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The effective answer to BDS is two states for two peoples

January 24, 2011 – 10:52 pm56 Comments

Copyright © 2010 Universal Press Syndicate

By Philip Mendes

The Palestinian campaign for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the State of Israel and its population is currently in the Australian news.

Late last year, the Victorian Trades Hall Council hosted a BDS conference featuring US Jewish activist Anna Baltzer. The NSW Greens followed suit by pledging to boycott Israeli goods, trading and military arrangements, and sporting, cultural and academic events. And most recently, the Marrickville Council in Sydney voted to eliminate all commercial, sporting, cultural, academic and government links with the state of Israel. Some left-wing unions such as the CFMEU have supported the Council’s proposal.

Now of course this may all constitute much ado about nothing. Most of the groups cited above are relatively marginal, and no Australian mainstream political parties or governments have expressed any sympathy for BDS proposals. In addition, earlier overviews of international proposals for an academic boycott of Israel found little evidence of practical impact. Media reports also suggest that the Israeli Government is slightly more worried about Hezbollah rockets, and Iranian nuclear threats.

Nevertheless, the BDS campaign is a clever political strategy in that it places Israel and its supporters on the defensive. They are forced to cry: “No we are not an evil Nazi-like state which commits worse human rights abuses than any other regime in the history of mankind”.

To be sure, the core arguments of the BDS campaigners, which are based on a collective stereotyping of all Israelis, are easy to refute, and some of us have done so previously.

But in doing so, we may implicitly neglect to say the obvious: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a complex struggle whose causes vary from the structural to the religious to the cultural, both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples have moderates and extremists, and only compromise and concessions from both sides on their core narratives are likely to bring about sustainable peace and reconciliation. It is not that settlements or terrorism or checkpoints or demands for a right of return or any other hardline Israeli or Palestinian demands or actions are necessarily more or less significant in promoting further conflict. It is rather recognition that they are all part of a bigger political picture, and should not be looked at in simplistic isolation. It is precisely this inter-causality which the BDS campaign deliberately ignores.

However, it does seem to me that current Israeli policies and actions or non-actions play into the hands of the BDS campaign and other one-sided proposals which seek to demonize and blame Israel. The Israeli Government says that it wants to negotiate a two-state solution, and is waiting for a suitable Palestinian partner willing to accommodate Israeli security requirements. Prime Minister Netanyahu has also said on a number of occasions that only a government led by the Right can forge a united national perspective in favour of significant territorial concessions on the West Bank. This may possibly be true, but in practice the government has failed to promote progress towards a two-state solution. Apart from the short-lived freeze on the extension of existing settlements, it has done nothing to reverse the growing presence of Jewish settlers far away from the Green Line borders.

In contrast, I would recommend the following. The Israeli Government should issue a statement that it plans to dismantle all Jewish settlements east of the security barrier over the next five years. The precise details for the implementation of the plan are to be negotiated with the Palestinian Authority and the international community, and will allow time for all those settlers evacuated to be found suitable housing within the Green Line. In addition, the government should state that Israeli troops will remain in place in the West Bank until such time that the PA can demonstrate their ability to maintain a peaceful border with Israel. The vast majority of settlers will remain in the larger settlement blocs within Israeli territory with the long-term aim of exchanging this territory for land inside Green Line Israel (see  here).

The above proposal would demonstrate without doubt that the Israeli people are committed to making the significant concessions required for a two-state solution. It would also place the onus back on the Palestinians to demonstrate that they too are willing to compromise. Overall, it would defang the BDS campaign by reminding everybody that both sides have to give significant ground if there is to be conflict resolution.

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  • Miriam says:

    An especially ill-timed piece, given today’s revelations about the Israeli government’s refusal to be itself a ‘partner for peace’ when the PA offered the biggest chunk of Jerusalem back to date.

    In light of the leaked documents, statements such as ‘only compromise and concessions from both sides on their core narratives are likely to bring about sustainable peace and reconciliation’ and ‘The Israeli Government says that it wants to negotiate a two-state solution, and is waiting for a suitable Palestinian partner’ appear utterly farcical. It was the Israelis, not the Pals, who were refusing to compromise.

    The two-state solution appears dead from where I stand.

  • Shira Wenig says:

    I probably would have agreed with this article pre-2005, but now I think it’s hopelessly naive.

    Philip Mendes is essentially proposing a better organised version of the withdrawal from Gaza, transplanted to almost the entire West Bank. In the case of Gaza, Israel certainly “demonstrate[d] without doubt that the Israeli people are committed to making the significant concessions required for a two-state solution” – and all it achieved was incessant rocket fire and absolutely no good will, either with the Palestinians or with most of the world (not to mention the cost in terms of loss of homes and businesses).

    I’m not sure why anyone thinks that repeating this debacle, without any concrete assurances of Palestinian reciprocity, would be constructive.

    Moreover, requiring that the larger settlement blocs be exchanged for land within the green line undermines the argument that the problem involves both sides. Demanding that the Palestinians be given an area of land equivalent to 100% of the West Bank implies that Israel was wrong to cross the green line in the first place, and that the only reason we’re not building the security fence exactly along the green line is because of some regrettably densely populated enclaves. Giving the Palestinians everything but those blocs, without the extra 3% or so of land within the green line, would be equally effective in terms of providing space for a viable, contiguous Palestinian state, without the damaging, unnecessary admission of guilt.

  • JOHN says:

    An interesting suggestion, but it ignores the Palestinian refugees.
    They are not Lebanese, Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi or whatever. We
    cannot expect them to be quartered in neighboring countries which
    are barely able to provide economic opportunity for their own people.
    The UN endorsed their right to return home, and basic humanitarian concern equity sees the return of refugees after a conflict as just.
    It may be inconvenient for Israel, but the failure to allow it is even more incovenient for the refugees in the hovels of their camps. Israel should take back a number of those who wish to return and compensate to resettle those who can be induced to go elsewhere. Otherwise there will remain a pool of hostility toward Israel which will feed continued terrorism.

  • Mohan says:

    This is simply re-worked papp. The latest Al jaeezera revalations show that Palestinians are prepared to offer even chunks of East Jerusalem, return of a symbolic number of refugees and de-militarised bantustan. Even that was not suffucient to Kadima, a supposedly more leftwing party than Likud.

    This would be excellent hasbara if it did not ignore facts on the ground and historical reality. The only conclusion left is that Israel views the whole of Palestine as “it’s” land to be “redeemed” from the Palestinians.

  • Shira Wenig says:

    There are arguments that can be made in favour of right of return for Palestinian refugees, but the UN’s endorsement is not one of them. As long as the UN maintains a blatant discrepancy between their definition of Palestinian refugees and their definition of all other refugees around the world, their endorsement is worthless.

  • ariel says:

    Palestinian refugees should be repatriated into the Palestinian state just like Jews have been repatriated to Israel.

    If someone could please satisfactorily explain why the PA keeps insisting on Israel absorbing Palestinian refugees, but absolving themselves of that responsibility to their own brothers, I’ll be most appreciative…

  • Miriam says:

    All I can hear in statements like Shira’s and John’s is an inevitable doom for Israel. It is tragic, avoidable, and beyond devastating to me.

  • Shaun says:

    In light of the recently leaked documents, it strikes me that the only approach is direct negotiations with the Palestinians where Olmert and Livni left off in 2008.

    The chances of that happening are close to zero. Netanyahu would have to effectively break-up his coalition join up with Kadima and the remnants of Labour, and in the process undergo an ideological make-over.

    What’s more likely to happen is what was once described in a Yes Prime-Minister series as ‘creative inertia’, the appearance of doing something when nothing is being done.

  • frosh says:

    I find it interesting that people are making critical judgements based on leaked documents selectively released by Al Jazeera.

  • Larry Stillman says:

    Aside from the clear fact, assuming that the latest documents are true (and no Israeli has denied them) that the PA 1) leaned over backwards with concessions 2) were refused by the Israelis, there is no way in the world now any such offer as proposed from Israel would be given the slightest bit of credibility in the ‘street’) 3) there is probably a broader issue of compensation for theft of Palestinian resources, including water and minerals over the year and the enormous resentment over human rights abuses over the years, which are seen as over-the-top to the damage actually caused to Israel.

    Palestinians, even moderates, are furious with the PA for example, not taking a stronger stand (which might include for example, financial compensation for neighbourhoods such as French Hill in Jerusalem if it is to remain part of Israel). There is no question of balance here–Israel has had the complete upper hand from the word go and obsfuscating about ‘intercausality’ and both sides having a kind of equal role in concessions ignores the sad reality that Israel has pulled all the strings on a semi-state that has little to concede other than the rights of the people it claims to represent.

    In particular, the fundamental belief of Palestinians, that they have a right of return (however that is negotiated in practice, including compensation –see) has not been raised by you. Your argument that withdrawal solve the problem lets Israel off scot free, without resolving the issue that causes massive pain-property theft and expulsion during and after 1948 (which you won’t dispute, as the case has been well demonstrated by Morris and others). A settlement with Israel cannot avoid a settlement over right of return, which probably includes both money and a formal apology from Israel (and I’d like one for Arab Jews who copped it by the way) [interesting paper @ http://prrn.mcgill.ca/research/papers/brynen1.htm. I like many others also find the whole issue very discomforting, but it is unavoidable, and has to be dealt with.

    Furthermore, Palestinians, including Israeli Palestinians are rightly concerned about their legal status in Israel as de-facto second class citizens in the future state. You offer nothing for this or aren’t aware of how important this is to the future and that the ‘Jewish-democracy’ question is one that need resolution for the rights of a secular multicultural society that is not run according to the traditional practices that have been held over since Turkish times (not that the Ottomans didn’t have a lot going for them).

    In addition, we are now faced by an increased polarization in the Palestinian street. My real worries are for a 3rd intifadah and another bout of suppression, with a wink and a nod from Israel.

    However, it is clear that Israel’s own diversonary tactics have been revealed and won’t garner much international sympathy as a tactic for real peace, much less the thinking of BDS hardliners or Islamists. The tactics cannot be put down or ignored as the result of BDS sterotyping or anything like that. They are brutal politics that perfers instability to concessions.

  • I don’t understand why the “green line” is so sacred from a land area perspective, and that those areas (in SqM) must be set in stone and imply land swaps. The areas defined by the original partition plan reflected relative population centres of Jews and Arabs. Over time, both populations have changed in size and location, so if there is ever a repartitioning, it should reflect that.

  • Josh says:

    I think people forget that Olmert was never elected, but took the reigns once Sharon fell ill, to say this government is uninterested in piece because of the decisions that the previous administration made is naive, that being said Bibi so far has removed dozens of check points, removed all illegal settlements, froze legal settlements for 10 months, removed economic restrictions giving the west bank an 8.5% annual increase in its GDP, and still the Palestinians refuse to negotiate with him.

    I could agree with these comments about wiki leaks, if the same government still dictated Israel’s actions.

  • Mohan to frosh says:

    “Selectively leaked documents” confirm the facts on the ground – ever expanding settlements and secret talks while publicly mouthing the mantra of “no partner”. If Israel had denied the documents or come out with its own or even halted settlement building there could be some doubt on the soundness of the judgment.

  • Mohan to miriam says:

    It need not be all doom and gloom – just that the imbalance of the situation needs to be addressed – a regional superpower with WMDs and US patronage versus a ground of refugees with a few militias. The changes in Tuniais, Lebanon and now Egypt migh signal the end of the established US controlled order in the region and tilt the balance slightly in favour of a even negotiating field. Or like Germany in WW2, a major defeat could bring about a peace.

  • Sam says:

    Whether the leaked documents from a source (Al Jazeera), well known as a propaganda mouthpiece are true or not, and no-one on this forum could possibly know, there is another factor that has nor really been discussed.
    Bibi is Prime Minister of a government that is a minority and can only govern with the co-operation of it’s coalition partners. It is almost more certainly shakier than Julia Gillards government. And with the developments in recent days with the breakaway of Ehud Barak one could say that Israel does not have a a solid peace partner with which to negotiate with the Palestinians, who for sure do not have a any true leader with at least a small degree of statesmanship.
    But to claim that the Israel administration has refused to negotiate when the Palestinians were offering significant concessions is probably disingenious and suits the arguments put forward by the left.

  • frosh says:


    The protests in Tunisia, Lebanon, or Yemen have nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict, except for the fact that, in the case of Tunisia for example, it shows that some citizens of Arab countries are rightfully more concerned about the appalling lack of democracy in their own land, vs. what happens in a sliver of land a quarter the size of Tasmania, and for all practicality, as far away too.

  • Mohan to frosh says:

    I would ask you read carefuly before you set up strawpersons. i had observed that the US controlled order was eroding – not about the Israel-Palestine conflict. the weakening of US power in the region means there will be fewr states collaborating with the occupation and willing to take an independent line on the Palestinian issue. That will tilt the balance towards a more even playing field – is what I meant.

  • Mohan to sam says:

    Facts speak don’t they ! Israel hasn’t stopped building settlements nor has it responded to the Arab League reolsution of 2002.

  • Geoff Bloch says:

    I endorse the illuminating posts of Shira Wenig and David Werdiger which, to an extent, are related as I will try to explain.

    As to Shira’s post, a land swap must logically and inevitably lead to the conclusion that Israel was wrong in entering the West Bank. Israel gained possession of the West Bank in a defensive war whose object was the annihilation of the Jewish State. If, in a defensive war, the instigator loses territory, since when is there a God given right for the instigator to have all territory restored? In my humble opinion, Israel would be perfectly entitled to annexe as much territory as it deemed in its best interest, so long as it offered full citizenship to those Arabs living in the annexed territory. That is why, as part of an overall and genuine settlement, that should occur and part of the West Bank should indeed be annexed to Israel, avoiding the main centres of Arab population so as not to create a demographic problem and leaving sufficient land for a contiguous Palestinian State.

    As to David’s post, where is the kedusha in the Green Line? It wasn’t voted on by the UN as part of the partition plan. It was simply the armistice line at the cessation of hostilities in milchemet hashichrur and was violated 19 years later in 1967 by the Jordanian army. A new armistice line was then established at the end of hostilities in the 6 day war, namely the Jordan River. Furthermore, the armistice line served as a division between the Israeli and Jordanian armies. The latter makes no real claim to the West Bank. That claim has been assumed by the Palestinians themselves.

    The Green Line is therefore a relic of a military past. Ironically, by giving it kedusha and thereby implying that the Palestinians are entitled to every last inch of the West Bank, a genuine peace becomes even more elusive.

  • Mohan to Geoff Bloch says:

    Bloch would do well to go back into history. Israel is a colonial project – like the USA – and was settled after considering Argentina and Uganda, in collaboration with colonial rule through the Balfour declaration and military collaboration through Windgate with the mandate power in suppressing the Palestinian freedom struggle. These facts are avauilable if one reads Herzel’s, Jabotinksy’s and Sharett’s writings or Dayan’s speech to the students of technion, among other documents.

    The only small sign of legitimacy to this project is the UN vote on partition, violated in letter and spirit by the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and expansion of settlements. This is history and no amount of “anti-semitism” will make it disappear. Any alternative histories – of a return of the lost nations, promised land et al – will have to come into struggle with this and prove their truth.

    The question now is whether there will be a just resolution or going further down the same path – which is not possible indefinitely as Israel’s chief supporter the USA is a waning power and its control over the region is slipping from Pakistan to Egypt.

  • Sam to Mohan says:

    You might do well to click on the link in the post by Newsmaker and have a careful read.

  • Geoff Bloch says:

    Hi Mohan,

    The main problem with your argument is that it ignores 3,500 years of Jewish history. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying your argument is not a legitimate one, it’s just that it pretty much precludes any meaningful debate between someone of your perspective and someone like me who believes we have had the title deeds to Eretz Yisrael for several millennia.

    But don’t despair, you are in very good company. One of Barak Obama’s great failures in his Cairo speech was his damaging statement that the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel is rooted in the Holocaust. He, too, ignored Jewish history. Tragically, what he said was a variation of the Palestinian narrative which is that we Jews are a transplanted people and the Palestinians are bearing the brunt of Europe’s treatment of the Jews.

    What the Palestinian polity really needed to hear from him was that there has always been a Jewish presence in Israel throughout recorded history; that Israel is our homeland; and that our claim to the land is rooted in the Bible. If he had had the courage to do so, then who knows? Perhaps we might have edged a little closer to a genuine settlement with the Palestinians.

  • Mohan to Geoff Bloch says:

    You speak of title deeds! I presume the secular deed would be “God does not exist, and he gave us this land.” There has been a Jewish presence in Palestine for centuries – as in Morocco, Libya, Yemen, Iran, India.

    The claim to the land is by the indigenous people, Jewish, Muslim, Christian,Druze or atheist. Not by Europeans Jewish, Christian etc etc. What legal, historical, organic connection do the Jews of Europe – liturgical connection aside – have with Palestine ? Most European Jews did not even care for the Zionists and Herzel was equally keen on Argentina, Sudan or Palestine.

    Sorry, America, South Africa and Australia have histories similar to Israel, but they have moved forward and openly acknowledge their histories ( at least Australia and South Africa do).

  • Geoff Bloch says:

    Hi again, Mohan,

    Yep, just as I thought, no room for any meaningful debate.

    What I found fascinating about your post, however, is that you tried to take your argument to its logical extreme in order to prove your point. You asked the rhetorical question: What connection do the Jews or Europe have to Palestine, “liturgical connection aside”?

    The axiomatic answer to your rhetorical question does not at all prove your point; it simply side-steps or avoids debate! Significantly, it is exactly the same approach taken by the Palestinian Authority… they have realised, just as you do, that so long as one can take the “liturgical connection” out of the equation, then it can logically be argued that there IS no connection hence there IS no claim to the land.

    The device of excising a critical aspect or element of an argument and then posing a rhetorical question to disprove the argument is as old as it is disingenuous. I may as well ask, for example: “You say that’s an oak tree over there? Nonsense! Acorns aside, it’s just a tree”. Or I could go further…. “Acorns, leaves, branches and roots aside, that’s not a tree at all!”

    To be fair to you, the PA takes it even further than you do, by deliberately and mischievously stealing our history. For example, believe it or not, generations of Palestinian youth are taught that Jerusalem and Bethlehem were never Jewish cities and that only Islam has a genuine and legitimate historical connection to them. It is a truly fascinating irony, but not one intended by the PA, that by their revisionism and by claiming an historical connection themselves, they are actually acknowledging the legitimacy and force of an historical claim! But remember, it’s OUR historical claim.

  • Mohanto geoff bloch says:

    My question was not rhetorical – I would like to see the legal, historical grounds for a claim, based on universal standards. That I would think is as meaningful as any debate can be.

  • Mohanto geoff bloch2 says:

    Sorry – Muslims have a liturgical connection to Mecca, Christians a religious connection to Bethlhelm, Catholics to Rome, Buddhists to Gaya.
    An Acorn and an oak tree are organically linked and can be shown to be linked on the basis morphological, taxonomic, genetic – objective,universal, empirical grounds. That is exactly what I have sought in the question I asked.

  • Mohan to Sam says:

    Thank you for the link. It has noting to contribute to the debate i am having here. It is about some one being imprisoned for alleged anti-semitic behaviour. That’s unless you intend to imply that seeking rational answers is antisemyic.

  • Sam says:

    The alleged antisemitic behavior. (your words) describes your attitude better than any thing I can express.

  • Steve Brook says:

    Perhaps a natural disaster such as a Yasi-style cyclone hitting all the countries of the Middle East would bring the two main sides, Israel and the Arab states, together. Except that each side would probably blame the other…

  • Mohan to Sam says:

    Thank you for reading my attitude. It would be better if you can engage in factual debate. “Alleged” is a legal technicality most journalists use to protect thesleves from libel charges.

  • frosh says:


    a) Brendon Lee O’Connell has been convicted by a court of law, so the term “alleged” is no longer used.
    b) Anyhow, as a pseudonym (or not you are not using your full name at least) on the internet, you hardly need to worry about such legal ramifications.

  • Sam says:


    You replied to me ” It would be better if you can engage in factual debate”.
    I have no interest in engaging in debate with you. I also note that your postings across many threads in recent times have little to do with facts, but are opinion pieces only, and virulently anti-semitic to a greater or lesser extent.

  • Mohan to Sam2 says:

    Disprove what I have said and you will make your point about opinion peices if not anti-semtism. Obvously, any rational debate is “anti-semitic” if it is critical of Israel.

  • Mohan to frosh says:

    That was force of habit from journalism and I have to remain skeptical of sources, particularly those that equate anti-semitism with critcisim of Israel. I have cross checked the report and it is true that he has been convicted. I am happy to say he has been convicted for racial vilification and not alleged vilification.

  • Mohan to frosh says:

    That was force of habit from journalism and I have to remain skeptical of sources, particularly those that equate anti-semitism with critcism of Israel. I have cross checked the report and it is true that he has been convicted. I am happy to say he has been convicted for racial vilification and not alleged vilification.

  • Mohan to Sam 3 says:

    You must be the only person in the world who says – in effect – that asking a person to read the writings of Herzel, Jabotinsky, Sharatt and Dayan, is anti-semitism.

  • annie says:

    “the core arguments of the BDS campaigners, which are based on a collective stereotyping of all Israelis, are easy to refute”

    what ‘core arguments’ of the BDS campaigners collectively stereotype all Israelis? your supporting link claims “an academic boycott of Israelis alone is discriminatory given that it is based on an ethnic stereotyping of all Israelis as exceptionally evil”, yet there is nothing in the bds campaign asserting or implying anything about ethnic stereotyping. simply claiming something is not a demonstration it exists. just claiming “implicitly if not explicitly racist” doesn’t make it so.

    by this logic all criticism wrt israeli policy could be called racist because israel is a jewish state. israel is not being boycotted because it is jewsih, it is being boycotted because of its racist policies. it is the goi that discriminates based on ethnicity.

    “This was acknowledged by the UK University and College Union in September 2007 when they withdrew their boycott campaign on legal advice that it was an infringement of anti-discrimination legislation. It is only fascists and xenophobes who classify whole peoples as inherently bad or inferior.”

    acknowledged? just because the some university agrees w/you is not an argument plus the bsd campaign does not classify “whole peoples as inherently bad or inferior” so your argument again is moot.

    get a grip people.

  • annie says:

    “the BDS campaign is a clever political strategy in that it places Israel and its supporters on the defensive. They are forced to cry: “No we are not an evil Nazi-like state which commits worse human rights abuses than any other regime in the history of mankind”.”

    there’s nothing inherently ‘clever’ about a boycott. it is a wellworn political strategy which allows the people to have their voice heard when their government acts againsts their best interest. it is also what governments do all the time in the form of sanctions to get countries to comply w/international law.

    further more no one is forcing anyone to say anything and your silly sentence is pathetic. no one is saying israel ‘commits worse human rights abuses than any other regime in the history of mankind’ but hey, if you can tell me of another regime on the planet right now, today, who has been brutally repressing millions of people for as many decades based on their ethnicity while stealing their land, by all mean let us know.

    what is true is you are diverting attention away from a massive human rights violation with your silly false narrative pretending bds is claiming something we have never claimed. maybe you should try addressing the claims of the bds campaign as they appear on their website and not some pretend strawman narrative you’re more comfortable with.

    btw, i could chew up and spit out practically every single assertion in your pathetic column Philip Mendes. if you’re going to argue for the right of israel to be an apartheid state (which is essentially what you are doing by not calling for an immediate halt to israel’s intransigence) try doing so honestly instead of with these silly platitudes like “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a complex struggle”. this is not complex in the least. it’s extremely simple. painful yes, complex? you’ve got to be kidding me.

  • Marky says:

    “if you can tell me of another regime on the planet right now who has been brutally repressing millions of people….”

    And then you will tell us of another country on the planet constantly attacked by thousands of rockets and killings purposely targeting men, women and children?

  • Steve Brook says:

    The situation in the ME is complex or simple, depending on where you’re sitting and how you think it ought to be resolved. BDS posits a good-guy/bad-guy scene in which one side is clearly in the wrong and you have to take sides. But how about not taking sides in the traditional way, as most posters here seem to be doing, and calling for recognizing the fact that one national-ethnic group is, for whatever reasons, taking over territory historically occupied by another? Of course the latter are resentful (who wouldn’t be?), and of course the former are finding reasons/excuses for their own resentment (again, who wouldn’t?). Where’s King Solomon when you need him?

  • Marky says:

    Its just when someone from the left disagrees with them, they get personally all catty and nasty(e.g. recent post here: “pathetic” mentioned twice and “silly” three times).

    As I wrote in another thread “hell hath no fury like a lefty spurning same”.

    And yes, a certain very stuffy academic complained about it re my trite comments, which is understandable, as the truth can hurt..

  • Sol Salbe says:

    One may or may not agree with the stance of Meretz USA but it does cut away a lot of the BS. To me, the best thing about it is the way it provides clear dividing lines between a) those who support the settlements b) those who are opposed to the settlements but support he continuing existence of Israel within the Green Line and C) Those who support the Palestinian BDS.


  • Steve Brook says:

    By “King Solomon” I did not mean Sol Salbe, though I believe he’s spot-on.

  • ElliotG says:

    I am a latecomer to this thread and I given that this Galus website seems intended to encourage intelligent discussion rather than rants, I am some disheartened by the response to Phillip Mendes’ article. I do not claim to have a solution which will bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians but one thing I am certain of is that peace will not come about by one side managing to shout the other one down. It will only happen if people from both sides listen to the other and try a find a way out of the impasse. Many of the contributions, however, can be summarised as “my side is totally right, and the arguments of the other side are totally invalid”. Phillip has a least tried to suggest something different. I do not necessarily agree with his proposal – my views are closer to the Meretz position posted late in this thread. But I congratulate him for trying to think outside the square and wish some of the respondents would actually do that before posting their usual rants.

  • Mohan to eliotG says:

    Thank you for your posting. Such a resulotion would be posible if there was openness about history to say the least. No colonial power in history has willingly ceded freedom to it’s colonised subjects from ROme to the US empire. People have to fight for their rights against entrenched interests and collaborators with an interest in preserving the status quo.

    The only way out is an uncomprimising but principled and honest struglle for freedom and justice against the views, justifications, propoganda trying to perpetuate the status quo.

  • frosh says:


    Good to hear that you (would have) supported the Jewish independence movement against the British occupation.

  • Mohan to frosh says:

    Thank you for your posting. I would suggest you look alittel further back to the Balfour declaration, the offer of Sudan, the collaboration with imperial rule in suppressing the Palestinian freedom movement – the no tax campaign in particular, the carmed collaborators trained by Orde Charles Windgate in the special night squads et al. A history of acting as the tool of an occupying power to displace an indigenous people.
    That is the earlier history – as Jabotinsky will acknowledge.

  • Marky says:

    Mohan writes: “That is the earlier history -as Jabotinsky will acknowledge”

    Could you give me the contact details of Jabotinsky, so that I can confirm this with him?

  • Mohan to Marky says:

    Vladimir (Jeev) Jabotinsky the leader of revisionist Zionism, journalist, writer and ideologue of Irgun, Lehi, Likud. “The Iron Wall” makes no bones about the opnely colonial project of ZIonism and ridicules Labour Zionism for pretending that the British would do their work of displacement for them.

  • Mohan to Marky2 says:

    Unfortunately Jabotinsky is dead for some time, contacting him might not be possible. The “Jabotinsky will acknowledge” was a metaphor alluding to his writings on Zionism.

  • Mohan to Marky3 says:

    Here is an excerpt from Jabotinsky’s “The Iron wall”.

    “Zionist colonisation, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native people. This colonistion can, therefore continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native people cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs.To formulate it in any other way would be hypocricy……In this sense, there are no meaningful differences between our “militarists” and or “vegetarians”. One prefers an iron wall of Jewish bayonets, the other prefers an iron wall of British bayonets, the third proposes an agreement with Baghdad, and appears to be satisfied with Baghdad’s bayonets…….’

    The “vegetarians” is an obvious reference to Weizmann, Gurion et al and the Weizmann-Faisal agreement.

    Let me pre-empt the standard tack that I have quoted out of context and urge you to read the entire article.It was published in English in SOuth Africa’s Jewish Herlad on 26 Novembet, 1937. In Russian in 1923.

  • Marky says:

    You are wrong in your use of the word “colonialism” and “colonisation”. Colonialism is when one country intends to and invades another country to make it part of their colony. Israel were not another country doing this.

    Typical colonisation was when in 1967, Egypt and Syria, went to war against Israel, promising their people “the modern buildings in Tel Aviv” to name a few. They had no claim to Israel whatsoever.

  • Sol Salbe says:


    “Typical colonisation was when in 1967, Egypt and Syria, went to war against Israel.”

    I wonder if Philip share your novel interpretation of history.

  • Marky says:

    King Hussain of Jordan: “We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations”

    Iraqi President Aref: “This is the opportunity to wipe out.. (Israel)

    President Nasser of Egypt: “We shall enter Palestine with its soil saturated in blood”

    And plenty more “novel” talk and action. They were after the “occupied territories”. Oh, I forgot that there were non yet…

  • Mohan to Marky says:

    I was quoting extempre from Jabotinsky.

    And where was the “country” that colonised India, South Africa, for instance – both colonised by chartered companies – and latter acquired by the crown ?
    Please quote the generally accepted definiton of “colonisation” that says a “country” – in the sense of a state force – must be involved in the colonisation, for the process to be so named ? Or even a UN definition, or any dictionay of political science, social science, political economy, history.

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