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Trump’s Jerusalem speech will foster the liberal Jewish awakening

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on 23 Comments

I love Jerusalem. It is an achingly beautiful city, and one of great meaning to me personally. I became a serious person at last in Jerusalem when I began visiting it at the age of 50 and got engaged in history. There I have seen some of the darkest acts of human beings, and the most inspiring too; there I’ve seen the bitter results of the failure to separate church and state. For Jerusalem holds meaning for many religious people; and it was on that account that more than a century ago the founder of political Zionism promised the pope, the kaiser, the sultan, and the czar that Jerusalem would stay internationalized if a Jewish state was established.

The failure of Zionists to live up to Theodor Herzl’s promises reflects the failure of Zionism itself. Whatever Zionism’s idealism and promise for oppressed Jews, Zionist leaders found that they could not carry forward their vision for a state without touching on religious nationalist chords in their following. They used biblical myths and myths of Jewish peoplehood to inspire Jews to “redeem” the land. They gave political power to rabbis and religious zealots. Whatever their socialist convictions, the Zionists wound up insisting on the need for a Jewish majority, and that need has resulted in ethnic cleansing, yesterday, today and forever. That ethnic cleansing is most hideous today in Jerusalem, where Palestinians are being moved out of their own neighborhoods to make greater Jerusalem a more Jewish city and the “eternal capital of the Jewish state.”

That’s how Zionism worked out. And it is what Donald Trump sanctified the other day in his macabre speech recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

A great number of people are denying the meaning of Trump’s speech. Wolf Blitzer, Jeffrey Goldberg, Christiane Amanpour, Eliot Cohen and Dan Shapiro all say that the peace process is alive and well. They are lying to themselves and their followers. Benjamin Netanyahu, Sheldon Adelson and other Zionist leaders know precisely what Trump means; he blessed the idea of a unified Jerusalem sprawling in all directions with segregated highways and towering concrete separation walls. The Israeli government has been licensed to move forward on plans to swell the annexation of Jerusalem by ethnically cleansing more Palestinian communities and building more “Jewish” infrastructure, in Sheikh Jarrah, on the road to Bethlehem, and east of Jerusalem, too.

Lara Friedman of Foundation for Middle East Peace stated this plainly yesterday.

Anyone care to place bets on how long it will be before Bibi announces Israel is moving forward on E-1 [east of Jerusalem]? My bet is that it’s a matter of a few months…

Friedman also blasted an opposition leader in Israel, Ehud Barak, for celebrating the president’s move.

Yes folks, this is the guy people want you to believe is the hope for liberal, progressive Israel.

Trump’s announcement is a particular horror for liberal Zionists. They have long supported the peace process after others in the progressive community said it was a farce. Many of them have pleaded to give Jewish Israel time to turn some day to idealism. Trump’s announcement, and the wall-to-wall support it is getting inside that Zionist polity that Jewish nationalism has created, is a crushing moment for these liberals.

Listen to the anguished Lara Friedman reckoning sincerely with this moment.

I don’t pretend to know where things go from here, nor can I pretend to mourn the death of the Oslo process. That process, in truth, was moribund for a long time, and in its dying state had become all-process, no-peace, and worse….until now, there was still a sliver of hope that this process could be the seed for a future agreement…That hope is gone, replaced by fears of consequences, intended & not, Trump’s reckless policies could unleash.

Last night I attended a demonstration by the young Jewish group, IfNotNow, outside Chuck Schumer’s office, because the Democratic leader– who announces at Jewish gatherings, Am Yisrael Chai, or The People of Israel Live! — supports Trump’s decision. A hundred people were there on short notice, singing Which side are you on, Chuck? and a young Jewish woman said through a bullhorn that Schumer had endorsed a policy of “segregation” in Palestine into the future.

IfNotNow rallies outside Chuck Schumer’s NY office in opposition to his support for moving US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Palestinians use the word “apartheid,” but it hardly matters: there are signs that the Jewish community is waking up at last to the world that Zionism has built, for Jews and Palestinians. Their awakening reminds me of what I’ve read about the Stalinists who finally gave up in the ’50s. They had to admit that their dream had failed, and produced great suffering.  I take hope from the fact that Lara Friedman retweeted what Mairav Zonszein wrote:

Trump will go down in history as the US president who put a kosher stamp on BDS and made the one state mainstream.

I can’t expect these liberal Zionists to become anti-Zionists tomorrow. But I would urge them to acknowledge that the Palestinian campaign for human rights, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, is the only thing in the world that is right now putting real pressure on Israel to change. And to acknowledge that the only hope for redeeming Israel is giving the vote to all Palestinians under Israeli governance, so that progressives and liberals may actually transcend ethnic divisions and build a coalition. When only the Jewish majority gets to build political coalitions, we see what happens: more ethnic cleansing and more propaganda.

No doubt, there is darkness over Jerusalem today. But the city has always been a magnet for dreamers; and Trump’s speech gives us greater standing.

Thanks to James North.

This piece originally gave Lara Friedman’s professional home as Americans for Peace Now. She is the head of Foundation for Middle East Peace

About Philip Weiss

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

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23 Responses

  1. Atlantaiconoclast
    December 8, 2017, 2:10 pm

    The best thing that could happen to Israel/Palestine is for the govt there to shrink as much as possible so that Jews are responsible for their schools, health care, etc, and non Jews are responsible for their schools, healthcare, etc. That is the only way you can have one man one vote and not create massive conflict.

  2. eljay
    December 8, 2017, 2:28 pm

    … Whatever Zionism’s idealism and its promise for oppressed Jews, Zionist leaders found that they could not establish and carry forward their vision for a state without touching on religious nationalist chords in their following. They used biblical myths and myths of Jewish peoplehood to inspire Jews to “redeem” the land. They gave political power to rabbis and religious zealots. Whatever their socialist ideals, the Zionists wound up insisting on the need for a Jewish majority …

    Zionism’s promise was Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine. Jewish is a religion-based identity. It’s no surprise that Zionists touched on religious nationalist chords and that they insisted on the need for a Jewish majority.

    … I can’t expect these liberal Zionists to become anti-Zionists tomorrow. But I would urge them to acknowledge that [BDS] is the only thing in the world that is right now putting real pressure on Israel to change. …

    Liberal Zionists aren’t against Jewish supremacism (Zionism) – they just prefer a “kinder, gentler” form of it that allows them to stop “holding their noses”. If a “change” to Israel means an end not just to occupation and colonization but to Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”, don’t expect to see liberal Zionists transform.

    • Misterioso
      December 9, 2017, 10:27 am

      Meanwhile, in Canada, the Zio-fascists are gathering:

      https://nowtoronto.com/news/worlds-top-islamophobe-pamela-geller-to-speak-in-toronto/

      “‘World’s top Islamophobe,'” Pamela Geller, to speak at Jewish Defence League event in Toronto.”

      “The Quebec-based Groupe de recherche sur l’extrême droite et ses allié-e-s is calling on the federal government to deny Geller entry into Canada for December 18 speaking engagement
      by Enzo DiMatteo”

      NOW, December 8, 2017

      EXCERPT:
      “Pamela Geller, co-founder of Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), is scheduled to appear at a speaking engagement organized by the Jewish Defence League (JDL) at Canada Christian College on December 18.

      “The JDL, which has come under increasing scrutiny from its own supporters in the Jewish community over its alignment with neo-Nazi and anti-immigrant groups at anti-Muslim rallies in Toronto and around the GTA in recent months, is promising a barnburner. A promotion for the event on the group’s website says the evening will include excerpts from the documentary Can’t We Talk About This? The Islamic Jihad Against Free Speech, which features interviews with far right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has also written the forward to Geller’s new book, ‘and many other heroes of freedom.’

      “Geller’s speech will be followed by a one-on-one interview with Rebel Commander Ezra Levant of Rebel Media, ‘the only truthful media outlet daring to talk about radical Jihad and radical Islam,’ according to the JDL promo. An exclusive ‘meet Pamela’ dinner is also being organized the day before the Canada Christian College event. Tickets for the dinner are being sold at $180 a pop.”

      • JWalters
        December 10, 2017, 12:49 am

        Pamela Geller is a strategic “crazy” person. Follow the money.

  3. Mooser
    December 8, 2017, 4:48 pm

    “Which side are you on, Chuck? and a young Jewish woman said through a bullhorn that Schumer had endorsed a policy of “segregation” in Palestine into the future.”

    And Schumer, among others, didn’t even get invited to Trump’s White House Hannukah Party.

  4. LHunter
    December 8, 2017, 5:15 pm

    Liberal Zionists are the predominant reason why the Palestinians are still struggling to achieve basic human rights. This “kindler gentler” (but still unquestionably bigoted) face to jewish supremacy allows for the status quo to continue.

    They’d do us all a favour if they showed their true colours or turned colours – the latter may take a while. Hope we can all do a better job of calling a spade a spade – liberal Zionists are racists period. The sooner they realize and confront this the better for all, particularly the Palestinians.

  5. Dan Walsh
    December 8, 2017, 5:23 pm

    “there are signs that the Jewish community is waking up at last to the world that Zionism has built, for Jews and Palestinians.”

    Sorry, but I am past caring. “Liberal” Zionist’s could have awakened much, much earlier simply by paying attention to what political Zionists were saying, out loud, in public, even in their graphics.

    Consider this poster,

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/fly-to-israel-0

    This is the VERY FIRST POSTER ever printed by El Al (1948): Jerusalem is clearly marked on the map as part of a unified Israel. The projective, expansive sense of this poster (by Franz Krausz, one of Zionism’s greatest poser artists) – ships arriving, camps-a-building, aircraft landing, settlements dotting the landscape and even tourism is in the picture represented by a red fish leaping from the Gulf of Aqaba. How much more openly, explicitly and publicly did political Zionism have to be in order to reach “liberal” Zionists’ pedagogical needs?

    If liberal Zionists had ever truly wanted to comprehend Zionism’s real aims it could easily have done so. Instead they became part of the “Complicity” machine: they sold their souls in the hope that a most unlikely scenario, peace and harmony for all in the land of milk and honey, would somehow come to pass even as Zionism dealt with the Palestinians by oppressing, exiling, jailing, torturing, occupying and killing many of them.

    “Liberal” Zionists just can’t seem to bring themselves to realize they have been on the wrong side of history since forever. I see the parallels in the way people rationalized and ignored and made excuses for the crimes and intimidation used by the likes of Harvey W., Bill C. A. Franken, C. Rose, B. O’Reilly, et. al.

    “Liberal” Zionists are the great enablers of political Zionism’s thuggishness. I don’t expect them to come around: I expect them to fade into a state of universal contempt.

    Trump’s subversion of the US’s historic position of neutrality on Jerusalem-as-capital has even its supporters on edge, and for good reason. He has used diplomacy not to quell tensions or resolve problems but rather to exponentially increase them. Ah, yes, the Republican wisdom of sending an incendiary to put out a fire.

    “Jerusalem In Posters” – 500 posters on Jerusalem:

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org

  6. Boris
    December 8, 2017, 5:53 pm

    … nor can I pretend to mourn the death of the Oslo process

    I don’t know what these people are smoking.

    Oslo peace process has been dead since 2000. A generation of IDF recruits has been born and had grown up since its death. They are not going to sing “Salyam-Shalom”….

    • Mooser
      December 8, 2017, 7:08 pm

      “A generation of IDF recruits has been born and had grown up since its death. They are not going to sing “Salyam-Shalom”….”

      Yeah, I bet they just can’t wait to spend the rest of their lives re-living their glorious IDF service.

  7. Maghlawatan
    December 9, 2017, 12:17 am

    Am Israel chai is a herbal tea. Israel is a golem.

    Liberal Jews are too flaky to change the dynamic. There needs to be an end of system movement like the progressives with Tammany Hall to crush a corrupt power structure and build something better.

    There can be no accommodation with Aipac and its friends.

  8. JWalters
    December 9, 2017, 4:19 am

    “the only hope for redeeming Israel is giving the vote to all Palestinians under Israeli governance, so that progressives and liberals may actually transcend ethnic divisions and build a coalition” – P. Weiss

    True. How likely is this to happen voluntarily? Extremely slim. It would require giving up Zionism. On the other hand, slavery was given up. And so was Naziism. And South African apartheid, too.

    But for now, fans of Tel Aviv Rachel and Orthodox O’Donnell are not even hearing about these issues, despite their central importance. Why not? Follow the money.

    • Kathleen
      December 9, 2017, 10:50 am

      Will never happen voluntarily. Although clearly the pressure will be mounting for one state, rights for all Palestinians, Exposure of the apartheid state.

      As you pointed out “Tel Aviv Rachel and Orthodox O’Donnell” will not be leading the MSM down the path of facts on the ground, Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes scratching the surface, Although last night during Chris Matthews interview with Thomas Friedmann CM acted naive as they were talking about Kushner’s role. CM said something like ” I don’t know about Kusher. He is PROBABLY pro Israel” I thought how absurd…”probably.” He and his family have been helping support illegal settlements for how long?

      O’Donnell regularly has the Iraq war hawks on his program. Bill Kristol, Frum, Max Boot on. It’s as if O’Donnell is helping them set the stage for a military intervention with Iran,

      Just the other day Ali Velshii actually said “what peace process?” Verifying that there really has not been a peace process for several decades, Just more building and expansion of illegal settlements. Then Velshi goes and has Jane (waddling on over to interfere in the Aipac espionage investigation/trial:” Harman on to discuss her take on Trump’s announcement, She used the opportunity to express her hawkish views as usual and try to pretend there is still a possibility to a two state, Saying something about how Israel (and Harman) are hoping the Palestinians will be convinced through negotiations to join forces against Iran. She was pushing for more aggressive tactics towards Iran.

      Those Iraq war pushers/liars have not gone away they are still focused on taking out Iran somehow and they clearly have always wanted the U.S. to do the deadly work. O’Donnell and often Joy Reid provide a stage for them to continue to do so.

      • JWalters
        December 10, 2017, 12:59 am

        Thanks for the run-down on the cast of characters over at MSNBZ. I suspect some of them are pulling their hair in frustration. It must be an awful position for an honest journalist. Aaron Sorkin could write such a drama!

  9. g-minor
    December 9, 2017, 9:02 am

    Jerusalem, world capital of idolatry, where three great religions worship bloody stones.

  10. DaBakr
    December 9, 2017, 11:30 am

    Phil: another ” jewish awakening”? How many is that now? How many more ‘events’ is it going to take +’m.? for this awakening to become a thing.? Or maybe this is going the a different type’ of awakening. The ‘re-awakening’ to Zionism in the context of the 21st century. Jews and non-jews alike have grown accustomed to the comfort with which Israel now moves in the echelons of first world nations while expanding its outreach to emerging ones. Disaster relief, clean water technologY are just two of Israels expertise shipped out around the globe that certainly seems to be prone to more and more disasters.
    . Maybe a majority of people on earth will awaken to the idea of naming the capital of Israel,ksa Jerusalem is so redundant and with the world already exhausting itself in far more complex and dangerous situations people are just shrugging like…..”what?”. The sky didn’t fall like all the typical sources cried it would. And, people understand they are tired of this conflict that is now mostly kept alive by the constant drone of negative hate sites like MW and EI (all negative news about Israel 24/7, mondo miserable, mendacious and malicious stories 24/7)

    • Mooser
      December 9, 2017, 5:10 pm

      “Phil: another ” jewish awakening”? “

      Well maybe if there wasn’t always a threatening mutter from the corner we could get a nap.

  11. Nathan
    December 9, 2017, 2:54 pm

    “And to acknowledge that the only hope for redeeming Israel is giving the vote to all Palestinians under Israeli governance….”

    There is a conflict raging for more than 100 years, and suddenly the bottom line is some sort of civil rights issue. I’ve heard a grievance that the Jews had no right to immigrate to Palestine. I’ve heard a demand that the Jews be returned to Poland. There is a gripe that the Jews had no right to have founded the State of Israel. There was a time that one would hear that the Jews will be driven into the sea, or that on judgment day the stones and trees will reveal the hiding places of the defeated Jews…

    Now, after reading the Mondoweiss website, I have learned that it’s all about getting the right to vote in the Knesset elections. I can’t remember having heard Mr Arafat sharing with us his dream of becoming a citizen of Israel. I can’t recall in which of Mr Abbas’ many articles he explained to the world that he is waiting for the day in which he’ll finally have his Israeli passport. I don’t think that any Hamas leader can even utter the word “Israel”, and they would probably prefer to die than to say: “May I please have my Israeli identity card”.

    I never would have thought that an anti-Israel website would need a lesson in the very basics from the point of view of the Palestinians. Here it is in one simple sentence: The Palestinians dream about defeating the State of Israel (not about becoming citizens of Israel).

    • Mooser
      December 9, 2017, 4:50 pm

      “I never would have thought that an anti-Israel website would need a lesson in the very basics from the point of view of the Palestinians.”

      And who is better equipped to give us this lesson than an Israeli Zionist? Who else could be so well-informed, so disinterested, and so free from prejudice?
      And who, besides an anti-semite, could question anything he says?

    • echinococcus
      December 9, 2017, 5:13 pm

      Hear, hear.

      Just like Trump was too handicapped to think for a moment before unmasking the murderous hypocrisy of the Demolicanorepublican party mafia, the “Nathan” here seems unthinking enough to unmask the hypocrisy of all the people out here who are giving away Palestinian rights (not theirs to give anyway) of territorial sovereignty and property. In exchange for… “equal rights” with their invaders and oppressors.

      You are absolutely right, Nathan. Zionist invaders (not “Jews”) have no right to be anywhere in Palestine, they should be kicked back not only to Poland but wherever they came for (the US before everything else.) You got the “driving into the sea” thing completely wrong: that would only work for Zinvaders who insist in suicidal aggression.

      For the ID card story, we’ll see if and when the Palestinian people decides to offer Palestinian citizenship to some of the invader offspring.

      Meanwhile, all the nonsense talk about future Zionist concessions is worse than a belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Flat Earth, combined. At least anytime before the fall of the US.

    • Mooser
      December 9, 2017, 6:11 pm

      ” There was a time that one would hear that the Jews will be driven into the sea, or that on judgment day the stones and trees will reveal the hiding places of the defeated Jews…”

      That’s the kind of thing you’ve got to expect if you want to play the Middle East States game. I suggest you get used to it.

    • eljay
      December 9, 2017, 7:00 pm

      || Nathan: … The Palestinians dream about defeating the State of Israel (not about becoming citizens of Israel). ||

      They don’t dream of becoming second-class citizens in a religion-supremacist “Jewish State of Israel. Can’t say I blame them. No-one should aspire to second-class citizenship. And no country should impose second-class citizenship on its citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees.

    • Talkback
      December 10, 2017, 6:39 am

      Nathan: “I never would have thought that an anti-Israel website would need a lesson in the very basics from the point of view of the Palestinians. Here it is in one simple sentence: The Palestinians dream about defeating the State of Israel (not about becoming citizens of Israel).”

      I have always thought that Zionist can’t grasp the very basic from the point of view of Palestinians: No regime in Palestine based on disenfrenchising, denationalization, dispossesion of Palestinians and creating a fake Jewish majority/democracy by expelling Palestinians. If this means the “destruction of Israel” than it is an act of humanity to get rid of this racist settler Apartheid junta.

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