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Total number of comments: 4422 (since 2011-11-07 00:34:23)

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  • 'We want him to speak up on Palestine': Boston SJP statement on being kicked out of Bernie Sanders rally
  • Iran Deal coalition breaks apart, and J Street looks more and more like AIPAC
    • Tree,

      You're right, except that activists shouldn't even slap each other's wrists, in my view. They should work together and make constructive criticisms, not take a penal attitude. If Weir did not advocate anti-Semitism, then she does not need slapping. She and CEIO are both anti-racists working on a major social justice issue. If they denounce each other, then it's destructive of their efforts towards a movement that is still socially marginalized.

      The same goes for JVP. I certainly would not want the Solidarity movement to ban JVP just because it is inclusive of supporters of the concept of the Israeli State as the UN recognized that state in 1947 with the borders that the UN gave it.

      Instead, with the Weir controversy, the groups should work together to achieve the best outcome. eg. They should consider how have progressive movements treated these questions in the past to lead to positive outcomes for both parties. With JVP, the UN has declared the 2SS, so it's a legitimate position for some people in JVP to take. Why not live and let live and work together if your allies have the same basic values and goals of social justice? Otherwise you are working against justice and peace.

    • Renaissance Man,

      You asked: "How could they make such a decision unless Allison was exposing some uncomfortable facts about the sordid history of Israel’s crimes, past and on-going?"

      Isn't JVP's official answer to your question twofold?:
      (A) During her campaign of reaching out to hundreds of outlets, Weir included interviews in the last six years (but chiefly from three to six years ago) to two racist programs and a homophobic program without sufficiently challenging their intolerance.
      (B) JVP considers focusing on the American interest and seeing lobbying as the crucial factor in US foreign policy on the conflict as "chauvinist".

      So you have to decide if those two things are bad enough to ban all collaboration with Weir, as JVP did.

  • Parents of slain Palestinian teen say Israeli forces planted knife
    • Isn't this a simple issue to solve? There are pictures of the lady, but are there any pictures of her holding the weapon? If she was not brandishing it at the soldiers, how would they know that she had a knife? Are they saying that she just stood there and brandished it at them, even though it's not in the photos, and that's all she did, and then they took her out while she was just standing there? It sounds strange.

  • What's behind Netanyahu's war on stone throwers
    • In case you haven't seen it already, compare:

      Israel Relaxes Live-Fire Rules Against Palestinian Stone-Throwers
      Peter Beaumont, Guardian UK
      "Israel's security forces will have greater latitude to use live ammunition against Palestinians throwing stones and firebombs - including against minors - as part of a tough new series of measures pushed through by the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu."

      NYTimes: Israel Acts to Combat Violence in Jerusalem
      "The security cabinet will ease some rules on police shooting and is proposing harsher sentences as it clamps down on Palestinians throwing rocks, firebombs and fireworks at Israeli citizens and soldiers."

  • Church group condemns cancellation of Rev. Hagler's 'Ferguson to Palestine' speech
    • “We are going to kill you in the name of Christ if you come to Rochester”
      Does that sound, I wonder, like the kind of thing a CUFI troll would say?

      Maybe a very deranged one.

  • Fasting for Palestine
    • Dear Marc,

      Thanks for still writing here all these years.

      It looks like a lot of your readership here will go through its own "Prophetic Exile" now within the Solidarity movement due to the official banning of Alison Weir by two of its biggest institutions.

      I am going to be paying more attention to the spirit of your work now to think through how to deal with this, Marc. I'll start with your book:

      "Future of the Prophetic: Israel's Ancient Wisdom Re-Presented". I notice that you have a section talking about Atzmon's "prophetic" insanity, which by virtue of your mere discussion of him makes you a fellow exile in a way.
      link to


  • Rev. Graylan Hagler disinvited to speak on Palestine, sent death threats
    • It's strange. I heard Finkelstein speak at U.Puttsburgh 10 years ago. Yet nowadays Finkelstein is on the right wing of the Solidarity movement since he doesn't support the BDS Campaign because it doesn't explicitly support a 2SS. Finkelstein is relatively less radical in terms of the Solidarity movement, so why should he have been disinvited?

  • Nostalgia
  • Losing My Religion: A high holy days reflection
    • I see that this essay is a kind of Day of Atonement talk.

      For those who are interested, the corollary in the Eastern churches to the sacrificial Day of Atonement is the Elevation of the Cross feast, which is occurring this week. Here is a video of the service in the Levant:

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • Dear Phil,

      Please see my message to you and Adam below (September 15, 2015, 6:18 pm). I think that your article raises an important topic.

    • Dear Phil and Adam,

      As you can see from the title of this article that you have posted- and you are excellent writers, one of the main issues is the charge and sensitivity over anti-Semitism.

      My question for you is whether it is appropriate for us to declare that even when anti-Semitism is real, in the current context there is too much sensitivity about it? The problem with making a declaration like that though is that I don't want to deny anti-Semitism's existence either.

      Let me give a few examples. Iran had a kind of Holocaust "Revisionist" conference a few years ago. That's nasty, and of course it's right for people to criticize it. But it seems that some people go overboard to the extent that it becomes a motivating factor driving the war with Iran. I mean, I think that people are genuinely incensed and feel very strongly about that, or about something that they might find in the Hamas charter referring to Jews, which I don't need to recite here. But in truth, Hamas and Iran don't actually propose intensely persecuting the Jewish people like in WWII Europe, since there is a significant Jewish population in Iran. At the same time, there is clearly no desire on our part to see any discrimination or theocracy in Iran as positive - it is harmful.

      Just objectively speaking, it seems like there are two factors driving confrontation with Iran and Hamas. One of them of course is militarism and a drive to have armed conquest instead of resolving things peacefully, a militarism that reflects the Clash of Civilizations.

      But the second factor appears to be a sincere opposition to anti-Semitism, but one that seems to be an overreaction, considering the current balance of forces. To give another kind of example closer to home, look at the firing of Steven Salaita or MJ Rosenberg's past diatribes against Ali Abunimah. I think that at least one partial motivation is that the accusers are sincerely concerned about anti-Semitism, and they see it indirectly in Salaita's tweets about Gaza or Ali A's comments about Zionists. The other motivation is of course their own positions on the IP conflict, which prevents them from seeing that Salaita and Ali A are genuinely opposing militarism directed against Palestinians and are not chiefly coming from some kind of anti-Semitic background.

      So considering these two factors, is it appropriate to not only object to the militarist "answers" that the Neocons and hawks propose for the Middle East, but also to explain that their concerns about anti-Semitism are oversensitive? Is it OK to advocate openly for less sensitivity about anti-Semitism? But to do that would also feel wrong. How could it be appropriate to tell people to care less about intolerance? Wouldn't that be downplaying genuine feelings of concern? If so, should that debate or motivation simply be avoided?

      What do you think, Phil and Adam?

  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
    • The refugee problem from ISIS is probably comparable to the refugee problem from the Nakba, except that hopefully ISIS will not be anywhere as permanent.

      If you support democratic, moderates within the FSA or other rebels, it's OK. But first, how many soldiers and what percent do those actual moderates represent? What portion of them are better than Assad? Are we talking about 50,000 pro-democracy moderate fighters, or less?

      The lion's share of the brutality in Syria and Iraq is done by groups like ISIS, not Assad. ISIS & co. seems worse than the Taliban!

    • Is Assange still hiding in Ecuador's embassy in the UK?

  • Debacle for the Israel lobby: Booker jilts Boteach, and Netanyahu sinks AIPAC
    • David,
      You wrote:

      If Israel started yet another war in Gaza or Lebanon, the Congressional rush to support it would be just as near-unanimous as it’s ever been.

      As you may know, one of the main reasons JVP banned Alison Weir this summer was because in their eyes she has a "tail wags dog" idea about US-Israeli relations, which JVP's Statement on her calls "chauvinist".

      Previously here on Mondoweiss you made an excellent defense of Ali Abunimah when he was attacked by M.J. Rosenberg as "anti-Semitic" because Ali A. misrepresents "Zionists" and stereotypes them in his view.

      What do you think about the scandal this summer with Alison Weir, and what did you think about the Solidarity activists' writings about it:

      Mondoweiss Roundtable with J.Hitchcock, S.Landau, R.Greenleaf, and about 1000 comments, a very large majority of which favor Weir
      link to
      JVP member A.Kisch's "Response to JVP regarding their excommunication of Alison Weir"
      link to
      "Ned Rosenberg", JVP Member writes a "dissident view" of the expulsion
      link to
      Media With a Conscience, "Open Letter" to CEIO
      link to
      H.Norr on VOMENA radio "on the Accusations against Alison Weir"
      link to

  • BDS is here to stay: Message to a CT synagogue
    • ^You are being sarcastic and alluding to Weir's expulsion on the charge of failure to oppose an intolerant framing.

    • B. Grand,

      Do you know anywhere that CEIO has taken a position of explicit disagreement with Zionism? I mean, has it ever said that it was a mistake, or something like that? I don't necessarily mean openly "anti-Zionist" like IJAN.

      Weir is in a very asymmetrical power relationship with those who've banned her. What Solidarity organization is bigger or stronger than CEIO and JVP?

      SJP? Maybe J Street, but I don't think that it counts.

    • Sorry, Mooser. I should have quoted them more explicitly, as in the accusations of:
      violating anti-racism principles by making
      (1) "troubling associations and choices (that) further include giving interviews"
      link to
      Not explicitly "Guilt by Association with Racists". This was my loose paraphrase of the charge.

      and (2) of making "little to no effort to challenge" the interviewer's views.
      link to
      Not “failure to condemn all racist claims in several interviews”, which was also my loose paraphrase of the charge. This was my interpretation, because as others have shown in the MW comments section, each time she was given a chance to talk after he said something offensively racist, she frequently or almost always did make a serious "effort to challenge" something, but on the other hand, she did not challenge all the interviewer's views either.

    • Kathleen,

      The decision to ban and shun the anti-racist Weir for "Guilt by Association with Racists" and "failure to condemn all racist claims in several interviews" is an irrational scandal. If JVP and CEIO, two of the biggest Solidarity organizations, combine to make a leading Solidarity activist persona non grata, it adds weight to the claim by Finkelstein that the Solidarity community can function as a "cult" where some leaders make a decision that the followers have to obey, even if the community is not on board with it. Or it lends weight to Atzmon's claims that there are AZZs who gave up their belief in a state intensely dedicated to one religion or ethnicity only and who strongly oppose Israeli military policies, but who otherwise generally carry along with them uneeded premises or biases that led to this belief. That is because if she is being judged based on "association via interviews with racists", it suggests that there is a bias at work in the denunciation.

      Personally, I don't like thinking about a "BDS cult" or about CEIO being AZZs, but if they are going to ban people for focusing on the Lobby or for allegedly overestimating its power, despite the fact that IP policies being decided in a bourgeois system where lobbies are typically extremely important in influencing major policies, then what are dissidents supposed to think?

    • Based on the timing of the expulsion and the outdated nature of the circumstantial evidence used against her, one can tell that the reason JVP and CEIO are banning her is because she is touring for a book that says the same kinds of things that Phil does about the Lobby.

      Weir sees the lobby as a key factor in some major parts of US policy on the Mideast, and perhaps the leading factor in US policy that supports Israeli control over Palestinians. JVP's leaders and at least a few of CEIO's object to her thesis and writing on this topic. Naturally, what happened may have been a confluence of factors: Weir contacted JVP chapters, USC chapters and went on a tour in major cities where they heard about her talks. Phil Munger had already confirmed in the MW comments section that people had tried to stop weir from speaking before, and Weir had long had opponents. One would logically expect that the Lobby would oppose her thesis and tour, and that her "weak point" would be her opponents in the activist community, since the Lobby would have difficulty shutting her down directly. So with the Lobby and a sector of the activist community opposing her talks that emphasize the Lobby's role, it is natural to see that their reaction to her tour was to make this denunciation and banning.

  • Pro-Israel Jews have 'inexcusable prejudice' against Obama -- Sandy Berger
    • I know a Chinese business lady who has lots of Jewish things in one of her conference rooms like a star of David and I think a menorah. However, she definitely isn't Jewish, and the reason is because she says that she has business colleagues who are.

      Now is that anti-Semitic? There is no need for her, someone who isn't Jewish, to be making over the top allusions to Jewish people and Jewish culture, and she is doing it all based on "business", that is, making money, which ties into the stereotype about Jews being good business people. That's what this discussion about Polish people with pictures of Jews for "luck" reminds me of, although of course if the Jews in the pictures are being made to look ugly like trolls or something then I would agree that it's offensive. Do the Chinese lady and the Poles discriminate against Jews? What is the right way to think about this if you don't want to get paranoid about both anti-Semitism AND unsubstantiated accusations of anti-Semitism?

  • Young, Muslim and Zionist?
    • I'm not talking about Farooqi here in particular, but it's just reality that basically if you want to get employed in any kind of work related to this conflict, you have to speak Arabic, work for a pro-Israeli group (pro-Israeli being said here in the broadest sense), or pack your bags and go to the Middle East, in which case it's still wise to know Arabic.

    • Page: 44
  • Ben and Jerry won't tell you who's trying to kill Iran Deal
    • Ben and Jerry’s has responded with a mealy-mouthed appeal for “cross-cultural understanding,” which has never really been a good antidote to oppression. No wonder they can’t call out AIPAC. They’re generally on AIPAC’s side.

      Unfortunately, that must be true if they are working in the Settlements and see cross cultural understanding as The Answer.

      Plenty of Israelis know Arabic, for example, although I think most don't. Is that fixing things? If you were looking at a conflict where the powers involved were of equal force and they were not in a struggle for a massive mutually claimed resource, maybe the cross cultural understanding could be practically all that was needed.

  • Why the mainstream media is still ignoring Max Blumenthal's excellent book on Gaza
    • Bint,

      Yes, Max is a very good writer and speaker.

      As for your last statement, Max's chapter names in Goliath sound far more anti-Semitic than anything Weir has written on her site. Max's explanation is that they were things that Israelis said. That may be true, but I think that if Weir had done that with chapter names she would not have lasted as long as she did before getting shut down.

  • Jewish community is Humpty Dumpty-- it won't come back together again, and shouldn't
    • Tree,
      I understand your point about some of Ben's (Toky's) views. However, you can also consider that what Ben (Toky) has just said that he would do - invite Weir to speak - would be considered a violation of JVP's ban on any cooperation with Weir. If Ben were a JVP organizer, it would make him an Open JVP advocate willing to give people like Weir an opportunity to focus on the Lobby's major role in Congress. What JVP's Statement calls her "tail wags dog" view is the second main grounds that it gives for banning cooperation with Weir. Based on that, Ben is a radical.

      Think about that for a moment.

  • A year after Shipman lost his Yale job for speaking out on Israel's actions, some Jews say the same thing
    • Pabel,

      It's hard to say. Look at what happened to Weir recently.

    • They could at least post a book review as we have been discussing in the comments section for a while. Phil has been on Weir's panel in DC in the past where he did a fine job.

      It would be strange if MW took a position against Weir, considering tha MW basically repeats Weir's thesis about the power of lobbying, not to mention that Marc Ellis has written things more offensive on MW than Weir and that MW even helped sell Shlomo Sand's book that promoted a version of the Khazar theory, which I find more "controversial" than anything Weir has theorized about.

    • Hello, Toky.

      I am also confused what you mean.

      The Pilgrims and Puritans in Britain were undergoing severe persecution by the English in the 17th century. So to make polemics about the Puritans in that time and place could be a form of religious discrimination.

      But then the Puritans came to the US and massacred the Indians and executed people because of religious differences or suspicions. And so in that different context it seems important to criticize the Puritans and Pilgrims.

      I am not advocating criticizing the Jewish people or the English people. It just seems to me that in some contexts you can criticize a religious group if they are in a position of power, even if elsewhere they have been discriminated against. What do you think?

  • For the high holidays, Bernie should bring his presidential campaign to Tzedek Chicago
    • Weekend at Bernie's

      link to
      On the other hand, Hamas... A lot of money were given to Palestinians.... went into tunnels... you got a group of people who want to take (Iraq) into the 7th century... ending the blockade should be a goal... concerns about Hamas...

      link to
      Sanders says he has no solution to IP crisis and needs more time to think about it.

  • Nadler says his vote against Iraq war caused some to question his 'commitment to Israel'
  • Netanyahu Asks GOP Candidates: What kind of contortions will you do for Israel?
  • Over 1,000 Black activists, scholars and artists sign statement supporting freedom and equality for Palestinian people
    • Here as you observe the word “antisemitism” sets people off. This is in large part because the accusation is often made falsely to shut down criticism of Israel or Zionism, but some think that any accusation that someone is antisemitic or insensitive to it means you are trying to distract attention from Israeli crimes.

      Hello, Donald.
      I think that few people would agree that any accusation of antisemitism means that the accuser is trying to distract from progressive goals. If you are accusing Holocaust deniers of it, I doubt that few people would be set off against you.

      But if an organization would ban a longterm human rights activist on grounds of Holocaust denial because of some indirect comments or writings (like Chomsky's essay on Faurisson in the Faurisson Affair), how should other Solidarity activsts respond?

    • Hello, Jennifer, again.

      I saw that your website is: link to

      I understand the importance of supporting peace between the parties and "freeing" an occupied people. But what do you have in mind when you emphasize supporting the Israeli state?

  • Danny Danon 'would only make Israel look more extreme' -- former Israeli ambassador
    • Cześć Piotr.

      I am not sure why this is a translation problem, because the same kind of expression exists in slavic languages:

      Ale przez prawie każdy środek sytuacja tylko pogorszyła się.

      Без трансплантации состояние сердца Максима только бы ухудшилось.

      How would you say in Polish:

      If Danon was appointed, the situation "would only" worsen.

  • Meeting Jimmy Carter
    • Good article, Marc. Nice personal touch.

      You mentioned Jurgen Moltmann: "Jurgen Moltmann, a well-known German theologian and a mainstay of the conference, opposed my presence. He wanted to avoid the Palestinian issue – and Jewish dissent – at all costs."

      You may find it interesting that even in the 1970's there were liberal Christian Zionists more ardent than Moltmann himself (if Moltmann qualified as one) and who harshly criticized him. See:

      link to

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • Henry,
      The question I am raising is whether she was banned from having a table before the CEIO itself began asking her questions in July. If they banned her table before then, then removing her table would be premature, since it would mean taking action before they had given her a chance to respond to them.

    • Annie,
      Why are JVP and CEIO being so silent about discussing the issues in their statements, like the ones Henry raised?

    • Rusty.
      That may be understandable, but then how do you explain CEIO's banning of her?

    • Rusty,

      Can you be more specific about the timing with denying her a table? Was she denied a book table before CEIO ever mentioned its own complaints to Weir?

    • Annie,

      There was a review last year that Weir reasonably considered to be cryptically hostile by an ostensibly "anti-Zionist" reviewer in Dissident Voice:
      link to
      The reviewer claimed mistakenly that Weir had written about the Liberty in her book, and the reviewer said that it was not a war crime to attack the Liberty. Weir added that "his inaccurate descriptions of me and my motivation echo Zionist mistruths about me."

    • Chris,

      To clarify, Ogman was the owner of the IfAmericansKnewAlisonWeir site? Or was he the owner of Contested Terrain?

      He probably wasn't hacked - that would be unusual, considering that the way that the would-be hackers left the main page intact. More likely the owner used a free webpage hosting service that relies on junk advertising to pay for itself.

      The main thing is that it shows a strong hand of clearly anti-Palestinian groups in Weir's banning. It's not just something that JVP and CEIO randomly happened to have brought to their attention five years later.

    • Paul,

      It is relevant because it shows that the problem is not Weir as an isolated case, but an ongoing practice. Gaza is probably going to get bombed again, and again. That's a huge problem that it takes every ounce of unity to address. Why are they banning groups working to stop it, using these kinds of justifications?

    • Chris,

      You can also use to check out the British blog that it linked to, Contested Terrain (CT). C.T. has on its blogroll "Medinat Weimar The Movement for a Jewish State" in Germany.

      You can tell the viewpoint of CT from some notes in its posts. For example, it mentions a British report that notes someone had graffitied “Love Jews Smash Zionism” near a holiday banner. CT concludes in the next sentence: "the report completely refutes the notion promoted by many anti-racist anti-Zionists that there is no connection between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. " It supported an essay saying that in the 1970's a “new antisemitism” arose with a "new name" of anti-Zionism. The site has a major focus on detecting hints of what it sees as anti-semitism among opponents of Israeli policies, like those who make comparisons between the Settlers and Germany's Lebensraum.

    • Paul,

      You write: "We are little more than a list serve right now, having given up our bank account , and we did not renew our domain name."

      Based on the list of members in good standing of the US CEIO, a member need not have its own bank account or website.
      link to
      So if you are a self-identified organization of people working together on the issue, you are viable. You could ask them what makes GMJ-NA nonviable in their eyes and whether every CEIO member organization meets those criteria.

      Remember, CEIO announces a very broad umbrella: "More than 400 groups and organizations- local, state, regional, and national- have signed on to the Campaign Call to Action".
      That will naturally include groups that do not even have bank accounts or websites, or even listserves

    • Dear A4tech,

      I can trust that you like most people are sincere in your desire for peace, and thank you for having a polite discussion. But not a few activists are very confused about the forces driving the banning of Weir. So when you come to the forum, apparently as a Muslim supporting both JVP and its full ban on Weir, and write the following, it just adds to the confusion about the forces driving that ban:

      "I know this may be controversial to some but people in Gaza aren't nearly in dire straits mentally or psychologically compared to the citizen populations of Israel" ~A4tech
      link to

      "I honestly think she (Hadil Shalah) knew she'll be shot and was willing to take one for the team in order to draw media attention to Israel's occupation." ~A4tech
      link to

    • Henry,
      In the middle of the AFP interview, what does Vilkermson consider to be the main reason for the failure to change US policy on the issue, unlike the change in foreign policy on South Africa?
      Now reread the second half of JVP's formal Statement on Weir.

    • A4tech,

      First, since you said that you are Muslim you might consider analogous situations in the Muslim world, when you write:"I concur with the opinion here that yes, appearing in the “right-wing” radio show panders to racists for support."

      For example, if a liberal in the Arab Spring went on a moderate Muslim program that has made the kind of statements that CAMERA reports about those programs, and the liberal made the kind of niceties that Weir did about tolerance and opposing anti-Semitism in her interviews, would that mean pandering to intolerance?

      Second, you write: "I am unable to find any documentations that ties JVP or it associates with typically racist sentiments with regards to Palestinians."

      JVP focused on an interview Weir made five years ago in which she didn't say anything racist herself. It's not really constructive to make a fishing trip" out of it, but perhaps one of JVP's leader has made a statement or action at some point that we would similarly object to? By racist sentiments, do you mean those that assign "the Palestinians" collective responsibility for the actions of militant groups?

      Mitchell Plitnick, JVP's past Education Director said: "The Palestinians are also to blame for firing missiles at Israeli towns." (link to

      As for the Right of Return, Plitnick also wrote an article "Right of Return Isn't Absolute" objecting to current CEIO director's principle of "a Right of Return for Palestinian refugees", saying:

      "There has long been a widespread assumption that this Palestinian claim ((of a 'right' to return to homes inside the Green line if they wanted to)) could be made to go away in the face of an agreed two-state resolution to the conflict. This was always false, but it's a very seductive notion for liberal Israelis".

      link to
      I don't think Plitnick's position is unreasonable on the ROR, but I don't think that he gives it enough credit either, because in a peaceful situation of mutual understanding where they were able to iron out all animosities, why couldn't they live together, even if the refugees raised the Palestinian population to 30% and borders were redrawn to compensate?

      Plitnick says that Abbas delivers a "self-serving version" when Abbas says that: “In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and.... Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs". Plitnick explains that instead, "the initial escalation of violence in the wake of the UN vote was from the Palestinian side, emboldening the growing voice in the Yishuv calling for the forced expulsion of as many Arabs as possible."
      link to

      Is Plitnick's version correct or does it wrongly blame the so called "Palestinian side" for the escalation and consequently the expulsions? Isn't the latter one of the typical prejudiced sentiments about them?

      Now I could counterargue each of those three examples, A4tech, to say that they aren't necessarily racist against Palestinians, but I would extend the same courtesy to Weir with the same reasoning. I am not especially interested in a comprehensive data mining of JVP's leaders and advisors, as has been done to Weir; Clay Douglas' website is rather hard to search back more than two years. Even if JVP's leaders have made a handful of such wrong statements against Palestinians in the last six years like "Nakba Revisionism", then I still don't want them to get expelled, because I believe that JVP is made of good activists who aren't actually racist.

    • Just,
      Weir's site says:

      We’ve discovered that the origin of the Clay Douglas accusations seems to be an anonymous website registered in 2010: The subhead is “Documenting Alison Weir’s Anti-Semitic Activism.” The site has only two entries, one of them a transcript of my interview by Douglas. There is also a blogroll with two links: Contested Terrain... Contested Terrain is no longer in operation, but... The domain was registered by a person named Robert Foster Ogman. Ogman appears to oppose those who speak positively of the .... Palestinian resistance movement

    • Hello, A4tech.

      You write: "I don’t think no one among the activists for Palestinian rights is genuinely trying to fracture the movement for peace."
      For what it's worth, there have been self-identified Palestine "activists" who do intentionally try to create problems and disputes in order to break down Solidarity activism. Some of the most obvious cases of people who would do that are those who show up in MW comment threads posing as activists but who it turns out later definitely are not. I heard that a few years ago someone came on here posing as someone living in a village, whom others in the village had never heard of.

    • Hello, A4tech.

      You write:
      "I agree 100% with everything Jennifer said, and I’m sure in due time everyone else will as well."
      That is a bit hard to do, since even Jennifer does not agree with what she originally said, like her calling Counterpunch a "questionable" source, a quote that has been removed.

    • Thanks, Henry.

      Weir writes: "Saying the word “Palestinian” itself was even considered controversial." She is right. I am not sure that the Campaign leaders who work at NGOs realize fully how strong the social pressure is. I myself sometimes have avoided using the word "Palestinian", even on Mondoweiss.

      She writes: "If Americans Knew and I myself have been listed alongside several leading pro-justice organizations on their top ten “anti-Israel” organizations and individuals."
      Henry, if you were an opponent of If Americans Knew, what do you think that the most effective ways would be to shut it down? Maybe do some muckraking from statements it made five years ago?

      CEIO's position is that if Weir makes retractions, then she could reapply for membership. She seemed to be willing to make a retraction about her quoting of Tucker here: "Perhaps, in retrospect, I could have cut out the offending quote from the article and just posted excerpts from it rather than its entirety, but I felt that the article contributed an interesting viewpoint to the debate." She also seemed to make retractions about her statements to Douglas, which seems it would meet CEIO's other criteria.

      Weir mentions: "we’re told that it recently excluded the Global March to Jerusalem; again without any process." It would be helpful to know more about this.

      She also mentioned a powerful incident:

      After I returned from my first trip to Palestine, I went with a small group to a progressive event in San Francisco called “Silent Voices Speak.” This event addressed virtually all types of oppression except that of Palestinians, even though the series took place during a particularly brutal period of Israeli violence.

      When I and the others tried to peacefully and legally hand out flyers about Palestine, the “progressive” organizers called the police and had me taken away in handcuffs. In other words, at “Silent Voices Speak,” my voice on Palestine was silenced.

    • Mooser,

      Welcome to the self-destructive world of divisive "Discourse" polemics and expulsions, in which self-identified "Zionists" are Zionists, and self-identified "Anti-Zionists" are Zionists, "Zionists", "anti-Semites", or anti-Semites.

    • Notatall,

      Reading the US Campaign's Statement on Weir carefully, it seems like CEIO might have been objecting even just to Weir's decision to appear on the show.

      Secondly, some of the activists' letters that I cited in my message below point out that she did challenge Douglas several times while on his show:
      link to

      Third, since she challenged racism on his show several times, it's not quite equivalent when you propose:

      The equivalent would be to go on some rabid zionist’s show and join the host in denouncing holocaust denial without saying a word about Palestine.

      Fourth, if an Israeli opponent of Holocaust denial who was a supporter of Palestinians went on a rabid Zionist's show to oppose that denial while giving only partial challenges, would it really be that bad? After all, opposing Holocaust denial, or in Weir's case supporting Palestinian rights, is a worthy cause, right? I am not saying that it would be wise, I am just asking if we need to say that the activist is actually supporting the program's views just by going on the show. Isn't that an unnecessary, extreme inference?

      Fifth, if a pro-peace Israeli did go on one of those shows a few times in their career to oppose Holocaust denial, while only giving partial support to Palestinians while on the show, do you believe that JVP would ban all collaboration with that activist?

      If not, then why ban Weir, a leading voice for people's rights there?

      Sixth, you ask:

      Why is it so hard for so many people, apparently including Alison Weir herself, to admit that in doing so she let down the people of Ferguson and elsewhere who are actual and potential allies of the Palestinians, and was therefore not merely ignoble but unwise? To admit a mistake would not mean confessing to being an antisemite, nor would it vindicate the gatekeepers of JVP and the ETO

      Do you think that the answer might be that she would have a hard time admitting that she could have answered Douglas better, since she is currently on an intense defensive by those you call gatekeepers, and that her concern is, as you mentioned, that it would open her up to further accusations by her opponents? Based on exaggerations found in the Statements against her, perhaps her concern is that she would be portrayed wrongly as "confessing to being an antisemite"?

      Does it count as a sign of an apology when she says:
      "I don’t pretend to be perfect, and (like most of us, probably) I often think later of things I should have said and better responses I could have given... I don’t pretend that I am perfect and that all my responses will be flawless; all I can do is try my hardest. I apologize if there were cases where I should have done better."

      Do you think that this suggests that had she been approached in a collegial, trusting, very friendly way, instead of being interrogated and banned, that she might have discussed more what you are looking for regarding her answers on the programs, Notatall?

      Seventh, how do you see JVP and ETO as gatekeepers?


    • Echinococcus,

      The US Campaign's convention will be in Atlanta this September 25:
      link to

      It could be a chance for activists to talk with each other about their ideas on the ban. It may be a rare chance for CEIO members to have an open voice in their organization about this.

    • Toky,

      Who were you addressing this to:

      And btw if indeed you take anti Jewish bigotry seriously that makes me happy. Happy to be wrong. I see the same pattern here however as always with you: Its not antisemitism or if it is its not worse than anything else and further even to mention it is to contribute to devaluing other forms of bigotry.

      Did you mean Annie? Because it's her job to block anti-Semitic comments from posters. So you may not see the time that she puts in blocking those comments.

      Also, what is your point about Ellis? Maybe some writers like myself to an extent just got lulled by his writings, which were almost daily over several years? I like Ellis though and find his writing interesting.


    • Mooser,
      The biggest risk I see to JVP and US CEIO is the "Why Now?" question. The things that JVP and US CEIO objected to basically go back to the PRA's open report against her and Finkelstein from 2007-2011. She hasn't been on Douglas' radio station for four years. So did JVP and CEIO just randomly and almost simultaneously raise this issue independent of each other years later? Or is the real reason her current book tour on the lobby, but they don't want to explain what the problem is with it?

      JVP's and CEIO's biggest strength may be their organizational weight. Weir is in some ways a "one-woman campaign", in that sense like Finkelstein, or Phil would have been without his co-editors. But JVP and CEIO are major organizations whose memberships together cover an enormous portion of the Solidarity organizations.

    • Khyu,

      Of course not. There is no need to do anything desperate like that because as a staffperson of Planned Parenthood, you have decent access to the mainstream news media, and birth control in the US isn't nearly an epic catastrophe like the conflicts in the Mideast. If millions of people were living as second class citizens or under martial law or in miserable refugee conditions due to eg. lack of birth control (which of course is not the case), could a few appearances on those shows out of thousands be tolerated without banning the activist, as long as the person opposed racism, like you said?

      What you are saying here has merit, and usually (but not always) Solidarity activists have avoided those kinds of programs. Still, her situation isn't analogous to the birth control scenario, because the Solidarity activists' message is not heard in the mass media and Americans, as Weir says, are generally unaware about it. With such a major catastrophe forcing the issue, her explanation is that she has had thousands of engagements to reach a very broad audience.

      Maybe there is not an absolutely comfortable answer to the question of whether we would ban an activist who did something like that to oppose a human rights catastrophe?

    • Jennifer,

      You write:

      Just a couple of quick responses. Re: that Brandeis Center document on antisemitic stereotypes: yeah, sorry if there was any stuff on “new antisemitism” in that, which I have said elsewhere is mostly complete BS.

      I think that this brings up an important point. The theory about "new anti-semitism" is that criticism of Israeli policies is a "new anti-semitism", and it relies on the inference that criticisms of Israeli policies must be racist.

      However, if one rejects this way of thinking, then doesn't it also put in question the idea that someone like Alison Weir, whose focus is criticizing Israeli policies in the same way that many other writers like Phil and Marc Ellis do, is somehow racist for that? If an accusation against her would have to use inferences and rely on claiming that in a completely different (eg. medieval) context and with different words (eg. not talking about Israelis), she would be racist, wouldn't that be the same kind of "inferential" logic?

    • Notatall,

      Actually, you can "run with the hare and hunt with the hounds" if you are a dog who has become friends with a hare (and in the animal kingdom this has happened). And what is to be made of those alleged "pro-peace" forces who claim to be liberal about Palestinian rights but who have strangely supported the past massive attacks on Gaza? Wouldn't that be a case of doing both?

      But that is beside the point. Weir says that her audience is the broad American one and that is why she goes on all outlets, and besides, don't those radio appearances in question represent only a tiny fraction of all of her interviews and engagements?

    • OK, I see what you meant in the second article: "I'm not quite sure what it is about Alison's stuff that brings this forth, but it is there - anti-Semitism. I don't think she brings it out on purpose."
      If you can't point to something in her stuff that is anti-Semitic, then could it be that it isn't, and it is really the whole IP conflict that is the problem?

      Munger was against banning Weir though:

      There was a serious behind-the-scenes effort to keep Weir from being able to speak at any of her Anchorage venues. Some people I respect highly participated in it. I find that disturbing. One person, Alaska Pacific University's president, succeeded. Good job, Mr. North!

    • Dear Philip,

      In your second article, you wrote:

      As much as it appears to me that Weir does know about the history of Jews in Palestine/Israel, reading through a lot of her material this past five weeks has led me to conclude she knows less about the depth of concern among American and European Jews about the worsening situation in Palestine than she should.

      Maybe what you saw as a lack of "kowledge" was simply a lack of emphasis because that is not her focus in her research, which is about the role of lobbying in previous decades with regards to US foreign policy in the Levant? Had her focus been a careful focus on the rank and file religious and secular community's overall attitudes in the pre-war era, perhaps she would have the emphasis that you are looking for?

      You also wrote in your blog post:
      "Her recent Counterpunch article, Israeli Organ Harvesting, was ill-considered at best.
      Could you say more about that? Do you think she should not have written an article on the topic?

    • Dear Preston,

      Regarding Rosenthal's claim that Sheehan "excludes other viewpoints," you wrote:

      It’s dismaying to see how Sheehan has been promoting the “truth” movement, which has paleo-libertarian roots and has been an obstacle to grassroots progressive change.

      How does her belief in her proposed "truth" mean that she is actively "excluding over viewpoints"?

      It does not make sense how that means she is a gatekeeper or something. These mindless accusations are the kind of thing that deters many activists from becoming engaged in Solidarity work. It's bad enough that they get the accusations from society who has listened to a militaristic narrative on the conflict.

      Next, you cited Stephen Zunes saying:

      Putting most of the blame on the Israel Lobby is reductionism at its worst, taking just one vector of power and influence and turning into a monocausal theory.

      Do you realize that this statement by Zunes does not make sense and that even on its face the statement misportrays those who focus on the Lobby?

      If someone puts "most" of their blame on the lobby, then he/she does not impose a "mono"-causal theory. So its indisputably that Zunes is misrepresenting those who blame the Lobby as if they must have a "monocausal" view.

      Weir herself of course recognizes that there are other forces at work like corporate investments, she just emphasizes the lobby. And this is a reasonable theory that she holds, since lobbying places a crucial role in many major fields of U.S. money-based, capitalist politics.

    • Dear Preston,

      You wrote:

      I think as people become more aware of Atzmon and his far-right collaborators, many will wonder why Weir wrote two pieces in support of him, and why she uses a blurb from him to promote her book on Amazon.

      Are you implying that this must mean she is anti-Semitic? If so, then do you think Marc Ellis is anti-Semitic and thus must be banned as well when he said:
      “ Instead of King of the Jews. Perhaps Atzmon should be recognized as the prophet of old, At least in his self description and his outreach, this is the way he appears”. And:
      "“Atzmon is extreme but, in his extremity, he is much like the biblical prophets.”
      (Marc Ellis, Future of the Prophetic, p. 332)
      You can read Ellis' lengthy, sympathetic discussion on Atzmon here, starting on p. 327:
      link to

      (See also his MW interview where he compares Atzmon to the prophets)
      link to

      He has given far stronger endorsements than Weir could imaginably have given. Ellis, like Weir, has made enormous sacrifices in their work for human rights in the Levant. So how do you assess Ellis and what measures should be imposed on him?

    • Gamal,

      Could you please elaborate?

      Are you saying that Weir was being monitored by her opponents like the poet was being monitored by the bats.

      I like the ending with a "road to daylight".

    • Atlanta,

      You know, the US CEIO convention will be in your city on September 25-27. It's probably one of the few chances for the membership to have an open say on this topic. See:
      link to

    • About two weeks have passed since this article was posted on Mondoweiss, and it is still going. Allow me to post for this Roundtable a Round Up of the most important discussions on the topic.

      2013: US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (CEIO) Adopts Anti-Racism Principles
      Counterpunch: Free Palestine Movement makes a critique and CEIO responds
      link to
      link to

      May-August 2015: JVP bans cooperation with Weir and CEIO expels her
      JVP Statement
      link to
      CEIO Statement
      link to
      CEIO Steering Committee member's explanation
      link to
      Scottish PSC supports the expulsion
      link to
      Corrie Foundation, SEAMAC, and PSC-Seattle support the expulsion
      link to
      AUHPR supports the expulsion
      link to
      Free Palestine Movement resigns from CEIO in protest
      link to

      Weir Responds
      "Please Help Us Overcome the Accusations", Weir's defends herself
      link to
      Weir's radio interview, in which she asks why exaggerations and misrepresentations are used in the accusations
      link to

      Solidarity Activists Discuss
      JSF makes five posts in July-August against Weir and Counterpunch, before and after the expulsion
      link to
      Petition with about 2000 signatures defending Weir
      link to
      Mondoweiss Roundtable with J.Hitchcock, S.Landau, R.Greenleaf, and about 1000 comments, a very large majority of which favor Weir (you are reading this entry.)
      A.Gupta critiques JVP and its banning of Weir
      link to
      JVP member A.Kisch's "Response to JVP regarding their excommunication of Alison Weir"
      link to
      "Open Letter to JVP" on Democratic Underground
      link to
      Anonymous JVP Member writes a "dissident view" of the expulsion ("Ned Rosenberg isn’t his real name. Being a dissident voice within JVP is proven to be a dangerous adventure.")
      link to
      Media With a Conscience, "Open Letter" to CEIO
      link to
      H.Norr on VOMENA radio "on the Accusations against Alison Weir"
      link to

      Ripples: the Counterpunch Controversy
      E.Hendick: "CounterPunch or Suckerpunch?" (following Counterpunch writer L.Proyect's posting of A.Gupta's critique)
      link to
      L.Proyect, "In Defense of Counterpunch" (countering Hendrick's tally of leftwing vs. rightwing Counterpunch articles)
      link to

    • Rusty,

      Did you think about going to the conference and talking about Weir? Overall, the US Campaign is a good organization.

      What is the proper abbreviation for the US Campaign? Aren't abbreviations usually made of the initials in an organization's title? I don't know why Atzmon calls it the EOIO, since there is no O before the I in their title.

    • On receiving your note, I dedicate this to you and Alison, B.A.J.

      Cheers, old boy.

    • BJ,

      Reading that statement by Barghouti again, it looks like at best an allusion to supporting JVP's decision. It's ridiculous that the "Left Collective" says that this was Barghouti "commenting directly" about Weir, since he never names her in the Collective's quote.

      A lot of this Weir Affair is simply Weird.

    • Bonajew,

      OK. Here in the US I saw it in the context of a put down used to misportray Palestinian activists' view of Jews.

    • BornaJew,

      I heard that Barghouti mentioned it in a JVP webinar, but does anyone have a link to that?
      link to
      The July 23 webinar is not online.
      If you saw it, could you carefully recount what he said on this?

      You better not tell them what your username is (I had to censor it), or you risk getting drummed out with a full marching band, based on the way things are going. See the Urban Dictionary definitions if you don't know what I mean.

    • Sibiriak and Echinococcus,

      The reason I used Merriam Webster was to debunk that it refers to some "political analysis" of history.

      Merriam Webster's definition has the downside of throwing in religion, because people can be hostile to religions without being racially prejudiced. And the root word "-Semitism" specifically points to an ethnicity, rather than a religion. So I think that it's wrong to see anti-Semitism as an inherent part in opposition to a religion. After all, the Bolsheviks were opposed to all the religions and religious communities in the Russian empire, but were they really anti-Semitic?

      That's why I say that the best definition should be a narrow one that refers to discrimination that is directed against a people as an ethnic or racial group, not as something else like "political analysis" or religion, because that just makes things too broad and as Mooser pointed out, people can get accused of it when they actually aren't discriminatory against any people or nationality but are only making religious criticisms.

    • Notatall,

      That would mean that someone who hates all Jews, but doesn't care about making it a "philosophy of history" is not anti-Semitic.

      But Merriam Webster defines anti-Semitism as "hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group."

      Maybe the impetus for the term's creation was not that it's necessarily different from discriminating against another whole group, but because whoever created the term had a special focus on it. (The Eskimos, I've heard, have 50 words for ice, proving that if you have a special focus on something, you can create different terms closely related to it.)

      If someone needs to express the idea of an "anti-Semitic political analysis", they can just use that three word phrase.

    • Can I ask if the boarding school thing was before or after 1970? Because the Catholics liberalized a lot since then.

      Personally, I sympathize with you, but think that the worst thing about going to a Catholic school before 1970 would not be taking lessons in a car. The worst thing would be going to a Catholic school before 1970, if you know what I mean.

    • Hello, Mooser.

      That seems a bit broad though. Is religion an essential attribute? If so, could one explain certain longstanding social problems in medieval Muslim or Christian societies as at least partly an effect of certain religious ideas without being discriminatory against those religions?

      Doesn't racism in its narrowest sense mean intolerance directed at an entire group based on false notions about the group's different inherent biological qualities?

    • Hello, Sibiriak:

      You asked:

      But then, what does that say about IF AMERICANS KNEW which is generally characterized as a nationalist-patriotic group identified with the U.S. (national group), i.e. identified with the world’s hegemonic imperialist power? Surely, there is a risk that they are biased toward that imperialist power, and might have a tendency to blame the moral failings of that power on foreign influences?

      The short answer I think is that what you are saying has a grain of truth. Just as JVP could have a bias, so could an American group or a Christian group or a Palestinian group. If Alison Weir were openly championing clearly imperialistic goals and slogans, then naturally her championing of that position would reflect the bias that you are talking about. However, I think it's only a "risk", as you put it, so I wouldn't presume it, just as six months ago I wouldn't have presumed that JVP would have banned all cooperation with Weir on the pretenses that they did.On the same account, Weir's critics shouldn't presume that Weir is imperialist just because her group supports American interests. Even JVP's FAQ says that the "true US interest" is against the Occupation.

      I don't see having an "American" organization as the same thing as having, say, a "Christian" organization or a "Ukrainian-American" one. The reason is that an American group is really tied together by citizenship, rather than, say, religion. The Socialists in Europe divided up on national lines and fought eachother in WWI, but the anarchists and pacifists probably had national organizations too without fighting in WWI. So dividing along national lines doesn't necessitate international conflict and can just be a nonsectarian delineation.

    • Hello, Jennifer.

      Your thesis on discourse appears to be that a human rights discourse, like opposition to Israeli politics, that has some similarities to racist discourse, like that in the 1950's US, shows that both discourses are racist at some important level.

      The problem with this thinking is that it also tars people who are not actually racist or saying actual racist things. Take for example the discourse on bad neighborhoods and crime and drugs. Complaints about those things can be part of a discourse against African Americans. But just because someone makes lengthy complaints about those things doesn't mean that the complainer is racist. If you ban the person, you may have just banned someone who in fact is genuinely concerned about crime and drugs and wants to solve the problem through constructive and positive means.

      Were we talking about an everyday environment removed from human rights advocacy, your thesis would be fine and progressive. The problem is that in a context where you say that anti-Semitism is not actually a major problem, like modern America in general, compared to Islamophobia or brutality against Palestinians, your thesis is being used to ban and expel leading human rights activists who have said things that only could indirectly resemble a different, racist discourse. That's a huge problem and it essentially handcuffs and locks down human rights activists because at some point in making hundreds of statements and interviews, it's inevitable that they will make several comments or decisions that indirectly could be seen as resembling a different, racist discourse. And then people whose main focus is detecting these potential indirect ties to a different discourse may choose to demand expulsion and banning of leading human rights activists instead of taking the understanding attitude that Susan Landau proposed above.

      It's a huge problem.

    • Blankfort's point in bringing up Lerner's opposition to the Rainbow grocery BDS motion was to show that the drive on the left is not really due to anti-Arab racism but to taking a PEP position. The grocery turned down the Boycott after hearing from Lerner, and Lerner is not driven by anti-Arab racism in particular. Lerner told people to "buy more Israeli products" at the store according to the article above.

    • The underlying issue behind the JVP-Weir Affair seems to be her new book tour. That explains the timing better than something 5 years ago, and the "tail wags dog" portrayal of Weir constitutes the second half of JVP's letter against her.

      In my view, the overall environment of US foreign policy is some kind of domination, as has been true with with most superpowers in history. The domination can take the form of either direct intervention and occupation or it can take place through spheres of influence. Numerous factors can affect what form it will take. In the Cold War, ideological alignments were a factor (like in the Contra conflict), but so can lobbies, as in the role of the notable Florida-based Cuban-American lobby in determining our Cuba policy even when Presidents were inclined to improve relations with Cuba.

      Certainly AIPAC and its direct allies are very powerful, as shown by the controversy over the Iran deal. Further, lobbies play a huge, outsized role in US politics, like in the issue of the tobacco industry. Is it really fair to say that US policies on tobacco are guided more by "US national interests" than by tobacco? Is it overall more to the advantage of US capitalism if the US continues to rely on wasteful gas cars, or is it more important to the car companies and to their lobbies? Arguably the latter. The way US politics works based on financial interests, lobbies play a crucial role.

      Consequently, my conclusion is that capitalism may set the parameters, but the lobby is a key leader within those parameters. Further, I don't see any US interest in the Israeli Occupation or discriminatory Israeli laws on Israeli Palestinian citizens, even if the Israeli military were a strategic asset. So it is hard to understand why the US would take enormous blows like having to withdraw from UNICEF for the Israelis to continue their Occupation.

      The focus of Alison Weir on the Lobby's key role is an important one, and resembles the importance Phil gives it here on this website sometimes daily.

      The only two times I know of an open debate between Palestinian rights activists who focus on the importance of the lobby and those who oppose them in doing so are Chomsky's debate with Omar Baddar and Blankfort's debate with Stephen Zunes.

      (1) JVP advisor Chomsky's debate with the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee's Baddar is here:

      JVP's advisor Chomsky endorsed the writings of Stephen Zunes a few times on the topic, and I think that one endorsement was during the debate above. However, Chomsky and Baddar seem to have softer attitudes about their own sides of the debate than Blankfort and Zunes do.

      (2) Zunes' debate with Blankfort is here:
      link to

      At 26:00 - Zunes said that rather than the Israeli lobby explaining cross party unanimous support for Israeli militarism, the problem is that the left like Move On is driven by "anti-Arab racism" and that explains why it doesn't challenge the pro-Israeli line.
      Personally, I find it doubtful that the Left is actually driven by anti-Arab racism when it thinks about the Mideast. I think that the actual reason for the PEP phenomenon on the left that Zunes talks about is the pro-Israeli sentimentality by the PEPs, not anti-Arab racism in particular.

      Blankfort points out in the debate that Tom Harkin was on a Palestinian HR Campaign board of directors. AIPAC came to his office one day, his employees were told to leave, and after that Harkin changed his position. The ADL spent 8 million dollars against Blankfort in a suit and lost because they could not find anything against him. Blankfort said that he is nowhere as important as a congressperson, implying that even more money must be spent getting to them.

      As for the left, Blankort pointed out that Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun magazine was going to picket the Rainbow grocery in California if the grocery instituted a humanitarian boycott, thus defeating the boycott. (See: link to wherein "Lerner spoke to about 40 Rainbow workers")

      Zunes concluded the interview by admitting that even he (Zunes) gets threatening phone calls for supporting Palestinian human rights. Zunes also said that prioritizing the lobby's importance was not anti-Semitic, although he said that someone could mistakenly make anti-Semitic conclusions from it.

      Blankfort said during the debate that the radio episode was historic because it is one of the few times that he can get someone on the left to debate the issue. He has said elsewhere that he cannot get people like Chomsky, Beinin, or Bennis to debate him on the issue.

      So I understand how people can have different views on the question. That's why I cannot comprehend how JVP made Alison's position of emphasizing the lobby like Phil and Blankfort do the second main basis for banning all work with her.

    • OK. Thank you, Annie for the editing above.

    • Annie,

      What I am saying is that even if you accept JH's incorrect premises about how to sniff out potential indirect anti-semitism, her conclusions about Weir still do not make sense.

      We are talking about a situation where the nonsensical does not make sense even within the world of the nonsensical. What do you do when that happens?

      (╯°□°)╯ ︵ ┻━┻


    • Mooser,
      It sounds like you do not agree with JVP's and ETO's banning of Weir?

    • To clarify, the Palestinians are not actually anti-Semitic, nor is Alison Weir.

      But even if we were going to use the excessively sensitive detection method of anti-Semitism that J.Hitchcock promotes, then Weir would still be less anti-Semitic than Palestinians. Mondoweiss has an article here about how Palestinian children regularly talk about their mistreatment by "the Jews". But Weir doesn't even write against the Jews.

      CAMERA and MEMRI make it their specialties to pick out intolerant statements by Palestinians (a population of maybe 7 million), and anyone is free to check their archives. But the things that J.H. and ETO have put forward are about the worst that they can prove against her.

      So even if you accept J.H.'s extremely heightened sensitivity test where any indications of any potential anti-Semitism are full proof, what she is still saying is still not rational.

      This was a kind of devil's advocate argument I was making. The ADL survey was extremely flawed, but it relied on the kind of anti-Semitism detector that J.H. relies on, searching out any potential possible indications of possible indirect anti-Semitism. And even if you use that kind of low standard, Weir is still "less anti-Semitic."

    • Taxi,

      [...] The point I have made to Weir's opponents was that if someone writes on the IP Conflict long enough you can find some offensive things someplace in their writing. Ellis has plenty of offensive things on the MW blog against Christianity, but that is not enough reason for US CEIO to ban Phil. The JSF blog has said offensive things about Judaism even though they are a leading force in the fight to ban Weir for posting Roger Tucker's article. If you go through Chomsky's writings or most other longterm writers on the conflict, you can find some offensive statements. That was the point of what I said to you.


    • Taxi,

      Somehow Mondoweiss is usually able to avoid having long extended thread arguments between intense pro-Israelis and supporters of Palestinian rights. I've ended up in these elsewhere on forums online. The pro-Israelis can go on for weeks or years, and it generally follows the rules of the Primer "How to Defend Israel and Win". You know- "Why are you singling out Israel?", etc. , and some of them end their posts with some brief personal "snarky" comment. After a few years of going one on one like this, it can break you down - me anyway.

      In some cases, one side makes irrational arguments but is very intense and dedicated to "staying in the fight" and getting the last word. It's really as if the good points that you have made have not really affected their outlook, even after a week of trying. And it is just hard to understand. I mean, is there some mental issue where they don't consider actually what people are saying, are not reasonable, and are totally dedicated to "winning" the argument in terms of overwhelming you with comments and repeating themselves so that it is supposed to force its way into you, or what? It reminds me a bit of idolatry or getting stuck into an intense ideology.

      On Mondoweiss, typically someone like Hophmi makes a rash, brief comment, gets a pile up, and then after a few exchanges leaves. The closest thing we had to what I am talking about was Richard Witty.

      With Jennifer, I want to remain respectful, and she did say that she withdraws her comment about Counterpunch. But the exchanges still remind me a little bit of those conversations I have seen.

    • I see some of Weir’s criticisms (but not all of them; as I have said, most of her work and statements do not suggest antisemitism and are commendable) as painting Israel and Jews/Zionists in a more uniquely sinister way than the vast majority of Palestinians

      I think that the ADL rated the Palestinians as the most anti-Semitic people on earth in their recent global survey. They rated about 90% or higher on the anti-Semitism scale of the ADL. I mean, have you read the Hamas charter or seen the cartoons?

      Since Weir has been very careful to avoid talking in generalizations about the Jewish people, I think that it's a pretty unrealistic argument to claim that she is somehow more anti-Semitic than what's common among Palestinians when she criticizes the Israelis.

    • Stephen,

      I know what you mean. Back when the Israelis made the prisoner trade with Shalit and Hamas, the Wall Street Journal ran an article, maybe an Op-Ed, that was extremely critical of that decision. And Sheldon Alderson runs a major pro-Netanyahu Israeli newspaper. There are times when their American Cousins are much more warlike than the Israelis themselves, to the point where Jeff Halper said that he wished they would leave the Israelis alone.

    • Annie,

      I understand that to "participate" in something is not the same to be "responsible" for something, because there is an issue of neglect causing responsibility.

      Anyway, I don't think that the distinction really matters here. If you take a collectivist mindset, you can imagine things like Nation X "collectively" participates in the wars that it engages in. Ellis has said at times that the people participate in the Conflict, with his collective phraseology. (link to

      Personally I agree with Eljay that I am inclined to be against using collectivist ways of phrasing responsibility like "the Jews" or "the Americans" did or are responsible for X.

      Of course, it feels like one thing for Stephen, Ellis, or I to say in repentance that our peoples did X, and quite a different thing for a Nazi to say that our peoples did X, because the Nazis take an oppressive approach to dealing with crime.

    • Stephen,

      Marc Ellis shares your view, and you can find this way of thinking in the Tanakh, where "the people" are collectively responsible for their community's actions. It's a similar way of saying that Americans collectively are responsible for the invasion of Iraq or the Vietnam War.

      Personally though when writing or talking I prefer to go with Annie's view of distinguishing between Jews and Americans on one hand, and the political forces that act in their name and with their support on the other. Here is an exception: Sometimes I do say "the Israelis" to refer to what Israeli society does because it sounds more politically correct than repeating "the Zionists" like Ali Abunimah does. "The Zionists" may actually be the precise term for describing Israeli militarists, but M.J. Rosenberg had at least a few months' period of focusing on his blog on how Ali A. is anti-Semitic because of the way Ali uses "the Zionists" to refer to Israeli supporters of control over Palestinians. The alternative to saying "The Israelis" would be to throw around the term "Zionists" like Ali A. does, but it seems that this is the kind of thing that puts up a red flag for Weir's harshest critics like J.Hitchcock.

    • Hostage,
      You wrote elsewhere that a directional shift began when Blankfort was banned in 2012, and that you had said the same things as Blankfort yourself.

      Notice that in 2007-2011 a report came out by Political Research Associates on Finkelstein, Blankfort, and Alison aimed at portraying them as anti-Semitic. Ostensibly the report was a left wing one also directed against Islamophobia.
      link to

      Notice that one of the charges against Finkelstein in the report was that a CUNY trustee denied a pro-Palestinian writer Kushner a degree because "Kushner had disparaged the State of Israel, an assertion (the trustee) said came from Finkelstein’s website."
      link to

      The two paragraphs about Kushner seem to draw a practically non-existent link between Finkelstein and the attack on Kushner. Why?

      Notice also that all three activists targeted in the report have become somehow persona non grata in both the Solidarity movement and for JVP, all based on questionable grounds, since the 2007-2011 report came out on them.

      It's true that Finkelstein has a pretty mixed take on BDS, but so does Chomsky, and Chomsky still gets invited to speak at events. Blankfort gets into very touchy subjects, but you and Brenner have written the same things. And now Weir is non grata for doing a few of the same things mostly six years ago that Chomsky and others have done in their lifetimes.


    • Parity,

      If you comb through Douglas' website enough, you can find a full cornucopia of nonsensical statements against "the Jews" as a whole group, and I am not going to repeat the trash here unless you force it to be an issue.

      Trying to defend all of Douglas' views would be worse than shooting yourself in the foot, and even Weir told him in one of the interviews that she had different views on racism than he did. The only issue is whether progressive groups should ban Weir for failing to oppose his racism strongly enough, or whether JVP and ETO are wrong to do so.

    • Dear Notatall,

      You wrote: " have been surprised that the comments on this thread have been running about 10 to 1 against me; I think a few years ago most people would have sided with JVP and the CEO notwithstanding their soft Zionism."

      The issue is not really siding with their overall positions. CEO is probably one of the most popular groups, if not the main one. The issue is banning any work with a major activist for a handful of appearances on programs that other activists had. That was not something that happened "a few years ago", even though Weir's questionable radio appearance was in 2010. Don't we get a statute of limitations for past failures to "sufficiently challenge" intolerance? This blacklisting is the new phenomenon, not people being somehow inherently anti-JVP, which we are not.

      You wrote: "I think part of my difficulty lies in that Alison Weir (and apparently others here) accept the framework of “national interests,” and I do not." Please notice however that JVP's faq considers it a "core principle" required for its members to accept that the occupation is against America's "interests". link to

      May I ask what makes you think that James Dean doesn't care about Palestinians? For all I know you could be right, but I am skeptical: Just because someone is not a Palestinian or left wing doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have human feelings against a major instance in the world today of oppression.

      FWIW, it's nice to see Douglas removed that quote. Most of the anti-semite propagandists like Douglas seem off in the brains.

    • Toky,

      You wrote: "Annie, you will always find a way to make any claim anti-semitism disappear (or be just as bad as or what about what about what about? because you think every mention of it is in the service of Israel. -"

      What are you talking about? Do you know that Annie regularly censors clearly anti-Semitic posts from the Comments section. There is even a policy statement at MW against it. The rule says that people are not supposed to get on here and simply pillory Jewish culture. It is required that people engage in a respectful discussion and make only fully reasonable commentaries about it, if any.

      Here's a proof. Make an unambiguously offensive statement pillorying the whole people. Something like that definitely won't pass muster, Toky. There is no need to pillory Annie, either.

    • Toky,

      I know what you mean. If Weir were Ken, Weir's opponents would have a better case.

    • Peace T. Justice,

      Atzmon claims that Neturei Kartei is fine because it's religious. My argument against Atzmon is that JVP has a rabbinical council and thus it's legitimate. Furthermore, I buy into JVP's argument that they are effective in disproving that one's religious background requires one to give support to militaristic policies in the Levant.

      The downside that Atzmon is pointing to is that if your organization happens to be identified and arranged around the conquering nation's group, then there is a risk that you could have a bias in favor of them. JVP for example said that the reason it delayed recognizing BDS until this January was because it was toxic in its community.

      So the risk is that Alison Weir's emphasis in targeting the lobbying efforts acted as the real impetus behind JVP's attacks on her, even though JVP declares that it is against the lobbying that goes on in favor of the Occupation.

    • That activist is Kevin O'Keefe. Wikipedia says he is half Palestinian.

      If Alison Weir were Kevin O'Keefe, there were be a much better case against her. But she is not.

    • RoHa,

      Back in the first century there were lots of dissident Jewish sects, like the Essenes, John the Baptist's followers, and the Nazarene Christians. It's only natural that they conflicted with the establishment of their day, and in turn suffered repression. John the Baptist got killed by Herod according to the famous 1st century Jewish writer Josephus.

      Consequently, it is hard for me to understand how simply portraying those sects' narratives of their conflict and repression is inherently anti-Semitic. Wouldn't that be a bit like saying that a movie portraying Open Hillel's or JVP's story of ther own conflicts with more powerful organizations is anti-Semitic, or for that matter that a movie about Left wing organizations' repression under McCarthyism is anti-American?

      Anyway, in the Passion, the Romans are also "bad guys", not just Herod and the religious leaders.

    • OK, Annie.

    • Tree,

      You realize that this is basically the logic used against Weir? Weir didn't object enough and other thread users here didn't object at all about the Ferguson comment, so we all condone or "fail to challenge" whatever racist comments were made.

    • Kathleen.

      Norman Finkelstein was included in the profiles list of troublesome activsts next to Weir and Jeff Blanfort in 2007-2011. (See: link to

      This was years before the JVP fight with Weir came up, but notice that the profile made against Weir includes the accusation of her being on Douglas' program, which has now become the centerpiece against her.

      One could conclude that there has long been a subtle campaign aimed at those three activists and that has been inserted into an anti-Isampohobic, antiracist framework.

    • Eva,

      After talking to other proponents of banning Weir, it does appear that they are relying on what you call "post-modernist" thinking in order to say that she is condoning racism.

      Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

      link to

      So even though through the centuries a full host of left wing activists have appeared on shows like The American Free Press or Israeli rightwing radio programs without battling head on their host's views, Weir's opponents use post-modernist styles of argumentation to explain why she needs to be banned for doing so several times herself.

      Or even though writers like Phil and Judis have taken on the Lobby with excoriating language, many of Weir's opponents say that she needs to be expelled because when she uses powerful wording or makes the Lobby her own focus, it must mean that her 'framing" is chauvinist.

      So they are not relying on a logic that applies to all groups but only to Weir. If you tried to evaluate Weir based on concrete objectivity, it wouldn't be very post-modernist, and you would be missing how it's all about "implicit condoning" in her case only.

    • I.Moses,

      Yes, I meant the post to Henry when I asked your opinion. You had said to Jennifer "You seem to be either a witting or unwitting tool of those at JVP central who are managing this witch hunt."

      In my post, I pointed to a pamphlet on the website of Political Research Associates, which had made a report against Weir some time ago.. Jennifer's site calls the pamphlet a "primer" on anti-semitism. And the primer is about how to target things, particularly in the Left, that could be inferred to be anti-Semitic. One example of such inferential anti-Semitism given by the Pamphlet was the movie "The Passion".

      Perhaps this pamphlet put out by PRA, which elsewhere targeted Weir, reflects the kind of reasoning used by Jennifer in inferring that Weir, an activist in a major leftwing cause, has made anti-semitic statements, eg. in her book?

    • Maria,

      Can you or anyone give some insight into the Corrie Foundation's declaration against Weir?
      link to

      The ETO Statement expelled Weir in part for appearing on the American Free Press, but actually Rachael Corrie's parents had appeared on that program themselves:
      link to

      Do you think Rachel Corrie would support expelling Alison? Do a Google Image search for Rachel Corrie gun. Corrie's opponents were able to find some old incriminating photos of her and post them all over the net. It's not surprising that Weir's opponents were able to find a 6 year old Clay Douglas interview to point to.

    • Dear Preston,

      You have just recommended us a pamphlet from a program run in cooperation with Political Research Associates, who wrote a report against Weir some time ago.

      Would you please be able to clear up some things in that pamphlet?

      It says:

      Even in the U.S. , where Jews have had 200 years of exceptional physical safety, (anti-Semitism is) a background hum: be it rumors placing Jews or Israelis behind 9/11, the hit film that restaged the “Passion plays” which sparked annual Easter massacres of Jews in medieval Europe, or theories arising amid growing public disenchantment with the Iraq war that it was fought for Jewish or Israeli interests.

      Can you please say how was “The Passion” film itself anti-Semitic, even though there were medieval massacres?

      Have you ever heard about this event mentioned in the pamphlet:

      – In WW2, as armed Jewish resisters fought back against the Nazis and Eastern Europeans resisted the German occupation, significant numbers of gentile fighters acted out anti-Jewish oppression at the Jews fighting beside them – refusing to team up in battle, even murdering Jews as they sought hiding places in their vicinity.

      I am not aware of Tito or the Poles doing this, but did they?

    • IrishMoses,

      "I think what surprises most of us is that the attacks are coming from the so-called pro-Palestinian side of the I-P debate,our side."

      Who knows what the real story is? It must not really be something like a JVP activist just happened to be enjoying listening to 6 year old Clay Douglas archives and happened upon Alison's interview. Why now?

      I am curious why you mentioned Finkelstein. His old anti-Palestinian adverseries retain a keen, unfortunate "interest" in Finkelstein, it seems, even though the Solidarity community rarely invites him to events due to his non or anti BDS stance. Of course, that grounds for total exclusion is a bit strange, since JVP itself only this January accepted BDS. I get that people wouldn't be in a hurry to invite N.F. as a speaker because of his views, but I wouldn't ostracize if that's what happened.

      Irish Moses, let me know what you think of my post dated August 15, 2015, 4:03 pm

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if Alison Weir were to say, I went on Clay Douglas’s show because I wanted to reach his audience with my antizionist message, but I now see that in remaining silent in the face of his w-s and a-s views I was turning my back on black Americans and others deserving of support.

      Do you think that if this was the only real point of division, as alleged, then perhaps she actually might have admitted this, particularly in private?

      She wrote on her website about this particular problem:
      "I apologize if there were cases where I should have done better."

      That is, maybe if someone said, "Look, couldn't you have responded better to some questions?", she might actually privately agree about that too and apologize, since that would be similar to her general apology above.

      However, JVP's and ETO statement went beyond just that issue, which has become the main grounds used against her. Instead they demanded that she never appear on those programs at all, a not unreasonable request in itself of course, but tough grounds for total censure. And she for her part believes that she needs to take her message of Mideast human rights to all audiences.

    • Nota Bene:
      The Primer from J.H.'s site is from, which is done in cooperation with Political Research Associates, the same organization that wrote the report on Alison Weir long before the scandal with JVP erupted.

    • Henry:

      On the website, the most relevant article is the 30 page one J.H.'s site calls "A primer on the history of anti-Semitism and its relation to the Left"

      The Past Didn't Go Anywhere
      link to

      The Left has long procrastinated on taking on anti-Jewish oppression. In part we’ve had trouble because it looks different from the oppressions we understand, which enforce inferiority on oppressed groups to disempower them...

      Even in the U.S. , where Jews have had 200 years of exceptional physical safety, it’s a background hum: be it rumors placing Jews or Israelis behind 9/11, the hit film that restaged the “Passion plays” which sparked annual Easter massacres of Jews in medieval Europe, or theories arising amid growing public disenchantment with the Iraq war that it was fought for Jewish or Israeli interests.

      Yes it would be wrong and very anti-Semitic to say that "the Jews were behind 9/11". But can you say how was "The Passion" film itself anti-Semitic, even though there were frightful medieval massacres?

      Henry, have you ever heard about this:

      - In WW2, as armed Jewish resisters fought back against the Nazis and Eastern Europeans resisted the German occupation, significant numbers of gentile fighters acted out anti-Jewish oppression at the Jews fighting beside them - refusing to team up in battle, even murdering Jews as they sought hiding places in their vicinity.

      I am not aware of Tito or the Poles doing this, but did they? The only instance I can think of is in WWII West Ukraine, where Nazi collaborators who fought the Allies and massacred Jews and Poles occasionally turned on their German allies, and therefore could be considered a strange treacherous resistance too.


    • Kathleen,

      Finkelstein took a rather anti-BDS position and then became slightly a persona non grata among the Solidarity community as far as speaker invitations go. His criticism was that BDS was a cult. Now of course I don't agree with him, but note his relationship to the main activist institutions.

      Finkelstein hasn't made any statements against Weir, Atzmon, or any other activist AFAIK. This is not to say that he would actually agree with all Weir's positions- he clearly doesn't: Finkelstein sees the Special Relationship basically in terms of empire and "dog wags tail", not really as lobbying or "tail wags dog" as Weir's position has been described.

      But see the two parts about Finkelstein:

      I am agreeing with the film. But now what would you say about Finkelstein's views?

    • Excellent work on your interview, Henry.

    • Maybe the solution is for the movement to split based on target audiences...

      Both camps working in solidarity for Palestinians but for different audiences? One audience doesn’t mind and is even maybe attracted by antisemitic and white supremacist rhetoric and the other audience is more progressive and antiracist. Would that work?

      I am confused. Are you actually expressly considering advocating this, or trying to get someone else to discuss something self-incriminating like this?

    • Pixel,

      That is a paragraph by IAK saying that Weir meant for IAK to be directed by people without family ties to the region. I think she means she doesn't want people with direct relatives who live in the Levant to direct IAK because of possible bias and because she wants a US perspective for the directorship. She never said she excludes other voices and she quotes Jews and Palestinians often in fact.

    • Who are any of the people in the coven exactly?

    • Congratulations on your talk.
      For your desire for a discussion (please be friendly), try the comments section here:
      link to

    • Stephen,

      See my comment at August 12, 2015, 10:31 pm below about the quandary of what to say in that case.

      The problem isn't really just making a decent reply, but also the challenge of how to address the question while avoiding making the interview go off the rails totally. And even forgetting Weir's decisions, it's important if you as an activist could be banned for failing to reply strongly enough.

      The reply you proposed under "basic knowledge" is of course an acceptable one in terms of anti-racism. The Bolshevik revolution can't be reduced to primitive racist terms.

      The difficulty is navigating the talk. Let's say you point out like I do in those online exchanges that the leaders included multiple nationalities among Bolsheviks, etc.. The downside is that you have just opened up a can of worms instead of refocusing the talk on your actual thesis (human rights under occupation). It's a can of worms because Douglas can say things like "Isn't it true that the main leaders L, T, K, Z were Jewish? Isn't it true that the Soviet placed statues of Judas in a few cities in the post revolutionary period? Isn't it true that...?
      And then Douglas just strings along 10 troubling facts and draws to inferences that you and I are opposed to based on those facts. And then the more you reject the inferences, the more the talk becomes a debate with a Solidarity activist (you) about the Soviets and some sensitive aspect of their history.

      Of course, that is acceptable as a decision by an activist to challenge and go off this way. But other activists in reality would choose to just ignore these kinds of tangents, like Weir's claim that she knows about "the connection" or whatever and then change the topic without actually approving of anything else he just said.

      Now in my opinion, the best way to address these issues/claims like the alleged Judas statues* or church destruction, which are real and troubling events, if you are in an academic or healthy leftwing setting is to avoid any unnecessary, generalizing inferences from them.
      I am sure that the Jewish population in Russia would be basically against building those statues. Don't you agree, Stephen, that the refusal to draw inferences is the best way to deal with accusations on all kinds of troubling issues? Why not refuse when it comes to whether activists actually condone offensive claims when their interviewers make them?

      (* It's debated in Russia today if the story of the statues were an urban myth.

      link to

      You write:

      There is literary and memoir evidence that at least some of the Jews who entered the secret police at this time were seeking ethnic revenge.

      OK. Look, I take it as a presumption that you are not a racist, because we are both in a human rights campaign. But with the new JVP and ETO decisions about things like Weir's discussion on Toaff, will people even be able to read each other's statements like these without draw such inferences about each other?

      All the best.

    • Stephen,

      There is a verb now too, based on the ban on any Solidarity activist who knowingly interviews for an offensive outlet without challenging their views enough, according to the Weir Affair:

      Are you to judge someone by the venue they appear on or write for? I ask because I have now been Weired, to coin a term.

      On June 19th a blogger named Elise Hendrick wrote a long attack on CounterPunch for supposedly promoting the agenda of the far right and named me as an enabler. Three days later Tony Greenstein crossposted the same article and embellished it with a nice photo of me taken by my good friend the late Fred Baker about 17 years ago. Greenstein added a caption characterizing me as an “ex-Marxist”. Very nice.

      link to

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