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While Newt gets in trouble for denying Palestinian nationhood, a little video crops up

Somebody needs to preserve this video before it magically disappears from Youtube.

This is former Member of Knesset Azmi Bishara denying there is or ever was a Palestinian people. He is referring, by the way, to the same historical information to which Gingrich was referring. In this video, Bishara is openly denying the existence of a Palestinian people, claiming that they are Arabs and part of the larger Arab Umma. He refers to the fact (often cited on Jewlicious) that prior to 1948, the territory known as Palestine was part of the British Mandate and before that it was a sub-province of the Ottoman province, Syria.

Note also that he is no friend of Israel. He fled the country after serious allegations arose that he helped Hizbullah against Israel.

21 Comments

  1. josh

    12/11/2011 at 4:47 pm

    thank you

  2. Chicky

    12/11/2011 at 6:51 pm

    Is this really your logic: One Palestinian—wait—I mean Arab person— said it, so it must be true!

    I wonder how insulted you would feel if someone came up to you and you that you weren’t Jewish. According to their own criteria, you are not a Jew. It’s not your choice to decide you own religion, ethnicity.

    Perception is reality, regardless of what your own opinion is. A large part of the world believes in Palestine’s right t exist and the national identity of a Palestinian people. Denying it makes you look like a bigot at worst, an asshole at best.

    The only way your argument holds any ground is it you also believe that Israel shouldn’t exist. Which I’m guessing is not your opinion.

    • Abie Dee

      12/13/2011 at 10:13 am

      And a large segment of society once believed the world was flat. A large segment of Germans believed that Jews should be placed in ovens. It doesn’t matter what one person or thousands say. Unfortunately in this age of political correctness facts have little value. Still,the facts prove that Ginrich was correct in his assessment…if you’re interested in facts you can do your own research…it’s all there…all it requires is leaving your politically correct hat out of the mix. And if someone brought me the facts to prove that I was not Jewish I’d be fool not to look into it. The truth will set you free…..

  3. Palestiniansareamyth

    12/11/2011 at 9:01 pm

    You are an idiot, chicky. There has never been a Palestinian people, country, culture, language. There was a time when Jews were called Palestinians. The Romans re-named ancient Israel “Palestine” thousands of years ago. The Arabs only started using “Palestinian” to describe themselves in the 1960’s for the purpose of stealing the Jewish homeland.
    So according to your flawed logic standing up for historical truth makes one a bigot? According to you we should believe in a myth because “a large part of the world” supports it? Btw the large part of the world you refer to is the radical, loud-mouth Arab Islamofacist Israel obssessed countries. The rest of the world is either ignorant or doesnt care.
    You’re actually the bigot and asshole for supporting an invented “people” who were created for the purpose of stealing the Jewish homeland and murdering the Jewish natives.
    Jews actually do exist and Israel is the Jewish homeland. That is a fact. There is an abundance evidence to support that unlike the Fakestinians who didn’t “exist” before 1the 1960’s.

  4. themiddle

    12/11/2011 at 11:26 pm

    Actually Chicky, I didn’t express my opinion. All I did was point out the irony of seeing Gingrich get beat up for something that Azmi Bishara said.

    As for your comment regarding how I would feel is somebody claimed I wasn’t a Jew, you might want to ask Mahmoud Abbas, the PA and Hamas about that. They deny my connection to Israel, to the land of Israel and to my heritage by denying and minimizing Jewish history. They have shills like Shlomo Sand and a few Scandinavian bible and archaeology scholars helping them with their assertions. They have UNESCO helping them to eliminate Jewish connections to important Jewish sites, too.

    I guess that if you agree with them, the whole world will perceive you as a bigot as best and an asshole at worst.

    Oh wait, they do it openly and their leftist fans play along and nobody calls them anything. Sand wins prizes for his ridiculous book, Atzmon gets a prominent U of Chicago scholar to endorse him, Abbas is labeled a moderate by the international press, the Palestinians get access to UNESCO which is precisely the UN body that determines (at least on paper) which aspects of Israel’s history belong to Israel and which belong to the Arabs, etc., etc.

    Stop being a hypocrite.

    • Chicky

      12/12/2011 at 6:40 pm

      I’m not sure of the irony behind the comparison. Ironic because a Palestinian can say it and not get called out by the international community while a presidential candidate will get called out?

      Yes, your argument is partially valid. But just because your enemies refuse to acknowledge Israel you are going to stoop as low as them? Do you not realize that this type of attitude only fuels a cycle of hatred and intolerance?

      The hard truth is Israel is a country with an internationally recognized government while Palestine isn’t. The same rules don’t apply — and won’t even begin to come close to applying — until Palestine has an internationally recognized government.

      Yes, there are a lot of bigots and assholes who refuse to acknowledge a Jewish tie to Israel. But a lot of the world recognizes Israel as the Jewish homeland. Yet every day that Palestine is not a country is another day which fuels the fire towards these leftists that you disagree with.

      • themiddle

        12/13/2011 at 1:13 am

        It’s ironic that he gets slaughtered for something that many Arabs and Palestinians believe. It’s doubly ironic that he comes to this view through the prism of history rather than mere assertions.

        As for me “stooping as low as them,” I didn’t stoop at all. I didn’t express my opinion, although I have in other places on this site.

        You’re right that “they’re” stooping pretty low, however, and it’s rotten from the top down not from the bottom up. It’s the leadership of the Palestinians which is pressing for the negation of my history. Unlike TheMicah’s claims, the Khazaria card is not only pushed by the “more brainwashed anti-Zionists” but rather by the entire Palestinian leadership, numerous Palestinian scholars, numerous anti-Israeli scholars and is most certainly represented by the education provided to the Palestinian population. What else is meant when they use the concept of “colonialists” when referring to Israel?

        For example, here is Mahmoud Abbas in September of 2011 to the NY Times:

        …as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years…

        Not 44 years, 63 years. Get it? And don’t even get me started on denial of Jewish connection to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. Here is that story for your edification. That is a PA publication and it concludes with the following lines:

        “no Muslim or Arab or Palestinian had the right to give up one stone of Al-Buraq Wall or other religious sites.”

        On the other hand, I’ve heard Netanyahu openly call for two states for two peoples, a formula every PA and Hamas representative rejects.

        So let’s not play the equivalency game here, okay? One side – not only at the grassroots level but at its highest levels – is denying the existence of the other, fighting hard to erase its history, attempting to negate some of the most important elements of its heritage while the other side at its highest levels (and its grassroots as well, as most polls consistently show Israelis in favor of a two state solution), for example, gave the Waqf the Temple Mount and has since allowed the Waqf to run roughshod over this extremely valuable piece of real estate. That same side has also provided three offers and has accepted two other offers to divide the land between Arabs and Jews.

        So yes, TheMicah’s last paragraph is on target, but sadly for all of us it appears the Palestinians are the ones who are trying to negate the other side’s right to any of it. In the meantime, they also deny a substantial part of their own history, which Gingrich touched upon. As did Asmi Bishara. Apparently they do it in service of their other goals.

        Now Chicky, please stop feeling so sorry for the “country-less” Palestinians who don’t have an “internationally recognized government.” Those poor, poor Palestinians challenged the mighty US of A at the UN openly and in their confrontation they actually succeeded in winning both at the GA and at UNESCO. Their diplomatic operation is one of the most extensive and most sophisticated in the world and they even manage to get rules to apply to them which apply to no other refugee group including and especially the Jews who were forced out of Arab lands because of this conflict.

        If you want to help the Palestinians and if you want to help Israel and if you really want peace, then why don’t you imagine a different approach? Why don’t you consider how you and other dedicated supporters of peace and achieving Palestinian statehood can convince the PALESTINIANS to negotiate in good faith so that a real compromise can be achieved? You know, one where they stop with their demands to have a “return” of third and fourth generation Palestinians descended from 1948 refugees into Israel while they also try to get all of the Old City, or at least most of it and the holy sites?

        • Chicky

          12/13/2011 at 7:32 pm

          Actually, it is pretty obvious what your opinion is, even if you don’t state it explicitly. You think that Israel has done all that it needs to, and that it is now upto the Palestinians to do their part, and that if the Palestinians don’t immediately change (because that is how change DOESN’T work), then well it isn’t Israel’s problem, not their fault. Morally clean slate.

          Let me pose a hypothetical: 2 men steal bread for their families. One does it because he is poor and cannot afford to buy food. The other is wealthy and does it out of greed. Do these two men deserved to be punished equally or fairly? They committed the same crime. They both started life as babies.

          It’s interesting. I just read a Wikipedia article on power relations, and here is what it said:

          “Recent experimental psychology suggests that the more power one has, the less one takes on the perspective of others, implying that the powerful have less empathy. Adam Galinsky, along with several coauthors, found that when those who are reminded of their powerlessness are instructed to draw Es on their forehead, they are 3 times more likely to draw them such that they are legible to others than those who are reminded of their power.[11][12]”

          Do you not realize that there is a reason Israel is viewed differently throughout the world than Palestine? Within the Israel/Palestine relationship, Israel holds the power. They have all the cards. So of course I’m not going to treat the two groups of people equally. One country has military, economic, and political power. The other country, or atleast thousands of people in that country, feel so powerless, feel that their situation is so bleak, that they believe terrorism is their real option towards sovereignty. And yes, they may not all want a two-state solution. Or maybe they’ve grown so despondent, angry, and radically charged because they have been ignored and emasculated for so long, and this anger blinds them to believe in a radical form of justice?

          None of this, however, explains your opinion of Bishara and Gingrich. Do you believe that all Arabs are one nationality and all believe the same thing? Should it matter that ‘many’ Palestinians agree with your viewpoint? Why does that justify anything? Using the same logic, denying the Holocaust is okay because many Jews and Israelis deny the Holocaust.

          Yeah. These poor Palestinians got partial recognition by the international community to be allowed to govern themselves. That makes things fair, right? But why bring in other Arab lands, which actually have their own government, to argue a point which has nothing to do with this conflict, unless you believe that all Palestinians are ‘Arab’, all Arab countries are ‘one country’. I know this may sound harsh, but there are so many more refugee groups that have gotten shafted than just the Jews. Who, I may add, did all right in the end. Just because other refugee groups got the shaft means that Palestinians should too? Aren’t you arguing the same exact thing they are? That Jews third and fourth generations removed from Arab lands deserve the land taken from them?

          For the conclusion, you offer a simple ‘different’ approach to solving the Mideast crisis (because everyone knows the answer, if only in a perfect world). Convince a group of disenfranchised people, who have little left to lose (besides for their occasional humanity), to act reasonably towards a group of people who, through both propaganda and real-life actions, have an incredibly negative view towards their superiors (superiors in the sense of power)?

          Or, for maybe just a NY minute, try to actually imagine how you would feel in their shoes. How you would you react if you truly believed what they truly believed?

  5. ck

    12/12/2011 at 6:27 am

    Above and beyond the historicity of the Palestinian people, all the standard touchstones of a Palestinian Nation exist right now. The ironic thing is that we, the Israelis helped create it – in other wods Israel begat Palestine! Had we simply annexed the most strategic parts of the West Bank iin the aftermath of the 6 Day war and unilaterally withdrew our troops, Jordan would have regained most of the West Bank and there would have been no talk of a Palestinian national identity. I don’t know what we would have done with Gaza mind you, but you know what they say about hindsight. I guess we could have also withdrawn from Gaza and enough of the Sinai to keep a land bridge with Egypt but whatever, the Arab Leagues 5 Nos of Khartoum made it clear that there was no Arab interest in peace or recognition. Oh well…

  6. themicah

    12/12/2011 at 6:39 pm

    @chicky: Both sides like to pull out arguments denying the other’s historical connection to the land. Right wing zionists pull out the “there’s never been a Palestinian nation” argument. Some of the more brainwashed anti-zionists like to pull out the Khazaria card.

    Regardless of the accuracy of these claims (and I’m NOT saying they are equivalent in historical truth), both are IMO irrelevant to today’s situation and, frankly, offensive to all of the people involved.

    Both Jews and Palestinians today clearly have a very strong connection to the sliver of land that sits between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. We need to figure out how it will be possible for Jews and Palestinians to live in that tiny sliver of land without killing each other. We don’t need more people telling either of us that we don’t deserve the right to live there.

    • Chicky

      12/12/2011 at 7:17 pm

      I couldn’t agree more.

      I suggest, if you already haven’t, that you watch Battlestar Galactiga. The show does an amazing job of dissecting a post 9/11 world, and deals with issues including suicide bombings, power relationships among different groups of people, occupation, ‘homelands’, and the basic treatment that all humans deserve.

      /endnerdrant/

  7. Decumanus

    12/14/2011 at 9:42 am

    I think that what Basha’ra is saying might be explained through this video of Edward Sa’ed. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwCOSkXR_Cw

    Palestinian is a western term, not an arab or middle eastern one. It has referred to many people of various ethnicities and religions over the years, most recently, arabs (both Christian and Muslim) who live in the region known today as the state of Israel and the disputed territories.
    The term derives from the ancient philistines, the name the local population gave the greek sea fairing people that landed on the southern coasts of Canaan during and through out the 2 century B.C.E. The root of the word is PaLaSh, which in the semitic languages means “the invader” The Philistins never used this name on themselves, it was found only in use by others outside of the five city states that they founded.
    The Romans, Crusaders and much later the British used this name to describe what became known in the christian world as the Holy Land. The Muslims NEVER used this name short of one very brief point of history in which a small county just south of Jaffa was named by Ibrahim phecha (Muhammad Ali’s son) Phecat Phalastin.
    It was from this time and on, that Nationality (another western invention) started being debated amongst the local Arab population. There were three main views that followed, The traditional one stating that Islam is the one Nation, Another that recognized the Arab Nation (especially after the young turk revolution where turks stopped defining themselves as Muslims, and started calling themselves Turkish), and another third more localized view perpetuated both by the existence of Egypt in the south and the Zionist Pioneers that began settling the land. At the time, the local arabs did not call themselves Palestinian, since that was what the local Jews were using for themselves. It was only after 48, when the name Israel was chosen for the Jewish state, that the Arab population felt comfortable using this term.

    What Basha’a is saying, is that he believes in the Arab nation. This says nothing about his attitude towards Israeli occupation of his fellow arabs in the territories. He says this explicitly in the interview above. This is also says nothing about a Palestinian nation existing or not. How we chose to define ourselves is a universal challenge. Sometimes these definitions are given to us by others despite are will against it.
    We call them all Palestinians, though some don’t want to be called that. Others claim that Palestinians don’t exist even though there are clearly a few million people who choose to use this definition on themselves. At the end of the day, it’s not really our business how other human beings chose to call themselves and regardless what title they choose or is given to them, they still deserve to basic human rights.
    Last but not least. I am an Israeli Jew, and have lived my entire life in Jerusalem. It is my experience that the greatest injustices are done when people try to simplify that which is foreign to them and accept it as absolute truth. There are as many sides to this conflict as there are people in it. To boil it down to two, in my eyes is objectifying the human element involved. If you are foolish enough to take a side, it is proof that you don’t truly understand the complexity of everything that is going on here, because those who do, don’t talk in terms of “conflict” but rather of the “challenges of co-existence”

  8. themiddle

    12/14/2011 at 1:19 pm

    Well, we know Bishara’s attitude about the occupation because he apparently spied for Hizbullah, or at least made contact with them during wartime in a manner that was deemed beneficial to them.

    Bishara doesn’t say what you say, though, Decumanus. He says there was no Palestinian nation. I’m not sure why you’re arguing that the sky is green when it’s blue.

    You’re right, however, that it’s not our business how people define themselves. Except for one small issue: Israel, its people and its leadership have accepted the existence of a Palestinian nation and that this nation should have a state; the Palestinians and their leadership have rejected the existence of a Jewish historic link to ancient Israel in the Land of Israel and the right of the Jewish people to enjoy self-determination there. People who are outraged at Newt should look at themselves first and at those whom they support.

    ——-

    Chicky, I wrote a beautiful long response to your last comment but, sadly, Firefox crashed on me before I published it. I’m too busy to rewrite it but permit me to provide some complexity to your oversimplifications: http://jewlicious.com/2009/04/leaving-the-west-bank/.

    I recommend you read the discussion that follows, not just the post.

  9. Chicky

    12/14/2011 at 4:56 pm

    If you say so, monsterman. Funny how my argument, that things are complicated and that all people deserve basic human rights was an oversimplification, while your argument that Arabs/Palestinians are bad and Israel is good is complex.

    At the end of the day, if you want to believe that all Israelis are inherently good, and that all Palestinians are inherently bad, I can’t stop you. You aren’t the first person to make broad stereotypes about a culture/race/nationality.

    The pot calling the kettle black..

    • themiddle

      12/14/2011 at 9:17 pm

      Chicky, you’re tiresome and I say that after only these brief exchanges and without having had time to rewrite my previous response.

      Your bread-stealing analogy was simplistic to say the least and if that’s how you justify your sympathy for immoral activities by the side you deem oppressed, then I find your views to be in need of some greater complexity. Sorry if that offends you, but you’re the one who gave that analogy.

      Now, I have to challenge you before I proceed. What broad stereotypes did I make about a culture/race/nationality?

  10. Decumanus

    12/14/2011 at 5:41 pm

    Basha’ra says exactly that. He is of those of the second opinion I mentioned and believes in an united Arab nation, this is what he strives for. His comment gets cut off in the middle.. which comes to remind us that we don’t actually understand the full context of what he saying. His connection to Hizb-allah what ever it may be, has nothing to do with the Occupation.
    You didn’t watch the video I attached, so you read my comment out of context. The colonial era has not ended, it has simply changed form, this is what he has stated on many other occasions.
    The term Palestinian is a western term, this is problematic for many educated arabs living here who wish for self determination but with an identity that they themselves have created. The arabs that live in this land, regardless of what passport they hold and what religion they may be apart of, are not all of one opinion. There are many issues debated in the Arab world that you my friend have no idea about since they never make it to the media and is poorly researched by western academia.
    One of these issues is that not all those who are defined by other as Palestinians wish to see themselves as such, this does not take away from those who do.
    To bring this home, how American or how Jewish an individual Jewish person living in the U.S feels is completely subjective. To come along and say for example that “all Jewish Americans agree…” is a stupid comment. Since you can’t even begin to define who is Jewish and what it means to be an American.

    You simplify terminology, exactly the issue that i defined as a very big part of the problem. You talk about Israelis and Palestinians agreeing to things, once again boiling it down to two sides showing how little you actually know of what is going on here.
    Not all Israelis (or Palestinians for that matter) accept the notion of a Palestinian state and not all Palestinians (Or Israelis) have similar opinions as to the Jewish connection to this land.

    I am not out raged by newts comments I simply disagree with the mindset. I do not believe that one has the right to define others for the very same reason that I do not want others telling me who and what i am or not.
    Bash’ara uses the Hebrew term Uma, which is different to AM, although many times in english is translated to the same word. Uma is a modern term and usually referes to the political aspects of a nation, while AM usually means people and can reflect the religious and cultural aspects of a Nation.
    All he is saying is that a Palestinian UMA is a colonial concept and does not and has never existed, and this is true.

  11. themiddle

    12/14/2011 at 9:12 pm

    Actually, Bishara is using “Umma” as a Pan-Arabic term because he’s a neo-Marxist and he believes that everybody in the Arab nation needs to be part of the greater whole.

    The reason he rejects the identity of the Palestinians as the Palestinian nation is that he knows that the modern Middle East was carved out by the British and the French. Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and yes, Israel, are all countries whose boundaries were determined by the Europeans early last century. However, for several decades in the early middle to late middle part of the 20th Century, Pan Arabism had a huge pull on many Arab intellectuals. This is what Bishara is talking about. Of course, to back himself up, he brings history to the table, namely the fact that there was no “Palestine.” There was a Syrian province of the Ottoman empire and what the British and the League of Nations called Palestine was the southern part of that province.

    Do you know how many political parties he went through? I do. I thought I’d mention that since you seem to suggest that I don’t recognize the divergent opinions out there. He went through all those parties because he kept having ideological fights with his colleagues.

    Now, I wasn’t just spouting stuff about a Palestinian consensus. There are some things which have an extremely broad Palestinian consensus. The so-called “right of return” is one of them. http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=54337

    In regard to the question: “Do you think that Palestinians – in exchange for
    having their own independent state and concluding a peace deal with Israel –
    should give up their insistence about the Right of Return, which Israel will
    never accept, or not ?”, the striking majority of (89.8%) answered:”No, they
    shouldn’t do that even if no peace deal would be concluded”, whilst only
    (6.8%) said “Yes, Palestinians should do that”, and (3.4%) said “ I don’t
    know”.

    And responding to the question: “In case the Palestinian leadership would
    waive the Right of Return and accept in exchange for that the monetary
    compensation, would you accept that too, or refuse it ?”

    There are other indicators of a large Palestinian majority on certain topics. For example:

    http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=hsJPK0PIJpH&b=689705&ct=11009249&printmode=1

    When asked more fundamental ideological questions surrounding Israel’s existence, 72 percent said it was “right” to deny Jews have a long history in Jerusalem,

    And

    Asked to comment on specific clauses of the Hamas Charter, more than 70 percent of Palestinians agreed with the section that says, “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”

    Or this poll,

    http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=hsJPK0PIJpH&b=689705&ct=8886389

    Although 23 percent accept the statement that “Israel has a permanent right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people,” two-thirds opt for the alternative statement that, “over time Palestinian must work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state.”

    Additionally, when presented with the proposition that “the best goal is for a two-state solution that keep two states living side by side,” 30 percent agree with 60 percent opting for the alternative statement that “the real goal should be to start with two states but then move it to all being one Palestinian state.”

    Finally, to the question of whether the colonial era has ended or not, I guess if you dismantle virtually all of the modern Arab states, let them fight it out without any intervention by the Russians or Americans, removed all oil sales from the region and then waited to see how it all played out, then you’d be rid of the vestiges of colonialism in the Middle East.

  12. Decumanus

    12/15/2011 at 7:09 am

    A. You claim to know why Bisha’ra says what he says, when at times like most of us, I am not sure he himself knows. True, he definitely has a communist upbringing and even wrote his doctorate on Karl Marx, but if this is the case, then why talk just about arabs? why not about the entire world?
    I believe that like many Christian Arabs he too is greatly effected by late 19th century Arab thinkers such as Juri Zaydan, who is generally accepted as the founder of Pan-Arabism. If he was a real Marxist, he would express himself differently.

    B. Yes, I know exactly how many political parties he’s been through. TWO… (kinda lost your argument there)
    He started out in communist party Rakach and when he felt that it no longer represented his views, he founded Balad and stayed it’s chairmen till the day he fled the country.
    Like all Political parties, Balad has had various agreements and alliances with other political parties that changed over time due to various circumstances, These changes were not any more irregular to the Israeli democratic system (that has seen more political parties come and go than some European countries have experienced in their entire existence) than those say of the Likud or Avoda.
    I am not sure why this was an important issue for you. To claim that Bisha’ara argues with his colleagues? That what’s politicians do!!!
    Moving on.

    C. You quote a series of poles. not quite sure where you’re going with that. Just remember, 101 of statistics is that a pole can tell you what ever you want it too. When you quote it from a site such as the Israel project, it’s very clear where these poles are going.
    Are you trying to determine that these poles indicate there there is a “Palestinian will”? did the poles ask the individual to define him/herself before answering the question, or did they just pole the arab population in a certain area and define them as Palestinians? Who is a Palestinian?
    It’s definitely not up to the Israel Project to decide.
    I think that what you are not getting is that i look at these questions from an educational, social-philosophical perspective. How people choose to define themselves is fascinating to me. Even more so the fact that we have no problem identifying the complexities of our own identity, but fail time and time again to realize this complexities exist in others.

    • themiddle

      12/15/2011 at 12:20 pm

      Look, Pan-Arabism isn’t that complicated to understand and when a Communist uses the term Umma, he is using it in that mode because he’s not a Muslim referring to the Muslim umma. This isn’t such a big mystery. At one point many Arabs in the Mid-East and certainly many Palestinian intellectuals sought comfort in the ideology of Pan Arabism and it appears that Bishara subscribes to that view.

      Second, I had to dig long and hard, but I think after reading this part of his bio – which appears to have been written by him or a close supporter – you’ll agree that he moved around quite a bit more than just two parties even if the Balad name remained:

      He was a key founder of the political party that he has represented since the late 1990s in the Israeli Knesset and the National Democratic Assembly (NDA, known as Balad). This party was established when Bishara joined forces with veterans of the Progressive List for Peace—an Arab-Jewish party that entered the Knesset during 1984 to 1992—and with activists from the Abna al-Balad (Sons of the Village) movement, and established a new political party that represented the voice of the Arab national movement in Israel. Fearing that the party might not pass the threshold set by the Israeli election laws, Bishara joined forces with the RAKAH-led Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (known by the Hebrew acronym Hadash) and entered the Knesset. After a short time his quarrels with Hadash members led him to split and establish his own faction in the Knesset. In the 1999 Knesset elections he joined forces with the Arab List for Change, led by Ahmad Tibi. Both leaders had to lead a well-orchestrated campaign to retain their legal right to run for Knesset election in spite of the allegation that their political platform negates section 7a of the Basic Law: Knesset. Despite that the Central Elections Committee denied them the right to run for election, the Israeli High Court overturned the disqualification decision. Bishara decided to utilize the Israeli law of split ballot in 1999 and run for the office of prime minister, who could be elected directly by the public. At the last moment Bishara gave up his campaign for prime minister and lent his support to the candidate of the Labor Party, Ehud Barak. After being elected Bishara and Tibi were not able to work together for a long time and they split into two different factions in the Knesset. In 2003 Bishara decided that his party, Balad, was ready to run alone for the Knesset elections and he proved to be right. The party won three seats in the Knesset and became the largest Arab party in the Israeli parliament. In 2006 he led the party for another election and maintained the power of the party, which again won three seats.

      Finally, regarding polls. Yes, I understand that polls can be manipulated in many ways. I was trying to make the point that on certain issues the Palestinian population can be described as being on the same page because such vast numbers agree on certain issues. If you like, I can pull out other polls by other groups that show similar findings. The point is that while there may be a multiplicity of ideologies and groups within the Palestinian population, it appears that there is a vast and unequivocal significant majority, literally 9 out of every 10, who view “right of return” and 7-8 out of 10 who view the dismantling of the Jewish state as a future goal which cannot be challenged. So we can talk about different view and different identities, ideologies and what have you, but the sad fact is that on some issues there is consensus among the Palestinians.

      Now an interesting question for them is: are the Palestinians a nation? According to this WAFA poll (this is a news agency that appears to do the bidding of the PA), not really: http://blog.dailyalert.org/2011/05/05/pa-poll-only-21-percent-see-themselves-as-palestinians-first/

      A new survey of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza published Wednesday by Near East Consulting asked respondents how they identify themselves. 57% identified themselves as Muslims first, 21% identified themselves as Palestinians, 19% as human beings, and 5% as Arabs.

      About 40% said they believe the Islamic caliphate is the best governmental system for Palestinians, 24% chose a system like one of the Arab countries, and 12% prefer a system like one of the European countries.

  13. Decumanus

    12/15/2011 at 5:07 pm

    Wow you’re ridicules 🙂
    Why is it so important to you to show that Bisha’ra changed many parties even though he didn’t?
    What you mis quote as various parties is called in Israel a Reshima – a list of parties that run on an agreed platform to increase their chance of getting in to the Knesset. These change constantly, and Balad is no different in this case than any other party. Just as an example, in the first 10 years of the state there were 8 different governments!! take a look at this link and see how the parties changed alliances:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/%D7%9E%D7%A4%D7%9C%D7%92%D7%95%D7%AA_%D7%94%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%A2%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%9D_%D7%94%D7%A6%D7%99%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%95%D7%AA_%D7%91%D7%99%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%91.png/450px-%D7%9E%D7%A4%D7%9C%D7%92%D7%95%D7%AA_%D7%94%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%A2%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%9D_%D7%94%D7%A6%D7%99%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%95%D7%AA_%D7%91%D7%99%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%91.png

    This is how Israeli politics has always been. Dozens of tiny parties who are constantly changing alliances. All this due to the system which allows every three member of Parliament to form their own party if they wish.

    The last pole you quoted is actually very interesting, I have some close friends in Ramallah who would never consider themselves Palestinian even though you would. I also have friends in Abu Gosh, an Israeli Arab village near Jerusalem who don’t see themselves as Israeli, but rather Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. So when I see poles saying X% of Palestinians… I am weary of them. because in a not surprising way at all, people tend to be much more complex then others from the outside might view them.

    This has been my argument all along, and I think we can leave it at that.

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