Yet again, the Annapolis meeting between Olmert and Abbas is preconditioned upon the recognition by the Palestinian side of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Indeed the “road map” should lead to, and legitimate, once and for all, the right of such a Jewish state to exist in definitive borders and in peace with its neighbours. The vision of justice, both past and future, simply has to be that of two states, one Palestinian, one Jewish, which would coexist side by side in peace and stability. Finding a formula for a reasonably just partition and separation is still the essence of what is considered to be moderate, pragmatic and fair ethos.
Thus, the really deep issues–the “core”–are conceived as the status of Jerusalem, the fate and future of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories and the viability of the future Palestinian state beside the Jewish one. The fate of the descendants of those 750,000 Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed in 1948 from what is now, and would continue to be under a two-state solutions, the State of Israel, constitutes a “problem” but never an “issue” because, God forbid, to make it an issue on the table would be to threaten the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. The existence of Israel as a Jewish state must never become a core issue. That premise unites political opinion in the Jewish state, left and right and also persists as a pragmatic view of many Palestinians who would prefer some improvement to no improvement at all. Only “extremists” such as Hamas, anti-Semites, and Self-Hating Jews–terribly disturbed, misguided and detached lot–can make Israel’s existence into a core problem and in turn into a necessary issue to be debated and addressed.
The Jewish state, a supposedly potential haven for all the Jews in the world in the case a second Holocaust comes about, should be recognised as a fact on the ground blackmailed into the “never again” rhetoric. All considerations of pragmatism and reasonableness in envisioning a “peace process” to settle the ‘Israeli/Palestinian’ conflict must never destabilise the sacred status of that premise that a Jewish state has a right to exist.
Notice, however, that Palestinians are not asked merely to recognise the perfectly true fact and with it, the absolutely feasible moral claim, that millions of Jewish people are now living in the State of Israel and that their physical existence, liberty and equality should be protected in any future settlement. They are not asked merely to recognise the assurance that any future arrangement would recognise historic Palestine as a home for the Jewish People. What Palestinians are asked to subscribe to is recognition of the right of an ideology that informs the make-up of a state to exist as a Jewish one. They are asked to recognise that ethno-nationalistic premise of statehood.
The fallacy is clear: the recognition of the right of Jews who are there–however unjustly many of their Parents or Grandparents came to acquire what they own–to remain there under liberty and equality in a post-colonial political settlement, is perfectly compatible with the non-recognition of the state whose constitution gives those Jews a preferential stake in the polity.
It is an abuse of the notion of pragmatism to conceive its effort as putting the very notion of Jewish state beyond the possible and desirable implementation of egalitarian moral scrutiny. To so abuse pragmatism would be to put it at the service of the continuation of colonialism. A pragmatic and reasonable solution ought to centre on the problem of how to address past, present, and future injustices to non-Jew-Arabs without thereby causing other injustices to Jews. This would be a very complex pragmatic issue which would call for much imagination and generosity. But reasonableness and pragmatism should not determine whether the cause for such injustices be included or excluded from debates or negotiations. To pragmatically exclude moral claims and to pragmatically protect immoral assertions by fiat must in fact hide some form of extremism. The causes of colonial injustice and the causes that constitutionally prevent their full articulation and address should not be excluded from the debate. Pragmatism can not become the very tool that legitimates constitutional structures that hinder de-colonisation and the establishment of an egalitarian constitution.
So let us boldly ask: What exactly is entailed by the requirement to recognise Israel as a Jewish state? What do we recognise and support when we purchase a delightful avocado or a date from Israel or when we invite Israel to take part in an international football event? What does it mean to be a friend of Israel? What precisely is that Jewish state whose status as such would be once and for all legitimised by such a two-state solution?
A Jewish state is a state which exists more for the sake of whoever is considered Jewish according to various ethnic, tribal, religious, criteria, than for the sake of those who do not pass this test. What precisely are the criteria of the test for Jewishness is not important and at any rate the feeble consensus around them is constantly reinvented in Israel. Instigating violence provides them with the impetus for doing that. What is significant, though, is that a test of Jewishness is being used in order to constitutionally protect differential stakes in, that is the differential ownership of, a polity. A recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is a recognition of the Jew’s special entitlement, as eternal victims, to have a Jewish state. Such a test of supreme stake for Jews is the supreme criterion not only for racist policy making by the legislature but also for a racist constitutional interpretation by the Supreme Court. The idea of a state that is first and foremost for the sake of Jews trumps even that basic law of Human Freedom and Dignity to which the Israeli Supreme Court pays so much lip service. Such constitutional interpretation would have to make the egalitarian principle, equality of citizenship, compatible with, and thus subservient to, the need to maintain the Jewish majority and character of the state. This of course constitutes a serious compromise of equality, translated into many individual manifestations of oppression and domination of those victims of such compromise–non-Jews-Arabs citizens of Israel.
In our world, a world that resisted Apartheid South Africa so impressively, recognition of the right of the Jewish state to exist is a litmus test for moderation and pragmatism. The demand is that Palestinians recognise Israel’s entitlement to constitutionally entrench a system of racist basic laws and policies, differential immigration criteria for Jews and non-Jews, differential ownership and settlement rights, differential capital investments, differential investment in education, formal rules and informal conventions that differentiate the potential stakes of political participation, lame-duck academic freedom and debate.
In the Jewish state of Israel non-Jews-Arabs citizens are just “bad luck” and are considered a ticking demographic bomb of “enemy within”. They can be given the right to vote–indeed one member one vote–but the potential of their political power, even their birth rate, should be kept at bay by visible and invisible, instrumental and symbolic, discrimination. But now they are asked to put up with their inferior stake and recognise the right of Israel to continue to legitimate the non-egalitarian premise of its statehood.
We must not forget that the two state “solution” would open a further possibility to non-Jew-Arabs citizens of Israel: “put up and shut up or go to a viable neighbouring Palestinian state where you can have your full equality of stake”. Such an option, we must never forget, is just a part of a pragmatic and reasonable package.
The Jewish state could only come into being in May 1948 by ethnically cleansing most of the indigenous population–750,000 of them. The judaisation of the state could only be effectively implemented by constantly internally displacing the population of many villages within the Israel state.
It would be unbearable and unreasonable to demand Jews to allow for the Right of Return of those descendants of the expelled. Presumably, those descendants too could go to a viable Palestinian state rather than, for example, rebuild their ruined village in the Galilee. On the other hand, a Jewish young couple from Toronto who never set their foot in Palestine has a right to settle in the Galilee. Jews and their descendants hold this right in perpetuity. You see, that right “liberates” them as people. Jews must never be put under the pressure to live as a substantial minority in the Holy Land under egalitarian arrangement. Their past justifies their preferential stake and the preservation of their numerical majority in Palestine.
So the non-egalitarian hits us again. It is clear that part of the realisation of that right of return would not only be just the actual return, but also the assurance of equal stake and citizenship of all, Jews and non-Jews-Arabs after the return. A return would make the egalitarian claim by those who return even more difficult to conceal than currently with regard to Israel Arab second class citizens. What unites Israelis and many world Jews behind the call for the recognition of the right of a Jewish state to exist is their aversion for the possibility of living, as a minority, under conditions of equality of stake to all. But if Jews enjoys this equality in Canada why can not they support such equality in Palestine through giving full effect to the right of Return of Palestinians?
Let us look precisely at what the pragmatic challenge consists of: not pragmatism that entrenches inequality but pragmatism that responds to the challenge of equality.
The Right of Return of Palestinians means that Israel acknowledges and apologises for what it did in 1948. It does mean that Palestinian memory of the 1948 catastrophe, the Nakbah, is publicly revived in the Geography and collective memory of the polity. It does mean that Palestinians descendants would be allowed to come back to their villages. If this is not possible because there is a Jewish settlement there, they should be given the choice to found an alternative settlement nearby. This may mean some painful compulsory state purchase of agricultural lands that should be handed back to those who return. In cases when this is impossible they ought to be allowed the choice to settle in another place in the larger area or if not possible in another area in Palestine. Compensation would be the last resort and would always be offered as a choice. This kind of moral claim of return would encompass all Palestine including Tel Aviv.
At no time, however, it would be on the cards to throw Israeli Jews from the land. An egalitarian and pragmatic realisation of the Right of Return constitutes an egalitarian legal revolution. As such it would be paramount to address Jews’ worries about security and equality in any future arrangement in which they, or any other group, may become a minority. Jewish national symbols and importance would be preserved. Equality of stake involves equality of symbolic ownership.
But it is important to emphasize that the Palestinian Right of Return would mean that what would cease to exist is the premise of a Jewish as well as indeed a Muslim state. A return without the removal of the constitutionally enshrined preferential stake is a return to serfdom.
The upshot is that only by individuating cases of injustice, by extending claims for injustice to all historic Palestine, by fair address of them without creating another injustice for Jews and finally by ensuring the elimination of all racist laws that stem from the Jewish nature of the state including that nature itself, would justice be, and with it peace, possible. What we need is a spirit of generosity that is pragmatic but also morally uncompromising in terms of geographic ambit of the moral claims for repatriation and equality. This vision would propel the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But for all this to happen we must start by ceasing to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. No spirit of generosity would be established without an egalitarian call for jettisoning the ethno-nationalistic notion upon which the Jewish state is based.
The path of two states is the path of separation. Its realisation would mean the entrenchment of exclusionary nationalism for many years. It would mean that the return of the dispossessed and the equality of those who return and those non-Jew-Arabs who are now there would have to be deferred indefinitely consigned to the dusty shelves of historical injustices. Such a scenario is sure to provoke more violence as it would establish the realisation and legitimisation of Zionist racism and imperialism.
Also, any bi-national arrangement ought to be subjected to a principle of equality of citizenship and not vice versa. The notion of separation and partition that can infect bi-nationalism, should be done away with and should not be tinkered with or rationalised in any way. Both spiritually and materially Jews and non-Jews can find national expression in a single egalitarian and non-sectarian state.
The non-recognition of the Jewish state is an egalitarian imperative that looks both at the past and to the future. It is the uncritical recognition of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state which is the core hindrance for this egalitarian premise to shape the ethical challenge that Palestine poses. A recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state means the silencing that would breed more and more violence and bloodshed.
The same moral intuition that brought so many people to condemn and sanction Apartheid South Africa ought also to prompt them to stop seeing a threat to existence of the Jewish state as the effect caused by the refugee ‘problem” or by the “demographic threat” from the non-Jew-Arabs within it. It is rather the other way round. It is the non-egalitarian premise of a Jewish state and the lack of empathy and corruption of all those who make us uncritically accept the right of such a state to exist that is both the cause of the refugee problem and cause for the inability to implement their return and treating them as equals thereafter.
We must see that the uncritically accepted recognition of Israel’s right to exist is, as Joseph Massad so well puts it in Al-Ahram, to accept Israel’s claim to have the right to be racist or, to develop Massad’s brilliant formulation, Israel’s claim to have the right to occupy to dispossess and to discriminate. What is it, I wonder, that prevents Israelis and so many of the world’s Jews from responding to the egalitarian challenge? What is it, I wonder, that oppresses the whole world to sing the song of a “peace process” that is destined to legitimise racism in Palestine?
To claim such a right to be racist must come from a being whose victim’s face must hide very dark primordial aggression and hatred of all others. How can we find a connective tissue to that mentality that claims the legitimate right to harm other human beings? How can this aggression that is embedded in victim mentality be perturbed?
The Annapolis meeting is a con. As an egalitarian argument we should say loud and clear that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state.
Only a single egalitarian and non sectrarian state over all the whole of historic Palestine will achieve justice and peace.
OREN BEN-DOR grew up in Israel. He teaches Legal and Political Philosophy at the School of Law, University of Southampton, UK. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Israel’s right or not to exist – The facts and truth (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel’s ‘Right’ to Exist (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Excuse Me, But Israel Has No Right To Exist (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Still Jews only (alethonews.wordpress.com)
‘Activism’ and ‘human rights’ foundation Avaaz blames the Houla massacre on Assad and calls for foreign intervention. A peek into the background of Avaaz explains its pro-empire position, and who is really behind it.
The ultra-shadowy Avaaz Foundation is purportedly a non-governmental organisation that seeks to(1) “close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.”
A mere three days after the Houla Massacre in Syria, while all parties were clamouring to figure out what had happened and who was responsible, Avaaz took the opportunity to speculatively blame the Assad regime as part of an online petition campaign. What is even more disconcerting is that this ‘human rights’ organisation also made a thinly-veiled call for foreign intervention – something which would undoubtedly result in astronomical human suffering.
Using emotive and crafty language,(2) Alice Jay (Avaaz’s Campaign Director) blames Assad for the Houla massacre indirectly, by alluding to the decision of several Western governments to expel Syrian diplomats:
Dozens of children lie covered with blood, their faces show the fear they felt before death, and their innocent lifeless bodies reveal an unspeakable massacre. These children were slaughtered by men under strict orders to sow terror. Yet all the diplomats have come up with so far is a few UN monitors ‘observing’ the violence. Now, governments across the world are expelling Syrian ambassadors, but unless we demand strong action on the ground, they will settle for these diplomatic half-measures.
This is immediately followed by a thinly-veiled call for an invasion of Syria by foreign powers:
The UN is discussing what to do right now. If there were a large international presence across Syria with a mandate to protect civilians, we could prevent the massacres while leaders engage in political efforts to resolve the conflict. I cannot see more images like these without shouting from the rooftops. But to stop the violence, it is going to take all of us, with one voice, demanding protection for these kids and their families. Sign the urgent petition on the right to call for UN action now and share this campaign with everyone.
The background of Avaaz sheds light on its unequivocal pro-war and anti-Syrian position.
Avaaz – Shadowy Beyond Belief
Avaaz’s latest 990 form,(3) from 2010, raises a number of questions. Avaaz has only 16 employees, and is listed as a ‘corporation’ for the purposes of the 990 submission. Oddly, for an organisation that receives no governmental or corporate funding,(1) Avaaz received over $6.7 million in 2010, and paid its President over $180,000 as a salary (still feel good about donating?). On top of this, in 2010 Avaaz gave Res Publica (more on them later) a $100,000 grant. Avaaz is doing extremely well considering this and the fact that it was established relatively recently, in 2006. Where is all of this money coming from?
Avaaz is “incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)4 organization in the state of Delaware, USA“.(4) The foundation’s office is based in Manhattan, at 857 Broadway – the same address as Res Publica(5) – an entity which co-founded Avaaz along with Ricken Patel.
The background of Res Publica offers a glimpse into the nature of Avaaz. 24 Hours for Darfur and Darfurian Voices (using the same etymology of “Avaaz”, which means “voice” in Farsi and several middle eastern dialects) are two projects of Res Publica. These projects(5) are aimed at drawing international attention to Darfur – with a view to demonising and vilifying the Arab government of Sudan:
This is part and parcel of a long-standing Israeli policy to split Sudan along ethnic, racial, and religious lines.
The Israelis have been dug into Sudan like ticks ever since the 1950′s,(6) fomenting conflict and orchestrating the secession of South Sudan – effecting the policy of separation of all sovereign (especially Arab) states along ethnic lines.
The funders and partners of Darfurian Voices, 24 Hours for Darfur, and Res Publica are incredibly revealing, and constitute a who’s who of Zionist, globalist, pro-empire organisations and bodies, even including the US State Department.(5)
One such partner, Genocide Intervention, boasts amongst its Board Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs who insists that the government should “support Israel”.(7) Gutow was also the founding regional director of AIPAC’s Southwest Region, and was the founding executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.
Another Board member is Ruth Messinger – president of American Jewish World Service, and member of Barack Obama’s Task Force on Global Poverty and Development.
Sitting alongside Gutow and Messinger is Joan Platt, who also serves on the board of Human Rights Watch – a prolific propaganda mill that has underpinned the NATO narrative of the wars on Libya and Syria. Human Rights Watch was also funded by Zionist heavyweight George Soros who contributed $100 million in 2010.(8)
Needless to say, George Soros’ Open Society Institute is also listed as one of Res Publica’s partners.
The Zionist ‘democracy promotion’ outfit known as the National Endowment for Democracy – which has been linked to the fraudulent atrocity reports disseminated against Muammar Gaddafi(9) – is also listed as a partner, as is the US State Department. No further comment should be necessary.
Ricken Patel, co-founder of Avaaz, has consulted for the International Crisis Group(10) – another pro-war ‘think tank’. The ICG boasts Israeli war criminal Shimon Peres and former Saudi ambassador to the US as senior advisers,(11) and George Soros as an Executive.(12) The ICG is peppered with such names at the highest levels such as: Shlomo Ben-Ami – Former Foreign Minister of Israel, Zbigniew Brzezinski – Former U.S. National Security Advisor, Stanley Fischer – Governor of The Bank of Israel, Matthew McHugh – Former U.S. Congressman and Counselor to the World Bank President, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen – Former Secretary General of NATO, Morton Abramowitz – Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Turkey, and Wesley Clark – Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander (Europe).
The Chair of the ICG, Thomas R Pickering, is Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, El Salvador and Nigeria, and Vice Chairman of Hills & Company.
The President & CEO of the ICG is Louise Arbour – Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
What do these people have to do with the prevention of crises? The answer is nothing, absolutely nothing. The ICG is a body that exists to further the aims of its benefactors, which notably include NATO, the United States Government, and Israel.
Res Publica’s ‘About Us’ page also reveals(10) that Patel has consulted for the Rockefeller Foundation and the UN.
Akin to the ICG, Res Publica’s advisory board(13) features financiers, economists, and a former Clinton Chief of Staff.
The fraudulent ‘humanitarian intervention’ concept is built upon atrocious lies and emotive propaganda peddled by these networks of closely interconnected ‘human rights’, ‘democracy promotion’, and ‘crisis prevention’ groups. Before having an emotional knee-jerk reaction to these issues, we must inspect the people behind these voices. Avaaz’s recent petition feverishly entitled “Protect Syria’s Children Now!” currently has over 780,000 signatures. Orwellian ‘human rights’ outfits such as Avaaz have become adept at manipulating well-meaning activists and liberals into supporting the very agenda they purport to oppose – placing them firmly in the same camp as the most virulent Zionists, Neoconservatives, and war hawks one can imagine. This makes the illusory nature of the left-right dichotomy clearer than ever before, but even more worryingly it expedites the march of the NATO-GCC-Israeli war machine that now has Syria in its crosshairs.
(1) Avaaz.org – ‘About Us’
(2) Avaaz Petition: ‘Protect Syria’s Children Now!’
(3) Avaaz Foundation – Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, 2010
(4) Avaaz.org – ‘Avaaz Expenses and Financial Information’
(5) DarfurianVoices.org – ‘About Us’
(6) ‘Israelis can tell the whole story of Sudan’s division – they wrote the script and trained the actors’ by Fahmi Howeidi
(7) Genocideintervention.net – ‘Board’
(8) HRW.org – ‘George Soros to Give $100 million to Human Rights Watch’
(9) ‘Lies, Damned Lies, and Wikipedia’ by Martin Iqbal
(10) Therespublica.org – ‘About Us’
(11) Crisisgroup.org – ‘Crisis Group Senior Advisers’
(12) Crisisgroup.org – ‘Crisis Group’s Board of Trustees’
(13) Therespublica.org – ‘Advisory Board’
- An alternative to Avaaz (thinkingoutquiet.wordpress.com)
By Alhaqhr | June 9, 2012
This video marks the 10th Anniversary of the beginning of the construction of the Annexation Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
On 9th July Al-Haq is launching a month of campaigning calling for the Wall to be dismantled in line with the ICJ Advisory Opinion of 2004.
Visit the website to find out what you can do to call for the dismantling of the Annexation Wall. TAKE ACTION…Go to http://www.alhaq.org/10years2long
- The Forcible Transfer of the Palestinian People from the Jordan Valley (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- The Wall, 10 years on part 2: Wall and Peace (altahrir.wordpress.com)
KHARTOUM – Malawi has been forced to cancel hosting of an African Union (AU) summit next month after the continental body insisted that the South African nation allows Sudan’s President Omer Al-Bashir to attend.
Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide he allegedly masterminded in his country’s western region of Darfur.
Malawi, which is a member state of the Hague-based tribunal, asked the AU in May not to invite Al-Bashir to the summit, citing fears of economic consequences after the country was denied $350 million in US aid money over reasons including its decision to host the Sudanese leader at a regional summit in the capital Lilongwe last year.
Kachali Khumbo, Malawi’s Vice-President, said on Friday that his country had received a letter from the AU saying that it had no right to dictate who can attend the summit.
According to Khumbo, the letter stated that the summit would be moved to the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa if Lilongwe insists on barring Al-Bashir.
As a result, “the [Malawian] cabinet has decided not to host the summit” he declared.
Khumbo contended that “much as Malawi has obligations to the AU, it has also other obligations.”
Sudan has already protested Malawi’s refusal to host Al-Bashir and on Thursday demanded that the summit be moved to Addis Ababa.
The AU has issued several resolutions ordering its members not to cooperate with the ICC regarding Bashir’s warrant.
Already countries such as Malawi, Kenya, Chad and Djibouti have allowed Bashir to visit without arresting him though the first two later refused to receive him again.
Touted on Twitter as a “must-read” by John McCain, Elie Wiesel had an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post titled “How to stop the Syria massacre.” Clearly distressed that the United States appears to be finally growing weary of fighting wars in Israel’s increasingly destabilized backyard, the prosperous Holocaust survivor lays on the guilt trip:
Military intervention? No. Why not? Because the American people are tired of waging distant wars. Because American families have lost too many sons and daughters in far-away conflicts. Should Syrian families suffer because of the help we have given others? Because of the sacrifices we have already made?
The warmongering Nobel Peace Prize laureate has another bright idea, however:
I am not sure that armed assistance is the only solution. Economic sanctions have proved to be relatively futile elsewhere. But why not imagine yet another option that might produce a dramatic effect?
Why not warn Assad that, unless he stops the murderous policy he is engaged in, he will be arrested and brought to the international criminal court in the Hague and charged with committing crimes against humanity?
Such a charge would have discouraging aspects. He would lose any support, any sympathy, in the world at large. No honorable person would come to his defense. No nation would offer him shelter. No statute of limitations would apply to his case.
If and when he realizes that, like Egypt’s dictator, Hosni Mubarak, he will end up in disgrace, locked in a prison cell, he might put an end to his senseless criminal struggle for survival.
Why not try it?
As Wiesel most likely knows from the efforts to “stop Gadhafi,” his humanitarian-sounding suggestion is almost guaranteed to have the opposite effect.
But American administrations should also know by now to be wary of his advice. All President Obama needs to do is to learn from the experience of his predecessor, George W. Bush:
In the winter of 2003, I sought opinions on Iraq from a variety of sources…. One of the most fascinating people I met with was Elie Wiesel, the author, Holocaust survivor, and deserving Nobel Prize recipient. Elie is a sober and gentle man. But there was passion in his seventy-four-year-old eyes when he compared Saddam Hussein’s brutality to the Nazi genocide. “Mr. President,” he said, “you have a moral obligation to act against evil.” The force of his conviction affected me deeply. Here was a man who had devoted his life to peace urging me to intervene in Iraq…
- Countering the Israel Lobby’s Dominance (alethonews.wordpress.com)