Ululating at Vassar: the Israel/Palestine conflict comes to America

Israel/Palestine
on 157 Comments
Vassar College seal

Vassar College seal

Two weeks back, Jill Schneiderman, a professor of Earth Sciences at Vassar College, put up a post on her blog about an angry meeting at the liberal arts school the night before:

last night I was knocked off-center by a belligerent academic community dedicated to vilifying anyone who dares set foot in Israel.

Schneiderman was about to do just that: set foot in Israel. On March 8, she flew to the country with 28 Vassar students and two other professors. As I post this, the group is touring Israel and Palestine studying water issues.

Many of those students are surely thinking about that meeting Schneiderman found belligerent back in New York’s Hudson Valley. For whatever these students think of what they are seeing in the dry hills of the Jordan Valley, they live in an American community; and it is there that they will bring back their ideas and shape them in months and years to come.

I was at the March 3 meeting that so upset Schneiderman, and it was truly unsettling. Over 200 students and faculty jammed a large room of the College Center, and torrents of anger ripped through the gathering. Most of them were directed at Israel or its supporters. Two or three times people shouted at one another. Several said they felt bullied. Schneiderman and another leader of the trip, Rachel Friedman, an associate professor of Greek and Roman studies, looked shocked.

As Schneiderman said in her blogpost, rage against Israel was the theme. You would not have known from that night in the life of a prestigious school that the president and faculty dean of Vassar signed a statement opposing boycott of Israel, that 70 miles south a progressive mayor of NY is partnered with Israel on building a major new campus in the city, that California’s Democratic governor welcomed Israel’s prime minister to Silicon Valley this month, or that a leading liberal Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, calls Israel’s creation the “most spectacular political achievement of the 20th century.”

No, the spirit of that young progressive space was that Israel is a blot on civilization, and boycott is right and necessary. If a student had gotten up and said, I love Israel, he or she would have been mocked and scorned into silence. Or bedevilled by finger-snapping—the percussive weapon of choice among some students, a sound that rises like crickets as students indicate their quiet approval of a statement.

I left the room as soon as the meeting ended. The clash felt too raw, and there was a racial element to the division (privileged Jews versus students of color). Vassar is not my community, and I didn’t want to say anything to make things worse.

But the meeting shows where the Israel/Palestine conflict is headed: to the United States. The battles we’ve seen so far on campus are just preliminaries. The ugly and intractable Israel-Palestine conflict is set to become a raging conflict inside the American progressive community and spread from there to the broader discourse. And given the liberal establishment’s marriage to Israel (from Pelosi to de Blasio to Jerry Brown to Vassar) things are going to get much more belligerent before there is any understanding.

In fact, that belligerence may be necessary to the resolution.

Here is the Vassar story as I understand it.

Every year the International Studies program at Vassar has a course that includes an overseas trip. The IS program has gone to Russia, Cuba, Spain, Morocco, and Vietnam among other places. The students read up on the place for months, then go on their trip and come home and discuss the issues more. Students who can’t afford the trip get help from the college.

Last year a proposal was put forward by three members of the Jewish Studies program, (all of whom I am told are Jewish) to study water questions in Israel and Palestine. As the proposal moved forward, it drew the attention of a new chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. The itinerary for the $90,000 trip was chiefly inside Israel with visits to the occupation. The trip’s Israeli character was also reflected by stops at two kibbutzes and the Dead Sea and Masada, classic sites for birthright-style promotional tours. And though the leaders were working with Palestinian NGOs and visiting a Palestinian refugee camp, the trip was being coordinated with the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies, a branch of Ben-Gurion University and a partner of the Jewish National Fund, which secures land for Jews (and displaces Bedouins, as Jeff Halper explained to Vassar’s late neighbor Pete Seeger in convincing him to separate himself from the organization, after he’d teamed up when it. Adalah-NY has also targeted Arava for boycott). A course proposal stressed the politics of water usage but never mentioned occupation and twice cited Palestinian cities’ sewage runoff as a problem without a mention of Israeli appropriation of aquifers or settlers’ sewage.

Members of Vassar’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter objected to the nature of the trip and met with the head of International Studies. Then the group staged an action against the class. On Thursday night, February 6, nine members of SJP, all but one a person of color, picketed the class. They gave out leaflets describing Israeli apartheid and Israeli appropriation of Palestinian water. They urged students to drop the class and, citing the Boycott, divestment, sanctions call, said that “the indigenous people of Palestine” did not want students going on this trip.

Friedman and Schneiderman said the demonstration went too far because they and some of their students felt intimidated. They communicated these feelings to college officials. In turn, the protesters said they were being unfairly targeted for complaint. And the racial issue came to the fore.

Because of the controversy, a Vassar administrative body dedicated to diversity– the Committee on Inclusion and Excellence— held a meeting March 3 to discuss guidelines for activism at the school. I attended (informed of it by Schneiderman and Friedman, who liked this piece of mine and who felt that Vassar’s struggle should be openly discussed). A college spokesperson introduced himself to me at the meeting and allowed me to stay on condition that I not record it.

Kiese Laymon, an African-American writer and English professor, led the meeting, saying he wanted a dialogue about activism–“not to be guided by cardboard notions of civility.” Laymon seemed frankly on the SJP side. He stated his concern that students depicted as bullying, intimidating, and threatening were chiefly students of color; also that the trip’s character had the effect of excluding students of Muslim and Arabic background.

The dialogue that followed had little cardboard about it, but it was tense and often painful. It reminded me of stories of the religious/ethnic power divide in the NY teachers’ strike of 1968.

The director of the IS program, Tim Koechlin, was measured and regretful. He said that student protest is an essential part of Vassar– “even making directors and administrators and donors uncomfortable.” Koechlin then conceded that the trip had been designed without a thought given to the issues SJP raised: “virtually no time talking about BDS, and virtually no time talking about the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” A leftwinger, Koechlin said he regretted not taking into account an “important and growingly conspicuous movement.” (And Koechlin signed a faculty statement at Vassar taking on the president’s opposition to boycott).

A couple of students who are going on the trip spoke. An Asian-American and an African woman spoke of their excitement at studying water issues, which are a global problem. The African expressed concern about the “plight of the people of Palestine.”

A student representative of the liberal Zionist group J Street also expressed sympathy for Palestinians. Sarah said that the trip was designed so students would be “exposed to the truth of the injustices that exist in Israel—I’m not denying that they do exist.”

But she said that students were being “disempowered” by the protest.

Students on the north side of the room, the SJP side, called out, How was the protest disempowering?

“My Israel identity is important to me,” she said. “It is super intimidating to walk into the College Center and feel that that identity is questioned. It’s really difficult to come to terms with hearing that a place you call your homeland shouldn’t exist… I’m not saying SJP makes those claims, but a lot of Jewish students feel that way.”

A Jewish woman named Erin took exception. She had spent a lot of time in Israel; and there Palestinians have their identities questioned. As an American, she said it was healthy to take apart one’s identity and see what composes it: “SJP empowers me in that they help me not accept everything I hear or know from my history.”

A Zionist student complained that when he went up to an SJP protest table, he was asked if he had been to the Middle East. “I said I had been to Israel. They laughed at me, I felt trivialized, I felt my opinions not being validated.”

An SJP student said that the student had been confrontational: “he asked an angry, pointed question.”

Rachel Friedman spoke for a while. She offered an appreciation of activism on campus, from J Street to SJP to the new Open Hillel.

“What crossed the line,” Friedman said, was when she walked in to her class February 6 and was greeted by posters telling people to “drop the class, it’s not too late,” and “Indigenous Palestinians don’t want you to come.” Her students felt harassed and bullied by the reception.

And worse, as Friedman went into the class, “I was greeted with this noise.” The dark-haired professor put her head back and wailed in a high aggressive tone for a few seconds, wagging her head to give it a sharp rhythm. She said,

“The protest shocked me frankly. In 17 years of teaching at Vassar, I’ve never witnessed anything like this… My students were upset and shaken up…. We’re in a dangerous place, if suddenly classrooms are being picketed and students made to feel harassed when they are going to class that they’ve chosen.”

Friedman’s demonstration angered a young man from SJP with long braids and glasses. He said:

“I want to address the ululating. That never happened. No one in this group knows how to make such a noise…. [It is] a racist slur used to depict Arab people. The fact that you can remember that when it never happened… puts our group on trial with a false allegation.

“If we’re really going to be using racial slurs in this conversation, I don’t know what we’re going to accomplish. And many in our group don’t feel comfortable.”

There was a lot of finger-snapping in support. A student in Friedman’s class then said she had heard a wail.

The hostility between the sides was now unmasked. When the braided student said the itinerary had been changed, Schneiderman burst out angrily, “That’s absolutely untrue! We have emails we can show you.” Schneiderman also sought to extenuate Israeli conduct by saying, “We have our own occupation here when it comes to native Americans.” But I felt that the comment only served to underline the tension in the room between privileged Jews and outsiders of color.

The SJP now had the meeting. When a Jewish sophomore said that he had come to Vassar in part because there was a large Jewish student body and he felt that he would not face anti-Semitism, till he saw the words “Israeli apartheid” — “and that’s charged language”– people on the other side laughed. The crowd was respectful as a Jewish critic of Israel said that her grandfather had fought in Israel’s war of independence and she had been made very uncomfortable by the allegations against Israel, too, till she looked into them, and came to understand, “My Judaism does not equal Zionism.”

The last portion of the meeting was dominated by an SJP member, a slender woman wearing a keffiyeh who stood two or three times and spoke in an earnest manner. As one of only 8 or 9 Arabs at the school, she said, she sees her college putting thousands of dollars into supporting a government that oppresses people who are like her. There were so many flaws with the trip no one could say it was neutral: it was going to a discriminatory national airport and would travel on apartheid roads. She could not go on this trip because she would be stopped at Ben-Gurion airport on account of the Lebanese stamps in her passport, and because her going would prevent her from traveling to Arab countries.

“How am I to feel when my university is funding a trip going to a place that discriminates against people based on my ethnicity? They are leading a trip that is inherently discriminatory, and no one at this college has spoken out against that except the SJP.”

Kiese Laymon echoed her. He likened the trip to the school sponsoring a trip to Mississippi that black students couldn’t join. Those students have the right to say this professor is bullying me and intimidating me, he said.

Both sides had now expressed sincere feelings of being bullied. The most conciliatory statement was from a young Jewish man on the trip who said that he was thankful for SJP’s intervention, and he would be having a different trip because of that.

As the meeting drew to a close at 7 p.m. after an hour and a half, a friend ran up to Friedman and said, How could she have allowed these people to call Israel an oppressive place? But that friend hadn’t opened her mouth during the meeting.

I left feeling some empathy for Schneiderman and Friedman. The atmosphere was more intimidating to pro-Israel speakers than pro-Palestinian speakers. Norman Finkelstein said some time ago that you can’t be for Israel on college campuses, and I was seeing this before my eyes. Being for Israel makes you a clod.

But who can take issue with SJP’s factual claims? Having been to Gaza and the West Bank many times, I have witnessed discrimination on a racial basis that my country rejected decades ago– humiliating, limiting, murderous and degrading conditions. There are surely ways for a school to design a neutral observing trip; this trip doesn’t seem to be such a thing. As to the effort by the young woman in the keffiyeh to stop a college trip because its destination discriminates against people like her– well, Bill de Blasio has several times now vowed to prevent Saudi Airlines from landing at JFK because it discriminates against Israelis. His moral principle is no different.

The main difference between the two is that de Blasio has power and she does not. I am sure Schneiderman is right, and the SJP students are belligerent. But that tone originates in the experience of powerlessness in the face of a pro-Israel establishment.

The conflict is coming home to America. Our country’s liberal institutions have supported occupation for 47 years, and ethnic cleansing before that; students are demanding an accounting. This is beginning to happen on campuses around the country, as anyone can tell from reading posts on our site. If the SJP students can be obnoxious, their manner is just what feminist Margaret Fuller saw in abolitionists during slavery: tedious, rabid, narrow, prone to exaggeration. And dedicated to a principle worth living and dying for.

Expect many more rage-filled meetings in years to come as the left is broken over this question. How long before students occupy administration buildings of liberal arts colleges that work with Israel? How long before students chain themselves to bulldozers at the Cornell-Technion project in New York city? This conflict has found its natural home, in the United States. Remember there was turmoil and violence in France once the country’s support for Algerian colonization became politically problematic at last after 120 years.

I understand why Jill Schneiderman is upset. She is used to being on the vanguard. An out lesbian with children, she has been a leader in a liberation movement. I imagine what she would have said to me if I had expressed my stodgy discomfort with the idea of gay marriage and lesbian parenting 10 years ago: If you need time to figure this out, just get out of the way. That is what Omar Barghouti is saying to people in the middle now, Get out of the way.  The intellectual labors are done, the activists are moving. The public square will increasingly belong to the warriors of both sides. And Vassar shows us clearly which side will win.

About Philip Weiss

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

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157 Responses

  1. BrianEsker
    March 20, 2014, 12:16 pm

    So another shouting match at Vassar gives Phil Weiss a thrill. “The intellectual labors are done, the activists are moving.”

    In a pig’s ass.

    The fraud, thuggery and racism which suffuses this transplanted hate Israel fad is recognized more and more as brainwash for hormonal youth on campus. This is why you see more student groups tabling these silly BDS motions and more annoyed school administrators shutting down these clubs altogether as a security problem.

    The PalArabs are in a bad spot. Many of their compatriots are stuck in hostile places like Syria, and it would be a redemption for them to finally gain their independence, a set of borders and place to begin building a future.

    The folks who want to help them should concentrate on nation building and negotiations rather than being simply a vicious and often fraudulent protest movement.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 20, 2014, 1:29 pm

      “PalArabs”

      Racist pig.

      • Philip Munger
        March 20, 2014, 3:08 pm

        Thanks, Woody.

      • BrianEsker
        March 20, 2014, 10:49 pm

        What’s racist about the word “PalArabs?” Explain please.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 21, 2014, 2:45 pm

        “What’s racist about the word “PalArabs?” Explain please.”

        What’s bigoted about the word “heeb”? Figure it out yourself.

    • mikeo
      March 20, 2014, 1:53 pm

      “The fraud, thuggery and racism which suffuses this transplanted hate Israel fad is recognized more and more as brainwash for hormonal youth on campus.”

      You are delusional – the US is the last bastion of suppoert for Israel and it is falling…

      With all the Hasbara in the world and complete control of official channels of information to shape the message…

      Israel is marginally more popular worldwide than Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.

      I think Iran may overtake you this year – their press has been rather good unlike Israel’s

    • thetruthhurts
      March 20, 2014, 2:03 pm

      ‘many of their compatriots are stuck in hostile places”
      yeah, like in their native homeland of occupied palestine called israel, the cancer of the world.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 20, 2014, 2:19 pm

      recognized more and more as brainwash for hormonal youth on campus.

      don’t be ridiculous. you better get your ducks in a row, chickens having come home and are roosting. the howls and screeches from your side of the aisle are falling on deaf ears and being laughed at.

      • BrianEsker
        March 20, 2014, 10:56 pm

        @Annie …Then get yourself a hearing aid, Mondo-Annie. Wake up and smell the iodine.
        BDS and all this hate Israel crud are continually being exposed as fraudulent, racist, hypocritical, and against the better interest of Palestinian Arabs who seek to live in an independent, democratic state of their own some day. Every one of these “victories” is pure garbage when looked at closely. Obviously there’s a pattern of determined activists hijacking school councils and newspapers to foist these harsh agendas. But the people who run universities and certainly the public at large know its a scam and eventually build in counter measures. Like permanently tabling these stupid resolutions. The ones that lose the most in this are your PalArab friends.

      • DaBakr
        March 22, 2014, 11:41 pm

        funny how these groups also like to call themselves ‘grassroots’ and completely ignore the massive financial input from not only vocal anti-Zionist individuals but also funds garnered thru ngo’s that are clearly funded by EU money as well as UN money as if these BDS groups are not intricately organized and funded campaigns against Israel meant to fool the ignorant into assuming its all the young students suddenly becoming aware of this one myopic international conflict despite the harrowing lives of millions of starving, dying and war-ravaged people in Africa, Asia and more recently, Syria. All designated ‘2nd tier’ causes because they do not demonize Israel and Zionism

      • Real Jew
        March 23, 2014, 1:57 am

        Brian you claim the bds movement is being exposed as “fradulent, racist, hypocritical, and detrimental to Palarabs”. But if you drop your own racist ethnocentric arrogance and do your homework you would realize that the bds movement is growing stronger by the day. If this wasnt true then why would the elites in Israel’s political and economic circles be paying so much attention to it? The fact that your so passionately upset about it and intentionally trying to downplay its success speaks volumes. What we’re seeing here is not “activists hijacking school councils” but cracks in israels foundation of impunity and unaccoutability. And no billions of dollars in hasbara or branding will change that. btw here on mondoweiss you’ll find genuine well informed caring individuals and your despicable lack of civility has no place on this website

      • ziusudra
        March 25, 2014, 5:48 am

        Greetings BrianE.,
        The majority of citizens in any Country are w/o power, but individuals like
        the fine writers of MW & supporters such as seafoid, Sumud, Hostage, Walid just to name a few. plus all pro Pal. Semite Arabs writers, such as Duff, Cunningham, Dean, Finkelstein, Chromsky, etc. have literal power to erode your solipsistic, narcissstic, nihilistic, fairy tale Zionistic fortified hill are encroaching, yiddle by yiddle.
        ziusudra
        PS As the Germans say,
        Yuuhuu, wir sind wieder da!
        ( Surprise, we are back again!)

    • adele
      March 20, 2014, 2:46 pm

      The problem w/ your last paragraph Brian is that the “nation” that is being offered to the Palestinians is a set of non-contiguous bantustans w/out sovereignty over their natural water resources and borders. The Matrix of Control (see ICAHD) that has been put in place and is continuing to shape the restrictions on Palestinians or any future “state” will not lead to peace. They will be landlocked and at the mercy of Israel, same as now. That “nation” that Israel is offering is one that is worth fighting against, not for.

      • Sumud
        March 21, 2014, 1:45 am

        Very true adele – what Israel is offering the West Bank is actually Gaza but with more relaxed borders that Israel controls, and can close and open as they see fit.

        Not a state.

      • Sibiriak
        March 21, 2014, 3:10 am

        Sumud:

        … what Israel is offering the West Bank is actually Gaza but with more relaxed borders that Israel controls, and can close and open as they see fit.

        Gaza and the West Bank would be connected with some kind of corridor and would be politically unified, to one degree or another.

        Not a state.

        Yes, it would be a de facto dependent statelet. But that could change over time–it’s not the end of the historical process.

        If Palestine becomes a fully recognized state, it would have all the rights under international law that any other state has. It has been argued, for example, that “no new state is ever under any obligation to remain demilitarized, whatever else it may have agreed to in its pre-state incarnation.” I’m not sure if that is true, or if Palestine is legally in a “pre-state” condition at the moment, but in a practical sense, there is certainly some truth in it.

      • DaBakr
        March 23, 2014, 12:01 am

        doesn’t a bridge or connection between Gaza and WB bifurcate the Israeli nation just as the palestinians claim their future state will be bi-furcated? I am not saying the geography is the same but bi-furcated is bifurcated. When the Palestinians prove by actions (meaning: whatever gov’t is in power-be it the corrupt PA or the corrupt Hamas that they are able and willing to halt all military attacks against the Israeli state. Certainly Israel can promise that and why should Israel settle for less? At least a long term interim is called for based on just the recent 10yrs past. If Hamas and whoever is ruling WB can conntrol militant factions for the 5-10 yrs it will take for both Pals and Isri’s to finally stop warring then security apparatus can come down in increments. That the Palestinians refuse this stipulation shows the majority of israelis that nobody on ther other side is really a partner for peace.

        And you people here want Israel to pretend it doesn’t hold a military advantage-something no nation has ever been required nor expected to do while many believe the Palestinians deserve FULL sovereignty without any interim periods of verification as if they have truly ;fought’ israel to a standstill. This is NOT what is happening. israel is constantly holding back and responding with carefully gauged (not always carfeully executed) response to terror cells that ‘claim’ to have no connection to their leaders. A dubious claim at best.

        Oh-then there is the other ‘minor’ issue Israel faces that there is no guarantee that any Palestinian ‘gov’t’ wont be overthrown in violent coup and CHUCK any treaty signed with Isr. Something that while possible-has proven HIGHLY unlikely in Israel due to over 60yrs of political stability through war and peace.

    • amigo
      March 20, 2014, 3:47 pm

      Esker, your profile states you are a linguist.

      “PalArabs.”

      What are studying ?.

      Linguistics of bigotry and racism.

      • DaBakr
        March 20, 2014, 9:25 pm

        deciding that PalArab (a shorthand no more, no less) is so racist while the liberal use of ‘zionazi’ scum’ is considered appropriate euphemism for Jews who support Israel.
        As usual…hypocritical to the core with blinders the size of a barnside.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 20, 2014, 10:37 pm

        what liberal use of ‘zionazi’ scum’ i? how are you using the term ‘liberal’? because that’s not a term used liberally. or do you mean liberals say it and it’s “considered appropriate euphemism”?

        not sure that would even pass moderation here. personally it’s not a term i would use for “Jews who support Israel.”, whereas i might think about using it for Jews who support Israel and torturing palestinian children, of which there are many. or murdering children, like this: http://mondoweiss.net/2013/12/standing-outside-refugee.html

        or imprisoning children with no evidence except that which is collected by torturing other palestinian children, like this: http://haresboys.wordpress.com/timeline-of-events/

        either way, what you said was racist. and if you want to juxtapose or compare that (no more, no less) with child murderers and tortures be my guest.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 21, 2014, 9:27 am

        “deciding that PalArab (a shorthand no more, no less)”

        So is “heeb” but that doesn’t make any less a slur.

      • DaBakr
        March 22, 2014, 11:30 pm

        fine. you use ‘heeb’ to your hearts content. and good luck convincing the rest of the world that shortening a Palestinian to Pal as if that was the real explanation for why the Polish called Jews ‘heebs’ and ‘sheenies’. There are plenty of vulgar and racist euphemisms for Arabs and Palestinians (but none specific to Palestinians) but I don’t think all the false indignation in the world can make PalArab into a bigoted slur anymore then the Isr/Pal conflict is an abbrev. of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Besides-you cultist BDS’rs have all kinds of little tricks to exclaim your racist and bigoted views of Israeli Jews. Take only one example: the liberal use of Germanic words usually associated with the German Reichs attempt to rid europe of ALL Jews. You could pick any language since you all write in english but don’t worry-Israelis and most Jews get it. I doubt seriously that a Palestinian referred to as Pal would get very worked up. The term has no history nor associationg with bigotry and is mostly a lazy persons way to write Palestinian quickly. But then nit-picking has always been part of the BDS/MW instruction manual hasn’t it?

        Oh-and I guess you think i am collecting a big paycheck as some professional spokesman for Israel, yes? Thats the common belief here no?

      • BrianEsker
        March 20, 2014, 11:05 pm

        Hey Amigo, What’s racist about the word PalArabs? I had to ask another genius the same thing up above.
        I can see that this is a large request for your combined geniuses.

      • DaBakr
        March 23, 2014, 12:06 am

        So-then I guess ‘Sauds’ is also racist. And Isr/Arab conflict is definitely a bigoted jibe at Jews in Israel. You MW’ers want to win your war by the art of nit-picking.

    • seafoid
      March 20, 2014, 4:14 pm

      “The folks who want to help them should concentrate on nation building and negotiations rather than being simply a vicious and often fraudulent protest movement”

      Concentrate on nation building- they tried that. Israel blew everything up.
      And left a calling card

      http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Jewish-Star-in-Gaza-field-causes-stir
      At the HDIP offices in Ramallah some nice Jewish boys shat in the photocopier.

      There’s a nice crescendo building up now

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.580831#

      “Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said on Wednesday that he will step down from his position if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approves the release of Palestinian prisoners scheduled for March 28.
      Danon, a member of Likud’s righ-wing faction, delivered the ultimatum to Netanyahu in a letter. The release is the last of four scheduled as part of negotiations, being led by United States Secretary of State John Kerry, on a framework agreement outlining a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday that he expected Israel to go ahead with the release. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday that the release would be conditional on reaching a framework agreement.”

      • BrianEsker
        March 20, 2014, 11:07 pm

        Seafood calls launching thousands of rockets at children and old people “nation building.”

        Going nowhere fast.

      • seafoid
        March 21, 2014, 12:28 pm

        They built an airport in Gaza. What did Judistan do to it?
        Why did Israel bomb the Shifa hospital in Gaza?
        Why was most of the EU funded infrastructure in Gaza trashed in 2008 ?

        Israel is a very sick puppy

      • Real Jew
        March 23, 2014, 2:00 am

        Brian is just a troll. And the last time I will respond to his filth. I recommend all to do the same. Unless he has something relevant to say other then veiled racism and hatred

    • Shingo
      March 20, 2014, 6:09 pm

      The fraud, thuggery and racism which suffuses this transplanted hate Israel fad is recognized more and more as brainwash for hormonal youth on campus.

      How does that explain the fact it is growing and becoming more popular?

      and it would be a redemption for them to finally gain their independence, a set of borders and place to begin building a future.

      Yeah pity about the fact Israel stole that place.

      The folks who want to help them should concentrate on nation building and negotiations rather than being simply a vicious and often fraudulent protest movement.

      Yes, let’s focus on nation building in a nation that Israel refuses to come into existence, much less recognize.

      You’re like a rapist who tells his victim to stop the self pity and change her lifestyle so that she doesn’t get raped again.

    • talknic
      March 21, 2014, 6:58 am

      @ BrianEsker “The fraud, thuggery and racism ..”

      Examples?

      Here’s and example of fraud. The Israeli Government sells land to Israeli citizens in territory that is not yet Israeli https://www.google.com.au/search?q=%20Netanyahu%20%22will%20become%20part%20of%20Israel%22

      ” This is why you see more student groups tabling these silly BDS motions and more annoyed school administrators shutting down these clubs altogether as a security problem”

      Security problem? How?

      “The PalArabs are in a bad spot”

      If you insist on terminology such as PalArabs, the PalJews indigenous to pre 00:01 (ME time) 15th May 1948 http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/documents/newPDF/49.pdf Palestine should also get a mention

      “.. it would be a redemption for them to finally gain their independence, a set of borders and place to begin building a future”

      They including as you would have it, the PalJews, had a state under the LoN Mandate for Palestine http://pages.citebite.com/h2v4g0b3i7nma . Even non-PalJews http://pages.citebite.com/q1h3q1u6j6ujv could immigrate, attain Palestinian citizenship, buy land and settle anywhere in the Historic Jewish People’s homeland (or in the Jewish People’s Historic homeland. What ever way, it was relegated to history the day Israel was proclaimed as “an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947” (ibid) )

      The Zionist Federation screwed that up for Jewish folk by demanding a separate Jewish state. You should be bitching at them

      “The folks who want to help them should concentrate on nation building and negotiations “

      The Palestinians are under no legal obligation to negotiate or relinquish any of their legal rights in negotiations with a rogue state in breach of hundreds of UNSC resolutions giving it hundreds of opportunities to adhere to the bindings Laws, UN Charter and relevant conventions those UNSC resolution re-affirm,and emphasize. Instead the rogue state has chosen to illegally acquire even more territory, illegally annex and illegally settle and illegally sell its citizens land in territory that does not yet belong to the State of Israel.

      How can anyone support an insane government that encourages its citizens to break the Law by illegally settling in Occupied Territories, thereby endangering them by their being in a situation where there might well be violent repercussions to Israel occupying another people AND it sells its citizens land in territory the Israeli Government ADMITS https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Netanyahu%20%22settlements%20will%20become%22%20Israel doesn’t yet belong to the state?

  2. Bill in Maryland
    March 20, 2014, 12:26 pm

    Great story Phil- thanks so much for sharing. Especially the insight about the disorienting effect on PEPs as they find themselves in a reactionary, defensive posture on the issue of human rights in I/P.

    • Krauss
      March 20, 2014, 6:42 pm

      I agree, this is brilliant writing. But it is also great sociological writing.

      It’s not just about about the conflict, it’s also Jewish sociological writing.
      I’ve seen it in my family. The older generation have trouble calling themselves white. In their minds, there are three types of people in America. Whites(WASPs, really), Jews and “others”(who are invisible and unknown, except when they get attacked by whites, then it is our job to stand up for them. Then we forget about them).

      The younger generation understand very well that we are white. We are ethnically Jewish, just like some whites are ethnically Irish, and our religion isn’t Christian, which sets us apart. But our American(as opposed to Jewish) cultural identity is very white, it is our cultural reference. There’s no WASP/Jewish divide in our minds, not least because half of us are children of intermarriages and most of those intermarriages are to whites(not necessarily just WASPs but also Catholic Irish, Italian etc).

      What Phil saw was not just a demonstration of this, but also the undercurrent of racial resentment in America. Beneath our flowery rhetoric, there’s a red river of hatred, to paraphrase Jeffrey Goldberg.

      And it is ironic. Phil probably felt what older WASPs under siege felt during the 1960s, when young Jews were radicals. They probably felt the deep racial animus as an undercurrent coming from Jewish radical students. It wasn’t just Vietnam, or Nixon or the attacks on the civil rights movement. It was also a racial undercurrent, which was later confirmed in the attacks on the “WASP establishment” we’ve seen since(largely a fiction and a ghost by now).

      The roles are not reversed but rather merged; WASP and Jewish into one white overclass. And the radicals are now non-whites, and while the issues may be I/P instead of Vietnam and economic inequality and gun culture etc, there’s also a racial animus underneath it all. And that’s what Phil felt, only this time, he understood we were the privileged class under siege, supporting something that has to go, but the sheer agression and hatred was unmistakable. And uncomfortable, understandbly.

      I just wish Phil would write more things like this.

  3. hophmi
    March 20, 2014, 12:33 pm

    “She could not go on this trip because she would be stopped at Ben-Gurion airport because of the Lebanese stamps in her passport, and because her going would prevent her from traveling to Arab countries.”

    This takes the cake. A trip to Israel is discriminatory because Arab countries discriminate against people who have been to Israel.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    • Ellen
      March 20, 2014, 2:41 pm

      Can you cite such instances? Has not been my or family experience at all. In fact to to contrary.

      • hophmi
        March 20, 2014, 3:10 pm

        I didn’t say it; the SJP student did. Whether it’s true or not, the argument that the trip should not have gone forward because Arab countries discriminate against people with Israel stamps on their passports is pretty ridiculous, all the more so if it’s untrue.

      • amigo
        March 20, 2014, 3:54 pm

        Hopknee, given Israel,s penchant for Passport theft, can you blame any country for being dubious.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Mahmoud_Al-Mabhouh

      • Ellen
        March 20, 2014, 11:26 pm

        Hophmi, I meant can YOU cite instances where travelers are harassed or discriminated against when traveling into an Arab country with an Israeli stamp in their passport?

        In my experience it has been Israel border guards harassing visitors with a Jordanian or Egyptian stamp in the passport. I’ve never experienced the discrimination entering an Arab country with an Israel stamp. Not even a question about it. It was all chill, relaxed.

      • hophmi
        March 21, 2014, 12:10 pm

        “In my experience it has been Israel border guards harassing visitors with a Jordanian or Egyptian stamp in the passport. I’ve never experienced the discrimination entering an Arab country with an Israel stamp. Not even a question about it. It was all chill, relaxed.”

        That’s good to know. I can certainly understand why Israel, which has been targeted for terrorist attacks by nationals from some of these countries, would give extra scrutiny to people who have been there.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 21, 2014, 2:41 pm

        “I can certainly understand why Israel, which has been targeted for terrorist attacks by nationals from some of these countries, would give extra scrutiny to people who have been there.”

        No one said “extra scrutiny” you dimwit, Ellen was talking about harassment.

    • eljay
      March 20, 2014, 3:05 pm

      She could not go on this trip because she would be stopped at Ben-Gurion airport because of the Lebanese stamps in her passport, and because her going would prevent her from traveling to Arab countries.

      >> hophmee: This takes the cake. A trip to Israel is discriminatory because Arab countries discriminate against people who have been to Israel.

      I agree that blaming Israel for the way other countries will react to a passport stamp is ridiculous.

      But I like how you gloss over the part about how Israel reacts to passport stamps. You can’t make that stuff up.

      • hophmi
        March 20, 2014, 4:08 pm

        I’ll add the following comments:

        1. The CIE was created a while back to respond to racial issues on campus. Although Vassar is one of the most liberal campuses in the country, it has, like many campuses, had issues with racial polarization on campus; students of different racial and ethnic groups sometimes keep to themselves. When some major crisis happens, one of these all-campus sessions is held to give students a chance to vent. A few years after I graduated, that’s one of the things the CIE was created to do. And at Vassar, students do vent in these fora, because that is the point. (In my day, the sketch comedy troupe on campus made an offensive joke during one of their shows, and the student government defunded them, which created a major controversy, and led to one of these things.)

        There is quite a racial divide that pops up sometime (every few years it gets hot), though it is also a class divide. African-American students on campus tend to come from the inner city; white students tend to come from privileged backgrounds, and there is a real mix, because even among elite schools, Vassar’s record of giving financial aid and achieving a diverse campus stands out. Since Muslims on campus likely identify as students of color, and since students of color often congregate with other students of color, it leads to a racially polarized atmosphere at times. So this may be why the issue seemed so racially tinged, even though this is not really a racial issue in that sense. Some of the language does get uncomfortable, particularly when students of color make broad generalizations about white privilege that white students are unused to hearing and cannot readily contextualize. When I was there, and the student government defunded the comedy troupe, I was strongly against it because I felt it was not in the spirit of free speech, and that it sent a chilling message. Some people thought that was a racist opinion, which surprised me. But they’re kids. They’re into feeling righteous. And in the Vassar bubble, it’s easy for them to do that.

        2. I think Vassar is a bit atypical. It is more liberal than your average liberal arts campus. The director of the Jewish Studies program is a BDS supporter. The head of the Jewish Student Union is a BDS supporter. Though it has plenty of Jewish students, they’re almost all from assimilated backgrounds where Israel is not a big issue for them either way, so it’s not a school with anything resembling a pro-Israel community and never has been. Even in my time there, which is 15 years ago, professors were afraid to say anything supportive of Israel. So I think you have a situation where the SJP is essentially unopposed.

        3. I have to hand it to the SJP; they have matured a lot nationally in the past couple of years, and stuff like that does not happen without real coalition building and organizing. Pro-Israel students on campus are not doing that building as effectively as they should be, although in the real world , Jews certainly are doing it, quite effectively. Anyone with a cause can learn something from the SJP movement’s organizing in the past couple of years.

        4. You felt uncomfortable by what you saw there. That supports what I’ve said for some time, which is that anti-Zionism is mixed in with something more nefarious than that, and that more nefarious thing is something anti-Zionists completely refuse to deal with. On a college campus, students can get away with acting like this, though someone will eventually overstep, and it will look bad for you and them, whether they end up heckling a speaker out of a room, or someone gets physical with a Jewish student. After college, however, it won’t work as well, and they’ll realize that they’re much more on the margins, as they realize when they’re Tibet activists, etc. It remains in your best interest to fight antisemitism in your movement, and to stick to the facts of the conflict, rather than making this about how bad the American Jewish community is.

      • Donald
        March 20, 2014, 5:51 pm

        “But they’re kids. They’re into feeling righteous. And in the Vassar bubble, it’s easy for them to do that.”

        “That supports what I’ve said for some time, which is that anti-Zionism is mixed in with something more nefarious than that, and that more nefarious thing is something anti-Zionists completely refuse to deal with.”

        “It remains in your best interest to fight antisemitism in your movement, and to stick to the facts of the conflict, rather than making this about how bad the American Jewish community is.”

        I picked out three quotes above–I think the first quote is more to the point. Like Phil, I felt a little uncomfortable reading this account, but from what I can tell it’s more the self-righteousness that you’d expect from college activists. I remember once knowing a college kid during the tail end of the apartheid era. I forget the details, but mentioned how someone had been killed by the South African government. He hadn’t heard of this particular incident, and his immediate reaction was a very intense “Those bastards!!”. His voice was seething with anger. Now yes, the SA government was full of bastards and it was a crime, but I thought his reaction was a little over the top. But he was also about 19 years old.

        As for the second and third quotes, yeah, I think any movement critical of Israel will also pick up some anti-semites. But it cuts both ways. When I started reading seriously about the I/P conflict, the way Israel defenders talk about Palestinians always reminded me of the way defensive white Southerners spoke about blacks. And I don’t think that’s an accident. Human nature is boringly predictable in ethnic conflicts–racism pretty much goes with the territory.

      • hophmi
        March 21, 2014, 12:21 pm

        “As for the second and third quotes, yeah, I think any movement critical of Israel will also pick up some anti-semites.”

        I think it’s more than a few, and I think the movement as a whole has a structural problem, which is that at its core, a good deal of the movement against the Jewish state in the Arab world is based in a desire by the Arab world collectively to have ethnic and religious exclusivity in the governance of their region. It is also, as I’ve long argued, prone to the cherry-picking argument, the argument that human rights activists have a special obsession with Israel at the expense of other human rights issues. That does not mean that the Palestinian cause is unjust. But it does mean that the morality is much more complex, and that the attention given to this issue has and benefits from a certain institutional bias.

        “But it cuts both ways. When I started reading seriously about the I/P conflict, the way Israel defenders talk about Palestinians always reminded me of the way defensive white Southerners spoke about blacks.”

        There are sometimes parallels. But I’d say the way Palestinians talk about Jews is as bad and worse. The wall has made things worse in that respect because Israelis just don’t see Palestinians as much as they used to.

        “What is beyond belief is that a fully tenured professor at an
        Ivy League college would not be aware that the participation of Palestinian students in such an exercise would be impossible because
        more probably than not, they would not be admitted into Israel.”

        Vassar is not in the Ivy League (though it’s about on par with it at this point) but I’m not so sure about that. It certainly would not be true if they were American citizens.

        “Also,
        that she would be unaware that the usual procedure for Palestinians
        at Ben Gurion is several hours of intensive interrogation regarding any and all contacts within and without Israel, strip searches (for females in full view of male personnel), downloading of information from all electronics to Israeli computers and then imprisonment for 24 to 72 hours until a flight out can be located”

        Do you have any evidence that that is the USUAL procedure for all people of Palestinian descent? I doubt it.

      • eljay
        March 22, 2014, 9:28 am

        >> … I think … a good deal of the movement against the Jewish state in the Arab world is based in a desire by the Arab world collectively to have ethnic and religious exclusivity in the governance of their region.

        Maybe. Or maybe the movement against an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” born of terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands is based on the fact that Israel:
        – is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state, born of terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands;
        – was established as a supremacist state of and for Jews, rather than for all citizens of its territory, equally;
        – has remained engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder;
        – refuses to honour its obligations under international law; and
        – refuses to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

        But, sure, let’s just gloss over all of that and blame those dirty Aye-rabs. We can even call it “nuance”, to make it sound more profound.

        >> It is also, as I’ve long argued, prone to the cherry-picking argument …

        The pot calls the kettle ‘black’.

        You and your hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist co-collectivists are a bad joke.

      • Abierno
        March 20, 2014, 4:19 pm

        What is beyond belief is that a fully tenured professor at an
        Ivy League college would not be aware that the participation of Palestinian students in such an exercise would be impossible because
        more probably than not, they would not be admitted into Israel. Also,
        that she would be unaware that the usual procedure for Palestinians
        at Ben Gurion is several hours of intensive interrogation regarding any and all contacts within and without Israel, strip searches (for females in full view of male personnel), downloading of information from all electronics to Israeli computers and then imprisonment for 24 to 72 hours until a flight out can be located. Even high ranking academics and US government personnel have been subjected to such
        procedures. It would be my suggestion that students protesting this
        trip review Vassar’s own policies on discrimination and report back how
        this trip measures up. I would suspect that many of Vassar’s non discrimination policies are violated in this instance. Perhaps because
        Palestinian students are so few, or were unable to afford such a trip,
        it was decided that it just didn’t matter. I would wonder that no participants on the trip (particularly those who have passed through Ben Gurion on their way to Israel and seen the harassment of Arab
        travelers for themselves) raised the issue themselves. This in itself is
        a statement on the status of non discrimination at Vasser, ostensibly
        an elite Ivy league college.

      • Philip Weiss
        March 21, 2014, 12:57 pm

        That’s a little thick, Hophmi. What’s usual? If it’s done one in 10 times or 1 in 100 there’s a strong pattern of this humiliation that is now documented and that scares people off. I know that Muslims and Arabs avoid this airport if they can. Whether that’s cause to cancel a trip is a different issue

      • adele
        March 21, 2014, 1:16 pm

        And let’s not forget. it is not only Palestinians and individuals of Palestinian or Arab or Muslim heritage. The tactics are also used against individuals that have visited the OT. Ben Gurion security will subject these individuals to some the most intensive questioning that goes on forever with various security personnel , strip-searching, invasive and thorough searches of belongings, checking laptops, phones, etc.

      • hophmi
        March 21, 2014, 1:36 pm

        “That’s a little thick, Hophmi. What’s usual?”

        I’m asking you that. Phil, countries in a state of war usually give people a hard time if they’ve been in enemy places. Do you think if someone walks into the US with Afghanistan stamped on his passport that he’s not going to have a hard time at the border? Iran? Iraq (whom we’re not at war with)?

        I’m not saying it’s the best policy, but I can understand it.

        In any event, this is the sort of trip you should applaud. It is complex, and exposes the students to the complexity of Israel and Palestine, including the inequalities.

      • Philip Weiss
        March 22, 2014, 8:52 am

        Hophmi, the definition of Israel as a country in a state of war is extremely difficult for me. It has never not been the case, for 70 years. How can there be a future? I would work on constitutional issues if I were an Israeli, to constitute the society in such a manner that it is no longer in a state of war. BDS seems to me a way forward here. Shira Robinson’s book too. Begin to understand the Palestinians not as a threat to your existence, but partners in co-existence.

      • seafoid
        March 22, 2014, 1:08 pm

        Permanent war is insane. the sort of social engineering required makes a mockery of Tikkun Olam, the mitzvot, whatever being Jewish means.
        Annie posted a video the other day of some Israeli intellectual talking about Hebron . In Hebrew. Translated.

        But he could never have said the same thing in English to an English speaking audience. The memes are all twisted. Nobody else in the West lives on a permanent war footing and it shows.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 20, 2014, 4:26 pm

      “This takes the cake. A trip to Israel is discriminatory because Arab countries discriminate against people who have been to Israel.”

      No, you dimwit, she can’t take the trip because she would be discriminated against by the zios at the Gurion airport. She is also saying that it is discriminatory that Vassar would arrange the trip knowing that its Arab students would face that discrimination and, further, knowing that if they decided to endure the dehumanization they are sure to face at the hands of the israelis that the israeli stamp in their passport would prevent their travel to Arab states, and that it is discriminatory for Vassar to require its Arab students to make that choice.

      The question of whether its right or wrong for the Arab states to do this is immaterial; they do. It’s a fact. So given that fact, it would be Vassar who would be discriminating by taking an action (touring occupied Palestine) when doing so would open up those students to the loss of the ability to travel to Arab states as a result of the stamp by the occupation entity.

      • Walid
        March 21, 2014, 3:12 am

        “… A trip to Israel is discriminatory because Arab countries discriminate against people who have been to Israel.”

        For Hophmi: Half of the Arab League countries accept the Israeli passport or Israeli-stamped passports and those that actually refuse either of them, close their eyes on those with dual nationalities using passports of other countries. So Israelis with either an Israeli passport or with with one of another country are welcomed in almost every Arab country. A few years ago, Saudia allowed-in an Israeli reporter of Yediot Aharonot and Israel actually had a trade office in Doha and Israeli athletes have been competing in the UAE.

      • hophmi
        March 21, 2014, 12:23 pm

        Again, I was not commenting on the accuracy of the allegation, but only that the SJP student said it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 21, 2014, 2:30 pm

        “Again, I was not commenting on the accuracy of the allegation, but only that the SJP student said it.”

        No, you didn’t even have the character to attempt to understand her point, but rather mocked her and everyone who suffers similarly to her, because she dared object, by demanding respect for herself, as your Judeo-supremacist racism demands that she be denied that.

  4. Henry Norr
    March 20, 2014, 12:43 pm

    Interesting piece, Phil, but why in god’s name do you keep calling Jerry Brown a “progressive”? I know that’s not the main issue here, but it’s annoying to me and, I’m sure, many of your other readers here in California. Maybe you’ve been smoking something left over from the 1970s or 1980a? There’s nothing in Brown’s record in the 21st century that qualifies him as a progressive!

    • Philip Weiss
      March 20, 2014, 1:57 pm

      Ok Henry, but what’s he call himself? (de Blasio calls himself progressive; I think he’s reactionary on my issue; I call him prog because I am trying to reflect the mainstream spectrum l-r in USA)

      • Henry Norr
        March 20, 2014, 2:52 pm

        Jerry Brown calls himself a fiscal conservative, and he’s right. Check out his his website http://www.jerrybrown.org/ – the headline is “Stand with Jerry for a fiscally responsible California.” Or look at his “Accomplishments” page: the two he boasts of for 2013 are “Passed [sic – it’s actually the legislature that passes things]a fiscally responsible budget”and “Improving Califorrnia’s credit rating.”

        It’s true that they balanced the budget in part by promoting a ballot measure that included a small increase in taxes on the rich, but a) it also included a regressive sales tax increase; b) he designed it to head off a much more progressive “millionaire’s tax” proposition promoted by the teachers’ union among others; and c) the main thing the governor and legislature (dominated by Dems) did to balance the budget was to push through devastating cuts in the state’s “social safety net.”

        Meanwhile, Brown keeps fighting federal court mandates to reduce overcrowding and improve healthcare in the state’s prisons. And his big “visionary” proposal is a wacko scheme to spend something like $60 billion building gigantic tunnels to take water out of northern California rivers and deliver it to his agribusiness supporters in the southern Central Valley.

        Enough? I’m not saying you should denounce him on this site, but just please stop calling him a progressive…

      • JeffB
        March 20, 2014, 5:24 pm

        @Henry —

        I’m probably one of the most rightwing people on this site. People quite literally consider me either a fascist or insane. In the real world holding the very opinions I express here I’m extremely happy with Obama as president and mostly agree with him on the issues. I like Biden, Pelosi, Reid… I mostly agree with MSNBC. Hillary Clinton is a smidge to my right. In other words I’m a mainstream Democrat. I think there is a tendency here to not really get how broad a spectrum is meant by “liberal” or “progressive” in America and how far to the right Republicans are.

        Jerry Brown’s approach is the mainstream one among California’s Democratic party. California is a very liberal state with a left Democratic party. He is not remotely a fiscal conservative. The Southern Democratic senators who may lose seats are fiscally conservative for Democrats and they are way way to the right of Jerry Brown.

      • Donald
        March 21, 2014, 8:18 am

        “People quite literally consider me either a fascist or insane. In the real world holding the very opinions I express here I’m extremely happy with Obama as president and mostly agree with him on the issues. ”

        You’re moderately progressive except for Palestine. That’s all. On Palestine you spout some really inane rubbish. And “moderately progressive” in America just means you’re slightly center-left.

        On whether Brown is or isn’t a “progressive” I couldn’t say, not living in California and not paying attention to him. You’re correct that the word as used in America covers an extremely wide range of views, largely because the Republicans have been successful in framing centrists as liberals, and liberals as socialists, and socialists as Stalinists.

      • puppies
        March 21, 2014, 9:40 am

        Jeff – “People quite literally consider me either a fascist or insane.”
        That’s not an either/or proposition.

        “holding the very opinions I express here I’m extremely happy with Obama as president and mostly agree with him on the issues. I like Biden, Pelosi, Reid… I mostly agree with MSNBC. Hillary Clinton is a smidge to my right. In other words I’m a mainstream Democrat.”
        See, both insane and a fascist.

        “I think there is a tendency here to not really get how broad a spectrum is meant by “liberal” or “progressive” in America”
        No, now it only means criminals against peace and war criminals, in lockstep behind Pentagon and Zionists. Any other “liberals” or “progressives” in the US have been diluted to homeopathic ratios.

      • puppies
        March 20, 2014, 11:34 pm

        Let’s forget the Zionist cacophony and diversion for a moment.
        Just two things about your writing that I can’t understand. I have no claims on your time, of course, nor any right to an explanation but it’s bugging this old guy in his last years.
        First, this with so-called progressives etc. has got nothing with what the subject calls himself or not, really. Look at your paper:
        ” and intractable Israel-Palestine conflict is set to become a raging conflict inside the American progressive community”
        How so, “inside”?
        Are you still writing for a US smalltown rag? No. Is anyone imposing censorship on you? Not that you told us. If you are seriously thinking like you write, I’d be extremely interested in the reasons that make you think that “progressive” can encompass the fake, heinous nationalism of Zionism.
        The same goes for:
        “An out lesbian with children, she has been a leader in a liberation movement.”
        If she was an out lesbian, she was taking care of her own problems. Liberation leader? Like someone who isn’t in it for personal gain or advancement? No. When you fight on the oppressed side because you are part of it while you are firmly on the oppressor’s side for something else because you belong to that side, that can’t be “leadership”.

        Then the incredible attention to people’s so-called feelings. I just cannot understand why they would even be worth mentioning at all:
        “they and some of their students felt intimidated. They communicated these feelings”
        “super intimidating to walk into the College Center and feel that that identity is questioned”
        “They laughed at me, I felt trivialized, I felt my opinions not being validated.”
        “he asked an angry, pointed question.”
        “students felt harassed and bullied”
        ” students were upset and shaken up”
        and
        “I left feeling some empathy for Schneiderman and Friedman.”

        Please note that I skipped some! Doubtless we are not coming from the same place, and it is almost surprising to see that this kind of thinking does not stand in the way of some entirely correct conclusions.

      • JeffB
        March 21, 2014, 8:35 am

        @Donald

        You’re moderately progressive except for Palestine. That’s all. On Palestine you spout some really inane rubbish. And “moderately progressive” in America just means you’re slightly center-left.

        That’s not true. Most of the foreign policy ideas I express on Palestine which are considered beyond the pale are the same ones I hold for other countries. For example my definition of legitimacy in terms of:

        a) A nation
        b) A government of those people
        c) An army loyal to that government

        I apply that everywhere. Because I believe strongly in self determination, which is one of the big things that’s objected to since the UN holds it in so little regard. So for example do believe the people of Crimea have every right to leave Ukraine and join with Russia if they wish. This opinion rejecting the UN’s right to determine borders isn’t specific to Palestine.

        I believe that the 4th Geneva convention is poorly thought out in most areas of international law and thus makes it bad policy to be true for the USA. And also one of the main reasons Yugoslavia turned out so badly. Which has nothing to do with Palestine.

        I’m not being inconsistent as a Zionist. I’m consistently supporting the same views I hold on other policy issues. I expect of Israel nothing different than I expect of France.

      • libra
        March 22, 2014, 6:13 pm

        JeffB: I expect of Israel nothing different than I expect of France.

        Belgium’s buggered then.

  5. JeffB
    March 20, 2014, 1:24 pm

    Phil —

    First off thank you for presenting a version of events that sounds plausible! This version of events passes the smell test completely. I don’t have any inside information on Vassar lately (though my brother attended there for a few years) but I get it. This is an environment where an administrator is likely to view BDS/SJP… as just a sudden burst of ethnic tension that needs to get treated like a student vs. student ethnic issue not a purely political dispute.
    ____

    In the end I think we disagree that Palestine is going to matter enough to the international students. I think the Jewish students are going to respond very much like their grandparents and great-grandparents did and side with the right. If these incidents happen. I think the administration is going to side with full tuition paying students over even a greater number of financial aide students. So for example:

    How long before students occupy administration buildings of liberal arts colleges that work with Israel?

    This sort of thing can get treated like a student protest with the administration fretting and negotiating and… Or it can treated like a straightforward property dispute where the police come in, use violence, arrest the protestors, charge them with criminal trespass and then the university follows up against the trespassers with additional disciplinary procedures. I simply don’t believe the former will happen if Jewish students feel harassed. Unfair as this, students of color (SoC) with less privilege have much more to worry about if it becomes a police matter than white privileged students do. A stupid college protest can turn into a crucial turning in their lives in a way it wouldn’t for privileged students. Even if they don’t understand that, their advisors and parents sure do. I don’t see how the SoC can escalate on an issue they (IMHO) don’t care enough about.

    Unlike a lot of the people here you’re old enough to remember the 1970s and how liberal Jews got kicked out of the civil rights struggle, when the issue moved from the south and Jim Crow to the north and local control of black neighborhood resources. Neighborhoods that had been Jewish ghettos before they became black where Jews still had property holdings and thus were seen as on the side of white power. A crucial one of the last steps in how Jews became white people in America. Local control was a core issue and many blacks even understanding the ferocious backlash they faced in terms of completely unequal funding for things like schools, infrastructure and policing as a result of the move might think it was the right move. I don’t see see why the SJP/BDS students of color would view Palestine in the same light with the same importance.

    Remember there was turmoil and violence in France once the country’s support for Algerian colonization became politically problematic at last after 120 years.

    I agree. But Israel demands today very little from the United States. This is much more complex but given Israel’s propensity towards aggressive responses effective USA support for BDS that actually bites (and this is getting almost fictional) is asking the USA to take strong action to contain Israel. For example preventing Israel from responding to severe pressure by breaking with the west to become China’s mideast center of power. So this is the opposite of Algeria the USA’s involvement with Israel would likely increase.

    A closer analogy to Israel would be student activism against China asking the USA to make human rights rather than trade a more important aspect of USA / Chinese relations which so far haven’t yielded any meaningful changes in the USA’s orientation.

    • Philip Weiss
      March 20, 2014, 2:00 pm

      Jeff: I believe this is inaccurate:
      “I think the Jewish students are going to respond very much like their grandparents and great-grandparents did and side with the right.”
      They are behaving differently, the Jewish students. Three or four of them spoke on behalf of the SJP position. How does that figure into your generational math?

      • JeffB
        March 20, 2014, 2:17 pm

        @Phil

        “I think the Jewish students are going to respond very much like their grandparents and great-grandparents did and side with the right.” They are behaving differently, the Jewish students. Three or four of them spoke on behalf of the SJP position. How does that figure into your generational math?

        There were Jews who spoke in favor of the black property rights movement even when it turned on Jewish businesses in black communities. Some of them stayed with it even when blacks began reacting against the Jewish community reaction to the turn (i.e. Jewish support for “law and order” type police chiefs for example). But by and large the Jewish community had been solidly pro-civil rights in the 1960s and early 1970s by the late 70s and early 1980s it was (given how progressive a community it is) much more antagonistic. Think back to Jessie Jackson’s problems or Louis Farrakhan’s they both date from this time period.

        Since then there has been something of a rapprochement as the issue mostly resolved. For one things blacks aren’t nearly as geographically concentrated and for another the people who lived in the ghettos of the 20s-40s are dead now not owning / running businesses.

        But yes I think the situation seems analogous. We’ll have to see how it plays out. JVP will continue to exist I suspect. The issue is the relationship between SoC and Jewish students if things heat up.

      • Philip Weiss
        March 20, 2014, 2:26 pm

        You are characterizing Israel as an American Jewish interest in the way that certain American racial/religious/economic tensions played out. But it’s not. Young American Jews like a society that guarantees minority rights. That’s why they would in some surprising degree regard it as no big deal if there was one secular democratic state in I.P tomorrow.
        In fact, your beloved policies in I.P now endanger Jews around the world, as we are associated with a state that practices apartheid

      • hophmi
        March 20, 2014, 3:15 pm

        “Young American Jews like a society that guarantees minority rights. ”

        I’m one of them. So why not work for a two-state solution, where both states protect the rights of their minority populations? Israel is already mostly there.

      • jon s
        March 20, 2014, 3:48 pm

        At this point in time, “one secular democratic state ” i.e. no Jewish state , can’t come into existence without a bloodbath of genocidal proportions, which would be kind of a “big deal”.
        And if Israel would cease to exist -not that I think that’s going to happen – Jews around the world would be greatly endangered.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 20, 2014, 4:01 pm

        @homphi
        “So why not work for a two-state solution, where both states protect the rights of their minority populations? Israel is already mostly there.”

        The fact that you can spout such nonsense with a straight face is a good reason why not. If the oppression and prejudice that Palestinians experience on a daily basis is a-okay with you, that’s a clear reason to reject the 2SS as nothing more than an attempt to lock in Judeo-supremacism.

      • JeffB
        March 20, 2014, 4:08 pm

        @Phil

        You are characterizing Israel as an American Jewish interest in the way that certain American racial/religious/economic tensions played out. But it’s not.

        Are you saying that you believe it is objective not or that American Jews don’t view it as an American Jewish interest? If you are saying that it is not objectively I don’t really have a quick counter argument that gets into a very deep conversation about the nature of Jewish interests. America legally and culturally has little in the way of group rights so there is almost nothing that is objectively an interest for most groups. It is all a question of identification.

        But if you are saying that American Jews don’t view it that way I’d point to both Pew and the 2012 election among other things as quick counter evidence. In terms of college students I can’t imagine a world in which Israel is being demonized using the kinds of language and symbolism that is common in the anti-Zionist movement and they don’t feel threatened. Attacks on Israelis are for many American Jews literally attacks on their cousins. American Jews have a comfortable life where Israeli / Jewish interests and American interests are mostly in line, they share common enemies. Attempts to convert the USA into an enemy of Israel would perforce at the very least expose Jewish students to the kinds of pressures that Arabs felt after 9/11, and often still do.

        This is a big topic. In general I have a hard time imagining what a world where BDS is successful really looks like because I think far too many other things would have to change. As you know I think the apartheid analogy is terrible because in the case of Israel the sheer number of structural barriers are so much higher. Israel is far more likely to end up playing out like America siding against Germany and the pressure German Americans were under. How do American Jews respond as USA large banks reorient themselves so that their Jewish employees aren’t in positions to help Israel circumvent sanctions through triangle trades, and why wouldn’t they see that reorientation as a threat to their interests? How do American Jews respond as the USA State department reorients itself away from it’s Jewish employees, why wouldn’t they see that as a threat on their interests? etc..

        It some ways it is obviously chicken and egg. As long as almost all Jews in the United States don’t view Israel as a Jewish interest then anti-Zionism doesn’t have to imply anti-Jewish persecutions. But since some do, I think that the USA would face exactly what the Soviets did when they oriented towards anti-Zionism. To effectively be anti-Zionist they needed to become more anti-Semetic. And I don’t think you would dispute that Soviet Jews in the 1950s were far less Zionist than American Jews in the 2010s are. I think as Jews learn this history they are likely to become justifiably fearful. And do you think that AIPAC isn’t going to make damn sure every Jew has seen at least one movie or TV docudrama about this as BDS gains ground? For a more recent example Venezuela and the Jewish community there. Or the history of Arab Jews and how they were driven out as their government became anti-Zionist. I don’t run AIPAC, B’nai B’rith or but you better believe if I did those docudramas educating younger Jews are getting made. At my daughter’s public school it is mandatory for every student to have at least one class per month that is about the Holocaust in every grade! And that involved some fairly graphic assignments that made me uncomfortable. What do you think that’s done to the Jewish children of New Jersey?

        No offense but I don’t think BDS ever really played out BDS winning and what that looks like step by step. It is always, there is a popular rally and then something magic happens and there is a one state solution that everyone loves. I’ve never read one fully played out fictional what-if type scenario.

        Young American Jews like a society that guarantees minority rights. That’s why they would in some surprising degree regard it as no big deal if there was one secular democratic state in I.P tomorrow.

        American Jews live in a secular democratic state. They are American and share American attitudes. Israeli concepts have much more in common with Eastern European democracy than American democracy. But let’s not forget they also live in a secular democratic state that is very effective at applying cultural corrosive acid to minority’s identities and assimilating them. Palestinians can also be critiqued under American values. They won’t send their kids to public (Hebrew Israeli) schools, they won’t fight for their country (IDF), they conspire with the enemy (Syria, Saudi Arabia..) That is they do all the things the Native Americans did and the Blacks refused to do when they demanded to be fully American. Analogy does cut both ways. Americans believe in secular democracy they also believe in assimilation.

        Throw in assimilation and I don’t mind if Israel has a secular democracy. So sure there is a consensus there but I’m not sure the BDSers would like it.

        In fact, your beloved policies in I.P now endanger Jews around the world, as we are associated with a state that practices apartheid

        Endangers where in the USA? That’s the overwhelming majority of non-Israeli Jews. You can’t have it both ways. Either Israel is a thing of indifference to American Jews or important enough to endanger them. I don’t believe American Jews are in danger over the next century but if they were I think the danger would come from anti-Zionism not Israel. Israel creates an escape hatch in case anti-Zionism were to ever become too powerful. Long term I think the danger comes from Christian theology not apartheid.

        My feeling is Catholics are associated with states that practiced genocide on huge sections of the planet and whom many (I’d be personally much more nuanced so not saying I agree) believed destroyed a good bit of human knowledge throwing humanity into 1000 years of barbarism. That crushes apartheid over 5m people in terms of badness many times over. Muslims are associated with states which actively practice all sorts of hideous barbarisms. Take female circumcision or honor killings. I’ve always felt the obsession with Israelis moral perfection is Jewish navel gazing nonsense. So sorry, here we disagree.

      • Donald
        March 20, 2014, 6:03 pm

        “Attempts to convert the USA into an enemy of Israel would perforce at the very least expose Jewish students to the kinds of pressures that Arabs felt after 9/11, and often still do.”

        It shouldn’t be seen that way. The US has a foreign policy where we sometimes trample the rights of innocent people–this has happened over and over again. In this particular case, we do so by standing behind Israel no matter what Israel does to the Palestinians. This should stop for the same reason we should not be blowing up wedding parties with drone strikes.

        If Israel supporters insist on ignoring inconvenient human rights violations, then yes, criticism of Israel will seem to them to be an attack on them. There’s nothing new about this. Some white southerners feel personally abused if one tells unpleasant truths about the Confederacy. Some lefties in the 30’s probably felt abused if someone criticized the Soviet Union.

      • hophmi
        March 20, 2014, 3:14 pm

        I’m sure, in 1948, the same number would have spoken against Israel too.

        If it were about affirmative action, there doubtless would have been a black student or two speaking against it (although maybe not at Vassar). But I’m not sure this proves much. There’s a significant question here as to whether non-Jewish students are as interested in hearing mainstream Jewish voices as Jewish students are in hearing mainstream Arab voices. As I say, it’s all well and good to have a big tent, but what does it mean when no one else is opening their tent?

      • amigo
        March 20, 2014, 4:32 pm

        “So why not work for a two-state solution, where both states protect the rights of their minority populations? Israel is already mostly there.”hopknee

        Tell that to your goi who keeps stealing the Other guy,s state.

        As to Israel protecting it,s minorities–you must be delusional or just plajn blind.

    • Shingo
      March 20, 2014, 5:55 pm

      But Israel demands today very little from the United States.

      You couldn’t be more wrong.

      Israel is more demanding and needy of the US today than it has ever been. In fact, Israel is the only state left where Israel enjoys any approval.

      Israel demands more money, more security assurances, more trips by politicians down to local government, and UN ambassadors boasting about how much time they spend defending Israel.

      For example preventing Israel from responding to severe pressure by breaking with the west to become China’s mideast center of power.

      In your dreams. China are not interested in forming centres of power because by siding with Israel, they will alienate the rest of the region. China has witnessed how self defeating that is by observing the mistakes the US has made.

  6. seafoid
    March 20, 2014, 1:26 pm

    “The clash felt too raw, and there was a racial element to the division (privileged Jews versus students of color)”

    Anelka was given a 5 match ban for his quenelle gesture in December
    It is already privilege versus minorities.

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/feb/27/nicola-anelka-suspended-five-matches-fa-quenelle

    Clashes are going to be raw because privilege doesn’t want anyone to discuss the issues.

    • hophmi
      March 20, 2014, 1:34 pm

      ” They urged students to drop the class and, citing the Boycott, divestment, sanctions call, said that “the indigenous people of Palestine” did not want students going on this trip.”

      That’s racist and inaccurate. Jews are also indigenous people in Palestine, and not all Palestinians support BDS.

      • seafoid
        March 20, 2014, 1:41 pm

        The Ashkenazim and most of the Sephardim aren’t, Hoph.
        The Palestinian Jews didn’t bring any nihilism with them. That was your people.

      • hophmi
        March 20, 2014, 3:18 pm

        “The Ashkenazim and most of the Sephardim aren’t, Hoph.”

        Yes they are. Even if you don’t believe that Jews have lived continuously in the Holy Land for thousands of years (which is a fact), the Jews you speak of have been there for well over a century. That is their home, and they know no other. Their families originate in Israel. Their loved ones are Israelis. If they are not indigenous there, they are indigenous nowhere; you essentially argue that they should be stateless.

      • eljay
        March 20, 2014, 3:47 pm

        >> Even if you don’t believe that Jews have lived continuously in the Holy Land for thousands of years (which is a fact) …

        It’s a fact that some Jews have lived in Palestine for thousands of years. It’s also a fact that:
        – some Jews have never lived in or even visited Palestine;
        – some non-Jews have lived in Palestine.

        >> … the Jews you speak of have been there for well over a century.

        Those Jews are indigenous to Palestine.

        The only consistent factor is Palestine, not Jews. But instead of a Palestinian state of and for all the people of Palestine, equally, Zio-supremacists like you insist on a supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine.

      • seafoid
        March 20, 2014, 4:03 pm

        “the Jews you speak of have been there for well over a century. ”

        There were 700,000 in 1948. That was 400,000 more than 30 years previously. Most Israelis are descended from Jews who came post ww2.
        The French settlers were in Algeria from 1832 to 1962, almost twice as long .

        The Israelis are settlers. The whites in Rhodesia were born there yada yada . Still settlers.

        “If they are not indigenous there, they are indigenous nowhere”

        They are indigenous somewhere between Palestine and Florida, with sunshine and lots of concrete.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 20, 2014, 4:03 pm

        “you essentially argue that they should be stateless.”

        Well, they made their choice when they chose to remain on stolen land.

      • tree
        March 21, 2014, 5:15 am

        …the Jews you speak of have been there for well over a century. … If they are not indigenous there, they are indigenous nowhere; you essentially argue that they should be stateless.

        Stupid statement, hophmi. By your quirky definition of “indigenous” I qualify as an “indigenous” to the US since most of my immediate family ancestors came here from Europe at the start of the 20th century, and a few came a century before that. I am not indigenous, and have no Native American blood as far as I know. And I am not stateless. I’m simply not indigenous and neither are you. If someone were to say that the “indigenous people of the US” don’t want us to go on the trip, they wouldn’t be referring to me or you. You know that. You are applying different standards to Israel in your never ending quest to defend the indefensible.

      • BrianEsker
        March 20, 2014, 11:20 pm

        Seafood: “The Ashkenazim and most of the Sephardim aren’t (indigenous to Israel)”

        Well that tells us all we need to know about him.
        I’m sure it’s been explained before. But here goes:

        Ashkenanzim are European Jews. Sephardim are Eastern, Middle eastern and African Jews. Both both originate in what is today’s land of Israel.

        They are bound by a very detailed common religion which include sacred texts all in Hebrew with some Aramaic, all indigenous to the region. Ample Archaeological evidence supports this.

        More people have to understand that today’s nation state of Israel is a return of the descendants of indigenous people to the region.

        Jew haters have a real tough time understanding or accepting that, though.

      • hophmi
        March 21, 2014, 12:33 pm

        “There were 700,000 in 1948. That was 400,000 more than 30 years previously. Most Israelis are descended from Jews who came post ww2.
        The French settlers were in Algeria from 1832 to 1962, almost twice as long .

        The Israelis are settlers. The whites in Rhodesia were born there yada yada . Still settlers.”

        The French were involved in a colonial venture to make money. The Jews were refugees. The fact that can’t acknowledge this fact speaks volumes about your ability to engage this issue with anything approaching and adult mindset.

        The fact that you seemingly assert that Jews should leave like the French did suggests that you believe in ethnic cleansing.

        “Stupid statement, hophmi. By your quirky definition of “indigenous” I qualify as an “indigenous” to the US since most of my immediate family ancestors came here from Europe at the start of the 20th century, and a few came a century before that.”

        Yes, you are. Someone existed in America before Native Americans did. Someone existed in Palestine before the Palestinians did. Everybody started somewhere. Indigenousness is simply a special appellation we give to a group of people who have been there longer than we have. But it doesn’t make our home any less ours than it is theirs.

        But please, if that’s what you believe, pack your bags, find a Native American, give your home to him, and leave. It’s the only honorable thing to do, if that’s what you believe. It’s you who benefits from the dispossession of a native people while calling on other people in some other place to give up what they have worked for because you think they dispossessed someone else. So, so easy for you to take that position, isn’t it?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 21, 2014, 2:36 pm

        ” The Jews were refugees.”

        LMAO. Yeah, especially the Jews fleeing all that oppression in Brooklyn to go squat in occupied Palestine.

    • bilal a
      March 20, 2014, 2:25 pm

      This is the essence of the conflict in both occupations, the one in Palestine, and the occupation of the intelligentsia in the West.

      Jewish racial privilege, affirmed proudly as both discriminatory and right, over the majority Gentiles, of any color.

  7. seafoid
    March 20, 2014, 1:30 pm

    “An out lesbian with children, she has been a leader in a liberation movement.”

    It’s sad but is easier to be a lesbian in the US these days than stand up for justice for Palestinians. When are US newspapers going to run cartoons mocking Zionism?
    When is Tom Tomorrow going to be able to tackle the hydra?

    It reminds me of Mike Marqusee’s dad, the 68 progressive who called his son self hating for asking difficult questions about Israel.

    Cue Hoph to say the US and Israel share common values and all Yank support is completely natural.

    • hophmi
      March 21, 2014, 1:40 pm

      “It’s sad but is easier to be a lesbian in the US these days than stand up for justice for Palestinians.”

      And it’s easier to stand up for justice for Palestinians than it is to stand up for Israel on a college campus, apparently. So what’s your point?

      “When are US newspapers going to run cartoons mocking Zionism?”

      When are US newspapers going to run cartoons mocking Syria? When are US newspapers going to run cartoons mocking rebel groups in Congo? When, indeed?

      “Cue Hoph to say the US and Israel share common values and all Yank support is completely natural.”

      I’m not sure how this part of your argument follows from the first part, but yes, the United States does share many common values with Israel, and that’s why poll after poll consistently shows that Americans support Israel.

  8. Dan Crowther
    March 20, 2014, 1:40 pm

    Yeah, we’re in a dangerous place, Schneiderman – these infantile brats you’re schooling are going to be in charge of important institutions one day; I can’t even fathom saying something like “you’re disempowering us” – what the fuck does that even mean? Is that just post-modern lib arts school nonsense, or do people really talk like that now?
    You empower yourself. Hopefully with facts. If the facts are against you, yeah, you’re “disempowered.” Is it just me, or do the people debating this issue talk a whole hell of a lot about themselves and about their “feelings”? F your feelings, whoever you are.

    Shocking that Phil left feeling bad for Trip leaders – shocking. (Not really). And while Phil is feeling bad for them, maybe he should think about all the times jewish folks have had careers ended, pulled funding, manipulated schools, business and governments, called anyone and everyone not jewish an antisemite and so on; do you know how many Chomsky lectures I’ve been to where jewish cats have shouted him down, not letting him continue? You think he said “you’re disempowering me?” Seems to me, the SJP crowd is taking a page out of the traditional jewish playbook: advocate for your position tirelessly, don’t worry about tact, and take no prisoners. Not so much fun, is it Phil?

    • Sibiriak
      March 20, 2014, 2:03 pm

      Dan Crowther:

      Yeah, we’re in a dangerous place, Schneiderman – these infantile brats you’re schooling are going to be in charge of important institutions one day; I can’t even fathom saying something like “you’re disempowering us” – what the fuck does that even mean? Is that just post-modern lib arts school nonsense, or do people really talk like that now?

      Your comments are making me feel uncomfortable.

      • Dan Crowther
        March 20, 2014, 3:20 pm

        LOL

      • ah
        March 20, 2014, 6:13 pm

        LOL Squared to infinity! Sibiriak you can’t be serious?

    • seafoid
      March 20, 2014, 2:11 pm

      When Menachem Begin visited America in 1948, Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and Sidney Hook denounced the “ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority” that menaced the democratic character of the new Jewish state

      https://archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948
      In 1973, Breira called on American Jews to “recognize the legitimacy of the national aspirations of the Palestinians” and to resist “those pressures in American Jewish life which make open discussion of these and other vital issues virtually synonymous with heresy.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breira_(organization)

      They thought they could do it their own way and now they must reap the whirlwind

      • American
        March 20, 2014, 9:18 pm

        BTW…

        On Chris Matthews last night part of his program was about the terrible people who use the Nazi and Hitler and holocaust analogy to describe other things and how it ‘hurts the Jew’s feelings’ to have anything compare to the holocaust because it was the worse thing ever.
        And of course Matthews had two Jewish guest to help him say how ‘hurtful’ and disrespectful it was to Jews.

        I just about fell out of my chair laughing—NO ONE has used Hitler, Nazis and the holocaust in more crass and opportunistic ways than the Zios and the Holocaust Industry themselves.

    • American
      March 20, 2014, 9:09 pm

      ‘Is it just me, or do the people debating this issue talk a whole hell of a lot about themselves and about their “feelings”? F your feelings, whoever you are. ‘ ..Dan

      No, its not just you…..they do whine incessantly about their feelings.
      So irritating it makes me wants to hold their little heads under water till the bubbles quit coming up.

    • hophmi
      March 21, 2014, 12:35 pm

      “all the times jewish folks have had careers ended, pulled funding, manipulated schools, business and governments, called anyone and everyone not jewish an antisemite and so on; do you know how many Chomsky lectures I’ve been to where jewish cats have shouted him down, not letting him continue?”

      Uh huh. How many times would that be? Do you have documentation that every time, it was a “Jewish”movement? And at Chomsky lectures, what proof do you have that the hecklers were all Jewish or acting as Jews/

      Seems to me you’re quite defensive.

  9. seafoid
    March 20, 2014, 1:42 pm

    The endgame is going to be real dirty because Zionism plays dirty. They won’t give up willingly. They’ll destroy Judaism in the process, I bet .

    Most organized Jewish groups in the Diaspora are knee jerk Zionist. It’s sad reading the German Juedische Zeitung to see how little alternative activity there is. Same in the UK with the Board of Deputies. They have all bet the house on red.

  10. David Doppler
    March 20, 2014, 2:04 pm

    Great reporting, Phil. Feels like the Spring of 1970, or will feel that way, when/if violence does break out.

    It’s interesting that Doonesbury is rerunning its earliest cartoon strips depicting Mark occupying the President’s office at Walden College.

  11. Ellen
    March 20, 2014, 2:57 pm

    What is perhaps most objectionable is that this trip seems to be a “birthright light” for undergrad earth science students and goys, and really little about the study of water resources in a dry populated climate. A trip coordinated by Ben Gurion’s Arava to own the exploration and study of water resources.

    I have a young acquaintance who — on her own — went from a water rich country to Israel to learn more on water resource management. (When resources are limited, they are likely to be best managed and controlled, so Israel would be the place to start.) She had no ideas on the conflict.

    She was blown away in horror by what was being done to water resources on the territories by Israel. She came home an activist for Palestinian water rights and the Palestinian cause.

    Israel cannot afford young open eyes to come and really study water. Obligatory visits to kibbutzes and other cultural tours will provide the needed distraction and fun.

    • adele
      March 20, 2014, 4:06 pm

      Ellen,
      that has been my observation as well, I saw the transformation with my own eyes whilst living in the West Bank. Some were friends who came to visit me, some were members of delegations, and others were solo adventurous travelers. The common denominator amongst this group of individuals is that they were a product of an American education and mainstream culture, what they saw traumatized many of them, they were in shock, the reality they witnessed did not reconcile in any way with the distorted information they received at home. Of those individuals, all except one, left with pro-Palestinian sentiments, many became active within activist groups that work on Palestinian rights, and a few changed their life path and began working for NGO’s in the West Bank. The contrast of seeing it in person is that dramatic and witnessing the transformation has been a life-long lesson for me.

    • German Lefty
      March 20, 2014, 6:15 pm

      Israel cannot afford young open eyes to come and really study water. Obligatory visits to kibbutzes and other cultural tours will provide the needed distraction and fun.

      So true!

  12. adele
    March 20, 2014, 2:59 pm

    Does anybody remember when the NYU students did a sit-in back in 2009? When I read their lists of demands back then I knew that the tide had shifted and slowly and surely the Palestinian issue would come to the forefront:

    The N.Y.U. students created a Web site (takebacknyu.com) where they published their demands, including thorough annual reporting of the university’s operating budget, expenditures and endowment. They also want the university to provide 13 scholarships a year to students from the Gaza Strip and give surplus supplies to the Islamic University of Gaza.
    (source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/nyregion/20nyu.html)

  13. Annie Robbins
    March 20, 2014, 3:02 pm

    yeah, i agree it’s really great reporting. and the bravery of these sjp is very admirable.

    The trip’s Israeli character was also reflected by stops at two kibbutzes and the Dead Sea and Masada, classic sites for birthright-style promotional tours. And though the leaders were working with Palestinian NGOs and visiting a Palestinian refugee camp, the trip was being coordinated with the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies, a branch of Ben-Gurion University and a partner of the Jewish National Fund, which secures land for Jews

    the trip itinerary belies an agenda (whether it was the intent of vasser or not) rife /political implications. this is not benign. and the water situation in the region can’t be separated from the zionist control over all the land, and apartheid.

    The director of the IS program, Tim Koechlin, was measured and regretful. He said that student protest is an essential part of Vassar– “even making directors and administrators and donors uncomfortable.” Koechlin then conceded that the trip had been designed without a thought given to the issues SJP raised: “virtually no time talking about BDS, and virtually no time talking about the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” A leftwinger, Koechlin said he regretted not taking into account an “important and growingly conspicuous movement.” (And Koechlin signed a faculty statement at Vassar taking on the president’s opposition to boycott).

    this is astounding. for an international studies program director to not consider the political implications of this kind of trip, especially one who has shown empathy or understanding towards the movement, demonstrates how ingrained ignoring israel’s intransigence is in our culture.

    it is unfortunate that once he did concede that the trip had been designed without a thought given to the issues SJP raised, he didn’t do more than express regret. they should have, could have changed the itinerary.

    however, i did notice on Schneiderman’s blog the group was meeting with EWASH. that’s something.

    • hophmi
      March 20, 2014, 3:24 pm

      “The trip’s Israeli character was also reflected by stops at two kibbutzes and the Dead Sea and Masada, classic sites for birthright-style promotional tours. And though the leaders were working with Palestinian NGOs and visiting a Palestinian refugee camp, the trip was being coordinated with the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies, a branch of Ben-Gurion University and a partner of the Jewish National Fund, which secures land for Jews”

      It’s amazing how you completely ignore the fact that the trip included Palestine as well.

      ” the water situation in the region can’t be separated from the zionist control over all the land, and apartheid.”

      Do you have any evidence, at all, to suggest that that aspect of the question was not visited upon or discussed by the students? The students spend the entire semester studying the place they visit. The Jewish Studies department is directed by a BDS proponents. I’m sure they discussed the politics.

      “this is astounding. for an international studies program director to not consider the political implications of this kind of trip”

      Why is it astounding? Do you think that Vassar takes into account the political situation in China when it sends students there for their Junior Year Abroad? Or in Amman, Jordan, where it sent one of the IS interns last year?

      • jon s
        March 20, 2014, 3:56 pm

        Phil reports :”The IS program has gone to Russia, Cuba, Spain, Morocco, and Vietnam among other places.”
        All , of course , perfect democracies with admirable human-rights records.
        No cause to protest, boycott, villify.

        Incidentally, the plural of kibbutz is kibbutzim.

      • seafoid
        March 20, 2014, 4:07 pm

        The plural of kibbutz is dispossession.

        “All , of course , perfect democracies with admirable human-rights records”

        None of them claim to be the perfection of humanity and the realization of prophecy.

      • adele
        March 20, 2014, 4:28 pm

        LOL —-> The plural of kibbutz is dispossession.

        Can’t argue with that.

      • German Lefty
        March 20, 2014, 6:13 pm

        The plural of kibbutz is dispossession.
        LOL. Very good.

      • hophmi
        March 21, 2014, 12:39 pm

        “The plural of kibbutz is dispossession.”

        LOL. The plural of kibbutznik is Holocaust survivors. The plural of Ma’abara is Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 21, 2014, 2:27 pm

        ” The plural of kibbutznik is Holocaust survivors. ”

        That’s dumb. The first kibbutzes were started in the 1900s when the first wave of alien Jews from Europe first invaded Palestine to put their ideology of land theft, racism, attempted genocide and eventual oppression of the Palestinians into practice. It had nothing to do with the Holocaust.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 20, 2014, 4:36 pm

        “All , of course , perfect democracies with admirable human-rights records.”

        And none of them getting billions in US taxpayer dollars, either.

        “Incidentally, the plural of kibbutz is kibbutzim.”

        In English, it’s kibbutzes.

      • jon s
        March 24, 2014, 5:23 pm

        The first kibbutzim were founded by Labor Zionist idealists, intent on establishing a socialist utopia in their historic homeland. They weren’t “aliens” , they were not “attempting genocide” and they didn’t engage in ” land theft”.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 25, 2014, 9:42 am

        “The first kibbutzim were founded by Labor Zionist idealists, intent on establishing a socialist utopia in their historic homeland.”

        So? That “socialist utopia” was being constructed on someone else’s land, and they had no intention of respecting the fact that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians.

        “They weren’t ‘aliens'”

        Yes, they were. They came from Europe and areas outside of Palestine. They were absolutely aliens to that land.

        “they were not ‘attempting genocide’ and they didn’t engage in ‘land theft’.”

        They were zionists. The zionist project, from the start, had as a basic core the theft of Palestine from its sole rightful owners, the Palestinians, and destroying that culture and people and replacing them with alien Jews from Europe and elsewhere. By definition, if they were zionists, they were engaged in these practices.

      • eljay
        March 20, 2014, 6:52 pm

        >> Phil reports :”The IS program has gone to Russia, Cuba, Spain, Morocco, and Vietnam among other places.”
        >> All , of course , perfect democracies with admirable human-rights records.

        Many countries have terrible human-rights records. You Zio-supremacists can’t seem to understand that you’re not supposed to emulate them.

        >> No cause to protest, boycott, villify.

        Plenty of cause has been given, and much vilification has occurred. You act like them, you get treated the same way. Qwitcher whining and stop being like them.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 21, 2014, 10:08 am

        “‘The IS program has gone to Russia, Cuba, Spain, Morocco, and Vietnam among other places.’
        All , of course , perfect democracies with admirable human-rights records.
        No cause to protest, boycott, villify.”

        And if you believe there are reasons to protest, boycott and “villify” those states than have at it. That’s no basis to excuse the program going to israel, though.

      • hophmi
        March 21, 2014, 12:37 pm

        Yeah, so there it is. Morocco, a place where the synagogue was blown up a decade ago. Good relationship with Israel, but not the safest place for Jewish students to be.

        Russia, a place with a despicable human rights record.

        But nobody seemed to care back then.

        So, once again, it isn’t about human rights. It’s about politics.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 21, 2014, 2:34 pm

        “So, once again, it isn’t about human rights. It’s about politics.”

        Wrong as usual. It’s all about human rights. The fact that you don’t see it is an indictment on you.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2014, 6:05 pm

        It’s amazing how you completely ignore the fact that the trip included Palestine as well.

        How could it be ignored? That’s where Israel is occupying and stealing land and water.

      • Sumud
        March 21, 2014, 2:16 am

        Speaking of evidence hophmi I’m still waiting for you to supply some evidence on your claim over here:

        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/university-resolution-occupation.html/comment-page-1#comment-650267

        Source?

      • Sumud
        March 22, 2014, 10:36 pm

        Thank you.

        26-0 with 2 abstentions.

        Yeah that sounds undemocratic.

  14. John Douglas
    March 20, 2014, 3:36 pm

    I’m not sure what to make of this talk about students and others feeling bullied and intimidated. Students at Northeastern were intimidated by clearly marked facsimiles of eviction notices; the Vassar student put off by the “charged language” of the phrase “Israeli apartheid”; an experienced teacher threatened by students urging others to drop her class; the discomfort with a meeting in which ideas different from one’s own are passionately asserted. Part of this is fakery, for example from the ADL – itself a gusher of hyperbole – in its attempt to shut down criticism of Israel. But a larger part, I think, is the false idea that college is a place to go to feel comfortable, a place where, well, “Can’t we just all get along?” “Do we have to discuss this, it’s so, … important?” One small segment of the ivory tower takes a stand passionately for what is urgent and right and the other side runs off to file harassment charges. A sorry state. As a student advocate and speaker, Mario Savio still impresses.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhFvZRT7Ds0
    Finally, there have in fact been real threats and bullying: of protesters with suspension and of weak administrators with a withdrawal of donor cash.

  15. yonah fredman
    March 20, 2014, 3:40 pm

    This is how I have comprehended from one read the sequence of events. A trip was planned to Israel under auspices of the university. Supporters of Palestine, SJP, objected to the trip and expressed this objection in a variety of ways, including entering the classroom of the school sponsored trip and verbally expressing their opposition to the trip. I think that the university (which may have been wrong to sponsor the trip) had a duty to protect the students from demonstrators when they were in the classroom. I think the place for protestors is either in front of the building or in the administration building, but not in the classroom, unless they are enrolled in the class.

  16. John Douglas
    March 20, 2014, 4:24 pm

    yonah, My reading is that the protesters were in the classroom before the class began. I don’t have an issue with that. But rather than bemoaning that her students felt “harassed and bullied”, I would have liked to see her educate the students about the need for disputation as a way of getting ideas right and perhaps supply them with some basic tools in how to engage people with whom one disagrees.

    ‘“What crossed the line,” Friedman said, was when she walked in to her class February 6 and was greeted by posters telling people to “drop the class, it’s not too late,” and “Indigenous Palestinians don’t want you to come.” Her students felt harassed and bullied by the reception.

    And worse, as Friedman went into the class, “I was greeted with this noise.” The dark-haired professor put her head back and wailed in a high aggressive tone for a few seconds, wagging her head to give it a sharp rhythm.’

  17. ritzl
    March 20, 2014, 4:35 pm

    Barry Goldwater: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

    Great piece, Phil.

  18. Woody Tanaka
    March 20, 2014, 4:39 pm

    What is really stunning to me is the, frankly, juvenile reaction of these zionists. Their entire argument is: “you make me feel bad about liking israel, so stop.” What children. What unthinking, overpampered, self-centered little children. Pathetic.

  19. DICKERSON3870
    March 20, 2014, 5:27 pm

    RE: A course proposal stressed the politics of water usage but never mentioned occupation and twice cited Palestinian cities’ sewage runoff as a problem without a mention of Israeli appropriation of aquifers or settlers’ sewage. ~ Weiss

    REGARDING SETTLER’S SEWAGE, SEE:“Jews protect Palestinians in harvest of hate” ~ By Donald Macintyre in Awarta, West Bank, The Independent (U.K.), 10/10/08
    Israelis cross religious divide to shelter olive farmers from settlers’ attacks

    [EXCERPTS] . . . Born in Tel Aviv, Ms Siew served in the army, took a university degree, then a teacher’s diploma. Thirty-six years ago, she took the tough decision to emigrate to London, telling her parents: “I won’t come back until there’s peace.” Ms Siew, who is now 64, remains an Israeli citizen but now lives with her British husband in Hebden Bridge. She has kept to her word, except that each autumn she comes back to stay in her hometown with her relatives and spends each day of the two-month harvest season picking olives on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank.
    And Ms Siew does that for a purpose. Up on the ridge above us, you can see the red roofs of Itamar, a notably hard-line Jewish settlement, and she is here to help protect the Palestinian farmers from the threat of settler violence which has so often scarred the olive harvests.
    . . . Last year, she was in a group in the South Hebron Hills confronted by settlers who fired shots from a pistol and an M16 assault rifle, despite the presence of the army and police. “Then one of the soldiers said, ‘Look, one of them is coming down with a jug of water for you’. The settler emptied the jug over me. It was full of human shit.” . . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jews-protect-palestinians-in-harvest-of-hate-956706.html

  20. German Lefty
    March 20, 2014, 5:31 pm

    Ululating – what a funny word! At first, I assumed that it’s some foreign surname.

    • libra
      March 22, 2014, 2:26 pm

      GL: Ululating – what a funny word!

      Indeed, and its German cousins are a pair of odd birds – Eule und Uhu.

  21. German Lefty
    March 20, 2014, 6:09 pm

    “How am I to feel when my university is funding a trip going to a place that discriminates against people based on my ethnicity?”
    Correct!

    A friend ran up to Friedman and said, How could she have allowed these people to call Israel an oppressive place?
    Um, because it’s true!? Besides, people don’t need a permission to say what’s on their mind. What a dumb …!

    Being for Israel makes you a clod.
    I’d say that it’s vice versa. Stupidity (or ignorance) makes you support Israel.

    There are surely ways for a school to design a neutral observing trip
    When there is injustice, neutrality is tantamount to siding with the perpetrator.

    if I had expressed my stodgy discomfort with the idea of gay marriage and lesbian parenting 10 years ago
    OMG! I can’t believe that you used to be a homophobe. What made you change your mind?

  22. seafoid
    March 20, 2014, 6:34 pm

    “The clash felt too raw”

    I think it’s going to be brutal as the war of ideas gets closer to the core of Zionism. A lot of Jewish identity is tied up in Israel, a lost moral cause at this stage. And the Zionists are ruthless and will be even worse when they are cornered. Sons and daughters of bitches, all their leaders. Bad faith courses through their veins.

  23. MRW
    March 20, 2014, 10:47 pm

    Thots:

    And given the liberal establishment’s marriage to Israel (from Pelosi to de Blasio to Jerry Brown to Vassar)

    All white Boomers.

    They laughed at me, I felt trivialized, I felt my opinions not being validated.”

    Poor babykins. Try being a Palestinian.

    Schneiderman also sought to extenuate Israeli conduct by saying, “We have our own occupation here when it comes to native Americans.”

    wow. Revert to type. And I’m sure Schneiderman has been working on that issue like everyone who whips that analogy out to include all Americans in their 2014 racism.

    None of this is going to breakup without discomfort on both sides. Real discomfort. Where is it written that Jewish groups get to feel the most comfortable about their positions and can’t have their sense of serenity ruined…or trivialized. I take all this as a good sign.

  24. dbroncos
    March 21, 2014, 1:04 am

    Great reporting Phil. Zionist college students and professors are feeling ashamed, intimidated – as they should. The good news is that they’re welcome at anytime to flip and join the good fight for equity and justice.

    • hophmi
      March 21, 2014, 1:45 pm

      Again, you see an example of the violent hateful side of your movement, here. It is not my experience that pro-Israel students believe that pro-Palestinian students should be intimidated for expressing themselves. Such a policy would violate every college code that I know of.

  25. flyod
    March 21, 2014, 7:56 am

    uncomfortable? i say checkpoints on the poughkeepsie bridge!
    great report btw….

  26. pabelmont
    March 21, 2014, 10:04 am

    Israeli Student: “My Israel identity is important to me,” she said. “It is super intimidating to walk into the College Center and feel that that identity is questioned. It’s really difficult to come to terms with hearing that a place you call your homeland shouldn’t exist… I’m not saying SJP makes those claims, but a lot of Jewish students feel that way.””

    This is important and very well expressed.

    She acknowledges that [A] SJP does not say Israel should not exist but [B] a lot of Jewish students (and Israelis?) feel that way. And are intimidated by what they mistakenly suppose was said. Some doubtless feel that these people hate us. “Us”? Jews? Israelis? Zionists? And is the hate well motivated? Did they ever hate the Nazis? Why? can hate be well-motivated? Is it today? And, again, if someone is hated, who is it?

    OK. They “play” the messages of SJP (and BDS? and other pro-Palestinians) through their own internal distorting sound-amplification systems and it comes up “no Israeli right to exist, into the sea with them, Auschwitz here we come, etc.). They imagine that they hear messages that are not there. Their hearing is distorted.

    And of course, they hear (real) messages about the illegality and disgustingness of occupation, oppression, brutalization, murder, torture, theft, settlements, et al., and distort these messages into “Israel is illegitimate”.

    This distortion needs to be addressed. By Jews and Israelis. But to do so, I guess they need first to admit to what I called “disgustingness of occupation, oppression, brutalization, settlements”.

    There could be a seminar at Vassar:

    Whichever (Israeli) speaker admitted (above) that she heard messages that were not spoken (one form of craziness is often called “hearing voices”) could lead a seminar among Jews and Zionists and Israelis on listening closely and distinguishing reality-based opposition to Israel from antisemitism-based opposition to Israel, Zionism, Jews.

    • Sibiriak
      March 21, 2014, 11:33 am

      pabelmont:

      She acknowledges that [A] SJP does not say Israel should not exist.

      Depending on what is meant by “Israel,” a single, liberal-democratic state comprising the territories of today’s Israel, Gaza and the West Bank could certainly entail the demise of “Israel” .

  27. pabelmont
    March 21, 2014, 10:18 am

    They should either cancel the trip or re-schedule it to do 50%-50% in experiential learning about the USES of water in I/P. If they want to learn about technical progress (drip irrigation, or whatever), fine — a day at most. But if they don’t DRINK the water in Gaza, experience the swimming pools and lawns in the settlements vs the water-by-truck in OPTs, the land theft (and traditional water management practices) in Jordan valley and among the Bedu of Israel, then they are merely being flummoxed for hasbara purposes. The re-planning should be done with the cooperation of Palestinian students of water-management — apply for info at Bir Zeit U.

  28. Sibiriak
    March 21, 2014, 11:40 am

    [Zionist student] I felt my opinions not being validated.

    Amazing. Pathetic. Childish. Intellectually, emotionally, spiritually pathological.

  29. irishmoses
    March 21, 2014, 3:03 pm

    “The intellectual labors are done, the activists are moving. The public square will increasingly belong to the warriors of both sides. And Vassar shows us clearly which side will win.”

    Phil really stumbled onto something at the angry meeting he attended at Vassar College. Jews. even those who support BDS, are being identified as the problem and feel intimidated by the anger and stridency of those who oppose Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. Phil himself felt that anger and was apparently intimidated enough to not participate and to leave immediately after the meeting. He saw the angry lack of patience for debate and the growing push for action by the unprivileged, the people of color, the non-Jews. His words above reflect his fear that the debate is ending and that the time for action and conflict is beginning.

    The real question for me is when this intellectual debate ends and the battle lines are drawn how will the battle affect American Jews, just a tiny minority of our citizenry? If they are identified as supporters and enablers of an oppressive foreign regime to which their main loyalty lies, that would be a very dangerous development for American Jews. They could be identified as the problem and the underlying cause of whatever harm, perceived or real, that befalls this country because of Israel’s actions and corrupting influence on America’s governmental and public institutions. The charge might become not dual loyalty but disloyalty.

    That’s a very scary prospect that should give American Jews pause. By failing to be out in front in opposing Israel and its US supporters on a very clear-cut human rights issue that is causing great harm to their own country, American Jews are potentially putting all their accomplishments, contributions, credibility and loyalty at stake. What happens if perceptions of Jewish privilege, Jewish influence, and Jewish power get attached to something truly nefarious like Jewish disloyalty to this country? Fairly or unfairly, those dots could be connected into a litany of charges, mostly unfair, that could be devastating to American Jews. Their visceral fear of a potential for a wave of antisemitism in this country could well become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Obviously “American Jews” are a diffuse and complicated group with a broad spectrum of opinions. Because of their success (and successful assimilation), they are no longer seen as a definable and threatening “other” group. But the Israel-Palestine issue has the potential for changing that perception and Phil’s experience at the Vassar meeting may reflect the beginnings of that change. Committed activists are tired of the talk and impatient with the intellectual pleadings of liberal Zionist Jews. They want action, not words, and they may be beginning to perceive Jews, even pro-BDS Jews, as part of the problem not the solution.

    The comments about feeling uncomfortable and intimidated when Israel is questioned are illuminating. To the committed activists, Phil’s “outsiders of color”, Israel is the problem so there was no sympathy for claims of discomfort or intimidation by “privileged Jews”. Or, as Phil put it, citing Omar Bargouti, for people still in the middle, “If you need time to figure this out, just get out of the way.”

    The sad irony in all of this is that American Jews have been the spearhead of civil rights in this country: workplace, racial, gender, sexual orientation, you name it. Yet, when it comes to Israel and Palestine, they have actively or passively enabled one of the worst and longest ongoing violation of human rights in modern times. Sure there are far worse examples in the world, but none of those have been promoted and enabled by an identifiable minority group of American citizens. Nor do any of those far worse regimes identify themselves as the homeland of the Jewish people, which, by definition, includes American Jews.

    Zionism intentionally attached itself to the hip of American Jews and has successfully curried the loyalty of the vast majority and successfully encouraged them to use their political and financial influence to gain the support of our government for their cause. While there are valid emotional reasons for that attachment it comes with a price. It attaches American Jews to the actions and conduct of its oppressive regime. The question for American Jews is whether that emotional attachment is worth the moral price they are paying and the risk it poses to them.

    • JeffB
      March 22, 2014, 2:00 am

      @Irish

      Good comment Irish. Longish reply. Let’s start with one of your later paragraphs:

      . Yet, when it comes to Israel and Palestine, [American Jews] have actively or passively enabled one of the worst and longest ongoing violation of human rights in modern times. Sure there are far worse examples in the world, but none of those have been promoted and enabled by an identifiable minority group of American citizens.

      Of course they have. The German Bund / Friends of New Germany were huge supporters of the Nazi regime openly and their activities were openly questioned before the House Un-American activities committee. During the 2nd world war the American Irish organizations that had been associated with Father Coughlin for example the Mother’s Movement continued to argue for a rapid peace and supported the Nazi regime as being legitimate attacking Roosevelt’s doctrines like unconditional surrender.

      I could give a lot more examples than this. America is an ethnically diverse place. Most ethnicities have a romantic attachment to their home country and support or opposition to US policies based on this romantic attachment is the norm. It is Jewish navel gazing to think their doing it is any different than when Black students support African dictators, when the American Irish supported IRA terrorism, when American Germans formed the core of the pre-war pro-Nazi parties, when Cuban expats supported the Bay of Pigs. No one is really that shocked by this behavior.

      What happens if perceptions of Jewish privilege, Jewish influence, and Jewish power get attached to something truly nefarious like Jewish disloyalty to this country? Fairly or unfairly, those dots could be connected into a litany of charges, mostly unfair, that could be devastating to American Jews. Their visceral fear of a potential for a wave of antisemitism in this country could well become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      I always find these threats from BDSers very interesting. On the one hand they argue that Israel is completely unnecessary because anti-Semtisism is dead. Then on the other hand they like to threaten that if Jews do the same kinds of lobbying activities as other Americans for their interests, non-Jewish Americans will crack out the Zyklon-B. If I believed Americans were nearly this anti-Semetic I’d already be in Israel. For Jewish motives to be seen as nefarious there needs to be an already open anti-Semitism right now the country is mostly philo-Semitic.

      Evangelicals backed the Iraq war heavily which was a disaster no one considers evangelicals disloyal, at worst they are seen as easily manipulated. Jews are not going to be seen as disloyal when they back America to the hilt just because they agree with most Americans on Israel. They may not be trusted on middle east issue the same way Chinese or Japanese Americans may not be trusted on East Asia policy but that’s it.

      It attaches American Jews to the actions and conduct of its oppressive regime. The question for American Jews is whether that emotional attachment is worth the moral price they are paying and the risk it poses to them.

      This was debated by American Jews in the 1940s when they were a much weaker community with real anti-Semitism everywhere. They decided to stand with the Holocaust refugees and against American oil interests politically. The issues of dual loyalty and the issues of the massive human rights violations that displacing an indigenous population would involve were well known and well understood. The arguments were considered and rejected.

      In the lead up to the 1967 war the American Jewish community decided to make Israel core to their religious identity. Essentially Israel became a Jewish god and synagogues focused incessantly on Israel issues. This has proven remarkably effective as a religion that really never came up with an adequate response to the Enlightenment got new life through Zionism. Everyone understood that what Israel was doing was ticking off Johnson, threatening American oil interests and yet American Jews decided to stand against a Nassarite 2nd holocaust openly undermining Johnson’s ability to contain Israel. Jews did fine. They did fine pressuring Ford and Carter. They did fine backlashing against HW Bush.

      But now let’s get to a point of agreement.

      Committed activists are tired of the talk and impatient with the intellectual pleadings of liberal Zionist Jews. They want action, not words, and they may be beginning to perceive Jews, even pro-BDS Jews, as part of the problem not the solution.

      And they are right to. Liberal Zionist or even Jewish non-Zionist critiques of Israel are insider critiques ultimately about Israel’s moral character where the Palestinians exist as the backdrop temptation for the Jews who are failing the test. They involve complex psychological dynamics where the Jewish activists are fascinated by their own psychological workings and like to talk honestly about their own morality while projecting it on to Israel. There is no reason that gentiles would be interested in that nonsense anymore than Jews want to hear complex arguments about the different views of how the crucifixion leads to justification.

      Outsider critiques are simple. Israel does bad stuff. The USA should stop Israel. And very much like what happened in the anti-war movement in the lead up to the Iraqi war even very liberal Jews find that sort of simple condemnation unacceptable. And you are absolutely right the other activists will be furious when Jews jump off the bandwagon over that they’ll see Jews as hypocrites when even quite liberal Jews end up sounding just like apologists for other oppressive regimes that those very same Jews would normally reject.

      They may go on from there to even consider the Jewish supporters of Israel to be hypocrites: Jews may sound liberal and may be on your side, but when it is their racial privilege that’s being attacked they act like just like white Protestants and vote their privilege. That’s exactly how blacks my age and 20 years older felt about Jewish opposition to land control (see my post above: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/ululating-israelpalestine-conflict.html/comment-page-1#comment-650498).

      But ultimately so what? While Jews are a small percent of the country they are biased towards political activism and biased towards the left:
      Jews are 2% of eligible voters
      Jews are 4% of actual voters
      Jews are 10% of liberals
      Jews are about 25% of activists and donors to liberal causes

      On the issues blacks really care about Jews, especially Jewish liberals are mostly on their side. On this issue we aren’t. And what these young activists are going to learn is politics. A political party is made up of a bunch of people with radically different longterm goals held together by short- and mid-term common objectives. Wedge issues undermine your ability to win elections, so if it isn’t core don’t let it divide your side. Mainstream Democrats will back Jews not Blacks over Israel. Because at the end of the day Jews will vote Republican on Israel and Blacks won’t flip regardless of what the mainstream party does. Intensity matters, see the gun lobby as an example.

      Those black activists will learn that lesson and come out the other side far more effective politically. No pogroms, no great shift in USA attitudes. BDS never gets uniform support among American Liberals and more than likely remains mostly condemned with isolated institutions that have little Jewish influence being places where BDS pushes a flag up. A generation of Jews who are offended, because behavior changes belief become more Zionist and as they age some become the AIPAC of 2040.

      • Philip Weiss
        March 22, 2014, 8:58 am

        Highly articulate, but blind, JeffB. The examples of American attachment to homeland you offer are old-school. Germans before they assimilated. You are wise re the religion of Zionism around the 67 war, but that reflected a lot of American Jewish anxieties and now they are resolved. Jews are all over the establishment here, happy with it, and the root of Zionism — we’re unsafe here and in Europe — is as meaningless to young Jews as the root of Marcus Garveyism, which once called on idealistic chauvinistic feeling inside the black community, but was wisely set aside. You really are trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Young progressive Jews are going to say, Israel should emulate what we have here, minority freedom, separation of church and state, one person one vote. That’s the big movement that is upon Jewish life.

      • bintbiba
        March 22, 2014, 1:15 pm

        Philip Weiss, impressive as ever.
        Thank you.

      • irishmoses
        March 24, 2014, 2:04 am

        Phil,
        I was in high school in West LA in the late 50s and grew up with a lot of Jews. I don’t recall a lot of angst on their part about their position in American society, let alone fear of repression. The vestiges of antisemitism were crumbling. They were all headed off to top schools. It was the time of Exodus, the book, the movie, the theme. Israelis were looking like heroic underdogs, trouncing the barbaric Arab hordes. Jews were beginning to lead the movements of the 60s, beginning with Mario Savio at Berkeley. I don’t recall much Jewish anxiety back then. I think they had already come into their own.

        Nor do I recall any real anxiety in 1967. The Jews I knew were all wanting to enlist and fight for Israel (but wanted nothing to do with Vietnam), and were disappointed it ended so quickly. Despite the propaganda, the quick victory wasn’t unexpected. We’d seen what had happened in 1956. From my viewpoint, the 67 victory just reinforced the Exodus theme. Israel was a source of pride for the Jews I knew, but I didn’t notice any religious component to it, nor did I know any Jew who spoke of Israel as a handy refuge. The Jews I knew were content in the US, proud of their country, and working hard to change its remaining prejudices.

        Perhaps Los Angeles in that era wasn’t typical of the Jewish experience in this country. As a non-Jew, it may be the height of chutzpah for me to offer my opinion on something as personal as antisemitism, or Jewish fears,, but I don’t recall any angst on the part of the Jews I knew, even in the late 50s, let alone in 1967.

      • Ellen
        March 24, 2014, 11:38 pm

        If you look at the history of Jewish culture in the US, when was there ever really angst? Perhaps in the wave of Jewish immigration in the early 20th century. But that was an angst all immigrant groups who arrived in large waves shared.

        Jews, as a people, have been securely contributing and securely entrenched in US life since the earliest colonial settlements. Newport, Charleston…

        I think the anxieties Phil writes of May be those of a large and recent
        immigrant group and not those specific to Jews. And by the 60s the children of the immigrant wave of the 20s were over it.

        Do you think the likes of Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter and many many others like them were filled with self absorbed “Jewish Anxieties?” Hardly.

      • irishmoses
        March 22, 2014, 9:05 am

        JeffB,
        Once again you catch me as I’m about to leave; this time for a day long class at UCLA. I will try to respond tonight. I also have not forgotten I need to respond to an exchange we had about a week ago.

        Thanks for responding, lengthy or not (a trait I share with you).

      • seanmcbride
        March 22, 2014, 10:26 am

        JeffB wrote:

        The German Bund / Friends of New Germany were huge supporters of the Nazi regime openly and their activities were openly questioned before the House Un-American activities committee.

        You are using the ethnic nationalist political activism of some German Americans in the 1930s in support of Nazism and Germany to justify the ethnic nationalist political activism of the contemporary American Jewish establishment in support of Zionism and Israel?

        This is like using the European genocide of Native Americans to justify contemporary Israeli policies against Palestinians — a rationale which pro-Israel activists often lean on.

        Have you carefully thought through this line of argument? With this kind of hasbara the Israel lobby doesn’t need enemies.

      • JeffB
        March 22, 2014, 7:57 pm

        @seanmcbride

        You are using the ethnic nationalist political activism of some German Americans in the 1930s in support of Nazism and Germany to justify the ethnic nationalist political activism of the contemporary American Jewish establishment in support of Zionism and Israel?

        I don’t believe in magic. “do I like it” questions and “is it true” questions are not remotely similar. I’m not justifying anything. I wasn’t making a moral argument at all of any kind with that example. Irishmoses had made a simple factual claim about a minority group supporting a foreign government which sucked on human rights. I was during that paragraph contradicting him factually not morally.

        I had a wealth of examples but having a large successful movement that supported the Nazis heavily all through their rise to power and solidly right through Pearl Harbor and then at least to some extent right through the war was IMHO a pretty good example of a minority group supporting a a foreign government that I was certain he’d agree had at least as bad a human rights record as Israel. The fact that there was a serious controversy about the Bund thwarting USA policy also helps because there was a good deal of conversation about “disloyalty”. The Bund acts as an excellent factual counter example.

        This is like using the European genocide of Native Americans to justify contemporary Israeli policies against Palestinians — a rationale which pro-Israel activists often lean on.

        I suspect you are making a similar error. America had the same kind of mass migration (or settler colonialism) as Israel. There are some very instructive and interesting parallels between the Indian was and the Israeli / Palestinian dispute so far. Though in terms of the Indian wars the Israeli / Palestinian dispute still mostly parallels the battles / wars of the colonial era. What the Indian Wars offer is an example of another country where Zionism played no role having a similar kind of problem as Israel faces with an indigenous population that they are unable to assimilate.

        You could I suppose also use analogies with the history of Haiti because there you capture a mass migration while at the same time having paralles for multiple nations acting as sponsors of various factions and encouraging the violence. There you had the French encouraging violence against the white plantation owners (many of whom were ethnically French) so as to get better control of the economic resources of Haiti. You had the USA siding with Aristocratic french against post-revolutionary French. You had Spain in the early years.
        So then you might make an analogy like: Ottomans = Aristocratic French, USA = Revolutionary France, USA = Saudi Arabia / Egypt, Blacks = Jews, white natives = Palestinians.

        I guess if you consider trying to deal with Israel in a sane rational calm measured way as justification that’s justification. But my feeling is the best way to deal with everything is in a sane rational calm measured way.

      • American
        March 22, 2014, 1:09 pm

        I always find these threats from BDSers very interesting. On the one hand they argue that Israel is completely unnecessary because anti-Semtisism is dead. Then on the other hand they like to threaten that if Jews do the same kinds of lobbying activities as other Americans for their interests, non-Jewish Americans will crack out the Zyklon-B. If I believed Americans were nearly this anti-Semetic I’d already be in Israel. For Jewish motives to be seen as nefarious there needs to be an already open anti-Semitism right now the country is mostly philo-Semitic.’…..jeffb

        Pilpul.
        You strike me as someone, a Russian Jew perhaps who came in the late 80’s or 90’s with the flood of Jewish refugees and whose Jewishness didn’t mean much to him until it got him out of Russia. But you have now adopted it as your identity and cobbled together bit and pieces of US history and politics into a lot of faulty ‘pronouncements’ on Zionism in America.
        You are very naïve.
        About ‘whole’ history and how human nature has always been what created the world’s history.

      • irishmoses
        March 24, 2014, 1:22 am

        JeffB,

        The best of your examples, the German-American Bund, was pathetic. It had 5-10,000 members max. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_American_Bund

        The very modest attempt by the IRA to gain major influence in this country was quashed by several prominent US Irish-American politicians, Tip O’Neil, Patrick Moynihan, etc.

        Come on, you’re a bright and articulate guy, but when you put together a slew of minor pro-home country exceptions among American immigrant groups, all of which are at least 50 years old, you aren’t arguing in good faith, you’re being a “clever lawyer”.

        The amount of influence the pro-Zionist Jewish community has had on the US political system is without precedent, from Brandeis to today, nothing comes close and you know it. That influence has been documented and complained about by a host of top US politicians and bureaucrats from before FDR to the present.

        Your attempt to defend this pervasive influence with lame comparisons ignores the critical question you should be concerned with, whether all this influence on US government and public institutions, on US foreign policy, on fundamental US values, will backfire.

        “American Jews decided to stand against a Nassarite 2nd holocaust…”.

        Give me a break. The 67 war was planned by Israel and aided by some stupid posturing by Nassar. There was never any threat to Israel. Everybody, Israel, Egypt and various western intel agencies all knew it would be over in a week. They were wrong. It took 6 days. But you know all that, so why do you stoop to the basest of hasbara?

        Your last few paragraphs about Jewish liberalism and their black allies has nothing to do with the main point of my post which you never addressed. Are you in denial or are you just a clever apologist? If you are in denial, you need to have a serious talk with yourself. If you care about Israel, and about the status and reputation of American Jews, you need to be devoting your energies to stopping this train wreck not using clever arguments that make it more likely.

      • JeffB
        March 25, 2014, 10:46 am

        @Irishmoses

        The best of your examples, the German-American Bund, was pathetic. It had 5-10,000 members max.

        First off I’m going to go with HUAC and the FBI not wikipedia. HUAC involved sworn testimony before a congressional committee with subpoena power wikipedia is random people. They put the number at 20k active certified members 120k people who supported in some way (donors) and of course millions of casual supporters of German / America patriotism. More mainstream organizations which had Bund association like German anti-Prohibition movements would also have to be counted the way you are counting Zionist organizations as anything Jewish that’s supportive of Israel. In addition the Bund had state chapter in 47 of the 48 states and local chapters, which your numbers aren’t capturing. There aren’t good numbers because HUAC and the FBI were mainly interested in the the national organization but the largest local groups had 1500 members with 150-300 not uncommon. There are 3000 counties in the USA, I don’t know how many there were in the 30s but if even 5% of that number had active strong chapters that’s more than 20k.

        Lobbying was much less developed in the 1920s and 1930s than it is today. But even if we were to ignore that and just comparing raw numbers AIPAC has 10k donors with most of the money coming from 2. The Bund is larger however you want to count it than AIPAC.

        The amount of influence the pro-Zionist Jewish community has had on the US political system is without precedent

        Your argument before was for minority groups supporting countries with a bad human rights record is so unthinkable that it could very well lead to breaking the social contract. That’s different than this charge that size and popularity is unusual. I don’t see any reason Jews if they are really Americans should be embarrassed about having a powerful lobby. The AARP, NRA, pro-life lobbies are lobbies that represent different segments of the American population and are powerful. I’m certain that if the Zionist Lobby and the The Agribusiness Lobby ever went head to head the Zionists would get their head handed to them. There is only one powerful lobby they’ve had to take on regularly the Energy Industry Lobby, sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. Frankly I think the polling is pretty clear that non-Jewish Americans support the Jewish Lobby more than the Energy industry Lobby so I’m not sure that the general public objects to their being someone on the other side of the USA becoming a mercenary force for Saudi Arabia.

        So no, I don’t think the Zionist Lobby is without precedent I don’t even think they are currently without equal. They are one of the more powerful lobbies. Many people would rank them in the top, 10, I wouldn’t, but they certainly are in the top 100. They are a group of Americans that have a political position and have formed agencies to support those positions. That’s what you are supposed to do as an American to influence policy.

        Your attempt to defend this pervasive influence with lame comparisons ignores the critical question you should be concerned with, whether all this influence on US government and public institutions, on US foreign policy, on fundamental US values, will backfire.

        I think I addressed it quite clearly in the previous post. I don’t think there will be any backlash. The position of the Zionist lobby are mainstream positions supported by most Americans or at least substantial fractions of Americans. That’s why it is a powerful lobby.

        But really your big question is should I kneel beg and scrape considering myself blessed that real Americans are letting kikes like me live in their country safely? If I’m going to be an American I’m going to participate fully in America. And that means just as I join the New Jersey Tech Council I’ll freely join Jewish/Zionist organizations. I’m free to decide that President George Bush’s 2004 campaign was offensive as all hell and donate for the next decade to the Human Rights Campaign (the pro-gay lobby). I’m free to donate to the Democratic party or Republicans as I see fit. Lobbies in American can have people on the other side, that’s fine. But as Americans we don’t resolve policy disputes through state support or encouraged terrorism against the domestic population that was on the losing side of policy issues.

        If that social contract doesn’t apply to Jews then Jews shouldn’t be living here.
        If I thought that Americans would reject Jews being equal in that way, then I’d be backing Israel much more strongly than I am today. Rather than being an American Zionist I’d be personally planning to make aliyah. If even one of the most supportive countries in the world is going to turn against their Jewish population because that population held to the same position on a comparatively minor foreign policy issues as the vast majority of Americans, then that really does prove that Jews will never be safe anywhere. How do you see that as possibly being an argument rather than for Zionism?

        Give me a break. The 67 war was planned by Israel and aided by some stupid posturing by Nassar. There was never any threat to Israel. Everybody, Israel, Egypt and various western intel agencies all knew it would be over in a week. They were wrong. It took 6 days. But you know all that, so why do you stoop to the basest of hasbara?

        A very similar war happened in 1973 involving much the same protagonists. In that war things didn’t go so smoothly and Israel lost battles for the first 2 days. So no I don’t buy the idea that 1967 was foreordained as obvious. Moreover your side on MW frequently argues that Hezbollah today is vastly superior to the IDF today, where the qualitative differences are immensely larger. Now that argument I do think is stupid but I don’t see you jumping in when it comes up.

        If you care about Israel, and about the status and reputation of American Jews, you need to be devoting your energies to stopping this train wreck not using clever arguments that make it more likely.

        I don’t see any train wreck. What I see is that Israel will continue to do what is in their best interests and mop up the remnants of the Palestinian resistance of the next generation or two. The Palestinians will likely come to some sort of accord most likely a colonial agreement 2SS. If not there are a whole bunch of other possibilities like a 1SS with institutional power in the hands of Jews for at least a century while they assimilate. The UN will remain somewhat hostile, but most countries frankly don’t care very much so the Palestinians will be paid lip service to and not much more like today and even that less and less with time. In America Anti-Zionism will remain a fringe movement because mainstream Liberal organizations in the United States will hold the line. The American Jewish community will likely grow larger and less idealogical with time, but not quickly enough for that long term trend to have much impact during the 21st century. And by then Israel won’t need them anymore.

        That’s what I think will happen.

  30. yonah fredman
    March 22, 2014, 6:28 am

    Phil Weiss reports: “The trip’s Israeli character was also reflected by stops at two kibbutzes and the Dead Sea and Masada, classic sites for birthright-style promotional tours. And though the leaders were working with Palestinian NGOs and visiting a Palestinian refugee camp, the trip was being coordinated with the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies,”

    The coordination with Arava which is famous for its disregard for legality in regard to the occupied territory is appropriately highlighted. But Dead Sea and Masada and kibbutzes as Birthright-style promotional tour?! (I guess the capital letters are only there for Lobby, but not for birthright?) Come on! Who goes to Israel without seeing Masada and kibbutzes? This is a ridiculous criticism! (The Dead Sea goes without saying is an appropriate spot to visit.)

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 22, 2014, 8:55 am

      They’re going there to study the water problem. Now I guess you could justify a visit to a kibbutz in that study, if the entirety of zionist Ag. policy (including the whosale theft of Palestinian water is presented) but Masada is totally irrelevant to what they’re studying. And while it is a very minor but legitimate historical site, it’s been turned into a pro zionist propaganda site. That fact, coupled with the few or no visits to Palestinians sites which demonstrate the water theft, shows that the inclusion of Masada is for hasbara purposes.

  31. jneirman
    March 22, 2014, 1:59 pm

    I get so frustrated that people vilify the Arava Institute. Yes, they get funding from the JNF, but the peace building and environmental work (which in many cases help Bedouins and Palestinians in the West Bank) is so important! People should actually go learn about what they do there before slandering it.

  32. Trevor Brown
    March 24, 2014, 10:47 am

    Great Reporting, Phil. This is where the battle is occurring.

    I have one question which needs clarification. Was the itinerary for the Israel trip ever changed (due to SJP efforts or other factors)? There are some conflicting statements in your report regarding this:

    “Last year a proposal was put forward by three members of the Jewish Studies program, (all of whom I am told are Jewish) to study water questions in Israel and Palestine. ….The trip’s Israeli character was also reflected by stops at two kibbutzes and the Dead Sea and Masada, classic sites for birthright-style promotional tours.
    Members of Vassar’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter objected to the nature of the trip and met with the head of International Studies.
    …. the trip’s character had the effect of excluding students of Muslim and Arabic background.

    When the braided student said the itinerary had been changed, Schneiderman burst out angrily, “That’s absolutely untrue! We have emails we can show you……

    The most conciliatory statement was from a young Jewish man on the trip who said that he was thankful for SJP’s intervention, and he would be having a different trip because of that.”

    Do you or anyone else have information regarding the dufferences between the “original trip” and the “actual tip”, which now has been completed. Was the itinerary changed and/or was the purpose of the trip changed? Who is telling the truth here?

  33. yonah fredman
    March 24, 2014, 10:35 pm

    I suppose finger snapping is innovative compared to other methods of communication like shouting. But it is not a method of dialogue. Nor is it a method of ideas.

    If the professor says she was met with a noise ululating, that means there was a protest ongoing when she entered the classroom. When was this? before the class began? If so, it was right before the class began. This is not the time for a confrontation. This is not the place for a confrontation.. But there is not a clear when and where involved in describing this protest. Was it only posters urging students to reconsider? No, if there was noise, even if it was not ululating, there was some kind of “confrontation” in the classroom or in the hall next to the classroom. And thus back to my original point. If people want to protest a class, the place to do it is outside the building or at the administration, not in the hallways of the building next to the classroom.

  34. irishmoses
    March 25, 2014, 12:48 am

    Ellen,

    I think the parents were probably more effected as more of them may have been immigrants, plus most had lost kin they actually knew from the Holocaust. Their kids, the ones I knew, were aware of the lost relatives but they weren’t people they’d met. I think they saw the Holocaust as a horrific aberration but not as something they were worried about in this country.

    I can think of three groups that had far more reason for angst than American Jews. Top would be Black Americans who were still in the middle of a continuous pogrom in the South in the 50s and 60s. Japanese Americans, and I knew many, were fresh out of WWII concentration camps, had lost all their property, and had experienced something very similar to what German Jews had experienced in the 1930s. Several of the ones I knew had been born in interment camps. They never talked about the experience, but it had to be emotionally scarring. Mexican Americans had just lived through the mass deportations of the early 50s where even Mexican American citizens were deported because they looked liked Mexicans or “Wet Backs”. I can’t imagine they felt secure in their American citizenship. Native Americans should be on my list as well, but technically they weren’t immigrants. Any angst there? I’d say.

    Compare the experience of those three groups with American Jewish immigrants who immigrated freely in the millions and suffered discrimination not any worse than the Irish, the Italians, the Portuguese, the Puerto Ricans, etc. There is no comparison. Considering the amazing success of Jews in this country, well-earned success, any suggestion that they were mistreated on the same level of Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native Americans is disingenuous at best.

    I was lucky to live in a time where American men went through the great equalization experience of Basic Training in the military. You were thrown together with guys your age from all over the country, with all different backgrounds. In 12 weeks we got to know each other intimately, different accents, different colors and cultures, different religions, city versus country boys, the whole gamut. With the exception of the tensions between southern Whites and Blacks, I don’t recall any whining about how one particular group had been mistreated compared to all the rest of us. Nobody had a chip on their shoulder even though we all had heard stories of how our parents and grandparents generations had struggled with discrimination as immigrants. We all had our heads shaved and we were all in it together.

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