My heart wanted to ask her: What will it take for Jews to say, Enough!

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 48 Comments

demoI’m not very proud of myself right now.

Yesterday, I was one of those shouting at the men and women who had come with their Israeli flags, their righteous arrogance, their anger to disrupt our protest organized to declare support for the Freedom Flotilla and the Free Gaza movement.

Central to this story is that I am a Jew. I am a Jew who has spent four summers in Palestine witnessing the toll that more than 40 years of Israeli occupation has taken on a people and on a land. I am a Jew who has come to understand, as the sign I was holding yesterday attests, that we are forsaking Jewish values for the sake of a Jewish state. 

And because I have seen Palestinian homes demolished for illegal Israeli land grab, because I have met the fathers and mothers and children suddenly homeless, because I have seen the 30 foot Wall standing like a sentinel on the landscape separating Palestinian farmers from their fields and livelihoods, because I have witnessed the disdain of young Jewish soldiers for the elderly, the pregnant, the young that they so thoughtlessly control at the checkpoints, because I have seen the Jewish settlers taking over hillside after hillside of Palestinian land, I feel literally sick about what is being done in my name. 

“We are doing what has been done to us,” I found myself shouting at one of the women standing underneath an Israeli flag, unable to stop myself from making this dangerous comparison that I know is sure to inflame. She turned to me, with as vile a tone as I had just offered, charging “how dare you trivialize the Holocaust? Have we put people in gas camps?” 

I had no reply, having started the obstructive exchange, but my heart wanted to ask her if this is what it will take for her and others like her to come to their senses; at the point Israel begins to put people in camps and gas them, then will we say “enough”? At what point do we begin to wonder whether we have become the very thing we say we fear? To my mind, Israel reached that point long ago; the Jews who uncritically support all that Israel does have reached that point; and ironically, tragically, I have reached that point myself. 

I have become what I say I fear as I yelled at another older man, standing quite calmly beside me, doing nothing to provoke like his other Israel-supporting companions. He started off with a simple question, one I don’t even remember now, and my mind went blank as I began yelling at him “we’re selling our souls to the Devil,” “we’re selling our souls to the Devil” – I must have repeated the line 5 or 6 times with a very loud and agitated voice. My fear shut me down, reduced me to a recitation of angry slogans, direct cousin to the fear that brought those who tolerate no criticism of Israel to the rally to shout us down. 

You see, my fear is that the Jewish community is growing in its capacity to justify anything and everything in the name of Israel. We have, as I shouted so loudly to the man standing so quietly beside me, sold our soul to the Devil in the belief that somehow that will make us safe. Five minutes watching any footage of the damage wrought on innocent civilians in Gaza a year ago; five minutes reading about the humanitarian and economic devastation, a collective punishment on families, women, and children who live there; five minutes talking to any Palestinian who has lost a home, a job, loved ones to Occupation will testify to our collective ability to deny our culpability in the oppression of a people and a land.

Their fear, well I can’t really speak to that, because I am so much more afraid of what we are becoming than of any threat. I am more concerned about what it means to survive as a Jewish people if we become completely defined by our stubborn unwillingness to see the “other” as human, as complex, as complicated as we see ourselves. Those holding the Israeli flags yesterday do not see Palestinians as the men, women, and children they are, with their own individual hopes, desires, longings. They don’t understand that Palestinian parents witnessing the killing of their children by bombs dropped on Gaza grieve as hard and deep at these deaths as Israelis do when their loved ones are killed (which happens much less frequently, not that I want to suggest a competition about death counts). They don’t understand that Palestinian men, women, and children enjoy eating good food, drinking strong coffee, telling stories with family and friends in the same ways that we enjoy doing those same things. All they see is threat and this fear allows them to justify anything. 

And me, I don’t see these diehard Israel supporters as human in my turn, because I hate their inability to see the Palestinians as fully human, and as a result I am unable to appreciate their complexity, their complications.

And so it goes, this cycling around of fear and hatred. I expect and want more from myself than this. I know I am capable of it because I have seen this capacity in other areas of my life. What will it take, I wonder, for the Jewish community to wake up to what we are doing? What will it take, I wonder, for me to bring compassion to this question? For what I know for sure is that any hope for our collective survival, our collective ability to thrive, depends on our ability to see ourselves in the other. This skill starts with us, this skill starts with me, and so I’m not very proud of myself right now.

About Tema Okun

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48 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    June 5, 2010, 3:22 pm

    Many people are abusers, murderers, torturers, because of what happened to them earlier in life. People abused as children often (not always, and not only) abuse others after they “grow up”. The (European branch of the) Jewish people as a whole were horribly abused during the Holocaust, and it was no picnic before in Poland and Russia. My father’s Russian uncles told me a bit about it when I was young.

    Nevertheless, generally, we treat abusers, murderers, and torturers as criminals even if we may sometimes mediate the punishment because of the background. And, chiefly, we aim to stop the crimes, whatever the punishment may be.

    I think we can all, Jews and others, be understanding of the background that has led to Israel’s becoming the violence- and crime-addicted country it is today. But that should not lead us to accept the continuation of that violence and crime.

    Our uncomplaining acceptance of it (given that we are aware of it) becomes our violence and our crime. We become complicit. Accessories after the fact.

    And it is NOT just a problem for members of Jewish communities, even though it is a particularly poignant problem for members of any such community.

    The gift that Tema Okun brings us is her attempt to deal with that very special and difficult problem in a way to make it comprehensible to non-Jews (and Jews not members of such communities). She is helping every person to ask “what will it take to say enough?”. I hope President Obama reads this beautiful essay.

    • Citizen
      June 6, 2010, 8:04 am

      Yes, pabelmount; Tema Okun shows the emotional divide collapsing the bridge between the heart and the logical & compassionate mind. And yes, it is NOT just a problem for Jews; rather, nearly as especially, given American values and America’s long enablement of Israel right or wrong,
      a problem for Gentile Americans.

  2. Mooser
    June 5, 2010, 3:29 pm

    The only Jewish community I can have any influence is the one inside me.

    • Mooser
      June 5, 2010, 3:37 pm

      “And me, I don’t see these diehard Israel supporters as human in my turn, because I hate their inability to see the Palestinians as fully human, and as a result I am unable to appreciate their complexity, their complications”

      You’re intolerant because you can’t tolerate their intolerance? Look, you can’t give them back what they have forfeited. And every time someone tries, they throw it away again.

      • demize
        June 5, 2010, 5:16 pm

        That was very well said Mooser. I reserve only scorn for people who would mobilize to support a Fascist State. I can barely mobilize myself most of the time, let alone when I’m outraged. It takes a certain kind of prick to be either so callous, blind, racist, supremicist to wave a Magen-David today.

      • Mooser
        June 5, 2010, 7:55 pm

        But as I have said, I consider most Israelis to be victims of Zionism. Certainly not the primary victims, and probably not unwilling victims in many cases, And certainly not tops on the list of those needing the world’s help. But I have no doubt that Zionism victimises all but the Israeli elite.

      • Citizen
        June 6, 2010, 8:08 am

        Would a complex mentality, such a person argue that nothing short of gassing en masse is worth pondering regarding what one rubber-stamps?
        Why not just lobotomize history itself? And psychology and culture too.

  3. Walid
    June 5, 2010, 3:33 pm

    Your comments were right-on with Tema’s great essay , Pabelmont, but who made Obama the Jews’ keeper? This is a Jewish-Jewish problem that has to fixed by Jews.

    • Psychopathic god
      June 5, 2010, 7:27 pm

      Walid, 1. J Street’s method for solving this “Jewish-Jewish problem” is “tell Obama to solve it.” If it’s really a “Jewish-Jewish problem,” then Jews need to be calling to account their own people, demanding that their leaders take the hits, the risks, and make the changes. Obama should NOT be expected to take political risks in the US to change a sick government in Israel. We Americans did not vote for Israeli government, Jews and Israelis did.

      2. Nevertheless, Americans do have a right to make demands of Jews AND of Obama. Out country is at risk due to Israeli government actions, or tax dollars fund the madness, our political leaders give Israel cover. We Americans have a right and obligation to demand the changes we think necessary, and accountability from our government for its own wrongs as well as those it enable Israel to do.

      • Mooser
        June 5, 2010, 8:03 pm

        “Nevertheless, Americans do have a right to make demands of Jews…”

        Perhaps by distributing demands for reparations to synagogues, where Jewish leaders can apportion which Jew pays how much?

        I gotta keep telling you this: When you say Israel is a Jewish problem, it enables ignoring the magnitude of the problem. For instance, what is the Jewish position on nuclear proliferation?

        There’s no happy ending for this, no way we can balance the harm done by Israel with all the credit we will get for stopping Israel and restoring our reputation for justice. And Israel is not, not going to do anything but ignore American Jews, organised as such. Zionism is a one-way street for American Jews, you give and Israel takes. Just try to make the flow go the other way! As far as I know, Israel doesn’t deal with American Jews or even “worldwide Jewry”. Israel deals direct with the US government and military.

      • Citizen
        June 6, 2010, 8:14 am

        Would an American joint-Jewish-Gentile grass roots movement to
        pick up where the two murdered Kennedy brothers be of use, asking
        our government to declare AIPAC to register as a foreign agent, and asking for Israel to fully participate in international nuclear curbs?

      • Citizen
        June 6, 2010, 8:15 am

        I mean, pick up where the brothers left off.

      • Psychopathic god
        June 6, 2010, 3:51 pm

        I guess I have to let go of a petty hurt.
        About 2 years ago our peace group was really upset with a program UJF had presented in our community. We decided the best way to deal with our anger was to defuse it — the Ben & Jerry philosophy: the best way to deal with an enemy is to make him a friend (hey, don’t laugh if it’s not so intellectual; we’re not jewish).

        We decided to have a potluck dinner — Jewish, Muslim, Christian, at somebody’s home, not a public place — warm, homey home. We drew up a guest list, passed around the list that says who will bring what so we wouldn’t end up with too much Lutheran jello and not enough Muslim humus. We jiggered the schedule so the maximum number of people could attend.
        We called the moderate rabbi we thought would be most receptive to our plan and extended the invitation. He responded with insults and derogatory remarks. We were stunned.
        As the rest of the group got the news, one by one schedule conflicts were discovered, food issues made participation impossible, and a flurry of “it’s a good idea but I can’t attend” replaced earlier, “I’ll be there with bells on.”
        Maybe we need to try again.
        and again
        and again

  4. Kathleen
    June 5, 2010, 4:29 pm

    For far too long when some Jews say “never again” they just mean “never again” for Jews. Things have been shifting the last five years in a tidal wave. Jews and others are figuring out that legitimate criticism of Israel’s brutal policies does not mean that a person hates Jews, Israel or that they are a self hating Jew.

    Important article

    link to guardian.co.uk
    Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range
    “He calculated that during the bloodiest part of the assault, Israeli commandos shot one person every minute. One man was fatally shot in the back of the head just two feet in front him and another was shot once between the eyes. He added that as well as the fatally wounded, 48 others were suffering from gunshot wounds and six activists remained missing, suggesting the death toll may increase.

    The new information about the manner and intensity of the killings undermines Israel’s insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists.”

  5. Kathleen
    June 5, 2010, 4:33 pm

    “Central to this story is that I am a Jew. I am a Jew who has spent four summers in Palestine witnessing the toll that more than 40 years of Israeli occupation has taken on a people and on a land. I am a Jew who has come to understand, as the sign I was holding yesterday attests, that we are forsaking Jewish values for the sake of a Jewish state. ”

    Awesome Tema your humanity is still alive and well. I have friends who have gone and lived with Palestinians for close to 20 winters. The stories they would come back with that they had witnessed with their own eyes were horrendous. Now the world is witnessing through the brutality on the humanitarian flotilla what the Palestinians have been dealing with for decades.

    Edward Said, Norman Finkelstein are some of my heroes

  6. Ander
    June 5, 2010, 4:47 pm

    A courageous, honest and beautifully personal political article. I believe there is an important difference, though, between the author and those she confronted at the rally: She became aware of her intolerance and expressed her wish to overcome it, the others apparently remain trapped in it. But who knows, maybe in their hidden and unspoken complexities they desperately wish to know the way out too?

  7. lysias
    June 5, 2010, 6:01 pm

    “Artık yeter” on the banners Turks are carrying can be translated into Jewish English as “Enough already!”

    • lysias
      June 5, 2010, 6:12 pm

      A translation into standard American English that occurs to me is “That does it!”

      • demize
        June 5, 2010, 6:20 pm

        ¡Basta Ya! Spanish

      • lysias
        June 5, 2010, 6:45 pm

        The Jews in Turkey speak Judeo-Spanish, aka Ladino. I wonder if that’s how it’s said in that language.

      • Psychopathic god
        June 5, 2010, 7:32 pm

        lysias, does that indicate that the Jews in Turkey are heirs to Spanish Jews who were invited to migrate to Ottoman Turkey in 15th century?

      • demize
        June 5, 2010, 9:01 pm

        Well, it sure sounds close enough to what my Grandpa used to say to me. He was Portuguese -Saphardic. He was a great man. A sailor, seved in WWI and was wounded by a German U-boats deck gun.

      • lysias
        June 5, 2010, 11:38 pm

        Yes indeed. Those Jews were very grateful to be treated hospitably by the Ottoman Empire, and their descendants still are. And the Zionist fanatics would like nothing better than to make it impossible for them to continue to live in Turkey.

  8. James
    June 5, 2010, 6:03 pm

    tema – thanks for taking a position that considers others well being regardless of nationality or race.. your approach is what the world needs more of…..

  9. Les
    June 5, 2010, 6:04 pm

    Will there be a New York ship joining the next flotilla?

    • Avi
      June 5, 2010, 6:13 pm

      Bloomberg won’t allow it.

      • demize
        June 5, 2010, 6:19 pm

        He bought all the boats.

  10. optimax
    June 5, 2010, 6:05 pm

    Why has the world forgotten the 6 million non-Jews killed in the Nazi concentration camp? This is sad.

  11. thankgodimatheist
    June 5, 2010, 6:45 pm

    My feeling, very pessimistic today is that for every 1 Jew who’s saying or is going to say enough, nine would call him a traitor. And if tomorrow, a sinister hypothesis, the Palestinians were to be herded into concentration camps and gas chambers, for very one Jew who screams no, nine are going to say, oh, but they aren’t really gas chambers. As they’re a bit unwashed, they needed a shower.

  12. Psychopathic god
    June 5, 2010, 7:17 pm

    The six millionth Jew was not killed on the first day.

    The Eight Stages of Genocide

    By Gregory H. Stanton, President, Genocide Watch

    Classification
    Symbolization
    Dehumanization
    Organization
    Polarization
    Preparation
    Extermination
    Denial

    Genocide is a process that develops in eight stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it. The process is not linear. Logically, later stages must be preceded by earlier stages. But all stages continue to operate throughout the process.

    1. CLASSIFICATION: All cultures have categories to distinguish people into “us and them” by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality: German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi. Bipolar societies that lack mixed categories, such as Rwanda and Burundi, are the most likely to have genocide. The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend ethnic or racial divisions, that actively promote tolerance and understanding, and that promote classifications that transcend the divisions. The Catholic church could have played this role in Rwanda, had it not been riven by the same ethnic cleavages as Rwandan society. Promotion of a common language in countries like Tanzania has also promoted transcendent national identity. This search for common ground is vital to early prevention of genocide.

    2. SYMBOLIZATION: We give names or other symbols to the classifications. We name people “Jews” or “Gypsies”, or distinguish them by colors or dress; and apply the symbols to members of groups. Classification and symbolization are universally human and do not necessarily result in genocide unless they lead to the next stage, dehumanization. When combined with hatred, symbols may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups: the yellow star for Jews under Nazi rule, the blue scarf for people from the Eastern Zone in Khmer Rouge Cambodia. To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be legally forbidden (swastikas) as can hate speech. Group marking like gang clothing or tribal scarring can be outlawed, as well. The problem is that legal limitations will fail if unsupported by popular cultural enforcement. Though Hutu and Tutsi were forbidden words in Burundi until the 1980’s, code-words replaced them. If widely supported, however, denial of symbolization can be powerful, as it was in Bulgaria, where the government refused to supply enough yellow badges and at least eighty percent of Jews did not wear them, depriving the yellow star of its significance as a Nazi symbol for Jews.

    3. DEHUMANIZATION: One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or diseases. Dehumanization overcomes the normal human revulsion against murder. At this stage, hate propaganda in print and on hate radios is used to vilify the victim group. In combating this dehumanization, incitement to genocide should not be confused with protected speech. Genocidal societies lack constitutional protection for countervailing speech, and should be treated differently than democracies. Local and international leaders should condemn the use of hate speech and make it culturally unacceptable. Leaders who incite genocide should be banned from international travel and have their foreign finances frozen. Hate radio stations should be shut down, and hate propaganda banned. Hate crimes and atrocities should be promptly punished.

    4. ORGANIZATION: Genocide is always organized, usually by the state, often using militias to provide deniability of state responsibility (the Janjaweed in Darfur.) Sometimes organization is informal (Hindu mobs led by local RSS militants) or decentralized (terrorist groups.) Special army units or militias are often trained and armed. Plans are made for genocidal killings. To combat this stage, membership in these militias should be outlawed. Their leaders should be denied visas for foreign travel. The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres, and create commissions to investigate violations, as was done in post-genocide Rwanda.

    5. POLARIZATION: Extremists drive the groups apart. Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda. Laws may forbid intermarriage or social interaction. Extremist terrorism targets moderates, intimidating and silencing the center. Moderates from the perpetrators’ own group are most able to stop genocide, so are the first to be arrested and killed. Prevention may mean security protection for moderate leaders or assistance to human rights groups. Assets of extremists may be seized, and visas for international travel denied to them. Coups d’état by extremists should be opposed by international sanctions.

    6. PREPARATION: Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity. Death lists are drawn up. Members of victim groups are forced to wear identifying symbols. Their property is expropriated. They are often segregated into ghettoes, deported into concentration camps, or confined to a famine-struck region and starved. At this stage, a Genocide Emergency must be declared. If the political will of the great powers, regional alliances, or the U.N. Security Council can be mobilized, armed international intervention should be prepared, or heavy assistance provided to the victim group to prepare for its self-defense. Otherwise, at least humanitarian assistance should be organized by the U.N. and private relief groups for the inevitable tide of refugees to come.

    7. EXTERMINATION begins, and quickly becomes the mass killing legally called “genocide.” It is “extermination” to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human. When it is sponsored by the state, the armed forces often work with militias to do the killing. Sometimes the genocide results in revenge killings by groups against each other, creating the downward whirlpool-like cycle of bilateral genocide (as in Burundi). At this stage, only rapid and overwhelming armed intervention can stop genocide. Real safe areas or refugee escape corridors should be established with heavily armed international protection. (An unsafe “safe” area is worse than none at all.) The U.N. Standing High Readiness Brigade, EU Rapid Response Force, or regional forces — should be authorized to act by the U.N. Security Council if the genocide is small. For larger interventions, a multilateral force authorized by the U.N. should intervene. If the U.N. is paralyzed, regional alliances must act. It is time to recognize that the international responsibility to protect transcends the narrow interests of individual nation states. If strong nations will not provide troops to intervene directly, they should provide the airlift, equipment, and financial means necessary for regional states to intervene.

    8. DENIAL is the eighth stage that always follows a genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern until driven from power by force, when they flee into exile. There they remain with impunity, like Pol Pot or Idi Amin, unless they are captured and a tribunal is established to try them. The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts. There the evidence can be heard, and the perpetrators punished. Tribunals like the Yugoslav or Rwanda Tribunals, or an international tribunal to try the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, or an International Criminal Court may not deter the worst genocidal killers. But with the political will to arrest and prosecute them, some may be brought to justice.

    • Bumblebye
      June 5, 2010, 8:45 pm

      Genocide Watch. Do they have any credibility? I looked at their Jan 2010 “crisis watch” report. Under Western Europe/Mediterannean, the only countries mentioned are
      Basque country
      Cyprus
      Northern Ireland
      Turkey

      Is there one missing?

  13. occupy nomo
    June 5, 2010, 7:40 pm

    I attended the protest rally in San Francisco today. As expected there was a contingent of pro Israelis with their Israel and American flags. I watched the pro Israeli group as well as the pro Pal rally with a heavy heart. 1. Being pro Israel portrayed as being pro America, ie if you are with “them” you are on the wrong side. 2. So much pain and anger on the palestinian side; the sense that for so long nobody has listened to them. Speakers not necessarily eloquent but full of raw emotion. 3. The pro Israel group was playing music and I saw some dancing, apparently an attempt to show how much they love Israel. One side talking about flotilla deaths, occupation, the other dancing ! 4. For the pro israel group it seemed like the death of 9 flotilla activists, the occupation, settlements, 2 states for 2 people……..were all irrelevant.

    This was a day for Palestinian solidarity. As one of the speakers said: the US congress, the US senate, over $3 billion in aid, and practically the entire US media is not enough, they had to be there to rub it in the face of the pro Palestinians.

    • Mooser
      June 5, 2010, 8:16 pm

      American Jews don’t like losing, and consider themselves emtitled to a win. So you see, it’s important to tell them how much they love justice, how liberal and righteous they are, for even daring to speak about the problem. Whatever you do, don’t tell them you’ll consider their reputation for all those things after they have sucessfully ameliorated Israel’s intransigence! No, no, they should get all the credit for succeeding, just for talking about doing something about it.
      But to actually wait and see if American Jews (as such) can actually do a goddam thing about Israeli intransigence before hailing them as justice heroes is anti-Semitic! And besides, it’ll discourage them, and they will go back to being Zionists.

    • demize
      June 5, 2010, 9:05 pm

      Lemme guess, they were doing the “whora”. Couldn’t resist. I identify as Anarchist but traitor just rolls of the toungue so easily.

  14. Judy
    June 5, 2010, 8:04 pm

    Nomo… I share your amazement that people can hold their star of david flags and CELEBRATE the events of the last week. The pro-Israeli supporters I encountered were proud, and seemed to take delight in the ability to bully others. I find those IDF-wannabees pathetic.

    Resistance
    Is justified
    When people
    are occupied.

    That was a chant I heard for the first time today and I think it’s quite true.
    I think that there needs to be a wider discussion about what is and is not acceptable. On one hand, the pro-Israeli crowd delights in the IDF ability to kick ass. Perhaps there is inherited shame at the passivity with which European Jews responded to the Nazi effort to exterminate them. I can understand this. But those same cheerleaders for Israel are also the first to decry Palestinian resistance. Is the contrast in responses too painful?

    • demize
      June 5, 2010, 9:08 pm

      Judy, we had a pretty heated discussion on that in the “Can Israel kill Americans thread”.

      • Judy
        June 6, 2010, 3:14 pm

        Thanks. I will go check it out!

      • Judy
        June 6, 2010, 3:31 pm

        Just to clarify, I am not advocating terrorism as resistance, but rather nonviolent resistance expressed by the Flotilla, BDS, etc.

  15. Richard Parker
    June 5, 2010, 8:07 pm

    What is quite astonishing and hypocritical are the Jewish and Israeli reactions to the Flotilla Massacre (see elsewhere for proof of this) are the virulent attacks on Flotilla participants and Turkey in general, as if they were to blame for a dawn (Muslim prayer hour) attack on an unarmed ship, and 700 volunteers, already inspected for arms by Israel’s supposedly closest Muslim ally.

    Here are a few articles about Jewish/Israeli counter-demonstrations, linked by Yaniv Reich of Hybrid States:
    link to hybridstates.com

    The Freedom Flotilla has inspired some rabid and quite insane responses from my countrypeople and co-religionists. The following videos/articles don’t need a lot of extra commentary. I just wanted to put together some examples of the true insanity one sees coming out of Israel and the Jewish community. This is, in my view, the strongest evidence possible not only of Israel’s guilt in this matter (why else such violent defensiveness?) but also of our exact historical place in the inevitable decline of the ultra-Zionist worldview that has gripped my people for the last 70 years, with seemingly increasing intensity each passing moment of our lives.

    Israelis demonstrate in favor of the IDF’s actions, chanting “Death to Arabs! Death to leftists!”
    Knesset members nearly attack Palestinian-Israeli MK Zuabi, calling for her citizenship to be stripped.
    Facebook group calling for MK Zuabi to be killed.
    The Jewish Week (an American Jewish magazine) publishes an op-ed calling for a war crime to be committed against next flotilla.
    Israel navy officer saying flotilla “result is near perfect.”
    The Zionist Organization of America calls for an investigation into Turkey’s role (yes, you read that right) in the flotilla fiasco.
    Israelis burn Turkish flag, i.e. the flag of their closest ally in the Middle East, in front of Turkish embassy.
    Rightists berate Tel Avivians (for being “indifferent”, call them “traitors”) and attack former left-wing Knesset member Uri Avnery

    Sorry, I can’t transpose these links to Mondoweiss; you’ll have to go to Hybrid States to click the links.
    link to hybridstates.com

    The truly disappointing aspect of this is that a huge majority of Israelis believe the ‘official line’ crap (just as they did about Operation Cast Lead), and a whole load of dumb Americans will follow them.

    • Citizen
      June 6, 2010, 8:25 am

      Meanwhile, e.g., Fox News has responded to pleas to show more context than the
      Israeli navy’s tape of activists beating Israeli commandoes with chairs and boat rail poles–by airing Israeli audio tapes of the boat people saying things to the Israeli navy like, “Go back to Auschwitz.”

    • Psychopathic god
      June 6, 2010, 4:01 pm

      CA Rep Sherman wants American participants in flotilla charged with terror crimes.

      sputter sputter sputter! no, make that, god damn it! ISRAEL KILLS AN AMERICAN and Americans are the terrorists? in what alternate universe?

      Why the f*&%k should Americans be accused of something that offends Israel? Israel is NOT America.

  16. Jeffrey Blankfort
    June 5, 2010, 8:20 pm

    I was luckier than Tema because I was fortunately not indoctrinated into the notion that there was something called Jewish values which were or supposed to be on a higher plane than the values of non-Jews. Many Jews on the Left have looked at the contributions Jewish radicals and revolutionaries played in the 19th and 20th centuries (while ignoring their mistakes) and internalized those as Jewish values. They’re not.

    From what I have seen and read of the behavior of the organized Jewish communites outside of Israel, in the US and Western Europe, both secular and religious, in the six decades since Israel’s founding, there is nothing about them that to celebrate or emulate and it is time that serious anti-zionist Jews come to terms with that.

    Ending, not suspending, the years of US support for Israel that can be traced to the economic and political power of that organized Jewish community is the responsibility of all Americans and if that means offending the sensibilties of those Jews who stand in the way with or without their Israel flags, so be it. They are not victims and Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians can not be excused or rationalized as being similar to the case of a child who has been battered becoming a batterer as an adult but it is simply the last vestige of white racist European colonialism. The Jews in Palestine who massacred the Plaestinians and carried out the ethnic cleansing were NOT the holocaust survivors but Jews who had emigrated to Palestine before or at the very beginning of the Nazi takeover.

    There is no excuse in the world for what they did to the Palestinians then. And there is no excuse in the world for what they are doing to them today.

    • Mooser
      June 5, 2010, 8:32 pm

      I was entranced with Jewish values for the first part of my life. Than that drunken guy came after me with the knife, and I got disillusioned, and that pretty damn fast. I was cynical about Jewish values after that.

  17. demize
    June 5, 2010, 9:11 pm

    Uri Avnery had a smoke grenade tossed at him while he was speaking today. He was then attacked by fascists and had to be led away by police.

    • Avi
      June 6, 2010, 12:30 am

      That smoke grenade had to have come from the IOF’s inventory. You can’t walk into a store in Israel and purchase a smoke grenade.

      • Avi
        June 6, 2010, 12:33 am

        It could also have been home-made, by the way.

        Whatever. that’s irrelevant.

        The point is, this time it was smoke, what are they going to use next time, Acid, like they did in the evacuation of the Gaza colonies? Or worse?

      • demize
        June 6, 2010, 3:00 am

        Well Avi I’ll tell you if it wasa store bought it said “Grenade-Smoke.Pull pin and hold away from face. M109US.”

  18. mjhw
    June 9, 2010, 3:27 pm

    Thank you, Tema, for this real-time account of the terrible experience we have all suffered, of being dragged into the terrible cycle of anger and resentment that has propagated this conflict for sixty years. It isn’t easy to experience and as you say, it’s shaming to recall. But we need clear accounts like yours to remind us that such exchanges never move us toward our goal. The ability of non-violent resisters like you to carry the issue to a higher level has made a difference, and will make a bigger one.
    With thanks for all you do,
    Heidi Wilson
    Orford, NH

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