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“HE TALKS Zionism,” used to be a very derogatory comment when I was young. It meant that some elderly functionary had come to waste our time with a boring speech consisting largely of empty phrases.
That was before the foundation of the State of Israel. Since then, the term Zionism has been elevated to the status of a state ideology, if not state religion. Everything the state does is justified by the use of this word. Some would say that Zionism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
The Greatest Show on Earth
TO SUM up the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in one word: kitsch.
To sum up the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in two words: wonderful kitsch.
HONEST DISCLOSURE: I am an Anglophile.
At the age of 15 I started working for an Oxford-educated lawyer. At the office only English was spoken. So I had to learn it, and immediately fell hopelessly in love with the English language and British culture in general.
ON A flight to London in 1961, I had a unique experience.
On the way, the plane made a stop in Athens and a group of Arabs joined us. That by itself was an experience. In those days, Israelis hardly ever met people from Arab countries.
This is my land hebron part 1 of 6
Mad or Crazy?
BINYAMIN NETANYAHU may be crazy, but he is not mad.
Ehud Barak may be mad, but he is not crazy.
Ergo: Israel will not attack Iran.
I HAVE said so before, and I shall say so again, even after the endless talk about it. Indeed no war has been talked about so much before it happened. To quote the classic movie line: “If you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk!”
WAS not interested in Paul Ryan, the man about to be nominated by the Republican party for the office of Vice President, until the name Ayn Rand popped up.
Ayn Rand, it was said, was one of the main inspirations for his particular philosophy. Since Ryan is being represented not as an ordinary, run-of-the-mill politician, like Mitt Romney, but as a profound political and economic thinker, the inspiration deserves some scrutiny.
Master of Mischief
AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN has a restless nature. From time to time he has to do something, anything.
As Minister of Foreign Affairs he should be doing something about, well, foreign affairs. Trouble is, Israel’s foreign affairs are managed by others.
The most important sector of our foreign affairs concerns the relationship with the United States. Indeed, this is so important that Binyamin Netanyahu keeps it entirely to himself. Our ambassador in Washington reports to him personally, after being handpicked by Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire
The March of Folly
NOTHING COULD be more scary than the thought that this duo – Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak – is in a position to start a war, the dimensions and outcome of which are incalculable.
It’s scary not only because of their ideological fixations and mental outlook, but also because of the level of their intelligence.
Young Israelis Fight for Social Justice (Part 1/3)
Protest in Ramallah
VISITING RAMALLAH after an absence of several months, I was again amazed by the ongoing building activity. Everywhere new high-rise buildings are going up, and many of them are beautiful. (Arabs seem to have an innate talent for architecture, as any world anthology of architecture affirms.)
A Message from Romnyahu
ONCE UPON a time, President Richard Nixon wanted to appoint a certain lawyer to the US Supreme Court.
“But the man is a complete moron!” one senator exclaimed.
“So what,” answered another, “There are a great many morons in the US, and they have a right to be represented in the court as much as any other sector of society.”
The Grand Default
I AM sitting here writing this article 39 years to the minute from that moment when the sirens started screaming, announcing the beginning of the war.
A minute before, total quiet reigned, as it does now. No traffic, no activity in the street, except a few children riding bicycles. Yom Kippur, the holiest day for Jews, reigned supreme. And then…
Jeff Halper tours Ma'ale Adumim pointing out stolen olive trees
Jeff Halper in East Jerusalem
A debate bewtween Jeff Blankfort, Ali Abunimah (and NOAM CHOMSKY in hiding!)
Of Bombs and Comics
MY FIRST reaction to Binyamin Netanyahu’s exhibition of comics at the UN General Assembly was shame.
Shame that the supreme elected representative of my country would stoop to such a primitive rhetorical device, bordering on the childish.
(One Israeli commentator suggested putting him on a rug with a lot of paper and Indian ink, and letting him play to his heart’s content.)
SO WE have two election campaigns in the next three months – one in the USA and one in Israel. I don’t know which of them is more important for our lives.
The Man with the Uzi
THERE WAS this young Israeli who was captured by cannibals. They put him in the cooking pot and were about to light the fire, when he expressed one last wish: “Please box my ears!”
Drought in Texas
EVERYBODY IN Israel knows this story. When Levy Eshkol was Prime Minister, his assistants rushed up to him in panic: “Levy, there is a drought!”
“In Texas?” Eshkol asked anxiously.
“No, in Israel!” they said.
“Then it doesn’t matter,” Eshkol assured them. “We can always get all the wheat we need from the Americans.”
TO A foreigner, like myself, the US election system looks cockeyed. The president is elected by an “electoral college”, which does not necessarily reflect the will of the people. This system, rooted in the realities of the 18th century, has no connection with the conditions of today. It easily leads to the election of a president who has attracted the votes of only a minority, depriving the majority of its democratic rights.
'Israel has its way no matter who's in the White House'
BINYAMIN NETANYAHU and his patron, Sheldon Adelson, betted on Mitt Romney, with the State of Israel as their chip.
For Adelson, the betting tycoon, that doesn’t amount to much. Some you win, some you lose.
For Netanyahu, it’s a different matter altogether. He grew up in the US (where he got to know Romney in 1976) and prides himself as a great expert on America. It was one of his strongest cards, since relations with the US are vital for Israel. Now he stands exposed as a know-nothing, together with his ambassador in Washington DC, who was recommended by Adelson.
HOW DID it start? Stupid question.
Conflagrations along the Gaza Strip don’t start. They are just a continuous chain of events, each claimed to be in “retaliation” for the previous one. Action is followed by reaction, which is followed by retaliation, which is followed by …
Ilan Pappe on "The Forgotten Palestinians"
Israel, a democracy? Ilan Pappe on Q&A (ABC)
THE MANTRA of this round was Once And For All.
“We must put an end to this (the rockets, Hamas, the Palestinians, the Arabs?) Once and For All!” – this cry from the heart was heard dozens of times daily on TV from the harassed inhabitants of Israel’s battered towns and villages in the South.
Empire: Palestine: State of play
Jeff Halper | From Two States to Apartheid to Warehousing: Where Do We Go From Here?
Checkpoint - every day life in Israel - Documentary
“Revenge is a dish that is best eaten cold,” is a saying attributed to Stalin. I don’t know if he really said that. All the possible witnesses were executed long ago.
Anyhow, a taste for delayed revenge is not an Israeli trait. Israelis are more impulsive. More immediate. They don’t plan. They improvise.
In this respect, too, Avigdor Lieberman is not Israeli. He is Russian.
The Sea and the River
“Palestine, from the Jordan to the Sea, belongs to us!” declared Khaled Meshal last week at the huge victory rally in Gaza.
“Eretz Israel, from the sea to the Jordan, belongs to us!” declare right-wing Israelis on every occasion.
The two statements seem to be the same, with only the name of the country changed.
But if you read them again carefully, there is a slight difference. The direction.
FROM THE sea to the river, from the river to the sea.
Israeli committee against House demolitions (ICAHD) Jeff Halper-Part 1
Boycott from within: Ronnie Barkan part 1
A Person Called Nobody
SUDDENLY, I realized that a new star had appeared on the political firmament of Israel. Until yesterday I did not even know of its existence.
A respected public opinion poll posed a Nixonesque question: From which politician would you buy a used car? The answer was stunning: not a single politician reached the mark of even 10%. Except one who would be trusted by a massive 34% of potential voters: a certain Nobody.
Press TV interviews prof. Ilan Pappé on Palestinian cause
Ali Abunimah speaks at AMP premier in California
Ali Abunimah | Standing Up for Justice and Equal Rights in Palestine
IN A few hundred years, a professor looking for an especially esoteric subject will ask his students to research the Israeli elections of 2013.
The students will come back with a unanimous report: the results of our research are incredible.
I FIND Chuck Hagel eminently likeable. I am not quite certain why.
Perhaps it’s his war record. He was decorated for valor in the Vietnam War (which I detested). He was a mere sergeant. Since I was a mere corporal in our 1948 war, I find it elating to see a non-commissioned officer become Minister of Defense.
Like so many veterans who have seen war from close up (myself included), he has become an enemy of war. Wonderful.
THE ELECTIONS will take place in three days, and they are boring, boring, boring.
So boring, indeed, that even to think about their boringness (if there is such a word) is boring.
For lack of any debate about the issues, media pundits are reduced to discussing the election broadcasts. Some are good, some indifferent, some atrocious. As if this were a contest between spin doctors, copywriters, “strategists” and such, with the public just a bystander.
Israel's new right
IT WAS the night of the optimists.
Tuesday at 10.01 pm, a minute after the ballot boxes were sealed, the three TV news programs announced the results of their exit polls.
The dire predictions of the pessimists were scattered to the winds. Israel has not gone crazy.
It has not moved to the right. The fascists have not taken over the Knesset. Binyamin Netanyahu has not been strengthened. Far from it.
Israel has moved to the center.
“VAE VICTIS!” was the Roman cry. Woe to the vanquished.
I would alter it slightly: “Vae Victori”, Woe to the victor!
The outstanding example is the astounding victory Israel won in June, 1967. After weeks of approaching doom, the Israeli army beat three Arab armies in six days and conquered huge stretches of Egyptian, Syrian and Palestinian territory.
“COMPARED TO the Knesset it could have been, this is a very good Knesset!”
I heard this, in so many words, from at least ten former Knesset members and others, as we were drinking orange juice in the Knesset foyer. I could have said it myself (and probably did).
THE SOLE contribution of Ya’ir Lapid to Israeli folklore so far is his saying that he would not join a move to block Binyamin Netanyahu, since this would mean joining forces with “the Zuabis”.
This needs explanation to a foreign audience. The Zuabi family is a large Hamula (extended Arab family) located in Nazareth and the vicinity. Several members of this family served in the Knesset in the early days of Israel, all as members of Zionist parties or Arab factions attached to Zionist parties.
Listening Post - Spies, secrets and Israeli media
Peace and Watermelons
ONE OF the most interesting and prolonged private debates I have had in my life was with the brilliant Dr. Nahum Goldmann. The subject: American peace initiatives.
It was an unequal debate, of course. Goldmann was my elder by 28 years. While I was a mere editor of an Israeli news magazine, he was an international figure, President of the World Zionist Organization and the World Jewish Congress.
The Third Intifada?
IS THIS the third intifada? This question was raised this week by a number of Israeli security experts. And not only by them – their Palestinian colleagues were almost as perplexed.
All over the West Bank, Palestinian youth threw stones at Israeli soldiers. All the 4500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons took part in a three-day hunger strike.
Miko Peled - Myths of 1967
1948 - A different story, PART 1/2 Lecture by Prof. Ilian Pappe, nov 30 2012, Bern Switzerland