WATCH: Ali Abunimah and Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin debate Israel’s settlements, Jim Crow on Democracy Now

From Democracy Now:

An Israeli government committee has affirmed the country’s self-proclaimed right to build settlements throughout the occupied West Bank, and recommended the legalization of dozens of settler outposts that have not received government authorization. The International Court of Justice has already ruled that all of Israel’s West Bank settlements are illegal, but Israel has said it would only consider dismantling scattered outposts that it has not officially approved. The settlers have used the outposts to seize even more Palestinian land than has already been taken.

We host a debate between Jonathan Tobin, Senior Online Editor of Commentary magazine, and Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada.

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It was encouraging and confirming to hear someone speak so articulately and concisely. And to hear it contrasted with Tobin's adolescent posturing and deceit only strengthened the encouragement and confirmation. Thanks.

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I don't blame Mr. Abunimah for losing his temper. The sheer amount of racist vitriol from Mr. Tobin was astounding.

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I cannot believe I just saw that. Tobin was absolutely ridiculous. I was waiting for the foam to just ooze out from the sides of his mouth, as his anger and disorientation increased. Good grief.

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Electronic Intifada does itself no service promoting this exchange. Abunimah came across as petulant and vindictive with nothing constructive to contribute other than to interrupt his opponent with a torrent of tired and worn cliches reminiscent of the New/Old Left of the '60s. Tobin was more convincing to this observer because he spoke to the questions posed by the moderator and offered an informed and historically nuanced view of the Levi Commission report.

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Behind this smooth if laughable dishonesty hides the barbarism of zionist strategy. Ali Abunimah's comments are not clichés but facts. Tobin's contribution is to whizz through the library of mythology that zionist leaders have consciously created from the start and which they use to hoodwink jews, as well as the political world at large, into supporting the illegitimate strategies of the Israeli state. Have you actually read Ben Gurion's diaries?

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I agree....Mr. Abuinima came off sounding like a juvenile -constantly interrupting and yelling at the other guy. It's was also rather silly to try to insult the other side by accusing him of using talking points etc.., when all Mr. Abunima did was sling out the same old talking points from his anti-Israel side (along with all the silly comparisons to Jim Crow and other flamboyant and propagandistic terminology that makes him sound like a 2 bit middle eastern dictator.) Can't you win on the merits of an argument vs. cheap debating tactics?

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Ally Ali, I was astounded by Tobin's complete inability to touch earth during the debate. Truly it was eye opening to see yet another clear example of such supremacy and the havoc it wreaks through such twisted interpretations of others words. Congratulations on remaining clear minded throughout such an assault. Onward with clarity and open heart.

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Ali did not lose his temper. He handled it very well considering the lies Tobin was saying on the spot. He has been exposed, and he exposed the Israeli tactics of how to twist facts and fabricate lies on the spot. How can he put words in his mouth and still look honest? This was an excellent representation of how Israelis want the world to perceive Palestinian public opinion; lies they create and credit to Palestinians.

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Ah, I was referring to the apparent frustration he has toward the end of the video. I agree that a lot of things have been twisted about this issue lately... What I don't understand is why Israel insists on engaging in the same kind of tactics that were used against them in WWII. Israel's government seems to have forgotten what it means to be compassionate.

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This has always been the tactic Israel uses to strengthen and justify it's violence: "antisemitism still exists and everything and anything must be done for the holocaust never to happen again." My problem is the fact this is being taught at a very early age to the Israeli children so they are brought up thinking they are hated, so even if they grow up wanting peace, they still cannot separate that "Arabs and Muslims are terrorists who want to destroy Israel" because it has become a part of the Israeli culture which unites all Jews. My opinion has always been that a nation who suffered so much should be able to relate to the suffering of others. Israel likes to relive WWII and remind everyone what happened, giving a blind eye to the same actions it is doing to the Palestinians.

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I thought Ali Abunimah showed great restraint and self control in the face of Tobin's lies and shouting. Mr Tobin did his cause a great disfavour in this interview. Well done Ali Abunimah for stating the truth and remaining calm and reasonable under such provocation.

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I find it astounding that Tobin would attack Ali for trying to defend human rights and equate it to racism. Even when Ali pointed out that there were Jews living in Palestine peacefully before the 1948 UN mandate which Tobin completely disregard. These occurrences happen only when Israel's back into a corner and cannot defend itself from its own policies.

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Mr. Tobin was talking about Israeli democracy while IDF buildouzers putting down Palestian homes. I doubt very much that he is familiar with UN history on Palerstine. He came out very poor on UN resolution on Palestine. It never said or written that Jews has a right to live anywhere in Palestine nor that Palestine is the land for Jews. Never mentioned in any UN resolution that Palestine is the land of Israel or that God is a land distributer.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.