Monday, January 10, 2011

The Israeli Supreme Court as a Broken Reed for Israeli “Democracy”

In the Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz claimed that the Israeli Supreme Court "has played a far greater role in controlling the Israeli military than any other court in history has ever played in the conduct of military affairs, including the United States." Dershowitz provided what he considered to be examples of how the Supreme Court has bent over backwards to protect human rights, even during wartime situations. But these examples were refuted easily and effectively by Norman Finkelstein in Beyond Chutzpah. Finkelstein utilized the findings of Israeli human rights organizations, press reports, and books by Israeli scholars such as The Justice of Occupation by David Kretzmer. All these sources showed that at best, members of the Israeli Supreme Court have had some good intentions. But the court rarely protects the rights of various minorities, especially Palestinians, and when it does, it is routinely ignored by the IDF military (on torture, targeted assassination, and the use of human shields) and the government (the wall near Bil'in, evicting illegal Jewish squatters, etc.) While its rhetoric of rights gets it in trouble with chauvinistic center, it is smart enough to know how far it can go with the Israeli public – which is not very far.

One of the best op-eds on the subject appeared today in Haaretz by Meirav Michaeli. It is worth reprinting in its entirety for two reasons: first, it shows the impotence of a Supreme Court who (like Prof. Dershowitz), talks big and doesn't deliver; and second, because Haaretz itself was the subject of an attack today by – whom else – the ultranationalist from Russia, Yvette (Avigdor) Lieberman. Lieberman attacked not only the usual suspects on the left, the human rights NGO's, but also the Likud politicians who still believe in the Jabotinskian vision of a liberal democracy – and who oppose setting up a parliamentary committee to investigate human rights NGOS. See here

The true defenders of human rights in Israel are not the courts but the human rights NGOs – which is why they are being persecuted by the rightwing government and Knesset. The rightwingers know that they speak the truth – or at least they have never discovered anything to the contrary. So because they can't attack the credibility of the NGOs, they make a big show of going after their foreign funding. Oops, excuse me – it is not so much the foreign funding that bothers them (after all, who funds the rightwing human rights violators?) but the fact that they are funded, together with human rights groups in places like Egypt, Saudia, and Iran, by European governments.

And that offends Israelis. They don't mind acting like Egypt, Saudia and Iran. They just don't want to be on the same list with such countries.

Since there is no good reason for going after the human rights NGOs except chauvinistic pride, bad reasons had to be invented, such as the "transparency" of their funding. Of course these groups are completely transparent about their sources of funding – much more than the rightwing groups whose private donors receive tax exemptions for donations to settlements considered by the US to be illegal. Here's another reason -- foreign government funding can influence the public discourse in ways that serve the European Union's own interests, uh, like improving Israel's human rights record? Why is it that we don't hear the same criticism when the EU funds such NGOs in Egypt or Iran? Or when the West funded human rights groups in Iraq or the former Soviet Union? Some of my readers may remember when South America governments that repressed human rights spent tons of money trying to influence the political climate for them in Washington, DC.

Israel doesn't want to outlaw the human rights NGOs (well, some Israeli MKs do, but they are a minority.) So they figure that if they harass them, they will go away. That's not going to happen; as long as the NGOs have credibility in the world, then they will be successful. If Israel passes a law banning government funding for human rights NGOs – which is the situation in Egypt – the NGOs will find legal ways to circumvent the law – which is the situation in Egypt.

In the meantime, the grand Israeli campaign of Self-Deligitimation continues. And don't think that the broken reed of the Israeli Supreme Court will be able to stop Israel's downward slide.

Israel's racism has finally reached the High Court

The court uses strong language regarding the illegality of segregation. But, in the same breath, it enables those with power to maintain it almost unhindered.

By Merav Michaeli

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has threatened it will petition the High Court of Justice if the Knesset passes the bill that would subject applicants for residency in small communities to the discriminatory approval of admissions committees. The petition is not worth the trouble. The High Court will take a year or two to ponder the issue and then ask that a committee be established to look into how many communities use admissions committees, why people are rejected and whether the rejections were justified.

The committee will issue a report stating that admissions committees are indeed problematic, and the state cannot permit segregation and discrimination, except in cases when it is voluntary.

Then the High Court will rule specifically and unequivocally that discrimination and segregation are illegal unless someone desires such policies, in which case they should be allowed in accordance with the outlines of the committee report. So the policy will remain in place. While the High Court and the investigatory committee toil away, the admissions committees will flourish, large numbers of the public will be segregated from the "clean" population, allowing the latter group to dwell securely in communities that become increasingly similar in character to West Bank settlements. And "compatibility with social and cultural fabric" will become synonymous with voluntarism as a way of legitimizing the discrimination.

This scenario is not the product of my wild imagination. It is precisely what happened in the case of segregation of men and women on buses serving the ultra-Orthodox public, which ended last Thursday with an astonishing High Court ruling in which segregation and discrimination were condemned. "Have we returned to the days of Rosa Parks, the African-American woman who in 1955 brought about the end of racist segregation and discrimination in the buses of the United States?" the court asked. Strong words, indeed.

But, at the same time, the court left the back door open, and I am not simply speaking metaphorically. All the ultra-Orthodox women will continue to board the buses through the back door as they were conditioned to do, even through violence, over the course of the seven years that this scandalous segregation spread. During this period, the High Court of Justice weighed the issue. The investigative committee was appointed. It wrote its report. And the transportation minister pondered whether to accept its recommendations.

This approach has become customary with the court in recent years. It was true with the ruling on the appointment of a woman to the Turkel Committee investigating the Turkish flotilla incident. It was also true regarding the issue of fertility treatments for single women, and in the case of proper representation of Arabs in the Israel Lands Administration, etc. In its opinions, the court uses outstanding, strong, truly moving language regarding the illegality of segregation and equal rights. But, in the same breath, it enables those with power, the ones who are carrying out the oppression and discrimination, to continue to maintain it almost unhindered.

Two concurrent developments have brought the High Court to his point. First, it doesn't function in a vacuum. The expansion and penetration of discrimination, racism and segregation in Israeli politics and Israeli society reaches the court as well. It can be said that the dominant culture of the occupation, which has filtered down into various sectors in Israel for many years, is also filtering down to the High Court of Justice.

One can be more precise and say that the tools with which the High Court has for years legitimized the occupation now also serve its legitimization of serious injustices within Israel itself. Let's admit it. The approach involves verbose, enlightened condemnation regarding illegal acts and then giving them a legal seal of approval as a "necessary evil." This is what the High Court has done throughout the years of occupation. Aside from the issue of torture, which took the court 10 years to outlaw, everything has been legitimized: assassinations, home demolitions, sealing of homes, expulsion, expropriation, administrative detention, withholding of information and, of course, the separation fence.

The second development is part of the dangerous and fascist introversion of the Israeli political system in recent years, as expressed in attacks on the High Court. The fact that the court does not provide backing for the truly beautiful theories it expounds in its directives reflects how these attacks on the court have penetrated. If it is not afraid, the court is at least wary. That is the result of threats, legislative initiatives and ministerial acts of people like former justice minister Daniel Friedmann.

Our politicians should understand that through their dangerous acts, which corrupt and destroy anything good, they won't be able to rely on the court to save them and us from perdition.

 

 

24 comments:

YMedad said...

If the center is a "chauvinistic center", what am I? I won't comment on Finkelstein's scholarship but relying on "human rights organizations" is like that Marlboro man, his smoking and his death of cancer. They get to beloieve their own propaganda. They are not human rights-directed but another pro-Pal. advocacy instrument.

Eric said...

One can be Pro-Palestinian) (Pal is a word that identifies the speakers beliefs- like nigger and kike) , and Pro-Israel, and human rights. As for believing their own propaganda - that's the pot calling the kettles black. 

bacci40 said...

ah jeez jerry, quoting finkelstein? cant find a better source than that holocaust and history of israel revisionist?

america has strict guidelines regarding charities and ngos....why shouldnt israel

btw...welcome home....hope you stay

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Aside from the issue of torture, which took the court 10 years to outlaw, everything has been legitimized

This is a serious mistake you're making here, Jerry. The High Court didn't ban torture at all! On the contrary, in paragraph 38 of its "landmark ruling," the Court allowed recourse to the necessity defense and permitted investigators to use torture to meet immediate and otherwise unavoidable grievous threats to innocent life. See here.

These caveats are not unimportant. In this case, the exception allows any torturer to define their prisoner as an immediate security threat and torture them practically at will.

Jerry Haber said...

Ibrahim, I agree with you...but I didn't make that statement. That was Meirav Michaeli who did.

Jerry Haber said...

Yisrael,

The sad thing for an Israeli is that in Israel, human rights advocacy is indeed advocacy for the Palestinians -- because their human rights are trampled upon daily.

But, heck -- maybe you don't think Palestinians have human rights. Atem keruyim adam, etc

But how well I remember when the Soviets complained that Human Rights Watch was an imperialist tool to intervene in its internal affairs. And the Soviet Jews didn't have anywhere near the level of discrimination that the Palestinians had.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

I didn't make that statement. That was Meirav Michaeli who did.

You're right. Even so, I think my comment is relevant as it dispels a widely-held wrong belief, here endorsed by Michaeli. Maybe a clarification could be made as an update to the post?

YMedad said...

I'm convinced. Let's adopt some customs of Arab justice like honor killings and cutting off hands. Who needs Israeli "torture" anyway?

Eric said...

@MYehad- Showing Israelis or Jews to better than the worst elements in Arab culture is more of an insult to Judaism and Israel than even rabid antisemites can muster. If that isn't self hatred and Hillul Hashem I don't know what is.

YMedad said...

Thanks for highlighting the perversity of "pro-Palestinianism".

a) "their human rights are trampled upon daily" - would they be "trampled" if they would yield on their armed struggle? if they would abide by the original intent of Oslo? if they would have accepted, as an interim stage for them, the autonomy proposals? I won't go back to rejecting Partition in 1947.

b. "maybe you don't think Palestinians have human rights". of course I do. I've even had the opportunity to kill Arabs in self-defense both as a soldier and a civilian and have refrained due to my Zionist Revisionist education based on Hadar and Jabotinskyian liberalism. What chuztpah to throw personal attacks about instead of ideological disputes.

c) "the Soviet Jews didn't have anywhere near the level of discrimination that the Palestinians had". Sir, I humbly suggest you are historically ignorant and prevaricating. And I won't get into the issue of whether Soviet Jews placed bombs at Moscow's GUM store or in the Perm rail station. And I was there in 1976.

Eric, please rewrite your comment as I find it a bit unintelligent to me. Are you suggesting I am practicing self-hatred by highlighting the moral superiority of Judaistic civilization over Islam as practiced in several Arab countries?

Jerry Haber said...

Yisrael,

"Would their human rights have been trampled upon had they yielded on the arm struggle."

Funny...I though you lived in Israel between 1967 and 1988 and the outbreak of the First Intifada. I seem to remember you living on Palestinian land expropriated from Palestinians during that period. I certainly remember my former neighbor Plia Albeck thinking of all the legal tricks to take land away from the Palestinians.

And, strange, I was unaware that the Palestinian civilians forfeited their human rights because some of them (hey, they're all Arabs, aren't they?) had not abandoned the armed struggle. Efrat was not built because the Palestinians had not abandoned the armed struggle. Nor did al-Khader lose its lands for the reason. The "armed struggle" was often the justification used by the thieves for the theft -- a justification that only the thieves and their supporters have bought.

Anyway, ultranationalists everywhere -- in Israel, US, Britain, not to mention, Serbia, Africa, China, India, etc., despise the notion of human rights because it limits their ability to advance their ultranationalist claims.

The "chauvinistic center" is the expression used by Haim Baram to designate the spectrum from the rightwing of Meretz (in the kibbutzim), Labor, Kadima, and elements of Likud -- and some elements of the haredim. Shas, Hardal, and not including rightwing nationalist parties, secular and religious. would be considered by him to be on the right.

As for Soviet persecution of Jews, I was referring to when you were there. Please tell me examples of Jews who were not considered citizens of Soviet Republics on ethnic ground; who had a different system of law applied to them; whose movement within the country was limited, and whose lands were expropriated from them. Was their discrimination against Zionists and Zionist organizations. Of course. Did this spill over to anti-Semitism. Of course. Was there an attempt to stifle Jewish nationalism. Certainly. But none of these measure up to what the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have suffered and continue to suffer. Of course, there is a difference between the two situations.

But the major difference is that in Israel, the Jews coveted the land and resources on which the Palestinians sat; this was not the case on the same scale in the Soviet Union.

Jerry Haber said...

Yisrael,

"Would their human rights have been trampled upon had they yielded on the arm struggle."

Funny...I though you lived in Israel between 1967 and 1988 and the outbreak of the First Intifada. I seem to remember you living on Palestinian land expropriated from Palestinians during that period. I certainly remember my former neighbor Plia Albeck thinking of all the legal tricks to take land away from the Palestinians.

And, strange, I was unaware that the Palestinian civilians forfeited their human rights because some of them (hey, they're all Arabs, aren't they?) had not abandoned the armed struggle. Efrat was not built because the Palestinians had not abandoned the armed struggle. Nor did al-Khader lose its lands for the reason. The "armed struggle" was often the justification used by the thieves for the theft -- a justification that only the thieves and their supporters have bought.

Anyway, ultranationalists everywhere -- in Israel, US, Britain, not to mention, Serbia, Africa, China, India, etc., despise the notion of human rights because it limits their ability to advance their ultranationalist claims.

The "chauvinistic center" is the expression used by Haim Baram to designate the spectrum from the rightwing of Meretz (in the kibbutzim), Labor, Kadima, and elements of Likud -- and some elements of the haredim. Shas, Hardal, and not including rightwing nationalist parties, secular and religious. would be considered by him to be on the right.

As for Soviet persecution of Jews, I was referring to when you were there. Please tell me examples of Jews who were not considered citizens of Soviet Republics on ethnic ground; who had a different system of law applied to them; whose movement within the country was limited, and whose lands were expropriated from them. Was their discrimination against Zionists and Zionist organizations. Of course. Did this spill over to anti-Semitism. Of course. Was there an attempt to stifle Jewish nationalism. Certainly. But none of these measure up to what the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have suffered and continue to suffer. Of course, there is a difference between the two situations.

But the major difference is that in Israel, the Jews coveted the land and resources on which the Palestinians sat; this was not the case on the same scale in the Soviet Union.

YMedad said...

I didn't think you'd apologize for ad hominem attacks you made.

Anyay, "Funny...I though you lived in Israel between 1967 and 1988 and the outbreak of the First Intifada."

I was in Israel 1966-1967 and then on Aliyah since 1970.

"I seem to remember you living on Palestinian land expropriated from Palestinians during that period."

Nope. Besides Shiloh being Jewish, it wasn't expropriated as no Arab lived here and one attempt at legal tricks to claim land they didn't own, privately or collectively (Mulk; Mahlul; Waqf; Matruka; Mawat; Musha'; Jiftlik or Mudawara).

"I was unaware that the Palestinian civilians forfeited their human rights because some of them (hey, they're all Arabs, aren't they?) had not abandoned the armed struggle."

I didn't write "all". But indeed, there is a national struggle. this is not a Mafia crime gang. I presume you have served in the IDF and so you know that the support terrorists receive from the civilian population, combined with the mass participation in two Intifadas proved that. And even if you haven't, you should know that.

"Efrat was not built because the Palestinians had not abandoned the armed struggle. Nor did al-Khader lose its lands for the reason. The "armed struggle" was often the justification used by the thieves for the theft -- a justification that only the thieves and their supporters have bought."

??? Armed struggle by the Mufti from 1920 on was the first primary reason they lost their land. PLO terror from 1964 lost them their land. Refusal to accept Begin's autonomy lsot them their land. Arafat playing at diplomacy and terror lost them their land. Oh, and Jews living on the land in Gaza until 1929, Hebron until 1929, Gush Etzion, Bet HaAravah, Neveh Yaakov, etc. until 1948 assured us our land when we returned in 1967.

"Anyway, ultranationalists"

Oh. We're playing at name-calling again. Okay, "ultraterrorists", "ultraprogressives", "ultrapostzionists". There.


"despise the notion of human rights because it limits their ability to advance their ultranationalist claims." I do not despise human rights, can't you get that through your academic veneer?

"The "chauvinistic center" is the expression used by Haim Baram"

Oh, please, not Haim. He's a good acquaintance and debate partner but he's no source of turth, justice and the Zionist way.

"Please tell me examples of Jews who were not considered citizens of Soviet Republics on ethnic ground"

Oh, so the requirement is citizenship? If so, since Soviet Jews were Soviet citizens and had the crap beat out of them, their culture suppressed (unlike Arabs either in Israel or J&S), placed on trial on trumped up charges, etc. - and you don't relate to my point about whether they were terrorists - then obviously they had it worse than the Arabs of J&S who indeed are not citizens and don't want to be part of the Jewish Zionist state of Israel and actually want still to destroy it.

As for the rest, by continuing to ignore our security problem who are going nowhere with your arguments.


"...none of these measure up to what the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have suffered and continue to suffer. Of course, there is a difference between the two situations."

Yes, and the difference is that you are presenting a false picture.

"...the Jews coveted the land and resources on which the Palestinians sat; this was not the case on the same scale in the Soviet Union."

Well, since we didn't covet the land until we were attacked in 1967 (and had been attacked by the fedyeen 1949-1956 and PLO beginning in 1964, and you keep ignoring this as if all our problems began with a 1967 "occupation" that just popped upo out of nowhere, please, try another tact.

YMedad said...

I didn't think you'd apologize for ad hominem attacks you made.

Anyay, "Funny...I though you lived in Israel between 1967 and 1988 and the outbreak of the First Intifada."

I was in Israel 1966-1967 and then on Aliyah since 1970.

"I seem to remember you living on Palestinian land expropriated from Palestinians during that period."

Nope. Besides Shiloh being Jewish, it wasn't expropriated as no Arab lived here and one attempt at legal tricks to claim land they didn't own, privately or collectively (Mulk; Mahlul; Waqf; Matruka; Mawat; Musha'; Jiftlik or Mudawara).

"I was unaware that the Palestinian civilians forfeited their human rights because some of them (hey, they're all Arabs, aren't they?) had not abandoned the armed struggle."

I didn't write "all". But indeed, there is a national struggle. this is not a Mafia crime gang. I presume you have served in the IDF and so you know that the support terrorists receive from the civilian population, combined with the mass participation in two Intifadas proved that. And even if you haven't, you should know that.

"Efrat was not built because the Palestinians had not abandoned the armed struggle. Nor did al-Khader lose its lands for the reason. The "armed struggle" was often the justification used by the thieves for the theft -- a justification that only the thieves and their supporters have bought."

??? Armed struggle by the Mufti from 1920 on was the first primary reason they lost their land. PLO terror from 1964 lost them their land. Refusal to accept Begin's autonomy lsot them their land. Arafat playing at diplomacy and terror lost them their land. Oh, and Jews living on the land in Gaza until 1929, Hebron until 1929, Gush Etzion, Bet HaAravah, Neveh Yaakov, etc. until 1948 assured us our land when we returned in 1967.

"Anyway, ultranationalists"

Oh. We're playing at name-calling again. Okay, "ultraterrorists", "ultraprogressives", "ultrapostzionists". There.


"despise the notion of human rights because it limits their ability to advance their ultranationalist claims." I do not despise human rights, can't you get that through your academic veneer?

"The "chauvinistic center" is the expression used by Haim Baram"

Oh, please, not Haim. He's a good acquaintance and debate partner but he's no source of turth, justice and the Zionist way.

"Please tell me examples of Jews who were not considered citizens of Soviet Republics on ethnic ground"

Oh, so the requirement is citizenship? If so, since Soviet Jews were Soviet citizens and had the crap beat out of them, their culture suppressed (unlike Arabs either in Israel or J&S), placed on trial on trumped up charges, etc. - and you don't relate to my point about whether they were terrorists - then obviously they had it worse than the Arabs of J&S who indeed are not citizens and don't want to be part of the Jewish Zionist state of Israel and actually want still to destroy it.

As for the rest, by continuing to ignore our security problem who are going nowhere with your arguments.


"...none of these measure up to what the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have suffered and continue to suffer. Of course, there is a difference between the two situations."

Yes, and the difference is that you are presenting a false picture.

"...the Jews coveted the land and resources on which the Palestinians sat; this was not the case on the same scale in the Soviet Union."

Well, since we didn't covet the land until we were attacked in 1967 (and had been attacked by the fedyeen 1949-1956 and PLO beginning in 1964, and you keep ignoring this as if all our problems began with a 1967 "occupation" that just popped upo out of nowhere, please, try another tact.

YMedad said...

I didn't think you'd apologize for ad hominem attacks you made.

Anyay, "Funny...I though you lived in Israel between 1967 and 1988 and the outbreak of the First Intifada."

I was in Israel 1966-1967 and then on Aliyah since 1970.

"I seem to remember you living on Palestinian land expropriated from Palestinians during that period."

Nope. Besides Shiloh being Jewish, it wasn't expropriated as no Arab lived here and one attempt at legal tricks to claim land they didn't own, privately or collectively (Mulk; Mahlul; Waqf; Matruka; Mawat; Musha'; Jiftlik or Mudawara).

"I was unaware that the Palestinian civilians forfeited their human rights because some of them (hey, they're all Arabs, aren't they?) had not abandoned the armed struggle."

I didn't write "all". But indeed, there is a national struggle. this is not a Mafia crime gang. I presume you have served in the IDF and so you know that the support terrorists receive from the civilian population, combined with the mass participation in two Intifadas proved that. And even if you haven't, you should know that.

"Efrat was not built because the Palestinians had not abandoned the armed struggle. Nor did al-Khader lose its lands for the reason. The "armed struggle" was often the justification used by the thieves for the theft -- a justification that only the thieves and their supporters have bought."

??? Armed struggle by the Mufti from 1920 on was the first primary reason they lost their land. PLO terror from 1964 lost them their land. Refusal to accept Begin's autonomy lsot them their land. Arafat playing at diplomacy and terror lost them their land. Oh, and Jews living on the land in Gaza until 1929, Hebron until 1929, Gush Etzion, Bet HaAravah, Neveh Yaakov, etc. until 1948 assured us our land when we returned in 1967.

"Anyway, ultranationalists"

Oh. We're playing at name-calling again. Okay, "ultraterrorists", "ultraprogressives", "ultrapostzionists". There.


"despise the notion of human rights because it limits their ability to advance their ultranationalist claims." I do not despise human rights, can't you get that through your academic veneer?

"The "chauvinistic center" is the expression used by Haim Baram"

Oh, please, not Haim. He's a good acquaintance and debate partner but he's no source of turth, justice and the Zionist way.

"Please tell me examples of Jews who were not considered citizens of Soviet Republics on ethnic ground"

Oh, so the requirement is citizenship? If so, since Soviet Jews were Soviet citizens and had the crap beat out of them, their culture suppressed (unlike Arabs either in Israel or J&S), placed on trial on trumped up charges, etc. - and you don't relate to my point about whether they were terrorists - then obviously they had it worse than the Arabs of J&S who indeed are not citizens and don't want to be part of the Jewish Zionist state of Israel and actually want still to destroy it.

As for the rest, by continuing to ignore our security problem who are going nowhere with your arguments.


"...none of these measure up to what the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have suffered and continue to suffer. Of course, there is a difference between the two situations."

Yes, and the difference is that you are presenting a false picture.

"...the Jews coveted the land and resources on which the Palestinians sat; this was not the case on the same scale in the Soviet Union."

Well, since we didn't covet the land until we were attacked in 1967 (and had been attacked by the fedyeen 1949-1956 and PLO beginning in 1964, and you keep ignoring this as if all our problems began with a 1967 "occupation" that just popped upo out of nowhere, please, try another tact.

Jerry Haber said...

Yisrael, some corrections:

All land on the other side of the Green Line is almost universally recognized as Occupied Territory -- except by some of the Occupiers and there (tiny) number of supporters. Hence all land expropriated, confiscated, etc., by Israel -- except that which was done so for the welfare of the Palestinians -- is not recognized as under Israel sovereignty or jurisdiction (besides the limited jurisdiction of the Occupier, of course.) You and a handful of others may feel differently; that is your privilege, as it was the privilege of all occupiers.

"Armed struggle by the Mufti was the primary reason they lost the land."

Tell me, Yisrael, how there could have possibly been a Jewish state without the native Palestinians "losing the land".

Armed struggle was rendered inevitable by statist Zionist -- unless you believed that the natives would simply lay down their arms and bless the invaders.

You can't have it both ways. If you believe in the right of the Jews to a Jewish state -- Jews coming essentially from Eastern Europe -- you basically have declared war on the natives of Palestine. Some without a national consciousness may have lived happily under the Zionists, but the Arab national consciousness, which start, with Zionism, in the nineteenth century, was bound to come in conflict with Jewish nationalism.

Surely you can understand why the native Palestinian Arabs, Christian and Muslim (with a handful of exceptions) opposed the invasion and usurpation of Palestine by the Jews. Jabotinsky did; Ben Gurion did; Magnes did; and anybody with a hint of national consciousness did.

"We didn't covet the land until we were attacked..."

YOu have GOT to be kidding....what kind of Zionist are you?

YMedad said...

First of all, thanks for permitting the dialogue to continue.

And to your points:

"All land on the other side of the Green Line is almost universally recognized as Occupied Territory...You and a handful of others may feel differently; that is your privilege, as it was the privilege of all occupiers."

a) and all the land on this/our side of the Green Line was coveted by the Arabs and still is with only a small minority of 15 Arabs who you and others prefer to think of as "moderate, modern intellectuals" saying that they'll recognize our existence within those Lines.

But more basic: at the very least, all the land west of the Jordan River is the Jewish national homeland. It was recognized by international law as such. Now that antisemities and post-Zionists, each for different reasons, seek to proclaim a fictitous people with fictitous rights is unfortunate but we deal with it.

"how there could have possibly been a Jewish state without the native Palestinians "losing the land"."

b) well, it exists. Israel. and there are Arabs on their land. and if they hadn't started that 1947 war, not only would they still be on their land but we probably wouldn't be here but that's an historic error the Arabs have to face and pay for. We Jews didn't leave Europe and we payed for our mistakes. That's the way the world is: sometimes, you make a major mistake like trying to wipe Israel off the face of the map and you lose.

"Armed struggle was rendered inevitable by statist Zionist -- unless you believed that the natives would simply lay down their arms and bless the invaders."

Ah, but we weren't "invaders" The Arabs felt that and Jabotinsky wrote that they felt that and it was understandable but he also wrote that we were and are the 'just' side in this struggle and the Arabs are the unjust element. You always seem to keep avoiding that. You don't believe it? The willingness (with which I can't grasp) of the Zionist movement to accept territorial compromise through the partition displayed a generosity no other group claiming national status ever merited and enough is enough.


"You can't have it both ways. If you believe in the right of the Jews to a Jewish state -- Jews coming essentially from Eastern Europe -- "

c) whoa. what's this - Jewish self-hatred? what's wrong with Jews coming from Eastern Europe?

"you basically have declared war on the natives of Palestine."

d) you are ignorant, I must assume, of the history of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel 135 - 1897. Go here and learn.


"the Arab national consciousness, which start, with Zionism, in the nineteenth century, was bound to come in conflict with Jewish nationalism."

e) of course, especially as that consciousness was less than genuine as it applied to the territory of the Jews which the knew well was our heritage even from their own religious sources. But more important for me, sir, is that in their struggle against Zionism they indirectly and, in the Mufti's case, directly affected the fate of European jewry damning them to go through the Holocaust by pressuring the British to limit immigration and in 1939, even to betray the League of Nations decision to reestablish the Jewish national home. They lost land and we lost 6 million.

"Surely you can understand why the native Palestinian Arabs, Christian and Muslim (with a handful of exceptions) opposed the invasion and usurpation of Palestine by the Jews. Jabotinsky did; Ben Gurion did; Magnes did; and anybody with a hint of national consciousness did."

e) to repeat, for sure. but so what?

And one covets what isn't his. The Land of Israel is ours.

YMedad said...

First of all, thanks for permitting the dialogue to continue.

And to your points:

"All land on the other side of the Green Line is almost universally recognized as Occupied Territory...You and a handful of others may feel differently; that is your privilege, as it was the privilege of all occupiers."

a) and all the land on this/our side of the Green Line was coveted by the Arabs and still is with only a small minority of 15 Arabs who you and others prefer to think of as "moderate, modern intellectuals" saying that they'll recognize our existence within those Lines.

But more basic: at the very least, all the land west of the Jordan River is the Jewish national homeland. It was recognized by international law as such. Now that antisemities and post-Zionists, each for different reasons, seek to proclaim a fictitous people with fictitous rights is unfortunate but we deal with it.

"how there could have possibly been a Jewish state without the native Palestinians "losing the land"."

b) well, it exists. Israel. and there are Arabs on their land. and if they hadn't started that 1947 war, not only would they still be on their land but we probably wouldn't be here but that's an historic error the Arabs have to face and pay for. We Jews didn't leave Europe and we payed for our mistakes. That's the way the world is: sometimes, you make a major mistake like trying to wipe Israel off the face of the map and you lose.

"Armed struggle was rendered inevitable by statist Zionist -- unless you believed that the natives would simply lay down their arms and bless the invaders."

Ah, but we weren't "invaders" The Arabs felt that and Jabotinsky wrote that they felt that and it was understandable but he also wrote that we were and are the 'just' side in this struggle and the Arabs are the unjust element. You always seem to keep avoiding that. You don't believe it? The willingness (with which I can't grasp) of the Zionist movement to accept territorial compromise through the partition displayed a generosity no other group claiming national status ever merited and enough is enough.


"You can't have it both ways. If you believe in the right of the Jews to a Jewish state -- Jews coming essentially from Eastern Europe -- "

c) whoa. what's this - Jewish self-hatred? what's wrong with Jews coming from Eastern Europe?

"you basically have declared war on the natives of Palestine."

d) you are ignorant, I must assume, of the history of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel 135 - 1897. Go here and learn.


"the Arab national consciousness, which start, with Zionism, in the nineteenth century, was bound to come in conflict with Jewish nationalism."

e) of course, especially as that consciousness was less than genuine as it applied to the territory of the Jews which the knew well was our heritage even from their own religious sources. But more important for me, sir, is that in their struggle against Zionism they indirectly and, in the Mufti's case, directly affected the fate of European jewry damning them to go through the Holocaust by pressuring the British to limit immigration and in 1939, even to betray the League of Nations decision to reestablish the Jewish national home. They lost land and we lost 6 million.

"Surely you can understand why the native Palestinian Arabs, Christian and Muslim (with a handful of exceptions) opposed the invasion and usurpation of Palestine by the Jews. Jabotinsky did; Ben Gurion did; Magnes did; and anybody with a hint of national consciousness did."

e) to repeat, for sure. but so what?

And one covets what isn't his. The Land of Israel is ours.

(your comments section seems to be acting crazy so if this comment pops up multiple time, I apologize)

Jerry Haber said...

Yisrael,

Well, I think you hit the nail on the head, and, I am glad you did so, because we can agree to disagree.

I remember (but my memory is lousy) something you wrote years ago, perhaps as a letter to Haaretz, but maybe somewhere else. You wrote, in effect, that one's views (on the settlers? on Oslo? I can't remember) derive from one's basic view as to whether the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews or not. If it does, then much of what goes on there is moral (obviously, you weren't referring to vigilante violence), and if you don't, if you see it as "occupied", then, obviously, much of what goes on there is not.

(Of course, I believe that the Land of Israel was promised by Hashem to the Jews and their descendants, but you were not referring to folks like me.)

That's not exactly what you wrote; you can correct me on that.

But whether you did or not, I can agree with that sentiment, at least up to a point. I also think that many of the views people hold as unassailable have the status of articles of faith (we all have them), and it is hard to argue with articles of faith.

Still, we try to justify articles of faith, often using weak arguments that convince only the true believers. Such are your arguments, in my opinion. Whether they are convincing or not to non-believers, I suggest, is not insignificant. There are all sorts of states that lack international recognition. An Israel of that sort will not bother the true believers. Will Israel become one like that?

The Balfour Declaration, made by a Christian Zionist and British anti-Semite, did not promise the Jews a state in any of Palestine much less all of Palestine. And of course it was promised by a mandatory power. And it was violated when the Zionist state refused to let 700,000 Palestinian natives return to their homes -- on th basis of ethnicity -- against the wishes of the UN, and against the spirit of the Balfour declaration

Had the Jews immigrated from Europe en masse to Palestine (where many of them did not want to go, and where many who did, left) they would have not died in European concentration camps. And had Rommel not been stopped, they would have died in German concentration camps in Palestine or in Trans-Jordan or in Syria. Those who survived are those who managed to get as far away from the Nazis as possible. Had Israel not arisen in 1948, they would have been resettled elsewhere. As it is, most of them were resettled elsewhere.

Anyway, if I understand you correctly, you believe that the Palestinians, for their part, had every right to resist Zionism through the armed struggle, and that the Zionists, for their part, had every right to conquer the Land of Israel through every means they saw fit, since it was their patrimony as promised to them in the Bible.

YMedad said...

I salute your memory and I think that is what I wrote. Just three counterpoints:
a) "The Balfour Declaration, made by a Christian Zionist and British anti-Semite, did not promise the Jews a state in any of Palestine much less all of Palestine."
I refer you to this site and you can find there resources to correct your understanding of the historical record regarding what you make "disputed territories" circa 1917-1923.
For example: Lord Balfour "hoped" that the "small notch" of Palestine east and west of the Jordan River, which was "being given" to the Jewish people, would not be "grudged" to them by Arab leaders. (Lord Balfour speech, July 12, 1920, cited in Palestine Royal Commission Reporl, para. 27, p. 27, 1937) and this: "Arthur Balfour's memorandum of August 11, 1919, stated: "Palestine should extend into the lands lying east of the Jordan." Balfour, who led the British delegation to the Paris Peace conference (in 1919) "determined the frontiers" of Palestine in a memorandum to Prime Minister Lloyd George, June 26, 1919: "In determining the Palestinian frontiers, the main thing to keep in mind is to make a Zionist policy possible by giving the fullest scope to economic development in Palestine. Thus, the Northern frontier should give to Palestine a full command of the water power which geographically belongs to Palestine and not to Syria; while the Eastern frontier should be so drawn as to give the widest scope to agricultural development on the left bank of the Jordan, consistent with leaving the Hedjaz Railway completely in Arab possession."
and a December 2, 1918-Toynbee minute: Foreign Office Papers; 371/3398-Amold Toynbee agreed with the Mandate: "It might be equitable [to include in Palestine] that part ... which lies east of the Jordan stream ... at present desolate, but capable of supporting a large population if irrigated and cultivated scientifically ... The Zionists have as much right to this no-man's land as the Arabs, or more," cited in Martin Gilbert, Exile and Return, p. 115. See also David Lloyd George, The Truth About the Peace Treaties (vol. 1), pp. 1144-1145.
More there and here I found this: "the London Times...urge[d] Paris to accept sensible and rational frontiers in both the north and east of Jewish Palestine. As early as September 19th, 1919 it had thundered in an editorial: "The Jordan will not do as the eastern frontier of Palestine ... Palestine must have a good military frontier east of Jordan ... Our duty as Mandatory is to make Jewish Palestine not a struggling state but one that is capable of vigorous and independent life ... ".
b) "And it was violated when the Zionist state refused to let 700,000 Palestinian natives return to their homes -- on th basis of ethnicity -- against the wishes of the UN, and against the spirit of the Balfour declaration"

This I fail to grasp. Astounding. Arabs can declare war after 30 years of trying to quash to League of Nations decision violently, commit atrocities (Gush Etzion) and you can still think they have a right to return and think the UN supported that when 194 offered a choice of compensation. I repeat: you need a seminar in Zionist/Mandate period history.

...cont'd

YMedad said...

c) "Anyway, if I understand you correctly, you believe that the Palestinians, for their part, had every right to resist Zionism through the armed struggle, and that the Zionists, for their part, had every right to conquer the Land of Israel through every means they saw fit, since it was their patrimony as promised to them in the Bible."

Not every means and not even the means the Arabs used to oppose Zionism although there were certain acts of the Irgun and Lechi which perhaps (I wasn't there) could or should have been avoided but were no worse than most other countries who have gained national liberation and far less than many.

(and see this on a related subject)

Jerry Haber said...

Yisrael,

One doesn't have a right to ethnically cleanse a country on the grounds that many of its natives resisted a settler nationalism.

Of course, the UN agreed when resolution 194 was passed, much to the consternation of some Arab states -- but not to the consternation of the refugees themselves.

Let us agree on one thing, then -- that the State of Israel should have allowed all Palestinian Arabs who were willing to accept Israeli citizenship and live in peace, with the same rights and responsibilities of the Jewish citizens.

If you don't agree, then you are massively self-deceived to think that the reason why Arabs were not let into Israel is because there had been a civil war. The reason why they were not let in is that a Jewish state did not want any more Arabs, including peaceful Arabs.

Period.

And that is true today. It is not inconceivable that peace deals could be struck with Syria and Lebanon. Then even Ben Gurion's excuse for not allowing the refugees back -- that Israel is at a state of war with surrounding Arab countries -- would no longer apply.

Massive self-deception and moral rationalization. Just say that Israel belongs to the Jews and the hell with everybody else That I understand.

YMedad said...

Dear JH;

I agree with "One doesn't have a right to ethnically cleanse a country on the grounds that many of its natives resisted a settler nationalism."

We didn't do that, though. How many Arabs were in the Jewish state in 1949 and how many Jews were left in the Arab state? In that "Arab state" territory - 0. Zero my dear academic. So, who did the ethnic cleansing? Who has "rights" as a result of their actions?


As for this "Let us agree on one thing, then -- that the State of Israel should have allowed all Palestinian Arabs who were willing to accept Israeli citizenship and live in peace, with the same rights and responsibilities of the Jewish citizens."

Er, and how many of those were there? And how many of the Arabs of Israel today are in that category? And what should happen to them if they don't fit even your framework? How can we measure that? By the actions of the Bishari camp? Abnaa El-Balad? Tibi? Are you sure you are aware of what's happening today even if your knowledge of history is well, selective?



Hey, who is "massively self-deceived"? Possessing "moral rationalization"?

Did I write this "Just say that Israel belongs to the Jews and the hell with everybody else"? You now engage in misrepresentation and that is a low-blow and disrespectful. I understand your pain at the fact that Israel is portrayed unfairly but you don't have to help those dark forces by your own ideological positions.



I never claimed Israel was perfect and unblemished but, as Jabotinsky did portray the issue: there is relative satiation and there is starvation (see his Evidence Before the Peel Commission:

"It is quite understandable that the Arabs of Palestine also prefer to be the Arab state No. 4, or No. 6 -- that I understand. But when the Arab claim is confronted with our Jewish demand to be saved, it is like the claims of appetite versus the claims of starvation."..."The idea is that Palestine on both sides of the Jordan should hold the Arabs, their progeny, and many millions of Jews. What I do not deny is that in that process the Arabs of Palestine will necessarily become a minority in the country. I do deny that that is a hardship. It is not a hardship on any race, any nation, possessing so many national states now and so many more national states in the future. One fraction, one branch of that race, and not a big one, will have to live in someone else's state: Well, that is the case with all the mightiest nations in the world." [but] "To the Palestinian Arabs as individuals -- everything; to the Palestinian Arabs as a community -- nothing!"

Comprehend?

Jerry Haber said...

Y. Medad,

Re: Ethnic cleansing. A much larger percentage of the population was ethnically cleansed from Israel when Palestinians were not allowed to return to their homes than from the West Bank and Gaza when Jews were not allowed to return to their homes. That is even without considering the Palestinian land and property that was used to resettle Jewish immigrants, which further changed the demographic balance.

But, of course, I agree both Palestinians and Jews should have been allowed to return to their homes, should they have so desired it. The Jews to Gush Etzion, etc., the Palestinians to Jerusalem, etc.

I am glad that you disagree with Morris's criticism of Ben-Gurion for not making the ethnic cleansing total.

When I said, "Just say", etc. I didn't imply that this was implied in anything you said. Maybe I should have said simply that that position is understandable but that yours is not.

You (and others) have asked me, "How many Arabs would have been willing to return to their homes and live in peace with the Jews." The only way to determine that is to ask them, and they were never asked. On the contrary, the Israelis decided for them, just as they were placed under military rule without being asked.

And I don't know of a single Palestinian Israeli citizen -- especially Bishara and Tibi -- who do not believe that all Israelis should have the same rights and responsibilities, including military service. Those who argue against Palestinians serving in the military (and let's not forget -- the reason why they were excluded was because they were thought to be a security risk) do so because they do *not* have the same rights and privileges as do Israeli Jews.

Once Israel becomes a democracy that represents all its citizens (if that phrase is not redundant) those objections will carry no weight