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Human Rights and Israel-Palestine at the Melbourne Festival of Ideas

June 30, 2011 – 10:55 am86 Comments

Self-determination – a human right?


By Andrew Wirth
I recently attended Melbourne University’s Festival of Ideas to hear a debate entitled: “The Middle East: the Cockpit of National Identities and Perpetual Conflict… can the idea of two states –Israeli and Palestinian – be made to work?” Naomi Chazan and Mark Baker, (representing “progressive Zionism”) presented a nuanced and compassionate – almost anguished – attempt to embrace and honor two conflicting narratives. In arguing for a two-state solution, they acknowledged both Jewish and Palestinian identities struggling to find purchase in a disputed piece of land.

Saree Makdisi, speaking from a Palestinian perspective, replied (paraphrasing): These are just nice words. Israel’s establishment led to the dispossession of Palestinians, many of whom are refugees who have not had their basic rights met to this day. The only way to redress this wrong is to accept that Palestinian refugees have the right of return to their places or origin, and to live in peace alongside the Jewish inhabitants of Palestine.

And in case anyone had any doubts “This is just a matter of human rights. Simple. How can you argue with that?”

In arguing for one state, Makdisi wasn’t arguing politics. This wasn’t about settlers, facts on the ground, the “bantustanisation” of Palestinian territory, or a rejectionist Israeli leadership making the two state solution impossible to implement in current circumstances. While these are very real and legitimate issues, they could in principle be overcome with appropriate policy implementation, and do not reflect human rights limitations inherent in the idea of two states for two peoples.

The essence of Makdisi’s position seems to be that while a two state solution might provide an opportunity for Palestinians to live as free and equal citizens within a state that fully enshrines their human rights, only the one state solution provides acceptable redress for the dispossessed refugees. The argument that the return of refugees is essential is constructed in the language of human rights, and hermetically sealed with the righteousness of the oppressed. The potential loss of Israel as a Jewish State becomes simply a side effect, desirable or unfortunate depending on ones view on nation states in general, and Israel in particular.

Arguments about the right of return typically focus on several familiar themes: who and how many are the Palestinian refugees; how ought we apportion blame for the initiation and perpetuation of their plight; how ought we interpret and apply the various moral-legal frameworks that apply to this problem – in particular the UN Charter on human rights, and UN resolutions 181 and 194: and of course Jewish and Palestinian claims of “sacred rights” to land, which can be asserted but not argued. These are important issues. Yet such discussion, which fills the pages of the Jewish News, Galus, and other media invariably gets bogged down in historical and legal disputation, and is often unproductive and unenlightening.

Let’s take it as a given that the Jews of Palestine/Israel were at least partly to blame for Palestinian dispossession, and that a human rights perspective should inform any solution to the problem. Left Zionists have for years used the language of human rights to defend two states against the Zionist right. It is ironic, and in fact quite disorienting now to have this very language used to invalidate their position. During question time at the debate, several of the most poignant objections to the position being defended by Baker and Chazan were put by Jews in the audience. These Jews – and they felt obliged to introduce themselves as such – seemed unable to validate a Jewish state on the grounds of justice and human rights. It is as though years of being the oppressor has made this language unavailable to them.

So how can we argue a case for a two as opposed to a one state solution on human rights grounds?

I would suggest that this position requires:

  • that the “human rights cost” to the Palestinians of foregoing the right of return to their original home towns (as opposed to living in a genuinely independent Palestinian state alongside Israel) is less than the “human rights cost” to Jews through the loss of a space in which they can enjoy national self determination; and
  • that a human rights loss for one group can in some circumstances be legitimately weighed against a human rights loss of another group.

It is important to reiterate that one-state proponents are not simply asserting that Palestinians should enjoy full democratic/civil rights within a State. This they could achieve in an appropriately implemented two state solution. Rather, their argument rests on the notion that there are essential aspects of human rights that can only be realized by returning to their original towns, villages and homes.

There are unarguably powerful personal, emotional and cultural values attached to familial and clan history, property and birthplaces. Bradley Burston touches on these intangible values (for both “sides”) in a recent article in Haaretz. The inability to return to such places is a painful emotional and cultural loss, which must be appropriately recognized and acknowledged, and nothing in this piece is intended to diminish this important issue. The question being raised is whether the difference between returning to ones original family home on one hand, or reestablishing a home within a genuine Palestinian state nearby on the other, really constitutes an unacceptable human rights infringement? What is the incremental gain of returning to places of family origin, as expressed in the language of human rights? If we look to the 30 articles in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights there are only two whose fulfillment is conceivably dependant on the right of return.

Article 13 (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 17 (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

I say conceivably because there is ample scope to critique the applicability of these articles as related to Palestinian right of return. What is the definition of one’s own country? Is loss of property occurring in the context of intercommunal war arbitrary? However, once again, for this discussion let us accept that at least some Palestinian human rights could only be fulfilled in Israel proper.

The key question is what legitimately follows from this? Does demonstrating that some Palestinian rights can only be addressed by right of return automatically warrant their implementation, or does the legitimate exercise of a right depend on the implications for other parties of exercising that right? My right to free speech does not extend to yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre if no fire exists. In the instance of the right of return, the consequent loss to be considered is that of Jewish national self-determination.

The loss of a space within which Jewish cultural expression, language, religion and sense of home are not vulnerable, but can flourish freely – and where the physical safety of Jews, if not guaranteed, is at least a matter of Jewish responsibility. These are conditions Jews have not enjoyed for two thousand years, during which they have repeatedly “experimented” with living in dominantly non-Jewish societies – an experience characterized by exclusion, expulsion and ultimately extermination. The meaning of the loss of a Jewish state is once again to be at risk of such events. This is an experiment that Jews might wish reasonably not to run again.

But can such risks be viewed within a rights framework? Nowhere does it state in the UN charter that everyone has a right to live in a society in which they form part of the dominant cultural group. However, most national or cultural groups either already live as part of a majority group or have the potential to move to a homeland where that is the case. Those groups that do not enjoy actual or potential self-determination as a national majority (Roma, Kurds, Tibetans and, historically the Jews, among others) have suffered and continue to suffer infringements of their rights.

Thus, even though living within a national majority group is not an explicit human right, and this is key, the enjoyment of human rights, historically, appears to be contingent on such a status.

Set against the rights described in articles 13 and 17 of the charter (which a two state solution may compromise for Palestinians), rights that Jews have not enjoyed (and in many cases still do not enjoy) in their precarious existence as minorities in Christian and Muslim societies include:

Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Less clear, but I think also arguably relevant are:

Article 15. (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

Article 27. (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community…

Palestinian advocates might reasonably say- “that’s a shame, but your loss of a national space is not a Palestinian responsibility”. If the argument is conducted as a zero sum game then one can take that view. However, if the conversation is genuinely about ensuring universal human rights for all (and not just a tactic), then the case must be made that the realization of those rights only achievable through right of return (but not in a two state solution) justifies the loss to another group of several arguably more fundamental rights. This is not simply an appeal to justice based on intuition, but is implied in articles 28 and 30 of the UN charter itself.

Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Those arguing for unlimited Palestinian right of return are arguing for an international order in which the realization of fundamental Jewish rights is put at risk. A case against the full implementation of the Palestinian right of return/one state solution need not be predicated on denial of any Israeli responsibility for the refugee problem, nor even on denial that some Palestinian rights might be forgone in a two state arrangement. One can argue, in the terms of the UN Charter, that the loss of rights for the Jewish residents of Israel (and the broader Jewish community) inherent in a one state solution underpins a strong case for a two state solution.

Advocates of a Jewish state as part of a two state solution should not have to feel apologetic, whether in a university debate, with colleagues over coffee, at the shabat dinner table or in the blogosphere, whether confronting critics on the right, or as in this instance, the left.

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86 Comments »

  • TheSadducee says:

    I think there is sufficient evidence to argue that the conversation on human rights has never been genuine with regards to the rights themselves or the right of return and hence, although this piece is commendable, it is largely talking from a different plane to that of the fundamentalist right of return advocates.

    Have a read of the compilation of material included in the “Arab Charter on Human Rights” which the Palestinian Government supports.

    Hamas (the democratically elected government of Palestine) or Fatah prior to that, aren’t genuinely interested in securing a human rights based solution – if they were they would be advocating non-violent resistance and pursuing this through the UN judiciary etc and building their infrastructure in their own areas etc.

    Rather they are looking for what you note – a zero sum game solution i.e. a single state with a Muslim majority where the Jewish population are reduced to their traditional and historical positions as subdued subordinates without equal rights. Use of human rights language etc is merely a tactic to achieve that.

    Don’t get me wrong, the occupation is contemptible and needs to be fought against, however don’t delude yourself for a second that the average Palestinian refugee in Lebanon or Syria gives a damn about your self-determination rights etc when measured against their right of return to a majority Muslim state which will efface their shame in the eyes of the rest of the Arab/Muslim world.

    (The shame being that they lost Palestine to the Jews in the first place in 1948.)

  • Shaun says:

    I watched part of the video involving Makdisi. I found him quite smug and not genuinely listening to what Naomi or Mark were saying. His comments seemed reflective of someone stuck in the ivory tower of academia thousands of miles away from the conflict, in his case being a professor of literature in Los Angeles. His secular form of a one state solution has no support in the international community, amongst Israelis and amongst most Palestinians and strikes me as a totally unnecessary destraction from real solutions to the conflict.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Palestinian refugee problem, the practical reality is that there will not be any substantial right of return and to idealize such a solution is only creating false illusions. Are Palestinians really think they are going get their homes back in Katamon or Talbiya? Compensation and an appropriate compensation claim mechanism is the answer.

  • Malki Rose says:

    … About as likely as it is that my family get all its German, Polish and Hungarian land back. Land we had legally owned for almost 400 years – land we, like millions of other families who survived the European Holocaust, would be morally entitled to claim back.

    agreed Shaun, this is not about the rights and wrongs. There are practical realities which are entirely insurmountable. To suggest that the modern world, which is comprised of nations built on colonialism and post-war migratory patterns, disregard all of human history is gravely irresponsible and not a helpful solution to this problem.

    Repossessing of ones previously owned land is not the answer to displacement as it necessarily displaces others. It would only replace one displaced people with another.

    -and asking every nation state to move down a seat so as to allow all original inhabitants (the definition of which is itself problematic) to return home would ultimately result in a planet of dispossessed and displaced people.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    TheSadducee – You are right – for some Palestinian proponents of ROR/one state, human rights discourse is a distraction/tactic (I alluded to this) – but some Palestinians and many in the international community (including many BDS devotees and people in flotillas) take it very seriously- while it is legitimate to point out when ROR advocates are simply disingenuous , I am suggesting that one can and should also address them very much in the language of rights- in the language with which they claim to make their case
    I don’t agree with your suggestion that one can argue from the methods used to achieve ROR (violent or otherwise) to whether or not the goal is legitimate

    Shaun – I formed the same view of Makdisi’s demeanour. In fact I attempted to discuss some points with him after the debate and he really was deaf to any other point of view. Is it really the case that a secular one state solution has no support in the international community? While I agree that mass return of refugees is “not going to happen” for all sorts of reasons and promoting ROR creates dangerous illusions- neither of these points goes to the legitimacy of the aspiration – this needs to be argued on other grounds – and I am suggesting human rights grounds

    Malki Rose – the fact that return is unlikely to occur is not an argument against its legitimacy

  • Shira Wenig says:

    Good analysis.

    Using the language of human rights is wonderful Palestinian hasbara. If someone asserts that it is their human right to return to their ancestral home, it sounds really politically incorrect to question whether this is, in fact, a right.

    I am almost finished watching the video of the panel, and I got the same impression – that Makdisi is really not interested in any other point of view and his talk of human rights is just a tactic to make a Muslim one state solution palatable to Western audiences.

    Arguing against Makdisi on the basis of human rights is worthwhile as a way of undermining his assertions in the minds of people who are willing to revisit their positions and be swayed by a convincing argument; but I think we also need to recognise that such an argument can only go so far, if the opposition is only using human rights as a tactic, and if their Western supporters are blind to any view other than what they want to believe.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Shira- what is the alternative approach? to say in effect: yes, we acknowledge your “human right” to return, but it just “aint gonna happen” – but only because we have bigger guns.
    I think it’s actually more politically correct to argue the difference between a legitimate desire and a legitimate human right

  • Malki Rose says:

    Andrew
    Apologies for not being clear, I was not suggesting that a “right of return” is not legitimate. Nor am I suggesting that some “right of return” is not possible. I am saying that the full and unhindered right of return for the Palestinian people that Makdisi is hoping for is simply not possible. Not for Palestinians and not for any other displaced people – because that would conceivably mean all of us. It’s a logistical impossibility that would result in global displacement of all peoples and triggered a chain of unspeakable destruction.

    I do appreciate the human rights argument of course, but like most others who have observed Makdisi on this, it seems apparent that the use of this argument is purely a tactical pitch to westerners, as Shira has just suggested.

  • Ummmmm says:

    Shira – You write “Using the language of human rights is wonderful Palestinian hasbara. If someone asserts that it is their human right to return to their ancestral home, it sounds really politically incorrect to question whether this is, in fact, a right.”
    But wasn’t the right to return to our ancestral home one of the strongest arguments we put – first to the British and later to the UN – to call for the establishment of Israel?

  • GG says:

    I prefer Klavan’s One State Solution:

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Thanks Malki/Shira- whether or not the human rights “pitch” is, for Makdisi, a tactic or a deeply held belief is immaterial- it resonates with the West and forms part of the tapestry of delegitimisaton of Israel.
    The extrapolation from Palestinian ROR to world chaos (if all peoples started “going home”) while logical is unconvincing – world focus is on one recently established Jewish state and the millions of Palestinians allegedly wanting to go back.
    Most arguments we hear against ROR (including posts above) are about practicalities/power politics- they are valid but do not affect peoples feelings about infringements of rights
    In parallel with realpolitic our arguments can and I argue should be rooted in the language of justice/rights for both sides- we dont have to run way from the rights arena in public debate
    !

  • Wolf says:

    I really find this article very interesting, for one reason. It touches on an issue I have been thinking about the past few weeks. I read a very good article by Naomi Chazzan advocating a two state solution. It was clear to me that in her eyes, a two state solution would solve everything, at least eventually. However, I am a realist, and I must disagree with this.

    The Palestinians do not ask nor accept a two state solution. The Palestinian academic mentioned in this article just re-iterates that sad fact. Of the two mainstream political parties in Gaza Strip (Hamas and Fatah), they are both international terrorist organizations that state clearly and regularly they will only accept one state. They will never accept a Jewish state in any way, shape or form.

    After all why isn’t Gaza already it’s own Palestinian state? It is separate from Israel. Furthermore, why couldn’t the Jews of Gaza stay there as Palestinian Jews, just like there are Israeli arabs in Israel?

    I found it absolutely hypocritical of the Palestinians that they speak of their ‘right to self determination’, but expect Israel to supply electricity and aid to Gaza. After all, if they really want ‘self determination’ then why don’t they do just that! (like the Jews did in Israel).

    One final point. The ‘Palestinians’ are in fact arabs, mostly descended of non-land owning arabs in Ottoman Turkey. ‘Palestine’ only ever existed under British mandate, and I can tell you that a lot of my ancestors lived in British mandate Palestine, does that make me a Palestinian Jew? Of course not, the ‘Palestinians’ are not ‘Palestinians’ or native to Israel at all, and they don’t accept Jews whose ancestry goes back or predates British mandate Palestine because the real issue that they have is one of religion, not background.
    Does this make the ‘Palestinians’ antisemites? Maybe. One thing which certainly indicates to me the sheer Jew hatred in ‘Palestinian’ society is the virulent antisemitism shown regularly throughout their media. One such example is ‘Farfur the mouse'(youtube it, it’s both funny and sad at the same time). I have never seen, and hope to never see such hatred in mainstream Jewish media in Israel, or elsewhere.

    I hope there is a solution to create a genuine, lasting peace in the middle east, and I know there will have to be one eventually. However, I’d rather be honest with myself about ‘non-solutions’ and suck it up, than delusional and pretend these ‘non-solutions’ will solve the real problems!

  • Shaun says:

    Andrew, when I indicated that the one state solution has no support in the international community, I was referring to at the official government level. I can not see that position changing in the foreseeable future.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Shaun

    You ask:

    “Are Palestinians really think they are going get their homes back in Katamon or Talbiya?”

    I would answer that with a yes.

    A large part of this is the responsibility of the UNRWA, the Israelis and Palestinian leadership and in more recent times the international community (through the UN) who have not come out and unequivocally said that this is not going to happen.

    Until that happens it will be considered a viable aspiration by the Palestinians. Especially as western groups (human rights NGOs and governments) are either supportive or coy about the prospects.

    Similarly, no Palestinian leader is going to openly tell this to the refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan etc – they wouldn’t survive the rejectionist backlash.

  • Shira Wenig says:

    @ Andrew – I think we are in agreement. I’m not saying the alternative is to say “I acknowledge your human right but it ain’t gonna happen” – the alternative is, as you suggest, differentiating between a human right and a human desire. And I think both arguments have their place – the rights-based argument in circles where this really is the concern, and the alternative argument in circles where rights are used as a tactic.
    It’s perfectly consistent to use both arguments at the same time – effectively we’re saying: “We don’t believe this is fundamentally a human rights issue; but if you believe it is, we can counter that too”.
    (What I am referring to as not fundamentally a human rights issue is the “right” to return to the exact town you came from – not the legitimate right to be free of occupation.)

    @ Ummmm – that is a valid question but I think there is a difference between the 2 cases. In 1947 we were asking to return to our ancestral region – the Biblical land of Israel, as opposed to Europe (predominantly) and everywhere else across the globe where Jews live and have been persecuted. The fact that the Yishuv was willing to accept the ridiculously indefensible UN borders demonstrates that in light of reality, it was happy with a foothold in its ancestral home, not the whole thing.

    Palestinians advocating for a 1 state, rather than a 2 state, solution are claiming a right to return to their ancestral house, not just their ancestral region. I understand people have attachments to their childhood homes (as, on a totally separate topic, I witnessed when I accompanied my grandmother back to her house in Slovakia on a roots trip) but given the reality of the millions of Jews who desperately need the security and national affirmation of their own state, the Palestinians too should be happy with being autonomous in an area not too far away from the actual house where they lived pre 1948.

    There is also another difference. The Jews in 1947 were coming from a standpoint where there were no areas already under Jewish or Arab sovereignty and were making a case for partition – for being granted a portion of an as yet nationally unallocated land – on the basis of right of return to their ancestral home. The reality today is very different. There is a sovereign Jewish state, and there are areas which are predominantly Palestinian and could form a sovereign Palestinian state. Asking for another sovereign state (Israel) to be dismantled on the basis of Palestinian right of return is a very different enterprise.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Andrew

    You state:

    “I don’t agree with your suggestion that one can argue from the methods used to achieve ROR (violent or otherwise) to whether or not the goal is legitimate.”

    That is not my suggestion and I apologise if I have been unclear – I am suggesting that a human rights based solution to the conflict itself (whether it includes ROR or not) can be judged by the actions of the individuals pursuing it. If they are prepared to abrogate human rights through the use of violence then their ultimate goal is not genuinely concerned with human rights.

    I think if you look at the goal of ROR – yes, the individuals do have a right to return to their lost homes where possible, however the end result of this cannot be, as you suggest, an elimination of Jewish self-determination rights at the national level nor the uprooting of people from existing homes established in the period of 1948-1967.

    However, the trouble comes with acknowledging that Jewish rights of self-determination came at the expense of Palestinian rights for the same.

    Whether national self-determination needs to be made in their actual lost homes is certainly debateable – I personally don’t think it does – I think it can validly be made anywhere in the territory of Mandate Palestine.

    I personally think the Israelis and Palestinians need to set up a joint commission and systematically investigate the claims of living refugees (and their immediate descendants to the 1st generation eg. their children, but not grandchildren) from the 1948 period and when claims are validated return them to their lost areas where possible and/or mutually agreed alternative areas and provide compensation. Claims that are not verifiable should be acknowledged as being returned to the Palestinian state and are not compensable.

  • Hugo says:

    I find a one state solution would be reasonable. The zionists all retain various European nationalities (their homelands) so they can go back if they do not want to live together with people of other religions.

  • Philip Mendes says:

    Hugo: those Zionists must be in your imagination. More than half the Israeli Jewish population came from Arab or North African countries. And that is not counting those whose families had lived in Palestine for hundreds of years. My own maternal grandfather, for example, was born in Safed in 1901, and his family had moved there from Iraq about 300-400 years earlier.

    PM

  • Morry says:

    One of the major rational flaws this article fails to address, is that this “right of return” stands in stark conravention to any form of Palestinian national self-determination. The Palestinian leadership has strongly argued both, though they are indeed mutually exclusive. You either muster your forces to build a wonderful homeland (what Israel did) or you send your people elsewhere … only a two state solution can lead to self-determination for both peoples. If you plan to send your people somewhere where they might be happy and fulfilled, I would suggest Jordan a far more rational destination than Israel.

    The concept of “right of return” exists nowhere in international law. International law is clear … nations dealing with the dispossessed have the choice of restitution of property, or fair compensation. Israel has had such a compensation law in place since its conception, thus fulfilling its legal and moral obligations. I might add, that for all their suffering, Jewish Holocaust survivors were generally offered that same compensation … certainly no “right of return”.

    One has to ask why this Palestinian leadership (and I think it doesn’t serve us to forget that the PA is made up of 9 still active terrorist groups committed to Israel’s destruction) would insist their bretheren be exiled from Palestine to what they themselves describe as a hostile Zionist environment, one the Palestinians freely term as “the enemy” and execute their own for being in touch with this “enemy”. Isn’t this as ludicrous as the Jewish leadership of Palestine in 1944 demanding a right of return for Jews to Poland and Germany?

    It is high time we disconnected from our emotional paralysis, and engaged our rationale, in judging just how reasonalble or unreasonable these arguments are.

    The tragic reality, and I say this as somebody who travelled the West Bank and Gaza extensively, is that the Palestinian people, the very hardworking and peaceful Palestinian people, has been hijacked by terrorists, with the help of the Oslo accords, who hold them hostage to unreasonable demands, who brainwash their children to martyrdom, and who are responsible for their terrible suffering. For in attacking Israeli citizens from the West Bank and Gaza, they caused the erection of roadblocks and fences, something that didn’t exist before Oslo … the “peace deal”.

  • Morry says:

    Cute Hugo, if extremely bigoted. The Israelis, not all of whom are Zionist, whatever you happen to think that word means, have now lived in Israel for four generations. They were mostly born there, hold no citizenship but Israeli, and Israel is their home. Despite your outlandish wishes, they are going nowhere. If by “Zionist” you mean “Jew”, then I might add that Jews are indigenous to this particular area, and it was their status as natives that prompted the League of Nations to decide on a Jewish homeland there in 1920 … but that’s probably for another discussion.

    I think that any rational discussion that is even slightly in touch with reality, must see inviolability of Israel as a given. The citizens of Israel need no solution, they have no problem, their issues are resolved. And they are, for the most part, happy to help the Palestinians resolve their problem. That’s where any fruitful discussion should start.

  • R B says:

    All those Jews who support a one-state solution, should keep in mind that implementing their ideas may make them feel humanistic and progressive, but a the next step it will lead to a half of the Jews in the world living in an Arab state, possibly under an Islamist regime.

    The fate of the Jews living in today’s Israel will be as of any non-Muslim, non-sovereign minority in the Middle-East – being persecuted, deprived of their security and properties, and becoming refugees. Six million Jews (this is the number, nothing to do with the Holocaust).

    If this is what these Chomskis and Lowensteins want and they still consider themselves as Jews… I really don’t know what to say.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Wolf: my understanding is that Hamas and Fatah actually say that they are prepared to accept a Palestinian state in 67 lines- but this is different from (although easily misunderstood as) accepting a Jewish state on the other side of the line- rather they insist on the right of return to Israel – which by implication will lead to one state – hence the thrust of my discussion is directed at the justification for the right of return as a human right- the problem is that once something is a human right it is sacrosanct. My view is that the Palestinian dispossession does create a set or personal and political rights which are however not at that level of inviolable human rights but can be the subject of negotiation.

    Shaun : there may not be many countries that explicitly endorse one state- but there are many NGOs, BDS advocates, academic oranisations, unions, arts communities that support the right of return – these entities do have significant effects on members of Israeli society- so I think it is important to be able to make a case against the ROR in human rights vocabulary

    TheSadducee: I am not convinced that being prepared to abrogate human rights in order to achieve a human rights goal means one is insincere in the desire to achieve that end (some extreme measures adopted by Britain and the USA to end WWII come to mind as possible examples)
    The idea of a joint commission seems to be a good one and presumably would be a mechanism for implementing the limited ROR alluded to in most peace proposals.

    Hugo: your comment appears to be based on profound ignorance or else was not in good faith- I cant think of a brief response that can address either scenario

    Morry: the contradiction between arguing for ROR and self determination is an interesting angle- I am not sure if the contradiction is absolute – for example if you believe that ROR will lead to a Palestinian majority than it would lead to self determintion

  • Wolf says:

    Andrew Wirth,
    You say that Hamas and Fatah are prepared to accept a Jewish state along 67′ lines. That is simply untrue. In fact what they tell western media is practically always in stark contrast to what they tell their own people in Arabic, quite publicly may I add. An interesting point of contention here is the Hamas charter which under the heading ‘Recognition of Israel’ states “The question of recognizing Israel is not the jurisdiction of one faction, nor the government, but a decision for the Palestinian people”. Obviously this is political double speak, because Israel DOES exist, after all, how could Hamas discuss peace with Israel if it were a non-existent country? The simple answer is this, Hamas doesn’t accept Israel in any way shape or form (which was quite explicitly stated on their original 1988 charter), however in modern times they have updated their charter to be as vague as humanly possible to appease western nations.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Hi Wolf – you misread my last post!

  • Wolf says:

    Andrew Wirth,
    I’m sorry, maybe I don’t exactly understand what you are saying my friend?

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Wolf
    what’s not to understand?
    you quote me as saying
    “Hamas and Fatah are prepared to accept a Jewish state along 67′ lines”
    whereas I actually said
    “Hamas and Fatah actually say that they are prepared to accept a Palestinian state in 67 lines- but this is different from (although easily misunderstood as) accepting a Jewish state on the other side of the line”
    i.e. the exact opposite of what you quoted me as saying!

  • Wolf says:

    Andrew, so what ‘state’ do the Palestinians want to accept on the “other side of the line”? A second Palestinian state?

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Well, anyone insisting on full right of return for Palestinians into pre-67 Israel is effectively calling for a Palestinian (majority) state on both sides of the line.
    I am saying that the phrase “accepting Palestine in 67 borders” can SOUND like acceptance of Israel, and is presumably MEANT TO sound like acceptance of Israel for a Western audience, but if combined with demand for ROR is NOT REALLY acceptance of Israel- simply acceptance of Palestine as step one.
    – so I am actually agreeing with you on this point, but apparently not communicating clearly enough

  • Rod says:

    I enjoyed your detailed arguments and thinking guys, thank you.

    a couple of points
    -without wanting to be trite it is well to remember that no-one in the Arab world appeared to care about the 67 borders in 67. So negotiation demands scepticism.

    – Re refugees. There are many examples of political settlements being made with the resettlement of refugees. Most notably the creation of India Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka came amid massive refugee emergencies that saw millions displaced. Most of these refugees received little if any compensation yet there is no demand to dismantle the subcontenental omlette.

    Any Israel Palestine settlement will see Palestinian refugees receiving significant aid to resettle in Palestine or third countries. The international community ought to be able to support that.

  • Morry says:

    Thanks for your comments, Andrew, they are well-considered. Let me respond to “if you believe that ROR will lead to a Palestinian majority than it would lead to self determintion” by saying that self-determination is part of the UN position on basic human rights … but I don’t think that granting one group a double shot at it, at the expense of any self-determination at all for the other, quite cuts the mustard. Hence ROR contravenes this basic Jewish right. Those who have followed history would recognise that the Palestinians are already at their second shot in the two state solution, and some aiming for their third, as you just pointed out.

    “Palestine” has been the modern term for “the Jewish homeland” in all official references, since WW1(sorry to go back, but that’s where it starts). The 1924 partition of Palestine into “Palestine”, the small Jewish homeland west of the Jordan River, and “Transjordan” the very large Arab homeland on the other side, was supposed to emulate the splitting of India into India and Pakistan. Unlike the Pakistanis, the Arabs took theirs, then demanded the rest as well (hence our problems today). They already acquired 80% of Palestine, are looking to initially make that 87%, with an ultimate view to 100%.

    Most intriguing, Andrew, is the way you hilight the play with language, something that has troubled me for a long time, because so very much is adopted unquestioningly. You highlight such phrases as “accepting a Palestinian state”, but consider “the 1967 lines” which have never been 1967 lines at all, but rather the 1949 armistice lines, with that agreement being very specific that they don’t,b/> represent “borders”, but such borders will emerge through negotiation (the current Palestinian move designed to circumvent that, and all subsequent UN rewsolutions). However, calling them the “1967 lines” associates them with the 1967 war and “occupation”, and relatively recent history, insinuating that they are a recent connivance. The ROR is a similar creation. No such thing exists in international law. Like much of the propaganda of language this has been borrowed from the Jewish experience, alongside “The Palestinian Holocaust” and the “Zionist Nazi regime”. The “apartheid state” has been borrowed from Sth Africa, but something Jews were very involved in overthrowing.

    Sorry for this longwinded response … I got sucked into going with the flow of thoughts as if this was a verbal discussion.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Thanks Rod – regarding “no-one in the Arab world appeared to care about the 67 borders in 67″ and “… examples of political settlements being made with the resettlement of refugees…India Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka.” They are both useful lines of thought, but can be countered with the argument that past injustices dont justify future injustices. I dont like to build a case on those grounds because they feel a little forced, and like apologetics. Thats why I really want to advance a case based on human rights, with the many other arguments being supplementary.

    Morry Thanks for your comments: “Hence ROR contravenes this basic Jewish right” – absolutely -this is my main point
    Isnt there a case to say “Transjordan” was more about placating Abdullah/Hashemites than providing for Palestinian self determination- although it did sever much of Palestine from Jewish reach. Palestinian history in Jordan has been checkered
    The whole issue of what 49/ 67 means – even the fact that pre-67 the West Bank was Jordan, is beyond the knowledge base of many people who hold strong views o this issue.

  • Rod says:

    No probs, I’m not suggesting we build a formal case on such argumements, they are more observations to help put things in a context
    R

  • Alan says:

    Hi Andrew

    Isn’t suggesting that:

    “Transjordan” was more about placating Abdullah/Hashemites than providing for Palestinian self determination- although it did sever much of Palestine from Jewish reach. Palestinian history in Jordan has been checkered

    an example of a “political settlement” and contrary to your own view that:

    I dont like to build a case on those grounds because they feel a little forced, and like apologetics. Thats why I really want to advance a case based on human rights, with the many other arguments being supplementary.

    Why are we Jews so good at denying to ourselves what we so freely and generously gift to others, a sort of reverse double standard?

    Maybe you should do a Human Rights analysis of the creation of Jordan?

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Alan, my aside on Transjordan was simply a response to Morry’s comment. I dont understand in what way you think it contradicts my central argument.

  • Adam Neira says:

    Not many people actually understand the prophecies in the Tanach. The prophets glimpsed pieces of the divine jigsaw puzzle. The prophecies are crystal clear that a certain male descended from David via Solomon on the patrilineal line will be establish a Messianic Kingdom based in Jerusalem. So the divinely mandated command and control structure is a Messianic Kingdom. People may mock, ridicule or ignore such an idea but they should remember that prophecy is immutable. The divine timetable will trump all others. So the point about a two state solution is moot. The next sixty eight days leading up to Sep. 13th are crucial.

  • Neil says:

    This article is interesting.

    Firstly, it is interesting to ask yourself two very basic background moral/ethical questions:
    – Do you as a human being support ethnic cleansing? (yes or no)
    – If your answer is no. Do you as a human being believe that other human beings that were driven from their homes should be allowed to return to their homes? (yes or no)

    Try to answer these questions of general morality and ethics outside the context of Israel/Palestine.

    Now I invite readers to give consideration to the following concepts that I believe are important as they consider their thoughts on the matter concerning Israel/Palestine:
    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 be approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel 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 in Israel (defined where there is an 80% Jewish population) 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” of Israel in the 1940’s.
    4) To maintain a Jewish state (defined where there is an 80% Jewish population), Israel has to deny the Arab refugees the right to return to their homes or lands.
    5) In 1967, Israel deliberately gathered up the Arabs from the Golan Heights AFTER the end of the conflict and drove them to the borders of Lebanon and Syria. Israel deliberately Ethnically Cleansed ALL the Arabs (including men, women and children) from the Golan Heights and has placed over 20,000 Jewish civilians into colonies in the Golan. Israel refuses to allow Arab civilians from the Golan to return to their homes or lands. Indeed, as in the 1940’s, Israel deliberately destroyed the villages so that the Arabs had no home to return to.

    It has taken me at least 5 years to uncover a significant piece of the jigsaw and recognize that without the Ethnic Cleansing of the 1940’s, Israel would today be a 50% Jewish and 50% Arab state. That a “Plan Dalet” was always going to be needed to create a Jewish majority state of Israel and that it had to be planned well in advance of the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948.

    All I ask is that readers consider these concepts. Just consider what the position would be today if the Ethnic Cleansing of the Arabs from Israel in the 1940’s did not take place.

    Now consider what you think is the right thing to do morally and ethically about the refugee issue that Israel deliberately created during the 1940’s and in 1967? (You may wish to ignore the attacks of Antisemitism that I anticipate will be thrown at me. You may wish to put aside the diversions that I anticipate being put forward.)

    Best Wishes

  • andrew wirth says:

    Neil, any response to the actual case put forward in the article?

  • Neil says:

    Andrew. Will get back to with the detail that deserves to be put forward.

    Best Wishes

  • Harold Zwier says:

    Neil,

    You started your comment by asking 2 simple questions:

    – Do you as a human being support ethnic cleansing? (yes or no)
    – If your answer is no. Do you as a human being believe that other human beings that were driven from their homes should be allowed to return to their homes? (yes or no)

    Those questions are easy to answer. No I don’t support ethnic cleansing and people driven from their homes purely as a result of ethnic cleansing should be allowed to return to their homes or be compensated in some way if return to their homes is not possible.

    Answering those questions is easy in a situation where you control the environment in which those events occur.

    But your questions weren’t prompted by consideration of a purely black and white situation. Your questions were cast in the context of them exactly applying to the origin of the Palestinian refugee problem.

    Many people were driven out or fled from their homes during the war that followed the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948 – both Jews and Arabs – and to merely attribute the refugee problem to a well planned and deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing, is to reduce the complexity of the longstanding conflict to a one dimensional fight between good and evil.

    I’ve watched those sorts of simplistic reductions occur time and again from some people in the Jewish community imbued with self righteous messianic fervour and some people in the Palestinian/Arab community whose sense of justice is rooted in a demographic mix that hasn’t existed for 100 years.

    I am critical of policies of the Israeli government and question the seriousness with which it has approached negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, but my interest in seeing a resolution of the conflict doesn’t ignore the reality that Israel is 63 years old and thriving.

    Since you spent more than 5 years researching the history of the conflict, you are no doubt aware of the various justifications and explanations that counter the particular perspective you have presented. If you really want to throw some light into a discussion of the conflict then articulate the alternative perspectives and explain why you have rejected them. And if you think that arguing the other side is not your job, rather it’s the job of the other side, then you’re just one more partisan voice – entitled to your view as we all are – but not really adding much to the debate.

  • Neil says:

    Andrew. My reply is quite long winded and could have been even longer.

    The article was very cleverly put together. Indeed, most professionally constructed.

    It had the right amount of praising the “Good” side – Naomi Chazan and Mark Baker:
    • (representing “progressive Zionism”) presented a nuanced and compassionate – almost anguished – attempt. . .

    and some nice negation of the “Bad” side – Saree Makdisi:
    • speaking from a Palestinian perspective, replied (paraphrasing): These are just nice words. (Putting words in her mouth?)
    hermetically sealed with the righteousness of the oppressed. (Sarcasm?
    The potential loss of Israel as a Jewish State becomes simply a side effect, desirable or unfortunate depending on ones view on nation states in general, and Israel in particular. (Denigration?
    • who and how many are the Palestinian refugees (question the size of the issue)

    It seems to me as if the article works hard to fight off any fair argument and consideration of the past (my comments/paraphrasing your comments are in brackets and italics):
    • These are important issues. Yet such discussion, which fills the pages of the Jewish News, Galus, and other media invariably gets bogged down in historical and legal disputation, and is often unproductive and unenlightening. (therefore we should ignore the past?)
    • Arguments about the right of return typically focus on several familiar themes:
    o who and how many are the Palestinian refugees (only count the Arabs driven from their homes in 1940’s and ignore their descendants?)
    o how ought we
    apportion blame for the initiation and perpetuation of their plight ( ignore Plan Dalet. . . Please ? Blame the victim.)
    o and of course Jewish and Palestinian claims of “sacred rights” to land, which can be asserted but not argued. (write off any Jewish or Arabs historical rights/claims and only consider who occupies the land today? Of course this backs Jews in Israel.
    • Let’s take it as a given that the Jews of Palestine/Israel were at least partly to blame for Palestinian dispossession (ie lets forget Plan Dalet as the key to dispossession? Lets apportion blame to the victims of Plan Dalet.
    These Jews – and they felt obliged to introduce themselves as such (denigration?seemed unable to validate a Jewish state on the grounds of justice and human rights. It is as though years of being the oppressor has made this language unavailable to them. (Label the opposition as somehow unable to think. At least they were not labeled as “Self Hating Jews” this time. Guess that label has been worn out and found to be offensive?)
    The question being raised is whether the difference between returning to ones original family home on one hand, or reestablishing a home within a genuine Palestinian state nearby on the other, really constitutes an unacceptable human rights infringement? (have you forgotten the argument for establishing Israel in Palestine?
    • etc
    • etc

    You then go on to suggest that (I am paraphrasing what you have written):
    • it is only in a “Jewish” state that Jewish cultural expression, language, religion and sense of home will not vulnerable, and can flourish freely. (This ignores the fact that there are many millions of Jews living throughout the world, outside Israel, and indeed in Australia. If what you have said is true, then all Jews from around the world would be flocking to Israel as they would now be able to be a “Jew” in any other country.)
    These are conditions Jews have not enjoyed for two thousand years, during which they have repeatedly “experimented” with living in dominantly non-Jewish societies – an experience characterized by exclusion, expulsion and ultimately extermination. (Australia is a dominantly non-Jewish society. Are you experiencing exclusion, expulsion and do you expect extermination any time in the future?>/i>)
    It is only in Israel that fair protection for Jews will be accorded by the law and police
    • Etc
    • Etc

    And lead us to accept that we should only consider one issue. A balance of human rights between Jews and Arabs:
    • “that a human rights loss for one group can in some circumstances be legitimately weighed against a human rights loss of another group”
    and then
    • “that the “human rights cost” to the Palestinians</b? of foregoing the right of return to their original home towns (as opposed to living in a genuinely independent Palestinian state alongside Israel) is less than the “human rights cost” to Jews through the loss of a space in which they can enjoy national self determination”

    The key conclusion I take from your article:
    “Those arguing for unlimited Palestinian right of return are arguing for an international order in which the realization of fundamental Jewish rights is put at risk.”
    That the Arab Refugees will just have to relinquish their “Human Rights” as Jewish rights come first.

    As I said. I just don’t know if I buy this line of argument as the only alternative.

    Recalling History, I ask you to consider this series of logics (and it is thanks to you and the bloggers on Galus that have allowed me to put these parts of the jigsaw together after 5 years of reading and research):
    1) To create a Jewish State in the 1940’s, it was proposed a 80% Jewish population was needed
    2) If the Arab population did not leave, the populations would be approximately 50% Arab : 50% Jewish today. (ie a bi-national population balance as it is in the area today)
    3) Jewish immigration would not be enough to create an 80% Jewish state
    4)
    Arabs resident in their homes and villages in the area chosen as Israel were not going to voluntarily leave their homes
    5) Therefore Ethnic Cleansing of the Arabs from their homes was going to be required to create a “Jewish” state (otherwise the population may only ever have reached 50:50)
    6) Ben Gurion’s Plan Dalet was the mechanism to ethnically cleanse the Arab population from their homes and villages. (531 villages with 400 of them destroyed and 130 repopulated with Jews and over 700,000 Arabs. The one Arab village left, Lifta, not destroyed or repopulated is under dispute on the edge of Jerusalem. The Arabs want their homes back, Israel wants to develop apartments/businesses for Jews on the land without compensating the owners.) to help reach that 80% Jewish population planned David Ben Gurion was intelligent enough to know that this was the only way to create an 80% Jewish State. That not to take this action would lead to a bi-national state.
    7) Plan Dalet was 2 years in the pre-planning and was never a “reaction” to Arabs armies invading.
    8) A version of “Plan Dalet” was used in 1967 in the Golan Heights immediately after the end of the war where over 120,000 Arabs were expelled from their homes and 200 villages destroyed so that they could not return to their homes.

    I don’t ask any of the readers to accept my analysis without thinking. All I ask them to do is to think through the logics of what happened.
    • Research Plan Dalet, really research it, as it is essential to the fact that Israel is an 80% Jewish State today.
    • Consider if the Arabs had not been driven from their homes in Plan Dalet, what would be the make-up of the population of Israel today be?. Undeniably it would be a population balance of approximately 50% Jews, 50% Arabs. Ie a Bi-National state.

    Many will find these conclusions offensive without even analyzing them. To really consider this issue is problematic if you are very pro Israel and believe it can do no wrong.

    If these items are logical and make sense, there a real question hanging over the head of Israel as to the Ethics, morality and legality of how Israel occupied the land. It is obvious that Israel will work hard to refute these logics to stop open discussion. Indeed, Israel recently increased the limit for releasing historic secret documents from 50 years to 70 years to keep the documents that further prove Plan Dalet out of the public view. Check it out.

    I believe that it is a core for starting the discussions for Peace.

    Truth. Then reconciliation.

    Andrew. It seems as if I, and all other readers, are being asked to ignore these historic facts and logics so that only a “Balance of Human Rights” can be legitimate and it is the Jewish Human Rights that triumph.

    You ask me what may be a fair resolution to the realities created by Plan Dalet.

    I don’t know the answer. I just refuse to write off some form of right of return of a number of the Arabs to Israel as yet given the reality of how Israel was formed with Plan Dalet.

    It is argued that the Arabs cannot return to Israel when their homes are inhabited by Jews. The “But” in this is over the area of the 400 Arab Villages destroyed by Israel. It is still there. They are not populated by Jews. Israel has moved to plant forests over them to hide their existence and to deny a right of return.

    These lands could be used as part of a repatriation solution for a number of Arab refugees.

    I am not saying that this is the solution. I am saying that there are a number of other solutions if Israel is genuinely open to looking for an honest and fair resolution of the issues. So far, I have only seen false narratives and denial of history put forward to hide any consideration of fair treatment of the Arabs.

    Indeed, I have seen case after case of Israel blaming the victims of Plan Dalet for their predicament.

    Any proposition that Arabs should just forget the reality of Plan Dalet is just plain wrong, immoral and unethical. I wouldn’t support that sort of treatment of Jews (in WW2) and I certainly don’t support that sort of treatment of Arabs today.

    The debate goes on. Hopefully it is based on truths and not lies.

    Best Wishes

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Neil, thank you for saying the article was very cleverly put together and most professionally constructed. None of us want stupid or slipshod writing on this topic.

    I have attempted to take one aspect of this debate and analyse it carefully. This is about focusing narrowly on a rights analysis in an attempt to get clarity about this one element of the picture. I focus on human rights because this is the language in which the right of return is couched – the language Makdisi used.

    I don’t dismiss the other aspects of this issue- in fact I highlighted them in order to indicate context. I have never asserted, as you seem to imply, that Israel has done nothing wrong – I simply don’t accept the notion that Israel has done everything wrong.

    We can speculate about what might have happened if there hadn’t been a civil and then a national war following the UN vote in ’47, during which the refugee problem arose. The fact is we have a set of circumstances now, and need to discuss the pros and cons of various ways forward. I am arguing about the human rights implications of the ROR.

    You say you don’t buy my argument as the only alternative. First, my argument isn’t an “alternative”, it is a line of thought. Furthermore, a line of thinking doesn’t have to be the only one to be valid. It just has to be internally consistent and based on sound premises. You have made lots of oblique comments, but which of my premises do you dispute? Which steps in the argument do you think are fallacious? Or is a human rights analysis irrelevant to you?

  • Neil says:

    Andrew

    I have done some more research which I would ask you to consider. (Thrown the population figures into a spreadsheet)

    There were 4.7 million Arab refugees registered with the UN in 2010. These are the refugees and their descendants that were driven from Israel in the 1940’s as part of Plan Dalet. They would be in Israel if Plan Dalet had not been undertaken. (Arguably one could define them as Arab refugees from Israel as the land that they are refugees from is in Israel. But that is another debate.)

    There are 1.571 million Arabs in Israel today. (May 2011)

    Therefore, without Plan Dalet, there would be 6.271 million Arabs within Israel today.

    There are approximately 5.795 Jews in Israel. (May 2011)

    To have your 80% Jewish state in Israel, there would need to be approximately 25 million Jews in Israel today taking the total population of Israel to approximately 31 million people.

    You have still not answered my question on whether you believe that Israel would be a bi-national state today if the Arabs had not been driven from their homes and lands under Plan Dalet.

    The figures above show that there would be approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today without Plan Dalet.

    It seems obvious to me that David Ben Gurion also understood these population dynamics when he set up Plan Dalet.

    It seems obvious to me that Ben Gurions Plan Dalet was the only way that Israel was ever going to be an 80% Jewish State.

    Without Plan Dalet, Israel today would be a Bi-National state.

    Now. You ask me once again to ignore, and potentially deny, a specific and deliberate plan of ethnic cleansing, Plan Dalet. (You ask people to set aside the past and only focus on what exists now.)

    A plan that cannot be justified on any moral, ethical or legal grounds.

    Just as I will not deny what happened to Jews in WW2 (the holocaust), I will not deny what happened to Arabs in the 1940’s (the Nakba) and in the Golan Heights in 1967.

    The Israeli government understands how important this issue is and has made many moves to hide information about it. One move is by recently (2011) increasing the length of time that the archives of the time can be kept secret from 50 years to 70 years. Israel knows and fears the worlds reaction when the truth comes out. It wants to get a final solution agreed with the Arabs first so that this information will become redundant to negotiations.

    I am sorry. I believe that this core issue should be acknowledged by Israel, and the people who argue on the behalf of Israel, before any decent, moral or ethical resolution to the Arab refugee problem can be decided.

    As I have said. Truth before reconciliation.

    Best Wishes

  • frosh says:

    Neil,

    Are you equating the Shoah with the Arab-Israeli wars?

  • Lea Kantor says:

    Hi Neil,

    I don’t think it’s so hard.

    You have worked backwards in time and imposed a view that has come after 100 years of war and hostilities that have changed psyches in Israel.

    Plan Dalet was conceived as a way of dealing with hostility over a long period of time towards the yishuv, culminating in the refusal of Jewish refugees from the Holocaust into British Mandate Palestine, and the alliance between Hitler and Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti, and ultimately the attack on several borders by Arab states. 30% of the IDF fighting in the 1948 war were Holocaust survivors. The exodus, according to my reading, was due to many factors; a minority of peaceful people were deliberately expelled. Of course, following the Holocaust especially, it would be understandable that there were discussions about population transfer, which was, at the time an acceptable method of solving interethnic conflict.

    I believe that Israel has conceded it has some responsibility for the refugee situation. I have not heard the Arabs do the same, in terms of the 1948 war with the intent to annihilate, and their maintenance of the situation and failure to resettle or financially support them. You also have not acknowledged the 800,000 Jews who fled or were expelled from Arab countries in the context of this war, many who had lived there for centuries, owning more land than the area of Israel, and who were dispossessed. There are, as you know many Arabs living in Israel, but virtually none in the Arab countries; it is impossible.

    Following your definition of a refugee, I have rights of return to both Poland and Austria.

    I believe you are looking at an apparently powerful and sometimes belligerent contemporary Israel with a right wing government (which is the consequence of a generally left wing group becoming angry, disappointed and afraid over a long period of time –it is hard to stay open and optimistic after Camp David , Intifada 1 and 2 etc) and imposing your reaction to it on to the past. As if it were all a plan from the beginning .

    Regarding the evacuation of the Golan. That is very easy. I remember well the repeated sniper attacks on kibbutzim and other settlements from on high. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to live like that.

    I assume if there had been acceptance of the Yishuv, there would have been a bi-national state, as Ben Gurion at first, Buber, and others envisaged it. Perhaps also understandably, there was not.

    You speak about a severely traumatised group of Jewish refugees in 1948 with no sympathy. You appear to have read and accepted the Pappe version of history, even though he has been widely discredited, and not other, more complex, less politically motivated histories.

    “Ethnic cleansing” is a term that arose in more recent times, in the Serb-Bosnian war, in a very different situation, when the Serbs were the aggressors. You repeat the phrase ethnic cleansing here in retrospect because it is one of the catchcries of evildoing. It is a phrase that means judgement, so that you have not really been able to deal with Andrew’s point, because once you say “ethnic cleansing” it closes the discussion.

    To use it here is to deliberately strip context from history, sympathy for the Israeli side, and to do violence to a true understanding of the situation.

    My understanding was that records regarding 1948 have been released. I am interested to see your source for the postponement of release of documents.

    I am also for truth before reconciliation, but not the Truth that emerges from sympathy with one side, and the reading of only certain texts, the Truth presents itself as a sword, rather than a real attempt to communicate.

    Best wishes to you.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Daniel, many others on Galus must be more perspicacious than I am, as they gave up trying to have a dialogue with you some time ago – I’ll leave you to your monologue.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    oops, Neil not Daniel!

  • Neil says:

    Andrew

    I can understand that. We are talking across each other. Even though I have given you quite a large response to your article, you have not addressed my questions about Ethnic Cleansing and a Bi-national state. I guess that a number of people would rather that discussion is never brought up.

    I guess that I have made my point. That Israel was created with a deliberate plan to Ethnic Cleanse the Arab population to create an 80% “Jewish” state. That David Ben Gurion, instead of being a decent honest man, set up Plan Dalet to Ethnic Cleanse the Arab population which is really indefensible under any moral, ethical or legal sense.

    People, even if they disagree with me, have been challenged to think about what really happened in the 1940’s. And then again in 1967. To consider if Ethnic Cleansing was undertaken in the 1940’s to stop a bi-national state.

    It is thanks to people on this blog that have forced me to clarify my thinking about what really happened in the 1940’s and join the dots about the motivation for it.

    I knew that Plan Dalet happened and thought it was all about land theft. I had not considered that Plan Dalet was carried out deliberately to stop the Bi-national state which would have been the logical progression through time. Plan Dalet was used to force an 80% Jewish state where it was never going to happen otherwise.

    Plugging the population statistics into a spreadsheet confirmed my rough calculations and guesses.

    Lea
    I do not remember: “You speak about a severely traumatised group of Jewish refugees in 1948 with no sympathy.”

    You said “Regarding the evacuation of the Golan. That is very easy. I remember well the repeated sniper attacks on kibbutzim and other settlements from on high. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to live like that.”

    I agree, no one would like to live like that. The norm is to have a war. Then come to a peace agreement. Israel chose to Ethnically Cleanse the Arabs from the Golan. Over 120,000 people. Then destroyed 200 villages so that the refugees had no homes to return to, Then placed 20,000 Jews in Jewish colonies into the Golan. Then claimed to annex the Golan to Israel.

    Come on. Even you must be able to see the truth in this. It is so obvious. The people were Ethnically Cleansed. The land has been stolen. Not demilitarised and then a peace agreement but Arabs Ethnically Cleansed and land stolen.

    Check out who attacked who in 1967. Egypt was sabre rattling by saying that they would deny Israeli ships access to the Straits of Tiran. The US had them under control. The blockade was never implemented. No one had any doubts about the results of a war between Israel and it’s neighbors. Not the US. Not Israel. Not Egypt, Jordan, Syria or Lebanon.

    Israel took the Cause Bella as an opportunity to attack it’s neighbors. To occupy the West Bank, Gaza and, more importantly, East Jerusalem. To occupy the Golan Heights for it’s water resources (Now 15% of Israels water resources). To Occupy the Sinai Peninsular. When Israel was forced to negotiate a settlement with Egypt by President carter, it had to abandon it’s plans for a Jewish city of 200,000 people and to remove 18 colonies from the Sinai.

    Really. Don’t you understand what has happened over the years?

    That Israel has never stated it’s borders at any time since it was formed in 1948. That the territory Israel has taken in war and appropriation has been increasing every year since Israel was created.

    Have you really not read the books describing what has happened. A large number of those have been written by a number of Jewish Historians.

    I cannot believe that the vast majority of the readers of this blog will not consider alternative narratives and only buy into the Narrative that Israel has worked so hard to present over the years.

    The facts are there for anyone who wants to look for it.

    Truth before Reconciliation.

    Frosh
    I discussed the Denial of the facts of what happened. I did not equate the Genocide of the Shoah to the Ethnic Cleansing of Plan Dalet and what happened in 1967. And ongoing today.

    Best Wishes

  • Lea Kantor says:

    Hi Neil,

    I have read the books you get your ideas from and I have read other books. Have you?

    You read Israel’s current power into the past.

    In 1967, Arab armies sat on borders and annihilatory threats were made. no-one had a clue that Israel could win the war. Inside Israel most thought it was all over. Inside Israel there were no broadcasts, but people heard Arabic radio telling them that the Arabs had taken Tel Aviv. They took territory as a buffer zone, understandably in such a climate. Since then Israel has let go of Sinai, but the West Bank situation is dreadful. There are Israelis with territorial greed, but they can be dealt with I think. The central problem with the West Bank is the possibility of rocket attacks reaching Tel Aviv, which will happen if there is even one point of dissatisfaction amongst Arab extremists.

    About the Golan, the sniper attacks were not military; they came from within villages, and basically the Upper Gallilee residents were sitting ducks in full view of the Heights, as Tel Aviv is from the closest point of the West Bank, about 20 km away. This was before the war, and this was intolerable. Evacuation – not nice but very understandable. I am sure it would be done here if Melbourne was constantly targeted from the Dandenong Ranges from inside villages.

    I am not at all disturbed by your views, Neil. I have read and heard them many times before. I am not persuaded that ‘ethnic cleansing’ is an appropriate description of what has happened, but more a term of abuse and retrospective distortion. I am more disturbed by your coming on to a Jewish forum and not listening, but just preaching Truth as you perceive it from your limited reading. I would have liked to be able to tell you all the things I am unhappy with in Israel today, so that you do not go away thinking I think everything Israel does is right, but I cannot, because you have not been sympathetic to anyone on this blog, and one cannot open one’s heart to someone like that. You clearly have no doubts and see only one side of the story and such people are generally not helpful in peace making.

    I wish you well.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Lea

    I said this days ago – why anyone is bothering with this guy is beyond me at this stage?

    He thinks he is a moral crusader fighting against an organised conspiracy, and like any such zealot, will never admit that their world view could be wrong (or that anyone else with a differing view is even partly correct).

    This is in the face of facts, evidence, personal testimony etc eg. the repeated and incorrect claims about Pres. Carter forcing the negotiations with Egypt to return the Sinai…

    Total waste of time and effort.

  • Neil says:

    Lea

    Do you really know what happened in 1967?
    “President Johnson instructed the Egyptian ambassador to send a cable warning Nasser to not attack Israel. Additionally, the administration warned the Soviets that if Egypt attacked Israel, the U.S. would hold them responsible. Indeed, U.S. and Soviet pressure forced Nasser to cancel the attack planned for the next day.

    “The Six Day War was the result of miscalculation and misunderstandings. For its part, Jordan wanted to avoid a war. Declassified documents reveal that King Hussein had even attempted to send Prime Minister Eshkol a letter expressing sorrow for the death of the three soldiers in Samua. This letter was received on a Friday afternoon by U.S. Ambassador Walter Barbour, who decided to wait to deliver the letter after the Jewish Sabbath. Unfortunately, Israel struck before he did. Thus, if not for an American ambassador’s procrastination, the Six-Day War may have been avoided.”

    Israel was well aware that even though Egypt was sabre rattling, it would not attack Israel. (see above) Without Egypt, no other state would have attacked.

    If you read Jeremy Bowens book – Six days : how the 1967 war shaped the Middle East, you will find that the US, UK and Israel had no doubt who would win a war between Israel and the neighbors. The only question was how long it would take.

    The fact that Israel attacked and destroyed the vast majority of the neighbors air forces on the ground, not even dispersed in wartime configuration, meant that the victory could be accomplished in a very short time.

    Israel had a much more effective military and really was in no threat of being defeated.

    About Ethnic Cleansing.
    You said “I am not persuaded that ‘ethnic cleansing’ is an appropriate description of what has happened, but more a term of abuse and retrospective distortion.”

    Have you actually read what happened in the 1940’s under Plan Dalet?
    Have you actually read about what happened in 1967 on the Golan?

    “Ethnic Cleansing” is an accurate description of what happened. To suggest that I use it as a term of “abuse and retrospective distortion” is interesting. This is the standard tactic of people who want to avert a real discussion of what happened. It is aligned with the long term strategy of Israel to promote a false Narrative which sets aside the truth. “By way of deception, thou shalt do war. . . .” – Mossad

    I acknowledge that there have been many Arab/Palestinian abuses over the years. I acknowledge that Many Jews fear the Arabs and the potential for violence.

    My position has always been that the Arabs/Palestinians should give up violence altogether. Even in light of the massive and over reacting Israeli violence when they do so. (Rachel Corrie, Bilin, Gaza flotillas, etc) In other forums, I have said that Hamas should gather all arms in Gaza and place them in the hands of the UN for destruction.

    I am not blind to the acts of violence on either side.

    What I believe needs to be considered is the facts of what happened in the 1940’s. So far, I have not seen any of the bloggers here address my proposition that David Ben Gurion deliberately set up Plan Dalet to ethnically cleanse the Arabs from Israel so as to create an 80% Jewish State and to deliberately stop a Bi-National state from being formed. A bi-national state which was going to be the normal state of Israel unless it could be stopped.

    Just think about it. Have a read of the logics I have set out above.

    Best Wishes.

    Saduccee
    I do accept that my world view could be wrong. Indeed, I was almost blindly pro-Israel until I started researching what happened there. It was a simple “narrative” that I believed to be true, that when I researched it, just happened to be false/wrong. Ongoing research has shown me that much of the currently accepted narrative is not in fact true. Much of it is false but has been deliberately promoted by Israel and her supporters. Both paid and volunteer supporters.

    The one thing that I do know is that I am not totally correct as I do not have infinite knowledge and infinite wisdom.

    I do read other peoples blogs and consider the information put forward. I do know that trying to control the content of the discussion is a great way of controlling the narrative. I don’t feel as if I have to endlessly argue the points put forward at risk of not being able to put my points forward. I do respond to bloggers and have put a number of comments forward.

    Do you ever consider that your world view could be wrong? That some of what Israel has promotes as a fair narrative could be false? eg “A land without people for a people without a land” That some of the bloggers could be putting forward a narrative based on a desire to defend Israel irrespective of the truth of what is happening in the world?

    The thing that drives me is immoral, unethical and illegal treatment of helpless people. War between militaries is considered fair enough by most people, although I still don’t believe in war, but I believe that deliberate attacks on civilian populations is unacceptable. Whether it is rockets fired at Sderot from Gaza or killings of flotilla activists, blanket bombing of a suburb Beruit in 2006, indiscriminate killing in Gaza and destruction of civilian infrastructure Cast Lead in 2008/9, Ethnic cleansing in 1940’s and 1967, etc, etc. You understand that it was Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who said “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” This is exactly the action that Israel seems to use as a policy to try to create a fear of Israel.

    One thing that interests me is why do you try to put other people off discussing anything with me? – “I said this days ago – why anyone is bothering with this guy is beyond me at this stage?”

    What are you scared of other people discussing or finding out?

    Can I ask you (and I mean no offense). Do you have any formal or informal connection to any Israeli or Jewish agency that has a policy of backing Israeli narratives?

    Best Wishes.

  • Wolf says:

    Neil,
    so many words, yet so little factual content.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I wonder what reasons one may have to espouse such a non-factual, often non-sensical fanatical anti-Zionist views such as yours?

    Just replace ‘Zionist’ with ‘Jew’ and say what you really mean.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil

    I would kindly suggest that you go back and read my comments on the conflict in Galus and see where I stand – I am probably the ONLY poster here who has somewhat agreed with your characterization of the 1948 conflict as resulting in an outcome of ethnic cleansing.

    Based on that fact alone, if I was a paid (and/or voluntary) ally aiming to prop up a false narrative espoused by the Israeli govt. or Jewish agencies I would literally be the worst agent in the history of hasbara operations.

    No offence taken btw, I’m rather more embarrassed for you to be honest.

  • Neil says:

    Wolf

    The last time you questioned the information I put forward, someone else suggested that what I said was correct. That Ethnic Cleansing did take place in the 1940’s. Also, they pointed out that because I put forward an alternative view, it does not make me anti-Jewish as you try to suggest.

    Now you come back with an ad hominum attack suggesting that I am anti-Jewish.

    Why are you interested in shutting down any discussion of Plan Dalet?

    Why will you not discuss the fact that without Plan Dalet, logically Israel would be a Bi-National state today?

    And that Plan Dalet was planned 2 years in advance?

    That a form of Plan Dalet was carried out in 1967 where Israel Ethnically Cleansed the Golan of the Arabs, destroyed over 200 Arab villages and settled 20,000 Jews in Colonies/Settlements in complete contravention of International Law?

    These are facts. You can look them up if you want.

    Why not prove me wrong? Prove to me that Israel did not ethnically cleanse the Golan of the Arabs, destroy 200 villages and settle 20,000 Jews in colonies there.

    I am interested in discussing the facts of what happened and the logics of what happened.

    It just so happens that I have a legitimate interest in Plan Dalet and it’s subsequent consequences in terms of the ethnic make up of Israel/Palestine.

    I make the case that without Plan Dalet, Israel would be a Bi-National state today. What is wrong with that logic?

    Then I suggest that the issue of the Arab refugees, based on the consequences of Plan Dalet, need to be carefully considered. What is the fair, ethical, moral and legal way of treating them based on the knowledge of Plan Dalet.

    I believe that it a legitimate discussion and not deserving of being shut down due to some people not wanting to look at what happened in the 1940’s and 1967.

    Best wishes.

  • Neil says:

    Sadducee

    I have just acknowledged your previous comment on ethnic cleansing to Wolf. Thank you for that honesty.

    By the Way, you did not say that you are not involved in the manner that I asked.

    Semantics I know.

    Jokingly. I remember when Bill Clinton said, “I did not have sexual relationships with that woman” referring to Monica Lewinsky. Not sure if he actually answered the question he was asked. :-)

    Best wishes.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Neil

    I didn’t respond to the question specifically because it was extremely absurd.

    I’ll leave it to you to consider if I am part of a shadowy cabal running a black-ops conspiracy aiming to prop up an Israeli narrative in the face of the enlightened few like yourself.

  • Wolf says:

    Neil,
    I actually answered your ‘plan dalet’ idiocy in great detail. I first explained what it ACTUALLY was, as opposed to your absurd idea. It’s called ‘Plan D’ for a reason, think about it. It was in circumstances of existential threat. I even made a very very similar analogy with the MAD principle of Russia and the U.S during the cold war (Mutually Assured Destruction). This was to help you better understand the reality for what it is. It’s actually pretty straight forward and simple, a child would understand!

    I then decided that if you seriously believe it to be ‘ethnic cleansing’ as is the technical terms of the UN definition (which I spelt out for you!), then you would have to consider that there was much more terrible ‘ethnic cleansing’ upon the sefardi Jews from Arab lands. Furthermore, according to this definition there was ‘ethnic cleansing’ only a few years ago in Gaza… the Jews were ‘ethnically cleansed’ from Gaza. There was ethnic cleansing in Hevron, Jews were sent out of 70% of the city in exchange for a peace that never eventuated! A normal unbiased rational person would see the obvious absurdity here.

    Your discussion is neither intellectual nor eye opening.

    When you say ‘Zionist’ just say what you really mean ‘Jew’!

  • TheSadducee says:

    Wolf

    That is uncalled for – Neil is not a racist, merely wrong.

    I genuinely believe that he thinks he is doing the right thing and has good motivations, but is incapable of any serious critical self-examination and hence ends up doing the wrong thing, with a poor outcome, as a result of this.

    He has a belief, is committed to it, and will not budge from it despite proofs being provided. Any further discussion is fruitless.

  • Wolf says:

    The Sadducee,
    I respectfully disagree with you, and here’s why; Neil is intelligent enough to argue reasonably coherently. I therefore believe he isn’t stupid enough to believe the drivel that he writes.
    Let’s bear in mind, that Neil’s words aren’t just ‘left wing’, they’re just plain nuts.

    I therefore must question his true motive behind his words. In my mind either;
    a) He is an anti-semite. It is no longer popular to say ‘bloody Jew’ any more so he says ‘bloody Zionist’ instead.
    OR
    b) He wants to feel a part of something, and the fanatical left is easy to ‘belong’ to. In doing so however he aligns himself with terrible anti-semites. Let’s be clear here, we’re not talking about regular lefties, we’re talking about people that are just nonsensical (i.e socialit alternative type people).

    If it is ‘option A’, then shame on him and he is a coward for not saying what he means. If it is ‘option B’, then this is even worse, as he shows a weakness in character, so desperate to be a part of something, that he is prepared to let go of principles of morality in order to achieve his goal.

    Now, the main difference between you and me is this. I give Neil the benefit of the doubt, thus labeling him into one of the two aforementioned alternative. I don’t believe he is that stupid. Whilst you on the other hand, assume he is a genuine, radical anti-zionist based on his ability to listen to others (or lack thereof) and the skewed education he has been given. You think it is a geniune misunderstanding, whilst I don’t.

    I would also like to point out here, that whilst I don’t always see eye to eye with you, your discussion is always intellectual and thought provoking! Some of what you say and what you’ve said has certainly made me think a bit, research, and see things from another perspective. I respect your opinion because unlike in Neil’s case, I believe you are actually thoroughly genuine, and informed. My occasional beef with you is entirely intellectual, never personal, and sometimes I even change my opinions based on the views you espouse!

    I wish you a good Shabbos my friend! (or good weekend if you’re not Jewish :) )

  • TheSadducee says:

    Wolf

    I am most definitely Jewish, though woefully observant – so have a safe and good Shabbat yourself.

  • Neil says:

    Wolf

    Your intention seems to me to be to try to close down discussion by making personal attacks and denigrate my contribution. You “Bait” – Accuse me of anti-Seminism to “Switch” – the discussion from the issue I bring up to whether I am an Anti Semite or not.

    I will take the bait so that other readers can see how you make an argument. Then I will post another blog to pose you a couple of questions.

    You say:
    “a) He is an anti-semite. It is no longer popular to say ‘bloody Jew’ any more so he says ‘bloody Zionist’ instead.”

    I have barely mentioned Zionism except to point out that one suggestion of Zionism in the 1890’s was for a greater Israel spanning from the Litani River through the Sinai Peninsular and Suez Canal as well as both sides of the Jordan River. Look it up. (btw. The expansion of the UN 1948 partition borders of Israel to 1949 Israel to 1967 Israel with colonies in the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsular, Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, does seem a little expansionist to me.)

    I have never ever said “Bloody Zionist”. If you say I have, then point out the instance. Your attempt to paint me as an Anti-Semite is a well worn path by some people who try to disenfranchise people from these types of discussion.

    By the way, most of the Arabs in the region are Semitic. Most of the Jews in the region come from Russia, Europe, etc and do not have a Semitic background. If you propose I am so pro-Arab, how can I possibly be anti-Semitic?

    OR

    “b) He wants to feel a part of something, and the fanatical left is easy to ‘belong’ to. In doing so however he aligns himself with terrible anti-semites. Let’s be clear here, we’re not talking about regular lefties, we’re talking about people that are just nonsensical (i.e socialist alternative type people).”

    I do not align myself with anyone. Count me out from the left or right. I believe that I am a free thinker who has come to my own conclusions through thorough research and thought. I don’t have discussions with anyone on the left. As yet.

    Count me in as a humanist who feels for all Living Beings and wish them well. An end to suffering and a fair, moral and ethical resolution to the issues created over time. As the Buddha said. Everyone wants happiness more and more. One of the causes of unhappiness is craving and grasping. (Grasping onto a false narrative as facing the truth may be very hard to live with? And potentially impossible to justify on Ethical or Moral grounds. . .)

    Your posts seem to me to have been getting more and more strident in your personal attacks on me. I suggest that you really need to have a very good look at why you are doing this. You do not question my logics but just deny some facts I suggest. Especially Plan Dalet. (This motivates me to go back and document the specific documents to detail my research of the reality of Plan Dalet as this is one of the lynch pins of my conclusions. (although Sadducee has already agreed that some form of Ethnic Cleansing took place) Watch this space.

    My Question to Wolf, and to anyone else who is interested in thinking about it and answering it will follow in another Blog.

    Best Wishes Wolf. And to all other readers.

  • Neil says:

    Wolf, and other Logical thinking readers:

    To reduce the possibility for a “bait and switch” argument, I will not propose that the 1940’s Plan Dalet was used for Ethnic Cleansing of the Arabs from the new state of Israel. I won’t even suggest that any Ethnic Cleansing took place at all. I am not discussing in this current blog the pros/cons or morality/Human Rights of Israel being a Jewish state or a Bi-National state. I have reduced the questions to two easy logical questions.

    Some Current demographic figures/facts as background:
    – There are approximately 5.795 million Jews in Israel. (May 2011)

    – There were 4.7 million Arab refugees registered with the UN in 2010. These are the refugees and their descendants that “left” Israel in 1948/9 and 1967 during the creation of Israel and after the 1967 war. They would be in Israel today if they had not left. (Note – including the Golan as Israel said that they have annexed it) (note – that I do not say they were ethnically cleansed but that they just somehow left their homes and villages)
    – There are 1.571 million Arabs in Israel today. (May 2011)

    Conclusions
    – That, without the movement of the Arabs in 1948/9 and 1967 (now refugees), there would be approximately 6.271 million Arabs within Israel today.
    – That, without the movement of the Arabs (now refugees) there would be approximately equal numbers of Arabs and Jews in Israel today.

    My questions are reduced to simple concepts and are these, based on the facts above:
    1) Do you agree that without the Arab Population movement in 1948/49, there would be approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today? Yes or No?

    2) Do you agree that: If there were approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today, it would be by definition, a Bi-National State today? If not, what would you call it?

    Best Wishes

  • Sam says:

    Neil

    You said:
    “By the way, most of the Arabs in the region are Semitic. Most of the Jews in the region come from Russia, Europe, etc and do not have a Semitic background. If you propose I am so pro-Arab, how can I possibly be anti-Semitic?”

    This is exactly the same fallacious argument put forward by MOHAN whose comments on the Shoah led to him being suspended from this website. Reading your previous posts the pre-occupation and your argument regarding the “occupation” of Palestine/Israel by Jews is eerily similar to his. Are you Mohan under a new pseudonym? Moderators please take note!

  • frosh says:

    Hi Sam,

    Neil is displaying his lack of education and/or intelligence.

    Apart from the fact that he doesn’t understand that Jews who immigrated from Eastern Europe are a Mediterranean people, and not indigenous to Eastern Europe., he also doesn’t understand basic linguistic concepts.

    I’ll repeat this for the umpteenth time. It seems almost every time there is a discussion about anti-Semitism here, someone uses the same silly reasoning to try to redefine the term.

    If the government passed a resolution allowing motor-cycles to ride in the cycling lanes/ways, one would say that such a resolution would be bad for cyclist, as we understand the term cyclist to mean those who ride pedal-powered vehicles. Only an idiot would argue that it can’t bad for cyclist because motor-cyclists are also “cyclists.”

    The term anti-Semite could be seen as a partial misnomer.

    I say partial because it applies to Jews, who are indeed a Semitic people, but it does not apply to whole family of Semitic peoples.

    Another example of a partial misnomer is “Organic food.” In chemistry, the term organic primarily means that a chemical compound contains carbon.

    However, according to how people use it in relation to agricultural produce as well as food labelling regulations, it means that the produce was farmed using only naturally produced fertilizers and non-chemical means of pest control.
    In case this is all too complicated, here are a few more simple (albeit non-partial) misnomers:

    Guinea pigs are neither pigs nor do they come from Guinea.
    Arabic numerals in fact originated in India.
    Jellyfish are not fish (but they do have a gelatinous structure similar to jelly).

  • Neil says:

    Sorry Sam

    I never said that Israel is occupied by Jews. I have said that Israel has put colonies into, arguably, Arab lands. Notably The Sinai Peninsular, Gaza, West Bank and The Golan Heights. Have a look. You may find that this is true.

    Sam and Frosh.
    I notice that neither have chosen to make any comment about the key item in my Blog and have seem to have chosen to try to redirect the conversation.

    In case you were distracted by the definition of Semitism and missed the questions I posed, I will ask them again (and to anyone else following this conversation):

    To reduce the possibility for a “bait and switch” argument (note Sam and Frosh), I will not propose that the 1940’s Plan Dalet was used for Ethnic Cleansing of the Arabs from the new state of Israel. I won’t even suggest that any Ethnic Cleansing took place at all. I am not discussing in this current blog the pros/cons or Morality/Human Rights of Israel being a Jewish state or a Bi-National state. I have reduced the questions to two easy logical questions.

    Some Current demographic figures/facts as background:
    – There are approximately 5.795 million Jews in Israel. (May 2011)

    – There were 4.7 million Arab refugees registered with the UN in 2010. These are the refugees and their descendants that “left” Israel in 1948/9 and 1967 during the creation of Israel and after the 1967 war. They would be in Israel today if they had not left. (Note – including the Golan as Israel said that they have annexed it) (note – that I do not say they were ethnically cleansed but that they just somehow left their homes and villages)
    – There are 1.571 million Arabs in Israel today. (May 2011)

    Conclusions
    – That, without the movement of the Arabs in 1948/9 and 1967 (now refugees), there would be approximately 6.271 million Arabs within Israel today.
    – That, without the movement of the Arabs (now refugees) there would be approximately equal numbers of Arabs and Jews in Israel today.

    My questions are reduced to simple concepts and are these, based on the facts above:
    1) Do you agree that without the Arab Population movement in 1948/49, there would be approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today? Yes or No?

    2) Do you agree that: If there were approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today, it would be by definition, a Bi-National State today? If not, what would you call it?

    Best Wishes

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Here is an experiment I am tempted to try and an associated hypothesis:

    method – post on Galus three entirely different articles on Israel Palestine with entirely different conceptual frameworks, content and conclusions

    hypothesis – by the third comment on each article, the ensuing conversations will have converged towards identity and in each case be almost entirely unrelated to the substance of the initiating article

  • Sam says:

    Andrew

    The hypothesis is probably already proven retrospectively as you have suggested. Sadly it takes only one pig headed individual to grab a topic and derail into his personal agenda/vendetta. Currently this person signs as Neil; a few months ago he signed as Mohan. My hypothesis is that this is one and the same. By not engaging with him we have a chance of maintaining the discussion on course.

  • Neil says:

    Andrew>/b>

    Any comment on the questions I asked?

    Your bait and switch is obvious. About as obvious as others trying to paint me as an Anti-Semite in an attempt to try to close down the debate.

    It is the deliberate denial/avoidance of facts/truth/concepts that is of interest now.

    The reason that the proposition I present has changed (as you point out) is that I have tried to remove the contentious issue of Ethnic Cleansing to see if anyone on this site will comment on a couple of easy questions:

    1) Do you agree that without the Arab Population movement in 1948/49, there would be approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today? (check out the demographic figures provided in previous blogs)Yes or No?

    2) Do you agree that: If there were approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today, it would be by definition, a Bi-National State today?

    I see that the deliberate attempts to divert attention from the questions I have posed as significant.

    At risk of offending to spark a response, I will suggest that you know that the answers to the questions I have put forward is Yes. That without the movement of the Arab population from Israel, there would be approximately an equal number of Jews and Arabs in Israel today. That Israel would be a Bi-National state. That you, and others, have tried everything so as to avoid an answer to that question. That a “Yes” to these questions opens up a can of worms that Israel has tried desperately to have killed off over the years. (here’s a chance to Bait and Switch again)

    Sam
    Your statement is interesting. “Currently this person signs as Neil; a few months ago he signed as Mohan.” I had never heard of Mohan as I only came across Galus recently. (Doesn’t this false suggestion contravene Galus’s terms of blogging?)

    The fact that you are trying to say that Neil = Mohan in an attempt to get my comments censored is interesting. Why are you so desperate to shut down the discussion? Why is a simple concept so threatening to your narrative of what has happened in the past?

    I have bent over backwards to remove anything that could be construed as offensive from my post (the accusation that Plan Dalet was Ethnic Cleansing) so that someone here would comment on the questions. All I have received is character attacks and attempts to get me censored.

    What are you, and a number of others on this blog, so scared of? Why is presenting a proposal based on the facts so worrying to you? From your actions, I will suggest that you know that the answer to the questions that I pose is “Yes”. That a “Yes” opens up a can of worms that leads to another discussion.

    I will pose the questions again in the possibility that someone reading this blog will respond to them:

    1) Do you agree that without the Arab Population movement in 1948/49, there would be approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today? (check out the demographic figures provided in previous blogs)Yes or No?

    2) Do you agree that: If there were approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today, it would be by definition, a Bi-National State today?

    Best wishes

  • andrew wirth says:

    Neil, anything is possible – if there had not been an Arab population movement, it’s possible that there would be no Jews in Israel now and that the whole territory would be part of Jordan or Greater Syria

  • andrew wirth says:

    Neil your comments may be relevant to a discussion of the genesis of the Palestinian refugee problem but you have not demonstrated any relevance to the original post

  • Neil says:

    Andrew

    I will take that as a Yes to the question – “Do you agree that without the Arab Population movement in 1948/49, there would be approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today?”. And Yes to the subsequent question “Do you agree that: If there were approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today, it would be by definition, a Bi-National State today?”

    In terms of relevance to the current discussion. I will remind you about a Post I made above dated July 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm. (just in case you have accidentally forgotten about it)

    To reiterate, I believe that the core of your argument is (when you take all the other various details away):
    1) We should put the past aside (of how Israel became a 80% Jewish” state and only deal with the “Facts on the Ground” today.
    2) That Jewish Human Rights over-weigh Arab Human Rights.

    As I said above, I disagree with those key propositions.

    On point 1 – it could be like saying, as an example, that the little 12 year old girl is pregnant and we will only deal with the fact that she is pregnant and put aside the fact that it could be her father that raped her and that is why she is pregnant. It may just be relevant that something should be done so that she does not get abused again. Without acknowledging the abuse, nothing happens. One could think that locking the door would keep her safe while not knowing it was the Father living in the house that was the problem. (the elephant in the room)

    On Israel, I believe that the historical facts need to be reviewed and acknowledged before we come to the conclusion of what we do going forward.

    On Point 2 – I disagree that Human rights can be weighed with one special group coming out on top of the other as you seem to suggest.

    Both sides deserve to have their human rights acknowledged. One group cannot have a decent fair, moral, ethical and legal resolution without the other group having a decent fair, moral, ethical and legal resolution.

    As you said, “your comments may be relevant to a discussion of the genesis of the Palestinian refugee problem”. That is exactly my point. I do not believe that we can go forward to develop a fair, moral, ethical and legal resolution without examining those facts –
    that Israel would be a Bi-National state today without the Arab population movement. Of course, acknowledging this brings up another question. How did that population transfer happen.

    Can we accept the declaration made by Israel on the setting up the state of Israel that ALL people will be treated fairly and be accepted in the state of Israel. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Declaration+of+Establishment+of+State+of+Israel.htm

    I ask you before reading on. Do you agree with the declaration? Easy question again. Yes or No?

    I will remind you of parts of what was signed by David Ben Gurion and 37 others on 14 May, 1948:
    THE STATE OF ISRAEL will:
    – foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants
    – be based on freedom, justice and peace
    – ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex
    guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture
    safeguard the Holy Places of all religions
    – and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

    WE APPEAL
    – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

    Interesting.
    – foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants
    – complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex
    – faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations
    on the basis of full and equal citizenship

    You said
    “I would suggest that this position requires:

    that the “human rights cost” to the Palestinians of foregoing the right of return to their original home towns (as opposed to living in a genuinely independent Palestinian state alongside Israel) is less than the “human rights cost” to Jews through the loss of a space in which they can enjoy national self determination; and

    that a human rights loss for one group can in some circumstances be legitimately weighed against a human rights loss of another group.

    Now I ask you.

    You seem to want Israel to set aside the declaration of setting up the state of Israel in 1948 signed by David Ben Gurion and 27 other notable Jews so that “the “human rights cost” to the Palestinians” . . . is less than the “human rights cost” to Jews. . .”

    How does your position align with the declaration of the state of Israel?

    Do you see the irony that it seems as if I am arguing for the morality and ethicality that Israel believes in based on it’s declaration while the proposition that you have put forward in your article goes pretty much directly against that declaration.

    As I said before. I do not agree with you on this. I believe that what I have proposed is a fair and reasonable contribution to the debate.

    Unfortunately, what I have seen by most of the people on this blog site is an attempt to shut down this very reasonable and fair side of the debate.

    What David Ben Gurion signed as set out above seemed to be a decent, moral, ethical and legal declaration.

    How about we accept and implement it?

    Best Wishes.

  • andrew wiirth says:

    Hi Neil

    thank you for atually addressing the content of my piece- as a brief initial reply due to time constraints…

    I have NOT said that Jewish rights per se are more important than Palestinian rights per se- you will not find that in my piece

    so, if the question was the right of Jews to have freedom from physical threat or the rights of Paletinians to have the same freedom I would NOT argue for the priority of one over the other

    the core of my case is that we are weighing the right of the Jews in israel to freedom from, say, physical threat against the right of Palestinians to live in theoir original homes

    I am saying that one kind of right has priority – not becaiuse of who it applies to but because it represents a more fundamental need of the people affected- that is the key to my argument

  • Eigthman says:

    No-one can unilaterally argue the lexicon of ‘rights’ to the exclusion of all other participants. Such a starting position necessarily invalidates their claims and removes ‘rights’ from the table.

    The arabs have never accepted Jewish or anyone else’s rights at any time. Arabs rejected any settlement that has included a Jewish national presence in Jewish ancient possessions. This is very simple history.

    What is the point of this article? The people that employ this ‘human rights approach’ are merely doing what muslims do with all Western ideas to further their agendas. It is the same way Hitler destroyed Weimar Germany. Democracy, like human rights are not absolute quantities.

    The monochromatic and specious employment of human rights for purely arab benefit automatically invalidates the argument.

    The audience to which such argumentation has currency cannot be turned by any logical or moral points that renders their arguments invalid.

    Engaging within such a discussion is already a moral concession that invests your opponents with a sincerity that does not exist.

    The language of human rights that ignores Jewish aspirations is bankrupt. Engaging with that in serious debate is part of that same bankruptcy. No serious academic gives airspace to Holocaust deniers by entering debates with them, just as no-one would argue with a person who claimed that the earth was flat.

    Arabs doing this ‘argument’ are merely presenting another Jewish annihilation scenario within the acceptable doublespeak of the day. Murder presented as the ‘preservation of rights’ can be freely published without any ugly legal or moral consequences.

    ‘Bigger guns’? Of course Israel is always preserved by her superior military capabilities. That is how she was established and continues to thrive, with God’s endorsement.

    Bigger guns is how a hundred other countries exist and continue to exist, including Australia. The differences are that these countries eliminated competing claims to their lands and did not have a first claim from antiquity to the land in question in the first place.

    Its not that the arabs received 99.999% of Ottoman possessions after WW1 but that the Jews received 0.001% of these – that is an element of the cause of all this trouble.

    Anti-Semitism does not yield to any coversion by argument. Yielding to it as such validates this improper sentiment and turns you into part of that same problem.

    Before any game is played one must first understand and accept the rules prior to surrendering to its participation and authority.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Hi Eigthman, Palestinian advocates do argue in the lexicon of ‘rights’ as you say, and many observers are won over by such arguments- thats the problem! The point of this article was an attempt show that this lexicon can support a strong case for Israel as part of a two state arrangement. Who is the intended audience – in the first instance Jews who seem to struggle to respond to the rights argument. Whether I succeeded and whether it can convince the “other side” remains to be seen. My argument makes no assumption about the sincerity of proponents of the rights argument- and I share your cynicism – it may be a tactic rather than reflecting sincerely held values. I think sincerity or its lack is revealed in the way the argument is engaged (or avoided).
    This is not like engaging Holocaust deniers because in this instance there is a genuine case to engage with.
    Your argument about defacto rights and bigger guns has two problems – it seems to be an admission that you don’t have a moral case, and second if the other side gets bigger guns and you re defeated, you have no argument at all.

  • Eigthman says:

    No-one believes in a 2 state arrangement other than the Jews who make common cause with their enemies and the people who make a living out of this sort of endless palaver. The arabs don’t and finally, the bulk of the Jews have started to awake. The creation of a 2nd state will not be the end of hostilities.

    Having bigger guns has little to do with resigning the moral case. Making the moral case and losing the guns will not keep Israel.

    The moral case is not what is ever being argued. The human rights agenda is aimed at arguing the legitimacy of Israel. That is not a valid or moral basis of argument. This is an argument I will not entertain, not on their terms. The argument is illigitimate ab-initio. There is no case to engage with.

    ‘palestinians’ are not sui generis they, like Germans and Japanese lost a war of aggression and never abided any internationally sponsored settlement. The arab countries who waged that war of aggression now deny rights to their ethnic brethren and it is the Jews who must pay? How does that work outside other than the usual SS logic that is employed by the UN?

    If Israel is overwhelmed (God forbid) there will not be any intervention by anyone. The past wars of aggression waged by the arabs is simple enough proof of that. Whilst UN or US intervention is mandated for basket case countries at the time of South Korea or South Vietnam, nothing was ever done about arab aggression. There is nothing more useless than morality when talking about Jewish rights.

    When France reneged on delivery of desperately needed Jets (already paid for!) prior to the 6 day war with all the bombast and threats from the arabs of what was going to be done to the Jews, just 20 years after the Holocaust, what happened to France? The world did little just as it did little during the Holocaust.

    If the other side does get ‘bigger guns’ that will be the end of all the arguments. Iran is determined to test this theory. What? The arabs will stain their image with the immorality of destroying Israel? Oh dear how that will break their hearts along with the long list of other indigenous peoples they oppress or have wiped out. The world will little moan about it.

    There is an over-estimation of the noise made with cogency. Observers won over are not real observers.

    Engagement with such people lends them a legitimacy they could not otherwise get and lets them set the agenda. The agenda is not human rights. I am not at all convinced that such a right exists. Another issue no doubt.

    The language of human rights is nothing but a diversion and sets the agenda within terms that are impossible to be met. The whole concept of fighting wars whilst holding the primacy of human rights is ridiculous and is engineered for failure by our opponents for just that reason. Muslims make a mockery of Western principles to serve their agendas.

    The agenda of human rights should be taken up with Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudia Arabia & Egypt with respect to ‘palestinians’ and their repatriation. They created the problem let them clean it up. No-one ever talked about a ‘palestinian’ state between 1948-1967. It has nothing to do with Israel. Arguing this nonsense on their terms has more to do with the psychoses of Diaspora Jewry.

    The sooner we stop letting them set this agenda and the sooner the arabs get this message the sooner we will be spared their pretenses of concern for humanity and all the hot mendacious air that comes with it.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Eigthman- a lot of points there

    I think we agree on a number of points (though it is not my style to put things so stridently)

    so I agree that rights language is used by some (perhaps many) palestinian advocates as a tactic – evidenced by their lack of regard for Jewish rights and by the other rights ignored within the middle east

    I also agree that Israel currently and for the foreseeable future is dependent on strength rather than moral arguments for its security

    But I think that a philosophy of “we took it, we got it. we’ll keep it- so stuff you” is intellectually empty, morally problematic, erodes the Jewish Israeli spirit and alienates many Jews and non Jews around the world. The thing is, it is possible to be both savvy and in tune with the world or realpolitik and power politics and at the same time develop a moral narrative based on sound reasoning that actually supports the Zionist enterprise.

    The two state solution is full of risks-and is probably not implementable right now- but many Jewish advocates of two states are taking this position in the interests of a Jewish Israel not in response to cynical rights arguments from Palestinians.

  • Eigthman says:

    Not responding merely to have the last word, but the ‘all or nothing’ approach you accuse me of having is exactly the arab approach. It is a response not an initiative.

    On the contrary the erosion of Israeli spirit is serviced by trying to accomodate the impossible. Oh, but the arab position of trying to destroy Israel does not ‘alienate’ non-Jews or Jews?

    As if every problem has a talkable and pristine solution. The logic and ‘morality’ of Neville Chamberlain was hailed in London, but in Prague?

    Developing a ‘moral narrative’ in the midst of an immoral agenda is merely caving into anti-Semitic perspectives and imposts. That you cannot see that already seals your fate. That Israel cannot see that will also seal hers if she does not wake up from the reverie of adhering to moral parameters designed by others but observed by noneone.

  • Neil says:

    Eigthman
    (I’d Rather Fight Than Switch, Dr. Spectra!!)

    – The arabs have never accepted Jewish or anyone else’s rights at any time.
    – The people that employ this ‘human rights approach’ are merely doing what muslims do with all Western ideas to further their agendas.
    – The monochromatic and specious employment of human rights for purely arab benefit automatically invalidates the argument.
    – The audience to which such argumentation has currency cannot be turned by any logical or moral points that renders their arguments invalid.
    – Engaging within such a discussion is already a moral concession that invests your opponents with a sincerity that does not exist.
    – Murder presented as the ‘preservation of rights’ can be freely published without any ugly legal or moral consequences.
    – ‘Bigger guns’? Of course Israel is always preserved by her superior military capabilities. That is how she was established and continues to thrive, with God’s endorsement.
    – Before any game is played one must first understand and accept the rules prior to surrendering to its participation and authority.
    No-one believes in a 2 state arrangement other than the Jews who make common cause with their enemies
    – The moral case is not what is ever being argued. The human rights agenda is aimed at arguing the legitimacy of Israel.
    – How does that work outside other than the usual SS logic that is employed by the UN?
    – If the other side does get ‘bigger guns’ that will be the end of all the arguments. Iran is determined to test this theory.
    – Engagement with such people lends them a legitimacy they could not otherwise get
    The language of human rights is nothing but a diversion
    – The sooner we stop letting them set this agenda and the sooner the arabs get this message the sooner we will be spared their pretenses of concern for humanity and all the hot mendacious air that comes with it.

    Nice line you have got going there.

    Given your comments that you seem to suggest that “might is good”, and “The language of human rights is nothing but a diversion”. And these concepts apply to Arabs. Do you agree that what happened from 1939 – 1945 is acceptable to you given Germany had the Might and did not particularly like Human Rights too much? (Also, what does hypocrisy mean?)

    I for one do not believe in Genocide. Or Ethnic Cleansing.

    Couple of questions:
    1) Do you agree that without the Arab Population movement in 1948/49, there would be approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today? Yes or No?

    2) Do you agree that: If there were approximately equal numbers of Jews and Arabs in Israel today, it would be by definition, a Bi-National State today?

    Best Wishes.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    Eigthman- If you reject two states, I have to ask whether you advocate the status quo of occupation or one state, and if the latter would you give the Palestinians in that state full civic rights

  • Lea Kantor says:

    Neil,

    Many of us have answered your questions satisfactorily, myself included, but you seem not to have responded to the answers, or perhaps even understood that you have been answered satisfactorily several times. You keep reiterating the same questions. Therefore, I suggest you go back and read what people have said without a teflon coat on. I think this not listening, perhaps because you have already decided what the scope of possible answers are, is why you are being attacked, deservedly.

  • Neil says:

    Hi Lea

    In explanation.

    Given Eighthman’s recent entry into this discussion and his very forceful comments, I thought that I would like to put the questions that I have asked others to him.

    I have changed the questions I have asked so as to take away the concept of Ethnic Cleansing to ask whether people believe that the Arab and Jewish population would be approximately equal if the Arab population movement had not taken place.

    No one on this blog has answered the question. No one. Based on the answer that Andrew gave, (a not explicit answer) I have taken his answer as a yes.

    It would be interesting to see what Eigthman says.

    I am very interested in hearing Eightmans answer to Andrew’s question given Eightmans apparent position on Winning wars and the rights of those who win those wars.

    I am also interested to see if Eighthman agrees with Israels declaration of a state on 14 May 1948. Especially the items which I highlight above which pertain to Human Rights for ALL people that lived within the borders that the new state of Israel was going to form.

    Based on his answers, Eighthmans attitude toward Human Rights and Ethnic Cleansing may come back to the fore.

    I believe that the discussion (both my, and Andrews, questions to Eighthman) is fair and relevant.

    Best Wishes

  • Lea Kantor says:

    Your question has been answered, on my not very close reading, at least twice.

  • Eigthman says:

    Andrew. We are not at the movies and there is not going to be a happy ending.

    The arabs (‘palestinians’) will never abdicate their ‘right’ to conduct terrorist operations whilst enjoying immunity from national responsibility by avoiding retaliation at a level commensurate with ‘acts of war’.

    The PA pleads ‘no control’ and similar such rubbish etc. Avoiding statehood keeps the terrorist methodology alive.

    The arabs will never agree to 242. They think that they will be given another shot from ’67 borders and whilst Obama is in power, will stick to this.

    Changes are happening within Israel that are (happily) not in step with Diaspora Jewry.

    The more important questions that must be resolved are within Israel and the Iranian question. These will predicate the outcome of these external questions.

    My advocacy precedes these internal changes.

    In any event all this is speculative drivel because the existence of Israel as a Jewish State is not conceded by these arabs. All else is futile. American economic decline will also change the political dynamic.

    The question of Iran will otherwise dominate proceedings. The question is simply out of place at this time.

  • Andrew Wirth says:

    the current realities and obstacles that you focus on (admittedly with good reason) , need not, and I would argue should not, prevent one from conceptualising where one wants to end up- in fact abandoning the effort to envision the best possible outcome could make that outcome less likely

  • Neil says:

    Eds: Comment removed. Going down the path of trivialising the Holocaust is what gets you banned.

  • Sam says:

    Hi Neil,
    Going down the same path as mohan it seems. It is looking more likely now that my initial hypothesis was correct. If so, it is very naughty to assume a false identity to post comments after being banned on this web site.

  • Wolf says:

    I wonder if Neil get’s his holocaust education from David Irving too? Or maybe that was what he was taught by Frederick Toben at the ‘Adelaide Institute’?

  • TheSadducee says:

    Sam/Wolf

    And I kept telling folks not to bother with him…

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