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Out of the Ballpark: Susan Abulhawa’s speech to the PennBDS conference

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Susan Abulhawa PennBDS Opening from PennBDS on Vimeo.

There is a reason Susan Abulhawa has the reputation of a dragon slayer, and it is not just for any one time event or the fact that Mornings in Jenin just happens to be an international best seller translated into 26 languages. With the precision of a surgeon she unmasks and infuriates her adversaries, always with poise and dignity. Forever grounded in truth she lifts us up and fills us with courage and a will to carry on.

Helena wasn’t the only one saying it, Abulhawa’s opening presentation at PennBDS reverberated throughout the conference, all weekend sometimes in hushed tones and knowing glances as if in code “Did you hear her speech?”

PennBDS recently released this video of Abulhawa’s full speech.  On request Susie has provided us with the text, we are publishing the last 17 minutes of her 43 minute presentation today. Here, the end is broken down into 3 segments for those of you who may not take the time to listen in full.

A warning, be prepared.  By the time she voiced  “We are counting on the America that fought and killed pieces of itself to free an enslaved race.”,  I was in tears and I just listened to it again for the fifth time and it breaks me still.

Especially for students of the conflict this speech is a keeper (check the notes below). If you do not have time to listen today, save it. From start to finish..a keeper. We will be publishing further segments in the future for further discussion.


This process of destroying people to extricate them from their roots, does have an unfortunate precedent in history to which Israeli leaders have often eluded, betraying what I believe is their vision for a final outcome to this conflict.

I recalled one such statement from Benjamin Netanyahu – I couldn’t find it initially, but my friend Nima Shirazi helped me locate the actual quote. It was from a CNN interview in which Netanyahu described the United States affinity for Israel as “instinctive”, claiming that “America was the new promised land, we are the original Promised Land”.

I was struck by that when I first heard it because it confirmed what I’ve always suspected: that the project of stealing Palestine and getting rid of Palestinians is very much modeled after our own colonial past here in America, that all but obliterated the native American population. European settlers would sign agreements and treaties with native tribes.

Then, when it was convenient, settlers would break those agreements and take more territory, pushing Native Americans further off their land.

Settlers would systematically destroy their livelihoods and means of sustenance, like the mass extermination of the buffalo.

When Native Americans fought back, and sometimes they did so brutally, they were called savages. And for daring to resist the destruction of their societies, whole tribes were massacred, marched off their lands in death trails to prisons called reservations.



one agreement after another has been signed and broken by Israel, as they take more and more territory on a daily basis. Palestinian farms, trees and other means of livelihood are systematically destroyed. Palestinians are labeled terrorists as native Americans were “savages”.

For daring to resist or to vote the wrong way, Palestinians are met with wholesale slaughter, destruction and theft of their properties, and herded into open-air prisons called Gaza and Areas A,B and C, and refugee camps.

Even the earliest Zionists clearly had their eyes set on the plight of Native Americans as a model to follow.



Going back again to Ze’ev Jabotinsky: he recognized the indigenousness of Palestinians to the Holy Land when he stated in 1923 that “They [Palestinians] look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true favor the Aztecs looked upon Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. Palestine will remain for the Palestinians not a borderland, but their birthplace, the center and basis of their own national existence.” (Righteous Victims, p. 36)

But we are not living in the 16th, 17th, or 18th centuries, and Palestinians are not outnumbered to exist as a small minority in their own country. There are too many of us to ignore, to break, ignorize, subjugate, or imprison.

And so the institutional racism and the apparatus of occupation, are today more similar to the conditions of Apartheid South Africa than that of the Native American plight.


Just like the Apartheid government considered and treated the native Black population as lesser beings, so does Israel consider Palestinians as such. Israeli leaders in the highest offices have referred to us as everything from grasshoppers, cockroaches, to beasts on two legs.

One of Israel’s leading historians, a so-called intellectual, Benny Morris, had this to say:

“Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another.”

Where have we heard or read about such things before?

There is something humiliating in perpetually having to prove that we are human. To prove that we exist. That our grandparents who died dreaming of their homes and olive groves in Lydda, Haifa, Ein Hod, Jerusalem, that they were real and so was their pain and anguish.

But I will say it nonetheless.

We are natives of that land. In every sense of that word. Historically, culturally, legally and even genetically.

But more importantly, We are not a lesser species that we should be treated thus. We are not children of a lesser God that we should be relegated to teeter and despair on the margins of humanity.

This monumental injustice, with all it’s cages, wholesale dehumanization of an entire people has not abated in well over 60 years. This dismissal, trivializing, and destruction of an entire ancient culture and heritage is not okay, even if it is nothing new in history.

And it is not, despite its many unique aspects. We’ve been here before in other times, in other places just in modern history.

We sang “We Shall Overcome”, and we refused to ride in the back of the bus.

We instituted boycotts and we marched in the streets with Martin Luther King.

We pumped our fists in the air to the anti-Apartheid slogan of “One Man One Vote” and when the camps were liberated, we vowed “Never Again.”

Never again will we sit idly by while one group of the people tries to annihilate another. Never again will we tolerate the ugly manifestations of notions of inherent racial, ethnic, or religious entitlement.

But here we are again. Again, a group of people is destroying another. Palestine and Palestinians are quite literally being wiped off the map. Take a look, the map – the land itself – provides irrefutable testimony to this fact.


Everything we have has been taken from us. We have lived the past six decades years going from one trauma to another.

One tragedy, one slaugher to another.

Our history, our heritage, our cemeteries, our mosques and churches, our lands and resources and ancient artifacts have been pillaged and appropriated. Even our story is being denied.

Again, it is all being done in the name of God. Again, the aggressors are claiming to possess divine favor. And again, the world has been sitting idly by. Or worse, cheering it on, as the President of this university has implied in her statements on this conferences.

World leaders have done little to stop it.


We have a very large collection of UN resolutions. Grand words about justice and international law, that are hallow, bereft of voice or force.

So now we, like so many before us in other times, are refusing to sit by and do nothing. BDS is our non-violent response to this violence. It is a movement to give a voice to justice. It is a movement of ordinary people from all over the world who understand that we are on this earth to lift each other up.


BDS is a minimal recognition of Palestinian humanity and our right to live with dignity in our own homeland.

Israel may be may be modeling it’s plan on America’s colonial past; But so are we modeling our struggle on America’s past.

Israel may be betting on the United State’s “instinctive” affinity for conquest; But we are betting on America’s “instinctive” affinity for fair play.

Israel is counting on the US that erased Native American presence and culture from the land. We are counting on the America that fought and killed pieces of itself to free an enslaved race.

Israel is counting on the American of Gingrich, Geller, Abrams, and their ilk who spew hatred and fear-mongering for political expediency and perpetual war. We are counting on the America that marched with Martin Luther King.

We’re counting on the America of Pulitzer prize author Alice Walker and Holocaust suvivor Hedy Epstein, and so many like them around the world – like Peace Nobel Laureate Miread McGuire of Ireland – who risk so much, including their lives to amplify the voice of justice for Palestinians

We are counting on a world that produced young men and women like Rachel Corrie, Vittorio Arrigoni, and Tom Hurndall, who paid the ultimate price trying to bring this horror to an end.


We are counting on Israelis of conscience, who refused to be oppressors, and who are breaking the silence on the crimes they witnessed or crimes they committed against Palestinians

We are counting on ourselves, on the indominable human will to wait and fight and struggle for freedom and justice no matter how long it takes

We are counting on the America in this room. Indeed, we are counting on a world filled with people like those in this room.

BDS is counting on people of the world who understand that God is not a vengeful deity who plays favorites with her children. We’re counting on people of the world who affirm, unequivocally, that it is not okay to measure the worthiness of a human being by his or her religion.

BDS is engaging this part of humanity, which I believe represents the greatest majority of people.

Because our greatest and most unstoppable power lies in our roots and the moral authority of a struggle for freedom and human rights. Because while the concepts of justice and fair play matter little to those in power, they resonate with masses.

As such, because justice and fair play are central demands of BDS, this movement is shifting power from the corrupt ruling elite to the masses by pulling back the veil so people can see what is happening before their eyes.

And that’s scary to Israel and Israeli apologists. Because Israel cannot sell notions of religious exclusivity and entitlement to informed masses. They can’t convince an informed people of the merits of walls, fences, sieges, checkpoints, theft, demolitions, destruction, and Jewish-only this or Jewish-only that.

That’s why they tried to shut this conference down. That is why they have gone into overdrive publishing lies to smear the speakers and participants in this conference.

But BDS is bigger than that because it affirms our common humanity no matter where or what we come from. While it is true that Palestinians don’t anywhere near Israel’s clout among the ruling elite of powerful nations, or major US universities, we are far from being powerless.

In fact, we are unrivaled in our power on the ground level internationally. The Palestinian struggle for freedom is the longest running and best known around the world.


Referring to the liberation of Black South Africans, Nelson Mandela once said “We know all too well, that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”

BDS will only grow and grow, because now is our time.

It is our time to say that only free people can negotiate. It is our time to say that “our freedom is non-negotiable and human rights are non-negotiable”. It’s our time to take our seat on the bus and refuse to get up at another’s command. It’s our time to boycott. To divest. To proudly link arms together as Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindu, Athiests, Buddisht, gay, straight, Black, White and everything in between, in solidarity and in a march to freedom.

And to remember the solidarity shown to us, as our beloved Edward Said once said.

The lines of this conflict do not fall along religious divides. The lines of this conflict are even laid between Palestinians and Israelis because we recognize the sector of Israeli society that stands with us. The lines of this struggle are drawn simply between those who adhere to notions of exclusivity and state-sanctioned entitlement for particular groups and those who believe in equality in the eyes of the law of the state

It is between those who believe in inherent superiority and those who believe in the universality of human dignity

And so, with that in mind, I call on Israelis to abandon the path of violence and terrorism that you have employed against us for over six decades now.

I invite you to abandon the notions of inherent superiority and entitlement. Because you will never find peace nor security by annihilating us.

Because you will never break us, and your only hope is to break bread with us equals. Because despite what you have done to us, to our society, to our children, we can accept you as our equals, but never as our masters in our own land.

BDS is an opportunity for our Jewish brothers and sisters to reclaim Judaism from the grips of a racist military and apartheid political regime. It is a chance to be guided by the noble traditions of Judaism that have historically pursued liberation and justice, instead of pursuing power and domination over others.

To the University of Pennsylvania and universities everywhere, I invite you to act on the principles of equality, human rights, and international law. To take a definitive stand now instead of waiting to be a “me too” university that joins BDS only after others had the courage to take a moral stand first, however inconvenient it might be; because taking a moral stand when it’s unpopular to do so is the time when it really counts.

BDS is firmly rooted on moral ground and its demands reflect the most basic tenets of international law and universal human rights.

Just as the anti-Apartheid boycott movement brought to its knees a system that judged human worth by skin color. And so will this movement bring to its knees another system that judges human worth by religion.

Our demands for freedom and basic human rights are NOT POLITICAL BARGAINING CHIPS. They are self-evident truths that we should pursue without apology, without negotiations, without compromise, and without fear.

We are a proud people indigenous to the Holy Land, who have the capacity to forgive should Israel choose to atone for the sins it has committed against us. But whether they do or not, we aren’t going anywhere. We will continue wait and continue to struggle until justice is restored. And we will continue to dream and imagine a more gentle and human place – one that is inclusive and pluralistic, as Palestine used to be. One where a person is judged by the content of his or her character, not religion.

Thank you.

Susie ended her email to me with this final paragraph:

“I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world. I think it could also be an incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports….” Rachel Corrie’s last words to her mother.


• Section of 5 in the Law of Political Parties and section 7A of the Basic Law: Stipulates that any party platform that calls for full and complete equality between Jews and non-Jews, can be disqualified from any political post. The law demands that Palestinian Arab citizens may not challenge the state’s Zionist identity.

• Law of Return: “Every Jew has the right to become a citizen no matter where they come from” while the indigenous non-Jewish inhabitants who were expelled in 1948 are expressly barred from returning to their homes

• Nakba Law: Penalizes any institution that commemorates or publicly mourns the expulsion of the native Palestinian population

• Anti-boycott law: Provides anyone calling for the boycott of Israel, or it’s illegal settlements, can be sued by the boycott’s targets without having to prove that they sustained damage. The court will then decide how much compensation is to be paid.

• Admission Committees Law formally allows neighborhood screening committees to prevent non-Jewish citizens from living in Jewish communities that control 81 percent of the territory in Israel. In March 2011 Israel passed a law to allow residents of Jewish towns to refuse non Jews from living in their communities.

• Amendment to the Citizenship Law: Stipulates that an Israeli citizen who marries a Palestinian cannot live as a couple in Israel with his or her spouse. A Palestinian spouse can neither gain citizenship nor residency.

• 93% of the land, the vast majority of which was confiscated from Palestinian owners after 1948, can only be owned by Jewish agencies for the benefit of Jews only. One of these agencies is the Jewish National Fund, which, in its charter forbids sale or lease to non-Jews.

• Specified Goods Tax and Luxury Tax Law [art 26, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 6, p. 150 (1952)] Authorizes lower import taxes for Jewish citizens of Israel compared with non-Jewish citizens of Israel.

• National Planning and Building Law (1965) Through various zoning laws freezes the growth of existing Arab villages while providing for the expansion Jewish settlements and creation of new ones. The law also re-classifies a large portion of established Arab villages as “unrecognized” and therefore nonexistent, allowing the state to cut off water and electricity as well as to simply appropriate that property.

• Appropriations are carried out under The Requisitions Law which allows a “competent authority” to requisition the land – called “land requisition order” – so that only he may “use and exploit the land” as he sees fit. This applies to “home requisition orders” as well, whereby another “competent authority” who can “order the occupier of a house to surrender the house to the control of a person specified in the order, for residential purposes or for any other use, as may be prescribed in the order. “

• In the education sector within Israel, as an example, the state spends $192 per year per non-Jewish student compared to $1,100 per Jewish student.

• There is a planned Mosque Law that will prohibit the broadcasting of the Muslim call to prayer, which has been sounding over that land since the beginning of Islam.

• Non-Jews living in the West Bank are denied access to the holy places of Jerusalem, which are only a few kilometers away from them.

• ALSO, for the first time in the history of Islam and the history of Christianity, Palestinian Muslims and Christians in the West Bank and Gaza are denied access to their holy Places of Jerusalem, even on the high holy days of Eid, Christmas, and Easter Sunday.

• Since Israel took the West Bank, the Christian population has declined from 20,000 in 1967 to less than 7500 today.

• Military Order 1229: authorizes Israel to hold Palestinians in administrative detention for up to six months without charge or trial. Six-month detentions can be renewed indefinitely, without charge or trial.

• Military Order 329 and 1650 effectively prevents Palestinians from being anywhere in the West Bank without a specific permit to be there, making it a criminal offense to go from one Palestinian town to another.

• Military Oder #92 and #158: gives the Israeli military control of all water resources in the West Bank, which belongs to Palestinians.

• Israel then allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, while unlawful Israeli settlements there receive virtually unlimited supplies creating a reality of green lawns and swimming pools for Jewish settlers and a parched life for Palestinians, whose access to water, according to the World Health Organization does not meet the minimum requirements for basic human water needs.

• Furthermore, that fraction of confiscated Palestinian water is sold to Palestinians at 300% more than what it costs Jewish settlers in the same area. ($1.20/cubic meter vs $.40/cubic meter).

• Military Orders #811 and #847: Allows Jews to purchase land from unwilling Palestinian sellers by using “power of attorney”.

• Military Order #25: forbids public inspection of land transactions.

• Militar Order #998: requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to make a withdrawal from their bank account.

• Military Order #128: gives the Israeli military the right to take over any Palestinian business which is not open during regular business hours.

• Military Order #138 & #134: forbids Palestinians from operating tractors or other heavy farm machinery on their land.

• Military Order #93: gives all Palestinian insurance businesses to the Israeli Insurance Syndicate.

• Military Order # 1015: requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to plant and grow fruit trees. This permit expires every year.

• Through various military orders, according to the WHO, Israel has uprooted 2.5 million trees belonging to Palestinians, and which often represent their only means of sustenance.

And here are the numbers that scare me and break my heart the most. These are the cold prose of statistics pertaining to Palestinian children, that reflect the systematic destruction of Palestinian society:

• (UNICEF): “Conditions have rarely been worse for Palestinian children.” One in 10 Palestinian children now suffer from stunted growth due to compromised health, poor diet and nutrition and 50% of Palestinian children are anemic, and 75% of those under 5 suffer from vitamin A deficiency.

• Palestinian children are routinely imprisoned for months and years for throwing stones at Israeli jeeps, tanks, and soldiers. Many of them, as young as 12 years old, are tortured and held in solitary confinement.

• Meanwhile, for bludgeoning a 10 year old Palestinian boy (Hilmi Shusha) to death with the butt of his riffle, an Israeli settler received community service and a fine.

• A Palestinian man was convicted of rape and sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for having consensual sex with a Jewish woman, because he did not disabuse her of her assumption that he was Jewish

* These are Abulhawa’s notes and they are not an exact transcript.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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47 Responses

  1. annie
    annie on February 15, 2012, 1:32 pm

    i’m watching it again now. after she talks about the ‘invented people’ claim @ around 8 minutes she play a segment from the ‘first moving picture’ about jerusalem’s a must see!

  2. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther on February 15, 2012, 1:33 pm

    The lines of this struggle are drawn simply between those who adhere to notions of exclusivity and state-sanctioned entitlement for particular groups and those who believe in equality in the eyes of the law of the state
    I think this is the most important line, and I think this is where a lot of jewish “peace” activists jump off the bandwagon…..good. I really liked her delivery – “you can join, or not, either way, we’re doing this – if you don’t like it, too bad”

  3. Boycott Israel on Campus
    Boycott Israel on Campus on February 15, 2012, 1:55 pm

    Susan’s talk was great.

    Even after that… not one single resolution to boycott Israel has been openly pushed on any U.S. campus.

    Not even one resolution to divest from Israel.

    Susan’s talk was great. Ali’s talk was great. But the great mass of BDS supporters cannot be found actually pushing for BDS resolutions on any campus. They are hiding, terrified, in private emails to each other, private meetings, private exchanges of YouTube sacraments.

    I have been to BDS conferences for ten years, and have seen no sustained BDS campaigns on any U.S. campus since Berkeley, almost 2 years ago.

    BDS is dead. Its supporters are still alive biologically, but in the public forum they are dead, buried, nowhere to be seen.

    • on February 15, 2012, 4:19 pm

      American and others complained on the “Lull” thread that MW has become blog for handwringers.

      When we gonna get together and DO something with what power we have?

      If someone on the East coast has an idea for a handprinted poster that he can install at an intersection in Philadelphia, if he post that idea to the MW forum, and someone in Kansas and someone in Wisconsin and someone in California posts the same sign at an intersection in their corner of the world, we will have multiplied our force.

      I’ve posted before that corporations in the US that are run by zionists who state publicly that they send money to support settlements in Palestine SHOULD BE BOYCOTTED. HERE. In the US.

      That’s not how I want MY money to be spent.

      or, we can just keep wringing our hands.
      BDS on a few selected Israeli companies ain’t gonna amount to squat, not when Israel has fingers in 30 or so US state pies and 100 companies listed on US NASDAQ. Time to stop playing nice, time to hit where it hurts.

      • Boycott Israel on Campus
        Boycott Israel on Campus on February 15, 2012, 4:59 pm

        Yes, it’s true that “BDS on a few selected Israeli companies ain’t gonna amount to squat”– but even that would be better than the dead silence we see on the campuses.

        Any loud, public, visible BDS campaign would be a breath of fresh air.

  4. Bill in Maryland
    Bill in Maryland on February 15, 2012, 2:30 pm

    As you listen to Susan Abulhawa read off the long list of racist laws, then think back to the Norman Finkelstein video highlighted yesterday, you have to ask yourself: this is the Israel that Finkelstein seems so determined to preserve as is?

    • Pat Carmeli
      Pat Carmeli on February 15, 2012, 4:46 pm

      Finkelstein contends that Israel “as is” is not ideal. He means to be pragmatic and seeks a solution that will fly with the international community. Anyone who knows of Finkelstein’s work over the past many years, has no doubt about his morality and dedication to the cause of a resolution to the conflict and an end to Palestinian suffering. To say that NF is “determined to preserve” Israel “as is”, is being disingenuous. Let’s not seek to destroy ourselves when we have differing opinions.

      • Bill in Maryland
        Bill in Maryland on February 15, 2012, 5:27 pm

        Thanks Pat. Yes, I also do not doubt that NF is highly dedicated person and in fact a person with incredible moral strength who has fought long and hard for Palestinian rights over three decades (often fighting with little outside support). I do not, and did not, mean to “destroy” him as I admire him greatly.

        I was just struck that in the video NF spent so much energy and passion belittling the BDS movement (calling them “cultists” and “too clever”) when the BDS movement holds so much promise for finally breaking through the present impasse in a non-violent way. He said the BDS movement is being coy and hiding its aim of wanting to “destroy Israel” behind a faux-agnosticism on Israel’s future. This is a low blow by NF and totally unfair in my view. Of course, racist, expansionist, and ethnocratic Israel (that is Israel as we know it) cannot survive the transformation to a peaceful I/P.

        I think BDS is correct to leave the future of “Israel” a little ambiguous and thereby force its citizens and defenders to think long and hard about what aspects of “Israel” are worth fighting for in the court of world opinion (ultimately more important than the ICJ). “Israel” must evolve and change character: is an ethnocracy really necessary for Jewish survival in the emergent I/P?

      • annie
        annie on February 15, 2012, 6:14 pm

        he has taken israel to task as a fascist state over and over.

        let’s not make it worse than it is.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen on February 16, 2012, 10:07 am

        Love NF’s commitment to justice for all. A real humanitarian. Another individual with heavy residual trauma from the Holocaust capable of examining his own families trauma. Then he moves over that trauma reaches deeper and feels compassion and a desire for justice for the Palestinians and it seems his beloved Israel. He really seems to feel a genuine connection to Israel based on the 48/67 border while applying both his intellect, heart and soul to the situation that Israel’s continuous illegal expansion has put the Palestinians in.

        I do think NF went over the top with calling the BDS movement a cult. Comparing it to his Maoist club experience to the development of the BDS movement. Made some great points as he always does about focusing on the facts, the law issues that are easily defended.

        To think that this has always been NF’s focus “the law” and he lost a job, has basically been persecuted by the I lobby and Israel, and is now banned from Israel for talking about the LAW.

  5. Kathleen
    Kathleen on February 15, 2012, 2:48 pm

    Watched all. Out of the park over and over again. Great, clear summary. Have never seen those particular clips. Will never forget when I read about the JA’s acquisition (stealing) of Palestinian lands 20 some odd years ago in some of Said’s writings and elsewhere and how they protected that land from ever being sold or taken back and how it could only be put to use by Jews. Systematic apartheid system for sure. Really out of the park

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen on February 15, 2012, 2:49 pm

    Thanks so much Annie for posting that.

    • annie
      annie on February 15, 2012, 4:05 pm

      my pleasure. someone posted it in the comment sections earlier but we were waiting for it. there’s no way it wasn’t going to be released. people were talking about it all weekend. her reputation as a speaker is growing by leaps and bounds.

  7. hophmi
    hophmi on February 15, 2012, 2:53 pm

    What dragon is she slaying, exactly?

    Again, BDS cultists talking to other members of the cult.

  8. pabelmont
    pabelmont on February 15, 2012, 3:58 pm

    I do not find the VIDEO here, or at VIMEO, or at PENNBDS. 3:49 EST.

    BTW, Bill in Maryland, Norman F. was not seeking to preserve (horrible) Israel — he was merely warning that, purely as a matter of strategy, USA supporters of justice for Palestine should adhere to LAW, and he said that, at LAW, Israel (in its pre-1967 borders) was recognized as a country just as, AT LAW, settlements and wall were not.

    And, he perhaps too strongly suggested, WE should recognize Israel as a legal STATE EVEN WHEN demanding an end to occupation, wall, siege, settlements, and discrimination (and exclusion of the 1948 exiles).

    He ALSO said that the threesome of “return”, “democracy and non-discrimination inside Israel”, and “Palestinian State” in OPTs would be seen by many as DESTROYING Israel. He’s right: many do see it that way. that’s why they resist “return” because they hope (forlornly?) to hang on to democracy.

    I don’t agree with NF: anti-apartheid did not “destroy” South Africa and did not even destroy white privilege there. But that’s what he was saying. a point of STRATEGY only.

    • Bill in Maryland
      Bill in Maryland on February 15, 2012, 4:26 pm

      Thanks pabelmont, I appreciate your thinking. But if we and the world-at-large are being urged by NF to “recognize Israel as a legal STATE”, it of course begs the question of “what Israel?”, because the only Israel we can see is the (horrible) ethnocratic, racist state. You are are saying NF meant this as a point of STRATEGY. Perhaps, but it is inconceivable that a final peace can come with an Israel as we know it. Why not demand the butterfly instead of protecting and preserving the caterpillar?

      • Boycott Israel on Campus
        Boycott Israel on Campus on February 15, 2012, 5:04 pm

        An intact Israeli state (large or small) with 300 atom bombs, with the best air force on Earth, with racist violence in every fiber of its history — would not be a nice neighbor. Not even for one week.

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye on February 15, 2012, 7:52 pm

        Exactly Bill. Israel is demanding that the world accepts its illegal extension of sovereignty over EJ, the land theft expansion of the Jerusalem ‘municiapality’, the illegal extension of sovereignty over the Golan, the outright theft of lands it leaves behind the Wall, the theft of land to create its settlement blocs, the theft of resources, the dispossesion of the people it has usurped uncompensated, plus all the preconditions it has for the creation of a bunch of disconnected bantustans. Frankly, until it starts to meet some of its obligations under international laws which it AGREED to, how can activists consider it a ‘legal’ state? And by conceding the point, wouldn’t Israel then turn around and say to any activist/group that since they agreed Israel was a ‘legal’ state, they had automatically accepted Israel as defined by itself? Knots. Tangles.

  9. on February 15, 2012, 5:11 pm

    reminded of Rafeef Ziadeh

    We Teach Life

  10. piotr
    piotr on February 15, 2012, 5:58 pm

    This is simply anti-Semitic. Every state has the right to defend itself. And it is foolish to second-guess what is necessary. Consider the need to carefully regulate, and if needed, eradicate fruit trees and vegetables:

    Attack of the killer tomatoes!
    Attack of the killer tomatoes!
    They’ll beat you, bash you,
    Squish you, mash you
    Chew you up for brunch
    And finish you off for dinner or lunch!

    They’re marching down the halls
    They’re crawling up the walls
    They’re gooey, gushy, squishy, mushy
    Rotten to the core
    They’re standing outside your door!

    Remember Herman Farbage
    While taking out his garbage
    He turned around and he did see
    Tomatoes hiding in his tree
    Now he’s just a memory!

    I know I’m going to miss her
    A tomato ate my sister
    Sacramento fell today
    They’re marching into San Jose
    Tomatoes are on their way!

    The mayor is on vacation
    The governor’s fled the nation
    The police have gone on strike today
    The National Guard has run away
    Tomatoes will have their day!

    Attack of the killer tomatoes!
    Attack of the killer tomatoes!
    They’ll beat you, bash you,
    Squish you, mash you
    Chew you up for brunch
    And finish you off for dinner or lunch
    Lunch, lunch
    Dinner or lunch, lunch, lunch
    Dinner or luuuuuunch

  11. hophmi
    hophmi on February 15, 2012, 6:24 pm

    She just lies. Dershowitz claimed the Palestinian Constitution says Palestine will be a Muslim state.

    Article 4 says Islam will be the official religion, and that Shari’a will be the basis of legislation.

    She told him he was lying. Looks like she was the lying one.

    • piotr
      piotr on February 15, 2012, 10:24 pm

      And she lied about tomatoes not being a threat. Ridiculing vital anti-orchard operations of IDF. Has she no shame?

      But I am not sure on that one. The clause about religion is similar to one in a number of democratic countries, and a VERY similar clause was proposed as an amendment of Basic Law in Israel. Perhaps some MKs were inspired by PA Constitution.

    • Chaos4700
      Chaos4700 on February 16, 2012, 8:37 am

      “Jewish state”?

    • eljay
      eljay on February 16, 2012, 9:14 am

      >> Dershowitz claimed the Palestinian Constitution says Palestine will be a Muslim state.
      >> Article 4 says Islam will be the official religion, and that Shari’a will be the basis of legislation.

      >> ARTICLE 4
      >> 1.Islam is the official religion in Palestine. …

      States should not have “official religions”. Individuals within a state, however, should have the freedom to practise whatever religion(s) they choose to practise.

      >> 2.The principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation.

      According to Wiki, Sharia is ” … the moral code and religious law of Islam [ … which is] derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah”.

      IMO, 7th Century religious texts and concepts are a bad foundation for 21st Century legislation.

      • piotr
        piotr on February 16, 2012, 11:38 pm

        I am not saying that it is commendable, but another article guarantees free market economy, another, right to strike, it is totally clear that various parties had their input.

        PA is no more theocratic than Israel. At least the Prophet (PBUH) had no opinion on the proper seating of women on buses.

      • eljay
        eljay on February 17, 2012, 2:19 pm

        >> PA is no more theocratic than Israel.

        “Palestine: We may not be as good as the best but, hey, at least we’re about as good as Israel!” – This is NOT a catchy slogan. ;-) The Palestinians should aim higher.

        >> At least the Prophet (PBUH) had no opinion on the proper seating of women on buses.

        Funny how “prophets” never seem to have any concrete knowledge or information about anything beyond their times… ;-)

        Anyway, had buses – and monotheistic religious commandments regarding the proper seating of women on them – existed prior to the invention of Islam, I have no doubt that Mohammed would have included some variation of them in his “holy texts”. :-)

  12. DaveS
    DaveS on February 15, 2012, 6:35 pm

    Susan Abulhawa has been my hero ever since I saw her trounce the dreaded Dersh in a debate last year. The debate purportedly was about literary portrayals of the I/P conflict, but it quickly morphed into a general political debate.

    Btw, I still haven’t read her book – I really should – but i did pick up a copy of the Dersh’s novel Trials of Zion in my local library, just for a laugh, and in the first few pages, there were plenty of them. The renaissance man fancies himself an opera composer as well. Chutzpah indeed

  13. Kathleen
    Kathleen on February 15, 2012, 8:57 pm

    Annie think you and others might be interested

    Could Lieberman Bill Block War-Averting Diplomacy With Iran?
    Wednesday 15 February 2012
    “There’s no question that some people in Washington would very much like for the US to have a policy toward Iran, the endgame of which is war or externally induced regime change. And they have a long-term strategy to bring this about, which is to block efforts at meaningful diplomacy, so that the only thing left on the table is war or externally induced regime change.

    Now, according to reports from DC, come Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham with a new bill. What does their bill seek to do? According to reports from people who have seen the draft bill, in its current form, it seeks to block the president from having a policy to “contain” Iran if it develops nuclear weapons capability.”


    “Something to watch: what New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand does, because she supported Lieberman in December in insisting that no diplomatic effort was acceptable that allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium. So, if I’m Lieberman, Gillibrand is my next Democratic target in the effort to block President Obama from pursuing meaningful diplomacy to prevent war.”

    On Hardball tonight Chris Matthews shows a clip of Gillibrand today saying that “Iran is threatening the US”
    “Iran proclaims nuclear advances”…Listen to Gillibrand sounds like she is ready to go to Iran

    • piotr
      piotr on February 15, 2012, 10:42 pm

      This is a bit like killing the peace process between Palestinians and Israel. Some cats have 7 lives. Some processes have 100 deaths, and, surprisingly, no life at all!

      In this context, I like the word “zombification”, this is a typical usage:

      fundamental issue of whether European leaders were any closer to reversing the “zombification” of European economies

      The quote shows that de-zombification is often required, but hard to achieve. There are two types of de-zombification: letting the poor cadaver die for good, stop twitching etc.; reanimating it and providing enough sustenance that it would not revert to no-life/no-death status once again.

      Of course, given the hardy nature of zombies, it would be good to exploit them productively. This belongs to the secret arts of necromancy.

  14. Kathleen
    Kathleen on February 15, 2012, 9:45 pm

    Why Demand Nuclear Transparency from Iran and Not Israel?

    Hamid Dabashi: People should demand a nuclear weapons free region that starts with Israel and Pakistan

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen on February 15, 2012, 9:59 pm

      Hamid Dabashi says that much of the information that Iranian officials give to the IAEA ends up with Mossad

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen on February 15, 2012, 10:04 pm

        DABASHI: No. I have no doubt that Islamic Republic can do any number of things. But one of the things that the official Islamic republics are saying is that the information that they give to IAEA actually ends up with Mossad, and as a result puts their nuclear scientists in danger. And given the fact that their nuclear scientists keep being assassinated, you know, you cannot blame them to be secretive or stingy in giving of the information.

  15. Boycott Israel on Campus
    Boycott Israel on Campus on February 15, 2012, 10:38 pm


    I am sick to death of this talk about how omnipotent Zionists are, and how powerless we are.

    I am not at all concerned about winning resolutions to boycott “Israel”. All I want is for boycott-Israel resolutions to be proposed at student governments. Why? Because that’s where the student newspaper reporters are sitting, week after week! I have been doing that myself, week after week, year after year, and the sizeable Arab student population here is terrified to follow that example. Everyone is terrified (like you are) to just. do. it.

    I repeat: All I want is a big stink about boycotting Israel in a few big campus newspapers, week after week, month after month.

    That’s all. you. need.

    Don’t waste years “strategizing”, then graduating .

    The whole idea is to break the atmosphere of silence and fear on the campuses, to change it into one of defiance.

    Got it?

  16. Shingo
    Shingo on February 16, 2012, 7:01 am

    This certainly puts a nail in the coffin of the claim that Jews and non Jews have euqal rights under the law in Israel.

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