Guardian

Fluffy Fatah


Not content with advocating ‘One State’, yesterday Seth Freedman gave us ‘Fluffy Fatah’. The medium was Uri Davis, the (born Jewish) longtime anti-Zionist who has converted to Islam, married a Palestinian, lives in Ramallah and was recently elected to the Fatah Council.

So we get Davis’ ‘Chanumas’ version  of the Israel he wants: Israel “basically should be a binational state with some Jewish decorations: the Sabbath on the seventh day, road signs [in Hebrew], that kind of thing”, with the Arab state alongside it sporting a “mirror constitution”. Bit like Christmas with a kosher turkey, then. But not Pesach, at least not the Pesach most Jews know: “All of the Hagada story is ugly, ethnocentric, and celebrates collective punishment.”

Freedman tells us that Davis is “adamant that more Jews should join Fatah” (But we thought Davis was Muslim?) “in the same way that whites joined the ANC during the darkest days of apartheid; to him, ideas of religious loyalty should come a distant second to pursuing justice and equality…. it is clear that he at least is living out his vision of breaking down ethnic divisions and working towards a future of coexistence and tolerance between the two sides.”

Sounds so fluffy and interfaith, doesn’t it? Fatah as an encounter group, a dialogue group, an interfaith movement with coffee and biscuits ? Let’s all hold hands and sing ‘kumbaya’ – well, why not?

Well, let’s look at the recent Sixth Fatah General Congress, the first such Congress in twenty years. The only clear message was that, as with Hamas, elimination of Jewish sovereignty in the region remains its ultimate objective. In the elections, at number one with two-thirds of the vote was Abd al-Mahir Ghuneim. According to Barry Rubin (GLORIA Center, Herzliya) he is increasingly being spoken of as Abbas’s successor. Ghuneim is an unrepentant hardliner, an open opponent of the Oslo agreement. “If he becomes the leader of Fatah–and hence of the PA and PLO–you can forget about peace. Violent conflict becomes far more likely. Watch this man: he is the future of the Palestinian movement.”

Better buy some more whitewash, Seth …….

Categories: Guardian

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77 replies »

  1. Arnon

    “You guys will have to start moderating posters comments.

    Some of the posts here are as bad as the ones on CIF.”

    Very good point — glad someone’s noticed.

  2. Mita,

    Your comments are very interesting.

    In the end what you seem to be saying is that when it comes to who qualifies to be a new Israeli isn’t based on race, tradition or culture, but on a religious test – practicing and lapsed Jews count, as do Peruvian (or Bolivian?) Indians, converted on the airport tarmac, while a racial or cultural Jew who has recently become a Buddhist wouldn’t?

    Would I be right in assuming that any children born to Mr Davis outside of Israel would not have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship because they would not be considered Jewish – despite their father being born Jewish in what is now Israel?

    I perfectly understand that this is a controversial issue in Israel (with Lieberman actually on the secular side of the debate), and I understand that different cultures have different ways of defining themselves (many Basques regard “basqueness” to be a matter of language, but doesn’t that make Israel a theocracy, at least in terms of nationality?

    I fully understand that religious leaders will make their own judgements as to what it is to be Jewish, Hindu or Catholic, but democracies do not generally enshrine these religious judgements in law. If my (hypothetical) Spanish born children wanted to be British, they would not have to pass a religious test to claim citizenship.

  3. Exiled wrote, “He can be both – “Jewish” refers to both a faith and a tradition.”

    Did this confirmed Guardianista just admit the Jews a distinct people?

  4. Mita, your arguments are excelllent, but will fall on deaf ears in Exiled.

    Most of CiF engages in failry over anti-Semitism. Exiled, however, engages in the soft anti-Semitism of Clermont-Tonnerre, who most infamously refused to allow the Jews any distinctions as a people.

    For two millennia, the Jews have had no homeland to bind them, and to a certain extent may have substituted (may have HAD to substitute) religion as part of their definition of national identity.

    The soft anti-Semitism of a Clermont-Tonnerre or Exiled consists both in refusing to recognise the validity of such substitution and refusing to recognise the right of the Jews to define themselves as they wish given their unusual history of dispersion and persecution.

    Is Exiled one of the better of the whole filthy CiF crowd? Yes. Are his contentions still anti-Semitic. I believe so.

  5. Exiled wrote: “If my (hypothetical) Spanish born children wanted to be British, they would not have to pass a religious test to claim citizenship.”

    Neither do Israelis. Israeli law allows citizenship to non-Jews such as Israeli Arabs, and is considering extending it to Israeli-born children of Filipinos. As for immigrants, immigration law allows acquisition of citizenship through either the Law of Return or through “normal” citizenship procedures parallel to those of any other modern democracy, with no religious requirement whatsoever.

    It’s a reasonable solution to the problem of having a secular state while still guaranteeing refuge and safe haven to persecuted Jews.

    Which is a category coming to include the Jews of modern Europe, in part thanks to the Guardian.

  6. Exiled wrote, “Can you think of another state in which someone who has a legal right to citizenship, loses it if they change their faith?”

    Has Davis lost his citizenship? Or are you just assuming that?

    Loss of citizenship would be justified. Many countries retract the citizenship of those who have committed an overt hostile act. For example, the USA even retracts the citizenship of those who naturalise themselves elsewhere.

    Given that the Palestinians do maintain a form of continuous war against Israel, Davis’ activities (including Fatah membership) could certainly be considered hostile acts, especially since he may have had advance knowledge of concrete violent acts against Israel.

    It is neverthless completely typical of the soft anti-Semitism of the European left, that Exiled seems to have simply assumed Davis’ citizenship withdrawn, then rushes to falsely condemn Israel as a theological state on the basis of an assumption.

  7. May I make a respectful suggestion, first to my poster colleagues here and then to the management of this blog?

    ExiledLondoner is being given too much attention here. He’s like a naughty schoolchild who is desperate for attention and misbehaves in order to get it. Teachers are taught to deal with such children by not reinforcing the dysfunctional behaviour by noticing it, unless it puts other children in danger.

    May I suggest that a similar remedy be applied here? I can understand why the management would not want to ban anyone unless they were egregiously offensive, but let’s face it Exiled is like bindweed on an allotment – he pops up everywhere if you let him.

    To my fellow posters, may I respectfully suggest that you ignore this irritation and not allow him to take over the threads? I doubt that he has realised that he is actually helping CiFWatch in the long run by increasing the numbers of hits to articles, but to use an analogy from the north, “His voice is giving my *rse a headache.”

    Please don’t encourage him by replying to him or otherwise engaging in conversation with him. If you do that he’ll post more to begin with but then he’ll fade away.

    To the management – is there any way in which you can limit the number of times this person is allowed to post such rubbish in any one day. I don’t think he should be banned – that’d give him an excuse to whinge over at “the other place” but it might help us cut down on the paracetamol.

  8. ExiledsEgo,

    They say immitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    “Did this confirmed Guardianista just admit the Jews a distinct people?”

    Yup – always have done.

    “Most of CiF engages in failry over anti-Semitism. Exiled, however, engages in the soft anti-Semitism of Clermont-Tonnerre, who most infamously refused to allow the Jews any distinctions as a people.”

    Er, but as you just noticed, I did.

    “It is neverthless completely typical of the soft anti-Semitism of the European left, that Exiled seems to have simply assumed Davis’ citizenship withdrawn…..”

    Where did I assume that? I know Davis is an Israeli citizen.

    “….then rushes to falsely condemn Israel as a theological state on the basis of an assumption.”

    …that I didn’t make.

    Nice try. Maybe if you argued with yourself, then at least one of your contradictory views might prevail?

    Demeter,

    “I doubt that he has realised that he is actually helping CiFWatch in the long run by increasing the numbers of hits to articles.”

    I understand that very well.

    I would hope that by giving CIFWatch commentators (like ExiledsEgo above) the opportunity to give free reign to their feelings, and by getting the maximum number of surfers to look in, people will get a faithful impression of what CIFWatch is all about.

    You ought to be paying me really!

  9. Yes Demeter, that’s a great idea. So you’re saying that anyone who disagrees with you is ‘a naughty schoolchild’ or ‘bindweed on an allotment’. It isn’t like you’re contributing all that much in the way of incisive commentary really, is it? Mostly just looks like lots of cut n’ paste, ad hominem attacks and Youtube to me.

    Just a thought.

  10. Thank you Exile for your display of childish ridicule and total lack of respect.

    Perhaps you would prefer us to use Hitler’s definition of a Jew as anyone with a Jewish grandparent, no airport conversions for his victims. Just to put you straight, it takes years and dedication to become a Jew. There is nothing like deathbed confessions and holy water on the forehead which is apparently what you were referring to.

    I assumed incorrectly that you were serious in your questions. I see now you are just passing the time finding which argument you can pick holes in.

  11. No, shachtman, I am not saying that at all and it’s rather unfair of you to accuse me of ad hominem attacks when you have just launched one at me!

    I am saying that Londoner is a pain the neck, or the *rse and he doesn’t contribute much to debate here. Rather he reinvents the wheel and nitpicks and generally gets on my nerves.

    I have said all I want to say. As a battle-scarred pro-Israel veteran of CiF I am used to being disagreed with and having ad hominem attacks launched at me from there. I am equally, entitled I think, because comment really is free here, to request that people don’t reinforce stupid behaviour.

    Or do you think that I should be gagged because I have stated a point of view which is at variance with yours?

  12. “..Just to put you straight, it takes years and dedication to become a Jew..

    Unlike the few minutes it took Uri Davis to renounce his Judaism as an expedient.

  13. Demeter: September 3, 2009 at 7:39 am

    “To the management – is there any way in which you can limit the number of times this person is allowed to post such rubbish in any one day.”

    Demeter: September 3, 2009 at 8:25 am

    “Or do you think that I should be gagged because I have stated a point of view which is at variance with yours?”

    No, but from the above that’s clearly what you think.

    This is getting pointless.

  14. Well done for spotting that, shachtman.

    Well done also for the pop psychology about projection. You kept very well hidden the fact that you can read minds.

    And yes, you are right. This is getting pointless.

  15. Hi Shachtman,

    I don’t know if this post will appear, but anyway…

    Thanks for trying, but there’s no need – I’ve achieved all I really wanted to here. I’ve given the posters on CIFWatch ample opportunity to give vent to their real feelings, and given others the opportunity to judge what CIFWatch is all about.

    It has certainly been interesting!

  16. Exiled, your alter-ego is right. You now say, “I know Davis is an Israeli citizen,” but your post to Mita asserted “someone who has a legal right to citizenship, loses it if they change their faith.”

    So, you lied. You asserted Davis lost his citizenship.

  17. Dhimmi Rider,

    “but your post to Mita asserted “someone who has a legal right to citizenship, loses it if they change their faith.”

    A legal right to citizenship – not citizenship.

    Someone with the right to make Aliyah would lose that right if they became a Buddhist.

    “So, you lied. You asserted Davis lost his citizenship.”

    Obviously not. Maybe you can find me asserting that somewhere else?

    Nice try….. well actually, crap try, but I’m trying to be more polite.

  18. The pilpul(bilbul) has arrived to where it always does, nowhere, and the pilpulist declares that he has achieved his goal, which is nothing.

    A few points for you all.
    Once a Jew always a Jew, conversion notwithstanding, you remain a Jew IF you wish to re-embrace Judaism.
    However a Jew who converts to Islam or Christianity for example and maintains the thinking, life-style etc- is not Jewish and there are many examples of this in the inability of being buried in a Jewish cemetery.

    The issue raised of Uri Davis losing citizenship because of converting is the pipulist making a non-existing point to argue it.
    One doesn’t have to be Jewish to be a citizen, and one doesn’t lose citizenship by converting.

    Uri Davis was never asked by Seth about “east” Jerusalem, he was never asked about a “palestine” without Jerusalem as its capital.

    Uri Davis was never asked by Seth if the importance of Jerusalem was based on it being Jewish.

    There are so many questions that Seth could and should have asked.

  19. 1peter, Seth’s command of the language is wiry and he is a master of mixed metaphors and finding the dirt. He has a certain tough throwaway style, but no outstanding talent for interviews.

    As you imply, Seth also is good at not asking questions to which he does not want the answers.

    Judaism is a forgiving religion if you desire to be forgiven, but it does not throw itself at you.

    Oh and for the Exile who I am sure is still around – there are no “lapsed Jews”. A non-observant Jew is a Jew. An agnostic Jew is a Jew. An atheistic Jew is a Jew. A Moslem or a Christian is a Moslem or a Christian and not a Jew.

    Israel is no theocracy: look the word up. It might be illuminating for you.

  20. “A legal right to citizenship – not citizenship.”

    Now you’re splitting hairs – bilbul. Davis has not lost any right to citizenship.

    If you assert an unnamed British immigrant has a right under Return that he would lose upon converting from Judasim to Catholicism:

    1. He retains the right to apply for immigration under ordinary (not Return-refugee) status.
    2. It is entirely normal and proper for the Return law to consider that, given its prupose of ensuring refuge to Jewish refugees (not Catholic refugees)
    3. The convert could always argue he still needs asylum or refuge from those who still persecute him as an ethnic Jew.

    Frankly, it sounds as if you’re busy scratching the bottom of the barrel for reasons to condemn the Israelis. The Jews have a right to a national project, and nitpicking it to death is not something they will allow to succeed.

  21. Why does someone converting to another religion is no longer considered to be a Jew yet someone becoming an atheist is still a jew?

    Should halacha law not apply to both situations equally and regard both as non-jews?

    An atheist even if a jewish atheist is leaving judaism, the same as someone converting islam, buddhism…….

    Anyone with an answers to above?

  22. The difference, Jacob, is that if you deny the existence of the Almighty you are a Jew breaking one of the key commandments. But you are still a Jew.

    If on the other hand you sign up to other gods or to false prophets (particularly those who claim to be Messiahs and tell you that the laws of the Torah no longer apply, you cease to be a Jew. For example, you become a Christian or a Muslim.

    Two different types of actions. It’s a bit like the difference between being a Fatah member who’s against caling Israel an apartheid state (even though it’s in the PLO Charter, which Fatah follows but Hamas refuses to sign up to) but remains a Fatah member, and a Fatah member who becomes disgusted at Fatah’s lack of Islamist fervour and renounces Fatah to join Hamas. He or she then is a Hamas member. You cannot be a Fatah Hamas member or a Hamas Fatah Member. It’s almost as absurd as being an anti-zionist zionist.

  23. Jacob,
    The question isn’t as simple as it appears and there are too many levels to approach it on.
    With that being said, the simplistic response is if you are born a Jew, meaning born to a Jewish mother- you’re Jewish.
    You remain Jewish and cannot become “un-Jewish”.
    Belief and practise aren’t requirements of being Jewish.

    A person converting to another religion is still considered to be a Jew in the sense that they can opt out at any point in time, and embrace their Judaism.

    In Israel an example of the application is the Brother Daniel case.

    The first legal challenge to the Law of Return came in 1962 with the “Brother Daniel” case. Brother Daniel (born Oswald Rufeisen), a Polish Jew who had converted during the Holocaust and had subsequently become a Carmelite Monk, sought to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return as a Jew. Rufeisen, who had been active in Zionism youth groups and who had saved many Jews during the Holocaust, claimed that his nationality was Jewish even if his religion was Catholic. Complicating the issue was that according to Jewish law, as the child of a Jewish mother, Brother Daniel was indeed Jewish. The State refused his application and he appealed to the Supreme Court. The court ruled that while the national term “Jew” did not necessarily imply the practice of religious Judaism, “in common parlance” it could not be applied to someone who practiced another faith. As a practicing Catholic, therefore, Rufeisen could not be recognized by the State of Israel as a Jew and thus could not immigrate under the Law of Return.

  24. jacob – Should halacha law not apply to both situations equally and regard both as non-jews? An atheist even if a jewish atheist is leaving judaism, the same as someone converting islam, buddhism…….

    It seems that Jews generally don’t consider atheism as a religion.

    Being an atheist, I would agree with this thoroughly as I believe in no written word or book or person or deity.

    I admire books by Richard Dawson, Nick Cohen and Frank Herbert. However, I do not pray to them or their bank accounts.