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Total number of comments: 18 (since 2014-05-19 16:58:10)

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  • BDS movement holds its first regional anti-normalization conference in Kuwait
    • Nathan: "The last section of the article ... is about “strengthening public and popular opposition to any possible change of policies towards normalizing relations with Israel in the region”. There is no indication whatsoever that this might mean that there will be no normalization with Israel until she meets the demands of BDS."

      That is clearly implied. Israel has made no moves to end its apartheid policies, hence no normalization. Once Israel begins complying with international law and makes tangible moves towards respecting Palestinians' rights, then we will talk about normalization and shutting down the boycotts, just like the South African boycott campaign didn't start talking about normalization or ending the boycotts until the South African government started inching towards allowing majority rule.

      "There is no connection between the demands of the BDS movement and ending the conflict with Israel."

      That's just stupid. BDS' demands are the conditio sine qua non of any just peace: compliance with international law and respect for the rights of all peoples in I/P. If Israel agreed to the 3 demands of BDS and international law, they would have peaceful relations with all the neighboring states and would no longer be in conflict with any of the major Palestinian factions.

      "The Arab Peace Proposal is conditionalized by there being an agreement on the issue of refugees. "

      Actually, the Arab Peace Proposal is purposefully vague about the refugees to allow Israel as much wiggle room as possible. International law and basic morality, however, are much clearer: the Right to Return is a fundamental legal and moral right.

      "The Palestinians, however, have no intention of renewing peace talks with Israel, "

      That's actually the exact opposite of the truth, but whatever.

    • Nathan, the article presumes a basic familiarity with the BDS movement. The BDS movement has 3 demands and if those demands are met, the movement becomes defunct, just like the South African boycott movement dissolved once majority rule was achieved. The 3 demands of BDS are:

      1) An end to the occupation
      2) A recognition of the Right of Return and an end to the ethnic cleansing policies began in 1947/48.
      3) A guarantee of legal equality for Palestinians living within Israel.

      Those 3 demands are also a stronger version (particularly w/ regards to number 2) of the Arab Peace Proposal. According to this proposal, if Israel ends the occupation and comes to a satisfactory agreement on points 2 and 3, every Arab state would end hostilties with Israel, open an embassy in Tel Aviv and allow Israel to open one in their capitals and work towards economic, military and intelligence-sharing co-operation with Israel. In other words, peace and normalization in exchange for ending apartheid (or at least ending the occupation). Israel has so far chosen to ignore this peace proposal because it has virtually all the leverage and has decided that occupation and apartheid are preferable to peace with their neighbors.

      The idea that BDS is not about securing peace is just silly; BDS' demands are precisely that Israel allow peace by ending apartheid. BDS is not about boycotting Israel for fun; it's about putting pressure to end the oppression of the Palestinian people and, with that, to allow for peace. That pressure, by definition, requires that the boycotts and sanctions end once the demands are met; otherwise, the movement is by definition incapable of achieving its goals (if BDS were to be simply "boycott Israel forever no matter what it does", then it would not be able to exert any pressure on Israel to change its behavior since no change in behavior would affect the boycotts and sanctions.) Quite frankly, I imagine the article's author didn't say "once BDS' demands are met, we will call for an end to the boycotts" because it seemed too obvious to need stating.

  • Gilad Atzmon’s attack against me – the 'merchant of JVP'
    • If you can't tell that Atzmon is an anti-Semite who believes that the problem in Israel/Palestine isn't settler colonialism, racism or apartheid but rather the mark of the nefarious Jew, that's very troubling. Look at these questions:

      "According to Yuri Slezkin, Jews were “Stalin’s willing executioners”. Neocons, a Jewish American political school have inflicted greater disasters than Israel or Zionism.

      Is it possible that Zionism is just one symptom of a disastrous Jewish political continuum?

      Can you imagine a peace loving Jewish political existence?"

      Nor did Finkelstein ever deny that the Holocaust was a genocide and that genocide, by its very nature, is of a different order than the slaughter of the battlefield.

      Just because apartheid apologists lob baseless anti-Semitism accusations against pro-Palestinian activists doesn't mean there aren't some anti-Semites who cloak themselves in anti-Zionism.

  • Trump is losing the Israel vote almost as bad as he is losing in New York
    • Ellen: Polls can vary wildly in quality. And a poll that doesn't even ensure that the respondents are legally able to participate in the election seems like a huge methodological problem.

    • Not sure how trustworthy this poll is if it doesn't distinguish between Israeli-American citizens who are able to vote and Israelis without American citizenship.

  • NYC city council anti-BDS bill meets resistance from protesters
    • Thank you for your brave work fighting for peace in Syria and for better human rights in Iran, Betty Berenson! Oh wait, you don't care at all about the people dying or suffering in either country except insofar as it provides a rhetorical tool to justify Israeli human rights abuses, right? Just like South Africa's defenders would cry crocodile tears for all those suffering or dying under brutal African dictatorships and ask why the world didn't care more about them and insists upon picking poor ole South Africa. Human rights abuses in Uganda or Ethiopia or Somalia or the Central African Republic didn't justify apartheid in South Africa, just like human rights abuses in Iran or Egypt or KSA don't justify apartheid in Israel/Palestine.

      Oh, and btw, you'll actually find a lot of criticism of Arab dictatorships and Iran in anti-Zionist circles and in pro-Palestinian publications. It's just that we don't see that as a justification for state-sponsored racial oppression or violence elsewhere.

  • 'Anti-Zionism = anti-semitism' is a formal logical fallacy
    • Not only is it unprovable, but it rests on the absurd assumption that in the West, anti-semitism is much more influential than anti-Arab racism or Islamophobia. The fact that both candidates to the GOP presidency are openly Islamophobic yet the closest thing to anti-semitism you see on national politics is a reference to "New York values", the constant harassment of Muslim-Americans and the war on Mosques should prove that it's beyond laughable. When was the last time a Haredi Jew was denied boarding on a plane for speaking Hebrew or Yiddish or for wearing religious garb? When's the last time an entire town rose up to protest and harass its synagogue? When's the last time a major national politician said a Jew should never be allowed to become president or that Jews should be targeted as potential traitors? The fact is that if you're going to decide your stance on I/P based on racial prejudice, you are of course going to side with Israel just like a racist would side with a Polish-American over an African-American. I've met plenty of anti-semites who said nasty things about Israel, but every single one of them also called Palestinians things like "sand n***ers" or "camel jockeys."

  • Shocker: 'NYT' forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism
    • "Can some form of Zionism exist, consistent with Palestinian rights? If so, then labeling all of Zionism as racism is a political conflation. "

      Here's the thing; what-if-isms are interesting but not very pertinent. Yes, if history had followed a different path, a Zionism could have formed that was not racist. But that's not how it turned out; Zionism doesn't mean like it once could a belief in forming a Jewish spiritual community or colonizing land which had been obtained legitimately(ie, through the consent of the former inhabitants.) But it didn't. In today's world, Zionism means support for the current state of Israel as an apartheid state(ie, as a state that uses its power to maintain the racial privilege of one group over others)

      "One can oppose specific policies of the Israeli government, without denying all of Zionism, and without denying Israel’s right to exist, with a predominately Jewish people and culture. "

      Considering that Israel created its "predominately Jewish" demographics by ethnically cleansing between 750, 000 and a million Palestinian civilians then refusing their fundamental right to return to their land, how exactly can you support the "right" of Israel to maintain a Jewish demographic majority through the denial of Palestinians' rights without being racist? Jews in Israel have a right to live there in safety and with equal protection and rights under the law as do the Palestinians and the region's Druze and Bedouin but neither they nor any group have a right to form a state's demographics to their liking through ethnic cleansing.

    • "anti-Zionists do not condemn racism anywhere in the Middle East,"

      Citation needed. Actually, scratch that; the claim is categorically false. Every anti-Zionist I know fiercely abhors, for instance, Bahrain's oppression of its Shia populace or the vicious sectarian violence in Syria. It's just we don't succumb to the fallacy of believing that human rights abuses in Syria justify human rights abuses in Israel.

      ",...anti-Zionists are focused on Israel suggests that anti-racism is not what motivates anti-Zionists at all"

      This was the same argument that South Africa's supporters used. It hasn't aged well. Just like Idi Amin's Uganda or Seko's Zaire didn't excuse South African apartheid, human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia or Syria don't excuse apartheid in Israel.

  • Anti-BDS funding stipulation sparks legal fight at UCLA
    • If you don't understand the difference between activists protesting or heckling an event and university administration abusing their power to silence a particular viewpoint, you have nothing to contribute.

  • Hatred of Israel was reported motive for CA attack, but US press politely ignores the story
    • I think this is a terrible avenue to pursue. Do you really want the Palestinian human rights movement to be associated with crazed gunmen who just shot up a government office? These were disturbed people looking to fill the emptiness inside them. They latched on to ISIS just like disaffected white kids latch on the Columbine/mass shooting subculture/cult. Sure, anger at American support for Israeli apartheid played some role in their radicalization, but it's impossible to know how much or whether they would have still committed the shooting if the US had decided to support human rights in I/P. And most importantly, trying to bring up I/P when talking about these people will only play into Bibi's hands and help to smear Palestinians and their grievances as savage, violent jihadists.

  • NYT's Rudoren says Mondoweiss critique of her recent article is 'nuts'
    • Not all Palestinians are Muslim, you know. Palestine has long included important populations of Jews and Christians and those religions have no prohibitions against alcohol(in fact, wine in particular is an important part of many rituals for both.) Moreover, although this varied from region to region and regime to regime, Islamic governments have typically permitted non-Muslims to cultivate, buy and drink alcohol. A little googling showed me that the Levant had a lot of viniculture associated with monasteries during this period. And during the Islamic Middle Ages, wine was also cultivated for non-alcoholic purposes(producing vinegar, alchemy, production of perfumes) by Muslims and it was even the Arabs who invented distillation and brandy. So to say that wine cultivation ended in Palestine with the advent of the Islamic Empire is, it seems, simplistic at best. If you have evidence to the contrary(I'm obviously not a specialist on alcohol in Medieval Islamic culture.) I'd love to see it.

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • And what is Zionism if not a socially acceptable form of Islamophobia/anti-Arab racism? After all, opposing an ethnocratic apartheid state does not make on a bigot, but supporting it does.

  • Iranian president issues New Year greetings to Jews
    • I am truly shocked to hear that the tens of thousands of Jews living peacefully in Iran have been herded into death camps and been the unwilling subjects of cruel, unethical scientific experiments. I'm sure you will have no problem providing credible citations for these truly shocking allegations.

  • Obama cites donor pressure re Iran, but 'NYT' won't tell you what he means
  • The Israel of your dreams has turned into a nightmare: A letter to Jewish students
    • " unprecedented number of Jews joined such organizations as Jewish Voice for Peace, J-Street, and Open Hillel, which have condemned the Gaza attack and Israel’s ongoing occupation unequivocally "

      Actually, this is incorrect. J-Street openly supported the massacre, only toning it down with some useless paternosters about how they are saddened by the violence and hope for a speedy resolution.

      From their statement:

      "J Street strongly supports Israel’s right to defend itself proportionately against the threat of relentless rockets and to destroy tunnels leading into Israel. But it's now time for Israel to look for a way out of Gaza. "

      In other words, J-Street wrongfully frames the massacre as a question of Israel defending itself, even though it was Israel which chose to break the ceasefire.

  • The ice floe
    • "OK, there should not really be anything that they feel from seeing someone who is Jewish, because there are different opinions among Jews on the conflict"

      Honest question: would you say the same thing about say, a Chinese survivor of the Rape of Nanking when he said bigoted remarks about Japanese people? Or WWII/Nazi occupation survivors who hate the "krauts"? Or black South Africans prior to Majority Rule who sang "Kill the Boer"?

      Of course the Israeli state and the Jewish people are separate entities and it is fundamentally unfair to blame the latter for the former's crimes. But at the same time, how can we expect traumatized Palestinians to maintain such a distinction when the Israeli government deliberately conflates the two? When the bulldozer which destroyed their house was painted with a star of David or when the sniper who killed their daughter was wearing a star of David patch and celebrating his "kill" in the once-holy language of the Torah? When the only Jews most Palestinians under apartheid have met were either soldiers or illegal settlers out on a pogrom?

      Israel's apartheid policies can only inflame and entrench hatred; no amount of dialogue will heal these wounds if they don't also lead to the destruction of the apartheid wall and the end of systematized, government-sponsored oppression of the indigenous people.

      The main problem with "dialogue" is that it frames the issue as one of age-old enmities, a modern-day Hatfield and McCoy paradigm. Of course, that's a racist and inaccurate picture: Palestinians don't hate Israel because they're savage Jew-haters. They hate Israel because Israel has ethnically cleansed them off their homeland, murdered thousands of their compatriots and keeps millions more under a brutal apartheid regime which no self-respecting people would accept. It is a textbook oppressor/oppressed paradigm, not a "curse on both your houses" morass. Until Israel accepts responsibility, apologizes for these acts and ends their policies of oppressing Palestinians, you can't have any meaningful dialogue.

  • What’s wrong with the ADL survey and how it could be improved
    • Syriza is not an anti-semitic party. Yes, they nominated one candidate who held anti-semitic views but once those views were discovered, he was kicked out of the party and disowned by it. Insufficiently vetting a single candidate does not an anti-semitic party make.

Showing comments 18 - 1