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Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir

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This summer some in the Palestinian solidarity community have been involved in a debate over Alison Weir of If Americans Knew following Jewish Voice for Peace’s decision to not work with her and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s decision to ask her organization to leave its coalition due to violation of its anti-racism principles. Several readers have asked why we haven’t covered it and the simple answer is that we have devoted our time and resources to other important news stories which we have viewed as a greater priority, the Iran deal and increase in settler violence to name a few. However, we understand that this site plays a role in the Palestine solidarity movement as a place to reflect and debate, not only on the news of the day but on the movement itself. For that reason we are publishing the following three submissions we received on the division within the movement.

Why Some of Alison Weir’s Work is Antisemitic and Why It Matters

By Jennifer Hitchcock

The recent decisions by Jewish Voice for Peace and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to end their association with Alison Weir and If Americans Knew has reignited a debate within segments of the Palestinian solidarity movement as to whether expressions of antisemitism and other forms of racism should be tolerated within the movement for Palestinian rights.

Even though both organizations tried to deal with Weir quietly and behind-the-scenes, she chose to publicize their actions, thus compelling both organizations to release statements explaining their decisions. Both organizations also carefully avoided labeling Weir herself as antisemitic.

However, I argue that a significant amount of her work does suggest antisemitism and that, along with her troubling associations and choices of interview platforms, this is a problem.

Some of her supporters online have argued that it is “a waste of time” or a “distraction” to deal with such matters at best—and a “Zionist plot” at worst. Some have questioned the intentions and commitment of JVP and US Campaign to the Palestinian cause. Some well-meaning people who have signed onto a letter in defense of Weir may be unaware of her entire body of work and affiliations or misinformed about the reasons for the actions by JVP and US Campaign.

Those who support these recent decisions to disassociate with her have argued that such actions, though regrettable, are necessary to stay consistent with the anti-racist principles of the movement.

While there are some legitimate points of debate regarding this issue, including where to draw the line for bigoted speech and actions and how to most appropriately address such instances, anti-racist principles need to be applied consistently and universally for the sake of the BDS movement’s ethical coherence and potential for continued growth and success.

A Few Bad Apples

The vast majority of BDS and Palestinian solidarity activists are not antisemitic, and many activists are understandably tired of being constantly charged with antisemitism simply for criticizing Israel or supporting BDS. But anyone who had done significant activist work in the Palestinian solidarity movement would have to admit that the movement does occasionally draw a few unsavory characters here and there, including people who come out of the woodwork online, to defend figures like Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, Greta Berlin, and now Alison Weir.

Many of these people and their supporters don’t seem primarily focused on Palestinian rights and universal anti-racist principles as much as they are on demonizing Israel and Jews. In some cases, they also support “US interests” and can’t seem to see any relation between the settler-colonialism and racism of Israel and the history of the US.

The rare presence of a few of these types does not mean that antisemitism a big problem in the movement or in general. And antisemitism is not as much of a problem in the cause for Palestinian rights as Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, which are clearly much worse in regard to continued Western and US support for Israeli oppression of Palestinians. And fears of antisemitism are often unfounded and overblown.

However, there is such a thing as real antisemitism out there, and the Palestinian-led BDS movement has a unique antisemitism problem.

It’s not that there is a significant presence of antisemitism within the movement, but that the movement frequently has to deal this charge in a way that has not been the case for other similar anti-colonial and civil rights movements of the past. White apartheid-supporting Afrikaners, American Segregationists, and other colonial and civil-rights-denying Europeans did not enjoy the same level of international sympathy and support for nearly as long as the Israeli regime has.

While sympathy for Jews in Europe and the US has decreased in recent decades as Jewish weakness and persecution has been replaced by Jewish acceptance, success, and influence—and as knowledge of the reality of Israeli oppression of Palestinians becomes more widespread—sympathy for Jews and sensitivity to antisemitism still remains generally strong. The history of antisemitism and Jewish persecution, mainly in Europe, also inspired the Zionist project to begin with and continues to undergird most international support for Israel today.

For BDS to be successful, Palestinian solidarity activists must effectively acknowledge and address the history of antisemitism and sympathy for Zionism—a settler-colonial enterprise that also closely mirrors US history. False charges of antisemitism against BDS may be tiring, but their ability to stifle discussion reveals how effective fears of antisemitism are at maintaining support for Zionism and Israeli colonialism.

The Case Against Weir

So was there any legitimate evidence that Weir has espoused or welcomed racist or antisemitic ideas? The US Campaign includes a well-documented list of the evidence upon which it based its decision, so it seems that there is something to the claims against her, despite the vocal protests of her and her supporters who argue that she has been unfairly accused in a “McCarthyist” manner simply through guilt-by-association.

For example, her 2009 article in CounterPunch, “Israeli Organ Harvesting,” which was cited by the US Campaign, focuses on a handful of claims that Israel was harvesting organs from Palestinians in custody. She connects these accounts to other Jewish and Israeli instances of possible illegal organ harvesting and trafficking to infer that there is a pattern of Jews harvesting organs. She then addresses “charges” that this is a “new version of the old anti-Semitic ‘blood libel’” by including an extended discussion of a controversial book in which the author claims that “there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents” of medieval Jewish ritual uses of the blood of Christian children. Weir clearly makes a point to selectively paint this as an Israeli and Jewish problem, ignoring the fact that organ harvesting is a widespread problem around the world, not just in Israel or Jewish communities.

To emphasize how problematic and antisemitic this narrative is, an analogy may be helpful. Imagine if someone had written a story about an alleged recent rash of sexual assaults by black men against white women in the US. The author ignores cases of sexual assault outside of the African-American community and portrays rape and sexual assault as primarily an African-American problem against white women. And, further, the author includes “evidence” that such assaults were a real, valid concern in the South back when frequent lynchings of black men for these claims were a common form of racial terrorism. Notice a problem?

Given the history of this trope’s use in racial terror against African-Americans—including its role in more recently inspiring terrorist Dylan Roof—would we be willing to overlook the racism in such an article? The history of false rape charges leading to whites lynching blacks parallels how the false charges of blood libel led to the deaths of many Jews in Europe.

This article is just one example of many that point to a larger pattern in Weir’s work. In her follow-up pieces on her blog, in which she stands by the validity of the article, along with many of her other writings and speeches, Weir has a tendency to focus on demonizing Israelis and Jews, rather than framing Zionism in terms of other settler-colonial projects throughout history as most Palestinian solidarity activists do. She is careful to usually say “Zionists” instead of “Jews,” and she also occasionally inserts half-hearted and obligatory disclaimers here and there asserting that she is against antisemitism and that not all Jews support Israeli policies, but a pattern begins to emerge when one looks at her body of work.

Not all of her work and associations suggest antisemitism. In fact, much of her work is completely legitimate and useful, but enough of her work is problematic that it rightfully warrants attention. Notice how I haven’t even brought up any of her associations or discussed most of the other examples presented to justify these decisions.

While it is understandable that someone working for Palestinian rights would develop hostility toward Israel and its advocates, activists must be careful to avoid tolerating, adopting, or repeating classical antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories, lest they end up doing more harm than good to the movement.

There are plenty of very real and credibly well-documented hardships and patterns of discrimination faced by Palestinians that activists can focus on without invoking antisemitic rhetoric: ethnic cleansing, land confiscation, settlement construction, home demolitions, curfews, checkpoints, regular night raids, administrative detention (including of children), torture, the siege and deadly assaults on Gaza, and myriad other forms of collective punishment and denial of human rights.

Why Does Any of this Matter and How Should It Be Addressed?

Alison Weir and her advocates have now launched an aggressive campaign on her behalf that includes some harsh counterattacks against JVP and the US Campaign. Some of her supporters have even claimed that JVP is run by ADL-style Zionists and that Josh Ruebner of the US Campaign is a “Zionist agent.” Such attacks are unfortunate. These Jewish allies have been essential parts of the movement. JVP activists have been indispensable at helping to get most divestment initiatives passed in universities, religious organizations, and other institutions across the US. These Jewish allies are not secret Zionists working to undermine the movement. They are essential partners that have fully endorsed the BDS Call and who consciously use their privileged position as Jews in the US to help shield the BDS movement from charges of antisemitism. Jewish BDS activists are also disproportionately represented in the movement.

Jewish feelings and “sensibilities” are not more important than the rights and feelings of Palestinians. But these activists are not people who are overly sensitive to criticism of Israel. Most of them are harsh critics of Zionism and Israel themselves. Thus, it seems unethical, unwise, and ignorant for Weir’s supporters to blow them off so easily and try to tarnish their intentions and dedication to the movement. The vast majority of Palestinian solidarity and BDS activists recognize this.

While antisemitic or racist speech and actions should not be ignored, condoned, or promoted, neither should someone be shunned simply for making a couple of questionable statements, especially when taken out of context. If someone makes an honest mistake or words a statement poorly out of haste or ignorance, then they should certainly not be written off. But people should also be willing and open to listen, apologize, and try to change their behavior to align more with anti-racist values when someone points it out to them.

Perhaps this all could have ended quietly if Weir had respectfully listened to the years of complaints from other activists and made more of an attempt to adjust the way she frames her statements and her choice of interview platforms. If she had, she probably would have been given the benefit of the doubt. But Alison Weir has remained defiant, and her and many of her supporters don’t seem to want to even entertain the notion that publicly associating with openly racist and antisemitic people like Clayton Douglas or publishing assertions about the possible “truth” and “evidence” behind the classically antisemitic blood libel charge might possibly be hurtful to Jewish activists and understandably perceived as antisemitic to most of the world.

The Steven Salaita case at UIUC is a good example of why it is wrong to take a couple of tweets out of context to try to paint someone as anti-Semitic whose body of work clearly demonstrates otherwise. Context is required. That is why JVP and the US campaign looked at context and multiple examples over time to make and justify their decisions, and why Ali Abunimah and Bekah Wolf did their research before calling out Greta Berlin. It is fine to discuss and debate these decisions, but it is more counterproductive and a waste of time to continue supporting individuals who have repeatedly demonstrated an affinity for racist or antisemitic speech than it is to call out such people whose presence will hurt the movement.

While reading Weir’s defense of her position and counter-attack of JVP, one is struck by how much she focuses on herself and how little she focuses on the stated goals of Palestinian activists and leaders. White allies need to be willing to defer to the goals and desired strategies of the BNC and other Palestinian activists rather than focusing primarily on their own agendas and reputations. Palestinians don’t need white saviors. They need white allies who will support rather than undermine the movement.

Not only is universally abiding by an anti-racist platform what Palestinian BDS activists have asked for repeatedly, but it is also more morally and ethically consistent for a nonviolent social justice movement—and ultimately much smarter in the court of public opinion, as most Palestinians are well aware.

Activists can and should debate when and how to most effectively address such instances. It is also legitimate to expect thorough research of the context and content of questionable behavior before taking action. It is, however, unfortunate but necessary to deal with these people to prevent them from tarnishing the credibility of the movement as a whole.

Jennifer Hitchcock has participated in Palestinian solidarity activism in the Washington D.C. area and is currently pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Discourse Studies at Old Dominion University, working on a dissertation analyzing BDS discourse. She also produced and directed the 2011 documentary, Dreams Deferred: The Struggle for Peace and Justice in Israel and Palestine.

Learning Lessons

By Susan Landau

This posting is inspired by concern regarding the impact of three recent events on our movement for justice in Palestine: the process which led to the decision by the steering committee and board of Jewish Voice for Peace to sever all ties with If Americans Knew and its Executive Director, Allison Weir, which was then communicated in an internal email to local JVP chapters and also to If Americans Knew; the decision by the US Campaign to End the Occupation to expel If Americans Knew from its coalition; and the action of an ally in our movement, Allison Weir, who took her defense to the public domain, presumably feeling under attack with no other recourse.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I am a longtime member of the US Campaign to End the Occupation and a current member of Jewish Voice for Peace.  Over many years, I have used research and information made available from If Americans Knew in educating others and myself about Palestine.)

I bring to activism a healthy regard for personal relationships, interpersonal and group dynamics, and communication. Life is a series of experiences from which we learn and grow as individuals, with detours and missteps as part of this non-linear process.  So too it is with activism and organizational life.  The synergy in building a movement for social change inspires comradery, creativity, and action emanating from the highest level of being human.  Political connections provide support, meaning, purpose, and fuel solidarity and collaborative work for a better world.

I’m convinced that an appreciation of the impact of one’s words and actions has relevance and applicability beyond my psychotherapy office.  People with different perspectives can build understanding by responsibly speaking and listening with compassion, without blame or judgment. This process helps families, friendships, and couples navigate difficult terrain.  The template is readily transferable to our political groups.

How do we respond when a person or group within our movement does or says something that is seen as irresponsible and damaging to our collective work? All movements walk the fine line of building broad coalitions around shared demands without abandoning the visions of social justice that extend beyond those demands. There is no magic bullet for how to build a movement for justice in Israel-Palestine and promote our universal core values.

As activists, public shaming is a time honored and effective toolkit of choice employed against our external enemies: war criminals, racist cops, greedy corporate bosses, and other unsavory characters. What culture do we create when we use similar tactics on each other?  Is there another way?

Palestine solidarity work is guided by a vision that Jews and Palestinians can eventually live together in Palestine, implement the Right of Return, and create a stable society with justice, equality, and peace. It doesn’t bode well for this outcome when groups doing solidarity work can’t get along

Just as some couples that enter therapy cannot resolve their differences, organizational splits may sometimes be inevitable.   The process of engagement around differences is the heart of the matter here. Individuals as well as organizations have core values, boundaries that define who they are, that cannot be negotiated or violated. The cost paid when people or groups dig their heels in, alternating between criticism and defensive posturing is far reaching and outlives the conflict itself.

We are all familiar with accepted ground rules for taking personal responsibility in difficult conversations.  When individuals or groups create safe spaces for honest engagement, everyone emerges with a deeper understanding of each other’s position, how things got to where they are, what can be changed, and what cannot.   The integrity of all parties is intact.  When splits occur, they are clean.  Hopefully, everyone learns and moves forward with good will and minimal baggage.

Of course solidarity groups should conscientiously and vigilantly monitor and oppose anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia, and racism. That organizations must respond to these oppressive thought structures is unambiguous; how we go about doing this is less clear.

Differences within our movement exist; we stifle them to our peril.

In an attempt to build and protect the integrity of our movement for justice in Palestine, galvanize our collective political power without compromising core values, and to learn from recent events, consider:

By what standards do we judge other solidarity activists?

What criteria do we set for messaging, actions, and collaboration, as well as for how we treat each other?

What are the parameters of engagement with people who don’t share our worldview?

How do recent splits impact the movement in general, and specifically allies who continue to work with IAK?

How do we make our Palestine solidarity activism and our communication nonviolent?

These are real questions.  The urgency to reach, teach, and preach beyond the choir is now.

Let’s really talk to each other.

Lest we implode.

Susan Landau is a practicing psychotherapist who offers workshops on “Difficult Conversations” to both faith-based and secular groups as part of her commitment to educate, organize, and advocate as a non-Zionist Jew for a justice in Palestine-Israel.

Why I think JVP and the US Campaign are making a mistake regarding Alison Weir

By Russ Greenleaf

On June 15, 2015, the national office of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) publicly accused Alison Weir of endorsing anti-Semitism. On July 16, 2015, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (USCEIO) publicly repeated the same accusation. The accusations by JVP and USCEIO are very similar, so for convenience I will refer them together as “JVP’s accusations.”

JVP’s accusations against Weir echo previous accusations made in two articles by Spencer Sunshine, titled, “Campus Profile – Alison Weir: If Americans Knew” (2014) and “Drawing Lines against Racism and Fascism” (March 5, 2015). Sunshine wrote those articles for the left think tank Political Research Associates (PRA).

Sunshine said the goal of his articles was to explain why “Far Right actors should not be allowed to participate in progressive circles, [and to] suggest criteria regarding where the line should be drawn in defining which politics are problematic enough to take action against.”

His articles are a major attack against Alison Weir, in which he classifies her as a right-winger who should be excluded from progressive circles. His 2014 article contains many of the same accusations JVP is making against Weir, including:

  • She has addressed right-wing audiences.
  • She was interviewed four times on Clayton Douglas’s radio show “The Free American.”
  • She was interviewed once by “The American Free Press” radio show.

Sunshine’s article also recycles several Zionist propaganda attacks against Weir, including one by CAMERA. He says Weir’s focus on “the so-called Israel lobby in the United States” is evidence of her anti-Semitism. He condemns Weir for saying,“Israel’s core identity is based on ethnic and religious discrimination.” He says that statement is evidence of Weir’s anti-Semitism. (By Sunshine’s criteria, JVP would be anti-Semitic.)

JVP’s accusations against Weir seem identical to one of the accusations in Sunshine’s article: that because Weir has given interviews to right-wing radio shows, it means she is a right-wing anti-Semite who should be excluded from progressive circles. Both Sunshine and JVP have looked for reasons to exclude her, and both have decided that guilt by association is a good-enough reason. (In this case, association means being interviewed by a radio show.)

If JVP wants to say that people should only speak to progressive audiences, it has a right to say so.

But unless JVP has hard evidence that Weir has made anti-Semitic statements, it should not join Sunshine and others in accusing her of anti-Semitism, explicitly or by innuendo. I think JVP should not participate in what is clearly a long-running campaign in progressive circles to accuse Weir of anti-Semitism in order to delegitimize her and undermine her effectiveness as a Palestine solidarity activist. (This dovetails with a similar campaign in Zionist circles.)

JVP should be willing to live and let live.

Weir is educating broad audiences which JVP will not reach (including right-of-center audiences that are not racist or extremist.) I have never seen any anti-Semitism in Weir’s talks, writings, or interviews – including the ones that JVP cited as evidence against her. Close inspection of JVP’s evidence reveals no anti-Semitism by Weir.

JVP’s evidence consists of the fact that Weir was interviewed by two right-wing radio shows that air racist views. JVP says that during those interviews it has “not seen evidence that she has disavowed, debated, or challenged the thinking of any of these outlets,” and she “has consistently chosen to stay silent when given the opportunity to challenge bigotry.”

But when one actually listens to the Clayton Douglas interview of Weir that JVP cites as evidence, it is clear that she is speaking up to challenge bigotry. She can be heard cautioning Douglas to not make sweeping negative statements about Jews. She can be heard challenging bigotry and promoting tolerance multiple times throughout the interview.

What is left of JVP’s argument is guilt by association, based on the fact that Weir allowed herself to be interviewed at all. Those interviews are a small fraction of all the interviews Weir has given. The vast majority of her interviews have been given to progressive or mainstream audiences. Weir does not vet the media outlets that ask for interviews. Her stated policy is to talk to anyone who will listen, and to challenge racism when she hears it. That appears to be exactly what she has done.

In reality, Weir marched in the civil rights movement and continues to speak out against racism and anti-Semitism today. JVP and USCEIO have not offered any credible evidence that she has made (or endorsed) anti-Semitic statements. They seem to be repeating false accusations from a Zionist propaganda article.

I think it hurts the Palestinian cause when JVP tries to undermine the efforts of a sister Palestine solidarity activist just because her message and approach are not the same as those of JVP.

JVP and USCEIO are doing to Weir the same thing that J Street did to JVP regarding BDS: spending time and effort to delegitimize and oppose a sister group that is doing something that will help end the occupation. It’s fine to say you don’t share their approach. But it’s not OK to go out of your way to delegitimize them and obstruct their efforts to end the occupation.

JVP and USCEIO should stop, and should make peace with Alison Weir. Their divisive attacks are harming the Palestine solidarity movement and harming the reputations of JVP and USCEIO.

I have signed the petition asking JVP and USCEIO to stop these divisive attacks.

Russ Greenleaf is a Jewish peace activist and writer in Louisville, Kentucky. He started the Louisville Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace and is currently a member of Jewish Voice for Peace of Kentucky.

Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Executive Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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1,256 Responses

  1. stopaipac on August 12, 2015, 1:46 pm

    Striving to be fair. that’s how Alison Weir described Clayton Douglas in her “defense” against a supposed attack (or as I call it, disassociation).
    Alison Weir, talking about Clayton Douglas, an avid neo-nazi.

    “In his somewhat wandering, occasionally conspiracy-tinged questions, Douglas touched on a lot of out-there thoughts, but I recall that he differentiated between Jews and Zionists, spoke strongly against violence, decried Israeli oppression, and seemed to be striving to be a fair person. When one time he failed to distinguish between Zionists and Jewish people in general, I corrected him.”

    Ms. Weir has had plenty of time to learn about Douglas and his version of “fairness”. the man is a Nazi. He played a tape of David Duke while she was interviewed, that interested Alison, but no protest from Alison. Douglas is a man that thinks that Jews are our enemy, and fight integration with “inferior” people. While her description above is not exactly lavish praise, I am sure Clayton appreciates the support.
    Alison seems to determined to go where few of us want to tread… John Birch Society gatherings and such. She is reaching out to what I call the “WhitePeopleMatterMost” crowd. That position is contrary to those of us that are reaching out to other victims of oppression, including the Black Lives Matter movement. Irreconcilable differences. So it goes.
    Alison is still free to do as she chooses. Let her be. and in response, let the rest of us go on about our work.

    • Mooser on August 12, 2015, 9:47 pm

      “She is reaching out to what I call the “WhitePeopleMatterMost” crowd. That position is contrary to those of us that are reaching out to other victims of oppression, including the Black Lives Matter movement. Irreconcilable differences. So it goes”

      Thanks for saying that, I was afraid to put it that raw.

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 7:24 am

        @ Mooser

        I fail to see the logic behind that characterization of Weir’s audience. Her target is All Americans, hence how she named her organization. Her target is all Americans. How deduce from that she supports white Americans more than black or other non-white Americans? Or that she doesn’t give a crap about black lives? I don’t understand the logic behind a conclusion of “irreconcilable differences.”
        Please explain. Is the fact that many US municipalities’ police departments are trained via tax-paid contract by Israelis of relevance? Do you think Ms Weir isn’t interested in that? Or that she should not be, given that American black lives matter? From what she says, and does, she’d appear on any black media program to discuss in a heart beat.

      • kamalchassan on August 13, 2015, 4:11 pm

        As a Palestinian Refugee, that knows Alison Weir on a personal level, I wouldn’t venture on second guess on what Alison does or what her motivations are. I fully trust her as a person, as I trust her knowledge and commitment to Peace in general and Palestinian/Israeli issues in particular……..

      • RockyMissouri on August 13, 2015, 4:50 pm

        kamalchassan: That’s all that matters. She believes in Palestinians. So do I.

      • HRK on August 14, 2015, 1:27 pm

        Mooser would prefer we change the topic, evidently.

      • Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 10:37 pm

        I know she has been really getting around the country. Can you be more specific about the groups she has been talking too?

    • W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 11:22 pm

      Hello, Stop.

      “He played a tape of David Duke while she was interviewed, that interested Alison, but no protest from Alison.”
      Her answer was two paragraphs about how she didn’t know if Duke was right, that people create some invented urban myths that get recycled, and that it would be bizarre if it were true.

      Yes, as you said about her words: “seemed to be striving to be a fair person.” It sounds like Weir is put on the defensive, and though Douglas has views that she opposes, she is claiming that in her interview he was trying to be “fair”. Of course Weir did not outright say that Douglas was fair. And in reality there are a major number of offensive things that he puts on his website.

      “Alison seems to determined to go where few of us want to tread… John Birch Society gatherings and such.”

      What do you think of Josh Ruebner being a guest speaker this June 20 for the Maryland Constitution Party? (https://www.facebook.com/GazaKitchen/posts/553726914767991) Peroutka, the MCP’s past candidate for President, is considered a white supremacist by the Human Rights Campaign and has complained about society “elevating” minorities.

    • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 7:14 am

      @ stopaipac

      RE: “She is reaching out to what I call the “WhitePeopleMatterMost” crowd.”
      Really? Please explain your logic in arriving at your label.

      Is your characterization relevant in any way? Did you ever read her writing on how she originally got involved, motivated, and started up If Americans Knew? I don’t think her target crowd warrants your characterization. Maybe, depending on why you single our her priority target audience as white people, not her own characterization of her target audience, which is Americans, you should change it to “WhitePeopleMatterToo”? White Americans as distinguished from what Americans? She’s not Jewish; is that relevant? She does differ in that her organization does not claim any Jewish identification such as JVP. Seems to me her site addresses the reality of the I-P conflict graphically, and she wants every Dick and Jane, no matter their color or creed, to know what their government supports regarding that conflict, the information kept from them by the mainstream media. She has stated she tries hard to get her information out to all Americans towards their informed consent, the bedrock of democracy. This means she goes beyond the usual progressive forums.

      • RockyMissouri on August 13, 2015, 11:47 am

        An excellent comment.

        It’s been a pretty effective tool to silence people, by simply calling them “antisemitic”. What a shame to do that to Alison Weir. A voice that would help the Palestinian people.

    • Atlantaiconoclast on August 13, 2015, 11:19 pm

      David Duke is not a neo Nazi. He is a racial realist and could be called a racist, but the man does not support the slaughter or the oppression of another people. He supports separatism. I don’t agree with him, but stop with the neo Nazi crap.

    • homingpigeon on August 14, 2015, 4:38 am

      If I talk to neo-Confederates or Alex Jones or some white cracker about why they shouldn’t support the next US war abroad am I guilty of reaching out to the “WhitePeopleMatterMost” crowd?

      • Atlantaiconoclast on August 14, 2015, 11:56 am

        Cracker? really? This is why Red state people hate liberals.

    • pianoteacher on August 15, 2015, 10:41 am

      Stopaipac,
      You wrote:
      “Alison seems determined to go where few of us want to tread “.
      Good for Alison! The rest of us are not nearly as brave.
      Her goal is to reach ALL Americans.
      That includes:
      White ones
      Black ones
      Brown ones
      Asian ones
      Mexican ones
      English ones
      Heterosexual ones
      Homosexually ones
      Transgender ones
      Fat ones
      Thin ones
      Rich ones
      Poor ones

      BTW, you don’t mention that Alison has also appeared on KPFA. More often than with Clay Douglas! Why aren’t you discussing that? She has done hundreds of interviews across the country. Why are we focusing on just a few that she did years ago,?
      They are hardly representative of whom she talks to!

  2. mattberkman on August 12, 2015, 2:11 pm

    The third contribution is of laughably poor quality. It badly mischaracterizes the points made against Weir. Just take a look at the U.S. Campaign document and you’ll see what I mean: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4510.

    I have spent more time than I’d like to admit reading and thinking about this issue from every angle, and I agree in essence with the first contribution. Still, I think there are at least a *few* stronger (if ultimately unconvincing) “pro-Weir” arguments that could have been made to even things out. As it stands, this roundtable is just an intellectual massacre.

    • W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 11:10 pm

      What do you think the stronger pro-Weir arguments are?

      • Kathleen on August 16, 2015, 4:32 pm

        1. Had her own direct experiences in the region.
        2. Has worked closely with former Congressman Paul Findlay. One of the first U.S. congress people to stand up to the I lobby and Israel based on facts.
        3. Deep research using credible sources
        4. Committed to a just and peaceful resolution
        5. Seems to be well aware of international law and UN resolutions that apply to the conflict
        6. Her website is a vast resource of well documented and well researched facts. A huge resource for educational materials
        7. Seems unafraid of controversial issues. Seems to hit those issues straight on.

    • idaaudeh on August 15, 2015, 11:17 am

      My apologies if my arguments have been made by others — there are > 500 comments too many to read.
      I want to respond to some of the more revealing charges thrown at Alison — that she has a white savior mentality, as revealed by the audience IAK tries to target–that this is about privilege. This is laughable, especially coming from JVP supporters. As a Palestinian, I am very glad that her group targets the mainstream (people with no connections to the region), and I do not consider that she is slighting Arabs or Arab Americans by doing so or saying that we need someone to come to our defense (an argument made on a Facebook thread). She is targeting the majority who should object to the stranglehold that Israel and its supporters (and unregistered agents) have on our public life. That is a very good thing.
      Jewish activists on Middle East issues are privileged people (through no fault of their own); they are likely to be deferred to by others, and they are more likely to be heard than other activists (including Palestinian activists). This can be a problem–I know this from my own experience and from my conversations with Palestinian activists in other parts of the country. Yes, we want allies, but the baggage that they bring should not be considered a given. It might just be their (individual) thing. Yet we end up wasting a lot of time talking about anti-semitism, which is mostly a non concern for the purpose of educating Americans about the evil that US support for Israel makes possible.

      In the first essay, I found it very interesting that the writer should conflate demonizing Israel and Jews. I don’t know who considers “demonizing” Israel to be a problem (and what does that mean, anyway?). Perhaps Jewish activists who worry about working in Jewish communities are concerned about demonizing Israel. I don’t think that this is an issue for anyone else. So again, examine your premises and do not assume that other activists share your concerns or should do so. I look at the amount of time and space given to “anti-semitism” (which is an automatic red flag as far as I am concerned that someone is being silenced, and the attack on Alison confirms my belief) with very little if any mention of Zionism. The JVP mission statement talks about anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. So even when it ostensibly stands in solidarity with others, first it has to bring up anti-Jewish bigotry, which is not really an issue for the people it claims to stand in solidarity with. No mention of Zionism. Yet if you are going to stand in solidarity with Palestinians, you really should take a position on Zionism. Because there is a straight line, and not a very long one, between setting up a state for Jews only and periodically bombing Gaza and burning Palestinian families.
      The first essay referred to wanting to see peace between Jews and Palestinians. This is also problematic; I find it strange that the author didn’t specify Israeli Jews. Or did she think that peace would come with the Law of Return intact, that Israel would remain a state for world Jewry to hold onto as a spare state? Palestinians don’t need to make peace with Jews. We need to find a way to live with Israeli Jews under a single set of laws that apply to all citizens. This will not be easy, because (at the risk of demonizing Israelis, which doesn’t concern me), a sizable majority are supremacists who really don’t are annoyed by the presence of non-Jews in their midst and would run us out of the country if they could. That is what the polls tell us, that is what even a casual reading of the Israeli press tells us.
      Yes, we need allies. I am grateful that Alison and IAK responded (and promptly) to the call of Palestinian civil society for BDS. If what I read is correct, JVP took several years to come around. I wonder what took them so long.
      Thank you, Mondoweiss, for providing this space.

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 11:53 am

        thank you for joining us idaaudeh, welcome.

      • echinococcus on August 15, 2015, 12:50 pm

        We need to find a way to live with Israeli Jews under a single set of laws that apply to all citizens. This will not be easy…

        Easier for them than for the Palestinians: most of them have where to go, and the US will take the few who don’t.

        Anyway, the huge damage that JVP and Hitchcock achieved at the end of the day is this:
        Now, thanks to the antics of JVP &Co, people who wear their Jewishness on their sleeve will have to get over an initial suspicion of being sympathetic to, and/or working for, Zionism.

      • chrisjj on August 15, 2015, 7:19 pm

        @idaudeh Thank you for your excellent comment. In my opinion, you have perfectly articulated the exact underlying argument why everyone who cares for justice for the Palestinians should stop fretting over possibly being accused of Antisemitism, (or, even worse, it would seem, of being labeled a ‘White Supremacist’), and support Ms Weir’s pioneering life- long mission to change public opinion in the US over the Israel/Palestine issue. This is a serious political battle and when you’re in such a fight, you shouldn’t let your enemy put you on the defensive, and I’m afraid those who have ostracized Weir have succumbed, and we will never win the political war with tactics that serve to assuage the fragile sensibilities of a few who supposedly are on ‘our side’ but leave our enemies standing back and laughing, “Job done!'” as we fight each other.

      • Kathleen on August 16, 2015, 5:41 pm

        Ida “Palestinians don’t need to make peace with Jews. We need to find a way to live with Israeli Jews under a single set of laws that apply to all citizens. This will not be easy, because (at the risk of demonizing Israelis, which doesn’t concern me), a sizable majority are supremacists who really don’t are annoyed by the presence of non-Jews in their midst and would run us out of the country if they could. That is what the polls tell us, that is what even a casual reading of the Israeli press tells us.”

        Powerful

  3. Fritz on August 12, 2015, 2:40 pm

    “A significant amount of her work does suggest anti semitism” (Jennifer Hitchcock) sounds to me as a very weak argument for discrediting a person like Alison Weir.

    • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 7:47 am

      @ Fritz
      I agree. I also have not seen much discussion on the many jewish web sites, either left, center, or right, of the National Summit, where Weir, and many other experts not-Jewish, were on the panel discussing different aspects of the US-Israel “special relationship.” I’ve wondered why.

    • Susie Kneedler on August 13, 2015, 8:08 pm

      But wait: the Palestinian people are Semites.

      — Have JVP and EIO forgotten Shlomo Sand and his “When and How was the Jewish People Invented”*? *(Didn’t Sand say that he preferred his own title to the publisher’s English title, “The Invention of the Jewish People”?–I can’t look anything up, for I’m traveling, with rare Internet connection on a borrowed laptop that freezes.)

      Like others, I’ve been horrified since last May to see JVP and UACEIO activists I’ve admired for years turn on another stalwart in the Free Palestine movement: brave, kind Alison Weir and IAK.

      I can’t understand why JVP and USCEIO would focus on blips of alleged anti-Judaism, distracting us from the actual “anti-Semitism” of the Zionist war on Palestine. Our real work is opening hearts so that we can stop the 77-year Nakba that Israel carries out both inside the 1967 lines through racist laws and in Palestine through illegal military Occupation.
      And, yes: I’m a member of JVP–but may need to resign–as well as CJP.

      What a relief to hear the wisdom of brilliant Mondoweiss thinkers. Thanks, Friends, and please forgive me if I’m repeating your points (the decrepit machine seizes + can’t scroll much).

      Thank you, Phil and Adam, for opening this discussion and for the site that continually challenges us to care more humanely for All, and Always for the wondrous, valiant People of Palestine.

  4. Stephen Shenfield on August 12, 2015, 2:41 pm

    It seems to me that the case against Alison Weir is rather a weak one.

    The article in Counterpunch about organ harvesting is not just “an example” of the part of her work that is alleged to be anti-Semitic. It appears to be the ONLY example. It is based mainly on articles in the Israeli press. From these articles I get the impression that while this is not a problem unique to Israel it is worse there than in many other countries. The victims include not only Palestinians and foreigners but also Israeli Jews, especially from underprivileged communities. So it is incorrect to view the issue in terms of Jews versus Gentiles. It was therefore inappropriate for Alison to add an irrelevant discussion of Professor Toaff’s work on the medieval blood libel.

    Most of the charges against Alison concern her interviews with right-wing racist media outlets. There are long lists of objectionable things said by the interviewers but much shorter lists of possibly objectionable things said by Alison. The underlying issue here is not whether Alison shares the views of her interviewers — no one accuses her of that — but whether she should have agreed to the interviews. Many people think that such outlets should be boycotted in order as far as possible to deny them legitimacy — that is, such views and those who propagate them should be excluded from the community of respectable democratic debate. This is a very difficult issue. Perhaps excluding such views, which are unfortunately still held by millions of our fellow citizens, merely drives them underground, where they cannot be effectively challenged.

    Apparently Alison in these interviews has tried to oppose the racist views of her hosts. Some say she has not tried hard enough, but she has at least tried and thereby done something to bring a different perspective to the people who listen to these media. I suspect that she has been drawn into discussing matters where she lacks the necessary expertise and gets out of her depth (for instance, the role of Jews in the Soviet secret police).

    • W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 10:31 pm

      Stephen,

      Actually in her discussion of the Soviets, to which ETO objected, Weir did not say anything more than that she knew of it.

      I think what ETO and JVP expect is that Weir should at that point in the interview have tried to explain something about it in order to challenge Douglas for discussing it. Now put yourself in her shoes at that antsy moment, Stephen. And then imagine what Douglas’ reaction would have been to whatever challenge you gave. To me, it looks hard to navigate and Weir’s decision at that point was just to say that she “heard about it” and to move on. I think that in reality when faced with these kinds of unwanted claims on air by a host, not a few anti-racist activists would just try to re-steer the conversation instead of hashing out the details of such a topic. Am I wrong?

    • Atlantaiconoclast on August 13, 2015, 11:29 pm

      So who can we trust to tell us the truth about the role of Jews in the Soviet secret police? Do you not realize that there is a taboo on revealing anything negative about the Jewish role in Stalin’s murderous reign? I would tend to trust academics the least on this issue, simply because they are under pressure not to rock the boat and risk losing a chance at tenure.

    • SQ Debris on August 14, 2015, 6:01 pm

      From Hitchcock – “her 2009 article .. focuses on a handful of claims that Israel was harvesting organs from Palestinians in custody.” Hitchcock cracks on Weir and Counterpunch but, uh … the U.K.’s Guardian and Huffington Post both covered the long derided story, originally aired in the Swedish Aftonbladet. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/21/israel-admits-harvesting_n_399623.html So the Guardian, Huffington Post (even CNN reported on this) are all anti-Semitic cabals? Weir was right and Israel’s ex-chief pathologist confirmed it. This example is emblematic of the oily innuendo that permeates Hitchcock’s essay. She calls “anti-Semitism” on facts and spins up bullshit to make her case. So much for her “well-documented list of the evidence.” Hitchcock writes that Weir ”also occasionally inserts half-hearted and obligatory disclaimers here and there asserting that she is against anti-Semitism”. In point of fact, one of the first things ever published by her organization was “Choosing to Act – Anti-Semitism is Wrong.” Notice a problem? Hitchcock tries to paint an equivalence between the craven distortions that girded lynch culture in the U.S. with Weir reporting on facts related to usurpation of the bodies of Palestinians lynched by Israel. To use her words again, “Notice a problem?” So Hitchcock, go out and raise the money to post billboards telling Americans how Israel is raping their wallets and murdering the natives instead of penning slimy, unfounded attacks on a person who is actually doing something to end the madness. The whole affair reminds me of when Israel was teasing up Hamas to divide the Unified National Leadership. Good work crapping the movement my comrades in JVP and USCEO!

  5. PeaceThroughJustice on August 12, 2015, 2:55 pm

    I dropped USCampaign off my donation list when I heard they had let JVP browbeat them. Deeply disappointing.

    Personally, I think JVP’s real problem is that Weir is expanding the movement to audiences outside of their ability to gatekeep. (And, unlike JVP, she speaks about the power of the lobby.)

    • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 7:51 am

      I too think JVP & USCampaign, inter alia, dislike Weir because she’s very independent and always addresses any and all Americans that may just happen to listen to her, read her, watch her.

    • Pippilin on August 13, 2015, 2:27 pm

      I dropped JVP after this fiasco about Alison. As for Alison: I am guessing that the US Campaign and JVP just can’t tolerate very much honesty about the I/P situation

      • Kathleen on August 16, 2015, 12:45 pm

        Such an odd effort by both of these groups to squeeze Allison and all of her amazing work out. She (with the assistance of one of the first Congress folks to ever take a stand on the I/P issue Paul Findlay) was out in front of both of these groups and individuals involvedt. One has to wonder if their agenda is to totally push her efforts aside. Focused on guilt by association by JVP which looks like a group that only Jewish individuals can be on the board. Some serious discrimination going on there if this is the case.

        Sure would like to get Barghouti, Finkelstein’s take on this in fighting and efforts to exclude. Now I know groups do not have to agree but JVP etc seem intent on taking Allison and If Americans Knew down. That sure makes me wonder about the intent of both groups doing so.

        Attempts to divide and conquer are not new strategies used to weaken human rights and civil rights movements.

    • Atlantaiconoclast on August 13, 2015, 11:29 pm

      amen

      • msmoore on August 14, 2015, 5:00 pm

        Amen to Atlantaiconoclast’s amen, that is.

      • W.Jones on August 31, 2015, 3:25 am

        Atlanta,

        You know, the US CEIO convention will be in your city on September 25-27. It’s probably one of the few chances for the membership to have an open say on this topic. See:
        http://www.endtheoccupation.org/section.php?id=494

  6. echinococcus on August 12, 2015, 3:16 pm

    Lots of talk. Make it into another “complicated issue”, eh?
    It’s simple enough: if the objective is to help the Palestinians get rid of the Zionist invaders, the only measure is how much one is helping fight the Zionist invaders, period. Looking for “antisemitism” instead of anti-Zionist action only shows where one’s own priorities are –caring for the tribal reputation before everything.
    That simple. JVP is not making a mistake, imho. Nobody goes to such lengths by mistake.

  7. bintbiba on August 12, 2015, 3:56 pm

    @ Russ Greenleaf

    …….”It’s fine to say you don’t share their approach. But it’s not OK to go out of your way to delegitimize them and obstruct their efforts to end the occupation.

    “JVP and USCEIO should stop, and should make peace with Alison Weir. Their divisive attacks are harming the Palestine solidarity movement and harming the reputations of JVP and USCEIO.”
    Absolutely.. Very well said , Russ Greenleaf !

    Sometimes all tend to get entangled with high-minded dogma and overlook the big picture …
    Alison Weir does immeasurably excellent work … she does it her own way. All respect due to her!
    Please do not be repeating the disgraceful harm done by some to Professor Norman Finkelstein , which was an outrage !!

    • ritzl on August 12, 2015, 4:34 pm

      Well said, bintbiba.

      • bintbiba on August 12, 2015, 5:48 pm

        Thank you ,ritzl ! You are very kind !

        I often find the words difficult to express my intended meaning !
        For years I have admired Alison Weir for her untiring unfailing defense of the Palestinians and their unending tragedy.
        And who ever said that anybody is always and at all times PERFECT ? !!!

    • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 7:58 am

      @ bintbiba

      Afreed! Weir’s heartbeat is in the title of her organization: “If Americans Knew.” She trusts that if Dick and Jane knew more about “the special relationship” they would not stand for their government enabling the miserable plight of an entire innocent people and protecting a foreign state that continually defies international law. Not to mention drawing a target on America’s back with no reward for that.

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 1:14 pm

        AFreed =Agreed when One is in a hurry and makes typos.

      • Atlantaiconoclast on August 13, 2015, 11:32 pm

        Exactly. That is why it infuriates me when people try to protect an honest examination of Israel. Americans will never stop showing fealty to Israel till they know the full extent of Israel’s crimes, including those against America. I have been following this issue for a long time now, and I have only seen a hardening of attitudes in favor of Israel. Americans by and large will not care about Palestine till they realize that Israel is not our friend.

    • RockyMissouri on August 13, 2015, 11:50 am

      bintbiba: Thank you! Another excellent comment.

    • ziusudra on August 13, 2015, 1:52 pm

      Greetings bintbiba,
      Well put as always with Menschkeit.
      Ms Allison Weir is on the Stand!
      The talk is always about some nuance or dig against anyone Jewish, Israeli, Zionist that the one on the stand has to prove negative.
      It’s so easy to punch holes in them with this silly atavistic card of
      ‘Antisemitism’ raped & pillaged since 1870. It’s just as silly as Goy.
      It is always the feeling, protection & security of a Jew, Israeli or Zionist that must be held up.
      If the State of Israel allows all those illegal crimes under int’ law then they are guilty. If the Citizens of Israel uphold these crimes then they are guilty too.

      – A Baby was just burned alive in the WB in Palestine. –

      Is it anti anything of me to say, i condemn & accuse the State of Israel, Israelis, Jews, Zionists?
      It seems to me that when Ms Allison Weir doesn’t exactly state what she thinks opens the door of Jews, Israelis Zionists to question her motives condemning her of anti-Jew, ,Zionist & Semite insinuations.
      The crimes from the Jews, Israelis, Zionists which occur daily in Palestine against Palestinians are never on the stand.
      Does it make a difference if not a Zionist, Jew, Israeli, but a Settler committed said crime?
      ziusudra
      PS Which crime would be accepted & acted upon against the Palestinians as a genuine crime by the State, Israeli, Jew, Zionist, Settler? None to date by any of the above mentioned!

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 7:48 pm

        – A Baby was just burned alive in the WB in Palestine. –

        Is it anti anything of me to say, i condemn & accuse the State of Israel, Israelis, Jews, Zionists?

        in my opinion yes, definitely. there are lots of jews right here in the US who are no more responsible for that crime than i am. as long as you’re going to make a broad brush statement like that without dragging in all parties culpable (like yourself because your taxes likely facilitate these crimes) then blaming “jews” in general is a bigoted statement.

        file that under “no brainer”

    • Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 10:45 pm

      My take of Allison is she is a force of nature on this issue. Effective, clear, concrete. Have heard her speak numerous times. Fact based like Max Blumenthal.

      The “blood libel” stuff is weird.

      Sure would like to hear what Norman Finkelstein thinks about this issue. He knows what it is like to be hammered and thrown to the wolves.

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 11:05 pm

        Kathleen,

        Finkelstein took a rather anti-BDS position and then became slightly a persona non grata among the Solidarity community as far as speaker invitations go. His criticism was that BDS was a cult. Now of course I don’t agree with him, but note his relationship to the main activist institutions.

        Finkelstein hasn’t made any statements against Weir, Atzmon, or any other activist AFAIK. This is not to say that he would actually agree with all Weir’s positions- he clearly doesn’t: Finkelstein sees the Special Relationship basically in terms of empire and “dog wags tail”, not really as lobbying or “tail wags dog” as Weir’s position has been described.

        But see the two parts about Finkelstein:

        I am agreeing with the film. But now what would you say about Finkelstein’s views?

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 11:33 pm

        ^ Sorry, I did mean to say “I AM NOT ASSERTING AGREEMENT WITH THIS FILM OR ANY IMPLICATIONS THEREIN.”

      • Kathleen on August 16, 2015, 1:17 pm

        W Jones first time I have ever seen that interview. Who was the interviewer? At first as the interviewer keeps following Finkelstein I am wondering has Norman agreed to this. However clearly he did.

        NF : “Whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle or comes under pressure to resolve the Israel Palestine conflict they start up this extravaganza called the new anti-semitism” Sure seems to have been the case over the decades. But now more than ever.

        Later NF refers to Israel as “engaged in quite brutal violence” Now the over all response to protectors of this violence is “why not focus on ISIS, Assad’s brutality” Not on the country which your government supports with the largest percentage of foreign aid and the actions that many top intelligence analyst say has and continues to undermine U.S. National Security but also Israel’s.

        I have read many of NF’s books, listened to many interviews, spent time at his website. Have deep respect for his brave and fact based stances. Does he make a few statements that do not resonate with me? Sure but not many. Did he get touchy being questioned about his stance on parts of the BDS movement. Yes he did. Does that change the respect I have for his knowledge, his bravery (out on the front lines starting in the 80’s on this issue). When it was not so easy on ones career and person.

        One of the biggest pieces that I am taken with is his ability to apply compassion to others (Palestinians) after the horrific (no words to really describe) mass murder of Jews and millions of others by the Nazi killing machine. He does not displace anger, hatred, brutal crimes from those crimes committed against millions to the Palestinians. He does not make excuses for Israel’s crimes.

        I really respect that he has a serious grasp of International agreements and law and the history of the conflict.

        Would still like to hear what he thinks about this Weir, JVP situation. Respect his insights and opinions.

      • annie on August 16, 2015, 1:47 pm

        not to be a broken record because i know i’ve said this a zillion times, but i adore norm. i don’t agree with everything he’s ever said, but he’s right up there with the greats as far as i am concerned. a courageous moral giant. a true warrior.

      • Bornajoo on August 16, 2015, 2:21 pm

        “not to be a broken record because i know i’ve said this a zillion times, but i adore norm. i don’t agree wiht everything he’s ever said, but he’s right up there with the greats as far as i am concerned. a courageous moral giant. a true warrior.”

        Ditto! Thanks Annie, Kathleen and also Bintbiba much further up this gargantuan thread. Totally agree with all of you. Norm is one of the greats!

  8. Jim Holstun on August 12, 2015, 3:57 pm

    Alison Weir sometimes makes me queasy–and so does the frequent reference to the “Israel Lobby” or “The Jewish Lobby” (including here at Mondoweiss) which chronically underestimates the role of Christian fundamentalists, military contractors, and oil companies in keeping the Occupation going. But Jennifer Hitchcock’s argument is very weak–for instance, her jumping on Weir’s piece about Israelis “harvesting” the organs of dead Palestinians. This isn’t a “blood libel”; it’s simply true, and admitted on tape by Israel’s L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Aftonbladet_Israel_controversy#Organ_harvest_revelation_of_Yehuda_Hiss_interview. The fact that medieval anti-Semites fabricated stories of Jews poisoning wells does not mean that one is an anti-Semite to object to Israeli settlers poisoning Palestinian wells on the West Bank.

    And this is simply slimy: “it is more counterproductive and a waste of time to continue supporting individuals who have repeatedly demonstrated an affinity for racist or antisemitic speech than it is to call out such people whose presence will hurt the movement.” Note that Hitchcock doesn’t quite have the guts to accuse Weir of this, much less the evidence to back up the claim. Rather, she retreats into an anodyne truism and hopes that sloppy readers will simply make the connection to Weir. No sale. For somebody currently “working on a dissertation analyzing BDS discourse,” this is rhetorically unselfconscious. I’m still undecided about Weir; I’m not undecided about this piece by Hitchcock. It’s a hack job.

    But of course, Gilad Atzmon is a sure’nuff Jew hater and all-around creep. On that, at least, we can agree.

    • W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 10:12 pm

      Jim,

      The broader issue with Weir that I see is whether we give other activists the benefit of a doubt. That is, if in the course of hundreds or thousands of interviews and articles an anti-racist peace activist makes several objectionable or very questionable statements and believes that they should be able to make appearances on a handful intolerant, far right programs in order to reach a right wing audience especially susceptible to anti-Palestinian brainwashing (even if it’s advisable to avoid those appearances ourselves), is this sufficient grounds to expel and ban the person from all further collaboration?

    • Atlantaiconoclast on August 13, 2015, 11:37 pm

      I don’t agree. I have heard many former Christians state far more negative things about Christianity than Gilad does about his former faith of Judaism. He has the right to talk about the negative strains of Judaism. And you have the right to be intolerant.

      And by the way, when I think of Israel lobby, I see Christian Zionist involvement for sure. I blame the latter even more for Israel would not have the power it does without them. But they ARE being misled by certain Jews in the lobby. And the lobby also DID take us to war with Iraq.

    • msmoore on August 14, 2015, 5:06 pm

      Note also that Israel poisons Palestinian wells today and, did so during the so called war of independence as well.

    • Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 11:08 pm

      “It’s a hack job” Focused on guilt by association.

      Just wonder if there is some territorial bs going on? Allison way out in front of JVP on this issue for quite some time. Is their agenda to try to knock her out? Not willing to give credit where credit is due?
      When you look at the make up of the JVP team one has to wonder about this “territory” issue. Instead of what is the goal?

  9. Paul Larudee on August 12, 2015, 4:19 pm

    Unbelievable! This “roundtable” has less than 20 degrees of arc, if you ask me. Not a word from the point of view of Palestinians sitting in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. No articulation of or by the Palestinian viewpoint. No acknowledgement of the hypocrisy of giving so much importance to “anti-Semitism” as racism and not a word about the racism inherent in the idea of a Jewish state, i.e. Zionism. Talk about co-opting the dialogue! I guess Phil Weiss and Adam Horowitz have made their statement about what they think is legitimate discussion.

    • Donald on August 12, 2015, 9:36 pm

      Yeah, nobody ever talks about Israeli crimes or Zionist racism at Mondoweiss. Every single article going back to the beginning has been about antisemitism. This might as well be a publication of Abe Foxman’s. Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Phil and Abe Foxman in the same room? Eh? Makes you think.

      • W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 10:07 pm

        Donald, yes, like you said he is being too harsh in his criticism because Mondoweiss’ main focus is Palestinian rights. Still, maybe there is at least a teeny tiny grain of truth in the value of including a range of Occupied Palestinian voices in this movement-wide controversy?

      • Danaa on August 13, 2015, 12:27 am

        Donald, I think paul meant what he said in the context of this particular discussion. Which is, if you missed it, about an organization called JVP that professes to circumscribe who can and who cannot join on the BDS bandwagon.

        I do agree with the sentiment that it is the Palestinians, not an organization with “Jewish” in their headline, that should have the main voice on the matter of BDS. It is for them this battle is being waged and it is the Palestinians that have their lives, liberty and dignity on the line every day, unlike the privileged, generally well-to-do jews of the west. Jews of the west, who, generally speaking are enabling the atrocious behavior of the jews of israel. IF Palestinians are happy to have nationalists of all stripes along for their fight, it’s their right and privilege to do because it’s their battle first and foremost.

        I never quite understood BTW what that “peace” stands for in “Jewish Voice for Peace”. Israel already has all the peace it wants – their motivation to give anything to the Palestinians is obviously nil. The battle is therefore not for “peace”. IT is for saving the Palestinian people from the worst fate israel’s great jewish planners have in store for them. That’s what we are all trying to prevent. This stopped being about a one-state, two-state long ago. It’s now about a people and their right to survive as people. Nationhood is part of this, but peoplehood more so.

        Anyways, I will be more inclined to take the JVP pronouncements, prohibitions and prescriptions more seriously if they were to drop both the “Jewish” and the “Peace” from the organization’s name. It seems quite strangely anachronistic now.

      • Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 11:17 pm

        Danaa great points. Does seem to be some need by JVP to direct, control, and determine who is in and who is out. And so spot on that what Palestinians think about this shake up should be front and center…Not JVP

    • Mooser on August 12, 2015, 9:51 pm

      “No acknowledgement of the hypocrisy of giving so much importance to “anti-Semitism” as racism and not a word about the racism inherent in the idea of a Jewish state, i.e. Zionism.”

      You got it backwards. How on earth can we indict the Zionists for their antisemitism if we practice it ourselves?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 12:02 pm

        Mooser,

        The answer would be that the grounds for indictment would be their hypocrisy between their primary goal and their prejudices. But anyway, that’s basically an intellectual excersize, since we shouldn’t be anti-semitic ourselves of course.

    • Paul Larudee on August 13, 2015, 3:00 pm

      Let’s suppose that Zionism never existed. Then Israel would not exist. Then the Palestinian nakba would not exist and no Palestinians would be refugees and there would be no occupation. So to what extent does anyone think Zionism is responsible for the problem? 90%? 99%?

      And would the nakba, the refugee problem and the occupation exist if the Palestinians were all Jews? Of course not. And what is that except racism?

      So yes, racism is at the root of the Palestinian problem. And what form of racism if not Zionism? And yet, the US Campaign considers Zionism irrelevant to its racism statement, and none of the three contributors to the “roundtable” even refers to this unassailable fact. That’s why this table gives only the merest hint of being round.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 3:32 pm

        paul fyi i queried adam and phil regarding their choices here. adam told me he selected the entries from reader’s submissions to mondoweiss. did you send something to us? just out of curiosity.

        So yes, racism is at the root of the Palestinian problem.

        hm, there’s an argument to be made that it is not. that argument being that that racism has to be backed up by power. there’s an argument to be made that without the support of US funding that racism alone would not be enough to sustain the oppression. so then it might behoove one to examine why it benefits US interests to maintain a key source of fitna in the ME region as a means to an end.

        it doesn’t mean the nakba, the refugee problem and the occupation would exist if Palestinians were all Jews. that’s rather beside the point. it’s the idea that Zionism is responsible for the 90-99% of the problem. zionism would have shriveled up and died a long time ago if it weren’t massively supported by the US. so the argument is really more along the lines of why does the US support this injustice. and while i completely understand the israel lobby manipulates congress, the reason why they get away with it is at least partly because there’s a fortune invested in fed funds propping up state economies and business enterprises that feed off war in the ME. completely divorcing that from the big picture or calling it one percent of the problem is, in itself, problematic. for example, look how much dick cheney’s halliburton made in the iraq war. do you really think he made that war happen solely to save israel?* it’s all interconnected. israel is right in the middle of it but it serves a purpose to the US. ignoring that is a form of denial.

        *that doesn’t mean the primary intent of other parties was not to expand israel’s power

      • ziusudra on August 14, 2015, 2:39 am

        RE.: Ms Annie,
        …Paul fyi……
        Bingo! Much tks.
        ziusudra

      • Paul Larudee on August 14, 2015, 2:39 am

        As you say, perhaps the choices reflect the limitations defined by the community of MW reader that also submit.. But does it then deserve to be called a roundtable? Why not look farther to get a wider perspective? Or add a disclaimer that it is not necessarily a particularly wide range of opinions.

        It is true but also trivial to say that racism unbacked by power will shrivel and die. And it is certainly not the case that the power is more important than the racism. Anti-Semitism is today racism without power, and look how important everyone seems to find it.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 4:23 am

        As you say, perhaps the choices reflect the limitations defined by the community of MW reader that also submit.

        iow, that would be a no. you made no attempt (whatsoever) to send something into mondoweiss.

        But does it then deserve to be called a roundtable?

        lol, why are you here paul. to discuss the topic or trash the site?

        Why not look farther to get a wider perspective?

        you mean some brilliant analysis like this: “Let’s suppose that Zionism never existed. Then Israel would not exist.” (joke)

        why? you were not able to read a ‘wider perspective’ where ever it is you hang out online? btw, i erred earlier in telling you that adam “selected the entries from reader’s submissions to mondoweiss.” these were in fact the only submissions sent in. we’re busy paul. there’s a lot going on right now — iran deal, jewish terrorism etc.

        just out of curiosity have you even read this thread? what perspective is it that is not represented here you’d like to see? why not just be the guru and enlighten us.

        It is true but also trivial to say that racism unbacked by power will shrivel and die.

        well, that makes two of us because i think your contributions to this thread are trivial too.

        And it is certainly not the case that the power is more important than the racism.

        triple yawn. this is primarily a colonialist expansionist project, try that without power. you’re going to have to step up your rhetorical game because declarations with “certainly” thrown in does not an argument make.

        Anti-Semitism is today racism without power, and look how important everyone seems to find it.

        everyone? like who? not me http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/semitic-israel-lobby

        i gotta go. sorry if i am not treating you with the deference you likely think you deserve. color me unimpressed.

      • Paul Larudee on August 14, 2015, 9:38 am

        Perhaps I was hasty in saying that Phil and Adam had deliberately circumscribed the discussion. I had no idea that the three opinions were the only ones received and that MW had no time to solicit wider views. That’s useful information for readers to have in understanding the choice of selections. Thank you.

        I’m not accusing you of thinking that anti-Semitism is so important, Annie, but apparently some people consider it important enough to expel IAK from the USCEIO, which is why we’re having this discussion.

        Sorry you think Zionism is trivial or a side issue. Guess we’ll have to disagree on that. I know a lot of Palestinians who don’t find it irrelevant, but I suppose they could be mistaken.

        In any case I hope you were able to stop yawning and get some sleep. You had a long day full of careful and constructive replies to most of the comments, even some that were not so respectful or misconstrued what you were saying.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 12:19 pm

        Sorry you think Zionism is trivial or a side issue. Guess we’ll have to disagree on that.

        no, it’s me who should apologize, it was late last night when i posted. i probably wasn’t clear enough. could you do me a favor and provide whatever quotes of mine you’re referencing here for context. i’d like to review whatever it is you’re working off of before my counter argument.

        Sorry you think colonializm is trivial or a side issue. Guess we’ll have to disagree on that. I know a lot of Palestinians who don’t find it irrelevant, but I suppose they could be mistaken.

    • ziusudra on August 14, 2015, 2:26 am

      Greetings Paul Larudee,
      Exactly, just keep killing the messenger.
      Where is the responsibility of the State of Israel, the Zionists, the blinded eye of the Military supporting Settler crimes, the rifle butt swinging soldiers, the weak justice system, the refusal to religuish
      confiscated tax money rebates, rationing off water, bulldosing homes, closing off Areas, etc!
      But don’t call them a Pariah or Apartheid State. That’s insulting & hurts their feelings.
      ziusudra

      [….]

    • Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 11:09 pm

      good points

  10. ritzl on August 12, 2015, 4:32 pm

    Weir hasn’t done anything her accusers haven’t done.

    JVP types appear on Zionist media all the time to get their message out, without challenging the base legitimacy of Zionism (ergo, embracing racism and racists). Blumenthal was accused of being an anti-semitic inspiration for the KC JCC shooter because some of his work was cited and secondary sourced by that murderer. Should they be thrown out of the movement? I think not. Same with Weir.

    But then heck, in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, Zionism may be an acceptable form of racism and/or bigotry.

    Something about sin and casting stones.

    The bigger question in this is why should/would anyone support a movement that continually hamstrings itself. A movement that refuses to do EVERYTHING politically possible to end the ongoing oppression and routine slaughter of Palestinians.

    Oh well.

    • Eva Smagacz on August 13, 2015, 6:54 am

      If it is OK for pro-palestinian Anti-Zionists to appear on Jewish supremacist media carrying message that everybody deserves equal human rights – in this case Palestinians,
      then
      it is OK for pro-palestinian Anti-Zionist to appear on White supremacist media carrying message that everybody deserves equal human rights – in this case Palestinians.

      It appears to me that many supporters of Palestinian rights are deeply forgiving about the attitudes that, when applied to Jews instead of Palestinians would be considered deeply anti-semitic.

      I call it tribal blindness – belief that our tribe is better, more ethical, “doesn’t really mean what it seems it means”, while, of course non-tribal members of the discourse are likely un-ethical (unless proved, repeatedly, otherwise) and they OF COURSE mean what the worse possible interpretation of their meaning can mean.

      Double standard. I believe it to be subconscious – it would be anti-semitic to think it is deliberate.

      • Marion on August 13, 2015, 10:14 am

        Thank you Eva.. Very important points that cut straight to what is a double standard argument on the part of those groups and individuals who have criticized Weir…

        All Americans should be included in this debate because it does affect us all, as long as our U.S. tax dollars are being spent to support Israel, our Congress blindly supports what truly is an apartheid state, and our government continues to veto any UN measures to bring the Zionist state to accountability..

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 11:37 am

        Eva,

        I wish you and Annie wrote articles on this topic, my dear. You are both excellent writers and I love your ability and desire for putting aside all presumptions to make objectivity, and especially your Solidarity with other Solidarity activists. It’s something that brings me to Mondoweiss.

        You made a good point. In truth, I think many of Weir’s actions or statements could be taken different ways. Appearing on a racist radio show could be taken to mean she approves of their racism, or it could mean, as she claims, that she is trying to at least lessen the intense anti-Palestinian intolerance among the far right, an intolerance shown by Breivik’s attack on Palestinian youth activists in Norway. Were someone to interact with Breivik, would they go through and focus on virulently challenging his overall unacceptable white supremacist worldview, or could they legitimately focus on two narrower issues – the importance of using civil advocacy (instead of the awful action he took) and the legitimacy of Palestinian activism (his targets) and Palestinian rights?

        If the latter, isn’t this comparable to Weir’s decision to attempt to disabuse Douglas’ audience of anti-Palestinian views?

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 1:51 pm

        @ Marion

        Exactly. Which is why Weir named her organization “If Americans Knew.” US foreign policy in the ME has been linked with the Palestinian plight for how many scores of years? Weir stands up as as a US citizen, and taxpayer, not a member of a tribe or religion.

      • RobertHenryEller on August 14, 2015, 11:08 am

        Solid points, Eva. Thanks.

    • Henry Norr on August 13, 2015, 9:28 pm

      Note that Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of JVP, recently had a column on the op-ed page of the Washington Post, and she didn’t challenge the Post’s political line – she stuck to her message. I think she was right to take advantage of the opportunity to get her piece Posted, and not to waste that limited opportunity on a scattershot critique of everything wrong with the paper’s editorial line. But it’s just another instance of the double standard JVP and friends are trying to apply to Alison.

      And ask yourself which does more harm to the people of the world, Clay Douglas’s podcasts or the WaPo editorial page!

      • Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 11:11 pm

        Thanks. Such a great point. Really does appear there are serious double standards coming out of JVP. Really does seem like some ego, territorial bs going on.

  11. Stephen Shenfield on August 12, 2015, 4:48 pm

    As the Counterpunch article seems to be the only substantive accusation against Alison Weir that is based on what she herself has said or written, let me clarify my comments on it.

    Organ harvesting, in Israel as elsewhere, is a criminal business. Its purpose is to make money. It has nothing to do with rituals that certain Jews may or may not have practiced in medieval times — the focus of Professor Toaff’s research. It is an international problem, though it does have a specifically Israeli aspect because the Israeli authorities are very lax in combating criminal business (this also applies to human trafficking, for instance). Israel is a center and haven for criminal business.

    Alison Weir does not explain why she adds a discussion of Toaff’s work at the end of the article. She does not say that there is a connection between present-day organ harvesting and medieval rituals, but she conveys the impression that such is her belief. And it is a belief that fits the worldview of conspiratorial anti-Semitism, so there are grounds here to suspect that she is an anti-Semite. However, she may have conveyed the impression unintentionally. She may simply have failed to think the matter through.

    Alison Weir being a prolific writer and speaker, if she really were an anti-Semite one would expect her critics to have found more evidence of it than this. It may be that she has borderline tendencies in the direction of anti-Semitism. Distress at Zionist atrocities, combined with limitations to her historical knowledge, may make her susceptible to absorbing some anti-Semitic ideas. If this is so, then harsh attacks on her may drive her further in that direction.

    Weir has raised the issue of possible ulterior motives behind the attacks on her. This possibility should also be considered. She thinks that the attacks come from people who though against the post-1967 occupation are uncomfortable with her thoroughgoing anti-Zionist viewpoint, with emphasis on the Nakba, right of return, etc. Such people may honestly confuse thoroughgoing anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

    After we have discussed this awhile, I hope that Alison will be given the opportunity to respond at length. That would only be fair.

    • Mooser on August 12, 2015, 9:53 pm

      “Stephen” there’s quite a bit of helpful material at and linked to at JSF concerning this. Worth reading.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 11:14 am

        Mooser!

        I have made reasonable, short comments on JSF’s articles against both Weir and Marxist Counterpunch writer Louis Proyect, and they have all been deleted soon after my posting. Yours however have remained. I want you to know that about the JSF blog, since there are some major problems with their articles. How can Elise Hendrick’s article on JSF denounce all Counterpunch Leftist writers like Amy Goodman and Chomsky, using the same logic as ETO, for allegedly condoning racism just because writers like Atzmon are also on Counterpunch?

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 3:09 pm

        “I have made reasonable, short comments on JSF’s articles against both Weir and Marxist Counterpunch writer Louis Proyect, and they have all been deleted soon after my posting. Yours however have remained.”

        The owner of the blog may delete my comments at any time he so chooses. It is his right.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 6:46 pm

        I happen to think my comments there criticizing those articles that you consider worth reading were worth reading too.

      • tree on August 13, 2015, 10:28 pm

        Mooser,

        I understand you are fond of JSF, but I think W.Jones’ comment has proven how problematic the site is. I think I can truthfully say that W. Jones is one of the most reasonable and considerate commenters here. If his comments at JSF are being deleted soon after they are made then it only reinforces my opinion of the website, which is that it isn’t really interested in debate or inquiry about an issue once it has declared its position. That’s certainly its right to do so, and to delete comments it doesn’t want to see the light of day on its website, but it certainly DOES NOT mean it is “helpful” or “worth reading”.

        I speak as someone who used to comment on JSF many many years ago, and seldom or ever had my comments deleted then, but grew tired of its provincial mentality, its petty disagreements with others in the movement, and its apparent lack of any substantial work intended to actually improve the lot of the Palestinians.

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 10:43 am

        “I happen to think my comments there criticizing those articles that you consider worth reading were worth reading too.”

        They probably were. I’m sure they were excellent, as a matter of fact!
        I know mine weren’t worth reading, but hey, I tried.

    • W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 10:03 pm

      Stephen,

      Alison Weir does not explain why she adds a discussion of Toaff’s work at the end of the article.
      Yes, she does, but if you missed it, she should have made it clearer. She said that it was to compare the intensity of the response to Bostrom that accused him of blood libel with the intensity of the response to an actual writer on the blood libel, Toaff.

      That is, her excuse or justification was that she was mentioning it to show how strong the outcry was against Bostrom, as if he had wrote on the libel himself.

      Actually when I read her article on organ harvesting I did not get the same impression you did that she was actually connecting the blood libel with current organ abuse. I read it as a side discussion that came up because Bostrum was being accused of the libel by others. Granted, one could infer that she was promoting it by mentioning it, but the inference is not a necessary one.

      As you say about the possibility of her being anti-Semitic: “she may have conveyed the impression unintentionally. .. It may be that she has borderline tendencies in the direction of anti-Semitism.” For all I know, most writers on the topic of the conflict could, individually, turn out to be secretly racist, but unless they are so explicitly, I try to avoid unneeded conclusions. I have found statements made by numerous prolific, progressive authors on this conflict that I find objectionable in the course of their writings, blog posts, and tweets. MJ Rosenberg for example made a tweet against a mainstream Passover ritual, for example, that I consider intolerant, offensive, and that I would not have made.

      • Sibiriak on August 13, 2015, 7:40 am

        W.Jones: Alison Weir does not explain why she adds a discussion of Toaff’s work at the end of the article.

        Yes, she does, but if you missed it, she should have made it clearer. She said that it was to compare the intensity of the response to Bostrom that accused him of blood libel with the intensity of the response to an actual writer on the blood libel, Toaff.

        ——————

        That’s an important point. I’ve looked pretty closely at that article, and even though the passages in question could be interpreted different ways and are perhaps poorly conceived, even perhaps “tone deaf”, her explanation seems reasonable enough.

        That leaves only two complaints on the End the Occupation list:

        1) She posted a piece by Roger Tucker in her blog which makes some arguably anti-Semitic arguments.

        2) She appeared on several different white-supremacists programs and “made little to no effort to challenge, confront, or rebut any of these views; on the contrary, she continued to appear on the show, placing Palestinian rights advocacy within the context of — rather than in opposition to — those views.”

        There is no charge that Ms. Weir herself is an anti-Semite.

        I personally believe those are reasonable complaints–but are they anywhere near substantial enough or serious enough to justify an official, public, coordinated campaign against her? It hardly seems so, especially given the mountain of good work she has done on behalf of the Palestinian cause.

      • Stephen Shenfield on August 13, 2015, 7:43 am

        Thank you, WJones. A closer reading of the article shows you are right. That means the case against Alison is not “very weak” (as I first thought) but totally fraudulent.

        The trouble is that most if not all Jews are so sensitized to anti-Semitism that they/we sense it even when it is not there. Evidently that applies to me too.

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 8:36 am

        “The trouble is that most if not all Jews are so sensitized to anti-Semitism that they/we sense it even when it is not there.”

        This applies in spades to MJ Rosenberg. He’s blocked folks on Twitter who I know value highly what he says, and agree with him very often.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 10:56 am

        Stephen,

        No, please don’t feel bad!

        One can’t always tell the writer’s intent from reading an essay.

        Just imagine how many opposing views and interpretations people arrive at when reading the Bible.

        And not all Jews are so sensitized as you suggest. Look at all the JVP members who signed Weir’s defense petition, mon ami.

        It would be one thing if the statements and actions in the ETO Statement represented 80% of Weir’s work. If they did, we could note that there is some crypto antisemite with minimal prominence or writings named Alison Weir and not care about her enough to denounce her. But they represent under 5% of her life’s work and outlook. Maybe under 0.01%. Shouldn’t that paucity require a different assessment of her actions?

        Thanks for your commentary. I wish everyone came at this from Susan Landau’s perspective.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 11:11 am

        Сибиряк!
        Sibiriak!

        Please say what you consider to be a better response to Tucker’s article.

        (A) Not every passage in an article need be considered individually approved of by an editor of a blog. Look at the occasional intolerant statements Ellis has made. I wouldn’t attribute them to Phil.

        (B) Go through and parse each sentence in the two passages by Tucker to explain how they are not necessarily anti-Semitic. For example, Lazare was the author of the phrase “J’accuse” made famous by Zola later. Lazare made this phrase while defending Dreyfus in the scandal in France. So the passage Tucker quoted was certainly not advocating anti-semitism, as Lazare was an intense opponent of anti-Semitism.

      • Sibiriak on August 13, 2015, 2:56 pm

        @W. Jones I’d go with (A) if I had to choose.

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 3:13 pm

        “The trouble is that most if not all Jews are so sensitized to anti-Semitism that they/we sense it even when it is not there.”

        Well, I can’t argue how sensitive anybody is, but it might be that lots of American Jews have so little experience with antisemitism they have a hard time recognizing it, or knowing how to deal with it. Or put it in proportion.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 6:42 pm

        Sibiriak,

        As to A), yes there are several things I found on MW that are offensive like some of Ellis’, but I don’t ascribe them to Phil. Jennifer Hitchcock replied that MW was a “forum” but Weir hosted it on her personal blog. Personally I find the distinction artificial. Can you think of any case that applies to personal blogs, comparable to at least two of Ellis’ statements on MW? That is, can you think of personal blogs where the owner doesn’t necessarily agree with every offensive passage in the things he/she posts?

  12. mtorres on August 12, 2015, 5:05 pm

    I’ve been doing this work far too long not to recognize the attack on Weir for what it is – to telegraph a message of absolute censorship and destruction should others want to expose what she has exposed to the general public eye and a way to split, decimate, and neutralize the solidarity movement at a point it is finally gaining ground .

    This attack is not about racism and never was. If racism were the concern of JVP and US Campaign, they would have condemned ALL racism. Instead they make self-righteous statements of opposition to racism and then name TWO only: anti-semitism and Islamophobia, while the racism that is at the core of this struggle, Zionism, is not even hinted at. What hypocrisy, and it is this that gives the lie to their purported reasons for their attack on Weir.

    One of the most puzzling aspects of JVP’s and Campaign’s justification of this attack on Alison is their statement that she has “legitimized” racism by appearing on certain shows (Joseph Munyer of USC said exactly that on FB posts), yet the organizations refuse to see the contradiction and hypocrisy when they work with Zionist groups, thereby giving “legitimacy” to the racism of Zionism – remembering that across the globe, Zionism is recognized as racism. It IS, on its face, racism.

    The reason for the attack against Alison is that she exposed Jewish power in the US, the rather stunning power that resulted in the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state. She was certainly not the first to do that – it’s been written about for years (long before Atzmon), including extensively in the Daily Forward for decades – but she put it into easily readable form available to the public and substantiated and confirmed it with solid research and references. This is not allowed. It is “beyond thinkable thought”, as Chomsky says.

    The Jewish community speaks with pride about it’s presence and influence in many areas, as would any oppressed or formerly oppressed group. That in itself is not a bad thing, but to destroy a movement because someone outside that community said the very same thing, is evil. The hypocrisy and contradictions in this attack are almost beyond comprehension.

    I also believe concern about that revelation is why Chomsky and Bennis, so good on nearly everything else, refuse to recognize the power of the Lobby in the face of all evidence to the contrary. They, and certainly we, are all concerned about a real rise in anti-Jewish racism.

    It’s a very slippery slope, isn’t it? No sane person wants to see a repeat of the 1930s and 40s, so we avoid talking about things that might generate a similar anger again. And yet the things being done by Israel in the name of Jews everywhere are exactly the things that generate deep anger and contempt against nations that do such things and against people who are perceived to support them. It is those actions, that state in its current configuration, that must end, not the work of people exposing them.

    As long as that state insists that it is the state for all Jews, and that it speaks for all Jews, all Jews get tarred with the ugliness, even my Jewish husband who has been in the struggle for Palestinian freedom longer than I have – almost 35 years.

    For Jewish groups, or Jewish-led groups, to split the movement (one simply cannot deny that is what has happened, and what was surely expected to happen) is so transparent and completely unacceptable that there is almost nothing more to say on it.

    I have been saying for years that there would come a time when our erstwhile allies split away from us, for many are not in the struggle for Palestine – they are in it for Israel. They want to end the occupation because it is clearly harmful to Israel. They believe that once the occupation and siege are ended, Israel can continue to live as an apartheid state and the world will leave them alone.

    After we lose those folks, I thought, the next to go will be those who are afraid of the exposures needed to finally get to justice. Perhaps I had the timing backward, for this is where we are now. It will take great courage on all our parts to lay out the reality and to demand a change, to demand that power be used for justice, not for continuing apartheid and a false sense of security.

    Just for the record, I’m thoroughly familiar with the arguments against racism, about ends and means, about the need to fight racism wherever we find it and have been a significant part of that struggle all my life. That is NOT what this is about, and the very people saying it is are themselves working with racists.

    • pianoteacher on August 12, 2015, 11:33 pm

      Well said.
      Very well said indeed.
      Thank you.

    • RoHa on August 13, 2015, 9:31 am

      You are right. The whole thing is a beat-up to smear Weir, discredit her work (by argumentum ad hominem, as Krendall Mist points out) and split the opposition to Israel.

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 2:58 pm

        ” The whole thing…”

        …is that JVP won’t be partnering with Weir. Since Ms. Weir doesn’t use JVP resources, this should not impede her at all.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 3:45 pm

        Since Ms. Weir doesn’t use JVP resources, this should not impede her at all.

        not really mooser. it put a lot of people in very uncomfortable positions and here’s why. often there are conferences in towns and cities that include multiple groups. for example sabeel conferences (fosna). these conferences hold great workshops covering a range of topics. they work with both jvp and weir on a very regular basis. also, many jvp members are in other groups too. so does that mean if, in another group they are in, that group might host an event with alison that activists standing within jvp would be compromised? so what would sabeel do if jvp said ‘i won’t be in that conference if weir is in it’. it makes sabeel have to choose. and in that instance if they wanted a speaker from jvp (like for example rabbi rosen) then they would not be able to organize with alison. so yes, it can impede her.

      • RockyMissouri on August 13, 2015, 4:38 pm

        I agree. And we all suffer from that ….

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 6:05 pm

        ” these conferences hold great workshops covering a range of topics. they work with both jvp and weir on a very regular basis.”

        Oh no. I wasn’t aware they worked that closely. Yes, having them both at the same event now could be problematic. As could choosing one or the other. What a mess.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 6:28 pm

        Yes, Mooser, it’s a mess.

    • RockyMissouri on August 13, 2015, 12:04 pm

      mtorres: Heroic and truthful. Thank you.

    • MRW on August 13, 2015, 11:10 pm

      @mtorres, great post.

      What I am about to write is from memory, faulty memory, and I don’t have the time to verify my facts. In chapter three of historian Charles Payne’s marvelous 1998 (?) book I’ve Got the Light of Freedom about the civil rights movement, he describes the work that Ella Baker did.

      Baker was the real engine behind the civil rights movement. She was doing it before MLK was born, and organizing before Alinsky got the idea, btw. MLK gets all the glory for his oratory and Coretta King has worked diligently to burnish his legend since he died. Mousa Abu Maria and Bekah Wolf (co-founders of the Palestine Solidarity Project) wrote a wonderful piece on Baker here at MW in 2010: The Lost Lesson of the Civil Rights Movement.

      Payne’s book is interviews with civil rights leaders about what they did and what they remember. In his book, and here is where my faulty memory may apply, a couple of people describe how Baker was excoriated—that’s isn’t le mot juste—for hobnobbing with the enemy, rich white women in fur coats who were married to the titans responsible for, and maintaining, the white status quo.

      Baker scoffed it off, and sneered at the notion that she was not allowed to talk to the people responsible for diminishing black lives. She called it ‘building a bridge’. And she insisted that it be done without embarrassing the white matrons whose knowledge of black lives was nil. Her point was opening a dialogue.

      Vilkomerson, et al, would do well to study her approach. At the very least, read Mousa Abu Maria and Bekah Wolf’s take on Baker, they might learn something. Weir isn’t preaching to the choir, she’s working in enemy territory, as mtorres so eloquently points out.

      • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 10:29 am

        Very good point, MRW! But I would suggest that in this case, a good parallel would be activists willing to work with and talk to Zionists for strategic reasons, which many on this thread seem to be against. Baker was working with the equivalent of the “white moderates” targeted by MLK as well (though not by Malcolm X), right? These wealthy white women Baker worked with would not really be the parallel to white supremacists, would they?

        But what if Weir’s approach harms the movement’s ability to read such potentially persuadable “white moderates”?

      • MRW on August 16, 2015, 2:33 am

        @jhitchcock,

        But I would suggest that in this case, a good parallel would be activists willing to work with and talk to Zionists for strategic reasons

        Actually, I don’t think so; that’s FAR too selective. Besides, what are Zionists going to do about the I/P problem except talk about it for another 10 years? It’s the “tell me more about mah eyes” syndrome that causes Zionists to elbow themselves into every issue with their anti-semitism charges, trying to restore 1938 glory, and everyone is getting really really really fed up with it.

        Lotsa and lotsa white supremacist groups are pro-Israel, some rabidly so, at least on the surface. It seems to go with FOX News territory if you’re a big-time FOX supporter. Ditto the Christian Evangelicals (except for lovely people like Rich and Betsy who have commented here over the years), Dispensationalists, etcetera, etcetera.

        You’re probably too young to know or remember, but Menachem Begin and Yitzak Shamir started the whole Evangelical/Religious Right/Jewish cock-up in the late 70s when Begin called Jerry Falwell and said our religions agree on nothing but we both hate homosexuality, so let’s get rid of that together. Falwell fell for the flattery. They were going to get rid the US of homosexuality. Falwell never stopped to ask and declare, What business is it of yours, Begin? Clean up your own backyard.

        Then Begin very cleverly would not talk to newly-elected Reagan except through Falwell (and occasionally Robertson, I think) and that’s how Begin created/started voting support for Israel’s issues throughout the south. The US 1985 trade agreement with Israel—the first US one—which screwed American businesses, and gave Israel enormous benefits with no reciprocity, would never have been possible without the Religious Right support softening the blow. Falwell loved the direct White House access—he had his own WH phone, as did the later married Colorado pastor [ed.- Ted Haggard] who got caught having rough anal sex with his exercise teacher–and Falwell’s accruing power.

        So Weir is walking into the belly of the beast. If the Evangelical and Baptist churches go the way of the Presbyterian, Methodist, and United churches in decrying what is being done to Palestinians with US support, then it’s game over for those medieval right-wingers and murderous settler Brooklynites in Israel who think they can get away with what they are doing in Gaza, which is a horror. In fact, real anti-semitism.

        Who is willing to go on the Christian Right/White Supremacist television and radio shows here and tell them it is even an issue? You?

    • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 10:45 am

      mtorres: I’m just curious about your thoughts on the earlier Atzmon issue?

      Was his disavowel legitimate vs. Weir’s, which you think is not?

      And if it was also similarly not legitimate to disavow Atzmon, than how do you feel about “erstwhile allies” like many of the Palestinian founders of the BDS movement themselves publicly disavowing him? Because Barghouti, Abunimah, and the BNC, etc. are all also “not in the struggle for Palestine – they are in it for Israel” too? http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/palestinian-and-palestine-solidarity-activists-issue-critique-and-condemnation-of-gilad-atzmon

      In that case are the Palestinian leaders of the BDS movement also not genuine in their struggle for justice?

      Just curious because there are two different arguments (among many others) going on here. Either all disavowels and disassociations for antisemitism and bigotry are inappropriate and divisive (including both Atzmon and Weir). Or that Atzmon’s case was different and justified, whereas the case of Weir is not. Which side of that argument are you on?

      Thanks.

      • mtorres on August 14, 2015, 2:02 pm

        Joan Hitchcock – your comment with questions is an odd one. You base your questions to me on positions I never took and never addressed, and then, by tone and inflection, paste me for them. Are you familiar with straw men arguments? Let’s not do that here.

        Atzmon? We’re talking here about the JVP/USC attack on Alison Weir and IAK, not Atzmon. My only reference to him was to say that he was far from the first to expose the lethal level of power Israel/American Jewish community holds over American policy, academia, and more. There is simply too much documented research out there to deny that, so let’s move on.

        That pretty much takes care of all your questions, though I would like to speak for a moment about “disavowel”.

        – The attack began with an accusation that Weir was supporting racism by appearing on un-pc shows and before we knew it, it turned into a condemnation of her for not speaking out against racism.

        – the very first organizational piece she wrote was a condemnation of anti-semitism!

        – Neither JVP not USC will condemn the very racism that is the source of the suffering: Zionism. They name two others, slam her for one, and completely overlook the fact that they are apparently fine with Zionism. THIS is the elephant in the living room and one neither organization has chosen to explain. It is one of the most critical aspects of this unconscionable and deliberately destructive attack. The other is the deliberate ignoring of the real reason for the attack: her book and the information she exposed to the general public.

        – Both organizations regularly appear on right wing shows, thereby “giving legitimacy to those views”, as Weir has been accused of doing. Is it even possible that you and they don’t see the contradiction and the hypocrisy here?

        – Our work is SUPPOSED to be Palestine solidarity work, but here we are, spending weeks and hours and unimaginable energy talking about not Palestine, but Israel, Jews, Zionism, in a disgusting eternal navel gazing exercise that functions to achieve EXACTLY what the old call for “dialogue” once did – stop the work, marginalize people, and talk about everything but Palestine.

        I repeat: the attack was not about racism. It is about the exposure of a level of power the American people have every right to know about, in spite of the fact that it is forbidden in public conversation. That’s the old slippery slope.

        I also repeat from my earlier comment: No sane person wants to see a repeat of the 1930s and 40s, so we avoid talking about things that might generate a similar anger again. And yet the things being done by Israel in the name of Jews everywhere are exactly the things that generate deep anger and contempt against nations that do such things and against people who are perceived to support them. It is those actions, that state in its current configuration, that must end, not the work of people exposing them.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 2:25 pm

        Is it even possible that you and they don’t see the contradiction and the hypocrisy here?

        giving jennifer the benefit of the doubt, i do think it’s very possible she doesn’t see the hypocrisy. re your mention of straw men arguments, i pointed out to jennifer in my first comment here her initial article above was riddled with these sort of false equivalence arguments they teach in the hasbara handbook. i think it’s possible ms hitchcock is very young. i do think she’s in way over her head.

        this is interesting:

        I repeat: the attack was not about racism. It is about the exposure of a level of power the American people have every right to know about

        i was just discussing racism and power w/paul larudee.

      • Sibiriak on August 14, 2015, 4:13 pm

        mtorres: The attack began with an accusation that Weir was supporting racism by appearing on un-pc shows and before we knew it, it turned into a condemnation of her for not speaking out against racism.
        ————-

        1) The shows in question are not merely “un-pc”; they are propagating racist, antisemitic white nationalist excrement.

        2) The complaint was not so much about her appearance on the shows, but her performance .

        See this transcript:

        Alison Weir on The Free American Hour, August 25, 2010
        http://ifamericansknewalisonweir.com/2011/03/25/transcript-alison-weir-on-the-free-american-hour-august-25-2010/

        Clay Douglas propagates his vile worldview, rambling on about such topics as his posting of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; the Zionist plan for a Communistic One World Government; David Duke’s indignation that a giant Jewish menorah can be erected in the White House while Christian Christmas symbols are banned; how Jews started WWI for evil purposes; how Jewish bankers were the money behind the New World Order; how they turned on the good German people, declared war on them and paved the way to WWII; how Jewish Bolsheviks murdered 60 million white Christian Russians; how evil Communism was just “Judaism for the Masses”; and so on.

        Allison Weir does at one point insist that not all Jews are Zionists (as does Douglas himself), but that cautionary note is lost in the flood of anti-Semitic themes, practically none of which are challenged or condemned by Weir.

        Apart from her supporting Douglas on the dual-citizenship issue and a few others, Weir’s main contribution is to raise the issue of how Zionists today are cruelly oppressing the Palestinian people. True enough! In fact, everything Weir says may be absolutely true, but in the context of the program the actual net effect is to support and reinforce Clay Douglas’s grotesque ideology.

        I’m sure she is completely well -intentioned, but I think it is utterly misguided to think there is any value in her placing Palestinian rights advocacy “within the context of — rather than in opposition to”. – a racist, anti-Semitic worldview.

        Having said all that, it has to be emphasized, as W. Jones has done, that these appearances on racist, anti-Semitic programs constitutes just a tiny, tiny fraction of Ms. Weir’s work.

        As I wrote earlier, these complaints regarding Ms. Weir do not seem to be anywhere near substantial enough or serious enough to justify an official, public, coordinated campaign against her, especially given the mountain of good work she has done on behalf of the Palestinian cause.

        Annie Robbins wrote: ” i read the complaints against weir and recognized/acknowledged their cause for concern. but ultimately i think the movement would be better served by a unification as opposed to a division. “

        I agree completely. It’s a shame that this whole thing couldn’t have been handled quietly with Ms. Weir choosing to stop appearing on such shows.

        But as this MW thread and debates elsewhere have revealed, there is a profound ideological dispute being played out in this affair that far overshadows the particular details of the complaints.

      • Keith on August 14, 2015, 6:19 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “But as this MW thread and debates elsewhere have revealed, there is a profound ideological dispute being played out in this affair that far overshadows the particular details of the complaints.”

        I see it primarily as an yet another attempt to assert the power of a core group of what I refer to as tribal anti-Zionists. It isn’t just Alison Weir or even Gilad Atzmon that ran afoul of JVP’s attempt at controlling the discussion, it also includes Norman Finkelstein and Greta Berlin. Basically, if JVP doesn’t like what you are doing/saying, they tell you to change and if you don’t you are excommunicated. It is all dressed up as opposition to racism and for the good of the cause, but the reality is that JVP is using the anti-Semitism club to exert control of the BDS doctrinal system. These tribal anti-Zionists utilize the same appeals to eternal Jewish suffering and victimhood and the sanctity of the Holocaust that Zionists do, their anti-Zionism merely Zionism’s echo, all utilized to achieve Jewish solidarity and exclusivity without the onus of Israeli actions. Am I wrong? Too many good people have been banished for this to be other than a conscious elimination of those who get in the way. I conclude by simply saying that this ongoing, never ending search for anti-Semites and anti-Semitism is a totally misplaced emphasis which, nonetheless, serves the purpose of those who employ this tactic.

    • Linda J on August 14, 2015, 2:57 pm

      What Weir’s critics are saying to Americans: “You can’t handle the truth!” Which if true, means much of the U.S. Pal Solidarity work is futile, which I certainly do not believe.

  13. Danaa on August 12, 2015, 5:09 pm

    I have been following with interest the attempts by two organizations, one entirely jewish (JVP) to put a non-Jewish long time activist and writer, into Herem. This crazy “hunting for anti-semites” campaign by members of the “sanctioned left”, leave a funny after-taste reminder of the great bolshevik/troskiite purity fights of the early 20th century in western Europe. If most of us have no clue what those “great battles” were about, it’s probably because they were about nothing in particular. That is to say, nothing other than the usual power battles that take place inside every movement – right or left. In retrospect, viewing the European communist movements from a century away, they seem to have been guilty of one thing above all – a tendency to cantankerousness. And so it seems with the purity advocates of JVP etc.

    Personally, I happen to think that the entire tapestry of accusations of “anti-semitism” are bogus to start with, reflecting more than anything the paranoia in certain Jewish left circles. Something that leads to a “circling of the wagons”. We see this strain of intolerance coming out whenever Ron Paul’s name comes up, or anyone who is Libertarian, or anyone who is basically not following the prescribed allowed and not allowed actions. Or some who come from a very Christian direction, who might dare to question the superiority of the jewish historical narrative (supercessionism anyone?). Or, heaven forbid, some who ask serious questions about historical events, including the times leading up to WWII or the Bolshevik revolution. Or, the worst of all worsts, anyone who comes from a purely American, non-jewish-centric viewpoint. All such people get apparently denounced as ‘right wing” and/or suffering from some peculiar form of latent “anti-semitism” (whatever that is), which has something to do with the suspect strain of “nationalism” contaminated with “whiteness”.

    Having failed to find any actual anti-semitic pronouncements by Allison Weir herself, they now seek to smear her by association. Just as they did to Greta Berlin and many others. After all, she gave interviews to the ‘wrong” people. Wrong, being defined as anything on the “right”, which has the unspoken theme of “white”, or more generally, anything not on “the sanctioned liberal left”. Those darn anglo-saxons! how dare they?

    I understand very well why MW chose to stay away from the controversy. My guess is that the vast majority of MW readers and commenters will want to have nothing to do with the stipulations and assertions by one self-righteous organization, one with an ax to grind, one that seeks to control and channel the terms of discourse. There is very little to gain from even as much as ‘debating” the questions of who is and who isn’t anti-semitic, or what anti-semitism is or how it is different than any other anti. This whole technique of smearing others by association has been around the left for a long time, and not just in BDS circles. Which, IMO, as I said above, i has more to do with a tendency, especially among the radical jewish left to turn on the non-Jewish-at-heart, not-left-enough.

    There, I said it! i made what some might consider an anti-semitic statement. But is it really? or did I just make a bit of a generalization just as JVP does?

    My basic take is, that when we take off all the dressings and emotional hoopla, what this is really all about is an attempt to make BDS a movement of the left. Not just the left, but the “pure” left. heaven forbid that we listen to criticism of israel coming from the right. After all, anything that’s considered “on the right” is suspect, almost by definition. Alas, in doing so, the sanctioned “left” and especially the “Jewish left” (which tends to lump BDS with other causes, including gender issues, and so-called “social justice”) will end up shooting themselves in the foot. Ultimately, for BDS to have an effect we need the vast majority of non-Jewish people in the world to join in. And this non-Jewish majority includes people who, for example, may come from a christian religious space, or a non gay loving space, or a non-immigration promoting place, or a “national” space.

    May be that’s the basic problem – Allison Weir is just not liberal enough for JVP and like-minded. So her anti-zionism is suspect. And being a prolific writer and commenter I have no doubt that something somewhere in her work will strike a note of dissonance with the jewish audience. And if the ‘something” is insufficiently “liberal” then it won’t pass the infamous ‘smell test” that only some noses are authorized to apply.

    • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 9:35 am

      @ Danaa

      RE: “Or, the worst of all worsts, anyone who comes from a purely American, non-jewish-centric viewpoint. All such people get apparently denounced as ‘right wing” and/or suffering from some peculiar form of latent “anti-semitism” (whatever that is), which has something to do with the suspect strain of “nationalism” contaminated with “whiteness””

      Glad you brought this up; I’ve seen it a lot over the years, including on Mondoweiss’ full stretch of years. I think it a significant factor with the denunciation of Weir. If
      she’s not a patriotic and humanitarian American in the values best sense, I don’t know who is. She’s doing excellent civic duty. She’s not remotely tribal nor white supremacist.

    • Marion on August 13, 2015, 10:37 am

      Excellent points ..

      And I will add that it puts the credibility of those groups opposed to Weir in question, as to how serious they are in doing what is necessary to once and for all bring justice to the Palestinian people.

      Can one truly be both pro-Zionist and pro-Palestinian rights ?

      • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 10:52 am

        Sorry, Marion, but I think it is a bit of a mischaracterization to refer to JVP or ETO as “pro-Zionist.” That is simply false.

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 1:51 pm

        Hello, Jennifer.

        JVP’s position is as follows:

        San Francisco Jewish Community Center Still Bans JV P

        The funny thing is, JVP is not even anti-Zionist. But our crime is that we’re not Zionist either. We have members who span the spectrum.

        http://muzzlewatch.com/2007/01/23/san-francisco-jewish-community-center-still-bans-jvp/#sthash.WDbXhTFa.dpuf

        Notice also JVP’s Facebook entry:

        Jewish Voice for Peace
        December 22, 2014 ·

        JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson helps propel “Progressive except for Palestine” into mainstream discourse
        Can Liberal Zionists Count On Hillary Clinton?
        With Israel turning rightward and U.S. politicians following, what’s a left-leaning American Jewish voter to do?
        nytimes.com|By Jason Horowitz

        https://www.facebook.com/JewishVoiceforPeace/posts/10153420688999992

        According to Weir’s critics, posting an article must mean that you agree with everything in it, as shown by the Tucker essay posting controversy, so JVP must agree with this article supporting liberal Zionism.

        See also JVP’s statement:

        Q: Are you Zionist, anti-Zionist, post-Zionist or something else?

        A: JVP is an organization with a wide spectrum of ideological diversity. Our members hold a wide variety of views on many issues involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict. This diversity has been a great source of strength for JVP. The organization welcomes people from many different political points of view, asking only that they hold to our core principles. Those political points of connection include the following:


        • Interest groups within the United States, such as the Christian Zionist lobby, the arms and aerospace industry lobbies, and right-leaning Jewish organizations, have a vested interest in maintaining the Occupation. But since the Occupation threatens the peace and security of the Middle East, the true interests of the United States, as well as those of Palestinians and Israelis, lie in ending the Occupation.

        Notice that!

        JVP demands its members accept that the US interest is in ending the Occupation.

        But turning to JVP’s Statement against Weir, it says that Weir’s framing is “a form of chauvinistic nationalism that absolves American interest in perpetuating injustice“.

        So JVP demands its members accept that the US interest is against the occupation, but in banning Weir, it complains that she absolves American interest in the injustice.

        Next, the JVP membership policy says:

        • We firmly state that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize the policies of the government of the State of Israel or the policies of the Jewish establishment in the US. But we also believe that actual anti-Semitism is alive and well and is mostly misunderstood both on the left and in the mainstream.

        How exactly does JVP believe that most of the US Left misunderstands anti-Semitism, outside the issue of criticizing the Israeli government and what JVP calls the “Jewish establishment”?
        According to an ADL world survey, anti-Semitism in the US is in the single digits, IIRC.

        As for ETO, they do not take a position, however Phyllis Bennis its key figure said in an interview:

        JAY: And a big part of that was in fact the many leaders of the Zionist movement actually lobbying Congress and the president, Truman, not to let Jews in. There’s a quote from Truman where Truman says, I don’t understand these Jews; I’m willing to stick my neck out, and I don’t even–there’s a great quote where he says, I don’t even particularly like these people, but I’ll stick my neck out, we’ll let them in, and then I have Jewish Zionists coming and telling me not to do it.

        BENNIS: Right. And there were others on the other side saying, you must let them in. But that was the decision.

        JAY: Including, I believe, the publisher of The New York Times at the time. He took that position.

        BENNIS: That would be consistent with their editorial position. I don’t know about the specific quote from Oakes at the time, but it’s–.

        JAY: I did some research on this. The publisher of The New York Times was actually very critical of how the Zionists were blocking Jews from getting into the United States.

        http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11114

        Do you think that this history should have been aired by Bennis, and how does it compare to Weir’s discussion of sensitive, important areas of US-Israeli history?

  14. Henry Norr on August 12, 2015, 5:16 pm

    As someone who has worked with Alison Weir from time to time over more than a decade, has recently been actively involved in defending her, and who is also a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, I have a lot of comments on these posts. For the moment, just two suggestions about other very pertinent materials:

    1) In addition to these posts, people who want to understand this issue owe it to themselves and to the movement to read Alison’s direct responses to the allegations against her, which are posted at http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/accusations.html
    (Jennifer Hitchcock’s piece includes a couple of links to that page, but doesn’t explicitly identify it as including Alison’s responses.)

    2) By the same token, I’d strongly urge everyone to take a look at the open letter defending Alison, which has now been signed by more than 1,800 activists, journalists, and scholars – including many Palestinians – at tinyurl.com/StopDivisiveAttacks
    Among the signers:

    Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University, and former Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine, UN Human Rights Council.

    Samia Khoury, founding member of the board of Trustees of Birzeit University and Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre

    Ann Wright, retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat turned peace activist; passenger on 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla; co-organizer and passenger on Gaza Freedom Flotillas 2011 & 2015; co-organizer of 2009 Gaza Freedom March.

    Bassem Tamimi, Palestinian Popular Resistance Movement, Nabi Saleh

    Iyad Burnat, Palestinian grassroots activist, Bil’in Popular Committee

    Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities, Co-Founder Al-Awda-Palestine Right to Return Coalition.

    Hedy Epstein, Holocaust survivor; St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee; Jewish Voice for Peace – St. Louis** , Free Gaza Movement

    Paul Findley, former US Congressman, Illinois, author of “They Dare to Speak Out,” the first book on the modern Israel lobby

    James Abourezk, former Senator, South Dakota, founder of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

    Arun Gandhi, Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute

    Ray McGovern, Retired CIA officer turned peace activist. Co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

    • Henry Norr on August 12, 2015, 5:58 pm

      A third important commentary I should have included in my previous comment: an article called “The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook,” by Jack Dresser, Ph.D., national vice-chair, Veterans for Peace working group on Palestine and the Middle East, and Co-Director of Al-Nakba Awareness Project in Eugene, Oregon , posted last week on Counterpunch

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/03/the-case-of-alison-weir-two-palestinian-solidarity-organizations-borrow-from-joe-mccarthys-playbook/

      (Hitchcock calls Counterpunch “a questionable publication.” To me that’s stunning: While there are certainly posts on that site I don’t agree with, it’s an invaluable forum for critical political commentary. Besides, what kind of mindset want publications not to be “questionable”? )

      Finally (for now), get yourself a copy of the book Alison published last year, “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel”
      http://www.amazon.com/Against-Our-Better-Judgment-History/dp/149591092X/
      – a book this site has determinedly neglected, even while devoting more than half a dozen posts to John Judis’ “Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict,” which was published at about the same time.

      I challenge anyone to point to a single sentence in Alison’s book or in her extensive footnotes that is anti-Semitic or otherwise racist.

      • annie on August 12, 2015, 7:44 pm

        determinedly neglected? henry, maybe you forgot i asked if you wanted to review it. we had an email discussion about it.

      • Mooser on August 12, 2015, 10:19 pm

        As I understand it, JVP is refusing to affiliate with Allison Weir.
        I think that is as far as they have gone.

      • aiman on August 13, 2015, 8:00 am

        Mooser: “As I understand it, JVP is refusing to affiliate with Allison Weir. I think that is as far as they have gone.”

        In the same way the Rabbis and Athenian jurors ‘refused to affiliate’ with Jesus and Socrates respectively. Yeah, right.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 9:10 am

        Mooser,

        They banned working with her, not just cosponsoring events or affiliation.

        It’s like Hillel’s ban on working with BDS organizations.

        Hence…

        Open JVP?

      • Henry Norr on August 13, 2015, 11:12 am

        I’m actually I’m actually trying to reply not to myself but to Annie Robbins’ reply to me, and for some reason there’s no “Reply” link below her message. In any case, just to clarify, you did ask me about reviewing the book, and I said yes, but also that I wouldn’t be able to get to it for a while. When I finally did, Phil said no (and also said some things about the book that he said he’d’ “heard” were flat-out wrong, totally).

        In hindsight, of course, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t make the time to do the review while I might have been able to get it posted here. In that sense I take part of the responsibility for its never having been discussed here.

        But I don’t think you can fairly put it all on me. Try this simple exercise: use the search field on this site to search for “John Judis” and “Genesis” (the name of his book about Truman, the lobby, and Israel), and you’ll get a whole page of hits, including at least 10 with Judis’ name in the title of the post. Now search for “Alison Weir” and “Against Our Better Judgement,” and how many hits do you get? Zero!

      • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 11:24 am

        Henry, I also agree that people should read her defenses, her blog, her book, etc. Make up your own minds, please. But I also wanted people to understand the possible reasoning for JVP, USC, and others to criticize some of her work and choose not to want to work with her (again, I don’t speak for them), partly since her defenses aren’t exactly always fair in addressing her critics. The description of the situation in the letter in support of her also somewhat mischaracterizes the situation as well, which is why I think some of the signatories signed it to begin with.

        Many people haven’t read her book or her blogs or articles and mostly know IAK from their other completely legitimate work, which as I have said, is good and useful.

        I think JVP and USC avoided making this all public to begin with because they wanted to avoid any divisiveness or distraction from other important activist work. But remember it was Weir who first came out swinging publicly. JVP and USC quietly approached her and later took action quietly, only after Weir was defiant and not willing to address their criticisms (which had probably been building up for years, but which the organizations did not want to voice publicly). JVP and USC only published their rationale AFTER Weir began publicly, and I would argue, unfairly, attacking them.

        So if publicly discussing this is causing any “division,” then Weir deserves at least as much if not significantly more blame for being the first one to go on the public attack.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 2:06 pm

        jennifer, just thought i would mention that the idea that one can be ‘private’ about a communication sent out to about 60 chapters requires the assumptions that each of those chapter heads will be silent while explaining to their chapters why they won’t be organizing with weir. and all of the people privy to that information will remain silent. i think this is a ‘whisper’ situation that under the circumstances can easily be expected to spin out of jvp control. reminds me of someone saying ‘i only posted an inflammatory video in a private forum with 1000 people’ — and therefore it’s you that “deserves at least as much if not significantly more blame for being the first one to go on the public attack.”

        really?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 1:13 pm

        Please do the review, Henry! It’s very timely!
        Let us know what happens!

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 1:57 pm

        thanks forgetting back to me henry. i didn’t know that. and it wasn’t my intention to ‘put it all on you’, i just recalled our conversation and my recollection was we both just had not gotten around to it. book reviews take a long time to research vs other kinds of articles simply because one has to spend hrs reading the book. i didn’t know your source for “determinedly”. now i know. it could have been that by the time you approached phil the controversy had developed further. i don’t know.

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 2:00 pm

        @ Annie Robbins

        Review it? That book by Weir has never even been mentioned on Mondoweiss except by Mr. Norr today. Why is that, considering its subject? Has the National Summit ever been mentioned on Mondoweiss? I don’t recall so. If not, why not? I don’t mean in a comment, I mean in an article.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 2:13 pm

        Has the National Summit ever been mentioned on Mondoweiss? I don’t recall so.

        oh my, phil was one of the speakers at the national summit. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/national-special-relationship

        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/conservatives-for-palestine

        I am just back from the National Summit to Re-Assess the U.S.-Israel Special Relationship and will file reports of compelling remarks from speakers in days to come.

        But I want to convey the importance of the conference here. The crowds were impressive. There were close to 300 people inside the National Press Club to hear a wide range of speakers denounce the role of the Israel lobby in our politics.

        The speakers were largely from a US national-interest point of view. Many of them were conservative. When I say wide range, it did not include Palestinians– though a couple spoke from the floor.

        But a concern for Palestinian human rights ran through many speakers’ remarks. Cynthia McKinney said she was standing up for “dignity and human liberty.” Steve Walt repeatedly cited the “moral” weakness of the Israel lobby’s argument for a state that privileges one group over another. Justin Raimondo spoke of the power of reading They Were Human Too, a book on Palestinian refugees published by the conservative publisher Regnery in the 50s (a point I have made myself). These pictures could be from Gaza today, Raimondo said.

        And Lt. Col., retired, Karen Kwiatkowski told a gripping story about….

        we also covered it the year before. if i weren’t so busy i’d do more of your research for you but we’re stacked up in comments. try googling ‘mondoweiss national summit’. big duh!

      • Susie Kneedler on August 13, 2015, 8:42 pm

        Thanks, Henry: I’m bollocking myself too. I promised Phil last fall that I’d review both Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment” and her fascinating talks here as soon as I could as well, and he said he’d publish it. But I haven’t got to it bc of what turned out to be a “hard” year.–I’ve been away much and now am trying to stay in touch with a deathly ill dear one who’s far away.

        Thanks, Annie, as ever, for your encouraging words about how difficult writing reviews is, trying to do justice to others’ great ideas.

        Thanks to All here, dear Friends. I hope you’re all very Well.

    • RockyMissouri on August 13, 2015, 4:34 pm

      Henry Norr: Very impressive list.

    • Susie Kneedler on August 13, 2015, 9:18 pm

      Thanks for this, Henry, and for all your excellent work. –I signed it on July 15, and when I could at last read all the other signers, was thrilled to find you there with so many others of Conscience, who look for the best in all.

      As I wrote to JVP (though I’m not sure it went through on an “antique” computer), I hope we can all work with the people we choose, and not with those we don’t, and try to see all as humbly, charitably as pos.

      For I know that almost any words and certainly All of mine–esp. about Palestine–can be misunderstood: writing is hard, and trying to cover all the angles that might be misinterpretated, harder still.

      There are infinitely awe-inspiring efforts for justice in Palestine all around: I hope we can Help not Hurt as we labor to Free Palestine, looking toward those whose Sumud uplifts,,,

  15. Keith on August 12, 2015, 5:18 pm

    JENNIFER HITCHCOCK- “But anyone who had done significant activist work in the Palestinian solidarity movement would have to admit that the movement does occasionally draw a few unsavory characters here and there, including people who come out of the woodwork online, to defend figures like Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, Greta Berlin, and now Alison Weir.”

    My, what an interesting statement. She conflates mysterious “unsavory characters” from the woodwork with Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, Greta Berlin and Alison Weir, then she claims anyone who has done “significant activist work” would admit that she is right! Well that settles that! Although she doesn’t call any of the four “unsavory,” her meaning is obvious and frankly underhanded. More innuendo. Disagree? Obviously you are not a significant activist or an activist or significant.

    One can only wonder if there are any significant activists from Jewish Voice for Peace who monitor the membership for instances of Jewish chauvinism and anti-Gentile bias. If Lila Garrett from the Jewish Voice for Peace (Congressman Ted Lieu thread) is typical of the membership, then the JVP seems primarily concerned with promoting the myth-history of eternal Jewish victimhood and self-righteous tribal solidarity. As such, those who don’t adequately defer to their worldview come under attack, their integrity impugned, the kosher seal of approval withdrawn. As I have said in the past, it is all about power. Jews frame the debate, Jews define what is acceptable or not and Jews administer the discipline.

    Lest anyone misunderstand, what little I know of Alison Weir left a bad taste in my mouth. She is too much the America Firster, not exactly my cup of tea. Gilad Atzmon has some good things to say and some silly things to say. Regrettably, he is intentionally provocative, I assume a form of self-promotion. Israel Shamir has done some excellent analyses of the Ukraine and imperial geostrategy. I have no idea how he made their shit list. Greta Berlin was wronged, pure and simple.

    • echinococcus on August 12, 2015, 6:34 pm

      Keith,

      Weir sometimes gets my goat, too, with her nationalism.
      But so what?
      When we try to give support to Palestinian resistance, are we to boycott and cut out all nationalists? Are we to avoid the religious, with their state religion requirements, possibly even more irritating than the nationalists? Only accept to support the FPLP (provided they don’t ever talk to Hamas or Fatah, fercrissakes, to imitate JVP tactics)? Good luck.
      Does JVP imagine that they are more attractive than Weir and the radio hosts who give her air time –with *their Jewish nationalism?

      • Keith on August 12, 2015, 7:37 pm

        ECHINOCOCCOUS- “But so what?

        In regards to Alison Weir’s nationalism, I agree. However, I don’t see this as much ado about nothing, rather, I see it as a deliberate attempt by JVP to exercise de facto censorship and control. Please notice that in addition to Alison Weir, Jennifer Hitchcock mentions Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir and Greta Berlin. Why? As a pointed reminder of what happens to those who defy JVP and the other Jewish chauvinists in the solidarity movement. Make no mistake, those other three have been branded as anti-Semites by these Jewish chauvinists. Try linking to Gilad Atzmon and see if your comment passes moderation. Several days ago I made a comment quoting The Saker in regards to the power of the Zionists in France. I provided a link. Within his comment, The Saker provided a video of Alain Soral and Dieudonne discussing their legal persecution under French anti-Semitism laws. My comment was rejected, I assume because of the Dieudonne video. Dieudonne has been labeled an anti-Semite, hence, neither he nor any link to him is acceptable on a “respectable” anti-Zionist website. Try linking to him or Gilad Atzmon too frequently and you just might get banned for anti-Semitism. So this labeling of Alison Weir is quite a serious thing, part of the Jewish tribalists attempt to exercise control over a specific segment of the doctrinal system.

      • Mooser on August 12, 2015, 10:23 pm

        “attempt by JVP to exercise de facto censorship and control.”

        Since Allison Weir doesn’t write for JVP, and since JVP can’t pull the plug on her website or anything else she does, like speaking or writing, if JVP is trying to censor or control her they have a heck of a task in front of them!.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 10:46 am

        Hello, Mooser!

        JVP and ETO are two of the main Solidarity organizations in the US.

        If JVP announces that the organization will not collaborate with Weir, and JVP sends the Statement against Weir to its chapters all around the country, and then ETO agrees with that decision, don’t you think that it has a major impact on Weir’s ability to campaign and raise awareness about Palestinians’ hardships?

      • Keith on August 13, 2015, 11:36 am

        MOOSER- “…if JVP is trying to censor or control her they have a heck of a task in front of them!.”

        Having tried and failed to censor and control her, they have excommunicated her as an object lesson to those who remain as to what happens when you are a little too independent. For example, what happened to Greta Berlin when she refused to condemn Gilad Atzmon? And you better believe that being labeled an anti-Semite by JVP, even if by inference, will have an effect both upon her fund raising abilities and upon the reception her message receives. By the way, you seem a little too defensive on this issue, treating all references to organized Jewish power seeking as a personal attack on you. To repeat, the censorship and control primarily involves those who remain within the movement as to what happens when someone crosses the lines these tribalists have set up. That is what excommunication is all about.

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 3:04 pm

        “don’t you think that it has a major impact on Weir’s ability to campaign and raise awareness about Palestinians’ hardships?”

        I thought Weir was working a different side of the street. Don’t see how JVP can help her there.

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 5:40 pm

        @ Mooser

        “I thought Weir was working a different side of the street. Don’t see how JVP can help her there. ”

        Weir is working the American side of the street; what side of the street is JVP working?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 6:27 pm

        “I thought Weir was working a different side of the street. Don’t see how JVP can help her there.”

        No, I think she probably wants activists including JVP ones to come to her speeches.

        And if the other side of the street bans her, that’s a problem, because generally people do need to cross streets. And there are plenty of JVP people who want to let her.

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 10:50 am

        “By the way, you seem a little too defensive on this issue, treating all references to organized Jewish power seeking as a personal attack on you.”

        “Oh, Keith” Mooser simpered, batting his eyelashes , “I bet you say that to all the boys!”

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 1:10 pm

        “Weir is working the American side of the street; what side of the street is JVP working?”

        I’m beginning to wonder that myself. And I had just recently sort of accepted them.
        Never liked that “Jewish Voice” idea myself, they set themselves a real trap with that. Now they seem determined to fall into it.

      • Keith on August 14, 2015, 4:42 pm

        MOOSER- “Oh, Keith” Mooser simpered, batting his eyelashes….”

        I think that living around Bremerton and those Navy boys is having an effect on you. Give my regards to Captain Jack.

      • Mooser on August 15, 2015, 6:30 pm

        “I think that living around Bremerton and those Navy boys is having an effect on you.”

        Oh, Keith, those cute Navy guys would effect anybody! He sends me!

    • Stephen Shenfield on August 13, 2015, 5:22 pm

      There are problems with Atzmon but I am against insulting or demonizing him. Much of what he says about Jewish identity is insightful and I find myself agreeing with him. The problems arise when he starts writing about things of which he has no direct knowledge and just repeats stuff he has picked up from anti-Semitic sources. An example is the Spanish civil war. He accuses the International Brigade of burning churches and says they did that because they were mostly Jews. In fact the churches were burned by Spanish anarchists, mostly peasants. The phenomenon has to be understood in the context of historical relations between the Church and the Spanish peasantry. It has absolutely nothing to do with Jews. If Atzmon would stick to the issue of Palestine and Zionism, which he understands well from personal experience, these problems would not arise.

      • lysias on August 13, 2015, 5:37 pm

        Because I happen to know something about the Spanish Civil War, I agree with you on who burned the churches and why. However, the kind of reasoning that led Atzmon to an incorrect conclusion on this is precisely the kind of reasoning ancient historians often have to indulge in, because of the absence of better sources. No doubt some of the conclusions they reach in this way are as wrong as Atzmon’s (although we will probably never know that for sure), but under the circumstances it’s all historians can do. So, although Atzmon is wrong on this point, that kind of reasoning should not be prohibited altogether.

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 5:53 pm

        I generally agree on Atzmon, but I found The Wandering Who insightful regarding Jewish identity politics.

  16. elimin8h8 on August 12, 2015, 5:24 pm

    People should know there’s an extremely important petition in support of Alison Weir at:

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oyHWpfZtMvDez5XThztcbRMbgzQqMnCibkVk4Rjh3Hw/viewform

    This contains a wide array of major activists and Palestinian leaders — including Bassem Tamimi, Richard Falk, Hedy Epstein, Iyad Burnatt, Abbas Hamideh, and many more.

    • Pixel on August 12, 2015, 11:59 pm

      @elimin8h8

      Thank you.

      It is important.

      • pianoteacher on August 13, 2015, 1:20 am

        1,893 signatures, to be precise!

    • Stephen Shenfield on August 13, 2015, 7:34 am

      People should also know that the petition in support of Alison Weir is open to new signatures (I just signed it).

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 2:20 pm

        Me too.

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 10:42 am

      Wow, that’s a ton of signatories.

    • Hostage on August 13, 2015, 7:45 pm

      there’s an extremely important petition in support of Alison Weir … This contains a wide array of major activists and Palestinian leaders — including Bassem Tamimi, Richard Falk, Hedy Epstein, Iyad Burnatt, Abbas Hamideh, and many more.

      I hope you noticed that there are a lot of members of JVP and ETO on that petition too. Just for the record, I donate to JVP and ETO and am a member of both organizations. I’m one of the persons who signed the petition. But hey, I also donate to “Mondweiss” too, even though the Washington Post and the Daily Kos claim “it’s a hate site”. For that matter, I’ve donated money and made purchases at the If Americans Only Knew store.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 9:23 pm

        Hostage,

        Yes. The petition’s list of JVP and ETO members is its most powerful aspect. Congratulations on your bravery in signing.

        Wouldn’t you say that this scandal used the reasoning in the Faurisson Affair, in which our mutual hero (yes) Chomsky’s writings were practically banned in France for a long time because a Holocaust Denier was supported by him in an essay, even though Chomsky is against Holocaust Denial?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faurisson_affair

      • Hostage on August 14, 2015, 2:47 pm

        Wouldn’t you say that this scandal used the reasoning ….

        They all do. He’s on the JVP advisory board and I would be fascinated to know what he thinks of all this and to learn if he was consulted. The title should be “Deliberate Fragmentation or why Palestinian BDS is not yet a big tent mass social movement.

        I think that I’ve always made it crystal clear that I consider ankle biting, back stabbing, and navel gazing to be sophomoric behaviors, whether they are being displayed among Palestinians, Jews, or so-called solidarity activists.

        Chomsky is not one of my personal heroes. I just don’t like it when someone drops by to misstate his actual published positions on a given subject, like the Israel Lobby, in order to endlessly ventilate over their trumped-up disdain of the man. I have no heartburn with people, who like myself, are put-off by some of his actual tactics and published opinions. I don’t know of any two adult human beings who agree on everything. I learned in grade school not to lecture my friends over their choice of other friends. This is not what I expect for my dollars when I pay my dues to JVP an ETO.

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 3:34 pm

        ((He’s on the JVP advisory board and I would be fascinated to know what he thinks of all this and to learn if he was consulted. The title should be “Deliberate Fragmentation or why Palestinian BDS is not yet a big tent mass social movement.”))

        Hostage,

        I think that Chomsky is actually a very caring person in terms of his basic nature. He talked about how he fed German POW prisoners during WWII, which is not what others would have done, nor something he had to.

        I noticed that Chomsky and Finkelstein did not sign any of the statements or write against any activists as individuals like Atzmon, Weir, Greta Berlin, Salaita, Helen Thomas, or Phil, regardless of their own claims. In fact, Finkelstein has said BDS was a cult, meaning that he sees the organizations as too closed minded and focused on regulating their activists, as Finkelstein has been ousted for opposing BDS, for basically the same reason his mentor Chomsky does.

        Now remember that Chomsky called a BDS petition at his university “anti-Semitic” about 10 years ago, as you and I discussed in detail. But despite considering it anti-Semitic, he did not issue a letter against the individual organizers. I only ever had two correspondences with Atzmon, and Atzmon’s reply about Chomsky was that Chomsky “doesn’t Gatekeep”.

        Now of course Chomsky “gatekeeps” in a broad sense that when he writes against some Solidarity position like his essay on BDS, then it has a major impact because he is understandably a widely admired figure. However what Atzmon meant is that Chomsky doesn’t Gatekeep against Atzmon at a personal level by taking the initiative to issue an attack against Atzmon as an author.

        Note however another thing by Chomsky- Chomsky is a very “free” anarchist in some ways like who he works with. He has spoken on Cuban radio and to Arab groups in the Mideast, along with Israeli News, and you know of his role in the Faurisson Affair where he thinks he shouldn’t have objected to his somewhat “apologetic” essay on Faurisson being in the latter’s Holocaust Denial book.

        And finally note something else- Chomsky himself agreed to appear on Weir’s program once or a few times and received multiple tough questions by her. I don’t believe he attacked her or performed the “challening” of Weir’s statements that JVP’s letter would seem to want, but he seems to have dropped the line in reaction to Blankfort’s questioning of him, I think on Zionism.

        All these facts reflect what Chomsky must think. Chomsky and Finkelstein are probably not going to take on JVP publicly about this, and Chomsky probably thinks there is some merit to JVP’s accusations based on Chomsky’s own very doubtful claims about that BDS petition. Yet they must be strongly against the banning of any collaboration with Weir, not least because Chomsky himself has been on Weir’s program and never denounced her personally as racist AFAIK. Even though Chomsky debated against the idea of the lobby being a major one, he still appeared in the forum hosting the debate, a representative of the other side in the debate having come from the hosting organization, which was I think one of AIPAC’s far weaker competitors in lobbying.

        So in terms of positions Chomsky and Finkelstein are between JVP and J Street, but in terms of banning and expelling people on these grounds, they are certainly on your side, mon ami.

        Peace.

      • Danaa on August 15, 2015, 3:52 am

        Hostage: “I think that I’ve always made it crystal clear that I consider ankle biting, back stabbing, and navel gazing to be sophomoric behaviors, whether they are being displayed among Palestinians, Jews, or so-called solidarity activists. ”

        Well said – the sophomoric part, especially. Smart people behaving in silly ways – the fatal flaw of the left – always and forever looking for that purity thing.

        Why is it that in any social protest movement, these behavior patterns become so common? is this something inherent to “progressive” DNA? or is it because the meeting place where “progressive”, “individualist” , “leftist”, “liberal”, “humanist” and sometimes “nationalist” (in the broad sense) brush against each other is inherently uncomfortable because it challenges identity?

        Sometimes one envies those on the side of the right, especially the religious right – they have such unanimity!

      • W.Jones on August 19, 2015, 4:30 pm

        Hostage,
        You wrote elsewhere that a directional shift began when Blankfort was banned in 2012, and that you had said the same things as Blankfort yourself.

        Notice that in 2007-2011 a report came out by Political Research Associates on Finkelstein, Blankfort, and Alison aimed at portraying them as anti-Semitic. Ostensibly the report was a left wing one also directed against Islamophobia.
        http://www.researchforprogress.us/campcon/index.html

        Notice that one of the charges against Finkelstein in the report was that a CUNY trustee denied a pro-Palestinian writer Kushner a degree because “Kushner had disparaged the State of Israel, an assertion (the trustee) said came from Finkelstein’s website.”
        http://www.politicalresearch.org/campus-profile-norman-finkelstein

        The two paragraphs about Kushner seem to draw a practically non-existent link between Finkelstein and the attack on Kushner. Why?

        Notice also that all three activists targeted in the report have become somehow persona non grata in both the Solidarity movement and for JVP, all based on questionable grounds, since the 2007-2011 report came out on them.

        It’s true that Finkelstein has a pretty mixed take on BDS, but so does Chomsky, and Chomsky still gets invited to speak at events. Blankfort gets into very touchy subjects, but you and Brenner have written the same things. And now Weir is non grata for doing a few of the same things mostly six years ago that Chomsky and others have done in their lifetimes.

        Why?

      • annie on August 19, 2015, 5:15 pm

        yeah hostage, why?

  17. W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 5:40 pm

    Phil, Adam, and Annie,

    Thank you for engaging this topic.

    May I suggest an edit that would put Susan’s article first, because it really sets the stage in thinking about the issue in general and doesn’t take a position? Her article was a great way to begin looking at the issue in a collective way that seeks understanding while opposing both racism and internal breakup.

    • Pixel on August 12, 2015, 11:46 pm

      @WJones

      Seconded.

    • irishmoses on August 13, 2015, 11:43 am

      Let me add my thanks that MW is addressing this important topic about a person who has made a significant contribution to the history of Zionism (particularly US Zionism) and its impact on the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Her recent book, Against Our Better Judgment, brought two important topics to the forefront: First, the astonishing role and impact Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis had in creating the groundwork for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Second, the amazing story of Dorothy Thompson.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 1:10 pm

        Yes. I was kind of expecting many more people to have been against Weir because JVP and ETO declared against her and they are two primary organizations. But it looks like people give Weir the benefit of the doubt like they did to Salaita and to Helen Thomas, even though all three people made arguably offensive or objectionable statements. My sense is that these peoples’ supporters focus on the 99.9% of their work, rather than their questionable statements or actions.

        For what it’s worth, Marx and Lenin made statements more objectionable and anti-Semitic than these three modern day anti-racists have, and I think progressives take the same “benefit of a doubt” approach to them.

        Shalom-Peace, Irishmoses.

  18. hfouda on August 12, 2015, 5:51 pm

    I agree with Russ Greenleaf that all this zeal and all the effort to try to fish for something to blame Alison Weir for are misplaced, divisive and a complete waste of time. These efforts support the view that Weir’s appearance on obscure right wing media outlets is not the real reason for the attacks. The real reason appears to be the subjects that Alison Weir investigates and documents like the toxic influence of the Israel Lobby, her book, her work with USS Liberty Veterans to publicize Israel’s murder of American sailors and her documentation of Israeli practice of harvesting Palestinian organs (Israel admitted to the practices and indicated it ceased to do so.)

    At present, a black person is being killed in this country almost once a week, gays are beaten up in rural America, Muslim mosques are being attacked, their Quran burned, Palestinian Children are being burned and killed daily with the complicity and incitement of Israeli cabinet ministers and religious authorities. American Jews are at least as safe and as prosperous as any other American group and perhaps more so. Elevating past Jewish suffering above the current oppression of other people is not right.

    Readers should consider signing the petition below to join Richard Falk, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, Iyad Burnat, Bassem Tamimi, Ann Wright, Paul Findley, Mazin Qumsiyeh and more than 2000 other activists.
    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oyHWpfZtMvDez5XThztcbRMbgzQqMnCibkVk4Rjh3Hw/viewform

    • Bumblebye on August 12, 2015, 8:49 pm

      I generally agree with you re ms Weir. However, your second para…do you mean black people killed in general, or by police/law enforcement? Because if the first, your estimate is vastly wrong, and if the second, very low – in the first (less than) seven and a half months of this year, the closest estimate of the numbers of people killed by police (all races) is currently 722. Since a disproportionate number of the dead are African-American, there is more likely to be at least one a day in that total.

      • W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 9:18 pm

        I agree with Russ Greenleaf that all this zeal and all the effort to try to fish for something to blame Alison Weir for are misplaced, divisive and a complete waste of time. These efforts support the view that Weir’s appearance on obscure right wing media outlets is not the real reason for the attacks.

        So you don’t think that the impetus for the timing of the banning of Weir was some hypothetical ardent pro-Palestinian activist listening to five year old Clay Douglas archived interviews?

    • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 2:29 pm

      @ hfouda

      RE: “American Jews are at least as safe and as prosperous as any other American group and perhaps more so.” That’s an understatement considering nearly all the Homeland Security funds devoted specifically to protect local American communities has gone to Jewish American communities, e.g., to secure synagogues, Hebrew day schools,etc. (Are, e.g., Arab Americans less vulnerable?) Further every study shows Jewish Americans as a group are at the top of US income and education and positions of authority. Consider that in context that Jewish Americans are 2% of the US population. Just saying.

  19. annie on August 12, 2015, 6:33 pm

    if ms hitchcock is pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Discourse Studies it might behoove her to make sure the allegations she’s making are supported in the embeds she’s chosen. just one example:

    to infer that there is a pattern of Jews harvesting organs from non-Jews.

    actually the article by alison she linked to says this:

    Below are a few examples of previous reports on this topic.

    Israel’s first heart transplant

    Israel’s very first, historic heart transplant used a heart removed from a living patient without consent or consulting his family.

    In December 1968 a man named Avraham Sadegat (the New York Times seems to give his name as A Savgat) (2) died two days after a stroke, even though his family had been told he was “doing well.”

    After initially refusing to release his body, the Israeli hospital where he was being treated finally turned the man’s body over to his family. They discovered that his upper body was wrapped in bandages; an odd situation, they felt, for someone who had suffered a stroke ………

    and this:

    “For a number of years there were allegations that Israel’s leading pathologist was stealing body parts. In 2001 the Israeli national news service reported:

    “… the parents of soldier Ze’ev Buzgallo who was killed in a Golan Heights military training accident, are filing a petition with the High Court of Justice calling for the immediate suspension of Dr. Yehuda Hiss and that criminal charges be filed against him. Hiss serves as the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute….According to the parents, the body of their son was used for medical experimentation without their consent, experiments authorized by Hiss. (9)”

    non jews?

    this is sloppy logic. it’s also very sloppy referencing the organ harvesting as a “claim”. there were court cases in israel and the law was changed there as a result. even the NYT reported http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/world/middleeast/transplant-brokers-in-israel-lure-desperate-kidney-patients-to-costa-rica.html?_r=0

    But a Times analysis of major trafficking cases since 2000 suggests that Israelis have played a disproportionate role.

    considering what a huge event this has been for the community i think hitchcock is a poor choice to represent the people who have made charges against alison. and i say that strongly objecting to weir dragging the medieval blood libel argument into her article.

    this:

    the movement does occasionally draw a few unsavory characters here and there, including people who come out of the woodwork online to defend figures like

    i was hoping to read something more responsible and respectful. the people defending alison are not merely a few unsavory characters here and there. it’s just too bad the conversation here was initiated in this way. hitchcock uses several rhetorical tools that can be pulled straight out of the hasbara handbook (smear by association, false equivalence, ‘the vast majority thinks like me’ , bandwagoning like ‘ali and bekka did w/greta’ , unless ali or bekka said something about this publically their names should not be used as examples of one side or the other, the list goes on and on and on. it’s a journalistic nightmare).

    the way she presents jvp as

    not people who are overly sensitive to criticism of Israel. Most of them are harsh critics of Zionism and Israel themselves. Thus, it seems unethical, unwise, and ignorant for Weir’s supporters to blow them off so easily and try to tarnish their intentions and dedication to the movement.

    whereas defenders of weir:

    don’t seem primarily focused on Palestinian rights and universal anti-racist principles as much as they are on demonizing Israel and Jews. In some cases, they also support “US interests” and can’t seem to see any relation between the settler-colonialism and racism of Israel and the history of the US.

    i mean really? might it also be unethical, unwise, and ignorant for jvp’s supporters to blow weir’s supporters off so easily and try to tarnish their intentions and dedication to the movement?

    landau writes:

    When individuals or groups create safe spaces for honest engagement, everyone emerges with a deeper understanding of each other’s position, how things got to where they are, what can be changed, and what cannot.

    the last thing hitchcock’s doing is creating safe spaces for honest engagement. she’s off base. is this all they’ve got?

    also, i just thought i would say again what i have said a few times. i thought it was cowardly to post the initial charges against weir on jvp’s site anonymously. i think it should be signed with a real name or names or at a minimum ‘the board and staff’. i happen to know many more than a few people who are jvp members who do not agree with the actions taken by jvp and ETO. i can’t and won’t dismiss all jvp’s concerns outright but the way this came down i find offensive, irresponsible and frankly rude. the tone of Landau is more to my liking.

    i have not read all the communication sent into the site from the jvp community, either in defense of their actions (if they did so) or to advocate their position. but once again, if hitckcock’s argument is the best representation of the communication this site’s received .. well, weak is an understatement.

    p.s. i am a jvp member.

    • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 9:07 am

      I think your critiques deserve an individual response, Annie. True, I am not the best representative for JVP and USC’s positions, and I do not claim to speak for them, only for myself. And, yes, I admit that I am not a journalist and that there are some weak spots in my argument.

      For example, yes, Weir does include a couple of examples of Jewish victims of organ harvesting too, though I would still argue that the way she opens and closes the article–and the fact that the vast majority of cases she discusses are of non-Jews–does not negate my larger point. It seems that the verified cases and admissions of organ harvesting were of mostly Jewish Israelis, and her article does not give that impression at all. But I agree, it is the way she introduces the medieval blood libel in the second half of the article that really takes it over the top. Without that, it would be perhaps still a questionable choice of topic to focus on but not nearly as antisemitic.

      I would also like to clarify that I DO NOT think that most of Weir’s supporters and defenders are “unsavory characters,” but rather most of her defenders are well-meaning people who either think the case against her is weak or it is misplaced and divisive. I would argue that the letter defending her with a long list of signatories (to which a few people have linked–thanks, because my link to it doesn’t seem to be working now) is misleading in how it characterizes JVP and USC’s actions, so if someone only read the letter and did not do their own thorough research into her work or the claims against her, then most people would sign it.

      I wrote this piece initially (and admittedly somewhat hastily) because I was witness to and became a part of some Facebook debates about these recent decisions. In the course of that experience, I did encounter several “unsavory characters” (raving antisemites would be more accurate here), but I did not mean to suggest that most of Weir’s defenders are antisemitic. I do not think that is the case.

      I do think this issue needs to be sorted out, though, so the movement can go forward in a more productive and effective way.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 12:52 pm

        jennifer, i’m very impressed by your responses to criticisms here in the comments. in all fairness i do think you stepped into a big rat’s nest. i think when things (arguments) come to a head after many many years they can be very difficult to untangle and approaching them as if they are linear and logical one may miss the forest for the trees. i think it was courageous of you to put your best foot forward here but i think you may be in over your head. i think there’s a good chance that behind all this there are years of built up tensions that include everything from petty squabbles to loud outright public screaming (i have lunch yesterday with a woman who was in the audience when, allegedly, someone from ETO (top staff) began screaming LIAR at weir at a public forum. i asked what she had said and she responded that she had been nodding off prior to the scream so she didn’t know. however she did say the person later apologized to weir. i mention this as an example of the emotions from both camps).

        landau wrote something that stood out for me, she said

        As activists, public shaming is a time honored and effective toolkit of choice employed against our external enemies: war criminals, racist cops, greedy corporate bosses, and other unsavory characters. What culture do we create when we use similar tactics on each other? Is there another way?

        speaking for myself, i have an aversion to public shunning amongst family or allies. it just wasn’t the way i was raised. it sets a tone, a chill that makes me uncomfortable. and it’s a natural reaction (i would imagine) to react defensively — even forcefully. so as an observer my reaction from the outside is that this is likely much much bigger than what’s presented. there’s a history of hostility that’s built up beyond my comprehension. iow, it’s over my head. it’s not that i don’t understand the complaints against weir and see validity in them, it’s that i suspect, due to the intensity of the charges and the curious evasion of any single person or persons placing their name on these charges (jvp’s posting was anonymous, ETO never named jvp as the party bringing the complaint to them) there’s more to it than meets the eye.

        I would also like to clarify that I DO NOT think that most of Weir’s supporters and defenders are “unsavory characters,”

        someone sent me a link yesterday and i note someone linked to it in this article. https://emmarosenthal.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/guilt-by-disassociation-the-landscape-of-amerikan-exceptionalism-in-the-guise-of-palestine-solidarity/

        this person, emma rosenthal, puts forward a theory that effectively divides solidarity activists into 2 camps. in her opening remarks she writes I would hope we could focus on fair and honest argumentation and avoid insults, ad hominem and strawmen. .

        then scroll down to “Discussing Differences: Two Major Tendencies”. in this section she describes these “2 tendencies” and aligns herself with one (with a long description of what that is). the other one, in the first sentence, she identifies as

        ideology is based in white supremacist assertions and ideology.

        in this section, which is quite long, she divides into 2 groups. one, espouses outright ideological white supremacy: KKK, Nazis, David Duke, Stormfront, Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, David Icke, Gilad Atzmon, among others, who identify particular Jewish qualities as the core issue

        and the other the neo-liberal/neo-colonialists, whose premise is also white supremacist, in that they support ruling class interests that favor and promote white power and privilege. They include Mearsheimer and Walt, Jimmy Carter, Kathleen and Bill Christison, Paul Findley, Anne Wright and Ray McGovern.

        hence, they are both white supremacists.

        then she says (her bolded print):

        This is to say these two tendencies represent very different ideologies, motivations and class interests. One is a movement against racism, imperialism, capitalism and empire. The other sees Israel as an obstacle to imperialism, capital and empire, and rejects any suggestion that this agenda might be fundamentally problematic, supremacist and unjust. This is the root of the objection to Weir, IAK and CNI. It isn’t personal, it isn’t McCarthyism (which requires the power of the state!). It’s simply a different and opposing politic.

        then she goes on arguing her case against white supremacy very effectively. saying things such as:

        If settler colonialism is wrong, it is wrong. If stealing the best land, genocide, displacement, brutality, exploitation and militarism is wrong, if apartheid is wrong and Bantustans (modeled after Native American reservations) and extra-judicial executions, and false imprisonment, and lack of due process is wrong, if racism is wrong, if apartheid and border walls are wrong, then there is no anti-racist basis for holding up the U.S. as a beacon, an example of magnanimity, as a paragon of justice. A human rights agenda that begins with Amerikan interests and harkens to some mythological and historically dishonest Amerikan goodness is a racist agenda on a racist premise, in its entirety, from the initial conquest, to ongoing policies toward indigenous Native Americans, to the racist criminalization system, wherein more people are currently incarcerated (in what is considered by many to be the new slavery—the privatized prison system) than were ever enslaved under Amerikan chattel slavery. The focus on “the Jews” or on Israel, or The Lobby, separate from or in contradiction to its benefactor, serves to obscure and exonerate capitalism and imperial predation. The racist impact and significance is much deeper and broader than antisemitism.

        and yes, i think this is absolutely true. it’s just that i’m not clear how or if weir, or ann wright, or jimmy carter for that matter actually do hold up the U.S. as a beacon, an example of magnanimity, as a paragon of justice.

        she goes on to discuss a whole host of things i’d have to be a scholar to fully comprehend. and the end result is that anyone not expousing her particular theory is lumped into a category as a white supremacist. now just because she says “ It isn’t personal, it isn’t McCarthyism (which requires the power of the state!). It’s simply a different and opposing politic.” doesn’t mean someone accused of being a white supremacist is not going to take this very personally.

        in her argument of the 2 sides she writes (her bold originally)

        And this is a key difference: One tendency joins the Palestinian struggle to global struggles for human rights and the other tendency, to white Amerikan entitlement and empire. This is not a minor difference and in recognizing these fundamental contradictions one is not divisive. The existing division is wide, deep and longstanding.

        what does this mean when she says “recognizing these fundamental contradictions one is not divisive”? if one does not “recognize” rosenthal’s theory and adopt if then they are responsible for division?

        she states Opportunistic white supremacy advances an agenda in which the Palestinians are superfluous to the struggle and the movement.

        but weir didn’t make the argument Palestinians were superfluous to the struggle. the fact “IAK is directed by Americans without personal or family ties to the region who .. research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public” is not evidence of white supremacy. it’s simply accurate self identification. i mean i am a person without personal or family ties to the region who researchs and attempts to actively disseminate accurate information to the American public. does that make me a white supremacist? does it mean i think Palestinians are superfluous to the struggle ? or don’t actively work with people with personal or family ties to the region?

        i just don’t think her conclusions are the conclusions i would make from the evidence put forth. the entire theory is based on 2 sides and pick a side and if it isn’t mine you’re a white supremacist.

        i’m sorry, but this is the mind frame of many of the people arguing against alison are using. it’s not a solid footing because it’s not accurate regarding many of her defenders. some people might consider this an example of accusations in a ““McCarthyist” manner”. it leads to sweeping generalizations like this:

        Many of these people and their supporters don’t seem primarily focused on Palestinian rights and universal anti-racist principles as much as they are on demonizing Israel and Jews. In some cases, they also support “US interests” and can’t seem to see any relation between the settler-colonialism and racism of Israel and the history of the US.

        do you think alison sees no relation between settler-colonialism and racism of Israel and the history of the US? if you do then present it. do you think jimmy carter or Walt and Mearsheimer see no relation between settler-colonialism and racism of Israel and the history of the US?

        the argument is weak because it’s circular and in a circle all the links need to be connected or it is no longer a circle. there are simply too many broken chains in the logic to make the conclusions being made. landau says

        Individuals as well as organizations have core values, boundaries that define who they are, that cannot be negotiated or violated.

        but that doesn’t mean everyone who does not share your core value is a defacto racist. nor does it mean everyone with different boundaries than yours is a racist.

        landau says

        What are the parameters of engagement with people who don’t share our worldview?

        when someone offends me i avoid them. i might not go to a party where i know they are going to be. what i don’t do is call the host of the party and demand that person be disinvited. that’s just not the way i was raised.

        landau says

        Differences within our movement exist; we stifle them to our peril.

        yes we do. i wish there was a way to sit down and resolve this peacefully. i really do. this ‘you’re a white supremacist’ vs ‘you’re a closet zionist’ approach is just a lousy way to go about it.

        oh, and as to how to counter charges of anti semitism against bds. just say no. like this: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/semitic-israel-lobby

        It’s only a powerful weapon to silence us if Americans rise to the bait and buy into Tablet’s scolding hogwash.

        don’t go on a hunting/expulsion expedition.

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 3:11 pm

        @ Annie Robbins

        RE: “… but weir didn’t make the argument Palestinians were superfluous to the struggle. the fact “IAK is directed by Americans without personal or family ties to the region who .. research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public” is not evidence of white supremacy. it’s simply accurate self identification. i mean i am a person without personal or family ties to the region who researches and attempts to actively disseminate accurate information to the American public. does that make me a white supremacist? does it mean i think Palestinians are superfluous to the struggle ? or don’t actively work with people with personal or family ties to the region?”

        Yes, that seems the key question.
        If Americans New mission Introduction:

        “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world’s major sources of instability. Americans are directly connected to this conflict, and increasingly imperiled by its devastation.

        It is the goal of If Americans Knew to provide full and accurate information on this critical issue, and on our power – and duty – to bring a resolution.”

        IAK mission statement:

        “In a democracy, the ultimate responsibility for a nation’s actions rests with its citizens. The top rung of government – the entity with the ultimate power of governance – is the asserted will of the people. Therefore, in any democracy, it is essential that its citizens be fully and accurately informed.

        In the United States, currently the most powerful nation on earth, it is even more essential that its citizens receive complete and undistorted information on topics of importance, so that they may wield their extraordinary power with wisdom and intelligence.

        Unfortunately, such information is not always forthcoming.

        The mission of If Americans Knew is to inform and educate the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media.

        It is our belief that when Americans know the facts on a subject, they will, in the final analysis, act in accordance with morality, justice, and the best interests of their nation, and of the world. With insufficient information, or distorted information, they may do the precise opposite.

        It is the mission of If Americans Knew to ensure that this does not happen – that the information on which Americans base their actions is complete, accurate, and undistorted by conscious or unconscious bias, by lies of either commission or omission, or by pressures exerted by powerful special interest groups. It is our goal to supply the information essential to those responsible for the actions of the strongest nation on earth – the American people.

        Please help!”

        Is JVP annoyed because IAK founder and board members are not Jewish? Is it a contral of the framing issue? http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/whoweare.html

    • RoHa on August 13, 2015, 9:41 am

      “Discourse Studies”?

      Snort!

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 4:50 pm

        RoHa, you don’t (sic) expouse “Discourse Studies”?

      • gamal on August 13, 2015, 7:13 pm

        ” “you don’t (sic) expouse “Discourse Studies”?”

        historical discourse analysis is a very respectable discipline numbering many Jews and even Hungarians amongst it most celebrated practitioners, Philosophers get arrogant in public fora because no one listens to them in Senate, or funds Philosophical Research, if only they weren’t cleverer than us.

        in a nutshell

        “After some important revivals in the Middle Ages and the seventeenth
        and eighteenth centuries, however, rhetoric lost much of its importance
        in the curricula of schools and in academic research. The emergence of
        historical and comparative linguistics at the beginning of the nineteenth
        century and the birth of structural analysis of language at the beginning
        of the twentieth century replaced rhetoric as the primary discipline of
        the humanities. Fragments of rhetoric survived only in school textbooks
        of speech and communication, on one hand, and in stylistics or the study
        of literary language, on the other.
        Yet, parallel to this decline of rhetoric as an independent academic
        discipline, new developments in several fields of the humanities and the
        social sciences took place that would eventually lead to the emergence of discourse analysis”

        http://www.discourses.org/OldArticles/Discourse%20Analysis%20as%20a%20new%20Cross-Discipline.pdf

      • irishmoses on August 13, 2015, 8:14 pm

        And, we can blame the notorious Noam Chomsky for his role in preserving the so-called, [snort] “discourse studies”

        I have a wife of many decades who can and will wax poetic over the intricacies of the bilabial fricative given half a chance. Grounds for divorce if you ask me, although I’ve been known to howl in derisive laughter at her frickin bilabials in response. She is never amused by my wit as she too is a member of the discourse study crowd. A humorless bunch if there ever was one.

        I’m probably just jealous as I can’t even master Roha’s Rules for proper comma usage let alone high-falutin shit like discourse studies.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilabial_fricative

      • gamal on August 13, 2015, 8:27 pm

        “bilabial fricative……Grounds for divorce”

        no man its why we marry

      • irishmoses on August 13, 2015, 8:58 pm

        Hah. I’ll need to pour myself a dram of Red Breast to reflect on that. Just spent a couple of weeks in Dublin and environs. Lovely people, lovely time.

      • irishmoses on August 13, 2015, 9:08 pm

        Roha,

        I presume the learned Mooser and gamal meant “espouse”. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/espouse

        I also detect a missing comma.

      • RoHa on August 14, 2015, 4:43 am

        I have no objection to the study of rhetoric. On the contrary, I hold that the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric should be the foundation of education, along with mathematics and science.

        But “Studies” opens the door to sociologists, French Postmodernists, and a descent into jargon-filled, impenetrable, high-falutin’ (perfect word, irishmoses) drivel.

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 10:59 am

        “I presume the learned Mooser and gamal meant “espouse”.”

        Hey, “Irish Moses”, c’mon give me a break! I am actually doing much better. I used to get “espouse” mixed up with “expose” all the time.
        With “expouse”, I’m half-way to getting it right!

        And may God bless and keep my expouses, far away from me!

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 11:01 am

        “Discourse Studies”?

        A review of NY’s golf links, obviously:

        “Now, study discourse here in Flatbush. It’s 18-holes, par 72, with one-a dem tricky dog-legs on the 5th hole”

  20. JoeSmack on August 12, 2015, 6:40 pm

    This is not a very “round” table. Kind of a 30 degrees of not-sure-how-to-tackle-this-one table.

    Why didn’t MW reach out to Hedy Epstein, or Iyad Burnat, or Bassem Tamimi, all of whom have wholeheartedly supported Weir, or even some of the people that are regularly published at MW to speak about this?

    • pianoteacher on August 12, 2015, 9:11 pm

      Joe Smack,
      Unfortunately the US Campaign steering committee has already ” reached out” to Hedy Epstein. She sent me a long email detailing their ” bullying and horrendous harrassment” [Hedy’s own words] trying to get her to take her name off the Open Letter. This viciousness left her so distressed she could not sleep that night.
      I was so disgusted. This lady is 91 years old on Saturday!
      After everything she has been through, can’t she be left in peace in her old age?
      The total lack of respect for Hedy’s decision to sign the open letter also revolted me. At almost 91 she is grown up enough to make up her own mind on what she signs!

      Fortunately, after the initial bullying that upset her a great deal, her fighting spirit in now back and she intends to give ’em hell! In no way will she remove her name.

      So to all of the team contacting everyone on the Open Letter, trying to persuade them to unsign, just skip Hedy, will you?
      Go Hedy!

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 10:42 am

        Wow. I would be interested in seeing what the bullying was.

        Aren’t people allowed to have dissenting views on the penalties imposed on fellow activists?

      • pianoteacher on August 13, 2015, 11:39 am

        W Jones,
        Not sure what the rules are, and maybe can’t name names, but the US Campaign has been contacting people who signed the Open Letter to try to get them to remove their names. So far, all of them have refused. Not only did they refuse, but they let Alison Weir know about this practice, which can only be described as sneaky and underhand. In addition, they have been telling people that ” many people are asking to have their names removed “. This is absolutely not true.
        Only one person did, who works for Mondoweiss in fact, right at the beginning when the petition was still being edited prior to release, and there was disagreement over the exact wording.

        The person who tried to persuade Hedy Epstein to remove her name turned nasty. At first Hedy was extremely upset, but now she is all fighting spirit and intends to give her harasser a piece of her mind! What am amazing lady she is, to be sure! She was out earlier this week protesting about the death of Michael Brown on the one year anniversary of his death. Last year she got arrested for it.
        If I have one half her energy and determination at the tender age of 91 (on Saturday) I shall be thrilled!

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 5:41 pm

        jane, no one contacted me to remove my name. i did it after reading the final statement of ETO. i did it because some of my concerns about the petition still stood. a lot of the petition i agreed with for reasons pam baily just articulated in a comment here (use the search function to find her comment). mostly i objected to some framing in the petition that i thought did not facilitate closure. for example, the idea that the charges against alison were unfounded. i think ETO made the case that many of circumstances in their criticisms were in fact found, i just didn’t agree with all their conclusion or their form of remedy.

        therefore i could not in good conscience sign something that i didn’t completely agree with. i think in resolving conflicts (within an activists community or with allies) it’s important to take a persons word as their true perceptions whether i agree with it or not. i think blowing off someone charges as without all merit, even if i disagree with them, is unhelpful in bringing resolution. therefore, if resolution is my goal (vs proving who is right and who is wrong) i don’t think either party acted in their best interest in their responses to the accusations made against them.

        furthermore i feel it would be hypocritical of me to denounce alison for her choice to speak on the radio because of a decision i made earlier regarding a bus ad i facilitated in placing in SF. at the time one of the people i was working on the project with wanted to link to information on IAK at the stop30billion link we had created for the fundraising. my reasoning for not doing that, as well as not linking to mondoweiss or any site, was because of the graphic the funders wanted for the billboard. it was an american flag and the message stop 30 billion for israel. my reasoning was that with an image and message like this it might also attract many people who might want the US to stop that funding for other reasons than humanitarian or reasons of justice. i did not want them coming to the site and making a decision based on any other information besides the messaging on the bus, knowing this might draw the attention of people i don’t normally associate with or cross paths with, like people in the military for example or t party members.

        i think to really turn this country around we are going to need the vast majority of americans, many of whom are not pure and perfectly ethical. we need people from all walks of life. micromanaging the purity of the movement is not my job. i can micromanage the comment section here to a degree. but the american public has to become aware from where they are positioned today, not where we want them to be in the future. and not all of the public stand where we do. so in good conscience, i can’t condemn alison for taking a position w/this radio station that is not fundamentally different than the decision i made with the bus ads. that would be hypocritical of me. however, if i had a different standard for who to engage, as jvp and ETO have, i might feel differently. and i can’t dismiss their concerns because they have merit from where they are standing (lots of it actually). but i want the occupation to end and people to embrace bds. i think of it more like an election. if you vetted everyone who was going to vote for the candidate you wanted, would you turn away those you don’t like? ultimately we need to reach everyone whether we like them or not.

        p.s. you can find the comment policy rules at the top of the page, but no worries, anything you write we don’t want published.. it won’t be.

    • mariapalestina on August 13, 2015, 4:50 pm

      Actually JVP did reach out to many people, including Hedy Epstein and Iyad Burnat, pressuring them to remove their names from the letter in support of Alison Weir..

  21. sparrow on August 12, 2015, 6:49 pm

    USCEIO gave major prominence on their website to Al-Awda’s vote to withdraw from USCEIO with the open letter from the USCEIO Steering Committee in response http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1146#sthash.nUkltv02.dpuf

    Despite the many responses to USCEIO’s action against Alison and the Open Letter to USCEIO supporting her signed by over 1,000 signatures (http://tinyurl.com/StopDivisiveAttacksPDF), the sole notice on the USCEIO website of their action against her is their absolutist Open Letter pronouncement against her issued as a media release July 16th (http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4510).

    Refusal to allow her or any of her supporters space on the USCEIO coalition website for a response is nothing but supercilious cowardice. Our (FSM) letter of withdrawal from USCEIO over this action (http://freepalestinemovement.org/2015/07/22/free-palestine-movement-resignation-from-the-u-s-campaign-to-end-the-israeli-occupation/) has also been given no notice on the USCEIO website, possibly for fear of emulation by other groups concerned with the suppression by such non-Palestinian gatekeepers of progressive elements in the struggle for Palestinian rights.

    In Struggle for a Free Palestine,
    fw sparrow, x326388 IWW, ISM-Norcal, FPM

  22. JWalters on August 12, 2015, 7:09 pm

    It’s easy to understand why Israel would pull every thread to discredit a website which gives the facts about Israel that have been kept hidden by Israel’s control of U.S. media, especially with an easily remembered name like “If Americans Knew”. Because if Americans knew those facts, Israel would lose all moral standing, and America’s perception of Israel would flip completely upside down. Some of those control threads might very well run through donors to peace groups.

    Regarding the story about Israel harvesting organs from Palestinians, Israel is a country where key leaders and citizens believe a Palestinian life is not worth “a single Jewish fingernail”, that Palestinians are “beasts on two legs”, “grasshoppers” to be eliminated, and “grass” to be mowed. With that mindset it would logically follow that harvesting Palestinians might seem like harvesting cattle or tomatoes. I’m NOT saying the story is true, but it is not implausible, despite it’s resembling an old trope. Resembling an old trope is not evidence that it’s false.

  23. gamal on August 12, 2015, 7:19 pm

    you dont deserve it, but its obvious relevance to the case in point compels me to offer you barbarians a little culture, so, here is samih al qasim on those bats,

    Bats

    Bats on my windows
    suck in my words
    Bats at the entrance to my house
    behind newspaper , in corners
    trail my footsteps ,
    observing every movement of my head

    From the back of the chair, bats watch me
    They trail me in the streets
    watching my eyes pause
    on books, on young girls’ legs . . .
    they watch and watch

    On my neighbor’s balcony , bats,
    and electronic gadgets hidden in the walls
    Now bats are on the verge
    of suicide
    I am digging a road to daylight .

    Samih al-Qasim

  24. genesto on August 12, 2015, 7:30 pm

    ‘But anyone who had done significant activist work in the Palestinian solidarity movement would have to admit that the movement does occasionally draw a few unsavory characters here and there, including people who come out of the woodwork online, to defend figures like Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, Greta Berlin, and now Alison Weir. – ‘

    Not only is she off base including Alison in this list, she has no idea what she is talking about with Greta. Greta is one of the most courageous activists in the movement and one of the founders of the very successful Flotillas project. She has taken risks that some of these critics pretending to be supporters of Palestinian justice can only dream about. The attacks on her, from the same cast of characters, were unfounded and based on false information. And oh, by the way, she was married for many years to a Jew – and, no, not a self-hating one – , hence the last name It was he who first encouraged her to become an activist many years ago.

  25. TW on August 12, 2015, 8:05 pm

    The only reason that Alison is being targeted is because she informs us about the power of the Israel lobby. The Zionist at jvp don’t like that and are using ADL-tactics to silence her.

    guys, plz support Alison Weir and i recommend you buy her book: “Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel”.

    • W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 11:37 pm

      I don’t think it’s the only reason. Her critics are legitimately and sincerely sensitive about anti-Semitism. However, her book might explain the timing of why it is now that they are digging up a Counterpunch article she wrote 6 years ago and an archived Clay Douglas interview she gave 5 years ago.

      • Danaa on August 13, 2015, 3:44 am

        W. Jones: “Her critics are legitimately and sincerely sensitive about anti-Semitism”.

        I beg to differ – there is nothing legitimate or sincerely sensitive in those critics hyperventillating about some supposed “anti-semitism”. These are people who see ghosts everywhere they go. They are busy throwing this, that or the other person into herem, claiming they can smell “whiffs” of something that only they can smell.

        I am not sure whether all this hoopla about “anti-semitism” is disingenuous gambit to dictate the terms of activism – supposedly on behalf of palestinians, but really to maintain their privileged standing as – to use marc Ellis’ term – Jews of the Empire. Or there is genuine paranoia about what will happen to jewish power in America (and all the other Anglo countries) is everyone knew just how much parts of that power worked to subvert American policy, and indeed hasten the decline of the American Empire itself.

        I can’t tell at this point if the paranoia is justified. IT may however become self-justifying the more high-minded, cesorious actions like the attack on Allison Weir take place. In a way, the reprehensible positions taken by jewish action groups like JVP seem to support Gilad’s contention of a ‘spectrum” from zionist to anti-zionist. I know i find the utter selfishness of these kinds of witch hunting exercises to be beyond reprehensible, given that in no way, do they support the palestinian cause.

        Some of us are actually beginning to wonder whether JVP and the CEIC group have infact been infiltrated by zionist agents intent on splitting the solidarity movement. Wouldn’t surprise me were that the case.. At the very least, JVP, which previously was high on the list of upstanding organizations, has now lost much of its lofty credentials.

        I can only imagine how disheartened the Palestinians are, seeing this kind of bickery, snippy behavior.

    • Pixel on August 13, 2015, 12:22 am

      @TW

      Thanks, I don’t mind if I do!

      Kindle copy on sale now (30% off) $6.95

      Against Our Better Judgment:
      The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel

  26. pianoteacher on August 12, 2015, 8:26 pm

    Oh my God, that book MUST be suppressed at all costs. Smear the author’s name! Say she is an anti Semite! Say she is a holocaust denier! Say she is a white supremacist! (Ssh – don’t mention her involvement with the civil rights movement in the 60s.) Say she had an affair with Hitler! (Oh, hang on, maybe she isn’t old enough). Say anything you like to ruin her reputation so that her book does not get out. At all costs, we must suppress that book, Against Our Better Judgment.
    It does the unforgivable; it mentions tabooed subjects: Brandeis and his secret Parushim! It even mentions the Israel lobby. (When we all know there is no such thing.)
    But no one is reading it, are they?
    Oh Lord, they are! It is on the Amazon best seller list for books on Israel/Palestine. It is ranked even higher than Ilan Pappe’s Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine!
    Oh hell, just look at all those 5 star reviews! There are over 300 reviews now, and the five star ones way outnumber the one star. Dammit!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/149591092X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=149591092X&linkCode=as2&tag=ifamericankne-20

    Woe is us, the truth is getting out! Please everyone, shout louder: anti Semite! Anti Semite! ANTI SEMITE!

    • annie on August 12, 2015, 8:36 pm

      i have yet to hear any criticism of her book. could you link to some please? i’m assuming your faux outrage is an indication people have been attacking the book. is that correct?

      • pianoteacher on August 12, 2015, 10:08 pm

        Annie,
        Are you seriously trying to make out that you don’t realise that the attacks on Alison Weir, based on incidents from five years ago, (which no one complained about at the time) are an attempt to suppress the book by smearing the author’s reputation?
        Come, come, I know you better than that!

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 2:08 am

        perhaps you misread my comment jane. it was serious, it was not satire. i’ll repeat:

        i have yet to hear any criticism of her book.

        (note this has nothing to do with not hearing or reading attacks on weir. )

        could you link to some please?

        this means if you have read a critical review on the book at any website, such as perhaps daily kos, jvp, ETO, JSF, anything substantial at all refuting facts as presented in her book could you please link to one or two or three.

        i’m assuming your faux outrage is an indication people have been attacking the book.

        addressing the satirical tone of your comment (ie: your hitler reference and the one i removed referencing pedophilia) , i assumed you’d heard negative things about the book. this does not in any way imply criticism of the book would be the only criticism about weir you’ve heard.

        is that correct?

        that’s simply requesting an affirmation of the previous sentence. a simple yes (with link please!) or no will do.

        btw, for anyone else reading this is you’ve read any criticism of weir’s book (even the weekly standard will do) could you please link to it. thanks. i’m merely curious if anyone has read or has access to any substantiated (or unsubstantiated for that matter) critiques of weir’s book.

      • Stephen Shenfield on August 13, 2015, 7:54 am

        Annie: I looked for critical reviews of her book and failed to find any. That may mean that being based on careful archival research it is very difficult to criticize. For that and other reasons opponents seek not to criticize the book but to limit awareness of it by ignoring it (if they could suppress it completely they would). Note that it was self-published through the self-publishing facility CreateSpace, suggesting either that the author could not find a “real” publisher or assumed in advance that she would be unable to.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 10:30 am

        Annie,

        On a listserv a JVP member objected to Weir’s book for discussing Brandeis’ relationship with the Parushim. This member considered the Parushim to be insignificant and thus disagreed with discussing it in the book.

        But this was not really a full book review.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 1:38 pm

        thanks stephen and w.jones.

        opponents seek not to criticize the book but to limit awareness of it by ignoring it

        yes, this is a very normal reaction and the sort of thing i might do in a similar circumstance. it just seems odd tho that her opponents took the very opposite approach to her than they took to the book. perhaps not initially when they sent out the letter to the chapters. but when they took their complaint to ETO they must have known the controversy would spin beyond their control. or maybe not. but i for one have never heard of the Parushim until this comment thread (i bought the book from weir a long time ago but have not read it yet like so many other non fiction books on palestine by activist in the movement).

        anyway, thanks to you both for getting back to me.

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 6:46 pm

        Lots of really vulgar simpleton hasbara bots on Amazon, writing their reviews of Weir’s book.

      • mariapalestina on August 13, 2015, 7:23 pm

        Annie, there are several criticisms of Alison Weir’s book Against Our Better Judgment on the Amazon.com site. It’s doubtful any of the reviewers have read the book. This is the same kind of attack made on Greta Berlin’s book “Freedom Sailors” starting even before the book was available. The attacks on these books are in fact attacks on the authors.

        To identify myself, I am a good friend of Greta Berlin, Alison Weir and Hedy Epstein. Our little foursome travelled together to Palestine via Amman (none of us was welcome at Ben Gurion.) Fortunately we were able to cross the Hussein Bridge from Jordan, though not without difficulty. I imagine now that I have outed myself as a cohort of three women of questionable reputation I risk being tarred with the same brush. (Hedy has not been publicly excoriated as yet, but she has found herself to be persona non grata in her local St Louis Palestinian Solidarity groups due to her defense of Greta and Alison.)

        I phoned Hedy a couple of days ago to extend greetings for her 91st birthday but didn’t reach her the first time. She was off in Ferguson with people gathered to remember the shooting death of Michael Brown a year ago. Hedy recently had her eye removed and can no longer drive or see very well. This doesn’t stop her from speaking out, as the phone call she received from Rebecca Vilkomerson of JVP won’t stop her from supporting Alison Weir.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 8:20 pm

        thanks maria, yes jane informed us earlier about hedy’s stance. i think it’s indicative of the situation where there are people all over the map on this predicament. however, i think it would be unwise of me to make preconceived judgements about the reasonings behind people’s choices. for me, it easier and makes more sense to believe people are sincere in their decisions whether i agree with them or not. i think we have a lot of genuine feelings behind this stuff and it would be a mistake to lump everyone in one basket on either side. people often go with their gut with no bad intention at all and at the same time make judgements about others that include lots of assumptions.

        as an example i see frankie p’s comment coming up informing phil he’s an anti gentile and claims he’s ignored and forbid discussion of Jewish people. i wonder if he’d have the guts to say that to atzmon who can’t even be bothered with hosting a comment section. whatever. gotta go.

    • Kris on August 13, 2015, 1:05 am

      Thanks, pianoteacher, I followed the link and ordered the book.

      Annie, I think pianoteacher is being sarcastic.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 2:15 am

        yes i am well aware she’s being sarcastic (that is why i referenced it as ‘faux’ outrage). but i am not being sarcastic. i am genuinely interested if people are thrashing weir’s book and if so what they have written about it. it sort of speak volumes if there are no substantial critiques. doesn’t it?

        has anyone published a negative critique of the book? and i don’t mean readers comments on amazon.

  27. W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 8:57 pm

    Jennifer Hitchcock, in “The Case against Weir”,

    Thank you for contributing your views on this topic. You wrote:

    “She then addresses “charges” that this is a “new version of the old anti-Semitic ‘blood libel’” by including an extended discussion of a controversial book in which the author claims that “there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents” of medieval Jewish ritual uses of the blood of Christian children. Weir clearly makes a point to selectively paint this as an Israeli and Jewish problem, ignoring the fact that organ harvesting is a widespread problem around the world, not just in Israel or Jewish communities.”

    Weir said in her article that the blood libel is widely refuted and that her purpose for mentioning it is to compare reactions against the organ scandal to reactions against the libel, thus showing the intensity of the objections to the organ article. That is, she was not actually saying that organ or blood harvesting is some kind of “Jewish problem”. If she made that claim it would of course be not only anti-Semitic but mindless.

    Why else would Alison Weir’s website speak of “ignorant calumnies, such as the blood libel, propagated by benighted monks in small provincial cities”?
    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/shahak.html)

    You wrote: “In her follow-up pieces on her blog, in which she stands by the validity of the article, along with many of her other writings and speeches, Weir has a tendency to focus on demonizing Israelis and Jews.

    Where did Weir, in her follow up, “focus on demonizing” the whole Jewish people, as opposed to criticizing Israelis?

    You wrote: “This article is just one example of many that point to a larger pattern in Weir’s work.”
    OK. So what are her other particular claims or ideas that make up this pattern?

    You wrote:

    The Steven Salaita case at UIUC is a good example of why it is wrong to take a couple of tweets out of context to try to paint someone as anti-Semitic whose body of work clearly demonstrates otherwise. Context is required. That is why JVP and the US campaign looked at context and multiple examples over time to make and justify their decisions, and why Ali Abunimah and Bekah Wolf did their research before calling out Greta Berlin.

    Actually, even in context, Salaita said offensive things against Zionists. His defenders however can say that just by writing insultingly against Zionists he did not necessarily write against the Jewish people. Thus, couldn’t the same defense can be made for other activists?

    Regards.

    • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 11:56 am

      You make a valid point, W. Jones, and I have never suggested that ALL of her work suggests antisemitism–just that enough of it does to be a potential problem for reasons I have explained above and in my other comments. The link you include is to an IAK page with text from Israel Shahak’s book, so it is Shahak stating that, not Weir herself.

      She is not stupid. She is obviously very intelligent and usually careful to insert disclaimers here and there, like that one parenthetical statement in her organ harvesting article and her pretty weak piece “Choosing to Act: Why Anti-Semitism is Wrong”: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/as.html

      But does one really have to come out and blatantly say “all Jews” are bad to espouse antisemitism? (This point is less about Weir herself and more about the issue in general) Is all someone has to do insert a weak disclaimer or replace “Jews” with “Zionists” and then it’s perfectly acceptable to go on an extended rant about evil Jewish/Zionist conspiracies to control everything under the sun, how the Holocaust didn’t happen, etc., . . .But then just add: “Hey, but I’m not saying all Jews are bad. In fact, some of them are good,” and you’re in the clear?

      I know I am exaggerating your point a bit, and I am not trying to claim that you personally think this, but it really shouldn’t be that hard to avoid resorting to classical or Protocols-based antisemitic tropes and stereotypes to criticize Zionists either. There are hundreds of reasons and methods for criticizing Israel and Zionism without resorting to antisemitic conspiracy theories and blood libel accusations, etc.

      Certainly coming to a consensus about where the line is between legitimate anti-Zionist criticism and anti-Semitic discourse is needed.

      For example, talking about the influence of the lobby is usually fine, and it is done often on this site. But depending on HOW one characterizes that influence, it can become antisemitic if you aren’t careful. I would argue that when a network of a few wealthy donors, right-leaning pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, etc., plus CUFI and other Christian Zionist organizations seeking to influence US gov’t policy toward Israel (as all lobbies do and as the flawed US political system encourages generally), etc. becomes some kind of evil, secretive, deceptive conspiracy by “Jews” or “Zionists” to control the US gov’t, then it becomes a problem.

      Is the NRA a conspiratorial, secretive, deceptive organization seeking to nefariously control the US gov’t too? Would all Americans embrace strict gun control laws tomorrow if the NRA didn’t exist?

      There has to be a line somewhere that people can agree on. And I don’t think making a weak disclaimer or replacing “Jews” with “Zionists” before an otherwise blatantly antisemitic rant negates the antisemitism.

      So, maybe a useful question is what exactly does REAL antisemitism sound like? Activists should know how to recognize it in order to avoid it, right?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 7:52 pm

        Hi Jennifer.

        If a prominent activist’s work only “seems to be a potential problem”, then I question whether it is too early to ban them until we consider if their ideas actually are racist.

        “The link you include is to an IAK page with text from Israel Shahak’s book, so it is Shahak stating that, not Weir herself.” OK, however based on the ETO’s reasoning that should be sufficient still. If simply having something on your site means that you support everything in it, it means that she is clearly promoting material explicitly against the blood libel.

        “But does one really have to come out and blatantly say “all Jews” are bad to espouse antisemitism?”
        I highly doubt that. And saying such a phrase puts the burden on the speaker to prove otherwise.

        Is all someone has to do insert a weak disclaimer or replace “Jews” with “Zionists” and then it’s perfectly acceptable to go on an extended rant about evil Jewish/Zionist conspiracies to control everything under the sun, how the Holocaust didn’t happen, etc., . . .But then just add: “Hey, but I’m not saying all Jews are bad. In fact, some of them are good,” and you’re in the clear?

        OK, at this point you are purely asking a hypothetical, not something Weir has nearly stated. So let’s imagine that somehow an author has in reality only ever wrote a constant stream of extremely offensive things against some particular political unit, like the settlers or Herzl and never actually wrote anything broadly against the people in some absolute way. Personally I am skeptical that such a case exists, because offensive people often go together with open intolerance. To answer your question, in the hypothetical we would have an analogous discussion. I mean, imagine if Salaita’s offensive tweets were not just several or a dozen (and yes he made offensive ones in context), but were in the hundreds and were most of his work. Yes, in that case, you can ask if we really want someone who is basically a streamer of offensive, ignorant claims about the Israelis as part of a Solidarity movement, even if you could show he wasn’t actually racist.

        With Salaita, Weir, MJ Rosenberg, Marc Ellis, Greta Berlin, JSF, one can show that each of them have made clearly intolerant or offensive statements, but the ones objected to represent only a tiny fraction of their life’s work, and this is why many activists question whether that is enough to ban them.

      • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 9:52 pm

        Ask those who are now claiming Obama made classical anti-semitic remarks when characterizing those who criticize his Iran Nuclear Deal?

  28. Preston Enright on August 12, 2015, 9:04 pm

    For her support of Gilad Atzmon alone, JVP and the US Campaign should’ve distanced themselves from Weir years ago. When Palestinian, U.S. and other international activists were calling out Atzmon for his bigotry and his routine attacks on individuals and organizations of the movement, it was Weir who wrote two public pieces in support for Atzmon.
    If Weir and her supporters are genuinely concerned about attacks on activists and divisiveness, they would be circulating a letter critical of Atzmon and his allies.
    http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2011/11/atzmon-friends-declare-war-on-palestine.html

    • Danaa on August 13, 2015, 3:46 am

      W. Jones: “Her critics are legitimately and sincerely sensitive about anti-Semitism”.

      I beg to differ – there is nothing legitimate or sincerely sensitive in those critics hyperventillating about some supposed “anti-semitism”. These are people who see ghosts everywhere they go. They are busy throwing this, that or the other person into herem, claiming they can smell “whiffs” of something that only they can smell.

      I am not sure whether all this hoopla about “anti-semitism” is disingenuous gambit to dictate the terms of activism – supposedly on behalf of palestinians, but really to maintain their privileged standing as – to use marc Ellis’ term – Jews of the Empire. Or there is genuine paranoia about what will happen to jewish power in America (and all the other Anglo countries) is everyone knew just how much parts of that power worked to subvert American policy, and indeed hasten the decline of the American Empire itself.

      I can’t tell at this point if the paranoia is justified. IT may however become self-justifying the more high-minded, cesorious actions like the attack on Allison Weir take place. In a way, the reprehensible positions taken by jewish action groups like JVP seem to support Gilad’s contention of a ‘spectrum” from zionist to anti-zionist. I know i find the utter selfishness of these kinds of witch hunting exercises to be beyond reprehensible, given that in no way, do they support the palestinian cause.

      Some of us are actually beginning to wonder whether JVP and the CEIC group have infact been infiltrated by zionist agents intent on splitting the solidarity movement. Wouldn’t surprise me were that the case.. At the very least, JVP, which previously was high on the list of upstanding organizations, has now lost much of its lofty credentials.

      I can only imagine how disheartened the Palestinians are, seeing this kind of bickery, snippy behavior.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 10:18 am

        Danaa,

        Weir’s opponents include what, 1/4 of Palestinian Solidarity activists?

        I think that many of them are very sensitive about anti-Semitism, and this is reflected in the attacks on her, because they cannot handle the idea of someone appearing on this kind of offensive radio program to get the message out to the US far right not to believe the anti-Palestinian prejudices of the far right. For her critics, this is unacceptable because they unnecessarily infer that it must mean that she must be actually supporting their views just by appearing on their programs.

        On the other hand, I am certain that the Solidarity movement has been infiltrated at some, perhaps minimal level, as there are multiple, documented cases where that has happened online. It’s only natural that with budgets in the tens or hundreds of millions and a great number of ardent human resources, the opponents of the movement would choose to infiltrate it. And one of the main things that they would naturally do with their positions would be to create disruptions and internal divisions. It’s just common sense. It can be done either by pushing overly obvious counterproductive, mindless activism, like if 40% of Weir’s work was going on racist news shows, or by recycling a more palatable version of the accusations that they normally use against Solidarity activists, which has happened with the Sunshine accusations that Greenleaf mentioned.

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 10:39 am

      Preston,

      Just because someone defends Atzmon doesn’t make the person non grata.

      Some things Atzmon says are worthwhile, since he became horrified with Israeli abuses from his own military service in Lebanon.

      Other things he says are objectionable, like his belief that JVP is only based on exclusivism. He is wrong because JVP can be considered to have a religious reason to exist, which is not just a nationalist-oriented reason, but rather a religious one like FOSNA and CAIR have. Thus, JVP has a valid reason for its orientation as JVP.

      So why can there not be any decent defenses and objections made to Atzmon, as I have just formulated?

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 1:49 pm

        So why can there not be any decent defenses and objections made to Atzmon, as I have just formulated?

        w.jones, there’s certainly no site rules that i have ever heard of. we’ve hosted arguments for and against atzmon in comments before. his ardent defenders can be quite prolific in terms of the amount of things they want to say. they can go on forever. literally hundreds of comments. simply put i have better things to do. as i have explained several times in the comment sections here, i think atzmon should open a forum where people can discuss him endlessly. but i don’t see why we should provide that forum if he’s not willing to do it himself. it ends up dominating whole comments sections in ways that are frequently off topic. hence, i frequently delete them. sometimes not, especially if they are on topic and relate to the subject matter of the thread.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 3:09 pm

        Annie:

        “‘So why can there not be any decent defenses and objections made to Atzmon, as I have just formulated?’

        w.jones, there’s certainly no site rules that i have ever heard of. we’ve hosted arguments for and against atzmon in comments before.”

        Yes, Annie. I was referring to the idea that by someone like Weir including a defense of Atzmon he-she is non grata.

      • Preston Enright on August 13, 2015, 9:47 pm

        Hi W.,
        I think as people become more aware of Atzmon and his far-right collaborators, many will wonder why Weir wrote two pieces in support of him, and why she uses a blurb from him to promote her book on Amazon. Others will wonder why Weir is so concerned about the “attack” on her and her organization, while she chose to support Atzmon who attacked an array of individuals and organizations in the movement, for years.
        Most recently, Atzmon wrote this piece for the reactionary outlet, “Veterans Today: A Journal of the Clandestine Community”, where he denigrates Jewish Voice for Peace and suggests that Rabbi Alissa Wise deserved to be “lynched … on the spot” for a talk she gave at the Friends of Sabeel conference last April.
        http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/07/01/362917/
        As is Gilad’s style, it’s a disgusting hit-piece, and it should concern us all that Atzmon wrote it for the militant audience that reads “Veterans Today.” As Max Blumenthal has pointed out, Atzmon “incites against Jews.” If Weir wants to support Gilad, that’s her prerogative; but it shouldn’t surprise her or her supporters if it does make her persona non grata among JVP, the US Campaign, and the people who respect the vital work they’re doing and understand their concerns.

      • W.Jones on August 31, 2015, 3:54 am

        Dear Preston,

        You wrote:

        I think as people become more aware of Atzmon and his far-right collaborators, many will wonder why Weir wrote two pieces in support of him, and why she uses a blurb from him to promote her book on Amazon.

        Are you implying that this must mean she is anti-Semitic? If so, then do you think Marc Ellis is anti-Semitic and thus must be banned as well when he said:
        “ Instead of King of the Jews. Perhaps Atzmon should be recognized as the prophet of old, At least in his self description and his outreach, this is the way he appears”. And:
        ““Atzmon is extreme but, in his extremity, he is much like the biblical prophets.”
        (Marc Ellis, Future of the Prophetic, p. 332)
        You can read Ellis’ lengthy, sympathetic discussion on Atzmon here, starting on p. 327:
        https://books.google.com/books?id=doN-AwAAQBAJ&pg=PA379&dq=Future+of+the+Prophetic,+Marc+H.+Ellis&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCEQuwUwAGoVChMIpOq6n-zSxwIVCjI-Ch0HRg3t#v=onepage&q=atzmon&f=false

        (See also his MW interview where he compares Atzmon to the prophets)
        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/06/explosion-struggle-assimilation

        He has given far stronger endorsements than Weir could imaginably have given. Ellis, like Weir, has made enormous sacrifices in their work for human rights in the Levant. So how do you assess Ellis and what measures should be imposed on him?

    • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 3:59 pm

      Okay, there’s goes my little comment about Atzmon. Glad I caught Annie’s post before the edit time was up.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 4:37 pm

        thank you! btw, my edit time is never up ;) you can try reposting whatever atzmon comment you are referencing.

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 6:20 pm

        “you can try reposting whatever atzmon comment you are referencing.”

        Not a chance. I think I’m just now starting to see what a regrettable mess this Weir-JVP thing is.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 6:44 pm

        from a personal perspective, i have not even had a chance to check out the front page stories today. and i was going to write one on the UK petiton, forget that. i’d come back to 100 comments. it is completely time consuming. every time i think i’m close to finishing the comments there’s 30 more. people said they don’t believe we had other things to do but anyone who doesn’t think it would take a full time employee to deal with all the comments generated from this conversation is fooling themselves. i knew this would happen. there has been literally thousand of arguments made over this since it started and it could have dominated our comment section for over a month. and if we don’t do it we’re suppressing speech.

        and then we have paul larudee claiming we’re censoring (or whatever he said i can’t recall). meanwhile adam informed me these were the ONLY submissions we received, not a selection from the submissions. that’s it. we are not everyones slaves. we don’t solve the unsolvable here. we are not miracle workers. we all have our own interests in temrs of what we want to focus on and we don’t take orders from higher ups (believe it or not!).

        and then the accusations we’re zionists. whatever. as if it’s nothing to do this work for years way more than 40 hrs a week. and someone like atzmon, who can’t be bothered providing a comment section, we have people posting his links here as if i have the time to moderate the discussion he won’t have. it’s not going to happen, i already have enough on my plate today.

        see ya round.

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 11:16 am

        Annie, once I began thinking of Atzmon as sort of an inside-out Israeli, he bothered me a whole lot less.
        Seems like he simply took the Israeli discourse and turned it inside out (as the result of a well-merited disgust and disillusionment with Israel) before checking to see if that was a good context, a good way to talk about anything, for or against.

        And he does have an organ trio. (Gilad Atzamon’s Power Cats) I can forgive a man almost anything for that!

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 12:13 pm

        it’s not an argument i like getting in the middle of. so much intensity on both sides. wtf

      • Danaa on August 15, 2015, 4:47 am

        Mooser – on your “inside-out” concept of Atzmon. I think you have hit it there fairely well. Atzmon is as intense as all Israelis are, and just as prone to sarcasm (it’s practically a national trait). When he found out that much of the ideals he was raised on were bogus he flipped inside-out as you said. Trouble is once one gets into the habit of hanging out dirty laundry in public, it’s kind of hard to stop – not enough washing machines out there. In israel a state of righteous rage is the rule, not the exception. Flipping the direction of the rage so it’s back at the source, does not make it less of a rage or less righteous. It’s also the nature of rage that it tends to get dispersed – or else one gets burnt to a crisp. One can get seriously addicted to such a state, I hear, and yes, it can cloud a good argument.

        How do I know? because I suffer from some of the same syndrome myself. I don’t think a cure has been found yet. On the plus side, nothing like a state pf perpetual rage to keep oneself eternally young….there’s even a patent on some such potion, I think.

    • Stephen Shenfield on August 14, 2015, 2:48 pm

      Weir’s book “Against Our Better Judgment” is clearly not the work of an anti-Semite. She draws a very sharp dividing line between Jews and Zionists, emphasizing the long history of Jewish opposition to Zionism and the victimization of Jews by Zionism (e.g., the Holocaust survivors in the DP camps who were “conscripted” into the Zionist forces in Palestine and used as cannon fodder). The difference between Weir and Atzmon seems clear.

      Can you provide a link to Weir’s “pieces in support of Atzmon”?

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 4:22 pm

        Stephen,

        One is
        http://alisonweir.org/journal/2012/3/15/the-unfortunate-division-over-gilad-atzmon.html

        This is basically linking to letters by other people defending Atzmon, although she says a few things about “Open Discussion” like “While people are suffering in Israeli prisons and being killed in Gaza, it is sad to see time and energy expended in a campaign against Israeli author and saxophonist Gilad Atzmon. I respect and like people on both sides of this controversy and am troubled over this distracting and destructive (but, I hope, temporary) split.”
        Little did Alison know that three years later, her own head would be on the block.

        Her second letter basically repeats the former letter’s ideas, except that she also emphasizes that there were two declarations against Atzmon, and that the first one had practically no Palestinian names among a sea of nonPalestinian ones, followed by a second letter whose signatories were 23 Palestinians. She does say that she considers “the attacks on him are enormously unfair”, but she doesn’t elaborate.

        http://alisonweir.org/journal/2013/2/1/more-on-the-gilad-atzmon-controversy-and-why-it-matters.html

        Since Weir wrote little else herself on Atzmon, it basically comes down to whether it is acceptable and conceivably nonracist for her to consider attacks on Atzmon to be “enormously unfair”, or whether her disagreement over the attacks on him serve as added grounds for attacking Weir herself.

  29. Preston Enright on August 12, 2015, 9:10 pm

    “An important discussion has inadvertently come to a head within the Palestine solidarity movement that focuses on the nature of solidarity, agendas within movements, white savior syndrome, the nonprofit industrial complex and alliance building and accountability. While the differences exposed by this discussion have been an issue within the movement for sometime, the discussion is long overdue.” – Emma Rosenthal
    https://emmarosenthal.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/guilt-by-disassociation-the-landscape-of-amerikan-exceptionalism-in-the-guise-of-palestine-solidarity/

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 10:05 am

      Preston,

      From the article you linked to:

      there are a few leftist cheerleaders, or those who would have us think they are leftists, for example, Counterpunch magazine, James Petras, Cynthia McKinney and Cindy Sheehan who either advocate a Lobby exclusivist perspective or promote those who do to the exclusion of other points of view. These leftists also tend to promulgate conspiracy theories, many of which are rooted in traditional antisemitism and distract activists from supporting human rights and opposing U.S. empire.

      What?

      Cindy Sheehan is excluding other points of view on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

      • Preston Enright on August 14, 2015, 1:55 am

        Hi W.,
        There’s a lot to mull over regarding Emma Rosenthal’s article, “Guilt by Dis-association.”
        Like Weir, Cindy Sheehan has done important work, but not work that is beyond criticism.
        It’s dismaying to see how Sheehan has been promoting the “truth” movement, which has paleo-libertarian roots and has been an obstacle to grassroots progressive change.
        http://www.commondreams.org/views/2008/04/07/truth-about-911-truth-movement

        I catch Cindy’s program from time to time, and the Facebook postings of Cynthia McKinney.
        Counterpunch is in my stream on occasion, and I’ve been reading Petras since he’s been in Z Magazine. No doubt, they all offer a range of views; still, I see Rosenthal’s point about how an Israel lobby focus can be a misdirection. Weir was dismissive of this analysis in one of her public appeals, but I think it has merit.
        Stephen Zunes of Foreign Policy in Focus has written on the topic.
        https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-israel-lobby-how-powerful-is-it-really-by-stephen-zunes/
        And here,
        http://www.commondreams.org/views/2007/12/23/israel-lobby-revisited
        “Putting most of the blame on the Israel Lobby is reductionism at its worst, taking just one vector of power and influence and turning into a monocausal theory. It is overly simplistic in that it embraces a naively pluralistic understanding of political power, denying the deeper power structures that drive U.S. policy in the Middle East. Indeed, I wish their analysis were correct, since a single, powerful lobby would be a much simpler problem to overcome.”

      • W.Jones on August 31, 2015, 4:19 am

        Dear Preston,

        Regarding Rosenthal’s claim that Sheehan “excludes other viewpoints,” you wrote:

        It’s dismaying to see how Sheehan has been promoting the “truth” movement, which has paleo-libertarian roots and has been an obstacle to grassroots progressive change.

        How does her belief in her proposed “truth” mean that she is actively “excluding over viewpoints”?

        It does not make sense how that means she is a gatekeeper or something. These mindless accusations are the kind of thing that deters many activists from becoming engaged in Solidarity work. It’s bad enough that they get the accusations from society who has listened to a militaristic narrative on the conflict.

        Next, you cited Stephen Zunes saying:

        Putting most of the blame on the Israel Lobby is reductionism at its worst, taking just one vector of power and influence and turning into a monocausal theory.

        Do you realize that this statement by Zunes does not make sense and that even on its face the statement misportrays those who focus on the Lobby?

        If someone puts “most” of their blame on the lobby, then he/she does not impose a “mono”-causal theory. So its indisputably that Zunes is misrepresenting those who blame the Lobby as if they must have a “monocausal” view.

        Weir herself of course recognizes that there are other forces at work like corporate investments, she just emphasizes the lobby. And this is a reasonable theory that she holds, since lobbying places a crucial role in many major fields of U.S. money-based, capitalist politics.

  30. wfleitz on August 12, 2015, 9:57 pm

    A week ago MW published an interesting article about BBC interviewing children in Gaza. Quoting from the article “Did the BBC cover up the anti-Semitism of Gaza’s children?” (http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/semitism-gazas-children#sthash.M5u8UU8P.dpuf)

    “At one point in the film, a Gazan child says the “yahud” are massacring Palestinians. However the TV subtitles read: “Israel is massacring us”. The Jewish Chronicle pointed out to its readers that the correct translation for “yahud” from Arabic to English is “Jew”.

    “Lyse Doucet told the JC:

    ““We talked to people in Gaza, we talked to translators. When [the children] say ‘Jews’, they mean ‘Israelis’. “We felt it was a better translation of it.”

    “The Jewish Chronicle appears to be raising two very important issues. Are Palestinian children in Gaza antisemitic and can we trust the BBC to be fair to Israel?”

    Fair to Israel? Anti-Semitic children? When I read this I thought about seeing a Star of David on the tail wing of an Israeli F-16. Or how often Palestinians find their homes destroyed by Israelis with Stars of David painted everywhere. I see a huge synagogue in the richest part of DC with a banner on its side saying “We support Israel.” What does this all imply?

    I think mtorres put it perfectly in her response:

    “As long as that state insists that it is the state for all Jews, and that it speaks for all Jews, all Jews get tarred with the ugliness, even my Jewish husband who has been in the struggle for Palestinian freedom longer than I have – almost 35 years.”

    Interestingly my dictionary shows the first definition for the word “Semite” is “a member of any of various ancient and modern peoples originating in southwestern Asia, including the Akkadians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs.” So maybe we could call Israelis Antisemitic because of their treatment of Arabs?

    Also I wanted to add that I have subscribed to Counterpunch when it first came out as a paper newletter edited by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein. It doesn’t have to defend its bonafides to anyone. It publishes a lot of different views and I think that’s just fine and dandy. It’s the only place I can read Cindy Sheehan, Paul Craig Roberts, Jesse Jackson, Medea Benjamin and Fidel Castro all in one location!

    • annie on August 13, 2015, 2:42 am

      fleitz, i had a problem with the opening/framing of that article myself but in all fairness to the author the article was supposed to be read in it’s entirety.

      referencing what you agreed with “As long as that state insists that it is the state for all Jews, and that it speaks for all Jews, all Jews get tarred with the ugliness, even my Jewish husband…

      the author makes the same point:

      But the speakers, in this case the children of Gaza, have context too. And it’s just as emotional, political and historical.

      If the Jewish Chronicle cared to give it a little consideration, it might realise that there are many good reasons why the children interviewed by Doucet would naturally choose the word “yahud” when describing their enemy.

      Don’t we call Israel the ‘Jewish State’? Don’t we insist that it is the State not just of its Jewish citizens but of all Jews wherever they may live? Don’t Israeli Prime Minister readily talk as if they represent the interests of the Jewish people around the globe? Don’t our communal leaders throughout the Jewish diaspora act as defenders and apologists whenever Israel faces criticism? The Jewish Chronicle certainly knows that all of this is true. In fact it promotes all of this every week.

      So, if you were a Palestinian child in Gaza is it really so unreasonable to think that “Jew” and “Israeli” were interchangeable?

      Haven’t we made identification with the State of Israel so central to modern Jewish identity that the Gazan children are only reflecting what we have been saying of ourselves for decades? We are at one with Israel.

      I understand that identity politics can be complicated but in accusing the children of antisemitism I think we are trying to have our Jewish nationalist cake and eat it.

      But there is plenty more context where this came from

      yes, in the article there is plenty more where that came from. doesn’t that give you a breath or relief knowing what you praised about mtorres’s comment could have easily been plucked right off the page you were denouncing?

      • wfleitz on August 13, 2015, 10:42 am

        Point taken. Perhaps it was poorly worded. I wasn’t trying to denounce the author–I was trying to highlight the JC comment at the beginning of the article. As you said I could have used the text from the remainder of article as well to make the same point. No argument there.

    • Paul Larudee on August 13, 2015, 5:00 pm

      There are much more straightforward reasons that “yahud” translates as either “Israeli” or “Jew”. When European Jews began emigrating to Palestine, what would you call them? For Palestinian Arabs, they were “the Jews”. And when Israel pronounced itself a state, Palestinians were hardly anxious to legitimize the agent of their dispossession. That is true even today. There are millions of Palestinians who refuse to use the term “Israel” or “Israeli”. So what term would you have them use?

      More than a decade ago Israeli Jews began coming to demonstrations against confiscation of lands belonging to the village of Budrus. In my broken Arabic I was talking to some of the children and asked them what they thought of these folks, using the usual term, “yahud”. The children objected strenuously that these were not “yahud”. the “yahud” were people that carried guns, often wore uniforms, and were cruel to them. They were the enemy.

      “So then who are these people,” I asked. “Israelis” (israiliyoun), they replied, using a word that otherwise hardly appeared in their vocabulary. Chances are that this childhood linguistic invention did not last long, but its unintentional irony goes a long way in explaining the use of the terms.

  31. Krendall Mist on August 12, 2015, 10:11 pm

    The Romans (the last European military state to occupy Palestine until 1948) had a phrase that describes all of this nonsensical back and forth about Alison Weir: Argumentum ad hominem.

    Alison Weir terrifies the Zionist–and by that I mean anyone who believes Israel as a Jewish state has so much as an iota of any legitimacy other than that due military might and violence. Without any political or academic platform, she through tireless work and dedication and more or less entirely on her own revealed to a sizeable number of Americans capable of critical thinking basic facts long denied them by a Zionist-sympathetic corporate media. I was one of the Americans who did not know. I did not know, or even think about, the rampant Zionist corruption of America’s national legislators. About the horrendous atrocities inflicted by the Zionist entity on its aboriginal populations made possible only by US support. Of course, Weir wasn’t the only voice crying in the wilderness. But there have not been many, and she was on the first.

    I will not argue that Weir is not an anti-Semite, for two reasons: (1) the term means absolutely nothing–it is a cudgel, not a word; and (2) I couldn’t care less what she “is.” What she does, and has done for fifteen years, is open a lot of American eyes and clear the cobwebs of Zionist claptrap from a lot of American minds.

    • Pixel on August 13, 2015, 7:15 pm

      Krendall, Bravo! BRAVO!

    • Citizen on August 13, 2015, 10:37 pm

      Yes, Weir did and does open American minds on important issues and it’s been a long hard road for her. She deserves respect, not slurs.

  32. Donald on August 12, 2015, 10:50 pm

    I looked at the Hitchcock link to the end the occupation website

    http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4510

    According to the link,, Weir seems comfortable hobnobbing with a white supremacist and Jew hater though apparently she denies he is that. So either the link is full of lies or she is an amazingly unobservant person.

    People have made an interesting argument–if some are willing to work with Zionists than why shouldn’t Weir reach out to white racist apartheid sympathizers? It occurs to me that talking to Zionists and trying to win some of them over seems directly relevant, whereas embracing racism in all its forms might be taking the logic in the wrong direction, but let’s go with it– maybe the key to winning over America is to ally with the white nationalist crowd. That’s an inspiring thought. No more apartheid analogies then, because we wouldn’t want to confuse our new pals. Any chance Mondoweiss could sprinkle some Confederate flags across the top of the website? A burning cross motif might also broaden the appeal.

    • W.Jones on August 12, 2015, 11:33 pm

      Yes, talking to Zionists is directly relevant. However, JVP’s and ETO’s position is that by appearing on a program and failing to sufficiently challenge their views, one is actually condoning their views. So if an Israeli peace activist made a handful of appearance on right wing Israeli nationalist (eg. Settler) media in the last 15 years without challenging the occupation consistently on those appearances (and instead talking about, say, environmental issues in the Jordan Valley), how would the rationale of JVP and ETO apply? What if the host made repeated objectionable comments and the Israeli activist made only weak challenges to his/her host?

      “maybe the key to winning over America is to ally with the white nationalist crowd.”
      I don’t think Weir called them “allies”. I think she said her goal was to make appearances on a few of their media outlets because she sees them susceptible to anti-Palestinian conservative brainwashing.

    • echinococcus on August 12, 2015, 11:49 pm

      It occurs to me that talking to Zionists and trying to win some of them over seems directly relevant, whereas embracing racism in all its forms might be taking the logic in the wrong direction…

      Strange things are occurring to you, don’t you think so? Why should talking to Zionists and “win some over” be any different than any other completely crazy pipe dream? To use a simile that, again, I can understand because of my age, it’s like “let’s stop offing the Germans whenever we can because it’s more relevant to win them to the cause of the Resistance”. I suppose the only way of “winning over” people so crassly indoctrinated as the Zionists is by an operation of the Holy Spirit (and I suppose I’ll attract a lot of curses for even invoking something so treif.)

      Then the even stranger mention of “embracing racism in all its forms” being offered as the only alternative to converting the Zionists. You were just proposing to embrace the Zionists, weren’t you? The nastiest, most murderous and most dangerous racists in operation in our days! Who ever proposed to “embrace racism in all its forms”? We are here essentially to fight racism as practiced by the Zionists, with the direct participation of the world’s only superpower. Some sense of reality, please.

    • Danaa on August 13, 2015, 12:19 am

      Donald, stop pretending you know and care so much about the black people of this country, and that you have can do or have done much more for them than pay lip service. You are a person of obvious privilege (yes, I am guessing, but it’s a fair guess, I think) and wherever you live, I kind of doubt you have much of a concept of what the American South was and is or the complex reasons behind the civil war and/or the affinity some there had for the confederate flag. Your sarcastic comment about the flag may indicate sensitivity to the latest and hottest politically correct cause, but the plight of America’s inner cities, just like the plight of the American rural areas – populated by whites, blacks and browns of all shades – their battles are obviously not yours, as much as you profess great sympathy for the former. How do I know? simple – by your own words you trip – lumping anti-black, anti-brown, anti-arab racism with the same blanket of a vague, barely perceptible anti-jewish sentiment which is a direct result of jewish power in the US and the subversion of American foreign policy it beget is too obvious a hyperbole. I kind of doubt the BlackLivesMatter people would want you as their flag bearer – especially as you seem to not quite perceive what actual racism is like. To remedy that, I suggest you go to israel – it’s an instant cure to ignorance in such matters, because no one does real true blue racism better and deeper and more heart felt than the so-called jews of Israel.

      You may notice you are alone in your Anti Allison Weir sentiments here (which you have done your best to couch behind some concocted anti-white supremacy platitudes). As it happens, no one stands with you other than a few prissy witch hunters who are ready to hound anyone who as much as dares to profess caring for America, an actual nation, with its own interests and issues, most of which are directly orthogonal to israel’s.

      Be careful that those tell-tale coat-tails of privilege not show too much….

      • notatall on August 13, 2015, 8:21 am

        Danaa describes America as “an actual nation, with its own interests and issues.” My view may be outdated, but I think the workers have no country, and the notion of national interests covers up the reality of class rule. The struggle for human freedom demands solidarity with all the oppressed, not placing one cause above another on “tactical” grounds. The idea that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” which I think underlies the defenses of Weir’s decision to appear on Clay Douglass’s show, has generally led to disaster. I do not object to her appearing on his show—by all means, get the word out. I do object to her failure to challenge his white supremacism and anti-Semitism while there. What would we say of someone who appeared on a Zionist show and denounced nazis without saying a word about Palestine?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 12:58 pm

        Notatall,

        Danaa describes America as “an actual nation, with its own interests and issues.” My view may be outdated, but I think the workers have no country, and the notion of national interests covers up the reality of class rule

        The workers as a whole have no country, but of course even in Marxism the working class of a nation has _a_ nation, or else the Comintern wouldn’t have been divided into national sections.

        Just like the world’s workers, the workers of America, and “the 95%” of America, it’s people as a whole, have no real interest in many of the conflicts the country has been involved in like the Vietnam War. Many activists during the Vietnam War made precisely that argument- that America’s people did not have an interest in that war.

        To limit yourself to purely internationalist workerist allies severely limits yourself unnecessarily in building a coalition on an issue. Why should we hamstring yourself on pure international workerism when it comes to Palestine?

        The idea that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” which I think underlies the defenses of Weir’s decision to appear on Clay Douglass’s show,

        Where have the prominent defenders of Weir said that? Hasn’t her position been not that she is actually Douglas’ friend or some kind of important “Solidarity ally” (forget it), but that it’s imperative to get out the message of the tragedy of Palestinians’ dispersal and crushing to the full range of audiences?

        ” What would we say of someone who appeared on a Zionist show and denounced nazis without saying a word about Palestine?”

        What makes you so sure, Notatall, that JVP and ETO would refuse to work with someone who did that, like a Holocaust researcher who elsewhere wanted to get involved in Solidarity activism? There are plenty of Holocaust programs that are very pro-Israeli, and personally I would be happy working with such a person because I believe in at least some cooperation with allies who share their messages as long as they don’t actually oppose equality.

    • annie on August 13, 2015, 2:58 am

      donald, i think it would be advantageous all around to have a fair fight if we are going to fight and the movement is going to split right down the middle. where do you come up with weir “embracing racism in all its forms”? why is it advantageous “talking to Zionists and trying to win some of them over ” and not considered “comfortable hobnobbing” with “racism in all its forms”?

      • Sibiriak on August 13, 2015, 4:21 am

        Annie: why is it advantageous “talking to Zionists and trying to win some of them over ” and not considered “comfortable hobnobbing” with “racism in all its forms”?
        ———————————–
        Challenging liberal Zionists to fully embrace their professed liberalism and abandon any commitment to Jewish supremacism is entirely different than trying to win over white supremacists to the anti-Zionist cause while pointedly NOT challenging their racism.

        Recall that The End the Occupation complaint is:

        …Ms. Weir made little to no effort to challenge, confront, or rebut any of these [racist] views ; on the contrary, she continued to appear on the show, placing Palestinian rights advocacy within the context of — rather than in opposition to — those views.

        (emphasis added)

        http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4510

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 9:58 am

        Sibiriak,

        I count at least 5 times in the interview when Weir challenged racism.

      • Donald on August 13, 2015, 10:28 am

        I can understand someone going on a radio show not realizing that the host is a flaming racist antisemitic nutcase. Doing it repeatedly seems a bit careless. Who exactly is she trying to reach? One logical guess would be the sorts of people that are regular listeners, people who are predisposed to hate Jews. If people don’t see the problem here I don’t think I will be able to explain it.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 12:42 pm

        Donald,

        The easiest problem to see is that she risks people associating her with the views of her host, even though she opposes those views. This is what her critics have done, but her supporters have not. Personally I am very able to distinguish an interviewer’s views from an interviewee’s, but unfortunately some people are not.

        It’s like a prominent figure knowingly going on a far right Israeli settler radio station to advocate black Israeli refugee rights while only giving weak opposition to anti-Palestinian claims made in the interview, while elsewhere openly supporting Palestinian rights. In that case, should we assume that the person is an anti-Palestinian racist and ban working with them on, say, work for African Israeli refugees?

      • echinococcus on August 13, 2015, 1:33 pm

        Donald,

        To put it another way, if I am intent on providing even a milligram of help to the Palestinians to get rid of the Zionist invader, as far as possible over the entirety of Palestine, I wouldn’t give a rat’s posterior if I am working with a “flaming racist antisemitic nutcase” as long as I get help (that’s only me, of course, not Weir, who has clearly and repeatedly stated her antiracist opinion during the airtime.)
        Now, seeing that you are comfortable talking to the flaming faux-semitic Zionist nutcases who have become a cancer on the world’s asscheek, why do you think you had to contribute to a discussion on how to resist against Zionist invasion? Also, are you affiliated with JVP (that would not be a minus point for you but damning for JVP.)

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 4:10 pm

        “if some are willing to work with Zionists than why shouldn’t Weir reach out to white racist apartheid sympathizers?”

        It seems a rather intractable fact that the Palestinians will always be more Muslim then the Jews, and darker. So how does that work out with “racist apartheid sympathizers”? They are going to draw different lines in this case?

    • aiman on August 13, 2015, 8:23 am

      Donald: “It occurs to me that talking to Zionists and trying to win some of them over seems directly relevant, whereas embracing racism in all its forms might be taking the logic in the wrong direction, but let’s go with it– maybe the key to winning over America is to ally with the white nationalist crowd. That’s an inspiring thought. No more apartheid analogies…”

      Since you frequently talk about “both sides”, good to see you take one side. Maybe, just maybe, your moral compass is skewed toward Israel? What’s the difference between talking to Zionists and white nationalists or any other tribal-minded people? No difference. But according to you Zionists are redeemable and others are not.

      • Taxi on August 13, 2015, 11:57 am

        aiman,

        Good that you can read Donald’s covert zionism like an open book.

      • Donald on August 13, 2015, 8:07 pm

        My covert Zionism is as follows–Zionism is a settler colonialist ideology that was used to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes. I understand that many Jews in the first half of the twentieth century thought that having their own state would be a solution for centuries of murderous antisemitism, but they were wrong to think the solution was to inflict another massive atrocity on Palestinians. They lived at the tail end of an era when Europeans and people of European descent thought such things were justifiable. They were wrong.

        Currently there are people who call themselves liberal Zionists, but this is a broad category. Many, maybe most, are just trying to make themselves feel better with a token expression of opposition to the occupation, but they have no desire to see any pressure placed on Israel. At the opposite extreme you have people who seem on the way out of the movement, people who acknowledge all the crimes Israel has committed, but haven’t yet made the final step of saying that the whole idea was wrong. And there are people in- between. So I think the people on the verge of leaving and some of the in-between folks (thinking of Beinart) are worth reaching out to.

        But I could be wrong on that last part. It still doesn’t make sense to ally with white supremacists who hate Jews–it’s a weird strategy for a movement based on universal human rights to employ.

        As for redeemable white supremacists,anyone is redeemable, But you don’t go to a group of people who hate Jews and start telling them about the crimes of Israel and of the Lobby with the idea that you are going to redeem them. You would do that if you feel like this is a target group already predisposed to hate Jews, so maybe you can pick up some allies. Seems stupid to me. In sharp contrast, there are liberal Zionists who eventually make the leap out.

      • gamal on August 13, 2015, 8:32 pm

        “It still doesn’t make sense to ally with white supremacists who hate Jews”

        It also makes no sense to ally with white supremacists who don’t hate Jews, which is the point at issue here, in your case.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 8:41 pm

        That’s a good point, Donald, when you say:
        “you don’t go to a group of people who hate Jews and start telling them about the crimes of Israel”.

        What about anti-capitalists or anarchists who are rather unruly in following set behavior rules and go to those groups and complain about the 1% and bankers and the elite? Should one ban all cooperation with them? What do you think of Josh Ruebner speaking to the Maryland Constitution Party?

      • Donald on August 13, 2015, 9:03 pm

        So you agree it makes no sense to ally with white supremacists. Good.

      • RoHa on August 14, 2015, 5:03 am

        “It still doesn’t make sense to ally with white supremacists who hate Jews”

        I don’t see that Weir is allying herself with them. She is taking the opportunity to present the pro-Palestinian case to them, without getting involved in wrangles about their general racist outlook. Such wrangles would only detract from her specific message.

        In Britain and Australia, the White supremacist types are usually supportive of Israel. They may hate Jews, but they hate Arabs and Muslims more, and will happily ally themselves with Zionists for a bit of Paki-bashing.

      • aiman on August 14, 2015, 9:32 am

        Donald, the treatment of white supremacism by Weir’s detractors is itself a form of exclusion. The other half owes to the paranoia of ongoing sense of victim hood; the white supremacist in this narrative is Lucifer. Even the Zionist must be protected, the tribe becomes united against this imaginary onslaught. History repeats itself…

        Except it’s all paranoia. Reality check:
        1. American Jews are the most privileged ‘in group’.
        2. The Palestinians, already the victims of immense torture and one of the longest and inhumane sieges ever visited, face the second Holocaust at the hands of Zionism.
        3. Weir has a right to audience with anyone she chooses. It speaks to her credit and hardwork that she doesn’t shun engaging with all human beings who are, like the Zionists you expend so much effort to humanising, human beings. If you can make distinctions between Zionists, why shouldn’t we with others? Weir speaks in a social justice framework and with the responsibility of the everyday man and woman already brainwashed into Zionism, the most pervasive and acceptable form of racism and death cult.
        4. If the Buddha, Jesus, Plato, Muhammad, Florence Nightingale, Gandhi, heck Moses took your advice they wouldn’t have spoken a word nor helped anyone.

      • Taxi on August 14, 2015, 10:15 am

        Donald,

        I repeat: “covert” zionism.

        And I don’t thank you for what must be the most boring summery of zionism – ever!

      • aiman on August 14, 2015, 10:18 am

        Taxi, great to see you bowling ace at MW!

      • Sibiriak on August 14, 2015, 10:41 am

        Taxi : Donald, I repeat: “covert” zionism.
        ———————

        Exactly. No professions of innocence or painstaking recitations of the anti-Zionist party-line can ever exonerate the covert Zionist.

      • Sibiriak on August 14, 2015, 10:48 am

        Taxi: Good that you can read Donald’s covert zionism like an open book.
        ———————-

        Indeed. While it may seem paradoxical that something entirely covert can be read like an open book , in fact, with the proper ideological training, anti-Zionist cadres can perform this impressive feat with relative ease.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 11:42 am

        donald, if i am understanding you correctly, is your argument that jewish racists can be moved but non jewish racists cannot? for one, there’s hope, an opportunity to change and turn around the other is a lost cause and should be avoided at all costs (including those who associate with them)? that sounds like a double standard. maybe that is not wht you’re saying and i’m misunderstanding you.

        and what about all those christian zionists? where are they on the scale of rejection? are they redeemable too because they are zionists? or do we categorize them in the non jewish haram file.

    • Paul Larudee on August 13, 2015, 5:09 pm

      How about opposing racism in all its forms? Are some forms of racism more equal than others? And if Palestinian refugees cannot return to their homes because they’re not Jewish, then how does Zionism not qualify as of the of the forms of racism to be opposed – overtly, explicitly, loudly and publicly.

      • Taxi on August 14, 2015, 10:41 am

        You’re absolutely right there, Paul Larudee. But trying telling that to JVP and their choseness.

      • merlot on August 14, 2015, 11:13 am

        It seems quite problematic to call for opposition to all forms of racism while defending the If Americans Knew principle that we should be willing to accept any speaking platform provided to us, including those provided by racists, for the purpose of promoting our positions on Palestine while not prioritizing explicitly opposing the racism under girding the platform being used.

        Sure Zionism is racism and our movement is about opposing Zionism with the aim of supporting Palestinian efforts to achieve their rights, but that does not mean not engaging with Zionists. Equally, anti-racism doesn’t mean not engaging with racists.

        How many of us in this movement who are not Palestinian started from a position free from Zionist opinions? Understanding that the conflict as not merely an eternal conflict between Jews and Palestinians, seeing it as tied to settler colonialism and as being about racism and Jewish Israeli privilege, understanding the centrality of return – these are not positions most of us naturally hold. They develop as a result of our engagement in the movement and through people who challenging our acceptance of mainstream Zionist narratives.

        I hear people support Alison by saying that we must be a big tent and not only talk to the converted but then say that we must keep out all Zionists. Engaging with Zionists is not necessarily a sign that you are embracing or endorsing their views. It can be part of a process of challenging and trying to change their views. Engagement can be part of a direct process of challenge to Zionism. The distinction should be how you engage. Rejecting all engagement with Zionists is calling for a small tent.

        If an organization, like JVP, embraces right of return, equality for Palestinians, an end to the occupation, opposes Israeli policies, receives support from broad swaths of Palestinian civil society, etc. it does not make sense to call them Zionist. The place where they have natural reach is into the mainstream Jewish community which does hold Zionist opinions. They do important work in pulling liberal Zionists away from Zionism and challenging their opinions. Should we demand that they stop that work and only focus on the already converted? How is that useful? How does demanding that JVP not engage with Zionists help build our movement?

        Demanding absolutely no engagement with Zionists is counter productive in a movement devoted to challenging the reality of how Zionism has been lived out in historic Palestine.

        If Alison were saying that she will continue to use platforms provided by people like Clay Douglas to explicitly challenge their racism and anti-Semitism and as a part of dedicated activism towards those ends then many of us would not have a problem with her actions. However, that is not what she says her goal is and it is not how she has used past appearances on these platforms. She has used her appearances to promote her work on Palestine. That is not showing a dedication and commitment to challenging all racism.

  33. Blaine Coleman on August 12, 2015, 10:58 pm

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. So too, since 2002, when the vibrant, marching student movement for Palestine withered into private meetings, no one is left but the occasional guest lecturer (Alison Weir and a few others) and the one month in which weak divestment resolutions are promoted on a couple of dozen campuses (April, right before campuses empty out.)

    To all of these poor remnants of the movement I give thanks, but I wish the thousands of students who gripe privately on Facebook would start marching to boycott Israel, in every city council and every campus.

    To encourage students to march for boycott is a worthy effort. To instead waste your time hunting for ill motives in Alison’s presentations is an extremely unworthy effort, and a fool’s errand too. Any sane student reading these attacks on Alison will wonder why you aren’t directing your voices against the rancid, racist state of Israel instead.

    Alison’s lectures (pretty much the same lecture for many years) feature a colorful kind of slideshow demonstrating the mass media’s overwhelming bias against the value of Palestinian life and limb. I have seen it many times now.

    Once in February 2002, at the first national divestment conference, Alison showed a wonderful film clip of a Berkeley divestment demonstration from 2001. That was great! I hope she will put it on YouTube and on Mondoweiss.

    So what on Earth is wrong with that? Let her keep doing her slideshow. Without that, humanity is less, not more.

    Years ago, Alison defended me at a demonstration in Washington when I wore a sign showing maximum contempt for the racist state of Israel. At that same rally, the End-the-Occupation people were throwing all their might into blocking my sign from view and trying to remove me from the presence of anyone who might see it.

    So if Palestine is incinerated again, like Gaza in 2014 and 2008-2009, I think Alison would have more of a heart, and a stronger voice, for Palestinian life than her accusers do today.

    Boycott Israel, to hell with Israel, and stop disgracing yourself by attacking Alison and her pretty useful slideshow.

    • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 11:23 am

      “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

      Okay, okay, you get my vote. But I think kings are usually coronated, not voted into office

      • Susie Kneedler on August 17, 2015, 4:50 pm

        For Mooser: “Okay, okay, you get my vote. But I think kings are usually coronated, not voted into office.” [http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/roundtable-palestinian-solidarity/comment-page-1#comments]

        “Coronated,” dear Wooster?–er, I mean Mooser. As in, chopped up by a coroner? Wot’d Jeeves say? Praps:

        “I could not advise it, Sir,” in a low, cold voice as if he’d been bitten in the leg by a friend. “In America, some government officials actually pretend to ‘effectuate results’ and ‘actuate signals.'”
        ​ ​
        ….Okay, I’m off to read about Katie and the “Coronated Heads,” hoping for a tiara at least of “corrugated” purple ermine, if I can drag self away from this all-absorbing Thread,,,

        ****
        Ha! Slim chance. Like Annie before, I haven’t even been able to check for new news.—-Meanwhile, double fun today, bc of your exchange with Annie about “iteration,” as well as the days’-old gem of “expouse.” Thanks in advance for not making me feel like a “dud-fuddy,” ol’ Wilberforce Mooser.

  34. yakr7 on August 12, 2015, 11:01 pm

    Active in this struggle since 1979, I know BS when I see it, and I am disappointed that you, Phillip, do not see it as well.

  35. Qualtrough on August 12, 2015, 11:41 pm

    The entire ‘racism’ premise is silly seeing as how Zionism is a thoroughly racist concept.

    And CounterPunch a ‘questionable publication’? No need to read that screed any further.

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 9:54 am

      Qualtrough,

      Counterpunch is able to question a vast array of unquestioned presumptions in US society. Hence it is a very question able publication!

  36. chrisjj on August 13, 2015, 12:04 am

    First of all, Ms. Weir and others have already responded point by point to every accusation, exposing each and every one as without basis: for sure the ‘evidence’ presented would never hold up in a court of law.

    Given the baseless nature of the accusations, one can only imagine where this smear campaign targeted at Ms Weir might have originated. Do Ms. Weir’s accusers think the Israeli government is not actively trying to disrupt the pro-justice-for-Palestine movement (and BDS) by fomenting division via certain well-positioned ‘gatekeepers’? The timing of these attacks is interesting, given that the flimsy ‘evidence’ presented mostly dates from several years ago: so why now? Could it be something to do with a growing desperation on the part of the Israeli government and the US Lobby, as our movement is becoming no longer ‘containable’ to the political left, and is starting to influence mainstream America, helped along by Ms. Weir’s devastatingly factual book, and her work to educate the public about the USS Liberty?

    It’s worth reminding folks also that the political efforts in the US to secure justice for the Palestinians are not owned, controlled, or constrained, by individuals from any particular tribe, religion, political grouping or ethnicity. It is in everyone’s best interest (and for the sake of world peace) that we make our politicians accountable to the people they are supposed to represent, and not to special interests and foreign powers and the only way we are going to do that is by changing public opinion on key issues such as Israel/Palestine. The point is that, vis-a-vis Israel/Palestine, Ms. Weir has made that her mission, and I guess that makes many in our movement uncomfortable. But why?

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 8:47 am

      @ chrisjj

      Great comment! Puts the issue with Weir n proper perspective. I don’t understand why some here view sites like Counterpunch and the Veterans site as unworthy, or even IAK. Do they feel the same about, say Ant-war web site? Daily Kos? I don’t agree with all the articles posted on, say Counterpunch, but the site displays a wide range of alternate views of foreign (and domestic) issues never really confronted in the mainstream media. Some of the most acute experts write articles that appear in Counterpunch and/or the Vets web side.

  37. Pixel on August 13, 2015, 12:28 am

    Thanks, Adam. Thanks, Phil.

    This seems like a very important conversation to be having.

  38. NorthCascadian on August 13, 2015, 1:04 am

    Alison Weir has gone where we all must, looking hard and critically at the out sized influence of duel national racist Zionists intent on using and abusing the United States for some mystical hell which they are creating quite nicely in Palestine. The dialog on the Amazon review pages is the skirmish line for Hasbara. A review of the reviews and comments reveal that people who read the book are waking up and getting sick and tired of the censored landscape. Here is my 5 star review written a year ago.
    5Clear as a Bell high on a mountain!
    ByScott Free “Avid student of reality.”on May 8, 2014
    Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
    ‘They will lie about you when you’re dead’ this phrase popped into my mind as I finished reading the silver bullet that is “Against Our Better Judgement”. The style of this book is what jumps out so quickly, each sentence is as clear as mountain air, inhaling each chapter clears your mind and rejuvenates the soul. Voltaire’s Candid compares in style and punch.
    Alison Weir’s concluding statement on page 93 (yes, it is that brief!), is worth reflecting on
    “Very few people know this history. The excellent books that document it are largely out of print, their facts and very existence virtually unknown to the vast majority of Americans, even those who focus on the Middle East. Instead, false theories have been promulgated, mendacious analyses promoted, chosen authors celebrated, other assigned to oblivion.”
    Weir’s expose’ of the hidden history of the pro-zionist forces at work both overtly and covertly in America from as early as the 1880’s is mind blowing. It is time for scholars to really start digging into the secret society known as “Parushim” and its control of the US government. Weir also document’s the completely unsung heroes in the US who opposed the genocidal attack on the Palestinians, who supported the Palestinians against this globalist tribal identity invasion of their home.
    The propaganda superstructure that supports the completely insane and cruel Israeli Identity is starting to crack. This book is a hard steel wedge that will drive these cracks even deeper, 93 pages of text, 147 pages of notes. Ms. Weir has taken us this far, it is up to all of us to follow these leads and revelations to their logical conclusions. Alison Weir shows us that our humanity is bound up in the fate of the Palestinians not because of some liberal weepy sentimentality, but because the very nature of history, memory, and political reality are dependent on clearly opening one’s eyes to the truth.

    • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 4:20 pm

      “It is time for scholars to really start digging into the secret society known as “Parushim” and its control of the US government.”

      It is, no doubt, worse than the insidious cabal of lighting designers known as “The Illuminati”!

      • irishmoses on August 13, 2015, 7:58 pm

        I did some research on the Parushim (sorry, no link) and I recall it was disbanded after about a year and Brandeis’ role was very minor at best. Plus, we’re talking World War I time frame. I think it is interesting but a bit too much is made of it. It certainly wasn’t the focus of Weir’s book.

  39. jayn0t on August 13, 2015, 1:12 am

    “Why I think JVP and the US Campaign are making a mistake regarding Alison Weir”

    Attacking Weir is not a mistake! She’s for the Palestinians. They’re not.

  40. Peter in SF on August 13, 2015, 2:51 am

    Just to pile on about Jennifer Hitchcock’s statement, her very first sentence reads:

    The recent decisions by Jewish Voice for Peace and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to end their association with Alison Weir and If Americans Knew has reignited a debate within segments of the Palestinian solidarity movement as to whether expressions of antisemitism and other forms of racism should be tolerated within the movement for Palestinian rights.

    This shows either disingenuousness or a lack of understanding of the situation. The debate that’s been reignited by the Weir affair is about what qualifies as antisemitic or racist, and what kind and what degree of these qualities should be tolerated within the Palestinian rights movement. Hitchcock’s summary above suggests that members of the movement agree that Weir and IAK have expressed antisemitism and possibly other of racism, and the debate is about what to do about it.

    And then here’s the next paragraph:

    Even though both organizations tried to deal with Weir quietly and behind-the-scenes, she chose to publicize their actions, thus compelling both organizations to release statements explaining their decisions. Both organizations also carefully avoided labeling Weir herself as antisemitic.

    OK, these organizations have avoided labeling Weir as an antisemitic person, but the preceding paragraph, the introduction to this piece, said that the debate is not about antisemitic persons, but about expressions of antisemitism. Is there anything that Weir has said or written that these organizations have labeled as expressions of antisemitism? That is the question that is suggested in the first paragraph but is not actually answered here. Not answering an obvious question like that suggests that the writer has something to hide.

    Further down, Hitchock writes:

    In fact, much of her work is completely legitimate and useful,

    This is certainly more positive than JVP’s letter and statement, which have nothing good to say about Weir’s work, but it is still pro forma. How about naming something that you found useful? The last time I saw Weir, she gave a talk about Dorothy Thompson, a fascinating American from the mid-20th century, of whom I’d never heard before. Is Hitchcock suggesting that I should be suspicious of what I heard in that talk, given the source? That’s a serious question. And a couple of people here are recommending Weir’s book Against Our Better Judgment. Does Hitchcock have a problem with that book, or is it legitimate and useful?

    Hitchcock writes:

    While reading Weir’s defense of her position and counter-attack of JVP, one is struck by how much she focuses on herself and how little she focuses on the stated goals of Palestinian activists and leaders. White allies need to be willing to defer to the goals and desired strategies of the BNC and other Palestinian activists rather than focusing primarily on their own agendas and reputations. Palestinians don’t need white saviors.

    I am struck by how Hitchcock refers to herself as “one” rather than “I”, but her accusation here does have some merit. Weir does not present herself as some kind of “white savior” of Palestinians, but it’s true that she does have her own agenda, which is to make Americans aware of the great injustice that is being perpetrated by their own leaders using their resources. Does that mean she doesn’t belong in a broader Palestinian-rights movement? Maybe it does, if such a movement wants to have a particular progressive brand, as is being suggested here. But nobody takes well to being thrown out of a movement when they do work that is good but isn’t in keeping with the brand.

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 9:51 am

      Progressives aren’t against the US national interest. Therefore, progressives should allow Weir to have a US interest approach, even though it may not be a central one for most progressives. Otherwise, what is the US interest in the 50 laws restricting Palestinian Israeli citizens?

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 4:24 pm

        “Progressives aren’t against the US national interest.”

        Once, there was even a regular “Progressive” political party in the US. Not any more.

  41. Taxi on August 13, 2015, 4:57 am

    The absence of Phil’s voice on this thread as well as Adam’s awkwardly-slippery intro are clear signs of their anti Weirism.

    https://platosguns.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/mondoweiss-breaks-silence-over-the-alison-weirjvp-controversy-or-do-they/

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 9:35 am

      Phil is not anti-Weir.

      “the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s decision to ask her organization to leave its coalition due to violation of its anti-racism principles.”

      This intro should say “alleged violation.”

      The principle just says it demands opposition to racism, and in fact Weir opposed racism and intolerance at least 5 different places in her interview with Clay.

      • Taxi on August 13, 2015, 11:59 am

        So you think Phil’s under a gag order by his JVP donors?

        How do you explain his fixed silence?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 12:12 pm

        Taxi,

        Same as FOSNA’s, NLG’s, and Susan Landau’s. Notice Landau didn’t conclude what her own opinions are. They probably find keeping mutual collaboration and unity is more important than attacking Weir, ETO or JVP, even if two of those three attacked the third, depending on the circumstances.

        Of course, if the reverse occurred and ETO banned working with JVP because JVP staff had appeared on far right Israeli programs, I am not sure if the same relatively quiet reactions would be made.

      • Bumblebye on August 13, 2015, 3:22 pm

        Taxi, I’m of the opinion that Phil and Adam are actually doing exactly the right thing by staying out of theargument. There are some really incredible commenters here, and if I were either of them I wouldn’t want to lose them due to taking any stance – wouldn’t matter which side they came down on, the ensuing bun-fight wouldn’t be pretty and the site would be the loser.

    • Stephen Shenfield on August 14, 2015, 4:36 pm

      So now we have a whole ideology called anti-Weirism? Are its adepts anti-Weirites or anti-Weirists? Weird.

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 4:53 pm

        Stephen,

        There is a verb now too, based on the ban on any Solidarity activist who knowingly interviews for an offensive outlet without challenging their views enough, according to the Weir Affair:

        Are you to judge someone by the venue they appear on or write for? I ask because I have now been Weired, to coin a term.

        On June 19th a blogger named Elise Hendrick wrote a long attack on CounterPunch for supposedly promoting the agenda of the far right and named me as an enabler. Three days later Tony Greenstein crossposted the same article and embellished it with a nice photo of me taken by my good friend the late Fred Baker about 17 years ago. Greenstein added a caption characterizing me as an “ex-Marxist”. Very nice.

        http://louisproyect.org/2015/07/24/in-defense-of-counterpunch/#respond

    • SQ Debris on August 14, 2015, 9:38 pm

      There’s nothing “awkwardly-slippery” about the intro. The absence of the word Alleged makes it a fully enfolded embrace of this sabotage. As in “the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s decision to ask her organization to leave its coalition due to ALLEGED violation of its anti-racism principles.” Hophmi must be huffing nitros like Hopper in Blue Velvet at the sight of all of this energy from the movement bleeding off into the cosmos. This is not a mistake. This is not a misunderstanding. There’s too much digging around in search of a rational for excommunication for it to be either of those things. This is willful divisive sabotage. Un-elect the entire JVP board. NONE OF THE ABOVE is the right vote.

  42. notatall on August 13, 2015, 6:41 am

    The following words, attributed to Solzhenitsyn, appear on Clay Douglas’s website (www.freeamerican.com), right under the Confederate flag:

    “You must understand, the leading Bolsheviks who took over Russia were not Russians. They hated Christians. Driven by ethnic hatred they tortured and slaughtered millions of Russians without a shred of human remorse. It cannot be overstated. Bolshevism committed the greatest human slaughter of all time. The fact that most of the world is ignorant and uncaring about this enormous crime is proof that the global media is in the hands of the perpetrators.”

    I do not know whether Solzhenitsyn actually said those words, but Douglas cites them approvingly, and follows up with his own comment: “They call them Zionists or Neocons today. And they hate Americans of all colors today! Especially whites.” One need not defend the Bolsheviks to recognize what that statement represents. Note: “especially whites.”

    The transcript of the interview (http://ifamericansknewalisonweir.com/) shows that she was perfectly at ease with Douglas’s reference to the victims of Bolshevism as “60 million white Christian Russians,” that she brought up Solzhentsyn on her own without any prompting, and that she “corrected” Douglas only on a few details of no consequence.

    I do not object to her appearing on his show (four times). I do object to her failure to challenge him for his antisemitism and white supremacism. What would we say of someone who appeared on a Zionist radio show and denounced nazis, antisemites and holocaust deniers without saying a word about Palestine?

    Finally, none of what I say should be taken as approval of JVP or the US Campaign (whose wish to defend their own soft Zionism may explain their attacks on Weir) but to shift the focus of the discussion from Weir’s misdeeds to them is a classic smear tactic.

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 9:28 am

      CD: Do you feel that there’s a danger about what’s happening to the Palestinians right now happening to Americans? Is that a possibility? I mean, what happened in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution–Communism–they murdered 60 million white Christian Russians…

      AW: Yeah, I think the number of Russians that were killed and imprisoned has been very unknown to most of us. You know, I am one of those. I have just looked into this occasionally, peripherally, because you stumble across this when you start to look into the history of Israel and the history of Zionism, you stumble across these other episodes of significance that were similarly covered up

      Notatall,

      In this quote, Alison basically deflected Clay’s question. Clay asked her directly if the same thing could happen in the US, and rather than answer Yes, she basically ignored it. The same tactic can be used if an ignorant person asks you something ignorant at lunch.

      I’ve had it where I was at lunch with a group of racist fellow college students and there really was not much I could do except just ignore the ignorant comments they made, because they did not really care what I said.

      • notatall on August 13, 2015, 10:54 am

        I take her response not as a deflection but as support. She was not at lunch with a few racists, but on a radio show with an audience, and she could have said, for instance, “Whatever you think of the Bolshevik Revolution, describing it as a Jewish plot to kill white Christians is the kind of racial thinking that underlies zionism.”

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 12:28 pm

        Hello, Notatall.

        If a person is silent in reaction to hearing a statement, either in an interview or in person, it does not actually mean consent by default. This principle can be shown in many ways – in US law, in reference to other situations, and the consequences if the obverse were shown.

        For example, if a person gets on O’Reilly’s or Glen Beck’s show and offers only weak opposition to his Islamophobic statements while mainly focusing on some other agenda, like racial equality in the US, it doesn’t mean that the anti-racist activist supports Islamophobia.

        As for your own response, hearing that the Bolshevik Revolution was ” a Jewish plot to kill white Christians” would be listening to an offensive bogus claim and would make me extremely uncomfortable. Still, are you thoroughly familiar with the Russian civil war, including the killing of not a few Christian clergy? Could one correctly say that all of those clergy were actually killed for opposing the revolution? In any such exceptions, were there any cases at all in which unacceptable prejudices about clergy might have played a role in the tragedy? I don’t mean Lenin or Trotsky. If so, would it be possible to mention those cases without employing racial thinking?

        But anyway, I think Douglas is intolerant enough that my paragraph above is mostly an intellectual exercize,

      • Stephen Shenfield on August 14, 2015, 5:09 pm

        If Alison Weir had even a basic knowledge of Russia and the Soviet Union she could have pointed out that quite a few of those millions killed by the Bolshevik regime were not Russians at all but Ukrainians or members of “non-white” and traditionally non-Christian groups such as the Moslem Kazakhs, Uzbeks etc. or the Buddhist Buryats, Kalmyks etc. She could also have pointed out the diverse ethnic origin of the rulers, who did in fact include quite a few Russians and members of other “white” and traditionally Christian groups (in particular, the secret police was founded by the Pole Dzerzhinsky and many of its operatives were Latvians). In other words, she could have challenged the fallacy of interpreting Bolshevism in ethnic terms.

        That does not mean that Alison Weir should devote time to a study of Russian/Soviet history. Let her concentrate on Palestine. But in that case she should acknowledge on which topics she is knowledgeable and on which she is ignorant and stick to the areas of her expertise. She should tell Clay: “I don’t know enough about Russia to comment. I am here to talk about Palestine.”

        Actually there is some truth in the “anti-Semitic” interpretation of the Bolshevik terror. Bolsheviks of Jewish origin did play a vastly disproportionate role in the Red Terror of the early revolutionary years. This was especially the case in Ukraine, where the number of Jews in the secret police was very high. To a considerable extent this was a reaction to the pogroms that took place in Ukraine during the civil war under the aegis of the Whites, in which 10% of the Jewish population was destroyed (about 200,000 out of 2 million). There is literary and memoir evidence that at least some of the Jews who entered the secret police at this time were seeking ethnic revenge. There is nothing sinister or conspiratorial about it. There are cycles of atrocity and counter-atrocity in most ethnic conflicts (consider Burundi and Rwanda).

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 6:07 pm

        Stephen,

        See my comment at August 12, 2015, 10:31 pm below about the quandary of what to say in that case.

        The problem isn’t really just making a decent reply, but also the challenge of how to address the question while avoiding making the interview go off the rails totally. And even forgetting Weir’s decisions, it’s important if you as an activist could be banned for failing to reply strongly enough.

        The reply you proposed under “basic knowledge” is of course an acceptable one in terms of anti-racism. The Bolshevik revolution can’t be reduced to primitive racist terms.

        The difficulty is navigating the talk. Let’s say you point out like I do in those online exchanges that the leaders included multiple nationalities among Bolsheviks, etc.. The downside is that you have just opened up a can of worms instead of refocusing the talk on your actual thesis (human rights under occupation). It’s a can of worms because Douglas can say things like “Isn’t it true that the main leaders L, T, K, Z were Jewish? Isn’t it true that the Soviet placed statues of Judas in a few cities in the post revolutionary period? Isn’t it true that…?
        And then Douglas just strings along 10 troubling facts and draws to inferences that you and I are opposed to based on those facts. And then the more you reject the inferences, the more the talk becomes a debate with a Solidarity activist (you) about the Soviets and some sensitive aspect of their history.

        Of course, that is acceptable as a decision by an activist to challenge and go off this way. But other activists in reality would choose to just ignore these kinds of tangents, like Weir’s claim that she knows about “the connection” or whatever and then change the topic without actually approving of anything else he just said.

        Now in my opinion, the best way to address these issues/claims like the alleged Judas statues* or church destruction, which are real and troubling events, if you are in an academic or healthy leftwing setting is to avoid any unnecessary, generalizing inferences from them.
        I am sure that the Jewish population in Russia would be basically against building those statues. Don’t you agree, Stephen, that the refusal to draw inferences is the best way to deal with accusations on all kinds of troubling issues? Why not refuse when it comes to whether activists actually condone offensive claims when their interviewers make them?

        (* It’s debated in Russia today if the story of the statues were an urban myth.

        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%98%D1%83%D0%B4%D0%B0_%D0%98%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%BE%D1%82#.D0.9F.D0.B0.D0.BC.D1.8F.D1.82.D0.BD.D0.B8.D0.BA.D0.B8_.D0.98.D1.83.D0.B4.D0.B5_.D0.B2_.D0.A1.D0.BE.D0.B2.D0.B5.D1.82.D1.81.D0.BA.D0.BE.D0.B9_.D0.A0.D0.BE.D1.81.D1.81.D0.B8.D0.B8)

        You write:

        There is literary and memoir evidence that at least some of the Jews who entered the secret police at this time were seeking ethnic revenge.

        OK. Look, I take it as a presumption that you are not a racist, because we are both in a human rights campaign. But with the new JVP and ETO decisions about things like Weir’s discussion on Toaff, will people even be able to read each other’s statements like these without draw such inferences about each other?

        All the best.

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 9:43 am

      Just for the record noble prize winner’s Solzhenitsyn’s last work, the two volume 200 Years Together, has yet to be published in English while long having been published in German and French, etc. Some translated chapters appear in a small anthology, and some chapters by charity translators online. So much for how Free Speech operates in the USA. Has anybody here read the chapters available in English besides me? Just wondering.

    • MRW on August 21, 2015, 3:30 am

      What would we say of someone who appeared on a Zionist radio show and denounced nazis, antisemites and holocaust deniers without saying a word about Palestine?

      What are you talking about? Happens all the time. In fact, it’s standard operating procedure. Unless it’s to call Palestinians a bunch of animals or apes who deserve to be pushed in to the sea.

      As for the Bolsheviks, I refer you all again to Sever Plocker’s 2006 article in Ynet News: Stain’s Jews—We mustn’t forget that some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

  43. Kay24 on August 13, 2015, 6:49 am

    Meanwhile the Jewish terrorists strike again.

    Notice the mighty Israeli law enforcement officials have NOT arrested any of the terrorists who attacked that Palestinian family which resulted in a little baby and his father being killed?
    What’s this? Can it be selective incompetence?

    West Bank Bedouin Tent Set Ablaze, IDF Suspects Jewish Assailants
    The tent was unoccupied, ‘revenge’ – in Hebrew – was spray-painted nearby.

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.670921

    • Qualtrough on August 13, 2015, 10:57 am

      Kay24 – I share your amazement. When the shoe is on the other foot they have usually enough information to identify Palestinian culprits within 24 hours and then based on that they can go on to kill a few thousand Palestinians. But their own people and more than a week later they don’t have a clue who did it. Right.

      • Kay24 on August 13, 2015, 1:46 pm

        It is always the case of a different standard for God’s chosen. Even the terrorists get better treatment than the Palestinian civilian. Last summer, they not only destroyed property belonging to innocent Palestinians, they arrested many “suspects” (wonder what happened to them), and gave them all collective punishment.

        Gosh, how very incompetent these Israelis are when it comes to arresting their own. When and if they do, the criminals will get the kid gloves treatment. Their leaders made a show of being outraged about the crimes, but the proof is in the follow up – nothing.

      • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 9:48 am

        Hence some folks, like those in BlackLivesMatter, draw an analogy between US and Israel regarding police conduct in ghetto areas. Most Americans don’t know where US cops get their tactical training these days, and why their equipment and vehicles are military. Expertise on sale, tried and tested using Palestinian lab rats.

  44. HarryLaw on August 13, 2015, 7:13 am

    I have a problem with any group who are called ‘Jews for’, ‘Catholics for’ or ‘Protestants for’. All imply exclusivity, and the feeling that if you are not ‘one of them’ you are some kind of outsider, the ‘chill factor’ as it were. In the seventies, early eighties I was involved with a group called the Campaign for Labour Representation in Northern Ireland [CLR NI] Its aims were inter alia to bring together people of all religions and non to find a solution which could benefit the greatest number of working people in the Province, to this end it advocated for the UK Labour party to admit UK citizens resident in Northern Ireland into membership of the party [as per its rule book] at the time anyone resident in Northern Ireland could not become a member of the UK Labour Party, in other words a totally undemocratic situation existed whereby UK citizens could not vote for, or against the Party that actually governed them at Westminster. We campaigned to force the Labour Party to contest every NI constituency [also, per its rule book] and thereby give NI workers the opportunity to reject sectarianism [which was the only thing on offer to them at that time] and come together to work for the class interests of the majority of NI workers whether Catholic or Protestant and join the only non sectarian party which also governed them in every aspect of their lives with taxation, Health and Education etc. They were, in any case, mainly members of UK based Trade Unions like the TGWU, AEU and Post Office Workers Union etc [Alan Johnson was General Secretary of the Post Office Union at the time and spoke at one of our meetings]. The CLRNI had prominent members like Brendan Clifford, Eamon O’Kane, Joe Keenan, Connor Lynch and Sean McGouran all from Catholic backgrounds, some with ex IRA or INLA links, others whose relatives were ex IRA Quartermasters etc. Many of course with non Catholic backgrounds David Morrison, Jeffrey Dudgeon and Boyd Black for instance. Others like Professors Ben Cosin and Nina Fishman resident in the UK and prolific writers for the CLRNI were of Jewish origin. How would that group have fared had it been called ‘Protestants for’ or ‘Catholics for’ the Campaign for Labour Representation in NI?

  45. jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 9:32 am

    I will do my best to try to address some of the criticisms of my piece. I will acknowledge that I am probably not the ideal candidate to represent JVP or the US Campaign on this issue (as Annie Robbins and others say), and I also admit that my piece is flawed. I want to make it clear that I speak for myself and not for either JVP or the US Campaign. I come at this as someone who has been involved in and interested in Palestinian solidarity activism for years and as someone who studies rhetoric and discourse, including that of social movements and the BDS movement in particular. This is also my first time publishing anything to a real public forum (other than academic articles and FB/Twitter), so I am also new to this and not much of a journalist, I admit, and in my haste I may have neglected to adequately develop and support some of my points.

    I also want to say that I appreciate Susan Landau’s piece and think she offers some good questions to think about for how best to approach cases like this (also see #5 below). I don’t know enough about how these criticisms were presented to Weir over the years, but on the IAK page (or was it her blog?), she talks about a “whisper campaign” over the years and references a lengthy “dossier” of claims against her presented to her by JVP at some point before this was made public (sorry, but I can’t find the page right now). The existence of such a dossier suggests that there were more problematic examples of her speaking and writing that JVP did not make public (perhaps to try to not make a big deal out of it and to avoid publicly calling her an antisemite). Though I understand that both organizations approached her behind the scenes in private before any of this was made public, I do not know anything about the exact nature or tone of those contacts, so maybe their initial claims could have been handled better and more tactfully to avoid causing her to be so defensive. This is a valid point that should be discussed: how to best handle situations in which someone’s speech or writing seems problematic.

    But she admits that she has heard these claims for years from JVP and other Palestinian solidarity activists. She apparently either didn’t think there as any validity to these claims or just didn’t care—perhaps, like many other activists, she was simply jaded by being called an antisemite so much that it lost all meaning to her—as is the case for some others and shows why boy-who-cried-wolf charges of antisemitism only serve to weaken the concept.

    There are several recurring arguments I am seeing here as well as other forums, so I’ll try to list them and address them as best as I can, though I’m sorry I won’t have time to address all criticisms individually:

    1. Weir’s work is not antisemitic.
    2. Weir is a valiant, hardworking truth teller who doesn’t deserve this criticism.
    3. Weir’s work may be antisemitic, but antisemitism doesn’t really matter and calling it out is merely divisive or counterproductive and serves to undermine the movement.
    4. Weir and others should be free to do interviews with whomever they want and try to reach and make alliances with any and all audiences, including right-wingers and white supremacists and antisemites.
    5. JVP and US Campaign have only done this because of Zionist infiltration or Jewish/Zionist gatekeeping.
    6. There may be some validity to the claims of antisemitism against Weir and others, but it should be handled differently.

    1. On whether she is antisemitic: Okay, please read her book and her other works and decide for yourself. We can debate this because it would be useful to come up with some more widely-agreed upon criteria. I would argue that people should at least try to avoid classical and Protocols-style antisemitic tropes about secretive and nefarious Jewish conspiracies to control the world (outside of Israel and the Occupied Territories, that is).

    2. Weir as a hardworking activist undeserving of criticism: Yes, I fully acknowledge that Weir has worked very hard over the years to spread the message about the Palestinian plight, the influence of the lobby, etc. In the early years of her organization, Palestinians didn’t have as many Western allies out there spreading the message on their behalf. So Weir can be rightfully commended for her years of good work. Haven’t we all used IAK’s maps of shrinking Palestine? And IAK’s statistics and studies about pro-Israel media bias? All perfectly commendable work. And, yes, surely Greta Berlin has also dedicated years of hard work to the cause as well. I wouldn’t deny that these people have done much good work.

    HOWEVER, does one’s hard work mean that their racism or antisemitism (assuming the charge is legit for a moment) should be excused and that activists should allow them to publicly link the BDS movement with real antisemitic rhetoric? (I say “real” antisemitism meaning classical and Protocols-style antisemitism to distinguish it from the so-called “new antisemitism,” most of which is BS and equates criticism of Israel or Zionism with antisemitism).

    3. Re: the argument that Weir’s work may be antisemitic, but antisemitism doesn’t really matter and calling it out is merely divisive or counterproductive and serves to undermine the movement. I also agree that antisemitism isn’t a big problem in general and that other forms of racism and bigotry are much worse, including Islamophobia, anti-black racism, etc. I love Tim Wise’s piece on this: http://tinyurl.com/pc2td6q

    HOWEVER, as I argue above, antisemitism is a problem in the movement mainly BECAUSE IT IS THE NUMBER ONE CHARGE AGAINST THE MOVEMENT (though usually unfounded). So what are the best strategies to address and counter the fact that the antisemitism charge is so common and so effective at countering BDS and stifling debate, especially for American audiences? If the BDS and Palestinian solidarity movement can’t figure out a way to effectively counter the charge that the movement is antisemitic, then they are limiting their potential for continued growth and success.

    Counter the antisemitism charge effectively and BDS and the cause for Palestinian rights wins—at least much faster.

    4. Re: Weir and others should be free to do interviews with whomever they want and try to reach and make alliances with any and all audiences, including right-wingers and white supremacists and antisemites. This is a debate that has gone on for a while before the recent incidents. Well, should activists reach out to blatantly white supremacist audiences? Are they good allies for the cause? Are they the most useful target audiences? I don’t want to spend too much time on this one. I vote “no,” their Islamophobia being only one reason, and it leads again to the problem of pro-Israel advocates using the guilt-by-association charge against the movement as a whole. Others can debate this point.

    5. Re: JVP and US Campaign have only done this because of Zionist infiltration or Jewish/Zionist gatekeeping. Sorry, but this charge seems a bit antisemitic to me. The suggestion being that these organizations are not authentically working in solidarity with Palestinians but rather serving as agents of Israel. Really? All of the leadership? Neglecting all of their years of activism? Their work on divestment campaigns and in Congress? Really? Is that what this is about?

    6. Re: There may be some validity to the claims of antisemitism against Weir and others, but it should be handled differently (see third paragraph above). I would certainly argue that activists who display or espouse such ideas should be approached in a compassionate and tactful way as Landau suggests. And I think in most cases of antisemitic speech in the movement it is from well-intentioned people who are not antisemitc but who simply are ignorant of what real, classical antisemitism entails. For example, on an email list for a group I have been a part of, someone once sent a David Duke video because he was criticizing Zionism, etc. Some of his points were valid, but the video also included some antisemitic discourse. I do not think the individual who sent this knew who he was or that this person was actually antisemitic. It was an honest mistake, and I tried to tactfully and compassionately point out who he was and explain why he wasn’t the best source.

    At some point, though, if someone remains defiant and continues to publicize or publicly defend antisemitic or bigoted rhetoric, then they become a problem and a liability for the movement—like someone wearing a t-shirt: “Another Antisemite for BDS.” Right? Which is why a wide selection of Palestinian BDS leaders signed onto the letter disavowing Gilad Atzmon. Not only because antisemitism is another form of racism and bigotry, all of which are inherently ethically problematic, especially for a movement that espouses universal antiracist principles, but also hey didn’t want Atzmon going around publicly associating himself with the movement because they thought it would hurt the movement and help BDS critics by providing evidence of real antisemitism.

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 1:52 pm

      Hello, Jessica.

      Thanks for your thoughtful replies.

      You wrote:

      but on the IAK page (or was it her blog?), she talks about a “whisper campaign” over the years and references a lengthy “dossier” of claims against her presented to her by JVP at some point before this was made public (sorry, but I can’t find the page right now). The existence of such a dossier suggests that there were more problematic examples of her speaking and writing that JVP did not make public

      Yes, your conclusion could be right that the dossier has damning evidence. But that is not the only conclusion. In fact, one could draw the opposite conclusions:
      (A) One should not send around private dossiers against Solidarity activists
      (B) If JVP’s dossier reflects the ideas in the JVP open letter- that a US interest view is “chauvinist”, then the dossier’s own claims may not be any more persuasive, but rather rely on the same kind of inferential arguments, eg. Weir proclaims and emphasizes that the US has no interest in exploiting Palestinians, so therefore her organization’s thesis is chauvinist. Or she has a tail wags dog theory, therefore she is excusing the alleged US interests in US conflicts around the world, even though she protested the Vietnam War, in which US interests are questionable at least.

      I am certain that some of the rumors against Weir are simply imaginary. Shoebat claims that Weir hands out cards showing Arabs with daggers to attack Israelis. I think this is extremely unlikely. Wouldn’t you, Jessica? This is why one absolutely cannot rely on just the existence of unstated rumors to attack Weir.

      3. Weir’s work may be antisemitic, but antisemitism doesn’t really matter and calling it out is merely divisive or counterproductive and serves to undermine the movement.

      What? Who actually says that real anti-Semitism by activists doesn’t matter?

      We can debate this because it would be useful to come up with some more widely-agreed upon criteria. I would argue that people should at least try to avoid classical and Protocols-style antisemitic tropes about secretive and nefarious Jewish conspiracies to control the world

      Exactly. Let’s say clearly what racism is and give specific examples before accusing people. For example, is it anti-Semitic to say that the Israelis and their allies manage or influence the international community’s involvement or lack thereof in the Levant?

      At some point, though, if someone remains defiant and continues to publicize or publicly defend antisemitic or bigoted rhetoric, then they become a problem and a liability for the movement—like someone wearing a t-shirt: “Another Antisemite for BDS.” Right? Which is why a wide selection of Palestinian BDS leaders signed onto the letter disavowing Gilad Atzmon. Not only because antisemitism is another form of racism and bigotry, all of which are inherently ethically problematic, especially for a movement that espouses universal antiracist principles, but also hey didn’t want Atzmon going around publicly associating himself with the movement because they thought it would hurt the movement and help BDS critics by providing evidence of real antisemitism.

      It sounds like you are saying that your main justification for JVP’s banning of Weir was her defense of Atzmon. Do you recall if she in her own articles actually said that she agreed with all Atzmon’s views, or just that some of them had merit and that he was entitled to a personal search, after he became disillusioned with military service in Lebanon?

      Do you think Noam Chomsky should be banned from JVP, which he is on the advisory board of, because of his article defending the Holocaust denier Faurisson and suggesting Faurisson was a reasonable liberal, as opposed to IIRC a Holocaust denier? See the “Faurisson Affair.”

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 2:38 pm

        LOL, sorry. Jennifer, not Jessica.

      • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 3:42 pm

        W. Jones: Yes, surely many of the charges against Weir from outside of the movement are bogus. JVP and USC have also been called antisemitic many times by Israel supporters. I think we can all agree that most charges of antisemitism against activists in the movement are unfounded.

        But I was not trying to say that Weir’s association with Atzmon is the main problem here. I was trying to point out how most Palestinian leaders of the BDS movement (whose wishes I think us allies should be deferring to) thought it was important to disavow Atzmon for what they saw as his blatant antisemitism because they didn’t want his public statements to tarnish the movement’s credibility as a whole.

        Now, to clarify, there are two streams of argument here. Some people argue that Atzmon (and Berlin, etc.) have all been wrongly attacked and are either A. Not antisemitic or B. It doesn’t matter if they are, because we shouldn’t care and shouldn’t waste our time with divisiveness. I want to distinguish that from people who support Weir and think her case is completely different–that those other people were antisemitic but she isn’t. I am guessing you fall into the latter camp.

        I do think some of Weir’s public defense of Atzmon is problematic, though, including some of her blog postings which include what I would argue are blatantly antisemitic statements, including the defense from Robert Tucker that she posted on her own blog here: http://alisonweir.org/journal/2012/3/27/an-analysis-on-the-attack-against-atzmon-by-roger-tucker.html

        And I would distinguish her defense of Atzmon from Chomsky’s defense of Faurisson because I think Chomsky was clear that he was just supporting Faurisson’s right to free speech but not his ideas, while Weir, at least in some places, was more supportive of Atzmon’s ideas themselves. She even includes a review of her book by Atzmon on the Amazon page, suggesting that she values his opinions of her work (I don’t think Chomsky’s relation to Faurisson was like that, as far as I know).

        So back to the point, does the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and Zionism and real antisemitism put Atzmon and Weir on antisemitic side or just Atzmon–or neither?

        Oh, and you can read a preview of the first few pages of her book on the Amazon page before buying it if you want. I would especially recommend the first few pages of the first chapter. I would argue that much of the language she uses to discuss the lobby at the beginning of chapter 1 is exactly the type of language that activists should avoid if they don’t want to sound like they are promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories.

        Assignment for the rest of you: read the first couple of pages of Chapter 1 of her book on the Amazon preview (just click on the image of the book to access it), and give your input on the matter: http://www.amazon.com/Against-Our-Better-Judgment-History/dp/149591092X#reader_149591092X

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 5:39 pm

        Dear Jennifer.

        Thanks for your reply. I tend to think that Atzmon has expressed anti-Semitism even though he didn’t directly admit it. As for Greta, my position is that I haven’t seen enough evidence to show that she is anti-Semitic. I heard that she tweeted a Nazi 1938 film, an offensive film that I oppose. I would want to know if she actually did, what was the context, why she did that, what is her explanation, and if she regrets it (I am sure that she would at least if it became an issue), before considering her anti-Semitic. That is, I believe in giving the benefit of a doubt where available.

        As I may have mentioned elsewhere, I am against the two big passages in Roger Tucker’s essay that ETO understandably objected to. However, were I to ascribe the views of every passage in a blog post to a blog’s editor, it would be hard to avoid a similar judgment against Mondoweiss’s editors like Phil and Annie, since Marc Ellis has made intolerant, offensive statements that I called out in the comments section. However, the lenciency I would give them is that Phil and Annie haven’t themselves expressed those offensive views. Were Mondoweiss a blog frequently promoting intolerant essays, it would be different.

        You wrote:

        I would distinguish her defense of Atzmon from Chomsky’s defense of Faurisson because I think Chomsky was clear that he was just supporting Faurisson’s right to free speech but not his ideas,

        Chomsky said in his essay:

        “Let me add a final remark about Faurisson’s alleged “anti-Semitism.” … is it true that Faurisson is an anti-Semite or a neo-Nazi? As noted earlier, I do not know his work very well. But from what I have read — largely as a result of the nature of the attacks on him — I find no evidence to support either conclusion. Nor do I find credible evidence in the material that I have read concerning him, either in the public record or in private correspondence. As far as I can determine, he is a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort“.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faurisson_affair

        She even includes a review of her book by Atzmon on the Amazon page, suggesting that she values his opinions of her work

        If just quoting in support something from Atzmon makes one spurious, then Counterpunch, which published multiple articles by Atzmon becomes seen as an even worse periodical. And then you can go down the road of asking why JVP’s Chomsky and Amy Goodman are publishing in such a spurious periodical.

        As you suggested, I read the first couple of pages of her book. Consequently, I would ask you to compare what you have in mind about them to the pages and sections in the IPMN’s and Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s anti-racist, human rights book “Steadfast Hope” that also concern the history and development of the Zionist movement. Let me know what you think. (http://www.episcopalarchives.org/gc2012/supplemental_documents/2011_SteadfastHope.pdf)

  46. jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 9:35 am

    More of my responses, con’t:

    I also agree that hostility toward Jews in general is greatly exacerbated by Israel’s actions, as numerous studies have linked increases in antisemitic violence or incidents with Israel’s military assaults. I also agree that when Israeli leaders or advocates try to claim to speak for all Jews, this also encourages others to make that same connection in an antisemitic way.

    Let’s forget the specific case of Weir for a minute because I think in some of my arguments I did ambiguously or problematically lump her and others together with Atzmon in a way that muddied the waters and distracted from my larger point here. Let’s assume that someone does openly and publicly espouse antisemitism. Atzmon or much more blatant—like a David Duke or other holocaust denier. What should the movement do about such a case? Any and all allies should be welcome? How should the presence of such a figure be approached? Ken O’Keefe is another example here: hardworking, dedicated activist working on behalf of Palestinian rights, was on the Mavi Marmara, etc., (http://tinyurl.com/qbg8jyx) but chose to associate with and espouse blatant antisemitism. Should anything be done about such people? And if so, what exactly should be done?

    So, in the case of Weir, the argument comes back to whether there is enough evidence of her alleged antisemitism to warrant the actions by JVP and US Campaign. I admit that I haven’t read her book yet, Against Our Better Judgment, and I plan to eventually. In the description of the book on Amazon (written by her or the publisher, I presume?) it includes a reference to an “elitist secret society” of Zionists who pushed the US into supporting Israel’s founding. The reviews are also interersting, as are the suggested readings from Amazon—the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” these other books. I think people should read it for themselves to see what they think.

    I would also recommend reading her blog, especially regarding certain topics, including the earlier disavowel of Gilad Atzmon, who she supports: http://tinyurl.com/nsb4x4b

    Also read the IAK page where she defends herself from the “McCarthyist” attacks, and where she has even included selected letters from supporters, a few of which seem to me display antisemitism: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/accusations.html

    I would encourage people to read more of Weir’s work, including her book, and decide for themselves. And ask yourself how helpful some of her positions are for persuading Americans, most of whom are Zionists themselves and very sympathetic toward Jews and Israel overall. How important and helpful is it to write a book focusing on how a Jewish “elitist secret society” allegedly pressured to US government to support Israel’s founding? Even if it was true. Of all the things we could be focusing on and talking about to raise awareness of Israeli oppression of Palestinians? For example, maybe it would be more productive to write a book about the right of return and its basis in international law and historical precedence to help justify and clarify this right since it seems to be the most widely misunderstood part of the BDS Call.

    If the number one obstacle to the nonviolent BDS Movement’s ability to persuade Americans is the frequent charge that the movement is antisemitic, then you have to ask what the most effective strategies would be to overcome this obstacle? To defend and welcome people into the movement who publicly espouse racist or antisemitic ideas, which only gives concrete evidence to BDS critics?

    To sum up, the major questions I am left with and on which I hoped to spur discussion are the following:

    1. Is Weir’s work antisemitic enough to warrant the JVP and US Campaign decisions? Why or why not? How should the line be drawn? (and did Atzmon and others cross it too?)
    2. How should such instances be approached and dealt with? Not at all? Compassionately as Landau suggests? Quietly? And what if the person is defiant and doesn’t want to hear any criticism? What then?
    3. Should activists who are publicly associating with and advocating for BDS or Palestinian rights be giving interviews to right-wing white supremacist outlets? What if they challenge the views of the interviewer or not? Should they be seeking these audiences to begin with? Why or why not?

    I think this is a discussion worth having now so that it doesn’t keep coming up again every time something like this happens.

    Palestinian leaders of the BDS movement have made multiple statements over the years denouncing antisemitism and racism, some of which I linked to in my piece. And Omar Barghouti and other founders of the BDS movement regularly praise JVP and the contributions of Jewish BDS activists as well as denouncing antisemitism. Barghouti and others are not going around calling JVP Zionist agents. For example, in his article “Putting Palestine Back on the Map” from the Journal of Palestine Studies, Barghouti discusses the benefit of aligning with Jewish solidarity activists: “principled Jewish voices—whether organizations or intellectuals consistently supporting a just peace—in the United States, Europe, and even Israel have courageously supported various forms of boycott, and this helps shield the nascent boycott movement from the charges of anti-Semitism and the intellectual terror associated with them” (56). He also argues that to be most effective, BDS initiatives “should be guided by the principles of inclusion, diversity, gradualness, and sustainability. They must also be flexibly designed to reflect realities in various contexts” (56). In his book about BDS, Barghouti also discusses the different types of strategic partners, allies, etc. for different levels of boycott campaigns (sorry I can’t find the exact page right now), but he seems open to partnering with Zionist groups on certain targeted campaigns for strategic reasons.

    Like Donald says, if we think STRATEGICALLY, while Zionism is a racist, colonialist project, the movement can strategically partner with liberal Zionist groups in certain contexts—and should also hope to persuade many of them to decide to support the full BDS call, including the right of return.

    Hopefully I have at least contributed something useful to the discussion.

    • mikeo on August 13, 2015, 12:12 pm

      And ask yourself how helpful some of her positions are for persuading Americans, most of whom are Zionists themselves and very sympathetic toward Jews and Israel overall.

      I’m not American BUT – Most Americans are Zionists!

      Really?

      That sounds like a pretty active proposition to me (whereas I observe more a passivity or lack of opposition – largely down to ignorance, active propagandisation, misinformation in our media and policing of “acceptable discourse”)

      • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 10:54 pm

        I would say that surveys suggest that a majority of Americans currently believe in something to the effect that Israel has a “right to exist” as a Jewish state. Sorry I don’t have a link right now, but most Americans are sympathetic towards Jews, and many non-Jewish Americans think Jews deserve their own state because of the Holocaust (many of them don’t realize that Zionism started in the late 1800’s).

        So, even if they don’t go around proclaiming themselves as Zionists, because in reality many of them probably have little understanding of what Zionism is, they would be considered Zionist for this belief, right?

        Also a recently published survey by Pew found that Jews were ranked highest by Americans as being the religious group seen the most positively: http://www.pewforum.org/files/2014/07/Detailed-Tables-NUMBER-CHECK-COMPLETE-09-22.pdf

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 11:40 pm

        jennifer, that’s an interesting statistic – Jews being ranked highest by Americans as being the religious group seen the most positively. even if it is just one point above catholics and 2 above evangelicals (no margin or error listed). but there’s something i don’t understand. the second graph is “Ratings of Religious Groups, Excluding Members of Group Being Rated ” and of all the groups jews were the only group who’s numbers stayed exactly the same – 63% (except the groups not listed in the far left column, which is odd. it means we do not know how they rated themselves). i just can’t figure out how that happened. because in the 1st poll, the one taking all votes into consideration, jews rated themselves at 89% which one assumes would add favorably to their overall average (63%). and in the second poll everyone else’s numbers dropped when they couldn’t vote for themselves. (except the groups not listed in the far left column)

        anyway, my question is, if the jewish vote for themselves was 89%. how did they maintain the exact same score of 63% when you subtracted the percentage of them voting for themselves?

      • echinococcus on August 14, 2015, 12:22 am

        If the Jews in the study sample were in the same proportion as in the general population, i.e. 2-3%, any changes within the Jewish group would not appear in the overall calculation, i.e. the whole range from 0 to 100% within the 2% of the total sample would only reflect in the 3rd or 4th position after the comma.
        So they see themselves positively in 90% of the cases, eh? Figures.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 12:40 am

        big if. they do not say.

      • mikeo on August 14, 2015, 7:40 am

        Hmmm, I’m still not sure I buy this.

        I would say that surveys suggest that a majority of Americans currently believe in something to the effect that Israel has a “right to exist” as a Jewish state.

        I think this statement is very dependent on framing and the level of awareness of the respondent. I’m sure most Americans accept the existence of Israel (as I do) – you would be in denial of reality otherwise.

        But if you were to unpack what the “right to exist” as a Jewish state actually means – and correlate it to current Israeli laws, social trends, and ideological underpinnings – I genuinely believe most Americans would be horrified and would reject the idea out of hand.

        So, even if they don’t go around proclaiming themselves as Zionists, because in reality many of them probably have little understanding of what Zionism is, they would be considered Zionist for this belief, right?

        I don’t agree. I don’t see this as being Zionist, it is rather a lack of active opposition to Zionism. I think this may change as the argument enters the mainstream.

        We will see…

    • ritzl on August 13, 2015, 1:40 pm

      IDK, Ms. Hitchcock, if, as you admit “Zionism is a racist … project,” how can you partner with racists, liberal or otherwise, strategically or otherwise?

      This is EXACTLY what you all are accusing AW of doing such that it is worthy of ostracism. This is what a lot of us can’t get past in all this. It’s just incoherent. Hence all the speculation trying to fill in the gaps to make it coherent.

      None of these JVP/ETO accusations hold water (or can be taken seriously) from a movement PoV if that gaping hole in your perceptions/analysis is not addressed, FIRST. They just can’t.

      Personally, I believe some Zionists can be worked with as an eye to the future and as a necessary if distasteful fact of movement life. I also believe that works both ways. You (and the people you are trying to speak for) seem to believe that some forms of racism are OK. Please clarify.

      So again, barring some form of clarification, the rest of your points cannot be discussed with any hope of understanding and/or resolution.

      —-

      PS. This maybe harsh, but I have to say a lot of this sounds so reminiscent of ’70s, coffee house, splitter pique, than of anything that is going to generate the political power necessary to prevent Palestinians from being endlessly killed. Didn’t understand the misdirection then, and I don’t now.

      PS2. You will NEVER be able to counter accusations of anti-semitism. That beast is never satisfied. You simply cannot solve that problem with highly questionable sacrifices of parts of the movement. Your adversaries will just keep accusing, and you will respond by chopping off the next “offending” appendage. I cannot believe you all don’t recognize that pattern by now. Ask Abunimah.

      If zero accusations is your principle concern and/or prelude to getting anything done on the main issue (justice for Palestinians), it’s probably time to find another issue to work on.

      • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 2:14 pm

        Peter in SF, I replied to most of your comments in another of my comments. Yes, I totally agree that one issue that needs to be sorted out is “what qualifies as antisemitic or racist, and what kind and what degree of these qualities should be tolerated within the Palestinian rights movement?” I have tried to make some points about this, but I think it is important that activists speaking publicly on behalf of Palestinians be able to distinguish real antisemitism from legitimate criticism. I argue elsewhere that activists should avoid classical and Protocols-based tropes and conspiracy theories, including the blood libel. What do others think?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 2:36 pm

        Hello again.

        . I argue elsewhere that activists should avoid classical and Protocols-based tropes and conspiracy theories, including the blood libel. What do others think?

        If someone like Bostrom is getting accused of the blood libel, then should Weir have avoided discussing it all since it was a basis for the accusation against him? Her point was that the intensity of the accusation against him was of the same level as that agains Toaff’s work on the blood libel, which she said in her article correctly was “widely refuted” (I wrote against the blood libel myself online).

      • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 3:20 pm

        Ritzl, I agree that it would be a silly waste of time to expect that the movement would ever face zero charges of antisemitism at any point. Clearly that would never happen. BUT I think it would be possible to overcome the unfounded charges in regard to a large enough American audience of moderate and liberal-leaning, mostly Zionists, so that such people could eventually decide to join in supporting full Palestinians rights. Maybe I am being naive and overly optimistic, but wouldn’t persuading a large swath of Americans be necessary for BDS success?

        Democrats, independents, moderates, etc. are the most important audience because more of them are already more critical of Israel and more friendly toward social justice issues in general. Most Republicans and right-wing Evangelicals are a pretty lost cause at this point, I think.

        I would compare it to the necessity of the Civil Rights Movement to persuade white moderates, and for the anti-Apartheid movement to persuade enough Americans to put enough pressure on the US gov’t to initiate sanctions. Just reaching progressives and non-Zionists isn’t enough.

        You have a valid point to question if Zionism is racist, so then isn’t it hypocritical to either partner with Zionists for strategic purposes or give interviews to Zionist outlets. I would argue that while there is a slight hypocrisy here in the moral/ethical consistency realm that not all Zionists are equal. There are Zionists that agree with targeted settlement boycotts, ending US support for Israel at the UN, and who support most Palestinian rights (though they may wish to limit the right of return in some way), and are very critical of most of the same Israeli policies that the rest of us are.

        While there may still be some underlying racist assumptions in their thinking that they haven’t quite dealt with, they are much closer to embracing full Palestinian rights than right-wing hardcore blatantly racist and Islamophobic Zionists, the latter of which more closely resemble the mirror image of the white supremacist neo-Nazi types that Weir has given interviews to and tried to court.

        I think lumping all “Zionists” into one indistinguishable mass of hardcore racists is a bit sloppy. I think some Zionists are hardcore racists that are a waste of time to deal with, but others are a potential target audience for BDS. Remember that most Americans are Zionist even if many of them don’t fully understand what Zionism really is. While I think J-Street has some serious problems with their stand on a range of issues, I would argue that some J-Street supporters are persuadable when it comes to getting them to eventually sign onto and support full Palestinian rights.

        Some Zionists believe that the Jewish people have a “right to self-determination” but disagree with most the actions used by Zionist leaders to achieve that. Some left-wing Zionists have been activists against Israel’s occupation for years and have participated in selective BDS campaigns. Should we really treat all Zionists as the same, especially for strategic purposes? Uri Avnery is a Zionist but so is Netanyahu.

        Zionism is a racist, settler-colonial project, not unlike the US. But that doesn’t mean that all Zionists are fully supportive of Zionisms racist policies and actions. I think it is useful to distinguish.

        I also want to be clear to distinguish JVP from explicitly Zionist groups like J-Street. While there may be a few left-wing Zionists in JVP, the organization as a whole has embraced the full BDS Call, and JVP activists are essential parts of the BDS movement in the US.

        So yes, in purely moral/ethical consistency terms, dealing with Zionists or granting interviews with them without challenging their views (especially the more right-wing types) would be equal to talking with racist white supremacists. However, STRATEGICALLY, the two are very different because the movement needs to persuade many Zionists and to combat unfounded charges of antisemitism. Dealing with and seeking out white supremacists doesn’t help the movement in either of these areas.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 3:57 pm

        Dealing with and seeking out white supremacists doesn’t help the movement in either of these areas.

        Hi Jennifer.
        If you recall from the Breivik incident, Breivik was a white supremacist who attacked a camp of Palestinian activists. Many intolerant people on the far right are very prejudiced against Arabs and Muslims. So actually there is a need to specifically tell white supremacists that Palestinians are not evil to counteract the messaging, Jennifer. As you yourself said in the comments section, this kind of decision to appear on the sites is debatable.

        If Weir had clearly and knowingly made over 10% of her appearances and publications on far right outlets, it would be a different story, and there would be a stronger case against her, right? We are looking at what, under 1%?

      • Paul Larudee on August 13, 2015, 5:22 pm

        “So yes, in purely moral/ethical consistency terms, dealing with Zionists or granting interviews with them without challenging their views (especially the more right-wing types) would be equal to talking with racist white supremacists. However, STRATEGICALLY, the two are very different because the movement needs to persuade many Zionists and to combat unfounded charges of antisemitism. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/roundtable-palestinian-solidarity/comment-page-1#comment-789830

        So which forms of racism are more acceptable than other forms?

      • Peter in SF on August 14, 2015, 3:10 am

        Jennifer, thank you for responding. But you still talk about antisemitic persons rather than what you said this should be about, which is ” expressions of antisemitism.” Do people criticize Donald Trump for being an anti-Mexican person? No, they criticize him for what he said about Mexican immigrants.

    • ritzl on August 13, 2015, 1:42 pm

      Oh and it was good of you to post responses. Thanks.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 2:37 pm

        Yes, Ms. Hitchcock.

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 2:31 pm

      Hello, Jennifer.

      I would also recommend reading her blog, especially regarding certain topics, including the earlier disavowel of Gilad Atzmon, who she supports: link to tinyurl.com

      Right. That is Roger Tucker’s article you are pointing to, which has two passages that I am ETO disagree with. However, if on were to ascribe all offensive views in a blog to an editor, I would be hard pressed with Mondoweiss since Marc Ellis has written intolerant, offensive things against Christians on this blog.

      How important and helpful is it to write a book focusing on how a Jewish “elitist secret society” allegedly pressured to US government to support Israel’s founding? Even if it was true.

      What do you mean “Even if it was true”?

      If it’s not true, then she shouldn’t write it. If it is true, and lobbying plays a big role in US politics, then you tell me, please, whether an author like Judis (perhaps and IIRC) or Weir should discuss it.

      If the number one obstacle to the nonviolent BDS Movement’s ability to persuade Americans is the frequent charge that the movement is antisemitic

      A far bigger obstacle is general American hardcore unawareness about the oppressive asymmetrical conflict. I did not even know about the oppressive aspect of it until randomly hearing Quakers give a presentation at a random Quaker service I attended.

      Alison is working hard to overcome that.

      I think this is a discussion worth having now so that it doesn’t keep coming up again every time something like this happens.

      Yes, because they already are trying to do it to Counterpunch’s left wing authors just because Counterpunch publishes Atzmon:
      http://meldungen-aus-dem-exil.noblogs.org/post/2015/07/19/counterpunch-or-suckerpunch/

      The article’s reasoning is that by publishing Atzmone Counterpunch is a “cesspit” of “white supremacism”, and that therefore lefitst authors (like Chomsky and Proyect and Amy Goodman) are condoning racism based on the logic in the ETO and JVP letters. So yes, we should discuss this line of accusation because it is ongoing.

      • ritzl on August 13, 2015, 3:40 pm

        Jeez, WJ, don’t know if you were a dKos regular but a couple of years ago MW was “Mondofront” (ref to Stormfront) there. Maybe still is. Citing this blog was verboten. Maybe still is too.

        That’s the state of Democratic Party orthodoxy.

        So here is a staunch anti-anti-semite posting on a blog that Dem orthodoxy (via the usual suspects and methods) has proclaimed to be anti-semitic and off limits.

        Quite a merry-go-round.

      • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 5:37 pm

        W. Jones: First, I am under the impression that Mondoweiss is more of a forum for other’s views and that it is clear that not all posts represent the personal views of all MW editors. Whereas Weir’s blog seems more like a personal blog to me. But her own defenses of Atzmon do not indicate that she is opposed to much of what he says.

        And, yes, I agree totally that the general lack of awareness of Palestinian oppression is a big rhetorical problem–perhaps even bigger than the charges of antisemitism. However, activists can raise awareness of Palestinian oppression and Israel’s violations of international law in 1001 ways without resorting to real antisemitic rhetoric, thus more effectively addressing both issues at once.

        And regarding CounterPunch, I admit that I should have worded my earlier statement in my piece differently. SOME of what they publish is questionable and right-wing (and a few things that include antisemitism, including Weir’s organ harvesting article, as I would argue) when compared with other more universally progressive outlets, but I am okay with that in the interest of free speech. Plus, they are not exclusively representing the Palestinian cause like Weir does.

      • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 5:57 pm

        Oh, W. Jones, and regarding the “even if it’s true” part. You can always talk about the influence of the lobby in ways that do seem to strongly suggest antisemitism. And you can talk a lot about the current influence of the lobby (which I would argue is much more relevant and important right now) than to focus on a conspiratorial secret society of Zionist Jews from several decades ago–right?

        Have you read the first two pages of Chapter 1 of her book on Amazon yet? http://www.amazon.com/Against-Our-Better-Judgment-History/dp/149591092X#reader_149591092X

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 6:09 pm

        Jennifer:

        First, I am under the impression that Mondoweiss is more of a forum for other’s views and that it is clear that not all posts represent the personal views of all MW editors. Whereas Weir’s blog seems more like a personal blog to me.

        MW began as Phil’s personal blog. And MW is not really a forum for all views. You are never going to get clearly white supremacist right wing anti-Palestinian articles here. It is limited to MW’s field of advancing progressive goals in the Middle East, even if only tangentially, along with occasional niceities.

        What makes it clear that not all posts represent the personal views of all editors? I would not ascribe automatically offensive Ellis’ views to any of Mondoweiss’s editors.

        In any case, the point stands that a post on a blog does not necessarily represent the views of a site’s editors. For all we know, Alison could be posting articles that she does not necessarily fully agree with in all ways. Why is it that editors on a blog who post articles need not agree with their articles but someone who posts articles on their blog always do? This is not a distinction that critics of Counterpunch make who criticize Counterpunch as what you consider to be a “questionable” forum because of its hosting Atzmon’s essays among a wide array of articles. That is, if Counterpunch can be considered questionable for hosting both articles by Atzmon who has said offensive things, why not Mondoweiss, which hosts Ellis? The answer is that a publication and its owner do not necessarily agree with every passage they reprint.

        Judaism and Christianity for example actually consider their holy writings sacred, and faithful Jews and Christians basically agree with that on a personal level. But nonetheless not all faithful Christians and Jews morally agree with all the passages’ claims like the ancient massacre stories. Am I wrong?

        Still, this is a rational distinction, so I would like to ask other commentors here if they can think of cases of personal blogs where some articles the blog posts contain two offensive passages that the readers need not ascribe to the owner.

        You wrote about Counterpunch:
        Plus, they are not exclusively representing the Palestinian cause like Weir does.
        I am not sure how that makes Counterpunch any less offensive than Weir in your reasoning if Counterpunch is actually publishing what you see as anti-semitic articles like Weir’s.

        Is it more anti-Semitic for a Palestinian activist like Weir to publish one blog post with two offensive passages than for Counterpunch to publish dozens of articles by an author like Atzmon?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 6:18 pm

        You can always talk about the influence of the lobby in ways that do seem to strongly suggest antisemitism.

        OK, I am definitely opposed to anti-Semitism, let me make that clear.

        In order to make it clear where to draw the line on this sensitive issue, what do you think of MJ Rosenberg’s, Phil Weiss’, and Judis’ writings on the particular topic?

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 7:55 pm

        w. jones, i’ve cleared over 50 comments of yours on this thread. i just can’t keep up w/you. please know that anything unmoderated i will try to get to later. other people need to be heard also.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 8:28 pm

        w. jones, i’ve cleared over 50 comments of yours on this thread. i just can’t keep up w/you. please know that anything unmoderated i will try to get to later. other people need to be heard also.

        Yes. You go, hero.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 2:26 pm

        nah, no hero that’s for sure.

      • ritzl on August 14, 2015, 8:50 am

        Hi W.Jones. I apologise for the way my “merry-go-round” comment came out. My incredulity was not aimed at you.

        Just the opposite. Your comments in this thread have been great. Kinda a warm, friendly, jump-in-your-lap-and-lick-your-face, pit bull nature (my neighbor has one like that), but pit bull nonetheless.

        Thanks. I learned a lot, from you and everyone.

    • genesto on August 13, 2015, 4:06 pm

      ‘And ask yourself how helpful some of her positions are for persuading Americans, most of whom are Zionists themselves and very sympathetic toward Jews and Israel overall. How important and helpful is it to write a book focusing on how a Jewish “elitist secret society” allegedly pressured the US government to support Israel’s founding? Even if it was true. Of all the things we could be focusing on and talking about to raise awareness of Israeli oppression of Palestinians? ‘

      First of all – you should be asking Palestinians, particularly those who are keenly aware of the power the Israel lobby has in the US and how it uses this to perpetuate and expand the Occupation – this question. Alison provides critically important, historical background to explain how we have reached a point where US policy vis a vis Israel/Palestine is completely under the control of the Israeli government – even to the point where our country’s military leadership has complained about how much this has hurt US’ own interests in the Middle East. We can go on and on, seemingly forever, decrying Israel’s increasingly abusive treatment of the Palestinians (not to mention all other non-Jews in the country). But NOTHING will change until our country understands the depth and breadth of this power and serious steps are made to reverse it. THAT’S what Alison brings to the table and why her work is so important. And THAT’S what the soft Zionists are afraid to discuss openly.

      • RockyMissouri on August 13, 2015, 4:54 pm

        Genesto: BINGO!

      • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 11:47 am

        2 genesto
        Bingo!

      • Stephen Shenfield on August 14, 2015, 6:18 pm

        The trouble is that the Zionists are so good at simulating a Protocols-type conspiracy that it can really be difficult to talk about their multi-tentacled lobby without conveying the impression that you believe in the existence of the Jewish world conspiracy (JWC for short). After just using the word “multi-tentacled” I thought to myself — oops, I should delete that, but then I decided not to because in fact it illustrates my point. I was tempted to delete because classical anti-Semitic literature often pictured the JWC as an octopus. But the Zionist lobby really does have many tentacles, like an octopus.

        I think the difference is that the real lobby focuses on the defense of real Zionism. It serves the interests of the State of Israel and is accordingly concerned mainly with the Middle East, though it also combats the assimilation of Jews everywhere. The imaginary JWC, by contrast, is global in scope and aims at Jewish domination in all spheres. For example, believers in the JWC say that multiculturalism is a Jewish plot aimed at weakening other nations while preserving the racial purity and solidarity of the Jews.

      • Danaa on August 15, 2015, 7:38 pm

        +3 genesto

        +1 (then some) stephen

    • irishmoses on August 13, 2015, 6:09 pm

      jhitchcock said:
      “How important and helpful is it to write a book focusing on how a Jewish “elitist secret society” allegedly pressured to US government to support Israel’s founding? Even if it was true. Of all the things we could be focusing on and talking about to raise awareness of Israeli oppression of Palestinians? For example, maybe it would be more productive to write a book about the right of return and its basis in international law and historical precedence to help justify and clarify this right since it seems to be the most widely misunderstood part of the BDS Call.”

      Having admitted you haven’t found the time to read Ms. Weir’s book, you then say the book focuses on the Parushim and how it was used to pressure the US government to support Israel’s founding. First, the Parashim section of the book takes up about 3 and a half pages and is certainly not the focus of her book which is a history of US Zionism and its influence on the creation of Israel. Second, everything in her book is extremely well documented using sources that appear very credible. Of the 240 pages, far more than half are devoted to detailed end notes and works cited.

      You then say it would have been more useful for her to write a book about Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. What you fail to realize is that Israeli oppression of the Palestinians has been largely supported and funded by US Zionists and that US Zionist influence played a huge part in the success of the Zionist venture from Balfour to the present. Ms. Weir addresses and documents this influence with great detail and great care and provides us all with an invaluable history of US Zionism and valuable insight into why it has such a deleterious influence on US ME foreign policy today. Ms. Weir’s book is very useful and anything but antisemitic.

      As others have said on this thread, the problem here is that some faction of liberal Zionism wants to limit the dialogue to just Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, and mainly the post 1967 history. Any variance from that is judged antisemitic because it focuses on Zionist misbehavior outside those time constraints. While I can understand their (your) reluctance to open up that Pandora’s Box, much of what’s in that box is highly relevant to Israel’s current oppression of the Palestinians. Trying to close the box with an antisemitism hammer simply won’t work and diminishes their (your) credibility.

      • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 10:09 pm

        Genesto, RockyMissouri, Irishmoses and others:

        Just to clarify, I am NOT trying to argue that the lobby (which includes both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations and donors) isn’t very influential in garnering US support for Israel. It is clearly and undeniably one of the main reasons why elected US leaders continue to support Israel and why there continues to be such a “special relationship.” I don’t deny that, nor does JVP or USC. Both organizations talk about the influence of the lobby, and one of USC’s primary missions is lobbying on the Hill. Here is a link to a page where JVP discusses the problem with overly broad definitions of antisemitism and even, yes, believe it or not, discusses the influence of the lobby: http://tinyurl.com/pxaz3oy

        So, yes, I think we are all in agreement that the lobby is a problem (just as the NRA is a problem for gun control). Maybe 15 years ago, Weir was one of the only people publicly talking about media bias and the influence of the lobby, and she should rightly be commended for her courage to take such a stand, especially back then. But she is not the only person discussing it. If you think that, then I have to wonder how many other sources you have read.

        HOWEVER, it is more specifically HOW she (and a few others) talks about the lobby that sometimes crosses a line into antisemitic rhetoric. Activists, especially those in a position to publicly represent the BDS movement really need to be informed about the characteristics and content of classical and Protocols-inspired tropes, so they can avoid them when discussing Israel/Palestine. I haven’t had time to read her whole book, but based on the first two pages of Chapter 1, I would argue that it is a good example of how NOT to talk about the lobby and Jewish or “Zionist” influence.

        Here it is for those of you who haven’t read the first few pages available on Amazon yet, which can be found her (again): http://www.amazon.com/Against-Our-Better-Judgment-History/dp/149591092X#reader_149591092X

        Here is a quote from the bottom of page one to the top of page two of Chapter 1 of her book, Against Our Better Judgment: “The Israel Lobby is considerably more powerful and pervasive than other lobbies. Components of it, both individuals and groups, have worked underground, secretly and even illegally throughout its history. . . Most Americans are completely unaware of this movement and its attendant ideology—a measure of its unique influence over public knowledge. . . The success of this movement to achieve its goals, partly due to the hidden nature of much of its activity, has been staggering. It has also come at an almost unimaginable cost.”

        Just based on this passage which I assume intends to introduce the main point of the book, I see some problems with the way she frames her critique of the lobby. As I have said before, we can select a few facts to support all number of racist and antisemitic views, so even if there have been some examples of illegal activity in some components of the lobby, that doesn’t mean that they are generalizable to the lobby as a whole. Choosing to paint the lobby as “considerably more powerful and pervasive” than others and use terms like “secretive” and “hidden” has strong parallels to the language of antisemitic tropes found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, one of Hitler’s favorite books for a reason.

        I would also argue that the influence of the lobby is not quite hidden either. When presidents, presidential candidates, and other high-ranking officials regularly give speeches at AIPAC’s conventions–and then clips are played on the tv news–how hidden is that? Weir makes it seem very shady, secretive, and hidden, and portrays herself as somehow being the holder of some amazing secrets about Zionist control of the US, but everyone knows and talks about the lobby. Ever read Walt and Mearshimer’s book, The Israel Lobby?

        Discussions of the lobby can be tricky, though, and I admit that the line can be blurry because it is one area where even discussing it completely factually can come close to sounding borderline antisemitic (because the lobby is very influential). So, in response to you, W. James, again, I haven’t read all of Phil’s and other’s writings on the lobby, but I’d say that as long as they avoid discussing it in terms of nefarious, secret conspiracies of Jews (or “Zionists” as a stand-in for “Jews”) to control the US government. Then they are probably fine by me :)

        (But, oh, wait, Phil and others talk about THE LOBBY–on this site!? OMG, they must be so courageous to be the only other ones talking about the lobby? Does Weir know?)

        Back to my point about her book, is Weir just innocently unaware that using such language to describe the lobby’s influence would sound so antisemitic? Maybe so. But after years of comments that she has admitted hearing from other activists in the movement (not just from pro-Israel outsiders), you’d think she would know or at least have asked a few questions or done some research to inform herself better so she could avoid sounding like she was quoting from a lost chapter of the Protocols.

        Maybe she just got so tired of hearing the charge when it was unfounded that she decided to just blow off all such criticism no matter the source. Or maybe she thinks antisemitism never exists? I’m still not even saying she is a true believer in antisemitic conspiracies. I don’t know her and have never met her in person. But it is unfortunate that she comes off sounding pretty antisemitic on what appears to be more than just a few isolated occasions.

        In her own defense, at one point on her site, she responds to a JVP criticism by saying that she can’t be blamed for poorly worded statements made in haste during some Q & A sessions. I have to wonder how many times she comes off sounding like she is espousing antisemitism in her public appearances? I am guessing that several examples like that may have made their way into the JVP “dossier” she references. How many times did JVP activists present at one of her talks have to sit through a few poorly worded statements? This is just speculation, of course, but if it was just once or twice, I don’t think JVP would have taken the action they did.

        But you can’t argue that her choice of words from her book was simply poorly worded and in haste, right?

        Am I completely off base to think that that passage I quoted sounds antisemitic?

        To W. Jones: is that the same way Phil and others talk about the lobby?

      • mariapalestina on August 13, 2015, 11:22 pm

        “Zionists” as a stand-in for “Jews”

        Then that is your interpretation, Jennifer. I know Alison very well. When she says Zionist she means Zionist. If you believe ” Zionist” is interchangeable with “Jew” your entire criticism of Alison Weir begins to make sense.

      • Peter in SF on August 14, 2015, 3:18 am

        Jennifer, thank you for looking at Weir’s book to supply your own critique of it.

        As I have said before, we can select a few facts to support all number of racist and antisemitic views, so even if there have been some examples of illegal activity in some components of the lobby, that doesn’t mean that they are generalizable to the lobby as a whole.

        Someone who says even if there have been some examples of illegal activity in some components of the lobby” is sending a strong message she is unaware of any examples of illegal activity in some components of the Israel lobby. The AIPAC espionage scandal? Continuing U.S. aid to Israel despite the fact that its nuclear weapons program makes this aid illegal? Plenty of weapons smuggling, from small arms in the 1940s to nuclear triggers in the 1980s?

        And I have a hard time wrapping my head around your idea that if some components of a lobby have engaged in illegal activity, we shouldn’t generalize to say that “the lobby as a whole” has engaged in illegal activity. What is the lobby but its components put together? I don’t even know why this hard-to-understand idea is even brought up, because the passage from Weir’s book doesn’t even say “the lobby as a whole” has engaged in illegal activity. Oh, and you are introducing this whole issue by saying, “we can select a few facts to support all number of racist and antisemitic views, so…” which I could understand if what followed “so” were some sort of racist and antisemitic ideas brought up by Weir, but none are actually presented. That makes it a non sequitur.

        Choosing to paint the lobby as “considerably more powerful and pervasive” than others and use terms like “secretive” and “hidden” has strong parallels to the language of antisemitic tropes found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, one of Hitler’s favorite books for a reason.

        Tell that to Steve Rosen, former director of foreign policy at AIPAC, who according to Jeffrey Goldberg, liked to say, “A lobby is like a night flower: It thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.”
        http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/07/04/real-insiders

        I do agree with you that the Israel Lobby is not entirely hidden. Probably most of it isn’t hidden at all, and you cite prominent examples of its public face. What I would fault Weir for is the rather simplistic language. “The Israel Lobby is considerably more powerful and pervasive than other lobbies.” Is it? How does one measure the strength of a lobby? Maybe she’s right; there’s an academic case to be made there, and it has to be made by applying similar criteria to the various lobbies. And then most of us are well aware that it’s factually true that “Components of it, both individuals and groups, have worked underground, secretly and even illegally throughout its history”, but on page 1 of a book, it’s the kind of language that can turn a lot of people off if they haven’t been shown first. So my issue isn’t with racist or antisemitic interpretations, but with her lack of skillfulness in leading her readers along the path to greater enlightenment. But what doesn’t work for me might work well for others.

        I don’t know her and have never met her in person. …I have to wonder how many times she comes off sounding like she is espousing antisemitism in her public appearances? I am guessing that several examples like that may have made their way into the JVP “dossier” she references. How many times did JVP activists present at one of her talks have to sit through a few poorly worded statements? This is just speculation, of course, but if it was just once or twice, I don’t think JVP would have taken the action they did.

        If you’ve never seen her in person, then you’re probably not the best person to present JVP’s case against her.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 6:03 am

        I think we are all in agreement that the lobby is a problem (just as the NRA is a problem for gun control)

        i don’t know if i would say “just like”. lobby’s generally exist because there is a strong well funded opposition. gun control vs the NRA is a domestic issue, one that is openly debated. while controversial, neither side represents the will of a foreign government and neither side is accused of racism . the issue is controversial but accepted like other domestic disputes such as obama care.

        what powerful lobbying entity represents the opposition to the israel lobby in congress? strong lobbies exist because public opinion demands they exist. and we have big public fights. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-durst/yellow-bellied-cowards_b_3118612.html

        Yellow Bellied Cowards
        And now for a few choice words about the recent Senate vote which scuttled universal background checks on gun purchases. And the first three of those words are… Yellow- Bellied Cowards. Here’s a couple more. Gutless Craven Chicken-Hearted Invertebrates. Dastardly Lily- Livered Spineless Jellyfish with the moral compunction of inbred Piranhas crowded into a too- small tank filled with liquid meth.

        That giant arrogant pimp known as the NRA should be laughing hysterically after its lackeys trashed the ephemeral spirit of compromise that had settled over Washington like a soft dawn mist. Ninety percent of Republicans voted against an issue 90 percent of the American people support. A bipartisan bill that was so watered down, it was translucent. Leaked moisture all through the Senate chamber to a depth of a half-inch. Would have easily supported two schools of guppies.

        The senators that deigned to speak before scurrying down their greasy little wormholes to bunk in the nether regions of hell, whined that pro-gun forces punish politicians for votes, while pro gun-control forces don’t. Nobody mentioned the right thing to do or keeping automatic weapons out of the hands of felons or making the country or our schools safer. You know, their job.

        The NRA, itself worried about being primaried from the right by other gun associations, encouraged its well-compensated hookers to compete among themselves to see who could lie most outrageously. Numerous senators claimed the bill would lead to a national gun registry even though the very bill they spoke of included provisions to specifically prohibit such a thing. Perhaps it needs to be spelled out in simpler language like: “Gun Registry — Bad. Not Good. No- Go. Not Going to Happen.”

        so no, to the american public it’s really not like the NRA. at least w/the NRA we can speak our opposition publicly without being deemed racist.

    • RoHa on August 14, 2015, 5:25 am

      “How important and helpful is it to write a book focusing on how a Jewish “elitist secret society” allegedly pressured to US government to support Israel’s founding? Even if it was true. ”

      Are you suggesting suppressing the truth, or merely “temporarily de-emphasizing” it?

      I understand the tactics of the latter approach, and I recognize that sometimes concessions have to be made (as, I think, Weir did in her interviews) but I always fear that such calculations will ultimately subvert the very principles they were intended to support.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 12:44 pm

        “How important and helpful is it to write a book focusing on how a Jewish “elitist secret society” allegedly pressured to US government to support Israel’s founding?

        i have not read the book, but i seriously doubt weir would agree with this description: “a Jewish “elitist secret society” allegedly pressured to US government” . so let’s try to be more accurate:

        How important and helpful is it to write a book focusing on how a Jewish “elitist secret society” pressured to US government to support Israel’s founding?

        (and excuse me if she wrote it allegedly happened, but my guess is she claimed it did happen)

        that would depend on circumstances occurring today. if there are similarities occurring today i’d think it might be very relevant since israel’s ‘founding’ is still a fluctuating/mobile force in action. the nature of the state, as a colonizing enterprize, is of particular concern because they are still in conquer mode. (if they were not there might be a 2 state solution now and the evidence this opportunity (if one views it as an opportunity) is now past tense it might behoove us to consider what forces are operating to influence our government to support the ongoing ‘founding’ of the state ie the “settlement” project > the continued colonization of palestine. sometimes people use the historical to see patterns in man’s actions today. albeit, the little nightflower has been exposed to some sunlight lately so i don’t really know how much secrecy there is going on as compared to the earlier era, but there may be some structural similarities. if there were, i’d think it might be quite valuable.

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 10:39 am

      @ jhitchcock

      I have not yet finished reading you latest comment. I will. I was stopped in my reading track by what you say here:

      “And ask yourself how helpful some of her positions are for persuading Americans, most of whom are Zionists themselves and very sympathetic toward Jews and Israel overall. ”

      Source? Very few Americans have the slightest clue regarding the history, ideology, conduct, & implementation of Zionism. And they sure as hell are not aware of what it’s implementation has done to the Palestinians over time. You need to judge Weir’s efforts in the context that the US mainstream press has been diligent in obfuscating with hasbara and omitting the very facts Weir brings to Dick and Jane’s attention by her work. Polls taken of the average Americans support of Israel reflects this; an analysis always concludes the average American’s support of Israel is wide but not even skin deep. Not to mention every US elected politician must parrot boilerplate hasbara about Israel and its relation to the US interest.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 11:54 am

        there’s also a difference (in the average american mind) between ‘support for israel’ and “Americans, most of whom are Zionists themselves “. most americans don’t know what a zionist is and would not know the definition of zionism. so saying they are zionists is not really accurate.

      • ritzl on August 14, 2015, 4:53 pm

        @Citizen- Yep. There was a poll done last year (pre Gaza Slaughter 2014) by Shibley Telhami/Brookings, authored by the PIPA/WPO/U Maryland folks, that showed 1/3 of Americans PREFER one state with equal rights right now as we speak:

        Here’s the main finding:

        Two states, One State, Annexation, Status Quo

        The percentage of Americans who want the US government to push for a two-state solution remains constant at 39% from last year; but the percentage of those who
        want the US to push for one state with equal citizenship has increased from 24% to 34%.

        Among those who support two states, two-thirds would support one state if two states are not possible.

        If a two-state solution is not possible, 71% of Americans (84% of Democrats, 60% of Republicans) favor a single democratic state with Arabs and Jews as equal over a
        one in which Israel’s Jewish majority is sustained and Palestinians will not have equal citizenship.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/12/americans-outcome-israelpalestine

        And if (since) the two-state outcome goes (went) away, one-state becomes the overwhelmiing majority view.

        I’m pretty sure the vast majority of Jews would NOT call support for one state/equal rights a “position friendly to Jews.” Sounds more like a sign of patience being lost.

        So Weir’s position has a ready made audience of very reasonable people and comes nearly pre-sold. They’re not raving white supremacists or other crackpots. They are just people that have to be reached. It doesn’t sound like the 71% (note 60% of Republicans) are the kind of people JVP/ETO are comfortable reaching out to. Weir IS comfortable advocating in those venues.

        Taking that one step further, as the hasbrats here have made perfectly clear, advocating for one state is advocating for the “destruction” of Israel and therefore antisemitic. Is JVP/ETO willing to ride out that accusatory firestorm in order to channel/cascade/whip the existing beliefs of the vast majority of voters into a political force for what the majority of Jews would consider a bad outcome? Or would they simply acquiesce and “decide” under [laughably?] self-inflicted duress that one-stater’s (potentially 71%+ of US voters) are anti-Jewish untouchables?

        As it stands right now, I’d have to go with the latter. Totally reactive. Reacting is not advocating, imho.

        —–

        Sorry to attach a rant to your comment, Citizen. Outside of personal distaste and opinion, none of these explsnations of the accusations against Weir make any sense to me. Your pullquote seemed to probe the chaos a bit. I just kinda let go.

  47. brwencino on August 13, 2015, 10:25 am

    I had to curser through all of these past comments to see whether the point I am about to make has already been made and I do not think it has.
    So, Mondoweiss was just too, too busy to deal with the Weir issue before, but now it posts “roundtable” comments, one condemning Weir, one “gosh can’t we all just get along”, and one defending Weir; all without any comment by Mondoweiss.
    Next, I suggest that Mondoweiss publish a “roundtable” about whether Mondoweiss is really for Palestinian rights or just asserting an apparent position to further its true intent of supporting continued Jewish control of the land known as Israel? We could start out with Gilad Atzmon who would take a strong position about Mondoweiss’ deceptive position, we could move on with that “progressive” Zionist of Israel Fund, Daniel Socatch who would take a “gosh can’t we just all get along” position and end with JVP, Mondoweiss’ combination Zionist/non Zionist friend who would strongly defend Mondoweiss. Of course, Mondoweiss itself could make no comment on this issue. Wouldn’t this be as fair to Mondoweiss as the Weir “roundtable” was to her?

    • annie on August 13, 2015, 1:30 pm

      Next, I suggest that Mondoweiss publish a “roundtable” about whether Mondoweiss is really for Palestinian rights or just asserting an apparent position to further its true intent of supporting continued Jewish control of the land known as Israel?

      i just love these kinds of comments. seriously, i do. better yet why not get gilad atzmon to host this forumn. oh right, he can’t be bothered to spend his days wading thru comment sections and moderating them. or maybe he just can’t afford to let them go unmoderated. whatever. you don’t need mondoweiss to have this discussion — obviously. and it begs the question why you would ever contribute anything here. doesn’t that make your true intent, by default, a supporter of continued Jewish control of the land known as Israel?

      hey, why not just go at this “Mondoweiss .. true intent of supporting continued Jewish control of the land known as Israel” right now? we’re here. i have nothing better to do with my day. think of me as your slave today serving you. just have at it, seriously. or better yet YOU write the front page story ok. send it in to submissions. put your name on it brwencino. i think our community deserves to know the pillar of logic behind this theory of yours.

      • echinococcus on August 13, 2015, 3:46 pm

        Annie,

        Getting Gilad Atzmon to do a question-and-answer with the whole bunch of his … let’s say accusers is an excellent idea. Perhaps we may get them to finally pull out what they only know while they want us to follow them in our crass ignorance.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 3:50 pm

        finally pull out what they only know while they want us to follow them in our crass ignorance.

        finally? i think they’ve made their position quite clear. as far as i know his accusers have no interest in interacting with him. gilad can try hosting this question answer forum, why not try writing him and asking him.

        i much more interested in the “Mondoweiss .. true intent of supporting continued Jewish control of the land known as Israel” allegation. that should be fun.

        brwencino just really hit one out of the ballpark making this oh so brilliant observation and panel suggestion. i just can’t wait to hear what else he has to say.

      • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 4:42 pm

        “Getting Gilad Atzmon to do a question-and-answer with the whole bunch of his …”

        C’mon, give the guy a break. How’s about Mondo hosts him to play some music? Let him do what he is good at! Keep a reed in his mouth at all times.

      • echinococcus on August 13, 2015, 4:45 pm

        Annie,

        “Made their position clear”? There never has been any proof presented.

      • annie on August 13, 2015, 7:18 pm

        echo, i’m not your slave, get it? we have a full plate here w/comments backed up on this discussion. read this and internalize it: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/roundtable-palestinian-solidarity#comment-789730

        they’ve made their position clear, they want nothing to do with him. that is their position.

      • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 10:19 pm

        Annie,

        I just want to thank you for doing so much work moderating this forum :)

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 2:48 pm

      For what it’s worth, MW is one of the few places whose editors actually put in opposing views on the topic. Usually the editors of other blogs put in views all going one way.

    • Mooser on August 13, 2015, 4:38 pm

      “Next, I suggest that Mondoweiss publish a “roundtable” about whether Mondoweiss is really for Palestinian rights or just asserting an apparent position to further its true intent of supporting continued Jewish control of the land known as Israel?”

      I suggest you read the “About” page. There’s a tab at the top of each page.

  48. PeaceThroughJustice on August 13, 2015, 12:16 pm

    “Let’s start a group for peace and justice in the world!” “OK, I’m with you, what should we do for our very FIRST act, to get us off on the right foot?” “We’ll name it after ourselves and make sure that only our people can lead it.”

  49. jack dresser on August 13, 2015, 1:36 pm

    First, let me first comment on the photo chosen of Alison, suggesting the Wicked Witch of the Right. This is visual propaganda. I’ve known Alison for many years and never seen such an unfriendly expression.

    Other comments have covered the ground well, including Henry Norr’s link to my Counterpunch article where I already cast my ballot with an exit interview.

    But let me just add something about Spencer Sunshine whose attack on Alison, as Russ Greenleaf observes, seems to have provided a template for the JVP allegations. Eugene had its own encounter recently with Sunshine, who is associated with Political Research Associates, a small Massachusetts non-profit that has been criticized for using a “links and ties” guilt-by-association method of “research” (see Jeffrey Kaplan in The Cultic Milieu) and whose alarmist discourse on “paramilitaries” was circulated to incite a brief, hysterical “anti-hate” campaign in our community.

    Guilt-by-association is certainly his stock-in-trade. I described his paper as “a confused mishmash employing familiar propaganda imagery and judgmental language to construct an ominous vision of an integrated, sinister, non-governmental force gathering to threaten our civil rights…conflating and discounting about half the US population into an artificially constructed, all-encompassing ‘right-wing’ category…citing no political science research validating the implied correlations between them.”

    He uses the very questionable SPLC (www.counterpunch.org/2009/05/15/king-of-the-hate-business) as an information source, an organization that rakes in massive contributions to provide long lists of putatively hateful organizations that feed sales of their “Teaching Tolerance” curriculum to school districts terrorized by fear of lurking local extremists.

    Sunshine ignores the natural alliance between people who may differ deeply on some issues but are united in opposition to American militarism and the surveillance/security state (e.g., libertarians and progressives). This discourages citizens from discriminating between a variety of perspectives or looking too closely, behind the media veil or beneath the surface of state policies and propaganda, tendentiously pointing public worries in the wrong direction, away from agencies and policies of US government, lobbies, militarized police, multinational corporations, controlled media, predatory banking, and other sources of institutional oppression.

    Sunshine’s hit piece on Alison follows much the same formula. To attract his attention, she must be doing something right.

    • annie on August 13, 2015, 2:29 pm

      i don’t think she looks unfriendly or like a witch. i think she looks like someone stunned by what she is hearing. it’s the exact expression i would expect from a seasoned public speaker if someone in the audience stood up and yelled “F*** YOU” at the top of their lungs.

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 2:54 pm

        Yes, probably MW could find a better photo. but she isn’t a beauty model, so it’s not an issue IMO.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 3:04 am

        i didn’t choose the photo but i understood it completely and agreed with it when i saw it. she looks offended and insulted. i think it represents a truthful expression of what someone thought she felt or might feel. i don’t think there is a “better” photo to accompany this article. and i do not think it was chosen maliciously in any way.

  50. pianoteacher on August 13, 2015, 1:54 pm

    The false accusation of antisemitism has been well used to silence critics of Israel. Shulamit Aloni admits it on this video:

    http://14friendsofpalestine.org/if-you-have-not-been-called/index.html

    “It is a trick, we always use it”.

    And it is partly our fault that it is used so successfully. When we get falsely accused, we go to great lengths to prove we are not antisemitic, groveling at the feet of our accusers with assurances of how many Jewish friends we have, etc etc. As long as we do this, they control us. They dangle the “Anti-Semite” charge in front of our noses, and we go into fear and trembling.
    The false accusations will not stop until we learn to reply, “I don’t care what you call me, call me whatever you like, and I will continue to work for justice for Palestine.”
    Period. No self-justification, nothing.
    If we laugh at the false accusation, they will stop using it because they will see it doesn’t work any more.

    • Marnie on August 14, 2015, 4:53 am

      “If we laugh at the false accusation, they will stop using it because they will see it doesn’t work any more.”

      If it were only that easy! Shaming them for doing it hasn’t had a lot of traction. But maybe you’re on to something because I don’t know that Netanyahu, Oren, Pam Geller or any of the other tools that commonly throw out antisemitism in everyday conversation have ever been laughed at loudly with a healthy belly laugh. It’d be great fun to watch.

      • pianoteacher on August 14, 2015, 11:06 am

        I just wear my T shirt and smile! It completely stops them in their tracks.

    • ritzl on August 14, 2015, 7:03 am

      Well said, pianoteacher!

      They accusations will continue to fly as long as they work. If I was on their side, I’d be sitting back laughing at how easy it is to make people squirm and/or to what lengths I can (not could) make the go to by spending all of 30 seconds on a keyboard.

      • pianoteacher on August 14, 2015, 11:13 am

        Exactly. So it is our job to laugh at it, not react with fear and trembling.
        My friends and I have a competition to see who has been called anti-Semitic the most. I am ashamed to say I have been called it only once – when I was at a protest for Jewish Voice for Peace! I just pointed to our JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE banner, smiled, and my accuser scowled and slunked away.
        However, I did get my first death threat on Monday, at a protest outside the Israeli consulate! So now I can look Alison Weir in the eye :-)

      • ritzl on August 14, 2015, 3:23 pm

        Heh. Congrats on the death threat! I got one from something I wrote on this at dKos a few years ago (by email, which kinda set me back a bit), and then on twitter a few months ago.

        It’s a wonder those clowns can type something out what with their keyboards all drenched in saliva n stuff. :)

        Do be careful though. :|

    • Stephen Shenfield on August 14, 2015, 6:34 pm

      They will never stop using it, even if it no longer works. They have no other argument to use.

      • ritzl on August 14, 2015, 7:50 pm

        Definitely, but I tend to look at the responses up to now, including the justifications for ostracizing AW, as prey behavior.

        I think there’s some predation-mitigating effect in not acting like a gnu but it’s not clear what or how much.

  51. KM363 on August 13, 2015, 3:18 pm

    The JVP argument in support of its attack on Weir reminds one of the Israeli argument justifying the destruction of Gaza. It’s just self-defense, you see. JVP wishes to protect itself against the damage Weir’s behavior causes to their movement. So it has expelled her from their movement.

    By implication all who share JVP’s stated goals — ending the occupation; equality and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; justice for refugees based on international law — are encouraged to follow their lead. One should think twice about donating to Weir’s website or attending one of her talks, okay? And spread the word!

    Can someone point to any damage which Weir has caused to the effort to achieve those JVP goals? There is no damage; precisely the opposite. Through her 15+ years of tireless activism in educating Americans concerning the situation of Palestinians and the historical causes of Palestinian suffering, Alison has done more than many of us towards achieving the very goals espoused by JVP.

    Has any Zionist or Zionist sympathizer ever pointed specifically to Alison Weir and said, you see, that’s why these anti-Zionists are beyond the pale? Look at this person, the anti-Semite. She hates Jews! That’s why she has that web site! That’s why she went on that radio show!

    Please. The only people who would go that route are the very ones saying exactly the same thing about JVP and mondoweiss. We have all heard those people and been targeted by them, and we justly treat them with contempt.

    Why did JVP attack Weir? It is not “self-defense”. It is not that they simply wish to dispense with her company. The reality is that those responsible for this attack wish by her expulsion to weaken and degrade Alison Weir and ultimately to silence her. It was the same with Spinoza’s expulsion from Talmud Torah synagogue in 1656. It was to degrade and silence him. The same with Goldstone’s expulsion from his community, even from his own grandson’s bar mitzvah. To silence him.

    But why? What has Weir done that merits silencing?

    Ms. Hitchcock gives us clues as to the answer.

    “How important and helpful is it to write a book focusing on how a Jewish ‘elitist secret society’ allegedly pressured [the] US government to support Israel’s founding? Even if it was true.”

    Hitchcock gives an unfair caricature of Weir’s discussion of the so-called Parushim and their role in promoting Zionist goals in America in the early 20th century — not in 1948 — but her remark reveals what the attackers hate and fear in Weir. It is that she has managed to publish a book about the (to most people) hidden Zionist influence on US govt. and institutions. She has gone beyond mere activism on behalf of Palestinians and pursued investigations into the history behind Palestinian oppression and specifically the reasons for the negative role played by the US. This sort of thing makes many Jews uncomfortable, including pro-Palestinian Jews, because it resembles trains of thought and certain conclusions which they associate with Nazis. Even if it is true.

    But how dare these people accuse Alison Weir of hating Jews. If they have trouble with her book, then let them attack her book and demonstrate its flaws. Enough with this sideways, passive-aggressive phony nonsense about her associating with known anti-Semites or secretly supporting the “blood-libel”. It’s outrageous and foolish.

    Sowing dissension within the anti-Zionist movement only benefits one party and no one else — the Zionists.

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 1:03 pm

      One day Weir, an innocuous, innocent, made a trip to Israeli-controlled land, and, being such a character, a typical oblivious American regarding US foreign policy, she found herself horrified by how the Palestinians were treated. She wondered how her own government could enable such a situation. She decided to check it out. She traced US history regarding Zionist influence back to its origins. She looked at just when, and by whom, the US was led to enable what she saw on her original said trip. The US history she uncovered is not taught in US schools. Just as, now, nobody in main media is telling the public who’s the big donors behind the Iran Deal Fear ads bombarding mainstream cable tv. That said media gives a one minute blurb on the annual AIPAC conference does not show the lobby flower does not bloom in the closet. Recently, there was a one minute blurb on most of the freshman congress visiting Israel–that doesn’t mean the Israel Lobby’s antics is out in the open like the Gun Lobby’s. Weir’s intro in her book, quoted above in this thread, is justified; she spends the rest of her book on saying why. It’s really cheap to characterize it as an classical anti-semitic slur. It’s not that there’s a secret jewish cabal conspiracy, it’s that everyday Americans are given very few facts regarding the nature of the US-Israel “special relationship” by the half dozen strong corporate media, which controls 90% of all media channels.

    • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 2:32 pm

      “The reality is that those responsible for this attack wish by her expulsion to weaken and degrade Alison Weir and ultimately to silence her. It was the same with Spinoza’s expulsion from Talmud Torah synagogue in 1656.”

      Yeah! The Chef Rabbi said: “Throw Spinoza out of the synagogue, and I want to see him bounce!”

  52. MHughes976 on August 13, 2015, 3:21 pm

    If the main justification for severing contact with an individual is that we need a defence against claims that we are anti-Semitic I would say that it won’t work. We must expect these claims to be made often but almost never by someone who will explain what (s)he means by the word. The beginning of a right response is to ask for the meaning and take it from there: if the argument remains logical the claims, if made against rational objections to Zionism, are guaranteed to collapse in short order.
    The rhetoric of a anti-anti-Semitism in the Zionist cause is designed to transform accused into accuser: people emphasising the allegedly Jewish character of Israel claim, when there is complaint against injustice and cruelty to Palestinians, the prior right to accuse and judge those who complain. All defensive reactions – ‘Of course I’m not anti-Semiitic! I can prove it!’ – amount to accepting the rhetoric and permitting the change of subject at which it is aimed. You’ll never prove it enough – and severances of contact with one individual will only lead to calls for more and more of the same against more and more people on the Zionists’ ever-growing Little List.
    The tactical case for rejecting AW is not very strong.
    The moral case for rejecting anti-Jewish prejudice is always there, of course.

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 3:43 pm

      Yes. M. MJR’s pro-Israeli opponents found a tweet by MJR against Passover that I consider intolerant. I found posts by JSF that I can label similarly intolerant. I expect that if I trawl through the writings of many other prolific writers on the IP conflict who have rejected Weir I can find similar statements or actions that can be labeled intolerant using the same kind of logic. To go down the road of purging everyone on this basis is basically a “money pit” like you find in the famous Canadian island. And at the end of the day, you really haven’t found the treasure or stopped people from alleging that you are bad or actually helped Palestinians.

  53. Philip Munger on August 13, 2015, 3:40 pm

    Two articles I wrote about Alison Weir almost six years ago, that deal with many of the issues that came up in this article and comment thread:

    http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2009/10/some-thoughts-on-alison-weir.html

    http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2009/10/pa-arts-sunday-some-thoughts-on-alison.html

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 3:46 pm

      Yes. Thanks for pointing out that people in the whispering world had called her a Holocaust Denier , which she denies and they haven’t proven. It just goes to show that Weir actually was right that there was such a whispering campaign of made up claims.

    • RockyMissouri on August 13, 2015, 6:51 pm

      Philip Munger: I agree with you about the Liberty. The survivors deserve RESPECT. As does Alison Weir. I guess calling someone a “holocaust denier” is one of the very effective ways to silence someone. But I hope she is NOT silenced.

    • irishmoses on August 13, 2015, 7:45 pm

      Philip,
      I read your two articles. You seem to be saying that her writings on the history of US Zionism are shallow and that she’s an antisemite. Have I got that right?

      Have you read her book? If so, did it modify your opinion of her as a historian, and did it modify your belief in her antisemitism?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 8:23 pm

        I didn’t get that, Irish. I thought he was saying that the USS Liberty was a real scandal.

      • irishmoses on August 13, 2015, 9:11 pm

        That too, but I thought the comments indicated the other two. Maybe I attributed someone else’s comments to him.

      • tree on August 14, 2015, 9:18 pm

        I didn’t get that, Irish. I thought he was saying that the USS Liberty was a real scandal.

        My that part one was tentatively pro-Weir, but part two( second link) is where he called her shallow and implied anti-semitic talk on her part.

      • W.Jones on August 31, 2015, 4:51 am

        OK, I see what you meant in the second article: “I’m not quite sure what it is about Alison’s stuff that brings this forth, but it is there – anti-Semitism. I don’t think she brings it out on purpose.”
        If you can’t point to something in her stuff that is anti-Semitic, then could it be that it isn’t, and it is really the whole IP conflict that is the problem?

        Munger was against banning Weir though:

        There was a serious behind-the-scenes effort to keep Weir from being able to speak at any of her Anchorage venues. Some people I respect highly participated in it. I find that disturbing. One person, Alaska Pacific University’s president, succeeded. Good job, Mr. North!

    • W.Jones on August 31, 2015, 4:48 am

      Dear Philip,

      In your second article, you wrote:

      As much as it appears to me that Weir does know about the history of Jews in Palestine/Israel, reading through a lot of her material this past five weeks has led me to conclude she knows less about the depth of concern among American and European Jews about the worsening situation in Palestine than she should.

      Maybe what you saw as a lack of “kowledge” was simply a lack of emphasis because that is not her focus in her research, which is about the role of lobbying in previous decades with regards to US foreign policy in the Levant? Had her focus been a careful focus on the rank and file religious and secular community’s overall attitudes in the pre-war era, perhaps she would have the emphasis that you are looking for?

      You also wrote in your blog post:
      “Her recent Counterpunch article, Israeli Organ Harvesting, was ill-considered at best.
      Could you say more about that? Do you think she should not have written an article on the topic?

  54. Pam on August 13, 2015, 5:01 pm

    As someone who has been weathering a vicious and very personal online attack, I have to speak up and say that even when there are reasonable people who believe the charges against someone have merit, I do not believe it is in the movement’s best interests, or even humane, to go after individuals in public forums. There are always alternatives, and even if not, the result is highly distracting and divisive. I would say the same for blanket bans on certain speakers, etc., which are tactics are true opponents use. I also want to say that I think it is very regrettable that Jennifer chose to dredge up once again the 2012 charges against Greta Berlin. Not only do I highly doubt that she knows Greta personally in a “holistic” sense, but also I think it is highly unfair to prevent individuals from moving on.

    • ritzl on August 14, 2015, 7:09 am

      Hi Pam. Is your attack issue oriented? Can any of us help you with pushback? Not that you’d want any from me, but there are a lot if strong voices here that may be able to give support.

    • Susie Kneedler on August 14, 2015, 5:53 pm

      Hi Pam and Thanks, ritzl:

      I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve been targeted that way, too, Pam. Thanks for all you do and please let us know what might help, if you want.

      Thanks for reminding us not to fall for smears just because they sound damning:
      mudslinging “wins” when the rest of us are so repulsed by the seeming dirt that we forget to look at facts.

      So I hope you’re okay. Cheers to You,
      Susie

  55. Donna Volatile on August 13, 2015, 5:12 pm

    For what it is worth… Jennifer Hitchcock seems to infer that Ms. Weir is somehow conspiratorial, having written about Israeli Organ Harvesting. The story, while unpleasant, is absolutely true, well documented and admitted to by the Israeli authorities. Ms. Hitchcock then goes on to cast aspersions on the political website: Counter Punch, implying it is a “questionable” publication. (Tell that to Ralph Nader and other well reputed writers who publish on CP. I too have been published on CP.)

    I am disappointed that JVP created this situation to being with, in its campaign against Ms. Weir. JVP does many great things and are a main source of political action for many of us but this entire spectacle leaves a bad taste and needs to be repaired.

    It has pulled the focus from where it should be: the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people and their right to self determination.

    • jhitchcock on August 13, 2015, 7:00 pm

      Donna, regarding the issue of organ harvesting being true or not (as a few others have mentioned). I am not denying that there have been some, perhaps many, factual cases of organ harvesting and trafficking in Israel (as there are in other parts of the world too, even in the US). However, it is HOW she discusses it that is a problem.

      I’ll go back to my rape and lynching analogy from my piece. Isn’t it “true” that some African American men have raped some white women at some point in time? And isn’t there a chance that at least “a few, if not many” (quote from Weir’s organ harvesting article) cases of rape of white women alleged back in the day–that where then used by white mobs and the KKK to justify lynchings–were real? I’m only talking about “truth” and “facts” here, so I must not be racist to put all of these fact together in this way, right?

      • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 8:19 pm

        Jennifer,

        I don’t see organ harvesting as some major theme in Solidarity circles or Weir’s writing. Might this be an apples to oranges, or nation to nationality, comparison?

        Wouldn’t it be one thing to make an offensive article about US African American on white crime, and quite another thing for an African studies specialist to write an article about the same kind of crime in an African nation, discussing at length its mistreatment of a minority population, discussing how the danger even for American tourists? (eg. an article on Rwandan abuses of its minority population through the eyes of foreigners in the Hotel Rwanda?)

        Would both articles be comparably intolerant?

      • Donna Volatile on August 13, 2015, 9:21 pm

        Hello Jennifer:

        Thank you for taking a moment to respond. I respect that.

        I took issue with two of the points, you made in your piece, in my post, because it seems to me, many things are taken out of context, with regard to this discussion about Ms. Weir.

        You are most certainly entitled to your opinions and no doubt but the way you couched your comments about the organ harvesting and then moving on to attack the credibility of CP, goes beyond the pale.

        This discussion should be about the back-handed way in which JVP behaved with regard to Ms. Weir and nothing else. Then how to repair it and move on.

        Best regards-Donna

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 2:41 am

        This discussion should be about the back-handed way in which JVP behaved with regard to Ms. Weir and nothing else. Then how to repair it and move on.

        actually donna, that’s not what this conversation is. in your perfect world perhaps all conversations would be about the way you want them to be. but this conversation is “a place to reflect and debate” which means people expressing themselves, sharing their opinion and (hopefully) learning from each other and having a better understanding of why and how this happened.

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 1:49 pm

      @Donna Volatile

      RE: “It has pulled the focus from where it should be: the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people and their right to self determination.”

      No it has ignored Weir’s focus: The ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination, which would end except it’s enabled by the US government, paid for by US taxpayers. This also paints a target on America’s back, as Petraeus intra alia, has told the US Congress. Us diplomats for the ME have been saying for ages that the first question they are asked by Arab diplomats is about I-IP Confllict.

  56. PilgrimSoul on August 13, 2015, 5:17 pm

    MW is to be congratulated for having this forum. No other website seemed willing to do so.

    I have reluctantly come to the conclusion, finally, that it was necessary to put some distance between Alison Weir and the rest of the Palestinian solidarity movement. After all, JVP, SJP and the entire BDS movement are facing extremely powerful opposition on US campuses this autumn, and perhaps even violence.

    What bothers me most about Weir is this:

    1. When people from a coalition she belonged to approached her, she was unable to make any changes, or acknowledge that any of their points might have validity. You have to be flexible to work in coalition politics.

    2. She demonstrates an extreme lack of sensitivity to the kind of rhetoric that will be most effective in winning people–especially progressives–to our point of view.

    3. You can’t allow yourself to be interviewed on the radio by extremists and racists. Simply by appearing on the air with them, you tend to validate their ideas.

    Having said that, I do not agree with the idea, sometimes heard from JVP, that the Israel Lobby is just an extension of American empire. It is en extension of empire, to be sure, but it goes far beyond that, and is especially destructive to American democracy. It seeks to undermine America’s best values, split the Democratic Party, and split American Jews; and it will consistently be in alliance with the most irrational and pathological elements of Republican Party extremism. It will never rest until it–and the Republican chicken-hawks–drag the US into war with Iran. That makes it more malevolent than even the gun lobby, and Big Pharma.

    We see the special dangers very clearly in Chuck Schumer’s disgusting betrayal of the Iran nuclear deal.

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 8:07 pm

      1. “When people from a coalition she belonged to approached her, she was unable to make any changes, or acknowledge that any of their points might have validity. You have to be flexible to work in coalition politics.”

      Have her accusing organizations shown flexibilty? Arguably Jennifer Hitchcock has shown flexibility, since she said it’s debated whether one can appear on such programs. But she is not an organization banning Weir. Has JVP shown flexibility on the major objection to Weir that you disagree with JVP about?

      • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 2:29 pm

        W. Jones: Thanks.

        But technically, both JVP and ETO said that it wasn’t just her appearances that were a problem either, but the fact that she too often remained silent or even agreed with racist or antisemitic statements made by the host. We can argue about whether she sufficiently challenged them and how one should do that, but I just wanted to point out that it was also what she said or didn’t say on the program that they took issue with and not just her appearance.

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 2:58 pm

        Hello, Jennifer.

        I was talking to Pilgrim. Pilgrim believes that JVP was wrong “that the Israel Lobby is just an extension of American empire.”

        In JVP’s letter, JVP said that IAK has a “chauvinist” perspective that “absolves American interests” and a “tail wags dog” orientation. Yet JVP elsewhere has posted Avnery’s article saying that this theory of tail wags dog is legitimate. And JVP explicitly requires members to believe that the Occupation is against the true US interest. http://www.jvp-pdx.org/faq.html

        So my question to Pilgrim, is whether JVP has shown flexibility on its stance on the Lobby’s role that Pilgrim objects to when it comes to Weir, who JVP banned, Weir’s stance on the American interest being one such ground for banning.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 5:58 pm

        w.jones:

        Interest groups within the United States, such as the Christian Zionist lobby, the arms and aerospace industry lobbies, and right-leaning Jewish organizations, have a vested interest in maintaining the Occupation. But since the Occupation threatens the peace and security of the Middle East, the true interests of the United States, as well as those of Palestinians and Israelis, lie in ending the Occupation.

        i agree with this statement. still, it doesn’t address the reasons why, as a country, we’ve embraced israel and the occupation so thoroughly. strong lobbies exist for a reason. everyone of them i can envision the counter interest. it’s very clear. but why is there such a need for an israel lobby in congress if, as we are led to believe, there is such strong support for israel?

        the obvious answer is that without it americans would be openly divided. i think we’re seeing in the last year (especially after the netanyahu speech at congress) more american vocally express the outrage, but before that it was as if there was some perfectly natural affinity that just sprang forth for israel. and clearly if that was the case there would be no need for a strong lobby. things americans are in general agreement about require no lobby. so who is the israel lobby countering? us. that’s it. and how do they do it? most ad hominem, making us fear speaking out by accusing us of racism for criticizing israel.

    • MRW on August 13, 2015, 11:54 pm

      3. You can’t allow yourself to be interviewed on the radio by extremists and racists. Simply by appearing on the air with them, you tend to validate their ideas.

      What?!? No, you don’t. If that were true, then why isn’t the opposite true as well?

    • Paul Larudee on August 14, 2015, 1:45 am

      “it was necessary to put some distance between Alison Weir and the rest of the Palestinian solidarity movement. After all, JVP, SJP and the entire BDS movement are facing extremely powerful opposition on US campuses this autumn, and perhaps even violence. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/roundtable-palestinian-solidarity#sthash.5l5Ufb4B.dpuf

      Necessary to remove Alison because she is an anti-Semite? Because she is a racist? Because she is a white supremacist? No, because tactically perhaps the BDS movement might face opposition. So all the reasons for expelling her were a lie, and the reason for ordering JVP chapters to ostracize her have nothing to do with whether she speaks the truth or what she says is relevant, only about how it might appear and in what direction to try to mold public opinion.

      Ye shall know the carefully crafted message, and Madison Avenue shall set you free.

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 2:05 pm

      @ PilgrimSoul

      Were you there during any of the exchanges between Weir and those concerned about possible anti-semitism in her conduct or writings, or speech? The concerns (other than her alleged approval of clearly known white supremacists/anti-semites by going on their shows and picking her entire work apart by dwelling on maybe 1% of her work, you show are totally compatible with Weir’s mission and long, courageous work. Forest v trees–you focus on a tiny branch. Why, Pilgrim?

    • JWalters on August 14, 2015, 7:41 pm

      “MW is to be congratulated for having this forum. No other website seemed willing to do so.”

      “You can’t allow yourself to be interviewed on the radio by extremists and racists”

      Weir goes where people will listen. That’s certainly not the Israeli-controlled American media. And Israel itself has unsavory allies.

      Abraham Lincoln valued the extreme anti-slavery voice of William Garrison, even though tactically he could not associate himself with Garrison. But Garrison’s writings helped prepare the ground for Lincoln’s actions. And when the ground was ready (sometimes barely) Lincoln acted, in a series of actions culminating in the Emancipation Proclamation and the Constitutional abolition of slavery.
      http://www.c-span.org/video/?326989-1/lincolns-antislavery-politics

  57. Paul Larudee on August 13, 2015, 5:40 pm

    “pulled the focus from where it should be: the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people and their right to self determination. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/roundtable-palestinian-solidarity/comment-page-1#comment-789835

    Self-determination? Are you joking? Every Palestinian is entitled to return to the land where s/he lived prior to the Nakba, to recover all of her/his stolen property and damages, constituting most of the state of Israel. This right accrues to their ancestors, and only the individual Palestinians have the right to negotiate a resolution to the recovery of these rights.

    Palestinians have been saying since 1948 what the focus should be. Anyone care to listen?

  58. Frankie P on August 13, 2015, 7:13 pm

    Dear Adam, Phil and JVP,

    I am writing to forgive you for your anti-gentilism. I understand that this facet of your psychological make-up is not deliberate or chosen by you; it is the result of your upbringing, the myths you have heard, and a constant drumming into your heads from your tribe. I only ask that you consider that you may have a component of anti-gentilism in your heart and psyche, and try to make adjustments and start on the long road to wellness. I imagine that Alison Weir, someone who has been directly affected by your anti-gentilism, would also forgive you.

    I greatly admire the work you do to relieve the oppression of the Palestinians, but until you deal with this problem, I fear for the overall outcome. You seem to want to control the discussion, and open and honest discussion among ALL concerned parties, including the US population of EVERY stripe, is the only way forward in hope for a just resolution of the I/P conflict. The misguided belief that you can ignore and forbid discussion of Jewish people, Jewish religion, and Jewishness while trying to solve the problem of Israel/Palestine is ridiculous, wearing very thin, and perhaps it should be discarded.

    Frankie P

    • W.Jones on August 13, 2015, 8:25 pm

      Phil can not be implicated in the scandal, Frankie. You can’t presume his unwritten thoughts anymore than Weir’s opponents can hers.

      • Frankie P on August 13, 2015, 10:46 pm

        @W.Jones,

        My mention of Phil’s anti-gentilism is not framed by or limited to the context of the Alison Weir scandal.

        Frankie P

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 11:41 am

        “My mention of Phil’s anti-gentilism is not framed by or limited to the context of the Alison Weir scandal.”

        No, of course not! Geez, first Phil is an anti-semite, now he’s anti-Gentile. He don’t like nobody.

      • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 2:08 pm

        @ Mooser
        U should know.

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 2:42 pm

        “My mention of Phil’s anti-gentilism is not framed by or limited to the context of the Alison Weir scandal.”

        Well, at least your “mention of Phil’s anti-gentilism is not framed by or limited to the context of” any quotes or references to Phil’s writings, all conveniently archived right here. And given your generous offer to forgive him, it’s hardly even necessary, is it? Why rake up old scores, when one is ready to forgive.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 5:40 pm

        lol mooser!

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 3:19 pm

        “U should know.”

        Citizen, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you, uh… wait, lemme check my archive…Okay, as I told you once, the balebatim are a closed book to me, I can’t grok ’em, no-ways.

      • Citizen on August 15, 2015, 11:29 pm

        @ Mooser

        LOL

    • lyn117 on August 14, 2015, 10:56 am

      I don’t think Phil & co are anti-gentile whatsoever. JVP maybe a little.

  59. pianoteacher on August 13, 2015, 9:02 pm

    Big thank you to Mondoweiss for continuing the controversy over Alison Weir just when we thought it might die down. Her book has now jumped from number 77 to number 26 on the amazon books best sellers list for Israel Palestine history!
    If we want to speed the day when Palestinians receive justice, there is no better way than to promote this book, Against Our Better Judgment. As soon as Americans are made aware of the real facts about the conflict, and our government’s role in it, there will be a massive change in public opinion, and people will demand their congresspeople that we end aid to Israel Now. Without the financial support from the USA, the Israeli terrorism committed against the Palestinian people ends.
    So keep this controversy going, so more and more people read this book, and then buy four more copies each to give to your friends as gifts.
    It doesn’t matter two hoots what you think of Alison, but her book MUST get out to reach ALL Americans, not just the progressive ones.
    Please keep this debate going, keep people interested in finding out what it’s all really about by reading the book, Against Our Better Judgment.
    Education of Americans is key.
    Thank you

    • RoHa on August 14, 2015, 6:11 am

      “her book MUST get out to reach ALL Americans, not just the progressive ones.”

      Yes. This forum often refers to the “progressive except on Palestine” group. Weir’s book might help to create a “progressive only on Palestine” group. That would certainly broaden the political base.

  60. Pixel on August 13, 2015, 9:50 pm

    Jennifer,

    You’re very courageous for putting yourself out here like this. I deeply admire and respect you for that.

    I’ve read your comments, and everyone else’s, several times. I find this discussion fascinating on many levels.

    I love Mondoweiss because there are a lot of really smart, thoughtful, knowledgeable, experienced, articulate, hilarious, wise, caring, growing, and dare I say, loving!, people here.

    I’m always challenged and I always learn — mostly about myself.

    I try to make positive contributions when I can, fully aware that my chances for success are, in part, directly correlated to the effectiveness of my psych meds, at any given point in time while I’m logged in here! Regardless of the outcome, my heart’s always in the right place. So is yours, and so is Alison’s, I think.

    “Well, Pixel, that doesn’t count for much, if anything.” Au contraire.

    As I read people’s responses to you, I can’t help but hope that in a quiet moment, if you ever have some time free, you’ll come back in here and reread what everyone’s written to you. Not to figure out how to further respond but, rather, to tease out any lessons/wisdom they may contain.

    In the words of Anaïs Nin…

    “We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.”

    • Danaa on August 13, 2015, 11:17 pm

      Wise words, Pixel. Good quote from Nin too.

      There is indeed a mixture of very good comments here from all directions. I too try to read through the comments of people I fiercely disagree with or strongly feel they are in the wrong on this or any other issue. People like jhitchcock and Donald, to cite a few. It helps crystallize my thoughts on why some can be so very wrong and/or deeply so mired in conscious misunderstanding of what the issues really are. I am especially interested in the phenomenon of tone deafness, something unique to the human species (as far as I know, no other sentient beings having revealed themselves so far). Something all too common to the I/P debates, but something that is also clearly manifested on other issues, such as the strange phenomenon of “humanitarian” intervention, that almost always turns out to be an exercise in murderous destruction (cf. Syria, Libya, Iraq). Still, it’s important to see where the censorious part of JVP is coming from, a place so deeply stuck in a murky distant past that it actually blocks the very path forward they profess to support.

      Like you, I hope Phil, in particular, will find the time and spiritual stamina to wade through the comments here, if not now, then sometime in the future. I say that knowing that he does care about the Palestinians’ cause, and I believe Adam does too, as this entire web site proves. But it is at the same time important to come to terms with the most formidable obstacles on the way from here to there. And the biggest obstacle to redemption of the jewish people – in the US, the world or in Israel – is the jewish people. A redemption that can only come from freeing the Palestinians to determine their own future and from coming to terms with the abominable crimes of the past.

      The circling of the wagons, the calling upon protocols, the need by some to shun others, the ascribing and projecting of ill-intentions based on one’s own fears, backed by the flimsiest of proofs, only serve to show that redemption, such as is ultimately needed, is still well beyond the horizon. But I also think that threads like this, the variety of places and thoughts people put forward, can at least help in divining the contours of that horizon. A necessary, if not sufficient condition to going eventually beyond.

      • Keith on August 14, 2015, 11:16 am

        DANAA- “And the biggest obstacle to redemption of the jewish people – in the US, the world or in Israel – is the jewish people.”

        May I be so bold as to suggest an alternative interpretation? The biggest obstacle to the breakdown of Jewish tribalism is the relative success of Jewish tribalism. Zionism, the Holocaust, Israel and the belief in eternal and irrational anti-Semitism are the core beliefs of the modern Jewish tribe which has re-energized the Jewish tribalism of Classical Judaism in a modern, secular form. This is a key contributing factor in Jewish success and power accumulation and will not be abandoned lightly if at all. The very concept of “the Jewish people” as distinct from the Judaic religion is a manifestation of this manufactured tribalism. Interestingly, if Herzl was the father of Zionism then Hitler was the midwife to the birth of Israel. Without the Nazis and the Holocaust, I doubt that there would be a Jewish state and Zionism, never popular before the Holocaust, would likely be but a fading ideology and secular Jews would be merely secular.

      • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 2:25 pm

        @ Keith

        Yes, without the Shoah, and Western guilt they didn’t enough to stop it (although they did have other things to worry about, like a world war), there would be no state of Israel today. The other factor was Truman desperately needed Zionist campaign donation money and a favorable NY Jewish press & voters. Hagee said Hitler was God’s hunter, to bring about Jewish salvation via Israel. Whatever. I think most Westerners have long given Israel the benefit of the doubt due to guilt or inherited guilt about the Shoah. Israel needs to realize people are coming to the conclusion to wrongs don’t make a right. Not Hagee of course, but rational, informed people.

      • Danaa on August 15, 2015, 4:46 pm

        Keith – bold you may be, but there is much truth in what you say. The reinvention of secular jewish tribalism has indeed worked miracles to propel jews into the modern new madarins class of the west. And like you say, since when has any mandarin class given up its privileges peacefully? so why would the the jewish mandarins give up the pillars on which their success rests?

        But, that being said, and the cynic in me is certainly not spoiling for an unwinnable fight, there is something to be said for redemption too. I plead guilty to reading marc Ellis’ takes with some attention. He is, IMO, right on the money when he calls out the Empire Jews, for being part and parcel of the power game that is the empire, sometimes dictating it, sometimes along for the ride, but always tied at the hip to it, The Empire.

        Like all Empires however, this American one too, will decline, a process that is already under way. And just like happened with good old Rome, the mandarin class will not be able to reinvent itself, any more than mandarins ever could. IT is then that redemption will be sought. The only question is – do the Palestinians have that much time?

        Hence the sense of urgency, and hence the importance of Allison Weir’s work. Her research and books hasten the day that the fissures in the fabric of Empire become all to visible. No matter how hard the mandarins toil in desperately trying to stitch it all up, the threads are fraying further every day.

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to be an annoying prophet but you are such a bringer of despair!

    • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 12:07 am

      Thanks, Pixel, I will. I don’t know if I can keep up anymore anyway. It has been fun, though. We’ll see where it goes from here. Maybe I’ll pop back in again from time to time. I have already started repeating myself, though, so maybe I should call it quits :)

      Maybe my last comment (we’ll see):

      PilgrimSoul (and everyone else out there; thanks to everyone whether we agreed or disagreed):

      I agree that activists need to be willing to listen to others in the movement who express concerns that their rhetoric or actions do not fit with the principles of the movement.

      Activists, including Weir, should try to take care to avoid sounding antisemitic (and being antisemitic too, certainly) primarily because the Palestinian leaders of the BDS Movement have made it clear they aren’t down with it on multiple occasions, including the Atzmon letter: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/palestinian-and-palestine-solidarity-activists-issue-critique-and-condemnation-of-gilad-atzmon

      And other statements by the BNC like this one: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2010/bnc-responds-to-french-prime-minister-bds-promotes-justice-and-universal-rights-645

      So, not only is it rhetorically smarter to avoid antisemitic rhetoric so as not to give evidence to BDS critics and damage the movement’s credibility, but also, as I have said before, PALESTINIAN LEADERS have said this multiple times already. White allies should be willing to defer to Palestinian requests and repeated statements that antisemitism is not part of the movement. They have many good reasons for taking this morally, ethically, and rhetorically sound stance to be against racism and antisemitism.

      I wish this could have all been avoided by Weir initially responding differently to the years of comments she heard about her statements sounding antisemitic–from other Palestinian solidarity activists. It’s one thing to blow off such criticism coming from the ADL, but she admits to hearing this for years from other activists too. And her reaction was apparently defiance all along. That’s really too bad. Because I don’t think anyone wants to deal with this, especially for such a long-time activist and crusader for the Palestinian narrative as Weir has been. I don’t think JVP or ETO was eager to do this. I think they waited a long time.

      But you don’t have to demonize Jews and use language reminiscent of the Protocols to be a crusader for Palestinian rights. And for anyone not sure how to avoid antisemitic rhetoric, it shouldn’t be that hard to figure it out. Maybe I’ll write something about that next if enough people are really that confused? See some common anti-Jewish stereotypes here: http://brandeiscenter.com/images/uploads/practices/factsheet_antisemtism.pdf

      For Weir and others, and for the future, maybe we should use Landau’s suggestions for compassionately approaching people displaying problematic behaviors and hope that everyone will be open and willing to hear suggestions for improvement. (I have gotten some useful suggestions here for myself, for example). Let’s not attack and counterattack but rather try our best to abide by the goals and principles stated by the BDS Call and Palestinian BDS leaders.

      Maybe JVP and ETO staff could have approached Weir more compassionately and effectively? I don’t claim to know how those original contacts went down. But Weir clearly hasn’t responded well to criticism.

      I know I have criticized Weir here in many ways and have argued that some of her work sounds antisemitic. I stand by that. But I’m not saying she is a terrible person, even if she is antisemitic. I even have a couple of antisemites and racists in my own family. They frustrate the hell out of me sometimes, and I call them out when they voice bigotry, but I still love them. (I probably wouldn’t bring them along to a JVP meeting or BlackLivesMatter protest, though).

      So, I say to Weir and any others out there who have been told by other activists that you sometimes sound antisemitic or bigoted in some way or that you are saying or doing something that is not in line with the universal principles of the BDS movement: Please try to listen and honestly see if they might have a point instead of reacting defensively and blowing them off or attacking the messengers. It’s natural to get defensive, of course, but for the sake of the cause of Palestinian rights and ending Palestinian oppression, please let’s all be on the same page.

      I know the Palestinian BDS leaders (like Barghouti and Abunimah) haven’t spoken out publicly about this yet (unless I am wrong), and maybe they would disagree with JVP and ETO’s decisions because they don’t see Weir’s statements or actions as being enough of a problem to warrant such actions. But based on their previous statements, I think they would probably side with JVP for both moral consistency reasons and for strategic reasons. It may sound cold. But who is honestly more important to the future long-term success of the BDS movement and the cause of Palestinian rights at this point? JVP or Weir? Sorry to put it so bluntly. We won’t forget all of your hard work over the years, Ms. Weir. And we’ll still use your great maps and studies on media bias.

      But be honest, at least at this point in time, how many mainstream US churches or other organizations would have passed divestment resolutions without JVP activists holding their hands and assuring them that it was okay and not antisemitic to divest?

      If you haven’t already read the Barghouti interview in MW from last month, it is worth a look, partly just to observe his rhetoric–about the lobby and antisemitism, etc. Read his words and then go and read pages 1-2 of Weir’s book. Notice a difference?

      Read all of Barghouti’s work if you haven’t already. Read his book, his articles, etc. Use his rhetoric as a guide. Not Weir’s. (Though I encourage you to peruse her work for yourself to see if you think the criticisms have been completely unfounded). I have never seen anything antisemitic in any of Barghouti’s statements. But he doesn’t avoid talking about the lobby or criticizing Zionism. There’s a way to do it right.

      Thanks again, everyone, especially Adam, Phil, and hardworking Annie. But thanks also to all of the others who took time to contribute their thoughts.

      We can get through this and be a stronger, more focused and effective movement on the other side.

      • Paul Larudee on August 14, 2015, 2:07 am

        Especially if we stop being so narrow-minded about who belongs in the movement, more tolerant with viewpoints other than our own, more honest about our principles, more sincere in avoiding double standards, less defensive about our image, more open to other means of achieving our goals, more tolerant of different goals, more respectful of all the views as well as the consensus of those who have suffered the most, including but not limited to the Palestinian diaspora, and less insistent upon imposing our agenda on the entire community.

        Yes, we can be stronger, more focused and more effective, if we apologize to Alison Weir and invite her back as an ally and an important voice. Otherwise, we have unnecessarily split and weakened the movement.

      • Peter in SF on August 14, 2015, 3:26 am

        See some common anti-Jewish stereotypes here: http://brandeiscenter.com/images/uploads/practices/factsheet_antisemtism.pdf

        That Fact Sheet on the Elements of Anti-Semitic Discourse says prominently on top that it is written by Kenneth L. Marcus, President & General Counsel,
        The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
        , yet you make no disclaimer about its author, who is a fairly prominent anti-Palestinian activist:
        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/reforming-education-programs
        Why do you advise us to be wary of Alison Weir’s writings because of concerns about her racism, but then recommend that we read something by Kenneth Marcus, without asking us to exercise similar caution?

        I did learn a few things from Marcus’s fact sheet, such as how it’s an anti-Semitic “aspersion” when “Israel is compared to the South Africa’s [sic] apartheid state.”

      • ritzl on August 14, 2015, 7:36 am

        @jhitchcock-

        But who is honestly more important to the future long-term success of the BDS movement and the cause of Palestinian rights at this point? JVP or Weir?

        If that’s your Hobson’s choice, Weir, without question. Demonstrated inclusiveness and expansion wins over demonstrated exclusiveness and contraction every time.

        And Weir has the larger audience pool.

      • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 2:41 pm

        I don’t think pointing out that main media occasionally has a one minute blurb on the annual AIPAC meeting, or the annual freshman congress “free”trip to Israel means Weir’s intro to her book smacks of The Protocols. Nor does the fact that Walt & Mearsheimer book finally came out in the US, after how many years of zippo on the subject of the Israel Lobby by credentialed scholars, and don’t forget how the anti-Semite smears were voracious. Easy to attack Weir now, for a few minor ambiguities. And really cheap. Grow up, you who do. I don’t see the main media telling us who created and has funded all those patriotic sounding abstract named organizations which are now bombarding us with Fear ads re the Iran Deal, do you? Maybe MJ Rosenberg should tell us what he thinks about whether or not the conduct of AIPAC is transparent, sans even a whisper of conspiracy? And ditto for our mainstream media on the same issue.

  61. Atlantaiconoclast on August 13, 2015, 11:06 pm

    I have been involved with left , libertarian, and right political causes at different points in my life, and I must say, with the exception of the neocon branch of conservatism, the “progressive” community is far LESS tolerant than other groups.

    And Hitchcock speaks like a true academic brainwashed by social science into thinking that conspiracies do not happen. If a group of Jews conspire, it doesn’t mean all or most Jews were in on it. Wouldn’t accurate historical reviews of such claims be to the benefit of Jews by clarifying the relative extent of their veracity? Or is there something to hide?

    If Christianity can be challenged on its absurd and supremacist tenets, why can’t Judaism? The Talmud has some very anti Gentile statements. We have the right to call out Jews who DO conspire and who ARE supremacists, just as we do non Jews who conspire and who are supremacists. And please don’t pretend I am claiming that all conspiracy theories are correct.

    And as for Weir exploring the possible historicity of some group of Jews killing children in the past, or currently being involved in organ harvesting, how is that automatically verboten? Another example would be the possible involvement of many Jews in the slave trade. I have seen conflicting evidence and claims, but rarely is an open debate on this question allowed. Jews do not have to be free of scoundrels and evil people to deserve to be treated as individuals first. History should not be politically correct. And even if there were Jews who did despicable things, it doesn’t mean Judaism is any more tarnished than Christianity or any other faith.

    Progressives really seem to operate in Ivory Towers and show little self awareness about their own intolerance.

    • echinococcus on August 14, 2015, 12:26 am

      Atlantaiconoclast
      Granted, words seem to be used independently from any general consensus around their meanings, but calling tribal thinking “progressive” looks like one step too far. At best it would be regressive.

    • MHughes976 on August 14, 2015, 11:24 am

      I think that helpful perspective on blood libel may be gained from M.R. James’ magnificent, disturbing and distressing ghost story ‘Lost Hearts’, though that story has no Jewish dimension. The bad character is someone whose scholarly researches into the ancient world have drawn him into necromancy and have destroyed his moral balance in the process. The story is disturbing because it reminds us of the darker side of the early Western world which we have come to think of as the place where rational science and morality began to flourish.
      The children who are murdered are of course selected so as not to involve the magician with suspicious or vengeful families. One is a gypsy, wandering alone: though the story is short, it generates intense pathos around this character. The magician has forgotten that ghosts who have lost their hearts can grow claws and so he suffers their vengeance.
      It would not be surprising if medieval Jewish people had some involvement in necromancy, not because they were unlike non-Jews but because they inhabited much the same thought-world. If they needed victims they would look outside their own enclosed community. Quite likely non-Jewish necromancers would have looked with an evil eye on Jewish children, who would have been beyond all help once abducted from the ghetto.
      I presume that Toaff discovered some signs of the same people’s having both an interest in necromancy and a desire for revenge after the murder of their families by crusaders. This might have been just another piece of historical research had Mr.Foxman not detected an insult. But of course both vengefulness and occultism are part of the human condition.

    • Pixel on August 14, 2015, 4:28 pm

      @ Atlantaiconoclast

      Thank-you. Very insightful.

  62. Atlantaiconoclast on August 13, 2015, 11:24 pm

    And does it not cross the minds of people like Hitchcock that one of the main reasons Americans continue to support Israel is that most of us have been taught to think that any negative accusation against a Jew is automatically “anti Semitic”? See how that stifles critical thinking toward Israel? I can’t believe more people don’t see the implications of making criticism of certain Jews or aspects of Judaism off limits. Christians and Christianity are not off limits, nor should they be. The important thing is to be fair, consistently, and without prejudice. Let the facts be known. The suppression of truth only leads to resentment and true prejudice.

    • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 2:24 pm

      Atlantaiconoclast: Good point. And which activists are more helpful at persuading most Americans that it is okay to support Palestinian rights and BDS without being antisemitic? Weir and her talk about organ harvesting and deceptive Jewish/Zionist secret societies, or maybe JVP activists?

      And yes, the frequent and unfounded accusations of “new antisemitism” against Palestinian allies, and the attempts by Israel and mainstream Jewish organizations to equate all Jews and Zionism only serve to exacerbate real antisemitism and dilute the concept itself.

      But does that mean that real antisemitism doesn’t exist and that we shouldn’t ever care about it or seek to avoid it?

      As I have argued before in my piece and in other comments, it is precisely because the charge of antisemitism is so frequently leveled against Palestinian solidarity and BDS activists that we need to be careful to avoid reinforcing the effectiveness of the charge by giving critics concrete evidence of real antisemitism associated with the movement. And also why we need to understand how the history and consequences of real antisemitic discourse undergirds the motivation and support for Zionism and so effectively stifles debate.

      • echinococcus on August 14, 2015, 2:43 pm

        more helpful at persuading most Americans that it is okay to support Palestinian rights and BDS without being antisemitic? Weir and her talk about organ harvesting and deceptive Jewish/Zionist secret societies, or maybe JVP activists?

        Weir, hands down.
        She talks to the entire people, not your controlled, limited crowd of “liberals”.
        Your throwing in her paper on the organ transplants is particularly sneaky. An official pathologist of the Zionist military did in fact use and trade organs of murdered people for unauthorized transplants, period. Whatabout all you want. It was, anyway, not even close to the central point made.
        Your use of “antisemitism” here as if it were an established fact is particularly despicable.
        People who are not part of your club are still waiting for clear evidence of it, defined as civilized people define racism: group discrimination against Jewish persons based on their sole accident of birth, ie being born to nominally Jewish parents. Anything else may be whatever you want, not “antisemitism”. After all those reams of words, still nothing.

      • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 2:52 pm

        Nobody will kill the adage: “If it walks like a duck…”
        Just saying
        Works both ways in this debate, eh?

      • tree on August 14, 2015, 7:48 pm

        Jennifer,

        First off, thank you for showing up here and responding to comments.

        And which activists are more helpful at persuading most Americans that it is okay to support Palestinian rights and BDS without being antisemitic? Weir and her talk about organ harvesting and deceptive Jewish/Zionist secret societies, or maybe JVP activists?

        At this point I’d have to say Weir would be more helpful since the JVP campaign against her has simply increased the likelihood that people will deduce that if you criticize Israel then even a so-called progressive organization will call your actions anti-semitic. I don’t see the JVP action as having any good outcome, other than for opponents of equality for Palestinians. “See, even the JVP agrees that prominent pro-Palestinian advocates are anti-semitic” would be the argument that has been handed to pro-Israel groups. Most people don’t want to have to deal with the hatred that could come their way for being called anti-semitic for standing up for people an ocean and a sea away.

        As for the Weir’s organ harvesting article, my take from your argument is that you are either ignorant of the circumstances of the article or are purposely obscuring the circumstances in an attempt to strengthen a weak argument.

        Weir’s article documenting the Israeli history of organ harvesting did not just come out of the blue. It was a direct response on her part to the controversy over David Bostrom’s article in a Swedish newspaper which alleged that the IDF may have illegally and immorally harvested organs from Palestinians they killed without first seeking permission from their families, and further may have in fact killed some of them specifically to harvest their organs. This allegation was immediately called a “blood libel” by the usual suspects in Israel and elsewhere, and Bostrom was accused of making false accusations out of anti-semitic motives. Her article was no doubt written to give support and defend Bostrom by pointing out that Israel had a well documented ( documented mostly by Israeli sources themselves) serious problem with organ harvesting, and that Yehuda Hiss, the Israeli chief pathologist, had been found to have harvested organs from dead Jews and Palestinians, again according to Israeli sources, including admissions from the Israeli government itself.

        To complain that her article dwelt mainly on Israeli organ harvesting and therefore was anti-semitic in tone is to totally ignore the context in which she wrote her article, which was to lend support to the idea that accusing Israel of organ harvesting was a legitimate criticism and not simply a false “blood libel” meant to tar every Jew. For her to have discussed organ harvesting in Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia or anywhere else would have had no relevance to the question of whether Israeli officials could have condoned, exploited or participated in organ harvesting from Palestinians.

        It is only by ignoring this context that one can make any case for Weir’s article, while being completely accurate and truthful, was anti-semitic in tone. I would have hoped that, being a discourse studies student, you would recognize that mentioning other countries besides Israel with a serious organ harvesting problem in a paper intended to address whether a charge of organ harvesting in the West Bank could be true or not would be completely off topic, and an example of poor and ineffectual rhetoric. But yet you attribute the lack of these irrelevant examples to anti-semitism rather than to the needs of effective communication on the issue at hand.

        As to her reference to Alfred Toaff’s book, its clear to me that she brought it up to compare the storm of “blood libel” accusations against Bostrom to the similar storm around Toaff’s research, where he claimed that,

        “My research shows that in the Middle Ages, a group of fundamentalist Jews did not respect the biblical prohibition and used blood for healing. It is just one group of Jews, who belonged to the communities that suffered the severest persecution during the Crusades. From this trauma came a passion for revenge that in some cases led to responses, among them ritual murder of Christian children.” (25)

        Toaff did not say that all Jews did this. In fact he specifically limited it to one group, and gave a rational possible explanation of why it happened. However he was still severely ostracized and threatened, not for actually fomenting a “blood libel” but for researching a single incident and finding it true. One instance is NOT the same as saying all Jews did it, and yet that was the response to his research.

        This leads me to your example of Weir’s first two chapter’s as being “anti-semitic” in tone because they , truthfully, talk about secrecy and elite memberships among early American Zionists . This is in line with your similar argument in the organ harvesting article you object to.You seem to think that calling out the truth regarding a particular Zionist Jew or group of Jews is anti-semitic, meaning that it is falsely defaming all Jews. Respectfully, I think it is your criticism that is either anti-semitic, or anti-gentile, or perhaps both.

        I’ll explain. Legitimately criticizing one Jew or one group of Jews for their actions is not the same as criticizing all Jews for the actions of one person or one group. If you think it is then you either think that all Jews are the same, an anti-semitic thought, or you think that all non-Jews believe that all Jews are the same and therefore admitting that a single Jew or a subgroup of Jews may have done something bad would prompt all non-Jews to unfairly condemn all Jews. This would be an anti-gentile thought. Or you may believe in a combination of both, in that you think it is OK, and even necessary, for all Jews to attempt to cover up for the misdeeds of a few in an effort to prevent non-Jews from learning the truth and falsely blaming all Jews.

        It seems to me to be a prevalent problem among some Jews and some non-Jews as well. Its as if its an either/or question when its clearly not. The fact that there are some Jews who fit some of the negative stereotypes of Jews, or tropes if you will, does not mean that negative stereotypes are true of all Jews, nor is a person saying anything anti-semitic if they are accurately describing one particular Jewish person on the basis of that person’s individual actions and words. In other words, if I think that OJ SImpson killed his ex-wife because of the evidence against him, then I am not being racist despite the fact that there exists a negative stereotype that all black men are violent. If I were to believe in his guilt in part or in whole because I believe that black men are inherently violent, then, yes, I am indulging in racist thoughts. But unfortunately you and too many others seem to think the the answer is to ignore any criticism of an individual or groups actions if those actions mimic the negative stereotypes of their ethnic, religious, cultural or class group. This sounds like the height of political correctness, and invokes just another insidious stereotype, that NO Jew can be secretive, NO black man can be violent, NO woman can be bitchy, NO blond can be dumb, No Scotsman can be stingy, No white can be racist, NO man can be sexist. And its corollary would then be that any one who didn’t believe in these new reverse stereotypes was a racist, sexist, or whatever themselves. Behold the emperor’s stunning new clothes or be labeled a bigot for believing that people should be judged as individuals.

        Maybe this policy of group silencing made sense centuries past when Jews and Non-Jews in the Western world were much more segregated and rumors were much more in abundance than real knowledge, but today, especially with the amount of interaction between Jews and non-Jews in the US, such silencing is counterproductive, because the word gets out anyway, and the attempts at silencing simply look like bigotry and a sense of Jewish entitlement to non-Jews, and foster resentment. I can bet you that whatever headway Weir might have made with rightwing groups as far as combating anti-semitism has been seriously undermined by JVP’s actions toward her, particularly the point that she re-iterated often, that Zionists and Jews are not the same thing, and that Jews as a group are not responsible for what Zionists, even Zionist Jews, do.

        Which brings me to the radio interviews. I actually listened to the one ETO posted. Have you listened to it? I found that I seriously disagreed with ETO’s characterization of it. I suggest everyone listen to it. I came away admiring Weir’s ability to be non-confrontational and yet remain gently corrective. And she was corrective, despite what people have been led to believe. I think its a great way to make headway with those who are predisposed not to agree with you. I can’t do it myself; I tend to get too confrontational and combative but I admire someone who can remain calm and listen but still make anti-racist correctives in a way that is not just insulting, and thus counterproductive.

        As to the idea that there are some platforms one may not appear on because of their racist nature, that seems to merely a cudgel to bash Weir with. Should no Palestinian solidarity activist appear in the NY TImes or on Fox TV because of their obvious racism. Was Yousef Munnayer “hobnobbing” with racists when he appeared on Fox? Weir also accepted interviews on a right-wing Israeli radio show. Was she hobnobbing with racists then, and if so why wasn’t that interview mentioned? Zionist racists are OK to “hobnob” with?And speaking of “hobnobbing”, why did JVP seek to join in campus Hillel chapters if they supposedly had a “zero-tolerance” for racism policy? Why associate with Jewish racist groups like Hillel if you really have such a policy, unless you are making an exception for Jewish racist groups. Since the elemental problem for the Palestinians is Jewish racism in Israel, and its support here in the US, one would think that Jewish racism would be the very thing you should be boycotting rather than trying to excuse from the definition “zero tolerance”of racism, which is the rubric under which JVP and ETO excused their banning of Weir. I’m not saying I’m against JVP attempting to open up Hillel. In fact I agree with that policy of theirs. I am, however pointing out that JVP has a big hypocrisy problem on this issue. Jewish prejudice is excused or diminished or considered moveable while non-Jewish racism or bigotry is considered die-hard and irredeemable. I don’t believe in putting anyone in herem, either JVP or ETO or Weir. But I do wish that whomever is responsible for JVP putting Weir in herem would seriously look into their own actions and question whether or not the racism they think they see is actually a product of their own thought. I think it is.

        Disclosures: I met Allison Weir over 10 years ago, just once. I was favorable impressed with her dedication and her way of speaking about the issue. I have not seen her since, and although I did use IFK in the early days of my search for more information on the subject but have not used it recently. I bought her book because of your suggestion, have read parts of it but not all yet, and don’t agree with your take on it.

        I have contributed to JVP and ETO in the past, but not recently. I am not a member of JVP, partly for the reasons that Danaa has articulated above, partly because I’m not Jewish, despite my family affiliation, and it seems odd to me to join a group that claims to speak for someone other than me, and because I rebel a bit against appealing to “Jewish values”, as JVP does, (or “Christian values” or “Islamic values”, etc. for that matter) as if they are somehow exceptional or different or always moral and good, when clearly in each and every case there are “X” values that are good and moral and there are other “X” values that are reprehensible. No group has a monopoly on good or bad. But I wish JVP well and respect many of its members that I have come to know here. I just wish that whomever was in charge of this purge in the name of JVP had seriously questioned their own tolerance before attempting to black-ball someone else who has shown much more tolerance toward all.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 9:18 pm

        fantastic comment tree, thank you.

      • Danaa on August 16, 2015, 2:19 pm

        tree, a tour de force keeper. Love your summaries (or are they “briefs”?)

    • Pixel on August 14, 2015, 4:30 pm

      @ Atlantaiconoclast

      I like this post of yours, too.

      • Citizen on August 15, 2015, 11:58 pm

        Thanks for your very thoughtful and well-written comment, tree

  63. Parity on August 14, 2015, 12:19 am

    As a former history teacher, I found Alison’s book fascinating, informative and well-researched. Did I end up hating Jews as a result of reading it? No. That’s partly because I know so many Jews whom I admire and love, and I don’t assign collective blame. Do I think we can learn from the book? Yes.

    Think about it. The Zionists had a formidable task. Most Americans, including most American Jews, had no interest in establishing a Jewish state. Many Jewish leaders were dead set against the idea, having experienced the advantages of the separation of church and state, being concerned about possible accusations of dual loyalty should a Jewish state come into being, and expressing concerns about Palestinian rights as well as the violence that was taking place. Nevertheless, the Zionists persevered. The results are evident today.

    One of their techniques was to figure out how best to win support from various segments of the U.S. population. Different groups were approached in different ways. Why don’t we in the movement for Palestinian rights do likewise and support each other in what we do best? JVP’s approach may be the best for winning over Jews and guilt-ridden Christians. The U.S. Campaign’s plans to join Palestinian solidarity work with solidarity for other oppressed groups can help benefit all oppressed groups. Friends of Sabeel could work with churches. If American Knew could do what it does so well–inform people about media bias and Zionist pressure, in addition to highlighting the plight of the Palestinians.

    In fact, Alison already uses different hooks for different populations. For veterans, the USS Liberty is a good entry point. For members of the Tea Party, it may be the amount of money we give to Israel. For Libertarians, it can be issues of control. If people go to Alison’s website and then learn more about the Palestinians, she will have accomplished something. Pro-Palestinian groups don’t all have to work together, but from their various vantage points they can help to break up the Israel lobby’s grip on America. It is our money and diplomatic support that keeps the Palestinians under occupation.

    Jennifer seems to think that certain topics are definitely anti-Semitic. Words like “control” and “conspiracy” in reference to Zionism are buttons you are not supposed to push. But is it a sin to explore these topics? What if there really was a conspiracy? What if Zionists really do control the media? If these “tropes” turn out to be true, is it legitimate to call them anti-Semitic?

    Everybody should read Alison’s book, “Against Our Better Judgment.” It is unfair to criticize it without having read it.

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 3:00 pm

      @ Parity
      I agree. It’s ridiculous to attack Weir for such minor allegations in the context of her long work in behalf exposing everyday Americans to how, why, who, US foreign policy has been essentially hijacked for so long and the negative impact of that on all people impacted. Smedley Butler tried to tell us something, and so does Weir. So did both Washington and Ike and their respective farewell addresses to the US population. Even MJ Rosenberg is trying to tell us something.

  64. notatall on August 14, 2015, 2:05 am

    When the struggle broke out in Ferguson a year ago, Palestinians tweeted their support to the people fighting the police in the streets, along with suggestions on how to deal with tear gas, with which they had experience. However brief, that was a moment of world-historic significance, offering a greater hope of cracking open U.S. support for Zionism and aiding the liberation of Palestine than either appeals to liberals (including liberal Zionists), who are JVP’s constituency, or to rightwing “patriots” (including white-supremacists and antisemites), the audience Alison Weir is aiming to reach. One cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

    • Atlantaiconoclast on August 14, 2015, 11:50 am

      You make an assumption that many here do. That the killing of Michael Brown was completely unjustified. Based on the facts of the case, I don’t think the cop overreacted.

      Now I don’t doubt that cops overreact in many cases throughout the US, but they overreact to both Black AND non Black SUSPECTS. The stats bear this out. The whole Black Lives Matter phenomenon has been a huge turn off to most Whites for it makes police brutality look like a problem only for Blacks. And might I remind you that these Whites you seem not interested in reaching, are still the majority of the nation? If you really want to change US policy toward the Middle East, you need to get Whites, along with Blacks on your side. Alison Weir was doing the right thing speaking to that demographic. She didn’t compromise the non racist position by engaging in a dialogue with the White “right.”

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 2:56 pm

        “Based on the facts of the case, I don’t think the cop overreacted.”

        Now, that’s downright libertarian of you. Everybody should be shot by police equally!

      • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 3:01 pm

        I agree.

      • notatall on August 15, 2015, 6:16 am

        I can see why Atlantaiconoclast has no problem with Alison Weir appearing on the radio show of an avowed white supremacist and antisemite—without challenging his views. I am curious: How many others who defend her agree with what he wrote here? I would just like to know who I am dealing with.

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 6:37 am

        the world is not divided down the middle like this:

        who are JVP’s constituency, or to rightwing “patriots”

        your words.

    • W.Jones on August 31, 2015, 5:02 am

      Notatall,

      Actually, you can “run with the hare and hunt with the hounds” if you are a dog who has become friends with a hare (and in the animal kingdom this has happened). And what is to be made of those alleged “pro-peace” forces who claim to be liberal about Palestinian rights but who have strangely supported the past massive attacks on Gaza? Wouldn’t that be a case of doing both?

      But that is beside the point. Weir says that her audience is the broad American one and that is why she goes on all outlets, and besides, don’t those radio appearances in question represent only a tiny fraction of all of her interviews and engagements?

      • notatall on August 31, 2015, 2:32 pm

        Once again, the objection is not to Alison Weir’s appearance on the neonazi Clay Douglas’s show, but to her failure to challenge his white supremacy while there. The equivalent would be to go on some rabid zionist’s show and join the host in denouncing holocaust denial without saying a word about Palestine. Why is it so hard for so many people, apparently including Alison Weir herself, to admit that in doing so she let down the people of Ferguson and elsewhere who are actual and potential allies of the Palestinians, and was therefore not merely ignoble but unwise? To admit a mistake would not mean confessing to being an antisemite, nor would it vindicate the gatekeepers of JVP and the ETO, although it might mean not being invited back on the show. Sometimes one must choose.

      • W.Jones on August 31, 2015, 7:37 pm

        Notatall,

        Reading the US Campaign’s Statement on Weir carefully, it seems like CEIO might have been objecting even just to Weir’s decision to appear on the show.

        Secondly, some of the activists’ letters that I cited in my message below point out that she did challenge Douglas several times while on his show:
        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/roundtable-palestinian-solidarity#comment-793470

        Third, since she challenged racism on his show several times, it’s not quite equivalent when you propose:

        The equivalent would be to go on some rabid zionist’s show and join the host in denouncing holocaust denial without saying a word about Palestine.

        Fourth, if an Israeli opponent of Holocaust denial who was a supporter of Palestinians went on a rabid Zionist’s show to oppose that denial while giving only partial challenges, would it really be that bad? After all, opposing Holocaust denial, or in Weir’s case supporting Palestinian rights, is a worthy cause, right? I am not saying that it would be wise, I am just asking if we need to say that the activist is actually supporting the program’s views just by going on the show. Isn’t that an unnecessary, extreme inference?

        Fifth, if a pro-peace Israeli did go on one of those shows a few times in their career to oppose Holocaust denial, while only giving partial support to Palestinians while on the show, do you believe that JVP would ban all collaboration with that activist?

        If not, then why ban Weir, a leading voice for people’s rights there?

        Sixth, you ask:

        Why is it so hard for so many people, apparently including Alison Weir herself, to admit that in doing so she let down the people of Ferguson and elsewhere who are actual and potential allies of the Palestinians, and was therefore not merely ignoble but unwise? To admit a mistake would not mean confessing to being an antisemite, nor would it vindicate the gatekeepers of JVP and the ETO

        Do you think that the answer might be that she would have a hard time admitting that she could have answered Douglas better, since she is currently on an intense defensive by those you call gatekeepers, and that her concern is, as you mentioned, that it would open her up to further accusations by her opponents? Based on exaggerations found in the Statements against her, perhaps her concern is that she would be portrayed wrongly as “confessing to being an antisemite”?

        Does it count as a sign of an apology when she says:
        “I don’t pretend to be perfect, and (like most of us, probably) I often think later of things I should have said and better responses I could have given… I don’t pretend that I am perfect and that all my responses will be flawless; all I can do is try my hardest. I apologize if there were cases where I should have done better.”

        Do you think that this suggests that had she been approached in a collegial, trusting, very friendly way, instead of being interrogated and banned, that she might have discussed more what you are looking for regarding her answers on the programs, Notatall?

        Seventh, how do you see JVP and ETO as gatekeepers?

        Peace.

      • notatall on September 1, 2015, 8:21 am

        W. Jones (replying to yours of 8/31, 7:44 pm), it sounds like you agree with me, if reluctantly. Surely you can understand that to criticize Weir does not mean to take the side of JVP and the CEIO, whom I call gatekeepers because they seek to restrict the movement to limits acceptable to them: two states, 1967 borders, narrow BDS, oppose the “occupation” etc., instead of working for a fully liberated Palestine one state, democratic and secular, from the River to the Sea, with the right of return for all exiles). At bottom the dispute turns over strategy: I believe Palestine can only be liberated by linking to struggles of the downtrodden throughout the world, including the struggle of black youth against the police. In my opinion neither the JVP/CEIO strategy of appealing to liberals (including soft Zionists) nor Alison Weir’s strategy of appealing to “patriots” committed to the “national interest” (including neonazis) will produce anything more than a Palestinian microstate under U.S./Israeli domination, leaving the refugees out. I know that few people here agree with me. I can live with that, and do not seek to ban anyone. But when I see someone doing something that weakens the possibility of building the links I think necessary, I regard it as my duty to speak out.

  65. homingpigeon on August 14, 2015, 5:23 am

    Has anyone else noticed that no hasbarists have joined the discussion? Methinks they are sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the fight.

    I appreciate Alison Weir and also go to JVP events when I can. The quarrel is absurd and this phenomenon is why I stay on the periphery of the issue, limiting myself to organizing for the Libertarians and the ending of state to state foreign aid. All Americans are compelled to support Israel through the blank welfare check. A nation with one tenth of one percent of the world’s population commands between one quarter between one quarter and three quarters of the sum, depending on how the numbers are crunched. Can we all agree that this is absurd? Can we at a minimum agree to “BDS” the politicians who insist on ingratiating themselves with AIPAC? … including Bernie…

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 3:02 pm

      Yes

    • notatall on August 15, 2015, 9:37 am

      Annie, quite an editing job. My actual words (Aug. 14 2:05 am) were:

      “liberals (including liberal Zionists), who are JVP’s constituency, or to rightwing “patriots” (including white-supremacists and antisemites), the audience Alison Weir is aiming to reach.”

      I agree, the world is not divided down the middle like that. There is a another camp, those who side with the oppressed and downtrodden everywhere, from Gaza to Ferguson.

      • notatall on August 15, 2015, 1:28 pm

        It just hit me, Annie, that the reason you performed such radical surgery on my words is that I came across as dividing the world into liberals (including liberal Zionists) and white-supremacists/antisemites. Not at all.

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 1:47 pm

        i will review what you wrote next time i am on the thread notatall (i am moderating from another locale). it could be i was sensitive after reading the general drift i’m picking up after reading emma rosenthal https://emmarosenthal.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/guilt-by-disassociation-the-landscape-of-amerikan-exceptionalism-in-the-guise-of-palestine-solidarity/ who even calls jimmy carter a white supremacist. it occurs to me perhaps i’m not educated enough to comprehend whatever argument she’s (and her ilk w/the same sort of opinion) making. it was not my intent to mangel what you never intend to say in the first place – merely respond to what i thought you said

        i think my nerves became rather frayed last night after reading the ‘old/white’ comment — after so much effort attempting to communicate. i also think i’m just exhausted with all the talk of anti semitism, there’s only so much of it i can listen to before i think my head will explode (having not been inoculated from birth with this concern – sorry for my flippancy — it’s just too much sometimes).

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 4:53 pm

        notatall, last night there was actually a lot i had to say and tried writing it but it went on too long.

        let’s start with this:

        rightwing “patriots” (including white-supremacists and antisemites), the audience Alison Weir is aiming to reach

        the structure of your sentence implies you are either not listening or assume weir is lying. i think her and her supporters have repeatedly said she speaks everywhere. your sentence implies her sole (or primary) aim is rightwing patriots. i’m not sure where this assumption comes from. plus, if what you’re saying is true it wouldn’t make any sense for her to give interviews to kpfa because as far as i know not a lot of rightwingers listen to that station.

        so it’s not really logical. i have to ask myself if this is a case of willful ignorance or a purposeful attempt to deceive. generally i am more comfortable taking people at their word. in fact i have mentioned earlier i take jvp and eto at their word when they say they are genuinely offended by her actions/decisions. regardless if i agree with them or her i come from a place of taking each on their word unless they give me reason to believe otherwise.

        so which is it? you think weir is a liar and her target is not everyone (including liberals) but rightwing “patriots”, white-supremacists and antisemites. so what reasoning would she have for her interactions with liberals?

        or, do you think everyone who signed her petition, including falk and hedy and everyone else are all rightwingers? you don’t think henry norr is a liberal?

        please explain yourself. it’s fine with me if you just say you didn’t hear weir and her supporters say she talks to any and everyone.

        then you say this: the world is not divided down the middle like that. There is a another camp, those who side with the oppressed and downtrodden everywhere, from Gaza to Ferguson.

        if it is not divided down the middles and there were 3 camps the camps are either exclusive or cross over and merge? how can they merge if:

        One cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

        hares and hounds are two groups.

        i have a problem with your messaging claiming “liberals” solely with jvp’s constituency and not with weir’s too. also there are a lot of neoliberals who are rightwingers.

      • tree on August 15, 2015, 7:05 pm

        annie,
        it occurs to me perhaps i’m not educated enough to comprehend whatever argument she’s (and her ilk w/the same sort of opinion) making .

        Don’t discount yourself. I think you know exactly how to comprehend her argument and know its rubbish. It is basically a supremacist argument itself, setting up the world between the morally superior and the rest of the lesser human beings who are not as morally and politically pure or intellectually savvy as she herself is. Rubbish, with a Marxist patina.

        Important disclosure: I knew Emma Rosenthal many years ago when I joined a local solidarity group that she had been a part of and she would attend occasionally. I only knew her for a short amount of time over 10 years ago. She was a very divisive element in the group, and thought it was everyone else’s fault that she was so divisive. This may color my assessment of her opinion piece somewhat but I think I would find it offensive and divisive even if I’d had no personal interaction with her.

        notatall,

        rightwing “patriots” (including white-supremacists and antisemites), the audience Alison Weir is aiming to reach.”

        This kind of stereotyping is one of the things that galls me about some on the so-called progressive left, despite the fact that I consider my own views as left-leaning. Weir is aiming to reach all American audiences, regardless of where they land on the political or ideological spectrum of right versus left, and regardless of color, faith or ethnicity. Right-wingers are no more her audience than anyone else. She talks to anyone who will listen, and mostly the right-wingers don’t want to listen to her, which is why it is such a small part of her interviews, and why JVP had to go back to an interview from 5 years ago to hang her for not sufficiently challenging racist comments in their view. Calling such a universal stance of hers an appeal to “right-wing” patriots” as you have done is a bigoted lie. I suggest you follow Rosenthal’s advice and disassociate from yourself, lest you be tainted by condoning your own prejudice. I’m being sarcastic of course, but I think you get my point.

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 7:56 pm

        JVP had to go back to an interview from 5 years ago to hang her

        i think it was 2009, that would be 6 years.

        maybe i will take another stab at rosenthal, maybe i am smart enough. my head started spinning in the middle of the second page. and some stuff stuck with me like ‘the guys on the USS liberty were spying on them so they deserved to die’. lol, ok, i know that wasn’t what she wrote (but kinda sorta), it’s just giving you an idea of the voices screaming in my head when i’m reading her. lol. then i think, omg, maybe i too am a white supremacist because i sorta love jimmy carter as my brain mushes into the ozone.

    • Kathleen on August 15, 2015, 10:13 am

      Bernie has drawn a distinctive distance from Aipac by supporting the Iran deal.

      The hasbarists may be enjoying this however the cat is out of the bag on this critical issue. Way out of the bag. Never to be put back in.

      Have monitored Washington Journal’s callers for around 25 years. So many phone calls coming through on this issue. Some edgy, some well informed about facts. Folks I have known for four decades now talking about it in ways that demonstrate they are reading about the issue. Many Jewish friends who generally always wrote off the situation by saying “both sides are wrong” Easy way to write it off…are choosing to become better informed.

      The cat is out of the bag.

      • notatall on August 15, 2015, 3:55 pm

        How gracious of you, Annie. I was trying to say that there is an alternative to JVP’s catering to liberal Zionists and Alison’s catering to white supremacists and anti-semites—notice I did not accuse her of w.s and a-s, I merely said she accommodates them more than I deem proper. Sorry if I was unclear. In 1830 Daniel O’Connell entered the British Parliament, the first Irish Catholic there. A representative of the West Indian slaveowners approached him and offered the support of their twenty-seven members on Irish issues in return for his silence on slavery. He replied, “Gentlemen, God knows I speak for the saddest people the sun sees; but may my right hand forget its cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if to save Ireland, even Ireland, I forget the Negro one single hour.” I regard his stance on that occasion as a model.

      • tree on August 15, 2015, 7:18 pm

        Notatall,

        I can understand and agree with your admiration for O’Connell, but I don’t see the situations as even remotely similar, or if they are, it is only in the sense that O’Connell actually agreed to converse with slave owners, even though he disagreed with them. I’d doubt you’d call that “catering” to slaveholders, but that would seem to be analogous to what you call Weir’s “catering to white supremacists”.

  66. ritzl on August 14, 2015, 7:42 am

    Thanks to MW for hosting this discussion.

    Mega-thanks to Annie (and others if applicable) for moderating it.

    • just on August 14, 2015, 11:20 am

      +1, ritzl. It’s also a discussion that’s long overdue.

      Alison Weir has led where few have chosen to go, imo. She’s amazing.

    • annie on August 14, 2015, 6:09 pm

      ritzl, thanks. just saw your comment. yeah it’s been full on. i just looked at the clock and realized it’s already 3 pm here and i have not even fed my fish or myself yet. yikes!

      just, i missed you. was asking about you. did you have a day off? ;)

      • just on August 16, 2015, 3:52 pm

        I wasn’t “off” in a fun sense, but yes ;)

        Thanks for asking, Annie. Catching up is proving a real challenge!

    • notatall on August 15, 2015, 5:24 pm

      Annie, of course I know that Alison is trying to reach everyone, not just rightwingers. The question is, to what extent is she willing to accommodate w-s and a-s? I have less problem with what she says about Palestine than I have with JVP. It is what she does not say that troubles me. I do not think everyone who signed her petition is a rightwinger. I know there are lots of people who are not themselves w-s or a-s but think it is OK to keep silent in the face of w-s and a-s in order to gain support. She may be one of them. I don’t agree. To side with the oppressed from Gaza to Ferguson is the only path to victory. No, I do not think w-s and their victims can merge, any more than slaveowners and slaves (although individuals can change their minds.) And neoliberalism and liberalism are very different.

  67. merlot on August 14, 2015, 9:16 am
    • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 5:37 pm

      merlot:

      Thanks for the link to Mike Merryman-Lotze’s piece supporting the JVP and ETO’s decision in the context of universal anti-racist activism and links avoiding white supremacist outlets to the anti-Normalization part of BDS. Great connection that I haven’t seen made so clearly before!

      This is much closer to the argument made by both JVP and ETO for their actions. To emphasize this again, neither organization called Weir an antisemite, nor did they even focus on her work as expressing antisemitic attitudes. Again, I do not speak for these organizations. This piece seems like a better explanation of why they focused on Weir’s choice of platforms than my arguments have been, so I would encourage everyone to read it and try to understand how this all fits within a larger anti-racist framework–rather than being simply “McCarthyist” guilt-by-association.

      As a rhetoric scholar, I do appreciate Merryman-Lotze’s use of MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” though, and that’s where he comes closest to my point, I think.

      Read his piece for yourself that merlot posted. Here it is again: http://www.afsc.org/friends/palestine-activism-anti-racist-framework

      • tree on August 14, 2015, 9:54 pm

        This piece seems like a better explanation of why they focused on Weir’s choice of platforms than my arguments have been, so I would encourage everyone to read it and try to understand how this all fits within a larger anti-racist framework

        Except of course that JVP is being hypocritical on this point of “universal anti-racism”. They have talked in venues with Zionists, they don’t demand that their own membership be anti-Zionist, they have attempted to have their university chapters join under the Hillel umbrella, which is itself decidedly racist.

        Zionist racism, OK, redeemable, nothing you should refuse to work with, despite being the original and ongoing source of the horrid oppression of the Palestinians.

        White racism or anti-semitism, utterly irredeemable: don’t even talk to those people. Ever. Even if its only 1% of the interviews you agree to.

        I fail to see how this is a “universal anti-racism” platform. Sounds more like subtle, or even not so subtle, bigotry to me. Is one of the reasons for the purge of Weir meant to increase JVP membership by appealing to more Jewish bigots? Because I don’t see any upside for the movement out of this phony purity drive.

      • Citizen on August 16, 2015, 12:19 am

        @ tree

        Bingo!

  68. jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 9:32 am

    For Peter in SF:

    Just a couple of quick responses. Re: that Brandeis Center document on antisemitic stereotypes: yeah, sorry if there was any stuff on “new antisemitism” in that, which I have said elsewhere is mostly complete BS. I had a hard time finding a concise source that focused on older antisemitic stereotypes, of which some people seem to be unaware. Just ignore all the Israel criticism stuff and focus on the real, classical, Protocols stuff.

    And, yes, I also agree that I’m not the best person to represent JVP and ETO on this, which I have also said before. I just thought there weren’t enough people defending their actions and that someone should say something. I also admit that my piece was written in haste and could be much better. I have also already retracted my poorly worded statement about CounterPunch. I should have said that some of what they publish is questionable. I’m more used to analyzing rhetoric than producing it myself. But, hey, I’m learning :)

    My main point, really, moral/ethical points aside for a moment, is that there is a more effective way to frame critiques of Israel and to work for Palestinian rights than to resort to language that strongly sounds like classical antisemitism–just what our opponents are looking for to discredit BDS. It’s really not that hard to avoid, and Alison could still write about all the same stuff for the most part and just present it differently to avoid coming off that way. Palestinian leaders of BDS do not sound like she does when they talk about the same issues.

    And for all those people criticizing the idea that the movement should think about rhetoric and how messages are framed, how do you think the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Apartheid movement got to be so successful? Or BDS up to this point also? Crafting a coherent and effective message for a movement’s target audience is an important part of any grassroots social movement.

    Please read more of Omar Barghouti’s work and a little less of Weir’s.

    • merlot on August 14, 2015, 9:38 am

      I put this link up as another comment, but since people are more likely to see this as a reply to your comment I’ll add it here as well. It also is directly related to your call for a perspective from someone connected to the ETO decision. http://www.afsc.org/friends/palestine-activism-anti-racist-framework

    • W.Jones on August 31, 2015, 5:19 am

      Jennifer,

      You write:

      Just a couple of quick responses. Re: that Brandeis Center document on antisemitic stereotypes: yeah, sorry if there was any stuff on “new antisemitism” in that, which I have said elsewhere is mostly complete BS.

      I think that this brings up an important point. The theory about “new anti-semitism” is that criticism of Israeli policies is a “new anti-semitism”, and it relies on the inference that criticisms of Israeli policies must be racist.

      However, if one rejects this way of thinking, then doesn’t it also put in question the idea that someone like Alison Weir, whose focus is criticizing Israeli policies in the same way that many other writers like Phil and Marc Ellis do, is somehow racist for that? If an accusation against her would have to use inferences and rely on claiming that in a completely different (eg. medieval) context and with different words (eg. not talking about Israelis), she would be racist, wouldn’t that be the same kind of “inferential” logic?

  69. hfouda on August 14, 2015, 11:16 am

    Jennifer Hitchcock admits above that her article is flawed. But the real reason is that she assumed the impossible task of trying to defend a flawed position by JVP and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Most of Hitchcock’s subsequent comments and replies are also flawed for the same reason. That the position against Alison Weir appearing on the JVP web site was signed by Anonymous suggests some appreciation that the position is not really defensible.

    The summary of this whole “roundtable” including most the 300+ moderated comments was concisely provided by Russ Greenleaf at the end of his article: “JVP and USCEIO should stop, and should make peace with Alison Weir. Their divisive attacks are harming the Palestine solidarity movement and harming the reputations of JVP and USCEIO.”

    Mondoweiss deserves credit for providing a platform for this important topic. There has been a spike in people signing the petition defending Alison Weir since the roundtable was published.
    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oyHWpfZtMvDez5XThztcbRMbgzQqMnCibkVk4Rjh3Hw/viewform
    More people are buying Weir’s book and it is now #17 Amazon best seller in Israel-Palestine History catagory.
    http://www.amazon.com/Against-Our-Better-Judgment-History/dp/149591092X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439565062&sr=1-1&keywords=alison+weir

    • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 2:32 pm

      HFouda,

      We are looking at maybe 95% of commentors here writing against JVP’s and ETO’s banning and expulsion of Weir. Does that tell you anything about the opinions in the Solidarity movement?

      The only option I see if JVP’s leadership does not change its position and allow chapters to cooperate with Weir if they want to is that those chapters who do would have to become Open JVPs – willing to dialogue with anti-racists like Weir who emphasize the problem of lobbying in the conflict, even if their opponents draw unnecessary “implicit” inferences from several passages or appearances out of their life’s work.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 3:21 pm

        95% of commenters here writing against JVP’s and ETO’s banning and expulsion of Weir. Does that tell you anything about the opinions in the Solidarity movement?

        w. jones, the silence emanating from supporters of the initiative against weir is glaringly present. i’m not sure if this messaging is to inform us the conversation is beneath them or that the door is closed as to their decision or what. but it appears ms hitchcock has, for the most part, been hung out to dry and fly solo. which is unfortunate from my perspective. i was hoping to learn a little more about the decision and future opportunities thru dialogue on the thread.

        i read the complaints against weir and recognized/acknowledged their cause for concern. but ultimately i think the movement would be better served by a unification as opposed to a division. the absence of JVP and ETO voices doesn’t bode well for that eventuality. which i think is really sad. i can’t help to think there is more behind this than meets the eye. some information i am lacking or that has not been revealed. anyway, i thought i’d mention that because i have reason to doubt your percentage (95%) represents the opinions in the Solidarity movement given they didn’t show up. but i’m not so sure it can be rightly be described as a solidarity movement at this point given this friction.

        i wonder what susan landau would advise.

      • merlot on August 14, 2015, 3:38 pm

        Annie, I think the silence from many supporters of the JVP and ETO decisions results from the fact that comment forums are not places where nuanced discussions can occur. More from a perspective supporting the decision is here: http://www.afsc.org/friends/palestine-activism-anti-racist-framework#comment-2193892543

        I also think that the discussion of how this is divisive needs to be contextualized. We need to remember that the JVP decision was not made public but was an organizational decision about relationships. It was If Americans Knew that made that public by attacking JVP first for an alleged whisper campaign and then for their decision. With the US Campaign, following receipt of a complaint a letter was sent to IAK asking for their response as part of a discussion with no decision made. Instead of engaging with the US Campaign in a private and confidential process If American Knew put out a public attack on the US Campaign that continues. Neither of the decisions by these organizations stop Alison from doing her work or reaching out to anyone. They purely speak to how each group chooses to partner. Should they be forced to partner with Alison if they disagree?

        Both JVP and the US Campaign have each made one statement that clarifies their points. It is not them who have pushed a public dispute. The US Campaign explicitly says that IAK can rejoin the coalition if it works in the US Campaign anti-racist framework. If IAK engaged the campaign rather than attacking them perhaps a discussion could happen. However, the aggression here isn’t coming from either the US Campaign or JVP which may also be why they are less aggressive here.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 5:33 pm

        thanks merlot. undoubtedly i am woefully behind in following the trajectory of all this including being a participant in any of the online discussion or email exchanges (for the most part) other than one thread we hosted here. of course i’ve known it’s been going on but my work here keeps me so busy (it really is full time) i just have not kept up. it’s not something we’ve discussed internally other than a few emails that just quickly got forgotten during the iran, breaking news, susiya, schumer, duma etc — plus i tend to evade these uncomfortable confrontations. anyway, thanks for your input.

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 4:07 pm

        Annie,

        For the Solidarity movement, I think most activists are not affirmatively in favor of banning Weir. Most organizations so far haven’t done so openly. My guess is that its a minority in JVP and ETO of 10-40% of the rank and file.

        If you would like a discussion with a person from ETO’s Steering Committee with a straight style of writing who wants dialogue, try the comment section of his article:
        http://afsc.org/friends/palestine-activism-anti-racist-framework

        I can’t speak for Susan, but I think that she would recommend both sides listening to each other and trying to find out what the real issues are, in order to address them in a mutually understanding way.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 5:17 pm

        thanks w.jones

      • tree on August 14, 2015, 10:23 pm

        We need to remember that the JVP decision was not made public but was an organizational decision about relationships. It was If Americans Knew that made that public by attacking JVP first for an alleged whisper campaign and then for their decision.

        Merlot, there is some dispute about who attacked whom first.

        From Allison Weir:

        It appeared that some JVP leaders were attempting to thwart my talks and prevent people from learning the facts that my book and my talks contain.

        (It is very important to note this is not representative of all JVP members – many of whom are colleagues and supporters. Some have put on excellent speaking events for me.)

        I finally decided to write an article about this situation – “Please help us overcome the accusations against If Americans Knew,” but did not name JVP, in the hope of preventing damaging division and distraction in the movement for justice in Palestine.

        Before publishing this piece, I tried to clarify the situation with JVP, and emailed the national leaders asking about their statements about me.

        I hoped that by communicating with JVP directly the situation could be resolved. In reply I received a letter from a law firm on JVP’s behalf (a partner in the firm is the JVP board chair and was the signatory on the letter).

        I was surprised at the McCarthyist, guilt-through-association attacks this letter contained, and I was amazed at the great effort someone had made to monitor my every move over the past 14 years of hundreds of speeches, articles, and interviews.

        JVP sent their accusatory dossier on me to about 50 chapters around the country, and has been disseminating this and other accusations widely. I’ve just finished an extremely busy three-week speaking tour. In several locations I learned that JVP had tried to block my talks.

        http://mycatbirdseat.com/2015/06/91838alison-weir-replies-to-jvp-leaders-mccarthy-like-attacks/

        If Weir’s description is accurate then clearly JVP was the first to go on the attack, and showed absolutely no flexibility on the issue. Weir tried to settle it or at least discuss it privately. Receiving a letter from the organization’s lawyer with a bill of particulars instead of a letter or invitation to converse with her on the subject from the organization itself highlights this inflexibility and the aggressive action on its part. At that point I don’t see any valid reason for Weir not to take the issue public since she was being defamed publicly in the “dossiers”.

  70. on August 14, 2015, 11:57 am

    Thank you sincerely for covering this unfortunate development. It is important that we try to analyze this conflict. In my opinion, it is a widespread problem due to the careless use of the word anti-Semitism which has powerful emotional significance and often has highly significant negative consequences for the victim.
    The first article of the three is reminiscent to the innuendo and “guilt by association” that has already done the damage to Alison Weir. As evidence that Counterpunch (which published Alison Weir’s articles) is “a questionable publication in its own right” the first article of the three quotes a blog.
    http://meldungen-aus-dem-exil.noblogs.org/post/2015/07/19/counterpunch-or-suckerpunch/ In my opinion, to call Counterpunch or even Mondoweiss a questionable publication is as unsustainable and inappropriate as calling Alison Weir an anti-Semite. As mentioned in the posts for this article, Gilad Atzmon is another prominent critic who is often called a racist. I read Atzmon’s recent book after seeing Mearsheimer’s review describing the book as “fascinating and provocative”. I totally agree with him. A very stimulating book in my opinion. Im not sure I agree with everything in it but I do not rush to call him an anti-Semite or a racist like so many who do not even appear to have read the book. After studying the book it is clear to me that Atzmon like Weir is not a racist.
    The next two articles are very informative and helpful in understanding the significance of the word anti-Semite in our struggle for Palestinian justice. The second article points out that it is better to solve these issues by discussion and understanding rather than by public flagellation. The third article succinctly confirms my own analysis that Alison Weir is not an anti-Semite.
    Antisemitism is prejudice against, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as an ethnic, religious, or racial group. The real problem that we are dealing with here, is that the definition of anti-Semitism has at times morphed into something much more trivial, qualitative and irreproducible. We need to come to grips with the fact that very few Americans are classical anti-Semites who hate Jews as a group. It is actually possible to disagree with the Israel government, Zionism or AIPAC’s behavior without hating Jews. I personally do not hate Jews at all but I have some very negative feelings about aspects of Israel, AIPAC and some consequences of Zionism. Israel is not Judaism – Zionism is not Judaism – and AIPAC is not Judaism. But the Israel-partisans subtly change the definition of anti-Semitism so that anti-Zionism or criticism of Israel becomes anti-Semitism, even by law if certain Zionist organizations have their way. It is almost at the level of “we say you are an anti-Semite, now you must prove that you are not”. The complex jargon of variations including canards, tropes, dog-whistles and Jew Baiting is enough to make my head spin even as an observer rather than a victim. The accusations and insinuations of anti-Semitism can even be used to suppress criticism of Israel and change the subject.
    In my opinion these attacks on Alison Weir are largely innuendo and guilt by association. It is not appropriate to reject our allies on such flimsy grounds. The bar for being labeled as an anti-Semite is set so low (as we are finding out in the case of Alison Weir and Steven Salaita) that there are (were) few risks involved in invoking the slur. It could hurt at least as much as being called a child-molester but no legal proof have usually been required although this may change given the success of Salaita in advancing his case. I see two possible reasons for this inappropriate behavior by the accusers.
    1) An attempt to control the narrative and/or suppress the influence of others (who have ideas that compete with or conflict with the accuser’s narrative) by falsely labeling the competitor as an anti-Semite and thus silencing them. Note that this strategy can even extend to the point where the desire is to stop the victim spreading his message because this will feed anti-Semitism (see below). In this case the critic is protecting the group from criticism and its negative consequences. The critic could even feel that the claims of the victim might trigger anti-Semitism.
    2) Some may feel guilty about their perceived anti-Jewish or anti-Israel behavior and look for legitimate ways to atone within their group. The easiest way is to jump on to some visible bandwagon that labels a prominent person (a threat to the Zionist narrative) as an anti-Semite. For example, write an article saying/implying that Jimmy Carter or some prominent person or author is an anti-Semite. This can be a form of atonement or reaffirmation of group affiliation on the critic’s part for daring to speak against the group. Therefore, the critic could get some immediate positive feedback or reinforcement from the group that has already been primed that this prominent victim is an anti-Semite. Calling out anti-Semites could have a significant protective effects for those who criticize the group. It is a way of showing support for the group.

    • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 2:13 pm

      unverified: What about the possibility that JVP, ETO, and other Weir critics think her messaging A. does not fit within the universal antiracist principles of the movement and/or B. can harm the movement by further damaging the credibility of the movement and associated organizations for their target audiences? Can’t these also be valid reasons to question Weir’s approach?

      And Weir has been by far the loudest and most prominent voice on the attack in this situation. I wrote this piece initially because so many people, including Weir herself, were out there attacking JVP and ETO. She does not seem to have made any effort to resolve this quietly, so JVP and ETO do not deserve all the blame on that one.

      Regarding my dis of CounterPunch. Point taken. I concede that I should have said “sometimes publishes questionable material” rather than appearing to criticize the publication as a whole. I would totally take that back if I could. Sorry for the poor wording and haste on that. I’ll try to do better next time :)

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 3:12 pm

        I concede that I should have said “sometimes publishes questionable material” rather than appearing to criticize the publication as a whole.

        However, this logic flows from the letter that End the Occupation sent to Weir complaining about Veterans News Now publishing her as a “columnist”, because VNN has published offensive or objectionable articles. The implication is that by knowingly having your articles on a site with other articles that are objectionable or intolerant, then you are condoning their intolerance.

        Elise Hendrick followed this logic in attacking Counterpunch herself- by printing Atzmon, Weir’s article that you object to on, Shamir, and others, Counterpunch became a “white supremacist” “cesspit”.
        http://meldungen-aus-dem-exil.noblogs.org/post/2015/07/19/counterpunch-or-suckerpunch/

      • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 3:13 pm

        Gee, I thought Weir was the one attacked first, even if only by non-public conversations. She was out there, doing her thing, and she was approached to say things differently, and when she didn’t veiled, then unveiled threats, then public shunning? This thread is jam-packed with what they didn’t like and what she didn’t like in return, by implication and what she has said to date elsewhere than on this blog. I really don’t see, given all this, why Weir should have striven harder to resolve the issue quietly.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 4:11 pm

        What about the possibility that JVP, ETO, and other Weir critics think her messaging A. does not fit within the universal antiracist principles of the movement B. can harm the movement by further damaging the credibility of the movement and associated organizations for their target audiences?

        as i see it, the first problem with this question is with the wording “universal” which implies a standard of principles of the movement everyone agrees with. or else perhaps the definition of “the movment”. which would mean jvp/eto speaks for the movement and alison and her supporters are therefor outside the movement. but you can’t have both.

        for the sake of argument let’s use the term movement as if it represents all pro palestinian activists including of course the BNC. it doesn’t seem there’s a universal agreement between everyone about what constitutes racism if we have such divergent opinions here. so, can i reframe your question before i answer it?:

        What about the possibility that JVP, ETO, and other Weir critics think her messaging A. does not fit within JVP, ETO’s antiracist principles of the movement and B. can harm the movement by further damaging the credibility of the movement and associated organizations for their target audiences?

        when you say “further damage” what evidence are you referring to? it doesn’t seem to me the credibility of the movement has been damaged except in the eyes of JVP, ETO. isn’t this more of a damage control action? or are there critics attacking the bds movement whose charges mention weir that you think have credibility coming from outside the movement? and if you’ve read them can you link to some. until then can we adjust this to:

        What about the possibility that JVP, ETO, and other Weir critics think her messaging A. does not fit within JVP, ETO’s antiracist principles of the movement and B. can harm the movement by damaging the credibility of the movement and associated organizations for their target audiences?

        yes it could. especially if awareness of this fissure is picked up by the pro israel media and exploited. and the chances of that happening now are much greater. there’s also the possibility JVP, ETO could see its creds boost in the eyes of outside critics by riding off this wave. but at the same time as landau points out there are risks that go along with that. like being accused of throwing a popular (and beloved to many) activist under a bus to enhance ones status.

        then there’s also the question of ‘target audience’. who picks that target? who are they? how wide a net can be cast. those are all questions worth exploring. as the movement grows how realistic is it to be able to control the messaging of the movement as a whole? and what are the risks involved in splitting the movement to control that messaging?

        And Weir has been by far the loudest and most prominent voice on the attack in this situation. I wrote this piece initially because so many people, including Weir herself, were out there attacking JVP and ETO.

        who is ‘by far’ the loudest is subjective. because that would have to include the reach of all involved. JVP and ETO has a very large reach and therefore, under the circumstances, a whisper can travel faster than a roar. plus, as the initial accuser, jvp/eto has no control over how their accusations will be responded to. they unleashed this whether they want to take responsibility for that or not. and it’s perfectly natural and legitimate to respond to accusation of racism publicly. weir has her supporters and their voices are not under jvp/eto purview.

        and one reason i did not sign the petition supporting weir was the usage of the term “attack”. accusing ones adversaries of “attack” doesn’t serve reconciliation. but at the same time jvp/eto started the fight so they launched the first punch (whispers count). therefore claiming victimhood “she attacked us” is disingenuous. what could anyone expect after being accused of being a white supremacist?

        it’s a rats nest! it would be advantageous to see some movement of compromise from each team. sitting back with a committee and expecting the other side to back down is not realistic. how was it landau put it?

        “The cost paid when people or groups dig their heels in, alternating between criticism and defensive posturing is far reaching and outlives the conflict itself.”

        i’d advise less digging in the heels for starters.

        Can’t these also be valid reasons to question Weir’s approach?

        Can’t these also be valid reasons to question jvp/eto approach?

        if jvp/eto could amend their stance to ‘we won’t tell you who to talk to’ and alison could amend her stance to ‘i will take more opportunities to counter racist statements that come up in the course of activism’ maybe the two sides can move past this. or not. but this is effecting a lot of people and will continue to do so for a very long time if there’s no resolution.

      • on August 14, 2015, 5:08 pm

        jhitchcock – thank you so much for your challenging contribution to this amazing and timely roundtable that has elicited so much activity in the posts – it must be record-breaking. A lot of fascinating topics have been released from suppression and it is my hope that we will become more discerning in our evaluation and definition of anti-Semitism along with other racist tropes. There is so much need for analysis rather than thoughtless name-calling which only elicit an emotional response and rejection.
        With regard to your first point, I agree; but I personally fear that the universal antiracist principles of the movement can be invoked by an abnormal outlier for the sole purpose of excommunicating an ally, in this case Alison Weir. I do not feel that her modest activities could damage the credibility of the movement and associated organizations for their target audiences. In fact, I suspect that the JVP and the ETO have been hoisted on their own petard and Weir is getting a lot of well-deserved publicity for her activities. I don’t question Weir’s approach at all, I question the people at JVO and ETO who started this witch-hunt. It is their pathology that I find more damaging and which I have tried to explore in my last post.
        You say “And Weir has been by far the loudest and most prominent voice on the attack in this situation.” Your statement here is unfair in my opinion. She is only responding to the unwarranted attack by others. I would say that the original indictments by ETO and JVP are the loudest and most prominent voices in this incident. The letter Alison received announced “Jewish Voice for Peace has chosen not to work with you because our central tenet is opposition to racism in all its forms, and you have chosen repeatedly to associate yourself with people who advocate for racism.” JVP communicated this “decision” to their chapter leaders.
        In her article after yours, Susan Landau writes “Allison Weir, who took her defense to the public domain, presumably feeling under attack with no other recourse.” In my opinion, it is a reasonable analysis that Alison had no other alternative but to take her case to the public or else take her beating in submission, and accept her classification as a racist.
        I do appreciate your reassessment of Counterpunch. Thank you. With regard to your redefinition of Counterpunch as publishing some questionable articles, you could say the same about the NY Times. I question every article I read but please remember that nowadays the word questionable means controversial. I am a Prof at a Medical School – dozens of my colleagues read Counterpunch and prefer it to the NYT, although we read the NYT. The word questionable is merely part of the lazy innuendo along with words like controversial, dubious, problematical and unfortunately, “anti-Semitic”.
        Finally, the bottom line is that you think that Alison is showing some subtle signs of anti-Semitism but I think that you are showing some subtle signs of prejudice against her. I think that you have been influenced by all the innuendo that preceded you. The more important point is that we have bigger fish to fry in order to influence the Palestinian’s plight. Ron

      • MHughes976 on August 14, 2015, 5:21 pm

        The most important point is that AW has never departed from universal principle by calling for inequality on grounds of race. The idea that we call for equal rights for Palestinians because we want some form of racist inequality is essentially grotesque. Policing each other in case we turn out to embody what we oppose is not resisting hostile rhetoric but facilitating it.

      • tree on August 14, 2015, 10:32 pm

        I wrote this piece initially because so many people, including Weir herself, were out there attacking JVP and ETO. She does not seem to have made any effort to resolve this quietly, so JVP and ETO do not deserve all the blame on that one.

        According to Weir, she did make an effort to resolve this quietly, but was greeted with a list of her supposed sins which were forwarded to various JVP chapters from JVP’s lawyer, rather than an acceptance of her offer to try to discuss the dispute privately.

        I’m surprised at how little you know about the details of the dispute.

    • Pixel on August 14, 2015, 5:24 pm

      @unverified…

      i agree with you 100% about Atzmon’s book. I always wonder if it’s just me, whether I’m missing something.

      I think another massive element in play is the fact that EVERYONE’S been duped. No matter FROM which direction and IN which direction, ALL of us have been BRAINWASHED around all of the larger issues, most of us since BIRTH!

      That stuff is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to recognize let alone move beyond.
      What’s going on here, at both the micro and macro levels, everything in between and beyond, is truly superhuman.

      When I step back far enough, I look with wonder and awe at everyone and everything involved, here, in what I consider to be an over-arching epic spiritual battle.

      • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 5:50 pm

        Good points, Pixel :)

  71. Richard Morris on August 14, 2015, 12:22 pm

    Reading all the interesting responses makes me a little cross
    I have spent four years writing my blog Wallsofdespair which has had 212,000 visits
    Mondoweiss has been invaluable in providing much information in that time but has never acknowledged my contribution nor has JVP which only ever asks me for contributions (as does Mondoweiss ( who got one)) IAK and Truthout
    The blessed Richard Falk, Kathy Christison Baroness Tonge Lord Phillips Ghada Karmi and more have responded favourably.
    My point is we should all be sharing our ups and downs and encouraging each other. To sink into this morass of squabbling is counter productive and has no useful aid for the benighted Palestinians. In Britain we say you are getting too far up your own….
    Richard Morris wallsofdespair.blogspot.com

    • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 2:09 pm

      Richard,

      I sympathize with what you are saying. Susan Landau’s essay also focuses on the need for understanding and unity. You write: “In Britain we say you are getting too far up your own”.

      See:
      http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/25-info/about-spsc/what-we-stand-for/1712-letter-from-spsc-to-us-campaign-to-end-the-israeli-occupation

      And add your own comments on that page. Feel free to let us know your thoughts.

      • tree on August 14, 2015, 10:43 pm

        Since there is a treasured reply button right under your comment here W. Jones, I’d like to take a moment to say I think your comments on this thread have been excellent. Pointed, probing, but also ever so polite and reasonable without a hint of anger or recrimination. As someone said upthread, like a friendly pit bull in your lap. Thanks for your contributions here.

        And while I’m at it, I should thank Phil and Adam for allowing this discussion. I know this kind of stuff makes Phil nervous sometimes, and perhaps Adam too, but I sincerely appreciate MW having the courage to do things that aren’t always within their comfort zone, and for letting us speak our minds.

        And big hugs to annie (and any other anonymous moderators too!) for sacrificing hours and days of her life to moderate this humongous thread, and all the rest too.

      • irishmoses on August 15, 2015, 10:44 am

        Tree,
        Let me join in your thanks to Phil and Adam for providing a forum for this important issue and to Annie for reviewing all the posts and most of all for acting as a balanced, thoughtful moderator on what may have been the longest thread on record for MW (507 comments). It was quite an event and very illuminating about the I-P movement.

        Some miscellaneous thoughts:
        1. I think there may be more going on with “Jennifer” than meets the eye. She put on a very effective defense of JVP and attack on Allison Weir that started as a full-on hatchet job in her first letter and continued into nasty attacks on Counterpunch, Atzmon (as well as several others) and then did a hatchet job of Allison’s book. She then parried all the counterattacks with ambiguous apologies that suggested mere oversight or carelessness. She never allowed herself to pinned down and always exuded an almost naive niceness suggesting she was a mere amateur venturing into the jaws of the lion. Amazingly (and suspiciously) she seemed to be the only spokesman for JVP and its position and managed to dominate the entire thread. While I’m not one for conspiracy theories, I smell a troll or a plant of some sort. She got in, did the maximum amount of damage, then carefully got out leaving behind the thought that it really probably was antisemitism and that we should all work together (singing Kumbaya with Dillon, no make that a Palestinian) to make the world a better place and stifle all those antisemites among us. I think we were had. She was treated with kid gloves when she should have savaged. Incidentally, she is no college grad student ingenue. If she was born in the late 70s, as she said, she’s in her late 30s.

        2. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s really going on here. Why was it so important to savage and ban Allison Weir? My answer is that she, along with Gilad Atzon, and Norman Finkelstein share something in common: All three have made dangerous forays outside the limited world of bad Israelis oppressing poor Palestinians, and the only effective way to stop these forays in their tracks is with harem, banishment, public humiliation.

      • irishmoses on August 15, 2015, 11:11 am

        Unfortunately, the later, edited version of my comment was apparently lost in the ether, I guess because I took too long to hit the enter button.

    • Pixel on August 14, 2015, 5:28 pm

      @Richard

      I just checked out your website. Thanks for mentioning it.

      I’ll be back in, again!

      Love the flipping calendar squares!!

  72. jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 12:37 pm

    To Annie Robbins:

    Thanks. Yeah, I knew that there would be a lot of reactions to my piece. I “stepped into a big rat’s nest” as you say.

    I do agree with a lot of Emma Rosenthal’s points about the connections between the US and Zionism and the fact that there are different strains and ideologies going on in the movement. I wouldn’t endorse such a strong either/or side approach, though. And I wouldn’t lump Carter or Walt and Mearshimer into the same camp as Weir, though they may share some similarities in focus on US interests. I also don’t honestly think that it would be completely invalid, especially rhetorically, to use the “US interests” argument for certain audiences. But I do think some people get a little carried away and seem unable to see any comparable problems with US policy and history when compared with Israel and Zionism. To have little criticism of the US and a whole lot for Israel does seem a little problematic and inconsistent to me at the least.

    I personally think the difference between Weir’s work and others mentioned by Rosenthal is that Weir’s statements seem to me to come off much more often as having an antisemitic bias. I guess this is debatable, but from what I have seen in her work, charges of real antisemitism from activists in the movement do not seem surprising to me. As I have said before, I think activists can present the anti-Israel Palestinian case very effectively without relying on antisemitic-sounding language.

    The way I came to get involved in this debate was this: I was coincidentally reading about the earlier Atzmon and Berlin cases when I encountered and got involved in some Facebook discussions of the Weir case. As Phil had earlier described upon seeing her at a talk a few years back, there was something about her that always made me feel a little uneasy before, but I wasn’t familiar with much of her work (aside from maps, studies, and other legitimate and useful material from IAK). Here’s what Phil said back in 2008: http://mondoweiss.net/2008/09/the-gandhi-of-the-middle-east-will-likely-be-an-arab-rising-from-an-american-institution

    Though he was also more gracious to her in a later post: http://mondoweiss.net/2008/10/alison-weir-of-if-americans-knew-has-responded-to-my-post-of-a-couple-weeks-back-about-her-presentation-at-yale-the-links-o

    But upon reading her organ harvesting article and then later the beginning of her book, I feel that she too often displays what appears to be an antisemitic bias that the vast majority of Palestinian solidarity and BDS activists don’t.

    I knew that leaders of the BDS movement had strongly disavowed Atzmon and his brand of antisemitism and have made many public statements rejecting antisemitism and all forms of racism. I can see several moral and strategic reasons for doing this as I have explained. So by my reasoning, if Palestinian BDS leaders have made it clear that antisemitism is not welcome, then I saw JVP and ETO’s actions against Weir as being in line with that strategy.

    And I feel that standing in solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle as an ally means deferring to them on what the best strategies and goals are for the movement rather than trying to direct the movement ourselves. Having read a lot of Omar Barghouti’s work and statements by the BNC, Abunimah, and others, it seemed clear to me that they do not want antisemitic rhetoric associated with the movement. And my own conclusions from studying the rhetoric and discourse of social movements supports such a stance and rhetorical strategy in the case of the BDS movement–at least the way I see it.

    As I said, I know most Palestinian BDS leaders haven’t yet spoken publicly on this matter, so maybe I am totally wrong about their opinion of it. Surely they don’t want to keep having to deal with the issue and have better things to do. And Weir’s many vocal supporters would make any sane person wary of wading into this discussion against her (which makes me question my own sanity too, of course :).

    So then we get back to the question of whether Weir’s work is sufficiently problematic to warrant attention and action?

    But as to whether overt expressions of antisemitism are welcome in the movement, I think most of the Palestinian leaders have spoken on this topic many times already. Unless they regret their disavowel of Atzmon, which I haven’t heard to be the case?

    Then, I see it as my duty as an ally to follow their lead. And I see JVP’s and ETO’s decisions as not contradicting the strategy of most of the Palestinian leadership of BDS.

    Am I off base in my reasoning here? (Assuming Weir’s work really is problematically antisemitic, of course). Am I missing something?

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 3:24 pm

      I don’t see how anyone, including any Palestinian, can divorce the plight of the Palestinians from the Zionist impact on US foreign policy. Weir shows this Zionist impact also has and does harm the American way and security and economy. Were you on the deck of the USS Liberty when Israel machine-gunned it? Don’t you think better things could be done for Americans at home with all that aid to Israel? Don’t you think Obama’s Iran Deal is better for everybody, especially the US and world? Tell me one American who, actually knowing what the Palestinians have gone through daily for scores of years, would not stop enabling it with our lives and treasures?

      • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 5:59 pm

        Citizen: As I have said before, no one, neither JVP or ETO have ever suggested that Zionist impact on US foreign policy isn’t a problem or that people shouldn’t talk about the lobby. Both JVP and ETO talk about the lobby too. It is undeniable a major influence on US support for Israel. No one is arguing against that (though Weir has claimed that is the reason for the attacks on her, which is a false straw-man).

        And yes, everyone in the movement probably supports the Iran Deal, as do I. JVP and ETO are fellow Palestinian solidarity activists in the BDS movement who have embraced the full BDS Call. These are not Zionist, pro-Israel organizations we are talking about. Let’s not mischaracterize it. These are all organizations on the ADL top ten worst anti-Israel organizations list. They are all working for Palestinian rights.

        The conflict is a disagreement over strategy (and apparently also over what constitutes racism and antisemitism).

      • Citizen on August 16, 2015, 1:35 am

        @ jhitchcock

        Is Zionism racism? Should JVP allow Zionists as members? Should JVP present speakers in Zionist forums? JVP has no truck with institutionalized racism?

    • annie on August 14, 2015, 5:10 pm

      if Palestinian BDS leaders have made it clear that antisemitism is not welcome, then I saw JVP and ETO’s actions against Weir as being in line with that strategy….whether overt expressions of antisemitism are welcome in the movement

      you still have not produced a specific sentence or group of sentences to establish the overt anti semitism that you reference. i appreciate the first link, and have not had a chance to check out the sencond. and while phil expressed disappointment at the way she intervened when the israeli soldier was speaking and tho he had expressed he wished she had more nuance, i’m still not understanding how this translates into racism.

      i try to close my eyes and imagine this evening he wrote about was on another topic with strong sentiments on both sides. was the action of interrupting the speaker , had it been another topic, would it be called racist per se?

      i have only heard alison speak a few times. i think 3 times but maybe just 2. i can’t say i ever experienced her as saying anything racist. extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence so i would appreciate it if you would go back to that first link and copy paste the segment of phil’s article that made you feel this way so i can better understand your perspective.

      i can understand how it could make you uncomfortable, but there are lots of reasons to feel discomfort surrounding this issue besides anti semitism. i’m wondering if perhaps your feelings might be triggered by an aspect of her personality you perceived thru this article. like maybe a perception of her anger? if you could elaborate that would be helpful. thanks.

      • jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 6:39 pm

        Annie: I was more so referring to his perception that the film seemed like “propaganda” and too biased. But also her approach vs. that of the Palestinian and Arab students who tried to engage with the Israeli soldier. I would say that the two approaches may overlap somewhat with some of the conflict here too.

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 9:58 pm

        ok, i see the 2 approaches and how one, if relayed how phil relayed it, was more effective. but i don’t see it as evidence of anti semitism. i recall w/norm finkelstein called out that girl in the audience in the film. it reminded me of that kind of reaction from a speaker. clearly harsh, but not a sign of anti semitism.

        had the focus on the film been the war of iraq, and the soldier been an american soldier trying to, what one might consider normalizing the actions of the soldiers there, i could imagine a speaker doing the same thing. and while someone could criticize or even chastize that approach, there would likely not be w/an accusation of racism. or if the anti war film was overly sympathetic to iraqis vs harsh on american military, same thing. they might call it propaganda but not racism. and had there been some iraqis there who engaged the american soldier vs the speaker who didn’t like the military the same kind of incident might have occurred. but once you add a jewish person into the mix it all becomes a matter of bigotry?

        it’s just too much jennifer. everything is not always about bigotry. not one quote from you for this charge of ‘overt anti semitism’.

      • tree on August 15, 2015, 1:39 am

        annie, I ran across Allison’s reply to Phil’s 2008 post here:

        http://alisonweir.org/journal/2008/10/2/in-response-to-a-bloggers-criticism-of-a-film-i-helped-on-a.html

        That might help explain Alison’s reaction.

        My guess would be that Phil might have a different reaction to the film today than he did in 2008, and might also react differently to the Israeli soldier as well. I think his knowledge and understanding has increased substantially since then. But then you’d have to ask him to know what he feels. In any case I agree that Jennifer keeps trying to suggest anti-semitic motives without providing any exact quotes.

        Here’s an excerpt from Alison’s response:

        Following the film there was an extended question-and-answer session. While most people seemed moved by the film and asked questions about specific aspects, there were also challenging questions from people who were partisan toward Israel. The Q & A went on quite a long time, until finally the student organizer determined it was time to close the event. He stood up and said there would be one more question. There were still a great many hands up, and I randomly called on a student who had been waiting, like numerous others, to be called on. He asked whether there was hope that peace would ever be reached… I responded that I felt that when the US ended our massive aid to Israel, which prevented the Israeli government from believing it would ever have to compromise, the two populations would be able to find peace. I stated that there were visionaries on both sides who would be able to step forward when the US one-sided support of Israeli militarism got out of the way, and that Israelis and Palestinians would then find the way forward.

        The event was then over. It had been a long night and the students needed to get home to study. Many of the foreign students, in particular, feel it is critical that they do well at Yale; otherwise, as one student told me, they won’t be able to stay. Suddenly, a man in the audience stood up and shouted out that he was an Israeli solider and that everything had been “lies.” There was considerable shouting back and forth, and when it finally quieted, I said to him that I fervently disagreed and asked him to name any inaccuracies. He apparently couldn’t, so he instead began to go into a long discourse of some sort; it was difficult to hear in all the commotion. This type of behavior is typical. I’ve rarely been to an event about Palestine in which some Israelis or Israel partisans have not demanded everyone’s attention and time far beyond that allotted to anyone else.

        While this IDF soldier was trying to claim victim-hood for Israelis, yet again, the irony of the situation struck me. Here was a man who was an Israeli soldier – the one that you see at every checkpoint demanding ID’s from old women and young students; deciding who may pass and who may not; yelling at people who respond too slowly; flirting with female soldiers while people wait in line in the sun to be waved through; who point machine guns at crowds going to pray, work, school, and who bark orders at old, stumbling men; who smash rifle butts into nonviolent protestors; who regularly, as some soldiers have described the Israeli military’s actions, “starve, humiliate, and dominate an entire population” … here he was, a member of the Israeli occupying force, trying to demand the victim’s right to speak, even as real victims had been willing to forego their questions when time forced the event to end. It seemed to me that either all the students should be allowed to ask their questions without discrimination, including the many Palestinian and Arab students who rarely have a voice, or no one; and since the student organizer had called the event to an end, I ended it.

        Weiss disapproved, feeling that I should have favored the IDF soldier with more time, despite the lateness of the hour and the fact that other students had equal right, at least, to speak.

        more at link

  73. RobertHenryEller on August 14, 2015, 12:55 pm

    I have to wonder if the only reason these accusations against Alison Weir were ever launched is that Weir is not Jewish.

    Would a Jewish American who did exactly what Weir did be accused of anti-Semitism?

    I wonder if some Jews simply do not trust, or cannot trust, or have trouble trusting, non-Jews to have as “honest” a position on Zionism, or the Israeli treatment of Palestinians, without being suspecting or accusing them of anti-Semitism.

    I’m a 66 year old Jewish American. I’ve read plenty of Alison Weir’s writing over the past few years. I’ve never thought anything Weir wrote was anti-Semitic. And I’m as surprised, and frankly disturbed, to learn that some people who are pro-Palestinian, or anti-Israeli apartheid, or otherwise critical of Israeli policy, are accusing Weir of anti-Semitism. I find this as disturbing as being accused of being myself an anti-Semite by Israelis and/or right-wing Zionists, as disturbing as when the likes of Israeli Minister of Religious Services David Azoulay lectures non-orthodox Jewish Americans that they are not real Jews. (As I think that real Jews take the Commandments not to lie, not to steal, not to murder, to heart; As I think that real Jews take the teachings of Rabbi Hillel to heart; I challenge David Azoulay, as an Israeli, to defend his own claim to be a Jew. Who cares how he prays? Judaism is about what one does when one leaves the synagogue.)

    As an American, when I read Alison Weir, I see nothing but an American who is promoting the interest of all Americans. I do not ever see her speaking only for non-Jewish Americans, or of accusing all Jewish Americans of being disloyal. Weir’s charges against the U.S. Israel lobby ring true for me. AIPAC does not speak for me as a Jewish American, nor do I believe that AIPAC is a friend Israel can really afford. Sheldon Adelson does speak for me. And Netanyahu certainly does not speak for me as a Jew. None of these latter mentioned seem to me to have any interest in the welfare of Americans, Jewish or otherwise. Alison Weir is an American, and speaks as an American. She never speaks as an anti-Semite.

    If other individuals or groups wish to discredit groups that Alison Weir has addressed, then they should do so directly. They shouldn’t discredit Weir by association.

    On the other hand, look at who has addressed anti-Semite John Hagee’s Christian’s United For Israel: Netanyahu, Ron Dermer, Lindsey Graham. If we want to start looking for “crypto” anti-Semites, I can suggest some much better suspects than Alison Weir.

    • on August 14, 2015, 1:36 pm

      You have said it all very eloquently. Thank you. I have exactly the same feelings. The word anti-Semite has a lot of excess baggage and people need to think twice before using it. It is a very serious accusation that is used so lightly and carelessly. Perhaps there is a legal remedy for this slur in the future as in the case of Salaita.

    • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 3:07 pm

      “as disturbing as when the likes of Israeli Minister of Religious Services David Azoulay lectures non-orthodox Jewish Americans that they are not real Jews.”

      Disturbing? It wasn’t disturbing, it was a downright relief. I’m perfectly fine with it. If they don’t consider me a real Jew, than they can have all the credit for being real Jews all to themselves.
      I wouldn’t try to take a bit of it from them!
      As for me, I’ll just have to bear the awful knowledge of my own inauthenticity.

    • Citizen on August 14, 2015, 3:28 pm

      @ RobertHenryEller
      I feel the same way. Agree with your entire comment. I notice Weir’s organization, Counterpunch organization, that Vet web site mentioned–none is run or managed by Jewish Americans.

    • Pixel on August 14, 2015, 4:14 pm

      @RHE

      I think you are right on the mark. I wasn’t sure whether she was Jewish or not but, reading the initial post and comments, I began to think she might not be.

      To me, if not, that was a huge red flag. I could have said something very early on here, but I’m rarely eloquent, ( to my chagrin, especially when it matters most) and, frankly, I was too cowardly. On some level, I felt that the only person/people who could be heard with a neutral ear would have to be Jewish, themselves.

    • MRW on August 21, 2015, 3:46 am

      @ RobertHenryEller, ✔✔✔ +

  74. HHM on August 14, 2015, 1:46 pm

    I post as a person with Jewish family members and a parent of a bi-racial child.

    Please note that many Jews including JVP members and people of color are listed on the petition in support of Alison. Apparently they do not agree that the examples USCEIO provide indicate endorsement by Alison/IAK of white supremacist views.

    Some critics of Alison may imagine her supporters indifferent or insensitive to racism and bigotry but I believe that untrue. The problem is the secretive process used to draft the US Campaign statement and its particular wording.

    I have encouraged and worked with our local Occupy to endorse such a statement but one worded quite differently than the USCEIO’s. Our Occupy community has agreed to the wording of the following statement:

    “This statement represents a commitment to confront all forms of racism and the political and economic structures that normalize it.

    Occupy Eugene is opposed to all forms of discrimination and racism, both explicit and implied through beliefs and actions that categorically dehumanize people, including but not limited to, Blacks, Latinos, Palestinians and other Arabs, Muslims, Jews, gender minorities, the socioeconomically disadvantaged including our homeless, women, alter-abled, children and elders and indigenous peoples worldwide.”

    Please compare it to the US Campaign’s statement (http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=3403).

    Note in our statement that the word “anti-Semitism” is not used, for good reason. As Auschwitz survivor, Dr. Hajo Meyer, writes in The End of Judaism, An Ethical Tradition Betrayed, “An anti-Semite used to be a person who disliked Jews. Now it is a person who Jews dislike.” Specifically, it is a manipulative code word used reflexively by Israel and its lobby.

    Another troubling component of the US Campaign’s statement is the phrase, “…we must also ensure that our actions and the actions of those within our organization and coalition do not serve to support or perpetuate other racist or bigoted behaviors, practices, and structures.”

    Are we expected to search out and take responsibility for people who may misuse well-established facts regarding Israel, its mythistory and cultural scripting base, its self-justifications, its lobby, its misframings and it’s propagandists, and edit out anything that might be misused?

    The statement itself seemed designed to set up a formal structure on which to go after Alison and possibly other perceived undesirables. General membership had little if any input in its content. Some of us participated in two or three US Campaign conference calls a year or so back and expressed concern about the wording and intent of their new racism policy. Some of us strongly sensed then that something was up.

    As one participant recalled, “First, the statement had to be drafted and enacted. For the sake of ‘transparency’ three committee meetings were held, with all interested members attending. The meetings were held by conference call, but not the kind of call that permits cross talk and discussion. Instead, it was like a VIP fundraising call, where the moderators and speakers do most of the talking, and the commenters go on a stack where they get a chance to talk uninterrupted but not respond except possibly by getting on the stack again.” and “…To no one’s surprise, the wording of the statement was pretty much the same at the end of the three meetings as it had been at the beginning. It then went to the annual convention, where it was approved by the less than 10% membership attending, on the recommendation of the Steering Committee.”

    I encourage everyone to compare the information on the US Campaign and JVP websites with that of If American’s Knew. The broad, deep and compelling information on her site (and in her book, Against Our Better Judgment) is not to be found on theirs. If not for Alison and IAK, our Palestinian human rights advocacy movement would arguably have been far less effective in expanding and arming the choir.

    Shame on those trying to discredit her and for introducing a potential blacklist for those who continue to support her.

    • annie on August 14, 2015, 2:39 pm

      It then went to the annual convention, where it was approved by the less than 10% membership attending, on the recommendation of the Steering Committee.

      how did that happen? was it because only 10% were voting? this doesn’t make sense.

      • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 2:49 pm

        Annie,
        Yes, at first glance I misread it. If you parse it, it means that less than 10% of ETO members attended.
        “It was approved by the less than 10% (of the national) membership(, who were) attending”.
        Not:
        “It was approved by ____ less than 10% of the members who were attending.”

      • HHM on August 15, 2015, 12:53 pm

        Annie, I understand it as W.Jones does. The problem with conferences is that so few people are able to attend for financial and other reasons. I use all available resources to bring good speakers to our community. Our last main speaker’s expenses were just under $1000 with flight, motel, promotions, etc., and this does not include speaker fees. Usually we cannot provide speaker fees. Imo, speakers are one of the things that help communities the most rather than attending conferences.

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 2:02 pm

        thanks HHM, i got it as soon as w.jones explained it. my fault for not responding to him to make that clear. it didn’t make sense and just wanted clarification. btw, i have attended ETO conferences before and know how they vote. every due paying member in attendance gets to vote. my brain just read it another way initially.

      • HHM on August 15, 2015, 2:32 pm

        I’m concerned that some of the wonderful speakers at this year’s ETO conference might think that supporters of Alison are not concerned about racism, not realizing the that both the wording and process of the USC statement are flawed in some people’s view. They may not want to be hosted by groups who do support her. On the other hand, supporters of Alison/IAK might hesitate to host such speakers because they would not want the speaker to slam her in their community. If possible, Annie, if you do attend this year’s ETO conference, please bring up these points.

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 4:15 pm

        I’m concerned that some of the wonderful speakers at this year’s ETO conference might think that supporters of Alison are not concerned about racism

        i don’t know what they are saying to eachother behind the scenes. but if their ideas or messaging is anything at all like jennifer’s or some of their other defenders, then it would indicate an attempt to intimidate people (into silence) by accusations of white supremacy via association. these kinds of statements: “rightwing “patriots” (including white-supremacists and antisemites), the audience Alison Weir is aiming to reach” implies this is the primary target audience of alison and therefore a desired or strategically targeted affiliation, which seems dishonest. i don’t know what to say. but she certainly has a lot of supporters who can speak for themselves.

  75. khyungbird1890 on August 14, 2015, 3:50 pm

    This is super fascinating. I was wondering when Mondoweiss would write something about this controversy.

    I haven’t read through this enormous 400-comment thread and I haven’t checked out the links to the interview(s) & article which led to the accusations of Anti-Semitism. I have heard the same accusations against Weir from Max Blumenthal, among other activists I respect. But I have to confess I basically haven’t put in the time to look into the claims in detail and look at the evidence.

    I will say there is one thing that bothers me about JVP’s June 15 statement against Weir, and that’s how they take this to me uncontroversial statement by Weir as evidence of prejudice:

    “[Alison Weir] founded an organization to be directed by Americans without personal or family ties to the region who would research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public.”

    According to JVP, this paragraph is evidence of Anti-Semitism (“…according to Weir… only non-Arab, non-Muslim, non-Palestinian, and non-Jewish voices can be trusted to speak the truth, based solely on their ethnic or religious identity. Notions of objectivity are routinely used to discredit the experiences of those most directly affected by oppression.”) :/ I can’t follow or accept this logic. If we’re going to only admit ‘subjective’ voices, if we can’t even pretend to “objectivity,” then we’re really right back where we started pitting Palestinian voices against right-wing Israeli voices. And obviously it’s these right-wing Israeli voices which are vastly louder in the US. Rania Khalek (another journalist I respect) may have “objectivity is bullshit” as her Twitter desc, but objectivity is at least 1000x better in this case than listening SOLELY to the voices of oppressors… which is the default US media position. Baby steps, people.

    Furthermore, when I read IAK’s website materials — years ago before this scandal, and during my own education on Palestine — I found Weir’s basic arguments resonant and I thought she/IAK made convincing arguments that I could pass on to friends and family who weren’t leftists. Needless to say it’s Palestinians, not the US, who suffer under Israeli policies….. the US war machine benefits from Israel… but I don’t see any problem with using arguments like “…and this ALSO sucks for the US, because of X and Y and because it’s morally indefensible!” I’m a progressive liberal, not an absolute stateless internationalist super-leftist. It’s possible to convince Americans to oppose Palestinian apartheid without them also having to believe that the US is a completely irredeemable agent of worldwide oppression and racism. (The key words here are “completely irredeemable”… I won’t argue about the agent of worldwide oppression part… -_- )

    Whether some of Weir’s work is Anti-Semitic, I don’t know, and I need to dig into it and know more to answer. But I do know that some of JVP’s accusations are stretching, and that her organization has done a good job of presenting a pro-Palestinian, one-state narrative that is palatable to moderate and liberal Americans. Frankly, I like Mondoweiss for the same reason.

  76. Pixel on August 14, 2015, 3:54 pm

    This discussion has been invaluable to me. I first became aware of the “AW situation” awhile back. I wasn’t sure what was going on there but because I had enough on my plate, already, and I had great respect for the opinions of many others (here), I deferred my judgment to them (you), which is always unwise.

    Even though I had an odd, nagging feeling around all of it, I let it go. I felt that others knew more than I did about the situation, things so subtle that I probably wouldn’t be able to tease out them out anyway. I got swept up into the critical work going on and the vast amount I was learning.

    Then, this discussion appeared.

    Lo, and behold, and once again in my life, do I find that, to my own detriment, I doubted myself and my gut feelings.

    I think the situation with AW is a travesty and a tragedy that needs to be corrected immediately, along with an apology. She’s so busy out there truth-telling — maligned, beleaguered, and alone — that maybe she doesn’t care. But a sincere apology is a something we do for ourselves. It may or may not effect the recipient.

    And to think that all this time I might have been, indeed perhaps should have been, throwing part of my efforts and energy into supporting her work, and her personally in the midst of this morass . In fact, I find her rather heroic.

    And it should come as no surprise to anyone here that I see red rats whenever slurs of “conspiracy theorist” and “Holocaust denier” are flung at others to shut them up and shut them down, most often by those who have an agenda and/or those who haven’t temporarily suspended their disbelief, kept an open mind, and done the deep research.

    Thank g_d things finally turned around on the USS Liberty “conspiracy theory,” the facts of which finally made their way into the mainstream. Few people even remember that those facts and those truth-tellers (the survivors!!!!) were for years and years before that belittled, at best, as nonsense spouted by tin hat wearers. A interesting exercise and fun afternoon can be had for all by googling “conspiracy theories that turned out to be true.” Then, again, maybe not. “I wouldn’t believe it even if it was true.”

    Hmmm, something’s coming to mind about all of this. Wait! Now, I remember! A few years back, Phil sat on a panel along with a few others and a USS Liberty survivor at a discussion MC-d by Alison Weir!!

    ———

    Jennifer, I read and followed your several impassioned entreaties, upthread, that we read the first several pages of Alison’s book at Amazon. Even though I’d already just bought the eBook and read those pages as I started to read it, I went back and read them, again, on the offhand chance thata there was something I missed. There was!

    What I missed was the realization that I shouldn’t have bought just one copy of her book, I should have bought ten! Which I did. I ordered ten more to give away. The irony in this is that, by going back, I wound up spending the money to buy the books that, having already recently donated to MW, I’d earmarked for JVP within the next couple of weeks!

    At the same time, there is evolution within movements ( thank g_d for MW where these things can be revisisted, discussed, and, hopefully, misdirections, redirected. But this isn’t just about a movement evolving. This is about a movement evolving exponentially. It’s breathtaking to step back and see how much has happened in so little time, with no end in site, as far as I can see.

    Despite misteps, mistakes, and wrong-headedness with the help of everyone out here ( including, of course, the Beebs, himself) a critical mass HAS been reached. This sucker is tipping of it’s own weight now. Forget “global warming” for a minute. If you want a great visual, watch a few Youtube videos of huge icebergs turning over in the open ocean. Massive, majestic, powerful, beautiful. The top has eroded away and the massive bottom becomes the top.

    What happened to AW was / simply wrong. W.R.O.N.G.

    I hope this discussion becomes is a very serious reassessment that leads to redirection on this issue. It’s time for leaders in this movement to mirror lovers whose relationship grows from that of gazing into one another’s eyes, into one in which both are looking outward in the same direction.

    I, for one have now embraced her – bought her book, signed the petition, bookmarked her site, emailed her personally, etc. I hope others will also, while still others re-embrace her.

    In the infamous words of William Pepper,
    “[We’ve all got to] link up, hold hands, and walk out of hell together.”

  77. hellsbells on August 14, 2015, 3:54 pm

    Did anyone actually look at the interviews of concern on youtube before throwing in their 2 cents? We ‘antisemitics’ did. Did they read the stated policy on IAK site where they clearly say they will talk to anyone? Has anyone or group that supports Palestinian justice not been called antisemitic by someone in the last 6 months? Do you think the term antisemitism still have any meaning at all?

    It’s down to WGAF! The most antisemitic people I know are all Jews that lived in Israel and walk out. Who can blame them the real situation is well beyond awful or even describable. It takes 1,000 pages with 800 pages of references to scratch the surface of the horror of the reality of Israel.

    It’s down to this as far as I’m concerned. Is there obvious bigotry on issues beyond Palestine? Are those involved supporting the full breadth of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Do they project racism or homophobia? You can p. off if you think people in the rights movement can be judged on being antisemitic. We have all been judged and all been labelled antisemites. Every damn one of us! That includes everyone involved in the JVP, EI, Mondoweiss etc.

    What we are talking about here is us dividing us by us into who is and who isn’t an antisemite. It’s ridiculous! You are antisemitized by knowing what is going on, it is risibly fallacious to suggest that this isn’t the case. When my Jewish friend Jennifer was jailed by Israel on arrival, deported, reported to Homeland Security and Interpol as a potential terrorist and banned from visiting her family in Israel for like she became VERY antisemitic. I can’t imagine what the JVP would have to say about what she said to me.

    “I’m sure I can prove 110% I’m not an antisemite by claiming someone else is.” Frankly I don’t give a, I want to know you aren’t generally bigoted. I’m expecting antisemitism from anyone who knows what is going on, be they Jewish or not.

    How about we just judge people on if they tell the truth and slam them to the floor when they don’t?

  78. hellsbells on August 14, 2015, 4:55 pm

    No doubt the well known ‘coven’ was involved in this attack on Alison. For people that claim to support Palestine, I’ve only ever seen them talk about antisemitism and never go on task against Zionists.

    • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 6:16 pm

      Who are any of the people in the coven exactly?

      • hellsbells on August 15, 2015, 4:55 pm

        Karen MacRae, Emma Rosenthal, Elise Hendrick… there are a few others. No one is good enough for them. Everyone is someone to attack. Pity the don’t go after people who are actually bigots rather than people who make mistakes or aren’t as perfect as them 100% of the time.

        They got this mits on a document for a USAID proposal which we submitted knowing it had no chance of getting funding, at least that was my stated opinion and I was the one that complied it, then pulled it part as if it had meaning. Making claims it was a work of normalisation, carrying on about the language to be used for source material way English generally going nuts over nothing. In fact there were 5 grant proposals, all written by different people and those who were participants overlapped. The only goal was to get some feedback from USAID as to what they might support. And I’d said to all involved that USAID were only likely to support a project that was physical and not some talk fest. And a $1M was not near enough to do it because of the cost of hiring venues, speakers, marketing, reporting… it was people exploring an idea and using USAID Grants to do it. Then people compared how those ideas varied.

        They attacked Harry Fear for making an error in reporting while he was doing live reports from Gaza when the was was on.

        Went off on a female Palestinian journalist.

        Attacked ‘Greta’s secret group’ which was nothing more than a private group that was used to discuss moderation of a public group.

        They took numerous things, removed the context and came up with ‘racist, white supremacist, normaliser, antisemitic, right wing…’

        Good on them for being politically correct under stress. Then they followed me on Facebook for near a year bring up their crap.

        This garbage has nothing to do with the issues in Palestine. It does nothing helpful at all. If they gave a damn they would spent that time and research effort writing about the long term impact of exposure to teargas. Or if they cared so much about language on the issues of Hebrew, Arabic and English on the contextual meaning of dialogue.

        They have nothing better to do with their time than moan on about others. That’s their big contribution to discourse. They would make a great target for a Monty Python sketch.

        Normal people in a big discussion and capable of moments of lesser judgement. I have my say when I see this lack of judgement but I don’t haunt people over it.

        That’s what is going on here with Alison. I looked at the videos of her interaction with Clay. He’s out there but he’s of little consequence. Says a lot more about Alison’s willingness to take up all opportunities regardless of how little influence they might have. I wouldn’t be surprised if at the time Alison saw this engagement as nothing more than a chance to hone her interview skills. Just like the only expected reward i was expecting a 4AM complying a grant application from late submissions of material was practice in writing a grant application.

        Some of us have learned to say yes to requests. You have the time to participate and therefore you say yes to the opportunity. You can bet Alison never thought making the effort to bother with Clay was more than following through of a policy of saying yes to all opportunities. i never thought saying yes to complying a grant was more than practice at complying a grant. I said: ‘You know this is not going to get up? Send it over I’ll do my best to make it rational.’

        As for Clay, he’s a bit of dick but he’s not unlikable. (Unlike that coven!) We aren’t all out to deal with everything based on being politically correct. My politics is fully opposite to Kamal and some of the others I was involved with. Is that something that makes people unlikable? Are you then unable to help each other because of a failure in politically correct stuff?

        Hell if I had to find people I was in total agreement with to work with no one would make the grade. Alison makes a damn good effort and what she is human? She says yes too often? She hasn’t reached total enlightenment by JVP standards? What those standards of the Jewish community that have given up the Jewish fascist state?

        GAWD!!!

  79. Henry Norr on August 14, 2015, 5:43 pm

    If there’s anyone who has plowed through the 425 previous comments but wants to spend another 20 minutes on this controversy, I was interviewed about it on the KPFA radio show “Voices of the Middle East and North Africa” last week. The archive is at

    https://kpfa.org/episode/voices-of-the-middle-east-and-north-africa-august-5-2015/

    To play it, just click the “Listen” link. The first two thirds of the show are devoted to a long but fascinating discussion of Kurdish politics. If you want to jump right to me, scroll over to about 38:40.

    The host, Khalil Bendib, and I both wanted a debate, and we spent two weeks – even delaying the segment a week – trying to get someone from JVP (national or Bay Area) or the US Campaign to come on and represent their side. They all declined.

    • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 6:13 pm

      Congratulations on your talk.
      For your desire for a discussion (please be friendly), try the comments section here:
      http://afsc.org/friends/palestine-activism-anti-racist-framework

    • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 8:03 pm

      Excellent work on your interview, Henry.

    • ritzl on August 14, 2015, 9:47 pm

      Excellent interview, Henry. Care to speculate why no one showed up to debate you? Backlash hurting, or so obviously right there was no point in further discussion?

      Is that show available on iTunes? The Kurdish discussion was interesting too.

      OT, but I hadn’t heard anything before about the “moderate” factions refusing to drop “Arab” from “Arab Republic of Syria” in recognition of Syria’s Kurds and its overall diversity. It’s a little thing but one that resonates with all the dark motivations and outcomes wrapped up in the “Jewish State” insistence. Good radio show. Great ground-level insight.

    • PeaceThroughJustice on August 15, 2015, 1:34 am

      Thanks for that, Henry. I highly recommend people listen to your interview.

  80. Pixel on August 14, 2015, 6:02 pm

    @khy…1890

    Can someone please translate this paragraph into plain English for me?
    .
    “[Alison Weir] founded an organization to be directed by Americans without personal or family ties to the region who would research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public.”
    .

    How I’m reading it, right now, is very troubling to me and, if it says what I think it’s saying, then I’M offended! Not on AW’s behalf, so much as on behalf of most Americans which this seems to be excluding.

    Ties to the region? Ties to the region???? My tax dollars aside, the only tie to the region that I need is that I’m a fellow human being!

    Somebody please try to straighten me out, here, because, if not, JVP, may not be getting – ANY – more of my money. …AND I’m going to be royally p*ssed off!!

    • Pixel on August 14, 2015, 6:07 pm

      TRULY the naive fool that I am, my default assumption is always that people are universalists, ESPECIALLY when it involves fighting for human rights!!

    • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 6:18 pm

      Pixel,

      That is a paragraph by IAK saying that Weir meant for IAK to be directed by people without family ties to the region. I think she means she doesn’t want people with direct relatives who live in the Levant to direct IAK because of possible bias and because she wants a US perspective for the directorship. She never said she excludes other voices and she quotes Jews and Palestinians often in fact.

      • Pixel on August 15, 2015, 2:29 pm

        @WJ

        Thank-you.

        I completely misread the entire paragraph.

        I’m embarrassed to say that, through the radial blur of the red rats that have sometimes been menacing my eyesight in this discussion, I honestly thought it was a JVP statement indicating that no one should be involved who did – not – have family ties to the region!

        “Pixel, take a deep breath, calm down, and read more carefully.”

    • Citizen on August 15, 2015, 4:47 am

      Weir means she wants her organization to be directed by people without personal family ties to the region; this to inhibit bias so her target audience, the American public, gets objective information, the information the US main media never gives said public. There’s no conflict with humanist perspective. IAK originated in Weir’s trip to the ME, when she first encountered the reality of the Palestinian plight, knowing the US enabled it. That is, the original motivation for IAK sprang from Weir’s universalist mentality.

      • Pixel on August 15, 2015, 2:13 pm

        @citizen

        You make very important points.

  81. jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 6:34 pm

    Annie (and others too):

    I concede that can’t keep up anymore :)

    “What about the possibility that JVP, ETO, and other Weir critics think her messaging A. does not fit within the universal antiracist principles of the movement B. can harm the movement by further damaging the credibility of the movement and associated organizations for their target audiences?”

    First, as you referenced earlier about his being about issues that have been ongoing even before the recent controversy, do you think this a problem of older Palestinian solidarity activists vs. the newer, younger BDS movement? JVP, ETO, and many others are focused on BDS, but I see Weir as part of the broader (and older) Palestinian Solidarity movement but not necessarily part of the BDS movement. Is that right? And does that maybe also apply to many of the commenters here?

    As far as who target audiences are here, I would say one big one at this stage is still college students as the BDS movement is probably the fastest growing campus movement right now, and college students have historically been some of the most dedicated activists in social movements, which we can also see from the many BDS initiatives on college campuses. So undecided or conflicted college students, including Zionist ones. Does that seem reasonable?

    For example, this fall, Sheldon Adelson’s $50 million-funded new “Campus Maccabees” organization whose members will be out on college campuses looking for ways to discredit BDS activists. Whose messaging is more likely to be a problem? JVP’s or Weir’s? This is a total generalization, I admit, but I can see Weir’s message and style to be much more effective with older, whiter, less liberal Americans, but maybe a little less effective on college campuses, especially with StandWithUs and the Campus Maccabees on the hunt for evidence of antisemitism to tarnish BDS?

    Maybe the solution is for the movement to split based on target audiences. Weir can go for the older, more libertarian audiences and JVP, ETO, and others in the BDS movement can stick to college students and other more moderate to liberal Americans more interested in social justice and anti-racism. Weir can go her way and do her own events for her own audiences and the rest of us can do our own thing too?

    Both camps working in solidarity for Palestinians but for different audiences? One audience doesn’t mind and is even maybe attracted by antisemitic and white supremacist rhetoric and the other audience is more progressive and antiracist. Would that work?

    • W.Jones on August 14, 2015, 6:46 pm

      Maybe the solution is for the movement to split based on target audiences…

      Both camps working in solidarity for Palestinians but for different audiences? One audience doesn’t mind and is even maybe attracted by antisemitic and white supremacist rhetoric and the other audience is more progressive and antiracist. Would that work?

      (ಠ_ರೃ)
      I am confused. Are you actually expressly considering advocating this, or trying to get someone else to discuss something self-incriminating like this?

      • annie on August 14, 2015, 9:30 pm

        I am confused.

        don’t be w.jones. it’s a transparent dig. there’s also the whole elevation of the topic of anti semitism, which is adopting the priority and framing of bds campus adversaries — which seems weird. as if it’s somehow on a par with freedom for palestine in this movement. maybe for some people it is. it clearly seems to be a priority for jennifer.

      • Mooser on August 14, 2015, 10:48 pm

        “Both camps working in solidarity for Palestinians but for different audiences? One audience doesn’t mind and is even maybe attracted by antisemitic and white supremacist rhetoric and the other audience is more progressive and antiracist. Would that work?”

        Why yes, it very well might! Not a bad suggestion!

        Look, it is simply unrealistic to expect this issue (I-P) to be discussed on a level or in a way which is any different from the way any other issue is discussed in the US. And JVP should know that.

    • tree on August 14, 2015, 11:57 pm

      This is a total generalization, I admit, but I can see Weir’s message and style to be much more effective with older, whiter, less liberal Americans, but maybe a little less effective on college campuses, especially with StandWithUs and the Campus Maccabees on the hunt for evidence of antisemitism to tarnish BDS?

      Wow, ageism and racism in one statement. Nice to know that you think that Alllison deserves the “anti-semite” treatment, but excuse your own bigotry with a “total generalization” disclaimer. Since you know little about Allison and have made that very obvious, I’ll inform you that Allison has appeared on many US campuses and has been well received by students. I attended one of her presentations at UCLA in 2007, where she introduced “Occupation 101” a film made by two young Palestinians that was narrated by Weir. You really don’t seem to mind speaking out of complete ignorance. Hopefully you’ll wise up with age, but you aren’t showing any signs of it here.

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 12:26 am

        scroll down to the base of the page tree. see her parting note.

      • tree on August 15, 2015, 12:51 am

        There were so many new comments here I missed a few of them and had to go back. I missed this from Jennifer on my first pass through.

        do you think this a problem of older Palestinian solidarity activists vs. the newer, younger BDS movement? JVP, ETO, and many others are focused on BDS, but I see Weir as part of the broader (and older) Palestinian Solidarity movement but not necessarily part of the BDS movement. Is that right? And does that maybe also apply to many of the commenters here?

        Wow, ignorance must be bliss. IAK endorsed BDS years ago. JVP only endorsed it fully this past February. My estimation is that the majority of commenters here endorse BDS and have for much longer than JVP has.

        scroll down to the base of the page tree. see her parting note.

        Thanks annie. She’s older than I would have assumed from her short bio. Even less excuse for the ignorance about Weir. I suspect she’s a newbie to the movement. Maybe she’ll wise up, maybe not.

      • echinococcus on August 15, 2015, 3:26 am

        Tree,

        IAK endorsed BDS years ago. JVP only endorsed it fully this past February. My estimation is that the majority of commenters here endorse BDS and have for much longer than JVP has

        Fully? As far as I understand, JVP and some similar outfits (at least the UK organization) have not endorsed it fully: they started by changing the bylaws to reduce the definition of Zionist-occupied land to only territories occupied after 1967! They are the ones, as far as I know, who have started and generalized the “boycotts” limited to the post-67-occupied zone only. Very free with what isn’t theirs to give away (and please nobody try to tell me that “the Palestinians” wanted it so; a couple Palestinians perhaps, but even Dahlan is Palestinian, at that, and they also don’t have the personal right to give it away.) This is a Beinart boycott, an action exactly calculated to perpetuate the Zionist hold on Palestine.
        I’ll be very happy to be told it ain’t so.

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 3:32 pm

        tree, i suspect she’s a newbie to the movement too. for one thing, she uses hella hasbara tactics that anyone whose been around for awhile knows are the mainstay of pro israeli advocacy. that was the first thing i noticed when i read the article before we published it. it’s very disconcerting hearing those tactics coming from a supposedly “progressive” side of the movement. it’s really not like anything i’ve heard from sjp kids arguing for divestment (and i’ve interviewed and interacted with a fair amount of them in my capacity as editor here, they’re smart). it’s hard to imagine this kind of rhetorical point scoring migrating to the left. but maybe it’s happening i don’t know, i hope not. this is really a first for me, and it’s so blatant. the casualness of the racism is almost mindblowing. i thought she was young at first too. i almost felt sorry for her. not anymore.

      • tree on August 15, 2015, 10:00 pm

        echinococcus,

        Here’s a source for JVP finally endorsing full BDS.

        http://jewschool.com/2015/02/34101/jewish-voice-peace-endorses-bds/

      • echinococcus on August 16, 2015, 4:44 pm

        Tree,

        Your link confirms fully what I said.
        What they endorse is a changed goal.

        “Ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 ..”

        From the earlier “occupied”, period.
        This change had been implemented in the shadows and away from all publicity. The people who denounced it were immediately the subject of a hysterical excommunication campaign. That is in fact the real reason of the shit thrown incessantly at Atzmon. That some Palestinian individuals are part of that doesn’t change the nature of this renunciation.

        Once more: the BDS people are just giving away the imprescriptible land, possessions and right to sovereignty of the Palestinian people. The invasion of Palestine did not start with the 1967 attack, and nothing indicates that the Palestinian people free from armed menace would ever endorse any partition, let alone some American-brokered shady deal between the Zionist invaders and a Quisling representation.

  82. jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 6:51 pm

    To everyone:

    It has been real, y’all! That’s for sure!

    Don’t worry too much about me. I got myself into this after all. And I am not expecting anyone to come to my assistance. And, again, I am only speaking for myself and my own perspective on the issue. I do not claim to represent JVP or ETO. I have been through a lot worse. But I do hope that I haven’t caused more problems for them than was the situation before my piece was published. I guess I may have helped Weir sell a few books, though :)

    Besides, most of you have been very respectful and enjoyable to engage with. And we’ll get past this and move forward.

    And I am certainly happy to sacrifice any personal pride I have for the sake of justice for Palestinians. I have learned a lot here. Thank you all.

    I’ll leave you all with a Dylan quote. I may be younger than most of you, being born in the late 70s, but I do know Dylan:

    For us:

    “don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s namin'”

    And for the Palestinians and the movement as a whole:

    “For the loser now
    Will be later to win”

    Good luck to all of you!

    Peace, love, and justice,

    Jennifer

    • PeaceThroughJustice on August 14, 2015, 8:03 pm

      Bye Jennifer.

      “I guess I may have helped Weir sell a few books, though”

      Alison Weir has been trudging around this country speaking at libraries and churches in small towns for more than 10 years — wherever she could get a hearing. She spoke at the town where I live, but only because the local Jewish community organization had failed to block the event. This is a case where someone has given their life to a cause — for Weir the cause of disentangling America from zionism. Even if you don’t share her cause, don’t you worry about the damage you have done to her? Is the evil of intentionally destroying someone’s life work worse than the evil of speaking on a right-wing radio outlet?

      (BTW, JVP’s accusations have already been plastered over the Wikepedia page for If Americans Knew — right next to Abe Foxman’s.)

      • pianoteacher on August 15, 2015, 5:17 pm

        The smear campaign against Alison Weir in an attempt to suppress her book has been a disgrace. She has clearly stated that her goal is to reach people outside the choir, and will speak wherever she is given the opportunity. She wants to reach all Americans, and for people who think that means only white ones, they should know that Americans include all sorts of different people of all colors and walks of life!
        Of all people in our movement, it is Alison who most successfully goes beyond preaching to the choir, and we chastise her for it! We, who only speak on progressive shows because it is so much more comfortable to have an interviewer who agrees with everything you say! What cowards we are!

        And yes, her book is still on the best seller list for history of Palestine and Israel. Of course it changes every hour when they update it, but right now it is at number 27.
        I do hope everyone on this forum has read it, and explored some of the 373 references, which are fascinating. Sure, the information was out there before, but in obscure Jewish books that no one has heard of, or newspaper archives from Australia from 1947 that no one is likely to stumble on in the normal course of their day.

  83. alfa on August 14, 2015, 8:00 pm

    Wonderful discussion and opportunity to air disagreement which the control freaks arrogantly dodged. JVP members don’t give up, there is much good accomplished by the organization. I’m disgusted with the actions of the JVP leaders(?), signed the StopDivisiveAttacks letter, however, I just voted in the board election and made a donation to the project to inform Congress the intelligent Jews do not support the attack on the Iran deal nor anti-Muslim hatred. I have faith the wise members of JVP will prevail in the long run. Let us all avoid being caught up in divisiveness madness. This is just a opening attack by the billionaire supported monkey wrench gang, stick together, smile and Take Heart, they are self destructing.

    • Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 11:32 pm

      Do you know if the board of JVP is exclusively Jewish? Does anyone know?

      • echinococcus on August 15, 2015, 3:30 am

        Kathleen,

        I suppose an answer to your question is irrelevant, as long as the official shingle is exclusive.

  84. on August 14, 2015, 8:25 pm

    Please note that The Free Palestine Movement has resigned from the USCEIO/ETO because of their treatment of Alison Weir. The detailed reasons and resignation letter can be found at their web site. http://freepalestinemovement.org

    • tree on August 14, 2015, 11:32 pm

      Wow! That is some strongly worded statement!

    • Citizen on August 16, 2015, 2:16 am

      Excerpt:

      We resign because the policy implicitly gives priority to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as forms of racism and does not even mention Zionism in the policy statement.

      We resign because the cause of Palestinian suffering and ethnic cleansing is not anti-Semitism, but rather Zionism.

      We resign because the USCEIO is in violation of its own policy on racism because it tolerates Zionism in its midst and neither confronts nor challenges it.

      We resign because the mission of the USCEIO is hypocrisy: to apply double standards to racism and to tolerate Zionism while using anti-Semitism as a tool to determine who may be permitted to participate in the Palestine Rights Movement.

  85. Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 10:14 pm

    I have not read all of Allison Weir’s writings although I do know she and her organization have been far more effective at getting the information about the illegal and immoral occupation better than Jewish Voice for Peace and The U.S. Campaign to end the Occupation. She has been invited to campuses and communities across the nation so one would have to wonder why these groups are hammering her so hard right now. Threatened because of the effect she and her organization are having which seems to be far more powerful than either of the other groups blowing her off.

    Just read piece and going to read again. Have have heard her speak at least four times and have only heard facts that I have heard elsewhere being stated. During the Move over Aipac gatherings in D.C. road a train with her. This was about five years ago. She was being followed and harassed by some guys who were relentless in their verbal attacks on her. Watched these same thugs harassing the hasidic Jewish guys outside of the Aipac convention. Real cruel thugsters.

    Have to wonder who is after her and why? Is she really an anti semitic or just being incredibly effective? Would really like to hear Norman Finkelstein’s take on this situation.

    Her group If Americans Knew has some of the most informative brochures, cards, information packets going. You can purchase and if you do not have the money they will send them to you to pass out

  86. Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 10:32 pm

    This whole piece sure got me thinking about the trafficking in organ harvesting rings. Do remember that story in New Jersey/New York where there were quite a few alleged religious folks involved.

    I am curious about who approached JVP to examine Allison Weir and her writings. (Again have not read them all) She surely has had some thug types after her. Witnessed it with my own eyes. Wondering what Phil, Max others think? Have not read through all comments

  87. Kathleen on August 14, 2015, 10:32 pm

    This whole piece sure got me thinking about the trafficking in organ harvesting rings. Do remember that story in New Jersey/New York where there were quite a few alleged religious folks involved. That story sure fell off the national stage rather quickly

    I am curious about who approached JVP to examine Allison Weir and her writings. (Again have not read them all) She surely has had some thug types after her. Witnessed it with my own eyes. Wondering what Phil, Max others think? Have not read through all comments

  88. jhitchcock on August 14, 2015, 10:34 pm

    Not sure if anyone else thought this when I quoted Dylan, but Rudy kindly informed me that not all of Dylan’s later songs are very cool. I had never heard of his 1983 Zionist anthem, “Neighboorhood Bully,” nor that Dylan was associated with the Chabad movement. So apparently I am ignorant about Dylan. I usually listened to earlier Dylan from the 60s and early 70s–like “Masters of War” and “Pawn in Their Game” and other more apolitical stuff too. What happened to Dylan in the 1980s? Didn’t he become a Christian at some point around then?

    Sorry if anyone thus perceived the song lyrics as totally inappropriate and offensive. If some people here are so anti-Dylan that you find my choice offensive, even though there was nothing explicitly Zionist in the song I talked about, how dare you! Ha, ha! :)

    I still think those particular lyrics from “The Times They Are A Changin'” are fitting, though. And despite this current “division” in the movement, Palestinians will win eventually, hopefully sooner than later. It may take a few more years, but the movement will succeed because justice is on our side.

    So instead of Dylan, I’ll leave you all with one of my favorite songs by a Palestinian group whose music many of you probably won’t appreciate because you are too old and white (sorry, I may be totally generalizing here, but I’m guessing there aren’t that many hip hop fans in this virtual room of about 30 people, right?). Great song and video!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIo6lyP9tTE

    Take care, and have a good weekend!

    • annie on August 14, 2015, 11:09 pm

      there are a lot of people who comment here, including people on this thread who are not white jennifer. your comment is very offensive and racist.

      p.s. the people here you think are so “old” are from a generation who have been listening to hip hop since before you were born. the chance that anyone here has not heard of DAM, is nil. it’s quite fitting you’d end on this note of rudeness and ignorance.

    • jhitchcock on August 15, 2015, 1:52 am

      You’re right, Annie, that was a terrible way to end.

      It’s late and I should have ended with my previous comment. That was my intention.

      I have been getting just a little beaten up doing this on my own in here after all. Sorry I let it get to me at bit. Totally poor form, not very civil, and not good for my credibility.

      I guess I also belatedly realized that there was nothing I could say that would persuade any of the remaining commenters and that I should have bowed out long ago, at which point I decided to throw in the towel and end with some Palestinian rap.

      Thank you all again for engaging with me in this discussion. I plan on rereading the comments to fully understand the perspectives offered.

      We will all find a way to continue working toward our common goals on behalf of Palestinian rights.

      Take care all!

    • Citizen on August 15, 2015, 5:19 am

      @jhitchcock

      You’ve done an excellent job of displaying your ignorant, juvenile, and wide-ranging, sweeping bigoted nature. Your logic is very careless too. As a parting gift to you, I will link here to a recent very short article by Andrew Levine about anti-semitism from Dreyfus to Sheldon Adelson. You’re a little kid, and you’re playing with matches: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/14/aipac-headed-for-defeat-but-thats-not-why-its-bad-for-the-jews/

      • Citizen on August 15, 2015, 5:42 am

        And, BTW, Jennifer: Weir is correct to push out the basic facts on how the Palestinians have been abused as a dire example of how AIPAC et al have hijacked US foreign policy, and how the Zionists got such a hold on America, going all the way back to when the doughboys were sent into WW1 by Wilson, who in his dotage, said it was the worst mistake he ever made. http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/14/israel-congress-and-the-iran-nuclear-agreement/

      • Taxi on August 15, 2015, 11:45 am

        I’m giving you a high-five – followed by another high-five. I’m giving you a high-ten dearest Citizen for your succinct and absolutely accurate critique of muss hitchcock.

        And I’m laughing cuz I don’t think hitchcock will touch your counterpunch link with a ten foot pole. LOL! CounterPunch and VeteransToday are only like in the top five alternative media outlets with steadily growing readerships – this must be scary for the anti-truth zio brigade that hitchcock clearly is a member of.

      • Citizen on August 15, 2015, 4:19 pm

        @ Taxi

        Hi ten!
        Ten for the max ten of US congress anytime who ever really considering to prioritize the US and world common weal when it comes to all things Israel.

      • annie on August 15, 2015, 5:36 pm

        taxi, how very white of you to say! (that was a snark everyone)

      • Taxi on August 15, 2015, 5:51 pm

        Beige.

  89. PeaceThroughJustice on August 15, 2015, 8:34 am

    I think it’s time for a little damage assessment. Who solicited this piece from Jennifer Hitchcock? I don’t want to attack her because I think she has been both brave and loyal to people she considers to be her friends. But it’s clear she hasn’t really thought about any of the issues at hand and, more importantly, she’s not even an officer of JVP and she didn’t have any say in the decision to blacklist Alison. So why is she here? Were officials from JVP asked to participate? Did they refuse? And why have they left Jennifer swinging in the wind like this? Have they nothing to say to any of the points that have been raised?

    And is there any chance we can hear something from the cowardly EtO — just who on their board of trustees initiated this process that so neatly aligned with JVP’s preoccupations? Was it the JVP member by any chance? Was it really a democratic process? Has there been any feedback from their other members?

    • annie on August 15, 2015, 5:32 pm

      Who solicited this piece from Jennifer Hitchcock?

      peacethrujustice, it is not my understanding the article was solicited. as i explained earlier (seriously now, you have not read EVERY comment on this thread!?!! – snark) the 3 articles published above were all sent into the site voluntarily as submissions. they were the only articles sent to mondoweiss regarding this issue. i have no idea why adam and phil decided to publish them now nor do i know when they arrived.

      i have (as i assume adam and phil have) received numerous requests that i wrote about this for the site. however, i never felt on the ‘inside’ of this issue enough nor qualified to write about it.

  90. annie on August 15, 2015, 10:54 am

    Susan Landau was is having trouble logging in, and asked us to post this comment for her:

    Comment from Susan Landau:

    Thank you, Adam, Phil, MW. Thank you, Annie. It is heartening that so many of us care deeply about this issue and are participating in this critical conversation. And indeed dispiriting that JVP and ETO voices are largely absent from the mix. How to understand this silence? Perhaps diagnostic, affirming an unwillingness to engage beyond sharing internal organizational process and pronouncements. True, each has made their positions clear. Yet still, I would have hoped for some acknowledgement of the impact of definitive declarations and actions on the rest of us. That warrants a response. Honest expressions of bewilderment, frustration, anger, and requests for clarification are met by silence. While there is no requirement for engagement in this forum, MW has opened a space for constructive ‘conversation,’ an exchange of views, and a window into understanding each other. Wasn’t it the missed opportunity for respectful engagement that led to this situation in the first place?

  91. Henry Norr on August 15, 2015, 12:18 pm

    I just discovered that the website for “Dreams Deferred,” a documentary film made by Ms. Hitchcock and her husband, is called http://www.supportisraelfreepalestine.org . I wonder what exactly they mean by the “supportisrael’ part. Has anyone here watched the film?

    JVP’s platform says it supports “the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination,” but even they, as far as I know,, don’t say they “support Israel.”

    • irishmoses on August 15, 2015, 2:28 pm

      Thanks Henry,

      After looking at the trailer, I’ve revised my earlier expressed views regarding Ms. Hitchcock’s genuineness. She’s clearly been actively involved in the I-P issue. The full documentary is also available at the link you provide. I plan on looking at it when I find the time.

      I’d still like to know what motivated her to come down on the side of those who oppose Weir and her activities. There seems to be a real schism between those who see antisemitism in any variance from the normal narrative and those of us who feel people like Weir, Atzmon, Finkelstein, et al, deserve some slack, not to mention fair treatment.

    • W.Jones on August 15, 2015, 4:03 pm

      Henry:

      On the website, the most relevant article is the 30 page one J.H.’s site calls “A primer on the history of anti-Semitism and its relation to the Left”

      The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere
      http://www.supportisraelfreepalestine.org/documentary_site/anti-semitism_files/Antisemitism_Rosenblum.pdf

      The Left has long procrastinated on taking on anti-Jewish oppression. In part we’ve had trouble because it looks different from the oppressions we understand, which enforce inferiority on oppressed groups to disempower them…

      Even in the U.S. , where Jews have had 200 years of exceptional physical safety, it’s a background hum: be it rumors placing Jews or Israelis behind 9/11, the hit film that restaged the “Passion plays” which sparked annual Easter massacres of Jews in medieval Europe, or theories arising amid growing public disenchantment with the Iraq war that it was fought for Jewish or Israeli interests.

      Yes it would be wrong and very anti-Semitic to say that “the Jews were behind 9/11”. But can you say how was “The Passion” film itself anti-Semitic, even though there were frightful medieval massacres?

      Henry, have you ever heard about this:

      – In WW2, as armed Jewish resisters fought back against the Nazis and Eastern Europeans resisted the German occupation, significant numbers of gentile fighters acted out anti-Jewish oppression at the Jews fighting beside them – refusing to team up in battle, even murdering Jews as they sought hiding places in their vicinity.

      I am not aware of Tito or the Poles doing this, but did they? The only instance I can thi