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The Zionism debate: When colonialism is embedded in liberalism

A response to Larry Derfner’s defense of liberal Zionism

By Abir Kopty

A piece posted earlier today by Larry Derfner, written in response to Joseph Dana, contains typical Zionist arguments, which normally do not prompt me to respond, except that this time, he called them “liberal Zionist” arguments. Honestly, I don’t know what is liberal about them.

What Larry fails to see is that there is no such thing as extremist and liberal Zionism, or hard-core and light Zionism. Zionism is not about what you choose to think. Zionists are part of a colonialist ideology and movement that operates through institutions. Make no mistake, it’s not a vague term. It’s an ideology that has committed crimes against Palestinians and continues to inherently give Jews elite privileges over Palestinians, whether inside Israel, or in the West Bank – including East Jerusalem – and Gaza. Even in exile.

No matter how hard you try to lend it a degree of liberalism, what matters is the implementation of this ideology on the ground.

The reason people like Larry find themselves obliged to defend Zionism is that he and many others view it as “the right to exist” on this land. Larry assumes that if Israel stopped being a Jewish state, this “will bring on the exodus of the Jews.” Anything uttered against Zionism feeds right into this paradigm – a threat to Jewish existence. It takes a lot of courage and effort to disconnect the two concepts.

On the right of return, Larry was honest in expressing the attitude of Zionism as practiced in concrete ways: neither on a practical ground nor on moral ground would he agree to the right of return. (The moral ground here being related to the Zionist narrative of what happened during the Nakba in 1948.)

I won’t argue with Larry’s narrative on why the Palestinian right of return should be denied, because I’m not in favor of turning the argument into one between competing narratives. I would rather argue on the moral ground.

While Larry admits in his piece that the Palestinians are the native people of this land, he defies universal values in his position on the right of native people to return to their homes.

Larry is actually telling us that because they “started the war,” Palestinians deserve to live for the rest of their lives in exile. Amazing hypothesis! Let us assume that is true. Shall we go through history and examine the many cases of nations who were at war, but were allowed back to their homes when it ended?

In addition, I would like to ask Larry directly: what will you do if a given country decides today that the land of “Israel” belongs to its nation, and brings its people to occupy and ethnically cleanse those who have lived here for 60 years. Would you, your friends and colleagues stay home?

I respect the honesty of Larry. He puts it very clearly and straightforwardly. The “Jewish majority has to stay solid.”  I will maintain the same honestly and reject his generous offer to allow for only a limited number of refugees to return.

Zionism has created a constant obsession with demographic calculations, when it’s better to be obsessed with creating a moral ground that is good for all. Unfortunately, morals and Zionism do not go together.

Abit Kopty is a political and feminist activist and blogger. Her blog, where this piece was initially posted, can be viewed here. Follow her on Twitter at @abirkopty.

Related posts on +972:
Response to Joseph Dana: A case for liberal Zionism
A sad commentary on the state of liberal Zionist discourse
+972 readers weigh in on Zionism debate

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    1. Guest

      The link to Abit’s blog is a 404

      Reply to Comment
    2. “Shall we go through history and examine the many cases of nations who were at war, but were allowed back to their homes when it ended?” It would be more interesting to ask why – of the millions of people who were displaced from their homes in the aftermath of WW2 – only the Palestinians continue to demand the RoR.

      Reply to Comment
    3. “The reason people like Larry find themselves obliged to defend Zionism is that he and many others view it as “the right to exist” on this land. Larry assumes that if Israel stopped being a Jewish state, this “will bring on the exodus of the Jews.” Anything uttered against Zionism feeds right into this paradigm – a threat to Jewish existence.”

      Abir, you know that I don’t consider anything uttered against Zionism to be a threat to Jewish existence. Further, I don’t think Zionism is about the Jews’ right to exist on this land – without Zionism, they could have gone on being a wary minority like they were throughout the Middle East, Europe and Russia, subject to the mood of the majority. The Jews were tired of that – they wanted to have the security of being the majority in a land they had a historic claim to. That’s what Zionism’s about, and that’s not immoral at all – that’s what every effing nation in the world has wanted.

      “Larry is actually telling us that because they “started the war,” Palestinians deserve to live for the rest of their lives in exile.”

      Can Gaza, the West Bank (including full control over Hebron and Bethlehem) and East Jerusalem (including equal access with Jews to the Holy Basin) rightly be called exile for the Palestinian refugees?

      “In addition, I would like to ask Larry directly: what will you do if a given country decides today that the land of “Israel” belongs to its nation, and brings its people to occupy and ethnically cleanse those who have lived here for 60 years.”

      Abir, until the 47-48 war, the only ethnic cleansing was done by the Palestinians against the Jews – in Jerusalem’s Old City in 1920, in Jaffa in 1921, and in Hebron in 1929. Unlike typical foreign invaders, the early Zionists got their land by purchasing it, not by driving the inhabitants off. The fact is the violence was started by the Palestinians, the expulsions were started by the Palestinians, the Palestinians never gave the Jews reason to believe they could live there freely as minority (not that the Palestinians were unique in this), and the Palestinians were never ready to countenance Jewish statehood on any inch of land at any time. Again, Abir, I’m not saying that the Zionists were Boy Scouts by any means – they used what they had to get what they wanted, just like the Palestinians. What I’m saying is that there were

      Reply to Comment
    4. (cont.) two antagonists in this conflict, not one like virtually all Palestinians, anti-Zionist leftists and illiberal Zionists think.

      Reply to Comment
    5. aristeides

      Larry Derfner wrote: “That’s what Zionism’s about, and that’s not immoral at all – that’s what every effing nation in the world has wanted.”

      .
      The immoral part comes in when Zionists achieve this majority in the land by expelling the people who were already living there. “The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another.” Like David sent Uriah the Hittite to his death so he could take his wife, Israel drove off the Palestinians so they could take their land. And that is immoral.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Larry Derfner gives us his idea of “liberal Zionism,” which he agrees is illiberal but then can’t understand why someone would call it dishonest. To spell it out, there’s a massive contradiction inherent in the conception of “liberal Zionism.” Namely, it’s based on particularist tribal values, which are pretty much the opposite of liberal, universalist values.

      What gets me is not so much that Larry is going to get on here and say that he, a New Yorker, has the “right” to come settle on someone else’s land while the person whose property it is and who was forced out of her home in, say, Haifa doesn’t have the right to return. That is what it is: morally repugnant. What really gets me though is that he has the chutzpah to tell us that this line of thinking is liberal.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jed

      “what will you do if a given country decides today that the land of “Israel” belongs to its nation, and brings its people to occupy and ethnically cleanse those who have lived here”

      This is exactly what Arabs did to Jews. Abir Kopty’s family is from Egypt. Arabs brought their “people to occupy and ethnically cleanse those who have lived here”
      http://twitter.com/#!/AbirKopty/status/137146521241133056

      Reply to Comment
    8. The Zionists accepted the two-state solution in 1947, the Arabs rejected it, they killed a few Jews the day after the UN vote, the war erupted, there were expulsions and atrocities on both sides, the Arabs didn’t allow a single expelled Jew to return to his home, the Jews won the war and were no more forgiving than the Arabs had ever been to them. That’s not immoral, in fact that’s about as moral as nation-building ever tended to get.

      Reply to Comment
    9. I love the idea that Palestinians are morally to blame for not accepting what was clearly a horribly unfair plan forced on them by Europeans. How dare they reject having more than half of their land ceded to a (for the most part) group of recently arrived European immigrants that made up a distinct minority of the residents and whose immigration they had never agreed to in the first place? Why, I can’t imagine why any people would have turned down such a peach of a deal!

      Reply to Comment
    10. directrob

      “That’s not immoral …”
      .
      If chasing non combattants including women and children from their land, destroying what they left behind and not letting them return is not immoral for you what is? What did they do to you apart from being alive?

      Reply to Comment
    11. aristeides

      Larry Derfner claims that because the other party has been immoral, it is somehow not immoral to be immoral in return. What a feeble excuse!

      Reply to Comment
    12. Sinjim

      @Jed: Who did Abir’s family displace? Did they kick anyone out of their homes, off the land they had tilled with their own hands for generations? Did their arrival to Palestine deprive people of their livelihood? No. So what exactly are you getting at? That unless Palestinians can prove their descent from people who have lived on the land from the beginning of time, they have no right to participate in the discussion? That’s not only a ridiculous standard, but also one that would exclude almost all Jews.
      .
      Not a single commenter has said a word against immigration in these debates. Immigration is not the problem. It’s what happens after the immigrants arrived that’s the issue.
      .
      @Larry Derfner: True, the Zionist immigrants by and large bought land rather than blatantly take it over. But 1) they would kick out Palestinian peasants, who not rich enough to own that land, simply worked it for the landowners, and 2) they had every intention of transforming this land into a separate country in which Palestinians would become second-class citizens. Which native population anywhere on this planet would have taken that lying down?
      .
      Read the words of Ahad Ha-Am, Larry, and see how the Zionists treated the Palestinians in the late 1800s-early 1900s. The real strife between Jew and Palestinian began only with the arrival of the Zionists.
      .
      All of that is besides the point, however, and I don’t care if you accept this Palestinian narrative or not. What matters in the present is that you support a system where Jew and Palestinian would be differentiated, where the state would declare that it’s in its interest to privilege the former over the latter. You can’t say that you want a state that pursues a policy of ensuring a Jewish majority and that you want equal rights for all. One necessarily precludes the other.
      .
      Luckily for those of us who believe in real equality, we are not so stupid as to fall for these meager offerings that you wrap up in the figurative bow of liberalism. At some point (and I believe that day draws nearer), you will be faced with a choice between this ethnic chauvinism and real equality. All the historical and moral rationalizations in the world can’t save you from making that choice.

      Reply to Comment
    13. BERL

      Dear Mr. DERFNER,
      You write: “Unlike typical foreign invaders, the early Zionists got their land by purchasing it, not by driving the inhabitants off. The fact is the violence was started by the Palestinians, the expulsions were started by the Palestinians”
      Sorry to say, but this is jast basic propaganda.
      The land purchased was the 6% of the total land partioned in 1947 by 33 of the 56 states that formed at the time the UN. Also this 6% was taken by the KKL paying absent landlords that benefited by the Land Code introduced in 1858 by the Porte under Western pressures.
      VIOLENCE was started the very day (1895) that Herzl wrote the following sentence:
      “WE SHALL TRY TO SPIRIT THE PENNILESS [Arab/Palestinian] POPULATION ACROSS THE BORDER By PROCURING EMPLOYMENT FOR IT IN THE TRANSIT COUNTRIES, WHILE DENYING IT ANY EMPLOYMENT IN OUR OWN COUNTRY…BOTH THE PROCESS OF EXPROPRIATION AND THE REMOVAL OF THE POOR MUST BE CARRIED OUT DISCREETLY AND CIRCUMSPECTLY”.
      This was the originary violence. All the rest was a consequence.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Jed

      SINJIM, The Arabs “displaced” themselves, first by coming from Arab countries to occupy the land of Israel which is not historically Arab. Later they “displaced” themselves by attacking the state of Israel and spreading blood libels which were intended to hurt Jews.
      Here is the Palestinian President telling the truth about Palestinian “displacement”:
      ” The main reason was that the people wanted to flee for their lives, and protect the honor of their women ”

      http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2212.htm

      Reply to Comment
    15. Richard allen

      Larry, every effing nation in the world certainly does not a 2,000-year old “historic claim.” When does a historic claim expire, anyway? No expiry date for Jews, 60 years for Pals?

      Reply to Comment
    16. Jed

      Dear Mr BERL,
      “The land purchased was the 6% of the total land”
      Sorry to say, but this is just basic propaganda.
      The Arabs didn’t own the entire land. Even the US is not entirely owned. Most of the land was not owned.

      Reply to Comment
    17. rose

      JED,
      The “Land of Israel” was never in the history only the land of the Israelites. There were always many populations on the spot and the fact that you concentrate yourself only on your/my holy book and narrative explain quite well why you fly so down

      Reply to Comment
    18. Jed

      RICHARD ALLEN, why are Arabs allowed to occupy the entire area of the middle east and north Africa but the Jews can’t have a tiny area?
      Did the date for getting state expire on 1947?

      Reply to Comment
    19. BERL

      Dear Monsieur Jed,
      “The Arabs didn’t own the entire land. Even the US is not entirely owned. Most of the land was not owned.”
      So what? Did I wrote that they owned all the land? If you know the musha’ system and the land tenure system in the ottoman empire you should know that only about the 5% of the land of the todays 40 countries that composed at the time the ottoman empire was mulk (private land). So, all the present indigenous population of these states didn’t have rights on the land just because they didn’t follow a european system of cataloging the land?

      Reply to Comment
    20. Shua Frazer

      I’m just curious what Abir thinks would happen should Israel cease to be a Jewish state?

      As someone who doesn’t believe in Zionism myself, I’ve always had my idea of what would happen, I’m just curious to get her take.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Rico

      Larry, your only mistake, in my view, is accepting the principle of collective guilt and punishment. That Zionism was not immoral because the Jews did to the Arabs what the Arabs had done to the Jews. As if the Palestinians who were expelled in the Nakba were responsible for the actions of the Iraqis who massacred Baghdadi Jews in the 1930s.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Jed

      Dear Monsieur BERL,
      You tried to use ownership as an argument.

      Reply to Comment
    23. directrob

      It feels of course good to win a debate about what happened years ago and to have seen that liberal zionism is really just zionism. That does however not win hearts and does nothing to solve the problem in the now. One day the racism hand hate has to end and everybody in the area has to live together in peace. I would rather see a debate about constructive solutions for peace than the evils of zionism.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Jed

      ROSE,
      The land of Israel is to Jews as the land of Arabia is to Arabs, or north Africa is to Africans (not Arabs who occupy it).
      Would you deny that north Africa is historically African and not Arab?
      When Europeans told Jews to “go back where they came from” what did they mean? Not Judea?
      When Muslims read in the Quran that “Banu Israil” are from Israel what does that mean?
      I’m not religious, these are historical facts.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Rico

      I don’t dispute that there were two antagonists in the 47/48 conflict, and I’m not a Zionist.

      However, I don’t think the violence of a native people is quite the same as the violence of a settling people. Neither is justified, to be clear. But when Palestinian Arabs initiated hostility against arriving Jews in the decades before independence, they probably had in mind that the Jews were trying to take their land. Which they were, and the Nakba proves that. It had always been the intention of Jews arriving in Palestine to ethnically cleanse it, whether through peaceful overtures, intimidation, outright force, or the fog of war. If you had been a Palestinian, would you not have resisted this movement from the beginning? Not out of pure, eternal ant-Semitic hatred, as the Zionist argument goes, but out of a desire for self-determination?

      Reply to Comment
    26. Jed

      RICO,
      “the Nakba proves” the stupidity of the Palestinians and Arab states to attempt and imitate the Germans and to try to exterminate the Jews.
      Everybody sees the idiocy of Arab dictators and their damage to Arabs except for the supporters of Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Rico

      One other thing: while I’m not a Zionist, I acknowledge that back in the 40s there was sufficient reason to believe that Jews would not be safe without their own state. I can therefore forgive Zionism for whatever it did to secure its homeland pre-1967. I can also accept the “liberal Zionist” term insofar as it describes a person who believes fundamentally in the need for a Jewish state and who otherwise tries to be as liberal as possible. Its contradictory, but that doesn’t mean its wrong. Be a liberal Zionist. fine with me.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Rico

      Jed, That has nothing to do with my point. I especially said nothing about Arab dictators.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Bosko

      Directrob
      .
      I agree with you for once or maybe the second time 🙂 about the need to argue constructively about the future rather than the past. I think that too many people are in blame mode even though there is enough blame to go around against BOTH sides. Till that stops, we won’t see a peaceful solution.
      .
      Talking about solutions, whatever it will be, there will be a need for BOTH sides (again) to be pragmatic. Otherwise we still won’t get a solution.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Apa

      @Larry – “What I’m saying is that there were two antagonists in this conflict, not one like virtually all Palestinians, anti-Zionist leftists and illiberal Zionists think.

      Larry, this is not what you said before. You blamed the Palestinians – as a whole cohesive group – as guilty of having initiated the 1947 violence, and therefore they all – collectively, every single individual even if they had no part whatsoever in the fighting – lost their rights to return to their homes.

      This is the most disturbing thought of yours – for example, peaceful villagers in the north of Palestine who took no part whatsoever in the conflict are ascribed collective guilt by you based on their ethnicity.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Bosko

      Rico …
      .
      You too make the mistake of talking about “native population” as against
      Jewish invaders. For your information, those “Jewish invaders” were descendants of natives who populated the land of Israel and Judea way before the Arab invaders arrived in the 7th century. Nevertheless, by 1947, the majority of Jews and their leadership accepted the idea of the two state solution. Guess who didn’t? But as I said above, I don’t want to go into blame mode because attitudes like yours which imply that only Arabs have and had the right to live in Palestine, are the root cause of this problem. Please just accept it, the Jews are not going to go away. They won’t give up their ancestral home land. They are willing to share it with the Arab people who have also lived there for a long time now. Share it in the form of the two state solution. One Jewish state one Arab state. Anything else will just not cut it.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Jed

      RICO, you did mention Arab dictators when you mentioned the “Nakba”. This is the Arab term for the failure of 7 Arab dictatorships to destroy the Jewish state.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Rico

      Bosko, It does not matter that the people who came to the land in the early half of the 20th century were the descendants of the people who were expelled from it two millenia ago. They are also the descendants of Europeans through conversion and intermarriage. As a matter of fact, many Palestinians who we now call Arab are ALSO the descendants of Judeans. They are also the descendants of Christian Caananites and pagan Caananites who had lived in the land way before the Arabs came from Arabia and conquered and Arabized its inhabitants. It is totally pointless to make this a debate about who your descendents were.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Rico

      Also, Bosko, I never said, or implied, or silently believed, that Jews don’t have a right to live in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Rico

      Jed, “Nakba” is also the Palestinian term for the displacement of Arabs from what was to become the state of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Bosko

      Rico …
      .
      “Also, Bosko, I never said, or implied, or silently believed, that Jews don’t have a right to live in Israel”
      .
      Fair enough, that’s an important clarification on your part and obviously I have to accept it. But before, this, you called the Jews “a settling people” and the Arabs as natives. Many others tend to equate those terms to colonizers and colonized which is of course wrong for a number of reasons:
      .
      1. As I said, the Jewish people are descendants of a people who used to live in Israel/Judea, even before the Arab invasion.
      .
      2. A small Jewish community lived in that land continuously both before and after the Arab invasion of the 7th century.
      .
      3. The Jews who started returning to the land in the late 19th century, were not colonizers but refugees. They settled on lands that were purchased on their behalf.
      .
      4. Some Arabs too were immigrants from neighbouring countries who immigrated around the same time.
      .
      All that history adds up to two facts. BOTH Jews and Arabs have legitimate claims to live in “Palestine”. Most Jews accepted that fact in the form of the two state solution. Unfortunately, too many Arabs and their sympathisers still claim that the Jews are just foreign invaders who have no right to any of the land. I am glad to see that you are not one of those Rico.

      Reply to Comment
    37. In 1930-1948, chiefly-newly-arrived Jews living in Palestine decided to create an orphanage, a philanthropic splendor, for Jewish orphans, but had to rob a bank to obtain funds to open this orphanage. To the orphans (Jewish immigrants to Israel), this project was wonderful, but to the owners of the bank and the depositors, who lost all (Palestinians), this was a crime.

      If this crime and benefice must go forward through time, shackled together inseparably, as it appears, it were best if the bank-robbery were as small as possible. This is possible. Israel should retract 9in the matter of land) to an area roughly the size of New York City (or twice or thrice that), and the remainder of Israel and the present OPTs should become Palestine. Refugees, whether from Gaza or Lebanon, etc., should be free to return to their original homeland — even if that were the new and small Israel — but they would be small numerically, and most would return into the new (and also smaller) Palestine.

      Any Israel which demands, as today’s does, to take over the entire bank and all the accounts — when far less would do for purely philanthropic purposes — is not (whatever else it may be) “liberal” or, indeed, anything other than a perfectly standard might-makes-right operation of power-uber-alles and, to that extent and so considered, indistinguishable from the operations which Hitler began so enthusiastically.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Bosko

      Robbed a Bank? Nice story but is it real? I know a slightly different story. The children who were driven out many years ago, came home. They found other children in the neighbourhood who didn’t want to let them come home even though there was enough room for both the children of Israel and the children of Ishmael. But because the children of Ishmael wanted ALL the room only for themselves, a fight broke out and the children of Ishmael lost more room than they would have lost had they been willing to share what was enough for both. Ever since then, there is hostility between the two groups of children. Time for both to grow up and make peace.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Rose

      JED,
      “The land of Israel is to Jews as the land of Arabia is to Arabs, or north Africa is to Africans (not Arabs who occupy it).”:
      This is ideologic ignorance.
      For your knowledge Palestine was just arabized. Is not that since the 7th century Palestine has a population without roots in this land. Get out from your “ideologic bubble” because your theories sounds childish.
      Maxime Rodinson:
      “A foreign people had come and imposed itself on a native population. The Arab population of Palestine were native in all the usual senses of that word. Ignorance, sometimes backed up by hypocritical propaganda, has spread a number of misconceptions on this subject, unfortunately very widely held. It has been said that since the Arabs took the country by military conquest in the seventh century, they are occupiers like any other, like the Romans, the Crusaders and the Turks. Why therefore should they be regarded as any more native than the others, and in particular than the Jews, who were native to that country in ancient times, or at least occupiers of longer standing? To the historian the answer is obvious. A small contingent of Arabs from Arabia did indeed conquer the country in the seventh century. But as a result of factors which were briefly outlined in the first chapter of this book, the Palestinian population soon became Arabized under Arab domination, just as earlier it had been Hebraicized, Aramaicized, to some degree even Hellenized. It became Arab in a way that it was never to become Latinized or Ottomanized. The invaded melted with the invaders. It is ridiculous to call the English of today invaders and occupiers, on the grounds that England was conquered from Celtic peoples by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the fifth and sixth centuries. The population was “Anglicized” and nobody suggests that the peoples which have more or less preserved the Celtic tongues – the Irish, the Welsh or the Bretons – should be regarded as the true natives of Kent or Suffolk, with greater titles to these territories than the English who live in those counties.”

      Reply to Comment
    40. Berl

      1)
      “A small Jewish community lived in that land continuously both before and after the Arab invasion of the 7th century”: please don’t use the basic argumentations of Jal. Read the previous comment.
      2)
      “The Jews who started returning to the land in the late 19th century, were not colonizers but refugees. They settled on lands that were purchased on their behalf”:
      Which period are u speaking about? So, to which alyia are referring to? Most of the alyiot were composed by colonizers. Moreover the part about land purchase does not take in account so many arguments…some of them are quoted in previous comments
      3)
      “Some Arabs too were immigrants from neighbouring countries who immigrated around the same time”:
      A person from bilad asham should not be considered as an immigrant from the US or from Russia. the different peoples that lived at the time in this part of the world, each of them with specific peculiarities more or less developed, were part of this world. they were not settlers.
      4) It is difficult for a Palestinian to accept that a Jew of New York or Moscow, hit by a mystic biblical brainwave, can tell to a native that this is his land and that he can decide what a native can or cannot owns

      Reply to Comment
    41. Bosko

      Look Berl, the long and the short of it is that there was and still is room for two states in “Palestine”, one Arab one Jewish. Both people’s can justify their own state on valid historical basis. The Arabs though did not accept that. They wanted EVERYTHING. Many of them still do. That is the root cause of all the problems. Everything else happened because of that, no matter how you want to spin it and blame everything on the Jews. Jews have rights too. If the Arabs don’t want to recognize Jewish rights in Palestine, it just means that they will continue to shoot THEMSELVES in the foot. Talk to them and make them understand that Berl.

      Reply to Comment
    42. Berl

      Bosko,
      “Everything else happened because of that”: False

      Reply to Comment
    43. Jed

      ROSE,
      Abir Kopty admits her family came from Egypt 100 years go.
      http://twitter.com/#!/AbirKopty/status/137146521241133056

      Palestinian Arabs came from Arab countries.
      To lie about this, when Arabs themselves admit it, is beyond childish.

      Reply to Comment
    44. rose

      JED,
      ahh if Abi Kopty admitted that her family came from Egypt your thesis is absolute correct:-) Continue to live in your world of lies/ignorance and enjoy your staying
      PS A person from bilad asham should not be considered as an immigrant from the US or from Russia. the different peoples that lived at the time in this part of the world, each of them with specific peculiarities more or less developed, were part of this world. they were not settlers.

      Reply to Comment
    45. Ben Israel

      Important to clarify the following point:
      The Arab Palestinians in 1948 were NOT the “sovereign power” over the country. In 1918, when British rule commenced, they took sovereignity over from the Ottoman Empire. There was no ‘sovereign Arab people’ in the country at the time. There was Ottoman sovereignity which ruled over a MIXED population consiting of, among others, Arabs and Jews. There was no such thing as a “Palestinian” identity. The Arab population largely supported their Ottoman rulers in World War I against the British. The British conquered the country, along with other territories in the region. Thus, if Syria or Jordan or Iraq became sovereign states under Arab rule, it was because British soldiers died to give them the ability to set up these states. In “Palestine”-which included Transjordan, the newly ruling British decided to give the Jews the right to build a “National Home” which would naturally evolve into a Jewish state. In 1922, the British decided to divide the territory and give Transjordan to the Arabs and the Cisjordan (Western Eretz Israel) to be open to the Jews according to the Balfour Declaration. In 1937, the British decided to divide Cisjordan into 2 states, Arab and Jewish. All of this was in accordance with the Mandatory powers given to them. Later the UN, upon the British deciding to abrogate the Palestine Mandate decided on a final partition in 1947 between Jews and Arabs.
      THERE NEVER WAS A LEGITIMATE CLAIM BY THE ARABS OF “PALESTINE” TO SOVEREIGNITY OVER THE WHOLE COUNTRY! The fact that they were the majority in 1918 was not relevant because they had no sovereign rights in the country…in fact they objected to receiving sovereign rights since they supported their Ottoman rulers in their war against the British. They received their ability to set up a state in 1922, 1937 and 1947 as a gift, essentially.

      Reply to Comment
    46. BERL

      Ben Israel,
      You simpy ignore what you are speaking about.
      The fact that there was not a “state” or that Jerusalem was not the “capital” of this state…ect…ect.. is simply because these are concepts that had a value in the Western world and no one in loco. Indigenous people identified themselves in other ways. Should I write you which ways or you can do a research by yourself?
      There was for sure a Palestinian identity although not fully developed. If you read Filastin, al-Munadi, al Karmil in the first years of the XXth century you will find that identity. You can find them in the Moshe Dayan Center of Tel Aviv: don’t loose time and go to check.
      “FILASTIN BILADUNA” (Palestine our land): this was what you will read in the books of the jurist Al Din al Ramli in the XVI century.
      History is not what you wish that it would be.

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    47. Ben Israel

      My understanding is that the term “Nakba” was used around 1920 in the Arab press when Palestine was separated from Syria, because everyone wanted to be Syrians. Why was that?

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    48. Ben Israel

      Mind you, I am not saying that there isn’t a “Palestinian” identity today. I can’t define what someone else’s identity is for him, but that works both ways. For example that those who say the Edot HaMizrach (non-Ashkenazi Jews) are really “Arab Jews” even if 95% of the Jews from that background think that is ridculous, or that, as Shlomo Sand claims that “the Jews never viewed themselves as a people with an historic homeland” even if we do.

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