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US Jewish leaders blast Harvard students on pro-Israel trip for taking photo at Arafat’s tomb (Update)

Israel/Palestine
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Harvard trip students pose at Arafat's tomb

Harvard trip students pose at Arafat’s tomb

Last week I did a post on a Vassar College trip to Israel and Palestine that drew opposition from the Students for Justice for Palestine chapter at the school because it was associated with Israel’s Arava Institute.

Well at the same time Harvard sent over a trip of a far more pro-Israel character, and it has gotten into a lot more trouble for a laughable reason. “[L]ed by a dynamic team of Israeli undergraduates,” The Harvard Trek trip recruited 50 Harvard students of diverse background (i.e., they’re generally not Jewish) to fall in love with Israel. And not a word about Palestine:

Students will learn about Israeli history, culture, and politics. Some of the topics explored will include the hi-tech industry, the emerging cultural landscape, questions regarding religion and state, the peace process and Israel’s geopolitical position in the region.

But the problem was that the students visited the Muqata in Ramallah a week ago and tweeted out the image above, at Arafat’s tomb. Even that was too much!

After it was discovered by rightwingers, the Jewish press has gone crazy over the fact that pro-Israel groups helped pay for the tour. There are a dozen or more stories in pro-Israel outlets about the outrage. Here is typical coverage, from Israel Hayom:

“I was horrified to see that Harvard Hillel is a supporter, and Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies is a sponsor of a trip that includes a visit to the grave of one of the world’s most notorious Jew-murdering terrorists,” [Daniel] Mael told the The Jewish Press weekly newspaper.

As the Israel Trek’s website put it, “Israel Trek is made possible by the generous contributions of a number of family foundations and Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies. The Trek is supported by Harvard Hillel.”

The issue has sparked criticism and outrage in the American Jewish community, especially among donors who discovered they funded not only a trip to Israel but a trip to the Palestinian Authority…

Some folks seem to understand that the controversy will hurt the Israel lobby by demonstrating its intolerance. David Eden of Hillel International issued this statement (to a rightwing site) that tries to straddle. It’s a Zionist trip, “staunchly pro-Israel”; but these students were visiting Ramallah and they’re diverse and didn’t know better, and should have been more thoughtful, etc.

A photograph of Harvard Israel Trek participants at the tomb of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah is causing understandable concern. That image is not what this trip is about. This morning the Trek was up north on the Syrian border touring an elite Israeli defense post and receiving an update from a senior IDF general on the current security situation there. So much of the trip is in that vein.

The Israel Trek is being led by Harvard Israeli students, distinguished IDF veterans among them, and is sponsored by Harvard Hillel together with the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, along with several individuals and family foundations, all staunchly pro-Israel. The itinerary of the Trek, approved by the sponsors, includes a very impressive roster of meetings and outings with representatives of the very highest echelons of Israeli government, armed forces, business, and culture. The trip also includes a visit to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian leadership.

Trek participants are documenting every step of their trip together, taking pictures of the group with virtually everything they see, everywhere that they are hosted. Given our digital online world, the participants may have given insufficient thought to the way in which this particular photograph would be seen and received back home, where the image is being captioned and written about in a very disturbing manner, including sensationalistic interpretations, by people unfamiliar with the Trek’s full program and mission.

The fifty student participants in this trip come from diverse backgrounds and faiths, selected from more than three hundred applicants. The positive experience of Israel that they are sharing, and that they will bring back to Harvard, will have an enormous and constructive effect in increasing understanding of Israel with personal connection and amity.

Now look at the contortions of a Boston Jewish leader in the Jewish Press, trying to justify the students’ decision, implying it was under duress:

“The students obviously found themselves in a set of circumstances, where they were at Arafat’s grave. They were somehow put in such a position,” is how [Gideon] Argov put it.

… He said it was “unfortunate, but we will find out why and how it happened” when the students return…

“I am 100 percent convinced that these students will come back, able to articulate why Israel is critical as an American ally, why it is critical as the Homeland of the Jewish people,” and why it should be protected as it is the one stable nation in a region devolving into chaos.

Well that’s the problem, isn’t it? The lobby needs diverse American support. But the diverse Americans haven’t drunk enough Kool-Aid.

Imagine the crisis we’re in, when inquisitive Harvard students offered a free visit to Israel make a stop in Palestine and dare to be photographed at Arafat’s tomb and are smeared all over the American Jewish press. Imagine how these Harvard students are going to regard the Israel lobby after this. Once again, we see the American Jewish community committing intellectual suicide, right before our eyes.

Yes and how many of those students are now going to begin to look at what else was suppressed on their trip, and will learn about ethnic cleansing and apartheid?

Update:

Thanks to commenter Sycamores we’ve intercepted a slew commentary by student trekkers who set up a Facebook page Harvard College Israel Trek 2014 as well as sharing their thoughts on a Medium Collection.  Students responded to negative criticism the group received due to their visit to Arafat’s tomb including their official response “Yes, we visited Arafat’s grave” which got picked up by the Times of Israel. 

An example of FB statements, this one from a student identified as “Trekker Kelsey”:

“In response to select media coverage of the Harvard College Israel Trek’s visit to Ramallah:

Lived experiences are real. Acknowledging one person’s lived experience neither negates nor diminishes another person’s lived experience. Acknowledging one peoples’ narrative does not inherently undermine another peoples’ narrative. Intersubjective recognition is a deeply human need and is the most basic requisite for understanding. Understanding a shared humanity is the most basic requisite for peace.

Graphic: Harvard student Cansu Çolakoğlu on Israel Trek

“No regrets” Harvard student Cansu Çolakoğlu blog, on Israel Trek (Graphic: screenshot)

One student trekker, Cansu Çolakoğlu, blogged in his post “No regrets” why visiting Ramallah, which he calls “the capital of the occupied Palestine “, was such an important component of the trip and concludes:

 

Thanks to all of the opinions I have heard on this trip, I have at least one clear statement I can fully embrace and will take away from this trip: The terms ‘pro-Israel’ and ‘pro-Palestine’ are not antonyms and I do realize that ‘pro-Israelis’ will dislike my argument as much as ‘pro-Palestinians.’ Yet, once you get to explore the issue in a balanced way, you realize that those terms mean the same exact thing because if Palestine is miserable, there is no way Israel will not be miserable. The faiths of the two are so intertwined that there is no future for one without a bright future for the other.

I recommend exploring more of the student blogs over at the Medium Collection. Here’s an anecdotal smidgen of student Edward de Fouchier’s observations in his blog “Ramallah“:

The real challenge for me to process was the lecture delivered by Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian minister and negotiator. If the spokesman was the PLO’s modern image, this man was its wise man. A Wharton graduate, university professor of management, and man of culture, he was aware of his lay audience and first connected with us as Americans attending Harvard. He fondly remembered his time in America, playfully informing us that he had decided against attending Harvard after initially being rejected for his young age. He conveyed a sense of humor and subtlety.

His address to us was given with a tone of wise and patient hopefulness, a sense that he could, as a seasoned diplomat, look at the situation with more distance. His discourse was devoid of urgency and filled with shrugging assurances that a reasonable solution would be found sooner or later. If the peace talks conducted by John Kerry fail, he reassured us, “the world will not end.”

 

(Update ~ Annie Robbins)

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88 Responses

  1. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    March 23, 2014, 12:33 pm

    Practicing thought control and intimidation tactics directed at elite students and faculty in America is as idiotic as it is self-defeating. Free trips seemed to have worked for awhile . . . . which says something about human gullibility.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      March 23, 2014, 12:56 pm

      Call me cynical but I don’t think most of these students are “gullible”. I think they’re opportunistic and devoid of morality.

      If you’re an undergrad at a liberal univeristy like Harvard in 2014, you are aware of what’s happening in Israel/Palestine. You may not feel 100% confident about the situation, but you are aware of the fact that Israel is being seen as an Apartheid state. And if you’re at Harvard, you have no excuse of being an idiot(not that it has stopped people before).

      For them, a free trip to Israel is a free vacation. Free food, nice weather away from cold Boston. Plus, they can always find a few internships in the Beltway touting their pro-Israel bondafides. Did Scarlett Johanssen’s career tank after she came out – strongly – in favor of apartheid?

      There’s a special kind of person who goes on these trips. 30-40 years ago, you could excuse them of being ignorant. A Harvard undergrad in 2014, sorry, there’s no excuse to make for them.

      They knew what they went into. That they treated Arafat’s grave as a tourist attraction is not because they sympathize with the victims of Apartheid, but rather as a fun and token photograph.

      It’s also for these same reasons why I think Phil’s mistaken in his analysis, as well as the lobby itself for thinking crude opportunists like them can somehow “defend Israel”. They’ll abandon Israel the moment they can get a nice trip to Dubai and play in the Red sea even if gay-hanging, women-oppressing Saudi Arabia is underwriting the trip if the condition for going on the trip is to oppose Israel.

      The only thing this episode has done is to highlight human corruption and moral rot among some people of this world. Let the lobby fall over itself throwing money at these people. It deserves no better.

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye
        March 23, 2014, 1:45 pm

        And the “horrified” commenters in the zio-press should take a deep breath and count the keffiyehs in the pic before they go overboard!

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        March 23, 2014, 1:54 pm

        The terms ‘pro-Israel’ and ‘pro-Palestine’ are not antonyms and I do realize that ‘pro-Israelis’ will dislike my argument as much as ‘pro-Palestinians.’ Yet, once you get to explore the issue in a balanced way, you realize that those terms mean the same exact thing because if Palestine is miserable, there is no way Israel will not be miserable.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        March 24, 2014, 1:45 am

        @ LeaNder,

        Q: because if Palestine is miserable, there is no way Israel will not be miserable.

        R: I understand where you’re coming from [or so I’ve told myself], but if you would compare pictures of the horrendous destruction that has taken place in Gaza and the WB with those of freshly built housing complexes on the other side of the Apartheid Wall, I find it hard to spot a comparable misery on that side of the Apartheid Wall.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        March 24, 2014, 6:24 pm

        @ Daniel Rich
        Yes, the organizers of the Trek told the naive American goy students stuff that makes it seem as if both Zionist narrative and Palestinian narrative are of equal truth value. Nothing at all was told about the Nakba, but much was told about the Shoah.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        March 24, 2014, 9:09 pm

        @ Citizen,

        True honesty would have instigated a proper and just description of Arafat: he killed Israelis after ‘we’ killed and expelled Palestinians…, but that’s a bit difficult when the running narrative is that ‘we’ arrived in empty lands.

        And hat-tip to Dershbag, who insisted we’d throw in some biblical gibberish, coz ‘Nobody messes with the big Man upstairs!” [of course he’d have to wash his mouth out with soap afterwards, but hey, taking one for the team comes with its own toeprice tag.

      • Krauss
        Krauss
        March 23, 2014, 8:52 pm

        An update to Annie’s update. Here is the part she left out of Edward de Fouchier’s blogpost(it’s MUCH worse than it seems in the original post)

        He concluded with the apparently popular yet improbable theory that Israeli spies had poisoned Arafat.

        This is “improbable”? Large parts of the Israeli press has already more or less conceded that this was likely. Ariel Sharon spoke loudly about this.

        He not only painted a simplified version of his movement but also trivialized the pain that every Israeli organizer was working through to engage and reach out to his perspective.

        This quote was Fouchier slamming the Fatah interlocutor for not “understanding the pain” of Hasbara activists. Is this guy for real?

        The smooth diplomat had casually dismissed years of pain, comparing many Israelis’ belief in a state for a Jewish nation to a scenario wherein Americans insisted on designating themselves a WASP nation.

        Here Fouchier is attacking the Palestininan as “smooth”, while slamming the diplomat for being so casually dismissive of the Israeli Jewish need to be recognized as an ethnocracy, and being unable(or unwilling) to draw comparisons to America the way the Palestinian did.

        The modern image that Fatah sought to convey was trumped by its impermeability to the humans on the other side, who had brought fifty Americans to meet them and were engaging with their own claims and pain.

        This was his closing statement. Fatah is a paid agent of Israel, the US and the EU. Yet he still slams them as being “impermable to humans on the other side”.

        Fouchier just proves my point earlier about the moral carcass that these students, at least the majority of them, have to be to take a trip like this.

      • Krauss
        Krauss
        March 23, 2014, 9:01 pm

        Yet, once you get to explore the issue in a balanced way

        This is the quote from the Turkish student.

        You get to “explore the issue” in a “balanced way” by going on an Israel lobby-funded junket? And he talks about the conflict in an equal equivalence manner. As if there is any moral relativity here. One population is being under siege of Apartheid. The other has the whip hand.

        To even talk about equivalence here is a symptom of moral rot.

        Again, just proves my point about “this kind of trip requires a special kind of person”. People who are devoid of morality and basically want a free trip to a sunny place.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        March 24, 2014, 7:32 am

        @Krauss
        I agree with your assessment of the character of these Harvard students, but I disagree with the view they won’t make good supporters of Israel because they are all destined to be careerists and one’s career in the USA, no matter which type of career, is seldom enhanced by speaking out against Israeli policy or conduct. Ask any congress critter. Too, silence is golden as to that issue.

      • annie
        annie
        March 23, 2014, 9:51 pm

        krauss, here is the part you left out of Edward de Fouchier’s blogpost:

        Nevertheless, when we came out of the meeting I had the impression I had lived through something special, that Fatah was speaking the same language of diplomacy and understanding.

        My reality check came when I spoke with an Israeli half an hour later. The meeting had deepened his pessimism that any agreement would be possible any time soon. More than that, he was depressed. The smooth diplomat had casually dismissed years of pain, comparing many Israelis’ belief in a state for a Jewish nation to a scenario wherein Americans insisted on designating themselves a WASP nation.

        He not only painted a simplified version of his movement but also trivialized the pain that every Israeli organizer was working through to engage and reach out to his perspective. Though his emphasis on the future, on reasonable steps to settling a seemingly intractable conflict was compelling, it hid an inability for emotional empathy which the organizers display every day when talking about inhumanity of Occupation and the inevitable evils it produces.

        The meeting was deeply instructive to me as both a friend of the Israelis in the room and as someone who was attracted by the diplomatic skill of our seasoned speaker.

        there’s more too. iow, they were deprogrammed by helpful israelis after these exchanges. after i posted the update, i read several more. this same poster was the one who said his favorite experience of the whole trip was the one night at the kibbutz where their guides talked about all the people they knew personally whose lives were impacted by suicide bombers. https://medium.com/israel-trek/fe24772a79de

        so i’m sure these professional guides smoothed over any positive impressions/feelings he may experienced about palestinians being normal people w/these sorts of narrations.

        and forgive me for not thoroughly reading every post the students wrote before writing the update and better scrutinizing to pick the excerpts. in the interest of time, i merely grabbed some examples. (phil said, variety)

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 24, 2014, 9:15 am

        @Annie —

        We were talking earlier today about why normalize. Your own link’s very first article has an excellent example:

        From an early age, he adopted a very strong stance on Israeli-Palestinian issues, energetically pressing Israelis to stand up to Palestinian pressure and make sure to defend their rights. One of his strongly worded speeches at a youth conference changed his mind. While he was delivering it, he saw a Palestinian he had befriended starting to recede into his seat with an expression of incomprehension and fear. The organizer was so pained by this that he cut his speech in its tracks and regained his seat.

        That’s why you normalize. No friendship and that moment never happens.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        March 24, 2014, 6:32 pm

        @ Annie

        I read them all. Nobody ever even mentioned the Nakba, but all were aware of the Holocaust.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        March 24, 2014, 8:52 am

        Here Fouchier is attacking the Palestininan as “smooth”, while slamming the diplomat

        I can be very unfair too occasionally, so no harm meant, Krauss, but strictly he is reporting what he was told by one of the Israeli, and apparently not the only Palestinian among them, organizers. Which he ultimately finds lacking too:

        Though his emphasis on the future, on reasonable steps to settling a seemingly intractable conflict was compelling, it hid an inability for emotional empathy which the organizers display every day when talking about inhumanity of Occupation and the inevitable evils it produces.

        I am on Phil and Annie’s site in this context. Obviously they realize that the Israeli side is much better presented in this context, that they are allowed to only shortly meet the official Palestinian side, and no civil society organizations. And strictly, I have a slight bit of sympathy concerning the basic dilemma of the outsider that is drawn into “the conflict” as basically an outsider. But: the hardly balanced setting of the whole trip, the obvious awareness about who sponsored it, the domination of the Israeli organizers (five versus one?), and the apparently “reality check” with the pro-Israel tale of woe and allusions to the US as a “WASP” state once the Palestinians enter the scene, make me somewhat doubt that the outcome can be completely controlled. I would always look into the subtleties in these narrative. In any case non of the voices Annie updated here come out with a straightforward “pro-Israel” narrative. And I absolutely agree that the uproar about the photo is hardly helpful in the larger context.

        That said, no doubt the Israeli’s as basically a Western colonial state in the ME, may well have a strategic advantage concerning Harvard students, but apparently the Palestinian professor is quite able to challenge this advantage, as the “Westernized” Palestinian.

        What I found funny was this, were some of these ladies attractive?:

        A smartly dressed young spokesman for Fatah greeted us and delivered a polished eulogy of the iconic former head of the Palestinians. Answering questions with a twinkling eye and a seductive smile—especially when the female contingent of the Israel Trek was asking—there was no doubt that this man was the clean-shaven modern image of Fatah. He concluded with the apparently popular yet improbable theory that Israeli spies had poisoned Arafat.

        I have no idea what the apparently also good looking Fatah spokesman, at least he was smartly dressed, said in this context. Strictly he tells us he spoke about “the theory”, which no doubt exists and as far as I am informed is off the table based on no “strong” evidence from Switzerland, only a could be, and no support from Israeli and Russian scholars in the field.

        What weapons did Israel use when they bombed his residence?

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        March 24, 2014, 10:42 am

        Sorry, bad proofreading:

        and no support from Israeli and Russian scholars in the field.

        I meant Russian and French, not Israeli and Russian scholars.

        Strictly I wondered about the Polonium, from the start. Vaguely reminded me of a supposed Russian secret service action in GB. If you have not ever heard about any case before and suddenly you have supposedly two in short order, I tend to get slightly skeptic.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        March 24, 2014, 8:01 pm

        @LeaNder,

        Q: I am on Phil and Annie’s site in this context.

        R: Actually it is Philip’s site and Annie is a solid cornerstone of it.

        When I asked my lawyer, “Whose side are you on anyway?”

        His answer was rather mesmerizing, “The side of justice…”

  2. seafoid
    seafoid
    March 23, 2014, 12:43 pm

    “one of the world’s most notorious Jew-murdering terrorists”
    That would be Begin, wouldn’t it ?

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      March 23, 2014, 1:37 pm

      seafoid: Cute and quite possibly true. But, hey!, you have to break eggs to make an (Israeli) omelet and they cannot ALL be Palestinian eggs! War is hell, and reluctant people have to be brought into line!

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 23, 2014, 1:40 pm

        The Altalena – they didn’t mind murdering Jews when they had to . Anything for power.
        And of course all the collaborators in ww2- the Murmelsteins, the Judenrat wallahs. Loads of Jewish blood on their hands. But all of that history lies outside Zionist ideology.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        March 24, 2014, 5:13 am

        Don’t forget our shameless members of Congress are given junket trips by AIPAC (all expenses paid of course, to ensure undying devotion), and it seems they have that incredible ability to see ONLY what Israel wants them to see, be blinded to the illegal settlements sprouting like mushrooms, and if that darn wall cuts through the property of a poor Palestinian family, hey, that is for the safety and security of dear Israel.
        One member of Congress had such a blast, he went skinny dipping in the Dead Sea.
        It seems these young students did not wear the blinders they were handed out, which must infuriate some.

  3. justicewillprevail
    justicewillprevail
    March 23, 2014, 12:51 pm

    Just hilarious. So the only way for students and others who are granted the Israel PR trip is to go there and wear blinkers, studiously ignoring what every visitor can see for themselves (and which Israelis have managed to wipe from their mental map, in the manner of China Mievelle’s The City and The City). This is a kind of science fiction future where tourists are told that every blot on the landscape, every person who isn’t full paid up cheerleader for the state apparatus, is a non-person, invisible and to be unseen and unlistened to. The emperor isn’t just trying to show off his new clothes, but a whole freaking country stuffed with his newly acquired land, houses and people. And when these students see through it, all hell breaks loose. How very 1984, the thought police are failing in their sacred duties, ha ha.

  4. marc b.
    marc b.
    March 23, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Imagine the crisis we’re in, when inquisitive Harvard students offered a free visit to Israel make a stop in Palestine and dare to be photographed at Arafat’s tomb and are smeared all over the American Jewish press. Imagine how these Harvard students are going to regard the Israel lobby after this. Once again, we see the American Jewish community committing intellectual suicide, right before our eyes.

    It’s not Zionism that will be the downfall of zionists. It’s chutzpah, moral, intellectual, cultural, psychological. The migraine these particular goofballs are experiencing is the result of their inability to understand that the apex of their influence is only fully recognizable at the precise moment of the beginning of its inevitable, impending decline. If I were advising them, I’d tell them to shut the f*ck up in public and continue to work their magic by buying off politicians to talk for them. That would at least slow the decay. But they won’t shut up, because they can’t, and every time they engage directly in public debate it’s one more grain of sand down the hourglass.

  5. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    March 23, 2014, 1:03 pm

    over on Harvard College Israel Trek 2014 facebook page https://www.facebook.com/crimsonisrael

    i found this link (with a photo of the wall)
    https://medium.com/p/4f0947001237

    a fews excerpts:
    No regrets

    On the controversy that our visit to Ramallah caused

    Our visit to Ramallah bothered a number of Jewish Israelis. Our organizers have been receiving hateful comments on the internet from people who have seen a photo of us at Yasser Arafat’s grave and chose to interpret it out of context condemning Harvard College Israel Trek 2014 on social media and some online newspapers. Please bare with me while I try to explain why going to Ramallah was such an important component of this trek.

    The amazing organizers of this trek are all Israelis. Five of them are Jewish and one of the is Arab Israeli. Was it easy for them to see the grave of Arafat, who is responsible of the death of so many Israeli civilians, their beloved ones specifically? But does that dispute the fact that the same person is also the founder of the PLO, hero of so many Palestinians symbolizing their fight for independence?

    • philweiss
      philweiss
      March 23, 2014, 1:13 pm

      Thanks Sycamores, may stick into post.

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      March 23, 2014, 1:48 pm

      “Please bare with me”

      Bit too chilly for that here.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 24, 2014, 9:14 am

        Must have spent some time with the Miley Cyrus wannabe settler

    • annie
      annie
      March 23, 2014, 3:40 pm

      Sycamores, we’ve updated add added your links and some blockquotes, thanks!

      • Sycamores
        Sycamores
        March 23, 2014, 4:25 pm

        ye are welcome.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      March 24, 2014, 9:15 am

      “one of the is Arab Israeli. Was it easy for them to see the grave of Arafat, who is responsible of the death of so many Israeli civilians, their beloved ones specifically?”

      I am guessing the Palestinian couldn’t have cared less

  6. ritzl
    ritzl
    March 23, 2014, 1:22 pm

    Now this IS a trap. These pro-Israel tours for non-Jews can’t open the doors to broader inquiry, and their sponsors can’t clamp down on the inevitable results of that inquisitiveness without inviting more inquiries.

    I may be slightly premature, but the discussion/hype phase is over. We’re into, or just about to get into, the ramifications phase.

    Great article.

  7. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    March 23, 2014, 1:42 pm

    Two lessons from the Holocaust may be useful to Israelis here: Let Israelis ask, “Who, in Germany, today remembers the Jews?” and, “Who, among the Jews, today remembers the leaders and fighters of the (ill-fated) Warsaw uprising?”

  8. American
    American
    March 23, 2014, 1:45 pm

    Bottom line.

    Diaspora citizens pushing for foreign interest within any country is bad, bad, bad, huge huge, huge mistake.
    The US cant have an objective or unbiased, universally applied humane’ FP if influenced politically by diasporas.

  9. Cliff
    Cliff
    March 23, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Krauss knocks it outta the park here:

    The only thing this episode has done is to highlight human corruption and moral rot among some people of this world. Let the lobby fall over itself throwing money at these people. It deserves no better.

    Exactly.

    These (presumably) young American Jewish kids are no better or worse (well clearly worse, but worse in the sense that ‘other’ ‘worse’ people are worse) than non-Jews.

    For all Zionism’s tribalism and perpetual state of whataboutery regarding Israel’s (in)security – these chumps smiled for the camera.

    It’s not like they sympathize with the Palestinians. They are simply on vacation. Like on a safari – and Ramallah is that exotic locale for them.

    The crazed unhinged response by Jewish organizations and leaders and Zionists makes me wonder if the ‘Jewish community’ (White Jews in other words) were always this batshit insane.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      March 24, 2014, 8:11 am

      @ Cliff

      None of the Harvard students picked/recruited for subject Trek were Jewish. The goal of the visit was to enlist a crop of future leaders of US in the ongoing “special relationship” with Israel. It was boot camp disguised as a free vacation.

  10. puppies
    puppies
    March 23, 2014, 1:56 pm

    “Imagine how these Harvard students are going to regard the Israel lobby after this”
    How? The same as before: as a source of unearned money, career opportunities, directorships etc., to be milked to the max by ostentating undying obedience to the Zionist lobby.
    This tomb visit has nothing to do with respect for Arafat the fighter; they are smirking and celebrating his murder –after having visited the Palestinian Quisling.
    They were caught off guard by the morons’ reaction, as shown in their clueless response. Being gifted students (or having gifting parents), they wouldn’t have expected the Zionist grassroots mob to be as retarded as any hypernationalist, genocidal mob. So now they’ll absorb the lesson and watch each and every step in their career as an AIPAC stooge.

    • March 23, 2014, 5:18 pm

      Puppies. Do you think the truly ambitious, those who seek real power, are all willing to spend their careers on bent knee before the Lobby?

      • puppies
        puppies
        March 23, 2014, 7:50 pm

        The truly ambitious, yes, or else. Those born to real privilege are not ambitious as a rule: they have the command post.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        March 24, 2014, 7:42 am

        @ Giles
        Last I looked Harvard has produced only one John V. Whitbeck.

  11. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    March 23, 2014, 3:12 pm

    So visiting Arafat’s tomb is an OUTRAGE!!! but dressing up in KKK robes and blackface is just a goof.

    So confoosed.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      March 23, 2014, 7:06 pm

      “So visiting Arafat’s tomb is an OUTRAGE!!! but dressing up in KKK robes and blackface is just a goof.”

      “So confoosed.”

      Ask hoppy about it. But whatever excuse he gives, the real answer, for him, is that the people who glorified the Klan (and made excuses for it) are Jews, and Israeli Jews at that, so they must be viewed as benign, whereas Arafat was a freedom fighter against the oppression of those same Israeli Jews, so anything that does not condemn him must be objectionable.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        March 24, 2014, 1:19 pm

        “the real answer, for him, is that the people who glorified the Klan (and made excuses for it) are Jews, and Israeli Jews at that, so they must be viewed as benign”

        They must be viewed as kids who are not Americans. The real answer for you is that if it’s an Israeli Jew, he must have a bad intention.

        “so anything that does not condemn him must be objectionable.”

        Once again, you look like an ass. I think those on the hard right who criticized this visit to Arafat’s grave are being ridiculous, but I have pointed out that their position is exactly that of the BDS movement – visiting anything Palestinian is bad, whereas the BDS argues that visiting anything Israeli is bad.

        You deserve one another.

  12. Taxi
    Taxi
    March 23, 2014, 3:43 pm

    Curiosity is a sin in Judea and Sumaria.

  13. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    March 23, 2014, 4:45 pm

    A visit to Masada makes it a birthright tour, but a visit to a dead political leader’s grave is copacetic? Actually both Masada and Arafat’s grave are okay (in my book) for tourists to visit, although I betcha Masada is more memorable and makes a better picture postcard.

    • March 23, 2014, 5:22 pm

      Masada? Who but the Zionist Jews wallow in a perceived slight from 2,000 years ago? The S African blacks forgave the Afrikaners. The Zionists can’t forgive 2,000 year old transgressions that may or may not have happened and, if they did, happened to a people in no way related to the Ashkenazis. A sick culture

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        March 23, 2014, 6:22 pm

        This is the part where Wondering Jew says you want him to give up his Jewishness and assimilate with us heathens.

      • puppies
        puppies
        March 23, 2014, 7:59 pm

        @Cliff – If he’s too stupid to figure out on his own that the only thing he can do to keep a minimum of human dignity is “give up his Jewishness and assimilate with us heathens”. even Jehovah can’t help him.

        Masada, by the way, is the place where the teaser to Al Qa’ida V.2.0. was playing. Zionist double standards, once more.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 23, 2014, 9:53 pm

        @Giles —

        Masada? Who but the Zionist Jews wallow in a perceived slight from 2,000 years ago?

        Jews don’t remember Masada as a slight they remember it as a high point of resistance. Masada was an a minor incident in Jewish mythology but became on the central themes of Zionist mythology:

        The Jewish rebels who took part in the Great Revolt against the Roman Empire found themselves at the end of the rebellion on Masada. The Roman imperial army launched a siege on the mountain in order to conquer the place and capture the rebels. When the rebels realized that there was no more hope of either winning or holding out against the Roman army, they chose to kill themselves rather than surrender and become wretched slaves.

        The moral lesson for modern Israelis is to fight to the death and never allow yourself to become slaves again. It was the image that Jews took with them to the ’47-9 war when they took heavy causalities to build Israel. It is the myth that has led Israel to take such strong chances to break out of being boxed in. It is the image that when Israelis learned after the ’73 war that Moshe Dayan intended to nuke a Jewish population center to stop Syrian tanks that they thought this was the right thing to do: die rather than become Syrian slaves. It is the myth that exists today with the Samson option: an all out nuclear war to preserve Israel against foreign attack if the state is genuinely on the verge of falling.

        Masada is not a slight it is a point of pride. A role model that Israelis pass onto their children. One of the cornerstones of the secular religion of Zionism and a central moment in the new Judaism. If the Holocaust is our crucifixion the Masada might be analogous to the Assumption of Mary.

      • American
        American
        March 24, 2014, 9:13 am

        ”The moral lesson for modern Israelis is to fight to the death and never allow yourself to become slaves again.” ..jeffb

        Your primitive myths are going to get you killed.
        You should pull your head back into your turtle shell, quit while you’re ahead and mind your own business and learn to get along with the world—not taunt and challenge it or it will eventually crush you.
        The US and world powers aren’t going to protect you forever.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 24, 2014, 1:24 pm

        @American

        You should pull your head back into your turtle shell, quit while you’re ahead and mind your own business and learn to get along with the world—not taunt and challenge it or it will eventually crush you.
        The US and world powers aren’t going to protect you forever.

        That will happen with time. No one is trying to break the Italian principalities up anymore. It took centuries but the idea that an Italy should exist has taken hold. Germany is now integrated into the European system on equal terms with France and England. Took centuries and a few wars but it has happened. Greece is liberated from the Ottomons (Turkey) and fully incorporated into Europe. Took over a dozen wars but they are done now. Israel is a young country. By 2300 this process will be over certainly. Maybe even by 2200.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        March 25, 2014, 1:17 am

        JeffB:

        Jews don’t remember Masada as a slight they remember it as a high point of resistance.

        Yes, another Zionist-invented memory.

        Shlomo Sand, “The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland” (p. 97):

        Zionist historiography did everything in its power to portray Philo the philosopher as a Jewish patriot. 33 But it was much more difficult to do the same for Flavius Josephus, because of the fact that the great Jewish historian had betrayed his comrades-in-arms, crossed enemy lines, and joined the Roman camp. At the same time, however, Zionist historiography made maximum use of Josephus’s major work in order to depict the uprising of the year 66 CE as a “great national revolt.”

        This uprising, and the siege of Masada with which it came to an end, subsequently emerged as a historic milestone in the modern aspiration for a Jewish uprising and an inexhaustible source of Zionist pride.

        The fact that the heterogeneous population in ancient Judea spoke a mixture of languages and had no understanding of the concepts of citizenship, sovereignty, and national territory was of no interest to the Zionist agents of memory. For years, Israeli schoolchildren have memorized the slogan “Masada will not fall again,” and when they come of age they are expected to willingly sacrifice their lives in accordance with this national call to duty.

        In their youth, they are taken to view the son et lumière at the remains of the fortified walls built by Herod out of concern about an uprising among his subjects. After their induction as soldiers of the State of Israel, they swear allegiance on the Bible at the center of the mountain’s summit, where the pleasure palace and Roman bathhouse of the uninhibited Jewish Edomite king once stood.

        Neither the Israeli schoolchildren nor the soldiers were aware that, for many centuries, their true forefathers did not even know the name Masada. Unlike the narrative of the destruction of the Temple, which was ingrained deep in the collective memory of communities that followed the Jewish religion, the books of Josephus and thus the events they narrated remained unrecognized by the rabbinical heritage.

        Yet it was through these works alone that the proponents of modern nationalism learned of the collective murders and suicides perpetrated by Eleazar Ben-Yair and his fellow Sicariis. It is doubtful whether these senseless acts ever took place, but under no circumstances was Masada meant to serve as a model to emulate in Jewish tradition, as it was not undertaken for the sanctification of God’s name. 34

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        March 23, 2014, 11:23 pm

        What to do with ancient pig bones on mount masada:
        http://www.meforum.org/1595/sacrificing-truth

      • Mayhem
        Mayhem
        March 24, 2014, 5:35 am

        A raft of scatological remarks by those who delight in demeaning Jewish history, or anything Jewish for that fact.
        @Taxi, read the summary of the article about Masada that you trumpeted:

        Early interpretations may have been skewed, but it was not fraud; and the archaeologists’ own carefully collected data led eventually to a reassessment.

        Your knee jerk response about pig bones, without reading the article, hoping to discredit the Jews who died heroically at Masada.
        Overlooking the fact that the Romans overran the site afterwards and that “the sacrifice of pigs was a Roman burial custom”.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        March 24, 2014, 8:47 am

        “Your knee jerk response about pig bones, without reading the article, hoping to discredit the Jews who died heroically at Masada.”

        LMAO. No, you’re merely angry because people don’t buy into your knee-jerk “heroism” narrative. These Jewish extremists were people who raided nearby villiages and in one, murdered seven hundred Jewish woman and children found there, and then, rather than “dying heroically,” they murdered each other and their own families, in a Jonestown-style murder/suicide pact.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        March 24, 2014, 10:21 am

        Mayhem,

        Masada is a myth based on speculation and wishful thinking. There is NO SOLID PROOF that any jewish heroics ever took place there. The link I posted is by a jewish archeologist who keeps flip-flopping on this subject, never once providing a single proof of his latest “reassessment”.

        So I’ll give you another link by another jewish archeologist who writes:
        “Masada Martyrs?
        Volume 50 Number 6, November/December 1997
        by Haim Watzman

        Skeletons found at Masada by Yigael Yadin between 1963 and 1965 and later given a state burial by the Israeli government were not those of Jewish patriots but Roman soldiers, says Joseph Zias of Jerusalem’s Rockefeller Museum.

        The claim that the skeletons were those of the Jewish fighters who defended Masada against the Romans in A.D. 70 has long been questioned. Yadin’s photographs of the remains in situ seem to show far fewer than the 25 skeletons officially reported. Furthermore, Yadin confirmed in 1982 that pig bones were found with the human ones. Since the zealots of Masada would not have buried their dead with the bones of an unclean animal, some scholars suggested that the remains were those of Christians who inhabited Masada in Byzantine times.

        The bones are not available for examination, so Zias carbon-dated textiles found with them. The tests date the burial site to the time of the Jewish revolt, but Zias notes that Romans sacrificed pigs at burials. He concludes that the skeletons may well be the remains of soldiers from the Roman garrison that occupied Masada after the Jewish rebellion was surpressed. Zias says that Yadin had doubts about the identification of the skeletons, but that pressure from Israeli political leaders to connect the bones with the Masada legend led him to acquiesce to the state funeral.”
        http://archive.archaeology.org/9711/newsbriefs/masada.html

        The bones are “not available for examination” – just like all materials to do with zionist myths are NOT available for examination – uhuh, and why are the “bones” not available for examination – care to give an answer?

        It’s an absurdity to believe in the myth of Masada. Either show irrefutable proof, Mayhem, or stfu.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        March 24, 2014, 12:01 pm

        @ Mayhem

        Apart from the absolute insanity of raising to hero status the world’s first ever religious terrorists whose only other claim to fame is they killed more Jews than they ever did Romans – do you know anything about the Masada excavations? About how the data was interpreted to serve a specific entirely mythical narrative? Anywhere else such blatant misinterpretation of finds would be called fraud btw. This is why Masada’s virtually an object lesson in why rabid nationalism and archaeology should be kept far apart (a lesson Israelis have yet to learn – see Silwan).

        As for “demeaning Jewish history” did you cry this loud when “From Time Immemorial” was published? A complete fraud that didn’t just demean Palestinian history but denied it altogether? And just as an FYI – it’s not demeaning something to bring it back down to reality – if anything its Zionist mythologising of history that’s demeaning to the real people and events.

      • annie
        annie
        March 24, 2014, 12:40 pm

        those who delight in demeaning Jewish history

        mayhem, this is not jewish history, it’s jewish fables. there are lessons embedded just like little red robin hood. there’s simply no evidence these event took place, and giving some bones a military funeral will not make it come true.

        as a new country israel is turning the place into a disneyland type holyland and this is a major tourist attraction. and it can continue to be one, but that won’t create evidence that is simply not there. it can’t be backed up by science.

      • American
        American
        March 24, 2014, 1:40 pm

        Mayhem says:

        March 24, 2014 at 5:35 am

        A raft of scatological remarks by those who delight in demeaning Jewish history, or anything Jewish for that fact>>>>>

        We only correct the myths and hasbara …but naturally you would call the truth demeaning because it goes against cult doctrine.

      • Mayhem
        Mayhem
        March 24, 2014, 9:26 pm

        @annie, funny how you and your MW mates do not denounce all the myths that exist around Islam, including the significance of Jerusalem to their faith and the ugly politicization that stems from such.
        In an article Palestinian Authority Demands Control of Western Wall
        the “Buraq Wall, the term used by Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habash to denote the Western Wall, is the Muslim term for the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount. In its later years, Islam claimed that this was the place where the Prophet Mohammed tied his magical horse Al-Buraq after being transported from Mecca to Jerusalem.
        Refer http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/24428/Default.aspx?archive=article_title

      • American
        American
        March 24, 2014, 10:05 pm

        JeffB says:

        March 24, 2014 at 1:24 pm

        @American

        That will happen with time. No one is trying to break the Italian principalities up anymore. It took centuries but the idea that an Italy should exist has taken hold. Germany is now integrated into the European system on equal terms with France and England.
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

        lol…you really should spend less time on here and more time paying attention to the world…

        Venice just voted 89% to split from Italy last week.
        Scotland just voted to break away from England.
        Crimea of course just voted to be Russian.

        And the EU is falling apart despite Germany..with numerous countries trying to op out of the EU economic union.

        You really have idea of what is happening and world trends do you?

      • annie
        annie
        March 25, 2014, 12:41 am

        jeff needs to get out more…

        Venice votes to split from Italy as 89% of the city’s residents opt to form a new independent state

        The floating city has only been part of Italy for 150 years. The 1000 year–old democratic Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, was quashed by Napoleon and was subsumed into Italy in 1866.
        Wealthy Venetians, under mounting financial pressure in the economic crisis, have rallied in their thousands, after growing tired of supporting Italy’s poor and crime ridden Mezzogiorno south, through high taxation.
        Activists have been working closely with the SNP on their joint agendas, even travelling to Scotland alongside Catalonians and Basque separatists to take part in pro independence rallies.

        Campaigners say that the Rome government receives around 71 billion euros each year in tax from Venice – some 21 billion euros less than it gets back in investment and services.
        Organisers said that 2.36million, 73 per cent, of those eligible to take part voted in the poll, which is not recognised by the Rome government.
        The ballot also appointed a committee of ten who immediately declared independence from Italy. Venice may now start withholding taxes from Rome.

        w/video: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2586531/Venice-votes-split-Italy-89-citys-residents-opt-form-new-independent-state.html#ixzz2wwiO5LgH

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        March 25, 2014, 7:02 pm

        They didn’t die heroically they died stupidly in an uprising against the Roman Empire at its height. Even less intelligent was than had no military tradition of facing legionary infantry. Provoking a war you can’t win isn’t heroic it’s stupid

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        March 24, 2014, 12:14 pm

        I heard a radio play once, maybe 10-15 years ago I believe written by British arch-Zionist Maureen Lipman, who definitely starred in it, and the entire play was basically “never forgive the English for what happened in medieval York.” Zionists must be the most pathetic people to ever walk the earth – holding on to their grudges because without the hate they have nothing.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        March 24, 2014, 1:23 pm

        “Zionists must be the most pathetic people to ever walk the earth – holding on to their grudges because without the hate they have nothing.”

        LOL. Whatever you need to tell yourself. Let us know when you’re ready to rejoin the real world.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        March 25, 2014, 2:48 pm

        @ Hoppy

        Don’t need to tell myself anything Hoppy, I just have to read one of your blood-libel screeds and it shouts your hate out all the way up to 11.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      March 23, 2014, 7:02 pm

      “A visit to Masada makes it a birthright tour, but a visit to a dead political leader’s grave is copacetic? ”

      If you would, please explain how a 2,000 year old site of a murder-suicide pact has anything to do with the purpose of that trip — to study the water issues in Palestine/israel. Otherwise, please give it a rest, it only makes you look like a fool.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        March 24, 2014, 12:10 pm

        Josephus’ account of Masada is meant to convey an impression not that the garrison was heroic but that it was a bunch of terrorists and criminals. This was important to him as part of his justification for his change of sides and his eventual pro-Roman position. He may, in order to make his point, have exaggerated both the scale of the events and the bad behaviour of the people concerned. I read somewhere, but can’t retrieve the source for the moment, that Yadin, for his part, accepted that he had yielded too much to political pressure to support an interpretation of the data that was not really justified. I believe he was more proud of his work on a site famous for events 1000 years earlier, Hazor. This too is now under sceptical scrutiny. At Hazor Yadin was continuing the overall interpretation of events, militaristic in spirit and somewhat uncritical about the literary sources, made almost canonical decades earlier by WF Albright, who thought he was uncovering an earlier and more sacred version of what Euro-Americans had done to Native Americans, though he feared divine retribution in both cases. There is of course considerable continuity between Albright and Yadin on Joshua’s Conquest and Yadin on Masada.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        March 24, 2014, 1:23 pm

        We can be pretty sure that Joe made up the speeches as well.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        March 24, 2014, 4:16 pm

        Woody T. – If only water related sites were included in their tour except for Masada then you are right that Masada, a non water related site, should not have been included. But to label Masada a birthright site is childish. I realize that the suicide pact (fact or fiction) that took place at Masada raises questions about its advisability as an object of emotional catharsis/ inspiration for Zionism or for Jews who are not Zionists. But the site is sufficiently memorable even without the suicide pact to be a worthy place to visit. If you’ve never been there, in this case, you don’t know what it’s like climbing it and seeing it in the early hours of the morning, which I did in the summer of 73 and it was quite memorable, without the propaganda, just as an archaeological site at a geologically significant point on the earth’s globe.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        March 24, 2014, 5:11 pm

        yonah, I have never been there, but I’m sure it’s a lovely geographical spot with very interesting historical and archaeological merit.

        Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that this site has been used by some, including Birthright, as a rallying cry for zionist politics. Just look at some of the comments on this thread, to “the Jews who died heroically at Masada” and embodying “the central themes of Zionist mythology,” and a “role model that Israelis pass onto their children. One of the cornerstones of the secular religion of Zionism and a central moment in the new Judaism. If the Holocaust is our crucifixion the Masada might be analogous to the Assumption of Mary.”

        If this is a site that comes with this much baggage, and the trip is to discuss water issues, it is not beyond the pale to compare the two and find that the trip to Masada is unnecessary to examine the water issues but present for the politics.

  14. concernedhuman
    concernedhuman
    March 23, 2014, 5:25 pm

    Brain washing unlimited !
    They dont want them to visit Palestinian towns ?! Set your borders and distance yourself from Palestinian land .

  15. bilal a
    bilal a
    March 23, 2014, 5:32 pm

    Israeli ambassador to politic with Republican Vegas pimp:

    Israeli Amb. Dermer to Attend RJC [Vegas] Meeting
    http://www.lobelog.com/israeli-amb-dermer-to-attend-rjc-meeng-amid-diplomats-strike/

    A Former Sands Exec Has Accused Sheldon Adelson Of Personally Approving Prostitution At His Macau Resorts
    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/sands-macau-prostitution-2012-6#ixzz2wp8Xn0Hy

  16. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    March 23, 2014, 7:53 pm

    See, I told you, they should have dumped his body somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea, after they did not poison him.

    Personally, I liked the pictures of Arafat’s compound surrounded by IDF tanks and armor much better.

  17. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    March 23, 2014, 9:09 pm

    RE: “The students obviously found themselves in a set of circumstances, where they were at Arafat’s grave. They were somehow put in such a position,” is how [Gideon] Argov [ a Boston Jewish leader] put it. … He said it was “unfortunate, but we will find out why and how it happened” when the students return…”

    POSSIBLE EXPLANATION AS TO HOW THESE HARVARD STUDENTS WERE “MANIPULATED” INTO VISITING ARAFAT’S GRAVE (COURTESY OF MALCOLM HOENLEIN, HEAD OF THE CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS OF MAJOR AMERICAN JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS):

    “These guys have been ‘bazaaris’ [bazaar merchants] for 2,000 years, while we come in as novices. They can run circles around us. They know how to negotiate and how to manipulate every situation.”

    SEE: “American Jewish leader calls Iranians manipulative ‘bazaaris’” ~ Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss.net/i>, January 31, 2014

    [EXCERPT] From Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev, who interviewed Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations:

    When Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Zarif was his country’s envoy to the United Nations, he invited Malcolm Hoenlein to have dinner at his New York home. “I keep kosher, so I didn’t eat,” Hoenlein recalls, “but we had plenty to talk about.”

    “He’s a charming guy,” Hoenlein says, “I don’t dispute it. He’s intelligent and clever. Iranian President Hassan Rohani is also clever.” He pauses for a few seconds before delivering his punch line: “But we forget: These guys have been ‘bazaaris’ [bazaar merchants] for 2,000 years, while we come in as novices. They can run circles around us. They know how to negotiate and how to manipulate every situation.”

    Heard any good stories about shifty-eyed Jews lately? . . .

    SOURCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2014/01/american-iranians-manipulated.html

    • DICKERSON3870
      DICKERSON3870
      March 23, 2014, 9:17 pm

      P.S. Malcoln Hoenlein is paid nearly $500,000 per year* to crack these racist jokes!

      * SEE: “The ‘Israel First’ Industry and CEO Profiteering”, by James Petras, dissidentvoice.org, 1/16/14

      [EXCERPTS] During the first half of the 20th century, socially conscious Jews in the United States organized a large network of solidarity and charity associations financed mostly through small donations, raffles, and dues by working and lower middle class supporters. Many of these associations dealt with the everyday needs of Jewish workers, immigrants, and families in need. . .
      . . . Over the past fifty years a far-reaching transformation has taken place within Jewish organizations, among its leaders and their practices and policies. Currently, Jewish leaders have converted charities, social aid-societies and overseas programs for working class Jews into money machines for self-enrichment; converted charities funding health programs for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism into the funding of colonial settlements for armed Zionist zealots intent on uprooting Palestinians; and organized a powerful political machine which buys US Congress people and penetrates the Executive in order to serve Israeli military aims. From defending human rights and fighting fascism, the leaders of the principle Jewish organizations defend each and every Israeli violation of Palestinian human rights – from arbitrary arrests of non-violent dissidents to the detention of children in ‘cages.’ Israel’s Kafkaesque prolonged administration detention without trial is approved by contemporary leaders. In the past Jewish leaders, especially labor and socially-engaged activists had joined forces with Leftists in opposition to political bigots, McCarthyite purges and blacklists. Today’s leaders practice the very same bully, blackmail and blacklist politics against critics of Israel and its Zionist appendages.
      In the past Jewish leaders of social aid organizations received modest salaries . . .
      . . . The moderately social liberal Jewish weekly, The Forward, recently completed a survey of the salaries of Jewish “not-for profits” leaders, with the aid of a professor from the Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania). Among the leading profiteers was Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) earning $688,280, Howard Kohr of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — $556,232, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) — $504,445, Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) — $435,050, Janice Weinman of Hadassah — $410,000, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (PMJO) — $400,815, Mark Helfield of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society — $268,834 and Ann Toback of the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring — $185,712. These salaries and perks put the Jewish leaders of non-profits in the upper 10% of US incomes — a far cry from the not-too-distant past. According to the analysis by the Forward and the Wharton team, ‘most leaders (CEOs) are vastly overpaid – earning more than twice what the head of an organization of their size would be expected to make”.
      While the membership has declined in many organizations, especially among working and lower middle class Jews, the funding has increased and most important the plutocratic leaders have embraced a virulent militarist foreign policy and repressive domestic policies. Forward describes Abraham Foxman as “diverting the ADL from its self-described mission of fighting all forms of bigotry in the US and abroad to putting the ADL firmly on the side of bigotry and intolerance.” . . .
      . . . The overwhelming response of the Jewish readers to the Forward’s survey was one of indignation, disgust, and anger. As one reader commented, “The economic disconnect between their (CEOs) salaries and the average incomes of those who contribute to their charities is unacceptable”. Another indignant reader remarked succinctly: “Gonifs! (Thieves!)”. Many announced they could cut off future donations. One formerly orthodox reader stated, “I would rather give to a street beggar than to any of these”.
      The drop-off of donations from lower-middle class Jews, however, will have little effect in reducing the salaries of the ‘non-profit’ CEO’s or changing the politics of their ‘non-profits; because they increasingly depend on six and seven digit contributions from Jewish millionaires and billionaires. Moreover, the contributions by big donors are linked to the politics of repression at home and securing multi-billion dollar military aid and trade programs for Israel from the US Treasury. The billionaire donors have no objection to funding the millionaire leaders – as long as they concentrate their efforts on buying the votes of US Congress members and aligning their politics with Israel’s war aims. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/01/the-israel-first-industry-and-ceo-profiteering/

  18. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 24, 2014, 8:16 am

    Here’s the official Trek organizers position on their agenda. (On FB a commenter said the kids visited an Israeli settlement not long before they visited Arafat’s grave–shows a photo of that). Note the array of speakers and subjects they listened to during this trek.
    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/no-apologies-for-visiting-arafats-grave/

  19. joer
    joer
    March 24, 2014, 10:45 am

    My first impression of the picture was more like they were posing with a trophy, not paying their respects. Maybe I’ve been reading these blogs too long…or maybe all the grinning faces threw me.

    I think this whole thing is a turf war in the aliyah racket, as in this new outfit is moving into Birthright Israel’s territory so there has to be some kind of controversy to say they are soft on the Arabs. There is only a limited number of super rich fanatical Zionists who are willing to bankroll these trips, so competition has got to be pretty tight. And I wonder how much money was raised to send these fifty kids to Israel. I don’t know, but I suspect a lot more than the cost of air flight and hotel rooms. There has got to be a lot of cash and nice salaries floating around.

    And the whole thing is a farce anyway. These kids don’t need charity to go to Israel. They’re Harvard students, for crying out loud! They’re loaded! If they were true blue Zionists, they wouldn’t want to study books in the Ivy League. What kind of new Jew is that? They would have quit school, picked up a shovel and start digging irrigation ditches in Israel!

    • annie
      annie
      March 24, 2014, 12:48 pm

      And the whole thing is a farce anyway. These kids don’t need charity to go to Israel. They’re Harvard students, for crying out loud! They’re loaded!

      i see it as an investment is israel’s future hasbara. a trip like this, if they can identify a few solid dependable supporters who they deem may be influential leaders in their field, but also pliable and receptive to emotional pressure, it’s probably worth it as far as they are concerned. they can offer them future jobs or support if they run for office.

      identifying who these prospective students are would be much more difficult without these programs. i’m sure they have files on all these kids now and they will follow up. even if they get one or two students it would be worth their while.

      • joer
        joer
        March 24, 2014, 1:03 pm

        Annie:

        All that may be true, but it is still a racket. I just checked on Wikipedia, and the budget for Birthright Israel is 650 million a year. They send over under 40,000 kids a year. That works out to over $16,000 a vacation. That seems a little pricey, even for Ivy League kids who expect the finest accommodations.

        Charity scams are nothing new-even if it is billionaires who are being soaked….although is this case, terms like “charity” and “philanthropist” don’t seem appropriate…I mean, after all it is billionaires paying for vacations for kids of millionaires for the most part.

    • puppies
      puppies
      March 24, 2014, 1:59 pm

      @joer – Bear in mind that these kids were not tribals. Many or majority Gentile, future “execs” with shark teeth. Or so it says. They don’t need the cash but (even for most “Jews”…) “Israel” would presumably come right after Birobidjan on their list of places to visit on their own dime. They are doing a good turn to the Zionists in return for a trip and career connections.

  20. hophmi
    hophmi
    March 24, 2014, 10:56 am

    So you think criticizing the Harvard kids for visiting Arafat’s grave is dumb, but you criticize anyone who steps foot anywhere in Israel to give a concert.

    Seems to me that you need to look in the mirror, because you are what you condemn.

  21. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 24, 2014, 11:09 am

    I just took the time to read every single post from subject students on Medium. I don’t have much hope from their initial posted impressions. What comes out mostly is continued nativity, and most especially, that the Trek gave them a very large dose of the Zionist historical narrative–as the history of the Jews as victims and Holocaust survivors sans any use of the term Zionist, or Zionism, and that quite a few had already imbibed that in cursory fashion before the Trek began. Totally absent was any mention of the history of the Palestinians, e.g., the Nakba. The most hopeful thing I can say is that maybe a half dozen of those hand-picked Gentile Harvard students met Palestinians and it dawned on them they were real people, who have suffered a lot.

  22. seafoid
    seafoid
    March 24, 2014, 11:16 am

    “The Israel Trek ”

    Fabulous name. The Afrikaners loved talking about treks as well. They were also chosen people, they also ran a settler colonial project, they also persecuted the natives and they failed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voortrekkers

  23. Sumud
    Sumud
    March 24, 2014, 12:13 pm

    I am 100 percent convinced that these students will come back, able to articulate why Israel is critical as an American ally…

    I wonder if Gideon Argov can tell me when Israel became a formal US ally, ie. a mutual defence treaty signed by both parties.

    I wonder if Argov can also tell me that last (or even the first) time the IDF fought alongside US soldiers. That’s what allies do you know.

    I hear this more and more lately, how Israel is such an important US ally – except they aren’t, at all.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      March 24, 2014, 11:22 pm

      @ Sumud
      The US offered to be in a mutual defense treaty with Israel, but Israel declined. How can a country have a mutual defense treaty with a country that has no defined borders and no constitution? Better for the latter country to just milk the former’s taxpayers, so that per capita it’s citizens get more free US tax dollars per year than US citizens.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      March 25, 2014, 2:08 am

      No they are not. In fact our State Department and CIA regard them one of the biggest threats to our state secrets. Israel cannot earn the “trusted ally” badge, from the way it has sold our weapons to China, sent Pollard to spy on us, kept interfering in our Presidential election, has control over our Congress. They harbor JDL terrorists who have entered our country, killed an Arab American activist in California, and let’s not forget our USS Liberty being attacked – some survivors say it was not an accident.
      http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/middle-east-north-africa/319513-leaked-documents-reveal-us-sees-israel-as-a-major-spying-threat

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        March 25, 2014, 8:15 am

        Surviving crewmembers of the Liberty say that Israel’s attack on the ship was “deliberate” and with full knowledge that the vessel was American.

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