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December 11, 2009


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Patrick S. O'Donnell

I'm delighted you're having a wonderful time in Haifa. Concidentally, I have been reading about the history of Haifa, in particular, about its ethnic cleansing (de-Arabization) through implementation of Plan Dalet ('Plan D') by the Haganah (with the Irgun and the Stern Gang) in 1948. Specifically, this de-Arabiization of the city took place under Operation "Cleansing the Leaven" (the Palestinians being the bread and the flour) on Passover's eve, 21 April. What Palestinian notables remained after this operation were transferred from various parts of the city "into one single neighborhood, the crammed and small quarter of Wadi Nisnas, one of the city's poorest areas," the transfer process being an exemplary instance of ghettoization.

I was re-reading this and related material (by Ilan Pappe, among others) in response to Orly's paean to David Ben-Gurion over at Prawfs.

dan m.

Patrick, I do not understand why some people always have an urge to blacken Israel, at times ridiculously out of context. What you mention is highly controversial. But much more importantly, it is totally irrelevant. It is as relevant as the fact that you are dwelling in an area that "fell bloodlessly to a battalion of American soldiers under John C. Frémont on December 27, 1846, during the Mexican-American War" and became part of the expanding USA after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (a peace treaty that was dictated by the United States and provided for the Mexican Cession). History is a giddy thing.

Patrick S. O'Donnell


At least here you're not anonymous: thanks.

That you would interpret my comment solely in terms of an effort to "blacken Israel" only reinforces my sense that such things need to be said (that kind of 'black and white' thinking ill serves you).

My motivation can be explained by the sorts of reasons provided by Stanley Cohen in his States of Denial: Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering (2001) and Norman G. Finkelstein in Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (2008 ed.).

What are you afraid of? The post is about Kim's experience in Haifa. I'm speaking to some things I learned about the recent history of Haifa, having never been there. Perhaps Kim can speak to these things, perhaps not, but's it's just a blog post and just a blog comment, and so I think "relevance" is in some degree in the eye of the beholder. To cite a similar case (insofar as I can recall it): when Roger Alford of Opinio Juris once visited Israel, readers such as myself queried him about the experiences of Palestinians, although that was not the topic of his post. Roger responded with first-hand experiences, including the statements of those whom he met.

Your historical analogy is absolutely irrelevant inasmuch as there is not an ongoing conflict of the sort in your historical case on par with that which todaty exists between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and a refusal to appreciate and understand the history of that conflict has and will impede any efforts to bring conflict resolution to the region. If you are going to resort to an analogy, items in the analogy should at least be comparable in the relevant sense(s).

dan m.

First, I think you confuse me with someone else. I am anonymous "here", and have not responded to your comments elsewhere.

Second, the analogy is sound. The fact that a conflict still exists in the middle east, but not on US soil, may be attributed to the fact that Israel, as opposed to the United States, has never demanded total capitulation and disenfranchisement of its enemies. The Palestinians, as opposed to Mexicans and Native Americans, can still vindicate their rights.

Paul Horwitz

I have no dog on the fight on the question of "blackening" Israel or not. But, Patrick, it does seem to me the comment is more off-topic here than it was with respect to the Ben-Gurion post. There, Orly posted about the religious and literary interests of a political figure and you wrote to add that there are other aspects of his biography and character (which is not to say that the two sets of traits can't coexist in one person, of course). Here, Kim spent 100 percent of the post discussing the conference itself, not the city in which it took place.

Of course you're free to argue if you wish that it is wrong to visit this city at all, or to do so without commenting on its history, or something of the sort, just as I suppose it's wrong to take a Caribbean vacation without writing about poverty, or to attend a conference in Mexico without writing about terrorism and narco-terrorism, or to (speaking as a Canadian) visit Cuba without talking about political repression, or to visit New York without opining on Columbia's land-grab, or to go to a football game in Alabama without holding forth on the civil rights movement, and on and on. You haven't done so, I should add. But then your comment is not so much relevant to the post as it is a kind of "speaking of which" addendum to a post that's not really speaking of the "which" you have in mind, which gives rise to the previous commenter's suggestion (again disregarding the "blackening Israel" point; what is it to me if Israel is either lauded or blackened?) that you used this post as an occasion to ride a hobby-horse.


What's the big deal?

Someone says "hey, I just got back from doing X in place Y."

Someone responds with, "hey, I was reading about place Y, did you know . . ."

That's how conversations happen, right . . . which is the whole point of a blog, no?

Kim Krawiec

Thanks for the bit of history, Patrick. We've had no chance at all for sightseeing yet, so it's possible that when we finally do, this is a part of Haifa's history that people will point out or discuss. So far, though, I've really spent all the time teaching, presenting papers, attending workshops, and the like. Well, and today there is the spa resort . . .

Roger Dennis

Kim--take in the Bahai gardens and shrine..fantastic..r

Kim Krawiec

Thanks, Roger! It's on the agenda for this week -- looks amazing in photos.

Dan Markel

For what it's worth, I'm not the "Dan M." here.

Ploni Almoni

You should also know, Kim, that Patrick has a ridiculously one-sided view of the Arab-Israeli conflict, such that his extensive "reading list" on the conflict contains not a single piece written by an author at all sympathetic to Israel. In other words, don't thank him for his history, it's more like "thanks for the propaganda break."

Patrick S. O'Donnell


You should also know that PA's claim is absolutely false: you can judge for yourself here:

As I state there, "The following is by no means an exhuastive or comprehensive list of sources but it can be seen as minimally sufficient for a sophisticated introduction to the dynamics of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict."

I'll be posting a more comprehensive bibliography (largely books) soon at Ratio Juris.

Of course what PA means by a "One-sided view of the Arab-Israeli conflict" is that one's paramount concerns are about justice, human rights, the rule of law, including international law, as well as the proposition that Israel is not truly a democratic state until such time it is more than a "Jewish state" and thus accords equal treatment (with regard in the first instance to due process) to ALL its citizens. In other words, it's not about being "sympathetic to Israel" or being "sympathetic to Palestinians" but upholding all parties to the conflict to the same moral, legal and political standards and principles.

Indicative of the current situation:

And for extended analyses (many of the contributors are Israeli academics and the volume does not treat the status of Arabs in Israel proper), please see Adi Ophir, Michal Givoni, and Sari Hanafi, eds., The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (New York: Zone Books, 2009).

dan m.

Patrick's "paramount concerns [] about justice, human rights, the rule of law, including international law" are moving.

Not a single book on his list mentions the Hamas suicide bombers that killed hundreds in Haifa (need examples? October 4, 2003 - the Maxim Restaurant; March 3, 2003 - the #37 bus; March 31, 2002 - the Maza restaurant). Not a single book on his list mentions the indiscriminate rocket attacks on civilian targets in Haifa during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. Not a single book. And these are a very few examples associated with Patrick's sudden interest in Haifa. Possibly, these acts comply with his perceptions of justice, human rights, and the rule of law - including international law.

Luckily, he is not a history professor at my school.

And Patrick, please. I am not Dan Markel. First, do you know how many Dans live in this world? Second, Dan is an alias, not my real name. I find it puzzling, however, that Dan Markel was dragged here to state that we are not the same person.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

This will be my last comment:

First, several of the titles do in fact cite Hamas bombings ('suicide' and otherwise).

My comment was not about the history of Haifa as such, but in reference to a history of events in the city which are NOT WELL KNOWN, if known at all. Everyone knows about Hamas and suicide bombings, which is why virtually everyone, from academics to pundits, from citizens to public officials, invariably refers to them as "terrorists" (although they are not simply or merely terrorists any more than members of the IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet, or Aman are terrorists). In fact, terrorist acts committed by Hamas are largely what most folks know about this social movement and organization, which has resorted to tactics first pioneered in the region by militant Zionists who fought for the State of Israel (another little known historical fact), as Henry Siegman reminds us:

Some in the Jewish community in Palestine also resorted to this means when they were engaged in their own struggle for national independence and statehood. The Irgun, a Jewish terrorist organization that morphed into the Likud, first targeted Arab civilians in October 1937. In his history of Israel's War of Independence, Righteous Victims, Benny Morris writes that the Irgun "introduced a new dimension to the conflict" when "for the first time, massive bombs were placed in crowded Arab centers, and dozens of people were indiscriminately murdered and maimed." Morris writes that in 1937, "this 'innovation' soon found Arab imitators."

One of the titles in my list is by Shaul Mishal and Avraham Sela (professors, respectively, at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University of Jersualem): The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), which I would recommend as an example of fairly dispassionate and objective analysis of Hamas.

Finally, I did not drag Dan Markel into anything (indeed, I never mentioned his name). It's revealing, no doubt, that you chose an alias, as most interlocutors with me do on this subject.

dan m.

So you assumed the people in Haifa took Kim to a "Hamas bombings tour" and wanted to make sure she would have a more balanced travel plan. That seems reasonable.

I think you had a better case re the Ben Gurion post. Since the above is your last scholarly comment on behavioral analysis of law, you may now have the time to address Hoffman's concern at Prawfs.

Lastly, some of the interlocutors use an alias, some don't. The First Amendment may protect my freedom of speech, but no one protects me from mild forms of incitement.

Ploni Almoni

O'Donnell is correct. I had seen an earlier iteration. His new list is now just composed of works by historians who are overwhelmingly blatantly hostile to Israel, but unlike the earlier iteration, he does sprinkle in a few who are not. This does not change the conclusion that he has a ridiculously one-sided view of the conflict. Any professor who assigned this reading list would be properly sued for malpractice. Tellingly, Benny Morris in his old anti-Israel leftist guise gets cited several times, but his more recent works, which, whatever one thinks of his ideological shift, are better historically because he had access to additional archives, are nowhere to be found.

Ploni Almoni

Also tellingly, there is no indication that the legal internet's resident self-proclaimed expert on Israel speaks any Hebrw.


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