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‘American Jewish voices are most critical in the world’ (to end idea that Jewish lives matter more)

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Eran Efrati

Eran Efrati

Jewish Voice for Peace sent out the email below today, from Eran Efrati. The headline was: “I’m asking you as an Israeli–we need you to tell Israeli leaders you won’t accept racism, you won’t accept human rights violations, you won’t accept occupation and the killing of civilians.”

The email links to a JVP letter that the organization plans to publish in Haaretz and the Forward. That letter opens with this statement:

We Must Face the Root Cause of this Crisis.
Our unshakeable commitment to freedom and justice compels us to acknowledge that the crisis in Israel and Palestine is rooted in the idea that Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives.

Here is the Efrati letter:

My name is Eran Efrati, I am Jewish, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, and a 7th generation Jerusalemite.

What I’ve seen in Israel over the last few weeks is beyond anything I have witnessed in my life. 

I’ve seen terrified Palestinian children in Hebron and Halhul, sitting on the ruins of their homes.

I’ve seen mobs in the street chanting “death to Arabs” and pulling out Palestinian men from their stores to beat them as other Israelis stood idly by. I’ve seen soldiers lined up at the Gaza border, ready at a moment’s notice to invade.

And now, like you, I’ve seen the climbing death toll in Gaza, over 100 dead and some 500 injured –all by Israeli missiles, with no end in sight.

As much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think I can do a lot about it. But I believe you can.

American voices – and especially Jewish American ones – are probably the most critical voices in the world right now. 

We need you to tell us – Israeli politicians, the Israeli media, Israeli society – that you can’t support this. That you can’t support human rights violations. That you can’t support racism. That you won’t support the idea that Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives.

Join me and sign this Open Letter now—if they get another 10,000 signatures, Jewish Voice for Peace will take out ads in Haaretz and the Jewish Forward with our message.

We know the roots of this are long and deep. But the truth behind this latest assault has finally coming: as J.J. Goldberg wrote in The Forward, the Israeli government lied, and created this situation.

For weeks, the government knew that the three kidnapped teenagers were dead. But they instituted a gag order on the media, lied to Israelis and the world, and falsely claimed the mass arrests and collective punishment of Palestinians was all in the hopes of finding the teenagers alive.

In other words, their chosen response was to kidnap the mind of an entire country.

From the very beginning, this has been about punishing Palestinians. From the beginning, the government has been willing to manipulate and use its own people for that goal.

Overhead, I hear airplanes headed to Gaza all day long, and I know there’s nothing I can do to stop them. And now we all know the lengths they’ve gone to justify this attack, and how fully Israeli society has bought into it. And I don’t think we can stop it from within.

But I think you can.

Please join me and sign this statement: We oppose the occupation, the bloodshed, the privileging of Jewish lives over others lives.

Eran Efrati
About Philip Weiss

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60 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    July 12, 2014, 8:42 am

    “But the truth behind this latest assault has finally coming: as J.J. Goldberg wrote in The Forward, the Israeli government lied, and created this situation”

    Even after it came out that the government shamefully manipulated the kidnapped then murdered hitchhikers most of the Jewish public didn’t seem to care. And I really don’t understand the families. Your Pm looks you in the eye and tells you that he will do everything to get your son back when he knows he’s dead and you have nothing to say about that? If that were me I’d be sitting in a cell for attempted murder.

    Here if our government had engaged in such cynical and cruel manipulation it would have been a major scandal. But out there Jewish Israel just shrugged its shoulders, beat some people up, burned another one and then went out to watch the “fireworks” over Gaza.

    What is wrong with these people?

    • Kay24
      July 12, 2014, 9:46 am

      They claim they are the only democracy in the ME, yet behave like uncivilized barbarians, exactly how they accuse their neighbors of being, but worse.
      This is the so called democracy, who just like Assad, is ruthlessly killing civilians.
      This must be a picnic for their brutal troops, because unarmed civilians, and houses with women and children, are the perfect targets to try out their newest and deadliest weapons that they keep selling to the rest of the world. Nothing like helpless civilians to show just how tough you are. Hey if Hitler could do it to them why can’t they massacre civilians in return? After all, the Palestinians are annoying them by forming a unity government, and it is time they got rid of some, and nothing like sending your own human animals, fully armed, to reduce the population in Gaza, flatten their homes (like Gilad Sharon suggested) and bomb them into the stone ages?

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick
        July 12, 2014, 11:18 am

        “They claim they are the only democracy in the ME…”

        I seem to recall from my reading of Segev’s “One Palestine, Complete” how Chaim Weitzman and his cronies took over Jewish leadership in Palestine. Apparently they stepped off the boat, rented office space and then sent letters to the Mandate officials saying that they were now the representatives of the Jews in Palestine.

        That’s it, no elections, no referenda, just a group of men imposing their rule over people. At least Hamas came to power through the ballot.

    • Citizen
      July 12, 2014, 9:57 am

      What is wrong with our American TV news and infotainment shows? Daily, show after show, no matter what cable station, left (MSNBC), central right (CNN), and right (FOX), they all keep framing the Gaza Crisis as triggered by HAMAS kidnapping of the three Israeli teens, and by HAMAS terror rockets fired into Israel. That’s the bipartisan script which they relentlessly mouth. The network news and PBS are no different, just more bland in delivery. It’s really hard for me to believe, at minimum, due to the internet’s alternative news and political blogs, that these main media people don’t know they are being used to slant and/or hide facts breaking daily. Do they really think, for example, that RT news and its discussion is all just so much Russian propaganda?

      If only Americans can save the Palestinians and give them some justice and too, save Israel from itself, not to mention America’s reputation in the world, Americans–Jews or the other 98% of this nation, how is that possible when even the few Americans who pay attention to foreign news on main media get nothing to eat but boiled hasbara?

      Further, I have not seen the Gaza Crisis earn a spot on CSPAN WJ yet, have you?

      • Donald
        July 12, 2014, 12:34 pm

        ” they all keep framing the Gaza Crisis as triggered by HAMAS kidnapping of the three Israeli teens, and by HAMAS terror rockets fired into Israel. That’s the bipartisan script which they relentlessly mouth. ”

        I complained about this to Margaret Sullivan (the NYT public editor) the other day, and think that everyone who reads the NYT and some of you who don’t should write her. Sullivan herself seems reasonable, though I can’t recall if she’s tackled the I/P issue. I think she has, but I’m not sure.

        So far as I know, the NYT has also refused to report Hamas’s terms for a ceasefire, which Alex quoted the other day and which you can find online in various stories. A few days ago the NYT made it seem like Hamas was simply out for blood. The terms are actually quite reasonable–lift the blockade, release the Hamas members arrested, and I think one or two other things. But it’s more convenient to make it seem like Hamas is driven simply by blood lust and so Israel has no other way to stop the rockets except by bombing. Or that the US has to step in to save the day. But never ever allow the possibility that maybe Hamas is more moderate than Netanyahu.

      • Shingo
        July 12, 2014, 5:14 pm

        So far as I know, the NYT has also refused to report Hamas’s terms for a ceasefire,

        Even more outrageous is that some articles by Saban Centre puppets over at Foreign Policy Magazine are claiming that Netenyahu has proposed restoring the calm and that Hamas have rejected them.

        That’s such a bajd faced lie given that Bibbi has said repeatedly that a ceasefire is not a consideration .

      • crone
        July 12, 2014, 11:41 pm

        The media in America is zionist owned/controlled… FACT.

        … how is that possible when even the few Americans who pay attention to foreign news on main media get nothing to eat but boiled hasbara?
        ~ Citizen

        Citizen is right… but I signed the letter. It is ‘something’ … an effort. I’ll make as many efforts as I can. Lindsey is my state’s senator ~ we tried to defeat him in the primary… working on the general.

      • Citizen
        July 14, 2014, 7:42 am

        That said. I still signed the letter.

  2. Kay24
    July 12, 2014, 10:18 am

    Sorry I wanted to respond to this writer, but feel very upset about the killing going on in Gaza, especially the helpless children.

    I think the JVP is doing good work, and trying to get inject some sanity into this madness. I guess it is a good thing they are still optimistic that perhaps the people of Israel might see reason, and stand up to what their out of control government is doing, but so far that faction of Israelis seem to be very quiet, in fact they have always shown disinterest, in what is happening, maybe feeling helpless, maybe indifference.
    I am disgusted that the US has waged wars on 2 nations, that really were not a threat to us, and I am ashamed that we are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, who were massacred by our bombs, and then by the waring factions that were able to rear their heads and attack their own people, because we lifted the barriers, that prevented them from doing so earlier.
    Despite the strong anti war movement, the Bush/Cheney administration took us into a war anyway, making us feeling helpless, and our voices unheard. So I say good luck to the JVP, and please do continue the good work, but do not expect Israelis to agree with what you do. I have no faith that common sense will prevail, they have been taught that their government is doing the right thing defending them, and they will go along with it for convenience sake. But one can always hope.

    • crone
      July 12, 2014, 11:43 pm

      so, are you going to sign the letter? I hope you do.

  3. Tom Callaghan
    Tom Callaghan
    July 12, 2014, 11:49 am

    The death count in Israel’s last Gaza massacre (2008-9 Operation Cast Lead) was
    1385 dead Palestinians and 13 dead Israelis (four of whom were killed by other Israelis).

    With the death of the three Israeli teens, it appears Israel is on track to “achieve” a 100 to 1 ratio in deaths.

    One measure of a military’s morality is whether a country is willing to risk the lives of its own combatants to minimize the seats to the other side’s non-combatants. The way the US handled the Bin Laden the down is a case in point. We could have kept our soldiers safely out of harms way and bombed the compound and killed 100 people.

    We did it the right way.

    Israel has kept its soldiers safely out of harms way. The elderly, women and children of Gaza are paying the price. Israel’s behavior speaks for itself.

    • Tom Callaghan
      Tom Callaghan
      July 12, 2014, 2:18 pm

      The first two sentences of the third paragraph above should have read as follows:

      One measure of a military’s morality is whether it is willing to risk the lives of its own combatants in order to minimize the impact on the other side’s non-combatants. The way the US handled the Bin Laden take down is a case in point.

  4. American
    July 12, 2014, 12:46 pm

    I got that in a email from JVP yesterday and already signed it.
    My suggestion—- in addition and as always—every time you get something like this from JVP or elsewhere –fax it to your politicians—–along with your own comments on it.

  5. hiho
    July 12, 2014, 4:36 pm

    this has got to have been the worst article I have read about the Israeli Arab problem. I am/was an American Liberal and have lived in Israel for over 37 years and seen what goes on.

    Come to downtown Jerusalem and see Arabs walk around in their native dress without fear, but try to walk down in downtown East Jerusalem dressed like a Jew and you will be attacked.

    The person who wrote the article on this site is a believer in BS and follows his heart instead of using logical analysis to understand the facts and separate them from the claims.

  6. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    July 12, 2014, 5:19 pm

    American voices – and especially Jewish American ones – are probably the most critical voices in the world right now.

    Yeah, right! Americans, and especially Jewish Americans, make Israel’s crimes possible by bribing US politicians, giving military aid to Israel and protecting Israel from UN punishment.

    • Citizen
      July 13, 2014, 1:48 am

      @ German Lefty
      While we are on the subject of foreign aid to Israel, aren’t German taxpayers second in the race to fund Israel right or wrong? We’ve read how little of the reparations go to actual Holocaust survivors living in Israel. And, how about the deep discounted Dolphin submarines which are nuclear missile capable? What’s the average German take on this subject?

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        July 13, 2014, 10:02 am

        Citizen, I know that German taxpayers fund Israel, too. However, Germans do it against their will. When I wrote my comment, I had the BBC polls in mind.
        Claiming that “American voices are probably the most critical voices in the world right now” is ridiculous. Actually, they are among the least critical voices. Present company excepted, of course.

      • Citizen
        July 13, 2014, 7:33 pm

        @ German Lefty
        I guess I will take you’re word for it that average Germans fund Israel against their will. You live there, and you’ve been very honest as a commenter here to my knowledge. Average Amerians I know are mostly ignorant of the I-P conflict and totally ignorant of the extent of their own tax payer dollars going to Israel daily, with no strings attached. This includes most of my own extended family and everybody I know, including my neighbors. So, I agree with you that American voices are the least critical voices in the world right now. I do what I can to inform them, but it’s like talking to a wall. All that counts is Sheldon Adelson’s & George Soros’s money, it seems. That means my congressional representatives totally ignore my attempts to contact them about Israel’s crimes and US enablement of them. They send me boilerplate responses that never address my complaints but mirror hasbara.

      • Citizen
        July 14, 2014, 7:57 am

        @German Lefty
        The poll results are interesting. Thanks for the links. Seems only Kenya Ghana & USA mainly think highly of Israel.

    • hophmi
      July 13, 2014, 11:10 pm

      “The media in America is zionist owned/controlled… FACT.”

      “Americans, and especially Jewish Americans, make Israel’s crimes possible by bribing US politicians, giving military aid to Israel and protecting Israel from UN punishment.”

      Antizionism or antisemitism? You make the call. Maybe you should leave Germany, German Lefty. Your comments may violate German anti-incitement laws.

      • Djinn
        July 14, 2014, 1:34 am

        Maybe you should leave the US hop. Your support for an ethnic supremacist state would seem at odds with its values. Of course you may support a gerrymandered dictatorship of the majority and would be perfectly happy if the US called itself Christian and democratic and referred to your children as demographic threats. I kinda doubt it though.

      • RoHa
        July 14, 2014, 1:52 am

        “Antizionism or antisemitism? ”

        Not “true or untrue”?

        I get confused. When you cry “anti-Semitism” about some claim, I’m never sure whether you mean “this claim is not true” or “the claim is true, but Jews are allowed to do this, and should not be condemned for it”.

        For each case, could you specify which you mean in future?

  7. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    July 12, 2014, 7:51 pm

    Fighting wars and dehumanizing the enemy go together. Do I value the Jewish lives more than other lives? Not for any one fingernail versus 100 deaths, although that attitude does exist, that’s not my thinking. If I had been born Rwandan, I would root for Rwanda, if I had been born Syrian, I would root Syrian. I was born Jewish, so I root Jewish. It is my side against your side. I value my side; you value your side. That’s how war works.

    The occupation dehumanizes, particularly a settler occupation, but any occupying army views the “natives” with suspicion and the contest over the land: is it ours or is it yours, creates an us versus them dynamic.

    Eran Efrati is writing to the choir, to those who already agree with him. His first hand experience and reporting about the dehumanizing machine that is the occupation is progress towards truth. But his words here cause a bit of a reaction in me. I will reread his words again in a day or so, to see if his words speak a little more to myself, who is not in the choir, but my first reaction is that it’s preaching to the choir type stuff.

    • pjdude
      July 12, 2014, 8:37 pm

      if that is how you honestly feel you need to quit patting your self on the back, get of your but, and actually do something contructive to prevent it from happening. until you do its just words and a lie.

    • RoHa
      July 12, 2014, 10:58 pm

      “If I had been born Rwandan, I would root for Rwanda, if I had been born Syrian, I would root Syrian. I was born Jewish, so I root Jewish.”

      Rwandan and Syrian are nationalities. Jewish is not. Would you root for American non-Jews if they were in conflict with non-American Jews?

      “It is my side against your side. I value my side; you value your side.”

      Why not value decency, humanity, morality? Why not root for justice?

      • gamal
        July 13, 2014, 12:11 am

        “Why not root for justice?” and wheres the fun in that.

      • RoHa
        July 13, 2014, 12:34 am

        Sorry, Gamal. I get carried away sometimes.

      • Talkback
        July 13, 2014, 3:39 am

        RoHa says: Why not value decency, humanity, morality? Why not root for justice?

        Yonas’s values Jewish decency, Jewish humanity, Jewish morality and Jewish justice.

      • Citizen
        July 13, 2014, 7:39 pm

        Yes, Yonah’s view is very much not the view touted officially as the American view, which is not attached to any religion or ethnicity. Yonah’s view is actually the same as David Duke’s in principle. And he’s proud of it! Go figure.

    • crone
      July 13, 2014, 12:02 am

      What choir are you speaking of? The one that believes the life of a Jew is no more valuable than the life of a non-Jew? That’s the one I’m in… You mention many lives for the fingernail of a Jew. So, where do you stand? Equal, or a single Jew’s life is worth more? I have never thought my religion made me superior to any other human. I cannot even wrap my mind around how anyone could derive that opinion from any religion. What kind of g-d values one of His over another? Would a parent value one child over another? So, you have to think about it huh? Your analogy about ‘rooting’ for one nationality over other is terrible in this situation. When Bush invaded Iraq, I certainly didn’t ‘root’ for American soldiers over the Iraqis, even though I am an American. My position was he was illegally invading… and further more, it was not a ‘war’ ~ a war is between two militaries. This is exactly how I see what’s going on in Gaza now, and has been for far too long ~ the 4th largest military on the planet pulverizing an unarmed people… Hamas’ rockets are the same as the rocks the children throw at the IDF. You appear to be dealing with a lot of denial or at the least, cognitive dissonance.

      On another thread on this forum, Kate links to a piece about an Israeli general sending a letter declaring a ‘Holy War’ ~ this is an excerpt from it:

      Winter’s letter is an “astonishing document,” Israeli playwright and journalist Kobi Niv commented on Facebook.

      Niv criticizes the “clumsy language which ridiculously combines recitations from the military and the religion but also the fact that on our part (not on their part; on our part) the wars against the Palestinians have turned from a national dispute to a holy war.”

      Israel expert Dena Shunra, who translated Winter’s letter for The Electronic Intifada, notes that its appearance reflects the increasing participation of observant Orthodox Jews in the Israeli military. Shunra adds:

      This demographic, often associated with the settlement movement, has displaced the traditional Kibbutz-member (militantly secular, socialist/communist leanings) in the Israeli army. Switching from nationalist rhetoric to the language of holy war is part of that transition. Another part is insisting that holy figures appear in battle to comfort/save the Jewish soldiers (and seeing them as Jewish, rather than Israeli). Reports of visitations by “Mama Rochelle” – the Matriarch Rachel, wife of Patriarch Jacob, traditionally buried in Bethlehem – have surfaced in the last few rounds of fighting (from 2002 onward). This changes the nature both of the wars and of the forces engaging in them, pushing towards a clash of civilizations.”

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 13, 2014, 5:04 pm

        crone- I’m sorry I included you in the overall disdain that I had for the other responses. Your questions had a modicum of dialogue about them.

        I wish I valued all human beings equally. that is the correct priority of values and one that I respect. I do not consider a white American who takes this position regarding a far off unnecessary war in Iraq to be an example that I can embrace as similar to my own. the battle between Palestinians and Israelis is not “unnecessary” in the same way as the US war against Iraq was unnecessary.

        I back Gush Shalom (based upon their Friday ads in the newspaper: those who do not wish to talk to Hamas end up bombing Gaza.) And I approve of the Avraham Burg position which would be to talk to Hamas. Many of those who oppose such talks are racists of the religious variety that you indicate. I do not think that opposition to talking to Hamas is proof of racism. And that is my primary point. Eran Efrati summarizes the entire process of the last 4 and a half weeks as one of Jewish racism that led to this attack on Gaza. This is not my explanation, nor do I think it is fair, nor do I think it will convince anyone who has a teaspoon of empathy for the Israeli Jewish Zionist reaction to Hamas. Yes, I favor talking to Hamas, but I understand those who oppose such talks and I do not consider opposing such talks as racism. I do not like war and view war as the last recourse and therefore I favor talking to Hamas. I also favor negotiating borders first before any other issue and I consider a Fatah-Hamas negotiating team to be one that could back up an agreed upon border realignment as something that would be progress. Those who support Jewish sovereignty (over the borders of 1967 Israel) can very easily, without being racist, oppose my opinion about how Israel should negotiate borders. By taking a position that is more likely to lead to war, they are creating a situation that will create more hate and that hate today is not only nationalistic, but has a religious tend as you point out. But to emphasize that tendency as this is enough to get someone to oppose a war against Hamas is to preach to the choir, those that feel that Hamas is really just another version of the democratic party, except with some nostalgic feelings towards home, hearth and Allah. I think Hamas sucks. But I think war sucks worse. The Israeli attitude is that Hamas sucks worse. I argue that this is not racist, but an opinion based upon a clear headed reading of the situation. I am not that clear headed. I prefer to muddle my head with the hope of reaching some kind of modus vivendi with hamas and with Gaza. That is why despite my own aversion to the campaign against Gaza, that I do not see it as a result of racism. I see it as a result of seeing an endless struggle with the Palestinians that requires as much stubbornness as necessary. I am not that stubborn. but i do not label such stubbornness as racism. and to simplify it and say: all we need to do is get our minds right regarding the value of nonJewish lives, is an oversimplification. I believe to repeat that it is natural for a likud leader to wish to crush hamas and within Israel’s domain: Israel and the west bank, Netanyahu unfortunately (because there is no democracy on the west bank) has the freedom to arrest whomever he wishes to achieve this crushing of hamas which to me is not the best path, but it is a path that I understand. and to label Netanyahu’s arrest of Hamas niks after June 12th was not an act of racism, it was an act entirely consistent with a rational desire to crush Hamas.

      • tree
        July 13, 2014, 5:49 pm

        I do not consider a white American who takes this position regarding a far off unnecessary war in Iraq to be an example that I can embrace as similar to my own.

        Eran Efrati is an Israeli and by his own account a 7th generation Jerusalemite, asking for Jews to stand up for an end to violence, an acknowledgement that Palestinians deserve human rights as well as Jews, and equality before the law. Certainly an example that any former Israeli should be able to embrace as similar to his/her own. Israeli racism is behind this “war” and the decades long mistreatment of Palestinians and claiming that it isn’t is simply whitewashing Israeli racism.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 13, 2014, 6:43 pm

        I would not read eran efrati’s post in order to get my finger on the pulse of Israel’s Jews. I would read instead Chemi shalev. he does not exonerate Israel but his is nearer to the truth rather than an activists plea to his fellow activists. Shalev does not whitewash anything. But here is his column:

        (to read it for free, go to facebook’s haaretz page and the link there does not involve a paywall.)

      • tree
        July 13, 2014, 9:14 pm

        I would not read eran efrati’s post in order to get my finger on the pulse of Israel’s Jews.

        I think that the fact that Efrati was appealing to American Jews because he recognized that Israeli Jews would not turn away from racism on their own indicates he has a good sense of the pulse of the vast majority of Israel’s Jews.

        However, that was not my point. My point was that he is an Israeli and is hoping to enlist American Jews in standing up for justice and equality, with a life experience as relevant as yours, or more so, since he’s been in the IDF and later joined Breaking the Silence and so has a much closer experience with the occupation and also with Palestinians than you have had. He isn’t asking you to figure out what Israeli Jews are thinking in order to join them lockstep, which seem more like what you are copping to.

        Thanks for the links but I can’t access Shalev’s article from either link without a paywall popping up. I may be able to read it later. I have read other Shalev pieces and consider him reasonable. It doesn’t change the reality though.

    • Donald
      July 13, 2014, 12:33 am

      “I was born Jewish, so I root Jewish. It is my side against your side. I value my side; you value your side. That’s how war works.”

      It’s not really come to that, Yonah. If some really radical faction (is Islamic Jihad as radical as ISIS? I don’t know enough to say) had some real chance of taking over Israel the way the jihadists have been able to take over chunks of Syria, then, yeah, the natural tendency of almost everyone in such situations is to root for the devil on your side. This is why I’m not a big fan of people daydreaming that someday Israel will be conquered by this or that group–in real life it would be a human rights catastrophe for everyone. But nothing like that is close to happening to Israel (for now, anyway). You don’t have to side with Netanyahu on the grounds that the only alternative is that some jihadist is going to cut off your head.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 13, 2014, 5:09 am

        Donald- I have never had a positive interaction with any of the other people who have criticized my comment and so I will deal with you, with whom I have conversed at times, like two humans, not like man with megaphone versus me.

        I am opposed to this war against Hamas.

        It was with Cast Lead that my thinking began to turn against Israeli policy vis a vis Gaza. Until that time I was too wedded to the commitment that was implied by supporting the withdrawal (partial) from Gaza. Supporting that withdrawal implied, “But we will still worry about those who live near Gaza and make sure that they can live a normal life there.” In fact this implication is interpreted by the Israeli army and government as “we will put them under siege and if they toss rockets at us, we will answer them ten fold.” At the core of this attitude is the wish that Gaza would just disappear.

        Cast Lead, eventually (not for the first seven days, but eventually) led me to question how Israel should interact with Gaza. Larry Derfner made a distinction between Israel’s war against Lebanon which he accepted and Israel’s war against Gaza which he rejected and I found the logical construct useful. (Lebanon- an independent country with the rights of a state to its own shores and borders, was responsible for hostilities launched from its land, in a way that was different from Gaza that was under siege and had a history of occupation of a different magnitude than southern Lebanon.)

        To simplify: There are two ways to deal with Hamas: the Avraham Burg way and the Bibi Netanyahu way. Burg would negotiate but Bibi will not and so to Bibi, Hamas is an organization that needs suppressing. Thus the arrest of hundreds in the (largely unrelated) aftermath of the abduction of the settler teens. Those arrests led to the rockets from Gaza which led to the current attack on Gaza.

        My: “I root for the Jews against the Palestinians” was an attempt to disprove Eran’s rhetoric. It was not his conclusion: his opposition to the war on Gaza (or the imbalanced war with Gaza) that I was voicing, but merely with his rhetoric. I am not siding with Bibi. I am reacting to the rhetoric of Eran Efrati.

        In a day or so I will reread his rhetoric and try to formulate a calmer reaction to it, but it is not the policy of Bibi that I endorse, it is the rhetoric of Efrati that I reject.

      • tree
        July 13, 2014, 5:58 am

        I have never had a positive interaction with any of the other people who have criticized my comment and so I will deal with you, with whom I have conversed at times, like two humans, not like man with megaphone versus me.

        Yes, its always the other person’s fault that you’ve never had a positive interaction with most people here. Poor put-upon yonah. You can call names and insult people and insist that its perfectly fine and noble for a person to side with their own affinity group no matter what that affinity group might do, and then wonder why someone could dare to think you are morally wrong on that account. But it’s all someone else’s fault for not treating you with kid gloves, as if polite deference to your feelings, whatever they might be, is the only acceptable “human” response to what you say in a public forum.

        So what don’t you like about Efrati’s “rhetoric”? His call for an end to human rights violations by Israel, or his call for the end of Israeli racism, or his plea for you to assert that you don’t think Jewish lives are more important than Palestinian lives? Again, Efrati isn’t insisting you have to join the other side, or root for Hamas. All he’s asking is for you to stand up as a Jew, along side other Jews, for humanity and morality. *

        *Feel free to address your response to Donald, or to Mr. Rogers, or to Captain Kangaroo, or hold your hands over your ears and shout, “I’m not listening” if you want. But your insulting other commenters here while pretending to be the aggrieved party is childish. So if you want an adult conversation then why not respond to the comments of others, or just keep your comments to yourself if you don’t want a discussion of them by people who might just sincerely, and humanly, disagree with them. Just don’t pretend that you haven’t been just as insulting to others here as you accuse them of being towards you.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 13, 2014, 11:49 am

        tree- I told Donald that I plan to reread Eran Efrati and try to react to it in a dispassionate and cool headed manner in a half day or so. Thank you for adding some nastiness to the mix, there was not sufficient nastiness around until now and you have greatly added to the mix. At some point, probably before they close comments, I will try to respond dispassionately to Mister efrati’s words. Until then, have a nice day.

      • tree
        July 13, 2014, 12:40 pm

        Yonah, You told EVERYONE what you wrote, not just Donald. This is a public forum and everyone can read what you wrote, including your dig at everyone here for not following the proper yonah rules and acknowledging that your sacred utterances must remain unsullied by any criticism. You don’t want what you consider a “nasty” response but don’t mind making them yourself, albeit in a passive aggressive way in this instance.

        I don’t see as how you have a pass to make nasty remarks and then have no one call you out on your own nastiness. Heaven forbid someone who is offended by “rhetoric” calling for human equality and an end to violence when hundreds of people are dying gets criticized for being offended. I grieve for your pain. What is the world coming to?

      • Citizen
        July 13, 2014, 7:45 pm

        @ Yonah
        So, how would you answer David Duke, and MLK? We await your honest answer.

    • Djinn
      July 13, 2014, 12:36 am

      If I had been born Rwandan, I would root for Rwanda, if I had been born Syrian, I would root Syrian. I was born Jewish, so I root Jewish. It is my side against your side. I value my side; you value your side. That’s how war works.

      No Yonah, that’s how blind & ignorant nationalism works.

      I would not support my country simply because it was at war (and seriously that implies at least some equivalency, there is none here). If my country was committing a crime, as they were with our involvement in the destruction of Iraq and occupation of Afghanistan, I would loudly condemn it and work against it.

      • tree
        July 13, 2014, 5:55 am

        On edit- Original comment in wrong place. Moved to above.

    • Frankie P
      Frankie P
      July 13, 2014, 12:45 am

      @yonah fredman

      “I was born Jewish, so I root Jewish. It is my side against your side. I value my side; you value your side. That’s how war works.”

      Yonah, yonah, you are drawing lines placing Jews on one side and the rest of the world on the other side. I’ll try to break it to you gently. The odds will be stacked against the Jews, and you will lose the war. Try being a human, and try to see this I/P conflict through the lens of a human, not as an Israeli, and certainly not as a Jew, for the country known as Israel does NOT represent global Jewry. The best thing for Jewish humans in the so-called diaspora (hate that term) would be to cut themselves free of an identity that is based on a state that they see as an insurance plan in the Middle East, just in case the goys go anti-semite again.


    • tree
      July 13, 2014, 12:55 am


      I know anything I say to you is immediately suspect as far as you are concerned, but…

      Efrat is speaking to you as a Jew and an Israeli. If you choose to sign the petition you are siding with him and with JVP and with many other Jews. If your Judaism boils down to supporting whatever the government of Israel does simply because it claims to be Jewish then it seems like a very hollow Judaism. This isn’t a “your side, my side” issue. This is a moral issue from an Israeli Jew asking you to stand up and stand beside him. This is what he is asking you to “side” with:

      We need you to tell us – Israeli politicians, the Israeli media, Israeli society – that you can’t support this. That you can’t support human rights violations. That you can’t support racism. That you won’t support the idea that Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives.

      Is that so hard for you to agree with? Do you consider this un-Jewish? Or rather isn’t it the best of Jewish thought and belief? Efrat isn’t “writing to the choir”. He’s asking you to take a stand for morality, as a Jew. By simply signing a petition, requiring a miminal amount of effort.

      Here’s the wording of the petition:

      In this time of tremendous suffering and fear, from Jerusalem to Gaza, and from Hebron to Be’er Sheva, we reaffirm that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve security, justice, and equality, and we mourn all those who have died.

      Our unshakeable commitment to freedom and justice for all compels us to acknowledge that this violence has fallen overwhelmingly on Palestinians. And it compels us to affirm that this violence has a root cause: Israel’s illegal occupation.

      We are united in our belief that:

      The denial of Palestinian human rights must end.
      Illegal settlements must end.
      Bombing civilians must end.
      Killing children must end.
      Valuing Jewish lives at the expense of others must end.

      Only by embracing equality for all peoples can this terrible bloodshed end.

      Do you really think that the originators of this petition are not on your side?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 13, 2014, 12:50 pm

        tree- before i get to any petition, I will first react to the article posted on mondoweiss and the issues that it conjures.

        it starts with a headline that includes: “to end the idea that jewish lives matter more”. and that was what i was reacting to, even before i reached efrati’s name and content.

        I envy white americans and their post tribalism. i’m with huckleberry hound and richard kimble breaking down barriers to a free and equal america and this envy undercuts any claim to zionism that i profess. despite my citizenship i do not consider myself israeli, in the sense that i believe that israel will still take me in even if i denounce my israeli citizenship and i am not so sure that america would forgive my denunciation of an american citizenship, so i go with the super power of my birth and the 300 million (and richard kimble and bobby kennedy and doctor king and yogi bear and martin o’hara and billy pilgrim and huckleberry hound) and the future of the post tribals.

        i prefer not to be at war and so my advice about the warmakers and to the warmakers is the advice of an observer. i am watching a chess game and i am analyzing the value of the rook versus the knight versus the bishop. the human beings closest to me by virtue of blood live in israel and are of a different frame of mind than me and i try to understand their frame of mind.

        there is too much racism in israel. those who had hoped that the jewish zionists could be at constant war with the arabs and keep their souls and minds and hearts above hatred were wrong. it doesn’t work that way. it is not only the constant war, but the original project that focused on our needs, our need for a state (right or wrong, that was the perception) and once the goal became attracting enough people and moneys to an idea of establishing a state, there was only one place that could be sold. and establishing a state in a place where there were others with other concerns other than our concerns, there was a clash and a preference for my needs over the other guy’s needs. so there is and was always an element of my needs come first involved in the zionism, even buber’s zionism, but especially ben gurion’s zionism.

        And to me, I relate to the Jewish neediness of the period in question to be a very human need and the search for land as a very human search and the bible aside, and whatever history aside, that’s where it starts, as a neediness of human beings for a place.

        Now the bible is a fine book, but not if you take it literally and the progress of zionism over the years has been a regression away from the human need for a home and towards “the Jews deserve the land that belongs to them” and since the world is much more hospitable to Jews in 2014 than it was in 1881 or in 1941, I understand the evolution of “this land is ours” as the philosophy that explains Israel of 2014 better than the “we need a land” philosophy of 1933. and the closer one gets to the “we own this land” the closer one gets to racism and I see that.

        There used to be those who believed in two states from the point of view of the rejection of the zero sum game and the two states were the way to reach yes-yes, rather than me or you. today we feel the two state solution is distant (dead is the terminology that seems preferred on mw), therefore yes-yes, is distant and in its stead zero sum, back to square one.

        Those who feel that syria’s civil war and egypt’s travails mean nothing and that Israel rejecting one man one vote is pure racism are not realists to any degree. For some reason the Arab world is quite backward politically. And if it is israel and the US retarding them, then maybe that’s the reason rather than something deeply wrong in their culture, okay. I don’t know. but for israeli jews to fear a one state solution is not insanity, it is clarity. it is not racism it is clarity.

        The other month Phil quoted Rothkopf debating with Oren about Israel and something Rothkopf said struck me as true, that Israel needs to be born again as a country with a purpose and that purpose must be the success of their nonJewish (Arab) neighbors. And that seems to me to be a worthy goal of turning Israel away from self absorption, and security nation and start up nation, into help the Arabs nation. But I am dubious that it can be done and my laziness in this regard is a type of defeatism. (Stalin would have me shot.)

        Signing a petition? Not really. That’s a type of showmanship. If it makes you feel better, go right ahead. If it makes you superior to me, go ahead. I am lazy in regard to the long range goal, the rothkopf goal and I am guilty of that. In regard to the war going on right now, I am within my rights to react as slowly as I wish.

        Netanyahu wishes to crush Hamas and that’s why he arrested all those people in the aftermath of the kidnapping. and that’s what is the immediate cause of this unequal exchange of fire. I am not a student of the laws of war and I do not expect Israeli warmaking to really adhere to the law. I suppose adhering to the laws of warmaking would make this a better world and since Bibi is prime minister and not avraham burg, they need me to sign a petition saying, “Bibi, attack all you want, but follow the laws of war.”

        Okay, maybe. I hear you. Is that what your petition says. How many rooks is your petition worth?

        You and your megaphone are so sure of yourself. You’re one nasty preacher, tree. I don’t like nasty people and I don’t like preachers and I don’t know you except as a nasty preacher.

      • Citizen
        July 13, 2014, 1:36 pm

        You say you envy white Americans. Why? They are now destined to be a minority in their own country, and, it’s rationally arguable, the best principles of their government is destined for the dust pile. I don’t get your point.

      • tree
        July 13, 2014, 1:42 pm

        Yonah, I have no megaphone. I am just another commenter on a website, just as you are.

        If I understand you, you think that “end the idea that Jewish lives matter more” was rhetoric, despite the fact that our MSM and certainly all the Israeli apologists they interview clearly act as if Jewish lives matter much much more. From the rest of your comment to me, I take it that you don’t really want to end that idea, as you embrace it yourself, although to a lesser degree than many. Fine, you aren’t for equality and don’t want to be rushed into caring about ending violence when its not Israeli Jews being killed , injured and/or having their homes destroyed.

        I don’t care whether you sign the petition or not. And its not “mine”. Why ask me what the petition says again when you could read it from Efrati’s post, or read it blockquoted within my comment above which elicited your response?

        I simply wanted to know what idea you found so objectionable within it and within what Efrati said. Now I know.

        You have a nastiness of your own but so what. You can’t recognize your own nastiness. So what. You don’t like me. It really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. I respond to what you say, as I am allowed to do on a public forum. Thanks for responding to my question. I’d appreciate you responding to my other questions above but don’t expect you to. Your choice.

    • homingpigeon
      July 13, 2014, 4:02 am

      “If I had been born Rwandan, I would root for Rwanda, if I had been born Syrian, I would root Syrian. I was born Jewish, so I root Jewish. It is my side against your side. I value my side; you value your side. That’s how war works.”

      Primitive tribalism is no fun, especially when it comes to conflict with other tribes. Music, dancing, and cooking, OK, but warfare not so.

      I am a proud race traitor, a de-tribalized, de-racinated defector from the ruling white American male killer class. I seek truth and value justice. Try it, you’ll like it.

      • Citizen
        July 13, 2014, 1:38 pm

        @ homingpigeon

        The test of virtue is power. I really don’t get what you are proud of. Please explain. Thanks!

  8. DICKERSON3870
    July 12, 2014, 10:06 pm

    I signed the letter and made a modest contribution to JVP. (No contribution is asked for when signing the letter.)

  9. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    July 12, 2014, 10:42 pm

    Just signed it and it looks like we’re nearing 30K.

    • Citizen
      July 13, 2014, 2:00 am

      I signed it as an American and a humanist. Now it’s at 30473 signatures, adding another non-Jewish voice to JVP.

  10. Frankie P
    Frankie P
    July 12, 2014, 10:43 pm

    “American voices – and especially Jewish American ones – are probably the most critical voices in the world right now.”

    Dear Eran Efrati and JVP,

    If you are counting on Jewish American voices to stop this genocide, you will be sorely disappointed. American Jews are not a collective, but the majority are firm supporters of Israel, right or wrong. If we examine the American Jews with big money and big power, we find that they are even more extreme than Netanyahu (Please don’t call him, Bibi, it makes him sound like a human chihuahua, and he is neither a chihuahua nor human). JVP is a tiny voice of reason in a shouting contenst of hate and deception – hatred of the Arabs, and deception by the Mainstream Media in the US. You need to call upon HUMAN voices everywhere, especially non-Jewish voices, to stop this murder. Yes, Jewish voices are important! However, we see how the machine works to delegitimize Jewish voices who criticize Israel, we see how the “self-hating” smear works as well on Jews as the “anti-Semite” smear works on gentiles. Your acknowledgement that the crisis in I/P stems from the belief that Jewish lives are worth more than Palestinian lives is an important first step, but you have to follow it up with a call to all humans, telling them that their voices are as important as, or more important than Jewish voices. It’s time that this ongoing crime is taken out of the hands of what you call “the most critical voices in the world” and put in the hands of more responsible humans who don’t have an ethnic interest in the conflict. Otherwise, you end up looking like gatekeepers, trying to keep things in the community. You should be Human Voice for Peace.


    • chuckcarlos
      July 12, 2014, 11:42 pm

      you’re right…jewish voice for peace ain’t changin nothin

      however Stauffenberg didn’t change anything either…

      sometime in your life you have to have some guts…

      all the anti semitic crap is bullshit…just tell them to go fuck themselves…they are basically cowards anyway…

      as somebody who worked for McCarthy and then was a decorated army officer in vietnam who lived with the Vietnamese…

      and then was a war protestor with an FBI file…and investigated by army intelligence even though I was in the Corp of Engineers and an Army Intelligence Officer…

      all I can say…is STAND UP…


      in the morning you have to look at yourself in the mirror…

      in life, that’s all that’s important…

      • Citizen
        July 13, 2014, 7:48 pm

        Some folks prefer to get spare change form Zionists, or a whole career with lots of perks from them. For example, nearly the whole the US congress and US news media types.

  11. kalithea
    July 13, 2014, 12:52 am

    In other words, their chosen response was to kidnap the mind of an entire country.

    With chosen being the operative word, as a matter of fact chosen is the casus belli since day one, the reason for the GRAND THEFT and crime of the century against Palestinians, the root of perpetual injustice and reason for the oppressive, endless occupation. So if everyone’s really serious, start by stating: No one is chosen; and all men are equal in the universe! And once the Jewish community firmly commits to this truth; then it can begin to see the horror of this situation: wanton killing of humans like animals because they have first been stripped of their humanity by Zionist ideology masquerading as a Jewish paradise or promised land where democracy and civility reign!

    So I watched the latest news today on this tragedy and what most struck me in the video reports today reinforces how depraved this Zionist illusion really is: On the one hand, I saw the destruction in Gaza, blood-soaked bodies on stretchers and the corpses of wrapped infants and I heard of the mounting fatalities and then a reporter interviewed sunburned Jews ON THE BEACH in Israel, I kid you not, regarding this slaughter and I thought to myself, what is this–an episode of the Twilight Zone? I don’t know about you, but if my country were slaughtering people next door; I don’t think I could stomach baking in the sun watching people parading around half-dressed, lolling around and frolicking in the water! Just saying…

    This latest massacre is porno for Zionists. Everything about this one-sided slaughter is sick and immoral. The genocide quota gets filled again and the demographic threat is pushed back for another year.

    Zionist hooligans force petrol down a Palestinian kid’s throat and set him on fire and this becomes yesterday’s news? This image should go down in the pages of Zionist infamy and reverberate globally as a symbol of what Zionism really is and what one becomes when one embraces it.


  12. asherpat
    July 13, 2014, 11:58 am

    Indeed, many American Jews have been blinded by suicidal guilt-of-success syndrome: we the Jews are successful, and therefore, we are doing wrong to those less successful than us. Since we, the American Jews are not going to leave the crock of meat and donate all of our mansions and Lexuses to the staring masses, we can redeem ourselves by being critical of our successful brethren in Israel! Presto!

    • Shingo
      July 13, 2014, 7:09 pm

      Indeed, many American Jews have been blinded by suicidal guilt-of-success syndrome

      You’re mistaking guilt for regard for human rights and sanctity of life. Somewhere along your macabre indoctrination, you equated love of violence with success. That has nothgin to do with Judaism.

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