Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023Liked by The New Statesman

First of all, thanks for running this interview, New Statesman. It's useful to hear from all sides on this issue, even when we may disagree with some or all of what people have to say. That's the only way forward out of this nightmare in which we all find ourselves. And I have enormous respect for Rashid Khalidi even as I found myself disagreeing with much of what he said. I'm going to state the obvious here, but it's something that came to me recently: If you don't accept the premise of the right of Israel to have an independent Jewish state/homeland in the Middle East, then this conversation is over. Because there's nowhere to go from there (ditto a Palestinian state, btw). He doesn't, and while I do, it was instructive to hear him say that out loud to remind me that a lot of intelligent people reject that premise out of hand. If you do accept that premise, then you need to proceed from there and find a just solution. Possibly saying something super obvious here but it only became obvious (to me) recently.

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You're a fool, son, plain and simple - in 1948/9 the Palestinians rose up with 5 other Arab nations and tried to eradicate the jews.

They lost

Get over it.

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What of Jordan? Comprising over 70 percent of the British mandate of Palestine - why no discussion of that created Arab country? THAT should have been the “Palestinian Arab home” also this discussion entirely omits that the British PREVENTED Jewish immigration to the region during the Holocaust. What of the Arab collusion with the Nazis as well? Why isn’t bay of this addressed or discussed?

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Nov 14, 2023·edited Nov 14, 2023

Based on my reading of history, there's a lot wrong with this analysis, but this really stood out:

"‘OK, you can have most of our country or half of it,’ but I don’t think Zionism would have been satisfied with that. They wanted, in [Zionist politician and soldier, Ze’ev] Jabotinsky’s words, to transform Palestine into the land of Israel. And they meant all of it – they didn’t mean 12 or 20 or 8 per cent. And by 1967, they had all of it."

This is propaganda, not analysis. You find it implausible that they'd be satisfied with something despite the fact that they explicitly agreed to formalise that thing? "I don't believe they would have been happy with that"? No, they weren't, but they agreed to it anyway, in the name of peaceful compromise. They had the power to invade and conquer, but instead they only "invaded" (through legitimate land purchase until ... when exactly?) and "conquered" (mostly mindshare, by forcing deeply conservative ideologues to grapple with the fact that modern liberal society seems to work better than their historical intolerance). Similar things have happened a few times in the past, with Zionists wanting a lot, agreeing to much less, and then having Palestinians reject the offer of compromise by attacking Israel.

It seems both (all) sides feel they've been forced to be less than they would wish, but Israel has a documented history of trying to compromise for peace... can their opponents say the same? Most strikingly, Hamas *cannot* compromise--they make explicit in their founding covenant that peaceful solutions are not acceptable in any form.

Did the Jews have the god-given right to that land? No, of course not. Religious arguments are ignorant fantasies, and believing that you own land just because of your holy text, or what happened there 2 millennia ago, is moronic. Did the Jews have the right to land they bought? I'd say so. The land that they were offered in an international agreement? More interesting debate, but a good case can be made for it, both ethically and practically.

But more than that--humans have been rapidly, intentionally, making much of the world uninhabitable--especially to Jews, but also to all humans, and to all living things. We will not survive as a species unless we learn to seek collaborative solutions, share increasingly scarce resources, cooperate, compromise. The Zionists have made imperfect efforts in that regard, tainted by both arrogance and fear of yet another genocide, but their attempts in that direction are well documented. What about the Palestinians? Have they been seeking collaborative solutions?

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Interesting to read that your uncle was exiled along with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Did he share the same nazi sympathies and close association with Hitler?

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The best punditry I've seen thus far on Gaza was the title of a Steve Marriott piece in The Times recently "You Don't Have to Share Your Views on Gaza". This awful (and intractable) tragedy has become a sumptuous talking-heads-dine-out for journos and intellectuals in places far from the action Less would be better.

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