Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Nakba Demonstrations, and the Israeli Spin Machine

Today, hundreds of Palestinian refugees, following appeals on Facebook and Twitter, marched towards the Lebanese and Syrian borders, through Qalandia checkpoint, and in Gaza. All the protests were in observance of Nakbah Day.

Finally, the Arab Spring had come to Palestine.

Israel doesn't do popular Palestinian protest well. Like usual, they started shooting at unarmed protesters with predictable injuries and fatalities. Time will tell whether this is a one-day protest, or the beginning of something else.

Then came the Israeli spin. Like Saif Ghaddafi in Libya, the Israelis were blaming…the Iranians. Evidence? None. As if Palestinians living in refugee camps need to be motivated to protest the theft of their land.

Here is the drill: The IDF Spokesperson gets rightwing bloggers like Elder of Ziyon on a conference call and feeds them lokshen/noodles. The bloggers, who believe anything the IDF tells them, trumpet the IDF talking points to the blogosphere. Of course, they have been provided no evidence for those talking points. In this case, the lokshen was that "Hezbollah and Syria organized and helped out in the clashes up north." Again, no evidence.

The same talking points are given to the IDF's press lackeys, like Yoni Ben Menachem, who played the Syria card – again without evidence.

You can see how this works in Anshel Pfefer's piece in Haaretz.:

According to initial reports, the demonstrators that broke through the border fence were not Syrians or Druze, but rather Palestinian refugees who reside in camps around Damascus. It is difficult to imagine that these refugees could have reached the border area without the knowledge, approval and perhaps even encouragement of the central government in the Syrian capital.

While attention was given over the weekend to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the events that transpired on Nakba Day on the Golan Heights surprised the IDF and perhaps even gave Assad what he has been searching for over many weeks – an event that will reduce international pressure on him over the suppression of demonstrations in Syrian cities

The only evidence presented? Surely a protest of this sort would have to coordinated with the central government. But so what? I imagine that any Syrian government, authoritarian or democratic, would be happy to let the Palestinian refugees make a protest action.

In fact, the only authoritarian governments that intervened were Egypt and Jordan – in order to stop Palestinian protesters from getting to the border.

Not a single scrap of evidence links these protests with Iran.

But the spin doesn't stop there. Let's look at Israel's spokesperson in the American media (no, not Jennifer Rubin; I haven't seen what she wrote), Jeffrey Goldberg, a liberal hawk with a limited understanding of what is going on in the West Bank and the Golan, links to Andrew Exum, a liberal hawk with no understanding of what is going on in the West Bank and the Golan. Exum writes:

This will shock all some none of you, but Arab regimes have often cynically used the Palestinian cause to shift the focus away from their own failures and abuses. The clashes today are the best of news for Bashar al-Asad, and only the Lord knows how many brave Syrians will now be gunned down or thrown into prison in Homs, Douma, Hama, Baniyas, etc. while everyone's eyes are on the Lebanese, Syrian and Gazan borders with Israel. Just yesterday, we were all talking about terrified Syrians fleeing into northern Lebanon. Now Syria and its allies have either engineered or have been presented with the mother of all distractions from their own wretched and criminal behavior.

One would expect that Exum or Goldberg could point to a single statement emanating from Damascus that provides evidence that they are playing up the Nakba protests as a "distraction." But who need evidence when a classic Zionist trope – the "cynical-exploitation-of-the-Palestinians-sufferings-by-the-Arab-governments" can be appealed to. In fact, the beauty of this dogma is precisely that no evidence is needed, since it is self-evident.

Goldberg and Exum say nothing about Jordan's regime stopping the Palestinian protesters – and why should they? After all, who cares about democracy when the autocrat is your friend?

I say that Exum knows nothing about the West Bank because he writes this drivel:

What happens when the Palestinians in the West Bank start demanding statehood not through violence but through peaceful protests? How will Israel respond? One option they do not have is to bury their heads in the sand and pretend like the call for Palestinian statehood will go away. And good luck whenever some clever Palestinian leader starts organizing peaceful marches on some crazy hilltop settlements in the West Bank, counting on provoking the kind of response that the media in Israel and abroad will eat up.

Where the hell has Exum been in the last five years? Does he know about the Popular Committees on the West Bank? Does he know about the unarmed protests which Israel has suppressed through a combination of force, arresting organizers like Abu Rahmeh, terrorizing minors in the middle of the night so they can testify against leaders, administrative detentions, and Shabak plants?

Would somebody get that man a subscription to the 972mag? Or to Joseph Dana's blog? Ribono shel olam, maybe Exum should stick to things he knows something about…or is this the effect of his stint at WINEP?

And a parting shot at somebody who should know better, Ethan Bronner, who writes here in the Times:

Like those other protests, plans for this one spread over social media, including Facebook, but there were also signs of official support in Lebanon and Syria, where analysts said leaders were using the Palestinian cause to deflect attention from internal problems.

What "signs"? Which "analysts"? Bronner gets around to these several paragraphs later, when he quotes…an analyst for Israeli Broadcasting Authority and an IDF general, and nobody else. And even those guys just speculate.

Obviously, Syria and Hizbollah, and all Arabs everywhere, support the Palestinians. When Egypt and Jordan cease to be regimes run by the military and an autocrat, respectively, the Palestinians will also get support there. But this is, at best, misleading reporting from Ethan Bronner.

h/t to Ali G

26 comments:

Pāħām said...

"Like usual, they started shooting at unarmed protesters with predictable injuries and fatalities."

This is no less of a spin than anything the IDF has been saying. What sane person breaches the heavily militarized border between two countries at war and doesn't expect to be hurt? I have no doubt that Israel has overreacted and misused force, but this doesn't seem to be such a case.

Pāħām said...

"Obviously, Syria and Hizbollah, and all Arabs everywhere, support the Palestinians. When Egypt and Jordan cease to be regimes run by the military and an autocrat, respectively, the Palestinians will also get support there."

On what basis do you say that? Given the nearly universal mistreatment of Palestinians living in Arab countries, and given the worldwide failure to react to mistreatment of Palestinians by anyone but Israel, it seems fairly clear to me that most Arabs are not the least bit concerned with the wellbeing of the Palestinian people. What does concern them is their ability to use the Palestinians as a weapon with which to hit Israel. I am open to a rational and sourced rebuttal, but I doubt one is possible.

Jerry Haber said...

Welcome to the blog Pāħām.

First of all, correction: nobody breached a border -certainly not a recognized border -- but a cease-fire line.

We are talking about unarmed protesters walking up to and over a line. Why should they be treated differently than if they were inside the line? The IDF apparently treated them not much differently from protesters at the outset of the Second Intifada.

Jerry Haber said...

Pāħām, when I said "the Palestinians will get support there" I meant "support for their independence and self-determination." Polls in all Arab countries show high popular support for the Palestinian cause. Since Mubarak left, that has become more apparent in Egypt. That is obvious the case in other Arab countries.

And no Arab country has treated them worse than Israel.

Pāħām said...

The difference between border and cease-fire line in this case is a semantic game, not a useful distinction. Syria holds one side, Israel holds the other, and soldiers on both sides of the line have a mandate to prevent unauthorized crossings.

As to your claim that no Arab country has treated the Palestinians worse than Israel, I will note (off the top of my head) that Lebanon only this year rescinded a law prohibiting Palestinians, even Lebanese-born Palestinians, from practicing a wide range of professions regardless of their qualifications. Has Israel ever passed or enforced any law so purely dedicated to denigrating and impoverishing a particular ethnic group?

Pāħām said...

(Sorry for the fragmented comments. It's been a long day.)

"Polls in all Arab countries show high popular support for the Palestinian cause."

I'm not convinced that this in itself demonstrates any affinity for the Palestinians themselves. A desire to see Israel weakened and/or repudiated alone could account for such poll numbers, since the Palestinian cause necessarily involves reducing Israel's de facto footprint.

Jerry Haber said...

Paham and Bacci40, when I compared the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel and by Arabs states, I was not referring to Palestinian Israelis, who, though legally discriminated against, are citizens. I was referring to the Palestinian refugees, who, while shamefully discriminated against in several Arab countries, were made refugees by Israel. Surely, a country that is responsible for creating refugees out of the indigenous people, taking their land, and then denying them citizenship (something even America didn't do with Native Americans or China with the Tibetans) is the more offending party.

"Has Israel ever passed or enforced any law so purely dedicated to denigrating and impoverishing a particular ethnic group?"

Ever heard of the Israel Nationality Law of 1952? Or the Absentees Property Law?

Jerry Haber said...

Paham,

You are not convinced by the polls because of your anti-Arab bias. By the same logic, one could say that most Jews express support for Israel because of their deep antipathy towards Arabs, and not because of their affinity with a Jewish state.

A reasonable person cites evidence in support of his views. I cite evidence which doesn't convince you, yet you cite no counter-evidence to support your own speculation.

What would take to convince you that the Arab street supports the Palestinian cause?

Pāħām said...

"You are not convinced by the polls because of your anti-Arab bias."

Please do not speak declaratively about my emotional or political biases. You seem like a thoughtful person, and such speculation, based as it must be on a few lines of text, does not become you.

"What would take to convince you that the Arab street supports the Palestinian cause?"

I am already convinced of this. I am not convinced, however, that the Arab street's primary motivation in supporting said cause is the welfare of the Palestinians. I cite as evidence the fact that Arab states have generally supported Palestinians' rights and welfare only as matters of foreign policy, while on the domestic level treating the Palestinians within their own borders as pariahs.

As to your question, adjusted for my actual claim, I would be convinced were I to see popular Arab support for any program supporting the Palestinians that is not seen as hurting Israel in some way.

"By the same logic, one could say that most Jews express support for Israel because of their deep antipathy towards Arabs, and not because of their affinity with a Jewish state."

I know quite a few Jews whose support for Israel stems at least partly, and perhaps largely, from antipathy toward Arabs. That antipathy is itself born of nationalist sentiment, of course, but that doesn't change the current mental state of those who hold it. Do you not know any such people?

"A reasonable person cites evidence in support of his views. I cite evidence which doesn't convince you, yet you cite no counter-evidence to support your own speculation."

I may be missing something in this post and its comments, but I have not noticed any citations indicating, let alone proving, that Arab support for the Palestinian cause is born of a desire to see the Palestinians' lot improved. If you've already provided such evidence, I'd appreciate your pointing me to it by way of an incipit, hyperlink, etc.

"I was referring to the Palestinian refugees, who, while shamefully discriminated against in several Arab countries, were made refugees by Israel."

I don't think it's so clear that creating refugees is worse than mistreating those refugees, and their children, and their children's children for 63 years, but that seems like a judgment call that we're not likely to resolve via debate or dialectic. I will only note, for what it's worth, that describing Israel as the sole author of the refugee problem is disingenuous, since the majority of Palestinian Arab refugees were displaced during a war declared by numerous Arab states.

I'll cede the point on the Absentee Property Law (with certain reservations), but the 1952 nationality law is a false answer, since it favors one nationality but does not explicitly denigrate any other.

Incidentally, I think may have forgotten to unscreen a comment. I don't see anything from a Bacci40 on this page.

Jerry Haber said...

"since the majority of Palestinian Arab refugees were displaced during a war declared by numerous Arab states."

How many of the refugees were displaced before the war declared by numerous Arab states?

Of what relevance to the plight of the refugees is the fact that the war was declared by numerous Arab states -- are Jews in America responsible for the actions of the State of Israel because Jews have collective responsibility?

Sole responsibility for the plight of the refugees lies with the state that barred their return, contrary to international law, and contrary to UN Resolution 194.

And their return was made illegal by the Israel Nationality Law, the one you said didn't discriminate against Palestinian inhabitants of Palestine.

Next time a state passes a law that says only Whites can use public bath rooms and doesn't explicitly exclude Blacks, let me know whether you consider that non-discriminatory.

Nowhere did I refer to polls saying that Arabs support improving the lot of Palestinians. So your bringing that into the discussion is extraneous. I was referring to polls that support their claims for independence and restitution of their property.

But you should know that I agree with you that the Palestinians have been treated shabbily by some Arab governments. All the more not to hold Palestinians accountable for the actions of those governments in 1948.

Pāħām said...

You constructed several straw men in your last reply. One at a time:

"Of what relevance to the plight of the refugees is the fact that the war was declared by numerous Arab states -- are Jews in America responsible for the actions of the State of Israel because Jews have collective responsibility?"

I never said it was relevant with regard to their plight. It is, however, relevant to any claim that Israel is solely responsible for creating the refugee situation. Even had Israel expelled every Arab from its UN-designated borders without provocation the moment it declared independence, there would have been somewhere for those Arabs to go had not the rest of the Arab world rejected the creation of two states in Palestine. By making one of history's worst military gambles on behalf of the Palestinians (assuming that it was in fact on their behalf), the Arab states destroyed what could have been a nascent state where the refugees from the new Israel might have had a home.

"And their return was made illegal by the Israel Nationality Law, the one you said didn't discriminate against Palestinian inhabitants of Palestine."

I'd be interested to see the relevant text in that law. I think you may be mis-citing.

"Next time a state passes a law that says only Whites can use public bath rooms and doesn't explicitly exclude Blacks, let me know whether you consider that non-discriminatory."

Another straw man. I never claimed that Israeli law, which favors Jews, is not discriminatory. What I said is that the law does not explicitly target a particular ethnic group for oppression, as the Lebanese law does. The relevance of this distinction is simply that, while the Israeli law is aggressively nationalist and ethnocentric, the Lebanese law is not. It is not about favoring Lebanese, but about hurting Palestinians, and not even a token attempt is made to hide this.

"But you should know that I agree with you that the Palestinians have been treated shabbily by some Arab governments. All the more not to hold Palestinians accountable for the actions of those governments in 1948."

I think we're talking past each other here. I don't intend to hold the Palestinians responsible for those states' actions. I'm just tired of this multilateral problem being treated as a bilateral one. Conventional wisdom in many circles seems to hold that if the Palestinians are not to blame for something, the Israelis must be. Neither that nor its reverse is defensible, since there are many other parties who bear an enormous burden of guilt.

Jerry Haber said...

Paham

So let me get this straight. The responsibility for the Palestinian refugees is shared partly by some Arab states because they rejected partition?

Are you kidding?

I think that states do have some responsibility for accepting bona fide refugees into their borders. Israel, for example, has responsibility for accepting some refugees entering it from Africa.

But I would hardly say that Israel is partly responsible for creating the African refugee situation because it limits the refugees it accepts.

On your reasoning, the Arab countries should have facilitated Israel's involuntary transfer of Palestinians by making it easy for them to assimilate in their host societies. It would have been better for Israel and for the Palestinians to get kicked out of their homes.

Google the Israel Nationality Law. You "think I may be mis-citing" (I wasn't citing, much less mis-citing; I was referring to it.)

As for the Lebanese law that discriminated against Palestinians: It did not explicitly exclude Palestinians, and did not refer to them, if we are talking about the same law. Here is how Human Rights Watch described the law.)

"The proposed law [that would remove discrimination] would grant Palestinians the right to obtain social security benefits and end-of-service compensation, and allow them to bring complaints before the labor arbitration courts. However, it would keep the work permit system for clerical jobs in place and not address the ban on Palestinians working in certain professions, including law, medicine, and engineering. For these jobs, membership in the relevant syndicate is required - and most syndicates condition membership for foreigners on reciprocity in their home country. This effectively bars the stateless Palestinians."

So you see, the original law did not explicitly bar Palestinians; it was phrased in such as way as to exclude Palestinians *through implication*

Precisely like the Israel Nationality Law.

Pāħām said...

Again with the straw men. It's hard to tell whether you're deliberately misconstruing what I said, or whether you simply don't get it.

"So let me get this straight. The responsibility for the Palestinian refugees is shared partly by some Arab states because they rejected partition?"

Yes. Had they not rejected partition and not declared war, there would be an Arab state covering about half of what used to be the British Mandate for Palestine. Is this not clear to you?

"So you see, the original law did not explicitly bar Palestinians; it was phrased in such as way as to exclude Palestinians *through implication*"

It's a little tighter than that. It would bar Palestinians through implication, but virtually nobody else. The reciprocity principle to which your citation refers essentially states that a foreign national in Lebanon has the same rights as a Lebanese national in that foreign national's home state. Palestinian refugees are in the rather unique situation of being foreigners who live in Lebanon and have no home state, and were therefore granted virtually no employment rights under that law.

Evan Levine said...

Without commenting on the other issues in this post, it seems that there would have to be, at the very least, Syrian complicity in allowing this protest. Anthony Shaddid in the NYTimes today brings up a variety of reasons why, including the numerous checkpoints that individuals would have to pass through. As for reasons why they might want to do so--the obvious fact that the events in the Golan are now on the frontpages of global newspapers and not their own crackdowns is evidence.

You write, "One would expect that Exum or Goldberg could point to a single statement emanating from Damascus that provides evidence that they are playing up the Nakba protests as a "distraction." Yet in fact Shadid's article does that very thing: "In a frank interview last week in Damascus, Rami Makhlouf, Syria’s most powerful businessman and a confidant and childhood friend of Mr. Assad, warned the international community against imposing pressure on the Syrian government. Syria’s instability, Mr. Makhlouf said, would mean instability for Israel, too. “To have stability in Syria is the most important thing for the stability of the neighbors,” he said in the interview. “Which neighbors? Israel.”
Yes, there are questions of how much Makhlouf represents the regime, but if you were looking for a direct statement that seems as close as you will get. And that that even exists is rather amazing.

All of this shouldn't take away from the legitimacy of the aspirations and the individual agency of the Palestinians in the occupied territories and in the refugee camps, but they are not the only actors at play here.

bacci40 said...

jerry

if the so callled palestinian is indigenous to the land, then i am indigenous to america

your side throws around the word "indigenous" and has no clue as to what it means.

being in the land for a few hundred years, does not make one indigenous

Nima Shirazi said...

Great piece, as usual, Jerry.

I must add that Andrew Exum doubled down on his ignorant nonsense in a subsequent post.

This morning, he noted that "as critical as I have been of the IDF in the past, I am sympathetic toward any military organization simply trying to protect the integrity of its territories."

To describe the Israeli military as a defensive force whose intention is to "protect the integrity" of Israel's "territories," is surreal and betrays a gross lack of awareness and understanding of what the IDF actually is and how it has consistently acted for over six decades.

It is a wholly aggressive, expansive, and occupying force which abuses and murders Palestinians (and Lebanese) as a matter of policy and pride.

Exum seems to be disappointed with the IDF for shooting Palestinians to death yesterday, not because he opposes the violence against unarmed civilians, but rather because he feels it to be a strategic blunder since, according to Exum, "the IDF has demonstrated in the West Bank that it has the means to use non-lethal means to counter protests."

Non-lethal, I suppose, if you don't count all the Palestinians and internationals who have been killed by Israeli soldiers during these protests, which apparently Exum doesn't. Chances are, Jawaher Abu Rahmah and her brother Bassem, Mohammed and Osayed Qadus, Aqel Srour, Musab Daana, Ahmed Moussa, and countless others (let alone the murders of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall in Gaza) would have something to say about that...if only they weren't dead.

One wonders whether Exum thinks such non-lethal methods include the maiming of Tristan Anderson, Emily Henochowicz, and so many others.

This weekend, the IDF killed 17-year-old Milad Said Ayyash during a protest in East Jerusalem.

As such, Exum ponders, "What non-lethal means did they have to respond to protesters and rock-throwers?" Ooooh, rock-throwers! What ever could the fully-armored and heavily-armed IDF troops do from all those hundreds of yards away except open fire?

Exum continues, "Because although a solider has the right to defend himself, Israel as much as any other nation understands that the kind of international condemnation you receive from shooting protesters carries with it strategic effects."

Not only is Exum's analysis stupid and offensive, it's also wrong. Clearly, Israel never faces any real backlash - strategic or otherwise - for its consistent repression, discrimination and violence against Palestinians and those who stand in solidarity with them and their struggle for freedom, equality, self-determination, and dignity. Perhaps Exum hasn't heard much about Israel's war crimes and crimes against humanity in Lebanon in 2006, Gaza in 2008-2009, or aboard the Mavi Marmara in 2010...let alone the collective punishment and occupation under which Palestinians suffer every single day. Naturally, Exum is aware of the reality, yet refuses to address these issues honestly, preferring instead to cover, in his words, "everything-but-Israel-and-the-Palestinians."

In short, Exum's analysis in execrable.

Jerry Haber said...

Evan,

Since you allow yourself to speculate about Syria's motives for allowing Palestinians to get near the cease-fire line, based on no evidence at all, allow me to pursue my line of speculation.

The Syrian government realizes that it has damaged its image in the last few weeks among its own people. The last thing it wants to see broadcast on youtube and twitter is government troops shooting at Palestinians making for the border on Nakbah Day. It figures it cannot lose by allowing them to proceed.

That explanation sees Syrian motives as internal. Unlike Jordan, which feels confident enough to buck popular sentiment, Syria is more sensitive about its image at home.

Under this possible scenario, Syria doesn't initiate or create the popular discontent -- lets' face it, the protests were in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Ramallah, and Gaza -- but does want to make sure that the Palestinian protesters don't turn against Syrian forces -- especially not at this time.

By the way, read Ali G's post here:

http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2011/05/16/myths-about-palestinian-nakba-day/

liberalzionism said...

I think the significance of the rush of the Arab Spring applied in Palestine, will be the loss of the prospect of a sovereign Palestine in September.

To the world, the question was a week ago, "How can Israel object to the recognition of a responsible Palestinian state, such as Abbas and Fayyad have constructed?"

After the unification agreement, the question was "How can Israel not wait and see what will emerge from the unification?"

After the promoted effort to "non-violently" storm the Syrian, Lebanese, and Gazan borders, and recent terror attacks and statements by Hamas that they will "NEVER recognize Israel", the question may become "How can Israel tolerate a violent enemy within intimate borders?"

Such is the significance of invocation of non-conditional statements and potentially widespread direct action at 11:50 for a 12:00 deadline.

Finish the job is most important.

Jerry Haber said...

"The question may become 'How can Israel tolerate a violent enemy within intimate borders?'"

or it may become,

'How can the world tolerate Israel?'

Nima Shirazi said...

I posted a comment here last night - any idea where it went?

Jerry Haber said...

Nima, I unspammed it from the spam folder....yukky Blogger!

Mark said...

You "intellectuals" are over- complicating this as usual.
As you are aware, a smile evokes a smile and a handshake does the same.
So Jerry why do you not tell your "Palestinian friends" to put away the hate and put awy the desire to do away with Israel and peace will come about quickly. Simple enough,huh?
So long as you continue (along with other apologists) to give the "Palestinians" excuses for their horrendous behavior and attitudes, there will be no peace.

liberalzionism said...

'How can the world tolerate Israel?'

It won't get there, and I think you are more than aware of that.

Israel is regarded as an empathized sovereign state. "What would we do in a similar situation?" is the relevant question that responsible heads of state ask.

They will, do, and should, criticize policies and practices, with the suggestions of "you could have done ...." (but also knowing all the time that they didn't have all the 'intelligence' necessary to recommend, and therefore at least partially deferential).

My point is that the successful effort for Palestinian dignity and statehood has been institution-building, and that direct action has done little so far.

Only in the environment of conditional acceptance of Israel as Israel, can direct action result in anything less than violence.

The storming of a border is a rohrschach. To the heads of stable states that regard their borders as sovereign, they reason "what would I do?". To dissenters, they don't consider the question.

Proposal asks the question. Reaction ignores the question.

Jerry Haber said...

"The storming of a border is a rohrschach. To the heads of stable states that regard their borders as sovereign, they reason "what would I do?". To dissenters, they don't consider the question."

But when refugees are storming a border to return to their homes? Don't think that, under the right circumstances, this may not capture the imagination and interest of people.

You would be surprised to learn how much the illegal immigration of the Jews to Palestine captured the imagination of people around the world. Weren't they violating British sovereignty?

Evan Levine said...

Jerry,

You may be right about the protests having an internal aspect to them as well. But by writing, "It figures it cannot lose by allowing them to proceed" you are acknowledging the same thing that I am: that there was, at the very least, Syrian complicity in this. I think that the reasons of Syria's actions--and yes I am conjecturing, as is anyone attempting to analyze the situation without all the facts--fall somewhere in between both the internal and external issues. But in a police state as heavily controlled as Syria's, any sort of protest will have governmental complicity by the very fact it exists. Does that take away from the legitimacy and individualism of those protesting, not necessarily. However, at the end of the day, each country is responsible for its borders--or lines of disengagement. On that same note, each country is also responsible for how they interact along those borders and Israel's actions showed extremely little restraint at the least and criminality at the worst.

In response to your comment about the internal issues at play--why would Syria care more about videos showing Palestinians getting shot than showing its own people getting killed. Propaganda of a "Salafi" threat was used to justify the actions in Daraa, Baniyas and elsewhere. I have no doubt that a similar excuse could have been used in this regard.

I see allowing the protests to occur as being a win-win for the Syrians. If Palestinians get shot, the news is diverted, they can imply that their stability is needed for the region and by not stopping the protests they can keep their hands relatively clean from having to prevent them. But I think the last reason is likely an added benefit rather than the main dish.

liberalzionism said...

"But when refugees are storming a border to return to their homes? Don't think that, under the right circumstances, this may not capture the imagination and interest of people.

You would be surprised to learn how much the illegal immigration of the Jews to Palestine captured the imagination of people around the world. Weren't they violating British sovereignty?"


The key word in your response is "under the right circumstance". I don't think these are them.

It at least makes two statements' in individuals' and leaders' imaginations.

1. The imagination sympathetic to the 1948 refugees still retaining the sentimental attachment to homeland, even if only by story now two-three generations hence. (You are aware that three generations of refugees born and in landed homes are denied citizenship to their hosts.)

2. The imagination of "oh shit, we might face a similar horde on our borders. What would we do?", and the rohrshach interpretation of sympathy for the Israeli state in perpetually having to deal with such orchestrated spontaneous demonstrations.

It mirrors the rohrshach of whether Israel is surrounded by pan-Arabic and pan-Islamic expansionists, or is surrounding Palestine.

Both are true, and the honest and humane review, declares that both are true.


The illegal immigration of Jews to Palestine contrasted with the holocaust, an immeasurably more difficult setting than Palestinians' experience, the target of what the US and Europe had fought a 6-year, 20 million death war to liberate.

I've written about the parallel imagery of the Gaza flotilla with the Exodus era ships.

Did you read one of the reports on 972, by Ami Kaufman, http://972mag.com/crossing-a-border-from-enemy-territory-is-not-nonviolent/

Rohrschach is meant to describe a prejudicial reaction, seeing what one is predisposed to see.

There is and should be a mass movement to suggest the success of the Abbas/Fayyad realization of 67 borders Palestinian state.

There is not and should not be a mass movement to suggest the "success" of the questioning of the validity of Israeli state.