Israel’s Impending Civil War

Uri Avnery

Something happens to retired chiefs of the Israeli internal Security Service, Shin Bet. Once they leave their jobs, they become spokesmen for peace. How come? Shin Bet agents are the only members of the establishment who come into real, direct, daily contact with Palestinians. They interrogate Palestinian suspects, torture them, try to turn them into informers. They collect information, penetrate the most remote parts of Palestinian society. They know more about the Palestinians than anybody else in Israel (and perhaps in Palestine, too).

The intelligent among them (intelligence officers can be intelligent) also come to conclusions that evade many politicians: that there is a Palestinian nation, that this nation will not disappear, that the Palestinians want a state of their own, that the only solution to the conflict is a Palestinian state next to Israel. And so, on leaving the service, Shin Bet chiefs become outspoken advocates of the two-state solution.

The identity of all secret service personnel is, well, secret, except the chiefs. (When I was a member of the Knesset, I submitted a bill which stipulated that the name of the service chiefs be made public. The bill was rejected, like all my proposals, but soon afterwards the prime minister decreed that the names of the chiefs be made public.) Some time ago, Israeli TV showed a documentary called The Doorkeepers, in which all the living ex-chiefs of the Shin Bet and the Mossad advocated peace based on the two-state solution. They expressed their opinion that there will be no peace unless the Palestinians achieve a national state of their own.

At the time, Tamir Pardo was the chief of the Mossad and could not give his opinion. But he retired earlier this year, and last week opened his mouth in public for the first time. He is a Sephardic Jew whose family came from Turkey, where many Jews found refuge after the expulsion from Spain 525 years ago. So he does not belong to the Ashkenazi ‘elite’.

The recent chief of the Mossad sees no military threat to Israel – not from Iran or Daesh or anybody else. This is a direct challenge to the main plank of Netanyahu's policy: that Israel is surrounded by dangerous enemies and deadly threats. But Pardo sees a menace that is far more dangerous: the split inside Israel's Jewish society. We don't have a civil war yet. But ‘we are rapidly approaching it.’

Civil war between whom? The usual answer is between ‘right’ and ‘left’. Right and left in Israel do not mean the same as in the rest of the world. In Israel, the division between left and right in Israel almost solely concerns peace and the occupation. But I suspect that Pardo means a much deeper rift, without saying so explicitly: the rift between Ashkenazim (‘European’) and Mizrahim (‘Oriental’ or ‘Arab’) Jews. The Sephardic (‘Spanish’) community, to which Pardo belongs, is seen as part of the Orientals. The overwhelming majority of the Orientals are rightist, nationalist and at least mildly religious, while the majority of the Ashkenazim are leftist, more peace-oriented and secular. Since the Ashkenazim also tend to be socially and economically better off than the Orientals, the rift is profound.

When Pardo was born (1953), those of us who were already aware of the rift comforted ourselves with the belief that it was a passing phase. The ‘melting pot’ will do its job, intermarriage will help and after a generation or two the whole thing will disappear. It did not happen. On the contrary, the rift is deepening swiftly. Signs of mutual hatred are becoming more obvious. Politicians, especially rightist ones, base their careers on sectarian incitement, led by the greatest inciter of all, Netanyahu.

Intermarriage does not help. The sons and daughters of mixed couples generally choose a side – and become extremists on that side.

The right, which has been in power (with brief interruptions) since 1977, is still behaving like an oppressed minority, blaming the ‘old elites’ for all their ills. This is not entirely ridiculous because the ‘old elites’ still dominate the economy, the media, the courts and the arts.

The mutual antagonism is growing. Pardo himself provides an alarming example; his warning passed almost unnoticed: a short item on the TV news, a brief mention in the inner pages of the papers, and that's that.

The one unifying force for Jews in Israel – the army – is falling victim to the rift, too. The generals are mostly Ashkenazim. This may explain the strange fact that 43 years after the last real war (Yom Kippur, 1973), and 49 years after the army became mainly a colonial police force, the army command is still more moderate than the political establishment.

But there is another army growing. Many of its lower officers wear a kippah; its new recruits were raised in the nationalist Israeli school system that produced Sergeant Elor Azariya. On 24 March, Azariya shot dead a severely wounded Arab attacker, who was already lying helpless on the ground. His military trial continues to tear Israel apart, months after it started and months before it will end in a verdict. The defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, openly supports the soldier against his chief of staff, while Netanyahu, a political coward as usual, supports both sides. The images of the childish-looking killer, with his mother sitting behind him in court and stroking his head, is a symbol of the civil war Pardo speaks about.

A lot of Israelis have begun to talk of ‘two Jewish societies’ in Israel; some even talk about ‘two Jewish peoples’. What holds them together? The conflict. The occupation. The perpetual state of war.

Yitzhak Frankenthal, a bereaved parent and a pillar of the Israeli peace forces, has come up with an illuminating formula. The Israeli-Arab conflict has not been forced on Israel. Rather, Israel keeps up the conflict, because it needs it for its very existence. This could explain the endless occupation. It fits with Pardo's theory. Only the sense of unity created by the conflict can prevent a civil war.

This is an edited version of a longer piece that you can read on Gush Shalom's website here.


  • 6 September 2016 at 6:01pm
    Blackorpheus7 says:
    If it takes a cvil war in Israel to finally grant autonomy to Palestine, I am for it.

    Whether a civil war will ameliorate the rift among Israeli Jews remains to be seen.

    • 7 September 2016 at 1:22am
      nathanphilipbrown says: @ Blackorpheus7
      Blackorpheus, do you realise that what you're writing is despicable? That you're "for" spilling Jewish blood to further some cause? Do you have no decency? How can you be for a civil war, wherever it might occur - how can you be in favour of violence? I live in Israel, I've been working with Palestinians for the last four years, and want a Palestinian state as much as the next person, but I also don't want to live in a country at civil war - there's enough violence in the world and in my region of the world in particular.

  • 6 September 2016 at 6:41pm
    Fred Skolnik says:
    Uri's Avneri's ramblings tend to end up being somewhat incoherent. In an age of punditry, everyone has something to say about everything, including Mossad chiefs, but "two-state solution" is not really earth-shattering. As for civil war, I gather that he isn't quite sure whether it's going to be between the left and the right, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, or the religious and nonreligious. Well, don't get your hopes up. I doubt if anyone actually living among ordinary Israelis has the impression that civil war is just around the corner, and as for the idea that the Likud is keeping the conflict going to prevent such a civil war, that is just a little crazy. Whoever is publishing this kind of thing is doing his or her readers a great disservice by creating a distorted picture of a society which they are in any case unequipped to understand.

  • 6 September 2016 at 7:58pm
    nlhntr says:
    The documentary mentioned is indeed worth watching - but it's called The Gatekeepers.

  • 6 September 2016 at 7:58pm
    gadflyonthewall says:
    When I first saw the title, I assumed the conflict discussed was going to be that between the Reform Secularists in Tel Aviv and the ever increasing (and disturbingly fecund) Ultra-Orthodox. The wealthier Jewish suburbs of Long Island (the "Five Towns") are one of the front-lines of this culture war, where Orthodox arrivistes attack their Reformed neighbors for driving on the Sabbath, opening their businesses, and worst of all eating bacon-wrapped ginger prawns at Kowloon Gardens. The Orthodox don't really get that First Amendment Separation stuff, and are literally trying to impose Rabbinical law (i.e. Jewish Sharia) on their secular neighbors.

    Another wedge-issue is that endless debate over the speculative Khazar origins of the Ashkenazim, by which the Sephardim claim to be the 'true' Jews.

    • 7 September 2016 at 8:16am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ gadflyonthewall
      Where do you find an "endless debate" about Khazar origins other than among two or three pseudo-historians and people eager to diminish the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel?

      The Khazarian myth is nonsensical. There is no historical evidence of any significant westward movement of Khazarian Jews and no traces of a Khazarian (Turkic) language in East European Jewish communities. (One or two of these pseudo-historians have actually claimed that Yiddish is a Turkic language!)

      On the other hand, there is full and extensive historical and linguistic documentation for the movement of the Jews from the Land of Israel into Southern Europe and from Southern Europe into Northern, Western and Eastern Europe. What is more, the origins and subsequent histories of every one of the 6,000+ historical Jewish communities of Eastern and Western Europe are also fully documented, via the Pinkasei Kehillot (Jewish communal registers), which are of much greater scope than parish records or the British Domesday Book. If anyone is interested he can begin his research with the Yale Collection and then go on to Yad Vashem's 30+ Hebrew volumes covering the histories of all these communities, or a 3-vol. English abridgment called "The Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities Before and During the Holocaust" (NYU Press).

    • 8 September 2016 at 10:13pm
      battles_atlas says: @ Fred Skolnik
      If we disregard myth and nonsense as you are keen to, what are we left with of any origins story which purports to tie a "people" to particular bit of the Earth's surface? Human evolution, and the species' migration out of Africa is pretty well described at this point. A group of people were somewhere for a time, earlier, their ancestors were elsewhere, and before that somewhere else, and before that we might not even recognise them as human. If you want to disregard myth, you're not left with much of a justification for what we see currently.

  • 6 September 2016 at 9:30pm
    suetonius says:
    Fred Skolnik,

    What exactly is your point? You distinctions, left right, religious secular, Mr. Avnery addresses. And nowhere does he mention Likud, or say that Likud is keeping the conflict going to prevent a civil war. He does say Israel keeps the conflict going because it is essential to it's existence. That's very different. How exactly is Mr. Avnery unequipped to understand Israel. He has lived there longer than the country has been in existence.

    • 7 September 2016 at 3:47am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ suetonius
      "Israel" is its government when it acts politically.("Only the sense of unity created by the conflict can prevent a civil war.")

      Certainly he is equipped in theory to understand Israel. But are you equipped to ascertain if he does, or to evaluate or verify what he is saying? I find that it as nonsensical as suggesting that the United States is on the brink of civil war.

    • 7 September 2016 at 10:47am
      Joe Morison says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Perhaps the US is on the brink of civil war. If Trump loses, we've already seen that he will claim it was because the election was rigged, and his supporters seem to genuinely believe Clinton is evil personified. On top of that, As Robert G Gushing points out in The Big Sort, people in the US today are moving to be in communities and states that reflect their own opinions.

      Put all that together, along with continuing economic stagnation, and perhaps not civil war in the traditional sense, but I can easily imagine some sort of widespread terrorist style conflict.

  • 7 September 2016 at 7:19am
    YMedad says:
    Avnery writes: "A lot of Israelis have begun to talk of ‘two Jewish societies’ in Israel; some even talk about ‘two Jewish peoples’. What holds them together? The conflict. The occupation." But in the 1950s, way before any 'occupation', Israel was said to be 'divided' into two societies as for example the riots in Haifa's Wadi Salib neighborhood in 1959 or if one wishes to be historical, in 1944 when the dominante socialist hegemonic parties initated the "saison" policy of handing over those they viewed as dissidents to the British.

    He also quotes someone claiming "The Israeli-Arab conflict has not been forced on Israel." Really? In 1920, 1921, 1929 etc. Arabs killed Jews for daring to seek to fulfill the internationally supported resettlement of the Jewish national homeland. Like the joke when the judge asks Defendant A how the fight with Defendant B began and he replies: "He hit me back, your honor." That's the Arab claim and that a bereaved parent should adopt the reversed narrative in sorrowful.

  • 7 September 2016 at 10:58am
    nellaburb says:
    It's not the first time I've heard this thesis that Israel has needed, or at least found it useful, to have enemies, if only to avoid flying apart at the seams through its centrifugal tendences. One could also add to this the earlier thesis of the usefulness of anti-Semitism in binding diaspora Jews together, countering fissiparous tendencies that might otherwise have won out, for it is a famous truism that Jews have strong minds, and strong minds tend to radically disagree.

    I'm sure that this is one of the deeper reasons why Israel finds the absence of peace with the Palestinians easier to deal with than its presence would ever have been. The other one is that war and power have worked for Israel so far, so that the Zionist agenda, once modest and after the wars achievable, has grown more ambitious with the passing years, to the point where having a state with recognized borders is no longer enough - that state now has to be co-terminous with every inch of ancient Israel and Judea. We might even coin a phrase for this upping of the ante: Neo-Zionism, and unlike the older Zionism, it is not yet satiated - far from it - and indeed can only achieve its goals by ensuring the absence of a peace process, which would necessarily call a halt to any such ambitions. Where this will all end I do not know.

    • 7 September 2016 at 2:25pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ nellaburb
      This is a reading of Israeli and Jewish thinking that is totally divorced from reality. Who precisely are the Israeli or Jewish individuals who wish for terrible wars and rampant antisemitism to be visited on the Jewish people. I don't know any. Do you? Have you talked it over with them? Or are you just "reasoning"?

  • 7 September 2016 at 2:35pm
    thedoc says:
    everyone wants peace; but on who's terms? there is a divide in israel along the lines of empathy for the Palestinian people rights and a civil war might ensue. what the writer leaves out is that 60-80% of israelis would trade land for peace but with whom would they trade. what palestinian group recognizes Israel's right to exist as an independent jewish state? how can there be peace without a strong enough entity to insure a separate israeli state?

  • 7 September 2016 at 3:06pm
    Graucho says:
    The position of the Likud and their allies was succinctly summarised by one Israeli as follows ... "I cannot negotiate if I am weak and if I am strong I don't have to".

    • 7 September 2016 at 3:21pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Graucho
      But that is not the position of the Likud.

  • 7 September 2016 at 9:36pm
    Seth Edenbaum says:
    Avnery, the "liberal" who defends the two state solution because Jews want to live by themselves. It's too late for that. And of course a lot of Germans still want that too. "A German state for a German people", with second class citizenship for immigrants, and Jews too of course. Never again.

    Israel was founded on Jim Crow, and in Israel that's called liberalism.

    The irony here is that Avnery can't describe what racism has done to Israeli culture. That Ashkenazi Jews identify with Europe is a sad enough fact, but now even African Jews want to pretend that they're white.

    Eli Yishai: “Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man.”

    • 8 September 2016 at 3:21am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Seth Edenbaum
      Dear Seth

      Israel is a Jewish national state with an Arab national minority in the same way that Turkey is a Turkish national state with a Kurdish national minority. National minorities create special problems. This is exacerbated in Israel's case because the national identity of the Arab minority is with a larger Arab world that is hostile to the State of Israel. Israel is also a Western country. It could have become an East European country or an Oriental country (and there was in fact a "Canaanite" movement in pre-State Israel) but it chose to become a Western country in order to survive, that is, to master the technologies that would give it a qualitative edge and enable it to defend itself against an enemy whose declared aim was to destroy it and also to become independent in food production as quickly as possible.

    • 8 September 2016 at 7:09am
      Seth Edenbaum says: @ Fred Skolnik
      NY Times March 20th 1947
      Clifton Daniel
      Palestine Jews Minimize Arabs
      Sure of Superiority, Settlers Feel They Can Win Natives, by Reason or Force.

      "Whatever the degree of their superiority complex, however, the Jews are certainly confident of their ability to bring the Arabs to terms - by persuasion if possible, by might if necessary. The program of the largest terrorist group, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, is to evacuate the British forces from Palestine and declare a Zionist state west of the Jordan, and "we will take care of the Arabs."

      New York Times, Sept 9th, 1989
      "An Alternative to the P.L.O. -- Fundamentalists"
      Clinton Bailey, a name you know, describing Israel policy.

      "A deep ideological gap separates Hamas and the P.L.O. Hamas holds that a Palestinian state must be Islamic with a constitution based on the Koran. The P.L.O. advocates a secular state for Palestinians and includes factions that are Marxist and atheistic. Hamas does not intend to challenge the P.L.O. until the Palestinians are free of Israeli occupation, but its leaders express no doubt that an armed clash will ultimately come.

      ...On a pragmatic plane, however, Hamas has unwritten positions that demand attention. For example, it holds that determination of the Israeli occupation of any Muslim territory is preferable to the present situation. Its members claim that, while Hamas would never negotiate a compromise with Israel, it would not obstruct others from doing so. And, unlike the P.L.O., it would not insist on tying an Israeli withdrawal to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

      Hamas also views with equanimity the prospect of Jordan's assuming primary responsibility for the occupied territories. Its adherents cite a history of amicable relations between the Muslim Brotherhood -- the main component of Hamas -- and the Hashemite regime. They would not oppose a return to Jordanian rule, perhaps in a confederation."

      The Wall Street Journal, Jan 24th, 2009
      Andrew Higgins
      "How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas"

      "Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation"

      London Review of Books, July 31st, 2014
      Mouin Rabbani
      "Israel mows the lawn"

      ---In 2004, a year before Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Dov Weissglass, éminence grise to Ariel Sharon, explained the initiative’s purpose to an interviewer from Haaretz:

      --The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process … And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with … a [US] presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress … The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.--

      In 2006 Weissglass was just as frank about Israel’s policy towards Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants: ‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.’ He was not speaking metaphorically: it later emerged that the Israeli defence ministry had conducted detailed research on how to translate his vision into reality, and arrived at a figure of 2279 calories per person per day – some 8 per cent less than a previous calculation because the research team had originally neglected to account for ‘culture and experience’ in determining nutritional ‘red lines’.---

      Arab nations at the UN in 1947 proposed a bi-national state.
      The Zionists rejected it.

      Hamas has matured greatly since it was founded. Israel has not. Do us all a favor a grow up.

    • 8 September 2016 at 7:22am
      Seth Edenbaum says: @ Fred Skolnik
      You bore me, but I have these links cued up for just this reason.

      "Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America’s behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)
      But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza.

      ... [After the election] they started squeezing Hamas almost immediately. Originally, in the weeks right after the late-January election, Hamas wanted to form a relatively moderate government that would include a large number of political “independents” under the leadership of Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh as Prime Minister. But as I know– because I was the conduit of one of these threats– threats of lethal violence were sent by the Israelis to any Palestinian “independents” who might be even considering joining a Haniyeh-led government. As a result, none of them did; and the government that Haniyeh ended up forming was 100% Hamas."

      ["I was the conduit" scroll down to comments]
      "I have written about it before. It was Ziad. The threat was conveyed to me by Ziad’s and my mutual friend Ze’ev Schiff, a decent man who had been extremely close to successive generations of the leaders of Israel’s security establishment for half a century before his death last year.
      To be specific, when I spoke with Ze’ev on the phone before I went to Gaza in March 2006– and he did help me to get in– he asked if I was going to see Ziad, who was then widely reported to be considering an offer from Hamas to be Haniyeh’s Foreign Minister (as he subsequently became, during the brief life of the 2007 national unity government.) I said yes. He said– and he repeated this a couple of times to make sure I got the meaning clear– that I should tell Ziad he would face “the worst possible consequences” if he joined the Haniyeh government, and that he said this “on good authority.”
      I did pass the message on to Ziad.
      Ziad also faced considerable family-based pressure from the Americans since his three children from his first marriage were at college here in the US, and I suppose if he had joined the Haniyeh government and then tried to visit them here he could be arraigned on all kinds of charges of aiding and abetting terrorists. But Ze’ev’s words about “the worst possible consequences” struck me as constituting a more severe and immediate threat."

    • 8 September 2016 at 9:31am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Seth Edenbaum
      Dear Seth

      You won't learn about the Middle East by reading newspapers and it looks to me that you are spending a little more time than is normal or healthy "lining up" links. Weissglas has turned into a pundit whom you can catch on Israeli television every other night pontificating about everything under the sun. To know how seriously to take him you would have to know a great deal more about Israeli thinking than you do. The declared and logical reason for the disengagement was that it was tying up more troops and funds than Israel could afford. Whether or not Sharon wanted a political solution at the time is irrelevant. It also looks irrelevant now, despite Netanyahu's declarations, because Abu Mazen can't deliver one and Hamas doesn't want one.

      Hamas is a terrorist organization whose declared aim is the destruction of Israel and Israel will respond to it accordingly.

      The purpose of working out how many calories the Gazans needed to stay alive was to make sure they didn't starve. For your information, Hamas utilized less than half the capacity of the Israeli crossings because it found it more profitable to get its big kickbacks from the smugglers using the tunnels from Egypt.

    • 8 September 2016 at 7:01pm
      Seth Edenbaum says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Hamas offered a long term truce years ago, and again recently. Israel acknowledges it polices and arrests far more radical elements. The last Gaza war began three weeks after two Palestinian teenagers were shot in cold blood.

      The kidnapping of the Israeli teens was a response. Before the deaths of the three Israelis the death count in minors since 2009 was about 89-0

      In 1986 Israel expelled a Christian pacifist, Mubarak Awad, while leaving Yassin alone to preach. But here's Yassin a few months before he was assassinated by Israel in 2004
      ---In an ostensible departure from its traditional all-or- nothing approach, the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, has proposed a protracted peace with Israel in return for a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Hamas founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, told reporters in Gaza earlier this week that the movement would be willing to end armed resistance in return for a "true and genuine" Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, with Jerusalem as its capital.

      Yassin, who escaped an Israeli assassination attempt a few months ago, said "the historical rights of the Palestinians [an allusion to the expulsion by Israel of the bulk of Palestinians from their historical homeland in 1948] would be left for future generations."

      Yassin's remarks were echoed by Abdul-Aziz Al- Rantisi, the second highest-ranking official in Hamas. He told reporters on 25 January that Hamas would consider a 10-year truce with Israel if it withdrew from all the territories occupied in 1967. Rantisi was quoted as saying that the movement had come to the conclusion that "it is difficult to liberate all our land at this stage", adding, "we accept a state in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip."

      Yassin's and Rantisi's remarks indicate that Hamas may well be moving closer to the mainstream strategy adopted by the PLO, namely the creation of a viable Palestinian state pursuant United Nations resolutions and the formula of land for peace.---

      Hamas won an election and US/Israeli/Fatah response was a coup.

      "Weissglas has turned into a pundit" What was he in 2004?

      "The purpose of working out how many calories the Gazans needed to stay alive was to make sure they didn’t starve."

      You live in a dream. Your dream is dying by your own hand.

  • 8 September 2016 at 11:05am
    farthington says:
    The supposedly Yiddish proverb is applicatable here.
    'When the prick stands up, the brain gets buried in the ground.'
    Replace 'prick' with 'Israel' and we have it.
    Rationality and humanity fly out the window.
    Israel was created by terrorism, and its denial of the integrity of the pre-1948 indigenous population and their descendants is an ongoing crime against humanity.

    • 8 September 2016 at 11:20am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ farthington
      Remove the period, because you are making a false statement. Israel was created by a proclamation of independence based on a UN resolution partitioning Mandatory Palestine as a compromise intended to satisfy two rival territorial claims. I have no idea what you mean by "the integrity of the pre-1948 indigenous population." Those in the State of Israel were welcome to live under Israeli sovereignty just as they'd lived under Ottoman sovereignty for 400 years. They chose to make war and paid the price.

    • 8 September 2016 at 7:04pm
      Seth Edenbaum says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Europeans had no right to land in the Middle East Mr Skolnik, no more in Palestine than in Vietnam or Nigeria.

    • 8 September 2016 at 8:32pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Seth Edenbaum
      The Jews come from Judea. The Arabs come from Arabia.

    • 8 September 2016 at 9:33pm
      Seth Edenbaum says: @ Fred Skolnik
      You come from Eastern Europe Mr Skolnik.

      Gypsies come from Rajasthan and Palestinians are Jewish converts to Islam, but most of Europe speaks bad latin and the French are not descendants of the Romans. Either way 2000 years from now survivors of the Aboriginal uprisings in Australia will not have the right to "return" and conquer London.

      Remember also that the Tunisian Eli Yishai thinks he has a right to return even though he considers himself white. For him to say that is absurd; for you it's just confusion. Are you a Jew or are you white? If the Jews are a people the answer's obvious, but self-hatred is so deeply engrained in your psyche that I doubt you'll know what to say.

      "The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies. We want to emigrate as a respected people" Herzl craved the respect of Germans, and Israel is allied with Saudi and European neo-fascists for the same reason Stern wanted to work with Hitler. Nativists are united in fear.

      “Are you Zionist?'' Eichmann asked. ''Yes,'' she said. ''I am Zionist, too. I want every Jew to go to Palestine."

      Muslim Europe is the revenge of the Jews, a new and larger wave of bookish traders. And in 50 years they'll be the foremost native born interpreters of the great European tradition.

    • 8 September 2016 at 10:47pm
      Graucho says: @ Seth Edenbaum
      Well if we insist on winding the ancestral clock back we should all return to Africa. I've always been curious about one thing Fred, did the almighty create Jews and Gentiles in two separate acts, or are we all descended from Adam and Eve, in which case how and why did the separation occur ?

    • 9 September 2016 at 3:59am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Seth Edenbaum
      Calling Palestinians anything other than Arabs, Seth, makes as much sense as calling a Spanish Conquistador an Aztec or Inca by virtue of the fact that he raped an Indian woman or forced her to convert. Indigenousness is not transferable from a conquered to a conquering population. Today's Palestinian Arabs are part of the Arab nation by their own definition and have absolutely nothing in common with the indigenous populations they conquered and whose national identities they destroyed, not in terms of origins, history, historical memory, culture, religion or language. At best you can call them a medieval population but even as such you have to take into account Arab migration to the Land of Israel in the 19th century, so that, according to the 1931 census, over 20 different languages were in use by Muslims, and non-Jews in Palestine listed as their birthplaces at least 24 different countries (Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Bosnia, the Caucasus, Turkmenistan, Kurdistan, India, Afghanistan, Balochistan, etc.) while the Arab population of Haifa rose from 6,000 in 1880 to 80,000 in 1919 as a result of workforce migration.

      It makes absolutely no difference where I personally come from. Unlike Australian aborigines in London, Jews have been continuously present in the Land of Israel for at least 3,500 years and that is where their culture, language and national consciousness were created. Their claim to sovereignty was no less valid than the claim of the country's Arab conquerors.

      Eli Ishai isn't going to win you any points, nor is Eichmann. You aren't proving anything by throwing around links and random quotations.


      You'll have to work out the Adam and Eve business for yourself. And black Americans did return to Africa, to Liberia in the 19th century.

    • 9 September 2016 at 5:18am
      Seth Edenbaum says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Palestinians are native to the land. Ben-Gurion and Ben-Zvi made the argument themselves. And as I've said I've gotten fond of saying, Arafat had a Jewish nose. He looked like every anti-Semitic caricature ever drawn by a European. Put his face next to a Fagin or Shylock. Again: the French are Gallic, whatever language they speak now.

      Your repeat yourself and didn't answer my question. Are you Semitic or a Slav?

    • 9 September 2016 at 5:20am
      Seth Edenbaum says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Liberia: The native Africans didn't get the right to vote until the 1960s. The immigrants, freed slaves, Christians, instituted a system of Jim Crow.

    • 9 September 2016 at 5:29am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Seth Edenbaum
      I'm a Jew. As many Arabs have big noses as Jewe. So what? Palestinian Arabs are natives insofar as they've been around since the seventh century. Jews have been around for 3500 years. If I repeat myself it's because you ignore whatever explodes in your face. Note once again the Arab migrations in the 19th century and their countries of origin.

    • 9 September 2016 at 5:44am
      Seth Edenbaum says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Thank you Joan Peters. But no thanks.
      --As all the research by historian Fares Abdul Rahim and geographers of modern Palestine shows, the Arab population began to grow again in the middle of the nineteenth century. That growth resulted from a new factor: the demographic revolution. Until the 1850s there was no "natural" increase of the population, but this began to change when modern medical treatment was introduced and modern hospitals were established, both by the Ottoman authorities and by the foreign Christian missionaries. The number of births remained steady but infant mortality decreased. This was the main reason for Arab population growth. ... No one would doubt that some migrant workers came to Palestine from Syria and Trans-Jordan and remained there. But one has to add to this that there were migrations in the opposite direction as well. For example, a tradition developed in Hebron to go to study and work in Cairo, with the result that a permanent community of Hebronites had been living in Cairo since the fifteenth century. Trans-Jordan exported unskilled casual labor to Palestine; but before 1948 its civil service attracted a good many educated Palestinian Arabs who did not find work in Palestine itself. Demographically speaking, however, neither movement of population was significant in comparison to the decisive factor of natural increase---
      You don't make arguments you make statements from your dreams. Goodnight, hasbara boy

    • 9 September 2016 at 5:48am
      Seth Edenbaum says: @ Fred Skolnik
      What's truly disgusting is how hard you try to distinguish Jews from their closest kin. So desperate to be white, so desperate to be anything but what you are.

    • 9 September 2016 at 6:16am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Seth Edenbaum
      The reason there was little increase up to the 19th century was that the Arab population was transient. The increase in migration was partly a result of the economic boom stimulated by the Jewish presence. There was no significant decline in infant mortality in the 19th century anywhere in the world. You're not going to explain away census figure and countries of origin with double-talk.

    • 9 September 2016 at 6:18am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Seth Edenbaum
      I never met a Jew who made an issue of being white. Your idea of Jewish thinking is a little crazy.

    • 9 September 2016 at 7:13am
      Graucho says: @ Fred Skolnik
      I was referring to East Africa where the evidence is your antecedents came from. They probably rubbed shoulders with mine.

  • 8 September 2016 at 10:20pm
    JonathanDawid says:
    Sounds like what's needed is a three state solution. We could call them Israel, Judah, and Palestine.

Read more