The Settlements

A few days ago, I came across this provocative quote from Jewish author Norm Finkelstein, and thought about sharing it here:

“Every single member of my family on both sides were exterminated… I consider nothing more dispicable than to use their suffering and their martyrdom to try to justify the torture, the brutalization, the demolition of homes that Israel daily commits against the Palestinians.”

But, not wanting to invite the inevitable ugly debate over the Israeli occupation, I decided not to share it. Then, today, after reading an article about a recent assassination carried out by Israeli intelligence operatives, I happened across an episode of a BBC show called Panorama, which was all about the Jewish settlement movement, and I decided that maybe a debate on Israeli occupation may not be such a terrible thing after all. (All I ask is that people on both sides remain respectful.) So, with that, here’s the first installment of the BBC report:

[This post was to have ended with a paragraph or two of thoughtful, evenhanded analysis, but, after having attempted to do so for the past two hours, I’ve decided to give up… If you have thoughts, though, please leave a comment.]

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15 Comments

  1. Pete S
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    You might also want to check out this video taken by Max Blumenthal in Jerusalem on the night that Obama spoke in Cairo. It’s enlightening.

    http://maxblumenthal.com/2009/06/feeling-the-hate-in-jerusalem-on-the-eve-of-obamas-speech-in-cairo/

    The amount their ancestors suffered cannot be understated, but it’s no excuse for the behavior that this younger generation is showing today. It’s shameful, and a disgrace to the memories of those who came before them.

  2. Dirtgrain
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The oppressed are quick to become the oppressors.

  3. Kim
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    It’s a horribly sad situation. I’m inclined to side with Israel, as they’re a relatively stable democracy is what historically is a troubled region. Unlike their neighbors, they believe in women’s rights, etc. That, however, doesn’t make this right. The settlement movement is cancerous, and it needs to be stopped. Moderates in the Jewish community need to stand up to the hardliners and demand it be stopped.

  4. Robert
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    We should see if there is any way to get the disputed territories renamed “Ypsitucki.”

  5. Fred
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    No discussion of the settlements would be complete without mention of the Israel lobby in the United States.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/john-mearsheimer/the-israel-lobby

  6. Oliva
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    http://www.ijsn.net/home/

    Save the Date!

    For the 1st US Jewish anti-Zionist Gathering

    June 20-22, 2010, Detroit, MI

    The 2010 US Social Forum comes at a critical time for the Palestine Solidarity Movement. The United States is moving towards another plan for “peace” in Israel/Palestine that will reject true demands for justice in the region. On the other hand, more and more people are seeing the connection between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

    Come together with anti-Zionist Jews from the US committed to:

    * Palestine Solidarity
    * Rejection of the Israeli Apartheid State
    * Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
    * Supporting all Anti-Imperialist, Anti-Racist and Anti-Colonial Struggles
    * Supporting the voice of Palestinians to de-privilege Jewish voices on Palestinian self-determination

    The 2010 US Social Forum comes at a critical time for the Palestine Solidarity Movement. The United States is moving towards another plan for “peace” in Israel/Palestine that will reject true demands for justice in the region. On the other hand, more and more people are seeing the connection between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

    We want to use this gathering to further advance BDS campaigns across the US; share resources on education and our various projects/campaigns; and develop relationships with each other across the country.

    To get involved in organizing this gathering or learn more about attending, contact: azj.convening@gmail.com

  7. Robert
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Did I just misspell “Ypsitucky?”

    Incredible!

  8. Larry Seven Larry
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Attacking a United Nations compound with white phosphorus shells probably wasn’t that good of a PR move either.

    http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8490646.stm?ad=1

  9. Brackinald Achery
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I think the bible is pretty clear that until every member of a culture has gotten so horribly evil that you’re justified in exterminating each and every one, including their animals, and burning all their stuff, you have to play nice.

  10. Posted February 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Can I ask for a translation, BA? I’m having trouble with this one.

    And thank you all for your thoughts and links.

  11. Brackinald Achery
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Well, when I think of the justifications that people might use for why it’s okay for Israelis to take all the land promised to Abraham by force, my brain goes to the Book of Joshua regarding the conquest of Canaan.

    Then I think of the differences between the conquest of Canaan and what’s happening now, and why that justification doesn’t fly.

  12. Posted February 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Gotcha.

    Thanks.

  13. EOS
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    We need to force these peoples to sit down at the peace table and come up with an equitable 2 state solution – Israel and one of the following:

    1: Kuwait
    2: Iraq
    3: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
    4: Bahrain
    5: Qatar
    6: United Arab Emirates
    7: Oman
    8: Yemen
    9: Jordan
    10:Somalia
    11: Lebanon
    12: Syria
    13: Egypt
    14: Sudan
    15: Djibouti
    16: Libya
    17: Tunisia
    18: Algeria
    19: Morocco
    20: Mauritania
    21: Comoros
    22-Palestine

  14. Steph's Dad
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Given Obama’s domestic agenda, and how poorly it’s been moving forward, I wouldn’t look for him to take the lead on Middle East peace. Maybe the Chinese will step up. I read yesterday that they’re expanding their role in the world, opening military bases around the world, etc.

  15. Adam
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Obama can’t help in the Middle east! He can’t even help the US. Look at how much debt he’s racking up and how much jobs continue to be lost at home. Nope, he’s not the right person to be helping other countries.

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