Stand with the Settlers

In a brief recent piece from the Jerusalem Post by Khaled Abu Toameh entitled, Palestinian groups campaign against the peace process, we read:

Several Palestinian groups and figures on Sunday launched a campaign to demand that the Palestinian Authority halt peace talks with Israel.


At a press conference in Ramallah, the organizers of the campaign said that the PA leadership should “succumb to popular demands to stop the negotiations with the government of [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu.”


The call for halting the peace talks came as PA President Mahmoud Abbas prepares to meet with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Un General Assembly meeting in New York on Tuesday.

And just why do the Arabs refuse a peace deal?

According to the official, Abbas will complain to Obama about continued construction in the settlements and plans to build new housing units in some east Jerusalem neighborhoods.


“President Abbas will make it clear that Israel’s policies are jeopardizing the peace talks,” the official said.

This focus on Jewish towns and neighborhoods over the artificial “green line,” which is to say, over the 1949 armistice line, as a reason to maintain violence against the Jewish people is racist on its face.  There is no reason in this world why Jews should not be allowed to live, and thus build, on historically Jewish land.

But when Barack Obama backs him up on this notion he is, himself, supporting race hatred toward Jewish people while undermining the possibility of a two-state solution.  When progressive-left Jews do so, like the owner of the now defunct Progressive Zionist blog, they do likewise and thereby promote harm to their own people

Obama, however, would not likely have taken this view if American Jews made it clear to American politicians that we are going to live and build on Jewish land whether anyone likes it or not.  To insist that we must not be allowed to do so flies directly in the face of modern liberalism because the very notion is grounded in bigotry.

It would be like saying that Chinese people cannot be allowed to live, or build housing for themselves, in Kookamunga.  In fact, it’s worse than that.  It would be like saying that Chinese people cannot be allowed to live, or build housing for themselves, in Jiangsu Province.

If anyone were to suggest such a thing they would immediately be castigated as a racist and a fool and, yet, the president of the United States, with the backing of many progressive-left Jews, honestly believes that he and Mahmoud Abbas have every right to tell Jewish people where we may, or may not, be allowed to live in our own homeland.

If we had stood up for our rights to begin with there is no way that Abbas could use the mere presence of Jews on Jewish land as an excuse not to make peace.

A Jew on Jewish land does not prohibit the possibility of yet another Arab state in the region unless one agrees with the Arabs that any such state must be Judenrein

Again, if we do not care to stand up for our rights then no one else will do it for us… not even, apparently, most diaspora Jews.


Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives ( He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at