Nandakishore Varma's Reviews > Exodus

Exodus by Leon Uris
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's review
Oct 08, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: historical-fiction

Even though I was caught up in the book when I first read it, I had to leave it halfway through... and when I went back to it some years later, after learning more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (not the American-Israeli fiction, but real history), I felt I couldn't read it, it was so nauseating. Now I work in the Middle East, and see the conflict more close at hand. I could talk with many displaced Palestinians, and hear their side of the story. And the aversion to the book has increased.

The story of "Exodus" could be summarised in one sentence: "Brave godlike Jews defeat cowardly, evil Arabs and build the beautiful country of Israel."


Edit to add:

For those who want to comment on this review; a suggestion - no need to reiterate that this review represents my prejudice, because it does. I have also clearly mentioned in my profile where my sympathies lie in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

You are free to comment of course, and I will not delete any comment - just do not expect an answer in case you do not have anything new to say.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
October 8, 2011 – Shelved
October 8, 2011 – Shelved as: historical-fiction

Comments (showing 1-50 of 105) (105 new)

Liam Yeah, you're right, but Uris was a brilliant writer; I'm willing to cut him a little slack with this one because, as he was Jewish, he presumably wanted to believe that particular myth very badly. Also, I would point out that over the last 40 years or so the level of culpability on either side of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict has shifted markedly away from where it was, say, in 1970. It's not my war, and I try very hard not to pick a side, but having said that I will state that I have much less sympathy for the "Israelis" (in quotes because so many of the vicious right-wing settlers are actually spoiled & arrogant racist scum from the U.S.), and more for the Palestinians, than I did in the 1970s...

Nandakishore Varma Liam, the Palestinians who have been displaced are a people without a country now: the same people who still continue to write volumes on the Holocaust and the mistreatment of the Jews in East European ghettoes turn a blind eye on these people whom nobody in the world seems to want. Moreover, they are pictured as "terrorists" murdering "innocent" Israelis. Sickening, IMO.

Liam Nandakishore wrote: "Liam, the Palestinians who have been displaced are a people without a country now: the same people who still continue to write volumes on the Holocaust and the mistreatment of the Jews in East Euro..."


Please, read what I actually wrote- I was defending the late Leon Uris as a writer, not defending historical revisionists of any kind. Also, I tend not to read books about the holocaust as such. In addition to that, as a son of the six counties (so-called Northern Ireland) born in exile, I obviously have a certain amount of sympathy for the Palestinians (I was going to refer you to my review of Professor Nusseibeh's recent memoir, but realised I have yet to finish writing it. I'll have to rectify that soon...). I simply feel that it is not my place to pick a side in a war that is not my own, and in which, according to my own research (see my Middle East/North Africa shelf) it seems as though there is plenty of blame to go around & none of the parties involved have completely spotless hands.

Liam I should also mention that, like both you and Robert Fisk, I find the attempted justification as "operations against terrorists" by the Israelis of their callous slaughter of civilians to indeed be sickening. However, I still contend that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as a whole cannot be reduced to simply the question of who committed the most egregious crimes against the others' people in the last however-many-years. It is, as I am sure you are aware, far more complex & nuanced an issue than that. Have you read David Fromkin's "A Peace To End All Peace"? Notwithstanding the author's ethnic background, you might find it interesting.

Nandakishore Varma Liam, I was not arguing with you. What irks me is that there are many in the West who can easily see the Israeli's point of view, but very few see the Palestinian's.

Liam Nandakishore wrote: "Liam, I was not arguing with you. What irks me is that there are many in the West who can easily see the Israeli's point of view, but very few see the Palestinian's."

Regrettably, you are quite right about that...

Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Not everyone in the U.S. believes what is fed to us. Well, at least not me.

SubterraneanCatalyst Nandakishore: I'm with Stephanie on this one. As an American, I can say the Holocaust was horrendous and wrong and I can also say in the same breath that the disenfranchisement and wholesale marginalization of the Palestinian people is also wrong. Those are not mutually exclusive ideas. Not everyone in the US is Jewish and nor do I believe for example the stupid rhetoric that I'm anti Semetic because I do not agree that the Israeli nation should ever have been founded. I think its creation was wrong in the first place and misguided to say the least. I just want you to know- there are plenty of people here who think as I do. It is hard to speak my opinion on these matters because it is a highly controversial subject. I don't spout off about this around Jewish people- because very few of them have anything to say that isn't defensive. As a disclaimer, I shall admit that I'm an atheist. I just do not believe in shoving one's ideas down someone else's throat or furthermore doing it militarily. And yes, I'm against war in general.

message 9: by Nandakishore (last edited Mar 03, 2012 11:05PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Nandakishore Varma Stephanie and SubterraneanCatalyst,

I am very much aware that not all People in the West are anti-Palestinian. But the myth of the founding of Israel has been there for quite some time, and it was a myth which even my family believed during my childhood (we are Hindus, we do not have a dog in the fight, even then...) - so you see how widespread it is. Of course, India was officially on the Palestinian side of the fight but that was seen as pampering of the minority Muslims. It was the general opinion that Israel was a poor country, besieged by marauding Muslim despots. This is one of the novels that fed the myth.

Uris may be a fine writer, but I can't stomach his politics any more, especially after seeing the victims of the conflict close at hand.

Vinay Joshi Seeing this book on current perspective will not actually do justice to the whole event. I think this book was written during the time when Jews were the victim of holocaust and had to find a place to live in. I cannot empathize with either Palestines or Jews for that matter as I have never lived a life of refugee nor a life after holocaust. I will give Jews the benefit of doubt in this case since the atrocities on them were just enormous and never happened in the history of known world.

Nandakishore Varma Vinay wrote: "Seeing this book on current perspective will not actually do justice to the whole event. I think this book was written during the time when Jews were the victim of holocaust and had to find a place..."


The persecuted Jews belonged to various nations. They were not "displaced" people - that is the Biblical myth. The real solution would have been to end the persecution in the respective countries, and allow them a life of dignity. But they all wanted to "return" to Israel as part of the Zionist myth. The only way to do this was to kick out the Palestinians.

There was a thriving community of white Jews in Jew Town, Cochin in Kerala (in India). They were living happily there. They have built a synagogue on land ceded by the Maharajah of Cochin. Jews were welcomed there with open hands when they were persecuted all over the world. Even now, Israel considers the Royal family of Cochin as their friends.

Well, even those Jews "returned" to Israel. Now only two families are left, I understand. This proves (at least to me) that the Jews' return to Israel is more to fulfill a mythical need than because of a real requirement.

Vinay Joshi See I did not know this perspective at all. Any book you would recommend which gives the factual information on the whole event

Nandakishore Varma There are a host of books highlighting both points of view. In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story highlights the Palestinian viewpoint. Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappe etc. have also written books on the subject. Wikipedia also gives a largely impartial account.

My views have been formed largely by stories of Palestinians who have been displaced, many of them heard at first hand. These people had no hand in the persecution of Jews. The only thing they did against Jews were to protest against the formation of Israel.

There are rights and wrongs on both sides, IMO. My only problem with this novel is that it is patently one-sided.

Ksorb The Arab refugee situation would not BE a situation if they had been treated as welcome newcomers in their adopted countries. If they were treated humanely by their brother Arabs, given full citizenship, full access to education, jobs, health care, et al. It is in the Arab leaders' interests - those who still hate the nation of Israel and don't want it to exist - it is in their interest to keep the refugees as impoverished and pathetic as possible. It is a shame and a crime. The Jews WERE displaced and in exile and fleeing pogroms, the holocaust, persecution mild and severe. They have a small amount of territory. The Arabs have unimaginable amount of land and resources in which to welcome any fellow Arabs who would like to live in Arab lands. Let those countries fully welcome and bless their fellow Arabs, not make them pathetic pawns in an International war game, tools to drive Jews into the sea.

Nandakishore Varma It does not change the fact that the Palestinians were driven out of their land by Jews. Many of the Jews who settled in Israel are not even from the region. Israel is continuing with colony building, squeezing the Palestine nation even more. If Palestine does not want Israel to exist, then neither does Israel want Palestine to exist. And currently Israel is winning because of brute force.

What this novel does, IMO,is to demonise the Arab and deify the Jew. It makes nice reading for Israeli partisans,but it is worthless as history.

Ksorb You forget that "Palestine" was very large, and filled with Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Arabs, and Palestinian Christians. Few of the Middle East countries existed at all except as individual tribal entities with local leadership, some benign, some oppressive, until Palestine was carved up by foreigners. The Arabs were given a lot of land, the Jews given more than they currently have. The nation of Jordan didn't exist and TransJordan was created as a homeland for the Palestinian Arabs. It was everything east of the Jordan River. The boundaries kept getting smaller in "land for peace" treaties. You are right that the Jews there were mostly not from the area. That was the whole point! They were being killed and persecuted all over the world and had no where to go. They were pretty much unwanted by the whole world, long before WWII. Read about the coffin ships that nations of the world - including the USA and its allies - refused to allow to land on their shores. Everyone died. Unwelcome. Even the UN agreed a homeland needed to be created. That's why Palestine was divided. It has been a 2-state solution all along, but because the Arab regions were given other names - as was the Jewish region - the demand for a new Palestine was enabled. There WAS an Arab state formed. It was called Transjordan, now expanded across the Jordan to be renamed simply JORDAN. The Palesinian Arab 1/2 of a two-state solution. The Arabs weren't satisfied.

Nandakishore Varma Of course the Arabs weren't satisfied! Their lands were grabbed by foreigners. The solution to end the persecution of Jews were not to transport them to some foreign country, but to give them dignity in their home country. The whole idea of Israel as the homeland of all the Jews is mythical and not historical. For your information, many Jews who are not at all persecuted in their home country also went to Israel. Zionism carries a lot of mythic power.

What actually happened: land was grabbed from indigenous Arabs by settlers. Britain gave away land it had no right to give. This happened because of the money power of the Zionist lobby.

It is happening even now with illegal colony building. Israel and USA, it seems, can ignore UN.

I'm sorry, I am on the side of the underdog, be it Arab or Jew. And this novel romanticises invasion, which I don't accept.

message 18: by Maureen (last edited Sep 11, 2014 02:22AM) (new)

Maureen nandakishore:

i appreciate that you cannot love a book that feels partisan and revisionist to you. i am much of the same opinion regarding the conflict myself. i was reading josephus' the jewish wars on the bus to work many years ago, and somebody inquired about it. i explained that it was teaching me that the various semitic tribes that traditionally lived in the middle east were already so blended by the time of herod the great that he could not be considered strictly jewish, but had lineage from several different tribes of the middle east. eventually i married that knowledge with the fact that many jews chose to find new homes in europe and left the area. they were then terrorized, murdered and marginalized by the nazi regime. there were very rich and socially prominent people, particularly in britain and the USA who were very interested in paving the way to the second coming by returning the lost tribes of israel to their home. only with that return would the new christian era dawn. there were also jewish zionists who believed after all they had suffered, it made sense to find a place to call their own land again, and what better than the one they left behind. the lobbyists were so powerful that when the US and associated allies tried to figure out a solution to help the (now) displaced jews, it seemed a good choice to return them to their promised land.

then i remembered that when the US freed the slaves, some people thought they should go back to africa. they sent them to liberia. liberia has never been anything but a poor and war-torn country.

then i remembered that the US kept bargaining "in good faith" with the multitude of bands, the various indigent native peoples over and over, promising they could keep that piece of land if they just gave up that one and they could continue their way of life and they wouldn't have to fight anymore, continually repeating the same things as they reduced their land over and over again and eventually took away their traditional way of life. what is a small patch of land to a nomad?

then i remembered i was born in canada and my own nation's record regarding its first nations people is also dirty and dishonest.

then i think about going back to the old country and demanding that i get back land that used to be my family's because of the pain and deprivation i have suffered. and i can't even get behind it when it's for myself.

the very fact you've initiated this conversation and pointed people in useful directions, even the easiest, wikipedia (the editors there must have a time with that one, trying to make sure it remains relatively impartial) is a good thing, i think. almost the opposite of what you feel uris was doing (except for writing the whole novel part.)

recently, in discussing this frustrating and challenging situation i made two points.

they were:

what if somebody came to me and said, "yes, we know you were born in canada. you are second generation but your family has seen the birth of a third and a fourth in this country. but this land was somebody else's before, at least sometimes it was, and now, seventy years later, we don't care if you have a family here, or traditions here, or new roots. we are going to take it away from and you have to go.

i'd probably fight. this is my country. i was born here."

and then i said, if it's okay to just deus ex machina countries into existence on land that has been traditionally peopled by nomadic and migratory tribes, why not do it again?

since the US has always believed in its own manifest destiny (this is practically the first distinction i can ever recall being taught in my own history lessons of the two neighbouring nations from the canadian perspective) and they have continually interfered in the business of other countries for their own gain and presumably also for people who have suffered, why don't they just do it again? go back and say:

"all right. it's been too long. the fighting has not stopped for as long as anybody can remember. we're going to try this again. no more nomadic tribes business because it's too complicated for us to understand (not to mention not economically viable) but we will split the pie again. but this time you have to both agree and stick to this agreement. you have to accept that both people have claims to this land. we will make new borders to try to make this better. wouldn't you want to make some concessions and have peace? and stop all this insanity?"

and i get really sad when i can't make myself believe both sides would agree to that. and the people who believe that christ will not return until the lost tribes are returned wouldn't either (though if they were correct, and this was the thing necessary for the second coming one would have thought it should've happened by now, hm?) i am despondent because i don't believe that it will ever stop. and it just seems very pointless and awful to me. nobody is winning here, even when they think they have balanced the score again. and cousins fight cousins.

Nandakishore Varma Maureen, first of all, nice to hear from you. We have not conversed for a long time.

Let's for a moment forget the facts about nations and get to people. My CEO here is a Palestinian who is a British citizen. He is totally westernised and nobody would take for an Arab. I don't think he has any Pan-Arab feelings at all.

One of our colleauges, an Christian from India, visited Jerusalem. When he heard of it, my boss called him up asked him eagerly about the country. I happened to be present. After the discussion, my CEO said: "I was born there. I hear from visitors that my father's ancestral home is still standing. One of these days it would be taken over by an Israeli, and I would like to see it before that. But I would never get a visa to Israel."

He said it in a flat voice, without anger, without sorrow... only with resignation. And that touched me.

This is just one story.

Where Israeli propaganda has succeeded in the West is in their total dehumanisation of Palestinians. They are just "terrorists" who bomb peaceful Israelis from Gaza. People do not see the pictures of Palestianian children killed and Palestinian homes razed to bits. I do, every morning with my coffee (of course, vested interests in West dismiss these images as staged, many a time).

For me, I cry with the hurting human being, whether he is an Israeli or a Palestinian.

message 20: by Maureen (new)

Maureen hi nandakishore!

i have spent a long time in a limbo away from goodreads but i'm hoping i can spend a little more time and energy here. your post reminded me of the frank discourse i missed when i was away.

by all means, focusing on people is important i was attempting to swing back and forth from nation to personal perspective in my own comment. my response to your discussion was really framed in that way. i saw people responding who are individuals -- they may also be citizens but that doesn't mean they are the people who are individually responsible for what we speak of governments and what havoc they wreak. that said, it's important to be open to understanding both sides of the conflict even if you aren't on a high level making decisions and i'm glad you've encouraged people to seek out a more balanced view of that nightmare.

your colleague's story is a very sad one -- i can't think the last time i heard a beautiful story in relation to this conflict. i can assure you that people *do* see many many pictures of palestinian casualties and the destruction they suffer here in the west though i agree the corporate news reports is not always where you will find them accurate: for this there are many other alternative news sources. at this point, i'm not sure pictures are enough: many people have seen too many pictures and have become desensitized to the violence, or turn their heads away because they can't bear to look at any more. and some people harden their hearts and put on black hat over there, and one over here because it is easier to hate when you demonize or dehumanize a people into an enemy.

i think getting the message out about the fact that this conflict is a little more complicated than it is portrayed is important but i don't know if we're ever going to get to a point where the world decides it's worth it to interfere, as we saw with the economic sanctions that were imposed in south africa prior to the dissolution of apartheid. as i said in my message, i often despair that there will ever be peace because whether you speak of it in terms of nation and history or in human and personal terms there seems to be too much interest in not being able to finding a common ground on this very conflicted one. i suppose all we can do is share information and hope that eventually they decide to take a chance on peace -- it's just at such a staggering human cost.

do you know of the documentarian, adam curtis? he has done a lot of very edifying documentaries that i think have helped get the message of different perspective out to a number of people in the west. "the power of nightmares" where he compares the rise of neoconservatism in the united states with the politicization of islam is a fascinating one. though i should underscore he does not discuss the palestinian/israeli conflict at all. it just makes connections and asks people to think about them.

anyway, thanks again for your review and your post. i hope some day we will look back on this and realize how quickly everything changed and how wrong i was about how willing people are to stop killing each other.

Nandakishore Varma BTW, Maureen, let me point you to my review of In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story which has had a lively comment thread. The debate was polite, though passionate.

Indranil why is everyone reviewing the book as history? Can someone please review the book from the perspective of a great rollicking story. For history, please refer history books - not something called 'fiction', historical or otherwise. there's a reason why it is called fiction, you know ! would not have commented, but the first two reviews are both from the historical accuracy perspective. dunno why !!

message 23: by Karen (new)

Karen Galber All your comments are incorrect. Israel is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. Jews have lived in Palestine since Biblical times.
The Balmore Declaration was issued by the British Government in 1902 in which it stated that His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. This predates any Palestinian refugee crisis which is only 60 years old. The other Arab countries have denied Palestinians the right to live amongst them.
All the Arab countries have wanted to destroy Israel since its inception.
In fact the Arabs sided with the Nazis during World War ii and did a deal with Hitler.
If you are going to comment on something historic learn your history first.

Nandakishore Varma I do not accept the Bible as history, theirein lies our difference. And I do not think that Britain had the right to give away land they had encroached through military might.

What I am objecting to is the tone of this novel. If it was a more nuanced one, I would have enjoyed it. As such, it tells only one side of the story, and is absolutely worthless.

message 25: by Llyr (new)

Llyr Biehler This book was written in the Jewish point of view, created to give us the experience of those particular people during that event. The Haj (written by the same author) portrays the conflicting point of view. You are against this book because of your personal bias and ignoring both the actual content of the book and the purpose for which it was written.

Nandakishore Varma Llyr wrote: "This book was written in the Jewish point of view, created to give us the experience of those particular people during that event. The Haj (written by the same author) portrays the conflicting poin..."

See my addendum to the review. Hereafter, I will not be replying to comments telling me how wrong I am in one-starring this book.

message 27: by Kavita (new)

Kavita I fully agree with your thoughts, Nandakishore. Britain had no right to randomly give away someone else's land to defuse a situation Europeans created! Just recently the Israeli PM has declared he would not allow the Palestinian State to exist. How else are you supposed to deal with this sort of arrogance and aggression?

But the pro-Israeli faction will simply not want to look further. I would understand if they were actually Israelis in the thick of the battle, but very often, they are not!!!

message 28: by Jibran (new)

Jibran It is easy to see the state of Israel for what it is. A settler state of predominantly white colonists set up by the white colonial masters to, at one hand, further their designs in the ME and, on the other, to get rid of Jews in Europe. It worked.

message 29: by WarpDrive (new)

WarpDrive I fully agree with your perspective, Nanda. And I fully agree with your comment, Kavita and Jibran.

However, Jibran, I am not sure that the Israel experiment worked all that well for the Western Powers: until the Palestinian question is settled in a equitable manner for all parties, the fracture between West and the Muslim World is not going to heal, and there is not going to be peace - full stop.

What makes me really angry is that it is NOT TRUE that the Palestinian question is intractable. If the USA in particular, and the Western powers in general, started imposing serious sanctions on the State of Israel (as they did for South Africa during the apartheid) then you would see Israel willingness change very, very rapidly. It is just a question of real political will - and of being serious about international justice.

message 30: by Jibran (last edited Mar 17, 2015 10:11PM) (new)

Jibran Fortunr wrote: "I fully agree with your perspective, Nanda. And I fully agree with your comment, Kavita and Jibran.

However, Jibran, I am not sure that the Israel experiment worked all that well for the Western P..."

Couldn't agree more, Fortunr. It was clear to anyone with a working brain that things would come to a head and that they can't just shrug away the consequences of the brutal occupation.

Over the decades the conflict has been deliberately made intractable to make a future Palestinian state geographically impossible. Any attempt to dismantle half a million strong Jewish settlements in the occupied West bank would be seen as 'ethnic cleansing' and Palestinians will be demonised even more.

message 31: by WarpDrive (new)

WarpDrive I wholeheartedly agree with you, Jibran. And you know what makes me so angry, as a Westerner ? That it appears like we Western Nations don't give a shit (pardon my French) about the plight of an entire people. What a disgrace.

message 32: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted I read the book not long after it came out. To an ignorant high school student from the midwest, it was a good story, exciting, and of course the author's point of view came across to me, that it was an inspiring story.

I've never re-read it, and as the years passed I learned more about the actual historical events rather than Uris' view of them.

My sympathies in this area of the world now lie with the Palestinians. Two books I've read in recent years have done nothing to disabuse me of this notion: The Yellow Wind and Peace not Apartheid. The views of Noam Chomsky and Tony Judt also seem to lie in the area of my own, and those writers I admire greatly.

I'm pretty sure I gave the book a few stars more than one, but I would not argue at all with your rating, Nandakishore.

message 33: by Jibran (new)

Jibran Fortunr wrote: "I wholeheartedly agree with you, Jibran. And you know what makes me so angry, as a Westerner ? That it appears like we Western Nations don't give a shit (pardon my French) about the plight of an en..."

Western apathy could be excused if the West was merely a third party with no hand in the conflict. But this conflict has been engineered ab initio in Western colonial corridors of power and it is they who to this day are responsible for perpetuating the occupation by rewarding the Israeli state with aid and weapons and turning a blind eye toward what technically and practically is an apartheid about the whims of history!

message 34: by WarpDrive (new)

WarpDrive Jibran wrote: "Fortunr wrote: "I wholeheartedly agree with you, Jibran. And you know what makes me so angry, as a Westerner ? That it appears like we Western Nations don't give a shit (pardon my French) about the..."
You are so right, Jibran. I wish you were wrong, but the truth is the truth.

aPriL does feral sometimes Netanyahu won. He stated before the election that he will not support a Palestinian state.

Israel is a fact on the ground. The American Congress recently reinforced its committment to supporting Israel, which means cash and credit.

Obama hates the illegal settlements and the continued theft of Palestinian land. So do I. But if the people of Israel don't care what the President of the USA thinks and vote in someone who thinks Palestinians are animals, what can people do?

I read this book when it first came out. I believed it utterly and I was very moved. Since then, I read about how this situation actually occurred after WWII. The Great Powers cut up the entire Middle East (and Africa and Asia). Every single 'country' which emerged had civil wars, and many are continuing to this day, not just Palestine/Israel. Nobody wanted the Jews. The USA refused their refugee ships landing clearances, but most of Europe did not want them back, either and made life very bitter for them. Europeans live in the stolen homes of Jews.

Everybody has blood on their hands from the past. Everybody.

Today, Israel is a fact, and a recognized country. Fact. The Palestinians were without question horribly wronged and are suffering. Fact. Given the USA will continue to support Israel, given that Netanyahu won, given that Israel is nuclear, given that the surrounding Middle Eastern states are committed to only lip service in support of , but actually hate the Palestinians more than the Israelis (IMO, because they keep the Palestinians in camps where they are starving and abused, free food given by NGO's are taken by their host country's military and sold to the refugees, the host Muslims refuse to allow the Muslim refugees to hold jobs or in any way integrate them into their country).

The Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza war with each other. They rarely actually work together. Fact. The two sections work to undermine the other. The Palestinians originally made laws to not beautify or make pleasant their allotted lands. The leadership decided no parks, fountains, playgrounds, grass, trees, flowers, when this all began to settle into two sections. They still enforce many such laws which make the West Bank and Gaza very grim intentionally, although now, even if they decided to fix things up, I don't think they could, since three generations of men have grown up there in poverty, hate, and degradation.

I think if the Palestinians originally bargained with the Israelis decades ago to recognize Israel as a country IF they gave the Palestinians their statehood, things might have been better for the Palestinians. Arafat would not even consider in any way for any concession to recognize Israel, not even to give his people a hope for a better life. Decades ago, the USA was prepared to support Palestine with cash and credit if it recognized Israel. Arafat would not accept any cash from anyone if it meant recognizing Israel. He wanted his people ignorant, starving and poor - and mean and deperate and angry. Even now, I rarely see or hear any Palestinians give voice against their leaders, or Egypt, or Jordon, or Lebanan, or the Saudis, or any other Middle Eastern or Muslim country which should have helped them, with a much stronger obligation than what Palestine could possibly expect from the Christian countries that created their boundaries in order to dump their responsibility.

My pity is for the the Palestinians. But they have been incredibly self-destructive in counting on something to happen in the future. They act like a 4 year old who threatens his mother he will hold his breathe until he gets his way. Empty stupid threats without meaning. My pity is very real, but so are my shoulder shrugs and my changing the channel when news of their rock-throwing and rocket firing which hit nothing but fields, or how they have no supplies of anything - again, until Israel decides to swat down a few thousand innocent women and children again. Syria and Iran is all anyone cares about, especially now that Netanyahu has won.

(Why do the Palestinians keep making such large families, too? It is not an army, it is a large force of ignorant, uneducated, malnourished rock-throwers.)

message 36: by Jibran (new)

Jibran aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot) wrote: "But they have been incredibly self-destructive in counting on something to happen in the future. They act like a 4 year old who threatens his mother he will hold his breathe until he gets his way. Empty stupid threats without meaning. "

I'm sure we can point out many mistakes the Palestinians have made in the course of history but all that does is equivocate and brushes over the fact that Palestinians are hapless and helpless people who have braced decades of brutal occupation, expulsion from their lands, and were scattered to the four winds. Anyone subjected to this humiliation and drudgery cannot be expected to act like the wisest of Socrates' disciples. Thank you to Edward W. Said for popularizing the term "Blaming the Victims." When it comes to Palestinians, it is in these terms everyone talks about them.

message 37: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot) wrote: "Why do the Palestinians keep making such large families, too?"

I'm not sure what the "too" signifies or is referencing. But one reason is that, according to Alan Weisman (Countdown Our Last Best Hope), the Ultra-fundamentalist (illegal) settler types and the Palestinians are actively trying to outbreed each other. The former trying to push the others out by force of human mass, the latter intent on increasing their own human inertia. Just another strand of the shocking situation brought about by the settler goal of claiming all of Palestine for themselves.

And I certainly agree with Jibran's comments.

message 38: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Mar 18, 2015 11:26AM) (new)

aPriL does feral sometimes I am not blaming. They can't afford to act stupid. What I am saying is if they keep doing what they are they are going to be medieval, primitive and a curiosity. People are tsking now, they will be wondering if they still are around in 50 more years. My mother was a native American. They are now about 1% of the population. The statistics of their failure to thrive are now more than a century old and counting.

Indigenous people all over the world do not have a record of success. Hanging on to who they were caused them to sink further into the past, into more degradation and less education, poorer health, etc. It is a rock and hard place. However, perhaps half of white America has 'some Indian blood.' They ARE educated, healthy and integrated. They also live as the mainstream Western World, native values buried into the past and forgotten.

So it goes. My mother's people never had and will never have 'justice'.

message 39: by WarpDrive (last edited Mar 18, 2015 12:58PM) (new)

WarpDrive I certainly do not share this pessimistic view.
- The same things were said about South Africa - and after years of severe sanctions, the South African regime collapsed like a house of card.
- The same things were said about the USSR, a system that appeared indestructible - and it collapsed too like a house of cards.

If we Western Powers had the moral integrity and sense of international justice that we claim we have, ready as we always are to teach democracy to other countries, we would consistently impose strict sanctions across the board on the State of Israel. Right now. It would not take long for such sanctions to take effect. It is just a question of political will. Full stop.

The fact that the Palestinian authorities made, and are still making, terrible mistakes, are fractured and short-sighted in their policies, does not change a single iota the terms of the problem from a basic moral and international justice perspectives.

How come are we Western Powers (and especially the USA) so ready to impose sanctions or intervene militarily when it touches our own political and economical interests ? Bush was very ready to invade IRAQ with the ridiculous pretense of his "weapons of mass destruction", and Obama was very keen on imposing sanctions on Russia when it took back Crimea. Why then are we not doing anything about Palestine ? It is a disgrace. Let's be honest and call it for what it actually is.

And by the way I do no think that the Palestinian people will be easily forgotten. There is a whole culture and a whole world behind Palestine - the Arab and Muslim world, with all the internal fractures, contradictions, immense problems, backwardness, etc., I grant that, but still something that can't be forgotten and that can't be swept under the carpet.

message 40: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Mar 18, 2015 01:12PM) (new)

aPriL does feral sometimes i suspect the USA and the rest of the Western world doesn't really care about this disgraceful neglect and selling-out of their values. They haven't exactly stopped anything about living happily with their own concerns, to judge by the sales of electronics, clothes, shoes, new TV shows, new Star Wars movie.

Huff and puff and talk the talk of shaming on this thread all you want. Lots of people feel bad about what happened to my mother's people, too. I feel bad. Now she's dead and I don't know a thing about her language or customs.

The Muslim world needs to do something. Looking to the West means only a lot of pity sent their way. If the Muslim world persists in talking jihad, but does nothing concrete, the Palestinians need to change their tactics, and look to their future.

By the way, South Africa is NOT doing well. A few rich black people have moved to white enclaves. Everything else is still a slum. They have one of the highest rates of AIDS in the world. More people live without clean water than before. Most black people live in shacks made of scrounged materials. The 'leadership' enriches itself and very little has changed. NGO's still are keeping most people alive.

The Russians have been losing population. Over 80% of the men are drunks. They are living until age 58 on average, That's 58, not 78, like the West.

I'm a liberal myself, but after decades of seeing the results of feeling bad and speaking solidarity, I've seen nothing improve. Every generation always thinks public media shaming will fix it.

message 41: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Mar 18, 2015 01:16PM) (new)

aPriL does feral sometimes America is full of Native American symbols. We love our past, dead as it is since white America murdered it in the first place and now they feel safe to honor it.

message 42: by WarpDrive (last edited Mar 18, 2015 04:03PM) (new)

WarpDrive aPriL eVoLvEs wrote: "i suspect the USA and the rest of the Western world doesn't really care about this disgraceful neglect and selling-out of their values. They haven't exactly stopped anything about living happily wi..."

The fact that South Africa and Russia fare badly now has nothing to do with this; it does not make the SA apartheid system right, nor the Communist regimes of the past a better choice.
The problems are with the current systems - this must not be confused with the old regimes falling apart. They are two completely different things.

By the way, saying that SA is doing worse now than during the apartheid is questionable: see See also - also, poverty levels (admittedly still high) and the poverty gap have been decreasing steadily in the last few years.
It is not true that SA has been deteriorating since the end of apartheid. Yes there are still enormous problems, but very few would hope for a return of the old regime - not even within the white's minority. Do you think that there were no slums during the apartheid ? One of my friends is from SA (he is white), and he would be happy to tell you what the real situation was then.

Also, I would not discount so promptly the importance of public opinion; after all in a supposedly democratic country (like we western countries are supposed to be) it should be the majority thinking and the public opinion driving politics. At least this is what we have been sold.

I agree that public media shaming BY ITSELF will not fix it, but without it no government will ever have any incentive to act - at least this is the theory in a democracy.
And it is not a question of feeling bad, it is a question of pushing for what is right.

I have actually have seen LOTS of things improving in history, driven by public opinion: workers rights, women's right, rights of blacks in the USA, protection of children, just to name very few. And the list could go on for quite a while...

message 43: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Mar 18, 2015 04:14PM) (new)

aPriL does feral sometimes Well. I'm sure your interest and positivity will result in something good? Somewhere? Sometime? Maybe an angel got a new pair of wings. Perhaps an SA baby feels the love and now has hope. Not that I ever found much nourishment in hope myself. I starved until somebody remembered to feed me. Hopeful pattings on my head did not do much for me. I smiled though. Unless I was too sick from hunger.

message 44: by WarpDrive (last edited Mar 18, 2015 05:17PM) (new)

WarpDrive One single person can not do much, apart from volunteering donations and personal time.
This is a small contribution that hopefully might have made a small impact somewhere (even if I suspect that 90% of what I have ever donated probably ended up in the wrong hands).
It is too easy to use skepticism as an excuse for inaction (I am not referring to you personally, just in general).
But it is the collective action of public opinion that can make a difference, at it has made a difference in history so many times (see my examples above). These are historical facts.
And even the smallest, most negligible step in the right direction, is still better than nothing.

aPriL does feral sometimes Have you read the book Animal Farm? Both of your main examples actually turned out more like the outcome described in this book, although some ex-Soviet satellites are tentatively living better.

Nations/tribes which spin off from the previous monster governing dictatorships/oppressors sometimes do become capable of lifting all boats with minimum agony. I get your point and hope. I used to have more hopes, participate in giving money, buying music (remember Bob Geldof?) wear message t-shirts, buy coffee cups with cute sound bites, etc.

Historically, IMO, a culture has to transform itself from some bad cultural activities and beliefs, though, along with actually accepting offensive NGO aid and foreign education, plus swallowing their 'honor' along with the heavy hand of financial banking demands, and parents need to make their boys (since these are the children they care about) stay in school, even if it is a hated secular foreigner doing the teaching and their sons are bored to death. So far, the Palestinians are digging in and becoming more resolved to starve rather than give up 'Honor', while their leadership either is deluded (reward will be in Heaven, so dry your tears mother over your dead babies. They died for Honor and god.) and/or their wiser and more connected leaders are as wealthy as Western techlords, having salted away funding, bribes and business revenues into their own accounts instead of infrastructure, schools, health care and job creation (a personal low-paid and ignorant band of malnourished boy soldiers doesn't count in my view). When leadership organizes its nation around fighting for a religion, the leadership gets rich and their people suffer and starve in ignorance.

They don't have to stop believing in religion, but they should organize and concentrate for education, jobs and healthcare, not protecting god's honor. Moms are as dumb as dirt under Islam, one of many wives, easily divorced, pregnancy machines that are pushing out twelve babies on average, and are allowed no authority, so their boy children are throwing rocks for Islam and hustling whatever scams they can become part of instead of sweeping, cleaning, helping with childcare, not getting married to girl children, learning job skills. Several generations later, you've got cavemen again.

A lot of civilizations in history died. The Palestinians don't deserve to be one of them, but cultural survival isn't fair. If you have resources, you have the luxury to indulge in your delusions of culture; when you have no resources, you have to do what it takes to get resources.

Liberal Westerrners expel a lot of hot air and John Locke philosophy, thinking they are 'doing' something. The fact is, the Palestinians reject the West and spit on our sympathy, but the West is a free country, so we are welcome to feel bad and spend countless decades arguing that our hot air and indignation is helping the Palestinians. we can't help them. They reject us utterly. Meanwhile, their brother Muslims say the politically correct, fire-breathing, stamping-of-feet speech, calling on Allah to rain fire on their enemies, while allowing the Palestinians to die without lifting a finger. Instead they build higher walls against the Palestinians, while the Palestinians remain determined to pray to Allah and buy bullets instead of water, food and education.

The West can't help, the Muslims won't help. The Palestinians are doomed if they don't change and assimulate and give up some of their delusions.

But go ahead and keep talking. Who knows? Something might happen, some Muslim country might finally be shamed enough to REALLY help, start accepting Palestinians into their country as citiizens with benefits.

Did you know that when Americans sent those massive bundles of food to those Syrian Kurds/alternative sect Muslims, they had trouble keeping the food down, when they could even identify how to eat it? I find the idiocy of sending Western food to starving Muslims whose bodies and culture made the aid inedible symbolic.

message 46: by WarpDrive (last edited Mar 18, 2015 06:35PM) (new)

WarpDrive Let's put some facts straight on both examples, with hard numbers and objective reports, as the objective data disagree with your view:
- SA has steadily improved on many statistics - there are plenty of statistics to prove it. A can give tons of statistics to prove it. This is a fact. That the current political class in SA has a corruption problems is true, like it is true in many countries (including Europe and the USA).
- Another fact: most countries of Eastern Europe are better off (not tentatively, but solidly so, even after the global financial crisis) than before the fall of Communism, in some cases significantly better off. Have you been there after the fall ? Well I have and the difference is stark.
Let me put some concrete numbers (taken from a study by Harvard, comparing data from 1990 with data from 2011) :
"While Norwegian GDP per capita increased by 45 percent, Uzbekistan’s rose by 47 percent. Bosnia and Herzegovina where income grew by more than five times was the third fastest in the world between these years. Albania, which grew 134 percent, came 16th and Poland, growing 119 percent, 20th. All three OUTPACED SUCH GROWTH ENGINES AS SINGAPORE AND HONG KONG. The increase in consumption was equally dramatic. In the median postcommunist country, household final consumption per capita grew by 53 percent between 1990 and 2011, compared to a median increase of 45 percent elsewhere in the world. Consumption in Poland soared 146 percent, a rise that equaled Korea ’s".

Nothing to do with Animal Farm. Nothing whatsoever ( Russia itself is if course a much more complex story).

By the way, many Eastern European countries have now a sound and democratic political system, and I feel much safer walking at night in many Eastern European cities than in the large majority of American cities. And if I had to choose between living in an Eastern European Country of my choice and the USA, I would not hesitate for a millisecond to choose the Eastern European option.

You are also saying that "the Palestinians reject the West and spit on our sympathy" - have you any actual proof or objective documentation to support this claim ? I am not saying that this is necessarily wrong, I would just like to know on what you are basing this statement.

aPriL does feral sometimes First, none of these countries have a budget for military expenditures. None of them could defend themselves. It's useful how much their statistics improved once joining the EU, yes? Also, useful to see how not spending money for bullets improved their economies as well. But, look at Ukraine. Look at how some of these countries are nervously inviting in US troops for 'training.'

As far as for my claim about Palestine, do I have a picture of actual spitting? How about we settle for you googling for information and spending some days looking at various articles. I find mine at the Guardian, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Mother Jones, the Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic, The L. A. Times, BBC, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, The Economist, The New York Review of Books and through an app, Al Jeezera. Until my cable service changed I also used to watch a non-profit's roundup of translated news shows from around the Middle East, which truly was eye-opening. Iran's news people looked the most upscale, but they talked the most slanted and prejudiced, especially in regards to the Jewish people and the 'Great Satan'. Most had women on the news desk with absolutely beautiful faces, but all heavily covered up. The Israeli news looked like American news desks. That was REALLY the most interesting source. I wish I had still access to that one.

aPriL does feral sometimes ahh! just remembered the name! Mosaic!

message 50: by WarpDrive (last edited Mar 18, 2015 08:06PM) (new)

WarpDrive aPriL eVoLvEs wrote: "First, none of these countries have a budget for military expenditures. None of them could defend themselves. It's useful how much their statistics improved once joining the EU, yes? Also, useful t..."

OK, let's put this fact straight too, on the basis of actual numbers. A claim that Eastern European Countries have no budget for military expenditure is completely incorrect. See
The reality is that these countries have INCREASED their military spending, while at the same time dramatically increasing their economic wealth. So, assigning their improvement to a radical reduction to military spending levels is incorrect, and you will be pushed hard to find any decent economist supporting this. This countries could not defend themselves before the fall of Communism as they cannot now - nothing significant has changed from this perspective, and this does not explain anything.

With regards to your claim, I am sorry but you have not given me anything supporting it, apart from a generic list of magazines and news providers. I see no evidence of the majority of the Palestinians expressing hatred towards the West in toto, and in particular towards the parties and governments that support the Palestinian cause. I would be very interested in seeing this. Again, it might be true but so far it only appears to me like a purely subjective opinion. I am open though to changing my mind if presented with objective facts.

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