‘A level of racist violence I have never seen': UCLA professor Robin D. G. Kelley on Palestine and the BDS movement

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
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Robin D. G. Kelley

If there’s one thing the Palestine solidarity movement and Israel lobbyists can agree on, it’s this: American college campuses remain a potent battleground when it comes to the politics of Israel/Palestine.

One group, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), certainly recognizes this. And one way to advocate for Palestine on campus is to get professors on board the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Five professors recently back in the U.S. after a USACBI delegation to Palestine have taken that leap, releasing a statement (published on the Electronic Intifada in full) that describes what they saw in Palestine and that calls on their academic colleagues to join the BDS movement. Mondoweiss caught up with one of the professors on the delegation, UCLA’s Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, and discussed BDS, the delegation, Kelley’s new project, black Zionism and much more. Kelley is the author of eight books including Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression, Race Rebels: Culture Politics and the Black Working ClassFreedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination and 2009’s Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original.

Alex Kane: To begin with, talk about yourself, what you do and what your research focuses on.

Robin Kelley: I am a professor of American history at UCLA, and for the last 25 years really, my work has focused on social movements, the African diaspora, radical change, and–it’s sort of a side issue–but I’ve also written about music. My last book was about [the jazz musician] Thelonious Monk. But my academic work, you know, links up to the political work largely because I got into this business as a historian/scholar, through activism and through recognizing, or experiencing or watching social injustice both locally and globally. I’m a product of the 1980s, and the main critical issues were both domestic, in terms of police brutality, Reagan policies on poverty, rising racism in the United States and global issues–the anti-apartheid movement was formative in my own political awakening, the struggles in Central America, the struggles in post-colonial Africa and the Congo, and Palestine, which brings us full circle. The point I’m trying to make is, the issue of Palestinian self-determination is not a new one. It always sort of rebirths (laughs), but it’s not a new one. And so for people of my generation, the Israel-South Africa nexus, dispossession of Palestinians–even back in the days when people talked seriously about the two-state solution, whatever that is–these were the key questions for anyone politically active in the 1980s.

It’s not an accident that Jesse Jackson, for example, whose presidential campaign in the 80s was really formative as well, that his right-hand man, Jack O’Dell, had led a delegation in the 1970s to meet with PLO members and to go to the West Bank and to meet with Palestinians there when the PLO was in exile. And so, there’s been a long tradition after 1967 of various black liberation movements trying to build a connection to Palestine.

AK: And so that brings us to the second question: talk about the trip you recently took to Palestine, why you went and what you saw.

RK: In 2009, I was invited to join the board of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. And as a board member in USACBI, I did my part in terms of trying to get the word out about supporting and enacting the cultural boycott. The opportunity to travel to the occupied territories came up over the summer through USACBI and through scholars at various universities and Muwatin, which is an independent think tank that focuses on the study and implementation of democracy in Palestine. And so they invited a number of scholars to come, and I jumped at the chance because I always wanted to go and missed other opportunities. So five of us agreed to go in January, and I stayed longer than the rest of the group because I’m actually doing research for another project.

So we go there hosted by Muwatin, and they arranged an incredible visit. I won’t tell you everything we did, because it would take too long. We went to Ramallah, met the president of Birzeit University, we met with other faculty, the founders of PACBI. We went to East Jerusalem to visit Sheikh Jarrah and some of the families that have been dispossessed from their own homes. We went to Hebron, and visited and talked to Palestinian merchants, and witnessed a level of racist violence that I hadn’t even seen growing up as a black person here in the States (laughs), I have to say, and I’ve been beat by the cops. The level of racist violence from the settlers is kind of astounding. We visited Aida refugee camp just north of Bethlehem, and we went to Bethlehem as well. On my own, I went to Nablus and visited the Balata refugee camp. We also went to Haifa, and we met with a group of Palestinian-Israeli scholars and intellectuals to talk about the boycott.

So to me what was important wasn’t just passing through checkpoints, it wasn’t just witnessing the day to day oppression, acts of dispossession, the expansion of these settler communities in the hills overlooking and intimidating Palestinian villages. It wasn’t just that. That was a very, very important part of the trip because what it did in some ways made tangible the kind of oppression, the nature of dispossession, that we read about and knew about. We were prepared. What was important equally was our conversations with active members of Palestinian civil society, our conversations with activists who are organizing against the wall, our conversations with scholars at Haifa, at Birzeit and independent intellectuals. Because what it produced for us wasn’t just a fact-finding mission, you know, as these things often are. It wasn’t just, you know, “occu-tourism,” visiting and seeing for yourself. That wasn’t, to me, the key thing. The key thing was the kind of engagement that helped us better understand why the boycott is central, the complications in pushing for boycott, and how can we sharpen our political critique. Because what we came away with is recognizing that this is a kind of joint, collective venture–that we are not advocating on behalf of Palestinians, but partners with Palestinians for the right to self-determination. And the leadership comes from the Palestinian people. So we’re supporting that movement, and recognizing that what’s happening there is not exceptional, but rather part of a larger global process of late colonialism and neoliberalism, and that what happens in Palestine is going to have an impact on the rest of the world.

Two other things were striking about the trip for me, and I’m only speaking for myself, not for the whole delegation. One is, it’s one thing to see day to day oppression, it’s another to see the efforts Israel puts into and invests in normalizing the situation there. I was in East Jerusalem, after the delegation, on my own, and staying at a Palestinian-owned hotel called the Jerusalem Hotel. And basically, in the Arab quarter near Salah ad-Din street and in this [area with] Palestinian markets. And I took a stroll up the hill, and found Jaffa road, and I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was like I was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, or the Grove in L.A. It was just the strangest thing to see the juxtaposition, of the largely Jewish and tourist center of commerce with all the chains here, Coffee Bean, Yogurt Land, jewelery, clothing, ATMs at every little corner, granite paved roads, and then of course running through the middle of Jaffa street is the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail system. So to recognize that this space is normalized, a Western so-called bureaucratic capitalist space, a space of high consumerism is an eight-minute walk from what is essentially a ghetto in an occupied territory. That, that to me is even more shocking then seeing 20-something year-old Israelis looking through people’s passports and IDs and deciding whether or not you’re a threat. To me, that emphasis on normalization is one of the more dangerous things, because if they succeed in convincing the world that this is not a state of war or occupation but rather this is really the heart of the kind of Western democracy that’s like the rest of the world, the Western world at least–then in some ways that’s how they try and win. And part of what the boycott does is it delegitimizes the claim that this is a normal situation. It’s not a normal situation, it’s a settler-colonial situation, a situation of oppression.

The second thing that blew my mind, and I just wrote about this, is going to the refugee camp, particularly Aida, and seeing the cultural and artistic revolution among young people. Occupation is something that is a political act as well as an ideological and psychological imposition. And there are whole generations of young people, and older people, that will not accept the occupation. They will not accept normalization of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank or the ethnic cleansing taking place. They’re not only creating and documenting a kind of collective memory of Palestinian history, Palestinian struggle, what the impact of the Nakba was on that community, but also I think prefiguring what could be a new society, what could be a post-Zionist society. And to me that’s probably the most dangerous thing. It’s one thing for Israel to use walls, barbed wire and a blacked-out media to keep, to try to normalize Israel by making invisible the dispossession and oppression of Palestinians. It’s another thing to hide what could be a new vision for a different kind of society, a new generation of people who are not accepting a second-class state or second-class citizenship, [saying] we want the nation, we want our nation back, and if you want to be part of it, well we’re happy with that. To me, that’s what’s so exciting about what I see in the refugee camps, what I see in terms of the cultural work being done. This is the third intifada, right before our eyes.

AK: You mentioned this earlier, but I wanted to draw it out more. What sorts of connections do you see between the sort of work you focus on and the current situation in Palestine?

RK: Well, I’m sort of of two minds. One perspective is that if I did nothing but wrote about, you know, Mozart, my investment in the struggle of Palestinians for the right to return, the right to self-determination, the right to full citizenship–these are things that as a human being, I really have no choice, I can’t look away. I can’t pretend that, you know, I want to live in a just, safe, beautiful world and not be concerned about this issue because to me, what Israel constitutes is the most blatant example of existing settler-colonialism in the world right now. And so even if my work had no connection whatsoever, this is something that I think I, and anyone who supports social justice and self-determination, needs to be aware of and involved in.

So, having said that, my own scholarly work has always been shaped by the political investments and political experiences that I’ve had over the years. I’m actually writing a book about a woman named Grace Halsell, who was a white woman born in Texas. She spent much of her late life as a journalist trying to figure out how white supremacy, racism and other forms of domination actually work; how it feels to actually endure that. So in 1969 she wrote a book called Soul Sister, where she passed as a black woman. She darkened her skin and lived as a black woman for about six months and wrote about it. And it wasn’t so much to claim that “I know what it’s like to be a black person,” but really to try to understand the outward and subtle manifestations of racism and sexism. Then she wrote another book called Bessie Yellowhair where she did something similar, where she became a Navajo woman and worked as a domestic for a white family in L.A. and wrote about it. Then she passed as a Mexican immigrant, and crossed the Rio Grande and interviewed other immigrants in the late 1970s, when anti-immigration sentiment was rising, to sort of understand state power and immigration and how it is experienced by every day people.

So this leads us to one of her great masquerades. She decided to go to Israel/Palestine in 1979, and she basically wrote a book called Journey to Jerusalem, where she tries to understand the lives of essentially four people, four groups of people: Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, Sephardic Jews and the settlers, a settler family. At first she thinks, “this is not political, I’m just trying to tell the story of these three faiths, basically.” And it ends up being a very political book because she’s very critical of Israel. And this was 1980-81, and she was sympathetic to Palestinians. She’s on the Birzeit campus at a time when Israeli forces were shutting down the campus, beating students–she’s witnessing all this. And she is learning Palestinian history, and trying to write a little bit about it before a lot of Israeli historians are kind of discovering al-Nakba. She writes this book, and as a result of that book, her career as a kind of high-level journalist kind-of ends. She’s still liked, but she can’t get contracts the same way.

In the next book, she masquerades as a right-wing Christian fundamentalist and travels with Jerry Falwell’s group, and writes a book about Christian Zionism and the nexus between Israeli nuclear policy–and she’s saying that, you know, the Christian Zionists, the right-wing fundamentalists, are pushing Israel to use its bombs because they believe Armageddon is inevitable and eventually Israel will destroy itself and Christians will take over the holy land. So she writes this book in 1986. And so I’m writing a biography of her, and I’m convinced that everything she experienced–as a white woman being black, being Native American, Mexican–in some ways prepared her for a kind of empathy and identification with the Palestinians when she got there. When she got there, and wrote about what she saw, it changed her life profoundly in ways that being black, Native American or Mexican did not. And she devoted the rest of her life to writing about the Middle East. And she ended up doing a lot of work for Americans for Middle East Understanding, and supporting their work.

There’s a whole set of other writing I want to do. I’m incredibly disturbed by the way AIPAC and Israel is recruiting black students from historically black colleges.

AK: You read my mind–that was my next question.

RK: This is the thing that I’m actually trying to write: this is pretty astounding and yet, there’s a logic to it. I’m actually planning on writing an open letter to the so-called Vanguard Leadership Group, which is the group that has collectively made strong statements against Students for Justice in Palestine, and is basically in the pocket of AIPAC and Israel. In some respects, it’s a very dangerous position, because what AIPAC is doing is using black students as a moral shield to make the case for Israeli impunity, and that AIPAC is finding, and really developing, cultivating, a whole group of black allies as a way to shield Israel so that they can’t be seen as racist.

Now, the disturbing thing about this, you know, is that when you really start to scratch the surface, there’s a very long history of African American support for Zionism, going back to before there was an Israel as a state. The [Marcus] Garvey movement basically adopted Zionism, a certain form of black Zionism as its sort of mantra, and had actually gotten money from Zionists in the early 1920s. When Israel was founded in 1948 as a result of dispossession, you look at the black press, and you see all these folks across the board, black leaders, who were celebrating and supporting, encouraging Israel, because for them, they saw European Jews as themselves a dispossessed people, an oppressed people, who finally found the capacity to build a nation. So for them, it’s a kind-of heroic story that would encourage African Americans–it’s not exactly the same, but really to mobilize in defense of themselves. And that’s how they saw it.

So people like [civil rights leader] A. Philip Randolph sent a congratulatory note to Israel with almost no mention of Palestinian dispossession, of al-Nakba, of refugees. There were some exceptions to the rule, and every once in a while you see letters to the editor, people who would write these small pieces that would say, “well wait a second. What about the Arabs?” And it was Malcolm X, like a lot of the Muslims, who was ahead of the game. Malcolm was like, “wait a second, this is illegal.” I think Malcolm said, “imagine if the Muslims went to Spain and said we want our land back, start kicking people out and say we were here first.”

So there’s that history, and we have to come to terms with that history because in 1967, I believe there was really a sea change where because of the 67 war, because of the connection between that and other struggles for self-determination and national liberation in Africa and elsewhere, a number of black activists in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee said, “wait a second, we support the Palestinians.” And that was a shift in positions, and as a result of that, a lot of the support that SNCC and other organizations got from Jewish groups disappeared. There’s other reasons for that, but that was one of the reasons.

I think that by coming to terms with that history, but also coming to terms with the history in Palestine, that we have to have another sea change. African Americans who claim to be for social justice have no choice but to support the rule of law, to support the Geneva Conventions, to support the right of return, to end what is essentially an apartheid, ethnic state. It’s not sustainable. So, part of what I would like to do politically is to begin to build a conversation in African American circles, with people who were involved in anti-apartheid work in the past, people who are concerned about other places, to really pay attention once again to Palestine. I think that’s a critical point of struggle for our time.

AK: And so obviously you’re a proponent of the academic boycott of Israel. It’s one of the more controversial aspects of the BDS movement and has led to debate within the Palestine solidarity movement. How would you explain your support for the academic boycott?

RK: Well, there’s a couple of things. One of the key arguments against an academic and cultural boycott is that it suppresses academic freedom, and I vehemently disagree with that position. In fact, it’s a struggle for academic freedom, and what I mean by that is that Palestinians, both scholars, intellectuals and school children, do not enjoy academic freedom whatsoever. You have faculty in Gaza who cannot even be in the same room as scholars with West Bank universities like Birzeit and Nablus university. You have scholars who cannot attend international conferences without a permit, and if they do get a permit, part of what Israel does is use those international trips as excuses to block them returning. You have scholars who have been hired by universities in the occupied territories who can’t take the job because they’re denied entry. You have the criminalization of boycott itself, which is to me the most astounding thing, that to talk about, to produce literature about, can hold you liable in a civil court, maybe not the criminal court, meaning you have to pay damages for whatever and boycott is part of freedom of expression. Okay, there’s that.

The boycott itself was never, as Omar Barghouti put very clearly, was never directed at individual Israeli scholars or artists because what we don’t want to do is start to vilify individuals and do a kind of McCarthy test to see whether or not someone is sufficiently progressive or not. But that’s not the point; the point is that it is directed at institutions. The kind of individual collaborations can continue and in fact, we as a part of the boycott, encourage a certain level of collaboration and conversation as a way to build support, and we’re hoping that those Israeli scholars who really believe in academic freedom would support the boycott as well. In many cases, part of what this institutional boycott does is that it identifies and makes visible the role that universities have played in the violation of Palestinian human rights. We’re talking about universities on land that has been expropriated from Palestinians. We’re talking about lands that expand and create illegal colonies in places like Nablus. We’re talking about universities that host not only scholars that play a key role in designing the apartheid system in Israel and have theorized and implemented policies around questions of the so-called demographic threat, but, you know, we’re also talking about universities that have vilified and punished graduate students and faculty for taking anti-Zionist positions that are backed up with scholarship. Ilan Pappe is not there for that very reason, and he’s just one example.

So we’re saying, we want academic freedom, and that’s the whole point of the boycott, to struggle for the right of academic freedom. And finally, you’ve got this problem even outside the universities where, and again I don’t have to go into detail about this because anyone who picks up a book like Saree Makdisi’s Palestine Inside and Out, will see that you have schoolchildren who can’t attend school because of checkpoints and distances created by the apartheid wall. You’ve got the kind of unequal investment in education, let alone the conditions of life where people could be, kids could be detained at age 13. How is this a world of academic freedom, of intellectual freedom? So that’s one reason.

The other thing I think is, there is an effort on the part of those involved with the boycott to open up the discussion about what Israel and Israel’s security state has done to create instability in the region. Israel has kind-of controlled the discourse for so long, about how it’s the only democracy in the Middle East, how it’s a force for stability, when in fact on the contrary, because of dispossession, because of the oppression of Palestinians, it has been a source of instability. It has been a source of instability because it tries to resolve its problems with military build-up. And the largest factor in all of this is the United States of America. We live in a country where millions of dollars a day from the U.S. goes to supporting and propping up Israel. That’s an astounding fact, because without U.S. support, we wouldn’t be dealing with all of this. And to me, as an American citizen, as a U.S. taxpayer, it’s imperative that I take a critical stance against a U.S. foreign policy that puts the whole world in jeopardy, you know, and creates danger for many people. Not only that, but it supports an illegal regime.

It’s like, if I were driving the getaway car for a bank robbery, and I know it’s a bank robbery, and I’m still driving the car, then I’m complicit in breaking the law. And what Israel represents in some ways is the breaking of many, many international laws and the Geneva Conventions. The illegality of that regime and its practices and the fact that the U.S. props it up means we really don’t have a choice but to support an academic and cultural boycott to try to end the illegal regime.

When you look at the demands of the boycott, they’re very simple. They’re not complicated: Ending the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the wall, which of course the International Court of Justice said in 2004 was illegal. Second, recognize the fundamental civil and political rights of Arab citizens of Israel, that they should have full equality. It’s a myth that they do have full equality; they clearly don’t. And three, respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. That’s UN resolution 194. That of course opens up a whole can of worms about, return where? To their property, to their land? Should reparations be paid? Of course. But to return is to remake the nation, and that’s part of the invocation of all of this. The three points are all about respecting the rule of law, and that’s it.

AK: My last question for you is a little more personal. Have you received, or do you anticipate any backlash, from advocates of Israel on your campus or otherwise?

RK: Absolutely. I’m used to backlash. I’m a UCLA PhD, and I’m back at UCLA. When I was at UCLA in 1984, we organized a conference on imperialism, and we invited a PLO representative to come. And the Jewish Defense League showed up and they tried to intimidate us and shut it down, the administration got involved.

So in that sense it’s not new, it’s old, to me at least. I’ve gotten some backlash already, I’ve gotten backlash for just being on the board even when I wasn’t as active as I am now. That backlash is nothing compared to having to walk two or three hours to get to your school which is fifteen minutes away in a place where when you look at the future, it doesn’t look like you even have a nation. My backlash is nothing compared to that. And I’m a tenured faculty, I’m a senior person. There are people who have suffered much greater. There’s a whole list of people who have had lost their jobs and been forced out. That’s just part of the territory. And I think it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

But I know one thing: there’s always strength in numbers, and what we want to do with the academic boycott is to force our colleagues to recognize, if you remain silent, you are complicit. So what are you going to do? You want to be complicit, and have all the perks of your job and have a lot of time to do your work, or do you want to take a stand for justice, and be not just a human, but someone who believes in humanity. It’s a simple question.

I should add one thing, though. I’m very, very fortunate being at UCLA again, because even though UCLA is notorious for attacks on people who are critical of Zionism, I’m also in a department with some wonderful scholars, many of whom are Jewish scholars, some who are actually pro-Zionist, others who are extremely anti-Zionist, but we can have our debates and have our struggles within our department and no one goes crazy over that. I feel protected at UCLA, ironically, in a way because I have colleagues like Gabriel Piterberg, who wrote The Returns of Zionism, which is a powerful book–that book is just astounding. I’ve got people like David Myers, who is the chair of the department, who has written a book called Between Jew and Arab, and even though he is less sympathetic to boycott efforts than others, but he’s someone who really lets our flowers bloom. So, I can’t complain. Some people have it much worse than I do, but in the end I’m very proud to be part of this movement, and very proud to have made the connections I’ve made with a group of Palestinian scholars and intellectuals who I think are just some of the greatest minds on the globe right now. These are people who I think the world of, and I would do anything to support the struggle. 

99 Responses

  1. Pixel
    February 16, 2012, 9:40 am

    Articulate, compassionate, inspiring.

    Thanks, Robin.

    And thanks, too, Alex, for posting this. I must say, the timing is a breath of fresh air after watching NF’s meltdown a few days ago.

    It highlights for me, again, the generational nature of things. NF is a truly a hero to me but, I realized after watching his interview and reading all the comments about that here, that on a fundamental level he sees things through the same generational filter as AD.

    Such is the march of time.

    Each generation can see and seize new opportunities in the spiritual evolution of humankind.

  2. seafoid
    February 16, 2012, 9:47 am

    Justice for Palestinians also means justice for israeli jews. Enough with the fear and paranoia and the cult of the military. Israeli Jews have so much potential to live lives devoid of hatred. Who really benefits from the status quo anyway ? Nobody other than the Israeli oligarchs.

    • Charon
      February 16, 2012, 2:15 pm

      Agreed, seafoid. It’s a strange way to live. I’ll never understand it. Then again, I’ll never understand why the US makes no attempts to have diplomatic ties with Iran or Cuba. Make love, not war. Culture’s different and the governing ideologies are at odds, but we should be trading and trying to make friends rather than continue being enemies. The US is friends with the Saudis and we trade with China. I don’t get it.

      Israel wants the world to believe their drum beats to a higher moral standard which obviously isn’t the truth, but if they really want to prove they are the better party then they would take some sort of a unilateral solution working towards peace. The way typical Israelis talk about Palestinians is delusional and irrational. They make them out to be mortal enemies, the worst people on the planet, and yet they live a couple miles away. If they are such a threat, why do live so close?

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 7:29 pm

        Because both have nowhere to go.

      • Chaos4700
        February 17, 2012, 1:32 am

        Show me your grandparent’s passport.

      • thankgodimatheist
        February 17, 2012, 7:34 am

        “Because both have nowhere to go.”

        Why? Did you lose your American passport?

      • RoHa
        February 17, 2012, 12:23 am

        “They make them out to be mortal enemies, the worst people on the planet, and yet they live a couple miles away. If they are such a threat, why do live so close?”

        I think the Israelis have plans to increase the distance.

  3. Philip Munger
    February 16, 2012, 9:54 am

    And I think it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

    What a great interview. From a highly regarded, iconoclastic scholar. But this one line stands out, as Prof. Kelley’s experiences with truth speaking to power go back to the 70s, and he has seen human rights campaigns in the US go through their struggles from beginning to end.

  4. Cliff
    February 16, 2012, 10:00 am

    Great interview. He really nails it on Israel’s usage of Black students as a ‘moral shield.’

  5. dimadok
    February 16, 2012, 10:02 am

    When I walk in the streets of New Orleans-I see the signs of occupation.
    When I go through the South Central LA-I see the signs of occupation.
    When I visit Harlem- I can feel the occupation in the air.
    When I drive through Dorchester in Boston- occupation burns my throat.
    Should I go on?
    What a pile of academic BS mixed with self-induced right to judge others and speak in the name of all the oppressed in Palestine. Go and fix your own home, dear professor, before you land in our house and start giving us the advise. However, it is still a very hip way to propel yourself into the media.

    • Woody Tanaka
      February 16, 2012, 10:28 am

      If someone sees oppression in the US, that person has a right — indeed, some would say a duty — to speak out for the oppressed. How dare you place yourself in a position to judge someone who is simply pointing out to the blood of innocent men, women and children dropping from your hands.

      Shame on your parents for not teaching you decency or yourself for not learning if they did.

    • Dan Crowther
      February 16, 2012, 10:32 am

      “When I walk in the streets of New Orleans-I see the signs of occupation.
      When I go through the South Central LA-I see the signs of occupation.
      When I visit Harlem- I can feel the occupation in the air.
      When I drive through Dorchester in Boston- occupation burns my throat.”
      ————————————————-

      So, I totally agree, and I think the professor would too. He was talking about Israel.
      “you can’t criticize Israel without first taking a stand against every form of oppression that exists anywhere in the world” is a really boring but very illustrative comment. A variation of the same argument was made by slave owners here in the US — “you northerners and abolitionists should clean up your own backyard before worrying about what we’re doing” — so, your in good company.

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 11:28 am

        One may the occupation while another sees the economy-yes, capitalist and cruel, but the only solution IMHO for the conflict. All people calling for the BDS and such are also using economical tools as the main leverage against the State of Israel. So I would like to suggest that instead of waging the economical warfare against my state, perhaps cooperation will be more productive. improving the lives of both people. No ROR and “Million Marching to Jerusalem” fanfares will not change the daily situation.

      • seafoid
        February 16, 2012, 12:14 pm

        That’s all you can say, Dim? That’s the best you can do ?
        There was a time when Zionism was radical and full of hope. Now you compare yourselves favourably to Zimbabwe .

      • Shingo
        February 16, 2012, 4:36 pm

        So I would like to suggest that instead of waging the economical warfare against my state, perhaps cooperation will be more productive.

        In which case, please write to your political leaders and ask them to apply this logic to Iran.

      • pjdude
        February 16, 2012, 5:16 pm

        you get to demand we stop using “economic warfare” against ” your state” when your state stops using actual warfare against the native, legitiamate, and legal population of palestine. that’s the problem it isn’t your state its the palestinians which you stole.

      • ToivoS
        February 16, 2012, 5:52 pm

        Dimmy there was a time not that long ago I lived your advice. I knew Israel was a racist country but compared to many other places in the world, especially here in the Americas it was not note worthy. My main political activity over the past 25 years has been with the antiwar movement with particular emphasis with US intervention in South America.

        But two things changed over the last decade.

        First, Israel and lobby power sucked us into the Iraq war. If I am going to work for the antiwar movement, it is clear that Israel has declared itself my enemy. That was Israel’s choice not mine.

        Second, it became obvious that the “Peace Process” was one big Israeli swindle. Israel’s goal is to occupy the WB and cleanse it of Palestinians. This affected me in two ways: first I hate to admit that I was suckered but second, the injustice and immorality of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is much worse than I had ever let myself believe before.

        So Dimmy, please do not cry that you are being unfairly treated — it just doesn’t wash. Your government has made it’s choices and we will fight them. Nonviolent BDS is the only tool we really have.

      • eljay
        February 16, 2012, 6:34 pm

        >> Now you compare yourselves favourably to Zimbabwe .

        “Israel: We may not be as good as the best but, hey, at least we’re not as bad as the worst!” (c)

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 7:26 pm

        @ToivoS
        It was a bit difficult for me to plow through your comment but I shall try to make some sense of it- you are working or supporting anti-war movement and yet Israel is your enemy? I thought that anti-war movements suppose to promote dialog and not alienate the parties involved.
        Second-I am very proud of the achievements of Jews and Israel in particular but you are giving too much credit for us- sucked US into war with Iraq and swindled the whole world with the peace process, including the Palestinians themselves ? You have to pick one here, since I don’t think hat we have that much of the manpower to pull both simultaneously, since both started in 1991.

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 7:27 pm

        @ pjdude. We are already native and legal population there as well. Deal with the reality and not some BDS-inspiring fantasy.

      • Dan Crowther
        February 16, 2012, 9:00 pm

        Israel: Not as Bad as Zimbabwe

        Dimster, I can see your future: Israeli Tourism Minister

      • ToivoS
        February 16, 2012, 10:45 pm

        dimmi responds to ToivoS with:
        I thought that anti-war movements suppose to promote dialog and not alienate the parties involved.

        Sure we engage in dialog but if the Israeli side is involved in one big swindle, then at some point dialog is pointless. Israel does not want peace, they want the West Bank. Not only that but they have their agents active inside the US government promoting that goal. We are long beyond dialog. Active resistance to Israeli plans is the only course. BDS is a tool that might force them to concede, but negotiating with them is pointless.

        Like I said before, I was content with the “Peace Process” in the 1990s, but Israel has proven that that was just a swindle.

      • Chaos4700
        February 16, 2012, 11:01 pm

        It doesn’t take much manpower to forge Nigerian documents, dimadok.

      • RoHa
        February 17, 2012, 12:33 am

        “We are already native and legal population there as well.”

        The Palestinians are also the native and legal population there.

    • MarkF
      February 16, 2012, 10:49 am

      Can’t afford it – we’re giving 3 billion a year to you.

      You’re welcome.

      • Citizen
        February 17, 2012, 6:56 am

        MarkF, plus we are still underwriting Israel’s debt despite the fact Israel has a better credit rating than the US.

    • Chu
      February 16, 2012, 11:24 am

      Should I go on?

      Please do, so I can really start cracking up at what a clown you are. Do compile a list of neighborhoods that black people inhabit in the US and blame this black PhD for all the problems of black neighborhoods across the USA.

      Funny how you blame him for all those neighborhoods and then say ‘go and fix your own home before you give us advice’. It takes a lot for a bumpkin like you to realize you’re doing just the same! But an eye for an eye, as they say.

    • Mndwss
      February 16, 2012, 12:12 pm

      “Should I go on?”

      No. You should end the occupation and go home.

      “Go and fix your own home, dear professor, before you land in our house and start giving us the advise.”

      Dear professor, do not criticize our illegal house, built on stolen land!!!

      Take your own advise dimadok.

      Go and fix your own home….

      Stop fixing palestinian homes with bulldozers!

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 1:40 pm

        @Mndwss. I am home-get used to it. And maybe then we could talk.

      • Mndwss
        February 16, 2012, 2:24 pm

        We can only talk when i recognize your right to be home in your stolen land?

      • pabelmont
        February 16, 2012, 4:03 pm

        dimadok: “I am home–get used to it” ?? Tell us, please tell us. Where is your home?

        Time was, people around the world recognized the pre-1967 Israeli territory as “Israel”. THAT was the home of the Israelis, yours I presume. That was then.

        Now that Israel has shown that the “green line” is — in its own eyes — meaningless as a national boundary, the people of the world can imagine ANY Israel, big, small, whatever. And Israel has by its too-long occupation and by its settlement project squandered whatever warm-and-fuzzy feelings of approval for a brave-small-tortured-people-making-a-small-nest-for-themseves the world may generally have felt.

        No longer warm-and-fuzzy. Now Israel is merely another oppressive, war-threatening and war-making settler-colonialist regime, one no-one would have any sympathy for. So, where is your home? West Bank? pre-67? Maybe something much bigger, including Jordan and south Lebanon and, of course, the Golan? Or much, much less?

        Tell us, please tell us. Where is your home?

      • pjdude
        February 16, 2012, 5:17 pm

        no your at your house home and house aren’t the same. if you steal it it cannot be your home period

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 7:07 pm

        @pabelmont My home is where laws and government of Israel are present. International community is a very big word for such a small country as Israel and 1967 borders are recognized as the basis for negotiations and not permanent borders. Israel can sustain its society however Palestinians are not. The BDS phase sounds cool and very unique but it is not. And it will pass, buried under another unrest in ME, terror and violence. Militants will continue their “fight for the right”, but my country will persist- and the reason for that is very simple, that in my country people with all their problems and conflicts express themselves freely.

      • Chaos4700
        February 16, 2012, 11:12 pm

        Parasites will die pretty damn quick of the $3 billion+ blood supply ever gets cut off, dim. Palestine will be on the map long after your government is laid to rest after the next set of trials for crimes against humanity.

      • Chaos4700
        February 16, 2012, 11:23 pm

        Jews express themselves freely in Israel. Everyone else gets jailed or has their home stolen.

      • Citizen
        February 17, 2012, 7:17 am

        dimadok, serial killers express themselves freely too–until they are put away for good. Similarly, criminals generally, not to mention those Germans and Imperial Japanese liked to express themselves freely too.

        Your country? Where would it be today if the USA has not made it the largest free loader beneficiary in recorded US history?

    • seafoid
      February 16, 2012, 12:36 pm

      When will Israel ever be able to produce a musical genre to match JAZZ or HIPHOP or RAP or even just someone like James Brown or Quincy Jones ?

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 1:32 pm

        @seafoid. Do you really want to start pissing contest between Israel and black Americans? It is so meaningless and absurd, that the only way to respond to your comment is to ROTFL..

      • American
        February 16, 2012, 1:59 pm

        “Do you really want to start pissing contest between Israel and black Americans? It is so meaningless and absurd, that the only way to respond to your comment is to ROTFL..”

        Here’s a bet for you. Put your best zio propagandist up against this anti zionist Southerner who has lived intimately with Blacks for 6 decades and I guarantee you at the end of the debate they will be in my army and not yours.

      • seafoid
        February 16, 2012, 2:51 pm

        link to youtube.com

        Why you procrastinate Israel
        You got a lot, but you just waste all yourself
        They’ll forget your name soon (name soon)
        And won’t nobody be to blame but yourself, yeah

      • Mayhem
        February 16, 2012, 11:57 pm

        @seafoid: like so many doomsayers who like to think they know what they’re talking about. The Jewish people have survived longer than any others because they understand how the world works.

      • Citizen
        February 17, 2012, 7:29 am

        Mayhem, are the Jewish People the oldest surviving ethnic community in the world? How about the people of Iraq and Iran? The Chinese? Certain African communities?

      • seafoid
        February 17, 2012, 8:25 am

        Maybe the oldest kvetching community

      • teta mother me
        February 16, 2012, 2:26 pm

        when they’ve stolen it?

        In the jungle the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight . . .
        A-weem-a-whet-A-weem-a-whet

    • Charon
      February 16, 2012, 2:24 pm

      Typical hijack, a deflection technique. Even an alcoholic can tell another alcoholic that they are an alcoholic and should get help. “You’re an alcoholic and should get help” “How dare you call me an alcoholic and tell me to get help? YOU are an alcoholic! YOU need to get help” “Yeah, I know. Let’s get help together”

      See how that works? It’s the same darn thing.

      I’ve finally realized that Israel and Zionism’s double standards are not a secret, they are an expectation. Israel expects to be held to a different standard for various reasons. Because of the wars they had with their neighbors, the suicide bombings, the holocaust, etc. They feel that Israel is in fact unique and being unique needs to be handled differently. So if they over-punish their ‘enemies’ in retaliation for an attack, it should not be criticized. It was meant to teach them a lesson. How dare you question the world’s only Jewish state you antisemite? Even for religious purposes concerning Protestant fundamentalism, the delusion of prophecy fulfillment, etc. calls for an expectation of double standards. Israel is unique alright, and they should be dealt with in a special way but not how you think. The whole NATO thing in Libya and likely soon to be Syria would have made much more sense in occupied Palestine. That kind of foreign intervention would be taxpayer money well spent.

    • Shingo
      February 16, 2012, 4:35 pm

      When I walk in the streets of New Orleans-I see the signs of occupation.
      When I go through the South Central LA-I see the signs of occupation.
      When I visit Harlem- I can feel the occupation in the air.

      How many hones do you see being demolished?
      How many evictions did you see taking place?
      How many white families did you see move into those vacated properties?
      How many check points did you come across?
      How orchards and farms did you see being bulldozed or set on fire?

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 7:17 pm

        I saw plenty for the whole life- I also saw people blown into pieces, children and babies murdered, crying grownup men, I saw boys getting gray hair over night, women widowed and girls and boys losing their parents. What’s your point here?

      • Chaos4700
        February 16, 2012, 11:17 pm

        Have you seen this, dimadok? Really?
        link to normanfinkelstein.com

      • Citizen
        February 17, 2012, 7:35 am

        Did you notice our elected president, dimadok? And the professor in the video clip here?

    • Chaos4700
      February 16, 2012, 6:33 pm

      Ten points for being a male of Caucasian descent talking down to an African American and calling him lazy, dimadok. I’m sure Gramps and Grandma would be proud of you for switching sides in the whole “race” game they lost in Germany and Poland in the ’30s, right?

  6. Scott
    February 16, 2012, 10:53 am

    Fascinating, about Grace Halsell. Had been vaguely familiar with her name, and knew she had written about the C-Z’s. But nothing of her quite unique history. Can’t wait to read the book.

  7. Citizen
    February 16, 2012, 11:02 am

    “You want to be complicit, and have all the perks of your job and have a lot of time to do your work, or do you want to take a stand for justice, and be not just a human, but someone who believes in humanity. It’s a simple question.”

    I think our US Congress and WH have decided not to be folks who believe in humanity. And, of course, Zionism does not believe in humanity at all. It thinks it has the historical proof. Nothing like cherry picking world history, eh?

    • iamuglow
      February 16, 2012, 12:27 pm

      That was the bit I was about to repost.

      “….if you remain silent, you are complicit. So what are you going to do?”

      Great interview with a smart man.

  8. Chespirito
    February 16, 2012, 11:33 am

    What an excellent interview. Thank you Robin Kelley, Alex Kane and MondoWeiss.

  9. Boycott Israel on Campus
    February 16, 2012, 11:44 am

    Thanks, Robin! What a fine essay. I hope everyone learns about the intimate alliance between Apartheid South Africa and Israel in the 1970’s and ’80’s. It speaks volumes about why Israel needs to be boycotted.

    Malcolm’s 1964 essay for Palestine, the one you quoted, was published in the Egyptian Gazette, and called “Zionist Logic”. That year, Malcolm met with one of the young professionals who led the 1936 Palestine revolt, Dr. Shukairy. There’s a photo of that meeting.

    Surprisingly, Black radicals became fully aware of the cruelty and racism of the Zionists back in 1956, when Israel tried to destroy Nasser and Egypt. The Communist Party in New York was largely split between the whites who said Nasser was a fascist, and the Blacks who sympathized with Egypt’s obviously anti-colonial struggle.

    This knowledge informed Malcolm and some old remnants of the Garvey movement. At least one of the old Garvey people educated a new young leader of the Revolutionary Action Movement, which was a fantastic think tank for the entire decade of civil rights, Black Power, and Black Arts movements.

    Then came the incredibly important issue of SNCC’s newsletter, in 1967, that explained the whole bloody history of how Palestine was robbed. The next year, Stokely spoke up for Palestine at an Arab student conference in Ann Arbor. The Black Power movement brought Palestine to the campuses in that period, from 1967 to 1971. Some anti-war and anti-apartheid groups picked up the idea of Palestine solidarity from that point onward.

    Boycott Israel and end the last apartheid state on Earth.

  10. tokyobk
    February 16, 2012, 12:22 pm

    Go ahead and boycott, its a nonviolent tactic which is your right.

    But are you serious: “last apartheid state on Earth”?

    • Boycott Israel on Campus
      February 16, 2012, 12:58 pm

      Yes. “Israel” is the last officially, proudly colonial racist state on the planet, which has made the word “terrorist” equivalent to the word “Arab” in the minds of millions. This has made it so much easier for the United States to kill millions of Iraqis, for example.

      Now they are salivating to obliterate Iran, a nation of almost 80 million people. And they so badly want to massacre Gaza and Lebanon again. “Apartheid” is too mild a word for what Israel is. Apartheid was too mild a word for the old South Africa, too.

      • tokyobk
        February 16, 2012, 2:35 pm

        Well undoubtedly Apartheid is shaped for you whatever Israel looks like, so any of the copious examples from around the world would be excused away, but sadly there is racism and oppression of entire groups all over that world and will still be there if and when Israel is gone, including all over the ME.

      • RoHa
        February 17, 2012, 12:37 am

        “sadly there is racism and oppression of entire groups all over that world and will still be there if and when Israel is gone, including all over the ME.”

        Still, if we can get rid of Israel, it will be one less.
        “We cannot do everything” is not an excuse for doing nothing.

      • tokyobk
        February 17, 2012, 7:09 am

        You assume that what replaces Israel will be a democratic state where the rights of minorities will be respected.

        And, read BIoC’s statement that when Israel goes there will be no more Apartheid States.

        Now, any example of systematic racism from around the world will be written off as not really Aparthied, since Apertheid is just what Israel does, but my response was to that statement.

  11. seafoid
    February 16, 2012, 12:31 pm

    Zionism has driven Judaism so far off the rails. The only way any religion can last long term is to emphasise and encourage its adherents to attempt as best to live TOLERANCE.

    Evangelical Christianity is next worst. Wishing for the end of the world is suicide. It is also the road to disappointment.

    Both Zionism and Evangelical Christianity are about hopelessness and darkness. They are both very dangerous cults. Together they will self destruct.

    • dimadok
      February 16, 2012, 1:39 pm

      @seafoid. One of the pillars of faith in Judaism is its connection with Eretz-Israel and Jerusalem. All major prayers and holidays revolve around that. We are very much alive after more that 2500 years and have every intent on continuing so. Zionism is a secular movement, but incorporates Judaism believes as the central part of Jewish identity.

      • seafoid
        February 16, 2012, 2:47 pm

        Jewish identity was NEVER built around torture. It was never built around cruelty. No religion with a future is built around cruelty.

        link to bible.cc

        The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

        Israel is going to be lost to Judaism when the economics no longer work out. It’s a classic example of a religion and the workings of a cruel world.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 16, 2012, 3:05 pm

        We are very much alive after more that 2500 years

        not because of zionism, apartheid or living in palestine you’re not.

      • Chu
        February 16, 2012, 3:13 pm

        “One of the pillars of faith in Judaism is its connection with Eretz-Israel and Jerusalem. ”

        Do you have to occupy it, to connect with it?
        Seemed ok the last 2400 years.

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 7:34 pm

        Just read, please. Just read something about the Judaism.

      • teta mother me
        February 16, 2012, 8:43 pm

        I’ve been reading this interesting paper by Ben Abrahamson and Joseph Katz titled The Persian-Jewish Conquest of Jerusalem in 614 CE compared with Islamic Conquest 638 CE

        Here’s the abstract:

        Abstract:
        Explores the conquests of Jerusalem in 614CE and 638CE within the context of previous attempts at Jewish restoration. Discusses reasons for a Persian-Jewish alliance and later a Judeo-Arab alliance. In an attempt to reconcile contemporary sources, an account is given of
        Babylonian Jewish Exilarch Nechemiah ben Hushiel, his brother Shallum (Salmaan Farsi) and nephew Yakov (Ka’b Al-Ahbar) who played pivotal roles in these conquests. Proposes that the twelve men who went to Mecca to meet with the Prophet were Jewish refugees from Edessa, by way of Medina. Suggesting that the authors of Sefer Zerubavel and of the Prayer of Shimon
        bar Yochai were Jews from Medina.

        After the destruction of the Jewish Temple (70
        C.E) and subsequent Jewish Revolt (135 C.E.),
        Jerusalem passed into the hands of Rome. It’s
        name was changed by the Romans to Aelia
        Capitolina and Jews were officially forbidden to
        live there.
        Jerusalem, however, continued to serve as the
        focal point of Jewish national and spiritual
        aspirations. The hope of again making
        Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish Nation and
        rebuilding the Temple was kept alive among the
        Jews and Temple sympathizers dispersed in
        many countries1.

        It is estimated that about six million Jews lived
        throughout the Roman Empire and another two
        million lived under the Persian Empire.2 The
        Jews living in the Persian Empire were wealthier
        and enjoyed a much greater degree of freedom
        than their co-religionists living in the Roman
        Empire. At times the Jews in Persia attained
        semi-autonomy, collecting taxes and managing
        their own small army. …

        The rest of the paper is highly informative, and fully sourced.

        The other day LeaNder and I were discussing the status of the Jews who remained in Babylon after Cyrus aided some 50,000 Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild it. One seldom hears mention of those “left behind” Jews in zionist discourse; in Amy Jill Levine’s Jewish Annotated New Testament, she and her colleagues do their best to erase Persians from a place in the history of the Jewish people even as zionists (like Levine) seek to erase Palestinian history and culture.

        But Abrahamson & Katz say that at the time Jews in Rome were feudin’ , fussin’ and a-fightin’, mostly among themselves but also with Romans, Greeks, etc., Iranian Jews lived better, lived freer, and not only that, Zoroastrian Iranians together with Iranian Jews came to the aid of Jews in Palestine in an attempt to take back Jerusalem from Roman control.

        Is this how you repay the efforts of Iran — the nation that liberated Jews from Nebuchadnezzar; Iran, the nation that aided Jews to return to Jerusalem and financially and politically supported Jews for 200 years as the temple was rebuilt; is that how you repay Iranians and Iranian Jews who fought for you to try to regain Jerusalem — you repay Iran and Iranian Jews by strangling them economically, killing their scientists, and threatening to bomb them?

        We Americans really need to take some notes about how zionists express gratitude for political and financial support of Israel’s aspirations. Look how zionists are expressing their gratitude to Iran. Not pretty. Is that the Judaism you wish us to read about?

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 16, 2012, 3:43 pm

        “We are very much alive after more that 2500 years…”

        What an insanely vapid statement. EVERYONE alive today has ancestors that date back 2500 years (more, actually). BFD.

      • dimadok
        February 16, 2012, 7:34 pm

        We are alive as a nation.

      • Cliff
        February 16, 2012, 8:59 pm

        if you’re alive today, then your ancestors date back to the beginning of the human race

      • RoHa
        February 17, 2012, 12:31 am

        “We are alive as a nation.”

        What does that mean? Individual human beings can be alive, but
        nations are not alive in any literal sense.

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 17, 2012, 7:59 am

        “We are alive as a nation.”

        Again, big friggin’ deal. By the rather dubious and tenuous threads on which you base a claim of national continuity, the vast majority of the billions of people on Earth can make the same, and in most cases, better claim. In fact, it would be easier to pick out the few people who cannot make that claim than who can.

      • Cliff
        February 16, 2012, 3:51 pm

        dimadok sounds like a settler.

        link to youtube.com

        So you think God gave the land to Jews, Dim?

        What do you mean by ‘we are very much alive’?

        I see Zionists espouse that confrontational tone often. You just sound like a cult member (which you are).

        Who cares what it says in the Torah anyway. Zionism is a colonial movement. Not a liberation movement.

        You don’t get to exist simultaneously as a liberation movement, while stealing land and resources from the indigenous people of the land (hint: not you).

        Why didn’t world Jewry go to Palestine before the Zionist movement got into full swing?

        And what does the Zionist movement mean for the Arab minority in Israel?

      • teta mother me
        February 16, 2012, 9:03 pm

        Professor Kelly is a lot smarter than I am, and he’s been on the ground, and applied his intellectual skills and experience to what he observed. Kelley emphasizes what Cliff mentioned above, that “zionism is a colonial [settler] movement.”

        That’s true enough, but only in terms of praxis. I think it’s important — very important — to recognize the long passion that Abrahamson and Katz discuss in their paper that I linked above. They wrote about two campaigns waged first, by Iranians and Iranian Jews in 614 CE, and second, by an army composed of Jews and Muslims in 638 CE, both with the purpose of aiding Jews in Roman Jerusalem to retake Jerusalem. The crucial point is, as Abrahamson & Katz write,

        “The hope of again making
        Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish Nation and
        rebuilding the Temple was kept alive among the
        Jews and Temple sympathizers dispersed in
        many countries.”

        This is the dynamo that drive Netanyahu; this is the obsession, this ~2000 year old quest to retake Jerusalem.

        But Jews don’t want to just return to their Arab, Eastern roots , they want to transmit German/western culture to the Middle East, and “teach them dumb natives Middle Easterners how to be western.”

        This is far more than mere imperial colonization. This is a unique form of insanity.

      • teta mother me
        February 16, 2012, 9:11 pm

        “Why didn’t world Jewry go to Palestine before the Zionist movement got into full swing?”

        What’s puzzled me for a long time, Cliff, is this: Jews lived in Babylon from 586 BC until 1950 CE, and in Iran and the region that was Persian empire from 586 BC all the way until today.

        Why did Jews never establish a state in the region in all that time?

      • eljay
        February 16, 2012, 3:56 pm

        >> Zionism is a secular movement …

        A secular movement that advocates for a religion-supremacist state. Interesting.

      • Mayhem
        February 17, 2012, 12:16 am

        @eljay: whether you like it or not Zionism is not a religious movement. In fact it was originally opposed by the ‘religos’ and today they are trying to hijack it.

      • eljay
        February 17, 2012, 8:21 am

        >> @eljay: whether you like it or not Zionism is not a religious movement.

        I didn’t say it was a religious movement. I said it advocates for a religion-supremacist state. Whether you like it or not, that’s what a “Jewish state” is.

      • Chaos4700
        February 16, 2012, 6:35 pm

        Dimadok, sweetie? It used to be a anti-Semitic epithet and blood libel of the highest order that Jews had to kill children in order to celebrate their holidays. Now its “Operation Cast Lead.”

      • Chaos4700
        February 16, 2012, 6:39 pm
      • Annie Robbins
        February 16, 2012, 8:00 pm

        chaos, not all of them thank goodness.

      • Chaos4700
        February 16, 2012, 11:03 pm

        But is it most of them?

  12. yourstruly
    February 16, 2012, 12:34 pm

    “partnering with the Palestinians for the right to self-determination” & “what happens in Palestinine is going to have an effect on the rest of the world”

    and in the art forms coming from Palestinian youth – the outlines of a post-Zionist new society, “a third intifada unfolding before our eyes”

    well said, professor, and know that you are appreciated for your inspirational words

  13. Kathleen
    February 16, 2012, 12:39 pm

    “I was in East Jerusalem, after the delegation, on my own, and staying at a Palestinian-owned hotel called the Jerusalem Hotel. And basically, in the Arab quarter near Salah ad-Din street and in this [area with] Palestinian markets. And I took a stroll up the hill, and found Jaffa road, and I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was like I was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, or the Grove in L.A. It was just the strangest thing to see the juxtaposition, of the largely Jewish and tourist center of commerce with all the chains here, Coffee Bean, Yogurt Land, jewelery, clothing, ATMs at every little corner, granite paved roads, and then of course running through the middle of Jaffa street is the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail system. So to recognize that this space is normalized, a Western so-called bureaucratic capitalist space, a space of high consumerism is an eight-minute walk from what is essentially a ghetto in an occupied territory. That, that to me is even more shocking then seeing 20-something year-old Israelis looking through people’s passports and IDs and deciding whether or not you’re a threat. To me, that emphasis on normalization is one of the more dangerous things, because if they succeed in convincing the world that this is not a state of war or occupation but rather this is really the heart of the kind of Western democracy that’s like the rest of the world, the Western world at least–then in some ways that’s how they try and win. And part of what the boycott does is it delegitimizes the claim that this is a normal situation. It’s not a normal situation, it’s a settler-colonial situation, a situation of oppression.”

    It is systematic apartheid. Know exactly what they are trying to do.

  14. Kathleen
    February 16, 2012, 12:40 pm

    what an informative and important post.

  15. notatall
    February 16, 2012, 1:00 pm

    Thanks, Robin, from an old friend.

  16. Annie Robbins
    February 16, 2012, 3:02 pm

    this is a fantastic interview alex

    and thank you very very much Robin Kelley

  17. justicewillprevail
    February 16, 2012, 3:38 pm

    Excellent interview and observations. I suppose we are going to have to add to the list of zionist fabrications and propaganda – whitewashing, pinkwashing, and now blackwashing. Really, the absurd amount of money and energy that Israel pours into denial of the reality for Palestine is stupidity and self obsesssion on an epic scale. For a fraction of that investment in lies, hatred and violence against the stateless people they have deliberately created, they could have sorted the problem years ago by investing in equal human rights and a real democracy for all. To achieve it of course, they would have to rejoin the human race instead of standing apart from it, as if normal rules don’t apply to them.

  18. notatall
    February 16, 2012, 3:48 pm

    Tokyobk: “Go ahead and boycott, its a nonviolent tactic which is your right.”

    Where do you get off, telling people they can only protest if they are nonviolent? Was George Washington nonviolent? Is the regime they are protesting against nonviolent?

  19. tokyobk
    February 16, 2012, 6:35 pm

    BDS is a non violent movement by its own definition which invokes international law.

    It is a legitimate tactic in my point of view, though I don;’t agree with it. I support two states with any minority populations given full rights.

    If you prefer war that is your choice but I hope you are at least going to fight in wars you call for and not leave the dying to others.

    Yes, the Israeli army is well armed and has killed more Palestinians than the reverse.

    George Washington, since you brought him up, was violent and a (rather harsh — I have read his journal) slave owner and Indian slayer. Also, his decision to be a Republican rather than an Imperial president, including leaving office, probably helped usher in an unbroken record of peaceful transitions.

    He like this situation was many things and simplistic arguments of good and bad don;t work.

    • notatall
      February 17, 2012, 6:33 am

      Tokyobk: You write that only nonviolent protest is legitimate; I challenge your right to tell others how to protest and you respond by accusing me of preferring war. I write that George Washington was not nonviolent and you respond by pointing out that GW was a slaveholder and an Indian killer. This is the sort of thing that leads me to doubt the assertion that man is a rational animal.

      • tokyobk
        February 17, 2012, 6:57 am

        I don’t know what you prefer. I prefer peace and peaceful solutions. I have the right to tell anyone I want my opinion as do you. Though, I think if you do recommend war you should at least be fighting it yourself. War is a terrible option for the Palestinians, in my opinion. I abhor the violence committed by Israel in an effort to maintain a militarized state. You mentioned Washington in an effort to say that who am I (as an American?) to challenge other revolutions when my society began as a violent revolution.I pointed out that Washington was complicated, like this issue, both someone who held slaves and killed Indians and yet also helped shaped an amazing democracy.

  20. CloakAndDagger
    February 16, 2012, 9:36 pm

    What an amazing interview! I have to find out more about Grace Halsell. What an excellent person!

  21. Chaos4700
    February 16, 2012, 11:24 pm

    We have a SERIOUS racism problem on the blog. But apparently I can’t name names. Or go into details without being censored.

    Can I even say that?

  22. Citizen
    February 17, 2012, 8:30 am

    Here is Grace Halsell, writing in 1998 about Israel and the American relationship with that state–and why both are so damn wrong: link to sweetliberty.org

    I just wish I could get my fundie friends to read it, but they now delete anything I send them if it concerns this subject.

  23. Citizen
    February 17, 2012, 9:12 am

    Racism on MW?

    How about this:

    Excerpts: September 2003 interview in Elsevier, a Dutch weekly:
    By Nadim Ladki
    2-6-3

       An Israeli professor and military historian hinted that Israel could avenge the holocaust by annihilating millions of Germans and other Europeans.

            Speaking during an interview which was published in Jerusalem Friday, Professor Martin Van Crevel said Israel had the capability of hitting most European capitals with nuclear weapons.

            “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets of our air force.”

            Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, pointed out that “collective deportation” was Israel’s only meaningful strategy towards the Palestinian people.

            “The Palestinians should all be deported. The people who strive for this (the Israeli government) are waiting only for the right man and the right time. Two years ago, only 7 or 8 per cent of Israelis were of the opinion that this would be the best solution, two months ago it was 33 per cent, and now, according to a Gallup poll, the figure is 44 percent.”

            Creveld said he was sure that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to deport the Palestinians.

            “I think it’s quite possible that he wants to do that. He wants to escalate the conflict. He knows that nothing else we do will succeed.”

            Asked if he was worried about Israel becoming a rogue state if it carried out a genocidal deportation against Palestinians, Creveld quoted former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who said “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”

            Creveld argued that Israel wouldn’t care much about becoming a rogue state.

            “Our armed forces are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that  this will happen before Israel goes under.”

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