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“There’s nothing exceptional or heroic about a Jew standing against Zionism’

Israel/Palestine
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Tariq Abu Khdeir and Lucas Koerner, two American victims of Israeli beatings

Tariq Abu Khdeir (l) and Lucas Koerner, two American victims of Israeli beatings, posted by Gus

Last June, I wrote a Mondoweiss article focusing on a Facebook post by Graham Hancock in which the respected author and journalist had an ayahuasca-induced vision that led him to beseech the Israelis – as “the most powerful player on the regional stage” – to act out of love and compassion towards their neighbors.

I wondered to myself if perhaps Hancock’s dream was just a passing epiphany or whether it had made a lasting impression on him. His current Facebook postings reveal that he remains deeply affected by the wrenching unrest in that area of the world. He shares his concerns with his constituency at the risk of losing some of his audience, as the comments section indicates.

Hancock wrote me recently to inquire about a gripping video — the arrest by the Israeli military of a young Jewish American man named Lucas Koerner, posted by Mondoweiss in 2011. This video has been resurrected and is circulating around the internet these days. I myself received the link from several sources, including a lawyer friend who, like so many others, apparently didn’t realize Lucas’ act of defiance happened several years ago. Hancock wanted to know what happened after Koerner was arrested.

We put Hancock in touch with Koerner and Hancock subsequently posted their email exchange on his Facebook. We learn that Lucas was held in jail for two days, then put under house arrest and flew back to the US the next day. Lucas wrote Hancock:

I do want to stress that, despite the enormous hype around my video, there is nothing extraordinary about what transpired that day. I simply did what I thought was right in the moment, perhaps with a naive ignorance of the potential consequences of my actions. There is nothing exceptional or heroic about a Jew standing against Zionism: many have come before me and many more will come after until Zionism and all other forms of oppression no longer exist.

Graham commented:

Lucas Koerner’s courageous stand in the face of massive social condemnation tells us that the warlike actions of the State of Israel, with its Zionist agenda, should not and MUST NOT be confused with the state of mind or feelings of the Jewish people. We are all one, we are all frail, fragile human beings. We all have our hopes, our dreams, our fears. We all desperately need, and wish to give, love. It is time to give love not hate, truth not lies, peace not war.

Graham encouraged his audience to sign this petition calling on the CEOs of corporations profiting off the Occupation to withdraw their investments there. Graham adds,

Please don’t get me wrong. I recognise the State of Israel, and its right to exist, just as I recognise the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to safety and security undivided by walls and unthreatened by settlers who claim divine sanction for their theft and appropriation of other people’s land. On both sides that monstrous entity called “God” needs to be taken out of the equation and our shared humanity needs to be brought back in.

 

yescolleen
About Colleen McGuire

Colleen McGuire has been involved in the Israel-Palestine issue since 1975 when she spent three months there. She was a member of the National Lawyers Guild's Middle East Committee. She participates in Follow the Women bicycle rides for peace in the Middle East.

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17 Responses

  1. seafoid
    seafoid
    August 4, 2014, 2:48 pm

    Massacring people in Gaza and trashing international law does not really tally with tikkun olam.
    One of the interesting things I have noticed recently is that Zionism is closer to fascism and the extreme right eg the French front national comes out on the siee of zionism . American jews tend to support the Dems. Something isgoing to give.

    • just
      just
      August 4, 2014, 2:54 pm

      I love the top pic! Thanks Colleen.

      “I do want to stress that, despite the enormous hype around my video, there is nothing extraordinary about what transpired that day. I simply did what I thought was right in the moment, perhaps with a naive ignorance of the potential consequences of my actions. There is nothing exceptional or heroic about a Jew standing against Zionism: many have come before me and many more will come after until Zionism and all other forms of oppression no longer exist.”

      What a great statement!

      (how’s holidays, seafoid?)

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        August 4, 2014, 3:04 pm

        Yes great picture, 2 brave heroes!
        I applaude Lucas parents, thank you that you didnt brainwash your kid with israeli proapganda.

  2. Mooser
    Mooser
    August 4, 2014, 2:55 pm

    “I recognise the State of Israel, and its right to exist, just as I recognise the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to safety and security”

    I see, the State of Israel has a “right to exist” and the Palestinians the ones who were actually there have “aspirations”? Sounds like a complete inversion of the situation to me.

    • just
      just
      August 4, 2014, 3:08 pm

      Great catch, Mooser.

      It went right past me, probably because it’s so much like the same old narrative that we have been subjected to for decades, only prettier.

    • Pixel
      Pixel
      August 4, 2014, 3:15 pm

      .
      +1

    • Chu
      Chu
      August 4, 2014, 3:58 pm

      Lol.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      August 4, 2014, 4:34 pm

      Lol you are a sharp one Mooser. :))

  3. nettee
    nettee
    August 4, 2014, 3:18 pm

    Two lovely boys-I wish them all the very best.

  4. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    August 4, 2014, 3:22 pm

    I remember the video with Lucas Koerner.

    I recognise the State of Israel, and its right to exist

    That’s an empty statement. The problem isn’t that a state called “Israel” exists. The problem is what kind of state it is, i.e. a Jewish (supremacist) state. Graham Hancock didn’t write that he recognises Israel as a Jewish state. I have no idea if he left out “as a Jewish state” intentionally or unintentionally.

  5. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    August 4, 2014, 3:48 pm

    It’s revealing how the police grab Koerner even though he has violated no formal law. No nonsense about freedom of speech in the region’s “only democracy”!

    What Koerner did was perhaps not exceptional — there was a time though when it would have been — but it is still rather unusual.

  6. Kay24
    Kay24
    August 4, 2014, 4:42 pm

    Regev the pathetic spokesman for Israel is hammering Hamas saying it is a terrorist organization blah blah, and that they must decide to join the others for peace.
    Zbigniew Brezinski said that joining the Unity government was a clear indication that they were ready. It seems for their convenience, Israel never acknowledges it.

    Regev also mentioned that “Hamas has a mighty military contraption” yeah right, it is easy to make your enemy look more powerful than you, and more dangerous than it is, to justify why you have to keep slaughtering civilians.
    Looks like those home made rockets that have killed 3 civilians are deadlier than those precision bombs, 500 – 1000 pound bombs, your apache helicopters and war ships, that have killed 1800 Palestinians. It is a miracle indeed.
    Let’s not forget those missiles that send deadly shrapnels through the bodies of little kids.

  7. just
    just
    August 4, 2014, 7:45 pm

    I linked to the story of a member of the Knesset calling for Gideon Levy to be tried for treason yesterday. I reached into my archives for an article from 2010 that I’ve read many times, and I thought that perhaps somebody might want to read it here. It does justice to a very good man and one of my heroes.

    “Gideon Levy is the most hated man in Israel – and perhaps the most heroic. This “good Tel Aviv boy” – a sober, serious child of the Jewish state – has been shot at repeatedly by the Israeli Defence Force, been threatened with being “beaten to a pulp” on the country’s streets, and faced demands from government ministers that he be tightly monitored as “a security risk.” This is because he has done something very simple, and something that almost no other Israeli has done. Nearly every week for three decades, he has travelled to the Occupied Territories and described what he sees, plainly and without propaganda. “My modest mission,” he says, “is to prevent a situation in which many Israelis will be able to say, ‘We didn’t know.’” And for that, many people want him silenced.

    The story of Gideon Levy – and the attempt to deride, suppress or deny his words – is the story of Israel distilled. If he loses, Israel itself is lost.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/is-gideon-levy-the-most-hated-man-in-israel-or-just-the-most-heroic-2087909.html

    It’s even more relevant today……it’s long, but worth every moment that you’ll spend.

  8. Ellen
    Ellen
    August 4, 2014, 9:43 pm

    There is nothing exceptional or heroic about a Jew standing against Zionism

    I think there is, especially among Jews who have had a lifetime of Zionist indoctrination. Much of it connected with positive experiences of security, belonging, child hood camps, sing alongs and other sorts of gemeinschaft gruppen dynamics. Add to that the incredible tribal pressure onto anyone who would dare stray in thought or action. Those who do often pay a painful price.

    So I deeply admire those who have the strength and freedom of thought to be guided by what is human and right and good and not by primitive tribalism, and instead to be a wandering, growing, universalistic people free of states and tribes and clans. This is the aspiration.

  9. kalithea
    kalithea
    August 4, 2014, 11:11 pm

    I think there is, especially among Jews who have had a lifetime of Zionist indoctrination. Much of it connected with positive experiences of security, belonging, etc…

    Exactly, a sheltered existence and positive experiences and therefore there’s no excuse for Zionists not demonstrating humanity towards others. It’s not like an abused child who has a terrible childhood and then grows up to abuse and/or hurt or kill someone; even such an individual does not get a pass by society, so less so for someone who has no excuse for their inhumanity towards others.

    So there is great wisdom and more importantly humility in Lucas Koerner’s words. Indeed…There’s nothing exceptional or heroic about a Jew standing against Zionism. It should be second-nature for anyone with a heart; compassion should be second-nature and Zionism is the antithesis of compassion; to be shunned outright.

    It is our human responsibility to say no to an ideology or situation that causes so much suffering in others. It should be second-nature to stand up and turn one’s back on oppression, occupation, ethnic cleansing and the massacre of so many so that others can reap the benefits of the great loss and tragic heartbreak of the oppressed. This is what many Jews are deliberately ignoring.

    No one’s asking Jews to stand in front of an IDF bulldozer demolishing a home in Rafah; no one’s asking Jews to stand in front of a child who’s about to be riddled with bullets by an IDF sniper; THAT’S EXCEPTIONAL HEROISM; all we’re asking is for Jews to say NO! to Zionism, and all it takes is an act of genuine compassion and selflessness, but please, let’s not confuse our basic responsibility as human beings when faced with the suffering of others with a courageous act that goes above and beyond what most humans are capable of. That’s what makes acts of bravery exceptional. Rachel Corrie was exceptional. Thomas Hurndall was exceptional. But a Jew renouncing and rejecting Zionism is not exceptional; it’s a moral obligation.

  10. Marnie
    Marnie
    August 5, 2014, 4:38 am

    I love this picture – two brave young men, so very proud of them both!

  11. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    August 6, 2014, 5:11 am

    ‘Telegenic’ Bibi and his extreme right-wing government will be the undoing of israel.

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