The Closing of the Zionist Mind

It finally happened. The Jerusalem Post has declared archeology itself anti-Semitic.

To tell you the truth, I am frankly worried about some of my colleagues who are committed Zionists having difficulty in dealing with reality in the wake of the severe difficulties facing the Zionist project in historical Palestine.

Caroline Glick’s inaccurate and angry attack on me in the Jerusalem Post reminded me again of why I am anxious about the Closing of the Zionist Mind.

Glick is actually alleging that anyone who practices critical history of the ancient world or the Middle East in general is thereby an anti-Jewish bigot. Glick, from Chicago, was a captain in the Israeli army and a judge advocate-general during the first Intifada or Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, which the Israeli army brutally crushed. She seems to be going off the deep end, having made herself notorious with the sick satirical video ‘We Con the World,’ which made fun of the civilian aid workers killed by Israeli commandos on May 31 of this year (and which appears to have had some backing from the Israeli government itself).

I don’t know if Captain Glick ever was not a zealot, but the bitterness and extremeness of her comments are now to the point of irrationality.

It is not just she. I’ve been at conferences where committed Zionists in the audience would afterwards approach me and, with a sort of glazed look in their eyes, give me a little set speech, then abruptly walk away. I initially always think they want to have a discussion. They don’t. They want to engage in some sort of strange ritual speech to exorcise the doubts I raised. They want to tell me off and then escape before I can reply.

One time some Orthodox students approached me at a conference to say that in their reckoning, Israeli settlers on the West Bank had almost never done any harm to anyone and maybe in total had killed 14 persons, for which they were sorry. I was frankly outraged. I mean, what world did these university students live in? Had they never read even one academic book on the effects of the Israeli Occupation on the Palestinians of the Palestinian West Bank? Why invent fairy tale statistics, and what is with the passive aggressive ‘apology?’ There is something wrong with this way of thinking, and it is a kind of group think that reinforces itself in small, tight, communities of discourse.

Last month, I was at a conference where a prominent academic at a prominent university gave a whole series of set speeches on various occasions.. Hamas is a terrorist organization that says it will never negotiate with Israel. Iran is near to being able and willing to nuke Israel. It was like a series of mantras to ward off any real, critical thought. When I told the person he was being essentialist, he was taken aback, then in a passive aggressive way, said he ‘hoped’ that what I was saying was true. It is so weird dealing with people who are supposed to be critical thinkers by trade who, when it comes to Israel, suddenly exhibit all the originality of a mynah bird. And they don’t let you get a word in edgewise once they start. And they constantly imply, with body language and innuendo, that you are misinformed or actively lying.

Other strange features of this discourse are the disregard for any evidence that contradicts the set talking points, unwillingness to seriously reconsider positions in the light of such evidence, the repetition of key phrases in an impenetrable way, the allegation that critics said things they never said, and insistence on demonizing the source of the alternative evidence.

I got exactly the same treatment in the 1970s from Maronite Christians in Lebanon and in the 1990s from pro-Milosevic Serbs, and recognize the condition. It is Failing Nationalism Syndrome (FNS).

Not all national projects succeed. There are by some counts 5000 ethnic groups in the world of a sort that could be the basis for a nation-state, but there are only about 190 countries. Some political projects, such as French Algeria (dominated by colons or colonists as a privileged group) or a Christian-dominated Lebanon, get going but just don’t have staying power. Algeria is now an almost wholly Muslim country, and Christians in Lebanon, while still powerful and numerous, are probably down to less than a third of the total population. But if we went back in time to 1935, we could sit at cafes in Algiers or Beirut and talk with these two about the future of their countries, and the ones in Algiers would have said that Algeria’s fate was to always be a part of France, and the Lebanese Maronites would talk have talked about their majority being strengthened and about the Phoenician identity of their country in the future.

Since the government of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is doing its best to run out the clock on a two-state solution, the only two plausible outcomes in Israel/Palestine in the coming decades are long years of dreary Apartheid or a one-state solution. It is not plausible that the Israelis will be allowed to keep the Palestinians stateless and without, ultimately, any real rights, forever. So Zionists (Israel nationalists) are increasingly suffering from Failing Nationalism Syndrome, and it is causing them to flail about saying the strangest things.

Let me take Glick’s weird screed section by section (she is replying to my : essay in Salon.com

‘ One of the most prominent anti-Zionists today is Prof. Juan Cole from the University of Michigan.

Zionism is just Israel nationalism. Nationalism is of two sorts. It can be a sane patriotism in which people take pride in their identity and pull together to achieve national projects of self-improvement. Or it can be an aggressive, expansionist, grasping and destructive movement that exalts the in-group over out-groups and disadvantages or damages the latter. The second sense of the word ‘nationalism’ was the more common in the 19th and the early 20th century.

So, I am not an anti-Zionist in principle (and it is weird that Glick would accuse me of being one), since Israel nationalism is fine with me as long as it is of the first sort. Any nationalism of the second sort, I roundly denounce, whether adopted by Jews, Arabs, or Melanesians. It is the virulent sort that Closes the Mind.

‘ Part of being a successful anti-Zionist involves claiming that Jews have no right to the land of Israel. So to be a good anti-Zionist, one needs to deny Jewish history.

To this end, in March Cole published a piece of historical fiction in the Salon online magazine.

Titled “Ten reasons why East Jerusalem does not belong to Israel,” Cole mixed half truths with flagrant lies to justify his denial of Jewish history and belittlement of the Jewish rights.

Cole wrote, “Jerusalem not only was not being built by the likely then non-existent ‘Jewish people’ in 1000 BCE, but Jerusalem probably was not even inhabited at that point in history. Jerusalem appears to have been abandoned between 1000 BCE and 900 BCE, the traditional dates for the united kingdom under David and Solomon.”

This assertion is so mendacious that it takes your breath away. As anyone who has actually been in Jerusalem can attest, it is all but impossible to be physically present in the oldest areas of the city and not bump into relics dating from between 1000 and 900 BCE.’

Glick is the one who is out of touch with reality. She cannot bump into a single monument from the period 1000-900 BCE in today’s Jerusalem. The position I hold is what is called the ‘Copenhagen school’ or ‘biblical minimalism,’ and it is a perfectly respectable academic movement. I think all archeologists and historians would hold it if some were not religious believers in the Bible. It is people like Capt. Glick who are politicizing archeology and tampering with science.

There is no evidence for a monotheistic cult in Canaan in the period leading up to 1000 BCE. Monotheistic Judaism appears to have been invented in the Babylonian exile or perhaps a little before, and the fables of a great kingdom of David and Solomon were woven together then. The Assyrians were the gossips of the ancient world and they wrote down everything that happened in their clay tablets, and even talk about minor Arab queens in the Hijaz, and they didn’t know anything about a magnificent kingdom of David and Solomon with palaces. If these figures existed at all, I suspect they just had really, really nice tents, not golden palaces (which by the way have not been found despite what ideologues like Glick assert). Historical Judaism was a reformation of Canaanite religion over a period of time. (Some readers asked me who I thought was carried off to Babylon in the first place, and the answer is simple: Canaanites, perhaps those of a certain religious cult, but very possibly not the sort of monotheist depicted in the Bible).

‘ Cole’s allegation is the academic equivalent of Louis Farakhan’s claim that white people are devils planted on earth by aliens. As an anti-Zionist anti-Semite, it was just a matter of time until Cole traveled into the fetid swamp of denying the historical record to facilitate his false claim that Jews are not a people and therefore are bereft of rights as a nation to our national homeland.

I don’t know where she found a quote by me saying that the Jews are not a people. She doesn’t actually seem good with like, evidence. But peoples anyway are not eternal essences. They are formed over time. All I am saying is that her timeline for the formation is off by several hundred years.

Anyway, if Israel nationalism depends on the Bible’s stories of David and Solomon being historical, then kiss it goodbye. But note that my point in the Salon article was not that Israelis had no right to be in Israel but rather that they have no right to expel all Palestinians from Jerusalem ( Yes, that is what Israelis of Glick’s stripe are doing) . Glick’s shouting is designed to cover up an ongoing set of crimes against someone else, by painting herself the victim of, horror, biblical minimalism of an academic sort.

And note Glick’s segue from calling me an ‘anti-Zionist’ to calling me an ‘anti-Semite’ because I won’t accept the bible at face value as a privileged text without some kind of supporting evidence (and in the face of contrary such evidence). I’ve gotten so I really don’t care about being called a bigot by people who are very obviously bigots.. And I am afraid that pretty much everyone is getting that way, which is a shame. Because the history of anti-Jewish bigotry in the West is cosmically ugly and should not be trivialized.

‘ And why shouldn’t he cover himself in anti- Semitic muck? So far, the stench has brought him great success. The very fact that I felt compelled to write an essay explaining why anti- Semitism is anti-Semitism and why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism is depressing proof that anti- Semites have been wildly successful in whitewashing their bigotry.’

I’m still looking for evidence of anti-Semitic muck in anything I’ve written, as opposed to just practicing history. And, I’m glad she thinks me a success, but lets face it, I’d have gone much further in conventional life if I hadn’t gotten on the wrong side of strident fanatics such as she. But, I was never interested in a conventional career. I have a sneaking admiration for Hunter S. Thompson that I doubt very many deans share.

‘ What makes contemporary anti-Semitism unique is its purveyors’ great efforts to hide its very existence. Their motivation is clear. Outside the openly genocidal anti-Semitic Muslim world, most anti-Semites are self-described liberals who claim to oppose bigotry. For these people, pretending away their prejudice is the key to their continued claim to enlightenment.

And so the likes of Oliver Stone publish clarifications.

And Cole invents history. And the Europeans blame Jews and Israel and Zionism when Jews inside and outside Israel are assaulted and killed.

And I am sorry I wrote this column.

Because an audience that demands an explanation of why evil is evil is an audience that has already sided with evil.’

If all that ranting makes sense to anyone, they should please explain it in terms that sane people can understand. Some of it is just guilt by association and conspiracy thinking.

Glick let slip at the end what is really going on. She is a cultist, who sees the world as black and white, good and evil. She and her movement are pure good. Those who oppose anything it does, including Apartheid, are evil.

And since the world will increasingly oppose Israeli Apartheid against the Palestinians, we are in for lots more furious rants and character assassination like Glick’s.

The Closing of the Zionist Mind, so evident in Glick’s weird column, is dangerous because a cult-like, black and white mindset is the first prerequisite for a turn to violence and it makes compromise and flexibility impossible. But what the Mideast needs more of is reasoned, humane, complex openness to change, to negotiation, to seeing the Other as human. Glick is foreclosing that process, and in so doing is helping dig the grave of Israel as we know it.

Luckily, most Israelis I know are nice people and Glick is not representative, so maybe I’m wrong to see a trend here as opposed to just a supremely annoying and ignorant individual.

92 Responses

  1. COLE: “Zionism is just Israel nationalism. ”

    Come again?

    “Zionism, the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, advocated, from its inception, tangible as well as spiritual aims. ”
    link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

    Of course, there were actually many types of Zionism, both secular and religious. There was even a small fraction of Zionists who suggested that Jews immigrate to Israel, but not to seek a “Jewish State”. Unfortunately, this minority lost out, and the vast majority of Zionists came to believe that Jews must have sovereignty over Israel. This is the most integral aspect of modern Zionism. This form of Zionism does not allow for Israel to be controlled by non-Jews. Modern Israeli Zionism means that Israel must be a “Jewish State”. Modern Israeli Zionism supports an essentially Biblical/mythological “right of return” for everyone even remotely “Jewish”, yet no “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. That’s pure bigotry.

    After the First Zionist Congress, Theodor Herzl wrote in his diary (September 1, 1897):
    “ Were I to sum up the Basle Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: At Basle I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today l would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it.”

    Israel nationalism (the good kind) should be “for all Israelis”. It would make no sense to call it Zionism as it would have nothing to do with “Jewish” identity. There would be no “Jewish State”. It would ONLY be about being Israeli.

    • I agree with Cole but would state it as “Zionism is Jewish Nationalism”. This agrees with Herzl et al solution to the “Jewish problem” is for the Jews to have a seperate nation state. Having it in Palestine was not necessary to the thesis of Zionism, but did match the nationalities ‘history’ of a kingdom in Palestine that they were expelled from. In the twentieth century, establishments of nation-states by conquest, ethnic cleansing and genocide became unfashionable. Too bad for the Israelis! This results in double-standards applied to Israels behavior in trying to complete their nation state project (it took 400 years for the Europeans to complete the effective genocide of the Western hemisphere), but civilization has moved on from “right of conquest”. I think the point Cole raises about most nation states failing is a good one and is one of the more troubling parts for those of us advocating a two state solution : the ‘Palestinan nations’ state looks unviable at the outset : any borders that will be acceptable will result in Palestine being a bizarrely fragmented land mass with an awful lot of people and no apparent economy.

      • Zionism is NOT merely “nationalism”, it is a colonial project, settlerism, not unlike Rhodes’ one. Serbs have NOTHING to do with it, they are NOT colonizing others’ land. And pro-Israel Christians in Lebanon are just colonialism’s helpers.

        Zionism is a “white men” conquering “non-whites” land, this is it.

        • People can call it what they want. But if it quacks like a duck….

          For me it is pure western colonialism. Add on ethnic cleansing and apartheid – and you get Israel as it exists.

  2. We’re supposed to sit quietly and watch them rob and murder Palestinians decade after decade and not say anything. Or maybe compliment the Israelis on their skills at killing. And then give them tons of money. And make enemies all over the world. The persecuted becoming persecutors. Not exactly the only time or place this kind of thing has happened. I went and looked at Glick’s article. It drones. And has melody of circular anger and hurt. Its almost formula, you could put in completely different words and it will be the same kind of article about something else. Writing can gain a kind of strength, simplicity, clarity and a sense of freedom by taking leave of the facts. There is more to way her mind is closed than is easy to put your finger on.

    Here in Arizona we’re at the ground zero of a campaign to expel 11 million illegal immigrants from the US regardless of costs and unintended consequences. There is no crime wave along the US side of the border. 96% of the people they are deporting have no criminal records. No beheaded bodies in AZ desert etc. Facts don’t matter. Did the Governor make up the headless bodies story to fit her narrative? Sure, it doesn’t matter. Doesn’t effect anything.

    What are the chances that where you have some of the most intense sort of traditional beliefs in the world that the archeology and ancient history won’t be bent. Basically zero. What the Shah did to Persian history was child’s play compared with this situation.

    The rule is (and there are a dozen of these rules) if you criticize Israel in any but the most groveling terms, protesting your loyalty all the way, you are an anti-semite. It doesn’t matter what you actually think or feel. That’s the rule. And there are enforcers, self appointed and otherwise. And organizations that will make it official. This is not just an inconvenience but a serious blow to honest dialogue and the truth . It must feel good to the people engaging in it, but in the long term it’s hurting everybody involved, including the Israelis and Palestinians.

    Keep up the good work. I don’t always agree but aren’t a lot people willing to tread the ground you do.

    • Arizona is a herald of American Failing Nationalism Syndrome. Except here what is failing is one definition of a nation versus another, not one nation falling to another.

      I have a map, which I don’t know how to post, of the % of Hispanic voters in US states. Combine that with the black vote in the South, and you can see a delicious irony: the Red States, the heartland of the GOP, are the states most rapidly losing their white majority. Tea Partiers will deny it up and down, but the sense of threat they feel comes from their own local demographics. Since they are reactionaries and only have the dogma of their beloved States’ Rights past to appeal to, they can only hate on Washington and federal power and New York and California and the North in the manner of Jefferson Davis. But all the power they try to amass for states will pass into the hands of minority voters. So the real function of that 19th Century rhetoric can only be to carry out a 19th Century agenda – the re-restriction of the franchise to ensure a permanent white majority. Will this anti-tax movement soon advocate a poll tax?

      No wonder their embrace of Israel grows ever tighter. No wonder John Hagee is financing building in the illegal settlements while his acolytes challenge Israeli courts to accept Tennessee Pentecostal theocrats as part of the “Judeo-Christian” nation. No wonder Sen. Lieberman marches increasingly in lockstep with the deranged Christian Republican Party. The US Christian Right and Zionism both must justify Jim Crow to perpetuate rule of their own homelands, surrounded by enemies, but they possess media control, capitalist sponsorship, and nuclear arsenals. So they’re gonna give it a try and drag all the rest of us with them.

  3. It was around 25 years ago that one of Israel most famous intelctual, Prof. Yeshayahu Leibovich (a religious Jew), coined the term “Judeo-Nazis” when he talked about Israeli/Jewish mentality and mindset as he saw it as taking real hold of some parts of Israeli society. At the time this comment provoked anger but today it clear to see (I hope) how true it was and very much is.

    When asked repeatedly about why he chooses to use such harsh words, Prof. Leibovich said in reply, “I’m only stating a fact, I have no other words for it”.

  4. In all such discourse, religion trumps scientific evidence as none is required by the former. That Carol Glick is hysterical and rambling is hopefully a sign that the continued illegal colonialism, occupation and imprisonment of Palestinians is no longer a taboo subject of discussion in the US.
    Europeans have long discussed this issue but their politicians seem transfixed and beholden to US foreign policy.
    The Gaza flotillas and various BDS movements are having an impact.

  5. Sorry. Not buying into the fluffy kind of Zionism.

    The “let’s all pull together and do something wonderful” kind of nationalism might be possible in some situations and with some groups; but if the nationalist group is the dominant group in the area and are demonstrating their dominance by forcing other groups to live with lower caste status and fewer rights, then any kind of exclusionary nationalism will forever be tainted.

    Zionism explicitly privileges Jews over all other peoples in the region and implicitly destroys, denies and dismisses two thousand years of history where the land was legitimately occupied by people who weren’t Jewish and yet were indigenous to that land. It’s not for nothing that Golda Meir could say “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.”

    • It is not about “nationalism”, it is about colonialism. Zionist Jews are Afrikaners of today.

      I am an anti-Zionist Jew, I know it well enough.

  6. Mark Braverman would agree with you and much more. The Jews, and the Christians should read his book “Fatal Ambrace.”

  7. Thanks Dr. Cole, for both the enlightening Salon article–I was reaching for it in my mind as I read the pablum from Captain Glick. Others are pointing out, and I will second the motion, that too much blood is already washing these ancient stones. There must be an accounting.

    Yet, even the Nazis arranged a “Battle of the Bulge” with their dying national dream. I say hold fast, keep witness, and share the ultimate dreams of peace and respect for human rights.

    Again, thanks for many edifying points and remarks. I, for one (small human), support you. Yours are the far more accurate, sensible, and even fair analyses in this and in many more arguments to come.

    I know the left is rather modular, with little crossover and much DIY. I wish you surrounded by kind company, and fair discussion. You, sir, are (but one, yet significant nonetheless) representative of a national treasure in the highest.

    When all around are rewriting history, when politics itself becomes enamored of re-describing events and places in the name of injustice, when cultists run countries and people of integrity flee from shadows, what do we have but the simple truth? A third time, thanks for combing through the snarled weeds of malfeasance.

  8. Excellent rebuttal. Glick is a sad loser.

    Zionists now feel that they are being pushed into a corner, hence their hysterically defensive attitude. However, any remnants of secular Zionism are aggressively being taken over by ultra religious Zionism. An Israeli colleague spilled to me his anguish about irrational extremism being felt in every corner of Israel. He says that it’s getting worse every day.

  9. Maybe it’d help to look more closely at the FNS pathology, noted here for the first time!

    It may be that it’ll be revealed to have predictable phases and stages of degeneracy. As when it gets to a certain point it refuses to listen, strikes out with increasing wildness, and so forth. At a certain point it would clearly become totally irrational, and we may be getting to the point where there is nothing “civilized” left to kept those afflicted from bringing down their own temple…

  10. I believe Glick was converted by the Aish Ha-Torah cult–“religious Zionists.” Reading stuff like this convinces me that Norman Finkelstein may have had a point when he said that Israel was becoming a “lunatic state.”

    Which are more dangerous, Pakistani nukes or Israeli nukes. Just askin’.

    • Based on what I see in our mass media and based on what our politicians of parties say there should be no doubt. The non-existent Iranian nukes are much, much more dangerous than the 200+ Israeli nukes.

      • Yes 200+ nuclear weapons. That was the number I knew of in 1980 while in the Military. It is closer to 400+, uninspected rogue state nuclear weapons today. Until the local inhabitants formally recognize the state of Israel, it has no legitimacy, no matter what the crazy American religious extrimists or the Israelis believe. As to the Archaeology, it is clear that the evidence is against the fundalmentalists. So it must be repressed.

  11. I wish I did not have this sense, but the harshness of the language I repeatedly hear from supporters of the Israeli government is frightening and shocking and continually saddening. The name of any person who is mentioned is only considered in relation to supposed support of Zionism, from Nelson Mandela to Barack Obama.

  12. Thank you, Dr. Cole, for standing up to bullies like Capt. Glick. Your entry is instructive because it reveals that some factions want to redefine Zionism to suit their own purposes. I think Glick’s rant shows that the nature of Zionism and who is a Jew is at stake.

    I deeply appreciate your efforts in the face of the personal and professional reverses that you suffer. I read you first every morning and then I visit Riverbend’s blog to see whether lasting peace has truly arrived in Iraq.

    Another Gozo admirer.

    Tony

    • Has Riverbend resurfaced ? The last entry on her former blog is dated October, 2007 describing her resettlement in Syria.

  13. “Other strange features of this discourse are the disregard for any evidence that contradicts the set talking points, unwillingness to seriously reconsider positions in the light of such evidence, the repetition of key phrases in an impenetrable way, the allegation that critics said things they never said, and insistence on demonizing the source of the alternative evidence.” Pretty much describes how I regard a lot of Republican discourse here today.

  14. If Zionism is a form of colonialism and Jews, therefore, should give it up and leave Palestine, where should they return to?

    • I don’t recall reading anyone even remotely credible who has seriously suggested that Jews should be forced to leave the Levant. The views that I’ve heard is that squatters in the West Bank and East Jerusalem should be relocated to Israel proper, or that a single state should be created to accomodate all inhabitants with equal rights and responsibilities.

      The “where should the the Jews go” argument is a deceitful gambit.

      But, it’s worth remembering that immigrants who still hold citizenship within their orginal homeland can’t honestly claim that they have nowhere to go. Unlike the Palestinians.

      • Let us assume that tomorrow Israel completely withdraws from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A hypothetical question: What is to do if the situation in the West Bank will follow the same development as the condition in Gaza and South Lebanon?

        Are you sure that people who have citizenship of another country have somewhere to return to? And that they would be welcomed back? What were the reasons for them to emigrate in the first place?

        • Since there are two parts of your statements, I shall break my response into two sections.

          1.) Israel’s “withdrawal” from Gaza was set up in a manner that virtually guaranteed that the maneuver would fail.

          The most crucial factor was that it was a unilateral move. There was no consultation with the Palestinian Authority or with Hamas, and so any expectation that either group would behave in what Israel or Israel’s supporters would consider an appropriate manner is completely irrational. With no discussion, no asking “what will it take to make this work?” there was no reason to think that the terms Sharon imposed would be acceptable to anyone but Israel.

          Official Israel’s refusal to negotiate with terrorists is not only counter productive, it is also blatantly hypocritical. It would have been like Franco refusing to communicate with Castro because the latter was a dictator – it would have been accurate but would in no way have granted moral high ground to the former, nor would it erase the reality that Franco was also a dictator. A number of Israel’s first wave of politicians were members of terrorist organisations; Ariel Sharon was involved in a number of massacres during his career right up to Sabra and Shatila; and Netanyahu himself has publicly commemorated the bombing of the King David Hotel and the murder of more than 90 people.

          If Israel’s terrorists and war criminals are acceptable leaders who deserve to be recognised by governments and should be negotiated with, then they have no ground to stand on when they refuse to deal with the elected leaders of the Palestinians in order to come to mutually acceptable terms.

          Nor would it be accurate to believe that Israel actually loosened it’s grasp on Gaza. By removing Jewish squatters from the strip they drastically reduced the Palestinians’ ability to retaliate to any provocative action that Israel, or groups/individuals affiliated with Israel might attempt (like for instance the Blockade of food, fuel and medical supplies, or Operation Cast Lead) and meant that the IDF had clear lines of fire with the only potential casualties being what would be considered acceptable collateral damage.

          Moreover Israel, and to a lesser but still significant extent Egypt, still controlled access to the strip. Movement between Gaza and the Westbank, which is a crucial component in any potentially viable two state solution was solely controlled by Israel and trade between Gazans and anyone else was completely under the control of foreign parties who the Palestinians have no reason to trust. Particularly given their refusal to form meaningful official relationships with the Palestinians’ chosen representatives.

          At the same time there was no halt to construction in the squatter communities in the Westbank. There was no cessation of jewish immigration to land that under international law didn’t belong to Israel. Leaving Gaza could only have worked if it had convincingly been shown as a first step to the decolonisation of all of (post-1948) Palestine.

          Other issues apply to Israel’s withdrawal from South Lebanon (and does anyone actually believe that Israel would have withdrawn if Hezbollah and associated factions hadn’t raised the cost of the occupation beyond an acceptable level?) However the greatest cause of the situation there remains Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in the 80s and their subsequent behaviour.

          2.) Citizens have a right of return to their homeland. If they had their citizenship revoked for whatever reason then Israel would, in the case of a two state solution, have the right to welcome however many jewish immigrants they chose; in the case of a one state solution the fate of the immigrants’ citizenship would be negotiated between the merging communities.

          There is no reason to presume that dual-citizenship citizens of Israel would be prevented from returning to their other homeland by any party. Nor is it likely they would lose their citizenship in Israel/Palestine in the case of a viable agreement to end the conflict.

          In either case their would be the potential that they might be obliged to remove themselves from land that had been confiscated from Palestinians, or to purchase the land from the original owners.

        • @ Adam
          Thank you for the very detailed explanation. Still, I don’t feel that you addressed my point.

          1.) The main issue of the whole conflict, if I understand it correctly, are the Israeli communities living on the land which is envisioned to become the Palestinian state. The most often voiced demand therefore is for Israel to withdraw from these territories. This is exactly what happened in Gaza, even if, arguably, not in the best possible manner. Nevertheless, the main requirement for a peaceful solution has been met. Yet, the result doesn’t look very promising.

          What is to do, purely hypothetical, if after reaching an agreement with the PA and withdrawing from the West Bank, the result would be similar to Gaza?

          2.) What I was thinking about was less the legal aspects but more the personal motivation. Why do people emigrate? A decision to leave your home is never an easy one. Only a small fraction does so because of ideological reasons. Most people living in Israel today came or are descendants of immigrants from Muslim countries and the ex-USSR, where they weren’t treated particularly well. And just because some of them still have the e.g. Russian citizenship doesn’t really mean they have “another home” and are welcome to return.

    • Considering that a huge number of Israelis hold dual citizenship and carry both Israeli and non-Israeli passports, a significant number could just leave tomorrow for the other place they call home.

      As for the ones that are descendants of the original colonists, they could go to the country their families originally came from.

      Of course, Israel could just give up lots of land, water, cash and apologies for 1947 and beyond and a much smaller Israel could probably continue to exist and accommodate those that had no other place to go to. After all, Afrikaners still live in South Africa, even though they have a lot less power and wealth. Jews could have a “Jewish state” by giving the original inhabitants most of the land and wealth, or the Jews can end up being a large minority in a Muslim controlled state.

      In the end there are ONLY FIVE possible outcomes to the whole Jews in the ME situation:

      (1) Two state – Jews given up lots of land, water, cash and apologies.

      (2) one state – Everyone has equal rights and Jews end up as a big minority with minority power. This will lead to lots of real estate law suits since the Israeli state has quite illegally taken lots of property from Arabs and given it to Jews.

      (3) Gaza to Egypt and small parts of the WB to Jordan – Neither state will let it happen as it would result in the overthrow of the existing governments.

      (4) Israel ethnically cleanses the entire area of all non-Jews. This will just lead to massive war and solution (5).

      (5) The Arabs/Muslims forcibly remove all Jews from the ME. While this may not be completely possible today (or maybe it is), the Arabs are gaining power and Israel is losing power as a consequence to the normal, constant shifting of power throughout history. My estimate is that the Arabs might be able to easily defeat the IDF within five years.

      Personally I would like to see scenarios 1 or 2, but both require Jews to give up their dreams of power and wealth and few groups do that willingly. As a result, I suspect that scenario 5 will be the end game, which is a shame since so many people will lose their lives and so many people without dual citizenship will again become refugees. Maybe this time the Jews will be allowed into the US instead of rejected like they were during and after WW2.

      • My estimate is that the Arabs might be able to easily defeat the IDF within five years.

        Five years? Please sketch out a scenario you have in mind.

    • Actually, I recently read that migration by Jews out of Israel has begun to outpace immigration of “Jews” (including Russians who claim to be Jewish to get settler benefits) to Israel. This is a nightmare scenario for Zionist ideology and explains the growing paranoia Prof. Cole has observed. But if all the liberal Jews are getting sick of scary militarism and leaving, and nominal Jews from Russia try to prove themselves good Israelis by their willingness to oppress and kill Palestinians, what kind of population do you end up with? This is why the politics and attitudes of actual Jewish-Americans and Jewish-Europeans get further and further away from Israelis, yet the political representatives of the former only obey the laundry lists of the latter.

      Soon, ordinary liberal American Jews will face a permanent campaign of denunciations from Fox, AIPAC and the Christian Right for being race traitors and heretics because they won’t emigrate and they don’t hold pro-war beliefs. Will this persecution be called anti-Semitism?

      • Are you implying that the only reason for Israeli emigration is the “scary militarism” of the country? Perhaps other factors, like the climate, or better economic prospects elsewhere, are also playing a role? Or can it be, that some Israeli families are more concerned with the safety of their children than with the well being of their country?

      • This strikes me as a better explanation for Israeli “failing nationalism syndrome” than Cole’s assertion that, “It is not plausible that the Israelis will be allowed to keep the Palestinians stateless and without, ultimately, any real rights, forever.” Forever is a long time, but I think the Israeli’s can maintain the status quo more or less indefinitely, if they want to.

  15. Pig bones disappear from digs about 1200 BCE. I’m not suggesting that anything like fully developed monotheistic Yahweh worship goes that far back, but something was starting to happen.

  16. Caroline Glick and many others know there’s a difference between hating someone because he/she is Jewish and criticizing criminally inhumane behavior by people that happen to be Jews. However, that doesn’t stop her and others from playing the anti-Semitic card. This is calculatedly disingenuous behavior, but many times effective.

  17. Good, dispassionate skewering of the entirely typical Glick ranting. The hysteria of these kind of people is telling. Personally, were I Jewish or Israeli, I would be very worried about the calibre of ‘thinking’ displayed by these people, particularly since it seems to penetrate the upper echelons of those who exercise power. What must be particularly galling for them is their inability to hold back the tide of facts which refute their rambling denunciations. They are in a hole, they keep digging, going so deep no light gets through. People who have no great interest in the Middle East increasingly gain the impression of Israel being in the hands of crackpots and fundamentalists, best avoided, liable to eruptions of mad-eyed wild assertions, hostile to everybody, yet demanding unlimited indulgence. In a word, dangerous to know, dangerous to avoid.

  18. It certainly shows the darkening of Israeli nationalism, which like all nationalist movements the world over, only leads to destruction. Charles De Gaulle (who as a veteran of World War 1 and a general during WW2 therefore knew a thing or two about Nationalism) once said:

    “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first. ”

    Scary stuff alright, I just read this article/interview with Emily Henochowicz ,the Jewish American arts student who went to Israel to study and ended up joining the International Solidarity Movement after witnessing Jewish extremism on the streets. She lost her eye when the IDF fired on her.

    link to villagevoice.com

  19. The Republicans in the US are also suffering from FNS. Excellent post, as always, sir.

  20. Apropos of Juan’s earlier post raising doubt about the Kingdom of David, apparently the weight of the archaeological evidence is as Dr. Cole summarized it but the evidence does not support his categorical statements this at least according to an excellent NOVA program you can see here – NOVA: The Bible’s Buried Secrets

    Excellent program. I watched the re-run on PBS. All of the archaeologists both pro and con on the question of the Kingdom of David’s existence, capital at Jerusalem, I believe, were Israelis. I imagine that Col Glick would say that those who believe the Bible’s accounts are entirely mythological are self-loathing Jews.

    • Kenneth Atkinson of the Biblical Archaeology Review watched that NOVA program, and his interpretation of it is interesting. Reading between the lines, he seems to be saying that there really isn’t much hard evidence for most Biblical claims, but he knows he doesn’t dare say so for fear of attack from those with a vested religious interest in saying that there is:

      Unlike many similar documentaries, “The Bible’s Buried Secrets” does not begin with the book of Genesis or the Patriarchal period. Rather, it opens with the problematic issue of whether it is possible to establish a firm and reliable chronology between the Bible and archaeology. It uses Sir William Flinder Petrie’s 1896 discovery of the “Merneptah Stele” in Thebes, Egypt, as an illustration. This monument, carved in 1208 B.C.E., recounts the military victories of the son of Ramesses the Great—the king many believe was the Pharaoh of the biblical Exodus. One line of this text reads “Israel is laid waste, its seed is not.” Egyptologist Donald Redford suggests this passage is the earliest evidence that a people called “Israel” existed. William Dever—a familiar name to BAR readers—examines the problem in correlating such artifacts with the Bible, which is primarily a theological document. He suggests that we are on firmest ground when we find intersections between science and Scripture. Unfortunately, as he and many experts stress throughout the show, such correspondences are rare, and often subject to multiple interpretations.

      […]

      The producers have done a magnificent job summarizing over a century of biblical archaeology and biblical scholarship in two hours. The film strikes a balance between the old-fashioned biblical archaeology approach, which tried to prove the Bible’s historicity, and the extreme skepticism of some minimalists, for whom the Bible contains little factual history. The documentary reflects the view of most mainstream biblical scholars and archaeologists, namely that the Bible, although a theological work, does contain some historical memories of the ancient Israelites. Scholars will lament the lack of a more critical analysis of some of the film’s claims, especially the proposed identification of David’s palace. The special often gives the impression that there was a single “Bible” in antiquity, and fails to acknowledge that many different versions of each biblical book existed. Nevertheless, viewers of this show should gain a greater appreciation for the Bible’s complexities, and gain some understanding of why it is difficult to correlate this theological text with the historical and archaeological record.

  21. The irony is that without fundamentalist psuedo-christian churches in the US, the colonization of Palestine would be impossible.

    These so-called christian fundamentalists basically have turned away from the image of God represented by Christ and want to revive the image of the fiery, violent, old-testament God. (Of course this picture of God was merely given to ancient people’s who were not yet ready to concieve a peaceful, loving God.) The western church, tired of being castigated for being too nice and boring, sees in the revival of Israel a way to validate their beliefs in the bible, wreak vengeance on the agnostics and other doubters, and turn the clock back to a time when serving God meant fighting viciously for tribal survival. They are using the Jews and the Jews are using them because radical fundamentalists come in all shapes and sizes.

    Real religion begins when you understand that Israel is a metaphor for a higher purpose in life. If you don’t think the bible is metaphoric look at Genesis, why does the motif of a younger brother honored and exalted over his older brother occur 7 times? The same motif occurs later in the old testament (and yes, that is its proper name, since no one practices it anymore) as well. Gee…just maybe the old testament writers were allegorically showing just what the prophets themselves said; the old testament was a temporary guide for humanity until humanity learned to feel God within. “I will write my law in their hearts.” Tradition does not make one righteous, only a pure heart does.

  22. Notice that Glick aims to tar & feather a larger audience of people of the left, and of course Juan and Oliver are in this class. But in the end, her guilt about her tribe passively offers and apologises. (And I am sorry I wrote this column. ) Followers of Zionism may be having a hard time believing in the greatness of this waning idea, because it is becoming very stale when you hear the regurgitated talking points. The internet debate has provided enough room to thoroughly debunk these points, where it is not even challenging to debate any longer.

    Zionism will eventually go belly-up in the decades to come, as it serves only a small ethnic group that is running out of ways to explain occupation and subjugation of people.

  23. You’re in good company, Prof Cole: one of the leading lights of biblical minimalism, if we must call it that, Thomas L Thompson, writes about being accused of being “a staunch believer in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” for his views on the history of Jerusalem (which you have accurately summarised, I believe). In a strangely proto-Glickian way, he says: “This open and unabashed accusation still takes my breath away.”
    link to bibleinterp.com

  24. Perhaps DSM-V will include a sub-category for “Closed Minded Zionism” as part of “Militant, Closed Minded National Socialist Democracy.”

  25. Don’t you see: the anti-Semitic Assyrians intentionally left David and Solomon out of their accounts so that you could reference it 3000 years later to further disenfranchise Jews from Jerusalem and….

    wait, what were we talking about again?

    • Brilliant XE!

      You have a successful career ahead of you helping to ‘drain the swamp’ of anti-Semites and other hate-poisoned deniers of G_D’s own Truth.

      Roll over Caroline – you’ve been out-Glicked! :-)

  26. Originally, the people of Israel were polytheists who worshiped a tribal storm god. When Judah became incorporated into the Persian Empire, the Persians were quick to identify the Judean tribal storm god (Yahweh) with their imperial monotheistic god, Ahura Mazda, and thus a theocracy was born in order to keep the Jewish state placidly inside the Persian Empire.

    Hence the plagiarism between the Old Testament and the ancient vedic dietary laws of the Persians, and hence the outright hero-worship of Isaiah for the Persian conqueror, Cyrus the Great (“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty Savior, God-Is-With-Us” — does this sound familiar?). And hence the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, which portray the Persian King as the protector of the Jewish people.

    So now we have a bunch of Europeans invading Palestine to kill the real descendants of the Jews, and preparing to launch a war against the descendants of the Persians who created the original Yahweh cult as a means of strengthening the Persian empire.

    And we still haven’t found Noah’s Ark, the Temple of Solomon, or the swords and shields that should still be at the bottom of the Red Sea when Moses closed the waters over Pharoah’s army.

    It was only three decades ago that Menechem Begin was assuring the Jews that their ancestors built the Great Pyramid — never mind that the pyramids were built a thousand years before the ‘Israelites’ even claimed to have been in Egypt. But I wouldn’t be surprised that there are pious Jews who demand reparations for all the tourism revenues from the Great Pyramids on that basis.

  27. The issue of Biblical Minimalism is marginal to the larger argument, but here’s a question anyway: I have my doubts about the claim that *only* religious believers in the Bible are not minimalists. One imagines that one can be a non-minimalist without thereby being a maximalists who accepts every little detail in the Bible about the period at hand?

    Also, making an issue of a scholar’s religion in this kind of context is an ad hominem argument. You’re accusing maximalists of refusing to go where the evidence leads due to religious motivations. But once we allow ad hominem claims, they can be slung in every direction. For example, minimalists could be accused of willfully ignoring all literary evidence due to an anti-religious motivation. (Not that I think either this accusation or the other is true, or that if it is true, it matters. Ultimately what matters is the quality of the argument, not the motives.)

    It’s worth keeping in mind that there are examples in which collective memory has been shown to preserve genuinely archaic information, initially dismissed by some, but later vindicated by the evidence of epigraphy or radiocarbon-dated manuscripts. There are examples relating to ancient Greece, pre-Islamic Arabia, and early Islam. As the cliche goes, absence of (documentary) evidence is not evidence of absence.

  28. RE: “Other strange features of this discourse are the disregard for any evidence that contradicts the set talking points, unwillingness to seriously reconsider positions in the light of such evidence…” – Juan Cole
    MY CONTRIBUTION: “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but facts will never sway us.” – Neocon Creed

    • P.S. FROM TED RALL, 07/22/10: …Umberto Eco’s 1995 essay “Eternal Fascism” describes the cult of action for its own sake under fascist regimes and movements: “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”…
      SOURCE – link to commondreams.org

  29. I think we see today in the new law that is being proposed in Israel regarding converts to Judaism and the question this law raises as to who is/is not a Jew is the inevitable consequence of an identify that has never fully defined. Is being a Jew based a religious identify or ethnic identify that can be divorced from the religion? It is clear that the religious feel it must be based on religion, and while I am irreligious, I must say that definition is probably the more logical one. This law, if passed, will I believe, have dramatic consequences for the state of Israel and the influence religion will have in the future. I think many people who may consider themselves Jews, may and will find that are not considered Jews at all by the religious and therefore they will have no part in the life of the State of Israel , if that state can survive this deeply important question.

    It was only a matter of time before this became important. It is likely to tear the country apart. Is Israel a country based on a religious text and therefore a theocracy? This is what the religious believe and as their numbers are growing, theirs will be the views that prevail.

  30. When I was a teenager in the late ’70s and an increasingly skeptical Baptist, I was introduced to a BBC series about the lack of achaeological evidence for David’s empire. I had no idea that the mainstream view in Europe was that the Old Testament was just propaganda written by self-serving priests – a view I now share.

    Yet the gap between what Europe and America believe about the history of the Middle East seems to be widening. To be a Christian at all in America you must claim to be a literalist, or it will get ugly for you. Even if you are not religious you must repeat the dogma that the Old Testament narrative justifies the seizure of Palestinian homes and farms.

    I think the US and Israel are locked in an embrace of origin stories. Our WASP ancestors used the Old Testament as an analogy for their destruction of Native Amemrican lands to the point where they practically appointed themselves the named party in a new Covenant. Then Jabotinsky name-checked America’s successful crime in proclaiming his goal in Palestine – complete elimination. Then the Right in the US fell in love with a victorious, expanding Israel in 1967 and both the neo-con and Christian wings have seemed to channel its might-makes-right ruthlessness to bully their way into power here and around the world.

    Is Israel the 51st state, or a new Red State that the other Red States follow out of the Union into an expansionist crusade against any land with resources?

  31. Ms Glick sounds as though she has a character disorder — a covert-aggressive personality. One of the traits is that such a person will use tactics that make it more likely that others will go on the defensive, retreat, or concede, while acting as though they themselves are the victim. And when arguing, they have to win.

  32. Ms Glick exhibits some of the traits of a highly manipulative person. For example, she uses tactics that make it more likely that others will go on the defensive, retreat, or concede, while acting as though she herself is the victim. And when arguing, she has to win.
    Reply

  33. It is so weird dealing with people who are supposed to be critical thinkers by trade who, when it comes to Israel, suddenly exhibit all the originality of a mynah bird.

    It’s definitely strange, although that’s common when you deal with ardently religious people (and by “religious”, I don’t just mean in terms of believing in God, etc – I mean a way of thinking). They’ve got this enormous emotional investment in something, and that means that they’ll just keep rationalizing and rationalizing anything that contradicts or comes against that.

    So Zionists (Israel nationalists) are increasingly suffering from Failing Nationalism Syndrome, and it is causing them to flail about saying the strangest things.

    It kind of reminds of the American South in the decade before the American Civil War. Even as support was building to undermine slavery, they just grew more and more shrill and hysterical about it.

    Glick let slip at the end what is really going on. She is a cultist, who sees the world as black and white, good and evil. She and her movement are pure good. Those who oppose anything it does, including Apartheid, are evil.

    Exactly. She’s split the world into Supporters of Israel/Jews, and Enemies. Since you aren’t uncritically pro-Israel, you must be an Enemy, and Enemies (and therefore anti-semitic in Glick’s view).

    It’s like that appalling Jennifer Rubin bit a long while back in Commentary (or was it National Review?), about how you either “support Israel or are enabling her enemies.”

  34. “Luckily, most Israelis I know are nice people and Glick is not representative, so maybe I’m wrong to see a trend here as opposed to just a supremely annoying and ignorant individual.”

    Maybe, but more than 95% of the israelis supported the latest onlslaught on Gaza “Operation Cast Lead “, they wanted the IOF to “finnish the job”, that is not by any measures a sane opinion and these people are armed with nukes….

  35. Thank you Prof Cole for this excellent article. I am sorry that you are getting harassment from others who seem to be closed minded zealots. It is indeed a sad sign of the times that one cannot have a discussion of Israel/Palestine without it degenerating into a yelling contest filled with slurs devoid of actual facts to back up ones opinions. Your description of the Failing Nationalism Syndrome is excellent and when looking at current events it is clear that the FNS has engulfed most of the older colonial empires such as England, France, Germany, Russia and of course the United States. That this is also happening in Israel is not surprising. It seems that throughout history any country involved in the exploitation/occupation of another will eventually have to deal with the consequences of their abuse if power, and one of the consequences of this includes the occupying/oppressing country eventually going insane! This is clearly happening in the United States and in Israel and as such the seeds for further tragedy are being sown and the world keeps turning…

  36. The Zionist rigidity and narrow mindeness after relying on blackmail and anti-semtic arguments almost exclusively, realized that it’s becoming harder to get away with their actions based on that. And although the H H H as I call it, Historical self interpretation, Holocost and Hamas, are still a common argument, the fact that the zionest historal interpretation for example is getting resistence from intectuals, it became necessary to put on the degree hat ” education hat” to try to ligitimize their arguments. One might think an education in a certain area might open their mind a bit, but the case is, that cult mentality is only using the “education” as a mean to get a degree hat. Their brain actually does not add any synapthic connections necessary to open up their mind. Its the power of cult resistence to growth and change. Other simple examples is getting a degree in human right law and exploit the darfour tradidy only to compare how these pour people were treated to how the united nation and the world is treating Isreal. 
    This phenomonan of a degree hat in the Zionist cult has been and getting more popular. It is very similar to what the cigarette companies used to hide their cancer risk. Doctors. 

  37. Prof. Cole’s use of the term “strange” is apt. The whole conflict is strange.

    What Israelis and their supporters never want to acknowledge is that Jews and Palestinians are ethnically the same. The Palestinians that Israelis treat with such contempt were most likely Jews of old, forced to convert to Christianity or Islam. In essence, Israelis are today killing and oppressing their own.

    • Israelis are not killing and oppressing their own, they are killing and oppressing the authentic people of the Holy Land. That’s the difference between Palestine Jew and European Israeli Jew.

      • Finally! Exactly. This explains, very neatly, the confusion commented on earlier about “is being a ‘Jew’ an ethnic or religious identity?” To the (mostly Eastern) Europeans colonizing Palestine in the last century, Judaism is primarily religious; its ethnic identity being limited to themselves and their supporters. But the real ethnic “Jews,” the descendants of the ancient Hebrews (and Canaanites in general) are the (now mostly Christian and Muslim) Palestinians. Since the former utterly refuses to recognize the latter as what they really are, but instead presumes to be in their place, the level of conflict and screaming — and Zionism-as-such’s eventual self-destruction — are seemingly inescapable.

        Thank you, Dr. Cole. As the survivor of my own faith and political journeys, I appreciate the clarity, honesty and reason I always seem to find in your writing.

  38. The comments by fd Ashford are greatly appreciated. As a long time reader of Prof. Cole’s Informed Comment, I have come to understand that on many (too many) days, his is the only voice of reason to be found on current issues. fd Ashford, “I wish I woulda said dat.” Sorry I cannot remember the originator of that quote. cheers, ruth macd wilson

  39. You don’t want people snooping around ancient writing that could further prove that jews are not God’s chosen people. There is already abundant proof that the bible stories of the creation, the flood, Moses floating in the basket, etc. are based on earlier stories of others. More on this at whatisknown.com. The problem is that Christian will need to accept that the good book is not as good as the currently believe and has numerous contradictions. Once Israel loses the more than one billion Christians that have fallen for the deception up until now, they might get a good ass-kicking for the misery they have heaped on others.

  40. The Bible account could be literally true and modern Jews would still be disqualified from deserving the land on traditional Christian (and Jewish at present) theological grounds. That is to say, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and mainline Protestant
    theology always held the Abrahamic Covenant was conditional on Jewish obedience to God, which obedience necessitated conversion to Christianity after the Resurrection.

    http://www.jewsagainstzionism.com provides the disqualification (until the Messiah comes)
    from the traditional Jewish viewpoint.

  41. Brilliant.
    I’ve said it many times: you can receive no greater compliment as a commentator of Israeli-Palestinian issues than being transparently slandered by an Israeli hasbara kook like Glick. The language they use is indeed bizarre; one wonders if they believe the hate-infused bigotry they spew, or if their moral fiber allows them to pursue their cause through the use of such disgusting tactics.

  42. Prof. Cole,

    It is incredibly refreshing to see the persistence and intellectual integrity of individuals like you, and a few words of gratitude and encouragement are the least one can offer in return.
    Fortunately, I think more people understand and identify with your message than one might realize today, and with the opportunities provided by today’s digital media and social networking, it is only a matter of time before this growing accumulation of knowledge matures into praxis.
    So, thank you, and keep up the good work.

  43. If monotheistic Judaism was invented in the Babylonian exile, from where did the Samaritans get their religion?

  44. Oh, the disgrace of being anti=Zionist. And even worse, the disgrace of being anti-semitic!

  45. Glick is an airhead, an idiot, a nitwit. Sorry for boiling over but I’ve been reading her stuff for years and found her to be predictably wrong and predictably over the top. Don’t read too much into her, Juan. She represents a ridiculous minority view

  46. Dear Professor Cole

    I have read Ms Glick´s pieces in the Jerusalem Post for the past two or three years ever since Helena Cobban highlighted her rather irrational views in a quite fascinating castigation. Part of Ms Glick´s problem may be related to a dual personality as a concurrent US citizen and a Zionist editor and a conflation of both.

    Helena´s comments on Caroline´s suggestion (from a non NATO member) that Turkey be thrown out of NATO is relevant, and has been a continuing theme over the last few years.

    link to realclearworld.com

    Comment from… Helena, at August 15, 2008 10:33 AM:
    Glick’s rant is particularly amusing and ill-conceived because she fails to make any mention of the fact that Erdogan has been one of the international leaders who have rushed to Georgia to express support for Saak in the past few days…

    Ah, but that doesn’t fit into her tightly Manichean, dyadical, “you’re either with us or against us” frame. Her description of life in Turkey under Erdogan is also unrecognizable. (In fact, life in Israel is considerably more theocratic than life in Turkey under the AKP.)

    Why does the JP publish this nonsense?

    At times the views expressed are bordering on the “rational but extreme” and at other times she seems to go off the rails entirely.

    I did wonder if this might be caused by her forgetting to take her tablets, if any have been prescribed, but lately I have wondered if it might be linked to a more lunar cycle.

    Whatever the reason, I suspect that Jerusalem Post might usefully wonder if its deputy editor is enhancing its credibility by publishing these unusual views.

    But then, they publish Krauthammer too, so perhaps they do.

  47. I’m always intriqued that pious religous cult members, who profess to be oh so righteous, are the first to use phosphorus bombs on defensless people, or as in our case, drone strikes. What is even more ludicrious, is that they justify their war crimes by calling it…self defense.

  48. Is it possible not to love OR hate Israel? In other words, is it possible not to care? If so, count me in. As an analogy consider Taiwan. I would hate to see Taiwan taken over by mainland China, especially by force. However, I do not care about Taiwan enough to fight a war on her behalf. I do not care enough to send Taiwan billions of US taxpayer dollars a year. I would not tolerate being called a bigot because I disagree with policies of the Taipei government. If Taiwanese Americans ran a group similar to AIPAC, I would insist on my right to disagree with them and point out why, without being called an anti-Asian bigot. If Jimmy Carter revealed that Taiwan had the fourth or fifth largest nuclear force in the world today, I would vigorously disagree with anyone who called him a criminal or a bigot for doing so. If Taiwanese leaders refused to admit they had nukes, I would call them liars. If someone like Ben Stein called Ron Paul’s policies anti-Asian, I would call that person a vicious liar.

    • [satire mode on] You are obviously using anti-Asianism as a cover for your covert hatred of Israel. [satire mode off]

  49. I agree with the facts and theories about Biblical history that Cole asserts. To be fair, virtually all the traditional stories about the origins of Islam are equally implausible.

  50. The idea that the ancient Israelites and modern European Jewry are connected in any linear fashion is bizarre. And no, the recent study showing genetic overlap between Druze and Cypriots and European Jews is not particular relevant nor is it a refutation of Schlomo Sand.

    I wish Dr. Cole would write about the meme that this study (see NYT Wade) disproves Sand. I think this will be the new front in the war about Zionism. The genetic research which shows over lap between certain Middle Eastern populations and some Jewish populations does not mean anything about the chronology of history, genetic drift and proves nothing.

    Even the best attested events and people in ancient history have a great deal of ambiguity about them. The only figures in the Bible with independent archeological or textual reference by other contemporary sources seem to be Tobias, the competitor to Nathan in the post exile period, and Omri, father of Ahab. Whoever wrote the book of Exodus did know quite a bit about ancient Egypt. Then, in the later period, we are dependent on Josepheus and a few coins.

    I personally think Israel is a great country and I admire the society, history and culture. Israel is an appealing society with a vibrant culture and remarkable history. Zionism was a reasonable idea in 1890 and 1945. It no longer should be the basis of policy and Israel should start finding a way to become post-Zionist and still vibrant and appealing.

    • Will, I am just wondering what you mean by “Israeli history.” You mean Europe? And “culture”, do you mean, again, Europe?

  51. Ira Gershwin wrote the lyrics for ‘It ain’t necessarily so’. Given the song’s open doubting of the Biblical record, wouldn’t Ms Glick have to class Ira as a self-hating Jew?

  52. Are folks aware of this?

    In About-Face, Israel Agrees To U.N. Probe Of Raid

    by The Associated Press

    link to npr.org

    ——————————————————————————–
    The “Summer Camp Of Destruction:” Israeli High Schoolers Assist The Razing Of A Bedouin Town: by Max Blumenthal
    link to seminal.firedoglake.com

  53. posted Prof Cole’s piece over at Firedoglake. Few of the responses over there

    link to seminal.firedoglake.com

    marsdragon August 3rd, 2010 at 8:12 am
    5

    I read Mr. Cole’s Salon article, and found it quite fascinating. Here’s the link again:
    link to salon.com

    He makes great use of established, peer-reviewed Near Eastern Archaeology, linguistic studies, and textual analysis. The one question I would have for him is whether he thinks the Monotheistic movements of Akhenaten and Tutankhamen (and perhaps others of the Aten priesthood of that time) and have been found to have migrated into the Sinai may be connected to the roots of ancient Judaism. I have wondered if perhaps the Egyptian finds that indicate an EXPULSION of Atenites from the post Tutankhamen rule may be connected to the emergence of monotheism in Canaan.

    OTherwise, I think his analysis is spot on. But here is the real problem in pragmatic terms:

    Most of the Western World and Muslim world spiritual consensus has been built upon the cornerstone of the Abrhamaic faiths (“The people of the Book” concept). It becomes VERY HARD for average citizens of those nations to be willing to accept the realities of the history of their shared faiths. They close their minds to this archaeological history – not because they are Zionist. But because they are FUNDAMENTALISTS. Even if they think they are not fundamentalists. They cannot put their minds around the concept that the “Exodus” may be an after-the-fact contrivance by a religious elite to create a useful mythology. They cannot accept the textual history of the New TEstatement indicating that most of the “Canonical” books were penned by Rome-backed clergy after the 4th century. They cannot handle any indication that their “true faith” is based on myth. The same is true for Muslims, who are so certain that Jerusalem was sacred to the first two Abrahamic Faiths, and thus must be sacred to Islam as well.

    All this is to say that if you accept the archaeological record, it poses MANY theological problems for people whose faiths are dependent upon fundamentalist and strict literalist renderins of their scriptures.

    Its a catch 22. The ideal would be for this “holy land” to stop being the source of religious friction. For all these people of the world to realize that this is just a myth that has outlived its usefulness. But, its like a game of chicken – which faith group do you think will collectively come to that first? And if they did, the clergy’s of each monotheistic faith would endeavor to shut down the movement before it began. Religious Clergy have POWER over billions with the investment of those billions’ energy into believing those myths.

    In many ways, the 3 millenia of “monotheism” have been a constant push to eliminate “Paganism” (which had nothing to do with Abraham, Jerusalem, or “one god”) so as to establish a monopoly over the power religion can yield in people’s lives. That campaign is now 2/3 complete. Almost 4 billion of the 6 billion people on this planet now are “captive” to the “One God” concept. And that “One God” concept fundamentally places Jerusalem as the center of the earth (or near to it) and fundamental to each traditions’ idea of the “One God.”

    So, much of our WEstern moral tradition was built with the power of this concept of the “One God” but at the same time, it has allowed the most virulent and destructive and monopolistic forces (Monotheism’s war against heresy and paganism and “otherism”) to bring our civilization and world to the brink of Nuclear Armageddon.

    And it is entirely conceivable that these 3 “People of the Book” of Abrahamic tradition will be willing to each engineer their version of Armageddon to spite the other 2 traditions.

    Either society as a whole has to be prepared to “unwrought” was made with the engine of Monotheism, or we have to be prepared to continue to endure the blackmail and tyranny of this Monotheism in its present form.

    So, “Zionism” is merely one aspect of this problem. Christianism and Islamism are no different than Zionism. And the societies and political cultures those 3 movements have created encompass most of the Western and Muslim world. China and India may be the most immune to this tyranny, as the majority of their adherents have no “spiritual stake” in the accuracy of the 3 “sacred texts,” no “Spiritual stake” in the status of Jerusalem, and no “spiritual stake” in this place called “Holy Land.”

    If it is God’s, then let him have it. But most of history has demonstrated that if there is a God-forsaken patch on this planet, Jerusalem has been at the center of it for 3000 years.

    ———————————————————————-
    Watt4Bob August 3rd, 2010 at 10:16 am
    14

    The PI conflict has almost nothing to do with religion, and is just over one hundred years old.

    The roots of the present trouble lies in the poor choices made by Zionists and Palestinian Arabs alike in the early 1900’s as the interests of Zionist immigrants and indigenous Palestinians diverged.

    If those Zionists who envisioned integration of Palestinian Arabs into the future nation had prevailed rather than those who considered integration of Palestinian Arabs an impossibility, things may have turned out differently.

    If Palestinian Arabs had been a little further along on the path of developing nationalist organizations whose visions provided an alternative to being citizens of the fading Ottoman Empire, things may have turned out differently.

    It’s necessary to appreciate the fact that Zionists were well-organized Europeans and Palestinian Arabs were, at the time, un-organized subjects of the Ottomans.

    While a hundred years seems like a long time, it is still recent enough that there need be no archeology involved in learning the history, the public library is filled with books that can enlighten anybody who cares to know the history of the conflict.

    Knowing the history a little better eases the mind a bit but in the end you will still find yourself in an environment filled with rancor, and the debate such as it is, dominated by powerful interests who, much like our own government can’t be bothered with the problems of those at the bottom of the pile.

    When it became apparent how useful the land of Palestine could be in the Great Game played by the world’s powers, her people, whether Jewish, Moslem, or Christian, lost almost all hope that their own interests would ever be taken into account when those powers sat down to discuss the future.

    And there was nobody at the table arguing about God.

  54. You have to watch this one. Morton Klein thinks that people are criticizing Israel because they have been so willing to appease. What a nut case
    Israel’s PR war

    by Adam Horowitz on August 3, 2010
    link to mondoweiss.net

  55. Well done Juan, standing up to extreme Zionists by ridiculing them.

    Much of the discussion above amounts to standard leftism – criticizing racism, colonialism and so on. Zionism is seen as a white Western colonial project.

    For example ‘super390′ raises the Arizona immigration issue, partly seeing the new law as white people defending their ethnic interests, and ridicules it. “No wonder their embrace of Israel grows ever tighter”.

    The left’s weakness in opposing Israeli apartheid (compared to its success vs. South African apartheid) has something to do with this traditional approach. There is no logical reason for right-wing, patriotic, Christian white Americans to support Israel. At all. A Palestine Solidarity Movement would make the most of this insight.

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