Joel Kovel on Naomi Klein and Durban

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 “Minority Death Match,” Naomi Klein’s feature story in the September Harper’s, is about the two ill-fated United Nations-sponsored Durban conferences on racism—in 2001 at the South African city, and in Geneva earlier this year—and what tied their failings together: the interrelations between Blacks and Jews, the manipulations of Zionism, and US presidential politics. It’s a typically sharp Klein piece, excoriating in its rendition of the betrayals by the great, including our Barack Obama, hard at work putting distance between himself and his black brethren. 

But there’s a problem. About midway in her article, Naomi turns to the disaster that took place in Durban-2001 and assigns blame for what went wrong. She concludes that a lot of the fault lay in the insertion of the “Zionism is racism” claim by Islamists into what was intended to be an event focussed on anti-black racism and the cause of reparations. This allowed the Israel lobbies in America and Europe to run wild with charges of blood-libel and other kinds of anti-semitism, thereby giving the US a pretext for withdrawing and throttling the rising cry for reparations. The fact that the conference ended just before 9/11/01 also had a great deal to do with this, as Naomi admits. But her main idea is that the reparations cause got side-swiped by the anti-Zionism cause although the former had all the legitimacy, the latter, none. For Klein, “The original Durban conference was not at all about Israel [as Zionists have charged]. . . ; it was overwhelmingly about Africa, the ongoing legacy of slavery, and the huge unpaid debts that the rich owe the poor.” 

I find this claim way off the mark, empirically, logically, morally and politically. 

• empirically, I have seen images of people marching at Durban in support of the anti-Zionist cause. Some were Neturai Karta, Orthodox anti-Zionist Jews, who came all the way from the United States for the purpose. 

• logically, it is nonsense to claim of an issue this immense, subtle and interrelated, that it is all one way or the other. 

• morally, it is wrong to prioritize amongst victims of injustice. The reparations movement is noble and worthwhile; but so is the Palestinian quest for justice.

• politically, the UN, however flawed, cannot afford to either ignore or foreground any valid claim of collective racism. Naomi might have meant her judgment to be tactical, in that Africa, the continent plundered of black human beings as well as resources, can be seen as a natural setting for the reparations issue. But Africa is also home to many millions of Muslims and a smaller number of Jews (including Ethiopian Jews) caught up in the rift set going by Zionism. And the city of Durban, South Africa, is home to the most vibrant Indian community anywhere outside of India itself, and the setting, a century ago, for Gandhi’s development of Satyagraha. The flourishing Indian community of Durban was a haven for a major presence at the 2001 conference by representatives of the giant Dalit community (aka “untouchables”), at a quarter billion, the largest oppressed group in the world. For India’s Dalits, participation in Durban 2001 was just as important as participation was for African-Americans seeking reparations. (I was in India in January 2002, and Dalits were still vibrant with excitement over the event.) Properly understood, nothing could be better for each of these movements than for all of them to come together in a massive outpouring against the common roots of racism. It is hard to think of a worse outcome than to set them against each other. 

Naomi Klein starts off and ends strongly. In the middle, however, her article runs into trouble, as the following passage reveals: 


There was one hitch. Six months before the meeting in Durban, at an Asian preparatory conference in Tehran, a few Islamic coutnries requested language in their draft of the Durban Declaration that described Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories as “a new form of apartheid” and a “form of genocide.” Then, a month before the conference, there was a new push for changes that were sure to grab international headlines. Some references to the Holocaust were placed in lower case, pluralized (“holocausts”), and paired with the “ethnic cleansing of the Arab population in historic Palestine.” References to “the increase in anti-Semitism and hostile acts against Jews” were paired with phrases about “the increase of racist practices of Zionism,” and Zionism was described as a movement “based on racism and discriminatory ideas.” 

There is a strong argument to be made that Israel’s legal system— which has different laws and even roads for Israelis and Palestinians living in the West Bank, and which grants and denies citizen rights based largely on religious affiliation—meets the international definition of apartheid (a few years later, former president Jimmy Carter would use the same term to describe the segregation in the occupied territories). But taken as a whole, this proposed language—by attempting to downplay the significance of the Holocaust and diluting the clauses on anti-Semitism—carried an unmistakable whiff of denialism. 

Most importantly, by reviving the incendiary equation of Zionism with racism that had torn the U.N. apart for decades, the Islamic states instantly upstaged Africans’ demands. As Nicole Lee, the current director of the TransAfrica Forum, told me, there was an acute awareness in Durban that “if you put Zionism on trial, that’s all you can do.” What was particularly frustrating to the countries fighting for a new consensus on the legacy of slavery was that the Zionism sentences were attracting all the media attention despite the fact that they had no chance of making it into the final draft. The Islamic states did not have the votes, and Mary Robinson, the conference’s secretary general, had made it very clear “that we cannot go back to the language of Zionism as racism.” In short, the proposed clauses had little hope of helping Palestinians, but they did serve another, entirely predictable, function: they gave the U.S. government the perfect excuse to flee the scene….

This hysterical response to Durban can perhaps best be explained by a phenomenon psychologists call “illusory correlation”: it happens when people experience two intense events in close proximity and their minds make a causal connection where no factual link exists. The first intense event was Durban itself. For many Jewish delegates the experience was unquestionably traumatic. It was not only the incidents of anti-Semitism, which were real and frightening. It was the dominance of a political discourse that described Israel’s citizenship and security laws as being a version of apartheid, deserving of the same kind of economic sanctions that ultimately put an end to the practice in South Africa. For Zionists in Durban, seeing an international consensus build around this idea—one that challenges core Zionist policies—was jarring enough. But the real trauma happened when they went home and immediately faced the far greater shock of the September 11 attacks. The pro-Palestinian activists in Durban seemed to merge with the Muslim hijackers, becoming a single, hostile Arab mass, while the political threat Israel faced at the conference dissolved into the very real attacks on New York and Washington, until somehow these wholly unrelated events fused into a single, seamless narrative.

 Let me count some ways this passage goes awry:

 1. The language is invidious, and serves to both marginalize the proponents of the Zionism=racism charge  [“one hitch”; “a few Islamic countries”] and impugn their motives with derogatory images, for example, “unmistakable whiff …”. Later in the article, when the 2009 events are discussed, the maniacal figure of a certain president of Iran is trundled out for the civilized world’s derision: “six hours after the conference began, the inevitable: a rustle of men in slim-fitting suits escorting the president of Iran to the podium. After ranting for a while about the imperialist makeup of the UN security council, Ahmadinejad proceeded to do exactly what everyone expected him to do: he called Israel ‘the most cruel and repressive racist regime.’ ” Well, if this madman says it—and his is the only actual voice brought forth by Klein to do so—then why should the rest of us take the charge seriously?

Naomi fails to give agency to the Palestinians, whom we evidently are to regard as mere pawns in the machinations of a “few Islamist countries,” with no role in their own liberation struggle. Nor is there a recognition that these countries are home to a billion people the great majority of whom have no difficulty in accepting the notion that Zionism=racism because, in fact, it corresponds to a definite history that has blighted their lives. Naomi suggests that the Islamist leaders are manipulating these masses. I would say, rather, that the leadership, for the most part thoroughly bought off by the West, are forced to give some expression to the feelings from below lest they be toppled.

2. The Zionism=racism charge is further adulterated by Naomi’s substitution of the part for the whole: it is “Israel’s legal system” that “meets the international definition of apartheid,” not Israel itself. No recognition here that Israeli law is both the expression and perpetuator of a massive—and growing—pattern of anti-Arab racism that grips the great majority of Israeli society, just as it did in the  United States South during the Jim Crow era, when the legal system also colluded in and upheld societal racism.

A whole society takes on a racist character if its basic project entails radical exclusion of others from the social contract. In the case of Israel: because it could not make use of an actual national liberation struggle, the Zionist movement had to fabricate its national story out of the expropriation of an indigenous people. The criminal implications of this are impossible to bear without secondary adjustments, and so racism is brought in to degrade the victims and make them deserving of their fate. This allows Israeli society to coalesce around an intractable and cancerous core of racism. The notion, Zionism=racism is not in itself an empirical statement, though mountains of evidence can be brought forth for purposes of demonstration. It is essentially a logical identity, which would be as self-evident as the notion that the Pope is Catholic were it not for Zionist propaganda and repressive muscle-power.

3. The “whiff of denialism.” Lacking a structural concept of Zionism, Naomi is forced to buttress her position. This she chiefly does by absolutizing the Holocaust and taking after people who do not see things that way, with the charge of “denialism.” As this passage shows, Naomi believes that “denialism” includes using the lower case in describing the Holocaust when pairing it with “ethnic cleansing of the Arab population in historic Palestine.”; or when references to “the increase in anti-Semitism and hostile acts against Jews” are paired with “the increase of racist practices of Zionism.”

This is quite an extreme point of view and puts Naomi in league with the likes of Elie Wiesel and Abe Foxman in asserting the incomparability of the Shoah, and even of anti-Semitism. I hope she thinks more constructively about this. If one believes that the sufferings of Jews are incomparable then you are already on the way to affirming that Jews are human beings on a different ontological plane than others, i.e., you have stepped into the zone of racism. She should also bear in mind that Zionism showed its racist propensities long before the Third Reich hove into view; and that the absolutization of Jewish suffering deprives us of the power of understanding it and hence blocking its repetition. Understanding requires making comparisons and differentiations. That some people would abuse this principle is only to be expected, and must be contested when it arises. Smears such as the “whiff of denialism,” will not do, however, especially given the fact that those comparisons which she considers to be denialist are perfectly reasonable as stated.

 4. “Most importantly, writes Naomi, “by reviving the incendiary equation of Zionism with racism that had torn the U.N. apart for decades, the Islamic states instantly upstaged Africans’ demands.” I fail to see what most important here. And I hope that black activists reject the insinuation that their cause had priority because it was the only one feasible. I think rather that we all need to pay attention to why the Zionism=racism charge is in fact “incendiary.” Naomi’s thesis that it was the manipulations by bad Islamic states that caused such incendiarism is quite inadequate, not least because it mimics the ideological bludgeon of the Zionists themselves, that criticism of Israel is ipso facto anti-Semitic. No, the real reason for the power of the Zionism=racism charge is plain: once the world begins to recognize that Zionism is in fact necessarily racist—and on an expanding scale—then the legitimacy of Israel collapses like the proverbial house of cards. Zionism’s ideological apparatus reacts to any hint of this like a swarm of yellow-jackets when someone steps on their hive.

In this respect Naomi should eschew the psycho-babble centering on the “hysterical response to Durban.” There is a very real factual link behnd said hysteria, which is that Israel is indeed a racist state. It is accepting this revelation that frightens. It is, in a word, the truth that threatens, not the rantings of demagogues like Ahmadinejad.

 5. So what that “Mary Robinson, the conference’s secretary general, had made it very clear ‘that we cannot go back to the language of Zionism as racism’”? I should think that by now Naomi is well-versed in the fact that the UN is usually a big part of the problem and not the solution. (Interestingly, Robinson has herself recently run afoul of the Zionist Thought Police, which only proves that they are never to be appeased.) The point is that to embrace the notion of Zionism=racism is not to go back but forward. If this brings on the wrath of the United States, then that is no more than another demonstration of the seamless character of imperialism.

 6. Naomi writes: “It was not only the incidents of anti-Semitism, which were real and frightening. It was the dominance of a political discourse that described Israel’s citizenship and security laws as being a version of apartheid, deserving of the same kind of economic sanctions that ultimately put an end to the practice in South Africa.” Yes, this is upsetting to those with a lingering affection for the State of Israel. But accepting the basic identity of Israel and South Africa as racist states happens to be the goal toward which we should strive, taking the lead of Bishop Tutu, Ronnie Kasrils, the leadership of the trade union confederation COSATU, and others from South Africa, who not only affirm the structural identity but go on to say that Israel is in fact worse than Apartheid South Africa, because the latter had an interest in preserving the labor power of black Africans, while Israel’s goal is the annihilation of the Palestinians.

Those who adopt the Boycott-Divestment-Sanction campaign against Israel are in effect accepting this linkage. South African state racism and not any particular abuse was the matrix of the contemporary boycott movements, and the same principle holds for Israel. This makes Naomi’s article doubly puzzling, as she has recently in a speech at Ramallah adopted the BDS strategy, to widespread and deserved praise. I hope that she will reflect further on this contradiction between what she puts into print and what she advocates as an activist.

7. Finally, we learn that the “shock”of September 11 raised fantasies of “a single, hostile Arab mass, while the political threat Israel faced at the conference dissolved into the very real attacks on New York and Washington, until somehow these wholly unrelated events fused into a single, seamless narrative.” It is Naomi’s conclusions that shock here. No, we are definitely not dealing with an undifferentiated and hostile Islamist force. But we are also definitely not dealing with “wholly unrelated events”—even if the relationship has yet to be pieced together, and never may be. It is remarkable how people forget the arrests of Mossad agents who were monitoring the attacks on the WTC on that day (they were—surprise!—shipped back home, where they disappeared from view). Equally pertinent is how often the statements of those associated with the WTC bombings (of 1993 as well as 2001) implicate the Zionist conquest of Palestine as a prime incentive to exact revenge, by terror if necessary.

No liberation movement from the beginning of the world has escaped moral ambiguities and contradictions. The movement to liberate Palestine from Zionism is no exception. That’s what makes it so challenging—and why we need to hold firm to basic principles and be steadfast in the struggle. A bedrock principle is that, yes, Zionism=racism. This is true whether or not people use it for the wrong purposes. Our task is to use it for worthy purposes–the non-violent transformation of Palestine/Israel into a just society, and not to shelve it so that other virtuous causes can go forward. Until people of good will across the world come together around this truth, Palestine cannot be free.

Joel Kovel is author of Overcoming Zionism.

Posted in American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine

{ 0 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. kylebisme says:

    Compare Klein’s argument here:
    It was the dominance of a political discourse that described Israel’s citizenship and security laws as being a version of apartheid, deserving of the same kind of economic sanctions that ultimately put an end to the practice in South Africa.
    With her argument earlier this year:

    It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.

    I liked her when she wasn’t being a racist apologist.

  2. Nth Republic says:

    Very well-analyzed, as always, Dr. Kovel. I especially appreciate point #2, your scrutiny over Ms. Klein’s lone concession to the Palestinian cause in her piece. It’s striking how she has seemingly fallen back from her position as marked in her June speech given in Ramallah, as she is now mincing words to the point of letting off the hook not only the Zionist ideology and project as a whole, but indeed the State of Israel in its existence as a Zionist, exclusionist “democracy”. Her pars pro toto synecdoche placing the Israeli legal system at fault for the State’s “meeting the international definition of apartheid” is the most disappointing end-run around the truth in the whole article, in my view. I hope, as you do Dr. Kovel, that Ms. Klein sees the error in her leaving from the principles she seemed to hold, or seemed to be coming to, regarding Israel in earlier writings and activism.

  3. Most importantly, by reviving the incendiary equation of Zionism with racism that had torn the U.N. apart for decades, the Islamic states instantly upstaged Africans’ demands.

    There’s no conflict on this between Muslim and African states: neither has any love lost for Zionism. The tearing up of the UN is entirely due to conditions imposed by Israel’s Western puppet regimes. She’s blaming the victims.

    • Why should anyone take you seriously when you take the name “America First” the name of Lindbergh’s pro Nazi isolationist movement before WWII. You have a decent argument or two, but the hate is there in the space between every word you write.

  4. VR says:

    I for one have always appreciated the work of Naomi Klein (as the author made clear that he also does), and I mean that sincerely. When I look at what she wrote (as opposed to what she has previously written) it conjures up in me a question of, what happened? I mean, it is not like the about face of Benny Morris, but it a pulling back of sorts.

    I also keep saying to myself, at times we are all prone to types of vacillation, at times it is not clearly thinking through where we stand or what we have previously stated. Some of us have family member there (Israel) or friends, and some of us have family members that oppose what we are saying and doing, and we all know how dreadful it is to even think of being cut off. Others have conflicts of interest, especially in the public limelight, if we have advanced at all there are times when we are threatened with consequences – and it causes some to ask, whats the price? As another example just recently I feel that I found the reason for Hitchen’s about face from many of his previous positions – who could have known that his own son had become a neocon hack? Someone might say it is hardly a reason for such a turn in Hitchen’s, and that he just wanted to get into the limelight etc. again, however if you know anything about his life you can see why he tried to hang on to one last thread in his son, but it is no excuse in the final analysis.

    What is somewhat alarming about what Naomi said is that she said it right after a visit to the territories. You cannot visit the territories (in an objective fashion) and not be totally devastated, it is a life changing experience – it evokes shame and concern, and how could Naomi see this (speak of how moved she was when there), and now say this? I don’t know.

    All I know is this, that at this point Israel is not a state with an army, but it has become an army with a state. It has to be stopped, it is an Apartheid racist and slow genocidal agency. That no matter how troubling this is to us that we have to stand against it and speak out, onward from dissent to resistance, and get on board the BDS express.

  5. Sin Nombre says:

    I have to say I found Mr. Kovel’s analysis a bit needlessly belabored. Ms. Klein’s piece was just purely and simply tendentious, period, whether consciously intended or otherwise. Just as enough African countries got together and got their gripes against the perceived racism afflicting them on the agenda so did enough arab and moslem countries. Somehow and in some way though Ms. Klein found a way to say that no, the latter’s issue should never ever have been brought up, as if she would have found it okay if only the planets had been in a little different alignment or the cusp of the moon had been just a bit more waxed or waned.

    It’s hogwash and it’s obvious. The increasing identification of Israel with racism is just simply something that gets public commentators who are also Israeli partisans squirming. And that’s often because—as is clearly the case with Ms. Klein—they somehow see themselves as being some grand moral authorities with the only real standing to pronounce others as racists and because of same they just feel they have some exalted moral standing to refuse to apply the same standards they apply to everyone else to Israel.

    It is blatant tendentiousness and blatant hypocrisy too: Constantly condemning others for self-interested motes in their eyes and yet never ever noting the beams in their own. Just that simple, just that straightforward.

  6. Joel Kovel stating that Naomi Klein is not radical enough.

    We hear it often.

    In contrast, the slogan “Zionism is racism” is false. Maybe Joel Kovel describes all nationalism as racism. I don’ t think that he does.

    He speaks of “No liberation movement from the beginning of the world has escaped moral ambiguities and contradictions. ”

    Neither has any state.

    Joel creates a “savior” religion in his formulaic sequence, “Until people of good will across the world come together around this truth, Palestine cannot be free.”

    Palestinians can be free without removing Israel from the map, without defining Israeli nationalism as racism. It can happen with reform, by goals, NOT requiring purist politically correct formulas as prerequisite with a punitive and vague and then potentially racist BDS application, in the name of opposing “racism”/er nationalism.

    • kylebisme says:

      Witty, while I know you’d like you believe otherwise; ethnic nationalism is an inherently bigoted concept, and Zionism is Jewish ethnic nationalism.

    • Citizen says:

      I guess, Witty, you would’ve opposed the banner headlines back in the day: “World Jewry Calls For Boycott of Germany!”

  7. VR says:

    “In contrast, the slogan “Zionism is racism” is false. Maybe Joel Kovel describes all nationalism as racism. I don’ t think that he does.”

    As of late you’re posts have become so patently ridiculous that they do not need much comment, Apartheid is not nationalism, the Jim Crow era was not nationalism – and the current situation in Israel is far worse than both of these. That is all that needs to be said outside of the fact of your incessant confounding of one definition with another, it is obvious what you’re goal is, so stop pretending objectivity – it just shines a spotlight on you as a disingenuous liar, that has become elementary with your screeds.

  8. jimby says:

    Zionism, is it for anyone other than Jews? DUHHH…

  9. Shmuel says:

    Does anyone here have access to the full article?

  10. Shmuel says:

    Sorry. Shoul have searched BEFORE asking. Here it is (courtesy of Australians for Palestine): link to australiansforpalestine.com

  11. Shmuel says:

    Having read the full article, I find that Klein presents a valid argument that in no way reflects a “change of heart” on her part with regard to Zionism and Palestine. Kovel is quibbling.

    • Citizen says:

      Having read the full article, I find that Klein knitted a sweater with a large hole in the middle of it , i.e., she intentionally disconnected her negative view of Israel’s legal architecure from the zionism=racisim theory. She definitely changed the sweater she was wearing earlier this year. Kovel is right on target, and he’s doing a lot more than
      quibbling.

      • Shmuel says:

        We must have read two different articles, Citizen. I really don’t see any distance-taking here. Klein writes that the organisers were afraid of the issue (cowardly, but understandable) , although Zionism=racism is a reasonable claim (ok, she could have been a bit more forceful in that one sentence, but it’s Harper’s for God’s sake, not The Nation), that there was some anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic provocation at Durban, that the final declaration shied away from the anti-Zionist proposals, and that the whole thing was distorted, manipulated and hijacked by Israel and various Zionist groups – much to the relief of the US and other western countries. Where’s the hole? Zionism really wasn’t the main focus of Durban 1 or Durban 2, although it may have been the main focus of the NGO conference at D1, and seems to have been the main focus of media attention at both conferences (for a number of obvious reasons). You might argue that it should have been, but that wasn’t the point of the article or the thrust of what Pillay (her star interviewee) seems to have told her.

      • Citizen says:

        Schmuel, read what I said in cojuncton with Kovel’s dissection of how she went awry.
        That will give you the whole picture of the big hole in the middle of her latest sweater.

      • Shmuel says:

        I have read both, but considering the context of the article, they still seem like quibbling over tone and phrasing, extrapolating a significant shift in the author’s position, where none is really indicated. I would also consider the context of Klein’s writing as a whole on the subject of Palestine and Israel, her outspoken position on BDS, her filmed statements at Bilin, etc. I think she deserves far more credit than she is being given here.

      • Citizen says:

        Well, yes, the whole point is how significant her shift backward is; you say it’s nothing worth quibbling about; Kovel detailed why he thought it was a significant shift, and I agreed with him, and gave my reasoning. Now you say it’s a quibble from the POV
        of her recent POV history, but that’s already included by incorporation in what Kovel says. So you have not, IMHO convinced me that Kovel is quibbling. We shall see from what she says next on the subject.

      • Donald says:

        I’m somewhere between you two on this–I think the article as a whole is very good and it portrays the Zionist attackers of Durban as dishonest and insensitive political hacks who did this in part to prevent any criticism of Israel at all, not caring who they might have to slander to do it. And I think it was fair to point out that some of those criticizing Israel were in fact anti-semites.

        OTOH, she is a little bit waffling on Zionism and racism and a casual reader unacquainted with the issue would probably come away thinking that anyone who said “Zionism = racism” is an anti-semite. I don’t use the formulation myself, because some forms of Zionism aren’t racist–I gather there were people like Judah Magnes and others who wanted to live side-by-side with the Arabs in equality and their ideal was not to form a state where their ethnic group was on top. They wanted a haven for Jews and Jewish culture, but not a Jewish South Africa. Nonetheless, in practice the mainstream Zionists and the revisionists (often portrayed as opposites, but on this they only differed tactically) wanted a Jewish state in a land inhabited largely by Arabs and you just couldn’t get from point A to point B without using racist tactics.

        Anyway, while I don’t use Z=R because it is too sweeping, it isn’t true that people who do use the formulation have to be anti-semites–many are simply people who’ve noticed what the ugly side of Zionism has been like.

        On my third hand, however, or rather, going back to my original point, overall the article is very good and the people flinging charges of anti-semitism in that piece at anyone and everyone look pretty vile. And on a minor sidenote, Mary Robinson, ironically enough given the attacks on her recently, was quoted as being opposed to the Z=R formulation.

      • Citizen says:

        Very balanced and reasonable response, Donald. What you say is all true, as far as it goes, but getting back to the uber-root of the matter, assuming you have a home with some land around it, assuming you depend on that land for your daily bread, how’d you like it if one day you found squatters on it, taking away the fruit of
        your trees and preventing your animals from grazing there? And each day, this happened on more and more of your land? By “your land” I mean the land many generations of your immediate ancestors had used to grow things and feed/graze your animals?

      • Shmuel says:

        To address Kovel’s arguments: Empirically – Klein never said there weren’t a whole lot of folks out there demonstrating. She does in fact make a distinction between the official conference and the parallel conference; Logically – she doesn’t claim it’s all one way or another, just that that the organisers had, for various reasons, envisioned a different focus, and that those who had supported that focus were disappointed; Morally – nowhere does she say that the Palestinian quest for justice is less worthwhile than the reparations cause – again, just that that had not been the original plan, or even the outcome of the conferences – she was presenting Pillay’s POV; Politically – the UN may have been wrong in trying to sidestep and downplay the Palestinian issue, but that was the UN’s choice, not Klein’s. Kovel’s 7 points are no more convincing than his opening arguments, but tomorrow is another day.

    • Citizen says:

      That was the UN’s choice? The Zionists had been hitting the bag for a year before the conference, with everything they had, which was BIG, e.g. the USA & white guilt Europe. Your arguement is akin to a slum lord’s when tenants finally react. You think we don’t who has the power in power politics? You think we don’t don’t don’t know an indentured servant is not far away from a slave, or that the current array of big powers are not what say?

      • Shmuel says:

        But it was the UN’s choice – craven, hypocritical, frustrating, disappointing, and whatever other adjectives you would care to add – but not Klein’s. Blame the UN, Pillay, Kang, Ki-Moon and Robinson, but not Klein for telling you what they’ve done and said. As lyn117 put it, Klein is explaining not condoning. Furthermore, I count at least two pages in which Klein describes the Zionist campaign of intimidation, and how it affected the UN offcials involved in organising the conferences.

      • Citizen says:

        Shmuel, I redirect you back to the particular loaded words and phrases Klein uses which Kovel has singled out as illustrations of how Klein changed her tune.

      • Shmuel says:

        Citizen, I have read the “loaded words”, and reread them at your suggestion. I agree that some of the phrasing is a little disappointing, but not to the extent that Kovel has suggested, and certainly not to the point of casting any serious aspersions on Klein’s good faith and reputation when it comes to the Palestinian cause. I also feel that said disapponting phrasing is mitigated when taken in the context of the article as a whole. No amount of rereading will change the fact that I just don’t see any substantial shift (or sweater-holes) here. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Such a shift (as oppposed to a few unfortunate phrases in a long and valid article – perhaps chosen to satisfy a more RW editor than she is used to) from someone like Klein would certainly come to light pretty quickly. Of course, you (or Kovel) could always ask her.

      • Citizen says:

        Schmuel,
        You say, “Such a shift (as oppposed to a few unfortunate phrases in a long and valid article – perhaps chosen to satisfy a more RW editor than she is used to) from someone like Klein would certainly come to light pretty quickly. Of course, you (or Kovel) could always ask her.”

        I don’t believe for a second that any phrases or connective words or word stings/and or strings by Klein were not carefully thought out in what she knitted as towards her whole latest present to all of us. The adjective “unfortunate” does not therefore suffice. Unfortunate for whom? Still, thank you so much for your sequential responses here on this thread–I do not doubt you are a truth seeker, and I applaud you for being so.

      • Citizen says:

        Re: “Of course, you (or Kovel) could always ask her.”

        Of course, you could do so as well, no?

  12. Oscar says:

    This does seem to be quibbling, Shmuel is right. The conference has been hijacked, poisoned by hasbara. Regardless of whether the US wanted to avoid a conversation about reparations, Israel wanted to avoid a spotlight on the Palestinian plight. Zionism IS racism — it’s ridiculous to even try to do the hasbara two-step out of that one. With the rise of Lieberman, we see racism developing like kudzu among Israel’s young society.

    • Citizen says:

      Please reread the sub-thread on quibbling again. I agree with your conclusion the conference was hijacked by hasbara–the point is, Kovel is saying Klein is side-stepping that very issue, or back-stepping, as it were.

  13. Does the historical conspicuous presence of racism in populist movements, mean that “populism is racism”?

    No.

    It means that there is a danger in it, that requires attention to prospective racism as a needed intrinsic feature of Zionism, or of populism.

    There is a similar possibility of racism in Palestinian nationalism, prior to formation and post-formation.

    Joel’s insistence on one-state from river to sea, assumes that river to sea is the appropriate jurisdiction of democracy. Historically, the jurisdictions in the region have been sometimes smaller, sometimes larger. That begs the question of “what is a nation”.

    This is the first time in history that self-governance is the prospective norm in the region. Lebanon jerking towards it (or not). Israel firmly in it, but jerking away from it. Palestine jerking towards it. Jordan gradually moving towards it.

    At different times in history, Lebanon/Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Israel were included in jurisdiction.

    • Citizen says:

      Populism has no nuclear-armed state funded and otherwise supported in every way by the only superpower on earth. Further, Populism has no discriminatory legal architecture extended
      into every corner of its head.

  14. On the role that the Z=R debate has played in interntional politics, I find it really helpful to remember that the concept of “race” (and thus by extensionalso “racism”) is constructed quite differently in the US than in other English-speaking countries. In the US, “race” is function almost wholly of skin color– no doubt because the US’s historical issues regarding complexion-based discrimination, mass enslavement, etc. In all or nearly all other English-speaking countries, “race” is construed more or less along the lines of nationality or what the Americans call ethnicity”. Hence, growing up in England, I certainly thought the French constituted a different “race” than ours.

    The effect of this in international politics is that when some people argue that Zionism is racism, mainly because of the ethnic/religious discrimination inherent in the whole Zionist movement, Americans hearing that say “No! Zionism has nothing to do with skin color, and any suggestion that it does is clearly motivated by anti-Semitism!” … Back in the heyday of this argument in the 1970s, the international Zionist movement hurried to try to prove this by importing lots of black-complected Jews from Ethiopia into Israel and then rolling them out to “prove”– to Americans– that Zionism is NOT racist…

    So in any discussion of this issue, it is always helpful to take a step back and ask people who’re arguing one side or the other what it is they think that actually constitutes racism.

    • Citizen says:

      You make a good point. A slight (?) nuance, US anti-discrimination laws always include
      the phrase “race, ethnic origin, gender, religion” to delineate the protected qualities (–or the favored qualities, as in “affirmative action” laws); as a matter of practice this usually means what it says except that white males are not usually thought of as an ethnic group and “white” is not thought of as a protected
      race, but rather the historical oppressor–hence the on-going battle of “reverse
      discrimination” most recently spot-lighted in the firefighter case in the US Supreme Court.

      • Citizen says:

        After rereading what you said and my response, it seems your final sentence is still
        very good–as Z=R, or not, does beg the question of what is racism–perhaps the slogan should be changed to “Zionism =inhumane collective discrimination”? Way
        too awkward. What term/phrase would Europeans come up with, say one who grew up in England and was bred with the notion the French were a different “race”?
        The term “racist” does have the advantage of incorporating for leverage all the historical wrongs done under rascist ideology, not the least of was/is colonialism…

    • kylebisme says:

      As there is no objective basis for dividing humanity into separate “races”, I find it best just to avoid such terms completely.

      Zionism=bigotry

    • In the first place, are Jews a race? If not are they a religion? I’ve heard people described as atheist Jews, whereas atheist Christian would be an obvious contradiction in terms. Someone please clarify.

      • Citizen says:

        Hi America First,
        Jews have arguing themselves for centuries about who or what is a real Jew. But as far as
        dealing with Gentiles, a Jew is a Jew depending on what the most powerful Jews think
        at any given time is good for all Jews. It’s a walnut shell game. If the organized, most powerful Jews at any given time calculate it’s most advantageous that being Jewish is a religious thing, then that’s what
        they say it is; if they think’t it’s best for the Jews to be considered an ethnicity, so they say it is, etc. The analogy with Christianity or Islam is not accurate. A Jew is a Jew if he or she think he or she is–as a practical matter this usually means a blood line from the Jewish mother; though this blood line is extended back to the fraternal line by non-orthodox Jews and the State of Israel (in the demographic
        fight in Israel, for example). A Jew can be a Jew, and be an atheist or Buddist, or practically anything. As a practica matter, anyone who can look back into their family tree as far as it goes and find one Jewish blood ancestor under old school Judiasm
        may rightfully present themselves as a Jew. As a practical matter, it’s a red herring
        to say Judiasm is a religion like the other Abrahamic religions because Jews don’t
        try to sell their religion, say like the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses; in fact it’s
        old joke that to convert to Judiasm you need to stand on one toe and recite the whole
        Talmud or Torah. When you convert, you join a tribe, not merely a religon in the
        Christian or Muslim sense.

      • Citizen says:

        Further, Christians and Muslims believe in an afterlife–their reward for what they do on this earth is in “heaven,” whether it’s some version of Dante Inferno or a bunch
        of pretty virgins. Believing in an aftelife is not a condition prescendent to being a Jew.
        The Jews have no pope; nor do they have a priest or pastor in the sense that Christians have them–no Jew has ever had to defer to a rabbi upon pain of internal damnation, roasting in hell, etc. A rabbi is merely a teacher akin to any secular teacher in, say secular ethics, or philosophy. What more can I say? The Shia version of Islam is a top-down deal, the Sunnis are a bottom up deal, sort of like
        the Catholics and the Protestants. The unifying factor is a belief in Jesus Christ there. The Jews believe they were chosen by a God principle (G-D), the first moral cause, to repair the earthly transgressions; the Christians put human flesh on their
        commandments; the body and blood of God’s only son as a reality. How far do want to take this?

      • So they’re interested in the advantages of being racist but don’t want to be called racist? I can understand why they’d want that but I see no reason for the rest of us to let them get away with it.

  15. syvanen says:

    I always thought that the Z=R slogan was a mistake — a political mistake. There are just too many Zionist in this country that are not racists and calling them racists is a conversation stopper.

    I have always thought it to be much more effective to point out the obvious features of Israeli society that have the conspicuous similarities to Amersican Jim Crow or S African apartheid. Especially in the way Israeli Arabs are treated inside Israel proper. Namely:

    The separate and unequal school systems for Palestinians. The land convenants that prevent nonJews from renting, leasing or buying in the large tracts of property controlled by the Jewish National Fund. The blatant job discrimination that keeps Palestinians out of many of the best jobs in Israel. Practices that keep Palestinian parties out of Government coalitions. Laws that prevent Palestinian politicians from attending international conferences that include obvious Arab allies from surrounding countries. And the abundant polling data that shows that 60 to 70% of Israeli Jews do not want to live in the same neighborhoods, go to the same schools or work in the same places with their Palestinian co-citizens. And this does not even list the brutal suppression of the West Bank Palestinians.

    Now one can make the case that these are racists practices but it is not even necessary — any sentient citizen can see the parrallels for themselves.

    What I have found is the very few American Jews , even some very progressive ones, who support Israel are even aware of these discriminatory practices. They have no defence against these charges but a response of confused defensiveness. The charge of Z=R leaves them in self rightious anger.

    • Citizen says:

      Well, yes, but bumper-sticker-type phrases help spread the word–Marketing 101. A way to reach some people, or at least getting some to think about it. People change the channel when a commerical comes on, but others buy the product when they go to
      the store, not even remembering the slogan… It’s sort of a catch 22. Zionism=Practical Apartheid?

  16. Zionism is self-governance.

    If you want to call any self-governance a denial of the self-governance of another people, go ahead. It just isn’t true, not necessary.

    And, it isn’t true of Zionism. It is only true of one fanatic flavor of Zionism, which deserves severe criticism and opposition. But that is a different beast than “Zionism=racism”.

    There are specific policies, laws, relationships that I agree are racist, and those laws should change, as American Jim Crow laws changed.

    It did take assertive organizing to make that happen, but those that adopted militant attitudes and methods, GREATLY and vainly exagerate their role in the change.

    For example, did Stokely Carmichael motivate the passage of the voting rights act, or did William Randolph? I vote William Randolph.

    • If Zionism is self-government, you Zionists will have to stop governing the US which is 98% not yourselves.

      • Lame fanaticism.

        Do you feel governed by me?

      • Michael W. says:

        “98% not yourselves”? Are you refering to the Jews who make up 2% of the US population? If so, why don’t you just say Jews. There are many Christian Zionists, but they make up more than 2% of the population, probably several times the amount of American Jews.

        Last time I checked, the vast majority of Congress is not Jewish, and the Jews that are in Congress, have been elected by their constituency. Sames goes with the White House.

        Just because you don’t agree with current US policies and feel powerless to change them, it doesn’t mean that those making policy weren’t elected by the people. Have you ever considered that the vast majority of Americans disagree with you? Sleep on it.

      • Citizen says:

        Yes, very much so.

      • The vast majority of Americans believe what the media tell them, and the last time I checked the majority of the media were Jewish. And no, I don’t feel powerless to change things. Things are changing: Jews have gone too far, as so often in the past. That’s what worries you.

      • Michael W. says:

        America First,

        From reading your comment, it seems like you have three complaints:
        1.) The vast majority of Americans are not capable of independent thought and thus the American free press has undue influence.
        2.) “Majority of the media is Jewish.”
        3.) The collective which you call “the Jews” has gone too far, and thus harmed America.

        What does this mean? Here is what I perceived:
        1.) You believe one or more of the following:
        a.) The American media has a negative influence on the people.
        b.) The American public is incapable of making independent decisions when exposed to American or “corporate” media.
        c.) Either the American media should go, or the people’s free will should go.

        2.) You believe the Jews control the American media. Which is really silly because:
        a.) Media corporations are owned by stock holders which anyone can buy.
        b.) Nobody is stopping you from creating your own media outlet, and if you complain about your own media outlet’s exposure, you are just blaming someone else for your incompetance.
        c.) It is just plainely not true. Murdoch is not Jewish. He’s Aussie. He he.
        d.) The Mexicans own the lawn mawing service industry.

        3.) You believe this about the Jews:
        a.) They act as a collective.
        b.) The following sentence is not a contradiction, “Things are changing: Jews have gone too far, as so often in the past.”
        c.) The Jews are bad no matter what individual decision each one makes.
        d.) The Jews are harming the people no matter how many technological and scientific contributions they have made.
        e.) The Jews harmed other people many times in the past.

      • It’s not all that complicated Michael. Liberal Jews claim to belive in diversity, but the media are not very diverse. Unlike lawn mowing, the media have very real effects on policy. You say anyone can own media but recall when Ted Turner tried to buy CBS, he was deliberately cut out in favor of Tisch in order to keep it in the tribe. Jews talk about merit but get their way through ethnic nepotism. Still more exceptionalism and hypocrisy.

      • Michael W. says:

        America First, how do you know the media isn’t diverse? Hard facts? So what if Jews own some major media outlets? To own media companies is a right like the right to property is a right. The right to lobby is also a right. Just because you don’t like Jews doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have the same rights as you do. Oh right, Jews are out to harm America and gentiles, sure, keep saying it.

        I don’t know much about Turner and CBS, but doesn’t he already own CNN? Didn’t he say really negative things about organized Christianity? What ever you make of this story, but to spin Jewish tribe into this somehow, you’ll come up with several contradictions.

        Can you give me examples of Jewish nepotism?

      • The media are most definitely not diverse, given the control that 2 or 3% of the US population has. The hard facts are here:

        The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements
        By Kevin MacDonald
        Preface to the First Paperback Edition

        link to kevinmacdonald.net

        Scroll to:

        JEWS AND THE MEDIA: SHAPING ‘WAYS OF SEEING’

        I didn’t say Jews didn’t have the legal right to own media companies. I said Jews preach diversity to others. It seems to me that if Jews really believed in diversity they would voluntarily diversify the media by reducing their own control in favor of other groups, including white gentiles.

        I gave you an example of Jewish nepotism: Ted Turner, who was far more qualified to run a TV network than Tisch of Loews. But Turner was a goy who couldn’t be trusted. I’ve posted another example in another thread: the Jewish-owned camera stores in NY in which every salesman is an Orthodox Jew. And this is nothing that would surprise anyone in the business world. Jews may exclude but may not be excluded.

      • Michael W. says:

        America First, the examples that you gave don’t support your conclusion.

        You provided your opinion, “Ted Turner, who was far more qualified to run a TV network than Tisch of Loews”. Turner already owns CNN, just because he runs one media outlet, it doesn’t mean he should run all of them just because he wants to. People in CBS decided otherwise, and you still didn’t give any evidence that they didn’t trust Turner because he wasn’t Jewish.

        It is no surprise many Jews are employed in NY camera stores since there are a lot of Jews in NY.

        If certain Jews become successful in the media industry it is because they are successful at it. A lot of comedians are Jewish, but it doesn’t mean those Jewish comedians took a non-Jewish comedian’s job even though the non-Jewish comedian was better. Many Jews go into comedy. Each one that became successful became so because of their individual capabilities – making people laugh.

        Diversity doesn’t mean labor and ownership should be divided according to an ethnic share of the population. It means not taking opportunities away from people because of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, etc. Diversity doesn’t mean the end of meritocracy. Diversity and meritocracy are not conflicting ideas.

        You obviously don’t trust certain individuals in positions of power, influence, and affluence because they are Jews. Instead of complaining about Jews in Hollywood, maybe you should judge their ability in making good and profitable movies instead of asking them to put quotas on themselves in the private sphere.

        There used to be a quota on Jews in Ivy League schools. That’s taking a qualified person’s opportunity away because of their religion/ethnicity. Now, there are many Jews in Ivy League schools because many of them have become very successful in academics. How did Jews exclude others from Ivy League schools? They exclude others by their academic ability.

    • Citizen says:

      Every serial killer loves the concept of self-governance.
      It did take USA BDS to boot out Jim Crow.
      The militants were a necessary ingredient; without them, and the riots there would have been no real change, even if the militants exagerated their contribution. It has always been so anytime and anywhere. Where would Ireland be today without the IRA? But the historical examples are endless. I vote Witty does not read history.

    • Citizen says:

      Did the zealot whites who killed whites just before the civil war in the name of universal human rights not push the issue of civil rights to the forefront? John Brown’s body did nothing but molder in the grave? Did Uncle Tom’s Cabin mean anything? Witty people, wake up!

      • That was Phillip Randolph in my earlier post, sorry.

        His and Thurgood Marshall’s work, and the work of the rest of the NAACP, preceded the work of Martin Luther King, SNCC, and certainly long preceded and entirely overshadowed in effect and significance, the rantings of people like Stokely Carmichael.

        Thats as far as actually changing Jim Crow. Its a rationalization to give volume the same status as skillful strategy and effective persuasion.

        Phillip Randolph, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King and many other assertive, but civil advocates, convinced the world that the image of blacks as deserving of persecution was entirely unfounded. Stokely Carmichael didn’t do that. He convinced the world that there was something to be afraid of, to fight, not to trust to compromise with.

      • You should read of John Brown. He’s a complex character. Committed, and utterly fanatic to the point of mental illness.

        In the shift from victim to assertive, his actions and myth suggested “we can”. But, if his life is a model, “we can” would quickly shift to utterly confused mutual brutality.

        Not my vision of progress.

      • Interesting that Witty invokes those civil rights leaders who were “advised” by Jews (like Stanley Levinson and Jack Greenberg ) and pursued the Jewish-approved (and funded) integration strategy, as opposed to the ideas of Marcus Garvey, etc. Why do Jews preach integration and assimilation for everyone else, but nationalism and exclusion for themselves? I mean, it’s almost as though the Jews in the civil rights movement weren’t terribly interested in the welfare of blacks as a group at all, they were really fighting anti-Semitism by proxy. So concludes Harold Cruse:

        link to amazon.com

      • VR says:

        America first some Jews fought for black independence, than when they were free and started to move into their neighborhoods they complained about the home value going down and eventually fled the neighborhood. Just like the some Zionists stumped for inclusion of black people, and now cannot stand to be around them and hand them a substandard life as “citizenship.”

      • Michael W. says:

        V, you have no idea what you are talking about. Show me where Jews fought for “black independence” and then “complained about the home value going down and eventually fled the neighborhood.”

        In Baltimore, many of the former Jewish neighborhoods are now majority black neighborhoods, not because the Jews fled from a decline of property value , but because the Jews were no longer 1st or 2nd generation Americans. They became wealthier and moved to the suburbs. Just look at some of the old Jewish neighborhoods in NYC. They are were immigrants and lower middle-class families live.

        The shul I belong to and the shul across the street, both house African-American Christian congregations(one is Free Baptist and the other is Methodist) while they rebuild their churches after they burned down (from lightning on separate occasions). The Christian congregations are huge compared to our synagogue membership, and they pack our main Sanctuary every Sunday, something that we do only a few times a year. My shul had the honor of having Congressman Cummings (who is black and from a district in the inner city) give a speech after service as well.

        This spring I volunteered at community playground construction. It was organized by several local Jewish organizations and about 90% of the 1000 (over a 5 day period) or so volunteers were Jewish, including many local yeshiva boys. The playground was constructed at a nearby middle school which is about 95% African-American.

        There was a higher percentage of black kids in my Jewish high school than in my college in Pennsylvania.

        And what the hell do you mean by “black independence”? The civil rights movement wasn’t about black power. It was not about blacks getting independence FROM America. It was about letting every American become independent IN America. It was about letting every American have the opportunity and ability to become a good and equal citizen. It was about ending discrimination in the private and public spheres. It was about black Americans and other minorities to be treated like Americans because they are Americans. Are you even American? You should have known all of this if you were, unless you fell asleep in class. Heck, I only went through 8 grades through the American school system (public and private) and even I know this.

      • VR says:

        On come on now Michael W., lets get real. That is a nice story, but in many Jewish neighborhoods it was “the “schvartzer” are coming, they are going to destroy the neighborhood.” Gimme a break, why do you think this was made –

        THE GREAT SCHLEP

        I am happy for you if this was true in your neighborhood, but to pretend like it was so everywhere is just a fairy tale. That is all I have to say

      • Jews love black empowerment so long as blacks remain firmly under Jewish control. Witness Ocean Hill-Brownsville:

        Thus, Glazer wrote, when Jews told blacks “‘(y)ou must earn your entry -through grades and exams’, (blacks), with a good deal more knowledge of the realities of American society… answer ‘but we know how you got ahead – through political power and connections and the like, and therefore, we won’t accept your pious argument that merit is the only thing that counts.’”

        link to gothamcenter.org

        Once again Jews preach one thing for themselves and something else for everyone else. It’s what Phil calls exceptionalism. I call it hypocrisy.

      • Michael W. says:

        V, the younger generation of American Jews are actually more conservative and Republican (by a few percentage points) than the old Jews in Florida. Visiting your grandparents is an old tradition, heck, I did it every Friday during high school and when I’m back from college I do it, and it wasn’t to celebrate Shabbat together. Jews still voted for Obama about 78%. That’s hardly evident of any anti-black sentiments in the Jewish community in America.

        You still didn’t give me an example where Jews (whether they were civil rights advocates back in the day or not) complained about blacks joining the neighborhood. In orthodox neighborhoods, they tend to be concentrated because they walk to shul so they bid higher for homes close to shuls, hence less none orthodox Jews live in those neighborhoods.

        Look, I can’t tell you details about every city’s Jewish-Black relations, but from my own experience in Baltimore, you can tell from my comments. I also forgot to mention the BLEWS (blacks and jews word combination) program in highschool. Each class from my Jewish high school met with a class in a mostly black public school in the city several times a year over their high school careers. It’s a down to earth exchange of experiences as young individuals and our history as minorities.

        America First, that’s one incident. Jewish black relations were strained in NY but it is not representative of overall relations across the country. That incident looks like it was inflamed by rhetoric and union politics. It didn’t happen because the Jews saw themselves as exceptional, or because they were hypocrites. The NY teachers union is still very powerful and doesn’t let teachers be fired very easily. It is more about labor laws than Jewish connections.

        Obama’s support from the Jewish community over shadows anything you might bring. If the Jews were so exceptional, hypocritical, and power grabbing to be above blacks, why did so many support Obama to be elected to the highest office in the land above anything a Jew ever achieved in American politics?

      • Many other incidents: Andy Young, Cynthia McKinney, etc: Jews support blacks so long as blacks are subservient to Jews. As for Obama, time will tell.

      • Michael W. says:

        Young lost his job because he broke the law.

        McKinney lost her seat because she couldn’t get 51% of voters to vote for her. What else?

      • How clever you are, Michael. We know from Paul Findley’s They Dare to Speak Out how these awful coincidences happen to uppity goyim who won’t get with the Zionist program.

      • VR says:

        Michael W. do you think you are conversing with a schmuck or something? Listen, I come from New Jersey / New York area, and I don’t need to hear your pristine reports about Jewish / Black relations. Frankly I do not care what schul you attend, you do not need to lecture me on what the Jewish community thinks of black people. I lived in communities that owned the trash heaps that the Blacks lived in, and I know for a fact what our slum lords said to any “upgrade” like good running water, dilapidated shitty housing, and rat infestation that took bites out of babies. It is not my problem that you live in some damn fantasy world and think that the whole Jewish community holds the same sentiments you do about the black population (or whatever the hell you’re trying to do with your rosy stories). You also do not need to tell me about the communities in Florida, because I have relative that live there. So lets stop the bullshit of one big happy family in racial relations, OK? This same racist attitude is also manifest in the “pecking order” in Israel, so tell your tales to some other idiot who will swallow your swill.

      • VR says:

        Finally, there is truth in both what you have said and i have said MW, and somewhere in between is the reality – period.

    • Citizen says:

      Hey, Jeffrey Dahmer and Manson wanted self-governance too. So does every cult leader and his or her flock. Because you say one person or group’s self -governance
      is not a denial of another’s does not make your statement true. Witty, you should read some history. Ice cream is ice cream, no matter the flavor. Ice cream is not
      cereal. BTW, would Israel be a state today without assertive organizing and militant attitude?

      • Michael W. says:

        Citizen, the Palestinian national movement has been militant and had “assertive organizing” since the 20′s in one form or another. The reason they didn’t have a state is because of division and a lack of institutions.

      • tree says:

        Michael W.

        The reason they don’t have a state is because the Zionists were even more militant and successfully used force and terrorist tactics to ethnically cleanse the vast majority of them, and then later oppress and militarily control them . There would have been no Jewish state without the removal of the Palestinians who were the demographic majority in the territory claimed by Israel. If you can’t even acknowledge that, then you are in a state of denial.

  17. lyn117 says:

    First, I’m an admirer of both Joel Kovel and Naomi Klein.
    I don’t know if Klein’s analysis, that the anti-zionist rhetoric at Durbin I was used to deliberately derail efforts by African nations to get reparations for the colonialism and the legacy of slavery. Maybe she missed the fact that many Islamic and Arab states are also victims of colonialism, Palestinians possibly being the worst victims of present colonialism. My reading was that when Klein wrote about the hysterical response to the charge of zionism = racism it was more that she was explaining it, not condoning it. Perhaps she has an opinion as to whether zionism is racism, I didn’t get that from her article. Perhaps she was a little more sympathetic to victims of anti-semitism than other forms of racism, but after all, racism is racism and real anti-semitism (not anti-zionism) should be condemned.

    I’m a little surprised that zionists would be shocked by the charge of zionism=racism, since its been around since the 1970s. As to whether Klein uses “psychobabble” to excuse racism against Palestinians and Arabs, well, maybe.

  18. My references weren’t “because they were associated with Jews”. I didn’t know the names that you cited.

    The point is of their contribution actually accomplished something significant.

    Many militants state that “if Stokely Carmichael didn’t irritate and scare whites, then Martin Luther King wouldn’t have been effective”, or “if Subhash Chandra Bose hadn’t linked with the Nazis and organized an anti-British guerilla army, Gandhi and Nehru would not have been effective”. Similarly in South Africa, though giving credit largely to their boycott efforts.

    As if the LIFE of construction of nation, institutions, law, as well as creative and precisely strategized struggle and organizing, were insignificant.

    We have such vanity.

    • VR says:

      Gee Witty, I wonder why both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were shot?

      • Malcolm X was killed for revealing The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s sexual habits. The FBI knew the killing was coming and stepped aside and let it happen, but it was people from Elijah Muhammad’s organization who ordered the execution and pulled the trigger.

      • VR says:

        That is nice Wondering, and what was the FBI doing there? The FBI was also present in the Black Muslim movement, which proceeded to bad jacket Malcolm X and inflame those within the organization – they did not just step aside. Also, even if it were true that they just stepped aside, that is also complicity. On top of that the shooters at the final fateful meeting were not all captured, it makes about as much sense as all of the physical forensic evidence at the shooting of Robert Kennedy attesting to a single shooter, or a lone shooter from a library window killing the president, or the lone shooter of King which has fallen to pieces under scrutiny.

    • Citizen says:

      Witty, are you saying early Jewish terrorists didn’t make a significant contribution to the creation of Israel? Please.

  19. Please don’t shift the argument.

    It was that militancy is less productive than reform.

    • VR says:

      You’re examples give grist to the “angry black man” racist canard Witty. Now, I am sure you did not mean this, but it does not look good. Reform works in non-extreme conditions when there is malleability, this is not the case in Israel. The use of the word “militant” is a classic form of discrediting any act of resistance, just like “terrorism” is used to blur self-defense by those in power. So how were your classes at CAMERA, did they have some CIA visitors giving lectures?

      • Actually the oppossite V. It emphasizes the leadership of great men that accomplished something, and the vanity, incompetence, and ineffectiveness of approaches that are more warring than constructive.

      • VR says:

        Witty, regardless of how much you protest there has always been a gentle intelligentsia in movements co-existing with another more radical sector with various degrees of stronger resistance. The former invited them to the negotiation table, while the latter kicked them in the ass with fear to move forward. These two elements have always been present in significant change, to deny it is to act like an ignorant in regard to history.

      • You demean the very long and very hard work of Phillip Randolph, WEB DuBois, Martin Luther King.

        Please restrain yourself from romanticism, if you consider yourself an activist.

      • Margaret says:

        Richard Witty, are you so accustomed to defining exactly who and who is not a Jew that you’ve fallen into the habit of defining the characteristics of other roles in a similar fashion?

        How stern your tone, how self-assured your prescription of “correct” behavior – the perfect pattern of a patriarch. From which “persuasion,” all are to become amenable to your direction?

        Only those well trained to comply for fear of exclusion will do so – you misjudge those whom you address. They are not of a community from which you can command exclusion.

    • Responding to your argument isn’t shifting the argument. The blacks you admire were “successful” only in that they were promoted by Jewish interests because they favored Jewish interests. That says little for those blacks and much about Jewish financial and media power, as in the ability to define for all what is “reform” and what is “militancy.”

      • Citizen says:

        I noticed on another recent thread on this blog America First was castigated by
        reference to his pen name “America First”–the commenter thought to slur him by
        saying that was the group associated with anti-semitism back in the days before
        the USA got involved in WW2. So, in light of that, and despite Philip Roth, how about this for you gentiles out there:
        “Their greatest danger lies in (the Jews’) large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our Government… We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their interests, but we also must look out for ours.”
        - Charles Lindbergh, September 11, 1941

    • Citizen says:

      Militancy created the state of Israel. Are you now siding with the Palestinians for reform? LOL

      • Settlement and institution building created the state of Israel.

      • Citizen says:

        Well now, you cannot have institution building without first having settlements. So, you agree that colonial settlements built the state of Israel, and their expansion builds it larger.

      • Michael W. says:

        Citizen, you can’t call Jewish settlements “colonial” because there was no “mother land” to which they belonged to.

      • VR says:

        You just never tire spouting bullshit, do you Michael W. – they were supported by one of the biggest colonial concerns to date, the British Empire. Or, have you never read the Balfour Declaration or the studied the workings of the Mandate Period? Ever read the Mandate MW? There is not one line which figures in Palestinian aspirations or even existence. The entire enterprise was sponsored by the Euro/American community (all settlers in their own right, either foreign or domestic).

      • Michael W. says:

        V, have you ever read the White Paper?

      • tree says:

        Michael,

        Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence? If you think that the White Paper proved that the Zionist effort was not colonial then what does the DOI prove? At some point, certain colonial enterprises diverge from the interests of the sponsoring power. This does not make them non-colonial.

      • VR says:

        Yes, and I do not give a damn about what it said about the so-called “limits” of British support MW. Ostensibly because that did nothing to avert the previous years of critical support which virtually guaranteed all the instruments to the state of Israel, so crow all you like about the “ominous White Paper” as if that is supposed to stop me dead in my tracks.

        Of course there were divisions among the Palestinians, they were dutifully nurtured by the occupation forces, which handed everything to the Israelis and nothing to the Palestinians. That is why the previous revolt was so severe previous to the “White Paper.” What was conspicuously absent in all of the activity was the hedging which substantively robbed the Palestinians, as well as having to gain the “approval” of the yishuv toward any real Palestinian “independence.” This was coupled with a number of other traps in the paper. Now, do you want to produce a screed about the mufti like a good little Zionist? You guys never change you’re long on appearance, short on facts nonsense.

        While we are at questions, have you ever studied at the Khalidi Library? Just asking, because if you want to stick your foot in your mouth and commence kicking I am more than happy to factually lay waste to you.

      • Michael W. says:

        Tree, there was at least 100 years between the American DOI and the time the British gave out colonies to British lords and others. The British didn’t protect the Jews and none of the Jews trusted the British occupation forces. That’s why there were many Jewish underground groups in Palestine, each one differentiating in what they were willing to do. At times they even fought each other.

        And Jews started moving to Palestine before Balfour Declaration and when the Ottomans were still in power. Are the Jewish settlements Ottoman colonies?

        If the Jewish settlements were British colonies, why did so few of them speak English?

        When the American DOI was declared, it wasn’t because the British Crown pandered to the Indians and did nothing to protect colonists from the Indians.

        V, the most critical time was in the 30′s and 40′s, if you don’t remember, several million Jews died and many of them would have been saved if they just had a place to dock their ships and find refuge for a while.

        “I do not give a damn about what it said”, only someone unconcerned with accurate historical analysis would say such a thing. If the British said to the colonists in America that they can’t go to the New World anymore after only 2-3 decades, do you really think anyone in North America would speak English?

        What occupation forces handed what to the Israelis? There was no Israel till the British left and the Mandate ended. If by saying “handed everything” you mean bullets to the head, building restrictions, and ropes around the neck than sure, but I don’t know how that supports your argument.

        Even after the 1948 war, why didn’t the Palestinian Arabs establish their own state in the West Bank? Because they didn’t have a pre-independence government like the Jews had the Jewish Agency. They even created a fully functioning worker’s union by 1920.

        A Jew coming to Mandate Palestine did nothing to steal from Palestinian Arabs. The Arabs were so worried about getting rid of Jews that they forgot to create a government.

        Please tell me more about the Library.

      • VR says:

        Boy talk about sloppiness MW, or is it just plain deceit? OK, you asked for it now you’re going to get it with both barrels big mouth.

        When the two societies are compared, the support given in the Mandate to the settlers was foreign and political, military and economic support. The Zionist movement at this time was international gave the yishuv powerful external support also – but in the main the combination of external support from coreligionists, the greatest imperial power at the time, as well as the League of Nations.

        In contrast the Palestinians had no significant external support. There was a lot of sympathy and many said they would fight along side of the Palestinians – but manpower was not what the Palestinians needed. They needed arms , funds, and effective international support. This is not surprising since most of the surrounding countries just came out from under colonial rule themselves! They were still subject to neocolonial control. British troops were in Egypt, Iraq and Jordon til the 1950′s. The French were in Syria and Lebanon till 1946. Saudi Arabia and Yemen were not modern states, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan etc were still under either direct or indirect colonial control. Great Britain and France suppressed their locals (from the region) from supporting the Palestinians, as an example all funds going from France during the interwar period were halted, there are tons of foreign ministry papers which attest to this. IN CONTRAST to this, these countries, both Britain and France allowed domestic and foreign funds to flow to the yishuv from large Jewish communities. This as I said above is only part of the manufactured differences, but if you want more I can readily provide them.

        What happened, as a consequence of just these factors (because there are many more) the power in the region was shifted to the yishuv. Despite all of this financial support, in the pre-Hitler era immigration was declining to the “land of milk and honey.” However, when the war and persecution began the Jewish population jumped 30%, in 1935 alone there was over 60,000 immigrants. During this time the immigrant population knew that the demographic was going to be extremely important.

        To be continue (brb)

      • VR says:

        OK, cont’

        Your retort about Jews on ships floating around, who’s fault was that, the Palestinians? Why were the ships floating around MW? Why? Because these same nations did not want to receive the Jewish immigrants, there were called Bolsheviks and all manner of antisemitic nonsense. Is that the fault of the Palestinians, did they cause the Holocaust? This retort of yours is patently ridiculous.

        Outside of that, during the Holocaust, the Zionists were trying to be pickers and choosers of who would immigrate. They did not want any of the old and the indigent, they only wanted the “finest,” yeah that’s right MW.

        ““Can you bring six million Jews to Palestine?” I replied, “No.” … From the depths of the tragedy I want to save … young people [for Palestine]. The old ones will pass. They will bear their fate or they will not. They are dust, economic and moral dust in a cruel world … Only the branch of the young shall survive. They have to accept it.”

        Chaim Weizmann reporting to the Zionist Congress in 1937 on his testimony before the Peel Commission in London, July 1937. Cited in Yahya, p. 55.

      • VR says:

        To continue on the British Mandate it expressly speaks of the assistance which was given to the Zionist state in waiting (we dealt with external factors, now we are going to talk about internal factors). The British worked with all diligence in the setting up the state institutionally by both structure and support, as well as “defense,” deft recognition of these enterprises in the would be state. On the other hand, this was NOT accorded to the Palestinians. Who were ignored, not listened to, and trivialized. There were times that the Palestinians were so desperate that they even traveled to Britain to press upon their occupational colonials that they wished to advance toeard the creation of their state. A prime example was when a Palestinian delegation went to visit Lord Passfield in London in May 1930, here was the response –

        “Of course, this Parliament as you call it that you ask for, would have to have its duty of carrying out the Mandate…the Mandatory power, that is, the British government, could not create any council except within the terms of the Mandate and for the purpose of carrying out the Mandate. That is the limit of our power…Would you consider our difficulty that we cannot create a Parliament which would not be responsible and feel itself responsible for carrying out the Mandate?”

        In other words there was no equal legal or constitutional footing between the Palestinians and the budding Jewish state. They (the British) constantly resisted the idea of a responsible and representative government for the Palestinians. This type of bullshit went on from 1920 til 1948 (with a short hiatus of the White Paper that was full of traps).

        Further, in order to protect the Jewish national home against a majority rule, they gave the yishuv total internal autonomy while tying down the Palestinians at all points. The allowed the yishuv to have full fledged representative institutions (see the contrast above in regard to the Palestinians), international diplomatic representation abroad (Jewish Agency), the control of all of their internal governmental apparatus, giving them a state within the Mandatory that was totally autonomous. All of the other surrounding countries got class A Mandates for autonomy – but not the Palestinians. The Palestinians were NOT ALLOWED to have any of the attributes of statehood – no access to the levers of state power.

        Shall I continue?

      • Citizen says:

        Michael W says:
        “Citizen, you can’t call Jewish settlements “colonial” because there was no “mother land” to which they belonged to”

        They didn’t need one; England served the landed authoritive purpose, the colonial backer. Additionally,
        Jews take pride in that they have been a nation (“a people apart”) for 3,000 years, despite not having
        a land base of their own.
        You need to look at the attributes of colonialism. If the Palestinians have not been colonialized then we all live on the moon,

  20. tree says:

    Ah, Nakba denial rears its head again. The state of Israel would have never been created without the expulsion of the majority Palestinians. Thats a fact, Richard. Don’t try to negate it.

    • If you are inferring “nakba denial” onto my statements, you are lying, and maliciously.

      The nakba occurred. It included a mix of ethnic cleansing and voluntary but mostly temporary exodus.

      In 1948, the formation of the state of Israel was a need on the part of the European Jewish community, which escalated in the next few years with the similar mix of expulsion and voluntary emigration to Israel from North African and Arab countries.

      A necessity you do. Humane Zionism limits its zero-sum assertions to what is “enough”. Well, to my mind, Israel need not expand. It has enough.

      I value Zionism, past and present. I dissent from many of its policies and practices, particularly on settlements. Thats not new.

      You are just surprised, in that you can’t imagine a political view in the region that is not a cowboys/Indians view, not unlike GW.

      • tree says:

        Your statement was that ” Settlement and institution building created the state of Israel.” in response to Citizens comment that militancy created the state of Israel. You are thus denying the importance of the Nakba in the creation of Israel. and then you make this comment:
        “It included a mix of ethnic cleansing and voluntary but mostly temporary exodus.” There was nothing “temporary” about the exodus because Israel for over 60 years has prevented the return of those who “voluntarily” fled instead of risking death, as well as the return of those who were outright expelled.

        Most of the European Jews in displaced persons camps would have preferred to come to the US, and that would have been a better answer for all concerned. Israel was not, and is not, a necessity for any Jew, especially in its present highly racist form and its existence can not excuse what was done to the Palestinians.

        “You are just surprised, in that you can’t imagine a political view in the region that is not a cowboys/Indians view, not unlike GW.”

        Richard, you never surprise me. Your thoughts and ideas are not at all surprising or original or thought provoking. Including those you use when you attempt, as you continually do, to name call other posters, to falsely mindread, and, in what is apparently your favorite ploy, to insinuate a deficiency in the posters you disagree with and gratuitously assign yourself the higher moral position over others. I’m not being malicious here. I am pointing out areas when you need to do more self-reflection and self-criticism. Your mirror needs a good cleaning.

        Militancy was a very significant aspect of Zionist success, as was violence. To ignore or deny that is dishonesty.

      • You pose your arguments in binary terms. That doesn’t represent the historical reality. You needn’t. You could respectfully acknowledge that people are people, EACH deserving decency and viability.

  21. Citizen says:

    Witty is on record of late as being against settlement expansion. He just wants us to
    accept the Israel colonial settlements up to the 1967 war as legitimate. Problem for Witty’s take is that just because the Palestinian arabs were not formed into a nation state
    at any time does not mean they shouldn’t be aided by the international rules that came out of Nuremberg and then Geneva. He seeks to ignore this by referring to Western
    civil land title laws, ignoring the rule of the Turks and their laws before they lost WW1.

  22. I don’t think that militancy was the instrumental factor in Israel coming to be a state. I firmly believe that it was institution building, of which defensive measures were necessary but not primary.

    The Irgun and other mob-like organizations were NOT the primary institutions in Israeli society at any point in its development.

    You have a jaundiced view of the actual history. Its worth your time to read. Ilan Pappe is not history. Its a element, but to conclude that you know from reading Pappe is a fraud.

    • tree says:

      Come on, Richard. Israel would have never become the Jewish State without the ethnic cleansing. In the lands that Israel conquered in 1948, the demographics were such that the majority of the residents of those lands were non-Jewish Palestinians. They would have never agreed to a government that ignored their wishes and rights and instead favored the minority Jews and robbed them of their land. Under the Partition Plan, the UN proposed Jewish State was only demographically Jewish by the barest of majority, less than ten thousand or so. With the additional land Israel claimed in 1948, Israel’s undeclared borders included over two hundred thousand more Palestinians and only a bare ten thousand more Jews, making Jews a clear minority in the State. Demographically, there would have been no Jewish State of Israel without either ethnic cleansing or martial law. Israel imposed both. Ethnic cleansing on the vast majority of Palestinians and 20 years of military rule over those Palestinians it allowed to remain in Israel as “citizens”. You are the one with the jaundiced view. You refuse to see what you don’t want to see, even though it is plain as day.

      And the Irgun was not the primary institution that enforced the ethnic cleansing and theft of land. That was done by the Haganah/IDF, the JNF and the Jewish Agency, which were primary institutions in Israel.

      Why do you assume that other posters are limited in their reading to just Pappe? I must have 30 or more different books from various authors and various viewpoints, although the majority of them are Israelis. I have also read numerous articles and historical accounts. When it all comes down to the essence of the creation of Israel, to conclude that it could have been formed as an ethnocratic Jewish state by any means OTHER than the removal of the majority Palestinians, is to believe a fraud. It could have been created as a state of all its citizens without the violence and ethnic cleansing, because this the Palestinians would have accepted, but those in charge in Israel chose the path of injustice and violence instead, and everyone is paying for that immoral choice now.

      • Israel was a state, ratified by the UN in 1948.

        Israel remains NOT an ethnocratic state, certainly much much less so than Palestine.

        Israel would not be a state today if it did not fight during the mandate, nor during the post-ratification invasion. That is true.

        I don’t know if Israel would not be a state today without the elements that were definable as “ethnic cleansing”. Probably not in fact.

        So, you ascribe “nakba denial” to my comments. I don’t deny the nakba, in experience, or in the elements of your assertions of ethnic cleansing that are valid (some definitely are).

        My position is of the present. That is that Israel is and will continue to be. That the only way that that would change would be by very great persecution, suppression and ruthless violence. As really no justification that I can see supports that result, I don’t see any humane reason for that sentiment as primary, or defining goal.

        In the present, what is needed is what is needed in the present. And, as the settlement expansion prevents Palestinian viability, that is what I oppose and address.

        The experience of the European and later of Sephardic Jewish community, was of necessity. And necessity, you do. You don’t quibble. The moral difficulties that you describe were present at the time, and there was significant disagreement at the time. Some from overt anti-semitism, some from passive anti-semitism, some from rational firm adherence to democratic principles, some from misinterpretation of democratic principles.

        In retrospect, you apply 2010 values to 1948 reality. It doesn’t play.

        The present forward is what is important. Even in support of the BDS movement, to the extent that you are attempting to refight 1948, you will assume the role of a reactionary, a neo-fascist, rather than a progressive. (Progressive by definition is present forward.)

      • Margaret says:

        “The experience of the European and later of Sephardic Jewish community, was of necessity.”

        It was perceived as being of necessity, even as the inequality accorded to the varying classes of Israeli citizenship is perceived as arising from necessity.

        Perception of itself isn’t so concrete as to forcibly result in a fixation of conditions – perception is relative to the person making judgments about conditions.

      • Citizen says:

        Witty:
        “In retrospect, you apply 2010 values to 1948 reality. It doesn’t play.”

        Neither does pretending that 2010 is 1938.
        Further, looking carefully at what you say, the Palestinians have a moral stance
        at least as good as any collective Jewry ever had thoughout history. Actually, more so.

      • Citizen says:

        Witty: “In the present, what is needed is what is needed in the present.”
        And that is punishing perps of crimes against humanity. No statute of limitations on that–no wonder Israel is worried, and makes sure its host, Uncle Sam, blocks such
        a label at all costs (to average Americans). Why should the Palestinians not fixate
        on 1948, when the Jews require genuflexion at the altar of the Shoah by all nations?

        I think ShrubCo should be indicted for war crimes; so why should I ignore Israel?

  23. Pingback: Gosh, how to justify stealing someone’s land? (blame, despise, & degrade them)