Saturday, January 09, 2010

Why and how US Iran policy is paralyzed, as shown in the Wall Street Journal

Jay Solomon's Wall Street Journal article on current US thinking on Iran paints a picture of a Barack Obama administration completely bewildered by the question of how to set policy regarding Iran's nuclear program.
In a signal of the White House's increased attention to Iran's political upheaval, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered over coffee at the State Department this week with four leading Iran scholars and mapped out the current dynamics, said U.S. officials. One issue explored was how the U.S. should respond if Tehran suddenly expressed a desire to reach a compromise on the nuclear issue. Mrs. Clinton asked whether the U.S. could reach a pact without crippling the prospects for the Green Movement.
OK. Who are these four supposed Iran scholars? How should the US respond if the Iranians suddenly express a desire to comply with US demands? As long as the US condition for "compromise" remains that the US should wield a veto over Iran's right to enrich uranium, Iran is not going to suddenly express a desire to compromise. There is no reason for a fantasy role playing game like this even to come up in a meeting between the US Secretary of State and four experts on Iran.

This expresses a fundamentally unserious approach to the issue of Iran's nuclear program. If I read a report of Iran's foreign minister meeting four supposed US experts examining the scenario of how Iran should respond if suddenly the US agreed to stop supporting Israel, I'd be disappointed that Iran's foreign minister doesn't know enough to understand that this is not a plausible scenario that merits examination. I'd be more disappointed in the experts who allowed the foreign minister to waste his and their time.

The article has more indications that the administration is unable to choose a direction in which to move.
In recent weeks, senior Green Movement figures -- who have been speaking at major Washington think tanks -- have made up a list of IRGC-related companies they suggest targeting, which has been forwarded to the Obama administration by third parties.
Both the Obama administration and the Iranian dissidents have been wary of any direct contacts, due to fears such meetings could provide ammunition for Tehran.
Now administration officials obviously cooperated with Jay Solomon in sourcing this article. They could have imposed a condition that Solomon not directly tie the Green Movement to the administration in the same article. The supposed senior Green Movement figures would have done well to avoid discussing their cooperation with the Obama administration with the press. On the other hand, these are people giving speeches at Washington think tanks.

This is how the article starts:
The Obama administration is increasingly questioning the long-term stability of Tehran's government and moving to find ways to support Iran's opposition "Green Movement," said senior U.S. officials.
I'm not bothered that it is true that the US is trying to support the Green Movement, but I am bothered by reports being put into US newspapers. It seems to me that this is a sign that the US has given up any serious hope that the Green Movement can topple Iran's regime. I can only imagine that U.S. intelligence services have replicated the W.P.O. poll reporting over 80% popular support for the regime and found that support still high enough that it would not be raised higher if the US openly ties itself to the Green movement. That is what Solomon's article is doing.

The US commitment to the security of a majority state for 5 million Jewish people in Palestine puts a severe constraint on US policy in the region. In the case of Iran, it means the US cannot accept an arrangement that would leave Iran "nuclear capable", or having the option to build a bomb in an emergency even while remaining in the NPT the way Japan and Brazil do. Ariel Roth of the US Council on Foreign relations explains:
More broadly, as the Palestinian-American political scientist Hilal Khashan’s work on Arab attitudes toward peace has shown, the willingness of Arabs to make peace with Israel is a direct function of their perception of Israel’s invincibility. Just as an Iranian nuclear capability would imply a nuclear guarantee for anti-Zionist proxies, an Egyptian or Saudi nuclear capability would reduce incentives for other Arab states to make peace with Israel because, shielded under an Arab nuclear umbrella, they would no longer fear catastrophic defeat or further loss of territory.
Today the United States distorts its entire Middle East policy through the prism that the 5 million Jewish people of Palestine must retain the ability to threaten everyone else in the region with catastrophic defeat or loss of territory. This is not a long-term sustainable situation. Israel has a peculiar security need that is almost immeasurably expensive for the US to provide. A single state that accepts Palestinians and Jewish people equally without necessarily having a Jewish majority would not have that security need. Among many other things, if one state prevailed, the US would be able to end its confrontation over Iran's nuclear program on terms acceptable to the Iranians. With one state that is not necessarily Jewish-majority, the US could also end its expensive sanctions against Iran because Hamas and Hezbollah would no longer be a threat to Palestine.

Instead, while today the US cannot accept Iranian enrichment, it also cannot stop Iranian enrichment. Limited sanctions will not stop Iran's enrichment, but neither will broad sanctions or a military attack. The US does not have a choice between accepting an Iranian nuclear capability or bombing Iran. The US has a choice between accepting an Iranian nuclear capability or bombing Iran and then accepting an Iranian nuclear capability.

Iran will have a nuclear capability, the question is will this capability arrive in an environment of increasing cooperation or increasing hostility between the US and Iran. Of course, especially with vulnerable US positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US would prefer increasing cooperation.

But the dilemma is that Israel's security requires it to be able to make unanswerable catastrophic threats against its neighbors, while Iran cannot be stopped from breaking Israel's regional monopoly in nuclear capability. This dilemma has paralyzed the Obama administration's decision-making process. It has reached the point that Clinton spends time in meetings imagining what the US should do if she and her analysts pretend that Iran suddenly and for no particular reason just decides to submit to US demands.

The US is pursuing a long-shot chance that maybe the Green Movement will overthrow the Islamic Republic, but doesn't even take that chance seriously enough to take basic steps such as hiding or at least denying any involvement.

The US is in a bad situation. Its best move, if it does not want to formally accept Iranian enrichment, is to stall. Unfortunately for the Obama administration, supporters of Israel are able to apply pressure that the US take action, even though no action will prevent Iran from reaching nuclear capability and US measures, whether targeted sanctions or a full military attack, can only poison the environment, making conflict and US losses more likely.


N. Friedman said...


Why should Iranians care less about Israel? Perhaps, what needs to occur is for Iranians to mind their own business since, quite obviously, Israel is not a strong enough country to be a real threat to Iran. And, when Iran's government was not anti-Israel, there was no hostility from Israel.

So, let us turn this all around. Maybe it is time for Arabs and Persians to decide that Jews have the same right to rule as they Arabs and Persians have.

Please do not tell me that Jews displaced Arabs. That entire region has done its share of displacing people including Greeks, Jews, Kurds, etc., etc..

So, when are people like you going to pressure Arabs and Persians to tolerate others.

N. Friedman said...

To make the matter clear, regarding displacement. Egypt cleansed itself of about 450,000 Greeks, back in the 1950's and 50,000 or more Jews. Every Arab country persecuted Jews who were, in most cases, either forced out or fled to avoid oppression. The Christian population in the entire Middle East has been decimated due to persecution by Arab and Persian Muslims. I believe more than 60 million Christians have been pushed out, all told.

Arnold Evans said...

Friedman, do you agree with Roth that Israel's security requires it to have a regional monopoly on nuclear capability?

Do you think a single state that does not necessarily have a Jewish majority would have the same requirement?

GeneralOreo said...

There's something funny and sad seeing this blog praise khomenini (and I'm sure bin laden and his ilk if I read more) in one post and then talk of 'equality' and this single state solution in another.

Israeli's will never accept second-class citizen or genocide under a palestenian majority, which is what the one state solution is about. Get over it.

Then again, if muslims could get over it and try developing their countries and contribute more to the world then dictators and mass murderers, we wouldn't be in this mess we are today. WAR AGAINST ISLAM!!! Carry on.

(to continue on that sad and funny note, how about that war against non-muslims that muslims have been waging for centuries? I'd like to see christian countries protest school texts praising muslim expansionism and protest even louder every time a church gets firebombed or its worshippers executed by muslims in muslim lands, make the same noise muslims do when they exaggarte and distort the latest 'anti-muslim' incident they can latch on to)

N. Friedman said...


You write: "Friedman, do you agree with Roth that Israel's security requires it to have a regional monopoly on nuclear capability?"

No. There is no regional nuclear monopoly now. There is Pakistan, India, Russia, all of whom could, if they wanted, fire nuclear weapons at Israel, just like the USSR could fire its nuclear weapons at the US.

What is different about Iran is that its leadership includes important elements that hold eliminationist-type Antisemitic views which, not implausibly, could lead to a war.

You write: "Do you think a single state that does not necessarily have a Jewish majority would have the same requirement?"

I do not understand the question but I shall do my best to answer what I suspect you are asking.

My view is that a single state under Arab rule would be eliminationist. Which is to say, Arab intolerance of Jews is so overwhelming that Arabs, taken collectively, could not now envision equality for Jews and, in fact, would radically oppress Jews. In this regard, it would be far worse for Jews than for Christians (and think of the exodus of Christians from Lebanon and Egypt and Gaza), who have been the butt of Arab Muslim intolerance for a number of generations, leading to one of history's great exoduses, to escape intolerance, persecution and oppression.

Lysander said...

Then again, if muslims could get over it and try developing their countries and contribute more to the world then dictators and mass murderers, we wouldn't be in this mess we are today. WAR AGAINST ISLAM!!! Carry on."

Funny, that seems to be precisely what Iran is doing and I don't get the impression that you like it. It is developing nuclear technology, space technology, satellites, cellular phones and cars. Industrially and technologically it is well ahead of any other Muslim country, except possibly for Turkey. Moreover, it has managed this despite 30 years of strong US sanctions and (c)overt attempts to overthrow the government and constant threats of war and bombardment. Indeed Iran is light years ahead of US/Israeli client states such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi. I get the impression that the last thing you want is for Muslims to develop themselves.

Which brings me to a point I've made to Arnold before. I suspect that Israel fears Iranian economic development far more than it fears hypothetical nukes. Hence the sanctions. I strongly suspect that if today Iran offered to totally dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for a complete end to US sanctions, the answer would be no. In fact I have no doubt it would be no, for the following reason. Western investment would flow into Iran by the 10's of billions. Open technological exchange would allow Iran to excel in scientific advancement. Within a decade Iran would eclipse Israel as the strongest economy in the middle east.

Ideologically, that would be serious blow to Zionism, even if Iran never lifted a finger. It would also be a devastating ideological blow to Saudi Wahabism. Practically, it would give Iran the financial wherewithal to bring along Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon into alliance with it. It would be a challenge to Israeli dominance of the middle east.

In partnership with China/Russia, it could challenge US dominance in the Persian gulf.

Those things are far more dangerous to the US/Israel than simply nuclear capability. The latter, while certainly very important, pale in comparison to the former.

Which is why sanction on Iran will continue, nukes or no nukes and even if somehow the Green movement took power.

N. Friedman said...


You write: "I suspect that Israel fears Iranian economic development far more than it fears hypothetical nukes"

Why would Israel fear Iranian economic or scientific development? That makes no sense at all.

Iran used to have friendly relations with Israel - which was the case before the Islamic Republic was founded. Israel was fine with Iranian economic and scientific development. In fact, the Israelis did a substantial amount to help Iran develop economically and scientifically, investing large amounts of money and providing Israeli experts to Iran.

Similarly, Israel has done a substantial amount to assist Turkey in developing itself economically and scientifically.

The issue here is not that complicated. The concern is the eliminationist Antisemitism of the leadership of the Islamic Republic, whose leadership include shameless bigots like Ahmadinejad.

Lysander said...

Again Norman, you make the mistake of assuming that the Shah's leadership is the norm rather than the exception. The Shah came to power through a US backed coup. He would never have ruled Iran as more than a figurehead otherwise. He depended on US help to keep him in power. He depended on Israeli training of his secret police. He could NOT depend on the loyalty of his citizens.

No independent Iranian government would ever do what the Shah did. No Israeli government would tolerate advanced technology in any Iranian government OTHER than a Shah like government. And probably not even then for fear that such a government could be overthrown.

"Why would Israel fear Iranian economic or scientific development? That makes no sense at all."

Norman (may I call you Norman, rather than just 'N'?) you need only look back at Israel's reaction to Iran's satellite launch last February to answer your own question.

"Similarly, Israel has done a substantial amount to assist Turkey in developing itself economically and scientifically."

Israel may sell Turkey UAVs and some minor weapons, but beyond that? And even that cooperation will be gone should Turkey's government continue its policy critical of the Gaza siege and supportive of Iran's technological development.

N. Friedman said...


For your information, my real name is "N.", not "Norman."

Your understanding of Iranian history would benefit from considering that the relationship between the Shah and the different elements of Iranian society was not a constant. His coming to the power was, in fact, at the insistence of the clergy class. Which is to say, the overthrow of the Mosaddeq was led by the very class of people who rule Iran today. In fact, it was the Mullahs to whom the US provided funds and their champion was the Shah.

There was relative peace between the Mullahs and the Shah for much of his rule. However, like his predecessor, he eventually ticked off the Mullahs - taking away their land holdings and various privileges as part of a modernization effort - and gradually everyone else. But, that had nothing to do with Israel, which had cordial relations with much of Iranian society. Knowing a number of Iranians, now expatriate, from that period, I know for a fact that you are wrong.

Again, the reason that Israel is concerned by scientific development today in Iran - e.g. missile launches - is that such launches have military application and Iran's leaders include many who hold eliminationist Antisemitic views, suggesting that their belligerency is not mere talk.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully put Lysander you`ve hit the nail on the head exactly
>>In partnership with China/Russia, it could challenge US dominance in the Persian gulf
I imagine for Israel this is a truly terrifying thought that one day the US will have to choose between proping up Israel or continuing to have some control over the ME

Lysander said...

"But, that had nothing to do with Israel, which had cordial relations with much of Iranian society. Knowing a number of Iranians, now expatriate, from that period, I know for a fact that you are wrong."

N, I also have known numerous Iranian expats including some distant relatives of the Shah. While most of them hate the current government, even I was shocked how many of them in 2006 during the Israel-Hizbollah war showed a quiet but rather discernible pride in their fellow Shiites.

The coup against Mossadegh was complicated. Even Mossadegh himself was a monarchist who wanted the royal family to play a role in government. The Mullahs also had a dislike for communists, both in 1953 and 1979. But alliances change in politics, that is not new.

Also, in 1953 the US was not identified as a close supporter of Israel. The 1956, '67 and '73 wars had yet to occur. Colonization of the west bank had not happened. The multiple invasions of Lebanon had not yet happened. Gaza had not yet happened. Israel was simply not as hated then as it is now.

Also the US was not viewed as a colonial power in 1953 There were many US friendly people in the middle east at the time. Far more than today. In fact Mossadegh himself was "pro American" and hoped they would help him against the British whom he despised.

So you really can't compare the world in 1953 with 1979 or 2010. Too much has changed. The Mullahs did not hate the US in 1953. By 1979 they did, and not much has happened since then to make them change their minds.

At anon, thanx!

N. Friedman said...


While you still make a lot of factual errors, you have made my point. Israel had good relations with the Iranians for a long time. That ended with the rise of the Islamic Republic. Were the Iranian government to become sane, Israel would not care what Iran does.

As for your comments about what Israel has done, Israel was hated by Arabs since day one of Israel's existence. That did not include Iranians but it did include Arabs. Comments by, for example, Ibn Saud about Jews are, by any standards, are as nasty as any imaginable.

For example - and this is courtesy of Elie Kedourie, the British Foreign Office includes this gem in its archives. It may take a few posts to fit. It is an amazing example of bigotry:

Text of Foreign Office file 371/20822 E7201/22/31

His Majesty early on turned to the subject obviously close to his heart, namely the Palestine tangle, and for close on an hour and a half delivered himself as follows. He spoke for the most part in low earnest voice as though his words were not intended for his Counsellors sitting round and he continually kept placing his hand on my arm as though to emphasize his meaning.

(Here I shall use the King's words as near as possible using the first person plural for the most part).

'We are aware 0 Dickson that you are no longer a Government Official, but as you have held high and honourable post under His Majesty's Government for many years, we know also that you are trusted by your Government, and so not only do we make you doubly welcome, but we feel we can open our heart to you, and we are glad that you have been able to visit us in our capital.

'We are most anxious that the British Government should send us every eight months or so an experienced officer whom they trust, or equally well an ex-official like yourself, who can listen personally to what we have on our minds, and what troubles our hearts, for times are deeply serious and full of danger these days. We feel that personal contact of such a nature will be far more efficacious, than any amount of letter writing or telegraph representations. The latter though well enough in themselves must nearly always fail to convey the full meaning of our thoughts and anxieties, and if anything will tend rather to breed misunderstanding and misconception than remove same. But such person, if and when he is sent us must be thoroughly conversant with our language (Arabic), and must understand the wider meaning of our beautiful tongue which is so full of parable and expressive phrase. It is no use sending a man who has to listen to what we have to say through the medium of an interpreter. The person sent should know and understand our Arab psychology, be conversant if possible with our Arabian manners and customs, and above all should be acquainted with our Arab pride and our hopes, and have read something of God's Holy Word, as vouchsafed to us in our Blessed Qur'an.

N. Friedman said...

Continuation 1:

Dickson when will your London Government realize that we Arabs by our nature can be bought body and soul by an act of kindness, [page 71] and vice versa become implacable enemies for all time of those who treat us harshly or deal unjustly with us.

'Today we and our subjects are deeply troubled over this Palestine question, and the cause of our disquiet and anxiety is the strange attitude of your British Government, and the still more strange hypnotic influence which the Jews, a race accursed by God according to His Holy Book, and destined to final destruction and eternal damnation hereafter, appear to wield over them and the English people generally.

'God's Holy Book (the Qur'an) contains God's own word and divine ordinance, and we commend to His Majesty's Government to read and carefully peruse that portion which deals with the Jews and especially what is to be their fate in the end. For God's words are unalterable and must be.

'We Arabs believe implicitly in God's revealed word and we know that God is faithful. We care for nothing else in this world but our belief in the One God, His Prophet and our Honour, everything else matters nothing at all, not even death, nor are we afraid of hardship, hunger, lack of this worlds goods etc, etc. and we are quite content to eat camel's meat and dates to the end of our days, provided we hold to the above three things.

'Our hatred for the Jews dates from God's condemnation of them for their persecution and rejection of Isa (Jesus Christ), and their subsequent rejection later of His chosen Prophet. It is beyond our understanding how your Government, representing the first Christian power in the world today, can wish to assist and reward these very same Jews who maltreated your Isa (Jesus).'

'We Arabs have been the traditional friends of Great Britain for many years, and I, Bin Sa'ud, in particular have been your Government's firm friend all my life, what madness then is this which is leading on your Government to destroy this friendship of centuries, all for the sake of an accursed and stiff necked race which has always bitten the hand of everyone who has helped it since the world began.

N. Friedman said...

Continuation 2:

'It were far far preferable from every point of view if Great Britain were to make Palestine a British Possession and rule it for the next 100 years, rather than to partition it in the way they propose: such partition cannot possibly solve the difficulty but must only perpetuate it and lead to war and misery. Some people seem to think that I, Bin Sa'ud, have an eye on Palestine myself, and would like to benefit by the disturbed state of affairs existing there, to step in and offer to take it over myself. That certainly would be a solution, but God forbid that this should happen, for I have enough and to Spare as it is.

'Today I am tho 'Imam' or 'Spiritual Leader' as well as the Temporal Ruler of the greater part of Arabia. I also have not a little influence in all the great Muslim countries of tho world. I am being placed in tho most difficult and most invidious of all positions by the British [page 72] Government my friends. On the one hand I am being appealed to by means of myriads of letters and telegrams by day and night from all quarters of the Muslim world to step in and save Palestine for the Arabs. I am even urged by my own people of Najd, and all good Muslims in the outer world to break with the English and save Palestine for its people by war. On the other hand I see that it would be utterly futile to break with my old friends the English, for to do so would bring untold woe on the world, and would be to play right into the hands of the Jews, the enemies of Arabia as well as of England.

'I definitely shall not wage war against you English and I have told my people this, because I am the only man among them who can see far ahead and I know that by so doing I should lose the one potential ally I now have. For are not Italy, Germany and Turkey (especially the latter) like ravening wolves today seeking whom they may devour. They are all flirting with me at the present moment, but I know they will wish to devour me later. A friendly England will, I believe, always prevent them from accomplishing their ends. Hence though as a Muslim I have no particular love for any Christian European nation, political interest demands that I keep in with the best of them, that is England.

'The difficulty is my Arabs and the Ikhwan tribes of Najd-Over this Palestine business their senses are only in their eyes, and they cannot see one cubit ahead. They even now blame me for wavering and obeying the orders of the English, and yet your Government should remember that I am the Arabs' religious leader and so am the interpreter of the scriptures. God's word to them cannot be got round.

N. Friedman said...

Continuation 3:

'Verily the word of God teaches us, and we implicitly believe this 0 Dickson, that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew ensures him an immediate entry into Heaven and into the august presence of God Almighty. What more then can a Muslim want in this hard world, and this is what my people are repeatedly reminding me of? Most assuredly your Government is placing me in the same dilemma that they did in 1929-30 which ended in the Ikhwan going out in rebellion against me.

'The Jews are of course your enemies as well as ours though they are cleverly making use of you now. Later your Government will see and feel their teeth. For the present they (the Jews) prefer biding their time. Perhaps your Government does not know that the Jews contemplate as their final aim not only the seizure of all Palestine but the land south of it as far as Medina. Eastward also they hope some day to extend to the Persian Gulf. They cozen certain imperialistic-minded Englishmen with stories of how a strong Jewish and Pro-British State stretching from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf will safeguard England's communications with the East, saying that the Arabs are England's enemies and will always be so. At the same time they play on the minds of tho sentimental British masses, by telling them that the Old Testament Prophets foretold how they, the Jews, [page 73] would eventually return to their Promised Land, or again that they, the persecuted and wandering Bani Israel, should not be denied a small place in the world where to lay their weary heads. Now, a Dickson, would the people of Wales like it if you English suddenly gave the Jews their country? But no, it is easier to give away other peoples countries and not so dangerous.

'That the Jews of Palestine are even now straining every nerve to cause a permanent split between the English people and the Arabs can be proved to the hilt by the recent murders of officials in Palestine. It is as clear as daylight to me that the Godless Arab gunmen, hired from abroad, who committed those vile deeds were hired and paid for by Jewish money. We state this to be an absolute fact, for did not the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem swear to us in the 'Haram' of Mecca by the Holy Kaaba that he would never resort to any but constitutional methods in opposing the Zionist machinations in Palestine? And I believe him even today.

N. Friedman said...

continuation 4:

'What we fear so greatly and what Great Britain must not allow to come to pass is the turning of the Arabs of Arabia and neighbouring Arab countries into enemies of England. Once this happens then an irreparable crime will have been committed, for, as we said above, the Arabs will never forget an injury, and will bide their opportunity to take revenge for a hundred years if need be. Enemies of England would not be slow to take advantage of this, and an England in difficulties, or engaged elsewhere in war, would then be the signal for the Arabs to act.

'The very thought of the above happening is hateful to me Abdul Aziz, yet be assured that Partition in Palestine will bring this about in spite of all your misdirected efforts. And after all I cannot help you forever as I cannot live more than a few years more. I repeat then that the only solution that I can see is for your Government to rule Palestine herself. The Zionists of course will not like this, but their views must not be asked. The Arabs will agree to this solution and those who do not must be made to agree by such people as myself.

'The main thing at all costs is to prevent the Jews from having an independent state of their own sliced out of Arab territory with no one to guide their future acts and policy. For from such will come a perpetual struggle with the Arabs living round them. Firstly, because the Jews are determined to expand, will intrigue from the very beginning, and not rest till they have created discord and enmity between Great Britain and us Arabs, out of which they will hope to benefit. Secondly, they, having the money, will create a highly effective though perhaps small mechanized Army and Air Force, which they will assuredly use one day for aggressive purposes against tho Arabs, seeing that their aim is the whole of Palestine, Trans-jordan and their old stronghold Medina-the land they went to when driven out of Palestine and dispersed after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.

[page 74]
'On top of this your Government must at once further restrict all further immigration of Jews into Palestine leaving alone all those already there but allowing no more to come in.'

N. Friedman said...

Continuation 5:

I here took advantage of a pause in the King's rather forcible harangue to try and explain His Majesty's Government's point of view on the lines suggested by Rendel when I saw him recently in London. But before I had gone very far the King in vigorous fashion checked and rather overwhelmed me with the words, 'By God, your Government has no point of view, except the willful committing of an injustice. Every God-fearing man be he Muslim or Christian knows that it cannot be right to do a wrong, however cleverly the committing may be served up to the people. If I, an ignorant Badawin Arab of Arabia can see, as clearly as I see the sun rise, that the proposed partition of Palestine is wicked and wrong in God's sight, surely the more clever Western politicians, if they fear God at all, can see this also. Thank God I believe in God and his Oneness, and I know that it is this very belief of mine that makes me see things as clearly as I do. I am as firmly convinced that I am right, and that God has opened my eyes to the right, as I believe that God will punish me if I lie to him. Therefore there is no other side to this question except bargaining with Satan.

N. Friedman said...


Returning to my point, the reason Israel acts in a way that you find inexplicable is that it faces implacable enemies, enemies driven by deep prejudices, just like Ibn Saud. That is, of course, not the way all Arabs think but a great many do. The Iranians, by contrast, have a considerably more modern population although there are no shortage of people who speak like Ibn Saud; Ahmadinejad comes to mind but so do the founders of the Islamic Republic, among whom were a number of world class bigots.

Israel's wars have all been defensive in nature, every one of them. Settlement of some areas of the conquered land was a mistake.

But that is not true for all of it, which, in my view, is the cost paid by Arabs for their irrational hatreds and the wars they created. And, in some portions, the land being settled is needed by Israel to defend itself. Which is to say, were it to cede certain of the land - i.e. the land in the Arab bulge or Israel's neck -, it would invite war.

So, the Israelis would be fools to cede those portions and anyone who really wants peace must consider that ceding land that makes Israel a target for attacks is not working for peace.

Lysander said...

"Israel had good relations with the Iranians for a long time."

Israel had good relations with Iran so long as it is lead by a US controlled puppet. If not, then not.

"That ended with the rise of the Islamic Republic."

Which came to power through a popular uprising in which Khomeini's stance towards Israel were eminently clear.

"Were the Iranian government to become sane, Israel would not care what Iran does."

Were Israel ever to become sane, ie a state for all its citizens rather than an exclusivist Jewish supremacist state, Iran would not care what Israel did.

Also, you must bear in mind that Iran has made clear repeatedly that it will never attack another country, including Israel, and for 200 years it has not. Israel, by contrast, always reminds us of its "option" to attack Iran at any time, by any means. And has attacked several countries, several times. Dido for the US.

But of course, that's really Iran's fault, since it does not have a government deemed sane by Israel. Israel, in N's world, is to be the final arbiter of which governments are sane and which are not.

Its own sanity, is of course, beyond question.

Anonymous said...

"Returning to my point, the reason Israel acts in a way that you find inexplicable is that it faces implacable enemies, enemies driven by deep prejudices, just like Ibn Saud."

No. Israel is hated because it is a European colony built upon ethnic cleansing and Apartheid. This is well documented by its own historians. Its wars have been fought due to the expulsion of Palestinians into neighboring lands. It then states that those expelled Palestinians are now the responsibility of those neighboring countries (Jordan, Lebanon) and it is up them to make sure those victims of ethnic cleansing never annoy their ethnic cleansers. Failure to do that brings out the wrath of American arms in Israel's hands. Wars that you call "defensive."

Nowhere else on earth can something so egregious occur and yet be called "defensive."

I must say, N, hasbarists have grown monotonous in their arguments, but I guess you make up for it in volume.

N. Friedman said...


Well, no. Iran was not always a puppet of the US, not even under the Shah. As I said, for many years, the Shah had support from its own population.

Yes, Israel gets to decide whether it thinks Iran is sane vis a vis Israel. That is the way of the world. The Iranians have made clear that they mean to destroy Israel. There are the parades with missiles marked "Death to Israel." There are the speeches given to crowds by Ahmadinejad where the crowds cry out "Death to Israel." There are the statements that Israel is a bacteria and a cancer.

As for peaceful Iran, it supplies Hamas and Hezbollah, which are both at war with Israel, and directs many of their operations. So, your statement that Iran has peaceful intentions is belied by their behavior, which involves funding barbarous thugs to shoot rockets willy nilly. There are the parades by Hezbollah for the barbarian child murderer, Samir Kuntar. Etc., etc.

Technically, Iran is at war against Israel, both legally and in fact.

N. Friedman said...


You write: "No. Israel is hated because it is a European colony built upon ethnic cleansing and Apartheid."

Most Israeli Jews have roots strictly in the Middle East. They are Jews who were themselves or their parents or grandparents were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries or fled after massacres and pogroms.

Further, your well documented history is not so. Serious historians note that, before Israel existed, its Jewish population was attacked and subject to multiple massacres. Moreover, those who were expelled had mostly taken up arms against Israel or, in some areas, were moved to get out of the way of the fighting that was ongoing - fighting begun, by all accounts, by Arabs. Why, after the fighting and with the Arabs saying that Jewish rule was a sin against Allah, would Jews allow people in who had sided or fought for the Arab cause? That does not occur anywhere on Earth.

Lysander said...

European colonists do not get to demand that others accept their ethnic cleansing and Apartheid as legitimate. Helping Hizbollah eject Israel from its "defensive" occupation of Lebanon is a wonderful thing. Iran need not apologize for it.

You say The Shah was not a puppet but the coverage of the day was that the Shah was a stalwart ally and US right wingers attack Carter to this day for failing to prop him up. That spells Puppet. When you feel the US Israel get to decide what governments are sane which ones are not, with the sane ones always compliant with Israel's policy objectives, that's the very definition of puppet.

N, it is purely up to Iran to determine what government it has, using the means that they wish to use. They do not require approval from anyone.

The fact that you think otherwise only means that puppetry has become so normal that you hardly notice it except when its absent.

I have to go now but I'll respond later.

Please do keep posting as the more comments, the more likely this excellent blog will appear higher on searches. And the more people will be introduced to clear logic.

Lysander said...

Actually, that anonymous was me again. I'm out for the evening but I'll post again later. Have a good night, N.

N. Friedman said...


Now, you took the view that Iran has no war-like aims. Now you admit that they do. You claim, however, that such is justified. That, of course, is a far course from your first assertions, which even you now realize are mistaken.

If you read the book, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War by Benny Morris, which is the definitive history of Israel's founding, you will see that your comments about Israel's history are in error. Morris shows unequivocally that the allegations of pre-planned ethnic cleansing are a lie. Read the book - since there is no more meticulous of the subject thus far written - and then explain your theory in light of objective evidence showing that what you write is not so.

Likewise, read Hillel Cohen's interesting book, Army of Shadows, which is about the 20% of the Arab population which worked with Jews and did not participate in the fighting in 1948. His book shows, in family by family detail of who did what and when, that those who did not lose their homes were those who did not take up arms against Jews.

After reading these two books, I do not think you will think what you state. Rather, you will see that Israel's actions were defensive in nature, that those who were expelled were not the result of a pre-planned effort to cleanse the country of Arabs. That is all a big lie put forward by, well, liars.

Lastly, your statement about Iran being a puppet refer to one period. That does not mean he was always a puppet. You know that perfectly well.

Lysander said...

"Now, you took the view that Iran has no war-like aims. Now you admit that they do. You claim, however, that such is justified. That, of course, is a far course from your first assertions, which even you now realize are mistaken."

I never made any such claim. I said Iran has never started a war in recent memory and it has not. I never suggested it did not assist other, allied forces that have resisted Israeli aggression. But assisting Hezbollah is not war, even if Israel does not like it. US assistance to the contras in Nicaragua or Israel's assistance to Phalangist militias or the South Lebanon Army or to Iraqi Kurdish separatists are not typically considered separate wars.

"Morris shows unequivocally that the allegations of pre-planned ethnic cleansing are a lie."

I guess it al depends on what you mean by "pre planned." and I suppose you will quibble with words. Theodore Herzl had claimed as early as the 1880s that the native population of Palestine will have to go. If not willingly, then otherwise. You will find the subsequent writings of Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin and Yitzhaq Shamir quite explicit about what they intended.

Even the Israeli village of Sderot, whose suffering at the occasional Qassam rocket is constantly brought to our attention, was at one time the Palestinian village of Najd, ethnically cleansed on May 12 1948 by their Jewish neighbors days before the 1948 war even started.

GeneralOreo said...

Lysander ,

Iran (or the muslim world) developing is not the last thing I want, it's the most thing I want.

Iran, however, is not nothing more than a medieval country running on oil being pumped out with old western technology. That's it.

You have to be deluded to believe Iran is making any sort of progress on anything. Congratulations, they built some missiles and using decades old stolen tech are close to a nuclear weapon. Hooray!!!

Development means democracy, civil rights, tolerance, art, it means CIVILIZATION.

Technology is just one part, but even that is not there. Iran is competing with Pakistan and Nigeria in terms of published and cited scientific papers. Its brain drain is costing it the same as the iran-iraq war (which iranians choose to continue and still have the nerve to call it the 'imposed' war).

Even if they did develop some decent amount of technology, it would only highlight the danger of a state like Iran with advanced weaponry.

You seem to have swallowed their propaganda well, so believe whatever you want to. A nation of drug addicts, prostitutes, and barbaric fanatics is what Iran has become but according to Khamenie they're a super power! hah.

And what will this 'superpower' do when the oil prices crash? Technology is advancing at a rapid and acceleration rate. None of the experts have it right when they say it will take decades for the green economy to take off. I won't go into this, but I'll ask you to remember this in about a decade when oil is rock-bottom and on its way out.

N. Friedman said...


You write: Theodore Herzl had claimed as early as the 1880s that the native population of Palestine will have to go. If not willingly, then otherwise. You will find the subsequent writings of Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin and Yitzhaq Shamir quite explicit about what they intended.

That is not quite true. Both Herzl and Jabotinsky wrote in detail of joint rule in the country. Herzl wrote a novel - one of great importance in convincing people to migrate to the country - that spoke of joint rule in considerable detail. Ben Gurion clearly did not favor transfer of the Arab population.

The views of the other two, who were lesser figures at that time - commanding their own very tiny forces -, are not known by me. Neither were major figures in the Yeshuv's military. However, it would not surprise me if they did favor transfer. The problem for your view is that they were not in a position to implement a plan to any real extent, only to create problems for those who could.

It is also worth noting that there were numerous Arab leaders who expressed interest in transferring the Arab population. The British also spoke of it in considerable detail. After all, transfer had been used to resolve disputes in the region rather successfully not very long before, where Greece and Turkey transferred more than a million people. In fact, there was a period where that was the recommendation of the British government - i.e. the Peel commission recommended transfer of the Arab population. So, obviously, there was discussion of it by all involved and people stated all sorts of things.

By the middle of the 1940's, there was no plan by the leadership of the Yishuv that sought to transfer a soul. There were military contingency plans to move populations during fighting (i.e. Plan Dalet) but know plan to move anyone permanently. Nor was that the view of the Jewish leadership, meaning those actually in a position to effect a policy (e.g. ben Gurion).

So, the fact that someone spoke or wrote of transfer at some point does not mean that there was a plan to transfer people. That is a very different thing.

Lysander said...

"That is not quite true. Both Herzl and Jabotinsky wrote in detail of joint rule in the country. Herzl wrote a novel - one of great importance in convincing people to migrate to the country - that spoke of joint rule in considerable detail. Ben Gurion clearly did not favor transfer of the Arab population."

There is the N fantasy and then their is the reality of what they actually said'

"We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly. Let the owners of the immoveable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back."

"A voluntary reconciliation with the Arabs is out of the question either now or in the future. If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find some rich man or benefactor who will provide a garrison on your behalf. Or else-or else, give up your colonization, for without an armed force which will render physically impossible any attempt to destroy or prevent this colonization, colonization is impossible, not difficult, not dangerous, but IMPOSSIBLE!... Zionism is a colonization adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important... to speak Hebrew, but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot - or else I am through with playing at colonizing."Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of Revisionist Zionism (precursor of Likud), The Iron Wall, 1923.

Ben Gurion
"We must expel Arabs and take their places." David Ben Gurion, future Prime Minister of Israel, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.

Less famous but very important, Joseph Weitz
"Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples together in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this small country. There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries - all of them. Not one village, not one tribe should be left." Joseph Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency's Colonization Department in 1940. From "A Solution to the Refugee Problem" Joseph Weitz, Davar, September 29, 1967, cited in Uri Davis and Norton Mevinsky, eds., Documents from Israel, 1967-1973, p.21.

Please N, Don't take us for fools. 20 years ago it would be possible to deny these statements as it meant somebody had to go to a library and look up several books to prove you wrong. Most wouldn't bother.

In the age of google, yahoo, etc however, its a simple matter

N. Friedman said...


You did not read what I wrote. I said there was no plan. That is different from saying that people did not discuss the idea and write about it.

As I noted, Jabotinsky also wrote explicitly that he favored joint rule. The same for Herzl, who wrote a novel about how it would work.

Ben Gurion spoke of lots of things and at different points said different things.

There was, however, no plan by Jews to transfer a soul permanently.

There was a plan by Arabs to transfer the entire Jewish population from the region. There were also plans to kill all Jews. That is, of course, if we go by your way of finding evidence. Recall the statement of the Arab League at the beginning of the 1948 war. "There will be a massacre..."

Lysander said...

I have no doubt there was a plan by Arabs to try to protect their land from European colonists who openly intended to expel them from their homes. Alas, it failed. But a plan to kill all the Jews???? No.

Sorry but the quotes above are all the signs one needs of a plan to expel the native population. That they tried to fight back is hardly a crime. Most victims of colonialism do precisely that and are not asked to apologize for it.

And note also all the above Zionist thinkers and doers used without hesitation words like colonialism, transfer expulsion.

I would also introduce you to a PDF by Chaim Simmons about exactly what early Zionist leaders planned.

Hard to post a link but here is the title. You can look it up if you want to or others in doubt about the matter can do so;

A Historical Survey of Proposals to
Transfer Arabs from Palestine
1895 - 1947 by Chaim Simmons

N. Friedman said...


While I am not a Wikipedia fan, what I below quote from it is accurate:

After the Partition vote, Arab leaders threatened the Jewish population of Palestine. They spoke of "driving the Jews into the sea" and ridding Palestine "of the Zionist Plague".[23] On the eve of the Arab armies invasion, Azzam Pasha, the General Secretary of the Arab League, "describing the fate of the Jews" even declared: 'This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.'[24]

According to the Israeli traditional historiography, these statements reflected the Arab intentions.[23][25] While Benny Morris considers the real picture of the Arab aims to be more complex, notably because they were well aware they could not defeat the Jews[23], he argues that the Yishuv was indeed threatened with extinction and feared what would happen if the Arabs won.[26] Yoav Gelber, on the other hand, regards these public statements as 'meaningless' and judges that the 'actions [of their armies] imply that the aims of the Arab invasion were decidedly limited and focused mainly on saving Arab Palestine from total Jewish domination'[27].

(I have added emphasis to the extermination threat.)

Now, whether or not the Arabs meant what they said, they certainly did threaten extermination. That is a fact.

And, there was no threat to expel the Arab population. There were some statements made but none as rash as what were said by Arabs.

N. Friedman said...


I also want to add that you are quoting people, with half quotes, out of context. In the case of Jabotinsky, here is a more complete version of the excerpt, which shows clearly that you misrepresent his position:

Better to ask weather it is possible to achieve peace through peaceful means. It does not depend on our attitude towards the Arabs. It depends only on the Arab's attitude towards Zionism. You cannot speak about voluntary reconciliation between us and the Palestinian Arabs now or in the near future. Only those who are born blind do not understand the complete impossibility of achieving a voluntary consent from the Palestinian Arabs to transform Palestine into a country with a Jewish majority. Every indigenous people views its country as a National home where it wants to remain the complete master forever.

All of us want peace with the Arabs. To prove this to any Jew is equivalent to braking through an open door. It is not we but the Palestinian Arabs who are the stumbling block.

I have added emphasis to a number of points which your version overlooks. First, he wanted peace with Arabs in the country, not out of the country. Second, his view was an expression of what he thought was possible at the time, not permanently.

I shall check the context of the ben Gurion "quote."

The Weitz quote comes from his diary and it is definitely quoted out of context. In his diary, he was speaking of how terrible the situation had become, not that he wanted to transfer people. That, in fact, is something he did not want to do. The diary entry also includes this sentence immediately
following the portion you quote: "There is no other way out." That is a cry of desperation. Which is to say, you are not being careful in your quotations.

N. Friedman said...

The ben Gurion quote is fraud. As noted in Wikipedia, which is accurate on this point, the real quote is:

We do not wish, we do not need to expel the Arabs and take their place. All our aspirations are built upon the assumption — proven throughout all our activity in the Land — that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.

As Wikipedia further notes:

* Letter to his son Amos (5 October 1937), as quoted in Shabtai Teveth, Ben Gurion: The Burning Ground; and Fabricating Israeli History: The 'New Historians (2000) by Efraim Karsh; this has been extensively misquoted as "[We] must expel Arabs and take their places" after appearing in this form in The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 (1987) by Benny Morris, p. 25.

Please stop using quotes that are not truthful.

N. Friedman said...

A more complete version of the Herzl quote follows, which shows that what you write asserts something that is not being said:

When we occupy the land, we shall bring immediate benefits to the state that receives us. We must expropriate gently the private property on the estates assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.

It goes without saying that we shall respectfully tolerate persons of other faiths and protect their property, their honor, and their freedom with the harshest means of coercion. This is another area in which we shall set the entire old world a wonderful example.

This is how people, all over the world, spoke at the time. It is not a statement of an intention to expel a population.

N. Friedman said...

I hit the post button too quickly.

In any event, it was a statement about dealing with poverty - harsh but not remotely different than how such things were viewed all over the world. In my mind, it is a monstrous view but, frankly, it is no different than the view taken by Arab, by Europeans and by Americans at the time, when notions about the poor were rather monstrous.

Lysander said...

I don't believe Azzam Pasha said any such thing. I do believe that Arabs fully intended to expel European colonists who came with the intention of expelling them first. No need to apologize for that.

Ben Gurion was clear in both word and deed. The Zionist project from the outset was to expel Arabs. Of course, they all claim to want peace. It is a meaningless term when in their sense it means we want the Arabs to submit to each and every one of our whims and when they finally do, there will be peace. Until then we will use brute force to bend them to our will, but it will really be their fault since they didn't bend to our will in the first place.

In that sense, yes, they wanted peace with the Arabs.

Lysander said...

From Chaim Simmons' work;

The era of "Modern Zionism" can be said to have begun towards the end of the 19th
century with the "Hovevei Zion", the "First Aliyah", and Theodor Herzl.
In one of the first entries in his private diary dated June 1895, (even before he had
decided on the final location of the Jewish State), Herzl wrote that it would be necessary to
remove the non-Jews from such a state. Herzl apparently realised that it would not be prudent
to publicise such an idea, since there is not a hint of it in his famous book "The Jewish State",
which was published just a few months later.
In contrast, Nachman Syrkin, who was one of the founders of "Socialist Zionism", had
no inhibitions about making public the possibility of transfer of Arabs from Palestine, and
such a proposal appears in his booklet published in 1898.
In the same year, Herzl visited Palestine and saw the country at first hand. A few years
later in his unpublished "Draft Charter" for Palestine he wrote that the Jews would have the
right to transfer Arabs to other parts of the Ottoman Empire. Another person to visit
Palestine at that period was the Anglo-Jewish writer Israel Zangwill, who, after a few years
reflection, proposed such transfer in lectures which he gave in the U.S.A. and Britain in 1904
and 1905. One should note that the public pronouncements on this question by both Syrkin and
Zangwill did not give rise to any adverse comments.
At this period, the Zionist movement was still in its infancy and proposals for transfer
were made by only a few individuals, particularly Zangwill. Following the rejection of
Uganda as the location for a Jewish Homeland in 1905, Zangwill left the Zionist movement,
and it seems that no further proposals for Arab transfer were put forward for a number of
It was in the early 1910s that two leading Zionists, Arthur Ruppin and Leo Motzkin put
forward transfer proposals, the former in a private letter and the latter in the course of a
lecture to a Conference of German Zionists which was subsequently published in a German
Jewish newspaper. However, the main proposer of transfer at this period was Zangwill, who,
after he had returned to the Zionist fold, wrote a number of articles and delivered a number of
lectures on this subject.
At the end of 1918, following one of Zangwill's articles, a public condemnation of his
proposals by several prominent Anglo-Jews, appeared for the first time in the British-Jewish
press. One should remember, however, that this was the period of the Balfour Declaration. A
number of prominent Anglo-Jews from families who were well-established in Britain, were
vigorously opposed to the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine and as a
result of their efforts, the final text of the Balfour Declaration was less favourable to the
Zionist aspirations. The Anglo-Jews publicly opposing Zangwill's transfer proposals largely
came from these well-established families. To their great credit, the press did not prevent
Zangwill from using their columns to propagate his ideas on Arab transfer - "freedom of
expression" was sacred at that period!
Following the termination of the First World War, Fridtjof Nansen, proposed a
compulsory transfer of population between Greece and Turkey involving nearly two million
people and this proposal was subsequently implemented by the League of Nations. The success

N. Friedman said...


The problem here is that you are using half quotes and quoting people entirely out of context.

If you want to argue that the Arabs were justified to fight the creation of Israel, that I can understand. If you want to rely on quotes that are out of context and effectively misquoted, that is quite a different thing.

Now, regarding the quote at hand, neutral histories, accepted by all involved, include the pertinent quote. The fact is that it occurred on the day that Israel declared independence (May 15, 1948). Azzam Pasha stated at a Cairo press conference, (The New York Times, May 16, 1948) stated - and in context: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades." Here is how the report appeared in The New York Times:

On the day that Israel declared its independence, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, at Cairo press conference declared "jihad", a holy war. He said that the Arab states rejected partition and would set up a "United State of Palestine." Pasha added: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades."

You might argue with The New York Times but, frankly, they are not alone at that time in reporting what Azzam stated. It was, after all, stated at a press conference.

The issue here is not whether the Arab side had a legitimate beef. The issue is ascribing motives to the Jewish side to make them into evil villains. Such is clearly not what any neutral examination of the facts shows.

N. Friedman said...

I looked up your Chaim Simmons. He is not an historian and his quotes are not appropriately and there is no demonstrated evidence of any serious expertise in history. He is a chemist. That is some source for you!!!

Real historians, by and large, note that the issue of transfer was well aired, by all involved, including Arabs and the British. Moreover, real historians note that such had occurred in the 1920's between Greece and Turkey, and resulted in a more stable situation between the countries. The UK, per the Peel Commission, recommended transfer. So did numerous Arab leaders. However, by 1947, such was not the view of the leaders of the Zionist movement. They, at the time, opposed transfer.

Which is to say, quoting statements on either side, without discussing the background in detail is nonsensical.

It is also to be noted that, at the same time Israel was created, there were real episodes of ethnic cleansing. In Europe, 2.5 million ethnic Germans were expelled from what became Czechoslovakia and Poland. The creation of India and Pakistan caused 14 million refugees, with 1 million dying.

Are you opposed to Pakistan's existence. It was clearly founded on acts of ethnic cleansing. The same for India. The same for post WWII Poland and Czechoslovakia.

If you want to have a real discussion, let me know. In the meanwhile, I would respectfully ask that you quote someone with the relevant expertise.

Anonymous said...

Well you blew him out of the water Lysander,hes getting pretty desperate if he has to try to draw comparisons between pakistan/india and zionist ethic cleansing,its interesting that he doesn`t mention more recent examples such as the balkans/kosovo but he no doubt knows the wide spread revoltion and disgust that these crimes provoked not to mention the prison sentences for some of the perpetrators.Just as today there are still people who dont belive that the nazis planned amd carried out the holocaust then it should be no shock that plenty of people,N included ,should choose to belive that the zionists had no plans of their own,despite a lot of evidence to the contrary.What I really get is the impression that N believes that ethnic cleansing/mass murder is ok when zionist jews do it to arabs,anyway excellent work Lysander I look forward to reading more of your post especially if they continue to be of the calibur posted in this thread

N. Friedman said...


I mentioned examples of events that occurred around the time of Israel's creation and before. Opinions about transferring populations have changed since the time of the late 1940's.

When someone attempts to assert something that claims that there was a movement to transfer people - which is what he basically claims -, one needs to place such theory in context. I might add: it might help his argument to note that in the early 20th Century and even after WWII, transfer was something still discussed all over the world.

Which is to say, if Lysander was really arguing that Zionists meant to transfer the Palestinian Arab population, that is something he (or she) might have asserted back to me. That did not happen because his or her goal is to tar Zionism as uniquely vile, doing something that does not happen.

Yet, in Europe, at the end of WWII, millions of people were intentionally displaced. Among them, 2.5 million ethnic Germans. The issue came to a head in Europe back in 2003, when the Council of Europe, in response to a request from Arab friends of the Palestinian Arab cause, asked the Council to take a position in favor of settling Palestinian Arab refugees and their offspring in Israel. The Council debated the issue and the subject that came up was the, at this point, 11 million ethnic Germans - i.e. the original 2.5 million and their offspring - who actually make same argument made by Palestinian Arabs.

The argument that won the day against Palestinian Arab demands is that the peace of Europe is defended by refusing the right of return to ethnic Germans. As such, the Council of Europe passed a resolution which stated that UN 242 (and not UN 194) is the sole basis to resolve the refugee problem.

I mention this to note that, even if what Arabs claim about Israel were correct, such is far from being unique.

Now, my other point is that, as shown by Morris in his definitive book on the subject, 1948, the Jewish leadership had no plan for permanently displacing anyone.