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Vic Mensa’s searing piece in ‘Time’ on Israeli oppression is prefaced by clunky disclaimer re anti-Semitism

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Rapper Vic Mensa has published a wrenching piece in Time Magazine about “oppression and abuse” in Palestine. He saw elderly women being “punched in the face” by Israeli soldiers, saw hundreds of children being harassed and detained, and felt a solemn obligation to bear witness. But check out two of the opening sentences in the article:

I am not anti-Semitic, and the views expressed in this essay are in no way an attack on people of the Jewish faith. My words are a reflection of my experiences on my trip, and my criticism lies with the treatment of Palestinian civilians by the state of Israel, no more and no less.

Those words are an insult to the essay itself. They were obviously stapled in by Mensa’s minders, the editors. I say this as someone who has been in the editorial business forever (i.e., I don’t know it for a fact); but the article has nothing to do with Jewishness.

Vic Mensa went to Palestine last summer “with a group of African-American artists, scholars and activists organized by Dream Defenders,” and he is describing racial discrimination the U.S. supports with emotional images anyone can understand. The crux of the piece is a scene from a rooftop in Aida refugee camp, when Mensa looks from the Palestinians’ water supply to the Israeli settlement across the wall.

many people in the group cried on that roof. Rage cannot describe how I feel thinking of the insects swimming in that water tank, while just across the wall is an Israeli settlement with an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Mensa’s mission is clear. These words halfway thru should have been the lead:

Herein lies the purpose of this composition. I write to inform all those who will hear me of the treacherous denial of human rights to the Palestinian people living under occupation. These scenes of oppression and abuse will be forever etched into my memory, burned into my mind’s eye.

Forever etched– read Mensa’s view of the horror of occupied Nabi Saleh (the scene recently of the Ahed Tamimi slapping incident, after her cousin was shot in the face):

In a West Bank village called Nabi Saleh, I saw the most graphic account of these crimes against humanity I would be exposed to whilst in Palestine. The people of Nabi Saleh have mounted a long-term, non-violent resistance to martial law that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have responded to with extreme brutality. We sat in silence and watched a series of YouTube videos filmed by villagers of soldiers terrorizing the demonstrating civilians, primarily women and children. The videos show hundreds of metal tear-gas canisters raining on peaceful protests, elderly women punched in the face, children beaten and arrested, and even a villager whose face was literally removed by a gas can at point blank range…

 

The theme of the article is that conditions in Palestine are reminiscent of the treatment of black people in the U.S., but the discrimination there is worse.

As with the black community in the U.S., the use of incarceration, racial profiling and targeting the youth as methods of control are heavily prevalent in the occupied West Bank. The main difference I see between our oppression in America and that of Palestinians is how overt and shameless the face of discrimination is in the occupied West Bank. As much as we ruminate on our metaphorical police state in Black America, martial law is a very real and tangible condition in Palestine…

For once in my life I didn’t feel like the nigger. As I sat comfortably at a coffee shop, gawking at a group of Israeli soldiers harassing a Palestinian teenager, it was clear who was the nigger.

The last paragraph reveals Mensa’s understanding of and commitment to the Palestinian people.

They have been made strangers in their own land, second-class citizens in the home of their forefathers, but they refuse to be a memory. They fight as if their existence depends on it, because it does. And all they ask of us is to tell their story.

Now go back to those first lines. They are out of voice. The editors insisted on them. And the words confuse the point. Israel calls itself the Jewish state, but it is in reality a Zionist state. Zionism discriminates between Palestinians and Jews. Many Jews support Zionism, including many in the Jewish establishment; but an increasing number don’t.

Ask yourself, Does the editors’ insistence have anything to do with the fact that Gary Ginsberg, a top executive at Time Warner, writes speeches for Benjamin Netanyahu? The answer is obviously, Yes. Not that Ginsberg was copied on this piece. But what the disclaimer and Ginsberg’s sideline speak to is the fact that Israel supporters are imbedded all over our media, and this is never controversial. Netanyahu and his catspaw Sheldon Adelson set Trump’s policy in the Middle East — the media doesn’t raise an eyebrow. Israeli businessmen are into Jared Kushner and his family for millions of dollars, and Kushner’s family supports illegal Israeli settlements… but that’s not an issue.

When an elderly Palestinian man urges Mensa to “Place pressure on the U.S. government to place pressure on Israel,” we know where that pressure should go first: to the Israel supporters in the establishment.

About Philip Weiss

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

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51 Responses

  1. Donald Johnson
    January 14, 2018, 12:18 pm

    I wouldn’t put it quite the way you did Phil. I agree that the opening remarks are there because of the subconscious racist assumption Americans have been indoctrinated in—if you criticize Israel as harshly as it deserves you are guilty of antisemitism until proven innocent, because nobody could legitimately be that outraged by crimes against Palestinians. No, it is probably really that you are motivated by antisemitism, because Palestinians don’t matter.

    It is a viciously racist assumption, but because we live in a racist society most people adopt a defensive crouch on the subject. I don’t know who wrote those lines, but they weren’t necessarily written with bad intent. They might have been intended to brush off the criticism we all know is going to be leveled at the piece. I agree, though, that it is way past time to get out of the crouch. Wait for the cries of antisemitism to begin and then point out the racism.

    • LHunter
      January 16, 2018, 9:20 pm

      I agree with your take on this Donald. I believe the author was just being preemptive – understanding that the Zionists would soon be launching their standard smears.

  2. MHughes976
    January 14, 2018, 12:20 pm

    Many thanks for drawing attention to this essay, Phil. It’s possible that Mensa would have wanted, without too much editorial prompting, to open with an emphatic disclaimer of the prejudice of which he was bound to be accused. The Time headline, in which he allegedly learns about American racism from experience in Palestine, is much more obviously written from another point of view, not his – he was in fact using his experience of American racism, ‘being the nigger’, to understand and communicate the enormity of anti-Palestinian racism and religious fanaticism. But this way of putting things would not be acceptable in Western mainstream thought.
    My only quibble with the article here is that it makes Mensa, at least on first reading, look like a direct eyewitness to a punch in the face delivered to an old lady, whereas I think he says, when he comes to be quoted, only that he saw video of such shocking events.

    • CigarGod
      January 14, 2018, 9:06 pm

      I read it as he saw the old woman punched on video.

    • Jackdaw
      January 15, 2018, 6:27 am

      @vic mensa

      What’s worse Vic, an old Arab woman being punched by a Jewish soldier during a riot, or a Jewish man being shot to death by an Arab terrorist only because he was a Jew.
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.834193

      And lets skip the sophmoric moral equivalence canard. What would you rather have done to you, punched in the face or shot to death and left to die in your car?

      • Emory Riddle
        January 15, 2018, 8:40 am

        Israelis kill more than 100 Palestinian non Jews for very Israeli Jew killed by a Palestinian. Okay, you have your story of a Jewish SOLDIER (not a child or old woman) killed by a Palestinian. For accurate context, now please post 100 stories of Palestinians killed by Israelis.

      • Wa-Tash2
        January 15, 2018, 9:59 am

        Tick Tock, TickTock!!!

      • eljay
        January 15, 2018, 11:04 am

        || Jackdaw: … What’s worse Vic, an old Arab woman being punched by a Jewish soldier during a riot, or a Jewish man being shot to death by an Arab terrorist only because he was a Jew. … ||

        What’s worse: A Jew being punched by a German soldier during a riot or a German man being shot to death by a Jewish terrorist only because he was a German.

        You must be the exception to Konrad Lorenz’s observations.

      • Misterioso
        January 15, 2018, 11:14 am

        @Jackdaw

        To state the obvious, the “old Arab woman” would not have been “punched by a Jewish soldier” and the “Jewish man” would not have been “shot to death” if Israel and its military were not maintaining what is now nearly a fifty year long belligerent, illegal and brutal occupation of the Palestinians, the native inhabitants. Nor should we forget that between late 1947 and 1967 Jewish forces and the IDF dispossessed and expelled over 1,250,000 Palestinians.

        In short, Palestinians are the victims and Zionism is their victimizer.

      • oldgeezer
        January 15, 2018, 11:30 am

        @eljay

        Holding military training exercises in a civilian area and killing a 3 yr old by doing so beats either scenario hands down.

        And of course the soldier was not killed merely because he was a Jew. The 3 year old was effectively killed for merely being a Palestinian however as the idf wouldn’t use a Jewish neighbourhood for such activity.

      • MHughes976
        January 15, 2018, 12:42 pm

        I agree that lethal violence is worse in principle than violence that is only injurious. But injurious violence, especially if repeated time and again, can be very bad and highly scandalous. Is that seriously questioned?

      • Jackdaw
        January 15, 2018, 1:36 pm

        @Mister

        “if Israel and its military were not maintaining what is now nearly a fifty year long belligerent, ”

        You know nothing about what Arabs think about, or want done with, Israel.

        Most people in Israel, recognise that the Arabs are playing a zero sum game. No Israel, and no Jews in the region. It took the Arab world 200 years to disgorge the crusaders States, so why make ‘peace’?

        Please. The Mondoweiss echo chamber cannot tolerate the Arab’s view.

        You may well view the Jews as the victimiser, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the Arabs want the Jews gone and will fight and wait, and fight and wait until Islam is victorious.

        If you want to be on the side of a Universalist Islamic creed, that’s up to you.

      • Mooser
        January 15, 2018, 2:37 pm

        “You may well view the Jews as the victimiser, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the Arabs want the Jews gone and will fight and wait, and fight and wait until Islam is victorious”

        Yeah, and to top it off, Zionism well past its peak of support, influence and power. Doesn’t look good.

      • eljay
        January 15, 2018, 2:57 pm

        || Jackdaw: … Most people in Israel, recognise that the Arabs are playing a zero sum game. No Israel, and no Jews in the region. It took the Arab world 200 years to disgorge the crusaders States, so why make ‘peace’?

        Please. The Mondoweiss echo chamber cannot tolerate the Arab’s view. … ||

        Jews lived in geographic Palestine before the Zionist Crusade began in the 20th century and they will continue to live in geographic Palestine after the Zionist Crusade has ended.

        Please. What really bothers the hateful and immoral members of the Zionist echo chamber is the loss of privilege they will face when their deliberately and unapologetically (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” construct eventually falls.

        So rather than take any reasonable steps toward a peace based on justice, accountability and equality, Zionists cry victim and double down on their decades-long and on-going campaign of oppression, colonialism, intransigence and sundry (war) crimes.

        Aggressor-victimhood sure is a tough gig… :-(

        || … If you want to be on the side of a Universalist Islamic creed, that’s up to you. ||

        I oppose and condemn Islamic supremacism and I oppose and condemn Jewish supremacism. I have no doubt that we agree on the former, but because you’re a Zionist hypocrite, I have no doubt that we disagree on the latter.

      • Misterioso
        January 15, 2018, 3:15 pm

        @Jackdaw

        Sigh.

        The fact remains that the “old Arab woman” would not have been “punched by a Jewish soldier” and the “Jewish man” would not have been “shot to death” if Israel was not belligerently, illegally and brutally occupying Palestinian lands.

        You state:
        “You may well view the Jews as the victimiser, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the Arabs want the Jews gone and will fight and wait, and fight and wait until Islam is victorious.
        If you want to be on the side of a Universalist Islamic creed, that’s up to you.”

        Reality:

        In 1988, the PLO recognized Israel as a sovereign state within the borders of the 1947 UNGA Partition Plan, Res. 181.

        By signing the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO accepted UNSC Res. 242 and thereby agreed to recognize a sovereign Israel within the 1949 armistice lines, i.e., as of 4 June 1967 – 78% of mandated Palestine.

        The PLO also agreed to the US/EU/UN supported 2002 Arab League Beirut Summit Peace Initiative, which offers Israel full recognition as a sovereign state (per UNSC Res. 242, i.e., within its June 4/67 boundaries with possible minor, equal and mutually agreed land swaps), exchange of ambassadors, trade, tourism, etc., if Israel complies with international law (e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute.) Fully aware of Israel’s demographic concerns, the Beirut initiative does not demand the return of all Palestinian refugees. In accordance with Israel’s pledge given to the UNGA in 1949 and by signing the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference Protocol to abide by UNGA Res. 194 regarding the then 800,000 Palestinian refugees as a precondition for admittance to the UN (after being rejected twice), the Arab League’s Initiative “calls upon Israel to affirm” that it agrees to help pursue the “achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem…”

        Along with all Arab states and the PLO, Hezbollah and Iran have also accepted the Arab League’s 2002 Beirut Summit Peace Initiative. In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Israel promptly rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.

        Regrettably, then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon summarily dismissed the Arab League’s peace overture, as did Israel in 2008 and thereafter.

        For the record, other peace initiatives that Israeli governments have rebuffed include: U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers’ The Rogers Plan (1969); The Scranton Mission on behalf of President Nixon (1970); Egyptian President Sadat’s land for peace and mutual recognition proposal (1971); U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s call for a Geneva international conference (1977); Saudi Arabian King Fahd’s peace offer (1981); U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Reagan Plan (1982); U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz’s Schultz Plan (1988); U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s Baker Plan (1989); and the previously noted 1993 Oslo accords signed by Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that unravelled following the latter’s assassination and subsequent return to power of the Likud party from 1996-1999 under Benjamin Netanyahu; continuation of the Taba II negotiations (2001); the unofficial Geneva Peace Initiative of November/December 2003; and the 2014 Kerry Initiative.

        As for the much touted 2000 Camp David Summit, working in tandem, Barak and Clinton tried to shove a very bad deal down Arafat’s throat. It could only be rejected. Suffice to quote Shlomo Ben-Ami, then Israel’s foreign minister and lead negotiator at Camp David: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.” (National Public Radio, 14 February 2006.)

        The “offer” made in 2008 by then Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was never seen as serious because it lacked cabinet approval, he was under indictment with only a few weeks left in office, had a 6% favorable rating, and, therefore, couldn’t have closed the deal, even if the Palestinians had accepted it. (Olmert was imprisoned.)

        Unfortunately, Israel’s response to every peace overture from the Palestinians and Arab states, has been an escalation of illegal settlement construction, dispossession and oppression in occupied Palestinian and other Arab lands.

        The simple fact and the root cause of the ongoing conflict is that Israel wants all of Palestine (as well as Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms/Kfarshuba hills) and intends to do whatever it deems necessary to drive out the indigenous (going back over 15,000 years) Palestinian Arabs.

        You and your ilk are fooling no one other than yourselves.

      • Mooser
        January 15, 2018, 5:33 pm

        “If you want to be on the side of a Universalist Islamic creed, that’s up to you.”

        Let’s see, on the side of a Universalist (that’s all of mankind) Islamic (several billion of that mankind is that) creed, or on the side of, oh, a few million Zionists?

        Well, “Jackdaw”, you know how it is, some people really like to buck the odds.

      • Mooser
        January 15, 2018, 6:09 pm

        “Jewish soldier during a riot, or a Jewish man being shot to death”

        Yeah “Jackdaw”, Zionism consists entirely of 85 year old Rabbis, just looking for a place to pray.

        You’ll never stop ‘waving the bloody tallit‘, will you?

      • Jackdaw
        January 16, 2018, 12:34 am

        @Mister

        When Obama and former secretary of state John Kerry asked Abbas point-blank if he was willing to accept the same American diplomatic initiative that Netanyahu had accepted, even with reservations.

        “Abbas said to Obama: ‘I’ll get back to you,’ and he never did.

        Zero…sum…game.

      • Jackdaw
        January 16, 2018, 12:50 am

        @eljay

        “I oppose and condemn Islamic supremacism and I oppose and condemn Jewish supremacism. ”

        Of course I disagree. Islam is universalist, Judaism is not.
        Muslims prostylitize, Jews do not.

        Eljay. Have you ever sat down, one to one, and discussed religion with a devout Muslim?

        Eljay? Eljay?

      • Bumblebye
        January 16, 2018, 8:27 am

        I’ve sat down and discussed faith with a muslim, Jack. 15 years ago, heard a young man passionate about his faith and despairing of those who would take it to extremes. And then bewildered about having been drawn into said discussion in the furniture showroom where he worked. There’ve been other occasions too, but that was most memorable.

      • eljay
        January 16, 2018, 8:54 am

        || Jackdaw: Of course I disagree. … ||

        Of course you do. You’re a Zionist hypocrite.

        || … Eljay. Have you ever sat down, one to one, and discussed religion with a devout Muslim? … ||

        Jackdaw. Will a one-to-one religious discussion with a devout Muslim put an end to Jewish colonialism, supremacism and (war) crimes? Or is this just another Zionist way of saying “murderers exist, so it’s OK to rape”?

        || … Eljay? Eljay? ||

        What an odd squawk for a jackdaw to make. I wonder what Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz would make of it.

      • Jackdaw
        January 16, 2018, 12:53 pm

        @eljay

        “Jackdaw. Will a one-to-one religious discussion with a devout Muslim put an end to Jewish colonialism, supremacism and (war) crimes?”

        It would not change things on the ground, but it might change your perspective on things.

        Might, even though, IMHO, you’re real scared of the truth.

      • eljay
        January 16, 2018, 1:41 pm

        || Jackdaw: … It would not change things on the ground … ||

        OK, so you are saying “murderers exist, so it’s OK to rape”. Thanks for the clarification.

        || … but it might change your perspective on things. … ||

        I doubt it. I don’t have your supremacist “murderers exist, so it’s OK to rape” mindset.

        || … even though, IMHO, you’re real scared of the truth. ||

        I won’t know if I’m scared of the truth until I hear what it is. So, please, enlighten me: What is the truth?

        I’m all ears.

  3. Annie Robbins
    January 14, 2018, 2:12 pm

    grammy nominated Vic Mensa is an extraordinary voice. he’s started a hashtag #WeCouldBeFree and #WeCouldBeFreeIf. check out his video

    • Marnie
      January 15, 2018, 12:17 am

      I love the connections made from Palestine to Ferguson to Charlottesville to Standing Rock.

      It is a shame he felt the need to preface his piece with an homage to jewish people – it continues to conflate judaism with zionism and it was uncomfortable to read what sounded like the all too familiar ass kissing. Completely unnecessary, or was it the price he had to pay to be published?

      But I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and yours Annie, maybe this was for the others who are completely sucked in by the zionist propaganda machine. Thanks for the video.

  4. Annie Robbins
    January 14, 2018, 2:56 pm

    it unfortunate, when referencing state power, people feel the need to preface that reference with a defense of oneself. i have no certainty this was an editor’s choice, much less “obviously” so. it could be that mensa has simply incorporated what has become a societal norm, to distance himself from a meme of “israel” = “the jewish people”. a meme perpetuated by state power and our media.

    i’m not sure it “insults” the essay (a great essay). but it does sort of insult our intelligence. it’s an insult to us all, as humanitarians or civil rights workers, we must address and defer to the propaganda of the oppressor before telling our stories. if it’s important to mensa, to any of us, to address this issue of the state vs “jewish people” and/or anti semitism, for clarity’s sake or any other reason, it’s unfortunate one feels that message needs to preface the primary focus of the article.

    but maybe he was explaining this not to us, but to people who have been brainwashed. it’s really true that out there in the world today people fear criticizing israel and we shouldn’t. so maybe he was trying to reach those people.

    phil’s right in that the article has nothing to do with Jewishness. but i can’t agree with him mensa didn’t write the preface.

    • CigarGod
      January 14, 2018, 9:12 pm

      I don’t know, I guess he could be asked if editors asked him ‘to make it clear.’

    • rhkroell
      January 14, 2018, 9:24 pm

      Thanks for sharing this great music video, Annie. I agree that it is unfortunate that Vic Mensa (or his editor) might feel compelled to preface an essay on “oppression and abuse” witnessed in Palestine/Israel by an African-American rapper only after inserting a conspicuous antisemitism disclaimer at the beginning of the essay.

      I would prefer that Mensa (or his editor) did not feel obligated to include this disclaimer. But since Mensa identifies himself as a black rapper (as opposed to a member of any other demographic group), it is understandable that he (and/or his editor) might feel that his (supposed) antisemitism — that’s an accepted stereotype, I would think — would be all but taken for granted by many of his readers in the U.S. and Israel.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 14, 2018, 11:18 pm

        not sure i get what you’re trying to say w/:

        might feel that his (supposed) antisemitism — that’s an accepted stereotype

        what “supposed” anti semitism — stereotype? maybe it’s your phrasing. what are you saying?

        “But since Mensa identifies himself as a black rapper …, it is understandable that he …might feel that his .. antisemitism — … — would be all but taken for granted by many of his readers in the U.S. and Israel.”

        i’m not reading between the lines am i? just removing all your caveats. i beg your pardon but i’m not really understanding your opinion. care to clarify? because it reads like you’re saying that because he’s a black rapper it’s understandable he feels like his antisemitism is taken for granted (assumed) by his audience. if that’s what you’re saying i think it’s a pretty out there assumption.

  5. eljay
    January 14, 2018, 3:05 pm

    Rapper Vic Mensa has published a wrenching piece in Time Magazine about “oppression and abuse” in Palestine. … But check out two of the opening sentences in the article:

    I am not anti-Semitic, and the views expressed in this essay are in no way an attack on people of the Jewish faith. My words are a reflection of my experiences on my trip, and my criticism lies with the treatment of Palestinian civilians by the state of Israel, no more and no less.

    Those words are an insult to the essay itself. They were obviously stapled in by Mensa’s minders, the editors. I say this as someone who has been in the editorial business forever (i.e., I don’t know it for a fact); but the article has nothing to do with Jewishness. …

    Jews and Judaism are the human shields of Zionists, employed:
    – to justify the past and on-going evil of Zionism;
    – to deflect legitimate criticism levelled against Zionists and their oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” construct; and, if/when/as required,
    – to redirect blowback onto non-Zionist Jews.

    • rhkroell
      January 15, 2018, 2:12 am

      You are right to request clarification, Annie. The phrasing in my latest post (above) is tortuous, to be sure. Rereading my post, I find it (almost) impenetrable. Marcel Proust writes — by comparison — limpid prose.

      My assumption that contemporary American society stereotypes African-American rappers as antisemitic is daft, no doubt. When I endeavor to convey the message: “I realize I write from a position of white privilege,” I seem to suggest that all African-American hip-hop artists are antisemitic, somehow, without even realizing it.

      My thinking, like my writing, is muddled and misinformed, apparently. I forget that Matisyahu is a beatboxer who chills with African-American rappers. I’m just way out of touch. Sorry.

  6. Keith
    January 14, 2018, 8:05 pm

    PHIL- (Vic Mensa Quote)- “I am not anti-Semitic, and the views expressed in this essay are in no way an attack on people of the Jewish faith.”

    I agree with Annie on this. Instead of an editor’s influence, Mensa may simply be genuflecting to Jewish media power so as not to appear uppity. It strikes me as a supplication to perceived power, the way commoners used to speak to the nobility.

    PHIL- ” Israel calls itself the Jewish state, but it is in reality a Zionist state.”

    A Christian Zionist state? Common, Phil, the ongoing symbiosis between Zionism and Judaism has not gone unnoticed. And Jewish support for Israel remains strong, especially among the Jewish elites who have the power.

    PHIL- ” Many Jews support Zionism, including many in the Jewish establishment; but an increasing number don’t.”

    Name me one Jewish billionaire who is anti-Zionist? Name one Jewish media mogul who is anti-Zionist? Vic Mensa is grovelling before perceived power. He speaks to the rest of us only after he tries to protect himself. And yes, perhaps some editors were also so inclined, but not necessarily so.

    • lonely rico
      January 14, 2018, 11:10 pm

      > Keith

      Vic Mensa is grovelling before perceived power.

      Not perceived power, real power,
      ad hominem attack on the near horizon.

      Not grovelling, revealing ugly Zionist reality.

      You may wish his introductory remarks were otherwise;
      but I find your denigration misplaced,
      distracting from the truth he tells of Palestine
      which Americans desperately need to hear.

      • Keith
        January 15, 2018, 12:17 am

        LONELY RICO- “…I find your denigration misplaced….”

        What denigration? Responding to the realities of power is not a criticism. I am surprised at your interpretation.

        LONELY RICO- “Not perceived power, real power….”

        I agree, however, our actions are based upon our perceptions, not empirically defined reality. Whether his perceptions are accurate is another matter. All of us respond to our PERCEPTIONS of reality, accurate or not.

      • Mooser
        January 15, 2018, 2:07 pm

        We will soon see if Vic Mensa’s disclaimer will have any effect.

      • MHughes976
        January 17, 2018, 11:45 am

        Speaking defensively in part of one’s argument in anticipation of an attack that is certain to come may or may not be effective rhetorically but is not grovelling.

    • Misterioso
      January 15, 2018, 10:53 am

      @Keith, et al

      A good read:

      https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/ neve-gordon/the-new-anti-semit ism

      ​London Review of Books – Vol. 40 No. 01 · 4 January 2018

      The ‘New Anti-Semitism’

      By Neve Gordon

      EXCERPT:
      “Not long after the eruption of the Second Intifada in September 2000, I became active in a Jewish-Palestinian political movement called Ta’ayush, which conducts non-violent direct action against Israel’s military siege of the West Bank and Gaza. Its objective isn’t merely to protest against Israel’s violation of human rights but to join the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination. For a number of years, I spent most weekends with Ta’ayush in the West Bank; during the week I would write about our activities for the local and international press. My pieces caught the eye of a professor from Haifa University, who wrote a series of articles accusing me first of being a traitor and a supporter of terrorism, then later a ‘Judenrat wannabe’ and an anti-Semite. The charges began to circulate on right-wing websites; I received death threats and scores of hate messages by email; administrators at my university received letters, some from big donors, demanding that I be fired.”

      • Keith
        January 15, 2018, 2:52 pm

        MISTERIOSO- (Neve Gordon Quote)- ” I received death threats and scores of hate messages by email; administrators at my university received letters, some from big donors, demanding that I be fired.”

        The same thing happened to Israel Shahak decades ago. Most of the threats, hate messages and calls for his firing came from AMERICAN Jews. This is organized harrassment designed to intimidate any and all opposition to Jewish Zionist power-seeking. These are the actions of a well organized, affluent and powerful group attempting to bowl over the opposition.

        NEVE GORDON- ” The ‘new anti-Semitism’ also differs from the traditional form in the political affinities of its alleged culprits: where we are used to thinking that anti-Semites come from the political right, the new anti-Semites are, in the eyes of the accusers, primarily on the political left.” https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/neve-gordon/the-new-anti-semitism

        If one stops to think about this it becomes obvious why this is so. Traditionally, Jews were considered part of the left, frequently socialists or Marxists who would logically be opposed by the right wing. Nowadays, Jews have significantly embraced Zionism which is fundamentally right wing. Israel is the last bastion of Blood and Soil nationalism which considers non-Jews as the other without equal rights nor the right to reside in the homeland. Of course the Left opposes this, hence, is attacked as anti-Semitic.

        NEVE GORDON- “…while also believing that ‘Jews are vastly over-represented in what you could call “the establishment”.

        Why is this considered “Jew hatred?” Are they or aren’t they? Neve Gordon is now engaging in the same type of behavior which he criticizes. Why is it anti-Semitic to evaluate the distribution of power within our political economy? Yet, to raise the question is to be attacked as an anti-Semite even by Neve Gordon. Using this criteria, Phil Weiss is an anti-Semite. “… the fact that Israel supporters are imbeded all over our media, and this is never controversial.” http://mondoweiss.net/2018/01/oppression-prefaced-disclaimer/ Although not specified, Phil almost always refers to Jewish Zionists. And yes, this influence is disproportionate, apposition attacked as anti-Semitic.

        NEVE GORDON- ” The definition adopted by the current UK government offers 11 examples of anti-Semitism, seven of which involve criticism of Israel – a concrete manifestation of the way in which the new understanding of anti-Semitism has become the accepted view.”

        These laws are a direct consequence of successful Jewish Zionist power-seeking. A clear and convincing indication of outsized influence in the political economy and the political establishment. Weak and beleaguered minorities don’t get laws like this implemented, powerful groups do. And charges of anti-Semitism by groups that have the power to make the consequences significant are a form of power-seeking intimidation.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      January 15, 2018, 4:07 pm

      I believe our climate of faux anti-Semitism is created in large part by the Zionist propaganda machines, Vic Mensa’s statement in my view takes the focus off a reader’s attempts to label him an anti-Semite, run with it and therefore overlook his powerful story. Sadly we have a political climate where this kind of statement is almost forced onto a writer. I’m thrilled it was published. It is not only a black rapper who is likely to be called out as an anti-Semite but also German Jewish refugees like myself. Because I am Jewish I assume most thinking people know a Jew who says “No ” to genocide is not an anti-Semite.
      Keith, your argument that successful Jewish wealthy people are all Zionists is not based on fact and propels a myth spread very successfully by Zionist Israel with a goal to kill off resistance to the Zionist genocidal, racist, brutal agenda. You undermine speaking truth to power as Vic has done. His voice is strong and to those who undermine or criticize, try speaking truth to power yourselves.

      • Keith
        January 15, 2018, 8:43 pm

        LILLIAN ROSENGARTEN- “Keith, your argument that successful Jewish wealthy people are all Zionists is not based on fact and propels a myth….”

        Haim Saban is a myth? Paul Singer is a myth? Sheldon Adelson is a myth? etc? I didn’t say ALL wealthy Jews were Zionists, however, most seem to be. To repeat: “Name me one Jewish billionaire who is anti-Zionist? Name one Jewish media mogul who is anti-Zionist?” Go ahead, Lillian, shatter the “myth.”

        LILLIAN ROSENGARTEN- “You undermine speaking truth to power as Vic has done.”

        No I haven’t. I have indicated why he might have initiated his comments with the lines “I am not anti-Semitic, and the views expressed in this essay are in no way an attack on people of the Jewish faith. My words are a reflection of my experiences on my trip, and my criticism lies with the treatment of Palestinian civilians by the state of Israel, no more and no less.” Phil gave one explanation, I provided another. I hardly see as how that is undermining Vic’s message. I suspect that you may be objecting to my referencing Jewish power which deep down inside you consider an anti-Semitic trope. No?

  7. pabelmont
    January 14, 2018, 9:30 pm

    Terrific story, and in TIME!? Very powerful. High time. Phil, HERE’s your break in the American MSM’s wall of denial. And TIME found an author who by his on experience has standing to read the riot act.

    As to the anti-semitism bit: I guess I would have preferred a straight-from-the-shoulder description of the oppression he saw (whether he saw it in person or not — surely there is a place for experience at a remove, else why have MondoWeiss at all?) — and THEN AT LONG LAST a remark that the government and armed forces of Israel are a very small part of the world’s Jewish population, and his comments are a reflection on the behavior of that small group, and that small group alone, and not on anyone’s religion or because of anyone’s religion or ethnicity.

    Does TIME run comments? I’d watch them closely.

    • echinococcus
      January 15, 2018, 12:49 am

      Pabelmont,

      …THEN AT LONG LAST a remark that the government and armed forces of Israel are a very small part of the world’s Jewish population, and his comments are a reflection on the behavior of that small group, and that small group alone, and not on anyone’s religion or because of anyone’s religion or ethnicity

      How correct is that remark? What is the behavior of the rest apart from that “small group” of 50%? Is the majority fighting against, blocking or otherwise opposing “the government and armed forces of Israel”, to say nothing of the >92% (at least) Master-Race population who fully support those and egg them on? Is the real Zionist BoD risking their precious lives in Palestine or are these safely ensconced in the US and Europe? What is the proportion, among people who adopt the identity of “Jewish”, of at-least-opponents of Zionism? How many “congregations”, religious, social, civil, etc., are opposing Zionism?

      And is it really a question of religion or ethnicity instead of pure, 100% fake nationalism?

      Your optimism is a good thing, of course, as we do need some positive thinkers.

      • pabelmont
        January 15, 2018, 9:54 am

        echinococcus: I think what I meant was that he was making a report on certain things that he saw, namely, on what the government (or government armed forces) did. He was not reporting what the Israeli-Zionist population thought, on whether or not they approved the government doings, etc. He was also not reporting on what Zionists who do not reside in Israel think or do.

        My own view is not optimistic at all and would conclude that the behavior of the IDF et al. is exactly in line with the desires, hopes, fears, of the Israeli-Zionists who’ve created this government. But since the original Israel was basically a non-religious creation, both as to its leaders and as to its raison d’etre, I don’t think original (1920-1950) Zionism can be called a religious thing. At that time it was also opposed by most of the world’s Jews., so it cannot really be called a Jewish thing.

        Of course things have rather morphed, especially since 1967. I’m not sure how much this is due to “education” (which the US Congress has also received and from the same hands) since 1967. If BIG-ZION (the money distributed by AIPAC et al.) propagandizes American Jews and causes them to be true-believers and patriots-at-a-distance for Israel, that is (to my thinking not religious, not Jewish, but social and political. And many American Zionists are Evangelical Christians with really warped (from my POV) religious thinking and agendas.

        So to be angry at American Zionists is, again, not to be angry at American Jews (alone) or at all American Jews. Or shouldn’t be.

        Of course anti-ZIonist anger at Evangelical Christians (to the extent they are fervid Zionists) might be expressed as anti-Semitism by people who didn’t know enough.

  8. Ossinev
    January 15, 2018, 11:15 am

    “I am not anti-Semitic, and the views expressed in this essay are in no way an attack on people of the Jewish faith. My words are a reflection of my experiences on my trip, and my criticism lies with the treatment of Palestinian civilians by the state of Israel, no more and no less”

    Not sure about the editorial engineering on this preface. However would have been a lot more comfortable if the article had been prefaced with something that pre-empted the usual tired old conflation eg along the lines of:

    “I anticipate that some people Jews and Non-Jews will interpret my comments as being Anti – Semitic. I want to make it absolutely clear that my comments are a criticism of the actions of the Israeli state against Palestinians , are in no way a criticism of Jews or Judaism, and that it would be entirely wrong to conflate the two”.

    He/his editors appear to have attempted to pre-empt the expected “Anti – Semitic” accusations but without having the cojones to OPENLY address the expected conflation issue.

  9. genesto
    January 15, 2018, 12:43 pm

    I applaud your distaste, Phil, for what amounts to gratuitous opening comments about the author not being anti-Semitic. But, like others responding here, I can live with this as long as what follows is the unvarnished truth about the evils of the Occupation and Zionism itself.

    And much love and support goes out to Vic for taking such a courageous, potentially career-destroying stand for Palestinian justice.

  10. Dan Walsh
    January 15, 2018, 1:12 pm

    It would be most helpful if someone were able to confirm whether or not Vic Mensa wrote the intro voluntarily or if it was imposed on him by Time’s editors. That is one element of this post and once we know the answer we could all address it rationally. Until such time as that clarification is in hand all anyone can do is guess at the intro’s provenance and this creates more heat than light.

    That being said, I have been arguing for ages that we should ALL preface our writings on Zionism with the operational definition of antisemitism we ourselves are using. This action does not relate to any of the excuses or interpretations of Vic’s intro found in the above posts. Rather, it is to challenge the establishment’s cowardice in failing to craft and get behind a lexically sound definition of the term “antisemitism”. You know, one that makes sense, reflects reality and is not an insult to the discourse. I offer the following culprit as Exhibit A:

    Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (unabridged)

    Anti-Semitism
    1: hostility toward Jews as a religious or racial minority group often accompanied by social, political or economic discrimination.
    2: opposition to Zionism.
    3: sympathy with the opponents of the state of Israel.

    More definitions of antisemitism here: (There are lots of them and more all the time!)

    http://liberationgraphics.com/ppp/monograph_definitions_of_antisemitism.html

    Herzl’s “conclusion” about antisemitism, which forms the basis for the Zionist world view, held that it was universal and that it was “futile” to consider fighting it.

    The point of this reference is to make clear that Zionism already considers everyone who is not a Zionist to be … “antisemitic”. For Zionists, all “Others” have a pre-existing condition: They are Others.

    Zionism posits antisemitism.

    Vic Mensa’s intro may or may not be well-written or even the product of his own hand but it does raise the issue of how the charge of antisemitism hangs over the discourse and effects our very language. It causes many to remain silent and others to self-censor.

    One way to pushback is to reclaim our language by stating our terms up front and personally.

    My definition of antisemitism: The failure or refusal to speak publicly in a natural, normative voice about Zionism.

    The point is not to “combat” antisemitism…it is to abolish it.

    131 posters on Antisemitism/Judaeophobia/Nazi Propaganda/Anti-Jewish Racism

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/special-collection/antisemitismjudaeophobianazi-propagandaanti-jewish-racism

    • Mooser
      January 15, 2018, 6:00 pm

      So, if anti-semitism is universal, why do Zionists try so hard to convince the world that Zionism is a component, an essential part of the Jewish religion?
      Strikes me as rather self-subverting.

  11. ritzl
    January 15, 2018, 9:26 pm

    OT, but I’m really liking the Jimmy Dore Show.

    A skewering of Jake Tapper using UN Watch as a prime source on the UNGA vote and it’s context. Really blatant MSM hasbara. Zero context or counterpoint. Israel’s line pure, and without counterpoint.

    I guess the point is that Dore took on Israeli propaganda straight on. Never seen it before. Good on him…

  12. Eva Smagacz
    January 17, 2018, 7:26 am

    Ali Abulimah on Internet Intifada brings to attention the fact that the video has been re-edited by Apple to take it’s sting out:

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/apple-censors-vic-mensas-views-palestine

    “New video leaves out Palestine:
    (…) So it was disappointing to see that when Apple Music published a completely new “exclusive” video for “We Could Be Free” this week, Palestine appears to have been airbrushed out.

    The new video now contains comforting interfaith scenes of a Muslim, Christian and Jew praying and a multicultural message of tolerance.

    It ends with a scene of Mensa standing in front of a large crowd of people from all over the world, a sort of reprise of the famous Coca-Cola ad.”

    Before thinking that Mensa folded, please consider that it is very likely, that he has no final editorial say in production of his videos. 78/86

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