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The battle over Palestine is raging–and Israel is losing: Ali Abunimah on his new book

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Ali Abunimah's new book is titled The Battle For Justice In Palestine.

Ali Abunimah’s new book is titled The Battle For Justice In Palestine.

Ali Abunimah and his publishers at Haymarket Books knew what they were doing when they scheduled his book launch for Israeli Apartheid Week earlier this month.

Abunimah’s tour has tapped into the growing sense on college campuses that Zionism is something to be opposed.  And Abunimah, the co-founder of the Electronic Intifada and author of the new book The Battle for Justice in Palestine, has played a key role in giving voice to that sentiment.

The feeling that Palestine solidarity is on the move on college campuses was palpable at the New School in early March, where I witnessed Abunimah go after Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims that Israel was a global beacon because of its prowess in technology. It was a Friday night.  But at least 100 people, if not more, came out and repeatedly applauded Abunimah’s talk.

Since then, as Abunimah has gone to other states, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on campus has continued to make waves, from the University of Michigan to Loyola.  I sat down with Abunimah earlier this week to get his take on where the battle over Palestine is in the U.S. and on campus.  We also talked about South African apartheid, the Palestinian Authority and the potent coalitions the BDS movement is forging in the U.S.

Layout 1Alex Kane: Your book is aptly titled The Battle for Justice in Palestine, and it’s a look into the depressing reality for Palestinians and an exploration of what to do about that reality.  What’s the status of that battle for justice, in the U.S., the world and in Palestine?

Ali Abunimah: The battle is raging everywhere, particularly here in the United States. And I thought it was important to highlight that in the book, because when you do look at the situation in Palestine on the ground–although there’s plenty of Palestinian protests and resistance, and certainly no sense of Palestinians giving up on their rights–you can easily feel the situation on the ground is stagnant at best, and deteriorating at worse. It’s deteriorating in the West Bank with Israel’s relentless theft and colonization of land. It’s deteriorating in Gaza where the siege is even tighter than ever, where in recent days you see electricity being cut off once again and Israel closing the only food and fuel crossing into Gaza. And it seems to be getting worse in present-day Israel, where it seems every other week a new racist policy is passed–most recently the law to discriminate between Palestinian Christian and Palestinian Muslim citizens of Israel.  So it’s not to discount the struggle people there are waging, but I wanted to focus on the fact that in the U.S. and other parts of the world, Palestinians are winning many battles, and Israel and the Zionist movement are really faltering in their efforts to win hearts and minds.

AK: But the Palestinian Authority is certainly not helping this battle, though the Israel lobby may be faltering.  In fact, you say the PA is hurting it, both internally with neoliberal economic policies and externally with policies of capitulation during the peace process.  Could you expand on those issues?

AA: That’s right.  It all makes sense when you understand that the Palestinian Authority is part and parcel of Israeli occupation and Israel’s system of apartheid.  It is a native colonial authority, often compared to the Bantustans, the so-called Black homelands in apartheid South Africa.  It’s not exactly like them but that’s a pretty good parallel for them. And what I document in The Battle for Justice in Palestine is an issue that hasn’t gotten enough attention, which is that, under the guise of state building and nationalism and national liberation, the Palestinian Authority and a small Palestinian economic elite have been deepening their ties to the Israeli occupation and making a handsome profit as a result.  While the vast majority of Palestinians have been getting poorer, there are a few billionaires like Bashar Masri, the builder of the Rawabi luxury housing development project near Ramallah, who are making a killing. That really needed to be exposed because this neoliberal economic development has been marketed by the likes of Thomas Friedman and other commentators in the U.S. as this great thing that is actually helping Palestinians towards independence when in fact it’s deepening the grip that Israel has on the Palestinian economy.

AK: How exactly is it deepening that grip? You talk about the debt Palestinians are in, and the economic cooperation between Palestinian elites and Israeli companies that profit off the occupation. Could you add more details on this process?

AA: In The Battle for Justice in Palestine I talk about a number of examples of this.  One I mentioned is Bashar Masri, the Palestinian billionaire who is building this housing project called Rawabi in Ramallah. It’s been marketed all around the world.  There have been glowing media profiles of it, talking about Palestinian state building in action, that this is going to produce affordable housing for Palestinians and for a new middle class.

And in fact, Rawabi is built on land that was taken from surrounding Palestinian villages and land owners, in some of the same ways that Israel has taken land from Palestinians, using the abusive and unaccountable power of the Palestinian Authority to develop a private, for-profit project.  It’s also untrue that this is affordable housing. This is actually unaffordable housing for the vast majority of Palestinians, who cannot ever dream of living in Rawabi. And I think it represents the unaccountable and opaque role of global financial capital. This Rawabi project is financed by Qatar, to the tune of about a billion dollars. So it also shows how that there is a kind of normalization between Arab countries and Israel and the occupation. Because you have to remember that Rawabi is built with a huge amount of Israeli input. Many of the suppliers are Israeli.

Bashar Masri has claimed that all Palestinians, because they’re under occupation, have to rely on Israel to some extent for cement and other building materials. And he’s absolutely right about that. But in his case, he actually boasts about how much he buys from Israel, something like 80-100 million dollars worth of supplies a year, and his company calls this an “economy of peace,” when it’s actually an economy of exploitation. So that’s one crucial example.

The others I talk about in the book are the turn towards these extraterritorial Export Industrial Zones where the Palestinian Authority has signed secret deals with companies, or government-sponsored companies abroad–I talk about one company, a Turkish one, in particular–that is managing or will be managing an industrial zone in the north of the West Bank. These agreements are totally silent about labor rights, environmental protections, and other rights for Palestinian workers. And at the same time they provide these companies almost total sovereignty, including the sovereignty to set up their own private armies to prevent anyone, including Palestinian Authority officials, from entering the industrial zone. And the World Bank and IMF are explicitly advocating in reports they have published that this should be the model for Palestine, that Palestinians should become cheap labor for Israeli companies so they can export to the Arab world. It’s really a dystopian vision.

AK:  So what does this assessment of the Palestinian Authority and the elites that support it say about the future of Palestine?  It certainly brings to mind the end of apartheid in South Africa, where the African National Congress signed onto neoliberal policies that kept in place the economic systems that developed with apartheid.

AA: That’s exactly right and that’s a parallel I make in the book.  I do think that there’s a lot to learn from the transition in South Africa, 20 years after the official end of apartheid. One of the widely noted problems in South Africa is that the country turned towards neoliberalism, leaving the white elite in control of the economy, while millions of black people are poorer than ever. And what I say in the book is what makes Palestine unique is that this is happening before there’s any political transition.  It’s already underway. So Palestinians need to think not only about political resistance to Israeli apartheid and Zionism, but economic resistance and ways to make Palestinian communities resilient to these neoliberal assaults. What I also say, in that sense, is Palestinians are fighting the same fight that people in Greece, Spain, all over the region and all over the world are fighting against unrestrained financial capital and neoliberalism. That struggle in Palestine has to be tied to a broader and deeper global struggle for economic sovereignty and local control over people’s resources.

AK: I want to go to your first chapter, which I found incredibly compelling.  You don’t start your book with a laser focus on Palestine.  Instead, you focus on mass incarceration in the U.S., what Michelle Alexander dubbed the New Jim Crow, and what all of these things say about the U.S.-Israel relationship.  Explain that choice. Why focus on that first?

AA: This was very important to me, and it was a learning experience to better understand the New Jim Crow and mass incarceration in the United States.  And again, there’s a parallel to South Africa. We just talked about how South African apartheid ended officially, but economic apartheid has remained and become more entrenched.

Well in the United States, Jim Crow and segregation ended officially with the civil rights legislation that was passed in the 1960s and 70s. But what Michelle Alexander argues, very compellingly, is that a New Jim Crow took its place, with mass incarceration, primarily of people of color and especially with African Americans, which means that by many measures, African Americans, particularly African American men, are as badly off today as they were during Jim Crow, which is absolutely shocking.

There are a couple of parallels with Israel.  One is the ideology that allows the United States to talk about itself as this very liberal, democratic, egalitarian country where everyone has individual rights and equality before the law, while in reality imprisoning more of its population than any country in history, and more of its ethnic and racial minorities than any other country on earth. And this is parallel to the Israeli or Zionist ideology.  People of color, indigenous people, African Americans, are viewed as a demographic threat that needs to be controlled with ever-more sophisticated and total methods of control.  This is where Israel has really tapped into an American sensibility.

I talk about this huge conveyor belt of police chiefs being taken on junkets to Israel, where they are taken to prisons like Megiddo prison, where Palestinian prisoners are tortured, including Palestinian children, and where Palestinian prisoners have died under torture.  And they come out and they say, “wow this is so great, I’m going to take what I’ve learned back to LA, back to Chicago and back to New York.” And this is a marketing strategy by Israel, where Israel takes a huge market share of what it describes as a $100 billion global homeland security industry and they see these big U.S. city–and small city police forces–as a primary market. Those police forces and those cities are ground zero for mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow. What I say is that because the affinities are so close, we’re not talking about separate struggles. We’re talking about the same struggle, and companies like G4S, which Palestinians are resisting in Palestine and the BDS movement is targeting, are also profiting from mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow in the U.S. So how much more powerful would we be if we were really building a joint struggle against Israeli occupation and apartheid and against, for example, mass incarceration in the United States?

AK: But it’s not as if mass incarceration and surveillance would not be happening in the U.S. without Israel, of course, and I know that’s not what you’re arguing. So how do these things interact?

AA: I’m definitely not arguing that if it weren’t for Israel, then the United States would be a place with there’s no racism and no police abuse and no mass incarceration–far from it. I actually say in the book the United States needs no lessons from anyone on how to operate racist systems against its own citizens.  What I’m arguing is that the post-9/11 anti-terrorism and security mania allows Israel to repackage its technologies of control and repression, which are in fact tested on Palestinians under occupation, to repackage them as foreign expertise and technical expertise. So that’s why you often see American officials talking about how the “Israelis are the experts, they live in a tough neighborhood. They understand these things.”

And so you have airports all over the United States buying expertise from the former head of security at Ben Gurion Airport, a program called behavioral recognition detection, which is supposedly some really sophisticated way of telling if somebody is a potential terrorists. So you have Transportation Security Administration officers in Boston blowing the whistle, and saying actually, behavior recognition is just racial profiling, and what we’re being told to do is to treat African Americans, Latinos and other people of color with extra scrutiny and suspicion. And so that’s the behavior, of course, that is all over the country, this kind of racial profiling, but now it gets to be packaged as some kind of sophisticated Israeli technology.

AK: All these connections are quite depressing, but they also have implications for the Palestine solidarity movement in the U.S.  You have a chapter on the “war on campus” over Palestine, and you write about the connections made between Latino and Chicano activists and Students for Justice in Palestine.  What’s so important about those connections?

AA: Well that’s another really good example. Just in the past few weeks, the Obama administration, which has been one of the main promoters of this native Israeli expertise both in security and other technologies, awarded a $145 million contract with Elbit Systems, an Israeli arms company that is involved with the construction of the illegal wall in the occupied West Bank. And now, these technologies, tested and experimented on Palestinians, are going to be used on the U.S.-Mexico border. So the parallel that students are seeing–Latino and Chicano students and Palestinian students–is the settler-colonial assault on people who have been on the land for a long time. The Chicano people have been in what is now the Southwest United States since before it was the United States, as have indigenous people of course. But you have someone like Governor Jan Brewer in Arizona who are claiming that these people are invading the United States with the aim of destroying its culture. And she talks about them as a kind of demographic and cultural threat–exactly the same way Israel and Zionists talk about Palestinians.

I think there are other parallels between Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona, which allows the profiling of any person of color for them to be challenged as an unlawful or undocumented immigrant, and laws that Palestinians face every day and African asylum seekers face every day under Israeli rule. So these are connections students are making and building a joint struggle around, and that’s a really important and positive development.

AK: You have a clear vision to end the battle over Palestine: a one-state solution, which your first book was about.  Specifically, you devote much ink to the question of how a one-state solution would impact Israeli Jews, and the question of both Palestinian self-determination and Israeli Jewish self-determination.  How do you envision a one-state solution overcoming the objections of Israeli Jews, and how does Palestinian and Israeli Jewish self-determination play into this vision?

AA: Since I wrote One Country, my first book, there have been a lot of developments in this discussion, and a lot more people are open to this idea of a single democratic state than they were at that time. And that’s really great. I wanted, in this book, to answer some of the skepticism and objections that still persist. The main one is, “a single state sounds very nice but Israeli Jews will never accept it.” And so I wanted to look at other examples where you have a settler-colonial regime, where the people benefitting from it were absolutely opposed to ending their own privilege and control. Of course, South Africa is one example of that, and Northern Ireland is another. And I wanted to trace that solid opposition–in South Africa, the vast majority of whites were opposed to ending apartheid and ending white minority control until very close to the end of the apartheid regime. And I think a lot of people don’t know that. They think that somehow, whites in South Africa were all for ending apartheid. They fought against ending apartheid tooth and nail, just as Israeli Jews are doing right now. I wanted to trace how that change takes place, how when that change is underway, people really begin to shift their narratives. I thought that it was really important to show that what appears to be a stagnant situation today of solid opposition can actually begin to change very rapidly once people begin to understand that the balance of power is shifting and there’s really no future for a system based on oppression and racialism.

AK: My last question is about the tools we use to go towards that vision. Obviously, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement could be one tool, although it’s important to note the BDS movement doesn’t take a position on states.  Where do you see the BDS movement playing into the larger battle over Palestine?

AA:  The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is really coming of age now, and there’s a dynamism that I think is just palpable, and what’s really frustrating to Israel and to pro-Israel organizations is that this movement is so organic and so diffuse. It doesn’t have a central leadership, it’s not an organization, it’s not, “the BDS,” as some pro-Israel groups like to call it. It really is a set of principles and tactics that people can self-organize around, and that’s what is happening across North America, Europe and increasingly in Arab countries, where people understand this is a powerful tactic.

What it does is it brings the focus right back to Palestinian rights and Palestinian agency. Some of the people who most oppose Palestinian rights- like Peter Beinart and J Street and others–what they like to do often is to portray this as coming from outside the country. There’s often a deliberate concealment that this is a Palestinian-led and Palestinian-driven movement, and there is an attempt to derail it and coopt it, with what Peter Beinart calls “Zionist BDS.” But ultimately, it’s a movement that puts before people a question: do you support Palestinian rights? Do you support rights for all Palestinians? And liberal Zionists cannot answer both those questions in the affirmative. That’s why this has been such a powerful movement, because drawing fully on principles of human rights, international law and anti-racism, it places people before that question. And we’ve come to a decisive moment where people have to decide, are they with Israel and its self-definition as a so-called Jewish and democratic state–which I argue is totally incompatible with rights for everyone–or are they with these universal principles? And it’s a very exciting moment. One of the things that emerged in the initial stages of this book tour is, how many different backgrounds this movement can bring together. That’s why I have a great deal of hope that in the next coming years, we’re going to win this battle. That’s what keeps me going.

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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45 Responses

  1. seafoid
    seafoid
    March 21, 2014, 10:00 am

    “But ultimately, it’s a movement that puts before people a question: do you support Palestinian rights? Do you support rights for all Palestinians?”

    So hard for Judaism, those 2 questions.
    Better to try something wishy washy like “we want peace’ or Peres in Farsical..

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      March 21, 2014, 12:25 pm

      Judaism =/= Zionism, even if a lot of people seem to think so(Jewish and otherwise).

      It is interesting that there’s such a divergence between the fortunes of Palestinians inside the occupied territories and in the wider Western world.

      It highlights the need for a diaspora. You could say it’s the same lesson that early Zionists learned and the edge that they had over the Palestinians 100 years ago. There were no prominent Western Palestinians who could counter the hasbara of Weizmann and Herzl among Western leaders or on universities or in the press.

      That has changed. No matter what happens, I think it’s important for Palestinians to keep having a diaspora for precisely this reason, even in the future if we do see a one state for all its citizens, where there is no official racial discrimination like there is now.

      • adele
        adele
        March 21, 2014, 10:32 pm

        Krauss,
        you articulated a critical factor that gave the early Zionists a clear advantage. A really interesting historical observation, and one that I would love to see analyzed further.

        History students take note!

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        March 22, 2014, 4:07 pm

        Judaism =/= Zionism, even if a lot of people seem to think so(Jewish and otherwise).

        The official state religion of Israel is exactly equal to racialized Zionism. It’s no accident that it officially rejects the authenticity of other forms of Judaism and equal rights for non-Jews.
        See:
        * MKs debate protection of ‘equality’ in future constitution: Religious MKs reject inclusion of ensurance of equality, saying it would contradict Judaism. link to haaretz.com
        * Lapid: Israel’s definition as Jewish and democratic is an unsolvable contradiction: “Judaism is a whole line of values that have existed for thousands of years, but the democratic idea is a new idea, and significant parts of it stand in contradiction to Judaism” link to jpost.com

        So, the bottom line is that Racial Zionism==the official public religion of the State of Israel (no matter how much enabler’s, like the ADL, the Brandies Center, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Jewish Federations try to conceal that simple fact). See for example:
        *Troy’s Moment: Should America Go Into Opposition?
        http://www.brandeiscenter.com/index.php?/publications/research_opinion_full/troys_moment_should_america_go_into_opposition
        * ADL denounces ‘Zionism Unsettled’ pamphlet released by Presbyterian group
        http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=227980
        * Jewish critics: Presbyterian study guide equates Zionism with racism
        http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/jewish-critics-presbyterian-study-guide-equates-zionism-with-racism/article_69b80be8-cb6f-5394-9bd5-81c1c92ad4d0.html

      • American
        American
        March 22, 2014, 4:28 pm

        ”’It highlights the need for a diaspora”…Krauss

        Evidently you need several more decades of history courses to understand the stupidity of what you’re recommending.

  2. amigo
    amigo
    March 21, 2014, 10:16 am

    “I wanted to trace how that change takes place, how when that change is underway, people really begin to shift their narratives. I thought that it was really important to show that what appears to be a stagnant situation today of solid opposition can actually begin to change very rapidly once people begin to understand that the balance of power is shifting and there’s no really no future for a system based on oppression and racialism.”AA

    People know instinctively when they are on a sinking ship and don,t want to be the last fools still moving the deck Chairs as the ship slides into the deep.

    You will find the usual idiots like Hopknee and Oleg and co still clinging to the railings as the funnels crash down around them.Let them sink.Good riddance to Zionism and them.The ocean is large and deep enough to not be overly polluted by such a poisonous entity.

    I ordered Ali,s book this week so looking forward to getting it next week.I believe it has to be imported in from the US to Ireland.

    Of course I ordered an extra copy to pass around.I might meet the Odd Zionist in Ireland who needs “edumacating”.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      March 21, 2014, 10:29 am

      I think the failure of the American war in Iraq and the Israeli strangling of the 2 SS are the main factors in the changes we are seeing now.

      Obama couldn’t put war in Syria to a vote last year.

      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c77f31f8-118e-11e3-8321-00144feabdc0.html

      “Whether you think we are in the Middle East to stabilise the region, to take the oil, to spread freedom and democracy,” said Andrew Bacevich, a political scientist at Boston University. “Whatever rationale you choose among the many that American presidents have articulated, it ain’t working.”

      But in Washington, fingers are not being pointed at David Cameron alone.

      “We have leaders [in both countries] who are still arguing from authority rather than making a concerted strategic case,” said Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who added such an approach no longer worked in the wake of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

      The bots got their war in Iraq and now they have to live with the consequences.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        March 21, 2014, 2:27 pm

        Yep. Great comment, seafoid.

        All the pronouncements about/arguments for US intervention in Ukraine are bringing all the inconsistencies in ME policy (past, present, and future) into sharp focus.

        As you said the other day, it’s completely incoherent. And recognizably so, even at the popular level. I can’t bear to listen to the blather anymore, not even for a little.

        Just yesterday on the PBS News Hour, a talking head (David Kramer) got agitated about an assertion about the “Finlandization” of Ukraine, saying “I hope the days are over when the US and Russia decide the fate of other countries, without those countries being involved.” (17:50) He then immediately went on to say that the current situation in Ukraine is the fault of the Yanukovich (18:00) government, while failing to mention it was the legitimately elected government and we/US did actively seek to destabilize/overthrow it.

        http://www.pbs.org/newshour/episode/thursday-march-20-2014/

        Our standard ME hypocrisy is cropping up everywhere now, on every “issue.” People that may not have focused on the ME, don’t have to now to be exposed to the incoherence. Maybe the incoherence has always been there, but with the US actively seeking places in such rapid succession to directly intervene (the why of that alone is a big head scratcher for most folks), it’s being machine-gunned into a popular awareness.

        And you’re right about Iraq. It’s heart-breaking that so many people died there for a US political history lesson that could potentially be ignored (but maybe not…).

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        March 21, 2014, 3:19 pm

        Bush Jr’s war on Iraq, and the complicit main media who supported it, represent the biggest single failure of US ideals in US history. Colin Powel, how could you? Actually Colin did the same to cover up the Mylai crisis….Now we have Obama, who decided not to OK checking out Bush Jr administration on Iraq, so he could do what he wanted, and so, he too thinks like Bush Jr, that is, I create reality, you write about it, and I’m OK with that since I will live my post POTUS days in luxury.

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        March 21, 2014, 10:09 pm

        “Whether you think we are in the Middle East to stabilise the region, to take the oil, to spread freedom and democracy,”

        All those above are public rationales. smoke. Absent a spiritual dimension, we are mere primates, and war is a massive transfer of wealth to an intra species parasitic class–Human sacrifice being the oldest religion. It’s biology:

        ………….
        POLYTHEISM AND HUMAN SACRIFICE IN EARLY ISRAELITE RELIGION
        http://new.exchristian.net/2010/10/polytheism-and-human-sacrifice-in-early.html

        PRIMATE INTRA SPECIES PARASITISM
        http://www.scielo.org.ar/scielo.php?pid=S0327-93832005000100003&script=sci_arttext

        PRIMATE INTRA-SPECIES MURDER:, RAPE, INFANTICIDE
        http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/chimps-deadliest-animals-earth/

  3. American
    American
    March 21, 2014, 11:11 am

    ” how many different backgrounds this movement can bring together”>>>>

    Get the 52 million US blacks.
    Get the 50 million US Hispanics.
    Get the 1 billion world wide Catholics.

    ‘Actively’ involved.

  4. American
    American
    March 21, 2014, 11:16 am

    ‘ That’s why I have a great deal of hope that in the next coming years, we’re going to win this battle. That’s what keeps me going.’>>>>

    You need to quit thinking in terms of ‘years’ unless you want to make a lifetime career out of this—-and start practicing how to create ‘panic’ and ‘fierce urgency’— in other groups that might help you.

  5. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    March 21, 2014, 11:20 am

    this is the second informative interview i read in the last 24 hours.

    the PA as an obstacle to Palestinian society when it comes to the BDS movement is running theme in both.

    excerpt from an interview between Adri Nieuwhof and Adnan Ramadan, one of the co-founders of the movement. http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/boycott-movement-has-empowered-palestinians-says-co-founder

    Adnan Ramadan:

    When we talk of boycotting Israel, we talk of boycotting a system of ruling, a way of thinking and behaving, that denies the existence of the Palestinian people and their rights.

    Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority (PA) — based on their agreements and their mentality — has called for a boycott only of settlement products.

    This can create some small problems for some small industries here and there. It does not give opportunities for real political solutions and change inside the Israeli community.

    The PA tried in this way to contain the whole BDS campaign and take the successes. Their approach created a lot of obstacles in different countries. There have been a lot of confrontations between BDS activists and people who represent the official policy of the PA.

    For me the call from Palestinian civil society is clearly about boycotting Israel and calling for sanctions against Israel. But everybody can decide — based on his analysis, circumstances and sometimes the laws — how to respond to the call.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      March 22, 2014, 3:16 am

      the PA as an obstacle to Palestinian society when it comes to the BDS movement is running theme in both.

      It’s necessary for BDS actions against the State of Israel to remain a Palestinian civil society, non-governmental, grass roots political movement. When Palestine participated in the Arab League boycott, laws were adopted that prevented the government of Palestine from using US business firms or US tax exempt organizations to implement any national foreign policy that runs counter to U.S. policies respecting a boycott of Israel, e.g. http://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/enforcement/oac

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        March 22, 2014, 3:25 pm

        That is a good point. But on the other hand that makes the PA complicit with their own oppression and colonization by Israel which uses US funds and organizations to neutralize the Palestinian’s national liberation struggle.

  6. March 21, 2014, 1:05 pm

    Can someone please explain to me why MJAYROSENBERG is so negative about Ali ?

    • puppies
      puppies
      March 21, 2014, 2:57 pm

      Because he is a Zionist. He even was an AIPAC manager.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      March 21, 2014, 3:23 pm

      MJR is a Zionist, an ex-AIPAC honcho. He’s willing to recognize the power of the Israel Lobby exists, but unwilling to give any Gentile rope to pursue this more in the best interests of the USA and humanism. He’s sore because AIPAC doesn’t like him.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS
      March 21, 2014, 6:49 pm

      Because Ali supports the 1SS. If that happened Israel would not be a Jewish state but a state of all of its citizens. It would be the end of the Zionist dream.

      • amigo
        amigo
        March 22, 2014, 12:01 pm

        “It would be the end of the Zionist dream.” Tovio S

        Yeah and wouldn,t it be luverly.

    • Donald
      Donald
      March 21, 2014, 7:27 pm

      There’s no rational reason that I can see for MJ’s reaction, so it probably is just some kneejerk tendency he still hasn’t conquered where anyone who is passionately anti-Zionist must be an anti-semite.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS
        March 21, 2014, 8:05 pm

        It goes deeper than that. MJs reason is, I think, the same as Finklestein’s objection to Ali. If the 1ss comes to pass, in the sense that all of the citizens have equal rights and one person-one vote, Israel will no longer be the Israel we all know and love.

      • amigo
        amigo
        March 22, 2014, 11:58 am

        ” If the 1ss comes to pass, in the sense that all of the citizens have equal rights and one person-one vote, Israel will no longer be the Israel we all know and love.”tovios

        Surely you mean the Israel we all know and consequently hate.

  7. March 21, 2014, 1:11 pm

    Ali writes “Some of the people who most oppose Palestinian rights- like Peter Beinart and J Street and others–what they like to do often is to portray this as coming from outside the country.”

    Do Beinart and J-Street really oppose Palestinian rights ? In their writings they seem to support the two-state solution. Ali supports the one state solution. Is this what he means ? Does he think that their 2-state solution is an impossible non-starter? A total waste of time to even discuss ? A Trojan Horse ? I don’t get it ! Can someone explain this to me ?

    • puppies
      puppies
      March 21, 2014, 2:56 pm

      Did you ask exactly what these criminals intend by “two states”? Details.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        March 21, 2014, 10:37 pm

        puppies

        Did you ask exactly what these criminals intend by “two states”?

        Do you ask what they intend by “one state”?

        Why ask what THEY intend?

      • puppies
        puppies
        March 21, 2014, 11:10 pm

        @Sibiriak – Of course there’s no reason to ask a Zionist about one-state. That’s what they have right now, which with time will increase settlements and reduce aborigines until the former is maximal and the latter inexistent.

        Why ask what they intend exactly by 2 states? Because not only they are still pretending to play the same “statehood Palestine one day” comedy but *there are people (somewhat gullible, or if Jewish, hopeful and believers of the tooth fairy) in every gathering that somehow believe there will be 2 states, the Zionists will stop at the new line, just like that, our of their own initiative because they are being called names, cookies and candy will be distributed, daily genocidal action will stop, Christ will appear among the clouds and the trumpet will blare.
        The 2SS is pure utopia for babes in arms –not because of settlements etc etc, but because it is not in their program. Given that any solution that is not the full Zionist program will be forced from the outside, there’s no way of seeing what is being prepared. 2 SS it cannot be (except like Oslo, i.e. no state on that side) that much is sure.

    • Sycamores
      Sycamores
      March 21, 2014, 4:35 pm

      as far as i can see the older Palestinian generation wanted there own state but years of israeli policies, ‘negoiations’ and illegal settlements has all but destroyed that hope, which left the Palestinians divided and stuck in a mire.

      the BDS movement was created partly to get out of this mire and to reunite the Palestinians, a substantial number of the younger generation who support the BDS Movement would see that the one state is the only viable option left for them with equal rights for all.

      the BDS movement itself doesn’t support an one or two state solutions, its three goals are:

      1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
      2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
      3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

      however the BDS movement is organic/flexible so if it had to pick either of the solutions in the future to obtain their goals they will have to choose.

      my take on the PA and Bienart.
      boycotting the settlements only, will not have that much of an effect. by not including all of those who are complicite in israel proper you might as well be ******* in the wind. this is what Bienart and the PA have in common, they are trying to take control of the movement and playing up to israel.

      important to remember the BDS movement was created by Palestinian civil society, not by the PA and certainly not by Bienart.

      does Bienart care for Palestinians rights? insofar that he can see the writing on the wall for israel with the global community if they don’t start treating the Palestinians properly.

  8. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    March 21, 2014, 2:20 pm

    I find a bit of a paradox in Abunimah. I value his information about the attempts of the PA to bribe Israel into letting the Palestinians stay in Palestine by promising that they will be a pool of ultra-cheap labour. On the other hand his vision of Palestinian liberation as liberation from certain forms of capitalist exploitation shimmers confusingly alongside his evident view that this liberation has nowhere been achieved so far and that the two examples of which we all think, post-J Crow and post-apartheid, are really illusory.

    • American
      American
      March 21, 2014, 8:22 pm

      @ Hughes

      I think Abunimah is like some others who have been at this too long…..although he did make some good points about the economics—- these activist get sidetracked on THINGS THAT CAN’T BE SETTLED UNTIL THE OCCUPATION ENDS.

  9. March 21, 2014, 3:08 pm

    I found David Samel’s thoughtful article on Rosenberg’s totally outrageous attacks on Ali Abunimah. It might be perhaps an irrational and emotional response to the fact that Abunimah’s one-state solution would cancel out the possibility of a Jewish State, but lacks any direct explanation or linkage.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2013/10/rosenberg-abunimah-accusations.html

  10. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 21, 2014, 3:12 pm

    On related matter, an appeal to free thinkers who don’t need it, and to American sheeple, who won’t watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOHlr2-tjkU&feature=youtu.be
    Bill Kristol chuckles, smirks, gets the velvet glove treatment by Bill Maher and on the Daily Show

  11. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    March 21, 2014, 3:26 pm

    RE: “And so you have airports all over the United States buying expertise from the former head of security at Ben Gurion Airport, a program called behavioral recognition detection, which is supposedly some really sophisticated way of telling if somebody is a potential terrorists.” ~ Ali Abunimah

    SEE: “Boston airport security program rife with racial profiling has Israeli links”, by Alex Kane, Mondoweiss, 8/14/12

    [EXCERPTS] Security officers at Boston’s Logan International Airport have come under fire for the widespread racial profiling of Arabs, Muslims, Blacks and Hispanics in their zeal to ferret out terrorists.
    The ‘New York Times’ broke the story over the weekend after officers who requested anonymity came forward;
    some officers have complained internally to the Transportation Security Agency as well. A Massachusetts lawmaker has called for congressional hearings on the racial profiling allegations.
    The ‘Times’ reports that officers estimated that “80 percent” of passengers “searched during certain shifts” were people of color. What’s more, the Boston airport “is the testing ground for an expanded use of behavioral detection methods at airports around the country.”
    But what’s not touched on in the ‘Times’ report is the fact that Logan International’s security procedures are modeled on Israel’s policies at their own airport–policies that are blatantly racist. . .

    . . . The Israel connection is integral to understanding Boston’s racial profiling problems. In 2009, according to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Jerusalem Post reported that “Boston’s Logan Airport has tapped the Israeli company New Age Security Solutions to help secure the facility using Behavior Pattern Recognition.” . . .
    . . . It took until August 2011 for the Israeli-inspired model to be operationalized. That was the date when the “behavioral profiling” became an official model at Boston’s airport–and this was “a direct result” of “Israeli influence” on security procedures at the airport
    , according to the Associated Press.
    Fast-forward to the New York Times story. The ‘Times’ reports that one anonymous TSA officer complained that this “behavior detection program is no longer a behavior-based program, but [rather] a racial profiling program.”
    To observers of how Israeli security works at Ben Gurion Airport, the allegations of racial profiling will come as no surprise. Palestinian and Arab travelers at Ben Gurion are guaranteed to be harassed by Israeli security. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/boston-airport-security-program-rife-with-racial-profiling-has-israeli-links.html

    P.S. IN THE WAKE OF THE BOSTON BOMBINGS, a “National Security Expert” on Fox Faux News said that the U.S. is like a 14-year-old teenager going through “security puberty”; and we must demand that our government “get on the Israeli page”! ! !
    On the Wish List from the Boston Bombings – The Israelization of America [VIDEO, 00:25] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fff8dXQNVdA

  12. American
    American
    March 21, 2014, 4:22 pm

    In the world circus the Israelis have to be the biggest clowns on the stage.
    I lost track of all the things they claimed Iran has done since the Iran talks started but these last two are doozies.
    Suddenly–after 20 years–the Mossad discovers proof that Iran killed 8 Jews who left Iran.
    And Iran hijacked the missing Malaysian plane to bomb Israel with.

    And I am still waiting for the maps of those additional 42,500 Nazi concentration camps the NTY claims researchers discovered now 65 years later…..to have something to compare that claim to–consider the US has only 33,000 towns, townships, crossroads and cities.

    Holocaust Researchers Catalog 42,500 Nazi Ghettos, Camps …

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/holocaust-researchers-c…‎ Cached
    The Huffington Post
    Loading…
    Mar 2, 2013 – Essentially, this study shows the Holocaust was far more extensive … a memorial at the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald near Weimar, Germany, Sunday, …

    Israel Confirms Fate of 8 Jews Who Left Iran
    By JODI RUDORENMARCH 20, 2014

    JERUSALEM — Israel’s intelligence agency announced Thursday it had confirmed the murder of eight Jews who disappeared while trying to immigrate to Israel two decades ago, but it did not say where they were killed or by whom.
    The eight men left Iran illegally in three groups in 1994, without travel documents and presumably relying on smugglers to help them traverse the perilous Iranian border. They, along with three other Jews who fled Iran in 1997, were never heard from again. Israeli officials decided in 2000 to push for an international campaign to trace them, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu more recently asked the Mossad intelligence agency to intensify the search.

    “Today, it is possible to say that the mystery has reached its end,” David Meidan, who oversaw the investigation, said in a statement released by the prime minister’s office. Mr. Meidan said Israelis had “succeeded in finding a credible source in a difficult region, who provided reliable information” about the fate of the men.

    The announcement came a day after Iran and six Western powers reported that their second round of talks on the fate of Iran’s nuclear program had been “useful and substantive.” Israel, which is not a party to the talks, has been on a vigorous international lobbying campaign to expose what it calls Iran’s “true face,” offering evidence that Iran sponsors terrorism, violates human rights and aspires to build nuclear bombs.

    ”Israel Fears Attack from ‘Hijacked’ Malaysian Flight MH370; Iran’s”
    International Business Times, India Edition-Mar 17, 2014

    Israel Fears Attack from ‘Hijacked’ Malaysian Flight MH370; Iran’s Role Still … As the theory that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 might have … The plane was reported to have vanished from radar at around 1: 21am
    >>>>>

    Such a circus, such clowns…

  13. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    March 21, 2014, 4:41 pm

    Abunimah states: ” African Americans, are viewed as a demographic threat” in Israel. It is true that African refugees from Africa are viewed as a demographic threat in Israel and probably this is what Abunimah means. African Americans are not viewed as a demographic threat. (Unless like Bruno, from Sasha baron cohen’s world, Abunimah thinks all Africans are called African Americans. Or unless Abunimah is wrong.)

    • just
      just
      March 21, 2014, 4:46 pm

      uh, perhaps you should read the article more s-l-o-w-l-y.

    • lysias
      lysias
      March 21, 2014, 4:56 pm

      People of color, indigenous people, African Americans, are viewed as a demographic threat that needs to be controlled with ever-more sophisticated and total methods of control.

      Abunimah is there talking about how white Americans — not Israelis — think (although I suspect he would agree that Israeli Jews share the belief, certainly I think they do).

      • libra
        libra
        March 21, 2014, 5:47 pm

        Abunimah is there talking about how white Americans — not Israelis — think..

        Yes, Abunimah portrays the Palestinian struggle part of a broader anti-white struggle. How more stupid can you get?

  14. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 21, 2014, 6:01 pm

    CAMERA says Christ At The Checkpoint evangelicals visiting Israel are lying: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/03/21/stop-lying-about-israel-and-bethlehem/

  15. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 21, 2014, 6:20 pm

    Israel’s Economy Minister isn’t worried about BDS; he laughs and says major world corporations are all begging for help from Israeli innovators: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/03/21/israel-economy-minister-bennett-mocks-boycotts-yet-again/

  16. ivri
    ivri
    March 21, 2014, 7:56 pm

    So if that is what he thinks of Americans` views just how seriously s can he be taken?
    He is a man who devoted his life to fight Israel and at some point, with so much investment of time and efforts, a person begins to see reality through his wishes. Can`t he also see what catastrophe this obsessive antagonism of Israel has brought on Arab countries? Was that worth it? And then isn`t the general condition of Arabs in Israel far better than minorities in other countries in the region – should not that be taken into account to?

    • Real Jew
      Real Jew
      March 22, 2014, 11:06 pm

      Ali abunimah is an incredibly intelligent and powerful voice for the Palestinians. His views on American policy is unfortunately accurate. Through his thorough research and uncomprimising integrity he should be taken very seriously.

      ” a person begins to see reality through his wishes.” No! He sees the same reality countless others who visited the OT have seen first hand.

      “Can`t he also see what catastrophe this obsessive antagonism of Israel has brought on Arab countries? Was that worth it? And then isn`t the general condition of Arabs in Israel far better than minorities in other countries in the region”

      The catastrophe the Palestinians are in is not due to “obsessive antagonism” of israel its due to israel occupying and stealing other people land, dropping bombs on civilians, murdering non violent protesters, forcing millions to live like animals, cutting off electricity, rationing water to a minimal,and the list goes on. And if you think an occupied abused and incarcerated population are living better than others in the region well that shows what sort of integrity you possess.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      March 23, 2014, 11:26 am

      @ ivri
      Why don’t you take account of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwpvI8rX72o&feature=youtu.be
      The truth is coming out–and Americans no longer have to rely on their bigoted mass mainstream media tools to get it. The avalanche of scholarly books and videos like this are all coming to stick it to Hasbara. Folks are waking up to what Zionism means for all non-Jews and independently-thinking Jews with mental integrity, morals, and ethics.

  17. eGuard
    eGuard
    March 22, 2014, 6:50 am

    in Greene, Spain is a place? Or should it be: “in Greece, Spain”?

  18. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    March 23, 2014, 7:04 am

    @ ivri
    And then isn`t the general condition of Arabs in Israel far better than minorities in other countries in the region – should not that be taken into account to?

    No. There is absolutely NOTHING that justifies or excuses settler colonialism.
    Your wording suggests that Israeli Jews keep Palestinians like pets.
    Also, Palestinians are not actually a minority in Palestine. The Zionists artificially keep them a minority by denying Palestinian refugees their right of return. That’s a violation of international law.

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