‘Arabs get treated like dogs at the checkpoint’

‘Arabs get treated like dogs at the checkpoint’


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2014

The  Pittsburgh Emcee Jasiri X has released a video, ‘Checkpoint’, which makes Israelis out to be Nazis. We share it as a sophisticated example of the political propaganda that is going out these days under the guise of mainstream music. The lyrics are printed below.

Any station that plays this stuff should have its license reviewed.



Journal of the hard times tales from the dark side

Evidence of the settlements on my hard drive

Man I swear my heart died at the end of that car ride

When I saw that checkpoint welcome to apartheid

Soldiers wear military green at the checkpoint

Automatic guns that’s machine at the checkpoint

Tavors not m16s at the checkpoint

Fingers on the trigger you’ll get leaned at the checkpoint

Little children grown adults or teens at the checkpoint

All ya papers better be clean at the checkpoint

You gotta but your finger on the screen at the checkpoint

And pray that red light turns green at the check point

If Martin Luther King had a dream of the checkpoint

He wake with loud screams from the scenes at the checkpoint

It’s Malcolm X by any means at the check point

Imagine if you daily routine was the checkpoint

Separation walls that’s surrounding the checkpoint

On top is barbwire like a crown on the checkpoint

Better have ya permits if your found at the checkpoint

Gunmen on the tower aiming down at the checkpoint

The idea is to keep you in fear of the checkpoint

You enter through the cage in the rear of the checkpoint

It feels like prison on a tier at the check point

I’d rather be anywhere but here at this checkpoint

Nelson Mandela wasn’t blind to the check point

He stood for free Palestine not a check point

Support BDS don’t give a dime to the checkpoint

This is international crime at the checkpoint

Arabs get treated like dogs at the checkpoint

Cause discrimination is the law at the checkpoint

Criminalized without a cause at the checkpoint

I’m just telling you what I saw at the checkpoint

Soldiers got bad attitudes at the checkpoint

Condescending and real rude at the checkpoint

Don’t look em in they eyes when they move at the checkpoint

They might strip a man or woman nude at the checkpoint

Soldiers might blow you out of ya shoes at the checkpoint

Gas you up and then light the fuse at the checkpoint

Everyday you stand to be accused at the checkpoint

Each time your life you could lose at the checkpoint

If Martin Luther King had a dream of the checkpoint

He wake with loud screams from the scenes at the checkpoint

It’s Malcolm X by any means at the check point

Imagine if you daily routine was the checkpoint

At the airport in Tel Aviv is a checkpoint

They pulled over our taxi at the checkpoint

Passport visa ID at the checkpoint

Soldiers going all through my things at the checkpoint

Said I was high risk security at the checkpoint

Because of the oppression I see at the checkpoint

Occupation in the 3rd degree at the checkpoint

All a nigga wanna do is leave fuck a checkpoint.


  • Well, I disagree about the license review; freedom of speech includes the right to disseminate propaganda, even if we disagree with it, and even the right to lie.

    It’s interesting, though, how many people wail about the plight of the Palestinians, which is, indeed tragic, but are completely silent about the tens of thousands of attacks on Israelis and have no viable suggestions as to how Israel can protect itself from the attackers other than by placing restrictions upon the people who give them shelter and support.

    “There must be something” is not an option that’s available to the Israeli government. Neither is going back in time and not doing something that they didn’t really do in the first place.

    My bet: At least two people, on this very blog, are about to demonstrate my point.

    • Well said, Jeffrey. Isn’t it dreadful that Israel should want to protect the miniscule sliver of land they’ve been allocated from the sprawling detritus that surrounds it? Funnily enough, the rest of Europe has recently woken up to the perils of lax – or non-existent – border controls, hence the rise of UKIP, Marine le Pen (24% and rising), Geerd Wilders, Vlaams Belang. Even the Scandinavian ‘Tea Parties’ are in parliament…

      I appreciate it’s a pain for law-abiding citizens to deal with and maybe some border guards overstep their brief but it doesn’t alter the fact the country needs to remain vigilant. Dem’s da rules.

  • ALBERT LANDA says:

    As a Jew it breaks my heart to see Jews being violent and treating other people badly. I still believe that ugly violence is simply not in the Jewish DNA.But this is a situation of war and there is white-hot hatred on both sides. War is hideous and forces people to behave hideously. I also believe that the violence coming from the Israeli side is retaliatory in the main.i also believe that one day both sides will realise that there is much to be gained from peaceful co-existence. The occupation is terrible and my heart goes out to the suffering Arabs in this situation, but at the same time I understand Israel’s passionate insistence on a binding peace agreement that will guarantee it’s security

    • David H. says:

      There is no such thing as “Jewish DNA”, at least in the real world beyond the mythology.

      • Michael Schaffer says:

        Completely agree, and even if there was, the idea that some people are less – or more – violent because that is encoded in their “DNA” – that’s not even borderline racist. That’s screamingly racist. And let’s not forget that the Old Testament is not only full of, but also celebrates, invasion, conquest, genocide, ethnic cleansing. I certainly hope that stuff isn’t in anybody’s “DNA”. Or maybe it is – in all of ours, no matter what ethnic background we come from.

  • victor eskenasy says:

    Disseminate, disseminate, something will remain… And you’ll receive many, many, many clicks so to become the first anti-Jewish and the best paid cultural site in the world…

  • Elizabeth says:

    It’s great to hear music used as a tool to articulate oppression! This reminds me of what made early American rap just so revolutionary. Let’s hear the subaltern speak!

    • More accurately, “what “everyone knows”is “oppression”,but isn’t.

      Tell me what the Israelis should do to protect their citizens from terror attacks. Give me a viable option that’s available to the Israeli government.

  • Canbridge says:

    Of course, the Israeli’s live among neighbours dripping with human rights!

  • CDH says:

    I’d have expected a better response than that from someone styling himself “Cambridge.”

    Sorry, but you will have to point out to me the reference to Nazis, real or allusory. There is specific reference to the South African policy of apartheid — not the first time this comparison ahs been made regarding some Israeli policies or activities — but who expects a rapper to do anything other than draw from what he has heard or half-heard?

    The thrust of the song, if that’s the right word for it, seems to be about blacks sharing the fate of (some) Arabs at checkpoints. If so, it would hardly be the only place in the world where such things happen — I believe there is a term “driving while black” in common currency in LA to explain disproportionate numbers of pulled-over black drivers. I do daresay thast crossing while Arab results in more examinations than for others at Israeli checkpoints, and I wonder how many of the details of this effort are actually wrong.

    • I always think of the Chinese, who were present and very visible in my country long before the more discussed, other visible minorities made their mark. I never recall them needing to be cited as victims etc etc but I do remember them and their children working very hard and being very polite. And this was in an age where Chinese restaurants needed to serve chips with rice in order to have enough custom to remain open.

  • John says:

    Exactly what is it in the lyrics that you think warrants suppressing this rapper’s speech?

  • MacroV says:

    I must have missed the reference in the text to Nazis. I certainly understand Israel’s security concerns, but complaints about the treatment of Arabs going through its checkpoints is nothing new. And concerns of Israel becoming an apartheid state (even if it’s not exactly the same as it was in South Africa), are fairly widely held, even among many friends of Israel (many of them also Jewish). As an American, I’ll readily concede our law enforcement/security officers also mistreat – often foolishly – blacks, Arabs, Hispanics, etc.. As to having broadcasting licenses reviewed, well, in America there’s a lot of tolerance for what goes out over the air. And if anyone but a small circle of folks read Slipped Disc, publicizing this video would only help it get the wider exposure you probably don’t want it to have.

    • “(many of them also Jewish)”

      Often, and truly, claimed, but always outside of the context of the fact that Jews are arguably (pun intended) the most argumentative people on Eath, and Israelis are, absolutely, the most argumentative Jews.

      The “apartheid canard crashes and burns when it slams into the fact that there are over one million Arab citizens of Israel, with full rights and participation in all elements of Israeli society, including the police and the military.

      Yes, there are restrictions on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, because those regions are bases for horrendous terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. There was no such precipitating cause in South Africa, so the comparison, while another of those things that “everybody knows”, is not accurate.

      • David H. says:

        “self defense”… “horrendous attacks”… maybe, but only half of the truth.

        “percipitating cause”… well… history speaks for itself, don’t need to mention it.

        Anyway, in reality at the end of the day(s), there are ten times more Palestinian victims in this conflict, than Israeli victims. Horrendous *facts* maybe. Senseless suffering of humans inflicted by other humans.

        • Over 10,000 rocket attacks, on Israeli towns. Not military targets. Nowhere near the settlements. Israeli towns.

          School bus bombings. Pizza parlor bombings.

        • The Israelis can hardly be blamed for the fact that Hamas, et. al., base themselves amongst their own civilians so as to maximize their own civilian casualties for propaganda purposes; nor is the fact that Israeli policies have successfully minimized Israeli civilian casualties a logical argument for discontinuing them.

          • David H. says:

            You have to come out of the singularity corner. Stopping the causality chain with blaming “them” is dishonest (and childish).

          • OK, David, whatever you say. I’m sure that no one else noticed that you blame the Israelis for being the target of horrendous attacks over many decades.

            Israel, alone amongst the nations, is told that it should not protect itself. Why is that?

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            So apparently all here who revert to justification of Israeli policies and the David and Goliath narrative

            – take what is shown in the video for granted and further don’t mind

            – think that the remark about the license of a broadcaster transmitting this video or the song having to be reviewed is just

            (which both make me wonder which enlightened ideas Israel then stands for)

            – think that this blog also is a place for rather uninformed remarks about rap and hiphop

            – fully agree that the song mentions a comparison to Nazi practices.

          • Martin says:

            Jeffrey, protect itself from what? From provocated attacks? I remember everytime Isreal needs a terror attack to justify a weapon test or whatever they get a crazy Arab to attack them .I wonder who has the most interest in the Isreali-Arab conflict to continue, I wonder who is not willing to share the land. It’s not the Arabs.

          • The claim of provocation would be a much better argument if the Arab attacks on Jewish Palestinians had not started before Israel even existed.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            Here is a nice article by Israeli (Iraqi-Jewish) British historian Avi Shlaim, from the NYTimes. Yes a leftist.


            ‘America poses as an honest broker, but everywhere it is perceived as Israel’s lawyer. The American-sponsored “peace process” since 1991 has been a charade: all process and no peace while providing Israel with just the cover it needs to pursue its illegal and aggressive colonial project on the West Bank.’

            And here is a report by an American who traveled through the West Bank to meet an Israeli leftist – indeed – ‘Zionist’, who gave his opinions about the settlement policies and the occupation.


            What the rap song and the accompanying clip that started this debate were all about. And the rapper is an American, so he has a right to express himself about what happens under the cover of his country.

          • A Jew said it, too,” needs to be considered in the context of the fact that Jews are the most argumentative people on earth,and Israelis are the most argumentative Jews.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            But you already wrote this.. Argumenting is not repeating.

            And you are also categorizing if not stereotyping.

          • No, no, no. You don’t get to keep repeating the same false logic while telling me that I can’t repeat the refutation.

          • Hold it right there. End of discussion.

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    I am sad to see Norman posting this in his blog, which I always read with pleasure, even if I know that Norman’s warm interests for relations between music and Jewry, which is by itself fully respectable, sometimes leads to a crusade of things that might hint at critique against Israel, like the statement Nigel Kennedy made after his Proms concert, in which the name Israel was not mentioned. It is Norman’s blog, but I also thought that when the important general director of the Cairo Opera House and a leading Egyptian soprano Ratiba El Hefny died, moreover daughter of a great sponsor of Umm Kulthumm and founder of the Cairo Arabic music festival, that deserved more than a slightly derogatory picture of her as a young sold girl posing as a soldier in the Suez war, in which by the way Egypt had every inch of right on its side; it was a dirty colonial war with Israel and European powers on the dirty colonialist side. And more recently give all the phobia of acceptance if Jews in the Arab world it would have been nice to mention that ten days ago Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Diwan Orchestra performed in Abu Dhabi, like they had done before in Qatar. Like it would have been bigger news to mention that three days ago the Simon Bolivar Orchestra with Dudamel were in Abu Dhabi, more interesting than that Dudamel is taking over a concert somewhere this summer from Rattle because he will be on parental leave. But it is not my blog. It is Norman’s. But Norman, if you also want to fully keep up the image of a general authority in music, which you are, there are some more territories to cover. Which would seem to me only encouraging.

    However in this case I have different feelings. Usually what is going on in rap music does not reach these columns. I am involved in rap music too and I know where to turn to. It is also better to stick to the fields of knowledge that one fully commands. For instance the rapper mentioned here is not well-known. His song is nowhere to be found in any hit-selling list. Nevertheless the clip is going around on Facebook and I am sure other media, especially in circles that are interested in the Middle-East but it has attracted Michael Moore’s attention too: http://www.michaelmoore.com/blogger/jasiri-x

    The name suggests that the Jasiri-X is either a black American Muslim or an Arab-American rapper. As a song it is a strong by any standards. It is well composed, well arranged and well-rapped. One may disagrees with the conclusions Jasiri-X draws from his observations, although he uses footage he shot himself during a visit to Israel-Palestine and from other footage that is on the net. Israel being such a strong ally of the US, including a hefty support among leading politicians http://jpupdates.com/2014/01/30/liberal-jewish-group-decries-mayor-de-blasios-pro-israel-aipac-speech/ and a strong financial support, there are enough reasons for American citizens to be critical about this and singling out the situation in Israel. As said, Jasiri-X uses footage made by himself and footage available everywhere. Usually I am suspicious about the use of such images, even if they are authentic, for propaganda reasons. But the whole song with the lyrics and the images made a sincere impression, so when I saw it circling around on Facebook I shared it. Some here bring forward that this is all the result of Israel’s self-defense. Even in that case I would like to ask what is being defended here, and which supposed political and moral superiority is being fought for here. We see the methods and the results.

    The comparison with Apartheid could be quite apt. Situations are never the same, but the Apartheid metaphor is a comparison, no more and no less. In other fora I just as well point out discrimination in the Arab world or elsewhere, but of course not to legitimise Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. And apart fron the Israeli self-defense motive, i don’t think that that is the argument that leading politicians like Avigdor Lieberman uses, nor do the quite a few others who are fulfilling their dream of taking more and more land. And this is not a small minority in Israel, and from the beginning on when Ben Gurion up to Sharon lined out their strategy it never has been. It is difficult, Rabin might have been up to making concessions, like Arafat maybe was going to make concessions, had Rabin lived longer, and not been murdered by an Israeli who certainly had little considerations for the indigenous Palestinian population. And in his last days Sharon might have been up to it. But while the Palestinians had difficulties in speaking with one voice, Israel also never has spoken with one voice.

    So now where do we find the word Nazi in the text of the song? Or even a hint at it. Or? It is apparently you, Norman, yourself who sees an equation, and then I would think that maybe rather comes from the images than from the text. Well, everybody is free to read what he likes in a text, regardless whether it is there or not.

    What is more frightening is that you, Norman, suggest reviewig the license of any broadcaster who would transmit the song. That is a disgrace and a method unworthy of what you are standing for.

    • Martin says:

      Nothing in this song which insults anyone who doesn’t want to be insulted. This article indeed is a shame for this blog and the author.

    • JD says:

      Bravo, Neil!

      I’m half-Jewish by birth, and would never accede to any approach that would threaten Israel’s right to exist, but that doesn’t mean that one must turn a blind eye to everything the current government of Israel might do or, worse, threaten a government-imposed blacklisting of anyone who provides a venue for opinions critical of said government’s actions.

      And, since the propriety of suggesting Israel might be practicing a form of apartheid, and invoking Nelson Mandela in the name of Palestinian rights is being condemned here, it might be worth reading the late President Mandela’s own words on the situation.


  • V.Lind says:

    I wish Neil Van Der Linden would learn how to paragraph so that his text would be (somewhat) easier to read.

    But his last paragraph is spot-on.

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      Yes, V. Lind, you are right, I should have structured my reaction better. Maybe I will summarize. The main topics would be

      – the mis-assessment of the rapper and the song as a popular rap tune

      – the question what a rap song (and I am a big lover of rap and very knowledgeable on it) is doing here in this blog, apart from the fact apparently it annoyed pro-Israeli sympathies

      – where the reference to Nazidom is in the song (by the way in a way I am always happy that Nazidom is a benchmark for evil, regardless whether a comparison is right or wrong)

      – how one can call for broadcasting companies to have their license reviewed/revoked for broadcasting such a song and clip (and like I said this is not even a mainstream-rap song)

      – and finally how one can watch such images (and I usually hate using war and violence images one-sidedly for propaganda) with dry eyes and only refer to Israel being under threat

  • Barbara says:

    I thought this Slipped Disc blog was about Classical Music. Isn’t it? That’s why I subscribed.

  • David H. says:

    “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”

    — David Ben Gurion, quoted on pp 91-2 of Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, which appears in Simha Flapan’s “Zionism and the Palestinians pp 141-2 citing a 1938 speech.

    “If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.”

    — David Ben-Gurion (Quoted on pp 855-56 in Shabtai Teveth’s Ben-Gurion in a slightly different translation).

    “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.”

    — Golda Meir, statement to The Sunday Times, 15 June, 1969.

    “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.”

    — Golda Meir, March 8, 1969.

    “Any one who speaks in favor of bringing the Arab refugees back must also say how he expects to take the responsibility for it, if he is interested in the state of Israel. It is better that things are stated clearly and plainly: We shall not let this happen.”

    — Golda Meir, 1961, in a speech to the Knesset, reported in Ner, October 1961

    “This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.”

    — Golda Meir

    “(The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”

    — Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

    “The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized …. Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever.”

    — Menachem Begin, the day after the U.N. vote to partition Palestine.

    “We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?’ Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said ‘Drive them out!”

    — Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

    “I would have joined a terrorist organization.”

    — Ehud Barak’s response to Gideon Levy, a columnist for the Ha’aretz newspaper, when Barak was asked what he would have done if he had been born a Palestinian.

    “It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”

    — Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

    “Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”

    — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      And on a more reconciliatory tone, and perhaps the way to a solution, Leah Rabin in an interview with Yasser Arafat: “We have all been terrorists.” (This regardless of the question whether justifiably defending yourself against occupation and aggression on a land where you, your father and/or mother and grandparents were born can be defined as terrorism, and this may hold for both the Jewish and the Arab side. And I would say grandparents make a stronger case than speculative ancestors a respectively a few thousands and a few hundreds years ago.)

      • That’s OK, given that the myth that the Jews are all recent immigrants is another thing that “everyone knows” that isn’t true

        • Michael Schaffer says:

          My impression is that most people who live in Israel today were born there, and into the situation, no matter what group they belong to. But that applies to all people from all groups, doesn’t it?

          I watched the movie “Disengagement” by Amos Gitai the other day, it’s a about a French women who goes to find her daughter who lives in one of those contested settlements which is about to be cleared by the Israeli police (or military, don’t remember exactly which). Just before they start, the rabbi who leads the settlers appeals to the men who have come to expel them from the settlement saying that “this is their land, they were born here, they have lived here all their lives”. That is a very sad scene.

          But again, doesn’t that apply to people from all groups who were born in Israel and who live there now?

          • There has been a documented, continuous Jewish inhabitation there for thousands of years. The myth that the Jews arrived in 1948 and stole the Arabs’ land is just that — a myth.

            The settlements are a different matter. I’ve opposed them since before most people knew the existed.

          • David H. says:

            Jeffrey, nobody said such a thing, at least not here. But continuous inhabitation and ownership of a land are very different issues. Let’s stick to the facts.

            Before 1914 Jewish population was about 7% of all the population of Palestine. Around 1950 after half a century of mass immigration it was around 50%.

          • …And those people purchased the land (Or, rather, it was purchased for them), at greatly inflated prices. Surely you’ll agree that buying something entails “ownership”.

          • David H. says:

            Jeffrey, based on your own “logic”, that ownership of land equals nationhood (which it doesn’t), the nation of Israel could not have been founded in 1948. By 1948, the year of the foundation of Israel as a nation state, only about 8% of the land was in the hand of Jewish owners.

            Only after political and military control was installed, did the ownership of land swing toward the ruling popular majority. The land ownership issue thus is also a dishonest argument.

            You have no clean way out of this moral dilemma, as already Jewish leaders admitted, see above.

            Looking forward is important and finding solutions for all people that live there and are born there. Nobody can claim any superiority or ownership that is based on religious dogma and mythology. That would be just insanity.

          • Yeah. If I had made any such claim, you’d have a point.

          • How, exactly,do you imagine that the Jewish Palestinians achieved ” political and military control” during the years before 1948, when the Mandate was administered by the British,nofans of Jewish immigration, and certainly no fans of Jewish military?

            “Looking forward is important and finding solutions for all people”

            Yes, and to suggest that the first step in that could possibly be anything other than the terrorists’ renouncing attacks on Israeli civilians is absurd.

          • David H. says:

            No Jeffrey, “them first” is not the solution, I repeat myself, it didn’t even work back in our childhood days in the sandbox. Maybe the Jewish identity has this “we are always the victims” stereotype embedded, which makes it so difficult to see the realities sometimes, maybe.

            In an highly asymmetric conflict as this one, the military underdog will always be the “terrorist”. It would be wonderful, if all sides would renounce from using violence and would limit their conflict to diplomatic means, with the help of independent international arbiters. But that seems unrealistic at this point in history.

            Again, read the quotes from Jewish leaders above, and tell me, putting yourself in a Palestinian’s shoes, if renouncing anything would gain you anything? I have no solution, except one where all people concerned are given the same rights and are treated as one human people.

            Having said that, attacks on civilians are never justified and a major crime against humanity.

          • With over 10,000 rockets launched from Gaza at Israeli towns, with pizza parlor bombings and attacks on Israeli school buses, it would be hard for a rational person to conclude that Israelis are not victims; likewise, its no reasonable to ask the Israelis to accept a sovereign, armed neighbor who remains dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

            At its narrowest point, Israel is less than 10 miles wide. An invading army could cut the country in two in less than an hour When Jordan rejected Israel’s urging to stay out of the 6-Day War (Yes.The occupation of the West Bank could have been avoided just by their not attacking Israel.), Jordanian artillery shells landed on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, on the coast.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            First: So maybe it was a bad idea to want to establish an exclusively Jewish state there at all, after first expelling the local population and then expecting that the surrounding world will leave you alone.

            Secondly: I thought that Norman requested to stop this ongoing debate with repeating of the ever recurring arguments. Which however have to do with the content of the rap clip Norman posted, and which he criticised.

          • Except that,while “everybody knows” those things happened, they didn’t.

            There are over one million Arab citizens of Israel, with full rights, pretty much refuting the claim that it’s “exclusively Jewish” and that the local population was expelled.

            I trust that objective readers will note that the Jews who had lived there for thousands of years are not considered to be “local population.”

          • Michael Schaffer says:

            Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:

            February 2, 2014 at 10:45 am

            “There has been a documented, continuous Jewish inhabitation there for thousands of years. The myth that the Jews arrived in 1948 and stole the Arabs’ land is just that — a myth.

            I have never actually heard that myth – I mean about the first part not being ture. It is indeed very well documented that people who identified themselves as Jewish have lived in the area since well before the first millennium BCE although you are probably aware that the archaeological record shows most of the material contained in the first books of the OT to be myths, too – not surprisingly, of course, as that applies to most if not all ethnogenesis/land taking myths.

            Still, however that process took place, the presence of early Jewish civilization there is very well documented. But so is the fact that at some point, the Romans took over and then they kicked most of the native population out almost 2000 years ago. And then the Arabs took it from the leftovers of the eastern Roman Empire and then the crusaders came in, then the Arabs took it back, then the Ottoman Turks ruled over the region etcetcetc. No doubt you know all that.

            So what does it matter *today* who lived there 2000 years ago and which people claim to be the descendants of those who lost the land such a long time ago?

            Are we all supposed to trace back our ancestry and go back to where they supposedly came from? Everybody back to their original caves? Or rather, everybody back to east Africa? Are you planning to move out of Vermont and let the the descendants of the pre-Columbian population take over again? Where are you planning to go?

          • The key word is “continuous”. “Most” is not “all”, and the argument that the land belongs to the Arabs because of their having been there for hundreds of years cannot ignore — without violating the rules of logic — the fact that the Jews have been there for thousands, just as the implication that the land belongs to the Arabs due to the Conquest of 635AD cannot ignore more recent Israeli victories.

          • Neil van der Linden says:

            The fact that there has been Jewish presence since the second destruction of the Hebrew temple (despite the fact that according to the official narrative the Jewish people went in diaspora) does not automatically, I repeat automatically imply, that from the start of Herzog’s writings until through to 1948 and from then on the local population should be supposed, without ever have been consulted, to accept massive influx of people whose ancestors for almost two millennia or in the case of the Babylonian Jews for longer had not been there. The fact that the major colonial world powers decided to allow for this in 1947 and 1948 does not make up for that either. That the Western powers were in deep guilt and shame of what had happened to the Jews in Europe does not alter that too. Moreover those powers’ colonial dealings in the Middle-East only partly had to do with any empathy with anybody. Below is an interesting article from Der Spiegel on how the colonial powers’ schemes including those of the newly arrived colonial power the US had to do with the unresolved leftovers of World War II and what precede that. There is hardly any turning back of history, but this does not automatically imply that the local population and the former local population should accept everything, and for sure it does not imply that they should bend for the story of people supposedly having left almost 2000 years ago and more.

            Here is the article

            Century of Violence: What World War I Did to the Middle East

            By Bernhard Zand


          • Michael Schaffer says:

            So do you think that the areas in which Germans lived for many centuries in what was East Prussia and Bohemia before they got expelled as a reaction to WWII should be given back and the descendants of the German population should move back in? After all, they lived in former East Prussia for a much longer time than the current, mostly Russian population.

            Or should we maybe just accept that history is history and no one has claims to any lands which changed hands countless times of the millennia, just because their mythology says so or because people they may or may not be descended from lived there?

            You didn’t answer my question about your own immediate plans. Are you planning to vacate Vermont and return it to the descendants of the original population. Or actually, you don’t necessarily have to leave – they could also set up an area for you to live in, with a fence around it and checkpoints and all that. Does that sound good?

          • You keep saying, “expelled” as if it were…I dunno…the case.

            Some were. Most left, planning to come back after Israel was defeated and all the Jews were dead. Not Israel’s fault that it didn’t work out that way.

          • David H. says:

            Jeffrey, please educate yourself about the refugee issue and the “right of return” problem, before you vent even more hatred.


          • It’s very clear, David, that I *have* educated myself on the facts. I’ve studied the history (although, to be fair, a lot of it, when I first read it, wasn’t “history”; it was “the news”).

            I just haven’t educated myself on what you’re sure MUST have happened.

  • Would I be a bad person if I were to suggest that somebody gift Mr. X with a rhyming dictionary?

  • Michael says:

    Norman, I’m genuinely intrigued: Mr Jasiri X (of whom I’d never heard until you pointed me to him) has obviously written his “song” as a response to his personal experience of Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank. That much seems incontrovertible. Your opinion is that this constitutes propaganda, of a variety which depicts Israelis as equal to Nazis. I disagree with that conclusion, but I accept that it’s yours. But what interests me is this: what is your experience of Israel’s West Bank checkpoints? How often have you crossed from Israel to the West Bank and back again, across the security fence and through the military checkpoints? How often have you encountered the internal checkpoints, both fixed and “flying”, within the West Bank proper? Based on that experience, how would your depiction of them differ from that if Mr X? And based on your experience, how – seriously – has Mr X’s response to the checkpoints offended, in issues of actual reportage and fact? It seems to me that to back up the judgement you’ve so definitively offered requires some personal knowledge of the actual situation he describes – so, what is it?

    • Let’s look at this from another angle:

      It’s inconvertible that Israel has been the victim of thousands of terrorist attacks. They’ve seen their school buses bombed and their teenagers blown aprt in pizza parlors. What would you have them do to protect themselves?

    • I have long experience of checkpoints in Israel and the West Bank. I much prefer the inconvenience of a checkpoint to the alternative of bus bombings. I have great sympathy for citizens of Syria and Iraq who are murdered daily in uncheckpointed public bombings, greater than I do for this semi-coherent tourist-propagandist.