The privileging of Jewish American voices on the issue is rooted in racism

Israel/Palestine
on 81 Comments

On Saturday the New School hosted a conversation on “The Jewish American Relationship with Israel at the Crossroads.” Anna Baltzer sent along her opening remarks.

Thank you so much to OR Books, Vera List Center, Adam Shatz, and the others who organized this event. It’s an honor to be here. I’m excited to be here and by the topic of this event because I believe we are at a crossroads, not just in terms of Jewish American feelings towards Israel — as Dr. Finkelstein has meticulously documented in his book — but also the place of Jewish voices in the movement.
There is no question that there is a monumental shift happening among American Jews, with increasing numbers coming out against Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. This is largely a generational shift, driven by young people, who have become allies to the cause even as their parents repeat the same tired arguments they did decades ago about Israel’s moral superiority and lack of a partner for peace.
People like Dr. Finkelstein, Dr. Chomsky, and many other deserve credit for decades of speaking out against Israel’s abuses of Palestinians when so few Jewish — or other — Americans did. Palestinians, of course, have always been speaking out as long as they have been oppressed, though nobody listened. The courage of all these voices in the dark paved the way for many of us today.
Today, many synagogues can no longer even talk about this issue because it is so divisive. The traditional gatekeepers of the conversation are in crisis. For example, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was living the past year, is suffering a very clear downward trajectory. More than 90% of its donors are over 40 years old. The organization says it represents the Jewish community but won’t publish the list of synagogues because, in fact, the number is very few.
Meanwhile, organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace are growing in leaps and bounds. Its mailing list now boasts more than 125,000 subscribers. There are explicitly anti-Zionist organizations like the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. Young, Jewish, and Proud, the youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace, is growing particularly quickly with more and more young Jewish Americans reclaiming American Jewish identity as rooted in support for equality and justice rather than unconditional support for a state across the world that does not represent them.
Along with the growth of Jewish support for Palestinian rights, however, comes a dangerous phenomenon; that is, Jewish voices eclipsing Palestinian ones. Palestinian voices have long been dismissed as angry, irrational, and biased. Even people supporting justice for Palestinians often say they’d rather have a Jewish speaker come to their community because our voices are more “credible.” They would rather have me telling Palestinian stories than a Palestinian — the expert — telling her or his own stories. Events like today’s draw larger crowds than a panel of Palestinians speaking about their own struggle would.
Intentional or not, what happens is that just as we are trying to break down the imbalance of power and privilege in Israel/Palestine, we are recreating the same power imbalance in the U.S. context. We must challenge not only Israel’s abuse of Palestinians but the underlying racism at its core that somehow Jews are more important than Palestinians. We must acknowledge that privileging Jewish American voices rather than featuring and listening to Palestinian voices is rooted in racism.
Let’s take an analogy. Imagine an all-male speaking tour in the late 1960s promoting the feminist movement. Imagine people inviting panels of men to speak about feminism because, well, women are so angry and irrational — they won’t be heard as credible. Any half-politicized person would rightly have called this out for what it is: misogynistic. Because the feminist movement was not and is not just about an end goal of getting women certain rights; it’s about empowering women, women being able to speak for ourselves; it’s about transforming society overall.
Speaking for myself, the same goes for this movement. As we speak about freedom and justice for Palestinians, their voices must be at the center. And I’ll talk about what that means in practice a little later.
But meanwhile, what is the role of Jewish Americans on this issue? I would argue that an honest analysis of the situation shows that mainstream Jewish American institutions are among the traditional gatekeepers on this issue, and Jewish voices are uniquely placed to challenge and disrupt those institutions’ hegemony. We must be present in coalitions challenging those institutions, defending allies from claims of anti-Semitism that are used to stifle legitimate discussion about Israel and to suppress action. The more of us that speak out, the harder it becomes for pro-occupation Jewish institutions to claim to be in any way representative. By showing that the Jewish community is not monolithic, we show that this is not an identity-based struggle between Jews and Palestinians but a struggle for human rights like any other.
To put it another way: It’s not about Jews leading the way; it’s about stepping out of the way.
I’ll give you an example: This past summer in the Bay Area, I was part of a hearing by the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights regarding an upcoming local bus contract renewal with Veolia, a company that is also deeply implicated in the Israeli occupation. It was standing room only, with testifiers overflowing out the door waiting to speak. Defending the local bus contract were representatives of Veolia Corporation and some members of the Jewish community. On the other side were a diverse group of community members and others from the Jewish community. In other words, it was only the Jewish community that was divided.
What was the effect? Our voices countering those from the JCRC helped the commissioners — and all the media and witnesses there — to see plainly the situation for what it really was: a struggle of people vs. power and corporate impunity.
We made space for others to be heard. As Jews, we can use our voices particularly to help lift up the voices of Palestinians that have been silenced for so long.
By the way, and I’m speaking for myself here, this does not mean we give people permission to listen to Palestinian voices. Historically, the role of Jewish American allies has been to show that it’s okay to criticize Israel, to support boycott and divestment, etc. But what’s really needed is a complete paradigm shift; it’s the concept that you, whoever you are, do not need permission from Jews — or anyone else for that matter — to do what you believe is the right thing to do.
It’s not that we do not participate — we should, of course… we must, enthusiastically! — but we must also make sure that Jewish American voices are not, as they have in the past, regulating the terms of the discussion, including when it comes to the vision of the future of Israel/Palestine and the means of their freedom struggle. Our particular mandate to challenge U.S. institutional support for Israel — most notably the roughly $3 billion dollars in military aid awarded Israel with tax-payer dollars annually — is clear and always has been. Meanwhile, we must carry an extra sense of humility when it comes to an indigenous movement, particularly when we come from the oppressing group — in this case both as Jews and as Americans. And that means listening when we are given the opportunity to support the oppressed.
In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and (1) ends its illegal occupation, (2) implements full equality for Palestinians inside Israel, and (3) promotes the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Behind this call stands the largest breadth and broadest consensus of Palestinian voices to my knowledge. It has been signed by more than 170 organizations representing all segments of Palestinian civil society, including unions, all major political parties, human rights organizations, and more.
The growing global BDS movement is a thriving, diverse, and inclusive movement. It is strategic in nature, empowering groups around the world to choose targets and tactics that are appropriate within each particular context. It stands on three pillars — freedom, equality, and justice, representing the three rights articulated in the call, the three minimal components to fulfilling Palestinians’ must fundamental rights.
The movement has had tremendous success thus far, with victories announced weekly or sometimes daily from around the world, growing in size and significance. Most recently in the U.S., for example, the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation, which manages investments for more than 250 Quaker institutions around this country, decided to divest from Caterpillar, Veolia, and Hewlett Packard corporations following concerns expressed by a Palestine Israel Action Group and their local Friends meeting. Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley Capital Investment (MSCI) delisted Caterpillar from its list of socially responsible investments, prompting financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest close to $73 million from their Social Choice Fund. These are just two of the most recent examples.
But the greatest success of the BDS movement is its effect on the discourse. Here in the U.S., campaigns playing out in mainstream churches, shopping centers, university campuses, and city councils have fundamentally shifted the question from whether or not Israel is committing crimes to what are we going to do about it. The gatekeepers of the occupation are suddenly on the defensive where they never were before. And more than any book or speaker (and I am speaking as an author and a public speaker) ever could before, BDS campaigns — whether they win or lose — are changing the way people think about Israel and the Palestinians. I believe the success of BDS is behind some of the exciting phenomena that
Dr. Finkelstein writes about in this book. This shift in discourse will also be key to forcing an end to U.S. military aid and other U.S. institutional — including corporate – support that enables Israel’s abuses.
In part through BDS, the Palestine solidarity movement has transformed from talking about Palestinian self-determination to manifesting it. Palestinians are no longer relegated to the margins of their own liberation struggle, but are in fact the leaders of it. This, of course, makes speakers like myself much less important, and that’s okay with me, in fact, I’m happy about it.
Freed from the old paradigm, the result is quite beautiful: “It’s clear what the future looks like” — to quote Cecilie Surasky of Jewish Voice for Peace in her article written after the first night of the University of California at Berkeley hearings on divestment. She noted — and I have seen as well from Sonoma County to the United Methodist and Presbyterian churches’ recent divestment hearings to the many others playing out on campuses from New York City to San Diego — that while on the one side you had a small group of isolated Jewish students and leaders, holding onto each other fearfully; on the other you saw a diverse group of Jews, Palestinians, Muslims, Israelis, Arabs, African Americans, Latina and Latino community members, queer allies, feminists, and others; interconnected, holding hands in friendship, solidarity, and anticipation. As a young Jewish American, this is what I want my community and place in the movement to look like. Thank you.
Special thanks to Jewish Voice for Peace for their contributions to these remarks.

81 Responses

  1. Krauss
    October 8, 2012, 1:42 pm

    Masterful – and beautiful.

    • Annie Robbins
      October 8, 2012, 2:32 pm

      i agree, excellent speech. i can’t express enough how this is a people movement, all of us together. the leaders being palestinians.

      there is the phenomena about jewish voices being gatekeepers of all discourse involving jews and israel that’s become accepted and ingrained in american culture and it shouldn’t be this way. there are so many more of us it’s paramount we make our voices heard and not be afraid to speak out against injustice.

      i also attended the event in sonoma county anna spoke of in her speech and was thrilled to see a friend of mine there i met at sabeel a few years ago. it was her son who took the lead in presenting the proposal for the county to drop the contract for veolia and she also spoke. they had friends and relatives there. all of them palestinian americans. this is something we are not really used to and i realized while listening to their presentation that had the topic not been about i/p there was really no discernible way one would necessarily even recognize my friend and her son were palestinian. in fact when i first met her i assumed she was jewish.

      there are palestinian americans all around us and we don’t even know it. many of my friends generation weren’t activists growing up so it is really amazing and wonderful to see her son so involved, as well as his girlfriend who is not palestinian. and when you meet the group of activists in sonoma county they are really such a diverse group as many of the human rights activist groups around the country working on this issue.

      and the same thing as my recent travels to albuquerque. and who would ever guess there were so many palestinians in albuquerque! and the kids are really what’s the most encouraging. this new generation of palestinian americans as well as their multi cultural american co-activists..our youth, it makes my heart swell with pride for my country.

      • BethlehemOlivesRedeem
        October 9, 2012, 3:49 am

        Speaking of “privileging Jews over Palestinians” in the public discourse concerning the Zionist Jews’ 64 years of illegally colonizing Palestine, why is it people as progressive as you, Annie, when referring to Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, continue to use the Lobby-mollifying term “Israel/Palestine” (you used “i/p” abbreviation, same thing in essence), instead of “Palestine/Israel” (which at least acknowledges the historically prior, indigenous nation first) or, even better and more precise term, “Zionist-colonized Palestine”?
        It’s as bad a habit, or reckless a failure of moral imagination and political commitment, as the casual use of those warm-and-fuzzy “journalistic” codewords (or comfort words) for liberal Zionist-serving complacency, “settlements” and “settlers” which hide the reality and viciousness of “colonies” and “colonists”, terms that accurately denote the military-cultural reality with which Zionist Jews, with U.S. monies, daily torture Palestinians…
        Furthermore, I find also troubling, if not downright sickening, that so many “pro-Palestinian” activists and scholars insist “the Green Line” or “the 1967 borders” (Israel/Palestine = 78%/22% of MP) is the legitimate or legal border for a “two-state” resolution of “the conflict” — when in fact the borders determined by international law, as i understand Palestinian history in its international context (the “law’s” Euro-racist colonial bias at the time notwithstanding) was the Mandate Partition of 1947, which officially gave Zionists 55% of Mandate Palestine and Palestinians 45%.

        Why is it that the 23% of Palestine that Zionists stole from the Palestinians by means of Israel’s archivally-documented MILITARY OFFENSIVE, strategically-planned, war of ethnic cleansing (commenced even before the British vacated Palestine, and NOT as a spontaneous “self-defense against Arab invaders”) is virtually never mentioned by progressives as LEGALLYand legitimately belonging to Palestinians? Why, instead of giving an apparently pro-Palestinian (and allegedly “anti-Israel”) nod to “the 1967 borders” or “Green Line” (accepting the fait accompli — or “facts on the ground” — of Israel’s half-successful war of explicit, Peel Commission-legitimized, ethnic-cleansing leaving Palestinians with only 22% of Mandate Palestine) as the proper borders for a “peace process solution”, is it not declared rather that, at the very minimum, Palestinians’ rights entail Israel withdrawing at least to “the 1948 borders” existing the moment UK troops evacuated? Wasn’t there a post-World-War-II international consensus that no longer would the rule of law permit a group of people to take land away from another group by means of military force?
        We in the progressive activist and academic left need to be more consistent with our language and — dammit! — stop ceding historical, rhetorical, moral and legal ground to our more obnoxiously assertive, militarist neighbors and relatives. We share responsibility for killing the truth (or letting it die) when we fail to speak it as clearly and unequivocally as possible whenever and wherever it needs to be said.
        This is not to say i don’t greatly admire your work and speaking of truth to power again and again, Annie! By all means, i do. You’re among my favorite commentators on behalf of truth and justice and human dignity.

  2. CitizenC
    October 8, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Ending Jewish privilege means, above all, ceasing to organize as “Jews” with the truncated “progressive Jewish” critique, and organizing on a secular basis, with a universalist critique.

    The problem is not to show the powers that be that “the [Jewish] community is divided” but to show that it is opposed strongly, period.

    • Hostage
      October 8, 2012, 5:14 pm

      Ending Jewish privilege means, above all, ceasing to organize as “Jews”

      When you make hyperbolic statements about the exercise of basic rights, like freedom of association or religion, and attempt to construe them as privileges, you simply come off sounding like a bigoted jerk.

      • Krauss
        October 8, 2012, 7:48 pm

        You don’t understand him, Hostage.

        His point wasn’t on religious identity. His point was on a political identity.

        Instead of organizing for progressive causes, but with a Jewish imprint, it should instead be done on an universalist basis, no matter your background, religion or skincolor.

        I wouldn’t use the term ‘Jewish privilege’ in this context, because I think it is misplaced. It isn’t about privilege, nor anything specifically Jewish. But it is a call for people to act on an universalist basis, as a start. And that, obviously, includes Jews as well as non-Jews.

        Being progressive and Jewish isn’t a problem, but when all your progressivism is being channeled through Jewish ethnocentrism, it is. We see that in J Street and it’s appeasement of the more ethnocentric groups in the lobby.

        Because once you submit yourself to that worldview, the most ethnocentric people will have the most sway in that kind of setting, which is also precisely why genuine progressism so often tends to be defeated by the kind of concerntrolling, shoot-and-cry ‘liberalism’ so often seen in the “liberal” Zionist community.

        Which is why J Street has moved to the right closer and closer to AIPAC, precisely because their basic structural notions of how to be a progressive is flawed. It’s based on an identity rather than universalism and then when there is a conflict, as Zionism is, they end up taking the side of the oppressor(even if it is mealy-mouthed) because they are not universalists.

        This is the point Hostage addressed and you neatly avoided.

      • Hostage
        October 8, 2012, 9:52 pm

        You don’t understand him, Hostage. His point wasn’t on religious identity.

        Actually, we had a long discussion about the secular Bund movement and humanistic Judaism. Many people, myself included, consider those to be perfect examples of associations based upon either universalist creeds or a Jewish religious identity.

        In our earlier discussions, he also portrayed the exercise of basic legal rights and protections as inherently dangerous privileges. His assertions about the status of communities of Jewish nationals under the various minority treaties and the history of anti-Zionist Jews in spearheading the human and humanitarian rights movements were factually incorrect.

        Jews share the same human condition as everyone else. There’s nothing intrinsic to all Jewish creeds; to all persons of Jewish descent; or to those with Jewish ethnic characteristics that would preclude a belief in universalism.

      • Newclench
        October 8, 2012, 10:44 pm

        Next up: telling progressive Christians and Muslims to stop it as well. Somebody call Jim Wallis and set him straight! We certainly wouldn’t want anyone expressing their Christian identity through progressive politics, right?

        I call bs on this. Religious freedom is all about manifesting your religious politics. And it’s all about the state not adopting them.

      • CitizenC
        October 9, 2012, 2:50 am

        You’re right Hostage, we had a long discussion and you haven’t understood a single point. You just keep repeating yourself. You deny that the Jewish left has limited critique, of which your “humanistic Judaism” (Sherwin Wine) is a good example, as I explained. The Bund was universalist, not ethnic, in the end. They declined to join Dubnow’s call for a unified Jewish politics in 1905, and in 1906 rejoined the RSDLP.

        You don’t even know what the term anti-Zionist Jews means. People like you, and JVP, are not descendants of Rosa Luxemburg, or Deutscher, or Rodinson, or Berger or Shahak. Jewish minority status in legal terms does not make them a people with national claims and ignores the whole point, to make them equal before the law. You try and morph equality before the law into a defense of separatist Jewish politics and its limited agenda.

        “Jews share the same human condition as everyone else. There’s nothing intrinsic to all Jewish creeds; to all persons of Jewish descent; or to those with Jewish ethnic characteristics that would preclude a belief in universalism.”

        Except that they have acted just the opposite of your claim since 1967, which is now only just breaking down, as it’s too late.

      • BethlehemOlivesRedeem
        October 9, 2012, 4:08 am

        The fact remains, Zionist Jews openly assert their presumption of entitlement and racial or ethnic or nationalist susperiority, often even blatantly mocking as inferior “goys,” or all non-Jews, essentially as their unknowing and divinely-determined servants. Foolish and anti-spiritual as such arrogance is, it nonetheless is indulged in in the name of “Jewish identity” (and if you don’t like it, you’re “anti-Semitic” or a “self-hating Jew”) as the basis for claims of what cannot be characterized in human terms as anything other than self-arrogating entitlement to privilege.

        The Zionist project, of Jews’ “re”claiming Palestine as their anciently “godgiven” land, was condemned openly by many secular Jews as well as by more orthodox Jews as a satanic attempt to “take heaven by storm.” The string of corrupt prime ministers Israel keeps enthroning should be criticized openly, by self-loving (self-identified) Jews, especially those claiming loyalty to the principles of universalism and equality, as an embarrassment, if not crude betrayal, of the faith or religion of Judaism or at bare minimum of the humanism which Jews figured so significantly in formulating in recent centuries.

      • Hostage
        October 9, 2012, 11:22 am

        You’re right Hostage, we had a long discussion and you haven’t understood a single point. You just keep repeating yourself. You deny that the Jewish left has limited critique, of which your “humanistic Judaism” (Sherwin Wine) is a good example, as I explained.

        No, I’d say that I’m a very typical example of a secular Jew, and that my family, including my grandparents, were as well. No one from JVP has ever objected about the views that I’ve expressed here at Mondoweiss. I’d suggest that you either point out some meaningful “limitations” in my critique of Israel, or that you stop embarrassing yourself.

        The idea that I’m providing cover for Zionists or racists is simply risible.

      • Hostage
        October 9, 2012, 11:46 am

        Jewish minority status in legal terms does not make them a people with national claims and ignores the whole point, to make them equal before the law. You try and morph equality before the law into a defense of separatist Jewish politics and its limited agenda.

        I’m not morphing anything. I simply called bullshit when you made that ridiculous claim. There certainly isn’t one overarching Jewish culture or a single Jewish people. That doesn’t mean that various local Jewish groups were not granted their own Jewish nationality and equal rights under the terms of the minority treaties and public international law. None of those treaties contained any religious tests.

      • Mooser
        October 9, 2012, 2:00 pm

        “Next up: telling progressive Christians and Muslims to stop it as well.”

        Newclench, as you should know, better than anyone, the whole world sucks!

      • Mooser
        October 9, 2012, 2:01 pm

        “Religious freedom is all about manifesting your religious politics. And it’s all about the state not adopting them.”

        Israel, of course, is the Jewish State which shows us how to do this! Oh, that all states could stand so fast against theology and religious meddling.

      • AlGhorear
        October 11, 2012, 4:05 pm

        “Newclench, as you should know, better than anyone, the whole world sucks!”- Mooser

        Ha! Love it! By the way there’s a discussion about you in the comments section there. Did you really used to blog from Moose Hall?

      • Hostage
        October 12, 2012, 11:38 am

        You don’t even know what the term anti-Zionist Jews means. People like you, and JVP, are not descendants of Rosa Luxemburg, or Deutscher, or Rodinson, or Berger or Shahak. Jewish minority status in legal terms does not make them a people with national claims and ignores the whole point, to make them equal before the law. You try and morph equality before the law into a defense of separatist Jewish politics and its limited agenda.

        That’s another example of your uneducated opinion. Formal recognition of a community as a “people” is a prerequisite to the exercise of the right of self-determination. Any number of experts in the field of international law have cited peoples as the basic unit of self-determination. They’ve also remarked on the frequently unsuccessful attempts to keep peoples and minorities as two separate and distinct concepts. Many specifically cite the minority treaties, the references to the Jewish people in the Palestine Mandate, and the formation of a state of Israel through an act of secession as an example of recognition of nation minorities as a people and the principle of self-determination in action. See for example Thomas D. Musgrave, Self-determination and National Minorities, Oxford Monographs in International Law, Oxford University Press, 1997, pages 162-167 or James Crawford, Creation of States in International Law, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006, starting on page 425.

        I’ve commented elsewhere about the status of Jews according to the traditions contained in the Halakhah, e.g. link to mondoweiss.net

        One of the 613 commandments prescribes the only fixed prayer or mantra contained in the entire Torah (Deuteronomy 26:5-8). It is supposed to be recited when making an offering of thanksgiving or paying the tithe for the poor. It is also contained in the Haggadah of the Passover seder.

        It explains that Israel became a “nation”, not merely a religion. It also emphasizes the fact that its members were few in number and living under the conditions of exile and bondage at the time. “Sovereignty” or residence in Palestine had nothing to do with that status. According to the legend, Moses, the archetypal national leader and lawgiver, was raised as an Egyptian and never stepped foot in the Land of Israel. Even secular, humanistic, and interfaith seders acknowledge that traditional belief that Jews are members of a living “nation”, Israel, e.g. link to eszter.com

      • seanmcbride
        October 12, 2012, 11:51 am

        Hostage wrote:

        One of the 613 commandments prescribes the only fixed prayer or mantra contained in the entire Torah (Deuteronomy 26:5-8). It is supposed to be recited when making an offering of thanksgiving or paying the tithe for the poor. It is also contained in the Haggadah of the Passover seder.

        It explains that Israel became a “nation”, not merely a religion. It also emphasizes the fact that its members were few in number and living under the conditions of exile and bondage at the time. “Sovereignty” or residence in Palestine had nothing to do with that status. According to the legend, Moses, the archetypal national leader and lawgiver, was raised as an Egyptian and never stepped foot in the Land of Israel. Even secular, humanistic, and interfaith seders acknowledge that traditional belief that Jews are members of a living “nation”, Israel, e.g. link to eszter.com

        Are you arguing that Judaism is an ethnic nationalist ideology at its core and root?

      • American
        October 12, 2012, 12:06 pm

        Hostage…..

        “Even secular, humanistic, and interfaith seders acknowledge that traditional belief that Jews are members of a living “nation”, Israel, e.g. link to eszter.com”

        Do you see this as a problem…..formulating a actual nation out of a religion and/or ethnic?
        That ….the idea of Jews everywhere belonging to a ‘Nation’ of their own….seems to me to be the problem that has always dogged the Jews in ancient and modern times…..particulary in modern times since it is not compatible with Jews living in democratic or non Jewish or non Jewish majority nations.

      • Hostage
        October 12, 2012, 2:09 pm

        Do you see this as a problem…..formulating a actual nation out of a religion and/or ethnic?

        No, there’s a difference between a nation and a nation-state. The Jews, Kurds, Greeks, and many other stateless national minority groups have been recognized for centuries. In many cases their communities were granted limited autonomy and constitutional safeguards were established to guarantee them equal rights.

        On the other hand there usually are problems when one ethnic or religious group tries to exercise jurisdiction over a territory inhabited by others without respecting their national rights or freedom to exercise their religion on a non-discriminatory basis.

        I’ve pointed out many times that both sides in Palestine have minority rights treaty obligations, but you’d never know it from some of their stated political positions.

      • Hostage
        October 12, 2012, 4:44 pm

        Are you arguing that Judaism is an ethnic nationalist ideology at its core and root?

        “Ethnic nationalist” is redundant and anachronistic. The word “ethnos” in the LXX did not mean nation-states. The notion that nations were something more than ethnic groups or a loose confederation of desert families governed by religious laws is a concept of the post-Westphalian era.

        The fact that ethnic Albanians in Kosovo managed to achieve recognition of their right to self-determination has no bearing on the rights and standing of ethnic Albanian people living elsewhere. They share common religious culture, but they don’t have a single organ that speaks on behalf of all “the Albanian people”. Only the political Zionists take the extreme position that Jews must organize themselves into a nation-state or that the Jews represent a single people for the purposes of international law and the principle of self-determination.

      • anonymouscomments
        October 14, 2012, 11:47 pm

        FYI i tried to retract, and clarify my incoherent and illogical rant about greta… but as i did, seems it was closed for comment.

        i agree with your critic of my comment. i was myself reactionary, had not reviewed the facts, and was also pandering to phil/adam…

        my deal was, well, IF she is going to pushed out, at least call it a sad circumstance due to a questionable action which may have been entirely a mistake and explicable. and i wanted to stress that in no way can we conclude, or should we even suggest she is a *racist*.

        ~cheers

      • CitizenC
        October 8, 2012, 8:18 pm

        We’ve had this conversation before Hostage. When will they release you?

        It is not a Jewish right to impose a limited critique and agenda which is what JVP (New Jewish Agenda, WIB, “Jewish radicalism”, and Chomsky and his acolytes) have done since 1967, quite successfully.

        Roger Waters at the Russell Tribunal said that the “Israel lobby” was the elephant in the room. We got instead obfuscation about Christian Zionism and the other usual alternate suspects. That is the work of the Jewish left. But better to say that Zionism is the elephant. Imagine putting Nazi Germany on trial in for violations of international law, without a full discussion of Nazism.

        Pappe discussed Zionism in colonial-settler terms, which understates it. Zionism is not about settler vs Arab in Palestine, but Jew vs gentile everywhere. The Jewish people, the basic Zionist premise, commissions Israel’s crimes, here and in Palestine. The people’s left branch helps out by restricting the critique and muddling politics.

        The solution is not to control the agenda, but to reject Zionism, as the liberal and radical traditions descended from the Enlightenment and emancipation did.

        See this link, for the proceedings of a conference distinguishing between Judaism and Zionism and condemning the latter as a form of racism. This took place under Elmer Berger’s aegis in 1985

        link to eaford.org

        Bertrand Russell, BTW, was no friend of Zionism. His last public statement, in Feb 1970, was a letter to an international conference of parliamentarians, meeting in Cairo, where it was read the day after his death. The Arab League published it in the NYT.

        It condemned Israel’s aggression in the Middle East, and esp Israel’s “deep penetration” bombing raids in Egypt during the War of Attrition, and called for an Israeli withdrawal to the June 4 1967 borders. See

        link to connexions.org

        The bigoted jerks of the Jewish left have suppressed such brilliant critiques, the first step in a defensible and realistic politics, which we have not had in 45 yrs of this issue.

      • CitizenC
        October 8, 2012, 8:45 pm

        According to Raymond Deane’s blog, the Tribunal condemned the United States in its judgment. See

        link to raymondmdeane.blogspot.com

        Such a judgment begs the question of why the US is so beholden to Zionism

        The Tribunal did condemn Israel’s apartheid and racism, and its aggression. Berger did that from the 1930s onward. Russell’s 1970 statement contrasts sharply with what American Jewish critics, incl Chomsky, were saying at the time.

      • Hostage
        October 8, 2012, 11:18 pm

        It is not a Jewish right to impose a limited critique and agenda which is what JVP (New Jewish Agenda, WIB, “Jewish radicalism”, and Chomsky and his acolytes) have done since 1967, quite successfully.

        That’s another exaggeration. I can attest to the fact that no one from JVP is imposing any limitations on your ability to offer a better critique of Israel, Jews, or Zionism (if you think you can). I happen to be an anti-Zionist member of JVP. I’ve explained here on many occasions that:
        *The policies and practices of the State of Israel satisfy all of the elements of the crime of apartheid or persecution and that the responsible officials should be brought to justice;
        *That the WZO Settlement Division is a subordinate organ of the Prime Minister’s Office and that it’s engaged in a joint criminal enterprise as defined by Article 25(3) of the Rome Statute;
        *That Israel has failed to fulfill its obligations under customary and conventional law in a multitude of cases where its state religious officials have engaged in direct public incitement to commit genocide.
        *That many Zionist and Orthodox beliefs are archaic, sexist, or racist.

        If you don’t like the agenda contained in the JVP Mission Statement, then you’re perfectly free to go somewhere else, but we have nothing to be ashamed of on that particular score: link to jewishvoiceforpeace.org

        You seem to be upset because we won’t sign-on to the specific agenda that you’re trying to impose on everyone else.

      • Hostage
        October 8, 2012, 11:31 pm

        The Tribunal did condemn Israel’s apartheid and racism, and its aggression. Berger did that from the 1930s onward. Russell’s 1970 statement contrasts sharply with what American Jewish critics, incl Chomsky, were saying at the time.

        Chomsky has always said that the Israel Lobby is one of the main factors in US Middle East policy decisions, but that it isn’t a decisive one when it is at odds with more vital interests. If you’ve been watching AIPACs decades-long futile effort to provoke hostilities between the United States and Iran, it goes without saying that “The Lobby” is not all powerful. Chomsky has said all along that he supports BDS, but that it won’t be successful until it targets the institutions in the United States that support the occupation. That’s something the Russell Tribunal has also affirmed.

      • Hostage
        October 9, 2012, 7:36 am

        We’ve had this conversation before Hostage. When will they release you?

        About the time that it dawns on people like yourself that there is such a thing as secular Jewish culture that’s been around for at least a couple of hundred years.

        Jewish cultural values, like Tikun Olam, are perfectly suitable for use as part of a non-theistic universalist social creed or religion similar to the four truths and eightfold path of Buddhism. I’ve long since given up trying to categorize or pigeon hole all of the non-traditional Jewish religious groups, like Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness link to uuja.org

        The fact that many modern Jewish thinkers didn’t worship a personal deity hardly prevented them from producing philosophical works, plays, motion pictures, and other creative works based upon their own agnostic system of moral principles and culture.

        You’re so busy delivering your stale talking points that you don’t even bother to distinguish between Zionists and Anti-Zionists; theists and atheists; or statism versus internationalism or universalism. The results are predictably and absurdly reductionist.

      • Newclench
        October 9, 2012, 9:10 am

        “Zionism is not about settler vs Arab in Palestine, but Jew vs gentile everywhere. The Jewish people, the basic Zionist premise, commissions Israel’s crimes, here and in Palestine.”

        In other words, justice for Palestine isn’t about what some Jews have done in the Middle East, but existentially about the nature of Jews, Jewish thought and practice through the ages.

        Phil, you taking notes here? Any concerns at all?

      • Mooser
        October 9, 2012, 2:30 pm

        “Phil, you taking notes here? Any concerns at all?”

        Newclench, I appreciate your concern. Any website which allowed my ur joke to see the light of day has some real moderation problems.
        Thank G-d (or if you prefer, G_d, I’m not fussy) you are willing to help keep the gates fast against substandard comment! After all, the assumption of rhetorical moral authority is something we’re very good at, and it’s benefited us much. Use it with my blessing

      • Mooser
        October 9, 2012, 1:38 pm

        “When you make hyperbolic statements about the exercise of basic rights, like freedom of association or religion, and attempt to construe them as privileges, you simply come off sounding like a bigoted jerk.”

        Seems to me like it was nothing more than a suggestion for individual action. At no point does he suggest that laws should be made abrogating (if that’s the right word) the rights of Jews as citizens. Of course, every Jew has the right to associate, right up to the limits of criminal conspiracy, with any other Jew or person. But if they would rather not, because of Zionism or any other thing, nobody can compel him to.
        Anyway, I just saw it as a suggestion for an individual response, and in fact, I tend to agree, we can do much more good as people than we can as Jews. Last time Jews organised as Jews (apart from forming religious congrgations and such) we got Israel.

      • Mooser
        October 9, 2012, 2:32 pm

        “But if they would rather not, because of Zionism or any other thing, nobody can compel him to.”

        Ouch, my syntax broke.

      • Hostage
        October 9, 2012, 4:00 pm

        Seems to me like it was nothing more than a suggestion for individual action. At no point does he suggest that laws should be made abrogating (if that’s the right word) the rights of Jews as citizens.

        No, in our earlier conversation he actually took exception to the Supreme Court rulings which held that Jews can bring claims for discrimination on the basis of ancestry or ethnic characteristics. He also doesn’t seem to understand that immigrants from Israel have the right to bring suits for discrimination on the basis of their national origin. Those really aren’t extraordinary privileges, since everyone’s rights are limited by law to the same ones enjoyed by white citizens. Discriminating against Anglo-Saxons on the basis of their ancestry, ethnic characteristics, or national origins is prohibited too.

      • RoHa
        October 9, 2012, 11:41 pm

        “Ouch, my syntax broke.”

        A clean living lad like you shouldn’t have to pay any.

      • Ellen
        October 18, 2012, 6:42 am

        Hostage, there are lots of problems with using identity politics for what is at the core a universal and humanistic cause.

        This is the trouble many have with JvP — the inability to transcend what really are narcissitic ideas of ethnocentrism, but instead cloaking itself as a Jewish voice, speaking for all on such an important world issue.

        This is not a Jewish cultural cause, but a universal social and political cause. To organize itself as a Jewish cause is, to be honest, distasteful and undermines what is our universal common cause.

        Whe JvP started out this was justified with the stance that the change has to come from Jews. The goy in me then felt relegated to inferior status, not welcome, but tolerated, in a self identified Jewish club obstensively organized for a universalist purpose.

        If JvP is organized as a religious or cultural or social organization, it should identify itself as such.

        It’s motto is “two people one future.” identity POLITICS (not identity) is toxic.

        What ever happened to e pluribus unum when thinking about an organized state?

      • Hostage
        October 20, 2012, 4:42 am

        Hostage, there are lots of problems with using identity politics for what is at the core a universal and humanistic cause.

        Ellen the flaw in your logic is that the government of Israel isn’t claiming Palestine in the name of universal humanism. It’s claiming it in the name of the Jewish people. See for example “US backs PM: Israel is Jewish state” link to ynetnews.com

        Our mission statement explains that Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals, not “narcissitic ideas of ethnocentrism”.

        Jewish Voice for Peace doesn’t claim to speak for everyone else, but we do explain in our mission statement that the US government and the government of Israel do not speak in our name!

        JVP supports peace activists in Palestine and Israel, and works in broad coalition with other Jewish, Arab-American, faith-based, peace and social justice organizations. My political activism isn’t limited to Jewish groups. I’ve noted that I’m a supporter of the US Campaign to End the Occupation. I’ve also contributed articles and research and done a bit of legal advocacy in the ICC Criminal Law forum and at EJIL, Opinio Juris, and else where.

    • Hostage
      October 9, 2012, 12:05 pm

      The problem is not to show the powers that be that “the [Jewish] community is divided” but to show that it is opposed strongly, period.

      You base your appeal on stereotypes, instead of the spectrum of views held by Jews in real life. At one and the same time, you’re advocating that an entire community be opposed on the basis of its ethnic characteristics, without any real regard to its opposition to Zionism or the policies and practices of the State of Israel.

      Would you care to explain how I’m limiting the critique of Israel by other liberal American citizens when I point out that Israeli policies and practices on both sides of the Green Line satisfy the constituent elements of the crime of apartheid and persecution? How does the fact that I claim the officials in the WZO Settlement Division are part of a joint criminal enterprise cramp your style? I could go on, but the readers can draw their own conclusions about the object of your agenda.

      • CitizenC
        October 9, 2012, 7:14 pm

        How tiring MW is getting to be. I must learn to keep my fingers still.
        Yes you are morphing, Hostage. You are attempting to transform recognition of cultural rights, like education and services in a native language, in these eastern European cases you cite, into sovereign, national status, which is simply misrepresentation.

        You put categories of discrimination proscribed in civil rights law to similar use, to morph your examples of “secular Jewish culture” in the US into defensible separatist politics, which is just lawyerly sophistry. If you want to think of yourself as a “secular Jew” fine but the politics based on it are limited and chauvinist.

        As I’ve said 50 times, as is trivially obvious, the basis of Israel’s atrocities is “the Jewish people” and the same basis is adduced by US organized Jewry in support. The existence of a national, sovereign “Jewish people”, in the Zionist definition, is anomalous in modern terms, and was rejected by classical liberal and radical traditions. This is the necessary basis on which to oppose Israel and its US supporters (most importantly the CPMAJO world) . It defends liberal Jewish rights outside Israel, and defines the rights of Israel’s citizens in modern terms, as secular Israeli Hebrew nationality. And thus allows us to oppose Zionism unequivocally, in the US as well as Palestine.

        The whole Jewish left, from Chomsky on down, has abandoned this critique, which is not an option, but an obligation, the terms of modern liberal world we live in. Its absence has crippled criticism of Israel and US policy since 1967.

        I’m glad that you see Zionism as indefensible legally, and you do acknowledge that there is no historical or social basis for a Zionist “Jewish people”. Yet you claim you are being persecuted when I argue that you cannot organize politically on a “Jewish basis”, and adamantly defend limited, separatist “Jewish politics” as your civil rights. Which it simply isn’t.

        Your claim is not disinterested. One part of your agenda is Chomsky’s views on the US-Israel relationship. He claims that the Israel lobby is powerful only when it “lines up with US interests”, which he defines in terms that exclude Zionist influence, as vulgar Marxist axioms, from which consequences can be deduced. US national interest in foreign policy is not defined by Chomsky’s axioms, but socially, by the individuals and institutions that capitalist society charges with the task. Edward Said rejected Chomsky’s axiomatic interests, and recognized their social nature, in his first statement on Chomsky, a review of “Peace in the Middle East?” in 1975.

        Beginning in the 1940s, the individuals and institutions charged with the national interest were decisively influenced, and now are overwhelmingly dominated, by Zionism. This refusal to acknowledge the discrete, decisive Zionism dimension of US policy has crippled our ability to resist it. That is part of your separatist politics, Hostage. We are hostages, not you.

      • CitizenC
        October 10, 2012, 9:44 am

        Before Hostage gets his second wind, and I take off my cleats, let me do one more lap.

        I outlined the problems of JVP’s separatist politics in my Liberal Citizenship piece. link to questionofpalestine.net

        JVP refers to “the Jewish people” in its literature, it makes only the minimal, necessary critique of Zionism’s effects on Palestine, it advances the “strategic asset” view of US-Israel relations, it blames the Allies for the much of the Holocaust, above all, it is concerned, not with Palestine, but with The Jewish People, and with Jewishness.

        Vilkomerson and Surasky both state that their role is to find a place in “the community” for their Jewishness, to redeem “the community”–rather than oppose it. This is not Jewish civil rights, as Hostage would have us believe, it is Jewish privilege, racism, and anti-gentilism.

        The problem that Anna B addresses in this post, Jewish privilege on this issue, results from 45 yrs of such politics, starting with the “Jewish radicalism” movement after 67.

        This is not to say that people can’t have their “Jewish identity”. They can learn Yiddish and play klezmer music and imagine themselves to be modern Bundists, or they can be Judaic and go to services, if they wish, but they cannot organize collectively as “Jews”, and impose a JVP agenda on the left, as they have done for 45 yrs, as End the Occ shows.

        There is only one category of views, based in modern liberal rights and norms, which we all share and live in. There is not a special “Jewish” application of such, no matter how much time Hostage spends on the law web site, trying to contrive minority rights and civil rights into political sovereignty.

      • Hostage
        October 12, 2012, 7:57 am

        How tiring MW is getting to be. I must learn to keep my fingers still. Yes you are morphing, Hostage. You are attempting to transform recognition of cultural rights, like education and services in a native language, in these eastern European cases you cite, into sovereign, national status, which is simply misrepresentation.

        No, I’m calling bullshit on your misuse of otherwise legitimate sources and revisionist history to support a number of patently false allegations against JVP and the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation. FYI, it is illegal in this country to discriminate against persons on the basis of their “Palestinian”, “Jewish”, or “Kurdish” ancestry, ethnic characteristics, or national origin. Discussions about “sovereignty” are irrelevant. The Zionists use the same very same diversionary tactics.

        The members of the Jewish communities in question had been officially registered as persons of “Jewish nationality” throughout Europe, since the dawn of the Enlightenment. Whenever those communities were incorporated in a new state, their cultural and community rights were safeguarded under the terms of a minority treaty, along with guarantees of legal equality and non-discrimination. Those were not special privileges, since the same thing was done for other “national” minorities without any regard to considerations of “sovereignty” or “statehood”.

        FYI: in most cases, persons of Jewish descent were registered at birth under the Jewish nationality by operation of law. But in at least one case, that of Czechoslovakia, adult Jews could claim to be Jewish by nationality even if they lacked knowledge of a Jewish language or membership in the Jewish religious community. Their status was guaranteed by the official interpretation of Article 128 of the Czechoslovak constitution of 1920 and the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. link to yivoencyclopedia.org

        We’ve already established that you completely misrepresented the published views of Dr. Mallison on the applicability of the minority rights treaty in resolution 181(II) to the State of Israel (not just the occupied territories) and the role of anti-Zionist Jews in adding safeguarding clauses to the Balfour Declaration which specifically protected the rights of non-Jewish Palestinians. link to mondoweiss.net

        I outlined the problems of JVP’s separatist politics in my Liberal Citizenship piece. link to questionofpalestine.net

        Your lousy blog article actually doesn’t mention JVP or the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation. Nothing in the JVP mission statement, membership criteria, or policy position on BDS adopted on December 18, 2011 endorses separatist politics. None of those documents even mentions the “Jewish people”. It’s completely dishonest to suggest that either Esther Kaplan or David Landy share the bigoted views that you’ve promoted here at Mondoweiss about those organizations.

        Your blog article quotes a fragment from a work by Kaplan completely out of context. On the very next page of “Globalize the Intifada” she specifically mentioned the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation as an example of the new organizations that are not “old school”. She noted that it has a multiracial steering committee with outreach programs for churches and African American communities. JVP doesn’t fit the elements of her description of an old school organization either. link to books.google.com

        Landey’s book, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel, cites JVP as the largest grassroots diaspora organization which opposes Israeli policies (page 107). He notes its specific achievements; that it unequivocally supports the Palestinian right of return (page 108); that the ADL has named it as one of the most influential anti-Israel groups (page 134); that since 2nd intifada and Operation Cast Lead it has adopted the aims of the Palestinian Solidarity movement regarding BDS and grown its membership by leaps and bounds; and that JVP has provided valuable assistance and support to the divestment efforts in the University of California system and elsewhere (pages 160-166). Landey does not suggest that Jewish identity has won out over the demand for social justice or that it is incompatible with liberal citizenship.

        The fact is that ethnic identities are not incompatible with liberal citizenship. See for example Jeff Spinner-Halev, “The Boundaries of Citizenship: Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in the Liberal State”, JHU Press, 1995, page 51 link to books.google.com

      • Hostage
        October 12, 2012, 10:16 am

        As I’ve said 50 times, as is trivially obvious, the basis of Israel’s atrocities is “the Jewish people”

        All that establishes is that you’re willing to employ Zionist propaganda and overly broad generalizations and stereotypes as “proof” to support your own racist beliefs.

        JVP refers to “the Jewish people” in its literature, it makes only the minimal, necessary critique of Zionism’s effects on Palestine, it advances the “strategic asset” view of US-Israel relations, it blames the Allies for the much of the Holocaust, above all, it is concerned, not with Palestine, but with The Jewish People, and with Jewishness.

        I’ve already pointed out that the Anglo-American Palestine Convention (aka the British Mandate for Palestine) was signed by President and ratified by the Senate, i.e. 44 U.S. Stat. 2184 (1925). It damn sure mentioned the “Jewish people”; “the Jewish national home”; and safeguarded “the rights and political status of Jews in any other country” (which happened to be governed in many cases by the international agreements on minorities). Try to accept that fact. After all, the measure was adopted by “liberal citizens” in accordance with the US Constitution. FYI, the Constitution makes it abundantly clear that treaties, like 44 U.S. Stat. 2184 (1925), are part of the Supreme Law of the Land. So, I’m not trying “morph” anything, I’m just telling it like it is and citing the analysis contained in the ICJ and Supreme Court decisions on the subject.

        As usual, you make a number of unsourced allegations in order to cobble together another far-fetched rant about the “Jewish people”. The JVP mission statement and policy statement on BDS adopted on December 18, 2011 do NOT contain a single reference to the “Jewish people” as such, or claim any special rights or privileges for diaspora Jews, e.g. link to jewishvoiceforpeace.org

        Everyone (except Stromfront, et al) does have to concede a few things, like the general applicability of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the millions of native-born Israelis and Palestinians. At this late date, only die hard racists are still arguing about the existence of the sizable indigenous Jewish and Palestinians communities or the subject of basic human rights.

        JVP does not practice political separatism. Membership is open to Jews and non-Jews alike and the mission statement notes that we work in broad coalition with other Jewish, Arab-American, faith-based, peace and social justice organizations. See mission statement at the link above and the FAQ: “Do I have to be Jewish to join JVP?” link to jewishvoiceforpeace.org

        The mission statement makes it clear that we are a diverse and democratic community of activists who are inspired by “Jewish tradition”. You still haven’t explained how any item in the JVP mission statement is minimalist or prevents others from criticizing Israel or Zionism. If that were the case, we could simply adopt the positions and mild criticisms expressed by our own State Department. That’s exactly what many “liberal citizens” have done.

        We explain that different people have varying definitions of Zionism, so we criticize the specific Israeli or US practices and policies that are objectionable or illegal.

        The JVP mission statement simply says that Israel does NOT speak or act in the name of many American Jews and that “we are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.”

        Our critique is NOT limited in scope to the occupation. We unequivocally demand: equal rights for Palestinians living in Israel and condemn its repressive policies. We affirm the Palestinian Right of Return. In fact, we insist that refugees (not the PLO or PA) participate directly in determining details regarding return, compensation, or resettlement. We call for a suspension of US military aid to Israel, an end to the use of US supplied F-16s and Apache helicopters to attack civilians, and the deployment of an international peace keeping force to protect civilians. We insist that Israel must stop land seizures; destruction of homes, infrastructure, orchards and farms; arbitrary arrests and imprisonment; torture; assassinations; expulsions; curfews; travel restrictions; abuse at checkpoints; raids; collective punishment; and other violations of human rights.

        None of that is minimalist or strictly confined to the situation in the occupied territories.

  3. ColinWright
    October 8, 2012, 3:05 pm

    I’m not sure where this should go, but it really is priceless, if understated.

    The NYT has an article on how Palestine’s national soccer team is benefitting from Palestinian players from the diaspora — in particular, from Chilean Palestinian players.

    But how to explain to the gentle reader how all those Palestinians got there? Hmm…

    “…Conflicts such as the Crimean war (in 1850’s), World War II and the war that led to the establishment of Israel resulted in the move of many families outside what had been known as historic Palestine. Some remained in other countries in the Middle East, some moved to Europe and some to the Americas, both North and South, to join relatives who had left years earlier…”

    ‘…conflicts…resulted in the move of many families…’ We should describe all acts of expulsion, deportation, and terror-stricken flight this way.

    The Cherokee live in Oklahoma, for example, because in the 1830’s, many Cherokee families decided to move from Georgia to Oklahoma. Jewish settlement in Palestine grew in the 1930’s because many German Jewish families decided to emigrate. East Prussia no longer has a German population because in 1945 German families suddenly decided they’d rather live further to the west…

    • Les
      October 8, 2012, 7:47 pm

      You may be interested to know that when Mexico and Chile agreed to the resettlement in their countries of Palestinians, it was specifically agreed to by the governments and the Palestininians that the Palestinians were not giving up their right of return. My thanks to the Russell Tribunal this weekend for this information. I don’t remember the name of the third Latin American country where resettlement took place under those same provisions.

  4. munro
    October 8, 2012, 3:13 pm

    Miriam Levinger

  5. Dan Crowther
    October 8, 2012, 4:38 pm

    My only criticism is that it doesn’t take the current political reality of the region into account – the Israeli’s little project is just about finished, and before war breaks out. So, while I’m happy to have Baltzer’s permission to speak freely, I wish there was more of a recognition that their opponents had pretty much already won.

  6. pabelmont
    October 8, 2012, 5:34 pm

    On Jewish privilege in America and Jewish-dominated talk about Israel:

    First, to be clear, it is far better Jews speak against Zionism’s excesses and illegalities than remain silent.

    Second, a story. In the 1980s, my late wife (a Palestinian) was a member of several Jewish-Arab dialog groups in the Boston area. One of them (I think it was a women-only group) made a practice of getting a team–one Jew and one Arab–invited to speak to a synagogue. The Jew would make the arrangements and get the foot in the door and make the Arab speaker seem “safe” to the intended audience, and then the Arab would give a talk explaining the Israel/Palestine issue from Arab and Palestinian perspectives.

    Well, maybe they did it the same way at Christian churches. But even if a Jewish member was making the occasion “safe” so that the Arab could speak, it was, finally, to a large extent, the Arab who was speaking.

    So, was Jewish privilege acting? Sure. But the speaker was an Arab.

    So, it would seem, Jewish privilege in American society is not all bad.

    • Philip Weiss
      October 8, 2012, 6:15 pm

      but pab what about when the jewish speaker cancels, as a jewish writer did at 92d St Y last year, a seat of cultural inquiry, and 92d St Y then cancelled the entire event so that the poor Palestinian doctor whose three daughters were killed by Israel would not speak alone on its stage. Not so good..

    • American
      October 8, 2012, 7:42 pm

      “Well, maybe they did it the same way at Christian churches. But even if a Jewish member was making the occasion “safe” so that the Arab could speak, it was, finally, to a large extent, the Arab who was speaking.
      So, was Jewish privilege acting? Sure. But the speaker was an Arab.
      So, it would seem, Jewish privilege in American society is not all bad.”…pabelmont

      Nothing wrong with a Jew or Jews helping someone get a hearing among Jewish groups….it’s very helpful…connections always help.
      However the faulty privilage thing is in Jews thinking they should or do control the conversation or policy or anything else on I/P here in the US…..which is what the head poobab Jews, libs and zios do.
      What is noticable among many of the Jews involved as spokespeople is how non Jews are not consulted or included in these discussions…imo, this is a huge mistake on their part. Cause non Jews are talking about it to other non Jews….so two separate conversations are going on, one strictly Jewish, one strictly American about Israel. There is no American imput to Jews and no Jewish imput to Americans except what they see from zionist propaganda leaders and gather from the net.
      Have you ever seen a group (besides on here) of Jews and non Jews having a honest, no holds barred discussion on I/P and Isr-USA? Maybe there has been in some public venue and I just haven’t heard of it. IMO, it’s a mistake for Jews to try and keep ‘it’ in the family so to speak, cause it’s already out of the closet and in the very, very end it’s gonna be the majority American opinion that changes anything ,not withstanding the zio money men.

  7. Kathleen
    October 8, 2012, 7:23 pm

    As is always the case with Anna she is spot on. She is absolutely right that in regard to Jewish individuals who have been out on the front line for decades on this issue. But she is totally one hundred percent wrong if she actually believes non Jews have not been out there for decades bringing attention to this issue on college campuses, churches, national radio shows, meetings with Reps as individuals and groups. I know a lot of non Jews who have been out on the front lines of this issue for literally decades. Have they received any media attention. Hell no. Although front liner former President Jimmy Carter has as well he should. I don’t know how long Anna has been involved with this issue and know she is relatively young. Have heard her speak. But she is absolutely wrong if she actually believes non Jews have not been heavily involved with bringing attention to this issue for decades. Many like Christian Peace Maker Team and other groups have been putting themselves on the line of fire for several decades. I know non Jews who were putting themselves on the firing line in the occupied territories three decades ago. She needs to get up to date on that fact.

    She is right that there is a monumental shift going on in the Jewish community in the U.S. that is and should get lots of attention

  8. Chu
    October 9, 2012, 2:04 pm

    Groups like JVP should drop the J and make it M.E.VP.
    Jewish Voice seems exclusive, and JVP could increase
    their membership and total activists with a name change.

    • notatall
      October 10, 2012, 5:37 am

      Agree. But a change in name, if it were to mean anything, would imply rejecting the notion that Palestine is a Jewish question and that Jews have a special (privileged) place in the discussion, a notion that devalues the contributions of non-Jews. While whites were welcome in the anti-apartheid movement, what could be more ridiculous than a group called Whites Against Apartheid?

      • tree
        October 11, 2012, 3:19 pm

        While whites were welcome in the anti-apartheid movement, what could be more ridiculous than a group called Whites Against Apartheid?

        What could be more ridiculous? How about White Voice for Peace?!

      • notatall
        October 12, 2012, 10:27 am

        Exactly. Yet while only hardcore white supremacists claim that all those with fair skin in the world constitute a single people, many otherwise reasonable individuals accept the fiction that all those claiming Jewish ancestry living in different countries, speaking different languages, practicing different religions (or no religion at all) make up something called the “Jewish people,” which, as Citizen C pointed out above, is the premise that underlies Zionism.

      • Hostage
        October 12, 2012, 3:28 pm

        that all those claiming Jewish ancestry living in different countries, speaking different languages, practicing different religions (or no religion at all) make up something called the “Jewish people,” which, as Citizen C pointed out above, is the premise that underlies Zionism.

        The original meaning of the word nation was “ethnos” and it had little to do citizenship or statism. The idea that the descendants of Israel became an ethnos is hard-coded into the scriptures and gets recited in the only fixed formula prayer or mantra in the entire Torah (Deuteronomy 26:5-8). It’s also mentioned in the passover seder.

        What CitizenC refuses to admit is that the autonomy of local groups of Jewish nationals was officially recognized for centuries in the Ottoman Empire and throughout Europe. It may be appropriate to talk about the diverse cultures and languages of the Jews, but that simply implies that they constitute multiple units for the purposes of the principle of self-determination. The Jewish people residing in Palestine don’t have any right to speak for American Jews, or Jews living in any other country. The British Mandate for Palestine stated that quite explicitly.

        The JVP mission statement says that neither the US nor Israeli governments can commit acts of repression against others in our name.

      • Hostage
        October 12, 2012, 3:57 pm

        Exactly. Yet while only hardcore white supremacists claim that all those with fair skin in the world constitute a single people . . .

        That doesn’t alter the historical fact that most of the Anglo-Saxon colonists from the British Isles were white supremacists who considered themselves to be members of a single ethnic group or race. That fact still has legal consequences.

        42 U.S.C. § 1982 provides that: “All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.” link to law.cornell.edu

        So whether you like it or not, your rights in the US are limited by the level of performance achieved by “whites” and its up to the Courts to decide what that means.

      • notatall
        October 14, 2012, 5:22 am

        Hostage write: “most of the Anglo-Saxon colonists from the British Isles were white supremacists who considered themselves to be members of a single ethnic group or race.”

        My point exactly. The original Anglo-Saxon colonists were not white but Anglo-Saxon supremacists. They believed themselves to be part of a single group based on the English language, the Protestant religion, etc. They could hardly be considered white supremacists, or even seen as having any notion of “white” unity, while they were at constant war with France, Spain and the Netherlands and busy oppressing the Irish. It was a only hundred years after early English settlements in the New World that “whites” came to be seen as a distinct group with the concomitant legal ramifications you refer to.

        Likewise with Jews: there have been Polish Jews, and Iraqi Jews, and German Jews, etc., but the “Jewish people” is a modern invention, regardless of the three-thousand year old compilation of myths known as the Bible, which was about Hebrew tribes living in Palestine.

      • Hostage
        October 14, 2012, 4:10 pm

        It was a only hundred years after early English settlements in the New World that “whites” came to be seen as a distinct group with the concomitant legal ramifications you refer to. . . . They could hardly be considered white supremacists, or even seen as having any notion of “white” unity

        Not at all. Jamestown was established in 1607. The colonists had made it illegal for blacks to carry firearms in Virginia, by 1639. Massachusetts adopted the first slave code in 1641. It was already a common practice to describe members of other ethnic groups using the term “race”, and that certainly applied to Jews. English literature of the period was littered with references to the “Jewish nation”, the “Hebrew race”, and etc.

        One of the charges against the King of England in the Declaration of Independence was that he had instigated the use of “the merciless Indian Savages” against the inhabitants, “whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

        The Civil War illustrates that “white unity” was irrelevant to commonly held notions about race. Both sides in the conflict had long since adopted laws securing the rights of members of the white race.

        In any event the legal consequences of commonly held racial views are undeniable, since there are dozens of international treaties that specifically protected the rights of Jews as ethnic, racial, national, minorities. Whether they were all a single people as Zionists claim is largely irrelevant, they were legally recognized national or ethnic communities.

        For example, here is a source which notes that:“On 4 December 1655, following the arrival in London of Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel from Amsterdam and his petition to the Council of State on behalf of the ‘Hebrew Nation’, a conference was begun at Whitehall to discuss the readmission of Jews to England after a supposed absence of 365 years. Oliver Cromwell himself opened proceedings, which were attended by politicians, soldiers, clergymen, lawyers and merchants.” link to history.ac.uk

        Thomas Violet, “A Petition Against the Jewes (1661)”, made reference to the members of the “Hebrew race”. See for example R.D. Richards, “The Early History of Banking in England”, Routledge, 2012, page 217 link to books.google.com

        The book review above notes the alien legal status of Jews: there was no Act of Parliament, no proclamation from Cromwell, no order from the Council of State either welcoming Jews to England or changing their legal status as a community from aliens (foreigners whose allegiance was due to a foreign state) to denizens (foreigners admitted to residence and granted certain rights, notably to prosecute or defend themselves in law and to purchase or sell land, but still subject to the same customs duties on their goods and merchandise as aliens).

      • Chu
        October 12, 2012, 2:41 pm

        I think groups as such, are fearful of opening the doors to others.
        The J in JVP implies that it’s a safe place for Jews to be dissenters
        of Israel. YJP, with any involvement of Arthur Waskow, seems like
        an insincere organization, devoted to obfuscation and spin.

      • CitizenC
        October 13, 2012, 11:24 am

        Hostage, your recitation of these legal precedents proves the opposite of what you think it does.

        The references to “the Jewish people” and “national home” in the legal language of Britain’s Mandate do not enjoin Jewish national, political, sovereignty, in Palestine or anywhere.

        Limited as it is, this language is not some detached, solomonic judgment, some historic legal artifact, like the Code of Hammurabi or the Magna Carta or the Bill of Rights, but the result of forcible intervention by a clique of Zionists speaking only for themselves. It is like the oil depletion allowance or the low tax on capital gains in the revenue code, the work of special interests.

        You acknowledge that there is no social or historical basis for a “Jewish people” in the Zionist sense, and make other legal criticisms of Zionism. You talk of “Jewish anti-Zionism” and claim that JVP isn’t Zionist. So why do you try and cobble together a “Jewish people”, in their different national manifestations, with these precedents? You cannot have it both ways.

        You claim: What CitizenC refuses to admit is that the autonomy of local groups of Jewish nationals was officially recognized for centuries in the Ottoman Empire and throughout Europe. It may be appropriate to talk about the diverse cultures and languages of the Jews, but that simply implies that they constitute multiple units for the purposes of the principle of self-determination.

        You are reading this exactly backward. This “self-government” was by religious authorities and was not at all intended as national sovereignty, as “self-determination”. The religious authorities adamantly resisted the modern world, burning Mendelssohn’s German Bible translation, and persecuting, even murdering, Reform rabbis.

        In the modern period the power of the religious authorities was dissolved and Jews became citizens of the liberal state, gradually and imperfectly, but surely. In the US the pre-modern anomaly of communal self-government never existed. In eastern Europe emancipation was complicated by quasi-national conditions of Yiddish Jewry and minority rights to education and public services were formulated.

        The multi-national empires, in eastern Europe and in the Ottman case, certainly never intended Jewish religious communal authority, nor later forms of minority rights, to constitute sovereignty and it is preposterous and outrageous to imply that such precedents did.

        The Ottman Jews opposed the Zionists. Jewish national politics in eastern Europe, it was opposed by the Bund, who did not join the Autonomists in a unified politics in 1905, but sided with the RSDLP, and rejoined it in 1906. And by non-Zionist Jewish parties in the parliament in independent Poland, who allied with their Polish political counterparts, did not support the national separatism of the minorities bloc with the Zionists.

        You, not I, “refuse to admit”, the conditions of the modern world, so you try and apply these pre-modern precedents. You simply don’t want to live as a liberal citizen, you want to live in a modern version of the ghetto, with a sovereign Jewish politics like JVP, and their limited agenda.

        You try and claim that it isn’t limited, but it certainly is for the reasons I showed in my Liberal Citizenship article, which was just a brief survey. JVP opposes “the occupation” only, limits BDS to that. It does refer to “the Jewish people”; it has no critique of Zionism. Etc etc etc.

      • Hostage
        October 14, 2012, 4:30 am

        Hostage, your recitation of these legal precedents proves the opposite of what you think it does. The references to “the Jewish people” and “national home” in the legal language of Britain’s Mandate do not enjoin Jewish national, political, sovereignty, in Palestine or anywhere.

        You’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer. My recitation of the advisory opinion of the State Department’s legal counsel, Ernest Gross, on the subject established that when the mandate was terminated, the law of nations recognized the inherent right of the Jewish and Arab communities of Palestine to organize states and operate governments in the areas that they inhabited. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        The ICJ advisory opinion in the Kosovo case established that there is no rule of international law that prohibits the establishment of a state through an act of secession. James Crawford devoted Chapter 9 of the 2nd Edition of The Creation of States in International Law to the subject of Israel as a case of secession. On that same subject see also D.P. O’Connell author “The Law of State Succession”, Volume V of the Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law, 1956, Hersh Lauterpacht editor, pages 10-11, and 178; and CApp 41/49 Simshon Palestine Portland Cement Factory LTD. v. Attorney-General (1950)
        link to elyon1.court.gov.il

        So why do you try and cobble together a “Jewish people”,

        A Jewish national (ethnos) community is not the same thing as “the Jewish people-state of Zionism. Ethnic groups were the original subjects of the law of nations and international law.

        Assimilated ethnic groups were the targets of the WWII crimes against humanity. Ethnic groups are also the subjects of domestic civil rights legislation. It makes perfect sense to protect the human and humanitarian rights of ethnic groups, rather than states.

        For example, both the Nuremberg Charter and the Rome Statue define many acts as crimes whenever they are committed against any civilian population – even stateless Jews. Yet the Palestinian people can’t bring a complaint on their own behalf today, because they are not considered to be a state. the same problem confronts the Kurds and other national minorities. So Israel is free to commit acts against an ethnic community that would be prohibited in the case of the civilian population of a state.

        Clearly Rabbi Elmer Berger didn’t know what he was talking about when he claimed that, in the post-WWII era, the minority treaties were no longer necessary. The only guarantee of equal human rights in Palestine today is the minority protection plan contained in resolution 181(II). See the testimony of Mallison to the US Senate and the report of The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to the Security Council:

        19. In this respect, it was pointed out that Israel was under binding obligation to permit the return of all the Palestinian refugees displaced as a result of the hostilities of 1948 and 1967. This obligation flowed from the unreserved agreement by Israel to honour its commitments under the Charter of the United Nations, and from its specific undertaking, when applying for membership of the United Nations, to implement General Assembly resolutions 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, safeguarding the rights of the Palestinian Arabs inside Israel, and 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, concerning the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes or to choose compensation for their property. This undertaking was also clearly reflected in General Assembly resolution 273 (III).

        link to un.org

        FYI, Rabbi Berger held a symposium where he cobbled together a thing he tried to label “Judaism”, but he admitted that he was describing what Benventisti and others called “humanism”, “the non-theistic Jewish tradition of ethic”, and “Jewish morality”.

        This “self-government” was by religious authorities and was not at all intended as national sovereignty,

        In fact, I’ve already provided you with a link to a chapter from a book by Avigdor Levy which explained that there were separate rabbinical councils and secular councils. Almost all of your unsourced arguments are completely bogus.

        Admitting the existence of “a” Jewish people is not the same thing as claiming that they are “the” Jewish people. Elmer Berger had to resort to mental gymnastics when he talked about Jews, humanism, the tradition of Jewish ethic, and the minority treaties. I don’t have that problem.

      • CitizenC
        October 14, 2012, 11:54 am

        Hostage, why are you trying to live as a Yiddish Jew from interwar Poland? The Jewish communal authorities in eastern Europe were religious for the great majority of the pre-Holocaust period. Only in the 20th c did they become secular, as the kehillot (pl of kehillah, see Wiki). Their authority certainly did not supercede that of the Polish state (unsourced stmt, inference)

        Why do you seize on such precedents as evidence of “a” Jewish people? Because you want to live in this way, in some sense, in the US today. Why this adamant fixation on separatism, difference, distinction, from the most acculturated group in US society?

        To defend JVP’s limited agenda, and your imposition of it on the left, as your civil rights? When it is actually privilege, racism and anti-gentilism, opposition to “the occupation”, dismissal of the “Israel lobby”, narrow, technical focus on law and rights, no critique of Zionism, etc.

        Gosh, why do I dismiss your account of Elmer Berger…

      • Hostage
        October 14, 2012, 11:27 pm

        Hostage, why are you trying to live as a Yiddish Jew from interwar Poland? . . . The Jewish communal authorities in eastern Europe were religious for the great majority of the pre-Holocaust period.

        I don’t. The minority treaties weren’t limited to Poland or to religious Jews, as I’ve already pointed out. The interwar treaties applied to 14 newly created or expanded states in Europe and the Middle East (Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Turkey, and Yugoslavia). The Jewish leaders who promoted the treaties in the Paris Peace Conference and in the European Minorities Congress were representatives of secular organizations, including the Alliance Israélite Universelle, American Jewish Committee, Comité des Délégations Juives, and the Joint Foreign Committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Anglo-Jewish Association. Some of them, like Sylvain Levi of France, were opposed to plans for immigration to Palestine and said as much during the Versailles conference:

        In the third place, the masses of people who might wish to return to Palestine, would largely be drawn from those countries where they had been persecuted and ill-treated, and the mentality which such a regime was likely to engender could be easily realised. Those people would carry with them into Palestine highly explosive passions, conducive to very serious trouble . . . For many years the Jews had, in the countries inhabited by them, claimed equality of rights, but those claims had not yet everywhere been admitted. Under the circumstances, it seemed to him shocking that the Jews, as soon as their rights of equality were about to be recognised in all countries of the world, should already seek to obtain exceptional privileges for themselves in Palestine.

        That didn’t mean that they opposed legal protections of equality and non-discrimination contained in the minority treaties.

        The most successful application of the minority treaties was the Berheim Petition, in which an assimilated Jew complained that he had been stripped of rights granted to other citizens. His petition was pursued for the purposes of “adamant fixation on separatism, difference, distinction” as you so deceitfully try to portray the situation. link to yivoencyclopedia.org

        Why do you seize on such precedents as evidence of “a” Jewish people?

        Because the World Court accepted the treaties as formal recognition of the referenced “communities” as subjects of international law in the Greek and Albanians school decisions. Our own State Department accepted the proposition that the communities of Palestine had been provisionally recognized as independent nations and that they had a right to establish states and governments in their respective territories when the mandate was terminated. That right was not effected by the UN plan of partition. It also did not depend upon those particular Jewish communities being part of a larger or all encompassing Jewish national community.

        The US Supreme Court similarly recognized that Jews living here represented a racial group that Congress intended to protect under the applicable civil rights laws. Why is it so important for you to disparage that decision?

        privilege, racism and anti-gentilism, opposition to “the occupation”, dismissal of the “Israel lobby”, narrow, technical focus on law and rights, no critique of Zionism, etc.

        I’ve given you ample opportunity to support any of those bogus claims, but you’ve never provided a single credible example of any privilege, racism, or anti-gentilism in my positions or those of JVP. I don’t dismiss the Israel Lobby. I subscribe to the idea that they are a potent force in forming US foreign policy on Israel. I agree John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, and Noam Chomsky when they point out that the Lobby hasn’t been as successful in getting other portions of their agenda on Iran, and etc. adopted lock, stock, and barrel.

        In the Symposium paper that you yourself cited, Rabbi Berger refused to criticize what he labelled “The Zion of Redemption”. JVP similarly refuses to criticize Zionism, per se, because there are various definitions which are not racist. So it criticizes the repressive policies and practices of the State Israel instead. It has even labeled them as racist “apartheid” in the recent Elul flipbook prepared by the JVP rabbinical council. You’ve failed miserably to explain how the critique of Israel contained in the JVP mission statement is limited in any way. You just keep repeating a vague unsubstantiated set of allegations.

        Gosh, why do I dismiss your account of Elmer Berger…

        I quoted what he said in the pdf that you cited verbatim. I’m sure that you dismiss the identity of views. But the readers can see for themselves that he and Chomsky agreed about the competing role played by special interests and imperialism and the fact that the great powers use the Lobby, the Jewish vote, and Jewish campaign contributions to camouflage those other factors.

      • CitizenC
        October 15, 2012, 10:12 am

        Hostage, all this is just Zionism lite. You turn the minority treaties and US civil rights law inside out to oppose the liberal ideals these precedents were intended to uphold, to make us all equal, including the case of national minorities. You misuse this legal history in order to construct secular Jewishness in the US today as something needing “protection”, as you have said in other exchanges. You are reading history exactly backward. The court will not find for you, but it may cite you for contempt for your chutzpah and tendentiousness.

        JVP does indeed have a truncated, minimal agenda, as I argued in my Liberal Citizenship piece, to which Surasky and Vilkomerson have added since then. JVP’s accusation that the Allies were substantially responsible for the Holocaust is indeed anti-gentilism, as is their dismissal of criticism of the “Israel lobby”. They have no critique of Zionism, only of “occupation”, which insults its victims. They focus narrowly and technically on law and rights. Etc etc.

        Berger gave too much away in that paper, in re the “Israel lobby”, under the baleful influence of Chomsky. He also gave away too much on Buber, who was simply Zionism with a humanist facade. But Berger fought Zionism in the US tooth and nail all his life, and in the 1940s the American Council for Judaism rejected Buber’s binationalism because it sought demographic parity and even majority, when Jews were 31-2% of the population of Palestine.

        You and JVP and Chomsky and Berger and me are not all on the same page in re the Israel lobby as you blithely claim. JVP and its intellectual godfather Joel Beinin deprecate the IL. Chomsky claims that the IL is powerful only when it “lines up with US interests”. He defines “US interests” in vulgar Marxist terms, terms which exclude Zionist influence, as axioms from which consequences can be deduced.

        Edward Said rejected this in his first editorial stmt on Chomsky, a 1975 review. Contra Chomsky, as Said emphasized, “national interest” is not given by axioms, but is a social process. It is defined by the diplomatic and military establishments that capitalist society tasks with the job, and since the 1940s, that apparatus has been under the quasi-sovereign influence of Zionism, aka The Jewish People. Israel commits its atrocities, and US support for them is organized, in the name of that People.

        Ergo, the basis of any critique of Israel and its US support is the classical liberal and left critique, the legacy of the Enlightenment and emancipation: the “Jewish people” in the Zionist sense do not exist (as you agree), Zionism is an atavistic reaction against modern liberal values, with no claim on “Jewish identity” or gentile conscience.

        Your Zionism lite gets in the way, defends JVP’s separatism and minimal critique, which have crippled the left for the last 45 yrs, denied us the necessary terms and analysis.

      • Hostage
        October 15, 2012, 11:59 am

        Hostage, all this is just Zionism lite. You turn the minority treaties and US civil rights law inside out to oppose the liberal ideals these precedents were intended to uphold, to make us all equal, including the case of national minorities.

        No I don’t. In fact, I’ve explicitly pointed out that the treaties merely guaranteed assimilated Jews rights equal to those of other citizens and members of other national minorities. The same thing applies to the Civil Rights Act here in the US. It merely guarantees that everyone else will enjoy the same rights as those enjoyed by the white citizens. That’s exactly what the Bernheim Petition and the Tefila Congregation cases were about. Neither had anything to do with Zionism or Zionism lite.

        I think its pretty obvious to readers by now that the mere idea that governments have officially recognized Jewish ethnicity or ancestry sets you off on illogical tangents about special privileges.

        You misuse this legal history in order to construct secular Jewishness in the US today as something needing “protection”, as you have said in other exchanges. You are reading history exactly backward. The court will not find for you, but it may cite you for contempt for your chutzpah and tendentiousness.

        In fact, the Supreme Court’s Tefila Congregation decision was based on the right of Jews to bring claims of “intentional discrimination solely because of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics”, not their religion. You’re obviously illiterate or suffering from denial. See the text of the decision itself. link to caselaw.lp.findlaw.com

        JVP does indeed have a truncated, minimal agenda, as I argued in my Liberal Citizenship piece

        Reciting the same unsourced allegations over and over again isn’t very persuasive.

        Berger gave too much away in that paper, in re the “Israel lobby”, under the baleful influence of Chomsky. Chomsky claims that the IL is powerful only when it “lines up with US interests”.

        LOL! So when you disagree with Berger’s published views, you first deny them, and then attribute Berger’s opinions on the subject to the influence of Chomsky? Even if that doubtful proposition was the case, you haven’t established that either man erred when they made their astute observations.

        Chomsky didn’t say that the Lobby is powerful only when its interests line-up with US interests. He simply said that is when it happens to be the most powerful. Chomsky and all concerned agree that the Lobby is one of the main factors that interact to determine US foreign policy:

        M-W [John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt] make as good a case as one can, I suppose, for the power of the Lobby, but I don’t think it provides any reason to modify what has always seemed to me a more plausible interpretation. Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.

        link to chomsky.info

        Edward Said rejected this in his first editorial stmt on Chomsky . . . Ergo, the basis of any critique of Israel

        You seem to forget that Edward Said also unambiguously recognized the indigenous Jews as “a people” and was an advocate for a bi-national state: “…it [the bi-national state] is the only solution that seems to take into account the reality of the two peoples who basically claim the same land.” — “Edward Said Proposes Bi-national State,” Reuters, June 29, 2001

        Such obvious contradictions must be terribly embarrassing for an Edward Said acolyte, like yourself. Do you think that he too was acting under the baleful influence of Chomsky – who also has been an advocate from the very beginning for a bi-national state?

        Your Zionism lite gets in the way, defends JVP’s separatism and minimal critique, which have crippled the left for the last 45 yrs, denied us the necessary terms and analysis.

        LOL! Yeah, you’re way out ahead of me on all the important issues. You condemn JVP, Chomsky, the US Campaign to End the Occupation, and ahistorical discussions about human rights.

        On the other hand, I only:
        *insist that the US end military aid to Israel;
        *condemn the use of US supplied weapons to attack civilians;
        *condemn land seizures; destruction of homes, infrastructure, orchards and farms; arbitrary arrests and imprisonment; torture; assassinations; expulsions; curfews; travel restrictions; abuse at checkpoints; raids; collective punishment; and other violations of human rights.
        *insist that Israelis and Palestinians honor their human rights obligations under the minority protection plan contained in resolution 181(II) which guaranteed everyone equal constitutional rights;
        *insist that the responsible Israeli and Palestinian officials be prosecuted in the ICC or other courts for all crimes committed on the territory of Palestine – including the crimes of apartheid or persecution; and
        *insist that the Palestinian refugees participate directly in choosing return, compensation, or resettlement.

        When you get a chance, please explain how my limited criticism is holding you back from a more aggressive course of action, and what exactly the f*ck you propose that isn’t already addressed in the JVP mission statement?

      • CitizenC
        October 15, 2012, 7:59 pm

        Hostage, your tour d’horizon of minority rights and civil rights now emphasizes that their purpose is to uphold liberalism, the opposite of earlier exchanges that insisted on precedents for Jewish peoplehood in a sovereign, political sense. I’ve said all along that the sole purpose of these definitions was to make the groups and individuals equal before the law. And you now agree, thank you. When I say you turn such legal history inside out I mean your attempts to defend JVP’s identity politics as civil rights, using such precedents, as your claim that Jewishness should have protected status, like in the minority treaties.

        David Landy’s Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights outlined very clearly the flaws of Jewish identity politics, with emphasis on the European case. I expanded that for the US, and discussed the limitations of JVP in my Liberal Citizenship piece. I could say more. Insisting that I’ve made “unsourced statements” about JVP’s limited agenda may make people wonder about your mental processes. Blaming the Allies for much of the Holocaust is indeed anti-gentilism, among other evidence. See their web site; their position on BDS opposes “the occupation”; they promote founder Joel Beinin’s brief for Zionism. And for the nth time, my Liberal Citizenship piece, link to questionofpalestine.net

        While Berger gave away too much to Buber and to Chomsky in that article, his whole life work rejected their analysis. In the 1940s Berger and the American Council for Judaism expressly rejected the demographic engineering of the binationalists, who sought demographic parity and majority. See When Palestine Was At Stake, link to questionofpalestine.net

        Chomsky did not discover problems with Zionism until after 1967, at which point Berger had been on the case for 35+ years. In all that time fighting Zionism, within Reform Judaism, and then in national politics, in Congress, the State Dept, the media and academe, it never occurred to him that “strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage” was the real force behind Zionism, as Chomsky assures us.

        You are splitting hairs about Chomsky. Your passage does not contradict the language I cited, that the “Lobby” is powerful mainly when it “lines up with corporate interests”. Chomsky does indeed proffer “corporate interests” as axioms from which consequences can be deduced, in absurd ways. He actually said that nothing has changed since 1945, it’s all about “oil”, thus implying that there’s no difference betw cultivating Arab nationalism against the USSR to protect US interests in the 1950s, vs invading Iraq in 2003, as if some “theorem” were being proved, rather than a complex historical process of radicalization of US policy.

        As Edward Said pointed out in 1975, societies and history don’t work like formal proofs. The passage you cited has nothing to do with his view of social causation. Despite Chomsky, ideology and politics are separate domains from economics, as I argued in Liberal Citizenship. “The corporations” don’t axiomatically determine life. The major capitalist powers have single-payer health systems, save for the US, for social and historical reasons. Once you admit such differences, you can see that Zionism can be uniquely powerful in the US, thanks to US Jewry.

        You agree that Zionism is untenable, as a historical idea, and make legal objections also. Good for you. You then recite your list of criticisms and JVP’s mission statement, and indignantly demand to know what’s wrong with them. As I discussed in Liberal Citizenship, this is minimal and inadequate.

        What would you say of a liberal German in the 1940s who prattled on about the German “occupation” of eastern Europe? Or a historian who discussed WW2 and the Holocaust as violations of League of Nations collective security or the minority clauses of the Versailles Treaty, without discussing Nazism? Once we focus on Zionism, in Zion and in the US, and oppose it with the classical liberal and radical traditions, instead of JVP’s minimal critique, we have a different politics and different culture of opposition, far beyond JVP and Chomsky.

      • CitizenC
        October 16, 2012, 1:59 am

        Here is a video of a talk by Miko Peled in Seattle earlier this month.
        “This is not a ‘balanced presentation.’ There is no such thing as a
        ‘balanced presentation’ on this subject.” Powerful and eloquent. The
        video is 1 hr 8 min; the talk itself is 47.

        link to mikopeled.com

        Peled is in a different moral universe from Hostage and JVP and the Jewish left. They don’t remotely have his conviction and integrity, are wrapped up in “Jewish identity” as Hostage shows.

        This has always been true, going back to 1967, when Israel Shahak and Matzpen were well to the left of Chomsky et al.

      • Hostage
        October 16, 2012, 11:10 am

        Hostage, your tour d’horizon of minority rights and civil rights now emphasizes that their purpose is to uphold liberalism, the opposite of earlier exchanges that insisted on precedents for Jewish peoplehood in a sovereign, political sense.

        No, I’ve always explained that the object of the minority rights treaties was to secure equal rights on a non-discriminatory basis – and that the effort to secure those rights was spearheaded by non-Zionist Jews, Muslims, and other ethnic and religious minority groups living in the new states of Europe. You’ve dishonestly attempted to portray those rights as special privileges. Like all legal rights, they were tested and backed by appropriate legal remedies. I’ve even cited the applicable World Court cases which dealt with the issue. Here is a link to a case based upon a “Treaty with regard to the protection of minorities, etc., concluded on June 28th, 1919, between the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan of the one part, and Poland of the other part”. link to worldcourts.com

        The fact that you deny that the United States ever officially recognized the rights of the Jewish communities involved in that and other cases and persist in repeating your stale talking points doesn’t make you look very clever, now does it?

        As usual, you’re making your own crackpot claims about “sovereignty”, when I never mentioned the subject at all. I’ve said the communities were “autonomous”, which always connotes the lack of complete political independence. I’ve noted time and again here at MW that “sovereignty” is a racist concept that was deployed by the colonial powers and that it’s no longer considered a relevant factor.

        Here is an extract from James Crawford’s “Conclusions” chapter in “The Creation of States in International Law”:

        “In the first place, the concept of “sovereignty” as a criterion for plenary competence has been rejected. Although that view gained a certain degree of acceptance among nineteenth-century writers and was accepted in the twentieth century in Soviet and in some western doctrine, the notion of “sovereignty” has been seen to be both unhelpful and misleading as a criterion. It is unhelpful since both the legal and the effective capacities, rights, immunities and so on of States may vary widely, within the limits established by the criteria for separate independence.

        The International Law Commission noted in 1949 that the concept of sovereignty was controversial and that the only tangible manifestation of sovereignty is the exercise of jurisdiction. There is no question that the rabbinical courts and secular Jewish councils that Avigdor Levy described in the links that I provided exercised delegated jurisdiction over their communities and the personal status of the members. That after all, was the purpose of the millet system.

        Under the terms of the minority treaties, they retained that autonomy and became subjects of international law.

        David Landy’s Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights outlined very clearly the flaws of Jewish identity politics, with emphasis on the European case.

        I’d suggest that you consult the writings of a legal expert or government official, like Ernest Gross, or the US Supreme Court if you’re going to argue about matters of law.

        In any event, I’ve pointed out that Landey does not share your views about the Jewish Voice for Peace organization; its positions on Palestinian rights; or its opposition to Israel. The same thing applies to: Esther Kaplan, who does NOT share your views about the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation; Elmer Berger who did NOT share your views about the influence and role played by US special interest groups and imperialism in shaping US foreign policy; and Edward Said who did NOT share your views regarding the existence of “two peoples” living in Palestine or a “bi-national” state. In fact, none of the legitimate sources that you cite agree with your bigoted and nonsensical views.

        Your only forte seems to be distorting the views of others and trying to get away with it.

        As I discussed in Liberal Citizenship, this is minimal and inadequate.

        I’ve asked you to explain precisely what is inadequate or minimalist about the laundry list of condemnations contained in the JVP mission statement? You haven’t done that here or in your article “Liberal Citizenship”. that’s why I continue to call bullshit when you make such an obviously bogus and exaggerated claim. At this point the readers can see you’ve got nothing of substance to say on the subject.

      • Hostage
        October 16, 2012, 11:39 am

        Peled is in a different moral universe from Hostage and JVP and the Jewish left.

        LOL! This is yet another example of CitizenC citing a legitimate source as if Miko Peled shares his twisted views.

        In fact, as many here at MW are aware, JVP chapters around the US sponsored Miko Peled’s book tour and talks. Here’s a link to his speech at the University of Washington which lists JVP as a sponsor: link to youtube.com

        Here are similar announcements for Peled talks from the Chicago Chapter of JVP and the Sacramento area Chapter of JVP:
        *http://www.jvpchicago.org/node/46
        *http://kdrt.org/node/10270

        Once again, I’d like to know what objectionable Zionist or Jewish policy or practice it is that CitizenC feels is NOT cited and condemned in the JVP mission statement or which Palestinian right it undermines? I’ve read his “Liberal Citizenship” and it really doesn’t mention any specifics.

      • CitizenC
        October 16, 2012, 3:04 pm

        Hostage, you certainly have used these minority rights precedents in eastern Europe, and the Ottoman millet system, and the “national home” language of the Mandate, as if they defended or were intended to prepare for Jewish sovereignty in Palestine, which they certainly did not. You later stated that they were merely intended to secure minority rights. Your present criticism of sovereignty is a further afterthought to make these claims of Jewish peoplehood more palatable. I don’t deny that the US recognized minority rights treaties, for liberal purposes. What I do reject is that the US has ever recognized “the Jewish people” in the Zionist sense.

        I also reject that there is any basis for secular Jewish politics in modern conditions. You are trying to use minority rights and civil rights to roll back the modern period. The Jewish minority precedents in eastern Europe arose in conditions that don’t exist in the US, or for that matter anywhere now, of a Jewish population culturally and linguistically distinct in its country of residence. The kehillah by which you set such great store was part of those conditions. In any case such precedents did not ordain a secular Jewish politics, as the choices of the Bund and of Jewish political parties in interwar Poland showed.

        Under modern conditions, the only positive juridical Jewish identity is Judaism; otherwise, in a juridical sense, its sole purpose is to prevent discrimination on such a basis, as you have shown. You have attempted to morph this into “protection” as in the minority rights treaties, as if we live in pre-Holocaust Poland. Secular Jewish politics has no basis today, and is a form of discrimination and anti-gentilism, like the formal Zionism of which it is a variant.

        That is the argument, about JVP’s identity politics. You continue to clamor that I have not made any specific allegations when I have made many, and repeated them several times, which you refuse to recognize.

        You claim that Landy disagrees with what I say about JVP; he makes no explicit judgment about JVP, except to note their conservatism on BDS. His book is an extended critique of identity politics, and I have argued that JVP illustrates the limitations he enumerates. He is free to disagree.

        In her piece in the Wrestling with Zion reader, Esther Kaplan notes the history of Jewish identity politics, and tries to argue that the Palestine movement has gone beyond it, citing End the Occ as an example, at least in 2003 when that collection appeared. I think she exaggerates, but I did not claim she agreed with me on End the Occ, which does not invalidate her history of identity politics.

        As I’ve said twice now, Berger fought his entire life against Zionism, within Reform, and in national politics, without attributing its strength to imperialism and strategic interest. And for the first 20 yrs, during which Israel was founded, due entirely to US Zionism, such factors worked in the opposite direction. Berger’s belated citation of Chomskyism hardly invalidates the history of US Zionist influence, which continued in many ways, as Berger knew, or his opposition to it. See also Alfred Lilienthal, a fellow traveller in the small circle of classical Reform, on this.

        You talk nonsense about Said. He accepted the right of the Israeli Jewish population to live in Palestine on a binational basis. So did Maxime Rodinson, the great French Marxist, who roundly rejected that they were there by right. Said’s acceptance of Israeli Jews hardly means he accepted Zionism, and their right to settle there. I rather doubt Said, were he alive today, would be attacking Shlomo Sand over The Invention of the Jewish People, or that he rejected, when he was alive, Boas Evron’s argument that secular Hebrew nationality must replace Zionist “Jewish nationality”. That question should be answerable. I accept Evron’s formulation as the modern expression of the identity and rights of the Zionist population, as must anyone who rejects Zionism.

        In fact, none of the legitimate sources that you cite agree with your bigoted and nonsensical views.

        You are the bigot Hostage, for denying the extent to which they do agree, because you cannot accept that.

        What I’ve said about JVP is perfectly clear in the Lib Cit piece and I’ve repeated it several of these exchanges. JVP is concerned not with Palestine, but with “being Jewish”, and redeeming “the community”, as Vilkomerson and Surasky say explicitly, quoted in my piece. Surasky affirmed this again at the JVP annual mtg reported on Mondo. Jewish Americans are obligated as US citizens, not as Jews; this is not an internal Jewish matter.

        JVP’s entire critique is limited with that end in mind, as a plea-bargain, to make it as easy as possible for “the community”. Thus only BDS against “corporations profiting from the occupation” is supported, to avoid criticizing Zionism, and to portray corporate profits as driving US policy, which is deliberately misleading, an attempt to conceal the forces at work. These absurd pretenses come as Israeli diplomats and Jewish clergy and lay institutions attack BDS on campus and in churches.

        The mission stmt that you extol, with its call for democracy, international law and human rights, is not heroic and exemplary but minimal. The emphasis on law and rights is inadequate, it is ahistorical and technical, as Landy argued, conceals Zionist ideology and practice. I have said several times that discussing Israel’s deeds as violations of law and rights is like discussing WW2 and the Judeocide as violations of collective security and minority rights treaties, while omitting Nazism. JVP promotes co-founder Beinin’s Zionist apologia as I’ve said before.

        The mission stmt reference to “progressive Jewish values” is simply liberal Jewish subjectivity; the progressive secular Jewish movements were progressive because they upheld universal values and allied with socialist and liberal movements, not because they were Jewish. Those progressive movements rejected Zionism and affirmed classical left and liberal values, in any case.

        As I’ve said before, JVP’s literature blames the Allies for much of the Holocaust, which is anti-gentile nonsense. They emphasize the “strategic asset” and deprecate the “Israel lobby” view, to a degree that is a blanket accusation of anti-Semitism against gentiles; they emphasize anti-Semitism to a degree comparable to anti-Semitic essentialism about Jews.

        Of course JVP embraces Miko Peled, who would be hard to ignore. But what lessons do they draw from his categorical rejection of Zionism? How do they incorporate it into opposition politics here? They do not of course.
        Despite all this, repeated from before, from Lib Cit, you have the fanatical arrogance and dishonesty to say

        I’ve asked you to explain precisely what is inadequate or minimalist about the laundry list of condemnations contained in the JVP mission statement? You haven’t done that here or in your article “Liberal Citizenship”. that’s why I continue to call bullshit when you make such an obviously bogus and exaggerated claim. At this point the readers can see you’ve got nothing of substance to say on the subject.

        You don’t engage what I have to say, you simply scream past it, deny that anything was said, like a brownshirt fanatic shoving someone off the sidewalk into the gutter.

        The classical liberal and left traditions from the Enlightenment and emancipation rejected Zionism as an atavistic, pre-modern throwback. The many distinguished Jewish contributors to those traditions affirmed their place in the modern world as a religious minority, or as secular citizens. Zionism today, in the US and western Asia, can only be opposed on those fundamental modern terms, not by Jewish identity politics, as anyone who isn’t Hostage to Jewish identity can see.

      • seanmcbride
        October 16, 2012, 7:22 pm

        CitizenC wrote:

        The classical liberal and left traditions from the Enlightenment and emancipation rejected Zionism as an atavistic, pre-modern throwback. The many distinguished Jewish contributors to those traditions affirmed their place in the modern world as a religious minority, or as secular citizens. Zionism today, in the US and western Asia, can only be opposed on those fundamental modern terms, not by Jewish identity politics, as anyone who isn’t Hostage to Jewish identity can see.

        I’ve been following this debate between you and Hostage with considerable interest and enjoyment, and I hereby declare you the most formidable intellect on Mondoweiss (at least for the moment). I think this is the first time I’ve seen Hostage overpowered by superior documentation and argument.

        No offense, Hostage — you’re brilliant and in command of an amazingly rich store of historical knowledge. And on an emotional level I empathize with your decision to carve out a safe space for Jewish identity politics. Identity politics at a certain level of mild intensity is generally vivifying and comforting for us all. But CitizenC really knows how to press a rational argument through all resistance to its logical conclusion. Who is this masked man?

      • Hostage
        October 17, 2012, 1:24 am

        Hostage, you certainly have used these minority rights precedents in eastern Europe, and the Ottoman millet system, and the “national home” language of the Mandate, as if they defended or were intended to prepare for Jewish sovereignty in Palestine, which they certainly did not.

        LOL! Tell that to President Wilson. He ran around signing all of the minority treaties and making speeches about the right of all the nationalities freed from Ottoman rule to security, an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the right of self-determination of peoples:

        “National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. Self determination is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril. “

        —Woodrow Wilson’s address to a joint session of Congress, on 11 February 1918 link to wwi.lib.byu.edu

        I simply noted that, rightly or wrongly, the United States had ratified a number of treaties which officially recognized members of various Jewish communities in 14 countries around the world as persons of “Jewish nationality”, and that our government ratified a Palestine Mandate convention which legally recognized “the Jewish people”, and called for the establishment in Palestine of a “Jewish national home”.

        It’s a matter of public record that a “projected Jewish State” in Palestine was at the top of the US agenda for Syria in its preparations for the Paris Peace Conference, i.e. See Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919. The Paris Peace Conference “American Plans And Preparations”
        “VI. The Ottoman Empire”

        D) Syria.
        1) The projected Jewish state in Palestine.
        –http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1919Parisv01&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=69

        The American Field Mission also conducted an unscientific survey of 260 persons in OETA South which asked the respondents about their support “For Complete Zionist program (Jewish State and immigration)”
        — See Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, Field missions of the American Commision to negotiate peace, page 758 link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        So, it’s extremely disingenuous to claim that the United States government never anticipated a Jewish state in Palestine.

        The rest of your post is dissembling bullshit. Landey doesn’t deny that Jews are an ethnic minority group. He admits that Jews are an ethnic minority group (page 4). He doesn’t write about the subject of the minority treaties – and he isn’t an expert on international law in any event. He states that JVP has provided valuable assistance to divestment efforts in the University of California system and elsewhere (see pages 107, 165, and 166).

        He accepted the right of the Israeli Jewish population to live in Palestine on a binational basis. So did Maxime Rodinson, the great French Marxist, who roundly rejected that they were there by right.

        Don’t be stupid. There are millions of Jews who were born there. They are there by legal and moral right, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. That’s the way it is, whether Rodison agrees or not.

        JVP is concerned not with Palestine, but with “being Jewish”, and redeeming “the community”, as Vilkomerson and Surasky say explicitly, quoted in my piece.

        That’s a laudable goal, but it isn’t an official one that warrants inclusion in our mission statement (which is acutely concerned with Palestine and Palestinians).

        As I’ve said before, JVP’s literature blames the Allies for much of the Holocaust, which is anti-gentile nonsense.

        In fact “the JVP literature” on the subject is limited to one book, an anthology, comprised of a collection of 9 personal essays. The back cover notes that there is more than one “voice” in the collection and that the diversity of views is one of the strengths of the anthology.

        One of the essays has a paragraph that discusses the subject of “discounting” the lives of Jews. It notes the widespread reports that, despite frantic requests to bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz, nothing was done. There is no basis for your assertion that JVP as an organization “blames the Allies for much of the Holocaust”. The author of the essay in question cited the account written by the director of the US Holocaust Museum, Michael Berenbaum, about the reasons Auschwitz wasn’t bombed. He stipulated that

        First to the historical issues: The question of bombing Auschwitz first arose in the summer of 1944, more than two years after the gassing of Jews had begun and at a time when more than 90 percent of the Jews who were killed in the Holocaust were already dead.

        — See Why wasn’t Auschwitz bombed? by Michael Berenbaum starting on page 144 of “The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum”, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005; and link to britannica.com

        Berenbaum points out that Winston Churchill had personally ordered that the camps be bombed. Churchill even instructed Anthony Eden that his name should be invoked if necessary. Nonetheless, his requested action was never carried out.

        At the same time, John J. McCloy dishonestly claimed that a study had been conducted which concluded “that such an operation could be executed only by the diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations elsewhere.” But in fact, no such study was ever performed and bombing missions were conducted within five miles of the camp. The War Department had simply decided in January that army units would not be “employed for the purpose of rescuing victims of enemy oppression” unless a rescue opportunity arose in the course of routine military operations.

        Berenbaum summarizes

        We know that, in the end, the pessimists won. They argued that nothing could be done, and nothing was done. The proposals of the optimists, those who argued that something could be done, were not even considered. Given what happened at Auschwitz-Birkenau during the summer of 1944, many have seen the failure to bomb as a symbol of indifference.

        But what lessons do they draw from his categorical rejection of Zionism? How do they incorporate it into opposition politics here?

        Answer: Once again. Just like Peled, we condemn every single objectionable and repressive Zionist policy or practice in our official mission statement. So, I’m still calling bullshit and asking you to explain precisely what is inadequate or minimalist about the laundry list of condemnations contained in the JVP mission statement? Your continual attempts at dissimulation and name calling are artless and absolutely underwhelming.

      • CitizenC
        October 17, 2012, 11:03 am

        Hostage, I’ve wasted far too much time on you. The “projected Jewish state in Palestine” was certainly not projected by the US. The Zionists were hounding Wilson, but he turned a deaf ear. He wanted to open up the Versailles conf to broad testimony from the indigenous people, but was overruled by the rest of the Big Four. The result instead was the King-Crane commission, which did take extensive testimony in Palestine, and is one of the important exhibits against Zionism from that period.

        There is some truth to the rumor that World War 2 happened during The Holocaust. When the Allies weren’t busy facilitating the destruction of European Jewry by Nazi Germany, they were fighting a war for its unconditional surrender. Auschwitz did the great majority of its ghastly work in 1942, alas. By the time the Allied bombers were in range of Auschwitz, in early 1944, its chief remaining assignment would be the Jews of Hungary, 700,000 souls, incl many refugees from elsewhere.

        Early 1944 and into that spring was the time the western Allies, whose bombers were in range, were preparing for the D-Day invasion, and demand for bombing attacks against aircraft production, oil refineries, and railroad and other transport infrastructure, etc etc, to reduce German resistance and ensure the success of the invasion, was almost by definition, infinite. We view these issues thru the comfortable prism of hindsight, when the total Allied victory seems inevitable.

        Rail yards and industrial targets in Budapest were bombed in the course of normal operations, which stiffened the will of the Horthy regime to resist Nazi orders, and saved the Jews sheltering in Budapest from deportation, about half the 700,000 I think.

        The question of whether more was possible, or advisable, and what really could have been achieved, has been discussed extensively. One conscientious Jewish historian dug up all the rescue plans, put them in context, and concluded that the famous “failure to rescue” critique was simply wrong. He noted that it “arose swiftly in the late 1960s through early 1980s”, as if it were due mainly to Jewish chauvinism after the 1967 war.

        See William Rubinstein, “The Myth of Rescue”. There is another book, about Roosevelt, based on archival sources, by an attorney with an MA in history, who was driven to the subject by his children’s repetition of the charges against Roosevelt as an anti-semite and mass murderer, and concluded that it was nonsense. As have other level-headed Jewish historians, like Gerald Weinberg.

        JVP saw fit to charge the Allies as “culpable in the deaths of millions”, in their discussion of anti-Semitism, which is fanatical, arrogant nonsense. And that is not the only scurrilous charge of anti-Semitism in that anthology, incl some related to the Israel lobby argument. The best defense of Jewish identity politics and other perquisites is a good offense, and what better than anti-Semitism and the Holocaust to keep the filthy goyim down.

        Etc etc etc. All for now and forever with you Hostage, at least in this Mondo.

      • CitizenC
        October 17, 2012, 11:25 am

        Gerhard Weinberg, excuse me, diplomatic and military historian of WW2 era, emeritus at Univ of NC

      • CitizenC
        October 17, 2012, 1:08 pm

        One more point is worth noting. I have repeatedly stated that the Jewish left’s critique of international law and human rights violation is inadequate, is technical and ahistorical. Landy says this also. I have insisted that analysis and criticism of Zionism are necessary and important, compared their absence to criticising German “law and rights violations” in Europe 1939-45 without addressing Nazism.

        Palestine is being destroyed by what any honest analysis of Zionism will conclude must be called Judeo-Nazism. Its present actions are contained in its origins, although many contingencies have enabled their full development.

        The whole region is being rolled back to medieval times by the Zionized US empire and its consequences. The reason for Syria’s dismemberment is the patronage of the opposition by the Gulf states, who have opposed the Shia axis of Hizbollah-Alawi-Iran since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, commissioned by the neocons, ended Sunni and installed Shia rule there, over a dismembered Iraqi state.

        Yet Hostage continues to insist that I have said nothing specific. His own racism prevents him from recognizing what I have said about the need to oppose Zionism. If he were to admit a critique of Zionism as racism (against all gentiles, not merely Arabs and Muslims) it would dissolve his identity politics, and point toward the Zionism of the CPMAJO world which he and JVP are trying to protect, or reserve for their respectful criticism, as a family affair.

      • lareineblanche
        October 17, 2012, 4:12 pm

        Hostage, why must you insist on repressing and silencing us helpless and downtrodden gentiles of the world – who wouldn’t know so much as how to invade, ethnically cleanse or bomb a country without the instructions of our Zionist overlords – with your strongly-worded comments?

        You know in your heart of hearts the right thing to do is to drop these shenanigans and join the Animate Objects for Good Things in the Universe (AOGTU), where all are welcome to freely express their views without the heavy burden of this homo sapiens special interests politics which have been plaguing the movement for so long.

      • Hostage
        October 17, 2012, 4:38 pm

        Hostage, I’ve wasted far too much time on you. The “projected Jewish state in Palestine” was certainly not projected by the US. The Zionists were hounding Wilson, but he turned a deaf ear.

        By now the readers here have noticed that, whenever you’re presented with official or documentary evidence that your claims are completely incorrect, you simply respond with more spin and denials.

        These aren’t Zionist archives that I’m quoting, they are the US government’s official archives – and they say the “projected Jewish state in Palestine” was part of the agenda developed during American preparations for the peace conference. Here’s how the government describes the volumes that contain these documents:

        The Foreign Relations of the United States series is the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions that have been declassified and edited for publication. The series is produced by the State Department’s Office of the Historian and printed volumes are available from the Government Printing Office.

        *http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collections/FRUS
        *http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments

        By the time the Allied bombers were in range of Auschwitz, in early 1944, its chief remaining assignment would be the Jews of Hungary, 700,000 souls, incl many refugees from elsewhere.

        I don’t agree with people who blame the Allies for not bombing the camps, and neither did the authors of the other eight JVP essays on anti-semitism that were included in the anthology. But if we’re going to editorialize, 700,000 excess casualties is not a small boo boo. I spent 21 years in the USAF and actually served on combat operations and planning staffs during wartime. One of the primary considerations for going to war in the first place, and in conducting operations thereafter, is to minimize civilian loss of life. The post-war tribunals were based upon the fact that it was an inherent and customary duty.

        In this particular case, one of the Allied heads of state, Churchill, ordered bombing missions to disrupt the rail lines or the operation of the camps, and his orders simply weren’t carried out due to dereliction. So yes, it certainly can be argued that people may have died due to indifference and that some decision makers in the chain of command might have been criminally culpable. After all the US government court-martialed top commanders during WWII, like Admiral Kimmel and General Short, for dereliction in the performance of their duties over cases that resulted in much less loss of life.

      • Hostage
        October 17, 2012, 6:16 pm

        But CitizenC really knows how to press a rational argument through all resistance to its logical conclusion. Who is this masked man?

        I hope that you are being facetious. If you argue that JVP’s discussion of human rights is ahistorical and cite my old mentor, Dr. Mallison, then you are actually the opposite of rational.

        Dr. Mallison attributed the inclusion of the clauses of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate that attempted to safe guard the rights of Palestinians to anti-Zionist Jews. He also testified to the US Senate that Israel’s failure to implement the minority protection plan contained in resolution 181(II), cast serious doubt upon its title to the limited amount of territory that was allocated to it.

        Entire volumes have been written about the subject of the international practice of conditioning recognition and cessions of territory on the acceptance of minority treaties, like the one that guaranteed equal rights for Palestinians in Israel. It is an undeniable historical fact that Jews were the main proponents of the concept and that it was based upon Enlightenment ideals of equality and non-discrimination, not separatism.

        *See Carole Fink, Defending the Rights of Others: The Great Powers, the Jews, And International Minority Protection, 1878-1938, Cambridge University Press, 2006; and
        *Oscar I. Janowsky, “The Jews And Minority Rights, (1898-1919), Colombia University Press, 1933.

        Similarly, if you claim that JVP’s mission statement, or the BDS policy statement adopted on December 8, 2011 are separatist, minimalist, and inadequate, then it behooves you to cite specific examples of 1) the offending clauses; 2) the offensive and/or illegal Zionist practices that JVP does not already condemn; or 3) the Palestinian rights that aren’t affirmed in those key documents. If you can’t do that, then your criticism is the opposite of rational.

        Finally, you simply assume that I limit my activities to “Jewish identity politics”, despite the fact that I belong to any number of non-Jewish political organizations, including the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation.

        The proposition that “the place” in the modern world for Jewish contributors to the Enlightenment is limited to either a religious minority or to secular citizenship is both ahistorical and irrational. I’ve noted that the Jewish scriptures, the Halakhah, and the Haggadah have always identified Israel as a nation (ethnos), not merely a religion and that the existence of non-observant Jews has been acknowledged since ancient times.. I’ve also pointed out that in 20th century states, like Czechoslovakia, the constitution permitted persons to register as Jewish even if they lacked knowledge of a Jewish language or membership in the Jewish religious community. Here in the United States it would be illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics.

        Even more importantly its the height of ignorance for a jerk who preaches to others about liberal citizenship to go ballistic over the inferred significance of another person’s Jewish ancestry.

      • CitizenC
        October 17, 2012, 8:34 pm

        Poor Hostage. His dignity is totally shattered, so he states what I accept as if contradicting me (minority rights supported liberalism), and demands that I prove my contradiction of him, when I have addressed the “mission statement” and myriad other JVP inadequacies repeatedly and at length. This is your brain on Zionism. Pick your cases more carefully, Hostage. Appeal denied.

        Similarly, if you claim that JVP’s mission statement, or the BDS policy statement adopted on December 8, 2011 are separatist, minimalist, and inadequate, then it behooves you to cite specific examples… If you can’t do that, then your criticism is the opposite of rational.

      • Hostage
        October 17, 2012, 8:48 pm

        One more point is worth noting. I have repeatedly stated that the Jewish left’s critique of international law and human rights violation is inadequate, is technical and ahistorical. Landy says this also.

        After the first dozen times you said that, we gave up waiting for a quote or a citation to a page number. Its interesting that Landey portrays himself as an Irish-Jewish academic and a Palestinian solidarity activist. He had no trouble accepting endorsements from Jews For Justice For Palestinians when they co-sponsored the talks about the launch of his book or blogging about it at Jews Sans Frontiers.
        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com
        link to jfjfp.com

        FYI, the whole thrust of the book is that diaspora groups are heterogeneous and have morphed from simply being anti-Zionist Jews in a Jewish identity movement into being effective members of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement. He cites JVP as a prime example. But you’ve managed to distort his entire message

        Firstly, I was trying to research something positive. Whether in academia or activism there’s a focus on the negative, on the problems. This is necessary, but we also need to move beyond the ‘ruthless criticism of everything existing’. The piling up of critiques often leads to despair, when the point after all is to change the world.

        I also wanted to critique this movement. In fact, starting off, I was far more critical, suspicious that the movement was as much about ‘healing the Jews’ and fighting Jewish identity wars, than about Palestinians. My increasingly positive take on the movement was partly a result of ‘going native’, of growing respect for movement participants, but also because of a growing understanding of the actual work the movement does to promote justice in Israel/Palestine, something which takes up far far more time than any discussions of Jewishness.

        Yet Hostage continues to insist that I have said nothing specific. His own racism prevents him from recognizing what I have said about the need to oppose Zionism. If he were to admit a critique of Zionism as racism (against all gentiles, not merely Arabs and Muslims) it would dissolve his identity politics, and point toward the Zionism of the CPMAJO world which he and JVP are trying to protect, or reserve for their respectful criticism, as a family affair.

        Because none of that stuff is an example of JVP’s inadequate or ahistorical critique of international law and human rights violations. There’s no shortage of comments in my archives here about Zionist racism and the fact that it applies to all Gentiles. The same thing applies to comments I’ve made about the disasters that befell Judaism whenever it abandoned universalism and adopted racist ordinances to regulate relations between Jews and Gentiles.

        I’ve personally spoken out against special privileges for Jews and documented the specific statutes, ordinances, and Israeli policies and practices on both sides of the Green Line that constitute the crime of apartheid. I’ve also brought attention to the views of Palestinians on the subject and let them speak for themselves about apartheid. Here are a few examples:

        * link to mondoweiss.net

        * link to mondoweiss.net

        * link to mondoweiss.net

        * link to mondoweiss.net

        *http://mondoweiss.net/2011/09/imagine-if-this-article-was-about-whites-and-blacks-in-the-us.html#comment-372498

      • Hostage
        October 18, 2012, 11:38 am

        Poor Hostage. His dignity is totally shattered, so he states what I accept as if contradicting me (minority rights supported liberalism), and demands that I prove my contradiction of him, when I have addressed the “mission statement” and myriad other JVP inadequacies repeatedly and at length. This is your brain on Zionism. Pick your cases more carefully, Hostage. Appeal denied.

        Poor CitizenC can’t ever list anything that he would add to the JVP mission statement or our BDS policy. It must be very embarrassing to have your irrational bigotry publicly exposed. Propaganda fail!

  9. Mooser
    October 9, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Gosh, what if the problem of Palestine, which we’ll call “Israel”, is a problem the American Jewish community (speaking in a broad generality, of course) could help create, but is now beyond our ability to control or solve or effect substantially in a positive way, given the conditions which obtain in this generalised community? That’s a thought which keeps me up at night, if I drink too much coffee in the evening.
    In that case, is a principled withdrawal from American Jewish life (S.G. of course) a reasonable course? To paraphrase Morrison (of the “Doors”) you won’t give them the guns, and you won’t give them the numbers.

  10. Elizabeth Block
    October 11, 2012, 2:57 pm

    Yes. This is something I and my colleagues have thrashed out many times.
    Trouble is, Palestinians protesting the Occupation is dog bites man. Jews doing it is man bites dog.
    And while it is true that people shouldn’t need permission from Jews to criticize Israel, a lot of them do. They don’t want to be seen as anti-Semitic. They don’t want to BE anti-Semitic.
    You may know that the United Church of Canada passed a resolution endorsing the boycott of settlement-produced products. A small step, perhaps, though not so small if you consider how hard the Zionists tried to prevent it, and how vehemently they attacked it after it passed. I think it’s fair to say they couldn’t have done it without the support of Independent Jewish Voices.

  11. Kathleen
    October 16, 2012, 1:37 pm

    Anna “People like Dr. Finkelstein, Dr. Chomsky and many others deserve credit for speaking out against Israel’s abuses of Palestinians when so few Jewish or other Americans did” This is the statement which I believe shows a real naivete or willingness to ignore thousands of non Jews who have met with their Reps, petitioned, protested in other ways against the apartheid government of Israel and U.S. support for this apartheid government. Former Rep Findley deserves a great deal of credit for standing up very early against the I lobby and their disproportionate amount of influence on our U.S. Congress. Senator Fulbright. Christian Peace Maker Team. Thousands of non Jews have been meeting with their Reps for decades about this issue in D.C. and in their home districts. I know Anna is only 33 but she is a deep researcher she should be well aware of that non Jews have been involved with this issue for decades. Not that the MSM has ever given these folks who have been standing up for Palestinian rights any coverage over the years.

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