Netanyahu claims that the demand to end settlements is ‘ethnic cleansing’! Israel claims to be the victim (of Palestinians) because that is its founding and only narrative. Yet the point of Israel was that, for the first time, Jews would not be victims but the makers of history. Dina Matar, SOAS, on Israel’s appropriation of the victim story today.
‘ A slow and methodical acquisition of land, this time by means that are entirely illegal, coupled with strategic removal and confinement of the Palestinian population, resulted in settlement blocs – vast land areas that are largely Arab-free’ – Yair Svorai’s chilling account of replacing people.
Further comment on Netanyahu’s claims that Palestinians won’t allow any Jews to live in the West Bank if they have their way, while ethnic cleansing is alien and abhorrent to Israeli Jews.
Just two problems: Jews in Palestine did precisely that in 1947-48 (according to historian Benny Morris, even the term they used to describe it was “cleansing”); and a substantial minority of Israeli Jews would currently do more of the same if they had half a chance. While Palestinian leaders have made it clear they don’t object to Jews but to settlers living in Palestine..
As Peter Beinart says: “The problem isn’t Jews in the West Bank. It’s Jews and Palestinians living in the same territory under a different law. Despite Netanyahu’s endless attempts at obfuscation, it’s not that hard to understand”.
These articles address the twisted mirror in which Netanyahu looks to insist that it is Jews who are the victims of ethnic cleansing in the region he governs, rather than Palestinians. Gideon Levy argues that, by using the term ‘ethnic cleansing’, the Israeli Prime Minister parts company with any semblance of reality and historical fact. Matt Duss argues that it is hard to swallow Netanyahu’s claims of Israeli victimhood when Palestinians are being ethnically cleansed right now by means of ‘home demolition, land confiscation, and explusion’. Palestinians leaders have made it clear that Jewish people will be welcome to live in Palestine, he points out, but not in enclaves of Israeli Jewish privilege.
Labour’s antisemitism row is nothing of the sort. It is, argues signatory Paul Keleman in Red Pepper, a weapon for protecting Israel against charges of settler colonialism. Most nations are born in violence – but most resolve rather than perpetuate it.
Israel’s Nature and Parks authority have demolished small shelters, donated by the EU, for the Bedouin living in Issiwaya near Jerusalem. The aim is obvious – to clear all Bedouin out of the area so that Jewish settlements can be built there. It remains to be seen what the EU will do about this.
This is a very clear and useful publication from the law faculty at Birzeit university specifying the laws which Israel is (and is not) breaking in maintaining its rule over Palestinians. It argues that ‘occupation’ is the wrong term for Israeli rule (there are circumstances in which occupation may be, at least, not unlawful). More accurate is ‘settler colonialism’ which was outlawed in 1960 when the UN adopted the Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. Too late for the indigenous Australians and Americans.
Ilan Pappe’s next book is on the history of production of knowledge in Israel, and in this interview/conversation the question of why people know what they think they know often comes up. The beliefs that mask lack of knowledge, or curiosity, become the myths that keep things as they are in Israel – as elsewhere. Interview conducted by Frank and Florent Barat.
Lydda was a thriving Arab city in Palestine. In the summer of 1948 it was captured with maximum violence – against significant resistance – by the IDF. The population of c70,000 was either killed or driven out. Some of their houses were smashed, the rest emptied in a rampage of looting by Israelis. The city of Lydda became Lod and the surviving people of Lydda became permanent refugees. Report of article by Avi Shavit.
Displacing Palestinians from their homes and lands has been a continuous practice and defining policy of all Israeli governments since 1948. Munir Nuseibah describes the array of measures governments have used and argues that ‘transitional justice’, not narrow rights, is the only framework for exercising justice.
In this article for JfJfP, Adam Keller (Gush Shalom) looks at two issues where Israel has been censured from outside: a lack of law on incitement to hatred, and ethnic cleansing. Remembering that ethnic cleansing was a term coined in Europe he looks at instances of ethnic cleansing, beyond the pale of Fortress Europe. He doesn’t need to mention the biggest ethnic cleansing of all – of Jews from Europe 1933-45.
The IDF sets about clearing Palestinians from their homes in the South Hebron hills so they can use the land for a firing range – so they can practise firing at people and buildings in land like the South Hebron hills. Christian Science Monitor reports. 2nd, from National Public Radio an account of the clearance of Palestinians from Area C. Yossi Beilin, Israeli architect of the Oslo accords, says ‘Why bother and make it an official annexation if de facto, it is annexation?’
Controversial blogger Muhammad Jabali insists on recognizing the reality behind a right of return of all Arabs to all the states of the region whence they came and behind the Jewish Israeli myth of the new man in a secular society
A battle among genocide scholars as to how to characterise the dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948 is aired in the pages of the American paper, the Jewish Forward. It is an issue that has divided genocide scholars for some time, one of the factors that led to criticisms of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and the formation of the International Network of Genocide Scholars in 2005.
The arguments are complex…
This posting reproduces a number of articles on the theme of Israel as a Jewish state. Jerome Slater’s original piece ‘What’s wrong with a Jewish state?’ has elicited a passionate response, and responses by Ahmed Moor and Jeremiah Haber are reproduced here – with links to the wider comments made. The issues are central to Israel and its future and we hope this debate will contribute to some nuanced thinking on the topic.
“Readers: This is a long post, so here it is in a nutshell: I argue that in his recent book, Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis, Senior Vice President at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, implicitly endorses the involuntary expulsion of Israeli Arab citizens in the future as a way to solving what he calls “Israel’s conundrum”, i.e., what to do about its Arab citizens. I try to understand what leads Dr. Gordis, a well-known rabbi and author with whom I agree on many things, to this conclusion…”
In a posting ‘The academic boycott of Israel revisited’ a fortnight ago, we carried part of a renewed debate on the topic, with a contribution by Ran Greenstein and a response by Robert Fine. Since then there have been many rejoinders and responses. A lot of the discussion and disagreement does not concern the academic boycott issue narrowly conceived but ranges widely, over the nature of Zionism as a national movement, the question of the nakba and the issue of ‘ethnic cleansing’, the extent to which Israel is being singled out, the nature of a ‘Jewish’ state, and much else besides. None of these issues in new but the Fine-Greenstein exchange casts fresh light on them and approaches them in challenging and respectful ways. We reproduce that debate in its entirety and provide links to the other contributions…
Jeremiah Haber writes: “Israel’s ‘Arab Problem’ was not the inevitable creation of Zionism, or even of the Jewish state idea. It was created by the specific kind of Jewish state that was founded in 1948, a state that embodied the exclusivist ethnic nationalist ethos of the founders, who passed and implemented ethnically discriminatory laws and policies in the early years of the state – and in recent days.” In subsequent postings he will investigate the various solutions on offer from transfer to replacing the Jewish ethnic state with a liberal democratic state…
Ben White shows how Israeli land seizures, house demolitions and increased ethnic cleansing are affecting the Jordan valley. What is happening here, B’Tselem suggests “is not based on military-security needs, but is political: the de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley”…
Tom Segev reviews Benny Morris’s book, “1948: A History of the first Arab-Israeli War”, first published in English in 2008 and now translated and published in Hebrew. Morris focuses on the fate of the Palestinians and presents his readers with a readable, well-edited story… but his attitude toward their tragedy is troublesome in terms of both humaneness and morality.