Get the Hell Out of…My Face

Jun 8th, 2010

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Here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking about poor Helen Thomas, who I believe was probably just saying what everyone thinks and has therefore been made a scapegoat. Not that I really care, because we ought to share the scapegoat status once in a while. It’s the least we can do to dispel the stereotype that we are stingy, us irritating Jews.

Irritating enough, apparently – like the too-talented and bossy fame-hog Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) on Fox’s Glee – in our discovery of the written word, monotheism, modern physics, psychology, vaccinations, and the film industry, that every country that has ever “hosted” us has found it necessary to tell us to get the hell out, like Thomas did. (Ironically, the aforementioned Jewish character Rachel, in a particularly annoying moment in one episode, was told by classmates to move to Israel. I doubt the writers coordinated this telling joke – Jews do equal Israel in the eyes of the world, sorry J Street – with the State Department.)

Anywho. Helen, you know why we were in Germany and much of Eastern Europe in the first place? (And by the way, if I follow your advice, do you think the nice old ladies who got my grandmothers’ large houses and farms from the Nazis in what was once Czechoslovakia will kick the property back two generations? That would be cool because I’d love a vineyard and an agricultural estate.)

…We were in Germany and Hungary and Czechoslovakia and Russia (where we were regularly just plain killed by Cossacks), and also, for many centuries, Poland (ditto), cuz we were told to get the hell out of England, France, and Spain. (Or, you know, just plain killed by handsome and heroic fairytale knights.)

And you know why we were in Western Europe to begin with? Cuz we were told by the Greeks and the Romans – wait for it – to get the hell out of “Palestine,” where we had been living since the beginning of recorded history.

We also ended up in Babylonia (Iraq) and other Middle Eastern and North African countries, where we stayed as second class citizens for hundreds and hundreds of years, till the Arab world finally caught up with the pagans and the Christians in their hatred of the Jews. Amazing how the student has now far surpassed the teacher. But I digress.

(By the way, I am aware that the Arab narrative has us Ashkenazi Jews as descendants of the Khazars, but the actual facts have it different. See this new DNA study linking European Jews with their Middle Eastern counterparts, all stemming from one original population of Holy Land Jews predating Roman times. Never mind our own texts that say the same thing; I know they are inadmissible in the international courts of the mind.)

In any event, there is no way around it: Jews being asked (usually not by old ladies on the White House lawn) to get the hell out of anywhere and everywhere is just the way it goes.

So it came to pass that about 200 years BCE the Macabees got sick of it and established a Jewish state in Palestine, within the Roman Empire, which lasted till about the time of Jesus (another Pesky Jew) and the destruction of the Second Temple.

And it also came to pass that Jewish settlers began arriving in Ottoman Palestine in the late 1800′s, after the Russians and the Poles made it clear that Jews were persona non grata in Eastern Europe. Palestine was as good a place as any to escape to, since it was the last place, about 2000 years before, that the Jews had a sovereign state (see above). Never mind Jewish liturgy and texts pining for Jerusalem, since I know these, too, are inadmissible in the international courts of the mind.

Anyway, nowhere else wanted European Jews any more than Russia did, not even America really, where there were very strict quotas, although the Americans, again politely, refrained from all the messy European killing, which was apparently in vogue until after Hitler. Besides, those Ottoman Turks, as now, were known around the world for their amazing human rights activism and the Jews were excited to see it first hand. (No, not really. But…they were better than the Polish peasants. Unless you were Armenian.)

It is true that there were people in Palestine before the Jews arrived en masse (for there was always a handful of Jews that remained here….), not *A People*, but rather a group of assorted regional Arabs (think Native American tribes in North America…who by the way were treated much worse by the Colonialists…) who had settled the area with not much agricultural success and had endured various rulers over the millennia.

But when the *Jews* came back, it was suddenly necessary, once again, to tell them to get the hell out. There was no living side by side, even though that was an express Jewish desire right up until 1947/8, when the Partition Plan was summarily rejected by the Arab League, who started the war that Israel won. If keeping land you win in a war others provoke (when you wanted to make peace) is called occupation, Helen, the world’s axis of furious justice has a lot bigger fish to fry than shitty little Israel.

The Arab desire to kick the Jews the hell out of Palestine did not begin in 1967, and not in 1948. It began the moment the initial groups of Jews arrived and started to make the land flower and produce crops. That’s when the attacks on Jews began, and when the Arab world decided a new Jewish presence in the land would not do, back when there were about half a million Arabs and just under 100,000 Jews in the Holy Land, in the early 1900′s. 20% was too much, apparently, to bear. (The Hebron Massacre of 1929, where marauding Arabs killed nearly 70 Jews and wounded countless others, took place long before a single house was built over the Green Line.) I can only imagine how awful it was – probably for both the Arabs and the British – when it became clear we were here to stay and grow to much further percentages. We are that annoying, what with trying to get rid of malaria and tuberculosis and everything.

At any rate, it seems that every time a Jewish minority starts to make a society too successful – so annoying!!!! – the indigenous people start to feel very uncomfortable, and tells them one way or another to get the hell out.

But now, alas, there is nowhere left for us to go, except the eternal place Ahmadinejad wants us to go, and Haniyeh and Nasralla, and Hitler before them, and Chemilniki before him, and Haman before him, and so on. And, I suspect, in her heart of hearts, perhaps Thomas and the likes of her, who, the pesky Jew Freud may have observed, seriously let her slip show.

Let me make it clear: I know that Israel has made mistakes over its 62 years, some clumsy and inept (was there no intelligence regarding the terrorists aboard the Mavi Marmara?!?), and some borderline immoral. But none worse than every other democracy on earth has also done, and most much better than the large majority of the UN rogue nations which condemn Israel daily have done…daily. There is MUCH to improve in the way we govern, I will be the first to say it. I will also be the first to say that various Jews of the Bernie Madoff and Greed-is-Good-Goldman-Sachs ilk make me want to crawl under a rock. I know that the world is only waiting for these guys to emerge in order to pin their crimes on all of us, even though everything they do is in direct contradiction of actual Jewish values.

But let’s be honest: the international community’s human rights crusades on behalf of the Palestinians are just the latest Crusades, and the ones who REALLY suffer are not the Jews or the Israelis but the poor occupants of the Third World who are ignored while the enlightened First World castigates the Jews… and yes, of course, the Palestinians, who are kept in misery *by their own leadership* in order to provide the polite Jew haters with a media club to beat them with.

So here’s the thing: We are not going anywhere this time, Helen. We totally get it: Ya’ll pretty much hate us. It’s just the way it is, like a natural law. Nothing we can do – not giving away pieces of Palestine / Israel (witness our evacuation of Gaza in 2005, and handing over the keys to army bases and greenhouses- a new economy! Food for the children! – which were summarily torched as property of the infidels); not donating billions annually to global charity, nor discovering a cure for Polio or the Theory of Relativity, or writing revered legal and religious texts, or co-founding Google, or manufacturing the microprocessor in the majority of laptops that spew Jew hatred to the Internet, or founding Christianity itself, or championing women’s rights and gay rights in the US and helping to bring about a *human rights revolution* in America in the 60′s, …None of those things will absolve us of our real sin: Existing and overcoming.

I’m really sorry they told you to get the hell out of the White House, Helen. It really wasn’t your fault that you thought you could say what you said. It’s not like it’s a secret: That’s what people think.

But this time, seriously. Getting the hell out is not in the cards. We’re just sick of moving all the time.

I know. Irritating.

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  1. 204 Responses to “Get the Hell Out of…My Face”

  2. f-ing brilliant, you really went to town with this piece, drinks when you have time?

    By princess perfect on Jun 8, 2010

  3. Oh. my. gosh. Bravo. Beautifully written, well said.

    By Carol @NYCityMama on Jun 9, 2010

  4. wow!!! that is absolutely fantastic!!!!
    I’m so proud of my former student!!!

    By BubbyT on Jun 9, 2010

  5. Fabulous!

    By Rachel Inbar on Jun 9, 2010

  6. Go for it, Sara!

    BTW How can I get this forwarded to Helen? And once we are on the topic there are a few more people I can think of that should be reading this.

    By Cheryl Levi on Jun 9, 2010

  7. Brava!

    By Sandy on Jun 9, 2010

  8. Bravo, S! Amazing. Your best piece yet. And that it quite a feat.

    By Your Bro on Jun 9, 2010

  9. you are gooood.

    By varda livney on Jun 9, 2010

  10. Where did you acquire all of this knowledge in jewish history? (certainly not at bais yaakov)

    By sara mor on Jun 9, 2010

  11. Don’t hold back – tell us what you really think…



    By Jameel @ The Muqata on Jun 9, 2010

  12. Quality! ;-)

    By David K on Jun 9, 2010

  13. Awesome writing! As I read it aloud to my teenage daughter, I found myself with goosebumps – more than once.

    By Gabriella S on Jun 9, 2010

  14. Better than any piece I have read on this subject. I’m gonna share this one.

    By Sidney Slivko on Jun 9, 2010

  15. Excellent.

    By David Handler on Jun 9, 2010

  16. Wow! That was great to wake up to. Thank you for saying it so eloquently

    By Miami Jake on Jun 9, 2010

  17. Flat-out brilliant.

    By Kelli Brown on Jun 9, 2010

  18. “Ya’ll pretty much hate us.”

    Who’s “ya’ll”?

    Let’s not get too carried away.

    I know it’s unpleasant having a bunch of hypocritical governments criticize Israel – but what percent of Americans do anti-Semites like Helen Thomas represent?

    The average man on the street in the U.S. knows who the good guys and the bad guys are in the Middle East.

    And there’s plenty of moral people in Europe who also know the score – they just don’t make as much noise as the fanatic Moslem demonstrators and the cowards that lead their governments.

    By Turilli Chapin on Jun 9, 2010

  19. Turilli – Thank you, and perhaps…but then it’s time for people like you to start making a lot more noise, I think.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 9, 2010

  20. At Rwanda’s border there are cmps of refugees inhabited by peole involved in the 1994 genocide and their descendants. From them they launch murderous raids in Rwanda who have caused thousands of deaths. They haven’t renounced their goal of coming back and exterminating the Tutsis but fortunately they haven’t been able to defeat Rwanda’s army. Nobody cares about these refugee, nobody tries to tie the hands of Rwanda’as Army. It is quite obvious that anyone proposing to aid the people in those camps would be considered a genocide-helper. Anyone providing logistic or ideologic support would be spit upon.

    At israel’s border there are camps inhabited by people who unsuccessfully tried to exterminate the Israelis in 1967 (they were well clear that their goal was not merely the destruction of the state). From them tehy have launched murderous raids into Israel who have caused thousands of deaths. They haven’t renounced their plan of exterminating the Jews (Hamas is very explicit on this) but have been unable to defeat the IDF. However everyone cares about them, everyone tries to tie the hands of the IDF. Despite the fact that Gaza’s markets look like Caves of Ali Baba people mount expeditions for providing them aid (all while Darfur people are starving without the “humanitarians” losing any sleep about it) thus allowing Hamas to free resources for furthering its genocidal agenda. Those people providing aid are not regarded as genocide-helpers. Those providing them logistic or ideologic support are not spit upon.


    By JFM on Jun 9, 2010

  21. Absolutely brilliant!!! Exactly what I would have said. But, better.

    Dina (Canada)

    P.S. Do you live in the U.S. What state?

    By Dina on Jun 9, 2010

  22. Unfortunately,Turilli, there are a lot of people in America who hate us, including the younger generation of Jews themselves. See Peter Beinart’s article:
    And I don’t think that making a lot of useless noise is the answer. It’s articles like these that need to be read and discussed among American Jews, so that they can remember why they’re proud to be Jewish.

    By MFF on Jun 9, 2010

  23. You go girl!!!! Awesome!!!!

    By Marcy on Jun 9, 2010

  24. Absolutely brilliant – great writing!

    By Hirsch on Jun 9, 2010

  25. Great piece, but don’t blame the pagans.
    Pagans didn’t become anti-semites until they converted to Christianity.

    By Lawrence of Bessarabia on Jun 9, 2010

  26. Absolutely brilliant! When are you making Aliyah?- to take charge of Israel’s Hasbara (PR). We need someone who knows how to tell the world’s guilty conscience – lefty journalists and writers, so called world leaders (in hypocrisy), lefty academics, etc, etc ad nauseam where to go and how to get there.

    By David Weitz on Jun 9, 2010

  27. L of B – Greeks??? DW and Dina – - I live in Israel – for about 17 yrs. Not sure the hasbara office is beating down my door, but tx for vote!

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 9, 2010

  28. Great piece! One more country that didn’t want Jews during the time of Hitler: Canada. A parliamentarian at the time made the infamous remark that “none (i.e. no Jews) are too many,” and the Canadian government decided not to let a boat of Jewish German refugees dock in Canada. The refugees all ultimately perished as no country, including enlightened Canada, would let them in. This is all documented in the book “None Are Too Many.”

    By Miriam Schwab on Jun 9, 2010

  29. I want to thank you for writing this. Many of my friends have loudly and publicly supported Helen Thomas and decried her forced resignation, and I’ve sat smaller and smaller, trying not to personalize it while secretly feeling like everyone I know is shouting at me to take my kike ass back to Poland. My strained relationship with Israel notwithstanding, it’s time to stop pretending that what she said wasn’t ignorant and even a little assaultive.

    By Other Sara on Jun 9, 2010

  30. Right on the bulls-eye.

    You should get together with a mate of mine who blogs under..”Melchett Mike”..and run the hasbara programme for israel

    By shuli on Jun 9, 2010

  31. Wow! Thank you. For your clear thoughts and amazing writing. I admit I would say the same but sadly (or jealously) since I am Sara living NOT in Israel.

    By Sara O. on Jun 9, 2010

  32. What would a visitor from outer space make of the Jew/Gentile situation; a visitor with the intelligence to have reached the earth, but without the moral baggage you assume is common to us humans. He would discover, as you point out, that in most cases a majority or significant minority of the host population eventually becomes so fed up with the Jews in their midst that it wants rid of them. You and your fellow commentators here interpret this as a primitive hatred born of inferiority and envy, and, it seems to me, use irony to camouflage your contempt. You are right that Jews have been significant in pursuing rights for all minorities, especially themselves, and antipathetic to demonstrations of nationalism other than in Israel. It is in your self interest to be so. No other itinerant nation makes such efforts to maintain intact its gene pool. To the thinking Gentile, and I will suppose, our Martian visitor, it seems to be one law for the Jews and another one for all the others. Jews have selected themselves as different (the chosen people), and have used their talents to obtain a greater share of material wealth and influence than other groups on Earth; and, intentionally or not, they have created a shield against criticism with the use of the term antisemitism.

    By Nigel Brook on Jun 9, 2010

  33. I think the greatest defenders of Israel and the Jewish people are the conservative talking heads like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Wait, don’t blow a gasket! They understand and expose the likes of Helen Thomas and others as they really are…liberal progressives who want America to become and be ruled by a world government. You know like the U.N. in which at least 3/4 of those countrys haaaaate Israel. I’ve seen Glenn Beck take on all the Anti-Israel movements exposing them with facts and figures (on a blackboard on T.V.)
    I think the American Jewish community should pay more attention to these fighters for priciples.

    By Jay on Jun 9, 2010

  34. My Hebrew is pretty bad, but I think the best thing to say here is “Tov Meod”.

    By Devorah in the USA on Jun 9, 2010

  35. Ok… but the jewish peopole has Israel now, than why jewish ar living in USA and europe ? The jewish was wainting 2000 years to reurn ro Holy Land,, and the holy land is yours now..go ther than ,,please

    By Miriyal Laham on Jun 9, 2010

  36. Ah, Nigel. I am responding, in no small measure, b/c I love the name Nigel.

    Anyway – Re: irony masking emotions…. grief – yes. Contempt – no, no, no. I can only speak for myself and those my husband and I are raising up right and proper in our Jewish home, but no one here thinks Gentiles are inferior. Historically jealous… maybe. But what I personally always do with that emotion is try to advance beyond the thing I envy in someone – as our Sages say – Envy of scribes increases wisdom. So no, I don’t even think envy is contemptible. Only potential fuel for great – or terrible – actions.

    Onward. The gene pool and the keeping to ourselves thing. Yes, I suppose it seems offensive that we want to stay ethnically Jewish when we look so regular and white, and were we some other color, like our Martian, you’d care less about us marrying our own. I don’t know how to make you feel better about this, except to point to the billions of people around the world who would rather swim in their own gene pools.

    Next. As to the different / one law for you / chosen people / material wealth thing….I think you are venturing into choppy waters there my friend. These all sound like things taken out of centuries old canards. Please be specific and direct with real constructive critique so it can be addressed, or else examine what you really want to say and from whence it came. (I thought the “whence” went well with the “Nigel”. Sorry. Yankee humor.)

    Self criticism: I believe there was much of that right in my piece. I think it is essential to growth, individual and collective. There is a great difference between saying that individual or even groups of Jews have acted badly, and actual anti-Semitic statements. I agree. You can criticize anything you like. Just be sure it is about the issue, and not about a wretched feeling in your gut. I guess that’s your litmus test – I use it before I write anything against the British. :)

    Really, against my better judgment, I love the British. But that’s another post.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 9, 2010

  37. This post reeks of jingoistic nonsense, sorry. Jews did not create the written word, in point of fact, the Sumerians accomplished that 2000 years before the people of YHWH decided to come out of the hills of Edom. Hebrew is actually remarkably similar to Phoenician, thus unremarkable. Monotheism is a natural progression of religion towards a simpler state. Religions in the region started out with many gods, one for every mundane object, then fewer, then one that heads a pantheon then a duality, then a monotheism. Monotheism is not a discovery just a lazier way of going about a religion, like using ‘cuz’ instead of because. Joking aside however, the other things that you state like modern physics was more of a joint venture, and you seem to fail to see the vast amount of discoveries and inventions that were not involved was anyone of Jewish descent. The concept of Jewish exceptionalism is however the deeper issue here. The really interesting part is that those people felt so entitled to the region of Palestine that they decided to invade it, and I am not talking about in 1947. The Israelites were not native to the region, they came from the south. They began to supplant the Canaanite population about 1000 BCE eventually they told the Canaanites to “get the hell out” for believing in the multiple deities that they did. Jewish texts give evidence that many of the Jewish kings created mandates restricting the practice of Canaanite religion and effectively banning it, sound familiar?
    You also seem to avidly state that Jews have been part of a subjugated minority for most of their history. The fact is that with the possible exception of a few very powerful cultures, i.e the Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, that occupied the region, every other group was also subjugated. The Jews were no exception. The Israelis are now doing the same thing to the Palestinians that you seem to be so against. I do not believe what happened to the Jews over the course of history was right, in fact a lot of the things that you outlined are morally bankrupt on the part of the Europeans, Turks, and Arabs. That damn well does not give you the right to hold a grudge against a group of people that have been living in Israel just as long, if not long, than the Jews have. Cutting of water, food, aid, and destroying homesteads, are not things that should be permitted in any country. That is just as morally reprehensible as anything the Jews have endured. I am not telling the Jews to get out of Israel or any other damn country, but what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians is wrong. I implore you to get off of your high horse because supporters of Israeli aggression and exceptionalism do not have the moral high ground, no matter what happened in history.

    By Thomas K on Jun 9, 2010

  38. Thank You. This should be on every paper in the world. I have never been more proud to be jewish.

    By Paul Mish on Jun 9, 2010

  39. I’m Jewish, Romanian, and both Israeli and German citizen. Nevertheless I am convinced that Helen Thomas didn’t deserve to be treated as she did (just as a note: she said nothing else than our great American Jewish novelist Philip Roth wrote in “Shylock Operation”, already 1994…)

    This is what the now famous – or infamous – Rabbi David Nessenhof has to say about Jews and Israel on his website in an “article” —>

    Intro (much ado about nothing …)
    “Why is it our homeland? Well ask anyone they’ll tell you. Everyone knows why Israel is the Jewish homeland. We know, you know, I know. The television knows. The media knows. The public knows, the world knows. All the schools know. The senior citizens know, the college kids know. Everyone knows why Israel is the Jewish homeland.”

    Storyboard (the only story we, Jews and Israelis, seem to remember…)
    “So Jews started arriving in the late forties to Israel to live and start a new life. They had a rightful claim to the land because thousands of years earlier they once had lived there.
    In today’s torah portion we read about Abraham who was in Israel and who earlier in the torah was promised that land by G-d. And in the following portion when his wife Sarah dies Abraham actually buys with money land in Hebron to bury her.”

    Conclusion (from a different standpoint just saying what Helen Thomas has said…)
    “So after the Holocaust in the late 1940s it was a natural for the Jews to go back there– to their land and reclaim it again.
    And with the world feeling really guilty right after the Holocaust
    it made it that much easier
    to get the land back and
    kick out hundreds of thousands of Arabs
    who were living there and dwelling peacefully with their families and loved ones.

    But it was ours first as it was promised to us by G-d in the Torah so we have a claim to it.

    And that’s why we have a Jewish Homeland …” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yeah, this is “our” Jewish view of the world we live in.

    Not to forget that we, Diaspora Jews, are the only of all G_od’s creatures with a “rightful” claim to at least TWO homelands (and two passports as well …).
    As we took the American, Canadian, Australian, South African citizenship (or kept our European, Asian, African ones) we have sworn loyality to ONE country, but many times we forget what we said, e.g. the Oath of Allegiance in US:

    “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen”.

    There are millions of Israelis with two passports. Should they have no thoughts of returning to US, Canada, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, etc. they wouldn’t keep those passports.

    But Helen Thomas and the world are the expected by the Nazionist (ultra-nationalist, ethno-racist, segregationist, radically xenophobic religious ideology that replaces step-by-step Herzl’s democratic, multi-ethnic and multi-religious tolerant Zionism) Jewish-Israeli lobbies to keep their mouths and minds shut.

    By Miguel de Espinosa on Jun 9, 2010

  40. Will you marry me?

    By David on Jun 9, 2010

  41. Fabulous.

    Miriam Assor

    By Miriam Assor on Jun 9, 2010

  42. Thomas – I have been waiting for you. Or someone like you.

    Re origin of ancient languages: I stand corrected. I should have said – written word in a language at the root of one that people still read. Onward: Monotheism – is monogamy lazier than promiscuity? Not unless you have the libido of a spoon. Next: Of course other people discovered important stuff, Physics included. But this was a polemic (yes, a polemic – never couched it as a pro/con piece) about the Jews.

    Now we are at entitlement: Israelites supplanting Canaanites. Really? You want to go back that far? I am happy to argue that with you when I get a few minutes, about whether or not we should have followed our national manifest destiny yadda yadda… but whatever we do, let’s hold the debate in front of some Muslims who think Jews fell from planet Ashkenaz in the Middle Ages. And also in front of some Mayflower descendants and Native Americans…because I think it would be just fascinating.

    And now the clincher, the one they always come up with in the end: Jews doing same thing to Palestinians as was done to us. Here: I must stop you. There is nothing about the Jewish treatment of Palestinians that in any way matches what Hamas does to Fatah supporters, or Jordan did to its Palestinians, etc. With very, very few exceptions, 1. Jews are better to their Arab populations than other Arabs are and 2. nearly every act of Jewish “aggression” one can come up with is born of the need to defend ourselves. I fully agree that I would MUCH RATHER not have to have an army at all, or only a pretend one, like they have in some European countries. (No offense if you’re fromone of those countries.) I’d rather argue civilly like this with my Palestinian neighbors about the details but essentially be cool going out together to the mall. Instead, we have guards at our malls since they are sometimes blown up. I don’t want the walls or blockades or embargos etc etc. any more than you want your shoes checked, or to throw out your water bottle, at the airport. They are both a necessity. And not because of the Jews. You want an end to the aggression, talk to Hamas. Have them care more about their people and less about getting rid of the Jews, and let’s meet back here next week when it’s all solved.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 9, 2010

  43. Sara, as a fellow copywriter, my congratulations, both on your original piece and your superb responses to the Nigels and Thomases of the world. I have a new blogger to follow – and I will! thank you.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 9, 2010

  44. Great piece! Just a couple of additions.

    Jews have lived continuously in Palestine since the end of the 3rd Jewish-Roman War (351-52 C.E.)

    The Muslim historian Ibn al-Qalanisi writes of the Jewish defense of Haifa during the First Crusade in the Summer of 1099. He also mentions that there were 51 Jewish towns in Palestine on the eve of the Crusades.

    According to Hadrian Relandi, Jews were the majority in Palestine in 1694. And Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem for the past 150 years.

    Fred Remington

    By Fred Remington on Jun 9, 2010

  45. Response to Miguel de Espinosa:
    Miguel, I don’t think you read the entire article you link to! The part you have copied and pasted is only a small section in the middle, which the Rabbi uses to set up the argument against Israel, and which he then absolutely demolishes. May I suggest you go back and try again.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 9, 2010

  46. Hey, Miguel. Tell me something, are you Jewish? If so, what makes you different than a non-Jew, other than birth? I guess you do not believe in the Torah, or you wouldn’t be sarcastic about G-d’s promise of the land of Israel to the Jews.

    Where did you get the idea, other than from Jew-haters, that Jews ‘kicked the Arabs out’ of
    the land? Study some history, you self-hating
    Jew. If they really threw them out, why are there so many Arabs living in Israel now? Why
    are so many of them citizens of the state, many of whom are getting benefits equal to or
    more than Jews, from the government? Where did so many of them actually come from?

    On the other hand, what happened to Jews living in all those Arab lands? Are any of them receiving the same benefits the local citizenry (Arabs) get? Why is nobody ever protesting that? Jews always welcome other Jews into Israel. Why do all those Arab countries not do the same for all those refugees?

    By joseph goldstein on Jun 9, 2010

  47. Sara….you are insane… insanely brilliant…is all i can think of right now…your article about HT and your follow ups in here (especially the one to Tomas) are simply stunning… you are incredibly intelligent..I am happy the world has in its shambled environs people like you, who beautify it and make it worthwile.. I am also proud to be a member of a group that has such an admirable woman like you. I am proud to be a Jew not because of you but ALSO because of you.
    Cheers of envy from Canada

    By Yoseph Eshkenazi on Jun 9, 2010

  48. Everyone has a right to your own opinion or point of view but no matter what anyone or country says about the Jews or Israel it will be the nation which is foretold of in the book of revelation that God will set his kingdom up and Jerusalem will be the holy city God has choosen to be where he will rule forever and there are alot of Christians in the USA who pray for Israels protection and do not agree w/ our leaders and what is happening to Gods chosen people if you want to know the truth read the book of revelation an dyou will know the truth about Isreal and how there will be victory for that nation.

    By Connie Fitch on Jun 9, 2010

  49. I thank we all are geting out of line with Gods word.

    By Connie Fitch on Jun 9, 2010

  50. Sara, you have basically said everything I would like to say, but with great style. What bothers me the most is that, although they
    don’t really need a rational reason to hate us so much, it doesn’t matter what the facts are regarding the Palestinian/Israel conflict, we are still the bad guys. It doesn’t matter that we left Gaza, we are still occupying it. It doesn’t matter that Hamas controls everything and keeps them poverty stricken, Israel is practicing Genocide. Arafat did the same thing.
    And as far as the Right of Return question, will all the Jews kicked out of every country in the world be entitled to the same thing?
    The real problem is that there is one set of rules for Jews & Israel and another for the rest of the world.
    And for all those people who say they are disgusted by Israel’s actions, and don’t want to support it with their taxes, let’s not forget:there are no Israelis here trying to commit terrorist acts and when the Twin Towers fell, the people of Israel offered aid and the people of Gaza cheered.
    I once watched a show where bigots were asked who they hated more, blacks or Jews. One woman said she hated Jews so much she’d love to send them all to the moon. When asked why she hated them so much, she looked blank and said “just because they’re Jews”.
    If you read some blogs, the Rabbi who posted the video of Thomas is being vilified as a devil who ambushed this poor defenseless woman.
    In this era of political correctness you cannot slander or demean any group but Jews and it probably won’t ever change.

    By Cheryl on Jun 9, 2010

  51. Very interesting…I must admit, I always find the debate in the posts way more interesting. I’m sorry my vocabulary isn’t as lofty or as eloquent as has been demonstrated nor my knowledge of biblical history of all the peoples/nations before the common era sizeable but I do feel the need to chime-in.

    When all is said and done – no one owns any right to any land eventhough we have all at one point in everyone’s history invaded, occupied, expunged, cohersed religious conversions, massacred, or enslaved weaker masses to turn barren land into fertile lush crops. We’ve warred with each other to rape others’ resources and have drawn new borders and stamped them with the word, ‘Empire’! ‘Empire’ is what drives us. Well, empires rise & fall and we are all so naive to not realize that we are but minutiae on this wonderful earth.

    Just listen to us. “I’m a Jew, I’m a Christian, an Arab, Buddhist, Taoist, monotheist, polytheist, Jesus, Mohammed, Gentile, Infidel, Black, Gay, Straight, Whore, Righteous, blah, blah, blah”…..we are all PEOPLE! We all try to validate our measley lives with these titles. To quote Frank Herbert, “One way of knowing who we are, is knowing who we are not.” Sadly, we are all the same – we all have two eyes, a nose and a mouth and hopefully a functioning brain inside our skulls.

    To get to the point, what Helen Thomas said was downright hurtful and dispicable! All the while batting her pretty blue eyes, ilk spewed forth from her lips. She angered me so much, I wanted to slap that crooked wig off of her head. You would think that after 90 yrs of life, she would’ve amassed some wisdom and empathy. However what came out of her mouth was unmitigated ‘crap’! I’m glad Hearst Publications ‘retired’ her. And quickly too! Good riddance and may someone with a brain assume the position she held for more than a millenia. What an ugly, ugly woman!

    Israel is a very unique situation. I can’t recall in my education of any ‘slaughtered/oppressed people’ ever getting their land back. I’m half Greek and Armenian and Armenians would just be happy if Turkey actually confessed their crimes of massacre against us! I cannot even fathom Turkey ever relinquishing any of our ancestral homelad back via the UN.

    Israel was very lucky and cursed at the same time. She truly is a double-edged sword. Lucky that the world seemed fit to bestow back upon her her land. Unlucky everytime she has to defend herself. “Who are they to oppress the Palestinians after what Hitler did to them?” Well, when you’ve got people trying to blow you up on the bus or bakery when you least expect it, one will take extraordinary means to gather intelligence and protect herself.

    Let’s face it, after 9/11, going to the airports in the U.S. have never been the same. Holy Mother, make sure you wear clean underwear and socks just incase you have to strip. America was damaged and will never be the same again – and that was just one successful bombing! Timothy McVeigh excluded. Can you imagine if America kept getting bombed on the same scale as Israel has? We’d have checkpoints, cargo checks and phone tappings – not that we already don’t! It would be alot uglier here expecially with all the various nationalities pointing fingers too!

    BUT, since Jews have been slaughtered and oppressed (and I’m just keeping this within this past century) it does behoove Israel to be the Shining Beacon of Humanitarianism at the same time. There lies the ‘double-edged sword’. If Israel oppresses Palestinians in any respect, all that happened in Nazi Europe against the Jews will be negated and Hitler will be hailed for having such razor-sharp foresight. Very sad. It’s a tightrope that Israel has to walk and I’m more than sure it is very difficult but I do feel that Israel does possess the power to do it and to be the shining example for all the world to see and model themselves after. I have the upmost faith in Israel.

    In closing, the only truth is that we are but bacteria amidst this unfathomable vast universe. No one owns this earth! We are all her guests and we all need to learn to respect each other and live in harmony for the small duration of Life God gives us. We must all strive to do better.


    By Theodore on Jun 9, 2010

  52. Thank you, Sara. You do us (Jews) proud. My dad was the sole survivor of 8 children when the Nazis “occupied” his town of Opatow in Poland. I am his only surviving (of four) son and with my last breath I will not allow “them” — those what would just as soon see us march into the gas chambers–to win.

    By Morris Wortman, MD on Jun 9, 2010

  53. Humans are essentially lazy. They look for the simplest answer to their problem hence the development of abbreviations in language, monotheistic belief systems, and remotes for TVs. It takes less effort to be concerned with one god rather than several. That is not a discovery.
    I can not speak for Muslims that seem to think that Jews are from some other planet. I know enough Muslims to say that I have seen no empirical evidence for them believing that is true. I feel the Native Americans were wronged most certainly, but the wrongs that my forefathers brought upon those people were by no fault of my own. Should I be held accountable. Simply because the Arabs dislike the Palestinians gives the Israelis no right to turn Gaza into a ghetto. Do you know the kill count from the 2008 conflict in Gaza. 13 Israelis and 1400 Palestinians 900 of which were civilians. How much more is the life of an Israeli worth opposed to that of a Palestinian. The Israeli’s seem to think that 10 fold is the proper adjustment. How can one person of a certain faith be worth 10 of another. That was not a war, that was a massacre. I personally used to be pro Israel, but I realize now that they are no better than the people that used to subjugate the Jews in the other parts of the world. The subjugation of the Palestinians in Israel is systemic and brutal.
    You also speak of the embargo as a minor inconvenience, likened to taking off you shoes in the airport. I assure you there are people starving in Gaza because of that embargo, that is not something to be taken so lightly.

    By Thomas K on Jun 9, 2010

  54. Thomas, Sara will do a better job of answering you than I can, but I’ll get started, as it’s probably quite late where she is.
    Gaza is far from a ghetto. See
    If you can’t be bothered reading all the stats (from the CIA and various other independent organizations, NOT from Israeli sources), scroll down to the pictures. Some ghetto.
    As for your “kill count” – that’s fine, if you consider teenagers carrying guns and armed men out of uniform to be “civilians”. The IDF did a very careful investigation and traced the large majority of casualties to Hamas and other terrorist organizations. That aside, the simple fact is that Israel has built bomb shelters to protect its people, while Hamas has not.
    You also very conveniently ignore the 10,000 rockets that Hamas and their pals shot into Israel before Israel even considered doing anything drastic to protect its citizens.
    So, in short, you are nothing more than a propagandist for the Palestinians, and like all those who came before you, you choose to ignore the inconvenient facts that show just who’s to blame for this never-ending conflict.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 10, 2010

  55. Thomas, Sara will do a better job of answering you than I can, but I’ll get started, as it’s probably quite late where she is.
    Gaza is far from a ghetto. See
    If you can’t be bothered reading all the stats (from the CIA and various other independent organizations, NOT from Israeli sources), scroll down to the pictures. Some ghetto.
    As for your “kill count” – that’s fine, if you consider teenagers carrying guns and armed men out of uniform to be “civilians”. The IDF did a very careful investigation and traced the large majority of casualties to Hamas and other terrorist organizations. That aside, the simple fact is that Israel has built bomb shelters to protect its people, while Hamas has not.
    You also very conveniently ignore the 10,000 rockets that Hamas and their pals shot into Israel before Israel even considered doing anything drastic to protect its citizens.
    Finally, I challenge you to provide us with documented evidence of “people starving in Gaza”. Do you honestly believe that if there were children with distended bellies or starving mothers, there wouldn’t be photographs in every newspaper in the Western and Arab world? Come on Thomas, show us just one.
    So, in short, you are nothing more than a propagandist for the Palestinians, and like all those who came before you, you choose to ignore the inconvenient facts that show just who’s to blame for this never-ending conflict.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 10, 2010

  56. Love it! All of it.

    I wish there were more people like you out there – with the know-how and the guts.

    Thank you.

    By Roberta Remenyi on Jun 10, 2010

  57. TK – you are right. human laziness precludes my midnight response. however let me just say re the Gaza numbers: this is what happens when terrorists set up base inside hospitals and apartment buildings and schools. The numbers are tragically inflated by Hamas’s tactics, not the IDF’s. That Jews protect their citizens, and Palestinians use theirs as pawns, is not new news. Anything wrong in Gaza today is the fault of Hamas. Have you been? It could be gorgeous beachfront property with industry and commerce. That it is hell lies with Haniyeh. and now, i will get my lazy tired ass to bed. salam.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 10, 2010

  58. Hello,
    I´m a spanish spiritual activist, just a begginer if not a kindergarten.
    I,ve been educated in a christian family, but I,ve always been a rebel and try to look, think and live by myself. I´m 39, father of a precious baby girl, and I´d never thougth that my way would bring me to be so interested in jews; however, the fact is that the more I know of myself the more I close to your people. And that makes me feel fearful and alone for various reasons you can probably imagine.
    Anyway, I want to give you and your people my respect and would like to tell you that things are changing little by little. It is my belief than the world must first wacht itself like it is, and after that painful true will understand you, and love you as the intelectuals and braves warriors you are. Do not hesitate. BELIEVE: you are not alone.

    From Spain, congratulations on your article.

    By JAIME on Jun 10, 2010

  59. Given your sources, Stan Tee, I don’t see how I am the one being a propagandist. You cite the Israeli Defense Forces and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. They do not seem like non partisan sources, your hypocrisy is showing Stanley. Given that Israel controls power to Gaza they are able to turn it on an off at their own will. Like this, There was raw sewage flowing through the streets. However though, since the most recent engagement between the flotilla and Israeli Commandos sparked an international censuring of the Israeli government they have eased up on the embargo. Soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy are now permitted to enter Gaza. What possible military application could soda and candy have? Oh and sorry about my math earlier, in my haste I must have forgotten the 0. Israel seems to think that 100 Palestinians is the appropriate conversion to 1 Israeli.
    In response to my friend Sara’s most recent remarks, yes Gaza could be a wonderful beachfront oasis if they had control over their own resources, they sadly do not however. The people of Gaza do not possess adequate access to water given Israeli dams, their power is completely controlled by Israel, and obviously the embargo restricts a great many things that seem to have only been banned in spite… like potato chips. The people of Palestine are merely surviving and Hamas rose to power because they had no where else to turn. Please put yourself in their shoes, feel some sort of empathy for these people. They cannot live their lives without the permission of the Israeli Defense Forces.

    By Thomas K on Jun 10, 2010

  60. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    By Estela B on Jun 10, 2010

  61. Sara,

    Two questions:

    1- Why would you think more extremist noise can help?

    2- Do you really believe that “Israel has made mistakes over its 62 years [...] But none worse than every other democracy on earth has also done”?? I can’t think of many democracies that compete with Israel in terms of war crimes and violent, unnecessary aggressions. In fact, I can’t name more than a handful.

    Overall, I think your approach is simply wrong. Israel cannot be helped by the vast and amazing Jewish deeds/feats. There will be no hope for the Middle East if Israel continues to be pushed away from becoming a peaceful democracy (in my dreams, a lay one). Inflammatory calls to arms and “Jewish supremacy” texts like yours only contribute to a regression straight back to Hammurabi’s Code. That’s sad. It’s speech diversity on the Internet all right, but I’m afraid our debates – within Israel and internationally – need change. Legitimizing massacres and hailing the military status quo as an inevitable consequence of “their” hatred is a mistake. If we keep shouting, the “others” will stop listening, and maybe they already have. But worse than that, we will become deaf too.


    By Daniel on Jun 10, 2010

  62. Written very well. But 1 problem, how will the jews survive? arabs r multiplying a lot faster then the jews. in just a few years, there will b too many arabs in the world to fight. Every few years, jews r killed and chased out of their homes. Y will it b dif in the usa or canada? We r the chosen ppl. We were chosen to suffer.

    By smart guy on Jun 10, 2010

  63. Well said young lady. Well said and there are many,many Chirstians that support Isreal and really care for the Jews.

    By Carmen on Jun 10, 2010





    By Yeshurun Ben Tzion on Jun 10, 2010

  65. ST – tx for having my back. Never mind TK – he’s gettng cranky with all these Jews around. :)
    TK – friend – i like!
    i have A LOT of empathy for the Palestinians. For the way women are treated, and people who dont think exactly like Hamas. And gay people. And people who want to live quietly and make a living. i WISH the Hamas was as interested in their plight – and were doing as much to help – as many of my co-religionsts. The truth remains that Arafat funneled billions in aid to his own accounts, and Hamas, while not as fiscally corrupt, places its citizens in danger’s way in order to cause harm to Israel. Who stores missiles in an apartment building? Benevolent leaders who only want the best? you want the IDF out of palestinian lives? ME TOO!!! The soldiers too!!! (theyd much rather get to university at 18 and start their lives.) but first we both need to talk to the guys in the black masks waving burning flags. seriously. you need a visit to tel aviv, and one to gaza.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 10, 2010

  66. Daniel – Shalom to you too. First of all, I’m sorry we embarrass you over here. Changing your name to Derek might be the best bet if you don’t feel like being on the defensive all the time. Also, chicks like that name.

    Failing that, i suggest you take a look at American history, and British history, and French, and, um, German – but thats already something else. You are probably right that there are some democracies with a cleaner humanitarian record than all of us democracies who have fought wars, but those democracies have never had to fight for their lives, and have never volunteered to fight for anyone else’s. If you witness murder in your own country and you dont take sides, does that make you a saint?

    Daniel – I am not an extremist, nor do i like extremists. I didnt mean extremist noise, but “gentile” noise – my comments were addressed to a friend from Italy. I think it’s important that people around the world speak up instead of standing by (again?) No one is hailing military status quo bla bla -its just a necessary thing. Wouldnt you rather your tax dollars not go to jails? But would you close all the jails?

    Jewish supremacy was never my intention, and i agree that that is a dangerous thing. I meant simply to bring some pride to Jews around the world who are afraid to open their mouths, and indeed, it appears, in a small way, to have worked. I wrote like this because people are scared. But in real life, I am a moderate, normal person, who you might even not be embarrassed to be seen with. Maybe.

    Anyway – peaceful, lay democracy in Israel is very possible and much desired, including by me – if only the Hamas and the Arab world would agree to it. See my above comments where I cover this, and also in the piece itself. Israel has always wanted to live side by side with its neighbors in peace. We have much in common and much to share. Every single act of Israeli agression can be traced to a Palestinian one – I refer you to the evacuation of Gaza in 2005. That should have been enough, as they say. But for the Palestinians, there is no Dayeinu. They destroyed everything the Israelis left them as gestures of the peace you mention. Greenhouses, places of business, the whole deal.

    All that said, Daniel …I believe its time for a visit. Or another visit. Or whatever. I hear these days you can even get to Ashdod by boat.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 10, 2010

  67. Readers – i may not be back till next week. Crazy weekend ahead.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 10, 2010

  68. Been getting fantastic feedback from people about this blog as it makes the rounds. Unfortunately, your points are so dead on that some of the Doubting Thomases (couldn’t resist)of the world are afraid to post or print because wouldn’t you know it–it may cause people to be exposed to pro Jewish/Israeli information.

    By Doda Shmena on Jun 10, 2010

  69. Thanks. It’s good

    By Alexey Abraham on Jun 10, 2010

  70. As a jewish person who lives in Istanbul ,congratulations Sara..
    These days I enjoy extra to read articles like yours.

    By Tovi on Jun 10, 2010

  71. The best piece i have read this year and for a long time before that.

    Thank you!

    By Yogi on Jun 10, 2010

  72. This article is brilliant as stated by oters aboe not only for its clarity but by including theposities that Jews have given to the countries that they were exiled to by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Tenple but also the by showing we tried to live elsewhere numerous times and were exiled or murdered in too many countries, so we finally said FY to you and the term never gaian was an accumulation of thousands of years of abuse which were encapsulated by Helen Thoma’ words, “get the Hell out of Palestine”, when BTW she was speaking to you Jewsish boys who were vistiting the White House on Jewish Rememberance Day, which will, with Obamas policies and Thomases words, if allowed to take shape may really be a remeberance day. We are lucky the two moral imperatives like the North and South Pole that have been a constant has been Israel and the USA.Keep up your brilliant writings.I first fely sorry for Thomas because of her age but she should know better because of her age.

    By Richard on Jun 10, 2010

  73. I would like to make one point…if we jews need to get out of “Palestine”..where Hellen needs to go? I mean, if all the people of the world should leave the place the its not “theirs” so Hellen Thomas should leave America and give it back to the real owners of the land. I am just following her school of thought here! She or her parents also arrive in a ship to the US like jews did to Palestine, right? So how back do we need to go in this “get out” and “go back to”? I think we should actually do it. But I mean all of us! so finally we would find a land of Israel where todays Jordan it is also part of it. And Islam should shrink to only Mecca…Funny, I like that idea…and yo Hellen Thomas? Do you like it too?

    By Roman on Jun 10, 2010

  74. So Thomas, you complain about my sources, and then you raise my bid by pointing to The Huffington Post? Yeah, right.

    I suggest there’s one difference. My sources are actually on the ground there, and they know what’s happening. My sources also quote from other, independent sources (did you read the footnotes to the article? Did ya?) Your sources, well …. everything they say can be examined and most of it can be refuted. How about you try and do the same with mine, rather than just say “Naah!”


    Sara, love your response to Daniel. I really think you are exactly what Israel needs right now.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 10, 2010

  75. Sara, you are darling,
    The old witch finally said what many like her will say. There is an old russki slogan: “the smart will keep it in his mind and the stupid will spit it by his mouth”. And you are right, we Bnei Israel and not just Jews from Jehuda tribe are like Vagabonds. Because we were kicked from every place on this earth, even from our own land of Israel, but we succeeded to survive as a nation and even despite the fact that we have many many opinions about any possible issue.

    Amiram Kupfer,

    By Amiram Kupfer on Jun 10, 2010

  76. As a minor response to TK, I’d like to understand why Israel needs to supply its enemy with anything? It seems odd that we’re taken to task over filtering the humanitarian aid that gets in to Gaza. What about Egypt? No one seems to be raising a stink about their treatment of the Arabs living in Gaza. Why do you only take umbrage with Israel? I guess it has something to do with what Sarah so eloquently wrote.

    In any event, Israel controls the electricity in Gaza. True. Why doesn’t Hamas (or before them, Arafat) build their very own power station and supply their own power? Did you know that the price of oil in Gaza is a fraction of what it costs in Israel? They’d be able to supply their own electricity for far less than it costs us…*and* if I’m not mistaken, they don’t even pay for any of the electricity they get from Israel (please show me sources that say otherwise…my “lazy Jewish ass” doesn’t want to be bothered with a Google search right now)!

    I do think however that you are 100% correct with your shock over the number of casualties that were inflicted on the enemy in Gaza. I’m shocked and dismayed that it’s ONLY 100 to 1! With all the firepower and advanced technology that Israel has and the Arabs in Gaza don’t have, I’m shocked and disgusted that they weren’t able to muster up more kills. (Yes, please read this as sarcasm). It would *almost* seem like Israel was trying to prevent collateral damage. Go figure!

    By Shmuel on Jun 10, 2010

  77. For Jay:
    OK, here’s the problem. The dichotomization of opinion in America and in the Jewish world. Glenn Beck may call out the anti-Israel lobby – but he also offends me in ways too numerous to count. He’s supposed to be my spokesman? I’m supposed to swallow every objectionable thing he says in order to have him speak for me? I think I’ll take Sara Eisen instead.
    It has gotten to the point where one can either be pro-Israel and solidly right-wing, Republican, neo-conservative, or liberal, Democrat, and anti-Israel. No middle ground. The problem is, many of the reasons why Sara has chosen to praise Israel in general are precisely those things I have found lacking in the right wing ideas and governments both in America and Israel (and Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, etc.). Glenn Beck recently told people to stay away from churches and synagogues where they talked about economic justice because it was code for socialism. It’s hard, as a religious Jew, to swallow that; it’s pretty clear to me that Glenn Beck has never read much Navi (Amos, Isaiah, Micha, take your pick).
    Likewise, the American Jewish community has fallen victim time and again to the fallacy that we must fall in lockstep behind Israel and “support” her. As an Israeli who served in Tzaha”l (who is also an American citizen because I was born here) I wholeheartedly agree with Sara’s assessment that even our generally moral conduct is often carried out in the most poorly-planned, shoddily executed, and inadequately marketed manner. The individual Israeli soldier generally behaves in superlative fashion; his leadership (civilian, not military) are generally a bunch of boobs. The American Jewish public ought to demand competent leadership in Israel if it is to be relied upon for support.
    I frankly don’t care what the world stage thinks of Israel’s behavior; in the most particularist way possible, I understand us to have a higher authority to answer to than the nations of the world can hold us to, namely the moral compass of our own people. One aspect of that, however, is the concept of “mareit ayin” (otherwise known by some of my frum friends as Morris Ayin the nosy neighbor), meaning that even an action that is permitted may be forbidden if it has the appearance of impropriety or immorality. For example (guilty, guilty, guilty) entering or eating in a non-Kosher restaurant even when the food being consumed is actually Kosher. Driving in a sports car with a woman other than your wife, even if the two of you are headed to a business meeting and you’re giving her a ride because her car broke down. Boarding a “Civilian vessel” with live ammunition, even when you know that there are terrorists on board (questionable, as Sara points out) and even when every action is conducted according to a rigorous code of conduct (which it is; I used to be able to recite it). The blockade isn’t the problem – the execution of the mission is, and it is a problem because of “mareit ayin”, not because the moral underpinnings are missing.
    The greatest tragedy in modern Israeli politics, aside from the assassination of Rabin (whether you agree with him or not, it was the Second Temple being destroyed yet again in terms of sinat chinam), as far as I’m concerned, is the failure of Netivot Shalom/Oz V’Shalom to gain any traction, or even survive as a lone voice in the wilderness. The concept that being a believing, practicing Jew can encompass and even compel one to break with the hard liners would be most welcome. The left is racist enough to excuse the Palestinians’ behavior as though they do not know better; the Israeli right racist enough to assume that the Palestinians are incapable of anything but war and bloodshed.
    Israel must survive, for the Jews do have a special role to play in this world and we must have a safe homeland to do so. but the Torah cautions that a failure to attend to all the moral guidance it provides will cause the land to vomit us our. God forbid we should allow this to happen.
    And thanks, Sara – while I sense you and I may argue details, I think your voice carries a weight of reason and moderation that are nearly absent in this world. Kol HaKavod.

    By Jonathan on Jun 10, 2010

  78. Congratulations, Sara!
    Your text is absolutely the best I have ever read on this issue. I thank you from the heart.

    By Carlos on Jun 10, 2010

  79. I wonder what Tom Segev would say of your piece. You have left some crucial parts of ISRAEL’S history and beginnings out. Recommend you read his books.

    By Aimee Kligman on Jun 10, 2010

  80. All well said. But after being kicked out from so many countries throughout your history, isn’t it time to look in the mirror and ask yourself the honest question: What the heck are we doing wrong?

    By B. A. on Jun 10, 2010

  81. Bravo Sara!
    This is absolutely BRILLIANT!!
    Every Jew, no make that- EVERYONE should read this.
    Here is a list of people that I am sending this to: Barack Obama, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan to name just a few.

    By ShariaSucks on Jun 10, 2010

  82. LOVE YOUR POST – saw it on Haaretz. Shared it with my facebook friends. Thanks for speaking up.

    By Erin on Jun 10, 2010

  83. Hi Sara,

    Thanks for the reply. I just have to disagree.

    Re #1: the text does sound extremist, at least to a lot of your actual and potential readers. Using dyads all the time (like “speak up instead of standing by”) doesn’t help. Blaming “the Hamas and the Arab world” alone, and repeating Israel Military’s fairytale – that the country “has always wanted to live side by side with its neighbors in peace” – only adds insult to injury.

    Re #2: I thought you wanted to compare Israel to other democracies, not to other countries’ full history. Limiting the comparison to “democracies who have fought wars” but extending it to include Victorian England / Middle Age France is a very easy way out of actually recognizing Israel’s “unclean” humanitarian record and its implications for the Middle East.

    Finally, as a believer in frank debates, I need to point that you were wrong in most assumptions about me, and I cannot enjoy the fact that you had to identify the origin of my arguments to respond to them (or dismiss, or ignore). Some examples:
    - Am I American? (or a tax payer in the US…)
    - Do I support imprisonment?
    - Am I Jewish?
    - Am I Israeli?
    - Have I been to Israel recently?
    - Am I going to Tel Aviv tomorrow?

    I am sure I would not be embarrassed to be seen with you. I would, however, try to convince you that reframing certain arguments is very important if, instead of a broader audience in dull consensus, we are to speak up while still trying to listen, to reason, to feel. Peace hinges on that.


    By Daniel on Jun 10, 2010

  84. Hey Daniel, I’m going to jump in here. I have to say that I’m really impressed with how you’ve seen through the “Israeli Military’s fairytale” strategy. I mean, we Jews are incredibly smart. Just look at what we’ve done:
    • In the late 19th/early 20th century, we forced Arab landowners to sell us land in Palestine at horribly inflated prices
    • In 1922/23, we forced Britain to give 80% of Mandate Palestine (you know, all the land that had promised to us by the Balfour Declaration) to the Hashemite Kingdom.
    • In 1937 we forced the Arabs of what was left of Palestine to reject the Peel report, that would have given them a huge chunk of this small remainder
    • In 1947, we forced the Arabs to reject the UN Partition, while we accepted it, even though it didn’t give us the best land and didn’t give us sovereignty over Jerusalem, the holiest city in Judaism
    • In 1948, we forced 5 Arab countries to invade us and kill a full 1% of our fledgling population
    • In 1967, we forced Nasser to close the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping, to amass his armies on our borders and to threaten our annihilation, yet again. (Oh, we also forced Jordan to attack us in Jerusalem and the West Bank by fiendishly begging them not to.)
    • In 1973, we forced Egypt and Syria to launch a surprise attack against us, almost defeating our army
    • In 1993, we forced Arafat to come back and take control of the West Bank and Gaza, so that he could start teaching the Palestinians the real meaning of hate.
    • In 2001, we forced Arafat to launch his bloody intifada,killing more than 1,000 Israeli men, women and children in pizza parlors, on buses, outside discotheques
    • In 2005, we forced Gazans to be completely free of any “occupation” by pulling out all our soldiers and all our civilians. (Can you blame them for firing rockets at us, long before Hamas won that election and long before the blockade? I mean, cheez! What did we expect? That they’d maybe use the opportunity to build a state of their own? They sure showed us.)
    • In 2006, we forced Hizbullah to kidnap three of our soldiers by tunneling into Israel proper
    • In 2008, we forced Hamas and their fellow travellers to keep shooting rockets into Sderot and to improve their capabilities so they could reach Ashkelon, from where we supplied THEM with electricity (incidentally, we also forced them to keep shelling the border crossings through which we sent food, fuel and medicines).
    • And now, we forced a bunch of “peace” activists to attack our commandos with knives, metal poles and guns, even though our commandos were armed with paintball guns.

    All for a fairytale. There’s just one thing, Daniel, that I need your help with. Please remind why we did all this? I can’t for the life of me remember what we hoped to gain by it.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 10, 2010

  85. Re: Stan, my sources have come from reputable news outlets while yours have effectively come from Israeli government. I cannot see how you can view your sources as being in anyway accurate given the obvious associations that they possess. The Israeli government is trying to justify their actions and the actions of their military, hence my reading of your argument as unfounded or at least biased.
    Give me an example of something that you can refute in my sources instead of some non-specific statement please.

    Re: Sara, I’m sorry, but I have seen no evidence of the Israeli government trying to find peace given their building projects on Palestinian land. The destruction of Palestinian settlements to make way for Israeli housing developments is not conducive to stability in the region. Even if you could prove that every aggressive action by Israeli was provoked the simple concept of overkill negates any sort of moral high ground Israel may possess. Perhaps an explicit explanation for the discrepancy in casualties would be in order. An eye for an eye mentality never worked. An eye for 100 eyes really is not going to work an better.
    Pride for one’s ethnicity or nationality is fine up until a point. The second that that pride induces a superiority complex is when it become dangerous. I am not accusing you particularly I am just imploring you to see any culture as having it’s faults. Presently Israel should not be a source of pride to Jews. In fact, it seems to be a liability; something that has incensed the world, most notably the Arab world, against Jews. I understand if you feel that the founding of Israel created the issue in the first place. I cannot agree with what Israel’s neighbors did half a century ago, but the perpetual subjugation of the Palestinian population really is not doing Israel an favors in the PR department. If anything the actions of Israel have isolated Jews even further and created more ill will towards Jews similarly to how the Taliban, Hamas, or Hezbola have created ill will towards Muslims. Please do not place this conflict squarely on the shoulders of Hamas, for Israel has far more of a part than you care to admit.

    By Thomas K on Jun 10, 2010

  86. Thomas, you provide a perfect example right here: “. The destruction of Palestinian settlements to make way for Israeli housing developments is not conducive to stability in the region”

    Please provide one verifiable reference to demonstrate conclusively that this has ever happened. (You may just find that all Israeli developments are on empty land. And that any Palestinian “settlements” – your word – that Israel has demolished were either built illegally or belonged to terrorists or suicide bombers.)

    Your contention that just because something is claimed by Israel it must be false is, quite frankly, ridiculous. In the article I referenced, every statistic was clearly annotated, but even that doesn’t satisfy you, because the entire article comes from an Israeli source. Thomas, you’re skating on very thin ice here.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 10, 2010

  87. Thomas, your complaint that “the actions of Israel have … created more ill will towards Jews” is exposed here:

    By Stan Tee on Jun 10, 2010

  88. TK – the 100 to 1 ratio is in keeping with stated policy of many ARAB leaders, who have stated their willingness to sacrifice as many people of their own as it takes to get rid of the Jews.
    BA – the question you raise “What the hell are we doing wrong,” aside from being a “blame the victim” type of accusation (Should the Armenians ask themselves that? The Cambodians who were slaughtered by their own leaders?), has been answered well by Elie Wiesel and Joseph Teluskhin, among others. We question. We don’t “go along to get along.” We are a reminder to majority religions and cultures that their views are not universally accepted, despite both violent and non-violent attempts to make it so. We challenge injustice and push against social orders that don’t reflect morality. We do so, at least those of us who continue to be believing MOTs, because God told us to – and those who don’t believe often do so because old habits die hard.
    I’m not going to apologize for sticking in the craw of the Roman Empire, Crusader Europe, Ottoman Turkey, or Czarist Russia. Someone had to – and since our father Avraham was told, “Be a blessing” to the other nations, it’s our job.
    I just want to remind all of Sara’s cheering supporters (of which I am one) that we need to be just as willing to piss off and challenge our own leaders when they begin to stray. Read Amos.

    By Jonathan on Jun 10, 2010

  89. Stan, we shouldn’t miss the opportunity to follow Sara’s powerful invitation and build a better dialogue, any and everywhere. Being one-sided can win you friends who are already on our side, and that’s it. Jonathan’s post conveys very well my message – I hope it’s not too late. Shalom

    By Daniel on Jun 10, 2010

  90. Wow! Saw this at Haaretz. Great post!

    By Andrew on Jun 10, 2010

  91. Truly amazing!!! This is so well written and to the point. I’m speechless.

    By Jeff on Jun 10, 2010

  92. Well said!

    By Gili on Jun 10, 2010

  93. Thanks, Daniel.
    Speaking of building better dialogue, I have seen self-identified Israelis, and American Jews,in this thread, as well as many who I assume, erroneously perhaps, by their names are of various European descents. No one as yet identified as Palestinian, Turkish, Muslim, Arab . . .
    We appear to be missing a key partner in the dialogue. WE can talk all we want, maybe even come to a resolution. The British and French came to a lovely resolution over the Middle East in the 1920′s and 1930′s, didn’t they. Don’t you wonder what it might have looked like had they bothered to have the interested parties at the table beforehand? The road map for peace looked great to the US, EU, Russia and the UN . . .

    By Jonathan on Jun 10, 2010

  94. Jews do not equal Israelis, in the minds of some Jews, anyway. Evidently in Sara’s mind they do, but certainly not in mine.

    Guess what, Sara? I’m an American Jew, and I have the utmost respect for Helen Thomas. When she made her comment the other day, I shouted, “Hear! Hear!” Because frankly, I don’t like Israelis, as a rule. And it has nothing to do with their religion. It has to do with the fact that they have a chip on their shoulders. That they use their self-identification as “oppressed” to be rude, obnoxious and loud. And that they oppress others while shouting, “Never again!”

    If Israel was a shining example of kindness, democracy and advanced civilization in the center of Middle East, selflessly aiding its Muslim neighbors, they’d have the support of the world by now. But they are examples of none of these things. Kindness is overcome by defensive resentment, democracy is only for Jews in Israel, and civilization is only for Jews as well. When I hear the words, “Next year in Israel!”, I shudder.

    You’ll notice that I say “they” and not “we”. I’m not an Israeli. I’m an American Jew. And if you say “we” when you refer to Israelis, then I say, “Get the hell out of the Middle East. Go somewhere else, here to America perhaps, and learn to get along with the rest of the world. You had your chance – longer, frankly, then you deserved.”

    By Dave Klingler on Jun 11, 2010

  95. Stan Tee, I personally know a Jewish woman who was married to a Palestinian man. His family home, on land his family had owned for hundreds of years and for which they had legal title, was confiscated, bulldozed and literally overlaid with grass sod before being sold off and developed some time later. Needless to say, this woman, an ardent, practicing Jew, spends much of her time protesting in favor of the Palestinian cause.

    By Dave Klingler on Jun 11, 2010

  96. This article is awesome Sara!! You hit on all the major points and we are tired of appeasing others! Remember were that got Neville Chamberlain before WW II! Yet we are so used to getting bashed in the media – why did they not show the Israeli Commandos being jumped and assaulted as they landed where the world was so quick to condemn! Remember when Israel destroyed the nuclear power plant the French were building in Iraq – every one again condemned Israel, then we attacked Iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction! Imagine if those were nuclear weapons! Why do others not get what is happening? I honor you for writing so eloquently what all Jews want to say and some can’t! Keep up your great writing and contributions!


    By Ron Dilbert on Jun 11, 2010

  97. Hey Daniel, you’re right, I am one-sided. But you know what? I took a look at the other side and I don’t much like what I see. For example:
    A whole bunch of them – the majority, in fact – elected as their government, a party whose charter in part reads:

    “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

    “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. ”

    “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

    There’s also another lovely part that talks about trees and rocks calling out to Muslims that there’s a Jew hiding behind them and that the Muslims should come and kill the Jews.

    Oh, you say, what about the moderate party? You know, the one under Abbas?

    Ah yes. Remember when Israeli plans to build some houses in a Jewish part of Jerusalem caused such a kerfuffle? And Abbas refused to sit down with Israel? (Actually, he refused to sit down with the Americans before the Americans sat down with the Israelis). Do you know what Abbas’s Fatah party was doing?

    They were busy naming a public square after a martyr. A delightful young woman who killed 37 civilians – including a large number of children – in what became known as “The Coastal Road Massacre”. Granted, the massacre happened a long time ago, but the “moderates” still CELEBRATE it to this day.

    You know what, Daniel? I’d rather be one-sided than try to find reasonable excuses for the other side. And I can tell you something else. If the Palestinians ever genuinely agreed to recognize Israel and to live in peace side-by-side with Israel, there would be the most beautiful peace the very same day. That’s a promise – and I don’t make idle promises.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 11, 2010

  98. ‘The Israelites were not native to the region, they came from the south. They began to supplant the Canaanite population about 1000 BCE eventually they told the Canaanites to “get the hell out” for believing in the multiple deities that they did.’

    Even though the author has responded to the comment from which this was excerpted, I must respond to this strongly. Because it is what a conservative sci fi writer whose politics I despise and whose prose I love would have called a ‘Not So Thing.’ It is simply not historical fact.

    Not according to the most unbiased and objective secular archaeologists.

    This may ruffle the feathers of practicing Jews or fundamentalist Christians. It’s important, however, for people who accept anti-Semitic revisionism as historical fact while claiming to be secular humanists to understand.

    The beautiful poetry of the Bible aside (and for the record I consider myself a critical realist and Christian Panentheist along the lines of Sir John Polkinghorne, if anyone feels my own beliefs are connected to my statements about either religious texts or historical research), objective anthropological and archaeological evidence suggests that the ‘Israelites’ and the ‘Canaanites’ were the same people… at least originally.

    The best evidence available suggests that various members of the Canaanite society (the disenfranchised, the very-talented-but-very-poor who saw no scope for recognition in life, runaway slaves and freed slaves, and moral reformers) who did not like the world in which they lived decided to build their own. They started by physically separating themselves from the rest of Canaanite society to form their own settlements. Then they identified themselves with the senior deity of the Canaanite pantheon, El, and refused to worship any other gods. This is reflected in a significant portion of the texts which became the Bible (which refer to El rather than YHWH, refer to the other Canaanite gods as real-and-evil rather than mythical, and which use language linking the Israelites and Canaanites through ties of blood) and the general consensus among Biblical scholars is that the ‘Elhoist texts’ originated first and that the ‘Yahwhist texts’ which ultimately colored the final Bible were written after the return of Babylonian exiles to Jerusalem.

    This society differentiated itself from the Canaanites socially and ethnically despite being, themselves, Canaanite. Their original society was ‘ruled’ by respected elders and judges whose office came from the fact that people respected their abilities, took what they had to say seriously, and listened to them on major issues. It’s going too far to call this ‘proto-democracy’ (as some do), but it’s certainly comparable to the later movement of the Cossacks from the cities and farms of Russia to the steppes of Central Asia.

    More importantly /the Canaanites never left/. Despite the sturm and drang of Exodus, even the mostly Yahwist revisionist books of Joshua and Judges were unwilling to pretend the ancient Israelites killed all the ancient Canaanites off. Archaeological and historical evidence suggests that by the time ancient Israel established itself as a minor regional power there were still Canaanite settlements within it and around it and within the neighboring ‘nations.’ Despite the rhetoric of the Bible, Canaanites and Israelites encountered each other on a daily basis and this contact was not always hostile.

    I recommend (if one is really interested in the historical facts of the ancient Israelites, the development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and the historical relationships between Jew and goy) the excellent ‘Cultures of the Jews’, edited by David Biale. It is written by Jews and goyim from leading scholarly institutions around the world.

    Facts are stubborn things. No matter how much we all like to shelter among our opinions, some day we stub our toe against the facts.

    Someone else made reference to Martian visitors. I think they would think that human beings like to find reasons to kill each other. I don’t think they would see the difference between Jews and goyim that we see. I think they would see Israel in much the same way I see it, and much the same way I see America or the late Soviet Union: a really good idea that never lives up to its potential. Like most really good human ideas.

    By Eclectic Radical on Jun 11, 2010

  99. Re: Johnathan, give me proof of this attitude that Arab leaders seem to have about their own people. You write words of peace and about challenging injustice then why support a government that has sacrificed any ethical strand it had left to attempt to drive these people out of their homes. How morally superior can Israel be if they are subjugating a population in the same way that Jews were subjugated in history.
    Re:Smuel, I’m sure the people of Gaza would really want to make their own power plant. I’m sure they would be keen on doing a great many things to lift themselves out of squalor. The Israeli embargo, however, prevents most everything from entering Gaza. Israeli controls the resources, by design, hence keeping the people of Gaza completely dependent. Very clever, even if completely immoral.
    Re: Stan, In what way am I skating on thin ice. I stated that your sources are most likely biased because of their affiliation with the Israeli government. If this is not obvious to you then you are either too stupid or too blind to see it. Come back with a source that is not intimately tied with one of the opposing sides and maybe I will start taking your arguments seriously. In terms of evidence of building projects jeopardizing peace in the area here is is: This looks remarkably like a land grab and most certainly did not help the peace talks that were to start a few days after.
    I would also urge you not to use blogs as sources since they are not subject to the same rigorous editing process that most news outlets use. I am sure that you are distraught that you are unable to find anything more than opinion pieces to support your argument. I think that you should also know that the Palestinians were promised that land by Britain before the Jews were. I personally would be a bit irritated with the whole situation. Despite what the countries around Israel have done, that gives the Israelis no right to subjugate an entire people that were living in the region prior to the establishment of Israel. Just because Israel feels threatened on their borders does not mean they should be able to beat up on a downtrodden minority.

    By Thomas K on Jun 11, 2010

  100. Oh Thomas, your link does not demonstrate what I challenged you to prove. If you did some real research, you will find that no new land is being used for this new construction. It is planned on land that already falls within Beitar Eilit. I dared you to find me a single reference to a Palestinian “settlement” (your word) being demolished to make way for Jewish land development, as you so confidently asserted. You have not done so. You cannot do so.

    As for my sources, you seem either unable or completely unwilling to check the sources that they used in compiling the article in question. So let me do it for you here:

    The Daily Telegraph,
    The CIA World Fact Book

    Last time I looked, none of this belonged to Israel or the IDF. So tell me Thomas, which one of us is blind? Stupid?

    Let’s also see your source about the Palestinians “being promised that land before the Jews were”. I would be fascinated, because at that time, whenever somebody said “Palestinian”, they were automatically considered to be talking about Jews (the Jerusalem Post used to be called the Palestine Post, you know).

    The ice you’re skating on is not only thin, it’s melting fast.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 11, 2010

  101. every country that has ever “hosted” us has found it necessary to tell us to get the hell out…
    not every country

    By amos77 on Jun 11, 2010

  102. Brilliant piece. Very nicely written and great explanation of history. You should consider a career doing PR for the Israeli government. Am Yisrael Chai!

    By Rabbi Jason Miller on Jun 11, 2010

  103. Ms. Eisen, came across your piece via the abriged version published in Haaretz Online.

    Saw the Helen Thomas video via a Facebook friend who’d posted a link to it a couple of days ago.

    I think her reasoning was poor at best,and facile. It’s the same kind of logic displayed by those who support Arizona’s SB 1070, and many more similar measures world-wide.

    It can be summed up in this line from the tv version of Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles”, “Im the sheriff of this town,and you’re a big,fat fairy!”

    Maybe not as good a line as,”We’ll take the niggers and the chinks,but we don’t want the Irish!”, or other lines like that,but it’s the self-important arrogance and either implied or explicit threats of violence behind the logic that angers me.

    It’s also the dismissive aspersions behind Thomas’ statement, as well as Golda Meir’s much earlier statement about the Palestinians being a people without a history, that also make my gorge rise.

    If everyone went back to where their ancestoral homelands,those places’d get mighty over-crowded really quickly. Besides, it’s no more practical an option than teachin’ pigs to fly or cats to speak English.

    The Israelis aren’t goin’anywhere,and neither are the Palestinians,and I see no reason why either people should.

    What should happen, in my opinion, is that a comprehensive peace deal between the Israeli government, the Palestinian factions, and the Lebanese and Syrian governments should be hashed out by those parties, and their respective backers, and firmly stuck to by all parties involved.

    Do I see any real likelihood of that happening now or in the immediate future? No,because there are far too many people who are invested in one way or another,for reasons of their own in ensuring that this nonsense continues.

    In the meantime, a lot of so-called ordinary Israelis, Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians and many others besides end up paying dearly for their leaders’,academic,media and other intellectuals’ willingness to fight on and on.

    Helen Thomas,whose work I used to like and respect,is now,unfortunately,just another one of that lot.

    Shame on her,and the rest of ‘em,for being such jack-asses.

    Anyway,am done here,Ms.Eisen,as have said my litte say. There are probably quite a lot of takes on aspects of this conflict and more that we’d disagree about, and that’s fine.

    That’s just par for the course of being alive, I think.

    By Donald Rilea on Jun 11, 2010

  104. I not only agree with pretty much every word you wrote, I also love your writing style and the picture you chose for this blog!!!! (I am a bit of a Gleek so I appreciated that.) I have also started a blog recently and as a semi religious Jewish mother of three living in suburbia, who is creative, but not sure what to do with that creativity, and who is known as the neighborhood baker (I make a mean babka…) I have decided that I might make you my mentor, if that is okay! If you facebook friend me, you can check out not only my note that links your blog, but also my comments on Rosie O’Donnell’s support of Helen Thomas. Looking forward to reading more of your work on this subject area!

    By Liorr Karasanti on Jun 11, 2010

  105. Thomas and Stan and Daniel and everyone else who has been partaking in this extremely interesting and educated discussion, congratulations! You have all shown impressive intellectual prowess in reciting compelling historical and factual support for each of your arguments. And you have shown incredible maturity and patience in hearing each other out and not lashing out (for the most part) with name calling and pointless arguments to put each other or the other’s side down in a personal way. If only the two parties at hand– Israel and the Palestinians, and for that matter the supporting countries like the US, England France and of course the UN — could deal with one another with such maturity, we’d be in great shape.

    But as we all know deep down, this is not about justice and it is not about who has the stronger historical connection. Each of us has his own historical reference point and each of them is right in its own way. Furthermore, the writer of our sources for information — be it The Guardian, The New York Times, history books or the IDF promos, has a point of view that s/he has to promote in order to satisfy a specific readership or just because s/he happened to be influenced by speaking to one group of “witnesses” to an event and not to the other group that saw it from the other perspective. Let’s not be naïve, there is no truly objective accounting of history or of current events, especially where, as here, we are discussing ancient history.

    So we’re left to the old Machiavellian theory that “Might makes Right”. Indeed, England and France and other modern democracies have long histories of aggressive, deceptive and often brutal colonialism. But none of you is complaining about that because they were sufficiently strong to completely subjugate the original indigenous people who don’t make enough noise now to bother any of you from your comfortable homes. In the case of Israel, however, the Palestinians do make noise so Israel has to deal with them, even though they’d rather not.

    Israel is going to make peace with the Palestinians because they have to. The question is how to get the external players like the US and England to pressure all the parties — meaning the other Arab states and especially Syria– to support the peace and join it as well. From an economic perspective, peace would be the best thing for Israel and for all of its Arab neighbors. That combination of a New Middle East from an economic perspective, with Israel’s creative know-how combined with the Arab nations’ size, wealth and culture, could completely dwarf the United States and the European Union for global economic dominance.

    So in short, Helen Thomas was wrong. The Jews shouldn’t get the hell out of anywhere, and neither should the Palestinians. It’s the rest of us who need to get the hell out of our comfortable seats as spectators of a bloody spectacle (remember the gladiators?) And do something positive to promote peace for all of our good.

    By MFF on Jun 11, 2010

  106. Bravo !!!!!

    Thank you for the excellent history lesson.

    By Woodsterman on Jun 11, 2010

  107. Your article rings out as a bell loud and clear.
    I think for Jews around the world the events of the last week have formed a watershed.Everything is crystallizing before our eyes and for better or worse I believe it is for the better.
    As the gentile world is on our case again the Jews (I believe have reached a turning point).
    We don’t give a damn. The Yiddish term ( Es passed nished)is being replaced by (Bring it ON)
    Once a Jew can react calmly to the label as Jew as say an Italian American who is called Italian without any defensiveness then I believe we can succeed in this world.
    Jews have for too long responded to the drumbeat of the Gentile world .
    They accuse and we respond
    They blame and we defend
    I think that from now on this equation will be changed when the gentile world sees that the Jews don’t care to EXPLAIN our positions vis a vis everything wrong in this world that we are blamed for.
    Again great article but as my wife asks
    Who is reading this except us Jews?

    By morrs perlis on Jun 11, 2010

  108. To B.A. I’m looking in the mirror and all I can ask is why are we the scapegoat? I don’t think we are doing anything wrong except existing. We’re just easy to pick on. If, as so many would like, we did not have a homeland, than it’s the kick the dog to someone else game. That is why Israel is so important. If we don’t live there, then we must do all we can to support her! B.A., what are you doing wrong? You are not believing. Find a different mirror!

    By Zelda on Jun 11, 2010

  109. Sara – Awesome. Due to the economic conditions this is the first year in many our family is not traveling to Israel. We buy Israeli products as gifts. We by Israeli bonds. We support the IDF, the Mogan David Adom and other Israeli groups. We send our children to ulpans in Israel. We get the real scoop from our cousin and uncle who live in Israel. One can still see the shrapnel marks on their home from bombing.

    I hear more and more that HItler should have finished what he started. There is so much hatred of Jews still in this world. Helen Thomas is the tip of the iceberg.

    Yes, we have to make noise! Productive, supportive noise. No matter how much noise one makes, when it all comes together it will be heard!

    I’m not sure there can be peace, though I am sure with all of my heart and soul that there must and always will be Israel.

    Please keep up your eloquent work. I have never read a blog prior to yours – it was sent to me by a friend. I have no desire to read other blogs; however, I will continue to read your wonderful writing.

    By Zelda on Jun 11, 2010

  110. TK, thanks for your response, but again, you don’t address the ridiculousness of the situation. Israel is being called out for limiting what gets into Gaza. Why is Egypt not called out on the same issue? Why is Egypt not called out for not sending in humanitarian aid? Why doesn’t Egypt supply Gaza with power if the Gazans can’t supply it themselves?

    Israel is at war with Gaza. It is at war with its government and by default, and correct me if I’m wrong (I’m sure you will try), its people! Israel should have absolutely NO obligation to supply anything to Gaza except that which will prevent them from firing rockets into our territory. The Gazans have elected a government that is actively engaged in terror and war against Israel and its civilians.

    By your logic, if an “impoverished” person punches someone in the face, you expect the one who was punched to feed the impoverished person. Is this how you would respond or would you try to hit them back? I tend to believe that a “normal” reaction would be to strike back.

    Also, you DO realize that there has been a recorded continuous majority presence of Jews in Israel for thousands of years. Most Arabs who were in the region were nomadic throughout that history.

    Oh yeah, and the original borders of Israel as per what Britian was going to “give” us included the territory known as Jordan. In the end, after all the Arab uproar, I believe we got screwed over. And they STILL attacked us. The only “peaceful” solution to the Jewish state for the Arabs is to remove it from the map. The Arabs want a pan-Arabic Middle East. They will not settle for less. That’s reality.

    By Shmuel on Jun 11, 2010

  111. I dont know who you are, but this piece of art shall be taught. I mean it. Thanks for writing it.

    By Andras on Jun 11, 2010

  112. Great article. Got to tell you though, one more year of Obama and I’ll WANT out.

    By Dennis George on Jun 11, 2010


    By DAN on Jun 11, 2010

  114. Re: Stan, Selective use of sources is a remarkably good way of creating legitimacy in an that was obviously written with a pro Israel agenda. The CIA world fact book was used for a few select statistics, while ignoring other parts. Here is quote from the fact book “fighting between HAMAS and Israel during December 2008-January 2009, resulted in the near collapse of most of the private sector, extremely high unemployment, and high poverty rates.” The Telegraph piece was in the opinion column, you can see the obvious issues with that. The Indexmundi stuff is life expectancy at birth statistics. India is a poor comparison. We should compare two very closely related countries that have a similar environment. Comparing Israel and Palestine for infant mortality rates yields a very different picture. The infant mortality rate in Gaza is 4 times higher than Israel. I would gladly go on dismantling the “Amnesia International” article, but I think you get the picture.
    You are also guilty of two things in your arguments. Firstly assuming because of history that Jews and specifically Israelis are perpetually victims. After making that assertion you use the both the appeal to pity and effectively the appeal to poverty to justify the actions of Israel. The appeal to pity is an appeal to an emotional response for the perceived victim to cloud reasonable thinking. Stating that they are effectively victims throughout history solicits an emotional response, which is not part of a sound argument. Then there is a appeal to poverty, Israel is not impoverished, but it simply means that the downtrodden or victims are always ethically more sound. There is nothing inherent in being a victim that makes you morally superior in any way. So what is happening to the Palestinians cannot be justified. Take care not to accuse me of the same logical fallacies because I have never stated that the Palestinians have been right in their actions only that Israel has been wrong in theirs. Melting ice indeed.

    By Thomas K on Jun 11, 2010

  115. TK,
    Re: the last line of your last post, are you then willing to state that the Palestinians have been morally wrong in many of their actions, as Sara and I have been willing to do regarding the Israelis (I voted Israeli left while I was living there – there is plenty of vocal, public criticism of Israel’s policies in Israel, too, but by people who still feel the state has a right to exist).

    If you are, then we’re getting somewhere. You tell your side to stop shooting, we’ll work on getting ours to live up to our own standards (and fixing what I agree is a horrible infant mortality rate, because the Arab nations have shown no interest in doing so, even among the Palestinians living there) and we will be headed in the right direction.

    Shabbat Shalom.

    By Jonathan on Jun 12, 2010

  116. Excellent points and excellent rant.
    This is the same thing I was saying with a recent post of mine on the history of Israel. you might like it.

    By kook on Jun 12, 2010

  117. Okay Thomas, what about the comparisons with Saudi Arabia in the article? That’s more like an apples vs. apples case. There’s also a logical fallacy in your own argument: whereas Israel has spent its energy on building a state that not only functions, but is also highly successful despite being surrounded by hostile neighbours, on educating its children to be citizens of the world and productive workers, the Palestinians – and especially those who belong to Hamas – have spent most of their energy on attempts to destroy Israel. The Palestinians educate their children to hate Israel and Jews. Can you imagine what the region would be like if, instead of trying to kill the Jews, the Palestinians had accepted the Partition plan? For starters, they’d have a much bigger state than they can ever hope to achieve now. They would also have a lot of the prosperity that Israel enjoys.

    Here’s another article for you, this one written by one of the most careful, detail-orientated and respected historians in Israel:

    The truly interesting thing about this article is that it tells us what life was like for the Palestinians when they truly were “occupied” and did not run any of their own affairs the way they do now. I’m most certainly not saying that we should return to that situation. But what I am pointing to are the benefits of cooperation with Israel. I think even you will have to agree that the Palestinians enjoyed a much better life and lifestyle when they worked with, rather than against Israel.

    Shabbat Shalom

    By Stan Tee on Jun 12, 2010

  118. VERY well said! Every word is true, but sadly the world will (again) turn a deaf ear… Keep on writing!

    By Old NFO on Jun 12, 2010

  119. The Jews never persecuted the Muslims, but the Muslims persecute the Jews. The Jews never persecuted the Germans, but the Germans persecuted the Jews. The Jews never persecuted the Spanish, but the Spanish persecuted the Jews. The Jews never persecuted the Russians, but the Russians persecuted the Jews. The Jews never persecuted the French, but the French persecuted the Jews. The Jews never persecuted the Palestinians, but the Palestinians persecute the Jews. The Jews never persecuted the Christians, but the Christians persecuted the Jews. The Jews never persecuted the Americans, and the the Americans have never persecuted the Jews. PROUD to be an American.

    By Mike on Jun 12, 2010

  120. Dear Sara, You’ve made my day! I’ll try and get your comment on Helen Thomas transelated into norwegian and published in the norwegian newspapers, who tell us to get the hell out of here too quite often. May I?
    Keep on inspiring and writing. You’re brilliant!
    Sarah, Oslo, Norway.

    By Sarah Abraham on Jun 12, 2010

  121. I definitly love you. Your welcome in my home anytime. J

    By jeff nistel on Jun 12, 2010

  122. I apologize in advance for this extensive post, but reading posts such as the above generally disgusts me. I see no one else rising to speak for the other side, so here I am pitching in my two cents.

    First of all, the world doesn’t care whether you’re tired of moving or not. Being “sick of moving all the time” doesn’t give you an excuse to kill innocent civilians, take other peoples’ lands, and essentially base a state on no legal, logical, or moral foundation but instead on a biblical story and the guilt of certain countries over the Holocaust. Sure, we Arabs welcome you into our homes, but what thanks is it we get when you turn on us, ethnically cleanse us, take over our lands, and found a state in the land our forefathers have farmed for generations? You say “never again” – yet it seems to apply only to Jews. And of course you can’t justify one crime by using another’s similarity as an excuse.

    The “Arab desire to kick the Jews the hell out of Palestine” did come before 1948, I agree – not because the Jews “arrived and started to make the land flower and produce crops” (by the way, the Palestinians were an agricultural people long before any European Jews arrived), but rather because the Jews were immigrating in mass proportions with the clear intention of taking over and creating their own state, obvious since before 1917 with the Balfour Declaration and the mass Jewish immigration numbers among other things. It is not the Jewishness of the Jews that created the animosity between them and the Arabs; rather, it was the plans the Jews had in mind, that history has seen executed. In fact, the Jews living in Palestine before this all began can testify to the peaceful conditions they lived in, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim alike. We’ve seen many Jews stand against the Israeli entity in their belief that it is against the very core of Judaism.

    Before the Israeli state, Jerusalem was a place for people of all faiths, and that is what it should be. Why should you get sovereignty over Jerusalem? Because your religious claims are more valid than Christians’ or Muslims’? Because you’ve owned it since the beginning of time, right (which strikes me as insanely, ironically, hilarious)?

    What’s your excuse for “coming back” to Palestine? It’s funny that you use the term “returning”, because having left more than 2000 years ago it’s not like you can just pop up and steal back a couple thousand acres. Palestine was not a “land without a people for a people without a land” – on the contrary, my dear, it was very well-populated as history has shown and Palestinians had been farming the land for generations. “Jewish villages were built in the place of the Arab villages. You don’t even know the names of the Arab villages, because those geography books no longer exist. Not only the books do not exist, the Arab villages are not there either – there is not one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” Moshe Dayan himself said this.

    To quote you, Sara, “I’d love a vineyard and an agricultural estate,” too. It would be great to just walk into France because I happen to be of French origin and demand a piece of land. Or you know what, how about I just call up a bunch of my friends, also of French descent, and get a group together to “return” home to Eretz Franconia and make up a new state there? How beautiful that would be – the nostalgia is written all over the notes in my back pocket, my personal Bible.

    Let’s do a quick run-through of events.

    The Balfour Declaration was before the British mandate – how could the British promise what was not even theirs?

    1947 – Of course the Arabs rejected the UN Partition, what sane, free-thinking, freedom-loving people wouldn’t? The partition plan granted the most fertile areas to the Jews, with over 56.5% of the land area given to 33% of the population at best estimate, and 43.5% given to more than 67% of the population. Let me remind you, the Jews were most definitely not a majority at the time, as I have just made clear, and hadn’t been for quite a while. You also cannot say that Israel was “attacked” after it was declared, since before its declaration 300,000 Arabs had already been driven off the land to say the least.

    Had you read up about the war of 1948, you would have realized that this myth of “David vs Goliath” is completely untrue and has been disproven time and time again. With the Arab Legion reaching an agreement with Israel and the rest of the Arab countries sending in unprepared, ill-equipped, unorganized ragtag volunteers of an army, the Arabs were destined to lose. Israel already had a plan in mind to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians, if you’ve heard of Plan Dalet, for instance.

    1967 – More than 325 000 Palestinians were driven out of the newly-acquired (illegally, may I add) lands Israel demolished, with over 400 villages destroyed.

    1993 – The Oslo Accords were most definitely an example of Israeli manipulation. Not conceding anything to the other side, the Israelis effectively extrapolated a recognition from the Palestinians of their existence, among many other things. In 2000, seven years later, the situation was no closer to a final “peace”.

    The Second Intifada, by the way, began in 2000.

    It is well-known around the world that Israel is constantly describing itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East” (which is untrue, by the way, but that would take another post to explain) and that all it wants is peace with its neighbors. A slinking, creeping peace that involves allowing Israel to take, take, and take as much land as it possibly can, continuing as a colonizer and killer, without a peep from the Arabs who are asked to be peaceful and quiet as this goes on. Once the Palestinians, however, decided to be democratic and democratically elected Hamas, the fact that Israel didn’t like their choice of government meant that it had the right to start bombing them, put them under blockade, kill more than a thousand of them, and essentially starve them of all contact with the outside world.

    The July War of 2006 in South Lebanon is the final example I’ll cite, since Israelis always seem to put the blame on us. Israel still occupies the Shebaa Farms, still violates Lebanese airspace, and still meddles in Lebanon’s affairs. At the time, Israel still had Lebanese prisoners that it deemed “terrorists” – which is another issue, since Israeli propagandists love using that term to denounce anyone they happen to disagree with. There is also something called “proportionality”, with respect to so-called defense and other military war tactics. Israel clearly did not apply this.

    Israel also happens to demolish thousands of Palestinian homes, in many cases citing “terrorism” as its explanation. What the hell is terrorism? Will you define a terrorist as anyone that happens to oppose and stand up against your killing policies? Will you define a child as a terrorist, a child throwing stones against huge, state-of-the-art demolishing machines? Will you define terrorism as the likes of Rachel Corrie and the people and home she defended? What kind of humanity is this? Should we stand silent and watch as injustice is committed?

    One of you said that a “normal” reaction would be to strike back. It’s interesting, because that’s exactly what the Palestinians are trying to do, and you instead call it terrorism – striking back for the creation of an essentially illegal state in 1948, for the taking of even more land on the basis of war in 1967, for the Gaza massacre of 2008 that still goes on today. None of this accounts for the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the 2006 war on Lebanon, the wars Israel has idly taken part in against other states, the mere fact of its bloody beginning and ethnic cleansing of the native inhabitants of its land in 1948.

    Very few people are aware of the truth – and it is because of this that the Oslo Accords of 1993 were celebrated as a success, rather than mourned as a tragedy. It is because of this that the general American public believed they would actually achieve peace – as if it were possible, with the Palestinian Authority granted 22% of their original land, with Israel effectively conceding nothing, with no concrete timeline set in place, with one side clearly more powerful than the other. It is because of this that the Palestinians refused to accept Israel’s “generous offer” of peace in the Camp David proposals of slightly under 90% of the land – because it was not ninety percent of the total land area, but rather of the West Bank along with Gaza, less than what had previously been promised and left unfulfilled. It is because of this that the West just doesn’t see the rest of the picture, that it sees the suicide bombings and not the genocides, that it sees the “terrorists” but not the innocent civilians, that it sees the deserving Holocaust survivors and not the uprooted farming landowners.

    It’s about justice. It’s about showing the world the truth, that in 1948 a state was created on the illogical and illegal basis of a biblical story, that this state expanded its borders in 1967 through war which is also today deemed illegal worldwide, that this state created millions of refugees and killed too many people to be counted, that this state invaded Lebanon, took over part of Syria, and occupied what’s left of Palestine.

    You speak of democracy? Wasn’t Hamas “democratically elected”? It’s because you don’t like the results that you deem it wrong. Who are you to define what’s right and what’s wrong? Where’s freedom of speech? Israel has no constitution, is defined as a state for the Jewish people, provides special rights to Jews anywhere over longtime Arab residents, bars people with certain political views from entering the country or from running for office, restricts non-Jews in terms of how much land they can own or where, and has used torture against its enemies.

    Unfortunately, Helen did end up getting the hell out of the White House. It was because what we call freedom of speech and expression applies to Israel and its supporters, but not those who dare stand against its Zionist, racist, apartheid regime. Maybe tomorrow we’ll wake up to a better, freer world, where we can criticize anything and everything for the sake of progress, but then again maybe we won’t.

    By Zeinab on Jun 12, 2010

  123. The problem with Israel is the union of government and religion. As long as we have a homeland, or a country, that defines itself on a primary religion, it will live in conflict and consequently spread disruption to the rest of the world. Jews really don’t need a homeland, they can come to the US or other secular nations and practice their religion without the complications that infect the government. If Israel became a secular government, all these problems would go away. The only way to understand the conflicts with Jews is to separate the various characteristics of being a Jew into religion, government, culture, interests, mating preferences, etc. (And of course the same holds true for all religions and cultures).

    By Roland on Jun 12, 2010

  124. TK, your comparison of statistics between Israel and Gaza is simply not logical. Better to compare statistics between Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis. That would be realistic. In contrast, the people of Gaza elected Hamas, which prefers to spend money on its primary aim – the destruction of Israel – rather than on the welfare of its citizens. To blame Israel for this is simply ridiculous.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 13, 2010

  125. Great article, thank you

    By Elena on Jun 13, 2010

  126. I’m not Jewish, but this article makes me wish I was (I’m very much a Jesus girl, though…does that count?).

    Fantastic! So well written & with such determination. Loved, loved, loved it!! I’d like to repost w/ a link back here – if that’s okay…

    God bless.

    By Susannah Cecil on Jun 13, 2010

  127. The problem is that Helen Thomas is WELL AWARE of the True History of the region.

    Her statements were a calculated “suicide bomb” to spread mis-information.

    For days after her outburst, one of the top Twitters that was re-tweeted by Liberal “Useful Idiot” college kids was “Helen Thomas gets fired and Rush Limbaugh still has a job!” I think, unfortunately, that her tactical syntax suicide-bomb did some collateral damage.

    By Robert on Jun 13, 2010

  128. I’ve been gone for a few days and am TOTALLY overwhelmed by this response. I am trying to figure out why this piece touched such a nerve, and then what to do with that answer, because clearly there is a void out there in need of some fillin’.
    I have been in touch personally (via Facebook) with some of the commenters, and see no need to rehash my responses here. And a shout out apology to Daniel, who I pigeon-holed, maybe erroneously (unless he’s just playing head-games)…
    To all of those of you who asked about subscribing / receiving this blog – there is a link on the right hand “margin” of the page that says “subscribe” – I think it’s a pretty easy process. Let me know if you encounter any trouble.
    And now for you – Zeinab. Welcome to my blog, Habibi, I am thrilled to finally have a “cousin” comment, as opposed to all these “brothers”. You write very intelligently, and very seriously, and following your line of logic, I completely understand how you reach the conclusions you do, even though I think that much of what you write is based on several insidious lies – but I know it is what the Arab world, and much of the European world, is taught. There is no avoiding that there are at least two narratives to this story, the Judeo-Christain, and the Islamo-Anarchist (or anti-nationalist, except in the case of some people, maybe?…) – let’s call them that, in broad, convenient strokes, even though I am aware this doesn’t cover it completely.
    In any event, I diverge from you obviously in most of your interpretations, but perhaps most significantly in how you read the Arab reaction to the Jewish return to Palestine in the 1800’s. At which point neither of these populations were in charge, since the area had been the province of other regimes since the Roman era. You say the Arab reaction was so extreme because of awareness of Jewish designs. I say that hundreds of years passed with various conquerors and other residents, and no one gave a shit about the place until the Jews wanted it, like the toy that stays buried until the younger brother finds it, at which point the older brother suddenly needs said toy and is willing to kill for it. I have four boys, I’ve seen it a dozen times.
    Let it be noted, by the way, that as more and more Jews arrived in the area, more Arabs did as well…both communities sent abroad for back up, as it were…Beyond “natural growth” of indigenous populations. As such, the density of people who now define themselves as Palestinian in the area is not an indication of how many Arabs were here before the Jews got here; it is very much an indication of how much the Jewish waves of Aliyah made the Arab locals want the land more than ever before and encourage other regional Arabs to help keep the Jews from again becoming a majority in the land. It is interesting why no previous interlopers in the area over nearly 2,000 years of history ever triggered this reaction.
    One can point to many things – perhaps the era of nationalism that was all the rage in the late 1800’s / early 1900’s, but my money is on a certain amount of hatred for Jews, who were always second class citizens or worse when they lived in the Arab world, and the awareness that Jews were universally hated, so the chance of getting the world’s help on this was good. I dunno.
    There is also, of course, the question of why the Hashemites in Jordan, who also took over land owned by regional natives (and killed far more Palestinians in one month in 1970 than Israel did in Gaza *ever*) are never held as accountable as the Israelis. And many more examples of abuse abound throughout the Arab world. Where is your rage at the racist Iranians and Iraqis and Saudis, against Hamas, who kill and maim Fatah, against Egypt, who is no more thrilled with Hamas in Gaza than Israel is? I am tired not only of moving, but also of the great Islamic / Anarchic double standard, whereby Jews need to do penance over every breath they take in Israel, and the Arab world gets to treat other Arabs like crap without a word from any of you.
    Jews are meant to take stock of their actions all the time, justify themselves at every turn, and Arabs get a free pass for all sorts of cruelty. Isn’t this the most racist, condescending thing you ever heard? Doesn’t this make you upset?
    Anyway…each of us with our own narrative. I do pray all the time for an era where you and I can have this argument over coffee in Ramallah without me fearing for my life, or in Jerusalem, without you feeling pain, both of us fulfilled in the narrative of our people and able to reconcile those narratives somehow. But of course, I’ve got nothing operative in this regard, except to keep talking and listening and getting to know each other as individuals, until eventually extremes become irrelevant and the sane middle takes the world back.
    Maybe when I am as old as Helen Thomas. Maybe.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 13, 2010

  129. Re the last exchange between Sara & Zeinab:

    Thank you both for showing us that passionate differences of opinion can lead toarticluate dalogue without personal attack. Is that the sound of a sword being beaten into a plowshare? Blogging at its finest! B’Ezrat Hashem/Insh’Allah may it continue.

    By Sidney Slivko on Jun 13, 2010

  130. Sara, I think your response to Zeinab was incredibly measured, and I’m glad you’re back. I would not have been so polite.

    Zeinab spouts just about every one of the Arab lies that have become “truth” in the Arab world and in Europe. Let me take just one – the question of Jerusalem.

    Zeinab tells us that all three faiths lived in peace and harmony in Jerusalem, so why should Israel now have control over the city? I’ll give just one reason. In 1948, the Arab Legion – Jordan – (btw, where on earth does Zeinab get the idea that the Jews made some kind of pact with the Arab Legion before 1948?) ethnically cleansed every last Jew out of the Old City. From then until the Old City was liberated in 1967, Jews were forbidden from praying at their holiest site. Gravestones were desecrated, used as paving and for latrines. But since 1967, except for occasional security measures, Israel has ensured that every faith can pray at its holy sites. That alone is enough justification to ensure that Jerusalem remains Jewish.

    I can’t resist – one more thing. Why is it Israel’s fault that the 5 Arab countries that attacked her were “ill-prepared”? And why does Zeinab not mention the fact that Israel’s army was largely made up of people fresh off the boats from Cyprus, who were arguably even less prepared? For heaven’s sake, it’s time the Arabs and Palestinians took SOME responsibility for what has happened.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 13, 2010

  131. Zeinab, your post is so full of holes, it’s hard to know where to begin. Quantity does not equal quality. Sarah, I’m really sorry that after your excellent original post you treated the self-serving rant above with any kind of credence.
    So let me dismantle your nonsense, one claim at a time.

    “I apologize in advance for this extensive post, but reading posts such as the above generally disgusts me. ”
    Yeah- I felt that way too when I read your post

    “First of all, the world doesn’t care whether you’re tired of moving or not. Being “sick of moving all the time” doesn’t give you an excuse to kill innocent civilians, take other peoples’ lands, and essentially base a state on no legal, logical, or moral foundation but instead on a biblical story and the guilt of certain countries over the Holocaust.”

    Ignoring the hyperbole, the legal and logical foundation for the State of Israel was the San Remo conference in 1920 where the major powers decided how to split up the Ottoman Empire. The British Mandate only came into effect in 1922 and was fulfilling the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
    You may not like it but that’s how 90% of the Middle East with its oil wealth came to be dominated by a group of despotic sheikhs.
    In terms of the moral foundation, you talk about a biblical story being the basis for a Jewish state of Israel. I could point out that if you look in reliable sources such as Josephus, 2000 years ago, there was Jewish autonomy before it was crushed by the Romans, who renamed the region Palestinia. I could also point out the continuous Jewish presence over the centuries since then. I could further point out that if you read Mark Twain’s the Innocent’s Abroad wherein he details his pilgrimage to Jerusalem from the USA he constantly describes how the land was desolate and unpopulated other than a few bedouin tribes. Basically, the so-called Palestinians today are economic migrants who came in at the time of the British Mandate.

    “Sure, we Arabs welcome you into our homes, but what thanks is it we get when you turn on us, ethnically cleanse us, take over our lands, and found a state in the land our forefathers have farmed for generations?”

    As I mentioned earlier there is no shred of evidence that your ‘forefathers’ have farmed anything for generations because there was virtually nothing to farm and almost of them came from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. As for “turning on us” should we talk about the 1929 massacre in Hebron when 67 Jews were murdered and the rest driven out after a continuous Jewish presence there of hundreds of years. Traditional Arab hospitality I guess.

    “The “Arab desire to kick the Jews the hell out of Palestine” did come before 1948, I agree – not because the Jews “arrived and started to make the land flower and produce crops” (by the way, the Palestinians were an agricultural people long before any European Jews arrived)”
    Really?- please show me the evidence for this. What did they grow? How big was their economy? Who did they export it to? Palestine (and Syria) were simply backwater provinces in the Ottoman Empire. Most Ottoman agriculture happened in the ‘Fertile Crescent’, not in the sandy unirrigated areas that form modern-day Israel.


    ” In fact, the Jews living in Palestine before this all began can testify to the peaceful conditions they lived in, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim alike. ”
    Rubbish- The Jews, like other inhabitants of the Byzantine Empire, suffered heavily from the Ottoman jihad conquests and policies of colonization and population transfer (i.e., the surgun system). This explains the disappearance of several Jewish communities, including Salonica, and their founding anew by Spanish Jewish immigrants. Those that weren’t ethnically cleansed suffered under dhimmi-tude until 1855- as were the Christians of the time- This meant restrictions of all kinds, unlawful taxation, forced labor, persecutions, violence, imprisonment, death, abductions of girls and boys and their confinement to Turkish harems, and various deeds of wantonness and lust, along with numerous less offensive excesses — all these were a constant challenge to the instinct of survival and they defied every sense of human decency. ”

    “We’ve seen many Jews stand against the Israeli entity in their belief that it is against the very core of Judaism.” – No you haven’t- on the right-wing you’ve seen the lunatic fringe which is probably less than 200 families worldwide. They are not representative of anyone apart from themselves. On the left-wing you have seen people who hardly self-identify as Jews anymore and don’t practise Judaism in any meaningful way. I’m sure Islam has the equivalent.

    “Before the Israeli state, Jerusalem was a place for people of all faiths, and that is what it should be.”
    I think we only need to look at the Islamic track record of seeing how they treat other faiths’ holy places to see how hollow this is. The idea of religious tolerance is anathema to Islam. Anyone can come and pray at the Western Wall today but if anyone other than a Muslim tries to pray on the Temple Mount (where muslims can play football and have picnics) the Wakf (authority) there will have them thrown off. It’s illegal to try and bring a bible into Saudi Arabia. Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus was vandalised immediately after it was left by the Israelis. The best assurance of religious freedom is ensuring that Muslims have nothing to do with it.

    “Why should you get sovereignty over Jerusalem?”
    Because it’s the capital of Israel. It was the Jordanians that split it in 1948. Incidentally they also destroyed 58 synagogues, –some hundreds of years old–were destroyed, their contents looted and desecrated. Some Jewish religious sites were turned into chicken coops or animal stalls. The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, where Jews had been burying their dead for over 2500 years, was ransacked; graves were desecrated; thousands of tombstones were smashed and used as building material, paving stones or for latrines in Arab Legion army camps. The Intercontinental Hotel was built on top of the cemetery and graves were demolished to make way for a highway to the hotel. The Western Wall became a slum area.

    “Because your religious claims are more valid than Christians’ or Muslims’?”

    That wasn’t one of the reasons.

    ” Because you’ve owned it since the beginning of time, right (which strikes me as insanely, ironically, hilarious)?”
    Because of the legal, logical and moral reasons all outlined above.

    “What’s your excuse for “coming back” to Palestine? It’s funny that you use the term “returning”, because having left more than 2000 years ago it’s not like you can just pop up and steal back a couple thousand acres.”

    Jewish tradition and liturgy 3 times a fay for 2000 years has spoken of a return to Jerusalem. There simply wasn’t the opportunity to do so until 1948. There is no theft because as already explained after the Ottoman Empire fell apart, there were no state owners and a tiny part of the area was legally allocated for a Jewish state while the vast majority got given to Arab Despots.

    “Palestine was not a “land without a people for a people without a land” – on the contrary, my dear, it was very well-populated as history has shown and Palestinians had been farming the land for generations. ”
    This is a myth – farming the land outside the fertile crescent? Where is the evidence? The real accounts are:

    * Nothing there [Jerusalem] to be seen but a little of the old walls which is yet remaining and all the rest is grass, moss and weeds. [English pilgrim in 1590]

    * The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population. [British consul in 1857]

    * There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent [valley of Jezreel] — not for 30 miles in either direction… One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. … For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee … Nazareth is forlorn … Jericho lies a moldering ruin … Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation… untenanted by any living creature… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds … a silent, mournful expanse … a desolation … We never saw a human being on the whole route … Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country … Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery Palestine must be the prince. The hills barren and dull, the valleys unsightly deserts [inhabited by] swarms of beggars with ghastly sores and malformations. Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes … desolate and unlovely … [Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, 1867]
    You can see the lithographs and pictures here

    “Jewish villages were built in the place of the Arab villages. You don’t even know the names of the Arab villages, because those geography books no longer exist. Not only the books do not exist, the Arab villages are not there either – there is not one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” Moshe Dayan himself said this.”
    This is a classic misquote – see here

    “To quote you, Sara, “I’d love a vineyard and an agricultural estate,” too. It would be great to just walk into France because I happen to be of French origin and demand a piece of land. Or you know what, how about I just call up a bunch of my friends, also of French descent, and get a group together to “return” home to Eretz Franconia and make up a new state there? How beautiful that would be – the nostalgia is written all over the notes in my back pocket, my personal Bible.”

    Well, that ignores all the historical, legal, and moral evidence detailed above

    “Let’s do a quick run-through of events.

    The Balfour Declaration was before the British mandate – how could the British promise what was not even theirs?”
    How could they also in the 1915 McMahon-Hussein agreement promise the whole of Arabia to the despotic sheikhs in exchange for an uprising against the Ottomans?

    “1947 – Of course the Arabs rejected the UN Partition, what sane, free-thinking, freedom-loving people wouldn’t? The partition plan granted the most fertile areas to the Jews, with over 56.5% of the land area given to 33% of the population at best estimate, and 43.5% given to more than 67% of the population. ”
    Firstly you completely ignore the fact that Mandatory Palestine included Transjordan- today Jordan – which was intended as the Arab state and which renders your numbers meaningless.

    “Let me remind you, the Jews were most definitely not a majority at the time, as I have just made clear, and hadn’t been for quite a while. ”

    The only reason why the Jews were not a majority at the time was because under pressure from the Arabs the British White Paper had restricted Jewish entry to Palestine to virtually zero while Arabs were flooding in.

    “You also cannot say that Israel was “attacked” after it was declared, since before its declaration 300,000 Arabs had already been driven off the land to say the least.”

    Sure you can. Ignoring the consistent Arab pogroms I don’t know where your numbers came from but yes, Israel was declared and then attacked.

    “Had you read up about the war of 1948, you would have realized that this myth of “David vs Goliath” is completely untrue and has been disproven time and time again. ”
    It hasn’t been disproven. There were 5 well-trained Arab armies plus the British as well in some places against a rag-tag volunteer force.

    “With the Arab Legion reaching an agreement with Israel and the rest of the Arab countries sending in unprepared, ill-equipped, unorganized ragtag volunteers of an army, the Arabs were destined to lose.”

    Really, so that’s why the Arab leaders told their followers to leave until the Jews were wiped out…that makes a lot of sense.

    “Israel already had a plan in mind to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians, if you’ve heard of Plan Dalet, for instance.”
    You mean Arabs since there were no Palestinians at that time. In fact, inserting into your time line Jordan and Egypt respectively occupied the West Bank and Gaza until 1967. Where was the so-called Palestinian liberation movement then? It didn’t exist because there never were Palestinians, they were Arabs who were happy to accept being under the Hashemite rule – now called Jordanians.

    “1967 – More than 325 000 Palestinians were driven out of the newly-acquired (illegally, may I add) lands Israel demolished, with over 400 villages destroyed. ”
    Well, actually Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 and lost the West Bank of the Jordan in the process. The Arab population started in Jordan and ended in Jordan. To the victor the spoils.

    Now, shall we insert something about the hundreds of thousands of Jews that were illegally expelled from Arab countries after all their property was seized? How’s that for ethnic cleansing?

    “1993 – The Oslo Accords were most definitely an example of Israeli manipulation. Not conceding anything to the other side, the Israelis effectively extrapolated a recognition from the Palestinians of their existence, among many other things. In 2000, seven years later, the situation was no closer to a final “peace”.”

    Well we agree Oslo was a waste of time but for different reasons. It let the terrorist PLO group into Israel, it armed them, and for what?

    “Once the Palestinians, however, decided to be democratic and democratically elected Hamas, the fact that Israel didn’t like their choice of government meant that it had the right to start bombing them, put them under blockade, kill more than a thousand of them, and essentially starve them of all contact with the outside world.”
    Yes, the Gazans elected Hamas in the same way that the Germans elected Hitler. Democratically. But that wasn’t why Israel bombed Gaza. It was because of the 7000 rockets that were launched from Hamastan into Israeli population centres. And the blockade is because we don’t really want another Lebanon on our doorstep with Iran delivering long-range missiles to Hamas in the same way it has done for Hezbollah. We could also talk about the illegal holding of Gilad Shalit and the fact that Egypt doesn’t want anything it can’t control going into Hamastan and has closed its borders too.

    “The July War of 2006 in South Lebanon is the final example I’ll cite, since Israelis always seem to put the blame on us.”
    Ok, I’m not sure who ‘us’ is here but lets remember that the war was started by Hezbollah launching a cross-border attack for use in a prisoner swap for their hero Samir Kuntar – a ‘freedom fighter’ that bludgeoned a 4-year old girl to death with his rifle butt in front of her father who he then shot. Quality people, eh?

    ” Israel still occupies the Shebaa Farms, still violates Lebanese airspace, and still meddles in Lebanon’s affairs. ”
    Only because Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, has rearmed with 42000 warheads pointed at Israel and still occupies Southern Lebanon in violation of UN resolution 1701.

    “At the time, Israel still had Lebanese prisoners that it deemed “terrorists” – which is another issue, since Israeli propagandists love using that term to denounce anyone they happen to disagree with.”
    Ooh, defending the child murderers now are you?

    ” There is also something called “proportionality”, with respect to so-called defense and other military war tactics. Israel clearly did not apply this.”
    In your (biased) opinion. The reality is that proportionality is down to interpretation and in both Lebanon and Gaza it is impossible to differentiate between military and civilian targets. A house with a rocket launcher on the roof ready to fire and with a kid inside- military or civilian?

    “Israel also happens to demolish thousands of Palestinian homes, in many cases citing “terrorism” as its explanation. What the hell is terrorism? ”
    There are laws that defines what terrorism is and an independent judiciary in Israel that often is at odds with the state’s view of what is needed for defense. Something unavailable in any of the 22 despotic Arab states around so I realise you may have difficulty appreciating what this means in practice.

    “Will you define a terrorist as anyone that happens to oppose and stand up against your killing policies? ”

    As you may know in Israel there is a freedom of expression that is not available in any of the Arab countries. People are free to lawfully demonstrate and protest as they wish.

    “Will you define a child as a terrorist, a child throwing stones against huge, state-of-the-art demolishing machines?”
    I’ll define a 15 year old with a suicide belt as a terrorist, yes, and gladly send him to his 70 virgins personally.

    “Will you define terrorism as the likes of Rachel Corrie and the people and home she defended? ”
    I’ll define Corrie as a defender of terrorists and shed no tears for her.

    “What kind of humanity is this? Should we stand silent and watch as injustice is committed?”

    I get the feeling that you wouldn’t know injustice if it came and slapped you in the face. You are an anti-semite (or Judeophobe to be precise) who believes that national self-determination shouldn’t apply to the Jews but should apply to other people on the basis of a spurious made-up identity that started 40 years ago. You believe that the identification that Jews have had for thousands of years with Israel is meaningless, that dhimmitude is fine for others; that to ethnically cleanse almost a million Jews out of Arab countries is fine, that the legalities of the League of Nations are meaningless, that murdering 4-year old children and targeting civilians with hijackings, rockets and bomb belts is not terrorism, that wars of self-defence, such as 1948 and 1967 are illegal. That Israel should allow it’s civilian population to be rocketed while standing idly by.

    “You speak of democracy? Wasn’t Hamas “democratically elected”? It’s because you don’t like the results that you deem it wrong.”

    On the contrary I don’t deem it wrong; Gaza voted in Hamas and they reaped what they sowed. By voting in a government that attacked civilian population centers they made themselves collectively responsible for the consequences.

    Where’s freedom of speech?
    Anywhere in Israel. Try protesting against the government in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Qatar, and see how long it is before you end up in a dank torture cell. I don’t think you know what freedom of speech is.

    “Israel has no constitution, ”
    It has an unwritten one, the same as the UK

    “is defined as a state for the Jewish people”
    the same way that 57 states define themselves as Islamic. Why is it ok to have 57 Islamic states and not one Jewish state? Can you not see the racist irony pouring from your every sentence?

    “provides special rights to Jews anywhere over longtime Arab residents,”
    Every country is entitled to promote or prevent immigration as it sees fit. This isn’t the issue- you’re upset Israel exists full stop.

    ” bars people with certain political views from entering the country”
    Most countries have this – the UK has similar rules on denying entry to people if it would not be conducive to the public good.

    ” or from running for office”
    Yes, there is a law that as far as I know was only implemented and used to ever disbar one party (Kach) on the basis that any party seeking to undermine the constitutional foundation of the state as Jewish and democratic was illegal. There are about 5 Arab parties though that are free to run and whose constituents enjoy more democratic rights than they would in any Arab country.

    “restricts non-Jews in terms of how much land they can own or where,”
    not sure what you mean here- source????

    ” and has used torture against its enemies.”
    Totally unlike your mates the Taliban, the Syrians, the Jordanians – and even the Americans, the Brits and pretty much any other country you care to name. A country’s first responsibility is to protects its own citizens and in Israel’s case torture is allowable in a ‘ticking bomb case’ where someone has information on a terrorist attach that could prevent it. Personally if I could have tortured someone to prevent 9/11 happening I’d be pushing the buttons myself.

    “Unfortunately, Helen did end up getting the hell out of the White House.”
    Good riddance

    ” It was because what we call freedom of speech and expression applies to Israel and its supporters, but not those who dare stand against its Zionist, racist, apartheid regime”

    No, it’s because she was exposed as a vile antisemite. There are always debates as to whether freedom of speech should cover hate speech, should it cover someone who yells fire in a crowded theatre, should it cover someone who yells ‘bomb’ on an airplane. Clearly there have to be limits and race-hate is probably a good place to draw the line. Only someone as immersed in Jew-hatred as her would fail to see this.

    By Micah on Jun 13, 2010

  132. Micah, thank you. A brilliant response.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 13, 2010

  133. ….The only thing, Micah and Stan, is that even though (as I stated) I believe the Islamic (Zeinab’s) narrative is largely based on falsehoods (and thank you for taking the time, guys! wow.) I still do feel empathy for generations of people now raised on Zeinab’s version, and who now feel they have been cheated of something.

    Instead of encouraging their people to move on and build productive lives (see my extensive post on this from last year on Yom Hashoah, about my amazing grandmother…scroll down to the bottom of my homepage), Islamic leaders choose to use this narrative to allow great suffering in their countries, which is then blamed on Israel / Jews. It is all very convenient and neat, as Anti-Jewish sentiments always have been.

    The depression and rage on the Arab street is therefore very real, and I do feel empathy for people ruled by such evil, where death of an enemy comes before life of one’s own people. Every religion seems to have outgrown its Crusader phase…except Islam, where jihad is unfortunately used to deflect from the hopeless state of affairs in the Arab world.

    It does not mean I think Israel should take the blame for this state of being, but I do wish for it to be part of a reasonable solution (with its values and security intact of course)…should the leaders of the Arab world permit such an occurence.

    Which I doubt, since this type of empathy is usually a one way street when it comes to the Jews.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 13, 2010

  134. Wow—Sunday school revisted! ‘Always wondered why “they” kept telling us that we were the chosen people and then explaining who had tried to obligerate us—interesting way to be chosen. Loved your piece and am going to provide a link on my new blog…..Thanks!

    By jan on Jun 13, 2010

  135. Sara, isn’t that the problem? That any empathy is a one-way street? I think that when you empathize with Zainab’s narrative, it doesn’t encourage a reverse empathy. Instead, it encourages further belief in the lies, on the lines of “See, even the Jews say this” (which is exactly what Zainab demonstrates in her post).
    I think Micah is right to stand up and say “This is the truth. You may not like it, but here are the facts to back it up.” It’s about time these horrible lies were confronted head on – and the more Jews who do this, the better.
    That was the beauty of your original post. You told it like it is. We all need to do that.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 13, 2010

  136. Thank you, Sara, I happen to agree that one of us writes based on insidious lies – and that’s not me. I used facts backed up by countless sources, Israeli, Palestinian, and otherwise, while I don’t see what you’ve used as anything other than Israeli government and media. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Israel’s revisionist historians, but they’re worth taking a look at.

    To label the two narratives to the story as “Judeo-Christian” and “Islamo-Anarchist” is quite erroneous, I believe, to say the very least. I won’t dwell much on this choice of words, but generalizing the first as Judeo-Christian when Christian Arabs themselves have been involved in the resistance against Israel is really not the smartest thing to do, while calling the second Islamo-Anarchist is absolute nonsense since you make the assumptions that the Palestinian struggle is an Islamic one and that those who resist are anarchists, or “rebel against any authority, established order, or ruling power”.

    People who believe in the second narrative as you call it do not advocate a stateless society – they simply oppose a certain type of society, which is in itself our topic of discussion here.

    There is absolutely no way you can claim Arabs were only in Palestine because of the Jews’ recent arrival – I will not quote any Palestinian source here, although thousands exist. Encyclopedia Britannica itself states that “Arab nationalism and opposition to Zionism [note Zionism, not Judaism] were strong among some sections of the intelligentsia even before World War I. The Arabs sought an end to Jewish immigration and to land purchases by Zionists… The population of Palestine, predominantly agricultural, was about 690,000 in 1914 (535,000 Muslims; 70,000 Christians, most of whom were Arabs; and 85,000 Jews).” It also continues on to say that an “Arab delegation of notables visited London in August-November 1921, demanding that the Balfour Declaration be repudiated and proposing the creation of a national government with a parliament democratically elected by the country’s Muslims, Christians, and Jews.” Note the use of the word “Jews” alongside “Muslims” and “Christians” – the Palestinians did not oppose Jews as a people, but rather foreign Jews as immigrating settlers and occupiers.

    “The lowest estimates claim there were about 410,000 Arab Muslims and Christians in Palestine in 1893. A Zionist estimate claimed there were over 600,000 Arabs in Palestine in the 1890s.” I will not sit here discussing facts and statistics, because it’s clearly futile here, but whatever sources you look at Arabs have always been the majority in Palestine – and though Jews may have always been in Palestine, it does not mean they were the majority or anything close. Suffice it to say that regardless of when people started arriving in Palestine, the fact remains that it doesn’t matter: the statistics in 1948 at the time are what matter, whether you like it or not. You can’t say that it’s right to dispossess an Arab “because he only came in the early 1900s in response to Jewish immigration”, just as I can’t say that it’s right to dispossess or kick out a Jew for the same reason. None of this changes the fact that Jews were still, despite best efforts, a minority in 1947-48.

    It doesn’t matter who decided he had the legal authority to divide up the Ottoman Empire, and it doesn’t matter how it was done, because the lines don’t make a difference if the principle of self-determination is applied and people are in charge of their own governments. It does make a difference, however, if this is unfairly applied and executed so that a state isn’t formed on the basis of its people and who’s already living there, but instead on the basis of a minority living there that will get more land than its relative population percentage, kick out the majority and ethnically cleanse everything within its borders to suit its numbers, and allow immigration but disallow any right of refugees to return.

    The Jews were not a majority at the time. Period. I don’t care what the reason was, and international courts of law don’t care either.

    By the way, Mark Twain’s saying is a complete misquote. I’ll just refer you to

    As for claims about farming and lack of such Palestinian efforts, I’ll refer you to and

    Jerusalem is most definitely not the capital of Israel, and never will be. If you’re using UN documents and past “legalities” to prove your right to exist, then be consistent enough to believe fully in the UN Partition Plan of 1947 – that Jerusalem is meant to be an “international” city. Enough said.

    Legally, Jews only owned under 7% of the land in Palestine in 1948 as approximately 30% of the population. There is no way you can argue their right to suddenly formulate a state on 56% of the land, this not considering the more than 80% Israel has today.

    Funny that Gilad Shalit is mentioned. Funny that everyone around the world now knows his name, yet no one knows the names of the thousands of Palestinians still held prisoner today.

    I happen to be Lebanese myself. I also happen to have lived through the July War of 2006. I won’t get into this, but killing more than 1500 people, most of them civilians, Qana the best example, was the way to go, eh?

    Just because one country doesn’t like what’s going on in another doesn’t give it the right to violate its land, people, airspace, and rights. Israel isn’t Lebanon’s mother, and it doesn’t have the right to implement what it believes to be correct. Deal with it.

    Again, I’m Lebanese and I’ve seen people protest and say whatever the hell they want. Yes, in this terrorist, backward, Islamist, barbaric country I live in called Lebanon. Internet, you say? What’s that?

    Ah, the ever-familiar anti-Semite argument. How much longer will Israelis keep using this propaganda, this twisting of terms, against us? Do you realize that we Muslims are also Semites? When will you children learn to separate between religion and politics?

    As for land ownership policies, here’s just one article you may want to look up.

    I condemn the killing of all innocents, including Jews (yes, hard to believe, terrorist and anti-Semite that I am, isn’t it?) because I believe in the essential humanity of us all. Unlike other people whose racist slurs deem Arabs to be inhuman and unable to make moral judgments.

    I don’t understand what it is that propels you Jews to constantly bring up this idea of “being hated” – is it that you want to portray yourselves as the victims? Is it out of self-hate and loathing? Is it some kind of attempt at reaching out to people on an empathetic level? Is it just because you don’t happen to have another argument for defense purposes? I really think you guys just need to get over it. Muslims as a rule don’t hate Jews, I can promise you that. We’ve just learned to hate Zionists as a consequence of their policies and actions, nothing to do with their genetic makeup or familial background.

    To the argument you make about the Arabs, I won’t say much. I’ll say that attacking Israel doesn’t mean I love all Arab countries and their governments, for one. I’ll say that most of the Arab peoples happen to be entirely misrepresented by their governments, and disagree with them completely. I’ll say, once again, that using another crime’s similarity to justify another is not the way to go, although I hope you’re not saying that. I’ll say yes, Arabs have treated Palestinians and each other like crap, but then again they haven’t done a thousandth of what Israel itself has done. I’ll also say that there are countless other examples in history of people treating each other like crap for money and power, but there’s no point mentioning them because that’s not what we’re here to do.

    I’m surprised, Sara. I don’t think you’ve met an Arab before. Or at least not enough. From your article, clarity of writing, and clear level of intelligence, I’d think you’d at least know a little more. I’ve spoken to Jews and Israelis from all ranges of their political spectrum, debated with them about such issues, and lived with them. I know the other side, I think better than you do our side: with the use of words such as Islamo-Anarchist, for instance, or the idea that we don’t criticize our governments, or that we simply believe “insidious lies” that our media form for us. You really should familiarize yourself with both sides of the story. Do you know the difference between Islamic and Muslim? Do you know the difference between anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic, and anti-Zionist? Do you know the real meaning of jihad as opposed to the popularized media definition of it?

    I do hope one day we’ll be able to discuss this over a coffee. One day, when justice allows peace to flourish. One day, when all in Palestine have equal rights, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim alike.

    By Zeinab on Jun 14, 2010

  137. Love this! We’re NOT going anywhere. Israel belongs to us!

    By Elisheva on Jun 14, 2010

  138. Zeinab – See my original post. Never claimed that on rise of the State we were majority, and in fact quoted more or less the numbers you did, ya’ani, to refute me. It is not only a numbers game, not by a mile. If everything were about numbers in year X, the world would need to do a radical reshift.

    We all know that there are many, many more factors at play in the formation of states – historic, ideological, moral, political, etc. In sum total, without rehashing the thousands of words above in aggregate comments, I still believe in the Jewish right to its homeland, for historic and moral reasons. Also, there is no denying that the world is better off with Israel here, with all it has accomplished in only 62 years, than with another fascist Islamic / Arab / Muslim (take your pick, I’m open) presence in the region.

    If the world doesn’t know that there is protest within the Islamic / Arab world against the atrocities of despotic regimes, that is not my ignorance, but your timidity. Taking some of that vitriol against Israel (just a tiny bit, I don’t ask you to relinquish entirely, Allah forbid) and fomenting against Hamas and other gangs would go a looooong way towards achieving the aim of a better life for your people. If that is indeed your aim.

    The details of exactly where everyone’s ass sits at the end of the day are less important than the agreement that societies need to examine themselves and only then look outward, when attempting to solve their issues. If I am wrong – show me! Take to the streets against Ahmadenijad (your puppet master up there in Lebanon) and Nasralla! Make the Arab street sane, and then let’s meet back for that coffee, in an internationalized Tehran. Then I won’t need to bring my burqa…and yes – I do own one (why is an interesting story for a later time), purchased in Ramla from the Arabs I don’t know and never talk to.

    That the Arab world does not know how to lick its wounds and move on, like every other people on earth manges to do, continues to vex me. Again, I urge you to read my post at the very bottom of my home page, where I wonder why there are no Jewish “freedom fighters” blowing up pizzarias in Ungvar and Lublin. I should have pointed this out to Ms. Thomas as well.

    Anyway, I know I haven’t dealt with all your points one by one, but, heck, the Dhimmi are lazy today.

    Stan – Part and parcel of my Jewish pride is this empathy that will never be returned. It’s more Jewish than chicken soup and Hollywood. The bad ass can only take you so far, and at the core, is compassion…which again, can only take you so far….

    The dialectic between standing firm in your identity and beliefs / knowing who you are and being able to reach out to a hateful other is maddening but I think, if there is a meaning to “light unto the nations,” it is in responsibility, not in privilege or entitlement… like being an oldest child (which I also am)….I think it is not weakness but strength.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 14, 2010

  139. The Jewish right to “its” homeland, in a land it never owned and never will. You can’t say you have the right to Palestine because Europe persecuted you, or because you were a microscopic minority there for a couple thousand years. And by the way, numbers do matter – they show the truth behind all the lies.

    I’m sick of repeating myself so many times, because it’s clear that you won’t get what I’m saying. Whatever proof I give you, you’ll believe in the Jewish state because you’ve been told to believe in it since birth. In fact, I don’t blame you. It’s quite difficult to give up lifelong assumptions we’ve been holding onto. Why don’t you read someone like Ilan Pappe? He’s one man who managed to let go of such assumptions, something you’ll probably never be strong enough to do. I think it’s got to do with ignorance.

    “The world is better off with Israel here”… I’ll stop short of attacking once again, and instead simply say that regardless, it doesn’t matter. What the world is “better off with” is up to individual interpretation, and the Western world unfortunately seems to think it has the one and only definition of this. The fact that Israel may have done something good doesn’t erase the fact that it is essentially an injustice in itself, from its colonialist regime to its apartheid practices to its settlements, Apartheid Separation Wall, second-class Arab Israeli citizens, refusal to go back to original borders, etc. None of this counting its occupation of further Palestinian lands or of South Lebanon, its killing and bombing of children and civilians, its torture policies, its ethnic cleansing, its Mossad and IDF (more like IOF) and Hagana and Irgun and Stern.

    Clearly, Israel is a foreign settlement. It has nothing to do with the native land, the native population, and what truly, rightfully, belongs there.

    One can’t “examine his own society” when this society in the first place is being oppressed and driven into extinction. I don’t care what the Arab governments decide to do, because they never have and never will make a difference anyway. Something like how most Americans don’t really like their government or support its policies in their entirety, but don’t take to the streets either. I believe it’s more important to bring down the colonizer and end the occupation first, and then we can begin to talk about issues we have amongst ourselves. You’re forgetting the core issue here, which is essentially imposition and illegal occupation. The people will continue to fight and resist, because we believe in freedom.

    Why are there no Jewish “freedom fighters”? Because there need be none. They’ve already taken the freedom from the natives, they’re in the position of power, and they don’t need to resist. It’s futile to compare the victimizer to the victimized: you’ll get nowhere.

    Reaching out to a hateful other? Have I expressed hate towards you, or has it only been your political views? Pay more attention, Sara. I think strength lies in being able to continue dialogue with an obstinate “other side” that refuses to engage in proper debate.

    By Zeinab on Jun 14, 2010

  140. Zeinab,
    I understand your frustration and definitely sympathize with the injustices that occurred to countless Arab families who were dislocated from their homes in what is now Israel, in 1948 and then 1967 However, this was not a Palestininian nation or even a united people. The indigenous Arab population was divided by tribes and there was no element of Palestinian nationalism. In fact, the only sort of nationalism that crept into the Arab community before 1969 was Pan-Arabism, which by the way was the goal of the surrounding Arab states. Nasser believed in a greater Arab land that stretched from Egypt through Syria and which he hoped to rule. He had no intention of allowing a separate Palestinian identity to develop. Palestinian nationalism only began to develop from 1964, when Arafat took over the Fatah. And it only gained full Palestinian acceptance in 1969, after Black September when the Arab world totally ignored the Palestinian people as they were massacred by the Jordanian Hashemite Kingdom.
    Regarding the disproportionate allocation of land by the British, given that the Arab population was at least 6 times larger than the Jewish population in the early 1900′s, that is a specious argument in light of the disproportional divisions that exist in so many countries in the world. Look at Lebanon, look at Syria, look at Jordan. These are all examples of small religious minorities ruling and claiming disproportional land and other rights over the countries religious majority. Furthermore, look at the United States, Canada and Australia, each of which has indigenous populations that were pushed aside into “reservations” to clear space for the white men. Should we take apart all of these lopsided, unjust situations?
    No, I think the answer has to be to accept that there is and was injustice and to try to move on. We’re not doing anyone any good by belaboring the unfairness and trying to undo it. The people suffering most are the Palestinians still living in refugee camps in order to remain a thorn in the side of Israel so that we can’t claim that these people aren’t suffering. So instead, the world, and especially the Arab world, chooses to let them suffer. We would do the world and ourselves a lot more good by accepting the facts on the ground and trying to move on with a peaceful solution.

    By MFF on Jun 14, 2010

  141. Zeinab, I appreciate your taking the time to post, but before we argue further, it seems that nothing will sway you from your position that Israel has no right to exist and by extension that you are essentially saying that Helen Thomas was right. If so, despite your willingness to have coffee with Sarah, it seems you will only agree to do so after she goes back to Virginia with all 6 million of her Jewish Israeli neighbors. If so we have nothing much to discuss over that coffee.
    I won’t say people need to move on. Regardless of what you think is true about Jewish right to Israel, we will not suddenly stop believing it. No matter what the origins of Palestinian Arab national identity, it exists now and the Palestinian Arabs will not stop believing it. I have no more to discuss with fellow Jews who think we can just send 2 million Gazans to Syria than with Zeinab. Those of us who are willing to grant each other a fair hearing and agree that the only just solution to TODAY’S situation cannot involve a massive transfer of either population, or continued political domination of one over the other (which would apply in both directions) need to get around a table.
    Sarah, the hell with hasbarah. Have you considered running for Rosh Memshalah? You far surpass any recent leader on the left or right in your balance of understanding the Israeli street, diplomacy, and eithical Jewish behavior.

    By Jonathan on Jun 14, 2010

  142. Sara, I think Zainab’s latest posts demonstrate precisely the problem with us Jews having too much empathy for positions that oppose ours. By “understanding” their “narrative”, we have allowed that narrative to become truth. To see what I mean, you have only to look closely at some of the sources Zainab provides. “Palestine Remembered” is quite clearly aimed at “proving” every claim of the Arab side, untrue or not. And just read the first sentence of the supposedly independent Canadian site she referenced. It’s absolutely horrifying in its hateful and hate-filled lies.

    Zainab talks about Israel’s “revisionist” (sic) historians. I’m thrilled that she used this word for the self-described “new historians”. They did revise history, picking quotes and bits of information to suit themselves, often leaving out hugely relevant context. Listen to Ilan Pappe talking about his own work: “I am not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened. (“An Interview of Ilan Pappé,” Baudouin Loos, Le Soir [Bruxelles],Nov. 29, 1999)

    …. I admit that my ideology influences my historical writings…(Ibid) ….Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts.”

    This is a historian?

    Or consider Benny Morris, arguably the most influential of these new historians. He has largely recanted most of his earlier works. Not only that, most of what he has written has been refuted by Efraim Karsh, one of the most meticulous historians studying that era.

    In fact, in his latest work, Palestine Betrayed, Karsh has worked through documents newly available to demonstrate that the facts we all learned about the creation of Israel are actually facts. In the process, Karsh has clearly proven that Pappe, Morris and their fellow travellers are, to be crude, full of you know what.

    What on earth caused the “new historians” to do the damage they have done? What on earth makes Chomsky such a rabid Israel-hater? It can only come from an oversized ability to empathize.

    Of course, Sara, I know that your empathy is still bounded by reality – but until and unless we stand up and say that this is what happened, and unless and until we believe in our own reality, we allow the Zainab’s of the world to continue building and believing in their own hatred. They create new myths of the brutal Israeli – Zainab talks about Qana as if what happened there is not open to dispute. She ignores the fact that, for example, the building took 7 hours to collapse! Why on earth were people still inside? There is just so much more here.

    Quite simply, the other side – as you’ve pointed out – demonstrates no empathy at all as they build their narrative. Zainab states quite brazenly that we have no right whatsoever to the land of Israel. Can you truly empathize with that?

    By Stan Tee on Jun 14, 2010

  143. Thank you, MFF, for bringing this discussion to the future rather than keeping it as an attack on the past.

    I’m not going to argue whether Palestinians were a nation or not, although I do happen to believe so, because I think it’s beside the point. Even pan-Arabism doesn’t mean the Palestinians have no right to self-determination, just that in such a case they would choose to be a part of a larger “state”. The idea here is not that Palestine never existed as a state, or that Palestinians were never a people – the idea is simply that a foreign people came to settle, occupy, kill, ethnically cleanse, and “transfer” the native population, whatever the natives happened to be called, whatever the natives happened to believe in, and whatever the natives happened to be a part of.

    I think history is integral to talking about the future. By saying I support resistance, it means I support continued struggle against injustice – but this does not necessarily mean I believe in the idea that “the Jews should go home to Europe”. I believe in resistance, but I also believe in moving to a logical, just solution in which the two sides finally become equal, rather than one dominating and oppressing the other.

    The right of return of all Palestinian refugees needs to be recognized. I don’t believe in the two-state solution – rather, a single state with equal rights for all and a democratic government is the way to go. In this way no differentiation is made on the basis of religion, so the state is not a Jewish one for instance, and no differentiation is made on the basis of race either (Arabs vs. Jews, Israelis vs. Palestinians, Ashkenazi vs. Sephardic, etc.) and so on and so forth. The world today is unfortunately looking at a two-state solution, where the two states will always be at odds with each other and land will continue to be an issue.

    And yes, Stan Tee, you as a Jewish Israeli people have no right whatsoever to the “land of Israel”. You have no right to create a state that gives certain rights to Jews and discriminates against non-Jews. You have no right to create a state on stolen land. You have no right to kick out a native people and establish yourselves in their land. You have no right to claim ownership over a place your ancestors may or may not have lived in a couple thousand years ago. You have no right to keep establishing settlements contrary to international law. You have no right to keep expanding the borders of your “state” to achieve your religiously fanatic dream of Eretz Israel. You have no right to kill people in the name of fighting terrorism, terrorist entity that your government is.

    As individual people, however, Jews or not, you have every right to be there. You have every right to own land there, to vote there, to call for a free, democratically elected, unified state equal for all there, to live there, to farm alongside your Muslim, Christian and Jewish neighbors there – in other words, you have every right to be a normal human being as opposed to part of the superhuman race you Zionists believe you are. I am calling for equality, not the kicking out of a certain people (read: Jews), because I am not racist.

    Maybe one day you’ll understand this.

    By Zeinab on Jun 14, 2010

  144. Zainab, please point out where Israel is expanding its borders? Israel pulled out of Gaza. Any new construction in the so-called “settlements” is being done within the existing boundaries of those settlements. Israel has been shrinking!!

    Now consider exactly what you’re saying. No land in Israel can be considered Jewish land. None of it. It all belongs to the Arabs. All of it. Oh, you’ll “share” it with us in a “democratic” state. Yeah, right. As soon as you overwhelm the Jews by sheer numbers, it’s out with democracy and in with Sharia law and dhimmi status for anyone who isn’t a Muslim.

    Sorry, I cannot empathize with that at all.

    Sara, surely now you see the true face of what you’re dealing with? At least Zainab didn’t come into this discussion trying to disguise her aims. But now she has made them perfectly clear to all of us.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 14, 2010

  145. Hi Zeinab – Listen, you are really articulate so I need you to please talk to your Pan Arab leaders. I believe a few of us might be interested in a group purchase of a winter home as just regular people, all equals, no one better than the other, somehwere in the Gulf, to advance your utopia of social equality. Except that we can’t get in with Jewish names.
    Also, we dont want to be considered Dhimmi, it’s pretty insulting; can we do something about that status without converting? Also, we women want to be able to drive and wear shorts, not too short, just comfy. Will that be a problem? And to find a synagogue on shabbat? And kosher food? I see you know alot about equality / racism + religion, and are a super advocate for multicultural states throughout the region…. so I’m wondering if you can help me with this. Cuz the real estate brochure looks really nice and you know us Jews have tons of money to burn, especially for buying up Arab land. :) Thanks.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 14, 2010

  146. Zeineb’s first long post said there were no legal, moral or logical reasons. When disproved on all of these the next post says that Arabs were the majority in Palestine and not the Jews. This is true. However, this selective presentation of the facts totally ignores the fact that the Arab population received 75% of Mandatory Palestine which includes ALL of what is today known as Jordan (Which is why the overwhelming majority of Jordanians are actually so-called Palestinians). In any case this is nonsense because Arabs don’t complain that Israel was unjustly allocated from mandatory Palestine- they complain it exists at all. If you took 93% of Mandatory Palestine for the Arabs and 7% for the Jews I would bet everything I owned that the Arabs would still have attacked from 1948 through to today to ensure that the so-called ‘muslim-lands’ are under Islamic control. And yes, in respect of your comment about what Jihad (struggle) is, we know all about what that means, and particularly in the context of fard ayn (obligatory) if so-called ‘muslim-lands’ are attacked.

    The 2nd post complained about Israel declaring war on Lebanon and violating its territorial integrity. Totally ignoring that Lebanon started it with cross-border kidnapping attacks.
    And as for the arms build-up, Israel wouldn’t care about it if Lebanon had peaceable intentions but its belligerence and war crimes, cross-border attacks, aiming rockets at civilian targets, mean that Israel is justified in self-defense to take measures to protect its own citizens. If you have 42000 rockets pointed at our cities (and a track record of using them) that entitles us to violate your airspace to take a look at where they are.

    And Samir Kuntar getting a hero’s welcome…which sane society would lionise a child murderer? We would throw someone like that in prison, whatever their religion. While you say you condemn the killing of all innocents, this is not shared by most of your countrymen in a morally bankrupt society.

    As for Mark Twain’s account of how desolate the land was, instead of reading propaganda which claims it’s quoting out of context, why not read the original excerpt here
    “The further we went the hotter the sun got, and the more rocky and bare,
    repulsive and dreary the landscape became. There could not have been
    more fragments of stone strewn broadcast over this part of the world, if
    every ten square feet of the land had been occupied by a separate and
    distinct stonecutter’s establishment for an age. There was hardly a tree
    or a shrub any where. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends
    of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. No landscape
    exists that is more tiresome to the eye than that which bounds the
    approaches to Jerusalem. The only difference between the roads and the
    surrounding country, perhaps, is that there are rather more rocks in the
    roads than in the surrounding country. ”

    The comment about everyone knowing about Gilad Shalit and not Arab prisoners – all Arab prisoners in Israel are allowed full access by their families under international humanitarian law. Hamas, like Hezbollah refuses to honor these. Everyone knows about this because it is a breach of the most basic human rights.

    As for complaining we are too quick to shout anti-semite, let me tell you what that is- (BTW I mean Judeophobe since you are probably semitic yourself). You say you ‘hate Zionists’ but to quote Martin Luther King,
    “You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely ‘anti-Zionist.’ And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews–this is God’s own truth. “Antisemitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic, and ever will be so.

    “Why is this? You know that Zionism is nothing less than the dream and ideal of the Jewish people returning to live in their own land. The Jewish people, the Scriptures tell us, once enjoyed a flourishing Commonwealth in the Holy Land. From this they were expelled by the Roman tyrant, the same Romans who cruelly murdered Our Lord. Driven from their homeland, their nation in ashes, forced to wander the globe, the Jewish people time and again suffered the lash of whichever tyrant happened to rule over them.

    “The Negro people, my friend, know what it is to suffer the torment of tyranny under rulers not of our choosing. Our brothers in Africa have begged, pleaded, requested–DEMANDED the recognition and realization of our inborn right to live in peace under our own sovereignty in our own country.

    “How easy it should be, for anyone who holds dear this inalienable right of all mankind, to understand and support the right of the Jewish People to live in their ancient Land of Israel. All men of good will exult in the fulfilment of God’s promise, that his People should return in joy to rebuild their plundered land.

    This is Zionism, nothing more, nothing less.

    “And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is antisemitism.

    “The antisemite rejoices at any opportunity to vent his malice. The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the antisemite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. How he must revel in the new masquerade! He does not hate the Jews, he is just ‘anti-Zionist’! ”

    Anti-semitism is denying the rights to the Jewish people that every other nation enjoys: that there are 57 Islamic countries but you and your compatriots have a problem with one Jewish one.

    By MAL on Jun 14, 2010

  147. It is amazing that 63 years of flourishing existance in the Middle East, as one of the very few lands in the world that actually were voted by the UN to live where they do today, still evoke a pointless and hatefull discussion on it’s right to exist.
    Zeinab, you should really reevaluate the departure point for your argumentation. Had I been brought up with the key of our family’s house in Hungary attached around my neck, telling my children they need to kill the hungarians that got it from the nazis, I wouldn’t be building a state, medicine, technology and the other things that Israel did.
    The dream of getting the land of Israel “back” to arab hands is a distructive one that poisons the arab way of thinking. This dream can be changed to a dream of common and peacefull industrious future in the Middle East. It saddens me that a seemingly intelligent person won’t leave the way of suffering and religious hate indoctrination to the benefit of changing a dream. Throw this key! We’ve thrown ours because we realised the world has gone on. Be a partner & develop something instead of voting for Hamas, Hizbolla & the religious frenzy of Umma!

    By Sarah on Jun 14, 2010

  148. I love it! Thanks for writing it. Absolutely brilliant!

    By Bubby on Jun 14, 2010

  149. Where Israel is expanding its borders? Israel has been shrinking? Oh please, stop giving me all this you know what. I’ll just link you to

    What’s wrong with “overwhelming the Jews by sheer numbers”? That you’re scared of no longer being the majority anymore? Because you prefer being in a sterile environment, one carefully controlled and as empty as possible of the vile, subhuman animal that is an Arab? Because you recognize that if it weren’t for the ethnic cleansing that your state had done in 1948, you would not have been the majority today and still could not claim right over a land you’re a minority in?

    Tell me now, how many countries do you see this “Sharia law” and “dhimmi status” applied in today? Do you honestly know how many Muslims themselves oppose the fusion of religion and state? Do you know how many Christians live happily and prosperously in Arab countries? Have you heard of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Emirates, Egypt? Have you met any of the half-naked women that populate the beaches and streets of Lebanon alongside the hijab-wearing women? How many countries ban women from driving other than Saudi Arabia? Ever heard of Dubai? Beirut? I see that most of you are quite ignorant of the true state of living in the region, to be honest.

    Zionism is defined as “the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel”. Nowhere does it say that this is a religion, that this is Judaism in itself, that this is anything but a political movement infringing on the rights of the native population. I don’t know what else to say to you, because you’re clearly blinded by your fanaticism (and it’s funny you call us terrorists!). I repeat, Judaism is a religion, Zionism is a political movement to move those Jews into one place and form a country preferring them over all others. Since you seem to be on a roll quoting people like Martin Luther King, think about the fact that Nelson Mandela himself said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

    It doesn’t seem like we’re getting anywhere. Once again, peace only comes with justice, freedom, and equality. Arabs (Muslim and Christian) were the majority in 1948, Jews were the minority, the minority took the land, formed a state, ethnically cleansed the land of the majority, and today continues terrorizing all those around it and does not recognize the right to return of the refugees. It’s that simple.

    By Zeinab on Jun 14, 2010

  150. All I can say, Zeinab, is that some days I wish I lived in this world of yours, where everything was perfect about me and my people, and everything bad was the fault of someone else. Fun!

    On the other hand, in individuals, this qualifies as a personality disorder….which I’m afraid it is in a nation as well. So I guess I’m ultimately happier to be part of the imperfect, but overall healthy body-nation of Israel / the Jews: self-questioning, never satisfied with ourselves yet forward moving, and joyous more often than angry. Jewish depression usually gets made into art, rather than, say, rioting masses around the “insulting” art of others.

    This flexible, self-deprecating “personality” of ours is not attached to any piece of land. We managed to be this way even in the 2,000 years when we had no land.

    I think it’s pretty awesome, but I understand that it is an acquired taste. So you go ahead and marinate in your angry narrative, and I’ll raise my kids to build society productively and with positivity and joy (even though they would have had thousands of more cousins were it not for the Nazis), and we’ll meet back in another generation and see where everyone is.


    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 14, 2010

  151. Wow!
    That is not an answer, that is THE ANSWER!!!

    By JAIME on Jun 14, 2010

  152. Zainab, I have no wish to debate with you. Your mind is closed. Viciously. However, for anyone else who might be reading here, a rebuttal of your issue with the maps: I paste, in full, a column by Lawrence Hart of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada:

    Distorting history with maps
    Thursday, 10 June 2010
    Land claims, in their sensitivity and complexity, have been a recurring sticking point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Addressing them on their merits, and with due regard to historic realities, is difficult enough, but having to then deal with their frequently revisionist interpretations – by Palestinian interlocutors and their apologists – makes an already complicated negotiation that much more frustrating.

    Yet regardless of the implicitly propagandist machinations of what has come to be known as the “Palestinian land loss narrative,” the case promoting it has become entrenched within a broader mosaic of fabrication that all too often defines the Arab perspective in any discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

    A sequence of maps is the current instrument of choice to describe and embellish the notion of “land loss.” The drawings, of which there are usually four, purport to show the usurping of “Palestinian territory” between 1946 and 2009. The 1946 map shows tiny pockets of Jewish settlements in British Mandate Palestine, with all of the rest, in bright green for added emphasis, labelled as Arab lands. That the Arabs at that time had no sovereignty over the area, and owned less than half of it, is a mere detail that escapes mention.

    The next two maps draw attention to the changing demography in diminishing areas of “green,” after Israel fended off its Arab attackers in 1948 and 1967, respectively. These then segue to the fourth illustration, which identifies only tiny enclaves of residual Palestinian land, speckled through what is presumably the West Bank and no doubt meant to portray the “bantustans” that the Israelis have been accused of creating.

    What is so flagrantly perverse about these depictions is that they entirely omit any context or commentary that might even remotely create a foundation for rational discussion. For example, all of the agreements from the Balfour Declaration onward are overlooked, the legitimacy of the partition plan that established the State of Israel is denied and Israel’s ceding of the Sinai and Gaza is ignored.

    In summing up the deceit of the maps, Ami Isseroff, chief editor at the Zionism-Israel Center ( lamented that “like the ‘apartheid’ slogan, the maps and the ideas they represent are coming to be accepted as mainstream and legitimate.” He cautions that it needs to be understood that what the distributors of the maps hope to promote with them is “an irredentist claim over the land for the Arabs of Palestine… not only the area of the West Bank and Gaza, but the entire land, ‘from the river to the sea’ – all of the land that was covered ‘green’ in the 1946 map – the ‘lost’ land.”

    By Stan Tee on Jun 14, 2010

  153. Sorry all, a few more points about Zainab’s last post. She reels off a list of countries where things are supposedly wonderful for non-Muslims. Let’s look at them:
    Lebanon – government now controlled by Hizbullah. How long do you think those “half-naked” women will be able to suntan themselves on the beaches?
    Syria – nor Iran’s biggest buddy. Run by a dictator.
    Jordan – where it’s illegal for Jews to own land (but it’s Israel that’s supposed to be the “apartheid” state?)
    The Emirates – I admit to not knowing much about them, so have nothing to comment.
    Egypt – ask the Coptic Christians just how wonderful life is there
    Dubai – hmm, isn’t that where a British couple was recently sentenced to jail for …. kissing! In Public! Scandal. Horrors.

    Note also how she puts words in my mouth. I will not repeat her vile, stinking words, suffice to say that they are HER words, not mine.

    To borrow a word from Sara, Zainab, marinate.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 14, 2010

  154. as a secular jew and an avid student of history i believe many posters have not done their hpmework. many jews, after the spanish dispersal, were invited into countries to build their economies. eg holland, france the netherlands. the polish lords also invited the jews to help their society move into the modern age. not did the jewish influence create a forward movement in the societies they moved into, they prospered and their numbers grew quite rapidly. this was evident in poland. polish landownersthen felt it necessary to create unrest and destruction on the jewish communities. in other words use them and then destroy them. as forthe arab populations being driven from their lands, this is reconstructd

    By marty lederman on Jun 15, 2010

  155. Dubai – know someone who grew up there. Only problem is he is of Ethiopian descent. He, his family, and the thousands upon thousands of other “foreigners” brought in to prop up this utopian paradise are complete outcastes, without rights, other than the right to work their asses off for someone else’s benefit. Not quite apartheid – because in addition to the Dubai native Arabs who do hold full rights, they seem to be remarkably tolerant of (non-Jewish, non-Israeli) Westerners. Odd mix.
    Needless to say, not much complaint in the West about this, from the left or the right.
    Or Sudan (not hitherto mentioned) – Muslim Arab against (also Muslim) dark-skinned African.
    What about the US? Oh, hey, wouldn’t you know it, here I’ve met Arab Muslims and Christians (Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi) who know all about my service in Tsahal, who continue to have close ties to their own homelands (and hold two passports – unless their home country forbids it), and yet who not only willingly call me a friend, but openly acknowledge the rightness of a two state solution (something even Bibi does once in a while, depending on the company he keeps).
    Neither Jews nor Arabs (Muslim or Christian) are a bloc when it comes to opinion. Neither have any monopoly on truth (even you, Zeinab). And neither the Israelis or the Palestinians are going anywhere as much as the other side might want them to – unless Iran decides to nuke Israel, in which case the Palestinians dancing on their rooftops in Ramallah will be as dead as the Israelis hiding in their basements in Mevaseret Tzion. Therefore we all have a moral decision to make – come to an agreement, or allow hatred of the other side to push us closer to calamity.

    By Jonathan on Jun 15, 2010

  156. I think I’ll stop here, since this is clearly going nowhere, especially with you, Stan Tee, as you continue to focus on the nitty-gritty details and forget the bigger picture. Seeing as you haven’t lived in any of the countries you’re mentioning, or even visited them, I think it’s a moot point. I spent five years living in Dubai (which is a part of the Emirates by the way, a fact you clearly did not know) and I am also an American citizen who grew up in the US.

    Consider something like this.

    Sara, it’s really not healthy to see the world as black-and-white. I hope you realize that soon.

    Jonathan, I agree, I don’t have a monopoly on the truth and I never said I did. I know for a fact that Arabs are extremely divided on the issue, with some calling for revolution and a bringing down of the Israeli regime, some calling for a two-state solution, some for a one-state solution, some for peace at whatever cost, and some who just don’t care. I also know that Israelis generally tend to lean towards the two-state solutions, at least the ones I know, not counting the more extremist individuals.

    This is why we need dialogue, communication, awareness. Debate is the best way to move forward constructively, because hate gets us nowhere. I know it’s hard for Stan Tee to believe in a state with equal rights for everyone, and many will disagree with me, but that’s just my opinion and to each his own.

    By Zeinab on Jun 15, 2010

  157. Zeinab,

    If you haven’t stopped reading (since you said you were stopping in your last post) – thanks for acknowledging what I said about not having monopolies on the truth. Go back and re-read your own posts with a fresh ear and see if you don’t come off as implying that you do have one. It may not have been what you meant, but you gave no quarter to anyone who disputed you. You state that you favor dialogue, but if you concede no points, what kind of dialogue is it?

    And for the record, I absolutely do know that Dubai is part of the Emirates. You also mentioned them as being distinct one from the other – again, even if that isn’t what you meant, that’s how it looked.

    Say what you mean, how you mean it. Otherwise, we have to assume that your medium is your message.

    By Jonathan on Jun 15, 2010

  158. So Zainab, suddenly you’re Ms. Reasonable?

    If you scroll up a bit, before you joined this discussion, you’ll see that I stated quite clearly that if the Palestinians genuinely recognized Israel as the Jewish state, and proved themselves to be genuine peace partners, there would be peace tomorrow

    You, however, came storming in here, denying any Jewish right to any land at all. And then you wonder why you got my back up?

    As Jonathan has clearly stated, debate means opening your mind. The fact that you’re running away with your tail between your legs would appear to show that you cannot do this.

    By Stan Tee on Jun 15, 2010

  159. ===============================================

    Fed Up!

    We love the Jewish people!
    Get it,
    vapid public commentators,
    and various members of ‘think-tanks’,
    high on yourselves from intellectualization
    and abstraction on theory,
    and not physical involvement,
    for the survival of the state of Israel,
    ready as you are to condemn an out-post of freedom,
    surrounded by religious insanity.

    We love the Jewish people!
    Get it,
    European and US political cowards,
    denying from your deep, comfortable couches,
    or safe, protected, tax-payer offices,
    the right of Israel to defend itself
    against surrounding Muslim enemies
    wishing only a second Holocaust for Israel.

    We love the Jewish people!
    Get it, Muslims?

    You have a long way to go,
    and a lot of religious insanity to make up for,
    before you’ve earned the right to claim membership
    in our global community of hard-won democracies;
    in fact, you have about 1400 years to go,
    so stop acting-out like children denied toys,
    and get your Allah-crazed act together!

    The civilized world is just about fed up
    with your juvenile antics and temper-tantrums,
    so grow the hell up,
    and in the mean-time,
    get back on your ADHD medication!


    By j.p.christiansen on Jun 15, 2010

  160. I know you’ll probably never read this; there are far too many comments for you to read them all. But Sara, thank you so much for putting into words what I’ve been trying to say. Your article is beautiful, and unfortunately tragic. But eloquently put, and quite frankly, f*ck the rest of the world, we’re staying home this time.

    By Shoshana on Jun 15, 2010

  161. To Nigel Brook

    Hey, Nigel-Your facts need updating. Jews in Christian countries (we won’t even consider Muslim countries), however much wealth they may accrue are not the wealthiest and most powerful. That distinction still belongs to Protestants in non-Catholic countries and Catholics in countries that self identify as Catholic. As for keeping our blood lines pure-would to God we could. A Lakota friend of mine recently said that within 20 years there would be no more pure blooded American Indians of any tribe. There is nothing but poverty for them on most reservations, so they leave them for education and work, and as she said, the heart doesn’t care about blood lines. I find much the same thing true of young non-observant Jews in this country.

    Oh yes, and while you are castigating us for attempting to keep, if not a religiously observant than at least a culturally and historically knowledgeable remnant in our blood lines, take a look at the Muslims. Now THERE are a people for whom intermarriage is akin to asking to be ostracized by their people at the least (in the USA) or murdered in devout Muslim countries.

    Do I hate Muslims? Of course not. I actually live in an area where a lot of Arabs have settled and my personal relations with them are fine, even though they danced in their back yards on the night of 9-11 (until some of their Christian neighbors threw things at them). I was too busy being sick at what people who hate can do to the innocent to care much about either reaction in the moment.

    Of course I don’t agree with all Israeli policies. Of course individual Israelis have done reprehensible things to some Arabs, albeit not generally without provocation. I don’t condone such actions. On the other hand, I have never heard of a plot to murder them en mass or to drive them into the sea.

    Go back? Go back where-to countries where people like you proclaim inaccuracies as truths and want us out? Where we have risen, we have done so under our own steam and therefore become easy pickings for those who would blame others for their own inadequacies. No country that has thrown us out has been hesitant to confiscate the goods and money we have earned.

    As for me-I wish someone wanted to throw me out because I have accumulated wealth. I live on about $1000 a month, which would serve me well in an African nation but not so much in NYC. What is your excuse for not wanting me around?


    By Beverly on Jun 15, 2010

  162. Thanks for the article.
    I don’t want to start arguing with anyone, so I will leave it at that.

    By Daniel G on Jun 15, 2010

  163. I enjoyed reading your article and the commentary. Keep up the good work.
    I have only one comment for those who think that Helen Thomas’s right to free speech was curtailed – it certainly wasn’t. The right to free speech does NOT guarantee the right to speech without consequences. By all means say what is on your mind no matter how hurtful or wrong, but don’t expect people to agree with you, or to hire you, or not to fire you, because that is their right.

    By Diana Barshaw on Jun 15, 2010

  164. If this doesn’t make your blood run cold …. nothing will:

    By Stan Tee on Jun 15, 2010

  165. Stan,

    Despicable, but if you think this is exclusive to Islam you’ve not been paying attention. Courts in the US (secular ones) still let off rapists with some regularity if the victim was scantily dressed, intoxicated, etc., because she was somehow “asking for it.” Read some of the press (including the front page article from the supposedly liberal Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) on the alleged victim in the Ben Roethlisberger case. The non-patriarchal, male-dominated, women-ought-to-be-very-afraid society in our world is essentially a myth. Including, unfortunately, in Israel, where a friend who is usually very serious politically voted for former model Penina Rosenblum for Knesset one year because she ran on an anti-domestic violence platform – and the morning of the election he saw a newspaper article about a woman beaten to death by her husband. John Lennon continues to be right – “woman is the nigger of the world”, especially in the Muslim world (and some non-Muslim parts of Africa, and in Christian Haiti, where I was two months ago, where the women and girls in tent cities are being raped pretty much at will) – but in the West as well. It is what Rabbi Abraham Twerski refers to as “the shame borne in silence.” time to break that silence.
    The one thing that sets this apart from the rest of the world is that it’s actually being encouraged, rather than just permitted and ignored (I guess there are some who would say some popular music encourages it too, as does some of the Western porn industry. Weird how they all end up in the same place, despite their professed hatred for one another).

    By Jonathan on Jun 15, 2010

  166. Thank you.
    Well said. My family and I are persian jews and have experienced much of what was said in the article.
    I am just worried that history will repeat itself. It will happen here one day.
    For the first time in generations we have a president who will not stand with Israel.Quite sad.
    David, USA

    By afshin david rahimi on Jun 16, 2010

  167. Sara,
    You were right on. Everybody around Helen Thomas hide the fact that she’s been an anti-semetic correspondent. The real question to be answered is why she’s gotten away with it for so long?


    By Abe Narkunski on Jun 17, 2010

  168. Hi, I’m from Lebanon
    and I would like to say that a substantial number in Lebanon Love Israel and the Jewish people and we are very tired of the hate propagated by some self interest groups and repeated by the masses.

    On your writing, I loved every word, it gave me a tear in my eyes…

    I have a dream to drive from Jounieh to Tal-Aviv
    Peace between Lebanon and Israel
    in our life time…

    By veronica on Jun 17, 2010

  169. Veronica – If you can get there, I’d meet you in the middle, in the Galil. :) I have faith that it will be in our time, but we may be very old…

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 17, 2010

  170. I’m reminded of an old ISraeli parody of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

    “U’chshe yavo, yavo shalom,
    Netze la-ski ba-Levanon”

    When peace comes, we’ll go skiing in Lebanon.

    There’s also something in there about sharing a glass of arak . . .

    By Jonathan on Jun 17, 2010

  171. Dear Veronica, I few weeks ago I read a story about the Lebanon Mountain Trail which sounded so interesting and beautiful, and since right now my husband and I are hiking the Israel trail, I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be great if we could join the two trails and have the Lebanon = Israel international trail! Maybe some day if there are more people like yourself this could happen.
    When peace comes we’ll meet on the trail,
    Best wishes to you,

    By Diana Barshaw on Jun 17, 2010

  172. Hiking the Israel trail with wireless access? Nice setup.

    Seriously, though, the trail points to the importance of the land, and its natural beauty, as a common thread in the direction of peace. For the Arab population of Israel there is a direct connection to specific parcels of land, and the same is true for the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. For the Jewish population it is the land as a whole that matters. In terms of Tom Friedman’s Lexus and Olive Tree concept, both peoples are still tied to a more traditional view that no matter how much portable wealth you have, your land wealth, whether as a homeland or a homestead, is what matters. As time goes by, and Palestinian national identity grows, and Israelis are now second, third, or fourth generation, the distinction that I drew becomes fuzzier – homeland and homestead are important on both sides.

    The result is an enmeshed relationship that can’t be ended by just saying that one party has to clear out and never come back. The extremes on both sides treat this issue as a love triangle, where the two jealous lovers battle for the exclusive affections and possession of the beloved (the land). If you’ve seen any of the million movies on this theme, one or both of them (or all three) dies an ugly death. No guarantee who it will be (if Iran isn’t contained, my money is on all three).
    Instead,we should be relating like siblings caring for an elderly parent – Isaac and Ishmael coming together when Abraham dies. There does not need to be complete agreement, and no one insists that we occupy the same space. But honoring the loved one (the land, and God even moreso, who we all agree is common to all involved even as we worship differently) is paramount, and making peace in her eyes essential.
    The trail goes all the way to Eilat – maybe we can add a piece through Aqaba and continue straight on to Mecca – quite a Hajj for you folks up in Lebanon, huh?
    And an East-West route that goes from Gaza to Baghdad. If everyone walks, they can all stop regularly for that cup of coffee Sarah and Zeinab talked about.
    The disturbing thing is that 15 years ago, this was frequent conversation. No one talks about what peace will be like anymore. What have we done – Israelis and Palestinians alike – to lose sight of it?

    By Jonathan on Jun 18, 2010

  173. @Veronica
    just wondering, are you Muslim? or christian/other religion.
    If Muslim, then I am very surprised at your statement; if not, then I am not so surprised.
    Either way, happy to hear that.

    By Daniel G on Jun 18, 2010

  174. Daniel,
    Why so surprised that a Muslim Lebanese could be pro Israel. I have a good friend here in Pittsburgh who fits that bill. People have minds of their own even/especially when their culture tells them not to.

    By Jonathan on Jun 18, 2010

  175. Hi Jonathan, we’re hiking the trail in segments, (click on my name and that will take you to my website about our hike and other things) so no wireless while hiking. Part of the point of the hike is to get away from screens and such.
    Anyway, reading your comments from where I live is like reading science fiction. It’s nice, but it’s silly. Homestead versus homeland??? The Jews are attached to this land on so many levels that that distinction doesn’t make sense.
    I am originally from the west, and I know how deep is the idea that everything can be worked out “if only the two sides would talk” etc. But sadly the powerful people on the Palestinian Arab side are not interested in compromise, they want nothing less then our demise – Helen Thomas beliefs perfectly mirror the desires of our enemies.

    One of the reasons that we decided to walk the length of Israel was to fortify ourselves in the face of the relentless efforts of the Arabs to shake our confidence. And it worked.
    We slept one night in the ruins of an ancient synagogue from some where between the 3rd and 4th century (go to the third leg of our hike to see a picture
    From that point on I have had an inner stillness. We are the indigenous people here, the evidence for this is overwhelming in spite of the success our enemies have in the big lie that we are “occupiers” .
    Please don’t willfully misunderstand me. Just because we are the natives, does not mean that others who have lived here for a long time don’t also have rights in this area. I and almost every one of my compatriots are willing to compromise. We’re willing to live together in peace and cooperation. And like Veronica there are many on the other side who share our desire. The tragedy is that these good people on the other side are not in positions of power, and the deluded, rather pathetic liberal west does not support them. Just expressing their believes can get them harassed at best or killed at worst.

    Where is the solution?

    Shabbat Shalom to everyone,

    By Diana Barshaw on Jun 18, 2010

  176. Diana,
    Of course it sound s like science fiction. So did “AltNeuland” when Herzl wrote it in 1897. Be like the disciples of Aharon… Even if it seems futile.

    By Jonathan on Jun 18, 2010

  177. Hi Sara, thank you for your kind offer,
    I wish I could say that I will see you in a couple of days and meet you in Galil, unfortunately…
    but I’m not saying never.

    Lebanon is beautiful, not the most beautiful, but beautiful enough to come to visit and you do not know how up lifting will be to meet you on the trails.

    for the others that trying to turn the table on Israel, please do not stop defending the Palestinian rights but not by taking the right of Israel defending it self.

    but a character of a nation is judged by actions
    Peace Israel Egypt former enemies
    Peace Israel Jordan former enemies

    Palestinians destroying Jordan their brothers which led to black September.
    Palestinians destroying Lebanon 75/90.
    which Lebanon accepted them as brothers

    Peace has evaded us for so long,
    for no good reason what so ever.
    Peace between Lebanon and Israel
    in our life time…

    By veronica on Jun 20, 2010

  178. I spent the three hours reading Sara’s answer to Helen Thomas and the comments it inspired. At the end, I don’t know whether to have hope or despair. Dialogue is good, but doesn’t anybody listen to what the other is saying? Is it so impossible to agree that the past, unfair to all, is the past? Can’t any leader find a way to the future that starts in the here and now? Israel is. Gaza is. The Jews are. The Palestinians are. Build on it.

    By Joyce C. on Jun 21, 2010

  179. I suggest if anyone wants to understand what is going on in Lebanon they should look here

    By MAL on Jun 21, 2010

  180. I have lived in Israel for almost 21 years, but I didn’t know the detailed history of what happened in Lebanon until I watched the video of Brigitte Gabriel (that you posted Mal). I will post this on my facebook page and maybe we can get this point of view out. It is hard, really impossible to understand how the liberal west is taken in by the vicious islamists.
    I cry for that Lebanon that once was. Let it be a lesson to us here in Israel. This is what Zeinab means by a “one state solution”!

    By Diana Barshaw on Jun 21, 2010

  181. Your take on the Helen Thomas affair is hands down the best commentary I’ve read recently on this topic or any other for that matter. I hope it’s shared a widely as possible. Keep up the great work.

    By Stephen Prestwood on Jun 23, 2010

  182. Your post has gone viral. I received it today via email from a friend. Thank you for putting it so well.

    By Grumpy Old Dog on Jun 23, 2010

  183. Sara – you are amazing. You have said everything we have been trying to say for the past three weeks in an excellent manner.

    I have spent the last couple of hours reading the talk-backs (Stan – you are great too!) and what I see here is what I have seen on various sites – some people / groups just don’t want to see the Israeli side, no matter how coherent and logically it is put.

    It’s much easier / fashionable (and lazy, TK??) to just take the side of the perceived underdog, without delving into the reasons behind what is actually going on here.

    Yes, I am an American Jew, proudly living in Israel for the last 16 years, and I SEE WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON. Those who just can’t believe the Israeli side are welcome to come and see for themselves what is truly happening here – a visit to Israel and a visit to Gaza.
    See for yourself. Maybe, just maybe, you will change your mind about a few things.

    By Michal on Jun 23, 2010

  184. “Ya’ll pretty much hate us. It’s just the way it is, like a natural law.”

    Good G_d… I can almost feel the spiteful, juvenile relish through the screen. What are you doing Sara? You excitedly take a 90 year old’s senior moment as proof of the “default antisemitism” that lurks underneath every Gentile? You take this sad woman’s shameful remarks as an excuse for a smug rant about Jewish history so incoherent and uninformed that any self respecting Rabbi would cringe to hear it?

    Don’t you see that by cheerfully portraying history, the world, the UN, etc, etc, etc as the eternal Jewish enemy you are simply becoming the caricature that antisemites talk about? That your belief in this sort of Jewish exceptionalism (the eternal, moral, misunderstood victim) only reinforces the narrative that Israel so deeply needs to escape in order to achieve true peace?

    “We, we, we, we, we”…. Sara, true grace lies beyond the “us” and “them” duality that you so ardently perpetuate as a journalist in search of conflict. Take a deep breath, and stop chaining yourself to this vicious tribal cartography that so many use as a crutch in order to avoid facing the original, timeless truth. There is a far greater “we”.

    By David on Jun 24, 2010

  185. David – On the contrary…I don’t believe it was a 90-year-old’s senior moment. It was 90 years of pent up anti-semitism. Even my old dentist couldn’t resist using the phrase, “I Jewed him down.” Yup, y’all hate us in one way or another.

    Your attempt at eloquent writing is rather weak and my sense that it is a cover-up for your anti-semitism.

    By Zelda on Jun 24, 2010

  186. David –

    Aha! The Ecumenical Embrace. Thank you for being The One. No spite, no relish, and juvenile – I only wish. Ditto for truly wishing the Thomas gaffe was merely a senior moment.

    I like your comment so much, Jungian enthusiast that I am (for real), I am going to respond to you at some length and devote an entirely new post to it. Check my Homepage in the coming days.

    My anniversary is coming up and I was going to write about marriage…but “vicious tribal cartography” and “we x5″ are too fantastic not to jump on and ride.

    I (or the fragment of the Universe I perceive as myself) ask that you keep an open mind till then…

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 24, 2010

  187. Now wait a minute! You do not accept that you have allies who are not Jewish. Christians have the same interests in defeating Muslims. They hate us too, it’s just that they have to prioritise. May I point out that the west has been attacked too? You are not alone unless you insist and that is the most stupid thing to do,

    By Ralph Pattison on Jun 29, 2010

  188. Ralph – You make an excellent point. See my new post, “All you need is love” in which I answer David, who is a few comments above you on this thread. It may answer you, too. In a nutshell: Thank you…Definitely do not insist on being alone…Just on truth and freedom.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jun 29, 2010

  189. I do not understand why Sara Eisen is convinced that Jewish values are relative. I did not know that it is OK for Jews to violate human rights of people as long as other democracies are also doing so. With this article, Sara Eisen is saying that it is perfectly OK to disregard the laws of Moses.

    By Heinz Wartski on Jul 1, 2010

  190. Heinz –

    I think you are confusing Mosaic Law with whatever Western society has decided is moral. The Laws of Moses have a lot to say about loving fellow man and humanitarian justice (taking care of widows and orphans etc), but also a WHOLE LOT to say about an eye for an eye, self defense, and who the Land of Israel belongs to, etc.

    Believe me, you dont want to invoke the Laws of Moses to the liberal cause. It is actually only because the Oral Law and subsequent generations of sages and great thinkers have managed to ‘moderate’ the Torah that our nation can hang on to tradition and still live peacefully with the Western world.

    As to Israel’s human rights abuses: Where they exist, there are parliamentarians screaming about it in the Knesset, and others working day and night to end injustice – a disproportionate number of people donating time and resources to human causes- in Israel, Gaza, and around the world – are JEWS.

    Where these abuses do not exists, but are instead trumped up charges of abuse when indeed what is going on is self defense or other normative democratic measures, there is no apology necessary, only demands of the other side. This is not moral relativism, it is living in a fair and just world where EVERYONE bears responsibility for the human condition, including those always pointing fingers at someone else.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jul 1, 2010

  191. I am sorry if I am repeating anything that was said above but I just couldn’t go through all the previous mails.
    This is a very good article Sara but some “historical facts” are not too accurate:

    First, The Romans (and Greeks before them) did not kick the Jews out of Eretz Israel. Sure, many were taken as slaves and others left on their own accord but the Jews were the majority of the inhabitants here all that time. The Sanhedrin continued to function. The Mishna was completed in Tzippori only 18 Centuries ago. The Talmud completed here some 14 Centuries ago.
    Yes, our sovereignity in Eretz Israel ended with the destruction of the second Temple but the Jews remained here. The Roman people themselves never even contemplated moving here from Italy….
    It was the Crusaders, led by Richard the Lion Heart, who finalised the Diaspora of the Jews from Eretz Israel by Killing nearly all the Jews (In Europe too, on route, just for practice…)

    Second, The Arabs of Palestine did not oppose the Jewish immigration during the Auttoman rule. On the contrary the idigenous Arabs of post WWI Palestine saw the benefit of the Zionist boosting of the economy. Sure there were attacks on the Jewish inhabitances in secluded places (like Tel cHai) but those were more the acts of bandits who attck anybody – Europeans, Americans, other Arabs, Druz whatever, than an orgenised campaign against Jews. The Arab opposition the Jews and Zionism began ONLY AFTER THE START OF THE BRITISH MANDATE. It was the Brits who inflamed the Arabs aginst the Jews just as they did in their other colonies (Kashmir, Nepal, to name just two)
    They instigatd the violence against the Jews by preventing Jewish protection or resistance while turning a blind eye (not to say active support) to the murders in Hebron, Jaffa and all the rest.
    Two Etzel fighters were Hung for trying to protect Jewish busses to Tzffat – a hanging that brought about the hanging of the British Sargents.
    The Brits, who received the Mandate from the League of Nations (to create “a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine” in light of the Balfur Declaration) soon backed out of that commitment with the “White Book”s.
    Thus the half a Million Arabs who were here at the start of the Mandate grew to 2 Millions by the end of it. At the same time just half a Million Jews were allowed to come home.
    And what happened to those extra 1.5 Million Arabs who came here? One Helf a Million went to reside in the UN “Refugee Camps”. The rest mingled with the “old” Arabs and they are all calling themselves “Palestinians”

    So, The Brits were responsible for both the clearing (“cleansing”?) the Jews from Eretz Israel in the first place and the creation of “the palestinian refugee problem” in the second place.


    By Avi on Jul 2, 2010

  192. You’re right Avi but for the moment we need to stick with all people on Israel’s side.
    I’m french and I’m fighting everyday islamo-gauchistes (islamo-leftit) and the right to stand by Israel.
    How touhg it is ! You just can’t take a walk in many places in Paris with a jewish star on your neck. Jewish kids can’t go to public schools for years because of the invasion of islam.
    There’s hate of Israel everywhere here and not to many medias on our side.
    Back in thirthies and a war coming up in Israel cause of Hezbollah.
    Believe me, we need to join our forces in France with UK, Nd, Germany and all the people sick and tired of islam and against Israel.

    A big federation is needed as fast as possible.

    Nina (

    By Nina on Jul 9, 2010

  193. Why does the Pope wear a Yarmulke? I am continuously amazed at how gentiles can be antisemitic or not support Israel, and yet their Savior is Jewish. Ah, the Cosmic Joke!
    Does Helen Thomas really want to send Jesus to Germany when he comes back? I think Jesus would prefer Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Shame on the Catholic Church to not speak out against Islam. You’re wrong, David, to dilute Thomas’ remarks to a senior moment when it was antisemitism. Would it have been a senior moment if Thomas’ said all Blacks should go back to Africa and get the hell out of America during Black History Month? Shame on you for colluding with bigotry.

    By DD on Jul 17, 2010

  194. Thanks for this. Should be required reading.

    By RH Potfry on Jul 18, 2010

  195. Granted I’m a little slow to this particular party, but I still have something to say.

    I’ve been told I’m going to go to Hell. I’ve been asked why I killed Jesus. I’ve been called a “Dirty Jew” and many other things.

    All of that before I was even 13. The people who tormented me were my peers.

    If we want to fight antisemitism, racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other bigotry we need to educate the younger generations. If they can stop seeing people as black, white, Jew, Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, and start seeing them as *people* then the future would be better.

    We can keep teaching our children the differences between people as long as we point out the similarities too.

    By M. Boyd on Sep 19, 2010

  196. I am of German heritage. I’ve been called Nazi, Jew killer, in pretense been shot with a mock machine gun, and asked if my parents worked in concentration camps, and why my father didn’t kill Hitler — all before I was 10.

    I went to Israel a few times on business, once we had an early morning flight back to the US, and so sat up in the hotel lounge to leave early. In talking with the hotel clerk that night, she asked me “how can you live with yourself” (being of German heritage).

    My parents went through the war as teens, my father was drafted into the army at 16, sent to the Russian front, and spent 1.5 years in a Russian POW camp. Yet our world has essentially no sympathy for these victims. He never whined about any of it, never, the stories were really hard to get out of him. He loved life and had no lingering grief or blame. As a kid I used to cry for him, but he never sought sympathy and obviously refused to become a victim.

    I agree completely in “If we want to fight antisemitism, racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other bigotry we need to educate the younger generations. If they can stop seeing people as black, white, Jew, Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, and start seeing them as *people* then the future would be better.”

    If I read the sample list of bigotry above carefully, I think I see that the majority of the examples are driven by religion. As long as people put religion above other concerns we will never be rid of bigotry and prejudice. I agree we have to change how we educate our children. We should stop expecting children to be indoctrinated into religion, they should be given a choice, no longer automatically be trained (brainwashed) into the religion of their parents.

    By Roland on Sep 20, 2010

  197. Dear Roland,
    I am sorry that you had to put up with nasty comments when you were a child, and I’m also sorry that someone in some hotel in Israel was less than fair. You are not to blame for what happened in your country before you were born. However, I do think that it is your duty to understand what happened there. From your comment on religion I don’t think you do understand. What was the religion of the Nazis? They were the anti religion – literally. Hitler said “Conscience is a Jewish invention, it is a blemish like circumcision.” That is inevitably what happens when people give up on religion. They stop having a moral compass, IE a conscience. So believe me when I tell you there is no chance we will stop raising our children as Jews. However, we don’t brainwash them! That is an insult. We teach them to think for themselves in this complicated world, to maintain an open mind and respect other peoples religions and points of view.

    By Diana Barshaw on Sep 20, 2010

  198. Hi Diana,

    Thanks for you support. I am mostly over the “pain” associated with being of German heritage at this point in my life. I believe I wrote about my experiences to illustrate the point that too many groups, often religion members, playing the “sympathy card” to gain advantage. Yes, we see this quite prominently with some Jews, we see it with outrageous attitude with some Muslims by constantly claiming “offense” and demanding respect, we see it with some Blacks, and many other groups who feel they are not treated with the level of tolerance that they desire. The behavior seems to demand certain privileges or reparations because their ancestors were wronged in the past. The problem it creates is that people are living in the past and unwilling to let go, so they can change for the better as an evolving society requires.

    About the Nazi party being the anti-religion, or atheists, actually that is not true. There is as much evidence that they were religious people as there is to the contrary. A couple of references that shed light on this question are here: “Quotes from Hitler’s Henchmen and Nazi Sympathizers” (, and also found in the “National Socialist Program”, or a quote from point 24 “The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination.” Of course we can question if they were really religious (spiritual) or just using religion to enhance their power. If that is a valid investigation, then it must also apply to all leaders, politicians, and religious states that are in place today around the world.

    My point is that we will continue to have conflict as long as religion is intermixed with politics and government. Religion should be an optional activity, perhaps a way of life as people choose. And all children should be offered the option to choose their own religion or spiritual practice as they choose. But as long as we have states that are based on a religion, then the conflict will continue (Iran, Israel). People can have religious debates, fine…. or choose to advocate their god of choice…. fine. But we must understand that each religion has defined its own god, and if each one states that their god is the best, then how will we ever resolve that debate at the geopolitical level? I for one do not subscribe to the ancient methods of answering worldly questions that were created thousands of years ago and can now often be concluded are fairy tales with worldly answers that are no longer relevant. Maybe our children would prefer to choose some more modern spiritual practice that has fewer errors? Once a religion is given the power of statehood, and all the force associated with statehood, then the religion can invoke powers beyond what is reasonable (e.g. state sponsored Jihad).

    Also, there is now much evidence that religion is not required for people to have a moral compass, or conscience. That is a myth that religions propagate for their own advantage, and may be the last vestige of power for religions that they still cling to. I’d suggest a reading of “The Moral Landscape” by Sam Harris or related new ideas at

    By Roland on Sep 20, 2010

  199. there’s a reason why a group of people have been the most hated people in world history?

    By sol schwartzfarb on Jan 24, 2012

  200. I’m pretty sure you have an answer, Sol…

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jan 25, 2012

  201. Dear Sara. Excellent piece. I loved it.

    By Bob Izen on Dec 30, 2012

  202. A footnote to the response to Helen Thomas . . . the “Arab” population of “palestine was tiny in the 1800′s. It only began to increase when Jewish investment started in the late 1800′s, really before the Basel conference. After the first world war, when Britain had the Mandate, Arab immigration into the area increased due to the elimination of the Turkish landowners and increasing Jewish investment!

    By Alan Kierkut on Apr 7, 2013

  1. 3 Trackback(s)

  2. Jun 11, 2010: An interesting take on the helen thomas fiasco by sara k. eisen on her blog « musings from the road
  3. Jun 13, 2010: Helen Thomas: The Consequences of the First Amendment « Legal Ethics Emporium
  4. Jun 28, 2010: From Helen to Hellenism: All You Need is Love | The-Word-Well

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