Loving Israel to death - Palestinian deniers and the end of the two state solution

Well done Tom Friedman on this piece.

It never ceases to amaze me the sycophancy of certain Republican US presidential hopefuls.  Pity the thought for what Gingrich and his cronies think of Native Americans. Would he suggest that Native Americans migrated to the region from surrounding 'lands' for economic work?

Friedman says our pro-Israel 'friends' in the US are either laying the path for an apartheid state, ethnic cleansing or a binational state.  Friedman as  traditional two state solutionist  (in the vein of the Oslo Accords) as such rejects the inflammatory and ahistorical statements made by Gingrich and right wing revisionists like Joan Peters.

As a background to the history of Palestinian people see:

Justin McCarthy, Palestine's Population During The Ottoman And The British Mandate Periods, 2001

Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir

Thomas L Friedman

Published: December 13, 2011

I have a simple motto when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I love both Israelis and Palestinians, but God save me from some of their American friends — those who want to love them to death, literally.

That thought came to mind last week when Newt Gingrich took the Republican competition to grovel for Jewish votes — by outloving Israel — to a new low by suggesting that the Palestinians are an “invented” people and not a real nation entitled to a state.

This was supposed to show that Newt loves Israel more than Mitt Romney, who only told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem because “I don’t seek to take actions independent of what our allies think is best, and if Israel’s leaders thought that a move of that nature would be helpful to their efforts, then that’s something I’ll be inclined to do. ... I don’t think America should play the role of the leader of the peace process. Instead, we should stand by our ally.”

That’s right. America’s role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up. We have no interests of our own. And this guy’s running for president?
As for Newt, well, let’s see: If the 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians are not a real people entitled to their own state, that must mean Israel is entitled to permanently occupy the West Bank and that must mean — as far as Newt is concerned — that Israel’s choices are: 1) to permanently deprive the West Bank Palestinians of Israeli citizenship and put Israel on the road to apartheid; 2) to evict the West Bank Palestinians through ethnic cleansing and put Israel on the road to the International Criminal Court in the Hague; or 3) to treat the Palestinians in the West Bank as citizens, just like Israeli Arabs, and lay the foundation for Israel to become a binational state. And this is called being “pro-Israel”?

I’d never claim to speak for American Jews, but I’m certain there are many out there like me, who strongly believe in the right of the Jewish people to a state, who understand that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood yet remains a democracy, but who are deeply worried about where Israel is going today. My guess is we’re the minority when it comes to secular American Jews. We still care. Many other Jews are just drifting away.

I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. The real test is what would happen if Bibi tried to speak at, let’s say, the University of Wisconsin. My guess is that many students would boycott him and many Jewish students would stay away, not because they are hostile but because they are confused.

It confuses them to read that Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia last Wednesday, was quoted as saying that the recent Russian elections were “absolutely fair, fre... Yes, those elections — the ones that brought thousands of Russian democrats into the streets to protest the fraud. Israel’s foreign minister sided with Putin.

It confuses them to read that right-wing Jewish settlers attacked an Israeli army base on Tuesday in the West Bank, stoning Israeli soldiers in retaliation for the army removing “illegal” settlements that Jewish extremists establish wherever they want.

It confuses them to read, as the New Israel Fund reports on its Web site, that “more than 10 years ago, the ultra-Orthodox community asked Israel’s public bus company, Egged, to provide segregated buses in their neighborhoods. By early 2009, more than 55 such lines were operating around Israel. Typically, women are required to enter through the bus back doors and sit in the back of the bus, as well as ‘dress modestly.’ ”

It confuses them to read a Financial Times article from Israel on Monday, that said: “In recent weeks, the country has been consumed by an anguished debate over a series of new laws and proposals that many fear are designed to stifle dissent, weaken minority rights, restrict freedom of speech and emasculate the judiciary. They include a law that in effect allows Israeli communities to exclude Arab families; another that imposes penalties on Israelis advocating a boycott of products made in West Bank Jewish settlements; and proposals that would subject the supreme court to greater political oversight.”

And it confuses them to read Gideon Levy, a powerful liberal voice, writing in Haaretz, the Israeli daily, this week that “anyone who says this is a matter of a few inconsequential laws is leading others astray. ... What we are witnessing is w-a-r. This fall a culture war, no less, broke out in Israel, and it is being waged on many more, and deeper, fronts than are apparent. It is not only the government, as important as that is, that hangs in the balance, but also the very character of the state.”
So while Newt is cynically asking who are the Palestinians, he doesn’t even know that more than a few Israelis are asking, “Who are we?”

The elections, which were recently described by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as neither free nor fair, resulted with Putin's United Russia party winning less than 50 percent of Sunday's vote – a steep fall from its earlier two-thirds majority.

New Israel Fund

Gender segregation in Jerusalem, CNN, 12 December 2011

Israeli settlers clash with troops in West Bank
Jewish settlers vandalise Israeli army base in protest over planned evacuations of unauthorised settlement outposts
13 December 2011

Maps of late 1800s Palestine


Maps from Baedecker's book


Baedeker's Maps of Palestine 1912


Southern Palestine: Hebron, Gaza, Akaba 1:500,000


Sinai Peninsula Map 1:1,500,000


Map Syria and Palestine 1:3,000,000


Population statistics

Links to further information on the population of Israel and Palestine


The Question of Palestine and the United Nations, United Nations, New York, 2008.


The Palestine Question: A Brief History Prepared for, and under the guidance of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, 1 July 1980


The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988 Part I, 1917-1947


Population of Greater Palestine and Greater Israel (1851-1995)


Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition (1910-11). Cambridge University Press, p 604 [original] [html]

[Population 650,000, two thirds Moslems, rest Christians and Jews.]


1946 map of Palestine [includes hand drawn 1949 demarcation lines]


Compiled, drawn and printed Survey of Palestine August 1944

MDR 1509/12460


American Peace Now Settlement Interactive Map

A map of depopulated villages

Palestine Land Society


UK Cabinet Papers 1918

CAB 24/72 GT/6506 (cabinet papers)

Map of Palestine 1889

Map of Palestine 1888   p12

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Stewart - there is a limit to how many times you can post the same graph.  Fact is that the Palestinians as a nation is a recent invention.  Even the UN partition plan called for a Jewish and Arab state in Palestine.  Not a Palestinian state.  90% of Palestinian or Palestine orginization before 1948 were Jewish, Palestine Post, for example which is the Jerusalem Post today. But this is not the point.  Regarding your charts much of teh Arab immigration was not done formally, they did not come in the regular channels therefor not recorded.  Dont you find it a bit strange that in teh graph of th epopulation (on top) that the Arab growth is about equal to the Jewish growth.  Dont you see that shows tha the amount of immigrants from both sides were more or less teh same? Otherwise the Jews would have grown at a far greater rate.


 I agree this does not help contribute to peace but, on the same thought neither does the constand denial of teh Jewish connection to the land.  Jews are not new to the land, they have historical claims that can not be invalidated, just as the rights of the Arabs in the land. All your charts and graphs dont help solve the actual problem, two peoples with a valid connect to one peice of land.

No way to please the American government, media, experts

In a world that has moved so far to the political Left, it is hard to know anymore just what a ‘centrist’ Israeli view would be.

    There is a constant effort – especially by the anti-Israel Left (and also by its anti- Semitic portions) to portray those who express mainstream public and professional Israeli views as “right-wing” or “Likudnik.”

This leads me to wonder what one would have to say to please these people. What would be centrist? What would be the equivalent of “liberal?” I presume one would have to say that US President Barack Obama is the best American president for Israel ever (even he says so!), and that there are no problems in the US-Israel relationship. Furthermore, even if there were to be problems, they would be entirely due to the Israeli government’s selfish, short-sighted and unreasonable intransigence.

To them, the only acceptable liberal view would state that peace with the Palestinians could be achieved within a few months if only Israel would make a few more concessions and stop being so belligerent and stubborn. The Palestinian Authority wouldn’t even have to change any of its policies, wouldn’t have to stop anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement or admit openly, clearly and in Arabic that the Jews have a right to an independent country in the historic land of Israel, nor would the Palestinians be required to negotiate or compromise. Israelis should never talk about these things.

I suppose the only acceptable liberal view is that the PA sincerely wants peace, and if given the West Bank plus a corridor to the Gaza Strip and all of east Jerusalem it would be a reliable partner and keep all of its commitments. In exchange for a peace agreement, Israel should withdraw to the 1967 borders with minor modifications and dismantle all settlements. But to ask for recognition by the PA of Israel as a Jewish state, prior agreement to resettle all Palestinian refugees in Palestine (or where they are living now), and demilitarization are unreasonable demands and should be dropped because these demands only block peace.

IF ALL the above were to happen, the liberal view must be that the Middle East would become quiet and peaceful. Islamists would either become moderate or lose support. Terrorism against the West would cease and America would be very popular, nor is the PA-Hamas partnership really a problem, because once there is a peace agreement, Hamas will give up its goal of wiping Israel off the map and there will be no more rocket, mortar, or cross-border attacks. But if Hamas does attack Israel from the Gaza Strip then Israel shouldn’t retaliate since to do so would inevitably involve disproportionate force and hurt Palestinian civilians.

The failure of Western countries to keep their commitments to Israel in 2006 to keep Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon and stop arms smuggling is unimportant, and Israel should not mention it.

That fact is unimportant and should not influence Israel’s thinking or actions, and neither should the experiences of the 1990s peace process and 2000 Camp David meeting.

As for Islamist takeovers in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, Israel really has nothing to fear. The Muslim Brotherhood is really moderate, and Israel should stop talking about a supposed threat from these groups. It is up to Israel to patch up relations with Egypt and it should not be concerned about cross-border terrorist attacks, repeated assaults on the natural gas pipeline or the governmentpermitted mob takeover of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Perhaps Israel should agree to renegotiate the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

Same with regard to Turkey.

Israel should apologize to Ankara for letting IDF soldiers defend themselves after being attacked by jihadi terrorists on the Mavi Marmara.

It should pay compensation to the families of the attackers and allow the whole-scale import of advanced weaponry to the Gaza Strip. The collapse of the Israel- Turkey relationship was completely Israel’s fault.

Israel should give up any option of attacking Iran’s nuclear weapons’ facilities at any time, not only now to prevent Tehran from getting such weapons but presumably in the future as well if there is a perceived threat from Iran. Instead, Israel should depend on US protection. If Iran hits Israel with nuclear weapons, the United States will then (probably?) retaliate.

I HONESTLY don’t think I’ve exaggerated the attitudes of American and European leftists (including many Jews) about “proper” Israeli policy.

Strangely, I don’t see the Kadima or Labor parties adopting such a program. It would be amusing to survey random Israeli pedestrians on the street in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem about what they think of the “liberal” plan for Israel.

As always, since the mainstream Western media generally does not allow a real response to the ridiculousness of the program for Israel it so often advocates you won’t be reading any of the points made above there. People will just be left to believe that the current government is just unreasonably reactionary; that most Israelis support Obama (or that they deserve what they get if they don’t); and that the region would be just fine if only Israel would let the American far- Left choose its government.

Indeed, if any left-wing blog mentions this article it will only be to brand it “right-wing.”

I have been reading Mr. Rubin's material for about one year.  He can be found on Pajamas Media.  He appears to be a very astute observer of Mideast politics.  Thanks for bringing him onboard, Kingsley.  Mepeace discussants should become acquainted with him.

jihadi terrorists on the Mavi Marmara.

Oh those jihadi were so dangerous wielding ship suplies and slingshots....

I am sure also that rappelling down from a helicopter is so not an ambush technique!

It should pay compensation to the families of the attackers and allow the whole-scale import of advanced weaponry to the Gaza Strip.


On November 4, 2008, Israel launched a military strike on Hamas to destroy what Israel said was a tunnel on the Gaza-Israel border dug by militants to infiltrate into Israel and abduct soldiers. According to Israel, the raid was not a violation of the ceasefire, but a legitimate step to remove an immediate threat. Israeli infantry, tanks, and bulldozers entered 250 m into the Gaza Strip, the first major incursion since the June truce.

Up looks like your wrong again Israel made the first move!

Israel should give up any option of attacking Iran’s nuclear weapons’ facilities at any time, not only now to prevent Tehran from getting such weapons but presumably in the future as well if there is a perceived threat from Iran. Instead, Israel should depend on US protection. If Iran hits Israel with nuclear weapons, the United States will then (probably?) retaliate.

Nukes can't you cook a lie you did not already use against Saddam! Aw... Not very creative are we!

Your article is so full lies I can't even believe you posted it... But then you posted Syrian nationalist quotes which even Daniel Pipes said paint a false history!

Why was the Arab state in the UN Partition plan not called Palestine?


The name Palestine referred to the entire territory of the British mandate territory (see paragraph d of the resolution 181 (II) “Calls upon the inhabitants of Palestine to take such steps as may be necessary on their part to put this plan into effect”). The proposed Arab State was thus already a partition of Palestine.  The Arabs of the proposed Arab State were already known as Palestinian Arabs.  To call the state Palestine was a decision to be made for the new Provisional Government of that entity, in the same way that the name of the new Provisional Government of the proposed Jewish State was left to that respective government.


Why was the Jewish state in the UN Partition Plan not called Israel?


Just as in the case of Palestine, the name Israel was left to be decided by the new Provisional Government of the proposed Jewish State.  The choice of Israel was itself not a sure thing. “Upon independence in 1948, the new Jewish state was formally named Medinat Yisrael, or the State of Israel, after other proposed historical and religious names including Eretz Israel ("the Land of Israel"), Zion, and Judea, were considered and rejected.[28] In the early weeks of independence, the government chose the term "Israeli" to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett.[29]” (Wiki)



Why did Palestinian Arabs see partition as unjust?


Palestinian Arabs represented a 90% majority in Palestine just 30 years earlier - i.e prior to conquest by Britain in 1918.  The Palestinian Arab majority rejected since that time any intervention to enforce the Jewish domination of the land.  There had for centuries been small communities of Jewish Palestinians who had lived side-by-side Muslim, Christian and Druze Palestinians.


Why did the UN Security Council suspend the partition plan?


In March 1948 the UN Partition Plan was suspended in a majority decision by the Security Council.  A special session of the UN General Assembly was called and the GA debated placing Palestine under UN Trusteeship.  The Jewish Agency rejected this and continued in its military operations to cleanse the new Jewish state of Palestinian Arabs.  This was seen as an absolute necessity as the proposed Jewish State contained almost 50% Palestinian Arabs.  Therefore there was no way for the new Jewish State to enforce Jewish rule as democratically Palestinian Arabs in the new Jewish State were just as numerous (if not more).  You will note Jaffa was excised from the proposed Jewish State as it would have made a clear majority of Palestinian Arabs in the proposed Jewish State.



Why was the Partition Plan a recipe for disaster?


The Partition Plan was an invitation to ethnic violence and not a solution.


The timeline was unrealistic.  Take a look at the following provision.  The drafters of the plan saw that by 1 April 1948 the Provisional Councils of Government would have already been voted in and decisions made on economic union and if not then such undertakings would be enforced by the Commission.


Chapter 4: Economic Union and Transit

‘1. The Provisional Council of Government of each State shall enter into an undertaking with respect to economic union and transit. This undertaking shall be drafted by the commission provided for in section B, paragraph 1, utilizing to the greatest possible extent the advice and co-operation of representative organizations and bodies from each of the proposed States. It shall contain provisions to establish the Economic Union of Palestine and provide for other matters of common interest. If by 1 April 1948 the Provisional Councils of Government have not entered into the undertaking, the undertaking shall be put into force by the Commission.”


Take a look at Peter Kosminky's the Promise for an excellent background to understanding 1948


I am going to reference the part of the speech which was actually relevant to what I wrote

"The proposed Arab State was thus already a partition of Palestine.  The Arabs of the proposed Arab State were already known as Palestinian Arabs.  To call the state Palestine was a decision to be made for the new Provisional Government of that entity"  -  the term "Palestinain state" is not the naming of a country but a discription of its occupants.  Justr as a "Jewish state" does not mean the name should be Jewish. 

 There is no reference, that I know of that refer to "The Palestinians" as a distinct arab nation, like Lebonese or Egyption.  There were always the Jews an Arabs of Palestine.  I have no idea where the source for  "Arabs of the proposed Arab State were already known as Palestinian Arabs." - I may be wrong please enlighten me...


On the Arab side there was not even a discussion about a name, But lets consider what were the options if the British did not propose partition but just gave up its Mandate.

The last sovereign of Palestine were the Jews and that I presume is not in dispute. In 1921 the League of Nations gave a mandate for Palestine to Britain with the express purpose of establishing there a Jewish Homeland for the Jews.and they were to encourage Jewish immigration.In 1923 they lobbed of 78% of Palestine for the express use of a foreign King not related to Palestine in any way and they further agreed that no Jews were to be allowed there . All the while allowing Arab immigration into the 22% while disallowing Jewish immigration.

When partition was proposed the Jews agreed and the Arabs of Palestine and surrounding areas did not. So if the British left than the Mandate would have been at an end and the land would have been turned over to the Jews. BTW all the relevant resolutions of the League of Nations still carried the same weight as if the League of Nations still existed.

Based on International Law, Commercial Law and any other Law in existence on this planet, there is a requirement for a meeting of the mind and acceptance by all parties otherwise any agreement is null and void and cannot be revisited without the agreement of both parties. So the intervening proposal died  when it was rejected by the Arabs and therefore the last resolution and that being the Mandate for Palestine is the only one that is valid.

There is no mention of Palestinians in the League of nations Mandate, there is no mention of Palestinians in the Partition plan and as Gingrich pointed out, the Palestinians were invented after Israel captured JUDEA and SAMARIA, and for the sole purpose of trying to annihilate the State of Israel. In fact even in 1967 is there no mention of Palestinians in any UN resolutions. In fact until that point they did not exist.

the British brought in many Chines to build the Railway in Canada in its early days. Suppose a hundred years hence the Chinese called themselves Canatans and sued for their own State, Do you think than any sane person would consider that act real. They would probably die from laughing so hard. Yet here you are trying to justify the very same thing.

When has the term Palestinian Arab been used?


Palestinian Arab is a term that was used by the British.  See for example the Peel Report (July 1937).




Daniel Pipes’ use of the term


First Palestinian National Congress 1919 rejects the Balfour Declaration

Araf Dajani - First Palestinian National Congress 1919


King Crane Commission refers to the Arab population of Palestine.  Which if condensed as was done in the Peel Report becomes Palestinian Arabs.

King-Crane Commission 1919


Arab population of Palestine

Churchill White Paper 1922


What is the real issue here – is it Palestinian or is it self-determination?

The real issue here is today we have in the region of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza over 4 million people who for over 40 years have lived under military rule.  The parents and grandparents and ancestors of these people only 30 years before the forcible creation of Israel had composed 90% of the population.  It is for these people that the question of self-determination is sought.  I would be the first to agree that the concept of Palestinian in the modern sense is new. But is it any less new than the concept of an Israeli. How many Jews would have considered of themselves as Israelis in the 1920s?  Does that make Jewish claims for the land any less because they did not see themselves as Israelis in 1920.


Any admissions that the modern concept of Palestinian is not to say that the people of this land who consider themselves as Palestinians today are not entitled to the strong claims of birth right to the land.  Palestinian people have a rich heritage to the land – both immediate and ancient.


And yes there are competing claims to the land.  But the question how should the 90% majority population (of 1917) and their descendants be respected given all they have suffered with the conquest by the British in 1918 and their dispossession in 1948 and again in 1967?  This is where the call for Palestinian self-determination comes in.


If there is ever to be liberation and security for Jewish people in Israel then there needs to be liberation and security for Palestinians in of occupied Palestine.


Understanding Arab nationalism


One of the great sins of Zionism is to claim that Jews have a right to one tiny part of the Arab world and the Arabs can go live somewhere else.  What is destructive about this way of thinking is it reduces an incredibly diverse community of peoples to one simplistic unit.  Whilst this may be attractive in an abstract theoretical world, the real world is far more complex.


In any group there is diversity.  When it comes to human beings we are one diverse breed.  Within every generalization there are exception after exceptions after exceptions.  Even to make the generalization the ‘Arab world’ is a gross generalization.  But we do it for convenience in communication despite the crudeness of such a concept.  Used carefully it helps present a picture to convey an idea, used mischievously it can be used to inflame and foster racist thinking.


That said I will use the term as cautiously and judiciously as I dare to demonstrate the diversity of the Arab world and the many ways that Arabs have sought liberation.


First lets look at the exceptions.  Are Lebanese Arabs?  This is contentious.  Do Christian Lebanese see themselves as Arabs or as descendants of the Phoenicians?  Certainly we can agree that Arabic is the main language in Lebanon.  But what other languages are spoken?  What other cultural traditions are considered as a primary source of identity over another.


Using Uri Avnery’s example let us consider Algeria.  For how long has there been an Algerian self-determination movement?  How long is a piece of string?  At one level you could say that is a recent phenomenon, ie for as long as French occupied the region of modern day Algeria.  However, you could also say that self-determination has been a timeless act, that regardless of the name used human beings living in that geographic region have always struggled for self-determination. Is not that the human spirit that is common to us all.  Do we not all seek self-determination and freedom to choose our destiny?

Jordanian and Iraqi nationalism again are recent phenemona – but again that does not deny the traditional connection of the people to the land.  Yes, the kingdoms may have originated from British and French  instigation post World War I but that does not take away the desire for self-determination of the people of the land.


The whole sad saga with the Gingrich and Joan Peters argument is they are trying to delegitimize the very real and legitimate claims of Palestinian people to their land by suggesting that just because the modern concept of Palestinian is new (Ie it was in the main a response to the modern Zionist concept and the colonization of Palestine by the British) Palestinians have a less of a claim to the land.  This is blatantly a distortion of the truth as the Palestinian people of today have very real and (as a whole) a very ancient connection to the land.  Even a crude look at contemporary history books will demonstrate that prior to British conquest in 1918 Ottoman ruled Palestine was more than 90% Arabic speaking Muslim, Christian and Druze.



A message from Rabbi Michael Lerner

[also see]

Challenged by interviewer Michael Krasny on the NPR affiliate KQED's Forum show Tuesday morning Dec. 20, 2011,  to defend one part of Embracing Israel/Palestine (my claim that the path to peace requires a transformation of consciousness, and that Israel and Palestine not only could live together in peace but that there is no peace and justice for Israel without peace and justice for Palestine, so the best way to be both pro-Israel is to be pro-Palestine, and the best way to be pro-Palestine is to also be proo-Israel) I argued that the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians actually want peace but cannot believe that the other side wants it too. It is this depressive paranoid certainty that "the other" wants to destroy us that has been a central part of what keeps Israeli and Palestinians from finding the path to their common interests, just as it is a similar paranoid and pathogenic fantasy that keeps the US population willing to finance an inflated military which keeps in an ending state of hyper-alertness and makes it a ready tool for imperial ambitions of the wealthy.  I also presented my psychological assessment of both sides and my view that consciousness transformation, though difficult, is both possible and absolutely necessary, both in Israel/Palestine and in the U.S. 

     The answer from the Jewish Right came tonight in the 4th attack on my house, this time on the first night of Chanukah (tonight, Dec. 20th). This one was relatively mild--two black hooded men pasted signs on the outside of my house and garage saying "Palestine is an Arab fantasy." They were taking their clue from Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich who has tried to out-do his Republican opponents in the primaries by, among other things, showing that he can be even more extreme on Israel than anyone else. Thus the notion that Palestine is an "invented nation." 

      It seems obvious to me that the attack, while responding to the NPR interview with me this morning, is part of the same attempt to terrorize me and my family as the past three assaults. As the police made clear to us the last time, the goal is not to destroy property as much as to remind us that they know where we live, and that we are not safe. Needless to say, in a world where Israeli right-wingers this past week burned a mosque and assaulted an IDF (Israeli army) post for allegedly being too pro-Arab, there is no way to be sure that all these warning shots at me are only meant to scare and do not suggest that worse may be coming if my book gets more attention. But of course I will not be intimidated, and we will continue to look for venues to speak about the book and to reach out to media to challenge the way they tend to present all Jews as standing behind Netanyahu, or at least to only quote those who do. And the best way you can help is to take my new book and talk about it to friends, neighbors, and create a study group in your neighborhood, your college or university, your church or synagogue, in which you read it carefully (and critically--because we at Tikkun don't seek "followers" but rather "comrades" to help us in the task of building a new consciousness, and that requires having the sophistication that only comes when one listens and reads critically and not as though I was "a guru" to be followed, but merely a teacher whose teachings need to be thought about seriously). [And once again, I forgive these psychological terrorists--I believe that they must be driven by great fear for our people and great inner pain, and I pray that they may recover from all the anger that leads them to project onto me the hatred that is eating away at their souls.]

          I thought, however, that you might be interested in reading the article by MJ Rosenberg whose columns we publish on our website He takes on Newt Gingrich's perspcective and answers those who think that Palestine is just an Arab fantasy. 

One Invented Nation Or Two

by MJ Rosenberg,

It is hard to believe that anyone who defends Israel's legitimacy as a state would buy into former Speaker Newt Gingrich's argumentthat Palestine is an "invented nation."

The singular triumph of the Zionist movement is that it invented a state and a people — Israel and the Israelis — from scratch. The first Hebrew-speaking child in 1900 years, Ittamar Ben-Avi, was not born until 1882. His father, the brilliant linguist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, created a modern language for him to speak by improvising from the language of the Bible.

The founder of the Israeli state was Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), an assimilated Viennese writer who was convinced by the Dreyfus trial in France and the horrendous right-wing anti-Semitism that resulted from it that Jews had to get out of Europe.

In 1897, he wrote the book that would essentially inaugurate the Zionist movement. It was called Der Judenstaat (meaning "the Jews' state" or "the Jewish State"), which was his proposal for moving the Jews out of Europe and into their own country.

He didn't specify where the Jewish homeland should be. He was more concerned about quickly obtaining territory anywhere for Jews to seek refuge.

Later he decided that Palestine made the most sense because that was where the Jewish people both began and exercised self-determination in ancient times and where there already was a small minority of Jews. But he also spoke of finding a place in Africa or the Americas if Palestine was unavailable.

The reaction to Herzl's idea was primarily that he was a bit crazy. Jews committed to assimilation insisted that Jews were not a nation but a religious faith. Their nationalities were French, German, Polish, Iraqi, or American — not some imaginary Jewish nationality that had not existed for 1900 years.

As late as 1943, during the worst days of the Holocaust, the American Jewish Committee — which adhered to the assimilationist view — resigned from the body created by American Jews to respond to the Nazi catastrophe over its "demand for the eventual establishment of a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine."

Seventy-plus years later, it is impossible to argue that the Israeli nation is not as authentic and worthy of recognition as any in the world (more authentic than some, in fact).

The Hebrew language is spoken by millions of Jews and Palestinians. The Israeli culture is unique, bearing little resemblance to any other in the world. In fact, diaspora Jews have as little in common with Israelis as African-Americans have with Africans.

Israelis are not just Jews who happen to live in Palestine, even though the concept of Israel-ness started just over a hundred years ago as nothing but an idea. They are Israelis, entitled to self-determination, peace and security in their own land.

And the Palestinians are every bit as much a nation. If the ultimate definition of authentic nationhood is continuous residence in a land for thousands of years, the Palestinian claim to nationhood is ironclad. They never left Palestine (except for those who either emigrated or became refugees after the establishment of Israel).

Those who deny that Palestinians have a nation base their case on two arguments, both of which are logically incoherent. The first is that Palestinians never exercised self-determination in Palestine; they were always governed by others from ancient times to the present day.

The answer to this is: So what?

Most nations in the world lacked self-determination for long periods of their history. The Polish nation existed between 1790 and 1918 even though the state was erased from the map — divided between Russia and Austro-Hungary. It achieved independence in 1918 only to again lose it to the Nazis and then the Soviets from 1939 until 1989. Would anyone today argue that the Polish nation was invented?

The idea of it is ridiculous, especially when offered by Israelis or Americans (or Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians, etc.), whose national existence would have been unimaginable a few centuries ago.

The second argument is that Palestinians never thought of themselves as Palestinians until Jews started moving into their territory, that Palestinian nationalism is a response to Zionism.

Again, so what?

When European Jews docked in Jaffa, Palestine in the early immigration waves of the late 19th century, there were Arabs waiting at the port. When the Jews purchased land, it was Arabs who had to move out.

And if those Arabs didn't call themselves Palestinians until the Zionist movement began, neither did the Jews call themselves Israelis. Until 1948, they were just Jews. But each of the two peoples knew who they were and who the other was.

The bottom line is that today the Palestinian nation is as authentic as the Israeli nation, and vice versa. Those who think either is going away are blinded by hatred.

To put it simply, the first part of the phrase self-determination is the word self. Both nations have the absolute right to define themselves as two nations which, hopefully, will evolve into two states. The alternative is national catastrophe not for one nation, but for two.

Why would Newt Gingrich care about that?

Foreign Policy Matters 

Kingsley on your Canatans

2 very separate points:

1. The original inference you make is Palestinians are a new people to the land.  This is baseless propaganda.  It is one thing to acknowledge that there is a small percentage of PAlestinians who had parents or grandparents migrate to the land post 1918.  It is another thing to suggest Palestinians (as a whole) have no claim to the land.  What you are suggesting a white-wash of history.  This is typical of the colonial mind set - to minimise or cleanse history of the indigenous inhabitants.  For example planting trees on Palestinian Arab villages is a systematic attempt to re-write history.

I am not for a moment denying the ancient claim of Jewish people to the land.  I am asking merely for perspective.  Consider the demographic composition of the region in the last two thousand years.  The majority has not been Jewish and was only brought about through force following the British conquest of the region in 1918.

My hope is for there to be understanding why people resisted the British conquest and resisted the forcible creation of Israel and why people have resisted the conquest by Israel of pre 1967 Palestine.

My hope is for international agreements to be adhered to and for there to be two states Palestine and Israel.  In the long-term there may be opportunity for greater political cooperation and exchange.  But in the short-term there needs to be an end to the militray rule and control of 4 million fellow human beings.  Attempts to provide security for Israel at the expense of PAlestinian lives is a recipe for continued violence and insecurity.  True liberation for ISrael requires the liberation of the PAlestinian people.  At this time of Christmas and Chanukah we must remember the spirit of liberation and peace for all people (not just some).

2.  On a separate note from your original assertion - but on a related note.

If you check you know anything about the history of Fiji and Sri Lanka your example example of the 'Canatan's is exactly what happened but there was no laughing when people claimed self-determination - there was coup (or multiple coups in the case of Fiji) and there was civil war in the case of Sri Lanka.

Half the population of Fiji is Indian.  This community came as aresult of British colonisation.

Similarly with the Tamil emigration to Sri Lanka in conjunction with British rule.

The problem for both communities when the British left there was discrimination and hence a call for greater self-detremination.  The above is a very generalised statement nonetheless it gives the idea that the Canatan example is a very real phenomenon in history. Although my point of difference is your implication that Palestinans in any way reflected Canatans is false and preposterous.  Just read a Baedeker travel guide to the region in the 1890s or look at the British Survey of Palestine in the 1880s to get a fairer perspective of the indigenous communities.

Not "denying the ancient claim of the Jewish people to the land":  Stewart, you have, until now, consistently referred to Zionism as a "colonial" enterprise.  Have you altered your view since a week ago?  If so, why?  I'd be interested because, until now, your perspective has been ironfisted with respect to the populating of the region of the former area called "Palestine" by Jews as a colonial enterprise. I'd like to think that you are adaptable to changes. 

Stewart. This is exactly what I am saying. Palestinians are an invented people and not native to Palestine but rather to the general area of the Middle East.The British have said that as a preamble to Peel and now we hear Gingrich and Golda Meir and a number of Middle Eastern Kings and even the heads of Syria and the PLO. I am not talking about history but recent statements. NO ONE HAS CONTRADICTED these statements other than the PLO and people like you. Not even Hamas is disputing it.

You climbed up on a perch and there you sit all alone. Would you like me to REPOST some of these statements or do you prefer to GOOGLE them yourself. One hand clapping does not make any noise.



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