Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Israel at 63

We're approaching 8 million people: ten times the population in 1948, but still one of the world's smaller countries, not that you'd know it from all the noise about us.

Yad Vashem generally estimates the number of Jews murdered in the Shoah as close to 5.8 million. The number of Jews in Israel today is 5,837,000. Most of the 322,000 non-Jewish immigrants are culturally Jewish, and their definition has more to do with the politics of religion than with reality.

For a demonstration of how committed Israelis are to their national project, I recommend Alex Stein's blogpost yesterday. Alex is decidedly to the left of most of us, but not in a loony way. He's description of Israel and his feelings about it are easily echoed by almost all of us, and the disagreements we'd have with him are much less important than the agreement.

I posted my own thoughts on the matter in a concise way on Independence Day three years ago; the words are exactly right today still. Israel's First Century.


peterthehungarian said...

If you want a real loony left piece about our independence read this Ha'aretz piece:

Barry Meislin said...

You have to cut "Haaretz" some slack.

It's pretty sore that Israel still exists (or should that be, "has been allowed to still exist") in its current form.

One can feel its pain. (And one can, likewise, feel its "hope"....)

File under: "To understand is to forgive"(?)

Anonymous said...

His description, not "he's description."

Silke said...

since Juan Cole has so many admirers on this blog
here he is in an interview with Christopher Lydon

Warning: Christopher Lydon gushed even more than normal when talking with Mustafa Barghouti, labelled as a Ghandi for Palestine

I'll keep the talk for later - it sure requires a special mood ;-(

Just a Thought said...

Note to Yaacov - Kristof is at it again:


Barry Meislin said...


But try to imagine how much Kristof is suffering---how much the feeble moralists at Ha'aretz, and around the world are suffering---with each day that Israel continues to defy those who wish its destruction.

(On the other hand, one can imagine their hopes when they feel, when they believe, when they sense, that Israel's destruction is imminent....)

Silke said...

don't forget those who delight in seeing these free-spirited Israelis chastised, admonished, disciplined, taught manners, restricted, addressed like kindergarten first graders by their "betters".

What will they do once Israel's destruction should be accomplished? Who will take care of them, soothe their pain, provide them with a substitute, nourish and succour them through their loss?

Silke said...

my "favourite" in this morning's Newsletters is this headline from the NYT

Israeli Troops Fire as Marchers Breach Borders

for crying out loud they are just marchers, do Israelis always have to act hysterically as Tom Segev likes to claim on German radio they are bound to do because they don't follow his advice.

Ethan Bronner doesn't created his own headlines (he claims) but Jeffrey Goldberg has a post where he discusses the piece.

Barry Meislin said...

What will they do once...

I'm pretty sure the utter and complete euphoria will last quite a while.

But when it does begin to wear off (and it will), they can focus on destroying the next target of their rage (there are plenty of targets to choose from): each other; or Shias or Sunni (as the case may be); or Copts; or Indians; or westerners!!

There's certainly no shortage (for the highly principled and the highly motivated).
And extremely motivated.

Silke said...

ah but Barry none is as juicy and has as long and as "noble" a pedigree as going after Jews

Judging from my own people I say they bridge the time till they can indulge again by building memorials to the dead while lecturing the living on how to behave so the next one will not be too hard for the perpetrators to pull of.

Sylvia said...

I think the Israeli extreme left is in deep introspection. yeesterday's events have not been seriously covered in the anglo-jewish blogosphere, but they brought to a new -and cruel - realization that the dispute is not about "the 1967 borders", nor the Gaza "siege",nor the "settlements", but about the existence of Israel and the fate of its jewish inhabitants.
We can expect a phenomenon similar to that which happened to tthe Israeli left in the second intifada: a change of mind by many.

Sylvia said...

Does anyone have a list of sites/blogs where it is possible to post in times of crisis?
I (still) have difficulties with blogger.com sites, I have tried repeatedly on Elder site's but none of my posts went through.
Does anyone have the same problem?
For blogger.com I am having to manually delete all my cookies before almost every post (and I am rather lazy).

Silke said...

but Sylvia I have noticed you with great delight at the Elder recently with no problem. And if something is wrong with the comment section there I guess it would be more due to problems you might have with Disqus than with Blogger. (Disqus works fine for me)

Most of all I am sure, that if you ask for help the guys there will be glad to provide it.

There is quite a number of delightfully outspoken Israeli commenters at Richard Millett

I subscribe to every post - so if you want something passed on to the Elder just let me know - I'll be happy to.

BTW Blogger was down last week from Wednesday to Friday but it is functioning now again.

Of course there is also CiFWatch which is another Wordpress-blog - I still read it, but I haven't been in their comment section for a long time, the Elder being so lively and so full of good company.

Other than that I by now try to apply my here and elsewhere acquired "skills" to German blogs which I find quite a task ;-) our language being somewhat clumsy by comparison.

Sylvia said...

Thanks Silke for the links.

Incidentally, Netanyahu is speaking to the Knesset as I write and he is saying what I said above: "it's not about the 1967 borders".

He is also listing his conditions for a Palestinian state:
1. Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State

3. The refugees problem must be solved within the new Palestinian state

5. We agree that the settlements bocs must stay in Israel

6. Jerusalem must remain the sovereign capital of Israel

I missed 2 and 4.

Sylvia said...

settlement blocs

Sylvia said...

2.End of conflict and end of demands

4. Palestinian State only based to the conditions stated in a mutual peace agreement 9concerning military, etc)

Sylvia said...

Livni is speaking - She blames Netanyahu for Israel's image in the world

Silke said...


I saw you at Richard Millett's ;-)
I asked your question at the Elder who has some French commenters

Actually come to think of it they were active when the items for the Hasbara award were collected. Do you want me to look for their URLs. I think they had blogs.

thanks for the report from the Knesset - today certainly is the day eminently appropriate to blame Netanyahu for Israel's image

I am relying for news more and more on Israel's government sites - Netanyahu's speech sounds interesting and sensible. It should show up here shortly.


Sylvia said...

Thanks, Silke. No that's enough I just tested that it works.
Blogger is getting to be too much of a hastle - nothing to do with the fact they were down - maybe some settings that are not correct but I am not going to bother too much with it.

Barry Meislin said...

Dear Tzippi!!

Bravo!! You have successfully proven that women politicians can be as beneath contempt as the male variety.

(And here, I had thought it was mostly a gender-based thing.)

Anyway, thank you for setting me straight.

You had your chance and you blew it in the Olmert, and boy did you blow it. (Not that I blame you. You see, every Israeli PM has "blown it" since the very beginning---chalk it up to Arafat's genius.)

But back on subject, I expect that showing yourself as the consummate politician, at your country's expense, that you have sealed your political future.

I certainly hope so....

Sincerely, with utter, dripping, mucilaginous contempt,
Barry Meislin

Barry Meislin said...

Should be, "...in the Olmert administration,..."

Sylvia said...

Just an idea.

How would you feel about the terms "Palestinist/Palestinism" to describe pro-Palestinians and the Palestinian exceptionalism preached by so-called "human rights" activists?
I think writing every time "Palestinians and pro-Palestinian jewish/leftist supporters" is too long (and I am rather lazy).

Sylvia said...

thinking about it, that would balance "Zionist and anti-Zionist". "Palestinism and anti-Palestinism". It needs to be defined further and that definition polished.

Silke said...

which might be best accomplished by trying it out by using it - then one can check immediately in context whether it comes across in the sense it is meant to

I am not quite sure though what anti-Palestinism stands for - if I should meet a Palestinian I wouldn't out of principle reject him. Given a chance I'd let him/her have his/her say first. (watching the eyes, listening closely)

Sylvia said...

Palestinian is an identity. Palestinism is an ideology or a state of mind. Mahmoud Abbas is a Palestinian. Vittorio Origani was palestinist. A Palestinian can also be a palestinist if he believes in Palestinian exceptionalism (the only refugees entitled to UN support in perpetuity; their suffering is more worthy than say, that of the Darfur refugees, of the Copts in Egypt, etc;).
Palestinism is a state of mind that trumps rationality (look at the folks at Mondoweiss). palestinism has a terminology and symbols of its own.

Sylvia said...

More - i would call Blumenthal Mondoweiss and that other character "The palestinist Blogosphere". 'Palestinist bloggers". here's context.

Silke said...


I should have thought first before typing - I am OK with all of your suggestions and look forward to trying them in live context.

The only objection I have is to Anti-Palestinist and/or Anti-Palestinism

Rule 101 I've learned over the decades, if you want to blast someone never help his name become more well-known - also I might qualify and I don't want to label myself with their name. If the Anti-Zionists are dumb enough to be called that, that is their problem.

I have no idea for a zinger to replace it, if I should stumble on something I'll let you know ;-)

Until then don't call me Anti-Palestinist - I mind that while I like it when they go after me accusing me of being a pro-Zionist or even better is getting accused of being under the thumb of a Zionist husband.

Sylvia said...

yes you're quite right about that point. And it is unnecessary.

Sylvia said...

Hmm. I thought I invented something new but I just thought of googling it and.... it exists!
in these contexts
-"Palestinism' the Real UN Disease"

-"Anti-Palestinism is Hate Speech"
(seems you're right about that one)

Silke said...


I'm not so sure whether Anti-Palestinism qualifies as hate-speech under all conditions. Whenever I "hurl" something at them, I try to keep in mind that I still want to feel comfortable should I meet again any of the Muslims I've come to like and respect over the decades.

On the other hand I feel an overly PC-attitude isn't any help to those amongst them who want to be truly "moderate" because it implicitly conveys the message that we don't consider the evil ones to be as bad as they would like us to regard them i.e. they feel abandonned by "us".

and whether the term existed or not, doesn't matter, it still is worth a try to promote it. Good language is needed, the more the better and one never knows before extensive experimentation what has the ability to hit the mark.

When I was new to this business I thought that having said something once and gotten no reaction I shouldn't repeat myself - I was wrong, some things hit in another context, other thoughts don't have it. But one try is too little to decide.

Silke said...



you once mentioned that Frantz Fanon also made the argument that this infantilising Palestinians or rather others into the poor little ones who can't help themselves is actually racism.

Can you find the source? Can you help with finding the source? preferably in quotable form.

It doesn't matter, if it is in French. An online "friend" who does lectures would be interested in maybe making good use of it, Fanon being such an ideal source for it.


Sylvia said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but what I remember saying about Fanon concerned the Algerian revolution, not the Palestinians, and I am the one who used his quote to explain the double standards used when judging the palesttinian and Israel's actions. I recall that what I said more or less about the double standards in which europeans and their "others" are held (by western ;leftists in general)with regard to "barbarity".
I found the quote but not the reference to racism although it is clear that it is what it's about.

First, you should know that the context is important. Fanon was making an apology of the Algerian revolutionaries and in a way not accepting but not rejecting altogether their cruelty.

Second - and that's very very important - Fanon is usually quoted by leftists- or plagiarized in the case of Mersheimer for exemple - to make their case against Israel, since the Algerian revolution has served as model for the Palestinians against Israel.
For that reason it would seem odd that i would quote him or even read him. that is because to me - and to many like me - the creation of Israel was a liberation of the country from colonizers in the spirit of the independences in the Middle East and Africa of the mid-twentieth century.

Now that you're through with my introduction, here is the quote:)

"The European nation that practices torture is a blighted nation, unfaithful to its history. The underdeveloped nation that practices torture thereby confirms its nature, plays the role of an underdeveloped people."
Frantz Fanon, Preface to A Dying Colonialism Grove Press, p.24

Barry Meislin said...

Indeed, they are liberated to torture one another. (As we have been seeing over the past several months---during this magnificent Arab Spring---and also during the past 40, 50, 60 years.)

Which is what the Palestinians will do to one another (it's already happened)...

...and what the Palestinians' brothers in neighboring countries will do to the Palestinians, as those neighbors---brothers---vie for dominance in the Land between the River and the Sea.

And no one will care.... (Since they are "liberated"....)

But at least, at the very least---Praised Be The LORD!!---the Zionist Project will have been obliterated. So all those deaths will---what is the expression that Abbas used recently (that great Abe Lincoln of the Palestinian masses)?---they will "not have died in vain""!!

Silke said...

thanks galore Sylvia

as best I remember you didn't quote the quote way back then (if you had I would have googled for it first) you just mentioned that Fanon made kind of the same point.

I think it is a great quote and I hope it inspires my online-friend to come up with another one of his great argument.

Silke said...


if you could overcome your "lazyness" for half an hour or more I'd love to read your take on this piece


especially with regard to

- Mubarak did indeed keep the lid on
- the Muslim Brotherhood is by far not as bad as the Salafists and the thugs and several others.
- Israel isn't mentioned but Netanyahu's lack of enthusiasm more than vindicated by implication

and some more.

Since the venue NYBooks was Tony Judt's favourite hang-out I am especially baffled by the hat-tip to Mubarak which would justify the much maligned support of the US for him over all those years.

Sylvia said...

I'll read it Silke but maybe not tonight.

Silke said...

no hurry whatsoever, Sylvia

it isn't of the kind that is old news after a week or two.