When brown shirts attacked my father

Israel/Palestine
on 59 Comments

Lillian Rosengarten, writing at the Palestine Chronicle:

Uri Avneri’s always powerful observations raise the most profound question. How can it happen, the lure of Fascism that oozes into the fabric of societies with the promise of a better life? There are always those who are not vulnerable to the language of temptation, the racist rhetoric that tears a society apart. These heroes become freedom fighters. An example is Hans Lebrecht, my father’s first cousin, who was an active resistance fighter in World War 11, a noted Communist activist, and a supporter and writer for Gush Shalom. He was my mentor and beloved friend. Now in his 90’s’, he resides at Kibbutz Beit-Oren. I cannot visit him for I am not allowed to return to Israel because I have dissented against their injustice to Palestinians. Here is a still timely quote from “JewishFriends of Palestine Gateway, by Hans.

“I am sorry and upset that now, as an active member of the CP and the progressive peace camp in Israel, I still have to fight fascism. I am currently a member of the leading bureau of the International Federation of Resistance Fighters. The fight against neofascism in Europe and throughout the capitalist world continues. This includes against the fascist hoodlums in Israel who attempt to torpedo the peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians.”

I too was an eye witness, one might say:

Try to imagine a beautiful evening in the fall of 1934. My parents decide to take an after dinner stroll in the elegant neighborhood where they lived on Feuerbach Strasse in Frankfurt. Linden trees grew tall and the air was filled with blossoms. They walked along the quiet street when suddenly from nowhere, out sprang a group of young men. “Brown Shirts” they were called, a precursor to the SS, the feared Nazi police. That was how it began, the debauchery of Germany.

The men marched up to my parents and simultaneously clicked their heels. They were no more than 18 years old, clean shaven angel faces hardly out of childhood indoctrinated with hate. Were they children once? Five brown shirts, high boots laced over brown pants, Nazi flags pinned on brown caps, swastika armbands in red white and black. In high spirits they were on a path to lunacy where linden trees would bloom no more.

One Brown Shirt stepped up close to my father, a finger on his nose. He laughed then circled about. “Come see the Jew nose,” he bellowed. The others cursed and mocked. My father, elegant in a tailored suit, silk tie and expensive overcoat wore fine black leather gloves. A small Florentine gold pin engraved with a diamond “L was visible on his tie. I would see it often as a child just as I had heard this story from my father so often. My mother pregnant with me wore a sable fur hat to match the collar and cuffs of her stylish coat. As I lay inside my mother, I became an unseen witness. Perhaps that can explain my lifelong vulnerability and sensitivity to racism and fascism.

Number two kicked, taunted, cursed, then punched my father in the face until he bled. The others kicked him onto the ground. The Brown Shirt angel faces in high spirits kicked some more and marched away. This episode was a deciding factor in my father’s decision to leave Germany. It took him two years to get us out.

I see the face of Fascism here in the US as right wing pundits seize on the political climate of high unemployment, fear of the future,  loss of power, loss of homes and hope. Americans who feel abandoned and exploited hear right wing rhetoric, words that terrorize and manipulate and then vote against their interests. It seems the climate is right for fascism with the breakdown of a social democracy which is known to raise the standards of living for its most vulnerable population and everyone.
 
Scapegoating and blaming the other becomes the norm and quickly there emerges the “them” and “us” rhetoric, the good and the evil, the split that separates and creates walls.

High unemployment, despair and fear also permeated German society when Hitler’s strong rhetoric mesmerized a population that heard and embraced big daddy tell them he would lead them into prosperity.

From my view, racism is a precursor to fascism. In addition, a nationalistic identity of moral superiority, closes off the potential to reflect and consider one’s actions in as much as they have create a moral morass and a dangerous direction for Israel.

I beg you Israel, speak with your enemies, let dissenters raise their voices. Allow for debate and discussion. Become an open society, embrace your enemies, do not treat them with disrespect and disgust.  Tear down the wall of hate. Do not be afraid to change your direction.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

59 Responses

  1. Les
    October 30, 2010, 1:50 pm

    Be sure to read Glenn Greenwald’s article about the Chicago Tribune’s publication of a death threat by Jonathan Goldberg against Julian Assange.

    link to salon.com

  2. potsherd
    October 30, 2010, 2:02 pm

    If they would only listen.

  3. Citizen
    October 30, 2010, 2:43 pm

    I fear for America. Too many otherwise decent and law-abiding citizens I know are scared stiff their nice (and very modest, actually) Christian lives will be buried by the Muslims; they predict an Islamic canvas prison (referring to female Arab dress, especially the veiled or covered faces, future stoning deaths, women riding only in the back of trucks) as the America of
    2050–their hope is that Israel stops the Islamofascists. They ignore Israel otherwise, especially the plight of the natives of Palestine.

    • Citizen
      October 30, 2010, 2:45 pm

      These people will go to war to help Israel punch out Iran, no matter how many other wars we already have on the front burner.

    • potsherd
      October 30, 2010, 9:39 pm

      Fears stoked by political opportunists, peddling lies.

  4. jonah
    October 30, 2010, 3:57 pm

    Lillian, how can Israel speak with these (and other) enemies, the Islamist equivalent to the German “Braun Shirts”?

    link to haaretz.com

  5. Eva Smagacz
    October 30, 2010, 4:55 pm

    Sorry Jonah, but you do not understand the difference between resistance and opression. Or you do understand it and cynically paint first as the second. Either way, you are advancing the growth of very society that Lilian Rosengarten is warning you about.

    • jonah
      October 30, 2010, 5:12 pm

      So explain me, Eva, what is the difference between “resistance” and “oppression” regarding the statement “Israel must be wiped out of existence”?

      • talknic
        October 30, 2010, 8:54 pm

        jonah

        “So explain me..”

        AGAIN? How long did it take you to learn to breathe out

        Do not unto others … link to wp.me

        • bigbill
          November 1, 2010, 6:18 am

          Jonah, “resistance” is what we (the good people) do, “oppression” is what the others (the bad people) do.

          It has been so for the entirety of human existence. Every group believes it is sweetness and light and the other guys are bad. In this respect the Jews are a nation like any other nation.

        • Shingo
          November 1, 2010, 7:15 am

          “Jonah, “resistance” is what we (the good people) do, “oppression” is what the others (the bad people) do.”‘

          Go easy on Jonah people. One has to remember that he considers himself part of the tribe that claims to be victims while victimizing others.

          As far as he’s concerned, they are one and the same.

      • Avi
        October 31, 2010, 5:17 am

        Wiped off the map.

        UN Partition Plan of Palestine:November 29, 1947

        Less than a month later, Zionist militias started their ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

        Between December 1947 – May 15, 1948
        Operation Ben-Ami
        Operation Mishmar Ha-Emek
        Operation Chametz (Hebrew for Sour)
        Operation Barak
        Operation Nachshon
        Operation Har’el
        Operation Maccabi
        Operation Yevussi
        Operation Shfiffon (Hebrew for Pseudocerastes, i.e. Viper snake)
        Operation Pitchfork

        Between May 15, 1948 – June 11, 1948
        Operation Ben-Nun (pronounced: Noon)
        Operation Yoram
        Operation Kilshon

        Between July 8, 1948 – July 18, 1948
        Operation Dekel
        Operation Dani
        Operation Anfaar

        July 18, 1948 – November, 1948
        Operation Hiram
        Operation Shoter
        Operation Nikahyon ( Nikayon means Cleaning)
        Operation Yo’av
        Operation Ha-Haar

        A Nation destroyed. A Landscape transformed.

        Land Ownership in 1946

        Population in 1946

        Towns and villages ethnically cleansed in 1948

        Sources & Maps courtesy of Palestine Remembered

        ========
        Most recently as of September, 2010

        Source data: Mondoweiss.
        Map: Yours truly.
        ========

        • RoHa
          October 31, 2010, 6:18 am

          There you go again, Avi.
          Bringing in historical facts.
          When will you learn that they have nothing to do with the Israeli story?

        • Avi
          October 31, 2010, 8:47 am

          RoHa October 31, 2010 at 6:18 am

          When will you learn that they have nothing to do with the Israeli story?

          Don’t get up on me just yet, RoHa….There’s still hope. ;)

        • bijou
          October 31, 2010, 8:53 am

          Thank you for this. Really.

          You forgot one though: Operation Yiftach, which had as one of its sub-components “Operation Matate.” “Matate in Hebrew means “broom.” The connotation of “sweeping out the dirt” is obvious and to me has always been rather horrifying. Recalling that we are talking about expelling people from their homes.

          These were part of the larger Plan Dalet.

        • Avi
          October 31, 2010, 8:57 am

          Avi October 31, 2010 at 8:47 am

          RoHa October 31, 2010 at 6:18 am

          When will you learn that they have nothing to do with the Israeli story?

          Don’t get up on me just yet, RoHa….There’s still hope. ;)

          That was supposed to read: “Don’t give up on me….”

        • Avi
          October 31, 2010, 3:24 pm

          bijou October 31, 2010 at 8:53 am

          Thank you for this. Really.

          You forgot one though: Operation Yiftach, which had as one of its sub-components “Operation Matate.” “Matate in Hebrew means “broom.” The connotation of “sweeping out the dirt” is obvious and to me has always been rather horrifying. Recalling that we are talking about expelling people from their homes.

          These were part of the larger Plan Dalet.

          Of course. I can’t believe I didn’t include that. Plan Dalet. That was a large scale operation.

  6. lareineblanche
    October 30, 2010, 6:09 pm

    I see the face of Fascism here in the US as right wing pundits seize on the political climate of high unemployment, fear of the future, loss of power, loss of homes and hope. Americans who feel abandoned and exploited hear right wing rhetoric, words that terrorize and manipulate and then vote against their interests.

    Truer words were never spoken. This is the technique most often used, fear is a potent weapon. It’s really the political class preying on the American populace while its guard is down, exploiting a momentary weakness in order to pass policies that they would normally reject.

    In addition, a nationalistic identity of moral superiority, closes off the potential to reflect and consider one’s actions

    It’s worthwhile to consider the distinction between the words “nation” and “state”, and the way the two have been confused throughout history, and how the concept of “nation” has slid over to become synonymous with “state”. I’m reading a book by Pierre Maugué (Against the Nation-State) which traces various nationalist movements from 18th-Century Europe up to the present, marking the difference between national liberation movements (generally without military power to represent them), and established states, which seek to absorb the less powerful nationalist movements into themselves by enforcing a kind of linguistic hegemony.
    It’s also interesting that in France, journalists often refer to Israel as “l’Etat Hébreu” (“the Hebrew state”), defining it by a specific language. I’d conjecture that Israel more closely resembles a nation that a state, and all the baggage that can go along with it (“loyalty oath”, affirming a certain cultural and ethnic identity, etc.).
    All of this tends towards the exacerbation of nationalist tendencies rather than the building of a veritable state which defines itself more by the rule of law which is to be applied to all of its natural born citizens, regardless of their ethnic, historical or religious affiliations.
    I agree we’re treading in dangerous territory here.
    An occasion to cite one of my favorite quotes, from the Justice William O. Douglas :

    As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such a twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – least we become victims of the darkness

  7. DICKERSON3870
    October 30, 2010, 6:45 pm

    RE: “Scapegoating and blaming the other becomes the norm and quickly there emerges the ‘them’ and ‘us’ rhetoric, the good and the evil, the split that separates and creates walls.” – Ms Lillian

    SEE: The Architecture of Doom (Undergångens Arkitektur)1991, NR, 119 minutes (on YouTube in 12 segments & available for streaming at Netflix, German language, English subtitles)
    This chilling documentary explores how artistic, cultural and historical trends forged the National Socialist aesthetic, which in turn contributed to the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust. Swedish-born filmmaker Peter Cohen, whose parents escaped the Nazis, examines Hitler’s failed career as an artist, his fascination with Wagner, the Nazi obsession with cleanliness, the paradoxical link between “beauty” and evil in the Third Reich, and more.
    NETFLIX LISTING – link to netflix.com
    YouTube, Architecture of Doom (12 segments) – link to youtube.com

    ALSO FROM NETFLIX (DVD only):
    Max, 2002, R, 108 minutes
    Menno Meyjes directs this fictionalized account of the relationship of a young German painter — the yet-to-be-notorious Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor) — and Max Rothman (John Cusack), a Jewish art teacher who doesn’t nurture the fledgling artist. Perhaps as a result, Hitler begins to take a greater interest in politics. Could Hitler’s horrifying cruelty have been prevented had he channeled his energy toward making art? [as I recall, produced by Sidney Blumenthal, among others]

    Cast: John Cusack, Noah Taylor, Molly Parker, Leelee Sobieski, Ulrich Thomsen, David Horovitch, Janet Suzman, Andras Stohl, Peter Capaldi, Yuliya Vysotskaya, Kevin McKidd
    Director: Menno Meyjes
    Genres:Drama, Biographies, 20th Century Period Pieces, Political Dramas, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Period Pieces
    This movie is: Dark
    Format: DVD

  8. VR
    October 30, 2010, 7:02 pm

    First, you have the visible government, that which consists of elections, public offices, and it’s three branches. You could call this the facade, or the face of the State, and this is what we are taught in public school.

    Than there is the State, which is the financial structure of the political economy, the basic interest of finance capital both domestic and foreign. This is typified by multi-national corporations, what you are not taught in public school.

    This dual system which empirically overlaps is what we must recognize, as the two parts of the State. The government deals with interest conflict groups and popular demands, it provides the cloak for the State power and provides some of the substance for democratic rule.

    Why do I make this distinction between State and government? We have to understand that taking an office in government does not guarantee access to State power. What is State power? It is the military, police, security forces, intelligence services, the courts, and the whole set of laws that rig the system for the moneyed and propertied class – an elected leader cannot necessarily have access to this.

    One can see this in the recent change in elected officials, who quite frankly have no interest in serving the people, but only the elite class which wields this State power. When the people through democracy move against the those with property and privilege, they use this State power to put a stop to the process of democracy.

    So we must understand that we face a State (not to be confused with the government per se, but definitely in collusion with) which works powerfully against any democratic reform, whether it be domestic or the will of the people to stop this war machine. It (the State, consisting of a moneyed and propertied elite, represented in corporations and institutions, and the power structure it wields) wishes to ROLL BACK any democratic advance.

    Without a knowledge of the difference between the government and the State we go nowhere fast, this is because the people apply pressure at the wrong points.

    • VR
      October 30, 2010, 7:47 pm

      Yes, I know that what I wrote above might be a bit confusing, but it is the truth – it is just like the other definitions we have willing swallowed, like “law and order.” But what does it mean? I submit that it is deceptively reversed, it should not be called law and order, but instead “Order and Law.” So even the appearance of the phrase, how the words are positioned, is meant to deceive. Distinctions have to be made, and we have to ask ourselves are these things we are taught, do they really reflect reality?

      The word “order” in the phrase has classically been present as “order as opposed to chaos,” that is, keeping things under control. However, this is not the true meaning of the word “order” in the phrase, “order” = the way society is structured. The word “law” is meant to mean some supposed neutral standard or set of rules that is equally applied to all (and we know what a joke that is). However, even a cursory perusal of the law means a legal system set up to the benefit of the few, which hide behind the phrase the “rule of law” in order to work their will with impunity.

      This brings us to the specifics of how society is structured, that is how the United States has in the past and presently functions. We not only have a paternalistic order, but a hierarchical order, one that is separated by a moneyed and propertied class which uses the so-called law to preserve this present order. It is an order which uses all of societies instruments, both forensic and implied, by education which deeply influences definitions, giving it a color of authenticity – legitimacy.

      As I have said in many other postings, one of the most pervasive legal instruments used to maintain the “order” is the corporation, which has been given person-hood (by stealing the use of the 14th Amendment, through the findings of “law”). In fact, I think that most would agree that corporations have risen above the status of mere person-hood – they are super-persons.

      They have been given power, opportunity, and the sovereignty that should only be the province of organic persons. In fact, organic people are on their way out, corporations are the new “we the people.”

      Corporations are merely the housing and protection unit of the elite propertied and moneyed class, which has become the predominant means of employing the people so that we are mired in a conflict of interest, how can we fight that which has been made our master (I am not primarily talking about mom and pop businesses, but multi-national corporations)? It is so twisted that we endow a good portion of destructive corporations with the success which will ensure our own demise.

      We are forced to participate in this corporate monstrosity, that legally preserves the present order, and we suffer from a lack of resources, which are equally withheld by embedded financial institutions in the service of this same elite order.

      The law is merely the whore which is at the beck and call of the established elite order. This is why the enforcers of the law, police action, in any confrontation between people and the corporation is ALWAYS used to suppress the people. The present order could not exist without the jackbooted thugs (it has been that way even before police forces), and the sell-out of the legal structure. Essentially police and other various agencies are here to preserve the present “order,” and the legal system serves the present order from top to bottom.

      WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?

      The present order, and the law which preserves it , cannot co-exist with democracy – they are mutually exclusive. It is failure to understand this that causes untold frustration and grief for the people. You cannot merely ADJUST the present order, because the moneyed and propertied elite will never step down – it will only INCREASE and spread all over the world, as is presently taking place. The global agenda that is occurring now is nothing but the extension of this same order reproducing itself all over the world.

      It cannot be negotiated away, it cannot be protested away. So it is in the peoples interest to find and use more powerful ways to undo the present order.

      • talknic
        October 31, 2010, 10:46 am

        Not to mention the lucrative industries surrounding our ‘security’.

  9. VR
    October 30, 2010, 8:26 pm

    So, you might ask yourselves – “why did he go through these explanations?” It was not to just take up space, but to show you how systems of this nature lend themselves to fascism. Systems which always seek divisions will always have demons which they fabricate, setting the people off balance so they can be malleable to strike out against the “other.” The striking out is always beneficial to the few by making them more powerful, and it always weakens the people.

    Systems that give carte blanche to their corporations are always susceptible to fascism, because another name for fascism is corporatism. Since the corporations (as I said above) are merely the housing of the elite it is their will which prevails. Governments given to these types of systems are merely a franchise of the elite, and become the visible mechanism which unleashes the fascism. Systems of this nature are always the seed-form for fascism.

    • yourstruly
      October 31, 2010, 6:54 am

      And two years ago during the banking & finance collapse, just who and what runs America couldn’t have been made any clearer. Recall that the House, caught off-guard by the popular opposition to the Obama administration’s initial request for a bailout, voted against it, but that a couple days later the Senate (responding to pressure from corporate MSM) “saved the day” for corporate America by approving said legislation. Then, shortly afterwards, lo and behold, the Tea Party(funded, again by guess who) emerges, picks the usual suspects as its scapegoats (minorities, the poor, pensioners liberals and such), and, presto, Wall Street’s off the hook.

      • VR
        October 31, 2010, 4:25 pm

        I can remember having an argument with Mr. Moore in regard to this issue. He insisted that pressure applied to the congress was going to get them to reject the bail out plan, and I said it was all a ruse and that they would pass the legislation with flying colors eventually.

        WHY OUR GOVERNMENT WILL APPROVE THIS BAILOUT FOR THE FEW

        It is always a confluence of interests and different areas of economy sometimes rise above others, but the one thing that never changes is this systems dedication to take care of the few at the expense of the many. Mr. Moore never got back to me after congress voted for the bailout.

  10. bijou
    October 31, 2010, 11:12 am

    Similar interests have emerged in Israel as Jonathan Cook recently noted:

    ~Quote
    It would be misleading, however, to assume that the only major obstacle to the success of the negotiations is the right-wing political ideology the settler movement represents. Equally important are deeply entrenched economic interests shared across Israeli society….

    ….These groups fear that a peace agreement and Palestinian statehood would turn Israel overnight into an insignificant Middle Eastern state, one that would soon be starved of its enormous US subsidies. In addition, Israel would be forced to right a historic wrong and redirect the region’s plundered resources, including its land and water, back to Palestinians, depriving Jews of their established entitlements.

    A cost-benefit calculus suggests to most Israeli Jews — including the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu — that a real solution to their conflict with the Palestinians might come at too heavy a price to their own pockets.

  11. MHughes976
    October 31, 2010, 12:20 pm

    By late 1934 the Brownshirts SA might have had fears of their own and been driven to show ideological loyalty by the fate of their leaders, massacred by an SS unit on Hitler’s orders in June of that year. Most dominant people know or at least sense uneasily that the tables can quite quickly be turned on them.

  12. clenchner
    October 31, 2010, 7:48 pm

    I remember Hans! He wrote a great autobiography, reminiscing about this time serving in the Haganah in 1948. He’s a staunch supporter of the two state solution, since before there was even a state of Israel.
    It’s nice to see him honored on this site. A good reminder that the most consistent anti-fascists in Israel, the one political organization on the left that has stood firm for both Israeli and Palestinian rights since 1947, is the Communist Party of Israel, represented in the Knesset by Hadash.

    • Avi
      October 31, 2010, 10:29 pm

      A good reminder that the most consistent anti-fascists in Israel, the one political organization on the left that has stood firm for both Israeli and Palestinian rights since 1947, is the Communist Party of Israel, represented in the Knesset by Hadash.

      Yeah…lol Say, how many coalitions has Hadash been in since 1948?

      And wow, the capital letters sure give the party the weight it carries in Israel. The CPI……fancy stuff, clenchner.

      • Shmuel
        November 1, 2010, 3:22 am

        Why the sarcasm, Avi? The fact that the CPI (Maki) and its various formations over the years have been shunned by the establishment does not mean that they are not worthy of respect for their positions – or that they have not had an impact on Israeli/Palestinian society. The party has included successful parliamentarians, such as Tamar Gozansky and Tawfik Toubi. Azmi Bishara and Haneen Zoabi’s party, Balad (as well as other Palestinian-Israeli political currents) developed from the CPI, which has served as a political and ideological greenhouse and home for many Palestinian citizens of Israel. Ilan Pappe ran for election on a CPI (Hadash) ticket; Amira Hass grew up within the party; and the CPI has served, from its very inception (pre-state), as a model of Palestinian-Jewish cooperation and equality, contributing to the creation of groups such as Taayush. Political, social and ideological influence cannot be measured only in terms of executive power.

        • Avi
          November 1, 2010, 4:37 am

          Why the sarcasm, Avi?

          Shmuel, really?

          I mean, here’s a guy who put the blame for colonial expansion across the Green Line on the settlers, as if the government didn’t quite literally PUT them there. Here’s a guy who continues to claim that “two states” is a more viable solution because the two peoples want to preserve their own identities — whatever that means. Here’s a guy who claimed that minorities in Israel are desired. And yet, when he posts a typical “Look. See, Israel is a functioning democracy. Why, it’s had a communist party for 60 years, a COMMUNIST party”, you ask me WHY I’m being sarcastic?

          My criticism is not related in any way to Mr. Hans Lebrecht.

          It’s about clenchner constantly playing the Robert Gibbs card of painting himself as some liberal and calling those who are critical of his dishonest characterization: radical-fringe-left-wingers.

          It’s all in his comments history. It’s cumulative and he deserves the criticism. Whether you agree or not is a different matter entirely.

        • Shmuel
          November 1, 2010, 5:40 am

          Avi,

          I’ve been following clenchner’s comments, and appreciate them even when I don’t agree with them and even when s/he is critical of my own positions and comments. I also think that, in most cases, relating to the comments themselves rather than the history of the commenter, makes for better discussion. I see nothing worthy of scorn in this particular remark by clenchner, about the Israeli communist party.

        • Avi
          November 1, 2010, 6:46 am

          I also think that, in most cases, relating to the comments themselves rather than the history of the commenter, makes for better discussion.

          In che senso?

          In all seriousness, I agree in general. But, many human beings are still ideologues who have their own biases which form patterns. And then one ends up with, “Subterfuge, thy name is clenchner.”

        • Shmuel
          November 1, 2010, 7:13 am

          Avi,

          You’re talking about misrepresentation and ulterior motives – which are indeed the bane of online (and real life?) discussion. To be honest – and I really mean it :-) – I don’t see that in clenchner’s comments. I’ve met lots of people who sincerely hold similar views. So what’s the problem here, aside from the fact that you don’t share her/his POV, or even believe that POV to be dangerous? Why not relate to the content of the specific comments, rather than what you think you know about clenchner’s motives?

          BTW, Maki/Rakah/Hadash’s historical support for two states – as well as Israel becoming a state of all its citizens – is certainly worthy of discussion, as is the role of the party in affording legitimacy to Israeli “democracy”, Vilner’s signing the Israeli DOI, etc.

        • clenchner
          November 1, 2010, 8:13 am

          “I mean, here’s a guy who put the blame for colonial expansion across the Green Line on the settlers, as if the government didn’t quite literally PUT them there. ”

          I’m in good company in restating a widely held view that the settler movement in Israel was successful at winning state support over time. Gershon Gorenberg anyone?

          “Here’s a guy who continues to claim that “two states” is a more viable solution because the two peoples want to preserve their own identities — whatever that means. ”

          That’s totally accurate. Most Israeli Jews and most Palestinians in Israel and the OT do not want to live in a single state. You make that sound like a loony claim, yet it’s supported in polling and voting.

          “Here’s a guy who claimed that minorities in Israel are desired…”

          Absolutely. For most of Israel’s history, minorities have played an essential role as the internally colonized people. Even when Israelis reconsidered the role of Palestinians in the workforce, they still looked to foreign minorities for the solution. Until the first Intifada, most (half?) of Israeli Arab votes still went to Jewish political parties.

    • Danaa
      November 1, 2010, 9:19 am

      Clenchner, I think you need to look a bit more into the new Hadash, more hip and progressive than the old party with the same name. They have moved a long long ways from their communist beginnings and for the last election cast themselves primarily a the joint party of Israelis/palestinians with somewhat mild socialist agenda. Actually in many ways they are becoming more like a “Green” party of sorts, with environmentalism featuring high on the list of priorities and a distinct anti-establishment hue. Dov Khenin, who’s now in the knesset, and came close to being elected mayor of Tel Aviv, is one of the best known faces of the new Hadash.

      • clenchner
        November 1, 2010, 2:10 pm

        Danaa,
        When I was part of Hadash, it was indeed a joint Jewish-Arab organization. That’s what made it so special in the political scene. Dov Khenin was the one who recruited me – decades ago.
        If you asked Dov about how the face of Hadash is changing, I’m sure he’d have a lot to say. But regarding the bi-national nature of Hadash and the CP – there is nothing new.
        I don’t mean to be argumentative. One reason why I was pleased at the attention to Hans L., and by extension to the CP and Hadash, is that the Palestinian solidarity movement often gravitates towards a specific set of Palestinian politics that it seeks to be in solidarity with, and excludes Hadash.
        In any conversation about the possibility of Jewish-Palestinian joint political efforts and visions for a peaceful future, Hadash should figure prominently. Not because ‘everyone’ should support their politics, but because those politics are part of the core of progressive forces on the ground, and marginalizing them is a problem, not a solution.

        • Danaa
          November 1, 2010, 2:38 pm

          Do you happen to know how Avram Burg’s efforts to fashion a new joint palestinian/Jewish party is going?

          I reckon that given the sad segregationist realities and outlooks now completely taking over in Israel, such a new party would be a bit of a tall order – Hadash is a case in point, and certainly not because of some rather vague “communist” agenda.

          On another side note, of the 100+ family members and acquaintances I still know in Israel – most from the “good old day” (such a they were), not one has a single Arab/palestinian friend or even casual acquaintance. And none have any intention to change in this regard as far as I know. And these were, for the most part, ‘good” liberal zionists, some to this day, committed kibbutz members. Too bad we have so little in common now.

          Of course, through sites like this one, I’ve since met and corresponded with other – often younger – but quite excellent Israelis who seem far more open minded, and humanistically oriented than any I grew up with or got to know in my own life there. As they say, one family gone; long live the new one.

        • Richard Witty
          November 1, 2010, 3:45 pm

          Hadash’s radical roots are a liability to achieving even participation in a kadima/labor government.

          Burg’s proposal was for a moderate non-nationalist party, which has a better prospect of success, if presented quietly, rather than radically.

          On the shift away from integration, my third cousins are a case in point. They were Zionist folksingers who had made friends with Druze, Bedouin and Palestinian singers at the Arad festival. After the first intifada, social stigmas in both Jewish and Arab communities made it impossible to continue those friendships.

        • clenchner
          November 1, 2010, 5:34 pm

          It is sad that Arabs and Jews in Israel have less occasion for social interaction. I was lucky to be part of not one, but two Arab-Jewish youth movements, forming really close friendships with Arabs in different parts of Israel. Because of my politics, these friendships weren’t impacted in a negative way by various current events.
          But for many more mainstream Israelis – and Arabs – the stress of events really took it’s toll. For Jews it was ‘why can’t Arabs understand we are the victims of crazy terrorists’ and for Arabs it was often ‘the police butchered us when we were demonstrating, and the state didn’t punish anyone for this crime.’
          The past ten years have really been the worst on personal relationships.
          One encouraging note: the demonstration against racist laws in Tel Aviv saw Meretz and Hadash as the core of the demo, working together, much more closely than in the past. It’s possible that a united front of liberal Zionists and anti-Zionists who still support a two state solution will form a hopeful bloc that can expand and grow closer over time.

        • Shmuel
          November 1, 2010, 5:56 pm

          There is nothing new about collaboration between Hadash and Meretz (I was an active member of Meretz for many years – and we even cooperated freely with Warshawski’s AIC), and there is no equivalence between ‘why can’t Arabs understand we are the victims of crazy terrorists’ and ‘the police butchered us when we were demonstrating, and the state didn’t punish anyone for this crime.’

          Liberal Zionists and anti-Zionists in Israel have always cooperated on an ad hoc basis, but there is little common ground when it comes to respective visions of peace – even if the number of states does sometimes coincide. It is the difference between the ’67 and the ’48 paradigm.

          The recent demo in TA, was problematic, in the sense that there is nothing in Yisrael Beiteinu’s proposal (as espoused by the government) regarding the “loyalty oath” that is inconsistent with mainstream and even left-wing liberal Zionism, except for PR and possibly “rubbing the Palestinians’ noses in it”. Liberal Zionists believe that Israel is “Jewish and democratic” and should remain so. Yet the demo’s main message was that that a declaration affirming that very fact is a betrayal of liberal Zionist values. Go figure.

        • Shmuel
          November 1, 2010, 6:07 pm

          Danaa,

          I don’t trust Burg (although I do appreciate some of the things he’s said and written), and were the party he envisions really to advocate full equality (aka de-Zionisation), it would be disqualified for “negating the state’s Jewish and democratic character”. Non- or anti-Zionist voters would have to have a pretty good reason to vote for him, i.e. offering something that the other, older parties, present on the ground in Palestinian communities don’t or can’t offer.

          Any idea who his Palestinian partners are?

        • Shingo
          November 1, 2010, 6:18 pm

          “Hadash’s radical roots are a liability to achieving even participation in a kadima/labor government.”

          What Kadima/Labor government? Are you still contemplating a parallel universal where Netenyahu was not elected? Are you still in denial about the fact that Labor is part of the Likud coalition?

          “After the first intifada, social stigmas in both Jewish and Arab communities made it impossible to continue those friendships.”

          I’m sure that ethnic cleansing, mass murder and land theft was not a factor.

        • Richard Witty
          November 1, 2010, 7:05 pm

          Perhaps you don’t remember Shingo, but Kadima won the most seats in the knesset at the last election, but could not attract a majority into their coalition.

          Labor could initiate a vote of no confidence. Its a new precedent where the second party formed the government, so I don’t know if in that circumstance Kadima would be asked to form a government or likud, or compel another election.

          Shingo,
          The reality in 1986 was that my Zionist cousins had musical friends from various Arab communities. After the intifada, it was much more difficult. It is MUCH more difficult currently.

          Is that desirable as the precedent of a single state, further imprinted by BDS?

        • Shingo
          November 1, 2010, 7:17 pm

          Perhaps you don’t remember Witty, but apart from the fact that Kadima started 2 wars while Olmert was in office, it does not matter who wins the most seats, but who can form a government,

          Labor could initiate a vote of no confidence, but they won’t.

          “After the intifada, it was much more difficult. It is MUCH more difficult currently.”

          The intifada would never have happened had Israel not been occupying Palestinian land and stealing more of it.

          “Is that desirable as the precedent of a single state, further imprinted by BDS?”

          Is it that necessary that you insist on lying about how BDS is a Trojan horse for a single state? The single greatest contributor to a single state is Israeli policies, be they under Likud or Kadima.

        • Richard Witty
          November 1, 2010, 8:31 pm

          I’m sure that you are right that likud and kadima have contributed, more than contributed, to the breakup of the hope of a fair, consented two-state settlement.

          And, I am right that the liberal left, those that you call PEP, are not convinced to participate in any BDS so long as the prospect of a single-state is advocated for in any way, in really any context, currently.

          That IS the case currently. They may get to advocacy of a single-state (or not even get that responsible to actually advocate) by the path that you describe, but they still do.

          It looks like the old, not anything new, not an audacious plan, but an old opportunistic one.

        • Danaa
          November 1, 2010, 9:00 pm

          Shmuel, there was a good post by Gabriel on JSF on the subject of this demonstration recent “anti-facsist” demonstration.

          link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

          As this post says, the left-demo sounds great except the Palestinian narrative was conveniently “disappeared”. As usual, it was all about “us” sliding into “fascism”, rather than “them” having to bear the brunt of overt and covert discrimination.

          Regarding your question: unfortunately I don’t know which Palestinian-Israelis Burg works with. Personally, I think he may be better off just joining force with Hadash, and have no idea why he wouldn’t (not surprised you don’t trust him. I’m not sure I would either). Maybe the new Hadash is a bit too “hip” for him?

        • Shingo
          November 1, 2010, 9:09 pm

          “And, I am right that the liberal left, those that you call PEP, are not convinced to participate in any BDS so long as the prospect of a single-state is advocated for in any way, in really any context, currently.”

          Do you really think you can get way with this crap Witty? I asked you to produce evidence that BDS was a Trojan horse for a single state solution and you couldn’t produce anything, yet you’re back repeating the same lie.

          Your dishonesty is so obvious it is tedious to even bother refuting it. You’re no better (and no more honest) than the right wing lunatics that insist a 2 state solution is akin to the destruction of Israel.

          As is so often the case with you Zionists, your inability to argue the case on it’s merits drives you to create straw men. Debating you is a waste of time.

        • Richard Witty
          November 2, 2010, 3:34 am

          Good rant.

          A trojan horse is something that is feared for the future.

          If you are arguing, “you don’t need to fear this”, towards convincing liberal Zionists (yes, we exist) to support BDS, you are doing a lousy job.

          It maybe easy to shift blame onto me and others that reason similarly, but that is self-talk, a product sale that you imagine should have occurred, but didn’t (for good reasons, which you won’t look at or incorporate).

        • Richard Witty
          November 2, 2010, 3:45 am

          Again, inherent in EVERY nationalism is a tension between democracy and the nationalism.

          It is inherent even in Israel/Palestine as a single state. At that point, it becomes a national entity by some geographic AND social definition, and has some exclusive relationship to peoples in other locales.

          And, once that exclusive relationship is articulated becomes the basis of another generation of tension between democratic and “Israstinian”, “Palrelean”.

          Once you realize that that tension exists in EVERY nationalism, then the question becomes what is the most rational definition, what is the most democratic, the most representative of the peoples’ intent, not what is a perfect representation as there is none.

          And, you realize that the important effort is to incorporate the features of democracy most prominently, even if democratic and Jewish.

          Equal rights is a good basis of organizing. “Destroy Israel” (yes, including through the external pressures to form a single state, an Israeli/Pal Yugoslavia or Lebanon) isn’t a very good or effective basis of organizing.

          Unless of course, you persuade the peoples that they are one people, rather than two, which you are only seeking to trip Israelis into, not persuade them or to institutionalize the integration.

        • Shmuel
          November 2, 2010, 4:12 am

          Indeed a good article. Thanks Danaa. IJAN (International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network) issued the following statement on the subject:

          No Loyalty to Apartheid

          On October 10, 2010, the Israeli government proposed a bill obligating non-Jewish naturalized citizens to swear loyalty to a “Jewish and democratic state.” The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) deplores this attempt to demand recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – a state whose existence is premised on the removal of the indigenous people of Palestine.

          In response to this bill, members of the Zionist “Left” in Israel issued a “declaration of independence from fascism.” Announced at a rally in Tel Aviv, the Middle East’s most ethnically cleansed city (indigenous population: four percent), the declaration asserts that the proposed law “violates [Israel’s] basic commitment to the principles of equality, civil liberty and sincere aspiration for peace — principles upon which the State of Israel was founded.”

          The Zionist “Left” is distancing itself from this policy, but the proposed oath is entirely consistent with Israel’s racist foundations and continued ethnic cleansing – all of which the Zionist “Left” has played a central role in perpetrating and whitewashing.

          In the 1930s, as the Zionist state was forming, the Histadrut and other Labor Zionist institutions campaigned to dispossess Arab peasants and workers, while helping crush the resulting 1936 Arab rebellion.

          In 1947-1948, under the leadership of David Ben Gurion, Labor Zionism — the dominant force in the Zionist “Left” — also directed the Nakba (catastrophe), which established the “Jewish state” by terrorizing and expelling at least eighty percent of the indigenous Palestinian population.

          In the following decades, “Left” Zionism imposed domestic apartheid, made apartheid South Africa Israel’s closest ally, and led or supported every Israeli war of domination — most recently in Lebanon and Gaza. Under Labor governments, Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank exploded in number.*

          Today, “Left” Zionists, no less than their right-wing counterparts, view Palestinians as a “demographic threat” to Jewish supremacy. Like the “Right,” they insist that Palestinians ratify their own unequal status by recognizing 1948 Palestine (“Israel”) as a “Jewish state.” Ironically, this Zionist racism, violence and apartheid serve to deliver a segregation of Jews that parallels traditional European anti-Semitism.

          The problem, then, is not alleged betrayal of Israeli “principles” at the hands of right-wing “extremists,” but Zionism itself — both “Left” and “Right.” For Israeli Jews who reject Israel’s racist foundations, we stand with you.

          We ask others not only to join us in opposing the loyalty oath, but to reject the Zionist principles upon which it rests. Concretely, that means supporting Palestinian demands for an end to military occupation, implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land, and equal rights for all throughout Palestine.

        • Shingo
          November 2, 2010, 4:23 am

          “A trojan horse is something that is feared for the future.”

          Oh I get it. So now that we’ve established the re is no evidence that a single state solution is embedded in the fine print of BDS, you are resorting to your crystal ball to insist that it will some time into the future.

          You are crazier and incoherent than I ever imagined.

          “If you are arguing, “you don’t need to fear this”, towards convincing liberal Zionists (yes, we exist) to support BDS, you are doing a lousy job.”

          As Gilad Aztimon recently wrote in his blog, Liberal Zionists are actually far more dishonest and destructive than right wing Zionists. As I’ve often said, Liberal Zionists are simply right wing Zionists without the honesty.

          So my answer to you is, who gives a crap about convincing liberal Zionists?

          You are truly delusional Witty and your narcissism knows no limit. For the 100th time, when are you gong to get it through your head that no one is trying to sell or convince you or your fellow travellers. There’s no point, because you are intimately part of the problem.

          The only reason I bother to engage you is to debunk the garbage you post to this blog.

          Now, don’t you have a failed blog to attend to?

        • Shingo
          November 2, 2010, 4:30 am

          “Again, inherent in EVERY nationalism is a tension between democracy and the nationalism.”

          You couldn’t have produced a more incoherent word salad if you’d followed a recipe.

          In any case, we are not debating nationalism, but extremism, human rights violations and crimes against humanity.

          How typical to you to try and burry the topic under a the fluff of an unrelated discussion.

          “And, you realize that the important effort is to incorporate the features of democracy most prominently, even if democratic and Jewish.”

          Concretion: Make that democratic OR Jewish.

          “Equal rights is a good basis of organizing. “Destroy Israel… isn’t a very good or effective basis of organizing.”

          Agreed, though it was a waste of time making that statement seeing as no one is advocating the destruction of Israel.

          Are you simply using straw men argument again Witty?

          “Unless of course, you persuade the peoples that they are one people, rather than two, which you are only seeking to trip Israelis into, not persuade them or to institutionalize the integration.”

          Israelis are beyond persuasion. Israel is a racist, apartheid, criminal state that is heading further to the right with each day that passes. The only thing that will persuade Israel is are tough measures that impact severely on their lives.

        • Shingo
          November 2, 2010, 4:35 am

          I would add one more thing Witty.

          Your desperate effort to udnermine BDS is revealing in a number of ways.

          You have never addressed the fact that BDS would cease to exist if Israel met very basic demands, which it has the power to implemetn immediately. Your militant opposition to BDS clearly indicates that you are well aware that Israel is unwilling to meet these demands and therefore incapable of being persuaded.

          In other words, you know very well how corrupt and unreasonable Israel is, whci is why you fear BDS so much.

  13. Richard Witty
    November 2, 2010, 6:44 am

    “You have never addressed the fact that BDS would cease to exist if Israel met very basic demands”

    Do you mean specific? What specifically would they be?

    I’ve stated that I SUPPORT the demands of the earlier language of the academic and cultural boycott (the language has now changed on their website to even more militant and vague).

    1. Equal rights for Palestinians within Israel
    2. End of occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (67 borders)
    3. Right of return (really a component of the application of 1, applied to title rights – right of return refers to residence rights, not title rights, a bit of a confusion)

    I do fear that opportunists will use the injustices that are present in Israel, to remove Israel from the map, as Israel.

    Again, the most prominent Palestinian and western advocates of BDS do support the imposed absorption of Israel and Palestine into a single democratic state, with maximalist interpretation of the right of return, and ignoring the demographics and will of the people’s to live in self-governing partition.

    IF BDS proponents clarified that their intent was to not externally impose a dissolution of partition, and clarified its campaign to relate directly to the three components above, then it might be just and effective, and appear so.

    As it stands, it looks destructive, punitive primarily, rather than constructive of a decent life for Palestinians.

    • Shingo
      November 2, 2010, 7:12 am

      “I do fear that opportunists will use the injustices that are present in Israel, to remove Israel from the map, as Israel.”

      You sound like a nutjob. How on earth could BDS be used to remove Israel from the map? Is BDS a secret nuclear program?

      You really are comming across an a bit senile and paranoid Witty.

      The reason that some are suporting a single state is not becasue they are opposed to a 2 state outcome, but becasue the 2 state option is dead. They are not in perpetual denial like you are.

      The maximalist rigt of return happens also to be the legal one.

      “IF BDS proponents clarified that their intent was to not externally impose a dissolution of partition, and clarified its campaign to relate directly to the three components above, then it might be just and effective, and appear so.”

      It is already effective. BDS is what it says it is. Nothiing more in spite fo your paranoid delusions.

      “As it stands, it looks destructive, punitive primarily, rather than constructive of a decent life for Palestinians.”

      Sometimes one needs fire to fight fire. Israel’s policies are entirely destructive and punitive . They always have been. There is no longer room for half measures.

      You might not like it, but you’ve spent your whole life defending Israel’s policies and criminality.

      You only have yourself to blame.

  14. MoT
    November 18, 2010, 7:17 pm

    Lilian, I add my voice to yours, but I won’t beg.

Leave a Reply