Richmond, Californa: the first city in U.S. to accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing”

November 4, 2023 • 11:15 am

Earlier yesterday I argued that if one party to the conflict between Israel on one hand and Hamas on the other (and you can also include “much of Palestine”) were to be truly guilty of “genocide”, it would be Hamas. And many Palestinians and their leaders also argue that Israel (viz., “between the river and the sea”) should be eliminated.  Now genocide is roughly equivalent to “ethnic cleansing”, so—in view of the many offers by Israel of a “two-state solution” that were rejected by Palestine—it’s hard to make a coherent argument that Palestine is more guilty than Israel of hoping for ethnic cleansing. Israel has shown no desire to wipe out the Palestinian people; the country just wants to be let alone, free from terrorism.

But the arguments against Israel are still made, without any basis in fact, for a “white Israel oppressor of brown Palestinians” scenario aligns neatly with Critical Social Justice ideology.

And so we have this article from the Los Angeles Times about Richmond, California becoming the first U.S. city to back Palestine and accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing”. It’s laughable, for the members of the Richmond City Council really have no idea what they’re talking about. They’re mindlessly following what they see as the au courant liberal ideology and view of Social Justice.

Chick on the screenshot, or, if the article is paywalled, you can find it archived here

A summary:

The Richmond, Calif., City Council voted early Wednesday to support the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip with a resolution that accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing and collective punishment” nearly three weeks after war broke out in the Middle East.

The resolution is believed to be the first show of support by a U.S. city for the Palestinian people after the Oct. 7 attack carried out by Hamas on Israel.

Some 1,400 people died in Israel during the initial attack this month, and more than 200 Israeli and foreign nationals are being held captive in Gaza, according to Israeli officials. Since then, roughly 6,000 people have died in Gaza amid intensifying Israeli airstrikes, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health.

The city of Richmond, in the San Francisco Bay Area, passed its resolution of support in a 5-1 vote that started Tuesday evening and ended around 1 a.m. Wednesday after a five-hour public hearing. The resolution calls for a cease-fire and for humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza. It says “the state of Israel is engaging in collective punishment against the Palestinian people in Gaza in response to Hamas attacks on Israel” — while also highlighting Richmond’s support for Jewish people in the local community and its recognition of the atrocities carried out by Nazis during the Holocaust.

. . .On Tuesday evening, as Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez opened the hearing for the resolution, people in the audience were shouting, calling out “Nazi!” and other comments that were drowned out in the noise. The disorder derailed the meeting, and a brief recess was called.

. . . “We are one small city weighing in on a conflict that has the attention of the entire world and on which global superpowers are pouring in money, political attention and military aid,” Martinez said. “The people of [the] United States, whose government and tax dollars directly support Israel’s military, have an immediate moral obligation to condemn Israel’s acts of collective punishment and apartheid state.”

They barely mention Hamas (see the resolution below). It’s absurd that resolutions like this will call out Israel at length but barely mention Hamas and not specify a single act of Palestinian terrorism!

. . .Councilmember Cesar Zepeda cast the lone vote not to support the resolution, recognizing the issue as divisive.

“Let’s call out the atrocities that Hamas has done on the Israel communities and the atrocities the Israeli government has done on the Palestinian people,” Zepeda said, requesting a revised resolution. He said he wanted the city to “bring everyone together in a community for peace.”

The resolution is below the fold (click “continue reading” to see it):

Click to enlarge. There’s only a tiny mention of Hamas and its butchery of October 7 that started this conflict. and no mention of the kidnappings or the repeated terrorist attacks on Israel from Gaza, which are war crimes. One would gather from this moronic screed that Israel started the war to “ethnically cleanse” Gaza—except they could have done so any time within the last 15 years.

The Richmond city council is ideologically blinkered—either that or they’re a pack of antisemites. You choose. I have to say, though, that the omission of rockets from Gaza, repeated terrorism, and the kidnappings suggests that they are willfully neglecting the crimes of Gaza. Surely they know about them, so why leave them out?

26 thoughts on “Richmond, Californa: the first city in U.S. to accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing”

  1. I wonder which other countries random American cities have accused of ‘ethnic cleansing’?

    Does Richmond, California hold these motions on a regular basis, or something?

  2. They should be very proud of themselves. Such morons. Nice of them to include the heartfelt afterthought about combating antisemitism. (Sarcasm.)

    1. They do not give a single care about “antisemitism” they are up there with the best of jew , Israel haters, ill informed, ignorant, liars and completely unsurprisingly it is from California. Morons is far too polite a description.

      1. Well, I was trying to be nice. 🙂

        The antisemitism part was undoubtedly thrown in there as a codicil to shut the Jews up.

  3. I recently read a book by the (Jewish) historian Ilan Pappe, who argues that what the Jews did to the Arabs in 1948 is properly called ethnic cleansing. (I’m just mentioning this without affirming it.)

    “1948: The ethnic cleansing of Palestine: British Mandate ends, the State of Israel declared and recognized by the United States and the USSR. Israel at war with troops entering Palestine from neighboring Arab countries while completing the expulsion of half of Palestine’s population, demolishing half of its villages, and emptying and destroying eleven of its twelve towns.”

    (Pappe, Ilan. Ten Myths About Israel. London: Verso, 2017. p. 139)

    Here’s the list of his “ten myths”:

    1. Palestine Was an Empty Land
    2. The Jews Were a People Without a Land
    3. Zionism Is Judaism
    4. Zionism Is Not Colonialism
    5. The Palestinians Voluntarily Left Their Homeland in 1948
    6. The June 1967 War Was a War of “No Choice”
    7. Israel Is the Only Democracy in the Middle East
    8. The Oslo Mythologies
    9. The Gaza Mythologies
    10. The Two-States Solution Is the Only Way Forward

    1. “Hamas is branded as a terrorist organization, both in the media and in legislation. I will claim that it is a liberation movement, and a legitimate one at that.”

      (Pappe, Ilan. Ten Myths About Israel. London: Verso, 2017. p. 108)

      I wonder if he still stands by this statement after 10/7.

      1. Good Ol’ Ilan Pappe, who said things like:

        “There is no historian in the world who is objective. I am not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened. (“An Interview of Ilan Pappé,” Baudouin Loos, Le Soir [Bruxelles],Nov. 29, 1999)”

        “I admit that my ideology influences my historical writings…(Ibid)”

        “Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers.”(Ibid)

        Quotes from:

        1. Of course, if Pappe is right (I don’t think he is) and there can be no objectivity in historiography, then he qua historian needn’t have a bad conscience for declaring that…

          “This is not a balanced book; it is yet another attempt to redress the balance of power on behalf of the colonized, occupied, and oppressed Palestinians in the land of Israel and Palestine.”

          (Pappe, Ilan. Ten Myths About Israel. London: Verso, 2017. p. 10)

        2. “We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one…” – I. Pappe

          Richard Rorty describes one of the principles of postmodern skepticism as follows (Hello Nietzsche!):

          “Interpretation goes all the way down: there is no contrast between a fact and an interpretation except degree of consensus: a “fact” is a widely accepted interpretation.”

          (Rorty, Richard. “Rethinking Democracy.” 1996. In /What Can We Hope For? Essays on Politics/, edited by W. P. Malecki and Chris Voparil, 65-70. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2022. p. 68)

    2. Pappe thinks the establishment of “the settler colonial state of Israel” (Pappe) is an original sin giving the Arabs the basic right to violent resistance.

      “Palestine was not empty and the Jewish people had homelands; Palestine was colonized, not “redeemed”; and its people were dispossessed in 1948, rather than leaving voluntarily. Colonized people, even under the UN Charter, have the right to struggle for their liberation, even with an army, and the successful ending to such a struggle lies in the creation of a democratic state that includes all of its inhabitants. A discussion of the future, liberated from the ten myths about Israel, will hopefully not only help to bring peace to Israel and Palestine, but will also help Europe reach a proper closure on the horrors of World War II and the dark era of colonialism.”

      (Pappe, Ilan. Ten Myths About Israel. London: Verso, 2017. p. 137)

      “Colonialism can be described as the movement of Europeans to different parts of the world, creating new “white” nations where indigenous people had once had their own kingdoms. These nations could only be created if the settlers employed two logics: the logic of elimination—getting rid by all means possible of the indigenous people, including by genocide; and the logic of dehumanization—regarding the non-Europeans as inferior and thus as not deserving the same rights as the settlers. In South Africa these twin logics led to the creation of the Apartheid system, founded officially in 1948, the same year that the Zionist movement translated the same logics into an ethnic cleansing operation in Palestine.
      As this book attempts to show, from a settler colonial perspective events such as the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Oslo Process, and the disengagement from Gaza in 2005 are all part of the same Israeli strategy of taking as much of Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians in it as possible. The means of achieving this goal have changed over time, and it remains uncompleted. However, it is the main fuel that feeds the fire of the conflict.”

      (Pappe, Ilan. Ten Myths About Israel. London: Verso, 2017. pp. 135-6)

      1. Ilan Pappe Wikipedia entry makes for interesting reading. However his connection to Jeremy Corbyn is enough to convince me that he is untrustworthy.
        Corbyn , the most rabid antisemitic member and one time leader of the UK Labour Party ignominiously ejected but still fermenting his vile agenda in the background of British Politics.
        Btw, I could not find anywhere reference apart from Israel, to a democracy in the Middle East. Israel is described as “ a flawed democracy “ along with Tunisia also described as flawed but located in North Africa and not the Middle East.
        So myth 7 seems incorrect.

        1. Pappé is a Trot. Always been a Trot, will always be a Trot even under another name. He was a member of Hadash, the Communist coalition in Israel — which had a number of points, until it leapt into the arms of Arab nationalism. He was one of the New Historians that discovered and publicised (rightly) the documents that proved that SOME of the Palestinians were forcefully evicted from the land in 1948; to Pappé, soon it became all of them, and he continued down that hill. Now he sits comfy in his tenure at Exeter University, far from the chance of encountering actual war, but talking a lot to encourage one. He sees the world through the lens of his ideology and nothing else, which has turned him into an unreliable historian, prone to omissions and fabrications.
          He goes hand in hand with Chomsky and Finkelstein. All suffer from Marxist-Leninist cataracts, anti-American and anti-Western paralysis and noble-savage hallucinatory paranoia towards the Global South (however defined).
          It is sad that these people have such an influence on the Left, because ideological absolutes is the last thing that the conflict in Palestine needs.

          Starmer condemned without reservation the October 7 attack and Hamas, without at all declaring unconditional support for Israel but stating that it has the right to defend itself. Part of the Labour backbenchers were horrified — OMG he is going to lose the Muslim constituencies! If British Muslims are supporters of Hamas and put Hamas in front of British domestic policies, then I personally do not want their votes. I doubt it is true that they support Hamas en masse, although the spreading of this insane new anti-colonialism-cum-identity-politics certainly does not help de-radicalising those who have imbibed blind Arab nationalist and Islamist propaganda against Israel. Just look at whom they recently voted as Deputy Secretary general of the MCB… (all smears, to be sure. But I am told that the tweets and statements of Mohammed Kozbar have been saved and recorded … even if in Arabic, there are people who can translate them)

          1. “[Pappe] was one of the New Historians that discovered and publicised (rightly) the documents that proved that SOME of the Palestinians were forcefully evicted from the land in 1948.” – Ulysses Outis

            Actually, not all were, but many more than just some of them:

            “Even before the foundation of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948, the Palestinians had been militarily defeated by the Zionists. Some had already been expelled or had fled. Both things happened and each side propagated their own views. The most objective and self-critical views can be found in Israel (which comes as no real surprise), where much has recently been uncovered about the issue of expulsion. Probably the best analyses have been made by Benny Morris. Interested readers should consult his book “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1948–1949” (Cambridge 1987). Meir Pa’il, the Israeli military historian (and retired major), also gave an accurate and self-critical account of the controversy over “flight or expulsion”: “About one third of Palestinian refugees decided to flee of their own free will, especially at the beginning of the war [i.e. since November 1947]. Another third fled because of psychological measures of the Jews. They were told it would be better for them to leave of their own free will than to be conquered. The final third were expelled by force.”

            What were these “psychological measures”? Here one example from 15 May 1948. Israeli soldiers gave Palestinian inhabitants of a Jerusalem district the following advice through loudspeakers: “Leave this bloodshed. Surrender with your weapons. You will suffer no harm … If you stay, you will cause a disaster.”
            Two thirds of the Palestinians were expelled; one third fled hoping soon to return to “their own country” as winners.

            How many people were living in the Holy Land in 1948? How many Jews, how many Palestinians? Let us look at the figures. On the eve of the foundation of the State of Israel,

            * Around 600,000 Jews
            * And almost 1.3 million Palestinians were living there.

            That means roughly one Jew for every two Palestinians. In other words, about as many Jews were living in the Holy Land in 1948 as Palestinians were in 1918. At the end of World War I, only a small number of Jews were living in the Holy Land, i.e. about 54,000. That was almost 30,000 less than before World War I. Most of them had emigrated.
            Let us now look at the figures on the date of Israeli independence, which take into account flight and expulsion.
            On 15 May 1948 (one day after independence), the State of Israel was home to

            * Around 650,000 Jews
            * And only 156,000 Palestinians.

            A dramatic change had occurred as a result of dramatic developments. In other words, the Jewish state had become almost “free of Arabs”.”

            (Wolffsohn, Michael. /Whose Holy Land? The Roots of the Conflict Between Jews and Arabs./ Cham: Springer, 2021. pp. 196+198)

      2. “Pappe thinks the establishment of “the settler colonial state of Israel” (Pappe) is an original sin giving the Arabs the basic right to violent resistance.”

        To me, this “right” is extremely problematic. I think that at some point the wronged indigenous community has to lay down arms, put up with the loss and make peace. I wouldn’t approve e.g. Native Americans coming out of some reservation to massacre nearby farmers. Also, while most native Europeans want our governments to limit legal immigration and stop illegal immigration (more accurately called invasion), we don’t become vigilantes violently fighting the migrants.

  4. “The city of Richmond vows to combat antisemitism and ethno-nationalism in all its forms.”

    I assume that ‘ethno-nationalism’ is a woke word, meaning “Israel.” If so, is the city of Richmond aware that Israel is arguably one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world? Is the city of Richmond aware that 23 countries recognize Islam as their official religion, and I imagine that every one of those countries is more narrowly “ethno” (whatever that is supposed to mean) than Israel. In sum, what position has the city of Richmond, experts on and judges of international polities, taken on any of the 200 or so countries of the world other than the one Jewish state?

    My sugggestion to the city of Richmond: “The city of Richmond endorses hypocrisy and antisemitism.” Not MY personal view, but it would save a lot of words and would get right to the point.

  5. Perhaps the city authorities could next confer an honorary Richmond citizenship on Ghazi Hamad of the Hamas poliburo, who explained matters as follows on Oct. 24 to Lebanese TV:
    “Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove that country, because it constitutes a security, military, and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation and must be finished. We are not ashamed to say this, with full force. … The existence of Israel is what causes all that pain, blood, and tears. It is Israel, not us. We are the victims of the occupation. Period. Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7, October 10, October 1,000,000—everything we do is justified.”

  6. Reflecting on George Packer’s recent book, Last Best Hope, I propose a three-state solution for the US of A., viz., one for the MAGA cultists, another for the Woke cultists, and the third for the rest of us.

  7. My son, who is in University (Canada) is a compassionate guy and tries to keep from dogmatism on whatever side. Naturally his school leans heavily Left with lots of pro Palestine sentiment. But he was recently “forced” by a Muslim student acquaintance to declare out loud “from the river to the sea” and if he didn’t, it would mean my son was on the side of those committing Genocide (ostensibly, Israel).


    1. Canada, does not surprise me one jot. Islam holds a special “privilege” in both Canadian Liberal politics and law against the Islamophobia trope.
      Respectfully Your son needs to seriously review his associates, Islam in all its facets is dangerous and its adherents are not to be trusted, period!

      1. I agree with Robert that “Respectfully Your son needs to seriously review his associates.” There need to be consequences to this type of behavior, else it will continue.

      2. My son is in the IDF as of October 10th, ready to give his life to root out a pack of inhuman terrorists. I find religions, all religions, pretty dangerous. But blanket declarations about all Muslims not to be trusted and Islam being dangerous in all its facets are the equivalent of using the same blind prejudice against Jews or against Christians. I know a large number of decent and reasonable Muslims, like I know many intolerant and fundamentalist Christians and Jews (and Hindu and Sikh, as I am a British Canadian).
        That student was an arsehole. Many young woke students are such, without need of being Muslims. But that student was not “all Muslims”.
        Taking care not to use the same mental categories of those we criticise is the first step to remain a sane friend of reason.

    2. My kid was at one of the schools where bullies demanded that the White and Asian kids pledge to BLM to proceed across campus.
      Now my other kid is at a university with roving bands of Jew haters. My wife was visiting campus today, come upon such a group, said “nope” to herself, and went back to her car. It really makes me want to show up there with my Israeli flag backpack. I don’t intimidate so easily, and I despise bullies.

      On a lighter note, I am reminded of the last part of this sketch-

  8. Doesn’t this city have problems – streets to repair, schools to maintain, maybe crime and homelessness? Are all of these problems solved, and now the city authorities are out to save the world?

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