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by Yaniv Reich on April 1, 2012

Peter Beinart’s new book, The Crisis of Zionism, tries hard—really, really hard—to distinguish between what he calls “non-democratic Israel”, i.e. the occupation and settlements, and “democratic Israel”, which seems somehow in his and other liberal Zionists’ brains as immune from the theft, murder, and grinding ethnic cleansing of the big-o Occupation.

It’s a charming but silly, ahistorical attitude. The fiction of “democratic Israel”, based on a solid Jewish demographic majority, was artificially constructed via violent as well as legalistic ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Consider this story, as recounted by a Jewish soldier present at the time of the massacres in al-Duwayima, Palestine, 1948:

“I wish to submit to you an eyewitness report given to me by a soldier who was in al-Duwayma on the day following its occupation… The man is one of us [member of the United Workers’ Party (MAPAM)]…

“He opened his heart to me because there are not many hearts these days that are willing to listen. He arrived in al-Duwayma immediately after its occupation. The conquering army was the 89th battalion… They killed some 80–100 Arabs, women and children. The children were killed by smashing their skulls with clubs. There was not a single house without dead. The second wave of the army consisted of the battalion of the soldier who gave this eyewitness report… In the village there remained Arab women and men who were put in houses without food or drink. Then the sappers came to blow up the houses. One officer order a sapper to put the two old women into the house he was about to blow up. The sapper refused, and said that he would obey only such orders as were handed down to him by his immediate commander. So the officer ordered his own soldiers to put the women in, and the atrocity was carried out. Another soldier boasted he had raped an Arab women and then shot her. Another Arab woman with a day-old baby was employed in cleaning jobs in the yard… She worked for one or two days in the service, and then she was shot, together with her baby…

Cultured and well-mannered commanders who are considered good fellows… have turned into low murderers, and this happened not on the storm of the battle and blind passion, but because of a system of expulsion and annihilation. The fewer Arabs that remain the better.”

Quoted by Eyal Kafkafi, ‘A Ghetto Attitude in the Jewish State’, Davar, 6 September 1979, as cited by Uri Davis in Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within.

This is why when Israeli right-wingers flyer Jerusalem with ads saying “All of Israel is a settlement”, they are way more precise and honest than is Beinart about the brutal history of Zionism. The difference between the land-obsessed colonialism, ethnic cleansing and violence of “democratic” and “non-democratic” Israel is merely the pace at which the crime is committed.

This is why the artificial distinction between “democratic” and “nondemocratic” Israel can only exist through a historical amnesia that “liberal Zionists” seem far more willing to make—surprise!—than Palestinians.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Somebody April 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Perhaps if there were a campaign to pose the question, “Does any society which depends on racially motivated murder, in order to exist, have any right to exist?”, then as anyone would have difficulty in disagreeing openly with a conclusion to the negative, all we would have to do then, would be to prove that Israel came to exist, and its artificial undemocratic majority maintained, by means of encouraging silent transfer, by means including amongst othe things, murder of the wrong sorts of Israelis

2 Yaron Levi April 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm

What happened in 1948 happened in 1948.
Today is 2012
It is time to move on.

3 John Somebody April 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm

To Yaron Levi.
If zionasties get away with that crime, then the world will have to learn the same lesson again. The one about being victims of the crimes of state practioners of racially motivated murder, does not justify becoming practitioners of racially motivated murder.

And it’s not just 1948, but Israel could not exist, without continued encouragement reducing of the Palestinian population. This has had to include further occasional massacres. That means more racially motivated murder, (genocide). How much genocide should the world forget about ? By your standards, it seems, “what happened”, in 1949, “happened” in 1949, so the world should move on. And 1950. And if more racist thugs want to practice more of the same tomorrow, in their attempts to create, more “facts on the ground”, well they need only wait another day, year or whatever, when the likes of you can say that it’s all in the past, so we should all “move on”,. like some bent fascist cop, telling the passers by to just “move on”. Sickening.

Does any nation state/society which depends on racially motivated murder, in order to exist, have any right to exist as a state or society ?

4 davide valentini April 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm

It is very sad but every modern nation had their genocides including USA.The idea to move on could be,but it seem very difficult considering Isreal politic.I am an italian jew and i am living in Central America.How difficult can be live in a country where Israel has supported worst dictators?I was grown up with idea that Isreal was a country of freedom and social change……

5 John Somebody April 5, 2012 at 8:40 am

The difference being, that such other nations would not have ceased to exist, if the genocidal crimes had ceased to exist

sporting index football6 Yaniv Reich April 5, 2012 at 11:05 am


(1) “What happened in 1948 happened in 1948.” Easy, and cheap, for you to say.

(2) “Today is 2012. It is time to move on.” But slower variants of the violence and dispossession continue to happen, as argued in the post. Makes it really hard to act like ethnic cleansing only happens “in the past” when it happens every day in Palestine, on both sides of the green line.

7 Yaron Levi June 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

What Peter Beinart tries really, really hard to distinguish between – from his comfortable armchair in New York – has no impact whatsoever.

The 10 million Ton Brontosaurus in the room is that diaspora liberals like him with 60% outmarriage rates, 20% no-marriage rates are irrelevant for the Jewish future as they assimilate into oblivion.

No, the the future is being decided here in Israel where the Jewish people grows at 100,000 per year and where systemic economic improvements are continuing to sustain GDP growth rates at around 60% per decade.

8 john Somebody June 27, 2012 at 6:18 am

And all of that at the expense of the Palestinians that what became Israel was stolen from, and their descendants who continue to be ethnically “cleansed”, by racially motivated murderers.

One day, I hope that people will reach a commonly agreed name, for the state practitioners of racially motivated murder, and their supporters

9 Boris Mann June 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I must say this website does not make any sense. Israel is there and it exists. Wishing it to be uncreated is a rather ridiculous way of thought.

10 John Somebody June 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Thinking that the website doesn’t make sense, for the reason given doesn’t make sense, because :
1. It’s not the website that has expressed any “wish”, for Israel to be “uncreated”, at least in this article.
2. As Palestine was “uncreated”, or at least, wiped off the map, then the same could happen to Israel. The world has an opportunity to undo some of the wrongs imposed by the UN, (in giving away land which was not theirs to give), and create a way to achieve wiping Israel off the map, with political pressure, not murderous military force, as used by state practitoners of racially motivated, (genocidal), murder.

11 Yaron Levi June 28, 2012 at 8:26 am

To John Somebody: I agree – we stole land from the arabs. BUT the arabs also stole land from us in Cairo, Damascus, Bagdad, Yemen, Tripoli, Algeirs etc. For every dunam stolen from Arabs by Israel there are 4 dunams stolen by Arabs from Jews.

So in fact, it is the Arabs WHO OWE US LAND!!I
But for the sake of peace, we israelis are willing to forgive and forget.

Have a nice day

12 John Somebody June 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm

To Yaron Levi.
If you mean that land in Cairo etc was “stolen” from you, as a people, you have to be failing to acknowledge that land was stolen from individual Jews, not the Jewish people, (many of whom hate the name of Israel). And those individual Jews, would have been victims, not only of thieves, but also of people wanting revenge, (for what had already been stolen, by racist, genocidal zionist thieves). And those wanting revenge, would have had to have believed the zionist lie, that to be Jewish, is to be zionist. For ignorant people to believe the lie that is promoted, makes them tools of the liars.
To pretend that theft from an innocent Arab or Jew, is justified by theft from a gulity Arab or Jew, or anyone else, is similar in principle to the zionasty habit of mass murdering Palestinians after one of them had enough lust for revenge, after generations of his/her family suffering hypocrite zio-terror, to kill a busload of innocent Israelis. Although, of course, if any Israeli is a willing taxpayer, then s/he isn’t so innocent.
And really, saying that Jews would have formed the bulk of landowners in Cairo, Damascus, etc. surely must be a desperate attempt to create an impression of equivalence. Like saying they’re as bad as us, (when they’re not), to justify carrying on with theft of land, racially motivated murder, etc.
If you, (or the zionist people), want peace, then surely you would not be doing most to perpetuate violence. If we look at who does most of the killing, we can get an idea of who has most reason to retalliate, and who does most to provoke the next round of violence. To get an idea of who does most killing / perpetuate war, you might try to name ONE Israeli refugee camp.
I’ve been trying for years to get zionists to name ONE, even offering to pay £100 to the first person to do that for me.

13 Yaron Levi June 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

The Israeli refugee camps were called Ma’abarot of which there were about 125. Examples of their names were: Kiryat Shmona, Sderot, Beit She’an, Yokneam, Or Yehuda, Migdal HaEmek and Beit Lid. These camps eventually became towns.
See Ma’abarot on wikipedia for details and photos.

14 John Somebody June 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Am I right to suspect those camps were formed by immigrants to Israel ?
If so, they were not refugees, from any conflict with Palestinians.

If they were refugees from conflict arising in places such as Cairo, (as previously mentioned), then not only did they become refugees in conflict resulting from conflict inflicted on Palestinians, not by Palestinians. Also as no such camp exists today, my point stands, there is NO Israeli refugee camp. And also they would have included Jews like Naieim Giladi.

You Tube.

The Jews of Iraq
Naeim Giladi

“I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book: to tell the American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews.

To buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab neighbors. I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called “cruel Zionism.” I write about it because I was part of it”.

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