Romney, Israel and some home truths

by Richard on July 30, 2012

Antony Lowenstein: A one-state solution is the only way forward for Israel and Palestine

But for the Zionist state, the occupation is merely a God-given right to populate land. The lie was proved when Israeli officials, leaders and dutiful Zionist lobbyists in the West spent decades claiming the occupation was temporary and arguing that Palestinian land and natural resources for Israeli use were solely motivated by security concerns.

The occupation can apparently be ignored forever. Soon enough, a person like Levy will be found to create a legal fiction and legitimise what the whole world knows to be illegal. The US issues muted criticism, while Australia doesn’t have an independent foreign policy when it comes to Israel, meekly following American and Israeli dictates, and colonisation continues apace.

What remains fascinating about the Levy findings – American Zionist organisations still can’t bring themselves to speak clearly and honestly about Jewish housing in the West Bank – is what it implies for Palestinian rights under occupation. If there is no occupation, then there should be no problem granting full voting and civil rights to all citizens of the West Bank and Gaza. If that happened today, Jews would soon find themselves a minority. It’s called democracy and it’s something Zionist leadership fears.

Mitt Romney compounded these lies with his comments about Jerusalem. But peace isn’t served when politicians don’t have their own views on the Middle East issue.

Shalom Goldman: Romney’s Compliment to the Jewish People Closer to a Slur

Romney’s gaffes in London a few days earlier were embarrassing enough for his campaign staffers and supporters. Criticizing the British for their lack of preparedness for the Olympics and making public his meeting with the head of MI-6 were quite distressing for those who follow European affairs (though for many in the Republican base a poke at what Donald Rumsfeld once referred to as ‘Old Europe’ might be a welcome thrust).

But Romney’s remarks about Jewish superiority were of a different order, and it’s not only the Palestinian leadership that should be aghast at his remarks. Essentially, what the GOP’s candidate for president was saying is that “Jews are good with money.”

While the wealthy businessmen and investors at the breakfast might have taken that as a compliment (though some in attendance might very well have flinched), students of Jewish history, and of Christian-Jewish relations, can’t help but being horrified by the tone-deafness of such language. The myth of Jewish financial acumen—and dishonesty—has been at the core of anti-Semitic discourse throughout the centuries. It was present in the writings of Church fathers, in the dramas of the Elizabethan period, and in the screeds of the Nazi propagandists.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }


Daphne Anson 07.31.12 at 8:16 pm

Tell me, prithee, Richard, does the maverick Loewenstein’s vision of a One State Solution reflect your own view?

Here are some more home truths, that I courteously invite you to ponder.


Kim 07.31.12 at 10:10 pm



Bob Gilston 07.31.12 at 10:32 pm

I think that suggests that Richard won’t be willing to respond.


Kim 07.31.12 at 11:11 pm

Kim is not Richard, Bob. But Kim thinks (perhaps, pace the archaic “prithee”, I should say “methinks”) we’re in Rush, Sean, and Glenn World here (the UK’s Melanie Phillips is kind of them jocks light, and that’s heavy, scary, and quite neurotic enough). Jon Stewart parody — or flabbergasted silence — is the only appropriate response. And prayer, of course (cf. Mark 9:29).


Daphne Anson 08.01.12 at 2:20 pm


Mark Byron 08.01.12 at 3:10 pm

The first except is why some sort of “two-state” solution is needed, since a Jewish minority in a majority-Islamic country is a non-starter, assuming the level of anti-Jewish vitriol stays at current levels.

An apartheid-style Jewish-only democracy isn’t going to work in an era that does value democracy, so some division of the two is needed. Getting it so that the two can coexist is the trick.


Daphne Anson 08.02.12 at 7:01 am


Daphne Anson 08.02.12 at 10:10 am

Richard, your answer to my question re a One State solution is?

And on the subject of oppression of Palestinians, don’t overlook this:


Daphne Anson 08.02.12 at 8:24 pm


Mark Byron 08.03.12 at 4:39 am

The gold medal for Link-Posting in a Comment Section goes to… Daphne.

However, I don’t think that will get Kim and Richard off their general idea that Palestinians are people, too. Badly led people, to be sure, but people nonetheless.


Richard 08.03.12 at 7:31 am

Thanks for presenting the medal, Mark. I don’t understand why Daphne thinks these links are helpful. It’s not like I support violence or holocaust denial. But, to my mind at least, the wrongs done by Hamas don’t justify the wrongs which are done by Israel. There’s an old cliche which continues to be true: two wrongs don’t make a right. Someone needs to break the cycle, and since Israel is the more powerful actor in the Holy Land, it should be Israel which takes the initiative.

Daphne - in response to your specific question - Don’t assume that because I link something it necessarily reflects my view. It does mean that it represents a view I think should be heard. In an ideal world, if we were starting from scratch, I would argue for a one state solution with equal rights for all. Israel’s claim to be the only democracy in the region is fatally undermined by what is happening in the West Bank. Unfortunately, we’re not in an ideal world and I don’t believe such a solution would be acceptable to either side. So, reluctantly, I’m left with some version of a two state solution, but in order for that to work Israel is going to have to give up the West Bank and find some way in which sharing Jerusalem can be shared. It’s a long way from ideal, but it’s probably the best that can be hoped for.

I don’t believe that the current situation is beyond hope, with the only long term solution being one side grinding the other into grovelling surrender. Reconciliation is possible, but it takes time, patience and determination. South Africa and Northern Ireland may not be there yet, but they’re on the road. What has been possible there must be possible for Israel too.


Kim 08.03.12 at 8:14 am

The gold medal for Link-Posting in a Comment Section goes to… Daphne.

Multiple. Michael Phelps is beginning to look over his massive shoulders…

What Mark and Richard said. Although with the relentless colonising of the West Bank it’s looking more and more of a “Yeah, right!”


Daphne Anson 08.03.12 at 8:23 am

Richard, although I could point to flaws in your argument, I will thank you for your full and courteous reply. You are a gentleman.


Ric 08.04.12 at 12:38 am

Like pre-adolescent boys, young peoples (NB not races or nations) take delight in destruction and slaughter for its own sake. They grow out of it with maturity, just as boys do. It usually takes a civil war. The last time the Jews behaved like that was in the year 70 CE; the English, 1651; the Germans, 1945, the Japanese, 1945. Some peoples are still in that phase: many Africans (north and south of the Sahara), Middle Eastern Arabs, Afghans, Sri Lankans. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Russians and Chinese each had one or two good slaughters left in them.
You are asking the Jews of Israel to trust the Arabs. You do not trust peoples with a proven track record of slaughter. You just have to wait until they grow out of it. This is Netanyahu’s current policy.
And before you start in with Deir Yassin, Lydda and Gaza, let me remind you that each of these episodes, tragic though they were in terms of loss of non-combatant life, could have been avoided if in each case the Palestinian Arabs had accepted the existence of a Jewish State in part of the Land of Israel and concentrated on finding a diplomatic solution by arguing over borders instead of starting a shooting war.


Richard 08.04.12 at 11:09 pm

Sorry Ric. This is just nonsense. “young peoples … take delight in destruction and slaughter for its own sake”


geoffff 08.07.12 at 3:50 am

I cannot believe there is still a tiny and remote corner of the world in some foreign land where Antony Loewenstein is taken seriously. How quaint.

Let me ask you a question, Richard. Would you take Antony Loewenstein so seriously if he was just another British Methodist?

“Don’t assume that because I link something it necessarily reflects my view. It does mean that it represents a view I think should be heard.”

OK Richard. I’ll match your Jew and up you one. In fact I’ll do better than that. I’ll match your Australian as well.

I feel exactly the same about Pamela Geller.


geoffff 08.08.12 at 6:13 am

I realise now that I could have worded that more gracefully but I guess that shows how much I know about card games.

The thing is Richard, your idea of an ideal world and starting from scratch is entirely different from mine. In my ideal world starting from scratch there is also a one state solution. That is because the British would have kept their promise of 1917 made at a time of terrible war and pledged again in peace before the whole world under the only lawful authority the British had any right to be in occupation at all.

A war by the way that included substantial Australian operations that took from the Ottoman Empire big chunks of the whole region including the Sinai, Palestine/Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and includes even the spectacular charge of the Light Horse at Beersheba in October 1917 which is just as much a part of Australian mythology as the charge of the Light Brigade is for the British. Except for diametrically opposing reasons.

In this ideal world the British have kept their promise on the blood of all those brave men and allowed a part of a part of a part of what they called Palestine to become the Jewish homeland. There would have been an independent sovereign and strong Jewish state by 1925. Why the wait?

At the very least the British would not have slammed the door shut on the homeland they promised on the very eve of another war and every Jewish person who was able to get there would have been safe at least for the time being. But they did that as well.

Even after the war in my now far from ideal world the British would have realised that this was a golden opportunity to finally honour the promise the need for which had just been shown in a way that should have chilled them to their souls.

They would not have kept the door still shut on the people we now call the survivors and they would not have forced the Jews in Palestine to fight a civil war for their homeland and their lives. But the British did that too.

That’s the problem with starting points and ideal worlds. Everyone has their own starting point.

Here is a starting point for the twenty first century. The promise of 1917 finally is honoured not just in reality and in the law as it finally and irrevocably is but in heart and spirit. Israel is the Jewish homeland and is thriving and strong. Western liberals and others but especially the British accept this as not only good and proper but to be celebrated. Palestinians can have another state if they want it but they must accept the Jewish state.

I call this the one state solution. The one that is already there and flourishing. Is recognition by the British too much to ask? Say by 2017?

If the enemies of Israel do not accept that then there is nothing to discuss. If they choose violence and grievance instead then while I can understand your sympathy for the Palestinian people I can not understand your hostility to Israel for doing what it has to to survive.

What would you have Israel do Richard? Unilaterally withdraw to borders drawn up by the British? Sorry been there. Done that. Border drawing will never be remembered as part of the British genius.

Also I know this is pre emptive but please do not lay that land promised too many times stuff on me that Brits sometimes come out with. No sale. There was nothing in any “promises” to the Arabs that clashed with the promise of a Jewish homeland in part or even all of Palestine. Besides ending up with enough wealth in the ground to splash on every luxury imaginable while influencing the geo politics of the world in a real and very malign way should have met any promise by now.

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