us have said what Isacowitz puts this way:

      “A Herzog government would have put a kinder baby-face on things. Months or even years would have been spent trying to figure out whether anything essential had changed; whether Israel 2015 was an entirely new model or simply Israel 2014 in a fancier, more amenable wrapper. We have been spared all that, which is a good thing. Neither the Palestinians, nor the White House, nor the governments of Europe and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement need to go back to the drawing board. Bibi is back – and nothing has changed.”

      (Except, contra Isacowitz, something HAS changed: Bibi is plainly out in the open now about no Palestinian state and the Americans have duly noted it and of course are not buying his weaselly backtracking. And who thinks Boehner’s visit next week and the little victory dance he’s going to do with Bibi is going to put Obama in a forgiving mood towards Bibi? Anyone?)

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      • Gustav

        Has anyone told you that Obama is not El Presidente for life?

        There is life after Obama.

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      • Hilo

        Oh? Have we crossed an Obama red line for voting for someone he doesn’t like? Scary indeed. It is going to be terrible to have to face the wrath of such a dominant and powerful international statesman like Obama while having the support of only the US Congress and most of the American people.

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        • Brian

          Lol. You crossed the American red lines for racist scare-mongering about voting while Arab and for openly saying no to a Palestinian state. The mask never covered much but it’s dropped off altogether now. its ugly.

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          • Hilo

            Crossing an Obama red line is dangerous. It might cause him to go golfing.

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          • Brian

            Your arrogance and entitlement is endless but we shall see. We shall see.

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          • Hilo

            Yes, yes, Obama, after six years of being a spineless coward on international affairs, will rise up like a lion because Israel voted for the wrong guy.

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          • Brian

            Won’t be suckered into bombing Iran for you and unwinding Bush’s idiocies = “spineless coward”. Got it.

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          • Gustav

            … and you won’t be suckered into acting on Syria after declaring red lines … or saving the American ambassador in Libya after Arab extremists attacked the American embassy … nor retaliating after the same extremists murdered him and his brave marines … nor will you be suckered into maintaining sanctions on Iran as they race to develop their nuclear bomb … nor will you be suckered into getting rid of ISIS as they rampage, rape, behead, burn and murder all non Arabs, non Muslims or wrong types of Muslims around them.

            But he seems to be willing to be suckered into ditching his long standing allies in the Middle East.

            And extreme lefties like you, Brian, cheer him on. Let’s see the consequences down the track, shall we Brian? One has to wonder whether Obama’s legacy will be better or worse than Jimmy Carter’s legacy was?

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          • Brian

            Aside from the Bush-like strategic idiocies of this (IF you had America’s interests in mind) you’re a classic chicken hawk. Israel has never sent one soldier into battle to assist the U.S. In any of the adventures it goads the US on about. Go send your son or daughter to volunteer for the U.S. Marines Gustav. Why don’t you? American “lone soldiers” volunteer all the time for the IDF. Why not the other way around you staunch ally, you patriot? You warrior. Go send your son or daughter to be a lone soldier in the U.S. marines and tell them you want him or her to be in the front lines going in to Libya and Iran. Oh you don’t want to do that? You don’t care THAT much about it? Obnoxious chicken hawk pontificators. Let me see Caroline Glick send her son in to the U.S. Marines. Until then she can STFU about Obama.

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          • Gustav

            LOL, a chickenhawk, huh Brian?

            OK, Chief. What point are you trying to make? That Israel has not been an ally of the USA?
            Or that only Israel benefited from the alliance? Because if you are, then your mask is slipping Brian.

            Now go and read this …

            http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/friends-with-benefits-why-the-u.s.-israeli-alliance-is-good-for-america

            Get it, Brian? Sane Americans (not people like you) list the the mutual benefits of the historical alliance which people like you so easily dismiss and are keen to destroy, Brian.

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          • Brian

            You, a Bibi-ratifier, gets the March 2015 +972 Chutzpah Award for lecturing ME on undermining the U.S.-Israel alliance. How bout it though–you’re so gung ho on sending American soldiers into the fight, you got all sorts of lectures on that, why don’t you volunteer yourself for the U.S. Marines? Your sons, cousins…? It’s so vital to you then why don’t you put your own family into the fight? Semper fi. I’m sure the Marines would gratefully accept them. Our staunch allies. These tough talking chicken hawks like Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld never seem to have their own children in the fight. It’s always someone else’s sons and daughters.

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          • Gustav

            LOL. I am Israeli, not American. So I don’t have to join the American army. I am obliged to serve in the IDF I have no business in serving in the marines. Nor do French people or the English or any other nationals of other allies of the USA.

            We are talking here about the long standing alliance between America and Israel. Hilo made a sarcastic comment about Obama’s red lines and about how, of all the red lines which he set you want him to be only serious about breaking the long alliance between America and Israel. A bit of a long stretch then from that and your insistence that I and other Israelis should be obliged to join the US marines? You laughable little man …

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          • Kareem Jeans

            Brian, do you really think that any amercams give two shits about the Arab comment? America has its own tensions with minorities as you can see.

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    9. Margot Dunne

      It seems to me, & please correct me if I’m wrong, that most of the comments on these +974 articles are from Jewish people (either Israeli or diaspora). A while back I tried to contribute, but was slurred as anti-Semitic & sledged with so much gross & sub-infantile language that I stopped contributing. I realise that Jewish people are sensitive to criticism but sometimes other people, of other ethnicities, have valid & sensible critical advice to offer, especially if they are acquainted first-hand with Israel/Palestine & with the diaspora in their own countries. Now Israel is sailing into such rough water that I want to warn about the authenticity of Mr Netanyahu’s flimsy ocean maps. Be careful.

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      • Gustav

        You may be right, Margot, that we are sailing into rough waters. But please stop pretending that we don’t have to be where we are because had we navigated ourselves into the directions which the extreme left advocates for us, we would be in even rougher waters. Much rougher waters!

        You might also want to remember please Margot that we the Jewish people are used to sailing in rough waters but we are also experts at surviving.

        Last but not least, please remember also that we the Jewish people have been likened to the cannary in the mine. We are the first to feel the danger but whatever danger we end up in, also ends up being dangerous to the rest of humanity.

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        • Margot Dunne

          Hi Gustav – Thank you for your friendly response. I am very sorry that the Jewish people have suffered such great & undeserved pain over such a long stretch of centuries. I don’t spruik for the extreme left. But I think that Mr Netanyahu is on track to irretrievably harm Israel if he doesn’t try harder to be the sort of centralist peace broker that is seriously needed. You won’t be surprised if I say that I have dear friends in Palestine. But I have friends in Israel also, & I am appalled that this awful impasse continues & just grows worse. I would wish for all my friends that someone with more statesmanlike qualities than Mr Netanyahu was steering that stormbound ship of yours. Shalom.

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          • Gustav

            Thank you too Margot for your polite response. And for your warning about Netanyahu.

            Now let’s pretend that he wasn’t just elected. What would you have his replacement do? And what are your expectations of the Palestinian leader (do they even have a single spokesman who speaks for all of them? – let’s pretend that they do)?

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    10. Margot Dunne

      Thank you, Gustav – Well, I know that this is over the rainbow, fantasyland sort of stuff, but I would expect both leaders to come out of the closet, ditch the Americans & Tony Blair, & appoint a truly honest, unbiased peace broker. Maybe someone of the quality of Count Bernadotte. Then I would expect them to agree that the little coastal strip they inhabit has been a light to the nations, but can only be so again if it is understood that both peoples have historical rights to live there, protected by just & reasonable borders. Then maybe I can come back again without being hassled at Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv train station, & at checkpoints – nice!! As an historical side-note: an ancestral “cousin” of mine was Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller during the Crusades – there are so many people all over the planet who are not Jewish or Moslem but who have ties to your land. Very best wishes to you.

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      • Gustav

        That sounds to me like you consider the Americans and Tony Blair to have been the obstacles to peace. I would have thought that there is room to blame the two opposing sides. Personally, I think that our side less so because we have offered compromise solutions all we got in return was a murderous intifada, vilification (Durban style), intransigence or at best no response (the 2008 Olmert peace offer).

        But enough of that. I am sure you consider me biased. The thing is that most Israeli’s opinion has been shaped by that experience. We did not invent what happened in front of our eyes following those peace offers by two of our ex prime ministers who were not Netanyahu.

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        • Margot Dunne

          I don’t think the Americans & Tony Blair have done as much as they could or should have. As for the rest, I guess we will have to amicably hold reservations about each other’s opinions. There is too much history for either side to forget, but I think it will have to be sidelined so that something decent & enduring can occur. I do wish you all good fortune, & may God bless both the extreme left & the extreme right, & everyone stuck miserably in the middle.

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          • Gustav

            Well Margot, I happen to think that the buck stops with the two opposing parties. There won’t be peace until such time we find a solution with which we can both live. Believe me, any externally imposed solution has no chance of lasting. In the Middle East, even agreed solutions don’t seem to last because there are too many factions which don’t accept their own leader’s negotiated solutions. That is more true on the Palestinian side than ours but it even can happen with us. Take Hamas for instance. Do you think they would accept a solution in which the Arabs would recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people which would have a minority Arab citizenship to? I don’t think so. Not today at least.

            You know when we will have peace Margot? We will have peace when the majority on both sides will come to recognize what danger war represents to them. I would say that most of us see that but we sense that a significant number of Palestinians have not yet given up on their zero sum game. And that is the greater of the two evils that we face. We cannot accept a pretend peace which would weaken us fatally because that would still lead to war. And a war in which our ability to defend ourselves would be weakened.

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          • Margot Dunne

            Gustav, what you say is very sobering, & you have stated it very clearly. All I can do is wish you well, & thanks for talking to me so realistically, & so politely. Again, Shalom.

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