Netanyahu exploits the holocaust

Hagai El-Ad, the executive-director of the brave Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem  is merely the latest Jew to question the cynical use of the holocaust. The most famous one-liner on the subject was by the Israeli diplomat Abba Eban who said, “There’s no business like Shoah business.”

Netanyahu Exploits the Holocaust to Brutalize the Palestinians

Hagai El_Ad

Netanyahu didn’t invent the idea of leveraging the Holocaust for political gain. Yet he is taking even that low to new depths, stripping Palestinians of basic human rights in the name of the survivors of the Holocaust

Benjamin Netanyahu did not invent the idea of leveraging the Holocaust for political gain. Yet, like so much else in current Israeli politics, he is taking even that low to new depths.

According to Haaretz, Israel’s prime minister intends to exploit the Fifth World Holocaust Forum – convening this week in Jerusalem to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz – to call on world leaders to publicly back Israel’s self-serving position that the International Criminal Netanyahu began this exercise barely 48 hours after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced last month, after five years of preliminary examination, that she is ready to open an investigation  into potential war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza, pending an ICC judicial decision on jurisdiction.

Wasting no time, Netanyahu responded that “new edicts are being issued against the Jewish people – anti-Semitic edicts by the International Criminal Court.”

This cynical reframing is staggering, both intellectually and morally.

The Palestinians who live under Israel’s occupation are a people bereft of rights. For decades, their existence has been governed by the arbitrary whims of their occupiers. They cannot vote for the government that controls every aspect of their lives. They have no army to defend themselves. They do not control the borders of their own territory, or their ability to travel abroad, or even how long it will take them to get to the nearest Palestinian town – if even allowed to do so.

They also have no recourse to justice through Israel’s legal mechanisms. Israeli prosecutors and judges process Palestinians in the occupied territories through a “justice system” that delivers an almost 100 percent conviction rate. At the same time, this system works to ensure impunity for Israeli security forces who kill, abuse or torture them.

For Palestinians, quite literally, the International Criminal Court is their court of last resort. Yet Netanyahu, backed by Israel’s entire political leadership, is trying to quash even this faint hope.

How dehumanizing, to insist on denying a people’s last recourse to even an uncertain, belated, modicum of justice. 

What a lack of historical memory and moral compass it must take to ignore the key lesson the world gleaned from the ashes of the 1940s: that no person should ever, under any circumstance, be left bare of rights, precisely because – as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights tells us – “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind.”

But Netanyahu goes even further, arguing that the very same ashes give rise to the opposite conclusion: that there is a people – the Palestinian people – who should remain bare of rights under all circumstance.

A bare life with neither land nor ballot, court nor justice. Where freedom of movement extends only as far as the nearest checkpoint. Where soldiers can enter any home, at any time. Where the only constant is how little control one has over one’s life.

Shame on you, Prime Minister Netanyahu. Shame, also, on any world leader who goes along with the travesty of equating a people’s attempt to achieve justice with anti-Semitism. Taking this cowardly position does not only betray the Palestinians’ hope for freedom and dignity. It joins in the slow death of the lessons that have guided humanity for the past 75 years and are now drowning in the rising authoritarian tide around the world.

This is not the world that humanity tried to build after World War II, after the Holocaust – but it is the world of Putin and Trump, Modi and Orbán, Netanyahu and Bolsonaro. Indeed, we are already living in their cowardly new world. Yet it remains in our hands to decide if the past’s painful lessons will be allowed to be turned on their head in order to further oppression – or remain loyal to a vision of freedom and dignity, justice and rights, for all.

Hagai El-Ad is the executive director of B’Tselem. Twitter: @HagaiElAd

The holocaust—again

“An abused child becomes a violent parent.” The most persecuted nation in the world has been transformed – almost naturally – into a persecutor. 

Avraham Burg

The holocaust has proven to be an indispensable weapon.

Norman Finkelstein

Charlie Angus wrote on Facebook.

75 years ago this week soldiers of the Red Army arrived in the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. They saw the face of pure evil in the mass killings and torture that had taken place in this place.

I am heading to Jerusalem to be part of the international commemoration of this historic moment. There is a small Canadian delegation, and we will be with our Governor General Julie Payette. I am honoured to represent Canada as we remember the dead and pay respect to those who survived the evils of the Holocaust.

Also attending will be Nancy Pelosi and  US Vice-president Mike Pence who join prime ministers and royalty from around the world  today in Israel for the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

I fear, though hoping for the best, that this may have a numbing effect on Charlie. Given historical antecedents  this will be more manipulation, stoking Christian guilt and buttressing the state of Israel. The holocaust has long been used to smother criticism of Israel and its abominable treatment of Palestinian indigenous. Payette and Angus need to visit Gaza and Hebron where the lessons of the holocaust “never again to anybody” has not been learned.

What will the beautiful Charlie Angus do or say after revisiting the horror of the holocaust? Every politician who comes to Israel  is taken first to Yad Vashem the great holocaust museum. The purpose has always been to mute any criticism of the state, The fundamental role of the holocaust now, to riff on Charlie’s post,  is enact a double solidarity— first pay respect to those who survived the evils of the Holocaust then secondly  to extend solidarity to those people enduring the ongoing brutality of the occupation.

Sadly, this is a bridge too far for world leaders. No international flights will land fo say no to the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

There is no finer member of parliament than Chuck Angus and so I proffer these wise words of the former Speaker of the Knesset, the kippah-wearing Orthodox Jew  Avraham Burg. These thoughts appear to me to be so redolent of the great gift of Judaism, the neviim (prophets).


The constant presence of the Shoah is like a buzz in my ear. In Israel, children are always, it seems, preparing for their rite-of-passage “Auschwitz trip” to Poland. Not a day passes without a mention of the Holocaust in the only newspaper I read, Haaretz. The Shoah is like a hole in the ozone layer:unseen yet present, abstract yet powerful. It’s more present in our lives than God.

The Shoah is so pervasive that a study conducted a few years ago in a Tel Aviv school for teachers found that more than 90% of those questioned view it as the most important experience of Jewish history. 

That means it is more important than the creation of the world, the exodus from Egypt, the delivering of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, the ruin of both Holy Temples, the exile, the birth of Zionism, the founding of the state or the 1967 Six-Day War.

The Shoah is woven, to varying degrees, into almost all of Israel’s political arguments; over time, we have taken the Shoah from its position of sanctity and turned it into an instrument of common and even trite politics. It represents a past that is present, maintained, monitored, heard and represented. Our dead do not rest in peace. They are busy, active, always a part of our sad lives.

I cannot be an accomplice in such a way of life, with no spiritual compass or moral direction. Never — or so I’ve been taught from infancy — have the Jewish people existed only for the sake of existence; never have we survived only in order to survive; never have we carried on for the sole purpose of carrying on by itself.

The Jewish existence was always directed upward. Not only toward our king and father in the heavens, but also our gaze upward was an answer to the great call of humanity; an answer of liberty in the times of enslavement in Egypt, an answer to the need of a righteous and egalitarian law in the days of Sinai when we wandered through the desert, an answer to the call of human universalism manifest in the Scriptures of the great prophets, and finally, an answer to the cry opposing unjust and imperial occupation throughout late antiquity.

Even the Zionist idea was not merely an attempt to rescue the Jews from violent anti-Semitic prosecutors, but rather was a heroic attempt to establish a model society. Zionism meant to create a society that avoided any form of discrimination or oppressive policy toward non-Jews, of the kind under which Jews had suffered for more than two millenniums.

I believe Israel must move away from trauma to trust, that we must abandon the “everything is Auschwitz” mentality and substitute for it an impulse toward liberty and democracy.

I fully understand that this will require a slow process of change. It will take more than one or two years for a new Jewish humanism to be accepted, allowing Israel to become a less traumatic place, a country in which school trips do not only present Israel’s high school students with extermination camps. Israel must rethink its strict law of return (which defines Jewishness the same way Hitler did), its relationship with Germany, and it must reaffirm its commitment to being a democratic state of the Jewish people, a state that belongs to all of its citizens, in which the majority decides on its character and essence, with the utmost sensitivity to all the “others” — and especially the Arab non-Jewish minority.


The holocaust’s unholy hold must end  and the Deutreronomists’s cry must rise up from Judaism tzedek,tzedek, tirdof   Justice, justice you shall pursue  16:20

Trump, the anti-Semite

Masha Gessen is the prolific Russian-American journalist, author, translator[ and LGBT activist who has been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, and  Donald Trump. Her book The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia won the National Book Award in 2017.

The President’s new order will not protect anyone against anti-Semitism, and it’s not intended to. Its sole aim is to quash the defense—and even the discussion—of Palestinian rights.

Donald Trump has a knack for taking some of humanity’s most problematic ideas and turning them on their head to make them even worse. He has done it again signing  an executive order that will allow federal funds to be withheld from colleges where students are not protected from anti-Semitism—using an absurdly defined version of what constitutes anti-Semitism. Recent precedent and the history of legislative efforts that preceded the executive order would suggest that its main targets are campus groups critical of Israeli policies. What the order itself did not make explicit, the President’s son-in-law did: on December 11, Jared Kushner published an Op-Ed in the Times in which he stressed that the definition of anti-Semitism used in the executive order “makes clear what our administration has stated publicly on the record: “ Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

Both Kushner and the executive order refer to the definition of anti-Semitism that was formulated, in 2016, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; it has since been adopted by the State Department. The definition supplies examples of anti-Semitism, and Kushner cited the most problematic of these as the most important: “the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity”; denial to “the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor”; and comparing “contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” All three examples perform the same sleight of hand: they reframe opposition to or criticism of Israeli policies as opposition to the state of Israel. And that, says Kushner, is anti-Semitism.

To be sure, some people who are critical of Israeli policies are opposed to the existence of the state of Israel itself. And some of those people are also anti-Semites. I am intimately familiar with this brand of anti-Semitism, because I grew up in the Soviet Union, where anti-Zionist rhetoric served as the propaganda backbone of state anti-Semitism. The word “Zionist,” when deployed by Pravda, served as incitement to violence and discrimination against Soviet Jews. All of this can be true at the same time that it is also true that Israel has effectively created an apartheid state, in which some Palestinians have some political rights and the rest have none. Human-rights organizations such as Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem—Israeli groups, founded and run by Jews—continue to document harrowing abuse of Palestinians in Israel, the occupied West Bank, and Gaza.

In August, I went on a tour designed by Breaking the Silence that aims to show Israelis and foreigners what the occupation looks like. This particular tour ended in a Palestinian village which has been largely overtaken by an Israeli settlement that is illegal under international law. One of the Palestinian houses ended up on territory claimed by the settlers, so the settlers built a chain-link cage around the house, the yard, and the driveway. A young Palestinian child, who is growing up in a house inside a cage, waved to us through the fencing. Comparing this sort of approach to Nazi policies may not make for the most useful argument, but it is certainly not outlandish. The memory of the Holocaust stands as a warning to humanity about the dangers of dehumanizing the other—and invoking that warning in Palestine is warranted.

One does not have to be an anti-Semite to be an anti-Zionist, but one certainly can be both an anti-Semite and an anti-Zionist. Trump, however, has inverted this formula by positioning himself as a pro-Zionist anti-Semite. He has proclaimed his support often for the state of Israel. His Administration’s policies, which have included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and, more recently, declaring that the U.S. does not view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal, have pleased the state of Israel, especially its most militantly expansionist citizens. Over the weekend, however, at the Israeli American Council National Summit, in Florida, Trump gave a speech that brimmed with Jewish stereotypes: Jews and greed, Jews and money, Jews as ruthless wheeler-dealers. “A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well,” he said. “You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all.” It was the kind of stuff that requires no definitions, op-eds, or explanations—it was plain, easily recognizable anti-Semitism. And it was not the first time that Trump trafficked in anti-Semitic stereotypes. The world view behind these stereotypes, combined with support for Israel, is also recognizable. To Trump, Jews—including American Jews, some of whom vote for him—are alien beings whom he associates with the state of Israel. He finds these alien beings at once distasteful and worthy of a sort of admiration, perhaps because he ascribes to them many of the features that he also recognizes in himself.

It should come as no surprise that anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. increased by sixty per cent during the first year of Trump’s Presidency, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The current year is on track to set a record for the number of anti-Semitic attacks. The new executive order will not protect anyone against anti-Semitism, and it’s not intended to. Its sole aim is to quash the defense—and even the discussion—of Palestinian rights. Its victim will be free speech.

Israel: A Danger to Jews Everywhere

Yakov M. Rabkin is a Professor of History at the University of Montreal wrote this in 2002 for Tikkun

When the Sharon government refused to receive a UN panel to investigate the violence in Jenin last May, Foreign Minister Peres termed the very intention to start such an inquiry “a blood libel against the Jewish people.”This statement was made against the background of mounting anti-Jewish incidents around the world, all of them immediate fallout of the violence in Israel/Palestine. 

As early as 1948, the political philosopher Hannah Arendt warned:“Even if the Jews were to win the war … the ‘victorious Jews’ would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded inside ever threatened borders, absorbed by physical self-defense … And all this
would be the fate of a nation that—no matter how many immigrants itcould still absorb and how it extended its boundaries—would still remain a very small people greatly outnumbered by hostile neighbors.”

Her prophecy has sadly come true. The State of Israel has faced incessant violence since its proclamation. Demographically, Israel’s Jewish population is and will remain a tiny minority facing the rapidly growing Arab masses, 40 percent of whom are today below the age of fifteen. An island of wealth facing an ocean of poverty, Israel is condemned to live by the sword if the Zionist structure remains intact. To survive even in theshort term, Israel will continue to need significant population inflows from abroad. But even if all the Jews of the world were to move to Israel, this would only delay the showdown with its more numerous and mostly hostile neighbors.

We must admit that structurally, i.e. independently of the impact of particular policies, the interests of Israel and of the Diaspora are at loggerheads. Israel was created inter alia, to offer the Jews physical safety. Today the State of Israel adversely affects the physical safety of the
Jews, both within its borders and elsewhere.
In spite of the might of Israel’s armed forces, Israel is the only place in the world where a Jew can be killed just for being a Jew. Today the life of a Jew is in greater danger in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv than in Paris or Berlin or even in Damascus or

Moreover, the chronic conflict engendered by the establishment of theState of Israel has spread waves of Jew-hatred to most Muslim and Arabnations. The current intifada ignited sparks of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world, including Western Europe, which had been free of anti-Semitism for several decades. Indeed, the chronic character of theIsrael/Palestine conflict was an important, albeit not the only, cause of September 11. This observation does not apportion blame or justify terrorism; it simply states an obvious, albeit little articulated, connection between the creation and perpetuation of Israel as a Jewish nation-state and the unprecedented spread of regional violence to the rest of the world. Rwandans, Bosnians, or black South Africans did not spread violence to other parts of the world. Palestinians, frustrated by their fight against Israel, did.

It is not only our physical safety, but also our moral sensitivity, that has been adversely affected by the creation of Israel against the will of the ambient population. The never-ending bloody violence has numbed our sense of compassion, one of the three defining qualities that the Talmud attributes to the Jew—alongside timidity and propensity to do good (BT Yevamot, 79a). It was painful to hear Paul Wolfowitz, one of the most pro- Israel members of the American administration, booed by thousands of Jews assembled in Washington last April when he dared mention“innocent victims among the Palestinians.”

It would be a folly to mortgage the future of world Jewry on the fragile State of Israel. A possible violent demise of this valiant remnant of European nationalism in the Middle East could spell a disaster for Judaism and the Jews. Diaspora Jewry must acknowledge that it finds Israel’s
militancy, callousness, and chutzpah repugnant, a far cry from the values of Judaism. Instead of blindly supporting the Zionist ideal of a nation- state for Jews, we should reconsider the best course for preserving and strengthening Jewish life in both the Land of Israel and the Diaspora.

It is too early to define the place reserved for the State of Israel and for Zionism in history. While for many Jews the desirability of the State of  Israel constitutes an article of faith, this new faith in an ethnic state is not unshakable. It is hard to justify the State of Israel as a tool to enhance the spiritual and material welfare of the Jews and, particularly, to offer them a sense of physical safety. As violence continues, we should find the courage to ask: Was the idea of a Jewish state a viable one? Is it not the very nature of the State of Israel as a state for the Jews that fuels and perpetuates the conflict?

Yakov M. Rabkin is a Professor of History at the University of Montreal. His book What is Modern Israel (2016) is a serious Judaic rejection of Zionism.

A Jewish Mutation

On October 14, 1953, unit 101, a special Reprisal group led by the 25-year-old Ariel Sharon, attacked Qibya, a small, undefended village inside the West Bank. Sixty-nine people, two-thirds women and children, were burned alive inside their homes. Sharon’s orders, which he apparently relished if history is hindsight, were “destruction and maximum killing” – brutal signatures throughout his life. Described by American Middle East envoy Philip Habib as “a killer obsessed with hatred of Palestinians”. Sharon was a prime example of the Jewish mutation.

The philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz mused:

“There is a Jewish aspect to the Qibya incident; it is not amoral problem, but rather an entirely religious one. We must ask ourselves: where does this teenager come from, the one who has no qualms about committing such an atrocity, when was he pushed from within or without to commit revenge? The teen, after all, is not part of the rabble, but rather someone who grew up and was educated on Zionist principles, alongside human and societal values.”

We now have our answer this time by Israeli columnist  Amira Hass, the mutation has only deepened. Haaretz December 31

Our eyes gleam: Money. One million and a million more. We salivate a little. Let’s take some more from them. This time, let’s say 149 million shekels ($43 million). It doesn’t matter how it’s calculated. The main thing is that we can. Just as we can, and do, shrink their economy, so they’ll remain dependent on handouts and our whims.

A contemporary anti-Semitic plot is being written before our eyes: A Jew, blue-eyed and standing tall, with a dirty-blond forelock and a turned-up nose, counts real bills with virtual fingers, and sends them down the drain, aka to the Israeli treasury. Turn the page: A Palestinian girl from Hebron doesn’t get a vital treatment because the Jews, as they explain in the government hospital, stole the money that pays for the medicines.

Another page: The reconstruction of a main road in the town of Yatta was postponed for the same reason. The next page: Parents tell their children they can’t pay their college tuition for the next semester; their wages were halved once more after Israel once more stuck its long arm deep into the pockets of the Palestinian Authority.

“You’re anti-Semitic

Who are you, European countries, says the young man with the handsome forelock in the modern plot, to tell us it violates international agreements and the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations? If you claim that, we’ll respond that you’re anti-Semitic. If you make even the weakest of protests (such as recalling ambassadors for consultations), we’ll say your people are direct descendants of the Nazis. Then your parliaments will shake in fear, as they should, and rush to pass condemnations of the Palestinians.

Is it a law of nature, that the descendants of an oppressed, persecuted minority will become the persecutors and the oppressors, sneaky disinheritors, expellers and mega-robbers, as the Jewish mutation that grew up in Palestine/the Land of Israel has become? I don’t know. But I know that it’s a law of nature that every persecuted group will rise up against its persecutors. In waves, with lulls, with ups and downs, alone and together. Out of hope or out of despair

It is permissible and necessary and essential to discuss the wisdom, the feasibility, the efficacy.. or of the certain acts of resistance and defiance carried out by the persecuted. One can question a particular tactic or reject the use of another, but the very struggle, the very resistance, are not up for discussion. They are self-evident, a law of nature.

And besides, the active partners in the disinheritance and the oppression have no right to be shocked by the way the resistance is waged and to tsk-tsk in disapproval. The same is true of those who, by their silence, indifference and disregard, collaborate with the oppressor’s ongoing violence. The immorality and the scorn for justice, which have become the bedrock of our existence, cry out from every settlement and checkpoint in the West Bank, from every soldier who surveils the concentration camp that is the Gaza Strip, from every Taglit-Birthright Israel tour

The Jewish mutation is operating full throttle to advance a program that is not enunciated in public: another expulsion, as massive as possible, of Palestinians from the West Bank. The code of the program is revealed in the de facto policy, which is in evidence every day in confiscation and demolition orders, in the edicts imposed by the czar – sorry, the defense minister – and in the lies propagated in the schools and in the co-opted media.

The Israeli hasbara (propaganda) machines, the Strategic Affairs Ministry and, in the spirit of privatization, the sleuthing and slander nonprofit organizations and social media campaigns labor to depict Israel as persecuted and the Palestinians as persecutors. Israel, with all its plots and conspiracies, does whatever it wants not only in a vain attempt to repress every natural desire to resist, but also to portray resistance to its oppression as a crime and every activist as a criminal: if he wrote something on Facebook, if she marched in a demonstration, if they called for sanctions. 

And then, as much as the techno-military power, the miserable persecuted victim, desires, it not only punishes the “criminals” but takes collective revenge on their entire surroundings. That, because all is permitted to the mutation.

If Palestinians were black

The London Observer (U.K) October 15, 2000 made the point  that more than a few others have made:
If Palestinians were black, Israel would now be a pariah state subject to  economic sanctions led by the United States.

Well Israel is a pariah state as the last UN General Assembly vote  revealed for yet another time  153-3 with only the powerful Lobby  holding cowardly american legislators in their grasp.

It is cringe-inducing to watch serious Democratic presidential candidates twisted in knots terrified of saying anything critical of the apartheid state. Saving the one Jew in contention, the honest Bernie Sanders all (maybe Cory Booker being the worst) of these cowardly lions refuse the prophetic mantle.

it is in Israel that the truth sometimes appears like this Dec.22 column by Gideon Levy: Israel to the Hague

Now it’s a double header. In a combination of events, not entirely coincidental, Israel and its prime minister are both accused of crimes, and both are trying to evade justice in the same way: by hobbling the justice system in each case. The suspicions regarding the state’s crimes are much more serious than those of its prime minister, and therefore the state’s evasion of justice is much more nefarious.

The Israelis, almost all of them, think differently, of course. For them, the greater corruption is that of the prime minister; in their consciousness, that of the state doesn’t exist. No one told them about the crimes that are committed every day. They have only been told that their army is the most moral in the world and they have swallowed this, hook, line and sinker. In Israel anyone who dares call a crime a crime is an anti-Semite. Now the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Fatou Bensouda, says there is reason to believe that Israel has committed war crimes. Perhaps anti-Semitism has spread to her home country of Gambia as well. But Chief Prosecutor Bensouda is cautious in her statements; she is too cautious.

This is the day we’ve been waiting for. All seekers of justice have been waiting for it. Anyone who believes that crimes have been committed hopes for the day when the perpetrators will be brought to justice, whether they be murderers, rapists, robbers or army commanders, ministers or settlers responsible for war crimes. The likelihood of Israel investigating itself is not slim; it’s nonexistent. And so we look to The Hague, to the place where war criminals are judged when their countries would not dream of prosecuting them.

Israel is a clear example of such a country. Does anyone seriously think that war crimes were not committed during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip? Not even on Black Friday in Rafah? That the transfer of hundreds of thousands of civilians to occupied territories and the forced takeover of land there, including privately-owned land, is not a bold-faced and callous infraction of international law? Is there any fair legal official who sees hundreds of unarmed demonstrators killed near the fence that imprisons Gaza, a war crime in itself, and does not want to see those responsible punished?

This is a great day because it is not only a question of past crimes, but crimes that are happening every day, to this very day. They are going on while these lines are being written and while you are reading them. There is not one moment without a crime. The only way to stop them is by criminalizing those responsible. Israel will never do this itself, only The Hague. When ministers and officers fear leaving the country, the Air Force will think twice before bombarding tin shacks in Gaza and massacring their inhabitants.

The road is still long and the terror Israel casts on the international community is still great. But one achievement has already been chalked up: Israel did not deny the crimes, but rather the authority of the court to judge them. This misstep of Israeli propaganda will be corrected, but the claim that The Hague does not have the authority to deal with what is happening in the areas Israel occupies raises a powerful question: So who does? The Military Advocate General? The High Court of Justice? Surely you jest. “A black day for truth and justice,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a day that is incomparably glorious in its promise of truth and justice. “Capitulation to the false and defamatory propaganda of Palestinian terror,” Kahol Lavan lawmaker Yair Lapid pontificated, once again proving that on the important issues, there really is no difference between him and Netanyahu.

Israel has done everything to reach The Hague. That’s what happens when the prosecution is a cemetery for war crimes, the High Court whitewashes them and the media hides them and covers for them. That’s the way it is when international law is disparaged for decades. There’s probably no other country that thumbs its nose at international law this way and pays no price for it. Perhaps now the moment of truth is approaching, the moment of penalty. It will be very good for Israel. It might clean out its stables, stained with blood and stolen land. Every Israeli patriot and seeker of justice should now look to The Hague with hope.

Kushner plan not Jewish enough

There is no example in history,of a people saying we agree to renounce our country, let another people come and settle here and outnumber us.

David Ben-Gurion 1944

Omar Karmi wrote this last April

Part of the reason for that, of course, is that a plan that offers Netanyahu everything he could possibly want, might just force him to finally and publicly declare what he wants.

We know what he wants. Everyone knows what he wants. The guy who hands out flyers for a local cleaning service knows what Netanyahu wants.

Netanyahu and the vast majority of Israelis – as evidenced by the fact that peace was not a campaign platform for any major party in Israel’s general election – want the land, all the land. But not the people. No, none of the people.

But you can’t say that in polite company. You have to, as Satloff knows, engage in decades-long, centuries-long, if need be, slow bleed of ethnic cleansing, masquerading as military occupation, masquerading as sham peace process to get to that stage.

You can’t simply come barging in with a plan that – reportedly – tells Palestinians they can’t have a state, they can’t have sovereignty, they can’t claim their right of return because they don’t have the same rights as other people, they can’t have equal rights with Israeli Jews because, well, see above point.

But, hey, here’s some money (that we will get from Arab countries) so you can fulfill your “full potential.”

It won’t fly.

For pity’s sake, even the Europeans have rejected it before seeing it.

The plan is dead in the water. Never before can a major foreign policy initiative have been so roundly dismissed ahead of publication.

Before it is even a deal, it is an ex-deal.


Arifa replied

This is not a religious, ethnic or tribal dispute. This is about a clash of global ideologies: European/Western colonialist/corporatist/oligarchic dreams of world dominance versus indigenous sovereignty rights to self-determination. Jewish support for the Zionist state of Israel was born in the wake of the holocaust with a perceived need to preserve a people threatened with extinction. Since then, we have been witnessing those people perpetrating a similar genocidal program (though in slow motion) against another people (ironically with a very close genome to their own). As a result, many Jews can no longer support the apartheid state of Israel, and they no longer identify with the aims of the Israeli Zionist state.

Palestinians do have a very clear vision: They want their own state free from Israeli dominance and meddling. The “two state solution” has been eroded to the point of non-existence by the Israeli greed for all the land. So now, it is time to ponder what a true just and democratic state would look like, with full right of return for displaced Palestinians, with completely equal rights and with no priority placed on any religious, ethnic or cultural makeup of its population. The idea of a “Jewish” state is clearly antithetical to democracy and is already obsolete and non-viable in today’s world. South Africa’s process of moving out of an apartheid state into a democratic one is an important model in moving toward justice and equality for all.


Of course there is a solution andthe brilliant Edward Said wrote in 21 years ago in the New York Times (Jan10,1999)

There are Israeli Jews today who speak candidly about ”post-Zionism,” insofar as after 50 years of Israeli history, classic Zionism has neither provided a solution to the Palestinian presence nor an exclusively Jewish presence. I see no other way than to begin now to speak about sharing the land that has thrust us together, sharing it in a truly democratic way, with equal rights for each citizen.


One state is inevitable Israel and its enablers, particularly North American Jews who still cling to Zionism must give Zionism up in favour of a universal Judaism. Post Zionism as Said said is already here. Jewish Voice for Peace is leading the way

We have come to see that Zionism was a false and failed answer to the desperately real question many of our ancestors faced of how to protect Jewish lives from murderous antisemitism in Europe.

While it had many strains historically, the Zionism that took hold and stands today is a settler-colonial movement, establishing an apartheid state where Jews have more rights than others. Our own history teaches us how dangerous this can be.

The problem with Kushner’s plan is simple—it was Zionist but not Jewish.