Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why Bomb Iran When You Can Become Iran?

That seems to be the thinking behind the Israeli government's endorsement of legislation that will require human rights NGOs in Israel (e.g., B'Tselem, Machsomwatch, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, etc.) to publicize contributions from foreign governments, not only in an annual report (they all do that anyway), but every single time they host an event, have a meeting, publish a report, issue a news release, whether they have received outside funding for that particular occasion or not.

And what's particularly odious about the proposed legislation is that if these groups receive such funding, they groups will lose their tax status as public institutions, but will be defined as "political entities" that have to register and report to the Registrar of Political Parties.

Lest you think that I am exaggerating, I publish sections of the government-approved legislation below. And the Iran analogy is apt: the Iran regime requires all NGOs, including the civil society ones that Americans of all stripe support, to inform a government agency of every contribution they receive from foreign sources, except the United Nations. Read about it here Or read about how Egypt controls and harassess its civil society NGOs here (h/t to Dr. Marsha Cohen and Dan Sisken for these links, respectively.)

Of course, in Iran, the groups also have to ask the agency's permission to receive those grants; I expect that this will be the next step in the Israeli's governmental campaign against the human rights NGOs.

But hang on a second: What's wrong with requiring Israeli human rights organizations to report receiving money from foreign governments? In fact, why should they be allowed to receive such money at all? Isn't that gross interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state? And what's the big deal of simply announcing the truth. Transparency and full disclosure should accompany such organizations, no?

OK, so here are three answers to the stated purpose of the law, which is to balance freedom of speech with the right of the public to know who is behind these organizations.

1. The proposed law is unnecessary.

As I said above, all the voluntary organizations in Israel (amutot) are required by law to report regularly to the government. It so happens that the human rights NGOs often go beyond the requirement and publicize the sources of their funding. This is expected; you don't get money without thanking the organization or individual or government that gave you the money. The human rights organizations are, not surprisingly, proud of their work and grateful for support. Some of them are required by the donors to publicize the funding. When NGO Monitor "broke" the story this summer that the Breaking the Silence booklet of soldiers' testimonies was paid for, in part, by grants from foreign governments, they found that information printed on the first few pages of the booklet! And unlike NGO Monitor, Breaking the Silence publishes its annual financial reports on its website.

2. The proposed law is discriminatory.

The law has been crafted by right-wingers to target the human rights organizations. If your organization receives money from a Jewish gambling mogul, or from an evangelical Christian organization that looks forward to the destruction of the State of Israel when Jesus returns, you are exempt. Governments like Spain, Holland, and Great Britain, don't fund illegal settlements; they fund peace initiatives civil society initiatives, in Israel as in Iran.

3. The proposed law's real purpose is to harass, delegitimize, and dry up funding for progressive NGOs.

If the law only required disclosure on a website, that would be bad enough. But the law requires each organization to go through bureaucratic hoops repeatedly, and to proclaim something like the Surgeon General's warning every time it does anything publicly. Thus, if B'Tselem rolls out a report on settler violence, and hosts a public event to publicize the report – remember, this is the organization that works together with the Israel Defense Forces to locate Palestinian witnesses in IDF investigations -- it must begin the event by announcing that it has sometime, somewhere received money from Holland, say. And if it does not do so? According to the proposed legislation, all members of B'Tselem who were in a position to know where the money came from, and who did not do anything about it are liable to fines and up to a year in prison, "or four times the value of the consideration that was received, whichever is higher."

The analogy with the Surgeon General's warning is significant. The purpose of requiring such disclosure is not merely to satisfy the public's right to know (Who doesn't know by now that cigarette smoking causes cancer?) but to stigmatize and delegitimize cigarette smoking.

Not every government will be willing to have this publicity. Already the foreign ministry and the prime minister have tried to dissuade foreign governments from donating to such groups. And, from the government's perspective, it is understandable why. They are an embarrassment to Israel's image, and they publicize the crimes of the Occupation. These are things that the current rightwing government in Israel doesn't like. Nor does the current rightwing government in Iran.

If there is a need to inform the Israeli public about foreign funding of NGOs, or of transparency in their operations, then have a law that requires transparency of all such organizations, left, right or none of the above. As I said earlier, the human rights NGOs are among the most transparent in the country. Try tracing the funding for some of the settlers' organizations; it isn't easy.

If such a law passes, it will be not only be a black day for what is left of Israeli democracy but there will be other consequences as well. First, foreign governments that sponsor human rights and peace projects will figure out a way how to get the money to the organizations, bypassing the law. So that could make things worse for transparency. Second, I would advise the NGOs to discuss with their legal advisor whether the bill applies to them. After all, they do not view themselves as political entities, and at least some of the NGOs are not there primarily to influence domestic or foreign policy. Breaking the Silence sees its task as informational – letting the Israeli public know what happens to IDF soldiers when they are placed in Occupation situations. The group does not call to end the Occupation or to annex the West Bank and Gaza – it simply wants the Israeli public to know what price Israel is paying for the Occupation. The rightwing considers that political, fine. But will the law and the courts? Third, Israel will be placed by the EU on a list of countries that are unfriendly to human rights organizations. This, too, will have consequences

Here are some passages from the proposed legislation, with my "Perush Rashi" (commentary; my thanks to Didi Remez for providing me with a translation of the bill.) Let's start with the wide expansion of the phrase "political activity"

"political activity" – an activity intended to influence public opinion in Israel or in whatsoever entity in one of the government authorities in Israel concerning any component of internal or external policy of the State of Israel.

Perush Rashi: The expansion is deliberate in order to counter the argument that these groups are not political organization, or lobbying groups. In fact, they are not, and I think that even with the expansion, at least some of the groups could claim that they are not covered by the law.

A person or body shall not receive the financial support of a Foreign Political Entity for the purpose of financing political activity in Israel until after it has registered with the Registrar of Political Parties; for this purpose, any support that is received by anyone who finances or engages in political activity is presumed support for the purpose of financing political activity.

Perush Rashi: Now that we have expanded the meaning of political activity, we expand the meaning of what support for political activity means. So any Euro received by an group will automatically be considered political in purpose.

    The Registrar of Political Parties shall also serve as Registrar of Foreign Political Entity Support (hereinafter – the Registrar).

Perush Rashi: This is my favorite line in the bill. Since there is no government agency that supervises such bodies, the authors decided to "create" one by interpreting the Registrar of Political Parties to include the human rights NGOS. It reminds me of Firesign Theater's famous, "Department of Redundancy Department." Except that here there is no redundancy – there is an expansion to brand the human rights NGOS as political parties.

The supported entity shall file an annual balance sheet and financial statement of its income and expenditures as a supported entity in each fiscal year.  The statement shall include full particulars according to the list appearing in Section 36 of the Amutot Law, and in the Second Addendum thereto.  The supported entity shall file an annual verbatim report which will include details of the matters enumerated in the Third Addendum to the Amutot Law.

Perush Rashi: Here is where we really get to the Department of Redundancy Department. The NGOS already file an annual balance sheet, etc. with the agency governing Amutot. So what is the purpose of this filing? Harassment.

The supported entity or one acting on its behalf will clearly note this status in every document, including electronic one, which relates to political activity. The supported entity or one acting on its behalf, when presenting orally in the framework of a discussion or meeting in which there is political activity, shall note its status at the outset if the subject of the discussion or meeting has an affinity to the aims for which the support was received.

Perush Rashi: Maybe next year the government will require all members of human rights NGOs to walk around with scarlet letters or yellow stars on their t-shirts.

              A supported corporation shall not be considered a Public Institution as defined in Section 9(2) of the Income Tax Ordinance.

Perush Rashi: I.e., it will lose its former tax status, another form of harassment.

The recipient of financial support of a Foreign Political Entity in contravention of the provisions of Section 3, shall be sentenced to one year imprisonment or a fine, as stated in Section 61(a)(3) of the Penal Law, 5737-1977 or four times the value of the consideration that was received, whichever is higher. Delivery of an essentially false detail in a declaration according to Section 6 shall be punishable by three years imprisonment.

Perush Rashi: And while you're out, don't forget the pound of flesh.

Who says that Israel's government doesn't try to fit in with the other Middle East governments?


Michael W. said...

While I agree with the overall message, I disagree with a a couple of your statements.

"And what's the big deal of simply announcing the truth."

Just because an NGO publishes something, does not make it truth.

"The proposed law is discriminatory."

Just because right-wingers drafted it, does not make it discriminatory. I haven't read an Haaretz/JPost article on it yet (did you link one?), so I don't see why NGOs supported by the Christian Right won't be subject to the same law.

I think the Israeli government has moved against some elements in the UN a long time ago. It doesn't see the UNHRC as legitimate so the Goldstone Report was bound to find no cooperation from the Israeli government. Do you see the UNHRC as legitimate?

Jerry Haber said...

Michael W -- you misunderstood me

"announcing the truth" meant "announcing the source of the funding", that's all. It didn't refer to anything the NGOs might publish.

As for the discriminatory nature of the bill, that is not "just because right-wingers drafted it" but because they drafted it only to apply to NGOs getting foreign government funding, and foreign governments only fund human rights and civil society NGOs. Why should the public have the right to know that England funds Breaking the Silence but not that John Hagee funds Im Tirzu.

That is a fundamental point of the bill, so I hope you understand now.

Of course, the leftwing NGOs would still be able to get private and public donations without this disclosure -- but not government ones.

As for Goldstone and the UN, that has nothing to do with the proposed legislation. Read my other posts.

fiddler said...

Is the term "Foreign Political Entity" defined anywhere? If not, from the excerpts you posted it seems any foreign entity may become "Political" by virtue of supporting an Israeli NGO. IOW, if I, a private individual, donate to B'Tselem etc, I'd be deemed to pursue "an activity intended to influence public opinion in Israel", which makes me ipso facto a foreign "Political Entity". That's obviously tautological reasoning, but it's what you get if you apply the same standard of "Political-ness" to both foreign and Israeli entities.

Jerry Haber said...

fiddler --

"Foreign Political Entity – as defined in Section 36A(a) of the Amutot Law"

I confess that I did not look that one up.

richards1052 said...

LOVE your title. Thank God we have our sense of humor in the midst of this insanity.

Jerry Haber said...

You know, you are the third person to comment on the title. Maybe from now on, I will just write titles.

fiddler said...

I've found the Amutot Law (, but article 36a refers to the required annual financial report. The second addendum of 1996 has only article 35(a) which refers to bookkeeping. (Ohhh - there's a word with three double letters in a row :-))

Anyway, the whole draft is here:
It seems the rotten fruit of a Knesset conference on Dec. 1, 2009.
Hands up who is surprised that NGO Monitor is involved.

The draft talks of “Foreign Governmental Entities”, which is clearer than "Foreign Political Entities". But “Financial Support of a Foreign Governmental Entity” is defined much wider: "Support which is transferred directly or indirectly by order of a foreign governmental entity or someone acting on its behalf, or support which is received from a corporation at least one-third of whose funding originated in foreign governmental entities"
Together with the reporting duty this also puts the onus on the recipient to investigate the donor's sources of funding, which may get anywhere from unreasonable to absurd. This provision is even explicitly spelled out in art. 11 (a).

lidia said...

I will be the forth to comment - I found the title VERY unpleasant (a slander ot Iran, actually)

Israel CANNOT become Iran even if Zionists would want it. Israel is a colonial aparteid state, and Iran is NOT. israel is a plague of the ME and not only (for ex, it supported a sister-state of aparteid in the SA). But of course, it is SO cool to slander Iran, it takes sting out of writning - the author could say some bad things about some Israel facts, but he is still our man - he uses Iran as a scarecrow - Iran, which NOT commited a lot of crimes that israel commits dayly for more than 100 years (yes, before 1948 there were crimes of the future aparteid state)

Shame on you, if you could be ashamed, and if not, just return to your noble Iran-bashing (I suppose you could add some Hamas ot Hezballah-bashing)

By the way, I am an Atheist Jew

Eric said...

Now I know how those who had clarity felt in 132 CE -but those who had faith instead of clarity won the day and we all lost everything.

Jerry Haber said...


If you read my post, you will see that "becoming Iran" is headline shorthand for adopting the practices of the current Iranian regime in its close supervision (and harassment) of human rights and civil socity NGOs. Israel, for all its faults, many of which I blog about frequently, has not sunk to that level.

All you have to do is read past the headline and you will see that I am not Iran bashing, only calling the current regime on a despicable practice.

For some strange reason, you identify me with neocon and liberal hawk Iran-bashers. I oppose the current Iranian government, but I also oppose US sanctions on Iran (for one thing, they will increase support for the current Iranian government.)

May I assure you that I will bash anybody and everybody who tramples on human rights. In that sense, I am an equal-opportunity basher.

I grant you that the headline is ambiguous. But I think my readers knew what I meant.

lidia said...

Jerry Haber, thank you for answering to my not too nice post

1) I HAVE read your piece

2) NO, I do not "identify you with neocon and liberal hawk Iran-bashers" - I know enough to see that you are a "leftist" Iran-basher, just like a lot imperialist leftists, so do not worry :)I also beleive you that you were not going to bash Iran in this case - you just (like other imperialist leftists) do it knee-jerk, not even paying attention

3) Iran (and a lot of other states) are against foreign-founded NGOs (human rights and other fancy named) because the real goal of them is "regime change" - ONLY because the said regime is NOT a puppet of USA imperialism/Zionism, even when the regime is MORE democratic (Venesuela)than even USA itself (not that I give a damn about imperilaist democracy waging colonialist wars)

4)Yes, Israel is more nice to JEWISH critics, or was. How Israel behave with non-Jews is another question, but I suppose it is not bother you too much. Of course, you do have a reason to worry here - if even Jews are not immune, Zionism is showing itself TOO nasty even for its supporters from the left. And mind you, as far as I know the most of attacked Israel NGOs are NOT anti-Zionist, they do NOT call for regime change and even NOT claim that elections were a fraud (even though Israel elections are a sick joke)So, Israel attacking these mostly very tame NGOs is NOT nice, and I agree with you here.

I suppose you understand why I cannot agree that you are "an equal-opportunity basher" - because to bash a state under sanctions, terrorist attacks and VERY real threat of A-bombing from the most powerful forces is NOT the same as bashing the little darling war criminal of the same force

About Iran regime - it is NOT yours (or mine)to deside, it is for Iranians, without USA and Israel interventions (including founding "colour revolutions") - Iran is NOT threatening anyone, it is NOT waging colonial wars, it is even NOT treating more than half of persons under its rule as "demographic threat".

Jerry Haber said...

Hi Lidia,

Some responses:

You wrote:

About Iran regime - it is NOT yours (or mine)to deside, it is for Iranians, without USA and Israel interventions (including founding "colour revolutions") - Iran is NOT threatening anyone, it is NOT waging colonial wars, it is even NOT treating more than half of persons under its rule as "demographic threat".

I agree with you on much of this. That is why I oppose threats and sanctions against Iran, much less military action. It is up for the Iranians to decide who their leaders will be. I repeat -- I am utterly opposed to sanctions, even if they were productive, which they are not.

Still, if a regime or government is not to my liking, for good reasons -- because it violates human rights, for example, I don't see why I can't express my views, or support groups struggling to be free.

I don't assume that the legacy of colonialism excuses all. I think that it counts for something, but if there are human rights excesses in Zimbabwe, for example, or if in South Africa, there is a ridiculous government policy on H.I.V. and AIDS, then I see no reason why I can't support local activists who want to change things. I am not talking about covert C.I.A. support; I am not talking about military intervention in the vast majority of cases. I am talking about rooting and supporting those I find are the good guys.

So if the Palestinians elect, in dubious elections, a corrupt Fatah-led government that collaborates with Israel to suppress civil rights of Palestinians (this is a hypothetical example of course), why should I stay on the sidelines?

Governments who view human rights groups as tools of an imperialist west are generally fundamentalist governments that oppose universal notions of human rights. I am not saying that these notions should be forced down people's throats. But if women in certain cultures are encouraged/forced to undergo painful clitoral circumcision, or widows are buried alive with their spouses -- in some post-colonial societies -- I am not going to let my liberal guilt for the legacy of colonialism undermine my support for these women.

One argument that you didn't give, I think, is that western notions of human rights automatically favor states, because states have all sorts of options at their disposal that non-state actors don't have. Thus groups like Hamas have claimed in the past that suicide bombing is one of the few effective weapons they can use against oppression, and it is unfair to criticize them for using it. They simply don't have the power to use the conventional "permitted" weapons. This is an interesting argument, and in fact, I don't think that enough thought has been given to what would be "permissible" forms of combat for non-state actors.

Actually, the Goldstone Report solved this by treating the Hamas government in Gaza as if it were a state, which gave it both rights and responsibilities as combatants.

Anyway, where we disagree is over how much slack to cut former colonies whose government violates the rights of its citizens. This is, i hope you will admit, a difficult and complicated question. Clearly, one can argue that an Islamic regime, for example, which is popularly elected, can pass some legislation that would violate Western interpretations of human rights. However, that does not give regimes like that carte blanche.

And the Iranian government showed a very heavy-hand in putting down demonstrations after elections that many thought were unfair.

Still, your point is well-taken that in some respects Israel can only envy Iran, which has not systematically oppressed an indigenous population for sixty years. But my point was a limited one. And you don't have to tell me why Iran doesn't like human rights groups acting within its borders. What country does?

Y. Ben-David said...

You don't think Iran is conducting "colonial wars" or "threatening anybody". Well, they are constantly threatening us here in Israe. They certainly have imperial ambitions, that is why they are arming HIZBUALLAH and HAMAS with tens of thousands of rockets. They are certainly using missionary tactics to spread Shi'ite theology, which happens to be against the law in many Sunni states. They are even sending money to get support in Latin America. Also, ask the minority groups of Arabs, Kurds, Bahais and Baluchis if they feel oppressed or not by the regime there.

Jerry Haber said...

Y. Ben David,

Good to hear from you:

"You don't think Iran is conducting "colonial wars""

Not nearly as much as Israel -- after all, how many colonies has Israel established and how many has Iran established?

"Well, they are constantly threatening us here in Israel"

No, here in Israel people constantly feel threatened by Iran, despite the fact that Iran has not threatened Israel, except in retaliation for Israel's desire to thwart it from achieving nuclear capacity.Iran's current government doesn't like Israel, and would like to see it disappear, but that is not the same thing as threatening it. Read your Juan Cole.

Mind you, I don't defend the current Iran regime or its government. I don't think it should have nuclear weapons, and as I made clear to lidia, I consider it an abuser of human rights. There are lots of things I don't like about it (let's start with the problem of a fundamentalist regime.) But I also don't think Israel, or anybody in the Middle East, or elsewhere, should have nuclear weapons. I don't see the difference betwen the good guys and the bad guys. The Soviet Union had nuclear weapons when we considered them an Evil Empire. Nobody had sanctions against them because of it. And they certainly supported all sorts of groups that opposed the US>

It may be that Iran poses a bigger threat to minorities and neighbors than does Israel. That's a hypothetical proposition. But it is definitely the case that the Jews have inflicted suffering on the Palestinians over the past sixty years (at least) and that it has not had a single day in its existence without theft of lands (including, as you rightly point out, the ones after 1948), and continuing up to Bilin, Ni'ilin, Beit Sahour, etc., etc. Theft of land, deprivation of fundamental human rights, violence agains a people under occupation -- gee, it would take a long for Iran to catch up to Israel on that score.

Glad to be attacked by right and by left on this one.

Happy Purim

Jerry Haber said...

By Jews, of course, I meant, Zionists. Sometimes the two can be used synonymously (like when I am in a hurry to go to sleep.)

Y. Ben-David said...

So Iran hasn't threatened Israel. Well, let's conduct a thought experiment. Let's say you get a new neighbor who starts telling the rest of your neighbors that you are bad person, that you are a 'cancer destroying the neighborhood', that he guarantees that you are going to disappear, he then starts brandishing a rifle to 'defend himself from you' and he tells the rest of the neighbors they should arm themselves against you as well. WOULDN'T THAT MAKE YOU AT LEAST A LITTLE NERVOUS? It is not simple paranoia. Don't forget that Iran fought a long, bloody war with Iraq and when they finally made a cease-fire out of mutual exhaustion, Khomeini said it was "like drinking poison".
Iran certainly has imperial pretensions, as I said above and you didn't address yourself to them. They use their hostility to Israel in order to promote themselves and their power. Aluf Benn wrote in Ha'aretz comparing them to Nasser who did the same thing. Benn pointed out that Israeli "convention wisdom"
before the Six-Day War was that Nasser didn't really want a war with Israel, he was using the hostility to unify the Arabs and to promote his own power. Yet, Benn noted that finally, it got out of control and there was a war which ended up destroying him. I also think that the Iranians are using a lot of bluff and that they are overextending themselves, but, just as in Nasser's case, that doesn't mean they aren't dangerous.
It might interest you to know that several weeks ago, in the Makor Rishon newspaper, which is hard-line "right-wing" one of the commentators pointed out how the Israeli governments (of all parties) keeps using the supposed "Iranian threat" to justify all kinds policies they couldn't really justify. In Netanyahu's case it was the settlement freeze. I object to this manipulating of public opinion. It is just another version of Rahm Emanuel's ultra-cynical comment "one should never waste a good crisis", i.e. scare everybody to push through policies that would never have been accepted if everyone were really thinking straight. The global warming hysteria is another example of this.
So, the bottom line is I recommend everyone keeping their heads about Iran but not simply dismissing their threats. Ultimately, none of us outside the circle of decision-makers possess the information necessary to decide if a military strike is either necessary or would be effective, but there does seem to be international support for tighter sanctions, so the Iranians are managing to scare a lot of people other than us "paranoid" Jews.

Abe Bird said...

Foreign governments seldom have different or even opposing interest regarding Israel. From the legal point of view Israeli NGO work as remote agents of various Anti Israel countries and firms and as such it is very important to stop that link. NGOs in Israel refuse to publicize the sources of their funding, if they do, do you have some link to?
Evangelical Christian organizations don’t looks forward to the destruction of the State of Israel when Jesus returns, and even so, why not wait some thousands years and see whether the Messiah to come the first time or the second? Why to bit one another one? Any way John Hagee doesn’t fund ‘Im Tirzu’ and he is not a government.
Funding peace movements and actions is causing more tensions among the Arab Palestinians and their supports and creating daily fabricated bad news about Israel. It is the Israeli interest to hold that kind of behave which cause tension, riots and more Islamic terror.
You come to the problem with bad and black heart on Israel trying falsely to equate her to Iran. Iran is like a ball stocked in the throat of Israel’s defamatory that enjoying playing with that toy. Is it serious and wise to sell us that Iran is not an existential threat to Israel?
If you want to hear my Perush Rashi to your stand I would say that you don’t matter the well and safe Israel but to reword the Arab Palestinians their share for orchestrating their terror for almost a century on the Jews expense.
I have to say that your attitude to the religious conflict in the Middle East creating kind of lidias all around the world.

Jerry Haber said...

lidia, your English is fine, and continue to respond. I don't have enough readers to my left. For that matter, I don't have enough readers to my right, either. By the way, do you read the criticisms of the Ahmadinejad government by Iranias -- and I am not talking about the rightwing Iranians that are the darlings of the liberal hawk/neocon crowd. Read folks like Trita Parsi are called "apologists" for the Iran regime by one group, and traitors by supporters of the regime.

Nuance is important.

y. ben david, I didn't say that Israel should be blase about Iran. From Israel's standpoint, the problem is not an existential threat (there are no existential threats to Israel unles they are of Israel's own making) but of the increased power and prestige that nuclear power and weaponry will give Iran.

Kind of like the increased power and prestige that nuclear power gives Israel....

Sure, Iran has designs for power and influence. That is not unusual, is it? The question is what is in the region's best interest. Israel, by its actions, by its thinking, only enhances the Ahmadinejad's government's prestige. without Israel and Zionism, I doubt that the Ahmadinejad government would have lasted this long. But there is still no reason why Israel has to inflate the threat of Iran.

Re Nasser, you cite Aluf Benn,

"Yet, Benn noted that finally, it got out of control and there was a war which ended up destroying him."

This is a good point. A very good point. I love that neutral phrase, "it got out of control," which I translate as a "a mixture of Israeli Jewish paranoia and long-held territorial ambitions led Israel to attack Egypt, precipitating to the slow unraveling of the state founded in 1948."

Anyway, that's one possible reading.

And, puleeze, don't tell me that there is a partial settlement freeze in place. That is one chicken that I would not like to eat after it has been defrosted.

I am glad we agree on something -- get rid of Rahm Emmanuel.

Y. Ben-David said...

Your view of the events leading to the Six-Day War are extremely revisionist. You know very well that Nasser inflamed the situation by his open threats to wipe out Israel, regardless of whether or not you are right that Israel might have exploited the situation for territorial aggrandizement. For heaven's sake, Yossi Sarid said "why do I have to suffer because Nasser was stupid?". Even he is saying that Nasser was responsible for the situation "getting out of control".

BTW-did you see the poll that shows American support for Israel remains very strong and Amerficans overwhelmingly have a negative view of the Palestinians?

I maintain what I posted here some time ago...most people in the world outside of the Muslim countries view the Arab-Israeli conflict as intractable and that the Arabs are responsible. And this poll is AFTER Goldstone. Goldstone has made no difference in public support for Israel.

lidia said...

Jerry, if my English is OK, where is my second post?

Now, about you being happy because you are attacked from right and left - it reminded me about one char in Mayakovsky's play - a Menshevik (moderate social-democrat), who always tried to find a middle ground between capitalists and workers and got beaten from both sides :) I supppose I do not think it is OK if somebody is between left and right, usually it only means one is not hot and not cold, so to speak. I am usually attacked ONLY from right - i.e. from Zionist positions.

Now, I am NOT supporter of Ahmadinejad, but I know that he has a lot of support in Iran, and mostly from NOT well-to-do, so I would let it to Iraninans to sort off, but, one more time, without ANY imperialist/Zionist meddling, including Western-founded NGO.

In Israel the majority of Jews are Zionists (I suppose about 99,99%), and they support Zionist crimes, so I do not think it is useful to ask them to sort things on their own. Zionist racist state should be ended from without, first of all - by BDS, but not only. In such case NGO in Israel could be of use, even though not much

lidia said...

"most people in the world outside of the Muslim countries view the Arab-Israeli conflict as intractable and that the Arabs are responsible."


of course, in USA and some other imperialist states they DO blame Palestinans for Zionists' crimes (even though it starts to change, or hasbarah would not be worried about turning all Jews into whitewasers for Israel)), but "most people in the world" - I suppose one could even find a case of racism there - USA is being looked at as "most people in the world".

By the way, WHERE is my second post? I tried hard to compose it :(

Jerry Haber said...

lidia, can you let me know what was in your second post, because I thought I published everything. If you want, you can contact me at jeremiah.haber@gmail.comb

S. Yohanna said...

As for the freedom of Baha'is, why aren't we allowed to teach our faith in Israel? Why we are being given freedom to exist in the holy land on conditional basis of non-conversion activities? Please visit our blog and support us. We want full freedom in the Holy Land. Denial of Baha'i right to propagate is a kind of persecution and appeal the esteemed government to uplift the teaching ban in the Holy Land.

S. Yohanna
Network of Baha'is of Jewish Background

Peter H said...

Y. Ben-David

"I maintain what I posted here some time ago...most people in the world outside of the Muslim countries view the Arab-Israeli conflict as intractable and that the Arabs are responsible. And this poll is AFTER Goldstone. Goldstone has made no difference in public support for Israel."

Only in the United States. But you're kidding yourself if you don't think there's a lot of anti-Israel sentiment in other countries. See here for instance:

For that matter, look at all the panicked reports coming from the Israeli establishment and Zionist groups about Israel's diminished global standing, the growing "Deligimitization Challenge", the threat of BDS (Boycotts/Divestment/Sanctions). These groups that anti-Israel sentiment is not confined to some leftist-Muslim fringe, even if you don't

Michael W. said...

S. Yohana,

Proselytizing in Israel is restricted, especially towards children. It's not the same as not allowing Bahai parents to teach their faith to their kids. You can educate your kids, or anyone about your faith, you just can't proselytize which is a totally different thing.

Y. Ben-David said...

Peter H-
The polll you quoted is from 2007, but let's say the results are similar today. IT DOES NOT CONTRADICT WHAT I SAID. I didn't say people necessarily "like Israel". I said people view the Arab-Israeli conflict as intractable. You seem to believe, as do the "progressives" I see here that "there is a solution to the Arab-Israeli, the Arabs have accepted it, it is no only a matter of forcing Israel to accept it". THIS IS NOT TRUE, and I think most people in the world realize it-that the Arabs reject Israel's existence absolutely...after all, this is what they say openly, and I think most people in the world are aware of this.
If an average European has an attitude "a pox on both your houses", this corresponds to what I was saying.

lidia said...

"I think most people in the world realize it-that the Arabs reject Israel's existence absolutely...after all, this is what they say openly, and I think most people in the world are aware of this."


Just like Blacks in Rhodesia and all over the Africa rejected the very Rhodesia existence as a "whites" racist state - and were right. Israel is a colonial vesige of a bygone age - and it will have the same end.

Peter H said...

Y. Ben David,

"The polll you quoted is from 2007, but let's say the results are similar today. IT DOES NOT CONTRADICT WHAT I SAID. I didn't say people necessarily "like Israel". I said people view the Arab-Israeli conflict as intractable."

You specifically cited a poll showing that Americans have a favorable image of Israel to prove your case, so I think it's indeed relevant to point out that these favorable views are not shared by most other countries. If you're going to keep arguing that "the world doesn't care about the Palestinians", then stop citing American polls and conflating the "United States" with the "rest of the world".

Y. Ben-David said...

Thank you lidia for making my point.....there is no reason for Israel to make political and territorial concessions to the matter how big they are, they won't satisfy you and those who think like you.
I see that man of peace, Ahmedinejad, just visited his friends Assad, Masha'al and Nasrallah in Damascus and they are raving about war. Ahmedinejad says "Zionism will disappear soon". Now since the Zionists here in Israel (90% of the Jewish population at least) are not going anywhere and we are not going to join "Jerry" and vote for HADASH anytime soon (even you, Jerry, would admit that), then how can the Iranians make such a promise...that we are going to "disappear". You all keep telling us how peaceful the Iranians are.

lidia said...

Not only Zionista are land-robbers (and then they lie that the land was their) they as well rob others' anti-colonialist comments :)

NO, Paleestinians (and others) need NO "concessions" from land-robbering Zionists, they need the end of Zionist colonialist racist state - and they will get it. In aparteid SA Whites also puffed about how it is NOT possible that their colonial rule would end - see where they are now :)

And where Zionist Jews will go after the end of Zionism in Palestina? A majority of them have dual citizenship, anyway, and USA rulers could help somebody who has not. It would be even cheaper than fund Zionist colony in the ME

Jerry Haber said...

Lidia, here is where we disagree.

Most Israelis do not have dual citizenship. Most Israelis are native born. Some of them know no other culture than Israel. To expel them from the only land they ever knew is wrong. And many of the immigrants had to renounce their former country's citizenship, so they would literally be stateless. Creating a class of quasi pied noirs is not the answer, especially since their culture is not American or Russian but Israeli.

Did Mandella require of the Afrikaaners that they leave South Africa?

By the way, many Jews believe that if Israel becomes a multicultural or binational state, that a large number of Jews will leave. I think they are nuts.

But if you don't think that former members of the German Nazi party have to leave Germany because of their war crimes, it seems odd that you just make that requirement of Israel.

Finally, I would like to point out that I don't know of any Palestinians today who would require that Jews who came to live in the State of Israel (or after 1917) have to leave, much less their children.

Edward Said said you don't solve injustice by more injustice. He was opposed to forcing Israelis, even recent comers, to leave.

But, of course, Said was a moderate.

lidia said...

Jerry, just read you post and put "Blackfoots" and "Algeris" instead of "Israelis" (Jews) and "Palestina".

Anyway, it is NOT up to YOU (or me, for that matter) to decide, who could stay in Palestina, even if one was born by colonisator. It is up to Palestinians.

And beleive me, they DO have dual citizenship, and a lot of them have relatives (often grown -up children) abroad.

"I don't know of any Palestinians today who would require that Jews who came to live in the State of Israel (or after 1917) have to leave, much less their children." SO WHAT? Do you think that you know ALL Palestinans' opinion?

By the way, Nazis were Germans. Were they allowed after the war stay as a victors in Poland, Russia, France, Greece?

But it was afwully nice of you to let me tell it here (even though your dog ate my second comment, which I think was very meaningful).

We also disagee in a lot of questions, remember? :)

fiddler said...

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has a detailed response to the bill here: