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Defending Apartheid – From 1968 to the present

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The Daily newspaper at the University of Washington recently ran an editorial titled “Why Israel?: The problems with ASUW Resolution 20-39.” In this article, Nathan Taft makes two arguments against a resolution brought before the Associated Students of the University of Washington which urges UW to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli government’s human rights abuses.

The first is that Israel’s innovations in science more than make up for the destructive colonial project which the Israeli government has spent the last half century pursuing.

Taft writes,

“The blind hatred that some of the world bears for Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, is a deeply troubling conundrum. There are undoubtedly issues with certain policies of Israel’s government and particular facets of its society — such as the building of settlements — and these must be addressed. But this is only a small part of a much more complicated conflict that stretches back more than 2,000 years, and the solution lies not in misleading propaganda but in fair and open dialogue.

The truth is, the overwhelming majority of what Israel and its people contribute to the world is positive. This tiny nation publishes nearly ten times more scientific papers than its share of the world’s population and has more Nobel Prize winners than all the other countries in the Middle East put together. Israeli technological innovations brought us drip irrigation that revolutionized agriculture worldwide, pill-sized cameras that can be swallowed to diagnose internal conditions, portable flash drives, and instant messaging, to name just a few.”

Taft’s interpretation of the benefits and costs of the occupation completely silences the experiences of the Palestinian people. This familiar ends justify the means argument has long been used to justify colonial and imperial projects, especially those of western powers. In fact, on April 4th, 1968 the Daily published an opinion piece co-authored by journalists Richard Sanders and Larry Parr with strikingly similar arguments attempting to justify South African Apartheid.

In this passage, Sanders and Parr personify “the Facts” in a mock account of a court room proceeding; South Africa is standing trail, and “the Facts” take the stand:

Apartheid1

Sanders and Parr argued similarly that UW students in 1968 simply had a “blind hatred” for South Africa, without the “nuanced” understanding of all the “good” apartheid was doing. The paternalistic position is clear: the benevolent occupier was simply not properly understood by the ungrateful occupied.

The second argument Taft outlines is also familiar. Why focus on Israel? The main point of this argument is that R-20-39 singles out Israel, while ignoring the crimes of surrounding countries. As though focusing on fighting against one oppression means that you are ignoring others. He states,

“Despite this, ASUW Resolution 20-39, entitled “A Resolution to Divest from Companies Profiting from Violations of International Law and Human Rights,” explicitly targets Israel and Israel alone. Not Russia, with its anti-gay laws and illegal annexation of Ukrainian and Georgian territory. Not Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed in public without a male companion and are treated as second class citizens. Not even Syria, where the government has massacred more than 100,000 of its own civilians. No, the Resolution targets only the Jewish of the state of Israel.

The argument for divestment from countries that practice clear-cut and straightforward violations of human rights is a legitimate one, but this resolution does not do that. There are many countries that do far more harm — and contribute far less good — than Israel, and they are not even mentioned, much less targeted by R-20-39.”

This statement suggests that Taft has likely not read the divestment bill R-20-39, which explicitly focuses on companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and not Israel itself, nor Israeli citizens. This defense of apartheid is also shared by Sanders and Parr, who attempt to distract from the issue being discussed by pointing the finger at other countries in the region. This passage references some of the exchange during an event on UW campus in 1968.

Apartheid2

Perhaps the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which helped draw international attention to the barbaric and inhumane treatment of South Africans was misplaced. Perhaps the Black Student Union, who started organizing against South African apartheid as early as 1968, were not justified in doing so as long as any other oppression in the world persisted. Perhaps, as Sanders and Parr argue, what we really needed was a “Good Neighbor policy,” with the South African government.

uwoutUnfortunately for Sanders, Parr and Taft, history has taught us something quite different. In 1989, after over 20 years of dedicated organizing by students at UW, the University of Washington finally divested from South Africa, in response to the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Today we are called upon by 171 Palestinian civil society organizations to engage in a similar nonviolent tactic to help bring about the end of Israeli apartheid. Pursuing divestment in companies who profit from the occupation, which R-20-39 does, is one way students at the UW have chosen to recognize that call. Not only does this resolution answer a call put out by Palestinians seeking an end to a decades long occupation, it helps create a space for an actual dialogue and discussion around Israel’s human rights abuses which goes beyond the oversimplified and inadequate AIPAC and StandWithUs talking points which Taft was so quick to regurgitate.

Students of conscience should vote yes on R-20-39. Defending apartheid today is no different from defending apartheid in 1968. As UW students we can do better. We must do better.

Find out more about #DawgsDivest, sign our petition in support, and read the letters to ASUW senators supporting R-20-39 which have come to us from all around the world at www.superuw.org/dawgsdivest.

Peter Brannan

Peter Brannan is an undergraduate at the University of Washington majoring in Biochemistry and Sociology. Peter is an active member of UW Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER) as well as the International Socialist Organization (ISO).

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62 Responses

  1. American on April 30, 2014, 11:23 am

    ”The first is that Israel’s innovations in science more than make up for the destructive colonial project which the Israeli government has spent the last half century pursuing”

    Pure hasbara.
    However if he wants to use ‘the ends justify the means’ I suggest we all can adopt that.
    Use whatever ‘means’ it takes to end Zionist Mafia,Inc..
    Good for the goose, good for the gander.

    • MRW on April 30, 2014, 5:49 pm

      Israel’s innovations in science

      ???
      What, pray tell, are those?

      • Talkback on May 1, 2014, 5:46 am

        What, pray tell, are those?

        “Homeland security” tools and other means to oppress the unwanted.

        Tested on Nonjews in the Zionist settler dominion – used on racial minorities in the American settler dominion.

    • CloakAndDagger on April 30, 2014, 6:11 pm

      Sometimes I despair at how much our pols are controlled by the lobby!

      http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1145

      Unless this is a trick, Rand just lost my vote. Looks like I am forced to sit out another election in 2016.

      • just on April 30, 2014, 7:45 pm

        I ALWAYS “despair at how much our pols are controlled by the lobby!”

        Don’t sit it out, vote and gather your collective voices to say why you and your friends/family will continue to vote for justice, not for the “lobbies”.

      • CloakAndDagger on April 30, 2014, 8:29 pm

        @ just

        Don’t sit it out, vote

        Vote for whom? Tweedledum or Tweedledee? I don’t see how voting for the one or the other results in a vote for justice. In fact, not voting is my voice saying “none of the above”.

      • Hostage on May 1, 2014, 1:07 am

        Unless this is a trick, Rand just lost my vote. Looks like I am forced to sit out another election in 2016.

        It’s no trick, I contacted his office and asked him to adopt a statute to cut-off funding to Israel until they recognize the State of Palestine’s right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to comply with the terms of past agreements and the Symington Amendment on non-proliferation.

      • RoHa on May 1, 2014, 2:15 am

        Symington amendment? Isn’t that just an inconvenient* bit of US law? Why would a politician care about that?

        (*Unless you are applying it to a country you don’t like.)

      • LeaNder on May 1, 2014, 8:50 am

        Isn’t that just an inconvenient* bit of US law?

        Why RoHa? Admittedly I wasn’t aware of the name: Wikipedia: Symington Amendment

        The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was amended by the Symington Amendment (Section 669 of the FAA) in 1976. It banned U.S. economic, and military assistance, and export credits to countries that deliver or receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when they do not comply with IAEA regulations and inspections. This provision, as amended, is now contained in Section 101 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

        To this nitwit it seems to be a perfect way to point out double standards. Isn’t that one of the laws that was occasionally mentioned in the context of special rules for Israel? What do I get wrong?

      • RoHa on May 1, 2014, 6:49 pm

        @LeaNder
        “Why RoHa?”

        I can’t imagine a politician bothering about tiny details like the law of his/her country, or double standards, when there are Israeli arses to be licked.

      • MRW on May 1, 2014, 3:19 am

        @Hostage, what was their response, and did you tell them you are Jewish and ret-Military?

      • Hostage on May 1, 2014, 8:33 am

        @Hostage, what was their response, and did you tell them you are Jewish and ret-Military?

        No, I didn’t give them that information. The staffer listened to what I had to say, then asked if I opposed the proposed bill and if I wanted a written reply? I told her to put me down in the “No” column and where she could email me one of their form letters. I told them that would do nicely, if it contained a sincere apology;-)

      • Citizen on May 1, 2014, 6:11 am

        @ Hostage

        Sheez. Wow, that little bill of Rand’s is just disgusting. I was actually surprised, reading it–it’s such an in-your-face capitulation to the big donor Israel Firsters. Now I know for sure he’s hell-bent on being POTUS.

        What was the reaction when you called his office, saying he should initiate a bill cutting off funds to Israel until it is a responsible, accountable state? Let me guess, whomever you talked to just listened, was polite, said he or she’d pass along your suggestion? Or did the listener reveal a bit of surprise?

      • Hostage on May 1, 2014, 9:19 am

        What was the reaction when you called his office, saying he should initiate a bill cutting off funds to Israel until it is a responsible, accountable state?

        I pointed out that the Senator had already introduced a bill in 2011 to end foreign assistance to Israel altogether and that the current bill would create a perceptible “defunding gap” in favor of the Palestinian menace, unless of course, he offered Jewdea the same square deal;-) Seriously, I just told the staffer what I outlined in my first comment above and asked for a reply about the apparent flip-flop.

        Let me guess, whomever you talked to just listened, was polite, said he or she’d pass along your suggestion?

        Yep, that about sums it up.

      • eljay on May 1, 2014, 8:10 am

        >> link to paul.senate.gov

        “Today, I introduced legislation to make all future aid to the Palestinian government conditional upon the new unity government putting itself on the record recognizing the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and agreeing to a lasting peace.”

        1. Israel does not have a right to exist as a supremacist “Jewish State”. No state has a right to exist as a supremacist state. And no-one should be expected or required to recognize or accept the existence of any state as a supremacist state.

        2. Does he believe aid to Israel should be conditional as well? If ‘no’, why not? If ‘yes’, what are his conditions?

        3. I wonder what Poppa Ron thinks of this.

    • Shingo on May 1, 2014, 5:10 am

      The first is that Israel’s innovations in science more than make up for the destructive colonial project which the Israeli government has spent the last half century pursuing

      Nazi Germany was very scientifically advanced and innovative at the time too. Should their crimes have been judges accordingly?

  2. Baldur on April 30, 2014, 11:36 am

    Link at the bottom gives virus warning for me.

  3. Citizen on April 30, 2014, 11:46 am

    Yep, we are asked to justify the horrid means by the ends, who cares about Palestinian civil rights when Israel gives the world hi-tek advances? Who thinks one’s cell phone advantages should be sacrificed to human rights?

    • on April 30, 2014, 4:32 pm

      Israeli tech prowess is tremendously overstated.

      Basically American advances are sent to Israel and then sent back to us as if Israel came up with them

      • American on April 30, 2014, 7:32 pm

        @Giles

        There is some crazy weird [email protected] going on with Isr tech and all the start up buys. Who pays 900 million for a Isr internet messenging app startup company that only posted $1.52 million in revenue and had a net loss of $29.51 million the year before? But thats whats happening. And all this tech is clonable and expandable service and 10 other startups will pop up to compete with them by adding more bells and whistles.
        Looks like the same feeding frenzy as the 90’s dot com bust except this time when it bust it will be 10 times worst because of all the IPO’s on the US exchange they are being turned into….there is a serious melt down brewing.
        Stay far far away from tech stocks.

      • CloakAndDagger on April 30, 2014, 8:38 pm

        As a denizen of Silicon Valley, I can attest that most things claimed by Israel as its innovations were either hatched here or stolen from here. They even claim Intel chips belong to them. So not true.

      • biorabbi on April 30, 2014, 11:34 pm

        CloakAndDagger, as a Silicon Valley guy, who do you feel about today’s Intel 6 billion dollar upgraded factory/investment in Israel? The joke that’s going around my zionist circle is BDS will claim victory by extolling: it wasn’t 6.5 billion bc of BDS. LOL.

      • Shingo on May 1, 2014, 9:36 am

        CloakAndDagger, as a Silicon Valley guy, who do you feel about today’s Intel 6 billion dollar upgraded factory/investment in Israel?

        It will be interesting to find out what Israel had to do to extract that deal. They have already admitted forking out US $216,706,500 in construction grants, and it remains to be seen what the true behind the scenes costs are.

      • CloakAndDagger on May 1, 2014, 10:39 am

        @ bio rabbi

        I am not pleased about it. It is consistent with what I wrote about technology going from here to there.

      • Sumud on May 1, 2014, 1:41 am

        What company was that American?

      • American on May 1, 2014, 3:07 pm

        @ Sumud

        Had to refind it—it was Viber, a internet messaging and calling service bought by Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc.. Unless Viber has something unique and that isnt cloneable I dont see the value in that buy price.

      • Walid on May 1, 2014, 4:22 pm

        American, the value is based on the 100 million regular users of the service. That’s a lot of advertising dollars and a lot of personal habits and data being collected and sold to third parties.

  4. RobertB on April 30, 2014, 11:54 am

    “It is a mark of how upside-down Official Washington has become over facts and evidence that Secretary of State John Kerry, who has developed a reputation for making false and misleading statements about Syria and Russia, rushes to apologize when he speaks the truth about the danger from Israeli “apartheid.

    After public disclosure that he had said in a closed-door meeting of the Trilateral Commission last week that Israel risked becoming an “apartheid state,” Kerry hastily apologized for his transgression, expressing his undying support for Israel and engaging in self-flagellation over his word choice.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Click on link for the rest of the details:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38364.htm

  5. amigo on April 30, 2014, 12:21 pm

    “Sanders and Parr argued similarly that UW students in 1968 simply had a “blind hatred” for South Africa, without the “nuanced” understanding of all the “good” apartheid was doing.”

    Let,s see, The Nazis built the Autobahn, gave us the Beetle and developed rockets.

    Do they get brownie points to balance against all their evil doings.

    This logic is the product of a twisted mind.

    • Kay24 on April 30, 2014, 1:14 pm

      It simply shows they are arrogant enough to think that the entire world must accept their criminal behavior, the brutal occupation, and crimes against civilians, because their wonderful innovations, and boy, they have more Nobel prize winners more than their neighbors. It seems these “brilliant” thinkers don’t realize that the good they do in the world, is always overshadowed by their illegal settlements, deaths of unarmed civilians, and the ongoing occupation. They find it hard to fathom that out, and are even outraged.
      Their brains must be pill sized like those cameras.

  6. pabelmont on April 30, 2014, 12:25 pm

    I’ll bite: This amazing arguifier [talking-point-amplifier?] says: Israel does a lot of good stuff, therefore the world should stop (with the) kvetching and let Israel go on with its beneficent business EVEN if at some cost to Palestinians.

    Kinda hard on the Palestinians, tho. What if Israeli greatness depended on and must of its essence be inseparable from cannibalistic dependence on Palestinians? Should the world in that case ignore the cannibalism? Ends justify means? Wow! Clever argument.

    So, again, great argument — UNLESS — the settlements and occupation have nothing to do with the Nobel prizes and the drip-irrigation science!

    Wow! What an idea! The “ends justify the means” is one terrific idea (!?) — UNLESS — the “means” (apartheid, settlement, occupation) have nothing to do with the “ends” (inventing felafel, Nobel prizes, wonderful gay beaches, terrific anti-gay orthodox Jewish neighborhoods for those who love EITHER (YES! OR BOTH!) anti-gay or orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.)

    In other words, the truly wonderful GIFTS of Israel to the world do not depend and were not facilitated by (and would not go away in the absence of) apartheid, occupation, home demolition, the WALL, the siege of Gaza, murderous pogroms, and all the rest.

    Could it be that there are in effect two Israels? One the criminal, the other the saint? Independent. Parallel. Neither necessary to the other? Would Israel be the same, and as wonderful — as really great! — if all its universities moved to Nevada? Or to Roosevelt Island in NYC? And left nothing in Israel but apartheid, occupation, racism, oppression, and all the other tedious (who needs to hear this recital again and again, don’t you guys ever get tired ranting about unimportant stuff? Get a life) things.

    How about if it ended its occupation, withdrew its settlers, ended its siege of Gaza, stopped its oppression, ended its apartheid (or inequality) at home, and so forth? What then? Would all progress stop?

    Well, maybe progress WOULD stop. So demoralizing after all to find that the exercise of MASTER-RACE status was over and ended. After all, look what happened to Germany after the war, after the Nazi experiment with MASTER-RACE was ended! Germany was reduced to a terrible, awful economy and culture (tho best economy in Europe).

    Heh, heh! Maybe the aftermath of MASTER-RACE experiments is actually better than the experiments themselves!

    Argue away. Hasbara is so warming, So soothing to the soul. Argument is so uplifting.

    • Kay24 on April 30, 2014, 1:15 pm

      You make a good point, when you make a comparison between Israel, and nazi Germany.

    • lysias on May 1, 2014, 12:36 pm

      1945 was the best thing that ever happened to Germany. A Germany in which Nazism survived and prospered would have been hell on earth, at least for anybody with a conscience or with intellectual honesty.

      Another 1945 may well be the only way out for America now.

      • JeffB on May 1, 2014, 1:53 pm

        @lysias

        A Germany in which Nazism survived and prospered would have been hell on earth, at least for anybody with a conscience or with intellectual honesty.

        http://www.amazon.com/Fatherland-A-Novel-Robert-Harris/dp/0812977211

        http://www.amazon.com/Fatherland-VHS-Rutger-Hauer/dp/B00000EZTR

      • Citizen on May 1, 2014, 3:02 pm

        @ JeffB
        Why are you pushing this B-grade HBO movie that assumes the Normandy invasion failed, and later folks learn about extermination of Jews by the successful German state? How about a movie, from the Palestinian POV, wherein Israel is defeated in 1948? Winners and losers? Why, why not?

      • JeffB on May 2, 2014, 9:35 am

        @Citizen

        Why are you pushing this B-grade HBO movie that assumes the Normandy invasion failed, and later folks learn about extermination of Jews by the successful German state? How about a movie, from the Palestinian POV, wherein Israel is defeated in 1948? Winners and losers? Why, why not?

        Look at the comment I was responding to.

  7. kma on April 30, 2014, 2:13 pm

    user-to-user “instant” messaging has existed since the first days of multi-user systems. extending it to networked cell phones doesn’t sound Nobel-Prize-worthy, but I suppose if I were inflating my resume to such an extent, I’d expect more awards too!
    But seriously, how many Palestinians have to be ethnically cleansed in order to buckle down and write some software? How exactly does the removal of families from their houses and the demolition contribute to the productivity of corporate Israel – let alone, how is it REQUIRED for that??
    maybe the US economy will be further advanced after we raze the homes of some Mexicans here? Personally, I’d live without text messaging first.

    and the double standard argument… apartheid is REQUIRED to call it a Jewish state. separate roads and laws are double standards. Israel can’t “exist” if it has to be a state for two people (or more). but Palestine was once that, and now has to cease to exist… a double standard.

  8. Dan From Away on April 30, 2014, 3:14 pm

    @Nathan Taft

    “Despite this, ASUW Resolution 20-39, entitled “A Resolution to Divest from Companies Profiting from Violations of International Law and Human Rights,” explicitly targets Israel and Israel alone. Not Russia, with its anti-gay laws and illegal annexation of Ukrainian and Georgian territory. Not Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed in public without a male companion and are treated as second class citizens. Not even Syria, where the government has massacred more than 100,000 of its own civilians. No, the Resolution targets only the Jewish of the [sic] state of Israel.”

    Let’s problematize this statement as they might in a graduate foreign policy seminar at a major university. The object of the problematizing approach is to analyze an issue by accepting the premises of a writer/organization and then probing backwards with a series of comparative questions to illuminate strengths/weaknesses/contradictions.

    Let’s assume that the above quoted statement were not counterfactual on a variety of levels. Let’s also assume that Taft’s unstated assumption – that because UW/BDS/Palestine Solidarity do not equally boycott/condemn Russia, Saudi Arabia and Syria for their violations of human and political rights but focus instead only on Israel – that those movements and the people who animate them are driven by a “blind hatred” of Israel. Let’s accept Taft’s conclusion that because Israel is the primary/only object of BDS it is unfair, morally questionable and fraudulent.

    Problematizing questions:

    1) In the 1970’s and 1980’s Organized Zionism, through the work of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, among other Israel-oriented agencies, worked to enable the conditional emigration from the USSR of approximately one million Jewish people. (The condition being that they were not permitted to emigrate to any place except Israel)

    Q: What explains Organized Zionism’s failure to work to enable the emigration of all Soviet citizens, irrespective of ethnicity or religion, who might have wished to leave?

    Q: Does this selectivity demonstrate Organized Zionism’s “blind hatred” of non-Jewish Soviet ethnicities and religions? If no, why not? If yes, how?

    Contemporary SSSJ posters here:

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/special-collection/student-struggle-forsoviet-jewrygreater-ny-conference-on-soviet-jewry

    2) Why did the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, most active in the 1970’s and 1980’s, focus exclusively on political oppression in the Soviet Union? At that time political oppression was in evidence in many places: in South America (Chile, El Salvador, Argentina, etc.); in Africa (Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa, etc.); in Asia (the Philippines, Burma, Tibet, etc.) Was it fair, reasonable and logical for Organized Zionism to focus exclusively on the USSR and not address the injustices taking place elsewhere? If no, why not? If yes, why?

    Contemporary SSSJ posters here:

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/let-my-people-go-bass
    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/soviet-jewish-prisoners-of-conscience
    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/liberez-yossef-begun

    Q: Did Organized Zionism have an obligation to address the injustices that were taking place in these countries as well? Did the failure of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry to criticize/boycott the regimes of Pinochet, Marcos, Somoza, de Klerk, et. al., demonstrate Zionism’s “blind hatred” of oppressed Latin Americans, Filipinos and Nicaraguans?

    3) In the 1970’s and 1980’s Organized Zionism launched several boycott and sanctions campaigns against the USSR, and specific American companies including Pepsi Cola, in its bid to force that country to open its doors for Jewish emigration to Israel.

    Q: Was the anti-USSR boycott launched by the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry which sought to force the USSR to recognize the human and political rights of Soviet Jewry moral, valid and justifiable? If no, why not? If yes, why?

    Q: Did Organized Zionism launch any other boycotts to gain the political and human rights of any group during that period or since?

    Contemporary SSSJ boycott posters here:

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/link-us-ussr-trade-with-emigration

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/no-trade-no-aid-till-soviet-jews-are-free

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/do-you-drink-pepsi

    • adele on April 30, 2014, 6:02 pm

      Dan,
      thoroughly enjoyed reading this, a truly valuable contribution with an original perspective. The link to the posters is brilliant, thanks!

      • American on April 30, 2014, 8:17 pm

        Ditto on Dan’s post….excellent.

    • RoHa on April 30, 2014, 8:12 pm

      Well done.

    • JeffB on May 1, 2014, 2:07 pm

      @Dan

      The problem with your analogy is your initial analogy:

      Jewish Zionists :: Soviet Jewry as BDS activists::Palestinian refugees
      The proper analogy would be something like
      Jewish Zionists :: Soviet Jewry as Global Palestinians::Palestinians.
      or maybe
      Jewish Zionists :: Soviet Jewry as Arab activists::Palestinians.

      Jews have an obvious interest in Zionism. Palestinians have an obvious interest in Palestine. No one accuses (or should accuse) Palestinian’s disproportionate attention on Israel/Palestine to being the result of anti-Semitism. That’s an entirely different situation when it comes to mainstream gentile activists who have no tribal affiliation. There the argument about disproportionate attention applies.

      In the 1970′s and 1980′s Organized Zionism, through the work of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, among other Israel-oriented agencies, worked to enable the conditional emigration from the USSR of approximately one million Jewish people. (The condition being that they were not permitted to emigrate to any place except Israel)

      I was part of this struggle and that’s just not true. Certainly Israel was considered the best possible outcome but we supported refugee status for Russian immigrants. My wife for example came here as part of that movement.

      Why did the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, most active in the 1970′s and 1980′s, focus exclusively on political oppression in the Soviet Union? … Was it fair, reasonable and logical for Organized Zionism to focus exclusively on the USSR and not address the injustices taking place elsewhere? If no, why not? If yes, why?

      Because after the ethnic cleansing in Arab countries and the annihilation of most other Eastern European Jews that was where the remaining oppressed Jews were. As far as fair if by fair you mean treating all people equally, no it wasn’t fair. It was blatantly tribal.

      Did the failure of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry to criticize/boycott the regimes of Pinochet, Marcos, Somoza, de Klerk, et. al., demonstrate Zionism’s “blind hatred” of oppressed Latin Americans, Filipinos and Nicaraguans?

      American Zionism was allied or mildly supportive of some of those regimes. Zionism was a movement about building a Jewish state. It was not a movement of universal human rights. In some senses it contradicted the human rights consensus that had developed after WWI and certainly after WWII regarding the harms of the nation state model. Mostly its opponents don’t buy into universal human rights models either, rejecting them in favor of the blatantly racist anti-colonial paradigms that became fashionable after WWII.

      • Citizen on May 1, 2014, 2:43 pm

        @ JeffB

        “That’s an entirely different situation when it comes to mainstream gentile activists who have no tribal affiliation. There the argument about disproportionate attention applies.”

        When you apply your test for disproportionality, do you weigh in the balance the heavily disproportionate US taxpayer funds going to Israel, even now when the average American is in dire economic straits? And the US SC vetoes immunizing Israel against the world consensus? And the negative impact on US & World of US wars instigated by PNAC think tanks and neocon leaders?

        Have you weighed in your disproportional balance just how much the US has been isolated by its rubber-stamping of Israel’s conduct and policy?

        All this, re “mainstream gentile activists who have no tribal affiliation.”
        Should the average American join the Zionists in temperament and go for an America that is a white Christian stronghold? If not, why is it OK for you in your own mind to support a tribal affiliation, but not the 98% non-Jewish Americans, especially those whites who, like Jewish Israelis, fear being moved to demographically minority status in their country?

      • Woody Tanaka on May 1, 2014, 3:20 pm

        “Jews have an obvious interest in Zionism. Palestinians have an obvious interest in Palestine. No one accuses (or should accuse) Palestinian’s disproportionate attention on Israel/Palestine to being the result of anti-Semitism. That’s an entirely different situation when it comes to mainstream gentile activists who have no tribal affiliation. There the argument about disproportionate attention applies.”

        Oh, good lord, what irrational nonsense. If you assert that anyone with a specific interest in a dispute can legitimately be interested in that dispute without being subject to the libel about disproportionate attention, then you do not get to then limit what that “specfic interest” is, or make an exception for “tribal” interest but no other. Special pleading is a big, giant logical falacy.

        For Pete’s sakes, most everyone against whom the libel is applied is a Westerner, so even under your paradigm, as Israel holds itself out as a Western nation, they all have a tribal interest, broadly stated.

        Face the fact: the “disproportionate attention” libel is simply a horseshit charge made by cowards and bad-faith operators.

      • Ecru on May 2, 2014, 2:18 am

        @ Jeff B

        That’s an entirely different situation when it comes to mainstream gentile activists who have no tribal affiliation. There the argument about disproportionate attention applies.

        BOLLOCKS!

        What you’re saying is only the victims of paedophiles or paedophiles should be allowed to campaign about child abuse.

        Zionists simply have zero conception of how injustice (and the Zionist corruption of non-Jewish politics for that matter) offends because they simply have no concept of justice to start with, mired as they are in a supremacist ideology and their own rancid bigotry.

      • Citizen on May 2, 2014, 5:39 am

        Americans do not need a tribal affiliation to justify their concern about the pernicious impact of the heavily unbalanced US-Israel “special relationship.”
        George Washington spelled out in his farewell address out why America should maintain arms-length relations with foreign countries, rather than enmeshment with any foreign country. And Ike’s farewell address warned us all against the danger of the military-industrial complex.

        AIPAC works against America’s best interests, and is only concerned with a tribal agenda.

  9. eGuard on April 30, 2014, 3:54 pm

    As I read it, Nathan Taft says the order must be right first. He says we must reinstate Apartheid in South Africa, then reorder the priorities (he will do that for us, sort of), and only then we can start eliminating bad situations.

  10. MHughes976 on April 30, 2014, 4:10 pm

    If it is the case a) that X, Y and Z are all behaving in the same way and b) that the same behaviour always merits the same response and c) that X should be treated in a certain way then the conclusion, proved by the premises of the argument, is that Y and Z should receive the same treatment as X, not that X should not be treated in that way after all: not a shred of reason, still less of proof, has been given for that.
    The three premises may not all be valid. In fact I think that there is considerable doubt over proposition b), since the best way to stop or to encourage the same behaviour may be different in different cases. Some people respond to financial incentives, some to threats, some to moral arguments.

  11. Woody Tanaka on April 30, 2014, 4:24 pm

    Great article!!! A few comments…

    Taft: “The blind hatred that some of the world bears for Israel…”

    Even if we concede for sake of argument that “hatred” is the proper word here (it’s not), how is that view “blind”??? It’s informed by 67+ years of actions by the Israelis — both in Palestine and the world at large — which fully justify any negative feeling one may have toward it.

    Taft: “No, the Resolution targets only the Jewish of the state of Israel.”

    My response: So what? What makes you in charge of what problems I deem worthy of attention?

  12. The Hasbara Buster on April 30, 2014, 4:54 pm

    Instant messaging was not an Israeli innovation. In its modern form it was first developed by Quantum Link (later America On Line) for use with Commodore 64 computers; but noncommercial IM services, such as the Zephyr Notification Service (developed by MIT) were already in use in the early 80s.

    Israeli can’t really boast of any revolutionary innovation; the country’s scale is simply not enough for that. At most it can boast of first commercially launching certain products (but not instant messaging or cherry tomatoes) that would have anyway been developed somewhere else a few months later.

    • MRW on April 30, 2014, 6:17 pm

      @The Hasbara Buster,

      Exactly. As for these:

      drip irrigation … pill-sized cameras that can be swallowed to diagnose internal conditions … portable flash drives … instant messaging, to name just a few.”

      Drip irrigation was first chronicled in Afghanistan in 1866. Jews had nothing to do with it.

      Pill-sized cameras? Ya’ mean capsule endoscopy? Oh, for fuck’s sake. It was Olympus in 1950 that patented that idea.

      Portable flash drives? Any of us around at the beginning–and I am one–remember this was done in Singapore. Israel stole the idea and created SanDisk. Everyone knows that.

      Instant messaging? Oh jeezuss. Read The Hasbara Buster above.

      Why do Israelis have to lie constantly about their accomplishments? Why do they have to bullshit everyone?

      • Citizen on April 30, 2014, 8:28 pm

        Who invented modern propaganda, Hitler or Bernays? (Goebbels studied Bernays but likely read Mein Kampf too)

      • lysias on May 1, 2014, 12:33 pm

        In Mein Kampf, Hitler urged imitating British propaganda during World War One, at least as he conceived it.

      • Citizen on May 1, 2014, 2:09 pm

        Yes, lysias, you are correct. And he was right about British propaganda during WW1. I was thinking more of Hitler’s comment praising the effectiveness of endless repetition of the big lie.

      • Kay24 on April 30, 2014, 9:29 pm

        Because they are notorious for stealing the property of others, so to feel good about themselves, they like to lie about their accomplishments too.
        I wonder how long it would take before the started lying that they discovered these were their inventions too:
        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/how-islamic-inventors-changed-the-world-469452.html

        They are the worlds no. 1 bullshitters.

    • Egbert on April 30, 2014, 6:55 pm

      “Israeli can’t really boast of any revolutionary innovation”

      That’s not quite true. They have developed Skunk – pure, unadulterated Ziocaine.

    • eGuard on April 30, 2014, 7:23 pm

      Right, The Hasbara Buster. Last time I researched Intel for this, they only had like “1978: first office opened in Haifa” (or even less factive) on their timeline.

  13. Citizen on May 1, 2014, 5:45 am

    Meanwhile, anybody catch that Rahm Immanuel said in a recent interview that American politicians and press can’t criticize Israel even if they are merely echoing the criticism of Israeli politicians and press in Israel? This zionist site is full of folks saying reality in America is just the opposite: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/04/30/rahm-emanuel-slanders-supporters-of-israel/

  14. Sycamores on May 1, 2014, 10:25 am

    Taft writes,

    The blind hatred that some of the world bears for Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, is a deeply troubling conundrum.

    if this is true i would imagine there would be plenty of organized zionist groups against racism to combat such ‘blind hatred’. can someone point me to one so that i can examine their definitions of racism and discrimination.

    i did a search for zionists against racism but couldn’t find anything.

    maybe zionism against racism is a conundrum too?

  15. ritzl on May 1, 2014, 2:01 pm

    From Twitter:

    Kerry learns that the only thing punished more severely than saying something racist is saying something anti-racist. http://t.co/AwrEP76G6K— Teju Cole (@tejucole) April 29, 2014

  16. upsidedownism on May 2, 2014, 5:08 am

    While some will object to any Nazi comparison, but on ecan’t help remembering that German rocket scientists were planning to take mankind to the stars. They did, to some extent; the first photographs of the earth from orbit were made from modified V2 rockets. Slave labour camps and the all the crimes of the Hitler era were, for some of these scientifics, completely justified by the promise of huge scientific advances, which they were sure in the end would benefit all mankind.

    Another thing, when you hear Israelis and their supporters like Taft talking in this vein, is to remind oneself that Israel is essentially a colonial project. Zionists themselves often referred to the ‘colonization of Palestine’ before WW2. Throughout the imperial/colonial, many of Europes’ greatest technological advances were made either in the colonies or because of the colonies. The richest ‘Europeans’ were often those who lived abroad. Think of people like Elihu Yale, who made his money in India, or Cecil Rhodes in Africa; the richest French Dutch English etc men in the 17th & 18th & 19th centuries usually made their money in the colonies. In mid 17th century the richest English men often made their money in either Barbados or Jamaica, on the backs of course of slave labour.

    Israel is essentially the last European colony, and its wealth and success, like all colonies, has come largely at the expense of the indigenous people.

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