Why I disrupted Bibi’s speech – A response to Ben Sales at New Voices

Israel/Palestine
on 51 Comments
Taylor TheOccupationDelegitimizesIsrael
Taylor protesting Netanyahu in New Orleans.

Ben Sales, editor of New Voices, posted a lengthy critique of the protesters who disrupted Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the General Assembly. Here’s my response, which I submitted as a comment to his blog:

As one of the protesters who was dragged out – I was chanting “The Occupation Delegitimizes Israel” – I’d like to respond to a few of your remarks, and shed light on my motivations. (I will not attempt to speak for JVP, my fellow protesters who interrupted Netanyahu, or the dozen young Jewish activists who worked to make it possible).

It seems to me that Israel is on a suicidal course to impending self-destruction, a catastrophic road that will lead to ruin for both the Palestinian people and the Jewish people. Israel’s institutionally insane, greedy policies of land theft, settlement construction, house demolitions, settler-only roads, and so on are not only oppressing the Palestinian people in a horrific manner, these policies are also causing hatred of both Israel and of the Jewish people. A friend of mine who served many years in the IDF said to me, “the single greatest threat to the Jewish people today is the occupation.” Not Iran. Not the so-called “delegitimizers.” The occupation.

I chose to participate in the action at Netanyahu’s speech because I see very few options today to get this vital message out to both Jews and to the world. As you well know, the American Jewish Establishment (see Beinart’s article in the New York Review of Books) has created a McCarthy-like environment in which any real dissent against Israel’s policies is silenced in extremist fashion. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have been called a “self-hating Jew” for the simple fact that I believe major Israeli policy change is in the best interest of the the Israeli people and the Palestinian people. Ironically, I believe that it is those who defend Israel reactively regardless of its policies, and who tar and feather people like me with these despicable labels, are the ones who put the Jewish people at risk by enabling Israel’s suicidal and oppressive policies.

So anyway, where are we supposed to speak? There is no space for us. The General Assembly had zero space for our message. If we’d proposed a workshop entitled, “How are the occupation, settlements, house demolitions, and settler-only roads delegitimizing Israel?” I can assure you the GA leadership would never have approved it. The GA is a space for 100% pro-Israel cheerleading and pro-Israel brainwashing propaganda and nothing else.

At the GA, I had a number of casual conversations with attendees and came to the belief that those drawn to the GA are largely those who have yet to seriously question the “Israel: Right or wrong” echo chamber effect created by American Jewish Leadership. If one were to attempt to discern the views of young Jews about Israel solely from a survey of GA attendees, one might believe that young Jews are uncritically supportive of Israel, and Peter Beinart was wrong.

But from my conversations in the wider world, I believe the GA is not at all representative of the young Jews broadly, and that the GA attendance skewed very right wing. Of course it did — do you think the GA’s organizers would send invitations to the numerous young Jews, nationwide, who are members of Students for Justice in Palestine, and who advocate for various forms of boycott, divestment, and sanctions? And even among the right wing GA attendees, the admirers of Bibi who I spoke to, I heard a lot of pain and struggle with the dissonance. One self-described Republican Hillelnik told me something like, “Israel is absolutely an apartheid state – come on, it’s obvious, of course it is – but I would never admit that in a public discussion about Israel, because I don’t want people to think Israel is so bad.” Another young Jewish college student told me that while she loves Bibi, she hates what Israel is doing to the Palestinians in the West Bank, and she doesn’t know how to reconcile those feelings. These kinds of unsettling internal contradictions, privately held on the young right, provide a potential for more awakenings and more young Jews to join the ever growing tidal wave of young Jewish moral dissent that is heading for major confrontation with the paranoid, desperate, and deeply misguided American Jewish Establishment.

When I stood to unfurl my banner and chant my slogan, my first goal was to get a message out to the larger world. It is important to me to be in solidarity with my Israeli and Palestinian brothers and sisters who are engaged in nonviolent struggle against the crimes of the occupation every single day in Palestine (for example, Bil’in), and getting this dissent into the media I think is ultimately helpful to the cause of pressuring Israel to change. Given the media firestorm that ensued, I believe this tactic was successful.

As far as persuading people in the room — this was a secondary goal. Did we win hearts and minds? I think many people felt alienated by what we did. I saw one young woman crying, she was so upset that her beloved Bibi’s speech had been disrupted. I felt genuinely sad about that and wished I could have done something to help her with her pain. But the truth is downright painful and when you love a family member you have to be honest with them. What serves an alcoholic more – smiling while they brag about their plans to go to the bar with your money to get drunk, or performing an intervention and telling them in no uncertain terms they have to get into rehab? Israeli columnist Gideon Levy has called Israel an alcoholic who is drunk on settlement expansion and colonization of the West Bank. I believe U.S. Jews must perform an “intervention,” cut off Israel’s supply of guns and bombs and bulldozers that it uses to confiscate Palestinian land, and get Israel into a rehab program of equality, peace, coexistence.

What we did, I think, was one part of that “intervention.” We got a truthful message out in the face of extreme, highly self-deluded power. And given the fact that a dialogue ensued among Jews about our message on this and other sites, and that we got so much media attention, I think the tactic was effective. Boycott, divestment, and sanctions is another part of the nonviolent intervention to persuade Israel to change.

As for a positive vision, I have one word for you: Equality. Israel from its founding has been based on inequality, and inequality has been growing more over the years. I support any political program based on equality between Israelis and Palestinians, and I oppose any political program based on inequality. There are many different ways the Israel/Palestine conflict can be addressed based on equality. You can have a two state solution based on equality, a one state solution based on equality, a six state solution based on equality (Johan Galtung’s proposal for a Middle East Community, modeled after the early versions of the EU).

Today in Israel, we have a one state solution based on extreme inequality and extreme oppression. Our voices at Bibi’s speech called for change, and I stand by our actions.

P.S. – Last time I checked, JVP does not advocate for one state or two state, but for international law, human rights, and equality. Check the website, the position is clearly stated.

For the peace that can only come from True Equality,

Matthew

About Matthew Taylor

Matthew A. Taylor is co-founder of PeacePower magazine, and author of "The Road to Nonviolent Coexistence in Palestine/Israel," a chapter in the book Nonviolent Coexistence.

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51 Responses

  1. seafoid
    November 10, 2010, 1:37 pm

    Bravo Ben

    “I saw one young woman crying, she was so upset that her beloved Bibi’s speech had been disrupted.”

    Amazing powerful Finkelstein video from University of Waterloo – zionist crocodile tears

    link to youtube.com

  2. eljay
    November 10, 2010, 1:51 pm

    Kudos to you, Mr. Taylor. It shames me to think of the tripe with which the “humanists” will inevitably chime in on this thread. Ignore them and keep doing your good work.

  3. Matthew Taylor
    November 10, 2010, 3:11 pm

    I’d like to add two clarifications to this post…

    1) Although we jokingly called ourselves “The Bibi 5,” there were over a dozen young Jews who collaborated together for several days working on the Young Leadership Institute — see http://www.youngjewisproud.org for more info the organizing efforts. Everyone who was part of that group contributed to the dissent expressed vocally by us five, and everyone’s efforts were deeply important.

    2) Although I noted that the majority of GA attendees seemed to be enthralled in the pro-Israel propaganda, a powerful minority of folks we spoke to, including a few Hillel students, expressed major objection to Netanyahu’s continued insistence on building settlements and the occupation. Rabbi Melissa Weintraub delivered a powerful JVP message at one of the panels. Even those with right tendencies said, “The occupation must end, it’s a problem.” The big disconnect I think is that while a lot of the attendees want the occupation to end, a smaller number have taken action in that direction, or are willing to directly challenge the Israel/American Jewish establishment. More will, as Peter Beinart said in his Tweet.

    • annie
      November 10, 2010, 6:09 pm

      mathew, you were fabulous, just fabulous. perfect, plus the good fortune of having the camera so close to you it felt like we were there. i’m so proud of you. i was so thrilled i couldn’t sleep all night once i got an email from rae informing us the editing was going out and the video would be up that night. i got it at 2:44 in the morning went apes and still couldn’t sleep. phil’s right, it’s a landmark. we need to keep the momentum strong. you are such an inspiration. tell everyone who worked on it how spectacular it made me feel. someday..really someday palestine/israel will be free. thank you in a huge way.

      i would like to encourage everyone to take this opportunity to share your thoughts attached to mathew’s comment here so we can distance the criticism from the usual suspect below this comment aimed at derailing the thread. thanks

    • potsherd
      November 10, 2010, 10:18 pm

      The comments on Sales’ site were not supportive of his position.

    • Shingo
      November 10, 2010, 10:40 pm

      Matthew,

      You’re an inspiration and I loved your comments on Sales’ blog. You made some key comments that really stand out.

      “As far as persuading people in the room — this was a secondary goal. ”

      I couldn’t agree more. There’s no hope in reaching those who refuse to be reached. They goal had to be to reach the wider Jewish community and set off waves.

      “I felt genuinely sad about that and wished I could have done something to help her with her pain. But **the truth** is downright painful and when you love a family member you have to be honest with them.”

      Right on the money. The resistance you will see from the so called Liberal Zionists is due to the fact that they like the idea of peace, but want to bypass the necessary steps to recovery. Using the alcoholic analogy, recovery from addiction doesn’t take place without the painful and difficult intermediate steps in between.

      A friend who is a recovered alcoholic told me that the road to recovery happens after hitting rock bottom, but the Liberal Zionists are not prepared to let that happen.

      I salute you.

      • Shingo
        November 10, 2010, 10:44 pm

        I hate to cut and past, but this outstanding post from another commenter on Sales’s blog, who goes by the name of Chris, deserves to be repeated.

        “Were the actions of the 5 JVP members during Netanyahu’s speech impolite and disrespectful?

        Absolutely.

        They were also long overdue. While Ben Sales agonizes over the propriety of upsetting the representatives of established Jewish organization gathered at the GA, Netanyahu’s gov’t is proposing a racist loyalty oath, settlers are desecrating mosques, IDF soldiers are kicking down the doors of non-violent activists in midnight raids, homes are being demolished, olive trees are being uprooted, and Israeli police, military and other security forces are doing dry runs exercises in anticipation of riots arising from moves by Israel to forcibly “transfer” Palestinian citizens of Israel.

        The time for quiet expressions of dissent has long since passed. What is at stake here is not primarily the terms for a “dialogue” within the Jewish community but rather the Palestinian people’s urgent struggle for justice and equality against a regime that is sytemtically dehumanizing them.

        How much longer, precisely, Mr. Sales should the Palestinian people have to suffer additional displacement and dehumanization so that the decorum of events like the GA not be disrupted?

        Do you honestly think that next week or next year through some process of polite discussion that the leaders of the established organizations are going to wake up and say to themselves “what Israel has been doing to the Palestinian and what we have been supporting is wrong and we are now going to change our tune? That is not how justice has ever been won.

        You and many like you freely admit that settlements, the occupation, the loyalty oath, the seige of Gaza are unconscionable travesties and yet insist that those who are actually forcing us to discuss the question are pushing too hard or too fast or with insufficient deference to the sensitivities of this that or the other. These are not new arguments. They are old ones that are heard every time people struggle against entrenched injustices. They are addressed far more eloquently than I am capable of in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” It is one of those famous documents that most people haven’t read. It is quite apropos to the present situation and available at: link to stanford.edu You and everybody else concerned with he questions around thios action should read it.

        Frederick Douglass famously wrote:

        “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”

        The fact is that the unbearable conditions confronting the Palestinians would not be possible without massive U.S. aid and support to Israel and that aid and support are ensured in some significant measure by the carefully cultivated appearance of unanimous support for Israel in the American Jewish community. Shattering those appearances is therefore critical to the Palestinian’s realization of their just demands for justice and equality. There is no way to do this without offending and upsetting large numbers of people in established organizations. Its a price worth paying.

        The disruption of Netanyahu’s speech at the GA was like a shot heard round the world. It was extraordinarily effective in bringing the fact of dissent within the Jewish community to the attention of the world. even if it didn’t move a single soul within the auditorium in which it occurred, which is doubtful, it fulfilled its purpose.

        Even more importantly, it was true. Every word on the banners held up by the JVP members and in the chants that they shouted as they were assaulted was urgently true. Luckily for you, history will forget your blog post, as it usually forgets such vacillating response to injustice. But it will remember the courage of JVP and the Bibi 5.”

  4. Richard Witty
    November 10, 2010, 3:26 pm

    Matthew,
    I liked your message and hated your delivery of it.

    If you prejudicially assume that the audience that you are interrupting is irrational, you will (did) act in a way that confirms it.

    You adopted circular reasoning, proving your own argument by your own assumptions only.

    I go door to door literally to advocate for my cause (sustainable economy). I listen and I speak. I listen and I think. I listen and I propose.

    • Shingo
      November 10, 2010, 3:48 pm

      “I liked your message and hated your delivery of it.”‘

      Yes Matthew, Witty would much have preferred you’d delivered it as a letter, an email or a text message.

      “If you prejudicially assume that the audience that you are interrupting is irrational, you will (did) act in a way that confirms it.”

      For example, if a woman is raped, it’s because she asked for it.

      “You adopted circular reasoning, proving your own argument by your own assumptions only.”

      For an exampe of circular reasoning, look to any comments from Witty.

      “I go door to door literally to advocate for my cause (sustainable economy). I listen and I speak. I listen and I think. I listen and I propose.”

      Yes, Witty is a true PEP.

      • Avi
        November 10, 2010, 7:51 pm

        Yes Matthew, Witty would much have preferred you’d delivered it as a letter, an email or a text message.

        Or as witless often does, deliver the message in the form of a nonsensical word salad.

    • thankgodimatheist
      November 11, 2010, 4:46 am

      “I go door to door literally to advocate for my cause (sustainable economy). I listen and I speak. I listen and I think. I listen and I propose.”

      You’re just too perfect Witty..and we are lower than vermin..We should kill ourselves because we’ll never reach your heights..
      Off I go to put to sit in the toilet bowl and flush myself away..

      • Richard Witty
        November 11, 2010, 6:53 am

        You gotta do the work is the point atheist, not just talk.

        Some people rationalize that if they attract a “committed” vanguard to similarly disrupt elsewhere, that they’ve created a movement.

        They haven’t. Demonstration is not the same as creating healthy social institutions from person to planet.

        You want to not be “vermin”, take the next step of actually proposing and working soberly for it.

  5. Citizen
    November 10, 2010, 3:41 pm

    Our resident liberal zionist, Richard Witty, told us that the protest would convince nobody at the meeting. One of our other commenters said the protest was directed to the world outside the meeting, especially to Americans, and most specifically to Jewish American youth. Now, Mr Taylor confirms this. And Witty wasn’t completely right even about the people in the meeting room. Of course our dear Richard was right about a certain type of people at that meeting, for example the old bulky guy who ripped up the t-shirt message with his foaming teeth. Of course Richard wouldn’t do that. Mr Taylor also spells out why he and his fellow young Jewish protesters have to resort to such tactics. But so did many commenters on this blog already–and Richard ignored them–he likes to think the US MSM is balanced on the issue in question. Facts do not matter. What is the nature of a voice of reason devoid of facts supporting
    what he reasons?

  6. Richard Witty
    November 10, 2010, 4:21 pm

    Its an UTTER FAILURE to persuade.

    If the argument is a good one, it can be made successfully.

    That disruption is the chosen method, rather than going door to door, including to Congress and risking dismissal and rejection (how horrible), indicates both a laziness, a failure of argument, and an elitism (born of the laziness).

    Minds won’t change without communication, organizing. You have the fantasy that the civil rights argument was won on the basis of a few angry demonstrators. It is the oppossite. It took nearly a century of organizing, fighting legal battles in courts, organizing door-to-door in MUCH more dangerous settings than a Jewish Federation.

    You want to be one honored for your convictions, put in the real time.

    • Bumblebye
      November 10, 2010, 7:13 pm

      RW
      Laughable.
      Tell us Witty, if there had been no mass demonstrations, no law-breaking lunch counter sit ins, or refusal to sit at the back of the bus, ie no loud noise and spectacle in the right sort of places, would the media or the people of America have been brought into the Civil Rights movement? Would it have gained any traction? Would African Americans now be able to vote unmolested by some of their white neighbors?

      These actions, by these young people are necessary. This is how to knock on doors! The MSM is timid and conformist in the extreme – it takes an unavoidable noise and spectacle for them to dare to report! This is the only way to open other minds who may not have heard much, it anything, of the truth. This will make others seek out and explore the issues. These young people in particular need to be a major part of the spearhead, their Jewish identity an important factor in the future to hopefully prevent the “blowback” Phil fears could otherwise be on the cards.

      • Richard Witty
        November 11, 2010, 6:56 am

        In the civil rights movements, the demonstrations were the smallest part of the effort is the point.

        Decades of social organizing at grassroots AND at top levels of government and prestige, is what changed hearts and minds.

        In every case where dissent is construed as successful demonstration only, the dissent fails in practice.

      • Shingo
        November 11, 2010, 7:46 am

        “In the civil rights movements, the demonstrations were the smallest part of the effort is the point.”

        According to what historical refrence Witty? Come on, produce some evidene to ack up your vaccuous platitudes for once in your life.

        The civil rights movement became powerful due to keyevents nd turning points that mobilized the masses, like the Rosa Parks incident. Those grassroots movements were shocked into action by shocking events.

        As one of the commenters on Sale’s blog points out,

        “What is the end game here? Do you JVP thinks that the Jewish Federations are going to sign on to BDS? Of course they aren’t. What is far more likely to happen is that their claim to speak for the Jewish community as a whole on the question of Israel will be broken and THAT advances the fight for Palestinian human rights precisely by creating political space in which elected officials and other people in power can put some daylight between themselves and Israel policies.”

        “In every case where dissent is construed as successful demonstration only, the dissent fails in practice.”

        This was not demonstration only you idiot, it is part of a broader btu scattered movement. As the above quote points out, the movement has remained scattered because these pro Israeli grousp have insite dhtey were spoeaking for all Jews and this demonstration not only destroyed that argument, it has empowered others to join the cause.

        As we’ve pointed out, this is what frightens you so much, because you are scared to death that it’s going to work.

      • Aref
        November 11, 2010, 7:51 am

        You are wrong. Behind the doors “talks” would have never achieved anything. It is precisely the demonstrations and public actions that put the issues of equality in the public eye and pushed the politicians to act one way or another. Had there were no demonstrations, marches, acts of civil disobedience, Jim Crow and segregation would still be in place (not that they are completely gone mind you).
        Would you stop falsifying facts and twisting them just to suit your agenda? we all know where you stand. Your mantra is well known to all: Israel is right and everybody else is wrong no matter what the issue is and no matter the delivery method.

      • Richard Witty
        November 11, 2010, 5:04 pm

        Shingo,
        Read some history. The work was done by tens of thousands of literally courageous and dedicated community organizers, teachers, lawyers.

        You site only the dramatic.

        If you are confident in the better argument, then you will present it slowly, calmly, respectfully, even if rejected in conclusion or in assumptions.

        If you are not confident in the better argument, and utterly distrustful in community, you will seek movement only.

        Liberal Zionists are very ready to reconcile with willing Palestinian solidarity that is willing to accept them. That is the task to construct.

    • Avi
      November 10, 2010, 7:52 pm

      Richard Witty November 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm

      Its an UTTER FAILURE to persuade.

      It’s a failure to persuade? What could possibly persuade YOU, witless?

      Your convictions are religious in nature. Even god couldn’t sway you.

    • Shingo
      November 11, 2010, 6:20 am

      ‘Witty you’ve already admitted that you cannot be swayed. You stated last week that you wil always defend the Israeli position and reject criticism of Israel not matter what.

      These demonstrators are not interested in persuading you, but those who can stil be reached and reasoned with. Those who have a conscience and haven’t swallowed the red pill so to speak.

      “That disruption is the chosen method, rather than going door to door, including to Congress and risking dismissal and rejection”

      We get it Witty. You would rather have them take the polite route and fail than do what is necessary to achieve a result, because at the end fo the day, you want this movement to fail.

      “You have the fantasy that the civil rights argument was won on the basis of a few angry demonstrators. It is the oppossite”‘

      Is that so? So according to you Witty, those people who harbored intense racism for black people turned around one day and hung up their racism bevasue someone explained to them that racism was harnful?

      You are seriously out of your Zionist mind.

      If the world had waited for every racist to be persuaded not to be, we’d stil be living in a world of segregation, becasue in spite of teh civil rights movement over 4 decades ago, there are still millions of peopel in this world who would love to return to the gool old days of raciasl segregation.

      Then again, this really sheds a light on you doesn’t it? You don’t want the apartheid and racisl segregationin Israel to end.

    • Shingo
      November 11, 2010, 6:40 am

      “If the argument is a good one, it can be made successfully.”

      That’s assuming those who are listening are rational, which is clearly not the case.

      The argument is rock solid Witty, yet after years of being on this blog and being presented with irrefutable facts, you continue to reject it.

      • Richard Witty
        November 11, 2010, 7:20 am

        It is more obvious to me that you (Shingo and Avi) have a religious approach to this issue, religious in the sense of unwillingness to consider alternative approaches to accomplishing your “goal”.

        A limited palette.

        Consider South Africa. There are NO prominent or grass-roots anti-apartheid activists that ended up spending the majority of their current lives opposing injustice through agitation. They all (maybe still a few remaining) shifted to some productive calling, to government, law, to business, to education, to farming, to social welfare, to counseling, something contributory.

        The period of their dissent was temporary. Those that only contributed their dissent, are gone. Those that clung to dissent only after, were hindrances to social evolution following.

        Its important to make change. Its important for anyone that thinks to make change that sustains and on the basis of consent preferably.

        I’ve interrupted speeches and recently. My very good Congressman John Olver spoke in 2002 at a local church explaining why he voted to support the Afghanistan war resolution. I interrupted his speech four times, “hypocritical” for me. (It wasn’t planned dissent.)

        I had more impact when I met him at a green building event later in the year and told him of my concerns and why.

      • Mooser
        November 11, 2010, 11:52 am

        “A limited palette.”

        I’m with you, Richard. When your “palette” is limited to truth, non-violence, a decent morality, humanitarian standards, yup, it’s going to be hard.
        Especially when nothing, nothing, not legality, not morality, not even concern for Jews or, frankly, the Jewish people, troubles Zionists at all.

        But you are so right, Witty, maybe they should expand their palette to include the full Zionist spectrum of political manipulation and assassination.

        But thanks for admitting that Zionism operates strictly with an end-justifies-the-means palette.

        Or would you like to tell us what the bounds of Zionism are?

    • Shingo
      November 11, 2010, 7:51 am

      “Its an UTTER FAILURE to persuade.”

      The very fact that you are so adament about this event proves that it has actualyl persuaded and you are in a panick about it.

      If you really beleved the demonstration was an utter failure, you would not be investing so much effort in this debate. You’d simply ignore it as a non issue.

      But it’s gotten to you hasn’t it Witty? It’s got you seriously worried because Jewish people everywhefre are talking about it and is poses a danger to your hermetically sealed Zionist bubble that until now, has contained andsilenced dissent within the Jewish community.

      You’re scared to death that there is some truth to the claims that this is a turning point.

  7. justicewillprevail
    November 10, 2010, 6:12 pm

    Witty, you never ever get it. The intervention was an UTTER SUCCESS. It is only these tactics which force the issue into the mainstream. You will be aware of the UTTER FAILURE of your tactics, the pathetic belief that being nice gets you anywhere with McCarthyites and fascists.

    • Aref
      November 11, 2010, 8:15 am

      justice, Witty gets it allright but will always, always try to obfuscate and will always try to find fault with any criticism of Israel or of zionism no matter how that criticism is presented and no matter how persuasive it is.
      He is and never was interested in a meaningful dialog despite his self-labeling as a “humanist” interested in “peaceful coexistence”. His mantra is Israel is always right and its critics are always wrong. It is as simple as that despite his fantastic contortions and torture of logic and facts.

      • Mooser
        November 11, 2010, 11:53 am

        Aref, you must keep in mind that Witty has both family and monetary interest in Israel. He does not want to see his real-estate de-valued.

      • Mooser
        November 11, 2010, 11:54 am

        Or, for that matter, his scion exposed as a malajusted nut.

  8. alec
    November 10, 2010, 10:09 pm

    Absolutely. The demonstration was a huge success. It probably even opened some minds at the conference (not many, mind you, but some). And that’s why this action infuriates and frustrates Witty.

    Because it is so successful.

    Keep making a difference, Matthew. Perhaps there will be ten righteous men in the city.

    • Shingo
      November 10, 2010, 10:24 pm

      “And that’s why this action infuriates and frustrates Witty. Because it is so successful.”

      Bingo. Just like his fanatical insistence that the 2 state solution is alive and well. Witty only approves and supports action that he knows will be ineffective.

      This is why Witty has been, and remains such a big supporter of Obama’s strategy. He knows it’s going to fail (it has already) but by backing Obama’s failed policies, he gets to have his cake and eat it to by pretending to support the peace process safe in the knowledge there will be no resolution.

      It’s also why Witty and others like him (ie. Dershowitz et al) are so adamant about the 2 state solution, because the 2 state argument is the gift that keeps on giving. They know that the 2SS has been dead in the water for a decade, but by insisting that it’s the only viable solution, they get to pretend they are pace niks and Israel gets to exploit it by using the delays to steal more land.

      Goldberg is another. He claims to oppose the settlements, but could hardly contain his glee when the “moratorium” ended.

      That’s why Witty and co are so manic whenever the 1 state solution is mentioned, because it lifts the veil of their smoke screen.

  9. jnslater
    November 10, 2010, 11:23 pm

    I must confess that I had my doubts about the wisdom and effectiveness of the interruptions, but Matthew’s comments are so wonderfully articulate and powerfully argued that I no longer have those doubts.

  10. Richard Witty
    November 11, 2010, 6:59 am

    Munich, hijackings, suicide bombings were similar “successes” for the Palestinians.

    They pushed the issues into the public eye. They made one step forward.

    The horror of those efforts, and the very very minor “violence” of disruption, is that for the one step forward of proceeding into the public eye, they also made three steps backward in the form of the plausible portrayal of the Palestinian solidarity movement as lawless, violent, blind to others.

    • Aref
      November 11, 2010, 8:38 am

      I am deeply touched by your concern for how the “Palestinian solidarity movement” is portrayed and perceived.
      I am also amazed at how unsubtle your juxtaposition of Munich, and suicide bombings with direct action such as the disruption of a speech by a war criminal. Do you seriously think that there is a comparison between the two and can you even characterize the disruption of a speech as violence?

      • eljay
        November 11, 2010, 9:33 am

        >> … can you even characterize the disruption of a speech as violence?

        Heck, that’s easy for ol’ RW! To him, peaceful protests are “destabilizing”, “maximalist” and “revolution”; while IDF armed aggression and Israeli expansion, theft and destruction are merely “unfortunate” and “unhelpful”. Heck, he even blames the victim for demanding justice and accountability!

        But at least he has conceded that ethnic cleansing is “currently not necessary”. For that, we can all be thankful. ;-)

    • Shingo
      November 11, 2010, 2:31 pm

      “Munich, hijackings, suicide bombings were similar “successes” for the Palestinians.”

      What an assinine comparison!

      Clearly, you see these demomnstrations as an equal threat to Israel as posed by those events.

      Your fear is palpable.

      “The horror of those efforts, and the very very minor “violence” of disruption, is that for the one step forward of proceeding into the public eye”

      Isn’t it amazing how Witty can perceive there proptests as violent while turning a blind eye to the violence from their assailants?

      Tell me Witty, do these demonstrator pose an existential threat?

  11. Aref
    November 11, 2010, 7:44 am

    Thank you Matthew for speaking up.

  12. pabelmont
    November 11, 2010, 7:44 am

    The demonstrators have made their brave intervention, saying, in effect, “The inevitable must no longer be avoided. Jewish grown-ups, grow up! We, the younger generation, call for human rights and peace with justice in Palestine and that part of it called Israel and can no longer stand by mute as Jewish old-timers mindlessly and heartlessly prevent peace, prevent justice, and celebrate the denial of human rights.”

    The Nation magazine, reporting on the recent (and continuing?) French strikes, reports a slogan of the strikers (protesting an autocratic series of coups de gouvernement by Sarkozy): “The inevitable is always avoidable.”

    While this appears to be the implicit slogan of the government and (Jewish) people of Israel and their lackeys in the USA and elsewhere, who have successfully opposed a “just and lasting peace” for 43 years (shame on them!), it is also the slogan of the Palestinians, who call their resistance to Israel’s expulsive occupation “sumud” (steadfastness). It must also be the slogan of the supporters of peace with justice here and world-wide.

    (Even if it is a rather confused slogan, to my mind.)

  13. Kathleen
    November 11, 2010, 10:04 am

    Matthew “When I stood to unfurl my banner and chant my slogan, my first goal was to get a message out to the larger world.”

    And it did. You folks rock!
    “”The Occupation Delegitimizes Israel”
    You effectively flipped the latest Israeli script.

    Oh yes
    “A friend of mine who served many years in the IDF said to me, “the single greatest threat to the Jewish people today is the occupation.” Not Iran. Not the so-called “delegitimizers.” The occupation. ”

    The light keeps growing

  14. Richard Witty
    November 11, 2010, 12:15 pm

    I observed the reaction of the audience, and again saw an invoked allergic reaction.

    I’ll pass on continuing at this.

    The left here are speaking as allergically as the attendees at the conference.

    By that I mean that a stimulated response that multiplies, self-talking.

    Its a rush to get the world’s attention.

    I’m glad that the actual slogans presented were moderate. That is MUCH MUCH more effective dissent than “Zionism is racism”.

    • Richard Witty
      November 11, 2010, 12:18 pm

      I would recommend avoiding use of the term “occupation” without clarification of whether it is referring to the green line or all of Israel.

      At the green line, I’d support the criticism, at all of Israel, its a statement of war.

      Ambiguous statements evoke the fear, more than the charitable. And, ambiguous statements allow opportunists to shift between meanings.

      • Mooser
        November 11, 2010, 1:34 pm

        “I would recommend avoiding use of the term “occupation” without clarification of whether it is referring to the green line or all of Israel.”

        I would recommend you don’t insult Mondoweiss’ readers intelligence.

      • occupyresist
        November 11, 2010, 1:41 pm

        Mooser, the troll is so gigantic now, no amount of dieting will help it shrink back to a size 10.

        While I really enjoy reading your responses, the troll needs to be boycotted. We all read it’s comments on Mondo and snicker at it’s thinly veiled attempts at appearing ‘balanced’.

      • Shingo
        November 11, 2010, 2:52 pm

        Go easy on him Mooser.

        It could be that Witty doesn’t know where the occupation is taking place and is asking for someone to explain it to him.

    • Shingo
      November 11, 2010, 2:46 pm

      “I observed the reaction of the audience, and again saw an invoked allergic reaction.”

      That’s a good metaphor. The audience had an elegiac reaction to information that contradicted their ideology.

      That allergic reaction was also on display during the raid on the flotilla, the suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Israel and the OT.

      I’ve noticed you have similar bouts of this allergy from te to time.

      Is it seasonal?

      “Its a rush to get the world’s attention.”

      No we can’t have that can we Witty. That’s why your such a fan of handing out fliers and door knocking – because both are guaranteed NOT to get the world’s attention.

      “I’m glad that the actual slogans presented were moderate. That is MUCH MUCH more effective dissent than “Zionism is racism”.”

      It would have been entirely effective, along with others like “Zionism and Peace are incompatible”, but these signs were a start. The harder hitting stuff will come later.

  15. eljay
    November 11, 2010, 12:34 pm

    >> And, ambiguous statements allow opportunists to shift between meanings.

    Spoken like the true master of ambiguous statements and bafflegab!!

    DON’T FEED THE TROLL!!

  16. wondering jew
    November 11, 2010, 2:07 pm

    The impression given by the Bibi 5 is that they would say, “The Nakba delegitimizes Israel”, but rather than point their fingers at the basics they point them at other issues some basic to Israel’s legitimacy and others important but certainly not basic.

    The occupation/settlements delegitimize Israel insofar as Israel’s basis is democratic. The occupation specifically of the West Bank and the type of occupation necessitated by a settler movement blurs the lines of 48 and thus delegitimizes Israel.

    The loyalty oath given to applying citizens if indeed that oath specifies the declaration of independence may be stupid, unnecessary, the product of the minds of men opposed to democracy, silly and indicative of a wrong minded obsession. But if Israel had legitimacy in its declaration of independence and its contents are the content of the oath, there is nothing delegitimizing about it.

    The siege of Gaza delegitimizes Israel to the extent that Gaza remains a part of Israel to the degree that the occupation has not ended or to the degree that a state of war has not ended. In all probability increased freedom of movement to Gaza would increase the chances of advanced weaponry reaching the hands of Hamas who controls Gaza. Further Israel does not control all of Gaza’s borders. Egypt controls one border and I suppose Egypt’s dependency on the US exempts it from any “real” criticism. And because most of the population of Gaza consists of children of the exile of 48, Israel’s responsibility cannot be shirked in the same way that Egypt is allowed to shirk. Still it is much more of a stretch to consider this delegitimizing when indeed there is one nonIsraeli controlled border, Gaza-Egypt, (compared to the control of the West Bank.)

    • Shingo
      November 11, 2010, 2:48 pm

      “The impression given by the Bibi 5 is that they would say, “The Nakba delegitimizes Israel”, but rather than point their fingers at the basics they point them at other issues some basic to Israel’s legitimacy and others important but certainly not basic.”

      Wow WJ, that’s a word salad that tops the efforts of our resident master chef, Witty.

      You’ve been secretly practicing haven’t, you devil.

    • potsherd
      November 11, 2010, 3:09 pm

      No, it just piles shame on Egypt, for betraying its brothers. There’s no less shame for Israel. Shame is infinite.

    • Mooser
      November 11, 2010, 8:14 pm

      I must admit, Hophmi and Wondering Jew are addicted to the idea that if the can only put another name on something atrocious, it’ll change.

      You know, Kahane is a “demagogue”, not a terrorist.

      • wondering jew
        November 13, 2010, 2:01 am

        Menachem Begin can be called a terrorist, but that was not the most significant part of his career. Meir Kahane was no Menachem Begin, but if Kahane was behind bombings or assassinations, then he was a terrorist. But that is not the most significant element of his career.

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