Scribbled on Other Walls

Gershom Gorenberg

  • So Bibi has learned from Obama – that you can get a lot of attention with a speech at a university campus. Of course, Obama dared speak at Cairo University. Netanyahu is going to Israel’s most conservative campus, his home turf, on Sunday.
  • Just to make clear why Bibi shouldn’t try the “natural growth” argument again to justify continued settlement building, the lovely folks at Foreign Policy asked me to explain the myths built into this scam. For example:

    Since we’re negotiating, building doesn’t matter: Most previous U.S. administrations have avoided confrontation over settlements if peace talks were in progress. Obama is right to avoid this mistake, because construction is aimed at preempting the negotiations.

    Unintentionally, [Settlement Council Director-General Pinchas] Wallerstein made the point clear in his radio interview. There are already 300,000 Israelis living in the West Bank, he noted. (The figure doesn’t include the Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.) If we really make peace, he said, it won’t matter if the number has risen to 325,000. A few seconds later, he recalled the trauma to Israeli society caused by evacuating 9,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

    The classic definition of chutzpah is murdering your parents and begging for the mercy of the court because you’re an orphan. Adding thousands of settlers to existing communities so that later you can claim that evacuating them would be too great a trauma could be another definition…

    Read the whole thing here.

  • We can’t be serious mountain dwellers all the time. Tel Aviv is celebrating its 100th. My take is up at Hadassah:
  • Tel Aviv celebrating its 100th birthday? Impossible. It’s like hearing that a friend from college in the ’60s— the one who had hair down to his waist then and who has a pierced eyebrow now, who was a Trotskyite then and has a software firm now—is throwing a bash for his sixtieth. He might turn 60, but he would not shout it out. He is always 19. One doesn’t think of Tel Aviv as having history or mythology. Tel Aviv is supposed to be a constant, off-balance lurch into the future. …

    Read the rest here.

15 thoughts on “Scribbled on Other Walls

  1. Everyone knows that under the “solution that everyone knows the terms of, the settlements will go”. So, again, what difference does it make how many Jews are in the settlements? But, even if you are right and it is too difficult to remove the settlers based on the experience of Gush Katif, it is already too late for a freeze to make a difference and so, again, it makes no difference if there is a freeze. And even if there were no Jews in Judea/Samaria, there is the problem of “dividing” (i.e. destroying) Jerusalem, which a lot of Jews (and others) are not going to sit still for. And then there is the Palestinian”Right of Return”. So again, what difference does a settlement freeze make?

    I’ll tell you the difference it makes….it makes “progressive” Jews who supported classical forms of Labor Zionism feel good about themselves. It makes them feel that they are fighting for “justice for the Palestinian people” while at the same time they themselves are sitting on what the Arabs consider stolen Arab land (e.g. Tel Aviv University sitting on the land of the Arab village of Sheikh Munis, the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University sitting on land that belonged to the Arabs of the village of Sheiky Badr, etc, etc).

  2. The U.S. can easily reverse the “natural” growth of
    the setlments by declaring the withdawal of citizenship to all “American Citizens” living in the West Bank.

  3. Well, in fairness to Bibi regarding the use of the university as a public venue, it’s worth noting that Churchill did so in his Iron Curtain speech, as did Marshall when he announced his eponymous plan. I’m sure there are many other examples worth highlighting.

  4. Y. is a tired record. He reminds me of the gerbals in the rotary cages in the Verizon ads. There is no vision here there is only a group of fanatics living out in these settlements who might as well live on another planet or maybe they are from what I saw recently when I was in Israel. If the majority of Israelis support the settlements( which I doubt) then you are doomed, maybe not now but in the future because you have no future in the world community. The walls surrounding the settlements are more for keeping “like -minded bigots ” together than keeping Palestinians out. The present Bibi apartheid government is quite comparable to the discredited government of the Afrikaners and you know where they went. The demographics are in the Palestinians favor and they may not be in favor of “kissing and making up” like Desmon Tutu and his ilk were.”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it ” and “Fanaticism consists in redoybling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim” George Santayana

  5. Mr. Gorenberg,

    Y. Ben David has pointed out the unfortunate reality. A majority Israelis don’t see a problem with the settlements, which is why Bibi could form a coalition, while Livni couldn’t. There probably isn’t even political momentum for having a settlement tax that would make it much more expensive to build and live in the the shtachim than in Israel proper.

    At what point does the half of the public who doesn’t support the illegal shtachim share in the blame for what their gov’t has done? What is the obligation to resist it?

  6. Good Grief, there are some mis-informed posters here!

    1) So-called “settlers” are simply Jewish villagers. They are not “fanatics”. Most of them simply cannot AFFORD reasonable housing in the crowded cities and thus “settle” for living among hostile Arabs, riding bullet-proof buses, and having constant armed guards and fences around their homes. It’s not their first choice. That Arabs do not need these protections speaks volumes about who is shooting at whom here.

    2) Bill’s suggestion of revoking citizenship for US citizens won’t work – because it would either have to specify JEWISH US citizens or else would affect ARAB US citizens, as well. (There is such a thing.)

    This is precisely the problem with Obama’s Neo-Islamist policy – he sets rules for Jews that he won’t apply to non-Jews. Would he do that for Blacks, too??? Would the public accept it??? Is America’s first half-Muslim President actually a bigot?

  7. Jimmy Carter surprised everyone when, visiting the “settlement” of Neve Daniel, he said that it should never be vacated and that “settlements” like it should remain part of Israel forever. Surprise!

  8. Maybe Y and Jake have been so caught up in the little world of Israeli politics and the ” ereste volk” to realize that there is another world out there that doesn’t subscribe to the ” settlers” view. Yes Y may you continue to have a “Winnie the Pooh ” view of reality and yes Jimmy Carter is one of my heros and yes only time will give James Earle Carter the recognition that is rightfully his.
    While in Israel I became aware of the anti-Christian bias against Christian Arabs. I guess the prevalent bigotry of the majority applys to all Arabs no matter what religious faith they follow in Israel .No wonder you don’t like CarterY ;how dare a devout Christian have an opinion on Israel’s conduct and write it and expose hypocracy.

  9. Jimmy gets millions of dollars from Arab donors and he discovers the righteousness of the Palestinian cause. What a coincidence. But he does like Gush Etzion.

    So George “discovers” anti-Christian bias in Israelis. Please explain to me why, a century ago 20% of the population was Christian, today it is 2% and falling fast. Is this the Jews fault, too?-or maybe the “tolerant” Muslims Obama was telling us about are the cause?

  10. What does demographics have to do with bigotry I saw with my own eyes. I didn’t say that Arab countries do not try to squeeze Christians out. I think the moron Bush didn’t get it when he referred to Operation Iraqi Freedom as our great crusade , of course being a “funtional illiterate” ,he wouldn’t have known of the damage the remark had in the Arab world. He surely would’nt know about the damage the Crusaders did to Jerusalem and the massacre of the Arab and Jewish population. He wouldn’t know about the subjugation of the native population in Lebanon by the Crusaders ; the Christian remnants now identify themselves as Maronite Catholics, they are still a political power.

    Having said this Israelis should be more sensative to those they now subjugate or one would think so because of their history. A subpressed people will eventually come to the fore and I don’t see that the government of Israel has given the Palestinians any avenue but armed resistance which is unfortunate. There is no proposal being floated by Israel now or in the recent past that if I were a Palestinian I would accept just to have peace. Contrary to the view of some Israelis ,Palestinians are not stupid in fact as a identifiable ethnic Middle Eastern group their literacy rate is quite high and they have more professionals than others and this why there is little sympathy for them from other Arab people ( pure jealousy). Hamas is a perfect example , that is why they take aid from the Iranians( any port in a storm). They don’t like the Shia but their fellow Arab Sunnis don’t like them. Someday no matter what the “ereste volk” think peace will have to come and it will have to be on terms acceptable to the Palestinians and probably more to the Palestinians than the Israelis In that I am73 it probably won’t be in my lifetime.

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