Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 38 (since 2009-08-02 14:51:36)

Ethan Heitner

Website: http://www.freedomfunnies.com

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  • Proposal for a Direct Action, Yom Kippur 5775
  • 'Israel today, Israel tomorrow, Israel forever,' Rep. Hakeem Jeffries says at NY rally
    • Holy shit. I can't believe I'm still shockable, but I'm shocked at that speech by Hakeem Jeffries. Is there a list anywhere of electeds in attendence at this event?

  • Diaspora Jews must speak out against the Israeli Law of Return
  • Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
    • Fascinating indeed. In the Zionist history I was given growing up, we were always told that with the notable exception of the Vilna partisans, Jews were not welcomed in Polish anti-Nazi partisan units--- that in fact they turned over Jews they found to the Nazis, even as they were fighting the Nazis.

    • Also caught my eye in the NYT today was this review of what sounds like a very interesting art exhibit exploring themes of Zionism, counterhistory and the fates of Polish Jewry, from Israeli artist Yael Bartana:
      link to nytimes.com
      "The narrative that unfolds among the three videos concerns a kind of reverse Zionism, the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, initially a fictive campaign to rebuild the Jewish population of Poland that Ms. Bartana is apparently turning into a reality.

      In “Mary Koszmary (Nightmares),” a youthful leader stands before a microphone in the abandoned National Stadium in Warsaw exhorting an invisible audience to return, build new settlements and plant trees. Upon finishing, he is greeted by a small delegation of children and teenagers, wearing red neckerchiefs, who could be Israeli, German or Soviet.

      In “Mur I weiza (Wall and Tower),” a horde of wholesome-looking young men and women, redolent of 1930s propaganda films, build a ’30s-style kibbutz in a once Jewish neighborhood in Warsaw, complete with watchtower and barbed wire that also conjure concentration camps. From the tower they unfurl a red flag whose motif resembles the German eagle.

      “Zamach (Assassination)” occurs after the assassination of the young leader in the first video: an enormous bust of him worthy of Lenin is dedicated in a city square as hundreds of demonstrators and helmeted police look on. "

  • Freedom Funnies: There is a checkpoint around this center!
  • In three cities, pension fund TIAA-CREF urged to end complicity in Israeli occupation
    • What do you propose to replace it? Nonrhyming blank verse? May have more literary sophistication but works much less well to keep a crowd together and active. I'd much rather chant (especially if the chants are funny and innovative, as Adalah-NY's tend to be) than listen to boring speeches or stand around in stony silence.

    • It is in my anecdotal experience especially those BDS activists who are union members who would like to work on making their union pension funds more ethical by divesting from Israel, but most of the strategic discussions I have witnessed have focused on the fact that it is not practical yet. It is precisely because most union leadership in this country is so "staunchly pro-Israel" as you point out that any divestment campaign within the union would be extremely difficult. The TIAA-CREF campaign has been a massive undertaking and is still going to be a long road until victory. I'm not saying those union campaigns won't come-- but it's going to be a tough fight that we want to be well prepared for.

  • Pro-Israel activists break new ground -- an anti-Arab hate video
  • The things I miss (confessions of an activist)
    • First off, I want to start with a salute to Sarah and all the many activists who are out there sacrificing their time, their energy, and so much more for the cause of justice. It was hearing my roommate's stories of the struggles she faced at SJP that inspired me to turn her stories into a comic. Part of that story, Phil, is learning when engaging with the enemy is actually just a drain of your time, your resources, your spirit.
      What do we get out of it?
      The comic is called "Nothing Normal About It" and addresses the idea of "normalization." You can read it in full here:
      link to freedomfunnies.com
      Of course, the stories that Sarah and other activists I know share are not addressed: after all, we want to have fun, we want to be able to enjoy our life, we want to do things the easy way out, but for many Palestinian activists (and their allies) they choose to take on the burden of doing something to make this world better.

  • Aharon Appelfeld's rage at the German language (and Arendt's need for it)
    • I don't know what this is supposed to prove. "There are varying degress of anti-gentilism among Jews"-- so what? Does that in any way lessen or excuse what happened in Europe? Let us also remember that the Nuremberg laws which codified racism were passed well before the start of the war. Many disgusting scenes of anti-semitism were quite public well before the war-- making elderly Jews wash the streets with a toothbrush or their beards, forcibly expelling Jews from universities and places of employment. I do not know what your intentions are, but the sum of your arguments seems to me apologist.

      For that matter, why should non-Palestinians care about Palestinians? Why should anyone stick their neck out for anyone? But plenty of people do. And we know from their example that it was perfectly possible for others and for us.

    • Anton Shammas writes in Hebrew (beautifully). Several Israeli Jews from Arab countries continued to write in Arabic (there was one, an Iraqi, who died a few years ago who I remember reading insisted on continuing to write in Arabic only).

  • RIP MCA: Yauch challenged Islamophobia and US militarism in the Middle East on MTV in 1998
    • Clinton sent cruise missiles to destroy a civilian pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, in retaliation for the Kenya embassy bombings, which remains an oft-cited example of pre-9/11 state terrorism perpetrated by the U.S. for those of us who remember. Many, like Chomsky, cite a figure of thousands of deaths caused, not by the strike itself, but by the lack of vital medicines that the plant produced for a very poor nation.

  • Netanyahu goes looney tunes on Israeli Independence Day
    • I didn't catch all of it, Bibi is talking about the many great things they have accomplished in 64 years of independence, technology that the whole world uses, computers, cell phones, etc. etc. standard talking points, then he says and the parrot and cat repeat the popular shabbos song from the beginning of Psalm 133, as King James translates it: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"

  • Freedom Funnies: ‘You Can’t Just Continue’ Part II
    • @Denis-
      Yeah, so, in the past 30-40 years most people have realized that comics, as a medium, are not an inherently "simpler" or "easier" artform suitable only for children or simpletons. There have been a staggering number of beautiful counterexamples of adult, intelligent, complicated comics and it's a little silly to still have to be making this argument in 2012. Suffice to say I recommend you get yourself to a library or bookstore. You'll have to figure out what your tastes are, but some of my favorite complicated, adult cartoonists are:
      Chris Ware, Eddie Campbell, David B. (French cartoonist), David Mazzuchelli (Asterios Polyp), Seth Tobocman (check out his War in the Neighborhood), Joe Sacco, Art Spiegelman, etc. etc.

      Really, check them out, you'll be doing yourself a favor. I'm not going to make any claims about my work in particular, but again, you aren't talking about my work, you are making very broad assertions about the medium I work in.

      Unrelated is your question of propaganda.

      Propaganda can also be for adults, you know.
      I think you are raising interesting points about fiction vs. documentary nature. It is true: I am taking the recorded words of an interview with Annemarie Jacir and adding a layer of interpretive drawing in order (I hope) to augment, clarify, and add visual impact to her words.

      I don't think that's a bad thing tho. I don't think propaganda is necessarily a dirty word. I'm really dedicated to the idea that visuals can make complicated ideas easier to understand, can add clarity, can make things memorable, beautiful, etc. I think that is the basic principle behind all graphic design, and I think it is sort of inescapable:
      you actually literally cannot present "just the truth," "the bare facts" without embedded it in some sort of style, some sort of presentation-- even a plain sheet of white paper with words printed on it is a visual presentation that haselements one can make conscious choices about. As we used to say in my lit theory classes, the thing about "style" and "content" is that that they are the same. You cannot separate them cleanly.

      To me, the problem with Captain Israel is not that it is propaganda. The problem is that it is poorly done, aesthetically ugly propaganda espousing a hateful rhetoric.

    • Ok, now I don't understand you. At first I thought you were in favor of "Doonesbury"-style satire and I was like, yes, it would be awesome, I'm just not the artist to do it.

      Now you are rejecting fiction entirely as a medium for artistic expression regarding politics? I'm not even going to engage with that, it seems too absurd on the face of it. Suffice to say I actually credit much of my development as an anti-Zionist Jew to reading Hebrew and Arabic literature, from A.B. Yehoshua's "Facing the Forest" to Anton Shammas' "Arabesques" to Elias Khoury's "Gate of the Sun." I think fiction is incredibly powerful, precisely because facts can be contested.

      But I'm not even sure why you bring that up in this discussion, because these particular "Freedom Funnies" comics are non-fiction interviews with actual people. It leads me to suspect that you took one look at the word "Funnies" in the title, immediately lept to your pre-conceptions of what a comic is, and failed to read the comic in front of you.

      And then you end by pissing on my entire medium. Of course, if you believe that "'funnies' appeal to half-functional, lazy minds that can’t be bothered sorting it all out" I'm not sure why I'm bothering to talk to you. You're the literary snob version of a Zionist claiming that all Arabs are racist bloodthirsty savages ;).

    • Man, I was also pretty pleased with the drawing of the Israeli soldier using one hand as a hand-puppet with the tragedy and comedy theater masks. Tho maybe that was a stretch as a metaphor for how Israel uses cultural institutions to whitewash or distract.

    • Chaos4700-
      Who is the Israel supporter you are referring to? I'm hoping not Denis, but all I read in their comment was a critique of the comics' manner of presentation, not of the politics.
      I have been around these forums long enough to note that there may be a tendency to leap to attack anyone who offers dissenting viewpoints, which I think is unhealthy.

    • Hi Denis-
      Hopefully you see more differences between my comics and Captain Israel than just which side of the debate we are on. While I agree that satire is a great weapon, it's not one that I always feel I have in my arsenal.

      Anyways, I'm using "funnies" a bit sarcastically and a bit in the sense of the word "comics"-- they are not funny, they are not comic. But that's what the artform is, from Joe Sacco and Chris Ware to Mutt and Jeff. Cartooning can have a wide variety of registers, targets, modes, just like writing prose. I thought it would be interesting to use my platform at Mondoweiss to interview Palestinian artists, and talk to them about making art under apartheid.

      I also really hate the use of "graphic novel" to mean comics that are serious.

  • Responding to commenters on recent bannings
    • Thanks for these clarifications and honestly for taking tough choices. Mondoweiss readers, remember, nobody is owed a platform and your rights of free speech don't mean you have the right to be given one. The job of an editor is, in part, to decide what speech to feature in a publication, and what the limits of discourse are to be, and that is perfectly appropriate.

  • Bachmann comes to Manhattan for Zionist org's Brandeis dinner
  • Needed: 'worldwide external pressure'
  • In 1950, Avnery offered first Israeli corroboration of 'the Palestinian narrative'
    • Avnery was not alone.

      I would also recommend, in this genre, the novella 'Khirbet Khizeh' by S. Yizhar, published in Israeli in 1949, which offers a very similar account based on the author's experience of expelling a Palestinian village. It used to be taught as part of the Israeli Jewish high school curriculum. It, like Avnery's book, was only translated into English recently:
      link to ibiseditions.com

      There is also a recent collection of poetry, edited by Hanan Hever and published by Zochrot, called 'Al Tagidu B'Gat' which is a collection of Hebrew-language poetry about the Palestinian Nakba by diverse authors all published originally between 1948-58.

      Which just confirms, of course, what is very logical-- the first generation of Israelis did not deny what had happened, because they could not. They did it. It wasn't a secret. It was public.

      It was only later that those memories could be surpressed. And of course, here in the States, it's the American Jews who remained ignorant for the longest time.

  • Encountering Leonard Cohen in an L.A. pizzeria
    • I am glad that our movement will not be held hostage by "the Israeli left." We are not going to waste more decades than we already have trying to placate your fickle demands or salve your wounded pride. We are moving forward, and have extended a hand to you to join us in sharing a vision of peace built on justice for everyone. Many Israelis have joined us. The choice is yours. We would love to work with you to build a better future for everyone, but we do not need you.

  • Brooke Gladstone is hip
    • I was browsing through her book, illustrated as it is by the fabulous Josh Neufeld, one of my favorite cartoonists, until I came to the section on "objectivity." Wherein she interviews Ethan Bronner, NYT Jerusalem Bureau chief, as a paragon of how to put one's personal feelings aside to report "just the facts, ma'am." I was not interested in the book after that.

  • Palestinian boycott committee welcomes statehood resolution
  • BDS flashmobs are largely led by women (who must contend with misogyny)
    • Yes, her primary agenda is being safe among people she considers friends, as all of us have a right to be. We cannot ask people to confront the hatred and physical threat of Zionism if we do not do our best to work for safety within our own group for all members. It is the responsibility of all of us to make sure we are keeping each other safe, it is NOT the responsibility of the victim to confront someone alone.

      We are talking about violence (whether physical or implied) and assault here. Even if it is only disrespectful language, it should not be trivialized, as you did. Many examples have been posted on this site of the disrespectful language Zionists use to talk about Arabs or Palestinians--should we condone that sort of behavior in our own groups when directed toward women? It is "rude" but it is also dangerous and if not confronted, time and time again has been shown to only escalate.

      To the below commenter: yes, if by the "current values of the Bay Area" you mean respect for everyone, that is what I demand of any movement I am part of. And Palestinians I work with demand the same.

      Thank you, Ms. Mizrahi, Ms. Feldman, and others for being brave enough to step forward amidst and start this discussion, which is clearly necessary.

    • I am glad that the BDS activists I work with in real life are not like some of the commenters of this post. They acknowledge the responsibility of their work, which means accepting criticism. They are mature enough to not confuse political disagreements with criticism of methods, strategy, or fact. They certainly do not stoop to accusing other people of insufficient "devotion to the cause" merely for having criticism. Our activities grow stronger when we factcheck, when we do the hard work of internal critique, when we can discuss things openly without namecalling.

      But more importantly, no group I would ever organize with would condone the misogyny of telling a woman who is reporting having her physical boundaries violated by a fellow activist that she is just repeating "the tired old clichés of the seventies" and trying to "weaken" the movement. The disrespect of saying K. Feldman is upset because she was "hit on" inappropriately should not be tolerated.

      I normally would ignore this as "merely" the anonymous trash talk of the internet, but I think its very important that these comments, even if they are just comments on a message board, do not go unchallenged.

      The only way for women (or queers, or people of color, or anyone who is in a relatively less privileged position) to be safe is for them to be able to trust that when they come forward with information they are met by a supportive environment that respects them and their testimony. The only way for our movement to lead to equality is if we mean equality is for everyone.

  • Agnon and Joyce on the cruelty of community
    • Thank you for doing that research. I should have, and I'm glad I included a caveat in my initial statement, but I apologize for my laziness. Of course, books printed in Israel are boycottable.

    • Mooser, why the attack? You don't know who I am or my politics. Not that my politics or personal identity should be relevent-- reread the comment I made and identify the problem you have with it. I am an active BDS organizer in New York City. You are being anonymously rude.

    • So, Mondoweiss friends, what Jon is linking to here is important: apparently some councils in Scotland took it on itself to ban books by Israeli authors from libraries.

      That is not part of the BDS call put out by Palestinian civil society and I think personally has no place in the BDS movement. The ,BDS call for cultural boycott comes with very specific guidelines and clearly stands against boycotting individual Israeli artists or authors, or cultural producers. It calls for boycotting cultural institutions, which include the tours of Israeli artists funded by the Israeli foreign ministry, but not the cultural output of individual Israelis.

      If the Express article is accurate, it is NOT an accurate application of the boycott call and I think can be denounced reasonably. Personally, not speaking for anyone other than myself, I think it is important to denounce such overreaches. The goal of BDS has never been to blacklist individuals.

      Haytham, I entirely agree with everything you have said. Just because Israel does have its own cultural contributions doesn't mean it also doesn't engage in cultural appropriation, and the felafel/hummus/"israeli salad" stuff annoys the hell out of me.

      I'm just saying that negating the contributions of Agnon, Yizhar, Bialik, or Rutu Modan or Assaf Hanuka, wholsesale is as much an anti-human position to take as Zionism. We are not here to dehumanize Israelis.

    • Eatbees comment doesn't explain why xe feels Agnon stole his story from Qais wa Laila, true. I am making the assumption that it is meant to be a critique of implied Zionism, which seemed fair to me given the context of this website and the general tone of comments on it. Which I also don't have any sort of problem with in general. I similarly don't know why you are assuming I am resentful of anything. I am merely calling out what I saw as an (admittedly implied) assumption of anything Israeli=Zionist=stolen from Arabs. I saw a comment elsewhere that "Israel has no culture, how can it, it is only 60 years old" and I think that sentiment is very wrong, even from an anti-Zionist perspective.

    • "Stolen his story from the classic Arabic"-- uhm, just because he is Israeli doesn't mean everything he did was stolen from Arabs. The story is a near universal one.

      Phil, if you want some classic Israeli literature I highly recommend 'Khirbet Khizeh,' by S. Yizhar. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on it. It is a beautifully, poetically rendered tale of the expulsion of a Palestinian village from the perspective of the Israeli soldiers doing the expelling, written in 1949 after Yizhar had personally witnessed such events. It used to be part of the core curriculum of all Israeli high school students.
      link to ibiseditions.com

  • I left the corporate bubble -- and am now trying to give a voice to the scores of Palestinian Gandhis
    • Dear Pam-
      I would strongly urge you to partner with organizations, especially Palestinian-led ones, that are already doing some of this work, rather than 'reinvent the wheel.' I recommend to your attention the IMEU, the Institute for Middle East Understanding, as a project already committed to doing much of this work in the long term. It is important to realize that our relative privilege, which allows us to parachute into an issue, even in a way that we feel is life-transforming for us, also can also blind us to how we operate. Being accountable to Palestinians is important, because they are the ones in whose name our struggle exists and for whom we act. While "acting as a megaphone" may seem like you are merely stepping out of the way and allowing their voices to speak, your editorial vision and voice will of course be dominant in a documentary you make, and as a recent "convert" I worry that you may get caught up in the heady rush wanting to do something, anything, without worrying about accountability and responsibility. I would have made this a private message to you, but could not find your contact information anywhere. Respectfully yours.

  • Past is Present: Why settler colonialism still matters
    • Settler colonialism is not immigration. It is not about "residence." Go to the conference and you might learn something!

  • Moroccan activists look to join protest wave this Sunday
    • Tamazight is one of the languages of the native people of north Africa, who are also called Berbers. They call themselves Amazigh. They make up a large percentage of the population of Morocco, and sizeable percentages in Tunis, Algeria, Mauritania and other parts of North Africa.

  • Out of answers on how to confront BDS, StandWithUs comic book portrays Palestinians (and allies) as vermin, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda
    • If you're looking for something to wash the taste of that out of your eyeballs, and enjoy some bitingly hilarious satire of zionist propaganda, may I suggest the cartoons of Eli Valley?
      Specifically, the antidote to this one would be
      "Israel Man and Diaspora Boy"
      link to evcomics.com

      Also, humbly, my own contributions to the fine art of comic books for justice, the story of Abdallah Abu Rahmah:
      link to freedomfunnies.com
      (toot toot)

  • Israeli spoof of brainwashing -- in kindergarten

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