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Why I’m going to DC

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On March 20th, I will be going to the National March to Support Palestine and Protest AIPAC in Washington, DC. Why am I going?

I’m going as an American, to say no to the lobbying regime, to government by money, and to the undue influence of corporations and foreign governments in the election of our leaders and the making of our laws; to stop the legalized bribery and blackmail that allow a country to give millions to our lawmakers and in turn get billions from them; and to stop our tax money from making the brutal occupation of Palestine possible, through more than $3 billion a year in unconditional aid. I’m going to oppose the suppression of free speech in academia, mass media and politics that hides the truth of what is going on in Palestine from most Americans, because the very notion that one cannot criticize a government, its elected leaders, its policies or the actions of its military is anti-democratic and un-American. I’m going because a State that deprives half its population of the most basic rights is not a democracy; it’s a hypocrisy.

I’m going as a person of Jewish heritage, because this racist and violent occupation is waged in my name. I’m going to expose the lie that this is a conflict between Jews and Muslims or Jews and Arabs and not between a ethno-supremacist colonialism and its victims; the lie that being Jewish means uncritically supporting a political State regardless of its action and the price it exacts from others; and the lie that supporting Palestine makes a Jewish person ‘self hating’. I’m going because those who represent a history of discrimination, ethnic cleansing and genocide have a special obligation to oppose oppression wherever they find it. I’m going because I know that ‘never again’ means now.

I’m going as a human being, to hold the State of Israel to the Geneva Conventions and all relevant UN resolutions, because double standards undermine the very foundation of International Law. I’m going because I oppose nationalist extremism and supremacism whatever form they take, by whomever they are practiced, and against whomever they are directed. I’m going to say ‘enough’ to an endless ‘Peace Process’ that only enables the ongoing absorption of land, appropriation of resources by the powerful party, and the concentration of the powerless into ever-smaller reservations, ghettos, or Bantustans and regular massacres of an unarmed population deprived of even the right to flee. I’m going to reaffirm the inalienable rights of all people, including the right to life, security, dignity, self-determination and return to the homes and the land of their birth. I’m going because we will not survive this century by walling ourselves in with ‘our kind’ while walling out mankind; because I see in Palestine not a conflict between two peoples, but a conflict between the most basic principles of humanity and a petty tribalism fueled by fear of the ‘other’. I’m going because every child who is murdered in Palestine is my child.

I’m going as a witness, because in repeated visits to occupied Palestine I have seen with my own eyes that everything I was told about Israel and Palestine a lie. I saw that guard towers, walls, barbed wire, crowded checkpoints, searches, harassment, arbitrary imprisonment and unaccountable summary executions are not the answer, but themselves the problem. I’m going for my Palestinian friends who endure intolerable injustice with dignity, equanimity, humor and deep humanity; because to experience the hospitality, generosity, thoughtfulness and gentleness of these people is to appreciate the cruel unfairness with which they’ve been maligned.

Finally, I’m going because – despite all we hear – this is actually a problem that is very easy to solve. Once we realize that Israel’s actions are not driven by legitimate security needs but by a deliberate and systematic project of colonial expansion and population transfer; once we realize that Israel does not want peace, but the perpetuation of a status quo that assures an emerging Greater Israel and the increasing containment of the occupied population; that this situation is only made possible by unconditional US support, which absolves Israel of its moral and legal obligations; and that this support is in turn only made possible by the fear that AIPAC and the rest of the pro-Israel lobby manage to instill in our politicians, it is easy to see that the road to Jerusalem leads through the Washington Convention Center.







Peter F. Cohen

Peter F. Cohen holds a Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology from Columbia University. He has taught, lectured, authored several publications and worked in International Development on four continents. During the 2014 Operation Protective Edge attack on Gaza, he started the organization Humanity for Palestine from his Facebook Page. A US Citizen, he currently lives in Brazil.

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20 Responses

  1. Froggy on March 1, 2016, 2:02 pm

    I wish I could be there with you.

  2. JWalters on March 1, 2016, 7:07 pm

    An absolutely excellent statement.

    In resolving this conflict it should be kept in mind that the “War on Terror” may be another manufactured war, with religious fanatics as pawns.

    The role of war profits in Israel’s economy is discussed here.

    Relevant historical facts omitted from the standard story are online at “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”.

  3. Kay24 on March 1, 2016, 8:57 pm

    There should be a ban on foreign lobbies. Their interests are usually mainly for that alien nation, as we know they put the interests of that foreign nation above that of ours.

    We should have the same type of lobby in Israel, where those pretending to be Israeli citizens are constantly interfering, manipulating, and controlling the media, and members of the knesset. Yeah, that would be an impossibility, so why do we allow zionists to control us here?

    Congratulations to those organizing this event. The more publicity they can get the better.

  4. DaBakr on March 1, 2016, 9:55 pm

    knock yourself out p.c. make an impression. in the meantime , trump keeps wracking up more and more supporters. your free to support any cause you see fit. but you should stop using the cover of judaism and/or jewish heritage as if it lends you any credibility. one thing i can agree that mw and similar blogs have succeeded at is exposing the farce that being jewish and anti-israel is any more credible then being an ordinary jew-hater.

    • talknic on March 1, 2016, 11:45 pm

      @ DaBakr March 1, 2016, 9:55 pm … in the meantime , trump … …

      Irrelevant to the topic

      “.. you should stop using the cover of judaism and/or jewish heritage as if it lends you any credibility”

      Israel’s current Prime monster claims to speak for all Jews. It doesn’t lend him any credibility in fact it makes him look like a total moron

      So why shouldn’t those of us proud of our Jewish heritage proclaim LOUDLY and OFTEN that Israel’s racist and violent occupation isn’t waged in our name?

      BTW seem to have missed “I’m going as an American” is that a cover too?

      “one thing i can agree that mw and similar blogs have succeeded at is exposing the farce that being jewish and anti-israel is any more credible then being an ordinary jew-hater”

      Whatever drivel you need to spout to keep your bile flowing and your word count up pal

      • DaBakr on March 2, 2016, 10:30 am


        you can proclaim as loudly and proudly as you like but its still winds up being another form of jewish exceptionalism-that your opinion as a jew matters more on this topic. i thought this was something that israel-haters abhor.

      • Mooser on March 2, 2016, 1:22 pm

        “So why shouldn’t those of us proud of our Jewish heritage proclaim LOUDLY and OFTEN that Israel’s racist and violent occupation isn’t waged in our name?”

        Especially since we will end up paying for it, one way or another. (How can we not? Tribal Unity demands it!) Might as well yell about it while we have the chance.

      • talknic on March 2, 2016, 5:09 pm

        @ DaBakr “… but its still winds up being another form of jewish exceptionalism-that your opinion as a jew matters more on this topic”

        Whatever idiotic bilge you need to spew buddy.

        Answer me this honestly if you can. When the likes of Netanyahu lies by saying he represents all Jews, how does one say ‘not this Jew’ without mentioning being Jewish?

        “i thought this was something that israel-haters abhor.”

        Israel-haters are those like yourself who support Israel being a rogue state in breach of the basic tenets of Judaism by coveting other folks property, stealing from and dispossessing those it occupies, illegally settling in non-Israeli territory, breaching International Law and the UN Charter, refusing non-Jewish Israeli citizens their right to return to their homes.

        Go honestly look in a mirror if you dare.

    • Mooser on March 2, 2016, 10:58 am

      “your free to support any cause you see fit. but you should stop using the cover of judaism and/or jewish heritage as if it lends you any credibility.”

      Moderators! Moderators! Are you guys going to permit “Dabakr” to make a premedicated comedic assault on an old man? I laughed so hard my dental implants came loose.

      shorter Dabacler: ‘The Jewish religion and culture and history can only be used to excuse or encourage violence, theft and dispossession. Any other use is anti-Semitic. Especially if Jews do it!”

    • Mooser on March 2, 2016, 6:54 pm

      ” but you should stop using the cover of judaism and/or jewish heritage as if it lends you any credibility.”

      “Dabacle”, now that I’ve stopped laughing at you, c’mon man, how many times have I asked you, begged you, to show your posts to a Rabbi, or a more advanced Zionist cadre and ask “Am I helping, or hindering, by saying this?”
      I’m sure your enthusiasm for commenting is appreciated, but you don’t want to go on making hideous ‘floaters’ like this one. Check with somebody who can straighten you out about this stuff.

  5. just on March 2, 2016, 7:44 am

    Thank you, Peter!

    From your alma mater:

    “Columbia University Professors Sign Petition in Support of BDS

    Forty faculty members from prestigious institution sign document urging divestment from companies related to Israel.

    Forty Columbia University faculty members have signed a petition urging the New York school to divest from companies that “supply, perpetuate, and profit from a system that has subjugated the Palestinian people.”

    The petition was released Monday morning to mark the first day of Israel Apartheid Week …

    According to the petition, the signatories “stand with Columbia University Apartheid Divest, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine as well as with Jewish Voice for Peace in calling upon the University to take a moral stance against Israel’s violence in all its forms.”

    They include Rashid Khalidi, a history and Middle Eastern studies professor who is a longtime critic of Israel and supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement; Joseph Massad, a professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history who sees Zionism as a racist and colonialist movement, and Nadia Abu El-Haj, an anthropology professor who received tenure in 2007 following a heated battle over the merits of her work, particularly a book that accuses Israel of manipulating archaeological findings to legitimize its existence.

    The most heavily represented departments among the signers are Middle Eastern South Asian and Africa studies, or MESAAS, English and comparative literature, and anthropology.

    Partha Chatterjee, an anthropology and MESAAS professor at the Ivy League school who signed, told the Spectator in an email that he wanted to protest Israel’s security regime, which “virtually amounts to apartheid.”

    “I fully support every effort to put pressure on the Israeli government to end its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands,” he said.

    Dirk Salomons, a signatory who is a senior lecturer at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, told the Spectator, “I’ve always had a feeling as a Jew that a Jewish state should rise slightly above the lack of morality of its neighbors. It pains me to see how a country which I love and which I have visited many times can be so blind to the needs of its neighbors.” ”

    read more:

    Link to petition:

  6. brent on March 2, 2016, 3:30 pm

    My hat is off to Peter Cohen for perhaps the most thoughtful analysis of the Question of Palestine I’ve ever read.

    A point I think is highly relevant is that NPR and PBS maintain a narrative (Israel defending and the bad things that happen to Palestinians are their own making, while editing out the “inconvenient” nuances) that makes AIPAC’s work so much easier. Because they depend on contributions from the public, raising awareness about their incomplete narrative, is an effective point for surgery.

  7. Roberto on March 2, 2016, 6:17 pm

    Thank you Mr Cohen.
    How sad for me that somebody who was like a brother for me, an Israeli Jew, broke up our old friendship because I told him that I agreed with Mondoweiss’ point of view. He said I was a sympathizer of anti semites.
    How I wish he could see with the eyes of justice, as you Mr Cohen.

    • Mooser on March 2, 2016, 8:32 pm

      “broke up our old friendship because I told him that I agreed with Mondoweiss’ point of view.”

      That’s awful. Did you check the “about” page? Ask him to? You lost a friend for no real reason. I’m sorry.

  8. OutingHasbaraProp on March 3, 2016, 1:07 pm

    PeterCohen-Shocked,Shocked Yu R STILL around after you tried to Sabotage the ShutDown AIPAC Protest on Social Media last March2015. Did yu tell them 3/4 ths of yur core group left yur organization after they discovered yu were taking names & addresses of Palestinians in order for them, to give them a winter coat? & when We Palestinians objected, you blocked US from your organization Humanity for Palestine? Did yu tell them that yu travel all over the world but tell your peers , yu have NO MONEY? Did You tell them you publicly stated the illegal settlers shud be able to stay in their ILLEGAL settlements no matter what violence they did to steal the land? Did yu tell them yu infiltrated the Pro Palestinian movement, BUT have NO Achievements to show? Except a huge Data base of Palestinians names, addresses, & activists info.. YEAH, I DIDN’T THINK SO!! Yur narcissistic publications/organization is an affront and dare I say CRIMINAL to the true Anti-Zionist Activists. JUST REALLY… STFU

    • MHughes976 on March 3, 2016, 6:08 pm

      Isn’t this a personal attack – comments policy 4?

      • Mooser on March 3, 2016, 8:03 pm

        “Isn’t this a personal attack”

        It’s a bunch of allegations, none of which the author seems able to substantiate in the ways available (links, cites, etc.) here. With no more than “OutingHasbaraProp” to go on, who knows?

  9. OutingHasbaraProp on March 4, 2016, 12:12 pm

    Anyone who was in his Secret group H4P…knows about this already & exposed him in 2015..the real activists for Palestine Warned the Palestinians & many know about him..But he likes attention & distracted many hours away from Activism for Palestine. He & his groupies threats R NO longer tolerated. Our Purpose is Activism for Palestine. . not investigative journalism. Look it up yurself. We R not wasting any more time on him, he loves to cause Chaos among the Social Media community of Activists for Palestine. I shouldn’t have said anything bc he likes this, But I got so Angry wi his Hypocrisy.

    • Mooser on March 4, 2016, 12:40 pm

      “With no more than “OutingHasbaraProp” to go on, who knows?”

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