Why Fran Korotzer stopped saying ‘ethnic cleansing’ and started saying ‘genocide’

on 34 Comments

Yesterday afternoon in the rain, a group of protesters stood outside Google headquarters in Manhattan to leaflet against Google’s partnership with the Israeli university the Technion (providing classroom space to students in the years till Cornell and the Technion are scheduled to open a new campus on Roosevelt Island).

Two of those protesters are Fran and Bud Korotzer. I talked with Fran, a retired clerical worker at Baruch College, about what she was doing there, and was moved by her softspoken but firm statements, by her appearance, and by her dignity in a humble service. Maybe you will be too. 

The interview’s long, so a guide: Korotzer first describes the importance of explaining Israel’s actions to people on the street in New York; at 2:00 explains why “ethnic cleansing” is too gentle a term for Israel’s actions against Palestinians; speaks of the strains in her relations with other Jews, some of whom can be nasty; describes diversity of opinion in the Jewish community; and tells me why it does not matter that she has never been to Israel. The blog on which she’s depended for information is Steve Amsel’s, Desert Peace.

The action was organized by New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT). It goes on every two weeks. Alex Kane wrote about it here.

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

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34 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    March 13, 2013, 12:01 pm

    On google maps it even lists the West Bank section of Palestine as being in the zionist entity. I stopped using them long ago. Good riddence to those supporters of fascists.

  2. Cliff
    March 13, 2013, 12:15 pm

    Thanks for covering this Phil.

  3. Citizen
    March 13, 2013, 1:09 pm

    Thanks, Phil, please convey to Fran Korotzer (and her cousin) our deep admiration for her courage and willingness to spread the facts about what the US is funding and covering diplomatically at the UN regarding Israel, that is, Israel’s on-going slow genocide of the Palestinian people. It’s not only a gigantic matter of basic human rights post Nuremberg, but also a matter in the dire interest of both the USA’s and Israel’s long-term security. Not to mention a heavy abuse of US tax dollars at a time when the US is on its knees economically so that its own average citizens are living desperately.

  4. ritzl
    March 13, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Great one, Phil. What a great example of how soft-spoken and determined and independent can go together. Inspiring.

    I always wonder how you (and you all) push through the alienation you (all) must certainly face, but this explains it, at least in part: “some of whom can be nasty.” Tough, and brave, sluff, that.

    I recently saw an ad for Outlook.com that claims that Google reads every single gmail sent, in order to tailor advertising. The ad probably has merit. Couple that with the fact that Google’s data-mining facility is in Israel (iirc, reported here), and there’s cause for worry if not outright alarm in terms of data sharing. Google is a privacy invader, and a Google data-mining facility in Israel compounds that.

    The video is a great explanation and example of the evolution you all are trying to foster (and I believe will achieve).

    Again, thanks.

  5. German Lefty
    March 13, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Thanks for what you are doing, Fran.

    • Philip Weiss
      March 13, 2013, 2:32 pm

      I’m thankful for all commenters on this thread for hearing Fran as I did… She’s got a booming voice

      • Citizen
        March 14, 2013, 6:28 am

        She’s a wonderful human being, Phil–her many virtues are obvious in your little street interview, which was a good one. “Walk humbly with your God” comes to mind.

  6. American
    March 13, 2013, 2:59 pm

    Fran is the real deal- here’s to her…

    “”All that is necessary for tryanny to gain a foothold is for good people to be silent”…Thomas Jefferson

  7. OlegR
    March 13, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Never been to Israel reads a blog of her cousin who does live there
    on the French Hill neighborhood (a settlement btw according to Hamas)

    • Cliff
      March 13, 2013, 7:37 pm

      So what?

    • Ellen
      March 13, 2013, 8:01 pm

      Oleg, what would you say to the many thousands of activists Hasbarists and Zionosts who have never been to Isreal?

      Isreal ,the modern UN deckared-state is now a religion, a Golden Calf.

      Fran, a true Jew, has not adopted the Golden Calf.

      • kalithea
        March 13, 2013, 9:36 pm

        “Fran, a true Jew, has not adopted the Golden Calf.”

        Yep. But above all; above race, above tribe, above country and class she understands that being human means being compassionate towards anyone who suffers and defending the truth always, and THIS is the true religion!

      • Citizen
        March 14, 2013, 6:42 am

        @ kalithea

      • Ellen
        March 14, 2013, 3:58 am

        Apologies for all the unintended typos. A tablet keyboard……..

    • talknic
      March 13, 2013, 9:03 pm


      “Never been to Israel reads a blog of her cousin who does live there
      on the French Hill neighborhood (a settlement btw according to Hamas)

      It’s in Israel… according to International Law. BTW you can supply a quote from Hamas… current… because it’d be ghastly if you were creating even more straw… thx

    • yourstruly
      March 13, 2013, 9:26 pm

      not many jewish-americans visited germany during the days of the third reich, yet this didn’t deter us from expressing our anger at germany’s lethal antisemitism. should we have refrained from criticizing nazi germany, since so few of us actually went there to ascertain the veracity of the horror stories coming from there?

    • kalithea
      March 13, 2013, 10:16 pm

      “Never been to Israel…”

      …because she’d have to surrender her INTEGRITY at Ben-Gurion!

      In case INTEGRITY is foreign word to you: someone who has character, decency, goodness, honesty, morality and is righteous.

      Unlike self-righteous, immoral, evil, depraved and dishonest which describe what Zionists are immersed in for over 65 years!

  8. Susie Kneedler
    March 13, 2013, 3:25 pm

    Fran, and Bud, too: please write for us. We need your eloquent conscience.
    Thank you and thanks, Phil.

  9. Blake
    March 13, 2013, 3:47 pm

    Fran is amazing. What a charming sweet lady.

  10. Bill in Maryland
    March 13, 2013, 5:06 pm

    What a beautiful soul Fran is. Thank you Phil.

  11. Les
    March 13, 2013, 5:09 pm

    Moving, eloquent, and determinably human. Whoever has her as a friend must feel blessed.

  12. Cliff
    March 13, 2013, 7:48 pm

    She remind me of my aunt a little bit. What an awesome lady.

    She cut straight to the heart of the matter. Especially, regarding the diversionary tactics and knee jerk reactions of the hard-line Zionists. See OlegR’s comment above for the type of hecklers she’s likely to have come across.

    But she sees through it and is sharp.

  13. kalithea
    March 13, 2013, 9:05 pm

    I may comment on this again, but I have to get this one through now.

    THIS is what TRUTH sounds like!: Minutes: 1:55 to 2:04

    The entire world needs to hear these words and stop this ongoing CRIME, NOWWW!

    I have stated this here, there and everywhere time and time again; everyone needs to tell it like it is now, stop dressing it up like something else! Don’t underestimate what Zionists are doing. Killing hundreds of children yearly, and following a weekly quota…this brutality and evil is NO COINCIDENCE.

    This women is not afraid to call a spade a spade just because Zionists happen to be Jews. We must stress this point and not let go: what Zionists have done to Palestinians over 65 years is ethnic cleansing via expulsion and slow GENOCIDE. PERIOD!

    The world must act against these crimes and act now. Thank you Fran Korotzer.

  14. Hostage
    March 14, 2013, 1:29 am

    Three out of the four constituent acts of genocide listed in the international convention do not result in physical or biological destruction. Nonetheless, many legal experts insist that the genocide can only be applied to acts of wholesale slaughter, not to the destruction of nations or their societies.

    The very first genocide of the 20th century occurred when Armenians were driven from their homes and deported to the Syrian desert. Many of the victims reportedly died as a result of exposure, starvation, and disease. Ethnic cleansing is not a legal term of art. It is a political term or euphemism for that type of genocide. It can be deliberately employed to downplay the enormity of the crime and to avoid the collective state responsibilities outlined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

    The very same thing happens when perpetrators and their supporters use ham-fisted political campaigns to attack anyone who honestly applies the definition of the crime of apartheid to the State of Israel. The preamble of the Apartheid Convention notes that certain acts in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide may also be qualified as acts of apartheid.

    While many believe that the Crime of Aggression is the crime of crimes, the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity singles out and notes the close relationship between:“eviction by armed attack or occupation and inhuman acts resulting from the policy of apartheid, and the crime of genocide”. http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/x4cnaslw.htm

    • sardelapasti
      March 14, 2013, 1:46 am

      Hostage – Thank you. A clear demonstration of the distance between the law and the (or some) lawyers that we all needed.

    • lysias
      March 14, 2013, 12:21 pm

      The very first genocide of the 20th century occurred when Armenians were driven from their homes and deported to the Syrian desert. Many of the victims reportedly died as a result of exposure, starvation, and disease

      Quite a few of those Armenians were actually physically murdered by the Turks and Kurds who were overseeing their movement. Quite a few of the Jews who died in the Holocaust died as a result of exposure, starvation, and disease, especially in the ghettos that the Nazis established. It is probably the case that a higher percentage of the Jews who died were actually physically murdered, but I think the difference is one of degree, not of kind.

  15. kalithea
    March 14, 2013, 1:45 am

    Let’s say you have a “family” that doesn’t “get” you. Sometimes you feel like you’re speaking Chinese in their midst; you feel like a distinct relative from a foreign land; and occasionally they’re outright rude and hostile and make you doubt yourself. Then one day, you bump into a total stranger and immediately their warmth touches you and you’re compelled to hug them! You feel like you’ve met before; they speak your “language” and read your mind. FINALLY, someone gets it! You’re not alone; they get your struggle and understand your passion. And your faith is restored. Uf! What a relief! to meet someone like Fran; a reassuring kindred spirit. And you know; you just know you’re fighting the good battle.

  16. Ecru
    March 14, 2013, 7:40 am

    Courageous woman. The world needs to hear more Jewish voices protesting Zionist hatred and crimes because at the moment Jewish IS, like it or not, becoming equated with tribal xenophobia, hatred and the corruption of Western Democracy through the Zionist serving “War on Terror” and the Israelification of much Western security apparatus.

    Jews who stay silent, or who defend Israelis crimes no matter what, will have nobody to blame but themselves when antisemitism rises again. And the first who will turn on them? Their erstwhile allies the Christian Zionists.

  17. giladg
    March 14, 2013, 8:47 am

    Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning. Fran’s is to read her cousin’s blog and to naively and conveniently believe everything she reads there, as if it was written by G-d himself. Of course Fran does not believe in G-d.
    Fran feels like she is doing something worthwhile protesting on the streets of NY. Fran has found something to do. Good luck Fran. Let us know when salinity knocks at your door. Fran’s biggest fear is that if she does visit Israel, just maybe all the stories they have told her may not match where her imagination has taken her. And this will be devastating for Fran. She may then have less to do every day.

    • bintbiba
      March 14, 2013, 9:34 am

      as usual, juvenile, condescending ,arrogant! What can I say!!

    • Les
      March 14, 2013, 2:52 pm

      Just as those who believe the NY Times when they read that the Golan Heights is “disputed” rather than occupied by Israel. We all have the right to be dupes but it would be good if we exercised just a little bit of discretion when picking those who we chose as our nonsense providers.

    • Cliff
      March 14, 2013, 5:54 pm

      For gulag-g,

      The reason is to behave and be as stupid and racist and hypocritical as one can be.

      There are plenty of international observers as well as human rights groups – the majority of whom CONFIRM Fran’s views and opinions.

      You and your CULT are in the minority.

      You simply have a monopoly on violence and have the financial backing to support Jewish colonialism and the THEFT of Palestine.

    • chinese box
      March 14, 2013, 7:50 pm

      So what’s your purpose for getting up the morning, giladg?

  18. MRW
    March 14, 2013, 9:12 am

    Fran Korotzer. What a doll. Moral and insightful. If you’re reading this, Fran, thank you.

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