Monday, July 05, 2010

Didi Remez and I - An Unsettling Exchange

I am personally unacquainted with Didi Remez that I can recall or maybe I am? I've met most Peace Now leaders and debated them since 1980.



He runs "Coteret", a left-wing radical site that provides English-language translations from the Hebrew press and media. Quite useful, actually.

He is also:

senior partner at BenOr Consulting. Remez specializes in policy-change oriented strategic planning in the Israeli sphere and provides consulting services to a wide variety of organizations operating in Israel and the Occupied Territories including Bimkom - Planners for Planning Rights, Friends of the Earth Middle East, Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, Ir Amim, Israel Energy Forum, Kav La'Oved (Worker's Hotline), Life and Environment, the New Israel Fund, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, The Carter Center, The Elders, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, The World Bank West Bank & Gaza Program and Transport Today and Tomorrow. In 2005-2006, he served as senior media advisor to James Wolfensohn - the Quartet Special Envoy for Disengagement. Before joining BenOr in 2001, Remez directed Peace Now Settlement Watch and was the spokesperson for the movement in Israel. He is a founding member of Yesh Din - Volunteers for Human Rights.


Following his post about building construction at the former Mufti's home now referred to as Shepherd Hotel, we had this exchange:

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Just to know: is “settlement compound” a translation or an editorial comment by the translator?

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Didi Remez

Just to know: Did you watch the video?

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Yisrael Medad

Yes. The location is not referred to as a “settlement” (hitnachalut) but as a neighborhood, or as a compound (mitcham). You could have written “underground shopping mall” just as easily or 20 apartment complex.

So, I guess the headline was editorializing and not a translation.

Why did I have to pull teeth?

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Didi Remez

Ah, your problem is with the headline (if you had made that clear in the first comment you “would not have to pull teeth.” Well: (1) s headline is always an editor’s prerogative; (2) said compound is beyond the 1967 border; (3) I constantly hear settler voices saying their “settlement identity” should not be hidden.

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Yisrael Medad

The term “settlement compound” only appears in the headline. That was clear to me, at least. As for “identity” and you listening to “voices”, (a) I prefer the term “community” instead of “settlement” and “revenant” or simply “resident” to “settler” and hope you permit me my identity; (b) is Hadassah Hospital a “settlement”? (c) are Arab localities in Israel “settlements”?

It can get complicated.

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Didi Remez

“Mityashvim” (Makor Rishon standard) = “Settlers”

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Yisrael Medad

Ah. So Rivka Alper’s book, “HaMitnachalim BaHar” on Motza, Levy Eshkol’s book, “B’chavlei Hitnachalut” and Yosef Weitz’s book, “Hitnachaluteinu b’tkufat HaSa’ar” equalize the pioneering enterprise of pre-state, pre-67 and post-67 Zionism in redeeming the Land. That’s good. We’re all in this together. In Arab eyes, all we have done on both sides of the Green Line is “settlement” and that’s bad in their opinion.

I await your answers then to (b) and (c).

*
Didi Remez

Settler, settlements etc. (should answer all your questions): Used in Coteret to denote Israelis beyond 1967 border. This is not extraordinary. In fact, it is the term used in many right-wing Israeli publications.

Thread closed. Go fishing somewhere else.


My observations:

1. You notice that he doesn't answer any questions that are too difficult from a factual or even political perspective.

2. You notice that he doesn't even know what was in the video clip of the Channel 10 news report.

3. You notice that even when I 'attacked' the Arab presence in the state of Israel (not really, just arguing against the discriminatory terminology used only against Jews) he didn't leap at the bait.

He pooh-poohs it all and blames me for "fishing". And closes the thread.

Is this the typical Zionist progressive humanist lefty?



P.S. By "settlers", we are not referring to a video game. Meyer Levin's novel, though, comes very close:

...very well written, informative and moving. It begins at the turn of the century and follows a Russian-Jew family escaping the increasingly dangerious situation developing there. Levin paints a very clear picture of their dreams, goals, strengths and weaknesses. Life was not easy there either but to them it was home. During WWI they fought to help Jews from all over Europe escape death. It is 832 pages that is hard to put down.


...The Settlers is a fabulous novel about a family who settles in Israel before World War I. There are far too few books written about early Aliyot to Israel. This book gives a fabulous insight to the struggle and hard work that it took to build Israel.



P.P.S. Why doesn't anyone pay me to run a Coteret-like site for material from the national camp?

That is really unsettling.


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5 comments:

Sharon said...

Someone ought to pay you. Is it that our camp is not savvy enough to invent this job - or just too cheap? Or maybe more precisely we are not part of the capitalist-industrial-journalist complex that controls the funds.

YMedad said...

I made that proposal, to issue a digest of op-ed articles in the early 80s once a week with a brief summary of the ideas or key phrases, when I saw that Eldad, HaEtzni, etc. were being published in Maariv and Yedioth and occasionally in Haaretz but few abroad could appreciate the thinking of our camp leaders and intellectuals. No one took me up.

Anonymous said...

Why the gentle talk about the Didi. He is a filthy lying traitor, who dreams of seeing Israeli Jews thrown into the sea, and until that great event happens he supports suppression of democracy and of freedom of speech for non-leftists!

judithnusbaum said...

Very well put. I am in total agreement with you.

AKUS said...

Of course, BenOr consulting is the loathsome Jeremy Ben Ami of J Street's business. NAd J Street is a great source of funding for all of this, via Soros.

Nuff said.