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‘I faced my Jewish racism’ — an alumnus’s call to Jewish students for Israeli Apartheid Week

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– A call to Jewish students for Israeli Apartheid Week 2018

We need to talk about Jewish racism.

I know what you’re thinking. How dare I accuse us, a people who’ve suffered so greatly from prejudice, hatred and persecution, of holding racist attitudes ourselves?

But it turns out that our past experience provides no protection and our communal memories can hinder, not help us.

This particular conversation is about to become more urgent if you’re a Jewish student on a campus in the U.K. or Western Europe, North America or Australia.

The 14th annual ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ (IAW) takes place around the world from the end of February through mid-April. There’ll be talks, film screenings, and mock West Bank security checkpoints and Separation Walls to highlight the daily indignities of Palestinian life in the Occupied Territories. Thirty years after I graduated, I’ve been invited back to speak to students at Manchester University in the UK. It will be a homecoming – of sorts. But I’ve become a very different kind of Jew to the one who left there in 1988.

The intensity of this year’s IAW activities will be heightened by the 70th anniversaries this year of the Palestinian Nakba and the creation of the State of Israel. Once again, Jewish students will find themselves feeling distinctly uncomfortable as Zionism, and the Jewish State, are portrayed as racist endeavours.

But is it fair to brand you– young Jews who support Israel– of being promoters and defenders of racism?

Well, to be blunt, yes it is. But that simple answer doesn’t quite capture why that is or how it’s happened.

I don’t for one minute think young Jews who support Israel should be bunched together with members of the British National Party or White Supremacists. That’s lazy thinking. It makes no attempt to understand the origins of Zionism or the current place of Israel in individual or communal Jewish life.

Nonetheless, Jewish racism is ‘a thing’. I know it from my own experience, from my own past ways of thinking, from how I was as a student in Manchester in the mid 1980s. This Jewish strand of racism is an inevitable consequence of the success Zionism has had in shaping Jewish identity over the last 70 years. And if we don’t face the racism that Zionism has created nothing will change when it comes to Israel/Palestine for another generation.

Less deserving

The truth is, all people are vulnerable to ways of thinking that leave others less deserving than themselves. That doesn’t make all of us Adolf Hitler, it just makes us human. But that doesn’t make it okay either. If any group should understand that, it’s us, the Jewish people.

For a great many Jews (myself included for far too long) the “less deserving” have been the Palestinians.

Whether consciously or not, we’re suspicious of them, we don’t trust them.

We believe our needs are greater than theirs.

We believe our claims are stronger and more culturally important.

We see ourselves as vulnerable, we see them as a threat.

We act in good faith, while they are deceitful.

We ask only for what is rightfully ours, while they make unreasonable demands.

We protect ourselves, they seek only our destruction.

It’s a set of attitudes and dispositions that together add up to racism.

Let me offer some examples of how this Jewish racism plays out through double standards, inconsistencies and hypocrisy.

If you think we have an obligation to remember our homeland while Palestinians should be encouraged to forget theirs – that’s racism.

If you think our Jewish ‘right of return’, after two thousand years’ absence is sacred and undeniable, but the right of return for Palestinians, and their descendants, who fled their homes in 1948 is illegitimate– that’s racism.

If you memorialise atrocities carried out against the Jewish people throughout our history but downplay or dismiss the Palestinian Nakba– that’s racism.

If you think Jewish national self-determination is an incontestable right but Palestinian national self-determination must be negotiated and offered only as a ‘reward for good behaviour’– that’s racism.

I realise that your convictions about Zionism may come from a religious belief in a divine promise to the Jewish people. Well, you’re welcome and entitled to your religious convictions. Although I’d remind you of the covenantal ‘small print’ that made our land entitlement conditional on upholding the Law of Moses. And are you aware that, for most of the last two thousand years, we considered our ‘exile’ as much a spiritual as territorial issue? But if you’re still convinced it’s ours by divine right then you’ll need to abandon any affection for liberalism, democracy, equality or division of religion and state. You can’t have it all.

No formal lessons

When you grow up Jewish, Zionism is just there. It’s a given. There’s no reason to question it. It’s Jewish history, culture and religion all bound up together in a modern expression of religious and cultural entitlement. Zionism has become the very definition of Jewish safety and security too. After the Holocaust, isn’t Zionism just ‘Jewish common sense’?

So when you find yourself confronted by the language of Israeli Apartheid Week you will feel this is something far more than a political disagreement. This is an emotional attack on who you are, who your family is, the community that raised you. It’s attack on your sense of physical security. No wonder it can feel so threatening. No wonder you may feel upset.

But sometimes it’s good to be upset. Sometimes becoming upset is exactly what we need to see the truth and begin to deal with it.

Choosing our response 

Israeli Apartheid Week is the moment we can choose to think differently. We can choose to recognise what our thinking really means and what has brought it about. We can confront our prejudices and face into our racism. We can move ourselves on and attempt to move forward today’s understanding of Jewish identity, Jewish security and Judaism itself.

My advice to Jewish students anticipating Israeli Apartheid Week is not to get defensive, but to get responsible. Go to the events and the talks. But not to argue or to heckle. Go with a commitment to listen and learn.

Yes, you’ll feel it’s one sided. Yes, you’ll think others there understand too little of our Jewish history and experience. You’ll think that Zionism is being unfairly distorted and criminalised. You’ll feel angry at how our own community is being portrayed. You’ll feel defensive because your view of the conflict and its causes is so very different from those around you.

My challenge to you is to resist the urge to defend and ‘explain’. This is not about winning debating points. This is about you facing into the racism you have towards Palestinians.

Grieving and questioning

If you’ve followed me this far, expect to go through a period of grieving. You’re losing something important to you. A part of your childhood and a part of your teenage years will suddenly look different from your new perspective. You are going to want to ask some difficult questions the next time you’re back home too.

Why do our religious and communal leaders either refuse (or fear) to speak out on the injustices created by the Occupation of the West Bank?

Why do we claim to be such passionate supporters of peace and of ‘2-states’ but then welcome President Trump’s policy on a united Jerusalem?

Why have we lost all sense of proportion so that we see a slap in the face of an occupying soldier or a boycott of Settlements as acts of terror aimed at our total destruction?

And finally this…

Within our community, why have we made support for Zionism and Israel the touchstone of Jewish fidelity, while calling for human rights for all has become a Jewish heresy?

Our futures locked together

Leaving Zionism behind is not abandoning Judaism or your Jewish identity. Neither does it mean you don’t care about antisemitism, or Holocaust denial or the safety and security of Jews in Israel and around the world. But it does mean thinking about these things in a different way. A way that binds us to the Palestinian people rather than divides us from them. Our futures are locked together: either as oppressors and oppressed; or as equals. Which is it to be?

As Jewish students during Israeli Apartheid Week, don’t waste your time attempting to defend the indefensible. Much better to confront the racism we’ve created and begin a journey towards a different expression of Jewish self-determination, one built on respect and equality for all.

I faced my Jewish racism, can you do the same?

This post first appeared on the Patheos site on February 17. 

Robert Cohen
About Robert Cohen

Cohen is a British writer. He blogs at Micah's Paradigm Shift. http://micahsparadigmshift.blogspot.co.uk/

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68 Responses

  1. Paranam Kid
    Paranam Kid
    February 19, 2018, 12:03 pm

    Robert, a good, courageous article. You have left out 1 important point: apartheid. Part of the challenge to young Jews you describe is also facing up to the FACT that Israel IS an apartheid state. That is why the period is called Israeli Apartheid Week.

  2. eljay
    eljay
    February 19, 2018, 12:26 pm

    This is a reasonable, well-written article. It’s a shame that most – if not all – Zionists will dismiss it with contempt.

  3. Jon66
    Jon66
    February 19, 2018, 5:02 pm

    “If you think we have an obligation to remember our homeland while Palestinians should be encouraged to forget theirs – that’s racism.

    If you think our Jewish ‘right of return’, after two thousand years’ absence is sacred and undeniable, but the right of return for Palestinians, and their descendants, who fled their homes in 1948 is illegitimate– that’s racism.

    If you memorialise atrocities carried out against the Jewish people throughout our history but downplay or dismiss the Palestinian Nakba– that’s racism.

    If you think Jewish national self-determination is an incontestable right but Palestinian national self-determination must be negotiated and offered only as a ‘reward for good behaviour’– that’s racism.”

    If these are all reciprocal, then I agree we have a great place for a discussion and understanding for all people to live together and recognize each ones aspirations.

    So how about this:
    If you think we have an obligation to remember the Palestinian homeland while the Jewish people do not have a homeland in Israel – that’s anti-semtism.

    If you think the Palestinian ‘right of return’ is sacred and undeniable, but the right of return for Jews is illegitimate– that’s anti-semitism.

    If you memorialise the Nakba, but deny or minimize the Holocaust – that’s anti-semtism.

    If you think Palestinian national self-determination is an incontestable right but Jewish national self-determination is ‘colonialism’– that’s anti-semtism.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      February 19, 2018, 7:01 pm

      “that’s anti-semtism….anti-semtism…anti-semtism.”

      Yeah, yeah, we get it “Jon 66”, anything that keeps Zionists from doing whatever they want in Palestine is “anti-semtism”.

      And when Israel fails, I guarantee, it’ll be because of “anti-semtism”. What other reason could there possibly be?

      • gamal
        gamal
        February 20, 2018, 1:15 am

        “And when Israel fails”

        “Exposing what is mortal and unsure
        To all that fortune, death, and danger dare”

        as

        “He may be said to be amenable only to the tribunal of his own thoughts, and is too much taken up with the airy world of contemplation to lay as much stress as he ought on the practical consequences of things”

        and of Mooser could one say

        “It is more interesting than according to rules: amiable, though not faultless. The ethical delineations of ‘that noble and liberal casuist’ .. do not exhibit the drab-coloured quakerism of morality…. He is the most amiable of misanthropes”

        sorry to ham it up there, trying to improve myself…is anything more hurtful than an inattentive stalker.

    • amigo
      amigo
      February 19, 2018, 7:02 pm

      “If you think Palestinian national self-determination is an incontestable right but Jewish national self-determination is ‘colonialism’– that’s anti-semtism.” jon 66

      It is colonialism when you make your homeland on someone elses.

      Your post is so absurd it reeks of pure idiocy.

    • annie
      annie
      February 19, 2018, 7:29 pm

      If you think the Palestinian ‘right of return’ is sacred and undeniable, but the right of return for Jews is illegitimate– that’s anti-semitism.

      jon, notice how, unlike you, cohen used the quote marks for jewish ‘right of return’, not for palestinian. do you know why? because the right of return is a principle in international law which guarantees peoples right of voluntary return to or re-enter their country of origin or of citizenship. this applies to palestinians, not to jews (palestinian jews were already living there). whereas, israel’s 1950 law of return bestowed the right for (some) jews to come and live in Israel and to gain Israeli citizenship.

      they are not the same thing, nor the same principle. they are certainly not interchangeable and it’s inappropriate for you to place quote marks around palestinians right of return because it’s real. israel could have called their law anything (like the nationality law) but no, they used it as a slap in the face by calling it a “return” which is a word that implies it has the same gravity as international law, it doesn’t. it makes about as much sense as me saying i’m returning to africa because heck, that’s where the birthplace of womankind is and i’m a woman. or for a congregation of christian zionists from texas to say they are returning to bethlehem because it is the birthplace of christianity and hey they’re christian! related to the original christians!

      recognizing this is not racism, it’s common sense. when a bunch of europeans show up in the middle east to colonize the place, propaganda greases the wheels. calling zionist colonization a ‘right of return’ (sacred or otherwise), is propaganda.

    • eljay
      eljay
      February 19, 2018, 8:24 pm

      || Jon66: … So how about this: … ||

      It’s lame.

      || … If you think we have an obligation to remember the Palestinian homeland while the Jewish people do not have a homeland in Israel – that’s anti-semtism. … ||

      Nope. Geographic Palestine is the homeland of all Palestinians. Israel is the homeland of all Israelis. People all over the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish already have their own homelands.

      || … If you think the Palestinian ‘right of return’ is sacred and undeniable, but the right of return for Jews is illegitimate– that’s anti-semitism. … ||

      Nope. Palestinian refugees have a legal right to return to their homes and lands in geographic Palestine. There is no legal right for people all over the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish to “return” to where they are not from.

      || … If you memorialise the Nakba, but deny or minimize the Holocaust – that’s anti-semtism. … ||

      I agree. No tragedy – including the Nakba and the Holocaust – should be denied or minimized. And no tragedy – including the Nakba and the Holocaust – should be whored out to defend acts of injustice and immorality.

      || … If you think Palestinian national self-determination is an incontestable right but Jewish national self-determination is ‘colonialism’– that’s anti-semtism. ||

      Nope. Self-determination is a right belonging to the indigenous people of a geographic region. Geographic Palestinians had a right of self-determination.

      Carving a colonialist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” out of as much as possible of geographic Palestine primarily of and for people all over the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish is not self-determination – it’s (you guessed it) colonalism and supremacism.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 20, 2018, 4:31 am

        A refusal to recognize the vailidity of another position.

        I think the author said it best, “The truth is, all people are vulnerable to ways of thinking that leave others less deserving than themselves.”

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 20, 2018, 8:29 am

        || Jon66: A refusal to recognize the vailidity of another position. … ||

        The position that the religion-based identity of Jewish grants those who choose to hold it the right…
        – to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine; and
        – to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them,
        …is not a valid position. It does not deserve to be recognized as valid.

        Similarly, the position that it’s acceptable to kidnap women, chained them in one’s basement and rape them is not a valid position. For some disturbing reason you seem to think it deserves to be recognized as valid.

        || … I think the author said it best, “The truth is, all people are vulnerable to ways of thinking that leave others less deserving than themselves.” ||

        You’re right – he did say it best. It’s a shame that you Zionists can’t abandon your way of thinking that has you believing you deserve more than others.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 20, 2018, 8:46 am

        If the other position has no validity, it is our duty to say so.

      • JosephA
        JosephA
        February 20, 2018, 7:16 pm

        In which Eljay drops the mic. Preach on, brother, you definitely answered that tit for tat as perfectly as possible.

      • Nathan
        Nathan
        February 25, 2018, 8:05 pm

        “Palestinian refugees have a legal right to return to their homes and lands in geographic Palestine”.

        eljay – Well, actually, they don’t have the right to return. The solution of the refugee issue is part of the end-of-conflict negotiations. In other words, the return of refugees must be agreed upon with the final settlement of the conflict. Interestingly, Mr Abbas spoke of the Arab League Peace Initiative in his recent address to the Security Council. Here’s the quote from the initiative: “Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem to be AGREED UPON in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194”. Yes, as you can see, the Palestinian peace proposal calls for an agreement on the refugee problem within the framework of a peace treaty. Obviously, in the absence of peace (the end of conflict), there is no return.

        You claim that the Jews have no legal right “to return to where they’re not from”. Again, you are mistaken. Of course the Jews have a legal right to come to Israel. It is in accordance to the law of Israel. Every state in the world has its immigration laws, and it’s quite usual.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 26, 2018, 1:49 am

        What an odd idea, Nathan. Being prepared to negotiate does not abrogate the right of return. On the contrary, what is to be negotiated is a just solution, and justice requires the right to be recognised. The negotiations could be about how the right is to be realised, or about whether some Palestinians would rather give up the right in return for compensation.

        Since the negotiations have not happened, the right remains.

        (Of course, Israel does not want to negotiate in good faith. Israel broke the terms of the Oslo agreement, so that is now a dead letter, and has never acknowledged the Arab peace plan.)

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 26, 2018, 7:57 am

        || Nathan: … eljay – Well, actually, they don’t have the right to return. … ||

        Article 11 of Resolution 194:

        … the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property …

        Hop to it.

        || … You claim that the Jews have no legal right “to return to where they’re not from”. Again, you are mistaken. Of course the Jews have a legal right to come to Israel. It is in accordance to the law of Israel. Every state in the world has its immigration laws, and it’s quite usual. ||

        I stand corrected: People all over the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who have chosen to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish have no moral right to return to where they are not from.

        And Israel has no moral right to deny non-Jews from Israel the right to return to where they are from.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      February 20, 2018, 12:19 am

      “If you memorialise the Nakba, but deny or minimize the Holocaust – that’s anti-semitism.”

      I really do not understand this, and so far no-one has been able to explain it to me.

      If my investigations into history lead me to conclude that Robin Hood never existed, I cannot see why that would make me anti-English, or perhaps just anti-Sherwoodish.

      Similarly, if my investigations into history lead me to conclude that the Nakba or the Holocaust never happened, I cannot see why that would make me anti-Palestinian or anti-Semitic.

      I might, in all cases, be a rotten historian, but that is all.

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 20, 2018, 9:01 am

        || RoHa: … I really do not understand this, and so far no-one has been able to explain it to me. … ||

        I thought you already understood it: Everything you do is anti-Semitic. ;-)

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 20, 2018, 11:27 am

        Roha,
        I get it. And so Nakba denial is merely bad history, not racism.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 20, 2018, 12:09 pm

        “Jon66” you sort of lost me. I never minimize the Holocaust, neither in numbers or intent.

        But could you explain what the Holocaust has to do with Zionism?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 20, 2018, 12:13 pm

        “I might, in all cases, be a rotten historian, but that is all.”

        You’re an expert dialectician and grammarian.

        But is Robert Hughes a good historian? I’m reading “The Fatal Shore”.

      • gamal
        gamal
        February 20, 2018, 4:12 pm

        “I’m reading “The Fatal Shore”. ”

        “The first day that we landed upon that fatal shore
        The planters gathered round us that might be twenty score
        They ranked us off like horses and sold us out of hand
        Then yoked us to the ploughs brave boys to plough Van Diemen’s land”

        dan mcgonigle the old voice in the old style Van Diemens Land, the Irish like the Palestinians are an unbreakable people, listen

        https://www.itma.ie/inishowen/song/van_diemens_land_dan_mcgonigle

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 20, 2018, 6:05 pm

        Thanks, eljay. I had forgotten that.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 20, 2018, 6:14 pm

        “I get it. And so Nakba denial is merely bad history, not racism.”

        That would be my first assumption, especially if the denial were accompanied by an argument based on history or by evidence of total ignorance of history. I would need other reasons than mere denial to suspect a racist motivation.

        And, of course, the motivation for a claim does not affect the truth of the claim.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 20, 2018, 6:20 pm

        But there were no wolves or tigers in Van Dieman’s Land. The thylacine (now probably extinct) was called the “Tasmanian Tiger” because it had a few stripes on it, but it would not have been able to eat even a small Irishman.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 20, 2018, 6:28 pm

        That’s exactly where the title came from.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 20, 2018, 6:56 pm

        It’s a good read, Mooser. I’m not qualified to judge Hughes as a historian. Another good read, actually written by a trained historian, is reviewed here.

        https://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/the-tyranny-of-distance-geoffrey-blaineys-classic-turns-50-/news-story/30477685f87b58523e883f556b40e059

      • gamal
        gamal
        February 21, 2018, 2:06 am

        “not have been able to eat even a small Irishman”

        might just bite the good bits off, I’d set my duvet smouldering to prevent that,

        you wouldn’t understand you’ve gone native, I came across a troop of kangaroos out alone in the bush around Shepperton, they were big I was quite perturbed but stood my ground, Australians were unimpressed by my sangfroid, they are a rugged people unconcerned by periodic envenomation and constant moderate maulings, a magpie drew blood from my head in a Melbourne suburb, I had assumed the warnings I had been given were a joke, everything wild in Ireland runs away from you as in a well ordered nature.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 21, 2018, 12:40 pm

        “not have been able to eat even a small Irishman” “RoHa”

        You must have skipped Chapter 6 (“Who Were the Convicts”), Section 5, which begins:

        “Australia was the official Siberia for Irish dissidents at the turn of the century.”

        The Australian cat ate plenty of Irishmen.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 21, 2018, 8:43 pm

        We learned about maggies when we were kids. Sometimes the hard way.
        Now maybe you’ll take the warnings about drop bears seriously as well.

        (For those who do not know, magpies defend their nests by swooping down and pecking any shifty-looking character who comes near. They think most people are shifty-looking, including you. This is the reason Australian cyclists have spiky helmets.

        But at least they aren’t cassowaries.)

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      February 20, 2018, 12:25 pm

      @Jon66

      Bullcrap!!

      Zionism is racism. Zionism is theft. Zionism is fascism. Zionism is doomed.

      Bottom line: Foreign Jews had the same right to Palestine as Irish Catholics and Mexican atheists, i.e., none whatsoever. Therein lies the root of the conflict.

      Israel: 68 years of trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

      To state the screaming obvious, Israel is increasingly viewed around the world as a pariah, a brutal/illegal occupier, oppressor, ethnic cleanser and serial violator of hard won international humanitarian law.

      At an increasing rate, along with more and more average Americans, Israel is being abandoned by enlightened Jews, especially all important youth. Indeed, Jews are now among the most dedicated and effective supporters of Palestinians.

      No wonder Israel’s Jewish immigration is in free fall and Jewish emigration is rapidly growing. To wit:
      The Forward, March 22, 2017 By Naomi Zeveloff
      “A third of Jewish Israelis would leave the country if they could, according to a poll conducted by Masa Israeli, a group looking at the divisions of Jewish society in Israel.”

      http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.806869
      EXCERPT:
      “More Israelis Left Israel Than Moved Back in Six Year Record. 16,700 left and 8,500 came back in 2015, in first year since 2009 that more Israelis exited than returned.” By Lior Dattel. Aug 15, 2017, Haaretz.

      Times of Israel, June 21/17:
      http://www.timesofisrael.com/devastating-survey-shows-huge-loss-of-israel-support-among-jewish-college-students/

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel -news/.premium-jewish-agency- chief-warns-young-u-s-jews- more-turned-off-to-israel-1. 5751616
      Haaretz – Jan 22, 2018, by Judy Maltz
      “Young American Jews Increasingly Turning Away From Israel, Jewish Agency Leader Warns”
      “The Jewish Agency’s CEO and director-general called the trend ‘extremely worrisome,’ and said that a new strategy must be undertaken to engage young American Jews with Israel.”

      http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=20982'%20style='color:#000;
      The Real News, Jan. 25/18
      “US Bipartisan Support for Israel over Palestinians Is Breaking Down, New Study Shows”
      “The bipartisan consensus of support for Israel over the Palestinians is breaking down in the United States.
      “A new study by the leading polling agency the Pew Research Center has found that the partisan divide in Americans’ sympathies for Israel or the Palestinians is the largest it has been in 40 years.”

      https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-vast-numbers-of-california-jews-disengaging-from-israel-survey-finds-1.5821675
      Haaretz, Feb. 14/18
      “Vast Numbers of Progressive California Jews Are Disengaging From Israel, Survey Finds.” By Judy Maltz.
      EXCERPT: “Only a minority of young Jews in San Francisco’s Bay Area believe a Jewish state is important and only a third sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians.”

      Israel is America’s number one geopolitical liability, a millstone around its neck. Inevitably, (like France and Algeria, Britain and Rhodesia, Belgium and the Congo) the US will have to pursue its best interests and set Israel adrift. No other country will replace America as Israel’s protector and financier (courtesy of US taxpayers, now well in excess of $10 million per day.)

    • Emory Riddle
      Emory Riddle
      February 23, 2018, 8:27 am

      “If you think we have an obligation to remember the Palestinian homeland while the Jewish people do not have a homeland in Israel – that’s anti-semtism.

      If you think the Palestinian ‘right of return’ is sacred and undeniable, but the right of return for Jews is illegitimate– that’s anti-semitism.

      If you memorialise the Nakba, but deny or minimize the Holocaust – that’s anti-semtism.

      If you think Palestinian national self-determination is an incontestable right but Jewish national self-determination is ‘colonialism’– that’s anti-semtism.

      If you think Ashkenazi Jews whose families have lived in Europe and Russia for many generations have the right to come into Palestine and violently steal the land and homes of the non -Jews living there — that’s Zionism.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      February 24, 2018, 11:05 am

      Jon66:

      A lot of people think that refugees — from war, from dictatorships, from various persecutions, from famine, from drought — have a right to move to and live freely within a more satisfactory place. But it is never (to my knowledge) suggested that such people have a right to displace the people that live in the place they want to move to, or to call themselves a “people” or a “nation”. No. They are called refugees or migrants. They are not said to be “going home”.

      Why should it have been different for the Jewish refugees after WWII (or before)? The mostly Polish Jews who promoted Zionism in its early days were reacting to pogroms and other persecutions. They were Poles or Russians or Belorussians or Ukrainians who were being badly treated. They suffered from cultural and sometimes from institutional antisemitism. They wanted to move to a more favorable place, and why not Palestine? Sounded pretty good, and had echoes from religious teaching that appealed even to the (many, many) non-religious Jews. (But many came not to Palestine but to Canada or the USA as my father’s people did.)

      You can be persecuted whether or not you are religious! You can persecute whether or not you are religious!

      So I see the Zionist enterprise as a takeover of another people’s territory, a displacing takeover when it became an armed takeover (1947-present).

      There is no “right” (to my thinking) for Israeli Jews to call themselves a “nation” (or to call Jews generally a nation) and to seize Palestine as if “by right” . No, it was seized by force of arms. It was settler colonialism and, for whatever it’s worth, most of the Jewish settlers of Palestine were “white” Europeans. (More generally, most settler colonialism and other colonialism was done by “white” European peoples — if we ignore such things as Gengiz Khan long ago, the Ottomans, and China in Tibet in 1948).

      All your parallels are non-parallel and illegitimate except one: the Holocaust and earlier pogroms were real and the Nakba was real, and all may properly be memorialized.

    • inbound39
      inbound39
      February 25, 2018, 4:21 pm

      Donald Trump stated recently that the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict is the most difficult in the World to resolver. It is if the American Government buys into Israeli BS. It is if the American Government ignores Israeli statements made when it accepted and agreed to Resolution 181. When the Israeli Government declared its Sovereignty it accepted borders as defined by and conditions outlined in 181. Those are still the borders and conditions that the International Community officially recognises Sovereign Israel upon.

      When the Provisional Israeli Government was asked which territory was Sovereign and which was Occupied it declared the West Bank including Jerusalem to be Occupied. This means Jerusalem held no significance or importance in reality to the Israeli Authorities. It only became so after 1967 when Israel began to look at expansion into ALL of Palestine in contravention of International law. There is no dispute and The American Government could resolve the Conflict tomorrow,,,,today and end the suffering and injustice for Palestinians by witholding ALL AID to Israel until it complies with International Law…..Simple….not difficult.

    • Emory Riddle
      Emory Riddle
      February 28, 2018, 7:02 pm

      If your family has lived in Europe and’or Russia for as far back as records go and you think your homeland is in a different continent….you might be a Zionist redneck;

      If you think that the native peoples who were violently driven out of their homes and their land are not entitled to return…..you might be a Zionist redneck;

      If you think Jews have a right to return to a place they never lived but that the Natives don’t…you might be a Zionist redneck;

      If you obsess over imagined slights from thousands of years ago that may or may not have actually happened to people you never knew but deny the suffering of the Natives at the hands of the Ashkenazi…you might be a Zionist redneck.

      And it you are a Zionist redneck, you have nothing at all to add to the conversation.

  4. Emory Riddle
    Emory Riddle
    February 19, 2018, 5:11 pm

    “If any group should understand that, it’s us, the Jewish people.”

    Ah Jeez. The “we are the ultimate victim” mindset on full display.

    Not native peoples of the Americas, Africa, the Pacific Isles. Nope, the Ashkenazi Jews.

    • Keith
      Keith
      February 21, 2018, 10:34 am

      EMORY RIDDLE- “Ah Jeez. The “we are the ultimate victim” mindset on full display.”

      I agree. 1/5

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 21, 2018, 3:37 pm

        “I agree. 1/5”

        Uh-oh. Is that ‘1 comment printed out of 5 submitted’, “Keith”?

      • Keith
        Keith
        February 21, 2018, 4:44 pm

        MOOSER- “Is that ‘1 comment printed out of 5 submitted’, “Keith”?”

        Yes, and I am surprised that this one passed moderation. This is one topic where the moderators appear to wish that I would simply butt out. Go figure.
        2/6

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 21, 2018, 6:12 pm

        “Yes,”

        Ugh! I was afraid of that. Well, 1/5 is only 20%, and you just started keeping track.
        Hopefully it’ll be 95/100 when you get there. “Eva” is well into the 90’s now.

      • Keith
        Keith
        February 21, 2018, 9:07 pm

        MOOSER- “Ugh! I was afraid of that. Well, 1/5 is only 20%, and you just started keeping track.”

        It was only on this thread and a few others which deal with the topic of Jewish history, Jewishness, etc. When discussing the global political economy I don’t recall ever having a comment rejected. I only did it on this thread and this one time because I couldn’t believe how many innocuous comments didn’t pass moderation. Overall my comments generally pass moderation as well they should. I have no intention of keeping a running total of rejections versus approved.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 22, 2018, 4:56 pm

        ” I have no intention of keeping a running total of rejections versus approved.”

        As Ms. Plath said: “You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”

  5. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    February 19, 2018, 6:04 pm

    Manchester was the scene of a major ‘censorship’ intervention, partially successful, by Mark Regev against Marika Sherwood only last year. Israel Apartheid Week now seems much weakened in the UK by threats based on the notorious ‘Working Def of Anti-S’. Everyone flinches from the prospect of huge legal costs. The likes of Mark Regev seem unable to see just how ugly their threats are and I don’t think they’ll work for ever.

    • Paranam Kid
      Paranam Kid
      February 20, 2018, 8:50 am

      Mark Regev has been & still is among the most ugly of the Ziofascists. The guy deserves to be …… oh well, I won’t go there, but suffice to say that filth needs to be removed with strong anti-detergent.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        February 20, 2018, 12:36 pm

        Regev should return to his real homeland, South Africa.

  6. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    February 20, 2018, 9:10 am

    @Jon66
    “If you memorialise the Nakba, but deny or minimize the Holocaust – that’s anti-semtism”
    For what it is worth I believe that the Holocaust was the greatest single organised atrocity in History with only the genocide in the Belgian Congo (estimates of around 10 million people massacred) bearing comparison.

    As for the ” right of return” for Jews I believe that it is complete and utter bollocks.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      February 20, 2018, 10:20 am

      A refugee – one who is unjustly expelled or excluded – surely has a right of return (how else do we recognise the injustice?) and so do descendants who are still being excluded. That right lapses when full citizenship elsewhere, implying rights and duties the same as the existing citizens, is offered and accepted – though there is no duty to accept. By this standard there will for a long time be Palestinians with a right of return following 1948. There have for a long time ceased to be any Jewish people with a right of return following 135.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 20, 2018, 11:19 am

        Hughes,
        “That right lapses when full citizenship elsewhere, implying rights and duties the same as the existing citizens, is offered and accepted”

        UNWRA doesn’t categorize them that way. They recognize them as refugees even if they have citizenship.
        “More than 2 million registered Palestine refugees live in Jordan.

        Most Palestine refugees in Jordan, but not all, have full citizenship. There are ten recognized Palestine refugee camps throughout the country, which accommodate nearly 370,000 Palestine refugees, or 18 per cent of the country total. Jordan hosts the largest number of Palestine refugees of all of the UNWRA fields.”

      • Paranam Kid
        Paranam Kid
        February 20, 2018, 1:24 pm

        @Jon66: the Palestinian refugees in Jordan do not have citizenship rights otherwise that would be an acknwledgement that they could stay in Jordan permanenty, which Jordan does not want nor can afford.
        And those refugees certainly have no Jordanian passport. You can try to twist the truth into “alternative” facts, but facts are facts.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        February 20, 2018, 1:30 pm

        @Jon66
        Jordan granted citizenship to Palestinian refugees and their descendants under its control “without prejudice to their legitimate rights…in accordance with United Nations resolutions, and particularly General Assembly Resolution 194 of 11 December 1948…. Nationality does not invalidate their political and historical rights, since their inalienable and inviolable right to return or to receive compensation is guaranteed by international law and conventions.”

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 20, 2018, 1:42 pm

        Paranam,
        Once again.

        “Most Palestine refugees in Jordan, but not all, have full citizenship.”
        https://www.unrwa.org/where-we-work/jordan

        “In Jordan nearly 95% of all Palestinian refugees have been given citizenship and are able to participate in Jordanian political and economic life. Most registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan (over 80%) also do not live in the ten UNRWA run camps located in Jordan. “https://www.afsc.org/resource/palestinian-refugees-and-right-return

        Mist,
        I’m just pointing out that Hughes is in error when he says that citizenship negates the right of return.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 20, 2018, 5:22 pm

        My argument would be that to accept citizenship in Xland is to accept all the rights and duties, no more and no less, than the existing Xlanders have, which would not include a right of return to another place. Moreover the normal idea of receiving citizenship involves the idea of intending to make one’s life in the receiving country.
        I’d agree that special arrangements may perhaps be made by agreement between the parties – general consent for general good and all that – which vary the normal pattern of rights and duties. But where there is no general consent of this kind the normal rule would surely apply. A German Jew becoming British in 1935 or a Palestinian becoming British in 1990 (in practice I doubt if we were welcoming enough in either case) would not have received citizenship with the kind of proviso or special consideration that Jordan offers Palestinians.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 20, 2018, 6:23 pm

        Hughes,
        I agree with your general take. If your a citizen of another country your not really a refugee. It just goes to show that the definition of refugee is a political construct with an agenda, a definition that varies by who is granting it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 20, 2018, 6:34 pm

        “Jon66” you are arguing against yourself, again.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        February 21, 2018, 1:34 am

        Hughes,

        That argument would only apply if the new citizenship was granted with the express condition that the new citizen forfeit his past rights. Most countries don’t impose that kind of burden. “The usual rights and duties” do not include rights in some other place but do not necessarily exclude them, either. Double and multiple citizenships are the rule rather than the exception.

        In most cases, acquiring a new citizenship does not entail giving up any other rights, of return or citizenship or even of citizenship of an as yet non-existing state.

        That argument sounds like one more empty phrase by colonial shysters. To delight Zionist thieves like John66.

      • Paranam Kid
        Paranam Kid
        February 21, 2018, 4:35 am

        @Jon66: OK, so Jordan granted them citizienship against instruction issued by te Arab League barring the Arab states from granting citizenship to Palestinian Arab refugees (or their descendants) “to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland”.

        So what is your point? That Israel is justified in its ethnic cleansing?

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 21, 2018, 9:27 am

        Paranam,
        My point is that many of the refugees have citizenship. That’s it.
        These definitions are by nature political, not scientific facts.
        The UN refugee convention in part defines a refugee, “; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence…”
        The majority of Palestinians in Jordan have Jordanian nationality, but still define themselves as refugees with a right of return. So, having citizenship and nationality elsewhere does not seem to negate the refugee status.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        Kaisa of Finland
        February 21, 2018, 2:44 pm

        Jon66:

        “The majority of Palestinians in Jordan have Jordanian nationality, but still define themselves as refugees with a right of return. So, having citizenship and nationality elsewhere does not seem to negate the refugee status..”

        The majority (if not all) of the Jewish (non-Israelian citizens) people living outside Israel have a citizenship/nationality of an another country, still they consider themselves living in “diaspora” and having a “right to return” to Israel. What is different?? The Palestinians living in diaspora can often show the exact place where they or their family comes from (used to live before the Nakba). So what is your point??

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 21, 2018, 3:37 pm

        || Kaisa of Finland: Jon66 … what is your point?? ||

        As far as I can tell, he’s just making a point of reminding people that he’s a Jewish supremacist.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 21, 2018, 6:44 pm

        Eljay,
        “As far as I can tell, he’s just making a point of reminding people that he’s a Jewish supremacist.”
        Can you point to a quote in this thread that is ‘supremacist’? If not then it might be a good time for one your trademark rape/bondage fantasy things. Fifty Shades of Eljay and all.

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

        || Jon66: … Can you point to a quote in this thread that is ‘supremacist’? … ||

        My bad. I must have missed the part where you rejected the unjust and immoral “Law of Return”.

        || … If not then it might be a good time for one your trademark rape/bondage fantasy things. Fifty Shades of Eljay and all. ||

        The rape analogy is not meant to titillate. It’s most certainly not intended as a “fantasy”. But it doesn’t surprise me that that’s how you interpret it.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 21, 2018, 9:49 pm

        Eljay,
        “The rape analogy is not meant to titillate. It’s most certainly not intended as a “fantasy”.”
        Not my thing, but whom am I to judge as long as you limit it to an ‘analogy’.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        February 21, 2018, 10:33 pm

        Thanks to echino and others. I still say that rights are associated with status, such as humanity: if you are a hunan being, you have human rights, if you are a refugee you have a refugee’s right of return. If you accept a new nationality you are no longer surely a refugee. Your UDHR right to a nationality is no longer being denied. That’s a very important difference.
        I hope this argument doesn’t please the Zionists too much since it eliminates the right of return to Palestine so falsely claimed in the Balfour days and so horribly (so damnably, in the language of Mr. Shavit) enforced in 48.

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 22, 2018, 7:24 am

        || Jon66: … Not my thing … ||

        If you say so.

        || … but whom am I to judge … ||

        Not me, that’s for sure.

        || … as long as you limit it to an ‘analogy’. ||

        That’s all it’s ever been. And I know you know that.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        February 22, 2018, 10:45 am

        Hughes,
        ” if you are a refugee you have a refugee’s right of return. If you accept a new nationality you are no longer surely a refugee.”

        That would seem to be the case. However, if a State of Palestine wished to give preferential treatment for citizenship to people who have ancestors who lived in the country that would be the choice of the state. Many countries take this approach.

        Another interesting point is that Palestinian refugee status is patriarchal. ” and descendants of fathers fulfilling the definition.” Having a Palestinian mother and a non-Palestinian father does not qualify you. https://www.unrwa.org/who-we-are/frequently-asked-questions

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 22, 2018, 4:08 pm

        Okay, “Jon66” we get it, we get it. Under any circumstances and by any judgement, Palestinians have a right to return to Palestine, and the Zionists had no right to any of it on a “returnee” or “refugee” basis.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 22, 2018, 5:55 pm

        The ideal solution, then, is to have a Palestinian father and a Jewish mother. That way one can be both Palestinian and Jewish.

        It may be a bit difficult for some of the the refugees to arrange this.

        I will point out that, even if some do not qualify as refugees with a right of return, they will still be entitled to compensation and, when possible, restitution of property.

  7. Mooser
    Mooser
    February 21, 2018, 12:53 pm

    . “It just goes to show that the definition of refugee is a political construct with an agenda, a definition that varies by who is granting it.”

    Of course, none of this applies to the refugee Jews seeking to return to their “ancestral homelands” in Palestine. No “agenda” there.

  8. February 22, 2018, 3:43 pm

    I appreciate the message that Mr. Cohen is conveying – his sincerity does not go unnoticed by me. I also can appreciate the journey he and other Zionists have travelled and will continue to travel in confronting the racism that Zionism is. I am acutely aware of the need for young Jewish Zionists to rid themselves of Zionism in order for the Palestinians to have any real shot at justice. It’s precisely this need that frustrates me the most; this reliance/dependency on Jews turning away from Zionism. Once again the Palestinians are vulnerable to their oppressor’s whims and predilections.

    Mr. Cohen tries to entice/coax/convince young Jews to see the racism inherent in Zionism – he offers his advice on how to begin to do so. All great. Now we just have to wait for these young Jewish minds to figure it all out with our help; to help them take that long painful journey away from Zionism; to help them become enlightened/informed; to help them become unbrainwashed. All the while the Palestinians are being oppressed and slaughtered, with their children being imprisoned, and their land and culture being stolen simply because they are Palestinian. There is no shortage of third party objective assessments of what is happening to the Palestinians at the hands of Zionist criminals – reports, books, articles, journals, documentaries, videos and the like are plentiful. Strolling the streets of Hebron or taking a hike through Gaza is also available to get a better more vivid understanding of the oppression. Hebron has become a macabre petting zoo for anyone interested in seeing how human beings live as caged animals. Heck, you might be lucky enough to reach out and touch a Palestinian provided the two of you are standing on the sanctioned side of the street and are quick to dodge Jewish settler spit, slaps, profanity, punches, stones and the occasional bullet.

    The unabashed flagrant racist actions of Zionists are plentiful, easily witnessed and well documented and yet young Jewish minds need time to shed their racist preconceptions despite all the help and information provided. People of the Jewish faith/culture/race (whatever the current identifier is) pride themselves on being smart (https://www.haaretz.com/what-makes-jews-so-smart-1.5316148) but when it comes to seeing Zionism for what it really is, it appears they need a helping hand.

    One last point to my rant, Mr. Cohen writes:
    “I don’t for one minute think young Jews who support Israel should be bunched together with members of the British National Party or White Supremacists. That’s lazy thinking. It makes no attempt to understand the origins of Zionism or the current place of Israel in individual or communal Jewish life.”

    Ya sure there are differences between various racist movements just as there are differences between S.A. Apartheid and the Israeli version but the similarities, the ones that matter, are glaringly similar. Let’s not keep making anything and everything Jewish, including Jewish racism, something that’s sui generis and complicated and only allowed to be discussed by Jews. Enough is f*cking enough. Jewish Zionist actions toward the Palestinians are anchored in racism – pure and simple – not substantially unlike the racism practiced or promoted by the likes of the British National Party or White Supremacists or Nazis for that matter. I’d rather tell a Jewish Zionist that he/she is no different than the Richard Spencer’s or Adam Walker’s of the world than coddle them and tell them that their form of racism is some thing less or a kinder gentler version because its NOT (just ask the Palestinian civilian victims of white phosphorus). I guess that’s just lazy thinking on my behalf – back to the couch for me.

    225/229 (+/- 2) a la Eva

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