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Dear Senator Harris, You have been drinking the pro-Israel Kool-Aid

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An open letter to Senator Kamala Harris of California:

Dear Senator Harris,

I am an 81-year old resident of Alameda County and I have lived here for 19 years.  I grew up in the U.S. northeast and in France, and I have also lived in Scotland and Israel.  I am Jewish and I am a committed Palestinian solidarity activist.

It therefore pains me to know that you have been drinking the pro-Israel Kool-Aid.  With your international background – not to mention your law degree (I come from a family of lawyers) – I would have thought that you might have understood the brutal reality that is today’s Israel.  Your pandering March 28, 2017 speech in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was a disgrace which only reflected and highlighted your ignorance and your willful blindness to the brutal and grotesque reality that is today’s State of Israel.  Unfortunately, your recent 2018 remarks to AIPAC have not yet been made public.

I had so hoped that you would be a California politician whom I could support, of whom I could be proud.  It seems, though, that you have chosen to pander to moneyed Zionist interests.  Your support for Israel is the diametric opposite of a path to peace in the Middle East.  I am so sorry that you are not the politician that I was hoping you’d be.

Alice Diane Kisch. (Photo: Twitter)

If you should ever wish to become informed about the “real Israel”, there are easy ways to do this:  read Jewish-Israeli historian Ilan Pappé; read Jewish Israeli-American author and activist Miko Peled; read Jewish-Israeli Ha’aretz journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy.  And please do read Jewish-American writer and analyst Max Blumenthal.  I particularly recommend Blumenthal’s 2013 best-seller Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, which is a real page turner; the book is an easy read, with some of the chapters only two to three pages long.

Senator Harris, not only have I lived in Israel, I have hundreds of family members there, most of them descended from German-Jewish immigrants to Palestine in the early 1930s.  I am in touch with many of them, and I am also in touch with many Jewish-Israeli friends who still live in Israel.  I know whereof I speak.

I should also mention that three of my Jewish-Israeli family members (including a 9-year-old boy) were killed in the West Bank in July 2002; they were shot at point-blank range by, presumably, Palestinian snipers while they were traveling by automobile to a friend’s home for Shabbat.  So I am not untouched by the violence afflicting Israel-Palestine.

Unfortunately, Israel is not the wonderful sanctuary for Jews that most of us were told that it was.  The Jews did not make the desert bloom because the desert was already blooming as a result of the efforts of Palestinian farmers.  Palestine was not a land without people for a people without a land.  (Read Walid Khalidi’s 1984 Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876–1948.)  The Zionist effort was and is a project  built on murder and ethnic cleansing.  Please do not add your support to such criminality.

With every good wish,

Alice Diane Kisch
Emeryville, California

(This post first appeared on Facebook and Kisch gave us permission to republish it. –Ed.)

Alice Diane Kisch

Alice Diane Kisch is a Bay Area-based activist with Jewish Voice for Peace and is a member of the steering committee of the Northern California Friends of Sabeel.

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31 Responses

  1. eljay on March 20, 2018, 10:44 am

    My respect to you, Ms. Kisch. May your appeal to Ms. Harris not fall on deaf ears.

    • Misterioso on March 21, 2018, 11:02 am

      I recommend that everyone interested in the Zionist/Palestinian conflict read Harvard Professor Walid Khalidi’s “Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876–1948.” He is an invaluable source of the documented truth, a dedicated champion of his people and has written many other books.

      • dianab on March 21, 2018, 8:03 pm

        Misterioso, thanks for underscoring the importance of “Before Their Diaspora”, which is an amazingly beautiful book. Walid Khalidi is certainly a gift to us all.

      • on March 24, 2018, 1:07 am

        Thx for sharing that Misterioso

    • dianab on March 21, 2018, 7:58 pm

      Thank you, eljay!

  2. Keith on March 20, 2018, 6:27 pm

    ALICE DIANE KISCH- “I had so hoped that you would be a California politician whom I could support, of whom I could be proud.”

    Now who has been drinking kool-aid? Zionist Jews effectively own the Democratic Party. You simply cannot run for anything significant as a Democrat without pledging your fealty to Israel. Period. That will not soon change. For those who may have missed it, I once again quote and link to an article telling about how Tom Hayden had to declare his loyalty to Israel to even run as a Democrat for the California State Assembly.

    “In fact, Hayden had to, in his words, be “declared ‘kosher’ by the ultimate source, the region’s representative of the state of Israel,” Benjamin Navon, Israel’s Counsul-general in Los Angeles.

    In other words, in this article Hayden was describing, in an unusually concrete way, how the state of Israel, through its state officials and their compliant American partners, was effectively managing—exercising veto power over Democratic Party candidates, at the very least—American elections down to the level of State Assembly. In any constituency “attuned to the question of Israel, even in local and state elections,” Hayden knew he “had to be certified ‘kosher,’ not once but over and over again.” (Jim Kavanagh)

    • Misterioso on March 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

      “Politicians Have To Listen To A Diverse Range Of Jewish Voices”

      “The fact of the matter is that the views and opinions of many in the Jewish community toward Israel are changing.”

      By Sam Hersh, member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Huffington Post, Mar. 20/18

      “Growing up, I was taught to think a certain way about what Israel meant to me as a Jewish person. To be Jewish meant to defend Israel, and to defend Israel meant to be Jewish. This was, and still is for many, an inherent part of Jewish identity and experience. High holiday sermons promote buying Israel bonds. Young Jews are recruited to go on all-expenses paid ‘birthright’ trips to Israel. For your Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah gift, people will buy a tree in your name in Israel.

      “In the last several decades, Israel and its political ideology of Zionism have become central to Jewish life and Jewishness. When one starts to question it, the backlash can be overwhelming. Even as I write this, I fear for my reputation as well as the rapport I have with my friends and my community back home.

      “People who have expressed criticism or reservations about Israel have risked being fired from their jobs. Activists from countries, including the United States, are being criminalized for their opposition. Candidates have been dropped by their parties mid-election. Jewish friends have been ostracized from their families and communities just for speaking out. The instances of repression within and outside the Jewish community abound.

      “Some groups here in Canada characterize themselves as the sole legitimate voice of the Jewish community. In so doing, they try to dominate the conversation when it comes to Judaism and Israel. Even the most progressive politicians and public figures often fail to question this.”

    • dianab on March 21, 2018, 7:59 pm

      Keith, please see my comment to Peter Unterweger, in which I reference “rhetorical devices”.

  3. punterweger on March 21, 2018, 8:37 am

    Thank you Ms. Kisch for writing and Mondoweiss for publishing the letter.

    @ Keith – Frankly, I don’t think it is helpful to accuse people who write such letters of “drinking cool-aid.” This was an open letter posted on FB, and clearly meant to influence more people than Kamala Harris. Are there any people who read Mondoweiss that do not understand that the vast majority of Democratic politicians are in the Zionist Lobby’s pockets? I see no need to reiterate the obvious. Letters and other protests put politicians under pressure to change their views and what we need is more rather than less resistance to business as usual.

    • Keith on March 21, 2018, 11:24 am

      PETER UNTERWEGER- “@ Keith – Frankly, I don’t think it is helpful to accuse people who write such letters of “drinking cool-aid.”

      Jeez, Peter, it would never have occurred to me to reference drinking Kool-Aid had Alice Diane Kisch not used the phrase in accusing Senator Harris of “…drinking the pro-Israel Kool-Aid.” Her open letter, which may be of some benefit, nonetheless misrepresents the relationship of the Democratic Party to Israel and Zionism. Kisch is bending over backwards to make it seem that Harris is amenable to rational pursuasion on this issue. She is not, and this letter perpetuates the myth that the Democrats simply lack backbone and can be talked into biting the hand that funds them.

      PETER UNTERWEGER- “Are there any people who read Mondoweiss that do not understand that the vast majority of Democratic politicians are in the Zionist Lobby’s pockets?”

      How many Bernie Sanders supporters think that Bernie is in the Zionist Lobby’s pockets? Most Mondoweiss readers/commenters appear to me to be “liberal” Democrats. You disagree? It takes a lot of repetition before folks truly begin to comprehend the extent of the collusion. Actually, as it now stands, the Democrats are not in the Zionist Lobby’s pockets waiting to be set free, rather, the Democratic Party has been transformed into a powerful Zionist lobby whose elite members are enthusiastic advocates for Israel. Of course, you may disagree. Feel free to comment to your heart’s content. After all, Mondoweiss exists to stimulate discussion, not stifle it.

      • dianab on March 21, 2018, 8:07 pm

        Keith, I am puzzled by your reference to the Democratic party, as I never mentioned political parties. Truth to tell, ALL U.S. politicians — Democrat and Republican — are obliged to assume a public stance with respect to support of Israel, or they will typically have no career in politics in this country. It’s an unfortunate reality, to say the least, but it’s a reality. Many of us are working very hard to change that reality.

      • Keith on March 21, 2018, 9:05 pm

        DIANAB- “Keith, I am puzzled by your reference to the Democratic party, as I never mentioned political parties.”

        Since Kamala Harris is a member of the Democratic Party which nominates candidates and provides support, and which has turned into a Zionist oriented organization, my reference to the Democratic Party should have been quite clear based upon my comments. But then again, you aren’t really “puzzled” are you? This is yet another “rhetorical” performance on your part. I referenced the Democratic Party of which Senator Harris is a member because I thought it relevant to the issue of the likelihood of Facebook entreaties having much, if any, effect on Harris. The Tom Hayden article I linked suggests not. On the other hand, this Mondoweiss article has gained you some nice comments. Congratulations! Another quote and link for you and the other readers to ponder. This one from Margaret Kimberley on the Black Agenda Report of July, 2017.

        “According to recent press reports, California’s newly elected senator Kamala Harris has begun her turn on the rich people’s casting couch . Harris won’t have to run for Senate re-election until 2022, so the quick once over from the high and mighty means only one thing. America’s oligarchs in the Democratic Party are considering her for the job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2020.

        Former Hillary Clinton donors have lined up to vet Harris. Names of the usual suspects like George Soros are popping up as past Harris fund raisers. Their goal is to make sure that voters’ will have limited choices and won’t dare to think beyond the names that are handed to them for consideration.” (Margaret Kinberley)

      • annie on March 21, 2018, 11:28 pm

        Kisch is bending over backwards to make it seem that Harris is amenable to rational pursuasion on this issue.

        that wasn’t really my take on it. contrary to you keith, i do think people who read Mondoweiss understand the “vast majority of Democratic politicians are in the Zionist Lobby’s pockets”. but come to think of it, you didn’t really say otherwise did you? you kind of brushed right past that question and diverted to what most mondoweiss readers thought of sanders/lobby.

        the nature of open letters, FB posts, as well as MW posts, is you get the opinion out there and expose. alice did that.

        It seems, though, that you have chosen to pander to moneyed Zionist interests. Your support for Israel is the diametric opposite of a path to peace in the Middle East. I am so sorry that you are not the politician that I was hoping you’d be.

        i thought it was gutsy and up front. not bending backwards at all. the whole “to make it seem that Harris is amenable to rational persuasion” thing is silly. as alice says, it’s a rhetorical device to feign a degree of politeness or decorum when addressing someone in public. whatever, you are punching left. ok you won all better now. and one more thing, everyone with their eyes open knows harris is being prepped to take hillary’s spot. letters like Alice’s are pushback against that, and against centrists and the establishment thinking they can dictate who our candidates are, and think we’ll roll over for them. it’s the reason hillary lost, and the reason we are being inundated with the russiagate, to coverup that real reason she lost (a pt you also made).

        anyway, maybe you don’t have to have the last word here keith. i wish many more of our readers would write hard hitting open letters to these pandering politicians like alice did.

      • Keith on March 22, 2018, 11:37 am

        ANNIE- ” i wish many more of our readers would write hard hitting open letters to these pandering politicians like alice did.”

        Apparently I have misunderstood the situation. The article says that this appeared on Facebook, not that hardcopy was actually sent to Harris. Is this correct? Alice posted an open letter on her Facebook page? Has Harris “friended” Alice? Prior to Mondoweiss, who actually even read this letter? Who is the intended audience? And since Alice acknowledges that the letter was written as a rhetorical device (she doesn’t mean what she says), what is the purpose? To influence Harris which she implies she knows she cannot do? Or to influence a Facebook audience, and in what manner? Hardly irrelevant questions, nor insulting to ask them.

        No, I’m not going to pursue this. You obviously know Alice and have warm feelings for her. I am somewhat surprised that Alice has taken such umbrage over my use of the term “drinking the Kool-Aid” when she was the one who first used it. In fact, her comments to and about me are little more than personal insults. DIANAB- “What puzzles me more, though, is your screaming hostility, which started when you accused ME of drinking Kool-Aid.” Whoa! I begin my comment asking the question “Now who is drinking the Kool-Aid?” The rest of my comment concerned the Democratic Party and Tom Hayden’s experience with the California Democratic Party, surely relevant in evaluating Senator Kamala Harris’ actions in regards to Israel. “Screaming hostility?” Jeez, was I insufficiently deferential? Perhaps even uppity? Perhaps this is yet another example of how JVP deals with those they feel are out of line. If that’s the case, then I am in good company.

    • dianab on March 21, 2018, 7:57 pm

      Thank you, Peter Unterweger! And thank you, especially, for understanding that my letter to Senator Harris was written as a rhetorical device, i.e., that I don’t necessarily believe that Harris believes in her heart of hearts what she is saying about Israel. It seems that @Keith doesn’t understand rhetoric, among other things.

      • dianab on March 21, 2018, 10:19 pm

        @Keith — Yeah, Keith, I really AM puzzled at your mention of the Democratic party, particularly in view of the fact that the U.S. political imperative for ALL politicians of any stripe is to shout support for Israel from the rafters. I read Black Agenda Report and I like what I read there. But what you’re quoting from them is not news. I’m a socialist, and I don’t like or trust most U.S. politicians.

        What puzzles me more, though, is your screaming hostility, which started when you accused ME of drinking Kool-Aid. And your hostility was magnified in your most recent comment. My advice to you, young man, is to go and have a drink or two, after which you might try to adopt a more balanced and non-confrontational posture when discussing political matters; an attitudinal shift will greatly enhance your credibility.

      • MHughes976 on March 22, 2018, 4:21 pm

        I think that Keith is right to suggest that it would be naive for anyone to have expected KH, or anyone successful in Democratic politics, not to have done a bit of allegiance-pledging to Z. However, I also think that an Open Letter, a critique presented in letter form, is and is understood to be addressed to everyone, not solely to the named addressee. As an expression of disappointment that someone seemingly so humane should really support such cruelty it makes a valid point. If there was little chance that KH would attend to these words there may still be hope that some others may be influenced by them. That they come from someone whose family includes Jewish victims of violence makes them more pointed.

      • gamal on March 22, 2018, 4:42 pm

        “as a rhetorical device”

        I thought it a wonderful and inspiring letter, your final paragraph really touched me i have relatives who farm near Palestine producing abundant crops out of our sandy soil roasting corn over open fires in the fields and eating guava and melons on the outskirts of my village is the most soothing thing i know, anyway your final paragraph made me cry.

  4. annie on March 21, 2018, 11:16 am

    Alice! it’s been such a long time, great to hear your voice. i sincerely had no idea you were now 81, you always seemed so young to me. thanks for all your awesome activism over the years. sending my love and hope you get this message.

    • dianab on March 21, 2018, 8:08 pm

      Annie!!! SO good to hear from you! Thanks for your message and for your very kind words. I will be contacting you privately by email. Ciao for now!

  5. Ossinev on March 21, 2018, 12:21 pm

    Slightly off topic. New from Zioland that Ahed Tamimi has allegedly accepted a “plea bargained” 8 month sentence NB by a military court in “non-occupied” Palestine for the horrific offence of slapping and kicking a foreign soldier who had illegally entered her family`s property. Yet to be confirmed as is the rumour that the Gruppenfuhrer “Judge” as part of the plea bargain dropped the charge of looking at the ZioStormtrooper “in a funny life threatening way”.

    Same” judge” who insisted that the trial should not be heard in public so as to protect her as a minor. Bless his cuddly little Zionist soul.

    Of course the Zios think that this will divert the international spotlight away from Tamimi because fundamentally the majority of them are clueless fanatics either declared or still in the closet.

    So lets at least try to give give them a clue. The brave heroic magnificent IDF “medic” Elor Azaria is due to walk free in May after serving less than two thirds of his 14 months sentence for coldly and casually putting a bullet in the head of a defenceless and unarmed Palestinian – you know following his Zio medical training on protecting and saving lives etc. At the same time an 18 year old girl will go to prison (ZioFascist” standard ) for the horrendous crime of yet again victimising a poor Jewish Israeli by slapping and kicking him to try and force him out of her family`s property when she was 16 yrs old and so dangerously life threatening.

    Every single day that Ahed serves in prison is one further nail in Zioland`s coffin.

    • eljay on March 21, 2018, 1:09 pm

      || Ossinev: Slightly off topic. New from Zioland that Ahed Tamimi has allegedly accepted a “plea bargained” …

      … The Israeli military felt the need to end the legal event, the source said, as it damaged the army’s reputation in the media and internationally, which may be why the plea bargain was intensively promoted. …


      The Israeli military can’t afford to have trivial “legal events” damaging its reputation and distracting it from its job of:
      – ensuring Jewish supremacism in/and a religion supremacist “Jewish State”;
      – maintaining the on-going occupation and colonization of Palestine; and
      – committing the (war) crimes the state of Israel needs it to commit.

  6. genesto on March 21, 2018, 1:12 pm

    Excellent letter, Alice! It reflects what I’ve been feeling – and the messages I’ve been leaving at Harris’ office – about our Zionist-loving senator for some time now. Looks like one of two things is happening here. Either those early, Zionist-sponsored, brainwashing trips to Israel had quite an impact on Harris’ thinking on the subject. Or maybe she’s just another spineless Democrat pandering for rich Zionist political donations and freedom from the howling crowd should she show even the slightest sympathy for Palestinians.

    In either case, I have no use for her anymore. She certainly doesn’t represent me!

  7. dianab on March 22, 2018, 7:06 pm

    My final comment, especially to @Keith: My letter to Kamala Harris was initially emailed to Senator Harris via her website, and I received a cordial, well-written response from her office. It was only after I sent the letter to Senator Harris that I then posted it on Facebook. For Keith to suggest that perhaps Senator Harris never actually received the letter is preposterous. I would not have thought it necessary to spell out such a detail.

  8. just on March 22, 2018, 7:18 pm

    Speaking of being pro- Israel and pro- war and annihilation ll over MENA ta~da!

    “Trump’s national security adviser HR McMaster resigns
    Trump announces McMaster’s departure on Twitter
    Former UN ambassador John Bolton named as replacement…”

    Between Haley and The Mustache… woe is unto us in the whole wide world! As if things could not get worse.

    (I am going to find a bucket now…)

  9. dianab on March 22, 2018, 7:19 pm

    @Gamal: Many many thanks to you for your kind, warm comment, which has greatly touched me. I live in the hope that Palestine will soon be a country where all of its residents — from the River to the Sea — can live in peace, harmony and justice. A country where there will be one set of laws for all, where there will be no “separation wall”, and where the ancient admonition expressed by Rabbi Hillel — “Do Not Do Unto Thy Neighbor That Which Is Distasteful To You” — prevails.

    • gamal on March 22, 2018, 9:28 pm

      hey Mummy Dianab,

      maybe I will sleep tonight instead of lament only because of you, it is I who should be thankful,

      wallahibarakficum, what is wrong with me you make me cry Mummy D.

  10. gamal on March 22, 2018, 10:13 pm

    Dear Mummy D,

    you may enjoy this Berber boy with his biro and rubber band fret brase Mahegah berber thing you could just rock along Mummy our wee little babies are going to conquer this world…

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