Monday, December 16, 2013

Why Do African States Fail?: Don’t Blame Neo-Colonialism. By Jean-Loup Amselle.

Why Do African States Fail?: Don’t Blame Neo-Colonialism. By Jean-Loup Amselle. Real Clear World, December 14, 2013.

Boycotting Israeli Universities: A Victory for Bigotry. By Alan M. Dershowitz.

Boycotting Israeli universities: A victory for bigotry. By Alan M. Dershowitz. Haaretz, December 17, 2013. Also at Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. Also here.

The ASA Advances the Longstanding Anti-Zionist War on Academia. By Gil Troy. History News Network, December 15, 2013.

Backing the Israeli Boycott. By Elizabeth Redden. Inside Higher Ed, December 17, 2013.

Boycott by Academic Group Is a Symbolic Sting to Israel. By Richard Pérez-Peña and Jodi Rudoren. New York Times, December 16, 2013.

Lawrence Summers ASA boycott resolution on Charlie Rose show. Video. ASA Members for Academic Freedom, December 12, 2013. YouTube. Also here. Full interview at Bloomberg, Charlie Rose.

Tenured radicals cannot be trusted with our academic freedom. By William A. Jacobson. Legal Insurrection, December 10, 2013.

Lawrence Summers: Academic boycott of Israel is “anti-Semitism in effect.” By William A. Jacobson. Legal Insurrection, December 13, 2013.

“American Studies” group to boycott Israel. By Leo Rennert. American Thinker, December 17, 2003.

5,000 US Profs Endorse “Ethical” Boycott of Israeli Colleges. By Cathy Burke. Newsmax, December 16, 2013.

Having Boycotted Israel, American Academics Must Now Boycott Themselves. By Liel Leibovitz. Tablet, December 5, 2013.


This is atrocious stuff, but it’s hardly the gravest of the ASA’s failings. As the association’s statement draws to its close, particularly attentive students are treated to one more bit of anti-intellectual buffoonery. “The ASA,” reads the statement, “also has a history of critical engagement with the field of Native American and Indigenous studies that has increasingly come to shape and influence the field and the Association, and the Council acknowledged the force of Israeli and U.S. settler colonialism throughout our deliberations.” Colonialists, as anyone who had stayed awake during an introductory history course in college may remember, arrive from faraway lands to inhabit parts unknown to which they’ve no other claim but that seized by force, and proceed to strip the land of its resources for the benefit and glory of their Motherland overseas. It would take a particularly muddled mind to argue that Jews, even those returning to Zion after centuries in exile, fit this criterion, what with the Bible and all. And it would take an even bigger dunce to suggest that the Jewish pioneers who tilled the fields and tended the groves and built factories and roads did so for any other reason than to cultivate the land itself.

ASA Members Vote to Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel. American Studies Association, December 16, 2013. Facebook.


The American Studies Association has just issued its first ever call for an academic boycott. No, it wasn’t against China, which imprisons dissenting academics. It wasn’t against Iran which executes dissenting academics. It wasn’t against Russia whose universities fire dissenting academics. It wasn’t against Cuba whose universities have no dissenting academics. It wasn’t against Saudi Arabia, whose academic institutions refuse to hire women, gay or Christian academics. Nor was it against the Palestinian Authority, whose colleges refuse to allow open discourse regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No, it was against only academic institutions in the Jewish State of Israel, whose universities have affirmative action programs for Palestinian students and who boast a higher level of academic freedom than almost any country in the world.
When the association was considering this boycott I issued a challenge to its members, many of whom are historians. I asked them to name a single country in the history of the world faced with threats comparable to those Israel faces that has had a better record of human rights, a higher degree of compliance with the rule of law, a more demanding judiciary, more concern for the lives of enemy civilians, or more freedom to criticize the government, than the State of Israel.
Not a single member of the association came up with a name of a single country. That is because there are none. Israel is not perfect, but neither is any other country, and Israel is far better than most. If an academic group chooses to engage in the unacademic exercise of boycotting the academic institutions of another country, it should do it in order of the seriousness of the human rights violations and of the inability of those within the country to seek redress against those violations.
By these standards, Israeli academic institutions should be among the last to be boycotted.
I myself disagree with Israel’s settlement policy and have long urged an end to the occupation. But Israel offered to end the occupation twice in the last 13 years. They did so in 2000-2001 when Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians a state on approximately 95% of the occupied territories. Then it did so again in 2008 when former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered an even more generous deal. The Palestinians accepted neither offer and certainly share the blame for the continuing occupation. Efforts are apparently underway once again to try to end the occupation, as peace talks continue. The Palestinian Authority's President Mahmoud Abbas himself opposes academic boycotts of Israeli institutions.
China occupies Tibet, Russia occupies Chechnya and several other countries occupy Kurdish lands. In those cases no offers have been made to end the occupation. Yet no boycotts have been directed against the academic institutions of those occupying countries.
When the President of the American Studies Association, Curtis Marez, an associate professor of ethnic studies at The University of California, was advised that many nations, including all of Israel’s neighbors, behave far worse than Israel, he responded, “One has to start somewhere.” This boycott, however, has not only started with Israel. It will end with Israel. Marez’s absurd comment reminds me of the bigoted response made by Harvard’s notorious anti-Semitic president A. Laurence Lowell, when he imposed anti-Jewish quotas near the beginning of the twentieth century. When asked why he singled out Jews for quotas, he replied, “Jews cheat.” When the great Judge Learned Hand reminded him that Christians cheat too, Lowell responded, “You’re changing the subject. We are talking about Jews now.”
You would think that historians and others who belong to the American Studies Association would understand that in light of the history of discrimination against Jews, you can’t just pick the Jewish State and Jewish universities as the place to “start” and stop.
The American Studies Association claims that it is not boycotting individual Israeli professors, but only the universities at which they teach. That is a nonsensical word game, since no self-respecting Israeli professor would associate with an organization that singled out Israeli colleges and universities for a boycott. Indeed, no self-respecting American professor should in any way support the bigoted actions of this association.
Several years ago, when a similar boycott was being considered, a group of American academics circulated a counter-petition drafted by Nobel Prize Physicist Steven Weinberg and I that read as follows:
“We are academics, scholars, researchers and professionals of differing religious and political perspectives. We all agree that singling out Israelis for an academic boycott is wrong. To show our solidarity with our Israeli academics in this matter, we, the undersigned, hereby declare ourselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott. We will regard ourselves as Israeli academics and decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded.

More than 10,000 academics signed this petition including many Nobel Prize winners, presidents of universities and leading scholars from around the world.
Shame on those members of the American Studies Association for singling out the Jew among nations. Shame on them for applying a double standard to Jewish universities. Israeli academic institutions are strong enough to survive this exercise in bigotry. The real question is will this association survive its complicity with the oldest and most enduring prejudice?

Israel’s Bedouin Problem and the Only Possible Solution.

The Bedouin Problem and the Only Possible Solution. By Mordechai Kedar. Middle East and Terrorism, December 6, 2013. Also here.

How to Solve Israel’s Bedouin Problem. By Moshe Arens. Haaretz, December 10, 2013.

Year Four of the Arab Awakening. By Marwan Muasher.

Year Four of the Arab Awakening. By Marwan Muasher. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, December 12, 2013.


How will history judge the uprisings that started in many parts of the Arab world in 2011? The label “Arab Spring” proved too simplistic from the beginning. Transformational processes defy black-and-white expectations, but in the end, will the awakenings be more reminiscent of what happened in Europe in 1848, when several uprisings took place within a few weeks only to be followed by counterrevolutions and renewed authoritarian rule? Or will they more closely resemble the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Union, after which some countries swiftly democratized while others remained in thrall to dictatorship?
Whatever the case, it is clear that the process of Arab transformation will need decades to mature and that its success is by no means guaranteed. The movements driving it are more unanimous about what they are against than about what they are for. But the debate to define this awakening has begun.
Transforming the movements sweeping the Middle East into coherent and effective forces of change will take time. In all of history, no such process has taken only two or three years to mature, evolve, and stabilize. The question over the long term is whether the present changes, however uncertain and difficult, will lead to democratic societies. The coming year will offer signs that indicate whether countries of the Arab world are heading toward democracy and pluralism or away from them.
2014 will see the countries of the Middle East moving in different directions, with some making strides toward genuine democratic transitions while other governments perpetuate timeworn policies that allow them to avoid addressing the very real social, political, and economic challenges they face.

Dynamics at Play
There are three key dynamics shaping the evolution of the Arab Awakening. The first and perhaps most important consequence of the Arab uprisings is the transformation of Islamist movements—mostly offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood—from opposition groups into major political forces in most countries undergoing transitions. This shift is most evident in Tunisia, Morocco, and, to a lesser extent, Libya and Yemen. It was also true of Egypt until the military overthrew the elected Islamist government last summer.
And political Islam will continue to be a driving factor during the next year of the Arab Awakening, albeit in a different way. There has been a significant drop in public support for Islamists in Egypt and Tunisia. This development has seriously challenged the notion of the “Islamist threat”—the idea, widely held in some circles and often used by secular parties to discourage the election of Islamists, that political Islamist forces would never leave power once they acquired it. The same Egyptians who voted Islamists in demonstrated in unprecedented numbers against them in the short course of one year, confirming what many polls have already suggested: no matter how conservative or religious the Arab street is, it judges the forces in power by their performance, not their ideology.
In Egypt, the fact that then president Mohamed Morsi was removed by the military rather than by voters may well negate any lesson that might have been learned about the consequences for leaders who fail to deliver results. But in Tunisia, the ruling Islamist party, Ennahda, has been steadily losing support to a coalition of secular forces. And unlike in Egypt, the Tunisian army has not mitigated this process by intervening. Meanwhile, the largest Salafi political force in Egypt has aligned itself not with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist Freedom and Justice Party but with the military. These developments suggest that Islamists, even radical Islamists, are open to compromise once they become part of the political process.
Over the past few years, Islamists have lost their “holiness” in the Arab world. Their once-popular slogan, “Islam is the solution,” is no longer attractive to wide sectors of the population. Three years after the Arab uprisings, youthful and pragmatic populations are starting to embrace the triumph of performance over ideology in the region. Faced with such pressure, Islamists will have to reinvent themselves, offering practical solutions to economic challenges facing Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and other countries if they are to retain what once appeared to be their invincible popularity.
The second factor influencing the Arab transitions arises from the two internal battles political Islam appears to be fighting—one between the offshoot movements of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi groups and the other between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The first might determine to a great extent the future course of political Islam—whether it will be inclusionary or fundamentalist, peaceful or radical, reactionary or modern, or less clearly delineated.
The second fight is especially worrisome. The tension between Sunnis and Shia is rising to an alarming degree in countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and most horrifically in Syria. And political demands in all these countries are turning sectarian. In many cases, particularly in the Gulf, this “sectarianization” of politics is being aggravated by government policies of exclusion and discrimination.
The Sunni-Shia divide underscores the region’s lack of respect for diversity in any form—religious, political, or cultural. This division is not only religious but also often political and cultural. It is true that the Sykes-Picot Agreement between the United Kingdom and France created artificial entities when it divided up the Ottoman Empire and drew the boundaries of the modern Middle Eastern nations in 1916. But it is also true that most Arab governments have not developed in their countries a sense of true citizenship in which national identity trumps any other allegiances to religious, ethnic, or tribal identities. This is particularly evident in the Mashreq region, where it is clearly manifested in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The grievances of the Shia in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait are more political than religious and largely stem from being treated as less than full citizens. The problem is less severe in the Maghreb, where Egyptians and Tunisians, for example, thought of themselves as such long before the modern states of Egypt and Tunisia were created.
The last factor shaping the Arab Awakening is the secular forces, which have not easily accepted the rise of political Islam. These forces have behaved in a way that seems to suggest that they are fine with democracy only as long as it brings them to power. In other words, secular forces are engaging in the very antidemocratic practices they accuse the Islamists of following, as demonstrated by their support for the Egyptian military’s removal of Morsi (granted, that action was a result of millions of Egyptians taking to the street to oppose the president).

The Alarming Rise of Campus Anti-Semitism. By Joseph Klein.

The Alarming Rise of Campus Anti-Semitism. By Joseph Klein. FrontPage Magazine, December 16, 2013.


How does one distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and the camouflaged form of anti-Semitism that uses the Jewish state and its supporters as surrogate targets?  Natan Sharansky, one of the founders of the Refusenik movement in Moscow who later emigrated to Israel and served in various governmental and non-governmental leadership positions, proposed what he called the 3D test to evaluate rhetoric that purports to be legitimate criticism of Israel. The line between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism manifesting itself with regard to the Jewish state of Israel is crossed, Sharansky said, when the rhetoric or conduct contains one or more of the following “3D” components:
1. Demonization – “For example, the comparisons of Israelis to Nazis and of the Palestinian refugee camps to Auschwitz. . . .”
2. Double Standards – “It is anti-Semitism, for instance, when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while tried and true abusers like China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria are ignored.”
3. Delegitimization – “While criticism of an Israeli policy may not be anti-Semitic, the denial of Israel’s right to exist is always anti-Semitic. If other peoples have a right to live securely in their homelands, then the Jewish people have a right to live securely in their homeland.”
The 3D’s, coupled with physical intimidation, make up the toxic mix that confront Jewish students on too many U.S. campuses today.

It’s a Man’s World, And It Always Will Be. By Camille Paglia.

It’s a Man’s World, And It Always Will Be. By Camille Paglia. Time, December 16, 2013.

Camille Paglia Defends Men. By Christina Hoff Sommers. AEI, December 11, 2013.

Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues. By Bari Weiss. Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2013.

The End of Peak Blue: Productivity Up, Future Uncertain. By Walter Russell Mead.

The End of Peak Blue: Productivity Up, Future Uncertain. By Walter Russell Mead. The American Interest, December 16, 2013.


Productivity increases are almost always a good thing, but this time, rising productivity hasn’t translated into more jobs or higher wages. This has happened before, but it wasn’t easy. Can we transition again?

Unemployment is high, wages are stagnant, inequality is higher than its been in years, yet America is as productive as ever. Total productivity—essentially measured by how much a worker can produce in one hour—has risen substantially over the past quarter, growing faster than it has since 2009, according to a new Labor Department report.
This is both good news and a sign of the trouble we are in. Basically, it is always good when productivity goes up. Rising productivity means that capitalism is working: some combination of technology, management and competitive drive is enabling Americans to get more done—more widgets made, more meals cooked, more diseases cured—in less time. If absolute poverty is going to be defeated, if more people are going to be freed from repetitive, meaningless work, if humanity is going to have more time for art and culture because it spends less time in drudgery and toil, productivity must continue to rise.
But in times like ours, the link between productivity and wages looks broken. Back in Peak Blue, when the post-WWII model of mass production and mass consumption was working at its best, rising productivity translated very quickly into rising wages for most workers. Unions used those productivity figures to bargain for raises, and competitive pressures in a tight labor market forced employers to offer rising wages along with the trend in rising productivity. There was a close connection between the productivity level and the wage level.
That isn’t true today, and it hasn’t been true for the last thirty years. Lots of factors are at work, but the core issue has been the decline in manufacturing jobs. While the US is more productive than ever in manufacturing, fewer people have jobs in the field than in 1973. Add that shift to the mass entry of women into the workforce, throw in high levels of immigration (legal and illegal), and it is not surprising that wages have stagnated even though productivity has grown. And there’s another factor; productivity in some service sector jobs is harder to raise than in manufacturing. It is harder to increase the number of bedpans per hour that a hospital worker can change than to increase the number of widgets per hour a manufacturing worker can process.
So does that mean that the link between capitalism and rising living standards has broken down for good? There are lots of people who seem to think so, but history suggests they are wrong. The early Industrial Revolution, for example, was another period when productivity was rising fast but wages and living standards for many people were stagnant or falling. (They didn’t keep the same kind of statistics then that we do today, so direct comparisons are impossible, but the overall picture seems pretty clear.) In those days, agriculture was shedding jobs as British landlords shifted from renting small plots at low rents to subsistence farmers to more profitable but less labor intensive methods of agriculture like raising sheep. The combination of peasants flocking to the cities and skilled workers losing their jobs to new automated techniques meant that more people were looking for fewer jobs. Living standards for many workers fell sharply, and Britain was convulsed by waves of social unrest.
Making things worse, huge new fortunes were made both by the landlords getting rid of “excess” peasants and the factory owners hiring workers (including children) for pennies. It was not a happy time, and many people looking at England in that era, including Karl Marx, believed that a social revolution was inevitable.
In the end, the industrial revolution made pretty much everyone better off in most ways (though arguably jobs in steel factories and coal mines were neither as healthy nor as fulfilling as the traditional jobs on the land).
The information revolution seems to be following a very similar pattern. Old jobs are disappearing faster than new ones can be created, and rising inequality combined with stagnant living standards is making people rightly unhappy. Irritating fortunes are being made while millions of people struggle. Yet the underlying productivity of society as a whole is going up.
Instead of fighting a process that offers us and the rest of suffering humanity its best hope of better living in the medium to long term (and people should never forget that an information economy is going to be better for the environment than an industrial one), we should be thinking about how to manage the change as best we can, and how to accelerate the creation of new jobs in new fields as the old ones fade away. The key to restoring the link between productivity and wages so that the rising tide lifts more boats is to increase the demand for labor. As that happens, wages will rise, competitive pressures to attract good employees will rise, and workers everywhere will have more bargaining power when they negotiate with employers, whether through unions or as individuals.
Enabling more self employment, promoting small business formation and development, lightening the tax and regulatory burden on job creation and shifting some of the government’s research focus and capacity from research into agricultural and manufacturing based fields toward research that benefits the rise of a job-rich information economy are all things that we can and should be doing. They don’t even have to cost much money.
Rebuilding society in the aftermath of a broken social model is a big job, and creating an advanced information society will require even more social, economic, ideological and cultural change and development than it took to get from the Dickensian world of the early industrial revolution to the advanced industrial democracies of the age of Peak Blue. That’s the job that the Millennials face; they are one of the special generations in human history that must build a new world. It’s a high fate and in some ways a hard one, but it also gives a full scope to their powers of creativity and originality.

Why Israel Is Boycotted. By Dror Eydar.

Why Israel is boycotted. By Dror Eydar. Israel Hayom, Decmeber 13, 2013. Also at Writing The Wrongs.


1. What lies at the root of the European boycott of Israel? What lies at the root of the anti-Israel statements that various cultural icons are constantly making – statements that camouflage anti-Semitic sentiment? What lies behind the false and malicious comparison of Israel to South Africa's apartheid regime?
The attempts to boycott Israel or mark its products, interfere in its ancient geography or mark it as racist, fascist or Nazi are the current political expression of Israel’s ancient characterization as “a nation that dwells alone.” The return to Zion is the Jewish nation’s return to history, to life as a sovereign people in its ancient homeland. Calls for boycott were made even before the establishment of the state. While these calls came from the extremist factions at the time, they moved toward the center as the years went by, particularly after 1967. That was when we came back to the cradle of our nationhood, to the historical places most closely connected with our identity. Most important, we came back to Jerusalem, which is also linked with the identity of the world’s nations. The fight against Israel – which is a fight against history’s law of the return to Zion – is evidence of how hard it is for Israel’s opponents to deal with the Jews’ return to life after having been in a state of living death for so long. That is why we and our products are marked, why the badge of shame is being placed upon us once again, why we are being isolated and boycotted. This is our adversaries’ way of saying: “You are not one of us.”
2. As Balaam, the prophet hired to curse the Israelites, looked out over the Israelite tribes gathered on the plains of Moab just before they entered Canaan, he had a moment of clarity. It was then that he said: “Behold a people that dwells alone, that is not counted among the nations.”
I have just said that he made this statement in a moment of clarity, but it may also be seen as a sophisticated attempt to isolate the Jews. The main representative of world culture at that time marked out, with his words, the boundaries of life for the new nation. Even at our people’s beginnings, the world marked us: “They” are a people that dwells alone, and we do not count them among us.
We have done much since that prophecy was uttered. We founded a kingdom and a temple and set up prophets for ourselves and for the world. As a political entity we endured two destructions, and hundreds of individual ones until the most horrific of all seventy years ago in Europe. But never, in word or deed, did we abandon the hope of returning home, of restoration, of being a free people in Zion and Jerusalem.
Except for brief periods of relative calm, the nations of the world did all they could do isolate and shun us. Jews also marked themselves by their dress and their customs. The Jewish people lived outside history, acquiring the image of a people in a living death, with all the significance of that image, for good reason. We lived on the margins of history and outside it, running for our lives from place to place.
The Jewish Haskalah (Enlightenment) period in the 18th-19th centuries marked a new development. The Jews made an effort to integrate into society and become contributing citizens. Berlin became the new Jerusalem. Many proponents of the new movement, called maskilim, assimilated, but many did not, even though they abandoned religious observance. But more than a century of the Haskalah led to disappointment in the end. The Jews’ hopes of integration went unfulfilled. The surrounding society’s fear and abhorrence of Jews who had blended in, leaving behind all external signs of their Jewishness, only grew greater.
Some foreigners take advantage of a society’s goodness without contributing to it. Sometimes they even work to undermine it or act openly against it. Not so the Jews of Europe. They tried to be more German than the Germans, more French than the French. Thousands of Jews died as soldiers in the wars between the empires. They made contributions in science, culture, commerce, law and politics. But none of this helped when crisis struck. Once again Jews were marked with the yellow badge, and even those whose ancestors had assimilated three generations before were forced to wear it.
The Zionist movement was a ripe fruit that fell into the hands of thousands of young people who had left the Egypt of their day, the Jewish shtetl and had no desire to assimilate. They wanted only to return to the Land of Israel. Now the Promised Land became an actual destination, and the return to Zion a practical political plan.
3. What is the founding myth that the West kept before its eyes for two millennia? What did they see in the streets, on signs, in books, in churches, in the symbols of their governments? What was it that Westerners saw from birth to death? A crucified Jew.
With the advent of the Haskalah, and all the more so that of Zionism, the Jews sought for the first time in centuries to leave the role Christianity had prescribed for them – to serve as a living example of the truth of the Christian faith and as human fodder for the re-enactment of the crucifixion, through the terrible violence used against them – and re-enter history. The Jews came down from the cross and sought to live among those who had seen them, up to that time, through the founding myth of the crucified Jew. As we saw in the previous century, the attempt failed, ending in unprecedented disaster.
With Zionism – the completion of the process of coming down from the cross – the Jewish people's future changed. Jesus came down from the cross, wrapped himself in his prayer shawl and went back to being a Jew from the Galilee, leaving his empty image behind in Europe. The establishment of the State of Israel was a profound disruption of Christian Europe’s founding myth. As if it were not enough that Jesus came down from the cross, he also went back to his ancient homeland and took up arms to keep from being crucified again. Even if the power of religion had waned, the myths through which it shaped the culture of the European nations had not. They remained the basis of thought and action, and they are the basis of the current anti-Semitic and anti-Israel acts such as the boycott against us, the efforts to delegitimize us and the attempt to put blame parallel to that of the Holocaust upon us.
The fight against our possession of those parts of Israel that are the most important to our identity as an ancient nation is a fight against the return to Zion. It is a struggle against the normalization of the Jew and attempt to “clean up” – to put the Jew back on the cross so as to return to the old order. From this perspective, the Palestinians are the spearhead of the global fight of those who oppose the return to Zion. From such a profound perspective, the recent agreement in Geneva can also be seen as sacrificing the Jews for peace and quiet.
But even as the Europeans think they are getting peace and quiet, they are on the verge of a crisis. A mighty force has implanted itself in Europe – tens of millions of non-Christians unwilling to adopt Western culture. In an act of historical irony, Europe expelled the Jews and Muslims came instead. Now, Europe stands helpless. The institution of political correctness has left it powerless and has paralyzed the West's early-warning system there. The decline of the West that Oswald Spengler wrote about in the 1920s is in full force. Once the West has declined and fallen, Spengler wrote then, the fellah waits to take over.
But for Israel, all is not lost. The West, too, has a mighty force – tens of millions of people who understand that the danger they face affects not only the Jews, but also their very existence as a civilization. In this fight, Israel serves as a front-line post against the collapse of the West. Non-acceptance of the calls for boycott and refusal to wear the new badge of shame are moral imperatives for every decent human being. The dispute over the Land of Israel has nothing to do with territory. If it did, we would have resolved the conflict long ago. This is a fight over identity. The return to Zion is not our hope only; it is the hope of the entire free world.

How Israel Should Fight Delegitimization. By Eran Shayson.

How Israel Should Fight Delegitimization. By Eran Shayson. The Jewish Journal, April 28, 2010. Also at The Reut Institute.

Excuse Me, But Israel Has No Right to Exist. By Sharmine Narwani.

Excuse Me, But Israel Has No Right to Exist. By Sharmine Narwani. Al Akhbar English, May 17, 2012. Also at Mideast Shuffle.

FreedumbAndDemocrazy. By Sharmine Narwani. Al Akhbar English, July 6, 2013.

Arabs, Beware the “Small States” Option. By Sharmine Narwani. Mideast Shuffle, July 31, 2013. Also at Al Akhbar English.

Forget Democrazy, Give Me Safe Borders. By Sharmine Narwani. Al Akhbar English, October 31, 2013.

Normalize This! By Remi Kanazi. Video. BDS Movement, November 1, 2012. Also at Poetic Injustice.

BDS is a long term project with radically transformative potential. By Ahmed Moor. Mondoweiss, April 22, 2010.

Israel’s Jewish Character Is Subject for Debate. By Ahmed Moor. The Huffington Post, September 30, 2010.

I am Zionism’s mandatory object. So don’t I get to define it? By Ahmed Moor. Mondoweiss, November 21, 2010.

Israel Simply Has No Right to Exist. By Faisal Bodi. The Guardian, January 2, 2001.

An extremist named Sharmine Narwani finds a home at “Comment is Free.” CiF Watch, February 26, 2013. Also at Huffington Post Monitor. All posts on Sharmine Narwani and User Profile at Huffington Post Monitor.

The Quotable Sharmine Narwani Video. Huffington Post Monitor, March 21, 2011.

Sharmine Narwani Goes on the Offensive. The Brothers of Judea, July 1, 2010.

Sharmine Narwani Calls for the Destruction of Israel. The Brothers of Judea, July 2, 2010.

Narwani [Excuse Me]:

The phrase “right to exist” entered my consciousness in the 1990s just as the concept of the two-state solution became part of our collective lexicon. In any debate at university, when a Zionist was out of arguments, those three magic words were invoked to shut down the conversation with an outraged, “are you saying Israel doesn’t have the right to exist??”
Of course you couldn’t challenge Israel’s right to exist – that was like saying you were negating a fundamental Jewish right to have . . . rights, with all manner of Holocaust guilt thrown in for effect.
Except of course the Holocaust is not my fault – or that of Palestinians. The cold-blooded program of ethnically cleansing Europe of its Jewish population has been so callously and opportunistically utilized to justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Arab nation, that it leaves me utterly unmoved. I have even caught myself – shock – rolling my eyes when I hear Holocaust and Israel in the same sentence.
What moves me instead in this post-two-state era, is the sheer audacity of Israel even existing.
What a fantastical idea, this notion that a bunch of rank outsiders from another continent could appropriate an existing, populated nation for themselves – and convince the “global community” that it was the moral thing to do. I’d laugh at the chutzpah if this wasn’t so serious.
Even more brazen is the mass ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population by persecuted Jews, newly arrived from their own experience of being ethnically cleansed.
But what is truly frightening is the psychological manipulation of the masses into believing that Palestinians are somehow dangerous – “terrorists” intent on “driving Jews into the sea.” As someone who makes a living through words, I find the use of language in creating perceptions to be intriguing. This practice – often termed “public diplomacy” has become an essential tool in the world of geopolitics. Words, after all, are the building blocks of our psychology.
Take, for example, the way we have come to view the Palestinian-Israeli “dispute” and any resolution of this enduring conflict. And here I borrow liberally from a previous article of mine. . . .
The United States and Israel have created the global discourse on this issue, setting stringent parameters that grow increasingly narrow regarding the content and direction of this debate. Anything discussed outside the set parameters has, until recently, widely been viewed as unrealistic, unproductive and even subversive.
Participation in the debate is limited only to those who prescribe to its main tenets: the acceptance of Israel, its regional hegemony and its qualitative military edge; acceptance of the shaky logic upon which the Jewish state’s claim to Palestine is based; and acceptance of the inclusion and exclusion of certain regional parties, movements and governments in any solution to the conflict.
Words like dove, hawk, militant, extremist, moderates, terrorists, Islamo-fascists, rejectionists, existential threat, holocaust-denier, mad mullah determine the participation of solution partners — and are capable of instantly excluding others.
Then there is the language that preserves “Israel’s Right To Exist” unquestioningly: anything that invokes the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and the myths about historic Jewish rights to the land bequeathed to them by the Almighty – as though God was in the real-estate business. This language seeks not only to ensure that a Jewish connection to Palestine remains unquestioned, but importantly, seeks to punish and marginalize those who tackle the legitimacy of this modern colonial-settler experiment.
But this group-think has led us nowhere. It has obfuscated, distracted, deflected, ducked, and diminished, and we are no closer to a satisfactory conclusion . . . because the premise is wrong.
There is no fixing this problem. This is the kind of crisis in which you cut your losses, realize the error of your ways and reverse course. Israel is the problem. It is the last modern-day colonial-settler experiment, conducted at a time when these projects were being unraveled globally.
There is no “Palestinian-Israeli conflict” – that suggests some sort of equality in power, suffering, and negotiable tangibles, and there is no symmetry whatsoever in this equation. Israel is the Occupier and Oppressor; Palestinians are the Occupied and Oppressed. What is there to negotiate? Israel holds all the chips. They can give back some land, property, rights, but even that is an absurdity – what about everything else? What about ALL the land, property and rights? Why do they get to keep anything – how is the appropriation of land and property prior to 1948 fundamentally different from the appropriation of land and property on this arbitrary 1967 date?
Why are the colonial-settlers prior to 1948 any different from those who colonized and settled after 1967?
Let me correct myself. Palestinians do hold one chip that Israel salivates over – the one big demand at the negotiating table that seems to hold up everything else. Israel craves recognition of its “right to exist.”
But you do exist – don’t you, Israel?
Israel fears “delegitimization” more than anything else. Behind the velvet curtain lies a state built on myths and narratives, protected only by a military behemoth, billions of dollars in US assistance and a lone UN Security Council veto. Nothing else stands between the state and its dismantlement. Without these three things, Israelis would not live in an entity that has come to be known as the “least safe place for Jews in the world.”
Strip away the spin and the gloss, and you quickly realize that Israel doesn’t even have the basics of a normal state. After 64 years, it doesn’t have borders. After six decades, it has never been more isolated. Over half a century later, and it needs a gargantuan military just to stop Palestinians from walking home.
Israel is a failed experiment. It is on life-support – pull those three plugs and it is a cadaver, living only in the minds of some seriously deluded foreigners who thought they could pull off the heist of the century.
The most important thing we can do as we hover on the horizon of One State is to shed the old language rapidly. None of it was real anyway – it was just the parlance of that particular “game.” Grow a new vocabulary of possibilities – the new state will be the dawn of humanity’s great reconciliation. Muslims, Christians and Jews living together in Palestine as they once did.
Naysayers can take a hike. Our patience is wearing thinner than the walls of the hovels that Palestinian refugees have called “home” for three generations in their purgatory camps.
These universally exploited refugees are entitled to the nice apartments – the ones that have pools downstairs and a grove of palm trees outside the lobby. Because the kind of compensation owed for this failed western experiment will never be enough.
And no, nobody hates Jews. That is the fallback argument screeched in our ears – the one “firewall” remaining to protect this Israeli Frankenstein. I don’t even care enough to insert the caveats that are supposed to prove I don’t hate Jews. It is not a provable point, and frankly, it is a straw man of an argument. If Jews who didn’t live through the Holocaust still feel the pain of it, then take that up with the Germans. Demand a sizeable plot of land in Germany – and good luck to you.
For anti-Semites salivating over an article that slams Israel, ply your trade elsewhere – you are part of the reason this problem exists.
Israelis who don’t want to share Palestine as equal citizens with the indigenous Palestinian population – the ones who don’t want to relinquish that which they demanded Palestinians relinquish 64 years ago – can take their second passports and go back home. Those remaining had better find a positive attitude – Palestinians have shown themselves to be a forgiving lot. The amount of carnage they have experienced at the hands of their oppressors – without proportional response – shows remarkable restraint and faith.
This is less the death of a Jewish state than it is the demise of the last remnants of modern-day colonialism. It is a rite of passage – we will get through it just fine. At this particular precipice in the 21st century, we are all, universally, Palestinian – undoing this wrong is a test of our collective humanity, and nobody has the right to sit this one out.
Israel has no right to exist. Break that mental barrier and just say it: “Israel has no right to exist.” Roll it around your tongue, tweet it, post it as your Facebook status update – do it before you think twice. Delegitimization is here – have no fear. Palestine will be less painful than Israel ever was.