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Kerry implicitly acknowledges two states is all but a fantasy now

The Secretary of State asked if they really wanted to live with the moral consequences of a one-state reality. He doesn’t understand this isn’t an issue that preoccupies the average Jewish citizen of Israel.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks on Middle East peace, Washington, DC, December 28, 2016. (State Dept Photo)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks on Middle East peace, Washington, DC, December 28, 2016. (State Dept Photo)

Over the past three decades Israel has seen seven prime ministers (and several more elections), political assassinations, two intifadas, a peace accord, four wars and the withdrawal of the Jewish settlers from Gaza. But amidst all this upheaval, one essential fact has remained a constant: Israel has maintained complete control over the lives of the Palestinians who live in Gaza and the West Bank.

On Wednesday, an exhausted-looking John Kerry gave what will probably be his final foreign policy speech. It was perhaps fitting that he focused on one of the Obama administration’s greatest diplomatic failures — the Israel-Palestine issue.

In his speech, Kerry asked Israelis if they understood the implications of continuing their military occupation of the Palestinians indefinitely. Over the course of more than an hour, he tried appealing to Israelis’ values: were they willing to reconcile themselves to living in a de facto apartheid state? This is a question that Israelis have heard so many times, that it has lost its meaning.

When it comes to the Palestinians, the national discourse is so hardwired that even Israeli Jews who identify as liberals consider bedrock principles like humanity, rights and ethics to be lofty luxuries. When liberal and right-wing Israelis debate whether or not the occupation should end, they don’t argue over how the occupation affects Palestinians. They talk about whether the occupation is good or bad for the Jews. Only a tiny minority of Israeli Jews are detached from the nationalist narrative and focused on the human rights of Palestinians, rather than the national well-being of the Jews.

As several analysts have pointed out*, Kerry did not say anything new in his speech. He reiterated the U.S. government’s opposition to the settlements, which are illegal according to international law. This has been the policy of every U.S. administration, without exception, for nearly 50 years. Nor has the Obama administration deviated from the practice of previous administrations in allowing the settlements to multiply and expand while offering toothless criticism or issuing shocked-and-appalled statements.

Kerry also stuck to the tradition of U.S. officials in emphasizing his love of Israel, by offering anecdotes to illustrate his knowledge of the place and his identification with the people. Imagine a U.S. official giving a speech in which he talks about his love for Palestinian landscapes, his appreciation of Palestinian culture, his warm relations with famous Palestinian officials and intellectuals, and his knowledge of Palestinian history.

It’s terribly sad that just in saying the word “nakba” — in acknowledging the tragedy of the mass Palestinian displacement of 1948 — Kerry broke new ground. We’ve never heard a U.S. official say that word before. We should not get excited over these little crumbs of humanization, and yet we do.

Kerry’s blunt assertion that if Israel were to choose a one-state scenario it would have to be “either democratic or Jewish, but not both” is not new either. It’s just something we don’t hear from U.S. officials all that often. And it’s also not really true: democracies are imperfect and not all of them have always enfranchised all their citizens. In fact, most of them did not, for most of their histories.

The United States was founded as a democracy 240 years ago, but prevented blacks and women from voting until well into the 20th century. Democracies that keep large segments of their populations disenfranchised are now considered ethically dubious at best, but perhaps Israelis are willing to trade ethics for a perception of physical security. They would not be alone or unique in their willingness to compromise out of fear and racism. Look at the United States after 9/11.

The tragedy of Kerry’s speech lies also in the implicit understanding that it came at least a decade too late.

Benjamin Netanyahu has positioned himself to stay in power for many years to come. Under his influence, the political discourse in Israel has shifted so far to the right that it’s impossible to identify any significant difference between the left-of-center parties’ statements on the occupation and those of the government.

Israelis are not feeling any pain from the occupation and they probably won’t feel it again, as long as the army remains powerful and the global neoliberal economy continues to chug along, with Israel offering goods, services and technology that other countries want to purchase or invest in. And now with an incoming Trump administration, which demonstrably is not at all concerned about the basic values of democracy (quite the contrary), the Netanyahu government won’t even have to worry about being scolded for continuing to entrench its settlement of the West Bank — while pretending it has no control over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

So what’s the significance in Kerry’s speech? It’s mostly symbolic, as David Remnick explains in his superb analysis for the New Yorker. Left and right seem broadly to agree that the two-state solution is dead. For liberals who subscribe to the national ideology of Zionism, this is a tragedy. For the Jewish religious national right, their Christian evangelical supporters and Tea Party types, this is a triumph.

The rest of us are wondering what comes next. Meanwhile, for most outside observers the issue of Israel-Palestine is boring at best and insulting at worst, given the ongoing carnage in bordering Syria, in Yemen and in Iraq, and given the global refugee crisis. The world’s attention has moved on, and the country that receives half the United States’ foreign military aid, not to mention a generous increase in its annual “allowance” over the coming decade, is sounding like a spoiled brat. As Kerry said, the Americans cannot prevent Israel from careening toward a one-state reality. But they don’t have to support it.

 

*Additional reading on Kerry’s speech (updated):

In John Kerry’s Mideast Speech, A Clash of Personalities and Policies, by Peter Baker for the New York Times

Kerry’s bombshell Israel speech is one of the most puzzling things I’ve seen in politics, by Matty Yglesias for Vox

The entire transcript of Kerry’s speech; watch it here on video.

Kerry’s Eulogy for Peace Marks the Transition from No-drama Obama to Twilight Zone Trump, by Chemi Shalev for Haaretz.

Noura Erakat on CNN

Diana Buttu and Gideon Levy on Democracy Now

John Kerry and Israel: Too Little and Too Late, by Rashid Khalidi for the New York Times.

Hanan Ashrawi on CNN

John Kerry’s Eureka Moment, by Mouin Rabbani for the London Book Review

 

 

 

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    1. AJew

      “Only a tiny minority of Israeli Jews are detached from the nationalist narrative and focused on the human rights of Palestinians, rather than the national well being of the Jews.”

      As opposed to a huge majority of noble Arabs who unlike the Jews of Israel (who don’t care about Arabs), the majority of Arabs care about Jews. SARCASM!

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @AJew: This is remarkable: you’ve managed to combine both ad-hominem and straw man arguments in one sentence, while simultaneously ignoring any of the real issues this article presents.

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          Where is the ad-hominem bit? I am eager for you to point it out to me so that if need be, I can apologise to the imaginary individual or group who you think I insulted, Bruce. I bet you can’t point it out. But your acusation of ad-hominem attack by me sounds like a good slogan, eh, Bruce? Ok, enjoy.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            And where is the “straw man” argument in my post, Bruce? I simply pointed out reality. Why does reality seem to upset some people on this site so much?

            Here is my perception of reality. As Lisa’s quote implies, the majority of Jewish Israelis care more about our own well being and security than the well being of West Bank Arabs.

            Likewise, nothing that I am aware of suggests that the West Bank Arabs are somehow more altruistic than us. Everything that I am aware of suggests that they care more about their own well being than our well being.

            Please feel free to prove to me that I am wrong. Even intuitively this seems right. It is simply human nature. Especially when two groups of people have been involved in a prolonged bloody and intractable conflict as we and the Palestinian Arabs have been.

            Are you guys real? Why does this reality upset you so much? I am just the messenger. Why are you so upset at this message?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​It is yet another distraction, a false perspective, to make this a contest about who are better people in their heart of hearts. It is about what Israel is actually doing on the ground in real time. Over decades, day after day. Which is that it is committing astonishing cruelty and succumbing to messianic greed. Wrapped in layers of self-righteousness that amounts to a pathological cult. As Breaking the Silence, and +972 Magazine, and others have documented with utmost integrity and sobriety. Sorry, your “traitors,” those who have broken free of the cult, have made it clear what you actually do rather than what you say you do. Your response to these “traitors” reminds me of how Scientology deals with people who leave them.

            Rescue yourselves. Landsmann (Haaretz):

            “Religious Zionism has taken over the political system in Israel….
            We’d love to have a Jewish empire from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River and beyond, with Palestinians as slaves in clanking chains, but unfortunately this is not feasible….
            If the Likud doesn’t wise up and understand that UN Security Council Resolution 2334, the Kerry blueprint and a possible further resolution at the upcoming Paris conference are lifelines sent by God to help it break the chokehold of the settler right wing, it should not complain later to God, or to Donald Trump.”

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Where did this post of yours come from Benny? It certainly has nothing to do with what I said in my previous two posts of December 30.

            I can only conclude that you were overcome by your pathological need to throw mud at Israel. Fine, I know that’s what you are about. But don’t think that you fool everyone. A lot of people are aware of the history of this conflict and they know that Arabs are not just innocent victims. Arabs too victimise as do some Israelis. And that the essential take home message is that both sides should try and sign a peace deal in order to end this mess. Several previous Israeli governments tried but the Palestinian Arabs never responded positively. They are waiting to get an Israeli government which they can bluff into making too many concessions. And they refuse to even negotiate with the Netanyahu government because they can’t bluff Netanyahu. That is where we are in a nutshell.

            Reply to Comment
      • Tommy Goldberg

        “Hey, look at me, I’m no worse than this caricature of the evil Arab!”

        You really represent the Light unto the Nations, don’t you, AJew?

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          No Tommy dear. You “progressives” are the light unto the nations. Don’t look at us. We are just like the Arabs and the rest of humanity. We have no illusions of grandeur like you “progressives” think that you do.

          Now look at you Tommy dear. hatred simply oozes out of you towards me for daring to point reality out to you and making you feel ordinary just like the rest of us poor mortals.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “hatred simply oozes out of you towards me”

            This is certainly a projection. It has almost a psychotic feel to it. It is certainly hysterical. Nothing in Goldberg’s response is objectively what you profess to perceive it to be. This calls out for a psychopathological perspective at this point. It is on a person to person level a kind of microcosm of the cult-like atmosphere into which Israel has descended.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Wait a minute Benny. Your bosom buddy and pal put the following paragraph in quotation marks:

            “Hey, look at me, I’m no worse than this caricature of the evil Arab!”

            Any sane reader would interpret that as him implying that I (as in little ol’ me) has such sentiments.

            So, please Benny, since you chose to butt in, please show me any post of mine on this thread in which I expressed such sentiments?

            If you can’t then I stand by what I said about your dear friend Tommy. He is being hateful. I don’t really care. It isn’t uncommon in this neck of the woods. But at least admit to it, no? Ok, I don’t mind that either but I still reserve the right to say that the particular post of Tommy’s was full of malice. Ok?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Gustav you’re constantly hateful here, spewing constant ad hominem in the rudest fashion. You just lack insight about it. You are a study in lack of insight. But everyone sees it.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Subhana

      Excellent. The “two state solution” is dead. Now we can get on to a two state solution.

      It is pretty strange how many conditions were attached to such a simple phrase as a “two state solution”. We can’t have two states unless it is on the basis of the 1967 lines. We can’t have two states unless the Palestinian state includes Jerusalem. We can’t have two states unless x% of Jews are removed from their homes. We can’t have two states if Israel isn’t forced to apologize for its survival and existence.

      That “two state solution”, the one with all those conditions, is most certainly dead. Israel has never accepted it and it is very much time that everyone else realized that it isn’t going to happen.

      Fortunately, once you remove the quotes around that phrase you are still left with a solution on the basis of two states. It will just involve a smaller Palestinian state with a capital in Ramallah or Abu Dis and it will have Israel as a secure Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital and secure borders. At this point my dear reader you might be fuming at the arrogance of someone suggesting that the Palestinians and the “world” would ever accept such a solution. That is fine. That is just the denial and anger stages of the grieving process. It will take time for you to bury your preferred option, the one you have been wed to for so long, the one that your entire echo chamber has been yelling about as being the only possible solution. But alas, life goes on, there will be other options, life is all about accepting that you can’t always get what you want.

      Israel is not going to annex Nablus, Jenin, Yatta, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Qalqilya, Tulkarm or even Hebron. It isn’t going to grant citizenship to the Arabs that live there. Those areas are not and will not be recognized as a part of Israel. The residents of those areas do not and will not have any claim to Israeli citizenship. If the people in those areas will want to exercise sovereignty and citizenship in a recognized state they will have to accept one of the options on the menu. The two state solution on the basis of the 1967 lines is not on the menu. Neither is a single state between the river and the sea. Neither, practically, is the elimination of Israel. Other than that, let your creativity run wild. I believe in you. You are all special snowflakes with infinite creativity. If you think real hard on this I am sure you can come up with some options.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        ​The fallacy in this exercise in haughtiness and aggression of course is the idea that Israel will pull this off and thrive and someday everyone will say “oh, ok.” And that Israel can simply thrive while impressing the world with insularity, selfishness, brutality and the like, with a striking moral poverty. Netanyahu was certain that everyone was dazzled by Israeli technology and weaponry, that all the world really pays attention to is “strength,” that a UN majority vote was a thing of the past and that no one cared about the Palestinians. His assessment, like his assessment about Iran, was flat out wrong. Israel has become a cult. Like the Branch Davidians at Waco Israelis in power seem intent on pulling the world down around them in flames to solve their problem. Already we see right wingers here talking in dark, conspiratorial tones about “the Samson option.” This is cult behavior. Seriously, it calls out to be looked at in psychopathological terms.

        Reply to Comment
        • Subhana

          Israel is pulling it off and it is thriving. The “two state solution” is dead. Deal with it. Digest it. Think on it. Come back to me when you have something practical to discuss.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​”We are thriving.” So said the Branch Davidians at Waco. But I get the sense that right wing Israelis thrive on this circle-the-wagons, external enemies mentality and the last thing they want is to have peace break out and then have to get along with each other internally. Watch out then, if the temperaments and manners of the Israelis here are any indication!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​And you have it backwards. If the two state solution is dead, and it probably is, then it is not me who has to deal with it, it is you. It is you who have the problem. You will suffer until you understand this.

            Reply to Comment
          • ANew

            “You will suffer until you understand this.”

            This sentence just gave you an orgasm, didn’t it, Benny?

            Now hear this. Yes, we will suffer and have been suffering so long as this war which your Arab friends started and refuse to stop, so long as this war continues. But they suffer too. That has not been and still isn’t our preference but so long as you people (the grand Palestinian Arab alliance) insist on cutting your own noses off to spite your faces, we cannot stop this cycle of stupidity. Yes, we could give in to all your demands unconditionally but that would be even worse. We would then end up being the only ones to suffer while you lot would end up dancing on our graves. That ain’t gonna happen, Benny, no matter how many blood libels you invent against the people of Israel and no matter how much you vilify and demonise us. Because, yes, we will circle the wagons and whatever happens, you lot will not dance on our graves.

            By the way, I didn’t know that circling the wagon is a dirty word you Benny spit it out at us, venomously, as if it is. You call us a cult for daring to insist on a secure peace and defending ourselves from the Arabs who view us as a foreign body which needs to be excised and those who support them, people like you Benny, who demonise and vilify us. But everyone in our shoes would circle the wagon and to the best of my knowledge no one accused others of being a cult because they refused to give in to those who hate them. Only bigotted haters like you, Benny, resort to such hateful words. Oh and maybe some outliers (to use your own term Benny, when I showed you some examples of decent Arabs who clearly see and admit what their own people have been doing and trying to do to the Jewish people of Israel, you just dismissed them as outliers. Well, hear this Benny: the people YOU quote are outliers too in the opposite direction!)

            Reply to Comment
          • Subhana

            If this is suffering, then thank you sir, may I have another?

            It seems like there is some sort of parallel world where Israelis are sitting around depressed and suffering on a daily basis because of the conflict and the terrible blows that they are taking on the world stage. I can imagine how someone that consumes Mondoweiss and 972mag and ElectronicIntifada and Haaretz on a regular basis can conclude that this world is real. I read all these sites on a regular basis, so I understand how someone would think that, and yet, this world is not the one I live in and it isn’t the one most Israelis live in. It is not a real world. It is entirely imaginary.

            Israel is thriving. Deal with it. When the reality sinks in then you can come back with practical suggestions.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “It seems like there is some sort of parallel world where Israelis are sitting around depressed and suffering on a daily basis because of the conflict and the terrible blows that they are taking on the world stage.”

            Parallel world is spot on. One could call it lah lah land or flat earth.

            Nevertheless, this situation is not what most of us want. On the other hand, we won’t exchange it to a much worse situation by caving in to the demands of the pro Arab anti Israel camp.

            If Benny and his cronies imagine that they can get us to cave in to their demands, without any consideration to what we expect from a negotiated peace deal, by threatening us with “more suffering”, then they are sadly mistaken.

            Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Amir Oren (Haaretz): “Even if a land swap is agreed in the context of a peace agreement, such that the size of the future Palestinian state would not be affected by the growth in population of existing settlements, the location of the settlements is important. If they are distributed in such a way that the West Bank state is squeezed between them, it will not be viable. Without withdrawal, there will not be peace. Without a freeze on new settlement, the veteran settlements will not be evacuated.
        Whoever is eager to continue settlement-building wants a never-ending war of attrition and a clash with the entire world – with the possible exception of a single Trump, who himself will be limited in what he can do by Congress, by the Supreme Court, by Putin and by the precedents set by previous administrations.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Subhana

          ‘viable’ is a meaningless term meant to paper over logical holes and value judgements in an argument about a Palestinian state. It is thrown around but never defined. In this case he doesn’t even bother to qualify it or quantify it. Economically viable? Politically viable? Militarily viable? How does it damage the viability [of whatever aspect of statehood is referred to here] of a Palestinian state and is there compensation elsewhere for such damage? And yet this empty vagueness is the linchpin of his argument. Strip it away and the whole thing falls apart. The whole argument is revealed to be a game of drawing circles around an arrow and claiming a bullseye.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Good post Subhana. Unfortunately the pro Palestinian – anti Israel crowd only want to listen to their own mantras. They are not interested in anything else. They keep on repeating whatever nonsense they are saying till they actually come to believe their own nonsense. There are no other options as far as they are concerned. Maybe we too should start playing a similar game till they get the message that they too need to compromise. Not just Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​Excuse me, ‘Samson,’ but what on Earth are you talking about? Are you a Mossad agent come to play “mantras” and “similar games” via little +972 Magazine till somebody “gets the message” and “compromises” “too”? Sounds nutty. Honestly I can’t fathom what Walter Mitty dream world you live in. But Waco, Texas keeps coming to mind. “They” is you. If you have an argument, try to make it. The endless ad hominem has discredited only you.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “But Waco, Texas keeps coming to mind. “They” is you.”

            A bit grandiose of you, Benny, and a bit premature too. I know it is your wet dream but we are nowhere near such a dire predicament as the one you are trying to paint above.

            But even if you would succeed in turning your wet dream into a form of reality, even then, it won’t turn into Waco. You people will never end up dancing over our graves and sing In triumph. It will be an entirely different scenario. I already explained it to you before but it cannot penetrate your hateful thick brain. The prospect of us suffering just excites you too much.

            Never mind. Let’s hope that it won’t come to that for both our sakes.

            Reply to Comment
          • John4546

            S: ” ‘viable’ is a meaningless term meant to paper over logical holes and value judgements in an argument about a Palestinian state.”

            Hmmm, OK. Point taken.

            S: “It is thrown around but never defined. In this case he doesn’t even bother to qualify it or quantify it.”

            OK, how about this one: a “viable state” is a state that isn’t bisected by foreign colonies that were established without its consent and are maintained against its will via the pointy end of the guns of a foreign army of occupation.

            Will that do?

            Reply to Comment
          • Subhana

            Excellent. I have yet to see a map where in the case of a peace treaty the Palestinian state would be “bisected”, or would contain within it any “colonies”, or would have foreign troops occupying it. Sounds like we are in agreement. A small Palestinian state with a capital in Ramallah is entirely viable.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Eliza

      The fact that the term ‘viable’ is difficult to define within the context of a Nation-State, does not make it a meaningless term.

      And yes, viability attaches to the economic health of a Nation-State along with diplomatic independence and security from hostile external forces. Basically, a Nation-State that cannot provide economic well-being, protect its citizens from harm or freely engage in alliances with other Nation-States ends up being a failed Nation-State.

      Your confidence in what will not happen is a bit hard to stomach. No doubt about that. But no-one really knows what is going to happen in the future. Things may look rosy with Trump coming on board but my guess is that Israel is going get lots of rope with which to hang itself. The days of the benevolent liberal Zionists where at least there was some restraint on Israeli expansionism and creditable diplomatic protection aka Obama, Kerry are over. We are always surprised when the centre falls apart, when things go horribly pear-shaped, we all get mugged by reality one fine day – we just never really see it coming.

      Reply to Comment
      • Subhana

        The term ‘viable’ is used in that argument as short-hand for a set of unstated assumptions and value judgements. It is unqualified and unquantified. That makes it a meaningless term from the point of view of constructing a cohesive logical argument.

        There are lots of possible ways to look at viability. There are also a lot of countries in the world. Yet rarely is the argument heard that an existing country is not viable because of geography. The only time such an argument does make sense is when referring to such wide-scale changes as global warming and its impact on the various small island nations in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Outside of that there is almost always a solution that can be worked out with enough investment of effort and resources. Mountainous nations build tunnels. Nations with lots of rivers and swamps build raised highways. Nations that consist of multiple islands build ferry systems or promote cheap air transportation. Yet here, again and again, we hear the lazy argument being made that a Palestinian state is not “viable” because of the geographic or economic complications of possible future land swaps. That argument simply does not stand up to scrutiny, but is trotted out time and again.

        What will determine whether Palestine will be a failed state will be a combination of several factors. The primary of them is whether Palestine can establish a well-functioning and non-corrupt political and legal system. Around the world that is the sine qua non of economic development in countries lacking in natural resources. Close behind as a factor in determining whether Palestine will be a failed state is its future economic relations with Israel and Jordan. Good relations with Israel will open up much of the global economy and are almost certain to push the Palestinian economy into rapid economic growth. Good relations with Jordan would open up opportunities for trade with much of the Middle East. Neither of these factors is dependent on any specific geographic configuration of a Palestinian state. Land swaps will have minimal if any impact on these two factors which will generally determine the economic viability of a Palestinian State.

        My confidence is pretty high that things that do not make any sense for Israel to do will not happen. It makes no sense to send Israeli police to patrol the Balata refugee camp. It makes no sense to send Israeli garbage collectors to collect garbage in Yatta. It makes no sense to have an Israeli principal in a school in Beit Umar. Even among the settlers there is zero appetite for such an adventure. No amount of unrestrained Israeli activity would cause this fundamental lack of will to take ownership over the Arab cities in the West Bank to suddenly shift. Given this reality, there is no alternative to some form of alternative autonomous structure for running the affairs of the Palestinians in the West Bank. There is also zero appetite for the adventure of withdrawing to any arrangement based on the 1967 lines. As such, creative thinking will be required if there is a desire for peace and a desire for the Palestinians to have more control over their own lives.

        As for the argument that Israel will “get lots of rope with which to hang itself”. It is certainly entertaining but also extremely patronizing. I saw a similar argument in the New York Times a couple of days ago. Underlying it is the arrogant presumption that Obama and Kerry know far better what Israel needs than the Israeli people and leadership. An American government less obsessed with trying to force its preferred solution on Israel is likely to be a good thing for Israel and for peace.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          ​”‘viable’ is a meaningless term…”

          This could only be spoken by somebody with utter contempt for the actual daily lives of human beings outside his self defined tribe and a kind of fascist determination to make a show of ruthlessness. Who regards Palestinians as worthy of the considerations one gives to cattle. Israelis increasingly have no idea how they sound to people outside the cult. You think you impress people with this “toughness” but you really impress people with your cold fanaticism, condescencion, 19th Century style racism. The self defeating nature of this was explained by Noam Scheizaf:

          “…on a self-defeating element in the Hasbara battle: as Israel loses interest in finding a solution to the Palestinian question that would meet the minimal moral standards of the Western World – either “one man one vote” or complete Palestinian sovereignty over a contiguous territorial unit – Hasbara efforts are just likely to draw more attention to the ongoing Israeli failure to live up to the promise of its talking points, and will shed more light on the ever-growing gap between the model, picture-perfect democracy reflected in brochures and the grim reality on the ground.”
          https://972mag.com/hasbara-why-does-the-world-fail-to-understand-us/27551/

          Reply to Comment
          • Subhana

            If you can’t define what “viable” means then it is meaningless. It is just a talking point. Just propaganda. Thank you for demonstrating that you are incapable of actually having a rational conversation and instead prefer the demonization of Israel and Israelis.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Utter nonsense, Subhana. The fact is that every conceivable element of viability is compromised by the lack of contiguity that Israel is, not haphazardly but purposely and with aforethought and precision, by design, building into the West Bank. If this lack of contiguity does not compromise viability then you should alert your buddies among the settler leaders and the Israeli Cabinet because they sure as heck think it compromises viability—they are spending massive amounts of energy and funds—your tax shekels at work–on this project and never got Subhana’s New Subversive Memo Contesting the Meaningfulness of Viability. The fact is that you would not so casually dismiss as “meaningless,” you would not accept one single thing done to you, that you think is no big deal for the other side. You’re quite quick to elucidate with the keenest interest all sorts of nuances of viability when it comes to your side. But play dumb and disinterested when it comes to the other side. To take just one contemptuous, breezily stated condition casually trotted out in your disdain: “Mountainous nations build tunnels.” So the idea here is that Jewish settlements and their highways are like mountains that the Israelis will choose to create wherever they like and those local natives the plucky Palestinians will just have to show some gumption and roll up their sleeves and build some tunnels under these man-made “mountains.” This is typical Israeli contempt and arrogance. So when you then lecture me on “demonization” because I point out your obvious contempt, that’s a propaganda trick, a stock line: “Oh you pointed out how I am treating others as untermenschen, you’re demonizing me! No fair!” Sorry, I’m not demonizing you and it’s entirely fair. Neither is Breaking the Silence demonizing you and neither is +972 Magazine demonizing you. As I said, you Israelis have no idea how you come across and you just made my point for me all over again.

            Reply to Comment
          • Subhana

            Given the example you provide, I take it that for you viability is equivalent with geographic contiguity. That is fortunate because every Israeli offer that the Palestinians have rejected has included a completely geographically contiguous Palestinian state. That argument was contained in the first couple of sentences and it has no basis in reality. The rest of your rant is just you venting your irrational hatred for Israel and Israelis. You haven’t managed to define viability in any meaningful way, and to cover up for your inability to do so, you went off on some holier than thou lecture. It is a cute trick, but quite transparent.

            Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          ​And fanatics, ultimately, cannot be reasoned with. They only listen to force. For example, Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the U.S. He could not be reasoned with and finally he had to be imprisoned. And what we have here actually is a fanaticism superimposed on an occupation mentality that has bedeviled others in history unfortunate enought to fall prey to it. As Noam Scheizaf also understands:

          “The harsh truth is that I cannot think of a single occupying society that woke up one morning and decided to end an occupation of its own volition, especially when there was a civilian claim to the territory involved.”
          https://972mag.com/why-do-we-only-listen-to-violence/117773/

          Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          ​”There is zero appetite for….”

          You know, human rights you accord others are not subject to your imperious appetites. Appetites change. What once seemed unpalatable to a lazy man with a full stomach will seem mighty tasty to a genuinely hungry one. The Palestinians have been hungry for a long time but have not found what Israel is offering to be worth swallowing. I rather doubt that the Israeli public will have the same sumud under pressure, not because they lack some intrinsic quality the Palestinians have, but because they are not fighting for their dignity and human rights the way the Palestinians are, they are simply fighting for the luxury of real estate and to indulge messianic greed. So when their “appetite” changes I predict they’ll finally swallow something reasonable at long last. But as Noam Scheizaf says, in the article I just linked to, a lot of needless violence will take place, as it did in Algeria, until Israelis’ “appetites” inevitably change.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            You quote Sheizaf, Benny, So let me quote to you what one decent Arab person says. He is honest about the Middle East reality. May he have a long happy life.

            http://arabsforisrael.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/why-i-support-israel.html?m=1

            “Israel is not the only best model of democracy and freedom in the Middle East rather there is no comparison of Israel with all 56 Muslim countries of the world; a country surrounded by 22 hostile Muslim countries, where people are able to enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Israel is a country where Israeli Muslim Arabs also share all benefits without any discrimination.
            On the contrary, in oil rich Muslim countries, Arabs treat you as animals, despite believing and share the same religion, but you are not more than a slave; Modern Slavery, keep you living in fear, to horrify you, and to profit from it.!
            I want to make my voice heard and spread this message of truth that the Crusades, Inquisition, the Persian and Ottoman Empires, the Holocaust, all have been trying to exterminate the Jewish nation from this planet for thousands of years. No one succeeds, the Nation of Israel lives and the Jewish people will endure.

            According to the verses of the Quran regarding the Jews; Jews are people of various bad qualities, known for their loathsome characters and contemptible behavior; they are liars, ingrates, selfish, arrogant, rebels, lawbreakers, cowardly naggers and cheaters, prone to crime and aggression etc… Dear Muslims, please see your own character and your history in the light of these verses; in fact these verses fit upon you instead of Jews, you deserve wrath of the God not the Jews!”

            Read it all. This is just part of what he says.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            It should come as no surprise that you’d prop up the verbal diarrhea of a person who is probably an imposter or if not, a self-hating semite, sounding just like the ‘house negro’ Malcolm X wrote about, as a ‘good Arab’. What a half-baked attempt at hasbara, you lazy sow. Reality check below.

            Video for Diana Buttu & Gideon Levy on Israeli Settlements, Kerry, Military Aid & End of Two-State Solution 27:55

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnwtKL4yF98

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Carmen. How Typical of you. If a Jewish Israeli like Gideon Levy speaks against Israel, he is not “a house negro”. But if an Arab person makes pro Israel anti Arab comments, then he IS “a house negro” according to you.

            That sums up your credibility (more like lack off), Carmen.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            credibility:
            1) the quality of being trusted and believed in.
            synonyms: trustworthiness, reliability, dependability, integrity;
            “does he possess the moral credibility the party is looking for?”
            2)the quality of being convincing or believable.
            3)and yet another word AJew doesn’t know how to use.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            In other words, Carmen asserts her own credibility. But that does not make her credible.

            She picks and chooses. She is inconsistent with her “logic”. Oops, did I say logic?

            Now looky here: There are plenty of decent Arab and Muslim people who live outside of Israel and who are pro Israel and against the 100 year war which their co-nationalists/co-religionists have been waging against Israel. I named quite a few such people (the one here and others on other threads). But Carmen calls those Arabs/Muslims “house negroes”.

            Yet she refuses to describe Jews who demonise Israel as “house negroes”.

            What is that if not plain old good fashioned bias? An obvious bias which demonstrates Carmen’s lack of credibility.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            Video for Diana Buttu & Gideon Levy on Israeli Settlements, Kerry, Military Aid & End of Two-State Solution 27:55

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnwtKL4yF98

            Diana Buttu, Gideon Levy and the Democracy Now! demonstrate honesty and truthful reporting for the credibility-impaired.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            So a Jew who criticizes Israeli policy is a treacherous self-hating Jew, worthy of derision and scorn. An Arab who is critical of Arab policy is a brave hero, who must be lauded and defended.

            Sod off.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Gawd allmighty. Trust clumsy old Ray to stumble onto an exchange and misread what has happened. You can accuse Carmen of what you accused me. I don’t subscribe to what you accuse me off. But Carmen does the other way around.

            Now, you dod off Ray. And next time try to follow an exchange between two people before you butt in. Ok?

            Reply to Comment
          • carmen

            Hey Ray – looks like you struck a nerve with the resident crone, Gustav/AJew and her knickers are all in a twist. All it takes, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, is anyone agreeing with or expressing a pro-palestinian pov and she goes off. It’s really funny to see, just like clockwork. It’s a patented ‘look over there, not over here’ distraction, hasbara 1.0.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            No Carmen deary. Your IQ is too low to cause me discomfort.

            As for Ray, he is just an annoying little mosquito with a disconcerting habit of butting in and misinterpreting who said what. As in this instance, he pretended (or misinterpreted) that I was the one who called your fool of a Gideon Levy a “house negro”. Whereas in fact, you are the one who calls any Arab or Muslim who is against prevailing Palestinian Arab policy of demonising Israel, you call such people “house negro”, even if they don’t live in Israel.

            Yet you are not even self aware enough to realise that if one applied your own lowly standards, Gideon Levy too could be described as a “house negro” who kisses the hands of his Arab pay masters.

            You, my darling, Carmen, are a first rate either a first rate hypocrite. Or you are just not self aware.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            “Your IQ is too low to cause me discomfort”. Right, that’s your knickers job. If that’s actually true though, I look forward to no further responses from you of any kind, as it would make you look like an idiot for responding to someone you consider below your um, er, intellect. Buh-bye now 🙂

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “I look forward to no further responses from you of any kind, as it would make you look like an idiot”

            You think so? You think it would make me look like an idiot? Or could it be that you would like to be in the position to talk at me without getting a bit of counter ribbing?

            Let me think about it deary. I might just let you talk at me without me talking back “just so that I won’t look like and idiot” for talking with someone of your intellect. Tempting… very tempting….😋

            Reply to Comment
          • Subhana

            It would appear then that the Palestinians are not hungry enough, or that they are hungry for something different from that ascribed to them by their Western interlocutors. The Palestinians could have already had a state. They chose to not accept one because they are not ready to accept living in peace with a Jewish state on any borders. They are not fighting for human rights or for dignity. They are fighting because they have been taught that there is no room for a Jewish state in the Middle East. They are fighting in order to destroy rather than in order to create. And only when they realize that they have no chance to actually destroy, only then might they start thinking about what it is that they want to create.

            As long as Israelis see this conflict as an existential issue they will keep fighting. No external pressure will change that underlying aspect of this conflict. Palestinian violence will certainly not do so. On the contrary, they would likely magnify the impression that this is an existential issue. The response to existential angst on the part of national/ethnic/religious groups is usually rather hostile. The only thing that will change this perception is a Palestinian acceptance of the principle of two states for two peoples and a Palestinian willingness and interest to live in their own state next to a Jewish state. At that point the conflict ceases to be existential and becomes one over mundane matters like territory. Until that happens, the response to pressure on Israeli society will be to push it even further to the right, and to push any possible solution even further away.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Lectures From The Overlord like this (the disdain and occupier’s logic is given away in the simple disdainful phrase “they can have a state”—rhymes with “let them eat cake”) which see it conveniently “just so,” always devolve, when push comes to shove and the niceties are pushed aside, into “now wait a minute, by ‘a state’ I didn’t mean *that*–they must lower their expectations.” And then it always falls back on some humiliating crumbs offered by the smug, U.S.-backed occupier. You could have had a state too, a long time ago, had you desisted from messianism and greed and power-drunkenness. But you worshipped those golden calves instead.

            A variation on this theme, for example, would be the tireless complaint that “all we want is security, is that too much to ask!” But when you actually offer the complainer something eminently secure but that leaves out Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim and Efrat and East Jerusalem the complainer suddenly backtracks and says “wait a minute, not so fast, I didn’t mean that!” Never fails.

            The basic problem you have, Subhana, is that you Israelis have shot your credibility. No one believes anymore the things you say about what you want and why you want it. You could read that conclusion between every line of John Kerry’s speech. No one thinks you are good faith operators. No one trusts you as far as they can throw you. Bibi, the epitome of someone no one, Israeli or non-Israeli, trusts on anything, the epitome of a lack of real integrity, has become not just one idiosyncratic Prime Minister, but the face of Israel. This is the truth this first day of the 2017. It is not 1967 and it is not 1947. It is many years later and the world has learned over and over again in the past two decades what Israel is really up to. Too much experience has accrued for the usual propaganda to fly anymore.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            @Ben “No one thinks you are good faith operators. No one trusts you as far as they can throw you. Bibi, the epitome of someone no one, Israeli or non-Israeli, trusts on anything, the epitome of a lack of real integrity, has become not just one idiosyncratic Prime Minister, but the face of Israel. This is the truth this first day of the 2017. It is not 1967 and it is not 1947.”

            He most certainly is the face of israel, that was crystallized in July 2014 imho. It was only 7 years ago when feckless leader claimed to the world it was 1938, not 2009 and Iran was Berlin. A++ for hyperbole, or I’ll just create a new word for that kind of smack – hyperbibi. That MF doesn’t know what time it is, but the rest of us do.

            Video for netanyahu thinks its 1938 4:57
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFTzYQoEgt8

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            No question, Gideon Levy and Diane Buttu tell the truth. +972 Magazine tells the truth. Breaking the Silence tells the truth. It’s a hard truth. And the Right can’t handle it. That’s why they despise them and refuse to listen. And pour vitriol here. In Israel’s current extreme-rightist state, the leftists tell the truth. The leftists, are really just sensible centrist people. Bibi has managed the Orwellian feat of making “leftist” a pejorative in Hebrew. It’s a cult. And the people who leave the cult are treated the way Scientology, an organized crime outfit masquerading as a religion, treats members who try to leave their cult.

            Reply to Comment
          • Subhana

            The Palestinians were offered a state. Twice. They rejected the offer. Twice. They will have other chances in the future. It is a quite unprecedented situation where a supposedly desperate and suffering nation repeatedly rejects its independence because it doesn’t get all of its demands. Either they are not so desperate, not really suffering, or they really aren’t interested in having their own country.

            We are just going to keep doing what we have been doing and if eventually the Palestinians choose to actually act in their own best interest, then we shall all be better off. And if not, then so be it as well. We’ll deal with that too.

            Benjamin Netanyahu has more credibility in the Middle East these days than John Kerry. And Bibi has very very little credibility anywhere. And so what? All you have to show for it is a non-binding UNSC resolution and a very boring John Kerry speech. Both delivered in petulant manner during the interregnum when political actions such as these are meaningless. Given the glorious success of this administration’s foreign policy I am content with having a Prime Minister that has managed to grind down the idiots that run American foreign policy to the point of exhaustion. All they have left is to give winding speeches justifying failures of their own making. Let us all hope that the next administration is slightly less delusional, although in America these days that seems like too much to ask for.

            Reply to Comment
    4. AJew

      “Gustav you’re constantly hateful here”

      But these are the words which your new found bestest bosom buddy, Tommy, attempted to put in my mouth:

      “Hey, look at me, I’m no worse than this caricature of the evil Arab!”

      And you, Benny, butted in, yet you still can’t show me a single post in where I said such a thing, can you Benny?

      In fact, if you read my other posts on this thread, I said that we, the Arabs and the rest of humanity, are ORDINARY. We all pursue self interest and we all try to defend ourselves from external aggression. Show me the words “EVIL ARAB” in those sentiments? Just show me, Benny or shut the F….k up. Or to put it in slightly more civilised terms: put up or shut up!

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        No one’s going to intimidate me or shut me up, least of all you, Samson’s Grandson. With the Foul Mouth. (So jealous too! “Bestest bosom buddy…attempted to put in my mouth…butted in”?) Three way discussions are “butting in” in your mind? Hmmm. These are Gustav’s Civil Administration rules for the occupied comment section? You’re the comment police? Beyond that, this is a pointless conversation. Every meaningful distinction is either lost on you or you pretend that it is. I stand by what I, and Tommy, have said. See ya.

        Reply to Comment
    5. AJew

      Good choice Benny. You chose to shut up because you can’t put up.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Subhana

      If Gideon Levy ever met the truth he would ask her about her position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Were she to answer “incorrectly” he would shut the poor thing away in a closet.

      Diana Buttu is a former spokeswoman for the PLO. She would probably waterboard the truth until the right words flowed out of her.

      If +972 Magazine ever heard the truth they would probably first ask their European sponsors if what she had to say is worth printing.

      If Breaking the Silence ever saw the truth, they would claim that it is being occupied, that they have witnesses that shot at it and then they would go around the world presenting this story to every possible anti-Israel audience.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        “The official noted that within the Fatah movement there are those who believe the only way to place Palestinian statehood on the international agenda is a third intifada and violent resistance to the occupation. The more pragmatic group, he stated, believes in working with the Arab League (especially Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) on a diplomatic track, focusing on the new UN Security Council Resolution 2334.”

        You endorse 2334? Great news! I knew you’d come around.

        Reply to Comment
        • Subhana

          I endorse the idea of a smaller Palestinian state and applaud the Palestinians for finally starting to think realistically about that option. You would too if you cared about the Palestinians. Finally the Palestinians are starting to demonstrate a measure of pragmatism. They spent the entirety of the pro-Palestinian Obama presidency obstinately refusing to conduct negotiations, and now, on the edge of the Trump precipice they are begging for some semblance of relevance. The expression ‘never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity’ has never applied so well to the Palestinians as it does now.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Subhana: This is all a tendentious interpretation not warranted by either the article you reference or the known facts. You’re hardly interested in anybody’s pragmatism, yours or theirs. By your own account you are interested in surrender to a totalistic messianic-nationalist real estate project. Elsewhere you’ve already demanded Ariel as a precondition so you are not in a position to preach pragmatism to anybody. The real issues lie elsewhere.

            Reply to Comment
      • carmen

        The truth will free you Sub. It’s the constant lies you need to tell that trap you. You’ve been brainwashed and if your a native israeli then it started in the womb. It’s a cult. No better than any other cult, but a cult all the same.

        Palestine’s future. Extract from Airborne Field Security, Report No. 54, week ending 19 November 47, regarding Jewish sex workers forced to be Zionist spies. National Archives, Kew, FCO 141/14286. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/01/terrorism-israeli-state/#sthash.Q6kpbqY3.dpuf

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        “If Gideon Levy… Diana Buttu… +972 Magazine… Breaking the Silence ever….” A really striking display of a cult-like practice of slapping one’s hands over one’s eyes and ears. And condemning information bearers. So afraid to face the truth, to step outside, to face reality. Informative.

        Reply to Comment
      • carmen

        Israel is well-aware of the Palestinian idea of a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines in two phases. A senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity that Jerusalem completely rejects the proposals. “There will be no negotiations on changing the nature of Area B or Area C before the Palestinians recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people and agree to Israeli demands on security arrangements,” he said.

        Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/12/israel-palestine-fatah-new-initiative-interim-agreement.html#ixzz4Ug0C27h3

        The Grinch has always been and continues to be the zionist-cult with an endless supply of Ikea wrenches and preconditions to throw into the mix. Thanks to Pres. Barack Obama for pissing off all the right wing people and making a way for the EU to press on with hopefully sanctions, sanctions and more sanctions.

        Reply to Comment
        • Subhana

          That is hilarious. “Palestinian idea”. I love the framing in that article. An internationally recognized Palestinian state within provisional borders primarily consisting of Area A and Area B was George W. Bush’s/Ariel Sharon’s idea circa 2002/3. Arafat and Abbas rejected the idea because they thought that after the establishment of a Palestinian state they would lose leverage, the peace talks would fail, and the provisional borders would effectively become permanent. I remember speeches being made about how the Palestinians would never accept such a plan. Here we are 15 years later. It is now presented as a “Palestinian idea”.

          As for your hopes for European sanctions. Ok. 🙂 Lets wait and see if that ever materializes in any meaningful way. Best of luck.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            This is a persistent, willful misreading of the article. The real issues are tough enough without having pseudo-discussions about imaginary ones. In my view you are not a serious interlocutor here.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “This is a persistent, willful misreading of the article”

            Isn’t it lovely? What a lazy way to try and dismiss what the other guy (Subhana) says. What a lazy way to debate.

            The least Ben could do is be specific. What exactly did Subhana misread, Benny? If you tell him, he may get the chance to either agree with you or prove you wrong.

            But that is not what you are after, right Benny? You just want to dismiss the arguments/opinions of those who disagree with you. Dismiss outright, no ifs, no buts, no maybes, just dismiss irrespective of whether they are right or you are right. You don’t even want to give listening a chance. People like you Benny, think they are never wrong. The problem is that you are wrong more often than you’d care to admit.

            PS
            I am not arguing for or against Subhana. I am just interested in what he has to say. But you Benny just want to shout him down. Shame.

            Reply to Comment
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