‘Americans for Peace Now’ says Presbyterian measure could stoke ‘global anti-Semitism’

Israel/Palestine
on 89 Comments

Americans for Peace Now (APN) sent out a press release yesterday urging the Presbyterian Church not to divest from three companies doing business in the occupation because the measure serves those who seek “Israel’s destruction” and raises “very real and understandable worries about global anti-Semitism.”

APN’s press release says the Presbyterian divestment measure targets “Israel rather than the occupation,” but this language would seem to directly contradict the resolution itself, which is narrowly focused. 

Below are excerpts of the APN press release and a response to the peace group from Noah T. Winer, a board member of Jewish Voice for Peace. First APN:

Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) urges the plenary of the Presbyterian Church (USA) not to adopt the resolution approved yesterday by its Middle East and Peacemaking Issues Committee (Committee 15) to divest from companies, over Israel’s use of their products in ways that allegedly violate Palestinian human rights.

APN’s president and CEO Debra DeLee said: “We believe that divestment campaigns such as this are misguided and counterproductive. They use a blunt instrument to pressure global corporations to curtail their business with Israel because of objectionable Israeli government policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” 

“By targeting Israel rather than the occupation, this divestment campaign creates the impression that PC (USA) is making common cause with historically virulently anti-Israel organizations and individuals, who are often not interested in Israeli security concerns or Palestinian behavior but in Israel’s destruction. Divestment campaigns such as this therefore raise very real and understandable worries about global anti-Semitism and the perception that the campaigns are not truly (or only) about Israeli policies but rather reflect a deep-seated hatred for and rejection of Israel.” 

“Their impact, characteristically, is not Israel changing its policies but rather changing the subject. Divestment initiatives like this divert attention from the problem – the occupation – and help advocates of the status-quo frame things in ways that serve their goals.” 

“Such campaigns, instead of making a distinction between Israel and its presence in the West Bank and Gaza, blur the Green line. A morally and rationally justified tactic would be to focus on the line that separates Israel from the West Bank, and, while buying goods made in Israel, to make a point of not purchasing products made in West Bank settlements.”

From Jewish Voice for Peace board member Winer, to APN official:

I’m just back from attending the PC(USA)’s General Assembly, and I was disturbed to see APN’s statement describe the PC(USA) as “targeting Israel rather than the occupation.”

This is factually incorrect. The PC(USA)’s Middle East and Peacemaking Issues Committee spent many hours working on precise language (arguing over meaning, intent, grammar, and punctuation). This follows a very detailed report from the [Presbyterian Church's] Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee. Nowhere in the overture does such targeting exist. Here is the language that passed. In fact, both MRTI and the Board of Pensions made it quite clear in Committee deliberations that the church still intends to hold stock in many companies doing business in Israel. The three companies being targeted for divestment are to be placed on that list as “companies profiting from non-peaceful pursuits in Israel-Palestine.” The exact nature of those “non-peaceful pursuits” is explained in detail in the link above — which is the language approved by committee.

What was APN’s justification for describing the PC(USA) overture as targeting Israel rather than the occupation? I hope you can issue a correction to prevent damage to the relationship between PC(USA) and the American Jewish peace community. Whatever disagreements APN may have with PC(USA)’s decision, this is an inaccurate representation.

The APN assault on divestment follows a warning by J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami that divestment would end harmony between Christians and the “Jewish community.”

About Philip Weiss

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

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89 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    July 5, 2012, 10:45 am

    Who cares what ‘Americans for Peace Now’ say? Seriously, by cataloging every jewish groups objections to divestment, a casual reader or observer comes away thinking that maybe there is something to the charge. Is the goal here really to piss everybody off and make former friends enemies? Seems to me, MW should ignore more of this nonsense coming from these predominately “pro” israel jewish groups; “jewish group acccuses pro divestment group of anti-semitism” is about as newsworthy as “A plane has just landed at LaGuardia.”

    You’re kind of indirectly lending weight to these people, and helping to perpetuate the notion that Jews deserve a privileged place in the discussion here in the US by publishing every response made by these hacks.

    • marc b.
      July 5, 2012, 12:31 pm

      You’re kind of indirectly lending weight to these people, and helping to perpetuate the notion that Jews deserve a privileged place in the discussion here in the US by publishing every response made by these hacks.

      amen.

    • American
      July 5, 2012, 12:55 pm

      “You’re kind of indirectly lending weight to these people, and helping to perpetuate the notion that Jews deserve a privileged place in the discussion here in the US by publishing every response made by these hacks.”….Dan

      I don’t think so. It shows that the Israel firsters are the ones that think they deserve a privilaged place…and we need to disabuse them of that notion.
      Every time I see this stuff I just double down on the Israel firsters and remind myself to start more conversations about it with people in life off the net.

      • Philip Weiss
        July 5, 2012, 1:17 pm

        also: does the statement that divesting from 3 companies that do business in the israeli occupation, an occupation you supposedly disapprove of, is going to stoke global antisemitism– is tht a rational statement? does it enlarge the power of Peace Now? i leave that to the commenters here

        • American
          July 5, 2012, 2:33 pm

          “does the statement that divesting from 3 companies that do business in the israeli occupation, an occupation you supposedly disapprove of, is going to stoke global antisemitism– is tht a rational statement?”

          lol…you expect rational statements from people who will use any ‘excuse ‘ to shut down or intimidate any movements critical of Israel? They use the anti semitism (Jewish hatred) excuse for everything.
          And people wonder why Jews are conflated with Israel?…look no further than idiotic statements like this.
          All this statement by Peace Now does is show how desperate some are about the I/P and Israel issue now being an issue in a very important public sector like US churches.
          Objecting to a immoral violation of people rights and an occupation illegal under international law is going to cause global anti semitism….wow, what a concept!

        • Krauss
          July 5, 2012, 4:26 pm

          By the way, Phil, notice that Ben-Ami is on their board of directors. Was his outburst the other day on Huffpost a complete coincidence?

        • Dan Crowther
          July 5, 2012, 10:26 pm

          Phil has voiced many irrational worries about anti-semitism, MJ Rosenbergs entire newfound “liberal” position is based solely on preventing what he considers inevitable anti-semitism, rising out of israeli/israel lobby actions (guy can say what he wants about human rights and so on, i aint buying it); ive read a tremendous amount from jewish people on MW about anti-semitism, I think its all irrational. And Phil didnt call out how nonsensical this statement was, he deferred to another jewish group to act as arbiter of truth- so to claim post facto that he wanted to let it stand on its own because it was so outrageous is a bit disingenous, given the record of allowing “jewish voices” to pull the antisemitism card unchecked. And again, all this leads to is a bunch of jewish cats sitting around saying, “ah, well this isnt antisemitic….but this is” – Im Beyond done with that sht.

          “Every time I see this stuff I just double down on the Israel firsters and remind myself to start more conversations about it with people in life off the net.”
          —————————

          Rrrright. This is what I mean. Posts like this on APN dont add to anything, they just make people want to “double down” on others – is this really the goal?

        • American
          July 5, 2012, 11:46 pm

          Rrrright. This is what I mean. Posts like this on APN dont add to anything, they just make people want to “double down” on others – is this really the goal?”

          Well it’s my goal to double down on the Israel firsters…..you can spend your time ranting on about the Great US Satan.
          My efforts on the I-firsters will probably pay off long before yours on the US Imperial Satan do.
          You really should pick battles you at least have a prayer of winning…and ones you know something about.

        • yourstruly
          July 6, 2012, 12:42 am

          israel’s occupation of palestine and brutal treatment of the palestinian people is what stokes global antisemitism, such that, once this occupation ends, worldwide antisemitism will shrink to a size that can be flushed down a toilet.

        • YoungMassJew
          July 6, 2012, 1:31 am

          Moderators allow this. It doesn’t violate any of the rules!
          I’m sure this is going to be deleted but Dan Crowther I’m completely with MJ on this one. Now everytime I attempt to discuss experiences I’ve had with inappropriate comments and/or stares for being Jewish my posts get deleted. I’ve all but given up. I know that the reason being is that the moderators don’t want to hear me complain about this since the Palestinians suffer more. But why should I be blamed for what happens to the Palestinians when I’m not an Israel-Firster and my family has regular jobs. I’m going to stop writing cause I’m wasting my time again.

        • W.Jones
          July 6, 2012, 10:00 am

          I think it’s newsworthy because I think APN is a significant group.

        • Citizen
          July 6, 2012, 2:48 pm

          If defenders of apartheid South Africa applied talmudic hair-splitting the way Americans For Peace Now and the like do, South Africa would still be an apartheid nation (albeit, perhaps sans nukes?). How many jews are on the head of a pin-prick? Enough to kill the patient. How many jews to screw in a light-bulb? Enough to keep the open-house in darkness forever.

        • Dan Crowther
          July 6, 2012, 4:19 pm

          So what are you gonna do American, interrogate every Jew in the United States about their feelings on Israel? Seems to me its a very short walk from “This person is an Israel Firster” to ” I betcha so and so’s a Israel Firster” – I completely agree with talking about these issues, this issue, openly and without fear, but you think that american jews are going to be intimidated into changing their minds on Israel? You think people are going to respond well to a campaign of publicly charging jews with dual loyalty? Does anyone seriously believe that? And, if your informed on the issue, why the need for the constant reinforcement, what, you’re gonna forget how bad those israel firsters are?

          How long do we have to do the “APN says (x) is anti-semitic, JVP responds” tango? It will never going end, we’ll be talking about israel firsters and anti-semitism when israel annexes half the west bank. And like I said at the top, publishing every back and forth between advocacy groups on the charge of anti-semitism, in my opinion, only makes it worse. As long as these groups can make publicly false statements knowing that they will be reprinted over and over, this will be as far as things go. Let them scream antisemitism, their power comes from others paying attention – just ignore them.

    • seafoid
      July 5, 2012, 3:18 pm

      “jewish group acccuses pro divestment group of anti-semitism” is about as newsworthy as “A plane has just landed at LaGuardia.”

      Spot on, Dan

      Peace now wants peace as soon as the West Bank is paved over.
      They should change their name to peace no.
      Anyway most of them are Reform so the Israelis don’t even consider them Jewish LOL.

    • homingpigeon
      July 6, 2012, 5:20 am

      “You’re kind of indirectly lending weight to these people, and helping to perpetuate the notion that Jews deserve a privileged place in the discussion here in the US by publishing every response made by these hacks.”

      As for me, I find it useful to know where every group stands. It doesn’t give them extra weight in my mind.

      • American
        July 6, 2012, 2:58 pm

        “As for me, I find it useful to know where every group stands. It doesn’t give them extra weight in my mind.’….homingpigeon

        Agree. I look and listen at some whacko wing outlets just to see how their little minds work. You need to know how the opposition and your opponants think.

    • AllenBee
      July 6, 2012, 4:33 pm

      Are representatives of Christian churches usually part of decision making by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, or of conferences of any of the Jewish organizations?

      In the spirit of ‘turnabout is fair play,’ and in order to maintain ‘good relations between Christians and Jews,’ it seems only fair that Christian representatives should be consulted in major decisions of Jewish organizations, and should have an influential voice in shaping those decisions — right down to “spen[ding] many hours working on precise language (arguing over meaning, intent, grammar, and punctuation).”

      Come to think of it, so should non-Jewish and non-Christian American taxpayers have such input into decisions of Jewish organizations in the US.

  2. Newclench
    July 5, 2012, 10:48 am

    Glad to see Winer and JVP making the distinction so clear, that the moment calls for targeting the occupation specifically. Smart people making good choices that lead to victory. More evidence that the ‘all or nothing’ approach is extremist and counter productive. Which is why APN is trying to hard to conflate the two. Let’s not help them.

    • chinese box
      July 5, 2012, 3:04 pm

      I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make, but if you’re suggesting a settlements-products only boycott, I thought it was already established that that would be ineffective and difficult to implement.

    • Citizen
      July 6, 2012, 2:54 pm

      Hey, Newsclench, are you old enough to remember the “all or nothing” approach of BDS against apartheid S Africa? I don’t recall any prop-black African group or humanitarian group arguing for partial BDS, do you? Let us know. Thanks.

      • Newclench
        July 6, 2012, 3:48 pm

        Ah, so you are criticizing Winer and the JVP? Why not spell that out so folks can understand what you are getting at? I think they are being very effective, but if you disagree, spell it out.

  3. seafoid
    July 5, 2012, 11:34 am

    “The measure serves those who seek “Israel’s destruction” and raises “very real and understandable worries about global anti-Semitism.” ”

    When Americans figure out

    -that there is never going to be peace
    and
    -that the Jews in Israel were lying all along
    and
    -that Peace Now is a sick joke
    and
    -that building YESHA has been carried out all along the way under the threat of calling anyone who disagrees an antisemite.

    how do people think they will react?

    link to israelhayom.com

    Levi’s report concludes that Israel has the right to settle Jews in Judea and Samaria, and that it is incorrect to say that building settlements is illegal according to international law: “According to international law Israelis have the legal right to settle in all of Judea and Samaria

    That is the Government’s own arbitrator.

    Israel is YESHA.

    Suck on the consequences, Israel.

  4. American
    July 5, 2012, 11:41 am

    “”very real and understandable worries about global anti-Semitism.”

    If they are worried about anti semitism they know how to stop it.
    But they don’t stop what they’re doing do they?….so they must not really be worried.
    65 years and counting….time to pull out all the stops.

    • ritzl
      July 5, 2012, 2:59 pm

      The level of disconnect is astounding. I mean impossible to grasp.

      Just stop doing it Israel.

      But no, there seems to be some driving mentality that says even though we have “ours” (’67 ISR), taking more Palestinian resources and depriving them of their rights is our right. It is who we are. Criticizing us for who we are is antisemitic.

      I always knew that particular thought eddy existed but considered it a loony fringe thing. Not so much anymore.

    • Citizen
      July 6, 2012, 3:01 pm

      American, everybody knows anti-Semitism is a gentile DNA disease that blames Jews just for being Jews. Bibi himself said so when he was in the USA, and he forecast it was always so, and will be so every generation. The same Bibi who got more standing applause from the US Congress than any POTUS. You don’t seem to know your place in the greater scheme of things. I suggest you read the Talmud despite the fact some say it’s antiquated and has been replaced by more enlightened views post-Enlightenment Era. Oh, BTW, good luck finding a copy of the Talmud that has not been redacted, and edited for Gentile consumption, while the original remains intact, just not open to Gentile eyes.

  5. Chespirito
    July 5, 2012, 11:51 am

    The use of scare-quotes and sneer-quotes is an unattractive habit yet I do think the practice is justified in labeling APN not a peace groups but a “peace” groups. Given that A”P”N supports unconditional and lavish military aid to Israel (the meat and bone of the Washington’s client-state relationship with Israel) it does not surprise me too much that these soi-disant peaceniks are undermining this sensible and rather mild measure by the Presbyterians. The difference between the bottom-lines of A”P”N, J Street, AIPAC and Peter Beinart are not meaningless but they are really not large either. A little perspective please?

  6. chinese box
    July 5, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Peace Now can’t seem to decide whether they want to be actively obstructionist, or just ineffectual. Come to think of it, isn’t J Street just a warmed over version of Peace Now?

  7. traintosiberia
    July 5, 2012, 12:40 pm

    “American for Peace Now” should be labelled correctly i.e ” Settlers and Evangelics for Peace in Galilee and Beyond”

    • Philip Munger
      July 5, 2012, 2:32 pm

      I hadn’t paid much attention to this group until now. Using Phil W’s link above, I went to their web site. I only read one article, titled APN Mourns the Passing of Yitzhak Shamir.

      Here’s the major paragraph in APN’s eulogy for the deceased assassin:

      APN’s president and CEO Debra DeLee said: “Prime Minister Shamir was a patriot who cared deeply about his country’s security and wellbeing. We did not agree with his hardline policies on peace with the Palestinians and with Israel’s neighboring Arab states, but we recognized Mr. Shamir’s dedication to his country and his people and his deep sense of responsibility for Israel’s security. We send our deepest condolences to the Shamir family and to the people of Israel.”

      link to peacenow.org

      “We did not agree with his hardline policies on peace with the Palestinians…”

      nor did APN bother to put this ugly, ugly war criminal in any perspective.

      Although I sort of agree with Dan Crowther’s concern about giving too much coverage to creepy fake groups like APN, this post got me to know more about them, and to realize just how fraudulent they are.

      • ColinWright
        July 6, 2012, 12:20 am

        “Prime Minister Shamir was a patriot who cared deeply about his country’s security and wellbeing. We did not agree with his hardline policies on peace with the Palestinians and with Israel’s neighboring Arab states, but we recognized Mr. Shamir’s dedication to his country and his people and his deep sense of responsibility for Israel’s security. We send our deepest condolences to the Shamir family and to the people of Israel.”

        Change around the place names, and one could reasonably say this about Adolf Hitler.

        • Citizen
          July 6, 2012, 3:06 pm

          And didn’t Hitler know it? Why else would he have left the world with his final last political will?

  8. HarryLaw
    July 5, 2012, 1:07 pm

    seafoid, thanks for that link, it would appear all 15 judges at the International criminal court and 99% of other jurists in the world have it completely wrong,including the US judge Thomas Bergenthal who said ” if Israel is building the wall in order to protect the settlements then ” ipso facto they are illegal” referring to Geneva convention 49.6. [See also Professor N Finkelstein NO dispute you tube ]

  9. seafoid
    July 5, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Jews wouldn’t do that, part 653

    link to haaretz.com

    “A Ghanaian man who has lived in Israel for 14 years reported on Wednesday that he was forced to wait for a doctor for his sick baby while locked in a room at Dana Children’s Hospital in Tel Aviv.
    Asiedeu, who was granted resident status in Israel five years ago, was confronted with the new Ichilov policies on Tuesday night when he brought his nine-month-old son to be seen at the hospital. He had been referred there by the Tel Aviv District Health Office, where the baby was examined and found to be having difficulty breathing. Accompanying them to the hospital were his wife and their 21-month-old son. When they entered the hospital, after the baby’s details were recorded, a nurse wearing a face mask brought them face masks to wear, and took the four of them to an isolated room to await a doctor.
    “I told her that we had no serious illnesses in the family, and we don’t have HIV or hepatitis, but the nurse said that by law we had to be isolated.” She then locked the door and left them inside.
    After an hour two doctors came to examine the baby, “covered in plastic, even their eyes were hard to make out, as if he had some kind of deadly bacteria like Ebola,” Asiedeu said. They took blood from the baby and left the room, leaving the door unlocked.
    After hours had passed and no one came back with blood test results, Asiedeu went to the nurses station and discovered the results had come back long before. “The nurse refused to give me the results and ordered me back to the room. I said I wanted to know what my son had, and she threatened to call security.
    “At that point I lost it and said this was racist,” Asiedeu said.
    It turned out the blood tests were normal, and the family was sent home. “It’s clear to me that the treatment I got was only due to the color of my skin,” said Asiedeu. “

  10. ColinWright
    July 5, 2012, 1:52 pm

    ‘Global anti-semitism’ is a fatuous concept to begin with.

    It could hardly exist, let alone ‘be stoked,’ and to believe otherwise is evidence of terminal obsession with one’s own importance.

    • CloakAndDagger
      July 5, 2012, 2:39 pm

      Indeed, but look at what the EU is coming out with as definition of anti-semitism:

      link to fra.europa.eu

      It says

      Working definition: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

      In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.

      So much for Israel-firsters:

      Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

      Don’t say apartheid!

      Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

      And stop calling them Nazi-like!

      Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

      With one caveat, if you can find a country similar to Israel:

      However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

      I guess MW is not going to be able to expand into Europe anytime soon! Sins of the father, indeed! Well done, Europe!

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 5, 2012, 7:12 pm

        This “definition” is so patently ridiculous, that no one with a brain should do anything but shake their heads at dismal condition of the EU.

        • CloakAndDagger
          July 5, 2012, 11:54 pm

          Yeah – not hard to guess who crafted this draft.

        • AllenBee
          July 6, 2012, 4:44 pm

          How does the EU statement compare with the definitions issued by the U.S. State Department Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism ?

          ” Anti-Semitism is discrimination against or hatred toward Jews . . .
          Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” –Working Definition of Anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia
          Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism

          Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion).
          Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
          Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
          Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
          Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.

          What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?

          EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel, taking into account the overall context could include:

          DEMONIZE ISRAEL:

          Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
          Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
          Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions

          DOUBLE STANDARD FOR ISRAEL:

          Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
          Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations

          DELEGITIMIZE ISRAEL:

          Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist

          However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

      • Dutch
        July 5, 2012, 9:42 pm

        Amazing that the EU comes up with this ‘guideline’, but don’t value it as something to worry about, neither as a mirror of the general opinion. It has no meaning on the ground. The greater developments on this issue are way past this little station, gaining traction quickly now. Some random examples:

        In Europe Israel is losing its support in the political centre, among the groups that have always supported Israel but can no longer do so as it ravages their view on humanity. Many EU diplomats in Israel/Palestine are driving forces for justice. Last January they came up with a solid report on settler violence and the final call for the 2SS. BDS is booking big successes in Europe. Etc.

        As for MW expanding in Europe: let’s give this a serious turn. In Holland we have many good blogs and websites on the I/P-topic, but neither of them looks specifically into the American struggle or power structures below the official US presentation. Having followed MW for two or so years now, it helped me to understand these things, its overlap and its differences with our own reality.

        Why should Europeans want to know all this? Don’t forget the fact that we are humble followers of the US I/P-policy makes us stakeholders, that might as well understand who they are helping, and why. That will be a shocking experience for most Europeans – pointing at issues like the influence of religion, the absence of logic or reason, the horrofying use of rethorics and personal attacks, etc.

        What certainly comes as a surprise is the massive identification with ‘being Jewish’ that still exists in the US, and its meaning in society, politics and media. Sometimes I consume this as high drama and freaky self-obsession, at other times it’s plain scaring. But on the ground its effects are devastating – both for I/P as for the image of Jews in general.

        It’s great that MW performs in opening this up for a broader audience and becoming a fact on the ground itself in the debate. For given reasons I believe it’s worthwhile to important for Europeans to take note off. That’s why we’ve put effort into getting MW on the ‘playlist’ of blogs and media here.

        So actually – we’re already expanding in Europe.

      • ColinWright
        July 6, 2012, 12:28 am

        There seems to be a contradiction here:

        “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis… is antisemitism.

        However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

        Nazi Germany was a country. I level many of the criticisms I would level against Nazi Germany against Israel — by the latter of the two criteria I’ve quoted above that would be acceptable.

        However, by the former of the two it wouldn’t be acceptable. I take it Israel can be criticized only by comparing it to certain countries.

        In other words, I can’t call a spade a spade. Anyway, all this does is make ‘anti-semitism’ a nebulous term, not all of whose possible meanings represent something I would even see as deplorable.

      • Erasmus
        July 6, 2012, 9:33 am

        re Cloak+Dagger quote of “definition” of Anti-semitism byEU Agency for Fundamental Rights (EUFRA)

        Firstly, this is no definition , but qualified as a “Working Definition” which has no official status and has never been accepted by anyone;
        Secondly, it is not by the EUFRA, BUT by its sort of predecessor organization, called EUMC = European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia ;
        thirdly and more importantly: you ought to know how this “working definition” has come about, respectively who has been consulted and been drawn upon for its formulation!

        The resource persons consulted and organiszations having made their contribution to this “working definition” of EUMC as well as the extensive list of examples given, have been nearly exclusively from European classical Jewish Lobby organizations and their representatives.!!

        • CloakAndDagger
          July 6, 2012, 4:59 pm

          Yes, the document I linked to says “working definition” which is the top of my first citation. The link also has the EUMC logo on the top left.

          nearly exclusively from European classical Jewish Lobby organizations and their representatives.!!

          I didn’t know that part, but speculated that it would be similar to lobbies in the US given the preponderance of concern for Israel and conflation with jewish interests.

          See my later comment where I said:
          Yeah – not hard to guess who crafted this draft.

          So, what is the status of this? What is the next step to getting it ratified?

        • AllenBee
          July 6, 2012, 5:00 pm

          Did the EU or EUMC drafts come BEFORE the US State Department for Monitoring AntiSEmitism, or was the US office modeled on the EU?
          Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism (SEAS) was created in 2004; first envoy was assigned in 2006.

          EUMC was created in 1997. In 2004 European Forum on Antisemitism released its first report, and in 2005 EUMC adopted the working definition.

          In other words, the US State Department is perhaps the SOURCE but undoubtedly worked hand-in-glove with EUMC in developing EU’s “ridiculous” antisemitism policy; it’s Made in the good ‘ole USA.

          su-prise
          su-prise
          su-prise

        • Rusty Pipes
          July 7, 2012, 3:53 pm

          A few points regarding the EUMC’s “Working Definition” of Anti-Semitism:

          1) It was adopted almost directly from a draft/lobbying from the AJC

          2) It was adopted before the US Congress endorsed AIPAC drafted legislation calling for a special office in the State Department for monitoring Anti-Semitism, a position that the Obama administration filled when it came to office.

          3) Under Condi Rice, the US State Department did not endorse the EUMC Working Definition of anti-Semitism as authoritative. (That’s Condi Rice who, after a report by neocon Douglas Feith to Bush’s cabinet, allegedly said, “Thanks Doug, when we want to know the Israeli perspective, we’ll call the ambassador.”). Under Hillary Clinton, the State Department HAS adopted the EUMC Working Definition as authoritative.

      • Eva Smagacz
        July 6, 2012, 6:10 pm

        CloakandDagger,
        This “working definition” has never been anything but an urban myth. It has no more legal standing as my “working definition” of my rights and privileges that constitutes dreams of taking over Principality of Monaco.

        It was referred to over and over on the Internet, usually to intimidate opponents in the discussions.

        I believe EU issued official disclaimer but I can’t lay my hand on the link at the moment.

        • CloakAndDagger
          July 6, 2012, 11:54 pm

          I am relieved to learn that. Sometimes it is hard to know about the goings on in the EU from here in the US.

    • Citizen
      July 6, 2012, 3:13 pm

      Latent global anti-semitism (they hate us simply because we are jews, always will, so we need Israel as Insurance policy land) is the base for all of Bibi N’s conduct. He told the US Congress so fairly recently. Nobody in Congress stood up and said, “I disagree with your view of world history, and I think you really need to look at what jews do as a collective, or at least, what they do by their Establishment authorities in the name of every Jew on earth, including what is done by the state of Israel in the name of all Jews alive.”

      • MRW
        July 6, 2012, 5:34 pm

        @Citizen,

        Or, Mooser’s great reply:

        They got their goddammed promised land, didn’t they. So what the hell are they bitching about? Screw what they hear. As if it would ever be possible to take those fears seriously from people who have not the slightest compunctions about inflicting them on others.

        They can take their “death camp train whistles” and shove ‘em where the sun don’t shine.

        I don’t think my relatives died in the death camps to give them free stolen land.

  11. ColinWright
    July 5, 2012, 1:58 pm

    “…Israel’s use of their products in ways that allegedly violate Palestinian human rights…”

    There’s something funny about describing the use of an armored bulldozer to destroy someone’s house as ‘allegedly’ violating their rights.

    But of course, the continual use of the words ‘peace,’ ‘truth,’ reporting,’ ‘fact,’ etc by these groups is pretty amusing too.

  12. frankier
    July 5, 2012, 2:28 pm

    “By targeting Israel rather than the occupation[...]“… Not sure what is the logical step used to dissociate Israel from the occupation… It is widely documented and acknowledged that the state of Israel supports the occupation…

    • Abu Malia
      July 5, 2012, 8:50 pm

      @ Frankier “By targeting Israel rather than the occupation[...] Not sure what is the logical step used to dissociate Israel from the occupation”.
      “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” seems to be what they’re saying!

      The Zios are on some gangster shit!

    • ColinWright
      July 6, 2012, 12:33 am

      There is also the point that ‘the occupation’ differs in no essential respect from what Israel did in 1948 and has been doing ever since.

      ‘The occupation’ introduces the fantasy that pre-1967 Israel was somehow a reasonable place. I don’t see it how that is so. Pre-1967 Israel drove Palestinians from their land, seized and held land that wasn’t hers, attacked neighboring countries, discriminated vigorously against non-Jews, carried out various massacres, and in fact did all the things we associate with ‘the occupation.’ The settlers really are just being good Zionists. In a sense, they’re quite right to resent the criticisms that are leveled at them. They’re fighting the same good fight every Israeli has fought since the time of Ben-Gurion.

    • Sibiriak
      July 6, 2012, 2:55 am

      Exactly.

      • Citizen
        July 6, 2012, 3:18 pm

        Yeah, this is true; the only problem is at times the influential Gentiles have second thoughts, one way or the other. Mostly they just go along for their own material welfare. The problem only arises when some Gentile gets it in him that his own and his family’s material welfare is not enough.
        I don’t think that’s a problem with Obama or Mitt. Zionists can rest easy.

      • AllenBee
        July 6, 2012, 5:16 pm

        go you one better, ColinWright: it’s NOT 1967 nor is it 1948; zionists intended, and acted on the intention of displacing Palestinians from at least 1908, when Arthur Ruppin built Tel Aviv close enough to Joffa to undermine Arab trade in oranges at its ports, and to cut into Arab rents.

        link to tau.ac.il

        As for Citizen’s comment that “Gentiles just go along to get along,” the 1918 Light on Prophecy Conference and Coordinated Constructive Teaching disabused me of that thought.
        American Christians from mainstream denominations who were also very influential industrialists were passionate in their eagerness to “reclaim Jerusalem from the Mohammedans,” and to punish Germany for its crime of “rationalizing” Christian biblicism.


        on a related note:

        The Presbyterian Conference action is a major step forward: there’s a Presby seminary in Pittsburgh that is still stridently ‘sola scriptura,’ and from the comings-and-goings I’ve observed at Convention center the past two days, it’s obvious the Presbyterian delegates have been under tremendous pressure from the Jewish community in Pittsburgh (which is very powerful; for example, Zalman Shapira, who was president of NUMEC when uranium went missing, is protected by Arlen Specter; he’s on Board of Directors of Hillel in Pittsburgh. ZOA has numerous representatives here, as does Iran Task Force, which has direct ties to MFA).
        But the Presbyterians still managed to take a stand in opposition to at least some aspect of the occupation. Inch by inch . . .

        • Citizen
          July 7, 2012, 1:20 am

          RE: “As for Citizen’s comment that ‘Gentiles just go along to get along,’ ”

          No. I said: “Mostly they just go along for their own material welfare.” The most obvious example is nearly all of the US Congress rubber stamps AIPAC POV on anything involving Israel.

  13. radii
    July 5, 2012, 3:08 pm

    the zio-thugs just seem to only know that one tune … well, no one wants to listen anymore when the evidence shows that jews globally are living with more peace, freedom and economic wealth than at any time in their history and face discrimination almost nowhere

    • ColinWright
      July 6, 2012, 12:51 am

      It is absurd. I’m getting very, very tired of the notion that ‘anti-semitism’ is some uniquely vile form of bigotry.

      It is true that Jews were targeted for extermination at one point in the past — but then, so were Armenians. Is it incumbent upon us all never to express bigotry with regards to Armenians in particular? There are large Armenian populations here and there in California — and in those areas, many non-Armenians freely express their dislike of Armenians. Where is the campaign to stamp out this horrendous evil?

      As a matter of fact, as far as authentic bigotry in this country goes, I’d posit that hostility towards blacks is far more pervasive than anti-semitism, that more people feel free to make derogatory remarks about Asians than feel free to make such remarks about Jews, and that hostility towards Muslims is far more likely to result in large-scale slaughter. So here, now, in the United States, what would be so uniquely awful about anti-semitism? It strikes me as one more form of bigotry, neither more nor less objectionable than any other.

      • Citizen
        July 6, 2012, 3:25 pm

        There’s no question on the facts that Arab Americans should be a lot more worried about anti-semitism than Jewish Americans. Imagine right now if Jewish Americans had to submit to our current de facto Homeland Security laws, rather than simply be the 80% plus prime financial beneficiaries (although being 2% of the US population) of the HS funding to protect us all from “terrorism.”

      • YoungMassJew
        July 6, 2012, 3:48 pm

        @ ColinWright:
        Yes, Hitler based the Jewish Holocaust on the Armenian one. I plan on going to see the Armenian Genocide memorial in Boston that just opened to learn more about it, since you don’t learn the full story of it at supposedly liberal institutions like my college.
        “It strikes me[Anti-Semitism] as one more form of bigotry, neither more nor less objectionable than any other.” Agreed.

      • American
        July 6, 2012, 4:25 pm

        What is really, truly, unbelievably absurd is this idea instilled in some of the public by propaganda that all Jews are “elevated” above all others and all other victims of the world…or as Sin Nombre says…”as precious”…to the absurd point that anything Jewish is ‘eternally’ not responsible for anything they do and exempt from all common morality and laws.
        It is so totally insane that it’s hardly explainable that any person would “deify” some other ordinary humans, turn them into something like Golden Calves,…….except for the susceptibility of people to be propagandized by repeated memes over and over again.
        It is bizarre beyond belief. To be afraid to ‘offend the Jews’ by condemning oppression of another people is so f******* dangerous to ALL involved, INCLUDING Jews, I can’t even think about where all this might end.
        Insane, just insane.

      • AllenBee
        July 6, 2012, 5:26 pm

        side note: At the Armenian Cathedral in Vank, near Isfehan in Iran, school children learn about the Armenian Massacre and banners, protests, speeches, etc. concerning it are broadly disseminated. The Museum adjacent to the Cathedral has a section dedicated to remembrance of the Armenian genocide; one case includes several letters signed by various leaders, issuing orders to expel Armenians.

        The Cathedral is incredibly beautiful.
        interior panorama:
        http://www.360cities.net/image/armenian-cathedral-in-esfahan-2–isfahan#99.93,-15.58,70.0

        exterior:
        link to en.wikipedia.org

  14. Les
    July 5, 2012, 5:07 pm

    Americans for Peace Now should ask themselves what’s left of Judaism after it has met your demand to rid itself of ever iota of justice.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    July 5, 2012, 5:08 pm

    RE: ‘Americans for Peace Now’ says Presbyterian measure could stoke ‘global anti-Semitism’

    TRANSLATION: ‘Americans for Peace Now’ says Israel’s occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinians could stoke ‘global anti-Semitism’

  16. lyn117
    July 5, 2012, 6:33 pm

    “However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

    We accuse Israel of being similar to apartheid South Africa all the time

    • piotr
      July 5, 2012, 11:00 pm

      I have difficulty understanding that sentence. Surely, accusations leveled against Israel were never leveled against Iceland, Tuvalu and so on, so they are not similar to criticism leveled against ANY country. On the other hand, I cannot recall any other example of a similar standard.

      For example, I have seen a website devoted solely to the criticism of Norway (because of incidents of intimidation of Jews or appearances of Israel-unfriendly writings). Is it anti-Norwegianism? Anti-Nordism? Anti-Nordicism? Also, in some countries (that I will not list at the moment) mere acceptance of Norwegian grants is viewed as a proof of high treason.

    • Sibiriak
      July 6, 2012, 2:58 am

      Yes, and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-8 is rightfully compared to acts of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere (e.g., Ilan Pappe, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine).

  17. HarryLaw
    July 5, 2012, 6:35 pm

    CloakAndDagger, and all mondoweiss commentators come to Europe and face the music, I promise you will not get 5 life sentences, probably a lot less, but MJ may go down for longer for his Israeli firster comment.

  18. Rusty Pipes
    July 5, 2012, 6:58 pm

    From Mitchell Plitnik’s blog post:

    I asked APN spokesman Ori Nir about this. Ori is a man I’ve known now for some time, a good man who cares deeply about his home country, Israel, and is just as deeply distressed by its occupation. He sent me a copy of the response he had sent to a JVP Board member who asked him to justify APN’s stance on this.

    In part, it read, ” Our approach … focuses on drawing a line, the Green Line, between what we support and what we don’t. We deeply support Israel. We do not support settlements, the most pervasive manifestation of policies that stand in the way of implementing the two-state solution. We, therefore, focus on publicly urging Americans – just as our Israeli partners at Israel’s Peace Now movement urge Israelis – to boycott the settlements while making a point of buying products made in Israel.”

    But even this further explanation fails to recognize that the pending Presbyterian divestment action fits within APN’s “Green Lines.” Not only are they American companies targeted for divestment, not Israeli ones, but they are only 3 out of several American companies in which the Church holds stock that have business in or with Israel. To the Church’s knowledge, these other American companies are not engaged in non-peaceful pursuits, so they are not targets for divestment.

    The three that are targets are cited specifically for their violations over the Green Line: Caterpillar destroys Palestinian homes, Motorola Solutions provides security technology for Settlements and for army communications; Hewlett Packard provides technology that assists in the naval blockade of Gaza, monitoring Palestinians at West Bank checkpoints, helping settlements and the Israeli army. All three companies clearly profit from tightening GOI’s matrix of control over the lives of Palestinians in occupied West Bank and Gaza — over the Green Line.

    • chinese box
      July 5, 2012, 8:24 pm

      Isn’t Israel the main market for most settlement-made products anyway? I don’t see how that type of boycott would have any effect at all. Obviously with these kind of tepid measures groups like APN are only interested in giving the appearance of doing something (to burnish their own image), while doing nothing in actuality. In a strange way I almost have more respect for AIPAC and the ADL for saying what they mean than I do for these wishy washy “peace” orgs.

      • ColinWright
        July 6, 2012, 12:36 am

        The boycott, at least at this stage, isn’t about inflicting significant economic damage on Israel.

        The issue at stake is whether taking action against Israel is or isn’t legitimate.

    • MLE
      July 6, 2012, 12:19 am

      Why is the American for Peace Now spokesman an Israeli? That sort of defeats the whole damn thing doesn’t it?

      • Citizen
        July 6, 2012, 3:31 pm

        MLE, the pattern is clear. The US is now an Israeli arm in everything touching on Israel. Israel could not care less about anything else re America.

  19. DICKERSON3870
    July 5, 2012, 7:35 pm

    Shame on Americans for Peace Now (APN) for sending out a press release urging the Presbyterian Church not to divest from three companies doing business in the occupation because the measure serves those who seek “Israel’s destruction” and raises “very real and understandable worries about global anti-Semitism.”
    Instead, Americans for Peace Now (APN) should have sent out a press release urging the Presbyterian Church to divest from the three companies doing business in the occupation because Israel’s occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinians serves those who seek “Israel’s destruction” and raises “very real and understandable worries about global anti-Semitism.”

    • ritzl
      July 5, 2012, 10:53 pm

      You’d think.

      • DICKERSON3870
        July 7, 2012, 5:19 pm

        But instead, Americans for Peace Now apparently favors 1980s-style, Reaganesque “constructive engagement” ! ! ! Good luck with that!

      • DICKERSON3870
        July 7, 2012, 5:44 pm

        P.S. SEE: “Ilan Pappé: the boycott will work, an Israeli perspective” ~ Ceasefire Magazine, 6/16/12

        [EXCERPTS] . . . After almost thirty years of activism and historical research, I became convinced that the balance of power in Palestine and Israel pre-empted any possibility for a transformation within Jewish Israelisociety in the foreseeable future. . .
        . . . there is really no other alternative [to BDS]. Any other option—from indifference, through soft criticism, and up to full endorsement of Israeli policy—is a wilful decision to be an accomplice to crimes against humanity. The closing of the public mind in Israel, the persistent hold of the settlers over Israeli society, the inbuilt racism within the Jewish population, the dehumanization of the Palestinians, and the vested interests of the army and industry in keeping the occupied territories—all of these mean that we are in for a very long period of callous and oppressive occupation. . .

        ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to ceasefiremagazine.co.uk

  20. HarryLaw
    July 5, 2012, 7:46 pm

    CloakAndDagger, According to the EU definition of antisemitic “could also target the state of Israel as a Jewish collectivity” If all the inhabitants of the Israeli state were Jewish, maybe, but by using this language [which is itself racist] they have already ethnically cleansed the 20% of non Jews from the equation. Re my comment above on MJ don’t risk it, try the equadorian embassy.

    • Eva Smagacz
      July 7, 2012, 5:10 am

      There is no EU definition or “working definition” of anti-Semitism. It is pure hasbara meme on par with “Arafat died of AIDS”

  21. Avi_G.
    July 5, 2012, 11:57 pm

    I’m livid at the arrogance and shameless hypocrisy.

    If Americans for Peace Now are truly concerned, then they should get off their fat, privileged, smug asses and actually do something concerning Israel’s Uber Apartheid practices.

    Until then, the APN can go **** themselves.

  22. MLE
    July 6, 2012, 12:18 am

    I like their name, Americans for Peace Now, it totally does not reflect their views at all, but I like how pro Israel groups give themselves names that would confuse an unaware person.

    Americans for Peace Now- who doesn’t want peace now?
    Center for Near East Studies- well that sounds like a perfectly legitimate scholarly group, let’s book one of their experts on our show to explain what’s going on in the region
    MEMRI- as a journalist who wants to show that I’m interested in both sides of a debate, this seems likea great resource to get Arabic news broadcasts translated.

    If there’s one thing that anti Zionism has taught me, it’s that you can never trust an organization based on how official and impartial it’s name sounds, it’s best to check who it’s affiliated with.

    • ColinWright
      July 6, 2012, 4:40 pm

      Yeah. Add ‘HonestReporting’ and ‘NGO Watch.’ Unlike you, it drives me into a fury of rage — but they are good at lying.

      To be fair, it’s not confined to Israel. As a rule of thumb, if someone is claiming to be ‘objective,’ watch out. Nine times out of ten, it means that on the contrary, they’re really trying to put one over. The first thing propagandists do these days is reach for that white lab coat — ‘we’re objectively analyzing the evidence.’ And as a rule, the worse their cause, the sooner they reach for it.

      In a more harmless cause, consider how many Proctor and Gamble ‘scientists’ you may have seen in your childhood — plugging the virtues of buying whatever. It’s the oldest game in the book — passing off advocacy as fact.

  23. ToivoS
    July 6, 2012, 4:38 am

    I have been aware of APN for a half dozen years or so and at one point considered them a progressive force but was always disappointed in their actions. About three years back I saw them as referred to as Americans for Peace Later — that sealed it for me. So true and that really described their irrelevancy.

  24. RoHa
    July 6, 2012, 5:50 am

    “very real and understandable worries about global anti-Semitism”

    Whine, whine, bloody whine.

    • MRW
      July 6, 2012, 5:39 pm

      “Whine, whine, bloody whine” and suck up all the oxygen.

  25. W.Jones
    July 6, 2012, 9:51 am

    Good points made here- APN says it wants a boycott of the settlements. Caterpillar and the other companies are not Israeli and would be divested because of the actions over the green line where the settlements are. But APN opposes it, apparently because words and deeds can be opposite things with them.

    They say to do things to achieve their goals, but then when people try to do them, APN opposes it with the same kind of fearmongering rationales their opponents use.

  26. chinese box
    July 6, 2012, 11:28 am

    It’s interesting to note that Edward Said saw right through “Peace Now” (Israeli version–don’t know if APN existed at that time) decades ago, just as he saw what a sham Oslo was going to be right from the beginning. Maybe if people have been listening back then we could have skipped all this fruitless peace-processing and gone straight to BDS after the first intifada.

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