‘I’d rather die than live as a servile slave,’ Omar Barghouti told his daughter

Activism
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Last week in spite of lashing rains, more than 200 people crowded the offices of Verso Books in Brooklyn to hear Omar Barghouti, a leader of the boycott movement, in discussion with Nyle Fort, an activist and religion scholar. The event is up on Facebook. I got the impression I always get from Barghouti, this is a person of tremendous focus and cogency and dedication, Israel will never defeat him. And he is relentless. Barghouti had just been detained and interrogated by Israel, then prevented from traveling for a while, but he walks into this room like he just had a vacation in the south of France. Not an iota of self-pity. When will Israel and its supporters stop trying to defeat his campaign and simply heed the message: Equal rights?

My job here is passing along several statements Barghouti made last Tuesday, but the two most noteworthy were a personal story about his daughter, and a critique of identity politics.

“So many people asked me, can you share a personal story, I will for the first time ever,” Barghouti said with a smile. He said that last year, when Israeli government ministers threatened boycott leaders and other critics with “civil elimination,” Barghouti’s two daughters were horrified by this news, and the younger one, Nai, engaged her father in a WhatsApp conversation, which Barghouti shared.

So Nai wrote, “I’m just sitting there watching it all and feeling paralyzed.”

So I replied, “that’s what they want– to see us sit idly and do nothing.”

So she wrote, “You’re the most peaceful person on earth, how can they threaten you like that, with civil assassination? I think I’m having a split personality here. On the one hand,” she wrote, “as a Palestinian I’m so proud of you. But as your daughter I just wish you would consider stopping what you do. Enough.”

And she continued, “I know it is selfish of me, and it is impossible for me to accept that you just stop your human rights work. But you’re my father first and foremost, and maybe you’re my father more than Palestine is my homeland.” And then she immediately added, “I know this is stupid of me to say.”

I replied, “You know that I shall never submit to their threats and live as a servile slave. I’d rather die than live like that.”

So she wrote, “I know, this is the first lesson I ever learned from you.”

I wrote, “We have to besiege their siege, not surrender to it.”

To which she replied, “You have chosen the more difficult path that has the potential to change history. There is always a price to be paid, I realize. So what can I do to help?”

A year later, this year in March, she was the main performer at a concert for Israeli apartheid week in Palestine, so she’s discovering her own way of resistance.

I wondered, How many people I know would respond to threats in that fashion, or more to the point, would see the stakes in their own lives as so high?

Next, identity politics. A theme of the evening was the degree to which identity politics are consistent with building a broad coalition for Palestinian rights. Fort first raised the issue, and Barghouti issued a guarded critique.

I think there’s a tension there that’s not easy to address.  Identity politics– that is as prevalent in the United States, including among progressive movements– presents major concerns to us outside the U.S. We don’t know how to deal with it. Activists in this country assume this is universal. It’s not. It’s very much a U.S. thing, that we from afar– I lived in this country, but now having lived in Palestine since 1994–  I look at it with a very different eye, and we don’t completely understand it.

But one thing we do understand is that there’s a tension between identity politics as understood in the U.S., and forging multiracial, multifaceted justice movements that bring everyone together. And the point is, If I feel that I can only work within my community, and that’s the most important part, because I am belonging to this community– it will in a way deter me from doing work in other places where I can be very influential… Not just helping other communities but bridging the justice movements together.

In other words, I think if we put identity politics ahead of the requirement to be intersectional and to connect to other struggles, we harm ourselves, our cause as well as other causes. And that’s dangerous…

The second thing is if I consider anyone from my tribe as good enough because they’re from my tribe, it’s really problematic. Because many people in my tribe stink. And I need to come out against them. And not everyone who attacks someone from my tribe is necessarily wrong or racist, because some people in my tribe stink.

Later Barghouti was a bit more specific about the tension:

We cannot bring all our identities on the table in every campaign we do. Otherwise we cannot progress. If on every justice campaign we insist on bringing all our identities– that a campaign against a Bank X, should address the trans issue, the gender issue, the racial issue, and so on, all in one campaign, we might fail and then we get nowhere. So I can address the intersectionality of the oppressions in multiple campaigns. But if I insist that all of them must be addressed in every campaign, then we cannot move forward.

So that’s the strategic aspect that we have to consider.

Later he went a bit further and spoke of feminism and coalition building. Beyond “the sacred agreement” among Palestinians on the three pillars of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (end occupation, end discrimination in Israel, and affirm the right of return), Palestinians would agree on few other points.

I am a feminist. Now the BDS movement is not necessarily a feminist movement. So I don’t need to address feminism within the BDS movement in a very blunt way. Of course it comes across. It’s generally a progressive movement. It’s anti-misogynistic and so on. But I can also join other struggles on feminist rights. I don’t need to do it in a BDS campaign against G4S that is doing mass incarceration, for example. That’s a different campaign. That is what I mean by, We don’t need to bring all our oppressed identities on the table in every single campaign. We cannot succeed. We can never go ahead with a campaign and succeed with that.

Though later Barghouti said that sometimes identity politics need to be brought to the fore. If you are talking about women in Saudi Arabia, “you do have to address the identity issue.” Because being a woman in Saudi Arabia is a status that utterly limits her rights. The same is true for a non-Jew in Israel, he said; the identity issue must be addressed. But he implied if he did not say explicitly that campaigns in the west for gay rights and women’s rights within the Arab/Muslim world can be condescending, racist, and manipulative.

Barghouti a couple of times addressed western saviors in a withering fashion. He bridled when a questioner asked about various solutions offered by American intellectuals. “We don’t need any left right or center intellectual living in New York to tell us what the solution should be to this conflict. Former or current gatekeepers who think they should tell us– we little brown kids who cannot tell what we want.. what our future will be– thank you very much.” He went on to praise “self determination” by Palestinians.

A few other noteworthy moments.

Barghouti said that Mahmoud Darwish had expressed the yearning to be liberated from Palestine so he could write about mundane matters like love; and he has a related feeling: “I have a deep desire to end my BDS activism.” Then he would redirect his energy to other struggles: “the struggle by blacks for racial and economic justice, and the struggle by indigenous communities around the world for reparations” (I told you he was focused). But he can’t move on till Palestinians attain freedom, justice and equality.

Ultimately, Barghouti would like to pursue “other passions, philosophy and choreography,” but “I have no choice.” Again I wonder, how many Americans would see their lives in such a directed manner.

On the importance of the U.S.

Our oppression has “Made in the USA” written all over it. Israel’s regime of occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid wouldn’t survive a year without the massive military, economic, financial, diplomatic, academic support it gets from the United States.

On the ease of boycott.

It’s nothing heroic to boycott. You’re not doing a heroic act. You’re fulfilling a very profound moral obligation to do no harm.

Barghouti related that as an engineering student at Columbia 25 years ago he protested apartheid in South Africa, and fellow students told him apartheid would never fall in his lifetime. “Why are you wasting your time?” one said.

“I said, ‘I don’t believe it will be abolished in my lifetime, but I am doing it out of a moral obligation.’ But it was abolished in my lifetime, and this gives us eternal hope.”

He went on to analyze the end of apartheid.

Apartheid South Africa is not over. Economic apartheid is alive and well. Whites control the resources and goods. The black majority are still disenfranchised economically but not politically. Land ownership, housing, access to resources.

We’ve learned that… political emancipation alone especially in this globalized world where neoliberal economics control the world is certainly not enough. Without associating that with social justice economic justice, that’s useless.

This is one reason that the right of return is crucial, he said; as it represents a more profound form of equity than extending the franchise to Palestinians.

Asked if Israel has a right to exist, he said that Israel was the “only country on earth that maintains this divine right to exist, regardless of what regime it has.” Does a slave owner have a right to exist as a slaveowner? “No hell no.” A slaveowner has a right to exist as any other human being does; but not as slave-owner.

(Again I’d ask: When is the New York Times going to confront supporters of Israel with the widespread view of ordinary Palestinians that they live under Jim Crow and apartheid, a view supported by the U.N., till the report was stuffed down its throat by the powers that be).

Asked by Ari Wohlfeiler of Jewish Voice for Peace, a sponsor of the evening, about selling the Palestinian solidarity movement to the liberal mainstream, Barghouti said that international law might as well be Chinese to Americans, but they do get basic notions of fairness, and the movement must appeal to them.

I think some people on the left are addicted to marginalization. They cannot deal with the fact that you might gain power and strength and become more mainstream. It doesn’t mean you’re selling out necessarily… [It means you’re] appealing to the liberal mainstream by using accessible language that everyone can understand.

That language means explaining the right of return as the fact that Palestinians were turned out of their homes and have not been allowed to return to these occupied villages, and the rationale on the part of the Israel lobby is that the Palestinians have had too many children. “People would get that.”

Finally, Barghouti said that a class analysis of oppression was not enough because racism is a transcendent attribute of human societies.

I’m not aware of any society that does not have anti-black racism. We cannot dismiss the identity issue and just focus on the economic issue alone…

Racism can only be addressed at a very deep level: “it’s at the mental, intellectual and cultural level.” It is more difficult to change such beliefs than to change an economy. “People’s ideas, faiths, religions positive or negative can linger on for 1000’s of years, largely unchanged.”

Barghouti speaks so clearly because he has been thinking about these issues for many, many years, and trying out many approaches to resistance. I don’t think many people, anywhere, are capable of such dedication.

About Philip Weiss

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

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52 Responses

  1. German Lefty
    May 2, 2017, 3:27 pm

    I like Barghouti as a person, but I disagree with some of the things he says.
    Also, I hate identity politics.

    Barghouti a couple of times addressed western saviors in a withering fashion. “We don’t need any left right or center intellectual living in New York to tell us what the solution should be to this conflict. Former or current gatekeepers who think they should tell us– we little brown kids who cannot tell what we want.

    I disapprove of Barghouti’s reaction. He reacts in the same arrogant way as Israel when someone from outside proposes a possible solution to the conflict. Whenever Germany tells Israel to stop building settlements, Israel replies: “How dare you interfere in our business? You have no right to dictate to us what to do.”
    Proposed solutions to the conflict should solely be judged by their content, i.e. is it a just solution or an unjust solution? You should NOT judge a proposed solution by who proposed it. Solution proposed by a Palestinian = good solution. Solution proposed by a non-Palestinian = bad solution.
    I don’t let a Zionist silence me by telling me that I am not Jewish enough or Israeli enough to speak my mind on the conflict. And I don’t let Barghouti silence me (or anyone else) by telling me that I am not Palestinian enough to speak my mind on the conflict.

    It’s nothing heroic to boycott. You’re not doing a heroic act. You’re fulfilling a very profound moral obligation to do no harm.

    Again, I disagree. First of all, moral obligations don’t exist. There are either legal obligations or no obligations. Second, supporting BDS is an act of bravery or civil disobedience – at least in Western countries. There is all this anti-BDS legislation. BDS supporters face character assassination, lose their job, have their existence ruined, are faced with false charges of anti-Semitic hate speech. That’s a big sacrifice that non-Palestinians make for the rights of Palestinians. BDS supporters don’t want praise from Palestinians, but I am very disappointed by how Barghouti totally dismisses the sacrifices of Western BDS supporters. There is not the slightest bit of appreciation.

    • RoHa
      May 3, 2017, 2:06 am

      I agree with most of your comment, but it is odd to see you invoking the moral concept of justice (“is it a just solution or an unjust solution”) and then denying the existence of moral obligations.

    • Vikram
      May 3, 2017, 8:24 am

      Being Irish, a member of a people who endured a long experience of oppression, I can understand what Barghouti means, when he speaks of intellectuals living in New York. The BDS movement received very harsh criticism from Norman Finkelstein over the right to return. He called the movement a “cult”. So, it should be no surprise that he is annoyed about that.

      Also, you are fundamentally wrong when you say “moral obligations don’t exist “. How otherwise could human beings have consciences? Do you think that our conscience only troubles us if we break a law? This is obviously not true. Even little children, who are not aware of laws, can be troubled by their conscience. Any parent will be aware of this fact.

      I think that, if you support rights of the oppressed with the expectation of receiving appreciation, you shouldn’t bother. Justice is it’s own reward.

      • Citizen
        May 3, 2017, 3:28 pm

        Legal red lines are enforceable by the armed police, and, in civil law, by legal (hence also enforceable by the police) monetary penalties. Moral red lines are voluntary. Sometimes the two converge in a nice way, hence Boo’s comment on this thread. Some folks have no conscience.

      • German Lefty
        May 4, 2017, 6:00 pm

        @ Vikram

        Also, you are fundamentally wrong when you say “moral obligations don’t exist “.

        Okay, I try to explain my view: An obligation comes from the outside, e.g. a law. Morality, however, is subjective and therefore comes from the inside. So, a moral obligation can’t exist. But let’s assume for the sake of argument that moral obligations exist: Having a “moral obligation” is merely a subjective feeling. So, by telling others that supporting BDS is a moral obligation, Barghouti tries to dictate to others what they have to feel. And people don’t like being told what they have to feel. It’s already terrible enough that politicians and mainstream media constantly want to dictate to us what we have to feel and what we have to do. For example, German politicians say things like: “You have to feel guilty about the Holocaust. You have to support Israel because of history.” Now Barghouti comes and does the same thing: “You have to feel a moral obligation. You have to support BDS.” Such words just drive people away because there are already enough attempts at guilt-tripping by the Zionists and people are sick of it.
        Also, bringing up morality is usually only done by people who lack rational arguments, e.g. homophobes, Zionists. What convinced me of BDS was when Shir Hever said in a talk that Israel won’t change on its own and that’s why the only way to achieve justice is by having pressure from outside. As I am a pacifist, I reject pressure from outside in form of violence. So, the only alternative left is BDS because it’s non-violent pressure from outside. Barghouti should just give rational arguments in favour of BDS and then let the people decide on their own if they want to support it or not. Don’t try to impose support for BDS on people by claiming that it’s a moral obligation.

        I think that, if you support rights of the oppressed with the expectation of receiving appreciation, you shouldn’t bother.

        You misunderstood my comment. I clearly wrote that Western BDS supporters don’t want praise. However, my use of the word “appreciation” was a bit unfortunate. What I actually meant was acknowledgement. Barghouti doesn’t acknowledge that Westerners who publicly support BDS make big sacrifices for other’s people rights. They risk their reputation and career. They risk being convicted of hate speech. That’s why many Westerners only dare to publicly speak out against Israel’s crimes at an old age when they are retired and almost dead, e.g. Günter Grass, Jimmy Carter. In some other MW article, there was a link to a speech by Tom Hayes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FetyXTfg5gQ
        Just making a documentary about Palestinian refugees led to a smear campaign against him, which almost ruined him financially and almost made him homeless. He even received death threats. Barghouti seems to take it for granted that non-Palestinians put their own lives at risk for Palestinians. Supporting Palestinian rights is in no way similar to supporting gay rights. Supporting gay rights is trendy and earns you extra points. However, publicly supporting Palestinian rights means that you end up under the bridge, in the court room, in prison, or in a coffin.

    • eljay
      May 3, 2017, 8:44 am

      || German Lefty: … I disapprove of Barghouti’s reaction. … Proposed solutions to the conflict should solely be judged by their content … You should NOT judge a proposed solution by who proposed it. … ||

      I agree. His reaction seems extreme considering that – according to the article – the question posed to him was about solutions offered, not solutions imposed.

      … So [Barghouti’s daughter, Nai] wrote, “You’re the most peaceful person on earth, how can they threaten you like that, with civil assassination? I think I’m having a split personality here. On the one hand,” she wrote, “as a Palestinian I’m so proud of you. But as your daughter I just wish you would consider stopping what you do. Enough.”

      And she continued, “I know it is selfish of me, and it is impossible for me to accept that you just stop your human rights work. But you’re my father first and foremost, and maybe you’re my father more than Palestine is my homeland.” And then she immediately added, “I know this is stupid of me to say.” …

      Miss Barghouti, your father chose to bring you into this world. IMO, it’s neither selfish nor stupid of you to want or expect your father to honour his responsibilities / obligations as a parent.

    • Boo
      May 3, 2017, 2:54 pm

      I would submit that without basic morality to inform it, there’d be no legal code worth promulgating or adhering to.

    • gamal
      May 4, 2017, 10:51 am

      “Proposed solutions to the conflict should solely be judged by their content, i.e. is it a just solution or an unjust solution”

      yes I agree the Palestinians have to negotiate with everybody, the USA, Europe, Israel, you and German solutions are world famous

      “I disapprove of Barghouti’s reaction”

      “First of all, moral obligations don’t exist”

      yes you are all about the etiquette, some people just don’t know when they would be better off shutting the fuck up, but there you are, its a fact.

      this site published a proposed solution by one David Gerald Fincham, who at the time had never heard of Salman Abu Sitta or the even more obscure Henry Cattan I presume, but he had read a book by Tony Judt, probably had all the relevant stuff in it, Palestine waits in anticipation.

      tell you what when you’ve solved the scourge of identity politics maybe then move on to solving Palestine, we can wait.

    • Edward Q
      May 4, 2017, 12:29 pm

      When someone else is running your life you have had it. I think this is what Barghouti is getting at. The United States, Europe, and Israel have been trying to select the Palestinian leaders and spokespersons for decades and what they must accept; they must give up the right of return, they must not have demonstrations, they must not have BDS, and so on. On television, Palestinians are not allowed to speak for themselves, but Americans or Israelis speak for them. Palestinians as a whole should decide such questions. The world gets to criticize Israeli settlements because they are illegal.

      “moral obligations don’t exist”

      Moral obligations came before the law. The law exists to give moral obligations teeth.

      • German Lefty
        May 5, 2017, 8:08 am

        Edward: “When someone else is running your life you have had it. I think this is what Barghouti is getting at.”

        Yes, I understand. However, the discussion was about solutions that are offered, not imposed. I too am very much against imposing a so-called solution on Palestinians, particularly an unjust one.

  2. JosephA
    May 2, 2017, 8:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing, this was very interesting to read.

  3. Kay24
    May 3, 2017, 6:40 am

    I was wondering why Nutty was quiet (expecting he was up to no good) but it seems he is busy wiping out negative comments on his FB….he can dish out but not tough enough to take the criticism. Reminds me of the orange jackass.

    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.786608

  4. Elizabeth Block
    May 3, 2017, 9:10 am

    Of course there are moral obligations. There are lots of things that we are legally allowed to do that we shouldn’t. And the law is a blunt instrument; morality is often subtle.

    I didn’t see Barghouti telling outsiders not to help, only not to tell Palestinians what they should ask for, or what they should do.

    And btw: Why does just about everyone else use a pseudonym? It never even occurred to me not to sign my comments with my own name.
    “I have voiced my indignation when I haven’t signed my name,
    But if I won’t be counted, then whom then shall I blame?”

    • Citizen
      May 3, 2017, 3:23 pm

      I guess you never had your identity stolen.

      • catalan
        May 6, 2017, 1:54 pm

        We are supposed to feel sorry for him because he is bigoted. – Mooser
        Feel sorry for me? Please don’t, I am doing great thank you. It’s the people of Gaza I feel sorry for. You encourage them towards big demands and armed resistance, together with others, when you have nothing to lose. It’s truly tragic. I am truly privileged of course, not because of my being a Jew but rather the random luck of genetics and geography.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 6, 2017, 2:48 pm

        It’s the people of Gaza I feel sorry for. You encourage them towards big demands and armed resistance, together with others, when you have nothing to lose.

        those “big demands” (and i highly recommend fathi’s new article on the new charter: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/new-charter-politics/), your framing here suggests it is our “encouragement” that perpetuates these demands, and as such you feel sorry for the people of gaza, because if not for this encouragement they would be on their way to better life or something. please explain to us (“in simple human terms (no empire, no neoconservatism), just like, person to person”) what it is they are demanding that you think is too big and that they might amend if us westerners were not encouraging them? the whole equal rights thing, just a whim based on our “encouragement”?

        when you have nothing to lose. It’s truly tragic.

        your framing suggests it is not israel’s bombings, blockade, mowing the lawn, death of scores of civilians including children that you find truly tragic, but the fact of our encouragement with nothing to lose.

        tsk tsk.

        I am truly privileged of course

        yes, we know. you keep reminding us you’re a millionaire with good genetics. zzzzzzz

      • oldgeezer
        May 6, 2017, 4:39 pm

        @catalan

        In the sick zionist mind Palestinians asking for only a fraction of what they are entitled to amd some human rights constitutes a big dwmand. And of course these people wouldn’t be aski g for it if we left them alone. No just the way blacks didn’t want freedom but preferred the comfort of slavery.

        You are a very sick puppy, catalan.

      • Mooser
        May 6, 2017, 5:52 pm

        “yes, we know. you keep reminding us you’re a millionaire with good genetics.”

        A millionaire with good genetics? Huh? I thought “catalan” said he is Bulgarian.

        An inveterate thread-jumper!

      • Sibiriak
        May 6, 2017, 10:10 pm

        catalan: It’s the people of Gaza I feel sorry for…
        —————–

        Your compassion is palpable.

    • Froggy
      May 3, 2017, 5:50 pm

      Elizabeth Black :: And btw: Why does just about everyone else use a pseudonym?

      I’m French . Openly supporting BDS is illegal in France . Indeed, any criticism of Israel tends to be labelled an expression of «antisémitisme» which is also illegal .

      http://www.france24.com/en/20160120-france-boycott-israel-bds-law-free-speech-antisemitism

      ~shrug~ I’m not about to use my real name on a message board making it easy for assorted nutters to track me down .

      https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170206-bds-is-the-french-exception-to-international-boycotts/

      • Keith
        May 4, 2017, 5:21 pm

        FROGGY- “Indeed, any criticism of Israel tends to be labelled an expression of «antisémitisme» which is also illegal .”

        It should be noted that all of these European laws prohibiting expressions of “anti-Semitism” or Holocaust denial (broadly defined), are fairly recent. They are not efforts to protect a persecuted minority, rather, they are a demonstration of power by a highly privileged minority. That these laws may increase the incidents of low level anti-Semitism is likely, probably anticipated and perhaps even welcomed by those who cause these laws to be passed.

      • Froggy
        May 4, 2017, 10:00 pm

        Keith

        Indeed these are recent laws. I have to admit that I don’t see what they hope to accomplish by passing such laws.

        Brings to mind a song which a German relative taught me when I was very young, and which I in turn taught to my children :

        Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,
        sie fliehen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.
        Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen
        es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

        Ich denke was ich will und was mich beglücket,
        doch alles in der Still’, und wie es sich schicket.
        Mein Wunsch und Begehren kann niemand verwehren,
        es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

        Und sperrt man mich ein im finsteren Kerker,
        das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke.
        Denn meine Gedanken zerreißen die Schranken
        und Mauern entzwei, die Gedanken sind frei!

        Drum will ich auf immer den Sorgen entsagen
        und will mich auch nimmer mit Grillen mehr plagen.
        Man kann ja im Herzen stets lachen und scherzen
        und denken dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

        Despite all attempts to silence opposition, BDS is growing in France.

      • Keith
        May 4, 2017, 11:41 pm

        FROGGY- “I have to admit that I don’t see what they hope to accomplish by passing such laws.”

        Power and control. Who is controlling the bounds of acceptable discourse? Better watch what you say, or else. Even criticizing imperial Middle East policy may yet be construed as “anti-Semitic.” The new royalty is letting you know who is in charge! Make no mistake, the purpose of these new laws is social control, NOT to discourage anti-Semitism.

      • Boomer
        May 5, 2017, 7:23 am

        It is not only in France that Zionist power is seen in legal efforts against BDS. The Texas State government is as firmly controlled by Republicans as is the U.S. government, but a similar deadlock exists, caused by disagreements between conservatives and those who are even more conservative. Not much is getting done in Austin, but they can agree to do what the pro-Israelites want. Thus, as reported by the Houston Chronicle:

        “Even lawmakers who are less pessimistic acknowledged that having hundreds of bills awaiting action in both legislative chambers has started the nail-biting. That urgency was underscored by [Gov.] Abbott signing his first bill into law on Tuesday, House Bill 89, that prohibits state contracts and investments with companies that boycott Israel.”

        Of course, thanks the the First Amendment, this law won’t prohibit criticism of Israel by individuals who don’t do business with the State of Texas, but it demonstrates the power of the Zionists in America. And we have seen how notions about “hate speech” can be used to limit speech.

      • German Lefty
        May 5, 2017, 8:01 am

        Keith: “They are not efforts to protect a persecuted minority, rather, they are a demonstration of power by a highly privileged minority.”

        Exactly!

        Froggy: “Brings to mind a song which a German relative taught me when I was very young.”

        Beautiful song! We’ve often sung it in music class at school.

      • catalan
        May 5, 2017, 11:21 am

        . They are not efforts to protect a persecuted minority, rather, they are a demonstration of power by a highly privileged minority –
        A question to Keith and German Lefty – can you explain to me, in simple human terms (no empire, no neoconservatism), just like, person to person – what are these privileges that you feel I have (and you seem to both agree that such privileges exist both in the States and in Europe)? Like, what is it that I am privileged to have that you don’t have? Free vacations to Bora Bora? Stock options for Google? Free massages? Cheap education? Cheap healthcare?
        Since you are saying that I am not just privileged, but “highly” privileged, surely there is something I can take advantage of? But please, can we not go into the whole empire, Rothschilds, Judeo Masons, etc.

      • Mooser
        May 5, 2017, 11:27 am

        Pete Seeger- Die Gedanken Sind Frei

      • German Lefty
        May 5, 2017, 2:06 pm

        Catalan: Like, what is it that I am privileged to have that you don’t have?

        A back-up state on stolen land at the expense of the natives there. Palestinians don’t even have one state, but you get to have two. And Zionists like you protect this privilege by misusing laws against hate speech.

      • echinococcus
        May 5, 2017, 2:19 pm

        Catalan,

        what are these privileges that you feel I have (and you seem to both agree that such privileges exist both in the States and in Europe)…
        But please, can we not go into the whole empire, Rothschilds, Judeo Masons, etc.

        The only answer is… Empire, stupid.

      • Froggy
        May 5, 2017, 2:22 pm

        Keith :: Power and control.

        In France? Good luck with that.

        A la base de notre civilisation, il y a la liberté de chacun dans sa pensée, ses croyances, ses opinions, son travail, ses loisirs.
        General de Charles – 25 November 1941.

        Boomer :: It is not only in France that Zionist power is seen in legal efforts against BDS. The Texas State government is as firmly controlled by Republicans as is the U.S. government, but a similar deadlock exists, caused by disagreements between conservatives and those who are even more conservative. Not much is getting done in Austin, but they can agree to do what the pro-Israelites want. Thus, as reported by the Houston Chronicle:

        “Even lawmakers who are less pessimistic acknowledged that having hundreds of bills awaiting action in both legislative chambers has started the nail-biting. That urgency was underscored by [Gov.] Abbott signing his first bill into law on Tuesday, House Bill 89, that prohibits state contracts and investments with companies that boycott Israel.”

        ~LOL~ Texas… huh. Very funny, for reasons I won’t disclose here.

        German Lefty ::Beautiful song! We’ve often sung it in music class at school.

        During the occupation my grandfather hid a French Jewish adolescent (amongst other people, most of whom he passed on to other safe places). My grandmother continued to hide these people after my grandfather was taken away and sent to Neuengamme and later Dachau. After the war the young man went off to search for his family. As he was leaving my grandparents told him that if he could find no family left alive, he must return home to us for he would always have a family here. He did return, and my grandfather sent him off again this time to Paris for his education. He returned from Paris with a degree, and, of all things, a German wife. Throughout my life I have thought of them only as my uncle and aunt. It was his wife who taught me that song.

      • echinococcus
        May 5, 2017, 2:46 pm

        German Leftie,

        Beautiful song, yes. Uplifting. Until suddenly you remember that unausgesprochene Gedanken sind gar nich frei –it never applies to unexpressed thought. And darkness closes in again, perhaps more heavily. Apologies for being such a grinch.

      • catalan
        May 5, 2017, 3:04 pm

        “A back-up state on stolen land at the expense of the natives there. Palestinians don’t even have one state, but you get to have two. And Zionists like you protect this privilege by misusing laws against hate speech.” – German leftie
        But I am an American citizen, not an Israeli one. There are no anti free speech laws here. But thanks for answering anyway. I will be honest with you, German leftie. I speak and write decent German, I love Kant and Hegel and Schopenhauer and Jung. We listen to St Mathews passion, in German, a lot, and I always tell my son, this is Bach, the greatest musician and perhaps the greatest human that ever lived. Erbarme dich.
        But please don’t take it the wrong way when I tell you that you genuinely scare me. Your tone, the fanaticism and spite evident in your words makes me scared. I am only alive by the miracle of the fact that my grandfather left Macedonia. All Jews from Macedonia were subsequently killed. The thing is, Israel is our defense against you. May it be there forever. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to support it. I cannot imagine a world in which my life would depend on your goodwill. Indeed, I am in the middle of life, so I don’t care about me so much. But I cannot leave to my little boy a world where he would be defenseless against you like my grandparents were.

      • Mooser
        May 5, 2017, 4:05 pm

        “But I cannot leave to my little boy a world where he would be defenseless against you like my grandparents were.”

        And you do nothing to support Israel, or the settlements. You think that safety comes with no price? What do you do to ensure that little boys safety? Will you leave those little boy’s behind?

        “Catalan”, have you paid for your seat on the train? Done a single thing, donated a single dollar, to ensure your little boy will have a settlement to live in, instead of the US, where Jewish grandparents die? Then don’t expect refuge, you moocher.

      • Keith
        May 5, 2017, 5:22 pm

        CATALAN- “But please, can we not go into the whole empire, Rothschilds, Judeo Masons, etc.”

        Judeo Masons? That’s a new one on me. If we are talking about Jewish-Zionist power, we are talking about Jewish ELITE power, not you per se. If it was just you, no one would care. The power I am referring to is best represented by the Conference of Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations which includes AIPAC, etc. And, of course, the Jewish billionaires who influence both Israeli and US policy. Have you not been paying attention to the articles on Haim Saban, Sheldon Adelson, AIPAC, etc? And the topic I and German Lefty was referring to is all of these new laws making it a crime to say things which Zionist Jews have successfully sought to prevent discussion about. Getting these laws passed is an indication of power. Controlling the narrative is a further enhancement of that power. But you knew all of that, why else attempt to re-frame the issue from the political economy to you personally? That the power-seeking machinations of the Jewish-Zionist elite may not benefit you personally is irrelevant.

        This is a slightly shorter version of a previous submittal which did not pass moderation. One has to be very sensitive to the feelings of those with power, some things simply cannot be said.

        To turn the question back on you, do you feel that you are part of a relatively privileged group of people who maintain a kinship identity, or do you feel that you are a member of a persecuted minority? I am going to leave it at that. Jewish kinship and power within the political economy is a somewhat interesting topic, however, it is difficult to discuss due to the reaction I get. Furthermore, I am tired of walking on eggshells to get a comment on this topic past moderation.

      • German Lefty
        May 5, 2017, 5:33 pm

        Catalan: “But I am an American citizen, not an Israeli one. […] The thing is, Israel is our defense against you.”

        Don’t you see the contradiction in your statements? Clearly, Zionism doesn’t make any sense.
        Also, why do you think that you need to defend yourself against me? I’m not attacking you. Zionists are attacking Palestinians.

        “I tell you that you genuinely scare me. Your tone, the fanaticism and spite evident in your words makes me scared.”

        Fanaticism and spite? LOL! Apparently, you are projecting Zionist behaviour on us anti-Zionists.
        So, you are scared by my way of talking? Well, Palestinians are scared by their lack of equal rights and by Zionist bombs, bulldozers, checkpoints, settlements, etc. Do you really think that your fear of my way of talking should have priority over Palestinian rights?
        Also, why exactly are you scared by my way of talking? Perhaps it’s because you are a US citizen and therefore perceive my German directness as rude. Perhaps it’s because you are a Zionist and therefore you are creeped out by people who support equal rights and respect international law.

        “I cannot imagine a world in which my life would depend on your goodwill. I cannot leave to my little boy a world where he would be defenseless against you like my grandparents were.”

        You are a US citizen and your son probably too. Don’t you think that your actual home country, which is the most powerful country in the world, is capable of properly protecting you? So, what on earth do you need Israel for? And what about the protection of Palestinians? Don’t you think that Palestinians deserve to live in a safe state too? With equal rights and an army. Just like you already do.

      • Mooser
        May 5, 2017, 6:57 pm

        “To turn the question back on you, do you feel that you are part of a relatively privileged group of people who maintain a kinship identity, or do you feel that you are a member of a persecuted minority?”

        “Keith” , why do you impose that kind of limitation on “catalan”?
        He can be either, or both. At the same time, if necessary.

      • Sibiriak
        May 6, 2017, 12:25 am

        Catalan: But please don’t take it the wrong way when I tell you [German Lefty ??! ] that you genuinely scare me…
        ————————

        I suspect your irrational Gentile-phobia was instilled in you long, long before you began trolling at MW.

      • Mooser
        May 6, 2017, 11:20 am
      • catalan
        May 6, 2017, 12:34 pm

        I suspect your irrational Gentile-phobia was instilled in you long, long before you began trolling at MW. – Sibiriak
        Thanks for the free counseling. On the positive side, it appears to be not a debilitating condition. After all I became a fairly high functioning millionaire in a state where there are very few Jews, far away from Eastern Europe. We each have different skills.

      • Mooser
        May 6, 2017, 1:22 pm

        “I suspect your irrational Gentile-phobia was instilled in you long, long before you began trolling at MW.”

        We are supposed to feel sorry for him because he is bigoted. It’s a manipulation he uses frequently.

      • Sibiriak
        May 6, 2017, 10:25 pm

        catalan: But please don’t take it the wrong way when I tell you [German Lefty ] that you genuinely scare me…
        ——————–

        If you are genuinely scared of the warm-hearted humanist German Lefty (unlikely), you are genuinely messed up.

      • Mooser
        May 7, 2017, 12:03 pm

        I wish Zionists (or those with a pretension of Zionism, like “catalan”) would decide whether they will snivel, or threaten. Or at least confine the sniveling and the threatening to separate comments.

      • eljay
        May 7, 2017, 12:39 pm

        || Mooser: I wish Zionists (or those with a pretension of Zionism, like “catalan”) would decide whether they will snivel, or threaten. Or at least confine the sniveling and the threatening to separate comments. ||

        Aggressor-victimhood: It’s a tough gig. :-(

      • gamal
        May 7, 2017, 1:31 pm

        “confine the sniveling and the threatening to separate comments”

        oh come now from “shooting and crying” to “threatening and snivelling” the only way is up

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 7, 2017, 6:31 pm

        catalan:

        “But I cannot leave to my little boy a world where he would be defenseless against you like my grandparents were..”

        But catalan, don’t you understand what is the price of this “dream” or a “back-up-plan” of yours right now?? Hundreds of little girls and boys in those territories of Palestine are living in inhuman circumstances without no clear picture of even tomorrow.. As I have understood, you have two passports and freedom to move almost everywhere in the world?? The Palestinians are stucked under the occupation.

        I know Israelis, they love to travel: India, Thailand, little fun for the Holidays.. You may ask yourself, is it enough when you say, it is your “birthright” or “the life is not fair”.. For your little boys freedom means others suffering.. How can’t you see their faces when you are playing with your own kid, outside, with no soldiers shouting alarmingly and pointing at you with their guns..

      • eljay
        May 7, 2017, 7:23 pm

        || Kaisa of Finland: catalan:

        “But I cannot leave to my little boy a world where he would be defenseless against you like my grandparents were..”

        But catalan, don’t you understand what is the price of this “dream” or a “back-up-plan” of yours right now?? … ||

        He does understand, but he’s a Zionist so he believes – as all Zionists do – that Jews are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.

        In this way, he and his co-collectivists work to undermine international laws and human rights and the protections they are meant to afford to all people (including little boys).

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 7, 2017, 7:37 pm

        eljay:

        I guess that is what separates me from the Zionists.. I could not sleep in the night, if I knew I was doing so..

  5. gamal
    May 5, 2017, 9:58 am

    having subjected Palestinians to settler colonialism now many wish to colonize their liberation movement,

    as a westerner i am always amazed how we manage, without one iota of self awareness, to utterly disgrace ourselves,

    • echinococcus
      May 5, 2017, 2:26 pm

      Thank you, Gamal, for the priceless precision of that “colonize the liberation movement”.

      • gamal
        May 5, 2017, 6:10 pm

        “priceless”

        hey echi, if you don’t know it

        lkj: fite them back (smash their brains in) because i don’t know what should one do, when people are oppressive towards us, there is an SOP, we going to smash their brains in, we will fite them back

        https://youtu.be/2PD41qBDALE

  6. catalan
    May 7, 2017, 2:04 pm

    I wish Zionists (or those with a pretension of Zionism, like “catalan”) would decide whether they will snivel, or threaten. – Mooser
    I wish that anti-Israel and Jews-run-the-world people would make up their mind too: is it poor Gaza and checkpoints, or is it the “arc of resistance”, the incredible Iran, Hizbollah, and Hamas? Are things great because the hummus is boycotted, or are things terrible because there is no electricity in Gaza?

    • Mooser
      May 7, 2017, 3:28 pm

      “I wish Zionists (or those with a pretension of Zionism, like “catalan”)

      …would stop thread-jumping. You seem to think you can settle anywhere you want.

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