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Palestinians took over in the afternoon, at the Haaretz NIF conference

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On my way into the New Israel Fund Haaretz conference on the future of Israel Sunday morning I felt I had made a mistake in coming. The long security line was filled with American and Israeli Jews, some talking Hebrew, and I felt angry and duped that anyone would even undertake a discussion of this huge political question with a Jim Crow crowd. That American Jews could tell themselves that it was sufficient to gather Jews to the issue was (as always) infuriating. It would be like negotiating the future of the American South with a conference of white people. And at the same time, the monocultural crowd gave me confidence about my progressive community’s inevitability. If Jews must maintain a majority even in these conversations– well, Zionism really is self-defeating. I texted a friend, “I hate Zionism.”

By the end of the day I felt much different. There was a distinct minority of Palestinian voices at the conference, but they were the most powerful voices. They were not token, they had a platform; they came on strong in the afternoon, and audiences listened to them rapt. Ayman Odeh the member of the Israeli Knesset who is head of the Joint List was saluted like a rock star at the end of his speech calling for a shared future of equal rights. (Watch the crowd leap to its feet at 4:50 below)

Saeb Erekat provided the signature moment of the event when he said that his nephew was killed last week at Hizma crossing and Israeli leaders had called on him not to attend the funeral. You could hear a pin drop. Rula Jebreal was cheered after saying, “Revise your Zionist project, reform it, because…. it’s an ethno-religious project and this is incompatible with democracy and with modernity.” Sayed Kashua drew bitter laughter when he said he had moved to Illinois because “I couldn’t really lie any longer to my children… to say to them one day you will be equal citizens in the state of Israel.” Jafar Farrah of the Mossawa Center got a room full of progressives to its feet when he explained the apartheid circumstances of Palestinians inside Israel– we can’t build universities–

and responded to a challenge from the Haaretz moderator about why Palestinians don’t vote, to say the political challenge is to organize Jews in Israel and the US:

“It wasn’t easy for us to… come to talk to Jewish Americans. It’s important for us to do it because if we believe that if we want to liberate ourself from this occupation and racism and tyranny we need to talk to the Jews, we need to outreach to the Jewish communities…. We need you to start to go influence more Jews and give us access to the Jewish communities. We want to talk to Jews to convince them to end occupation…”

It was a flattering line. It gave the largely-Jewish audience the sense, We can be relevant on the left; we too can be engaged with a transformative idealistic movement, ala Black Lives Matter and economic justice advocacy; we are not going to be PEP (Progressive Except Palestine). Of course, the organized Jewish community simply cannot stand in that space, because it is privileged and conservative, and wears the cement shoes of Zionism. But American Jews got the thrilling sense that they can be aligned with a movement for minority rights. That is of course an anti-Zionist mood. It is the space that Jewish Voice for Peace has already carved out by supporting BDS. Haaretz and New Israel Fund are in their own way seeking to capture that spirit without calling it anti-Zionist.

And no, these were not Palestinians on the front lines of the occupation. But it was a pleasure for once to see the usual Jewish heroes, Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, outshined.

Of course there was the usual Zionist claptrap at the conference. Ari Shavit ended the day with smug pronouncements about American Jews needing Israel to be Jews. Tzipi Livni began the day by chanting nervously that Israel was the state of the Jewish people, including Diaspora Jewry; please stick with us, and Labor will rise again (and slaughter Palestinians in Gaza). She and Reuven Rivlin both attacked Breaking the Silence. UN Ambassador Samantha Power was a deep disappointment.

But Zionist messaging was not the theme of the conference; it was the craving on the part of young progressive American Jews in the age of Ferguson and Trump to be involved in an idealistic cause in Israel and Palestine. So the conference was more of a spiritual revival meeting than a political organizing conference: it had no real political agenda, but it was an alert to the Jewish community that young Jews are going to be allied with Palestinians. And that in the end has to mean Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. (Jeffrey Goldberg conceded the same point, spitefully, at the Saban Forum last weekend: the Jewish kids are lost to us, the most popular Jewish group at his daughter’s fancy New England school is JVP).

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of the the downtown Beit Simchat Torah (LGBT strong) synagogue in New York said you have to have BDS Jews in the community. Peter Beinart also said as much. I saw several anti-Zionists at the conference, as well as a number of folks who are surely in the Anything to have peace camp– even if that means the end of a Jewish state. There was a table with leaflets headlined, “Save Israel, Stop the Occupation.” I thought at first this was another effort to redeem the blessed Jewish state; but it is better than that. It says that if Israel has not achieved a two-state solution by the 50th anniversary of the occupation, next year, we must begin a campaign for “equal rights for all in all territories under its control.” Yes I know; Palestinian solidarity groups are already there, and another year and two weeks is a long time to wait when you are getting stuffed into a racist cattle gate at a checkpoint. But whoever is behind this group is not very Zionist.

Save Israel Stop the Occupation

Save Israel Stop the Occupation

And while there was no political agenda to the conference, the implicit thrust was a call for sanctions on Israel over the settlements. Colette Avital, a former Israeli ambassador, said in so many words that Israel must be stopped; and the world must do it with pressure. Lara Friedman said that the European gesture of labeling settlement goods is not enough. Peter Beinart did his usual tap dance about wanting to boycott settlement goods but not supporting BDS because he doesn’t want to end the Jewish state; but he also said that going to the occupied territories is a shattering experience and any American Jew who goes to Israel without seeing the West Bank is living in la la land. Ayman Odeh, Rula Jebreal, Jafar Farrah, and Amal Elsana Alh’jooj were there to represent Palestinian experience. When Saeb Erekat said “there are roads I can’t drive on” in the West Bank, and when Ayman Odeh spoke about the Nakba, they made the Zionist appeals seem provincial and outdated.

There were two particularly conservative voices at the conference which must be addressed. Ambassador Power gave a speech she could have given at AIPAC. It was all about working hard to make sure Israel was not delegitimized at the UN and her effort to get it on to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space– COPUOS. She recounted how hard she had lobbied for Israel. “We worked the phones; we cornered countries’ representatives at the UN in strange places.” Any hope that the ambassador would offer some break from the soft gruel of Obama administration messaging was dashed. She offered meaningless measures for Palestinian freedom: “immediate and concrete steps, including increasing Palestinian civil authority and strengthening the Palestinian economy; steps that would resume the transition envisaged by the Oslo accords without undermining Israel’s security.” Her strongest criticism of Israel was “continued settlement growth raises honest questions about Israel’s long-term intentions.” Rob Malley was much stronger when he said repeatedly that the failure of the peace process was fueling extremism in the region. Some said Power had misjudged her audience, others that she was under political orders not to make any mistake that would endanger Democrats. For an audience that wants change, it was a real damper.

The other conservative voice that jarred was Ari Shavit. I have always found him to be a provincial who believes himself to be worldly. He proves it again and again. He said that American Jewish identity is now dependent on Israel and in exchange for keeping us Jewish, American Jews must support Israel in the U.S. This is an old bargain and a hollow one. If that’s what being Jewish means, I’d rather be a lamppost in Denver (as Sonny Liston said). The people in the room, both Jews and non-Jews, don’t want that relationship between America and Israel.

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69 Responses

  1. JWalters
    December 15, 2015, 3:52 pm

    Thank you for the vivid account and thoughtful perspective on this wonderful event. I almost felt like I was there. Profound thanks to Haaretz and NIF for inviting these great Palestinian representatives to speak honestly.

    This really looks like the tides are shifting. Great news!

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      Lillian Rosengarten
      December 16, 2015, 9:48 am

      Wish I had been there. Bravo Phil for this excellent account. It speaks of hope and a gradual defeat of all the Samantha Powers’ in the US administration. She has morphed into a puppet for apartheid and is a feckless player for US policy.

  2. annie
    December 15, 2015, 4:20 pm

    i agree w/jwalters, thanks for a great article phil. very entertaining.

    • Mooser
      December 15, 2015, 6:23 pm

      “On my way into the New Israel Fund Haaretz conference on the future of Israel Sunday morning”

      I’m very glad to hear it turned out better than you thought it could going in. And good for Haaretz!

  3. chesimardstamp
    December 15, 2015, 6:08 pm

    Yes. Thanx for the extra ammo for explaining to my mother why I am in no rush to read My Promised Land. Not sure she quite felt me when I scoffed at the Thomas Friedman blurb on the back as my initial reason.
    So glad the wall of cynical and delusional myopia among Jews wrt the existence of Palestinian democrats is finally beginning to crack on a large scale.

  4. pabelmont
    December 15, 2015, 6:33 pm

    J-Street, move over for Ha’aretz! Wow!

  5. Kay24
    December 15, 2015, 7:27 pm

    Good for Haaretz, in fact brave too. I have always got the latest information regarding the I/P issue, not from the US media, but from Haaretz, who is always up to date, honest, and able to criticize without hesitation, Israeli policies. This new venture is very welcoming.

    • Mooser
      December 15, 2015, 8:13 pm

      “Hophmi” Is there a point you are trying to make? What is it? It’s too subtle for me, would you mind stating it?

      • annie
        December 15, 2015, 8:42 pm

        yes, he’s providing us another example of what can happen to citizens of a country when their government imposes a brutal occupation on millions of people for decades (killing and imprisoning thousands and thousands of them including children).

      • Kris
        December 15, 2015, 8:47 pm

        hophmi’s link is to a story about Israeli Jews being hurt after a car driven by a young Palestinian in Jerusalem hit them. One of the injured was a baby.

        It is an awful shock to hophmi when Israeli Jews are injured.

        In hophmi’s world, only Palestinians are supposed to be injured or killed. These Israeli Jews were guilty of nothing but waiting for a bus, and so shouldn’t have been hurt.

        But the Palestinians are all guilty of owning the land that Israeli Jews want, so it is always open season on Palestinians, whatever their ages, whatever they happen to be doing.

      • annie
        December 15, 2015, 9:05 pm

        the article has a problem in that it somewhat contradicts its source embed. the article says

        Police shot dead the Palestinian assailant while he was still inside his car………“Officers and security personnel patrolling the area responded immediately and neutralized the terrorist as he attempted to exit the car with an ax, killing him,” Rosenfeld said

        then the source says a search of the car turned up an ax.

        A search of the man’s badly damaged vehicle uncovered an ax.

        so how do they know the man attempted to exit the car with an ax. the ax would have had to be in his hand. i doubt that by the photograph of the ax which looks like it came right off the shelf of a store, never used. it doesn’t look like it was in a car accident of a “badly damaged” vehicle. even the photo caption says “Axe found in the car of the terrorist (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE).” one would imagine they would have mentioned it if they apprehended an ax from the drivers hand[s].

        this reminds me of that video from a few weeks ago of a fanatical soldier driving a military jeep chasing and mowing down a running palestinian teen. just rammed right into him full speed. it was after a protest as i recall (my memory could be off) i think he was a protestors or rock thrower (allegedly) or something. just drove right into him.

        those israelis should tell their military not to use cars as weapons, on account of the likely repercussions. in fact, they should stop murdering palestinians altogether, on account of the likely repercussions. i read the other day about a jewish terrorist who ran over a 16 year old girl and then shot her dead.

        A prominent Israeli settler ran over a 16-year-old Palestinian girl and then shot her dead [on Sunday]

        maybe Abd al-Muhsam Hasuna, 24, of Beit Hanina didn’t like reading about the jewish terrorist running over 16-year-old Ashraqat Taha Ahmad Qatanani from Nablus, and then shooting her dead.

      • Mooser
        December 15, 2015, 10:39 pm

        Perhaps “Hophmi” feels we should be reading “J-post” instead of wasting time on an anti-Israel paper like Haaretz.

      • WH
        December 16, 2015, 2:18 am

        D for deflection, remember?

      • Mooser
        December 16, 2015, 12:01 pm

        “Hophmi”, look, when you post something like that, listen for that squelching sound when you push “Post Comment” and then sniff, once or twice. Remember, you’ve still got ten minutes to clean it up before anybody sees it.

    • talknic
      December 16, 2015, 2:11 am

      Another car accident blamed on terrorism hophmi?

      • Marnie
        December 17, 2015, 12:13 am

        That’s a good point. Driving in this place is a real test of nerves. I wasn’t that great of a driver in the US so felt it would be best if I never got a license here. More Israelis have been killed behind the wheel than in all the wars it started. Why? Because they drive like freaking maniacs, as if they own the place!

    • eljay
      December 16, 2015, 7:15 am

      || hophmi: link to ||

      That is a terrible tragedy. The perpetrator must be brought to justice and held accountable for his crime.

      Ooops, too late! The non-Jew was summarily executed by “Jewish State” police. So much for justice.

      You do realize that the unjust and immoral actions of the perpetrator do not justify Israel’s past and on-going (war) crimes, or absolve it of those crimes or of its obligations under international law…right?

    • Misterioso
      December 16, 2015, 10:33 am


      Some perspective:
      Counting the kids from 2000 until today.
      For every Jewish Israeli child killed by Palestinians, 15.8 Palestinian children have been killed by Jewish Israelis since the year 2000.

    • Bumblebye
      December 16, 2015, 2:31 pm

      Given the amount of water on the road, it looks as if the vehicle could have aquaplaned, and the (non-Jewish) driver executed for an accident/bad drainage on the street.

    • Brewer
      December 17, 2015, 1:20 am

      This incident has all the appearance of a motor vehicle accident. Not saying it was, just observing that no-one could possibly distinguish between an accident, the like of which occurs every day in some part of the World, and this incident on first glance.
      We will never know of course but then, neither did the Israeli Police.
      Why then did the police open fire immediately? Don’t give me the “he had an axe” – any police officer worth his salt could cope with that.
      Was the vehicle identifiable as Palestinian?

  6. John Douglas
    John Douglas
    December 15, 2015, 8:37 pm

    Shavit: “. . . in exchange for [Israel’s} keeping us Jewish, American Jews must support Israel in the U.S.”

    What could this possibly mean? Question the Zionist project and you’re not a real Jew? Not sufficiently Jewish? Betraying your people? Israeli Jews are the real Jews, American Jews can achieve this status only by supporting Israel?

    • annie
      December 15, 2015, 8:47 pm

      What could this possibly mean?

      it’s probably some kind of code jews are supposed to understand due to years of browbeating or brainwashing or something like that.

      A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning. Logical fallacies are like tricks or illusions of thought, and they’re often very sneakily used by politicians and the media to fool people.

      • can of worms
        can of worms
        December 15, 2015, 11:36 pm

        Shavit: “. . . in exchange for [Israel’s] keeping us Jewish, American Jews must support Israel in the U.S.”

        Ha! You can’t have it all for free, no , in exchange for owning this ever purifying Jewish colony, which entitles you to so many benefits, and which reaps you joy and pleasure every day of your lives, you’ll have to pay.

        Now if you really want that colony, just like it wants you, you must help keep it … exclusively yours . There are infinite ways to support your exclusive colony. You can give money, you can support racism against Muslims and Arabs, you can talk about a two state solution and “land for peace,” you can stifle the noise of dissent, you can say nothing. But it is clear that in exchange for keeping us Jewish, American Jews must support Israel in the U.S.

        This is an appeal to your values. It’s your colony, after all.

    • Kris
      December 15, 2015, 11:06 pm

      Maybe American Jews aren’t strong enough to be real Jews without Israel, because in the U.S., they are weakened and deformed by the antisemitism that constantly threatens them and rules their lives.

      Here’s Vic Rosenthal, who, like Michael Oren, is sick of the weakling U.S. Jews:

      American Jews don’t want to make trouble. They want to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends, with whom they complain about those troublesome settlements and that stubborn, ungrateful Netanyahu. They get a warm feeling from saying that they support “their” president. It makes them feel good about themselves to say that “Palestinians have rights, too.”

      And if the war that results from Obama’s destabilizing policy ends up killing a lot of us, they will be sorry it happened, but they will read with approval in the NY Times that it was our fault for not “making peace” when we had the chance.

      Got that? American Jews like to say that “Palestinians have rights, too.” Clueless first step on a slippery slope!

      First you admit they have rights, then you feel bad about stealing their land and destroying their lives, and then you start trying to make reparations. Imagine the damage that can be done by people like that! These dumb American Jews even believe in Tikkun Olam:

      What actually happened, according to the book, is that Michael Oren came to see American Jews as unreliable in their support of Israel, quick to criticize the Jewish state, and unable to appreciate Israel’s vulnerabilities. In his eyes, they were unsure of their own position in America. This made them incurable do-gooders, forever babbling about Tikkun Olam, and more inclined to help others than their own. To Oren’s dismay, the harder he worked, the more critical of Israel the community became. …

      “I could not help questioning whether American Jews really felt as secure as they claimed [Oren writes]. Perhaps persistent fears of anti-Semitism impelled them to distance themselves from Israel and its often controversial policies. Maybe that was why so many of them supported Obama, with his preference for soft power, his universalist White House seders, and aversion to tribes.”

      This, then, is Michael Oren’s message: American Jews flee from commitment to Israel and the controversies that Israel provokes. They prefer weakness to strength, the universal to the particular, and the weak-willed Democrats to the stand-tall Republicans. And the reason for all of this is not conviction but fear — fear for their well-being in America and fear of the anti-Semitism that lurks beneath the surface.

      • RoHa
        December 16, 2015, 1:56 am

        ‘They get a warm feeling from saying that they support “their” president.’

        Of course, American Jews are not real Americans (passports and birth certificates notwithstanding), and so the U.S. President (whom they vote for or against) is not really the president of American Jews.

      • eljay
        December 16, 2015, 7:21 am

        || Kris: … Here’s Vic Rosenthal, who, like Michael Oren, is sick of the weakling U.S. Jews:

        American Jews don’t want to make trouble. They want to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends, with whom they complain about those troublesome settlements and that stubborn, ungrateful Netanyahu. They get a warm feeling from saying that they support “their” president. …

        Mr. Rosenthal is upset because some Americans who happen to be Jewish act like Americans who happen not to be Jewish. Americans acting like other Americans is bad. Huh.

        Is Mr. Rosenthal anti-Semitically suggesting that Americans who happen to be Jewish:
        – are not really American?
        – should remain apart from non-Jewish Americans (and is he comfortable with non-Jewish Americans applying that policy to Jewish Americans)?
        – should be loyal to a state and a homeland other than their state and homeland of America?

        Why does Mr. Rosenthal hate Jewish people so much?!

      • Mooser
        December 16, 2015, 5:51 pm

        “suggesting that Americans who happen to be Jewish:
        – are not really American? “

        “eljay” I have had a suspicion, for a while now, that some people, possibly even some “day schools”, are not being honest with Jewish kids concerning their status as Americans who are Jewish and their US citizenship, and the choices concerning assimilation.

    • talknic
      December 16, 2015, 2:15 am

      @ JD “Israeli Jews are the real Jews, American Jews can achieve this status only by supporting Israel?”

      BTW the article doesn’t mention who owns the casino…

      • Lillian Rosengarten
        Lillian Rosengarten
        December 16, 2015, 11:45 am

        It is a sad day for Jews if they need to support apartheid Israel to feel authentic.

  7. can of worms
    can of worms
    December 16, 2015, 12:41 am

    @ “So the conference was more of a spiritual revival meeting”
    — A “Creeping Apartheid” Awakening, featuring guest stars Saeb Erekat, Ayman Odeh and Sayed Kashua (‘Good 2SS Arabs’).

    “Ayman Odeh …call[ed] for a shared future of equal rights.”

    The platform of Odeh’s Hadash calls unequivocally for a 2SS.

    –Is Odeh presently advocating a 1SS and altering the platform of his political party?
    –Or is he advocating only formal ‘civil rights’ within the 1948 occupation, and singing the “We shall overcome creeping apartheid” song, viz., absent a 2SS (with US neoliberals as broker), the 1SS will “creep” along?
    — Does he assume the 1SS has to move of its own volition?
    — If not, what is the program to arrive at a 1SS?
    — Is there a transcript that’s handy?

    –“next year, we must begin a campaign for “equal rights for all in all territories under its control.” Ohhh… next year! Glad you don’t mean now!

  8. Marnie
    December 16, 2015, 1:51 am

    I hope no harm comes any who speak the truth.

    In local news:

    By Mairav Zonszein +972
    |Published December 15, 2015
    WATCH: Incitement against the Israeli Left just got a lot scarier

    Four Israelis who work for leading human rights organizations woke up to a new, frightening reality after a video accused each one of them of being a foreign agent working to defend Palestinian terrorists.

    A new video entitled “Foreign Agents – Revealed!” was released on Tuesday by Im Tirtzu, a neo-Mccarthyite, extreme right-wing group notorious for its public attacks against left-wing academics and organizations. In 2013 an Israeli court ruled that the group bears similarities to a fascist movement. Its leadership enjoys ties with Likud and Yisrael Beitenu politicians.

    The video plasters the faces of the heads of four Israeli human rights organizations — The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem and Hamoked: The Center for the Defense of the Individual — directly accusing them of being “planted” by different European entities (Holland, Germany, Norway and the European Union, respectively) to aid and abet terrorists. I wonder whether any of these European entities has a problem with being accused of planting operatives in an “enemy” country.

    In response to the video, B’Tselem head Hagai El-Ad, who was targeted in the video, told +972:

    “The government has no idea what it is doing, so its emissaries are busy dealing in incitement. We will continue to document and expose the occupation and its injustices, and resist Israel’s half century-long military control over millions of Palestinians.”

    Meretz MK Michal Rozin has already demanded the attorney general investigate it. According to attorney Michael Sfard, the legal definition of incitement is very narrow, and therefore it probably won’t apply here. It requires a call to commit an offense against someone, the reasonable likelihood that someone can and will commit that act, and that the distributor of the material is interested in that happening or at least doesn’t mind.

    However, Sfard says it definitely is incitement in the social, political and ethical sense of the term. “Soviet-style incitement, talking about people as if they are foreign agents working for the enemy.” According to Sfard, there is a legal definition of incitement to racism that does not include the call to harm someone – like what Netanyahu did on Election Day (even though the Attorney General acquitted him). Such incitement creates an atmosphere of hatred for a person based on their being attributed to a specific group.

    “If there was a parallel to the law on incitement for racism that included incitement against political groups, this would qualify,” Sfard told +972.

    The past few months have been a scary time for human rights activists in Israel. The recent incitement against activists from Breaking the Silence — which came from right-wing and centrist leaders alike — has created an environment in which Israelis working for organizations that deal with Palestinian human rights are endangering themselves. They are being silenced, they are the target of slander and lies, and their actual physical safety may be in danger.

  9. RoHa
    December 16, 2015, 1:52 am

    “But it was a pleasure for once to see the usual Jewish heroes, Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, outshined.”

    When “shine” means “emit light”, the past tense is “shone”.
    When “shine” means “make shiny”, the past tense is “shined”.

    • Eva Smagacz
      Eva Smagacz
      December 16, 2015, 12:21 pm

      Remember days and days of memorising english irregular verbs…

      • lysias
        December 16, 2015, 12:42 pm

        If you think English irregular verbs are bad, study Ancient Greek, or Sanskrit, or contemporary Russian.

      • Eva Smagacz
        Eva Smagacz
        December 16, 2015, 4:41 pm

        Actually, russian was not that hard to master, belonging to a group of slavic languages…

      • RoHa
        December 16, 2015, 6:15 pm

        “Remember days and days of memorising english irregular verbs…”

        Builds character.

        (Try Latin conjugations, or the on and kun pronunciations of kanji.)

      • talknic
        December 19, 2015, 4:50 am

        Eva Smagacz “Remember days and days of memorising english irregular verbs…”

        I do.

        I once queried a teacher “If a verb is a word, why aren’t they called a ‘worb’ as in ‘work’, that’s a verb?”

        Keenly humorous he replied “No, ‘that’s’ not a verb. Anyway, worms would get confused!”

  10. yourstruly
    December 16, 2015, 2:47 am

    re: Shavit’s”…In exchange for {Israel’s} keeping us Jewish, American Jews must support Israel in the U.S.” –

    What keeps us Jewish is always being on the side of the slave, never on the side of the slave-owner

    Since Israel occupies the Palestinian homeland (occupying another people’s homeland being a form of enslavement), our opposition to Israel/support of justice for Palestine is consistent with what makes us Jewish.

    • inbound39
      December 16, 2015, 7:06 am

      Americans cannot continue support of Israel as it is currently behaving without doing long term damage to its ability to be a credible force in Foreign Diplomacy. America is currently seen as supporting Apartheid and ethnic cleansing and land theft in Israel and Palestine and supplying Israel with all the weaponry and political cover it needs to carry that out. Whoever had the bright idea to move that policy forward thinking it helps America was pretty damn dim.

      • Misterioso
        December 16, 2015, 10:36 am

        Well and truly stated!!

      • xanadou
        December 16, 2015, 5:20 pm

        It’s the price the US is paying to be able to maintain a large, if not the largest, military base in the region.

        Will it backfire?
        Has it not already?

    • Eva Smagacz
      Eva Smagacz
      December 16, 2015, 5:21 pm

      “What keeps us Jewish is always being on the side of the slave, never on the side of the slave-owner ”

      I think this is a very romantic view of Jewish past. Just looking at 17th century only In Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine, Jews took on side of polish szlachta (nobility) who were colonising ukrainian steppes, and acted as tax collectors and absent landowner’s plenipotentiaries.

      • Mooser
        December 16, 2015, 5:34 pm

        “I think this is a very romantic view of Jewish past.”

        Well, then, let’s hope we can move toward that (‘always on the side of the slave, not the slave owner’) in the present and future. I feel absolutely no obligation to emulate, for their sake or mine, a certain (and probably pretty small) cohort of 17th century Ukrainian Jews. Unless, of course, I am compelled to, by my essential nature. I can’t fight my custard.

      • Eva Smagacz
        Eva Smagacz
        December 18, 2015, 5:26 am

        I agree Mooser,In the next paragraph ( swallowed by computer) I was making a point that romantic view of the past is hardly preserve of Jews – my childhood was full of stories of “inexplicable” dislike that Ukrainians feel for Polish people, and that they were wild, nomadic people who were rejecting civilising influence of Poles.

      • Mooser
        December 18, 2015, 1:23 pm

        “I agree Mooser,In the next paragraph ( swallowed by computer) I was making the point.I was making a point that romantic view of the past is hardly preserve of Jews “

        The computer swallows a paragraph (it happens, editing, don’t I know it, too!) so I get it wrong and miss the point! I apologize, of course, but see what I mean? I can’t fight my custard.

    • Keith
      December 16, 2015, 6:24 pm

      YOURSTRULY- “What keeps us Jewish is always being on the side of the slave, never on the side of the slave-owner”

      Whatever you are smoking is obviously too strong for your system to handle. Suggest you undergo detox until you can once again deal with reality.

  11. dx
    December 16, 2015, 6:19 am

    This was interesting to me. I’m an non-Jewish American (Catholic), and I often feel like people like me are not “allowed” to speak on issues regarding Israel (unless it’s just unqualified support or “love”) even though it is the United States of America (including ALL American taxpayers) who is the primary benefactor and defender of Israel. And, of course, we rarely here from actual Palestinians–it’s usually commentary by and debate between Israeli Jews and American Jews and everyone else really is shut out. So it’s good to see and hear from Palestinians for a change.

    It’s slightly uncomfortable for me even to write this as I am southern and am acutely aware of every word I say whenever any talk that even begins to approach matters of race or ethnicity or religion comes up.

    I feel that in order for things to actually change in the region, pressure must come from Americans as a whole. I feel like organizations that try to shine a light on the shameful inequality and injustice that Palestinians endure must do more try to reach people who are not Americans of Jewish (or Muslim or of Palestinian or Arab) descent. It should not just be a debate among family members of American Jewish households because all Americans are complicit in this system even if the majority of us don’t realize it.

  12. Ossinev
    December 16, 2015, 6:30 am

    “A search of the man’s badly damaged vehicle uncovered an ax”
    Have they run out of knives to artfully place at these scenes or are they simply trying to spice up the “narrative” by introducing the dreaded axes ?

    • eljay
      December 16, 2015, 9:18 am

      || Ossinev: … Have they run out of knives to artfully place at these scenes or are they simply trying to spice up the “narrative” by introducing the dreaded axes ? ||

      Next up: Chainsaws and goalie masks! 8-o

  13. eljay
    December 16, 2015, 10:01 am

    … Ari Shavit ended the day with smug pronouncements about American Jews needing Israel to be Jews. …

    The Golden Calf

    … When they came within hearing distance of the camp, shouts of jubilation and joy reached their ears. Moses soon saw what was going on. In despair, he threw the Tables of Testimony to the ground, shattering them into small pieces. A people who could worship a golden calf so soon after they faced G-d and heard His voice say, “Thou shalt not make thee a graven image,” did not deserve this treasure, Moses thought. Then he took the golden idol, ground it to dust and spread the dust over the water, which he made the people drink. Thus he showed them the impotence of their idol, and the foolishness of their action. …

    Israel is the ultimate golden calf.

    • Misterioso
      December 16, 2015, 10:42 am


      “Israel is the ultimate golden calf.”
      Precisely!! I reached the same conclusion decades ago.
      What amazes me is that so many Jews are still unable to see the utter folly of Zionism.

    • Mooser
      December 16, 2015, 12:19 pm

      “Israel is the ultimate golden calf.”

      What a tragedy. Those ancient Israelites were one pair of 24kt. palmate antlers short of getting it right. “Moses” sees it, adds another “o” to his name, and 2500 years of strife may very well have been avoided, with ungularity for all, and, as the pacifist tympanist said: “with mallets toward none”.

  14. Misterioso
    December 16, 2015, 10:51 am

    Jerusalem Approves Plan to Build 891 Housing Units in Contentious Neighborhood

    Plan to build homes in Gilo was pulled three weeks due to fears over sharp American reaction during Netanyahu’s U.S. visit.

    Nir Hasson. Dec 16, 2015 2:36 PM , Haaretz.

    “The Jerusalem building and planning board on Wednesday approved a plan to construct 891 housing units in Gilo, a neighborhood located outside Israel’s June 1967 borders.

    “Three weeks ago, the plan was pulled at the last minute, fearing a sharp American reaction during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States. The plan for the southern slope of Gilo, in East Jerusalem, was given initial approval in late 2012. The plan involves private land.

    “Ir Amim, an organization advocating Jewish-Arab equality in the capital, condemned the step.

    “ ‘The behavior of Netanyahu and his government concerning approval of the plan on the slopes of Gilo is another example of the cat and mouse games the Israeli government plays with the Americans regarding building in East Jerusalem,’ the group said. ‘Continued unilateral steps, such as this, will only deepen the crisis that Israel is descending toward in lieu of a diplomatic agreement and will destroy any chance of reaching a real and just solution in Jerusalem.’ ”

  15. DaBakr
    December 16, 2015, 10:53 am

    “I texted a friend, ‘I hate Zionism’.” Tell us what you really think PW.

    btw- calling the HrttzQ a ‘jim crow-like event’ is like calling harriet tubman a women who dealt with slaves. haartz is only important to a very few select israelis and left-wing NYC dwellers and its surrounding suburban web of far-left-fringe handwringing tyrants-in-sheeps cloth.

    • Mooser
      December 16, 2015, 12:22 pm

      “haartz is only important to a…”

      Yeah, I know. I mean, shoot, “Haaretz” makes people pay for the paper.
      Adelson gives his away for free. He believes in what his paper says!
      Isn’t it obvious which is the higher form of Journalism?

    • Eva Smagacz
      Eva Smagacz
      December 16, 2015, 1:16 pm

      Haaretz may not have the mass appeal – it is due to it’s serious reporting and in-depth analysis, but it is willing to entertain the notion that Zionism is flawed and universal human rights have moral merit – something that is as rare as unicorn in mainstream media, both in Israel and in the west.

      I understand that Haaretz, like UK Guardian, is thinking of expanding its online presence globally and I am sure it will widen it’s audience considerably.

      I always maintained that Israel’s supremacist ethno-religious state ideology stands or falls on it’s support in United States. Therefore a battle that will hasten the demise of Zionism is a battle for an american public opinion.

  16. RockyMissouri
    December 16, 2015, 12:31 pm

    THIS is what makes my heart happy that I am alive……to read of it!!

    They are heroes!! Every one of them..

  17. Ossinev
    December 16, 2015, 1:16 pm

    “haartz is only important to a very few select israelis and left-wing NYC dwellers and its surrounding suburban web of far-left-fringe handwringing tyrants-in-sheeps cloth.”

    “Handwringing tyrants – in – sheeps cloth (sic) .” WTF are “handwringing tyrants” whatever they are wearing ? Spinning out of control again I fear. A few deep breaths calm down and back to the Hasbara Manual index.

  18. xanadou
    December 16, 2015, 1:37 pm

    You’re doing very well, Mondoweiss! The Israeli evil that hates Jews and Judaism considers you an opponent of merit.

    When freedom of speech has to be silenced, the end of the tyranny of the unjust cannot be far behind, eh?
    Hasbara had crashed my computer more than a dozen times before I was able to post my say.
    The desperation of the finally losing despots is here, for all to see. Tick tock, anyone?

    I look forward to the day when Judasm is returned to the faithful seeking solace and hope, and to practice their beliefs in a quiet devoid of the world’s prying eyes and suspicion.

    [email protected]
    December 16, 2015, 11:56 pm

    Not so impressed by Palestinian speakers in this post. The Palestinians sited are all deeply involved with Israeli Apartheid in assisting it. Examples are as follows, Saeb Erakat, claimed to provide the signature moment in this conference is a known Normalizer who has made a name for himself with the Palestinian Papers as well as known normalization projects such as Seeds of Peace. Jarrar Farah and his organization receive much of their funding from Zionist groups; New Israel Fund and George Soros. Rula Jabreal is married to a Jewish individual which entitles her to a higher of privilege then other Palestinians by way of her marriage. Though Ayman Odeh is an elected Palestinian citizen of Israel, and admires MLK as an earlier Mondoweiss article mentions, he squanders his opportunity to move beyond feel good moments of mutual shared futures. MLK, through the civil rights movement and voting rights act, had a very clear “ask” and spoke truth to power. MLK was imprisoned by American Segregationists and wrote his Birmingham papers from a jail cell. In other words, MLK put his money where his mouth is. Odeh, in contrast, flatters Zionist oppressors and as this article points out, gets a standing ovation for feel good comments that only slightly challenge the status quo. Finding willing accomplices among those occupied is a well trod path of colonialism. I would had hoped that Mondoweiss would have seen these speeches for what they are.

    • can of worms
      can of worms
      December 17, 2015, 12:51 am

      Thanks, you said it better than i could

    • talknic
      December 17, 2015, 8:19 am

      [email protected]

      “Examples are as follows, Saeb Erakat, claimed to provide the signature moment in this conference is a known Normalizer who has made a name for himself with the Palestinian Papers as well as known normalization projects such as Seeds of Peace … etc…etc …”

      Sources for your assertions please


      BTW Seeds of Peace are shocking. All they seem to want is peace!

      Seeds of Peace now works primarily with young Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian leaders. The program begins at our International Camp and continues with year-round local programs focused on the capacities leaders need most to be effective peace-builders. Seeds of Peace offers more targeted programs and advanced skills training as alumni move into their university years and begin their careers, leveraging their unique relationships, understanding, and skills to shift the landscape of conflict and peace in the Middle East – See more at:

      Far from the ‘normalization’ Israel has been attempting through war and occupation for the past 67 years

  20. echinococcus
    December 17, 2015, 2:24 am

    Thank you for the **only** sane comment to this arrant nonsense.
    Quisling meets the hostages at the Vaterland Foundation under supervision, sort of.
    Also, it’s not Erakat or any of the gang of puppets who will explain to Odeh the odds of Jewish Americans being the first to oppose Zionism, or the big deal it would be even if they would, being all of 2% or so of the general population.

  21. Irfan
    December 17, 2015, 12:18 pm

    Thanks for this report. For whatever it’s worth, I was registered to go, but had to cancel going at the last minute, because I’d underestimated the amount of end-of-semester work I’d have to do at that point. I regret not going, but had no choice.

    On the paucity of non-Jewish attendees: I’d have been one more non-Jewish face in the room if I’d gone. I understand Weiss’s initial dismay at the paucity of non-Jews–or Palestinians–but another way of looking at it is that we have work to do within the Palestinian-American community about encouraging Palestinians (and others) to attend Jewish-sponsored events. The boycott makes that impossible in Israel/Palestine, but I think the boycott is counter-productive and pointless. Anyway, there’s no boycott here. Non-Jews should be showing up whenever they can to events like these. (By the way, I don’t think the Beinart position on the boycott is as unreasonable as it’s made to sound here.)

    Just a big picture note: I fully agree with what Weiss says about Samantha Power (she’s worthless), but I think “our side” (if I can call it that) should be willing and able to see good news for what it is. In a milieu where people routinely demonize and vilify Palestinians and the idea of Palestinian rights, the Ha’aretz conference was a gigantic exception to the rule. Put another way, it took a bunch of Israelis to come here and bring some large-scale visibility to the cause of Palestinian rights. In one way, that sucks, but in another way, it’s a good thing, and I’d prefer to see the glass as half full.

    • diasp0ra
      December 17, 2015, 2:19 pm


      “(By the way, I don’t think the Beinart position on the boycott is as unreasonable as it’s made to sound here.)”

      You don’t think the notion of boycotting settlements only and not Israel ridiculous? As if the settlements are an entity of their own and are not expanded, built, maintained and supported by Israel?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        December 17, 2015, 4:29 pm

        I think the boycott of settlements is meant as a symbolic act, signifying an attitude rather than attempting to take on the occupation head on. because the bds movement is agnostic or atheistic regarding the existence of Israel, it is necessary for those who believe in Israel’s existence not to go all the way into the camp of BDS, to Beinart’s way of thinking. You have your statement that you wish to make: I wish Israel to disappear. and Beinart has his statement that he wishes to make: I wish the occupation to disappear. It is not likely that his statement would feel comfortable holding hands with your statement.

      • diasp0ra
        December 17, 2015, 6:38 pm


        The BDS movement has never brought up the existence of Israel, which you just mentioned, so where are you getting the statement “I wish Israel to disappear” from? I didn’t even bring anything similar to that up.

        The BDS movement is only interested in human rights, it’s a human rights movement. Now, if applying to international humanitarian standards of human rights and international law is a threat to Israel, then maybe people need to think why they support such an entity, because it says more about Israel than it does about BDS supporters.

        As for me personally? Of course I want to see Israel disappear. But don’t project my stance onto the BDS movement. Symbolic acts are nice and all that, but they remain symbols. They are a piece of theater. If any change on the ground is to happen then real pressure needs to be applied, not symbolic measures.

        If it were up to Beinart we would “dialogue” until the end of time. I remind you that this Beinart that people seem to admire openly said that Palestinian citizens of Israel shouldn’t be equal to the Jewish citizens of Israel. How anyone could regard that as “liberal” is beyond me, let alone as someone qualified to talk about solutions.

  22. Ossinev
    December 18, 2015, 6:56 am

    Meanwhile in the “real world” of IsraelFirstCongressLand as reported in todays Times of Israel:

    “A bipartisan group of Congress members introduced a resolution Thursday expressing staunch opposition to guidelines issued recently by the European Union mandating the labeling of products manufactured in Israeli West Bank settlements and in the Golan Heights.

    Democratic representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, and Republicans Peter Roskam and Ed Royce – all legislators with strong pro-Israel records – co-authored the resolution. In a statement released after the resolution was submitted, the four accused the EU of advancing a general boycott of Israel.

    The guidelines, they said, “only encourage and prompt consumers to boycott all Israeli goods.”

    “This is counterproductive to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, harmful to U.S. national security interests, and contributes to the deeply misguided anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” the four complained. “Boycotts chip away at economic integration, which negatively affects Israelis and Palestinians alike. The establishment of the European Economic Community was predicated on the notion that peace and security are achieved through trade, economic cooperation, and job creation – not boycotts and isolation. The same is true for Israelis and Palestinians.”

    The resolution itself expresses alarm that “politically motivated acts of boycott, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel represent a concerted effort to extract concessions from Israel outside of direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, and undermines efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution,” a position that the sponsors wrote was itself in contravention of longstanding US policy.”

    Don`t you just love these dickhead bought and bent charlatans.Undermining efforts to achieve a two state solution indeed. Presumably this is the 2SS that their slavemaster Nitay so passionately wants on his watch.


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