‘Washington Post’ publishes article by Jewish leader urging boycott of Israel

US Politics
on 29 Comments

More progress in American media. The Washington Post on Friday published a piece by Rebecca Vilkomerson titled, “I’m Jewish, and I want people to boycott Israel.” The article had gotten nearly 600 comments the last time I checked, many of them outraged; it is a high-watermark in the exposure of Jewish voices for BDS inside the Beltway and is surely to the credit of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose glaring overreach in a recent executive order against BDS has disturbed many Americans in the middle ground.

Vilkomerson includes a simple declaration that is sure to stun many inside the Beltway: “The state of Israel is not the same as the Jewish people.”

She begins with a stark anecdote:

In 2009, I was living in Tel Aviv during Operation Cast Lead. During that offensive, Israel killed about 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza. When small numbers of us went out into the streets to protest the war, we were often pelted with eggs or attacked by passersby. When I dropped my children off at their preschool, parents chatted as if nothing unusual was going on. When they asked me what was wrong, I would tell them I was deeply upset about what was happening just 40 miles away. Their response: awkward silence, or an angry defense of Israel’s actions.

Vilkomerson decided to “to take concrete action to bring about freedom and full rights for Palestinians.” So she endorsed BDS, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

She states her belief that Israel won’t change “until outside pressure becomes impossible to ignore,” then lists a series of BDS victories. Not only the withdrawal of artists and corporations, but shifts in American public opinion.

A Pew poll released last month found that for the first time, liberal Democrats were more sympathetic to Palestinians than to Israelis. In May, the research firm Ipsos found that one-third of Americans support the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until it respects Palestinian rights.

The opposition has mounted during this period, of course:

But our efforts have been threatened here in the United States by a nationally coordinated, well-funded strategy financed by the Israeli government and advocacy organizations.

Vilkomerson describes Cuomo’s executive order as “draconian” and says he is standing on the “wrong side of history.” The heart of her conclusion:

My daughters who I dropped off at preschool in Tel Aviv in 2009 are now middle-schoolers in Brooklyn. If as Israeli citizens they choose someday to live in Israel/Palestine, I hope it will be a place where all people, Jewish and Palestinian, can live in equality and freedom. I believe that BDS is the best tool that we have to make that vision a reality. We will look back on the attempts to legislate against BDS as the last desperate attempts to shield Israel from much-needed pressure to change its policies.

Read the full article here.

About Philip Weiss

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

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29 Responses

  1. Ossinev
    June 26, 2016, 12:43 pm

    What a brave and inspirational woman. Living proof that there are still hundreds of thousands of principled moral Jewish people who abhor the crimes which their extremist co – religionists are committing against the native Palestinians in the name of Judaism.

  2. David Doppler
    June 26, 2016, 2:49 pm

    Yes, and let there be a broad-based American voice for peace, that favors neither Israeli or Palestinian, Jew or Muslim, but equal justice for all.

    • jd65
      June 26, 2016, 6:32 pm

      All lives matter, eh?

    • hippocrasy
      June 27, 2016, 6:10 pm

      In this day and age of globalization, there should be no borders. Laws and the land should be open to all religions, jew, muslim and lest we forget the ever disappearing M>E> Christians.

  3. Kay24
    June 26, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Obviously someone with a conscience, and the ability to realize that what Israel is doing is WRONG. There are many good people like Rebecca over there, and of course in the US, but they are the minority, and the response to her comments about what was going on in Gaza then, shows that most people in Israel have been brainwashed into thinking that there government is right, and the on going occupation is all for the good of their religion and country.
    I am surprised that the Washington Post allowed her to write this.

  4. dx
    June 26, 2016, 5:31 pm

    I have noticed over the last several weeks that the Washington Post seems to be running more things like this–things that are critical or at least more even-handed with regards to Israeli society and the reality of the lives of Palestinians. Because of Mondoweiss, I often glance through several papers’ take on various events and opinion pieces. I’d say the Post and the LA Times are running some anti-status quo pieces. I think it’s a sign that open debate is becoming more prominent. (Just my observation.)

  5. Citizen
    June 27, 2016, 8:24 am

    Bravo! She is very brave, with mental & moral integrity! I wish she was legion.

  6. biggerjake
    June 27, 2016, 11:29 am

    Cuomo’s action is just another example of how successful Israel is at manipulating the blissfully uninformed here in the US.

    “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” – Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon,

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      June 27, 2016, 12:49 pm

      It is a major breakthrough to publish Rebecca’s article in the Post. There will be more and at last the voices of all of us who call for the end of the occupation and free Palestine will begin to emerge in the mainstream news. Rebecca is correct when she states it is only from outside pressure that Israel will be forced to make peace with Palestinians. In Europe, Palestinian rights has emerged openly as a political issue that can no longer be silenced. Cuomo will regret his self serving repressive executive order for he has shown his true face as have the others who refuse to condemn Israel’s agenda of ethnic cleansing and brutal occupation.

    • jon s
      June 27, 2016, 1:21 pm

      Biggerjake,
      That’s a phony quote.
      Ariel Sharon never said it.

      • Mooser
        June 27, 2016, 3:01 pm

        “That’s a phony quote.
        Ariel Sharon never said it.”

        Ooops, tooo bad. It has become very-well established.
        I keep on telling you that the present will change the past, but you never believe me.
        Now, is the quote a condensation of a longer spiel (there are elisions or ellipses in it) or a fabrication? Which is it, “Jon s”?

      • biggerjake
        June 27, 2016, 10:43 pm

        Really? It was reported by the BBC, Associated Press, and outlets around the world.

        There are lots of others who have said the same thing:

        “The Israelis control the policy in the congress and the senate.”

        — Senator Fullbright, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee: 10/07/1973 on CBS’ “Face the Nation”.

        “I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy [in the Middle East] not approved by the Jews….. terrific control the Jews have over the news media and the barrage the Jews have built up on congressmen …. I am very much concerned over the fact that the Jewish influence here is completely dominating the scene and making it almost impossible to get congress to do anything they don’t approve of. The Israeli embassy is practically dictating to the congress through influential Jewish people in the country”

        —–Sec. of State John Foster Dulles quoted on p.99 of Fallen Pillars by Donald Nee

        …and then there is the video of Bibi saying: “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in the way.”

      • jon s
        June 28, 2016, 1:29 am

        biggerjake,
        Yes, it’s bogus, possibly fabricated by Hamas.

      • jon s
        June 28, 2016, 1:38 am

        As to the quotes from Fullbright and Dulles – I don’t know how authentic they are. I note that they appear on Anti-Semitic websites like rense and stormfront.

      • unverified__f0593954
        June 28, 2016, 10:40 am

        Here’s a documented quote of a similar statement made by Netanyahu:
        “Netanyahu: US easily manipulated
        Israeli PM seen discussing ways to undermine Oslo Accords in 2001 videotape.”
        http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2010/07/201071834019513292.html
        Here’s a segment of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrtuBas3Ipw

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2016, 1:30 pm

        “As to the quotes from Fullbright and Dulles – I don’t know how authentic they are.”

        Hey, “Jonny”, did it ever occur to you that only really, really stuopid people would believe that somebody wants to argue themselves out of a country?

        “Jon s” Can you give me one reason we shouldn’t expect you to lie about anything having to do with Zionism, Judaism or Israel?
        Or is there something in our Jewish, or Israeli, (I don’t care, whichever you prefer) character which precludes self-interest?
        Man, I sure hope so, that would make us superior to anybody else on earth.

        Certainly, with you as an example, we Jews must be. Everybody should really look up to us, the only morally perfect beings on the planet. The only ones able to maintain on objective, even generous outlook in the face of the worst temptations. And, I might mention, completely unspoiled, unembittered, and unaffected by all the persecution directed at us. That’s a lot to be proud of.

  7. The Hasbara Buster
    June 27, 2016, 11:38 pm

    For some reason, I’m not comfortable with the idea that people should even mention their Jewishness to criticize Israeli policy. Although it is true that the criticism will be more credible in the eyes of laypeople, one should not support such a racist approach on the part of the general public.

    • jd65
      June 28, 2016, 11:28 am

      “For some reason, I’m not comfortable with the idea that people should even mention their Jewishness to criticize Israeli policy. Although it is true that the criticism will be more credible in the eyes of laypeople, one should not support such a racist approach on the part of the general public.

      Well put, Hasbara Buster. I’m basically w/ you. The only thing I’d be more specific about in relation to what you’ve succinctly posted here is that, for myself, it’s ok for someone to mention that they identify as Jewish (or as a Jew…) when they criticize Israel. But only if it’s necessary to bring up in the conversation, and briefly. Often people seem to make it their main point either in a debate/symposium situation or in op-ed articles, and refer to their Jewishness again and again as some sort of basis of legitimacy for their argument. There are reasons people feel that this is necessary; personally and tactically. I understand their reasoning for feeling this is the way to go (ie: consistently emphasizing and referring to their Jewishness when they criticize Israel), but I disagree with it. It is the main reason (among others) I stopped working w/ JVP. JVP does excellent work, I tend to agree w/ their positions on the conflict, and the folks I met there were generally great. But this constant referencing to the Jewishness of their positions made me, like yourself, uncomfortable. If you’re at all interested I could post a link to a longish letter I wrote to my JVP friends about why I left. Your point is prominent in it. Thanks for your post. It’s important.

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2016, 2:23 pm

        ” I’m not comfortable with the idea that people should even mention their Jewishness to criticize Israeli policy.”

        I’ve found it’s better if I don’t insult people’s intelligence, and just assume they know, or will be able to tell in a few sentences, or the first words out of my mouth. Makes it easier on everybody.

      • The Hasbara Buster
        June 28, 2016, 3:23 pm

        @jd65

        Please do post the link to your letter, I’m truly interested.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 28, 2016, 3:59 pm

        i’d like to read it too jd65. btw, nadia elia wrote an excellent article “It is time to stop celebrating Jewish dissent in the Palestine solidarity movement” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/it-is-time-to-stop-celebrating-jewish-dissent-in-the-palestine-solidarity-movement/#sthash.o1F3yGjn.dpuf

      • jd65
        June 28, 2016, 4:27 pm

        @ Annie: btw, nadia elia wrote an excellent article “It is time to stop celebrating Jewish dissent in the Palestine solidarity movement” Thanks for that link, Annie. Good article. There’s some excellent stuff in there…

      • The Hasbara Buster
        June 28, 2016, 10:26 pm

        I basically agree with what you say in your letter, jd65.

        I would add that so-called liberal Zionists often bring up Jewish critics of Israel as proof that Judaism can produce its own antibodies against extremism, so it doesn’t need assistance from outside, thank you very much.

        I recall a Zionist pundit here in my country commenting on an incident a few years ago in which an Israeli soldier had shot a blindfolded and shackled prisoner in the foot with a rubber-coated bullet. He stressed that the story had been broken by B’Tselem, an Israeli Jewish organization: if Jews behaved bad, it was the Jews themselves who saw to it that the wrong was redressed, unlike what the Arabs did. Actually, it was a Palestinian girl who had filmed the incident and provided B’Tselem with the recording; she had her house repeatedly shot at by Israeli soldiers after that, while the B’Tselem staff slept safely in their Tel Aviv apartments. That did not deter the commentator from turning the cruel treatment of a prisoner into one more instance of Israeli moral superiority.

    • jd65
      June 28, 2016, 4:14 pm

      @ Hasbara Buster and Annie: I put it up at my basically inactive “blog” (I guess it’s not really a blog…) a little less than a year back. Here’s the link – http://thepalestineconflict.blogspot.com/p/blog.html – It’s right at the top of the page (“On Leaving”). Thanks for the interest. If you two read it, it’s total “circulation” will have doubled :)

      • Annie Robbins
        June 28, 2016, 7:08 pm

        thanks for your link jd65 …there’s some excellent stuff in there too.

      • jd65
        June 28, 2016, 8:21 pm

        :)

  8. JoeSmack
    June 28, 2016, 6:49 pm

    So…Rebecca’s qualification to speak is that she is a Jew who raised kids inside the settler-colony?

    Great way to reaffirm to the American public who is allowed to speak from the whitest and most chauvinistic “solidarity” group in the movement. Didn’t these people condemn Alison Weir for allegedly taking such an approach?

    • jd65
      June 28, 2016, 8:46 pm

      Hey Joe…

      So…Rebecca’s qualification to speak is that she is a Jew who raised kids inside the settler-colony? Great way to reaffirm to the American public who is allowed to speak from the whitest and most chauvinistic “solidarity” group in the movement. Didn’t these people condemn Alison Weir for allegedly taking such an approach?

      If you wanna make the, imo legitimate, point that Jewish voices are given too much priority in the media concerning the conflict, and that Palestinian speakers and writers should be given wayyyy more priority to speak and be read in the media, then I suggest you could do yourself a favor and lose the smarmy, sarcastic overstatements. Rebecca’s qualification to speak is that she’s quite plainly knows a lot about the situation/history and is dedicated to doing her best to help. Whether you appreciate her positions, style and tactics is something else. Honestly, imo opinion JVP is a bit too media savvy for their own good. Let alone the Palestinians good. They’re too concerned w/ the idea of “changing the narrative,” and, yes, they place too emphasis on their Jewishness imo. In other words, they’re very typically “liberal” as an organization, and not particularly “radical/progressive,” imo. But that gets into some relatively semantic distinctions on what those terms have morphed into and how they’re used, etc.

      And did you just call JVP the “most chauvinistic ‘solidarity’ group in the movement?” I’m not sure I understand that and am curious to hear about it.

      Last quick point: if you think you can tell from my comments here that I agree w/ JVP’s treatment of Weir, you should click the link I just posted above and read my letter to JVP. Just sayin’…

  9. Kay24
    June 28, 2016, 10:44 pm

    At least there is some hope in the UK unlike in the US, where zionist servants are trying hard to please their masters.

    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/another-defeat-for-zionist-lawfare.html

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