2 visiting Israeli crusaders lay the problem at the feet of American Jews

Israel/Palestine
on 111 Comments

I had an inspiring day in New York yesterday, I went to see two leaders of the left in Israel. The message was in the end the same: the oppression is over there, but the political problem is the Israel lobby, recalcitrant Jewish attitudes in the U.S., now what are you going to do about that?

The first speaker was Hagai El-Ad, the director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. He was at the New Israel Fund on 7th Avenue. As El-Ad sat waiting for the small event to begin (internet journalists), he checked a text on what had taken place during the Sheikh Jarrah demonstration against Palestinian evictions in East Jerusalem that day.

El-Ad had come to the U.S. to try to convey to Americans the civil crisis inside Israel, from ramped-up threats on Palestinian liberty to a crackdown on groups that advocate for them. ACRI is among the Israeli NGOs that have been implicitly threatened by the Netanyahu government for taking foreign funds as they allegedly seek to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. ACRI won’t stop its work. The booklet El-Ad passed out has many photographs of Palestinians in it, including amid the rubble of their homes.

Americans faced a crisis of civil rights in your country in the wake of the Iraq war but at least you had a constitution, El-Ad said, Israel doesn’t. “Playing this game of shaking the remaining democratic foundations is much much more dangerous” in Israel.

He was most moving on the issue of Palestinian freedom. Recently he was arrested during the Sheikh Jarrah demonstration. A Palestinian friend made a “loving remark” to him. “’What you’re facing now, in the intensified clapdown, that more and more Jews are facing, is something that many Palestinian Israelis have faced for many years.’ It’s agonizing to agree with, but I think it’s very true. Even under these circumstances, we don’t forget the privileges we have, that I have as a Jewish citizen of Israel. And to think very clearly about the responsibility that puts on our shoulders.”

I was pleased to hear this statement in a room of privileged Jews in the U.S.

Our community is incredibly powerful, yet we cultivate a consciousness of isolation and persecution that rationalizes the white-knuckled guardian role of the Israel lobby. The U.S. Jewish community has enormous influence over Israel, El-Ad said, it can change the conversation there. But he has trouble breaking through here.

“Where do [Ameircan Jews] channel their support?” he said by way of challenge. “I myself and many others, it’s almost painful to be aware of often how difficult it is to have an open discussion about these issues in this country. These conversations can happen in an opener way in Israel than the United States and that is not just disappointing, it’s damaging.”

Further challenge: the Jewish community’s responsibility is “to get involved, to become more informed about what is happening, and to speak out.” It is urgent, he said, because Israel is headed in such a bad direction. “If you consider yourself friends then this is the time to speak out, time to get involved in a meaningful way.”

I pressed El-Ad to say who has disappointed him. He was a cool Israeli. Wouldn’t say.

Last night a more leftwing crowd gathered in the basement of the Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square, and Michael Ratner introduced the great Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. I’d never heard Halper speak before, never seen him; and all I can say is that I had missed one of the great moral performances of our time, and when I left the church I understood why this man has been nominated for the Nobel Prize. A lifetime commitment in the face of opposition from his own society, to fight the occupation and build connections between Jews and Palestinians as a form of “political resistance,” toward the day that Jews and Palestinians must build a society together—Halper is the definition of prophetic inspiration.

To his points. The occupation is stronger than ever, and it is an occupation because Israel wants the land and feels that it can get away with taking more and more. Security has nothing to do with a wall that goes deep into Palestine, with settlement blocs that take up huge portions of the West Bank. I am supposed to know this stuff; but I was stunned to consider how enveloping are the easternmost Jewish colonies all through the Jordan Valley. The Israelis have reduced the Palestinian population to four cantons, two in the northern West Bank, one in the southern West Bank and Jerusalem, and one in Gaza. As many as 30,000 houses have been demolished in the occupied territories, 7000 in Gaza last year. Halper’s group rebuilds houses; it has rebuilt 1600 over many years. And 2 million Palestinian fruit and olive trees have been destroyed inside the occupation.

The two most hideous political structures of the 1980s, the Berlin wall and South African apartheid, are today combined in Palestine; and the Israeli wall is longer and higher than Berlin’s.

And what do Israel’s leaders plan to do with the 5 million Palestinians? “The liberal model is apartheid.”

Israelis will go along with this because it has been inculcated in them that Palestinians are their permanent enemies and you can’t trust Arabs. And they want to know nothing about the occupation. The far right of course talks about expulsion, and as for Netanyahu, apartheid is too liberal for him too, he seems to envision a kind of reservation. “We can pacify the Palestinians … to a point where they can’t resist," Halper mindreads the P.M. They’ve succeeded on the West Bank, now they will do so in Gaza.

Israeli expansion comes down to pigginess. It doesn’t matter that the Arab states and the Palestinians accepted the two state solution long ago, the Israelis thought they could get more, so they took more. The critical factor is the United States. I believe Obama gets it, Halper said. General Petraeus’s comments are indicative of that, so is Biden’s statement that the status quo is "unsustainable." The special relationship is hurting the United States.

“But the buzz in Israel is that Obama will have more trouble with Nancy Pelosi than he will with Netanyahu” if he takes on Israel. Israelis are confident that they have the Congress and that is all they need. 337 signatures in the Hosue and 76 in the Senate, taking Netanyahu’s side against Obama. Halper has visited the Congress many times and congressmen tell them they have little choice.

“Barney Frank said it best. He said, ‘I’m with you 100 percent [presumably on settlements/occupation]. If you bring me the names of 5000 Jews in my district that support you, tomorrow morning I change my vote… If you can’t do that…. I’m not going to commit political suicide for the sake of the Palestinians… “ Because, Halper continued quoting Frank, people in his district don’t care enough about the issue for him to stick his neck out.

I just need to unpack that statement. Let’s be clear that no one in these districts really cares about Palestinian dispossession except Jews, and they are for it overwhelmingly. But Jews are small portions of most congressional districts, though yes they are a big factor in Frank’s district (and my birthplace), Brookline. Why is it political suicide? Jews are simply too important on these issues–in financial contributions, in media/opinion, in activism, to go against them. This is very much like what Rep. Bob Filner said last year at J Street when he said that he voted against the lobby in his San Diego district once and lost $250,000 a cycle in his giving. Most members wouldn’t want to sacrifice that; and most members don’t have anyone who really cares about the issue in their district–and meanwhile, the stakes, as Filner said, are even nuclear war.

Halper left us with hope. BDS (a verboten topic at the New Israel Fund, where Hagai El-Ad spoke) is making a difference, Jimmy Carter made a big difference by getting the word apartheid out there, Walt and Mearsheimer made a difference and so did Israel’s conduct in Lebanon and Gaza. We are in a slow incline of growing awareness. Israel’s policies are becoming delegitimized in the international community and when it is finally isolated, it will stop its disgraceful behavior. Like other oppressors, it has “feet of clay.” It shouldn’t take another 40 years, he said, but he would not offer predictions. He’s 64 and looks the prophet, with his big beard and barrel chest. I hope he sees the day.

111 Responses

  1. Chaos4700
    April 24, 2010, 9:43 am

    Anyone looking forward to seeing eee spin in frenzied circles over this article? I am.

    • potsherd
      April 24, 2010, 10:14 am

      I look forward to the day when we can discuss the issues here instead of the trolls.

      • Chaos4700
        April 24, 2010, 10:34 am

        I look forward to the day when you grow a spine and stand up to a confrontation instead of needling people on your side in the flank.

        • Sumud
          April 24, 2010, 3:51 pm

          That’s a bit rough.

          I enjoy your posts Chaos, but potsherd does have a valid point – the trolls waste space and the energy of those who are genuine – that is precisely their goal. It’s not spineless to resist them by refusing to participate.

      • Richard Parker
        April 24, 2010, 2:17 pm

        Agreed, wholeheartedly. Discuss the message, not the messengers.

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 24, 2010, 12:28 pm

      RE: “I’d never heard Halper speak before, never seen him; and all I can say is that I had missed one of the great moral performances of our time” – Weiss
      MY COMMENT: The second of these two podcasts has a nice segment with Halper.

      (Info on Podcast #108, Published on 09 March 2010)
      Voices for justice for the Palestinians. Part 1 of a 2 part series of interviews from activists who participated in the Sabeel Conference held March 5 and 6 in Marin County, California. Sabeel means “The Way” in Arabic, and this conference brought a range of participants from around the world….This podcast features: Prof. Hisham Ahmed; Rev. Don Wagner; Sama Adnan, founder of NewPolicy.org; Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel; Anna Baltzer, an American Jew and articulate advocate for the rights of the Palestinians.
      PART 1 – link to peterbcollins.com

      (Info on Podcast #109) Voices for Justice for the Palestinians, Part 2.
      This is the final episode of interviews from the Sabeel Conference March 5-6 in Marin County, California. Powerful voices who decry Israel’s brutal domination of the West Bank and lockdown of Gaza.
      –Dr. Mads Gilbert, a medical doctor from Norway….
      –Mark Braverman, an American Jew and former Zionist…
      Dr. Jeff Halper, an American who moved to Israel and founded the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions talks about the dominant framing and language of the conflict, which heavily favors Israel;
      –Paul Larudee, founder of the Free Palestine Movement …
      –Ms Neha Masri, an American Muslim…
      PART 2 – link to peterbcollins.com

      • DICKERSON3870
        April 24, 2010, 12:36 pm

        ALSO, FROM YouTube: Interview – Jeff Halper – The Global Pacification Industry (VIDEO, 56:46)

        talkingsticktv — February 26, 2010 — Interview with Jeff Halper, Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and author of Obstacles to Peace: A Re-framing of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and An Israeli In Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel.

        VIDEO (56:46) – link to youtube.com

    • Avi
      April 24, 2010, 4:24 pm

      Chaos, by elevating trolls to a position of significance, you give them more power. They need to be drained of whatever power they have. To do so, it’s best to ignore most of their outlandish and radical statements. I try to respond only when they post outright lies that need to be corrected. Otherwise, they’re not worth your time and energy. Your knowledge and strength of character are better invested in issues that matter. Trolls will be trolls.

      • MHughes976
        April 24, 2010, 4:54 pm

        Arguments may deserve a reply, though sometimes you just want to turn away from arguments whose premises are utterly odious. Assertions for which no reason can be seen except that whoever says it believes it (‘Goldstone hates himself’) rarely do. Attempts to change the subject (‘Why does Finkelstein not denounce Hamas more often?’) never really deserve attention.

  2. Debonnaire
    April 24, 2010, 9:50 am

    It’s a scrofulous fatso like Meryl Yourish who’s the problem. Her whole identity is wrapped around knowingly propagating Nazi lies about Israel so Israel can grab the land. And, she hasn’t paid any kind of price for it.

    • Chaos4700
      April 24, 2010, 9:58 am

      Also, I believe she teaches schoolchildren, doesn’t she? Anyone else wonder if she’s as vicious and foulmouthed in front of them as she is in general?

  3. BenjaminGeer
    April 24, 2010, 9:55 am

    Please don’t say “crusaders”. It conveys the opposite of the message you intend.

    • Chaos4700
      April 24, 2010, 9:59 am

      Yeah… I have to confess I had to look twice at the headline after I started reading the article. Heh.

  4. pabelmont
    April 24, 2010, 10:05 am

    “Barney Frank said it best. He said, ‘I’m with you 100 percent [presumably on settlements/occupation]. If you bring me the names of 5000 Jews in my district that support you, tomorrow morning I change my vote… If you can’t do that…. I’m not going to commit political suicide for the sake of the Palestinians… “ Because, Halper continued quoting Frank, people in his district don’t care enough about the issue for him to stick his neck out.”

    Right. I once heard that FDR said to a lobbyist, “OK, you’ve convinced me. Now pressure me.” Maybe he said this; Barney Frank appears to have said it.

    (AND MAYBE 5000 people could talk to Barney Frank about the banks * * *).

    • Chaos4700
      April 24, 2010, 10:15 am

      While it rather pisses me off that Barney Frank is saying that he needs to hear that from Jews specifically in his district, and not from the rest of his constituency… I do recognize he’s right in the practical sense. The fact is, Jewish Americans have a lot of political influence on American politics right now. Not to be blunt but it’s nigh approaching veto power, having watched Joe Lieberman’s performance during the health care debate and the way in which it was going to live or die by his vote. To say nothing, you know, of the fact that he’s retained not only his Senate seat but his chairmanships regardless of his reckless and self-aggrandizing behavior at the expense of the interests of the actual people he’s supposed to represent (Jewish or otherwise).

      • Chaos4700
        April 24, 2010, 10:16 am

        I can tell you right now the progressive/socialist movement has never had that sort of power, and the labor movement lost it decades ago.

      • Psychopathic god
        April 24, 2010, 4:27 pm

        good point Chaos.
        I was caught up in the rose-colored glasses notion that doing the right think showed leadership, whether 5000 Jews or 5000 regular citizens or even NO Jews or citizens, if it’s the right thing to do, that’s what a leader of character would do.
        Not to mention that Frank should have enough political capital in the bank.

        Further to mention that if he make the right vote out of right conscience and loses his seat, tough noogies. He’s been around too long already, time for some fresh blood.

        • Citizen
          April 25, 2010, 8:54 am

          Frank’s POV is the cookie-cutter one. Truman had the same POV. He said he did what he did (recognize the self-declared state of Israel–after crossing out the adjective “Jewish”) because he had a lot of Jews in his voting constituency–and no Arabs. So Truman defied his own state department and some top US leaders. Of course he not only got the Jewish vote, but all the cash he needed from zionists for his whistle-stop campaign. Too, as AIPAC does now, the zionists threatened to alternatively fund Dewey’s campaign, which would have been done if Truman did not recognize Israel.

          US foreign policy in the Middle East has been corrupted since 1948–with only two sitting presidents making a serious effort to clean up that corrupt act–Ike and JFK. Bush Sr made a feeble attempt–and paid the price, and now we have Obama…. The glaring point is that
          when it comes to Israel, it’s an extraordinary matter of US domestic politics. They don’t teach that flip in our schools, just the flop.

    • Judy
      April 24, 2010, 10:15 am

      Would 5,000 people suffice?

    • Psychopathic god
      April 24, 2010, 4:22 pm

      amusing — Barney Frank relying on the same logic as “how many divisions has the pope?”

    • potsherd
      April 24, 2010, 5:23 pm

      Pabel, do you have a cite for that?

  5. pabelmont
    April 24, 2010, 10:09 am

    Like other oppressors, it has “feet of clay.”

    Let all who oppose Zionism-in-practice that the “facts on the ground” are not permanent and wehen the roll-back occurs, it will be at least to 1967.

    At least, not at most.

    Israel has shown that it does not regard the “lines” of 1967 as permanent, not as Israel’s boundaries, and that power (and power alone) will determine the final boundaries, not “right”. OK. But Israel will not be shown to have “feet of clay” until the power relationships change.

    Let’s talk about this.

  6. potsherd
    April 24, 2010, 10:13 am

    This post perfectly sums up the situation facing us.

  7. eee
    April 24, 2010, 10:54 am

    What I have been saying all along. Your problem is with the US not Israel. You are trying to BDS the wrong people. You need to BDS the US government.

    Why don’t you do as Frank recommends? Focus on getting 5,000 Jews that support your position in Brookline, one of the most liberal places in the US? That would be legitimate, goal oriented political work instead of just spewing irrational hatred towards Israel.

    • Chaos4700
      April 24, 2010, 11:09 am

      Poor, poor persecuted little ethnic cleanser, huh? This is lying saying instead of prosecuting the armed robbery, it’s the gun manufacturer that is responsible for the crime!

      El-Ad had come to the U.S. to try to convey to Americans the civil crisis inside Israel, from ramped-up threats on Palestinian liberty to the crackdown on groups that advocate for them.

      What do you have to say about the fact that Israel is becoming an extremist right wing police state, eee?

      • eee
        April 24, 2010, 11:38 am

        Chaos,

        El-Ad is a joke. Let him run for the Knesset and let’s see how much support he has. Israel is a strong democracy.

        • Psychopathic god
          April 24, 2010, 4:33 pm

          “Israel is a strong democracy.”

          That’s not Yoram Peri’s assessment:

          In Generals in the Cabinet Room, Professor Peri forcefully and persuasively argues a premise that, while once Israel’s military was the servant of its civilian political leadership, today it is the generals who are leading the foreign and defense policymaking. He traces recent military-political Israeli history with a special focus on the 1990s and beyond and warns of a future in which democracy itself could potentially fall victim to excessive militarization. The repercussions for Israeli- Palestinian relations, Israeli democracy, and militarily led democracies are potentially earthshaking.

    • rachel
      April 24, 2010, 11:28 am

      You are right eee. As a native son of Brookline, Grand Mondo Crusader
      should have no trouble convincing 5000 Jews to support his position. Apparently 500000 people a day read this “influential” blog. His powers of persuasion are already legendary. So what’s 5000 more?
      Come on, Phil get off your butt and start organizing pro-Palestinian events at local Jewish venues. Start with your local synagogue, pay some dues, and start agitating. But first you have to convince your wife to join!

    • potsherd
      April 24, 2010, 1:17 pm

      That’s odd. I must have missed all those times when eee was saying:

      The occupation is stronger than ever, and it is an occupation because Israel wants the land and feels that it can get away with taking more and more. Security has nothing to do with a wall that goes deep into Palestine, with settlement blocs that take up huge portions of the West Bank. I am supposed to know this stuff; but I was stunned to consider how enveloping are the easternmost Jewish colonies all through the Jordan Valley. The Israelis have reduced the Palestinian population to four cantons, two in the northern West Bank, one in the southern West Bank and Jerusalem, and one in Gaza. As many as 30,000 houses have been demolished in the occupied territories, 7000 in Gaza last year. Halper’s group rebuilds houses; it has rebuilt 1600 over many years. And 2 million Palestinian fruit and olive trees have been destroyed inside the occupation.

      The two most hideous political structures of the 1980s, the Berlin wall and South African apartheid, are today combined in Palestine; and the Israeli wall is longer and higher than Berlin’s.

      And what do Israel’s leaders plan to do with the 5 million Palestinians? “The liberal model is apartheid.”

      Israelis will go along with this because it has been inculcated in them that Palestinians are their permanent enemies and you can’t trust Arabs. And they want to know nothing about the occupation. The far right of course talks about expulsion, and as for Netanyahu, apartheid is too liberal for him too, he seems to envision a kind of reservation. “We can pacify the Palestinians … to a point where they can’t resist,” Halper mindreads the P.M. They’ve succeeded on the West Bank, now they will do so in Gaza.

      Israeli expansion comes down to pigginess. It doesn’t matter that the Arab states and the Palestinians accepted the two state solution long ago, the Israelis thought they could get more, so they took more.

      Oh, and did we ever get that answer about “irrational hatred”?

      Because, let me tell you, 3, there is nothing irrational about hating the greedy Israelis. In fact, it would be the height of immorality not to hate them.

      But then, 3 doesn’t believe in morality. It’s not possible to overcome the deep-seated selfishness in the human soul. Or maybe that’s just the Israeli soul.

    • Sumud
      April 24, 2010, 3:57 pm

      So to BDS the US is a worthwhile goal but to BDS the actual perpetrator is “spewing irrational hatred” ?

      You haven’t thought through your positions very well.

    • Citizen
      April 25, 2010, 9:04 am

      The successful BDS campaign against the apartheid S African regime was due to external pressure, not from the handful of citizens who stood up against their own apartheid government.

  8. Colin Murray
    April 24, 2010, 11:06 am

    “Barney Frank said, “I’m not going to commit political suicide for the sake of the Palestinians…”

    Would he consider political inconvenience for the sake of Americans?

    American political, financial, diplomatic, and military subsidization of Israeli occupation, ethnic cleansing, and colonization and consequent blowback (think 9/11) is a security threat to the United States. I think it is reasonable to expect an US Congressman to consider American interests. It is a cheap shirking of responsibility to assume that cessation of support for Israeli crimes automatically implies switching allegiance to Palestinians.

    What about America, Barney Frank? Who the hell pays your salary? Do you get more in pro-ethnic cleansing/colonization Zionist campaign contributions than from your US government paycheck?

    • eee
      April 24, 2010, 11:40 am

      If Barney Frank is a traitor to the US, why is it so difficult for you to convince the people of ultra liberal Brookline of this? Either you are living in a dream world or your powers of persuasion are nil. In either case, you need to take a good look at yourself.

      • kapok
        April 24, 2010, 12:45 pm

        huh? What does Frank’s putative treason have to do with another’s power of persuasion? And there’s more than a simple binomial “either…or” here. The enjoyment of privilege renders many un-persuadable. And, if I did live in “dream world”, looking at myself wouldn’t do much good.

    • Avi
      April 24, 2010, 1:25 pm

      Colin,

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem seems to be the lack of “linkage” between the Israeli/Palestinian case and America’s security. The Israel Lobby has done, and continues to do, a good job at confusing the American public on this very issue.

  9. Keith
    April 24, 2010, 12:23 pm

    PHIL- Another excellent article dealing with the reality of power. As I’ve said before, the spiritual center of Zionism is Israel, however, the center of Zionist power is New York and Washington. Making the matter even more complex is the extent to which Jews are disproportionately represented in the institutions of global power. In other words, Jews, Zionism, and Israel are interwoven into the very fabric of Empire. Both the current American Empire and the forming transnational corporate/financial empire. And the power seekers who shape the contours of empire are concerned almost exclusively with power politics. It is a very difficult situation with no easy solution.

    As for Nancy Pelosi, her easy victory over Cindy Sheehan indicates the sorry state of so-called progressives. Cindy got very little support from these people who preferred to align with established power. Unlike a statewide Senate campaign, a Congressional election victory is possible with even moderate resources. But even moderate “progressive” support was not forthcoming. Think of what a difference a Cindy Sheehan victory would have made.

  10. Richard Witty
    April 24, 2010, 12:28 pm

    I appreciate that you spoke of Israel’s policies being delegitimized, which they deserve to be, rather than the alternative, “Israel is being deligitimized”.

    They are very different.

    If dissent adopts your language, there is the prospect of a more mass movement. If dissent adopts the purist maximalist language, the prospect of dissent is less than nil, literally, as it will firm up reactionary approaches, but more skillfully applied than to undertake military excesses in Lebanon and Gaza.

    • Shingo
      April 24, 2010, 8:06 pm

      “‘I appreciate that you spoke of Israel’s policies being delegitimized, which they deserve to be, rather than the alternative, “Israel is being deligitimized”.”

      Not really. How does one acheve legitimacy by holding onto illegitimate polcies?

      • Citizen
        April 25, 2010, 9:14 am

        Shingo, Witty doesn’t believe the creed is in the deed when it comes to
        his homeland, Israel.

  11. Mooser
    April 24, 2010, 12:42 pm

    The American Jewish community exists, for almost the entire part, to serve Israel. Even if you don’t believe that, you must admit absolutely nothing goes in the other direction, Israel giving any consideration to the American Jewish community.
    And the American Jewish community will be brought down with Israel, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

    The idea that the relationship with Israel can be changed, but still leave the philo-Semitic zeitgeist you are used to in place is foolish, just forget it, and think about yourself thinking that in the first place. As Israel goes, so goes the Jewish nation.

    • Avi
      April 24, 2010, 1:29 pm

      Mooser, I don’t mean this as a challenge to you, but in light of what you wrote, what would you propose so that the damage to the Jewish community in the US is minimized? Does said community need to be more active in setting Israel straight, as it were, or insist and recognize that Israel is a political entity that does not represent them – a disengagement of sort?

      • Psychopathic god
        April 24, 2010, 4:53 pm

        the argument has been made that part of the zionist strategy is to drive diaspora Jews out of their dispersed homes and back to Israel.

        So it’s interesting that Ian Lustick wrote this in a paper in 2008:

        Israelis capable of leaving the country are increasingly
        motivated by the security situation and the desire for an “insurance policy” in case life in the Jewish state becomes too dangerous, unstable or uncomfortable.
        The idea of an “insurance policy” is a dominant theme in interviews conducted with Israelis applying for European passports for which they are eligible because of the citizenship of their parents or grandparents. In 2004, the German government issued 3,000 passports to Israelis. The explanation one recipient offered is typical:
        “I don’t want to lie and say that it’s nota kind of insurance policy in case something happens here. I’m not going to get up and leave the country tomorrow…but it’s good to know that I have a second passport. I believe that Germany will still exist long after Israel, and that was something I thought about.”

        Watching the efforts of European nations to evacuate their nationals from Lebanon during the 2006 war, many Israelis with dual citizenship wondered if they would be eligible for this kind of aid in the event of
        an emergency. In answer to such questions, Tom Segev reported that, according to German officials, the 70,000 Israelis who currently hold German passports are indeed eligible to be evacuated by the German armed forces from Israel should an emergency arise that threatens their
        safety.”

        No offense intended, Mooser, but where do Americans get to escape to when zionists have fubared the US? Do I get to haul out my mother’s Italian birth certificate and demand that the Italian government come and rescue me?

        • Citizen
          April 25, 2010, 9:19 am

          Now that’s a good question, PG. All Americans should have dual citizenship as an insurance policy.

        • RoHa
          April 26, 2010, 6:58 am

          Psychopathic God,

          The best thing would be for Americans to jointly send a letter of apology to the Queen, and ask her to take you all back into the Empire. Offer to pay the back taxes owing since 1776.

    • potsherd
      April 24, 2010, 1:38 pm

      I see a schism coming, albeit slowly, along religious grounds. At some point, the Reform Jews of the US are going to get tired of being treated as mamzers by the Israeli orthodox establishment.

      When your rabbi goes to Israel to pray at the unholy herodian wall and they throw chairs at her, it’s time to wonder why you’re supporting these people. Nowhere else would that happen, only in Israel.

    • Danaa
      April 24, 2010, 1:45 pm

      Mooser, I share Avi’s apprehension. I think what we are becominng more aware of is that the jewish diaspora – and especially the jews of the US – are used as a sort of hostage by Israel. This is like the truth that’s been hidden in plain sight all along. Not that it’s been planned that way – no one could be that prescient. But it’s what happened. Even as the larger non jewish population is reduced to by-standers – at best, interested ones, at worst, not even that.

      Unfortunately, what we see now is kind of like a Stockholm syndrome that’s developed over time within the hostage population – they feel an affinity with their own captors. I think that’s what could be infecting the discourse. Is that what you are getting at, Mooser?

      But maybe this also points the way forward. There needs to be a concerted rescue operation – an actual divorce – as Avi is suggesting. Which is part of the role sites like Mondoweiss are playing. yes, it’s judeo-centric, which drives some people nuts. But there’s really no other choice. The hostage must be brought to the point of agreeing to the rescue, of suing for divorce. The alternative is to be doomed to play the role of the abused who sympathizes – and even justifies – the abuser.

    • Richard Parker
      April 24, 2010, 2:41 pm

      Mooser The American Jewish community exists, for almost the entire part, to serve Israel.

      Did you really mean that? If approximately half the world’s Jews really only serve Israel, doesn’t that mean they are practically enslaved by that shitty little Levantine country?

      If this is true, then Israel’s Jewish population is doubled by adding assumed American born supporters, and they are only doing what is to be expected by increasing their liebensraum.

      • Citizen
        April 25, 2010, 9:23 am

        Non-Jewish right wing sites here in the USA refer to this phenomena as ZOG. It’s a form of mental colonialism that translates into actual colonialism in Palestine.

    • Colin Murray
      April 24, 2010, 2:43 pm

      And the American Jewish community will be brought down with Israel, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

      I think it a moral duty in light of the Holocaust to do our part to help American Jews have the softest landing possible from the inevitable crash of Israel Lobby support for Israeli war crimes.

      Israelis, however, have completely screwed themselves beyond timely enough redemption. We should allow open immigration for those who want to come here, and utterly cut off relations with the rest. You can’t help people who won’t help themselves, and we have absolutely no obligation to go down the toilet with them.

      I think it completely reasonable that Jews view the words ‘Never again’ as meaning never again being defenselessly murdered. However, I don’t buy into the ‘again’ part for Americans. We weren’t sitting on our hands while the Holocaust happens; we were fighting a global war against fascism.

      There is a difference between genocide and support of a state. So ‘Never Again’ to me means that we should act to prevent or stop any genocide that we can. This DOES NOT mean that we have any moral obligation to preserve a Jewish state anymore than we have an obligation to give our lives and drain an already empty treasury further into the red to support a Kurdish, Baluchi, or Basque state.

      • Psychopathic god
        April 24, 2010, 5:02 pm

        I think it a moral duty in light of the Holocaust to do our part to help American Jews have the softest landing possible from the inevitable crash of Israel Lobby support for Israeli war crimes.

        with respect, Colin, bullshit.
        I didn’t harm any Jew in the Holocaust, I played no part; my father sacrificed his future to fight in WWII.
        Do I sound harsh? I hope so. I think that offering Jews a safety net is a form of enabling, not much different from the gazillions of dollars in weaponry that US give Israel as a combination guilt-money and blackmail to plead with Israel to keep its nuclear arsenal under wraps.

        How is it okay for a US senator to declare that it is appropriate for Israel to blockade and oppress the people of Gaza because “they brought it on themselves” by participating in a democratic act, but it is NOT okay for Israelis and Jews who support with their donations or their activism or their SILENCE the oppression of the Palestinians as well as the psychotic behavior of both Israeli leaders and American Jews in positions of influence in the US to suffer for their acts?

        Holocaust well has run dry. Jews have their safe-haven homeland to escape to. Don’t imagine you can simultaneously fuck up the US and then run to the US for refuge from you fuckup.

        • yonira
          April 24, 2010, 5:31 pm

          ahhh the animosity and hatred which is spewed on this website is mind blowing. I am sure many of you would be raving lunatics if you didn’t have Mondolies to vent on. Instead of raving lunatics now your just loony toons, trying to change the world, one hate filled blog post at a time. HAHAHA “keep firing assholes!”

        • thankgodimatheist
          April 24, 2010, 7:40 pm

          “Lunatics”
          ———-
          “Anti-Semite” and “Jew-hater” not working anymore yonira?

        • Citizen
          April 25, 2010, 9:34 am

          Triple eee, an Israeli, if memory serves, said recently on this blog that one should always look after your own kids first, even if that means sacrificing somebody else’s innocent kids. He said that was why he did not believe in the basic universal human rights approach to any problem, and specifivally the I-P problem. He called universal rights a pipe dream. So, I deduce, PG, that eee will agree with your take.

        • Citizen
          April 25, 2010, 9:37 am

          Yonira, what on earth are you talking about? If you don’t agree with PG’s thoughts as written on this blog, please address them, rather than attack by broad brush smear PG and all commenters here as haters.

        • Colin Murray
          April 25, 2010, 9:51 am

          I didn’t harm any Jew in the Holocaust, I played no part; my father sacrificed his future to fight in WWII.

          I try to separate the notions of debt/obligation and duty/doing the right thing. If I understand your point of view correctly, you feel you have no obligation for crimes with which you, your family, and country had nothing to do. I agree. Not only do I also feel no personal or any other kind of debt or obligation for the Holocaust on behalf of myself, my family, or my country, I contemptuously reject a racist acculturation of a ‘generalized Gentile’ debt.

          However, I do think we as individuals, families, and communities should try to do the right thing, as each of us sees it. Jews have gotten a raw deal, and in establishing Israel as a racial state Zionists have screwed it up for everyone there. I think we should help those Israelis who want nothing to do with further ethnic cleansing and colonization, and would like to restart their lives in a land where Jews are safe and free. I think we should do this because I think it is the right thing to do, not because I feel any sort of debt or obligation. But for those who want to stay and rule a fascist apartheid state and murder, torture, steal from, and otherwise lord it over millions of subject Palestinians: f-ck’em.

        • Psychopathic god
          April 25, 2010, 10:25 am

          Jewish people will have “arrived,” will have understood the genius of the United States when they can internalize that I have as much a right to be offended by their behavior and to tell them so in no uncertain terms, as they have to tell me how offended they are.

          My government, the government of the USA, today supports a government agency whose mission is the monitor expressions of antisemitism throughout the entire fucking world.
          The US government not only does NOT have an office with the mission of monitoring expressions offensive to Muslim people; rather, by its policies and from the seats of the US legislature, the US encourages anti-Muslim expression.

          I object to Jewish people being treated in any single way differently from the way any other American is entitled to be treated.

          Colin wrote an eloquent response to my rant, above. I disagree with only one portion of it; he wrote that “Jews have gotten a raw deal.”
          I disagree.
          What is closer to reality is that Jews have performed hasbara on acts throughout history that have been harmful to Jews: they have framed those acts as aimed at Jews as Jews, scraping off all other social and economic and other causative or provocative factors. And, as is the purpose of hasbara, Jews are presented in the most favorable light and the ‘other’ is framed in the most negative of perspectives, when the Other is considered at all.
          The Inquisition is one touchstone of “Jew hatred,” but how many times to Jews include in the story of the expulsion of Jews from Andalusia the historical facts that:
          ~Muslims/Arabs were expelled first and perhaps more harshly;
          ~Jews took their property with them
          ~Jews had lived in Spain for nearly 500 years, had prospered, were highly regarded
          ~the major reason for expelling Jews was NOT out of a sense of animus toward Jews as Jews; that was only one LESSER factor; the entire context of the contest over commercial and political control over the Mediterranean, over Italy, over trade routes, has to be considered.
          ~Many Jews who left Spain were invited to migrate to join Ottoman Turks, Spain’s chief antagonist in motivating the expulsion of the Jews. In other words, Jews joined the enemy. (sidebar: It’s interesting to put together two factoids: Jews allied with Ottoman Turks; Ottoman Turks were absentee owners of a great deal of property in Palestine at the time Herzl and Rothschild began buying property in Palestine. Maybe some historian has or will research the extent of Turkish-Jewish ownership of Palestinian land.)
          ~In context, people who resided on the Italian peninsula fared far worse for far longer than did Jews. Indigenous Italians were sliced and diced among Romans, Germans, Lombards, Goths, Hapsburgs– you name it, everybody had a piece of Italy. Do you hear Italians whining about how persecuted they’ve been throughout history?

          So, yonira, rave on; nothing you have said to date is of any moment.
          Colin, thank you for the thoughtful response; I concur with most of what you have written.

          I do maintain that Jews do not have a right to special treatment “because they have been given a raw deal” primarily because the facts of history do not support the proposition that Jews have been mistreated far more than many other groups, and in fact, have fared better than most, overall.

        • Colin Murray
          April 25, 2010, 1:01 pm

          I’d like to throw out one last point. Our ‘Greatest Generation’, including your father and my great-uncle, paid in death and suffering to help defeat Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The degeneracy that Israel has become, the social, political, and economic corruption wrought by the occupation in both Israel and in America by the Israel Lobby, is IMO Adolph Hitler’s greatest posthumous victory.

          In a sense our generations are letting the Greatest down, cheapening their sacrifice through our failure to finish the job and polish off that bastard’s legacy once and for all. I realize that many will disagree and the means and way forward are not obvious. However, to me one thing stands out: defeat of the Israel Lobby is an absolute prerequisite for salvaging anything, and has the added value that irregardless of any debt to our ancestors, it is very much in our contemporary self interest.

        • eee
          April 25, 2010, 1:17 pm

          What eee has said that it is quite normal to find people willing to pay for their own kids college education but not that of their neighbor’s even though their kid is less talented than the neighbor’s one. So, it turns out Americans may not actually support Universalism as their actions prove daily.

          You are using a radical form of morality just to bludgeon Israel.

        • eee
          April 25, 2010, 1:20 pm

          Colin,
          “The degeneracy that Israel has become, the social, political, and economic corruption wrought by the occupation in both Israel and in America by the Israel Lobby, is IMO Adolph Hitler’s greatest posthumous victory.”

          I think Hitler would have appreciated more the Vietnam war in which you killed about 2 million Vietnamese. That was his modus operandi and to see you copying it would have made his day.

          If your ridiculous theories are correct, Hitler would be extremely distraught about how powerful the Jews are.

        • yonira
          April 25, 2010, 1:20 pm

          nice jew hating rant, lol you are a treat.

        • Psychopathic god
          April 25, 2010, 1:36 pm

          yonira, I’m saving up your posts for my next PhD project. I’ll try to figure out why jews feel so compelled to find “jew hating” in every possible place.
          Does any other group do that? If one googled “Irish-hating” or “Hindu-hating,” what would pop up? How would the instances compare, proportionately, to the instances where jews complain of jew hating? Why does it bother you so much if someone hates jews — doesn’t that say more about the hater than the hated? Why do you feed that troll? I really would like to know.

          When I was a kid I had a skin condition that made me itch all over. I used to pour the hottest water possible on the itch because the hot water momentarily made the itch feel not-so-bad. Of course, my skin was scalded in the process which made the skin and the itch worse in the long run.

          So I wonder what ‘itch’ it is that you feel compelled to scald with constant attention to whether this one or that one “hates jews.” And I wonder how it’s working out for you — does it make your life better to be constantly on hi alert to ‘jew hating.’

        • yonira
          April 25, 2010, 1:38 pm

          do you read the stuff you write pscyho, you are a classic anti-semite.

          Jews will start WWIII remember that gem?

        • yonira
          April 25, 2010, 1:38 pm

          how about hating arabs or hating brown ppl? I hear that on here more often than anything…..

        • Psychopathic god
          April 25, 2010, 2:42 pm

          hell, yonira, EVERYTHING I do is classy; I’m just one class act. Much as I appreciate the accolades, did you have a point otherwise?

          better yet, care to grapple with the REAL question I posed, not your reframe/all-purpose slur?

        • Colin Murray
          April 25, 2010, 3:44 pm

          red herring alert: Vietnam had nothing to do with Adolf Hitler. The creation of Israel along with the Israel Lobby in the United States is a direct result of the Holocaust.

  12. hughsansom
    April 24, 2010, 1:46 pm

    Israel has backed itself into a corner and it is bound to do worse than Operation Cast Lead in the next few years. Why? Because the population clock is beginning to run out. If it were not for the flood of Jews into Israel from the former Soviet Union, Palestinians would already outnumber Jews in the region west of the Jordan River. As things are, they will do so in the next 20 years, probably sooner. Palestinians form 20% of the citizenry of Israel. And then there are the millions of Palestinians who wish to return to the homes they were expelled from.

    The question is: When Israel next commits an atrocity like Cast Lead, will the US government respond as it did last year, as Obama did last year, with words of support?

    • Psychopathic god
      April 24, 2010, 5:07 pm

      the planning is underway even as you type, hughsansom: the Pentagon has a war plan, the weapons are at Iran’s door, the threats are flying fast and furious, and nuclear holocaust is PROMISED to the people of Iran if they do not “change their behaviour” and stop doing what they are entitled to do.

      How many bites of the apple did Hitler get? How many has Israel had?

      • yonira
        April 24, 2010, 5:34 pm

        LOL yup, the nuclear holocaust is promised!! HAHA your rhetoric is fascinating. You know you would love to see Israel bomb Iran, because we all know your main motivation is hate of Israel (and probably Jews) and beyond that you could give a shit about the well-being of anyone.

        You are more of a warmonger than any Israeli or US general.

    • Citizen
      April 25, 2010, 9:43 am

      I’m guessing that if one included all people controlled by Israel, the Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim would constitute 45% of the total subject population–and increasing fast. Obviously this state of Israel/Israeli occupation/seige will not stand forever. Hence hughsansom’s acute final question.

  13. hughsansom
    April 24, 2010, 1:52 pm

    To put it a little differently (and possibly — just possibly — a little over-dramatically), Israel is faced with a choice between war with the Palestinians and civil war with the fanatical settler cult. It may get both. Israelis think they can win a war with Palestinians, even though they have been steadily losing (as have Palestinians, in a different way) for decades.

    • Avi
      April 24, 2010, 2:28 pm

      hughsansom,

      Since 1967, more than 40 years now, Israel has been using the colonial settlers as an excuse, as a scapegoat for its own radical policies.

      If a civil war were indeed to erupt in Israel (highly unlikely) it will be because the Israeli government, through decades of focused and deliberate policies sought to instill the notion that there is a religious mandate to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. By doing so, the government created a schism between secular Israelis and religious fanatics.

      Even these days in Hebron, these fanatics you speak of are protected by the Israeli army and that protection encourages them to continue their crimes.

      Meanwhile, the Israeli government, so-called leftist parties, continue to claim that when the time comes, Israel will evacuate the settlers by force, if need be. That’s nonsense. Tzipi Livni was melodramatic in her unequivocal statement when interviewed by Bob Simon on 60 minutes last year. It’s empty talk. If Israel ever had any intention of evacuating the settlements in a future permanent agreement with the Palestinians, then it would not be encouraging, financing and expediting the expansion and the construction of new settlements. Don’t buy into the propaganda. (I know you haven’t, but don’t let it mislead you).

      • potsherd
        April 24, 2010, 2:39 pm

        Israel also said, when they started to build the Segregation Wall, that it was only a temporary security measure and would be taken down with no trouble when there was a peace agreement.

      • Citizen
        April 25, 2010, 9:46 am

        Yes, let’s also see what happens soon when Obama is supposed to start
        quitting Iraq. As well, despite the fact Obama has increased troops in Afghanistan, there is a follow-up movement to get out of there. OTH,
        there’s the steady mincing towards war with Iraq…

        • Citizen
          April 25, 2010, 9:47 am

          Oops, I mean “the steady mincing towards war with Iran…”

  14. uberVU - social comments linked to this.
  15. potsherd
    April 24, 2010, 2:31 pm

    Here is the problem, as described by Lisa Goldman of Yesh Din: link to haaretz.com

    Palestinian villages are increasingly unprotected by the IDF, which does provide extensive protection for Jewish settlements. At the same time, however, Palestinians are not allowed to possess weapons; the IDF arrests people caught with knives or guns in their possession. Settlers, on the other hand, are permitted by law to carry weapons.

    Meanwhile, the IDF is acting according to increasingly draconian orders to suppress non-violent demonstrations against the occupation that are organized and led by grassroots Palestinian movements. Leaders of popular resistance organizations are dragged from their beds during night raids, arrested and jailed – often indefinitely. The villages in which demonstrations take place on Friday mornings have been declared closed military zones. Those who violate the army’s orders and come out to demonstrate are regularly shot at with rubber bullets, doused with skunk gas, beaten and arrested.

    For Palestinians in the West Bank, the sense of helplessness and frustration must be enormous. When they are attacked, they can almost never hope for justice within the framework of the legal system. Nor are they allowed to defend themselves. Nor can they expect the IDF to protect them. And even when they protest these injustices using nonviolent methods – marching, chanting and waving flags – they are punished with arrests and violence, with dehumanizing skunk gas and beatings. So what happens when there is no legal recourse or justice for the injured and no real civic structure, and when the moderates are systematically crushed? Surely these are the ideal psychological circumstances that make people vulnerable to the beckoning finger of extremism.

    Zionist apologists can tap dance as fast as they can, juggle a complete dinner set at the same time and set their hair on fire, but nothing they do will alter these facts. “Irrational hatred??” Nothing irrational about it.

    • Citizen
      April 25, 2010, 9:53 am

      Yet most Americans only hear about Palestinian suicide bombers and
      rocket attacks on poor Israeli villages; then the ad comes on their tv, as it does on Fox news every night, pleading for donations to help old
      Jewish refugees from the former USSR.

  16. Richard Parker
    April 24, 2010, 3:15 pm

    Uri Avnery, who is getting old, but still very potent, writes every Sunday at Gush Shalom.
    His latest message is a bit confusing, but eventually, he gets a very strong message across:
    link to zope.gush-shalom.org

    • potsherd
      April 24, 2010, 4:17 pm

      You can tell that Israel is in a serious stage of decline when they hatch their own chickenhawks.

    • Avi
      April 24, 2010, 4:44 pm

      Haber needs to carefully read what Avnery wrote and consider the context when he asks Moor about his reluctance to engage liberal Zionists by being part of the BDS movement.

      Uri Avnery’s article illustrates the point I have been attempting to get across, that the so-called “liberal Zionist” is a mere apparition that is only going to sabotage the movement’s goals. I say that after having worked and known many so-called “liberals” or “leftists” in Israel who turned out to be, bluntly put, fake.

      • Richard Witty
        April 24, 2010, 4:47 pm

        And, in contrast, I’ve seen leftist anti-Zionists alienate hundreds of sympathetic liberal Jews by name-calling and dismissal.

        There is no mass movement without the mass.

        • Shingo
          April 24, 2010, 8:07 pm

          “‘And, in contrast, I’ve seen leftist anti-Zionists alienate hundreds of sympathetic liberal Jews by name-calling and dismissal.”‘

          Hundreds Witty? Where did you get that number? Did you see it written on a wall in a public urinal?

        • VR
          April 24, 2010, 11:25 pm

          “There is no mass movement without the mass.”

          Agreed RW, there is never a mass movement without enough mass gray matter for some to acknowledge what is happening. Your dismissals remind me of the media in Iraq before the tanks rolled in – “there is no enemy approaching.” Belittling a movement will not stop it, than again, isn’t this what you accuse anti-zionists of practicing?

        • Chaos4700
          April 25, 2010, 1:46 am

          What, really, as opposed to how Zionists behave? Like on this blog?

        • Citizen
          April 25, 2010, 10:04 am

          Witty, nobody who cares about universal human rights and justice would want you on their team. Your comments over the years here make that painfully obvious. You wailed about somebody looking askance at your son for wearing a skull cap while non-Jewish babies died of white phosphorus and were/are starved by the Israeli seige & occupation. There is no US mass movement towards justice so long as hasbara rules US exchange of ideas and facts. I don’t blame you. I blame the US MSM, which, instead of informing on the I-P situation and the US relation to it, simply uses the Bernays-Goebbels approach. It is a real challenge, to quit smoking cigarets,
          and also quit smoking hasbara joints in the best interests of the USA and world humanity. And of equal challenge stature, getting rid of the current US campaign finance system–outright bribery as it is.

      • MHughes976
        April 24, 2010, 5:03 pm

        This, I think, is because the fundamental proposition of Zionism, that only Jews fully deserve a share of sovereignty over Palestine – and that others have a share only by concession or temporary arrangement – is not, because of its inherent emphasis on race, a liberal one.

        • Citizen
          April 25, 2010, 10:08 am

          Yes, MHughes, the apartheid S African regime used permits in the same way Israel does. A license is selected permission, a right is absolute, is one given by Providence, as the US founding fathers said.

      • sherbrsi
        April 24, 2010, 7:37 pm

        Uri Avnery’s article illustrates the point I have been attempting to get across, that the so-called “liberal Zionist” is a mere apparition that is only going to sabotage the movement’s goals.

        Avi,

        When you speak about sabotaging, are you referring to the same term advocated by the Reut Institute to derail the BDS campain, that liberal Zionists join the effort specifically with the intention of undermining it?

        My understanding is that the liberal Zionists are largely ineffective until they shed their Zionist character. The forces of liberalism and Zionism are inherently at odds with each other, and so serve little utility to an endeavor squarely situated in the realms of liberal universalism activism.

        • Avi
          April 24, 2010, 10:46 pm

          Sherbrsi,

          It’s actually both. On the one hand they may seek to stonewall or hinder the efforts of the BDS movement, on the other hand they can “sabotage” it by co-opting it, and turning it into their pet project.

          Who knows, I’m really tired of having to explain (not to you) why I believe the victimizer should NOT be babied with extreme caution and tenderness into accepting responsibility and owning up to the failure of Zionism. That’s what it really boils down to.

  17. Todd
    April 24, 2010, 10:07 pm

    The questions are always the same: What is the true power and influence of Jews in the U.S., and who is allowed to speak on the issue?

    I wish that someone could prove to me that the average Jew isn’t mostly concerned with Jewish interests and issues, but I have never found that to be the case. Either way, I would love to see Jewish issues and interests obliterated in the U.S. and treated with the same hostility with which Jews tend to treat the concerns of Middle Americans.

    I would not care one bit if Israel were destroyed and her supporters in the U.S. persecuted. The holocaust has nothing to do with me, and I surely don’t owe Israelis (or Jews in general) a thing. As an American taxpayer, I beleve that world Jewry owes me. I surely would not support rolling out the welcome mat for Israelis when the end finally comes. Doing so would be stupid.

    • Avi
      April 24, 2010, 10:42 pm

      Todd,

      While I can understand your sentiments, you are leaving one BIG important fact out of the equation. The US public bears the responsibility for its government’s actions. The US government, US politicians, and the US public have facilitated, stood by and did nothing, or voted diligently thinking that the system actually works, in hopes of making a difference.

      You can distance yourself from the problem all you want. But, you too carry the burden of responsibility.

      • Todd
        April 24, 2010, 10:59 pm

        Sorry, Avi, but I wash my hands of any responsibility for Israel or its supporters. I have absolutely no influence on how my government operates, and complaining to elected officials makes no difference–I think most Americans understand this. Political violence would only get me killed. What can a sane person do?

        • Avi
          April 25, 2010, 1:22 am

          The fact that the electoral process is a failure, doesn’t mean that one must resort to violence. Violence is never the answer.

          As far as peaceful demonstrations, grass roots organizations, activism etc. are concerned, it really boils down to how much a person is prepared to sacrifice. Let me explain what I mean by “sacrifice”.

          Suppose you wanted to go into business school in hopes of one day founding your own corporation, but at the same time felt strongly about the corrupt political system and the influence that special interest has in Congress. This is where one needs to ask the question, “Do I go into business and focus on my personal wealth or do I get into a certain field where I can make a difference in the system that is not working for me, the citizen, anymore?”

          Ultimately, it’s a personal decision. Many journalists who found it hard to publish propaganda, have found themselves forced to make compromises, career wise. One’s salary may suffer as a result. Norm Finkelstein, for example, for his critical writing about Israel sacrificed a tenure position at his university. Others like Professor Illan Pappe, from Israel, for example, have suffered exile. He was literally chased out of Israel under death threats and threats to destroy his career. So, the sacrifice that he pays on a daily basis is having been forced to immigrate to another country, to get a new job, to learn a new language and start a new life.

          As you can see, it’s a personal decision. Whether its fair or not to hold those who stood by and did little responsible for the state of affairs, may seem debatable. There are certainly good arguments either way. Personally, I think that remaining silent, turning a blind eye or standing by and doing nothing, is the same as facilitating whatever wrongs are taking place, not on the same magnitude, but there is certainly a level of culpability. It’s something we have to live with.

        • Citizen
          April 25, 2010, 10:31 am

          Yeah, Todd is right, writing or emailing or phoning your congress people doesn’t do anything in my experience. The most I ever got from it was a rep’s flunky phoning me and repeating over and over again that
          the USS Liberty did not display a US flag–this in the face of all the
          information I had sent to my rep, including the Chicago Tribune’s solitary courageous update. All my other information I sent in never was answered; all I ever got was at most a letter I paid for with my tax dollars, a letter repeating the most simple, hackneyed hasbara canards.

          OTH, Avi asks, in essence, so what will you about it beyond that? Of course this requires sacrifice as Avi shows. OTH I’m not sure that Avi has really answered Todd’s question, what can a sane American do? Most Americans are not journalists or professors. They have more everyday jobs, and come from less affluent backgrounds. Joe the Plumber had his 15 minutes of fame precisely because he was an everyday US citizen. I guess, the follow-up question to Avi is: If Joe saw how US foreign policy hurt the US and Israel long term, and how it was against
          the principle of basic universal human rights, what should Joe do? Remember that Joe didn’t even have a plumber license, nor did he have a family to provide for, to my knowledge.

        • Avi
          April 25, 2010, 10:27 pm

          Citizen,

          I believe that a person needs to be willing and prepared to try, through creative ways, initiative and tenacity to effect change.

          As you pointed out, not everyone is a journalist or a professor. But, at the same time, every person is a link in the chain. A plumber by trade, may have other skills and abilities that which he can contribute. Some people man an information hotline, others make signs and posters, some write speeches, some collect donations to build a hospital. It’s all around us. Everyday, people do great things. It’s just a matter of focusing all that effort toward a common goal.

          The problem, in the US for example, is that people only come together and cooperate during times of great national crises. In other words, the ability is there, it’s just a matter of organizing and working together, as a group, rather than as individuals. This requires leadership, initiative and above all, involvement in the community.

          Historically, citizens of any given state or nation remained apathetic until such time that their own daily well-being was affected. Food shortages tend to motivate people. Martial law has a uniting effect on the masses. The wisdom is to recognize the indicators ahead of the crisis before it’s too late, before one has to resort to eating tree roots to survive. Do you see what I mean?

          Take Israel, for example, most Israelis, having been isolated in a bubble by the media, the press and the separation wall care very little about what goes on in the occupied territories. It’s apathy.

          Likewise, Americans, and to a far greater extent, American Jews are apathetic because they do not care about the Palestinians and are certainly in their own bubbles of comfort. Meanwhile, many American Jews are forcing on Israelis certain realities, as is the case with Elie Wiesel and other privileged American Jews who influence the politics of the region with little due consideration to the inhabitants of the place, both Jews and non-Jews. They can afford to do so because they sit safe and sound in their affluent homes, thousands of miles from the nearest colonial settlement or military checkpoint.

          A few days ago I challenged David Samel on this website to explain his stance on a certain issue, more specifically the issue of dual loyalty among American Jews. What he stands to sacrifice, for example, is his level of comfort. He fears that acknowledging the issue of dual loyalty with Israel, could lead in the future to anti-Semitim in the US, an unlikely outcome.

          Such individuals will sacrifice (if at all) very little compared to someone like Tristan Anderson who was hit in the head by Israeli soldiers, or Emad Rezqa who was peacefully protesting the theft of land in a Palestinian village and suffered a broken skull, or Rachel Corrie who sacrificed her life in an attempt to save the home of a Palestinian family, or Rami Elchanan who lost his daughter in a suicide attack and then there are certainly others who sacrificed, like Anat Kam, who leaked documents proving war crimes to an Israeli journalist.

          The point I’m trying to make is that it takes courage to get one’s hands “dirty”, as it were. Only the privileged can afford to sit in their high places and pretend as though they are actually contributing. It takes courage to admit what one stands to lose in the course of such activism.

        • Todd
          April 25, 2010, 11:10 pm

          Avi, the elites in America are so blatantly hostile towards traditional America that grassroots lobbying or peaceful demonstrations are useless, and are probably viewed by the elites as weak or stupid. Violence and coercion certainly have a place in life, and the elites are proof of that.

          Average Americans are not responsible for the actions of our rulers, and any hope of influencing their actions is remote. I can’t even beat a bogus traffic ticket in a local court, so taking on the system peacefully seems almost as fruitless as violently confronting it. Understanding the odds against successfully confronting the system, and dealing with the situation rationally, is not the same as turning a blind eye to the horrible state of things.

    • Citizen
      April 25, 2010, 10:11 am

      RE: ” I would love to see Jewish issues and interests obliterated in the U.S. and treated with the same hostility with which Jews tend to treat the concerns of Middle Americans.”

      Yes, but not all Jews, just the many we see on US TV News programs and their supporters.

      • Richard Witty
        April 25, 2010, 10:35 am

        “I would not care one bit if Israel were destroyed and her supporters in the U.S. persecuted. ”

        “I would not care one bit… if her supporters in the US were persecuted”

        And you “progressives” didn’t consider that a repugnant statement?

        Who do you think are?

        • Chaos4700
          April 25, 2010, 10:39 am

          This coming from the same asshat who claims to want “peace” and then justifies Israel sending tanks, bulldozers and F-16s into Gaza on a weekly basis and shelling the shoreline continually from a naval blockade.

          You have no room to criticize, Witty. Your “jewel” of a Zionist state is an out of control machine of death and destruction.

      • Todd
        April 25, 2010, 11:16 pm

        I wish someone would have concentrated on this part of my post:

        “The questions are always the same: What is the true power and influence of Jews in the U.S., and who is allowed to speak on the issue?

        I wish that someone could prove to me that the average Jew isn’t mostly concerned with Jewish interests and issues, but I have never found that to be the case.”

  18. yonira
    April 24, 2010, 11:30 pm

    you could do us all a favor and leave the US.

    • Chaos4700
      April 25, 2010, 1:45 am

      What did we tell you about coming on to blog after a heady night of binge drinking? No one even knows who that was supposed to be addressed to.

      • yonira
        April 25, 2010, 1:52 am

        LOL good point chaos!

        • Citizen
          April 25, 2010, 10:40 am

          Yonira serves himself best if he goes to Israel. After all, there’s a jew-hater behind every corner in the USA, just waiting to drink jewish blood. Don’t be fooled by talk about the “silent holocaust.” Every gentile intermarriage partner is actually a jew-hating vampire. That’s why Witty, the Vermonter, strings up garlic adjacent over his windows. And those hybrid spawn, little American nazis everyone.

  19. zamaaz
    April 25, 2010, 11:52 am

    I am really entertained by the self-congratulations accolades shared by every anti-Israel liberals, progressives, and idealists in this blog./page.

    Nevertheless there are moments of laziness, we do enjoy viewing the ____ enjoying themselves wallowing in _______. Anyway, we Christians who are not really Zionists, but tend to be Zionists as far as Israel is concerned, constantly keep these two passages in our hearts (from the greatest pro-Israel and Zionist of all):

    [ And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 2:3)]
    [ God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.
    He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee. (Numbers 24:8-9)]

    Whether this ‘book’ is ‘fiction’ or not, no Christian would ever desire to be cursed this way….This too makes American Christians unconditionally Zionists…

  20. zamaaz
    April 25, 2010, 11:55 am

    I will say this again to the ‘realist’, it is the reality that counts….America does not need a Jewish Lobby to convince them…Its only for the Jewish lobby to grab this opportunity unequivocally open too them…

  21. zamaaz
    April 25, 2010, 12:06 pm

    Tell Netanyahu there are millions of ‘scums’ like me out there that support his position regarding Israel… he will be glad to know that….

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