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‘Jews For Palestinian Right of Return’ endorse American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions

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We salute the American Studies Association’s courageous endorsement of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli academic institutions, which are leading accomplices in more than six decades of ethnic cleansing, colonization, war crimes, and apartheid.

As Jews, we refuse to remain silent as a so-called “Jewish state,” armed by the U.S. and its allies, commits these injustices with impunity in our name.

Contrary to baseless charges of “anti-Semitism,” BDS resembles the boycotts that “singled out” similarly racist regimes in Jim Crow United States and apartheid South Africa.

Applying the same standards to apartheid Israel, BDS demands nothing more — nor less — than freedom and justice throughout all of historic Palestine, by calling for:

• An end to Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories

• Full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel

• Right of return for Palestinian refugees, as affirmed by UN resolution 194

We call on Jews of conscience everywhere to honor our own proud heritage of resistance to oppression and injustice by standing with the Palestinian people, BDS, the ASA, and the growing international movement in support of these fundamental human rights.

Partial list of initial signers
(List in formation; affiliations listed for identification only. Add your name here.)

  • Avigail Abarbanel, psychotherapist, activist, writer; Inverness, Scotland
  • Gabriel Ash, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Switzerland
  • Prof. Jonathan Beller, Humanities and Media Studies; Director, Graduate Program in Media Studies, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn
  • Prof. Steve Brier, historian, New York
  • Eitan Bronstein Aparicio, Tel Aviv
  • Nora Barrows-Friedman, journalist; Oakland
  • Max Blumenthal, journalist and author of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel
  • Daniel Boyarin, Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley
  • Lenni Brenner, author of Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators
  • Estee Chandler, Community Organizer, Los Angeles
  • Mike Cushman, Convener, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (UK)
  • Eron Davidson, award-winning filmmaker, Roadmap to Apartheid, USA
  • Warren Davis, labor and political activist, Philadelphia, PA
  • Hedy Epstein, Nazi Holocaust survivor and human rights activist; St. Louis, MO
  • Samuel Farber, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Brooklyn College, CUNY
  • Joel Finkel, Jewish Voices for Peace-Chicago
  • Prof. Cynthia Franklin, Co-Editor, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, University of Hawai’i
  • Lee Gargaliano, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-US
  • Dr. Terri Ginsberg, film and media scholar, New York
  • Sherna Berger Gluck, emerita faculty, California State University, Long Beach; founding member, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Israel Divestment Campaign
  • Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence, Berkeley
  • Hector Grad, Prof. of Social Anthropology, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
  • Ira Grupper, former National Co-Chair, New Jewish Agenda (1989-1993)
  • Jeff Halper, Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
  • Stanley Heller, Host, “The Struggle” Video News, TSVN
  • Shir Hever, Jewish Voice for Just Peace, Germany
  • Tikva Honig-Parnass, former member of the Zionist armed forces (1948); author of False Prophets of Peace: Liberal Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine
  • Adam Horowitz, Co-Editor, Mondoweiss
  • Selma James, Global Women’s Strike; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-UK
  • Jake Javanshir, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto
  • Emily Katz Kishawi, Jewish Anti Zionist Network, San Francisco
  • Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-International
  • David Klein, Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  • Toby Kramer, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-US
  • David Letwin, activist and teacher, Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
  • Michael Letwin, Former president, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325; Organizing Committee, US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
  • Dr. Les Levidow, Open University, UK
  • Brooke Lober, PhD candidate, Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona
  • Antony Loewenstein, Australian journalist and author
  • Jennifer Loewenstein, Faculty Associate, Middle East Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Samantha Liapes, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
  • Barbara Lubin, Executive Director, Middle East Children’s Alliance; Oakland, CA
  • Prof. David Makofsky, Research Anthropologist, People’s Republic of China
  • Mike Marqusee, author of If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew
  • Thomas Mayer, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Linda Milazzo, writer, activist, educator, Los Angeles
  • Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror (ARA-LA/PART)
  • Prof. Bertell Ollman, Dept. of Politics, New York University
  • Prof. Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian and socialist activist
  • Miko Peled, writer, activist, author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine
  • Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Sakharov Prize laureate, Jerusalem
  • Karen Pomer, granddaughter of Henri B. van Leeuwen, Dutch anti-Zionist leader and Bergen-Belsen survivor
  • Roland Rance, Jews Against Zionism, London
  • Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights (for ID purposes only); New York
  • Ruben Rosenberg Colorni, Journalist, The News Junkie Post, Activist – Youth for Palestine; The Hague
  • Lillian Rosengarten, activist for Palestinian liberation and a bi-national Israel/Palestinian State; New York
  • Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics
  • Ilana Rossoff, community organizer; New Jersey
  • Cheryl Rubenberg, retired associate professor of Middle East politics at Florida International University (Miami)
  • Josh Ruebner, Author of Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace
  • Margot Salom, Just Peace for Palestine; Brisbane
  • Yom Shamash, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver
  • Tali Shapiro, Boycott from Within; Israel
  • Sid Shniad, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver
  • Jonatan Stanczak, Managing Director, The Freedom Theatre
  • Marsha Steinberg, BDS-LA for Justice in Palestine
  • Prof. Miriam Swenson, educational psychology
  • Steve Terry, criminal defense attorney; Brooklyn, NY
  • Sam Weinstein, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Labor
  • Abraham Weizfeld, Administrative Secretary, Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
  • Marcy Winograd, former congressional candidate, Los Angeles
  • Bekah Wolf, UC Hastings College of Law Student; Co-founder, Palestine Solidarity Project
  • Sherry Wolf, Associate Editor, International Socialist Review
  • Dr. Roger van Zwanenberg, Non-Executive Director, Pluto Books Ltd.; London
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
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36 Responses

  1. yrn
    yrn
    February 14, 2014, 10:10 am

    Sometimes Mondowiess amuses me, but got very boring lately and…… surprise, as this article is just Hilarious.
    Four Israelis and about 30 Jews.
    Well …. for those four Israelis in the list, as they are the “Majority in Israel”, and as they represent 0.00000000000000000000000000000005% of the Israeli Society, I guess they think they got the Mojo.
    As for the rest of the Jews, as they are not Israeli Citizens and never lived here, they can continue suggesting good and bad things for Israel, but as they are not Israelis and think that because they are Jewish their appeal, makes any deference.
    They are can go on and play with their Tribalism (Suddenly They are all supporters of Jewish Tribe ) when it fits their Agenda.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      February 14, 2014, 8:28 pm

      Well …. for those four Israelis in the list, as they are the “Majority in Israel”, and as they represent 0.00000000000000000000000000000005% of the Israeli Society, …

      We allready know how f*** up the “Israeli society” is. It’s not a surprise that Israel the Occupier is amongst the Top 5 of the most hated countries of the world. Now go and play victim.

    • TheWatcherWatching
      TheWatcherWatching
      February 15, 2014, 11:00 am

      Oh good kick your diaspora Jewish supporters without them Israel wouldn’t even exist. I hope if enough ungrateful people like you do voice your opinion it will slowly erode some of Israel’s support

  2. goldmarx
    goldmarx
    February 14, 2014, 10:32 am

    Sounds great, and I’d sign on using my real name if I wasn’t fearful of losing my current employment.

    It’s good to be retired or a tenured professor!

    It’s also good to see that the Right of Return refers to all of historic Palestine, not just the portion where Israel sits. So Jordan, Syria and Lebanon will also have to reckon with Palestinian claims of injustice, not just Israel, since those other countries also sit on part of historic Palestine.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      February 14, 2014, 5:44 pm

      if you were a professor-of anything-i would hate to know how you would explain how the Jewish provence of Israel/Judea/ Samaria was named in conquest by the Romans for an old and bygone enemy of the Israelites came to be “part of ‘historic’ Palestine along with Lebanon, Jordan and Syria (Syria Palestina, if you will). I would also like to know at which point you consider ‘historic’ as operative? Cannanite? Israelite? Anglo conquest? Muslim conquest, Ottoman conquest? European conquest. British colonial mandate? Israel 48. Israel 67, and so on. So, professor….

  3. Blaine Coleman
    Blaine Coleman
    February 14, 2014, 10:33 am

    Of course, this is a welcome statement of support for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the last apartheid state on Earth. Thanx a bunch.

    However, the entire school year has gone by without even one publicized attempt at a boycott, divestment, and sanctions resolution on any campus in the United States.

    And we are in 2014, a full twelve years after the first national divestment conference in Berkeley, California, and almost 12 years after the second national divestment conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    The students who organized those conferences are in their mid-thirties now. Thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese have been massacred since those conferences.

    What kind of a heartless, gutless “solidarity” movement would spend another year without a single visible campus campaign to boycott Israel? Please spare me your promises of a beautifully strategized April resolution to be unveiled just minutes before the campuses flee for summer vacation. I don’t believe you any more.

    All I hear is your very real silence about boycotting Israel, on every campus in the nation.

  4. February 14, 2014, 11:53 am

    as a long time dedicated reader, and participant, of the wonderful mondoweiss,(and boy i can’t begin to think of how many people i’ve told about), i’d like to thank each and every one of the jews listed here for their, likewise, courageous endorsement of the courageous endorsement of the ADS!

  5. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    February 14, 2014, 2:30 pm

    “We call on Jews of conscience everywhere to honor our own proud heritage of resistance to oppression and injustice by standing with the Palestinian people, BDS, the ASA, and the growing international movement in support of these fundamental human rights.”

    Yes always better late than never.

    At the MEC (middle east collective) meeting here in Boulder the other night Retired Prof Tom Mayer mentioned that Gilad Atzmon had questioned his willingness to sign a Jew’s only petition. There have been quite a few of these the last few years. Can’t figure out if this is an effort to make it appear that Jews have been at the fore front of this movement for decades or what the reason for these “Jews only” petitions are all about. There really does seem to be an odd twist to these “Jews only” petitions. . Retired Prof Mayer (signatory above) who I have so much respect for (involved with human rights issues for decades) took a shot at explaining this but was not succinct (which is unusual for him) He did say that he generally does not sign “Jews only” petitions.

    Can anyone take a shot at explaining what the purpose of “Jews only” petitions are all about?

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      February 14, 2014, 3:09 pm

      “Yes always better late than never.”

      As you never fail to point out every time there is a story about some Jewish group supporting your cause.

      You really are a petty person, Kathleen. I have no idea what your problem is. You’re not honest, either; there have been Jewish pro-Palestinian activists since there have been pro-Palestinian activists. What motivates your petty childish need to make this statement every time Phil posts something about a Jewish group? Were you beaten up by a Jewish person as a child, or something?

      “Retired Prof Tom Mayer mentioned that Gilad Atzmon had questioned his willingness to sign a Jew’s only petition.”

      Oh. You’re a follower of well-known bigot Gilad Atzmon.

      “Can anyone take a shot at explaining what the purpose of ‘Jews only’ petitions are all about?”

      Well, see, it’s like this. It’s a Jewish organization of Jews who take a political view that is at odds with most Jews, so they call themselves Jews for x. Since they are Jews for x, when they sign a petition, the signatories are necessarily Jews. If the signatories of a Jews for petitions weren’t Jews, the organization would not be called Jews for. It would be called something else.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 14, 2014, 3:57 pm

        Total myth that many Jews have been involved with this issue for a long time. Absolute bullshit. In fact it has been the majority of Jews through their silence and direct involvement with Aipac etc that have been a huge part of keeping these discriminatory policies in place. It has been so called liberal zionist legislators in the U.S. congress who have drawn up and promoted pro Israel anti Palestinian legislation for decades. I will continue to point out this effort to make it appear that a majority of Jews have been involved with this critical issue over the decades. It is a fact that it has been just the opposite. So enough of the spin. And will continue to point this out when there is an effort to spin the facts to make it appear differently.

        Now as I have pointed out over and over again that it is wonderful that the Phil Weiss’s, Peter Beinart’s, Medea Benjaman of the world have taken this critical issue on the last 10 years (less time for Peter) but making it appear as anything else than a recent development is patently false.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        February 14, 2014, 4:08 pm

        Now as I have pointed out over and over again that it is wonderful that the Phil Weiss’s, Peter Beinart’s, Medea Benjaman of the world have taken this critical issue on the last 10 years (less time for Peter)

        How about the Tikva Honig-Parnases and Roland Rances and Stanley Hellers (to name 3 of the signatories)? Do you know how long they have been involved? My guess is about 50, 40 and 30 years, respectively.

      • Light
        Light
        February 14, 2014, 4:26 pm

        Total myth that many Jews have been involved with this issue for a long time. Absolute bullshit.

        It does not take much research to show your statement is not true.

        http://www.al-bushra.org/jerusalem1/statement.htm

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 14, 2014, 4:43 pm

        Come on Jewish professors in mass and Jewish University administrators on campuses across this country have kept the debate closed down on campuses for decades many of us have witnessed up close. I was around a sizable Jewish community in New York for several decades and they were so shut down to talking about this issue or doing anything about it. They would literally almost go blind when the issue came up. I was involved with a human rights and social justice activist group for 30 some years and the overwhelming focus of the group was the Israeli Palestinian issue. Not one Jewish person from our community joined the group (Art and Peggy Gish part of the group). Not one Jewish person lobbied with us in D.C. about this issue over the decades. So called liberal Zionist legislators like Barbara Boxer, Sherman, Ackerman, Lantos have introduced and co sponsored a long list of pro Israel, anti Palestinian pieces of legislation.

        You may be able to point out a few Jewish individuals like Finkelstein who has really been out on the front lines of this issue. But it is a fact that the majority of Jews have been silent or actively supportive of pro Israel legislation no matter what Israel does for decades.

        A wonderful thing that Medea Benjamen (who has been involved with other human rights issues for decades, but not this issue), Phil, Naomi Klein have gotten involved in big ways. But this is a development that has taken place over the last 10 years. A good thing.

        The silence and support for Israel no matter what they have done of the majority of Jews has been complicity. However the shift is good whether it is all about saving Israel or a newly born awareness of the suffering of the Palestinians.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 14, 2014, 5:16 pm

        Oh and this stretch of your imagination is so telling. I mentioned that Retired Prof Tom Mayer brought up that Gilad had asked him “why he signed a Jewish only petition” at at meeting the other night here in Boulder. And then you try to put words in my mouth that because I ‘s question to Mayer that I am a supporter of Gilad’s. Quite the stretch Hop. But not a stretch that you have not participated in before. I had no idea who Gilad was until two years ago when I went to hear him speak here in Boulder. While I found he generalized a great deal about Iraq, Israel, Palestine etc. I still do not quite get why people are so up in arms about him. But again do not know enough about him. Have listened to some of his interviews and found some things he has said spot on. But again do not know enough about him. Have heard Max Blumenthal who seems so fact based and rational go absolutely ballistic about Gilad. Even suggesting that he could be some kind of “double agent” kind of character. What I have heard about him is that he has repeatedly attacked some of the most serious Palestinian activist in discriminatory ways. But again have not followed him much.

        The alienation of some by BDS like Norman Finkelstein (who has sacrificed so much being focused on this critical issue for so long) sure makes me wonder about this need to isolate those they do not agree with. From what I have heard from Rich Forerhttp://www.richardforer.com/category/rich/ (who was with Norman recently) is that before BDS made an effort to isolate Norman for calling BDS “a cult” that he had a long list of speaking engagements. That after BDS targeted Finkelstein for this comment he literally has almost no speaking engagements. So my question on this is why such an effort to isolate or demonize those you may disagree with? Rich Forer and Atzmon will be talking in Denver this weekend http://forusa.org/events/2014/02/16/community-forum-for-heart-mind-israel-palestine

      • American
        American
        February 14, 2014, 7:47 pm

        @ kathleen

        I think Aztmon is verboten here but I’ll give it a shot and see if this gets to you. I think I made a half assed defense of Aztmon to Alex or someone here a long time ago and it got thru so we’ll see
        I read his book a while ago and did not find it anti semitic or self hating or to be denying the holocaust happened, although he did question certain comandments like the final solution being the plan from the beginning of Hitlers reign.
        It came across to me as the same kind of critique on the ‘Jewish culture’ and flaws that induced zionism as hundreds of the same kind of unflattering critiques that have been done on the WASP culture, Christian culture, white culture, flaws, traits ,etc. ect…..unflattering to a group not meaning it is all or always true or untrue.
        I think the ones who reacted to Aztmon are overly sensitive to criticism of Jews and cant bare to allow for any fault among them that all other groups have, and most have admitted to having at one time or another, and excuse this on the basis of the what criticizing or to them demonizing of anything ‘ culturaly Jewish ‘leads to’.
        Not being a sensitive type about my own ‘group’, I think their hysterics over his criticizm of the Jewish group are overblown and they dont get that their overreaction just reinforces some of what he points out.
        I didnt find anything about him ‘hateful’…he seems most of all very curious, inquiring, questioning and the ultimate no bullshiter..maybe enjoying his fame as a no bullshitter a bit too much though.

    • tokyobk
      tokyobk
      February 14, 2014, 8:00 pm

      Anti-zionism was a pretty Jewish engagement at the beginning of Zionism. Its Western non-Jews who are late to the party! But, better late than never, I suppose. Assuming you are not Jewish, Kathleen. Welcome. If you are, thanks for re-engaging an old Jewish tradition of dissent and anti and no-Zionism.

      Like many white Southerners (even northerners, even famous presidents) regarding blacks and the back-to-Africa movement, the most hostile forces towards Jews often welcomed the idea of Jews leaving Europe for their “own” country. “Go Back to Palestine!” was a refrain of anti-semites, not of assimilating European Jews (deeply intermarried btw, in Germany and France). Most Rabbis rejected Zionism including the earlier patriarchs of still existing rabbinical schools, some of which have become fiercely Zionist, some not. (Witness recent riots among rabbinical draft refusers in Israel today).

      Jews only petitions are about the fact that Israel claims to speak in the name of the Jews. Some Jews want to oppose this in Jewish terms.

      If you have a general problem with Jews identifying as Jews, well you are going to have to learn to deal with your intolerance, mostly in silence or in marginal circles.

      It amazes me how similar some comments here are to the way Islamophobia works.

      “Where are the Muslims protesting X?”
      “Here I am”
      “Oh you don’t count because you are a small minority, not the authentic voice (as determined by the Islamophobe’s most hated Muslim Group) and too late. And that it happens on Mondoweiss, a site create by Jews wanting to engage this issue precisely because of Israel’s universalist and unchecked claims, is an additional chuckle.

      I wonder if the operators of this site notice that these threads get far less comments and the comments are often snarking on the Jews who feel they are operating with a Jewish consciousness.

      About Atzmon: If you thing asking Jews why they keep bringing on holocausts (which btw is not only incoherent but not even true — meaning Jews were not everywhere and always hated even in Europe) is not abhorrent, or you think the quenelle, which now Atzmon is fond of doing himself, is just an anti-establishment gesture and not one which also has an anti-Jewish meaning, then Atzmon is your man. But please don’t spend too much time wondering why he has been outcast by both Jews and non-Jews interested in keeping the focus on Palestinian rights.

      And its not Just Blumenthal that responds to Atzmon viscerally its also Abuminah and others at the forefront of BDS and Palestinian rights, who see him as a potentially dangerous sideshow to their main cause. Btw, he is also a sideshow to Jewish identity issues. Not much of what he talks about is new to internal Jewish discussions, about chosen-ness, about what it means to be a secular Jew. But he prefers a more rowdy and hostile and frankly (about Judaism and Jewishness) ignorant audience.

      You do realize btw there was a “Arab only” list signed about Atzmon’s flirtation (to be generous) with anti-semitism. You need to write them a letter about being exclusionary!

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        February 15, 2014, 12:07 am

        your long winded ramble is basically stating the obvious: Before ww2 the Zionist movement had a lot of dissent within the Jewsih community and was a predominantly Jewish issue. After the wreckage of ww2 the need for a place for displaced Jewish refugees who did NOT want to return to the mostly complicit countries that helped round them up for slaughter suddenly meshed completely with the need for a Jewish Nation as the Zionists had envisioned. (and yes, I have read all of the disgusting attempts top try and paint Zionists as complicit in Hitlers master plan for Jews in order to realize a Jewish Nation. Its what I expect to read on AlJaz but not MW as I have at least enough respect to assume there are no complete imbeciles here)

        Anyway-Bringing up the early pre-ww2 opposition to Zionism is like discussing the merits of the Wampanoags deciding wether to make peace with the Pilgrims. Or-discussing the fact that Arabs in Palestine did not identify as Palestinians before Israel came to exist again. (and I’m not saying palestinians didnt exist-just that they chose to identify as Palestinian Arabs AFTER ’47) There is no point going back in time. The Palestinians want to go back to 1947-even if they say they will accept a treaty based on 67. But a treaty will only be realized on the basis of the present-which is why dickering around for what both sides consider strategic reasons will only create new realities on the ground. Maybe they will make things worse, or maybe they wont. One thing is very clear-neither side will respond to intimidation or threats. When I see evidence of the Palestinians pushing there own for a MASSIVE attitude adjustment towards Jews, Israel and what they can expect in a treaty -much like MW claims to be advocating for the Jews-I will start to reassess my cynical thinking. (and this does not cover PA figures that are almost universally despised as “collaborators” by the public and so-called ‘arab-street’ at large. Palestinians don’;t seem to be plagued by the cultural hand-wringing that many left-wing American and Israeli jews are plagued with. Any Jew who isn;t plagued by culturally hard-wired hand-wringing is dubbed a ‘zio-nazi’ by most of the commenters on blogs like MW.
        The ironic problem with this protracted conflict is the Jews have finally met there match for undisputed victimhood in the Palestinians. Great. What a wonderful cultural aspiration.

      • yrn
        yrn
        February 15, 2014, 4:57 am

        tokyobk
        “Jews only petitions are about the fact that Israel claims to speak in the name of the Jews. Some Jews want to oppose this in Jewish terms.”
        You are a typical duplicated type, so keep on explaining…
        Do those Jews LIVE in Israel, this is a political and internal affair of the state, that has application on it’s future.
        if this was a philosophical or a religious statement, well then you can raise your voice and say, as the reforms, you don’t represent me I think different.
        But in this case, you sit and live in your country, you are a total stranger to Israel and tell me what to do, just because you are from the same religion.

        It has only to do with the issue, that you think, that the world will read your letters in a different way because you , when it fits you, say I belong to the tribe I am Jewish, so everything concerning Israel, has a bigger impact because I am Jewish.

        You are not Israelis, you are strangers for me you are like any other Swedish, or Spanish, or Argentinian and you words means nothing more then any other person.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 15, 2014, 10:22 am

        “You do realize btw there was a “Arab only” list signed about Atzmon’s flirtation (to be generous) with anti-semitism. You need to write them a letter about being exclusionary!”

        I did not and will look for that. I agree that the focus being taken off of Palestinian rights is a diversion. But I am interested in people’s personal journeys when it comes to possibly having participated in discrimination etc.

        Again had never even heard of Gilad two years ago. But I am also interested in why people are alienated, pushed aside..let’s say even how our MSM (Terri Gross) is ignoring Max’s new book after having interviewed him about his first book. And now how it sounds like BDS has tried to isolate Norman Finkelstein who has taken so many political economic and personal risk to stand up on this issue going on 30 years now? Why attempt to isolate such a brave, focused on international law, out on the front lines person such as Finkelstein?

      • aiman
        aiman
        February 16, 2014, 8:01 pm

        “Anti-zionism was a pretty Jewish engagement at the beginning of Zionism. Its Western non-Jews who are late to the party! But, better late than never, I suppose. Assuming you are not Jewish, Kathleen. Welcome. If you are, thanks for re-engaging an old Jewish tradition of dissent and anti and no-Zionism.”

        What an astoundingly ignorant and narcissistic batch of sentences. People are “welcome” the moment they are born, they are not yours or anyone’s subjects. The first anti-Zionist engagement was that of a Palestinian.

    • tree
      tree
      February 14, 2014, 10:50 pm

      Can anyone take a shot at explaining what the purpose of “Jews only” petitions are all about?

      Well, now that hophmi’s had his usual vituperative straw man attack, and tokyobk has joined in with a short romp through Jewish exceptionalism, I’d like to answer the question. My understanding is that, because of the misuse and overuse of the term “anti-semite” to refer to stands critical of Israel, the Jews-only petition is meant to signal to other Jews, as well as to non-Jews, that the position they are taking is not anti-semitic. Since there is among some Jews a certain bias towards assuming that any non-Jew who criticizes Israel is doing so because of anti-semitic thoughts or feelings, this kind of petition is hoped to signal that other Jews that they do not need to “circle the wagons” around Israel against legitimate criticisms. There is certainly some upside to such petitions. The downsides, however, of such petitions is two-fold. One, it doesn’t always work successfully at changing minds, particularly among Jews, and is just as likely to elicit the “yrn” response, as seen above, as any other. Two, it tends to imply that Jewish opinions have more gravitas or relevance to the issue than non-Jewish ones, which is not true.

      As I understand Kathleen, from what she has articulated about this before, I think her gripe about them is this: there is a certain percentage of Jews, and even non-Jews, who tend to view this Jewish dissent from Zionism as another instance of Jewish moral superiority. This is certainly not the intended perception of most signers of these petitions, or of those Jewish activists who have worked long and hard on these issues, but it is a viewpoint that does come up, including in TBK’s post above.

      “Many” is a relative term, and as a percentage of Israeli and American Jews, the number of those seeking justice and equality in I/P has been paltry, as has the number of Americans of all faiths. As Kathleen points out, the majority of Jews in the US, either through intolerance, ignorance(willful or circumstantial). or tribal intimidation, have supported the massive denial of Palestinian rights. There are wonderful exceptions to that rule and they should all be given their due, whether early or late, but it is still, sadly, the rule.

      I think I understand Kathleen bridling at the paragraph she quoted, particularly this phrase “We call on Jews of conscience everywhere to honor our own proud heritage of resistance to oppression and injustice…”

      Yes, there is is a heritage of resistance to injustice in Judaism and among secular Jews, but there is also a strong heritage of conformity and orthodoxy, as well as a heritage of acceptance of injustice, so, although I understand the desire to appeal to other Jews as part of a Jewish tradition, it does come off sounding as though there is an element of perceived moral superiority to this”Jewish” commitment to justice as differentiated from other peoples’ commitment to justice. The sad history of the world and all peoples tend to lead toward the conclusion that no group can claim any moral superiority in this regard, and that includes Jews.

      Think for a moment if there had been “white only” petitions in support of US civil rights in the 60’s that started out appealing to the “white heritage” of “resisting oppression”, something no less existent than the Jewish heritage. Do you get why it might have seemed a bit “exceptionalist”?

      As for this, tobkyobk:

      Anti-zionism was a pretty Jewish engagement at the beginning of Zionism. Its Western non-Jews who are late to the party! But, better late than never, I suppose. Assuming you are not Jewish, Kathleen. Welcome. If you are, thanks for re-engaging an old Jewish tradition of dissent and anti and no-Zionism.

      Stupid petty comment. Zionism was also a “pretty Jewish engagement” at the beginning. As much as some Western leaders were responsible for their own abominable actions in Palestine, particularly among the British, the Zionist Agency was a one hundred percent Jewish endeavor. It alone was responsible for the restrictive covenants it placed on the land it bought, and the dispossession of Palestinian tenant farmers, the denial of legislative cooperation with the Palestinians during the Mandate, the denial of employment to Palestinian non-Jews, the boycott of Arab goods, the demand for higher pay for Jewish workers than for Arab ones, the terrorist attacks against civilians in the 30’s and 40’s, the massive ethnic cleansing of 48 and the continual denial of Palestinian rights up to this very day. In the sad scheme of humanity is it particularly worse than any of the other ills that have occurred? Of course not. But it makes as much sense to laud Jewish anti-Zionism as if it is something particularly Jewish in heritage as it does to laud white abolitionism as if that was particularly “white” in heritage. Both had to go against the tide of their own group instituted injustice.

      Maybe you haven’t been paying enough attention here, since your interest in Palestinian rights seems to be primarily focused on scouting out perceived anti-semitism among the faithful, but Kathleen has indicated that she’s been involved in this issue for a long time, so your snark was quite petty as was your “welcome” to someone who has shown much more concern and political work for Palestinian rights than I have ever heard you share here, or with Phil when you were questioning his motives in creating this site.

      And, really, you think that if you stand up for all human rights and are Jewish, you are ” re-engaging an old Jewish tradition of dissent”? You think Jews are all so one dimensional that they have to rely on their Jewish identity in order to work for human justice and equality? Wow, an anti-semitic and exceptionalist train of thought at the same time. Its a two-fer! Congrats! Keep up the hunt for anti-semites. You never know when they might pop up in your mirror.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        February 15, 2014, 4:17 am

        tree,

        I think you’ve got the reasons for such a petition about right, but there is a further dimension that pertains specifically to Jews, and that is the reclaiming of our much-sullied and co-opted tradition. I have never joined or signed a “Jews for” or “Jews against” group or petition for any other cause than Palestine, and even on Palestine, I have never limited my activities to Jewish groups.

        Internally, the yrns aren’t our audience, and their reactions are predictable. As for the implication of “moral superiority”, I don’t see citing a Jewish heritage of resistance to oppression and injustice as intimating that Jews are somehow better, but rather that we also draw upon our own traditions in expressing universal values. This is particularly significant as a response to those who present oppression and injustice as Jewish “values” (certainly not implying Jewish inferiority).

        The idea of opposing Zionism from within Judaism or Jewishness — including the inherent contradiction in identitary anti-identitarianism — is the underlying theme of Judith Butler’s Parting Ways, particularly the chapter “Is Judaism Zionism”.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        February 15, 2014, 4:59 am

        Regarding the ASA specifically, the line “Contrary to baseless charges of ‘anti-Semitism'” says it all.

        The responses within the pro-Palestinian community to our local Jewish anti-Zionist group are overwhelmingly positive precisely for this reason. The accusation of anti-Semitism is both damaging to the cause and offensive in the extreme to a movement defined by its uncompromising anti-racism (and anti-fascism).

      • tree
        tree
        February 15, 2014, 5:03 am

        As for the implication of “moral superiority”, I don’t see citing a Jewish heritage of resistance to oppression and injustice as intimating that Jews are somehow better, but rather that we also draw upon our own traditions in expressing universal values.

        I totally understand your point, Shmuel, and tried to express in my earlier comment that this intimation is not the intention of the petition signers, but I have seen such an false implication broached far too many times not to recognize that it does exist as a sense of moral superiority among some Jews. Not to say that this is, in its essence, any different from various forms of inflated self-identity that can and do inflict members of every other human identity group just as well, but just saying that it does exist , and, to my mind, such an attitude ought to be pointed out and criticized whenever it does crop up — universally speaking.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        February 15, 2014, 5:13 am

        to my mind, such an attitude ought to be pointed out and criticized whenever it does crop up — universally speaking

        Agreed.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        February 15, 2014, 5:12 am

        Butler (Parting Ways, p. 117):

        [G]iven that Israel acts in the name of the Jewish people, casts itself as the legitimate representative of the Jewish people, there is a struggle over what is done in the name of the Jewish people and so all the more reason to reclaim that tradition and ethics in favor of a politics that prizes social and political justice above a nationalism that depends fundamentally on military violence to sustain itself. The effort to establish the presence of progresive Jews runs the risk of remaining within certain identitarian and communitarian presumptions; one opposes any and all expressions of anti-Jewish anti-Semitism and one reclaims Jewishness for a project that seeks to dismantle Israeli state violence and the institutionalization of racism. This particular form of the solution is challenged, however, if we consider that there are several ethical and political frameworks in which such a critique is obligatory.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 15, 2014, 10:25 am

        Thanks Tree. Prof Mayer said some similar things that evening. Will be talking with him again about this. Should clarify that Atzmon asked his question of Mayer on a local CUDivest conversation thread. Not in person.

    • SQ Debris
      SQ Debris
      February 15, 2014, 12:45 pm

      “Can anyone take a shot at explaining what the purpose of “Jews only” petitions are all about?”

      Sure. For decades the only voices that had any credibility vis a vis Palestine/Israel were those of Jews. There was a near universal appropriation of the Palestinian narrative justified by the Victimness of Jews. Articulate Palestinians were defined as liars and/or anti-Semites. These “Jews Only” petitions weaponize that racism of representation against itself.

  6. Blaine Coleman
    Blaine Coleman
    February 14, 2014, 2:47 pm

    Yes, Kathleen. I can tell you the reason for such petitions:

    Everyone is terrified to demand boycott against Israel in any public setting. Everyone is afraid to march on any seat of power and demand a boycott against Israel.

    Hence these petitions, which require no public demands and no public debates. They are signed by the people with the least fear of being called anti-Semites, a laughably flimsy accusation which is used successfully to prevent any public boycott campaign.

    Hence the entire boycott “movement” is on-line; none of it is in-person in any sustained way, like at a student government, or a city council. None of it resembles the old-time civil rights marches, or the old Black Power demonstrations.

    This terrible fear of making demands against Israel is especially strange, because the Black Freedom marchers had good reason to fear for their life and limb — yet they marched. Speaking up for Palestine is not even one-tenth as hazardous to your health. So where are the marchers for Palestine?

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      February 16, 2014, 1:01 pm

      With several groups of people we have put together petitions in regard to the I/P issue for decades and taken them to our Reps directly. There was no discrimination or demand that a person be of a particular ethnic, religious or cultural background. Just seems odd. Again why I asked what the purpose of “Jewish only” petitions are all about.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        February 16, 2014, 1:23 pm

        Again why I asked what the purpose of “Jewish only” petitions are all about.

        Maybe to avoid insinuations a few years down the road that Jews as a group were not involved in the struggle, because some people seem to put stock in such things.

      • American
        American
        February 16, 2014, 1:51 pm

        As Jews, we refuse to remain silent as a so-called “Jewish state,” armed by the U.S. and its allies, commits these injustices with impunity in our name.”

        This is no doubt part of it….”refuse to remain silent..’injustices in our name.
        Cant blame them for not wanting to be nailed for Israel-US mess.
        However imo as I have said numerous times the Jewish alone protest are not going to be enough.
        Suggest people start entitling their I/P petitions to politicans…”We the American People”….

  7. Blaine Coleman
    Blaine Coleman
    February 14, 2014, 5:24 pm

    Petty arguments over this or that personality amount to nothing because there is no BDS movement yet — remember what the Civil Rights Movement looked like? Remember what the Black Power Movement looked like?

    Mass marches making demands — that’s a movement. Occasional squeals on web sites that are unknown to 99% of the population do not equal a movement.

    If Palestine is to be saved, there had better be a real, marching Boycott-Israel movement. Make yourself seen and heard in the news media demanding boycott, with a crowd standing next to you. That’s a movement.

  8. just
    just
    February 15, 2014, 6:58 am

    Many thanks to these folks.

    They honor their heritage, and their voices will help to drown out the ziorabble. Ultimately, that is what must happen. The old, tired memes must be smashed to smithereens– the tacit and not so tacit acceptance of them is over, and Israel must answer for its cruel apartheid and Occupation.

  9. Cuda
    Cuda
    February 17, 2014, 6:36 pm

    Are my fellow Jews enduring yet another identity crisis? Let’s hope so.

    Roger Tucker
    One Democratic State

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