Saturday, August 22, 2009

Los Angeles Jews Respond Positively to Neve Gordon’s Call to Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions

This has got to be one of the funniest stories of the dog days of August. Never Gordon, a leftwing professor at Ben-Gurion University, published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, supporting the BDS movement (that's boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel. In other words, Gordon called for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel here.

Some Los Angeles Jews have responded by threatening to cut-off donations to Ben-Gurion University.

which is, of course, what Gordon was calling for!

So maybe this should now be the tactic of supporters of BDS in Israel: Get leftwing academics from all the universities to call for boycotts, and then angry Jews will response by cutting off funds from their university.

I know, I know. Gordon is not the first Israeli academic to join the BDS movement. Let's not forget Ilan Pappe when he was still at Haifa, and the late Tanya Reinhart, who did the same while at Tel Aviv. And there are others.

But Gordon is the first Israeli academic to get an op-ed in a major metropolitan newspaper with a major Jewish community, and the largest concentration of Israelis outside of Israel (I think). If the LA Jews don't give their money to BGU, maybe they can be convinced not to give their money to any of the Israeli universities.

Except to Bar-Ilan and the pseudo-university, the College of Judea and Samaria.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Why the Two-State Solution Solves Nothing"

My favorite pair of analysts, Hussein Agha and Rob Malley, have published an important Op-Ed in the New York Times entitled, "The Two-State Solution Doesn't Solve Anything." I will print it in full below. But before I do, here are some comments:

Agha and Malley point to an Oscar Wildean irony in the Israel-Palestine mess. Since there is an international consensus for a two-state solution, and that includes the parties to the Israel-Palestine dispute, the likelihood that there will be an agreement on two states is close to zero. You know this must be the case when both Israel's Bibi and Hamas' Khaled Mashal agree.

This has nothing to do with the question whether three hundred thousand settlers can be moved back to the State of Israel (or whether 80% of them remain in settlement blocs). Let's assume that there is absolute agreement on the issue. (There, you see, I said that the settlers are not the major obstacle to peace. Please make a note of that.)

The real problem is that the core problems remain, not only from 1948, but from before.

In diplomatic language, and without using the "Z-word", the last paragraph of the article says it all:

For years, virtually all attention has been focused on the question of a future Palestinian state, its borders and powers. As Israelis make plain by talking about the imperative of a Jewish state, and as Palestinians highlight when they evoke the refugees' rights, the heart of the matter is not necessarily how to define a state of Palestine. It is, as in a sense it always has been, how to define the state of Israel.

This does not seem a promising opening for the policy-driven, 'where-do-we-go-from-here' folks. Like the New Englander who said, "You can't get theyah from heyah" I read Malley and Husseini as saying that we may have to go way back in order to get to where we want to go. And that is not going to make supporters of the 1948 state happy.

Malley and Agha see that the conflict is now, as it always was, about one thing – how to define a Jewish state in Palestine. They are not raising the question how an outmoded ethnic-nationalist state can liberalize into a state of all its citizens. I think they are raising the core question of what it means to have a Jewish state in Palestine. Heck, they are not going back to 1948, they are going back to the 1930's and 40's. This is a breath of fresh air for the liberal Zionist New York Times, both its editors and its readers. Times readers take the State of Israel as a given and then ask, "What sort of Palestinian state can accommodate that given"? And that is the wrong approach.

I have some caveats about the article I would have, indeed, liked less "balance" between two totally imbalanced sides, and more focus on the problems of compromise when one side has all the power. But this is, after all, the New York Times, where dogma dictates that there are two sides to every question. Henry Siegman would have done it differently, and I would have liked him better. But I think the duo's approach is not bad, given the venue and its readership.

August 11, 2009

The Two-State Solution Doesn't Solve Anything


THE two-state solution has welcomed two converts. In recent weeks, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas's political bureau, have indicated they now accept what they had long rejected. This nearly unanimous consensus is the surest sign to date that the two-state solution has become void of meaning, a catchphrase divorced from the contentious issues it is supposed to resolve. Everyone can say yes because saying yes no longer says much, and saying no has become too costly. Acceptance of the two-state solution signals continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle by other means.

Bowing to American pressure, Mr. Netanyahu conceded the principle of a Palestinian state, but then described it in a way that stripped it of meaningful sovereignty. In essence, and with minor modifications, his position recalled that of Israeli leaders who preceded him. A state, he pronounced, would have to be demilitarized, without control over borders or airspace. Jerusalem would remain under Israeli sovereignty, and no Palestinian refugees would be allowed back to Israel. His emphasis was on the caveats rather than the concession.

As Mr. Netanyahu was fond of saying, you can call that a state if you wish, but whom are you kidding?

As for Hamas, recognition of the state of Israel has always been and remains taboo. Until recently, the movement had hinted it might acquiesce to Israel's de facto existence and resign itself to establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. This sentiment has now grown from hint to certitude.

President Obama's June address in Cairo provoked among Hamas leaders a mixture of anticipation and apprehension. The American president criticized the movement but did not couple his mention of Hamas with the term terrorism, his recitation of the prerequisites for engagement bore the sound of a door cracked open rather than one slammed shut, and his acknowledgment that the Islamists enjoyed the support of some Palestinians was grudging but charitable by American standards. All of which was promising but also foreboding, prompting reflection within the Hamas movement over how to escape international confinement without betraying core beliefs.

The result of this deliberation was Hamas's message that it would adhere to the internationally accepted wisdom — a Palestinian state within the borders of 1967, the year Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas also coupled its concession with caveats aplenty, demanding full Israeli withdrawal, full Palestinian sovereignty and respect for the refugees' rights. In this, there was little to distinguish its position from conventional Palestinian attitudes.

The dueling discourses speak to something far deeper than and separate from Palestinian statehood. Mr. Netanyahu underscores that Israel must be recognized as a Jewish state — and recalls that the conflict began before the West Bank or Gaza were occupied. Palestinians, in turn, reject recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, uphold the refugees' rights and maintain that if Israel wants real closure, it will need to pay with more than mere statehood.

The exchange, for the first time in a long while, brings the conflict back to its historical roots, distills its political essence and touches its raw emotional core. It can be settled, both sides implicitly concur, only by looking past the occupation to questions born in 1948 — Arab rejection of the newborn Jewish state and the dispossession and dislocation of Palestinian refugees.

Both positions enjoy broad support within their respective communities. Few Israelis quarrel with the insistence that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state. It encapsulates their profound aspiration, rooted in the history of the Jewish people, for a fully accepted presence in the land of their forebears — for an end to Arab questioning of Israel's legitimacy, the specter of the Palestinian refugees' return and any irredentist sentiment among Israel's Arab citizens.

Even fewer Palestinians take issue with the categorical rebuff of that demand, as the recent Fatah congress in Bethlehem confirmed. In their eyes, to accept Israel as a Jewish state would legitimize the Zionist enterprise that brought about their tragedy. It would render the Palestinian national struggle at best meaningless, at worst criminal. Their firmness on the principle of their right of return flows from the belief that the 1948 war led to unjust displacement and that, whether or not refugees choose or are allowed to return to their homes, they can never be deprived of that natural right. The modern Palestinian national movement, embodied in the Palestine Liberation Organization, has been, above all, a refugee movement — led by refugees and focused on their plight.

It's easy to wince at these stands. They run against the grain of a peace process whose central premise is that ending the occupation and establishing a viable Palestinian state will bring this matter to a close. But to recall the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian clash is not to invent a new battle line. It is to resurrect an old one that did not disappear simply because powerful parties acted for some time as if it had ceased to exist.

Over the past two decades, the origins of the conflict were swept under the carpet, gradually repressed as the struggle assumed the narrower shape of the post-1967 territorial tug-of-war over the West Bank and Gaza. The two protagonists, each for its own reason, along with the international community, implicitly agreed to deal with the battle's latest, most palpable expression. Palestinians saw an opportunity to finally exercise authority over a part of their patrimony; Israelis wanted to free themselves from the burdens of occupation; and foreign parties found that it was the easier, tidier thing to do. The hope was that, somehow, addressing the status of the West Bank and Gaza would dispense with the need to address the issues that predated the occupation and could outlast it.

That so many attempts to resolve the conflict have failed is reason to be wary. It is almost as if the parties, whenever they inch toward an artful compromise over the realities of the present, are inexorably drawn back to the ghosts of the past. It is hard today to imagine a resolution that does not entail two states. But two states may not be a true resolution if the roots of this clash are ignored. The ultimate territorial outcome almost certainly will be found within the borders of 1967. To be sustainable, it will need to grapple with matters left over since 1948. The first step will be to recognize that in the hearts and minds of Israelis and Palestinians, the fundamental question is not about the details of an apparently practical solution. It is an existential struggle between two worldviews.

For years, virtually all attention has been focused on the question of a future Palestinian state, its borders and powers. As Israelis make plain by talking about the imperative of a Jewish state, and as Palestinians highlight when they evoke the refugees' rights, the heart of the matter is not necessarily how to define a state of Palestine. It is, as in a sense it always has been, how to define the state of Israel.

Hussein Agha is a co-author, with Ahmed S. Khalidi, of "A Framework for a Palestinian National Security Doctrine." Robert Malley, the director of the Middle East Program at the International Crisis Group, was a special assistant for Arab-Israeli affairs to President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001.




Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Adam Kirsch’s Problems With Cultural Zionism

Literary critic Adam Kirsch has made a career of taking potshots at cultural Zionists like Hannah Arendt and Albert Einstein. Like the Mapai-niks of old, he dismisses the more humane Zionism they represented, or to be precise, he insinuates that they were Zionists manqués.

So before I get to his Zionist "take" on Einstein, let's recall the standard statist Zionist criticisms against cultural Zionists like Magnes and his circle.

They were naïve intellectuals.

They could not find an Arab partner for peace.

They foolishly believed that the Arabs would agree to Jewish immigration if the Jews promised not to have their own state.

They were assimilated Jews who worshipped Jewish powerlessness.

They assumed, wronglyת that the declaration of the Jewish state would provoke a war that would eliminate the Jews in Palestine.

And my favorite:

They didn't understand that a Jewish State could live in peace with the Arabs and provide equal rights for their Arab citizens, were it not for blind Arab intransigence and anti-Semitism.

This is the view of the Magnes-circle that is dominant in Zionist historiography. It places Magnes on the left and revisionist Zionism on the right, with the Mapai, statist labor Zionism taking the moderate center. This view was eminently reasonable for the first few years of the state. After all, the Jews were not thrown into the sea; on the contrary, they actually conquered more land than allotted to them by the UN Partition Plan – and their state was more independent of the Arabs than provided for in the Partition Plan. True, there was the problem of the refugees, but it was only natural that the Arab countries accept their brothers and sisters. And the mass exodus of Arabs provided opportunities and housing for another exodus, that of the Jews from Arab lands. An Israel that was Jewish and democratic would offer great opportunities for its citizens, its neighbors, and the region.

History has proven otherwise. After sixty years, Israel is considered, in the eyes of much of the world, a pariah or failed state – and if not a failed state, then one in danger of becoming one (according to Foreign Policy's 2009 Failed State index.) Far from living in peace with the Palestinian Arabs, it has made their lives miserable, reducing some of them to second-class citizens who are forbidden to learn their own history, and much of whose land was taken away from them; the others to stateless subjects without basic human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Thank God, there was not a massacre of Jewish Palestine in 1948, but there was a War of Independence that claimed many Jewish and Arab lives, and created the Palestinian refugee problem. And since that date, many more Jews have died in Israel and because of Israel, than all other places combined; the "new" anti-Semitism, from which Jews around the world, and especially in Europe, suffer, is really anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism in disguise.

But none of this fazes Kirsch, an America Jew raised on classic Zionist dichotomies of "power vs., powerlessness," "assimilationists vs. proud Jews," "realists vs. dreamers." Kirsch sticks to the standard Zionist take on the Magnes circle in his review of Einstein on Israel and Zionism, an anthology of Einstein's writings published in Germany and translated into English. Now, Einstein was a cultural Zionist, who, like other cultural Zionists, became increasingly disenchanted with the brand of Zionism that took over the Zionist movement. Since Einstein was a liberal nationalist, he found many problems with the idea of a Jewish state, and he also knew that such a state would inevitably clash with the native Arabs of Palestine. Like others of his kind, including Buber, Magnes, Scholem, and Simon, and mostly because of the Holocaust, he became reconciled with the state as a fait accompli. But this did not turn him into a statist Zionist.

All this is beyond Kirsch's intellectual ken. He does not see how somebody can be a Zionist, and deeply committed to the cause of Jewish nationalism, and yet not support the idea of a Jewish nation-state. So he really doesn't know what to do with the book or Einstein. Rather than try to understand Einstein's position, much less attempt to justify it, he argues with him, as he did with his New Yorker piece on Hannah Arendt. Kirsch writes:

As a result, [Einstein] is totally unable to face the truth, which is that Arab and Jewish visions for Palestine were incompatible. Einstein insists, for example, that the Jews then languishing in European DP camps be allowed to enter Palestine, contrary to British policy. One British expert asks Einstein, "What would you do if the Arabs refused to consent to bringing these refugees to Palestine?"—as, of course, they did, just as they had violently resisted Jewish immigration since the 1920s. "That would never be the case if there were no politics," Einstein replies. There is Einstein's fallacy in a sentence: his response to a desperate political problem is to wish that there were no politics, which is to say, no conflicting desires, no clash of rights, no power.

Note that Kirsch, himself a statist Zionist, identifies statist Zionism as the Jewish vision for Palestine, thus delegitimizing other competing Jewish visions as not Jewish. Note also that he views the conflict as a case of a conflict of national rights. But Einstein did not wish away politics, nor did the greatest scientist of modern times commit a fallacy. Einstein was implying that that it was politics, i.e., precisely the desire for political independence and control on both sides, that destroyed the possibility of the increased immigration of Jews. And Magnes, because of this, was willing to restrict Jewish immigration rather than to plunge Palestine into war.

Kirsch's polemic continues:

But surely the lesson of Jewish history is that powerlessness is not a solution for the Jews, but the most dangerous problem. The same conclusion can be drawn from another valuable document in this book, an account of Einstein's 1952 meeting with an Egyptian journalist, Mohamed Heikal. Jerome interviewed Heikal in 2006, and he remembered his long-ago visit to Princeton to see Einstein. There the great man spoke with anguished sincerity about his desire to make peace between Jews and Arabs, and tried to use to Heikal to open up back-channel talks with Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt's new ruler. Clearly hoping to find common ground with Heikal, Einstein said that "when it comes to people like Menachem Begin and his massacre of Arabs in the village of Deir Yassin … these people are Nazis in their thoughts and their deeds."

And what was Heikal's response? "Ben-Gurion is no less a Nazi than Menachem Begin." Here we see the ugly reality behind Einstein's dream of a binational state, and Jerome's present-day anti-Zionism. There was, in 1948, no way to ensure the survival of Jewish Palestine without a Jewish state, which meant an army, a flag, borders, and all the insignia of sovereignty that Einstein detested. Likewise, there is no way to establish a true peace in Palestine today as long as so many Palestinians, elite and ordinary, are committed to Israel's destruction. Still, Einstein has one advantage over his new editor: his reservations about Israel were voiced from the standpoint of his unquestionable commitment to Zionism. For that reason, he makes a less useful ally than [editor] Fred Jerome appears to think.

The Magnes circle indeed had a particular animus towards Begin, who was a Jewish terrorist, but they disagreed no less strongly with Ben-Gurion. But so what? The real issue is whether there was, as Kirsch claims, no alternative to the survival of Jewish Palestine besides the declaration of the Jewish State? How would he know this? Because the Arabs had declared their intention of driving the Jews into the sea? But wasn't that because they knew that what the Jews wanted was a Jewish state and control over Palestine?

And here is the real question that Kirsch never considers. Had the Zionist movement not adopted statist Zionism, had it been willing from the beginning to struggle for national group rights within a secular Palestinian state, would indeed the existence of a Jewish cultural center in Palestine been endangered? Of course, the question is unanswerable; some will point to Arab massacres of Jews during the Mandate and others to the close friendships and relations between Jews and Arabs during this period of Zionist settlement.

But at the very least, one would expect Kirsch to grapple with the claim that the very concept of statist Zionism endangered Jewish Palestine because it set the yishuv on a collision course with the nationalist aspirations of the native majority. This Kirsch cannot do, because he, like so many other Zionists, accepts the myth of Jewish powerlessness – that the actions of Jews do not have an effect on the actions and views of others, and if they do, the effect should only be benign because the Jewish agents are benign.

Kirsch cites Einstein's remark, "I believe that the existence of a Jewish cultural center will strengthen the moral and political position of the Jews all over the world, by virtue of the very fact that there will be in existence a kind of embodiment of the interests of the whole Jewish people" and then comments, "The case for Israel has seldom been better put." But Einstein was not making the case for Israel, not for the Israel of 1948, with the Jewish cultural giants of that time (all European), and certainly not for the state that is currently slashing budgets for the humanities and Jewish studies and funding settlements – and where the average age of the World Congress of Jewish Studies participants in Jerusalem (which I am attending) seems to be over sixty.

Einstein was making the case for something that never came to be – "a cultural center that would strengthen the moral and political position of the Jews all over the world." The statist Zionists, of course, claim otherwise; the moderates among them see no contradiction between the two sorts of zionism, and claim that, on the contrary, only a strong Jewish nation state guarantees the possibility of cultural Zionism. Yet there was a thriving Jewish cultural center in Palestine before the establishment of the state, and nothing would be lost to that center would the State of Israel become the nation state of all its citizens.

A final note: Kirsch begins his review by noting that the book is at war with itself because it paints Einstein as anti-Israel and yet refers to his Zionism Ironically, it is Kirsch's review that is at war with itself. The title of the review is "Relatively Speaking, a Zionist" and yet Kirsch refers to Einstein's "unquestionable commitment to Zionism".

How abolutely committed was he, Adam?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Palestinians Out, Jews In

Joseph Dana and Mairav Zonszein have made a must-see video about the expulsion of the Palestinian families from their homes (see below) in Sheikh Jarrah, where they have lived for over fifty years, and the entrance of the settlers. For an explanation of the situation see my post below on Israel's Hamas, and their post at the ibn ezra blog here. Please wait until the end of the video to hear the reaction of the Israeli religious woman to the expulsion. We'll see how the apologists try to dismiss here.She's not drunk, she's not American, and she's not shouting obscenities. Nor are the others in the video.

Landes on the Blogosphere as a New Terrain in the Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israeli Battle

The World Congress of Jewish Studies, currently held in Jerusalem, had a session cosponsored by the rightwing think-tank, the Jewish Center for Public Affairs. Richard Landes, professor of medieval studies at Boston University, and rightwing blogger at the Augean Stables, was to talk on the "Blogosphere as a New Terrain in the Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israeli battle". Of course, I got very excited. Like any blogger, I was hoping for my few seconds of fame, ok, maybe a mention, or if not me, then at least my buddies, ok, if not my buddies, then at least somebody I had heard of.

So I actually went to the session, sat through a talk by Manfred Gerstenberg, and got my little tape recorder ready.

What a disappointment. Instead of a talk on the blogosphere, Prof. Landes trotted out the same talk on Mohammad ad-Durrah's death and its cynical manipulation by those pesky Pals and their anti-Semitic (Jewish and gentiles) buddies that he has been peddling on college campuses for the last few years.

My first reaction was that this is a disgrace to the field of Jewish Studies. Why is this session being held here? There is no new research, there is nothing that you couldn't get off the web.

But then Landes ends with the thesis that the blogosphere today is like the print medium in the sixteenth century. Bloggers pose a challenge to the established print media, and this makes him optimistic that truth will out via the bloggers. Just as the bloggers pushed the "truth" with ad-Durrah, so too they can win the war against the anti-Israeli media.

Ah, the delusions of the academic-in-his-pajamas-blogging- at-2-am! How well I know the syndrome! Sure, bloggers can make a difference. But it cuts both ways, Prof. Landes. There is a progressive blogosphere out there, and an Arab blogosphere out there, and all bunch of bloggers who are speaking their own truth to power.

The name of the game is not the blogosphere, but the connections that the bloggers can forge with mainstream media. Already you have mainstream journalists who blog and vice-versa. Presumably, those folks will be on all sides.

But far be it from to dampen the optimism of a rightwing blogger. Usually, those guys are full of doom and gloom.



Israel’s “Hamas”

On the Voice of Israel this morning there was a news item about the eviction of the al-Ghawi and al-Hanoun families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in order to make way for Jewish settlers.

The item ended as follows:

"Jewish families entered the two houses after the Palestinians who had squatted there were evicted. The eviction was done on the basis of the High Court's ruling."

לשני בתים בשיח ג'אראח נכנסו משפחות יהודיות לאחר שפונו מהן פלסטינים שפלשו לשם. הפינוי נעשה על פי פסיקה של בגצ.

That one line contains in a nutshell the lies and moral rot of the current Israeli regime, and the thinking behind it. And some would say, though I am not yet ready to, the lies and moral rot of the Zionist enterprise – or, more precisely -- of the thinking that became dominant within the Zionist enterprise with Ben-Gurion.

Let us start with the characterization of the families as "squatters".

Would you call a squatter somebody who was resettled in houses that were legally purchased by the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency to resettle refugees, and who lived there for over FIFTY YEARS? And why? Because disputed deeds were produced that claimed that prior to 1948 the Jews had owned the homes? If you would, then for God's sake, thousands of Jews living in South Jerusalem, and throughout the country, are squatters. For what is the difference between the UNRWA resettling Palestinians in Jewish homes in East Jerusalem, who had been driven from their homes in West Jerusalem, and the ILA resettling Oriental Jews in Arab homes in West Jerusalem who had driven from their homes in Arab countries – besides the obvious one that the Jews were indoctrinated to think that they were returning home. If the Arabs are squatters then the Jews are squatters.

And in this case, the families who were evicted are precisely the ones who fled their homes in West Jerusalem. So they have been thrown out of their homes by Israel twice.

But, we are told by our prime minister, Jews should be able to live anywhere in Jerusalem because East Jerusalem Arabs can live anywhere in Jerusalem. Haaretz sets the facts straight.

According to Israel Land Administration rules, residents of East Jerusalem cannot take ownership of the vast majority of Jerusalem homes.

When an Israeli citizen purchases an apartment or house, ownership of the land remains with the ILA, which leases it to the purchaser for a period of 49 years, enabling the registration of the home ("tabu"). Article 19 of the ILA lease specifies that a foreign national cannot lease - much less own - ILA land.

Attorney Yael Azoulay, of Zeev and Naomi Weil Lawyers and Notary Office, explains that if a foreign national purchases an apartment they must show the ILA proof of eligibility to immigrate to Israel in accordance with the Law of Return. Non-Jewish foreigners cannot purchase apartments. This group includes Palestinians from the east of the city, who have Israeli identity cards but are residents rather than citizens of Israel.

Most residences in West Jerusalem and in the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem are built on ILA land. All the neighborhoods built after 1967 - Gilo, Pisgat Ze'ev, Ramot, French Hill and Armon Hanatziv - are built on ILA land. Even in the older neighborhoods of Kiryat Hayovel, Katamonim and Beit Hakerem, tens of thousands of apartments are built on ILA land and cannot be sold to Palestinians. In the ultra-Orthodox central Jerusalem neighborhoods of Geula and Mea Shearim, as well as in Rehavia and Talbieh, there are homes built on private land - mainly owned by one of the churches or purchased in the past by Jews.

It goes without saying that a Palestinian seeking to purchase an apartment in a Haredi area would be rejected out of hand, and Rehavia or Talbieh would in any event be out of the range of most East Jerusalemites' budget.

The worse thing about the secrets and lies is that the liars begin to believe their own lies. So the rightwing reporter, Nadav Shragai, writes,

In Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem such as Armon HaNatziv, Neve Yaakov, Tzameret HaBira, and Pisgat Zeev, the fringes of the neighborhoods have many Palestinian Arab residents, either through purchase or rental of apartments. In some of the buildings along Rehov HaHavatzelet in the center of the city, a similar change is taking place. Jews and Arabs also live together in the neighborhood of Abu Tor, and there are several streets in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, such as Rehov HaGai, where a similar situation is gradually developing. In short, as certain parts of eastern Jerusalem have become ethnically diverse, it has become impossible to characterize it as a wholly Palestinian area that can easily be split off from the rest of Jerusalem.

The "Jewish neighborhoods" to which Shragai refers here are all over the Green Line. In other words, to show that Jerusalem has ethnically diverse neighborhoods, and hence there cannot be a simple division, he cites cases where Jews "squatted" in territories over which they have no legal rights. That is a good trick: occupy territory, transfer (illegally) your citizens there, and then claim that no withdrawal is possible because of the ethnic diversity.

One blatant example of injustice is the Old City. By law, no Arab is allowed to purchase, or rent an apartment, in the post-67 Jewish Quarter. The law was upheld by the High Court and Haim Cohen, one of Israel's great "liberals," defended the discrimination by using an affirmative action argument – Jews had not been allowed to live in the Old City under Jordanian rule. Well, and good. But if Arabs cannot live in the (vastly expanded) Jewish Quarter, and some were actually evicted from their homes for that), then justice requires that Jews cannot live in the Muslim Quarter. But Jews are allowed to live and own property in the Muslim Quarter? And why? Well, why shouldn't Jews be allowed to live there, blah, blah, blah.

The injustice of all this shrieks to high heaven. Look, if you are a Jewish fundamentalist, then you have no problems. All of the land belongs to the Jews; let the others go to Hell. If you are a good old–fashioned nineteenth century nationalist, you also have no problem: to the military victors belong the spoils.

But if you are a decent human being, you cannot but shout, My God, how long will this robbery – or to use the Biblical Hebrew word, this Hamas—continue?

Isn't what we stole after 1948 and 1967 enough?