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  1. #1
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    Default Israel at 70: the dilemma of Nationalism

    I think it fair to say that over the last 70 years, those who believed Israel was weak and would not survive in a hostile region, have had to concede that not only has Israel survived, it is one of the most successful states to emerge from the debris of Empire since 1918. Just as those who considered the creation of Israel in May 1948 a beacon of hope for humanity must concede that in its treatment of Palestinians before and since 1948 has looked increasingly like the death of it. The problem is that both sides are right, and because both sides are also morally compromised, it seems impossible to resolve the needs and rights of Israelis and Palestinians in equal measure. As the failed philosopher Isaiah Berlin once argued, you can have liberty or equality, but you can't have both at the same time (he was wrong).

    I cannot hope to encompass all that has gone right or wrong in Israel since 1948, rather I want to explain my bias (other than my family history which is not relevant to my argument) and argue that the core problem is not anything specifically 'Jewish' but the very ideas embedded in Nationalism, and that this means almost all of the issues people have with Israel can be found in other states founded on a 'National idea'. The First World War, as Christoper Clark argues in the opening chapters of The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (2012) was forged in the crucible of the violent nationalism that convulsed the Balkans in war from the overthrow of the Obrenic dynasty in 1903 to the last Balkan War of 1913. Even before the carnage of the Western Front a staggering number of people died for or against the Serbian cause: where there is a Serb, there is Serbia. And to prove how deadly it can be, the collapse of Yugoslavia was followed by a resurrection of that same old rancid idea and death in a form we had thought Europe would not experience again.

    I am biased against Nationalism because while it has inherent tendencies to Fascism, it may not necessarily morph into anything resembling Mussolini's Italy, which was seen by many at the time -before its alliance with Nazi Germany- as a modernist enterprise.
    But what Nationalism does is to insist that there is such a thing as 'the Nation' and that it can be defined by geography, language, religion, cuisine and dress, to take the most obvious markers. It emerged in its modern form in the aftermath of Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo as the victorious Empires found themselves struggling to contain the 'little people' who now resented being ruled from Berlin and Vienna, but whose confidence in their own project was fuelled by capitalism, which is an inherently anti-Nationalist idea. It may not be a coincidence that one of the earliest anti-imperial movements, the National Movement of Hungary that so challenged the Hapsburgs in the 1840s, now in its latest version, Fidesz, threatens to destroy the EU.

    What happens when a Nationalist asks the question: do you belong here? And decides, because of the colour of a person's skin, or their religion, or their mother tongue that the answer is No-? The dilemma it creates is whether to be tolerant and allow the 'other' equal rights in the 'Nation', or deny them those rights, or worse, either expel them from the Nation or indeed, exterminate them. In this context, the closest example to Israel may be Turkey, where the invention of Turkish identity with the foundation of the Republic in 1923 gave millions of people of diverse origin a singular unifying identity, yet at the same time and for the same reason denied it to those with roots in Anatolia thousands of years old who were Armenian, Greek or Kurdish -or, for this Atheist state, Christian or Muslim. That massacre, expulsion and repression were the result long before 1948 could have been a warning to Israel, but Israelis even though their entire project is based on the same 19th century idea of Nationalism, always thought they would be different, and better.

    The dilemma was there from the beginning, not so much with Theodor Herzl's claims -or dreams?- in The Jewish State (1896) but with the reality that the first Zionists met when they arrived in Ottoman territory -the Vilayet of Jerusalem- to establish the first 'settlements' at Rishon LeZion and Petah Tikva. The presence of Arabs in large numbers cultivating the land -as that land has been since the Neolithic era 7,000+ years ago- presented them with the crucial dilemma Israel has failed to solve: who does this land belong to, and can we share it equally? The dilemma is given in its details in Gershon Shafir: Land, Labour and the Origin of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1882-1914 (1989).

    There is now an abundance of evidence that Zionists were only able to realize their project through the tactic of segregation (not apartheid), whereby Jews would do as much as they could not to integrate into existing Arab society, but create networks of production and trade sufficient to sustain Jewish communities with as little connection to the Arabs as possible. This form of segregation not only buttressed the National project, when the Ottoman territory became a British Mandate and a new wave of immigrants arrived, tensions that spilled over into violence took on the form where the dilemma of Nationalism became an existential dilemma, as the classic national liberation slogan puts it: Libro patria o muerte. But if this 'life or death' motif has become the central pillar of the extreme nationalists associated with Mussolini's Italy -one thinks of Avraham Stern- and is found in present day Likudniks like Netanyahu, they did not always dominate the discourse of Israeli politics as a generation of Jews realised the solution to the dilemma is in fact to find a way of living with the Arabs and sharing the benefits of the state.

    It may be that the Lavon Affair and the destruction of Moshe Sharett's career by those (Moshe Dayan and Ariel Sharon, for example) who saw him as 'soft' on the Arabs paved the way for the war of 1967 and the illegal occupation of the West Bank, either way the War was never going solve the dilemma of Nationalism, compounded by the emergence of a Palestinian nationalism incapable of giving coherent expression to a patch of land that in reality belongs to everyone or no-one.

    For, while it is true that Israel has been able to influence foreign governments, the alternative question is why have the Palestinans failed in the same project? Oddly, just as Palestinians are good at just about everything except politics -if you have a heart attack in the Middle East or need brain surgery, hope your doctor is either Israeli or Palestinian- so in Israel today its peculiar democracy is so corrupt the best minds go into science, engineering, the arts and entertainment leaving politics to an alarming cohort of extremists, racist and outright lunatics who would be at home in HAMAS if they were living in Gaza.

    If the failure to resolve the nationalist dilemma is at the heart of Israel's problems with the Palestinians -and vice versa- there is also the exhibition of the problem of segregation (not apartheid) that enables Israel on the one hand to present itself -justifiably- as a pioneer of environmental progress, while on the West Bank it is little more than a vandal responsible for the destruction of prime farming land: orchards bearing exquisite plums replaced by car parks, olive groves replaced with highways or the 'Berlin Wall' removed from Germany to land stolen from the Palestinians. Thus, you can find the exemplary record on the environment in Israel here-
    http://www.aish.com/h/15sh/mm/Israel...vironment.html
    and here
    https://www.israel21c.org/israel-facts/environment/
    and here
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/...ndex-1.5396186

    And shake your head in disbelief that the same 'Nation' turns the West Bank into a 'garbage dump'-
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/...052610633.html
    and here
    https://www.ochaopt.org/content/west...-incident-2005
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20...n-territories/

    Finally, just as one of the least discussed aspects of Israel is also its greatest success -civil society- that civil society is under threat, and from whom? Why, the Nationalists of course!

    Israel's diverse and vibrant civil society has provided the country with the full range of activities in commerce, the arts, sport, entertainment, architecture and so on that sits in stark contrast to the absence of or destruction of civil society across the Middle East. Indeed, without this vibrant society Israel might not have survived, because for all its flaws, life is good for most Israelis and it is the things they enjoy that are not controlled by the State that define their freedom, just as so many Arabs cannot hope to live without the State sitting on their shoulders or lurking behind toilet walls paranoid every form of expression is hostile to their precious power. The mere fact that you can go openly to a gay night club in Tel-Aviv or that some years ago their National representative at the Eurovision song contest was not only a Transexual but won the competition too is an example of what cannot happen in Syria or Saudi Arabia (but not in Russia either).

    And yet, the greatest threat to civil society comes from those Nationalists who feel threatened by the human rights organizations in Israel's civil society that attack Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, or the Orthodox Jews who regard most of Israel's population as atheistic, dope-smoking beach bums where women walk around half-naked and nobody respects the Sabbath. You can read up civil society here-
    https://electronicintifada.net/conte...nd-abroad/9816
    http://www.vanleer.org.il/en/content...-civil-society

    Some weeks ago on the BBC-2's Newsnight programme, a supporter of the nationalist Fidesz party in Hungary explained the problem they have with the EU as the problem of the 'post-modern state' where there is no national identity, and politics is subsumed within the broad parameters set by the EU that looks for more integration, but where the Hungarians by contast want to revive the National idea of Hungary as a Christian State and thus find it hard to reconcile themselves with the inherent bias of the EU against Nationalism. A similar problem exists with Poland and, in its extreme form, with those in the Brexit camp like Nigel Farage who are in reality England for the English nationalsts and deeply, deeply racist.

    But this is why the EU is right, and Nationalism is wrong, because Nationalism is a desperate attempt to revive a mythical past and create a present and a future based on the claim that 'only we, alone' can succeed. But Nationalism can only succeed through the exclusion of others, and it this dilemma of belonging that is the threat to Israel as its own citizens make competing demands of the benefits of the State they cannot all have at the same time. Capitalism is the greater triumph, as it has been since it emerged in the city-states of Italy in the 12th century for capitalism has no fidelity to national borders or ideas, and the future is global not patriotic, for even with the worst aspects of capitalism, it offers the prospect of change that Nationalism cannot maintain. Thus, I dont know if Israel will survive in its present form, but the same can also be said of Iraq and Syria, the Middle East is a volatile region for a reason or ten. But just as we wish it were different and that people would put aside the National idea for something more positive and inclusive, Auden's chilling lines from the Sonnets he wrote in China in the 1930s may be closer to the truth:

    History opposes its grief to our buoyant song,
    to our hope its warning.


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    Default Re: Israel at 70: the dilemma of Nationalism

    "...closer to the truth..."
    I don't know.
    One can argue that,
    nations are experiments in human diversity, just like ecosystems that nature is messing around with. More diversity seems to be the way of the natural world.Probably for very good reasons .
    As an analogy,I think nations as experiments on societal variation, as crucibles for variation.And similar to why bio diversity in the global ecology matters, just in case of problems down the road.
    .Maybe its wise
    not put all your eggs in one basket..
    ..i don't know .



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    Default Re: Israel at 70: the dilemma of Nationalism

    Why would anybody think Isreal would fail? They pretty much run the world with almost every countries resources at it's disposal. lol


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    Default Re: Israel at 70: the dilemma of Nationalism

    Quote Originally Posted by DaphneCruz View Post
    Why would anybody think Isreal would fail? They pretty much run the world with almost every countries resources at it's disposal. lol
    When States fail, internal causes are mostly to blame. External pressure on a state can normally be dealt with if the state is strong in itself. By contrast, weak states often fail to develop precisely because the internal structure of the state is composed of groups competing with each other, rather than co-operating in the development of the state, in what Joel Migdal refers to as 'strong societies, weak states' -an African country on independence where the British favoured one ethnic group over another may be weak from the start if many of the country's new citizens do not think the party that inherited power from the British deserved it, and if their own interests are not addressed. Internal division from the start can obstruct the development of the state no matter what resources it has.

    One of my key points was that Israel is both a strong state, with a strong society, although its greatest weakness may be the division between religious fanatics, most of whom live in the Occupied Territories, and those Israelis for whom religion does not shape their everyday lives. It could be argued that the Palestinians never had a chance to develop a state, that twice, in 1948 and 1967 their demographic base was convulsed by expulsion and flight, but Palestinians as I also argued are clever people, but have not been very clever at politics. Indeed, in the 1960s and 1970s, they alienated all of the people they needed support from through their adoption of the 'armed struggle' which attacked Arabs as well as Jews, whether they were in the Middle East or elsewhere.

    Israel has been successful at building political support across the world, and developing a 'high tech' industry in communications that means just about anyone with a smart phone has technology in it developed in Israel, but many of us also use computers, and wear clothes made in China, but that doesn't mean China runs the world. It is called international trade. Israel produces Dates that are on sale in a supermarket near me, in another supermarket near me, the dates are from Algeria. I have a choice. But the ones I really want to buy, unavailable in the UK, are from Oman, as I used to know an Omani who brought them over for me. International trade helps make the world go round to the benefit of most of us, don't knock it.


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    Default Re: Israel at 70: the dilemma of Nationalism

    When the Labour Party yesterday formally adopted the IHRA definition of anti-semitism some hoped it would put to rest the self-inflicted torture the party has been in for some time. I doubt it, as up to the last minute, Jeremy Corby tried, and failed to add a caveat to the IHRA document with regard to Israel, thus:

    Mr Corbyn, in a rare defeat, was forced to withdraw a further statement, because he lacked support, which argued it should not be “regarded as antisemitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist”.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...-a8522806.html

    Normally I would be baffled at the description of "Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist”. Whereas in the case of Corbyn this reflects several decades absorbed in political campaigns in which labels like Zionist, Fascist, Racist, Stalinist jostle for attention with the armed struggle, national liberation and so on, suggesting that what began in the 1960s has yet to move on from it. Corbyn has inherited and maintained a view that comprehends the circumstances in which Israel was created but cannot accept that it was a good thing at the time because of the discrimination that has since ensued, but seems unable to extend this viewpoint to every other Middle Eastern state other than to pay lip service to an idea without following it through. Turkey was created as a Turkish state by erasing all other identities that had existed in the Ottoman period, and thus embarking on a conflict with the recalcitrant Kurds which shows no sign of ending, and that is before one tries to unravel the cornucopia of identities in Lebanon, of the conflicted identities in Syria and Iraq. Because even if you do argue against the Modern State in the Middle East as the result of the (wicked) Anglo-French division of the region after the First World War, what happens to resolve that dilemma, the dissolution of existing states into one regional entity?

    Just as Corbyn has offered the UK no coherent vision of his Brexit plan, if there is one, he is capable of criticising Israel without offering much more than the bland two-state solution or whatever he is 'advised' to support by the PLO, a failed political organization if ever there was one.

    It should also be said that for all their public endorsements of the IHRA declaration, the Conservative Party has not formally adopted it as the Labour Party now has, but that party is currently convulsed by its internal war over Brexit and Theresa May's leadership, so don't expect the Tories to move on IHRA.

    The Apartheid argument is as stupid as the Racist one. I don't know how one can even begin to debate 'Jewishness' or 'Judaism' in the context of Race, as Jews are like Christians and Muslims, universal, and anyone can convert and by definition the religions have no concept of race. The Apartheid argument is even more bizarre as a cardinal feature in the original South African version was the view by the European 'Boers' that the African has his own homelands to live in and therefore had no business living in, for example, the Transvaal, which is why Apartheid means 'separate development'. South Africa thus created 'Bantustans' to which Africans were sent to live, whereas Israel cannot expel Israeli Arabs to, say, the West Bank because it hasn't created it for that purpose and anyway claims jurisdiction over the whole of it as part of Israel. Similarly, Israel cannot expel all non-Jews to neighbouring countries in an Apartheid manner because it has not created Jordan, Syria and Lebanon for that purpose and has no authority to do so. Segregation has been a fact of life since the first Aliyah in the 1880s and the earliest Zionists discovered a land with people that was something they had not envisaged. Again and again, one finds that Israel has never been and probably never will be exclusively Jewish, and the sooner the government finds a way of dealing with that the better for all concerned.

    In spite of all that, Netanyahu has thrown a grenade into Israeli politics by introducing a law passed narrowly by the Knesset which codifies what already exists in the Declaration of Independence but with an important omission and the source of the agony in Israel dismissed by Netanyahu, who thrives on dividing Israelis among themselves on the simple, but arrogant basis that if he says something is X, then anyone opposed to that is in some way anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist or even less of a patriot than he. You have to marvel at this man's Chutzpah if he can alienate Tzipi Livni. This is how she reacted to the new Law (which may be challenged in the Courts)

    In an Army Radio interview on Sunday, Israel’s incoming opposition leader, Tzipi Livni, said she had repeatedly urged government legislators in the run-up to July 19’s passage of Israel’s new Jewish nation-state law to add in a single crucial phrase.

    She had, she made clear, no objection to the text declaring Israel to be “the national home of the Jewish people.” Quite the reverse. But to ensure that the law fully reflected modern Israel’s founding principles, she argued, it also needed to include Israel’s commitment to “equality for all its citizens.” In the Declaration of Independence, she noted, Israel promises “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”
    ...had that “equality” phrase been inserted, most or all the rest of the opposition would have supported it, and the law would have garnered about 100 of the 120 Knesset members’ votes, rather than squeezing through, as it did, by 62 votes to 55. How impressive such overwhelming support would be, she argued to coalition members, how resonant an endorsement of Israel’s central principles.

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-tr...ion-state-law/

    We seem to be living through times when Nationalism is being paraded as a virtue when it is clear as day that it is immoral, and in its practical application -be it Israel, Hungary, Poland, the UK (Scotland? England?) or the USA- a divisive and destructive trend incompatible with a mature democracy.
    So many tunnels, so little light at their end. If they ever end.


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    Default Re: Israel at 70: the dilemma of Nationalism

    It's difficult to separate the discussion of Israel from the discussion of anti-Semitism when the IHRA definition includes prohibitions on certain statements that the authors believe masquerade as criticism of Israel but are often really bigotry. The two sections that were contested were the section that tried to preclude people from calling Zionists "Nazis" and the section about whether the establishment of a Jewish state is racist. The complaint was that these examples prevented legitimate discussion of Israel and I think part of the confusion can be cleared up by understanding that some things aren't anti-Semitic in the abstract but often will be in context.

    Consider this statement by Noam Chomsky: "I see no implication of anti-Semitism in denial of gas chambers, or even denial of the Holocaust." In my view, what critics of Chomsky (and I'm one) often failed to point out is that this is a true statement in the abstract, but one which is almost certainly not true in reality. In the abstract, a Holocaust denier could be someone who is bad with evidence or who is such an idealist that they just can't believe people would do such inhumane things. But in reality, the person is almost always (I say almost but in truth I've never seen a counter-example) a Nazi sympathizer and a hardcore anti-Semite. In fact, this assumption has become embedded in our discourse to such a degree that a Holocaust denier is considered someone who is per se anti-Semitic.

    The reason I bring up that terrible subject is to demonstrate that most racism is not per se racism but racism by inference. Most racism does not take the form of "I don't like group x and think they're inferior" but includes embedded stereotypes and world-views that are only bigoted when you think about what informs them. So ultimately someone CAN draw an analogy between Jewish nationalists or Jews and Nazis and there would be no NECESSARY implication of anti-Semitism, but the motives often are in fact anti-Semitic.

    The question is, are these people drawing useful parallels and analogies because the Nazis are the only historical analogy that can illustrate the malfeasance of the Zionists, or are they trying to compare those related to the victims of Nazis of being like Nazis because it will make them sputter with outrage and almost unable to conduct an intelligent conversation? My feeling is that the Nazis are invoked for frivolous reasons and the motives are often even more insidious than I've said.

    I think the problem definitions of bigotry run into is that they cannot distinguish per se bigotry from language that is strongly suggestive of bigotry. If someone for instance, follows a crank like David Icke and defends him against the accusation that he's anti-Semitic (a defense that is impossible), there is a solid chance they are anti-Semitic too. Are we permitted to make that inference? I don't know but it's terrifying to see some Labour members enmeshed in this kind of conspiracy talk by lizard man who thinks the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is true.

    I realize your post is about Israeli nationalism and my post is about the anti-Semitism code that kind of mediates the discussion of Israeli nationalism. But there really are few people who have your erudition and knowledge of history and the conversation often takes on inflammatory and ridiculous tones. I agree with much of what you say, but the problems would not arise if people approached the subject in a cerebral way. It is the use of conspiracy theories, the statements made without any evidence that often lead to inferences that something is wrong. And now you have "free speech martyrs" defying the anti-Semitism code to prove that it is really stifling them....they seem like left-wing Tommy Robinson types.


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    Last edited by broncofan; 09-07-2018 at 08:52 PM.

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    Default Re: Israel at 70: the dilemma of Nationalism

    Broncofan, I agree with most of your post, but see problems in it too. Years ago there was a scurrilous pamphlet that asked if 'six million' really did die in the gas chambers, and led to the use of statistics to prove something that did not need to be proven, that the Nazis murdered anyone who got in the way of their nationalist project. Somewhere in that 'six million' were communists, slavs, gypsies, Jews, homosexuals and the disabled, as if a precise attention to the statistical detail made any difference to an ideology based on the 'science of race' which demeaned Jews and Slavs as less than human and threw in others too, to be exterminated. The fake historian David Irving once insisted that Anne Frank was not murdered by the Nazis but died from Typhus fever, without expaining how someone living in Amsterdam met her death in Poland. Facts, in this case, as you imply, become abstract arguments designed to cover up an otherwise naked prejudice.

    One could argue we don't need a document to list examples of anti-semitism, because we know what it is, and how it manifests itself, and in most cases I think you are right, even if a conscious bias may not be exhibited in the words and phrases people use about themselves and others. Or it could be that we do need it because people are not that well informed about it and can thus use it as a check list, something that may be more relevant to organizations than individuals. But this will mean nothing to individuals who are biased, and who may not want to change, for whatever reason. With a membership of over 500,000 it is obvious that the management of the Labour Party has no idea who its own members are, or if they even support party policy. That members could attend a meeting which is broadcast on Iranian tv is quite remarkable, as if nobody in the meeting was aware that the proceedings were being filmed. Posts to articles in the Telegraph by Conservatives and others of that kind have made it clear they joined the Labour Party online to vote for Corbyn on the basis that his leadership would keep Labour too extreme for government, so the Party has got itself into a mess of its own making by recruiting people with precisely the bigoted attitudes to Jews you so rightly condemn.

    The problem for me is that the core issue for Israel after 70 years is not bigotry, which is a facile attitude derived from ignorance, but the uses to which the goovernment of Israel is manipulating these problems to buttress its own nationalist project in Israel and the Occupied Territories. If you think back to the trio of Nationalists who have brought Israel to where it is today -Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu, they have all promoted Likud as the voice of Israel, but on the basis that this is not the Israel of David Ben-Gurion, of Moshe Sharret and Yitzhak Rabin. Crucial to their perspective of 'Jewish Nationalism' is the fact that both Begin and Sharon rejected Ben-Gurion's leadership of the country, but most of all, the Declaration of Independence. The obvious problem for them is that they could not un-write the Declaration which remains to this day the pre-eminent declaration of what Israel is for, and who it is for. Because they cannot, and will not accept that non-Jews have a right to live in their Israel. This is the core of their Nationalist agenda, and the reason why they campaigned against Rabin, and why some of their supporters not only atended public meetings addressed by Netanyahu carrying placards with Rabin dressed in an SS Uniform, but ultimately murdered him. To oppose this is not to be anti-semitic, but to oppose the nationalist agenda of the Likud Party that has not changed since it was formed by its predecessors in the Palestine of the 1920s, an agenda rejected by Jews and non-Jews alike.

    The inherent contradiction in Nationalism exists in the 'inclusion' of a people under a concept, the Nation, with the simultaenous excusion of those who don't belong to it. Nationalism divides more than it unites because by defining people as 'Jewish' -and I mean Jewish, not Israeli, just as it begs the question of Israelis who are not Jews -'do you belong here?' 'Are you my equal?'. It also means, as I pointed out in my original post that the problems Israel has with its own Nationalism are not so different from those experienced elsewhere, be it Hungary or Poland, or, if you believe Steve Bannon, with the USA.

    So I agree that there is often a connection between criticism of Israel and anti-semitism, but the purpose of the thread was to ask if Israel is right to promote the kind of Nationalism that is associated with Likud, as if there were no other way of develeping the country. Not only does it ask how over the next 25 years Israel proposes to deal with Palestinians with the same rights that Israelis have, it suggests that Likud has, in effect, betrayed the concept of Israel itself as defined by the Declaration of Independence, and that the co-existence of Jews and non-Jews in territories governed, legally or illegally, by Israel is the most urgent question for Israel, of greater importance than anti-semitism, because the existential reality for Israel is in fact the same existential reality for the Palestinians, with the rider that it is better to live than to die, and that on that basis the policies pursed by one Likud government after another are failing both communities. Israelis and Palestinians are land-locked, they share the same territory.

    The attempt by the current US government, eagerly supported by Likud, to coerce the Palestinians into a peace deal or 'lose everything', can only result, if indeed the Palestinian leadership were to agree, to concessions that would be unacceptable to the average Palestinian. The weakness of Mahmud Abbas is not the basis on which to secure a deal that woud be bad for both Israel and the Palestinians as it would not, in fact solve the issues that have led to the impasse in peace negotiations since 1993.

    Because Netanyahu opposed the 1993 Treaty, and does not believe in a negotiated peace, but one that would be terms dictated by Israel on a 'take it or leave it' basis. But what, in reality does Netanyahu want? Is it the expulsion of Palestinians from 'Eretz Israel'? Where will they go? Do they not have the right to live in the same place they have lived in for 10,000 years? Do the Greek and Armenian congregations of the Churches established and maintained for over 1,000 years have no rights at all? And if so, how are all these Palestinians to be treated within a One-State solution, if the 'Two-State solution' is now dead? Will they be equal citizens with Israelis? On the basis of the Nationality Law this is no longer possible - so why would they accept a deal which leaves them inferior beings in a state they don't believe in, that offers them no right to vote for its government -their government?

    Nationalism is a developing idea, in Israel and in Europe, and offered as an alternative to globalization, but it is hard to see where it is going in Israel, just as it is hard to see an alternative to Likud in Israel emerging to prevent the country from becoming ungovernable, which is how I see it going in the next 25 years, with as much agitation in Israel over domestic issues such as housing and jobs, as the perennial issue of Palestinians who 'don't belong' in the only place they have ever known. Because Nationalism is bad politics, and has only ever produced bad outcomes.


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    Default Re: Israel at 70: the dilemma of Nationalism

    As a footnote to the above, there have been some articles recently dealing with the 'solution' that Jared Kushner is developing with Israel (perhaps not with Saudi Arabia in town, this time) regarding to the 'peace process' -as defined by him.

    This is important as it appears that the US, under his guidance, is taking the radical view that the Palestinians have not only offered Israel nothing to negotiate with, but became in effect, 'welfare dependents' on UNRWA, thus explaining the decision by the US to withdraw all of its funding from the one organization the UN established to minister to the needs of displaced Palestinians, as well as closing the PLO's office in Washington DC. No awareness of the jobs and incomes lost when Palestinians lost so many jobs in Israel and the West Bank after the first Intifada.

    The aim is to drive the Palestinians to the negotiating table, but to negotiate terms set by Jared Kushner, a man who is persuading the US to reject the concept of Palestinians refugees, reject the right of return even as a matter of principle, reject any claim Palestinians may have to a two-state solution with Jerusalem as its capital, and reject any demand by the Palestinians that new settlements be halted, and existing ones be re-located in Israel. In effect Palestinians are being offered what looks like nothing, other than the right to exist. That Kushner has financial links to settlements on the West Bank as well as banks and companies in Israel makes this so biased an agreement in his personal favour, you wonder how anyone in the US Government can allow this man to be anywhere near what should be an international agreement negotiated in good faith by the two parties.

    You can read about Kushner's various financial links to Israel and the Occupied Territories here-
    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.pre...full-1.5865165

    But if Israel and the US are going to tear up or ignore all and any international treaty they have signed, why should anyone bother to sit down at a table with them and put pen to paper? Or does it mean Palestinians can sign anything and it will mean nothing?

    But here is the killer fact: withdrawing UNRWA's finances makes Israel responsible for the welfare of Palestinians, thus:

    Israel would pay a price too; as an occupying power, it is legally obliged to safeguard the basic needs of the population living in areas it controls, but since UNRWA currently alleviates some of its obligations by providing essential services to 800,000 registered refugees in the West Bank and more than 1m in Gaza, the Israeli government is under far less pressure than it could be to take primary responsibility for their welfare.
    http://theconversation.com/what-jare...efugees-101150

    Which ever way you look at it, Israel must take respnsibility for the Palestinians in Gaza and the Occuped Territories if UNWRA goes, and compensate for the losses Palestinans suffer. The irony of course is that if Israel's, or Kushner's solution is 'one state', that too brings 4.8 million Palestinians on the West Bank and 1.8 million in Gaza under the overall authority of Israel.

    Neither Israel nor the Palestinians benefit from a 'peace' that is secured under duress rather than with full agreement. That the US is not an honest broker and with Israel refuses to engage with any other party, be it Jordan or Russia, reveals just how bad this new strategy of 'breaking things' is.

    How for example does Kushner propose to settle issues around Jerusalem when the peace treaty with Jordan states (Article 9):

    Israel commits to "respect the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem" and that "when negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines." In 2013, an agreement between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority recognized Jordan's role.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashem...lem_holy_sites

    -if Kushner now, with Netanyahu regard the 1993 Treaty as a dead letter, what about the 1994 treaty with Jordan?

    But as with his father-in-law, Jared Kushner believes his financial interests are more important than the interests of the USA, so it is a pity that responsible people can't step up and tell this amateur diplomat to get lost.

    More reading here-
    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/kush...ties-1.6470921

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-say...-the-conflict/



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