EFRAIM KARSH: A PALESTINIAN TWO-STEP
Published in The New York Sun May 02, 2007
The essential matter that Prof. Karsh (Kings College, University of London) doubts is that Sari Nusseibeh really advocates a two-state solution. Everything else that Karsh writes in this review of Nusseibeh’s autobiography (“Once Upon A Country”), including a paragraph that lists alleged factual errors – all quite minor, even if Karsh is accurate – is mud slinging. A better review would be one that may raise this concern – a very important issue – yet also weighs it against evidence that Nusseibeh is a moderate and an advocate of a two-state solution. The fact that Nusseibeh co-authored in 1991, “No Trumpets, No Drums: A Two-State Settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” with Israeli scholar Mark A. Heller, is totally ignored. Likewise, Karsh even ignores that Nusseibeh has campaigned in refugee camps for them to forego a right of return to Israel.
Among the more fair-minded reviews was one written by Jeffrey Goldberg in the LA Times, April 1. But in reading his book now, I can’t help but notice an annoying habit of Dr. Nusseibeh to differentiate Zionism from Judaism and “Jews” from “Zionists” in order to undermine Zionism’s moral legitimacy. Of course there is a distinction to be made, but this shows that it’s difficult for even a moderate Palestinian like Nusseibeh to appreciate that Zionism was a response to anti-Semitic oppression and persecution, let alone the fact that there were binationalist Zionists and others who might have been reasonably accomodated as an alternative to this ongoing multi-generational conflict.
Surely your irritation at Dr N’s differentiation of Jews from Zionists and Judaism from Zionism is misplaced.
The conflation of the two is far more dangerous, as it allows anti-semites to use anti-Zionism as an alibi for anti-semitism.
I’m glad you got in this vital critique of Sari Nusseibeh:
“I can’t help but notice an annoying habit of Dr. Nusseibeh to differentiate Zionism from Judaism and “Jews” from “Zionists” in order to undermine Zionism’s moral legitimacy. Of course there is a distinction to be made, but this shows that it’s difficult for even a moderate Palestinian like Nusseibeh to appreciate that Zionism was a response to anti-Semitic oppression and persecution, let alone the fact that there were binationalist Zionists and others who might have been reasonably accomodated as an alternative to this ongoing multi-generational conflict.”
Wow, if you can’t even resist taking a potshot at Sari Nusseibeh, one of the most moderate, accomodating Palestinians around (and in my view too moderate and accomodating), I can’t see any hope for the “Zionist Left”. The “zionist left” might as well just vote Likud.
Thanks for raising Nusseibeh’s “annoying habit” of differentiating Zionism from Judaism. I’ll be sure to inform my many Jewish friends who do the same that they are off-base, as is Sari.
A reminder that Ralph once asked me why I spend time on him rather than attacking Hamas (of course he doesn’t know how I spend my time), but perhaps he might note that more than half the time I’ve posted I was responding to his reactionary attacks on Jimmy Carter and now Sari Nusseibeh.
Zack has a problem with nuanced comments. You don’t have a hint from Zack here that my posting was mainly a critique of Karsh’s review and a defense of Nusseibeh.
The same is true of my postings on Carter, which included favorable comments and criticism of some of his critics, and not just criticisms. Still, I see Nusseibeh as a far more knowledgible authority on Palestine than is Carter.
I note that Meretz USA announced the cancellation of Sari Nusseibeh’s planned Monday talk in New York City. I hope this wasn’t related to differences over the relationship between Zionism and Judaism.
Are you ever going to comment on that odd element from your last post?
Sari Nusseibeh cancelled his trip to the US (not just his single appearance under our sponsorship) due to an unexplained family emergency.
Zack should go back to the very mild criticism I made of Dr. N. and read it again, slowly. I find it completely self-explanatory and not in the least bit “odd.” It’s Zack’s reaction that I find odd in not understanding that one need not agree with every utterance of someone who one generally finds refreshingly reasonable and moderate. Who among us is beyond at least a tiny smidgen of reproach or at least some disagreement?