CODEPINK protester victorious over AIPAC assailant

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
on 58 Comments
Rae aipac
Rae Abileah at AIPAC’s annual conference, 2011. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

It is not every day that the voices for justice triumph over the actions of the rich and powerful, especially when it comes to the Israel-Palestine debate. That’s why it is so important to acknowledge and celebrate the settlement just negotiated by CODEPINK activist Rae Abileah and her lawyers after suing American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) volunteer lobbyist Stanley Shulster.

It all started on May 24, 2011, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington, DC speaking before a joint session of Congress. Abileah, a 29-year-old Jewish woman who has traveled to the West Bank, Israel and Gaza, was in the audience. She became more and more appalled as she listened to Netanyahu’s speech and watched our congresspeople giving him a stream of standing ovations. “I couldn’t watch this hero’s welcome for a man who supports the continued building of illegal settlements, won’t lift the siege of Gaza, and refuses to negotiate with the Palestinian unity government,” said Abileah.

So Abileah did what most people would never have the courage to do. She got up and shouted: “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!” And she unfurled a banner that read: “Occupying Land is Indefensible!”

She was immediately grabbed, violently pulled toward the floor, and gagged—not by the Capitol Police but by a member of the audience, Stanley Shulster, a retired attorney from Ashland, Oregon, who had traveled to Washington DC to attend the yearly conference of the Israel lobby group AIPAC. An online bio for Shulster revealed that he was an unpaid lobbyist, a volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces, and a Navy veteran. In his bio Shulster bragged that he “grabbed the woman who heckled the Prime Minister while he was speaking.”

Abileah was rushed to the hospital, where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. She subsequently had to undergo months of physical therapy, chiropractic care and other treatments to heal from these injuries.

But Abileah was also determined to pursue her attacker. She pressed charges and got a warrant for his arrest, and she filed a civil suit for damages. Thanks to the tenacity and generosity of her attorneys, they just reached a settlement in which Shulster was forced to pay her medical fees and issue an apology. In the joint statement issued by Shulster and Abileah, Shulster acknowledges that he “respects the right of Ms. Abileah to hold a different view on the Israel-Palestine conflict and believes she holds this view in good faith,” and Abileah does the same. Both Abileah and Shulster recognize “the right, as Americans, to agree to disagree peacefully.” This might sound like a common sense statement but coming from a man who works with the IDF and AIPAC, which routinely categorizes any critique of Israel as anti-Semitic, this is extraordinary.

It is indeed a rare victory, as there is a history of attacks against US nonviolent activists defending Palestinians rights and most of the time, the attackers face no consequences. In 2007, a peaceful protester outside an AIPAC Conference in Washington DC was attacked and put in a chokehold. In this case, the police arrested the assailant, but they also arrested the woman who was attacked! In 2010, while standing on a public sidewalk, I was hit in the face by an AIPAC conference attendee, and the police refused to even take a police report. A few months later a protester and I were slugged with a book bag by an attendee at another pro-Israeli government conference, and the police once again refused to help. Students at the University of New Mexico were hit by audience members during a non-violent protest, and in November 2010, members of the pro-Occupation group Stand With Us (SWU) pepper-sprayed several members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Video footage of the 2011 AIPAC Annual Gala shows the assault of a young woman who held a banner reading “Silencing Dissent Delegitimizes Israel.”

“This time, the justice system worked for me,” said a triumphant Abileah, “I hope it sends a message to aggressive Israeli Occupation supporters around the country that they don’t have the right to assault us; we have the right to express our views peacefully. Just as violence is not the answer to the Israel-Palestine conflict, it won’t work to silence critique and outcry in the US. This is a bittersweet victory—no one should suffer from a violent attack for just speaking up for equality and human rights.”

Of course, for the Palestinian people who live under Israel’s 45-year-old military occupation, violence dominates everyday life. The brutal 2008 invasion of Gaza left 1,400 people dead and crushed homes, schools, businesses—even hospitals. In the West Bank, peaceful protesters are regularly tear-gassed, shot, beaten, thrown into prison without trials.

“My neck pain was a small price to pay compared with the sacrifices made by Palestinian, Israeli, and international nonviolent protesters who’ve risked their bodies and lives to defend the basic human rights of the Palestinian people,” said Abileah. “But with this victory over an AIPAC volunteer lobbyist, perhaps more Americans will be encouraged to speak out and stand up for human rights and free speech.”

Ms. Abileah will donate a portion of the funds from Shulster to legal and medical aid for peaceful Palestinian protesters in the West Bank.

About Medea Benjamin

Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin), cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

58 Responses

  1. giladg
    July 31, 2012, 10:45 am

    When Rae Abileah decides to visit Israel once again, she will find herself on the next plane back home. How does that make you feel Rae?
    I have a question for you as well. If you would have heard favorable words from Netanyahu, did you have another sign in your bag that showed support for Israel? The article says you sat there and only when you heard things that upset you, did you act. Or did you prepare only one sign ahead of time?

    • Woody Tanaka
      July 31, 2012, 11:04 am

      “If you would have heard favorable words from Netanyahu”

      LMAO. The ‘yahoo has been saying the same evil things for a generation. Do you honestly think that anyone is obligated to prepare for the eventuality that upon entering the Congress he would suddenly become a decent human being?

      • giladg
        July 31, 2012, 11:32 am

        CODEPINK is so radical that even if Netanyahu would have read out a speech from Yassar Arafat himself, Abileah’s automatic response mechanism would not have been able to adjust. Much like yours Woody.

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2012, 12:27 pm

        “CODEPINK is so radical…”

        Is this like “dozens” Giladg? Can I play? Okay Thanks, I’ll try a few:

        “CODEPINK is so radical…they’ve never picked up a stick, let alone a stone”
        “CODEPINK is so radical…..they’ve never even spit on anybody”
        “CODEPINK is so radical….they’ve never demolished a house”

        Damn, I’m no good at this. None of those are the least bit funny. Guess it’s not my thing.

      • giladg
        July 31, 2012, 12:45 pm

        How about the members of CODEPINK who joined the infamous flotilla to Gaza? Was this a Sunday picnic with pedicures? How do they say it goes? Forgo the radical pose for the radical ends”. Is that it? The CODEPINK ladies may not have used the iron bars against the Israeli soldiers but they certainly facilitated and aggravated the hostile atmosphere.

      • Philip Munger
        July 31, 2012, 1:52 pm

        All the Israeli forces had to do was sling a 5 centimeter thick cable, wrapped in chicken wire, 50 meters long, strung between two ocean-going tugs, across the Mavi Marmara’s path, which was on course AWAY FROM GAZA and in international waters, when attacked violently. The ship would have been immobilized, and would have had to drift until some tug took it under tow.

        The Israeli attack was not only illegal, it was unimaginative and petty. The captured IDF personnel were treated with dignity, even as the pitiful captured soldiers bawled and begged the Turks for mercy, and even while their colleagues in the IDF mercilessly executed young Turks at powder burn range on the boat deck.

        Get out of my face, you fucking creep!

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 3:36 pm

        ‘ infamous flotilla… iron bars against the Israeli soldiers.’ Giladg is starting to parody himself. The level of self-hypnosis has passed from the outrageous to the risible.

      • Shingo
        July 31, 2012, 3:46 pm

        How about the members of CODEPINK who joined the infamous flotilla to Gaza?

        Yes, how did they not get massacred along with the 9 Turks?

        The CODEPINK ladies may not have used the iron bars against the Israeli soldiers but they certainly facilitated and aggravated the hostile atmosphere.

        Yes, the IDF was threatened by the CODEPINK ladies and had the right to defend themselves. CODEPINK ladies are an existentuial threat to Israel.

        Seriously, what are your girly men in the IDF doing with all those billions the US is sending them if they are so intimidated by CODEPINK ladies?

      • OlegR
        July 31, 2012, 6:25 pm

        My my we have an expert in marine sabotage and blockade in our midst.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 1, 2012, 9:07 am

        “Get out of my face, you fucking creep!”

        I second that. There are times when they, giladg and other olegR and fredblog, deserve no better response. My favorite is the Arabic “Tfooh!”. It embodies so much scorn and contempt that it can never be expressed in words.
        Tfooh indeed!

      • Taxi
        August 1, 2012, 9:41 am

        Ooooh I love this ‘Tfooh”!

        Is it the same as the Lebanese Tfeeh by any chance? Usually said with utter contempt and revulsion, as if a salty-bitter spit is expelled.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 1, 2012, 10:26 am

        “The CODEPINK ladies may not have used the iron bars against the Israeli soldiers but they certainly facilitated and aggravated the hostile atmosphere.”

        The atmosphere was fine until the zionist hit squad showed up.

      • thankgodimatheist
        August 2, 2012, 9:26 am

        “Is it the same as the Lebanese Tfeeh by any chance?”

        Both are equally used. The declination can go like this: tfeh, tfeeh, tfooo, tfooh, itfoh. Depends on the degree of revulsion but also the region. I’ve heard them all.

      • Shmuel
        August 2, 2012, 9:51 am

        My favorite is the Arabic “Tfooh!”.

        Thanks, TGIA. I should have guessed that the Israeli “tfoo alekha” (usually pronounced with a real or affected Mizrahi accent) was from Arabic. Not to be confused with the Slavic “tfu tfu tfu” (for warding off the evil eye) that also made its way into Israeli Hebrew (via Yiddish).

      • Taxi
        August 2, 2012, 10:16 am

        LOL thankgod for thankgod!

      • Shmuel
        August 2, 2012, 2:07 pm

        thankgod for thankgod!

        Amen!

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2012, 12:22 pm

        “The ‘yahoo has been saying the same evil things for a generation.”

        Funny, Woody, I was thinking about this this morning. They think, giladg and his ilk (and they do make me ilk) they have the privilege of saying reality is not what it is, and then requiring us to argue on that basis. As if there hasn’t been plenty of time to see what is going on, and as if what has happened, hasn’t.
        Another of the Zionist schticks I’ve grown to love (well, whenever I need an infallible purgative) is the old “I don’t approve” act. Liberal Zionists love this one. They say that “I am against the occupation” as if that ends the matter, and washes it away. What a blessed existence they have! Everyday washed clean by Ziocaine amnesia, and awakening every morning with the knowledge that everything they need for the best fix in the world is right there in their kishkas. You know, I bet it cures hangovers! No, think about it, you were out with the sabras last night, and between spitting on Arabs and arresting children, you imbibed a bit more than the Rabbi ordered. The next morning you get up feeling rather down. All you do is tell yourself “The Palestinians made war on Israel!” and boom!, the sun is out, the birds are singing…. Ah, what a life!
        Oh, sorry for going on.

    • eljay
      July 31, 2012, 11:34 am

      >> When Rae Abileah decides to visit Israel once again, she will find herself on the next plane back home.

      Neither the Jewish State nor its hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist supporters have any use for people who oppose occupation and war crimes and who advocate for equal rights.

      Reach for the bottom, boys!

      • giladg
        July 31, 2012, 12:41 pm

        When it comes to groups like CODEPINK, being involved in “a” struggle is more important than the finer details of the struggle itself.

      • ColinWright
        July 31, 2012, 3:18 pm

        Is Zionism like that?

    • Shingo
      July 31, 2012, 3:44 pm

      How does that make you feel Rae?

      Probably the same way 800,000 Palestinians felt in 1948 and have been feeling ever since. Expelled from a facist apartheid state.

  2. OlegR
    July 31, 2012, 10:46 am

    Oh the horror …

    • Woody Tanaka
      July 31, 2012, 11:05 am

      Typical zio, mocking someone else’s pain. Russian, let me grab your skull and twist your head for a while, see how you like it.

      • piotr
        July 31, 2012, 12:23 pm

        Laugh, Oleg, and your death will be caused by your own horse (it actually sounds pretty well in Russian).

      • Abu Malia
        July 31, 2012, 1:22 pm

        “Laugh, Oleg, and your death will be caused by your own horse (it actually sounds pretty well in Russian).”

        Agreed. Full of Ziocaine and riding full gallop on a blind Steed!

      • OlegR
        July 31, 2012, 2:14 pm

        Always loved that poem…

      • piotr
        July 31, 2012, 6:55 pm

        Abu Malia: the legend of Oleg the Seer, prince of Novgorod is more complicated, check Wiki: Oleg of Novgorod.

      • OlegR
        July 31, 2012, 2:41 pm

        You are welcome to it Woody
        please let me know next time you are in Tel Aviv.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 1, 2012, 2:52 pm

        “please let me know next time you are in Tel Aviv”

        How about instead of meeting in occupied Palestine I meet you where you belong, some flop house in Moscow.

      • German Lefty
        August 2, 2012, 6:28 am

        How about [...] I meet you where you belong, some flop house in Moscow.
        Please, Woody! You shouldn’t stoop to that level.

      • marc b.
        August 1, 2012, 9:39 am

        you still don’t get it, woody. when a 12-year old throws a stone at an armored vehicle, that child has committed an act of war to be justifiably met with live fire from automatic weapons. but a woman filing suit and negotiating a legal settlement after being assaulted, well, that’s just beyond the pale. and, yes, why didn’t the ‘codepink ladies’ (my, my, what a condescending pr*ck) have the common decency to take a double tap to the chest from those heroic israeli commandoes? (how do you say ‘adult diapers’ in hebrew? perhaps the friends of israel in the US congress can add a line item to the next agricultural bill to supply the IDF with a few dozen gross of diapers for the next time they shit their pants when doing battle with middle aged men armed with clubs.)

  3. LanceThruster
    July 31, 2012, 10:52 am

    If there was true justice, the settlement should have included giving her the opportunity to kick him in the junk to see how he likes being assaulted, but I’m glad for a victory in any form.

    Thank you, Rae Abileah, for pursuing this.

    • German Lefty
      July 31, 2012, 4:49 pm

      If there was true justice, the settlement should have included giving her the opportunity to kick him in the junk to see how he likes being assaulted
      Two wrongs don’t make a right. Revenge is not justice.

      • Shingo
        July 31, 2012, 4:53 pm

        Two wrongs don’t make a right. Revenge is not justice.

        Yawn, but in the same breath you’ll insist that Israel has the right to defend itself.

      • German Lefty
        July 31, 2012, 5:04 pm

        @ Shingo:
        Yawn, but in the same breath you’ll insist that Israel has the right to defend itself.
        Please don’t jump to conclusions. I am an anti-Zionist.

      • piotr
        July 31, 2012, 7:02 pm

        Basically, he should have criminal assault case. Stocks would be a good penalty but, alas, Constitution does not allow it.

      • Taxi
        August 1, 2012, 2:22 am

        Some people only understand the alphabet of the boot. Not everybody on the planet is peaceable. We are light years away from utopia and the weeds in the garden need pulling out by force and regularly.

      • OlegR
        August 2, 2012, 4:51 pm

        Strange thats what the Israeli far right said for years about Arabs.

      • eljay
        August 1, 2012, 7:59 am

        >> Two wrongs don’t make a right. Revenge is not justice.

        I agree.

    • LanceThruster
      August 1, 2012, 11:06 am

      I said given the opportunity. In this clearly identifiable hypothetical suggestion, she could have declined, or she could have demonstrated to her attacker the painful reality of being assaulted.

      And he could be given the choice of a heavy fine, incarceration and/or community service, or Rochambeau.

      It is not a case of “two wrongs” if it is the court mandated penalty. If you still see it as “cruel and unusual” punishment, then I will settle for the stocks as suggested, and we can negotiate just how soft the fruits and vegetables to be hurled need to be.

      Giving bullies a taste of their own medicine has proven to be quite effective in discouraging recidvism.

  4. Philip Munger
    July 31, 2012, 1:55 pm

    But Abileah was also determined to pursue her attacker. She pressed charges and got a warrant for his arrest, and she filed a civil suit for damages.

    So what happened in regard to charges for assault against Mr. Shulster? It might not have been felony assault, but from the photos, it appears to be a solid misdemeanor.

  5. ColinWright
    July 31, 2012, 2:15 pm

    OMG. I’ve got a feeling about this guy — Stanley Shulster.

    It’s crazy — but I think I’ve dealt with him. He’s a ‘retired attorney living in Ashland Oregon.’ I get my feeling, I check — and sure enough, he moved there from Oakland, Ca in 2007.

    Back around then, I was still making my living running my own long-distance moving company. I went to do an estimate for some guy in a good neighborhood in Oakland — planning a move to Ashland, Or. I used to be very detailed in my estimates — obviously, I cared a great deal about whether the load all fitted in one truck, if it did how much room would be left for any other cargoes that came along, just what kind of hell I was in for if I was doing the packing, etc. So I really did like to look in every drawer. I used to take about 45 minutes with a complete house.

    So this guy keeps physically blocking me. He stands in front of me when I try to look in closets and things. It’s weird. Finally, when I’m asking him about whether he’s taking some item, he breaks out with something like ‘I’m not going to tell you about every bunch of bananas.’ Something along those lines.

    Whatever. I’m in ‘keep the customer happy’ mode. I work out what I can, and give him a verbal figure for the move. The usual thing at this point would be for me to go home and compose an e-mail outlining all the substantial points. See if he wants to move forward, and if so, send him a contract to sign and return.

    But I realize — this guy is trouble. The last thing I want to do is move him. So it’s awkward, but I think it over and then phone him up and say ‘I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to move you.’

    He immediately shoots back with ‘we’ll see what a judge has to say about that.’

    …makes me glad I made the choice I did. Can you imagine what he’d been able to do if I’d given him something substantial to actually work with?

    So of course I never hear more from him — and of course there’s no proof this is the same guy — but it is funny that I got the feeling and checked…and yeah, he could be.

  6. rws450
    July 31, 2012, 5:46 pm

    It was smart of Rae to get treated at hospital and follow up with the suit.
    And good job speaking out at that display of craven cowardice and opportunism in Congress.
    Congratulations – you deserve the win! Sorry for the pain.

  7. Fredblogs
    July 31, 2012, 7:06 pm

    Indeed, the proper thing to do in a situation like that is to let security or the police handle it, not take the law into your own hands.

    • Woody Tanaka
      August 1, 2012, 6:40 am

      Spoken like a true fascist, Fredo. More concerned with “law and order” than about the injured human or about free expression.

      • Fredblogs
        August 1, 2012, 2:17 pm

        She probably wouldn’t have been injured if security or the police had handled it. Presumably, she would have cooperated and left quietly once they asked her to and they would not have had to taze her or subdue her.

        Law and order is what separates us from anarchy, in which life is nasty, brutish, and short. She was not exercising her free speech, she was disrupting someone else’s right to free speech. The people she was yelling next to came to hear the speaker, not her. She was committing crimes (disturbing the peace, trespassing) and as such was subject to arrest by the proper authorities. That doesn’t mean that some random person should take it on himself to shut her up.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 1, 2012, 2:49 pm

        And yet again, Fredo, you instinctively put yourself in the position of the abuser/zionist, more concerned about the “correct” way to shut up this woman than respecting her rights.

        And, yes, she was exercising free speech. And any “crime” that this woman committed in the process paled in comparison to the crime commited by the AIPAC bastard who battered her, and was literally nothing in comparison to the crimes committed by the fascist netanyahoo and his gang of criminals.

        “Law and order is what separates us from anarchy, in which life is nasty, brutish, and short.”

        You do realize that “law and order” is widely recognized as a code word for “use the power of the state to quash the civil and human rights of the minority we are institutionally bigoted against,” right? (See, e.g., Jim Crow South, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, israel, every two-bit dictatorship in the world.) It’s rather humorous that anyone in this day and age actually uses the expression non-ironically. Are you REALLY that un-self-aware?? Are you really that blind to what people mean when they use phrases like that?? You don’t really think that people who press for “law and order” are actually interested in actual law and order, do you?????

      • Fredblogs
        August 1, 2012, 4:18 pm

        You do realize that “fascist” is what someone who wants anarchy calls any authority, right?

        Law and order means just that. It’s not code for anything. It means respect for the laws and obedience to the rules of civilized society. I’m not surprised that the concept scares someone who hates government.

        As for the right way to shut her up, she had no right to disrupt someone else’s speech. If she wanted to exercise her right to free speech, she should have done so outside. The right to speak is not the same as the right to force unwilling people to listen to your ranting.

      • Shingo
        August 1, 2012, 6:25 pm

        T You do realize that “fascist” is what someone who wants anarchy calls any authority, right?

        That’s simply false Fred.

        Facism is about likiting free speech, freedom of expression, marial law, policed state insitutions etc. That’s not law and order, that is tirrany. In fascist states like Israel, they are one and the same.

      • Fredblogs
        August 2, 2012, 4:45 pm

        As usual, Shingo, you miss the point. an actual fascist state is (with spelling corrections) what you describe, though Israel isn’t one. However, what Woodrow was calling “fascist” was not any actual fascist act, just normal authority. Specifically, the normal authority of the police to eject a trespasser who is disrupting a private event.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 2, 2012, 6:25 pm

        “You do realize that “fascist” is what someone who wants anarchy calls any authority, right?”

        LOL. No, only abusive authority, Fredo.

        “Law and order means just that. It’s not code for anything.”

        Sorry, Virginia, there really isn’t a Santa Claus.

        “As for the right way to shut her up, she had no right to disrupt someone else’s speech.”

        Nope. Only a moral obligation. “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out …” and all that.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 2, 2012, 6:30 pm

        “However, what Woodrow was calling ‘fascist’ was not any actual fascist act, just normal authority.”

        Wrong. I called you a fascist because your only concern was in stopping her free speech, and had nothing to do with anything else.

        “Specifically, the normal authority of the police to eject a trespasser who is disrupting a private event.”

        Wrong, Fredo. It was a session of Congress. It was a public event.

      • Shingo
        August 2, 2012, 8:25 pm

        As usual, Shingo, you miss the point. an actual fascist state is (with spelling corrections) what you describe, though Israel isn’t one.

        Of course it is.

        One need only examine the characteristics that define a fascist state. Many people think that fascism equals Nazis, but countries develop their own variant of it when the conditions are right. Israel is developing its own variation but the common threads are there: a belief in blood and soil, a belief in ‘race’ as an absolute quality, the concomitant belief that outsiders to this ‘race’ are inferior and can be punished and abused arbitrarily, a sense of grievance carefully nurtured and inflated over often mythical circumstances, elevation of militarism as a supreme value of society with its overtones of power and might mixed with a religious sense of righteousness in its deployment. And, of course, the pathological inability to see other human beings not of their tribe as equal in terms of entitlement to the wealth and resources of the country, or just as normal human beings, just like them.

      • ColinWright
        August 3, 2012, 4:01 pm

        “…One need only examine the characteristics that define a fascist state. Many people think that fascism equals Nazis, but countries develop their own variant of it when the conditions are right. Israel is developing its own variation but the common threads are there: a belief in blood and soil, a belief in ‘race’ as an absolute quality, the concomitant belief that outsiders to this ‘race’ are inferior and can be punished and abused arbitrarily, a sense of grievance carefully nurtured and inflated over often mythical circumstances, elevation of militarism as a supreme value of society with its overtones of power and might mixed with a religious sense of righteousness in its deployment. And, of course, the pathological inability to see other human beings not of their tribe as equal in terms of entitlement to the wealth and resources of the country, or just as normal human beings, just like them.”

        First off, I’d note that the list of attributes you don’t particularly fit Fascism in general. For example, Fascist Italy only problematically exalted the first three of the qualities you list. Until he started mimicking Hitler Mussolini was quite happy to regard Jews as potentially good Fascists: Italian nationality rather than a notion of ‘blood’ was the touchstone. Other states commonly considered ‘fascist’ diverged even more from the mold you prescribe. Really, what you’ve set forth is accurately descriptive only of Naziism.

        Secondly, you missed a couple of traits. There’s contempt for legality. The courts are simply used as a figleaf to confer a spurious legality on the actions of the state if they are cooperative and disregarded if they are not. This was characteristic of Nazi Germany and is characteristic of Israel.

        Then there’s also gratuitous cruelty. Peoples and state actors are often cruel: the American government was quite happy to see the buffalo slaughtered so that the plains Indians would be starved into staying on the reservations. Fascist Italy was entirely willing to employ virtually genocidal tactics to force the Libyans into submission. On the other hand, the behavior of both Nazi Germany and Israel is often marked by a resort to pointless and even counter-productive humiliation, cruelty, and deprivation: the brutality becomes not a means to an end, but an end in itself. Jews shoveling snow and Palestinians being asked which arm they want broken are hallmarks of the regimes. Captain R empties his clip into the wounded schoolgirl not because doing so will somehow advance Israel’s interests but simply because he wants to kill a Palestinian. Captain R is then rehabilitated and awarded compensation for his suffering.

        So first, I would say that you are defining not fascism in general so much as the specifically Nazi variant of the ideology, and second, that yes, this closer definition also fits Israel. Israel is not merely a fascist, but a Nazi state.

        However, to be completely fair, one element is missing from the equation of Naziism with Zionism. Israel is quite open to permitting dissent and debate among members of the master race. This really is one area where it diverges from the Nazi model. Of course, it’s an open question as to whether this makes it more or less reprehensible that the practices mentioned above can continue. One is free to deplore the dispossession and ghettoization of the Palestinians, yet most Israelis do not. Loudly objecting to the measures of the Nazi state did have potential consequences for the average German.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 3, 2012, 6:04 pm

        Colin,

        This analysis is all wrong. Israel is many bad things, but it is not a Nazi state. The core of National Socialism wasn’t the Völkische beliefs, or even the pieces of Fascism that were adopted in the syncretic mix that became National Socialism, but was the person of Adolf Hitler. The key to understanding what the Nazis were is to understand the Führerprinzip. You simply don’t have Naziism without a Führer.

      • piotr
        August 3, 2012, 7:26 pm

        If Israel is fascist, it would be a Mediterranean variant, closer to Italian roots, harking to times when Jabotinsky had a high regard for Mussolini and Betar had summer camps in Italy. Both version of fascism had some elements of socialism, of “blood and soil”, and exultation of force. Fellini in one of his movies shows a young enthusiastic fascists exhorting other young people to be patriotic and tough, and to give an example, puts a young kitten on his hand and smashes to pulp with the other. I hope it was satirical.

        American variant of authoritarian thinking is quite different and I call it “ante-bellism”. Before the “War Between The State” Southern states, while maintaining democratic institution, grew intolerant and paranoid. One one hand, abolitionist tracts were censored and removed from mail, and overt abolitionists could be killed by enraged citizens with pistols or bowie knives, but there was also a libertarian distrust of central authority, and no cult of wise leaders that I can recall. And of course, no elements of socialism.

        I think Israel’s “healthy patriots” are extreme statists, as nicely explained by Mussolini: Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato (“Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”). But general attitute is more antebellist. When members of Zochrot movement tried to read in public the names of Arab villages that were eliminated to give room for Tel Aviv, it was almost like an abolitionist reading his tract in ante bellum South.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    August 1, 2012, 4:08 pm

    RE: “It all started on May 24, 2011, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington, DC speaking before a joint session of Congress. Abileah, a 29-year-old Jewish woman who has traveled to the West Bank, Israel and Gaza, was in the audience. She became more and more appalled as she listened to Netanyahu’s speech and watched our congresspeople giving him a stream of standing ovations.” ~ Medea Benjamin

    MY COMMENT: She is not the only one who became appalled!

    SEE: “Bibi and the Yo-Yos”, by Uri Avnery, Antiwar.com, 05/26/11:

    (excerpt) It was all rather disgusting.
    There they were, the members of the highest legislative bodies of the world’s only superpower, flying up and down like so many yo-yos, applauding wildly, every few minutes or seconds, the most outrageous lies and distortions of Binyamin Netanyahu.
    It was worse than the Syrian parliament during a speech by Bashar Assad, where anyone not applauding could find himself in prison. Or Stalin’s Supreme Soviet, when showing less than sufficient respect could have meant death.
    What the American Senators and Congressmen feared was a fate worse than death. Anyone remaining seated or not applauding wildly enough could have been caught on camera – and that amounts to political suicide. It was enough for one single congressman to rise and applaud, and all the others had to follow suit. Who would dare not to?
    The sight of these hundreds of parliamentarians jumping up and clapping their hands, again and again and again and again, with the Leader graciously acknowledging with a movement of his hand, was reminiscent of other regimes. Only this time it was not the local dictator who compelled this adulation, but a foreign one.
    The most depressing part of it was that there was not a single lawmaker – Republican or Democrat – who dared to resist. When I was a 9 year old boy in Germany, I dared to leave my right arm hanging by my side when all my schoolmates raised theirs in the Nazi salute and sang Hitler’s anthem. Is there no one in Washington DC who has that simple courage?. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to original.antiwar.com

  9. Kathleen
    August 3, 2012, 10:47 am

    Code Pink and team are doing amazing peace and justice work..Glad she is ok

Leave a Reply