Calls Israel’s Nuclear Deception a ‘Ridiculous Scam’ and
Suggests Zionism is a Historical Mistake
December 23, 2013 "Information Clearing House - In October, David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, published the most transgressive portion of Ari Shavit’s very-Zionist book, a piece about the ethnic cleansing of Lydda in 1948, and when the book came out a month later, Remnick interviewed Shavit on stage at the 92d Street Y, where it was clear that the two journalists have been friends for many years. But Remnick also differed sharply with Shavit over several important issues, and in some of those utterances, Remnick showed that he has lost patience with Israel’s claims and is sympathetic to anti-Zionist arguments.
I study Remnick’s public statements because he is a leading Establishment intellectual who has been associated with the pro-Israel cause. Yet he has shifted again and again in recent years in ways that show an important internal struggle that will surely be reflected in the discourse. He has lost patience with the occupation and slammed the lobby for turning the US Jewish community into “breakfast at the Regency [hotel].” He has published Yousef Munayyer’s call for democracy in Israel and Palestine; and on Charlie Rose, sitting with two other Jewish journalists, he bridled at the absence of Palestinians at the table.
If you watch the 92d Street Y appearance from November 19, Shavit comes across as an Israel-lover (his own word) and witness of Israeli miracles, with all the sophistication of the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Topeka, while Remnick comes across as dissenting, skeptical, even troubled by Shavit’s glib assertions.
When Shavit says that the Palestinians need Salaam Fayyad’s program of economic development in the West Bank more than anything, Remnick says, “His popular support is shaky at best.” When Shavit says that secular American Jews need Israel “like oxygen,” in order to survive, Remnick is dubious, and then scoffs at Shavit’s view that Israel should help fund secular Jewish schools here for American Jews so that we stay Jewish. When Shavit says that Edward Said’s legacy has “poisoned” the American left so as to blind us to the evils of Palestinian intolerance, Remnick says, “I don’t agree with you at all.”
The two differ over the Israeli nuclear program. “By the way there is one,” Remnick says, shaking his head at the official deception (at 16:56). “‘According to foreign sources.’ The most ridiculous scam. Ridiculous!”
And in addressing Shavit’s claim that his government learned about the torture of Palestinians in an Israeli jail in Gaza from his own groundbreaking piece as a reservist in 1991, Remnick isn’t buying. He relates it to US politicians playing him (28:30):
The best moments are historical, when Remnick expresses skepticism about the Zionist project in light of the crisis it finds itself in. When Shavit says that the settlement program was a huge mistake, akin to the “mindboggling… march of folly” to World War I, Remnick says, “Ari is it an irreversible mistake?” He reminds us that this mistake has gone on for a long time, and fosters dreams of one democratic state:
Last, a dialogue about historical experiment.
The discussion turns to the Nakba, and Shavit takes the side of Israel’s ethnic cleansers and throws American ethnic cleansing in our faces. He says that the founders of the state of Israel can say with justice to bleeding-heart liberals, “We did the dirty work. They live on the land that we cleared for them and they say that these guys committed war crimes.” It’s a valid argument because:
Shavit says, “We will know the answer about Zionism in 100 years time or 200 years’ time.”
History doesn’t have the time for that.
This article was originally published at Mondoweiss
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