Subversive Activity

Jeremy Harding

One reliable – and sobering – measure of a country’s political health is the number of international NGOs and agencies working on the ground in relief, development, nutrition, water, education, humanitarian assistance and legal rights. In the Palestinian territories there are roughly eighty. Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, the INGO footprint has got no lighter: evidence, in case it was needed, that the Palestinian Authority – created by the Oslo process – is incapable of running what remains of the Palestinian West Bank or providing for its citizens: it is a barely sovereign local power, obliged to co-ordinate with Israel on security issues and guilty of human rights violations against its critics. INGOs come into their own in places where there is no effective government, no fair access to property, food, water and land, and no consent to rule of law as the authorities interpret it.

But there are also the Palestinian NGOs, with their intellectual and activist origins in nearly 75 years of dispossession and resistance. Many were founded before the charitable internationals in Palestine became permanent fixtures. And their numbers have grown: by 2020 there were more than a hundred Palestinian NGOs operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Some have stepped in for years to fill the gaping holes in ‘civil society’ opened by a series of disasters: eviction in 1948, military occupation after 1967 and – post-Oslo – life under a zombie administration.

Israel is obliged, for the moment, to weigh its dislike of the UN agencies and the INGOs – human rights groups especially – against the opprobrium it would face if it began throwing foreign ‘humanitarians’ out of Palestine and destroying their offices. (The PA would also be pleased to be rid of them if it weren’t for the jobs and forex that arrive in their wake.)

Palestinian NGOs, however, remain vulnerable to Israeli diktat. In February the Israeli authorities outlawed Samidoun, an advocacy group for the release of Palestinian detainees, on the grounds that it had links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist faction of the PLO that was once in the vanguard of the national movement but has not been ‘popular’ for thirty years or more. Samidoun was identified as a terrorist group and accused of recycling funding to the PFLP.

Last week the defence minister, Benny Gantz, signed an executive order designating another six Palestinian NGOs as ‘terrorist’ organisations. One was Defence for Children International – Palestine, whose offices had been raided in July. Others included the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Workers’ Committees.

The most distinguished ‘terrorist’ organisation under Gantz’s executive order is Al-Haq, a human rights NGO founded in the late 1970s, which focuses on legal issues in the Occupied Territories. Al-Haq’s primary purpose is to defend the rights of Palestinians under occupation. It has won several international awards, including the Prix des droits de l’homme de la République française.

Al-Haq rose to prominence during the first Intifada; it has spent decades opening legal pathways through the byzantine complexities of Israeli military and colonial law – often at variance with statutory international law – for colonised plaintiffs to challenge the confiscation of their property, the detention of their relatives, the destruction of their horticulture and the violation of their rights.

Typical of its research work is The West Bank and the Rule of Law (1981), published in collaboration with the International Commission of Jurists. In the words of the writer and lawyer Raja Shehadeh, one of the founders of Al-Haq, ‘the book examined a raft of secret Israeli legislation that amended local law by military orders which were never published, making it possible for settlers to acquire land for illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. Shehadeh adds that ‘more recently the organisation has been active in providing evidence for the International Criminal Court at The Hague to build its case to investigate war crimes committed by Israeli officials.’

The order against Al-Haq and the other organisations is consistent with Israel’s broad characterisation of civil disobedience and non-violent activism, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as ‘antisemitic’ or ‘terrorist’. For Palestinians, as of last Friday, seeking due process has become a subversive activity. A statement from former staffers at Al-Haq – including signatories in Arab-majority states, Latin America, Europe, the US and the UK – can be downloaded here.


  • 28 October 2021 at 2:07pm
    frmurphy98 says:
    In years ahead the recent forthright branding of Israel as an apartheid state by Human Rights Watch will likely be viewed as a watershed moment in mainstream acceptance of what Israel has become.

    Human Rights Watch is not an outlier or left wing organisation. It is very much a part of the establishment in the United States and is not generally associated with hard hitting criticism that conflicts with the promoted interests of the American state. Kenneth Roth, the Human Rights Watch CEO who has been in power longer than Putin, is a darling of the New York liberal and Democratic Party Establishment. Those groups are an important financial source for HRW and include many members of New York’s highly altruistic liberal Jewish community. Human Rights Watch cannot be dismissed as “the usual suspects”.

    Furthermore, the HRW report is a formal legal analysis of what constitutes the crime of apartheid and whether Israeli actions and statutes meet that bar, and it concludes that Israel is an apartheid state not as a matter of political categorisation, but in a formal, legal sense. Roth is respected as a lawyer and Human Rights Watch is an organisation to which people, not just in State Department but at senior levels of the Biden Administration, genuinely listen if not always taking heed. The walls are starting to close in. Few people in this day and age wish to be seen as defenders of apartheid.

  • 28 October 2021 at 5:47pm
    Fred Skolnik says:
    The apartheid fiction is certainly not reaching a watershed of any kind, as few people are equipped to make legalistic determinations of this kind. Those who use the term with reference to Israel are more likely than not to be Israel haters to begin with, for reasons that are, more often than not, not very flattering to themselves. Here in any case is a response to the HRW report:

    With reference to the West Bank, an occupation by definition entails separation between the occupying power and the occupied population and the existence of two different legal systems for occupying and occupied nationals. All separation measures instituted by Israel are solely for purposes of security and it makes absolutely no difference if the Israeli presence in the West Bank is in the form of army bases (certainly legal under an occupation) or settlements (irrespective of their legality). Secondly, international law stipulates how wars are to be fought in built-up areas and there is no evidence that Israel violated these laws despite the high number of Palestinian casualties brought about by Hamas's implantation of its entire war apparatus in residential neighborhoods.

    With reference to Israel itself, it is Jewish in the same way that France is French and Turkey is Turkish, because Israel is a Jewish state in the same way that France is a French state and Turkey is a Turkish state. In this Jewish state, the Arabs are a national minority with all this entails, just as the Kurds are a national minority in Turkey, and treated far better than the Kurds in Turkey and most other national minorities in the world. Israeli Arabs can vote and serve as Knesset members and judges, pursue any profession, treat Jewish patients as doctors, defend Jewish criminals as lawyers, attend universities, share all public facilities with Jews and go wherever they want. To call this apartheid is as absurd as calling a table a chair or a car an airplane. It is a shameless perversion of language whose only purpose in to denigrate and criminalize Israel.

    • 29 October 2021 at 2:08pm
      Ted Eames says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Same old barren tactic of equating any questioning of the actions of the Israeli government with "Israel hating" (and therefore Anti-Semitism according to your final paragraph's loopy, tautological description of various states).
      It is interesting to note that you make no attempt to address the very valid points about the bans in Jeremy Hardy's blog post (though I'm sure that you will now oblige with a regurgitation of the Israeli government's line).

    • 29 October 2021 at 3:06pm
      EnoahBallard says: @ Ted Eames
      Any time a thoughtful article (such as Harding's) about the plight of Palestinians pops out in the corners of the internet, Hasbara will show up to 'clarify' the record and give us the 'truth' with obfuscating legalese and a remarkable flair for gaslighting - and, like you just said, never once addressing the cruel and inhumane realities on the ground. Thank you for this blog post and for this comment.

    • 29 October 2021 at 3:10pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Re the six NGOs, since the haters can't even bring themselves to acknowledge that Hamas is a terrorist organization, one can hardly expect them to acknowledge that any other Palestinian organization is a terrorist organization. After all, many terrorist organizations engage in humanitarian activities while murdering civilians, even Hamas. You can be sure that all the evidence will be made public very shortly, but until then why don't you and Jeremy Hardy tell us whether or not you think Hamas is a terrorist organization so that we'll all know where you're coming from.

      If I went off half-cocked about how rotten China is on the basis of biased second- and third-hand English-language sources and without the remotest possibility of verifying or evaluating anything I read, never having been there and not understanding a word of Chinese, people would be right to call me a China hater. And that is why I am inclined to call people who go off half-cocked about Israel Jew haters, or at the very least hostile or resentful toward Jews. The language and the ignorance is always the giveaway.

    • 30 October 2021 at 12:01pm
      XopherO says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Mr Skolnik I frequently find your language 'hostile and resentful' towards those who pose legitimate criticisms of the actions of the Israeli state and the IDF. (Is that a terrorist organisation - perhaps it should be open to question as you declare the NGOs should be?) You really lack heart and empathy, as I have commented before. Nothing can penetrate your carapace of anger and self-righteousness. Please do not bother to reply - I will not be answering. That is one thing I have learnt from your diatribes. This was a clear and reasoned post from Jeremy Harding. Enough said.

    • 30 October 2021 at 2:50pm
      Graucho says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Welcome back Fred. For a while there I feared that covid might have claimed you. As far as Israel and apartheid goes, well, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck ...

  • 30 October 2021 at 2:38pm
    dmr says:
    As I've said before:

    When my children were small they used to read a little book called Horses. In it, the author wrote: " When my horse goes badly, I ask myself what I have done wrong."

    What a pity this champion of Israel, so quick to defend his adopted land against all comers and so blind to its misbehaviour, cannot be guided by such wise advice.

  • 30 October 2021 at 3:18pm
    Fred Skolnik says:
    Nice try, fellas. And here I thought that someone might have something of substance to say.

  • 31 October 2021 at 11:12am
    dmr says:
    ' Never tussle with a pig. You get covered in mud and the pig loves it.'

  • 1 November 2021 at 3:01pm
    staberinde says:
    A good article, but ultimately pointless.

    Israel has been consistent in playing its hand well, and Palestinians have been equally consistent in playing the their hand badly. Camp David in 2000 represented the best deal Palestinians were ever going to get, yet (foolishly), they held out for more. Now they will get nothing. They have lost, and nothing will change that. Even the Arab world has given up on the Palestinians, both out of boredom and the desire to contain Iran.

    We can wish Israel wasn't an ethno-state. But the time to challenge and influence such foundational thinking was generations ago. That Israel is an apartheid state is a logical consequence of its geo-security situation. Israel must expand its borders and expel the Palestinians (to Jordan), as quickly as it can. The resulting destabilisation of its neighbour is preferable to the status quo. Every "terrorist incident" and disinterested US President provides an excuse to expedite the timetable.

    So we in the UK can discuss "justice" all we wish, and wring our hands at every tightening of the ratchet. But the window of opportunity for influence has long passed. Progressive activists and politicians can spend their energy far more productively in addressing more contemporary human rights crises - take your pick: Uighurs? Migrant camps? Hong Kong? LGBTQ+ Russians?

    Palestine has become a lost cause. There's no two-state solution. There's no one-state solution. Time for everyone to accept it, survey the realistic scenarios for Palestinians, and begin working to realise the most positive of them. Anything else is self-indulgent whimsey.

    • 1 November 2021 at 5:29pm
      XopherO says: @ staberinde
      Camp David was designed to guarantee, almost, a Palestinian rejection. Even if accepted, Israel would have found a way to renege, as it always has done. Yes, Israel wins for the moment, but instability reigns.

    • 1 November 2021 at 5:55pm
      joel says: @ staberinde
      I fear there's unlikely to be a reversal in global attitudes toward apartheid.

    • 2 November 2021 at 3:53pm
      staberinde says: @ joel
      It won't be apartheid once Israel has expelled the Palestinians of Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank into Jordan. We're in the endgame of ethnic cleansing now, only it'll be forced migration rather than mass graves. And it's in nobody's interests to stop it. But the Left loves lost causes and unwinnable battles. There's a pathological love of martyrdom in the socialist psyche, I fear.

    • 2 November 2021 at 4:07pm
      staberinde says: @ XopherO
      Indeed. But let's not pretend a better deal was (or ever will be) on offer. The Palestinians forged the wrong alliances, chose the wrong leaders, and pursued the wrong strategies at every turn. The result is that with each passing year, their position weakens, their options narrow, and their outcomes wither.

      The Palestinians' only sponsors are Iran and Syria, and the latter has been somewhat preoccupied elsewhere, of late. Now that the Arab nations are largely reconciled with the existence of Israel and even see it as an ally against Iran, the Palestinians' utility to Iran becomes increasingly questionable.

      Instability reigns? Israel has never looked so stable. In 1967 it was surrounded by enemies. Now it is surrounded by failed states, neutral states, and allies.

  • 2 November 2021 at 6:56pm
    Thomas Mcanea says:
    It seems it again needs restating reading the comments above.

    It is entirely possible to be a critic of the Israeli government and its illegal actions against Palestinians, including what is clearly a system of apartheid, and yet not be anti-semitic.

    I know many Jews who fit this description. History will not be kind to those that perpetrated these crimes. Hate only begets hate and one day all sides will need to accept the reality that they must co-exist.

    • 3 November 2021 at 5:33am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Thomas Mcanea
      Categorical accusations of illegality and "clear apartheid" by people who have never observed the "system" and are not jurists is precisely the kind of ignorance that I mentioned above. It is just not good enough to perch yourself in front of the telly with your crisps and your pint and pontificate about places you've never seen from a distance of 2000 miles. If I saw you in an altercation with a Pakistani at a distance of 50 yards and called you a racist or a criminal, you would be justifiably offended.

      I also find it difficult to understand at what point the haters believe that Israel became a racist oppressor, because I have the feeling that it is not just the occupation that they rail against but Israel's existence as such, which they represent as constituting a great injustice to the Palestinian people. So by all means let's have a civilized discussion, point by point, you and I, so that neither of us can run away or slide around what is inconvenient. At what point do you believe the Jews became the culprit? In 1967? In 1948? In 1917? In 1897? In 1878? Were they simply always the criminal with regard to the Land of Israel and/or the Palestinians, or only from a certain point on? Then I will reply to you and we can thrash things out and then move on to the next point if you are game.

    • 3 November 2021 at 12:32pm
      Delaide says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Fred, I’m in awe or your erudition and wouldn’t dare challenge any of your points. Never mind a knife, I’d be taking a feather to a gunfight. Nevertheless, putting aside my packet of crisps for a while, is my sympathy for the Palestinians I see on TV being displaced from their homes by Israeli settlers (contrary to a UN pronouncement?) misplaced? Is it not possible to support the Palestinians, on this issue at least, and at the same time abhor Hamas terrorism, without being labelled an Israeli hater?

    • 3 November 2021 at 1:39pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Delaide
      Where are Palestinians being displaced from their homes? The latest dispute in Sheikh Jarrah involves Palestinian homes built on Jewish-owned land seized by Jordan in 1948 and Israel's Supreme Court has offered a compromise allowing the Palestinians to remain where they are. Otherwise, no new Israeli settlements have been built since the early 1990s and those that were built before then were built for the most part on barren hilltops on state land. Expulsions aren't the issue and Israel is not at war with the Palestinian people but with the terrorist organization and are responding to their attacks as any other country would.

      As for Hamas, you will not find many "critics" of Israel willing to acknowledge that Hamas is a terrorist organization, preferring to call them freedom fighters even when they succeeded in blowing up Israeli women and children in buses and restaurants, so I think I am justified in calling them haters.

    • 3 November 2021 at 4:51pm
      dmr says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Deny everything. Concede nothing. Ascribe malice. Change the topic.

      Par for the course...

    • 3 November 2021 at 7:18pm
      ianbrowne says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Israel bars Palestinians whose property was seized during the Nakba from reclaiming it, it does allow Jews who owned property before 1948 to file claims reasserting their ownership. A system of law that disciminates looks like apartheid to me.

      In 2005, the Israeli court dismissed Ottoman documents presented by Suleiman Darwish Hijazi, one of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, as evidence of his ownership of the land. But they accepted the documents presented by the Jewish claimants.

      I await you reply. Please avoid empty rhetoric if possible.

    • 3 November 2021 at 7:38pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ ianbrowne
      As far as your so-called Nakba is concerned, you are forgetting that an equal number of Jews were displaced from Arab countries during the war period and lost everything they owned, including land, homes, stores and all their other property. Dispossession cuts both ways.

      As for Hijazi, do you know why his documents were dismissed? Here is the other side of the story, which I am sure is no less reliable than your own sources of information:

    • 4 November 2021 at 9:46am
      ianbrowne says: @ Fred Skolnik
      I must first of all thank you for your courtesy, in that you didn't imply that I was an anti-Semite. However, I found your reply simply full of evasions and obfuscations. The first paragraph was simply irrelevant, as my point was about the Jewish legal system and its relationship to the system of aparthied that exists in Israel.
      However, I do take exception to the phrase "so called Nakba". It is very difficult to have a rational conversation who dismisses historical fact as "so called". It reminds me of trying to discuss the Holocaust with david Irving, who simply refuses to accept as fact things which are well established matters of fact. There is nothing "so called" about the Nakba, any more than there is anything "so called" about the Holocaust. You simply cannot refuse to accept historical facts and expect people to take you seriously.
      With regard to the issue of Sheik Jarrar and the ownership of the land, which was the actual content of our "so called" discussion, it needs to be noted that there is considerable doubt about the authenticity and validity of the document on which the Israeli claim was made. Traditionally such records are filed by date and location, however the lawyer representing Hijazi and the families carried out extensive investigations and obtained confirmation from officials at the Ottoman archives in Ankara that the alleged title deeds do not exist within their records.
      With regard to the koshan presented by the Sephardic Community Committee and the Knesset Israel Committee In accordance with common practice regarding the establishment of legal rights, the Committees’ claims were legally deemed to have been registered for ‘primary purposes’ by the Israeli Land Registry. In contrast to tabo, or final registration, primary registration, primary registration does not purport to substantiate the validity of the Committee’s claim as ,the registration is not proof of ownership for the purpose of subsequent land disputes.
      It is no surprise that despite the unlikelihood that the disputed areas had been owned, rather than rented, by Jews, the Israeli courts made their decisions in favour of ownership by the Sephardic Community Committee and the Knesset Israel Committees. As has been pointed out repeatedly, Israel is an apartheid state and its legal system reflects this, so that there is, in effect, one law for one group based on their presumed racial superiority, and another inferior form of law for the rest based on presumed their racial inferiority. This distinction on the basis of race is at the heart of the ideology of apartheid states.
      All this is irrelevant anyway, as Israel does not have the legal authority to award the land and property in Sheik Jarrar to Israeli citizens. Israeli court have no jurisdiction in Sheikh Jarrah. When Israel expanded its legal jurisdiction to East Jerusalem, it did so in violation of international law. In fact awarding the land and property to Israeli citizens is almost certainly a war crime.
      Both the expansion of Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries by the unilateral creation of Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries in 1967, leading to the annexation of the Old City of Jerusalem (6.5 km2) and land from surrounding Palestinian villages (64.5 km2) in the West Bank, and the adoption of the Basic Law: Jerusalem Capital of Israel on 30 July 1980, which declared “Jerusalem complete and united” to be “the capital of Israel have been declared “null and void” by the UN Security Council.
      “In its 2004 Advisory Opinion, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) held that East Jerusalem is occupied territory, which has been illegally annexed by Israel, and confirmed the applicability of international humanitarian law and international human rights law to East Jerusalem. Under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, Israeli authorities are obliged to respect the law in force, except when absolutely prevented from doing so, and are prohibited from making permanent changes. Under international law, Israel as the occupying power does not possess sovereignty over East Jerusalem and is vested only with temporary powers of administration. Accordingly, Israel is not entitled to apply its own domestic laws within the OPT, including East Jerusalem… The forced eviction of the Sheikh Jarrah families could also amount to grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 147, “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly” and even “unlawful deportation or transfer” of Protected Persons. Officials identified as having ordered or participated in such conduct could incur individual criminal responsibility.”

      For further information I would refer you to the website of Jews for Justice for Palestinians:
      The Law4Palestine website:
      And to the comprehensive account by The Civic Coalition for Defending Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem:

    • 4 November 2021 at 10:50am
      Delaide says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Humour me on another point Fred. Were the Stern Gang terrorists or freedom fighters?

    • 4 November 2021 at 11:16am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ ianbrowne
      The Nakba is so-called because the Palestinians coopted the term from the invading Arab states, who used it originally to indicate that their efforts to destroy the State of Israel and massacre its Jewish population had been a "disaster" or "catastrophe." Certainly the Palestinians have suffered. So did the Germans. That is what happens when you start and lose a war.

      Your statement that Israel is an apartheid state, "as has been pointed out repeatedly," is a bad joke. It has been pointed out repeatedly only by people like yourself. Of course there are two systems of law in an occupied territory: military law for the occupied population and civilian law for nationals of the occupying power. This has nothing to do with race or apartheid. As for Israel itself, the Israeli Supreme Court does not operate under two systems of law and has in fact been attacked repeatedly by the right for its rulings. Apartheid, as you say, revolves around race, but the Arab-Israel conflict is not racial (Jews do not consider the Arabs as belonging to a different race), it is national, and the status of Israeli Arabs is that of a national minority with all this entails but with nothing that remotely approaches apartheid. See also Martha's remarks below.

      Since, like myself, you are not a legal expert, your take on the legalities of Israel's actions and judicial rulings are next to meaningless. I gave you a link to a different take. Go argue with them.

    • 4 November 2021 at 11:25am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Delaide
      They were self-declared terrorists condemned by the Zionist leadership. Now tell us about Hamas.

    • 4 November 2021 at 11:30am
      ianbrowne says: @ Fred Skolnik
      How on earth do you know I am not a legal expert. Is is by the use of those remarkable cognitive facilities that enable you to know Israel is not an apartheid state.

      I found your dismissal of the Nakba to be an all to familiar trope: "Certainly the Palestinians have suffered. So did the Germans. That is what happens when you start and lose a war." Had I written such a thing about the holocaust, I would be rightly castigated as a racist. That you wrote it about Palestinians speaks volumes for your character.
      I don't see any point discussing this further, since you yourself admit that you are not a legal expert, yet nonetheless you claim to know the Committes have a valid legal claim to the land. I will leave you to ponder the reasonableness of those combined remarks.

    • 4 November 2021 at 11:54am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ ianbrowne
      Had you written what about the Holocaust - that the Jews started the war? And please let's not talk about character. I'm not the one who reads I Hate Israel websites to get the dirt on Israel, nor I Hate Arabs website for that matter if there are any.

      I did not say a word about any Committees, I provided a link that presents a different view from yours and noted that Israel's Supreme Court offered a compromise.

    • 4 November 2021 at 1:20pm
      ianbrowne says: @ Fred Skolnik
      "I'm not the one who reads I Hate Israel websites to get the dirt on Israel".... Clearly I spoke too soon when I thanked you for not suggesting I was an anti-Semite. My mistake.

    • 4 November 2021 at 1:32pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ ianbrowne
      But you do read these websites and even reference them. And are certainly hostile to Israel.

      And by the way, I know you are a not a legal expert because a legal expert would not be getting his arguments from those same websites. He would be studying the court records, including protocols and documents. And I don't have to rely on intuition to know what kind of state Israel is. I am here, unlike you.

    • 4 November 2021 at 2:43pm
      ianbrowne says: @ Fred Skolnik
      One of the sad things about apartheid is that not only does it dimish the lives of its victims, it diminishes the moral lives of those who are complicit in the operation of the apartheid system. The sad fact is that the latter group are usually completely unaware of the awful damage it does to their moral sensibilities.

      I too know what kind of state Israel is, which is why I will never visit it.

    • 4 November 2021 at 2:57pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ ianbrowne
      Nonetheless I find myself asking myself why on earth should any normal person sitting wherever you are sitting get it into his head to start combing the Internet to build a case against Israel unless he has a very strong bias against it to begin with? And why should he start redefining commonly understood terms of opprobrium like apartheid to make them stick to Israel?

      Since you slide around whatever you can't handle, I'll give it to you again:

      "If I went off half-cocked about how rotten China is on the basis of biased second- and third-hand English-language sources and without the remotest possibility of verifying or evaluating anything I read, never having been there and not understanding a word of Chinese, people would be right to call me a China hater. And that is why I am inclined to call people who go off half-cocked about Israel Jew haters, or at the very least hostile or resentful toward Jews. The language and the ignorance is always the giveaway."

    • 5 November 2021 at 1:47am
      Delaide says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Fred, especially in the company on this blog, I’m in no position to expound views on Hamas. What I do know is that it is deplorable for any organisation to target innocents and if your abhorrence of the terrorist acts performed by Israelis seeking independence matches those carried out by Palestinians then we are of accord.

  • 4 November 2021 at 9:33am
    Martha12345 says:
    On the crazy idea that the government of Israel is a criminal Apartheid regime, an excerpt from the blog of the European Journal of International Law, July 2021:

    “The very essence of apartheid was the physical separation – apartness – of people based on a legislated racial hierarchy. There is no racial or ethnic distinctions in Israeli law. Under the South African Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953, municipal grounds could be reserved for a particular race, creating, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities. Inside of Israel there are no separation of this sort. In Judea and Samaria Israelis and Palestinians buy at the same stores, work together and etc. In South-Africa Public beaches, swimming pools, pedestrian bridges, drive-in cinema parking spaces, parks, and public toilets were segregated. Restaurants and hotels were required to bar blacks. In Israel and all territories under its jurisdiction, Palestinians patronize the same shops and restaurants as Jews do. It is true that Jews are de facto excluded from Palestinian-controlled territory, but that is not the apartheid HRW has in mind.
    Under the Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970, the Government stripped black South Africans of their citizenship, which deprived them of their few remaining political and civil rights in South Africa. In parallel with the creation of the homelands, South Africa’s black population was subjected to a massive program of forced relocation. Israel did not dislocate Arabs citizens to the PLO territories or revoked citizenships.
    The black “Bantustans” were created by the Apartheid government itself under a series of laws, which deported and relocated blacks into these areas. Because they were generally regarded as puppets of Pretoria, their supposed independence was not recognized by other countries. The Palestinian government was created by the Palestinians themselves and is recognized internationally as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by almost every country in the world. The Palestinian Authority governs 90% of the Palestinian population, as provided in the Oslo Accords.

    Blacks in South Africa were deprived of their political rights. Israel Arabs have full voting rights for the Knesset, while Palestinians in the territories have voting rights for the Palestinian Legislative Council. Israeli citizens do not have voting rights in the Palestinian government, because it is a different and independent government. By the same token, Palestinians do not vote in the Knesset – not because it is apartheid, but because since the 1993 Oslo Accords, they have had their own government. The international community recognizes the independence of the Palestinian government, and there can be no denying that its decision-making is independent of, and antagonistic to, that of Israel. It would be hard to imagine the ICC admitting a Bantustan as a state party.”

  • 4 November 2021 at 3:40pm
    Bob K says:
    Mr Skolnik displays an impressive panoply of rhetorical techniques in his comment.

    But I was struck by his whataboutery, as in what about France and Turkey. Presumably one can extend the analogy by stating Britain is a British state, Belgium is a Belgian state, Spain is a Spanish state, Fiji is a Fijian state and so on through the 200 or so states in the world. But according to Mr Skolnik, with one exception: Israel is not an Israeli state but a Jewish state. Even South Africa under the Apartheid regime never claimed that South Africa was a White state.

    • 4 November 2021 at 4:09pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Bob K
      Israel is called a Jewish state because that is the name of its national majority. just as Holland is called a Dutch state and not a Hollandish state. You are tangling yourself up in word play . Israel could just as easily have been called Judah (Yehudah), which was also considered in 1948, and then there would be no problem calling it Jewish (Yehudi), right?

      You are also implying that Jewish is parallel to White, that is, a racial designation. The Jews are not a race. They are a people or nation, like the Dutch, the French, the Spanish, etc.

    • 4 November 2021 at 6:42pm
      dmr says: @ Fred Skolnik

      @Fred Skolnik

      What sort of pernicious nonsense is this?

      An American Jew, such as you once were, Mr Skolnik, is a member of the American nation and of no other, deep, nay unbreakable, though his links be to his co-religionists the world over. He is part of the Jewish "people," , to be sure; of an ethnos; a member of an imagined community. But he is decidedly not a member of the"Jewish nation," there being no such entity save figuratively speaking, and though the concept has been one of the articles of faith of political Zionism since its inception it is misleading, even dangerous, to bandy it about as if a people and a nation are one and the same. The American (or Dutch, or French) Jew may decide, as you have decided, to become a citizen of Israel, a country among many in the world. But that is another matter.

      If words are to retain their referents and point us to things as they are rather than as we wish them to be, these two terms, highly charged though they be, are scarcely interchangeable. Indeed, to treat them as synonyms flies in the face of reality, viz. the misleading and tendentious, not to say laughable, refusal of the Supreme Court of Israel categorically to distinguish between an Israeli"nation' and "the Jewish people." It is a refusal which not only contradicts common sense and experience but - an own goal if ever there was one - offers genuine anti-semites precisely what they are after in the way of ammunition.

    • 5 November 2021 at 5:30am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ dmr
      Jews have always referred to themselves as a nation or people ("am"), as have all other people and nations. and were recognized as such in the ancient world, until they lost their independence. When they regained it, Israel once again became the nation of the Jewish people, just as India became the nation of the Indian people when it regained its independence. All independent nations use the terms nation, people and even country interchangeably. If you don't like it, go and complain to the French, British, Italians, Spanish, Americans and everyone else.

    • 5 November 2021 at 11:40am
      Bob K says: @ Fred Skolnik
      "...because that is the name of its national majority."

      So by this logic, Britain is an English state, Spain is a Castillian state etc.?

      Holland is a province, not a state.

    • 6 November 2021 at 5:11pm
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Bob K
      The official name of the country is The Netherlands but it is commonly called Holland. Either way the people are known as the Dutch. Word play is not going to solve anyone's problems.

  • 5 November 2021 at 7:02am
    Paul Rossiter says:
    @ Fred Skolnik
    I notice that one of you main points is that those people who disagree with you must be doing so for the reason that they don't, because of their language insufficiencies, have access to primary sources in the way that you do. May I ask: how good is your Arabic? Is your spoken Arabic good enough for you to discuss serious matters with Arabic speakers you know or may come into contact with? Can you read Arabic with sufficient fluency to be fully able to understand Arabic-language media, and to do follow-up research in Arabic?

    • 5 November 2021 at 7:46am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Paul Rossiter
      I am a Hebrew speaker living in Israel. As the I Hate Israel blogs and its comments are devoted to attacking Israel, its actions, motives and thinking, and I have all the Israeli sources before me, as well as a living experience of the conflict, I consider myself qualified to state Israel's case and to evaluate what the Israeli government and army has to say about it, as well as the realities of life inside Israel and on the West Bank, where I did active army reserve service for 20 years, just as I don't consider myself qualified to comment on the actions, motives and thinking of the Chinese.

    • 5 November 2021 at 10:02am
      Paul Rossiter says: @ Fred Skolnik
      Actually, you haven't answered my question. May I ask again: how good is your Arabic? Do you see yourself as linguistically qualified to fully understand the Palestinian case and to evaluate what Palestinians themselves have to say about it? Are you in a position to be able to understand Palestinians when they speak about their 'living experience of the conflict' in the West Bank or Gaza?

    • 5 November 2021 at 11:35am
      Fred Skolnik says: @ Paul Rossiter
      I told you what I do know, which understandably you are glossing over.

      I don't speak Arabic. I do know, however, what Idbah al-yahud means and what an hysterical Arab mob looks like. And you can be sure that I have had more human contact with Arabs in a month than the haters here will have had in a lifetime. I speak Hebrew to them and they speak Hebrew to me as well as expressing themselves freely in the Hebrew media and in the Knesset.. They know the language very well. And what their living experience is I have observed directly.

  • 8 November 2021 at 5:39pm
    Atique says:
    Are we obliged to forgive the Israelis because they look more like ‘us’? I don’t mean to include myself in this odd collective, but surely some justice is due the Palestinians?

Read more