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Yesterday marked the Sixty-Second Anniversary of the Nakba, translated into English as "the Catastrophe."  For Palestinians, the event marks a tragedy; namely, their expulsion from their homeland and its transformation into the modern state of Israel.  For Israelis, as well as many Jews outside of Israel in the Jewish diaspora, the commemoration, which takes place on May 14, marks a triumph: the return of a Jewish nation in the region, and the beginning of true Jewish self-determination after thousands of years "wandering" in exile.  Or, as it is summed up succinctly in the Declaration of Independence:

The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

It is not possible, in the space of this diary, to do any justice to the volumes of English language material on its subjects. This diary is an invitation, to the Daily Kos community and beyond, for thoughtful reexamination of our perspectives, our priorities and our trajectory as it relates to the question of Israel, Palestine and American foreign policy.   I have chosen today to write this piece for reasons that shall become evident in short order.  And so now let us turn to them.

The University of California Press publishes a quarterly Journal of Palestine Studies, subtitled "A Quarterly on Palestinian Affairs and the Arab-Israeli Conflict."  A typical issue might include original articles as well as documents covering recent events in the region, book reviews and a bibliography of recent literature on the subject.  The most recent issue to hit the shelves for Autumn of 2009 included an article by Ilan Pappe, an Israeli born British academic who serves as a chair of the Department of History at the University of Exeter.  Professor Pappe is also the author of the book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," which I have yet to read but which remains on my reading list.  A prominent figure within the circle of academics critical of contemporary Israeli politics, Professor Pappe’s 2009 article is entitled "The Historiography of 1948."  

The article is an examination of the politically sensitive and contentious topic of Israel’s founding.  This topic is informed by the work of a loose collection of Israeli historians, of which Pappe is at least arguably a member.  Referred to as "The New Historians," they first emerged in the 1980s and against the backdrop of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon as well as the First Palestinian Intifada, also known as "uprising" or "shaking off,"  in 1987.  According to Pappe, these historians enjoyed a brief period of popularity during the 1990s, owing in large part to a growing willingness to reexamine Israel’s birth from a non-Zionist perspective.  In 1998, the government of Israel released archived documents from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Haganah archives.  These documents confirmed much of what the New Historians had started to write in the 1980s and forced Zionist historians to reckon with Israeli material that corroborated a Palestinian narrative of mass expulsions and ethnic cleansing.  With the outbreak of the Second Intifada after the breakdown of the Oslo peace process, the election of Ariel Sharon in 2001 and the events of 9/11, Pappe argues, the moral interpretation of the New Historians was rejected and discarded in favor of "a reinvigorated Zionist consensus" that emphasized the necessity of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population.  This Zionist consensus, referred to as the "New Right" but inclusive of Left-wing and centrist historians as well, neither ignored nor condemned the policy and behavior documented by their New Historian counterparts.  Rather, they rejected the moral and political judgments made by the New Historians in light of their findings.  Thus one of the new Zionist historians may write of the looting of Palestinian homes in great detail but, seeking to avoid the contemporary relevance of this issue to the Palestinian "problem," the historian uses the episode to illustrate organizational failures of the Jewish Haganah terrorists who would later go on to create the IDF.  

The significance of Pappe’s article cannot be overstated.  The historians of 1948 largely agree on the facts of the era, but completely disagree on moral significance of those very facts.  Where the New Historians saw gross violations of human rights and war crimes, the Zionist consensus historians saw military necessity and logistical barriers to state creation.  It is not that the Zionist historians disagree with the positive or objective conclusions drawn by their peers, it is that they embrace the same acts condemned by the New Historians as a prerequisite for the Zionist enterprise of state creation.  Although a Zionist might embrace the factual findings of their scholarship, the contemporary ethical, legal and political ramifications must be avoided.

We are therefore left not with a disputed history, but a lingering question of values.    Which brings us to the topic at hand: Hafrada, which is the Hebrew word for separation, which is the English word for apartheid, which is the Afrikaans term for the policy of racial segregation.

South Africa was colonized by the English and Dutch in the seventeenth century. English domination of the Dutch descendents (known as Boers or Afrikaners) resulted in the Dutch establishing the new colonies of Orange Free State and Transvaal. The discovery of diamonds in these lands around 1900 resulted in an English invasion which sparked the Boer War. Following independence from England, an uneasy power-sharing between the two groups held sway until the 1940's, when the Afrikaner National Party was able to gain a strong majority. Strategists in the National Party invented apartheid as a means to cement their control over the economic and social system. Initially, aim of the apartheid was to maintain white domination while extending racial separation. Starting in the 60's, a plan of ``Grand Apartheid'' was executed, emphasizing territorial separation and police repression.
With the enactment of apartheid laws in 1948, racial discrimination was institutionalized. Race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of ``white-only'' jobs. In 1950, the Population Registration Act required that all South Africans be racially classified into one of three categories: white, black (African), or colored (of mixed decent). The coloured category included major subgroups of Indians and Asians. Classification into these categories was based on appearance, social acceptance, and descent. For example, a white person was defined as ``in appearance obviously a white person or generally accepted as a white person.'' A person could not be considered white if one of his or her parents were non-white. The determination that a person was ``obviously white'' would take into account ``his habits, education, and speech and deportment and demeanor.'' A black person would be of or accepted as a member of an African tribe or race, and a colored person is one that is not black or white. The Department of Home Affairs (a government bureau) was responsible for the classification of the citizenry. Non-compliance with the race laws were dealt with harshly. All blacks were required to carry ``pass books'' containing fingerprints, photo and information on access to non-black areas.

In 1951, the Bantu Authorities Act established a basis for ethnic government in African reserves, known as ``homelands.'' These homelands were independent states to which each African was assigned by the government according to the record of origin (which was frequently inaccurate). All political rights, including voting, held by an African were restricted to the designated homeland. The idea was that they would be citizens of the homeland, losing their citizenship in South Africa and any right of involvement with the South African Parliament which held complete hegemony over the homelands. From 1976 to 1981, four of these homelands were created, denationalizing nine million South Africans. The homeland administrations refused the nominal independence, maintaining pressure for political rights within the country as a whole. Nevertheless, Africans living in the homelands needed passports to enter South Africa: aliens in their own country.

The History of Apartheid in South Africa

Writing during the Second Boer War, William Harding recounted, with varying degrees of detail, the history of South Africa "From Savagery to Civilization."  I recently purchased a copy of his work, the full title of which is "War in South Africa and the Dark Continent from Savagery to Civilization."  It appears to be available on Google Books and a link is provided for your review.  While I have not completed reading, and truly have no intention to do so, the modern reader will find it a near perfect caricature of colonialist prejudice.  Unfortunately, that is far from the case, as it is no caricature at all.  But I present the following excerpts and text for our review.

Harding was writing to an American audience unfamiliar with the details of the Boer/British conflict in South Africa.  The book is dedicated "[t]o the men and women of America" and purports to be "without prejudice or favor."  The publisher’s introduction sets the stage for the material that follows:

"With her immensity of natural resources, richness of mineral wealth, valuable forests and fertile lands, together with her unsurpassed facilities for commerce, Africa will be the haven of coming emigration, the Mecca of future industrial adventure.  Here will be the home of generations yet unborn, who will build might empires, bulwarks of liberty and enlightenment, that shall mold the thought and lead the progress of the world as did the ancient empire on the banks of the Nile.  The pioneer movement to this end has been going on for four centuries.  Slowly and stubbornly, over hard-fought fields, the savagery and gloom of the benighted continent have receded before the onward march of the pioneer as he held his way into the interior from the Cape of Good Hope.  Section after section have been wrested from the savages by people from many lands, until a considerable portion of South Africa may be said to be under the rule of civilized government."

The author, Harding, purports to absolve himself of moral responsibility at the outset.  From Chapter 1, titled "The Settlement of South Africa":

"There always has been and probably always will be a question as to who is right or who is wrong in maintaining that the advance of civilization has justified many apparent injustices perpetrated upon the weak by the strong.  So much so, that it seems to me that it is best to leave the matter to individual opinion, and I shall not attempt to draw any deductions from the history of South Africa."

William Harding, A History of South Africa and the Dark Continent from Savagery to Civilization

It must be noted at this stage that Harding appears to be referencing the European colonists who established permanent settlements beginning in the mid-1600s with "the Cape of Good Hope."  It should also be noted that many of these colonists were fleeing persecution.  Harding notes that a number of French refugees began to arrive in 1686 following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, a charter that had established tolerance for French Protestants.  All the while, the Dutch colonists fought with the indigenous population, deemed "Hotentots" by their colonial opponents.  As Harding notes, they often reduced them to slavery or simply killed them.  Those who survived within the boundaries of European settlements were exploited for their labor and subject to abuse by the both the British and the Boers.  This activity is not condoned or condemned, nor explored in any great depth; certainly, it lacks the voluminous attention to detail accompanying Harding’s descriptions of South Africa’s natural resources and his accounting of the Boer population.  His description of "the Kaffirs" stings: a "cause of a great deal of disturbance," "the Kaffirs are the original natives of the country."  They are "maltreated and looked down upon by everybody, and used in a most ruffanly manner whenever sufficient motivation dictates."  This "ruffanly manner" includes not being "allowed like other men to walk on the sidewalks of Johannesburg" as well as killing "for resistance...to their punishment" for interacting with the new "natives," the Kaffirs being "the original natives."

It should be noted at this point that, as was the case with the United States, Europeans had been in South Africa for a substantial period of time.  The Boers did not consider themselves colonists any more than Americans at the turn of the 19th Century would have considered themselves colonists.  The influx of the Huguenots began in 1686, and at that time there had already been a settlement in place for a quarter century.  Thus the Boers, the descendants of the original Dutch colonists, considered themselves, in a sense, African, if not indigenous:

"It is to be remembered that the average Boer is not, like the average Briton, Jew or German, anxious to make his fortune and leave the country.  He looks, and will always look, upon Africa as his home.  He desires only to live in a moderate degree of comfort, in a rude plenty, to provide for his children as they grow up, and to be let alone.  He shuns towns, shopkeeping, and gold-mining."

This is Harding’s observation, but it was probably one many Boers would have agreed with.  It also sheds light on the reasons for National Party ascendance in the late 1940s and the creation of the institutionalized apartheid system and, later, the Bantustans.  The Boers, or Afrikaners, feared decolonization and the process that they believed would follow it, deemed "social leveling" or gelykstelling.  As was the case in the United States, the concept of equality before the law was a contested one in matters of race.
They had every reason to fear this, based on their treatment of the "kaffirs" as described above.  The Xhosa, one of the many people tormented by the European colonists, had spoken of pushing the white man into the sea.  During their conflicts with the British, both the Boers and their Anglo opponents had used blacks as labor and the British additionally armed them to fight the Afrikaners.  The apartheid system was not designed for the sole purpose of maintaining Afrikaner and British rule over the indigenous population; it was also designed in the service of state security against a real or perceived "existential" threat.  And in this way, it strongly resembles the Israeli practice of "hafrada," or separation:

Israelis do not use the word "apartheid" -- they have their own word, "hafrada," meaning separation -- but as it amounts to more or less the same thing, it makes little sense to use with the public a word most people are unfamiliar with. A few facts about "hafrada" highlight the striking similarities with apartheid.
Israel rules directly over approximately five million Palestinian Arabs and six million Jews, yet for over 40 years it has maintained two sets of laws: civil laws for Jews, and military laws for the roughly four million Palestinians in the occupied territories. Israeli settlements in the territories are garrisoned by Israeli military forces and are connected both to each other and to Israel proper by an elaborate set of roads that are reserved exclusively for Jewish settlers, who also get to vote in Israeli elections.
Palestinians in the West Bank, meanwhile, have their movement curtailed even within the territories by hundreds of checkpoints, including "flying checkpoints" that appear without warning or reason. Israel controls borders, airspace, and all movement. Israel also controls all water, which it diverts for its own use while keeping Palestinians on strict water quotas and prohibiting them from digging wells. It continues to confiscate farm land for settlements, many of which are built on hills, dumping sewage onto Palestinian lands below. Palestinians who engage in non-violent resistance routinely face arrest and, quite often, torture.
If this cannot be described as apartheid, what can?
Defenders of Israel against charges of apartheid tend to point to its 1.3 million Palestinian citizens of Israel. Certainly this is a difference between Israel and South Africa under apartheid. Yet "apartheid" has come to refer to a spectrum of mechanisms for separation, just as the term "genocide" encompasses a broad range of murderous actions, no two being exactly alike in every respect.

Israeli Apartheid by any other name still stinks, by Jason Kunin.

Until the 1940s, South Africa’s racial policies had not been entirely out of step with those to be found in the colonial world. But by the 1950s, which saw decolonisation and a global backlash against racism gather pace, the country was dramatically opposed to world opinion on questions of human rights. The architects of apartheid, among whom Dr. Verwoerd was pre-eminent, responded by elaborating a theory of multinationalism.
Their policy, which they termed "separate development", divided the African population into artificial ethnic "nations", each with its own "homeland" and the prospect of "independence", supposedly in keeping with trends elsewhere on the continent.
This divide-and-rule strategy was designed to disguise the racial basis of official policy-making by the substitution of the language of ethnicity. This was accompanied by much ethnographic engineering as efforts were made to resurrect tribal structures. In the process, the government sought to create a significant collaborating class.
The truth was that the rural reserves were by this time thoroughly degraded by overpopulation and soil erosion. This did not prevent four of the "homeland" structures (Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei) being declared "independent", a status which the vast majority of South Africans, and therefore also the international community, declined to recognise. In each case, the process involved the repression of opposition and the use by the government of the power to nominate and thereby pad elected assemblies with a quota of compliant figures.

Segregation and Apartheid in South Africa

John Mearsheimer, professor of international relations at the University of Chicago, has also made the comparison:

For starters, the discrimination and repression that is the essence of apartheid will be increasingly visible to people all around the world. Israel and its supporters have been able to do a good job of keeping the mainstream media in the United States from telling the truth about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. But the Internet is a game changer. It not only makes it easy for the opponents of apartheid to get the real story out to the world, but it also allows Americans to learn the story that the New York Times and the Washington Post have been hiding from them. Over time, this situation may even force these two media institutions to cover the story more accurately themselves.

The growing visibility of this issue is not just a function of the Internet. It is also due to the fact that the plight of the Palestinians matters greatly to people all across the Arab and Islamic world, and they constantly raise the issue with Westerners. It also matters very much to the influential human rights community, which is naturally going to be critical of Israel’s harsh treatment of the Palestinians. It is not surprising that hardline Israelis and their American supporters are now waging a vicious smear campaign against those human rights organizations that criticize Israel.

The main problem that Israel’s defenders face, however, is that it is impossible to defend apartheid, because it is antithetical to core Western values. How does one make a moral case for apartheid, especially in the United States, where democracy is venerated and segregation and racism are routinely condemned? It is hard to imagine the United States having a special relationship with an apartheid state. Indeed, it is hard to imagine the United States having much sympathy for one. It is much easier to imagine the United States strongly opposing that racist state’s political system and working hard to change it. Of course, many other countries around the globe would follow suit. This is surely why former Prime Minister Olmert said that going down the apartheid road would be suicidal for Israel.

The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews versus the New Afrikaners

I am no expert in South African history and the policy of apartheid, nor am I an expert in the minutiae of Israeli-Palestinian history and policy.  I do not need to be in order to be disturbed by the historical parallels.  And there are many parallels that I will be exploring, with others, over the coming weeks and months.  Here on the internet, at Daily Kos, and offline as well.  

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education , the landmark case that determined that separate was never equal and brought the institutionalized American racial caste system to a crashing and furious end.  When a politician, Democratic or Republican, liberal or conservative, claims to support the Israeli policy of hafrada, or separation, because Israel "shares our values," ask yourself this:

Do we value one person, one vote?

Do we value equality under the law?

Do we value academic freedom and the First Amendment?

 If the answer is yes, then Israel does not share our values.  And it is time to reexamine our relationship with "the only democracy in the Middle East."  

Originally posted to Alec82 on Sun May 16, 2010 at 04:31 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  this is an excellwnt diary (12+ / 0-)

      alec and i agree with your analysis although i suppose it may be controversial..

      so be it

      "....while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Eugene V. Debs

      by soothsayer99 on Sun May 16, 2010 at 04:54:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  great diary and slight correction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, Alec82

      Referred to as "The New Historians," they first emerged in the 1980s and against the backdrop of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon as well as the First Palestinian Intifada, also known as "uprising" or "shaking off,"  in 1987.  According to Pappe, these historians enjoyed a brief period of popularity during the 1990s, owing in large part to a growing willingness to reexamine Israel’s birth from a non-Zionist perspective.  In 1998, the government of Israel released archived documents from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Haganah archives.  These documents confirmed much of what the New Historians had started to write in the 1980s

      this jumped out at me because of the timeline. it is my recollection both israel and the UK released documents in 1978.

      From official archives, which were declassified in 1978 under Israel's 30-year rule, they discovered that the conduct of the Israeli forces before and during the war of 1948

      source

      when i first heard about the new historians a couple years ago i checked several sources and read many accounts online but this morning this info is not as forthcoming online but i'll look a little more.

      as i recall pappe and other young historians were studying in the UK in 78 and reviewed documents released there from the british mandate archives.

      •  I'll check.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zannie

        ....the Pappe article when I have it on me, but that's his date, or I meant to take his date.  I'm assuming that the government releases material in a staggered fashion; as he points out in his article, many of the documents remain classified or confidential and accessible only to "trusted" historians.  

        Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

        by Alec82 on Mon May 17, 2010 at 10:29:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  as recently as last summer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alec82

        i researched the new historians for a friend  and sent her many links easily and quickly accessible including wiki which was much more thorough than today as i recall(site last edited on 1/13/10). i'm wondering if their personal history is perhaps being 'cleansed' on the web because i'm not finding much of this info today.

        nonetheless there are still several timeline references available.

        Professor Avi Shlaim

        The late 1980s witnessed the emergence of the new history with the publication of books by Simha Flapan, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, and myself. In our books we drew heavily and with gratitude on the official documents that had recently been declassified by Israel under the 30-year rule.

        source

        But the origins of the "new history" were somewhat more mechanistic; indeed, nothing could better illustrate that what we know about the past may be always incomplete. Modelled on the British Public Records Act with its "30 year rule", Israel also regulates the release of information from its national archives for an identical period of time. Archival documents written during the period of the creation of the Israeli state thus became accessible from the late 1970s, and by 1987, the first and most celebrated work of the "New Historians" emerged, Benny Morrisʼs The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949.

        they worked from documents declassified in '78, 30 years from israel's founding.

        pappe's official site was one of my previous sources for his biographical history. when i went in search of it i found many references to "The Official Website of Ilan Pappé" but when i followed any number of those links (check sidebar) it says his site is no longer available. previously it was hosted by University of Exeter.

        •  edit (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alec82

          re wiki site, should read site last edited on 5/13/10. for what it's worth i think it is being dumbed down which is certainly consistent w/wiki's pappe site. wiki doesn't like the new historians!

          lol

        •  1998 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rusty Pipes, zannie

          This is the passage:

          "Most important for their emergence was the release in 1998 of major new documentation from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Haganah archives, allowing professional historians in Israel to see with their own eyes in government documents the magnitude of the 1948 ethnic cleansing. Even 'nationalist' and Orientalist historians, who had scorned Arab or Palestinian sources and relied exclusively on Israeli sources, could no longer deny the massive and intentional expulsions."

          He then cites Yoav Gelber, Independence versus Nakba: The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 [in Hebrew] (Or Yehuda Dvir, 2004).

          This is consistent with Pappe's discussion of "two textbooks hinting at the possibility of Palestinian expulsions in 1948" which were considered for inclusion into the national curriculum in the late 1990s but rejected by the Knesset committee.  Pappe goes on to describe how this controversy faded since 2000, and the events "hinted" at in the textbooks are now included in the Israeli curriculum.

          That seems to suggest that the IDF sources he is referring to were released in 1998 as opposed to the late 1980s, consistent with the text of the article.

          Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

          by Alec82 on Mon May 17, 2010 at 05:06:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ok (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rusty Pipes, Alec82

            i wish i was able to read the entire Vicissitudes of the 1948 Historiography of Israel online, for free. do you have a copy of the quarterly?

            there are some video interviews w/pappe online and i recall watching one where he describes this very vibrant conversation going on inside israel. every week hundreds of students and intellectuals would gather in the evening at the university. he said for a country as small as israel this represented a large national dialogue.

            thank you for informing me about these archives released by the idf in 98. i suppose when i read that section of your diary i blockquoted earlier it didn't indicate the new historian were originally working off released archives as well. i can't remember if it was also on one of the videotaped pappe interviews previously available on his site or where i learned it but if i am not mistaken the info related the new historians were all around the same age(perhaps this was jut my impression) and working on their graduate studies (together) in london at the time of the release of '78 archives there, those were the recently released british archives they were working off of. many letters and the ben gurion quotes and  letters. correspondence between the zionists and the UK gov. i will do a little more research because it was interesting.

            excellent diary and thanks again.

            •  Yeah there were.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rusty Pipes, zannie

              ...documents released near the middle or end of the 1980s as I recall and that, coupled with oral history and Palestinian sources, formed the basis for the work of the New Historians at that point in time.  They were able to substantially corroborate the counternarrative with the IDF documents and the Haganah archives.

              I do have a copy of the quarterly! I absolutely love it.  It really isn't bad for all of the source material you get.  Most of it is available online, apart from the original articles and the book reviews.  Still, I like having material in non-digital format when possible.

              Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

              by Alec82 on Mon May 17, 2010 at 06:00:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It should also be noted... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rusty Pipes, zannie

          ...that Benny Morris revised The Birth of the Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 based on the release of the 1998 documents.  

          Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

          by Alec82 on Mon May 17, 2010 at 05:12:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You only mention one side's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gatordiet

    ethnic cleansing. The other side successfully cleaned Jews from Gaza, the Etzion region, and East Jerusalem in 1948. Previously Jews had been ethnically cleansed from Hebron. Jews had lived in the last two areas from time immemorial.

    And the very same Arab countries that invaded Palestine on May 15, 1948 forced almost their entire Jewish populations to flee for their lives. There is now no Jewish community in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, or Egypt -- at most a tiny number of individual Jews (and none at all in Jordan).

  •  a correction (0+ / 0-)

    civil laws for Jews, and military laws for the roughly four million Palestinians in the occupied territories

    There aren't four million Palestinians in the West Bank. More like 2.5 million.

    •  There's Gaza (11+ / 0-)

      And then the ethnically cleansed refugees denied entry.  So I don't know what you are getting at, unless you are denying Gaza is occupied, in which case we have nothing further to discuss.

      Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

      by Alec82 on Sun May 16, 2010 at 05:07:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  So I take it you're not a fan of elections. (7+ / 0-)
          •  new elections should be scheduled as both (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            volleyboy1

            Hamas and Abbas terms have now expired.

            "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

            by JNEREBEL on Sun May 16, 2010 at 07:16:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure of the relevance of your comment, (6+ / 0-)

              since Israel has not abided by the results of the election in Gaza.  But do you think it should have done so?  And do you think it should do so if Hamas is reelected?

              Or are you also not a fan of elections?

              I also wonder if you think that indirect talks should not be occurring right now, because Abbas has no authority to agree to them, since his term has expired.

              •  I think my comment is very relevant. (0+ / 0-)

                As the lack of an unified PA hurts the movement of the peace process. Obviously, this isn't the only factor limiting progress but it is one, a relevant one at that.

                Or are you not a fan of elections?

                Yes, I believe indirect talks should be held. Do you? Even a more limited negotiations is better than no negotiations.

                Or do you disagree with the proximity talks?

                "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                by JNEREBEL on Mon May 17, 2010 at 09:56:33 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Since my comment was in response to (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  capelza, unspeakable, Alec82

                  charliehall's comment that Hamas "occupies" Gaza, I fail to see the relevance of your comment.  But, if you believe that indirect talks should be held, I'm assuming that you believe the talks should be held with parties who have, you know, won elections.  As you note, elections are overdue for the PA, so Abbas has no authority at the moment to commit to anything right now.

                  So which is it?  Indirect talks or elections?  Sounds to me like you're trying to have it both ways.

                  •  Well we must have it both ways for now (0+ / 0-)

                    since as I stated indirect talks are better than no talks. Still direct talks with an unified PA would be best.

                    I'm not of the school of withholding discussions unless all aspects align with one's expectations. Peace must come about sooner rather than later and waiting will not help.

                    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                    by JNEREBEL on Mon May 17, 2010 at 12:15:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So then your comment that (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      unspeakable

                      "new elections should be scheduled" is irrelevant.  Which is what I suspected.

                      •  Only if you do not approve of elections. (0+ / 0-)

                        New elections would be the best way forward as it would likely mean a better chance at success at the negotiating table due to a new, unified PA.

                        Barring new elections, proximity talks are better than no talks.

                        Unless you do not approve of peace talks.

                        So please explain if you find some reason to object to either proximity talks or elections and subsequent direct talks with an unified PA.

                        I would ask you to please leave your baseless suspicions behind and instead advise why you object to either new elections or proximity talks.

                        "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                        by JNEREBEL on Mon May 17, 2010 at 05:09:52 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Only if you assume (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Aunt Martha, Alec82

                          that a) these new elections would be free and fair and b) that anyone running has the necessary leadership skills and lack of corruption to represent the Palestinian people.

                          There is not enough evidence to support either assumption.

                          The best option for the Palestinian people is to ignore their useless leaders, some of whom are beginning to emulate the occupier in the most sickeningly ironic ways, and work on grassroots efforts to destroy the occupation.

                          The best course for Palestinian leaders is to shut up and let the NGOs lead the way. On the issue of boycotts, that's what seems to be happening, and thank Quetzalcoatl for that.

                          So you see, calling new elections irrelevant in the specific context of this discussion and in the specific context of the Palestinian reality doesn't necessarily mean that anyone here is disapproving of elections in general.

                          Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

                          by unspeakable on Mon May 17, 2010 at 05:30:10 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Elections are a better outlet for the people's (0+ / 0-)

                            voices than any other method.

                            Free and fair is certainly the goal and I believe they would be no less free nor fair the previous election.  

                            I understand your view is different and you would not support new elections as you do not believe the current leadership has sufficient skills. I believe the only way to obtain those skills is through Palestinians exercising their franchise. It doesn't mean the 'right' people will be elected but it will be an expression of the people's will.

                            While it may not be a disapproval of elections to call them irrelevant it is a denial of each citizen's inherent rights to choose their own representatives. And they deserve their own democracy now rather than later.

                            "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                            by JNEREBEL on Tue May 18, 2010 at 08:30:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The people's will (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Aunt Martha, Alec82, soysauce

                            is being expressed through the boycott, which is actively working. The "people" do not trust any of the politicians.

                            And you really can't have free or fair elections as long as there is an occupation by a foreign country which will ultimately throw out the results if it doesn't like them (as happened with the last election). People have a right to elect their leaders, but they also have a right to do so in an environment free from coercion, and that simply isn't the case right now.

                            Elections and the resulting negotiations with the former terrorists and dirty little bloodsucking snakes in the Israeli government will do nothing but legitimize people on both sides who do not deserve any legitimacy.

                            I'm not too concerned about elections. They will come when the time is right. Now is the time for destroying the occupation and all of its mechanisms. After that, the question of the "people's" political rights will be addressed.

                            Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

                            by unspeakable on Wed May 19, 2010 at 10:44:28 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Boycotts are a legitimate form of (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Alec82

                            political expression, no doubt about it.

                            Whether or not it is effective at achieving its goals is a question to debate. Boycotts have been successful in some instances and much less so in others.

                            Legitimacy is bestowed upon elected leaders from the franchise of the people not from the leaders personal backgrounds or history. That is why I believe elections are so important here and why they could potentially lead to a faster resolution and therefore peace.  

                            "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                            by JNEREBEL on Wed May 19, 2010 at 12:18:35 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And that's the difference between us. (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Aunt Martha, Alec82, soysauce

                            You've got yours so all you're interested in is a faster resolution. Palestinians are more interested in a fairer resolution. A fairer resolution will not come about as long as Palestinian "leaders" are beholden to their foreign masters.

                            So we all have to look elsewhere for leadership.

                            Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

                            by unspeakable on Wed May 19, 2010 at 12:23:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  How about we have both fair and fast? n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                            by JNEREBEL on Wed May 19, 2010 at 12:24:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Aunt Martha, Alec82, soysauce

                            Palestinians aren't getting fair from the Israeli government and haven't for a long time.

                            In this case, fair and fast can't both be had.

                            Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

                            by unspeakable on Wed May 19, 2010 at 12:25:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Palestinians haven't been getting (0+ / 0-)

                            fair from any government for a long time.

                            In this case, let us hope at least one will change. If not by the current elected representatives, then by those that replace them.

                            The sooner, the better.

                            "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                            by JNEREBEL on Thu May 20, 2010 at 10:26:18 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  But you're the one who wants proximity talks (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          unspeakable, Alec82

                          now, approved by Abbas who has no electoral legitimacy, and conducted with Abbas who has no electoral legitimacy.

                          So you're willing to move forward with someone who has no electoral legitimacy while simultaneously responding to me upthread that elections are overdue.

                          Just to be clear.

                          •  I want peace. (0+ / 0-)

                            And I believe the proximity talks are better than no talks even with a tainted Abbas as there are no other representatives with any greater amount of legitimacy than he has.

                            Yes, elections are overdue and as I also stated above it would be best for elections to be held sooner rather than later.  

                            Why do you believe it would be better to hold off on peace talks?

                            "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                            by JNEREBEL on Tue May 18, 2010 at 08:18:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Peace sounds great, (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            unspeakable, Alec82

                            and I mean that, but if you're so unconcerned about elections then why bring up the issue in the first place?  Because clearly you don't care about them.  Or you don't care about them in terms of the PA, and only do in terms of Hamas.

                            And your comment about Abbas have greater legitimacy than any other representatives, as well as your comment to unspeakable above, really demonstrates how much you need to listen to some of the Arab posters here, who have a very different perspective but know a lot more than either of us do about who has legitimacy with the Palestinian people, as opposed to with Israeli and US/EU/Quartet leaders.

                          •  Where do I say I am unconcerned about (0+ / 0-)

                            elections?

                            I said elections are overdue but that in their absence proximity talks are better than no talks.

                            I think you may be confused re: Abbas as having greater legitimacy. I don't believe I have said that. In fact, I said both Abbas and Hamas have stayed in office beyond their respected terms of office. Neither is any more or less legitimate regarding their elected offices. Hamas rule of Gaza is another matter altogether.

                            I am always open to learning more, with that I can readily agree.

                            "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                            by JNEREBEL on Wed May 19, 2010 at 12:23:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Either Abbas and Hamas have electoral (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            unspeakable, Alec82

                            legitimacy or they do not.  And if you're willing to let one party's lack of electoral legitimacy slide then you have to let the other party's slide as well.  And if you're willing to enter into proximity talks with Abbas who has no electoral legitimacy, then what was the point of your initial comment in the first place?

                          •  Neither have. (0+ / 0-)

                            But until each decides to schedule new elections they both rule de facto.

                            While they do so, they should take up talks for peace.

                            "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                            by JNEREBEL on Thu May 20, 2010 at 10:28:01 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  I would love for elections to happen in (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zannie, capelza, Aunt Martha, Alec82

              the OPT and I would love for Israel and the US to abide by the voice of the Palestinian people in that election.

              Buffy: "Your logic does not resemble our earth logic" Xander: "Mine is much more advanced". BtVS, The Wish.

              by Fire bad tree pretty on Sun May 16, 2010 at 11:53:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Nor one of facts. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aunt Martha, Alec82

            Gaza is under siege and is therefore under occupation by their besiegers as they have no access to their own waters, airspace, large chunks of their own land, or freedom of movement out of and into their own territory.  That is unquestionably "occupation" and then worse as the siege denies these same occupied people the basic necessities of life.

            Charliehall Jr. denies this regularly.

            Celtic Merlin
            Carlinist

            Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

            by Celtic Merlin on Mon May 17, 2010 at 09:05:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  fine, have it your way (0+ / 0-)

          civil laws for Jews, and military laws for the roughly four million Palestinians  

          all better now.

      •  Gaza is not occupied (4+ / 0-)

        It is besieged.  Sort of the new Leningrad.

  •  Alec, I like you... (7+ / 0-)

    ...and I'm sympathetic to your diary and your message, as you know.

    It isn't right to put the word "return" in scare quotes like you do here:

    For Israelis, as well as many Jews outside of Israel in the Jewish diaspora, the commemoration, which takes place on May 14, marks a triumph: the "return" of a Jewish nation in the region

    What it means to us is what it means to us.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Sun May 16, 2010 at 05:06:09 PM PDT

  •  a further correction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Red Sox

    Yet "apartheid" has come to refer to a spectrum of mechanisms for separation

    Only in the jargon of anti-Israel activists. Everyone else uses it to refer to South Africa.

    •  I don't think this is accurate (9+ / 0-)

      There is a statute passed by the ICC defining the crime of apartheid.  Clearly, there is some constituency which believes that it has a broader definition that goes beyond anti-Israel activists.

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Sun May 16, 2010 at 05:11:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in this case apartheid definitely does not apply (0+ / 0-)

        because Jews are not a racial group. (Jews come in all races.)

        •  I don't want to have this debate again (7+ / 0-)

          Not least because I don't think it matters.

          I don't find the apartheid comparison particularly useful, but defining Jews as a non-racial group isn't a reason why.

          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

          by Jay Elias on Sun May 16, 2010 at 05:17:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Can I ask why? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza, heathlander, Aunt Martha

            I know you believe that the apartheid analogy is not politically useful because the American political elite will not be driven by the same strategic considerations that drove them to oppose South African apartheid, but what is it about the South African policies that you do not think are useful, apart from that?

            Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

            by Alec82 on Sun May 16, 2010 at 05:45:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, I think most comparisons conceal more... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JNEREBEL, capelza, Aunt Martha

              ...than they reveal.  So I tend to oppose them rather reflexively, for starters.

              But launching into specifics, I think that the historical differences are pretty considerable.  Apartheid did not come into being for fifty years after the proliferation of the pass laws, or for almost as much time as the entire history of Israel.  Further, apartheid is inextricably tied to the history of European colonialism; the first pass law was proposed in the late 18th century by George Macartney and the election of the National Party in 1948 was a direct result of the conflict between whites who were sympathetic to Britain and those who resented the South African treaty obligations that led them to join the Allies in WWII.

              To cut to the chase a bit, I think that this is the key difference.  Apartheid is a product of European colonialism; Zionism is a reaction and repudiation of European colonialism.  I know that there are some here who disagree with that, who feel that Zionism itself is a manifestation of European colonialism, but I think that is ahistorical.  Indeed, I think that Zionism as it has manifested in Israel is what it is in large part due to the consequences of being governed by European colonialism.  If there is no British mandate, there is no Irgun, no Lehi, and history is different.  Indeed, I think that the Israeli apartheid narrative is one which has been promoted in large part by self-serving European scholars, who wish to shift responsibility away from British and French colonial policies in the Middle East and onto the Jewish immigrants.  My opinion is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in no small part an engineered conflict created by the British as a matter of policy.

              So while there certainly are points of similarity, and reasons for deep concern, I think that the comparison conceals more than it reveals.  I suppose that for broader political purposes, that might not matter; certainly the majority of people aren't going to take my level of interest in history.  But I'm stuck being me.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Sun May 16, 2010 at 06:10:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think.. (7+ / 0-)

                ....that we need to separate Zionist self-understanding, and the various perspectives within the Zionist movement, from an analysis of how Zionism has functioned.  In the past and in the present.

                I certainly agree that, especially before 1967, there was a perception that Israel was one of the many decolonization success stories.  I think that perception has changed, among the Left generally and even within Israel among the Zionists Pappe refers to as the New Right. As for this:

                Indeed, I think that the Israeli apartheid narrative is one which has been promoted in large part by self-serving European scholars, who wish to shift responsibility away from British and French colonial policies in the Middle East and onto the Jewish immigrants.  My opinion is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in no small part an engineered conflict created by the British as a matter of policy.

                Maybe.  I don't know that you can deny that the European colonial powers are responsible for much of the mess, and I don't particularly see the people I've read on the subject absolving them of responsibility.  In fact, Walid Khalidi condemns the British for attempting to do just that and making the situation worse.

                But I think that if you look at colonialism with the same sense of indignation many on the New Left have for it, you are missing a major piece of the puzzle, several pieces even.  And that's true whether you are talking about Israel, the US, South Africa or Tibet.  

                Do I deny that the moral sting of apartheid serves a useful political purpose for anti-Occupation activists? No, I do not; I don't think anyone arguing in good faith could disclaim its appeal for that reason.  I do think, however, that there are parallels that exist independent of a moral agenda, and that those parallels are worthy of consideration.

                Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

                by Alec82 on Sun May 16, 2010 at 06:22:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  To a degree (6+ / 0-)

                  But at the same time, we gravitate towards the apartheid comparison less because it is apt, and more for the political reasons.

                  For example, the situation I think is more similar is that of India, and its partition, and the status of Indian Sikhs and the Khalistan movement.  The situation in Punjab was a direct result of how the British left and the establishment of Pakistan, the choice of the British to negotiate separately with the Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, and by the negotiated partition of territory on what, to people on the ground, was a largely arbitrary process.  

                  This lead directly to division on religious/racial/ethnic grounds, to widespread state discrimination against Sikhs by the Hindu government, and to political violence by the Sikhs against the government, and then to its violent repression by the government.  Presently, to a degree, this has been overcome (which is of some interest to us in relation to P/I), was violently repressed, and is simply on the back burner because the India/Pakistan conflict is so much greater than the Hindu/Sikh conflict in India that it presently overwhelms it.

                  But my point in bringing up the difference is not to shift blame to Europe; it is that the problems are different because of it.  In the case of India or Israel, what happened already happened; it cannot be erased in the manner of unjust and discriminatory laws.  Populations have shifted and different forms of social organization have taken place.  Those things have to be dealt with largely as they are now, not how they should have been.

                  Finally, I'll use the three examples to point out how demographic differences alter the way these situations will resolve themselves.  The Afrikaaners were a minority ruling a majority with no hope of a demographic shift.  The Punjabi Sikhs were a minority seeking self-determination from the Hindu majority, with no hope of a demographic shift.  In Israel and Palestine, you have a slight Jewish majority overall and a more considerable Jewish majority within Israel, both of which are likely to be reversed due to demographic changes.  And because of the different demographics, the people involve react differently and view the situation differently.

                  I realize the above is a bit disjointed, by the way.  It has been a long day and I apologize.

                  The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                  by Jay Elias on Sun May 16, 2010 at 06:52:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  interest in relation to I/P (0+ / 0-)

                    Presently, to a degree, this has been overcome (which is of some interest to us in relation to P/I), was violently repressed, and is simply on the back burner because the India/Pakistan conflict is so much greater than the Hindu/Sikh conflict in India that it presently overwhelms it.

                    Can you elaborate please on how you see it having been overcome and the methods employed? Or is it strictly a result of the violence being repressed and a greater seen enemy in Pakistan?

                    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                    by JNEREBEL on Sun May 16, 2010 at 07:21:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I can a bit... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      capelza, corvo

                      ...but I'm too beat to do a good job of it.

                      It is not strictly due to repression and Pakistan.  An effort was made to integrate the Punjabi Sikhs, and India presently has a Sikh Prime Minister.  To a large degree, this was a result of the 1985 Rajiv-Longowal accord, where the Indian government accepted many Sikh demands.  However, much of the accord has never been implemented, yet the existence of the accord still managed to defuse tensions.  Also important was the departure of most Punjabi Hindus from Punjab in the early 1980s, leaving a clearly Sikh majority in Punjab and less opportunity for direct conflict.

                      So to a degree, demographics, once again, altered the conflict.  But the surprise election of the United Progressive Alliance in 2004 and the even more surprising nomination by the UPA of Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister have played a huge role in the limiting of tensions since.

                      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                      by Jay Elias on Sun May 16, 2010 at 07:39:33 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I was in India a couple months ago (0+ / 0-)

                        and asked about the Sikh situation and responses I received was largely along the lines you express, that the strife had largely declined.

                        Thanks.

                        "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

                        by JNEREBEL on Mon May 17, 2010 at 09:58:29 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  There is no inherent conflict (0+ / 0-)
                    between Hindus and Sikhs. The trouble that we saw in the late 70s and early 80s was the result of the Khalistan separatist movement that was spurred on by Pakistan's ISI with the objective of breaking India apart (exactly what it has been doing in Kashmir since 1988: http://kashmir101.blogspot.com/ ).

                    To understand the relationship between Hindus and Sikhs, consider the following. Sikhism founder Guru Nanak was born a Hindu (c. 15th century AD), and Hindu Punjabi families used to send their first born son into Sikhism, as the Sikh empire was being built from trained warriors in defense of the Punjabis from the brutality and oppression being imposed on them by Mughal tyrants such as Aurangzeb. Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs are family and are genetically closely related. And, as with the other Indic/Dharmic religions of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism,  Sikhism is also rooted in the concept of "Dharma."

                    "This lead directly to division on religious/racial/ethnic grounds, to widespread state discrimination against Sikhs by the Hindu government."

                    That's precisely the ISI-manufactured propaganda that was used to incite Sikh separatism. But, it's not true. Sikhs  in India have a significantly higher per-capita income than do Hindus, have risen to top positions in business, academia, politics and military, and India now even has a Sikh PM.

                    "and to political violence by the Sikhs against the government"

                    It was separatist violence by Khalistan separatists.

                    "and then to its violent repression by the government."

                    Indira Gandhi was forced into the operation to purge separatist elements that were set up their base in Sikh religion's holy site of the Golden Temple, and it was feared that Pakistan might recognize a break-away Punjab and send in troops. Please read the four part interview of the Sikh general that conducted the operation and you will get a much better understanding and insight into what took place:
                    http://www.rediff.com/...
                    http://in.rediff.com/...
                    http://www.rediff.com/...
                    http://www.rediff.com/...

                    And that brings us to the question that begs an answer...

                    Why exactly is it that Hindus are the Black Sheep, who apparently must be blamed first for anything and everything first?

                    Did you know that Indians invented the # 0 and the decimal/binary systems: a primer on Indian mathematics.

                    by iceweasel on Mon May 17, 2010 at 09:08:48 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh, you have to be fucking joking me (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Alec82

                      I am only seeing this now, but after the bad joke of the Britain was in Palestine to help Jews crap, this?

                      Is this the dKos version of being punked?

                      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                      by Jay Elias on Thu May 20, 2010 at 10:07:59 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  This guy is a (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Jay Elias, Alec82

                        Hindu nationalist I believe. Any time you mention anything to do with the South Asia, he will comment, and usually it's fairly ... well, let's just say ideological.

                        There's another user who has the same MO but towards Greek nationalism. He got upset with me once for suggesting that the ancient Macedonians may not have been Greeks. It was kinda funny.

                        Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

                        by unspeakable on Thu May 20, 2010 at 10:30:56 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Heh (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          unspeakable, Alec82

                          OK.  I was just a bit blown away by the "Why is it that Hindus are the black sheep who have to be blamed for everything first" stuff.

                          When was the last time anyone in America blamed Hindus for, well, anything?  

                          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                          by Jay Elias on Thu May 20, 2010 at 10:36:30 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Sorry. (0+ / 0-)
                          I have no clue what you had in mind with the label "Hindu Nationalist," but if I subscribe any ideologies of the kind, they would be "Human globalism" and "Human development."

                          Did you know that Indians invented the # 0 and the decimal/binary systems: a primer on Indian mathematics.

                          by iceweasel on Fri May 21, 2010 at 07:02:57 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  I was contesting your (0+ / 0-)
                        account of the source(s) of the Punjab separatist movement and claims regarding the relationship between Sikhs and Hindus. I strongly disagree with your views which echoed Pakistani/ISI propaganda.

                        Further, I lived in India during those turbulent times and I have had several Sikh friends both in India and in the US, which might make me better versed in the matter than you may or may not be.

                        Did you know that Indians invented the # 0 and the decimal/binary systems: a primer on Indian mathematics.

                        by iceweasel on Fri May 21, 2010 at 07:13:44 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  My views have nothing to do with the ISI (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Alec82

                          Nor did I suggest that anything was the fault of the Hindu majority of India.

                          However, the historical record here is not in dispute.  The historical record is clear on Indira Gandhi, and her indifference to the concerns of ethnic minorities played itself out not merely in India with the Sikhs, but in Sri Lanka with the Tamils.  However, she wasn't the problem in the first place, according to my post; the problem was the British occupation and how they ended it, and in that sense the creation of Pakistan in the matter that it happened was as much of a problem as anything else.  These are structural problems in post-colonial states, that have nothing to do with any inherent qualities of the peoples involved, including the Hindus.  Areas divided according to ethnic/religious lines by colonial powers all have these problems.

                          Finally, as for your claims to authority, I have no belief that closeness to events promotes insight, nor do I believe in anecdotal evidence.

                          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                          by Jay Elias on Fri May 21, 2010 at 10:07:48 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  qwerty (0+ / 0-)
                            While it's possible for an outside observer/student to gain sufficient command that is superior to anecdotal or direct experience, your use of borrowed and false talking points is not demonstrating any recognizable scholarship on your part on the subject of Sikh separatism, unfortunately. Sikh separatists are misguided people (who are stirred up by nefarious anti-Indian elements such as the ISI), as India, being a secular pluralistic democracy,  belongs to them as much  as it does to any other group of Indians, and competent and conscientious people among them can rise to govern, within the auspices of democracy, not only all of Punjab, but indeed all of India, as India's current PM Dr. Singh sufficiently demonstrates.

                            In lieu of well-studied scholarship, direct and observant experience of someone who saw things from the inside and has had broad personal interactions with the people in question trumps. For instance, your personal and direct experience in Israel might trump the presumed knowhow of many or most of the outside commentators on Middle East matters in terms of insight and command.

                            FYI, Indira Gandhi was a very inclusive Prime Minister. She had several Sikh generals, including Sam Maneckshaw (a Sikh) who handed her a powerful and thumping victory over Pakistan in 1971. She had appointed India's first Air Force chief (Idris Latif), which should be contrasted with the rouge Islamic regime running Pakistan, where non-Muslims are prohibited by their constitution and laws from assuming power (becoming PM or President) and Pakistani non-Muslims have, for the most, been even disallowed from serving in Pak's armed forces. She even married a Muslim guy, defying her mother's objections to the marriage. As far as I know, she was never accused by any knowledgeable person as having played favoritism towards Hindus or against minorities. To the contrary, going back to Nehru's era, Congress party, in general, plays a pseudo-secular hand, with Hindus getting the raw end of the stick in a variety of matters, but we'll discuss that on another day.

                            The mistake Indira (who I think was otherwise a strong and capable PM) made was that of not defying the sociopathic Nixon in 1971 (who had supported Pakistan while it was conducting a genocidal killing of 3 million people in Bangladesh), in the aftermath of her military victory. She should have called Nixon's bluff, asserted herself in dealing with Pakistan post-war, and from such a position of strength dealt with the tensions in Sri Lanka and attempted to bring about an acceptable resolution to the strife in that Island.

                            It took me several minutes to regather the links that I posted above of the interview with Genl. Brar (another Sikh), and I hope you have at least bothered to click and briefly peruse them. That interview would give you some good insights as I mentioned earlier.

                            Did you know that Indians invented the # 0 and the decimal/binary systems: a primer on Indian mathematics.

                            by iceweasel on Sun May 23, 2010 at 03:49:11 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  WHAT? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                zannie

                "If there is no British mandate, there is no Irgun, no Lehi, and history is different."

                How about, if there is no British Mandate, there is no Israel?

                Your narrative is just silly, Jay: the British Mandate was created in large part to create a "Jewish home." While there was the White Paper, etc., through which Britain limited the extent to which it supported Zionism, the whole operation was undertaken in support of Zionism. Any limits that were imposed were done in the face of practical and moral limits far more than because Britain opposed Zionism. Don't forget that Britain brutally put down the Arab Revolt in Palestine in 1936-39, and effectively disarmed the Palestinians going forward toward conflict with the Zionists.

                Yes, Britain, as always, had ulterior motives and used the Zionists as pawns. But you stand history on its head to forgive Zionist excesses because of anything the British did in the Mandate period.

                •  I'm sorry, I couldn't disagree more (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  corvo, Celtic Merlin

                  MY narrative is silly?  Your narrative claims that the British mandate was established to create a Jewish homeland; this is ahistorical nonsense.  The British utilized this as a reason for them to be allowed the Mandate; this was in no significant aspect their motivation.

                  So, no offense greater than required intended, but piffle.

                  The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                  by Jay Elias on Sun May 16, 2010 at 07:25:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Don't take my word for it. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    zannie

                    Read the document:

                    Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them; and

                    Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and

                    Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country; and

                    Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have selected His Britannic Majesty as the Mandatory for Palestine; and

                    ...

                    ART. 2. The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.

                    ...

                    ART. 4. An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration to assist and take part in the development of the country.

                    The Zionist organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognised as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty's Government to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home.

                    ...

                    ART. 6. The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

                    ART. 7. The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.

                    ...

                    "History" is the literal recording of events. I have provided a very clear recording of the agreement under which Britain acquired Mandatory power over Palestine, and it clearly and repeatedly notes that creating a "Jewish home" was central to Britain's responsibilities as Mandatory power.

                    Thus, your claim that my narrative is "ahistorical nonsense" is clearly and unequivocally false. Please retract your false statement.

                    Now, where is your documentation for your narrative? I suspect that it is mostly unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, and you would do well to recognize it as such.

                    And corvo, how could you recommend that nonsense?

  •  and a minor correction (0+ / 0-)

    For Israelis, as well as many Jews outside of Israel in the Jewish diaspora, the commemoration, which takes place on May 14

    It is actually commemorated on a date around 5 Iyar on the Jewish calendar. But most years the date gets moved to 6 Iyar or 7 Iyar in order to avoid conflicts with the Jewish Sabbath. It almost never falls out on 14 May in the Gregorian Calendar -- I think the last time was 1986.

  •  The 2008 census data in Israel, (9+ / 0-)

    the report of which is coming out in June 2010 is going to shed light on the some very interesting demographic changes. Including the over 800k citizens not living in Israel and living mainly in the US.

    Previously I posted under the user name palestinian professor, which is now deprecated. I now post under my late grandfather's name simone daud.

    by simone daud on Sun May 16, 2010 at 05:22:53 PM PDT

  •  Alec, have you read Frederick Jackson Turner? (4+ / 0-)

    His essay, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," bears an uncanny resemblance to Harding.  For example, Turner writes that "the frontier is the outer edge of the wave--the meeting point between savagery and civilization."  It's very much a late 1890s trope, but obviously one still with us today in subtler form.

  •  Pappe is not credible (8+ / 1-)

    he is a fraud, an agenda-driven charlatan. Reference to him detracts from an otherwise well-written diary.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Sun May 16, 2010 at 06:08:25 PM PDT

  •  I stand with Dov Yermiya (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Eiron, soothsayer99

    In 2008, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak sent out invitations to a ceremony that was to honor all the still living  veterans of Israel's 1948 "War of Independence".

    This is a part of the text that Dov Yermiya wrote to Defense Minister Barak in response to the invitation:

    “I, a 95 year old Sabra (native born Israeli Jew), who has plowed its fields, planted trees, built a house and fathered sons, grandsons and great-grandsons, and also shed his blood in the battle for the founding of the State of Israel, do declare herewith that I renounce my belief in the Zionism which has failed, that I shall not be loyal to the Jewish fascist state and its mad visions, that I shall not sing anymore its nationalist anthem, that I shall stand at attention only on the days of mourning for those fallen on both sides in the wars, and that I look with a broken heart at an Israel that is committing suicide and at the three generations of offspring that I have bred and raised in it".

    “For 42 years, Israel turned what should have been Palestine into a giant detention camp, and is holding a whole people captive under an oppressive and cruel regime, with the sole aim of taking away their country, come what may!!!"

    “”The IDF eagerly suppresses their efforts at rebellion, with the active assistance of the settlement thugs, by the brutal means of a sophisticated Apartheid and a choking blockade, inhuman harassment of the sick and of women in labor, the destruction of their economy and the theft of their best land and water".

    “Over all this there is waving the black flag of the frightening contempt for the life and blood of the Palestinians. Israel will never be forgiven for the terrible toll of blood spilt, and especially the blood of children, in hair-raising quantities. “

    “As a veteran of the 1948 war, who was already wounded in face to face combat two weeks before the Declaration of the State, I feel obliged herewith to return the invitation to you, as Minister of Defence. I do so regretfully but see this as my duty".

    “I consider you, Ehud Barak, as one of the top military commanders and prominent political leaders who were responsible for converting the army from ‘the Israeli Defence Force’ to an army of occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people and defender of the criminal settlements in their country".

    “40 years of occupation have utterly corrupted the Israeli army and all strata of Israeli society.They are both characterized by the nationalist 'east wind' [the east wind brings the chamsin and locusts] which blows and kindles conflagrations of endless wars, which threaten our people and land with the third and final destruction. Your share in the responsibility for all this is enormous, and therefore I return your invitation to you, without thanks.”      

    Illegal Alien: Term used by the descendents of foreign colonizers to refer to the descendents of indigenous people

    by mojada on Sun May 16, 2010 at 07:39:15 PM PDT

    •  Israel... (4+ / 0-)

      ....is not yet a fascist or totalitarian state (nor was white South Africa; it is not a moral judgment of any regime or form of governance, just an observation of the current politics).  The creeping authoritarianism and the permanency of the Occupation and the inherent ethnocentrism and injustice behind hafrada are all facts that are difficult to refute, however.  

      Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

      by Alec82 on Sun May 16, 2010 at 08:08:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  wow just wow (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zannie

      ""The IDF eagerly suppresses their efforts at rebellion, with the active assistance of the settlement thugs, by the brutal means of a sophisticated Apartheid and a choking blockade, inhuman harassment of the sick and of women in labor, the destruction of their economy and the theft of their best land and water".

      Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

      by Eiron on Mon May 17, 2010 at 03:12:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow (12+ / 0-)

    That went surprisingly well.  Can I attribute the complete lack of a flame war to my soothing writing skills or should I give due regard to posting on a weekend and the distraction provided by Tom J's diary?

    Policy, Peace and Progress Before Party

    by Alec82 on Sun May 16, 2010 at 08:41:39 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary, Alec! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alec82, Fire bad tree pretty

    Thank you.  Segregation by any name violates human rights.

    "Trolling is a sad reality of internet life...Directly replying to the content of a trollish message is usually a waste of time"

    by Rusty Pipes on Mon May 17, 2010 at 12:21:31 PM PDT

  •  This is great, Alec! (7+ / 0-)

    Sorry I missed it. Good to see that there was some good discussion, though.

    Sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice. -- Clark's Law

    by unspeakable on Mon May 17, 2010 at 02:43:44 PM PDT

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