Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 103 (since 2014-01-28 18:22:28)

Dan Walsh

Showing comments 103 - 101

  • UNRWA 'aid' is aid only in the lexicon of Orwellian newspeak
    • US "aid" to Palestine is actually hush money.

      US "aid" to Israel is actually tribute.

      In his Farewell Address George Washington said: the nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.

      Astray we have been led. It is folly to think of our relations with Zionism as anything other than psychotic. In a rational, healthy world the US would cease immediately all "aid" to Israel (which considers itself a leading light among the developed nations) and direct it all, as a partial, intitial restitutional down payment towards the restoration of Palestinian society.

      View 200 posters on Orange/Citrus industry in Palestine

  • Vic Mensa's searing piece in 'Time' on Israeli oppression is prefaced by clunky disclaimer re anti-Semitism
    • 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)

      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!)

      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" is to abolish it.

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

  • No, Rachael Ray, hummus is not Israeli: How and why Palestinian culture gets erased
  • Israeli Jews 'will never accept' giving vote to Palestinians -- liberal Zionist leader
    • @Phil

      Self-identifying as a "liberal" Zionist should be understood for what it is: a ploy to manipulate the discourse and make it appear as if "liberal Zionism" is somehow moral and progressive and markedly better then all the other flavors of Zionism.

      It isn't.

      Zionists, irrespective of faction, party or ideological bent, buy into the foundational principle of Zionism: supremacism. Moreover, all benefit from Zionism's systemic self-privileging and all are complicit in the repression of the Palestinians.

      The word/term "liberal" has a long-established and positive meaning. If tomorrow Tramp were to start self-identifying as a "humanitarian fascist" we would all laugh b/c we would know that only half the term was correct. We would see right through his game. Same-same for "liberal" Zionists: only half the term is accurate, the Zionist half.

      So why don't we just drop the "liberal" (since that is the problematic element) and just call people who embrace Zionism...Zionists? We don't seem to engage in accommodationist usage when talking about other varieties of Zionism why do we do it for the so-called "liberal" kind?

      You said: "... there is an issue of accepting ppl’s self description/names. Cf Democrats, republocans, social democrats, libertarians". But I don't see where we allow each of these groups to impose self-aggrandizing adjectives. We don't say: Mr. So and So who self-identifies as an "upstanding Democrat", or Senator XYZ who says he is a "selfless Republican". We don't speak like that. Instead, we just say that they are "Democrats" or "Republicans". Right?

      I know you are well-meaning as to your intentions and I am sure you have a solid grasp of the history of the term but it is at the very least, archaic, and should be jettisoned.

      View 119 anti-Zionist posters:

    • I've asked this question before...what is it EXACTLY that is " liberal" about "liberal Zionists"?

      Each time I hear the term I am reminded of the coy Luntzianesque fabrication "intelligent design", a clever re-branding ploy for creationists who realized their chosen name worked against them in the real world. Same old junk in a shiny new package.

      Continued use of the term "liberal Zionists" is so counterproductive in terms of advancing clarity in the discourse and it demonstrates how easily we are played by the opposition.

      Liberal Zionists can think of Palestinians as "terrorists", consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel, insist on the viability of the 2SS(!) etc., etc. and yet we are to suppose to think of them (somehow) as "liberal". Words matter and each time we repeat the phrase "liberal Zionist" we deepen the meme and advance its legitimacy in the discourse. Why do we do that? The correct term, imo, is "political Zionist" and the sooner we make this change the better.

      Sasson is "liberal" in exactly the same way Wasserman Schultz is.

      No thanks.

      liberal |ˈlib(ə)rəl|

      1) open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values
      2) favorable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms
      3) (in a political context) favoring maximum individual liberty in political and social reform

  • Trump's Jerusalem speech will foster the liberal Jewish awakening
    • "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,

      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:

  • Pro-Israel groups' campaign against Linda Sarsour targets another progressive institution -- New School
    • @ Rusty

      You said: "Just to be clear, Linda Sarsour is not universally admired among Arab Americans, supporters of Palestinian rights, Progressives and feminists."

      So what? Name, if you can, a single person alive (or dead) who was "universally admired".

      The list of leaders who were not/are not "universally admired" stretches to eternity. Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Abraham Lincoln, Yasser Arafat and hell even the Beatles and Elvis were not without their detractors. It goes with the territory, sad to say.

      The points you make about Syrian refugees, Progressives, et. al., MAY be legitimate but I sense you put them in there to smear Sarsour. Bear in mind that Linda Sarsour is not running for office nor does she hold one: she is an individual person doing what she feels called upon to do to make the world a better place. Her special courage is that she does so in defiance of Zionist preferences that she be silent. Though she may have what you consider to be wrong/misguided opinions or policies they are hers and if you want to be credible you should deconstruct them and teach us exactly why her policy choices are wrong rather than mask your distain under the claim that she is not "universally admired". That's cheap and weak thinking.

      Just to be clear, I assume you hold personal policies on all the issues you listed that are diametric to Linda Sarsour's: has that made you "universally admired"?

      2,200 Palestine posters depicting women:

    • @ ADL-Greenblatt

      "Seriously there’s not a single Jewish organization that studies this issue and/or fights this disease (such as @adl_national) would take this panel seriously..."

      Herzl said it was "futile" to attempt to "combat" antisemitism and the ADL appears to embrace his deeply insulting cynicism. Its efforts do nothing to actually reduce antisemitism. Don't think so? Consider that the ADL itself claims that antisemitism is "on the rise" thereby, ironically, publicizing its own ineffectiveness.

      Were he alive today Herzl might be amazed to learn how political Zionism, and by extension, Israel, have become (the) major engines of anti-Jewish resentment. This reading obtains, at least in the US, because most Americans are not well versed enough in the history of contemporary Palestine to distinguish between Israeli/Jewish/Zionist identities and unfortunately fall into the trap of blaming Jewish people (many of whom loathe/reject Zionism and Israel) for the crimes of Zionism.

      The ADL believes that the way to "combat" antisemitism is to repress/delegitimate/censor any discussion of the issue that it does not control or condone. The voices of Linda Sarsour and Rebecca Vilkomerson and the communities they represent resonate with an ever-widening demographic which CAN distinguish between Zionist/Israeli/Jewish identities and which refuses to accept outdated and self-serving definitions of antisemitism.

      For these courageous and humane activists, antisemitism is defined as the refusal or unwillingness to confront Zionism. They believe that the way to protect the interests of Jewish people is to stand for the rights of Palestinian people. For this "betrayal" of Zionist precepts they are attacked personally and their rights to free speech and expression are threatened. The ADL's idea of firefighting is to throw gasoline on a raging fire. It will not work.

      In a healthy democracy, any attempt to silence one's critics is the surest way to ensure that their voices will be heard even more widely.

      The ADL and its collaborators have a choice: evolve or fade into irrelevancy.

      388 Palestine posters/events that have been cancelled, censored, compromised or criticized:

  • Antisemitism bill hearing reflects disagreement in Jewish community over dual loyalty
    • @ eljay

      Your eloquence, erudition and clarity have overwhelmed me.

      You win.


    • @ eljay


      So many distortions/illogical aspects to your response I hardly know where to begin but let's try...

      1) "But if, as you pointed out, anti-Semitism is defined....". I did not "point out" that definition. I "pointed out" that that definition is promoted by the U.S. State Department. I pointed out that that definition is utterly preposterous and irrational. Please don't try to make it sound as though I endorse that puppy. I do not.

      2) In response to my post you said "I don't know". That is a fair reply and if you had left it there all would have been clear. Instead, you said: "E.g.:
      – a swastika spray-painted on a secular building or structure;
      – anti-Semitic slurs hurled at a non-Jewish person." In response, I provided a few historical examples (there are innumerable others as well) of the use of Nazi symbols as political props that had nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism/Israel/Zionism which you then said WERE antisemitic BECAUSE THEY QUALIFY ACCORDING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT DEFINITION.

      Are you paying attention? That definition is flawed. Wrong. Unserviceable. Incorrect. Risible.

      Unrelated political activity cannot be appropriately labeled as antisemitic via the State Department definition via mere fiat. You need facts and empiricism and reason. The definition in question relies on political power to categorize things as antisemitic: this will not work because that is not how words and terms become accepted and normalized.

      3) So, yes, as you said: "then the examples you provided fit that definition." which does nothing, repeat nothing answer the question “How does that work, exactly?”.

      Would you like to try again?

    • @ eljay

      "I take it to mean that words or deeds can be deemed to be anti-Semitic even if directed at non-Jewish people or things. E.g.:
      – a swastika spray-painted on a secular building or structure;
      – anti-Semitic slurs hurled at a non-Jewish person."

      1) You say "I take it to mean" ... this is a sign that a definition is weak/problematic. Good/strong/rational definitions are not open to interpretation. "Taking it to mean" signifies that anyone/everyone will be free to interpret meaning. Not helpful.

      2) "Deemed to be antisemitic" whom, exactly?

      3) "... even if directed at non-Jewish people or things. E.g.:
      – a swastika spray-painted on a secular building or structure;
      – anti-Semitic slurs hurled at a non-Jewish person."

      How does that work, exactly? Are the protesters who givie the Nazi salute when Trump passes by signaling antisemitism?

      Did the critics of Pinochet's regime who spray painted swastikas on government buildings/vehicles (at great risk to themselves) do so because they wanted to attack Jewish people?

      Please provide some empirical examples to support your response.

    • @ MHughes

      Yes, anyone can use any definition of any term for any reason anywhere in the world at any time. Its the wild west out there.

      However, random definitions crafted by unknown/anonymous people for opaque/unknowable/particular reasons do not find themselves onto the pages of reliable dictionaries. There, hopefully, actual rationales and research have gone into the definitions and are substanciated with references, footnotes, elaboratons, examples, etc.

      What is at play here is an "official" definition that institutions of social control can refer to to justify actions/inactions relative to Zionism/Israel/Palestine. So long as a policy or law or restriction can be said to fall within the parameters of the "official" definition then that agent/agency will be said to be in compliance irrespective of reality. The actual content of the definition matters less than its "officialness". Consider the bizarreness of the U.S. State Department's definition: it actually says that antisemitism is "Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish OR NON-Jewish individuals and/or their property". WTF? Non-Jewish people can be victims of antisemitism? As in Mennonites? Buddhists? Wiccans? One can be guilty of antisemitism if one is biased against ... Episcopalians? How does that work, exactly? Is antisemitism a transferrable phenomenon?

    • @ The Antisemitism Awareness Act

      In lexicography, the practice of compiling dictionaries, there are two kinds of definitions: descriptive and prescriptive. Understanding this key difference in how definitions are categorized is indispensible to comprehending the battle(s) that rage over the meaning of the term "antisemitism".

      "Descriptive" definitions are just that: they describe how people actually use a word. For example:
      misogyny |məˈsäjənē| noun
      Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.

      "Prescriptive" definitions are very specific and are often efforts to limit meaning. For example:
      Red: a color at the end of the spectrum next to orange and opposite violet.

      During the recent Congressional hearing on the Antisemitism Awareness Act Rabbi Andy Baker, the AJC’s director of International Jewish Affairs, said: “the definition of anti-Semitism changes “over time”

      Rabbi Baker is giving voice to a core Zionist principle reflected in a quote from Herzl's diary: "Above all I recognise the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’ antisemitism.”

      Herzl, and by extension, political Zionism embraced the belief that antisemitism was a universal and untreatable element of the human landscape which could appear anywhere in any guise.
      Herzl believed some form of antisemitism would perpetually threaten Jewish people and therefore they were justified in demanding a Jewish homeland.

      Any definition of antisemitism that is not elastic enough to uphold this foundational principle, by allowing it to "change over time", puts the legitimacy of Israel in question.

      The definition of antisemitism adopted by Congress, the U.S. State Department, the IHRA and the EMCR is designed to serve bureaucrats, politicians and partisans rather than ordinary people:
      "Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities." ¬– Working Definition of Anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EMCR)

      Is this a definition that could be used effectively in any U.S. high school or university? Or anywhere outside the halls of special interests?

      To that point lexicography addresses an issue called "lexicographic information cost" which includes comprehension costs, i.e., the efforts required by users to understand and interpret the data in dictionaries.

      The U.S. State Department definition has an extremely high comprehension cost because it completely ignores the interests and needs of ordinary people to understand the meaning of the term “antisemitism”. Congress could address this by calling for a panel composed of secular American educators, lexicographers, historians and others to provide a descriptive counter-argument.

      The U.S. State Department definition is artificially complex. We can do better. The definition listed above for “misogyny ” can serve as an excellent model:

      antisemitism noun
      Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against Jewish people.

      127 posters on the subject of Antisemitism/Judaeophobia/Nazi Propaganda/Anti-Jewish Racism

  • 'Daily Californian' cartoon of Dershowitz dripping blood unleashes another furor over anti-Semitic canards
    • Let's ask some questions that get beyond the hasbara-hype. Let's try to learn something from this, something that we can use to challenge the next such incident of Zionist censorship.

      For example:


      Do the three Jewish students who were terrorized by this cartoon feel safe now that it has been retracted? Did the retraction restore them and make them whole again? What other symbols/ideas terrorize them and should we all be made aware of them? What symbols terrorize Palestinian students?


      Who gets to level the charge of antisemitism? Anyone? Can Catholics and Buddhists and Wiccans and athiests charge someone, anyone with antisemitism? If yes, please provide some empirical examples. If not, please explain.


      Does the Daily Californian believe it has served the University, and by extention its wider community, by retracting the image? Does it think it took a heroic stand? Does it think we learned anything useful/insightful about antisemitism by its actions? Are the students and faculty of Berkeley better able to comprehend and combat antisemitism as a result of the retraction? If yes, how so? If not, why not?


      Do Zionists think that the students and faculty of Berkeley, the citizens of California and the wider US are more favorably inclined towards Israel/Zionism as a result of this censorship? Do they not see how at odds they are with contemporary American culture? Do they fail to see that their actions may actually reinforce the rapidly expanding image of Zionism as a force for the elimination of cherished American ideals? (Bearing in mind the new Zionist Loyalty Oath one must take to get disaster relief in Kansas)


      What definition of antisemitism are Dershowitz and the Daily Californian using? By not demanding this information the Daily Californian, and for that matter any institution or individual, allow themselves to be played...over and over again. Without clear terms and language these efforts to restrict free expression will simply occur over and over again.

      View 153 Zionist/Israeli Posters-Graphics Depicting/interpreting Palestinians/Muslims/Arabs

      Recent Stand With Us comic book depicting BDS as a snake:

  • Danish pension fund blacklists four Israeli companies linked to settlements
  • Wichita teacher sues Kansas for denying her work because she boycotts Israel
    • @ JeffB

      "It’s not in the NYTimes because it is a fundraising gimmick for the ACLU. Her version of events is unlikely, I’d say the most likely outcome is she loses on standing. No exciting 1st amendment debate at all."

      I disagree on all your points.

      You say Ms. Koontz’s version of events is unlikely...according to whom, exactly, other than yourself?

      Irrespective of how this case actually plays out, I believe it to be one of major Constitutional proportions. Here's why: Even if it is dismissed, it will not be the last case to emerge from Zionism's ill-advised political efforts to delegitimate BDS through legislation (lawfare). Courts can see through that and they know when they are being played. If you are correct and Ms. Koontz is denied standing other cases will emerge because the question of whether or not states can violate/ignore/erase the right to boycott - a right the SCOTUS has spoken to specifically and upheld - is not going to just go away.

      Zionism's recent record in US courts is underwhelming, consider Zivotofsky vs. Clinton:

      Zionism tends to do better in the political and media realms...not so much in the courts where the rights and privileges of ordinary Americans must be respected.

      Zionism was ill advised to pursue these anti-BDS laws in the face of settled judicial precedent on the American right-to-boycott: a Zionist "victory" here is hard to imagine and a defeat would have negative, wide-ranging and long term impacts on its efforts to put the BDS genie back in the Hasbara Bottle.

      It is also worth noting that historically Zionism has used boycotts/embargoes/trade barriers whenever it served its purposes. Two salient examples are the Zionist boycotts of Arab labor and businesses in the 1930's during the early days of colonization in Palestine and more recently in the 1980's when American Zionism called on the US to deny Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to the USSR over the issue of Jewish emigration to Israel (Jackson-Vanik).

      It would appear that Zionism opposes boycotts except when it doesn't.

      JeffB...please point out all my errors. Thank you.

      Zionist "No Trade No Aid" poster:

      300 historic Palestine posters on boycotts/divestment/sanctions:

  • Gideon Levy calls out Israel's fundamental, racist religion: Zionism
    • @ rhkroell

      "I would suggest that many Zionists who emigrated to Palestine advocated working with the native population to establish a modern, social democratic state in which the indigenous peoples would have equal rights with the Jewish immigrants"

      Fine suggestion, and it may even be accurate. However, time has a way of altering things in ways pioneers did not foresee. We Americans we have the tragic lessons of the Penns - started out sweetly with William but after his death his sons took over...see the "Walking Purchase"

      In summation, even if Zionism arose from the very best of intentions and even if many of the early Zionist colonists aspired to the egalitarian goals you so poignantly refer to...contemporary Zionism is deranged and still oppresses the Palestinian people-as-policy and still relies on universal ritual defamation and still dehumanizes across the board.

      Decent people everywhere are obligated to point this out at every turn. To fail to do so is blatant antisemitism.

      1986 poster by Israel Prize-winning artist David Tartakover entitled:

      Do Not Approach It As An Enemy

      Feel free to quibble.

    • @ DeBakr - "Levy is about as popular as Glenn Greenwald, Noah Chomsky, Juan Cole… in other words, few Americans are aware of their work. And on top of that Levy is particularly hated by lot of Israelis that are not on the far left and just center left, center right and right."

      Ghandi was hated by the British
      Rosa Parks was hated by white Southerners
      Christ was hated by the Pharisees
      White Rose was hated by the Nazis
      Nasser was hated by the Egyptian elite
      Luther was hated by the pope
      Obama was hated by the Republican Party

      Q: What was the point of your comment?

      Think you that rational Americans care a twit what Israelis think? Think again. Gideon Levy personifies personal moral courage and he will always be welcome in my home.

      And please, be sure to quibble with some aspect of one of my examples but don't, whatever you do, deal with/focus on the fact that Zionism is imploding.

  • Jews argue whether Zionism is racism -- in the Forward!
    • @ Nathan:

      1) Yes, you are correct that Einstein did help raise funds for the building of Hebrew University and yes he did say he had strong emotional ties to the Jewish people and he did and said other things that indicate a support for Israel/Zionism. About this there is no doubt and much in the way of public records that you can reference to buttress this fact. However, he was also a vehement critic of Israel when he felt criticism was in order. See the 1948 open letter to the editors of the NYT that he signed, along with many other Jewish luminaries, condemning a planned visit to the US by Menachem Begin, the Herut Party's "fascist" nature and (to his mind) complicit American Zionists. I stand by my comments.

      2) You said: "... among Zionists, everyone understands that Zionism is a Jewish political movement, whereas Judaism is the religion of the Jews. No one conflates the two concepts."

      Forgive me, but I did laugh out loud when I read your last sentence. The conflation of Zionism with Judaism is not only A foundational plinth of political Zionism but perhaps THE most valuable ideological myth in the Zionist playbook. The conflation attempts to fuse something ancient, ethical, moral, dear and honorable - Judaism, as cover for something brutal, supremist, racist, dangerous and oppressive - Zionism/Israel.

      The poster I linked to was published in 1978 by the Jewish Alliance Against Zionism and was included in my post to demonstrate, empirically, that there are Jewish voices who comprehend Zionism's efforts to conflate it with Judaism and who oppose it. Your sweeping claim that "no one conflates the two concepts" is risible. I stand by my comments.

      3) You said: "This resolution was passed by a majority of the General Assembly, so you shouldn’t claim that it was “stifled”."

      We should all strive to be careful readers. You too. I never said any such thing and apparently you failed to note that I was quoting Phil. No biggee. The point however is that irrespective of what the UN voted Zionism is STILL racism and it continues to oppress the Palestinian people unabated. The repeal of Resolution 3379 was considered a monumental coup by political Zionism, one that demonstrated its power to influence and call to heel the world's most powerful international agency. In the intervening years Israel/Zionism have gone on to prove to the world the accuracy of the 1975 resolution far more effectively than any mere political document ever could. I stand by Phil's comments.

      Dan Walsh

    • re: "...Naomi Dann of Jewish Voice for Peace last week equating Zionism with racism. That’s revolutionary. Time was when that argument was made by Arabs at the United Nations and then stifled as supposed anti-Semitism. Now it’s in the Forward, from the mouth of a Jew!"

      To say that Dann's article is revolutionary because it equates Zionism with racism is counterfactual. Beginning almost before the ink was dry on Herzl's "Basel Program" many courageous, ethical Jewish voices have condemned Zionism, and Israel as racist, too many to list here but among them was Einstein and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, who said: “Everyone has their Jews. For the Israelis they are the Palestinians.”

      What would be revolutionary would be to see Dann's article, and Phil's response lead to a wider, deeper and more public discussion not only of whether it is true that Zionism is racism today (it is) but more importantly was it true when the Palestinians and the Arab nations said it was back in 1975? (it was).

      Such a discussion is long overdue and one can only hope that it occurs and soon.

      1978 poster published by Jewish-Americans debunking a core Zionist myth: the conflation of Zionism and Judaism

  • Orientalism, intersectionality, and the 'New York Times'
    • Thanks Annie...will do!

    • @ Sibiriak

      "condescending" and a "tad truculent" ... and I was trying so hard to be civil. I am not being coy or snarky at all.

      How would you have worded a sentence meant to convey that you thought ROHA (or anyone for that matter) was fishing for something to criticize? Or do you think it is condescending to even suggest such a thing?

    • @ROHA...ok good now we are clear. To your point: intersectionality does not require, or even imply that one person or group must contact/consult with another before taking action. Intersectionality means, at base, that one recognizes in a distant struggle components of one's own struggle. It is different, IMO, from solidarity in an important way:

      When I stand with you in solidarity I say: "I hope you succeed, I hope you are able to overthrow whatever system of oppression is tyrannizing you." Good luck!

      With intersectionality I say: I am oppressed by the very same tyranny, and I see my struggle in your struggle and you are not alone. I will speak up/act out in such a way that one day we will both be liberated. Onward!

      One expression denotes good intentions and one denotes co-ownership of an issue.

      It is no part of intersectionality that BLM has to consult with anyone before it takes action. It does not surrender any part of its identity or freedom-of-action by being intersectional. This is because intersectionality is a set of principles and ideals: they are intrinsic and belong to all like-minded actors. I find your comment odd in that it seems to be the product of a desperate attempt to criticize BLM. Am I wrong about that? It seems to me that you wanted to find some aspect of BLM's behavior that would validate Libby Lenkinski's absurd expectation that Zionism must be consulted by its opponents before it can speak.

      It does not. It did not. In all likelihood it will not. Ever.

      Does this address your point to your satisfaction?

      59 Palestine posters on the subject of intersectionality:

    • @ ROHA -
      You said that I mentioned BLM's "pro-Israel" allies. I did not.
      I think you must have read the first para in my post, the one in quotation marks and identified with an initial @ ... as my words. They are not. That text was lifted word-for-word from the article, hence the quotations marks.

      But to the point you made in your first post that:

      “I think you make a good point about language, but your example seems to go against intersectionality.

      “the black activists didn’t check that language ahead of time with their pro-Israel allies and then change the language”

      That sounds as though they addressed the social injustice singly."

      My questions for you:

      By "singly" did you mean "independently" i.e., that they did not consult with anyone before issuing their statement?

      Or were you referencing Phil's text that said: "As I understand it, intersectionality is the idea that social injustices cannot be addressed singly without considering issues of class, race, gender, and identity."

      Difficult for me to honor your post until I understand your point more clearly. If you clarify I will respond.

    • @ ROHA

      Can you provide us with a list of Palestine and BLM's "pro-Israel" allies?

      It would be instructive if you elaborated on whether or not "pro-Israel" allies are Zionists or not.

      The distinction matters.

    • @"Libby Lenkinski the Israeli liberal on the panel, said the upsetting thing about the Black Lives Matter platform published last summer citing Israeli “genocide” against Palestinians was that the black activists didn’t check that language ahead of time with their pro-Israel allies and then change the language, as traditional coalitions would have done."

      I can well understand why BLM's refusal to get pre-clearance for their language/words/terms is so upsetting to Organized Zionism: historically the assertion of language rights has been as a fire bell in the night to established elites. It is not for nothing that we have the First Amendment.

      Once subalterns get the idea in their heads that they can speak for and about themselves directly to the world, lordy things can get out of hand. It is exactly because of coverage such as this that I support MW: listening to Zionists speak unreservedly and in full-comfort-hubris mode is unquestionably a most effective way to educate Americans out of their anti-Palestinian stupor.

      Zionism's outrage at BLM, BDS, SJP, Israeli Aparthied Week and the ever-expanding galaxy of Palestine solidarity is a perfect mirror reflection of the Southern slavocracy's unhinged exasperation upon learning that enslaved African-Americans preferred their freedom above all else. As astounding to the slavocracy was that the enslaved had the language to do so poetically, heroically and creatively. Think Harriet Tubman. Think Frederick Douglass.

      Referring the assertion of language rights to the current US domestic dynamic - that is how intersectionality works - the Democratic Party would do well to understand that the Woke Progressives are demanding, first and foremost, a co-equal role vis-a-vis language. Think Democratic Party platform. Think Jerusalem plank. Think Gaza plank. Think Perez out and Ellis in.

      Sops will no longer suffice.


      1978 poster published by Jewish Alliance Against Zionism...early example of intersectionality-in-art:

  • BDS: Upholding our rights, resisting the ongoing Nakba
  • New book by Larry Derfner, the American-turned-Israeli journalist, crushes liberal Zionism
    • While reading James North’s review of Larry Derfner’s new book “No Country for Jewish Liberals ” I found echoes of Angelina and Sarah Grimké, two courageous and dedicated American abolitionists. Their writings, like Derfner’s, had a profound, outsized moral gravity because they too wrote from the perspective of those who lived within, and on the privileged side of, an oppressive system.

      This is not to equate Southern chattel slavery with contemporary political Zionism as practiced in Israel in all its particulars: in fact, the two are functionally incomparable. It is also not to compare Derfner pound-for-pound with the Grimkés or the abolitionists. They repudiated outright not only the slavocracy, the idea of living in the South and even their own families while Derfner served in the IDF, works towards reforming Israel/Zionism and chooses to live in a Zionist colonial settlement, Modi’in, in what he calls “my country”.

      Early JNF poster promoting Jewish settlement in Modi'in:

      What is directly comparable, however, are the social, political and economic privileges that the respective systems granted/grant their adherents. In the South/Confederacy all whites were superior to all blacks: in Israel all Jews are superior to all Palestinians.

      Clever Zionists will attempt to deploy hasbara for example the much-vaunted Arab/Druze/Muslim presence in various Israeli institutions as proof that it is not a religious ethnocracy. But to no avail. Only Jews can be “nationals” of Israel (all others are mere “citizens”) and this racial/religious distinction is codified in law and cannot be denied.

      Derfner voices raw honesty and simultaneously runs the risk of inflaming Zionist animosity when he observes:

      "Israel is not the victim, but itself provokes the regular conflicts in Gaza and the attacks in Lebanon and Syria."

      "Israel is a segregated society."

      “The purpose of the occupation isn’t security; it’s conquest.”

      Bold stuff for any Zionist to put in print however, these are truths that every Palestinian has known, endured and spoken about for decades. I have Palestinian friends whose grade school children have said as much (in Hebrew!) by which I mean these are not secrets or major discoveries.

      Is Derfner hailed for voicing these truths simply because he is Israeli/Jewish/Zionist? Why is that? Why does it take so much courage for an Israeli to speak the truth about Zionism? And why is it that when an equally qualified Palestinian says as much he or she is ignored or dismissed out of hand by MSM? I hope, as does Annie, that Derfner is offered a robust speaking calendar here in the US and I hope someone asks him these questions.

      Derfner sounds a lot like a great many other intellectually tortured political Zionists in that they are very willing to criticize Israel's Occupation, political parties, politicians, the Apartheid Wall, and a host of policy decisions even including Israeli military action such as the Gaza War of 2014. But they are utterly unwilling or unable to condemn political Zionism. He skirted the idea when he said: “The occupation is not just a flaw, but a morally fatal flaw.”

      A more honest phrasing would have been to say: "Zionism is fatally flawed and has been from its very birth in Basel”.

      The Grimkés knew that slavery could not be reformed and that only its abolition could lay the groundwork for a just society. Same for Zionism and I hope Derfner can soon find a way to put his courage and talents towards that end.

  • The explosion hidden inside the UN Apartheid report
    • "It is important to remember that last October a British Parliamentary Committee recommended that the UK outlaw the word “Zionist” when used “in an accusatory context”.

      I have never used, and will never use, the term "Zionist/Zionism" in a accusatory context or tone: however I regularly use it in a condemnatory tone. Is that more acceptable? What does it say about contemporary British Zionism that it is able, indeed is driven to, proscribe not merely lexical aspects of the discourse but their tonality as well?

      I wonder how political Zionism might be written about so as to be comprehensible to children. Would they be driven mad by the present discourse and its maddening contradictions, insults-to-common sense and morality that suffuse this topic? Consider that today, just over 100 years after Herzl-at-Basel and the world still lacks a rational, credible definition either of antisemitism or Zionism. Is there any other important issue that lacks such a fundamental plinth?

      To be meaningful the contemporary discourse on Zionism must focus on Herzl's seminal quote: "If you will it (Zionism) it is no dream". Zionism can then be seen and comprehended for what it is: an act of will and not a product of religion, race, nationality or ethnicity. To lose sight of this is to allow oneself to be drawn off into the weeds.

      Ask any Palestinian kid about Herzl, Zionism, antisemitism or the Basel Program. You will be educated as never before.

      The Jews Who Will It Will Have Their State:

  • It turns out Jews are as stupid as everyone else
    • "The Israel Lobby" should be capitalized and put in quotes, underlined or italicized since it is the title of a book and the article reads clunkily without it. That being said, I suggest (again) that MW stop using "the Israel lobby" as a general descriptor for pro-Israel political power in Washington, DC and use "the Zionist lobby" instead. Why? Because Zionists don't want the term "Zionist" used, anywhere and are distressed when they hear it used publicly. Why? Because if the term "Zionism" were widely discussed in a natural voice - memed as appropriate - then more people might come to understand not only the history behind the term but also might learn to counter all of organized Zionism's taboos using only their voices. I consider MW's continued use of "the Israel lobby" inexplicable and I feel the same way about MW's use of "liberal Zionists". Still, mad respect.

  • Fury at Azaria verdict is Israel's Trump moment
    • @ Citizen...that 38 billion, plus all the other treasure that the US government has transferred to Israel since 1948 cannot accurately be described as "aid": It is tribute, in its purest form.

      Aid goes to those who cannot help themselves and is used, ideally, as a short-term stimulus to help them begin to help themselves. Israel, which PM Netanyahu is forever touting as an ecomomic miracle and model has a GDP/average income on a par with France and is not in need of US "aid".

      Tribute, on the other hand, is paid to ward off injury or to curry favor. It is paid by vassals to lords. It has no termination date.

      See the diff?

      MW should abandon the term "aid" when discussing the transfer of wealth from the US to Israel and substitute "tribute" in every case.

  • Israeli settlers attack Palestinian videographer of Hebron shooting in attempt to 'silence documentation and resistance'
    • The Arabic text in the poster of Azaria reads:

      Yes to the prosecution in the International Criminal Court of the soldier Elor Azaria
      the murderer of the martyr Abdelfattah Al Sharif

  • Friedman pick will force good liberal Zionists to admit the peace process has failed
    • @ Daniel Pipes

      "To those who hold Palestinians too fanatical to be defeated, I reply: If Germans and Japanese, no less fanatical and far more powerful, could be defeated in World War II and then turned into normal citizens, why not the Palestinians now?"

      ...ah, yes equating Palestinians to Nazis is fine and not racist so long as it is a Zionist doing the comparing, right? And might it be that Pipes's point could apply even more appropriately to Zionists? They have all the big guns. Might it be good for them to be defeated so they could enjoy a rebirth as normal people? This, after all, is the true spirit of BDS - "tough love" for Zionism so it can finally wake up to its pathologies and start the long walk back to mental health.

  • Trump pick for ambassador to Israel supports Israeli annexation of West Bank and calls liberal Jews 'kapos' (Updated)
    • Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK, announced on December 12, that her government was adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism which includes, among other things, validating as antisemitic, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

      Donald Trump's choice for US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has created a firestorm by saying publicly and repeatedly that J Street members are "worse than kapos"?

      Does comparing Jewish political activists to kapos qualify as antisemitic according to PM May and the IHRA definition?

      If so, might the UK rebuke him? Might it refuse to allow him to visit or transit the UK? ? It is one thing for May's government to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism (which is deeply flawed and to which I will be returning in future posts) as there is no down-side for doing so. It is something else entirely for her government to demonstrate that it will act to proscribe anti-Jewish hate speech.

  • Theresa May adopts a definition of anti-Semitism that demonizes Israel's critics
    • re idea of UK banning of MW...

      The UK's University and College Union (UCU) went through a costly and detailed legal evaluation of a union member's claim that the UCU was antisemitic back in 2013. The complaint was leveled by Ronnie Fraser who claimed his dignity was injured when he spoke out against BDS. All his arguments were trounced in all their particulars by the UCU review despite an all-star legal team's best efforts to equate BDS with antisemitism. It is worth reading about because it debunks many (all?) of the arguments hasbara puts forward about antisemitism to this day.

      Huffington had this to say but there are other/better/UCU docs online as well.

      Any effort of the UK govt to ban MW (farfetched to my mind) would have to consider recent/UK precedents such as this UCU case. In any event I doubt Organized Zionism would ever let a major legal challenge to its cherished, prescriptive definition(s) of antisemitism ever go to court: the likelihood of defeat is formidable and to judicially lose (as in lose forever lose without a chance of coming back) the powerful sword of lexical ambiguity would be near-fatal to Zionist propaganda.

  • Trump aide blows off Zionist gala, and Dershowitz warns that politicizing Israel means 'we could lose'
    • In Arabic we say "ana mortubak jiddan"

      (I am so confused)

      According to Allison Derger's essay here at MW on October 25:

      "British lawmakers have said the word “Zionist” as a pejorative “has no place in a civilised society” and recommend considering a victim’s feelings when deciding if a criminal investigation into anti-Semitism should be launched, said an annual report on anti-Semitism published last week by a cross-party group in Parliament."

      But its ok for Dershowitz and London to use the term whenever/wherever without it being a perjorative? How does that work, exactly? Is that a function of Zionist privilege? If Dershowitz or London spoke in the UK and used the term "Zionist" would they be blacklisted? Would an investigation be launched into their antisemitism?

      Words matter and we cooperate in our own infantilization when we Others allow Zionists to demand that we self-censor in the face of their immunity.

      Finally, how do Dershowitz and London define the terms "Zionist" and "antisemitic"?

  • Israel supporter refuses to share Bard stage with Dima Khalidi and cites stereotypes about Jews smelling bad
    • Q: What is the Kenneth Marcus/Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law definition of antisemitism?
      Q: What is Mondoweiss' definition of antisemitism?
      Q: What is Bard College's definition of antisemitism?
      Q: What is Palestine Legal's definition of antisemitism?
      Q: What is BDS' definition of antisemitism?

      If MW posted its own definition of antisemitism at the head of every article it published that touched on antisemitism it could launch a that would rock Zionism to its foundations.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg is Jewish
    • Q: What is Jeffrey Goldberg's definition of antisemitism?
      Q: What is the Jonathan Goldblatt/ADL definition of antisemitism?
      Q: What is Mondoweiss' definition of antisemitism?

      Secular Americans will be prevented from becoming full participants in the war of ideas in the Middle East unless a clear, rational and non-privileging definition of this central term is legitimated.

      Can we not see that the charge of antisemitism, weaponized as never before, is only effective in the absence of a credible definition? Can we not see that the absence of a credible definition of antisemitism that debunks its gratuitious conflation with Zionism is a gift-in-perpetuity to organized Zionism?

      Imagine if we attempted to fight Zika, or any disease, in the absence of a precise, empirical definition of its causes, symptoms and effects? How would professional medicine ever work towards a cure?

      I refuse to accept as credible any argument on antisemitism, by any author, which fails to define its central terms.

      I will ask this question ad infinitum...or until it is answered authoritatively.

  • In email, Clinton calls for a 'Potemkin' peace process
  • Amos Oz would never stand in the street in Tel Aviv shouting 'Kill all the Arabs'
  • AIPAC event in Connecticut features anti-Semitic humor, from an Israeli editor
    • If Zionism-is-Judaism what does this conflation do to America's historic separation-of-church-and-state principle?

      How do contemporary Americans criticize and/or condemn a political movement, Zionism, if it has morphed into a religion without seeming to be condemning a religion, Judaism?

      Is Zionism in the American context forever privileged because the discourse cannot/has not/will not separate it out from Judaism? Does this conflation of an ancient religious tradition with a new (1897) and alien political ideology explain and debunk the claims of Israel advocacy that there is a "New Antisemitism"?

      Could it be that the "New Antisemitism" is actually legitimate and healthy political disagreement aimed at directly at political Zionism but incorrectly (mis)interpreted as antisemitism (aimed at Judaism) because the two have become one?

      We must ask how well this New Conflation is understood by the mass of ordinary people in the US - or even the elites - and what the discourse, outside of Mondoweiss, is doing to redress this gaping void in the public consciousness.

      View posters on the subject of American Zionism here:

      View posters on the subject of anti-Zionism here:

  • Zionism threatens to bring anti-semitism full-circle
  • Once, most Jews viewed Israel as the anti-semite's best friend
  • Calling Israel a 'modern day miracle' and 'vibrant bloom in desert,' Clinton says BDS is anti-Semitic
  • Saying Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state is not anti-Semitic
    • @ hophmi

      I had said in a previousl post that I was done with hophmi and would no longer reply to his/her posts. I spoke too soon.

      My reply:

      "Sorry, but if this ridiculous idea of yours happened, how long would it be before you’d be complaining about how the Jews “took over” Saskatchewan and ethnically cleansed the people there?"

      Ridiculous? Hmmmm...that hundreds of thousand of Jewish people would voluntarily leave the place where they are currently living and go to a new place they have never been to before to start a new life based in the vision of a Jewish prophet? Naaaa...that could never happen. You're right, its ridiculous.

      "Is it only ok when Westerners are the ones welcoming Jews?"

      ??? Not really sure how to respond to this but I GUESS you are commenting on the fact that the two countries mentioned in my post were the USA and Canada. Was I suppose to list others? Maybe all countries? Remember, it was a "thought experiment".

      "Your thought experiment says a lot about your biases."

      Really? Like what? Since you don't know me or anything about me how is it you know "a lot" about my "biases"? And might we include among my biases...antisemitism? Did you mean to insinuate antisemitism? I hope you have the courage to engage.

    • Thought Experiment:
      How would Clinton, Biden, Kerry, et. al. respond if owing to the emergence of a new Zionist party/prophet/ideological trend the majority of Jewish Israelis suddenly realized that Israel was not where they were suppose to be and decided to abandon Israel and re-settle say, in Saskatchewan? Would the fact that Jewish people "de-legitimated" Israel by leaving it and saying in effect, "sorry, it was all a vast mistake", mean that a President Clinton would have to send in troops to prevent Israelis from leaving Israel? She is on record saying that under her presidency nothing will ever stand in the way of Israel "existing" and being a majority Jewish state. How would that work?

      Or if a majority of Jewish Israelis decided to take advantage of some version of H. R. 300 - a law to "To provide for the inclusion of Israel in the visa waiver program, and for other purposes."... Would she order a US naval blockade to prevent Jewish Israelis from leaving?

      And how would the definition of antisemitism work in those conditions? Would it be antisemitic to heartily welcome Israelis because in doing so the US and/or Canada would be "de-legitimating" Israel and subverting its right to be a Jewish State by abetting a reduction in Jewish nationals living in Israel? Or would it be antisemitic to block Israelis from leaving because then they would be being treated differently and denied their rights to freedom of movement? How would that work?

      The point of this experiment is, of course, to test the validity of any definition of antisemitism that in any way links it to any definition of anti-Zionism.

      View more than 250 posters on Aliyah/Emigration/Immigration/Transfer/Colonization/Internal displacement/Relocation here:

  • Sy Hersh's 'forbidden statement': Sanders's liberation from NY Jewish money could change US foreign policy
    • More desperation outbursts from hophmi...

      "The Palestinians aren’t innocents who lack any agency, and the Jews are not the only Americans. A majority of Americans support Israel."

      Who said the Palestinians were innocents? Where is that in the text?
      Bear in mind that the slaves in the antebellum South who revolted and rebelled were often not "innocents": did that make their struggle for liberation immoral, insupportable or unjust? Were the South African, Vietnamese, Lenne Lenape or Irish who fought against their oppressors "innocents"? And if innocence is the standard by which we are to judge the quality of a people's legitimacy...what does the cold-blooded murder of an incapacitated Palestinian by an Israeli military medic, Elor Azarya, say about Israel's innocence or claim to be "the most moral army in the world"?

      And yes, you are correct when you say that polls consistently show that when Americans are asked if they "support Israel" the resulting numbers are often 60%+ in the positive. But let's ask a different question, one that might produce a more relevant result: let's ask mainstream Americans if they support Zionism. My guess is that most would stare back blankly at the pollster and not even know how to answer. Do you have any idea what that would indicate? Care to take a stab at that?

      Hophmi it should tell you something about the quality of your analysis if you have to continuously resort to meaningless comparisons and unsubstantiated moral judgements and take comfort in more-or-less meaningless polls to "stand up for Israel".

      Was a time when to be an Israeli was something Israelis bragged about. No more. When a giant like Sy Hersh says "it's chaos coming" wise people would would re-think and perhaps even alter course.

      View a brand new poster on Palestinian-Black American intersectionality:

  • Beinart's Jewish double-bind: Support oppression or you're out of the family
    • @ Peter Feld: Mad respect.

      “When you boycott Israel, or reject the ideology on which it was founded [my emphasis], you are estranging yourself from much of the Jewish world” runs a pull-quote from Beinart’s Haaretz piece."

      "The ideology" Beinart is referring to is called political Zionism.

      I wonder why Beinart didn't just identify it outright. It seems to me many Zionists are deeply conflicted about being called Zionists as reflected in a recent MW post wherein Jodi Rudoren when asked if she was a Zionist said: "I do not participate in that label".

      The core component of political Zionism is this: Herzl's "conclusion" that antisemitism is universal, ever-expanding and untreatable.

      This central belief, that Jewish people can never be truly safe or fully accepted in any society except one founded on Jewish exceptionalism located in historic Palestine is the essence of "the ideology" that Beinart is saying cannot and must not be rejected.

      Let's not wander from or be distracted from elevating this cental tenet into the popular discourse.

      Let's focus a steady beam on this foundational plinth of political Zionism and ask our elected officials, such as Barak Obama and Joe Biden and John Kerry as well as candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as they bloviate endlessly that we (the USA) must support Israel unquestioningly if they even realize that as they are saying so that they are actually abetting the Zionst world view of the Other that says that they and their constituents are irredeemably antisemitic.

      Do they even realize that as they mouth Zionist propaganda they re-indict themselves and their own culture?

      No Palestinian needs to read any of this. No Palestinian needs to be educated as to the profoundly obtuse composition of political Zionism. But the rest of us do.

      View posters related to historic intra-Zionist/Israeli discord here:

  • Chabon calls occupation 'the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life' and says he is 'culpable'
    • Glad to see MW using American historical parallels such as the references to Harriet Beecher Stowe and the American history of black chattel slavery to discuss Palestine and political Zionism here in the US. Intersectionality, indeed. The near constant use of Nazi parallels used in much of the criticism of Israel, while perhaps technically relevant with reference to Israeli military policies and actions, is alien, almost always off-putting and ultimately counterproductive in terms of Palestine solidarity.

      Let's keep the light on the parallels that Americans can relate to directly and with which they are likely to be most open to considering: those that refer to their own history. Let's experiment with the idea of drafting our posts as curricular resources for the American classroom.

      In reference to hophmi's comment:

      "... albeit an injustice Israel was forced into..."

      Discussing Palestine and Zionism in the American Classroom - Lesson Plan Number One:


      Was Israel "forced into" its illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territories?

      American Historical Parallel: Antebellum claims that the South was "forced into" accepting and expanding slavery.


      America's slave plantation aristocracy, via its very own in-house propagandist, John C. Calhoun, writing for what is called the "positive-good" school of slavery apologetics claimed that slavery was not something the South should be isolated or penalized for. After all, it had been "forced into" embracing the "peculiar institution" by virtue of the American victory in the War of Independence: it was the British who had established and legitimated slavery and what was South Carolina to the slaves?

      Calhoun's blame-the-British argument served the South well in that it allowed the slave plantation aristocracy - a very small, even tiny minority, however one with keenly focussed power in Congress - to continue its enslavement of black people unabated while simultaneously declaiming to the world that it was a virtuous moral agent trapped not by its own immoralities but rather by the unjust vagaries of history.

      The excuse that it was the British who had initiated chattel slavery into the colonies, though self-serving, was true enough: however, having "inherited" slavery the slave plantation aristocracy did nothing to outlaw it and in fact, expanded and deepened it all the while celebrating freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and singing the praises of American "democracy".

      The slave plantation aristocracy never had any intention of limiting chattel slavery merely to the original colonies: its foundational strategy was never limited to the original thirteen American colonies. It had always had its eyes on the entire northern hemisphere including Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the entire American west in much the same way that political Zionism never intended limit itself to only those parts of historic Palestine outline in the Partition Plan of 1947.

      Questions for Classroom Discussion (Choose One)

      In your responses please be specific and provide references and footnotes.

      1) What was it that "forced" Israel to occupy the Palestinian Territories and what is it that forces Israel to remain there today?

      2) What were Zionism's original publicly stated plans vis-a-vis the indigenous Palestinians?

      3) Were Calhoun's arguments persuasive? If yes, how so? If not, why not?

      4) How does Chabon's epiphany vis-a-vis Zionism and his subsequent writing on the subject compare with the writings of the Grimke Sisters of South Carolina whose family held slaves?é_sisters

      Reading assignment:

      * Arguing about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress
      William Lee Miller (1995)
      Chapter Three: An Indignant Rebuke to the Fanatics of the North
      P: 27-41

      * The Jewish State, by Theodor Herzl
      Chapter Four: Society of Jews and Jewish State

      * From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem Until 1948 by Walid Al Khalidi (1987)
      Part III: We Look to the United States - David Ben Gurion

      * View historic Zionist-published posters related to labor, emigration, settlement, occupation, ethnic cleansing in historic Palestine:

      Note: I will address hophmi's "offensive and ridiculous" avoidance of any mention of the MORAL comparison between political Zionism and chattel slavery that is at the heart of Chabon's epiphany and Phil's analysis in a subsequent post/lesson plan.

  • Note to Progressive Jews: The right of return is not the 'i'm-doing-you-a-favor' of return
    • It always amazes me how hoppy gets trounced, repeatedly and predictably, by MWpeeps yet he/she always returns often the first reply and quite often we never hear from him/her again in that post and it leads me to believe that he/she actually serves an important function here: his/her perspective provides us with a Zionist absolutist perspective free of charge and its like we have a mole from within Zionist psychology sort of like our own in-house voluntary Zionist Enigma code-breaker sending us coordinates/plans on a regular basis which is very helpful both in terms of anchoring the discourse here and also reminding us of the perversity of Zionist thinking something no Palestinian ever needs reminding of.

      View 200+ Right-of-Return posters here:

  • Against Balance: Thoughts on teaching Israel/Palestine
    • Israel, Palestine and the Teaching of History

      by David Moshman - Professor of Educational Psychology

      During a 1996 visit to Rwanda, two years after the 1994 genocide, Columbia University Professor Mahmood Mamdani asked to be taken to a school so he could speak with a history teacher. He was told that Rwandan schools no longer taught history due to unresolvable disputes over the curriculum.

      "History in Rwanda," Mamdani found, "comes in two versions: Hutu and Tutsi."

      History in Israel and Palestine also comes in two versions: Jewish Israeli and Palestinian. Four excellent new books, in four different ways, address the implications of this dichotomization for youth, education, justice and peace.

      ... Education about Israel and Palestine in the United States is equally ideological. In The Politics of Teaching Palestine to Americans: Addressing Pedagogical Strategies, Marcy Jane Knopf-Newman, a teacher and writer raised in a Zionist Jewish family in Los Angeles, provides a thorough analysis of the Jewish Israeli narrative Americans are taught.

      What students need, Knopf-Newman concludes, is to hear the voices of Palestinians. She suggests a variety of novels, stories, poems, songs, films, websites and other resources appropriate for students of various ages. Options range from Mornings in Jenin, a deeply moving multigenerational novel of a Palestinian family from the 1940s through the early 21st century, to Palestinian rap and hip hop.

      Whole article here:

  • 'NY Times' has double standard for Arab and Jewish reporters
    • Rudoren: "I wouldn’t either, but it’s not because I’m not a Zionist. I wouldn’t participate in that label."

      Hmmm...can secular civilians who are labeled, unjustly, antisemites because of their support of BDS or SJP or IAW now decree that "they won't participate in that label"?

      We should ask this question: Are you a Zionist?, over and over again. We should ask it of all the presidential candidates, journalists, Congresscritters, university presidents and the entire galaxy of plutocrats who privilege Zionism but who never overtly "participate in that label".

      I've asked this before here and I ask it again: What is our functional definition of Zionsm/anti-Zionism/antisemitism?

      Without this action we are all being disingenuous. I will not participate in that label.

      See posters on the subject of Zionism here:

      and here:

  • 'Israel will not have better friend in White House than Hillary' -- Clinton adviser assures NY
    • Aid? To Israel?

      Aid is given to those in need. Israel does not need US aid. Its standard of living is among the highest in the world:

      "The standard of living in Israel is high and is constantly improving. As of 2015, Israel ranks 18th among 188 world nations on the UN's Human Development Index, which places it in the category of "Very Highly Developed"." The USA ranks 8th.
      Source: Wikipedia

      The tranfer of wealth from the US to Israel is not is tribute.

      Tribute - a : a payment by one ruler or nation to another in acknowledgment of submission or as the price of protection. Source: Merriam-Webster

      American political vassalhood to Zionism is nowhere more apparent than in the ever-growing-amount, regularity and unassailable nature of its annual tribute. There is no more powerful measure of Congressional obsequiesness to this foreign, alien ideology than this regular transfer of American wealth to what Hillary Clinton has called "the only Jewish democracy in the Middle East". WTF?

      We here at MW should use words and terms that reflect reality and not echo hasbara. Aid is the assistance the USA provides for famine relief, natural disaster recovery, agricultural development, education programs and a host of other worthy efforts FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO ACCESS TO RESOURCES. Israel does not qualify for "aid" in fact it boasts endlessly about how developed it is, that it is a part of Europe and that its economy is a model for the world.

      My definitions:

      Aid is temporary assistance given to sustain life and for which no return is expected.

      Tribute is a public, ritual transfer of wealth meant to reinforce inferiority, offered in perpetuity in return for protection.

      See posters on the subject of US tribute to Israel/US aid to Palestine here:

  • Attachment to Israel is 'central part of Jewish identity,' Forward editor says
    • @ ToivoS

      "There is no doubt that many anti-semites have taken up the cause of anti-Zionism"

      How do you know that? Can you prove that? If so, please do and provide links, documents, evidence and other empirical data from credible, unbiased sources.

      If not, you should rephrase your statement along these lines:
      "In my subjective, personal opinion it would seem there is a possibility that perhaps maybe some antisemites might occassionally use anti-Zionism as a form of camouflage but maybe this smear is just my wishful thinking because I am compelled to protect Zionism at all costs, even my own integrity."

      It would also be helpful if you shared with us:
      Your definition of antisemitism and your definition of Zionism.

      Finally, do you consider Jewish students who have rebelled against Zionism and taken a solidarity stand with Palestine "antisemites"?

  • UN pulls Israeli exhibition claiming Palestinian citizens have equal rights
    • The title of this post is inaccurate:

      "UN pulls Israeli exhibition claiming Palestinian citizens have equal rights"

      The UN did not pull the exhibit: they de-selected two posters out of thirteen.

      The exhibit, 11 out of 13 original posters, is up at UN Headquarters and has not been "pulled".

      Does anyone have clear/complete shots of all the posters in this exhibit? If yes, please post them. We cannot respond to an exhibit we cannot see.

      For the record: In 1983 an exhibit of Palestine posters that was curated by Liberation Graphics was COMPLETELY removed from UN Headquarters lobby after only one day of a planned two week-long exhibiton in NYC and its scheduled follow-u[ hostings in Asia and Europe were cancelled as well:

      The reason: The Israeli delegate to the UN and US ambassador to the UN Jeanne Kirkpatrick labeled the exhibit "pretty outrageous" and "outrageous", respectively.

      No opportunity to remove the offending posters was offered by the UN. Apparently if an exhibit is sponsored by organized Zionism its contents are critiqued poster-by-poster by the UN so as to allow the exhibit to remain in place. Palestine not so much.

      See more Zionist posters depicting Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians here:

      See more anti-Zionist posters here:

      Bertolt Brecht is reputed to have said:

      "Art is not a mirror held up to society but rather a hammer with which to shape it."

      In what way do these Zionist posters attempt to shape our society?

  • Shocker: 'NYT' forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism
    • My error:

      In my post of 3:04 I wrote:

      "Tziva speaks in a natural voice and this cannot be understated."

      What I meant to write was:

      Tziva speaks in a natural voice and the value of this to the discourse cannot be overstated.

    • Three significant actions have taken place within the last few days and all have powerful ramifications for the campaign to debunk the conflation of Zionism with antisemitism and/or anti-Zionism with antisemitism:

      1) The NYT published "is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?":

      2) "Israel Matters" an exhibit of Zionist posters opened at UN Headquarters in NYC:

      3) Mondoweiss publishes "Zionism is nationalism, not Judaism" an interview with Tziva Thier:

      I consider this a unique, and positive, convergence in terms of the American discourse on Palestine. I hope this marks the blossoming of a permanent, inclusive and deeper public conversation on the definitions of terms such as "Zionism", "antisemitism", "anti-Zionism" and a host of other key words and terms related to the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. It is long overdue.

      Three comments:

      1) As to the NYT "Room for Debate" format: that this subject has finally been recognized by the NYT tells us much about how Palestine is becoming a legitimate topic of conversation in polite society here in the USA and Mondoweiss can rightfully take much of the credit for this development.

      Mondoweiss would do the world a service by seizing on this opening and perhaps make it a permanent feature of the site with its own heading? Developing it into a pedagogically-oriented resource designed specifically to grant American students, teachers and the general public permission to engage, as equals, in the conversation on US Middle East policy would be a boon to open discourse.

      Perhaps Mondoweiss can sponsor an annual award/ceremony for university-level papers on the conflations of Zionism-with-Judaism and Anti-Zionism-with-Antisemitism? Mondoweiss' leveraging of the NYT forum might be an opportunity to move the discourse into the American classroom (it is already a feature of Israeli and Palestinian classrooms) and a way to redress the current, and historical, paucity of such content in US high school and university-level history books.

      2) The Israeli-sponsored exhibit at the UN Headquarters is, in a word, hasbara. I will return to it soon in follow up posts but for now let's consider the latent pedagogical value of just one of the posters featured in the exhibit and use it to demonstrate how Zionist-published posters can provide the basis for stimulating student discussion and critical-thinking:

      Note: This poster was today removed from the list of three (out of thirteen) that were previously blocked by the UN from the exhibit "Israel Matters" meaning, I suppose, that the UN now considers it "appropriate":

      Zionism - The Return of An Indigenous People

      Questions for Student Discussion:

      Does this Zionist-published poster, which celebrates the return of indigenous people to historic Palestine mark a new evolution in Zionist thinking ... one that legitmates the Right of Return of indigenous Palestinians to historic Palestine?

      3) Phil Weiss' interview with Tziva Thier's article shines a bright light on the conflation of Zionism-with-Judaism ... a subject few American ever have an opportunity to learn about let alone discuss. Tziva speaks in a natural voice and this cannot be understated. She is knowledgeable, unthreatening, humane, courageous...and her courage is gift to Palestinians, Israelis and Americans. I urge Mondweiss to consider producing a series of pedagogically-oriented videos with Tziva wherein she speaks directly to American students and teachers with the specific intention of addressing their fear of being labeled "antisemitic". These videos would ideally address specific historical issues but as importantly or maybe even more importantly they would create a "comfort zone" and grant permission for American students and teachers to engage subjects such as BDS, settlements, AIPAC, US aid to Israel, Congressional vassalhood-to-Zionism in their own natural voices.

      While watching the videos I was put to mind of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

      Mad respect to Mondoweiss.

  • As NY primary approaches, Clinton and Sanders separate, somewhat, on Israel
    • @ yonah fredman

      What is your definition of antisemitism?

      How do you detect it?

      Can anyone learn that skill?

      (Just to be accurate: spike Lee who I think is supporting sanders is not an antisemite, though his movies have contained more than a smidgen of antisemitism.

  • National Lawyers Guild and human rights activists call for IRS investigation into charity status of Jewish National Fund
    • From its earliest days the JNF used posters to promote its various fictions such as that historic Palestine was empty of inhabitants and that all that was needed was for Jewish immigrants to come and "redeem" the land. The Zionist policy towards the use of posters was discussed at the highest policy levels:

      “Commercial propaganda essentially aspires to achieve the same goal we are trying to achieve, and that is to arouse as many people as possible for a known purpose to do something they would not have done without the propaganda; buy some given product, prefer a certain well-known firm. …We also wish to cause the large Jewish multitudes to remember the JNF at all times.”
      Source: Karnenu (Our Fund) Year 3 (1926), no. 5-6, p.5

      “We must inundate the Jewish people with slogans and pictures, to rivet their attention, to create an atmosphere of unrest…[to distribute the pictures and slogans] in every place a Jew sets foot in: in communal centres, lodges, places of business, society and union centres, the offices of charity organizations, mutual aid societies, rabbinical offices, libraries, theatres, bath houses and rest houses, shelters, hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, synagogues, seminaries, schools, doctor’s waiting rooms, restaurants, hotels, pensions…leave no place where there is no illustrated poster with a clear and brief text….”
      Source: Karnenu (Our Fund) Year 4 (1927), no. 1, p.6

      This poster by acclaimed Zionist poster artist, Franz Krausz (he created the now iconic originally-Zionist-poster-now-Palestinian-nationalist-property-poster, "Visit Palestine" no Palestinian villages or people are depicted: only a scene of latent fertility that merely "awaits redemption by the people of Israel":

      One can follow graphically the evolution of the JNF's various colonization and land exploitation projects by viewing its posters thematically, such as these which all depict happy Jewish children in some nation-building activity such as:

      Building terraces with stones that might have come from destroyed Palestinian villages:

      Planting trees and shrubs that might mask de-populated and/or destroyed Palestinian villages:

      This JNF poster exudes the expansionist colonial attitude of Zionism with its clarion call to settle the Galilee shown here as almost impossibly lush and inviting with no trace of Palestinian history or presence anywhere to be seen:

      The JNF's use of posters to propagandize to Jewish communities around the world grew from the four point Basel Program of 1897 and the JNF took seriously the call to "inundate the Jewish people with slogans and pictures".

      View 300 historic JNF posters here:

  • Eric Alterman contradicts himself about anti-Semitism on campus
    • Q: What is Alterman's definition of antisemitism?

      In all these alleged incidents of antisemitism we must assert as a first principle that the accusers define their terms. If their definition of antisemitism includes any reference to or conflation of Judaism to Zionism or Israel we can, and must, dismiss it out of hand. That is how a term is rendered moot. Same goes for CUNY, California Board of Regents and all the other institutions that claim to be capable of spotting antisemitism. In the absence of a rational, universal, common-sense definition no real progress will be made towards eradicating antisemitism. Only robust debate can bring that about.

      We should point out to Mr. Alterman that the American revolutionaries were "obnoxious" to the English crown; the Abolitionists were "obnoxious" to the Confederate slavocracy as was the anti-Vietnam war protests to the Nixon administration and in all cases the "obnoxious" party represented the masses and the future. Same today for BDS.

  • Video: Meet the brave shoemaker who filmed Israeli soldier executing a Palestinian
  • A 'longtime activist for social justice,' Booker worries his anti-BDS stance will 'rankle' and 'upset' people
    • Q: What is Booker's definition of antisemtism?

      Until/unless we know, specifically, which definition he is using we will be played. I wish the caller had asked him for his definition. It is in the asking, not necessarily in the response, that the revolutionary spark resides. Zionism knows this: We don't.

  • Why I chose to get arrested at AIPAC
    • @ Ariel: Mad respect. You are on the right side of history. Your children must be proud of you: I know I am.
      Not too long ago organized political Zionism's response to BDS was to ridicule it, dismiss it, point to its pointlessness and characterize its proponents as weak and pathetic. In this anti-BDS pamphlet “BDS” is depicted as three hapless clowns:
      See: Divest This!
      "The other quality of BDS that is rarely discussed is that the entire program has largely been a loser. After nearly ten years of tirelessly advocating for divestment on college campuses, not one school has sold a single share of stock targeted by divestment advocates. Churches that once embraced a BDS position have reconsidered and rejected BDS multiple times. Municipalities and non-profits (such as cooperative food markets) have said no to boycott advocates. In fact, a decade of failure has reduced BDS activists to resorting to divestment hoaxes (see page 14) and a focus on increasingly marginal targets to keep their campaign alive."
      This text is from 2011: Zionists do not speak about BDS like this anymore. Now BDS is Zionism’s latest bogeyman and it is enlisting the President and all the candidates to help “combat” BDS.
      BTW, historically Zionism used boycotts, divestments and sanctions quite freely when it served purpose.
      View posters related to the early Zionist efforts to sabotage local Palestinian growers in the 1920’s and 1930’s via its “Buy Hebrew” campaigns:

      View Zionist anti-US trade with the USSR posters:
      View 250 BDS posters:
      AIPAC, Hillary Clinton and all the puppets-on-parade at the convention demonstrate via their public statements of hostility towards BDS just how little they understand of American history.
      I think BDS is unstoppable because it allows for an atomized response to Zionism in exactly the same way Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad to slavery did.
      The fight against slavery in the antebellum United States is a perfect example of an atomized political movement, one that has no real "head" wherein all the actors are independent, ungovernable and working towards a central objective. The Underground Railroad in its day was illegal, outlawed, despised-in-the-South, railed against in the slavocratic press (North and South), its activists and participants subject to violence and its morality labeled as sinful, un-American and worse.
      And yet it never faltered. It never wanted for recruits. It grew and grew because the government, which is to say, Congress, can never legislate morality and for a growing cohort of Americans Zionism is no longer a territorial, historical or political issue but rather a moral one.
      People actively supporting BDS today do not do so merely because of Zionism’s crimes of the moment. No, their arc of reference reaches back to embrace all the historical crimes of Zionism: the Nakba; the Occupation; the destruction of 500+ Palestinian villages; the horrors of the refugee camps and all the wars, invasions, operations, assassinations and other crimes committed in the name of Zionism. Zionism is very good at making enemies and it has made most of the world hostile to it. All of them may yet take advantage of the opportunity BDS offers to send an ironically poetic message of disagreement to Tel Aviv.
      BDS today allows people with decades-old grievances against Zionism to act in real time to redress those old wounds and insults.
      Millions of people all across the United States came to understand the evil that was slavery because of the early courage of the Abolitionists just as many are coming to learn of Zionism’s dystopianism owing to the courage of people like Ariel.
      Of course some clever Zionist will helpfully chime in here and tell me how wrong I am using some silly trivia detail and how anyway what we all say and do does not matter because we are all “antisemitic” since we don’t/won’t/can’t see the glory and justice intrinsic to the Zionist enterprise.
      The Underground Railroad was attacked repeatedly but it endured and in the end it was the worldview of the Abolitionists that the people came to embrace.
      Same thing for BDS this time around.

  • Testifying before the City University of New York's Task Force on Anti-Semitism
  • Zionism is finally in the news, as officials seek to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
    • That we are still arguing, in 2016, about the conflation of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism speaks volumes about Zionism's (continuing) ability to divert the American public's attention away from the important task of legitimating its own discourse.

      There has long been clarity on the invalidity of this conflation within the Jewish community. Consider this poster by Lisa Kokin from 1979:

      Q: How seriously can we take the Zionist claim that anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism if we (still) have no rational, consensus definition of anti-Semitism? Why is there still so much ambiguity around the contemporary meaning of this term, as used in the United States?

      Q: If anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism does that mean that to it is "anti-Semitic" to oppose Christian Zionists such as Hagee and Co., for any number of reasons including their homophobia, Islamophobia, racism, and their efforts to weaken the separation of church and state? IOW can one be anti-Semitic in one's words or actions...even if no Jewish people/issues/institutions are involved at all?

      The meming of a rational, credible usage-based definition of the term "anti-Semitism" is long overdue. The various attempts by the US government and the EU to politicize the definition of anti-Semitism are a disgrace and they should be called out at every turn.

      A lexicon is the living, breathing glossary of a language in use: Mondoweiss is the ideal forum for initiating this discussion in an American context and seeing it through to fruition.

      How important is it to establish clear, consensus definitions for treating social or medical ills? Imagine if we charged modern science to develop a cure or vaccine for Zika but forbade the promulgation of an accurate, empirically-derived definition of the disease? Or worse, if we allowed parties with vested interests in the spread of the disease to craft the definition?

      The infamous Merriam-Webster’s definition of anti-Semitism was crafted in the 1950's and though it has been repeatedly debunked (even by Merriam-Webster) it remains in service to Zionism.

      Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Collegiate Dictionary - 3rd Edition


      • hostility toward Jews as a religious or racial minority group often accompanied by social, economic, and political discrimination
      • opposition to Zionism

      • sympathy with opponents of the state of Israel

      Merriam-Webster has now disavowed its long-standing conflatory definition of anti-Semitism and publishes these two instead:

      Simple Definition of anti–Semitism

      • hatred of Jewish people

      Full Definition of anti–Semitism

      • hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group

      This new definition says nothing about Israel or Zionism and this is as it should be. Mondoweiss can be the agent of change that leverages this de-politicized and functional definition into broad mainstream acceptance.

      Nothing could be worse for Zionism or better for Palestine and the US.

  • Trump 'has no business being president' because he would be 'neutral' to Israel -- Clinton tells AIPAC
    • HRC at AIPAC:

      "America can’t ever be neutral when it comes to Israel’s security and survival"

      Lest we forget:

      George Washington letter to Alexander Hamilton
      Date: May 8, 1796

      "The nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."


      "she told pro-Israel students: “Don’t let anyone try to silence you, bully you or try to shut down debate.”

      Does that advice apply to Palestine Solidarty as well? Or only "pro-Israel" voices? This reads as blatant incitement to me.

      DNC Convention floor fight, anyone?

  • El Al captain indoctrinates the passengers, but only in Hebrew
  • Zionism's long and rich history of delegitimizing Palestinians
    • @ Boomer

      "I wonder what resulted from Cleese’s grant for the study of projection and denial?"

      Me too. Could be invaluable as could promoting and re-inforcing the idea of enlightened, public celebrities funding empirical studies into important issues of political language, language rights, lexicon and by extension, hasbara. My hope is that someone will find it and share it here at Mondoweiss.

  • Most Jews want to expel Palestinians -- Pew's ugly portrait of Israel
  • Why we are calling on the University of Minnesota to divest
    • Thanks Annie...point well taken. Yes, someone definitely should ask AEN where they got the graphic. I think UMN would be perfectly placed to ask. And given the tortured logic of AEN's public agenda - "adamantly opposed to BDS" AND embracing "uncompromising support for human rights for Arabs, Jews and others" if AEN refuses to identify the source of the defaced poster they should be barred from campus until they adopt transparency as an operating principle. Opacity and partisanhip have no place on the campuses of "Minnesota's flagship, land grant university".

      From Haaretz:

      “We want to promote a sane middle ground of support for a two-state solution, and embrace uncompromising support for human rights for Arabs, Jews and others," Waltzer, emeritus professor of Jewish studies at Michigan State University, told Haaretz. "[We] are adamantly opposed to the BDS movement, and want to catalyze campuses in robust debate in matters regarding Israel, Palestine and the Middle East."

      “We’d like to have five to 15 faculty members [affiliated with the AEN] on each of 50 to 100 campuses,” said Mark Yudof, chairman of the organization's national board of advisers.
      “We’re well-connected with the leadership of higher education in America. There are strong relationships," he said. However, he added, “We don’t delude ourselves. Most faculty don’t want to be involved."

      read more:

    • I think I understand the motives behind Students Supporting Israel (SSI) defacing the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) poster by replacing the olive branch with a swastika and adding vile text: to reputationally harm SJP. What I don't understand is the logic of using a swastika to do that harm.

      Historically it has been antisemites, Nazis and fascists who painted swastikas on walls or windows or published them in posters to incite discrimination and violence against Jewish people. It is for this reason that the swastika has rightfully become the eternal icon of evil. It is for this reason that its reproduction is outlawed in many countries. The world recoils from those who reproduce and use this symbol. What is SSI saying, about itself, with its version of the SJP poster?

      Tellingly, SSI was taken to task by another Zionist institution, the Academic Engagement Network, not for being racist or inciteful but for being "unmodulated". Does this mean it would have been fine with AEN if a different tone had been used?

      Consider the graphics and captions in these authentically antisemitic posters. We know these posters are antisemitic not only from their despicable content but also because the publishers, for example the anti-Dreyfusards of late 1900's France and Nazi Germany in the 1930's and 1940's publicly stated their intention to tyrannize and terrorize Jewish people.

      See also:

      University of Minnesota - Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies/Visualizing Otherness II (An online exhibit of Nazi-published antisemitic posters)

      We should also ask if it isn't it a hate crime for a pro-Israel student group to deface a poster with a swastika and inciteful slogans...much as it would be if the students of SJP had published their poster with a swastika? And we should hasten to add that the SJP students did not use inciteful language or racist symbolism.

      UMINN needs to address this matter. As a first step it should issue an apology to SJP, meet with all parties and review policies. Funding a symposium on antisemitism might be another good pedagogical way for the university to use this controversy to enrich the educational experience of UMINN students.

      UMINN should not defund or disband SSI: those are hardball Zionist tactics, not in keeping with traditional American educational approaches. Rather it should require the membership of SSI to visit the university's own Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and study the "Visualizing Otherness II" poster exhibit. They should then write a paper outlining what they learned and publish it at the UMINN website. We all might learn something. The point is that UMINN should see to it that all their students grow from this experience and that real progress against real antisemitism should be the gauge of its usefulness. A quiet return to the status-quo-ante would be a disgrace.

      No progress in the fight against real antisemitism can be made until and unless a credible, rationale definition of antisemitism - one that abolishes the spurious conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism - is anchored in mainstream discourse. Our failure to legitimate, use and defend such a definition explains most, if not all, campus-based free-speech-on-Palestine controversies.

  • 'No Open House on Stolen Land': CODEPINK disrupts RE/MAX convention to protest settlement profiteering
  • 2017 is a crucial year for the Palestine Question
  • Hossam Haick: the local historical roots of the Palestinian nano-celebrity
  • 'We wasted 40 years talking about nothing, doing nothing' -- Pappe demolishes peace process
    • The effort on the part of Jewish-Americans to publicly uncouple the terms "Jewish" and "Zionist" goes back some years. Here is a poster from the Jewish Alliance Against Zionism from 1978:

      Q: Can a purely intra-Jewish discourse be "antisemitic"?

      Can Jewish publishers print posters by Jewish artists and distribute them in Jewish communities as a way to engage Jewish voices on matters of keen interests to Jewish, in any way, "antisemitic"?

      If no, why not? If yes, how?

      Q: Assuming-for-the-sake-of-problematization that the answer to the above question is "yes" then how, exactly would Zionism's gatekeepers have the subject discussed so as not to qualify for the charge of "antisemitism"?

      Specifics, please.

  • Emerging from a 'reign of terror': Palestinians in Israel hold first BDS conference
    • "Similarly, the Nesher company controlled 85 per cent of all construction in the area, including providing most of the cement used to rebuild Gaza after Israel’s repeated destructive attacks on the enclave."

      Nesher goes way back in Zionist history. Here is a poster showing how the company marketed itself in the 1930's:

      To Fortify Our Home - Use Hebrew Cement

      As I see it the question we must ask, over and over again if need be, is:

      Why was it perfectly fine for Zionists to openly boycott the indigenous Palestinian economy during the Mandate (and after) as well as against the USSR in the 1960's vis-a-vis Soviet Jewry but it is not permissible to boycott Zionism now?

      Let's keep raising this question as it does three things in the asking:

      1) It focuses a bright light on the hypocrisy of Zionism's anti-BDS critique


      2) It opens up the study of Zionist economic history

      3) It puts political Zionism on its back foot and obligates it to explain why it was legitimate for Zionism to practice boycotts but it is antisemitic when Palestinians and the international community practice it.

      See other "Buy Hebrew Campaign" posters here:

  • Anti-Zionist protest at LGBTQ conference was smeared as anti-Semitic
    • @Annie

      I put the term "correct" in quotes to show that it is in question...Zionists consider the actions of the anti-Zionists to be and I don't. Ergo the quotes. My whole point is to highlight the fact that there is contention over the meaning of this key term and we do ourselves no favors by leaving it as is. Zionists see their use of the term to intimidate or silence their critics as a "correct" application of the term. We need to challenge that. Do come back at me if I am not making myself clear...I love you Annie!

    • MHughes976 made the critical observation about the term antisemitism: that there is an "avoidance of definition".

      Zionism's refusal to define the term "antisemitism" is no oversight: rather it is an investment in strategic ambiguity without which it could not survive. It behooves the contributors to MW to legitimate/champion a clear, common sense definition of antisemitism and meme it into universal acceptance in American culture.

      Why? Because the claim made by Slate Magazine’s LGBTQ blogger, OUT magazine and the ninety LGBTQ activists who signed a statement describing the protests as “anti-Semitic” ... are "correct" in a sense. The protests WERE antisemitic ... but only in the Zionist context. The charge is accepted in the American discourse as "correct" because the term "antisemitic" is not defined anywhere in the article nor is there any demand that those leveling the charge define their terms. The discourse is brittle, shallow and vapid because no demand is made that the term be defined as a pre-condition for its deployment.

      There are so many aspects of this tactic - labeling something/someone antisemitic as a way of either stigmatizing them or putting them on the defensive - that it is impossible to address them all here in a comments section but we can make a start. We can post a clear definition of the term antisemitism at the beginning of any text that deals with the subject to show how we define the term. We can also ask who gets to level the charge? What are the qualifications for those leveling the charge and can anyone play? We can demand a clear demarcation between anti-Zionism and antisemitism and put those who use the term tactically/cynically on the defensive. We must also define political Zionism continuously, publicly and unself-consciously.

      Herzl concluded that antisemitism was universal and that fighting it was "futile". That futility is an enormous insult to American culture and it has empowered political Zionists for over one hundred with a magic bullet of sorts: whether or not the person/institution labeled antisemitic is actually engaged in anti-Jewish behavior makes no difference to Zionists because there is no penalty for its use/abuse/overuse ... and no known preventative or curative for those accused.

      Change this dynamic and we change everything.

  • Brookings conference on 'future for Israelis and Palestinians' featured zero Palestinians
    • Can someone tell me ... how is it, exactly, that the Saban Forum and/or the Brookings Institution are ... "liberal"? I don't get it. Nor do I get the continued use of the term "liberal Zionism". These are gifts to Zionism. I never use them nor do any of the academics, artists or activists I know. They use a more honest term: political Zionism. I suggest we begin using it here at MW as well. The benefits are amazing: Zionists wilt when they here the term voiced in public and Others often respond by asking "what is political Zionism?" which opens up a opportunity to introduce them to Herzl, Basel, Biltmore...

  • A racist country with too much influence over US -- Israel's new image among Democrats
    • @ Krauss

      "The reporting on this is slowly, but surely, starting to open up but the Fear Of Invoking Anti-Semitism is still a brake on a lot of these issues.

      That was my point: whatever the substance, what are the practical matters in terms of public opinion; is it shifting or not? Among the general population, there’s nothing to suggest it."

      My response:

      Do you have any empirical data for your assertion that "Among the general population, there’s nothing to suggest it"? In my research I track the design, publication and dissemination of the poster art of Palestine solidarity and I can say with no fear of being contradicted that there is PLENTY of evidence that the FOIAS syndrome is evaporating. My evidence is the sheer number and diversity of posters being published on Palestine-related subjects, including Zionism. See:

      Ten, or even five years ago this outpouring of art (and by extension speech) would have been unthinkable. This data differs markedly from Luntz's approach in that it does not limit participation to "elites": rather, it tracks what people are actually saying and doing.

      The charge of antisemitism was functional for Zionism only so long as it resulted in an apology, retraction, cancellation of some other act of contrition and an immediate return to the status quo ante. Such fear-based approaches only work for a given time and ultimately people push back. Many of the posters that address/challenge the charge of antisemitism at the above link were produced by Jewish or Israeli artists which has had the effect of eviscerating the charge since if it is not be antisemitic for an Israeli to use the symbol of the Israeli flag, for example, to condemn Israel/Zionism then it cannot ratioanally be antisemitic for Others to do the same thing. Zionism has lost the use of the FOIAS except, in my opinion, among the "elites". Time will tell.

    • @ Krauss

      "That’s not even counting the adage that people vote on domestic issues."

      Flash! Zionism IS a domestic issue.

      Has been since the days of Ben Gurion.

  • Inflammatory posters at UCLA call Students for Justice in Palestine 'Jew haters' (Updated)
  • Israeli occupation stoking 'holy war' in Jerusalem
  • Poster questioning Zionism makes her feel 'unsafe', Wellesley student says
    • Well said, Annie:

      "but one might think a supporter of israel is proud of zionism. so why not have the hillel on campus give a little “this is how zionism works” workshop/weekend? you’d think they’d be proud of it. or do they think it’s a dirty word too? hmm. "

      Some observations on Ms. Hannink's statement that she felt "unsafe" in the presence of a poster that sought to initiate a discussion of Zionism:

      1) Would this 1960's era poster, published by Young Judaea, listing "Zionism" as one of the topics to be discussed make her feel "unsafe"?

      How might this poster have made Palestinians feel?

      2) If the poster had been published by AIPAC or Hillel, asking the exact same question, would that have made Ms. Hannink feel equally "unsafe"?

      3) Relative to the inane and utterly predictable comments of Hophmi and Yonah, could not Ms. Hannink have engaged in meaningful "dialogue" and "communication" by adding her own comments about Zionism in the public response area on the poster? Might she have interpreted the poster's question as an invitation to defend Zionism? She could have waxed poetic about Zionism and turned the tide on SJP...but she did not. I wonder why, still.

      4) Relative to Luntz's comments about Zionism being a dirty word ... this is not news (except to him and his ilk). BTW, Zionism has always been a dirty word for the Palestinians. I was reminded of a story told by the late Faisal Husseini about the time just after the June War of 1967 when the it became possible for Palestinians to visit Jerusalem freely ... he decided to go there and after arriving he became involved in a conversation with an Israeli who said in response to something:
      "I have always considered myself a proud Zionist", at which point Husseini burst out laughing and the conversation came to an abrupt end.

      Hasbara Nugget Quiz: Alert hasbaristas can seize on/distort which comment in the above statement to show how "progressive" Zionism is and how it helped Palestinians visit Jerusalem and promoted "dialog" and "communicate" with Israeli Zionists?

      Zionist do not want, and have never wanted, a public discourse on Zionism. The reasons are clear: such an exchange would reveal Zionism's ideological architecture and political psychology and run the risk of legitimating the dismantling of Zionism's core mythologies.

      No one, not even the most rabid Zionist is "proud" to be a Zionist. It is for this reason that I evangelize the tactic of never using the word "Israel": I always substitute "Zionism", "Zionist state", "Zionist occupied Palestine" or some other construct. The responses from Zionists are universally fascinating and always psychologically revealing.

      I am not aware of any other ideology in history, except perhaps that of the Confederate States of America, that takes/took umbrage at the effort to study/comprehend its history.

  • 'Zionism' is now a dirty word for American opinion elite, Frank Luntz concedes
    • How do Palestinians see the concept of a home?

      Poster title: Home

      The chicken has a home. The home of the chicken is called a chicken coop.

      The rabbit has a home. The home of the rabbit is called a cave.

      The horse has a home. The home of the horse is the stall.

      Even fish have a home. The home of the fish is the river, the lake and the sea.

      The cat roams around day and night. But even he has a home that he can go to.

      The bird has a home in the trees.

      His home is called a nest. Everyone needs a home.

      All humans need a home that is secure and peaceful.

      Today, the Palestinians do not have a home.

      The house and the place where the Palestinians live is not their home.

      Where is the home of the Palestinians? Today, the Palestinians do not live in their homes. In their homes live their enemies. Who are the enemies of the Palestinian? Those who have occupied their homes.

      How are the Palestinians going to retake their homes?

      The Palestinians will fight an armed struggle to take back their homes. Someday the Palestinians will return to live in their own homes.

  • More Orientalist insinuations in the New York Times
    • The definitive Hans Wehr Arabic-English dictionary defines "hudna" this way:

      "hudna - calm(ness), quietness, peace, tranquility, stillness, pause, intermission, cessation; truce, armistice"

      Hans Wehr, p. 1199

  • 'NYT' terms Islamic Jihad's 4 percent support-- 'new traction in Gaza'
    • @ hophmi win. You are right on all accounts. My bad. I was wrong to ever think I could make a contribution by engaging you. You are simply too insightful, too erudite and too well educated. There's just no denying it. That Vassar scholarship just shines right through. I apologize for having taken up your time. In parting I will humbly submit these few comments:

      What was it about my post that was "nasty"?

      What is it that place me on the "radical left"?

      What was it about my comment about Jodi Rudoren's work that led you to believe that I was suggesting a "conspiracy at the NYT"? For the record I made no such remark and it is indicative of how off the mark your comments are. I was commenting on the vapid, mediocre quality of her work and writing. Nothing else.

      Bye-bye forever hops!


    • @ hophmi ...I don't know you and I have never engaged with you before and for all I know you are a paid hasbarist working for some Zionist agency but in the spirit of engagement we embrace here at MW I will address your replies. I had hoped for something a bit less pre-programmed and predictable.
      “But that is not what counts. What counts is the trend and the trend is up. ”
      OK, that’s all Jodi Rudoren is saying about Islamic Jihad. The trend is up.
      Not really. I understand your need to reflexively defend JR but the fact that JR could point to a one percent increase in a poll does not establish or even indicate a "trend". Surely one percent was within the margin of error? One is left wondering how far she had to go to dig up that trivia and what I would have given to have been a fly on the wall as she discussed that article with her editor.
      “The other key indicator to watch is the decline of “support” for political Zionism/Israel. Even Netanyahu/AIPAC/Government of Israel realize that the image/market share of support for Israel is in free fall.”
      I haven’t seen polling to prove that contention.
      My point is no wise diminished by your imperious claim that you have not seen supposedly impartial/empirical data. But more to the point "trends" are not just polls. Anyone can do a poll. A more nuanced and meaningful survey, say one done according to the standards of a graduate/post-graduate anthropology survey at a renowned university would look at any number of indicators, not just polls. For example, one might include major political actions/decisions inimicable to Zionist interests such as the US refusal to send troops to Syria or to jettison diplomacy with Iran, both historic body blows to Organized Zionism's vaunted influence on Capitol Hill and at the White House. Are those reasonable indicators of the loss of Zionist horsepower? Are they reasonable substitutes for polls? The UN vote on Palestinian statehood, the European Union's refusal to allow grants to be expended in/for settlements, Kerry's "poof" and apartheid comments to say nothing about the various US judicial decisions dismissing (all!) claims of antisemitism on US campuses. All these things contribute to trends.
      Try to think beyond polls. Read more broadly and challenge yourself to see beyond your Zionist conditioning.

      "Of course, anything can change, and I do expect some change (maybe a few percentage points) this year given the press interest in the BDS movement. But as late as this year, Americans supporting Israel outnumbered those supporting Palestine by a factor of about 8 to 1, and the overall numbers were the same as they’ve been for the past two decades."
      There you are again with your poll fixation. If it gives you comfort to think that BDS is faltering/failing/forgettable fine. But once again I urge you to think beyond hasbara poesy. Try this: If you are ever in a position to influence the questions asked on a poll gauging how many/how much Americans "support" Israel add these questions:
      Do you support Israel's killing of Palestinians and theft of Palestinian land?
      Do you, as an American support political Zionism?
      Do you think Israel should abide by international law?
      Do you think Herzl was correct and that anti-Semitism is both universal and “incurable”?
      Do you support the sending of US military troops to Israel, either as combat troops in the event of war or as peace-keeping troops in the event of peace?
      Can you name five positive things that the US has received in return for the 100 billion+ dollars it has given Israel since whenever?
      “A long time AIPAC wag once said that “Zionism is like a mushroom…it grows best in the dark”. ”
      I think that the quote was that a lobby was like a mushroom, not Zionism.

      I think you are wrong. I think my quote is correct and I will do some research to try to prove that. I recall it from a lengthy 3 part series the WAPO published back in like 1980-1981. A WAPO writer was allowed to "embed" at AIPAC for three or six months and he could ask any question, open any drawer, attend any meeting...and the quote was the last line of text in the last installment if memory serves. This was way before Mearshiemer/Walt's seminal work on the "The Israel Lobby" and both the terms "lobby" and "Zionism" were still sharply proscribed which reinforces my belief that the term “lobby” was not used. If I prove myself incorrect I will report as much here.
      But as with all your other comments yours is a distinction without a difference. What, after all IS the difference between the Zionist Lobby and ... Zionism? The Lobby is just the machinery/staff for the advancement of the goals of political Zionism. Please don't respond by saying that Zionism is a thing of the past because it has accomplished its goal...a Jewish state. Please...spare us that at least.

      “The internet and social media have radically and permanently altered Zionism’s environment. ”
      I just don’t see the facts bearing that out.
      Again...the fact that you do not see what most everyone else sees does not give any weight to your response. You will simply have to do better than mouthing a subjective rebuttal. Look around you...the “facts” are everywhere bearing out my comment.
      Just consider the Israeli government's response to BDS. Would panic be a good word? Israel is a now and becoming more so every day, a pariah state. Even Netanyahu has said as much. Read back a few weeks in MW for the article where he said that the one thing Israel could count on was that the world would always need Israel's ... technology! Israel...the "light unto the nations"... Israel, Herzl's “Altneuland”...Israel, a gentle welcoming powerhouse of Nobel Prize winners. Something has gone awry. Israel, not loved by the world for its morals or its art or its culture or its expansion of democratic ideals. No. Now it is to be loved for its drone technology, cyber police surveillance technology and krav maga. These are facts hophmi. Read more and try to problematize an issue before you respond. Problematizing is the process by which you accept the other's point and then try to find contradictions. It would be good for you.

      "Internet and social media have a sort of delusional effect on people. It enables them to find others in the their camps, and with them, they create an echo chamber that makes them sound and feel strong. I believe that’s generally true of the BDS movement. I’m not saying that things won’t change in the future, but as I’ve said many times, I don’t see you doing anything to get into the mainstream. You seem like most radical movements – very loud, very proud, and basically marginalized."
      More empty rhetoric. More opinion. More cock and bull. "I believe" and "I've said" and "I don't see"...can you quote outside of your own realm? Do you read anything? Who are your favorite authors? What are the great ideas you embrace?
      “Of course it cannot and that is why we see so many bizarre informational efforts emanating from Zionism such as the IDF’s decision to engage with social media. These are desperation measures and bound to fail or worse to accelerate Zionism’s implosion.”
      I think, Dan, that they’re savvy measures. Israel has always felt the need to engage in public relations because it has always been surrounded by hostile states. Why wouldn’t Israel (and BDS, and any other movement that wants to be relevant) use social media?
      More subjectivity! “I think”….fine think as you will but you add nothing of value here. No protein. And yes, Israel has always engaged in pr not because it has always been surrounded by hostile states but because Zionism is an engine of hostility and it generates ill will wherever it goes. Political Zionism is to the Middle East what the Confederate States of America were to the Western Hemisphere and Europe: a self-privileging insult to morality. What does it say to you that Israel has “always” used pr? Does your statement resonate within your consciousness at all? I wonder if you think pr has been a success story for Israel? I wonder if you would defend Israel’s perpetual reliance on pr?
      “Palestine solidarity has no such problem: it thrives on transparency/sunlight/direct analysis/empiricism/viralness.”
      Eh don’t sell yourself short. Pro-Palestinian activists have become good propagandists.
      Try as I might I could make no sense of this comment. But I wonder if you would tell us how “pro-Palestinian activists” have become good propagandists and whether or not that trend us up?

    • hophmi says:
      May 5, 2014 at 10:54 am
      You keep saying you have traction in the United States, where support for your movement is in the single digits.

      Hophmi you may be correct. In fact your comment may be a perfect reflection of current empirical reality. It may indeed be that support for the "movement", i.e., support for Palestine Solidarity as represented by, among others, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Mondoweiss, the Electronic Intifada and majorly BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) and a host of others may only tally in the single digits ... at the moment.

      But that is not what counts. What counts is the trend and the trend is up. Even if it is accurate to say that support for Palestine Solidarity is in single digits now consider that ten or perhaps even five years ago it might have been ... zero in terms of measurable percentages. Keep your eye on the trend. It is early days in terms of measuring the actual popular support Palestine enjoys among the mainstream.

      The other key indicator to watch is the decline of "support" for political Zionism/Israel. Even Netanyahu/AIPAC/Government of Israel realize that the image/market share of support for Israel is in free fall. The key element to bear in mind about that phenomena is that barring a cannot and will not be reversed.

      A long time AIPAC wag once said that "Zionism is like a grows best in the dark". The internet and social media have radically and permanently altered Zionism's environment. A parallel would be to say that Zionism was growing along merrily for sixty odd years in a dark cave when suddenly the ground shifted (the emergence of the internet) and collapsed the roof of the cave exposing the mushrooms to direct sunlight. Now the key challenge of Zionism's perception mangagement efforts today is: how to adapt a sunlight-hating organism to life in direct 24/7 sunlight.

      Of course it cannot and that is why we see so many bizarre informational efforts emanating from Zionism such as the IDF's decision to engage with social media. These are desperation measures and bound to fail or worse to accelerate Zionism's implosion.

      Palestine solidarity has no such problem: it thrives on transparency/sunlight/direct analysis/empiricism/viralness. Which is not to say that Palestinians are perfect or free of contradictions (they are not ... they are as full of them as all human societies) but it does go to the question of who is the oppressor/occupier/tyrant and who is the victim. It does go to the question of where justice lies.

  • John Kerry was right to say 'apartheid' -- more voices chime in
  • Thousands of Israeli soldiers protest 'their hands are tied' while serving in the occupied territories
    • Dear Annie,

      Yes, do enjoy your Mom Time and in fact all your time. Relax and unwind and feel good about yourself and your work and know that it is richly appreciated by many.

      I didn't mean to suggest that YOU had to do all the translating...maybe now that we have raised this issue we can all jump in and contribute to the effort to provide translations for Hebrew texts/captions. Maybe now more Hebrew speakers are aware of the need and will volunteer with translations for MW. It would be a most welcome gift and make the site even more relevant, powerful and seminal. (amazing to think that is even possible!)

    • Dear Annie,

      Mine was not a criticism but a comment. I am happy to translate Arabic posters for MW but I don't speak Hebrew so am of no help there. My point was that posting the images without translations makes the full meaning of the posters being held up comprehensible only to Hebrew speakers. Just scrolling past them is all that non-Hebrew speakers will be able to do. Full translations, not just of this post but all the various texts/docs/articles that originate from Israel/the Israeli press is quintessentially subversive to Zionism because it removes a prime barrier to the development of a wider understanding on the part of the American mainstream as to how open and unrestricted public discourse is in Israel.

      One might legitimately wonder why 972 and so much Israeli press/scholarship is still disseminated without English translations

      Mad respect for MW and as I have mentioned more than once to Phil and Adam...I am especially grateful for your commentary.


    • These photos would all be more meaningful if they were translated for the benefit of non-Hebrew fluent readers. Same for any/all Arabic text. Basic policy should be: MW is an English language accommodate the readers with across the board translations. No exceptions.

  • Defending Apartheid – From 1968 to the present
    • @Nathan Taft

      “Despite this, ASUW Resolution 20-39, entitled “A Resolution to Divest from Companies Profiting from Violations of International Law and Human Rights,” explicitly targets Israel and Israel alone. Not Russia, with its anti-gay laws and illegal annexation of Ukrainian and Georgian territory. Not Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed in public without a male companion and are treated as second class citizens. Not even Syria, where the government has massacred more than 100,000 of its own civilians. No, the Resolution targets only the Jewish of the [sic] state of Israel."

      Let's problematize this statement as they might in a graduate foreign policy seminar at a major university. The object of the problematizing approach is to analyze an issue by accepting the premises of a writer/organization and then probing backwards with a series of comparative questions to illuminate strengths/weaknesses/contradictions.

      Let's assume that the above quoted statement were not counterfactual on a variety of levels. Let's also assume that Taft's unstated assumption - that because UW/BDS/Palestine Solidarity do not equally boycott/condemn Russia, Saudi Arabia and Syria for their violations of human and political rights but focus instead only on Israel - that those movements and the people who animate them are driven by a "blind hatred" of Israel. Let's accept Taft's conclusion that because Israel is the primary/only object of BDS it is unfair, morally questionable and fraudulent.

      Problematizing questions:

      1) In the 1970's and 1980's Organized Zionism, through the work of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, among other Israel-oriented agencies, worked to enable the conditional emigration from the USSR of approximately one million Jewish people. (The condition being that they were not permitted to emigrate to any place except Israel)

      Q: What explains Organized Zionism's failure to work to enable the emigration of all Soviet citizens, irrespective of ethnicity or religion, who might have wished to leave?

      Q: Does this selectivity demonstrate Organized Zionism's "blind hatred" of non-Jewish Soviet ethnicities and religions? If no, why not? If yes, how?

      Contemporary SSSJ posters here:

      2) Why did the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, most active in the 1970's and 1980's, focus exclusively on political oppression in the Soviet Union? At that time political oppression was in evidence in many places: in South America (Chile, El Salvador, Argentina, etc.); in Africa (Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa, etc.); in Asia (the Philippines, Burma, Tibet, etc.) Was it fair, reasonable and logical for Organized Zionism to focus exclusively on the USSR and not address the injustices taking place elsewhere? If no, why not? If yes, why?

      Contemporary SSSJ posters here:

      Q: Did Organized Zionism have an obligation to address the injustices that were taking place in these countries as well? Did the failure of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry to criticize/boycott the regimes of Pinochet, Marcos, Somoza, de Klerk, et. al., demonstrate Zionism's "blind hatred" of oppressed Latin Americans, Filipinos and Nicaraguans?

      3) In the 1970's and 1980's Organized Zionism launched several boycott and sanctions campaigns against the USSR, and specific American companies including Pepsi Cola, in its bid to force that country to open its doors for Jewish emigration to Israel.

      Q: Was the anti-USSR boycott launched by the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry which sought to force the USSR to recognize the human and political rights of Soviet Jewry moral, valid and justifiable? If no, why not? If yes, why?

      Q: Did Organized Zionism launch any other boycotts to gain the political and human rights of any group during that period or since?

      Contemporary SSSJ boycott posters here:

  • Bait-and-switch anti-Semitism: NYU SJP accused of targeting Jews, or not
    • yonah fredman-

      I encourage you to stay involved at this site and also to take more time reading the posts for comprehension.

      You answered a question I did not ask. You said: "No, it would not have made the slightest difference if all the members of NYU SJP are Jewish."

      My comment had only to do with "the members of NYU/SJP who organized and carried out this leafleting action". There might be hundreds of NYU/SJP members but it might be the case that only a handful of them were available to do the actual leafleting. I was only asking about the actual leafleteers because they would be the ones doing the alleged "targeting". See the difference?

      You followed this misreading by including a gratuitious follow-on comment that was clearly refuted earlier. The only way your charge could stand is if of the thousands of students who live in the dorm, only Jewish students received the leaflets. This is clearly not the case so your point is...well, pointless. Do you get that? Do you get that you are speaking about an event that did not occur?

      You said "And for sure, if they had leafleted in Washington Square in broad daylight that would not have been too threatening." I would love to know the logic underpinning your response. I really would. WSP is like the lobby of NYU...students come out of the dorms in their jammies to sit in the park it is that close...why would it have been less threatening to see the leaflets there? And more to the point, may I ask you to elaborate on what it means (to you) to not be "too threatening"? You could add much to the discourse here because at the root of many of the Zionist/hasbara criticisms of Palestine solidarity actions lies the claim that they generate an unsafeness/unwelcoming atmosphere for Jewish students on campuses where these solidarity events take place.

      So even if we could learn from you merely how to make Palestine solidarity and educations events "not too threatening" that would be of enormous value. It might be a seminal opening: from you we might learn some refinements/changes that might soon result in Palestine solidarity actions/events becoming completely positive and unthreatening to anyone.

      You completely ignored my questions about the possible relationship between late night leafleting at NYU and late night arrests of Palestinians by the IDF and the use of real, as opposed to clearly fake, eviction notices. I am sure you have something of value to add on these points. I urge to share your thoughts.

      Finally, I ask how it is that you can know me so well, to the point of knowing my inner emotions about my self...when we have never met or communicated before. How can you know that I am "very impressed with my own rhetoric"?

      Surely you can engage without descending to the ad hominem.

    • Would it have had the slightest impact on Ms. Adkins/Times of Israel, Ynet, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Forward, Arutz Sheva, et. al. if it were to be revealed that all the members of NYU/SJP who organized and carried out this leafleting action…were Jewish? Would this information have diminished the action’s hasbaritic value?

      Would it have made any difference to Ms. Adkins/Times of Israel, et. al., if it were to be revealed that the leafleting was carried out late at night specifically to emphasis the fact that the Israeli Defense Forces carry out many of their arrests/seizures of Palestinian children late at night?

      Would it have made any difference if the leafleting took place in broad daylight in Washington Square Park? Would that too have been threatening?

      Would it have been acceptable to Ms. Adkins/Times of Israel, et. al., if the NYU/SJP had used an actual Israeli eviction notice (Hebrew and/or Arabic translated to English) — one that had been received by an actual Palestinian family? Are those somehow non- threatening?

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
  • Alterman says BDS is helping Netanyahu
    • BDS is not (yet) a direct threat to Israel but it is (already) a direct threat to the very architecture, and psychology, of political Zionism. And while BDS originated around the limited idea of boycotting Israeli goods produced in the Occupied Palestinian Territories its appeal, and therefore potential impact, is much wider.
      The "secret sauce" of BDS is that it offers something most Americans have never had before (but have always wanted) relative to the national conversation around the Zionist-Palestinian conflict: agency.
      BDS offers an opportunity to anyone and everyone who has ever been insulted, silenced, manipulated or intimidated by organized Zionism over the past sixty years to actually become a player in the political dynamic that orbits the Palestinian-Zionist conflict.
      By choosing not to purchase a product such as Soda Stream dispensers or patronize Starbucks mainstream Americans can now meaningfully add their voices to a discourse from which they have long been excluded. As I see it those Zionists who are panicking about BDS realize that there nothing within the law that organized Zionism can do to combat the growth of BDS.
      This is so because BDS action takes place on a micro-economic level: millions and millions of small, private, personal purchasing decisions that not only cannot be countered they cannot even be identified. In essence, each BDS action is a secret ballot. So, having been effectively neutralized relative to the politics of the Zionist-Palestinian for sixty-odd years, the American public, ironically and poetically, has been granted a seat at the table of power courtesy of a Palestinian-led justice initiative.
      Perhaps the best contemporary parallel to BDS’s rise, growth and popularity (there is no other word for it) is the struggle for LGBT rights: the arc and velocity of progress in that area is nothing less than breathtaking. The institutions of social control were long able to deny equality to millions of gay Americans because they were effectively dehumanized and subtracted from the political calculus. No more. The moral bedrock has shifted and there will never be a return to the days when gays had no rights and could be discriminated against with impunity. The taboos have all been shattered (I like to think that Debra Messing/Will and Grace had a LOT to do with that) and a critical mass of mainstream Americans have called their earlier anti-gay memes into question.
      Same now for Palestine.

  • U of Michigan student gov't meets tonight, amid anticipation of divestment vote
    • The problem with using the word "tabled" is that it carries both a definition and its opposite:

      verb [ with obj. ]
      1 postpone consideration of: I'd like the issue to be tabled for the next few months.
      2 Brit.present formally for discussion or consideration at a meeting: an MP tabled an amendment to the bill.

      IOW...thanks to history/usage it means to both "postpone" and "present".

      If we are going to use the term we should always include a clarifier.

  • Jewish community commits intellectual suicide before our eyes
    • It is worth mentioning here something about the cascade effect these disgraceful censorship and proscription gambits have on SECULAR culture. For example, the 127 presidents of US universities who signed an anti-BDS letter were acting not in the interests of their universities or their faculties or students but out of a warped sense of commitment to Zionism. Their letter amounts to a public genuflection to an alien, foreign ideology and qualifies them, in my view, for dismissal. We should act to prevent all future episode of censorship from being carried out anonymously: until and unless we can firmly identify the players behind these decisions to erode our historic traditions of free speech, via a vibrant and unrelenting push-back, they will continue.

  • Netanyahu and ministers lash out at 'insufferable' Kerry for mentioning 'boycotts'
    • Israel has “friends around the world”? Last time there was an open vote on this issue during the UNGA vote to accord Palestine non-member state status (November 12, 2012)138 countries voted against Israel and only nine in favor.
      The BDS campaign can be thought of (and should be promoted as) a global version of a “counseling intervention”: An intervention is an orchestrated attempt by one or many people – usually family and friends – to get someone to seek professional help with an addiction or some kind of traumatic event or crisis, or other serious problem. The term intervention is most often used when the traumatic event involves addiction to drugs or other items.
      Merely mentioning the term “boycott”, even in the context of condemning it unhinges Organized Zionism. I see this hypersensitivity as a reflection not merely of the current BDS campaign’s vitality but also of its looming potential. A real, and really revolutionary, feature of BDS is that it “atomizes” the process of dissenting from the Zionist worldview AND simultaneously allows for a public show of solidarity with Palestine. No longer does one have to be “credentialed” member of an academic, political or economic elite in order to have any say in the discourse around Palestine/Zionism. BDS makes it possible for literally anyone to be a player and act meaningfully for Palestine and in opposition to Zionism through the simple act of being conscious consumers. Historically, Organized Zionism has been very successful at gaming "systems": however, it is helpless in the face of a growing global movement that engages "individuals" engaged in the very private, very personal realm of daily, routine life-living. Zionism has no conception of how ordinary people live and think. How does one combat that dynamic? Orwell suggested the “Ministry of Truth” and “telescreens”.
      BDS is a non-violent mass democratic action available to effect change on the ground in Palestine for the better and, ironically, every condemnation of it only serves to magnify its morality, reach and effect.

  • Vote at the Guardian: Should Oxfam sever ties with Scarlett Johansson?
    • I wholeheartedly support the call for Scarlett Johansson to sever all her ties to Soda Stream immediately. No lessening of Palestine solidarity pushback should occur until this is done. If she fails to do so in short order then the call for Oxfam to sever all their ties with her is also appropriate and essential.
      Her comments to date are not encouraging but we must ask ourselves if she has been "birthrighted": has she been spoon-fed a diet of hasbara pablum? Has she had her perceptions of Zionism exquisitely fine-tuned so as to cause her to support Soda Stream and blinded her to the moral legitimacy of Palestinian resistance? We need to know if she a rational Zionist player or is she being played by Zionism? I wrote to Oxfam several days ago urging them to require her to choose between "Oxfam or Occupation" but I wonder if there isn't something else we can do before calling for her ouster from Oxfam? Perhaps there is a way to translate this pushback into a genuine Palestine learning experience for her and the general public?
      I suggest we ask Oxfam to invite her to visit Palestine officially as an Oxfam Global Ambassador. If she accepted she might have the same kind of transformative experience that many other Americans have had: coming back from Palestine as radically changed people.
      Rather than working merely to neutralize her can we offer a different model for dealing with anti-Palestinian propaganda? Zionists play hardball 24/7 and employ censorship, shunning, threats and proscription as the first order of battle because they see the world through the lens of inculcated xenophobia. It’s all they have. Palestine solidarity does not have to mirror Zionism: we can urge Oxfam to invite Johansson to visit Palestine as an Oxfam Global Ambassador and let her learn heuristically—the purest form of education—about the justice at the heart of the Palestinian narrative.
      Would it not be a good thing to have someone who inhabits the eye of the media storm visiting and speaking publicly about Palestine? How is that not a good thing? Of course, we cannot know if she would accept Oxfam’s offer (or if they would offer it) or if she did how she might be affected. What we can say is that if we believe in the justice of Palestine's case and the phenomenal power of the authentic Palestinian narrative to touch the human soul then we lose nothing and gain much by offering Johansson an opportunity to see Palestine firsthand as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.
      Might it be possible to get her not merely to abandon Soda Stream but to reject Zionism outright? This kind of person-to-person experience might work for Bill de Blasio as well (it helped him come to see the justice of the Nicaraguan struggle against Somoza). It might become a new meme to demand of politicians and celebrities reflectively critical of Palestinians or Palestine solidarity that they actually visit Palestine in much the same way that many of them have accepted AIPAC-packaged visits to Israel as a way of claiming some form of knowledge of the Zionist-Palestinian conflict.
      It is one thing to wound a tyrant: it is something else entirely to have his rank-and-file defect to Palestine.

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