A Brief Comment on Numbers

Before today, the greatest number of visitors to this site was (the very Jewish) 613, on May 22. That particular spike occurred on the day on which we posted about Colin Rubenstein vs David Langsam, and the AJN’s coverage of the protests at the 8 minute play.

Today (May 26) we have had 761 unique visitors. We imagine that this spike may be in part due to people being interested in a possible response to the email sent to our leaders last night. Of course, we cannot know this with any certainty. All we know is that we continue to increase our readership and would like to thank all those who have been keeping up with The SJ and especially those commenting.

In the two weeks since we began this blog, we have had 4,443 views, according to the Wordpress statistics.

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Related posts:

  1. Reader Response 4: Coups, Town Halls, and the Reluctance to Comment
  2. Dvir Abramovich in The Age: No Laughing!
  3. Reader Response 7: Responding to our Non/Anti-Zionist Readers
  4. SJ Signs off – temporarily
  5. Where to now? practical questions and suggestions for change in our community and a link to Manny Wax’s Report

5 Responses to “A Brief Comment on Numbers”

  1. Michael Brull says:

    Hi guys. As part of IAJV, I guess I’d be part of the spectrum of Jewish opinion you guys don’t like much. But you feel like “anti-Zionists” – whoever that includes – are “winning” the PR war or whatever. From my brief look at your blog, you seek to help reform Jewish organisations so that they are better able to appeal to the broader Australian public. I can make a few suggestions of areas which you might consider open to revision. For example, most of the leading Jewish organisations say they are anti-racist organisations. But the only racism they ever actually are vocal about is anti-Semitism. For example, there were two video games based around shooting Muslims, with offensive caricatures and so on. The so-called anti-defamation commission didn’t make any statement that I was able to find on the matter, nor did (say) ECAJ. I also don’t know what they (or NSW JBD) might have said about the Cronulla pogrom/race riot, because there’s no evidence online of them saying anything that I’ve been able to find.

    Additionally, AIJAC’s Bren Carlill has repeatedly supported the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the 1948 war. And ECAJ (with affiliates like JBD) proudly supported Benny Morris’s speaking tour, untroubled by his anti-Arab and anti-Muslim public statements.

    Put aside our differences on Israel/Palestine. Do you think that these are issues which should be addressed?

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  2. [...] response to Michael Brull, we would first like to thank him for the amiable tenor of his comment, although we imagine he does [...]

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  3. Bren Carlill says:

    I have been informed that Michael Brull has yet again written about me. He certainly seems to have a bee in his bonnet when it comes to me! Did I insult his wife? Question his virility?

    He has repeatedly accused me of racism, an accusation I reject entirely and find defamatory. In fact, and although I only skimmed over the other comments, Frochel’s argument (that IAJV types that blame Israel for everything and treat Palestinians as automatons, incapable of making choices, but only reacting to Israeli actions, are guilty of what I call cultural imperialism and what Frochel calls racism) has some truth to it.

    For the record, I do not support or justify ethnic cleansing. I don’t believe Israel’s actions in the War of Independence constituted ethnic cleaning. Israeli fighters expelled some Palestinians from their villages. Some of these actions were a result of those villages taking part in the war – by feeding, sheltering and providing combatants. Some of these actions were a result of a decision to remove these villages because of war aims. In total, the Palestinians expelled from their villages by Israel constituted a substantial minority of the total Palestinian refugee population after the war. I do not believe these actions constitute ethnic cleansing for a number of overlapping reasons.

    There was no deliberate policy to remove Arabs from Mandatory Palestine in order to establish a Jewish-only country. Read all the documents of the mainstream Zionist groups leading up to the war and you’ll see (unless you have a case of wilful blindness) that the Zionist establishment accepted that a significant minority of the Jewish state’s population would be Arab.

    The much brought up ‘Plan Dalet’ was a panicked reaction to the impending invasion of the new state by the surrounding Arab countries. The plan’s author realised that without continuity between the main Jewish population centres, the new state would be defeated (through a mix of invasion by foreign armies on one hand, and guerrilla warfare and terrorism by local irregulars, supported by Arab villages, on the other). As such, commanders were given orders to consolidate the Jewish defensive lines. If Arab forces in these areas resisted, the commanders were permitted to destroy the relevant villages (since the villages were vital to the Arab fighters’ efforts). There was no general plan to destroy all villages – it was left to the commanders’ discretion as to what constituted military necessity. Consider that, after the war, most of the Arab-populated areas that had come under Jewish control still had Arabs living there. That is – some Arabs had left; some Arabs were pushed out; some Arabs stayed. If there had been a Zionist ethnic cleansing plan, Israel would not have had any Arabs in it. Compare that to EVERY area that came under Arab control – the Jews were either slaughtered or expelled. And while it’s true the Arab side did not gain nearly as much land as it had hoped (it had hoped to gain all the land), the fact remains that all Jews were expelled from all the areas that came under Arab control. This post-war reality conforms to the statements made by both sides vis-a-vis their plans for the other in the lead up to the war. The statements by the leaders of one side – the Arab side – were clearly genocidal in nature. The statements by the leaders of the other side – the Jewish side – were not.
    I believe Plan Dalet was a strategic necessity in order to prevent military defeat and the belief – completely justified, in my view – that a military defeat of the Jews would have resulted in a massacre of all or most of the Jewish population.

    Given the reality of the situation, I believe the Jewish side had a choice; they could go like lambs to the slaughter, or they could fight. Frankly, I don’t believe that in late ‘47 to early ‘48, when Plan Dalet was conceived and carried out, that the Zionists had any other option. The Zionists chose to fight. They won. And while that’s really sad for the innocent Arab victims of the conflict, the blame for their fate lies not with the Zionist establishment, but with the Arab leaders who spoke, planned and acted in their names – speeches, plans and actions that made it clear to the Jews that, should the Jews not fight and win, they would be killed.

    People are obviously free to disagree with my interpretation of history – they can say my interpretation of history is wrong. But it remains my interpretation. Meaning, I believe the deliberate expulsion of some civilians by Jewish forces was deemed a military necessity and was not an attempt to create an ethnically ‘pure’ (to use a racist term) Jewish state. Since ethnic cleansing is perceived by pretty much everyone as an attempt to remove an ethnic group from an area for racist reasons (and people who might argue about ethnic cleansing on one hand in dry legal terms tend to also use the term as an emotive weapon in other fora), and since I believe this was not the intention of the Jewish forces, to argue that I am racist for supporting and/or justifying the policies of the Zionist establishment vis-a-vis the War of Independence is, well, bollocks.

    Finally, since Brull has now acknowledged that he’s the only person to write that I’m racist, I would suggest that he realise that he is either wrong about my alleged racism, or possesses a conspiracy theorist mentality, leading him to believe that he alone has access to the truth, and is up against a powerful cabal determined to stop him.

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  4. Bren Carlill says:

    I have been informed that Michael Brull has yet again written about me. He certainly seems to have a bee in his bonnet when it comes to me! Did I insult his wife? Question his virility?

    He has repeatedly accused me of racism, an accusation I reject entirely and find defamatory. In fact, and although I only skimmed over the other comments, Frochel's argument (that IAJV types that blame Israel for everything and treat Palestinians as automatons, incapable of making choices, but only reacting to Israeli actions, are guilty of what I call cultural imperialism and what Frochel calls racism) has some truth to it.

    For the record, I do not support or justify ethnic cleansing. I don't believe Israel's actions in the War of Independence constituted ethnic cleaning. Israeli fighters expelled some Palestinians from their villages. Some of these actions were a result of those villages taking part in the war – by feeding, sheltering and providing combatants. Some of these actions were a result of a decision to remove these villages because of war aims. In total, the Palestinians expelled from their villages by Israel constituted a substantial minority of the total Palestinian refugee population after the war. I do not believe these actions constitute ethnic cleansing for a number of overlapping reasons.

    There was no deliberate policy to remove Arabs from Mandatory Palestine in order to establish a Jewish-only country. Read all the documents of the mainstream Zionist groups leading up to the war and you'll see (unless you have a case of wilful blindness) that the Zionist establishment accepted that a significant minority of the Jewish state's population would be Arab.

    The much brought up 'Plan Dalet' was a panicked reaction to the impending invasion of the new state by the surrounding Arab countries. The plan's author realised that without continuity between the main Jewish population centres, the new state would be defeated (through a mix of invasion by foreign armies on one hand, and guerrilla warfare and terrorism by local irregulars, supported by Arab villages, on the other). As such, commanders were given orders to consolidate the Jewish defensive lines. If Arab forces in these areas resisted, the commanders were permitted to destroy the relevant villages (since the villages were vital to the Arab fighters' efforts). There was no general plan to destroy all villages – it was left to the commanders' discretion as to what constituted military necessity. Consider that, after the war, most of the Arab-populated areas that had come under Jewish control still had Arabs living there. That is – some Arabs had left; some Arabs were pushed out; some Arabs stayed. If there had been a Zionist ethnic cleansing plan, Israel would not have had any Arabs in it. Compare that to EVERY area that came under Arab control – the Jews were either slaughtered or expelled. And while it's true the Arab side did not gain nearly as much land as it had hoped (it had hoped to gain all the land), the fact remains that all Jews were expelled from all the areas that came under Arab control. This post-war reality conforms to the statements made by both sides vis-a-vis their plans for the other in the lead up to the war. The statements by the leaders of one side – the Arab side – were clearly genocidal in nature. The statements by the leaders of the other side – the Jewish side – were not.
    I believe Plan Dalet was a strategic necessity in order to prevent military defeat and the belief – completely justified, in my view – that a military defeat of the Jews would have resulted in a massacre of all or most of the Jewish population.

    Given the reality of the situation, I believe the Jewish side had a choice; they could go like lambs to the slaughter, or they could fight. Frankly, I don't believe that in late '47 to early '48, when Plan Dalet was conceived and carried out, that the Zionists had any other option. The Zionists chose to fight. They won. And while that's really sad for the innocent Arab victims of the conflict, the blame for their fate lies not with the Zionist establishment, but with the Arab leaders who spoke, planned and acted in their names – speeches, plans and actions that made it clear to the Jews that, should the Jews not fight and win, they would be killed.

    People are obviously free to disagree with my interpretation of history – they can say my interpretation of history is wrong. But it remains my interpretation. Meaning, I believe the deliberate expulsion of some civilians by Jewish forces was deemed a military necessity and was not an attempt to create an ethnically 'pure' (to use a racist term) Jewish state. Since ethnic cleansing is perceived by pretty much everyone as an attempt to remove an ethnic group from an area for racist reasons (and people who might argue about ethnic cleansing on one hand in dry legal terms tend to also use the term as an emotive weapon in other fora), and since I believe this was not the intention of the Jewish forces, to argue that I am racist for supporting and/or justifying the policies of the Zionist establishment vis-a-vis the War of Independence is, well, bollocks.

    Finally, since Brull has now acknowledged that he's the only person to write that I'm racist, I would suggest that he realise that he is either wrong about my alleged racism, or possesses a conspiracy theorist mentality, leading him to believe that he alone has access to the truth, and is up against a powerful cabal determined to stop him.

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  5. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Michael, and welcome. Thank you for your comment. We’ll respond to you in a post that also addresses issues brought up by the commenter, Gustavm.

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