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The one thing that could have defeated Netanyahu — hope

There was a sense of misplaced joy on some parts of the Israeli Left as Netanyahu’s carefully crafted messaging began to unravel in the days leading up to elections. Finally, the world would see his true colors. But the same thing that keeps Netanyahu in power is the same thing that perpetuates the occupation: lack of an alternative vision.

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 would have been pretty tempting to write a headline along the lines of, “Netanyahu rules out two-state solution, Israel votes for him anyway.” But that would have been silly. First off, Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t support the two-state solution when he was elected six years ago — and that was following the most intense and hopeful peace talks in a decade. Secondly, the voters whom he attracted with his last-minute confession were most likely going to vote for the Jewish Home, which has been far more adamant and open about opposing Palestinian statehood.

There was a nearly tangible sense of misplaced joy on some parts of the Israeli Left as Netanyahu’s carefully crafted messaging began to unravel in the days leading up to the elections. Finally, the world would see his true colors. Finally, all those Israelis who support peace and want their society to be more egalitarian will wake up and vote Bibi out of office.

The problem with that sentiment is, the reason Bibi waited until the last minute to publicize the less palatable points of his platform is that they were not ever issues in the election. His opponents did not campaign on a platform of equality or support for the two-state solution — it was simply not on the agenda.

It would be amiss at this point to condemn the 38 percent of Israelis who voted for right-wing nationalist parties (Likud, Israel Beitenu, Jewish Home and Yahad) on Tuesday. And sure, many of them, particularly supporters of Jewish Home and Yahad, are settlers and ultra-nationalist ideologues whose views are simply incompatible with contemporary values. The main point is that Netanyahu offers mainstream Israelis stability in a scary world.

Sure, Netanyahu fear-mongers and plays up threats for electoral and political gain. But Israelis aren’t stupid. There are real threats out there. ISIS, while not synonymous with Hamas, really is only an hour’s drive away. Enough Palestinians do want to harm Israelis that “peace” feels unsafe in the current climate. A nuclear-armed Iran, whether it threatens Israel or is the catalyst for a regional arms race, is indeed a terrifying prospect. And while there are various approaches for discussing those threats, Netanyahu has found that the most politically expedient way of presenting them is apocalyptically.

The problem with those hoping to replace Netanyahu and his exaggerated world of international conspiracies, tidal waves of anti-Semitism and existential threats is that they are not providing an alternative vision. You can be a great salesman but, ultimately, if you have a crappy product you’re not going to corner the market. Even if the Left were to bring in the most trusted military general or esteemed statesman as its next candidate to challenge Netanyahu and the Right, it would still lack a vision for them to sell to voters.

Public opinion and political alliances can be moved, but you need to be selling something more attractive than “I’m not him.” Doing so is a long process, one that can take at least multiple election cycles. It requires selling a dream, and unfortunately, it is probably also predicated on life getting much worse around here.

Labor party leader Isaac Herzog at campaign headquarters on election night, March 17, 2015. His slate, the Zionist Camp, fell far short of expectations that he might unseat PM Netanyahu. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Labor party leader Isaac Herzog at campaign headquarters on election night, March 17, 2015. His slate, the Zionist Camp, fell far short of expectations that he might unseat PM Netanyahu. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

With all of its faults and threats and limitations, the status quo is comfortable for most Israelis. The State, with Netanyahu at the helm, has proven that it can hold things together — that with a little bit of sacrifice in the form of limited armed conflict every few years, Israel’s current situation is resilient. And while the social and economic reality for most Israelis leaves much to be desired and has little to offer in terms of mobility, the majority is getting by.

In such a situation, in which life is manageable and the alternative — which doesn’t really exist — is scary, why would Israelis vote for something different? Even Isaac Herzog understood that, as evidenced by his campaign’s lack of emphasis on any vision for substantive change or alternatives.

In the wake of Netanyahu’s victory on Tuesday some on the Left have argued that it is time to look outward for change, that it is clear the impetus won’t come from inside Israeli society. They are right and they are wrong.

It has long been true that in the current situation, relying on Israelis to grant the Palestinians all of the rights they deserve — either out of the goodness of their hearts, guided by some moral compass or in response to racist ideas like a “demographic threat” — is futile. A push from the international community, whether it comes in the form of carrots or sticks — likely the latter — will be necessary.

What that approach misses, and what a large majority of the Israeli Left cannot seem to grasp, is that ultimately, Israelis and Palestinians are going to have to live here together. Whether in one liberal-democratic state, two ethnic nation-states, a confederation or some other arrangement, the two societies are intertwined, both in economic terms but also in their ability to survive and thrive in such a small plot of land.

Don’t get me wrong; the occupation must end tomorrow. It is an affront to the dignity and rights of all Palestinians to suggest it can wait. But in order to reach a point where the outcome of a shared future is imaginable, let alone attainable, both peoples — but especially Israelis — need a vision. In these past elections there was not even one up for sale.

A few weeks ago I visited South Africa and on the boat back from Robben Island I found myself perplexed. How could it have been that so many people thought the subjugation, racism and systematic cruelty of Apartheid was acceptable? How was it that more whites didn’t stand up to it? At the same time, I had this uncomfortable thought in the back of my head that I do understand why more Israelis don’t stand up to the many, similar injustices of the occupation: life is stable, the alternative is scary and nobody is offering them a way out.

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    1. Bruce Gould

      Nice essay from the Middle East Monitor:

      As this conflict approaches its eighth decade, it becomes less about maps, borders or the label given to a solution – one state, two state or no state. The essential precursor to any solution – a will to recognise the equal rights of non-Jews to land, water, ports, airspace, oil and gas, fish, in any of the five states that Israel controls – is absent. Whether that refusal is best represented by a Bibi who says no concessions or a Buji whose idea of an ideal world is that Israel keeps all of the land it has occupied, I leave that for others to judge.

      https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/17575–bibi-or-buji-no-change-either-way

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        The author of this article is partially right about his “no vision” theory. But I would put it slightly differently…

        The problem is not that we are not offered an alternative vision. The problem is that we are offered an alternative vision which is not acceptable to us.

        The alternative vision which we are offered is subjugation by those who hate us and those who always hated us because they never accepted our right to live as a free people in our ancestral homeland.

        Reply to Comment
        • Richard Lightbown

          That’s a typical example of the paranoid racism which swept Likud into pole position.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Yes. Statements like “The alternative vision which we are offered is subjugation” have the unchanging zombie-like quality of a cult, don’t they?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kareem Jeans

            Bye Felicia

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Paranoia, yes it is a funny and dismissive word in the context of the Middle East. But Have you heard of the saying: “Just because I am paranoid, it does not mean that they are not out to get me”. Have you Dick?

            No? Then ask all defenceless minorities in the Middle East who are regularly murdered and subjugated by Arabs with impunity. People like the Yazidis, the Assyrians, the Christians and yes, even Jews back in the times when some of us lived in Arab countries.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            It is strange. We learn from the Hebrew bible that Jehovah’s followers often slaughtered entire populations (except for the young girls who had never known men) but in more recent times we never hear of any killings by Jews. We learn of the vindictiveness of the Romans but we never hear that thousands of Romans, both legionaries and civilians, were slaughtered in the Kitos War of 115-117 CE. We learn of a few dozen Jews massacred at Hebron, but not of the many times greater number of non-Jews massacred at Deir Yassin and many other locations in 1947-8. We learn of ISIS atrocities and Al Qaeda atrocities and Hamas atrocities but when hundreds of Gazan children and women are regularly killed in periodic culls as recently as last summer we are told that that was all the fault of Hamas who apparently control the Israeli drones, supersonic aircraft and massed artillery battalions. Zionism is a form of alchemy – the art of victimhood perfected. But beware: thousands of principled non-Zionist Jews (and growing numbers of liberal Zionists) are increasingly aware that this bestial behaviour is indefensible.

            Reply to Comment
          • Mike Panzone

            not to mention the fact that the Jewish establishment persecuted, imprisoned, and murdered thousands of Christian converts in Israel during the first decades after Christ…according to the New Testament.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kareem Jeans

            Bryan, your mom is indefensible.

            Reply to Comment
        • Bruce Gould

          Could you please live in your ancestral homeland without 3 billion in U.S. tax dollars every year? Could you live in your ancestral homeland without displacing the OTHER people who also consider it their ancestral homeland?

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Could I? Of course I could!

            20% of our citizens are Arabs. Now tell me, what percent of any Arab country are Jews?

            Does that answer your question about who wants to displace who, Bruce?

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            A complete non sequitur and complete avoidance of Bruce’s questions.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            LOL

            Reply to Comment
          • Kareem Jeans

            Somebody is giving Bruce a non sequitor? How rich

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel Cantor

            Well, 3 Billion Dollars is about 1% of Israel’s GDP. So, Yes Israel could manage to live with out it.

            Bibi’s privatization of KKL, opening up the banking cartels and reducing housing building bureaucracy will more than compensate for the loss of the 3 billion.

            Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          Don’t give us that ancestral homeland bullshit. The entire human race came out of Africa, but that did not justify European colonists returning in the nineteenth century. Many native American peoples developed in the Americas and dominated that land for centuries or millennia but that would not justify them conquering and expelling the Europeans who came to live their much later. Most modern Jews are descendants of converts to the religion in Egypt, Turkey, Spain, North Africa, Yemen, and generally around the Mediterranean in the final centuries of the Roman Empire. The Ashkenazi population hugely expanded in northern and eastern Europe in the last few centuries from a core population of a few thousand who settled in the Rhineland in the Middle Ages. Judaism may have had originally developed in Palestine, where a multiplicity of Canaanite, Assyrian, Egyptian and many other folk myths were assembled, but its emergence as a distinct and coherent religion owes far more to residence in Babylon, and the Babylonian Talmud is assigned supremacy over its Jerusalem equivalent. Christianity also had its early origin in Palestine but that would provide western Christian Zionists with no right to colonise that land. The Palestinian people absorbed a small elite of Arab military leaders, but the core population is almost certainly living in their ancestral land, having converted over the centuries from Judaism to Christianity and then in large numbers to Islam. Herzl in proposing that Jews needed a state of their own considered unpopulated Patagonia as ideal, and considered many other alternatives that might be acquired from friendly imperial powers, before finally conceding to his Ashkenazi base who had a romantic and nostalgic association with Palestine, because of what they had read in the bible rather than because of any direct historical connection, and indeed Judaism deplored a man-initiated return before God was ready. The world would be in absolute turmoil and chaos if the Welsh returned to “ancestral homelands” in England, the English to “ancestral homelands” in Saxony, Jutland, Normandy and Norway, the Americans to “ancestral homelands” in Spain, Russia, West Africa and Europe, the Turks to “ancestral homelands” in central Asia, etc., etc. Yes the Holocaust was an unspeakably terrible disaster but Palestinians had next to no responsibility for that outrage, and Zionist ideologues cynically manipulated and misled their followers with huge lies – that Palestine was virtually unpopulated and that those few people who lived there would welcome clever and technologically advanced immigrants to colonize the land or could gently be persuaded to up-sticks and slope off to another Arab land.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            What a long winded tirade. But let’s look at real history not your made up theories, Bryan.

            Fact: A small number of Jews never left the holy land and they never changed their Jewish religion. They were natives by anyone’s definition.

            Fact: In the mid 1800s when Ashkenazi Jews started returning to Palestine, the land was virtually empty. It had barely 450,000 people in it, some of whom were those native Jews.

            Fact: Following the return of the Ashkenazi Jews, there was Arab immigration from surrounding Arab countries too to Palestine.

            Fact: Most of Palestine at that time was uncultivated and unsettled. That is why the colonial powers initially encouraged immigration.

            Fact: The Jews who migrated to Palestine were fleeing persecution. By today’s standards they would be referred to as refugees and the very leftists who now so object to their presence, would be insisting that refugees who flee persecution deserve to be granted asylum.

            To sum up: Palestine was not a sovereign Arab country. Nor was it a country which was fully populated. It had room for BOTH Jews and Arabs. The Jews did not insist that the Arabs who lived there or immigrated there had to leave. The Jews agreed to the two state solution. The Arabs on the other hand pretended that ALL the lands were theirs and Jews had no right to be there. That zero sum game of the Arabs was the cause for the Nakba and the subsequent conflict to this day.

            OK Bryan?

            Oh and PS
            Your African analogy for the origin of mankind is pure BS. Rest assured that if humanity had no other place to live other than in Africa, we would all return to Africa. By the same token, many of us Jews have realized by the mid 1800s that we had no future in Europe and we were not wrong. So we returned to our ancestral honeland which was mostly empty. We had every right to do so no matter how many times people like you pretend otherwise. Particularly since white Europeans don’t show any inclination to uproot themselves and hurry to vacate America, Australia, New Zealand and other similar places to which you guys have less right than we have our right to Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            “Fact: A small number of Jews never left the holy land and they never changed their Jewish religion. They were natives by anyone’s definition.” I will accept that there has always been a small Jewish population in Palestine, but I don’t believe it would be possible to demonstrate that they were descendants of original Hebrews who never converted. They were constantly replenished by new immigrants. For instance “In 1211, the Jewish community in the country was strengthened by the arrival of a group headed by over 300 rabbis from France and England”. “In 1267 Nachmanides arrived in Jerusalem [the holiest city and the object of all Jewish yearning} and found only two Jewish inhabitants — brothers, dyers by trade. Nachmanides later settled at Acre, where he headed a yeshiva together with Yechiel of Paris who had emigrated to Acre in 1260, along with his son and a large group of followers” “In 1286, leader of German Jewry Meir of Rothenburg, was imprisoned by Rudolf I for attempting to lead a large group of Jews hoping to settle in Palestine. Exiled from France in 1306, Ishtori Haparchi (d. 1355) arrived in Palestine and settled Bet She’an in 1313”

            “Fact: In the mid 1800s when Ashkenazi Jews started returning to Palestine, the land was virtually empty. It had barely 450,000 people in it, some of whom were those native Jews.” Jews were a very small minority of the population – 2000 in 1680, 7000 in 1800, and only 43,000 in 1890, according to the leading expert on the subject Sergio DellaPergola.

            “Fact: Most of Palestine at that time was uncultivated and unsettled. That is why the colonial powers initially encouraged immigration.” And which colonial powers would these be – I assume you are referring only to Britain, and yes Britain encouraged immigration, subject to feasibility, because Balfour bought Weissman’s story about Zionists being loyal servants of the British Empire.

            You have obviously been reading to much Israeli PR (or Mark Twain, though he seems to be the centrepiece of Israeli PR). For an alternative and better informed view see Ahad Ha’am: “From abroad, we are accustomed to believe that Eretz Israel is presently almost totally desolate, an uncultivated desert, and that anyone wishing to buy land there can come and buy all he wants. But in truth it is not so. In the entire land, it is hard to find tillable land that is not already tilled; only sandy fields or stony hills, suitable at best for planting trees or vines and, even that after considerable work and expense in clearing and preparing them- only these remain unworked. … Many of our people who came to buy land have been in Eretz Israel for months, and have toured its length and width, without finding what they seek.” There was some uncultivated land, stoney hillsides, malarial swamps and sandy dunes, but this required considerable capital to bring into cultivation, something that Jewish settlers could do when assisted by the likes of the Rothschilds, but was beyond the scope of ordinary Palestinian peasants.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            You made some bold and unsubstantiated claims about who we are Bryan. I will tackle those later. But first, I will tackle your denial that around the mid 1800s, Palestine was sparsely populated.

            Do you deny that the total population of Palestine was in the order of 450,000 people?

            We need to resolve this issue first before we move on. There are plenty of links on the web which agree with my estimate. I don’t know of any link which contradict it. So do you agree with me? Or do you deny it?!

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            I disputed your assertion that Palestine was sparsely populated but I did not contradict your estimate of 450,000 population, and I am very happy to agree with that figure.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Thank you Bryan you have in effect admitted that around the mid 1800s, Palestine was sparsely populated.

            The area of historic Palestine in square Km is approximately 27,000 sq km.

            Now let’s calculate it’s population density at that time …

            450,000/27,000 = 16.66 people per sq km.

            That is comparable to South Sudan’s population density which has a population density of 16.49 people per sq km. Now read about how South Sudan’s population is described here and elsewhere.

            http://www.tdrp.net/southsudan.php

            “South Sudan is sparsely populated”

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Why did I suspect such an idiotic argument was about to be be presented? Perhaps because I suspected you were an idiot? – Look at the population of any city in the world (e.g. Manchester, Cairo, New York, Jerusalem) or any country in the world (e.g England, Egypt, USA, Palestine) and you will find huge differences in population density between 1715, 1815, 1915 and 2015 based on international processes of industrialization, urbanization, medical advances, security of food supplies etc. You are going to give me an utterly lame argument that because Beijing or Bombay or Rio de Janeiro or Amman had so much smaller a population 100 or 200 years ago it would have made sense for Zionism to have colonized those areas because, compared to current populations, they were then “sparsely populated”. Please give some of your us credit for a modicum of common sense – compared with you fanatics.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            The only idiotic argument here is coming from you Bryan.

            Population density is an objective measure. It isn’t a relative term. What is described today as sparsely populated can be described as sparsely populated 160 years ago too.

            But the term “objective” and extreme leftists like you Bryan is an oxymoron. There is not an objective bone in your body. You people only have agendas. And your agenda today is to discredit Israel’s very right to exist. There is no point to talk to you guys. Nor am I really talking to you. I am just showing you up to be the stubborn ideologue to normal people who may happen to read this rag.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Which bit of sparse don’t you want to understand, Bryan?

            What was sparse yesterday, today and tomorrow can be described as sparse. Until such time as additional people move in and make it non sparse.

            No Kapish, Bryan? Never mind.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Did I mention that our Bryan is a biased ideologue who promotes his agenda by being selective about history? Of course I did. Here is another example of how his biased mind works …

            He boldly claims that the majority of the Palestinian people are descents of Hebrews who converted first to Christianity, then to Islam.

            In the same breath he makes another bold claim. He claims that the majority of Israeli Jews are NOT descendants of Hebrews but are converts to Judaism.

            Of course, he offers no proof for either of his theories. He just claims this based as a matter of dogma because it suits his jaundiced agenda. This is known as displacement theory whereby we Jews are just pretenders and the Palestinian Arabs who speak Arabic and are Muslim, are more Jewish than we are.

            Now let’s do a bit of a reality check…

            In all probability, some of us Jews are descendants of converts. Equally, some of the Palestinian Arabs are descendants of Hebrews. What percentage in either case? Nobody really knows but it just does not matter…

            It does not matter because most of us Israelis have not advocated displacement of the Palestinian Arabs. We advocated sharing the land. Contrary to the Palestinian Arabs, we went along with the two state solution both in 1948 and today. It is the Palestinian Arabs and their avid biased supporters like Bryan who question our right to independent statehood. And that is why the Palestinian Arabs don’t have their state yet. Netanyahu is absolutely right. We would have to be suicidal idiots to right now allow the establishment of a terrorist state on our weakened borders. A state into which ISIS fighters would flood in.

            As for Bryan’s stupid assertion that because some of us are descendants of converts we have no right to call Israel our ancestral homeland, I wonder if he applies the same logic to the English people? I wonder if he questions the right of the English people to call England their ancestral homeland just because some of the ancestors of today’s English people were NOT English who mingled with the English?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            I wrote a detailed well thought out response to Bryan’s attempt to deny our right to our ancestral homeland.

            Why are you guys so afraid of publishing it? Can’t you stand the truth?

            Reply to Comment
      • Kareem Jeans

        OK Gould. What “five states”does Israel control? Can’t wait for your answer

        Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          Then why not simply read the link provided before you start criticizing. The concept seems a worthy one and refers to states (conditions) not States (national entities). The writer refers to (1) Israel with full democratic rights for Jews; (2) Israel with second class citizenship and systematic discrimination for non-Jews; (3) Jerusalem with municipal residence but not political rights for non-Jews; (4) the West Bank subject to military rule and denied political rights for non-Jews; and (5) the prison-camp of Gaza, kept on a diet, periodically culled and denied ready access to medicines, many foods, building materials and the like.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Brian

      Uzi Baram:

      Netanyahu’s doomsday weapon leaves Israel bleeding and riven
      Twenty percent of Israel’s citizens were depicted as illegitimate, as a force from whom the right needs to be saved.

      …On Election Day the weapon itself was trotted out. It wasn’t politicians to the right of Likud, like Lieberman or Baruch Marzel, but Netanyahu himself who began warning voters of massive Arab participation. His assistants talked of a three-fold increase in the number of Arab voters in comparison to previous elections. Twenty percent of Israel’s citizens were depicted by the prime minister as illegitimate, as a force from whom the right needs to be saved. Herzog, a Zionist with moderate positions, was portrayed as an extreme leftist who is collaborating with the Arabs to disrupt the Jewish-Zionist character of this country.

      This weapon vanquished the enemy, but left the country bleeding and riven.

      I don’t believe Netanyahu could have won these elections without this weapon, but its use doesn’t explain the deeper meaning of the results. Operation Protective Edge, and the frightening anti-left and anti-Arab atmosphere that accompanied it, took place less than a year ago. Since then, we believed we had shaken off the racist Israel that constantly portrays itself as a victim. But these attitudes lingered deep in people’s hearts. Then the weapon was brought out, signifying that Netanyahu would stop at nothing to defeat the treacherous left (Herzog?) and the Arabs — who, we are meant to believe, aren’t really legitimate citizens anyway, seeking only to annihilate us.

      Now Likud’s Yariv Levin can prepare the list of laws he’s been conjured up and Lieberman can start thinking of cleansing the Supreme Court. Ultimately, racism won the day

      Reply to Comment
    3. Shimon Crown

      Perhaps us Israelis would have some hope if we were convinced that the Palestinians were prepared to recognize the “Jewish People” as such rather than insisting that Judaism is a religion with no national rights. Currently the prevailing Palestinian narrative of no “Jewish State” is the number one stumbling block for peace. If Abbas were prepared to recognize the need for a “Jewish State” i.e. a state like France where French is sacred but any Frenchman can be President then peace would break out.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Oh yeah, sure. Peace would break out! LOL! And St Lieberman and St. Bennet would lead the way! And the settlers would come marching in! No one believes you. All you would do is use this to solidify your racist discrimination against the Israeli Arabs. No one is fooled. Freiers we ain’t.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          You don’t believe us? No problems. That makes us even. We don’t believe your kind either.

          Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          Yes, Ben, as I said in reply to you on another page, this is the thing isn’t it? All the complaints about fear, 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. With endless bluster. The credibility of the complaint that the objections are only or mainly about fear has been exhausted. Disingenuousness has become a core problem. And Bibi has become a potent symbol of that disingenuousness. Etched now deeply in the world’s impressions of the conflict. That’s the way it is.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Disingenuousness! Huh Brian? I am glad you brought up that word because you are it. Yes, YOU are disingenuous.

            You pretend to be just against Netanyahu. You act as if Netanyahu started this 100 year war and keeps it going. But the reality is that this war is a war between two nationalist movements, the Arab and the Jewish nationalist movement (Zionism). The Arabs always wanted it all and wanted to leave the Jews with zilch, zip, nada, nothing. And they still do. They used to say exactly that openly but now they changed tactics. It isn’t about Netanyahu you see, Brian? Unless of course you resent a strong Israeli leader who stands up to the assortment of enemies and idiots who would want to preside over our demise and glory for the Saint Palestinians. Disingeuous people like you, Brian.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            You sneaky guy. I don’t pretend in the slightest to be just against Netanyahu. I’m against the entire Likud and Jewish Home list. (Plus Yair Lapid.) But at least Bennett is openly Jewish fascist and doesn’t sneak around and lie all the time about it. It doesn’t bother you that Netanyahu is a racist? And a demonizer? And a lying liar? Of course it doesn’t. What a silly question.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BRIAN: “You sneaky guy.”

            I am sneaky? I don’t think so. I call it as I sees it. If that annoys you, too bad, Brian dear.

            BRIAN:”I don’t pretend in the slightest to be just against Netanyahu. I’m against the entire Likud and Jewish Home list. (Plus Yair Lapid.)”

            … and Ehud Barak … and Ehud Olmert … and against Herzog … and against the state of Israel in general … stop being disingenuous and sneaky Brian!

            BRIAN:”But at least Bennett is openly Jewish fascist and doesn’t sneak around and lie all the time about it.”

            … oh and Bennett … but you are ok with the likes of Hamas Hezbollah and Iran, all Islamo fascists, right Brian dear?

            BRIAN:”It doesn’t bother you that Netanyahu is a racist? And a demonizer?

            I tell you what bothers me, Brian dear. Hamas’s racism bothers me but it does not seem to bother you.

            BRIAN:”And a lying liar?”

            You mean like Abbas who pretends that he wants to make peace and only Netanyahu stops him? But before Netanyahu he was not willing to make peace with Olmert? That does not bother you Brian?

            BRIAN:”Of course it doesn’t. What a silly question.”

            Yes a silly question indeed. Everything is Israel’s fault, nothing is the Saint Palestinians’s fault according to extreme leftists like you Brian.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kareem Jeans

            Did you really use the term “lying liar”? Fool

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Reading is a good thing Brian but you also need to comprehend what you read. On that score, you score an ‘F’, Brian dear.

            I would say that you are a reader and you comprehend what you want to comprehend. Not what you actually read.

            … that and more. You read selectively. You seek out reading material which confirms your pre-existing biases and use it the strengthen your biases.

            Do you get my drift, Brian? Some people read to educate and inform themselves. You read, to reinforce your ignorance.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kareem Jeans

            You are such an arrogant ass. Deserves no other comment Brian

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Well it deserves it but you just couldn’t come up with it creampuff.

            Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        A nonsensical argument. France is the country of the French people irrespective of whether they are Christian, Moslem, Jewish, Atheist or whatever. Israel is the country of the Israeli people irrespective of whether they are Christian, Moslem, Jewish, Atheist or whatever (though your Supreme Court rejected that definition because it would undermine the fundamental idea of Zionism). Very few people (apart from extremists) would dispute this definition. But to say that Israel is the state of the Jewish people is patently absurd because: (1) Many Israelis are not Jewish (2) Most Jews are not Israeli. It would be equally absurd to say that the United States of America is a European country, because many Americans are indigenous or have African roots, and because most Europeans live outside America. One might say in a rather general sort of way that America is a Christian country, meaning that a diversity of Christian and related religions (e.g. Mormonism) have considerable influence in American life, but to say that America is the State of the Christian people would be disparaging of resident non-Christians and their rights, and of non-resident Christians. Certainly the peoples of Mexico and Canada as well as American Jews could not be expected to pledge that “America is the state of the Christian people”. One might say in a very general way that Israel is a Jewish country, meaning that Jews have considerable influence and wealth and power within the country, but to go the extra step and say that Israel is a Jewish state is unacceptable because it is says that Jewish influence, wealth and power is not just something that happens at the moment, but is institutionalized to the permanent disadvantage of non-Jews. It is no coincidence that those who make the most fuss around the wording of statements like “Jewish state” and those most committed to the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from the land.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          Poor Bryan he is responding to imaginary posts. Now I will respond to his nonsense.

          He argues against the idea of calling Israel the nation state of the Jewish people because he claims that other countries (like France) are nations of all their citizens. Really?

          … he conveniently forgets to mention that there are other countries who have a religious designation. England for instance is an Anglican country headed by the monarch who is head of the Church. Yet it is not a country which officially discriminates against non Anglicans although there was a time in history when it did.

          Yet Bryan seems to claim that a Jewish nation state would automatically, by it’s very nature is a racist idea. I say, Bryan is the racist. He is a racist because he pretends that a Jewish nation state unlike the English nation state is unable to treat minorities fairly. It is the very old idea: “Jews are bad by nature”, “others can be good”, “Jews just cannot be good”…

          Yes, sirree Bob. Bryan espouses classic antisemitic tropes.

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    4. GEBUHRER

      Very good paper ; Israeli need a vision ; a vision of the CREATIVE POTENTIAL which WOULD be freed by looking for good to a JUST PEACE SETTLEMENT ; only the fact that Arab citizens in Israël Vote instead of boyctiing as they could is an indication , a clear indication ; status quo is dead end for BOTH pepople ; who in israêl will have the courage to show another path and stand firmly?

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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