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A Response to Ben Norton on silence over war in Yemen

Middle East
on 53 Comments

In Ben Norton’s “Why are American pro-Palestinian voices silent about the brutal war in Yemen” (January 8th 2016), Norton makes the case (a strong one I think) that the Palestinian solidarity movement has failed to mobilize against the US-backed Saudi war on Yemen. This strikes me as generally true. I wrote something similar at the outset of the Saudi bombing campaign. While the situation has grown more dire since then, the response of the American pro-Palestinian solidarity camp has become, if anything, more lackluster. During the 2014 Gaza massacre my twitter feed was inundated (and rightly so) with up to the minute news on the latest atrocities, political developments, and planned direct actions. Not so in the wake of the Saudi bombing campaign. There are a few exceptions: Medea Benjamin and Code Pink, some organizations in the “hard” left such as ANSWER, and the work of individual Yemeni-American human rights activists such as Rabyaah Althaibani and Farea Al-muslimi. Yet, the slaughter of Yemen has continued without sparking the dissent and agitation it deserves.  

The reasons for relegating the plight of Yemenis to virtual obliviousness is more nuanced and more troubling than Norton makes it out to be. Norton explains the reluctance to condemn the Saudi assault as result of not wanting to “divide the movement” and the perceived “complication” inherent in the conflict. The first should be expounded upon. The pro-Palestinian solidarity movement is slowly but surely expanding, becoming liberalized as it does so. At the University I attend, I have met many pro-Palestinian activists involved in the BDS movement who view US support for Israel as a deviation from standard US foreign policy. These activists believe the US is committed to democracy, racial equality, human rights etc. but simply fails in the case of the Palestinians. This is an unfortunate development. If we do not view US support for Israel as a uniquely salient and striking example of the tendency to uphold colonialism, exaggerate and utilize ethnic and racial tensions, and take part in war crimes and human rights abuses, it is likely that many other geographies upon which US brutality is enacted will go ignored. When any movement becomes larger the tension between growth and principle is bound to take place. For many liberals, including those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, an analysis that points to the unsavory nature of US foreign policy as a whole is either a bridge too far or something they have yet to consider.  

The silence from the solidarity movement mirrors that of the Muslim community in the US. Unfortunately, parts of the Muslim community are unwilling to wade into injustices that might create tensions in their congregations. In the summer of 2014 the Israeli bombing campaign occurred right at the start of Ramadan. At the masjid I attend, dua (supplications) were made for Palestine nearly every night. The Imam and the congregation were often in tears as they prayed for the protection of the Palestinians from the Israelis. The bombing of Yemen overlapped with Ramadan in 2015. The only dua I ever heard for Yemen was a short one, praying for “our brothers and sisters in Yemen.” No blame was placed on the Saudi regime. There was no mention of bombs. I can only imagine that the silence was a product of the funding our masjid receives and the makeup of the congregation (significantly Saudi). The Muslim community is not uniquely affected by sectarianism, nationalism and ethnic pride, but its susceptibility to these constructs is one of the primary reasons why the bombing of Yemen has continued without much condemnation.  

Where I disagree with Norton is on the issue of “complication.” Norton does not argue against non-complication as a factor in when one should address an injustice. Norton simply believes the Yemeni case to be uncomplicated. This is untrue. There is an entire history of the Houthi movement and their relationship to previous Yemeni dictators that has been neglected by most analysts. It is unclear if the Houthi movement has popular support in Yemen, but it is clear that they have committed many human rights abuses of their own. North – South tensions in Yemen will likely continue to be a cleavage that shapes the future of the country. Additionally, the specter of ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula continue to loom over crisis. Yemen is as “complicated” as any other geopolitical tragedy.

How complicated or uncomplicated an injustice is is simply a poor metric in deciding where energies should be allocated. Norton claims Yemen is “cut and dry” while Syria is “complicated,” therefore justifying energies towards the former. Individuals such as Ramah Kudaimi, correctly point out that “complication” is used as an excuse by Zionists to justify inaction on the issue of Israeli human rights abuses. Since it is inherently a dubious concept and it is unclear why the complicatedness of an injustice should reduce moral obligation, complication cannot be used as a justification to put more focus on Yemen as opposed to Syria.  

Yet, I believe Norton is right that US activists should place more focus on state-inflicted injustices in Palestine and Yemen. However, the reasoning should be made clearer. There is a moral case and a pragmatic case for putting more energy into agitating against the Saudi-inflicted massacres in Yemen than Assad’s in Syria. I will begin with the moral case. There are two primary secular moral frameworks with which to tackle international injustice. The first is cosmopolitanism, meaning that the ethical obligations and rights of human beings are not derived from, differentiated by, or mitigated by man-made borders. The second is international libertarianism, meaning exactly the opposite. While I believe in the former the world operates by the latter in practice. For those of us that are US citizens, we have unique responsibilities and obligations based on what the US does. We pay taxes in the US and we vote in the US. We are responsible for what we do. Not for what Syria does. Not for what Russia does.

Thus, the moral case for why we are uniquely responsible for the actions of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, as opposed to the actions of Assad in Syria, is clear. At the beginning of President Obama’s first term, the US concluded a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia; the largest arms deal in history. The US sold Saudi Arabia an additional billion dollars in arms and ammunition this November, which should be viewed as a “replenishment” of Saudi capabilities, which will allow the regime to continue to transform Yemen into rubble. Of course, a similar dynamic is present in the case of Israel, which allows it to bomb the Palestinian civilian population mercilessly. Needless to say, no comparable support has been given to Assad.

The pragmatic case for addressing Saudi aggression in Yemen is similar. The destruction of Yemen is currently a consequence of US policy. There is no need to debate whether or not we should send in troops or limit our actions to a bombing campaign. There is no need to debate how to pass a UN Security Council resolution that is amenable to all veto-members of the UNSC. Curtailing Saudi crimes is simple: stop what we are doing. Stop assisting Saudi Arabia by providing intelligence that allows it to carry out its airstrikes. Stop arming Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Gulf. Stop participating in the blockade of Yemen. As citizens of the US, with some measure of freedom of expression and access to relatively uncensored news media, we have an ability to alter state policy in a way other populations do not. We have more opportunities and more tools to alter US policy towards Israel and Yemen than altering the policies of Assad or Russia, as ineffective US sanctions have shown. Therefore, even if we believe that ethical obligations extend uniformly beyond borders (which again, I do), there is a pragmatic case for addressing US-sponsored atrocities rather than those carried out independently by other actors.  

Western-based pro-Palestinian solidarity activists should issue stronger condemnations of the US-sponsored Saudi bombing of Yemen. Intra-Muslim community politics and the liberalizing of Palestinian cause must be overcome. When critics inevitably respond, “What about Syria?” (by which they mean the Assad regime) pro-Palestinian activists should be prepared to point out unique Western complicity in the case of both Palestine and Yemen and the unique position of the Western-based activists to put an end to these crimes. Assad is a criminal and a murderer. Hezbollah has shown itself to be an unprincipled sectarian militant group willing to starve children to death. However, the bombs dropped by both Israel in Palestine and by Saudi Arabia in Yemen (literally) have our names on them. The resulting blood is on our hands.  

About Evan W. Sandlin

Evan W. Sandlin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Davis and a member of both Students for Justice and Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis. His website can be found at evanwsandlin.com and you can follow him on twitter at @ewsandlin.

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53 Responses

  1. Donald
    Donald
    January 14, 2016, 3:34 pm

    I generally agree with all this. But in my own limited experience people’s reactions are slightly more, um, complicated. Most liberals are more than willing to criticize the Saudis–the Saudi regime is only liked by people who receive money from them, so far as I can tell. But the same folks who will bash the Saudis are reluctant to criticize Israel.

    On the other hand, there are some liberals who are willing to criticize US foreign policy so long as it can be blamed on Republicans. I think this is probably much more common than people who will criticize Israel, but not the Saudis. I know one person who invariably reacts with a passionate defense of Obama and the good intentions of Democrats in general whenever some criticism of US foreign policy is made, unless it can be blamed solely on Republicans.

  2. annie
    annie
    January 14, 2016, 5:59 pm

    there’s so much to tackle in this article i don’t know where to begin.

    the Palestinian solidarity movement has failed to mobilize against the US-backed Saudi war on Yemen.

    i never got the mobilization orders. i didn’t even know the Palestinian solidarity movement was supposed to mobilize against SA. so please accept my apologies for our failures. i followed all your links and didn’t notice where this mobilization was centralized. do i like SA, no of course not.

    a little history from my perspective. the movement to free palestine was alive and kicking way way back before i could find palestine on a map after the turn of this century. before i had ever heard of the occupation. it’s been around for decades. one reason why it has grown is because of the activists that came before us. there are a lot of really old people in our movement who have been active for a long long time. during this time, over decades, information about israel and palestine began to spread. slowly, but it began to spread. one of the reasons there are so many activists is that over decades people started to become familiar with the oppression of palestinians. plus, they knew people who traveled there and they heard stories about it.

    for myself personally, i finally met some palestinians and began to feel like i had a clearer sense of what i was supporting and why. i became emotionally attached. i’m sort of at the stage where i still have to check the spelling of “Houthi” don’t know how to pronounce it, don’t know their history, have never met one, and if someone asked me to explain to a room full of people in 10 minutes what the problem was, i don’t even know how to pronounce their capital. i’m probably not alone. when i was in cuba i met a woman who worked in sana’a. i asked her about what was going on. we had dinner. i got back from my trip and googled it on a map. i read moon of alabama and know a little bit. but i have never even heard of a houthi activist group, or any other yemenite group organizing activists. and you didn’t link to one either.

    palestine solidarity activists are not blind rats following a pack. it’s made up of individuals and each one of those individuals made a personal decision to join the movement or to become active. when they go to their computers they know how to access other palestinian activists. there is a center, several, in different parts of the world. palestinians organized the bds movement. it’s a palestinians led movement.

    this information, while likely redundant for most people here, i do believe has relevance.

    so i am just wondering how you’re going to educate all of those people over this new movement — wait, your not looking to organize a new movement — you want to use the movement that’s already organized over a 7 decade long issue and co opt it towards houthis who have been bombarded for how many months? i fail to see where the psychology comes in that would motivate millions of individuals from all over the world (many who know next to nothing about yemen) to direct their attention to — where? do you even have a website?

    i know this sounds really mean. but i am specifically addressing the charge of “silence”. people don’t speak up when they don’t really know what they are talking about. you left 2 links to 2 twitter feeds as far as contacts.

    For many liberals, including those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, an analysis that points to the unsavory nature of US foreign policy as a whole is either a bridge too far or something they have yet to consider.

    oh please. this sounds wacko. obviously the vast majority of people in the movement were against the iraq war (“unsavory nature of US foreign policy”) . people have no problem criticizing US foreign policy. but many american just cant or don’t keep up w/everything. i mean, what about all the places in africa we’re complicit in oppressing, the list is endless. if you want a movement over yemen, organize one. just do it. what’s your excuse? will you make one faster if i tell you that thus far you have failed in mobilizing one? (no, i’d probably piss you off) but in order to mobilize one somebody could start with a website that makes it simple to understand. it’s not enough just to tell people — the US made it happen . who are these people? you have to make it real — the way palestinians and their supporters did outreach for decades. besides, at my pace chances are by the time i get educated about yemen the bombing will be over.

    and then there’s syria. i wrote a few posts on it (here’s one, in retrospect, was i right? http://mondoweiss.net/2013/03/promoting-sectarian-division ) and got screamed at over twitter by bullies who didn’t think i was supportive enough of the free syria movement. i tried telling them the opposition fighters against assad were primarily nusra and AQ, but that didn’t matter.

    Ramah Kudaimi tried writing an article here of all the do’s and don’ts for progressive (as if we were total newbs after years of being inundated with massive propaganda). http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/dos-and-donts-for-progressives-discussing-syria but as you’ll notice in the comment section — everyone doesn’t agree! it just goes to show just because a movement is going to be in solidarity over one issue, doesn’t mean they will solidify over every other issue. even phil was supportive of invading libya (omg did i ever tell him what a nightmare that was). you have to think with logic. if you want a movement, start one. don’t think you can lie back and claim everyone not on your page (or pace) has “failed” because that will only alienate people.

    do the homework, find some leaders (preferably yemenites), especially student leaders, and do the legwork. otherwise it likely won’t happen.

    good luck!

    • Steve Macklevore
      Steve Macklevore
      January 18, 2016, 3:50 am

      Well said, Annie.

      I strongly believe in activists choosing their issue and sticking to it. Flitting from issue to poorly understood issue and cause is ineffective and fails to convince.

      • January 18, 2016, 10:47 am

        Geopolitics are rarely contained within a set border or political ideology. It is often part of a global system of statecraft and power play. Also, all systems of oppression are interlinked, whether it is against blacks, gays, Jews, Muslims etc.

        Therefore it is unwise, IMO, to confine yourself to a specific part of a conflict, or a particular form of oppression without looking into the bigger picture and understanding the root causes, rather than just analyzing the symptoms.

        For example, we are all familiar with historical oppression of women in the USA which gave rise to various forms of gender equality movement. However, such oppression is just one out of many forms that existed and still existing side by side, such as oppression against blacks, gays, Natives, both men and women. How do you solve one, without taking into account the others as they are all interlinked wrt to their victims and oppressors?

      • annie
        annie
        January 18, 2016, 11:08 am

        what global system of statecraft/oppression of jews are you referencing?

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 18, 2016, 11:13 am

        || Annie Robbins: what global system of statecraft/oppression of jews are you referencing? ||

        Probably the one he a4tech previously referred to as the “disease of white supremacy”.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 18, 2016, 11:27 am

        rugal: Geopolitics are rarely contained within a set border or political ideology. It is often part of a global system…
        ————————-

        Interesting. Maybe that’s why it’s called GEOpolitics?

      • January 18, 2016, 11:35 am

        Alright, first I would like to stress that this conflict in Palestine is not a religious or even a ethnic conflict at its core, else we will be agreeing with the narrative being put out by the Zionists, who are as Jewish as the ISIS mercenaries are Muslim.

        Secondly, to answer your query, I cannot think of any global systems of oppression that specifically target Jews. Which is not the point anyway, because the main issue isn’t who is being oppressed, it is the act of oppression itself.

      • annie
        annie
        January 18, 2016, 12:02 pm

        this conflict in Palestine is not a religious or even a ethnic conflict at its core

        because it’s colonialist? it’s only as non ethnic at it’s core as say … zionism, or “the jewish people”. could you elaborate and explain when and how zionists claim this is not ethnic and how they are wrong?

        I cannot think of any global systems of oppression that specifically target Jews.

        iow, you were just lumping them in with “blacks, gays,..Muslims” for rhetorical flourish?

        hmm, i’m experiencing deja vu.

      • annie
        annie
        January 18, 2016, 12:25 pm

        i would also like to acknowledge this no brainer:

        such oppression is just one out of many forms that existed and still existing side by side, such as oppression against blacks, gays, Natives, both men and women.

        i think everyone already knows this.

        How do you solve one, without taking into account the others as they are all interlinked wrt to their victims and oppressors?

        you mean how do you solve yemen without taking into account the US intervention/orange revolution in the ukraine? there are myriads of conflicts going on all over the world. one would have to be a genius or a psychitzophrenic to keep tract of all of them. i do my best. it would be foolish to think anyone here only focuses on one issue, but between all of us there’s probably many many issues individuals have an interest in. just like if there was a central website covering yemen people who visited that site would have other interests too. but one thing they would share, is an interest in yemen. however it would be foolhardy to assume everyone focusing on yemen would all share a similar interest in say ..the ukraine. whereas one can assume a percentage of people interested in israel/palestine would also have an interest in say ..russia… or iran.

        but i don’t think it’s to be expected everyone aware and up on all geopolitical issues w/oppressed people. there are too many for most of us to be able to follow them all. and suggesting people have failed for not covering one, i’m not sure how helpful that is. however, i understand humanity has failed all oppressed people and as a member of humanity that would include me. we are not free until everyone is free.

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 18, 2016, 12:10 pm

        || rugal_b: Alright, first I would like to stress that this conflict in Palestine is not a religious or even a ethnic conflict at its core … ||

        You might want to let the Zio-supremacists in on this bit of information, what with the conflict stemming from the actions relating to their belief that:
        – people who are Jewish (where Jewish = a tribe, a culture, an ethnicity, a collective, a people, a nation, a civilization and, sometimes, even a religion);
        – are entitled to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” (a state primarily of and for people anywhere in the world who have undergone a religious conversion to Judaism or who are descended from someone who underwent a religious conversion to Judaism);
        – in as much as possible of Palestine.

      • annie
        annie
        January 18, 2016, 3:18 pm

        eljay, seeing as how israel is an ethnic nationlaist state it’s a little tricky trying argue it’s not an ethnic conflict. it’s colonialism alright but it’s also apartheid and that apartheid is applied ethnically (jewish vs non jewish). so extracting the ‘ethnic’ from the conflict, or the colonialist take over, would be quite challenging.

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 18, 2016, 9:18 pm

        || Annie Robbins: eljay, seeing as how israel is an ethnic nationlaist state it’s a little tricky trying argue it’s not an ethnic conflict. it’s colonialism alright but it’s also apartheid and that apartheid is applied ethnically (jewish vs non jewish). so extracting the ‘ethnic’ from the conflict, or the colonialist take over, would be quite challenging. ||

        I agree that reducing the conflict strictly to a colonialist one makes no sense. But I also wouldn’t remove the religious element from it, either, given that Jewish is, fundamentally, a religion-based identity.

        So maybe it’s an ethno-religio-colonio-nationalist conflict. :-)

      • annie
        annie
        January 19, 2016, 5:43 pm

        But I also wouldn’t remove the religious element from it, either, given that Jewish is, fundamentally, a religion-based identity….So maybe it’s an ethno-religio-colonio-nationalist conflict. :-)

        it’s not a religious based identity for secular jews tho. the original zionists were secular. the origin of the zionist project, the colonial project was not religious. accommodation was made for religious jews but they were a minority in israel back then. it was a secular project the only requirement being jewish (an ethnic qualifier for an ethnic nationalist state — no requirement to be religious). the religion was then, later, used as a pretext for zionist colonial justification (god gave us the land etc). i think.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 20, 2016, 11:04 am

        “rugal b” you should defintely go for job as an Astronaut! You can pull more g’s than anybody we’ve ever seen.

  3. talknic
    talknic
    January 14, 2016, 10:25 pm

    Broaden your horizons boys and girls

    Yemen overlooks the Bab el-Mandeb Strait (the Gate of Tears), one of the choke points absolutely critical to that great oil slut the global economy

    Countries near to shipping lanes and transit choke points are kept fragmented, small & relatively powerless

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=choke+points+doe+-wikipedia

    One major reason Iran has been of concern is its position relative to the Straits of Hormuz

    Korea was divided for the same reason … Taiwan … Japan … et al … all part of that trade route

    • annie
      annie
      January 15, 2016, 1:21 am

      thanks talknic, someone should really start a good website explaining all these details, and more.

  4. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    January 14, 2016, 11:35 pm

    Western-based pro-Palestinian solidarity activists should issue stronger condemnations of the US-sponsored Saudi bombing of Yemen. Intra-Muslim community politics and the liberalizing of Palestinian cause must be overcome. When critics inevitably respond, “What about Syria?” (by which they mean the Assad regime ) [emphasis added]
    ———————-

    Really? The Assad regime? The clear parallel to “US-sponsored Saudi bombing of Yemen” would be US-sponsored Islamist terror in Syria– not the Assad regime.

    ——————————

    Hezbollah has shown itself to be an unprincipled sectarian militant group willing to starve children to death.

    Huh? Sounds like U.S./Israeli propaganda.

    The whole argument is strange: that Western-based pro-Palestinian solidarity activists SHOULD speak out across the board against reprehensible U.S. foreign policy (despite all the problems with that which Annie points out), but SHOULD NOT speak out against U.S. efforts at regime change in Syria.

    And why limit the condemnations to U.S. policies in the Middle East? Should Western-based pro-Palestinian activists also be speaking out against reprehensible U.S. policies in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America etc?

    Or do pro-Palestinian activists have some special ethno-centric obligation to address Arab/Muslim issues above all others– because Palestinians are Arabs/Muslims (mostly)?

    • Donald
      Donald
      January 15, 2016, 1:38 am

      I don’t understand people’s reactions to this piece. As an American the Palestinian issue matters to me more than, say, the far bloodier civil war in Sri Lanka a few years ago because America is directly involved in helping Israel kill Palestinians. The same is true in Yemen and the same was true of numerous other places in the past few decades. For Americans it is all the same issue– we sit around thinking of ourselves as innocent ( speaking broadly of ordinary people who don’t follow these issues) while our government has the blood of innocents on its hands. And you don’t have to be an expert about a given conflict to know it is wrong to bomb civilians.

      As for Syria, all the armed factions murder people, but since the US is supporting the rebels, their crimes are the ones that should concern us the most.

      • gamal
        gamal
        January 15, 2016, 9:41 am

        “As an American the Palestinian issue matters to me more than, say, the far bloodier civil war in Sri Lanka a few years ago because America is directly involved in helping Israel kill Palestinians”

        and yet..

        “Washington’s criminal role in the Sri Lankan state’s anti-Tamil war”

        “Last Wednesday, the US embassy in Colombo issued a statement that welcomed the Sri Lankan state’s recent victories in the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and urged Sri Lanka’s government and military to press forward with the annihilation of the LTTE. The key passage in the statement read: “The United States does not advocate that the Government of Sri Lanka negotiate with the LTTE, a group designated by America as a Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997.”

        Within hours of Washington formally renouncing its support for a negotiated settlement to the 25 year-old civil war, the Sri Lankan government banned the LTTE.

        The Sri Lankan state has now arrogated to itself the power to jail for up to 20 years those it accuses of “supporting” the LTTE. Since resuming offensive operations against the organization in 2006, the government and military have leveled this charge against virtually anyone opposed to the war or even the government’s right-wing socio-economic policies, from socialists and striking workers to the Tamil National Alliance, a 20-strong parliamentary grouping that considers the LTTE the only legitimate representative of the Tamils in negotiations with the government.

        Colombo had previously outlawed the organization, but lifted the ban in 2002 when a truce was declared and the Sri Lankan state and LTTE agreed to enter into peace talks.

        The brief interval between the US’s repudiation of the “peace process” and the Sri Lankan government’s ban on the LTTE exemplifies Washington’s criminal role—as both instigator and facilitator—in the communal war mounted by Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese bourgeois elite.

        Washington encouraged Colombo to resume the civil war in 2006 and has aided and abetted every step of the Sri Lankan military’s bloody advance. The new-found prowess of the Sri Lanka military is due almost entirely to the support it has received from Washington directly or from key US allies.

        The Pentagon admits to having provided counter-insurgency training to Sri Lankan troops, as well as intelligence and “non-lethal” weapons. The latter includes sophisticated maritime radar equipment that has enabled Colombo to disrupt key LTTE supply routes from India. Meanwhile, Israel and Pakistan, whose governments and militaries are close US partners, have provided the Sri Lankan military with an expanded and technologically-enhanced arsenal.”

        http://www.globalresearch.ca/washington-s-criminal-role-in-the-sri-lankan-state-s-anti-tamil-war/11769

      • Donald
        Donald
        January 15, 2016, 11:07 am

        Thanks. I guess I should have paid more attention to it then. I don’t recall any of my usual sources about American crimes talking about Sri Lanka.

    • UshPhe
      UshPhe
      January 16, 2016, 12:42 am

      “Huh? Sounds like U.S./Israeli propaganda”

      I would suggest you read this. https://mkaradjis.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/whats-at-issue-in-the-siege-of-madaya-mass-starvation-or-a-few-fake-pics/

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 16, 2016, 2:01 am

        @UshPhe: That site appears to be highly biased and propagandistic, to put it mildly. I almost stopped reading after polemical references to ” the Putinist spin machine RT” and “Assad lovers.” (I don’t trust anything from the British-based “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” either.)

        I have little doubt that war crimes have been committed by all sides in this conflict. I reject, however, the singling out of one side for condemnation, ignoring completely the crimes of anti-Assad groups and ignoring the unprincipled –actually maleficently principled–actions of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Turkey et al. in pushing violent, terroristic regime change which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

        Cf.
        Severe malnutrition confirmed in Syria’s Madaya, 32 deaths reported in month: U.N.” http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-madaya-idUSKCN0UT0UH

        —————-
        Russia says West ‘politicizing’ humanitarian crisis in Syria”

        http://news.yahoo.com/russia-says-west-politicizing-humanitarian-crisis-syria-224805088.html

        […]Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov questioned the motives of Britain, France and the U.S. in calling for the meeting. He accused them of “double standards” by focusing on the suffering in Madaya, a rebel-held town besieged by Syria’s government, while minimizing suffering in towns under siege by rebels.

        Safronkov said the insistence on holding the Security Council debate “gives the impression” that “attempts are being made to undermine the launch of the inter-Syrian dialogue scheduled for Jan. 25” in Geneva.

        The three Western council members called for the debate to intensify the pressure on Syria’s warring parties to lift sieges that have cut off 400,000 people from aid. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said both the Syrian government and the rebels are committing war crimes by deliberately starving civilians.

        Reports of starvation deaths in Madaya have reinforced the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe in the town and other besieged areas.

        Trucks from the U.N. and other humanitarian organizations entered Madaya this week for the first time in months. Two other communities, the villages of Foua and Kfarya in northern Syria, besieged by Syrian rebels were also included in the aid operation.

        British Deputy Ambassador Peter Wilson said the Security Council should call on all parties to lift the sieges but he emphasized that the Syrian government “has the primary responsibility to protect Syrians.” [emphasis added]

  5. January 15, 2016, 1:24 am

    ” At the University I attend, I have met many pro-Palestinian activists involved in the BDS movement who view US support for Israel as a deviation from standard US foreign policy. These activists believe the US is committed to democracy, racial equality, human rights etc. but simply fails in the case of the Palestinian”

    How ridiculously ignorant and chauvinist of them, to further propagate this problematic thought and ideology of American Exceptionalism and also whitewashing the history of violence and oppression that is rooted in the foundation of America. When Israel was founded in 1948, the victims of American state establishment were already in the hundreds of millions and that is just taking into account those who perished or victimized through direct action of the state. Whatever amount of victims of oppression the Zionist regime can create in Palestine, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the US.

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 15, 2016, 9:40 am

      || rugal_b @ January 15, 2016, 1:24 am ||

      Hi, a4tech. :-)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 15, 2016, 11:20 am

        “Hi, a4tech. :-)”

        Whoever he may be, they are treating his archive appropriately.

    • Boo
      Boo
      January 15, 2016, 9:45 am

      That in no way excuses or even diminishes the oppression of the Zionist regime,. Nor should it have the slightest effect on our dedication to resisting it.

  6. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    January 15, 2016, 4:14 am

    Sandlin,
    How hard is it to understand that a position to support Palestinian resistance is in support of Palestinian resistance, period? No matter any other personal preferences.
    Even this limited solidarity movement has to contend with huge sabotage from the part of agents who have added fighting “antisemitism” (as they see it, or rather as the Zionists see it) as a main objective.
    Now you want to further restrain participation to only people who agree to everything under the sun you consider an injustice. Way to end up as a party of one.
    If it’s not deliberate sabotage, it’s not smart.

    • Donald
      Donald
      January 15, 2016, 9:28 am

      This is odd. On some issues, maybe it would be divisive to link to them. Syria, for instance. People here have very different views on Syria. That probably reflects the larger world.

      On Yemen, I can’t see it. Who likes the Saudi regime unless they are paid to like it? They are committing war crimes similar to those of Israel in Gaza with weapons and intelligence and diplomatic support from the US.

      This blog largely focuses on Israeli crimes and people have a finely developed sense of the idiocy of “whaboutery” when used by the pro- Israel crowd to deflect attention from Israeli crimes. But that’s not what this article is about. US support for Israeli and Saudi war crimes are very similar morally and to some extent politically. There is a Saudi lobby– it is much less successful in suppressing criticism. Their suppression of women is common knowledge. Nobody goes around claiming that criticism of the Saudis is anti- Saudi ism or if they do, people would laugh. But the Saudi regime gets a tremendous amount of support anyway from our government.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        January 15, 2016, 4:05 pm

        Look, Donald, I refuse to speculate on what may or may not motivate people. After all, all the tastes are among humans. Some people even believe politicians, if you can imagine that! No, I don’t know why anyone would be cool with supporting the Saudis while supporting Palestinian resistance, but I am telling you that I have already met such persons.

        A good thing is to avoid becoming “politically tribal” and limiting one’s exchanges to “liberals” only. Even thinking of them “liberals”, you’d see people who have supported the war of aggression against Libya, say, while writing a so-called Palestine-friendly blog, like Juan Cole, or another one directing a Palestine solidarity blog. Not very different from supporting Saudi aggression and Palestinian resistance at the same time. Or take Sanders, the guy who defends the Zionists and cheers and incites the Saudis to commit their aggression in Yemen (with the excuse that Saudi and Yemeni dying for it are not likely to scandalize Americans, and unfortunately he’s right.)

        What some people like Green and 4tech are doing here goes in the same direction: they are berating supporters of the Palestinian Resistance because they are not attacking the US in all its imperialistic (and even domestic) actions, here on this Palestine blog, thereby ensuring the loss of any possible alliance with anyone but their own clones.

        Any combination of different positions on different topics is possible. This is why one really should keep any extraneous matters from spilling over to one-issue get-togethers. Of course they may and must be mentioned, but only insofar as they impact the recognized common issue.

        I’ll attend to my problems with the US, Egyptian colonels, Syrian civil warriors, Turkish hookah smokers or freerange chicken farming or any other non-Palestine issue somewhere else, and I expect anyone else on this blog, if they are not hellbent on destroying the solidarity movement even worse than the JVPers, to do the same.

        In fact, much as I advocate complete abstention from censoring posts, even Zionist propaganda, I would consider favorably the censoring of all spontaneous introduction of issues unrelated to Palestine.

      • annie
        annie
        January 15, 2016, 7:30 pm

        On Yemen, I can’t see it. Who likes the Saudi regime unless they are paid to like it? They are committing war crimes similar to those of Israel in Gaza with weapons and intelligence and diplomatic support from the US.

        donald, i don’t like SA either as i have mentioned before. in ben’s article, his first link, it was about the media not covering yemen. believe me, if there was as much in the media on yemen as there was about ‘assad the butcher’ for months and months and months americans would know about it. there would probably be some organizing.

        but let me ask you this, what have you done about it? when the author says you’ve failed to mobilize, what are you going to do? what site do you go to? who are you aligning with? and if you aren’t why not? just do it no one is stopping you. however, i am booked. but if you organize it i’ll sign a petition. but i don’t have time to organize. but don’t assume i am not active in the yemen solidarity movement because i approve of US /SA bombing campaigns.

        btw, i already have my next human right issue picked out for after palestine is free. i’m more of a one issue person as far as my activism is concerned. i go to some local things, but as far as international politics, i don’t spread myself too thin, i would get worn out.

        i fought against the iraq war for years and years, that’s how i learned how the US operates in the ME. that’s why i didn’t support our intervention in libya or syria. i am not an interventionist. i don’t believe the US goes to other countries to help people out. i think all our fed funds should stay within our borders. if we were a gov i trusted internationally i would support funding aid programs like feeding people and stuff, but i don’t think we are. end of story.

      • gamal
        gamal
        January 15, 2016, 8:14 pm

        Thanks Annie,

        i cant be bothered to unpick Sandlins misconceptions, you seem to have covered the salient points.

        amongst the many questionable statements that Sandlin makes (the Palestinian Cause is illiberal, the whole complexity gambit, the people he prays with are either corrupt or Saudi etc, they promote geebah in that congregation?)

        an utter failure to grasp the political realities in the Arab and Muslim world.

        in fact he never mentions an Arab group without ascribing it a pathology, he knows about the Houthi’s, while others have ignored it he knows they have done wrong with dictators…dictators.

        this i thought was the most egregious

        “Hezbollah has shown itself to be an unprincipled sectarian militant group willing to starve children to death”

        “Christian, Sunni And Shia: Meet Hezbollah’s Non-Denominational Military Branch Defending Lebanon, Fighting In Syria”

        BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon — Usman is a Sunni Muslim. He also fights alongside Shiite militant group Hezbollah. For Usman it’s not a contradiction. The sectarian rivalries that are tearing up the rest of the region — in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya — are secondary to the Lebanese nationalism that dominates this Sunni-dominant, mountainous region on the Lebanese-Syrian border.

        “Lebanon is my country … I am patriotic. I wanted to join the resistance and Hezbollah came by and they offered the ideology of resistance,” Usman, whose whole family is Sunni and supports Hezbollah, told International Business Times. “We don’t talk about sectarian issues.”

        A plumber by day, Usman moonlights as a foot soldier with Saraya al-Muqawama (Resistance Brigades), a nondenominational military wing of Hezbollah made for Lebanese fighters whose religion — or lack thereof — makes it impossible for them to join the so-called Party of God, funded by Shiite powerhouse Iran. Hezbollah’s way around this is the creation of Saraya, where Lebanese fighters from Sunni and Shiite Islam battle common enemies in Israel and Syria.”

        http://www.ibtimes.com/christian-sunni-shia-meet-hezbollahs-non-denominational-military-branch-defending-2169257

      • Donald
        Donald
        January 16, 2016, 12:07 am

        I don’t think the Yemen posts were meant to be personal criticisms. All of us have limited time. I take the posts to be pointing out that the US is supporting yet another country which is killing civilians. It’s a common theme in our foreign policy. I tend to think like Glenn Greenwald, who is sort of the new Chomsky these days– the guy who writes aboutAmerican or Western hypocrisy in claiming to support human rights when we often do just the opposite. From that perspective, Yemen and Gaza are two examples of a larger process. It’s not just lefties who see this–I think the sensible conservatives (sensible on foreign policy at least) have also spotted the pattern. . I’m thinking of people like Daniel Larison and probably Andrew Bacevich ( though I’m not sure about the latter.). Possibly before he was corrupted by his desire to be President, Rand Paul might have seen it too. In America that might be the beginnings of a real coalition opposed to our idiotic policies.

        But hell, I only half believe this myself ( I mean the part about developing a coalition of people across the spectrum opposed to our stupid policies.)

        But yeah, if you do encounter people who oppose the bombing of X and support the bombing of Y and if arguing with them about Y will increase the chances that nothing will be done about X, well, that’s not a good use of time.

      • annie
        annie
        January 16, 2016, 1:16 am

        gamal, when i was in southern lebanon i found out hezbollah has a christian brigade (or something). everyone there supported hezbollah. some people were in amal, but it’s all just one big resistance. and i found out after they finally got rid of israel and ended the civil war nasrallah said NO retributions, none. and they stopped. that’s the only way they could go on, was to live together.

      • annie
        annie
        January 16, 2016, 1:48 am

        donald, in my first comment i mentioned there were so many things “to tackle” in the article i didn’t know where to begin. i have fundamental problems with many of the ideas in the article. so please don’t take this comment as if it was in an order of priority, it isn’t. i’m leaving that for the last — if i get that far. but i think this indicates a fundamental misconception:

        Thus, the moral case for why we are uniquely responsible for the actions of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, as opposed to the actions of Assad in Syria, is clear. At the beginning of President Obama’s first term, the US concluded a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia; the largest arms deal in history. The US sold Saudi Arabia an additional billion dollars in arms and ammunition this November, which should be viewed as a “replenishment” of Saudi capabilities, which will allow the regime to continue to transform Yemen into rubble. Of course, a similar dynamic is present in the case of Israel, which allows it to bomb the Palestinian civilian population mercilessly. Needless to say, no comparable support has been given to Assad.

        The pragmatic case for addressing Saudi aggression in Yemen is similar. The destruction of Yemen is currently a consequence of US policy.

        what is this “uniquely responsible for the actions of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, as opposed to the actions of Assad in Syria”???

        um, does the author not know our cia is spending a billion a year to fight assad via the not so moderate rebels? like SA we are funding the opposition, primarily consisting of radical islamists. and we’ve given them hella more than than we’ve contributed to bombing yemen. so the moral case for comparison would not be “no comparable support has been given to Assad.” it would have to be “no comparable support has been given to Assad’s opposition.”

        and i would have to point out the US have given no comparable support to SA for yemen as they have trying to topple assad’s regime, they have given SO MUCH MORE to assad’s opposition, in conjunction with SA, to topple assad. so the moral case would then become why not put syria first?? thousand apon thousand more have died in syria. how could anyone not know this? The destruction of syria is currently — and very much so — a consequence of US policy.

        i find it astounding the author doesn’t know simple basics about our funding and who it’s going to. which i discussed very moderately if i do say so myself here: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/own-up-obama

        The outcome of the program should not come as a surprise to the administration. A classified 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report (PDF), recently released by Judicial Watch, warned that empowering opposition forces would strengthen Islamist forces. And this is exactly what has happened. Regardless of who ever pushed this plan (“Exactly what the supporting powers of the opposition want“), Obama approved it. 

        Division 30 is just part of a massive influx of resources the US is putting towards the fighting in Syria. At Monday’s press briefing John Kirby stated we had, thus far, invested $4.5 billion since the start of the refugee crisis. David Ignatius reported in August that Division 30, the overt Special Operations program, was separate from the “parallel covert program run by the CIA” in Syria. According to Washington Post’s Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung that program “has become one the agency’s largest covert operations, with a budget approaching $1 billion a year.” But whatever we spend pales in comparison to the suffering on the ground.

        keep in mind, the 4.5 billion from state dept and division 30’s overt special operations (500 million drop in the bucket for 6 months) is not the same as the “parallel covert program run by the CIA” at 1 billion a year as reported by wapo.

        so the moral question becomes — if we’re going to be mobilizing pro palestinian activist, why aren’t we mobilizing them to stop ww3? compare 300k dead to 8k dead. seriously. where’s the bigger crisis? “The pragmatic case for addressing Saudi aggression in” SYRIA, in damage done, lives lost, refugees, and US complicity, should way surpass our engagement re activism in yemen.

      • annie
        annie
        January 16, 2016, 2:27 am

        and in relation to my last comment i’d like to highlight this by Sandlin in the article above:

        When any movement becomes larger the tension between growth and principle is bound to take place. For many liberals, including those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, an analysis that points to the unsavory nature of US foreign policy as a whole is either a bridge too far or something they have yet to consider.

        interesting, because the ‘assad the butcher’ brigade, when highlighting US complicity in supporting the radical islamic opposition often can’t acknowledge “the unsavory nature of US foreign policy” as it pertains to our support for jihadists in syria,”as a whole i[t’]s either a bridge too far or something they have yet to consider.”

        just thought i’d point that out. the buck stops for them there. for reference check out Ramah Kudaimi’s “Do’s and don’ts for progressives discussing Syria” especially the comment section:

        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/dos-and-donts-for-progressives-discussing-syria

        p.s. as an example in the total lack of prescience of the author:

        3. DON’T obsess over al-Qaeda, Islamist extremists, jihadists, etc. Since 9/11 progressives have rightly shunned the use of all these labels when it comes to the US War on Terror, yet we now use them freely when it comes to Syria and actually believe it.

        the link to this article is still linked to as a source for syria info on jvp’s website. excuse me???? talk about not knowing how to be objective! the military opposition to assad (not to be conflated w/civilian sentiment which i won’t call quaint but was never in control/power of the military opposition) has always been nusra and if you do not know who they are google them, they joined forces w/AQ >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front .

        The al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra (Arabic: جبهة النصرة لأهل الشام‎ Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahli ash-Shām, “The Support Front for the People of Al-Sham”, often abbreviated to JN or JaN), sometimes called al-Qaeda in Syria or al-Qaeda in the Levant,[45] is a Sunni Islamist militia fighting against Syrian Government forces in the Syrian Civil War, with the aim of establishing an Islamist state in the country.[46] It is the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda,[47] and also operates in neighbouring Lebanon.[48]

        not rocket science. and we’re instructed to not be “obsess over al-Qaeda, Islamist extremists, jihadists”. uh huh

        and now we have ISIS

        and we should mobilize over yemen. i’m sorry, but i don’t take marching orders. i choose my own priorities based on what i prioritize. and NOTHING is based on having an illusion the US is some benevolent power. i’m sooo not afraid to sully my own country’s reputation.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        January 16, 2016, 7:10 am

        Donald,
        “Not a good use of time” is appropriate wording, although the key word should be “place”, not “time”.
        Some of us do have time. The problem is, whatever is not directly the issue here should be discussed elsewhere.
        My reaction to Weiss back in the time of the war of aggression that destroyed Libya should have been to never ever read his stuff again. He should have expressed himself on another blog if there was a need to express oneself. A similar situation exists re Saudi.

  7. lyn117
    lyn117
    January 15, 2016, 5:08 pm

    Amnesty & the like have organized demonstrations at the Saudi embassy – about Raif Badawi I think

    To be sure I signed the petition they were circulating. It didn’t seem that they circulated one about the Palestinian blogger condemned to death but they have notes about some others. It seems to be a different group than the Palestine activists. And of note, when the Syrians first started demonstrating against Assad, I was all keen to join on the side of rights and freedom, and even went to a couple of meetings, invited by Syrian Americans who were also part of the Palestinian freedom movement.

    However, at this point, there is no side to join in Syria, Assad is bad but ISIS seems worse. I don’t take any side at this point, none of these groups are defenders of human rights and they’re both destroying the country.

    I think there’s a couple of issues with respect to Yemen here:
    1. The Saudi atrocities have been going on for maybe 2 years (?). The Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians have been going on for 68 years. It takes time to build a movement.
    2. Primary builders of movements in the past tended to be communist/socialist/”worker party” or maybe liberation theology people. No party in Yemen that I’m aware of fits that, so there’s not much for these groups to connect with there. Palestine had a significant leftist group to connect with. The civil war in Syria really did split the leftists, because while it’s clear (to me) Assad was a horrible dictator (hence most of the Syrian-Americans, supporters of the free Palestine movement that I’m acquainted with, favored his overthrow), other leftists were highly suspicious when the U.S. came out in favor of his overthrow and, suspicious of U.S. and Israeli meddling (probably rightly so) tended to support Assad.
    3. For El Salvador, there was a big contingent of refugees with access to local groups in the U.S., to talk about what’s going on to the leftist groups. Similarly for Palestine and even Syria. I haven’t noticed such a group from Yemen.
    4. Lets not forget the relative prominence of Israel in the media, compared to horrible atrocities in other places. 1000 innocent civilians targeted and killed in Yemen probably get less media play than one innocent Israeli civilian. So it isn’t just leftists, and don’t forget that leftists, like everyone else, cannot help being influenced by relative quantity of news.

    That being said, local leftists really are concerned, I think, but it takes more the form of organizing talks and giving to charity, rather than demonstrating or emailing senators

  8. Brewer
    Brewer
    January 18, 2016, 5:08 am

    Evan W. Sandlin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of California

    “Assad is a criminal and a murderer. Hezbollah has shown itself to be an unprincipled sectarian militant group willing to starve children to death”.

    What do they teach at that school?

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      January 18, 2016, 5:38 am

      If it is like most modern schools, a festering pile of politically correct nonsense.

      And aside from that, sweet FA.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      January 18, 2016, 10:11 am

      That was very interesting. It is time the arrogant Saudis were protested for their interference and trouble making. They have caused too much trouble in that region, and they are using others to wage their proxy wars with Shiites. It would be great if there were proests in other
      nations too. The Saudis need to hear a very strong message.

      Time the US cut it’s oil buddy off, and it realized their stoning and killings are not acceptable
      in a civilized world.

      • annie
        annie
        January 18, 2016, 10:50 am

        there’s are some interesting embeds moa posted the other day re SA http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/01/feeling-ignored-by-obama-saudi-dynasty-threatens-to-hurt-itself.html both the one from FP (really weird article) http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/01/13/the-saudi-iran-war-is-americas-fault/ plus this:

        But the Saudis could still behave worse and if this unconfirmed report is right they will soon start doing so:

        Saudi King Salman Al-Saud plans to abdicate his throne and install his son Mohammed as king, multiple highly-placed sources told the Institute for Gulf Affairs.
        Mohamed bin Salman is the current deputy crown prince, second in-line to the throne, and defense minister.

        King Salman, 80, has been making the rounds visiting his brothers seeking support for the move that will also remove the current crown prince and American favorite, the hardline Mohammed bin Naif from his positions as the crown prince and the minister of interior.

        Salman plans to abdicate and install his son as king while he is still alive to guarantee his offspring would not be marginalized and driven out of power like all the sons of former Saudi kings who lost power and influence after the death of their fathers.

        The sources did not give a specific time line for the abdication but believed the matter will be concluded within a matter of weeks.

        Deputy Clown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, the guy who has Debt To GDP, is responsible for the totally irresponsible war on Yemen and its continuation. His planned economic and social reforms practically guarantee social discontent within Saudi Arabia. His coronation would also lead to deep trouble within the very large al-Saud family. Many older princes would feel snubbed out and pull their strings to regain power.

        SA needs a revolution, but not a “western” type orange one — which there’s little chance of since the dc neocon think tanks all love SA because SA can’t stand iran.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        January 18, 2016, 11:58 am

        From an article in the International Business Times:

        “Prince Mohammed bin Salman, (known as MbS), is Saudi Arabia’s defence minister – the youngest in the world – and also the deputy crown prince. He has recently been shoring up his position by appointing his friends and allies to key positions.

        The BND, the German intelligence agency, recently published a memo saying that Saudi Arabia had adopted “an impulsive policy of intervention”. It cast Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a political gambler who is destabilising the Middle East through wars in Yemen and Syria. He is accused of launching the Saudi Air Force into a major bombing campaign, killing thousands of Yemeni civilians.

        The crown prince responded by saying in an interview with The Economist: “My job as the minister of defence is to implement whatever decision his majesty has ordered. And I will submit any threats that I see. And to make preparations for any threats.”

        http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/saudi-arabia-succession-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-could-destabilise-middle-east-1538412

        SA ‘s going from bad to worse.

  9. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    January 18, 2016, 5:31 pm

    if the ‘complicated’ story about Yemen is true, ie that the both the Saudis and their allies and also anti-Saudi side are of very questionable popular support and have committed atrocities there has to be some limit to commitment to either side. It’s not clear that either side has a moral point so clearly convincing that other problems can be overlooked. By contrast the Pakestinians can make an uncomplicated point, that they suffer fundamental oppression and daily cruelty in the name of Zionism, a false idea.
    To be pro-Palestinian is certainly to oppose Western policy in a very important respect and so to hope that the success of the Palestinian cause will bring change to the West, that is discourage the delusions and the distorted decision processes which have made Western policy so bad. It is not, in logic, to think that everything the West does is bad or that everyone whom the West supports is, just by having that support, the greater evil. So I don’t think that it is illogical or hypocritical, still less anti-Semitic, for pro-Palestinians not to mobilise over Yemen.
    That said, I think that we in the West do need and need urgently to re-think our readiness to prop up despotic regimes because we are so afraid of instability in the oil lands. There are, as was rightly said above, both moral and practical reasons.

  10. January 19, 2016, 2:41 am

    @Annie, Eljay

    The IP conflict on the surface appears to be ethnic based, but many political analysts have opined that ethnic grouping is merely a tool for the stakeholders in the conflict. IOW, Jewishness, be that in the form of religious Judaism or secular Jewish ethnic identity based on common history and culture, is not the underlying cause of the conflict. Otherwise Jewish opponents of Israel would simply disown their ethnicity and/or leave their religion as their foremost mode of opposition.

    Zionism is just a form of colonialism based on a flawed ideology of racial superiority and Orientalist entitlement at its roots, and evolved into a imperialistic project following the rise of the US and its European allies, post WW2, who are decidedly non-Jewish actors. No surprise then to see that the ruling class of Israel, take pride in their state’s intimate connection to European ideals and culture that are also, decidedly non-Jewish. In fact, the social and political structures of Israel’s hostile neighbours are objectively closer to Judaism and ancient Levantine Jewish history, compared to it’s closest allies, such as the USA and UK.

    To summarize, Jewish identity and Judaism long predates Zionism and its members integrated peacefully and harmoniously within the various nations they lived in, throughout the SWANA (South West Asia and North Afrika) and European regions without the need nor aspirations for an racist, apartheid state. As such, it is not helpful or productive to accept the blatantly false Zionist premise, in our fight for justice in Palestine.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      January 19, 2016, 11:55 am

      “As such, it is not helpful or productive to accept the blatantly false Zionist premise, in our fight for justice in Palestine.”

      You are sitting-and-spinning again.

      • annie
        annie
        January 19, 2016, 5:29 pm

        You are sitting-and-spinning again.

        yes he is mooser, and he knows he’s lost the argument otherwise he’d try posting this up there where the conversation is taking place. he tried this yesterday and i ask him (nicely) to post it in the conversation but it appears he’s trying to spam the thread.

        zionism is ethnic nationalism, so claiming the conflict is not ethnically based is like claiming zionism is not at the root of the problem. it is. it’s a zionist colonial project.

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 19, 2016, 12:44 pm

      || rugal_b: … Jewishness, be that in the form of religious Judaism or secular Jewish ethnic identity based on common history and culture, is not the underlying cause of the conflict. … ||

      And yet Israel was envisioned and established and has been maintained and expanded as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” – a state primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews; an “historic homeland” and a “one true homeland” for all Jewish people.

      || … Otherwise Jewish opponents of Israel would simply disown their ethnicity and/or leave their religion as their foremost mode of opposition. … ||

      I wouldn’t expect non-Zionist Jews who oppose the (war) crimes of, and the edifice built by, Jewish supremacists abandon their religion any more than I would expect Americans who oppose the policies of their government to abandon their country.

      || … Zionism is just a form of colonialism … evolved into a imperialistic project following the rise of the US and its European allies, post WW2, who are decidedly non-Jewish actors. No surprise then to see that the ruling class of Israel, take pride in their state’s intimate connection to European ideals and culture that are also, decidedly non-Jewish. … ||

      Are you suggesting that Jewish Zio-supremacists are “decidedly non-Jewish”? I imagine that the ones here on MW will disagree and perhaps even accuse you of anti-Semitism and “Jew hatred”.

      You appear to be on the verge of defining what constitutes “Jewish”. I look forward to reading your definition.

    • diasp0ra
      diasp0ra
      January 19, 2016, 5:40 pm

      “Zionism is just a form of colonialism based on a flawed ideology of racial superiority and Orientalist entitlement at its roots, and evolved into a imperialistic project following the rise of the US and its European allies, post WW2, who are decidedly non-Jewish actors.”

      It was an imperialistic project long before WW1, let alone 2.

    • talknic
      talknic
      January 19, 2016, 9:02 pm

      “Zionism is just a form of colonialism based on a flawed ideology of racial superiority and Orientalist entitlement at its roots, and evolved into a imperialistic project”

      It’s actually a vile pyramid scheme devised in the 1890’s by a bunch of greedy and predominantly Jewish financiers who took Herzl’s quaint tale and ran with it. A financial scheme that requires more and more territory to survive.

      Herzl himself could have immigrated to Palestine in his lifetime, attained Palestinian citizenship, bought land and settled. He didn’t bother, nor did his family. One can only conclude neither he or they actually believed his fantasy

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        January 19, 2016, 9:27 pm

        I’m certain that ” a vile pyramid scheme devised in the 1890’s by a bunch of greedy and predominantly Jewish financiers” is thoroughly anti-wotsit.

        Hophmi will have conniptions.

  11. January 19, 2016, 11:40 pm

    “You are sitting and spinning” – Mooser

    It is unfortunate you think that, as I am just trying to relay the often drowned out voices of left-wing, pro-social justice Jews whose identity is based on the Jewish faith and culture, which has little to do with establishing a state by force to privilege Jews over others. Think about it, in order to move on from this mess, we need to why it started in the first place. We need to openly and intellectually reexamine the original set of lies that formed the ideology of the Israeli state. This will help accelerate the collapse of the Israeli state and make return to peace and normality in Palestine easier for everyone involved.

    Jewishness and Judaism are anthropological subjects studied in universities all over the world. Academics who are involved in the field, are unanimous in their rejection of Zionists exploitation of the Judaism, in the same way biologists reject the claims of certain political groups that the Earth is 6000 years old.

    Israel is not built on land or people, but on lies. Destroy the lies, and Israel will have no choice but to collapse overnight.

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