How I discovered what Phil Ochs thought about Israel

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April 9 marked the 40th anniversary of the suicide of Phil Ochs, the crusading singer/songwriter who penned many of the 1960s’ smartest and most memorable protest anthems. His 1976 suicide devastated the folk community. Pete Seeger, a mentor to Ochs during his early years, was haunted until his final days by the thought that he hadn’t done more to help the troubled artist.

I heard my first Phil Ochs song in the spring of 1971, when alt-radio host Alex Bennett played “Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends” on WPLJ-FM. Ochs’s sharp satire about the lures of complacency, inspired by the Kitty Genovese murder, was perfect for my 12-year-old, already-radical cynicism.

By 7th grade, I was a veteran of one presidential campaign (I aggressively leafleted my neighborhood for Gene McCarthy in ’68) and the October 1969 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. My childhood love for Israel, which came from my synagogue, was by then fraying. Influenced by — by who? my fellow tweens at a prep school in the Bronx? Alex Bennett? WBAI? –I told my distraught Hebrew school principal that “because of the occupied territories,” I wasn’t marching anymore in the April 25 Salute To Israel Parade. The educator, Rahel F. Bloch, countered my concerns: “Peter, they’re just a bargaining chip for peace!” Lol. A bargaining chip for peace. That phrase still rings in my head, 45 years later.

For the first time ever, the entire New York area’s Jewish schools were closing for the parade, which shows how compulsory Zionism was displacing actual religion for Jewish institutions post-’67. Organizers “urged all school personnel, pupils, and parents to participate in the parade both as marchers and spectators.” Afterwards, there would be a groovy-sounding “Folk-Rock Be-In” called “Jubilee 1971” in Central Park, “expected to attract over 50,000 college students.” This is how young Jewish children were conscripted into the enterprise. I marched.

Two months later, I was off to Camp Na’aleh in Elizaville, NY (which still exists in a different location), run by the Labor Zionist organization Habonim (not yet Habonim-Dror). My parents’ choice of an Israel-focused camp didn’t thrill me; I expected to encounter kids who thought Jews needed to support President Nixon because he was “good for Israel.”

Instead, I found myself at the closest analog to a radical hippie commune any suburban pre-teen with sensible parents could hope for. Meals were followed by nonstop singing, with the material ranging from Hebrew choral songs to silly camp songs (and some raunchy ones) to “The Internationale” and “Bandiera Rossa.” We would chant off the names of each age division, then swap in names of heroes like Ho Chi Minh. The camp was socialist and kibbutz-oriented, emphasizing labor, sharing (all the goodies our parents sent were pooled), and endless education in Labor Zionist theory. Our counselors were young — the director no more than 22 — and would have looked more at home at Wavy Gravy’s Hog Farm than at most other Jewish camps. For us, the early ’70s were more ’60s than the actual ’60s had been.

If Bob Dylan was the Sun God for young Jewish summer-camp lefties, Phil Ochs was like a beloved local deity. Every morning but Shabbat, we would sing his subversively patriotic “Power And The Glory” (“but she’s only as rich as the poorest of the poor, only as free as the padlocked prison door”) to our very conflicted raising of the U.S. flag. At the weekly kumsitz (singalong), counselors regaled us with “Draft Dodger Rag,” Ochs’s wry spoof on avoiding Selective Service. I had brought my guitar and learned to bang out the songs.

The next summer, the enlightened 19-year-olds in charge of our kiddie commune declared Friday nights “Free Sleep,” permitting the older divisions (and themselves) to spend the Shabbat in any bed, with anyone agreeable.

I was 13, a little young for anything too serious; my Friday nights that summer were spent chastely, atop a bunk bed with an adorable, slightly older Brooklyn girl. On an endless loop, we played a cassette of “Phil Ochs In Concert,” the 1966 live album that introduced fans to new songs and Ochs’s distinctive stage patter. “Love Me, I’m A Liberal” was perfect for me — “liberal” was a term of deep derision at camp as well as for my political friends at school, and the takedown in Ochs’s intro — “ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally” — was right on the money.

I should have listened more closely; with lines like “I love Puerto Ricans and Negroes — as long as they don’t move next door,” or “if you ask me to bus my children, I hope the cops take down your name,” the song could have been transformed into “Love Me, I’m A Liberal Zionist.” Guess what: Israel is segregated, even (and especially) the socialist kibbutzim. The schools are too. This is why I’m so harsh on myself now: the signs were there if I had looked for them. (Nowadays, Zionist groups are pushing through state laws to “take down your name” if you support the Israel boycott.)

Instead, amidst all the rah-rah radicalism, Israel now seemed entirely compatible with leftism. We were often defiant toward our anti-Palestinian sponsors from Israeli Labor, and tangled with right-wing Zionist movements like Betar. When Golda Meir (who’d helped found our camp’s predecessor in the ’30s) said there were “no Palestinians,” North American Habonim told her off, supposedly risking our funding. We picketed Meir Kahane’s Jewish Defense League. In 1973, I attended our national convention, where we voted to reject all connections with our Israeli sponsor movement’s kibbutzim in the ’67-occupied territories, and also to require each local chapter to spend one afternoon per month picketing A&P supermarkets selling non-union lettuce. (I made sure we really did this in Westchester.)

Israel was presented as the solution to our anti-Americanism. “Goodbye, America, goodbye Yankee fashions, let’s go to Palestine, the hell with your depressions!” our forebears like Meir had sung in the ’30s, to the Yiddish tune “Zum Gali Gali.” We changed “Yankee fashions” to “Yankee fascists” (and “Palestine” to “Israel”). Zionism was “the national liberation movement of the Jewish people” so we were like the Vietcong or Black Panthers — as if privileged suburban kids like me were in any need of national liberation. (There were also many city kids; the camp’s Israeli-subsidized low cost made for unusual economic diversity.)

Back home, I began checking out Ochs’s albums from my local library and learning the songs. By summer 1974 I could play quite a few, some of the nonpolitical ones, and performed them at the Saturday night campfire talent shows. “Flower Lady,” “Changes,” and “When I’m Gone” – almost too heartbreaking to listen to now, knowing what became of Ochs. “I can’t be singing louder than the guns when I’m gone, so I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.” I recruited a friend, another Brooklyn girl, to sing harmony.

Between summers, we craved every chance to see camp friends at activities in the city. One such occasion was the Salute To Israel parade, which I no longer found problematic. We were boosting the parade’s lefty presence! On May 11, 1975, I marched again, and as the parade petered out along Fifth Avenue, my friends and I saw huge festive crowds streaming into Central Park. We tagged along, my campfire duet partner and I.

Poster for War is Over rally in Central Park 1975

Poster for War is Over rally in Central Park 1975

What we discovered at the Sheep Meadow was a giant rally, “The War Is Over,” called (by Phil Ochs, but we didn’t know that) to celebrate the final defeat of America’s aggression against the people of Vietnam on April 30. It was an epic lineup, with superstars like Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Pete Seeger, Patti Smith, Peter Yarrow, Barbara Dane and Tom Paxton. (Here’s the setlist, be jealous.)

My friend and I found a VW van on the perimeter to climb on top of, and watched the show from over the crowd. But when Phil Ochs himself took the stage we clambered down in a hurry and pushed into the 100,000-strong crowd for a closer look. He opened with “I Ain’t Marching Anymore,” his most iconic protest song. Then, something special: Joan Baez joined him on stage, the one time they performed together. Her 1966 cover of Ochs’s “There But For Fortune” had been (in England) her first Top Ten hit. Hear them together:

He finished with “The War Is Over,” the song that named the rally, apologizing that he couldn’t hit the high notes. We didn’t know, but he’d been attacked in Africa, nearly strangled, and lost his upper vocal register, worsening his depression.

The following year, on Friday April 9, I made another trip to the public library. It had been a while since I’d listened to Ochs’s albums and I had a sudden craving to reconnect with him. On Saturday morning — 40 years ago today — I sat by our living room stereo listening to “Pleasures Of The Harbor.” My father looked up from the New York Times obituary page. “You know, that folksinger died.” Who!?? Oh.

There was no Twitter to check, but the community that loved Phil Ochs came together quickly. On WBAI it was like the JFK assassination: they ripped out all their regular programming in favor of Ochs — interviews, performances, and call-ins. Mainstream rock stations WNEW-FM and WPLJ also played and mourned Phil. Malachy McCourt opened his WMCA show with “When I’m Gone,” then softly announced, “Phil Ochs, singing louder than the guns.”

In years to follow, I learned more of Ochs’s sad story. Battling bipolar disorder and alcohol, he had rallied impressively to put on the previous year’s Central Park event on hearing the war was finally over, then slid into a worse decline.

It took unacceptably long decades for me to set aside my liberal Zionism and become a vocal Palestine supporter. A story for another time. Sometime in the mid-’00s I attended a gathering to support Habonim. A few friends from back then now had a band and were set up to perform with mics and amplifiers. After their set, they invited me to take up a guitar and play something. I’m no performer and rarely touch a guitar now. But I took the one they gave me and powered through “Draft Dodger Rag” in non-embarrassing style. All my old friends sang along. It was my last Habonim event.

And during that awful summer of 2014, June’s West Bank pogroms and the Gaza carnage of July-August, I attended every protest rally I could. Who knows how much it helped, but being there was the least I could do.

When the crowd chanted “Gaza, Gaza, don’t you cry / Palestine will never die,” the words would catch in my throat. How can I tell Gaza not to cry when their children and whole families are being slaughtered? By the apartheid regime I once thought I was so woke for supporting?

Sometimes as I marched, Phil Ochs songs would pop into my head. “There But For Fortune” matched the horrific pictures filling my social media feed:

Show me the country where the bombs had to fall
Show me the ruins of the buildings once so tall

Then I’d remember Ochs’s Mississippi songs. Israel is Mississippi now, with lynchings, abductions, arson and hate mobs; the songs would need little changing. “Here’s To The State Of Mississippi” easily fits the Jewish State of Israel, where “the fat trees of the forest have hid a thousand crimes” – the forests planted by the Jewish National Fund to hide the hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed by Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Rabin in the 1947-48 Nakba. Where “the calendar is lyin’ when it reads the present time.” Where the people “smile and shrug their shoulders at the murder of a man.” Where the schools “are teaching all the children that they don’t have to care… and there’s nobody learning such a foreign word as ‘fair.'” Where the speeches of the Prime Minister are “the ravings of a clown” — not to mention the Justice Minister.

Another song, “Going Down To Mississippi,” recorded by Ochs between labels and not released until 1986, was about the Freedom Summer volunteers who traveled south to register African-American voters at considerable risk. “If you never see me again, remember that I had to go.” That one made me think of Rachel Corrie.

Days Of Decision” was the most hopeful. “In the face of the people who know they’re gonna win, there’s a strength that’s greater than the power of the wind.” But also a warning: “The far-reaching rockets say you can’t wait anymore… The mobs of anger are roamin’ the street… There’s many a cross that burns in the night, and the fingers of the fire are pointing as they bite.” In Gaza, it was populated houses and hospitals instead of crosses, burning in the night.

I’m Gonna Say It Now” — that one could go out to Students for Justice in Palestine and everyone on any campus where academic freedom is threatened by the “Palestine exception to free speech.”

As I marched, I would wonder to myself: If Phil Ochs were alive, would he be here? He rarely turned down the chance to sing at protests. But how could I know what he thought about Israel? Maybe he had the same blind spot for the Jewish state as so many of his contemporaries like Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, and Pete Seeger? I was afraid to search.

But last December, I unexpectedly got my answer, straight from Phil himself.

In the days leading up to what would have been his 75th birthday on Dec. 19, Ochs fans filled the Internet with links to newly surfaced or neglected material. I came across a “Love Me, I’m A Liberal” clip on YouTube promising updated lyrics, from a February 1971 benefit for a Houston alternate newspaper called Space City News.

Ochs’s first substantial rewrite at that show was to a verse originally about the hypocrisy of those who condemned “the people of old Mississippi” who “should all hang their heads in shame…” but refused to bus their own children. Updated, it now called out Vietnam protesters who looked down on right-wing construction workers:

The people who wear all the hard hats should all hang their heads in shame
Now I can’t understand how their minds work, they must have believed John Wayne
And I guess we’re gonna have to beat them, as soon as we sniff some cocaine
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a radical!

Ha ha. Ha! A sick burn, we’d say now. By 1971, radical chic was as mockable as liberalism had been in 1966. It wasn’t the first time Ochs voiced “criticism of the apathy that drugs tend to induce,” in the words of Grady McAllister, who recorded the Houston show “by dangling a microphone over the rail of the balcony.” Ochs had done much the same in “Small Circle” (“demonstrations are a drag, besides we’re much too high”). The crowd of Houston lefties whooped and clapped at the substitution of “radical.”

The next verse wouldn’t need much tweaking to work even in 2016. In the original:

Yes I read New Republic and Nation, I’ve learned to take every view
You know, I’ve memorized Lerner and Golden, I feel like I’m almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea, there’s no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

Change the names to Friedman and Goldberg, and swap in 9/11 for Korea, and you’re good to go.

But Ochs made a much sharper change to the verse:

I read underground papers and Newsweek, I’ve learned to take every view
Ah, the war in Vietnam is atrocious, I wish to God that the fighting was through
But when it comes to the arming of Israel, there’s no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

“When it comes to the arming of Israel”! (Or, as we chant at rallies: “Not another nickel, not another dime. No more money for Israel’s crimes!”) Again, the Houston crowd cheered the fresh lyrics.

Did I just hear Phil Ochs use “Love Me, I’m A Liberal” to call out “Progressive Except Palestine“? In 1971?? I had to stop the song and play the verse again. Ochs teasing that liberals thought it was “red, white and blue” to support Israel? Oh boy.

And then, I felt I knew. (I don’t really, of course.) For sure he would have wanted to come to those Gaza rallies, he couldn’t have sat silent. He would have sung “There But For Fortune,” updated his songs and written new ones in horror at Israel’s mass murder of children and whole families. If he worried about “the arming of Israel” in 1971, what would he think of the billions in U.S. military aid to Israel today?

Later, I came across a recording of another Ochs show from a few months later, April 17 at Hunter College. “Love Me, I’m A Liberal” was on the setlist. Ochs included the verse about cocaine-sniffing radicals, but he dropped the Israel verse for NYC. Self-censorship is a thing. Who could blame him? Certainly not me: it was literally the same week I caved to my Hebrew school over the Israel parade.

“The arming of Israel” was clearly a concern to the left in 1971, as the occupation grew roots. That year, Bernie Sanders ran for local Vermont office on a platform that included “no guns for Israel,” which he announced at a synagogue campaign stop. If only his base would hold him to that now, as Israel (a.k.a. The Mouse That Schnorred) ups its shakedown of the US Treasury. Cutting off all US  Israel would be popular across the spectrum, since Americans hate all forms of foreign aid. Apart from ending US protection for Israel at the UN, a total military aid cutoff would be the most useful thing any president could do.

Phil Ochs knew that in 1971.

About Peter Feld

Peter Feld is a writer, editorial consultant, market researcher and former political strategist at Democratic polling firms. He is @peterfeld on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

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34 Responses

  1. echinococcus
    April 10, 2016, 10:43 pm

    Impressive review, thank you.

    Illustrates perfectly how “Liberal Zionists” and their fake opposition have remained unchanged, always as nasty and bloodthirsty as ever not to mention much more dangerous than the religious simpletons. Also how “liberals” are nothing new –10 degrees here, 10 degrees there.

  2. DaBakr
    April 11, 2016, 12:27 am

    amazing dedication to radical ideals. a boy of just 12-13 was already opposed to the ‘occupation’ in early ’68 with the 67 war not even a year old and the 3 no’s of khartoum which shut down negotiations almost completely were barely 6 months old . that kind of prescience and resolute ideals must be inspirational for hardcore american radicals.

    • Peter Feld
      April 11, 2016, 7:26 am

      Hi, thanks for giving me such credit but I should have been clearer. My objection to the occupation and discussion with my Hebrew school was in April ’71, four years in (when a lot of people were already aware), not in ’68 (which was when I volunteered for the Gene McCarthy campaign at 9).

      • Jackdaw
        April 11, 2016, 8:03 am

        Propping up a stiff in order to take a swipe at Israel.

        You had nothing better to do?

      • RockyMissouri
        April 11, 2016, 5:07 pm

        Thank you for a wonderful and very moving article about my folk music heroes…!!

      • DaBakr
        April 11, 2016, 10:12 pm

        @pf

        stil-even in ’71 the six-day war enjoyed wide spread popular support in america. and you were still pretty young to take up such contrarian, radical views imo.

      • just
        April 12, 2016, 12:44 am

        I read your nasty comment from this morning that was posted when I came home, Jackdaw. I was humming, singing along with, and playing Ochs’ songs in my car whenever I got the chance, thanks to Peter Feld’s great essay that jolted me into the past, present and future today. I often play his music on my home equipment~ loud and proud.

        I felt sick to my stomach when I read your comment. Then I reflected that it was you who wrote it and tried to calm my stomach and my head while at the same time I wondered why this world has people like you in it who cannot bother to read an article nor comprehend the message. I was sure that some other humanist that is hale and hearty would respond to you, ( or maybe even one of your fellow delusionists would come to your rescue), but you apparently stand alone. That’s pretty good news.

      • jd65
        April 12, 2016, 12:45 am

        @ Jackdaw: “Propping up a stiff in order to take a swipe at Israel.

        You had nothing better to do?”

        Ain’t nothin’ wrong with taking a swipe at Israel. They deserve it. And anyway, my guess is that Feld can walk and chew gum at the same time. How ’bout you? Yes, I like a Gershwin tune.

        Thanks for writing Peter Feld. Ochs was uncommon. In a very good way…

    • K Renner
      April 11, 2016, 10:05 am

      Yawn. Denial of the illegal occupation from the first and whining about the Palestinians wisely refusing to “negotiate” with those who had just ethnically cleansed 250,000 more of them?

      People who denied Palestinians even existed with every breath, smiling smugly with ugly, gormless Golda Meir faces?

      There’s a good term for people like you. “Muppet”, or “muppets” plural. Whiny, stupid, bereft of anything but hasbarat propaganda. I’d say be ashamed but it’s clear that shame is an entirely foreign concept to you.

      • DaBakr
        April 11, 2016, 10:18 pm

        @kr

        a shallow, shrunken response filled with self-righteous indignation and completely narrow rminded understanding of one of the most complex land disputes in the past century . but then it is so much simpler to just be a true believer with absolute trust in the propaganda thats taught you that propaganda only works one way. as said by sarte -it takes a mediocre mind-set and you took up the cause.

      • Mooser
        April 11, 2016, 10:41 pm

        as said by sarte”

        By Jove, by jing, by “sarte” is the thing!

        “of one of the most complex land disputes in the past century”

      • talknic
        April 11, 2016, 10:46 pm

        @ DaBakr ” one of the most complex land disputes in the past century “

        There’s nothing complicated about Israel invading and illegally claiming territories outside of its proclaimed and recognized borders pal.

        http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/documents/newPDF/49.pdf

        https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/eed216406b50bf6485256ce10072f637/b4085a930e0529c98025649d00410973?OpenDocument

        There’s no moral, legal, ethical or practical reason why Israel should not withdraw from all non-Israeli territories, taking all its illegal settlers with it, paying rightful compensation for 67 years of theft and illegally exploited resources. Except of course for the fact that Israel cannot now afford to adhere to the law without being sent bankrupt and very likely breaking out in a civil war in non-Israeli territorie as it tries to repatriate hundreds of thousands of disillusioned and very very angry Israelis who have been deceived by consecutive Israeli Governments and the scummy Zionist Federation

        An Israeli civil war in non-Israeli territories makes for an interesting situation BTW

      • just
        April 12, 2016, 1:33 am

        “… as said by sarte -it takes a mediocre mind-set and you took up the cause.”

        Ooh la la! Say it ain’t so. (Unh- unh… seriously?)

        Typos, abbreviations, and grammar aside, your thoughts are so freaking twisted, imho.

      • eljay
        April 12, 2016, 7:29 am

        || DaBakr: … one of the most complex land disputes in the past century … ||

        When Jews do unto non-Jews acts of injustice and immorality, it’s “complex”. When non-Jews do unto Jews acts of injustice and immorality, it’s complexities-free anti-Semitism, “Jew hatred” and Holocaust. It’s funny how that works.

        || … it is so much simpler to just be a true believer with absolute trust in the propaganda thats taught you that propaganda only works one way. … ||

        A lovely explanation of Zio-supremacism.

        || … as said by sarte -it takes a mediocre mind-set and you took up the cause. ||

        You and your fellow Zio-supremacists certainly did.

      • Leahj
        April 12, 2016, 10:28 am

        DaBakr, “one of the most complex land disputes in the past century” –

        That’s ridiculous. (Do people really fall for that line?) There’s nothing “complex” or complicated about the situation. It’s kinda’ like saying if some thug stole your car at gunpoint & refused to give it back, that would be one of the most complex property disputes in the past century. Only more so.

        The Israelis should remove their soldiers & settlers from the Palestinian’s land, which has been under Israel’s ‘belligerent occupation’ for nearly half a century now, & stop tormenting the Palestinian people. Anything less is simply wrong, & inexcusable. You see? It’s really very simple.

      • DaBakr
        April 12, 2016, 11:00 pm

        @ e, j, l, t, etc (and I give msr a pass because he’s obviously unable to control himself)

        I forgot how much either ignoring and/or subscribing to a narrative where at least 5 major wars and a half dozen serious conflicts either never happened or if they did, in every single case, israel was responsible as aggressor and never the target of attack.

        I would also add if the conflict is so friggen simple as you all claim it is how is it that very little progress has been made ?(despite extraordinary efforts by foreigners and israeli offers that exceeded almost every demand for land return short of ror and ceding old Jerusalem as the rightful capital). sinai is the last significant treaty ceding conquered land.

        I sometimes forget how zionist-haters completely ignore the concept of land conquered in war and how return of said land can only be accomplished by negotiating with the conquered. But israel-haters turned history on its head, have figured out how to deviously claim israel started every conflict/war it ever engaged in and how it’s winning control of disputed(yes, disputed and not recognized as belonging to any state or people) land bares no legitimacy at all because it took place post ww2 conveniently absolving nations from the u.s., china, russia, morroco, sri lanka, and countless others from the same vicious animosity and lust for. destruction that they lust for with israel. it’s hard to explain this as anything but obsession.

        And btw….the “sartre ” reference was to his published essay on how stupid people are that focus on hating jews. Just an fyi

      • eljay
        April 13, 2016, 9:00 am

        || aBk: … how is it that very little progress has been made ?(despite extraordinary efforts by foreigners and israeli offers that exceeded almost every demand for land return short of ror and ceding old Jerusalem as the rightful capital). … ||

        Little progress has been made because for decades “extraordinary efforts” – including donkey-fellating support from the U.S. – have defended and abetted Israel’s intransigence, belligerence and intentionally and unapologetically (war) criminal actions instead of upholding and enforcing international laws.

        || … I sometimes forget how zionist-haters completely ignore the concept of land conquered in war and how return of said land can only be accomplished by negotiating with the conquered. …. ||

        No-one forgets how you Zio-supremacists completely ignore the fact that it is illegal to acquire territory by force.

      • talknic
        April 13, 2016, 12:15 pm

        @ DaBakr “I forgot how much either ignoring and/or subscribing to a narrative where at least 5 major wars and a half dozen serious conflicts either never happened or if they did, in every single case, israel was responsible as aggressor and never the target of attack”

        Save your bullsh*t pal. Under Plan Dalet Jewish forces were already outside of Israeli territory the day it was proclaimed “as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947” http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/documents/newPDF/49.pdf

        All of Israel’s wars have been preemptive and in other folks territories and over territories the Israeli Government itself claimed on May 22nd 1948 were “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”

        “I would also add if the conflict is so friggen simple as you all claim it is how is it that very little progress has been made ?”

        Simple simpleton. Israel ignores International Law, the UN Charter and UNSC resolutions

        “.. israeli offers that exceeded almost every demand for land return “

        More bullsh*t! Israel has only ever offered to swap non-Israeli territory under Israeli occupation for non-Israeli territory under Israeli occupation, so Israel can keep non-Israeli territories.

        ” ceding old Jerusalem as the rightful capital”

        Jerusalem was never Israeli. UNSC Resolution 476 is one of at least EIGHT reminders of UNSC Res 252
        252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 271 (1969) of 15 September 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 452 (1979) 20 July 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 June 30 1980 and 478 August 20 1980. None of which have anything to do with race or religion. They’re based on the UN Charter, International Law and the GC’s, all of which Israel obliged itself to uphold. Alas it hasn’t.
        Resolution 476 (1980) Adopted by the Security Council at its 2242nd meeting on 30 June 1980

        The Security Council,
        Having considered the letter of 28 May 1980 from the representative of Pakistan, the current Chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as contained in document S/13966 of 28 May 1980,
        Reaffirming that acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible,
        Bearing in mind the specific status of Jerusalem and, in particular, the need for protection and preservation of the unique spiritual and religious dimension of the Holy Places in the city,
        Reaffirming its resolutions relevant to the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, in particular resolutions 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 271 (1969) of 15 September 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971 and 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980,
        Recalling the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War,
        Deploring the persistence of Israel, in changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem,
        Gravely concerned over the legislative steps initiated in the Israeli Knesset with the aim of changing the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem,
        1. Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

        ” sinai is the last significant treaty ceding conquered land”

        “ceding” More bullsh*t! Israel was required to withdraw for territories sovereign to Egypt! Read the Israel/Egypt Peace Treaty you stupid person

        Article II Determination of Final Lines and Zones
        1. In order to provide maximum security for both Parties after the final withdrawal, the lines and the Zones delineated on Map 1 are to be established and organized as follows:
        until Israeli armed forces complete withdrawal from the current J and M Lines established by the Egyptian-Israeli Agreement of September 1975, hereinafter referred to as the 1975 Agreement, up to the interim withdrawal line, all military arrangements existing under that Agreement will remain in effect, except those military arrangements otherwise provided for in this Appendix.
        Within a period of seven days after Israeli armed forces have evacuated any area located in Zone A…..
        Within a period of seven days after Israeli armed forces have evacuated any area located in Zones A or B…
        The Parties agree to remove all discriminatory barriers to normal economic relations and to terminate economic boycotts of each other upon completion of the interim withdrawal.
        As soon as possible, and not later than six months after the completion of the interim withdrawal, the Parties will enter negotiations with a view to concluding an agreement on trade and commerce for the purpose of promoting beneficial economic relations.

        “I sometimes forget how zionist-haters completely ignore the concept of land conquered in war and how return of said land can only be accomplished by negotiating with the conquered.”

        Nonsense. It has been illegal to acquire territory by any coercive measure since at least 1933 http://www.cfr.org/sovereignty/montevideo-convention-rights-duties-states/p15897#art11
        The only negotiation is how and when the Occupying Power should withdraw. Read the Israel/Egypt Peace Treaty

        “.. deviously claim israel started every conflict/war it ever engaged in”

        It did. The preemptor starts its wars. Israel started every war it has ever fought, including the so called ’67 war, by attacking on Jordan in 1966 http://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/UNISPAL.NSF/0/AF3BF4FC576922B60525672E0050BEA5

        Take your waffle somewhere else, you’re making a fool of yourself here

    • Talkback
      April 12, 2016, 8:49 am

      DeBakr: “and the 3 no’s of khartoum which shut down negotiations almost completely”

      So first Jewish separatists and terorists take over nearly 80% of Palestine by war and expulsion and later attack Egypt for the second time within 11 years, capture its Sinai, Syrian’s Golan Heights, Palestine’s Gaza and the Westbank, fail to comply to General Assembly resolutions regarding Jerusalem, but it is not this aggressive expansionism into Arab homeland, but the following “3 no’s of khartoum which shut down negotiations almost completely” and you are accusing someone of having “radical ideals” for opposing an expansionist, belligerent occupation? Rofl.

      “completely narrow minded understanding of one of the most complex land disputes in the past century”

      That’s what the completely narrow minded always say. But outside of the Zionist propaganda bubble and beyond Israel’s low average IQ it’s not a “complex land dispute” at all, but simply Israel’s belligerent occupation of Palestine. Even the Supremacist Court of Israel calls it a belligerent occupation.

      • DaBakr
        April 12, 2016, 11:44 pm

        @tb

        I’m sorry to tell you that your point,(which I think you have made on numerous occasions) always makes me laugh, just a little when you refer to israeli “expansionism”with such serious determination one might picture territories expansive like the ukraine, tibet, or other past and present empirial sized territories. But this expansionism of evil zionists has been working backwards since at its largest it wasn’t much bigger then the us new jersey and now it is smaller by the size of sinai, gaza and if you want to include the zio-nazi incursion into s. lebanon and the buffer zone, it’s smaller by that as well.

        Like the supposed genocide of palestinian people who’s population and recognition has grown exponentially in the past 4 decades the expand expansionist israel just keeps getting smaller.

    • talknic
      April 12, 2016, 9:59 am

      @ DaBakr April 11, 2016, 12:27 am

      … “the 3 no’s of khartoum which shut down negotiations almost completely”

      The 3 no’s were according to International Law “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel”

      The conditions that prompted the Arab states to adopt the three no’s were

      http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/three_noes.html

      The Arab Heads of State have agreed to unite their political efforts at the international and diplomatic level to eliminate the effects of the aggression and to ensure the withdrawal of the aggressive Israeli forces from the Arab lands which have been occupied since the aggression of June 5. This will be done within the framework of the main principles by which the Arab States abide, namely, no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it, and insistence on the rights of the Palestinian people in their own country

      It simply reflects UNSC res 476 1: Reaffirmsthe overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

      No peace with Israel: Example – While territory sovereign to Egypt was under Israeli occupation the two states were not at peace. In the eventual Egypt Israel Peace Treaty, Israel was required and agreed to begin withdrawal before peaceful relations were assumed. Withdrawal for peace. Quite simple really.

      No recognition of Israel: There is no legal basis for Israel demanding recognition. Recognition is not mandatory. States plead for recognition and other states may or may not recognize them as they wish

      No negotiations: What’s to negotiate? UNSC res 242 doesn’t call for any negotiations. Israel is in breach of International Law, the UN Charter and relative Geneva Conventions. Under the law, Israel is required to have “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

      IOW get out of other folks territory, p*ss off to its own territory, take its illegal settlers with it and pay reparations

      • echinococcus
        April 12, 2016, 11:28 am

        IOW get out of other folks territory, p*ss off to its own territory, take its illegal settlers with it and pay reparations

        Precisely. Any territory in Palestine is other people’s territory, though, and it remains occupied without the assent of an all-Palestinian plebiscite, excluding the illegitimate invaders. After the unilateral lifting of the British colonial mandate in betrayal of the responsibilities of the mandate, the Zionist invader bands continue being in a state of war with the people of Palestine.

      • Mooser
        April 12, 2016, 11:46 am

        Sometimes I can’t decide which is scarier, “The Three No’s of Khartoum” or “The Black Hole of Calcutta”.

      • DaBakr
        April 12, 2016, 11:49 pm

        @t

        Whether it was international law or just consensus, which the opinion that judea and Samaria are legally occupied, the 3 no’s were not only stupid and short sited but also had absolutely nothing to do with the arab blocks concern for the welfare of palestinians.

        You seem to think your an expert on me history. surely you can’t believe there was much love for their arab brethren from the gulf states, egypt and the rest of the arab world at that time.

      • talknic
        April 13, 2016, 12:27 pm

        @ DaBakr April 12, 2016, 11:49 pm

        “Whether it was international law or just consensus, which the opinion that judea and Samaria are legally occupied”

        The UNSC says “occupied” I gave the link. Aren’t you allowed to read UNSC resolutions?

        ” the 3 no’s were not only stupid and short sited but also had absolutely nothing to do with the arab blocks concern for the welfare of palestinians”

        Strange. The Arab states have generously hosted Palestinian refugees for 67 years

        ” surely you can’t believe there was much love for their arab brethren from the gulf states, egypt and the rest of the arab world at that time”

        Odd isn’t it that the Arab states have fought wars against Israel’s ongoing colonization of Palestine on behalf of the Palestinians, fought the legal battle for the Palestinians since 1922, hosted Palestinian refugees for 67 years.

        Israel has done …nothing. No thing. Except take more and more non-Israeli territory and slaughtered more and more non-Jews to do it.

  3. just
    April 11, 2016, 7:34 am

    Sincere thanks for this wonderful tale of evolution. You are very generous to share it with us, Peter.

    Phil Ochs is a personal favorite and hero of mine, too. Such enormous talent, an incredible voice and mind~ a tragedy that he had so much pain.

  4. DavidHeap
    April 11, 2016, 10:10 am

    Thanks for all this: the personal journey, the memories, and the updated Phil Ochs verse. What a visionary: what a loss! Yes, he would be marching & singing with us today, for Gaza and for all of Palestine.
    BTW, Seeger eventually found his way out of that Zionist blind spot (though it took him rather longer): http://icahdusa.org/folk-music-legend-pete-seeger-endorses-boycott-of-israel/

  5. Annie Robbins
    April 11, 2016, 11:49 am

    thank you so much peter! reaaaaalllly interesting.

  6. CigarGod
    April 11, 2016, 11:58 am

    Thanks for the journey, Peter.
    Sounds so much like mine, only yours seems so much more intensive.
    I think I’ll take one or two of your updated lyrics to our little open mic this week.

  7. xanadou
    April 11, 2016, 1:32 pm

    A beautifully written tribute to the power of music and to growing up to the soundtrack created by a troubled soul, a Pied Piper in a land otherwise overwhelmingly impervious, then and to this day, to the obscenity of war.

  8. tokyobk
    April 12, 2016, 2:11 am

    Thanks Peter.

    I attended a Habonim camp from 1979 – 1984, and often wonder the various paths others from the labor Zionist youth movements have taken and are taking on I/P.

    About “The Sixties,” well we know on a calendar but in spirit, when did they begin and end? I think a good argument can be made for 1963 – 1975, so looking back at least I think you were still square inside of that experience. My camp counselors were the little kids of your day (and in my last year we absorbed the collapsed Na’aleh) and they were still thinking of themselves as deeply attached to your generations aspirations.

  9. Kay24
    April 12, 2016, 6:44 am

    Then their is the ambitious wretch from Chappaqua, who will put aside facts to make her zionist donors feel proud of her. Who thinks she cares if Palestinian kids are massacred? Her cheap words even go against what the UN has investigated and concluded.

    Hillary Clinton attacks dead Palestinians in battle against Bernie Sanders

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/hillary-clinton-attacks-dead-palestinians-battle-against-bernie-sanders

  10. darlene downing
    April 16, 2016, 1:57 am

    Hi Peter I loved Phil Ochs and I love you, too

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