Freedman tries Pavlov

“No Eastern land occupied by a sedentary population has as uncertain a water-supply as Palestine. Its Mediterranean climate leaves it without any rain for about half of each year, on the average. Since Palestine is at the southern end of the rainy westerly winds, its rainfall becomes progressively more scanty as one goes south towards the Negeb. Winters with inadequate rainfall are both frequent and unpredictable, and disastrous famines have thus been common throughout its history.”

The above words were written by the famous archaeologist W.F. Albright in his fascinating book ‘the Archaeology of Palestine’ in 1949, but Seth Freedman would have us believe that water shortages in this part of the world are not only relatively new, but somehow deliberately engineered. In his familiar florid style, Freedman recounts his visits to encampments of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe and with typical British romanticism – a sort of ‘Lawrence of Suburbia’ – dramatically depicts the suffering of these noble tribesmen at the hands of the dastardly Israeli regime.

Whilst there do exist many difficulties with Israel’s attempts to reconcile the existence of a modern, democratic welfare state with the traditional nomadic practices of the Bedouin in southern Israel (it should be noted that the case of the northern-dwelling Bedouin is quite different), it is certainly not correct to imply that Israel’s policies towards its Bedouin population are based on racism. At the Negev Conference of 2008 former PM Ehud Olmert made the following statement:

“I want to say a word to the Bedouin population, whose representatives, I hope, are here.  I heard from the Foreign Minister that she visited Rahat today. The Mayor of Rahat is one of the most important leaders in the south, and we value and respect him.  When I arrived in this area via helicopter, I could see the entire infrastructure development, which is close to completion, for the construction of 2,200 additional housing units in Rahat, with lands allocated by the Israel Lands Authority – a development made through budgets from the Israeli Government and the Ministry of Construction & Housing, in order to allow the Bedouin residents of the south a high quality of living, in areas that constitute an inseparable part of the Bedouin places of residence in the southern part of the country.  This is part of the effort we are making, but we are doing more to solve the problems of the Bedouin population, as you know full well.  We established a committee, headed by Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Eliezer Goldberg, to resolve the issue of Bedouin settlement in the Negev and address the issue of compensation in the allocation of alternative lands, as well as the enforcement of these arrangements and a timetable for their implementation, and I expect the committee to submit its recommendations soon.  This is not a simple thing.  We are not willing to accept illegal seizures of land, but we will not allow the eviction of the Bedouins without a settlement that will respect their needs, address their quality of living and enable them to live in areas slated for habitation by these populations, in accordance with their needs, while making certain that the law is enforced and illegal land seizures are prevented.”

In fact, a case which reached the Supreme Court in Israel would imply that anything but racism against the Bedouin is the case.

“Moreover, to provide affordable housing the Israeli government has sometimes leased residential land to Israeli Arabs at subsidized rates unavailable to Israeli Jews. For example, while the government charged Israeli Bedouins just $150 for a long-term lease on a quarter of an acre of residential land in the southern community of Rahat, Israeli Jews were charged $24,000 to lease similarly sized plots in neighboring areas. In response to such policies favoring Israeli Arabs, Eliezer Avitan, an Israeli Jew denied the subsidized rates, sued the government for discrimination. In Avitan v. Israel Land Administration (HC 528/88), Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against Avitan and in favor of the government’s “affirmative action” policy.”

With regard to the Jahalin tribe specifically, it is worth reading what CAMERA had to say on this issue some three years ago.

“The Jahalin have been making claims about the land of Ma’ale Adumim, and squatting on state land assigned to the community, since the 1980’s. They have been warned many times by successive Israeli governments that eventually they would have to move. Most of the Jahalin eventually agreed that they did not have rights to the land. For example, according to a January 29th, 1994 Los Angeles Times article, “no one, not even Hairsh (Mohammed Hairsh, a Jahalin leader) claims that his tribe has a legal right” to the land they have been occupying.”

Of course, that does not prevent the Jahalin and others being used by various NGOs (or journalists) posing as human rights campaigners to promote their own political agenda. Freedman lauds the efforts of NGOs to find solutions to an apparent water supply problem, but unsurprisingly fails to mention the recent controversies surrounding the methods employed by some NGOs in an environment in which water is scarce for all and is a commodity which has to be paid for by all sectors of society. We are by now well aware of the political use of water shortages in Israel as a method of delegitimizing the Israeli state.

So let’s take a look at what happened on that thread once Freedman had pressed the Pavlovian buttons of Bedouin (i.e. indigenous, poor, tribal, romantic) fighting as underdogs against a more powerful state ( i.e. authority, government, Westerners) for those most emotive of commodities, land and water. This first comment should be abundantly clear even to those who have lately been claiming on these pages that they have no idea why some of their posts of CiF are antisemitic.


3 Jan 2010, 3:53PM

Well, Shylock was never one for giving.

Many of the comments on this thread responded to Freedman’s prompting and equated Israel with a racist state guilty of ethnic cleansing.


3 Jan 2010, 2:54PM

Israel’s racist policy towards Palestinians and other Arabs has a historical background in the US treatment of native Americans. The whole of Israeli culture leans this way.


3 Jan 2010, 3:15PM

Cleansing the land as in 1947 to 1949.

It will never end.

No one can live here except those people who have been selected by God.


3 Jan 2010, 3:47PM

Well done Seth, for continuing to highlight the abuse of power and the chicanery which Israel uses to force indigenous people off the land so that it can be reserved for the Brooklynites, the Russians and anybody else who believes in a particular fable. Use of foodstuff, water and resources is a well established tactic in starving a people of their right to live in their ancestral lands.


3 Jan 2010, 3:59PMWhere is the USA or the EU in all of this?

Supporters of ethnic cleansing.


3 Jan 2010, 4:24PM


No it doesn’t. Only Israeli culture as mis-reprepsented in an endless stream of one-sided vilification on Cif.

Absolutely. For example, though a large percentage of the population of Israel supported Ariel Sharon, who committed genocide in a pair of deathcamps, large numbers of Israelis also protested against him. Though there are Israelis who stab gays, or slur dissenters, or who support racist Settlers; there are Israelis who created and joined Peace Now.

Of course, that there are honourable dissenters (like Seth) does not excuse the racist, weirdly-nationalist Israelis, or the fact the racist nationalists have, seemingly, a monopoly of control of the state’s warfare capability.

One cannot but notice two themes at work in these comments. First, the manipulative suggestion that Israel is a racist state, which of course prompts the reader to make the sub-conscious moral decision to oppose that state: no decent person would support racism. Second, there’s the old implication that Israelis are somehow ‘Westerners’ from the USA and Europe, artificially transplanted into the Middle East  -or even forced to go there.


3 Jan 2010, 5:12PM

I can only say that I’m glad my grandparents moved to South America from Germany-via-Holland in 1939 and didn’t stay on to be murdered or herded off to the abomination that is Israel.

In fact, only about 4% of Israelis born abroad have their roots in North America, compared to 8.1% from Morocco, 3.6% from Iraq and 3.6% from Ethiopia. Of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, around 19% came from Asian states such as Uzbekistan (9%), Azerbaijan (4%) and Georgia (2%), all of which explodes the myth that Israel is made up of white Westerners. The other myth of so-called ethnic cleansing by these fictional hoards of white immigrants also takes a serious battering when one considers that in 1955, Muslims comprised 8.8% of the Israeli population, in 1972, 11.58%, in 1995, 15.21% and in 2000, 16.73% .


    4 Jan 2010, 11:44AM
    “I guess you feel that Arabs have a massive case to answer for, then…or don’t you consider their aggression towards the Jews since 1947 be that?”
    Except to note it, I’ll put to one side your generalised, and therefore racist comment about “Arabs”.
    But in the real world, rather than the fantasy world occupied by Israeli apologists, it was Israel who were the primary aggressors in this ongoing conflict, they started it by occupying Palestinian land outside of the area granted to them by the UN. And before that I seem to remember they were terrorists, with groups such as Haganah, Irgun & Lehi (the Stern Gang) assassinating Lord Moyne in 1944 and the UN Mediator Folke Bernadotte in 1948 amongst other acts of terrorism.
    Who do you think has a case to answer for those atrocities?

As we see in this comment above, the distortion of history in order to avoid dealing with inconvenient truths is a CiF staple. Let’s take a quick look at the Jewish population of Israel well before the state’s founding, partition or even the Balfour declaration, as recorded by Tudor Parfitt in his book ‘The Jews in Palestine 1800 – 1882’.

In 1882, for example, there were between 15,000 and 20,000 Jews living in Jerusalem out of a total population of 40,000. In the same year, there lived in Tsfat (Safed) 1,200 Jews, Jaffa (Yaffo) 1,300, Shefa Amr (Shfaram) 100 and Bukayy’a (Peke’in) 100. As is well known, there had been uninterrupted Jewish settlement in Peke’in since the days of the dispersion. In 1881 there were 1,200 Jews living in Hebron, and in 1883, 4,000 in Tiberias. Montefiore recorded 233 Jews living in Acco (Acre) in 1839 and in 1875, 1,500 Jews lived in Haifa out of a total population of 6,000. In Schem (Nablus) in 1839, Bonar and McCheyne found a community of 200 Jews – nothing remains of that community today, of course.

Another method of circumventing any inconvenient facts is to rely on the old conspiracy theories.

    3 Jan 2010, 4:26PMDPerrone99
    This article will either give readers the impression that Israel is a uniquely malevolent state or draw attention to a larger problem – namely the denial to water resources to populations around the world. For the sake of the people in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere who are being denied water by governments and businesses (almost always working in coordination), I hope it’s the latter.
    Yes, you’re quite right.
    But to be sure, let’s send a fact finding delegation from the Conservative Friends of Equatorial Guinea to find out if there’s any funny stuff going on. I’m sure they’ll deliver an authoritative rebuttal to all of Seth’s wild claims.
    Actually, I’m surprised Sderot hasn’t worked it’s way into any of your posts yet.

And when certain CiF commentators can’t think of any better way out, they just throw around wild accusations of misuse of the term anti-Semitism as a method of neutralizing the arguments of others against their own misrepresentation and defamation.

    3 Jan 2010, 6:48PM
    Re raymonddelauney
    cited as an anti-semite on a hate-watch site.
    ## Oh you poor thing.##
    It is a big issue .. a shame you belittle it. I was horrifed at being called an anti Semite the first time on CIF. It is an effective and argument-destroying insult. It throws the listener and distorts the issue as it is intended to do.
    I have appealed on many occasions for CIF to treat this nasty , low insult as the serious and disgusting slur that it is. I live in hope. Here is to the wonderful pro Israelis who can defend their corner without implying people are motivated by hatred .

Predictable as it is to see the Pavlovian masses at CiF responding on cue to Freedman’s stimuli, one would have hoped that so-called intelligent and educated readers of the Guardian would have learned to think for themselves by now instead of dutifully swallowing whatever is dished out to them and reacting as programmed. Here’s one optimist who was deleted for his pains:

    3 Jan 2010, 3:07PM
    The whole of Israeli culture leans this way.
    No it doesn’t. Only Israeli culture as mis-reprepsented in an endless stream of one-sided vilification on Cif.
    Did you know that Jimmy Carter has now apologized for his stigmatization of Israel? Maybe Rusbridger and his minions will follow suit one day.

Maybe, Sabraguy – we can only live in hope, but my money is on Israel winning the World Cup before that happens.

28 replies »

  1. I know that I am probably hurting Seth’s delicate feelings but whether he is aware of it or not he is part of a campaign to delegitimise Israel. I picture him talking about Israel giving the Arabs gold ingots and succeeding in fooling those who wish to be fooled that they are intended to cause dissension among the Arabs who will use them to bash each other’s heads in while arguing who got the bigger portion.

  2. “certain CiF commentators just throw around wild accusations of misuse of the term anti-Semitism as a method of neutralizing the arguments of others against their own misrepresentation and defamation. ”

    Well you got my number and expressed it better than I could have. It started with my first tentative post re some sort of peace settlement ..I received a reply saying I didnt want Israel to exist. I politely said this wasnt the case and was told I was a liar as well as a hater.

    The poster Parisa then did a series of maybe 20 posts calling me an antiSemite . I complained to the mods and she said maybe I wasnt an anti semite but I sounded like one! 🙂

  3. Another excellent article, Israelinurse, where you demonstrate convincingly that ‘Seth of Suburbia’ is stoking up the fires of antisemitism on CiF through his ignorant and one-sided anti-Israel pseudo-journalism.

  4. Berchmans, now come on, you are on record as not engaging what passes for your brain before you put fingers to keyboard, so don’t come the self-pitying malarkey here. Parisa had your number.

    At best you are terminally confused. And after your reply to Mitnaged about not blaming Hamas for hating Jews (note you wrote “Jews”, not Israelis) now you wrote like an antisemite.

  5. Israelinurse, at first (Freedman being Freedman) I read the title of your piece as “Freedman tries Pavlova”, and I wasn’t sure whether you meant the dessert or he’d taken up ballet. Apologies.

    This is, as usual, a very good article.

    The CiFers (some of whom post here) are indeed conditioned to react in the way they do.

  6. HairShirt

    “not blaming Hamas for hating Jews (note you wrote “Jews”, not Israelis)”

    I would have written ” Jews ” but not ” blame” I dont know what post you mean but I would have given my usual speeech on cause and effect and the deliberate obsfucation of the Jew /Israelt interface. I only say a few things so remembering isnt such a chore.

    If you would stop exaggerating you might be taken seriously .

  7. Lawrence of Suburbia is definitely memorable!!! BTW, there used to be a blogger Lawrence of Cyberia, quite vicious.
    Once again, a great piece by Israelinurse, with a lot of important factual corrections re. Bedouins in the South. Personally, I have to say that I’m rather immune to any of the romanticism attached to so-called “tribal” people who insist on a backward lifestyle that usually allows the men to treat women and girls as inferior. If you see how until today many Bedouin girls are kept (no other word for it), and the freedoms the boys enjoy or take… Well, nothing romantic about it as far as I can see.

  8. Of course you don’t Berchmans, and I am glad to have my suspicions that you ARE Berchmans confirmed.

    I well remember the post when you wrote to Mitnaged that you don’t blame Hamas for hating Jews “now.” I complained about it and that got me banned, or maybe you did that when you did your usual bleating to the mods.

    And you are right that you only say a few things. That’s why that post was so easy to remember. It was a new low even for you.

  9. Berchmans. Come out, come out, wherever you are. And seeing the Sabraguy post deleted makes me happy. He shouldn’t be posting on CiF. All I ask for is two weeks of leaving that site to the loons and anti-semites. It is not a legitimate debate site. When they fire BellaM and make people like MiskatonicU moderators we will come back. They cannot survive exclusively on being the home of morons and bigots.

  10. Israelinurse, I note that you quote Berchmans being hurt that he was called an antisemite on CiF. He says that it is an “argument-destroying insult” . Strange he doesn’t mention his support for “gentle” people like Bunglawala and Khartoumi and others such as the very strange Bils in their time, and how they used to wail “Islamophobia!” if ever their views or opinions were challenged in any way, and seems also conveniently to have forgotten his statement to Mitnaged about now blaming Hamas for hating Jews “now.”

  11. Yohoho, I well remember the Khartoumi unfortunate and Berchmans’ support for him.

    And I remember and have kept Berchmans’ antisemitic statement (and I note that he has tried to wriggle out of it elsewhere on this blog).

    (Incidentally, do people realise that Berchmans seems to have the capability to adapt and learn? Not a slogan in sight here, which begs the question of why he posts to the other place as he does).

    Paranoid projection is the being-in-the-world of such people. They can’t help it, nor do they realise that it damages them far more than it does the people at whom they direct it.

    Of course we all do it at times, in order to help ourselves believe that we are all good. The danger comes when it’s the equivalent of a career move, as we see with so many posters to the other place.

  12. HairShirt

    *I well remember the post when you wrote to Mitnaged that you don’t blame Hamas for hating Jews “now.” ”

    And we will see your evidence when some future date? I have many many times said the actions of the IDF have produced hatred and violence but I have appealled on 200 ?? occasions for an uncondition end to violence. I have specifically condemned Hamas’ violence on a hundred occasions .

    Have you once looked at the murderous actions of the IDF

  13. abandonhope, I guess not from me, but you can look up your entry here on CiFWatch and find it there. I honestly don’t feel like doing your work for you.

    Who says that IDF actions are “murderous?” You? CiF? B’Tselem? “Gentle” Seth Freedman or Bunglawala or the thugs of Hamas leaders who published on CiF? Human Rights Watch? The UN? The press reports about the Jenin massacre that wasn’t? The Goldstone Report? Hardly unbiased any of them. Do you mean the IDF actions as a whole? No army behaves perfectly in a war but as Col Richard Kemp said to the United Nations, the IDF’s behaviour was exemplary in many ways.

    I do know from my own contacts that any Israeli soldier who breaches the army’s ethical code is held accountable for it. Can you say the same about Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields, which is a war crime too? I would bet not, Berchmans, because Hamas is proud that it sacrifices women, children and the elderly!

    Hamas is guilty of the infringement of the human rights of little children in Gaza, too, by using them as human shields and indoctrinating them with hatred and brainwashing them into wanting to become human bombs. Read Medusa’s article which gives proof. Again, why do you think we hear nothing about this on CiF?

    And it is guilty of murderous crimes against Fatah, too. Again, nothing on CiF about that.

    It commits war crimes by shelling civilians in southern Israel. There are no soldiers embedded amongst them and often it deliberately times its shelling fior when children are going to or coming from school or are on their breaks.

    You take as your yardstick what you swallow whole from sites like CiF or others, which wilfully mislead and never present the full picture. Why does it never occur to you to question why we so rarely get the full picture in western media? How many articles or documentaries have there been for example about life in Sderot?

  14. A PS to Berchmans – you will find under your name also something which really shows you up, along the lines of saying that hating Jews is OK if they deserve it.

    Look it up. It’s quite an education.

  15. Hair shirt

    “Hating Jews is OK if they deserve it”

    What on earth is your problem with that for goodness sake .

    I hate Muslims who deserve it ..ones who hurt others ..I despise them.They breach the social contract that we all sign as humans but they also betray their gentle religion. They allow others to attack their people because they lack the wit to defend themselves without violence.

    I hate Catholics who deserve it ..who use violence..I despise them.etc etc

    I hate Presbyterians who etc etc

    Now report me to their blogs or get off my back.

  16. Abandonhope

    What you say is correct. I have seen your posts as Berchmans, You are against all racism and violence. Some do not understand this.

    Time for all to be honest.

    As you often say “Take care”.

  17. You are a racist and antisemite, Berchmans! You are judging ALL Jews by the actions of some, (which may have been wrongly reported) and that constitutes racism and antisemitism. You used no qualifiers!

    The fact that you can even define people in such terms rather than hate them for what they DO is disgusting.

    I gather that you used to be a social worker and you said that you were top of the class in antidiscrimination. You should ask for your money back because they sold you a pup.

    I don’t particularly like YOU Berchmans but its not because you are a Scot. It’s because you add to the hatred on CiF by your thoughtless opinions.

  18. SilverTrees

    “You are a racist and antisemite, Berchmans! ”

    You are a lightweight whose vocabulary shrinks by the post. You cannot possibly prove this nonsense . I have posted 10k posts to CIF …show me anything .

    I attack the UK as way more destructive than Israel so dont even try to say I single out Israel. In fact I condemn CIF for using Israel as a shield to underreport our wars.

    I condemn all attacks on Israel as cowardly, ignorant counterproductive and murderous.

    ” You are judging ALL Jews by the actions of some, ”

    This is a dull and deliberate misreading of my posts. I have never done this and would never do it.

  19. berchmans the cap well and truly fits so wear it.

    You condemn the IDF far more often than you condemn Hamas (in fact you have never condemned Hamas on CiF). If I am wrong then reproduce one of your anti-Hamas posts there.

    “I condemn all attacks on Israel as cowardly, ignorant counterproductive and murderous.” but I daren’t do that on CiF (or if you have, then reproduce the post).

    Give us an example also of one of your posts condemning CiF for “using Israel as a shield to underreport our wars.”

    How can “Hating Jews is OK if they deserve it” be a deliberate misreading of your antisemitic post? How else can it be read? There isn’t even a “some” in there as you argue you meant. And who decides who “deserves” to be hated – God forbid that it’s you!

    (Readers can make up their own minds about what you meant in the context of your other lunatic pronouncements on CiF, and by looking under “Berchmans” under CiF Contributors above).

    The fact that you posted all this on CiF where people have even less sense than you when it comes to differentiating out who “deserves” what, is evidence of at least poor judgement on your part.

  20. SilverTrees

    “” (in fact you have never condemned Hamas on CiF). “”

    Liar. I have condemned their violence on 100 + occasions. I will do so now. I totally, completely and without qualification condemn the brutal and wanton violence committed by Hamas on Israeli civilians. I specifically condemn the cowardly and murderous rockets that bring such destruction on their own people.

    Over to you.

  21. AbandonHope

    What you say is true. Beware the Pick’nMix responses. They find what they are looking for. They often miss seeing the truth.

    What exactly are they looking for. Affirmation of their own view. Nothing more.

  22. You are lying, Berchmans, and you know it. Prove you are not. Post here, or give a link to any one comment you have made and which remains on line which condemns Hamas using those very words.

    (You know you won’t be able to, because your post would have been deleted out of hand had you done so).

    As if your sloganeering counts! “No” to this and “No” to that instead of reasoned argument against Jew-hatred.

    (What am I saying? How can anyone who believes that “hating Jews is OK if they deserve it” possibly construct a reasoned argument against Jew-hatred?)

  23. A PS: Good for you berchmans, but it doesn’t count unless you post it on CiF because I don’t believe you mean it.

  24. Now, all that remains to turn you into a half-way decent person is for you to apologise for your “hating Jews is OK if they deserve it” and a promise that you will never write such hate-filled nonsense again on CiF.

    I know you made excuses afterwards here once you had been called to task, but they were pretty thin and I need to hear your apology nonetheless.