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Jewish allies must understand that solidarity entails a loss of privilege

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on 150 Comments

In the past few days, two incidents involving Jewish individuals’ experiences in Israel made the news in progressive Palestine rights circles.  The first is that of the young women walking away from a Birthright tour to visit parts of Palestine that were not on the itinerary, and the second is the case of Code Pink national organizer Ariel Gold, who was denied entry into Israel, even though she had obtained a student visa for a summer course at the Hebrew University.  While it can be argued that in both cases, the activists meant no harm to Palestinians, the incidents nevertheless  reflect the ongoing normalization of Zionism, and the belief that it is perfectly acceptable, “normal,” for Jews from any country, and of any ideological belief, to go to Israel, where they would benefit from rights accorded them strictly on the basis of their religion. However, in light of Israel’s open embrace of Jewish supremacy, it is incumbent on progressive Jews who want to challenge Israel’s racism today that they stop taking advantage of their unearned privilege.  

Birthright Israel is an all-expenses paid “Israel Adventure” offered Jews between the ages of 18-26, meant to make participants fall in love with the country.  However, as one college student who considered (but did not go on) the trip writes:  “the parameters and goals of the trip are set by the funders and stakeholders, like far-right American billionaire Sheldon Adelson and the Israeli government.”  A central component of the trip is a meeting with Israeli soldiers, meant to endear the tourists to the occupation soldiers.  A meeting with Palestinians, albeit sanitized and approved by the funders, once part of the program, was nixed in 2015.   The Birthright participants who walked away from their tour did not consider any of the areas they had visited to be part of “the occupation” they wanted to witness, thus implicitly reinforcing the unquestioning and acceptability of the ethnic cleansing that took place in 1948, the seventy-year old, ongoing Palestinian Nakba.  

I get it, walking away from the Birthright trip is fine.  The participants, members of IfNotNow, escaped the brainwashing that is at the heart of the program’s agenda.   But then again, they did not need to go on the propaganda trip to gain their awareness, they were already critical of “the occupation,” and they still took the free trip.  It would have been more laudable to turn down the offer of an all-expenses-paid trip that is the exclusive unearned privilege of members of the “right” ethnic designation.  Yet they insisted on “seeing for themselves,” despite the otherwise readily-available evidence of the horrors out there.  They did not take any Palestinian’s word for it. They did not take any non-Zionist’s word for it.  Even when they left the Birthright tour, they went into Hebron with members of Breaking the Silence–a group of Israeli soldiers who are only critical of “occupation” abuses, but otherwise willing to serve, and to continue to serve–rather than with Israeli refuseniks, or heaven-forbid, Palestinians.  Their walking away from the Birthright tour, and asking other participants to “make it uncomfortable, may be a feather in their activist hat, it does not in any way challenge Zionism.  Rather, by accepting to go on their “Birthright” tour, and simply asking for a more complex narrative, they are normalizing Zionism.  

Even as the “Birthright walkouts” are being applauded, I maintain that it is not laudable to normalize Zionism, the idea that any and all Jewish people can go to Israel, by accepting the Birthright trip, then feeling good about subverting it.  It’s still privilege, since only Jews get to go, to a country founded on the dispossession of its indigenous people.  To use an analogy, as the #MeToo movement gains momentum, with women from all walks of life coming forward with their stories of assault, do we celebrate a man who joins a frat party only to refrain from gang raping a young woman, then writing about the fact that sexual assault happens at such events?  Would it not be better to listen to the survivors of the abuse?  

Walking away from a Birthright trip should only be commendable if you were dragged into it by your parents, kicking and screaming, but with no say in the matter. Indeed, many American Jews today are boycotting the trip, “returning the Birthright,” because they refuse a free trip while Palestinian refugees are unable to return to their homes.  This is an example of solidarity and accountability.   

Code Pink national co-director Ariel Gold’s circumstances, while quite different, are also reflective of a privilege only available to her on the basis of her religion, yet one she readily uses. During a visit to Hebron last year, she was assaulted by a settler, and following an altercation with Israeli soldiers there, was informed she would henceforth need a visa to enter Israel.  Additionally, Code Pink is one of 20 American organizations whose leaders have been banned from Israel on the basis of their pro-BDS organizing. Gold had secured a visa prior to this trip, during which she was to take a Jewish Studies course at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  Her trip, then, was for her own enrichment.   Gold told Mondoweiss she plans to contest the revocation of her visa and her subsequent deportation from Israel, thus implicitly asserting that she should have a right to enter Israel—a right denied millions of Diaspora Palestinians.  Indeed, two days after her return to her home in New York, Gold announced that she is “looking into” making Aliyyah—the Zionist dream par excellence.  “The land of Israel and Palestine is incredibly meaningful and sacred to me. It’s hard to believe I might not be allowed into a place that is so important to me,” she said.  A day earlier, she had published an OpEd in The Forward where she explains that she had sent her young children on trips to Israel with NFTY, which organizes summer camps as well as year-long residencies for American Jews in 6th to 12th grade, and whose principles include:  “The centrality of the State of Israel to the strength and survival of the Jewish People.” NFTY explains, in their FAQ section, that they consider their own trips as a good antecedent to Birthright trips.  

Progressive Jews should not avail themselves of the opportunity to take a course at an Israeli university. Allies must understand that solidarity entails a loss of privilege.  There is no heroism in crossing a picket line.  At a time when BDS activists in the US are challenging the Study Abroad in Israel program as intrinsically discriminatory, it is perplexing that Gold thought it perfectly acceptable to enroll in a summer course at an Israeli university in Jerusalem, the city at the very crux of Israel’s violation of international law, a violation which most recently received the blessing of the Trump Administration, in the form of the US president’s “recognition” that it is the capital of Israel.  Even assuming a national BDS organizer such as Gold is unaware of the campaign to end Study Abroad in Israel programs, how does one reconcile isolating Israel with traveling there for a summer course?

It is time for progressive Jews to understand they cannot denounce racism while benefiting from it.  One need not go to Israel to study Jewish “collective history.”   Nor does one need to go into Hebron, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, to see for themselves what Palestinians have been documenting for decades. For those privileged by an unjust system, dismantling that system entails giving up on the prerogatives and assurances that system offers them, including the option to make Aliyah, when Israel continues to deny Palestinians the Right of Return, and positions snipers to shoot at anyone joining in the Great Return March.

There are many BDS-compliant trips to Palestine, led or at least co-led by Palestinians.  Some give a general overview, or others focus are on health issues, or academic freedom.  Until progressive Jews stop going to Israel on propaganda tours to “see for themselves,” or to “see the occupation” (of the West Bank, as if Tel Aviv were not occupied), or even individually, to study “Jewish history,” they are complicit in normalizing Zionism, the idea that all of historic Palestine is indeed their birthright.  And anyone who holds on to their unearned privilege cannot advance the struggle for justice.

About Nada Elia

Nada Elia is a Palestinian scholar-activist, writer, and grassroots organizer, currently completing a book on Palestinian Diaspora activism.

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150 Responses

  1. Paranam Kid
    Paranam Kid
    July 5, 2018, 1:53 pm

    Congratulations on a well-written article, Nada. You hit the nail on the head, and your discourse proves that for many “pro-Palestnian” Jews there is still a long way to go before the mindset is really where is should be for truly being supportive of the Palestinian cause.

    I wish you lots of success with the completion of your book, as well as with your other activist work !!

  2. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    July 5, 2018, 1:54 pm

    It is true that these people are still Zionists and their limited criticism could be used by a more intelligent Israeli leadership to help normalize Zionism, but the dominant politicians in Israel today are much too narrow-minded to understand this. Instead they treat Jews (and non-Jews) who would like to be loyal critics as though they were out-and-out enemies, in accordance with the totalitarian motto ‘Those who are not wholly with us are against us.’ And this ‘unjust’ response will impel them to evolve further. They would still like to go to Israel and enjoy their ‘birthright’ privileges, but the Israeli minister of internal affairs will bar their entry (even, surely, if they try to get in via a Palestine solidarity tour — after all, doesn’t Israel control all points of entry to Palestine?).

    • mondonut
      mondonut
      July 5, 2018, 2:08 pm

      … after all, doesn’t Israel control all points of entry to Palestine?

      No. Gaza borders Egypt.

      • annie
        annie
        July 5, 2018, 2:21 pm

        oh please

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield
        July 5, 2018, 3:57 pm

        Gaza does border Egypt, but entry to Gaza even from Egypt is controlled by Israel. The person seeking entry has to be let through first by an Egyptian immigration official and then by a PA official, but behind the PA official an Israeli officials sits in a hidden room and makes the decisions.

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        July 5, 2018, 5:23 pm

        @Stephen Shenfield … an Israeli officials sits in a hidden room and makes the decisions.

        Please tell me this is some sort of snarky trolling. And not something you actually believe.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        July 6, 2018, 5:20 am

        But Israel controls Egypt by American proxy, the annual financial aid given to Egypt by the US is totally conditional, in significant part, on Egypt partnering with Israel to benefit Israel’s security concerns regarding the Palestinians.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        July 6, 2018, 5:59 am

        Mondonut: “Please tell me this is some sort of snarky trolling. And not something you actually believe.”

        Why don’t you try to find a way back to reality, Mondonut?

        “Israel continues to control the Palestinian population registry which is common to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Any change made in these records requires Israel’s approval, including the registration of births, marriages, divorces, deaths or address changes. The Palestinian Authority may amend or issue an ID card only after Israeli approval is granted. Israel updates all the changes in its copy of the population registry, which determines who is recognized as a Palestinian resident for the purpose of travel permits. Palestinian passports are issued by the Palestinian Authority only to residents who are listed in the Israeli-administered population registry. Physically, coordination on issues pertaining to the population registry for Gaza is done through meetings between representatives from Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Gaza which are held at Erez Crossing.

        Through its control of the population registry, Israel continues to control Palestinian travel, since any Palestinian wishing to cross via Rafah or Erez is required to present an Israeli-approved ID card or passport. Israel also controls where Palestinian residents may live, as the address listed in the Israeli-approved ID card determines where its holder may reside: a Palestinian who resides in the West Bank or is temporarily present there may be forcibly removed to the Gaza Strip if the address listed in his or her ID card is in the Gaza Strip1. It should be noted that since 2000, Israel has refused to allow residents of the Gaza Strip to change the address in their ID cards to an address in the West Bank, even if they have been living in the West Bank for many years.”
        http://gisha.org/en-blog/2011/11/14/the-population-registry/

        That’s the Apartheid state you support, Mondonut. Shame on you!

      • bcg
        bcg
        July 6, 2018, 9:54 am

        @Mondonut: It’s not the Egyptian navy that shoots Palestinian fishermen when they travel outside the ever-changing and arbitrary lines Israel draws in the sea.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        July 6, 2018, 10:07 am

        @Talkback

        “That’s the Apartheid state you support, Mondonut. Shame on you!.”

        Bingo!! Well and truly stated.

        Dealing with Mondonut and his ilk is like shooting fish in a barrel.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield
        July 7, 2018, 9:54 am

        Mondonut: I have read about this in sources that I can’t easily retrace but that seemed knowledgeable. Palestinians present their documents at the entry point to a PA official who then passes them to an Israeli colleague sitting in an inner room, who checks them on his computer and then hands them back to the PA guy with instructions.

        In general, what does the expression ‘Palestinian Authority’ mean? Other countries also have ‘Authorities.’ For instance, the UK has an Oil and Gas Authority. An Authority has greater autonomy that a ministry or department but is still subordinate to the state that establishes and maintains it. In the same way, the ‘Palestinian Authority’ is a special structure of the State of Israel for dealing with Palestinian affairs.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 7, 2018, 12:37 pm

        Shenfield,

        Thank you for a very apt definition of Palestinian Authority. It has elegance, and the advantage of avoiding the damning accusations we generally direct at collaborators.

  3. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    July 5, 2018, 2:51 pm

    I oppose the boycott of israel. Particularly left wing Jews should not heed this call. I cannot promise any positive outcome from normalization, but I believe in dialogue as an essential means.

    • John O
      John O
      July 5, 2018, 3:37 pm

      Dialogue has been tried. It hasn’t worked.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 5, 2018, 6:25 pm

        ” I cannot promise any positive outcome from normalization but I believe in dialogue as an essential means..”

        Shorter “Yonah”: ‘You know, Israel could kill all the Palestinians if it wants to!’

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      July 5, 2018, 6:14 pm

      You can’t talk with someone who has keepen you occupied for more than half a century, because he wants your land and resources and get rid of you.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 5, 2018, 9:27 pm

        In this case I was referring to dialogue between opposing camps of Jews.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 5, 2018, 11:27 pm

        Fredman

        In this case I was referring to dialogue between opposing camps of Jews.

        You would. It figures.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        July 6, 2018, 5:57 am

        And I was refering to your bogus opposition to boycotting Israel.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        July 6, 2018, 9:04 am

        “In this case I was referring to dialogue between opposing camps of Jews.”

        Camp Cmoniwanalaya versus Camp ziosupreme? That camp is too camp, you know. That sounds like a waste of time, as it has since ‘time immemorial’. The problem(s) can’t be part of the solution (guess which camp Mr. Dreadman).

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 6, 2018, 12:55 pm

        “In this case I was referring to dialogue between opposing camps of Jews.”

        “Hello Mudda, Hello Fada!”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 7, 2018, 7:18 pm

        “In this case I was referring to dialogue between opposing camps of Jews.”

        So where, pray tell, does “normalization” (for which you can promise no good results) come into it?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 8, 2018, 7:59 am

        Mooser- 9 out of 10 of your pitches are aimed at me (Tony Conigliaro style). 1 out of 10 over the plate.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 8, 2018, 12:33 pm

        So where, pray tell, does “normalization” (for which you can promise no good results) come into it?

        You want Israel to ‘normalize’ the occupation?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 8, 2018, 3:13 pm

        Let me state my position (using a new set of nouns and verbs). I personally cannot follow the precept of BDS. I have two homes: Brooklyn and Jerusalem and I cannot disown Jerusalem without sufficient forethought.

        As far as others following the precepts, I understand the impulse, the action, am unsure of the game theory of where it leads, but I understand the impulse, the action.

        I think people should visit Israel at least once if they can afford such travel. I think liberal American Jews should spend time in Israel, lots of time in Israel. They can refrain from buying Israeli products and emphasize buying from Palestinians while in Israel and occupied territories, but they should spend lots of time in Israel, for the sake of dialogue. (maybe dialogue is the wrong word. maybe for the sake of a more varied flow of ideas and emotions in more than one direction.)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 8, 2018, 4:07 pm

        “I have two homes: Brooklyn and Jerusalem and I cannot disown Jerusalem”

        “Yonah”, try not to be too ridiculous. American Jews are not going to come and save the Israelis from themselves, so you can have “two homes”.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        July 9, 2018, 12:09 am

        “I cannot disown Jerusalem without sufficient forethought.”

        You have had years to think about it. How much forethought is sufficient?

      • eljay
        eljay
        July 9, 2018, 10:39 am

        || Yonah Fredman: … I have two homes: Brooklyn and Jerusalem and I cannot disown Jerusalem without sufficient forethought. … ||

        Imagine how each Palestinian must feel who has been driven out of his/her one home in Palestine by Zionists like you who fancy the idea of having two homes.

        || … I think liberal American Jews should spend time in Israel, lots of time in Israel. They can refrain from buying Israeli products and emphasize buying from Palestinians while in Israel and occupied territories, but they should spend lots of time in Israel, for the sake of dialogue. … ||

        Liberal American Jews shouldn’t forget to spend lots of time, lots of time treating non-Jewish Israelis as second-class “Jewish State” citizens.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 9, 2018, 1:40 pm

        “You have had years to think about it. How much forethought is sufficient?”

        Whoa, if “Yonah” forgets about Jerusalem, his right hand might lose its cunning.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        July 10, 2018, 12:59 am

        His right hand’s got cunning?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 10, 2018, 11:30 am

        “His right hand’s got cunning?”

        He’s got a home in the crock.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 10, 2018, 4:41 pm

        Emotionally I am opposed to BDS and attached to Israel. My parents live there, my siblings live there, most of my nieces and nephews live there. I have an uncle and cousins there. I have a few close friends there. You people who know no one there give up nothing but a few store shelf choices by embracing BDS. It’s not the same for me. (And I am not in the same philosophical position as Jonathan Ofir or Avigail Abarbanel or Danaa, who apparently have disowned everyone who is not fiercely antizionist like them.) So I make my decisions for me, but I wonder what decisions I would make if I were in the same “it really makes no difference whether I eat grapes and support La Huelga” or not situation like you.

        But as to the topic of the original post, I feel that it is unhealthy for Israel to keep leftists like Chomsky and Finkelstein out, and I feel that the flow of ideas that is encouraged when leftist Jews comes to Israel is good both for Israel and for those leftist Jews and therefore I oppose the gist of this article, not just personally, but because I feel that the flow of ideas is important and if that flow does not take place in American synagogues or Jewish Community Centers, then it should take place on the streets of Jerusalem or the cafes of Tel Aviv.

      • annie
        annie
        July 10, 2018, 5:35 pm

        I feel that the flow of ideas that is encouraged when leftist Jews comes to Israel is good both for Israel and for those leftist Jews

        and the flow of ideas that come from palestinians? reminds me of a story i read this week about a jewish man interacting with a palestinian journalist. his assistant had never met a jew before who was not a soldier. https://972mag.com/israel-is-uninterested-in-peace-the-only-solution-is-for-zionism-to-disappear/136621/

        My parents live there, my siblings live there, most of my nieces and nephews live there. I have an uncle and cousins there. I have a few close friends there….. So I make my decisions for me, but I wonder what decisions I would make if I were in the same “it really makes no difference whether I eat grapes and support La Huelga” or not situation like you.

        I wonder what decisions you would make if your parents, your siblings, most of your nieces and nephews, an uncle, cousins and a few close friends were palestinian and lived there.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 10, 2018, 5:48 pm

        “I wonder what decisions you would make if …”

        …if Israel wasn’t the most powerful country in the world, completely self-sufficient and dependent on nobody.

        That’s “Yonah’s” pleasant fantasy, that Israel will never, could never be forced into anything, only coddled or bribed.

        No trauma ‘long “Yonah”!

      • eljay
        eljay
        July 10, 2018, 8:15 pm

        || Yonah Fredman: … I feel that the flow of ideas is important and if that flow does not take place in American synagogues or Jewish Community Centers, then it should take place on the streets of Jerusalem or the cafes of Tel Aviv. ||

        What better place for Jewish supremacists to engage in a flow of ideas on how to secure Israel’s existence as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” than on the streets and in the cafés of the religion-supremacist “Jewish State” itself!

        Or…wait, were you talking about inviting non-Jewish Israelis to participate in a flow of ideas on how to transform Israel into a proper secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally?

        No, I didn’t think you were.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 10, 2018, 9:18 pm

        eljay- If it were up to me I would open up the borders of Israel to all peaceful visitors, (certainly to all visitors whose only threat was one of verbal annoyance.) Israel is instead closing its borders and its ears and I do not find that useful or healthy or a good sign.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        July 10, 2018, 10:10 pm

        “Emotionally I am opposed to BDS and attached to Israel. My parents live there, my siblings live there, most of my nieces and nephews live there. I have an uncle and cousins there. I have a few close friends there.”

        Yonah, are you not capable of loving your family while deploring their choice of country?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 11, 2018, 12:08 am

        Roha- I composed an answer or two until i realized I’m trying to explain my thought patterns to someone whose bottom line is- when will the Jews finally give up the ghost. We are not on the same page. I respect the desire of the Jews to survive and persist and feel they are short sighted and going about it in a way that hurts too many and will probably end poorly. We are not on the same page. Why pretend that we are? To score points in some concept you have about winning a debate?

      • eljay
        eljay
        July 11, 2018, 7:35 am

        || Yonah Fredman: eljay- If it were up to me I would open up the borders of Israel to all peaceful visitors … ||

        …but leave religion-supremacist “Jewish State” intact.

        Yeah, I didn’t think you were talking about inviting non-Jewish Israelis to participate in a flow of ideas on how to transform Israel into a proper secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        July 12, 2018, 2:48 am

        I know that you care about Jewish continuity. I care about correct punctuation.*

        But surely that is not a sufficient difference in outlook to preclude you from explaining why your (perfectly understandable) connection to your family prevents you from endorsing action intended to reduce the hurt that you recognise Israel is doing.

        (*Everyone, and especially Kay, should write “WWRD” on a small piece of paper and glue it to the comma key.)

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      July 6, 2018, 10:18 am

      @Yohan Fredman

      Come out of your trance. The entity known as “Israel” is a monster ruled by racist Zionist zealots with U.S. support, including $billions in financial aid since its inception. BDS is absolutely necessary and effective. It is expanding rapidly worldwide and scaring them to death.

      • Avigail
        Avigail
        July 12, 2018, 2:45 pm

        @Yonah Fredman — Just thought I’d mention that you’ve got it wrong. I can’t speak for Jonathan Ofir, but I didn’t disown anyone in Israel. Everyone disowned me. Questioning the cult is not allowed and everyone I used to know except my brother and his small family (even that is tenuous) has nothing to do with me. It was not my choice. It was theirs. I can understand them and I don’t care anymore, but please get the facts right. It’s Israeli Jews that cut off those of us who speak against Israeli settler-colonialism, not the other way around. Read Beyond Tribal Loyalties if you don’t believe me… Take care.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 13, 2018, 5:25 pm

        “but I didn’t disown anyone in Israel. Everyone disowned me.”

        That’s not the way it looks from the ‘Flat-Earth Society’ telescope.

        You left ’em high and dry in the Holy Land and made off with a valuable name!

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        July 14, 2018, 5:17 pm

        Avigail, I apologize for using your name in a superficial and inaccurate way. I was trying to make a point regarding my philosophy and its consequent expressions and actions and because you have appeared here at mw prominently, it was easy (too easy) to try to make a point by using your name as a counterpoint to mine. My intent was to clarify my position rather than to condemn you, but it was in fact rude. Sorry if I was casual about you and your philosophy and situation.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 15, 2018, 1:14 pm

        Shorter “Yonah”: ‘I bear false witness all the time, but that has no effect on my position as all-round Zionist balmalocha

      • eljay
        eljay
        July 15, 2018, 6:30 pm

        || Yonah Fredman @ July 14, 2018, 5:17 pm ||

        FWIW, I respect the fact that you apologized to Avigail.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      July 6, 2018, 10:56 am

      https://artistsforpalestine.org.uk/2018/06/26/patti-smith-massive-attack-viggo-mortensen-demand-free-speech-on-palestine/

      “Patti Smith, Massive Attack, Viggo Mortensen among 70+ artists demanding free speech on Palestine.” June 26, 2018

      “Artists for Palestine UK is publishing a longer version of the open letter published in tomorrow’s print edition of the Guardian, with the full list of signatories.”
      EXCERPT:
      “No Palestine Exception to Freedom of Speech”

      “We, the undersigned artists, writers and public figures, are disturbed by attempts in Germany to impose political conditions on artists supporting Palestinian human rights. We are glad that the international outcry has convinced the Ruhrtriennale arts festival to reverse its repressive decision to cancel a performance by Young Fathers, after they refused to distance themselves from the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

      “Ruhrtriennale’s earlier decision was a particularly alarming form of censorship, ‘blacklisting’ and repression.

      “We welcome the stance of another German festival, Morgenland, in resisting a similar attempt to suppress free speech.

      “We stand firmly against all forms of racism and identity-based discrimination, including anti-Blackness, sexism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and homophobia. Conflating nonviolent measures to end Israel’s illegal occupation and human rights violations with anti-Jewish racism is false and dangerous. It denies Palestinians their right to peaceful protest in pursuit of freedom, justice and equality and undermines the struggle against antisemitism.

      “While we may hold diverse views on the Palestinian-led BDS movement, we are united in considering it a lawful exercise of freedom of expression. Boycotts which are anchored in universal human rights and aimed at achieving justice for marginalized and oppressed communities are a legitimate nonviolent tactic. They have been used worldwide, including against apartheid in South Africa and the Jim Crow segregation laws in the United States.
      In affirming this position, we are in agreement with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the European Union, several European governments, hundreds of European legal scholars, international progressive Jewish organizations and figures, more than two hundred U.S. rabbis and hundreds of European NGOs.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        July 9, 2018, 12:59 am

        Beautiful!

  4. CitizenC
    CitizenC
    July 5, 2018, 3:36 pm

    Absolutely. I was moved to comment on the Mondo stories about the Birthright dissidents and Gold, but my eyes glazed over. Why should it be necessary to comment? Why do “progressive Jews” keep doing this, and why is it still hailed as heroic? Because the PJs are at bottom Zionists, fundamentally loyal to “the Jewish people”, if not to the policies of their state, and because Palestine politics in the US is dominated by such people.

  5. hfouda
    hfouda
    July 5, 2018, 5:54 pm

    I thank Nada Elia for here analysis. Years ago, I suggested to friends at Jewish Voice for Peace that they should start a campaign for American Jews to renounce their right to Israeli citizenship under the so-called law of return.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      July 5, 2018, 11:59 pm

      Fouda,

      You seem to have hit up on one of the few (? the only?) ideas of these last years that would allow the tribals (i.e. the anti- and non(?)- Zionist who consider themselves part of some “Jewish people”, independently of religion), to help getting tangible results qua segregated tribals. Congratulations!

      Such a signature campaign (i.e. an irrevocable rejection of Azrael citizenship and an affidavit affirming that the signer never has said citizenship) would have a sensible effect in Ziolandia and the US, even with relatively small numbers, especially if there are big names on it.

      On our side, such a petition would allow discriminating friend from foe.

      I am very curious about the answer you received and the pretext that was invoked, as the response was very probably negative, judging from the results.

      Also, let’s right here and right now make a public appeal to JVP and the like, asking for a public response to this constructive proposal. And let’s insist on answers!

      Amplify, please.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 6, 2018, 7:52 pm

        Day 2

        Any takers? How about Phil and crew starting a public statement of definitive rejection of the Zionist entity citizenship and passing it around for signatures?

        Would be a breeze with what the electronic age can do in the way of viral petitions. Stand and be counted, as the word goes.

        If not, why not?

      • annie
        annie
        July 6, 2018, 8:21 pm

        you could start a public statement echi, you don’t need phil to do it. if not, why not?

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 6, 2018, 9:52 pm

        It so happens Weiss & Co and/or any other known names are needed for a masthead, not just nobodies. I’m just a lowly tapeworm.

        Also, you aren’t eligible anyway for racial reasons but your dismissive response (as an official member of the crew), could well be misinterpreted as an attempt to deflect the question.

      • Paranam Kid
        Paranam Kid
        July 7, 2018, 6:55 am

        Excellent suggestion Echinococcus, but a very difficult call for some, incl. Phil?

      • annie
        annie
        July 7, 2018, 9:55 am

        I’m just a lowly tapeworm.

        you post anonymously by choice. but i suppose anyone jewish could make such a public statement “to renounce their right to Israeli citizenship” in their own name. if a petition or public statement got 1000 names it wouldn’t need anyone famous — it would be news.

        your dismissive response (as an anonymous “tapeworm”?), could well be misinterpreted as an attempt to deflect responsibility.

      • Paranam Kid
        Paranam Kid
        July 7, 2018, 11:57 am

        @Annie Robbins: funny you deleted my other comment to you regarding shielding Phil. Still, that’s the prerogative of a moderator – to delete what is inappropriate or which does not suit a narrative.

        As for your reply to Echinococcus that “…. your dismissive response (as an official member of the crew), could well be misinterpreted as an attempt to deflect the question.”, sorry but no, it cannot be misinterpreted like that if you read his 2 comments carefully and place them in context.

      • annie
        annie
        July 7, 2018, 3:43 pm

        paranam, you just quoted echi, not me. and no, i have not deleted any comments today, including yours. i don’t do the lion’s share of moderation here anymore.

        and for anyone trying to reach adam or phil i suggest email https://mondoweiss.net/about-mondoweiss/ , as i doubt they read most of the comments here unless someone calls their attention to them.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 7, 2018, 12:28 pm

        Annie,

        We do need big names. I have organized more than a couple public appeals in the distant past.

        Also, the suggestion was specifically directed at Weiss, in consideration of the significant influence and regard the blog has acquired, not to the thousands of other potential candidates

        Not that it should be relevant (if you hadn’t made it into a personal issue), let me reluctantly give away a biographical detail: I am no longer eligible for Zionist-entity citizenship*.
        I think that you really shouldn’t have exposed yourself running interference to deflect a simple yes-or-no question to Weiss.

        ——
        *[Right after the 1967 aggression I got baptized, with much local fanfare, and legally changed my name (which had been a very typically Jewish last, first and mother’s-maiden) as an angry middle finger to Zionist racism and the tribal network supporting it. In hindsight, somewhat childish because I never had religion. Needless to say, career choices have been severely restricted since coming back to the States.]

      • annie
        annie
        July 7, 2018, 3:12 pm

        your simple yes-or-no question of ‘if not why not’ is right after ’67 you got baptized and legally changed your typically jewish last name which has severely restricted your career choices. and for this reason you can’t start a campaign for American Jews to renounce their right to Israeli citizenship.

        of course, that’s perfectly logical. no reason to question it merely because you’re anonymous and could literally say anything.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 7, 2018, 1:41 pm

        “Also, you aren’t eligible anyway for racial reasons…”

        I think we are seeing a noble mind o’erthrown.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 7, 2018, 3:59 pm

        Annie,

        Your question did not answer for Weiss; continued sophistry does not answer for Weiss either.

      • annie
        annie
        July 7, 2018, 4:38 pm

        ech, i’m not ever answering for anyone but myself, contrary to allegations. me suggesting you could start a public statement yourself, asking you if not why not, was inspired by you. if you find it fallacious, so be it.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 7, 2018, 5:58 pm

        Mooser,

        Whatever. She ain’t, anyway. Ask the Z gov.

      • gamal
        gamal
        July 7, 2018, 6:47 pm

        “I think we are seeing a noble mind o’erthrown”

        oh i feel ya.

      • Paranam Kid
        Paranam Kid
        July 8, 2018, 3:05 am

        @Echinococcus: never reveal anything personal on a public forum, some day somebody will use it against you, and will twist your words into the bargain.

        Proof: Annie Robbins did not waste any time on this, gleefully misquoting you with …. legally changed your typically jewish last name which has severely restricted your career choices.”, which is not what you said.

        She also conveniently used that as a deflection from your issue, which was to get Phil to make a public appeal to JVP re US Jews renouncing Israeli citizenship rights. For some reason she keeps shielding Phil from making his position clear re Zionism. She once told me off for challenging Phil for his use of the term “liberal Zionism”, which to me is a contradiction in terms equating to “liberal racism”. In other words, one does not question the master’s statements and positions on this issue.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 8, 2018, 9:57 am

        Paranam Kid,

        Thank you. You’re absolutely right about my unwarranted optimism.

      • annie
        annie
        July 8, 2018, 10:09 am

        you guys make an awesome tag team — think about working out together more often.

        kid, the gleefully misquoting part, absolutely right.

        speaking of optimism, how’s that wait working out for you?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 9, 2018, 1:24 pm

        “oh i feel ya.”

        Alas, poor “Echin”…

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      July 7, 2018, 10:04 am

      Alternatively, we could ‘transfer’ our right to Israeli citizenship to Palestinians who do not have this right but would like to. An agency could be set up to issue certificates of transfer that said Palestinians would present at embassies, consulates, and other offices of the State of Israel. Of course Israel would not recognize the ‘transfer’ but it could generate some good theater and publicity.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      July 14, 2018, 10:26 pm

      @hfouda – great idea! However, Nada Elia has got it wrong. The Birthright incident was a brilliant move politically. It made huge waves. Even we are talking about it right now and not about the other groups. Regarding Ariel Gold, Here too, she made a bigger impact than someone who is not engaged in the Jewish conversation about Israel. However, I was perplexed by her talk about exercising her Jewish privilege of moving to Israel under the so-called Law of Return. That also plays into the Israeli line that Jewish BDS advocates will be banned tourist visas but can still “make Aliyah.” That’s irrelevant and worse for the reasons Nada lays out. However, a Jew does not have to renounce the opportunity to visit or study in Israel until Palestinians have full rights. That’s an excessive demand. Palestinians have asked for our support of BDS. That is a necessary and sufficient measure. Similarly, Whites in developed countries need not give up their access to clean drinking water and clean air, police protection and green spaces until Blacks in the inner city get the same.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 15, 2018, 2:51 am

        Eliot

        That’s an excessive demand. Palestinians have asked for our support of BDS. That is a necessary and sufficient measure

        “Excessive”? Are you for real?

        Looks like you didn’t even realize that going to Palestine, anywhere in Zionist-occupied Palestine, without the assent of the Palestinian people, is just as illegal as anytime from the start of Zionist invasion.

        There is no way to decide now without a general, proper referendum, so what one can know with certainty is that visiting remains illegal. Of course it’s up to anyone to know if the purpose of his visit justifies this step.

        Obviously private visits and taking up Azrael citizenship are open collaboration with the enemy but even well-meaning trips are breaking the boycott.

      • annie
        annie
        July 15, 2018, 10:11 am

        “Obviously” private visits to anywhere in Zionist-occupied Palestine is open collaboration with the enemy?

        nah.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 15, 2018, 12:29 pm

        Not “nah”, if you are privately visiting the invader of course you are providing support and crossing a picket line. A rather imaginary one right now but that’s what it is.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 6, 2018, 5:28 am

    Doesn’t Phil make journalistic trips to Israel from time to time, and so, accordingly, isn’t he taking advantage of his privilege too? Just asking.

  7. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    July 6, 2018, 5:51 am

    I’ve been a bit critical of those who want boycotts but not the cost of boycotts. However, I think that the effort to make the case in the West for Palestinian rights is highly dependent on Jewish participation, without which the accusation of anti-Semitism that already troubles us so much would have almost overwhelming force in the public arena. The Jewish people who support Palestinian rights need their own bulwarks against that accusation, of which clinging to Jewish culture in its current and powerful form is one. But how far from at least cultural Z can they then stand?

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      July 6, 2018, 8:10 pm

      Hughes,

      May I propose that what limits the popular appeal is not the risk of appearing “anti-Semitic” or “extreme” but the mealy-mouthed political correctness, the giving in to Zintimidation, and, first and foremost, the perception that the declaredly tribal so-called vanguard mostly appears too have conflicting personal interests.
      On your side of the pond, the most impressive example is Corbyn’s diametrically opposed results among the working class constituency vs that with the nattering classes. And what will kill him will be his giving an inch to the antisemitism hunters, nothing else.
      The crazy idea here is that a wishy-washy campaign addressing only the “liberal” species will help in any way.

  8. Elizabeth Block
    Elizabeth Block
    July 6, 2018, 9:25 am

    Good point, Nada Elia, and one which, I’m sorry to say, had not occurred to me before, at least not so clearly.

  9. Steve C
    Steve C
    July 6, 2018, 9:38 am

    This analysis is entirely accurate. Boycotting Birthright is better than making a semi-informed exit during the trip. But since those staying home and boycotting don’t get much attention, would it be even better to have young activists participate in Birthright only to deliberately and vocally sabotage it?

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      July 6, 2018, 4:58 pm

      There is a huge need for boycott –one that hits the whole Zionist network, a movement that limits the illegal travel to the Zionist entity. The occasional objections by Birthright participants may be conceived as helpful; their wasting some of the unlimited Zionist money is perhaps more valuable even. But against that, we have the fact that each participant is breaking the boycott.
      If they continue to participate, it becomes hard to preach a total boycott.

  10. CitizenC
    CitizenC
    July 6, 2018, 2:01 pm

    Or find other, more direct outlets for activism? The chief driver of US Palestine policy, and of much else, is the organized Jewish community, where debate ranges from liberal hypocrisy to sanguinary reaction. The BDS campaign is conducted as if US support for Israel were taking place on a different planet. If BDS is defensible, then revocation of the US-Israel relationship is more so, a fortiori.

    And what are the pillars of that relationship? Not the arms industry, or the Christian Zionists, or other usual suspects beloved by the progressive Jews. Rather by far it’s the organized Jewish community. Which they don’t want to confront because fundamentally they aspire to a place in it, to lead a reformed version of it. As Marc Ellis has said of JVP and of Michael Lerner before them

  11. smithgp
    smithgp
    July 6, 2018, 2:58 pm

    If Ariel Gold and the five IfNotNow dissenters represent “normalization,” we need to define some other term for the oppression-affirming “dialog” that I despise and oppose. If Breaking the Silence are our opponents, are Amira Hass, Jeff Halper, Gideon Levy, Neve Gordon, etc., also our opponents?

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      July 6, 2018, 4:53 pm

      The way you throw all these people together in the same pot is a bit confusing. Years of reading have given me an image of both Gideon Levy and Amira Hass as decidedly non-tribal.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 6, 2018, 6:32 pm

        “The way you throw all these people together in the same pot is a bit confusing.” “echin”

        A problem you have always avoided by being very specific when it comes to dividing people into the “tribal” and “non-tribal”.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 6, 2018, 7:42 pm

        Thank you, Mooser, for making that even clearer.

      • smithgp
        smithgp
        July 7, 2018, 10:27 am

        Echinococcus: I fully agree that Gideon Levy and Amira Hass are “non-tribal,” in the sense you presumably mean it. But by that criterion, surely Ariel Gold and the five IfNotNow dissenters are too. (Maybe you’re not familiar with the work of Jeff Halper and Neve Gordon, but if you were I’m sure you’d agree that they’re non-tribal as well.) The list of non-tribal Jews, both in Israel and the “galut,” who are anti-Zionist is long and honorable. I don’t think this is confusing.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 7, 2018, 11:38 am

        George Smith,

        “non-tribal,” in the sense you presumably mean it

        You presume wrong: anyone who considers himself “Jewish” for any reason other than religion, anyone who can see himself as belonging to the same fake-ethnicity as the invaders in Palestine is a tribal. Especially Halper, who has shown admirable courage and all, but is part of the volunteer invaders of Palestine. Especially your JVP, a leading identity-politics outfit that is vocally into “peoplehood”, for whom witch-hunting invented “anti-Semitism” (and sabotaging the most committed anti-Zionists) seems obviously to have precedence over fighting the Zionist abomination. As for INN, last I looked those were even openly Zionist.

        I am not saying that some of the actions of these people are not having positive effects, but that only occurs as a side effect of their effort to salvage the good name of the tribe, and/or their toehold on Palestine.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 7, 2018, 1:22 pm

        Certainly there should be no difficulty in determining the relative or absolute tribality of any Jewish person.
        And could there be, at this time, any distinction more important?

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 7, 2018, 3:56 pm

        Mooser,

        Sure, some considerations are more important. This one is not negligible, though. Seeing the enemy as kith and kin is not unimportant.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      July 14, 2018, 10:28 pm

      @ George Smith, Well said!

  12. hfouda
    hfouda
    July 6, 2018, 3:43 pm

    MHughes976, and Citizen, You bring up important points. Many people are born with privileges. The important thing is how they elect to use them. Some Jews accept their privilege as a God given right and accept it regardless of how others are affected (Zionists); some renounce it (anti Zionists); and some elect to utilize their privilege in order to challenge the system that gave rise to it. I suspect Ariel Gold belongs to the last category and as such her contribution is welcomed and appreciated. As far as the young women who walked away from the birthright tour, it all depends on their intention. If their intention is to expose and undermine the project, their contribution is also valuable.

  13. CitizenC
    CitizenC
    July 6, 2018, 4:16 pm

    If you insist, what is Jeff Halper doing in Palestine, instead of his native Minnesota? He did not reflect on his “aliyah” in his memoir.

    Eran Efrati and Ronnie Barkan are furious with BTS, say they are sitting on evidence of war crimes and refuse to divulge it, instead are appealing to the Israeli “system” to act. It acts, alright

    The critical Israelis (not olim) like Hass and Levy need no advice from US activists. They know the score far better.

    The focus of Palestine activists in the US should surely be the sources of US policy, which are found here, in the halls of organized Jewry first and foremost.

    Disrupting Birthright is cute, but how about disrupting the lives and organizations that produce it? A summer at Hebrew U (and no doubt liaising with those beautiful Israeli activists) is for a US citizen self-deception and Jewish narcissism.

    Asking JVP to address this is like asking oil to turn into water. Their “Jewish politics” is the problem, transforming the obligations of US citizens to the obligation of “being Jewish”

    • smithgp
      smithgp
      July 7, 2018, 10:59 am

      “Asking JVP to address this is like asking oil to turn into water. Their ‘Jewish politics’ is the problem, transforming the obligations of US citizens to the obligation of “being Jewish”–CitizenC

      Really, CC?? JVP aren’t acceptable allies because their moral commitment is rooted in their Jewish religion or cultural identity? So I guess we need to expel Sabeel from our ever-diminishing band of ideologically pure brothers and sisters, because they too root their moral commitment in their Christian religion/identity??

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 7, 2018, 11:54 am

        GEORGE SMITH- “So I guess we need to expel Sabeel from our ever-diminishing band of ideologically pure brothers and sisters, because they too root their moral commitment in their Christian religion/identity??”

        Sabeel promotes ethnic solidarity? Who knew?

      • CitizenC
        CitizenC
        July 7, 2018, 12:58 pm

        Sabeel practice Christianity, not some vacuous “identity”. JVP are “Jews”. JVP (and predecessors like NJA, back to the “Jewish radicalism” movement after 1967) were not founded as religious organizations and do not call themselves such, tho JVP lately acquired a “rabbinical council”.

        Mainly, JVP et all claim the status of “secular Jew”, which is the basis of Zionism, and of racialist anti-Semitism. Shlomo Sand dealt with three myths of Zionism in his books, “The Invention of the Jewish People”, “The Invention of the Land of Israel”, and the third “How I Stopped Being a Jew” about the myth of the “secular Jew”, rejecting it a empty, obscurantist and regressive.

        It then follows that claims by “secular Jews” are simply Jewish power and privilege. and there is plenty of analysis showing that about “Jewish politics”, including some of mine. “Jewish politics” is not mainly a commitment to Palestine, but to “being Jewish”.

        Why do “progressive Jews” keep doing this, and why is it still hailed as heroic? Because the PJs are at bottom Zionists, fundamentally loyal to “the Jewish people”, if not to the policies of their state, and because they dominate Palestine politics in the US.

        This theme has surfaced periodically on Mondo since the site opened. The leopards can’t change their spots, can’t admit that they have spots, that they are leopards. Enuf said by me

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 7, 2018, 9:02 pm

        Smith,

        JVP aren’t acceptable allies because…

        What a question. Anyone can be an ally. Including the Devil, most of the time.
        JVP is not a reliable ally. It’s a very costly ally. It waters down boycott activity and it sabotages daily life with its absurd “antisemitism” witchhunts, damaging the most consistent anti-Zionists. One has to calculate to a nicety the balance between its possible contributions and its negative effects before reaching a conclusion.

    • Keith
      Keith
      July 7, 2018, 12:16 pm

      CITIZENC- “The focus of Palestine activists in the US should surely be the sources of US policy….”

      Absolutely true. The Zionists have always relied upon massive imperial support to achieve their objectives and Israel couldn’t behave the way it does without ongoing imperial support. And, yes, a primary source of that support is a consequence of the conquest of American organized Jewry by Zionism, and in particular the support of the American Jewish Zionist elites who benefit from Jewish Zionism’s kinship solidarity.

      Unfortunately, the empire itself has become significantly Zionized while the elites have increased their control over the entire global political economy such that there is little hope of defeating either Zionism or imperialism in the short term. We are at the end of the hydrocarbon era and the future looks sufficiently bleak that survival of the species is in doubt, the fate of Israel and the Palestinians of lesser concern. It will be interesting to see how Zionist kinship solidarity (Jewish peoplehood) plays out in a neofeudal society, one promoting ethnic conflict instead of multiculturalism. If we live to see it.

  14. hfouda
    hfouda
    July 6, 2018, 4:22 pm

    To be clear I was referring to Citizen earlier point “Doesn’t Phil make journalistic trips to Israel from time to time, and so, accordingly, isn’t he taking advantage of his privilege too? Just asking.”

  15. Bilalissa
    Bilalissa
    July 6, 2018, 7:53 pm

    Dear Nada.

    After reading your article, let me please make some points clear that i disagree with you in.

    1. As a Palestinian, I feel proud that we dont only have muslim or arab activists, the most of the activists are from alle races and religions. This proves that the Palestinian Cause is a global responsibility, and fighting against oppression is also a responsibility for all people in the world.

    2. We must bear in mind that its not the responsibility of the Jewish activists that they have exclusive rights by the israeli state. And actually the deportation of Ariel Gold has proven that israel doesnt give exclusive rights to all Jews, the actually oppress the anti-zionists, even if they have Jewish background. And that is in my opinion a great way to expose the israeli occupation and its politics against anyone who oppose the zionist ideology.

    3. Even though Ariel has Jewish background, her activism has also made her pay a costly price. There has been campaigns against her in her local community, in the US and also inside the israeli society and media.
    Ariel and her Children has been publicly hanged out on Canary mission like many other pro-human rights activists in the US. And when she went to Palestine last year the israeli media started a harsh campaign against her.

    4. Ariel has also travel in Palestine with her children to teach them about the israeli occupation and to show them that Israel has nothing to do with judaism, because occupation, theft, killing and apartheid are not Jewish values.

    I think we should bear this kind of things in mind before we accuse a BDS activist like Ariel Gold for normalizing Zionism.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      July 7, 2018, 4:30 am

      Fair points!

    • smithgp
      smithgp
      July 7, 2018, 10:38 am

      Bilal: This needed to be said! Thank you, thank you!

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        July 8, 2018, 7:37 am

        We have to recognise that Zionism, originally a rather eccentric idea, went through a process of normalisation and is now thoroughly normal in the West. It is we who are out of the mainstream round here. People like Gold are trying to normalise not Z but anti-Z within the loyally Jewish community. But it is true that things may get a bit paradoxical for her.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 8, 2018, 12:07 pm

        Hughes,

        It’s correct to see the action of Ms Gold, and JVP in general, as normalizing anti-Zionism among what you call “the loyally Jewish community”. Thanks for the formulation.

        The price for doing that, and the reason that makes them do it, though, is their “Jewish” nationalism. It’s perfectly legitimate to ask if the cost (to us all) does not largely exceed any hypothetical benefits of preaching to a minuscule fraction of the population, a fraction already commandeered by the Zionists.

  16. hai_bar
    hai_bar
    July 7, 2018, 4:49 am

    This article is reminding me of a time when I was skeptical of all “Israeli Activism” or in this case people benefiting from the Israeli-given Privileges practicing activism whether in the west-bank or inside the “Israeli” territories. I thought of it sometimes as something needed at this time of fast communication and PR/Marketing..etc, it is needed to show that even Israelis (including those who voice anti-Zionist ideas and so on), who are after all a result of this post-European Colonialism, do have the differences in thoughts and actions required to assign “democratic” or “progressive” to this entity.

    There’s a sad fact in this world (in the West especially), that anything being said by a Palestinian or a non-Israeli or non-Jewish against the apartheid Israel most likely will be dismissed by a lot of people, the same people will pause if you backup your statement with a “a Jewish person said this” or a Jewish-Israeli person (this one is more effective). This adds a lot to the complexity of the Palestine question, it echoes what Edward Said included in his Orientalism book, quoting “thinkers” from History that the (subject “races” cannot talk for themselves, cannot represent themselves and thus the superior ones have to do it for them.)

    I’m very confused to be honest, at some days I feel hope when I read Gideon Levy, or watch a youtube video documenting one Conference of him in the U.S talking about the Israeli society enabling Zionism and thus enabling Racism ..etc Other days the skepticism gets to me and overshadows the whole thing.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      July 7, 2018, 6:54 pm

      Hello “hai_bar”. It is an unfortunate fact that an underscore (_) in a ‘user name’ prevents the Mondo archive system from storing your comments.
      I believe you can change that at your “profile”, and I hope you will. Thanks.

      • hai_bar
        hai_bar
        July 8, 2018, 1:43 am

        Hello Mooser. I was able to change the “nick name” part only, user names “cannot be changed” it says.

        Have a nice day

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 8, 2018, 4:00 pm

        “Hello Mooser. I was able to change the “nick name” part only, user names “cannot be changed” it says.”

        Thanks for trying. I hoped changing the “nick name” or “display name” would do it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 13, 2018, 5:30 pm

        Oh well, all I got for my trouble was a form I have to check saying I agree to the underscore glitch.

  17. nada
    nada
    July 7, 2018, 11:29 am

    This is what I posted on Facebook, in response to various comments I received upon publishing this piece:

    “My article on progressive Jews having to check their privilege has caused a few ripples. Many are defending Gold as a wonderful person. I do not know her, although of course I have a solid idea who she is. My piece does not in any way deny she is “progressive:” my article addresses progressives, not reactionaries. It does argue that, in the cases I wrote about, being “progressive” is not enough. It asks her not to normalize Zionism, by acting as if her right to visit and study in Israel should be undisputed, unquestionable–*even when it is crossing a picket line of a movement for Palestinian self-determination that she advocates.* It asks her not to exempt herself from restrictions and criteria that apply to others. When she acts upon the belief that certain restrictions don’t apply to her, including hinting at making Aliyah, she is normalizing the Zionist concept that Israel is the homeland of all Jews. Zionism is racism, it is Jewish supremacy.
    As to the Birthright walkouts, seriously, they need to grasp that all of Israel is “occupied Palestinian territories.” The refugees in Gaza don’t all want to return to Hebron.”

    I would also add that the intent behind a trip is absolutely critical. There are ways to use your privilege to advance the cause, without normalizing Zionism. In Gold’s case, however, she seems more determined to defy the ban, than conform to the criteria of the movement she preaches.

  18. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    July 7, 2018, 11:38 am

    If you have some kind of privilege, should you try to renounce it or try to use it to help, defend, and empower the unprivileged? It seems to me a genuine moral dilemma, with strong arguments on both sides. Renunciation feels better but I am not sure that it achieves more. The balance of pros and cons may vary with the context or change over time. The white lawyers in the Old South who defended unjustly accused black people were using white privilege, just as the Jewish lawyers who defend Palestinians in Zioland use their Jewish privilege. Are we wrong to admire them?

    I think also of a scene in the film ‘Borrowed Identities’, which is based on the autobiographical writing of Sayeed Kashua. A Jewish woman stops at a checkpoint and gives the officer her ID. He hands it back, looks at the young man sitting next to her and asks: ‘And this is your son?’ She nods slightly and he waves her on. Actually the young man is not her son but her son’s Palestinian friend, whom she has just used her Jewish privilege to protect. Not because she is an activist — she isn’t — but because she is grateful for the support that the friend has given her son, who has just died of a degenerative disease.

    Mondoweiss itself is a good example of the use of Jewish privilege. It gets much more public attention than a comparable site like The Electronic Intifada because its creators are Jews. But it uses that privilege not only to defend the rights of Palestinians but also to give more salience to Palestinian voices.

    I admit that ‘using privilege’ can lead to murky situations. Its reliance on deception is morally uncomfortable. But that is life in our world.

    • CitizenC
      CitizenC
      July 8, 2018, 11:47 am

      In your example, the Jewish woman wasn’t using her privilege as the basis of politics, but to repay a personal obligation.

      I disagree that privilege can be the basis of successful politics. It serves the opposite purpose, to limit and constrain politics and ensure the dominance of the privileged. That is certainly the case with Jewish domination of the Palestine question in the US.

      See David Landy’s “Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights” on these issues. Landy examines “identity” and its claims and rejects it as the basis of politics. Yet his rhetoric and judgments are somewhat weakened by the ruthless arrogance and presumption of the forces he is addressing, as in his deferential references to “dynamic American Jewish organizations”.

      https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/jewish-identity-and-palestinian-rights/

  19. CitizenC
    CitizenC
    July 8, 2018, 11:39 am

    Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, a congregational rabbi and Judaic scholar in Brooklyn, has written a 1300 page restatement of the classical Orthodox position against Zionism, which echoes many of the classical liberal positions, such as the argument that Jews are not a “people” in any sense, that a religious distinction is the only one that makes sense. So “Jewish politics” is inadmissable, among other conclusions. The book is at

    https://www.theemptywagon.com/

    Here is an interview with Shapiro

    https://ahtribune.com/religion/2332-yaakov-shapiro.html

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      July 9, 2018, 5:07 pm

      I have been reading Shapiro’s book and nowhere does he argue that ‘Jews are not a “people” in any sense.’ On the contrary, he often uses the expression ‘the Jewish people’ and argues only that Jews are not a NATION in the sense given this word by 19th and 20th century nationalist movements. The concept of a Jewish collectivity with a special relationship with God is central to Orthodox Judaism. Shapiro often uses the Hebrew term “klal Yisroel” (literally, the entirety of Israel) for the Jewish collectivity, but it is envisioned in a basically tribal way — Jews are descendants of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob plus converts who are sort of adopted into the tribe — so ‘the Jewish people’ does not seem inappropriate. Zionism is wrong not because it posits a non-existent Jewish people, but because it violates the oaths by which Jewry accepted the dispersion (galus) as God’s will and undertook not to rise up against the nations and not to go up to Zion en masse until the Messiah comes.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 9, 2018, 8:28 pm

        “oaths by which Jewry accepted the dispersion (galus) as God’s will and undertook not to rise up against the nations”

        Lucky for those nations, huh. Wonder if they know how close they came.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        July 10, 2018, 12:52 am

        Thanks. That gives me a better idea of what ‘the Jewish people’ is supposed to mean.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        July 10, 2018, 8:59 am

        Stephen Shenfield: “On the contrary, he often uses the expression ‘the Jewish people’ and argues only that Jews are not a NATION in the sense given this word by 19th and 20th century nationalist movements.”

        That is in the sense that is relevant in international law. In short: “Jewish” is not a citizenship/nationality. Jews are not a constitutive people. Nobody can become Jewish by acquiring any citizenship. In every other state than Israel a person who acquires citizenship becomes ipso facto national of the state. There is no differentiation between the nationals of a state and its citizens. Except in Israel and back then in Nazi Germany to privilege the nationals (Jews, respectively Volkish Germans) and to discriminate the others (Nonjews, respectively Jews).

  20. CitizenC
    CitizenC
    July 10, 2018, 11:29 am

    From the interview with Shapiro linked above:

    First, let’s start with what a Jew is not. A Jew is not a nationality or a race or an ethnicity or a culture. We have Jews of all races, nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures. Around the corner from me lives a Yemenite Jew, a nice fellow named Yichye. Our parents didn’t speak the same language, live the same culture, eat the same food, or share the same experiences. The only thing we have in common is our religion. For centuries, our families have had almost no shared historical experiences – his family in Yemen, and mine in Poland. Jewishness is a concept defined by the Jewish religion. Whoever the Jewish religion defines as Jewish is Jewish, since Jewishness is a concept created by – and defined by – the Jewish religion.

    Etc. The book is written for yeshiva students, which is why it is larded with Hebrew phrases. The strictly religious “Jewish people” definition is quite obvious to them, which is why Shapiro uses the term freely. In the interview he is more emphatic.

    Shenfield is trivializing the difference between Zionism’s use of “people” and the religious definition, which refers to a pre-modern religious community, ruled by religious law and by its rabbis, under authority granted by a temporal power. In the modern age, the traditional community was dissolved, its control of Jewish life ended, and Jews admitted to liberal citizenship with gentiles; religion became voluntary, and secularism became the default. The ‘Jewish people’ ended.

    The religious precedent doesn’t make Zionism more natural as Shenfield claims, it merely shows how artificial and reactionary it is. Zionism was atheist and despised traditional Judaism because of the religious injunction you cite. Zionism was equally illiberal, rejected the liberal society Jews worldwide were eagerly joining and made common cause with anti-Semites against it.

    Zionism, whose basic conceit is “the Jewish people”, is intellectual nonsense as Shlomo Sand and others have shown. “The Invention of the Jewish People”, “The Invention of the Land of Israel”, “How I Stopped Being a Jew”.

    Elmer Berger and Israel Shahak viewed Zionism and its claims of “peoplehood” as a reaction against the Enlightenment, a longing for a return to the ghetto. Berger called Zionism a form of racism. Shahak saw it as a modern form of medieval Jewish anti-gentilism. Noel Ignatiev called it “Jewish race doctrine.”

    Jewish privilege on the left is part of it, pure and simple. It colonizes dissent and critique and makes gentiles–people who exceed its limits, like the Israel Lobby critics–inferior.

  21. Boris
    Boris
    July 12, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The only thing we have in common is our religion.

    Total BS.

    Most, if not all, Jews share

    1. Common ancestry to the Hebrews of ancient Judea
    2. History of persecution
    3. Support for the only Jewish state

    • eljay
      eljay
      July 12, 2018, 2:35 pm

      || Boris: … Most, if not all, Jews share …

      3. Support for the only Jewish state ||

      It’s a shame that “[m]ost, if not all, Jews” are hateful and immoral supremacists and hypocrites.

      • Boris
        Boris
        July 13, 2018, 7:47 am

        Thank you.

      • eljay
        eljay
        July 13, 2018, 3:47 pm

        || Boris: Thank you. ||

        Huh? Dude, I want to believe that most Jews are not hateful and immoral supremacists and hypocrites, but Zionists like you keep insisting that most Jews are exactly that. My disappointment is the result of your hard work. So don’t thank me – just pat yourself on the back (or touch yourself wherever you normally do) for a job well done.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      July 12, 2018, 9:11 pm

      Boris: “1. Common ancestry to the Hebrews of ancient Judea”

      Finally you are able to prove which Jew is a descendent of ancient Hebrews and which Nonjew isn’t!

      Let’s see your evidence, rassenforscher Boris. Let me guess, skull and nose measurements?

      • Boris
        Boris
        July 13, 2018, 7:46 am

        Let me guess, skull and nose measurements?

        Bzzzz! Your guess is wrong, talking backside.

        First, it is historical evidence. Second, it is DNA.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 13, 2018, 1:02 pm

        “First, it is historical evidence. Second, it is DNA.”

        You tell ’em, “Boris”!! All the DNA proof you need, right here!

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 13, 2018, 1:20 pm

        Well, Tovarischtsch, from a mainly Berbero-Andalus mongrel to a mainly Tartaro-Khazar one, the historical record is, unfortunately for your thesis, crystal clear. As for DNA, I don’t know why I have the very definite impression that you’re not a biologist.
        Could it be, Comrade Boris, that you are among the Righteous who get all information in the Bible only, the perfect and complete Book to end all books?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 13, 2018, 4:28 pm

        “As for DNA, I don’t know why I have the very definite impression that you’re not a biologist.”

        Not a biologist? “Boris” knows his Lysenko backwards and forwards.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        July 15, 2018, 5:28 am

        Boris: “Bzzzz! Your guess is wrong, talking backside.

        First, it is historical evidence. Second, it is DNA.”

        ROFL. Ok, so prove that “historical evidence and DNA” can prove that YOU are a descendant of ancient Hebrews and any Palestinian is not.

        And BTW. What rights does someone acquire being a descendant of ancient Hebrews and what rights do those lose who are not?

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye
        July 15, 2018, 8:45 am

        Oh, boris. There is so much more historical evidence of Jews in Palestine converting to other religions. Yet somehow we never hear you or your zionist kind considering their Jewish dna. Does conversion eradicate it after a generation or two? Or are you just a major hypocrite?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 15, 2018, 1:26 pm

        ” Or are you just a major hypocrite?”

        Ask “Boris” what his “Jewish DNA” did for him. Defeated one of the reigning superpowers on earth, that’s all. It’s no wonder he’s proud of it, and eager to see what else it can do for him.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      July 14, 2018, 10:38 pm

      “if not all” is nonsense, or in your words “total BS”.
      Regarding “most”.
      1. You can’t prove that. And that goes against the core Jewish value of being a community of faith and open to anyone who chooses to join it. And, even that claim is limited to 2+ tribes of the 12 Hebrew tribes. What of the descendants of the other 10.
      2. If a “history of persecution” makes one a Jew then the world today is jam packed with Jews. Iranian Jews, North Korean Jews, Jews across the African continent, inner city Black Jews etc etc
      3. That’s on the way out and is only a 50 year blip, if that, in the 3,000 years of Jewish history.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        July 15, 2018, 4:40 pm

        See S. Weitzman, The Origin of the Jews, for a detailed and up to date, though rather inconclusive, presentation of the genetic and other considerations. I think it quite likely that X and Y, both being Jewish, have a bit more in common genetically with each other than with me but I think it certain that what we do have in common is far more than what they have and I don’t. What degree of ‘not in common’ amounts to genetic distinctiveness and is that degree determined by scientific criteria rather than ideological ones? I wish to affirm my common humanity with people who are Jewish. Is there any scientific reason why I shouldn’t?

  22. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    July 12, 2018, 3:56 pm

    @Boris
    Most, if not all, Jews share

    1. Common ancestry to the Hebrews of ancient Judea
    2. History of persecution
    3. Support for the only Jewish state

    What even the converted ones? Would you Adam and Eve it ! From Persecuted Zionist Inuit to Ancient Hebrew at the stroke of a Rabbi`s pen !

    • Boris
      Boris
      July 13, 2018, 7:43 am

      Obviously, the converts are not the descendants of Hebrews. But the percentage of Jewish converts is very low. This is btw one of the reasons Reform Judaism is not recognized in Israel is because they make conversion way too easy.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        July 13, 2018, 8:54 am

        Yes, yes. We are still waiting from rasseforscher Boris to prove that he is a descendant from ancient Hebrews and a Nonjew, especially a Palestinian like Ali Abunimah is not. Until then, Boris, embrace your herrenrasse delusion.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 13, 2018, 4:46 pm

        Gee, I would think any Russian who was able to get out of Russia on the strength of his “Jewish DNA” would think pretty highly of it.

  23. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    July 13, 2018, 1:34 pm

    @Boris
    “Obviously, the converts are not the descendants of Hebrews. But the percentage of Jewish converts is very low”

    What do you think Boris is one of Zionism`s favourite “sons” Sheldon (nuke nuke nuke nuke Iran) Adelson and no doubt one of your all time heroes a descendant of ancient Hebrews or Baptist Welsh coalminers:
    “Sheldon Gary Adelson was born in 1933, into a low-income family and grew up in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, the son of Sarah (née Tonkin) and Arthur Adelson.[8][9] His father’s family was of Ukrainian-Jewish and Lithuanian-Jewish ancestry.[10] His mother immigrated from England, and one of Sheldon Adelson’s grandfathers was a Welsh coal miner.[11]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldon_Adelson

    Skeleton cupboard methinks. You seem so knowledgeable about this Ancient Hebrew malarkey. Perhaps you could do some research within the Zio Archives and get back to us all.

  24. Boris
    Boris
    July 13, 2018, 3:21 pm

    Migration of Jews – from Judea to Rome, to Western Europe and then to Eastern Europe is well documented.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      July 13, 2018, 4:39 pm

      “Migration of Jews – from Judea to Rome, to Western Europe and then to Eastern Europe is well documented.”

      Is that where we picked up the ‘bad’ genes?

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        July 13, 2018, 5:17 pm

        Yes, Mooser, including the change of skin color.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      July 13, 2018, 5:14 pm

      Yes, yes. But we are still waiting from rasseforscher Boris to prove that he is a descendant from ancient Hebrews and on the other hand any Nonjew, especially a Palestinian like Ali Abunimah is not. Until then, Boris, embrace your herrenrasse delusion

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        July 14, 2018, 9:14 am

        https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/palestine/2283-european-colony.html?tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default

        “The evidence for a greater diversity of Jewish origins, outside the Levant, is thus quite strong. Yet perhaps even more significant are the efforts to construct a loyal ‘racial science’, to bolster the Zionist project and its ‘right to return’ regime. This effort privileges Jews and, without even any pretence at science, excludes Palestinian Arabs. The latter are often simply dismissed as uncivilised people without culture or law. It is a terrible irony that Jewish people, who suffered so much from racial theorising and genocidal practice in Europe, should create their own racial myths to justify the Zionist colonial project.

        ‘Racial science’ has come to obsess Zionists, as it did the persecutors of the Jews in Nazi Germany. A special people with special rights and a historical mission, was always a manufactured device. Racial ‘science’ was turned to racist purpose, to reject people outside the special class. That is why we see striking similarities between the essentialist racism of Nazi ideologist Julius Streicher and Zionist historian Benzion Netanyahu. They similarly set up superior and inferior peoples, demonising their ‘racial’ enemies. This laid a common foundation for ethnic cleansing and genocidal practice (see Table One).

        Julius Streicher (1885-1946). Nazi ideologist, executed for spreading hatred of the Jewish people.
        —–
        “As a child, a first suspicion came into my life that the essence of the Jew was a peculiar one… Who were the money lenders? They were those who were driven out of the temple by Christ himself… [they] never worked but live on fraud… The God of the Jews is… the God of hatred.”
        […]
        ===
        Benzion Netanyahu (1910). Zionist historian, father of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

        “He has no respect for any law… in the desert he can do as he pleases. The tendency toward conflict is the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence… It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance… what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war.”

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 14, 2018, 11:14 am

        ECHINOCOCCUS- “…the essence of the Arab.”

        And in Zionist mythology, the “essence of the Gentile” is irrational and eternal anti-Semitism.

      • catalan
        catalan
        July 14, 2018, 12:16 pm

        “And in Zionist mythology, the “essence of the Gentile” is irrational and eternal anti-Semitism.”
        I am curious what your take on Chelmno is?

      • Keith
        Keith
        July 14, 2018, 4:30 pm

        CATALAN- “I am curious what your take on Chelmno is?”

        My “take” on your comment is that you apparently believe that the essence of Gentiles is eternal and irrational anti-Semitism. Although mass-murder has been the rule rather than the exception throughout history, the Holocaust was a historically unique manifestation of modern anti-Semitism and likely would not have occurred without World War II where well over 60 million people died.

        “Two central dogmas underpin the Holocaust framework: (1) The Holocaust marks a categorically unique historical event; (2) The Holocaust marks the climax of an irrational, eternal Gentile hatred of Jews. Neither of these dogmas figured at all in public discourse before the June 1967 war; and, although they became the centerpieces of Holocaust literature, neither figures at all in genuine scholarship on the Nazi holocaust….Previously, the Nazi Holocaust was “not cast as a uniquely Jewish — let alone historically unique — event. Organized American Jewry in particular was at pains to place it in a universalist context. After the June war, however, the Nazi Final Solution was radically reframed. “The first and most important claim that emerged from the 1967 war and became emblematic of American Judaism,” Jacob Neusner recalls, was that “the Holocaust…was unique, without parallel in human history.” (p42, “The Holocaust Industry,” Norman Finkelstein) “The other central Zionist dogma deployed after 1967 was that “The Holocaust marks the climax of an irrational, eternal Gentile hatred of Jews.” (p41, Finkelstein)

        For a detailed and excellent discussion of Jewish and non-Jewish relations, I highly recommend “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” by Israel Shahak.

  25. eljay
    eljay
    July 13, 2018, 3:30 pm

    || Boris: Migration of Jews – from Judea to Rome, to Western Europe and then to Eastern Europe is well documented. ||

    Correct: Western and Eastern Europeans who have chosen to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish are neither Ancient Israelites nor modern-day Israelis – they are Western and Eastern Europeans.

    I know you don’t mean to, but sometimes you Zionists actually make sense.  :-)

  26. Xpat
    Xpat
    July 14, 2018, 10:50 pm

    That grey “Welcome to Israel” wall with narrow windows on top reminds me of those concrete Israeli watchtowers on the West Bank:
    http://acidrayn.com/2014/07/30/flashback-2004-israeli-watchtower-sniper-executes-unarmed-non-threatening-gazan-school-girl/

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      July 15, 2018, 9:34 am

      As I’ve said before, it looks like the lair of Ming the Merciless or some similar technovillain .

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