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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, January 16, 2006

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Dissenting historian Norman Finkelstein, writing in response to at least one gutsy Norwegian’s stand on Israel, highlights the need for honesty in the Middle East debate:

"The recent proposal that Norway boycott Israeli goods has provoked passionate debate. In my view, a rational examination of this issue would pose two questions: 1) Do Israeli human rights violations warrant an economic boycott? and 2) Can such a boycott make a meaningful contribution toward ending these violations? I would argue that both these questions should be answered in the affirmative."

Finkelstein calls for an international response to a rogue state:

"The moral burden to avert the impending catastrophe must now be borne by individual states that are prepared to respect their obligations under international law and by individual men and women of conscience. In a courageous initiative American-based Human Rights Watch recently called on the U.S. government to reduce significantly its financial aid to Israel until Israel terminates its illegal policies in the West Bank. An economic boycott would seem to be an equally judicious undertaking. A nonviolent tactic the purpose of which is to achieve a just and lasting settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict cannot legitimately be called anti-Semitic. Indeed, the real enemies of Jews are those who cheapen the memory of Jewish suffering by equating principled opposition to Israel's illegal and immoral policies with anti-Semitism."

The charge of anti-Semitism is frequently unnecessary, gratuitous and counter-productive. It also shows a distinct lack of intellectual rigour.

29 Comments:

Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Another unwarranted Finkelstein call to damage Jews, seeming supported by AL. What a pair. Two, accidentally born to Jews, ashamed of their birth.

But why take out their humiliation on their parents kin? Why not set themselves on fire to protest?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:26:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Do you see how hard they try to escape the all-to-well deserved charge of antisemitic behavior? It is quite laughable.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:11:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Ibraham,

Are you therefore suggesting that "A nonviolent tactic the purpose of which is to achieve a just and lasting settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict" is an anti-Semitic proposition?

Would you not agree that "those who cheapen the memory of Jewish suffering by equating principled opposition to Israel's illegal and immoral policies with anti-Semitism" are doign Jewsih people a disservice?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 5:18:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

It is not a tactic whose purpose is to achieve a just and lasting settlement of the Israeli-palestinian conflict.

Neither is Palestinian suicide bombing, no matter how many Norwegians might say that it is a tactic whose purpose is to achieve a just and lasting settlement of the Israeli-palestinian conflict.

No matter how many Norwegians might believe it.


I don't know of any group who are equating principled opposition to Israel's illegal and immoral policies with anti-Semitism.

I haven't noticed principled opposition to any, so far unnamed, illegal and immoral policies. And don't forget, it is quite moral to murder ones daughter for shaming the family, in many arab cultures.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 5:58:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

I agree that there is no guarantee the boycott would in itself achieve a just and lasting settlement of the Israeli-palestinian conflict. Nothing is guaranteed, only intent.

It is also obvious that suicide bombings are not intended to achieve piece either.

So what do you suspect the purpose of the boycott would be?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 6:17:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

There is no guarentee just as there is no guarentee regarding suicide bombings. The purpose of the boycott is collective punishment which deters absolutely nothing. It is not defensive, it saves no lives, and those who actually use western morality as a measuring stick for behavior know that the boycotters are shortchanged in that department.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 7:10:00 am  
Blogger orang said...

A boycott would as it did with South Africa highlight that Israeli policies are illegal for a civilised society.(yes, sure, they are not as bad as XYZ, so why pick on Is...anti....sem.....it.....yadayada)At the present while there is some criticism it can easily be "explained" as left wing, non-mainstream anti-semitic noise. Everything goes on as normal, a man like Sharon is dubbed the man of peace, etc. If enough countries/blocs ban trade, sporting and cultural events to indicate the system is unacceptable, then more Israelis will put pressure for change.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 7:46:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

It would do no such thing. Israel's policies are not illegal for a civilised society.

There are many countries, including most arab countries, whose policies are illegal for a civilised society. Yet you do nothing but make antisemitic noise.

And there will never be more than a few non-essential nations who support the immoral boycott

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 8:10:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Israel is the only one occupying land that does not belong to them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 8:23:00 am  
Blogger mynameispeace said...

Ibrahamav and Austen Tayshus (Speaking in Tongues -16 Jan) exemplify the bullying and abusive behaviour of Zionism itself. Their philosophy is, "if I shout loud enough I will be able to avoid sensible and informed debate".
Good luck with your forthcoming book Antony - I can't wait to add it to my library where it will join Finkelstein's book recently purchased and presently being read. Now there is a well- documented and argued narrative.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 8:46:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks so much. The book should be out in July/August and although very different to Finkelstein's latest, aims to present an alternative reading of the conflict.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 9:58:00 am  
Blogger mynameispeace said...

I am waiting to see what your book covers before deciding to publish my post-grad research - 'the silencing of dissent in the Australian Jewish community'.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 11:09:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

How interesting. Well, hold tight. And if you need any info or advice, let me know...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:14:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Yes, hold tight and make sure not to give out your phone number right AL?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:36:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Addamo_01 said...
Israel is the only one occupying land that does not belong to them.

Unlike China in Tibet? And as soon as Syria is willing to come to the table without precondition, they will get the Golan back. As for the West bank and gaza, no ones claim is any better than Israel's claim.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:35:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Seems 'myname' is living in 1984.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:37:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

I stand corrected Ibraham,

China does indeed occupy Tibet, though the Dalai Lama is not seekign Tibettan independence, so much as recognition from the Chinese government.

Do you really believe Israel is willing to hand back the Golan Heights?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:55:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

As I believe Syria is willing to come to the peace table with no preconditions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 3:22:00 pm  
Blogger mynameispeace said...

Addamo_01

Thanks - I will certainly take your advice. No phone number. And I am not kidding.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 5:44:00 pm  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

addamo

Are the Tibetans trying to push the Chinese into the sea?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 6:52:00 pm  
Blogger all-born-equal-rights said...

Just who is being wiped off the map here? Tibetans are not ethnically cleansing Chinese and Palestinians are not ethnically cleansing Israeli Jews! I'm not saying there are no human-rights violators on the weaker side in each case but there is no comparison with the degree of inhuman terror showered upon the unprotected by those armed to the teeth with state-of-the-art choppers and tanks.

Colin Andersen wrote in a letter to the Herald (January 06, 2006): Ariel Sharon opined in a 2001 interview that Israel's "War of Independence has not ended...1948 was just one chapter." 1948, the year of Israel's creation, is the year in which 78% of Palestine was occupied and ethnically cleansed by Israeli forces. Sharon's life mission, in pursuit of a Jewish demographic majority in all of historic Palestine, has always been to absorb, through a process of occupation, repression, colonization, walling in, and economic strangulation, as much as the world will tolerate of the 22% of Palestine that was not captured in 1948.

Quoting "Zionism's Bad Conscience" By Joel Kovel (Tikkun Sept/Oct 2002 Jewish Denial): "How have the Jews, immemorially associated with suffering and high moral purpose, become identified with a nation-state loathed around the world for its oppressiveness toward a subjugated indigenous people? Why have a substantial majority of Jews chosen to flaunt world opinion in order to rally about a state that essentially has turned its occupied lands into a huge concentration camp and driven its occupied peoples to such gruesome expedients as suicide bombing? Why does the Zionist community, in raging against terrorism, forget that three of its prime ministers within the last twenty years Begin, Shamir and Sharon are openly recognized to have been world-class terrorists and mass murderers? And why will these words just written and the words of other Jews critical of Israel be greeted with hatred and bitter denunciation by Zionists and called "self-hating" and "anti-Semitic"? Why do Zionists not see, or to be more exact, why do they see yet deny, the brutal reality that this state has wrought? ...All the propaganda about Israel being the "only democracy in the Middle East" and so forth, is false at its core, no matter how many fine institutions are built there, or how many crumbs are thrown to the Arabs who are allowed to live within its bounds. This can be shown any number of ways, none more telling than the inability of Israel to write a Constitution with a Bill of Rights. As we well know, there are many states in the modern world that proclaim themselves for a given people and are in many respects more unpleasant places than Israel, including some of the Islamic states, such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. But none of these assert extravagant claims for embodying the benefits of democratic modernity as does Israel. Thus one expects nothing from Pakistan or Saudi Arabia in the way of democratic right, and gets it; whereas Israel groans under the contradictions imposed by incorporating features of Western liberal democracy within a fundamentally pre-modern, tribalist mission. In Israel, Jewish exceptionalism becomes the catalyst of a terrible splitting of the moral faculties, and, by extension, of the whole moral universe that polarizes Zionist thought."

Quoting from the 1983 Kahane Commission which found Ariel Sharon responsible for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge when he approved the entry of the Phalangists into the camps as well as not taking appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed: "When we are dealing with the issue of indirect responsibility, it should also not be forgotten that the Jews in various lands of exile, and also in the Land of Israel when it was under foreign rule, suffered greatly from pogroms perpetrated by various hooligans; and the danger of disturbances against Jews in various lands, it seems evident, has not yet passed. The Jewish public's stand has always been that the responsibility for such deeds falls not only on those who rioted and committed the atrocities, but also on those who were responsible for safety and public order, who could have prevented the disturbances and did not fulfill their obligations in this respect."

Jeff Halper wrote (20 September 2003): "There is no terrible regime - Columbia, Guatemala, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile during the time of the colonels, Burma, Taiwan, Zaire, Liberia, Congo, Sierra Leone - there is not one that does not have a major military connection to Israel. Israeli arms dealers are there [acting as] mercenaries - the guy behind Noriega was Michael Harari, an Israeli, who got out of Panama. Israeli mercenaries in Sierra Leone go around the UN boycotts of what are called blood diamonds, same in Angola. Israel was very involved in South Africa, of course, during the apartheid regime." (Ariel Sharon was Israel's person-on-the-ground advising South African troops on ethnic-cleansing and state-terror tactics in Namibia and Angola.)

Avraham Burg wrote (15 September 2003): " We live in a thunderously failed reality. ... A state lacking justice cannot survive. ... Even if the Arabs lower their heads and swallow their shame and anger for ever, it won't work. A structure built on human callousness will inevitably collapse in on itself. Note this moment well: Zionism's superstructure is already collapsing like a cheap Jerusalem wedding hall."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 8:43:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

all-born-equal-rights said...
"Just who is being wiped off the map here? Tibetans are not ethnically cleansing Chinese and Palestinians are not ethnically cleansing Israeli Jews!"

But the Palestinians want to ethnically cleanse Israeli Jews! And genocide seems to be their perfered approach. They just don't have the ability. Should they be rewarded for incompitence?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 12:04:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Fantastic Post all-born-equal-rights,

I look forward to more of your posts on this subject. It's always very inetersting when quotes from Israeli's themselves reveals hwo aware they are of their crimes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 12:19:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Amazing how much addamo can be spread over such a small area. Surprising that flowers don't grow.

Must be the overpowering stench.

Saving Jewish lives is now a crime? Go figure.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:40:00 am  
Blogger all-born-equal-rights said...

There are both Israelis and Palestinians who are extremely aware how harmful to the welfare of all are the many acts (by any side) that are inconsistent with human rights and international law (let alone common human decency). The common enemy of all are those who deny basic rights to others based on their ethnicity or religion.

What sort of solutions to the Palestine–Israel conflict does Mustafa Barghouti envisage?

"There are two choices. The first is obviously an independent Palestinian state. At a minimum, this would be within the 1967 frontiers—only 23 per cent of historic Palestine—and would have East Jerusalem as its capital. All settlements, without exception, would have to be dismantled. Their occupants could stay if they wished, since we want no more expulsions, but it must be under Palestinian sovereignty. Personally I would see no objection to this state being demilitarized, on condition that there was an international force to protect us. But the borders must comply with international decisions. If Israel sticks to its current policy, if it persists in the attempt to impose a series of bantustans, beginning with Gaza and continuing through the West Bank, if it leaves the apartheid Wall standing, then there is no physical possibility of a genuine state. At that stage, the only other solution would be a single democratic state, in which all citizens are equal. Of course, such a state could no longer be exclusively Jewish, it would have to be both Jewish and Palestinian. It is hard for many in Israel to contemplate that outcome. The Israeli government has sought to trap the Palestinians into a corner of the chessboard where there’s no longer any choice. If we agree on a two-state solution, we are offered bantustans. And if we say that in those conditions, we’d prefer a single, bi-national state, then we are accused of wanting to destroy Israel. But the present us–Israeli policy of forcibly imposing an unjust, Oslo-style solution can only lead to the rise of fundamentalism in the Occupied Territories. If Palestine becomes a bantustanized police state, the outcome will be a disaster—for both peoples." (http://newleftreview.net/NLR26605.shtml)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 11:38:00 am  
Blogger neoleftychick said...

equal rights

The best solution is not to create anymore dysfunctional Muslim Arab states. The best solution is to move all the Plaestinian Arabs to Syria, Jordan and Egypt and to give them a "shut the fuck up" cash payment to spend at the Suicide Bombers R Us outlet of their choice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 2:20:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

What ever we may regard as a best solution really has no bearing on the matter. If the Palestinians do not accept it, it can't be forced on them.

All we can do is what is best for us. Finish the fence, retain only the defensible settlements, and declared Israels borders.

Complete the separation by ensuring only guest workers from oriental countries.

And Mustafa Barghouti starts off with a lie. As historic Palestine includes parts of Jordan, the land he envisions is far less than 23% of the historic palestinian region. There is no apartheid wall, and there are no bantustans planned.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:22:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

mmmmm neo. You talk dirty.
Best plan though is to send all those Europeans, Russians, Americans back from whence they came.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 7:06:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Sounds very racist to me. But I think apes are allowed to get away with it. Lower life form and all.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 6:30:00 am  

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