Rebuttal of Haaretz’s A.B. Yehoshua’s Article

As I have mentioned before I am a news masochist. Everytime I see an article I know I will disagree with to a point, I will read if nothing else but to anger myself that people really believe the filth they put forward as news or information. I came across this article today in Haaretz that seeks to explain why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict still exists. He starts by saying

“The question in the headline should ostensibly be directed to a Middle East expert, a political scientist, or even a foreign historian, not a writer whose expertise is his imagination. But because the question is a real one that is painful to everyone in the region regardless of his nationality, I will try to propose an answer.”

Now I must agree 100% with this since it seems he lacks the ability to articulate a well thought out argument that goes beyond a baseless regurgitation of the usual mantras. Next he says (after 3 paragraphs of worthless diatribe)

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict refuses to be resolved because it is a conflict unprecedented in human history. There is no precedent for a nation that lost its sovereignty 2,000 years ago, was scattered among the nations, and later decided for internal and external reasons to return to its ancient homeland and re-establish sovereignty there. Therefore, if everyone considers the modern return to Zion a unique event in human history, that means the Palestinian people or the Israeli Arabs have also been forced to face a unique phenomenon that no other nation has confronted.”

I have many problems with this paragraph and will detail as many as possible without writing a book. I shall start with the second sentence since as a person who studied and still studies I am at pain reading this misuse of terminology for political gains. A nation is a group of people with a similar history, language, religion, culture, etc. A state is an internationally recognized territorial governed by an institution able to negotiate on issues regarding its territory. This is the basic principle of sovereignty that is an inherent necessity for a state to exist. In addition this state is generally defined by its institutions, their ability to carry out functions and a monopoly on the use of violence. Without going on a tangent of whether Jews constitute a nation the simple fact is pre-May 1948 there has never been a STATE called Israel ever. The State System was established in 1648 in West Phalia. That being said I shall talk about how this situation is not unique. It is common as Norman Finkelstein says that anything involving the Jews is unique since they are a unique people, this is the narrative. This situation is not unique and has been resolved in most places it has occurred. The Zionists constitute(d) a colonial settler movement that sought to maximize its territory while minimizing the amount of “undesirables” within that territory. This will be discussed in detail later as he tries to address this issue poorly. Lastly by calling Palestinians with Israeli citizenship Israel’s Arabs it has a negative connotation that is perpetuated by Israel that has many negative aspects to it. One it sounds like they are a burden or an accident, neither of which they are. Second it wishes to make all Arabs to be one and the same, in fact denying Palestinians their national rights and self-determination they are entitled by international law. The next paragraph I wish to examine is this:

“The Jewish people thus quickly ingathered from all corners of the world. They did not want to expel the Palestinians, and certainly not to destroy them, but neither did they want to integrate them into Jewish society as other nations did with the local residents. Moreover, there was no attempt here to impose a colonial regime, since the Jews had no mother country that had sent them on colonial conquests, as in the case of Britain or France. Here something original and unique in human history took place: A nation arrived in the homeland of another nation to replace its identity with an ancient-new one”

This is generally pure fabrication in the first sentence. The vast majority of Jews who came to Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel were from Eastern and Western Europe. It was only AFTER the establishment did these Jews come from ALL over the world and still constitute only 40% of world Jewry. The second sentence is also inherently wrong if one has ever read any writings of the main Zionist thinkers from 1881-1948. As Benny Morris, Nur Masalha, Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim and others have all said…the idea of transfer was inherent in Zionist ideology. The following sentence tries to exonerate the Zionist movement from the colonial legacy it has perpetuated by saying the usual Zionist mantra of “there was no European or other state as a mother country it could not be colonialism.” If this were 1960, before post colonial studies came about, I would say “ok, decent but flawed argument.” Since this is not the 1960s and I have actually READ books (yes I know this is hard to do when you wish to write about a political topic) on post-colonialism the idea of a “mother-state” is not a necessity. The Zionist organizations in place institutions similar to those of a state, wished to keep the wealth and power within the “ethnic nation” and had support from various mother countries from time to time. His last sentence is curious, as if he has never read Zionist texts from before 1948 (because he seems to have not) when they referred to this “ancient-new” idea. The Zionist movement wished to create a new Jew that had little to nothing to do with the “old” ghetto Jew who was weak and vulnerable. The idea they were resurrecting an ancient idea in Jews is flawed beyond basic examination. If one is interested there is a plethora of information by Shapira and Reinharz on the subject. The last paragraph that is of interest is this one:

“That is why at its most profound level, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a question of territory, as in the case of many historical conflicts between nations, but a battle over the national identity of the entire homeland – every stone and every part of it.”

I disagree, it seems at this point of history it has become an issue of Israel not willing to accept the international consensus of how to solve the issue more than anything else. Every year the international community votes on how to solve the conflict for a two state solution, which includes June 5th, 1967 borders, removal of settlements, dividing of Jerusalem, and a just solution to the issue of refugees. Every year Israel, the United States, some Pacific Islands, and possibly Australia vote against this. This is the overarching problem of the conflict now,  not every rock or every stone. The fact that Palestinians have conceded so much already to their homeland shows that they are not fighting for every stone, it is Israel. Israel wants to keep as many settlements as possible and the Palestinians want to follow international law to have them all removed as they are illegal under international law. So who is the belligerent in the conflict and obstructing peace?

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13 thoughts on “Rebuttal of Haaretz’s A.B. Yehoshua’s Article

  1. 1. Your point about no state called Israel. First of all, there were a few ancient states called Israel (for a time ruled by judges, for a time a united monarchy and then a divided one – Israel and Judah) and they were located in…the Land of ISRAEL. Second of all, there has never been an independent Palestinian state. Never since Westphalia in 1648, and never before then. In fact, the only real independent entities on the land in the past 3,000 years (other than minor crusader fortresses) have been under periods of Jewish sovereignty. This is well documented by archeology and written accounts from the time.

    2. About Palestinians/Arabs. When the modern Zionist movement was first becoming active, Arab nationalism was also gaining ground. Arab elites were seeing themselves more and more as a large nation spanning the Middle East, not only as Muslims, residents of a village or members of an extended family or tribe – but of a large, vast nation. This is the context in which Zionism became popular as well – the age of ethnic nationalism. There was no independent Palestinian identity until after the Jews had already established a strong presence on the ground in Palestine, and it didn’t become popular among Palestinians themselves until decades later. Considering the fact that the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs did not aspire to independence – at most, they aspired to becoming a part of Greater Syria – I don’t think it’s fair to blame the Jews for “denying their identity.”

    3. About Jews. Jews were, and to some extent still are, a diaspora people. Having been kicked out of their homes by the Roman imperialists nearly two millenia ago (and earlier by the Babylonians), they were scattered around the world but maintained a very insular existence and preserved their culture, language and identity. Of course, this was affected by outside factors in the countries that they sought refuge in – often fleeing from place to place nearly every generation. When Jews formed the modern Zionist movement to go back to where they originally came from, it was indeed mainly dominated by Ashkenazim. However, long before the creation of Israel there were many Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews living in Palestine/Eretz Yisrael. Apart from the old Jewish communities of Tiberias, Tzfat, Jerusalem and Hebron, there was a considerable migration of Jews from Yemen which started in the very beginning of the First Aliyah – with the first Yemenite Jews arriving even before the first Ashkenazi Jews. This aliyah continued through the decades until after Israel’s establishment, when Jews across the Arab world were expelled and/or pressured to leave (of course, some left of their own volition as well).

    The “ancient-new identity” Yehoshua speaks of is the Zionist modernization of the ancient national Jewish identity. Of course the Zionists wanted to create a “new Jew” – but this meant new relative to the past 2,000 years of exile and powerlessness. The “new Jew” was just an updated version of the pre-diaspora, proud Jew who lived on his own land and had sovereignty and dignity.

    4. Colonialism/transfer. Only an ignoramus or someone with suspect intentions would truly assert that transfer of the Arab population was a key or unique phenomenon within the Zionist movement (and yes, I would say that every “historian” you mentioned except for Benny Morris and possibly Avi Shlaim has “suspect intentions” – Shlaim too, but they’re not necessarily as insane as the others). First of all, “transfer” was an accepted international facet in the making of nation-states – look at Turkey and Greece, India and Pakistan. Whether you like it or not, this was the case. On the other hand, there is no evidence that the Zionist movement supported transfer, only apocryphal evidence of some comments by Ben-Gurion during the debate over the Peel Partition Plan in 1937 – comments which only examined the issue as a question, but rejected it out of hand as policy. What ended up happening was the result of a war started by the Arab side, and unfortunately for them they reaped what the sowed. (It should be added that in the 20th century, there were hundreds of millions of refugees due to war and conflict, and a vast majority of them were resettled or able to move on with their lives. Only the Palestinians have been imprisoned in refugee camps and used as a political tool by Arab states and the UN, which perpetuate their suffering rather than providing them with a dignified existence in host nations).

    Zionism was never a colonialist movement, although it did use a policy of settlement – in fact, resettlement – of ancient Jewish land. The Jews were not colonists coming to a foreign land, they were, as Yehoshua writes, an exiled people coming back home. Denying this betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the conflict and of the Jewish side. Jews like Yehoshua can understand the Palestinians, yet why can’t pro-Palestinian sympathizers such as yourself understand the Jews?

    Palestinians should indeed have a state. I hope it happens as a result of negotiated peace with Israel. Yet the policies of the Arab and Palestinian leadership over the past 60 years have stymied the development of the Palestinian people and resulted in a strong Israel controlling a weaker West Bank. Israel, as a democratic state, indeed as a sovereign state at all, has the obligation to provide security to its people. I see this as the main impediment to peace. Of course, Jews and Palestinians do see the significance of every stone, etc. of their shared ancestral land; however, the main reason the Palestinians have been unable to reach an agreement with Israel – and the recent Hamas-Fatah agreement substantiates this – is because Israel cannot be guaranteed security once it leaves the territories.

    1. Rebuttal by Paragraph
      1. To your point about a state called Palestine never existing, I never wrote anything to suggest there was a sovereign state called Palestine. There was a Mandate called Palestine, but did not mention it, nor would call it a state. In regards to your suggestion there was a state, called Israel, sorry it is simply not true. Perhaps you never studied international relations and do not know what a state is defined as or what makes it up, but simply there were no states, in the sense we speak about them today ever called Israel. I did not at any point say Jews did not live here or have a Kingdom, I was rather explicit it was a kingdom, which is not a state. There are some states that are Monarchies, no doubt, but entities then were not states, plain and simple, this is international relations 101. As to your point about the last 3000 years only Jewish sovereignty existed that also is simply not true. Starting from 1500BC the Egyptians ruled Palestine, then the Philistines from 1200-975, Israelite 1000-923, Phoenician 923-700, Assyrian 700-612, Babylonian 586-539, Persian 539-332, Macedonian 332-63, Roman from 63BCE-636CE , Arab from 636-1200, Crusader 1099-1291, Ayyubia 1187-1253, Mamluk 1253-1516, and Ottoman 1517-1917. So many people under your false definition of a state…these had sovereignty, why does the group with the 2nd least amount of time get to claim ancient sovereignty? Why aren’t you arguing for Ottoman sovereignty or Roman? This selective-ness is more than amusing.

      2. The argument that Palestinian nationalism came about as a reaction to Zionism WAS a prominent argument until 1992 when Migdal and Kimmerling came out with their study of the issue which places the roots of Palestinian nationalism in 1834. Again I never said there was a state called Palestine but the area was known to Arabs and most of the world AS Palestine, not as a state, but a place. If you look at coins from the Arab conquest in the 7th century when said coins were minted in Palestine they had Filastine written in Arabic on the coins. As the Romans had Palaestina. Palestine as a word or idea is not a modern creation and most Zionist until the Labor Movement consolidated itself referred to the land as Palestine. On their IDs during the Mandate it said Palestinian Jew, again nothing new. Arab Nationalism, the idea of a unitary Arab state stretching from Morocco to Iraq was developed between 1830s-1880s. It may have gained prominence after the rise of Zionism, but to say it was a reaction is academically flawed.

      3. I agree with you 100% Jews are mostly a diaspora people, considering over 55% do not live in what is termed their ancient homeland. They did not maintain their language, which is a key feature to their identity and to all nations in general. Hebrew was used for prayers only and not a spoken language until the revival by Ben-Yehuda. If you said they maintained their language or developed Yiddish in its wake which was developed in the 10th century or so I would agree with you to a limit. When Zionist conferences came up pre-Ben Yehuda’s revival they spoke Yiddish, Russian, German, etc, not Hebrew. If they maintained their longing to return as you say why did it take 2000 years to come up with Zionism? In regards to your term of exile by the Romans there is a great book by Shlomo Sand where he debunks this on pgs 130-143 but I am sure he is some form of dubious historian for the simple fact he disagrees with you. But the fact still remains, if you are so right and the professors/authors I cite are so wrong, write your own book and prove them wrong. Who I mentioned are an overwhelming majority Jews (most Israeli) and are considered by most within and outside Israel as the leading authors on the subject and whose books are used in almost every university that teaches on the subject. When you write a book refuting their claims with vast scholarly citations you can academically debate them and try and prove them wrong. Until that time I am going to go with the prominent scholars on the issue, not your knee-jerk narrative regurgations of past claims proved wrong. No one, scholarly that is, has ever claimed there were no Mizrachim or Sephardim Jews in Palestine, BUT these Mizrachim did not accept the legitimacy of Zionism when it emerged and until the creation of the state in 1948. Most were here and stayed here for religious reasons, not nationalist as the Zionist movement was. In regards to your statement about Jews being expelled from Arab countries in the early 1950s many Mizrachim were tricked or scared into coming to Israel. If you read Tripp’s history of Iraq he documents how the Mossad bombed Synagogues because the majority of Jews felt secure in their situation in Iraq. There are documents by Mizrachim today who after 50 years have expressed the fear and imtimidation they faced from the Israelis to emigrate. I have one if you would like it, you can email me at ravendxpac@aol.com for a copy. There are also Mizrachim professors in Israeli universities who have researched and documented this if you prefer these I can give you some to look into as well. Your interpretation of the ancient-new identity again is flimsy at best. Shapira, the leading scholar on the issue makes no reference to returning to this Golden Age” as you say, but a changing of identity from the Ghetto Jew to the strong Jew. If you want you can read Land and Power by her and if you have documentation to prove a reference to a Golden Age of a strong Jew I again recommend you write a book refuting her on the issue.

      4. Regarding suspicious intentions I again reitterate my point about scholarly work. These are the leading historians/political scientists on the issue. I am going to take their well documented research and use it, not your claims. If you like Benny Morris does that mean you agree with his findings? If so then you have to accept the fact that the idea of transfer was inherent in Zionism since he says that. He also says that the fear of territorial displacement and dispossession was the chief motor of Arab antagonism to Zionism until 1967 and beyond. The issue in academic circles anymore is not if Zionism has transfer inherent, but if that was justified and that is where the general debate is on the issue which is where morris generally says it was and the others I mention disagree. The issue of Turkey and Greece was an agreement, not a policy done by one to the other for territorial expansion. It was a document signed by both parties at Lausanne, not very complicated to tell the difference. The Pakistanian case is closer to yours and was very bloody and troublesome, as is evident by the continued violence between the countries and populations living within each other’s territory. Sorry but as a pacifist and a person who cares about human rights I am not going to advocate as an example of something violent and bloody as something that should be replicated, perhaps you disagree. Even if you accept that the transfer was legitimate you STILL have UN resolution 194 that deals with this issue and how to resolve it. Hopefully, although I highly doubt it, you think this is the way to resolve the issue as it is accepted by the world minus Israel and the United States. In regards to your saying the Arab states use the refugees as a tool this is refuted by Mary Wilson when examining the case of Jordan, who took in the vast majority of Palestinian refugees, 530,000 of 750,000. Jordan wanted to get the refugee issue off of itself because it could not afford it and rightfully foresaw the problems of taking in these people. In your teerms of an exiled people returning home why is it that it took until 1945 for the majority of Jews to support Zionism? It was more reactive support of Zionism due to the Holocaust than a desire to “return” as you say, for reading on this you can read Gideon Shlomo, who is a diehard Zionist and leading scholar whom I studied with last year. And if Jews in such high numbers supported “returning” why do only 40% of world Jewry live in Israel?

      Arab states in 1974, as now with the Saudi Initiative that every Arab state voted in favor for and follows international law (also ratified by the Islamic Organization including Iran), are in favor of ending the conflict based off international law. It is Israel that has stymied this development for over 30 years. This is well documented and researched and agreed upon by the leading scholars. In a state system I do not disagree with the argument that state’s have a right to protect their civilians. Israel does not do that, it puts its people, with heavy subsidies, in an occupied territory it considers hostile and unsafe, what other state in the world does this and then claims security? If you left the occupied territories as is necessary under international law there would be a far far less issue of security. You can not expect security while you are conducting a military occupation, that is more than disingenuous. Now your next point is going to say “Yes well Israel left Gaza now look at that we still have rockets.” To this I would ask, does any international body say that Gaza is no longer occupied? Does it have freedom of movement, freedom of its economy, airspace, borders, sea space, or the land within 300 meters of its border? The answer is no. In regards to protecting its civlians, I would go furhter and say that Israel needs to protect every citizen equally, which has proved not to do in times of war. When the 2006 war happened with Lebanon it inadequeately equipped Palestinian citizens of Israel who mostly live in this region with protection while giving Jews adequate protection. Do you concur that Israel has an obligation to protect these citizens just as equally?

    2. To the Realistic Idealist and Chrisw11

      I come to this site mainly to read Chris’s (without the w11 🙂 posts and I sometimes get flustered when I accidentally read chrisw’s posts and forget there are two people named Chris here.

      You two seem like highly educated, intelligent people with a superb control of the English language – and as a lowly layman I won’t even try to play this wrangling game of “who’s got a bigger…” (Degree and research abilities of Middle East studies and the international law). I just want to make sure I got Chrisw’s first point across:
      Israel is a colonial being, and even if you look at it from Realistic Idealist’s POV (which is “false” and “amusing”) the pretext of its existence is found severely lacking due to time spent as rulers of the land.

      Realistic Idealist: why would you argue with this? A man who gets enraged by ‘the filth people put forward as news or information’ and ‘the misuse of terminology’ writes his interpretation of historical events and names them in a term that will suite his (subjective) POV.

      Chrisw11: I think that A.B Yehoshua started his article with the aforementioned disclaimer in order to state “look, I might be wrong on this, but these are my two cents”. I.e. his opinion or take on things.

      Every time I read your posts or replies it seems you’re obsessed about being right about the least important things (and BTW even you get them wrong sometime) and unlike A.B Yehoshua you don’t seem to factor in that there’s even a slight chance you’re wrong or that other opinions (opinion – not ‘information’ or ‘news’) have any legitimacy. By your own admittance you read some articles in order to anger yourself since you know you’ll disagree. I actually read info by people who think differently from me in order to try to agree with them or understand their logic and POV… I just can’t understand going through the process of consuming information you’ve already decided is wrong. And who made you right and ‘insert name of yarmulke wearing PhD in Med-East studies’ wrong? I’m sure the academic debate is a very lively one. Why argue about who’s right and who’s wrong about terminology, semantics and narratives when you can discuss the big picture Like A.B Yehoshua tried to?

      Why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict refuses to be resolved? And how would you solve it?

      P.S: someone as educated as you must know that the building code in Israel requires a safe room (MAMAD) and that Palestinian settlements had systematically refused to enforce this code, or to install Central Safe Rooms in the settlement – claims otherwise were quickly nulled down after the second Lebanon war. but much more important then a specific inaccurate anecdote: Yes, Palestinians who live in the Israel are treated as second class citizens.

      1. -I just changed the name at Chris’ request as that was my log in and did not know it would also appear as that. Concerning your accusation about my “subjective POV on historical events,” I say the same thing to you as I write to “Realistic” in terms of works I use. If you check most University syllabi (MA generally and higher) on Israel/Palestine (even more 1948 writings) you will find the books I cite (The Iron Wall, Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem-included the rebuttals by Finkelstein/Masalha-, Modern History of Palestine, Expulsion of the Palestinians, 1948, Righteous Victims, Land and Power, Essential Papers on Zionism, The Zionist Ideology, 1948 and Beyond, etc)
        -I do not disagree with your analysis of Yehoshua’s preface but imagine if someone tried this in another field. If tomorrow I wrote an article for a world renowned newspaper (assuming they would publish it) on astrophysics and put that as a disclaimer. It would be a joke. But the Israel-Palestine issue every single person thinks because they are Israeli/Palestinian/Jew/Arab/Political analyst they are a scholar on the subject. I have more of a problem with Haaretz posting this as it brings down their level of information.
        -I do not say this out of vain but curiousity, please tell me what I state wrong and I will make the correction. I admit I make date, name, number, spelling mistakes, etc usually out of typos but could have remembered said data wrong. So please correct me.
        -Yes I read more articles I disagree with than agree with because simply to me the framing of the conflict is so skewed that I am bound to come across more disagreement than agreement. As I said there are some I disagree with on a moral level (as in Benny Morris/Chomsky) some I disagree with on framing (this article) and some I disagree with because they are racist, use false information and false numbers. (Morris, Dershowitz, many Haaretz/Jpost authors)
        -Regarding your point about narrative, semantic, and terminology, these are important because this is how Israel has been able to frame this issue and divert attention away. The terminology one uses is very important, if you have ever been here you will know that. What you call a city, organization, neighborhood is making a political statement. In regards to narrative this to me is actually one of the most important issues regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict. I believe that this is one of the biggest obstacles to peace because Israel and Israelis wish to frame their narrative as fact and any who do not are labelled radical, anti-semitic, or holocaust denying. This narrative is what keeps the conflict going and I believe there can not be peace here until the narrative is overcome. If you read Palestinian history about 1948 and then read Arab history about it, it is obviously how much the Palestinians have overcome their narrative. While in Israel although the scholars and academics have overcome it, in the mainstream (especially media, education, military) it is still in full force. Watch Israeli television, talk to Israelis about their history, or read textbooks for high school. This is why I am going to talk about it because it is a deterrent to peace. Hence accepting these terms and narratives for “the bigger picture” as you say makes it impossible and a non-starter. When you have this framing and narrative you look at the conflict skewed and since the Israelis are the ones in power and have done less to change their narrative and framing, I am going to write about it. I wrote an article today about how I think the conflict ought to be solved if you would like to read it.
        -In regards to your statement about MAMADs I do not disagree that Israel requires this, but from the minimal and non-academic work I have done on the issuing (talking to Palestinians of the Galilee) they say (stress say since I would not publish this without proper research) that Israeli Jews have this subsidized if not fully paid for. As opposed to them who do not get these with any subsidies, and their socio-economic status is lower.

      2. One last point…I am not arguing against a as you said “yarmulke wearing PHD student in MidEast Studies,” I am citing PHD authors, whose books I mentioned above and will gladly give a longer list if you desire.

  2. I don’t think it’s a matter of right or wrong… but just a matter of perspective: without checking I’m sure you’re extremely right, and that your POV is more prevalent through the academic world and in the general perception of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. Israel blatantly and officially ignored/s the suffering and mistreatment of the Palestinian population, both historically and in the present day (I know you’re a terminology buff… and would probably like to replace this noun with something harsher).

    Let’s call this: “the prevailing truth”

    I can agree and understand this prevailing truth and accept it as a part of my History (Israeli) and hope that someday my children will read it in a textbook while in high-school. So far I think we’re on the same page.

    Now it gets complicated: You see the refusal of mainstream Israel to accept this prevailing truth as their frame narrative as the” show-stopper” for peace (“Why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict refuses to be resolved?” – can I count that as your short answer?). In my opinion your perception is privileged to those disassociated from the conflict itself: You cannot expect mainstream in Israel to start a serious public dialogue about the Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians WHILE there’s still a very much alive and kicking conflict. I’m not saying Israelis ignore it completely, but you cannot actually propose that a state threatened from outside sources will actively delegitimize its own coming to be. Yes, some threats I hope are idle, or at least assume no one will follow-through on them, but some are very serious and actually have less to do with Israel as a nation and more as an excuse. Even when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be resolved these threats will still be present, and when your neck is on the line it’s a whole different feeling: just ‘diving into the deep end’ while hoping no one will follow through is just naivety – a fact that many pacifists tend to ignore.

    While I read the end of your rebuttal post and almost completely agree with the end-statement (1967 orders – Check, East Jerusalem – Check, A just solution – this is such an amorphous definition it actually pisses me off someone can write it down in any declaration and actually claim it’s serious) it took me a while to try to come up with a reason why I agree with you on the prevailing truth of the frame narrative (while not arguing about semantics…) and ultimately on most of the prevailing truth for the solution to the conflict itself, but we believe so differently about the “show-stopper”(more on that later in the reply).

    Hey hey, what about the change in the Arab narrative you say? Well… you and I know the true cause of the change in narrative – it’s actually just accepting a simple fact that “The 3 ‘No’s” policy isn’t working… and the Arab nations weren’t winning the wars against Israel. To me it seems that MOST of the Arab leaders and nations came to accept this fact pretty quickly, which is pretty brave.

    Just like the change in the Arab narrative came when a simple process of thought evolution so will the realization that the age of ‘old-school colonialism’ is dead and took with it the ‘Eretz Israel’ dream and it’s time to move on – there are many other favorable conditions that need to present themselves, but this is the Macro in my POV – and as in the case of the Arab nations it will sadly come to be due to external changes and not through an autonomous decision (when I write Arab Nations I mean Arab Leaders and decision makers BTW – claiming the Arab street is accepting Israel as a State of course cannot be expected while in the middle of a very much alive and kicking conflict)

    When the conflict will not be such a constant part of our lives it will be evaluated deeply all across the Israeli culture – One thing that Jews do best is self-criticism , it’s especially evident in Israeli politics and civilian life.
    Jewish people are even expected to question to some extent their belief in god (I’m an Atheist, but it’s a part of my culture)

    🙂 As you clearly imply Astrophysics is of course an exact science and, and the original disclaimer was stated towards a specific question – since I don’t know anything about Astrophysics I’ll switch it up to something else: Let’s say that you, as a pacifist, will write a serious and objective article asking “why isn’t there more extensive use of ‘less than lethal’ weapons in present day conflicts?” to an army website I sincerely think that your opinion and understanding is just as valuable as any military professional – even more so since your view about the issue is less cluttered with common preconceptions: I’ll assume you’ll give a fresh look on the subject (hopefully), calculating a whole new set of variables derived from your ideals and belief system. A progressive army blog and even some serious military magazines will gladly post it. (I apologize if you don’t like the example – you wrote pacifist and for some reason this is the first thing that came to my mind :-P)

    If it really bothers you I think that you posted a reply in a back and forth session me and Chris had a few months back under the name ‘chrisw’ – stating that Israel is the Second strongest army in the world… the most ‘optimistic’ evaluation I ever saw ranked Israel 4th (now that the old Iraqi army is no more), and it’s a very very optimistic one – realistically Israel won’t even make it to the top 10. If it wasn’t you then I apologize.

    MAMADS and all that – again… it’s besides (and even opposite) my point and I feel argumentative when I write this (hey, I’m human :-)) but you stated in your reply without saying – “look, this is hear-say from people who have a very subjective POV due to the fact they are heavily involved and already made up their mind a long time ago on the whole issue and won’t even bother to try and assume an open frame of thought by actually reading public records about this…”

    It’s in Hebrew… sorry: “Civilians on the Frontline” Citizens’ Views of Home Front Failures During the Second Lebanon War”

    Explains the shared responsibilities the municipality body and the state have – long story short: municipalities and private people had and will neglect the Safe rooms but this DOESNT exclude the responsibility of the State from safe-guarding the civilian population.
    This issue is touched on The State Comptroller and Ombudsman report several times over the past years (ironically enough with stating failures in safe-guarding the settler population as well.

    1. And no… please don’t cite a longer list of books… I was trying to hypothetically pit you against an academic equal in order to try to imply that even academic truths are subjective… and as such are always only true as long as the majority believe in them.

    2. You said you are Israeli, where do you live, perhaps we could get together and talk about some of these issues and many more. I study at Hebrew University so I am sure we could get together. As to the topics at hand.
      The issue of the 3 no’s of Khartoum that you reference was a publicity stunt more than actual policy of the border states minus Syria. Hussein at the time wanted a peace treaty but would never be the first. Sadat offered Israel full peace in 1971 but was turned down by Meir as I am sure you know. When referring to the changing of narrative I think the leaders were the last to change the narrative. By narrative of the Arab side I mean the idea of a united Arab army that was defeated because of Abdallah’s collaboration with this idea of helping the Palestinian brothern. You will have to ignore my anti-nationalism but I think all people when comfortable are able to self evalute :P. If astrophysics does not fit my metaphor enough for you than pick any social science other than political science and economics and apply the same logic, but I think you understand the point just fine. In regards to the issue of a correction of mine, it is possible I typed that, I do not remember the conversation, but I agree it is ranked 4th in the world in terms of capabilities and technology. If you wouldn’t mind sending me the article I will do my best to read it with my minimal level of Hebrew…ravendxpac@aol.com
      About the narrative issue again…I do not disagree with you that Israeli society is not at the stage to be challenging its foundations, nor do I think it is a quick thing. It began with the new historians but was shelved with the break down of Oslo at the end of the late 90s. I admire and respect every Israeli that questions their narrative as I do every person who questions their national narrative as I feel it is an important part of overcoming conflict. I think the media, institutions, and politicians are the most responsible for this, not the everyday Israeli person. I do disagree that one needs to be in a time of peace or tranquility to do it though. I believe to only achieve peace and tranquility people must question their national narrative, only by overcoming that can you reach peace. But that is my opinion.

    3. One last point as to the author and context. As a pacifist you are writing about weapons and actually now something about the topic and offer a different opnion about the topic. This contributes to the debate, as opposed to not knowing something about the conflict and just perpetuating narrative. There is a difference.

      1. Another ‘one last point’ from me:

        “As a pacifist you are writing about weapons and actually know something about the topic and offer a different opnion about the topic”.

        I can certainly agree here… although some would negate that someone who doesn’t throughly understand weapon use cannot debate use a specific weapon, but only the use of weapons at all – but this is, again, not my POV and highly argumentative.

        “…as opposed to not knowing something about the conflict and just perpetuating narrative. There is a difference.”

        You’re implying A.B Yehousha doesn’t understand the first thing about the Israeli / Palestinian conflict I Google translated his ‘Political views’ section in Wikipedia Hebrew:

        “Joshua expressed criticism of Israel’s policies in Judea, Samaria and Gaza since 1967 and was among the signatories of the Geneva Initiative. Towards the end of the Second Lebanon War, attended a press conference with David Grossman and Amos Oz, which called for the government of Israel agree to a ceasefire and not to expand the fighting in Lebanon as decided later. He described himself as “enlisted Author,” a commitment and responsibility to what is happening. Exposure to state his views on social issues from a book of essays “for normality”, to make waves in the world, more books and articles published since.

        In 2002 he said about Israel – Palestinian conflict: “The Palestinians are now in a frenzy, reminiscent of that which is the German people during the Nazi era. The Palestinians are not the first Jewish people led them to madness. This is not the first people we brought Lttirofim, we have seen what happened with the Germans “. Following his remarks provoked criticism, in part by the Yad Vashem Directorate, “said Joshua his intention:” I did a comparison between the Israeli-Palestinian relations actions of the Nazis, but I ask myself a question we must ask: what is interacting between us and other nations, creates such irrational hatred? What brought the Germans to bring the Palestinians and what such hatred towards us? I look anxiously suicidal hate how Palestinians treat us. the Germans treated us the same kind of hatred. this thing to see it, what happens between us and other nations within which we of life. ”

        I think that an active, persistent and vocal Peace activist who advocated/s the end of the occupation from the very beginning (in the post six-day war euphoria it’s virtually unheard of by someone in the mainstream) is entitled for his two cents… and forgive me for stating my personal opinion, but his view, based on years of activism (I think he’s a peace activist for longer then we’re both alive…) and engagement of someone who’s a world renowned brilliant author carries a allot more weight in my mind then a VERY well-informed MA student who denotes opinions of people ‘from his corner’ as filth since they fail to de-legitimize their state and have the audacity of holding a perspective calling the land of Israel their historical homeland while still adamantly calling for the establishment of a Palestinian homeland (and all this while writing not in his native tongue)

        By any means A.B’s original Article conclusion is written as an emotional realization that the conflict has deep-seeded emotional roots regarding personal and national identity, unknown threat perception and paranoia of Israelis and Palestinians alike:

        “…That is why at its most profound level, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a question of territory, as in the case of many historical conflicts between nations, but a battle over the national identity of the entire homeland – every stone and every part of it. For both sides, and mainly for the Palestinians, the size of the nation confronting them is not clear – whether it consists only of Israeli Jews or the entire Jewish diaspora. And the Israelis don’t know whether they are confronting only the Palestinian people or the entire Arab nation. In other words, the demographic boundaries of the two sides are not clear either. This is therefore a fundamental conflict that constantly creates primal and profound mistrust between the two peoples, preventing a possible solution.”

        I feel that what gets you so angry is that he’s perpetuating a narrative you don’t personally share…

        I’ll write you my details VIA mail – anytime you or Chris Keeler are near the Tel-Aviv area 1st round of beers/coffee is on me 🙂

      2. I do not deny his knowledge of the conflict as a whole, but his article is almost completely about the foundation of the state, the Zionist movement pre-48, and the war. Which ar enot his specialties as he notes at the beginning. If he wrote an article about Geneva, the Left-Zionist camp, Peace Now, etc it would be a well documented and researched article since he has active participation and knowledge of the subject. 1948 and the Zionist movement pre-48 are not his specialty and is more than obvious. Because he has a background in the peace process onwards does not give him authority to speak on 1948 and the Zionist movement which are two of the most written about subjects. He does not cite books, articles, journals, etc…nothing at all. He just speaks from narrative and upbringing of narrative. Which may be great for a coffee at a cafe but for an article of a world renowned newspaper it is ridiculous. If he said “there are academic debates about the colonial nature of the Zionist movement and I say it is not” I would not have written the article the way I did or possibly at all. But the way he words things so matter of fact as if there is no debate is what bothers me. He frames the questions according to his point of view with no scholarly anything in it. He tries to come off as neutral but as I am sure you notice, the framing itself puts him into a side. I disagree with his framing, his matter of fact-ness (with no citations/proof), and his narrative following. But that is me. I do not disagree with you that I am angry he is putting forth a narrative I disagree with because I feel that viewing this issue objectively is impossible through a narrative.
        Sounds good, I will have to go to Tel Aviv sometime to take you up on this.

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