It is time to stop celebrating Jewish dissent in the Palestine solidarity movement

Activism
on 92 Comments

The list of BDS successes seems to grow longer every day.  More professional associations are endorsing the academic boycott of Israel, cultural workers continue to denounce Israeli abuses, and labor unions, churches, even cities are divesting from companies that benefit from Israel’s illegal practices. These are all wonderful manifestations of the advances we are making.  Ultimately, however, BDS is not economic warfare.  If it were, we would be doomed to fail, because we can successfully boycott every Israeli item in every grocery store in the entire country, we would still not be making a dent in the US funding of Israel’s war crimes.  Indeed, the Obama Administration has just announced that it would give Israel the largest aid package yet.  Our biggest BDS victory achieved so far by activists for Palestinian rights may well be the discourse change that BDS has produced in the West.

Judged by that criterion, it is absolutely clear that we are winning.  We have not yet achieved our goals, namely justice for Palestine, and indeed the situation on the ground in Palestine seems to have worsened as home demolitions and extra-judicial executions are daily occurrences, even as the siege on Gaza continues to choke that part of the country, reminding us of the urgency of our activism here. But the change on the ground cannot happen without a change in the global narrative that misrepresented Palestine.  And that change, the shattering of the once iron-clad Zionist narrative, is happening, as we regularly hear and read denunciations of Israel’s abuses in various forums. This was most obvious when US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke at a nationally televised electoral debate about Palestinian rights, and Israel’s “disproportionate response.”  Only days later, Pulitzer Prize laureate Michael Chabon gave a powerful interview in which he describes the horrors he witnessed while on a tour of Hebron.  

Chabon’s interview circulated amongst Palestinian-rights activists like brush fire on a scorching day, most often prefaced with an explanation that he is a “Jewish-American writer.”  This information, certainly offered with the best intentions, is nevertheless treacherous, in that it can uphold an oppressive dynamic.

Jewish voices are welcome, of course, in the global denunciation of Zionism as a racist ideology.  Identifying oneself as Jewish when one speaks out against Israel’s policies also helps dismantle the accusation that seeking justice for Palestinians is anti-Semitic.  Yet there is an inevitable risk associated with the ongoing privileging of Jewish voices denouncing Israel. This is because by privileging their voices, we are implicitly accepting the Zionist narrative of Israel representing all Jews, with very few exceptions.  It is these “exceptions,” then, that Palestinian rights activists place on a pedestal.

The privileging of Jewish voices is more serious than whites denouncing anti-Black racism.  Because when whites denounce racism, there is no suggestion that they too are victimized by the structural system.  White allies generally acknowledge the privilege they are born into.  Those whites who claim “All Lives Matter” are not considered allies.  

The dynamics between Jewish and Palestinian voices around the Question of Palestine, however, are different precisely because of the attempt at normalization that have plagued this issue for decades.  The Zionist discourse had started out as one of exclusive Jewish victimhood, as if the Palestinians did not exist, were not wronged.  This is different from the black-white dynamics, where there was never a credible, widely-accepted narrative of white victimhood.  Similarly, there is no credible, widely-accepted narrative of male victimhood when it comes to a discussion of sexism.  Even when one acknowledges the oppressive aspects of the gendering of masculinity, there is general recognition that while men are denied some emotional outlets, they are nevertheless the undisputed beneficiaries of social gendering.  

But when it comes to the Question of Palestine, we have been plagued for decades with a narrative of Jewish victimhood that completely erased any mention of Palestinian loss, the ongoing Nakba.  When Palestinian voices finally broke through the censorship, the dynamics changed.  Because Palestinian voices were no longer contained, a new development took place, namely the concerted Zionist effort to make this into a “two sides” issue—yes, the Palestinians have been wronged, but let us not forget the centuries of anti-Semitism.  Let us have “dialogue” about it, because there are two valid perspectives that must be heard…  

Except that the pain of the Israelis, born or choosing to emigrate into institutionalized privilege, does not in anyway compare with that of the Palestinians.  There is no equivalency, no equal footing, no “we need to hear from both sides.”  

Because of this background, every time we continue to privilege Jewish voices, we are empowering the Zionist narrative.   Even those Jewish allies who are doing stellar and effective work can unwittingly contribute to this “normalizing,” when their narrative, their statements, their witnessing, is given greater validity because they are Jewish.  

BDS is a call for solidarity, and solidarity, by definition, hinges on the participation of allies, rather than those whose bodies are on the line.  It is absolutely normal, then, that there would be more non-Palestinians than Palestinians participating in BDS, in solidarity work, in organizing and even leading campaigns.  But the work must center Palestinian concerns, Palestinian voices, Palestinian experiences.  And because these have been silenced, censored, dismissed as biased or even hateful for too long, Palestinians absolutely must be given center stage now.  When conferences have an equal number of Jewish and Palestinian speakers (or, as is sometimes the case, more Jewish speakers than Palestinians), something is wrong.  When criticism of Israel is given more weight because it is expressed by a Jew than a Palestinian, something is wrong.  As we privilege Jewish voices, we are allowing them to eclipse the Palestinian ones.

We need a multiplicity of voices, a multiplicity of narratives.  Jewish voices play an extremely important role within that chorus. But if we agree that the discourse has changed, that the Zionist narrative has been punctured, then statements by our Jewish allies should not necessarily begin with “As a Jew,” and the solidarity Jews offer us should not be valued differently from the solidarity offered us by other communities.

Israel does not now, and indeed never did, speak for all Jews.  It is time we put an end to that myth by putting an end to the celebration of Jewish voices denouncing Zionism as “exceptional,” or “heroic.” They belong with all other such voices, and must magnify, rather than occupy, the Palestinian narrative.

About Nada Elia

Nada Elia is a Palestinian scholar-activist, writer, and grassroots organizer, currently completing a book on Palestinian Diaspora activism.

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92 Responses

  1. just
    April 28, 2016, 10:25 am

    Bravo!!! So very well said and so necessary, imho.

    Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  2. Kay24
    April 28, 2016, 11:31 am

    BDS is the only way to go. Israel is arrogantly thumbing its nose at the world, continues the building of illegal settlements, and basically has not shown ANY desire for peace. In fact Nutty their leader has stated there will be no 2SS when he is PM. So only the naive will keep buying the propaganda that it is the fault of the occupied, the Palestinians, that they suffer without any peace or freedom.

    It looks like Israel has yet again, shown a preference for the status quo. How many attempts for peace talks by the US, UN and the EU have been rejected by those zionists?
    We have to conclude that BDS is the only way to make Israel accountable.

    Israel Rejects French Initiative to Convene International Peace Conference
    Prime Minister’s Office statement calls for direct negotiations without preconditions, saying ‘any other diplomatic initiative distances the Palestinians from the table of direct negotiations.’

    Barak Ravid Apr 28, 2016 3:56 PM
    read more: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.716857

    • just
      April 28, 2016, 2:27 pm

      You should check out the comments on that article now, Kay24…

      http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.716857

      • Kay24
        April 28, 2016, 2:46 pm

        I just did. Most are skeptical of Nutty’s response and attitude. Everyone, except those who are filling Israel’s begging bowl, seems to realize he is scamming the world with his damn excuses, and they go along pretending to be imbeciles believing the lies. The Palestinian people will never get justice and those who keep supporting their aggressive neighbor must share the blame.

  3. pabelmont
    April 28, 2016, 1:23 pm

    I agree entirely that, in the broad discourse, Jewish voices should not be “privileged” in the I/P discussion. Most of all, Jews should not sit alone in front of microphones, as they so often do. And Jews of mild-Zionist or Liberal-Zionist tendencies should not be permitted/encouraged to speak as if they were allies of Palestinians. Or as if they “understand” Palestinians. And least of all to speak “for” Palestinians.

    However, a lot of the discussions on I/P are happening within Jewish communities (or so we hope) and within those communities, the label “Jewish” is a prerequisite for “voices”.

    As someone who was married for 24 years to a Palestinian-American and who met (in and near Cambridge, Mass.) many Bir Zeit people there (at Harvard and MIT) for educational purposes in the 1980s, I feel I have some slight knowledge. But I know that I did not (nor did my wife) suffer under the Israeli heel, nor did I participate in discussions among Palestinians about “what should be done”. So I feel I am an ally and stick to broadcasting “the facts”, leaving it to others how the future should play out. Indeed I like the BDS demands rather more for their failure to announce a preference for 1SS or 2SS (or something else).

    These things said, I think the long-standing American tendency (especially among the “polite” /and spineless, principles-less ?/ upper class and upper middle class) to say, in effect, “I cannot criticize Israel because some of my friends are Jews” — and for those people (and for many Jews, too, for the same reason) to hear “Jewish Voices” for Palestine in public (non-Jewish-community) discussion is valuable as a corrective to the idea that Jews are (or should be) in lock-step. Hearing “Jewish Voices” for Palestine “gives people permission” to change their outlook and then to speak out themselves.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      April 28, 2016, 6:07 pm

      pabelmont: I know many Gentiles feel they need permission from Jews before they can speak out. They want a bona fide certificate to show they are not anti-Semites and they think that Jews and only Jews have the credentials to issue such certificates. The question I would like to ask is: how should we anti-Zionist Jews respond? Do we say: “I give you permission, here is your certificate”? Or do we say: “There are no such certificates and you do not need permission from me or anyone else”?

      For many Germans especially this is still a problem. Are you there, German Lefty? You have something to contribute on this.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 29, 2016, 12:16 am

        Hearing “Jewish Voices” for Palestine “gives people permission” to change their outlook and then to speak out themselves.

        true, but sad. it shouldn’t be this way. it is like this because society is programmed. do not buy into it. every voice matters and there’s no reason we should be privileging jewish voices in this conversation — at all. to change american policy on israel we need the masses, every voice. nobody needs permission from jews or the jewish community to be honest or speak their mind, ever.

        They want a bona fide certificate to show they are not anti-Semites and they think that Jews and only Jews have the credentials to issue such certificates. The question I would like to ask is: how should we anti-Zionist Jews respond? Do we say: “I give you permission, here is your certificate”? Or do we say: “There are no such certificates and you do not need permission from me or anyone else”?

        tell them the accusation of anti semitism is the most powerful tool used to support decades of war crimes and occupation. tell them if palestinians can suffer for so long your least worry should be to be labeled an anti semite for following your conscience. ask them why they are privileging your opinion over their own?

        tell them the idea “Jews and only Jews have the credentials to issue such certificates” is, at it’s core, anti semitic because it empowers and perpetuates the concept that jews have power over society. so #2 for sure:

        “There are no such certificates and you do not need permission from me or anyone else”

        and finally tell them — silence is a cowardly position. don’t use anti semitism like a shield to stand behind as a justification to do nothing. speak out — the louder the better and there will be people backing them up.

  4. ritzl
    April 28, 2016, 2:51 pm

    As a human… Brilliant article! More please.

    This goes directly to Dr. Finkelstein’s reasonable lament that there are no Palestinian organizations capable of structuring the current wave of resistance. If, and to the extent that, Palestinian voices are routinely subordinated to Jewish voices within the movement for Palestinian justice, those needed movement structures are not likely to ever materialize.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/norman-finkelstein-on-sanders-the-first-intifada-bds-and-ten-years-of-unemployment/

    And thank you Mondoweiss.

  5. Nevada Ned
    April 28, 2016, 11:42 pm

    I can’t really agree. Participation by American Jews in the movement for justice for Palestinians is a very good thing. The more the merrier. And a movement including both Jews and Arabs is potentially more powerful than only one or the other.
    Of c course, some 90+% of the US population is neither Jewish nor Arab, and the struggle to reach a tipping point will be decided in this group. I’d like to mention two such important contributions:
    Mearsheimer and Walt’s book, the Israel Lobby, And Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 29, 2016, 1:20 am

      what part can’t you agree with since nada never said Participation by American Jews in the movement for justice for Palestinians was not a very good thing?

      some 90+% of the US population is neither Jewish nor Arab, and the struggle to reach a tipping point will be decided in this group.

      exactly — and another reason why we shouldn’t be privileging jewish voices.

      • SQ Debris
        April 29, 2016, 1:05 pm

        The “we” in privileging jewish voices is not so much a characteristic of MW readership, or Palestine/human rights activists. Its a stone cold reality of the mainstream media. As long as this “oppressive dynamic” prevails, then pushing forward anti-apartheid jewish voices chips away at ” the Zionist narrative of Israel representing all Jews.” Any means that corrodes the zionist narrative among main stream Euro-mericans is a positive. It’s realpolitik – based on reality, not ideals.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 29, 2016, 1:23 pm

        pushing forward anti-apartheid jewish voices chips away at ” the Zionist narrative of Israel representing all Jews.”

        and pushing forward anti-apartheid american voices chips away at the Zionist narrative of Israel representing American opinion.

        Any means that corrodes the zionist narrative among main stream Euro-mericans is a positive.

        i totally agree.

        It’s realpolitik – based on reality, not ideals.

        so change the reality. we need a lot more than jewish voices in this conversation. when jewish voices are predominant it leads to the idea within the mainstream this topic is predominantly within their (jewish) purview, and it isn’t. so we don’t have to parrot or mirror the msm.

        we don’t need less jewish participation, we need to listen more to palestinians, and all people need to step up and speak out in support to empower palestinians. don’t sit back and think this is primarily a jewish responsibility, because it’s not — it’s all our responsibilities. that’s my point.

        heading out to sabeel conference and won’t be around to continue this conversation for awhile.

      • just
        April 29, 2016, 1:32 pm

        “i totally agree. heading out to sabeel conference and won’t be around to continue this conversation for awhile”

        Have a great and invigorating time, Annie!!!

      • Annie Robbins
        April 30, 2016, 11:23 pm

        thanks just! i did.

  6. Ian Berman
    April 28, 2016, 11:54 pm

    Sorry, but this writer gets it backwards. She writes:

    “Yet there is an inevitable risk associated with the ongoing privileging of Jewish voices denouncing Israel. This is because by privileging their voices, we are implicitly accepting the Zionist narrative of Israel representing all Jews, with very few exceptions.”

    It is not privilege. It is responsibility. So many Jews support the state of Israel without knowing its truly heinous history of ethnic cleansing and oppression, severe, murderous and thieving oppression.

    It is not with privilege that so many Jews speak out against Israel. It is with shame since so many other Jews support Israel’s atrocities.

    https://www.facebook.com/SpiritOfJBulworth/photos/a.494329413929325.133572.494320497263550/1164417746920485/

    • Annie Robbins
      April 29, 2016, 12:41 am

      It is not privilege. It is responsibility.

      i think you may benefit by looking at it from a different (non jewish) perspective. the reason a non jewish person may privilege a jewish perspective is because they ‘implicitly accept the Zionist narrative of Israel representing all Jews, with very few exceptions’.

      so this is not an accusation jews support palestine liberation because they feel privileged — it is the idea the listener privileges the jewish voice, for permission or what ever. the jewish person may privilege the jewish voice, or the non jewish person privileges the jewish voice or witness. but in reality, we shouldn’t. only a palestinians witness knows the experience — so they should be privileged. and every other witness, jewish or non jewish, should be judged solely on their words and deeds. your responsibility — or a jewish responsibility, is no greater than mine to end this. as an american i am culpable. it’s my responsibility too.

      american support won’t end when jews feel responsible, it will end when the vast majority of americans feel responsible. and they don’t need permission from jews to feel that — or they shouldn’t anyway.

      • ritzl
        April 29, 2016, 8:11 am

        Great comment Annie. All of them actually.

        You’re doing a beautiful job explaining why an article of faith in Palestinian advocacy that pretty much everyone views as normal needs to be identified and questioned.

        I don’t know if you saw this at dKos, but Sandra Tamari wrote during the Occupy* period that she wanted to conduct some Palestinian advocacy/solidarity seminars as part of a movement that was protesting everything else, and was told that it would be “too divisive.”

        I’ll never forget those words.

        Too divisive for whom?

        IMHO, that rejection was/is the quintessential example of what you and Nada are pointing out and explaining here.

        Your explanations in this thread suggest (I think) that she should have held them anyway. Calmly, assertively ignore the arrogant subordination and teach away.

        It’s amazing that Jewish sensitivity is assumed to be so overriding that excluding the Palestinian voice from the Occupy* agenda would somehow NOT be “divisive.” That Palestinian supporters of Occupy* would just fold and participate anyway (which they did, iirc).

        That acquiescence may be evaporating. Collegially, but evaporating nonetheless. That’s why I think this article, Nada’s previous article and Peter Feld’s current article are significant, especially taken together and with your comments to tie them together.

        Idk. It feels like something is changing. Maybe significantly. Definitely for the better (better meaning more effective in this case).

        FWIW.

        Thanks.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 29, 2016, 11:01 am

        thanks ritzl, it’s interesting you should mention tamari because because i was just reminded of something she wrote here reading juliana’s comment below — and i was going to go find it. perhaps it is similar to what she posted at dkos. i will go find it.

      • ritzl
        April 29, 2016, 2:24 pm

        Was it this one about Rabbi Table’s hypocrisy?

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/12/called-terrorist-activists/

      • Annie Robbins
        April 30, 2016, 11:32 pm

        actually it was this:

        I understand that there are enormous issues facing American Jews who support Palestinian liberation. Creating spaces within Jewish communities and families, reclaiming Judaism from Zionism, and discovering one’s identity within Judaism are vital endeavors. However, it is important to remember that these individual and communal struggles are not necessarily Palestine liberation work. I encourage Jewish allies committed to Palestinian liberation to examine how much priority should be given to influencing Jewish organizations that support Zionism. Palestinians will always be on the periphery of this focus. In contrast, organizing sustainable and movement-building BDS campaigns that create a mainstream constituency for Palestinian rights, together in solidarity, will produce meaningful and effective dialogue on how to end Israel’s crimes and will model the future we hope to create.

        from “The meaning of solidarity in the Palestine movement” – http://mondoweiss.net/2013/05/solidarity-palestine-movement/#sthash.3I8TM1pQ.dpuf

        sandra’s article was published with a “companion article ” by Heike Schotten called

        “When “J” means “Jewish” Rather than “Justice”: On Zionism, Jewish Exceptionalism, and Jewish Supremacy in U.S. Palestine Solidarity Organizing” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2013/05/means-jewish-justice/#sthash.awkHCR1Q.dpuf

        i recommend them both.

  7. Atlantaiconoclast
    April 29, 2016, 12:39 am

    I hope each of you is using the Buycott App. Would be really great to see Mondoweiss focus on practical tools, like this app, that we can all use. I just don’t think the campus resolutions and other aspects usually highlighted here are making that big of a difference.

  8. russgreen
    April 29, 2016, 5:50 am

    Ha ha. It’s funny that the index on the Mondoweiss home page listed Nada’s article as having been written by a Jewish man. Someone should fix that.

  9. JulianaFarha
    April 29, 2016, 6:44 am

    I’m in several minds about this! While I can’t refute much of Nada’s argument, I know from what I see the tremendous pressure Jews are under not to break ranks, and the opprobrium they often suffer when they do. Look at the response of some Jews to the Holocaust survivors and their descendants who wrote the ‘not in our name’ piece that appeared in The New York Times during Operation Protective Edge. ‘Hitler should have finished the job,’ was one of many vile comments.

    As such, vocal solidarity with Palestinians does have a ‘heroic’ aspect to it. Denying this feels to me like denying the simple desire all of us feel to belong to our community, and the way dissent rising in our throats – however righteous – can feel deeply threatening to that wish.

    Also, I feel a great regard and affinity for a Jewish tradition of progressive thinking and activism, which have propelled the women’s movement, the labour movement and other related concerns. For me this tradition is quite at odds with the theocratic militarism at the heart of the current Israeli project, which threatens to swallow up so much of that other history. I think this is reflected in Peter Feld’s response right here on Mondoweiss to Peter Beinart’s false dichotomy between the ‘personal’ and the ‘Jewish’ on Haaretz: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/beinarts-jewish-double-bind-support-oppression-or-youre-out-of-the-family/

    Feld’s robust analysis captures why I have always felt dismayed by the blindspot of many liberal Jewish friends on this issue, and I do feel the urge to celebrate it when I encounter those who can see it. This is not because I am grateful but because I know how hard it can be to ‘choose our better selves,’ as Obama once wrote in a moment of pre-Presidential high-mindedness.

    • ritzl
      April 29, 2016, 8:29 am

      Juliana, I think Nada is saying, ever so politely, that things are tough all over. Let’s discuss.

      I think it’s a measure of the extreme lengths and discipline (and ultimate success, imo) that you and Palestinian advocates in general will go to be polite while family and friends are being killed. The threat of ostracization pales in comparison as a mechanism to elicit deference.

      If you all stopped being polite and inserted some firm but modest prioritization, insistence, and/or urgency into the movement mix, would your current Jewish allies go away or follow your lead? Is that even a legitimate question to ask internally? I think it is, but then I’m a bit of a hot head.

      Appreciate what you do.

      • JulianaFarha
        April 29, 2016, 11:02 am

        Polite?I haven’t been called that in a long time! But I suppose my point is that if things are tough all over, then why not celebrate everyone who speaks out, rather than not celebrating Jews who do so because this gives them special status, or somehow endorses the existing narrative.

        As I wrote on my own blog this week (https://julianafarha.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/whats-still-not-news-in-israel-and-palestine/), the ‘Palestinian exception’ extends to ‘progressives’ from every issue so I am pleased (openly!) when those people acknowledge the ‘intersectionality’ of the Palestinian issue with their own special concerns, and recognise it for what it is: a matter of basic rights and principles.

      • ritzl
        April 29, 2016, 2:07 pm

        @Juliana

        Yes, by all means celebrate common cause and courage, but “intersectionality”* doesn’t appear to me, an outsider, to be working very well for the Palestinians. I get the feeling that way too often (not always but enough to hurt) the intersectionality is primarily about curing Judaism and THEN dealing with Palestinian justice. That blunts the Palestinian message especially, as Annie so deftly pointed out upthread, to us non-Palestinian, non-Jews. Palestinian activists seem to accept that ordering of things and the blunted message. I don’t know why. Maybe that ordering/deference is seen as necessary for some reason.

        I guess that’s where I was going with “polite” but also with “disciplined.” Tough stuff.

        The existence and/or extent of any subordination of the Palestinian message in the interest of “intersectionality” is a difficult conversation to start, let alone maintain. Loaded nuance and explosive assumed binaries. Nada did a great job here navigating the minefield to start a conversation.

        Oh yeah, did I say I agree with you?

        Cheers.

        —–
        * That word may not mean what I think it means.

      • Sibiriak
        May 1, 2016, 1:47 am

        ritzl : I get the feeling that way too often (not always but enough to hurt) the intersectionality is primarily about curing Judaism and THEN dealing with Palestinian justice. That blunts the Palestinian message especially, as Annie so deftly pointed out upthread, to us non-Palestinian, non-Jews. Palestinian activists seem to accept that ordering of things and the blunted message.

        * * * * * * *
        The minimum threshold good-faith response (especially of an ally) to this article has to be a silent note-to-self to guard against “privilege.”[emphasis added]

        ——————

        Great series of comments, Ritzl. You make some very compelling remarks about “privilege” .

        I think some further specificity would make them even stronger. Some questions that come to mind:

        1) You refer to “the Palestinian message”– but is there actually a singular Palestinian message? If so, where is it most authentically stated? Who are its most authentic spokespersons?

        2) You refer to a “blunted Palestinian message”– can you give specific examples? Which Jewish/non-Palestinian groups or individuals are responsible for the “blunting”?

        3)”Guard against privilege”– can you specify exactly what is to be guarded against?

        You gave what you consider to be a “quintessential example”:

        it’s amazing that Jewish sensitivity is assumed to be so overriding that excluding the Palestinian voice from the Occupy* agenda would somehow NOT be “divisive.” [emphasis added]

        I think most people in the pro-Palestinian movement would agree that excluding Palestinian voices is wrong and unacceptable. However, the reference to exclusion suggests a binary, and as you stated later, “it’s not binary at all.”

        Take for instance an example Nada presented:

        Chabon’s interview circulated amongst Palestinian-rights activists like brush fire on a scorching day, most often prefaced with an explanation that he is a “Jewish-American writer.” This information, certainly offered with the best intentions, is nevertheless treacherous, in that it can uphold an oppressive dynamic. [emphasis added]

        Is simply mentioning/highlighting Chabon’s Jewish identity an instance of “privileging” a Jewish voice?

        Or is the problem that Chabon’s interview was not accompanied by a Palestinian statement of some sort?

        Or is the problem that Chabon’s interview gets distributed, while other Palestinian voices are excluded?

        This is an example where I believe the concept of “privilege” needs to be spelled out in greater detail, which leads to my next question.

        4) How do you distinguish privileging Jewish voices from strategically utilizing Jewish voices in order to further the Palestinian cause?

        To repeat, I’m not challenging your general points, I’m just seek greater specificity and clarity.

      • ritzl
        May 1, 2016, 2:30 am

        Hi Sibiriak. My answers to your questions will largely anecdotal from a outsider’s perspective but I’m typed out for a while so please give me a day or so.

  10. nada
    April 29, 2016, 8:40 am

    I appreciate the serious discussion that followed this article, but mostly, I find it interesting, or should I say revealing, that many readers interpret my call for an end to the *privileging* of Jewish voices as a call to silence them.

    • ritzl
      April 29, 2016, 9:29 am

      It’s all so binary to so many. As in, if it’s not the way it’s always been, the only alternative is exclusion.

      It’s not binary at all. That’s why it would be great if you could keep writing about this. The relationship between Palestinian and Jewish advocates for Palestinian justice needs to be discussed and maybe recalibrated a bit.

      You have your work cut out for you just discussing it.

    • silamcuz
      April 29, 2016, 10:04 am

      Nada, what you wrote in this article accurately summarized the feelings of many within the Palestinian Liberation movement, and I for one, applaud the honesty and frankness of your writings.

      However, we in the movement have also long lamented the continued intrusion of privileged white, pro-Western, pro-Americanism activists into the space meant for the liberation of oppressed. I imagine anyone who would publish an article on this subject would incite a far uglier tantrum from the readers here.

      • just
        April 29, 2016, 10:58 am

        “However, we in the movement have also long lamented the continued intrusion of privileged white, pro-Western, pro-Americanism activists into the space meant for the liberation of oppressed.”

        Please provide evidence of this. I am in the “movement” and I’ve not heard your alleged lamentation~ ever. As a matter of fact, this odious comment (imho) completely distorts the essence of Nada’s message here. My guess is that you are anti- solidarity and have your very own idea of supremacy, among other issues. The “space” should be WIDE open.

        “I imagine anyone who would publish an article on this subject would incite a far uglier tantrum from the readers here.”

        Where’s the ugly “tantrum here”???

      • Sibiriak
        April 29, 2016, 11:25 am

        silamcuz: … we in the movement…
        ———————–

        YOU are not in the movement. You are a fake -progressive infiltrator with a ludicrously fake “intersectionality” shtick.

        Your continued intrusion is not welcome, although it does, admittedly, provide some comic relief now and then.

        [silamcuz:]I reserve all my love and energy to my people, and my people only

        Okay, Mr. anti-progressive tribalist–could you tell us the name of “your people”? Surely, you’ve had enough time to calculate a response. Were your cohorts of no help?

      • Mooser
        April 29, 2016, 3:44 pm

        “However, we in the movement….”

        “What you mean’um “we”, paleface?”

        (Wow! I’ve never seen that line from “A Mad Look at The Lone Ranger” fit better.)

      • Mooser
        April 29, 2016, 4:02 pm

        “Your continued intrusion is not welcome”

        Do note that we have been advised that an e-mail to the Editor (all addresses at the “about” page) is the best way to tell Mondoweiss about a disruptive or patently phony commenter.

      • gamal
        May 3, 2016, 5:29 pm

        “However, we in the movement have also long lamented the continued intrusion of privileged white, pro-Western, pro-Americanism activists into the space meant for the liberation of oppressed”

        you set up a check point, do some de-whiting.

        “privileged white”

        we in the movement like to keep some around, we ask them to talk the Police, it saves lives.

    • MHughes976
      April 29, 2016, 12:53 pm

      There is in practice something that only Jewish people can do, ie give pause, within discussion in Western countries, to the onrush of assertions that support for Palestinian rights is prejudice against Jews. I expect some Jewish voices to be raised to this effect amid the crazy circus that has opened up here in the UK over Naz Shah MP and many of us will be very grateful to hear from them. They stand a chance of being taken seriously and getting editors to publish their views.
      It takes nothing away from the work of these good people that this situation, where their speech stands a special chance of being heard, does perpetuate the suppression of everything Palestinian. It will be a long time before a Palestinian will be allowed to protest that the daily cruelty inflicted on Palestinians is hardly mentioned except when some reference to it includes words which might conceivably recall the vocabulary of the Nazis and then the words completely overshadow the deeds.
      If you want to see a very different process, have a look at the ‘I’ newspaper, the life after death version of the Independent, for April 28, where there is a remarkable article by Emran Mian, director of a major think tank, headed ‘I was a thoughtless anti-Semite, like far too many British Muslims’. This too seems to me to invert the importance of words and deeds. We will watch that space for some time before we see an exposition of the Palestinian experience at first hand. The most likely source for ‘balance’ will be Jewish

    • JoeSmack
      April 30, 2016, 3:39 am

      Are you surprised, though? Liberal Jewish groups continue to make up the central infrastructure of the so-called solidarity movement (JVP, etc). They have explicitly grounded their strategy in identifying themselves as Jewish and therefore more “legitimate”, and others tolerate them even when they take less than principled positions (i.e. JVP only targeting settlements with boycotts and refusing to endorse BDS until last March).

      Concerns about anti-Semitism that are totally exaggerated or outright fabricated are not just taken more seriously by administrators, city councilors, etc. They are taken more seriously within organizations as well.

      Your article is effectively pulling the carpet out from underneath a highly racist but dominant tendency within Palestine activism in America. I praise you for it and I agree with what you have said entirely, but I don’t think it’s revealing. What did you expect?

      And that’s from comments on MondoWeiss. A friend of mine in a JVP chapter told me that the group is going to have some kind of meeting about it because someone was offended that your article was posted to one of their list-servs or something. Your article is making waves, and a significant number of people to whom I’ve shown it have simply gotten upset, said you are making up a problem, etc.

      • ritzl
        April 30, 2016, 9:37 am

        Wow. What a train wreck.

        The fact that some people claim Nada is inventing a problem is pretty strong evidence that there IS a problem.

        The minimum threshold good-faith response (especially of an ally) to this article has to be a silent note-to-self to guard against “privilege.” Dominance games miss that threshold by a good bit.

        Actually, dominance games are pretty much at the vanishing point at the opposite end of the response spectrum. Classic/predictable/tired gatekeeper response.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 30, 2016, 11:52 pm

        i think this is an ongoing conversation. i recommend the 2 – 2013 articles i linked to above. one by sandra tamari and the other by Heike Schotten. i met them both at a jvp national meeting that year. i think it’s fair to say there are a lot of voices out there in the jvp community who don’t all agree with eachother but the concept nada “invented” a problem is hogash. while it may be a fact some people think it is true (re nada’s so called “invention”), the ideas/observations have been around for awhile — as witnessed by the 2013 articles. and i don’t think it’s applicable (at all) to all individuals members of jvp — many of whom i think are really wonderful activists.

      • ritzl
        May 1, 2016, 3:30 am

        Good points Annie. I was backfooted (and too quick with “train wreck”) by the apparent gap between “any/none” and “some.”

        Maybe a more accurate phrase is “a few” but even with that the questions remain, “How many?”, “How influential?”, and/or “How adamant?” .

        I think respectfully helping to re-front/re-emphasize and sort out these lingering questions is the beauty of what Nada has written here. I get the sense (duh. Sanders!), and as you point out, that there’s more popular receptivity “out here” on this issue now. It may be the case now that lingering, back-burner questions like this need to be dealt with to move forward with as close to a single voice as possible.

        Of course there’s the chance of the opposite effect – confronting them now or at all could completely fracture the movement. I don’t know which, but if I had a vote it would be to know the answers to those questions before the moment comes to make an “ask” to the American people. There can only be one political “ask,” and there is very likely to be only one moment to ask it.

        I think we’re entering that moment.

        I wish I could be more specific, but I’m really agnostic on what these folks may decide or not decide to do (or whether to, or the nature of…) to unify a message/”ask” for popular support. It’s not my outsider function, but speaking as only one of a hundred million, I’ll sure follow and do my best to talk it up if it makes solid sense (for whatever THAT’S worth) with some mutual self-interest (eg. ending aid to Israel) attached to sweeten the deal.

        —–

        Glad the Sabeel conference was so productive. Sounds like it was a great experience.

        Thanks for the Tamari and Schottke links. Great memory.

  11. Shira Robinson
    April 29, 2016, 9:55 am

    Thank you for this piece, Nada. I share your overall concerns, particularly the importance of rejecting the “balance” of Jewish and Palestinian speakers at public events. I do think, however, that some Jewish critics recognize and are willing to own their privilege, as it were, just as some white solidarity activists with #BLM are.

    • silamcuz
      April 29, 2016, 11:08 am

      “Jewish critics recognize and are willing to own their privilege, as it were, just as some white solidarity activists with #BLM are.”

      Owning their privilege would mean to start policing their own communities and keeping themselves, their families, their friends and their colleagues accountable to the values which would ensure the liberation of Palestinians, among others. Examples are anti-Zionism, anti-racism, pro-feminism, pro-blackness etc. These are all pretty heavy tasks to undertake so it is not fair for those seeking solidarity to expect Palestinians to spearhead these efforts and educating folks they have absolutely no obligations to educate.

      Racist white folks threatening Palestinians are white activists problem to solve. Zionist Jews supporting the occupation of Palestine are Jewish activists problem to solve. Why intrude into the internal spaces reserved for Palestinians when the problems are so far away in your own backyards? How about just listening to Palestinians, which can be easily done from a safe distance?

      • Mooser
        April 29, 2016, 3:54 pm

        “Zionist Jews supporting the occupation of Palestine are Jewish activists problem to solve.”

        ROTFLMSJAO!! And it always adds up to “leave Israel alone”!!!

        Because if anybody else besides the “Jewish activists” tries to do anything about it, that is antisemitism!

      • silamcuz
        April 30, 2016, 9:35 am

        You are hopelessly mistaken, Mooser. I am saying that Jewish people are ultimately the ones responsible for reigning in the Zionist who specifically utilize Jewish identity as a basis to their aspirations and a means to gather support for whatever they are doing in Palestine. Its Jewish support that ultimately enables the existence of the state in practical terms, is this not correct? The money and political support for Israeli misdeeds in Palestine are not being fished out of the Dead Sea.

        If a bunch of angry white people went and lynch a black person in public to assert white dominance over blacks, is it really a black person’s responsibility to figure out why the hell are they doing this, and how to make them stop? Of course not, white people’s racism is white people’s problem to deal with. Why would a black person be burdened with the ridiculous responsibility to defend himself and his kin from murderous racists, on top of the various other responsiblities already on his shoulders just as any other individual?

      • Mooser
        April 30, 2016, 12:29 pm

        ” I am saying that…”

        You aren’t saying anything. You are completely phony. And this time, you’ve got an archive.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2016, 12:24 am

        If a bunch of angry white people went and lynch a black person in public to assert white dominance over blacks, is it really a black person’s responsibility …. to make them stop?

        as opposed to what? it’s kinda everyones responsibility to eradicate it. for example, during the civil rights movement black people didn’t sit on their hands while white people took responsibility all by themselves to end racism.

        i just came from a 2 day justice for palestine/BDS conference on activism. there were some amazing activists there giving workshops. Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of the Arab Resource & Organizing Center http://araborganizing.org/

        Ilan Pappe and Kiswani each spoke during the plenary last night and shared answering the Q&A together. Rev. Graylan Hagler – United Church of Christ, DC and veteran social and economic rights activist gave the plenary speech today “Palestine and Global Struggle for Justice” also Omar Barghouti addressed us from Palestine via skype and a Q&A w/Barghouti and Hagler followed afterward. this is only part of the line up, but at no time did anyone say anything about this idea you keep pushing. in fact several people emphasized this was all our responsibility (barghouti used the word “everyone” and i thought of you when he said that). and during kiswani’s workshop she talked about how they chose there target’s and they were inclusive (of the wider community) for a reason.

        there was no discussion of the white people organizing differently than anyone else (someone said we’re”linked” together for strength, i think mohammed but i can’t recall) nothing about “policing” our own (ethnic) communities. i’ve attended many conferences, never have i heard this idea you are promoting. everyone attended the sessions and meals and workshops together.

        this is a palestinian led movement. so i am listening to them, not you.

      • Sibiriak
        May 1, 2016, 12:51 am

        silamcuz: How about just listening to Palestinians, which can be easily done from a safe distance?
        ——————————-

        Just listening“– but not helping? Not working in solidarity with Palestinians? Everyone just “policing their own communities“, guarding their “own backyards“, staying in their own reserved internal spaces?

        Listening from ” a safe distance” from Palestinians? WTF? How close is too close???

        This isn’t “intersectionality”. This is tribal segregation. This is pro-Israel Zionist operatives trying to twist “intersectionality” into its opposite. This is an attempt to normalize Zionist tribalism and neutralize authentic solidarity.

      • silamcuz
        May 1, 2016, 7:07 am

        Annie, I understand what you’re saying, and I think we are not as far apart as it may appear. Groups that are specifically targetted for solidarity purposes by Palestinians are none of my concern. It’s the ones who haven’t been selected but still went in to meddle in the issues of IP are the people I am calling out. There are so many of these groups who are involving themselves in the activism space for Palestinian liberation for self serving purposes, worst still for goals that are in direct opposition to the desires of Palestinians. Examples are pro-American nationalists who exploits the Palestinian struggles to push a protectionist agenda, even though we all know that pro-Americanism is simply Zionism practiced in a different location.

        As for the subject of white racism, I disagree with you that everyone is responsible for it. Black people cannot be held responsible for the misdeeds of others, likewise for any group of people really. Saying its a responsibility of everyone to solve, when one side is the victim and one side is the aggressor makes no sense. If a woman gets raped, will you also blame the victim by claiming everyone is responsible in preventing the tragic crime?

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2016, 2:21 pm

        If a woman gets raped, will you also blame the victim by claiming everyone is responsible in preventing the tragic crime?

        you’re playing word games. in your mental gymnastics the person responsible for ending rape would be the rapist and the rapist’s family — which is absurd. if there’s a fire threatening your town it becomes the responsibility of every able body to keep people safe and put out the fire. you don’t rely solely on the arsonist clan to put out the fire.

        and what warped logic is this:

        Its Jewish support that ultimately enables the existence of the state in practical terms, is this not correct? The money and political support for Israeli misdeeds in Palestine are not being fished out of the Dead Sea.

        they are being “fished out” of the american public. in “practical terms” it’s american (and european) support that ultimately enables the existence of the “money and political support for Israeli misdeeds” and if that were not true we would not have these 45 billion dollar “aid” packages supported by our congress — nor the intense ongoing lobbying for that support.

        the idea that “Jewish people are ultimately the ones responsible for reigning in the Zionist” is absurd. in that scenario only “jewish people” would be negotiating w/israeli jews! and “jewish people” are to “blame” (your word: blame). seriously, what planet are you on.

        ultimately people need to unite to solve this problem. it’s not going to be solved “inhouse” amongst jewish people. you remind me of netanyahu and his rejection of the french initiative because he thinks it can only be solved w/ ‘direct negotiations’ (code for get out of our way).

        this is a global problem (a huge festering wound — the longest running refugee problem in the world) and requires a global solution. it is not under the exclusive or primary purview of the jewish community to end zionist malfeasance.

      • Mooser
        May 1, 2016, 2:50 pm

        Yup, “Annie” as you say, by “silamcuz” ‘logic’ the only person who can investigate, charge and prosecute a murder, is the victim their very self.
        Isn’t that convenient.

      • Mooser
        May 1, 2016, 4:21 pm

        “If a woman gets raped, will you also blame the victim by claiming everyone is responsible in preventing the tragic crime?”

        So discouraging rape is the same thing as “blame the victim”? What will you tell us next, that women have the inalienable right to be sexually assaulted? And everybody should “watch from a safe distance”?

  12. just
    April 29, 2016, 1:02 pm

    O/T, but it’s holy smokin’ time for BDS of Eurovision Song Contest!

    “Palestinian Flag Banned From Eurovision Song Contest

    … The Eurovision flag policy did note that national flags of non-participating countries would be allowed as long as those nations are members of the UN. The Palestinian Authority has observer status at the UN and does not appear on the official list of member states cited by the EBU. …

    … Rainbow flags, used most frequently by the LGBT community, will be “tolerated,” said the EBU, on the condition that they are “not to be used as a tool to intentionally make a political statement during the show.”

    Eurovision 2016 will take place in the Swedish capital of Stockholm with the winner to be announced on May 14. …”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/1.717009?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Wonder what Margot Wallström will say!

  13. Dan Crowther
    April 29, 2016, 1:44 pm

    Ha! The article to shutter mondoweiss…. The “it’s not privilege it’s responsibility” line in some comments is obscene. It’s about privilege and it’s also about being conspicuous and it’s about gatekeeping and it’s about self congratulation and it’s about skipping the line. The “responsibility” nonsense is a cool trick to prove your modern bleeding heart bona fides while still clinging to a bronze age identity that makes zero sense to anyone outside the tribe.

    • MHughes976
      April 30, 2016, 9:35 am

      Well, Dan, I recall that when I first became involved in a race-related problem I thought that being white and English gave me some responsibility. I’m not sorry I felt that way. I don’t think I was trying to put a white face on a non-white problem. If Ian Bermsn has a sense of responsibility and wishes to be of service, rather than to take control, he is doing a good thing and his conscience is in the right place.

      • Dan Crowther
        April 30, 2016, 8:43 pm

        were white South Africans the face of the anti apartheid movement? Why should anyone give a shit about ol Ian’s feelings? I stand by original comment, Martin. Hope you’re well by the way!

  14. JustJessetr
    April 29, 2016, 2:23 pm

    And with this article, we hear the first whisper of, “Jews not welcome in Palestinian liberation.”

    • Mooser
      April 29, 2016, 6:05 pm

      “And with this article, we hear the first whisper of, “Jews not welcome in Palestinian liberation.”

      So there you go, “Justjessetr”! All the excuse you need.

      I can’t think of a single reason why Jews wouldn’t be welcome in “Palestine liberation”. Can you?

    • diasp0ra
      April 30, 2016, 8:26 am

      @JustJessetr

      Did you even read the article? If so, your reading comprehension needs some work.

  15. Sally Parker
    April 29, 2016, 9:18 pm

    I can empathize with Ms. Elia. It is horrible to see your family being killed and then watch a political movement that makes memes or stars out of Jewish “defectors”. Unfortunately, a movement to end the occupation can’t give Palestinian activists all the attention they deserve and still be quickest way to save lives.

    Activists make Jewish defectors into memes because it works. The people the BDS movement most needs to reach are Jews who believe their lives depend supporting Israel, non-Jews who have seen way more holocaust movies than YouTube videos of Israeli horrors, or people who to some extent buy the 911 official story and fear Muslims. In an audience like this, a Jewish defector is hard to beat.

    If you really want to end the occupation, make certain that every Jewish defector gets 15 minutes of fame, meme status on the Internet, and paparazzi opportunities for their next movie, book, restaurant, or shampoo formula. Every Jewish superstar defector makes all the other Jews wonder why they are following Menachem Begin rather than Albert Einstein.

    I do think that there should be equal attention given to non-Jewish “defectors” like Steven Hawkins and the most mediagenic Presbyterian or Congregationalist who helped their church divest. When people start competing over who had the best defection, then you have a movement that moves.

    Yes, I would like to see more Palestinian speakers, but more than that I would like to see a movement that does the best job of saving lives.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 1, 2016, 3:20 am

      The people the BDS movement most needs to reach are Jews who believe their lives depend supporting Israel, non-Jews who have seen way more holocaust movies than YouTube videos of Israeli horrors, or people who to some extent buy the 911 official story and fear Muslims. In an audience like this, a Jewish defector is hard to beat.

      not sure if i agree with you. The people the BDS movement most needs to reach are ordinary middle of the road americans from every stripe who have little knowledge of the situation and have steered away from it because of the media or just a general understanding that they should — maybe because there are loud jewish voices telling them they will be accused of racism if they go near it. more impressive than a “jewish defector” is someone just like themselves. the idea a ‘jewish defector” has more credibility then say — their neighbor who they know personally and thinks has integrity, comes from the idea they would privilege a jewish voice.

      joeSmack said above “Liberal Jewish groups continue to make up the central infrastructure of the so-called solidarity movement” — i would suggest this is a myopic jewish centric view ignoring crucial work being done by SJP, sabeel, AMP, Arab groups (immense organizing for protests against the war on gaza) and scores of churches across this country (not to mention bds national committee and pacbi!) . the press highlights JVP (because they privilege jewish voices) and JVP is an incredible organization (i am a member and support them), but i would challenge the idea they make up the “central infrastructure” nor would i describe a group like code pink as a “jewish group”.

      it really does take a village. but because you relate and see “Jewish defector is hard to beat” doesn’t mean most americans would agree, for example, an evngelical christian zionist might be most persuaded by — an evangelical christian witness. a black lives matter activist might be more influenced by a dream defender. the idea a “Jewish defector is hard to beat” tells us more about you then it tells us about “The people the BDS movement most needs to reach”.

      of you think most american opinion are impacted by:

      1. Jews who believe their lives depend supporting Israel.

      2. non-Jews who have seen way more holocaust movies than YouTube videos of Israeli horrors

      3. people who to some extent buy the 911 official story and fear Muslims

      there’s a whole world out there of good people who just do not know. and don’t realize they can make a difference.

      we need the majority of americans. they just need to start talking to each other. jewish defectors are a wonderful thing. but people are most impacted by people like themselves — people they relate to personally from all walks of life. we need to reach the masses. we do that by engaging the masses.

      • Sibiriak
        May 1, 2016, 3:30 am

        Annie Robbins: we need to reach the masses. we do that by engaging the masses
        ———————

        Heretical thought: “we need to reach the elites (as well). we do that by engaging the elites.”

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2016, 3:35 am

        f the elite. they already know what we think. they are our competition. we need the masses.

      • Sibiriak
        May 1, 2016, 3:41 am

        Annie Robbins: f the elite. they already know what we think.
        ———

        Strongly disagree. Elite opinion is not fixed on I/P. It’s changing as we speak. It’s essential that it changes. It’s not either/or.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2016, 2:44 pm

        you’re probably right Sibiriak, sorry for my flippancy.

      • hoya saxa
        May 2, 2016, 8:44 pm

        Annie,

        Sorry that BDS is being sued in france and laws against BDS are passing in many american states. That must bug you since your goal is to single out Israel and have it destroyed I mean the 4th prong of BDS is to allow millions of refugees to flood into israel right? Because getting a new palestinian state isnt good enough. They need to take over israel as well right? I smile as your precious BDS is outlawed across europe and american public institutions. It makes me happy. But at least you got some palestinians fired from sodastream and a boat couldnt unload in oakland. Congrats.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 3, 2016, 1:27 am

        that was quite a mouthful haya.

        I smile as your precious BDS is outlawed across europe and american public institutions. It makes me happy.

        this reminds me of an awesome speech Jules Lobel gave at the litigating palestine conference at hasting law school back in 2011. i really wish i had a copy of that speech. he talked about susan b anthony and how thrilled she was that she was arrested because she started gathering larger and larger crowds and really put woman’s sufferage on the map. he also talked about the court cases impacting civil rights for blacks — loss after loss after loss. but those losses changed US public opinion.

        even though of course i don’t want the legislation to pass in california, i really can’t think of a better opportunity to educate the american public than a bds case going before the supreme court. the idea israel would be the exception to the first amendment would really wake up america don’t you think? it seems inevitable with so much legislation going on in so many states it will land there.. and i see that as a positive — the supreme court.

        your goal is to single out Israel….

        hmm, actually it is our government that singles out israel. it’s my job to not make israel the exception. ($45 billion!!).

        But at least you got some palestinians fired from sodastream

        oh we did so much more than that. a few years ago hardly anyone had even heard of bds. after we published the first scarlett johansson “face of apartheid” article — everything moved very fast. within a month or two netanyahu was saying boycott and kerry was saying boycott and after years of little attention all of a sudden bds is really on the map. the way i see it, we can’t lose. because of the exposure, every loss shoves the crime and the grossness in the american face and i believe in the arch of justice. i believe in truth.

        israel knows this, that is why they hid the truth and lied for so long. all the myths and stuff. so it’s fine w/me you’re smiling and “happy”. they don’t say ignorance is bliss for nothing.

      • eljay
        May 3, 2016, 7:17 am

        || hoya saxa: … I mean the 4th prong of BDS is to allow millions of refugees to flood into israel right? … ||

        Dunno about “4th prongs” and “millions of refugees”, but Israel has an obligation under international law to repatriate its refugees – people who fled or were driven out of Partition-borders Israel. They are legitimate people of Israel and they have a legal and moral right to return to their homeland.

        || … Because getting a new palestinian state isnt good enough. They need to take over israel as well right? … ||

        A new Palestinian state is for the citizens of, immigrants to and expats and refugees from the geographic region comprising that new state. It’s not a dumping ground for all non-Jews from Mandate Palestine.

        || … I smile as your precious BDS is outlawed across europe and american public institutions. It makes me happy. … ||

        Of course it does. You’re a hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist who prefers Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine to justice, accountability and equality in I-P.

      • hoya saxa
        May 3, 2016, 12:24 pm

        well, Im glad we BOTH applaud bds being outlawed..I know Hamas liked being called a terrorist group in all the civilized countries of the world so keep cheering as you lose in country after country and across the states. Im smiling that you consider this a victory so illegal BDS makes us both happy.

        As for being SOOO upset that america gives funding to israel, you are aware that we also give hundreds of millions to palestinians. Funny since they receive what, the highest aid per capita of any people in the world? They sure put that aid to good use with arafat dying a billionaire and abbas to follow suit. I also like how palestinians put a nice chunk of their budget aside to pay jailed terrorists. Big fat bonus checks depending on the severity of the crime and length of time. Then they get hugs from abbas when released in prisoner deals and even larger bonus checks and they go on talking circuits becasue they are the pride of the palestinians. And probably you as well.

        By the way, did you see what happened to ASA when they TRIED to have an academic boycott of israel? No one ever heard of them and then they get over 200 colleges collectively puking in their face for the level of disgust they raised. They lost members and others denied ever being a member so ASA had to hide their actual list of members..too funny. Now anyone graduating being associated with ASA gets a weird look. Hope it was worth it. I like when vassar had to tell its own kids to cool it with BDS or they might risk losing their funding.

        Bunch of progressive liberals that scream for the fight of gays, blacks, women, etc, until it comes to backwards cesspools like gaza and west bank where you would be beheaded for voicing your views. So comical. Your types really do tickle me with humor and your one sided phony agenda. Oh the money, the money..as palestinians have been given BILLIONS by america and done squat with it. At least you live a better life because of israel. Keep me posted when the first palestinian achievement helps us out. Ill wait annie..oh how Ill wait.

        As for eljay, no, there is no law requiring israel to suck up millions of palestinians putting an end to israel altogether. I know arabs tried violence, then they tried the UN and now they are trying economic means to destroy israel…keep up that pipe dream and Ill smile for a lot longer. Dangle some more rusty keys and cheer children knife attacks. 7 in 10 Americans support Israel while support for a palestinian state is at the lowest its been for two decades. Sigh. Used to be 2/3 of America supported that. Now its 1/3..happy times. Guess suicide attacks and voting in hamas didnt go as planned. Sigh.

        Could you copy and paste that LAW that requires israel to take in millions of palestinians. Ill wait.

        I do smile buddy..I smile a lot. Especially when I read about Jeremy Corbyn..I bet you are a big fan. Sigh.

      • eljay
        May 3, 2016, 1:28 pm

        || hoya saxa: … As for eljay, no, there is no law requiring israel to suck up millions of palestinians … ||

        Millions of Palestinians, no. Refugees from Partition-borders Israel, yes.

        || … Could you copy and paste that LAW that requires israel to take in millions of palestinians. Ill wait. … ||

        I’ll copy and paste and, like a good Zio-supremacist, you’ll read and dismiss:
        United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 – 2.1 Article 11—Refugees

        The UN General Assembly has reaffirmed Resolution 194 every year since 1949.[2] Multiple subsequent resolutions from the United Nations have reaffirmed the right of return, including General Assembly Resolution 169 (1980), and Security Council Resolution 237 (1967).

        || … I do smile buddy..I smile a lot. Especially when … ||

        …you’re off your meds. Understood.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 3, 2016, 4:41 pm

        i wouldn’t bother eljay, this poster doesn’t play w/a full deck:

        Funny since they receive what, the highest aid per capita of any people in the world?

        that distinction goes to israelis, who receive billions in aid every year, vs millions for palestinians.

        between this poster, m19 (currently arguing god’s land deed is law on another thread) and hop’s ad hominems — the level of commentary for team israel is sinking lower and lower.

  16. diasp0ra
    April 30, 2016, 8:23 am

    This topic is deep and has historical precedence. Not only when it comes to Palestine, but I believe it also ties back to Orientalism and how the West treats Arabs and the production of scientific knowledge in general.

    How long did we scream to the world about the ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed during the Nakba, the witness accounts, the analysis, the research..how long did we yell about them with nobody believing a word? It wasn’t until Jewish Israeli new Historians popped up and confirmed our narrative through their research that people started believing parts of our story.

    Because we’re never seen as trustworthy or objective, whereas Israelis and specifically, Israeli Jews are seen as so. We are hot headed and brainwashed, they are rational and scientific etc.

    This is a different context, and a different power structure, but we can still see visages of a similar system where we are simply not seen as credible in trying to sell our case to the world. This is further exasperated by general anti Muslim and anti MENA prejudices that exist in the Western world and the idea that Arabs are inherently antisemitic.

    I understand why people tend to put pro Palestine Jews on a pedestal, because for our whole modern history someone had to speak for us if we wanted to be believed. Because those speaking for us are seen as equals, and as believable, while we are not. I can also see why some see it as useful when it comes to combating the idea that you must hate Jews if you support Palestine.

    But I also understand the authors position completely, and we risk turning the pro Palestinian movement into a group of Gatekeepers who dictate how things go over the voices of actual Palestinians. I fear our over-reliance on Jewish solidarity (read: putting them on pedestals) can even seem like a necessary step for the time being for our story to gain some traction in certain places.

    What should be done is that pro Palestinian Jews who speak from a privileged position in this conflict, should work to amplify Palestinian voices. This is basic in all ideas of an “ally” I’ve seen in social justice circles. Empower those whose voices are ignored or are squelched. At the end of the day, this conflict may affect them in some way, but it’s not about them, and they are not the ones bearing the brunt of oppression and history in this conflict. To suggest that they are, is to play into Israel’s hands as their representative.

    Again, this goes beyond Palestine, and into the colonization of areas of knowledge and who possesses a credible voice, and who does not. As we have been for history, and as we remain now, for most, we are simply not seen as credible to tell our story and be believed.

    There is a piece by Grada Kilomba which has the following section that is appropriate here:

    “When they speak, it is scientific; when we speak, it is unscientific;
    universal / specific;
    objective / subjective;
    neutral / personal;
    rational / emotional;
    impartial / partial;
    they have facts, we have opinions;
    they have knowledge, we have experiences.

    These are not simple semantic categorizations; they possess a dimension of power that maintains hierarchical positions. We are not dealing here with simple semantic, but rather with a violent hierarchy, which defines who can speak.”

    • gamal
      April 30, 2016, 9:00 am

      ++1

      thanks for Grada Kilomba, had not heard of her.

    • ritzl
      April 30, 2016, 9:47 am

      Thanks diasp0ra. Great comment.

    • silamcuz
      April 30, 2016, 10:19 am

      Good comment, Diaspora. Again, there is the deeply-seated, widespread problem within Western society that demands them to feel superior over others. It is a symptom of a civilisation that has completely lost bearing on humanity and lost all form of spiritual link between themselves and the Earth that sustain them. This of course is an issue that goes far beyond Israel. The entirety of the Western civilisational framework stretching from America to Germany to Israel is corrupt and rotten, and in dire need of enlightenment, to be revived from their long psychosis which ironically can only be done through the help of the very people they despise and feel superior towards.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 1, 2016, 12:54 am

      diasp0ra, googling Grada Kilomba – thanks. your comment about “How long did we scream to the world” reminds me of an old video i watched the other day featuring Stanford Prof. Khalil Barhoum talking about Americans understanding of the middle east and palestine. beginning around 13/14 minutes (but i rec the whole video) and by 17- 18 minutes he’s just exasperated at the incredulous of the american public. there’s nothing new per se in it, but it’s his expression — anyway, i rec..

    • Annie Robbins
      May 1, 2016, 1:25 am

  17. Krendall Mist
    April 30, 2016, 11:24 am

    All too ad hominem, starting with the author, who asserts that the “privileging of Jewish voices” in “denouncing Israel” implicitly accepts “the Zionist narrative of Israel representing all Jews, with very few exceptions.”

    The “Jewish voices” privilege themselves; the “right-thinking” “progressive” “anti-Zionist” American goy goes along with it out of fear or a juvenile deference to those they believe most vested in the matter. Through these means the “Jewish voice” defines the debate. Within the confines of the debate, it “denounces” Israel with such vehemence as to earn the accolade of “self-hating Jew”–the “exception.” This is not primarily to strengthen the “narrative” that Israel represents all Jews. It is to leave unchallenged the the question of the legitimacy of enduring and growing occupation of Palestine by European colonial usurpers–whether in the “Jewish and democratic state” of “Israel” or otherwise.

  18. gamal
    April 30, 2016, 1:30 pm

    The Dangers Inherent in Dealing with Jews.

    may I share this traumatic experience with you.

    We, Marcus the Conqueror Sound, used to play a Pub basement in the East End.

    We play in the pitch dark people come for the music to dance smoke weed hear the lyrics.

    From the first week two Hassidic? guys came, long hair, hippy long, long beards, one white haired the other black haired, white shirt, black suit, heavy black coat, large fedora, bits of tassels around their belts, always dressed the same, never took anything off even though it was hot in there.

    After some months the white haired Thorin looking one approached our station, the Rastas dont pay attention and you would have to shout “yo” he is a little gentleman so just stands there,

    I approach him in the approved ghetto manner, he is a much older man than me

    “Yes Daddy I can help you?”

    “I av a special rrrequest”

    this guy doesnt speak English at home its like he has a heavy Germanish accent,

    “Of course?”

    “can you play zat one three things i bring”

    while not drunk I am merry, before i know it my knees give a little i am laughing and have my thrown my arm around his shoulder drawn him in raised my finger and said

    “just as well you asked me, they wouldn’t know what you mean, its not called that”

    “vaatt”

    ” I know the one” I sing the chorus we both bop a little

    “yes yes that the vun” he is delighted

    “next track, yes”

    I take the mike and decide to have some fun, we have a spotlight, we need to fix the sound in the dark.

    ” I have a special request”

    I fire up the lamp and shine down on to the two Jews in their corner

    ” I have a special request from the Children of Israel”

    there is a happy little cheer, but just as I shine the light down on him Daddy Hassid is taking a big draw on his spliff, he clenches his fist and makes a.. like black power salute (we do that) with fat rasta style spliff clenched, burning like a munich torch in there and emits a huge white cloud of ganga smoke, the whole place goes berserk people are hollering and jumping, he looks like a rasta

    the artical bretheren throws on Half Pint “Greetings I Bring From Jah” (to all ragamuffin)

    it goes for half an hour or more we play every version, there are casualties everywhere people have danced themselves in to exhaustion, they are trembling leaning on the pillars,

    in their corner the two Hassids the sweat is running down the outside of their shirts their beards are caked to their faces like cousin It, they never stopped dancing till we strung out at 6am monday morning, we all have to go to work.

    It was my fault we weren’t ready for stuff at this level of intensity, unwarranted assumptions about little Jewish guys can catch you out,

    we assumed they must be Rabbis at least.

    https://youtu.be/b_a3si21K_I

    • Annie Robbins
      May 1, 2016, 1:14 am

      gamal, your video is telling me it’s blocked in my country because it contains content from WMG.

    • Mooser
      May 1, 2016, 1:06 pm

      “we assumed they must be Rabbis at least.”

      Not just ordinary Rabbis. No doubt those two were nothing less than Chef Rabbis. You should have gone to breakfast with them.

    • Shmuel
      May 1, 2016, 5:16 pm

      people have danced themselves in to exhaustion, they are trembling leaning on the pillars … we weren’t ready for stuff at this level of intensity

      Probably out looking for sparks of holiness. Sounds like they found them too.

      we assumed they must be Rabbis at least

      At least.

  19. dianab
    June 25, 2016, 9:27 pm

    When American Jews like Rebecca Vilkomerson, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman publicly proclaim their support for BDS and their horror of Israeli behavior and policies, how does this “privilege” Jews? The problem here is that the United States supports Israel financially and diplomatically. Those who are attempting to redress this problem are trying to convince the U.S. population that Israel should not be supported by the U.S. How best to reach the U.S. population?

    Many U.S. supporters of Israel are Jews who reflexively support “the Jewish State” — never mind that there is little about Israel that is Jewish. Many U.S. supporters of Israel are Christians and others who support Israel publicly because (1) they don’t want to be thought of as “anti-Semitic” or (2) they feel guilty about the millions of Jews who were slaughtered by the Nazis or (3) they honestly believe that Israel must be supported because the Bible says so or (4) Jews deserve a country after the Nazis murders during the WWII era or (5) supporting Israel will hasten the Second Coming. The United States supports Israel because they perceive support of Israel in their hegemonic interest to control the Middle East and its resources.

    What the Vilkomersons, the Chabons and the Waldmans are trying to do is to undermine the popular perception that supporting Israel is a good “Jewish” thing to do. They are saying that criticism of Israel is NOT anti-Semitic. They are saying things that — like it or not — many people will not accept from people who are not Jewish. Yes, this is a type of privilege. We may not like it or approve of it, but it’s a reality. And the best way to deal with privilege is to USE it in the best ways possible.

    So rather than criticizing Vilkomerson et al. for “speaking from privilege” we need to support them and appreciate what they are trying to do. Because none of this is about Vilkomerson, Chabon or Waldman. It’s about Palestine. It really is.

    • echinococcus
      June 26, 2016, 12:16 pm

      “So rather than criticizing Vilkomerson et al. for “speaking from privilege” we need to support them and appreciate what they are trying to do.”

      That could be seen as appropriate if the race-or-religion-or-ethny-or-whatever-based overtly tribal Jewish organization supporting BDS had not watered down the definition of occupation to legitimize Zionist presence, made opposing some undefinable “anti-semitism” to a goal manifestly overriding support to Palestinian resistance, and proceeded to the character lynching of some of the most effective supporters of the resistance.

      • Sibiriak
        June 26, 2016, 4:04 pm

        echinococcus: overtly tribal Jewish organization supporting BDS had not watered down the definition of occupation
        ————

        What Jewish organization are you claiming is responsible for watering down the BDS movement’s definition of occupation? How did they do it, allegedly?

        Evidence please.

        You keep making this false charge, but never provide any facts to back it up.

      • Sibiriak
        June 26, 2016, 4:26 pm

        @echinococcus:

        You made another false charge previously–that the BDS movement restricted the boycott to post-1967 area products:

        [echinoococcus:] …the official “BDS Movement” is a subfraction of some subgroup: most people who boycott Zionist entity products and relationships just boycott as much as they can of it, without set endpoints. Without much regard for the ridiculous, often plain impossible restrictions to post-67 area products, as set by the official movement.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2016/06/expresses-palestinians-semitism/#comment-841938

        That’s false. There are no such restrictions set by the official BDS movement.

        Or do you have evidence to the contrary?

      • dianab
        June 26, 2016, 5:40 pm

        Some examples of character lynching, please? OTHER than JVP’s absolutely disgraceful character assassination of Alison Weir last year, joined by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the American Friends Service Committee? Shame on them all. Alison Weir is an invaluable ally of Palestine — and in no way a defender of “white privilege”, which is an absurd characterization in her case.

        As for supporting a Zionist presence in Palestine, I don’t believe that JVP has ever done that. Perhaps Chabon and Waldman have; it seems that they are recent converts to the Palestinian cause, so I’m prepared to give them a little leeway for the time being. The state of “Israel” is certainly an illegitimate political entity, starting with its inception.

      • echinococcus
        June 27, 2016, 3:48 am

        Sibiriak,

        a. that was not false at all:

        In the official statement:
        “The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

        1.Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall; …” [https://bdsmovement.net/bdsintro]
        http://mondoweiss.net/2016/06/expresses-palestinians-semitism/#comment-841938

        Suddenly replacing the more generic formulation that avoided a definition of the occupation.

        Yes, it’s not in itself necessarily a limitation of the boycott action to post-67 occupation products… but along with that of Western companies complicit in the post-67 occupation the boycott actions we see are regularly against post-67 occupation products.

        b. As for JVP, I have to apologize both to you and Diana B. Looking it up to check DianaB’s and your observations, I was flabbergasted by seeing a report of a very major change operated last year:

        JVP’s recent conference, which took place in Baltimore from March 13 to 15, was notable for several new developments. Two weeks earlier, after a lengthy process that included study committees and membership surveys, JVP’s board of directors voted to fully support the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel, or BDS, as it is popularly known. JVP’s call for a full economic boycott of Israel comes after years of supporting a more limited boycott of only companies that operated in the occupied territories.
        http://forward.com/news/israel/217528/embracing-israel-boycott-jewish-voice-for-peace-in/#ixzz4ClJUTIlq
        blockquote>

        Even though they continue to consider only post-67 as occupied territories, their recent change of boycott scope is a huge event. I simply cannot understand why it wasn’t publicized to the exclusion of all other things. At any rate, it was not; I missed the change and wrote something wrong about their type of boycott.

        As for your other statement, it’s not exactly logical:

        responsible for watering down the BDS movement’s definition of occupation?

        It’s already more than watered down by the official BDS group itself, see above.

      • echinococcus
        June 27, 2016, 4:11 am

        Diana,

        My apologies for reading only now that JVP had changed the scope of its boycott action last year. This obviously changes the view. Hope to see it in action.

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