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Interview with a Sydney Flotillian

June 16, 2011 – 5:28 pm137 Comments

One of the chaps onboard the previous "Freedom Flotilla"

Vivienne Porzsolt, a spokesperson of Jews against the Occupation Sydney, is taking part in “Freedom Flotilla 2”.

Galus Australis conducted a one-shot (i.e. no follow-up) email-based interview with Ms Porzsolt. Below is the interview, completely unedited:

Galus Australis: We understand that you are planning to take part in the “Freedom Flotilla 2” to Gaza. Can you tell our readers when the flotilla is leaving and what is the route that your boat is taking?

Vivienne Porzsolt: For security reason, the details of the time and place of departure and the route are not announced.

Galus Australis: We understand that the flotilla organisers claim that their goal is to break the siege on Gaza and deliver goods to Gazans, but how do you respond to detractors who argue that  in addition to the Israeli government continuing to ensure the supply of humanitarian aid, the new Egyptian regime has already broken the siege by opening the borders on their side of Gaza. Thus why is a flotilla necessary when goods could simply be transported across the Rafah Crossing from Egypt into Gaza?

Vivienne Porzsolt: While the Rafah Crossing was eased for a few days to allow women, children and older people through, men between the age of 18 and 40 were not. Now only 400 people a day are allowed through. This is the same as before the easing and much less than the 1200 before the closure. The Rafah Crossing even when fully open, cannot take goods, particularly industrial goods. The siege of Gaza is not just a matter of humanitarian aid. The people of Gaza must have freedom of movement and be able to build an economy, not continue to be mendicants reliant on charity.

Galus Australis: Detractors also argue that the humanitarian situation in nearby Syria is far worse than anything in Gaza. How would you respond to their claims that any aid flotilla ought to be headed to Syria and not Gaza?

Vivienne Porzsolt: The situation in Syria is very bad and I very much hope that the Syrians will be able to overthrow the brutal regime. But the situation in Syria is far less brutal than Gaza under the onslaught of Operation Cast Lead which killed 1400 people, injured many more, and destroyed housing and infrastructure. It has not been possible to re-build because of the siege. Besides, this is a matter of human rights not just humanitarian aid. The siege is illegal and causing significant suffering.

Galus Australis: Do you have any maritime experience?  What skills do you personally bring to the ship that you will be sailing on?

Vivienne Porzsolt: Like a passenger on any boat, I have no maritime skills. Our boat Tahrir (Arabic for Liberation) owned with the Canadians, Danes and Belgians, will be sailed by a qualified crew of 5.

Galus Australis: The activists on the Mavi Marmara were famously armed. How will you respond if you become aware that activists on your ship are also armed?

Vivienne Porzsolt: This is ‘famous’ because it is based on the official Israeli government version after the Israeli commandoes had seized and smashed all communication equipment owned by all passengers on all 6 boats of the first  Freedom Flotilla 1.  A few activists on the Mavi Marmara - 30-40 of 400 activists – seized whatever was at hand such as the railings from the gangways to protect themselves when they came under attack by the IDF. This attack was an illegal act of piracy in international waters.

Galus Australis: Likwise, activists on a previous flotilla ship were recorded chanting “Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad saya’ud,” which means “Jews, remember Khyabar, the army of Mohammed is returning.”  How will you respond if activists on your ship chant this or similar anti-Jewish chants?

Vivienne Porzsolt: This story may or may not be true. Of course, all of us sign forms committed to equality of all regardless of race, religion, gender and so on. My presence as a Jew standing up for human rights is a strong counter to any anti-Semitism that may arise in connection with the anger so many around the world rightfully feel at the actions of the Jewish State.

The bottom line is that the foundation of the State of Israel, the Jewish homeland, was founded on the dispossession of the Palestinians. Until this is addressed, there will continue to be rage even hatred of Jews. I believe in and profoundly hope for a future for Jews and Palestinians living side by side in mutual respect. This is not possible unless Israel shifts its course to one based on international law and human rights, not the ‘Iron Wall’ of military might. That is why I am sailing on the Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human along with 1000 other activists from 50 nations to break this brutal, illegal siege.

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137 Comments »

  • gary says:

    Thanks Galus for posting this interview.
    It would never appear in any other Jewish media source in Australia.

    Vivienne is clearly passionate and dedicated.
    Her commitment as a proud Jew to stand up against anti-semitism is appreciated. I hope that she stands up against the hatred espoused by the BDS and Flotilla movements.

    This will be a real test for her:
    Is she involved in the Palestinian solidarity movement because it is good for her ego (being the token Jew everyone loves to quote ie: “even my Jewish friend Vivienne agrees”), or does she actually stand against all forms of discrimination.

    I look forward to hearing her reflections on the flotilla, and whether her presence actually moderates the views of the many antisemites on board.

  • ViviennePorzsolt says:

    My experience of the international global justice movement (for example with the Gaza freedom March 18 months ago in Cairo)is that while there may be elements of antisemitism, in fact the dominant ethos is not at all antisemitic. Jews are disproportionately represented in the solidarity movement with Palestine, as they have been historically in progressive movements in general. Naturally there is strong, even strident feeling against Israel. This is not the same as antisemitism, despite the efforts of the chasbarah purveyors to label it ‘the new antisemitism’.

  • Paul RETI says:

    Like Vivienne Porzsolt, “I believe in and profoundly hope for a future for Jews and Palestinians living side by side in mutual respect.”

    I think that her muddled (or intellectually dishonest) thinking will only help to entrench Hamas’ iron grip on Gaza and thus will not help to free the people from their Hamas imposed bondage.

  • Stefan says:

    I’m delighted that Porzsolt does not want Gazans to be mendicants reliant on charity. I agree! So let’s do something about it: impose sanctions on Arab states hosting Palestinian Arab ‘refugees’ until they extend these discriminated against unfortunates full civil, political and economic rights. At the same time, the USA and other Western countries should stop all funding for UNRWA and other agencies geared to keeping the ‘refugees’ in a state of dependence as a political tool against Israel.
    While pleased to be able to find some agreement with Porzsolt on the undesirability of perpetuating welfare dependence I can’t help but be disappointed by the fudge which she offered up as an answer to the question on anti-Jewish chants. She’s clearly a wise old monkey.

  • Malki Rose says:

    Vivienne,

    If its possible to answer without repeating your stock-standard response about how being a Jew limits your human rights responsibility to only speaking out against Israel so as to make sure that everyone knows that its military don’t act in your name
    .. I’d like to ask two things.

    1. I am not sure if you read my article from a few days ago ‘Waiting for Palestine’. How would you respond to the reality that Hamas have dispossessed thousands of Palestinian people. Or is that not within the reach of your purpose?

    2. You recognise that the Rafah crossing has not eased sufficiently and that Palestinian people are unable to establish themselves as free people. Will the so called ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ be sailing into Egyptian waters and calling for Egypt to immediately open its borders to the Palestinian people? (Or is Israel the only state expected to have expendable borders and devalue the safety of its own citizens?)

  • jerzy says:

    Poor little Vivian—-she is totally delusional

  • frosh says:

    Vivienne,

    If this is really about humanitarian aid, then the whole set-up is wrong in terms of logistics.

    Legitimate humanitarian cargo ships don’t carry hordes of passengers that serve no maritime function. Without all the dead-weight passengers, you can carry far more payload (or humanitarian aid).

  • Marky says:

    Porszolt says”the dominant ethos is not at all anti semitic”. Maybe try telling that to this teacher:

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/212526

    And then try dealing with these savages!

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iUT-EFe12N6nX4_C3jn7X1dnZHng?docId=CNG.8c40f6ed9bd3dada7c98b60cb1f5faf4.4b1

  • ariel says:

    “For security reason, the details of the time and place of departure and the route are not announced.”

    Why do they need security? Who’s going to attack them?

    The sorts of people who attack soft targets that usually need security (eg every Jewish venue in the world, including Israel itself) will be funding the flotilla from Tehran and Damascus.

  • Josie says:

    Bon voyage, Vivienne, and may you sail safely to reach Gaza and help break the back of the hideous siege which Israel perpetrates on the people of Gaza, half of whom are children, 300,000 of whom, according to the UN, survive on just $1 a day.

    From the comments here, it seems people are oblivious, or perhaps they don’t care, that the International Committe of the Red Cross which administers the Geneva Conventions says that Israel *is* inflicting collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza in contravention of Article 33IV of the Geneva Conventions:

    “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.”

    No more Weinglass borderline starvation diets for the people of Gaza, no more closure, no more of Israel’s lies and crimes, no more blaming Hamas for crimes which Israel commmits and continues to commit that are many magnitudes more monstrous than anything Hamas has ever done. If Israel is to survive at all, it must learn to take responsibility for its criminal actions and submit to international law. The longer it delays doing this, the longer those who support it remain in denial of its transgressions against humanitarian law. the more Israel delegitimizes itself and ensures its own downfall. And if it doesn’t adjust its disgraceful behaviour, this will be a very good thing.

  • ariel says:

    So @Josie, you’re essentially saying IDF should stand outside the house of every Hamas member to check for weapons going in and out?

    Or are you saying they should do what Assad is doing in Syria?

    Or what Hamas does to their own population anyway?

    Oh that’s right, Muslims murdering Muslims by the thousands is not an issue…

  • frosh says:

    Josie, while I think almost everything you’ve said is false, I’m not going to try to convince you of that, as the likelihood of you dropping your hatred seems infinitesimally small.

    However, I would like to point out a major flaw in your argument, even if we assume everything you and Vivienne have said to be true.

    You are against collective punishment.
    But you are for BDS against Israel. BDS is clearly aimed at collective punishment (the fact that it doesn’t result in much collective punishment is only because BDS activists don’t actually have the resolve to boycott all the wonderful Israeli products and is beside the point).

    “Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility”
    I could agree with this to an extent, but then Vivienne tells us that Hamas has been genuinely democratically elected (I’d dispute this, but let’s not digress). If this is the case, then why is collective punishment a valid principle to use against Jews but not Gazans?

    Again, I don’t actually assume any of these facts to be true, but even if one did, then your logic is terrible.

  • Malki Rose says:

    And do you have the any of the figures on the revolting suffering Hamas inflicts on their own people???? On their muslim brothers????

    Josie, read my earlier piece, ‘waiting for Palestine’.
    Israel does not blame Hamas for things. Palestinian people do, and they will tell you of these things first hand, the ones that make it out alive.

    The Palestinian factions need to get their house in order and learn how to support, protect and maintain their own people and their own goals for peoplehood, before they can expect others to sacrifice their own nationhood and their own security for their neighbours.

    Israel and Palestine’s first task must be to peace before all else. And acts such as BDS, and Flotillas are not roads to peace, but to further conflict.

    Perhaps individuals such as yourself and Vivienne would care to support the AFL Peace Team. A football team comprised of young Palestinians and Israelis who play together and have learnt through the seemingly simple activity of sport how to work together through dialogue, understand and compassion towards one another.
    These young people have forged deeply binding friendships which would not come out of the divisive BDS or Flotilla movement.
    It is supported by the Australian Football League (see how other Aussies support peace?) and by Israeli and Palestinian communities.

    THAT is unity. THAT is working for peace!

    You must try it sometime.

  • Josie says:

    By the way, Galus is really scraping the bottom of the barrel by using to illustrate this interview the hasbara photo released by the IDF Spokesperson’s office of ‘Mohammad al-Hazmi, showing his ceremonial dagger (known in Yemen as Jambiya), which is carried by every single man in Yemen and is an essential part of the traditional Yemeni dress.’

    As Max Blumenthal reveals: ‘MP Hazza al-Maswari says that at the time of the Israeli attack, al-Hazmi did not have his Jambiya on him.’

    ‘Offered without context or explanation, the photo played up a classic Orientalist stereotype of violent, fanatical, and even suicidal Muslims determined to kill Jews.’

    http://maxblumenthal.com/2010/06/nailed-again-under-pressure-idf-and-haaretz-retract-description-of-suspicious-idf-distributed-photo/

  • frosh says:

    Josie, I have several Yemeni friends, including family friends, and none of them carry daggers now, nor when they were in Yemen.

    Ipso facto, your statement is false.

    Still waiting for you to address the flaws in your logic that I explained in my previous comment.

  • ariel says:

    First of all, look at how he’s wielding the dagger. I wonder that even if they carry them in Yemen whether they walk around with it like that ready to stab everyone they see.

    But of course, we can all believe the Yemeni MP.
    Much like Iraq’s former spokesman claiming the Americans are nyowhere near Baghdad as a USAF jet flew over his head…

    Josie, I hope you’re not a lawyer, cos you can’t be a very good one if you believe the things you say

  • Norm says:

    Israel’s blockade of Gaza is entirely legal and conforms with the conclusions of the San Remo conference (look it up). It would be nice if the Palestinians would remove their Nazi wall of hate against the Jews. in their Charter Hamas commands: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees.
    The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a
    certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).’Kill the Jews’. The Arabs who left Palestine were not dispossessed by the Jews ( See Ephraim Karsh-‘Palestine Betrayed’. Well referenced using recently released British and Israeli archives Prof Karsh shows how the Arab elite persuaded the Arabs to leave Palestine.Evidence of this can be seen from quotes from Arab leaders of the time:

    1. “The first group of our fifth column consist of those who abandon
    their homes…At the first sign of trouble they take to their heels
    to escape sharing the burden of struggle” — Ash-Sha’ab, Jaffa, January 30, 1948

    2. “(The fleeing villagers)…are bringing down disgrace on us
    all… by abandoning their villages” — As-Sarih, Jaffa, March 30,
    1948
    3. “Every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab
    populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives, to get their
    shops and businesses open and to be assured that their lives and interests will be safe.” — Haifa District HQ of the British Police, April 26, 1948.

    4. “The mass evacuation, prompted partly by fear, partly by order
    of Arab leaders, left the Arab quarter of Haifa a ghost city…. By withdrawing Arab workers their leaders hoped to paralyze Haifa.” — Time Magazine, May 3, 1948, page 25
    5. “The Arab streets (of Palestine) are curiously deserted
    (because)…following the poor example of the moneyed class, there
    has been an exodus from Jerusalem, but not to the same extent as from Jaffa and Haifa”. — London Times, May 5, 1948
    6. “The Arab civilians panicked and fled ignominiously. Villages
    were frequently abandoned before they were threatened by the progressof war.” — General John Glubb “Pasha,”(Commander of the Arab Legion) The London Daily Mail, August 12, 1948
    7. “The fact that there are these refugees is the direct consequence
    of the act of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish
    state. The Arab states agreed upon this policy unanimously and they
    must share in the solution of the problem.” – Emile Ghoury, secretary of the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee, in an interview with the Beirut Telegraph September 6, 1948. (same appeared in The London Telegraph, August 1948)
    8. “The most potent factor [in the flight of Palestinians] was the
    announcements made over the air by the Arab-Palestinian Higher
    Executive, urging all Haifa Arabs to quit… It was clearly intimated that Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades.” — London Economist October 2, 1948

    9. “It must not be forgotten that the Arab Higher Committee
    encouraged the refugees’ flight from their homes in Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem”. — Near East Arabic Broadcasting Station, Cyprus, April 3, 1949.
    10. “The Arabs of Haifa fled in spite of the fact that the Jewish
    authorities guaranteed their safety and rights as citizens of Israel.”– Monsignor George Hakim, Greek Catholic Bishop of Galilee, New York Herald Tribune, June 30, 1949
    11. “The military and civil (Israeli) authorities expressed their
    profound regret at this grave decision (taken by the Arab military
    delegates of Haifa and the Acting Chair of the Palestine Arab Higher
    Committee to evacuate Haifa despite the Israeli offer of a truce). The Jewish mayor of Haifa made a passionate appeal to the delegation (of Arab military leaders) to reconsider its decision.” –Memorandum of the Arab National Committee of Haifa, 1950, to the governments of
    the Arab League, quoted in J. B. Schechtman, The Refugees in the
    World, NY 1963, pp. 192f.
    12. Sir John Troutbeck, British Middle East Office in Cairo,
    noted in cables to superiors (1948-49) that the refugees (in Gaza)
    have no bitterness against Jews, but harbor intense hatred toward
    Egyptians: “They say ‘we know who our enemies are (referring to
    the Egyptians)’, declaring that their Arab brethren persuaded them
    unnecessarily to leave their homes…I even heard it said that many of
    the refugees would give a welcome to the Israelis if they were to come in and take the district over.”
    13. “The Arab states which had encouraged the Palestine Arabs to
    leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies, have failed to keep their promise to help these refugees.”
    – The Jordanian daily newspaper Falastin, February 19, 1949.

    14. “The Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha,
    assured the Arab peoples that the occupation of Palestine and of Tel
    Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade…Brotherly advice
    was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes, and
    property to stay temporarily In neighboring fraternal states, lest the guns of invading Arab armies mow them down.” –Al Hoda, a New
    York-based Lebanese daily, June 8, 1951.
    15. “Who brought the Palestinians to Lebanon as refugees, suffering
    now from the malign attitude of newspapers and communal
    leaders, who have neither honor nor conscience? Who brought them
    over in dire straits and penniless, after they lost their honor? The
    Arab states, and Lebanon amongst them, did it.” — The Beirut Muslim
    weekly Kul-Shay, August 19, 1951.
    16. “We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every
    place the Jews seek shelter in. The Arabs should conduct their wives
    and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down.” — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said, quoted in Sir An-Nakbah (“The Secret
    Behind the Disaster”) by Nimr el-Hawari, Nazareth, 1952
    17. “The Arab Exodus …was not caused by the actual battle, but
    by the exaggerated description spread by the Arab leaders to incite
    them to fight the Jews. …For the flight and fall of the other villages
    it is our leaders who are responsible because of their dissemination of rumors exaggerating Jewish crimes and describing them as atrocities in order to inflame the Arabs … By spreading rumors of Jewish atrocities, killings of women and children etc., they instilled fear and terror in the hearts of the Arabs in Palestine, until they fled leaving their homes and properties to the enemy.” – The Jordanian daily newspapermAl Urdun, April 9, 1953.
    18. “The Arab governments told us: Get out so that we can get in.
    So we got out, but they did not get in.” A refugee quoted in Al Difaa (Jordan) September 6, 1954.
    19. “The wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the
    Arabs, encouraged by the boasting of an unrealistic press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be onlya matter of some weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armiesof the Arab states, and the Palestinian Arabs enabled to re-enter andre-take possession of their country”. — Edward Atiyah (Secretary of the Arab League, London, The Arabs, 1955, p. 183)
    20. “As early as the first months of 1948, the Arab League issued
    orders exhorting the people to seek a temporary refuge in neighboringmcountries, later to return to their abodes … and obtain their shareof abandoned Jewish property.” — Bulletin of The Research Group for European Migration Problems, 1957.
    21. “Israelis argue that the Arab states encouraged the Palestinians
    to flee. And, in fact, Arabs still living in Israel recall being urged to evacuate Haifa by Arab military commanders who wanted to bomb the city.” — Newsweek, January 20, 1963.
    22. “The 15th May, 1948, arrived … On that day the mufti of
    Jerusalem appealed to the Arabs of Palestine to leave the country,
    because the Arab armies were about to enter and fight in their stead.”– The Cairo daily Akhbar el Yom, October 12, 1963.
    23. In listing the reasons for the Arab failure in 1948, Khaled al-
    Azm (Syrian Prime Minister) notes that “…the fifth factor was the call by the Arab governments to the inhabitants of Palestine to evacuate it (Palestine) and leave for the bordering Arab countries. Since 1948, it is we who have demanded the return of the refugees, while it is we who made them leave. We brought disaster upon a million Arab refugees by inviting them and bringing pressure on them to leave. Wehave accustomed them to begging…we have participated in lowering their morale and social level…Then we exploited them in executing crimes of murder, arson and throwing stones upon men, women andchildren…all this in the service of political purposes…” — Khaled el- Azm, Syrian prime minister after the 1948 War, in his 1972 memoirs, published in 1973.
    24. “The Arab states succeeded in scattering the Palestinian
    people and in destroying their unity. They did not recognize them as
    a unified people until the states of the world did so, and this is regrettable.”– Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), from the official journal of the PLO, Falastin el-Thawra (“What We Have Learned and What We
    Should Do”), Beirut, March 1976.
    25. “Since 1948, the Arab leaders have approached the Palestinian
    problem in an irresponsible manner. They have used to Palestinian
    people for political purposes; this is ridiculous, I might even say
    criminal…” — King Hussein, Hashemite kingdom of Jordan, 1996.
    26. “Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas)Charges that the Arab States Are the Cause of the Palestinian Refugee Problem” (Wall Street Journal; June 5, 2003): Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) wrote an article in March 1976 in Falastin al-Thawra, the official journal of the PLO in Beirut: “The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny, but instead they abandoned them, forced them to
    emigrate and to leave their homeland, imposed upon them a political
    and ideological blockade and threw them into prisons similar to the
    ghettos in which the Jews used to live in Eastern Europe.”
    As Abu Mazen alluded, it was in large part due to threats and fearmongering from Arab leaders that some 700,000 Arabs fled Israel in 1948 when the new state was invaded by Arab armies. Ever since, the growing refugee population, now around 4 million by UN estimates,has been corralled into squalid camps scattered across the Middle East- in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza, and the West Bank.
    In 1950, the UN set up the United Nations Relief and Works
    Agency as a temporary relief effort for Palestinian refugees. Former
    UNRWA director Ralph Galloway stated eight years later that, “the
    Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to
    keep it as an open sore, as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders do
    not give a damn whether Arab refugees live or die. The only thing that has changed since [1949] is the number of Palestinians cooped up in these prison camps.”

  • Ari says:

    And perhaps off duty off soldiers lob hand-grenades at innocent Palestinian commuters to make it seem like they were suicide bombers in order to perpetuate the image of violent fanatical suicidal orientalists?

  • anon says:

    How many more people have to die for your lie?

  • Rahiin says:

    Everything that Josie said is true, so you guys can stop hating on her now. It has been proven many times that photo with the Yemeni and his dagger was photo-shopped. He didn’t have anything in his hand in actuality. And yes, many Yemenis carry that same dagger, look at pictures of the Yemeni tribesmen revolting against Saleh. They all carry those daggers. It’s called a Google Image search.

    Besides, even if he did, it would be perfectly okay. Aren’t Arabs allowed to defend themselves, or does this right only apply to Westerners? Come on people. Everyone has the right to defend themselves. Convoys have the right to carry arms to defend themselves. Israel has a notorious record of killing un-armed civilians, so it is natural when you are going near Israel, to arm yourself.

    Btw what Ari said has also happened many times.

    Israel is delibratly enacting policies that hurt Palestinian civilians, and that have little to no effect on the Hamas government or military. They do this, with their goal being to hurt the Palestinians so much that they give up resisting occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Do you know what we call people who hurt/kill civilains for political purposes? TERRORISTS! And that’s exactly what Israel is.

  • Josie says:

    Unbelievable, sickening racism on this thread. Just unbelievable.

    Frosh, I didn’t mention BDS, but since you bring it up, in view of Israel’s wilful disobedience to international law and continuance of its vile crimes against humanity, since governments, most specifically the US, refuses to implement international law against Israel, and because BDS is a legitimate unified call from oppressed Palestinians for justice and rights guaranteed by international law, boycott, divestment and sanctions are an appropriate, laudable and unstoppable tactic to obtain justice. The onus is squarely on the perpetrator, Israel, to end its delinquent behaviour.

    The collective punisher Israel is now broached by a number of people of conscience around the world doing what governments should be doing but won’t due to the imperialist, exploitative ambit of the US, EU and cronies including, shamefully, Australia. One has to wonder why Israel doesn’t get a grip and instead of complaining about delegitimization and mounting ridiculous, backfiring hasbara campaigns, do something quite basic, as promised in its Declaration of Establishment in 1948 and never implemented – introduce equal rights for all in its own polity to bring it into line with other modern democracies, instead of discriminating against non-Jews through more than 30 ‘democratic’ racist laws, with a new discriminatory law or two before the Knesset each week. Additionally, ‘democratic’ Israel has a string of boycotts out on other countries, so there’s not really any grounds for whinging about BDS, considering the enormity and longevity of Israel’s crimes.

    Here’s some links for you, Frosh, so you can reassess your unsubstantiated allegation about the falsity of the content of my comment in a vain attempt to support a ludicrous, desperate smear of hatred.

    The UN annotates the current situation in Gaza
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2011/0615/1224298936507.html

    The International Committee of the Red Cross confirms Israel’s collective punishment crime against humanity
    http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/update/palestine-update-140610.htm

    That lovely fellow, Dov Weissglas: “It’s like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/as-the-hamas-team-laughs-1.180500

    As far as your anecdotal experience with Yemenis go, Frosh, you missed the point completely. The photo did emanate from the IDF Spokesperson and as it was then used, it has now been used again to stereotype Muslims and the flotilla in one foul swoop.

  • frosh says:

    Rahiin,

    Regarding the photo: On one hand you say the “law maker” in the photo is holding his ceremonial dagger (by the way, it doesn’t feel so ceremonial when it’s held to one’s throat). On the other hand, you say that the photo was doctored and there was no dagger.
    If you’re going to make stuff up, it’s best not to contradict yourself in the same comment.

  • Mohan to frosh says:

    Frosh I can answer every one of the points you have raised and expose the falsity. However, you seem to be frightened of the truth and will not publish it.
    [Eds: For the record Mohan, you were suspended from commenting for trivialising the Holocaust]

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Reading these repetitive, predictable exchanges is a real “Groundhog Day” experience

  • TheSadducee says:

    The tragic thing here is that Porszolt does seem to care about the Palestinians in Gaza.

    Yet by breaking the siege in this manner, without calling for progressive and necessary political and social reform in Gaza, she is arguably hurting the populace further by her implicit support for the Hamas government which will benefit from this action.

    This is extremely unfortunate for the Palestinian populace in Gaza as their future under Hamas will only get worse without the reforms.

    Incidentally these reforms are not hindered by the conflict itself but rather by the fact that Hamas is a religious fundamentalist political group which has goals which are antithetical to the values of an modern secular society.

    The flotilla is on the face of it well-intentioned, but it is really a grand act of theatre and vanity on the part of the participants.

    Better to work towards sensible methods (eg. increasing programme of BDS re. Israel, aid/political restrictions re. Palestine) to coerce the conflicting parties back to a settlement.

  • Josie says:

    Why aren’t you publishing my response to Frosh wherein I supplied links to disprove his vile accusation of falsity?

    [Eds: Your comment merely got caught in our spam filter]

  • Reality Check says:

    OK VP we are all noticing you. The only good Jew on this planet. I reckon you had a childhood where everyone ignored you and now you are trying to make up for it.

  • frosh says:

    Josie,

    The only “sickening racism on this thread” that you speak of is coming from you and the anti-Israel/anti-Jewish camp.

  • frosh says:

    In response to accusations about photo cropping/shopping of knives, it appears some anti-Israel activists here are quite confused.

    The actual controversy of knife/dagger cropping was by Reuters, and this had the effect (intentionally or not) to REMOVE weapons carried by flotilla activists from some images.

    Here is the accusation from Little Green Footballs, and here is the apology from Reuters.

  • Josie says:

    Thanks Ed. for publishing my post. Hoping that Frosh can now see fit to retract his spurious allegations of falsehoods.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Josie,

    The conflict is really quite complex and messy. It cannot be defined credibly in the black/white terms that you are ascribing to it.

    It doesn’t serve your argument well (in fact it appears bigoted) when you suggest that only the Israelis are responsible for the situation when it is clearly demonstrable that Israelis, Palestinians, Arab and Islamic states, the UN, US and EU & Russia all bear responsibility in differing degrees for the current situation which is ongoing.

  • Josie says:

    The Sadducee, please don’t insult me with weasily strawmen. Have you an argument to present?

  • Ramadama says:

    According to the World Health Organisation Gazan and West Bank arabs are at number three (women) and number eight (men) on the global obesity scale.

    http://www.israelwhat.com/2010/04/04/is-obesity-still-a-problem-in-gaza/

    Last published in “The Economist” it seems to contradict the implication that they are starving.

  • Ramadama says:

    http://todaynewsline.com/red-cross-no-humanitarian-crisis-in-gaza/226622/

    April 25, 2011

    Mathilde Redmatn, deputy director of the Red Cross is Gaza, said last April 20, 2011, that “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” she explains. “If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach. The problem is mainly in maintenance of infrastructure and in access to goods, concrete for example. Israel has the legitimate right to protect the civilan population, this right should be balanced with the rights of 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip. Despite the easing of the closure and the partial lifting of export bans in the wake of the flotilla incident, continued restrictions on the movement of people and difficulties in importing building materials hampered sustainable economic recovery and dashed any hope of leading a normal and dignified life”.
    Redmatn has a lot to say about problems related to the closure Israel has placed on Gaza but she also talks about the surprising normalcy in one of the most explosive regions of the world that receives extensive media attention. “Of course the work is different everywhere, but here the fabric of life is problematic,” she says. “There are two peoples, one living under closure and one living under daily rocket fire, which violates international law.
    The Red Cross is an international organization founded in 1863. It promotes laws that protect the victims of war and provides humanitarian aid to people living in conflict zones. Red Cross representatives have worked in Gaza since 1967.
    Redmatn says her organization’s repeated requests to monitor Gilad Shalit’s condition have been refused by Hamas, “we will continue to ask to monitor Gilad Shalit but we do not have the capability to force anything on Hamas” she declared.

  • ariel says:

    Josie,

    Israel does its best to apply it’s Declaration of Independence to all citizens in its polity. Just like Australia does its best to apply its constitution but sometimes falls short, even though it occupies Aboriginal land. But then are you calling on the elimination of Australia?

    Or what about BDS against Turkey’s occupation of Kurdistan and CYPRUS!!!

    The Palesitinians are not part of the Israeli polity; they are citizens of the Palestinian Authority and the PA is responsible for them. Unfortunately, onlay Salaam Fayad seems to be actually aware of this and trying to help his people (for which Hamas wants him fired).

  • Levi says:

    Why is it that Israel is always taking the sole blame for the plight of the people in Gaza?

    Why are they not critical of Hamas, an oppressive and violent government which is a failure at best? This is a government that continually leads its people into a shooting war it cannot win. A government that is prepared to sacrifice its women and children to fuel a religious war. A government filled with Orwellian double-think and double-speak. Do they not realize that by easing the pain of innocent Gazans that Hamas sits ready to take the credit to further its seizure on Israel, considered by them to be an Islamic Waqf (inheritance)?

    Does not this Vivienne Porzsolt realise that no matter how nice she tries to be to the people of Gaza, Hamas will always just consider her another Jew who is an enemy?

    Shouldn’t the REAL fight for the freedom of the people of Gaza be one against Hamas?

  • Sam says:

    Josie

    I had to laugh at your stupidity, thanking the eds. for publishing your comments, then saying that now Frosh should retract his spurious allegations. Last time I checked these two were closely related. Btw, all your comments have been highly racist and disgusting to all reasonably minded readers.

  • Josie says:

    Sam, I produced evidence for my comments. Your dishonest slurs are disgraceful.

    Ramadama, you have spewed the words which the IDF put in Mathilde de Reidmatten’s visit to Gaza. This is easily apparent because the IDF misspelled her name in the Haaretz article where the propaganda first appeared.

    Here are Mathilde’s latest comments, on the ICRC site, where she says amongst other things:

    ‘Gaza is more dependent than ever on outside aid. For young people – fully 50 per cent of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents are under 18 years of age – there is a crushing lack of prospects, and it is a constant struggle for them to maintain hope in the future.

    Because Israel retains effective control over the Gaza Strip, in particular by maintaining authority over the movement of people and goods, it must fulfil its obligations under the law of occupation and allow the civilian population to lead as normal a life as possible.’
    http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/interview/2011/palestine-israel-interview-2011-05-19.htm

    If you accept the WHO as an authority, Ramadama, you might also be concerned about their latest assessment, “Shortages of Drugs and Medical Disposables in MoH Gaza”, June 2011.

    http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/reliefweb_pdf/node-420755.pdf

    Of further relevance is the fact that Israel bombed the medical supplies in northern Gaza in February 2011.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/100881

    You folks who are reflexively defensive of Israel can continue to ignore the facts, call people who reveal them hateful, attempt to blame Hamas and other devious diversions, or you can start acknowledging that Israel is committing crimes against humanity against the people of Gaza and that the Freedom Flotilla 2 is on an honourable mission to break the heinous illegal blockade and collective punishment which Israel perpetrates. None of the pitiful excuses which are peddled here and elsewhere can do away with the facts.

  • Miss Ramadamadingdong says:

    “This is easily apparent because the IDF misspelled her name in the Haaretz article where the propaganda first appeared.”

    Oh “Josie”, you are insane.

  • ariel says:

    Josie,

    Care to comment on Turkey’s brutal occupation of Kurdistan and its refusal to leave Cyprus?

    Or what about Russia’s carpet bombing of Chechnya?

    Are you coming with us on the flotilla to Syria which has murdered thousands of citizens in the last 2 weeks alone?

    Or do you only condemn Israel? Cos that makes you an anti-Semite.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Ariel

    Those topics aren’t really the subject of the conversation nor does anyone really need to discuss those issues (or condemn the participants) to indicate that they are not an antisemite.

    It really is unfair to suggest that because someone has chosen to address Israel in this particular forum (which is after all discussing an issue which affects Israel i.e. the flotilla) that this is evidence of any particular bigotry.

    Nonetheless, I feel a similar frustration in Josie’s comments that they place the overwhelming majority of blame on Israel despite contrary evidence. I suspect that this is motivated not by antisemitism as opposed to poor and biased ideological analysis.

  • Neil says:

    Ariel. Bait and switch the conversation. Accuse of anti-semitism. Attack the other personally. These are the refuges of someone not wanting to place any facts on the table, or someone who does not know the facts or someone who is intelectualy dishonest. So Far, Josie has been the most honest blogger I have seen here. I have seen no facts or truth from you. Only ad homily attacks. I give you a D and ask you to try again. Regards Neil.

  • Neil says:

    To TheSadducee. You said “I feel a similar frustration in Josie’s comments that they place the overwhelming majority of blame on Israel despite contrary evidence.” Josie has given well documented links for her statements. Did you click on them and read what was written or did you close your eyes and settle back into the comfort of your ignorance of the truth of what is happening in Palestine/Israel? I recommend reading the links. You may learn something. That is if you have an open mind and are looking for the truth. On the other hand. Reading the truth from another perspective may bring on some cognitive dissonance due to your current reality not being aligned with facts/Narrative. Regards Neil

  • Adam Neira says:

    Navy Commander: Flotilla’s Goal Is to Fight the IDF (INN)

    “The Foreign Ministry has conducted a constant information and diplomatic campaign pointing out that the United Nations has said there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and that all merchandise, except weapons and material for weapons, can reach the area via overland routes.”

    The problem is the message is not getting through. Israel needs better advocacy on the world stage. People are not sure about the place. Ignorance builds distrust. Here’s an idea…Ask the flotilla organisers to come to Jerusalem to meet with me and my team tout de suite. However long it takes to get agreement on certain issues and to explain some things it is better than needless and possible bloody confrontation. The best way to head off negative publicity is to engage. If Israel was a wise corporation it would do everything in its power to protect its image with its customers. If Israel believes that its target market is only 14 million and the rest are irrelevant it has a fatal problem. Branding is an important part of business success. I am prepared to advocate with conditions. The need for these flotillas can be circumvented. Time is of an essence.

  • Neil says:

    To Adam. You wrote ” all merchandise, except weapons and material for weapons” can reach Gaza. Then Israel should be prepared to board the vessels for an inspection and then let the boats past. Indeed, if there is a UN inspection seal on the holds, then that should be enough for Israel. To take any other action is a demonstration that Israel is trying to stop the development of the Gaza economy which is illegal under international law. Indeed. If Israel had any sense, they would assist the UN in building an international sea port at Gaza with appropriate customs zone to keep out weapons. This is coming and Israel should get out in front in helping to build it. It will be needed for the state of Palestine. That is if Israel believes in the two state solution. It would be helping put in place the infrastructure to facilitate the two state solution rather than destroying the infrastructure which it has been doing over the years.

  • frosh says:

    Great article, David. Thanks for sharing.

    I’m looking forward to The Gruen Transfer returning (hopefully) to our screens, so we can further appreciate the analytical abilities of Rowan Dean and co.

  • Neil says:

    To David. Read it and am not convinced. All I see is personal attacks on people who protest. There is no justification set out to why there were 6 Turks shot in the back and 3 shot in the back of the head, execution style, by Israeli forces. At least two of them were shot in the head while lying on the deck. Obviously not a danger at that stage. There is no explanation why many of the freedom flotilla activists (their descriptions) were essentially tortured by the Israeli forces. I may not support the activists but I can see the truth and would oppose this kind of terror activity by any armed force. Remember, terror is defined as the use of violence on civilians to achieve a political purpose. In this case, Israel executed civilians to try to scare other people from being in a freedom flotilla. Therefore, what Israel did meets the definition of terrorism. That I cannot support.

  • Neil – I didn’t seek to convince you with the article. Besides, it’s clear that you’ve already made your mind up. I suppose the video footage of flotilla “activists” beating Israeli soldiers with iron bars wasn’t something you took into account in forming a view.

    Irrespective of how either of us view the first flotilla incident, Rowan sees this current initiative for the PR exercise it is. The term “publicity whore” comes to mind. If these “activists” really wanted to help, then there are so many other things they could do that would be far more effective.

  • frosh says:

    Neil,

    Where are you getting these facts from?
    Can you provide a link to the autopsy report?

  • Neil says:

    David. I did see the video of the “activists” fighting with the Soldiers that Israel released. So far, I haven’t made up my mind as the whole truth but I am concerned by reports of extra-judicial killings of civilians by a professional army. This far outweighs any “beating” that was delivered to soldiers.

    My understanding is also that the “activists” looked after the wounds of 4 Israeli soldiers that they had captured rather than killing them as some people said the activists were intent on doing.

    I am now waiting for Israel to release ALL of the video and images confiscated from the “activists” phones and camera’s. These images and film will allow the world to come to see the truth of what happened that day. I am assuming that the Israeli forces have nothing to hide. Do they?

    The term “Publicity Whore” is just another of those attacks that go down with a friendly audience but in no way hold any sway in a reasoned debate. I am not sure why you use it?

    In doing more to help the situation. If Israel had any sense, it would be helping to build the port at Gaza and working with the UN to put in a proper customs zone to keep out weapons. This port is going to be needed when the two state solution is finally solved. To put it off surely shows a lack of desire to move on with the two sate solution. By the way. Countries have to talk with their enemies to bring about peace. Israel did this with Egypt and Jordan in the past. Hamas has offered to talk with Israel and that is what should happen.

  • Neil says:

    “Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice”.

    “The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.”

    “Five of the men died with bullet wounds to the head, said Dr. Haluk Ince, the director of Istanbul’s Medical Examination Institute”

    “From the analysis of the bullet distance on one of the bodies,” Dr. Ince said, “the gun was fired between 2 and 14 centimeters’ distance from the victim’s head.”

    “Given the very disturbing evidence which contradicts the line from the Israeli media and suggests that Israelis have been very selective in the way they have addressed this, there is now an overwhelming need for an international inquiry,” said Andrew Slaughter MP, a member of the all party group on Britain and Palestine.

    Now you tell me. Reads like executions to me. And this is just a snapshot of the information released. Remember that there were another 54 people shot. Looked like a group of soldiers so far out of control spraying bullets around. I also saw the video of Soldiers shooting through a window at civilians that were not threatening them. What am I meant to think? Even if I fully support Israel? I have to keep an open mind and go with the facts. Over 60 people shot. . . . What is going to happen this time?

  • frosh says:

    Neil,

    Turkey is no more impartial in this matter than Israel, although Turkey has a much worse record on human rights and liberties. The Turkish government was playing populist politics here, trying to whip up support through vilfying Israel – a common tactic in the region.

    This is a country where it is illegal to even use the Kurdish language!
    And yet you trust them without any scepticsm!

  • Reu says:

    What a poor interview.

    Why not ask about the missiles and weapons?
    Why not ask that if you wanted good delivered bring them to the crossings in Israel?
    Why not ask about the flow of weapons ?
    Why not ask about Galid Shalit?
    Why not ask about Charter of Hamas calling for destruction of Israel?
    Why not ask about the Charter of Hamas calling for war against Jews around the world ?
    Why not ask about Hamas position on violence ?
    Why not ask if Hamas wanted couldn’t it renounce their policy on war with Israel and the borders would open today ?
    Why not ask why did Hamas make GAza into a fortress shooting at Israel instead as an example of peace ?
    Why not ask if the children of Gaza are suffering due to the policies of Hamas ?
    And the most important question why not ask how can you work with people who beliefs as stated in their Charter is the destruction of Israel and war with Jews around the world. Aren’t your actions supporting the murder of Jews ?

    If you do an interview do a real one. This is a joke.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil,

    I have merely suggested that I don’t subscribe to the position that Israel is overwhelmingly to blame for the ongoing conflict – I have suggested that a number of nations and/or political/religious groups are to blame (including Israel) for a number of different reasons. I don’t think that idea is reasonably disputable – what is arguable is the extent of blame each group has with regards to the conflict.

    Incidentally, I have looked at the information that Josie has put forward and, if you had read some of my discussions on this topic prior to this thread, would have realised that I am quite unsympathetic to all the groups involved in the conflict.

  • TheSadducee says:

    frosh

    I don’t believe that it is currently illegal to use Kurdish in Turkey – I think there are some restrictions on certain uses of it. This in itself as a limitation on freedom of expression and cultural rights is deplorable though.

    I’m not sure that Turkey’s condemnations are necessarily cynical – they are an Islamist-lite government which probably genuinely feels a solidarity with the Muslim majority Palestinians. Their actions are certainly calculated to have a domestic and regional political impact which reinforces their Islamic credentials.

  • frosh says:

    Sadducce,

    You are right. My information was outdated. The Kurdish language is no longer completely banned in Turkey, but there are still severe restrictions placed on its use. Interestingly, in Syria, it is still completely forbidden to publish material in the Kurdish language.

    All this is in marked contrast with Israel, where Arabic is an official language.

  • TheSadducee says:

    frosh

    I don’t think any reasonable person, especially from the left, would suggest that the Syrian government is a force for progress.

    It was revealing though to see Porszolt assert that the Operation Cast Lead in Gaza was clearly far worse than what is going on in Syria at the moment.

    To a certain extent that judgement alone should give you a good idea of the extent of her ideological prejudice in relation to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.

  • GG says:

    Every single thing Vivienne has said is the stock-standard programmed response given by those who demonstarte Israel-hatred.

    Say Vivienne, the “Khaybar, Khaybar…” couplet chanted by the Turkish jihadis WAS SHOWN ON TURKISH TV, Hurriyet TV.

    Not only “might” it be true, it IS true!!

    Do you know – seriously – NOTHING about Islam? About the Muslim Brotherhood? About jihad?

    Or is it simply that you care only for being a “progressive” instead of a real human?

  • GG says:

    from a Melanie Phillips piece:

    “…the flotilla is out to provoke violence and mayhem. The claim that its mission is a humanitarian one to relieve Israel’s ‘siege’ of Gaza is patently ludicrous. There is no siege. Israel allows in regular supplies, and Egypt recently opened its own Gaza border. No, the flotilla’s real aim by its illegal breaking of the legal maritime blockade of Gaza is to provoke Israel into violence against those on board so that they can pose as martyrs and will thus trap Israel into blackening its own image.

    Yet however transparent the flotilla’s real purpose, the media are sanitising its true aims and potential for violence, as Just Journalism spells out here:
    http://justjournalism.com/media-analysis/guardian-and-independent-coverage-of-second-flotilla-omits-key-facts/

    and here:
    http://justjournalism.com/the-wire/gaza-flotilla-2011-guardian-and-independent-omissions-continue/

    Well, the true aim was actually spelled out by Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and a board member of the Free Gaza Movement (which is behind the flotilla), at a meeting last November at Rutgers university in New Jersey to raise money to fund an American flotilla boat. I have obtained a video of this address (no link, I’m afraid). This is what Shapiro said:

    What we’ve been doing over the last ten years with the International Solidarity Movement, Free Gaza, and all the other outgrowth organisations and movements and groups is to …work with Palestinian society to ramp up the resistance. This is all part of a Palestinian movement for Palestine…This is truly an international movement … It’s only Palestine, this cause that has been going on for over 60 years, that generates this kind of activism, this kind of resistance…

    Free Gaza is but one tactic of a larger strategy, to transform this conflict from one between Israel and the Palestinians, or Israel and the Arab world…to one between the rest of the world and Israel… [applause]

    It’s not just the conflict, it’s not just the siege, it’s not just the home demolitions, it’s not just the wall on the West Bank, it’s not just the effort to continue to dispossess Palestinians of their land…it’s also the attempt to define a place where 20 per cent of the population is Palestinian, to define the land underneath their feet as Jewish, to further dispossess them and subject these people to permanent second third or fourth class citizenship…Free Gaza is a tactic…all of it is part of a strategy now to transform the conflict and internationalise it and really undermine Israel where it gets its most support…

    Our ground is the whole world. And that’s where our resistance has to be. The whole world… We already have a third intifada. It’s going on right now. It’s going on all over the world. [my emphasis]

    So from the horse’s mouth we learn that the prime aim of the flotilla is not to provide humanitarian supplies to Gaza. It is not even to protest Israel’s ‘siege’ of Gaza. It is instead a tactic in a campaign to undermine Israel itself on account of its 60-plus year existence as a Jewish state. In other words, the flotilla is part of a strategy designed to destroy Israel altogether. “

  • GG says:

    Adam Shapiro, is, of course partnered with a Palestinian.

  • Neil says:

    GG. Have you heard about Plan Dalet? Ben Gurions deliberate plan to ethnicaly cleanse the Arabs from their homes in 1948. Did you research how over 700,000 Arabs were driven from their homes and lands and how Israel destroyed or repopulated 530 Arab villages with Jewish immigrants. That Israel deliberately expanded from 55% of Palestine to 78% of Palestine. (with only 6% Jewish ownership of the Partition area) That Israel was well outside the partition lines before any Arab army entered the fray. (300,000 Arabs had already been driven from their homes) The genesis of the issues in Palestine/Israel is this. There is not going to be peace in Israel/Palestine until this issue has been addressed with Truth and Reconciliation. Most Zionists deny the facts and the truth. The rest of the world are growing aware of what really happened. It is beyond time to review this issue which created the Arab refugee issue. It is beyond time that the regime in Israel was held to account for it’s actions. Why is Israel so afraid of the truth that it has to try to control it and spin another narrative not based on truth? A good example is why has Israel not released ALL the video and images taken of the attack on the freedom flotilla in 2010? What is it hiding? Surely the truth cannot hurt Israel if Israel is in the right?

  • Wolf says:

    To Neil,

    You say “Have you heard about Plan Dalet? Ben Gurions deliberate plan to ethnicaly cleanse the Arabs from their homes in 1948″.
    My answer to you Neil is ‘yes’ I have. I think it was the same internet site that also taught me that man never landed on the moon but rather it was in a Hollywood basement, that aliens landed at area 51, that the Yeti exists, and so does ‘Chupacabra’.
    Very reliable information indeed.
    Oh also, I read that the Jews extract the blood of small christian children to make matzos or something, same site:) Totally trustworthy, I’m not at all gullible or antisemitic.

  • Neil says:

    I am sorry that you have taken this position Wolf. Plan Dalet is an acknowledged fact that is easily researched. Indeed, it was Jewish historians that made it visible using records taken from Israeli Government archives in Israel.

    The deliberate attempt to ridicule my post shows that there is a real fear of the truth coming out about Plan Dalet. There is a real need to face the facts of what happened in the birth of Israel in 1948 and to recognise that the Arab/Palestinian refugee problem was caused deliberately by ethnic cleansing. It is only when Israel finally acknowledges the facts that a real dialogue can take place about how to solve the issue.

    On to the 1967 war. Did you know that Israel deliberately expelled the Arabs from the Golan Heights AFTER the end of hostilities. The Arabs had started to return to their homes when they were rounded up and forced out of their lands. Once again, these facts are easily researched.

    Ethnic cleansing has been part of Israel history and still is ongoing in Jerusalem, the West Bank and with the Bedouin.

    Wolf. Like it or not, the truth is accessible for people to research given the Internet and access to Library books on the subjects. It is possible to cut through the False Narrative and get to the truth. Not Area 51 or Yeti or blood libels. We don’t believe in that. We believe in the facts and they are easy to find.

    Try looking up Plan Dalet and Ben Gurions part in it. Try looking up the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. You have nothing to loose if you are not a part of Mossad paid to try to obscure the facts.

    Best wishes.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil

    I don’t doubt the assertions you make however the context was that there was a vicious conflict going on since the 1920’s which had human rights abuses and atrocities being committed by both sides and culminated in civil war where the same occured on a much larger scale. This doesn’t make it right however the outcomes cannot be taken aside from this context.

    Unfortunately for the Palestinians, the Israelis were more successful in objectives that were sought by both sides in the conflict – seizing territory and ethnic exclusion/cleansing where possible.

    Don’t be disingenuous or naieve to think that the same (or worse) wouldn’t have happened if the outcome had been a Palestinian and/or Arab victory.

    Nonetheless, the Israelis emerged victorious and a Palestinian refugee problem is the result. This needs to be addressed.

    I agree that a Truth and Reconciliation commission setup would be a good idea (I suggested on another thread that a joint-commission should be established to examine the 1948 refugees’ claims) however, like any of these types of ideas, it would be a double-edged sword – Palestinian advocates would have to equally admit that they held similar goals to Plan Dalet in the civil war and Arab states would have to admit that they also shared these goals.

    No particular side in this conflict is pristine or unblameless – it is messy and unless radical paradigm shifts on all the involved parties occurs is not going to be resolved justly.

  • Wolf says:

    To Neil,
    you write “Ethnic cleansing has been part of Israel history and still is ongoing in Jerusalem”. Fact, it is not.

    We are therefore left with two understandings of the way you think, either;
    a) You are litereally ‘simple’ and gullible, able to digest any story you are told regardless of how ridiculous it may be
    OR
    b) You are a Jew hater plain and simple. After all, why would someone make this comment about the Jewish state if it’s not true, unless they were bigotted antisemites?

    Now, you seem to be able to write coherrently, and only a complete moron would believe such utter nonsensical hate-filled drivel. So option a) is out.

    That leaves us back with option b) you are a Jew hater, for no reason, plain and simple. No doubt your ancestors perpetrated the ‘blood libel’ myth with the same enthusiasm!

  • TheSadducee says:

    Wolf

    Ethnic cleansing as a result of policy did occur in Israel during the 1948 conflict. I don’t think it is antisemitic and/or ignorant to make this claim and there is evidence to back it up – cf. Morris’ “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem” which documents actual expulsions.

    Nonetheless, Plan Dalet, is a real but controversial matter which is contested by historians in terms of its goals/aims/intentions/outcomes and cannot be dissociated from the context of the ongoing conflict and civil war.

    It however was not the only cause of the refugee problem and people like Neil need to acknowledge that fact rather than unfairly apportioning blame to Israel. There is accountability that needs to be accepted by the Palestinians and the neighbouring Arab states for their part in the disaster as well.

  • Neil says:

    Wolf. Wolf. The “Jew hater” tag is just so over used by people who want to Bait and Switch the discussion. Once again, I suggest you look up Plan Dalet as well as researching about the Golan in 1967. The truth is there if you are honest enough to want to find it. There never was “A land without people for a People without Land”. If this was the case, there would have been no need to ethnically cleanse 530 villages of their Arab populations. It was a myth that every open minded person can find out about.

    Sadducee. You are right that there was a vicious conflict going on through the 1920 etc. Much of it started by land being purchased from absentee Arab landowners followed by the occupants of those lands being thrown out of the houses that they had lived in for many years.

    The fact that one group won a war does not excuse the Ethnic Cleansing that took place. (At least you are honest enough to admit it happened. Wolf, please take note) To do so would be to validate any war in the future that any opposition to Israel won and expelled the Jews from the land.

    My case is that it cannot be swept under the carpet and denied. Plan Dalet was deliberately set up in the years running up to 1948 and executed with a number of deliberate Massacres (check out Deir Yassin) to help convince the Arab population to leave. My understanding is that most of the Arab population in Palestine lived in peace with their Jewish neighbors early on. It was the arrival of European Jews/Zionists with a plan to set up a state that started the major conflicts. That followed up by a specific and deliberate plan to ethnically cleanse the land of Arabs has caused major issues. What to do about it is the question. Firstly is to acknowledge the truth. Then to work out a solution.

    Best wishes

  • Wolf says:

    To TheSadducce,

    I find your assertion of “ethnic cleaning… in Israel in 1948″ a little hard to digest. It makes me wonder how liberal your definition of ‘ethnic cleansing’ is, and if such an occurence ever happened.

    It was my understanding that Arabs have always existed in Israel right through from independence to the current day. Furthermore Arabic is a state language and Israeli Arabs enjoy the same democratic freedoms of all Israelis?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Wolf – you might want to read more broadly on the history before you write off anyone who writes about expulsion of Palestinians as anti- semitic.

    This discussion between Ilan Pappe and Yuval Gilboa back in 1999 is fascinating because the two historians agree on the facts (more or less) but explain them very differently. Gilboa acknowledges major expulsions from the Galilee in particuar although I don’t think he would describe them as ethnic cleansing.
    http://israelleft.com/2011/06/27/archive-pappe-debates-1948-with-major-zionist-historian/

    What goes in East Jerusalem today is awful whatever you call it. There are many areas (such as Maaleh Zeitim, Maaleh David, Kidmat Zion) where people have built fenced and guarded communities for Jews only – in the middle of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem with the express or tacit support of the government, and often with taxpayer funded private security .

    It’s a highly politically motivated attempt to reinforce a Jewish presence in East Jerusalem and to dilute the presence of Palestinians, to build facts on ground that prevent discussion about the possibility of East Jerusalem being a part of a Palestinian state. What is the ethical basis for doing that?

    Here is a link to an undisputed story that the Israeli government cancelled the residency of 140,000 West Bank residents who had been absent from the WB for some years without advising them that their residency would be cancelled. So whatever its called, its nasty stuff and is ongoing.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-admits-it-covertly-canceled-residency-status-of-140-000-palestinians-1.360935

  • TheSadducee says:

    Wolf

    Ethnic cleansing can occur in several forms – the worst forms include massacres and killings which literally depopulate a particular group (eg. the 90’s conflicts in the Balkans, Rwanda genocide in 1994 are recent examples), however, if a particular group of people flee and/or are physically forced to move and/or encouraged to leave an area and not permitted to return, these also result in ethnic cleansing.

    All of these things occured during the conflict and were conducted by all the groups fighting in the conflict.

    Ethnic cleansing does not need to result in total ethnic cleansing either to be classified or understood as such. In fact, in most cases this is unachievable in the practical sense due to logistics. (It takes an enormous amount of resources to completely remove a targetted group – even the Nazis did not completely succeed in Europe with regard to Jews despite their industrial and social advantages.)

    There has been and remains Arabs in Israel since prior to 1948 and those rights you refer to are accorded them. This is a sign of the tolerance and progressiveness of the majority in according them these rights. One should note that similar rights are not accorded to Jewish people in say Gaza under Palestinian rule.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Mandi

    The expulsions may not have been a considered and deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing per se (as opposed to military strategies), but the outcome was ethnic cleansing by virtue of the fact that Arabs (whether Muslim or Christian) were targetted and expelled. (The Palestinians and/or Arabs sought and achieved similarly to a lesser degree in areas they controlled eg. East Jerusalem).

    This of course, as I note earlier, does not justify this. Rather, it needs to be understood in its historical context and addressed urgently today.

    As to East Jerusalem, there is an atrocious policy which is similarly and deliberately slowly changing the ethnic/religious demographic – again, not because it is deliberately anti-Arab (i.e. racist) but rather because the Israeli’s want to retain that territory and think that the demographic change will be a negotiating advantage. The outcome is ethnic cleansing and racist, but the intention is not necessarily that. Either way it is contemptible – Jerusalem should be administered by a 3rd party (perhaps the Vatican like in the original partition plan?)

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Wolf – Israel is a democracy but not all democracies accommodate minority interests very well. Israel does not have a brilliant record in protecting the rights of its minority population. But the courts play a critical role in defending the rights of minorities.

    One example of many – in the mid 2000s there was a long-standing socio-economic plan according to which the government divided the country into “National Priority Areas” for the purpose of allocating financial resources, including educational benefits. This plan significantly favoured Jews over Arab citizens of Israel.

    With private funding, this was challenged in the Supreme Court. The court cancelled the policy on the basis that it discriminated against Arab citizens.

    In some ways it shows that Israeli democracy works. But the need for checks and balances, and the need for funding for organisations that provide them is enormous.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Sorry Saducee, we crossed over. I don’t like the term ethnic cleansing because it does imply a strategy or plan. But I think many of us who grew up with a commitment to Zionism (and I still and happily call myself a Zionist) were taught the history of Israel that made us blind to many of the facts.
    You could say the same about Australia – Henry Reynold’s book “Why weren’t we told?” addresses many of these issues in an Australian context – how history gets distorted and suppressed and whole generations have an inaccurate understanding.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil

    The legitimate purchase of land and clearing of residents was not illegal then nor is it today here in Australia. They are basic property rights maintained by any land owner.

    The policy obviously did not engender feelings of warmth or harmony between the communities however and could have been dealt with in a more tactful/practical manner.

    Violence in consequence of this is not excusable irrespective of how you look at it. Neither is the legal immigration of individuals who hold different political and social aspirations to your own (eg. European Zionists).

    The earlier period of co-living was relatively peaceful, however don’t be romantic in suggesting that this was particularly good – the Jewish minority had second-class rights in the society and this fact maintained the peace. However, as any minority, they were at the whim of the majority population, which in history, has bene often shown to end in tragedy (even in the ME). This was not a situation which was, or is, acceptable.

    I’m not in disagreement generally with your position. I do however think that you minimise the responsibility (and intentions) of the Palestinians and Arabs for their part in this catastrophe.

    They had a rejectionist political leadership, including a Nazi sympathizer/alleged war criminal (al-Husayni), had committed atrocities/war crimes of their own including ethnic cleansing which was their ultimate war goal(East Jerusalem), had earlier committed massacres against Jews (eg. Hebron 1929), had an ally (Jordan) which seized part of their national territory and didn’t give up claims to annexation until the early 1990’s, had encouraged their own non-combatants to flee the fighting for a start.

    If you don’t acknowledge and examine these issues as well as Deir Yassin, Plan Dalet etc, then you are being deliberately dishonest in your analysis and are in fact, not contributing to a solution, but continuing the conflict via proxy.

  • TheSadducee says:

    I should clarify my position – massacres/killings resulting in surviving population movement is ethnic cleansing. Killing the targetted group as a goal in itself to eradicate them without consideration for movement is genocide.

    I also used ethnic cleansing in a loose sense (i.e. the minority completely gone despite methodology) as opposed to the technical sense relating to policy and movement. Sorry for the confusion!

  • Wolf says:

    You are all right ethnic cleansing DID occur, in fact it was the Jews that were ‘ethnically cleansed’ from Gaza strip, by Israel due to Palestinian pressure, how do you feel now Neil?

    By the way Neil, this fits perfectly into the United Nations loose definition of ethnic cleansing, which states “rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons of another ethnic or religious group”. Precisely what happened to the Jews of Gaza!

    Furthermore, this also happened in Hevron!

    Furthermore this happened in nearly every Arab country with a sizeable Jewish population throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s. Umm, but I guess that’s ok Neil? Isn’t it? Because they’re not Zionist Imperialist Jews? They’re peace loving, freedom loving noble Arabs.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Wolf I was in Hevron in April. What I saw there was the former Palestinian old town, emptied of people who have who found living there unbearable, due to the heavy presence of Israeli soldiers (who in the main don’t want any part of it but have no choice), who are there to protect Israeli citizens living in Hevron.

    Jews in Hevron have pretty much freedom of movement and in some cases have moved into streets and homes recently owned and occupied by Palestinians.

    and yes the 1929 Hevron massacre was horrendous. But it doesnt justify what goes on in Hevron today.

    where will it all end if people put the holiness of land, and the importance of places of memory, ahead of the needs of people who are alive right now whose human rights are being breached on a daily basis?

    and yes I visited the shule in Hevron and was surprised by my sense of connection and by the beauty if it which goes beyond the physical, and I cried hot angry and confused tears there – for reasons I haven’t got time to explain now but would be happy to when I have more time, but what human cost is exacted so that Jews can visit?

  • Wolf says:

    Mandi, the parts of Hevron you saw was the ‘Jewish side’. What actually happened, is this:

    In order for ‘peace’, about 70% of Hevron was allocated to the Arabs, whilst about 30% was allocated to the Jews. This was because the ‘peace loving’ Arabs couldn’t live side by side with us like normal decent human beings the worldwide!

    Anyway, the Jews were ‘ethnically cleansed’ (seems to be the catchphrase in this forum) and forcibly removed from their homes in Hevron. They were not allowed back, and their property was confiscated. They initially lived in most of Hevron, they were now left with tiny 30%. However, it gets worse (or better depending on your point of view), the Arabs in the 30% Jewish area refused to sell their market shops and the government wouldn’t make them (even though the government FORCED the Jews in the now 70% Arab part to sell all their land). The reason for this is because the government didn’t want to stir tensions any further. As a result, the 30% ‘Jewish’ area is only partly habitable (because much of this area is the old arab market), whilst the 70% Arab area is totally inhabited by Arabs living in many cases, in what was once Jewish homes and areas!

    The Army presence in Hevron is not there to ‘shut out’ the Arabs, it is there to protect the Jews. It is also there to make sure Jews don’t try returning to their former homes that they were forcibly evicted from.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Wolf I understand all of that. And yes I know there is a Palestinian part of Hevron and how it was all divvied up; H1 and H2 all of that – but you seem to overlook one critical fact here. This is not part of sovereign Israel.

    How does Israel get to divvy up an area over which it does not assert sovereignity? And if it does assert sovereignity over that area, why do the people who live there not get full citizenship in the sovereign state?

    yes you are right, Palestinians living in Hevron don’t welcome Jews there – but would you if you and your parents had been born into a situation where you are a local, indigenous whatever you want to call it, have no other home and no other real possibility of another home but you live subject to military rule and without the benefits of citizenship and true freedom of movement? And all this while Israeli citizens come and go freely with the protection of the military while you are have no such protection?

    Its certainly not just and its hardly peace Wolf. Its a tragic mess, and it is getting worse all the time.

  • Neil says:

    One solution would be a single democratic state for all people who live in the Palestine/Israel area. It would then become a police issue rather than a military issue. People would then be free to live side by side.

    This seems to be a solution based on the current situation where “facts on the ground” have made it all but impossible to have two separate states. Israel still refuses, after 63 years, to state it’s proposed borders.

    This would also solve the refugee problem as they would then be able to return to their homes, or where they have been destroyed, get compensation and an opportunity to build a new home. It would allow Palestinian farmers to farm their lands as the separation wall would be removed. It would allow people to get to hospitals as the check points would be removed. It would allow the development of the Water resources on an equality basis. I would allow the development of offshore gas resources with benefits going to all citizens.

    It would take some time to complete but there seems little choice. There are about as many Jews as Arabs in the Israel/Palestine/Refugee camps area and the land could be redistributed on the basis of the 1948 UN partition plan. 55% to Israel and 45% to Palestine but I know that this is a non starter.

    The decisions made by Israel in 1947/8 and then again in 1967 and associated actions have left few options. A careful integration of all peoples should lead to a strong vibrant country with much to offer the region.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Wolf

    No need for petulance in your comments.

    Mandi does indirectly raise a valid point however – there were no Jews living in Hebron between 1948 (possibly earlier?) and 1967. They came to the city after 1967 and started to establish homes etc in the face of overt hostility from the Palestinians which required and still requires a significant military force to ensure their survival.

    I’m not even certain how many of the people who moved in after 1967 were actual descendants of the inhabitants from 1929?

    These would be the only people able to legitimately claim a right of return to live there, and like the inverse situation in Israel, it would need to be negotiated with the Palestinians, not enforced by military power (or a foreign party) which dispossesses or harms the Palestinian population.

    All the rest of the Jews who came have no right to be there and shouldn’t be there under the current circumstances. If they choose to be there, they should pay a heavier proportion of the military costs to maintain them there – I bet you wouldn’t find them too eager to do that.

    Ideally, the UN should enforce Jewish (and Muslim) rights to the holy sites in that location which would obviate much of the need to live there to access them.

    The other option is incorporation into Israel which would entail making the Palestinians that live their citizens. I personally don’t think Hebron is worth that, the Temple Mount is far more significant.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    actually I should correct myself here – it wasnt just Israel that divvied it up. it was an interim agreement on Hevron between Israel and the PLO.

    But it doesn’t change the underlying principle which is about the injustice of Israel maintaining military control and supporting settlers in an area that is not part of Israel and according to any reasonable interpretation of Israel’s commitment to a Palestinian state, and the various accords signed by Israel, will not be part of Israel .

  • Wolf says:

    To Mandi,
    you say “it is hardly peace… it is a tragic mess”, that is entirely correct.
    There is no easy option, until the prevailing Palestinian culture, and that of their mainstream political parties (Hamas and Fatah) changes to one of peace and tolerance.

    To Neil,
    you state that “One solution would be a single democratic state for all people who live in the Palestine/Israel area”. That’s a nice idea, but it is a very secular point of view and you’re forgetting one very important thing, most Arabs (in and out of Israel too!) are not secular and for religious reasons will not accept less than a Muslim state. Many Jews wouldn’t risk not having a Jewish state either, for both religious reasons and that of self preservation.

    Another salient point here Neil is this; Currently Fatah and Hamas are the main two parties in Gaza, they are (generally speaking) democratically elected, international terrorist organizations. What message are the Palestinian people sending to Israel when these are there main political parties? None of Israel’s mainstream political parties are anywhere near as fundamentalist, and certainly none are international terrorist organisations.
    Remember, as I’ve written in a previous post elsewhere, Hamas and Fatah are quite happy to televise antisemitic television programs such as ‘Farfur the mouse’, whilst such bigotry and hatred would be both illegal and abhorred in Israel.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil

    The one state solution as you express it would be ideal, however it is unrealistic based on the fact that no differing minority ethnicity/religious group in the region has been able to live with full and equal rights to the majority in their state.

    I’m sorry to say but the Palestinians have, by democratically choosing an reactionary religious party (Hamas) as their government, indicated that they are not prepared to have a modern secular state which would permit full and equal rights to differing groups in their state.

    Similarly, by the Palestinian government adopting the Arab Charter on Human Rights, they have adopted a set of human rights positions which are contrary to universal human rights on a number of matters and are not conducive to such a solution.

  • gg says:

    neil I haven’t been here for awhile.

    The problem of Israel and the Palestinian ARABS is Islamic Jihad,
    current European subsidy and strategic support of Islamic Jihad since the 60’s and 70s:

    :There is no piont wasting one’s money and one’s energy trying to prove Israel’s right to exist in the 21st Century, or to imagine that this policy stems from ignorance; for it is a coldly calculated programme.
    You have anti-Israel strategy initiated in the 1970’s (that)will not change; it will continue. It is too late to change. It will continue to its conclusion: the destruction of Europe.” = Bat YeOr.

    http://kitmantv.blogspot.com/search/label/bat%20yeor

    As to your comments abotu Plan Dalet, i would suggest you note the name’s meaning Plan DALET> Dalet is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and impies there were three plans before this one, the fourth.
    In addition, Plan Dalet was conceived as a contingency plan to be exercised as a very last reosrt in a TIME OF WAR should the Arabs succeed in accomplishing their war of annihilation.

    You should know that Leftist talking points cut no ice with me, especially on Jewish message boards, though socially I would probably be very polite about it. They are of course, fun to tick off on the Leftist Lies List, and you’ve scored prettty high on that so far.

    Perhaps I am being unrealistic, but I expect Jews, religious or not, to f****** well know their own history, or at least some of the parts which relate to the establishment of Israel and the constant jihad imposed on the Jewish, Christian and Indian world since the repulsive inmception of Islam.

    Particularly since the first massacre of peaceful Jews was carried out on the Jews of Yathrib, turned into an Islamic town of Khaybar on the murdered and enslaved bodies of Jews, now in the area of Saudi Arabia.

    I myself am secular and understand the pressures of a secular Jew getting out of touch with their own religion, as many Jews who are not religious do. It may apply in person and socially. On message boards it is ridiculous.

    Being generous, frendly and coexisting with Palestinan Arabs in Israel is one thing; being blind to their motives as Islamists is inexcusable.

    Finally Neil,have you READ the Hamas Covenant, the PLO Covenant and the Palestinian Covenant? I have read these documents and they all say one thing: Death to Israel.

  • Neil says:

    GG. The world acknowledges that Israel exists and that it has the right to exist. I agree with that. I do not believe that many of the Palestinian Arabs in the region want to kill the Jews. Most of the ordinary Arabs just want peace and a chance to bring up their children in a decent environment. Just like I imagine most of the ordinary Jews in Israel would like to do.

    About Plan Dalet. You are right. It was the forth plan. The first three were rejected by Ben Gurion who adopted Plan Dalet. The history is well documented. The planning took a few years and including documenting every Arab village. People, animals, buildings, entrance, attack and exit routes, etc. All the facilities and infrastructure was documented for appropriation. It included overflights by air club planes to get arial photos. My issue is that many Israelis today ignore or try to hide the truth about Plan Dalet. Just like they try to hide the truth about 1967 when Israel expelled the civilians from the Golan AFTER the end of hostilities. (nothing to do with security at all) It was all pre-planned to steal the land from the rightful owners. Remember the colonies Israel put into the Sinai Peninsular and Gaza. Remember the attacks on Lebanon with the intention of taking land up to the Litani River. We HAVE studied history and the Zionist plans for a greater Israel of many years.

    If Israel was being defensive, it would have never placed colonies into foreign territory in complete disregard to international law.

    My concern is that many Israelis deny their well documented history. I imagine that it would be very difficult for many Israelis to acknowledge the truth and then argue that the Arab refugees should have no right of return or some fair resolution to the actions inflicted on them. It is the denial of this history and the subsequent injustices inflicted on the Arabs that incense many people in the world. Over 60 years to front up and try to put the injustices right.

    In the rest of the world, we watch Israel continue to take land from the rightful owners and to populate that land with Jewish colonists. Deliberate and specific racist land theft actions.

    Cut it which ever way you want, many people in the world are starting to see the truth and are rejecting the false narrative that Israel has carefully nurtured over the years.

    Best wishes

  • Gershon Klein says:

    Reference above to Plan Dalet indicates that your correspondents’ understanding is limited.

    Plan Dalet was a panicked reaction to the impending invasion of the new state of Israel by surrounding Arab armies. It’s author realised that without continuity between the main Jewish population centres, the new state would be defeated (through a mix of invasion by foreign armies on one hand, and guerrilla warfare and terrorism by local irregulars, supported by Arab villages, on the other).

     As such, commanders were given orders to consolidate the Jewish defensive lines. If Arab forces in these areas resisted, the commanders were permitted to destroy the relevant villages (since the villages were vital to the Arab fighters’ efforts). 

    There was no general plan to destroy all villages – it was left to the commanders’ discretion as to what constituted military necessity. 

    Consider that, after the war, most of the Arab-populated areas that had come under Jewish control still had Arabs living there. That is – some Arabs had left; some Arabs were pushed out; some Arabs stayed. 

    If there had been a Zionist ethnic cleansing plan, Israel would not have had any Arabs in it. 

    Compare that to EVERY area that came under Arab control – the Jews were either slaughtered or expelled. 

    While it’s true the Arab side did not gain nearly as much land as it had hoped (it had hoped to gain all the land), the fact remains that all Jews were expelled from all the areas that came under Arab control. This post-war reality conforms to the statements made by both sides vis-a-vis their plans for the other in the lead up to the war. 

    The statements by the leaders of one side – the Arab side – were clearly genocidal in nature. The statements by the leaders of the other side – the Jewish side – were not.

  • GG says:

    Neil, you haven’t read the Hamas documents have you?

    YOur talk about the “rightful owners” – well that happens to be the Jews- and “racist” behaviour shows me that.

    Normal people accept the right of Israel to exist – Lefties and Islamic jihadists do not,neither do Jewhaters, and incidentally a whole department of the ABC thinks Jews should not be there at all!!. There are indeed many Arabs who wish to live peacefully with their families, some of them live in Israel and many of them wish to live “peacefully” in a Judenrein land.

    It is interresting to me how many Jews these days find it easy to see the POV of their enemies – always an enriching and stimulating experience, to be sure – but actively side with them against their own interests. Shows that Jews claim to cleverness is really a myth.

    Gershon, thank you for explaining Plan Dalet further.

  • Neil says:

    Sorry Gershon. Plan Dalet was never a last minute thing. It was deliberately planned at least two years in advance. It was put in place to support the longer term plans of the Zionists. In late 1900’s, the Zionist proposals were for a greater Israel that takes in the area of all the West Bank (including both sides of the Jordan river), all of the Sinai, all of the Golan heights and into Lebanon up to the Litani river. In some cases, it was about land. In other cases, it is about water.

    Many Zionists, although knowing this, still deny the intention. Israels behavior since 1948 has been deliberate in supporting this plan.

    By the way Gershon, Arabs owned all but 6% of the land area. They were trying to keep hold of their lands in response to the Zionist attacks on their villages and lands. In fact, the new state of Israel had expended well outside the Partition lines of Israel long before any Arab army set foot in Palestine. Israel had already expelled over 300,000 Arabs from their homes. It never was a defensive war by Israel. It was a war of expansion and ethnic cleansing. Just because some Arabs managed to stay, it does not mean that over 700,000 Arabs were never driven from their homes. If the war was defensive, the Arabs would have been allowed to return to their homes after the end of the conflict. Israel would have defended the UN sanctioned borders or a close facsimile of them.

    Also look at the 1967 war. Israel expelled almost all of the Arabs from the Golan only allowing the Druze to remain. Many of these Arabs were expelled AFTER the end of the conflict. Since then Israel has put colonies into the Golan in contravention of international law.

    Israel also put colonies in the Sinai Peninsular after the end of the 1967 war.

    In Lebanon, after 1982, Israel had put colonies in as well.

    Any open minded person would have to agree that if the wars were defensive, Israel would have demilitarised the areas rather than deliberately driving the inhabitants out. Israel would have allowed the Arabs back to their homes after being disarmed. Israel would never have put colonies into the lands captured. Israel would have negotiated peace deals which would lead to peace as it was forced to do with Egypt by Jimmy Carter.

    Sorry guys. Truth and Reconciliation is the only way that any decent peace can be made in that tortured land. The first thing that any addict has to do to get well is to acknowledge the facts. It is this lack of acknowledging of the facts that Israel has been deliberately expansionist since it was formed in 1948. It is patently obvious to anyone who has read beyond the approved Zionist Narrative what has happened. It is just that people who do not like the meaning of the truth that continue to deny it. No real progress is going to take place until everyone is open to hearing the facts and each others narrative. Denying the facts of history is no longer an option if a decent and moral peace is the goal.

    Kind Regards

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Hi Neil – I think your presentation of the intention behind Plan Dalet as an established fact is clearly politically motivated – fair enough but that doesn’t make it accurate. New historicism in Israel (as everywhere) provided different ways of reading facts and uncovered new material. But even so there is far from consensus on the intention of Plan Dalet. Benny Morris whose work was critical in laying the groundwork for a very different understanding of the conflict than had been accepted until the 1980s, does not see it the way you do. As with all contentious political circumstances, there are conflicting views even among experts deeply immersed in this stuff about how the facts of its history are to be understood. The interview I posted above with Pappe and Gelber is a case in point because it demonstrates that while certain facts are not disputed, it is far less clear what strategy was in place and who subscribed to any such strategy.

    The denial of facts themselves is very unhelpful but it happens across the board. In May the New York Times published an op ed by Mahmoud Abbas that was extraordinarily dishonest in its omission of facts – he described the expulsions, and departures from Palestinian villages in 1948 without mentioning that this took place after the rejection of partition by all but Israel and during a war instigated by Arab states and in which modern warfare was used with catastrophic consequences for all sides. Anyone interested in truth and reconciliation would hopefully acknowledge that the blatant omission of that fact by Abbas is as odious and politically motivated as the omissions of people who insist that there were no massacres or expulsions in that war. Political motivations abound in the way that people talk about the history of this conflict, including of course in your post and mine.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/17/opinion/17abbas.html

    And history doesn’t conclusively tell us what it best going forward. There are certainly historical injustices in relation to land and some that go on in Israel today (some depressing examples provided on this thread) and Israel is no model of multiculturalism or world leader in championing minority rights (Although its far better than any other country in the region – low bar as that may be, but relevant and important nevertheless. But the political imperative of a home for Jews with a majority Jewish population is still very compelling to most of the people living in Israel and means that your proposal is politically entirely unachievable.

    I would hope that the critical issue is how the largest number of people affected by this conflict can have the least infringements on what we can all agree are clearly human rights: the right not to be killed or injured, the right to feel physically safe, the right to freedom of movement, political representation and freedom from religious discrimination and persecution.

    The only chance of achieving that and indeed any kind of stability is a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian state – with very secure borders.

    This is so because of the Jewish state’s history in the Middle East, the reality of the way Palestinian and Jews feel about each other (bear in mind that polling consistently indicates that a majority of Palestinian in the West Bank support the use of terror against Jewish Israeli civilians to further political aims – hardly a basis for loving co – citizenship). It is extremely unlikely that one state or some variation of it where there was a full right of return for all Palestinians would-be a multicultural state. It is far more likely that it would be a Palestinian state and not a secular state either. And there in nothing in the recent history of the Middle East or in the political leadership or constituent character of Hamas or even Fatah that should give anyone any assurance that Jews would be safe in such a state or that there would be religious freedom or protection for what would be a Jewish minority.

    Ideas about the one state you have in mind as a vibrant model for the region and about this conflict being addressed through truth and reconciliation rather than hard policis, are very appealing. But they bear very little relationship to the reality of the region, the complex history of the Jewish state, its impact on the local population and the character of Palestinian political organisations.

  • Gershon Klein says:

    Thanks for your response Neil. I’m now totally convinced about the first proposition I made about the limited understanding of some correspondents here.

    Despite your prevarication, the fact remains that ALL Jews from ALL of the areas that came under Arab control in the 1948 War were either expelled or exterminated by the Arab forces and that this picture conforms to statements made by the Arab League vis-a-vis their plans for the other in the lead up to the war. Their leaders clearly stated their genocidal intentions.

    The leaders of the Jewish side never claimed any intent to ethnically cleanse the region of Arabs and they never did so, a proposition that holds good today. The fact that 20% of Israel’s population is Arab and the PA’s position is that 0% should be Jewish in a Palestinian State proves the opposite of your argument.

    As to the situation post 1967, the facts are that it was Israel which constantly put forward peace offers and the Arab side which declined them.

    It is disingenuous to claim that the Zionist aim was to ethnically cleanse the region of its Arab population. Moreover, since there were several different strains of Zionism then and now, demonstrates a profound ignorance of the region’s history.

    However, as pointed out above, when we are debating about versions of history where the historian has a reckless disregard for well established and documented realities and truth itself, there’s little scope for discussion is there?

    “Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts, Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers,” -Ilan Pappe – an interview with the French newspaper Le Soir, Nov. 29, 1999.

  • Neil says:

    Hi Mandy. I may disagree with you. I believe that facts are facts. The way people interpret them and spin their narrative around them are the political issues. The facts survive even after the spin. This is what I mean by “Truth” and then Reconciliation.

    My reading of Benny Morris is that he acknowledges the predefined nature of the Ethnic Cleansing under Plan Dalet and in one section, he bemoans the fact that ALL the Arabs were not driven from the land as there would be less problems today.

    Indeed, he debunks the narrative that the Arabs left their homes by the insistance of Arab calls via radio stations. Indeed he acknowledges a number of villages sent their women and children away but there were calls for the men to stay as they were sure that if they ever left, they would never return. Benny Morris read through the transcripts of the Arab radio stations to come to these facts.

    We can all cut and paste from Wikipedia. – The plan (Dalet) was conceived by the “consultancy”, a group of about a dozen military and security figures and specialists on Arab affairs, under the guidance of Ben Gurion. ie. It was not just a sudden reaction to actions on the ground.

    What is interesting is that there was a plan to destroy Arab villages. There is the fact that Israel plants trees over many Arab villages that were destroyed. The fact that Israel does not allow plaques to be placed at the site of these villages to continue to deny their existence. There is the fact that the Arabs that were forced out of or left their homes were not allowed back after the end of the conflict. (as is usual in conflicts) There is the fact that Jewish people were placed into the houses and homes of Arabs forced out of their villages. The interpretation can be that the ethnic cleansing was planned and deliberate followed by the occupation of homes stolen from the Arabs by Jewish civilians. The interpretation can be that Israel is still desperate to conceal the measures it undertook in 1948 as if those facts/truths become widely known, there would be a worldwide call for a fair resolution to the Arab refugee problem.

    Anyone can widely read and learn the facts from historians. I don’t just mean Wikipedia. I mean the books written by historians with fully noted bibliographies.

    You are right that there needs there needs to be a fair resolution. There are about as many Arabs from Palestine as there are Jews now. The UN partition had Israel having 55% of the land and the Arabs having 45% of the land with people living in their villages staying in place. Indeed, the statement at the creation of Israel set out that treatment of all would be equal.

    I believe that the only fair solution, if we accept your conclusion that a single bi-national state would not work, is that the UN partition plan is put back on the table based on population numbers. Approximately 50% to Israel. 50% to Palestine. Borders to be defined but area to be divided that way. Populations can choose to stay in their current homes or to move to the state that they prefer to live in. To have it any other way is to suggest that one race or group have more “Rights” than the other race or group.

    You may, for interest, put on your thinking cap and consider if Jewish Israelis were in the position of the Palestinian Arabs. Would they like it if outsiders from Europe came in and set up a state on 88% of their land? Forced them out of their villages and did not allow them to return. I am sure that your opinion might change about how a resolution to the issue of Israel/Palestine may be solved.

    I go back to Truth and Reconciliation. Until Israel, and her supporters, are willing to admit the Facts/Truth to themselves, there will be no real resolution to this issue.

    Best Wishes

  • Neil says:

    Gershon. It is fact that in 1967, Israel removed almost all the Arabs from the Golan. Many were removed AFTER the end of the conflict. Israel allowed the Druse to stay near the Syrian border.

    It is fact that Israel has placed colonies in the Golan in contravention of international law.

    Questions.
    1) Why did Israel remove the Arab civilians (many farmers) from the Golan AFTER the end of the conflict? (they could have just disarmed them and let them stay in their homes)
    2) Why did Israel deliberately place colonies in Syrian occupied territories in contravention of international law?

    Simple questions.

    Another. It is fact that Israel was in control of the Sinai peninsular at the end of the 1967 war.
    It is fact that Israel placed colonies in the Sinai in contravention of international law.

    Why did Israel place it’s citizens into the Sinai in contravention of International law?

    The reasons are patently obvious to anyone who is willing to look at the facts about the Golan and the Sinai with clear eyes.

    Israel intended to keep the land that was conquered during the war. That is the only reason to place colonies into those lands.

    The acquisition of land in the Golan and the Sinai was part of one Zionist plan for a greater Israel. One that still looks as if it is on the books.

    It was only Jimmy Carters intervention to force Israel to give up the Sinai in a peace deal that stopped Israel from keeping the land.

    Truth and reconciliation. When will Israel come clean about it’s actions? When will Israel accept that a plan for a greater Israel is not acceptable to the world?

  • Gershon Klein says:

    Neil, settle down and read what you’ve written.

    Israel allegedly wanted to keep Sinai (no proof provided) but gave it up as part of a peace treaty because Carter forced it to do so. 

    Where did that come from?

    The proposition you make now is very different from your ethnic cleansing blood libel. Why are you ignoring the comments I made at the end of my earlier posts?

    Is there no corn flakes packet that can give you your instant rolled gold Ilan Pappe confected answer?

  • Wolf says:

    Neil,
    when you “widely read and learn[t] the facts from historians. [not] just mean Wikipedia. I mean the books written by historians with fully noted bibliographies”, as you claim, were those books written by ‘acclaimed’ British historian David Irving? Or Frederik Toben of the Adelaide Institue?

  • Neil says:

    Gershon:
    Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in the 1967 Six Day War. It established SETTLEMENTS along the Gulf of Aqaba and in the northeast portion, just below the Gaza Strip. It had PLANS to expand the settlement of Yamit into a city with a population of 200,000, though the actual population of Yamit did not exceeded 3,000. The Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in stages beginning in 1979 as part of the Israel–Egypt Peace Treaty. As required by the treaty, Israel had to evacuate Israeli military installations and civilian settlements. Israel dismantled EIGHTEEN settlements, two air force bases, a naval base, and other installations by 1982, including the only oil resources under Israeli control. The evacuation of the civilian population, which took place in 1982, was done forcefully in some instances, such as the evacuation of Yamit. The SETTLEMENTS were demolished, as it was feared that settlers might try to return to their homes after the evacuation.

    Gershon. If Israel wanted to create a city in the Sinai of 200,000 people, do you really think that Israel did not intend to hold onto this territory. 18 settlements had to be dismantled. These are facts. Do you really need more proof about what happened and what was intended? It was only when Israel was forced into the peace treaty by President Carter that Israel withdrew.

    As I said. Facts. Truth, then reconciliation. If one keeps on refusing to acknowledge these facts and truths, there is little chance for a resolution.

    There is no “corn flakes packet” needed. It just needs people to start to acknowledge the truth.

    Now. About the Golan. . .
    Construction of Israeli settlements began in the remainder of the territory held by Israel which was governed under military administration until 1981, when Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory. This move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council in UN Resolution 497, which called “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.” The international community rejects Israeli claims to title to the territory and regards it as sovereign Syrian territory.

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed calls within his coalition to consider peace talks and proclaimed that “the Golan Heights will remain in our hands forever”.

    Israel demolished over one hundred Syrian villages and farms in the Golan Heights. After the demolitions, the lands were given to Israeli settlers.

    In 2010 the settlers had expanded to 20,000 living in 32 settlements.

    Now, I ask you. The settlements were started to be build soon after the 1967 war. Doesn’t this seem to suggest Land theft after Ethnic Cleansing. Nothing about “Blood Libel” there. Just facts.

    When are some people going to acknowledge the facts/truth and then try to have reconciliation? Return of the land. Let the settlers stay and become Syrian if they want to.

    Best wishes.

  • Neil,

    “Let the settlers stay and become Syrian if they want to.” Do you realize how absurd that is? You know fully well that Jews were expelled (ethnically cleansed) from Arab lands, and that Abbas himself declared that no Jew can live in any future Palestinian state.

    Is this about political point-scoring about who is/was right or wrong? or about debating feasible outcomes to the dispute? The former is a waste of time, and your comment above is as far from reality as possible when it comes to the latter.

  • Neil says:

    David. The point I am making is that throughout Israels history, it has been deliberately taking actions to acquire land through warfare. Having conquered that land, Israel has placed it’s citizens into that land in contravention of International law. (Israel outside the 1948 UN partition lines, Gaza, West Bank, Jerusalem, Golan, Sinai, South Lebanon)

    This has been a long term and ongoing action as supported by the Facts.

    On the point of the Golan. It is well documented about what happened there. I wonder what the solution could be. That Israel after having attacked and taken over the land through warefare, ethnically cleansed the Arabs from the land and then placed it’s civilians in colonies there, it should be allowed to keep the land through annexation. Does that sound as it is a moral solution?

    How about Jordan attacking Eliat and taking over the land up to Yahel, ethnic cleansing the Jews from that area and then putting Arabs colonies throughout that area and then annexing it to Jordan?

    Both suggestions are just plain wrong.

    Israel has to decide if it lives by the rule of international law or if it is a special case.

    Whichever way it is. The facts and truth are there. Facts and Truths that Israel desperately tries to hide so that it’s Narrative is believed so as not to receive international condemnation. (and don’t get me started on the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty)

    My debate is not about point scoring. It is about having the facts about Israels actions acknowledged. It is only then that a reconciliation process and work towards peace can take place based on a fair and moral basis.

    It is not fair and moral for one group (Israel) to continually steal land through warefare, ethnically cleanse it and place it’s civilians onto that land in colonies.

    Feasible outcomes can come about after the truth is acknowledged and a determination is made to correct abuses in a fair way. To try to come to a resolution without acknowledging the truth and promoting a false narrative means that one side is working for a win/lose situation. This will never stand the test of time. Israel has had over 60 years to move towards a decent and fair resolution to issues and continually works to disenfranchise the victims of it’s actions.

    The Genesis of this issue is Ben Gurions Plan Dalet. It has set the scene for many subsequent actions by Israel. Until Israel moves to find a real and decent solution to the Arab Refugees driven from the land that is now Israel, there will be no peace. (by the way, where are Israels borders?) This in Israel hands.

    Best wishes

  • Wolf says:

    “The facts” by ‘Neil’, a purely fictional work of antisemitism, buy now!
    along with other bestsellers by ‘Neil’ “the shapeshifting Jew”, “The blood libel” and of course everybodys favourite “The learned elders of Zion part II: Plan Dalet”

  • Neil says:

    Wolf. facts are facts. They are researchable by anyone who is willing to go past the much of the current “Narrative” which has been proved to be untrue.

    I am confused why I should bring down accusations of “antisemitism”, “Blood Libel” and “The learned elders of Zion part II: Plan Dalet”. If these are the items to be used to refute the facts and positions I put forward, I am afraid that I am not buying it. I am not sure if any of the people reading this blog would either. It is too simple a “Bait and Switch” tool that is used a lot in the debates on these issues.

    Nowhere have I seen anyone place information in front of me that contradicts the facts that I have stated. I have then drawn my conclusions from those facts which, I believe, are relevant to the discussion.

    I believe that in a blog above, one of the other writers corrected your denial of one of the facts I presented in terms of the ethnic cleansing that took place. You may like to revisit the information presented and really research the information. There are many history books written by both Jewish and non-Jewish historians that set out the facts/truth.

    If you want to disprove the facts that I state, then I am willing to look at what you say. If you accept the facts put forward but want to use them to put forward an alternative position, that is fine as well.

    What I find interesting to see is a personal attack with no reason for it Other than a disagreement with what is written. An attempt to denigrate the writer rather than to discuss the arguments put forward. I have seen it too often in these sort of discussions to take this seriously. I know that you really do not mean it.

    I have agonised over the issue of Palestine/Israelfor years now. Ever since I read something that went against my understanding of history. I was very pro-Israel in the past. Now I am pro a decent moral resolution of the conflict based on acknowledging the Facts/Truth and moving towards Reconciliation. It has to be a fair and equitable solution otherwise it will not be a long term one.

    One of the Narratives I had to get past was the “A land without people for a people without land”. A land that had over 500 villages cleansed, destroyed or repopulated with other people and over 700,000 people expelled was never “A land without People”.

    It is this kind of narrative that is just not correct. It needs to be rejected along with a number of other false narratives that Israel has long fought to present as facts. Or facts that Israel has desperately tried to hide as they do not look good on Israels resume.

    Truth and then Reconciliation. But first Truth.

    Best Wishes

  • Wolf says:

    Neil,
    Obviously I can’t disprove your personal fictional ‘facts’ as there is no evidence for pretty much any of them and they mostly range from absurd to plain anti-semitic.

    One such example is your idea of the ‘Plan Dalet’. In your warped reality is it a plan of ethnic cleansing, for racist imperialistic purposes carried out by Israel and the Jews.
    In reality, this ‘Plan dalet’, which roughly translates as ‘plan D’, is exactly that, a 4th level contingency plan. A plan for a worst case scenario in one single war, that never eventuated (thank G-d), nothing more. It is in fact very close to the MAD principle (Mutually Assured Destruction) that kept the peace between Russia and America during the cold war. How in the world you came to your warped conclusions beats me.

    One other such example is your regular references to Israel’s ‘colonies’. A City/Town/Suburb on national or liberated soil is not a ‘colony’. The settlements in the Golan in all their shapes and forms, are precisely that, nothing more. There is not country of ‘Golan’ and there are no native inhabitants that have lived there longer than the Jews! (the Jews have lived throughout most parts of northern Israel for most of the last 2,000 years or more, i.e. Tsfat and Tiberias!).

    Whilst on the subject of your obvious antisemitism, don’t you think it is utterly hypocritical that you pretend there was all sorts of ethnic cleansing and imperialistic colonies in Israel when most Arab countries literally DID expel, in reality and by force of law, their Jewish populations in the 1940s and early 1950s, even though those Jews have often lived there for the better part of 2,000 years or more (i.e. Iraq, Iran, Egypt)?

  • Neil says:

    Wolf. I understand that you cannot disprove the facts I have put forward. Facts are facts. They are not fictional.

    On Plan Dalet, you really need to look into this. You are the only person I have ever seen who has stated that Plan Dalet was not undertaken.

    Your “settlements”, my “colonies”. Definition:
    In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. A colony is mostly ruled by another state or can be run independently. Roman colonies first appeared when the Romans conquered neighboring italic peoples. These were small farming settlements that appeared when the Romans had subdued an enemy in war. A colony could take many forms, as a trade outpost or a military base in enemy territory, but its original definition as “a settlement created by people migrating from a home territory” became the modern definition.

    Sounds exactly what happened in Gaza, the Sinai, The West Bank, The Golan Heights, etc. Or, do you deny that Jewish settlers moved from Israel proper into Gaza, the Sinai, the Golan, the West bank, etc?

    Sorry Wolf. Your “settlement” very much conforms to the definition of colonies. They are not on liberated land but are on land that belongs to other countries/entities. (The UN does not recognise Israels attempted annexation of any of the occupied territories.) Entities such as Egypt in terms of the Sinai, Syria when it comes to the Golan Heights, Palestine when it comes to Gaza, Palestine when it comes to the West Bank and Lebanon when it comes to colonies in Southern Lebanon. Your settlements are in fact colonies.

    On ethnic cleansing carried out by Israel. I do not pretend it happened. History documents it as actually happening. Once again, I invite you to research what happened in 1948 and in 1967 and that which has been ongoing since then.

    I agree that Jews have been driven from their homes in other countries throughout the centuries. I, for one, do not deny those facts. Those facts do not negate the facts of Israels ethnic cleansing of the Arabs from their homes and lands and the placing of colonies in those territories in contravention of international law.

    “Obvious antisemitism”. I refer you back to my comments about “Bait and Switch” and the use of antisemitism as a means of attacking the individual to avoid putting any facts forward. Shame.

    I do wonder though. Do you deny that over 500 Arab villages were cleansed of their Arab populations and that added up to over 700,000 people?

    Best Wishes

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Neil – in spite of your snide comments about Wikipedia and patronising instructions to tell me put on my thinking cap, I am responding one more time to you because you have been mainly civil in your determination to tell things as you see them. I think people calling you anti semitic are out of line. I don’t get a sense that you care too much for the human rights of Jews – but I don’t see anything expressly anti-semitic in what you have to say, although I do see extreme ideological and political bias.

    As to my sources – well I am quite mature (chronologically anyway) and I have been reading, thinking, talking about Israel and Zionism (and visiting Israel) since long before there was Wikipedia. I certainly imbibed the Zionist narrative about a land for no people etc and unprovoked abandonment by Palestinians of their villages and other myths of 1948. I have over the years tried very hard to make sense of the history but I am less able to see it in the black and white terms that you do. Perhaps its because I have a different political bias – or perhaps its because your bias is stronger than mine.

    You say no-one has refuted facts you put forward. A historical view (and no, a narrative is not a historical view) includes facts but also interpretation of facts. You do provide facts and evidence .Yes, as many as 800 Palestinian were killed in massacres. Yes, expulsions took place . But, like Abbas in that NYT article, you omit other facts and evidence. Such as the evidence of consistent, hostile and violent political rejection by Palestinians of any Jewish presence in Palestine, the role of Palestinian leaders in encouraging evacuation, the cultural forces which led Palestinian to abandon their towns, jobs and and villages in the expectation that they would be able to return when the hostilities ended. And you selectively (as perhaps we all do) present one interpretation of the facts over others . There are indeed many books and articles on the subject – many by historians with very solid academic credentials ranging from right to left, and not too many believe that there was any plan of expulsion which had broad political and popular support. Even the interpretations most critical of the leadership of the Yishuv (and most keen to find evidence of intentional ethnic cleansing) don’t talk about an accepted program of planned ethnic cleansing unit late 1947 when the prospect of the establishment of state without it became dire, and describe them as military plans rather than political plans.

    By any measure – there had been undertakings made to Jews under the British mandate and expectations created. Purely in human terms, by 1947 Jews in Palestine faced the reality that if they couldn’t create a viable and defensible state, the consequences for Jews in Palestine would be dire. It was a chaotic time of existential threat. And it was in a time when Jews had every reason to believe that Jewish lives are of negligible value in the world.

    It was war and wars are chaotic and unjust and involve people making choices about what is less bad than rather than what is good. War crimes were committed. And of course there has to be acknowledgment of the truth.

    But one of the reasons there is fear and reluctance to acknowledge the truth is that when it comes to Israel what many people want is not really an acknowledgment of history but a rewriting of history. Israel alone, of states created as a result of nineteenth and twentieth century colonialist enterprise, in the wake of chaotic war, must cease to exist as such. And you have said that you accept Israel’s legitimacy except that if you advocate a state with a Palestinian majority in which Jews are a minority then – given the political environment in which Israel was created and exists – you really want Israel unwound.

  • Gershon Klein says:

    Discussion still going strong but not the Floptilla which is supposed to be the real topic here rather than the delusions of the bash Israel crowd.

    I believe that the Floptilla has taken such a beating is that the world is getting sick and tired of the lies and the bleating of the entire enterprise and have come to understand that, like BDS, it’s been planned and orchestrated by people who want to destroy all hope of peace in the region.

    Some of the lies include that those who sail (or attempt to sail) are peace activists, that Israeli frogmen sabotaged some of their ships (Turkish officials, of all people proved that one to be false) and that Israel used the Greeks’ financial woes to somehow intimidate them into harassing the ship owners. Neil would no doubt blame this on Israel’s Plan Zayin which the Zionists hatched decades ago in order to unleash it at the strategic time in history when the Hellenic people were at their most vulnerable.

    Hamas and ISM are behind it and they’ve admitted that there is no humanitarian purpose – just the aim of deligitimising Israel with the ultimate being a one state solution in which if Jews were allowed to live or stay, they would be reduced to dhimmitude as set out in the Hamas Charter.

    That all this is going on while despotic rulers in the Arab world, many of who have the full support of Hamas and Abbas, are murdering their own people in the streets, makes the entire project an exercise in obscenity.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Neil, how do you reconcile your claim to support Israel’s right to exist with your call for a single state west of the Jordan (unless by supporting Israel you mean endorsing having the name Israel remain on a map)

  • Neil says:

    Mandy. I appologise if my request for you to put on your thinking cap came across as patronising. What I was requesting was that you put yourself in the Arabs shoes and to think about how they feel. To empathise with them. As I try to do on occasion to take on the Jewish position. Arabs are human beings and deserve a decent resolution to the issues.

    I have been playing devils advocate. What I read on a number of sites are that Jews never did anything wrong in any way and that they were always the victims in the question of Israel/Palestine. Of course, this Black and White view is wrong. Life is a series of greys and need to be treated as such.

    I do empathise with the Jews in the area. I firmly believe that the Arabs should give up on any violence and to invite the UN in to take away the weapons they have. The problem, this is not going to solve the issue of the Arabs driven from their homes. Indeed, unarmed protest has lead to many Arab deaths from Israeli soldiers in many areas. Remember the approach of civilians to the fences surrounding Israel on Nakba day. A police action was required but Israel after firing a few warning shots into the air, went for firing live bullets at unarmed civilians. A police action was required. Israel chose to kill people. And I believe, deliberately so. Just like the excessive bombing of Beirut in 2006 and the slaughter in Gaza during Cast Lead. Israel has a policy of “Acting like a Mad Dog” to try to regain it’s deterrent capabilities. A number of Israeli politicians have stated that they will use excessive force in any conflict to try to scare their opponents into submission. (the UN calls it excessive and inappropriate and illegal force) Facts which can be researched. But I digress.

    When Israel was set up, it stated that all peoples in Israel would be treated equally and that all peoples in the land would be accepted as citizens of Israel.

    The problem is, as you have pointed out, if the Arab refugees were now allowed to return to their houses and lands, this would significantly change the plan for an overwealmingly (80%) Jewish state of Israel. (by the way, how would letting the Arabs stay in 1948 allow Israel to be an overwealmingly Jewish state. To be an overwealmingly Jewish state, logic suggests that there was always going to have to be ethnic cleansing of the Arabs? Hence Plan Dalet?)

    Israel has consistently moved to place Jewish civilians into Arabs areas in greater Palestine. (ie the West Bank & Gaza) So much so that it seems that it is impossible to have a two state solution on a fair basis unless the Jewish colonies stay as a part of Palestine. This is unlikely to be acceptable as a previous blogger suggested in regards to the Golan.

    What can be the fair and moral resolution?

    Two states developed on a fair and moral basis?

    How do the Arab refugees get their lands and homes back. Or some sort of fair facsimile of this in another area? To be completely and morally fair, if the populations are approximately equal, can we divide the area of Israel/Palestine equally between Jews and Arabs? This suggestion will not fly.

    To completely ignore the refugees and to tell them to suck it up and go away? Maybe some form of payment? Crush the Arabs into 18% of the land they once occupied while the Jewish state (that is what many call for Israel) keeps 82% or more of the land. Including control of all of the aquifiers, airspace and coastal waters. Not sure if this solution is fair and moral.

    The issue is that Israel has the overwealming military power in this issue and feels no hesitation in using it.

    A fair resolution is needed. One state? Two states? The devil is in the detail. Over time, I believe that Israels actions since 1948 has made it almost impossible to have a fair and moral two state solution. The actions have been quite deliberate. Financial incentives for Jews to live in colonies in the West Bank and Gaza.

    If Israel had stopped the expansion on the cease fire lines of 1948/9, there may have been a chance. If it had treated the lands conquered in 1967 as occupied and not put colonies into those lands, there may have been a chance. If Israel had allowed a number of Arab refugees to return to their lands after 1948/9 and paid compensation to others there may have been a chance. I believe it may just be too late based on the actions of Israel. How to unravel it in a fair and moral basis. Israel has had 63 years during which time it has deliberately expanded it’s territories. So far, I am not convinced that Israel has any intention for a fair and moral solution. Israel has the power so it is in Israels hands. Israel backed by the US. That is why the Palestinians are going to the UN.

    It is massively complicated. Either there is going to be a fair resolution, or one side is going to be unfairly treated which will only lead to ongoing conflict and no peace in the Middle East, and therefore the rest of the world.

    The debate goes on.

    Best wishes.

  • Neil says:

    Gershon. Agreed. Back to the flotilla. (floptilla as you say) What is Israel so afraid of? Israels actions make no sense at all. It is obvious that the people on the flotilla are not terrorists. It is obvious that the cargo is not arms or any form of weapons. Israel has the right to stop and inspect the vessels, as it has a blockade in force, but it does not have the right to attack the vessels or to drag them and their passengers to Israeli territory. It certainly does not have the right to execute defenseless civilians as it did in 2010.

    I believe that Israel is shooting itself in the foot.

    Israel has said that it supports a two state solution. That means that the new country of Palestine will require a port and associated customs zone in Gaza.

    Why will Israel not facilitate the development and building of a port in Gaza with a full customs zone supervised by the UN? This will be needed by the new state. It does not matter who is in control in Gaza.

    If there is any hint that arms are about to be imported, Israel can then legally check the boats at sea and confiscate the arms if they are found.

    This will facilitate exports and imports so that Gaza can move towards self sufficiency.

    The Floptilla is actually doing exactly what it planned. The plan was to bring world attention to the illegal actions of Israel. This was wrapped up in the legal delivery of goods to Gaza. If the legality of Israel actions is questioned, it can be looked up. It is illegal to collectively punish an occupied civilian population. It is legal to check vessels at sea for weapons but not to block the delivery of normal commodities to the territory. (roughly paraphrased) In fact, Israel, by dint of it’s blockade, is legally obliged to provide for the people of Gaza. It is illegal to “put Gaza on a diet”. It is illegal not to supply the necessary medicines or medical equipment for the population of Gaza.

    The flotilla is a move to try to get import and export facilities set up in Gaza. Something that Israel, if it had any sense, would do.

    Best Wishes

  • Neil says:

    Andrew. Your comment suggests that there is a requirement for a overwealmingly Jewish state of Israel to exist. Do you see this is a requirement based on discrimination? Positive discrimination for Jews? Negative discrimination for Arabs?

    How would you feel if this action was reversed? Positive discrimination for Aryans. Negative discrimination for Jews?

    History states that this is not a good idea.

    I do not know what the best solution is. Just that a fair resolution needs to be made. If that is a single state, so be it. If it is a two state solution based on a fair and moral split up of the land and resources, so be it. Whatever it is, it cannot be massively win/lose as there will never be peace.

    Best wishes

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil

    The Israeli government or people are concerned that the flotilla is, by ostensibly assisting the people of Gaza (purely because the amount of material delivered is negligible), supporting the Hamas government in Gaza.

    Why any respecting person who identifies with the left would want to aid Hamas in any capacity is beyond me?

    If you want to help the people of Gaza, advocate for the removal of the Hamas government and the installation of a government which respects human rights.

    The Israeli government opposes building a port at this time in Gaza because the Hamas government would be in charge of it. After the Karine A Affair, the Israelis do have a right to be sceptical about the shipping of illegal arms being supported by the Palestinian government.

    Using the UN to staff the port sounds nice, but is unlikely to work in reality. The UN has consistently demonstrated that it is unwilling to implement anything in the face of consistent opposition, esp. a potential armed conflict. See UNIFIL’s deplorable record in a similar parallel with Lebanon/Hezbollah.

    As to the port making Gaza self-sufficient – in what way? There is no industry in Gaza. The government there has put no effort of its own into developing infrastructure and an economy to offer employment and stability to its people. The port would merely be a major aid depot and/or smuggling route.

    As to the blockade, you forget that Egypt is similarly responsible for its part in it. This is an overlooked irony of the flotilla I guess.

    Similarly, Israel has no obligation or legal requirement to permit travel through, over, or within its waters of its state for the people of Gaza. They can maintain this travel block indefinitely and legally.

    This is what is actually debilitating Gaza – the citizens are dependent on the Israeli labour market for employment – because their own government has signally failed to provide any because they are more concerned in supporting terrorism and rejectionism and religious fundamentalism.

  • Wolf says:

    TheSadducee,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your comment “If you want to help the people of Gaza, advocate for the removal of the Hamas government and the installation of a government which respects human rights”! After all Hamas is an international terrorist organization!

    If the Palestinian people voted in a government that at least respected human rights, that would very much change the way most enlightened, free thinking people would approach the situation and the Palestinian people in general.

  • Neil says:

    Sadducee/Wolf

    Where to start?

    Eventually, Israel has to talk with it’s enemies. It was forced to do so by President Carter in regards to Egypt. That lead to a long term peace agreement. Likewise with Jordan.

    Hamas has shown itself to be pragmatic. When a truce was been in place, it worked hard to make sure it stayed in place. Cast Lead came from Israel killing 6 Hamas people during the truce it had with Hamas. (ie breaking the truce. For what reason???) That lead to some rocket fire from Gaza which was the excuse Israel wanted to start a full scale invasion. (An invasion it had planned for many months) Look it up folks. The actions and time line are there and much of the world is beginning to understand what really happened.

    Hamas has suggested a Hudna of 20 years. 20 long years of peace. At the end of that, no one in Gaza would support a war. Hamas would not start one. It was essentially a peace suggestion. Israel declined it.

    About the flotilla. It never intended to enter Israeli waters. It was to transit through Gaza waters. (Gaza waters are not Israeli) It was when the people on the last flotilla were taken to Israel that they were then expelled. Ironic. Being expelled from Israel for illegally entering Israel when they were taken there by Israeli forces. That excuse for expulsion from Israel couldn’t have been more farcical.

    As much as many people do not like it, Hamas won the election. They were a legitimate representative of the Palestinian peoples.

    When it comes to terrorism. The definition of terrorism is “using violence for political ends”. Many of the actions of Israel certainly fit into this definition of Terrorism. States can carry out activities that can be defined as terrorism.

    In terms of supporting the people of Gaza. It is illegal to collectively punish a population for the actions of it’s armed forces. (ie Hamas) Your suggestion that any support for the civilians of Gaza supports Hamas. This essentially suggests not delivering anything to Gaza as it could show support for Hamas. The logical extension of this argument is that nothing should be delivered and the starvation of the population of Gaza should be allowed to take place. Even the Israel government rejects this proposition although Israels desire to “Put Gaza on a diet” as stated and actioned by it’s politicians was illegal and immoral. Any self respecting person would also reject this argument as untenable. I don’t think you mean this either but is a logical extension of your statement.

    As to the lack of industry in Gaza. Israel has deliberately destroyed many facilities that existed in Gaza. Remember the Chicken farm, including many thousands of chickens, that Israel destroyed? Remember the Cement factory Israel destroyed when there was no fighting going on there? Remember the water sources (wells) Israel destroyed for no reason? Remember the sewerage works Israel destroyed for no reason? Remember the schools and educational institutions destroyed for no military reason? Remember the thousands of houses bulldozed for no military reason? (I remember reading an article by an Israeli bulldozer driver saying it was an orgy of destruction. He spent day after day destroying houses and could not think of any military reason for it. One day, a view of thousands of houses. Two days later views of the sea as the houses has been bulldozed.) To destroy civilian infrastructure and destroy food facilities is illegal under international law. (I won’t even start to go into the White Phosphorous fired into civilian areas and the many other atrocities undertaken during Cast Lead including the killing of over 300, three hundred, children.)

    If Gaza had the chance, it would be able to rebuild and to redevelop it’s vegetable export industry. The agreement Israel had with Gaza was for the export of 300 trucks of produce a day. Israel only lets 2 trucks a day out of Gaza. This would go a long way towards allowing Gaza to move towards self sufficiency.

    On weapons. Hamas gets as many as they like through the tunnels. Any weapons on any ship would have to be bigger than can be brought in through a tunnel to make it worth while. Given that Gaza imports Cars through the tunnels, it would almost have to be a main battle tank to need to be brought in via ship.

    An aside on the tunnels. I heard today that a building boom is going on in Gaza using building materials brought in through the tunnels. Unfortunately, the UN cannot join in to rebuild schools and hospitals as they have to use “Legitimate” materials and Israel does not let it in for them to use. Once again, farcical?

    Note that the gate to Egypt only allows people to pass as per the agreement Egypt signed with Israel as part of the peace agreement. I understand that Egypt is considering rejecting this part of the agreement. It hasn’t done so as yet so Israel is still the only “Legitimate” access for these materials. Israel is still legally responsible for it’s “Occupation” of Gaza. Look up the definition of occupation. It is not ironic. It is part of Egypt’s agreement with Israel. Are you suggesting that Israel should ignore it’s agreement with Egypt?

    A port in Gaza makes the only sense. If Hamas tries to import weapons or tries to go around the UN personnel, it would be a simple measure for the UN to resume the blockade by stopping ships from going to Gaza. It would allow Israel to reduce it’s legal obligations in regards to Gaza as being occupied.

    Indeed, Israels “actions” in enforcing the blockade as it does is illegal under international law. It is legal to have a blockade which stops weapons but it is not legal to stop normal civilian goods being shipped there. Israel has the right to stop vessels and search them as part of the blockade. If weapons are found, they can be impounded. If no weapons are found, the vessels are meant to be allowed to carry on and dock in Gaza.

    I believe that it is important that we get to the truth and facts. After then, reconciliation can take place.

    To me, the siege of a Gaza port makes no sense. Any military downside can be easily managed and the upside of a port for the two state solution would be massive. The flotilla is part of a political drive to try to get this issue resolved. Surely Israel doesn’t want to be responsible for Gaza forever? Opening up a port in Gaza for exports and imports will happen. There seems no good reason to me for that not to happen now.

    Best wishes

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil

    I’m giving up discussing this with you as I have come to conclusion that you are fundamentally dishonest and are not interested in discussing the matters in good faith with anyone here.

    A couple of examples from the first part of your post:

    1. You deliberately avoid discussing the issue of terrorism and Hamas by glibly defining the term and shifting the focus onto Israel.

    This is simply intellectually dishonest – you are avoiding examining Hamas’ responsibility for its own actions and policies.

    2. Your version of the Camp David Accords and/or Egypt-Israel peace treaty is wrong.

    Carter did not force the Israelis to negotiate with Egypt. Considering that Sadat visited Jerusalem the year before the Accords was signed suggests that they were already negotiating – go and take your own advice and find out the truth.

    3. Your version of the cause of Operation Cast Lead is wrong and misleading.

    Even during the first 5 months of the truce there were still rocket/mortar attacks from Gaza. The truce completely broke down when Israel intercepted armed Hamas operatives trying to tunnel out of Gaza with the probable intention of kidnapping further soldiers from the Israeli side like Gilad Shalit. What other motive did Hamas have to dig a tunnel under the border into Israel with armed operatives?

    4. Hamas can propose a hudna for 20 years but this doesn’t mean that no war could occur after that event.

    I’m not even sure where you get off claiming this? Noone expected Hezbollah to committ to a war in 2006 against Israel, but they did it with their provocations on the border.

    I can’t be bothered addressing the rest of your positions and I hope that other readers abandon the attempt to reason with you as it is a waste of time – you are clearly not interested in examining the issues honestly and fairly and no amount of facts which you will not accept anyways will change your perspective.

  • A hudna isn’t a step towards a full peace treaty and normalization of relations. The purpose is purely to gain respite in a time of Muslim weakness so as to regroup and build capacity then resume actively fighting the war afterwards. Hamas’s ideology is very patient and 20 years is nothing to them in the context of a war that has continued for hundreds of years.

  • Neil says:

    Sadducee. It is my experience that attempts to bait and switch are used to try to misdirect discussions.

    But
    I do acknowledge that Hamas has carried out terror actions within Israel and I disagree with that. On the other hand, Palestine is an occupied country and therefore theoretically allowed to struggle for independence. (Just like France against the Nazis in WW2) Blowing up restaurants is as despicable as dropping a one ton bomb in a Gaza residential neighborhood to kill an enemy leader. I also remember the blowing up of the King David Hotel as something that was despicable. What about throwing grenades into Arab restaurants in 1947? Terror has been used by both sides for decades. I believe it is illegitimate whether used by Hamas or Israel. What do you think?

    If Israel was interested in negotiating a peace agreement with Egypt without being forced, why did it have plans to build a city if 200,000 people in the Sinai and have 18 colonies there? I have the feeling that if President Carter had not pushed Israel, the colonies and city would have still be there now and would have grown significantly. This was one Zionist plan from the 1890’s. One that seems to me to be ongoing with the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Israel retreated from Gaza as it’s only alternative was to accept 1.5 million Arabs as Israeli citizens. The demographic problem I believe it was called.

    The 2006 war was well planned by Israel. Israel had planned for many months an attack on Lebanon to rebuild it’s deterrence capability in the region. The cross border raid by Hezbollah did not need to lead to such a devastating war. Israel did not have to use excessive force in bombing Beirut in an attempt to “put Beirut back into the dark ages”. Israel did not have to fire a million cluster munitions into Southern Lebanon in the last few days of the war as it knew a ceasefire was coming. I remember reading an interview with an IDF artillary man who said he was firing cluster munition shells. He said he asked where he was to target. He was told just to fire them anywhere in southern Lebanon. Israel knew that these munitions had a failure rate close to 40% and therefore there would be approximately 400,000 un-exploded munitions covering fields and villages. Munitions that continued to kill and maim for years. It is illegal to use cluster munitions in residential areas. This clearly was used to intimidate a civilian population. The very definition of terrorism. Using military means on a civilian population for political means. Once gain. These are facts that are well recognised in international media. I acknowledge Hamas’s use of terror. Do you acknowledge Israels use of terror?

    The discussion is difficult. I have seen very few right wing Israelis or their supporters around the world that acknowledge that some actions by Israel are reprehensible. To them, Israel is always in the right. Even when it commits war crimes they excuse the behavior as if somehow Israel is forced to commit those crimes rather than choosing to do so.

    Killing activists with bullets to the back of the head execution style on the flotilla in 2010 is a case in point. Israel had the option of handling it differently but chose to kill those people. Two were killed while taking photos. The Turkish/American was executed while lying on the deck already having been shot over 3 times already. A total of 6 were shot in the back and 5 shot in the back of the head.

    Remember the recent Nakba day. Israel killed a number of activists while they were on the Syrian side of the fence. What was needed was a police action. Israel chose to kill them.

    Much of this action can be construed as Israel trying to project a persona of deterrence. (acting like a mad dog as one Israeli politician said) Kill enough people to frighten the rest from coming on flotillas or unarmed refugees trying to return to their homes by crossing the borders. There was always other ways of handling it rather than killing people.

    The whole issue is complex. No one group is squeaky clean. I would not expect any one group to admit to using terror as a weapon but it is happening from both sides. Hamas and Israel. Even if they deny it.

    As I have always said. Truth and then reconciliation.

  • Neil says:

    David. It is inconceivable that after 20 years of Hudna with peace and development of infrastructure and livelihoods that the population of Gaza would have allowed Hamas to start another war.

    Hamas may be patient but the people of Gaza are not universally for them. I suspect that if Hamas tried to restart a war with Israel in 20 years, the people of Gaza would take the issue into their own hands and take Hamas apart. I believe that a civil war would have happened in Gaza before an attack on Israel took place. The vast majority just want peace.

    Hamas is demonised but it is not all the people of Gaza. Hamas won the election based on the corruption of Fatah. In ongoing years, other parties will form. The Arab spring shows that most Arabs want freedom and a chance to bring up their children in a decent environment.

    It is only by demonising all Arabs and lumping them all as terrorists that anyone can argue that are all bad. This is a technique of reducing their humanity so that actions like Cast Lead can be undertaken where killing over 300 children is seen as acceptable. Destroying thousands of houses for no military reason is acceptable.

    I have more faith in people. Both in the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank and in the decent Israelis who want a fair and moral resolution to the issues leading to a fair and just peace.

    Best Wishes

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil

    Bait and switch?

    Here’s an example – a response to Hamas being a terrorist organisation:

    “When it comes to terrorism. The definition of terrorism is “using violence for political ends”. Many of the actions of Israel certainly fit into this definition of Terrorism. States can carry out activities that can be defined as terrorism.”

    You indulged in it yourself in this instance.

    Don’t be a hypocrite.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Hi Neil, my question (it wasn’t a comment) to you was meant to suggest nothing other than an interest in clarifying your position. So to ask again, when you say you support Israel’s existence, what do you actually support? Do you believe that supporting a state in which Jews are in a minority constitutes support for Israel? If hypothetically Sweden had a Muslim Arab majority with Arabic the dominant language and Islam the dominant religion, do you think supporting the existence of that country would, in any non- trivial way, constitute support for the existence of Sweden? This is an important question, as any discussion on Israel-Palestine is framed by one’s view on the legitimacy of Israel’s attempt to remain a Jewish state. Your acceptance or non-acceptance of this as a legitimate aim has an enormous impact on your assessment of what Israel may or may not legitimately be entitled to do. I find it hard to imagine, given your engagement with this topic, that you dont have a firm view on this question.

  • Neil says:

    Sadducee

    I will reiterate what I have said above:
    – I do acknowledge that Hamas has carried out terror actions within Israel and I disagree with that.
    – I firmly believe that the Arabs should give up on any violence and to invite the UN in to take away the weapons they have.

    I have never denied that Hamas has carried out terror actions.

    On the other hand, I do assert that Israel has carried out terror actions as well giving examples. It seems as this assertion has upset some people.

    Best wishes

  • Neil says:

    Andrew. That is a very good question.

    You ask: “Do you believe that supporting a state in which Jews are in a minority constitutes support for Israel?”

    You say “This is an important question, as any discussion on Israel-Palestine is framed by one’s view on the legitimacy of Israel’s attempt to remain a Jewish state. Your acceptance or non-acceptance of this as a legitimate aim has an enormous impact on your assessment of what Israel may or may not legitimately be entitled to do.”

    I find it hard to imagine any state as being a certain type such as “Jewish” given there is a significant minority that is non-Jewish. Many people call Israel a “Jewish State” in an attempt to disenfranchise the indigenous Arab population which has every right to live in Israel. I cannot agree with this position of disenfranchisement based on race, religion or creed.

    I do agree that Israel is the historic home of the Jewish peoples.

    I understand that many Jews define that Israel has to have a majority of Jews and that is Jews being at or over 80% of the population in Israel.

    What is “legitimate” for a state to do if it wants to keep an arbitrary ethnic ratio?
    An example. If the Arab population rose to be 25% of the population of Israel, would I agree that Israel has the “legitimacy” to do “anything” about reducing that percentage to keep within the definition that some Jews have of Israel?

    If that includes genocide to reduce the Arab population, the answer is no.

    If that includes an amount of Ethnic Cleansing by driving Arabs out of Israel to reduce their population percentage. The answer is no.

    If it includes providing less than satisfactory medical facilities so that the Arab population has a higher mortality rate, the answer is no.

    If it means making Arabs lives hellish so that they emigrate as the only way of having a decent life, the answer is no.

    I do not know what Israel can do about the Demography of the area to try to keep an Israeli state at or over 80% Jewish.

    Extrapolate that demography, as an example, to the Arab population growing to be over 50% of the population of Israel either through population growth or a large number of Jews leaving Israel.

    Would I accept such a state? The answer is that I cannot see how I could not accept it.

    If that happened as part of an agreed resolution between Israel and Palestinians as a resolution to the Arab refugee issue, I cannot see how I could not accept it.

    The circumstances are very important. If in 1948, the deliberate ethnic cleansing of the Arabs from the new country of Israel did not take place, there may have been an almost equal amount of Arabs and Jews living in Israel today. Could I accept that? I do not see how I could not accept it.

    I do not know what is going to happen in Israel/Palestine in terms of racial/ethnic mix in the future. I do know that it is possible for diverse ethnic groups to respect each other and live together without one ethnic group having to have ethnic based laws to subjugate the other.

    Best wishes

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    hmmm… why so hard to receive a clear answer to a “very good question” …

    regarding your comments

    1. “I find it hard to imagine any state as being a certain type such as “Jewish” given there is a significant minority that is non-Jewish”- you dont need imagination- Sweden is Swedish with 5% Moslems, Poland was “Polish” when it had a 10% Jewish population.

    2. “Many people call Israel a “Jewish State” in an attempt to disenfranchise the indigenous Arab population” -or just maybe in an attempt to enfranchise Jews – a very different motivation

    3. “I do agree that Israel is the historic home of the Jewish peoples”- the other view being?

    4. What is “legitimate” for a state to do if it wants to keep an arbitrary ethnic ratio?
    – I agree there are some unacceptable aspects of Arab life in Israel proper (the genesis of which is a long discussion) -but accusations of genocide are gratuitous and suggest an orientation towards demonisation

    5.” I do not know what Israel can do about the Demography of the area to try to keep an Israeli state at or over 80% Jewish” – how about border control like every other country on earth – even good old Australia – under no threat – can produce a Tampa type policy “we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” John Howard

    6. “I do know that it is possible for diverse ethnic groups to respect each other and live together without one ethnic group having to have ethnic based laws to subjugate the other”- can you point to the successful examples of tolerance for ethnic minorities in the middle east that provide Israeli Jews with the confidence to become a minority group once again

    Neil, one can only deduce from your answer that you dont support the notion of Jews having national/cultural self determination and the security that comes with it, and your easy use of terms like genocide to describe Israel’s behaviour suggests a tendency to put the worst possible spin on everything Israeli – what motivates that?

  • TheSadducee says:

    Andrew

    Don’t waste your time. He isn’t going to re-examine his views honestly no matter what you put forth.

    As I have noted – he accuses others of bait and switch then does it himself, he is disingenuous and dishonest while calling on others to be truthful, he keeps referring to facts but never provides any of his own despite being shown other sources of information, he keeps calling on people to get informed yet is woefully misinformed himself.

  • Neil says:

    Andrew
    Item 1: Surely Israel is Israeli, just as Sweden is Swedish and Poland is Polish including all the nationalities there including the Moslems and Jews that you point out. The suggestion that “Israel is Jewish” is not the same as the argument as the Sweden/Swedish case that you have put forward.

    Item 2: If calling Israel a Jewish state is to enfranchise Jews, why is it used as an argument to deny the Arab Refugees a right of return to their homes. I think that you would have to agree that is is used as often to disenfranchise non-Jews as it is used to enfranchise Jews. Why is Israel insisting that the PLO recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

    Item 3: There are a number of people that say that Jews have no right to be in Israel/Palestine. This I disagree with.

    Item 4: I never suggested “Israel” is Genocidal. I said that I could not accept genocide as one of a number of “Legitimate” options that could be used. Legitimate options that you never specified except for border control. That is not going to keep an 80% Jewish population given Arab population grown. You do understand that a number of Israeli Jews have variously proposed killing the Arabs, busing them to the borders, etc. Therefore my comment was quite relevant in this context. Indeed, Israel has had a history of ethnically cleansing Arab populations. Ref 1948 Plan Dalet and in 1967 in the Golan Heights. Therefore my comments are totally relevant and I reject Ethnic Cleansing as an option.

    Item 5. You have not said what is legitimate to keep the Jewish number in Israel at 80%. Indeed, if it was not for Plan Dalet and the ethnic cleansing of the Arabs in 1948, there would probably be a ratio of Jews to others today of about 50:50. To have a planned proportion of 80% Jews in Israel, as set out by Israels founding fathers, Plan Dalet was essential.

    Item 6: Jews would never become an ethnic minority in Israel even if all the Arab refugees were allowed to return to their lands and homes. The ratio would be about 50:50. Given the power of Jews in Israel, they will never become the victims that they once were when they were minorities in other countries.

    A question to you. Do you support ethnic cleansing?

    If not, do you believe that civilians that were driven from their homes and are now refugees should be allowed to return to their homes?

    If refugees are not to be allowed back to their homes, what is your opinion of Jews returning to the homes that they or their ancestors were driven out of in such places as Germany and Poland?

    If you agree with countries maintaining some form of ethnic ratio, (as Israel is trying to do) would you support Australia putting an arbitrary limit on the percentage of Jews or Muslims allowed to live there? What would you see as their legitimate rights if that ratio was exceeded?

    On the question of spin and Israel. I have been pointing out actions Israeli has carried out since 1948. So far, these actions are the facts of what was carried out. Denying the facts of what has happened in Palestine over the years is a parallel to denying the Holocaust.

    Why is the truth of Israels actions over the years so feared by a large number of commentators?

    My interest is in a fair and decent and moral resolution to the Israel/Palestinian/Syrian/Lebanese issues.

    I could list many very positive Israeli actions over the years. This debate is about opening the borders of Gaza so that the people there can rebuild their lives while ensuring security for Israel against imported weapons. It has moved to a discussion of Truth and Reconciliation which I always push for as I believe that it is the only way through to a moral resolution. I believe Israel would be surprised by the level of forgiveness that Arabs would show for the many atrocities that Israel has carried out if Israel was truthful about it’s actions. On the other hand, the Arabs would have to also admit to the atrocities carried out in their name. (most of these are well know and not hidden by false narratives) The many positive things Israel has done are not relevant to this discussion about the flotilla and truth and reconciliation.

    I know that there will be a drive to try to paint me an illegitimate commentator on this debate. An attempt to paint me as a Jew Hater or Anti-semite. A commonly used vehicle to prevent honest debate. (as I have pointed out earlier, my key dive buddies mother is Jewish. I am not sure if I could trust him with my life if I was a Jew Hater. My best friend has a Jewish background. I have flatted with Jews in the past.)

    I do not demonise Jews, I just point out the Facts/Truths that I have extensively researched and put forward my interpretation of those facts. Facts that many Jewish/Fundamentalist christian bloggers and Mossad are actively trying to hide or cover up.

    I am bouyed by the growing number of Jewish bloggers who have cut through the false Israeli narrative and genuinely would like a decent and moral resolution to the issues in Israel/Palestine based on a true assessment of history.

    Best wishes

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil

    I’m not trying to paint you as either an anti-semite or Jew hater. You haven’t demonstrated either of those positions to date and in fact I recall having corrected another poster who suggested as much.

    And please don’t sell us the “but some of my best friends are Jewish” line – it is really patronising.

    Nonetheless, I have objected to your comments because you have adopted a narrative which, despite facts demonstrating otherwise, you have stuck to eg. Carter forcing the Israelis to negotiate with Egypt, amongst others.

    I also have done some historical research and have listed some sources for my views eg. Morris, I note that you keep claiming that you have done extensive research but have studiously avoided quoting a single document/source for where you derive your interpretations.

    I am against the actions of all the parties in the conflict and have said so – you choose to continually diminish the Palestinian/Arab/Islamic responsibilities and apportion the majority of the blame to the Israelis/US.

    Why that is I am unsure? I can only speculate that you buy into the narrative of a large portion of the left who mistakenly believes that Israel IS the problem rather than merely PART of the problem.

    Also troubling to me is that you actually assert the conspiracy theory that Mossad is deliberately trying to cover up research and exposure of facts and truth – how I don’t know? – which means that you think you are some form of moral crusader fighting for truth against this conspiracy.

  • Neil says:

    I have focused on Israeli actions (ethnic cleansing, colonisation, excessive violence, killing civilians by soldiers when police action is appropriate, State Terrorism, etc) but have not said anything to diminish Palestinian/Arab responsibilities. I have focused on these issues as this forum, and many other forums, seem to be unaware of the Israeli actions throughout time.

    I have not mentioned either the US or Islam. I am unsure as to why you have brought them up?

    Mossad Official slogan: “By way of deception, thou shalt do war. . . .” Remember the “a land without people for a people without land” false narrative?

    Questions for you (again).
    – Do you support ethnic cleansing?
    – If not, do you believe that civilians that were driven from their homes and are now refugees should be allowed to return to their homes?

    Best wishes

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Neil, Ill respond after shabbat – meanwhile I invite you to read/comment on my post in Galus on the right of return

  • Gershon Klein says:

    Ah Neil. 

    Why continue to pursue the ethnic cleansing claim when you have routinely failed to respond on the fact that it was the Arabs and not the Jews who had a policy of ethnic cleansing in place long before 1948?

    The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem whose Moslem Brotherhood was the progenitor of Hamas (for which you are an apologist) and who Arafat called his “uncle” plotted with Hitler and Eichmann in the planning of the Final Solution. Before five Arab armies invaded the nascent State of Israel, the Secretary-General of the Arab League called for a “momentous massacre” of Jews. The Covenant of Hamas intones the notorious antiSemitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and seeks the killing of Jews and the destruction of Israel. The Palestine Authority tolerates racial hatred and vilification of Jews in its media and Abbas won’t allow Jews in his State (meaning that up to 500,000 will have to be ethnically cleansed). 

    If you believe that the Palestinian leadership did not call for, overwhelmingly support and attempt (with the active help of neighbourbing Arab countries) to drive the Jews out of the region, you are seriously deluded. Plan Dalet was a response to actual and promised Arab violence. There was no plan  to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.

    The challenge for both sides has always been to foster a situation where both can sit down and agree in atmosphere of mutual respect on the implementation of a two state solution. More specifically, two states – one Jewish Israeli, the other Arab Palestinian – that can live side by side in peace.

    Stunts like the floptilla, BDS and now the ridiculously stupid fly in were all designed and concocted by those who promote a one state solution in which, at best, the Jews who remain alive would be reduced to dhimmitude. 

    One only needs to study the words of the Hamas “brains” behind the floptilla enterprise and its ISM supporters to understand that they have no interest in human rights, peace or the interests of Israelis or Palestinians alike.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Neil. Do I support ethnic cleansing? I don’t support causing harm of any kind, unless there is reasonable justification. I don’t support murder, but killing in self-defense is sometimes justified; I don’t believe in hacking someone’s leg off, unless saving a life from gangrene; and I don’t support expelling people from their homes and villages unless there is no less painful way to protect the lives and national integrity of a state in the context of a war waged against it.
    Ethnic cleansing is not a fact, it’s an historical interpretation. Whether it sometimes applies to Israel’s behaviour can be discussed, and undoubtedly different judgements will apply to different circumstances- a blanket judgement is inappropriate. Similarly, just because some Palestinians joined the Nazi cause, doesn’t mean that one should characterize all Palestinian behaviour towards the Jews as Nazi anti-Semitism. Such simplifications are unhelpful from either side of the debate. By repeating your ethnic cleansing mantra you avoid a more fundamental issue: whether, and in what form, you accept Israel as legitimate. If an entity is illegitimate, any actions (even border control) taken in its defense could be considered illegitimate.
    So a simple question that you have avoided answering explicitly. Do you believe Israel has an in principle right to continue as a majority Jewish state (assuming guaranteed rights for minorities and an independent Palestinian state next door)?
    If you answer no- that’s fine – we can then discuss your reasons for rejecting such a right.
    If yes – fine – we can then discuss what actions it can and cannot legitimately take to protect itself.
    If you don’t know – fine – we can discuss where your uncertainty lies.
    And if you are simply unwilling to state your view on this question – then I can only assume you are not genuinely interested in a dialogue based on clarity, or a real attempt at common understanding – and there is no point continuing this discussion.

  • Gershon Klein says:

    For the sake of clarity and for those who seek the truth:-

    Benny Morris, the foremost expert on the ‘48 War, writes: “The Palestinian refugee problem was born of war, not by design, Jewish or Arab.”

    Morris also states that “There was no Zionist “plan” or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of “ethnic cleansing”.”

    Yoav Gelber writes that “contrary to later accusations, the documentary evidence proves that throughout this period [December 1947-May 1948] the Yishuv (Jewish community) had no comprehensive strategy of expulsion.”

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Thanks Gershon. I am again posting a link to a discussion between Gelber and Pappe which I think conveys some of the complexity in the historical analysis, and in making sense of decisions and events that take place in war.

    http://israelleft.com/2011/06/27/archive-pappe-debates-1948-with-major-zionist-historian/

    I am not interested in talking to Neil any more. He is not really interested in a conversation, as is his prerogative, but if it’s not a proper conversation, I’m not interested either.

    His extreme bias makes his analysis unhelpful – only when cornered did he acknowledge the role of Palestinian violence in this conflict – in its genesis and as a real issue in its ongoing resolution.

    But he demonstrates his bias most clearly in a comment he made to me a while back.

    “Either there is going to be a fair resolution, or one side is going to be unfairly treated which will only lead to ongoing conflict and no peace in the Middle East, and therefore the rest of the world.”

    What a bizarre world view.

    The lack of peace in the Middle East goes well beyond this conflict. Syria and Libya’s murderous treatment of its citizens as we write, has nothing to do with Israel. The Israel issue has been used by Arab leaders to deflect attention away from the extensive human rights abuses throughout the region.

    And the view that peace in the Middle East will bring about peace in the rest of the world? Where does one start? Theres a blindness here to anything other than this conflict that is very telling.

    And before anyone accuses me of deflection here (which does often feature in discussion abut Israel) it was Neil who introduced the rest of the Middle East!

  • Neil says:

    Hi Andrew

    I have appreciated the discussion with you and the other members of this blog. It has helped me in understanding some of the views being held and how they are proposed. I took your invitation and read your attitude to ROR. It was interesting.

    About your response to my questions, You said:
    – “Neil. Do I support ethnic cleansing? I don’t support causing harm of any kind, unless there is REASONABLE JUSTIFICATION.” (Caps are my emphasis.)
    – “I don’t support expelling people from their homes and villages UNLESS there is no less painful way to protect the lives and national integrity of a state in the context of a war waged against it.”

    So I believe that I can take your answer to my questions are:
    – You support Ethnic Cleansing. You would work to find a way of justifying what could be argued as the illegal, immoral, and unacceptable but you support Ethnic Cleansing. (in this special? case)
    – That makes the answer to the second question redundant as given that you support ethnic cleansing, (in this special? case) it is unlikely that you would support the return of the refugees to their homes.

    [To Gershon. I agree with you that our discussion on Ethnic Cleansing is over. I believe that it is widely recognised as happening in the 1940’s in Palestine and in 1967 in the Golan. I have just finished reading Khirbet Khizeh by S Yizak. You may want to have a read. A small book but very moving. Translated from the Hebrew into english in 2008. The discussion between myself and Andrew, I believe, is based on that Ethnic Cleansing happened but can there be special circumstances to justify it. The fact that you have consistently worked to deny the fact that ethnic cleansing took place means that we have to part ways on this discussion. Best Wishes.]

    Andrew
    There are some logics I have arrived at based on my research and discussions:
    1) It is probable that without the Ethnic Cleansing of the Arabs from their homes and villages in the 1940’s (531 villages and over 700,000 human beings expelled) there would today be approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Palestine today. (as is shown by the number of Arabs including the refugees and their descendants and the number of Jews in Israel, the West Bank and the Golan.)

    2) That to create a “Jewish” state (where there is an 80% Jewish population in Israel) Ethnic Cleansing had to take place otherwise it would have ended up as a state that was approximately 50% Jewish and 50% Arab and others.

    3) That Plan Dalet (including the two years planning it, 531 villages ethnically cleansed, over 700,000 Humans driven from their homes, 400 of those villages destroyed completely so that the Arabs had no homes to return to, 130 of those villages repopulated with Jews and the refusal to allow the expelled Arabs to return to their homes and villages) was the specific mechanism to create the “Jewish State” in Israel.

    The question you have asked me is:
    “Do you believe Israel has an in principle a right to continue as a majority Jewish state (assuming guaranteed rights for minorities and an independent Palestinian state next door)?”

    This is not really a simple question.

    A) If I reply Yes, it could be assumed that I find it morally justifiable to Ethnically Cleanse a population based on ethnic grounds. That after the end of hostilities, it is morally justifiable to reject the return of the refugees to their homes and villages. That as this is a moral principle, I would also support it in future. (EG. If Egypt had the ability to do to the Jews of Israel today what was done to the Arabs of Palestine in the 1940’s, would I support this? In this example, of course the answer is no.)

    B) If I say no, then I am condemned as a Jew Hater. Someone who wants to reduce Jews to Dhimitude in Israel probably leading to their slaughter.

    c) If I support that the Arabs that were ethnically cleansed from their homes in the 1940s and 1967, have the right to return to their homes and that the makeup of Israel should fall as it will (based on how many Arabs want to return to their homes or take some form of compensation and not return), then I again going to be vilified as
    wants to reduce Jews to Dhimitude in Israel probably leading to their slaughter.

    So. I could say that the answer is a shade of Grey.

    I have not come to a conclusion. I understand that:
    – Jews want a “Jewish” State based on Ethnic make up. An understandable desire based on their treatment over time.
    – Many of the Arabs want to return to their homes irrespective of the final ethnic make up of Israel. A desire which is hard to morally argue against.

    The question that comes back to me is: What is to happen to the Arab Refugees driven out of their homes in the 1940’s and 1967?

    Do they deserve decent treatment (including a potential right of return) or do they have to just “Suck it up” (maybe with some compensation that hasn’t been forthcoming for over 60 years) so that Israel can be preserved as a “Jewish” State. That their ongoing 63 year horror is just the price that has to be paid to maintain a “Jewish” state in Israel.

    Sorry Andrew. I have not come to a conclusion and I have agonised over this for a number of years.

    It is a pity that some people on this blog see everything in Black and White and deny facts in an attempt to support their world view. I understand the cognitive dissonance that could come from being open to a fair debate based on historical fact rather than the current narrative. Indeed, I had to overcome my skepticism when I started on this journey. I had believed the current narrative such as “A land without people for a people without land”. It has taken me many hundreds of hours of research and reading many books to understand what happened.

    Can you comment on my conclusion that without the Ethnic cleansing of the Arabs in the 1940s, that there would be approximately 50% Jews and 40% Arabs in Israel today?

    Best Wishes.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Neil
    During war, relocating members/supporters of the enemy forces with the primary intent of safeguarding ones own community, and when other alternatives leave ones own citizens at unacceptable risk, is unfortunate but not unethical. Many countries (including our own) have incarcerated enemy aliens at times of war for incomparably lower levels of threat than those experienced by Israel in 47-48. http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/snapshots/internment-camps/introduction.aspx

    If some expulsions went beyond the necessities of security then ethnic cleansing might only apply to those cases. How ironic that you lament that people on this blog see everything in Black and White, and yet you appear unable to conceive that the genesis of the Palestinian refugee problem might be complex and multifactorial.

    Your assertion that I support ethnic cleansing is an offensive misrepresentation of what I wrote.

    Supporting a majority Jewish Israel does not require one to retrospectively endorse ethnic cleansing even if it had occurred. Rather, it implies that proceeding from this point into the future, justice and human rights of all parties will best be protected in a two state solution rather than a one state solution.
    Regarding what should happen to the refugees – my piece on ROR addresses this question – you haven’t even attempted to respond to that argument.
    Your stated reason for not answering my question (fear of being labeled) is preposterous- I must agree with the others on this post – trying to engage you seriously appears to be a waste of energy.

  • Neil says:

    Andrew
    I did start a reply but deleted it.

    I will try to briefly recreate the crux of the reply.

    I believe that you have started from an “end” (unstated) (that a “Jewish” state is a good thing irrespective of any act used in creating it) and then looked for arguments to justify keeping the current situation in place. (balance of human rights) You have tried to change the “language” so as to try to negate the truth of what happened in the 1940s and 1967.

    You said: “During war, relocating members/supporters of the enemy forces with the primary intent of safeguarding ones own community, and when other alternatives leave ones own citizens at unacceptable risk, is unfortunate but not unethical. Many countries (including our own) have incarcerated enemy aliens at times of war for incomparably lower levels of threat than those experienced by Israel in 47-48.”

    You have used the word “relocating” as a replacement for “Ethnic Cleansing”. The Arabs were not “relocated” within Israel. They were deliberately in a pre-planned manner driven out of their homes and lands. The men of military age could have been rounded up and put in prisoner of war camps with the rest of the civilian population left in their homes. Israel chose to Ethnically cleanse ALL civilians, irrespective of their threat potential, as well as combatants from the new land of Israel.

    Many countries have incarcerated enemy aliens“. Israel did not “incarcerate” the Arabs. Israel Ethnically Cleansed them from their homes and villages to territories outside the lands seized by Israel. Remember, in WW2, after the end of the war, the Japanese rounded up were allowed to return to their homes. Something the Arabs driven out of their homes by Israel could only dream about.

    Your comments have not addressed the morality of a specific and defined plan to ethnically cleanse the population. Plan Dalet, as I pointed out, (including the two years planning it, 531 villages ethnically cleansed, over 700,000 Humans driven from their homes, 400 of those villages destroyed completely so that the Arabs had no homes to return to, 130 of those villages repopulated with Jews and the refusal to allow the expelled Arabs to return to their homes and villages) was the specific mechanism to create the “Jewish State” in Israel. This was completely at odds with Israel’s statements about the treatment of all peoples in Israel when it was set up.

    I argue that this action was specifically planned to create a “Jewish” state. The Arab civilian population, irrespective of their threat to the new state of Israel, were to be driven from their homes and the new lands of Israel. This included women, children and old men. Some who were blind, some who were crippled, etc. All who would not have been a danger to Israel.

    You have not commented on my suggestion that without the ethnic cleansing the proportion of Jews to Arabs in Israel would be about 50:50. Something that, based on Israel’s statements in 1948, should have been acceptable according to Israel’s statements upon declaring a state.

    I would reiterate that it looks like it to me that the arguments that I see put forward by a number of bloggers are still an attempt to retrospectively justify the Ethnic Cleansing that took place in the 1940s.

    Now about 1967 and the Golan heights as an extension of this policy of Ethnic Cleansing. It was another round of deliberately planned Ethnic Cleansing. Israel already existed. Israel was already a “Jewish” state with a Jewish population of about 80%. The Arabs of the Golan did not threaten that demographic fact.

    Why did Israel round up the Arabs of the Golan AFTER the end of the conflict and truck them to the border. Then destroy, as Israel did in the 1940s, their villages so that they could not return to their homes?

    It is proposed that approximately 120,000 Arabs were once again driven from their homes and lands.

    There are now over 20,000 Israeli Jews in colonies in the Golan.

    Israel has stated, contrary to international law, that it has annexed the Golan Heights to Israel.

    Is the ethnically cleansing of those Arabs from the Golan Heights acceptable to you? Is the annexing of the Golan morally acceptable to you?

    If Israel was to attack Lebanon again and occupy the territory up to the Litani River (as was proposed in early Zionist plans). If Israel was to ethnically cleanse that land and place Israeli Jews in colonies into those lands, would that be acceptable to you?

    I am not expecting an answer to these questions.

    Much of the argument is the morality of territory acquisition through war and the subsequent ethnic cleansing. Both illegal under international law. So far, I have not seen anyone on this blog site condemn ethnic cleansing when it comes to Arabs.

    I have seen a lot of arguments retrospectively justifying the actions undertaken by Israel. Or justifying the current situation which essentially are justification of actions past.

    You said: “ I must agree with the others on this post – trying to engage you seriously appears to be a waste of energy.

    I have come to the conclusion that this blog is not about a trying to have an open and honest debate with a desire for understanding each others positions.

    It seems as if it is about trying to put across a position so as to influence the thinking of the people who read this blog. Much like the actions of Israel in the media over the years. Remember Mossads slogan – By way of deception, thou shalt do war. . . .” Remember the “a land without people for a people without land” false narrative?

    I guess that I will continue to put across alternative positions and to ask readers of this blog to just consider them. Not to agree with me unthinkingly but to just think about, and consider, the issues I raise.

    Best wishes.

  • Lea Kantor says:

    It seems to me that you have taken Pappe’s version of what happened in 1948 as truth, although he has been widely discredited, as has the Zionist idea that Arab leaders ordered all the Arabs to leave. The “land without a people…’ quote so widely used as a proof of malignant Zionist intentions was used by Christian Zionists not Jews. There were many reasons for the exodus, and there was no evidence of policy for population transfer, although there were discussions and fantasies about it. There is in fact much evidence for an acceptance of the Arab population and a wish to live alongside it. Plan Dalet was in relation to hostile peoples only; many Arabs did not leave, and some were asked to stay. I believe your use of the term “ethnic cleansing” is inappropriate and deliberately inflammatory, when one considers how it is usually used. This is not to say that there were not crimes committed and mistakes made.

    You completely ignore the context for the refusal to readmit those who had fled or been expelled: amongst which were, the 1948 war initiated by several Arab states whose stated intent was to annihilate the Jews, and the preceding hostilities against the Yishuv, which peaked in an agreement to join Hitler’s project against the Jews; the exodus and dispossession of 750,000 Middle Eastern Jews; the acceptance of ‘population transfer’ at that time in history, which explains the discussions and fantasies; and in addition, the Palestinian refugee problem exacerbated by the refusal of Arab states to settle or offer equal citizenship while the Middle eastern Jews were all settled immediately.

    I believe you distort history by imposing an assumption of Israel’s current power and at times belligerent stance, on to the past: Israel needed a Jewish majority, and has one, therefore ethnic cleansing must have been planned. The truth is that in both 1948 and in 1967, for that matter, Israelis were not powerful; they were in genuine terror of being totally eradicated (again), in 1948 only 3 years after the end of the Holocaust, and with 30% of the army Holocaust survivors.
    The problem with your use of the phrase “ethnic cleansing” is it betrays a lack of knowledge of and sympathy with the Israeli context. Reducing the truth to certain ‘facts’, which come from reading certain texts and not others, and insisting on discounting the context of one side, one set of motivations and feelings, is to deliberately or unconsciously strip truth of its meaning.

    If you discount context you do deliberate or unconscious violence to the truth. It also means you yourself are dismissed and together with you, the things you say that are true. For peace it is necessary to demonstrate sympathy as well as challenge, for the people you are addressing, in this case on this forum. In searching for those who seek peace, I believe it is important to listen for who is listening, who has real concern for the other.

    I agree that truth must be pursued before reconciliation. The truth regarding the predicament of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is that there are many parties responsible.

    Your thoughts about the Flotilla and the Gaza Port seem to have merit, but I am not an expert in defence strategy. What I do see is that we are exposed to so much about the fate of the Gaza Flotillas, the courage and virtue of its crew and not about this: that in March of this year a boat named Victoria en route to Gaza from a Turkish port was intercepted by the IDF- tons of rockets and other munitions were found under a cover of cotton and lentils. I also know that in the southern Lebanon where the UN has been peace keeping huge amounts of artillery have been installed by Hizbollah under their watchful eye.
    Here is the Haaretz link.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/commandos-stop-boatload-of-arms-headed-for-gaza-1.349438

    I am interested to know where your passionate interest in the Middle East comes from?
    Best wishes to you.

  • Lea Kantor says:

    re the Golan, I am old enough to remember the numerous attacks on kibbutzim and other settlements from the Golan Heights, from which they were easy targets. I imagine you would want the same if you lived in Ferntree Gully and there were frequent sniper attacks from the Dandenongs. But I don’t know you. Perhaps you are a saint?

  • gg says:

    Well this accounts for Viv’s antiIsrael activism:
    ‘The daughter of Czech Jewish refugees from Nazi oppression, Viv Porszolt has a long history of Marxist activism in both New Zealand and Australia.

    In the 1970s Porszolt was associated with the Wellington based Maoist group, the Wellington Marxist-Leninist Organization, a militantly pro Palestine, anti Israel group. She was also close to WMLO’s 1980s successor organization the Workers Communist League, and traveled to China with one of the many student delegations organized by that group.

    By the early 1990s Porzsolt had moved to Sydney, working as a senior public servant and associating with the WCL’s Australian ally, the Democratic Socialist Party.

    As an anti israeli Jew, Viv Porszolt was a leader of the Sydney Jewish Left, and in 1997 traveled to Israel representing the Australian Campaign to Free Vanunu. She was involved in international demonstration outside Ashkelon prison, where Israeli nuclear secrets leaker Modechai Vanunu was being held at the time.’

    She’a a Marxist – what a surprise. The poison continues.

    http://trevorloudon.com/2011/07/viv-porszolt-kiwi-marxist-detained-in-israel/

  • gg says:

    Neil – assuming you’re still following this.

    I’ve popped back and have been reading your comments above.
    You do not acknolwedge the role of jihad, inflicted on the world since the inception of Islam.

    There is no “occupation” of “palestine”, which was Turkish province – not arab.

    This “problem” of Israel and the Arabs for you is like a maths problem. Put solution A into equation B and it all works. well it’s not like that and frankly, where do you get off? i personally have not interest in the ‘arguments” of people like you who regard the jihad against Israel and the West as a simply fabulous opportunity to show off whatever egomaniacal urge they wish to exhibit abotu themselves.

    Everyone around here is being very polite to you, and frankly you don’t deserve it. You’re not Israeli and I can tell you frankly I am not interested in your fluent idiocy. it is not up to you and your moronic cohorts to decide what goes on in Israel, and if you’re pushing for a solution to something you plainly misunderstand I recommend you have a nice rest and worry about the fairness of the show Masterchef.

    Whether you’re a baby Marxist or not is not my concern. You’ve ignored fundamental circumstances of history and realpolitik around the Jihad issue, and I can’t take you seriously.
    best wishes.

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