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23 December 2011

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Charles I

Its not hard to imagine that all your scenarios entail the end of the Jewish democratic state as it styles itself.

I think Palestinian leaders have been more realistic and cynical about the return of millions than you grant. In any event, those desperately intent upon return, redress or justice will have a better shot at it after scenario 2 or 3, which scenario one surely dead-ends to eventually, short of a WMD attack or some other epiphany on Israel.

E L

"Whoever profits by fighting a dragon has an interest in the dragon's remaining alive." --Nietzsche

walrus

"It is fruitless to blame one side or the other."

"In truth, neither leader seems to desire a deal enough to make any meaningful compromise. "

I'm at risk of offending the owner of this website; so I'll simply say that I fail to understand how Mr. Lifton can possibly make the claim that the Palestinians are equally to blame for the current impasse between the parties.

There is ample evidence that the blame lies fairly and squarely on the authoritarian, increasingly undemocratic, dishonest and oppressive Israeli Government of Netanyahu that has rejected all Palestinian overtures and compromises.

Netanyahu is pursuing his own "final solution" supported by Eastern European Jewish immigrant groups who have zero use for Western democratic traditions.

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/24/133171226/Leaked-Documents-Show-Palestinian-Compromise


As for "right of return" can anyone not understand the hypocrisy in denying that to the Palestinians while offering it to any Jew in the world?

...To the point of actually labeling displaced Palestinians as a "DIASPORA" for crying out loud?

Its Christmas and Hanukkah. May I just wish for all of us, including readers, posters, commentators and politicians, even Mr. Netanyahu and the mullahs in Tehran, that God sends us a renewed understanding of The Golden Rule, for we will surely perish without it.

georgeg

The side holding the winning hand and the stack of chips must realize that the end result will not create justice and equality unless it is willing to accept the voice with the losing hand...

jdledell

Mr. Lifton - Israel has changed dramatically since the administrations of Barak and Olmert. Netanyahu, supported by a majority of Israelis, is going to try to implement his "reservation" strategy. I'm in the West Bank frequently since all my relatives live there. All you have to do is show up at shul and someone from Bibi's camp will be there(Danon, Begin, Ayalon etc) to explain how they will NEVER allow a real Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has been quite open about his concept of "economic peace" where small pockets of Palestinians are granted autonomy. He thinks Palestine should be like Andorra - totally dependent on other countries for their defense as well as access to the world. I've heard him speak about this numerous times. He believes, honestly or otherwise, that Palestinians should be grateful for this generosity and concentrate on making a good living and raising families - not bothered with all that other nasty stuff like foreign affairs etc.

Israelis understand, except for the hot heads, that transfer is out of the question. However, most in the current administration believe that the world will be no more upset about the plan for Palestinian autonomy pockets - essentially Area A and most of Area B, than they are with the occupation. A Palestinian traveling from Jenin to Hebron would probably need 5 or 6 special Israeli travel visas - a bureaucratic nightmare if you have ever experience Israeli offices.

I'm sure you are aware that the Jordan Valley is almost completely cleared of Palestinians and the Bedouin in Area C are in the process of be moved to Area B.

You can forget ascribing good intentions to Israel's policy on Palestinians. Israel has a plan, they are implementing it, and will shed no tears for Palestinians when it is in effect. Walrus is right - the burden to fix this problem falls on Israel's shoulders but they have no intention of pursuing it with Justice in mind. As I said, go to shul in the West Bank and you will hear that the Palestinians destiny is better than the Canaanites - so what's the problem.

I am personally VERY distressed about what is happening in Israel because it goes against the very essence of my Jewish faith and ideals. I am still an Israeli citizen from the time I lived there in the 1980's. Since my Haifa bar mitzvah in 1956, I have logged over 100 visits to Israel. I have seen the changes over time and much of it turns my stomach.

Roy G.

Col. Lang, how about replacing Mr. Lifton with jdledell as a front page poster? He brings a much more contemporary viewpoint and insight than Mr. Lifton's tired and shopworn bromides.

Mr. Lifton belongs to a failed state of Israel analysts, who, with their specious wisdom, unwittingly or not, presided over the 20 year Zionist runup to the current state of crisis. In fact, he's probably even more culpable, since he mobilized the conditions that led to Yisrael Beitenu. While that statement may seem unfair, it balances out the fact that he never mentions the phenomenon of Jewish religious ultra-nationalism in any of his analyses.

turcopolier

RoyG

Bob Lifton and I have been friends for a long time in spite of the difference of views. I stand by my friends. I have offered to make Ledell a guest author but he says he would rather send me individual things to post. pl

Jose

Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit

Roy G.

I would like to note that unlike all the other frontpagers here, Mr. Lifton uses this forum as a one-way megaphone. However, I greatly appreciate your forthrightness and integrity in addressing my cheeky request, Col.

jdledell

Roy - Pat is right. When it comes to Israel/Palestine I have some very strong views. However, I do not claim found wisdom and other viewpoints are important. Hell, I even read Caroline Glick's columns twice a week and Robert Lifton is a sage compared with her.

Pat has graciously offered guest author privileges but as he points out - when I have something to say you will find it here maybe just not on the front page.

Robert K.Lifton

First let me note that the first scenario I postulated is essentially consistent with jdledell's description of what is happening, so I am not at all unmindful of the developments since Barack and Olmert.
Second, let me call attention to a blog I wrote called "Zionism At Risk" (printed below) published in the Huffington Post which decries the religious, nationalistic movement in Israel for the direction it is pushing the country in and for its potential of destroying the Zionist dream - a dream which I, as a Zionist have supported over my life.
For more than the past 25 years, I have been heading organizations and writing articles dedicated to the proposition that a two-state solution, which includes a fully viable Palestinian state is the only valid and sensible approach. I haven't changed that view. This latest blog is what I see as a realistic appraisal of what is happening extrapolated into the future.
Zionism At Risk
By: Robert K. Lifton
I am a Zionist. Like most Jews living in the United States and elsewhere in the world, I believe in the indispensability of a Jewish state as an ultimate haven and representative of the Jewish people whose long history of pogroms, mistreatment as second class citizens, mass expulsions, and the extreme horror of the Holocaust demonstrates a need for a state of their own. Even before the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, as a teenager I rode the New York subways soliciting contributions for the Jewish National Fund to purchase land in the Yishuv. After the establishment of Israel, I supported the state and its institutions in many ways, including political activities, contributions and investment. Like other Jews, I took great pride in the enormous accomplishments of the Israeli people in building a successful modern state on what had been farmland and living up to its promise by accepting close to one million Soviet Jews and integrating them into its society.
However, that promise now faces a serious threat. This comes not in the form of foreign militaries, Palestinian terror or economic instability, but in the very persons who purport to support it. The alliance of aggressive nationalists and religious expansionists is endangering the dream of Zionism as conceived of by Theodore Herzl and shared by millions of Jews. Through their overzealous efforts towards expansion, in which they seek to extend Israel’s jurisdiction over the biblical “whole land of Israel,”–the Territories gained in the 1967 Six Day War -they are endangering the Zionist foundations of that land.
For many years, I have been concerned that Israel not put at risk its Zionist purpose in an effort to expand its reach into the Territories. During my tenure as President of the American Jewish Congress, starting in 1988, we argued that in view of the demographics of Palestinian and Israeli population growth, among other factors, Israel would not be able to continue as both a Jewish and a democratic state if it attempted to annex the Territories as part of the state of Israel. AJCongress members and I were reflecting our inchoate feeling that the Zionist enterprise to which we were committed was threatened by the ambitions of Israel’s government, led by then Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to extend Israel’s outreach to parts of the West Bank and Gaza. The settlement program has been an instrument of that policy. Since that time, Israel’s Prime Ministers, including even Sharon and Olmert, on the right, have understood the threat to a Jewish state that the desire to incorporate the Territories represented. They also recognized that the settlements, originally conceived of as defensive enclaves against Israel’s potential enemies, in some cases could represent a burden on the military ability to defend Israeli citizens.
The Palestinian leadership, for years bereft of ideas other than violence and intifada, which left them with little support outside the Arab states, is now seeking to exploit the opening which Israeli expansionists have left them. As noted by the perceptive Palestinian writer Rami G. Khouri: “Very slowly, almost imperceptibly, Palestinians seem to be making a strategic shift in their mode of confrontation with Israel, from occasional military attacks toward a more non-violent and political confrontation.” Khouri then lists the “dimensions of the “signs of Palestinian political struggle.” These include “the Palestinian insistence to ask the UN General Assembly to vote this September on recognizing a Palestinian state within the borders of the lands occupied by Israel in 1967 (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem)…(and) the continued development of the global movement for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law and conventions” According to Khouri, the Palestinians seek …”to send a single integrated message that finds resonance around the world: Israel’s practices against the Palestinians continue to reflect a combination of criminality and impunity that are totally unacceptable, and people of conscience everywhere are taking action to force Israel to comply with its legal obligations.” He goes on to say: “Israelis and Zionists complain that this is a campaign to delegitimize Israel. That is accurate.”
Other Palestinian intellectual are taking another strategic tack; calling for the formation of a bi-national state encompassing Palestinians and Jews alike. They already argue that the present circumstance of Jewish control of Palestinian lives without Palestinian representation is a form of apartheid. Certainly, if there were such a bi-national state governed only by Jews, the apartheid label would fit. If it were governed by democratic vote, it would not be a Jewish state, thus ending the Zionist endeavor. This is far too high a price to pay for clinging to the concept of a “Greater Israel.”
It is in the hands of Mr. Netanyahu and his government to take the actions that save Zionism. He has said that he supports a two state solution. His nationalist and religious coalition will be difficult to carry along to a two state solution that is within the range of acceptability to the Palestinians. Netanyahu now has to demonstrate the flexibility and ability to negotiate a deal with the Palestinians that will gain sufficient support from the Israeli people in any referendum that he may want to rely on. At the same time, the Palestinians must find a way either to reform or by-pass Hamas, which stubbornly continues to call for the destruction of the state of Israel and thus makes it impossible for any Israeli leader to make a deal. (See my Blog: “The Palestinians At The Cross Road of History Must Take The Right Path”) Until they do that, it is likely that the United States can stop the UN Resolution from passing in the Security Council. This will help buy time for the Israeli government. At some point, though, the Palestinians will improve their strategic position further by eliminating the Hamas obstacle. Israeli leadership should prepare now for that time with a peace program that recognizes the tension between expansionist nationalism and Zionism and ensures the preservation of Israel as Jewish state consistent with the Zionist imperative.

turcopolier

Bob Lifton asked me to ppostthis.

"First, let me point out to jdieldell that I am fully cognizant of the different positions taken by Netanyahu from those of Barak and Olmert and what is happening on the Israeli political scene and how the Israeli public is responding. In my blog I have tried to present a realistic assessment of the implications of Netanyahu's course of action. In the first scenario in my blog I tried to capture and extrapolate the state of affairs presented so well by jdieldell. The settlement program I describe there would result in a Palestinian area made up of "bantustans" rather than a single viable state of Palestine. I have also tried to reflect in that scenario how world opinion would likely allow Netanyahu to carry out his program.
My own position is clear. For over 25 years I have led organizations and offered writings and speeches that call for a two state solution. When I say that placing blame on either party is "fruitless," that is based on a long experience in dealing with this problem where playing the "blame game" gets one no closer to resolving the situation. Each one always points the finger at the other. And, in fact, reasons for failure have been contributed by both sides. Some of the comments to my blog make a strong case for the failure of Israeli leadership. I would also note that Palestinian leadership has consistently given the Israelis reasons to argue for not moving forward with the process. They could do a lot better job to strengthen their case both for the Israeli public and the world at large.
Finally, I would note that I have consistently decried the Israeli religious/nationalist ambitions for territorial expansion. Here is an article published in the Huffington Post clearly condemning those ambitions from the point of view of someone who has been a committed Zionist since my youth. Zionism does not require territorial expansion.

Zionism At Risk
I am a Zionist. Like most Jews living in the United States and elsewhere in the world, I believe in the indispensability of a Jewish state as an ultimate haven and representative of the Jewish people whose long history of pogroms, mistreatment as second class citizens, mass expulsions, and the extreme horror of the Holocaust demonstrates a need for a state of their own. Even before the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, as a teenager I rode the New York subways soliciting contributions for the Jewish National Fund to purchase land in the Yishuv. After the establishment of Israel, I supported the state and its institutions in many ways, including political activities, contributions and investment. Like other Jews, I took great pride in the enormous accomplishments of the Israeli people in building a successful modern state on what had been farmland and living up to its promise by accepting close to one million Soviet Jews and integrating them into its society.
However, that promise now faces a serious threat. This comes not in the form of foreign militaries, Palestinian terror or economic instability, but in the very persons who purport to support it. The alliance of aggressive nationalists and religious expansionists is endangering the dream of Zionism as conceived of by Theodore Herzl and shared by millions of Jews. Through their overzealous efforts towards expansion, in which they seek to extend Israel’s jurisdiction over the biblical “whole land of Israel,”–the Territories gained in the 1967 Six Day War -they are endangering the Zionist foundations of that land.
For many years, I have been concerned that Israel not put at risk its Zionist purpose in an effort to expand its reach into the Territories. During my tenure as President of the American Jewish Congress, starting in 1988, we argued that in view of the demographics of Palestinian and Israeli population growth, among other factors, Israel would not be able to continue as both a Jewish and a democratic state if it attempted to annex the Territories as part of the state of Israel. AJCongress members and I were reflecting our inchoate feeling that the Zionist enterprise to which we were committed was threatened by the ambitions of Israel’s government, led by then Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to extend Israel’s outreach to parts of the West Bank and Gaza. The settlement program has been an instrument of that policy. Since that time, Israel’s Prime Ministers, including even Sharon and Olmert, on the right, have understood the threat to a Jewish state that the desire to incorporate the Territories represented. They also recognized that the settlements, originally conceived of as defensive enclaves against Israel’s potential enemies, in some cases could represent a burden on the military ability to defend Israeli citizens.
The Palestinian leadership, for years bereft of ideas other than violence and intifada, which left them with little support outside the Arab states, is now seeking to exploit the opening which Israeli expansionists have left them. As noted by the perceptive Palestinian writer Rami G. Khouri: “Very slowly, almost imperceptibly, Palestinians seem to be making a strategic shift in their mode of confrontation with Israel, from occasional military attacks toward a more non-violent and political confrontation.” Khouri then lists the “dimensions of the “signs of Palestinian political struggle.” These include “the Palestinian insistence to ask the UN General Assembly to vote this September on recognizing a Palestinian state within the borders of the lands occupied by Israel in 1967 (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem)…(and) the continued development of the global movement for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law and conventions” According to Khouri, the Palestinians seek …”to send a single integrated message that finds resonance around the world: Israel’s practices against the Palestinians continue to reflect a combination of criminality and impunity that are totally unacceptable, and people of conscience everywhere are taking action to force Israel to comply with its legal obligations.” He goes on to say: “Israelis and Zionists complain that this is a campaign to delegitimize Israel. That is accurate.”
Other Palestinian intellectual are taking another strategic tack; calling for the formation of a bi-national state encompassing Palestinians and Jews alike. They already argue that the present circumstance of Jewish control of Palestinian lives without Palestinian representation is a form of apartheid. Certainly, if there were such a bi-national state governed only by Jews, the apartheid label would fit. If it were governed by democratic vote, it would not be a Jewish state, thus ending the Zionist endeavor. This is far too high a price to pay for clinging to the concept of a “Greater Israel.”
It is in the hands of Mr. Netanyahu and his government to take the actions that save Zionism. He has said that he supports a two state solution. His nationalist and religious coalition will be difficult to carry along to a two state solution that is within the range of acceptability to the Palestinians. Netanyahu now has to demonstrate the flexibility and ability to negotiate a deal with the Palestinians that will gain sufficient support from the Israeli people in any referendum that he may want to rely on. At the same time, the Palestinians must find a way either to reform or by-pass Hamas, which stubbornly continues to call for the destruction of the state of Israel and thus makes it impossible for any Israeli leader to make a deal. (See my Blog: “The Palestinians At The Cross Road of History Must Take The Right Path”) Until they do that, it is likely that the United States can stop the UN Resolution from passing in the Security Council. This will help buy time for the Israeli government. At some point, though, the Palestinians will improve their strategic position further by eliminating the Hamas obstacle. Israeli leadership should prepare now for that time with a peace program that recognizes the tension between expansionist nationalism and Zionism and ensures the preservation of Israel as Jewish state consistent with the Zionist imperative."

rwhitman1@sbcglobal.net

HWGA
Mr Lifton refuses to recognize that Hamas and Likud are mirror images if eachother and neither will change their negotiating stance until the other does. It is ridiculous to think that Hamas will change unilaterally. It is a cop out for Israel to take the position that they will not negotiate with Hamas. They already have one successful negotiation over the Shalit affair. I think that the GOI is afraid to negotiate with Hamas because it might be sucessful.

Cal

Lifton says....
"I am a Zionist. Like most Jews living in the United States and elsewhere in the world, I believe in the indispensability of a Jewish state as an ultimate haven and representative of the Jewish people whose long history of pogroms, mistreatment as second class citizens, mass expulsions, and the extreme horror of the Holocaust demonstrates a need for a state of their own."

This in a nutshell is the narcissitic delusion of zionist, who think that because Jews (like many other groups in history) have been persecuted they are 'entitled" to nation built on other people's land.
The Jews slaughtered 60,000 Christians in 614 when the Persians took Jerusalem.
The French wiped out 15% of the Algerians.
The Turks genocided the Armeanians.
the Crusaders slaughtered both Jews and Muslims.
The Jews are no more special or entitled because of their holocaust than any other victims through out history and certainly not entitled to confiscate another's land.
This is their fatal flaw.

jdledell

Robert Lifton - I did not mean for my response to your post to come across as highly critical of you. I meant it mainly to continue educating Americans on what is really going on in Israel. I appreciate your efforts to nudge Israel down a path that ultimately is sustainable as a Jewish and democratic country.

J

Colonel,

On a side note, it appears that Zionism is mean-spirited and down-right ugly when it comes to being questioned by Anti-Zionism personas and how Zionism personas respond, ugly very very ugly.

I feel sorry for the Anti-Zionist Jews of NYC and elsewhere they reside on the globe and some of the garbage they have endure at the hands of the mean-spirited Zionist forces world-wide.

What seems to fluster the Zionists to the point of their being speechless, is the simple question --- why not dismantle the current State of Israel and leave its creation to the Divine Hand? And another question that really seems to send them into orbit is --- why is Zionism so presumptuous before Heaven?

Just a side-note I thought I'd mention in passing.

Sidney O. Smith III

In a strange way, I actually enjoy the writings of Caroline Glick. One, she is a good writer. Two, she knows who she is and doesn't try to hide behind any masks. She's honest. Glick is from America but now calls herself an Israeli. She is not pretending to be someone she is not. As a result, imo, Glick comes across as a mediatrix of the militant ethnic nationalism of Likud Zionism.

In my opinion, there are more than a few in the USA who think like Glick but hide behind a mask. It is the American mask of e pluribus unum. By wearing the mask, such a person hides the true animating spirit of militant ethnic nationalism that motives him or her in all things. The mask suggests "we are Americans and care, care deeply, about others" but in reality, such is not the case.

If you pull off the mask -- and sometimes it is not that difficult -- then the nature of the response reveals what you need to know and it should be studied assiduously. Sometimes the response is quite vitriolic, to say the least! But such is the anger that results from exposing what lies behind the mask -- a militant ethnic nationalist with a real hatred for those not part of his or her group.

With Glick, you get what you see.

One can only imagine the hatred and ugliness that Weiss, Greenwald, and even Zionists such as Jeremy Haber have had to endure.

J
Bit off topic but believe it or not, yesterday, I spent awhile talking to a farmer who raises cattle. I believe he told me he had about 140 head of cattle.

Couldn't have been a nicer fellow. Early evening yesterday, I had a flat tire on the highway that dissects his land. He saw me and came over and asked if he could help. I declined the help -- the man was probably in his late 70's. And he had the look of man who had farmed all his life, which, I later found out, is such the case. We started talking about one thing or another dealing with farming, but finally, I told him I had to change my tire before it got too dark.

But it seems to me you have a good life out there in Oklahoma.

William R. Cumming

EL ever notice the dragons never eat the Princesses?

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