A perspective on the Jewish Federation General Assembly from its only Palestinian attendee

on 46 Comments

My name is Shereen Naser, I am a young Palestinian-American woman, and I attended the 79th General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America. Don’t ask me why, I’m still not entirely sure. I think when I first made the decision to go, I did so confident I would be turned away from registering for the conference. With this confidence I entered the New Orleans hotel hosting the General Assembly and began going through the motions. Step one, find the registration booth and hand over your identification for registration. The young man entering my information into the computer looked at my ID card, marked my last name with his index finger, lifted his eyes to get a good look at me, glanced down at my ID again, and looked back at me perplexed. He asked, not even attempting to curb the confusion in his voice “your LAST name is Naser?” Yes, my last name is Naser, it comes right after my first name, Shereen. This was strangely familiar. He was buying time to size me up- young Iranian Jew maybe? Mizrahim? I agree, man, it is rather confusing, I do not know what mad impulse drove me here either. The night before I had vigorously pumped out signs to protest this very event with the New Orleans Palestine Solidarity group (NOLAPS), filled with every intention to lead chants and march determinedly for a free Palestine alongside my fellow NOLAPS members. However in the morning I found myself actually inside the JFNA General Assembly, estimated to have over 3,000 attendees, of which I feel comfortable saying only one was Palestinian – me.

After I confirmed my last name, my middle name and first name for a third time, I was told there was nothing he could do and was sent somewhere else to try and register. After 45 minutes in the student line, the organizers took one look at me and told me they were sold out and there was nothing they could do. Of course I had heard that they had given out student tickets just that morning but no matter, I could be patient. I would employ the same tactics I have used every time I have attempted to enter Israel. Let them look you over, let them try to guess where you are from, why you are here, and just smile. Hands in front so they can see them. Nod and thank them profusely for sparing you a precious minute. Look, I’m friendly, I might look like all those crazy terrorists on TV but I’m one of the good ones! Only got me so far though. I went through 3 more folks who looked at me funny and sent me back to the first organizer I had talked to. She finally got sick of seeing me and directed me back to the booth where I had originally gone to register. A wave of nostalgia hit me. Add a few more Arabs standing in lines clutching their ID cards, a dash of crying mothers telling harrowing stories of children they have not seen in months as an Israeli officer explains why they have to go to the other line again, and a measure of folks sleeping on the ground for hours waiting to hear if they would be let through and this could be the Allenby bridge crossing from Jordan into the West Bank. An hour and a half later of direction and redirection I was given a pass as a resident of New Orleans. Hey, better than the seven hours it took me to get through Ben Gurion last time I traveled to Israel so I really shouldn’t complain. And I did get in, always a cause for celebration.

Next step, deep breath, time to plunge into the conference. As I entered the exhibition hall I was greeted almost immediately by signs claiming to provide attendees with the truth about Israel, the land of milk, honey and great beach spots. Beach spots my cousins in the West Bank would never enjoy because of the less sunny truths about Israel ignored by these very signs. I picked up pamphlets for later reading, not needing any further provocation at the moment, and plowed my way through the crowd. It became a little more difficult to breathe as I walked by banners touting Israel as a beacon of light in a sea of backward Middle Eastern countries. Smile, Shereen, and move forward. Despite my morning trepidation, I did come here with a focused mission. The night before, post sign making, I had the pleasure of dining with members of Jewish Voice for Peace, an Oakland-based grassroots organization fighting for equality of Palestinians and Israelis. Members had traveled to the GA to make sure that another Jewish voice was heard, a voice critical of Israel. My new friends mentioned that they were planning on attending events during the conference that would explain the rationale for the new Israel Action Network, a $6 million joint initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs aimed at silencing a serious thorn in Israel’s side – the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Campaign. Started in 2005, the BDS campaign has continually challenged Israel’s racist and apartheid policies through boycotting Israeli goods. The GA conference program guides advertised for sessions that would provide tactics for confronting this “global initiative of NGOs and anti-Israel activists seeking to delegitimize and demonize Israel.” Of course Israel is doing a fairly good job of all that itself. However, I was curious as to what exactly would be presented in these panel discussions, so I planned to attend them and find out.

In order to get myself through the rest of the day, I pretended to be an undercover reporter furiously jotting down notes and juggling a notepad and recorder as I listened to the panelists. One of the first things I noticed in my place as an undercover reporter was that Israel’s beef with the BDS campaign comes from a place of fear. In an article handed out during one of the sessions the BDS campaign was noted as “the second most dangerous threat to Israel, after Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Now, the panelists made it very clear that they were not afraid of the BDS campaigns impact on the economic state of Israel. They laughed at mention of the boycotts ability to cause any damage to companies creating or investing in Israeli goods. However there is one power BDS wields that Israel can no longer ignore and which the panelists made every effort to skirt around. BDS gives the (and I quote) “ordinary person” a way to show their concern for the Palestinian people. But it does much more than that, dear panelists. It provides a voice to the voiceless and alludes to similarities between the struggle of the Palestinians and those of other oppressed groups and blatant violation of their rights. The BDS campaign is more than only, as another panelist put it, “the ignorant led by the malevolent.” The BDS campaign reminds people that just like during the civil rights movement in the United States, or during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, there is an oppressor balking at the traditional avenues that protect individual human rights and making every effort to undermine them. The protection of democracy has failed the Palestinians. Arab-Israelis do not enjoy full equal rights and Israel continues to impose racist policies. Palestinian-Americans have no voice, as a U.S. politician that dares question Israeli policy is quickly undermined by accusations of being an anti-Semite. International avenues for justice are powerless, Israel continues to violate and ignore hundreds of U.N. resolutions condemning their colonial and discriminatory policies. Palestinians are powerless. They are trapped behind a wall snaking into their cities, unpredictable checkpoint procedures, incarceration procedures, and never knowing when Israel might pull out the white phosphorous again. As I write this, Tamer Nafar of the Palestinian rap group DAM rhymes into my ear the words from his song “Born Free;”

“We’ve been like this more than 50 years
Living as prisoners behind the bars of paragraphs
Of agreements that change nothing
We haven’t seen any light, and if we peek between the bars
We see a blue sky and white clouds
In the center a star reminds me that I’m limited”

As a Palestinian I feel hopeless. As an American I feel hopeless. As an individual who cares about social justice and human rights, I feel hopeless. However, the BDS campaign reminds me that no matter how hopeless I feel, this has been done before. People have successfully fought oppression before. This is what is scary to Israel. The campaign’s rapid growth speaks to the fact people are no longer buying Israel’s false rhetoric of distorted and polluted peace.

At many points during the different sessions I had to shake off a surreal sense of déjà vu. I sat in on sessions titled “Confronting Israel’s Delegitimizers,” and “The Global Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy,” listening to panelists’ concern about the BDS organized agenda giving voice to people who disagree with Israeli policy. This felt strangely like the middle of a dystopian novel plot line. I listened with a measure of awe as panelists presented ways to appeal to “moderates” who are concerned for those poor Palestinians by forging personal relationships with them, and swaying them over to a more civil discourse that includes warm and fluffy statements acknowledging that Israel has its flaws, but what country doesn’t? The entire tone of the panel reeked of condescension towards those idiots thinking that they know anything about the conflict. I think I may have had some bile rise in my throat as panelists hailed the organizers of a counter statement during BDS efforts to protest the 2009 Toronto Film Festival and its cooperation with the Israeli government’s Brand Israel marketing push playing a role in Tel Aviv being chosen in the festivals City-to-City Spotlight. The strategy then is to silence the BDS campaign by blinding people with names of stars like Jerry Seinfeld and Natalie Portman? My favorite part was when the Presbyterian Reverend Katherine Henderson told the audience that instead of boycotting Israeli businesses, the Presbyterian Church should be showing their support of Israel by investing with them, and that anyone in the audience with business proposals should contact her.

It became harder to sit as an undercover reporter, just as when traveling to Israel this method of dissociation only lasts so long. I listened in shock as panelists scrambled to paint a picture of BDS as an extremist organization that manipulated individuals into joining their efforts, while encouraging their own tactics of manipulation. But this will not stand. The people have spoken. They spoke in New Orleans when Jewish Voice for Peace refused to be silent during Netanyahu’s speech, and the New Orleans Palestine Solidarity group protested outside the conference. In fact, BDS represents the uniting of thousands of voices around the world Palestinian, Muslim, Jewish, Christian and everything around and in between saying that Israel’s actions can no longer be tolerated.

Tamer goes on to say;

“My feet are the roots of the olive tree
Keep on prospering, fathering and renewing branches
Every branch
Grown for peace
Every branch
Under the pressure of occupation
Refusing to give up”

I wish the Israel Action Network much luck, because try as you might we are not going anywhere and we will not be silent.

46 Responses

  1. James North
    November 12, 2010, 8:21 am

    This is a great post. Thanks, Shereen. Write again, write more.

    • LeaNder
      November 12, 2010, 9:29 am

      Nothing to add really. Yes definitively “Write again, write more.” Very well written.

      One thing though:

      He asked, not even attempting to curb the confusion in his voice “your LAST name is Naser?” Yes, my last name is Naser, it comes right after my first name, Shereen. This was strangely familiar. He was buying time to size me up- young Iranian Jew maybe? Mizrahim?

      What exactly causes this encounter. The fact that Naser is a rather well-known Palestinian name? Or some esoteric knowledge to immediately recognize Jewish names, no matter what place of origin? I definitively wonder.

      I think I can see what drives Phil’s attempts to read Jewishness out of a names, but I always associate- obviously – the German far right and special groups really who post enlightenment would have loved a “typically Jewish” and thus easily categorizeable name”. A wish that never fulfilled.

      • Avi
        November 12, 2010, 12:04 pm


        It depends on the event and the circumstances, but for the most part Jews are very tribal; outsiders are looked upon with suspicion and apprehension. Hence, members of the tribe seek to look out for each other and for the communal good. So, the individual who looked at Shereen Naser’s ID felt it was his duty to assess the situation, the level of threat she posed.

        Since he couldn’t send her on her way by saying, “Get outta here you dirty Ay-rab,” — lest he face a lawsuit — once he identified her as an Ay-rab, he decided it was best to cloak his bigotry in political correctness and send her on a wild goose chase, to give her the run-around. That’s what I call Covert Racism.

      • LeaNder
        November 13, 2010, 9:01 am

        Avi, I am less interested in the ways the “young man” handles what he perceives could cause him problems, what I am interested in is, what precisely gives him or the average young Jewish American the ability to differentiate between e.g. someone like Ella Habiba Shohat and Shereen Naser? Or how does he know one of the two is Jewish the other may well not be?

        Does he read names or body language, or entries in the US passport … . Would he really recognize every single name of a Jewish person immediately. Is that taught in school?

        If I look at this list for instance. I can find many, many simple German names, that are listed under British Jewish names. The people having this name can be both Jewish and non-Jewish.

      • btbLondon
        November 15, 2010, 12:57 pm

        The recent article in Ha’artetz How European Zionism has corrupted ‘Jewish Arabs’ is relevant here. The article describes how a mitzrahi MK, Carmel Shama, wanted to change hisname to Shama-hacohen as none would recognize him as a Jew with his ‘Druze’ name.

        The article describes how the Ashkenazi supremacy has not only made Palestinians invisible and of no account but had done the same with Mitzrahi Jews as well. The notion of Jews from Arabic countries as Jewish Arabs was and is something the Zionist state, locked into a narrow Europeanised world view, could not take account of. Only the Warsaw or Riga (or Brooklyn?) version of a Jew is authentic and all others must aspire to that.

      • Citizen
        November 12, 2010, 12:15 pm

        It’s both, LeaNder. And they fuel each other. BTW, surely you remember that Goebbels constantly dwelled on easily recognizable Jewish names in his propaganda and Streicher, of course, used easily recognizable (and exaggerated) Jewish physical features. People of every type of ethnic group tend to do that you must know; if not, you live in a rarified circle. Of course I don’t mean to imply how effective that approach is to ferret out “those not like us,” but it’s a very common makeshift practice. An associated practice deplored officially in the USA is “profiling.” Over here, everyone knows what “the girl next door” type means, as contrasted to “the ethnic type” even though the girl next door they yak about is herself a member of an ethnic group or aggregate of same. And every Arab knows “the Nordic type,” as very distinguished from “a semite brother/sister.” And so on. This in a country where we are brainwashed from childhood not to notice such things. What this translates to here in our PC multi-culture pretty often, for example, is sexual preferences for a selected ethnic group physical attraction–nobody uses the term race.

  2. seafoid
    November 12, 2010, 8:32 am

    Allah ya’teek al afya, Shereen

    I read a downbeat Karma Nablusi article in the LRB recently. Her generation’s activism went nowhere, she implied. But as Annie says we fight on the shoulders of those who went before us. It is a long way for the people of Palestine from the desert refugee camps of 1949 to the US General Assembly but you were there for them. And what a report !
    The wind is behind you.

    BTW it is not true to say that you are not going anywhere. You are definitely going places. Israel is rightly afraid of BDS.

  3. clenchner
    November 12, 2010, 8:34 am

    I was there and I’m glad you are recording your impressions. I wish we knew each other and could have attended a session together and talked about it. In one of the sessions, I heard Rabbi Melissa Weintraub say that young Jews are interested in information ABOUT politics that is itself not politicized. In other words, that there is a hunger for information presented as raw material, not as preamble for conclusions. She told folks that propaganda, both old and new, doesn’t really work or meet the needs of the community.
    Of course I agree with her, but thought about the nature of the discourse in Palestinian solidarity circles. In trying to reach the American public, some folks do what the pro-Israelis do – present shrill conclusions backed by hand picked facts offered without complicating context.
    I’d offer her advice to the any group interested in the situation in Israel/Palestine: show, don’t tell. Allow people to make their own opinions. Be respectful of the learning process.
    One problem (in my book) is 20 somethings who say: ‘I used to believe in crap. Then I found out the crap was wrong, so now I believe in other crap, diametrically opposed to the earlier crap. But I call that second round of crap the truth, and if you don’t buy it, then you’re a racist/imperialist/anti-Semite.’
    For most humans, changes in opinions take place in the context of emotional safety, not heavy persuasion. Heavy persuasion isn’t as long lasting – thank god.

    • Richard Witty
      November 12, 2010, 8:40 am

      We need information. I met Amira Hass last week at a presentation she gave at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

      I thanked her for her witness and information.

      • Citizen
        November 12, 2010, 12:31 pm

        So what do you of her opinion on the Goldstone Report? Did she tell you she thinks it jibes with what really happened? Did you thank her for this, her recent information given to the readers of Haartze:

        “On Friday an Israel Defense Forces soldier called to protest the publication of another story in Haaretz which in his words, tainted not only the troops’ image but also his Sabbath day.

        The soldier was referring to Gaza resident Zinat Samouni’s account of how soldiers killed her 46-year-old husband and their 4-year-old son Ahmed – just two of the 29 people of the same family the army killed between January 4 and 5.

        The soldier, who said he participated in the fighting, said he didn’t believe the women’s statements were true, though he did believe soldiers “scrawled stupid things on the walls, and that’s really not right.”

        This is a common Israeli solution – in this case, to admit to the graffiti’s existence, but downplay its seriousness or view it as everyday Israeli high jinks.

        Everything else can be denied. It can always be said that photographs of civilians killed were fabricated. The Palestinians’ accounts can be dismissed as lies, intrigues of Hamas, embellishment or, at best, facts taken out of context since Gazans are, after all, afraid of what Hamas would do to them if they told the truth.

        Jurists will argue over the meaning of international law and will suggest contradicting analyses. Politicians will justifiably note that the United States does not have commissions of inquiry thrust upon it by the United Nations. Others will say that if Judge Richard Goldstone was reliable enough to be a prosecutor in the International Criminal Court cases on Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and his Pakistani colleague Hina Jilani was fit to participate in the international investigation into Darfur, there is no reason to suddenly cast doubt on their credentials now that they are examining Israel’s deeds in Gaza. The Goldstone Commission’s findings are in line with what anyone who didn’t shut his or her eyes and ears to witness testimony already knows.

        B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Haaretz and the international media – to Israelis, these have all fallen into the trash bin of the mendacious Palestinians. In the best case, they have become trapped in their own pure-hearted naivete, and in the worst, into collaborating with efforts to besmirch Israel and bolster prejudices against it. Like the Serbs of yore, we Israelis continue thinking it’s the world that is wrong, and only we who are right.

        Israel struck a civilian population that remains under its control, it didn’t fulfill its obligation to distinguish between civilians and militants and used military force disproportionate with the tangible threat to its own civilians. Air Force drones and helicopters fired deadly missiles at civilians, many of them children; the Tank Corps and Navy shelled civilian neighborhoods with weapons not designed for precision strikes; soldiers received orders to fire on rescue crews; others fired on civilians carrying white flags; and others killed people in or near their homes. Troops used Gazans as human shields, soldiers detained civilians in abusive conditions, the army used white phosphorus shells in dense civilian areas and, on the eve of withdrawing, destroyed wide residential, industrial and agricultural areas.

        There is only thing worse than denial – the admission that the IDF indeed acted as has been described, but that these actions are both normal and appropriate.”

      • Richard Witty
        November 12, 2010, 3:00 pm

        I offered to provide Phil with an audio recording of the lecture, but he didn’t follow through.

        It also included a speech by Karma Nablusi referred to above.

        Amira Hass is clearly to my left, but she reports what she has seen and refuses to let others interpret it for her politically.

        The world needs information. It definitively needs that dissent NOT attempt to impose a conclusion.

        That stops the world from hearing.

      • Philip Weiss
        November 12, 2010, 3:04 pm

        sorry richard, yes i want it. im swamped with email and while yours always goes into my Family/Friends/Lovers/Mishpocheh file, I sometimes lose track. will get in touch

      • yonira
        November 13, 2010, 12:25 am

        friends like these, huh Phillip.

        (big Lebowski reference if ya’ll didn’t catch it)

      • Avi
        November 13, 2010, 12:43 am

        Richard Witty November 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm
        Amira Hass is clearly to my left, but she reports what she has seen and refuses to let others interpret it for her politically.

        The world needs information. It definitively needs that dissent NOT attempt to impose a conclusion.

        Specifically, what function does the existence in the public realm of that information and that so-called dissent serve?

        Is it merely there for the purpose of supporting and corroborating self-congratulatory rhetoric within the Zionist Jewish community, as though freedom of speech is respected and dissenters are not labeled “self-hating”? Or is it there for the purpose of mobilizing people to act in concert in an attempt to bring about equal rights and an end to the occupation?

        Additionally, the claim that you make, namely: That stops the world from hearing. contradicts the very pattern of statements and opinions you have written in the past. There have been countless times when the mere mention of facts, without any conclusion or interpretation, was sufficient for you to dismiss said facts as “unhelpful”.

        So, your comment above, while appearing reasonable and genuine on the surface, seems to be yet another disingenuous attempt at managing the debate.

  4. edwin
    November 12, 2010, 8:49 am

    After 45 minutes in the student line, the organizers took one look at me and told me they were sold out and there was nothing they could do.

    This brought to mind the African American trying to rent an apartment – ‘Sorry sir/madam – it’s been rented. ‘

    • Sumud
      November 12, 2010, 8:31 pm

      I can’t recall where but I’ve seen documentary footage of people with arabic names calling up about renting apartments in Israel, when the landlord ascertains they’re not jewish they get exactly that response: “rented”.

  5. pabelmont
    November 12, 2010, 8:53 am

    This is a beautiful statement, and so well written considering the pain and anger that must be disguised (or set aside) during the visit to the conference and later during the writing.

    Here’s a thought for Israelis: even if (or even though) the BDS movement aims only at calling attention to and ending Israel’s violations of international law (settlements, settlers, wall, siege, water cut-offs, etc.) and at ending the occupation — and thus in no way aimed at delegitimizing Israel; each “ordinary person” who hears the BDS message and “gets” it may be inclined to learn a broader message than the outward message of BDS, that is, may be inclined to wish to punish the criminal and not just to stop the crime.

    That is, BDS does not seek to delegitimize Israel, and does not do so; but a whole host of Israeli actions (to which BDS inevitably calls attention too long denied, such as the history of Nakba) — this whole host of Israeli actions may (to some eyes) delegitimize Israel.

    Something for Israelis and their friends to think about. pendulums do not swing to the middle and stop; before they stop they swing pretty far to the other side.

    • Richard Witty
      November 12, 2010, 9:21 am

      Fear of harm as dissent?

      Thats what racism is constructed of.

      • Shingo
        November 12, 2010, 3:13 pm

        No Witty, racism is based on a belief in one’s superiority and sense of entitlement. Zionism for example.

      • Richard Witty
        November 12, 2010, 3:33 pm

        There are three levels of racism:

        1. Personal attitudes
        2. Shared attitudes – prejudices
        3. Institutionalization

        Personal attitudes and even shared attitudes, minorities can live with. They should be confronted in their own right and in the respect that they sanction the institutionalization of racism.

        The problem with the current application of Zionism is that the attitudes are institutionalized under the cover of the legitimate argument for self-governance.

        It is a question that Phil raised months ago, that of how a people conduct themselves when they are no longer victims, when they are peers, and further.

        That is the question of reform. The institionalization of racism cannot be fought in Israel in the same way that Jim Crow was fought in the US, by law. In the US, there was a consented institution of governance (federal government) and an existing body of law that asserted that equal due process under the law was the constitution.

        The UN does not provide protection against racism in practice.

        The sovereign state of Israel does include provisions of equal due process under the law, but does not apply them consistently.

        The mass movement that you hope for from BDS is far away.

        The primary way to change the treatment of Palestinians is to convey their humanity, that they are seen.

        BOTH the wall and BDS make it less likely that Israelis will see Palestinians as fully human, and vice-versa frankly.

        That is the most effective melting water cracking rocks.

      • Citizen
        November 13, 2010, 3:35 am

        Interesting, Richare Witty, that you equate brute power with the voice of protest against it, the wall (itself erected on Palestinian land) and BDS, respectively. Humans do not have the life span of rocks. OTH, as you say, the consent of the governed is key; the US has it, Israel does not. Both the US and Israel have equal provision principles and a mechanism to implement it, due process of law. Despite the US Constitution, it took a Civil War and another century before that equal protection was reality due to indiscriminate application of due process. Jim Crow is exactly the right analogy for Israel. It’s not 1776, nor is it 1948. Israel is glaringly out of step with the morality the world consents to since Nuremberg.

    • Citizen
      November 12, 2010, 9:38 am

      Pabelmont: Leave it to the Israelis and their fifth column here to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They think they are being long-sighted by viewing every day as 1938 so they’ve missed Nuremberg and the end of apartheid S Africa, once their tight buddy. Unfortunately, Uncle Sam has joined them in its short-term and backwards groupthink-crimethink.

  6. seafoid
    November 12, 2010, 9:25 am

    South African perspective on Israeli apartheid from people who have walked the walk :

    link to pacbi.org

    I think it would be useful to start a discussion on what the post Zionist Israel/Palestine will look like. No Hatikva, no Star of David on the flag, new schoolbooks, a massively reduced army…

    • clenchner
      November 12, 2010, 9:06 pm

      Of course, a post nationalist vision for Palestine would also have to include never having ‘Biladi Biladi’ as the national anthem, or using a flag with green, red, black and white.

      • Avi
        November 13, 2010, 12:50 am

        clenchner November 12, 2010 at 9:06 pm

        Of course, a post nationalist vision for Palestine would also have to include never having ‘Biladi Biladi’ as the national anthem, or using a flag with green, red, black and white.

        You are either projecting or are simply underestimating Palestinian society. And if you don’t know what that means, then there’s no point in explaining it to you. By the way, sitting in the same room as Palestinians, doesn’t mean that you have actually spoken to them on an equal footing, nor does it mean that you have actually bothered to understand their perspective. Incidentally, when you speak to Palestinians — as you have allegedly done in the past — do you speak to them in Hebrew, thus repeatedly reaffirming your role as the domineering conqueror?

      • yonira
        November 13, 2010, 3:26 pm

        Avi, if you put something in block quotes you should really try to respond to it.

      • yonira
        November 13, 2010, 3:27 pm

        you are either projecting or are simply underestimating Palestinian society.

        What Avi, from the river to the sea Palestine will be free? All Jews out of Palestine? Where you gonna put them?

      • tree
        November 13, 2010, 4:47 pm

        Follow your own advice, yonira. If you are going to put another poster’s comment in italics, then respond to it instead of resurrecting strawmen. You really disappoint me these days. My bad for expecting more from you than snark and strawmen, I suppose.

  7. Taxi
    November 12, 2010, 9:27 am

    Very amusing.

    I just love the courage and resolve of Palestinians and their friends and supporters.

  8. Citizen
    November 12, 2010, 9:31 am

    Shereen, for you: A Special Place in Hell-American Jews & Gentiles emotionally divesting from Israel – Haaretz Israeli News source. link to t.co

    • MRW
      November 12, 2010, 10:14 pm

      GREAT PIECE by Bradley Burston, Citizen. Thanks. I can hardly wait for the second part.

  9. Walid
    November 12, 2010, 12:12 pm

    It’s amusing as Taxi said but I don’t understand what’s to this story as even Shereen admitted she didn’t know why she went there. It was a mixture of party crashing and pretending to be playing chicken with 3000 Jews that would have torn her apart had they discovered her presence but it was really of no consequence since they never knew she was among them and I doubt they would have harmed her if they did. Nonetheless, Shereen deserves lots of praise for having worked hard pumping out posters the night before with the NOLAPS people for the demonstration outside the hotel and this is where her effort would have have been better used.

  10. Citizen
    November 12, 2010, 12:43 pm

    She went there hoping against vain hope that she might find some truth there she had somehow overlooked; she found none. Hence she said she didn’t know why she went there. In other words, why bother? Quit fooling yourself.
    After her experience, I bet she will pump out a lot more posters for NOLAPS.
    She was not “party crashing” but more-truth seeking. She was scared, but did her best to keep calm by staying outside her emotions and putting up a ruse by playing “I’m merely a reporter who’s sympathetic” so nobody would bother her. But you didn’t catch that, Walid. You chalked it up to a HS cheerleader playing double dare by sneaking into the opposing HS cheerleaders’ den.

    • Walid
      November 12, 2010, 1:35 pm

      You’re right, Citizen, this is how I read it. I have no doubt about her future efforts and her guts for having gone through it and my remarks were only in reference to the crashing of the convention for basically nothing. Maybe it’s because she’s a Palestinian that it seemed a great event for her to be under the same roof as 3000 Jews and not for me since I’m not a Palestinian and have always been comfortable among American Jews.

      • Citizen
        November 13, 2010, 3:47 am

        A mind constantly seeking truth is never for “basically nothing.” That no human can ever learn the whole truth no matter how hard he or she tries is simply a given like the fact no human will live forever on this earth. I’m glad you’ve always felt comfortable around American Jews. So have I, so what’s your point? Your best friend is black?

      • Citizen
        November 13, 2010, 3:50 am

        And PS, Walid, you think American Jews have always been comfortable around you? They’re pretty tribal you know.

    • potsherd
      November 12, 2010, 1:59 pm

      “Know thine enemy.”

      • Richard Witty
        November 12, 2010, 3:02 pm


      • RoHa
        November 12, 2010, 10:54 pm

        Yes, Richard.

        By their support of Zionism, Jews collectively have made themselves the enemy of the Arabs, of common decency, and of those recalcitrant Jews and Gentiles who try to resist Zionism.

      • yonira
        November 13, 2010, 3:09 pm

        kinda scary huh Richard? Posts like these really bring out the truth in most of the commentors here @ Mondweiss.

      • potsherd
        November 13, 2010, 4:42 pm

        Zionism is the enemy of human rights, of justice and of truth.

      • thankgodimatheist
        November 13, 2010, 11:22 pm


        What else do you call those who are killing or supporting the killing of your people? Failed communication?

      • RoHa
        November 14, 2010, 4:31 am

        “Failed communication?”
        I’m sure the fault lies with the Palestinians, the Jews and Gentiles who reject Zionism, and people of decency generally, for failing to sufficiently humanize the other and promote better wheels.

  11. Joseph Glatzer
    November 12, 2010, 7:25 pm

    You have a really great style Shereen. I really hope to see more of your writing. You have a lot of courage, and I can relate to this “going undercover” and being in disbelief feeling. Good Work

  12. RoHa
    November 12, 2010, 10:58 pm

    Shereen, I stand in awe of your patience, your courage, and your self-control.

    Even when I was young, I could not have held my temper and my indignation in check like that. (Impossible for me now that I am a curmudgeonly, grumpy, old fart.)

    I tip my hat – dangling corks and all – to you.

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